Friday, November 23, 2012

Young Professionals Only Finding Menial Jobs

Young Professionals Only Finding Menial JobsI've repeatedly reminded my readers that the MSM forget that jobs have both a quantity and quality component. Even though hiring may have slightly increased in recent months (if you believe the BLS's data, which haven't exactly been reliable as of late), the majority of new jobs created during this economic depression have been part-time, low-wage positions filled by seniors. Indeed, 20-something college degree holders in California, a fair sample of the country's young professionals, are still finding professional jobs extremely hard to come by more than 3 years after the Great Recession officially "ended". At 15%, the U-3 unemployment rate for California's college grads under 30 is nearly twice the national rate, and the most common jobs for those "lucky" enough to secure employment are depressingly menial: retail, clerical, and food service positions. According to the Sacramento Bee, more than half of California's half-million degree holders in their 20's are underemployed! The most popular job for the most populous state's young professionals? Floor sales in retail stores.
Young Professionals Only Finding Menial Jobs - chart

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thanksgiving Also Celebration Of Birth Of Free Enterprise

Thanksgiving Also Celebration Of Birth Of Free Enterprise
Professor Richard M. Ebeling reminds us that the pilgrims were thankful for not only their escape from religious persecution, but also for the birth of free-market capitalism:

This time of the year, whether in good economic times or bad, is when Americans gather with their families and friends and enjoy a Thanksgiving meal together. It marks a remembrance of those early Pilgrim Fathers who crossed the uncharted ocean from Europe to make a new start in Plymouth, Massachusetts. What is less appreciated is that Thanksgiving also is a celebration of the birth of free enterprise in America.

The English Puritans, who left Great Britain and sailed across the Atlantic on the Mayflower in 1620, were not only escaping from religious persecution in their homeland. They also wanted to turn their back on what they viewed as the materialistic and greedy corruption of the Old World.

In the New World, they wanted to erect a New Jerusalem that would not only be religiously devout, but be built on a new foundation of communal sharing and social altruism. Their goal was the communism of Plato’s Republic, in which all would work and share in common, knowing neither private property nor self-interested acquisitiveness.

What resulted is recorded in the diary of Governor William Bradford, the head of the colony. The colonists collectively cleared and worked land, but they brought forth neither the bountiful harvest they hoped for, nor did it create a spirit of shared and cheerful brotherhood.

The less industrious members of the colony came late to their work in the fields, and were slow and easy in their labors. Knowing that they and their families were to receive an equal share of whatever the group produced, they saw little reason to be more diligent in their efforts. The harder working among the colonists became resentful that their efforts would be redistributed to the more malingering members of the colony. Soon they, too, were coming late to work and were less energetic in the fields.

As Governor Bradford explained in his old English (though with the spelling modernized):

"For the young men that were able and fit for labor and service did repine that they should spend their time and strength to work for other men’s wives and children, without recompense. The strong, or men of parts, had no more division of food, clothes, etc. then he that was weak and not able to do a quarter the other could; this was thought injustice. The aged and graver men to be ranked and equalized in labor, and food, clothes, etc. with the meaner and younger sort, thought it some indignant and disrespect unto them. And for men’s wives to be commanded to do service for other men, as dressing their meat, washing their clothes, etc. they deemed it a kind of slavery, neither could husbands brook it."

Because of the disincentives and resentments that spread among the population, crops were sparse and the rationed equal shares from the collective harvest were not enough to ward off starvation and death. Two years of communism in practice had left alive only a fraction of the original number of the Plymouth colonists.

Realizing that another season like those that had just passed would mean the extinction of the entire community, the elders of the colony decided to try something radically different: the introduction of private property rights and the right of the individual families to keep the fruits of their own labor.

As Governor Bradford put it:

"And so assigned to every family a parcel of land, according to the proportion of their number for that end . . . This had a very good success; for it made all hands very industrious, so as much more corn was planted then otherwise would have been by any means the Governor or any other could use, and saved him a great deal of trouble, and gave far better content. The women now went willingly into the field, and took their little-ones with them to set corn, which before would a ledge weakness, and inability; whom to have compelled would have been thought great tyranny and oppression."

The Plymouth Colony experienced a great bounty of food. Private ownership meant that there was now a close link between work and reward. Industry became the order of the day as the men and women in each family went to the fields on their separate private farms. When the harvest time came, not only did many families produce enough for their own needs, but they had surpluses that they could freely exchange with their neighbors for mutual benefit and improvement.

In Governor Bradford’s words:

"By this time harvest was come, and instead of famine, now God gave them plenty, and the face of things was changed, to the rejoicing of the hearts of many, for which they blessed God. And the effect of their planting was well seen, for all had, one way or other, pretty well to bring the year about, and some of the abler sort and more industrious had to spare, and sell to others, so as any general want or famine hath not been amongst them since to this day."

Hard experience had taught the Plymouth colonists the fallacy and error in the ideas that since the time of the ancient Greeks had promised paradise through collectivism rather than individualism. As Governor Bradford expressed it:

"The experience that was had in this common course and condition, tried sundry years, and that amongst the Godly and sober men, may well convince of the vanity and conceit of Plato’s and other ancients; -- that the taking away of property, and bringing into a common wealth, would make them happy and flourishing; as if they were wiser than God. For this community (so far as it was) was found to breed confusion and discontent, and retard much employment that would have been to their benefit and comfort."

Was this realization that communism was incompatible with human nature and the prosperity of humanity to be despaired or be a cause for guilt? Not in Governor Bradford’s eyes. It was simply a matter of accepting that altruism and collectivism were inconsistent with the nature of man, and that human institutions should reflect the reality of man’s nature if he is to prosper. Said Governor Bradford:

"Let none object this is man’s corruption, and nothing to the curse itself. I answer, seeing all men have this corruption in them, God in his wisdom saw another course fitter for them."

The desire to “spread the wealth” and for government to plan and regulate people’s lives is as old as the utopian fantasy in Plato’s Republic. The Pilgrim Fathers tried and soon realized its bankruptcy and failure as a way for men to live together in society.

They, instead, accepted man as he is: hardworking, productive, and innovative when allowed the liberty to follow his own interests in improving his own circumstances and that of his family. And even more, out of his industry result the quantities of useful goods that enable men to trade to their mutual benefit.

In the wilderness of the New World, the Plymouth Pilgrims had progressed from the false dream of communism to the sound realism of capitalism. At a time of economic uncertainty, it is worthwhile recalling this beginning of the American experiment and experience with freedom.

This is the lesson of the First Thanksgiving. This year, when we, Americans sit around our dining table with family and friends, we should also remember that what we are really celebrating is the birth of free men and free enterprise in that New World of America.

The true meaning of Thanksgiving, in other words, is the triumph of Capitalism over the failure of Collectivism in all its forms.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

WashPost: The GOP’s Growing Libertarian Problem

WashPost: The GOP’s Growing Libertarian Problem
The Washington Post noted today that, running on Ron Paul's coattails, Gary Johnson received the most votes ever as a Libertarian Party candidate, and the 1.2 million votes he received likely hurt the Romney campaign and the GOP in general in this election cycle. Indeed, the Daily Kos noted that in 9 races the Libertarian candidate's share of the vote was larger than the Democrat's margin of victory.

But electoral sabotage isn't the greatest threat libertarianism poses to the GOP. The greatest "threat", from the establishment's perspective, is the liberty movement fundamentally changing the Republican Party from within. The GOP, like the country itself, is facing a significant demographic shift. The next generation of "conservatives", fiscally conservative but socially liberal, are more akin to classical liberals than aging social conservatives or neoconservatives. "Values" figures such as Rick Santorum and Michele Bachmann will have less and less clout in the GOP as the party slowly becomes more libertarian, and more freedom-minded figures such as Rand Paul will rise to prominence (perhaps as early as 2016). The Republican establishment will undoubtedly fight this paradigm shift tooth-and-nail, but, in time, it will find that it cannot stop the future.

CBO's Fiscal Cliff "Solution": 72% Taxes, 28% Cuts

CBO's Fiscal Cliff "Solution": 72% Taxes, 28% CutsThe CBO says that tax increases would carry the heaviest weight in the "optimal" solution to the so-called "fiscal cliff" conundrum:

CBO's Fiscal Cliff "Solution": 72% Taxes, 28% Cuts - graph

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Ron Paul Embarking Upon 2013 College Tour

Ron Paul Embarking Upon 2013 College Tour
While the Republican establishment is busy eschewing calls for the party to jettison social conservatism and adopt ideas that would prevent future electoral embarrassment and the Libertarian party is wondering why its failed 40-year-old strategy of running for high political office didn't work again this time, recently-retired Ron Paul is busy growing the movement he started. Dr. Paul, even more influential in American politics in retirement than Mitt Romney or Gary Johnson as future office-seekers, will embark upon a nationwide tour of college campuses next year, creating excitement and recruiting the next generation of libertarian activists. Establishment Republicans and Libertarian partisans will scoff at the elder Paul's efforts, but those who don't have an axe to grind with the good doctor will marvel in the size and energy of the crowds he'll attract. Says Paul of past events on college campuses:
The same week I went to Texas A&M, which is conservative, I got like 4000 [students]. They thought that was good, but we went out to Berkeley and they said that [crowd] wouldn't have happened in the 60's.
An estimated 8,500 attended Paul's presidential primary rally at U.C. Berkeley earlier this year. The Paul campaign visited 36 college campuses this primary season.