A First Job Shaped a Lifetime

 

I turned sixteen about this time in 1966. The next obvious step was a car. So I went to the bank. Just kidding…I looked for a job.

 

My dad was a member of a country club. He justified this luxury by doing a lot of business there as a stock broker. Ray Kroc was an acquaintance there and Dad mentioned I was looking for a job. Mr. Kroc said to apply at the Pico (Boulevard) store.

 

So I went on down there and the manager apparently thought I looked pretty young (just like I do now). He said I had to be eighteen to work there. Imagine, the founder of McDonalds knowing where there was an entry level job opening at one of his stores. Next time Dad saw Mr. Kroc he mentioned what I had found out at the Pico store and Ray said to go on down there again, I had the job.

 

I learned a lot at McDonalds and I got paid to do it. McDonalds profited from my labor and I saved $500 for a seven-year-old Volkswagen. I learned I was only as smart as a 16-year-old and the customer is always right. I learned teamwork to provide a service to whomever deemed that service worthy of their hard earned money. People loved the fries that I made from real potatoes out of a fifty pound sack. How cool is that?

 

I was amazed (well, not really) last month when hundreds of fast food workers threatened to strike in support of a federal minimum wage hike to $15. Some stores actually closed for the day because of the lack of help.

 

Now imagine Ray Kroc. He poured his heart and soul into a partnership between willing employees and himself to provide good food fast so we can enjoy more of the rest of our day. Now the employees view themselves as victims of exploitation.

 

It is tragic the principle that brought America to such greatness is now looked upon as a sin. The principle of an economy guided purely by voluntary action between individuals gave us the extreme wealth that enables us to whine and cry into our cell phones about how much we are mistreated by those we volunteer to do business with.

 

What is the goal of the proponents of the minimum wage? I would guess it is a better life for everyone, on the surface. So let’s approach the subject with that goal in mind.

 

Do you buy more of a product at a low price than a high one? Come on, be honest. To think that the government can raise prices and maintain volume at the same time defies logic. When the minimum wage limits the amount of jobs available, we must accept some people will remain unemployed. Those people with jobs will support those who don’t have jobs. I don’t see how that would engender a harmonious society.

 

One attribute of a civilized society is to learn by example. Using the standard of low unemployment as beneficial, Switzerland sets a good example. Their unemployment rate has fluctuated between 2.5% and 4.5% since 2007. That is with no minimum wage. In the U.S., with a minimum wage, our unemployment rate has been between 4.5% and 10%. This is, of course, complicated by our funding an empire. But the fact that both a minimum wage and an empire are outside constitutional restraints, still shows the destructive force of central planning and doesn’t discount the unemployment figures entirely.

 

If price were not a factor in competition for jobs what do we do next? Wait longer, dress nicer, bribe? All these things might be necessary to get the job but do not bode well for the best job done once we get there. And that’s what it is all about, right? A better life for everyone does not include the waste of a fake job market.

 

My job at McDonalds was for minimum wage ($6.05 in today’s inflated dollars) and I don’t think I was worth it. But I was willing to learn and glad for the opportunity. Soon, with the patience of the manager who thought I looked too young, I was the go to fry guy.

 

That job at McDonalds, and other jobs since, helped shape values over the years that I’m proud of. Those values include rejection of the use of force. A minimum wage is force.

 

Fritz’s website is www.alternativebyfritz.com. Or he can be reached at 4selfgovernment@gmail.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Hoedown

Last night at the Hampton Hoedown, an old time country and gospel jam session, I was anxiously awaiting the final number. I thought Amber would play Last Date, a classic from Floyd Cramer. But, alas the nationalist fever prevailed and we sang God Bless America instead. This probably indicates the best reason to ask God’s blessing on America. At a venue where each musician freely contributes and others join in to make a composite that generally works well (as opposed to a planned arrangement) , I couldn’t think of a better illustration of what makes our country great. Amber’s version of this song is incrementally more moving and heartfelt than Floyd’s and to substitute a nationalistic chant in its place was a big disappointment. God Bless America by itself is not a bad song at all. But this time a connection to the 9/11 attacks was made. Make no mistake, the attack was allowed by a failure of our defense department and countless lives and trillions of dollars have been wasted as a reaction to them. Those attacks should have inspired an investigation into our foreign policy, not a mindless lashing out.  Here is Floyd’s version for reference:   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JvfG9uFswis. By all means may God bless America for its enabling opportunity for Amber and the other musicians to come together and create beautiful music. Maybe I’m missing something but I doubt God would be blessing us as a nation that assassinates people who haven’t been proven to deserve it (something in the Ten Commandments mentions this). Let’s hope God’s blessing returns some sanity to our nation and we give up the nationalistic fervor so similar to that which inspired the Germans to disregard those Commandments under Hitler. Instead we should be celebrating individual achievement. That is what has made our country great and differentiates it from all the other countries in the world.

Life Changing Experience

Our Life Changing Experience

Cliches have a purpose. Like language, they take a series of words that is widely recognized and project an idea.

“Life changing experience” is one of those cliches. It can be used as a crutch or a tool. I had a life changing experience back in the sixties. At an age where many were ripe to take a rebellious path, my friend Gregor pointed out the folly and evil of the Vietnam War. Up until that point I was with my family on this; a Goldwater Republican. I saw killing as a violation of The Golden Rule.

Now, almost fifty years later, things haven’t changed much. The pundits and politicians see human beings as cannon fodder in a sports contest. And the media, seeking something to hold attention and sell advertising, latch onto that because good news is boring. The violence perpetrated by the state becomes commonplace and accepted as the norm.

But now things seem to be improving. As much as I despise democracy, it looks like public opinion may bring us a more civilized society. In a great service to peace-loving Americans we now have a president who is demonstrating that war is a product of big government. Conservatives who salivated at the thought of a potential new conflict are questioning a Syrian intervention.

Bill O’Reilly, who rudely attacked Ron Paul for his anti-interventionist views, has pointed out that conservatives oppose Barack Obama on his Syria hawkishness because he is a Democrat. As much as I think O’Reilly is more of a marketer than a thinker, he is correct.

In opposing the Democrat Obama, these conservatives have had to defend their non-interventionist position. They’ve had to think deeper than just name-calling and their deep thinking has led them to the same logical thinking as the man they obviously hated but secretly admired, Ron Paul.

On the other side of the coin there are the traditional progressives. They are in love with the rhetoric of compassion spewed by Mr. Obama. And after all these years, finding a black man to boot, with the charisma to win the presidency, they’ve been giddy with delight.

All along they’ve had this weird idea that war is not a product of big government, but a lack of enough government. But if we go back to the days of our war of secession, the writings of the thinkers of the day warn us of entangling alliances and the destructive force of an unreasonable government.

Liberals and conservatives both, have been deluded into this idea that to cure the ills of the world, government should heal what it created. But now that we finally have the dream president (and he is just as big a killer as his predecessors) my liberal friends have dropped jaws and itchy scalps. They stare in amazement as big government is failing them.

This is great news. Over the years we’ve had our purchasing power erode. Families who were once the backbone of our society are viewed as an impediment to the better judgment of the state. War is now accepted as right as rain.

Now conservatives are talking about terrorism as retaliation rather than hatred for our freedoms. Liberals see a culture of dependance and irresponsibility is created by the welfare state. The mythological bubbles are bursting.

The life changing experience of the Nobel Prize winning peace candidate pleading for permission to blow people up and a Democrat wanting to do what Republicans have long claimed as their exclusive purpose, is bringing people to their senses. They are starting to see the use of force as the problem. It’s a start.

http://www.alternativebyfritz.com

Priate Land is better cared For

Here is a letter I sent to the War Street Journal today:

Dear Editor,

Regarding Jonathan Kahnoski’s letter about the greenies wishing to exclude ordinary people from federal land to “preserve” it, he gets it right almost until the end. He agrees with the environmentalists that privatization would be negative. But privatization would indeed be the best way to preserve and share that land with everyone.

Look around at how private land is treated as opposed to federal land. Weyerhaeuser and Ted Turner come to mind. Ownership is the best route to good care.

As far as access to the public, private ownership would best regulate to avoid “the tragedy of the commons.” Private owners could balance traffic with fees to determine who really cares enough to visit. The fees could go toward improving low impact access in order to provide profit.

This balancing act provided by private property in a free market trumps government control for access and preservation both.

Three letters in the WSJ about Syria

The Wall Street JournalNumber two is… well, what else is called number two? The first and third are much better than the paid scribblers at the Journal could do.
  • LETTERS
  • September 2, 2013, 12:55 p.m. ET

Bombing or Killing Assad Won’t Solve the Syrian Mess

Regarding your editorial “The Problem Is Assad” (Aug. 27): I am no fan of Bashar Assad, but I think our administration and most pundits are getting it wrong on Syria. What is going on there is not an insurrection of the good guys against the bad regime but is a full-blown civil war between two equally bad players, and Syrians are divided roughly 50-50. Both sides are equally brutal and anti-American. The only reason the rebels didn’t use chemical weapons is because they don’t have them. To take sides means we alienate half the population, and we make a bad situation a lot worse.

If Assad falls, Syria will not turn into a Middle-Eastern Switzerland. And not even into an Afghanistan or Iraq. It will most likely be a Somalia or Yemen ruled by a malicious Hydra with a thousand jihadist heads. There will be unimaginable slaughter of minorities and loyalists (roughly half the population), which is already taking place in rebel-controlled areas.

How would anybody who is calling for intervention have reacted if in 1864 some foreign country decided that the American civil war had gone far too long and had become too brutal, and that was time to end it by arming the rebels, bombing Washington and eliminating Abraham Lincoln?

An attack on Syria will be a grave mistake and will have catastrophic consequences for Syrians as well as for the whole region and far beyond. I hope cooler heads will prevail before it’s too late.

Hany Hamdy

Boston

 

The very idea that we have any chance of controlling the outcome by taking out Assad is folly. How would this be accomplished unless we deploy an occupying force? Syria would be the mother of all slogs, and the Russians and Chinese would jump for joy as we become pinned down again and deplete our Treasury. I say take out some serious Assad assets with cruise missiles and high-altitude bombers to send the message on the use of chemical weapons, and do so again and again if needed to cement the message, and then let them have at it and use the savings to invest in this country. Please, please, please, rent the film “Lawrence of Arabia.” You all need a refresher.

John R. Briggs

Fair Oaks, Calif.

 

Regarding Andrew Roberts’s “Syria’s Gas Attack on Civilization” (op-ed, Aug. 26): Why is annihilating 100,000 people with a nuclear bomb deemed less barbaric than killing a few hundred people with poison gas? Why is assassinating someone with a missile fired from a drone considered more civilized than beheading the same person? Quite simply the “law of war” is an irreconcilable oxymoron. Any attempt to rationalize one form of mass murder as inherently morally superior to another is a fool’s errand.

Michael H. Leb

Pasadena, Calif.

A version of this article appeared September 3, 2013, on page A14 in the U.S. edition of The Wall Street Journal, with the headline: Bombing or Killing Assad Won’t Solve the Syrian Mess.

Letter to the Mason City Globe Gazette:

Dear Editor,

All the discussion in the Syria debate centers around who used chemical weapons. The real issue is whether it is our business.

Syria is not our business any more than Korea, Vietnam, Iraq or Afghanistan. Rather than playing God, doing the impossible, the president should command our soldiers to defend the United States instead.

It is a free country, however and if the president (who was once the peace candidate) and his family wish to help Al-Qaeda and the other Syrian rebels, I, for one would be glad to buy them a plane ticket.