Go Ahead and raise the miniumum wage

Fast Food Kiosk

Liberals fight for the raising of wages. Conservatives fight to keep wages in check. The core of that fight is a socialistic view vs the invisible hand. I lean toward allowing the market dictate, but I can be rational.

If the US congress passes a bill for raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour, what will happen?

This answer will go in a couple directions.

1. The higher labor costs will be passed on to the consumer.

2. Labor will be reduced.  (you may see more self order kiosks and no cashier)

From what I have read about other countries with higher minimum wages, both will happen. The fact remains that business owners and operators are savvy and will come up with a model that works. Corporate profits might reduce somewhat. Investors may pull back somewhat.

The truly poor will feel the pinch more than others.

Where do minimum wage workers exist in our economy? Mostly in the food industry. Fast food chains and grocery hire and pay the minimum.  Why is that?  Well, the reality is the level of skill it takes to execute the job and the abundance of cheap labor (the uneducated and young).

We all need to eat. If prices go up at Burger King, you may decide to go elsewhere. But you can’t avoid the grocery store.

It would make sense to raise the minimum wage for workers over the age of 18. Teens need to focus on school and take advantage of the opportunities they have before them (free public education, federal college loans, etc).

A conservative solution to making a living wage.  Get educated or trained in a skill and get yourself out on the job market.

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Working from Home… Good or Bad?

working from home

The Yahoo! decision to end the policy of working from home has put a spotlight on the concept.  As a result there are many interesting takes on the matter.  One of them is a women’s rights issue.  I am sure on that, it feels like a stretch.  In the interest of equality in the workplace, I like to keep all employees on the same level.  There are single dads too.

I fall squarely in the middle.  I have worked remotely and I like it. Working from home can be good and bad.  It is not for everyone.  If you are a person who can set a task and get it done, then you are good.  If you are a 20-something who thinks you can multi-task (watching SyFy channel, reading comic books and managing workload) thus not finishing what you need to get done, then no.

For the old school management style, I understand the insecurity of not having physical bodies present in one place for you to “manage” (keep an eye on) or bounce a quick question off of.  This style of management is antiquated and seems better suited for a workforce that is less motivated, less educated, less self starting.

In a professional workforce, managers set goals and let the resources achieve.  Obviously there are technologies needed to keep a remote workforce within communication (Instant Messaging, Cell Phones, Video conferencing).  Not all companies have this ability (I argue that Yahoo! does).  SideBar: I find it funny that if my IM is offline, the sender feels “they can’t get hold of me”.  Uh, hello, email, call.  We are not avatars.

I have worked remotely and found great benefits of doing so.  I like the ability to focus on a single (or few) task(s) for a longer period of time without interruption (which sometimes means turning off the IM).  I really like saving the time (and gas) commuting (and showering).  I avoid the unnecessary kibitzing that often occurs in the office (note: this is also not all bad).  I find the home work time productive, but I would not want work from home full time.

The downside of remote workers is a disconnection from the others.  This is not always an element of all workplaces that is important.  Some places of work require more interactive collaboration where others require heads down focus.  For example, a team of software developers will need to sit in a room spitballing on a white board.  An editor may need seclusion to read through manuscripts and take notes.  My personal experience finds the need too queue up questions and get back to the office and have face to face meetings (PS.  meetings are for collaboration and decision making, not announcements to the team).

I don’t know the full reason why Yahoo! decided to pull back workers.  I suspect they feel their remote workers were not as productive .  I feel bad for those productive remote employees who are being punished by the others.  A blanket policy tends to crush the morale.  We will only see if this was a good move.

I feel that a workplace can evaluate those worker roles suited for Working From Home and make a decision on a case by case basis.  If you produce, it is a good policy.  If you don’t, then get in the office or get out.

Good Luck Yahoo!

PS.S.  It pisses me off how some people can’t communicate… like reply to email.  Often times email is used to ask a question not requiring immediate response.  I get peeved when no reply is ever received.  Or how about people who email you and immediately walk to your desk with “I sent you and email”.  I have ranted on this before.  Here.

A Father’s Survival Guide

Having children is a grand journey.  Without question.  But it is also not without its frustrating moments.  There are some tips and tricks you can follow to make the journey easier.

Here is the list in no particular order.

Noise cancelling headphones.  This one speaks for itself.  Buy Now.

Media outlets on your personal device.   Unless you are Donald Trump or Mr. Burns and have your own media room, your TV will get overrun with Cartoons and children glued to the TV.  #occupyMYTV.  You can tap into your cable channel or other free online media on your phone or tablet.  Install them for a private viewing room anywhere in the house (see Noise cancelling headphones).

A secret savings account.  This is not what you think.  I am not suggesting stashing money to buy booze or go to strip clubs.  I am saying to chuck away a few dollars for a sitter.  From time to time you and Mrs. or girlfriend need a date night.

A Kid PC.  Setup an old computer for use to browse the web.  Simply install the basics… virus protection, parental controls, and a web browser.  Bam!  Let ’em play games and watch youtube all day long.

Multiple DVR’s.  I got mine, you got yours.  I should not need to explain further.

A crap collection bin.  Put a container in a spot where you can collect all the junk the kids leave around and place in the bin for later return to their rooms.  My kids are constantly leaving clothes and toys in the living room.  Toss in the bin.  Buy Now.

More to come….

Year End 2012 Helpful life tips

Adam Carolla used to do his “Do yourself a favor” list of helpful things you can do to ease your life. (If you want to subscribe to Adam Carolla’s © podcast, visit here.)

I am going to partly steal the idea and carry on with it.  Here are some thoughts and ideas I believe you can employ to make living more enjoyable, reduce stress and basically make stuff easy.

Throw away any and all catalogs and advertising from the postal mail.  Flipping through these catalogs are fun but they also melt your brain and you end up buying crap you don’t really need.

Put basic tools in every room of the house.  Have a drawer or small toolbox with a hammer, tape measure, tape, screw drivers.  Keep this in the same place and don’t remove it from the room.  When you need it you know where it is.  Same goes for scissors, tape and post-it notes.

Remove sugary snack foods from the house.  If you crave the quick snack, its too easy to consume when they are accessible.

Buy a Universal remote for your TV’s and associated devices.  I have 3 of the Logitech remotes.  They are easy to program and makes turning on the TV, DVD, stereo etc. easy and keep only one remote handy.

Logitech 915-000162 Harmony 700 Rechargeable Remote with Color Screen (Black)

Don’t purchase something just because you have a coupon.  Chances are you don’t need it.

Use multi blade razors.  These are the best shave you can get.

Gillette Fusion Proglide Manual 1 Up Razor

Install a password manager on your computer.  There are many similar products out there, but do some research and choose on.  I use LastPass.  It’s great!  Coral your passwords to all those websites.  It can even autofill fields and log you in automagically.

Happy New Year and may your 2013 be fruitful.

Vote

Romney.

This country needs fiscal conservatism right now.

No matter what you believe about right to life or right to choose, this issue is not going come up in the next four years.  Same for same sex marriage.  These social issues are on the back burner for now.

If you think Romney will punish the poor and “give” tax breaks to the rich, you are a simpleton who believes TV ads.  No politician is that harsh from either side.  Likewise, Obama does not give out free phones.

Does our federal budget need fixed?  Yes.

Does our military spending need examined?  Yes.

Do our entitlement programs need restructuring?  Yes.

Will our taxes increase?  Yes.  That’s a fact no matter which party is in power.  I will say this… I much rather have a conservative shaping tax policy than a liberal.  I strongly believe in the prudence of conservative policy.  Taxation is not as simple as taxing the rich and we will balance our budget.  We need more people working and contributing to the overall tax base.

Romney.

Don’t be afraid to talk politics.

Tis the season.  The 2012 Prez election is more than in full swing.  The news is full of “he said this” “he said that”.  Debates occupy the water cooler talk.  Pundits are weighing in.  There is so much information it is hard to digest and understand it.

I know people who have claimed to stay off of Facebook because they can’t stand the blatant partisan postings of videos, pictures, sound bytes, quotes, you name it.  I am guilty of these postings and equally annoyed by others.  We don’t appreciate the slanted misguided postings.

I totally understand why people hate to talk politics.  I don’t like talking about ‘politics’ either.  I prefer actual policy talk.  Policy is the stuff that our elected officials vote on and get signed into law and then effect each of us more directly.  … Let’s be clear and define it now.  Policy is different than politics.

Politics revolves around rhetoric and belief systems.  Politics is more about how people are presenting and less about the reality of the policy that is tied to it.  For example: Nancy Pelosi was often stating that the healthcare bill will make people healthier once it passed.  This is a political statement instead of a policy statement.  I surely believe she believes it, but the healthcare bill was about insurance not healthcare.  I suppose she means that with more people being covered by insurance are more likely to visit a doctor thus be more healthy.  This is vague at best and I would disagree.  The DARE program hasn’t really moved the needle on underage smoking and drinking.  I digress.

Policy digs into the numbers, intention of a law, prescribed outcome, and so on.  Using the healthcare bill as an example, we are only now really understanding what our lives will look like once all the pieces of the law are implemented.  These higher costs and shifting of insurance coverages were not fully understand during the politics phase of the debate.  (Note: it is important to note that this bill was passed by only the Democrat majority.  No republicans).

Politicians will stand up in front of crowds and say a lot of things.  Most times the rhetoric is boiled down into a few easily digestible sentences for the masses to consume.  If more policy was being presented, people would tune out.  I get it.  It makes sense.

I think people are afraid to talk politics for a few reasons.  One, they don’t the issue very well.  There are many and most are hard to follow.  Two, they hate when someone gets far too animated or upset.  Three, the disagreement turns to an individual attack and name calling.

I believe people would engage more if they asked more questions.  Don’t be afraid to ask about a current event that you are not familiar with.  It is perfectly fine to ask “why did Todd Akin say ‘legitimate rape’ on tv”.  If your immediate group doesn’t know the answer, google it.

The information age is both a blessing and a curse.  There are just a many sources of info that are wrong or slanted as exist to be true and legitimate.  Between online newspapers, columnists, government resources, and youtube we should be able to find the information.

My wish for this great country is to have an educated voting public.  Each voter should vote with their head and their value system.  This is a responsibility to be engaged and know who represents you.  The United States is stronger when we have a full bipartisan representation (note: call back to the healthcare bill being passed by all Democrats and no Republicans).

I am also curious when I get to know someone whom I would consider a conservative person in the way the live or raise their kids, but they will lean more liberal when voting.  Don’t get me wrong, they have every right to do so but I don’t understand it.   Is it a lack equating their values to the vote?  Is it a shallow approach to the politician choices (I like that guy, he seems nice).   This concept would be an entirely different topic altogether, so I won’t go any further.

This must be said also.  When talking politics, don’t ever turn the discussion into a personal attack.  Don’t call the other person “stupid” or “you don’t know what you are talking about”.  The best approach is to determine the facts first then move into why you think the fact is good or bad.  Another fun tactic when debating is to reverse the politician and the topic (sort of walk in anothers shoes).  It helps keep the discussion away from “my guy” “your guy” conflicts.

So… don’t be afraid to talk politics.

PS.  Yes, I am conservative leaning guy but I respect the other sides opinions.  That is what keeps out country great.

I Love Google…

Google is like Jarvis is to Tony Stark.  …except you have to type (mostly).

I have an old 13 inch TV in my office and the cable signal is straight out of the wall (no box etc).  I don’t watch it much but some channels have a black box that appears and takes up most of the screen.

I never knew what it was.  So… I was watching the Chiefs, black box comes on, I got irritated.  So I googled it.

Turns out it was the Closed Captioning (CC) setting.  It was set to some odd setting.  Turned it off and BAM!  Now I can watch the dismal Chiefs lose another game.