Saturday, 4 February 2012

Kid Makes A Costly Move...a-hee-hee

9-year-old suspended after imitating Michael Jackson

A 9-year-old boy at St. Stanislaus Elementary School was immediately and indefinitely suspended Thursday night at a school lip-sync fundraiser after mimicking Michael Jackson’s famous groin grab during a rendition of “Billie Jean.”

Boberg said Lenny has performed similar Michael Jackson routines the past two years without incident at the St. Stan’s event, and that the Winona Area Catholic Schools’ Parent-Teacher-Partnership approved all event performances during a Tuesday rehearsal.

What's that shirt made of?

Caterpillar And My Free Market Plea...

What a hysterical, irrational and self debasing reaction I am observing with respect to the Caterpillar closure.
Ontario Minister: Caterpillar Behavior In Plant Closing "Shameful"

"I think it's shameful that this company made so little effort to get out and make a fair and balanced deal with the workers," said Ontario Labor Minister Linda Jeffrey in an interview"

 Caterpillar shutdown: U.S. company bails from London, Ont.’s Electro-Motive Diesel plant

 On Saturday, Progress Rail will hold a Muncie job fare at Delaware Hall, where welders will line up for jobs paying $14.50 an hour and assemblers can hope to be taken on for $12, scrabbling in the global race for ever-lower wages.
 The timing is so neat, the entire operation so surgical. Caterpillar has padded away from the entire affair without, insultingly, saying a word and without, clearly, bargaining in good faith with those who helped the company deliver its best performance in 65 years. As an analyst said last week, the company just doesn’t care, a point that makes the analyst quite happy, by the way. It was, after all, a blowout year for the company.
Caterpillar will move its operation to Indiana, where Right-to-Work policies drive down wages and working conditions. "It is astounding how easily the Harper government has given up on those jobs - on Canadians who expect their government to fight for them. This company never negotiated in good faith and used the lock-out as a pretext to close the plant. This sets a bad precedent for the future of Canada's labour relations, which may give rise to similar tactics by other employers, unless immediate action is taken by governments."
And finally, a commenter from my previous blog entry on the subject:

I feel sad for you people who just don't get what it's all about, would rather kiss-up to the wealthy 1% than find any compassion for the children who will suffer as a result of this. Caterpillar made *billions* of dollars last year. There is no need for them to demand a cut in wages, to shut down a factory. It is a completely heartless move. And children will suffer. It is *never* a child's choice to suffer! But you seem to be ok with that. Shame on you!

Let's work through some basic, obvious points:
     1. The capital behind the company is owned by...shareholders.  Not true is the socialist myth that the workers share in the ownership.  When was the last time a company went bankrupt and the workers liquidated their personal assets and paid the debt off?  The board of directors directs the company's strategic operations via appointing a CEO who in turns appoints management.  People make decisions.  Follow the money trail and the shareholders 'own' Caterpillar.  These three words put together might really bug and annoy many, but it's true. Shareholders own Caterpillar.
     2. Stewarding that which you own is good, not evil.  Who works hard for a car and destroys it on purpose, for no purpose?  Who spends Saturday mornings messing up their house? Did you ever go to a guests house and say, "Thanks for inviting me over, but I think you are really evil because you did a really, really, really good job cleaning your's too clean."?  We are typically honoured when someone cleans a house in lieu of our arrival.  Stewarding that which you own is good. 
     3. The group/person that owns resources has authority to decide how to steward the resources. (Pending you do not break any laws.)  If you buy a hockey card, you can choose to rip it up or you can choose to protect it and cherish it.  This is the beauty of ownership; it's your choice.  You cannot however, put sharp knives on the end of the card and throw it like a ninja star into the eyes of your nemesis (that would be assault and breaking the law).
     4.  Okay, here's the big jump...
Caterpillar stewarding that which it owns is good (not evil) and it's their choice as to how they steward their resources.
If 1. 2. and 3. are true, then it only makes sense to say the following:
Shareholders who own Caterpillar vote on directing the company resources and they choose how to best fulfil how they define 'good steardship'.  Pending they do not break any laws, it's their choice, not ours as to how they decide to allocate resources.  Just like it's your choice to rip your hockey card or keep it protected.
     5. To the Ontario Minister, they did make a fair and balanced offer.  Remember, $12-$14 is what they can get.  So they have to 'tip the balence' by offering the same...which it appears they did. Is the Minister's definition of balance some kind of anti-free market entitlement offer?  If so, he better wake up to reality. $12-$14 is what they can get.
     6. The logic of 'they are making huge profits therefore they should give more money to the workers' is as stupid and silly as me saying to my dinner host, "You should really mess up your house a bit because it's too clean and it makes me feel like the cleanliness of my house is insufficient...let's balance this out a bit".  Their drive to excellence should not be my escape into justifying bitterness, envy and entitlement.   My host can choose to steward her property how she chooses without fear of being judged for how she defines excellence.  It's her property. It's Caterpillar's resources.  Where is all the 'judge not' lingo now? 
Final Comments:

     Let's say you own a home and hire a lady to clean for $30/hour @ 8 hours per day.
5 years later, another lady offers to work for $20/hour and says she can do the job in 4 hours.
Who do you hire?
What if some groups protest, cry, whine and demand the owner of the house keep the first lady at $30/hour x 8 hours per day?  Would you keep the more expensive person?  Regardless of your choice, the bottom line is that it's your choice.  I respect your choice.  Please respect mine.  Please respect Caterpillar's.
     What if the same groups say, "you are making lots of money, therefore you should keep existing employees for much more then what other employees are willing to work for."
Would you stick to your guns and hire the better value service?  If you managed your resources well and made good money, do you have an obligation to change your principles of money management to get poor value for your dollar?  Would the Minister be accurate in calling your choice to find better value, "shameful"?
     Like the commenter to my last blog, what if you are accused of hurting children and causing suffering?  I submit that it's not a home owner's job to cater to a particular cleaner for life. It is the homeowners job to get good value for a cleaning service. It is not Caterpillar's responsibility to raise children.  It's their job to build machines.  It's the parents job to raise the the tragedy of this particular commenter's opinion actually turns to the parents and puts them in the spotlight.  Parents of Caterpillar, you made a choice to work at Caterpillar and put your time and talents into a company you knew had a 'profit motive', what did you do to prepare for the inevitable move to a place where they can get the same service for half the cost?  I hope lots.
     With respect to welfare government handouts, that is your bone to pick with government, not Caterpillar or any other company for that matter.  (I would join you on that one!)
     The 08' recession was cruel and hard on my companies.  We almost went under.  I was tempted to 'blame' the free market and the 'evil banks', however I realised that got me nothing and nowhere.  I decided to learn, work hard and be thankful for what I have.  I am thankful surviving and do not take 1 day for granted.
     For the people critiquing Caterpillar, I encourage you to start your own company and pay more for a service (for whatever reason suits your fancy).  You will soon come to a sharp and real understanding about capital and it's value.  If you want to forgo that suggestion and simply call out the free market as evil, then I would say we can start the debate with the cards on the table.  Enough of 'loving capitalism' when a company chooses to invest and hating capitalism when that same company uses the same power of choice to relocate their capital.  If you want to help the city of London so much, take your capital and invest it there.  The people who call out Caterpillar for not investing millions in London are almost always the same people who invest $0 themselves.   It's easier to invest/risk $0 of your own money and judge another company for how they handle their millions invested. The hypocrisy is incredible. 
     Here is the letter I would write if I were just fired:
(I have lost customers before and this is exactly the attitude I have taken with them...even though it hurt me greatly inside)
Dear Caterpillar,
Thank you for risking capital to employee me.  I received fair wages for my time and talents and I respect your choice to relocate capital elsewhere based on your ability to find the same service for less.  I have leaned through this process to be grateful for what I have.  I am thankful that I can take my skills and talents to the open market where I will be compensated fairly.  If us union workers think we got ripped off, I love the fact we can pool our money together and start our own company where we can compete in the open marketplace.  Hey, we may be your largest competitor one day.  Thank you for teaching me how to use my skills to further my life. 

Best wishes
Ryan Jantzi,
Former Caterpillar Worker

Friday, 3 February 2012

Unions And the Free Market

Walkom: Caterpillar closing part of a coordinated attack on unions

Since it locked out 460 Canadian workers in January, the giant U.S. firm had made little secret of its intent to move their jobs to Muncie, Indiana.
All it was waiting for, apparently, was a signal that the state government there was serious about crippling trade unions.
The London plant closing is not an isolated event. It is part of a coordinated attack across North America on unions and wages.

Let the market be free!
Pay for performance.  A company may move capital and get more for less. That is smart and logical, not greedy.
Who's the greedy one?  I say the workers who expect more then their services are worth!
"Pay me more then what the free market is willing to pay! If you don't, you are greedy!"
Dear workers: put your own capital up. Hire a person for more then what the free market is offering and we will see how you respond to that under performing situation.  Until then, practice an attitude of thankfulness and not entitlement.  

Thursday, 2 February 2012

Choice, Minimum Wage And A Bit Of Abortion

"Hi Mark, how's it going?"

"Oh no, that's too bad.  What's going on?" I asked.  
"I have been exploited, taken advantage of and completely devalued." 
Like any good friend, I did the right thing and simply listened to him, "Go on Mark, what happened?"

"So I was driving home from work and I was inspired to pick my wife up a gift at the mall. While blitzing each store, I came across a really neat gift.  It was a beautiful jewelry box.  Right before I was going grab it, some 8 year old girl snags the last one from the shelf.  Then I proceed to tell the girl that I was emotionally moved by the jewellery box and that I had my eye on it first.  The girl gives me attitude and says, "I got it first, and I am now going to pay for it, it's mine."

"Dear God, this is terrible" I sarcastically quipped.  
Not picking up on my fading interest in his crisis, he continues, "I really, really, really wanted that so I tried to barter with the girl.  She said, 'if you want this, I want $150.'  I quickly processed her obscene request to charge 5 times the retail value and realised I am in a deep hole with my wife and this girls gift is my ticket out.  I forked over the cash and I now had my gift, I felt relieved.  Walking out of the store I moved toward the exit only to find another store loaded to the brim with the same jewelery box for the measly $30 price I almost could have paid.  I yelped, "Oh for crap sakes." 
That little girls voice in the background replied to my comment with, "If I would have told you that every other department store has loads of them, I would not have made $120 extra money."

"I was suckered Ryan. Exploited. Taken advantage of.  It is simply not fair.  Her 'inside information' to the world of malls and 'girly items' was an unfair advantage in her profiting off of me.  It's not my fault I don't know the jewelry box is a common item.  I am not an 'expert' on girly items!  She should not have been allowed to do this to me.  I should be able to live in a country where I am not exploited and taken advantage of.  There should be laws against this."

My friend Mark just twitched a 'socialist nerve' in my body and I asked if I could ask some questions about his situation, to try to help him.

1. Did you choose to have a want? (the jewelry box)
2. Did you choose to act on impulse? Versus carefully choosing to research your options?
3. Did you choose to focus on 1 store instead of walking the mall to get a consensus?
4. Did you choose to keep silent and not ask the store manager when more are coming in?
5. Did you choose to buy something that you had a poor knowledge base in?
6. Did you choose to either reject/avoid advice from family, friends and experts? I mean, what if you got the 8 year old to advise you instead of arguing with her? Perhaps she would have directed you to another store? (people love to help)

"So, how can you be possibly be exploited and this be nobodies fault but your own given the entire process was your choice?  Furthermore, why do you demand a government body make laws to protect you from your choices and the fruit thereof? What's the crime Mark? Prevent choice within a free market?"

Mark lectures me, "Ryan, Ryan, will never get it, will you.  Perhaps I should tell you a story about my employer exploiting his workers.  He's just like that little girl."
I walked away from the conversation and wished Mark well.

I wish debates were more honest.
Why do we not let people choose their wages with their employer?  What are we so afraid of? Employees making poor choices? You don't trust them to negotiate? If they don't like the wages, they can walk.  If the employee chooses a rate lower then minimum wage, who is anybody to deny their choice? It's their choice of their free will.  On abortion, it's all about the women's right to choose.  On employment contracts, suddenly choice is not only irrelevant, it is also illegal (i.e minimum wage). 

Finally, lack of Choice Devalues People:

Erica is an honest employer.  To make a profit on an assembly line she can pay a person $8.00/hour.  She is law abiding and refuses to pay below minimum wage, so she does not hire for that added work on the assembly line.
Brent is desperate for work and catches wind that Erica has a job that could open if $8.00 were acceptable.  Brent pleads with Erica for the job at $8.00 saying he is happy, eager and willing to work.  Erica declines Brent's offer due to not wanting to break the law.
Brent fails to make rent payment and is on the streets.
Lack of choice hurt Brent with rent and hurt Erica's company from further profiting.
If 'choice' is the basis for a woman's right to terminate a child, then choice should equally be the right for an employer and employee to choose...especially since both employer and employee are willing participants...unlike the child who has no say in the matter.

The hypocrisy is pathetic.
(P.S, Should minimum wage be abolished, I would not lower any employee's wage, I am grateful the wages in my company command greater then minimum wage and I hope it only gets better!)

At Last, Some Common Sense

House bans welfare recipients' money from strip clubs, liquor stores

The House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed a bill that prohibits welfare recipients from using their government subsidy in strip clubs, liquor stores and casinos.

Canada, take note...
(Although it's nearly impossible to regulate a man's heart)

Perhaps tax dollars can be better used? 

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