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Baboo, out of all the things you said I can only (possibly) disagree with one thing - and even that may depend on how you meant it (I could not hear your voice or see the expression on your face).. That is the piece of your statement that went, take care of our people instead of the self interests were doomed to fail.

You can lead a horse to water, but a lot of horses won't drink. Every single one of us (and I certainly include myself) are just a whole load of of special interests and we all seem to have a (personalized) view of what is 'fair.' Perhaps we can agree that we should give everyone WHO ARE WILLING TO MAKE THE EFFORT, an opportunity to drink the water - provide better opportunities. If they refuse, what can we do?

For example, I believe people (especially in low paying jobs) should get merit raises, but I also believe that they should be for real merit not merely for fulfilling the job's basic requirements - that's what your regular pay covers). If you are relaible and have a very good attendence record, that should be worth something to an employer. If you can do several different jobs you are more valiuable to an employer (might get more than a little union push-back on that). Get more education - get a raise (it WILL make you a better employee). Get special training, get a professional certificate, do extra duties (act as a safety monitor, etc.). same thing.

We KNOW that there is a very high correlation between education and earnings and education and behavior, so we have to do something about the education system and that is certainly everybody's fault, bad administration, low budgets, uncaring parents, some really stupid labor union rules, too much focus on sports and too little on language, math, and science.

Another point is that as the cost of labor goes up (we are talking total cost, NOT just pay and that can be a very big difference) the harder the companies are going to work to eliminate that 'unskilled' labor. No one is proposing that we specify that a retailer have a minimum number of stock clerks - what will those people do when the job goes away? In other words, the fact that it is a low-paying, thus low cost job is what maintains the position, if it become a higher COST job it tends to get eliminated.

The county Sheriff's office is a perfect example, we need mose Deputies, but the total cost of employment in relationship to the county's revenue meand we cannit afford them, so the postions go unfilled.

You may have heard me quote a shocking statistic from the U.S. census, using the standard U.S. economic formula for poverty (you see in the headlines), California has a poverty rate of 13%-14%, but when you calculate the poverty rate and include the cost of housing in California, (not the U.S. average), the state poverty rate exceeds 25%. Surely, most of the high cost of housing in the state are not the fault of the employers, who are also paying some of the highest total state taxes in the nation.

Among other things, the high cost of public workers in California and environmental 'regulations' (many of which are merely opportiuunities to extort money from business, give us this and we will not sue you and hold your project up for ten years, evenn if we lose. ) and that all goes into the equation.

We put in place all these polices, no one else, because too many of us fall for the same old stories every time and do not get back to basics. There are less than 2,000 professional football players in the NFL and most of then are not making a miilion a year with the average career for those who make the opening day roster of close to 6 years. Meanwhile, there are 878,000 licensed physicans in the U.S. and 40% have been in practice more than 20 years - but the initial plan for a new bond for our High School has many million for a football field and athletic facility. Better spent on an advanced bio-science lab? You bet your bippy.


Marty Richman

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