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The Hazards of Idiotic Politics

In Standard by American SpectatorLeave a Comment

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There’s an old economic maxim known as “moral hazard,” by which “one party engages in risky behavior or fails to act in good faith because it know the other party bears the economic consequences of their behavior,” as one Investopedia writer explains. Economists often apply the term to insurance situations, such as when an insured might drive at unusually high speeds knowing that his car insurer will pay the bills if he crashes (and survives).

But it’s also applicable to government. “People change their behavior … when the government pays with the taxpayer money,” wrote the great free-market economist Thomas Sowell. Examples abound — from government flood insurance policies that encourage people to build in flood plains, to welfare policies that reward the morally hazardous behavior of slothfulness, to federal bailouts that shield financial firms from the consequences of their bad investments.

It also applies to a policy that politicians, ironically enough, call “hazard” pay. This is the latest morally dubious idea pitched by California officials at the urging of grocery unions. Local governments are imposing massive hourly pay boosts to grocery workers, under the argument that they are “heroes” who face undue “hazards” by working during the pandemic. Long Beach recently mandated a $4-an-hour pay hike, and San Jose just approved a $3-an-hour boost.

I appreciate that these stores are open and that workers are there to serve customers and want them to be paid well. But the idea that they are heroes who face undue hazards is a bit much, given that grocery workers are sentient adults who are perfectly capable of weighing the risks and benefits of their profession. We all face risks — customers included — for engaging in basic shopping tasks. The hazard pay campaign simply is an end-run around current minimum wage laws.

Of course, stupid ideas can be hazardous to the public — and low-wage workers in particular. “As a result of the city of Long Beach’s decision to pass an ordinance mandating extra pay for grocery workers, we have made the difficult decision to permanently close long-struggling store locations in Long Beach,” according to a statement from Kroger, which owns the Ralphs and Food 4 Less stores that will soon be exiting the city.

Store officials are right that the new law “oversteps the traditional bargaining process.” It also ignores, as company officials told the media, the $2-an-hour pay increase that it gave to its employees at the start of the pandemic and the $1.3 billion it has spent on mitigation measures and additional benefits for employees. Apparently money just grows on trees — and how long before city officials blast the grocery chains for price gouging after food costs rise?

The store closings weren’t hard to predict. A new study by Capitol Matrix Consulting for the California Grocers Association makes some critical points for anyone who earnestly wants to boost the wages of low-skill front-line workers — and isn’t just playing cynical union political games. As the study notes, “Average profit margins in the grocery industry were 1.4 percent in 2019, with a significant number of stores operating with net losses.” It noted that profits rose to 2.2 percent by mid-2020, but that those margins were falling to historical levels since then.

Here’s the key point: “Wage related labor expenses account for about 16 percent of total sales of the grocery industry. As a result, a 28-percent increase in wages would boost overall costs 4.5 percent under the city of Los Angeles proposal of $5 an hour. This increase would be twice the size of the 2020 industry profit margin and three times historical grocery profit margins.

The study looks at the two extreme possibilities. If the stores pass the costs entirely on to customers, then the law will increase a typical family’s grocery bill by $400 a year. If the stores didn’t pass through any of those costs, they would reduce the number of employees by 22 percent. “The grocery business is a high-volume, low-margin industry,” the authors note.

The grocers association also has sued Oakland, which mandates an extra $5 an hour. Their lawsuit touches on what unions really want: “It singles out large grocery companies with unionized workforces (i.e., UCFW 5’s members) without providing any reasonable justification for the exclusion of other employers or frontline retail workers. The city’s stated objectives are merely an attempt to impose a public policy rationale on interest-group driven legislation for labor unions.” The grocers say the law violates the state and federal constitutions.

I know I’m going out on a limb here, but governments cannot simply mandate dramatic wage increases without leading to serious unintended consequences. Strictly speaking, the resulting moral hazard of hazard pay is that low-income workers will perhaps rely on the government to boost their fortunes — rather than getting the education and experience they need to improve their skills and increase their value in the process.

But the more obvious hazard is that will drive marginal stores out of business, dramatically reduce employment levels for those stores that remain in business, and drive up grocery prices — all of which will hit the poorest Californians the hardest. This is hazardous to the economy and morally wrong, so expect it to spread across the state like wildfire.

Steven Greenhut is Western region director for the R Street Institute. Write to him at

The post The Hazards of Idiotic Politics appeared first on The American Spectator | USA News and Politics.

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Biden’s Energy Nominee Divvied Millions In Taxpayer Funds To Alternative Energy Startups That Went Bankrupt

In Standard by Daily CallerLeave a Comment

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President Joe Biden’s nominee to head the Department of Energy, Jennifer Granholm, divvied out millions in taxpayer funds during her two terms as Michigan governor to alternative energy companies that eventually went bankrupt.

In one instance, Granholm’s administration provided a $9.1 million refundable tax credit to a renewable energy company registered to the address of a single-wide trailer and run by a convicted embezzler named Richard Short. Short was found to be in violation of his parole and sent back to prison after appearing on stage with Granholm in 2010 to accept assistance from the Michigan Economic Growth Authority, according to Michigan Capitol Confidential.

Granholm also granted $10 million to an electric car battery manufacturer, A123 Systems, in 2009 and lauded the company in a press conference, saying it would help “make Michigan the alternative energy capital of North America and the advanced battery capital of the world.”

A123 Systems, which also received a $249.12 million federal grant by the Obama administration, filed for bankruptcy in 2012. The company is still in operation today as a subsidiary of a Chinese firm, Wanxiang America.

Another manufacturer of electric vehicle components that received Michigan taxpayer-funded assistance under Granholm’s watch, Azure Dynamics, filed for bankruptcy in 2012 and laid off 12o employees.

Granholm served as governor of Michigan from 2003 to 2011.

Only 2.3 percent of the 434 projects funded by the Michigan Economic Growth Authority under Granholm’s watch were successful in meeting their projected job creation goals, according to the American Energy Alliance.

Granholm would take a leading role in bringing Biden’s goal of building 550,000 electric vehicle charging stations and replacing the federal government’s fleet of vehicles with electric vehicles if she gets confirmed by the senate. The Senate Committee on Energy & Natural Resources is holding hearing on Granholm’s nomination Wednesday.

Former Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm speaks at the Democratic National Convention, July 28, 2016, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images)

Granholm’s critics say her record as Michigan’s governor disqualifies her from heading the Department of Energy.

“If her track record in Michigan was an audition for the Department of Energy she certainly failed,” American Energy Alliance President Thomas Pyle told the Daily Caller News Foundation.

“She had a history of not doing due diligence, throwing money to try to force technological changes that weren’t ready for the marketplace,” Pyle said. “She basically saddled Michigan taxpayers with millions of dollars in a sort of transfer to startups and most of them were failures. Why would you put someone in charge of the pursestrings at the Department of Energy who has a track record like that?”

A former EPA transition team member for the Trump administration, Steve Milloy, said in a statement Wednesday that Granhold is “bound to be a disaster” as head of the Energy Department.

“Some of the battery companies she funded in 2010 were based on the faulty notion that, by 2020, electric cars would be popular with consumers. They’re not,” Milloy said. “Now Biden is entrusting Granholm to hand out tens of billions of taxpayer dollars to green tech companies. What we’re mostly likely to get are more green bankruptcies like Solyndra and Frisker Automotive.”

“Let’s not forget that one of DOE’s primary duty is management of the nuclear weapons laboratories, an area in which Granholm has no experience or expertise,” Milloy added.

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CNN’s Oliver Darcy Suggests The Next Step In Leftist Authoritarian Censorship

In Standard by Red StateLeave a Comment

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In the wake of the pro-Trump riots at the U.S. Capitol  building and the wave of social media censorship that followed, it appears that some on the left seek to use the events to push further towards leftist authoritarianism. Predictably, the activist media seems to be firmly on board with the idea.

CNN media activist Oliver Darcy weighed in on the idea in a piece he wrote for the alleged news outlet’s “Reliable Sources” newsletter.

“We regularly discuss what the Big Tech companies have done to poison the public conversation by providing large platforms to bad-faith actors who lie, mislead, and promote conspiracy theories. But what about TV companies that provide platforms to networks such as Newsmax, One America News — and, yes, Fox News?” he wrote.

That’s right, folks. Oliver Darcy is now pushing for cable companies to squelch content from television news outlets expressing ideas that hurt his feelings. He put forth the ridiculous notion that not only should entire networks be held responsible for the opinions of their anchors, but the cable companies that host them should also be accountable.

In his propaganda piece, Darcy went on to suggest asking cable ccompanies about their practices and “if they have any regret over carrying right-wing channels that were in many ways partly responsible for what took place in our nation’s capital this week.”

Only one cable provider was willing to humor Darcy’s foolishness. CenturyLink told him that it is committed to providing “a variety of broadcast channels covering thousands of topics” and that it did not “endorse specific media or outlets.”

As you might imagine, this wasn’t good enough for Darcy, who claimed that the company was dodging his question.

But the problem with Darcy’s bloviating is the fact that he works for a left-wing activist operation masquerading as a journalistic outlet. His network peddles in the same kind of propaganda of which he accuses networks like Fox News or Newsmax.

CNN was the activist media outlet responsible for the Covington Kids hoax, which could have ruined the lives of high school students who happened to have the wrong political beliefs, according to the left. The network also promoted the Charlottesville “fine people” hoax to fool its audience into believing that President Trump complimented white supremacists. They were one of the primary entities pushing the Russia collusion hoax as well.

If Darcy truly cared about the spread of disinformation, he would be checking his own network and others like it. He would acknowledge that left-leaning organizations have been deliberately pushing various falsehoods about the president and his supporters for four years.

But, Oliver Darcy is not a journalist. He is a media activist. There is a distinct difference between the two, isn’t there? Yet, we can still give him points for trying.

Let me know what you think in the comments below!

Follow me on Twitter and Parler

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In Standard by spike55Leave a Comment

John Eastman is one of the nation’s leading Constitutional Law experts and is representing President Trump’s case in court regarding all the voting irregularities in the election. In this interview, Eastman clears up the media lies, misconceptions, irresponsible and sloppy reporting about the cases he has brought in all of the key swing states.

If you think there was no stolen election, or, if you think Trump lost 60 court cases, or, basically if you believe what CNN and the MSM have been saying about how there was “no mass election cheating”, you need to watch this video because John Eastman is the President’s lawyer in court, arguing the cases, and gathering the evidence. SHARE THIS VIDEO.

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If You’re Defending Big Tech’s Partisan Purge, You are the Problem

In Standard by Red StateLeave a Comment

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While those of that are fortunate enough to never open Twitter may not be aware of it, the social media platform is currently going through the largest purge in recent history. Following the Capitol Hill riot, conservative accounts started to see their follower counts drop precipitously. At first, because virtue signaling is a favorite past-time among the right-wing commentariat, some blamed followers leaving because they spoke out against the riot. I figured out pretty quickly that such wasn’t the case.

Now, it’s clear it wasn’t just bots being cleared out. President Trump was banned shortly after, and major accounts have disappeared since then, including quality users like Techno Frog, whose great sin was being one of the most well sourced exposers of the Russian collusion hoax.

In other words, this a coordinated purge of legitimate accounts that clearly didn’t break the terms of service. Facebook is doing the same thing, with Dan Bongino being hit as well on Friday. Social media aren’t just clearing out “violent” accounts. They are actively erasing information they deem unacceptable for public debate. By getting rid of Techno Frog, for example, years of extensive research and evidence has been wiped out.

And just in case anyone wants to claim the purging is natural, it’s not.

Unfortunately, at a time when you’d expect everyone to be in agreement that this is wrong and a direct suppression of speech, some on the right continue to be willing lapdogs for big tech.

This is not Twitter making a business decision. For one, Trump’s influence on the platform would have continued to bring in lots of money for the social media giant’s coffers. The argument being made that this was just a dry, non-partisan decision is obviously nonsense. That truth is bolstered by the fact that it isn’t just Trump who has been banned. But for a small segment of the right, continually bending the knee to big business always takes priority over everything else.

One of the biggest mistakes the conservative movement has made is assuming that morality can be completely removed from the market and that nothing bad will happen. That doesn’t mean that the government has to enforce said morality, but it does mean that you aren’t required to pretend these massive corporations are somehow superior to the peons and that their machinations are always pure and acceptable. Twitter is a garbage company that is using their influence to quash free speech. That deserves condemnation, not excuse-making.

Moving on, there’s also this, which makes no sense whatsoever.

So let me get this straight. We are getting a taste of what Twitter would be like without Section 230 while Section 230 is still in effect? Does that make sense to anyone? I mean, if we are “getting a taste” right now, then what’s the point of Section 230 in the first place? If Twitter can willfully suppress speech and ban people based on political persuasion, then the only thing Section 230 is good for is ensuring that no one can sue Twitter in response. That seems like a rather bad deal for the public, doesn’t it? Social media companies want the protections of Section 230 while they spit on the spirit of the statute, which is to maintain some consistent standard of neutrality in being a public platform.

To be frank, anyone still defending big tech is part of the problem. You are going to “muh private company” yourself until every semblance of freedom is lost on these monopolistic “public squares.” And while some may be naive enough to think the ban monster isn’t coming for them, the next four years are going to get worse. Twitter, Facebook, etc. have no fear anymore. Trump is gone. The GOP lost the Senate and no longer control the committees. It’s a free for all, and everyone except those who are in hock with social media monetarily (i.e. The Dispatch crew) are vulnerable. Wake up or suffer the consequences.

(Please follow me on Twitter to fight back against the purge…@bonchieredstate)

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In Standard by spike55Leave a Comment

This is the intro to War Room: Pandemic on Real America’s Voice.

I want to make a couple of points about this introduction.

First, whether you believe the Presidential election was fairly conducted or whether you believe it was stolen, it is simply un-American to not have the conversation allowing both sides of the argument to air their points of view.

It seems to me that working to silence dissenting opinions from the official results, constitutes a fascistic oppression of freedom of political speech.  In the interest of free expression, it is hardly relevant which side is speaking the truth because it is only through freedom of expression can we settle the issue.  Suppressing that expression does not settle the issue and only stokes more resentment.

As for the media’s contention that President Trump incited insurrection, there is simply no evidence of this.  In fact, the evidence points 180 degrees the other way, toward peaceful demonstrations.

The media has been totally and utterly irresponsible in the way they have reported during the Trump Presidency right throughout his entire term in office.  They have stoked anger.  They have dismissed that half of the country supporting the President.  They have dismissed their concerns routinely.  And now, they seem to think after four years of self-discrediting coverage, that the public will abandon their support of the only person in our national political experience who listened to and acted on their concerns?  I think not.

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In Standard by spike55Leave a Comment

Remember when the news media saw virtue in the torching and looting of cities all across the country? What happened to change their minds? Is there any better example of their outrageous and self discrediting double standard than their rhetoric today against the outgoing President?

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Beijing Warns US Will Pay ‘Heavy Price’ if UN Ambassador Goes to Taiwan

In Standard by Americas VoiceLeave a Comment

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The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is hoping to dictate how American diplomats behave as it relates to Taiwan.  The outgoing Trump Administration should tell them to go to hell.  The incoming Biden Administration will subordinate America and American interests to their masters in the CCP soon enough.  Hopefully, at that time, the American People will be able to discern through all the censorship and propaganda from organizations every bit as controlled by the CCP, that they made a fatal error allowing Biden and his traitorous cronies of Chinese collaborators to get their hands on the levers of power.  In the meantime, inform yourselves by identifying those corporations that are heavily dependent on access to the Chinese market.  Companies like Apple, Facebook, Google, Twitter, Amazon, Comcast, Disney, Time Warner, and many others.  You will notice their corporate policies are aligned with the policies of the CCP.  Every American of conscience should do whatever they can to decouple from supporting as many of those companies as possible.  –Admin, GVM

China on Thursday threatened that the United States would pay a “heavy price” if its United Nations Ambassador Kelly Craft kept plans announced by the State Department to travel to Taiwan next week.

“The United States will pay a heavy price for its wrong action,” a statement from the Chinese mission to the UN said.

“China strongly urges the United States to stop its crazy provocation, stop creating new difficulties for China-U.S. relations and the two countries’ cooperation in the United Nations, and stop going further on the wrong path.”

China “firmly opposes” the visit and demands the US cancel its plans, the statement added, reiterating Beijing’s one-China policy that maintains Taiwan is a province of the nation.

The American UN mission said Thursday evening that Craft would be in Taipei from January 13 to 15, meeting with Taiwanese officials and other members of the diplomatic community.

“During her trip, the Ambassador will reinforce the U.S. government’s strong and ongoing support for Taiwan’s international space,” the American statement said.

Craft is scheduled to speak at the Institute of Diplomacy and International Affairs on Jan. 14, “on Taiwan’s impressive contributions to the global community and the importance of Taiwan’s meaningful and expanded participation in international organizations,” according to the statement.

Chinese state news agency Xinhua had also criticized the trip earlier in the day, saying a U.S. ambassador’s presence in Taiwan would violate Chinese sovereignty.

Administration officials under President Donald Trump already visited Taiwan last year, despite opposition from Beijing, amid U.S.-Chinese tensions over trade, security and human rights.

Original Article

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CNN’s Cuomo Lets The Mask Slip, Declares “We Won” in Georgia

In Standard by National PulseLeave a Comment

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During CNN’s coverage of the Georgia special election, host Chris Cuomo boasted “we won” in response to Democratic candidates appearing to pull ahead in the race.

The comments – serving as the latest example of CNN’s left-wing bias – were also premature, as not all ballots had been counted and neither Republican candidate had conceded.

Cuomo and co-host Don Lemon were giddy at the prospect of Democratic victories, laughing and singing as they covered the race.

After Cuomo insisted the election could be “the night that the light went out in Georgia” for Republicans, he insisted “we won”:

We have a long way to go, counting could take some time. I do not expect it to be called tonight, but we will be going through. But already, we know on the numbers that we have, we won, democracy won.