Thursday, May 14, 2009

The Lottery

A female teacher from Baldwin is getting $5 million from the school district for sexual harassment. The principal supposedly used sexist language in front of her. As a result, the taxpayers of Baldwin have to pay for her emotional distress, everyone pays for higher insurance rates and this woman gets millions. Her husband even gets $250,000 for “emotional pain”.
The first response to this is to ask where to sign up to get harassed. The second is to question the decision to give this woman millions. If it were proven that the principal is a lout (the story speaks only of allegations and trial testimony (he said and she said is not proof) fire the guy, give her back pay and move on. This decision is just dopey. The listed offenses are that he used sexist language, actually mentioned a student’s underclothes and made a derogatory comment about the woman when she filed suit. Who is defining sexist language these days and how much does it costs to use it? If people can see a student’s under clothes, it is inappropriate and the principal should say/do something about it. If an employee sues you for millions calling the complainant a name seems a reasonable response. What are the appropriate comments that would not cost the school district money?

And who was actually punished - the principal or the tax payers?
Where does it say that someone’s personal comments are the responsibility of the employer?
Has no one ever heard the “sticks and stones” rhyme?
Juries seem to have the opinion that there they can help someone hit the jackpot and no body pays except the insurance company. Just dopey


There is certainly no justification for driving while impaired. The regulatory problem is that, like many social issues, the issue has been taken over by extremists. The impairment level has been lowered in the social interests of eliminating the problem to the point where a glass or two of wine and you fail the test. Meanwhile the penalty for driving while impaired has remained the same and is too lenient. You can run over someone and get a few months.
The easy solution is to raise the impairment level to one that indicates actual impairment and increase the penalty. If someone is stopped and fails or refuses the breath test, automatically impounding the vehicle, impose a substantial fine and a jail stay. No arguments.
Continually lowering the level and making the penalty a slap on the wrist. Under the current system there are serious multiple offenders driving around and endangering us all.

Good Health

The current Administration sees Socialized medicine as the solution and its getting closer. The reality is that there is no one in the process that is interested or has any incentive in controlling costs.

The providers are getting the money so why should they lower costs. There is no price competition.

The only thing the government as payer can do is to ration the care. It will just take longer to get anything. That is the Socialized model in England, Canada and elsewhere.

The consumers have no real way of shopping for anything. There is no possible end to the health care problem as long as the consumer has no interest in the pricing process. We shop for everything else we buy except health care. But when shopping is allowed, the prices come down over time. The prime examples are Lasik surgery and optional cosmetic surgery which are generally not covered by any medical plan.

Changes to the current system are certainly needed but they must include giving the customer a reward for assisting in the cost control process.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Free Enterprise

The day after Thanksgiving, a Long Island WalMart had some advertised sales. These sales drew a crowd of customers, even before the store opened. When the store did open, the assembled herd stampeded into the store and trampled an employee who unfortunately died. The local DA took WalMart to court. WalMart settled out of court for a few million dollars and court control over future security procedures and providing make work jobs for 50 local unemployables.
From WalMart’s point, they get rid of a criminal case that would have cost more to fight in court but the dead guy’s relatives will still sue them for something in civil court. From The DA’s perspective, she won over the evil corporation. WalMart now has to submit safety plans for Government approval. And government control over business takes another step forward.

But what was WalMart guilty of? Offering good at prices that attracted too many people? Having customers that were unable to act like civilized people? The logical solution for WalMart seems to be to raise their prices and not have sales.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009


Federal Reserve is measuring the Banks for their ability to handle stress. This is a blatant and uncontrolled attempt to nationalize the banking industry. The banks that need capital are going to have to go to the government for it; converting the preferred stock to common would raise the capital (lower the debit). That means that the Govt will own more of the banking industry. That won't work. The same people responsible for the wonderful job the Departments of Education and Energy are not going to get the financial industry to work. There will be 535 CEOs in Congress with uninformed opinions of what to do. Anyone who will be hired will be a GS- 12 who is willing to work for a limited salary in another Govt job. That's just swell.

In a related matter, Congress is working to loosen lending standards. Are they total morons? Of course they are. Loose credit standards are what started all of this. The Fed report complains that Banks are tightening their lending parameters - as they should. If a down payment, a good credit history and a proven good credit history had always been requirements for a mortgage we would not be where we are now. The hope is that these are the “more difficult” parameters that Congress is complaining about..

The goal should be that financial institutions, including Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, make loans that will be paid back. Continuing to make loans based upon people's "need" to get a loan rather than ability to repay will only mean more defaults and more bail outs.