Monday, October 31, 2011

Mr. Quarter Opins on the Cause of Income Inequality

Much is made of the percentage change in the wealth of the upper 1% over the past decade. I suspect that if one examined wealth or income gains for the various quintiles of the US population this trend would be evident over the past 30 years. So is someone to blame? Can we point the finger at a specific group, individual or condition that has led to the inequality of wealth in the United States?

Mr. Quarter has held forth in this space previously pointing out that the constitution of the United States. while providing for equal opportunity for all, does not guarantee a right of equal outcome. However, the media and the OWS gang continue to howl over the supposed unfairness of the accumulation of wealth by the financial industry and associated investment industry. I recently reviewed an article citing IRS statistics that suggested that a full third of the wealth created or acquired in the past ten years could be found within these areas. But no one ever asks the fundamental question of why there?

The answer is obvious. Time and again over the past thirty years have there been lamentations in the media of the decline of manufacturing and the transformation of our economic base to services industries. We all know that it's true. Our economy no longer creates wealth by making goods and selling them as the foundation of our GDP.

Unions demand more in wages and benefits and the employers move their operations overseas. So what jobs remain? How can you earn a living? Low paying service jobs paying minimum or near minimum wage or high paying service jobs such as consulting, medicine, sales, IT, financial services, investing. Then we have the parasitic economic activity like litigation, real estate sales. Think about it and name a vocation in the US that actually produces a significant amount of wealth and is not a service oriented activity. In this country, what we do is sell services to each other, receiving payment for creating nothing.

So we subsist by providing services to each other. One need only take a casual drive through the rural areas of the nation and look at the businesses in small towns. All oriented toward selling some service to the local populace - which provides all the human capital to deliver the service.

But not all services are equal in value. You pay less to have your lawn mowed than you pay to have your malignant colon removed. You pay more to your bank for the privilege of using a debit card to withdraw your own money than for the coffee you bought at 7-Eleven. You pay more to the real estate agent to sell your home than you paid for the furniture in the house you just sold. And on and on - the more abstract the service, the more it costs until you get to the ultimate service - Wall Street investment.

So if we are mad, and many are, the anger should directed be at ourselves. We created this economy where we asked for more and more until it was cheaper to take the business elsewhere. We created a nation where your livelihood and wealth depends on the value of the service you can provide rather than the tangible wealth you create by laboring.

Incidently, while the OWS gang bellyaches about being part of the 99%, they are living in a dream. The fact is that they are part of the 1%. You read that correctly, they are part of the 1%. The fact is that poverty level income in the United States is still greater than the income level of 99% of the rest of the world. I wonder whether they are all willing to forfeit some of their income, no matter how meager, for redistribution to the other 99%?

Monday, October 24, 2011

The Deuce And Diversity: Part II

Many of the statistics and news accounts included in this blog on the blessings of diversity are taken from the book White Identity: Racial Consciousness in the 21st Centuryby Jared Taylor, published in 2011.

"We have a serious interracial violence problem in this county involving blacks and Latinos. Some people deny it. They say that race is not a factor in L.A.'s gang crisis....but they're wrong. The truth is that, in many cases, race is at the heart of the problem. Latino gang members shoot blacks not because they're members of a rival gang but because of their skin color. Likewise, black gang members shoot Latinos because they're brown...
I would even take this a step further and suggest that some of L.A.'s so-called gangs are really no more than loose-knit bands of blacks or Latinos roaming the streets looking for people of the other color to shoot."

L.A. County Sheriff Lee Baca
June, 2008
L.A. Times article, "In L.A., Race Kills"

From January 2004 through June 2005, 44 blacks and Latinos were killed and 200 wounded in shootings in an area of L.A. of just three and a half square miles. Police said only about half the victims were gang members (L.A. Times, Dec 17, 2005).

In 1992 during the riots that followed the Rodney King police brutality verdicts, blacks targeted Korean-owned stores for arson. Black animosity towards Korean owned grocery stores and other small shops in black neighborhoods led to the creation of a Los Angeles Black-Korean Alliance in 1986 to try to reduce tensions. The Alliance collapsed after the riots (N.Y. Times, Dec 26, 1992).

Racially motivated violence is rampant in L.A. county schools. The following is just a small sample of the larger fights and outright riots.

Nov 20, 2004, Jordan High School in South Los Angeles; an estimated 1000 students brawled. It took 60 cops in riot gear to quell the disturbance (ABC channel 7, L.A., Nov 20, 2004).

Apr 14, 2005, Jefferson High School in L.A. A brawl broke out in the schools cafeteria after Hispanic students told blacks to "go back to Africa." Over 100 students were involved in the fight which was broken up by police (L.A. Times, Apr 15, 2005).

May 5, 2005, L.A. school district. Some 51,000 middle and high school students skipped school when rumors spread that Hispanic gang members were going to kill blacks in celebration of Cinco De Mayo (L.A. Times, May 6, 2005)

May 9, 2008, Locke High School in L.A. 600 black and Hispanic students fought. It took 60 school district guards and 50 cops to lock down the school (L.A. Times, May 10, 2008).

In 2005, Valencia High School in L.A. had to pay a $300,000 law suit settlement for failing to protect four black students from racial attacks (L.A. Times, Sep 12, 2007).

A 2008 survey of over 6000 South Los Angeles high school students revealed that only 25% of the students felt safe in school.
Throughout L.A. county schools, blacks routinely stay home in droves on Cinco de Mayo, and warn black teachers that they should do the same (Washington Post, Feb 20, 2006).

March, 2005, Grant High School in L.A. Armenian and Hispanic students rioted, sending four students, two teachers and one police officer to the hospital. Following a previous riot in 1999 the Dean of the school reported that there had been one large scale fight motivated by race at the school at least once a year for more than a decade (The Valley Star, Mar 16, 2005; L.A. Times, Oct 23, 1999).

It's not just those crazy kids that are finding it difficult to celebrate diversity in their neighborhoods and schools.

In 2007 the L.A. Unified School district had to dispatch conflict resolution experts and mental health professionals to deal with a black/Hispanic conflict in one of it's advisory councils. Seems the council members had been fighting for months over whether to hold their meetings in English or Spanish.

L.A. County must print election ballots in English, Spanish, Chinese, Vietnamese, Japanese, Tagalog and Korean. The California DMV translates it's documents into 30 languages. Please note; in almost all elections only citizens can vote...and one of the requirements for being naturalized is the ability to speak English.

In fiscal 1998-99, L.A. County courts had 91,600 man-days of interpreting to provide and pay for.

For twenty years the L.A. County Sheriff's Department was stymied in it's attempts to make a criminal case against an extended family of Oaxacan Indians who were running a $2 million per month heroin smuggling ring. The sheriff's department couldn't translate the language used by the indians, which is only spoken by a small number of people in southern Mexico.

In 1999 the Cartoon Network permanently banned the showing of any 'Speedy Gonzalez' cartoons in the U.S. because of "ethnic stereotyping." A spokesman for the network confirmed that the cartoons were "hugely popular" on the Cartoon Network in Latin America.

By now you'll have noticed that much of the problems of diversity in Los Angeles are between blacks and Latinos, with hardly a word about whites. That's largely because white are a minority in L.A. County now, and a very small minority in the L.A. Unified School District. When the riot starts, white kids take cover. It's not their fight.

Do the God-fearing enjoy the blessings of diversity any better than the rest of the population? At least one national study reported that almost 95% of churches have congregations "at least 80% one race or ethnic group"(Louisville, KY Courier-Journal, Apr 26 2004).

Do I need to point out that the blessings of diversity described so far are prevalent wherever the races rub together, particularly in urban settings? The problems in L.A. are a microcosm of what's happening in most of America.

Since 9/11 religion has become a battleground too. Muslims have been clashing more and more with non-muslims over places to pray; work schedules that don't allow for five prayers a day; the absence of foot baths; Muslim cabby's that don't want to take fares that have any alcohol in their shopping bag or have a dog with them; the wearing of traditional Muslim clothing by women that hide their faces in public; demands that Muslim holidays be included in school calendars; separate gyms and pools be provided for men and women.

In 2004 a Latina woman Lina Morales was fired from her job at Rising Star, a Muslim owned firm in Florida, for eating a bacon sandwich. The company had banned pork from its premises (, Orlando FL, Aug 4, 2004). Muslims consider pigs and all pork products to be 'unclean'.

Americans now know what honor killings are. Americans now know there is something called Shariah Law that Muslims are demanding they be allowed to practice and that this law be recognized in American courts. Dozens of natural-born and naturalized U.S. Muslim citizens have been indicted for supporting jihadists and their terror plots. Some have travelled to the Middle East and blown themselves up in suicide bombings.

The great 'melting pot' and assimilation into one nation of Americans...E pluribus unum...worked well as long as the vast majority of immigrants came from Europe. Alas, the melting came to a screeching halt with The Immigration and Nationality Act Amendments of 1965 (Hart-Celler Act) which opened immigration to America to all parts of the world.

In just 25 years, one generation, after the passage of Hart-Celler Act whites were a racial minority in California.

In 1965 whites were 90% of the population of the U.S. Now that number is barely above 70% and dropping fast.

"Diversity is our greatest strength" may be a pernicious lie, but boy do we have diversity, strength or not.

Who's it good for? Ask the people of L.A.

In Part III we'll examine how whites looked at diversity prior to 1965 and compare that to today's views.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Mr. Quarter's Question of the Day

Obama's condescending attitude toward congressional Republicans and his insistence on passing the parts of his jobs bill that put government employees first and foremost leads Mr. Quarter to the question of the day:

If you can’t possibly cut back the government bureaucracy in good times (because there is enough tax money and we have “unmet needs,” etc.) and you can’t possibly cut it in bad times (because we have to preserve those jobs as “stimulus’) when does the government stop growing?

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Mr. Quarter Admires the Occupy Wall Street Protestor

Mr. Quarter has to hand it to the Occupy Wall Street folks. Wish I had thought of that gig. I mean really, demanding to be paid for simply existing, while insisting that those who actually have a job get less money in order to support my freedom to choose indolence over work. Holy Smokes, I've been working the same old shtick for 28 years, letting stress build up until I can barely stand it. Paying a mortgage on a house that I'll have to sell in order to retire. How could I have been so stupid!

Monday, October 10, 2011

The Deuce And Diversity; Part I

"Diversity is our greatest strength."

A phrase seemingly uttered by every left-leaning man and woman in America. In fact, if you're a journalist, educator, college student, union member, actor, minority, illegal immigrant or job seeker, you can't just utter the phrase, you are required to shout it from the rooftops at every opportunity or else be stripped of your humanity and be called a hater and a racist and a mean poopy-face.

Don't even dare ask why diversity is our greatest strength or you'll be labeled a 'denier'. Being called a denier is even worse than being called a racist 'cause there's nothing worse than being a racist and denying it...I guess.

Well, I'm asking why? Nobody ever says why. Is there anyone out there that can give me a list of say ten verifiable facts why? If there are I haven't found them yet. I've searched high and low for these verifiable facts...and this is what I've found; greeting card platitudes.

The quotes that follow are from and are representative of attitudes promoting diversity found at many other web sights, including business, education and government sights.

We all should know that diversity makes for a rich tapestry, and we must understand that all the threads of the tapestry are equal in value no matter what their color. -- Maya Angelou

Great achievements are not born from a single vision but from the combination of many distinctive viewpoints. Diversity challenges assumptions, opens minds, and unlocks our potential to solve any problems we may face. -- Source Unknown

If we cannot end now our differences, at least we can help make the world safe for diversity. -- John F. Kennedy

We have become not a melting pot but a beautiful mosaic. Different people, different beliefs, different yearnings, different hopes, different dreams. -- Jimmy Carter

If we are to achieve a richer culture, rich in contrasting values, we must recognize the whole gamut of human potentialities, and so weave a less arbitrary social fabric, one in which each diverse human gift will find a fitting place. -- Margaret Mead

Note that none of the above quotes offer any concrete, practical reasons why diversity is so great. Business, education and government emphasize how diversity 'brings people together', 'exposes people to different cultures' and 'teaches us how to be inclusive of people different than ourselves.' These reasons sound all well and good, but the reality is that judging by how Americans live their lives, 'exposing people to different cultures' does not bring us together nor induce us to be 'more inclusive.' In fact, it seems to have the opposite effect. More on this later.

If diversity is indeed our greatest strength then Los Angeles ought to be our greatest city since it is probably the most diverse city in America, L.A. county being home to 140 nationalities speaking 130 languages.

It's neighborhoods should be fully and peacefully integrated; it's schools should be the safest in the country with the highest graduation rates and top scores in college entrance exams; crime should be low, as well as drug use and teen pregnancy rates. Discrimination suits should be relatively few and the local EEOC should be looking hard for anything to do. City governments should operate efficiently and elections should not devolve into racial block voting. There should be little religious or cultural strife. All the people should be able to and want to communicate effectively with one another and share their 'rich tapestry' and 'beautiful mosaic' to the benefit of all.

While I certainly don't believe diversity is the panacea for all that ails America (as apparently so many others do), L.A. ought to be head and shoulders above most other cities in America, or perhaps the world, when it comes to benefiting from diversity in practical ways that can be observed, measured and contrasted with other cities.

Alas, it is not so. On the contrary, Los Angeles is the poster child for why diversity is not only not our greatest strength, but may very well be the greatest cause of societal strife and conflict in America.

In Part II we will examine the reality of diversity in Los Angeles and how it argues against diversity being our greatest strength...or a strength at all.