atomic_fungus (atomic_fungus) wrote,

#4252: I wish I was as poor now as Bill and Hillary were in January of 2001.

Only about $8 million to their names, poor bastards. How can you possibly live on a mere eight million dollars? Lucky for them Bill's book deal netted them another ten million seven months later, else they might have had to go on welfare! To say nothing of his presidential pension ($200,000 per year) and her salary as a US Senator ($186,000 per year). My dear fellow, how do you expect them to cope?


...if I were getting half of Hillary's salary in 2001 (which comes to about $93,000 per year) I'd count myself blessed. "Broke and in debt"? Who does she think she's kidding?

Well, the "low information voters", that's who--people who don't realize that there are no poor politicians in D.C.

* * *

Borepatch calls our attention to another serious climate change let-down from XKCD today. "Without prompt aggressive limits on CO2 emissions," the strip gravely intones, "the Earth will likely warm by an average of 4°-5° by the century's end."

No, it won't.

Borepatch explains why in his post. Suffice it to say that the models are wrong and IPCC is not doing science.

* * *

Over to Og, who talks about machine tools. "You lose your arms in a press because the light curtain failed, good luck suing a dummy corporation in Sao Paolo." (A "light curtain" is basically a series of photosensors that determine whether the working area is clear of obstructions, particularly when said "obstructions" are made of meat and belong to workers who load and unload the machine.) Og discusses this issue in the context of what it is likely to do to American manufacturing.

It's true that big industry has left the country--we have no steel mills, for example, because the EPA has priced American steel out of profitability. We do, however, have a lot of medium industry, the kind of thing that can't build 500,000 sedans, but (for example) can make aftermarket performance parts for them. "Medium industry" is what still provides most of the manufacturing jobs in this country, and it's literally all over the place.

"This is the beginning of the end of manufacturing here," Og concludes:
The US is still a giant manufacturing powerhouse, despite everyone’s claims to the contrary, and if you want to run that into the ground, the surest way is to make the equipment unreliable, tax the output mercilessly, and increase the cost of electricity. Welcome to the new soviet.
Large employers get tax breaks, but "medium industry" typically does not. Obama and his EPA are working on forcing the price of electricity to "necessarily skyrocket"--and machine tools do not run on clean thoughts and righteous living; they run on electricity. "Making the equipment unreliable" is really the only avenue left untraveled by those who would stand in the way of American capitalism.

I have wavered all over the place on protectionism, going from full protectionist to lassez faire and back to protectionist again. I've done this because someone's going to get screwed, regardless and it makes a difference who is getting screwed, and why. I was originally protectionist because I understood the value of American industry. Then I realized that the unions simply wanted to ensure they didn't have to compete, and didn't care if Americans were forced to--for example--buy overpriced and shitty cars. This was when I began supporting free trade.

Problem is? Free trade merely ensures that labor is shipped abroad. Some things you want to do that with (socks, for example) and others, not so much (integrated circuits). You eventually get to the point that you either outsource labor or end up going out of business. Sure, your citizens get access to a lot of low-priced goods, but who can afford that shit when no one has a freakin' job any more?

So now I've gone back the other way, concluding that while pure protectionism is not good, there need to be barriers to trade which level the playing field. China--again, for example--makes stuff cheaply because they don't have the environmental laws we do; there needs to be a tariff that compensates for that.

Meanwhile, none of this changes the fact that our government has hyper-regulated everything to the point of strangling the economy, and the taxation (and borrowing) that it's doing are merely tightening the noose, while the fifteen-year triphammer of immigration amnesty laws keeps wages stagnant.

How the hell are we supposed to make any money?

* * *

I ended up having to stay 45 minutes late at work today. That's how f-ing nuts it was.


...corporate policy keeps me from commenting further, but suffice it to say that I'm beginning to think about which way I ought to jump. I'm not worried the company's going away, but I can't say what's going to happen with my position in it, and that uncertainty bothers me.

What I need is a full-time job that doesn't make me wish I were dead. (I know some of you have asked me not to talk this way. Sorry.) This job doesn't make me wish that (most of the time) but sometimes I wonder if that's only because it's part-time, or what. What I do know is that I'm beginning to understand that this is probably not my best path forward; as a stepping stone it's fine, but I no longer believe I am going to be building a career with this company, particularly when there's no apparent sign of progress from the very people who have promised it to me.

It's really starting to feel like drudgery; and further I now believe that both times I was told "We want you in back, fixing stuff" they were merely blowing sunshine up my skirt. I finally realized this when they moved someone who was formerly in customer service into a position that spends more time in back fixing things than I ever have, rather than--y'know--moving me into such a place. (And don't say it's lack of experience. I was fixing computers before most of these people (my immediate supervisor included) were born. The people involved know it.)

There's no challenge to the job, yet I have to think while working. (Hell--with the stockboy job at Target, at least I could think while I worked.) It's an endless repetition of processing answers to the same questions over and over and over again: "What's your phone number? Is this address correct? Could I interest you in a technical support contract? [These are the benefits of a technical support contract.] Please sign here. Would you like to apply for a credit card?" The constant repetition of the exact same words is driving me out of my mind.

Making matters worse is, of course, the near-total lack of any break schedule. I'm virtually chained to the counter; if there are people waiting I must wait on them, regardless of how long I've worked, and I cannot leave even at my scheduled quitting time until I have helped my relief whittle down the queue. (I have not been explicitly told such, but it's an unspoken rule.)

One of my coworkers reported being told, "You can take a break if you like...but when you come back, someone else will have your job." Yeah.

So I know what all this means; I ought to start moving on it.

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