Categories
economics The Collapse

Collapsing

California average gas prices just broke $6 a gallon. The national average is currently 25% less than that at $4.59 a gallon, but many experts are calling for gas prices to reach $6 a gallon within the next 60 days. So they are calling for a 25% increase in 2 months, meaning that fuel prices are now doubling every 8 months. Since everything you buy has to be transported from one place to the other, this will continue to contribute to inflation.

In fact, gas stations in Washington state are already preparing for $10 a gallon gasoline prices. We are on the cusp of seeing hyperinflation and a collapse of the US economy.

Categories
economics Price Controls

Venezuela as a Map

The Fed is asking businesses to enact a hiring freeze to help fight inflation. The thought here is to cut off the demand for labor, which will prevent wages from increasing. This will in turn lower the amount of money available to chase goods, which will reduce demand and thereby control inflation. In other words, they want to make everyone poorer by keeping you from being able to get a job or run your business.

This is a common scenario for socialism/communism:

  • They enact policies of free stuff, which causes runaway inflation.
  • To combat that inflation, they begin wage and price controls.
  • This causes shortages of goods and labor.

How long will it be before we are eating our pets?

Inflation won’t be controlled by keeping people poor on purpose. It will be controlled by stopping leftist idiots in the government from doing things like mailing out checks so people can have free Internet.

Categories
economics

Inflation

Citrus County, Florida median home price was $195k in February of 2021. In March of 2022, that had risen to $280k. A 44 percent increase in 13 months. That makes the 30% increase in rent prices seem tame.

Thanks, Brandon.

Categories
economics

Pass The Gasoline

Amidst the highest level of inflation since Jimmy Carter, the current resident of the White House is considering throwing gasoline on the fire by waving his executive pencil and forgiving $10,000 in student loan debt per borrower.

The administration claims that this will forgive $321 billion in loans, but my back of the napkin figures place that at closer to $400 billion. In any case, that means that another $350 billion or so dollars will suddenly be added to the dollars circulating through this inflationary economy in a time when we should be tightening economic purse strings, not spending like there is no tomorrow.

Inflation will continue to get worse. It’s like a couple of 14 year old kids are playing with a can of gasoline and some matches. In the house.

Categories
economics

More Inflation

Publix supermarket has had a free prescription program since 2007. A list of medications including blood pressure, diabetes, and antibiotic medications were free at Publix for the past 15 years. The supermarket chain claims to have filled over 100 million free prescriptions during that time.

That comes to an end on June 1. Instead, many of those medications will be available for $7.50 for a 90 day supply WITH INSURANCE. So those who have relied on Publix to fill prescriptions will now have to scramble to find insurance.

Inflation in the Biden economy continues.

Categories
economics

Reedy Creek

The left has suddenly abandoned its hatred of big business and defense of the little guy. Now they support big pharma, they support Disney, and they want companies running the show. I never thought that I would see the day. So Florida just voted to eliminate Disney’s government.

Now that Florida is removing Disney’s right to be its own government, what does that mean? Let’s start by explaining what the Reedy Creek Improvement District is, and what it does.

History

On May 12, 1967 then Governor of Florida Claude Kirk signed a bill into law establishing the Reedy Creek Improvement District (RCID). On the same date, he signed the incorporation acts for two incorporated cities within the district: Bay Lake and Reedy Creek. (The City of Reedy Creek was renamed to the City of Lake Buena Vista around 1970.) Before that time, nearly all of the area was undeveloped swamp land. Of the 25,000 acres of land within the RCID, Disney owns more 68% of it, RCID owns 29% of it, the State of Florida owns 2% of it, and a small plot of 110 acres belongs to “others.” Reading below, you will see that much of this 110 acres belongs to the board of directors, so they can legally serve on the board.

RCID provides to the area what local governments normally provide: fire protection, street lighting, garbage collection, water and sewer services, permitting, tax collection, and more. The District can issue bonds, and more importantly for Disney, controls all building codes and rules. Since RCID is located in two counties (Orange and Osceola), the ability to make its own rules concerning flood control, building permits, and environmental impact has meant that Disney has been out of reach of any local government regulation for over 50 years.

With more than 500 current employees who handle things like a laboratory for testing water and environmental concerns, an electric power-generating facility, a water treatment facility, recycling center, and a fire department, RCID provides all of the services that a small city does.

Governing Board and Voting

RCID receives all its income from taxes and fees imposed within its boundaries. This is a huge boon for Disney, because they are essentially paying taxes to themselves. RCID has an annual budget of $119 million, with more than $90 million of that being paid by Disney. Considering the value of all of those resorts and theme parks, $96 million in taxes and fees is a bargain.

A board of five supervisors elected by the landowners conducts the business of the district at monthly board meetings. The supervisors must also be landowners. Since Disney owns the land in the district, Disney sells five-acre blocks of undeveloped land to the supervisors. Since, you guessed it, Disney owns virtually all of the land within RCID, Disney decides who is on the board. On completion of their terms, these individuals (who are also employees of Disney) sell their land back to the company. Votes are strictly proportional to the acreage owned, so the company basically governs its own property. The law permits supervisors to vote on contracts between the district and their own companies. The board doesn’t change hands very often. For example, the President of the Board of Directors has only been held by five men since its inception in 1967: Larry Hames (the current President), Donald Greer (who is still on the board), Tom Moses, Tom DeWolf, and Joe Potter.

Losing the RCID

The impact of losing the RCID on Disney will be large. The company will have to pay taxes, water and sewage fees, and more importantly will lose the ability to set its own building codes and regulations. There are those who claim that Disney might simply leave the state. That would be ridiculous. The cost for Disney to replace just the road network that it has built around the parks is over $200 million. There is land development, flood control, infrastructure, as well as the cost of replacing four major theme parks, another six minor theme parks, a hospital, power plant, water and sewage plant, and all 31 Disney owned resort hotels. This would also require the moving of the animals located within the zoo at Animal Kingdom, meaning that wherever the company went would have to have similar climate. It would all need to be near a major airport, and a large source of employees. Even if all of that were possible, Disney would then have to fund and construct the project, which would take a decade and cost billions of dollars. The total assessed value of the property within RCID is $13.7 billion. Moving that just isn’t happening.

So how will this affect Disney and the surrounding area then? Let me start by explaining something I know a lot about: the fire department.

Reedy Creek Fire Department has 138 people staffing four fire stations. (Another 86 personnel provide admin and first aid within the parks, but that service would likely remain a Disney provided resource as it does in other area parks like Universal Studios and Sea World.) They are all union employees who are very well paid. People will leave years long careers at other departments to work for Reedy Creek, mostly due to light call loads and high pay. The RCFD pensions are paid for by the Florida taxpayer, and since pay is so high at RCFD, the pensions are high as well.

Thanks to the good condition of the buildings, Reedy Creek doesn’t run many fires, and the ones they do get are generally wildland fires. More than 97% of the calls that they get are EMS calls. The operating budget for this department is over $32 million a year. In contrast, the Kissimmee Fire Department (located a few miles away) is of similar size and call load, has a budget of $17.1 million a year.

Starting pay for a firefighter paramedic at Reedy Creek is nearly $60,000 a year. If the RCID is disbanded, firefighters may get picked up by Orange County Fire Rescue, where their starting pay is considerably less at $52,700.

They are screaming that the fire department will be eliminated. Scare people into thinking that they will be unsafe. If the firefighters want to continue working there, they are going to have to take a large pay cut. Firefighters with Reedy Creek claim that they aren’t Disney employees, but that is smoke and mirrors. As you have seen on this page, this is a distinction that exists only on paper.

The democrats are pulling out all of the stops. The local news is filled with stories of tax increases, lost jobs, and other disasters. They are really trying to whip up the local public into thinking the sky is falling. None of that will happen. It’s all election year scare politics.

Sources

Reedy Creek Facts from the Office of Program Policy Analysis, 2004

Reedy Creek Budget

Categories
Tipping

Why Tipping Sucks

I first referenced this video in 2015. Since I don’t have a post ready this morning, I will just rerun it.

Categories
Cancel Culture Race baiting Tipping

Tips Below 20% Make You a Racist Homophobe

According to this article, everyone should tip 20% no matter what.

You cannot will yourself to be blind to physical differences. Remove those biases by deciding to tip 20% before ever laying eyes on your server. Don’t even bring the quality of your service into the equation.

First, they attempt to quote scholarly sources like the characters in Harry Potter:

The sometimes-wise Sirius Black tells always-garbage Ron Weasley, “If you want to know what a man’s like, take a good look at how he treats his inferiors, not his equals.” Well said, dog stars!

The odd part is that this moron doesn’t even know that JK Rowling plagiarized that line from numerous historical figures.

Then they appeal to your leftist cred, because if you don’t tip at least 20%, you are a racist or something.

The tipping system also opens up opportunities for us to flex our unconscious biases. Racism, sexism, ageism, and ableism decimate the earning potential of many competent servers.

Not to be appropriative, but: you’re woke, aren’t you? A big part of being woke is admitting that you have unconscious biases.

Then they proceed to make flawed analogies:

I work a salaried job. I have bad days—days where I am grouchy, disorganized, and distracted. You know what my company doesn’t do in response? Send me a smaller paycheck that month.

Here is the flaw in your argument, cupcake: I am not your employer. You don’t work for me, I have absolutely no contractual obligation to you. If you don’t like your job or what you get paid, get a different job. To show you exactly how asinine and flawed your position is, I could use your same logic and apply it to my own job: If I have a great day at work and save your life, will you give me extra money in appreciation? If I have a bad day and kill your mother when I accidentally give her the wrong medication, shouldn’t I still get paid the same amount as when I saved a life?

This mental midget then goes on to make the classic threat that they always make: threaten to spit in your food.

Categories
economics

Visible Inflation

If you live in the southeast, especially in Florida, you know what Publix is. Publix is quintessential Florida and has been since before my parents were born. Things like BOGO and PubSub are just a part of what makes this store unlike others. Now I know that the prices are not always the lowest, but once you come to know Publix, you come to know when and how to get the best prices. The nice thing about Publix (and why prices are slightly higher) is that many of the products are locally grown: produce, meat, and much of the seafood comes from Florida, as do a lot of the other products.

One of the things that Publix does, is sell food items that make Florida culture what it is. In the spring, that always means grilling out. Yes, you know that spring has finally arrived when Publix begins selling the stuff you need for grilling your dinner. One of the meals that I always make to begin the spring grilling season is: BBQ chicken quarters, grilled ears of yellow corn still in the husk, fries, and grilled watermelon.

I went to Publix to get the stuff today, and this is what I saw:

There are so many things in this picture that are problematic.

  • First, its bicolor corn, not yellow. There is no yellow corn.
  • Second, bicolor corn is usually even cheaper than yellow.
  • Third, ears of yellow corn have sold 5 for $2 every spring and summer for the past few years. Until now.

So this is not only a shortage, but also indicates about a 70% year over year increase in the price of corn, and the corn you get for that inflated price is inferior to what you got just a year ago.

Next, I stopped by the meat department for the chicken quarters. They had chicken breasts, they had thighs, and they had breasts, but no quarters. The butcher asked me if I was looking for anything, and I told him I wanted some chicken quarters for some grilling. He laughed and said he was looking for a blonde millionaire who would trade him a Ferrari for some sex. I told him that he must be keeping his Ferrari out back with the chicken quarters. We laughed, but then he said that they have been hard pressed to keep the meat department stocked over the past few weeks.

The signs are being carefully hidden, but they are there. It’s ominous, but the signs are there.

Categories
Price Controls

Now It’s Nashville

Now rent control is coming to Nashville. In city after city, we are seeing reports of 20, 30, even 40 percent increases in rents. Market forces are putting pressure on rents nationwide.

Governments have been trying to set maximum or minimum prices since ancient times. The Old Testament prohibited interest on loans, medieval governments fixed the maximum price of bread, and in recent years, governments in the United States have fixed the price of gasoline, the rent on apartments, and the wage of unskilled labor, to name a few. 

Price controls hold within them the promise of protecting groups that are hard-pressed to meet price increases. Like all price controls, rent controls are supposed to protect those who are renting when the demand for apartments exceeds the supply and landlords were preparing to “gouge” their tenants. But what price controls actually do is distort the allocation of resources. See Venezuela for the inevitable conclusion to that plan.

The unrealistic assumptions behind the logic of those who argue for price controls are amazing. The first of those assumptions is that hikes in prices apparently have no impact on consumers’ demand for goods.

Governments may not know much, but they do know how to produce a shortage or surplus. Price ceilings, which prevent prices from exceeding a certain maximum, cause shortages. If you mandate that a product be sold below its value, those holding that product simply refuse to sell. This spawns a black market where the product is sold at its new (even higher) value.

Price floors, which prohibit prices below a certain minimum, cause surpluses. That is, dictating that consumers buy a product for more than it is worth causes consumers to stop buying. The surplus means many can’t find jobs, which forces some to work (under the table) for an amount below that minimum. (See illegal immigrants)

The law of unintended consequences is at work always and everywhere. People outraged about high prices of plywood in areas devastated by hurricanes, for example, may advocate price controls to keep the prices closer to usual levels. An unintended consequence is that suppliers of plywood from outside the region, who would have been willing to drive in to supply plywood quickly at the higher market price, are less willing to do so at the government-controlled price. Thus results a shortage of a good where it is badly needed.

This entire cycle of inflating the currency before installing price controls is another means of increasing government power.

“Inflate the money stock; when prices rise, impose price controls to correct the situation. These controls lead to shortages which ‘require’ government intervention to assure appropriate use of the limited supply and to allocate it and even to control and nationalize the production of energy. The powers of political authorities are increased; the open society is suppressed.”

Armen Alchian, 1976

This entire exercise is a means of grabbing more power and control by a government keen on stealing private property.

Private property rights contain three key features: (1) the right to make decisions about the physical conditions and uses of specified goods, (2) the right to sell the rights of ownership to other people, and (3) the right to enjoy the resulting income and to bear the loss of the use decision.

Armen A. Alchian, Universal Economics

Read more here about the government’s motives.