|The Halfway Point - Commentary on the World Today|
Later when I mentioned the essays in one context or another on USENET, I got requests for copies and eventually for future essays. Thus the mailing list was born, and it moved to the Internet when that became widely available. At that time I moved to writing on a schedule, the 1st, 11th, and 21st of the month.
Now the trend is to "blogs," and read on demand. I am therefore making this available as a blog, and we shall see if people read it here, or by mail, or not at all.
My other writing
Thu, 14 Jul 2011 New York Times that the purchase of Borders by the Book of the Month Club has been rejected. The committee supervising the bankruptcy feels that they would get more for the unsecured creditors if the assets were sold, rather than as an operating business. And I suppose that is the job of the committee, and they are just following orders, and if thousands of people lose their jobs, and thousands of others are stuck with ebook readers and gift certificates, that's not the concern of the committee, and no one ever got in trouble for following orders, right?
Actually we hung people for following orders After World War II, but that won't happen here, the means are legal, if heartless. The physical assets of Borders are worth more than the people, who are carried on the red side of the ledger as liabilities.
However, the government(s), whichever one or ones which will pay unemployment, welfare, medicaid, ADC, they care. The government which doesn't get income taxes, or Medicare taxes, or Social Security taxes, they care. And if you think the people laid off won't be "on the dole" as the British say, consider that many, perhaps most, of the clerks in most chain bookstores are not the top of the income brackets, in many cases they are only a little over the minimum wage, some people on fixed incomes working to make ends meet, students trying to work their way through college, people like that. Borders competitors won't set up hiring halls to grab all the experienced people, the competition carries people as liabilities, too.
What is the cost to government of throwing them out of work? What are the social costs? Perhaps the government, some local, or state, or federal government, would pay the difference between the offer from Book of the Month, which keeps the stores open, and the value of tearing the whole organization down and selling it for scrap. Out of pure old pragmatic "it's cheaper that way" motives. Perhaps because there's an election coming and "saving jobs and money looks good."
Democrats should like it, it saves jobs, keeps people working, and if the Republicans fail to pass it, the GOP takes the blame for committing us to unemployment and welfare costs while leaving working people out of a job. Republicans should like it, it actually is a money saving approach, and they might let a Democrat sponsor the bill and then pass it while bemoaning the cost, complaining that it's an "entitlement program" and simultaneously calling it their idea and taking credit for saving both jobs and money.
The nice thing is that if either party submits it, then the other party risks being labeled as responsible for job loss and added taxpayer expense if they oppose the idea. Therefore, if someone will give it a start, it will probably pass, both parties will try to take credit, and one sensible bit of bipartisan legislation could actually get passed.