Monday, September 22, 2014

From $15 an Hour to Unemployment

From $15 an Hour to Unemployment
Commentary by Sanford D. Horn
September 22, 2014

Aspiring to a $15 an hour fast food wage? Stop reading now. Just stop reading and go back to work mindlessly cleaning grease traps.

I’m not casting aspersions on grease traps, just those who see $15 as an end, not an illogical beginning. Stop reading because the following economics and history lessons will fall upon blind eyes and make too much sense to maintain your current way of myopic thinking.

The Federal minimum wage in the United States is $7.25 an hour and fast food workers are demanding a 207 percent wage increase. Imagine how that will affect the bottom line of any franchise surrendering to those demands.

Gone will be the dollar and budget menus that entice many who ultimately spend more. Gone will be sensible pricings that allow folks of modest means to patronize establishments from Arby’s to Wendy’s. When prices rise exponentially to cover the cost of increased wages, sales will decrease concomitantly, thus causing large scale layoffs to occur. Those making the $15 per hour wage will find themselves on the unemployment line. Ultimately entire businesses will be shuttered creating greater joblessness and dependency upon government.

An alternative plan, although less feasible, is to gather the workers together, tell them that half of them will need to be dismissed from their jobs in order to afford to pay the remaining half the 207 percent wage increase. Then, let them swing their own axes. Let the workers determine who should stay and who should go. With the decision making process on the workers’ shoulders, they will know they had an impact on whose jobs were lost and whose were salvaged first hand.

What these workers seem to have either forgotten or never learned, is that if they only aspire to a $15 an hour job, that is where they will remain – mired at the bottom of the economic food chain. By understanding that a minimum is simply that, a point from which to grow with learning and hard work, the employee will eventually climb the ladder toward real success.

Case in point, Jeff Stratton, who recently retired after 41 years with McDonald’s. Having started with the company at age 17, Stratton leaves having risen to the position of McDonald’s US president. Was Stratton handed the position of president? Of course not. He rose  through the ranks, no doubt having learned the business from the bottom up – sweeping, cleaning, frying, selling, supervising a shift, writing a schedule for the establishment, training new employees, learning purchasing and payroll procedures for one restaurant, then a region, and beyond, all the while learning the process for the next steps up the corporate ladder.

Learning both on the job and in school is also a key to success. Employers see success in the classroom as demonstrative of a person who can learn and be trained in the corporate setting, thus making those people valuable employees. These are employees who will understand the economics as discussed above and not just work hard to get ahead, but actually get ahead.

And, by the way, at $15 an hour, these unskilled, largely uneducated, transposable workers would surpass, in hourly earnings, substitute teachers, adjunct professors, and the average man and woman serving their country in the Armed Forces. Disgraceful the aforementioned do not earn more, but should also put into perspective the outlandish demands of fast food workers.

Instead of making such unreasonable demands as an employee easily replaceable, listen, ask questions, show up to work on time, work holidays and weekends when no one else wants to and make your own future. If not in the fast food business, the skills learned could be transferred elsewhere, but if not the skills, certainly the work ethic that will make you more valuable. Be the next Jeff Stratton by striving for personal betterment through personal responsibility.

Sanford D. Horn is a writer and educator living in Westfield, IN.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

9/11: Looking Back; Looking Ahead

9/11: Looking Back; Looking Ahead
Commentary by Sanford D. Horn
September 11, 2014

On the anniversary of 9-11 we the American people find ourselves in a more precarious state than at any time since Barack Obama took office in 2009. Six years into his administration, there are more threats against American citizens and America as a whole from an increasing number of terrorist groups, more conflagrations around the globe; yet fewer solutions, and less demonstrable strength putting Americans and America in harm’s way.

There is a sad irony that Obama, after months, even more than a year, of dithering, hand wringing, and feigning concern seems to be heading back to Iraq after spending the entire 2012 campaign bragging to anyone who would listen that he ended the war in Iraq.

The irony is that his predecessor in the White House, George W. Bush was prophetic with his words on July 12, 2007. Bush said that leaving Iraq at that juncture would lead to losing Iraq to al-Qaeda and eventually they would confront an enemy more dangerous – enter ISIS/ISIL. (See “This is War, Mr. Obama”)

Bush led by actually leading, springing into action from day one while the horrific events of September 11, 2001 unfolded as 2,983 innocent people were murdered. Airplanes, hijacked by Muslim terrorists, were flown into the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York City, the Pentagon in Arlington, VA, and a field in Shanksville, PA presumably headed for either the White House or the Capitol Building.

Yet, the fecklessness by which Obama operates has created an environment of many Americans – 45 percent – feeling less safe than before September 11, 2001. Coupled with an approval rating hovering around 30 percent, 60 percent of Americans support military action – air strikes at the very least – against ISIS as a matter of national security. Only 13 percent oppose any military action. Presumably they are spending more time at marijuana dispensaries in Colorado than anywhere else as destroying and eliminating ISIS/ISIL is a no-brainer after the beheadings of two American journalists, as well as the slaughter of countless Christians, children, and even Muslims.

While Americans and the United States as a whole rose like a phoenix under Bush, life under Obama has been a series of mixed messages, vainglorious behavior, and empty rhetoric. Such words were spoken on September 10, as Obama said “If you threaten America you will find no safe haven.” This from the same man who a week prior had no strategy for eviscerating ISIS/ISIL, saying they needed to be degraded and destroyed in one sentence, then said they needed to become a “manageable problem,” mere sentences later in the same speech. ISIS/ISIL is a terror network growing due to their ability to control and sell oil, bringing in millions of dollars. They are a cancer needing to be eradicated, not simply managed like unruly children in a classroom.

Obama appears more concerned about the Iraq-Syria border than the United States-Mexico border. Yet it his laissez-faire, open borders attitude making the latter more porous and of immediate issue to the American people – a people for whom Obama seems to have little regard as the floodgates remain open to any and all who are able to enter – including terrorists of the ISIS/ISIL, al-Qaeda, Hamas, Muslim Brotherhood variety. The borders should have been shut down like a maximum security prison, but both Bush and Obama failed miserably on that count for various reasons. (See “What Southern Border?”)

Regardless, Obama seems hell-bent on defending Islam, as if the lessons of September 11 were not vivid enough to remain indelibly fixed into his memory. ISIS/ISIL is not Islamic, said Obama, adding that “no religion condones the killing of innocents; ISIL is not a state.” However, it is ISIL itself that takes pride in claiming it is Islamic and on a mission to create a worldwide caliphate. Obama still refuses to call the ongoing strife a war, as if not acknowledging it will somehow make it all go away. The only way for it to disappear is to destroy it wherever it exists – town by town, city by city, and nation by nation.

“Radical Islam is the enemy,” said Lt. Col. Oliver North.

So too is the political correctness that goes out of its way to not profile when profiling is one of the answers needed to limit the odds of the next 9-11. The enemy need only be accurate once, while the powers that be in the United States must be right 100 percent of the time. See also the failures involved in the catastrophe in Benghazi on this the second anniversary of the murder of Ambassador Christopher Stevens, Air Force veteran Sean Smith and former Navy SEALs Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods. (See “Obama Finally Calls Terror Attacks Terror”)

Looking ahead, Obama insists there will be a large coalition of nations to fight ISIS/ISIL, yet to date there are nine countries willing to join the United States. Compare to the 37 nations during the Bush administration aligned to fight the ongoing war on terror. Bush did not mince words and our allies knew where they stood – with the United States because Bush regarded them appropriately. Obama, conversely, has treated allies with disdain and open hostility while literally bowing to our enemies, thus proving he cannot be counted upon during this or a future crisis.

Never forget the real lessons of September 11, 2001. Remain ever vigilant. Teach the children the truth.

Sanford D. Horn is a writer and educator living in Westfield, IN.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

This IS War, Mr. Obama

This IS War, Mr. Obama
Commentary by Sanford D. Horn
September 3, 2014

Semantics be damned, Mr. Obama, this is WAR. You and that twit of a spokesperson at the State Department Jen Psaki can tap dance all day long about how you won’t assign labels, but to paraphrase a scene from the hilarious film Blazing Saddles, labels, we don’t need no stinkin’ labels.

ISIS is lopping off heads at a rate faster than you can get back to the golf course after a vacation speech where you feign concern over whatever crisis you are ignoring, Mr. Obama. Yes, Mr., not President, as I respect the office of president far too much to sully it by referring to you in that title. First James Foley, and now Steven Sotloff – American journalists who put themselves in harm’s way to ensure the world knew what dastardly, barbaric deeds the enemies of decency were perpetrating.

And as ISIS continues marching toward its goal of a global Islamic caliphate, you, Mr. Obama continue to dither and stick your finger in the air to determine which way the wind is blowing while fecklessly announcing to the world that “I don’t want to put the cart before the horse, but we don’t have a strategy yet.”

Obama’s idiotic admission to the world brings to mind another brilliant cinematic quote when Vito Corleone told his oldest son, the hotheaded Santino in The Godfather, “Never tell anyone outside the family what you are thinking.” Obama is no Sonny Corleone; sadly, Obama is more reminiscent of Fredo, a useless lounge lizard of a family traitor who can barely accomplish the simplest of tasks. What Obama did accomplish is returning to the golf course and attending numerous fundraisers.

And while Obama continues to glide emotionless through his second term in office, the national leader acting most like an actual world leader is Great Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron. Cameron raised the terror threat level to “severe,” the second highest in the UK and he returned home from holiday, unlike his American counterpart, who remained on Martha’s Vineyard and did not cut short his vacation.

Cameron then issued a statement about ISIS that did not mince words. We “must confront it [at] home and abroad – and defeat it at its source,” calling Muslim extremism and terrorism a “poisonous ideology pre-dating 9/11.” Its roots even predate the Barbary Wars of 1801-05 during the Jefferson administration and 1815 during the Madison administration, as well as the Crusades spanning the eighth through 15th centuries.

That same day all Obama could muster was his announcement of a need for a strategy. Two weeks later, Obama, while in Estonia, could not even manage to offer a consistent plan within the same speech. First Obama said it was necessary to “degrade and destroy ISIS,” then backtracked mere sentences later indicating the need to make this “a manageable problem.”

Obama called for bringing the ISIS murderers to justice. Justice should be nothing less than a bullet to the head. There is only one way to deal with ISIS, ISIL, Hamas, or any other terrorist outlet, Mr. Obama, and that is to take Senator John McCain’s (R-AZ) advice – “Kill them.” US Representative Frank Wolf (R-VA) said he will introduce a bill authorizing the use of force.

This is not a partisan issue. Florida Senator Bill Nelson (D) supports giving Obama the tools by which to destroy ISIS and there are strong words from Vice President Joe Biden who said, “We will follow them to the gates of Hell… because Hell is where they will reside.” For once, Joe being Joe is a good thing! Lawmakers are demanding a clearly defined strategy in combating ISIS sooner rather than later.

ISIS is a terrorist organization making al-Qaeda look like a Boy Scout troop. If a hand of peace or friendship is extended to them, they will not only cut it off, but then slap you with the bloody stump. This is not a group with which to negotiate as their end goal is a Muslim caliphate including Sharia Law and hordes of dead Christians, Jews, and other so-called infidels.

Cameron is leading with confidence while Obama isn’t even leading from behind as he oft claims he will do. Obama is not leading, and he is most definitely behind, as this administration has had more than a year to generate a battle strategy. Obama, and by proxy, the United States, is a disrespected laughing stock on the world stage. Retired Air Force Lieutenant General Thomas McInerny said that Obama’s inaction and lack of a clear strategy is “approaching dereliction of duty.”

Where are leaders like Harry Truman and Ronald Reagan? Neither that Democrat nor that Republican would take any crap and were presidents of action.  Action that would restore the United States to its rightful place in the global arena as a leader to be feared and respected as well as one that could be counted upon by its allies in times of distress. We are beyond the point of distress, Mr. Obama. Man up and do your job.

Sanford D. Horn is a writer and educator living in Westfield, IN.