Sunday, August 09, 2015

Economic lesson learned

A giant corporation (business + government) is messing with my household finances.

Nemesis works for one of the most popularly hated corporations. They owe her around a thousand dollars for some vacation time she took months ago. The mismanaging manager (who has since been promoted) neglected to do the final step to pay employees for vacation time which had already been approved. There are apparently 8 other employees in the same position- some owed much more.

When the mismanaging manager was promoted, and couldn't be reminded any more about the vacation pay, Nemesis went to a regional manager to beg for her money. He looked into the situation and said everything was in order, and he doesn't understand why she was never paid. Then while looking into the problem he discovered all the others who were also owed for vacation time (and numerous other employee-harming "oversights")

Seems like it would have then been a simple matter to pay the money that was owed.

But, no.

That was a couple of months ago, at least. The "process" is still ongoing, with phone calls to the head office (to speak one-on-one to the "Big Deals") scheduled next week, to get to the bottom of this problem. But still no estimate of when the money might be paid.

In the meantime, in the real world, bills go unpaid, and no one owed is concerned about the why of it. As much as I try to not get wrapped up in the drama of it all, I find myself irritated. Partly at Nemesis' choice of employer (but it could be worse, she keeps talking about applying at a "public" school), but mostly by people not keeping their end of a deal and starting a domino effect of problems.

But, avoiding corporations doesn't ensure there won't be a problem.

I have mostly avoided corporations for employment, I have almost exclusively worked for small, family businesses. That has it's own dangers.

Years ago, the business I was working for hit hard times. I loaned the owners some money to get over some bumps and then I allowed them to fall behind paying me for my hours worked. Eventually they got 6 weeks behind on my paycheck, and I said I couldn't keep working without pay, so they started trying to catch up. They would pay me out of the register for each day at the end of the day, and would write checks every week or so to catch up on the back pay. I kept careful track of where I stood. When they claimed we were caught up, I am certain they still owed me for a full week of pay. I showed them all the records I had kept, but they disagreed. I never got the money.

(Year later that same business was intimately involved in the complete and utter trainwreck that almost destroyed me, and they tried really hard to destroy my reputation along with my financial life.)

But it isn't only me.

A few years back, Nemesis was working "home health" for a woman. She allowed the woman to owe her for a few weeks' pay. She never got that, either. If I had known what was going on at the time I would have shared my experience with allowing employers to fall behind. Not that I would have been listened to.

If you allow yourself to be owed money, you are best off to consider it a loan and never expect to be repaid. If you can't afford that, don't let anyone owe you- especially not your employer.


Statists by any other name would advocate governing

[Previously posted as a status on Facebook]

Some people who advocate governing others don't like to be called statists. Seems odd to complain about reality, but OK.

They advocate the existence of States, but are upset at being called on it. They say the word "statist" applies only to near totalitarians. Of course, it's only a matter of degree, not a difference in kind. But, if the word hurts their feelings, let's make up a word just for them. Maybe I'll call them "gentlists". That sounds gentle, harmless, and sweet, right?

So, a gentlist would be anyone who believes governing others is a legitimate human endeavor. It says nothing about how they advocate doing it, or the level of governing they approve.

So, maybe some gentlists only want a little bit of control over the non-aggressive acts of others. Maybe they only want a little bit of aggressive theft committed under the euphemism "taxation". Maybe they only advocate kidnapping those engaged in free market economic trades sometimes; if the trades are disliked by a vocal subset of the population. Maybe they turn their heads and pretend their gentlism isn't enforced by the implied threat of murder in every single case- especially if people comply so universally under the threat that death rarely results. We could call these "min-gentlists"- they want what they consider to be the minimum level of gentlism.

Other gentlists might want almost total control of your every action. They might demand you give all your property to them, and dole it out according to a central plan. These totaligentlists would obviously be more extreme than the min-gentlists, but again, it is not a difference in kind, only in degree.

The foundational beliefs are identical- that there exists somewhere a right to control other people and take their property when it suits those who have been put in charge. The only difference is in how blatant they are willing to be about it, and how quickly they want to escalate their violence, and perhaps, where they plan to focus their governing. But the end is the same. And what you call it is really pretty irrelevant in the end.

So, be a whiny statist if it makes you somehow feel better.

Or, suck it up. If you advocate something, own it. Otherwise you look like a fool who knows he is advocating evil and wants to avoid being ashamed for doing so. It makes you look like someone who needs to change, and deep down inside, KNOWS it.