The problem with the struggles of our day: minimum wage; universal health; the perfect family; the perfect marriage; the perfect career is that people have forgotten that nothing is always an option.

No, seriously. Let’s take minimum wage for a spin on this.

People keep gabbing on about the “minimum wage” and “a living wage” as if the only reason people aren’t paid whatever it is they hanker for is the infinite greed of infinitely evil “capitalists.” I mean, I’ve seen them rage on line about how “capitalism” is the worst possible system. Because so much greed and materialism and no one is giving them i-phones for free. Or something.

BUT here’s the thing: I actually have run a business for well nigh on thirty years. And I have friends who are business owners and business managers.

I think I’m not paying enough to my assistant, my copyeditor, and I d*mn well know I’m not paying enough to my editor.

Is it my evil capitalist greed? Put a sock in it. Until I did the blog fundraiser (still figuring out delivery of rewards, and if I can’t I’ll put them out in public which defeats the principle, yes, but also makes sure they are DELIVERED. Except for mentoring and tuckerizing, because there are few of those, and they’re personal. I don’t like owing and not delivering. For next time I have…. ideas. Since I can’t use Paypal, anyway.) I couldn’t afford to pay them, at all. Every time I paid, it was money taken from the ability to pay for something else that I sorely needed. That was, if you remember, the whole reason of the fundraiser. And now I’m using that money (and will use this year’s however much it turns out to be) to push the fiction writing to earning its living. So I can pay my people “a living wage.”

TL/DR most business owners are very conscious of the debt they owe their people, up to and including having tabs in their back brain for “must give x a bonus when I’m making y level”. We know that our people, if they’re worth spit (and small businesses are very careful to only RETAIN the ones who are) are worth whatever we can pay them. And we’re competing with everyone else out there, including bigger and badder people who can take our people and pay them more. There are bonds of loyalty both ways that help, but I don’t expect them to hurt themselves for my sake. I really don’t.

We pay what we pay because it’s what we can pay.

For the longest time, I told people “Yes, I’d love to have an assistant. I need one. I just can’t AFFORD one.” Same for cleaning lady, whatever.

I still can’t afford a cleaner. What I can pay isn’t enough. So I don’t pay.

I’d have been willing, back in the day, to hire someone with a kid. They could bring the kid. They could help. They could get food or instruction in writing, or whatever alongside pay.

My mom always had a young woman who came and did dishes, in exchange for mom making them clothes. Not the same young woman. they tended to get married.

If mom had had to pay minimum wage, we’d have had unwashed dishes pile up. And the girl would have had fewer clothes of less quality and never have attracted eye of future husband, maybe.

So, you know, the person I maybe could have hired and contributed a bit towards that person’s family budget and a lot for his/her learning to write or whatever, in exchange for her/him coming over and dusting, vacuuming, doing the cat boxes, making sure bathrooms were less than gross, maybe starting dinner (though unlikely, as I usually do that early morning) never got that money/help. And I never got help and produced less. And got sick when I tried to shoulder house and writing and everything, because there are limits to the flesh.

But I couldn’t afford minimum wage, or contributions to social security. So we got nothing. Nothing is always an option.

In the same way, if your jobs at McDonald’s are mandated to pay $20 an hour? Mickey D’s will automate. And the would be cashiers will be unemployed. They get nothing.

I know that some special kind of idiot is out there rubbing his hands and saying “Good. Minimum wage stops exploitation. These people are better off on welfare. At least they have their dignity.”

Uh, do they? They also have no resume, no way to prove they’re worthy/able to hold a job. Which means it’s not just this first, low paying job they can’t get. It means when a bigger job comes along they also can’t get that, because they never learned.

But let’s game it beyond the individual: Minimum wage is decreed at whatever you need not to starve in NYC or LA. Let’s say $20. There, you showed those evil capitalist pigs.

This doesn’t mean that everyone who is working at the entry level now gets $20. It means half of them get laid off and get nothing.

No, not because of greed. Because the alternative is the business closes.

But even with laying off half, most businesses do need the work force. I think half the restaurants are using “labor shortage” as an excuse. They just can’t afford to pay for what they need. And as we’re seeing… well, it’s a spiral. fewer workers, longer waits less “fun” experience for clients, who start eating out less, because what’s the point, and then– It spirals.

So even with businesses doing what they can to stay in business, and a lot of people getting nothing, all commerce structures spiral down. Businesses close. Farms close. Restaurants close. A whole lot of people get nothing, and we all get less: Fewer options, less enjoyment, fewer opportunities, less wealth.

“Good,” says the twit. “Welfare will provide for all, and when everything crashes, we get socialism, and then it’s utopia.”

Uh uh. First, it is already socialism. The government is already controlling the means of production that are theoretically owned by someone else. The means of distribution too, though Marx never got it. And that’s not utopia. It’s what’s strangling everything and ensuring we get nothing. Second, at the end of this lies NOTHING. Welfare might give you a check for a hundred million Somollians. Where are you going to spend it? The stores are closed, the shelves are bare. The farms have killed the cattle and shut down because they can’t afford the electricity and water let alone labor.

What are you going to do? Try to convince people barely cultivating enough for subsistence to give you their stuff? You’re going to need tanks. How are you going to get there? There’s no gas stations open.

But Sarah, you say: We already have minimum wage, and things haven’t collapsed. Why not raise it.

Yeah, we have minimum wage. And an illegal workers problem, because people can’t pay it. Also a growing and increasingly less capable welfare class. And we’re sort of tottering along. And money is coming from somewhere.

Specifically money is coming from thin air, spun by the Federal government. Which sooner or later crashes. We’re being protected by being the World’s reserve currency. Or IOW we’re being protected from our own folly because others are worse. That can’t go on forever. And if I understand correctly, the whole world is tottering on the edge of the abyss.

But we are getting poorer. We’ve seen it these last two years with all sorts of benevolent mandates and hand outs. The wealth ultimately comes from all of us. We lose discretionary spending. We lose what we need to do more than subsist.

We’re already on the path to getting nothing.

But the idiot-ignorants keep pushing. “Free universal health care” they say. Only like food, or an apartment, that requires others’ labor.

Yes, our doctors are paid more than in Europe. That’s because their training is twice as long and twice as expensive. So they kind of need the money. They have enormous debt and are starting careers in their thirties. Tell them they have to work for “X” and they leave the profession in droves. They already have over Obamacare and its senseless mandates. More will if they can’t pay their debt anyway. Better work at something with less stress. And then we import…. well, seems to be mostly Chinese (but also a lot of third world) doctors, who aren’t trained the same. Yeah, they’ll work for less. But you know, then we get nothing. Because we don’t get the medicine we are used to/what’s needed to keep living/be well.

NOTHING is always an option.

Women holding out for the perfect career, whether or not the have the training because they’re women, hear them roar. (Oh, men too, but–) In the end what they get is nothing. Nothing is always an option. Because getting where you want to go requires a lot of compromise, of trades, and of clawing onward on bleeding fingernails.

You demand the thing you want? Well, the world has no reason to give it to you. And even if the government mandates you get it it’s likely to turn to dust and ashes, because you haven’t learned, fought and worked to be ready to do it. (Look at the Naval Observatory and the world’s most visible diversity hire.) In the end, you get nothing.

Same, btw, with holding out for the perfect marriage mate, which is germane to this because some clever fools are agitating for the government to arrange marriages. (That makes perfect sense, doesn’t it? Because there are things the bureaucrats haven’t f*cked up still.) So, you know, beauty and competence aren’t hoarded.

Now these people are mostly spitting in the wind, and trying to wishcast, but then — looks at last two years — are you saying these idiots won’t seize on it as a benevolent thing they can do?

It’s important to remember, when we agitate for mandates, or more likely the young and stupid do, that yeah, people might be getting a raw deal. But the alternative to raw deal isn’t perfection. The alternative to raw deal is often nothing.

Sure, sure, there are actual greedy businessmen. They don’t partake of the nature of angels. There are greedy everything.

But here’s the thing: Most people aren’t “greedy”. Sure they want more than they have, but they’re willing to work for it. (And if you think running a business isn’t work, you’ve never done it.) And they’re willing to pay others to work for them, because at some point all businesses hit grow-or-die.

You break that, you tell them “you must pay x now” and most businesses die.

And if there’s one thing we know is that “government” isn’t even competent to wipe its own arse. Its two core areas of competence seem to be taking people’s money and hurting people. (Yes, I know, it also has prescribed functions, and I have no problem with them under the Constitution. But that requires taking a lot less money and hurting a lot less people. And I’m not saying they’ll do those things WELL just that sometimes it’s better than doing nothing.) So, no, the government is not going to look after all you stray lambkins when you get nothing.


And nothing will break everything. Not just capitalism, but socialist dreams and civilization itself, eventually.

So tell all the idiots pushing for “living wage” and “free healthcare”: Nothing is always an option.

And in the end, you’re hastening the day of nothing.

That’s all. You get nothing.

170 thoughts on “You Get NOTHING

  1. Last time I checked, out of every hundred US workers, all but FOUR made more than Federal minimum wage. And THREE of those were teenagers getting a foot on the first rung of the lifelong work ladder. If the moronic alleged do-goooders raise the Federal minimum wage to $15, what happens? Three teenagers get fired along with one poor working adult who then goes on welfare. Stupid.

    1. The minimum wage is used as the baseline for most union contracts. The dems don’t give a toss about the workers at the minimum wage, but the interests of one of their largest sources of funding? That they care a lot about.

      1. Plus most of those union contracts have escalator clauses, so that when government mandated minimum wage goes up, so do those required in the union contract. In essence they get pay hikes without having to bargain for them by simply getting the politicians they are giving massive contributions to simply impose it for them.

        The fact that it puts more people out of jobs and on welfare elsewhere is simply an added feature for those who seek to turn the masses into serfs and the modern day equivalent of sharecroppers.

        1. Unions’ basic purpose is keeping workers down. By excluding workers from jobs, they artificially jack up the price of labor and charge more for their members.

            1. In some situations, unions are a force for good. As one example, the coal-mining “company towns” where horrid working and living conditions were brutally enforced needed to be broken, and if unionizing was the only way to get owners to listen, then so be it.

              But outside those specific situations, unions are as much a blight on business as greedy owners are.

              1. Unions Were a force for good. Once unions got into it for the money. Once union officers were no longer a part of the work force and only paid by the membership. Unions became evil.

                One of the reasons we used to distinguish between the union hubby (and I briefly) belonged to and other much larger ones. Company based (whether the individual same trade company based would have been better off combining? Wags hands.) Must work at the job for the one company (or be within the maintain seniority range while not working, be it lack of work or act of god layoff. Was one year, extended to two years about 30 years ago.) Officers voted in (okay standard). Officers NOT paid a salary by the union (not standard). Anyone, not just officers, taking union approved leave-without-pay for union business is compensated 10 hours, plus mileage, and expenses. Being small, and no financial incentives, there weren’t the political shenanigans occurring. Things changed a bit when the small union was forced into joining a larger union. The person who coordinated with the larger union became a union paid employee. Bit of a resentment then. Force because when the rules for a single employee pension plan changed. What once was a viable funded plan overnight became not funded (no company stock in plan involved. Not-for-Profit companies do not have stock.)

          1. …and the U.S. medical establishment is a sterling example. By arbitrarily restricting the number of doctors and nurses licensed, they can keep medical care limited, and expensive.

            Limiting the number and size of hospitals, and making the approval process long, tortuous, and expensive, also helps. Throw in two or three meddlesome bureaucrats for every doctor and nurse, give them the authority to dictate the doctors’ actions, make ambulance-chasing medical malpractice firms a multi-billion-dollar industry, and it’s a wonder we get any health care at all.

            The solution, obviously, is to turn our health care over to the same folks that run the DMV, the schools, and the prisons.
            A good Zombie Apocalypse novel is at least as believable as anything we’ve heard out of the ‘Publick Health Authoriteez’ over the last three years.

    2. Federal minimum wage? No one in California (legally) makes that since the state minimum wage is quite a bit higher. How are your numbers affected if you look at state minimums instead of federal?

  2. My dad always said—The bears get a little, the bulls get a little, and the pigs get nothing! And, the minimum wage is always $0.

    1. That’s the second thing I learned from my da who spent his life working on Wall Street. The first thing he told me is if you don’t know who the mark is, you’re the mark. Lot of people are going to find out they’re the mark I’m afraid.

      Off topic, I had written a couple of weeks ago about the revisions to the unemployment numbers. They came out today, even crazier than before, I surrender, it’s all corrupt. They’re just goal seeking for their masters like China.

      1. Exactly – if you can’t figure out who the mark is …
        What I predict will happen, if our so-called elite keep on screwing up things as badly as they do … is a thriving black market; not just unremarked cash exchanging hands for goods or services rendered, but outright barter, goods for goods and services for services.
        Yeah, the IRS is going to have a fine old time trying to pin down and regulate that, and as for getting their cut… good luck with that.

        1. Enough of the “elite” are quite aware of where this is heading. Why do you think they wanted an extra 87,000 IRS agents?

      2. I saw the headline, and the “glowing” reports about how wonderful the economy is under the current PotUS, and glanced out the window to see if pigs were migrating in formation. Because I’d wager on pigs flying under their own power before I trust numbers from this federal government.

      3. The one thing the GameStop fiasco taught us, is how badly the system is rigged.

        Most of the chairs have been removed, but the music is still playing, so most people haven’t noticed. Yet.

      4. > unemployment numbers

        Since they make the economic numbers out of thin air, I would have expected no less.

  3. At this point, I want something (job hunting isn’t fun, especially when combined with being a family caregiver), but I also recognize that if I want something, I need to work for it.

    I can understand the temptation. Especially among people that have never really understood what is needed to properly survive.

  4. The only thing worse than not getting paid what you are worth, is realizing that you are being paid what you are worth.

    A lot of minimum wage earners are going to find that out the hard way in the near future.

  5. My best friend was going to be a doctor forever. She loved being an ER doc. After a year of full PPE for 12 hour shifts, she quit. She retired. All that expertise and kindness and excellence, gone. Because the communists enjoyed tormenting us like kids pulling the wings off of flies. How many expert medical professionals have retired? Many, I think. And unless you have dementia, doctors just get better with age.

    Now we get nothing.

    1. I have a lot of friends who left. Everyone is looking for the door out of seeing patients. I’m part time and going lower on the hours. This is not what I signed up for.

    2. I have a lot of friends who left. Everyone is looking for the door out of seeing patients. I’m part time and going lower on the hours. This is not what I signed up for.

  6. A couple of comments.

    First, capitalism isn’t always the same thing as free market capitalism. An understandable example is Wal-Mart coming into a small town and driving all of the competition out while providing an inferior product (with lots of lipstick on that pig). Sure you could shop someplace else, but it’s a 50+ mile round trip.

    Second, when I was in college I knew a guy who put himself through college by working stocking shelves on weekends and over summers. Today on that kind of income you would be living in the bad part of town and eating a lot of ramen. Personally, I blame taxes. When I was young sales tax was 4%, now it’s 8.5%. When I bought my home 37 years ago property taxes were less than $1000/year, now they are over $8000/year and I’m only making about 30% more now than I was then. All in all, I’m paying over 50% of my income to taxes. Income tax, social security tax (15%), sales tax, gasoline tax, toll roads, etc. What people don’t seem to understand is the cumulative effect of taxes. Raise someone’s taxes by 5% and they can afford an extra 5%, so everything is good. Nope. Everything you buy is also going to go up. Everyone you buy from also has to pay more from their suppliers (material or labor), so their costs go up. And so on and so forth. Sure, you get government services, but the cost of those services goes up, requiring another tax increase, which leads to a spiral. Taxes are very difficult to lower, governments are set up to always spend every penny you give them and then ask for more.

      1. Illegal immigration drives wages down. So does a lot of legal immigration. I won’t go off on a rant about the corruption in the legal immigration system particularly involving one particular country. Also, illegal immigration drives taxes way up because those folks can’t be allowed to not survive and people are forced at gunpoint to pay for taking care of them. All of my grandparents were born in the late 1800s when no such entitlement programs existed, but there was a lot of actual charity.

        1. We may or may not have the same country in mind, but I work in IT, sooooo yeah, legal immigration (especially from one or two countries in particular) is a bit of a hot button for me, for a few various different reasons.

          1. Yup…

            Also an IT guy. At the last multi-national company I worked at, the IT Support Line for the US (I don’t know whether it also serviced English-speaking employees in other countries) had a woman’s voice start speaking when you picked up the line. And while she was speaking in English, her foreign accent (if you work in IT, you can guess the accent) was thick enough that if you hadn’t listened to the same recording over and over and over again (like me…), you might have trouble understanding some of the options that she was listing.

            And this was a pre-recorded voice on the company’s IT Support Line! They couldn’t have gotten a native speaker instead just for clarity!?

            1. Do not get me started on understanding accents, and I was dealing with clients. I slowly moved them (mostly) to email. Then, naturally, I’d get sent an email, but get a phone call “did you get my email?” The fun ones were when I got back from vacation. My auto response emails had “I’m on vacation, mm/dd – mm/dd/yyyy, which was plus one day from when I actually got back. Won’t do any good to call and ask other programmers to call. I do not have cell coverage.” You all should have heard the howls when the auto response email became “Effective mm/dd/yyyy, I am retired. Emails being routed to A.” More than a few clients got a heads up. Some didn’t.

              1. Back in the 80’s I worked with people from several different Asian countries. Most of them said they hated talking to people from Asian countries other than their own because they didn’t speak the same native language and their weird accents in English were all but impossible to understand. More than once, I saw two Asians, speaking English (or Engrish :-D) to each other, with help from a non-Asian.

                1. For a brief time during my sojourn on Kwajalein, I acted as a dispatcher on the graveyard shift in the tower on the airfield. A goodly portion of my duties entailed Flight Following for many of the international flights to/from Asia. Yes, English is the international Aviation language,but some of those accents . . .

                2. I used to work at a place that had several guys from Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos. They spoke to each other in French.

                  Three years of high school French let me get an idea of what they were talking about. (Generally the same thing as the conversations in English)

              2. In this particular instance, it wasn’t just the accent. It was fact that it was a pre-recorded message. There’s no rational reason why they couldn’t have gotten someone who spoke English as a first language. And yet, instead they went with someone who probably learned it while living on the sub-continent and who as a result was difficult to understand.

                1. Used to be quite a few call centers run out of, Kenya, I think? Strong British accents, anyway. 😛

                  I remember somebody’s impression of an early computer speech program — “It sounded like a Swedish immigrant who’d learned English in Brooklyn.”

                  1. “The drunken Swede!” A lot of the text-to-speech voders for blind people used that, back in the 1980s.

    1. Capitalism is the only economic system which doesn’t rely on coercion.

      Unfortunately, business concerns above a certain size seem to actively prefer a system based in patronage. And it generally works out pretty well for them.

      1. Crony capitalism isn’t capitalism, it just pretends to be. Genuine capitalism necessitates free markets, not sacred territories that exist due to government “friends of the program”.

    2. Apparently some genius in DC is talking about a 23% VAT (national sales tax) and ending all other federal taxes. I’ve seen Europe. They have a VAT, and income taxes, and property taxes, and media taxes, and . . .

      1. You’d have to have a very, VERY clearly-written Constitutional amendment specifying that all other Federal taxes were to be ended and no new ones could be added in order to even think about a VAT. Otherwise, as you said, it will just go on top of everything we have now. And then they will add new ones. And honestly, even with the amendment, seeing how Washington can’t seem to interpret the Second correctly, it might not work. “Shall not be infringed” seems pretty damned clear to me, but not to them.

        1. They might get rid of all of the various other taxes. But I can guarantee you that we’ll suddenly have a lot of new fees.

          The Income Fee, for instance…

          1. Oh. You mean Oregon. That doesn’t have a sales tax. But gee, hm, if they call it a “luxury fee”, a percentage of a new vehicle cost, it isn’t a sales tax. Right? …. Nope. Sales Tax. Plus they’ve implemented registration that is either mileage or higher licensing fee to make up for the loss of road tax because the vehicle uses less fuel (any vehicle rated 40 MPG or more, or pure electric, whether one actually gets that or not); it is a sliding scale.

            1. Mississippi does (did?) the same thing. Their bite came out significantly larger than surrounding states. Everything had at least one fee, and they weren’t small.

      2. More failure theater from the GOP. They’ll pass to fight the reform, but won’t be able to get the dissolution of the income tax ratified.
        So sad.
        Pay up, plebs.

      3. That is the so-called Fair Tax, strongly promoted by Neal Boortz back in the day. It is not a VAT (aka the full accountant employment act tax) but a genuine federal end-consumer level sales tax that was supposed to fully replace all other federal taxes. It has pluses and minuses if implemented as planned, which explicitly included repealing the 16th Amendment. Maybe even if implemented at a lower level as an addendum to reduced income tax.

        A real fair tax might be a surcharge tax on all employers for the cost of federal benefits paid to their employees, but again, what Sarah said.

        1. The problem with the tax reform ideas is that nothing will change until and unless the federal government is downsized back to its constitutional role and limits. Without that, they will spend massive amounts of money and grab large amounts of cash from the citizenry, regardless of what Orwellian names they give the taxes. Of course no matter how much they grab, it will still be far less than they spend.

          1. Federal budget for 2022: 6.5 trillion (with a revenue shortfall of 3.1 trillion) [budget at]

            Population of the USA: 335 million []

            Your fair share for 2022: $19,400.

            It turns out most people don’t want things that fair.

  7. “Same, btw, with holding out for the perfect marriage mate, which is germane to this because some clever fools are agitating for the government to arrange marriages. (That makes perfect sense, doesn’t it? Because there are things the bureaucrats haven’t f*cked up still.) So, you know, beauty and competence aren’t hoarded.”

    I think I will just stay single, thank you. Lots of folks like me, not just men, would, if that were the thing they were trying to force on us next.

    And it would be. Force, I mean. Government is force. All rules, laws, and regs are ultimately enforced by men with guns, tear gas, tanks, and more, ultimately.

    I’ve worked minimum wage jobs. Argued against the minimum wage being raised then, too. It raises the cost of everything. Because when the cost of employing your workforce goes up, you don’t just say “oh well, that’s one less superyacht per regional manager” or something. Nope. That cost is passed on to the ultimate customer, some of whom may be the employees, as well. Because that’s what companies do.

    Reduce ridiculous tax burdens. Reduce the power of the government (burdensome regulation, cost of federal employees, fees, and compliance, all those costs suddenly plummet). Suddenly the economy starts going like its got a rocket attached to its butt.

    It’s not rocket surgery. Stop spending so damn much. Reduce tax/regulatory burden. Enforce contract law equally (no favoritism). The whole economy grows.

    Of course that scenario is HIGHLY UNLIKELY. But I’d sure like to see it tried.

    1. These days, government mandated marriage would have to be completely equitable. No preferences. Two people joined at random, be they cis males, trans mens, cis male and preop trans woman, etc.

      So, yeah f’ed up.

      1. Well, the government already limits who can get married (consanguinity laws), issues the contracts, and completely owns the divorce process already…

  8. Anyone with the most basic understanding of economics (which, alas, excludes most “important” economists) knows, and has known, that the minimum wage causes unemployment, for a century or more. I think Henry Hazlitt demonstrated it in Economics In One Lesson in the late 1940s (it’s been a while since I read it), and I strongly suspect that that book’s antecedent, Frederic Bastiat’s What Is Seen, And What Is Not Seen, while not explicitly using the example, makes it impossible for anyone to read it and come out believing that mandating a minimum wage is good for anyone except those who don’t get fired when it’s imposed. Interfering with free exchange of goods and services must always distort the market, and punish some members of the public who have done nothing to deserve it.

  9. O-many-OH, ‘Nothing’ is supremely versatile.

    Bored? Do nothing. Hungry? Eat nothing. Naked? Wear nothing. Poor? Spend nothing to buy nothing. Leftist? Think nothing. Crisis of faith? Believe nothing.

    (I was sure there was a list of these online, but, whaddaya know – I looked, and found nothing.)

  10. Minimum wage,making money out of air; I still remember working for the minimum wage back when it was a dollar an hour. I also remember paying eleven cents a gallon for gasoline and ten cents for a White Castle burger.

    Creeping inflation lets the government get away with increasing minimum wage (I really should put minimum wage in quotes as the real minimum is, of course zero.) while the value of any savings we the people put aside drops.

    Oh well, I’m not working for money any more so I guess I’m yammering from the sidelines, but I still like the idea that the marketplace, not the government, decides worth, be it goods, services or wages.

  11. One of the most famous quote from Adam Smith’s On the Wealth and Poverty of Nations is about “greed.”

    “It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own self-interest. We address ourselves not to their humanity but to their self-love, and never talk to them of our own necessities, but of their advantages.” Book I Chapter 2, p. 26-27.

    1. And it works – people make the stuff we want and need, we pay them for their labor, and everyone gets more, possibly with enough left over to help those in need of a temporary hand up.

    2. E.E Smith used it in, “Subspace Explorers,” as, the Principle of Enlightened Self-interest, translated by him as, “You make more if you let the other guy make something too.”

  12. The minimum wage is less than zero; it seems to be turning into darkwork.

    I.e. work the customer has to do themselves, even though they’re pretty terrible at it and generally do much more a hash of it than even a barely training 16 year old.

    And it seems to be one of the contributors to the productivity drop, because people who should be doing things they are actually good at are figuring out how this fast food joint’s coffee machine works instead.

    1. There have been reports of some companies farming out their software projects piecemeal by architecting them into small, highly-modular components, then presenting them to job applicants as “test projects” who wind up unwittingly working for free. They might even get a couple of weeks to show their chops. Then the brush-off.

      1. My what a glorious new form of the classic “How would you solve this?” interview question.

        One of my grandfathers did consulting work. It got to the point his default answer was “Well, I’d hire me.”

        I do get a certain aspect of my sense of humor from that side of the family…

  13. “Minimum wage is decreed at whatever you need not to starve in NYC or LA. Let’s say $20.”

    Currently $15 an hour here in California (note that various counties might be slightly higher). However, if the Dems have their way, in a couple of years it will be $22/hr… but ONLY for fast food employees. And they’ll have mandated raises of at least 3.5% every year.

    But as for people like your Tier 1 IT Support guy who’s actually expected to know a thing or two (but usually not much more than that) before he (it’s usually a “he”) starts working for you… Well, it sucks to be him. He should have gone into fast food instead, apparently.

    I’m currently looking for work in the IT field, and what I’m seeing of wage offerings is interesting. I do see plenty of jobs that offer a solid amount of money that I’d be happy to get. But I also see (a few) job offerings for Tier 2 support jobs with compensation that’s barely above minimum wage. Those are the guys that have some experience, and are expected to know how to fix a computer even before they get hired. And a company wants to bring them on for just a touch more than what they’d make to start flipping burgers (actually less in some places; I hear In’N’Out and others pays more than minimum to start). Will those spots get filled? I don’t know, and I don’t have any way of knowing.

    But I kind of hope not. It’s kind of disturbing that they even exist.

    Oh, and since someone will make a comment about robots replacing the $22/hour fast food guys, I fully expect Sacramento to push something through to try and restrict that before long. I’m not saying that such a bill would be a good idea. But I also don’t think that mandating that fast food workers get $22/hour to start is a good idea, either. And yet, here we are.

    1. Worse. Your IT guy is likely salary, exempt. Often expected to be on call 24/7. Where as the burger flipper is 100% hourly, and if worked over 40 hours, get overtime. Granted they will be lucky to get the 30 hours required for benefits, but …

      1. No, the tier 1 and 2 support jobs are all hourly wage slaves, all contracted out through placement companies (which on paper are the employer instead of the company the work is actually being done for), and almost always prohibit overtime. Salaried is for the more specialized (and better paying) IT jobs.

        1. I left the hardware/OS type IT work behind when the division for big corporate got sold and corporate left the area (as in the PNW). Not that it was a huge part of the job (I can do IT, just don’t like it). In fact when I started my next job when IT told me on the first day that “Hardware is here, we just have to unpackage and install everything …”. My first thought was “I can do that.” My second was “I don’t have to do that, anymore, professionally!” (Still had/have to deal with our stuff at home.) My response was “Okay.”

          I have a lot of respect for IT. I do get a kick out of the fact that I won’t don’t like dealing with IT (except at home), and a lot of the IT people don’t like writing software, beyond short scripts to deal with IT stuff.

          I never went through the temp hire agencies. Tried to in the mid-80s. They gave me a typing/keyboarding speed/accuracy test. Which I *failed miserably. Either they had no idea what programmers do (I had the 2 year programming degree, on top of the 4 year forestry degree, by then), or they didn’t take me seriously. Probably “and”.

          (*) Still would fail. My speed has improved greatly since then. But “accuracy”? Route typing of handwritten work I do for mom. I tend to restructure what I’m typing whatever, as I’m reading it, plus I self correct mistakes as I type. Which slows down speed and kills “accuracy”.

          1. Temp agencies – at least locally – are pretty much the only way to get a Tier 1 or 2 job in IT these days. There are a large number of firms that specialize in IT support, and everyone hires through them. If you were to apply directly to a company, they’d ignore your application because it didn’t come through the contracting agency. The reason for using them is a combination of hiring laws (using agencies provides loopholes for at least some of those laws), and because the IT group is generally such a small part of the number of employees on-site. An enterprise site might have one thousand employees at a location… and five IT guys on-site Monday through Friday. And those are the big companies. So a company will designate a contracting agency or two and use them to find employees when needed. That will allow the site to hopefully get some decent tech support without having to vet backgrounds and qualifications that no one on-site is really familiar with anyway.

            Not everyone is like that. But the vast majority of companies are.

            You’ve also got small companies that need an IT guy, but can’t justify the expense of having him available forty hours a week. So they’ll contract with an agency to have someone on-site one or two days a week. That employee will then work at other similar locations on other weekdays. And if something serious goes wrong when the support guy isn’t on-site that day, there’s a hotline to call for emergency support. I’ve never worked those kinds of jobs myself, but have heard from people who do.

            1. Makes me glad I am out and retired now. My son has had to go through temp agencies for the Chemistry lab companies (before the companies were bought out for their patents and shutdown before he graduated), and his two jobs in the cabinet building industry. Temp to hire, 6 months (or less if the company decides really don’t want to loose prospect).

              Lot of software headhunters the last few years I worked, and the few I see coming through now, seem to be working that way too. Not that I’ve investigated. Just fired back “No Thank you.” Now “No. Thank you. Retired. Get me off the list, please.”

            2. Internal IT. Never enough people. Near as I could tell they were always swamped. That was government, mostly county IT. Worse were the “small” county (lots square miles, very few people) that had to rely on external IT. External IT that given the location, served multiple counties. When IT wouldn’t give either the client or us the ability to install updates (which was frequent), it was a PIA. Company finally started a pay for option where our IT did the updates and annual year-end setup (year-end technically was not part of upgrade, but since had access …). That make a huge difference. Unfortunately not everyone signed up. Some our worse-to-deal with IT departments were not the ones to allow (noticeably these were not the counties who had external IT). Reduced but did not eliminate the calls of “It still isn’t fixed!”. Us typing because the system marked when updates were installed “Not installed yet. Your IT”, also marked, “has been informed. Oh, by the way, for $X/year we can just do it for you …” (Not that their IT was going to allow that … but, point made.)

              Also aware of what happens at companies where IT is not onsite. In ’99 the company I worked at was acquired by a firm with offices across town. Our IT (all 2 of them) were let go quickly. Just before they were done, the “new” IT instituted a lock down not allowing any EXE or DLL files on any computers (to be fair, shipping had managed to get a virus that spread to other office computers, except R&D engineering). Guess what it locked R&D engineering out of? Sure we could code all day. Compile? Not so much. Most of us complied more than once a day. In fact, me, doing software, pretty much every 10 minutes (add a piece, compile make sure didn’t add compiler catching bugs, repeat) … It took less than a day to modify their encompassing policy. We already had the format down.

              Our IT had tried this a couple of years prior (for same reason). Difference was instead of a few minutes for them to get back to the office, it was 1/2 hour for the other IT to get back to theirs. No sooner than 1/2 way back to their office, then one of us would call in that we needed to compile, again. Note, when the new IT did this, the old IT warned them this would happen, but they were on the way out. For that matter, we warned them what would happen. The new IT would not listen.

            3. A dystopic background in severa of Greg Bear’s novels has almost all labor contracted via temp agencies. There are owners, some senior management, and everyone else is a temp. If someone can’t get on with an agency, they’re unemployable.

              My wife’s former employer was moving along that route. They hadn’t hired anyone new since the 1990s; when she retired in 2010 the majority of non-management people were temps.

    2. As I think I said elsewhere, CA is already looking at a “robot tax” basically to make automation uncompetitive.

    1. I once wrote a song called “Free Luna”, based on Robert Heinlein’s sci-fi novel, “The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress”. Here’s one of the verses:

      “TANSTAAFL is Luna’s motto/TANSTAAFL was our battle cry/No free lunch was our policy/Whenever we had to die/Free Luna? Yes! And we paid the price!/In full and I’m advance!/For Liberty/We paid Ferryman’s Fee/On a fifty-fifty chance!

      And he’s the Chorus:

      Oh, Freedom’s yours if you want it/Freedom’s yours — if you’ll pay the price!/Don’t you see that Freedom isn’t free?/And the Ferry won’t carry you twice?

      1. How many live in estates and properties that are owned by a family corporation or trust, or are part of an estate package that doesn’t belong to the individual? I recall reading about the noble families of Central and Eastern Europe, and how when someone died, the rest of the patriarchs in the lineage gathered to decide who needed the property more, and to find a residence for the widow and any surviving minor/unmarried children, if needed. I suspect if you poke, you find something similar in several instances (the US Kennedy Family trust comes to mind).

        1. I have two sisters, had an aunt and uncle. None are in the Kennedy Trust stratosphere. Sisters aren’t in the aunt and uncle’s stratosphere. All 3 have (for aunt/uncle had), US based living trusts for any homes, vehicles, and non-IRA/Roth accounts.

          (*) Now administered by oldest child to distribute funds on a predetermined schedule to self, siblings and grandchildren. Given the “children”, if not the grandchildren, are now 60+, a scheduled distribution of not taxable (taxable to the estate, on survivors death, but not the recipients) to them? Um. Okay.

          I know each of my sister’s have specific distribution of trust funds requirements, but only until each “child” turns 30. Right now that just applies to each of their youngest. Grandchildren shares having distribution age requirement, but administered by grandchildren parents.

          We have little outside or IRA/Roth accounts (house and 2 vehicles) that paying for a trust makes no sense. Besides the one kid gets it all anyway. Only reason we need a will is to ease the kid through filing. Between us, everything (outside Roth/IRA) is survivor.

  14. In the middle of getting nothing and learning not to be the Kulak the commissariat wants to make an example of, I was wondering what types of ideas folks have for getting Middle School and High School kids off of electronic devices for an hour here or there.

    As I was doing all that in the 1970s, I assume ” the times they are a changin’ ” and I want to help the youth pastor turn those poor young zombies into humans who can interact off screen.

    Mind you, I was affected by an older tale than even Starship Troopers:

    Click to access Machine_stops.pdf

    1. Mandate that Youth Group is tech free, and have them put the phones in a basket or table cages. They can see them, so those who get separation anxiety won’t have as much stress, but they can’t touch them during Youth Group. First one to grab for the phone (if it’s not a parent calling) has to help with clean up for the next two weeks, or something similar. That worked for several Youth Groups that I know of.

      1. Or. Just have group activities where there is no cell service or power. Often environment killed electronics, permanently. (Camping in tents in the rain does that. Worse, the cold, and not being in tower range, kills batteries.) Really enforced the whole “don’t bring your phones”.

        Leaders had phones (kept in vehicles and off, or battery drained) for calling parents who were late coming to pickup after activity end (same place left from and always scheduled for same pickup time). Emergencies too, even if someone had to drive to get coverage.

    2. Is your church the sort to be worried that Dungeons and Dragons is Satanic? Because if not, that might be a way to encourage interaction, though it can involve electronic devices. A lot of the game is imagination and theater of the mind, and I think the ‘mask’ of a character could be helpful in learning to interact with other people.

      Not to mention, it’s really fun.

      1. Shutting off WiFi doesn’t stop cell phones. Everything else, yes. Although if the kids are like me, I just need the initial download (books) and shutting off WiFi doesn’t affect me.

        1. And lots of phones can be turned into Wi-Fi hotspots. So all it will take is one or two kids with cell phones and everyone will be back online.

          1. lots of phones can be turned into Wi-Fi hotspots

            IF one’s plan allows for it. If not, it can get expensive.

  15. It’s a bit off-topic, but it does tie back to people pushing for socialism in any form it can take. When you say, “The government is already controlling the means of production that are theoretically owned by someone else. “, that pretty much defines fascism. Modern socialists will never admit it, but that doesn’t change the facts. And that form of socialism leads to the same failure that full-bore socialism leads to, so we can’t point to it and say that things will be better doing it this way rather than full-on socialism. It still ends up in nothing.

  16. The average commies, finding it a challenge to link actions with consequences, will follow the so-called leaders who tell them which “hoarders and wreckers” are to blame for the awful string of “bad luck”.

  17. “In the same way, if your jobs at McDonald’s are mandated to pay $20 an hour? Mickey D’s will automate. ”

    Sarah, there are already proposals for a “robot tax” in CA (where else) to levy a tax on businesses that automate just so they can pay welfare benefits.

    1. Given that a dishwasher or microwave can easily be defined as automating a job, that could get very interesting

        1. Or calculate bulk items that have to be rung up one at a time, except the cashiers (at least at Freds) do have a way to enter, “# x single item scanned”, if going through standard (not self) check. How do I know this? I go through not self check when getting my Sparkling Ice fuzzy water. $1/each, but I buy 3 x 12 per cases. I regularly have to tell cashier “36”.

  18. “But the idiot-ignorants keep pushing. “Free universal health care” they say.”

    Canada has “free” “universal” “healthcare” right now.

    I put all those things in scare quotes because A) it isn’t free, you’re just not seeing the bill, B) some animals are more equal than others and don’t you forget it and C) MAIDS is now being promoted as a “care” option in Canada.

    MAIDS, for those who live in a sane country, is “Medical Assistance in Dying,” otherwise known as Kevorkian Therapy. Basically, they kill you. Which is of course the diametric opposite of caring for one’s health.

    This is “compassion” we hear about from Leftists so much. Your life is hard? Got some pain? Can’t shake the depression? You’re just plain poor and finally figured out you’ll never get ahead? They’ve got a pill for that. A black one.

    Aka “you get nothing.”

    Similarly, Larry Correia’s gun rights book has stirred up the “idiot-ignorants” (that’s a great phrase, I’m stealing it) and we hear all kinds of “compassion” on the subject of whether members of certain groups are allowed to even fight back if attacked by members of other, more Virtuous (TM) groups. Racism, you know. Or sexism, they’re not too particular. It’s definitely an ‘ism of some sort. Probably.

    My personal favorite is the ones arguing that human beings do not have a natural right to defend themselves. This one is the best in my opinion, because EVERYTHING ELSE in the animal kingdom from apes to single-celled organisms defends itself when attacked. Antibiotics are yeasts defending themselves from bacteria, right? Birds do it, bees do it, even the noble and majestic Paramecium does it. But not humans. Uh uh. Double-plus-ungood.

    Instead we see this sort of thing:

    TL/DR: Women should let themselves be robbed/beaten/murdered in the street because fighting back gives Republicans a win. Take one for the team, girls.

    Otherwise know as “YOU GET NOTHING, *****ES! Shut up and die like you’re supposed to.”

    1. On the good news front. We have found a handgun I can actually use. Which means my tendentious doesn’t flair, not waving it around while trying to fire (can hit the target), and can actually rack the slide to start firing or clear jam. All of which have happened at the firing range when going through options (other than the tendentious the range safety people said they see my problem a lot, including their wives). Now to find one and get through the 40+ day background check backlog before 114 injunction gets tossed by the 9th circuit (then will have to wait for SCOTUS to quash 114). Also going for our CHL. I don’t have to worry about the 114 magazine limit. The handgun looking at I can’t get my hand around the double stack magazine size (I have small hands). So only looking at the legal size option. Then oops boat accident, again.

      1. So many tragic boating accidents… ~:D

        In Canada the rivers and lakes are half-full of overturned canoes and their precious cargoes these days.

        1. Hmm. Maybe we should be going fishing, with a magnet, after crossing into Canada? I suppose our fishing expedition will result in no results because we will fishing in the wrong spot, but … Not like we can bring our own …

          1. I view it as our nation’s future. Later generations will be able to mine every body of water in Canada for ton after ton of the highest grade iron ore. ~:D

    2. Someone once bothered me about considering carrying a firearm with the bit about “You shouldn’t react with violence because you don’t know the other person’s story.”

      I did the teacher-over-the-glasses stare and replied, “What about packs of feral and possibly rabid dogs? Because that’s what I’ve had to flee from in the past.” The other individual went into the full blank-face-brain-reboot protocol. The four-footed rabid animal problem had never crossed her mind.

      1. shouldn’t react with violence because you don’t know the other person’s story

        If the other person is offering me and mine visible violence, I care, why?

        1. More like what possible alternative do you have? If you can’t get away, and they won’t stop, what’cha gonna do?

          You’re supposed to do the moral thing and let them kill you, d. That’s what they really mean. It’s better not to resist, because colonialist white supremacy and the Patriarchy and stuff.

          Just die.

      2. This chapter of the other person’s story is “I am trying to hurt you”. All that one needs to know for reaction

        1. THIS precisely. It’s not divine justice. It’s human justice. I don’t need to know if they were “abused” I need to know they’re dangerous to my life and liberty.

      3. “You shouldn’t react with violence because you don’t know the other person’s story.”

        That’s typical of the kind of nonsensical statement coming out of Liberal mouths. You really can’t argue with something that bugnuts crazy. It’s right up there with humans not having a natural right to self defense.

        If you reply that it doesn’t matter -why- people do things, it only matters WHAT they do, then you get the long sob story and the “how could you?!”

        “So heartless, you Conservatives! He was getting his life back together!” “He was trying really hard and had a setback!” “He got some bad weed!” And my all-time personal fave, “We’re all one bad day from snapping!” I can believe there’s a lot of Lefties out there one bad day away from snapping, given the crazy eyes I keep seeing on them and the crazy stuff they say.

        Couple days ago I saw a story about a goblin who ran over a cyclist at a stoplight, from the video Mr. Goblin hit the guy at about 50mph, the body flew most of the way cross the intersection. Then he stopped his car, went back and stabbed the unarmed, crippled, probably unconscious cyclist to death in the road. Presumably he felt the car hit wasn’t enough and wanted to be -sure-.

        But we shouldn’t react with violence, because we don’t know the goblin’s story. Right?

        1. Numerous witnesses say that his “story”, screamed as he stabbed, was that he was oppressed by “whiteness’.

        2. Joker shared the theory that everyone was just one bad day away from becoming a supervillain. He was trying to sell the reader on that theory.

          In a Batman comic. Where the readers /knew/ that one not very great day, Joe Chill killed Thomas Wayne, Matha Wayne, and Bruce Wayne, leaving Batman the only survivor. Bruce Wayne chose Batman.

          It wasn’t one bad day that made The Joker.

          It was the person that The Joker was, who chose being The Joker, instead of choosing being The Batman.

          A lot of left readers took the Joker at face value.

          The left live in a world where the magic of doing stuff happens by hurting people.

          They tend to choose to become people who value the act of hurting people as being inherently productive. As opposed to being an act that is very often pointless and destructive, that requires caution, deliberate choice, and self-control to prevent from being mostly destructive.

          Now, quite a lot of people who are not left are not actually capable of choosing to become Batman. (Batman is actually a humanly impossible choice, literally all the skills is not doable in finite time. Seriously, playing by realistic rules, instead of genre rules, only Jesus could be Batman. Jesus does what he does most effectively by being Jesus, not by being Superman, Batman, Spiderman, or Captain America. The conventions of the super genre are acceptable to fans of supers, and everyone else can go to Antarctica and piss up a rope.)

          We can’t choose Batman. But we can pray. If something really horrible happens to us, and while we don’t choose Batman, it isn’t actually a binary choice. We can work, day by day, trying to make the harder but better choices, so that if one day something walks away from the wreckage of our current lives, that something is the best something that we can possibly me.

          A lot of the left are savages aping civilized men. They don’t have a sanity in them that is cultivated according to the values of a Judeo-Christian culture. It is a mask for some of them, that a few have taken off in the calculation that we are really like them, and that they can shock, disturb, or frighten us into behaving like them if they show us beneath. We have seen beneath, and we remain resolved that we are not savages.

          But, they hid as civilized men in a gamble that they were sure would bring them victory over civilization, and with that victory failing, some of them may no longer have the will to hide.

          1. We may not be able to choose Batman, but we can damned well choose Horatius, captain of the gate.

          2. “A lot of left readers took the Joker at face value.”

            Rather ironic, given that Moore’s entire point in that comic (I assume you’re talking about “The Killing Joke”) is that Joker is wrong. Joker kidnaps Gordon and tortures him mentally and physically. When Gordon is rescued, the first thing he tells Batman is that when they catch Joker, they’re following the rules. Gordon has just had the single worst day of his life (and it’s horrific), but he doesn’t break. Batman, of course, also shows a similar attitude toward Joker when the former finally catches up to the latter, telling the crazed villain that he’s heard it all before and doesn’t believe it.

            It’s unfortunate if people completely miss the point that Moore is making in that book.

        3. Suppose I read Mein Kampf, and am back in the 1930s or 1940s.

          Does that mean I now have a right to use violence against him?

          Anyhow, this rule about not knowing someone else’s story. That implies that the speaker doesn’t know my story.

          Funnily enough, childhood trauma provides a lot of the context of my thinking processes, but minor ordinary sorts of childhood trauma.

          My story could well be that I do understand the story of this or that other person, hence being why I am invincibly confident that I am right to choose violence as the tool to deal with them.

          Trying to give the criminals a free hand is one of the means by which they are screwing with the food supply. Protecting the food supply is a high priority good of civilization, going back to literal prehistory. The advocates of destruction are ‘common enemies of all mankind’, and my desire to kill them all is directly linked to seeking a higher good.

        4. The threat of murder is always implicit in any violent attack. The assailant chose the terms of engagement, and has no basis for complaint if the ‘victim’ turns out to be tougher than anticipated.

          “It’s not fair!” whines the criminal.

          “Was your attack on an innocent person supposed to be ‘fair’, dirtbag?”
          Pacifism will, at best, get you a nice peaceful trip to the slave pens. At worst — tell me, have you ever heard of the Aztecs?

  19. I just read that the Chinese spy balloon was shot down over the ocean. Now nobody can find out what it was carrying across the United States.

    Who made that decision? Who paid them?
    ‘Progressives’ believe everybody else is even stupider than they are. This explains a lot.

    1. Apparently it was the one that had already passed across the military installations in the flyover states, all the way to Surfside Beach, South Carolina. There is also one in Canada and one in South America.

      Carefully omitted from the hagiographic praise of Biden and Austin for their calm but valorous defense of our national security was: their earlier refusal to order the shooting even though the balloon was being used by the People’s Republic of China “in an attempt to surveil strategic sites in the continental United States.”; no journalistic skepticism of the claim that they were “closely monitoring its path and intelligence collection activities”; no defense for why the military couldn’t figure out a way to bring it down without endangering people in MONTANA on Thursday; and no mention of Trump’s demand yesterday that they shoot it down.

      1. I have no doubt that it will be considered “unrecoverable” unlike if they had shot it down over Montana. The corruption has become too blatant. At least in place like Eastern Europe everyone knows the government is corrupt.

      2. What? They were afraid it’d hit a cow?

        Oh. I know. They were afraid it would take too long to come down and hit the reservation around Little Big Horn Monument. That is the problem.

        Actually they thought the Montana ranchers would beat them to it, and the ranchers would give the PR gold to the republicans.


    2. A diving team is being sent to recover whatever the balloon was carrying. I don’t think it should have sunk that deep.

        1. Was the payload hit? Or was the balloon hit? The two are separate and distinct from each other, and hitting the balloon dead center (which is what I would guess most likely happened) shouldn’t have affected the payload.

          1. Most air-to-air missiles carry fragmentation warheads. The instrument package probably got trashed from, essentially, an oversized grenade going off a few meters away.

            Anybody in military aviation would know that. Either they didn’t care if whatever the balloon was carrying got trashed — or they wanted it trashed.
            John Sheridan: “You can’t kill the truth!”
            “Well, you can, but it always comes back to haunt you.”

            1. Via the Daily Mail –

              “A top Pentagon official said the Chinese was 200-feet tall and had a payload the size of a jetliner ”

              A blast of a few meters dead center in the balloon would not have affected the payload. And that’s even before you account for the fact that the detonation point would have been the outer edge of the balloon’s bag, and not directly over the payload.

              1. At that altitude, there’s barely any air resistance. The shrapnel would fly hundreds of meters before losing a significant amount of kinetic energy. Also, anything lifted by a balloon has to be as lightweight as possible, which generally translates as fragile. I’m sure whatever it was got dozens of holes punched through it by jagged chunks of metal flying as fast as bullets.
                It’s dark here. You are likely to be eaten by a Grue.

                1. The payload would have had a heavy-duty case to protect it from casual events (i.e. not including weapons fire) that got thrown its way, and was probably over 125 feet away from the blast. The individual fragments would have had a considerable amount of distance between each other at that range as they each scattered further from the detonation point. Further, the Sidewinder’s blast is not a sphere It’s a ring. The payload should have been offset (both ahead of and below the impact point) enough that the amount of fragments directed at the payload was minimal. Finally, the entirety of the payload doesn’t need to be recovered. The only thing that needs to be recovered is its digital storage, and digital storage units tend to be quite small these days. There’s a good chance that the physical media of all of the data recorded by the balloon would fit in your pocket. In short, the chance of something recoverable hitting the surface of the water is quite good. Whether it survived that impact (get high enough and landing in water is like landing on concrete) is another story. But that would be the same no matter where it was shot down, and what weapon was used.

                  Further, despite what appear to be conspiratorial suggestions above to the contrary, the decision to use a missile would not have been based off of a desire to try and destroy the contents. It would have been based off of the fact that pointing the nose of a jet fighter at a massive and very slow moving object while getting in close (both being requirements to use a fighter’s cannon) always poses a small amount of risk. Missiles, on the other hand, are completely safe. There’s no chance of an accidental mid-air collision.

            2. Off-topic note that I find humorous:

              They did kill the Truth. He came back three days later and took over the world. (A very significant proportion thereof, at least.)

          2. Nod, the balloon itself would also be much larger and the easier target.

            1. And the little bit of video I’ve seen seems to show the balloon tearing apart, although any unequal stress on the supporting wires to the balloon might have done the same. As noted the warhead for the sidewinder (and almost every modern air to air missile) throws a ring or cone of fragments forward via a shaped charge. I wonder how they got the Aim-9x to track the balloon it’s contents and material can’t have been much above ambient temperature. The 9x allegedly has VERY sensitive IR sensors that let it target other than jet exhaust, for example it can target oncoming jets something earlier generations of sidewinder couldn’t reliably do. But even there it’s targeting the skin of the aircraft warmed well above ambient by its passage through air as well as the plume of jet exhaust behind the target. Maybe the payload was warmed by the sun? The F22 seemed to fire from below so perhaps it targeted on the payload but at least some part of the warhead traveled on to the balloon?

  20. The balloon bust is worse than I thought – the WH knew about the balloon last week.
    I didn’t have all the data from the stories I saw earlier. (Dates added for clarity.)

    • The observant Mr. Chase Doak spotted the spy balloon traversing Montana on Wednesday (2/1). “Not gonna lie,” tweeted Doak as his video went viral. “First, I thought this was a #ufo. Then, I thought it was @elonmusk in a Wizard of Oz cosplay scenario. But it was just a run-of-the mill Chinese spy balloon!”

    On Thursday afternoon (2/2), the Billings Gazette published a photo of the balloon. The cat was out of the bag.

    • “As it turns out, US authorities were well aware of the unidentified object that had entered American airspace on Jan. 28, that had then left and re-entered over North Idaho on Tuesday. But with such a high-profile trip at stake, keeping it on the down-low was key.”… in other words, the Biden administration knew all about it and intended to remain mum. They intended to remain mum to preserve the viability of Secretary Blinken’s planned trip to Beijing this weekend.

    • Biden’s daycare minders in the White House want it to be known that Biden “ultimately decided to let the balloon continue on its way as the US sought answers from the Chinese embassy in Washington, but they struggled to obtain satisfactory responses. US officials said they were baffled by China, which itself appeared to be caught off-guard by the bizarre [sic] incident.”

    • The Chinese side (to borrow their term) has invested in the family business and otherwise taken Biden’s measure. They think Biden is a chump. They think they have him in their pocket. They have nothing but contempt for him.

    • No word on whether the Chinese side regrets entry of “a second balloon flying over Latin America.”

    • “We now assess it is another Chinese surveillance balloon,” Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder, Pentagon press secretary, said in a statement, declining to offer further information such as where it was spotted.

    • Per the AP this morning (2/4), “China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs did not immediately respond to a question about the second balloon.”

    1. I have wondered if the ICBM facilities up there received an order while the balloon was overhead to open all the blast doors and let the missiles air out for a while in the sunshine.

  21. I haven’t seen anything new on the third balloon; this was from Friday 2/3.

    Fox had a map of the US invader, putting its path into perspective with our military bases.

    From the comments:
    fidesquarensintellectum 1 day ago
    “You’ve heard of “floating a trial balloon”? This is it.”

    bschab 1 day ago
    “Trudeau and Biden are already owned by the CCP, as are many of our Congresspeople. This isn’t the first balloon, it’s just the first one that caught someone’s attention.”

    Apparently, per the Wikipedia article, this may be true – other balloons have crossed over our borders but haven’t made the news.
    “U.S. defense officials also stated that other “instances of this activity have been observed over the past several years”,[7] with other alleged Chinese surveillance balloons entering U.S. airspace three times during the Trump administration and another time under Biden, though not for as long as during the 2023 incident.[2]
    In 2020, a balloon similar to the one involved in the incident was sighted in Sendai, Japan.”

    Also from Wiki, it may be that the Canadian and American balloons are the same, despite the media reports claiming they were different.
    “The high-altitude balloon traveled on prevailing westerlies over the Aleutian Islands and through western Canada, before passing over Montana on February 1 and over Missouri by February 3. ”

    Interesting location of the shoot-down; why did it go there?

    “On February 4, the balloon drifted to the Carolinas….At 2:39 PM local time, the balloon was shot down by a single AIM-9X air-to-air missile from an F-22 Raptor off the coast of Horry County, South Carolina. …Debris was dispersed over an area about 7 square miles (18 km2) and collection efforts are underway.”

    1. “with other alleged Chinese surveillance balloons entering U.S. airspace three times during the Trump administration ”

      Does anyone believe that this wouldn’t have made the headlines for weeks? Me neither. This is just NeverTrumpers and Democrats (BIRM) trying to claim that Trump could have shot one down but didn’t either. Of course, with Milley running things, I could believe that he would have instructed Trump not be notified, so there’s that.

        1. in re Trump saying “I AM the boss of you. Now do your job.”

          He didn’t have a lot of luck with that with most of the Cabinet & executive departments’ apparatchiks; although there were some Secretaries on board with the MAGA plan, they were hamstrung by their own subordinates.

          1. Exactly. And of course, now you have the NeverTrumpers claiming that OF COURSE DeSantis will be able to succeed because Trump was such a buffoon… but they all fall silent when someone asks how the same thing won’t happen to him.

            1. Agree.

              Either, Trump or DeSantis need to declare, as soon as elected, need to declare staff housekeeping. Where in not clear, staff = anyone in federal government capacity. The program is USofA first and foremost. Anyone working against that program is grounds for immediate termination. Then add an constitutional addendum that States still have the power to determine how elections are held, but that power requires clear and defined methods to provide verifiable clean and fair elections of one person, one vote. Failure of states to do so will result in oversight by a collation, of states who have done so (do not want to give this power to the federal government). Any bets on how many not liberal states will sign on so fast that the amendment won’t be official before the year is out?

              1. I think you meant ‘housecleaning’ there.

                I fear Washington has reached a state where an Augean Stables solution is called for.

                Gee, there is a river right handy… 😛

                1. Can we move some good stuff out of some of the Smithsonian and the National Archives first? A lot we can leave, probably. Gives some modern “art the feline side-eye*

          2. Apparently, nobody in the Military told Trump about the Chinese spy balloons that entered US airspace.

            1. Note, those are the ones that entered US airspace when Trump was President.

              1. And there lies a tale. In essence the flag level officers have decided THEY get to make policy I looked at the officers oath

                I ___, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God.

                is missing part of a line from the oath of enlistment
                “that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God.”

                It bothers me that the officers oath has nothing about obeying the orders of those appointed over them (and no just following orders doesn’t work that’s why “according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice” is there). It seems what they have done amounts to gross insubordination at least for the commander of the United States Northern Command (Norcom). JCS is not in the chain of command officially since 1986. So if Norcom didn’t tell the Turnip in Chief he should be removed from that slot and court-martialed. Ultimately he should be given a bad conduct discharge tossed in Leavenworth for a few years and all his fancy 3/4 star general benefits revoked including his retirement (pour encoureger les autres). Similarly if he refused to down the balloon without a valid reason via the UCMJ he should be cashiered for disobeying orders (Hey is the AUMF still in effect? Then its disobeying orders in time of war, and that can get you hanged or shot, or at least it used to…). It’s clear at this point that some large portion of the flag officers is contaminated. In 30 years we’ve gone from a military that kicked ass and took names in Desert Storm to one that is more worried about offending Colonels that like to cosplay as dogs (and Not in a good way mind you). Much of that decline starts in 2008. I fear the malaise is as bad or worse than it was post Vietnam, and add that to generals and admirals that won’t do their job and who think they know better and you’re headed deep into banana republic territory.

        2. And as someone noted elsewhere, he’d still be bragging about the time he shot down the Chinese spy balloon.


          Another flaw in the argument that “this has happened in the past” is that this is the first time one of these balloons has been spotted. It doesn’t sound as if it was that difficult to see this balloon. And yet somehow apparently our border has been crossed several times in the past, and yet no civilians on the ground happened to notice? Sounds unlikely.

          1. And the “story” keeps changing.

            First, it was unnamed sources from the US Military that said these balloons were spotted during the Trump Administration.

            Then, it was “unnamed” US intelligence sources that claimed that the balloon crossing weren’t spotted but US intelligence “learned that they happened”.

            Of course, “Unnamed Sources too often don’t exist but the people talking about “Unnamed Sources” are making things up”. 😡

    2. Now we know why the media/government was pushing UFOs so hard a while back. They were trying to cover sightings of these spy-balloons.

  22. The minimum wage seems to be a good way to shift the operation of the welfare system from government to business.

      1. “If you’re insane, …” Consider the result: Government provides welfare in various ways, one of them being cash payments. Let’s suppose they want to get out of that business. They tell companies to raise wages – whether businesses can handle that or not. That moves the burden of paying people not to work from government to business.
        One flaw in my assumption is that government does want to get out. On the other hand, maybe they do because it’s costing more than they imagined.,

        1. How does telling companies to raise wages on people who are working move move the burden of paying people not to work from government to business?

          Increases in the minimum wage don’t impact people who are not working.

          1. Good point, I was thinking that those not working would sign on for the $15, taking them off the welfare rolls.
            The problem with that theory is that there are still “Help Wanted” signs all over.

            1. Well, some people can’t do work that’s worth $15 an hour, and some people still make better money taking welfare than they would working.

              And some people don’t want to work and are willing to reduce their lifestyle to whatever level is necessary to survive on welfare payments.

            2. I’d like to be wrong, but I suspect that many (most?) of those on welfare aren’t looking for work.

        2. “Governments can’t force businesses to pay some arbitrary ‘minimum wage’, only punish them for paying less.”

          If employees are not worth ‘minimum wage’ the business won’t hire them.

          “Governments can’t increase the value of unskilled labor, only raise the cost.”

          Maybe it’s worth $5.00 an hour to have a teenager stock shelves and sweep floors for a few hours after school. It’s not worth $15.00 an hour plus taxes and insurance and endless regulations and paperwork.

          Government makes everything cost more. More government makes it worse.
          The one thing we need more of from the government is LESS!!

        3. I have literally heard them argue that it’s wrong that the government subsidizes Walmart. No government bennies for people with jobs!

          No matter how often you point out that we had that before welfare reform and know that the result is that they don’t get the job, not the bennies, it doesn’t sink it.

  23. Every time I see the subject line of this blog post, I think of the Oprah meme –

    “You get nothing! You get nothing! And you get nothing! Everybody gets nothing!”


  24. “(in) 12 years, give or take, … it’s all going to fall down.” Sigh… I’ll either be 86 then or on the wrong side of the grass. But the books, some of them, will be out there, probably bootlegged, ‘cause everyone gets paid (rich) except the author.

    Anyway, I write. I’m working on something and it is sometimes hard to keep at it knowing that at best, I’ll have to ‘self-publish’ it on Amazon KDP, and I’ll never get any major reviews or ‘at-a-boys’ from the gals in the Book Blog Business or anywhere else. At best I’ll sell maybe a hundred copies for a year’s work. But, like the little creatures that the Flintstones used in their house as utensils and gadgets would say…”Eh… It’s a living.”

    Yeah, but not in the monetary sense.

    However… There is HOPE for the younger scribblers out there. You too can be a writer! Yes, just like the old match book covers used to promise (I told you I was old; I remember that shit.)

    Here’s the hope. This is from the Cincinnati Review, part of their mission statement:

    Furthermore, we’re interested in working against past and present inequities by publishing work by individuals from systemically marginalized groups, including writers of color, nonbinary and trans writers, members of the LGBTQIA+ community, neurodivergent writers, disabled writers, working-class and low-income writers, and all others who consider themselves underrepresented in contemporary literature.

    They forgot to add, ‘writers of low and/or no-talent’ and ‘writers bearing torches.’
    So, all you wanabe authors, there’s a lot of wiggle room in there. And it doesn’t matter that you were born white or male. Just identify as female, or black, or Hispanic, Native American, Asian, or Pacific Islander… anything but white.

    1. Unfortunately, they didn’t forget. They’re just not interested.
      Though they did include ‘working-class and low-income writers’.
      PS: What the heck is ‘neurodivergent ‘?

      1. Neurodivergent and neuroatypical are terms applied to folks with brains that don’t work like the majority. This applies to, but is not limited to, autism and Asperger’s.

Comments are closed.