Democrats Hate Suburbia

And won’t rest until everything is a high-rise, mess. Democrats vs. Suburbia: Biden Will Make ‘Magic Dirt Theory’ Federal Policy.

And then I investigated, and discovered that Democrats plan to abolish single-family home zoning.

It’s for your own good peasant, so just shut up and do what we tell you to do.

Here is what is said on Biden’s website – after you click past the plea for money. The Biden Plan for Investing in Our Communities through Housing – Joe Biden for President

Eliminate local and state housing regulations that perpetuate discrimination. Exclusionary zoning has for decades been strategically used to keep people of color and low-income families out of certain communities.

Want to live in a neighborhood of single-family homes? Nope, not allowed. Want to minimum lot size. Nope not allowed. Want a minimum house size? (That is common in upscale developments.) Also not allowed.

All decisions will be made by the Dems in Washington. Because they know best.

Back to The Other McCain for the definition of the Magic Dirt Theory.

Biden and the Democrats have embraced, as the basis of policy, what Vox Day has called Magic Dirt Theory, “the idea that beliefs, behaviors, and values somehow appear in particular geographical areas, from the air, from the water, or from the ground, rather than being carried from place to place by groups of people wherever they happen to be.”

This is a problem.

Reality Is True Even If You Wish It Weren’t

What happens when politicians command the economy? Or at least try to? Bad things happen. The minimum wage was supposed to help the workers of Seattle. It seems that it hasn’t worked out that way.

Here’s a video from Prager University on the impact raising the minimum wage has had on the restaurant industry in Seattle as told by someone who works for restaurants, Simone Barron, Co-founder of Full Service Workers Alliance.

Hat tip to SiGraybeard and Seattle Takes Another Poison Pill, which talks about more ways the Seattle politicians are conspiring to drive businesses out of Seattle.

Banning Conservatives Is More Fun than Dealing with Crooks

Or so the behavior of Google/YouTube seems to indicate. Apple cofounder Steve Wozniak is suing YouTube after grifters used his likeness to promote extensive bitcoin scams.

The scam uses images and video of Wozniak to convince users to send bitcoin in order to receive twice as much back as part of a bitcoin giveaway, according to the lawsuit. YouTube has been hosting such videos for months and defrauded YouTube users our of millions of dollars, the lawsuit claims.

Funny how things work, isn’t it…

What Is The Difference Between the GOP and the Dems?

Not too damn much. Rand Paul says GOP lunch was like meeting with ‘Bernie Bros,’ blasts party on spending.

Sen. Rand Paul slammed Republican colleagues on Tuesday after leaving a coronavirus stimulus bill negotiating session, venting that he could have been in a meeting with “Bernie Bros” while claiming there are no fiscal conservatives left in the Senate.

There is “no difference” between the Democratic and Republican parties when it comes to spending, he said.

What’s a trillion dollars between friends?

Red Bull Not Caving to BLM

Finally, a company has enough. Red Bull Fires ‘Woke’ Diversity Directors Who Tried to Push For BLM Support.

Not only were the top two North American executives fired, but so were entire marketing teams and “culture” teams that were dedicated to pushing the lie of systemic racism.

Red Bull has just shown the way forward for all who want to prevent a total Marxist-style takeover of business and government in America. There is no appeasing these people, the only way forward is to fire them as quickly as possible, and with no mercy. Err on the side of firing everyone, if need be.

They’ve canceled events and entertainment tie-ins.

I may have to see if I can develop a taste for Red Bull, because I am sure that the Left will be calling for boycott in about 4 seconds.

Chicago’s Financial Problems Are NOT From COVID-19

Chicago and Cook County have been ignoring problems for so long, they don’t know what actually paying the bills would look like. Maybe it is just Standard Operating Procedure at this point. In any event they want the federal .gov to solve their problems.

Meep at STUMP continues on the review of states/cities in trouble with Polities Under Fiscal Pressure: Chicago and Cook County.

I wanted to quote one of Meep’s titles for the title of this post, but there are so many choices picking one is hard. “Deep in the Suck” or “A Big Ball of Bad Ideas” were contenders, but I also appreciated the reference to the Stevie Smith poem “Not Waving But Drowning.”

As you can guess by the list of past posts on the fiscal state of Chicago, below, or the few I’ve mentioned already, things are not good in Chicago. Things are not a lot better in Cook County.

They both want bailouts. They are both trying to blame the pandemic.

There are snippets from interviews with Chicago Mayor, Lori Lightfoot, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, and even a few words form Ammar Rizki, Cook County’s Chief Financial Officer. But really all you have to do is look at the litany of woe of past posts by Meep, which she has thoughtfully collected for us.

It’s much, much worse.

Now, that may seem like a lot of posts, but more are here in my Chicago post compilation [which stops around 2017… I really should go back sometime.]

The compilation post is truly massive. And to think people accuse me of picking on Chicago, but they make it so damn easy.

Chicago is in for a bumpy ride, but it really doesn’t have much to do with COVID-19. You should definitely review the link at the top of this post. There is a lot of material. But the most important is that Chicago and Cook County expect you to pay for their insanity from the past decades.

So Is This a Green Car?

I mean, it is a hybrid. Sort of. The 2021 Ferrari SF90 Stradale Goes from Silent to Violent.

I love it when engineers throw a monkey wrench into the works.

So a Ferrari with a front wheel drive electric drive-train. Sounds like a green car to me….

Now, before you panic at the thought of an electric Ferrari, we’ll inform you that the SF90 Stradale also has a brand-appropriate twin-turbocharged V-8 right behind the passenger compartment. Working together, the gas and electric systems deliver a mouthwatering 986 horsepower.

If taxpayer subsidies were still available (are they still being handed out in California?) this car just might qualify. It does have an “electric-only” range, but it is only 15 miles. Because we need to be handing out taxpayer funds to people buying half-a-million-dollar cars if we can get them to go green, or something. $511,250 is the base price. (Hat tip to Tam via Twitter.)

PG & E Pleads Guilty to Involuntary Manslaughter

So who will be held accountable? No one. PG&E pleads guilty to 84 deaths in 2018 Camp Fire.

PG&E CEO Bill Johnson made the roughly 170-mile journey from the company’s San Francisco headquarters to a Butte County courthouse to plead guilty to 84 felony counts of involuntary manslaughter stemming from a November 2018 wildfire ignited by the utility’s crumbling electrical grid. The blaze nearly wiped out the entire town of Paradise and drove PG&E into bankruptcy early last year.

It’s all a sham, meant to “shame” the company. No one will be imprisoned. (Hat tip to Wirecutter.)

The Law Is Complicated, and Riots Are Bad for Business

Oh, and minority-owned firms have it worse on both counts. Business is picking up in Chicago, but for some minority-owned shops and restaurants, ‘it’s still not enough.’

First there was COVID-19, and Illinois and Chicago have been crazier than most about the lockdown. Then there was a loan program to help small businesses. And then there were riots. I’m expecting either an alien invasion, or Sweet Meteor of Death before the end of the month.

Let’s start with the law… Loans were made available for businesses impacted by COVID-19 shutdowns. But if you didn’t understand banking…

As of June 6, the SBA approved more than 4.5 million PPP loans worth $511 billion. In Illinois, there have been 186,337 PPP loans approved for more than $22 billion, according to Rob Scott, administrator for the SBA’s Great Lakes Region.

The SBA currently does not have data on the ethnic or racial demographics of borrowers. But getting information on PPP loans has been a challenge for some small-business owners of color, experts say.

Unnamed, anonymous “experts.” And in the age of the internet, getting information is “a challenge.” Okay.

To be forgiven the bulk of the loan needs to be spent on payroll. Not something a restaurant will always be able to do.

For nearly two weeks, Santoyo conducted her own research to see if her business qualified. Santoyo said there wasn’t enough outreach in Latino communities, and the language barrier kept some of her friends in the business community from applying.

I’m shocked to discover that not speaking English in a predominately English-speaking country is a disadvantage. If only there was some way to learn a foreign language! OK, not really shocked.

So how many “community organizing” groups call Chicago home? Jesse Jackson is there, but for all his “rainbow” talk, I doubt he has much outreach in the Latino community. So, do none of the community organizers have contacts in banking? Do any of the community organizers have outreach to restaurant owners? It looks like the answer to both questions is, “Hell no!” (Maybe someone can tell me what they actually do someday.)

Then there are the riots.

Gomez was getting ready to open for outdoor dining after months of relying on sales from carryout orders when widespread unrest hit the city over the death of George Floyd, a black man killed last month at the hands of Minneapolis police. Several businesses on the South and West Side were hit by looting. The response scared a lot of diners, and Gomez closed early three days, causing sales to drop to 10% of normal pandemic levels.

As I said before, I’m also shocked to discover that rioting is bad for the businesses in the affected neighborhoods, or in the city as a whole. Okay, I’m not that shocked about this either.

But it is really all the fault of the EEEEEVIL bankers. Banks “apparently” helped their established customers first. The horror! (“Hey Fred, this is Tom at First Evil Bank of Chicago. Have you seen the stuff about this new COVID loan program? I think you might qualify.”) That should be a capital offense. Pun intended.

“By having large financial institutions distribute these loans, you are placing these businesses at a disadvantage,” [Ashley Harrington, a federal advocacy director for the Center for Responsible Lending, a Durham, North Carolina-based nonprofit that advocates for fair and inclusive lending] said.

Most business owners of color typically don’t have a prior relationship with a larger bank, she said. Owners had a lot of questions and didn’t know what documents they needed to receive a loan, which held them back as banks were swamped with applications, Harrington said.

Repeat the two questions about community organizers and bankers and restaurateurs here. You get the same answer.

Let me take a guess that Ashley Harrington is the one of (the only?) expert cited above in the anonymous section. And in a story about Chicago restaurants, is the best source you can find in North Carolina? Okay then.

In the Least-surprising News of the Week…

We find that rioting is bad for the economy. Chicago’s South Side Left With Few Food Options After Weekend Violence.

Everything from neighborhood markets, to Jewel-Osco to Walmart have been trashed.

On Sunday night, [ the Jewel-Osco on 75th Street] was ravaged by looters, as you can see by the aftermath captured in video from the next day, leaving neighbors frustrated.

“It’s not what you do. It’s how do you do it,” Wright said. “What did we accomplish, aside from take our property value down and embarrass ourselves?”

Wright, his grandmother and so many around here are trying to figure out which stores on the South Side are even left right now.

Chicago now has food deserts in places that weren’t food deserts before.

And some of the retailers are trying to decide if it makes sense to rebuild. Some probably will. Some will probably decide that the economics no longer make sense.

Dismantle the Tax Base

They will get their wish for a reduced police force, along with generally reduced city services. Well, it’s a Blue City in a Blue State, so I think they will start by issuing bonds. Otherwise known as kicking the problem down the road. Manufacturer that burned as Minneapolis protests turned violent plans to relocate from city.

A Minneapolis manufacturing company has decided to leave the city, with the company’s owner saying he can’t trust public officials who allowed his plant to burn during the recent riots. The move will cost the city about 50 jobs.

Fifty jobs to leave the city. Sales tax. Income tax. I don’t know how taxes are handled in Minnesota, but my guess is that each employee pays tax. Not to mention what they spend on lunch, coffee, etc. That may not seem like a lot of jobs, and it isn’t, but it is probably only the first announcement.

[Mayor Jacob] Frey said Monday that he was unaware of 7-Sigma’s decision to move, and he declined to say whether the company’s decision reflects the challenges facing city leaders as they try to convince business owners to rebuild in Minneapolis. Many business owners have criticized the city, saying their pleas for help went unanswered.

If you had a business, and were looking to rebuild or expand, would you choose Minneapolis? Or Chicago? Or any big city? I have helped move companies out of Chicago over less incentive than riots. Sales tax and employment taxes were too high in Chicago in the 1990s. It has gotten worse since then. (Hat tip to Ace of Spades HQ and Brietbart.)

And not to be outdone, Chicago now has an irony problem. Chicago Mayor Now Pleading With Walmart And Other Companies Not To Leave The City.

After the recent riots which saw multiple large stores looted, some retailers are having second thoughts about remaining in certain cities.

In Chicago, Mayor Lori Lightfoot has been talking to these retailers and asking them not to leave the city.

But as I’ve mentioned elsewhere, City Hall in Chicago, and the State’s Attorney’s Office for Cook County have decided that law and order are bad, and have done all they can to eliminate it.

Rebuilding After a Disaster

The cascading failures of the Edenville and Sanford dams and the impact on the local economy. ‘And then the dam broke’: Business owners try to rebuild after devastating flood.

Gum and Long are trying to figure out how to rebuild in a town whose future is none too certain after cascading dam failures drained Sanford and Wixom lakes — and the local economy that revolved around the man-made impoundments of the Tittabawassee River.

“If there’s no people coming through to their cottages, if there’s no boating activity, I think it could be a huge challenge for that area to survive,” Gum said.

The state of Michigan denied funds to repair the Edenville dam. That request was for less than 2 million dollars. The economic impact is many times that. Destroyed businesses. Destroyed roads. Destroyed homes.

As is usually the case with articles like this, it focuses on one business, with insights from a few others, but that means there isn’t much in the way of total impact numbers to be found anywhere. Maybe the state doesn’t know yet. The business in question, a restaurant, is out somewhere between 250,000 and 1 million dollars.

And while this article doesn’t say, it seems that most people, downriver from two, 100-year-old dams, didn’t have flood insurance. In case you don’t know, your homeowners’ insurance won’t cover flooding. If you live downstream from a dam, you might consider it.

Blue State Blues

I hope Meep is planning to do all of the states eventually, or at least of of the states in fiscal distress. But that is a tall order. To date she’s done California and Illinois.

First up: States Under Fiscal Pressure: California.

The second one is that, unlike the federal government, they don’t have a money printer, and they really need tax revenue.

Governor Newsom of California announced yesterday that he is relaxing the statewide lockdown sooner than he had said he would.

What gives? I think Newsom is finally recognizing tradeoffs. He started the fiscal year with an expected budget surplus. He now expects a state government deficit of $54.3 billion.

At least they had a surplus going in to this mess. It shows some level of discipline. Unlike Illinois.

Illinois has some serious problems. States Under Fiscal Pressure: Illinois.

They’ve been issuing bonds with some of the highest yields in the muni market because of course they are.

So let’s hit the issues, in no particular order.
Illinois looking to raise public employees’ salaries

Wirepoints: Big raises for Chicago Teachers Union, state’s AFSCME shows where federal aid to Illinois will end up – Wirepoints

As hundreds of thousands of Chicagoans are getting laid off or seeing their pay slashed as a result of the economic shutdown, Chicago’s Mayor Lori Lightfoot has been quietly finalizing the $1.5 billion, five-year contract she negotiated with the Chicago Teachers Union six months ago.

So they’re broke. Beyond broke. And they are handing out raises, and holding their hand out for a handout from the rest of us. Yeah, count me out.

Do You Think Only New York Wants a Bailout?

New York is only the 9th worst state, in terms of debt per capita. STUMP » Articles » Classic STUMP: Visualizing the Financial State of the States » 8 May 2020, 11:51. Does a post form 2019 qualify as “classic?” I’ll let it slide.

The word of the day is choropleth. That is a color coded map, that conveys info, in this case based on the financial condition of the states. Click thru for that graph; it was created by Truth In Accounting. On a per capita basis, which is really the only metric that matters when all the states differ in population as much as they do, Illinois is in far worse shape the New York. Not that New York doesn’t have trouble.

Back to May 2020

Yes, I did a bit of bait-and-switch, didn’t I? Yes, I did re-run this post partly because of the tile grid map visualization….

… but mostly because it ended with the earlier version of state bailout politicking… well before COVID-19 hit.

There are several states that want bailouts, but can Wyoming and Montana bailout New York and Illinois? Seems doubtful to me.

Truth In Accounting also put together a video in 2019 that lets you visualize how the states stack up. (Data is apparently through the end of fiscal year 2018.) It clearly shows that Illinois and Connecticut and New Jersey have been in trouble for years. Indeed, it doesn’t even show 2020.

Some People With Integrity

It is surprising that they were offered “relief aid.” It is to me, anyway. Florida’s Fisher Island rejects $2M coronavirus relief aid: Resident.

Offered? Well the board of the HOA did apply for the aid. And for the record, most Home Owners’ Associations are evil.

“Fisher Island’s [homeowners’ association] fees alone are around $30,000 [per] year. Some of this fee covers private ferry service to take us to our homes,” Barnes said in a statement. “So I think to myself, wait, is it the right thing to do to take $2,000,000 from the government, much of which we wouldn’t have to repay… to help cover the costs of our private ferry to our home and staff to clean our pools? Well the answer is simply no.”

So the residents as a whole, not just the board, voted to return the money.

I’ve seen this story 3 times, and have been ignoring it, but in the face of all the insanity that we deal with, like the LA Lakers getting $4.6 million, which I guess they were shamed into returning as well, it is nice to see people doing something ethical.

Pandemic Hits Chicago, Only Solution Is More Government

Because what other solution could there be in the mind of a dedicated Leftist? How the coronavirus and Chicago’s gun violence are related.

There is so much wrong with this opinion piece, including the glowing review of how criminal gangs in various failed states are stepping in to organize pandemic relief because the states have, well, disappeared. I was tempted to use that as a reason to write it off as another bit of Leftist insanity. There is, however, a bit that exposes the true insanity of the Left.

What is needed on Chicago’s South and West Sides, however, is not more organized gangs; it is a more legitimate and benevolent state. The desperate conditions in these communities that are driving both the gun violence and coronavirus crises have been caused by decades of private sector abandonment and a public sector that has largely abdicated its role in ensuring people’s welfare in favor of policing and incarcerating.

The public response should not be to lock these youth up in death traps like Cook County Jail, but to invest in the South and West Sides to give these youth essential resources, hope, and a reason to live.

How is the city, or the state of Illinois, going to give you a reason to live? Will that come with your stimulus check? Or is it fancier than that? Perhaps it will something that is suitable to hang on the wall.

As for the subject of “private sector abandonment,” the City, under Mayor Daley, the Younger, worked for years to keep the EEEEVIL Walmart out Chicago. Because reasons. And if the author to the piece is opposed to law-and-order, which it is clear they are, (somehow cops are not seen as the agents of that “benevolent state”) how do you expect to get stores to open? When stores on The Magnificent Mile are having serious trouble because Mayor Lightfoot (affectionately known as Groot) and State’s Attorney Kim Foxx (affectionately known as Crimeshea in those same circles) have decided that shoplifting is not serious enough to arrest or prosecute. How do you think anyone in the private sector will stay in business where the revenue streams will be marginal, if paying for anything is optional? I know, Math is Hard!

Conspicuous by its absence, is any talk of family and religion. I’m old enough to remember when there were discussions of whether the 1960s Great Society would destroy families. I guess that’s not a discussion anymore. As for religion, the only one that these authors have is faith in the all-powerful benevolent state. Minus the cops as agents of that state, they’re still working out how that all fits. Or something. (For my take on the “benevolent state” see this post on the enforcement of law.)

I’ve said in the past that I don’t know how to fix the problems in places like Chicago or Baltimore, but I am sure that doing more of the same is not the answer. Making society completely dependent on the government hasn’t worked in Chicago, or Baltimore, or anywhere. And the state, whether that is Illinois or Michigan or elsewhere, has proven that it isn’t so benevolent. Not that the Left will notice.

How Was Cleaning Subway Trains Not a Thing?

The grocery stores near me close early everyday for cleaning, and there are fewer people (infected or not) in this part of the world. New York City to halt 24/7 subway service for daily coronavirus cleanings.

They were being cleaned every 72 hours. So it isn’t completely gross. More on that later.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced today, alongside Mayor Bill de Blasio, that the state and city will coordinate on an effort to halt subway service between 1 and 5 a.m. each night in an effort to disinfect every train every 24 hours. The unprecedented service change, which will shutter all 472 subway stations for four hours every night, will begin on May 6.

May 6th? What were they thinking on April 6th? That the whole transit system was not an incredible Petri dish of germs helping to spread the infection? Maybe that old saying about fish not being able to see the water is true, though I doubt it, since the transit workers have been screaming about the conditions for sometime. No this is a combination of “We’ve always done it that way,” and insanity, with a dash of hubris. Are we surprised that the situation in NYC got so out of control? I’m sure they are. And they have to wait until the 6th because of Cinco de Mayo? They don’t have access to soap?

Geniuses. They are Geniuses running NYC and New York State.

Here is where I jump off the rails and go on a rant. Just sayin’ …

A quick check of the Wiki reveals that, aside from having different numbers for the same thing in different places, they show Manhattan has a population density of 72,033 people per square mile (2018 estimate of population). The county I live in has a population density of a little less than 600 people per square mile. And I don’t live in the most densely populated part of the county.

This is why I am always disturbed by people who think that the rules for this country should be set at the national level. Sorry, but that is an insane idea. If NYC needs to be on a lockdown, fine. They can decide that. What they do shouldn’t do is have any impact on what Buffalo, NY does, let alone what happens in Cincinnati, and certainly not what happens in my corner of the world.

I was reading an article the other day about people “escaping from New York” and heading for the burbs. (If you get the movie reference, more is after the break.) They were willing to spend $8,000 per month to rent a place. Which as far as I can see, is insane.

But that insanity spills over into everything else they are sure we are doing wrong. From minimum wage, to public transit, to all the things they are sure we are doing wrong, and that they are in love with, in their rat-infested, disease ridden city. But you, who are riding in your underground Petri-dish-trains, avoiding the rodents and bad guys, you are soooo much smarter than those of us who live where the air is clear, we don’t trade germs with 70,000 people every-time we step out the front door, and we don’t have to pay $8,000 to rent a temporary home. Yeah, right.

Continue reading

“There’s law, and there’s reality”

A review of a post from 2014 that probably has a lot of relevance in this era of COVID-19 STUMP Classics: The Fragility of Public Pensions Due To Can’t-Fail Thinking.

Set the wayback machine for 2014, when Detroit was going through bankruptcy. A pension system in California didn’t like the way the pension plans in Detroit was being treated, which was as unsecured creditors.

Meep has some thoughts on what is killing public pensions.

Public Pension Behavior That Endangers the Solvency of the Pensions

What actually threatens the actuarial soundness of public pension plans is behavior like the following:

  • Not making full contributions.
  • Investing in insane assets so that you can try to reach target yield. Or even sane assets that have high volatility to try to get high return, forgetting that there are some low volatility liabilities that need to be met.
  • Boosting benefits when the fund is flush, and always ratcheting benefits upward.

Calpers should be extremely familiar with that sort of behavior.

Given that Illinois has just been told to go through bankruptcy and not expect a bailout, Calpers – from California – should also take notice. And probably a bunch of other public pension systems.

The No Sense of Reality Party

Kim du Toit says it best. Open Appeal.

For fuck’s sake, can you bastards quit begging for money? Considering that I and probably millions of other Americans haven’t been able to work for nearly two months and have had zero income since then, it is the height of stupidity [ergo, the Stupid Party] to ask us to donate towards an election which isn’t due for over six months.

Frankly, when it’s hard to think how we’re going to be able to pay the rent or mortgage, car loans and utilities, health insurance and even groceries, what the fuck makes you think that we would be able to give you money?

The New Way to Finance College

The Other McCain notes that When They’re Dead, They’re Just Hookers: Mackenzie Lueck, ‘Sugar Baby’.

Or maybe it isn’t so new.

OK, let’s pause the italic/parenthesis fisking mode here, because I’m about to rant at this anonymous “friend” and anyone else who makes excuses for whoring: STOP RATIONALIZING AND JUSTIFYING.

Your vague “blame-society” rhetoric is a cheap feminist scam, a defensive rationalization to evade personal responsibility.

Personal responsibility is such a 20th Century idea.

So this is what passes for a college education in the 21st Century?