Category Archives: Business

America’s Shutdown Indifference

It is hard to work up sympathy for people who seem indifferent to the plights of the people in flyoverland who pay their salaries:

I mention these anecdotes not because I think the present record-setting shutdown is good or sane policy but because I am trying to illustrate why I and other Americans have a hard time caring much about it. In the popular imagination — and sometimes in dozens of little-read memos from the inspectors general of various departments — the average federal employee appears to be lazy, incompetent, performing meaningless tasks for too much pay, with an enviable array of benefits and other amenities (I still roll my eyes in disgust whenever I am reminded that there exist special credit unions for federal employees, whose pay and job security would be the envy of a hundred million other Americans). Government employees, at both the state and federal level, are among the only workers in the United States who continue to be represented by powerful unions, despite the fact that by definition they’re not bargaining against capital but against their fellow citizens.

This is to say nothing of the vast assortment of contractors, consultants, and hangers-on whose “work” has been temporarily interrupted by the shutdown. Their grotesque salaries have blighted the landscape with McMansions and driven housing prices in Maryland and northern Virginia to a level beyond what most families with children will ever be able to afford. So the people whose job it is to bid up the price of useless airplanes or dream up rival marketing schemes for some “cloud” project while our nation’s capital lacks a functional public transit system are going to have .05 percent fewer billable hours for the year? Boo hoo.

There is a lot of damage being done to space activities, though. Tethers Unlimited just had to do a 20% layoff due to contract delays. It’s only a partial shutdown, but NASA is part of it. There were a lot of papers not presented last week in San Diego because NASA employees weren’t allowed to attend the conference. Fortunately, people working Commercial Crew are “essential,” though they are working without pay. JPL may have to do layoffs if this continues into February.

[Via Glenn, who writes] “Coal miners lose their jobs for good and it’s ‘you’re obsolete, learn to code!’ Federal workers have a few paychecks delayed and the press is in heartstring-tugging mode.”

[Update a couple minutes later]

Roger Simon: The shutdown should go on forever:

That mysterious Trump official is also correct in saying that the shutdown should be about much more than the wall and border security. Serious as they may be, they are what the shrinks call the “presenting complaint.” The real issue is the function of government itself — what’s important and what’s not. A shutdown can serve as a living laboratory for examining the question of what is actually worthwhile that is missing because of that event. I daresay that most outside the Beltway would be hard pressed to find anything. (A fair number of these people can get around the National Parks by themselves, especially in the days of GPS.)

Both sides fear shutdowns not just because of that nauseatingly tedious inter-party blame game, but more importantly because it exposes this bloat and who caused it (i.e., who paid for what). This is the Deep State in action, in the off-chance anyone hasn’t noticed. What has been created by our government over decades is a self-preservation machine immune to the normal capitalist processes of creative destruction that have largely improved society over centuries, enriching almost everyone and extending life expectancy.


[Update a few minutes later]

More good news: The IRS will issue refunds, but not do audits, during the shutdown.


Thoughts on their attempt to get woke, go broke:

Gillette has learned that in [current year], it’s not enough for a company to make a product that people want. It’s not enough to make them feel inadequate about themselves, and then sell them the supposed cure for that inadequacy. Consumers, men in particular, must be made to feel worthless. They have to be reminded that their needs and desires are wrong under any circumstances, that their instincts are loathsome, that their very existence is a malignancy, and that they’re responsible for all the world’s ills whether they want to admit it or not.

Now give them your money, you piece of garbage.

There are a lot of alternatives.

[Update a few minutes later]

Wow, they’ve even turned Piers Morgan into a men-rights activist.

[Wednesday-morning update]

The toxic mission to re-engineer men.

[Late-morning update]

More thoughts from Lileks:

The first half of the ad is stupid – all these guys staring in the mirror, wondering “Am I a straw man who actually laughed at that ‘Married with Children’ episode in 1999?” The clueless, fatal association of grilling with indifferent lunkhead men, the sort of detail that could only come from men who write long essays for Medium about how they feel alienated from grilling and always get nervous sweat when they have to go to a backyard party, because there are like, these dudes, standing over the fire? And it’s so, like, primal? god none of these people ever listen to Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me you can just tell but I guess I can stand here and joke while I drink this beer because airquotes it’s what guys do airquotes

Here’s the thing, though. I am not completely outraged. Take care of your kids, set a good example, don’t catcall – sure. Yes. Men who do these things will surely agree. Men who do not are unlikely to be moved to behave otherwise. But men who do these things already will not find the commercial supportive; they’re more likely to be irritated that someone presumes they have to be told these things.


Conservative Professors

in “progressive” academia.

Dunn described to Campus Reform how difficult it was to find conservative professors to include in their study.

“To actually find conservatives in several disciplines we had to use what’s called a snowball sample,” he said. “That method is used with difficult-to-locate populations like the homeless. I think it is both telling and ironic that we had to use it with conservatives. With a snowball sample, you find someone in the population you’re looking for and ask them where you could find more people like them.”

It’s samizdat.