Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Cruising the Web

Harry Reid is not a natural politician. His career is replete with unfortunate statements that would sink a less powerful politicians. Remember when he mused about how badly tourists to the Capitol smell or when he said Obama would succeed because he was well-spoken and light-skinned. He apologized and liberals forgave him because...well, because he's a Democrat. He gets away with having become a millionaire while spending his life in public office. Jon Ralston who is the go-to guy on covering Nevada politics explains how Harry Reid's kryptonite is trying to steer money to members of his family. Not only has he steered his campaign funds to his granddaughter, he's also gotten some of his major donors to contribute to her business. The guy has long been a sleaze in his own finances and now he's spreading that sleaze to a new generation of Reids.

It's Harry Reid week! The National Journal explains how Harry Reid has kept Republicans from proposing amendments on Senate bills. It's called filling the tree and what Reid does is enough amendments so that there are no spaces left for Republicans. There is no pretense as to his purpose.
These amendments typically make very small, and sometimes even conflicting changes to the underlying bill. One of Reid's amendments filed on the unemployment insurance extension bill, which is expected to pass the Senate on Monday, for example, changes the enactment date of the legislation to one day after the president signs the bill. Another changes it to two days after the bill is enacted, a third to three days, and on and on over the course of eleven different amendments, up to a six-day delay.

None of those amendments made it into the final legislation, some were dropped Wednesday, while others were withdrawn Thursday on a majority vote just before the Senate filed cloture on the bill, which means no new amendments will be considered.

Reid rebuffed several Republicans' calls for greater participation in the amendment process last week, arguing that their amendments are aimed not at influencing the underlying legislation, but preventing it from passing altogether.
Reid's real concern is to prevent the Republicans from offering amendments that would make difficult votes for Democratic senators. It's the same reason why he doesn't bring up the many bills that the House has passed and then derides Republicans for having no ideas of their own. It is why the Senate went so long without passing a budget and will not do so again this year. But like so much of what Harry Reid has done, he has created precedents that the Democrats will come to rue if the Republicans ever regain control of the Senate.

President Obama continues to try to use federal money to buy supporters.

The NLRB wants to give unions a veto over an employer's decision to relocate.
Current law was thoughtfully constructed decades ago by a unanimous board composed of Democratic as well as Republican members. It protects the interests of workers and their unions while allowing employers the freedom necessary to compete and prosper. Griffin's decision to seek a change in this law and construct a Berlin Wall of bargaining obligations around unionized businesses will hasten those companies' demise and harm the economy. It will undoubtedly be approved by the board's majority, however, which is made up of committed members of the labor movement whose passionate desire to hold the line on the loss of union jobs in the private sector matches Griffin's.

Such a change in the law is in the short-term interest of Big Labor but ignores the interests of the nation as a whole. It is the price we pay when control of a small but important federal agency is turned over to political appointees who are unable to fairly balance the interests of those it is charged with regulating and protecting.
This is why the Supreme Court case considering Obama's "recess" appointment of a member to the NLRB is so important. Overturning that nomination could change the membership of the board and make such an unbalanced decision giving unions power over business decisions much more difficult to enact.

Glenn Reynolds has five suggestions about how to protect people's privacy rights.

The students at my school are so enthralled by the 2048 game. Apparently, the reason why is all about dopamine.

Megan McArdle explains how tough it is to get a handle on how many uninsured people there are out there.

It's pretty stupid of the Democrats to base a whole campaign strategy railing against billionaires in politics when they're funded by their own set of billionaires.

It really is funny to see Jay Carney try to defend the fact that women employees are paid less than men with all the same arguments why experts say that the whole brouhaha over the mythological pay gap between men and women. The WSJ has a column today by Mark J. Perry and Andrew G. Biggs debunking yet again the "77 cents on the dollar" myth about women's pay and why the administration's continued efforts to gin up a fake war-on-women will ultimately backfire against women.
While the BLS reports that full-time female workers earned 81% of full-time males, that is very different than saying that women earned 81% of what men earned for doing the same jobs, while working the same hours, with the same level of risk, with the same educational background and the same years of continuous, uninterrupted work experience, and assuming no gender differences in family roles like child care. In a more comprehensive study that controlled for most of these relevant variables simultaneously—such as that from economists June and Dave O'Neill for the American Enterprise Institute in 2012—nearly all of the 23% raw gender pay gap cited by Mr. Obama can be attributed to factors other than discrimination. The O'Neills conclude that, "labor market discrimination is unlikely to account for more than 5% but may not be present at all."

These gender-disparity claims are also economically illogical. If women were paid 77 cents on the dollar, a profit-oriented firm could dramatically cut labor costs by replacing male employees with females. Progressives assume that businesses nickel-and-dime suppliers, customers, consultants, anyone with whom they come into contact—yet ignore a great opportunity to reduce wages costs by 23%. They don't ignore the opportunity because it doesn't exist. Women are not in fact paid 77 cents on the dollar for doing the same work as men.

Administration officials are (very) occasionally challenged on their discrimination claims. The reply is that even if lower average female pay is a result of women's choices, those choices are themselves driven by discrimination. Yet the choice of college major is quite free, and many colleges recruit women into high-paying science or math majors. Likewise, many women prefer to stay home with their children. If doing so allows their husbands to maximize their own earnings, it's not clear that the families are worse off. It makes no sense to sue employers for choices made by women years or decades earlier.

The administration's claims regarding the gender pay gap are faulty, and its proposal to make it easier for women to sue employers for equal pay would create a disincentive for firms to hire women.

Now this is the way to deal with the Westboro protesters.

Ugh! What a creepy story. Meet the human Barbie doll.