Not long ago the left was howling about raising the federal minimum wage.  America’s economic tailspin, thanks to our current administration’s “destroy-America-first” policies, has removed that demand from the political discussion. With the incumbent party throwing borrowed billions around to discourage people from working while stifling energy production to kill the economy, wages have exploded upward as employers desperately compete for scarce labor.

A federal minimum wage law was always a stupid idea.  Following that logic, we would have minimum prices for gas and milk.  Soon we would be out of gas and milk as producers could not operate profitably against inflation.

We were taught in ECON 101 that government intervention in free markets always results in economic disaster. I’ll bet the concept of “laissez-faire” is no longer found in high school and college textbooks, or if it is, it is lambasted.  Most articles I found on the web criticize laissez-faire as being mean to dumb and disabled people.  What isn’t mentioned is that laissez-faire works perfectly in a charitable Judeo-Christian society like ours once was.  As workers’ own needs are met and they gain wealth, they are almost always happy to share it with the truly needy, and private solutions are always more effective than government programs.  Remember the government’s “War on Poverty?”  We lost.

Our elected officials either don’t get it or don’t care and are only in government for careers, power and profit. The ideal congressman would have one question first and foremost about ANY new bill presented: would this law infringe upon individual economic freedom in any way?

Please teach your kids and grandkids about laissez-faire and free markets.  It is the only economic system that keeps prices perfectly right while improving products and quality of life.  I’m afraid under Bidenomics we will soon all be driving Yugos again.

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

And as they’re trapped inside
At a used car lot on the other side of town
A liberal guy and a liberal gal
Buy a Yugo….

IN A YUGO – Paul Shanklin (Rush Limbaugh Show)

As the snow flies

At a used car lot on the edge of town
A liberal guy and a liberal gal
Buy a Yugo
And they drive with pride

Cause if there’s one thing that this world needs
It’s environmental friends who’ll take the lead
In a Yugo

They say, “people don’t you understand
Those suburbans are ruining the land”
But they’ll wish they had a full size van one day
They point fingers at you and me
They say we’re too blind to see
But do we simply use our heads
And choose another way?

As those small wheels turn
Fifty miles to the gallon
And their knees on their chest
They’re gonna save enough gas
For all of the rest
In a Yugo

Then one day on the interstate
They suddenly lose control
They swerve to miss a baby duck
They’re squashed beneath a produce truck
But they drove with pride…

And as the crowds drive past a little flat car
You know they saved a lot of gas
But they didnt get far
In a Yugo

And as they’re trapped inside
At a used car lot on the other side of town
A liberal guy and a liberal gal
Buy a Yugo….

And they drive with pride…

“Science Deniers” vs. “Economics Deniers”

mad scientistAccording to the Left Side, we Neanderthals who Rock on the Right Side don’t buy that mankind is destroying the earth, so we are, by definition, “science deniers“.

How dare we question them?  They are the ‘intelligentsia’.  They own the facts.  Their “science” is unassailable.  They don’t really have any proof, but if you don’t agree with them, you must be an idiot.  You probably think the Earth is flat!  You probably don’t even accept that Albert Einstein’s great-great-great grandmother was a newt!

Well, I may not be an Einstein, and I admit I got a C in eighth grade science (actually Mr. Anderson paddled me for passing notes in class, that didn’t help).  But I have a question for you scientists:

If your “science” is so perfect, and you are so sure that mankind is destroying the earth via “climate change”, why have none of your predictions come true?

In 1975, according to Newsweek Magazine, you scientists were convinced that global cooling would “portend a drastic decline in food production – with serious political implications for just about every nation on Earth. The drop in food output could begin quite soon, perhaps only 10 years from now.”  News Flash: didn’t happen.

Then in 2007 Al Gore predicted that “all Arctic ice would be gone by 2013”.  Um, Al, if that’s your science, I think I can safely deny that.  Didn’t happen.  In fact, there was a record ice-pack in 2013.

Go ahead, Left Side.  Call me a “science denier”.  I’m not convinced that man is capable of causing global climate change.  Don’t these same scientists admit that the earth was much warmer — and also much colder — in prehistoric times, well before Lady Gaga was “born this way”?

I’m pretty sure all of the uproar about climate change is more about power and money, and not so much about temperature.  Al Gore charges $100,000 per speech and his Global Investment Management company has made a killing  dealing in Climate Change drama.  And the UN building is full of little despots rubbing their fists at the prospect of slipping some carbon-tax guilt money into their pockets.

Speaking of money, it seems to me that the Left Siders are “Economics Deniers”.

They won’t accept that printing and distributing ever-growing gobs of cash waters down the value of existing dollars.  They can’t believe that paying people not to work for several years contributes to unemployment.  It doesn’t make sense to them that flooding our country with cheap foreign labor results in lower wage rates.

They don’t believe in the power of the free market, and the flawless balance of supply and demand.  They can’t accept that $17 trillion of debt is a problem for our children.

They won’t buy that unequal incomes are the result of unequal effort or talent.

The Left Side are the ones in denial.  The Economics Deniers.

But let’s not talk about that!  Let’s talk about gay marriage!  Or how barbaric it is to expect women to buy their own birth control pills!  Or how those stupid Right Siders are “Science Deniers” who don’t care about global warming!

So far the Left Side has not blinded the Right Side with their “science.”  Good thing.

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

Rockin' On the Right Side

The spheres are in commotion
The elements in harmony
She blinded me with science
“She blinded me with science!”
And hit me with technology

She Blinded Me With Science – Thomas Dolby


Watch this great live performance by Dolby – glad to see an old-school Telecaster in the studio with all that SCIENCE!








Aaron Rogers Cost Wisconsin 184,000 Jobs

Aaron Rodgers_Many people are demanding that the minimum wage be raised to $15 an hour.  They complain that some people make too much money, and that’s why poor people earn so little.

You see, liberals believe that wealth is a zero-sum game.  If one person gets more, another gets less.  They think that raising the minimum wage would transfer wealth from the owner of a business, or its high-paid employees, to the poor, hard working lower-paid people.  Simple.

My fantasy football team got clobbered this weekend.  It didn’t help that my opponent’s quarterback, Peyton Manning, scored 7 touchdowns and passed for 462 yards . . . but anyway, some of my players’ terrible performances made me wonder how much they earn per hour, compared to their teammates.

My starting tight end, Anthony Fasano, makes $1.2 million per year.  That places him somewhere in the middle of the expense report for the Kansas City Chiefs.  At the top of the Chiefs report is Tamba Hali, a defensive lineman who makes over $12 million per year.

Fasano had a pretty disappointing opening week, catching only two passes for 8 yards in the first game of the season.  He doesn’t block much, so his value is based on his catches.  My simple math (not the way it is taught in our government schools today) works like this:  $1.2 million divided by 16 one-hour games per season is $75,000 per hour.  Now I know, Anthony is working at practice, and in the off-season, and during time-outs too.  But let’s face it, his value to his employer is only the 60 minutes he is on the clock on Sunday.

If Fasano is making $75,000 per hour, no wonder the kids at the car wash only make $7.50!  Just think, if Fasano didn’t play football, they could divvy up his paycheck!

But darn, business is so complicated.  Fasano was paid one-tenth as much as Chiefs lineman Tamba Hali.  Hali didn’t gain any yards – he is a defensive player.  Still, he got a couple of tackles and returned an interception for a touchdown.  He anchored the defense, who shut down the Jacksonville offense, leading to an easy win.  How do we compare Hali’s worth to Fasano’s?   They both worked an hour.

My fantasy team quarterback, Aaron Rogers, is the highest paid player in the NFL, at $22 million per year (not quite up to Madonna’s pay rate, she earned $125 million).  Using the simple (non-Common Core) math, that’s about $1,375,000 per hour.  Just think, if the Packers owners – who are mostly season-ticket holders – let Aaron go tomorrow, they could hire 184,000 guys for each of their eight home games at $15 per hour to sell hot dogs at Lambeau Field!

But wait a minute . . . if Aaron was not playing, who would be there to buy all those hot dogs?  Maybe it doesn’t matter if the Packers win, or if there is a game at all . . .  People will just go to Lambeau and buy hot dogs from the 184,000 hot dog guys anyway, right?  (hmm, we might need a bigger stadium to hold all of those hot dog guys . . . )

It just seems really unfair that Rogers makes $1.4 million per hour, and the hot dog sellers only earn $7.50.  So, I guess let’s just pay Aaron $15 an hour and then we can hire 184,000 hot dog sellers at $15 an hour and that will even help reduce our high rate of unemployment.  That’s fairness, and unemployment problem solved!

I think?

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

Rockin' On the Right Side

It seems to me
I could live my life
A lot better than I think I am
I guess that’s why they call me
They call me the working man

Workin’ Man – Rush

Here’s a different and really cool version of a classic – by one of the hardest working live performing bands in history – RUSH:  Workin’ Man!

Change – Be Careful What You Wish For

obama_change_01I had an interesting conversation with a liberal this week – a junior manager who works very hard, earns a modest salary, and would like to improve his family’s standard of living.

Our business conversation had turned to the hesitancy on the part of business owners to invest.  “No one is willing to pull the trigger on any major spending in the current political climate,” I said.

My friend asked, “What does politics have to do with whether or not a business owner wants to invest?”

I pointed out that politics and economics are inseparable.  After all, the only thing a government can do is spend other people’s money.  Everything the government does affects the economic environment, and conversely, voters and supporters of candidates make decisions based on their own current financial situations.  Business owners are not confident right now that risking additional capital will provide them with any financial reward.

“Well I have always been a liberal,” my friend said.  “And I agree with you, nobody wants to spend for anything right now.”

I let him talk.

“Nobody wants to upgrade their facilities or hire more employees.  They just don’t know if customers will be able to afford to buy their products.”

I nodded.  Keep thinking, young man.

“You know,” he continued, “wages sure aren’t what they used to be – if you can find a job at all.  People can’t afford to buy houses and cars and other things because they just aren’t making enough money.”

He was on a roll.

“If nobody can afford to buy things, why would you want to build a new store or hire more people?” he concluded. “Times are tough.”

I wanted so badly to deliver my speech about how government waste, corruption and misguided overspending takes a huge bite out of our GDP and personal wealth.  About how government social policies discourage savings and personal responsibility.  About how federal fiscal policy has devalued our dollar, destroyed our balance of trade and built an insurmountable debt.  About how we have become a nation of undereducated, disengaged sheeple, victim to any media-savvy, slick-talking promiser-in-chief.

I wanted to ask, “So why are you a liberal?”  Instead, I shook my head and said, “Gee, I wonder what has changed?”

He didn’t answer.  But the concerned look on his face told me he knew.

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

Rockin' On the Right Side

I still don’t know what I was waiting for
And my time was running wild
A million dead-end streets
Every time I thought I’d got it made
It seemed the taste was not so sweet

Changes – David Bowie

You Take 16 Credits, What Do You Get? (Another Day Older and Deeper In Debt)

Politicians, economists and educators continue to trumpet the importance of a college education.  At the Montana Conference for Education Leaders in Billings this week, academic experts nodded to each other that in our modern knowledge-based economy, finding a job without a degree will become increasingly difficult.

Yesterday we learned that two-thirds of college graduates last year had student loan debt, averaging $27,000.  Half of recent graduates can’t find jobs, and if they do, they find starting salaries have declined.

The issue is pretty complex.  College tuitions have increased at a greater rate than inflation.  Few students now work while at school.  Employers say colleges are not preparing students to meet their needs.  Americans  have become less nervous about debt and more comfortable with relying on government financial help.  Parents and students have not saved for college.  Many students use loan proceeds for all kinds of spending that is unrelated to school.  Some who receive loans and grants are not really students at all.

Add it all up and we face a $1 trillion student loan bubble.  And if you think all of that debt will be repaid to the taxpayers, I have a bridge . . .

Like the housing bubble, there will be a hue and cry to forgive the debts.  Some will say college education should be free – just like (gulp) Greece.

Is it a hopeless situation?  I don’t think so.   Here are just a few of many course corrections for our state universities that could turn the college cost/benefit dilemma around in fairly short order:

  • Limit student loans to educational costs only – tuition, books, perhaps on-campus room and board, and monitor recipients’ school attendance and performance
  • Take a hard look at the cost-drivers at our state-funded universities – is that new stadium necessary?  Are professor salaries commensurate with student benefit?
  • Eliminate the kickback corruption in the textbook industry – replace printed texts costing over $100 each with electronic media
  • Require student borrowers to have a documented plan for their educational path that leads to economic success – would a commercial bank make a business loan without a plan?
  • Allow and encourage employers (yes, those terrible profit-hungry abusers of the common people) to collaborate on-campus to make a direct connection between education and employment
  • Break up the radical left-wing academic bloc, eradicate their failed social engineering objectives and culture, and replace it with economic realism – the understanding that the reason one attends a university is to improve one’s ability to generate wealth for him or herself, a potential employer, and our nation.

Most important of all – we must prepare our K-12 students with a fundamental working knowledge of economics so that they are equipped to make rational career decisions at graduation.

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

You load 16 tons –
What do you get?
Another day older
And deeper in debt

Sixteen Tons – Tennessee Ernie Ford

Montanans Don’t Care About Their Kids

What do you want your child to be able to do when he or she becomes an adult?

Let me guess:  How about “make a good living, have a nice home, raise a family?”  Perhaps “have a comfortable lifestyle without being burdened with debt and insecurity?”  Maybe “save some money for a comfortable retirement?”

You may have other, more fuzzy aspirations for your child, such as “happiness” or “love” or “fulfillment”.  But I’ll bet the items I mentioned above are at the top of your list.

Then why have you and I and every Montana parent not DEMANDED that our schools teach our children about money?

Except those who are on welfare, or are retired, or are so disabled that they are excluded from work, every American wakes up each morning and sets out to improve his or her family’s standard of living.  It’s the essence of life.  We have wants and needs, and we strive to fulfill them within the economic system in which we live.  One would think that our education system would be geared toward that top priority of life, and our children would leave school with a fundamental working knowledge of the role of money, finance, and economics in our free-market democratic republic.

But no.  Our state requires high school students to learn mathematics, language skills, social studies, science, health, art, world languages, and vocational/technical studies.  An extensive array of fine arts is recommended.  But my search of the Montana Office of Public Instruction website did not find the word “economics” mentioned EVEN ONCE.

The OPI website includes numerous articles trumpeting the importance of Indian studies, but none about how to make our Native American students financially successful and independent.

Can you name one human activity that does not involve money?

Can you guess how many high school athletes become professional athletes?  Basketball: .03% .   Football: .09%.   We know how much attention and money is paid to those pursuits.

But how many high school students will need to earn a paycheck or make a profit, file a tax return, handle financial transactions with confidence, understand how their government handles their money, buy insurance, manage a family budget, make intelligent borrowing, saving, and investing decisions?  100%.

(By the way, most professional athletes are bankrupt within a few years of the end of their playing careers, because they weren’t taught economics in school either.)

Some Montana schools offer consumer economics classes or a make a minimal attempt at teaching economics within other courses.  But I’ll bet the participation rate is miniscule where offered.

The biggest failure in our education system is the refusal to provide our children the financial literacy they need to thrive and survive.  As we continue to matriculate generation after generation of walking economic victims, our nation flounders in debt, our dependency on government explodes, and we elect whichever pandering politician promises to give us the most free “stuff”.

One can only conclude that Montana parents either haven’t seriously thought about the importance of economics, or they think their kids are destined to become professional athletes.  Either way, the kids are screwed.

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

We don’t need no education
We don’t need no thought control
No dark sarcasm in the classroom
Teachers leave those kids alone

Another Brick In the Wall – Pink Floyd

Old Bean Counters, Revolt!

I spent most of my career as a “Bean Counter” –  that’s what the other managers of a company call their CFO or controller.   We Bean Counters take a lot of ribbing about how dull our lives must be, buried in numbers and surrounded by computers.  But successful managers know that good businesses are run by the numbers, and with careful planning, analysis, and execution, the company will create consistent and predictable profit for owners or stockholders, rewarding jobs for employees, and many benefits for the community at large.

These days we Old Bean Counters are frustrated.  We believe success in a free market democracy should be a slam dunk –  predictable, manageable, with steady growth and improvement in the standard of living for everyone.

In our “Adam Smith” world, the free market economic formula works flawlessly.  Businesses prove it every day, and our nation became the envy of the free world relying on the economic principles of supply and demand, lowest cost production, improved technology and efficiency, personal responsibility, and charity of free will.

So what happened?  Our predictable, successful “controller’s” world has been turned upside down.  We are buried in debt, jobs are scarce, and the only solution offered is more taxation and government spending..

The free market is no longer free, as our government at every level tears away layers of personal freedoms, and chokes businesses with red tape and unnecessary costs at every turn.  Personal responsibility has become “old school”, as our government rewards bad behavior and punishes good behavior in every conceivable way.   And charity, once a rewarding personal choice, has become a grating mandatory redistribution of wealth.

Even some of the young Bean Counters have gone astray, having sold their ethics on Wall Street along with some bundled mortgages.

I am convinced that if all the Old Bean Counters from across the nation stormed the city, state, and federal government offices and took over, we could straighten out our country’s financial mess in no time.  We would run the government like a business!  Government employees, you will work a full 8-hour day, 50 weeks a year.   We will find every asset owned by the government and sell the ones we don’t need or use.  Every agency will justify its budget every year.  Disability is only for the disabled.   College is for serious students.   Corruption will be punished.   No more grants!  No more watching porn on government computers every day!  No more six-figure guaranteed pensions at age 50!  No more $800 hammers!

And most importantly, we would convince Americans once again that it is in their best interest to be a part of the production and success, rather than throwing rocks at those who are pulling the wagons.

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

You say you got a real solution
Well, you know,
We’d all love to see the plan!

Revolution – the Beatles