Tag Archives: Work

What builds character? A job in a capitalist economy, or campus “safe spaces”?

Dennis Prager liked this article so much that he discussed it on Friday AND Monday. A lot.

I read the article, too. And I think there is a lot to learn from it. Let’s take a look at some of it, and then I’ll make a point.

Excerpt:

During Customs week, in PAF sessions, and in everyday discourse here at Haverford, we are taught to ask for help when we feel we need it, speak up when we feel uncomfortable, and prioritize our own well being over most other things. At McDonald’s, acting in this way could have cost me my job, a job I needed to afford college. There, I, as an individual, was insignificant: The most important thing was that the customer walks away satisfied, and it didn’t matter what I had to go through to make that happen. There is something ironic about this: In order to do what was necessary to be a Haverford student, I had to act in un-Haverford-like way.

Because I worked the front counter, whenever there was a problem with an order — even though I never made the food — I was the one who was verbally abused. “One must never interrupt the customer,” and “The customer is always right,” so I would stand and listen to the entirety of elaborate rants, trying to put aside the attacks on myself, on McDonald’s, on America, and on capitalism, so that I could report the relevant details to those who actually had the power to correct the problem. These issues were usually simple, like a missing piece of cheese from a McDouble, or whipped cream on a milkshake when they hadn’t wanted any.

The customer is always right, and how you feel about the “injustice of it all” doesn’t matter. In fact, if you put your personal feelings about the need of the business owner to grow his business, you’ll probably get a talking to about how the customer is always right and to toughen up and take it.

She concludes:

I’m grateful to have worked at McDonald’s: It taught me how better to handle my anxiety and how to put myself last in the name of efficiency and a common goal. McDonald’s strengthened my character, my work ethic, and expanded my capacity for resilience, valuable lessons which could not be learned in the “safe spaces” of Haverford’s campus. We must remember that putting oneself first is the essence of privilege, and that, in order to grow, we must leave this selfish mindset behind.

So what can we say about this?

In a free market, you can't make money by greed alone
In a free market, you can’t get rich by greed alone

I don’t know if most young people really understand that the essence of the free market / free enterprise / capitalist system is that in order for you to make money, you have to make something or do something for someone else that they find valuable. You cannot greed your way to a fortune. There is no filthy capitalist dog in a top hat, twirling his long mustache and laughing evilly as money magically appears. In a free market, you have to give something to someone to get their money. And you have to give them more value for less cost than all the other competitors they can choose from. So, people in businesses have to be nice to you. That’s why Amazon and Costco don’t ask questions when you return stuff. They want a relationship with you for life, and questioning you would make you go somewhere else. And all their employees are taught that – the customer is always right.

The opposite of free market competition is monopoly. Monopolies do exist in the world, but not usually in the free market. Where do monopolies exist? Well, they exist in the government. Think of what the service is like at the department of motor vehicles, or immigration office, or the social security office, etc. The customer service is lousy, the lines are long, the unionized government workers are uneducated and rude, and they get too many benefits and too much salary for the value they offer. How are they allowed to do that? Simple. You can’t go anywhere else to get the stuff you need from them. That’s why they can underperform, and you can’t do a thing about it.

Anyway, the main point is that you should always encourage your children to take the most demanding job in the private sector they can handle. And by the way, if you know an irresponsible college student who insists on having fun, thrills and travel, the best thing you can do is encourage them to get a job that they hate. It will help them to grow their character and build their finances at the same time – making them ready for the responsibilities and obligations they will face from marriage and parenting. Working in a capitalist system is magic for your character. Even if you didn’t have the best parents, you can still grow up right just by showing up for work every day.

Republican governor of blue state gets 70% of welfare recipients back to work

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder (R)
Michigan Governor Rick Snyder (R)

This article is from the Daily Signal, and it clearly explains what happens when a blue state hits rock bottom and has to elect a Republican governor to clean up the mess left by a Democrat. In this case, it’s Republican governor Rick Snyder who had to come in and clean up the mess left by Democrat Jennifer Granholm.

Excerpt:

Since Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder assumed office, the number of welfare recipients in the state has declined by a staggering 70 percent, according to a news report.

A total of 64,492 individuals received cash assistance from the state this past August, down from 227,490 in 2011. Snyder, a Republican, took office in January 2011 and was re-elected in November 2014.

Michigan Capitol Confidential, a news site, reported that the decline in welfare recipients could be due to new enforcement of limits on cash benefits. The state has begun enforcing a 48-month lifetime limit for its cash assistance program and a 60-month federal time limit.

The spokesman for the state Department of Health and Human Services, Bob Wheaton, partially credited the drop in welfare recipients to the state’s improving economy.

In an email to Capitol Confidential, Wheaton said: “As the governor said at the time of the decision to enforce time limits, this was returning cash assistance to its original intent—a transitional program to help families as they work toward self-sufficiency while preserving the safety net for families most in need.”

Wheaton also said the program Michigan Works has helped recipients find jobs.

During Snyder’s time in office, the state’s economy has improved, and unemployment has decreased. The unemployment rate in Michigan dropped from 11.2 percent in December 2010 to 5 percent in September 2015.

Honestly, I don’t even think there should be such a thing as welfare. People should be able to put a voluntary contribution into an emergency account, and the government can match that, and if they ever lose their job, they can run their lives off their account. That’s fair. But instead, you have people going on welfare for well over a year, since Obama undid the Welfare Reform bill of 1996.

Maybe that’s why our labor force participation rate is at a 38-year low:

Labor Force Participation 2015
Labor Force Participation 2015

But in Michigan, things are much better. Because they have a Republican running the show. Republicans are not for welfare, they are for helping people back into the workforce. A hand up, not a hand out.

New study: Obamacare will decrease workforce by 2 million full-time worker’s hours

He voted for Obamacare, and he got it

He voted for Obamacare, and he got it… good and hard!

The study was done by the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO), and reported by Fox News.

Excerpt:

ObamaCare will reduce work hours equivalent to 2 million jobs in the next decade amid a host of incentives not to work or to work less, a new Congressional Budget Office (CBO) report says — the latest blow to President Obama’s signature health insurance plan.

The report estimates the Affordable Care Act, or ACA, will make the labor supply shrink by 0.86 percent in 2025. This amounts to a shrinkage equivalent to approximately 2 million full-time workers.

The nonpartisan CBO estimates that the decline will come primarily due to workers responding to changes made by the law to federal programs and tax policy. The agency points to the introduction of health care subsidies tied to income as a key factor — which in turn raises effective tax rates as someone’s earnings rise, therefore reducing the amount of work Americans choose to do.

“Subsidies decline as income increases, reducing the return on earning additional income,” the report says. “That decline is effectively an increase in recipients’ effective marginal tax rate, so it generally reduces their work incentives through the substitution effect.”

Since the subsidies also reduce the burdens attached to unemployment, the CBO predicts that the law will create additional “work disincentives” for those who are unemployed for part of the year. It concludes that the exchange subsidies will contribute to half of the overall reduction of the labor supply.

The report also points to direct taxes, such as ACA’s hike of the payroll tax on high earners for Medicare’s Hospital Insurance Program, as a reason for discouraging some from working. Another pressure on wages will come from the employer mandate, which imposes a penalty on employers if they have more than 50 employees and do not provide insurance. The CBO predicts that within a few years this charge will be passed on to employees in the form of lower wages.

[…]The report comes at an awkward time for the Obama administration: just days after the Senate passed a bill that would repeal key parts of the law. The White House has said that President Obama will veto the legislation.

Oh well. It’s not like workers need to be paid fairly for their labor, right? I’m really not seeing how Obama expects the next generation to pay for the $10 trillion he’s added onto the national debt. If they are working less, then they are paying less in taxes. It’s fun to give speeches where you promise your gullible supporters a lot of goodies, but then, if the goodies discourage their employers from giving them work hours, then how will the spending be paid for?

More than anyone in modern politics, Barack Obama is a man who has perfected the art of sounding confident about things he literally knows nothing about. When elect a clown, you get failure. It doesn’t matter how confident a candidate sounds. It matters whether he has a record of solving the problems that he is talking about. Results, not rhetoric.

Making a difference as a Christian: advice on fundraising, ministry, and missions

Ratio Christi event at Ohio State University featuring Frank Turek
Ratio Christi event at Ohio State University featuring Frank Turek (10/12/2015)

What’s the ideal balance between work and missions? In this post, I will argue against going abroad to do full-time missions.

Do apologetics ministry in your spare time, and work full-time

A full-time job and part-time ministry makes the most sense from a cost-benefit point of view. I have friends who are software engineers who studied enough science, history, and philosophy part-time, who are able to do public debates with atheists, which influence many more people than one-on-one interactions. One of my friends has several Masters degrees, and is in a PhD program, but his full-time career is in software and network management. He is 100% self-funded. He has worked in a successful apologetics career with a full-time career in technology, and he is debt-free. This is the best option . Your debts get paid off. Your resume stays gap-free. You bring a nest egg to your future spouse. You can afford to have children. You can afford a stay-at-home mom. You can afford either homeschooling or private schools, should you decide to go that route.

You have to start saving and investing early if you want to be independent in your old age. With full-time work and part-time ministry, you still make a difference for Christ and His Kingdom over time, while avoiding a financial crisis that could cost you your family, your friends, and even your faith. This is an especially wise way to proceed, given the economic struggles we are likely to face from housing bubbles, student loan bubbles, rising interest rates, entitlement crises, state pension underfunding, environmental regulations, the ever increasing national debt, demographic crisis, etc. Read the culture and be cautious about the future.

Use the Internet to make a difference in other countries for free

One cost-effective way to make a difference is by using the Internet to reach other countries. You can work full-time, and then use your spare time to blog. This blog gets an average of 24,000 page views per week. About 45% of that traffic comes from NON-USA countries. If you keep working full-time and just start a blog for free, then you can maintain your gap-free resume and have a much easier time marrying and raising children.

The university next door is a great place to have an influence

I do think full-time ministry is OK in two cases: if you don’t go abroad, or if you go abroad with a full-time job or full-ride scholarship. My friend Eric Chabot was able to host Frank Turek at Ohio State University last night (see photo above), for example. He got a great crowd. He is donation-driven, but he runs a lean operation since he lives near the campus where he serves. When it comes to having an impact, the American university is the place to make a difference. We have enough trouble in our own country, especially in the universities, where so many young people lose the faith of their childhood – there’s no need to travel and incur heavy expenses.  I think it also makes sense financially to go abroad for missions, if you get a scholarship that pays your way or if you have a job offer where you can work full-time and do missions part-time. What does not make sense is sending an unskilled missionary to a foreign country at the cost of tens of thousands of dollars that could be used much more efficiently in smaller, effective Eric-Chabot-style operations.

Your feelings and desires are not God speaking to you

Now some people who want to go into overseas missions will tell me that they feel led to go. This method of decision making is not Biblical, as I explained in one of my previous posts. If you believe the Bible, then feelings are a pretty poor way of determining what God wants from you. In fact, left to themselves, humans typically choose what feels best for them, not what does best for God. If God really calls you to do something, like he called Jonah, then you probably won’t feel like doing it. Missionary work is especially suspect when God is supposedly calling you to go to a country that you always dreamed of traveling to while you were a non-Christian. Normally, conversion causes you to have different desires – not the same desires you had as a non-Christian. Unless you hear an audible voice, like an Old Testament prophet would, then it’s best not to think that God is speaking through your feelings and desires. A good book to read on this is “Decision Making and the Will of God“, by Garry Friesen.

Don’t go into missions in order to have fun or go on an adventure

I am suspicious of people who try to turn Christianity into a mechanism for achieving the same goals that non-Christians want to achieve. These days, it seems as if everyone wants to travel to exotic places. If there is evidence of hedonistic, fun-pursuing, thrill-seeking behavior in your past, then consider that you may just want an “adventure”. I have a friend who went to Russia for a year just after graduating college, and she admitted to me that she just went “to have an adventure”. To me, that’s not a good reason to spend thousands of dollars, and put gaps in your resume. It’s not a cost-effective way to make a difference, given the other alternatives. Your goal should be to make yourself defensible so that you can put out a sustained effort that lasts, not burn out and then be ineffective for the rest of your life. Think about what J. Warner Wallace says about living wisely and prudently so you position yourself to make a steady contribution in the second half of your life. Don’t wreck your long-term impact for short-term fun. God will not honor that.

Don’t go into missions to make up for an immoral past

Anyway, if you look in your past and see lots of wild behavior – drinking, drugs, premarital sex, cohabitation, abortions, gambling, divorces, etc., then consider that you may be interested in missions for the wrong reasons. You don’t need to go on a missions trip to dramatically declare to everyone that you are now completely reformed from your wild party days. I actually managed to talk a friend out of a short-term missions trip who felt that it was a good way to do something meaningful to “make up” for her past. By being responsible with her job and saving money, she’s managed to avoid burning out, and to instead put out a steady stream of effective activities. And she was financially stable enough to get married and have children, as well – another excellent way to make a difference.

Do not go into missions if your resume and balance sheet do not demonstrate maturity

We already talked about the need for sound planning in the Bible study we did with Wayne Grudem.  The Bible praises hard work, stewardship, prudence and wisdom. And this is especially true for people who are getting older and need to be thinking about marriage, children and retirement. It’s not a good witness for Christians to be financially unstable. When you are able to stand on your own two feet financially, and help others from your earnings, you gain credibility with non-Christians. We don’t want people to think that we are doing this for the money. The best option is to be self-funded, like Paul and his tent-making-funded ministry.

By the way, if you’d like to read a related post by Eric Chabot, this one is a good one.

Should fascist Democrats allow Christians to work for a living in America?

Young people seem to like gay marriage more than they like individual liberties
Young people seem to like gay marriage more than they like individual liberties

The story is from the Daily Signal.

Excerpt:

Former Atlanta Fire Chief Kelvin Cochran lived the American dream. That is, until he was fired from his childhood dream job for writing a book during his own private time.

Cochran’s book, published in 2013 and called “Who Told You That You Were Naked?,” expresses a biblical view on marriage and addresses homosexuality from his Christian perspective.

An active member in his church, he led a men’s small group Bible study and, after discussion with his group on Adam’s sin in the Book of Genesis, researched the words “naked” and “clothed” from the perspective of what the Bible says. He decided to write 162 pages about the topic in a men’s devotional book.

Cochran was reported to have asked the city’s ethics officer for permission before publishing the book and gave a copy of the book to Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed in January of 2014.

Fast-forward a few months, and Cochran received a 30-day suspension without pay, after an LGBT activist group started to protest the book.

“LGBT citizens deserve the right to express their beliefs regarding sexual orientation, and deserve to be respected for their positions without hate and discrimination,” Cochran said, according to a January article from The Atlanta-Journal Constitution. “But Christians also have the right to express their beliefs regarding sexual orientation and be respected for their position without hate and without discrimination.”

After 34 years as a firefighter, Cochran’s fairy-tale career came to a halt in January due to his personal views on gay marriage.

“I profoundly disagree with and am deeply disturbed by the sentiments expressed in the paperback regarding the LGBT community,” Mayor Reed said in a statement. “I will not tolerate discrimination of any kind within my administration.”

[…]“I want to be clear that the material in Chief Cochran’s book is not representative of my personal beliefs and is inconsistent with the administration’s work to make Atlanta a more welcoming city for all citizens,” Reed stated after he had given Cochran a suspension.

Irony! And I’m sure that the Democrat Reed would say that he is as much a Christian as Cochran, even though he’s not a Christian in any way shape or form. Many Democrats claim to be Christians and even attend churches where they sing and jump around waving their arms. But they’re not authentic Christians.

More:

Cochran had worked his way up, and out from the poverty he grew up in, to be named Atlanta fire chief in 2008. In 2009, he was appointed administrator of the United States Fire Administration under President Barack Obama. Less than a year later, he was back to his position as chief in Atlanta.

Investigation into Cochran found that he did not show discrimination against anyone during employment, yet he was terminated anyway.

[…]“The part that got me in trouble was the fact that in the book I dealt with sexual challenges that Christian men have and spoke of biblical marriage and biblical sexuality,” Cochran said in August while speaking at a religious libertyrally in Iowa.

There is something funny about sin. Not only do the people who do it want to be free to do it, but they also don’t want you to disapprove of it. So, if they have to use government power to force you to approve of it, they will.

It never occurs to me to use the government to force people to approve of what I am doing with my life. I’m chaste, I don’t believe in premarital sex. There is no support for this anywhere in the society, certainly not in the government, the education system, the mainstream media, Hollywood, and so on. There is not even support for this in the church. Yet, I don’t insist that people celebrate me – I don’t even feel ashamed of what I’m doing. It’s not easy, but not hurting women and being able to look at them as people instead of objects is a pretty good balance to the social disapproval I get. I’m just not interested in promiscuity, Tinder, Grindr, hooking up, monogamish, domestic violence, drug addiction, no-fault divorce, suicide, depression, sexually-transmitted diseases, abortions, and all the other things that the sexual revolutionaries push on me. Not interested.

So, that’s the difference between sin and not sin. Sin requires you to get people to agree with you. You feel so bad inside that you want everyone to affirm you, hoping that the shame and guilt you feel because of what you are doing will go away. Hoping that if all the humans agree with you, and support you, then God will have to overlook what you are doing. Hoping that if everyone is as sinful as you, then all of you will get into Heaven somehow.

Here are two more things about me. First, I wouldn’t be writing a thing about sexual issues unless I was using an alias. The champions of the sexual revolution occupy the commanding heights, and they are very happy to punish dissenters. Second, one of the big reasons why I am so picky about marriage is because I would rather save my money and make a difference by writing than get married and have kids and be forced to go silent for fear of becoming unable to support my family. The scarier these restrictions on open Christianity become, the more difficult the choice between making a difference and marrying becomes. Seems like I have to choose between speaking up and defending myself, or going silent and providing for a family.

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