Wednesday, 13 February 2013

08:15 – Barbara’s mom is home and seems to be doing okay. Frances stayed with them last night and will also stay with them tonight so that Barbara can go out to dinner with friends. Today, they have a home aide coming in to spend the day with them. Then Barbara will stay with them tomorrow night, all day Friday, and Friday night. Barbara and Frances are hoping that by the weekend their parents will be able to get along at night without one of them there.

Science kit sales have slacked off a bit, but are still running at several times the rate of a year ago. Two orders for chemistry kits came in overnight, which takes us down to half a dozen or so in stock. Those should take us through at least the weekend, when I’ll start building another batch of 30. Fortunately, we’re still in good shape on biology and forensics kits, although we do need to get bottles labeled and filled for the biology kits.


15:33 – I don’t usually bother reading stuff like this, but I read this opinion piece about the long-term unemployed all the way through. Like most leftish opinion pieces, this one shows prima facie that the author isn’t capable of thinking things through. He actually believes that Obama’s plan to boost the minimum wage is good news for the poor and long-term unemployed. In fact, it’s a catastrophe.

As late as 2007, the federal minimum wage was $5.15/hour. Even that was too high, pricing many would-be workers out of the market. It’s now $7.25/hour, which has caused a catastrophic rise in unemployment among the poor and low/no-skilled. And Obama wants to boost it to $9.00? As someone once said, the minimum wage doesn’t guarantee anyone a job at that hourly rate; all it does is guarantee that you can’t legally work for a lower hourly rate. And the upshot of the latest increases in the minimum wage have shown that beyond question. If Obama gets his wish, the effect will be more of the same. More unemployed poor people. More long-term unemployment. More people homeless or on welfare. With friends like Obama, the poor don’t need enemies.

And the other thing that annoys me is that most such articles mention that a family of four whose wage-earner is paid minimum wage is below the poverty line. So what? They never mention that a family of four with two wage-earners who each are paid minimum wage is well above the poverty line. And that’s the calculation they should really be making. If mom and dad both work for minimum wage, they can support those two kids at a lower middle-class standard of living. And what about single moms? Well, how about they share an apartment, which takes them both, with their children, to a lower middle-class standard of living.

If Obama were really concerned about the poor and long-term unemployed, he’d be pushing to eliminate the minimum wage, or at least reduce it to the $5.15/hour level that prevailed in 2007. By pushing to raise it from its already ridiculously high level, he’s dooming millions of low/no-skill people to permanent unemployment. He’s also dooming their children to being permanent members of the underclass.

And he’s making jobs disappear permanently. Most current minimum wage jobs are easily automated. The business decision is often whether it’s cheaper to pay a cheap person or make the capital investment to automate that job. And once that job is automated it’s gone forever. One day in the not-too-distant future, you may walk into McDonalds and find the only employees are the manager and his dog. Everything else is automated.