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Archive for February 16th, 2013

As an economist with a boring personality (sorry to be redundant), I sometimes focus on numbers. And when contemplating the cost of regulation and red tape, there are some numbers that should frighten all of us.

But normal people are probably more likely to understand the cost of red tape when you share specific examples of absurd regulation.

Hooters GirlsAnd apparently that’s why we have an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The EEOC bureaucracy has become famous for ridiculous examples of red tape. It first became famous many years ago when it went after Hooters for hiring attractive young women instead of fat old men to serve as waitresses (and now the bureaucrats are going after a business in Rhode Island for the same reason).

In more recent years, the pinheads at the EEOC have harassed a trucking company for the supposed crime of discriminating against alcoholics and pushed multi-billion dollar regulations to accommodate “pee-shy” employees.

Now the clowns from the EEOC have jumped to the aid of a new “protected class.” Who are these unfortunate and mistreated people that the bureaucrats want to defend?

Get ready to pick your jaw off the floor. Jim Bovard has a column in the Wall Street Journal that seems like satire from The Onion.

Should it be a federal crime for businesses to refuse to hire ex-convicts? Yes, according to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which recently released 20,000 convoluted words of regulatory “guidance” to direct businesses to hire more felons and other ex-offenders.

I’m sure employment lawyers are delighted at the thought of all the billable hours that will be required to peruse 20,000 words of bureaucratese, but what on earth is the EEOC thinking?

Well, it seems the bureaucrats have a long track record of seeking to “protect” the criminals amongst us.

…the EEOC began stretching Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act to sue businesses for practically any hiring practice that adversely affected minorities. In 1989, the agency sued Carolina Freight Carrier Corp. of Hollywood, Fla., for refusing to hire as a truck driver a Hispanic man who had multiple arrests and had served 18 months in prison for larceny. The EEOC argued that the only legitimate qualification for the job was the ability to operate a tractor trailer. U.S. District Judge Jose Alejandro Gonzalez Jr., in ruling against the agency, said: “EEOC’s position that minorities should be held to lower standards is an insult to millions of honest Hispanics. Obviously a rule refusing honest employment to convicted applicants is going to have a disparate impact upon thieves.”

But even though the bureaucrats were slapped down by the courts, the EEOC continues to harass companies that seek to hire honest workers who aren’t a threat to the general public.

…the EEOC guidance frowns on such checks and creates new legal tripwires that could spark federal lawsuits. …If a background check discloses a criminal offense, the EEOC expects a company to do an intricate “individualized assessment” that will somehow prove that it has a “business necessity” not to hire the ex-offender (or that his offense disqualifies him for a specific job). …It is difficult to overstate the EEOC’s zealotry on this issue. The agency is demanding that one of Mr. Livingston’s clients—the Freeman Companies, a convention and corporate events planner—pay compensation to rejected job applicants who lied about their criminal records.

To understand the stupidity and venality of government, re-read the last sentence of that excerpt. The EEOC actually wants a business to give money to applicants who were rejected because they lied about their criminal records.

I’m at a loss for words.

Actually, just joking. I have a lot more words to write, particularly when I see that the bureaucrats at the EEOC also launched a legal attack against a firm that understandably didn’t want to hire crooks for sensitive jobs such as guarding nuclear power plants.

…businesses complying with state or local laws that require employee background checks can still be targeted for EEOC lawsuits. This is a key issue in a case the EEOC commenced in 2010 against G4S Secure Solutions after the company refused to hire a twice-convicted Pennsylvania thief as a security guard. G4S provides guards for nuclear power plants, chemical plants, government buildings and other sensitive sites, and it is prohibited by state law from hiring people with felony convictions as security officers. …The EEOC’s new regime leaves businesses in a Catch-22. As Todd McCracken of the National Small Business Association recently warned: “State and federal courts will allow potentially devastating tort lawsuits against businesses that hire felons who commit crimes at the workplace or in customers’ homes. Yet the EEOC is threatening to launch lawsuits if they do not hire those same felons.”

Oh, by the way, you probably won’t be surprised to learn that the EEOC refuses to say whether it conducts background checks on its own employees. Remember, the ruling class shouldn’t have to worry about all the laws imposed on you and me and the rest of the peasants.

…the EEOC is practically rewriting the law to add “criminal offender” to the list of protected groups under civil-rights statutes, [but] the agency refuses to disclose whether it uses criminal background checks for its own hiring. When EEOC Assistant Legal Counsel Carol Miaskoff was challenged on this point in a recent federal case in Maryland, the agency insisted that revealing its hiring policies would violate the “governmental deliberative process privilege.”

What’s particularly tragic about this farce is that it will almost certainly hurt the minorities that the EEOC supposedly is trying to help.

…studies published in the University of Chicago Legal Forum and the Journal of Law and Economics have found that businesses are much less likely to hire minority applicants when background checks are banned. As the majority of black and Hispanic job applicants have clean legal records, the new EEOC mandate may harm the very groups it purports to help.

Remarkable…and typical.

And if you want a few more examples of government stupidity:

Simply stated, government is a disaster waiting to happen – just as shown in this satirical poster.

P.S. If you didn’t get suicidally depressed after reading this post, Jim Bovard has a column about the Department of Housing and Urban Development that is equally mind-boggling.

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I haven’t shared any of the anti-politician jokes from the late-night talk shows since last year, so time for a new batch.

Jay Leno

  • President Obama wants Congress to increase the minimum wage. Believe me, when it comes to doing the minimum for their wage, Congress knows what it’s talking about.
  • Earlier tonight President Obama gave his State of the Union address. At every State of the Union address the president is introduced by some guy who walks in and says, “Mr. Speaker, the president of the United States!” If we’re really serious about reducing the size of government, start with that guy. What does he work, one day a year?
  • This is a real break with tradition. When the president walked into the chamber, instead of “Hail to the Chief,” they played “Hey, Big Spender.”
  • According to a leaked report from an upcoming U.N. study on climate change, solar activity may play a greater role in global warming than previously thought. The sun may be involved in global warming. It’s always the last place you’d think, isn’t it?
  • Several states are now looking into the possibility of taxing marijuana as a source of revenue. That is so typical of the government, isn’t it? Trying to squeeze blood from a stoner.
  • Monopoly is getting a big makeover. They want to make the Monopoly game more modern and bring it up to date to reflect our current culture. Like, in the new version of Monopoly, the banker never goes to jail.
  • A new study says that working fewer hours can slow global warming. So you know what that means? President Obama’s economic policy is also his climate change policy.
  • This is kind of disturbing. The Justice Department has concluded that the president can order drone strikes on American citizens. And today, Rush Limbaugh came out in favor of Obamacare.
  • Some Democrats in Congress are now trying to change the marijuana laws, making it legal so it can be taxed and increase revenue. Is that what the government’s come down to now? We’re selling drugs to pay off our debts? When did Uncle Sam become Scarface?
  • According to a new traffic study, it takes longer to get to work in Washington, D.C., than any other city in the country. On the other hand, they don’t do any work once they get there, so it’s pretty much a wash.
  • Zimbabwe’s finance minister revealed yesterday that his country has only $217 left in the government Treasury. Today President Obama said, “Stop bragging!”
  • The Senate has overwhelmingly approved John Kerry as the next secretary of state. In his farewell speech today to the Senate, Kerry spoke for 51 minutes. So, apparently he does believe in torture.
  • John Kerry is the first white male to hold that job since 1997. So finally middle-aged white guys with gray hair are breaking through the glass ceiling.
  • The Boy Scouts of America is now considering an end to its longstanding policy of banning gay scouts. How about that? And the girl scouts have a new policy during cookie season. It’s called “Don’t ask, just sell.”
  • According to reports from a journal called Psychological Science, people eat more junk food and gain weight during tough economic times. How ironic is that? The biggest obstacle to Michelle Obama’s war on obesity is President Obama’s economic policy.
  • Happy birthday to first lady Michelle Obama. She turned 49 years old today. She told a reporter she’d like a nice gift from Barack, but nothing extravagant. Oh, don’t worry. Obama is very responsible when he’s spending his own money.
  • President Obama said this week that he wants to find a “pathway for citizenship” for immigrants in the United States. Don’t we have that? It’s called the Rio Grande river.
  • Today Democrats said they want another trillion dollars in taxes. Didn’t we just give them $620 billion last Wednesday? Is that gone already? Who is running this, “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills”?

David Letterman

  • I have to hand it to President Obama. He is full of confidence, really kind of cocky and full of himself. At the end of his State of the Union address he showed America his Kenyan birth certificate.
  • In the last two months Fox News has fired Sarah Palin, former governor of Alaska, and Dick Morris, well-known political pundit. Well, great. Two more jobs lost under Obama.

Conan

  • The Republican response to President Obama’s State of the Union address was given by Senator Marco Rubio. It’s just one more example of rich white guys getting a Hispanic to do a job they don’t want to do.
  • President Obama gave his State of the Union address tonight. The rebuttal will be given by Marco Rubio. Or as he’s known in the Republican Party, “our black guy.”
  • This is crazy. The justice department is saying that President Obama can order drone strikes on American citizens, that he can do that. In a related story, this is the last Obama joke I’m ever doing on this show.
  • Next year’s Super Bowl is already in the news. It takes place in New Jersey. The NFL says it wants to prevent another blackout. This one involves keeping Chris Christie away from his microwave.

Craig Ferguson

  • Mardi Gras is French for “Fat Tuesday.” Unfortunately, we’re all so politically correct now, Fat Tuesday is now officially known as “Big-Boned Day After Monday.”
  • The first episode of this spy show was great. Their mission was to fake a drivers license for a young socialist Kenyan boy living in Hawaii.

Jimmy Kimmel

  • An economist is suggesting that the U.S. Treasury mint a trillion-dollar coin and deposit it in the federal reserve — which is how “The Lord of the Rings” starts, isn’t it?

Jimmy Fallon

  • President Obama also gave House Speaker John Boehner a thumbs-up before the start of his State of the Union address. Or as Boehner put it, “Beats the finger I usually get!”
  • Do you know why the White House scheduled the State of the Union address for Lincoln’s birthday instead of Washington’s birthday? Well, it’s because Washington was famous for saying, “I cannot tell a lie.”
  • House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said on Fox News Sunday that it’s a false argument to say that we have a spending problem. You know something? I think she may be right. I think what we actually have is a “You don’t have a clue” problem.
  • It was just revealed that the Federal Reserve was hacked on Sunday. It’s pretty serious. In fact, they say the hackers could’ve made off with as much as negative $14 trillion.
  • Pakistan is opening an amusement park and a zoo in the same town where the raid on Osama Bin Laden took place. The zoo is pretty cool, but I’ve heard you won’t be able to see the seals until it’s too late.
  • “60 Minutes” anchor Steve Kroft is defending Sunday’s interview with President Obama and Hillary Clinton, saying that he didn’t have enough time to ask hard-hitting questions. That would be easier to believe if the name of his show wasn’t the amount of time he had.
  • The president will push for a path to citizenship for 11 million illegal immigrants in the U.S. Obama says it’s all part of his plan to give every man, woman, and child the chance to pay more taxes.
  • Republicans and Democrats are working on a new bill to streamline the healthcare system. It will reduce the cost of mammograms and prostate exams. But don’t worry. They’ll still be free at the airport.
  • A new survey found that 77 percent of Americans think politicians do serious harm to the country. Politicians are like, “Cool, at least they think we do something.”

It’s been quite a while since I’ve seen an Osama bin Laden joke, and it brought back memories of some classic humor that can be seen hereherehereherehere, and here.

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