February 02, 2005
The Democrats in the Washington state legislature are proposing a "paid family leave" bill. Sounds good to me. Get paid for not working. But as the owner/operator of a one-person business, I have to wonder how I could take advantage of this? Will one of these fine Democrat legislators run my company for me while I'm off on vacation bonding with my child? Oh, wait. It occurs to me how self-employed and family business owners can take advantage of this to get an extra $1,250 windfall per person from the government every year. See if you can figure it out.
Former Attorney General Gregoire is proposing a $350 million biotech boondoggle. The usually responsible Sen. Finkbeiner and Sen. Esser have joined the boondoggle bandwagon. Now really, who is better qualified to be making venture investment decisions: the capital markets, or the Democrats in the legislature who think that paid family leave is good for business?
The Seattle Monorail will be suing to shut down a perfectly good maritime services company and put several dozen people out of work. Will these newly unemployed still be eligible for 5 weeks of paid family leave every year?
The Seattle Monorail has finally admitted that the financial plan that it sold to the voters in 2002 is not viable. Now it wants to put city car owners on the hook for the Monorail Tax for decades longer than originally promised. Some state officials and legislatures are "uneasy" with this plan, but I don't expect them to try very hard to oppose it.
The cash-strapped Seattle School District is charging ahead with an expensive court appeal to defend a race-based school assignment scheme that nobody in town even likes. I'd be less outraged about School Districts that act with such contempt for their communities, if they had to be held accountable to the parents whom they fail to serve. My proposal: a "satisfaction guaranteed or your money back" refund for parents of schoolaged children. If the local School District fails to give a child a satisfactory school assignment, the District has to give her parents an appropriate refund of taxes paid. Yes, sometimes it really is that simple.
Rep. Fred Jarrett wants to close a loophole to ensure that foreign citizens who are in the United States legally do not get the same benefits that are intended exclusively for illegal immigrants.
The reliably fiskable Floyd McKay writing in today's Seattle Times op-ed page praises Europe for its dirigisme. "Success of Airbus symbolizes a vibrant, united Europe". McKay somehow segues from applauding European central planning to applauding European dhimmitude:
We are attempting to combat Islamic extremism with guns; EU nations are trying to accommodate their growing Muslim populations and bring Turkey into the EU. Neither tactic is certain, but ours has been bloodier and costlier.
Theo Van Gogh could not be reached for comment.
Posted by Stefan Sharkansky at February 02, 2005
11:26 AM | Email This
1. Please don't link to articles like that anymore - too disturbing.
2. Please don't link to articles like that anymore - too disturbing.
Whoa there Big Dave. We heard you the first time. *wink.*
Also, although Stephan may not wish to dignify a certain blogger's recent attack on him with a reply here, I respond here.
4. Good ole Fred Jarrett. He only wants to reward people who broke the law. I am so glad he is my Representative.
I own a septic pumping business and next year I will have 1 employee. While that employee is ill, I will have no revenue coming in AND I will have to pay him? It would be an act of God if I weren't out of business by the end of that 5 weeks.
How is this NOT about screwing small business?
While some might criticize the biotech plan - and as a former Government Affairs Director for the state's biotech association I was highly critical of Gregoire's efforts on this front during the campaign when she focused on the state investing in stem-cell research - I don't think the comparison of this proposal with venture investing is fair.
When state's pursue such efforts, they're targeting basic research from which companies are then formed after a concept proves initially promising in a lab setting. Such reserach is an essential ingredient, the true beginning seed if you will, of a strong biotech industry and is usually funded by the feds (NIH), states, and private foundations. Basic research done at the UW and the Hutch in previous years are why we have the relatively strong biotech cluster in the region we have now.
Venture capital, and investment markets as a whole, are almost never used for the kind of research that would be funded by such a proposal. You can argue about the price tag and the use of the money as a whole, but as a way to support a valued industry it's sound economic development policy that serves as a necessary precursor to venture/investment market activity.
I guess all we can hope for is that this stuff is seen to be so ridiculous, and then plunges the state into a recession. Then the R's have a chance once again. We can then move forward with political geniuses like Jarret, Finkbeiner and Esser.
Oh, wait, now I'm confused.
Skor - you are a voice in the darkness!
8. Right on re Gregoire's proposed $350 million biotech boondoggle. When the tobacco lawsuit Master Settlement Agreement was signed, the attorneys general and plaintiffs lawyers held news conferences touting how the money would be used for public health and protecting kids. Former Washington Attorney General Christine Gregoire said, "Washington state's proceeds from the tobacco industry settlement should be spent on public health issues or the integrity of the historic agreement will be violated."
Source: The Heartland Institute, May 1, 2004
If anyone is curious I just posted an interview with Finkbeiner. He doesn't talk about a family leave bill, but we did discuss the election issues.
He does give his direct contact info a the end of the interview. Let him know what you think.
Let me see if I get this right.
1) A self employed person or family business incorporates
2) The owners become employees and draw paychecks
3) They pay $40 per year in premiums per employee
4) They may then take advantage of this and get $1250 in benefits
How long before this program (scheme?) becomes insolvent and needs a taxpayer bailout?
11. Andy: The over/under is six weeks.
Okay, common sense moment here!---
If these Dems so badly want paid employee leave, then why don't they establish a system where EMPLOYEES contribute to a fund through mandatory paycheck deductions and pay for it THAT WAy if it's so incredibly important???
why does the employer have to foot the bill for someone else's personal issues? Employers are already paying through the nose for everything else. I should know. I am the bookkeeper for one of my husband's businesses and we have employees. We pay and pay and pay.
ENOUGH WITH THE NONSENSE!
13. Yes, Theo Van Gough probably didn't see it that way as his life was being snuffed out by said radicals!
....and I might add, if hubby gets sick, the state and county sure aren't giving him a pass on his business taxes, and he still has to pay all the bills---and there's a lot of those!
PLEASE, Olympia dems, employers are NOT bags of limitless money. THEY hoped to get ahead by working hard and assuming enormous responsibilities and taking calculated risks. Oh, and in the process, they create good jobs, too~!
Business is holding this state up financially(B&O tax). How about some gratitude for once, dems, instead of another kick in the patoot???
Except for the fact that the tension with Turkey's entrance into the EU is based on their balance between pluralism and fundamentalism. While Turkey is a fairly pluralistic state, there's still some skeletons in its closet with regards to extremism. Either wya, I doubt Turkey's entrance into the EU has anything to do with combating Islamic extremism.
Also, is Mr. McKay suggesting the United States integrate extremist countries into our political framework? I thought the idea of neocolonialism is something his ilk opposes.
"fiskable" . . . "dhimmitude"
Stefan, sounds like you've been hanging out with the littlegreenfootballs crowd.
About Europeans "accommodat[ing] their growing Muslim populations", is that why France had to pass a law against headscarves in schools? The French sure have been cooperative in allowing Saudi Wahabis to build mosques and provide imams all over France. At the same time, evangelical Christians are considered either cults or near-cults depending on the bureaucrat doing the paperwork.
But how does one big plane make high-unemployment Europe "vibrant"?
"Well, sir, there's nothing on earth Like a genuine, Bona fide, Electrified, Six-car Monorail! What'd I say! Monorail!"
Congrats on joining Ogdenville, North Haverbrook and Brockway!
18. What I've never understood about the monorail is - if it's such a good idea that it justifies forcing everyone in Seattle to fork over money to pay for it, isn't it a good enough idea to let a private company do it and be exempt from taxes?
Marge: 'But Main Street's still all cracked and broken...'
Bart: 'Sorry, mom, the mob has spoken!'
Boondoggle is a relative word. Biotech? Yes. But when compared with the monorail, we're getting off easy with the biotech boondoggle. The monorail and Monorail Authority put that to shame.
And as for MIGHTY EUROPE:
"Americans scorn this as "socialism," a term in bad odor in this country but widely accepted in Europe. We have our own forms of socialism, of course — no-bid contracts for Halliburton, tax giveaways and no-bid or rigged contracts for other defense contractors."
So, does that mean that he's going to write his next article praising the U.S. as being vibrant and united because of Halliburton and defense contracts?
As for one Europe - methinks Mr. McKay has not been there recently, or didn't get far outside his posh hotel if he did. There is not one Europe, and there won't be one Europe any time soon. Ask the Poles if there is one Europe. Ask the Czechs. See what they say.
I was in a discussion recently with a Belgian citizen about 'welcoming' Turkey into the EU. The reason he gave that Turkey was not already in? "Because they're poor AND Muslim. If they were one or the other, they'd be in. But they're both."
REAL enlightened society, that 'new, unified' Europe. NOT. It doesn't exist.
Vibrant economy? - Germany just announed unemployment figures above 12%! How on earth is that considered a vibrant economy???
I sent an email to FLoyd McKay that included the following article that was originally posted by the National Post, an online Canadian newspaper on January 20. The article is no longer available on the canada.com website, so here it is.
MEDIA OUTLET: National Post
BYLINE: Terence Corcoran
DATE: January 20, 2005
At an extravagant ceremony in Toulouse, France, the captains of European industrial might -- Tony Blair, Jacques Chirac, Gerhard Schroder -- declared before 5,000 spectators that Europe had triumphed. The Tuesday event, a cross between a new product launch in Vegas and the Eurovision Song Contest, hailed the miraculous arrival of the Airbus A380, in apparent defiance of all known economic theory.
Bigger than a Boeing 747, longer than a football field and filled with political hype, the A380 was portrayed as a clear sign that Europe, ridiculed as old and flabby by Donald Rumsfeld, could snub its nose at the United States, free markets and sound economic policy and still come out a big winner.
Publicity photos and virtual reality videos sketched the A380's interior. It looked as believable as a sprawling luxury kitchen in promotional material for a 700-square-foot downtown condo. Airbus said that even with 555 passengers, the A380 will have room for in-flight bars, lounges, shops and gyms.
As the illustration here shows, the A380 apparently plans to throw out all existing safety and anti-terror concerns. Would the woman at the bar please get off that bar stool, return to her seat, fasten her seatbelt, remove the lethal knives and forks, stow away the china plates and clear the area of all those loose martini glasses. Since passengers these days are barely allowed to leave their strapped-in seating to go to the washroom, the A380 promotion looked like a high-pressure sales kit.
Which, of course, is what it is, for a company that remains a monument to economic delusion. Airsub would be a better name for Airbus, in recognition of its consumption of billions in French, German, British and Spanish subsidies. Over the years, prior to the A380, the Airbus consortium of European aerospace giants is said to have received $15-billion in government aid. But that stock figure dates from as far back as 1988. In today's dollars, the pre-A380 figure is closer to $25-billion, probably a lot more.
With the A380 subsidies, officially listed at $4.3-billion, Airbus is up to $30-billion in cumulative corporate welfare since inception, not counting billions more in subsidies handed out to Airbus suppliers by other governments all over the globe. (And, of course, the old Concorde burned another $25-billion hole in European treasuries.)
So far, Airbus's major achievement has been to help push McDonnell Douglas into bankruptcy and set the stage for a major trade and subsidy war with Boeing and the United States. Airbus also needs to sell at least 250 of the A380s to break even, although nobody really knows the company's true financial picture. It has one of the most elaborate Web sites on the planet, but don't go looking for real information.
Boeing's strategy is apparently dedicated to perfecting a different plane model, the mid-sized 7E7 Dreamliner. The company's 747, which was originally designed for expansion into a two-level craft similar to the A380, could theoretically be expanded, although it would have to go through a total redesign and re-engineering to adapt to new materials.
Outside of the looming trade war, deliberate destruction of competitors via state aid, massive political redirection of money and the creation of billions in hidden losses, what has the Airbus enterprise created?
Politicians who assemble 5,000 people in an aircraft hangar and invite the world's media for eye-popping ceremony aren't inclined to count the costs. What happens when you divert $30-billion into unproductive and unprofitable investment? The inevitable result is falling productivity and economies that underperform.
Europe's chronic unemployment, Germany's sluggish growth and France's notoriously dismal lack of productivity cannot be blamed on the economic distortions caused by Airbus subsidies. But as the likes of Tony Blair, Gerhard Schroder and Jacques Chirac painted Airbus as a model of what can be achieved by governments collaborating to create industrial strategies, they neglected to mention old Europe's slide into economic mediocrity. One example: Long-term unemployment as a percentage of total unemployment, which averaged 8.5% in the United States in 2002 and 10% in Canada, runs at 23% in Britain, 33% in France and 47% in Germany.
World aerospace is a monumentally wasteful and uneconomic industry, of which Airbus is only one part. It will stay that way so long as politicians and their corporatist partners can continue to hoodwink the world's voters into believing that razzle-dazzle showstoppers can be subsidized into existence without economic cost elsewhere.
© National Post 2005
There's a difference between government using tax dollars to invest in corporations (such as Airbus or Amtrak) and government using tax dollars to purchase goods and services (defense contracts).
Don't you know, Stefan, that self-employed people are a nuissance for the political elite?
They are too indepentent minded.
Here is the list of welcome constituents:
- teacher union members
- unioned employees of those big, horrible companies
- state employees (who elect the city council of Olympia)
- unemployed people
- students of Evergreen
- a dead person here and there
"What do you mean operating expenses?!?! Lets get back to the good old days when you got to own
the people who you hired to help
you fulfill your obligations." Its not like employees are doing employees any favors by oh I dont know, fufilling contracts etc.
Stefan you proved that you are the master at misrepresentation. After all, the Monorail project just knew that they would have parts of the proposed funding removed by the likes of Tim Eyeman, and so should have been up front about costs. You know it really reminds me of how the Sunni clerics called for a boycott of elections and then said the elections werent valid cause they didnt vote, or say (to make up an example out of thin air), republicans trying to commit fraud during an elections and then claim that the election is invalid cause there was fraud. Wow!
I find it interesting that you criticize Gov Gregoire for a job creation project and also criticize the monorail project for eliminating jobs in the same article.
BTW, since she has been sworn in, calling Gov Gregoire "Former Attorney General Gregoire" is about as honest as calling President Bush "Governor Bush", given the legitimacy of the 2000 elections in Florida.
Regarding the school districting, once again you presume to speak for all parents in the district. You do not sir, please stop representing your opinion as mine. You say that noone likes the decisions, you are wrong.
Good comment. I also have it on very good authority (a friend in high place in the USAF, who kind knows a thing or two about ordering aircraft) that the AirSub (Your nickname is great!) hasn't even gone through its *airworthiness tests* and many of the USAF high ranking officials don't think that it will pass this test for quite sometime, unless they go the way of many shortcuts. This, of course, in the long run would be bad for the company's PR, not to mention some future passengers.
But look at the bright side, some (maybe even most) of those unlucky passengers would still be able to vote in King County.
So which of those concepts is socialist? I'm not the one who made the analogy - it was Floyd McKay. He called one the European version of socialism, and the other the American version.
Any comments on my thoughts of a unified Europe that doesn't really exist?
Another great quote:
"While we are building armies, Europe is building a standard of living that is in many ways superior to ours. Certainly, many Europeans have better health care, shorter work weeks, longer vacations and a stronger currency. The European press is free and vibrant, arts and culture flourish, and European cities attract rather than repel visitors."
McKay needs to stop hitting the hookah. There standard of living is not superior, they do not have better health care, shorter work weeks and longer vacations mean less productivity, and a stronger currency is not a result of any of the above. What American cities are 'repelling vistors'? Chicago? New York? Seattle? Miami?
Yes, great article. I thought the same things when I saw the bar. And did you see that some airlines are supposedly thinking of putting a gym in the A380? Just what I want - to be bench-pressing as we hit some turbulence.
In addition to airworthiness, what about safety? How do you evacuate the upper deck in an emergency? You can't use the inflatabale slides - the passengers will be going 30 mph when they hit the tarmac. And what about fitting all the major hubs in the U.S. with higher boarding decks? Or do the upper deck passengers board and de-plane through the lower deck? Does anyone really want to fly with 600 other people??
28. I like the "Daily Briefs" - very valuable. Haven't seen them before but I hope they're a regular feature now.
The "American version" is hardly socialism: it's capitalism, with private business as the business and government as the client.
I'm certain though, that Europe is becoming more and more unified and I am convinced that in ten or twenty years it will essentially be the "United States of Europe." However, it will cerainly be unlike the US in many respects: it's economy will still be stagnant and its polity will be ineffective and unwilling to act decisively. Plus, we'll still be "spending our money on arms" in part to continue to defend them.
30. In order for Fraudoire to create 250,000 new
jobs she has to create new government agencys
to oversee all of us lesser humans. Did you not
know that all prosperity is created by government?
The sad part is that half the population can't
see past the end of their nose. Maybe we all can work for the government. GOD HELP US
I'm glad to see that we essentially agree on those points. I think the 'American version' is capitalism as well - which makes McKay's statement that much more idiotic. The American version of socialism is capitalism?
I don't know what Europe will be like in 10 or 20 years. Your description is probably in the ballpark, but I can't imagine someone from France or Poland calling themselves a 'European'. They'll still be French and Polish.
32. Fraudoire has the vision of a perfect socialist
society, but has never had to make payroll when
receivables are late as hell, and all the taxing
state agencys need their penalties because you are a piece of shit lousy businessman who has their money. She, amongst others, have been
SUCKING off the public for so long and are so out
of touch with reality I cannot believe it. Their
tenure is not for much longer.
33. Yep Mark, it's like Dino said: The only experience x-tine seems to have with business is SUING them!
"Their tenure is not for much longer."
Actually, Mark, I think it might be the other way around. These fools keep getting elected, so really, it might be businesses in WA that don't have much more tenure.
It is funny how the Washington legislature keeps trying to copy California laws. In California, however, employees must use all vacation days prior to applying for family leave days. And the days are paid for by higher taxes paid by other employees, not the employer.
The leave was passed and went into effect with much fanfare, but only new hires are required to be notified about it (seems strange to me)
Posted by Bill: "I find it interesting that you criticize Gov Gregoire for a job creation project and also criticize the monorail project for eliminating jobs in the same article."
Hasn't Gregoires Biotech fantasy already been exposed and challenged? Here is a snippet from the Seattle Times during the debates...
[snippet]And in Wednesday night's gubernatorial debate, Democratic candidate Christine Gregoire said channeling $500 million or more from the state's tobacco settlement into support for stem-cell research could over decades yield 40,000 to 70,000 jobs — a figure challenged by Republican rival Dino Rossi.[/snippet]
[snippet]One regional economic study paid for by the industry in 2002 said the biotech and medical-device sectors employ 19,000 people in the state. That's fewer than the legal-services industry employs, though ahead of the accounting industry, according to the Washington state Employment Security Department.
From 2001 to 2003, despite the general economic slowdown, the region's premier research centers, emerging companies, and established drug and device companies did expand, but only by 600 jobs — an annual growth rate of less than 2 percent, according to a survey by The Seattle Times.
The region's seven most promising biotech companies collectively added a net 187 jobs from 2001 to 2003 and currently are advertising to hire 84 workers.[/snippet]
Gregoire is proposing 350 million dollars for a Biotech industry that will only create a few thousand jobs?
37. Hey, Karl Dahlquist --- Did you go to the University of Michigan, School of Natural Resources? (If not, there are two of you.)
I think the core difference between the campaign proposal and the current proposal that appears to have some Republican support is the issue of stem cell research.
During the campaign Gregoire was touting stem cell research as a key component of the proposal - at which the Times article you cited takes an oblique shot near the end. Ken Vogel at the TNT did an even harsher critique of the stem cell twist on Oct 17...the article is in the TNT archives but you have to pay for it.
Arguing that stem cell research is a near-term job creater was a horribly flawed arguement. However, this proposal seems to be part of a more comprehensive bid to support basic research and improve infrastrucutre (like lab space at the UW) that would broadly support the industry's growth.
Specifically, yesterday's article in the Times indicates the plan is looking at creating 20k jobs, not just a few thousand. Moreover, when Dino was poking holes in Gregoire's claims of 40-70k new jobs for stem cell research there were many, many flaws in that number. Whereas the current plan, if properly leveraged to garner federal and private support, could realistically reach the 20k figure in the 10-15 year timespan noted. With how the industry grows, that number would likely grow exponentially after that intial time period.
One can argue with choosing to spend the money in this manner, but if the state is interested in catching up to the work of other states to support an industry it values, this seems to be part of a reasonably rational plan to do so.
39. I have an idea for all those legal immigrants whose kids are now getting ready to go to college. All they have to do is let their children's visas expire, their children become illegal immigrants, and hey presto, they qualify for in-state tuition.