America has about 4% of the world’s population, yet houses 25% of the world’s incarcerated. What’s going on here? Chris Campbell digs deep into the industry to figure out the truth. While many blame the private prison industry, the real culprit, says Chris, begins right outside your door. Read on…
Bitcoin has been pretty quiet lately. But that doesn’t mean big things aren’t taking place behind-the-scenes for the digital currency. In today’s Laissez Faire Today, Chris Campbell pulls back the curtain and shows you how Bitcoin is quietly slipping into the mainstream. He also shows you why now could be the time to buy now, or forever hold your peace. Read on…
Want to get rich? Don’t listen to financial “gurus,” says Chris Campbell. In today’s Laissez Faire Today, Chris shares a Zen proverb and shows how understanding it is the only real way to get rich (and live a rich life). Read on…
Ben Franklin once said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” In today’s Laissez Faire Today, you’ll learn about one FREE website that has the potential to not only keep your family safe – but also open your eyes to what’s happening in your own neighborhood. Chris Campbell has all the details. Read on…
All over the world, power is dying. The dictators and tyrants of the world are no longer able to wield it like they once used to. And they’re losing it to the “little guy.” Chris Campbell shows you how to be the king of your castle by taking advantage of this fact. Today, you’ll learn how to grab “power gaps” in the market and channel them into your product idea or project. Read on…
The fireflies along the tidal rivers of Malaysia show "feats of synchrony that occur spontaneously, almost as if nature has an eerie yearning for order." Chris Campbell tells you where else this might occur in the world. Also, new technology may revolutionize the agriculture industry and what we think of as a farm.
Jeff Davis is running for Governor in Hawaii and has an interesting campaign strategy. Also, what motivates hackers is revealed and the findings might surprise you. Finally, Ferguson is discussed in a new light. Chris Campbell has more...
The so-called recovery is only built on debt and printed cash declares our own Byron King. In the long term, the only option for the government to continue financing it's operations is to print too many dollars. Money printing has it's limits, however. It's Byron's opinion that at some point, perhaps very soon, the government will have to turn to more desperate measures. Namely, capital controls. In the following featured essay, Byron outlines 4 probably ways the government will take your cash and one play you can buy through your broker to prepare today. Read on...
When’s the best time to invest in something? When everyone else is trying to get their money out of it. It might go against conventional thinking, but following the crowd usually makes you miss the real opportunities. At one monetary metal conference recently, the smartest guys in the industry sat down to discuss where these real hidden gems lay.
In a 2009 article, the Huffington Post went into considerable detail about the number of people with PhD degrees in economics employed by the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. This is the government’s branch of the Federal Reserve. It is not one of the 12 regional Federal Reserve banks, all of which […]
Greetings from Maine! Right now, I’m writing from within foghorn distance of the sea. And this gives me an opportunity to tell you a down east tale that should serve as a warning to every investor: Maine’s Great Gold Swindle.I’m not talking about central banks, or manipulation of today’s markets. I’m talking about something from […]
The U.S. dollar is the dominant global reserve currency. All markets, including stocks, bonds, commodities, and foreign exchange are affected by the value of the dollar.The value of the dollar, in effect, its “price” is determined by interest rates. When the Federal Reserve manipulates interest rates, it is manipulating, and therefore distorting, every market in […]
Let’s head back in time…In 2004, a mere decade ago, the US national debt rang the register at $7.4 trillion. That represents “debt per citizen” of over $25,000. You, me, your neighbor, your 4-yr old grandson, you name it and they’re portion of the U.S. debt is $25k.But flash forward to today and you’ll see […]
Alexander Hamilton was America’s first Secretary of Treasury under President George Washington. When he first entered office in 1789, America was an agricultural nation of just 4 million still broke from its financially costly victory over the British Empire in the Revolutionary War.The states had accumulated relatively massive debts to finance that war, which mostly […]
Remember that correction we’ve been quietly talking about over the past couple of months?Well, it might be right around the corner. Stocks waited until the last day of the month to nose-dive. The S&P 500 posted its first 2% down day since April — and the Dow wasn’t far behind. Early this morning, futures continue […]
A great technology solves a problem that we didn’t know we had. It makes us aware of deprivations we didn’t know existed until we discover the new thing. Once discovered, we can’t go back.People in the 1950s, for example, never missed the smart phone. They were pleased to have a phone at all. But today, […]
In early July 1944, delegates from 44 countries gathered at the Mount Washington Hotel in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire. A three-week summit took place, at which a new system was agreed to regulate the international monetary and financial order after the Second World War.The U.S. was already the world’s commercial powerhouse, having eclipsed the British […]
When you type a website address into a browser, you might have noticed that the letters “http” appear at the front. “HTTP” stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol. In typing a Web address, you are actually sending an HTTP command to transmit that website to you. Hypertext Transfer Protocol is the means by which information is […]
In 2012, money mandarins running the European Union chose stagnation over restructuring. Here’s a consequence of that choice: expectations for a self-sustaining economic recovery keep getting crushed.Two years ago, European Central Bank (ECB) chief Mario Draghi promised to do “whatever it takes” to hold the eurozone together. He bluffed nervous investors into believing in a […]
Here’s a fun fact: Although we all hate the U.S. dollar, as it continues to hemorrhage wealth, its foothold as the world’s reserve currency isn’t going to disappear overnight.A Russian gas deal with China won’t change that — as we’ll highlight below.But before we get to the nitty-gritty, let’s dive into a story that’s right […]
Franklin Delano Roosevelt famously used the term “forgotten man” in a 1932 speech to describe those at the bottom of the economic pyramid who, he felt, government should aid.But the originator of the phrase “forgotten man” had a whole different meaning in mind. He aimed to expose the seeming good intentions of government to reveal […]
“As the nation’s central bank, the Federal Reserve derives its authority from the Congress of the United States. It is considered an independent central bank because its monetary policy decisions do not have to be approved by the President or anyone else in the executive or legislative branches of government, it does not receive funding […]
The Keynesian disaster recovery plan has been to lower rates, force people to take more risk in search of yield, and entice others to borrow and spend and, magically, more jobs will be created. If people won’t buy stocks, central banks will.Back in 2011, Ben Bernanke, when asked if QE2 was driving up stock prices, […]
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, consumer prices are rising at a 2.1% annual rate. This suggests to us that the current stock market boom will die with a bang, rather than a whimper.Fed economists say they don’t think inflation rates are rising. They think the most recent reading is a fluke. But why […]
Real progress happens through real people, ideas, and innovations. Not by legislation argued and debated in Congress. Right now, one of the most influential technologies is changing the way people do business. And reinventing the future in the process.
As the world gets more digital, people forget about the benefits of transacting in cash. And government officials know that.
The experts will tell you the recession is over, but they’re only torturing the data to hide the truth. The economy never recovered from the downturn it experienced. But the downturn happened in 2000, not 2008. The country’s been in the middle of a 14 year recession and hardly anyone knows the truth.
Oh, how the media love a good strike. Look at these fast-food workers and peasants standing up to the owners of capital! They aren’t going to take the oppression anymore. The suits in the boardrooms had better shape up and stop hoarding all that money. They need to give it up to the men and women who are doing the work by giving them not $8 per hour, but $15. And they need to act now.
And so goes the media narrative on the “nationwide” walkouts from fast-food restaurants this week. Thousands of stories poured out in the papers and wire services. The signs, the screaming, the demands, the sad stories of exploitation, the reporters shouting over the yelling — it’s all a scene out of the old storybooks.
But wait just a minute, here. These people are demanding a doubling of wages? You don’t even have to study economics for more than a few seconds to see that this would be catastrophic for employment.
Think of it this way: What if the price of a Big Mac suddenly went from $4 to $8? Are you going to buy as many? McDonald’s can’t make you. Do a quick mental experiment and imagine what would happen to the demand for this sandwich. Well, in the same way, no one can force McDonald’s to buy labor at $15 an hour. Demand for labor would collapse. Bankruptcies would abound. People would suffer.
So what’s with these demands? Sure, everyone wants more money (universal rule!) but this is a horrible way to go about it.
If you look a bit more deeply, you begin to the see the hoax. There’s every indication that people outside the restaurants protesting didn’t actually work for the place they were protesting. It was a classic “rent-a-mob” situation, and the rent was being paid by political activists whose agenda has nothing to do with helping the average burger flipper.
These were mostly media stunts cooked up by the Service Employees International Union, which bused in these so-called workers as a fulfillment of a little charade and subsequent media blitz. The SEIU coordinates these protests with various professional worker groups and in conjunction with the press to make the biggest possible splash.
Notice that in the course of the protests, McDonald’s, Wendy’s and Burger King reported on no cases of actual shutdowns due to striking workers. A rare case was reported in Detroit, but it seemed to come and go. There were sporadic reports of some closings, but due more to the chaos than refusal to work. As Labor Notes reported, “A Qdoba Mexican Grill was entirely shut down when a crowd occupied the store. A Subway was unable to stay open because of a large crowd out front.”
In other words, the most these so-called walkouts accomplished was to block the entrances for consumers. As soon as the ruckus ended, consumers poured back in and workers happily served up the food and drink that people wanted.
That alone is enough to cause any objective observer to suspect a rat. Among all the media stories about these so-called strikes, only Bloomberg hinted at the reality: “Moments after protesters left a Wendy’s in downtown Manhattan, about 20 people piled into the store for lunch. When chanting strikers entered the Chicago McDonald’s, workers continued to pour coffee and bag food for a throng of customers.”
RealClearMarkets provided some more detail — and did so even before the protests began. In short, these were not workers, but pressure groups acting in a coordinated fashion through politically driven “workers centers” — Fast Food Forward and Low Pay Is Not OK — backed by the American Federation of Teachers, the new incarnation of the Obama-ite ACORN, and other highly politicized parasites:
“Fast Food Forward and Low Pay Is Not OK are allied with other worker centers, including Stand Up KC, Raise Up Milwaukee, Fight for 15, Central American Resource Center, MassUniting, Rally for 15, Atlanta Jobs with Justice, Flint-15. At Low Pay Is Not OK’s website, people can download a strike kit (“Download 15 Steps for $15/hour”) and a strike letter… Fast Food Forward activists do not have to worry about losing their own jobs, so they seek extraordinary wage increases of up to 100%.
“Fast Food Forward is funded by New York Communities for Change, which was set up in 2010 to replace the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, better known as ACORN. ACORN closed down due to financial shenanigans and scandal, but NYCC has the same address and leadership. Jonathan Westin, a former ACORN organizer, directs NYCC and Fast Food Forward.
“The SEIU has contributed over $100,000 to NYCC, according to documents filed with the Labor Department. These documents also show that NYCC received $353,881 from the United Federation of Teachers between Aug. 1, 2011 and July 31, 2012.”
If you want to follow the money further, you can trace Teachers Union dollars straight back to you and me in the form of the taxes we pay. So to some extent, this whole charade was a subsidized racket.
Stranger still, consider that these so-called strikes have no real end game. You can’t negotiate with an entire industry. Wages in these franchises are decided by the local owners, not dictated by the center. If McDonald’s corporate headquarters suddenly mandated a $15 minimum, it would stand in massive contract violation with the owners of the stores — robbing them of their rights.
It would never happen. But if it did, the result would be to bankrupt thousands of stores, throw possibly millions of people out of work, and do terrible damage to future job creation. These franchises operate on extremely thin margins as it is, and the owners never know for sure whether they are going to make it another year.
As for the workers themselves, they are mostly entry-level jobs, and some 75% of the new workers in these restaurants end up leaving for other positions after a year of work. In other words, these are brilliant places to get your foot in the door. They hire people who really need the experience and train them in money management, cooking skills, interpersonal skills, and the ethic of the commercial marketplace.
The agenda of these activists groups is to ruin this beautiful opportunity for people. And what’s the point? Well, labor unions of the sort represented by SEIU are nearly extinct in this modern, dynamic, entrepreneurial economy. They once dominated. Now, the percentage of private sector workers who are unionized is down to 6.6%. Even the rate of government unionization is collapsing by one-third.
Looking at this bigger picture, you can see that these stunts are really acts of desperation. The unions need to shore up their membership. They will do it at the expense of the poor, the low-wage workers, small-business owners, and consumers. They really don’t care. At this late stage, these near-death unions are willing to pillage anyone and everyone just to survive.
The mainstream press is not doing anyone favors by covering up the true racket here. The fast-food franchises are not owned and run by fat cats, but by mostly local business owners who scraped up enough money to take on a risky investment. They have suffered terrible economic strain over the past five years, with ever-increasing regulatory costs, higher minimum wages, and the constant threat of death by Obamacare.
Despite all this, fast food has been a growth industry — a bright spot in a dim economic landscape. This faked “strike” charade is the last thing they need right now. The trolls will always be with us. If only the attention-hungry press would learn to spot them and ignore them so business could get on with making the world a better place.