Robert Reich recycles Karl Marx

The production of too many useful things results in too many useless people.

Karl Marx from his Third Manuscript Private Property and Labor

Robert Reich is worried about WhatsApp, because Venture Capitalists (a.k.a. Facebook) paid them a lot of money, however, WhatsApp doesn’t employ a lot of people:

Whatsapp’s value doesn’t come from making anything. It doesn’t need a large organization to distribute its services or implement its strategy.

It value comes instead from two other things that require only a handful of people. First is its technology — a simple but powerful app that allows users to send and receive text, image, audio and video messages through the Internet.

The second is its network effect: The more people use it, the more other people want and need to use it in order to be connected. To that extent, it’s like Facebook — driven by connectivity.

Whatsapp’s worldwide usage has more than doubled in the past nine months, to 450 million people — and it’s growing by around a million users every day. On December 31, 2013, it handled 54 billion messages (making its service more popular than Twitter, now valued at about $30 billion.)

Robert Reich is making a straw man argument by holding up a single flashy, headline grabbing example of Venture Capitalist acquisition, and drawing the conclusion that we’re all doomed and there are no more jobs. While WhatsApp is grabbing all the headlines and getting the massive payday, there are literally thousands of other small start-up’s scrapping to become the next Facebook, Google, WhatsApp and Instagram. Some are well funded and others aren’t, but theses thousands of startups are employing tens of thousands of highly skilled people, contributing to the growth of our economy.

Of course this fact doesn’t fit the leftist narrative:

But we’re not getting more jobs.

In the emerging economy, there’s no longer any correlation between the size of a customer base and the number of employees necessary to serve them. In fact, the combination of digital technologies with huge network effects is pushing the ratio of employees to customers to new lows (WhatsApp’s 55 employees are all its 450 million customers need).

Meanwhile, the ranks of postal workers, call-center operators, telephone installers, the people who lay and service miles of cable, and the millions of other communication workers, are dwindling — just as retail workers are succumbing to Amazon, office clerks and secretaries to Microsoft, and librarians and encyclopedia editors to Google.

I know I’m beginning to sound like a broken record but I’ll say it anyway, government jobs like postal workers do not add to our economy. Reich continues:

Productivity keeps growing, as do corporate profits. But jobs and wages are not growing. Unless we figure out how to bring all of them back into line – or spread the gains more widely – our economy cannot generate enough demand to sustain itself, and our society cannot maintain enough cohesion to keep us together.

Our economy, our way of life is doomed unless we (a.k.a. the government) needs to do take from one group and give it to another. Typical leftist thinking.

It’s odd that we keep hearing from Reich and his ilk that the creative destruction happening in our economy is a harbinger of doom while in the real world, employers can’t hire enough skilled trades and STEM professionals.

Again, the truth doesn’t fit the left’s narrative.

College lib’s who complain about income inequality quiet when college football coaches get massive paydays

Colleges are hotbeds of leftist / liberal thinking.

Leftists and liberals are continually complaining about income equality.

So, why aren’t leftists / liberals up in arms over the massive pay of college football coaches salaries? For example, Michigan State just gave their entire coaching staff a big pay raise:

On Tuesday, the university showed it is committed to remaining in the same category by amending the contracts of coach Mark Dantonio and his entire staff, giving the head coach a substantial raise and making assistant head coach/defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi the highest-paid assistant in the Big Ten.

Dantonio’s new deal adds a year to his current contract — he’s now signed on for six years — and raises his base salary from $682,905 to $2 million. He also saw his supplemental income increased to $1 million from $869,000, and had $86,000 added to his contingent annual base, up from $200,000. He also will continue to receive $100,000 from his shoe/apparel agreement and $50,000 guaranteed performance incentives.

A nice new perk, Dantonio also will have access to a private plane for 25 hours for personal use, something basketball coach Tom Izzo also enjoys.

All together, Dantonio’s total compensation package nearly doubles, to $3.64 million from $1.99 million and makes him the fifth-highest paid coach in the Big Ten behind Ohio State’s Urban Meyer, Michigan’s Brady Hoke, Iowa’s Kirk Ferentz and Penn State’s James Franklin.

Nice gig for a college football coach. $3.64 million per year and use of a private jet.

Lib’s are also strangly quiet about University of Michigan hiring a new offensive coordinator for over $800K per year:

Michigan is continuing its trend of handsomely paying its football coordinators and now has two of the top six paid assistant coaches based on last season’s salary figures.

New offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier, hired last month after two seasons at Alabama, will make $830,000 this season, according to his contract released Tuesday through a Freedom of Information Act filing.

The contract was signed last Friday.

Seriously, lib’s are always whining about evil CEO’s earning 1,000 X what the average worker earns. Why aren’t they picketing these colleges for paying football and basketball coaches exorbitant salaries? The left should be demanding that the universities set an example of income equality, and pay the coaches the same as a physics professor.

The sports programs don’t even pay the players while the universities make untold millions off the athletes effort.

(And don’t even bring up scholarships- it cost the school nothing to put an extra chair and textbook in classroom for the student athlete)

Not a peep from the left about this.

Funny Harold Ramis Video Clips

Harold Ramis passed away today:

For more than 40 years, Ramis was a leading figure in comedy. A veteran of the Second City troupe in his hometown of Chicago, he was a writer for “SCTV” and wrote or co-wrote the scripts for “National Lampoon’s Animal House” (1978), “Caddyshack” (1980), “Stripes” (1981), “Ghostbusters” (1984), “Groundhog Day” (1993) and “Analyze This” (1999).

The films often featured members of his generation of comedy talents — veterans of the National Lampoon’s recordings, “Saturday Night Live” and “Second City TV” — most notably Ramis’ old comedy colleague and fellow Chicagoan Bill Murray.

“Harold Ramis and I together did ‘The National Lampoon Show’ off-Broadway, ‘Meatballs,’ ‘Stripes,’ ‘Caddyshack,’ ‘Ghostbusters’ and ‘Groundhog Day.’ He earned his keep on this planet,” said Murray in a statement. “God bless him.”

He wrote some of my favorite comedies from back in the day including Stripes:

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And Ghostbusters:

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Sad news…

Lefty columnist on ObamaCare: “The cost is comparable to what I kicked in for a employer-provided plan”

After over half a billion dollars sent to Canada for coding, it’s good seeing that the ObamaCare web site is actually working.  According to lefty columnist Susan J. Demas @ MLive the ObamaCare web site works great:

I’m not the most tech-savvy person in the world, as my husband will readily attest. One of his projects today is helping me dump pictures from my phone to laptop.

So although I’m on record for appreciating many of the benefits of Obamacare — requiring coverage of prenatal and pregnancy care, preexisting conditions and mental health — I expected problems signing up.

After all, it’s easy to stumble across stories of people complaining about higher prices and assorted online glitches. It’s been a public relations disaster for President Obama’s administration, which has had to hire new firm to handle the site after Feb. 28.

But my experience on was anything but a horror story.

Great, she was able to click your way through the web site. What did our lefty columnist purchase on the shiny new website?

The site turned out to be as easy to use as Amazon. There were no error screens to be found.

I was able to shop for insurance like I do for flights. The plans and details were all listed with the monthly premium in big, bold type — no muss, no fuss.

And I was pleasantly surprised by the cost. I found a gold plan (the second-highest level) for my family with a low deductible for less than half of similar plans I priced out before the Obamacare exchange started up.

The cost is comparable to what I kicked in for a employer-provided plan — and the coverage is far better.

I know my private sector employer kicks in a lot more than I do for my health insurance, so it’s reasonable to assume that millions of taxpayers (like me) are kicking in a hefty chunk for people like Ms. Demas health insurance.

I think a “thank you” to the American taxpayer is in order.

Intern Industrial Complex: Millennials can’t find paying jobs in “meaningful” vocations such as “Record Executive”

Wow, where to begin:

Like other 20-somethings seeking a career foothold, Andrew Lang, a graduate of Penn State, took an internship at an upstart Beverly Hills production company at age 29 as a way of breaking into movie production. It didn’t pay, but he hoped the exposure would open doors.

When that internship proved to be a dead end, Mr. Lang went to work at a second production company, again as an unpaid intern. When that went nowhere, he left for another, doing whatever was asked, like delivering bottles of wine to 27 offices before Christmas. But that company, too, could not afford to hire him, even part time.

A year later, Mr. Lang is on his fourth internship, this time for a company that produces reality TV shows. While this internship at least pays him (he makes $10 an hour, with few perks), Mr. Lang feels no closer to a real job and worries about being an intern forever. “No one hires interns,” said Mr. Lang, who sees himself as part of a “revolving class of people” who can’t break free of the intern cycle. “Is this any way to live?”

I don’t know, spending a fortune at Penn State studying ‘entertainment’ and our intrepid intern wonders why he can’t find a job?

I’ll admit I have no experience in the world of entertainment, but I would expect the only way to break into the entertainment field is either knowing the right person or you are insanely talented and know someone. Obtaining a sheepskin from Penn State isn’t going to introduce you to the right person or suddenly make you insanely talented.

The NYT sob story continues:

 The intern glass ceiling isn’t limited to Hollywood. Tenneh Ogbemudia, 23, who aspires to be a record executive, has had four internships at various New York media companies, including Source magazine and Universal Music Group.

“In any given month, I’d say I apply to at least 300 full-time jobs,” she said, noting these attempts were to no avail. “On the other hand, I can apply to one or two internship positions a month and get a call back from both.”

Call them members of the permanent intern underclass: educated members of the millennial generation who are locked out of the traditional career ladder and are having to settle for two, three and sometimes more internships after graduating college, all with no end in sight.

Again, you need to know the right person, or be insanely talented and know the right person. Or you need to be a connected entrepreneur and start your own record label:

In 1944 brothers Nesuhi and Ahmet Ertegun elected to remain in the USA when their mother and sister returned to Turkey, following the death of their father Munir Ertegun, who had been the first Turkish Ambassador to the United States. The brothers had become ardent fans of jazz and rhythm & blues music, amassing a collection of over 15,000 78rpm records.[4] Ahmet ostensibly stayed on in Washington to undertake post-graduate music studies at Georgetown University but immersed himself in the Washington music scene and decided to enter the record business, then enjoying a resurgence after wartime restrictions on the shellac used in manufacture.[5] He convinced the family dentist, Dr Vahdi Sabit, to invest $10,000 and recruited Herb Abramson, a dentistry student. Abramson had worked as a part-time A&R manager/producer for the jazz label National Records, signing Big Joe Turner and Billy Eckstine, and then founded Jubilee Records, but had no interest in its most successful artists and subsequently sold his share in Jubilee, investing $2500 in the new Atlantic label.

Yep, a kid with a wild dream became an entrepreneur and used his connections to get his vision off the ground. Granted this is very rare, especially in the entertainment world.

The Times tale of woe continues:

That may explain why millennials like Breanne Thomas, 24, an aspiring entrepreneur in Brooklyn, has bounced from internship to internship. Unlike her parents’ generation, it is not enough to find a steady job; she wants to follow the path of Mark Zuckerberg, or at least to get in on the ground floor of the next Facebook, the next Twitter.

“ ‘Success’ doesn’t always mean financial success, but doing something you’re passionate about,” said Ms. Thomas, who graduated with two bachelor’s degrees from the University of Oregon in 2012. “It’s kind of my goal one day to have my own company, to be part of something that is going to do something great. That’s why I’m in tech.”

That kind of ambition comes with a price, however. Competition for salaried high-tech jobs is fierce, so Ms. Thomas has had to settle for internships: three, so far, including at a five-person food-delivery start-up, a beauty products site and, currently, a well-known social-networking app that she asked not to name.

Tech isn’t just working at the next startup trying to emulate Twitter or Facebook. If our tech intern is decent software engineer, what about working in a more traditional industry? Manufacturers are always looking for engineers to develop embedded software.

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Sure, you won’t be able to ride your scooter wearing a ironic t-shirt at Ford Motor Co’s Product Development Center. However, what you will have is a good paying, interesting and steady career.

VW Chattanooga Auto Workers Reject UAW in Historic Vote

I half expected the UAW to successfully organize the VW plant:

Workers at a Volkswagen factory in Tennessee have voted against union representation in a devastating defeat for the United Auto Workers union’s effort to make inroads in the South.

The 712-626 vote released late Friday was surprising for many labor experts and union supporters who expected a UAW win because Volkswagen tacitly endorsed the union and even allowed organizers into the Chattanooga factory to make sales pitches.

“This is like an alternate universe where everything is turned upside down,” Cliff Hammond, a labor lawyer at in Detroit, told The Wall Street Journal, noting that companies usually fight union drives.

“This vote was essentially gift-wrapped for the union by Volkswagen,” said Hammond, who previously worked at the Service Employees International Union.

The setback is a major defeat for the UAW’s effort to expand in the growing South, where foreign automakers have 14 assembly plants, eight built in the past decade, said Kristin Dziczek, director of the labor and industry group at the Center for Automotive Research, an industry think tank in Michigan.

I wonder how many VW workers in Tennessee remember this photograph of a union member beating down a Right To Work supporter during Michigan’s Right to Work vote in 2012?

angry obama voter 3

According to the WSJ:

A win would have marked the first time the union has been able to organize a foreign-owned auto plant in a Southern U.S. state, and would have been particularly meaningful, because the vote was set in a right-to-work state in the South, where antiunion sentiment is strong and all past UAW organizing drives at automobile plants have failed.

The Chattanooga workers had been courted steadily for nearly two years by both the UAW and the IG Metall union, which pushed Volkswagen management to open talks with the UAW and to refrain from trying to dissuade American workers from union representation.

Also from the WSJ, an interesting point:

Other UAW opponents said they dislike the union’s support of politicians who back causes like abortion rights and gun control that rub against the conservative bent of Southern states like Tennessee. Still others objected to paying dues to a union from Detroit that is aligned with Volkswagen competitors like GM and Ford.

Very interesting point.

Benefits Street: A look at the type of ‘social prison’ the American left is trying to create here

As has been said over and over here at MCT, if you want to know what our future here in America holds, look at Europe. The American left is strangely enamoured with all things European: Socialized medicine (a disaster), green energy (failing) and a cradle to grave welfare state (another disaster).

As we here in the U.S. head down the European path, there are small signs that at least some people in the U.K. are slowly opening their eyes to the fact their generous social welfare system is an abysmal failure, is a recent, television series called benefits Street. The show (the most watch T.V. show in Britain) is described as follows:

Those expecting ‘poverty porn’ would be baffled: it is a fly-on-the-wall documentary shot in James Turner Street in Birmingham, where most occupants of the 99 houses are on welfare. Its characters speak for themselves. As quickly becomes clear, they are overwhelmingly kind, neighbourly and surprisingly upbeat, given that they are, in effect, inmates in a social prison.

The story continues and describes life in the ‘social prison’ constructed by the welfare state:

Life in this prison is pretty shocking. We see 14 Romanian workers crammed into one house expecting to be paid decent salaries, only to find they have been conned and the gangmaster will pay them each only £10 a day. (The immigrants seem routinely appalled by the other residents of James Turner Street, stunned that the British could be asked to live in such a way). We see a young woman visiting the bank machine at the stroke of midnight, when her welfare payment is processed, then immediately buying booze. We see a small boy, Gerard, hanging out with drug addicts as they drink on the street. ‘He knows way too much for a five-year-old,’ says ‘White Dee’, his mother. ‘What is there for him? Destined to grow up and be part of a gang? Because that’s society, isn’t it?’ Around there, it is.

The Spectator (U.K.) breaks down the math keeping people in government sponsored poverty:

The biggest scandal of Benefits Street, which Channel 4 is unlikely to reveal, is that White Dee is behaving rationally in deciding not to work. This is not something ministers like to divulge, but Policy in Practice, a welfare and employment consultancy, has run the figures for The Spectator. Dee is a single mother with two young children. Were she to earn, say, £90 a week as a cleaner, then the system would reduce her benefits by £70 — an effective tax rate of 78 per cent on that £90 she’s earned. She’d thus be slaving away all week for £20 — far less than the minimum wage.

It doesn’t get too much better higher up the scale. If she landed a £23,000-a-year job, her effective tax rate would still be 74 per cent – so she’d end up just £5,975 a year better-off than if she’d spent the year sitting on the sofa watching daytime TV and chatting to her pals on the street. If she then worked extra hours, or earned a pay rise, she’d keep a pitiful 9p in every extra pound paid. This is nothing to do with indolence. Which of us would work at a 91 per cent tax rate?

Sound familiar? Does this sound liberating? This is the scam Democrats in washington are peddling through the nonsense that freedom from work is liberating.

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I think the term the social prison is more fitting. Here’s a trailer for Benefits Street:

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Too bad our lap-dog networks here in the U.S. don’t have the nerve to create a show critical of the liberal agenda.

Anyone surprised that Democrats say not having to drag your butt out of bed every morning and go to work is ‘liberating’

Franklin Delano Roosevelt

Why is anyone amazed by the Democrats insistence that not having to drag your butt out of bed every morning and go add value to the economy is, in their words, liberating? Via Rush:

Ladies and gentlemen, I sit here today, I am — yeah, I guess I’ll admit it. I am somewhat amazed. Last week, even though I knew this was coming, even though on Friday I predicted it to you, I’ll let you hear the prediction again in a moment just to refresh your memory. When the CBO report came out, the revised CBO report, they have now additional years of Obamacare to plug into the formula, and they learn that Obamacare is gonna kill even more jobs than originally thought. Two and a half million additional jobs killed by 2017 or 2018.

Now, in your old standard America that would have been devastating news for everybody. But the spokesman for the president, Jay Carney, came out and praised it, said it’s a good thing. These people are now liberated from the pressures of having to find a job in order to get health care. And then Nancy Pelosi came out and repeated her philosophy that this is one of the greatest bits of news that’s happened in her professional lifetime. Finally people are not gonna have to work in order to have health care in America. And then the New York Times picked up on it and endorsed the concept and said this is a liberating thing, finally.

This should surprise no one, since the American lefts has pushed the idea that government should be the solution to all of life’s ills has been around since at least FDR’s Second Bill of Rights announced in the State of the Union Address in 1944:

Let us remember the lessons of 1918. In the summer of that year the tide turned in favor of the allies. But this Government did not relax. In fact, our national effort was stepped up. In August, 1918, the draft age limits were broadened from 21-31 to 18-45. The President called for “force to the utmost,” and his call was heeded. And in November, only three months later, Germany surrendered.
That is the way to fight and win a war—all out—and not with half-an-eye on the battlefronts abroad and the other eye-and-a-half on personal, selfish, or political interests here at home.
Therefore, in order to concentrate all our energies and resources on winning the war, and to maintain a fair and stable economy at home, I recommend that the Congress adopt:

  1. A realistic tax law—which will tax all unreasonable profits, both individual and corporate, and reduce the ultimate cost of the war to our sons and daughters. The tax bill now under consideration by the Congress does not begin to meet this test.
  2. A continuation of the law for the renegotiation of war contracts—which will prevent exorbitant profits and assure fair prices to the Government. For two long years I have pleaded with the Congress to take undue profits out of war.
  3. A cost of food law—which will enable the Government (a) to place a reasonable floor under the prices the farmer may expect for his production; and (b) to place a ceiling on the prices a consumer will have to pay for the food he buys. This should apply to necessities only; and will require public funds to carry out. It will cost in appropriations about one percent of the present annual cost of the war.
  4. Early reenactment of the stabilization statute of October, 1942. This expires June 30, 1944, and if it is not extended well in advance, the country might just as well expect price chaos by summer. We cannot have stabilization by wishful thinking. We must take positive action to maintain the integrity of the American dollar.
  5. A national service law—which, for the duration of the war, will prevent strikes, and, with certain appropriate exceptions, will make available for war production or for any other essential services every able-bodied adult in this Nation.

These five measures together form a just and equitable whole. I would not recommend a national service law unless the other laws were passed to keep down the cost of living, to share equitably the burdens of taxation, to hold the stabilization line, and to prevent undue profits.
The Federal Government already has the basic power to draft capital and property of all kinds for war purposes on a basis of just compensation.
As you know, I have for three years hesitated to recommend a national service act. Today, however, I am convinced of its necessity. Although I believe that we and our allies can win the war without such a measure, I am certain that nothing less than total mobilization of all our resources of manpower and capital will guarantee an earlier victory, and reduce the toll of suffering and sorrow and blood.

Really, does it surprise anyone that Democrat (socialists) such as Obama and his cohorts are cheering the idea of liberating people from work?

obama sittingWhen you think about it, Obama and FDR are two sides of the same coin.