Why is it that our elected – coff – representatives think they can legislate paradise?
Yesterday we got a brochure from Colorado House Representative Pete Lee. Last time he was campaigning he came by here and did his best to convince us that he adored Heinlein. If he did, he must have read the braile print with his nose, or something, because clearly he’s missing something to an understanding of how societies and economies work – and understanding Heinlein had.
Or perhaps he read only early Heinlein, back when the man was young and a Shavian socialist. Perhaps he thinks all goodness flows from government and that government must take action to do things or we’ll all starve in the dark.
But even that makes absolutely no sense with the accomplishments he’s bragging of: the signal ones being that he voted more money for schools and that he has helped create legislation that ensures jobs won’t leave Colorado.
We’ll leave the first one alone, for now. What kind of an idiot allows him or herself to be bribed with his or her own money? No, seriously. So, we pay property taxes for the schools, and he gave more of our money to the schools. Yay?
Seriously. This country already spends more on education than any other land at any other time. He goes on to bleat about teacher to student ratio and blah blah blah.
There’s another ratio he should have looked into. Administrator to teacher. The more money you give to schools the more they grow administrators, like poisonous mushrooms after a rain. And administrators are sort of like politicians. The more you have, the more trouble they create.
But beyond that, look guys, I had great teacher to student ratio, relatively, through elementary, because my class was only 12. Unfortunately, since that was considered a ridiculously small work load for a teacher, they brought another class in for the teacher to teach. When I was in first grade, I shared a classroom with the fourth graders, then next year, after they graduated (school only went to fourth grade) I shared one with first graders, and so on. The class after us got first graders brought in when we were fourth graders.
So in the same classroom, we had a teacher teaching two completely different classes.
Also we only went to school in the morning or the afternoon (in my case, usually morning) and the classes repeated in the afternoon. Four hours, overloaded classroom.
Everyone learned to read and their multiplication tables. Even the kid who was educable mentally retarded.
Later on, when I went to middle and highschool, I THINK the smallest form (you were put in a form and had all your classes with them) we had was 42. We had classes in the attic amid broken furniture; in the cafeteria as they were setting up for lunch, and on one signal occasion the art room (for a whole year. Even though we didn’t have an art class. Central planning, eh?)
All of us learned, despite the awful teacher to student ratio and the whimsical accommodations. In a time when properties are losing their value, is it really the best idea in the world to increase property taxes in order to give more money to schools, so they can have two fewer students per class or whatever?
But this is actually the minor folly. The major folly – and the thing he is most especially proud of – is that he passed an anti-outsourcing law. Colorado firms won’t be sending jobs to India or China, why no sireeh Bob.
That sound you hear is my head hitting the desk. It’s a pity because I liked the desk. You’ll know when I go on a rampage because you’ll hear news of a woman with a branding iron marking all politicians on the forehead. It will say “You can’t legislate the economy. You can only deform it.” It will be written backwards so they can read it in the mirror.
You’d think it was obvious, right?
Younger son came downstairs while I was reading this bucket of fail and I told him, “Rejoice, oh, son, Pete Lee has made sure that no jobs will get outsourced from Colorado to India.”
He said “you’re joking, right?” And I showed him the dread paper.
He snorted. “Yeah, because it’s so hard to have a sub-corporation set up somewhere else, and have the outsourcing take place there. Or if that’s too much trouble, and it’s a family corp, to just relocate to another state – which will then get the supervisory jobs, too. Well done, there, you representative.”
I won’t say “from out the mouth of babes” because son is obviously a dude, but you get what I mean. If even number two son who understands machines better than people gets it, why can’t politicians?
Of course, if it were just my district representative in CO I wouldn’t be half as exercised. But we also have a president who has mandated punitive taxes for companies based in the states and doing business abroad or even foreign companies that do any business with the US and who has tried his best to curtail outsourcing. And we won’t get into the funnies that the congresscritters get up to.
Again, you can’t legislate the economy, you can only deform it. If something is occurring because of a strong economic (or other) pressure, it will continue occurring after you make it illegal. It will just occur… illegally.
Take hiring of illegals. It occurs because mandated minimum wage is too high (yes, of course they want to raise it. They think they can legislate economic facts.) “Define too high” you say, since other countries have a much higher minimum wage.
Simply put, minimum wage is “all the traffic can bear.” While it is possible for countries that don’t have a huge open border to a poorer country, and which have a less complex tax structure, and more generous welfare benefits to mandate a higher minimum wage and get it obeyed without massive non-compliance issues, they are still paying for it. Money is going to pay too much for work that isn’t worth that much, and therefore shorting companies of R & D money or innovation money. Which means their standard of life will not be what it could be. But that’s the problem of the squid farms on Mars. You know, we spent money on welfare, so we missed out on squid farms on Mars. It seems not to exist, because you can’t prove the wonders of squid farms. The normal person never knows what they missed. And yet, the cost is still there because, duh, you can’t legislate the economy.
But when you are a country like we are, with a massive open border and a very poor/unstable country next door, oh, yeah, and punitive taxes and regulations that make the margin companies operate from tiny, what you get is illegal workers working for far less than the minimum wage. And it’s no use at all punishing the business owners. Most of them aren’t greedy monopoly figures in top hats. They’re farmers, restaurant owners, small manufactory owners, whose choice is something like “hire illegals or go under.”
Of course before going under they’re going to hire illegals, particularly since – because the problem is everywhere – there are so many of them that even with the best possible enforcement it’s not going to be very good.
(OF course, the politicians solution for this is to legalize the illegals, which… makes no sense, since then they’d have to get minimum wage. Never mind.)
It’s the same thing with outsourcing. A lot of the companies that outsourced tech support to India and China and heaven knows where, are bringing it back to the states. Why? Well, it turns out other cultures don’t have the same rules, or the same performance standards. So the higher salaries of American workers are worth it.
BUT some companies still outsource. Why? Because they’re just starting out, or they’re in trouble, and all they can afford is foreign labor.
Legislate against that? Well, they’ll either hire a company in another state, which in turn hires abroad, or come up with some other dodge. Because people don’t let their businesses die because the law tells them to. Instead they get creative. Most of that creativity makes things harder to deal with and fix, but it’s what happens.
Sometimes I wonder why politicians don’t, instead, spend time legislating the weather. It would have just as much effect, but fewer drawbacks.
Instead they legislate the economy… and we all pay for their illusions.