Monday, November 28, 2011

OWS is Protesting the Wrong Thing

This morning I walked from the Palazzo to the nearest Office Depot. The walk is about 2-1/2 miles with about 1-1/2 miles through a poorer community. Within the community many of the apartment complexes had bars on the windows or large pieces of wood in place (to ensure the window could not be slid open). I guess it’s easier to think that a mega corporation caused the condition of the neighborhood and protest on Wall Street then it is to protest the real reasons of the poverty. As I watched two young ladies argue in McDonalds over five dollars, I’m reminded that Wall Street didn’t cause their current poverty, they did.

I’m sure if you asked them, they’d agree with the premise of the large corporations. But I’d hardly think arguing over five dollars in a McDonalds puts oneself on the path of success. If OWS was serious about solving the poverty problem in America they should be protesting in the poor. OWS should be picketing in front of the liquor store at 8am for the alcoholics that enter. The signs should point to the nearest AA meeting or better yet have campouts with the AA meetings right there. OWS should be picketing on the corner the gentlemen standing around doing nothing. With pickets pointing out the nearest job center or community college. Solving the income inequality won’t be solved by adjusting the behavior of large corporations, but by adjusting the behavior of poor individuals.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The War on Poverty Has Failed

Yesterday I read an article on a local (San Luis Obispo, CA) business person’s social experiment on providing jobs to unemployed. Unfortunately his experiment showed that unemployed people either want to cheat the system or not work. It’s a clear sign that the war of poverty hasn’t solved the problem of poverty, but made it worse. Instead of taking the steps to make themselves better, people have the State funded option of not working. The job he was offering was picking grapes for the harvest of his vineyards. While a manual labor position, he was offering to pay between $8-20 per hour depending on their efficiency at picking grapes.

This is a stark difference to the environment of the Great Depression. During the Great Depression the central coast was the hotbed of jobs. People from all over the country flocked to the area, not for the great weather, but for the jobs in the numerous agricultural fields in the area. The Central Coast of California was not affected by the great dustbowl of the Midwest and was able to continue to grow the crops of lettuce, beans and other vegetables. The history books tell stories of people camping out next along the roadways with the hopes of finding a job. John Steinbeck told their stories vividly in his literature.

So what’s the difference today? It has to be the war on poverty that provides an alternative to work. Why work? Each week that Government provides a check to entice you to stay home. Sure it’s intent is to keep you living while you search for a new job, but in reality it has become an anchor on the getting America back to work. While most of the news stories of people not taking jobs focus on the farmers unable to find allowable workers, it also affects a litany of suppliers and distributor’s of the agricultural products. To ensure food safety agricultural products are often packaged in disposable packaging. Without growth in the need for packaging, packaging plants don’t expand. If there’s a lessening of demand for the packaging they close plants or reduce the number of plants. Truck driver’s don’t have work, since they don’t have anything to haul. It kills jobs.

During this economic downturn Congress has decided to extend unemployment benefits at a cost of $40-$60 billion dollars for six months, repeatedly. While Nancy Pelosi claims this is the fastest way to create jobs, I’m arguing the exact opposite occurs. It just provides more benefits for not working. Why take the job in the field that will provide a multiplying affect on the work? It’s easier to stay home.

So lets stop the War on Poverty and spend the money on reducing the deficit. Lets make a better situation for children and grandchildren by getting rid of the humongous deficits the War on Poverty has created and restore the American work ethic in the United States of America.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Credit Unions are Banks

I find it odd that people are following other people’s urging to transfer money from banks to credit unions. It shows the basic misunderstanding of what a credit union is. A credit union is basically a bank with a difference regulatory structure. Many of the reasons I hear for moving from the banks to the credit union seem to have no historical reference. Credit unions, just as banks do, evict mortgage holders who are delinquent on payments.

Credit unions have been recipients of large Government bailouts. It seems most protesters of banks have forgotten the S&L scandals of the late 80’s and early 90’s. Moving your money for the excuse that banks received a bailout is a bit of a moot point.

Credit unions aren’t all the same, most apply the same fee structures as regular banks. After all there are costs involved in operating branches, ATMs, and processing of loans.

Now there are reasons to have money in a credit union. Since they are not for profit organizations fees are used to fund the operations of the credit union. Other than this the other reasons seem like they are coming from misinformed people.