Tag Archives: Employment

Lackluster service-sector report shows long-term weakness ahead

The Institute for Supply Management released it’s non-manufacturing report today hit 52.1, the lowest in more than 12 months, indicating that while the service-related businesses are still growing, the growth is slowing.

In May, the Non-manufacturing index (NMI) was at 53.7. June’s NMI was markedly lower at 52.1 indicating that service-sector employers were seeing weakness in their respective industries.

While the construction industry perceived the economy to be flat from the prior month. Only entertainment and recreation saw any growth month-over-month as Americans head into the heavy summer vacation season. All other service sectors were seeing weakness building in their businesses.

Business activity for services fell off almost 4% in June while the backlog of new orders slipped into decline indicating that a turn-around isn’t likely soon.

Month NMI Month NMI
Jun 2012 52.1 Dec 2011 53.0
May 2012 53.7 Nov 2011 52.6
Apr 2012 53.5 Oct 2011 52.6
Mar 2012 56.0 Sep 2011 52.6
Feb 2012 57.3 Aug 2011 53.8
Jan 2012 56.8 Jul 2011 53.4
Average for 12 months – 54.0
High – 57.3
Low – 52.1

While the employment index of the survey showed increased hiring, the activity, inventory and backlog indices indicate that they might be hiring into a slowdown. Inventory sentiment gives more proof to that assertion as business owners feel that they have too much capacity for the current demand and while demand is weakening, capacity hasn’t matched it as of yet.

The report’s employment index may show slight improvement for the employment report due out Friday, but huge improvements should not be expected. While most analysts are projecting 90,000 new jobs in Friday’s report, it will be only a small improvement over May’s dismal jobs figures.

Summary

When looking at the June Manufacturing report and services reports together, backorders have slipped into decline and both major indices are showing their lowest numbers in more than a year. The economy is slowing and another downward revision in annual GDP for the United States should be expected.

Calling All Calligraphers

Are you a calligrapher? You need to apply… Apparently, there’s a strong use for these skills and you could make $90,000 a year. In a day and time when we have the Autopen to sign for the President who would believe there is enough need to have not one, but three calligraphers on staff at the White House. Who knew? It is nice to see that not everything in the White House is high tech.

Have no skills except for making your own bed? Here’s the spot for you. Be a Domestic Assistant and make $42,000 a year.  What does that domestic assistant really do since this list does not include all other domestic staff?  Maybe just make sure there is plenty of tissue in the Oval Office? With unemployment still over 8% there are plenty who would even mop floors for those wages.

Released during a last minute Friday afternoon information dump are the salaries for White House employees. The administration brags that the numbers are lower than in 2009 perhaps forgetting to note the payroll did grow $700,000 from last year. In a time when this administration wants to make significant cuts to our military it appears there is room for adjustment within the White House itself.  (Want to read more on how much it costs to operate the White House. Here’s a 2008 publication on just this subject: To Serve the President)

I don’t know about you, but I’d just like to be a special assistant, not to anyone in particular, and be paid $70,000. I could do it. In fact, as unemployment continues to be an issue perhaps Team Obama is right; the best jobs are in the government.

Sign me up.

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California “Money-Grab” Causing Layoffs

LOS ANGELES, May 21, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — You’d think that California would be fostering small businesses, especially ones that clean the environment and enhance public safety. Instead, a group of California District Attorneys have cost one 26 year old California small business their largest customer and forced layoffs for 12 employees.

It all goes back to 2009 when California made it illegal to employ the word “biodegradable” on packaging. Many companies hadn’t even heard of the law due to poor communication on the part of the state. And, because the bill never addressed a practical means of enforcement it has become ripe-picking for the cash strapped state which is exploiting the opportunity to carry-out a “money-grab” on par with their $45 parking meter fines.

That’s the experience of Petpro Products, a South El Monte producer of dog waste scoops when they received an URGENT DEMAND from the Solano County District Attorney (representing eight CA districts and Santa Monica) to “IMMEDIATELY” remove their products from sale throughout the state.

In their strongly worded “NOTICE OF IMPENDING LEGAL ACTION BY LAW ENFORCEMENT”  District Attorneys claim that because the scoop package contained the words “99% biodegradable” and called the scoop “A Step to a Greener World” – it was illegal to be sold in the state and subject to hefty fines and retroactive penalties.

In an unusual move, the District Attorneys sent the same notice to Petpro’s customers. Immediately over 1,200 stores stopped doing business with the company — including 1,000 stores outside of California. Former customers are now IMPORTING MILLIONS OF POOP SCOOPS FROM CHINA. Due to this, the company has had to lay off loyal staff and reduce orders with California suppliers.

Bart Greenhut, owner of Petpro states: “It doesn’t make sense for enforcement to use severe tactics reserved for dangerous drugs and hazardous materials and apply them to a poop scoop. The District Attorneys actions have substantially destroyed our 26 year old California environmental business and the livelihoods of 22 California families.”

“In my 40 years of experience, it is always customary practice for agencies to provide notice of potential infractions and allow an opportunity to resolve the issue without suffering unnecessary hardship, cost or disruption of business.”

Greenhut continues, “In this case there was no notice, no due process, no investigation, and there was certainly no justification for intimidation and strong-arm tactics. We would have voluntarily changed any aspect of our package if anyone would have asked! Something is seriously amiss when the Attorney General has District Attorneys occupying their time shaking-down small businesses and putting good Californians out of work.”

Cornyn STAR Act Will Create Jobs by Keeping US Educated Highly Skilled Foreign Professionals in America

Wikipedia Image

WASHINGTON, May 16, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — Compete America, a coalition dedicated to ensuring thatthe United States has the highly educated workforce it needs to continue to lead the world in innovation and job creation, issued the following statement on Senator John Cornyn’s recent introduction of the “Securing the Talent America Requires for the 21st Century” or STAR Act:

“We applaud Senator Cornyn for recognizing that in these difficult economic times we must recruit and retain job creators in the United States,” said Compete America Executive Director, Scott Corley. “In US universities across our nation, we are graduating the world’s top engineering and scientific minds.  Among those graduates with Masters and PhDs in STEM related fields, half or more are from another country.  We are training the world’s best minds only to have our immigration system send a very clear message: go home and compete against America.”

The Cornyn STAR Act would give priority to employment-based immigrants to the US who are trained in US universities, providing tremendous relief to our overburdened employment-based system while incentivizing foreign Masters and PhD students in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics or STEM to keep their talents in America.  “We see a clear link between talented, highly skilled foreign professionals and job creation in the United States,” said Peter Muller, Director of Government Relations for Intel.  “We know that this job creation will play a critical role not only in the continued recovery of our current economy but in the future of America’s growth as a world economic leader.”

“Senator Cornyn is a key leader in the United States Congress.  His interest in reforming our highly skilled immigration system is an important first step in the effort to move forward on key immigration reform this year that will benefit our country in a time of need,” said Gene Irisari, Director of Government Relations at Texas Instruments.  “We believe this legislation is important for America, and we look forward to working with Senator Cornyn and his colleagues in both parties to enact reasonable and balanced immigration reforms this year.”

Compete America thanks Senator Cornyn for taking this strong stand in favor of economic growth and new jobs.

To learn more about the benefits of highly educated foreign-born professionals to the U.S. economy, visitwww.competeamerica.org.

Is Higher Ed to Blame for the Plight of the Occupiers?

While speaking at a recent EDUCAUSE Conference, higher ed journalist, Anya Kamenetz, commented that “Occupy Wall Street is a referendum on the value of higher education.” Even though the rest of her presentation was rather interesting, this statement went on to occupy my thoughts.

The OWS crowd is angry. The 20-somethings in that movement resent the fact that they have college degrees, a tremendous amount of student loan debt, and no job. They want someone to blame for their frustration. Politicians push them to blame the banks and corporations or to blame the government, but there is also a tangible amount of frustration being directed at higher ed. After all, these institutions have promised that acquisition of a college degree will earn them a “better job” or “brighter future.” The academic experience should instead be marketed as what it really is: an enlightened path to the life you are ready to earn.

Beyond this fallacy in marketing, academic institutions are being improperly blamed. When looking at the recent college graduate who is struggling to jump-start his life, one must consider more than the possession of a college degree. Employers also look at level of workplace skill, industry knowledge, work ethic, reliability, diversity of experience, professional and personal references, and general likeability. All of these characteristics can be developed during college, but many students choose not to do the necessary work.

Mediocrity is rampant in classes I teach: students who repeatedly miss classes and deadlines, who refuse to purchase required textbooks, and many who disengage but never even bother to withdraw from the class (thereby forfeiting scholarship – i.e., someone else’s – money). They spend more time defending or making excuses than it would have taken to do the work. If these students are lucky enough to meet the bare minimum requirements, they finish the class with a C. They move on to the next class, where they will repeat the same behaviors, ultimately making mediocrity a habit.

Eventually, this C student graduates and then competes for a job against a student who worked harder and applied herself more and, as a result, graduated with a better chance of employment. The former student lacks motivation, work ethic, and sufficient knowledge, while the latter is more responsible, more motivated, and probably has numerous faculty recommendations to vouch for these traits.

What it comes down to is how hard the individual is willing to work. Yes, the cost of a college degree is a challenge and can seem inhibiting for many. But the existence of post-graduation debt and financial instability isn’t based solely on the high cost of a college degree. Plenty of students graduate with manageable debt or no debt at all. They are the ones who worked their way through college, did the work to identify scholarship resources while still in high school, or participated in work study programs. Their financially-frustrated counterparts wanted the full “college experience” but wanted to pay for it later, thereby accumulating immense student loan debt.

Having a college degree doesn’t guarantee we will be debt-free and gainfully employed any more than having a gym membership guarantees we will be thin and healthy. There is real work and sound decision-making that goes on behind the scenes to ensure that one leads to another.

I would encourage the Occupiers who want a career and financial security to get to the business of making that happen. They can start re-appropriating the time, energy, and voice being wasted in trash piles of city parks all over this country to begin to earn their place in the world of work. More directly, to the 15% of OWS protesters who are unemployed, I would say this…

Study the organizations you want to work for, and market yourself to them. Earn some solid recommendations from people whose opinions a potential employer will value. Take on an internship or volunteer in the industry in which you intend to work (the research shows internships almost always lead to full-time employment). Begin making connections with the movers and shakers in the business world instead of scorning them with chicken scratch on 99 cent poster boards. Earn their respect, and you will earn your future position.

As an added bonus to this hard work and sound decision-making, you will likely find yourself in a better position to pay down your debt and better equipped to manage your personal finances going forward. It’s about choices. Make the choice to better your situation instead of waiting around for someone else to fix it for you. And rather than dismiss your college experience as a waste of time, reflect on the intellectual return on investment you’re experiencing. Oh wait, that’s a free-market metaphor, and you probably skipped that class.

New Mobile Technology Transforms How America’s Workers Save for Retirement

Innovative Financial Advisors pilot cutting-edge process resulting in dramatic improvements in retirement savings

SANTA ROSA, Calif., Aug. 31, 2011 — According to The Employee Benefit Research Institute, in their 2011 Retirement Confidence Study, fully 70 percent of American workers say they are not where they need to be with their retirement savings.

Less than half of workers (42 percent) report they and/or their spouse have tried to calculate how much money they will need to have saved by the time they retire so that they can live comfortably in retirement. This has changed little since 2003.

But since December 2010, a start-up company has been piloting a solution to overcome these unmet needs with Financial Advisors who specialize in 401(k) plans.

Called iJoin, this mobile software provides personalized analysis of a worker’s retirement situation. Workers using their own smartphone or a supplied mobile device are led through an engaging, interactive decision-making process. Using applied behavioral finance techniques; iJoin gently nudges employees to determine:

  • How much must they save for retirement to replace their monthly income?
  • If they are not on track to achieve their monthly income goal, what they can do to achieve the desired goal?
  • Based on their individual preferences, what are some suitable investments?

With a professional Financial Advisor leading the session, different situations can be analyzed and solutions provided on the spot. At the end of the session, a retirement planning report is emailed to each participant.

Nearly 200 workers participated, with 8 companies across the country, in a variety of industries ranging from professional firms to farming equipment and manufacturing. The results were outstanding:

  • 97% chose to participate in their company retirement plan compared to industry average of 78.8%
  • 68% selected a higher contribution percentage than what they were currently deferring
  • Workers increased their savings or deferral rate resulting in a 10.6% average deferral rate compared to industry average of 7.5%

Workers gave the iJoin software good marks:

  • 76% rated iJoin as “Extremely Effective” or “Very Effective” in helping determine how much money will be needed in retirement
  • 81% said they would “Absolutely” or “Probably Recommend” the iJoin retirement planning process to others.

“The mission of iJoin is to improve the retirement security of millions of American workers who are depending on 401(k) plans to generate needed income once they stop working. Mobile technology is a game changer. By partnering with Financial Advisors, iJoin offers a turnkey technology solution and consistent guidance process that dramatically improves individual retirement outcomes,” said Fred Greenstein, CEO, Left Coast Solutions, Inc.

“In about twenty minutes, the iJoin mobile application enabled workers to determine how much they needed to save for retirement and showed them how to accomplish that goal,” said Kendall Kay, Chief Marketing Officer for iJoin. “They now have a written game plan that shows how they can be ready for retirement and what sort of monthly income they will need. This process really boosts their confidence.”

About Left Coast Solutions, Inc.

Established in 2008, in Santa Rosa, California, Left Coast Solutions is the owner of the iJoin mobile web guidance and enrollment software. The software has been developed by LCS’s technology and project partner iGate/Patni. The iJoin team has 70+ years of retirement plan experience. The founders possess expertise in 401(k) recordkeeping, product development, investment management, web technology, retirement plan design and consulting. For more information, go to: http://www.ijoinplan.com/

About iGATE Patni:

“iGATE Patni” (the common brand identity of iGATE and Patni with the former having acquired a majority stake in Patni Computers) provides consulting, technology, business process outsourcing and product engineering services on a Business Outcomes-based model powered by the iTOPS (Integrated Technology and Operations) platform. iGATE Patni’s multi-location global organization has 26000+ people, servicing over 360 Fortune 1000 clients in banking & financial services; insurance & healthcare; and life sciences, among others. Visit: http://www.igatepatni.com.

CONTACT:

Kendall Kay
Chief Marketing Officer
Left Coast Solutions, Inc.
617-803-6344
[email protected]

Renewed Calls on Obama and Democrats to Focus on America

NEW YORK, July 21, 2011 — Leading Independent and Senior Energy Executive Karl W. Miller today renewed calls for President Obama to start listening to senior industry executives and experts, resolve the U.S. real estate crisis, address depression era unemployment and put a credible national energy plan in place. The debt limit sideshow is a “red herring” and deferring focus away from the true problems facing the U.S. economy.

According to Mr. Miller:

The U.S. economy runs on three key factors: i) a stable housing market; ii) affordable and dependable energy supply; and iii) stable employment environment. Without these three critical factors functioning properly, there will be no meaningful economic recovery in the U.S. economy.

The U.S. Federal Reserve must stop subsidizing the defunct real estate loans in the residential and commercial marketplace which must be properly vetted, written down to net realizable value, and moved off the banks, hedge funds and insurance company books.

The U.S. regulators must force this to happen without preference for any specific group. There will be bankruptcies, bank failures and forced liquidations; these are the cold hard facts of a capitalist society, which the U.S. economy is founded upon.

Politicians must acknowledge where the U.S. economy and energy industry are today. We have serious and deep-rooted problems with no credible national energy plan in place and must start addressing these problems immediately.

The U.S. needs a credible and sensible energy policy and emissions plan. Subsidies and handouts do not work, never have and never will. Natural gas is not the “Holy Grail” but will remain a power generation fuel, heating fuel and select industrial manufacturing fuel. The U.S. has substantial cheap and dependable coal supplies which provide over fifty percent (50%) of the nation’s electricity generation.

President Obama and the Democrats failed to “recognize” the message that the American people sent them in November 2010 as the economy continues to decline, unemployment continues to grow and the real estate crisis continues to worsen.

It is time for Washington to take stock in America and start executing on a credible business plan. Failure to execute is cause for termination in Washington.

 

Unemployment Rate Rises to 9.1% only 54,000 New Jobs in May

unemployment lineToday, the Bureau of Labor Statistics released it’s monthly “Employment Situation Report” and the numbers were even worse than analysts expected.

Nonfarm payroll employment changed little (+54,000) in May, and the unemployment rate was essentially unchanged at 9.1 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Job gains continued in professional and business services, health care, and mining. Employment levels in other major private-sector industries were little changed, and local government employment continued to decline.

The size of the labor force, the number of working age citizens actually holding jobs,  was essentially unchanged from April at 153.7 million. Teenagers and black Americans faired the worst in the household survey portion of the report with Asians and adult women finding the most work. A disconcerting secondary statistic is that the labor force participation rate and employment-to-population ratio stayed flat. If the population grew and those ratios stayed flat, how did the size of the labor force remain flat as well?

The most alarming statistic in the report is that the number of those unemployed for 27 weeks or longer (long-term unemployed) increased by 361,000 and they now account for almost half of all unemployed. This indicates that a large portion of the jobless, may be holding onto little hope of ever finding a job.

In typical administration fashion the increase of 8,000 jobs in computers were a “notable gain” but a loss of 5,000 jobs in manufacturing was “little changed” from April.

Government workers seem to have shed the greatest number of workers as local, state and federal bureaucracies reduce their sizes to realistic and affordable sizes.

Liberals and their False Concept of a Free Lunch

Michael Moore is right. This is war. The patriots in this country, and indeed countless more throughout the world, are standing up for truth, liberty, and personal freedoms. On the other side is an evil, collectivist, secret combination which conspires to literally enslave people on a global scale. The world has never seen such a struggle. This is epic. The rioting we are seeing on display this week in Madison, Wisconsin is evidence that people with a liberal bent have fully succumbed to the duplicitous entreaties of those who promise a lifetime of guaranteed safety and security in exchange for nothing more than their very souls. Those who would enslave us entice us with promises of endless free lunches…nothing required on our part – no work required. It is a seductive promise, which conservatives know is false. The truth is that nothing is free. Everything requires effort on our part. Anything worthwhile in life requires that a price must be paid. Liberals simply can’t grasp this principle. What’s more, liberals can’t come to grips with the reality of an all-knowing, all-powerful God that truly exists and has given us the freedom to choose for ourselves what kind of people we are to become.  Freedom is a gift from God and now something bequeathed to us by government. This is why progressives detest the concept of God. To recognize the existence of God is to admit that there exists a higher power than that of the state. And that, to liberals, is collectivist death.

We are presented with opposite arguments. On the one side are the communists, liberals, progressives, environmentalist tree-huggers who worship the creation instead of the Creator, socialists, and assorted Democrats who seek to create an amoral, valueless society dedicated to the collective and controlled by despots with unlimited power to regulate our lives. On the other side are the patriots, the God-fearing defenders of freedom and individual liberties who freely choose to abide by civilized rules of society and defend their cultural heritage of divinely-inspired worship. In this war there are no fence-sitters. Everyone must take a side. Choosing not to decide which camp to join is actually a decision not to embrace patriotism and freedom. One must choose, and choose wisely or suffer the consequences throughout life and even beyond the grave.

The now-deceased prominent scholar Hugh W. Nibley gave a talk on April 20, 1982, to the Cannon–Hinkley Club at the Lion House in Salt Lake City. Nibley titled his talk “Work We Must, But the Lunch Is Free.” This masterpiece lays out the arguments on both sides of the debate in clear language. Read on and be enlightened as never before.

The famous geologist Sir Julian Huxley used to go from school to school in the manner of a traveling revivalist, preaching his gospel of evolution: “In the evolutionary pattern of thought there is no longer need or room for the supernatural. The earth was not created; it evolved. So did all the animals and plants that inhabit it including our human selves, mind and soul, as well as brain and body. So did religion.” He was fond of reminding his audiences that there is no Santa Claus, and that mature people should give up wishful thinking about such things as gifts and blessings, spiritual or material, bestowed from on high.

The high school youth of my day took great satisfaction in reciting the words of Omar Khayyam: “And that inverted bowl we call the sky, whereunder crawling coop’t we live and die, lift not the hands to It for help, for It rolls impotently on as Thou or I.” This is, as one eminent commentator on the scientific scene, Hoimar von Ditfurth, puts it, “that ‘modern view,’ still current today, that the earth with everything in it is dangling in the isolation of a universe whose cold majesty disdains it . . . Deep down we are probably even proud of the detachment with which we accept our ‘true’ situation. . . . Much of the cynicism and nihilism characteristic of the modern psyche can be traced to this chilling conception.”

But within the last decade or so, leaders in scientific research have begun to express the opposite opinion to this, saying that they more than suspect the possibility (1) that the somebody out there cares–i.e., there is direction and purpose to what is going on; and (2) that gifts sent down from above are more than a childish tradition.

The first of these ideas was recently expressed by the biologist Lewis Thomas: “I cannot make peace with the randomness doctrine; I cannot abide the notion of purposelessness and blind chance in nature. And yet I do not know what to put in its place for the quieting of my mind. . . . We talk–some of us, anyway–about the absurdity of the human situation, but we do this because we do not know how we fit in, or what we are for. The stories we used to make up to explain ourselves do not make sense anymore, and we have run out of new stories, for the moment.” A grand old–timer in biology, the 1937 Nobel Prize winner, Albert Szent–Györgyi, recently wrote:

According to present ideas, this change in the nucleic acid [which determines the nature of protein molecules formed in a cell] is accomplished through random variation. . . . If I were trying to pass a biology examination, I would vigorously support this theory. Yet in my mind I have never been able to accept fully the idea that the adaption and the harmonious building of those complex biological systems, involving simultaneous changes in thousands of genes, are the results of molecular accidents. . . . The probability that all of these genes should have changed together through random variation is practically zero. . . . I have always been seeking some higher organizing principle that is leading the living system toward improvement and adaptation. I know this is biological heresy, . . . e.g., I do not think that the extremely complex speech center of the human brain … was created by random mutations that happened to improve the chances of survival of individuals. . . . I cannot accept the notion that this capacity arose through random alterations, relying on the survival of the fittest. I believe that some principle must have guided the development toward the kind of speech center that was needed.

More surprising is the story now unfolding as various fields of research combine to give us a picture of gifts being showered upon us from on high–the literal reading of the Santa Claus or Kachina myth. Thus Buckminster Fuller says: “Energies emanating from celestial regions remote from Planet Earth are indeed converging and accumulating in Planet Earth’s biosphere … both as radiation and as matter. “We aboard Earth are receiving gratis just the amount of prime energy wealth, to regenerate biological life on board…. Van Allen belts, . . . the ionosphere, stratosphere and atmosphere all refractively differentiate the radiation frequencies, . . . . separating [them] into a variety of indirect life–sustaining energy transactions.” “Vegetation is the prive energy impounder”; from stellar radiation “the biologicals are continually multiplying, their beautiful cellular, molecular, and atomic structurings” which complete the equation…. “Certainly the earth is not the center of the universe,” writes von Ditfurth, “. . . but this crowded earth is a focal point in the universe; one of perhaps innumerable places in the cosmos where life and consciousness could flourish. . . . What a concentration of mighty forces upon one more or less tiny point!” Is it possible that someone does have us in mind?

This is the thesis which the famous astronomer Sir Fred Hoyle is now pursuing. In a talk given at Caltech last November (1981), he begins with the strange fact that there are distributed in all directions throughout the immensity of space particles whose presence is revealed by the way in which they obscure the galaxies everywhere, making them all look hazy? Whence their original designation as “nebulas” or fuzzy clouds. After almost 20 years of investigation the inescapable conclusion has been reached that “the grains had to be made up largely of organic material.” Like the biologists quoted above, Hoyle too, as he puts it, “was constantly plagued by the thought that the number of ways in which even a single enzyme could be wrongly constructed was greater than the number of all the atoms in the universe [and yet these were correctly constructed], so try as I would, I couldn’t convince myself that even the whole universe would be sufficient to find life by random processes–by what are called the blind forces of nature.” That is where he, too, balks. “By far the simplest way to arrive at the correct sequences of amino acids in the enzymes would be by thought, NOT random processes. . . . Rather than accept the fantastically small probability of life having arisen through the blind forces of nature, it seemed better to suppose that the origin of life was a deliberate intellectual act.” One of the most exciting things about the process, he finds, is that it is still going on, and always has been, and to all purposes always will be. Instead of beginning with a single cell on this one lone planet billions of years ago, life has been brought down to earth from realms above in massive installments. “It was quickly apparent that the facts pointed overwhelmingly against life being of terrestrial origin … [here Hoyle pursues a long line of argument and review of research]; e.g., because a few comets are breaking up and scattering their contents all the time, the process was not relegated to the remote past.” “Taking the view, palatable to most ordinary folk but exceedingly unpalatable to scientists, that there is an enormous intelligence abroad in the universe, it becomes necessary to write blind forces out of astronomy,” as Thomas and Szent–Györgyi do out of biology.

As if to counteract these growing heresies, the old Darwinian view is being puffed today for all it is worth in a half dozen prestigious TV documentaries in which we are treated to endless footage of creatures ranging from amoebas, to giant carnivores, stalking, seizing and with concentrated deliberation soberly crunching, munching, swallowing, and ingesting other insects, fishes, birds, and mammals, etc. This, we are told again and again, is the real process by which all things were created. Everything is lunching on everything else, all the time, and that, children, is what makes us what we are; that is the key to progress. And note it well, all these creatures when they are not lunching are hunting for lunch–they all have to work for it: There is no free lunch in the world of nature, the real world. Lunch is the meaning of life, and everything lunches on something else–”Nature red in tooth and claw.” Tennyson’s happy phrase suited the Victorian mind to perfection. He got the idea from Darwin, as Spencer did his even happier phrase, “survival of the fittest.” Darwin gave the blessing of science to men who had been hoping and praying for holy sanction to an otherwise immoral way of life. Malthus had shown that there will never be enough lunch for everybody, and therefore people would have to fight for it; and Ricardo had shown by his Iron Law of Wages that those left behind and gobbled up in the struggle for lunch had no just cause for complaint. Darwin showed that this was an inexorable law of nature by which the race was actually improved; Miall and Spencer made it the cornerstone of the gospel of Free Enterprise–the weaker must fall by the way if the stock is to be improved. This was movingly expressed in J. D. Rockefeller’s discourse on the American Beauty Rose, which, he said, “can be produced … only by sacrificing the early buds which grow up around it. . . . This is not an evil tendency in business. It is merely the working–out of a law of nature and a law of God.”

In this divinely appointed game of grabs, to share the lunch–prize would be futile, counter–productive, nay immoral. Since there is not enough to go around, whoever gets his fill must be taking it from others–that is the way the game is played. “In Liverpool, Manchester, Preston, or anywhere else in England,” as Brigham Young reported the scene in 1856, workers knew that “their employers would make them do their work for nothing, and then compel them to live on roots and grass if their physical organization could endure it, therefore, says the mechanic, ‘If I can get anything out of you I will call it a godsend,” and does what he can to rip off the boss. If he gets caught, he is punished, yet he is only playing the same game as his employer.

 

So there we have it. The liberal/progressive concept of getting something from nothing actually has its modern roots in Huxley and Darwinism. In the liberal mindset survival of the fittest is a concept in which the “fittest” are defined as those who have arranged to suck off of the government teat on a continual basis. Of course the liberals ignore the fact that the “unfittest” are subsidizing the extravagant lifestyle enjoyed by those whose lips are firmly attached to said teat. Nibley then goes on to describe how we each have a choice of choosing among two different employers. Now he really gets our attention. When Nibley describes the first employer translate that description to Barack Obama, Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, Barney Frank, George Soros, Alcie Hastings, Michael Moore, Rahm Emmanuel and the rest of their ilk. Remember that each of the aforementioned individuals is really nothing but a proxy for someone else. Think horns, pitchforks, and an elevator that goes straight to the bottom. The second employer? I think you have already guessed His identity.

 

The first employer offers us lunch, and since lunch is something everybody must have, he is in a powerful position to bargain. He explains that this glorious earth is his private estate, that it all belongs to him to the ends thereof; in particular he owns the mineral rights and the media of exchange, by controlling which he enjoys the willing cooperation of the military, ecclesiastical, and political establishments, and rules with magnificent uproar. He keeps everything under tight control, though, for all the blood and horror–nobody makes any trouble in his world from the rivers to the ends thereof. Well can he ask Adam, “What is it you want?” for he claims to be the God of this World, and the Lord himself grants him the title of Prince of this World. All who are not working for him on his estate he charges with trespassing, including even heavenly messengers, whom he accuses of spying out his vast property with an eye to taking over the whole of it. But he is willing to make a deal if they have money. To have merely sufficient for your needs, however, is not what he has in mind–that would be the equivalent of the free lunch, lamely ignoring the endless possibilities for acquiring power and gain that the place offers; this developer has a vision of unlimited sweep and power?”You can have anything in this world for money!” Beginning, of course, with lunch. Because money is the only thing that will get you lunch–and since everybody must have lunch, that is the secret of his control.

…There is no free lunch. Your prospective employer explains how that is: The money part is necessary to keep things under control…What would happen, then, if lunch was always provided free for them? Would they not lose their most immediate incentive to work–the need for lunch–money? And since money, as they tell you in Economics 101, is “the power to command goods and services,” who would ever do any work again? How can you command somebody to work for you if he doesn’t need your lunch? That, the shrewd employer explains, is why he must never cease reminding one and all in his domain that there is no free lunch. It is that great teaching which keeps his establishment going. “All I have to do to bring my people into line,” he says, “is to ask them: ‘If you leave my employ, what will become of you?’ That scares the daylights out of them; from the man on the dreary assembly line to the chairman of the board; they are all scared stiff. And so I get things done.”
So let us go across the road for an interview with the Other Employer. To our surprise, he answers our first question with an emphatic: “Forget about lunch! Don’t even give it a thought!” “Take no thought of what ye shall eat or what ye shall drink or wherewith ye shall be clothed!” “But what will become of me then?” you ask. Not to worry, “We will preach the gospel to you, and then you will find out that lunch should be the least of your concerns.”

…We have been permitted to come here to go to school, to acquire certain knowledge and take a number of tests to prepare us for greater things hereafter. This whole life, in fact, is “a state of probation” (2 Nephi 2:21). While we are at school our generous patron has provided us with all the necessities of living which we will need to carry us through. Imagine then that at the end of the first school year your kind benefactor pays the school a visit. He meets you and asks you how you are doing. “Oh,” you say, “I am doing very well, thanks to your bounty.” “Are you studying a lot?” “Yes, I am making good progress.” “What subjects are you studying?” “Oh, I am studying courses in how to get more lunch.” “You study that? All the time?” “Yes. I thought of studying some other subjects. Indeed I would love to study them–some of them are so fascinating!–but after all it’s the bread–and–butter courses that count. This is the real world, you know. There is no free lunch.” “But my dear boy, I’m providing you with that right now.” “Yes, for the time being, and I am grateful–but my purpose in life is to get more and better lunches; I want to go right to the top–the executive suite, the Marriott lunch.” “But that is not the work I wanted you to do here,” says the patron. “The question in our minds ought to be,”…”what will advance the general interests … and increase intelligence in the minds of the people[?] To do this should be our constant study in preference to how shall we secure that farm or that garden [i.e., where the lunch comes from!]. . . . We cannot worship our God in public meeting or kneel down to pray in our families without the images of earthly possessions rising up in our minds to distract them and make our worship and our prayers unprofitable.” Lunch can easily become the one thing the whole office looks forward to all morning: a distraction, a decoy–like sex, it is a passing need that can only too easily become an engrossing obsession. Brigham says, “It is a folly for a man to love? Any other kind of property and possessions. One that places his affections upon such things does not understand that they are made for the comfort of the creature, and not for his adoration. They are made to sustain and preserve the body while procuring the knowledge and wisdom that pertain to God and his kingdom [the school motif], in order that we may preserve ourselves, and live forever in his presence.”

And about work? I once had a university fellowship for which I had to agree not to accept any gainful employment for the period of a year–all living necessities were supplied: I was actually forbidden to work for lunch. Was it free lunch? I never worked so hard in my life–but I never gave lunch a thought. I wasn’t supposed to. I was eating only so that I could do my work; I was not working only so that I could eat. And that is what the Lord asks us: to forget about lunch, and do his work, and the lunch will be taken care of.

After Moses had led the children of Israel for 40 years, he summed up all the rules and regulations by which they were to live in a great farewell address, which was to be preserved in writing on stone and parchment and periodically and publicly read to all the people. All prosperity and life itself in the new promised land would depend on the strict observance of the law. Certain general principles were to govern every aspect of life among the children of the covenant:

  1. This is the law by which you are to live, and the only law (Deuteronomy 4:1): “It is your life: and through this ye shall prolong your days in the land” (Deuteronomy 32:47).
  2. However impractical and unrealistic these rules and precepts may seem to the world, you are not of the world, but wholly withdrawn from it, a people chosen, set apart, removed, “peculiar,” sanctified, “above all people that are on the face of the earth,” “an holy people” (Deuteronomy 7:6). Israel is under a special covenant with God which has nothing to do with the normal economy of men; they are forbidden to do some things and required to do others which may seem perfectly absurd to outsiders.
  3. The legal aspects of the thing are not what counts–the business of lawyers is to get around the law, but you must have it written in your hearts (Jeremiah 31:33), to keep it “with all thine heart, and with all thy soul,” because you really love the Lord and his law, which begins and ends with the love of God and each other (Deuteronomy 6:5). It must be a natural thing with you, taken for granted, your way of life as you think and talk about it all the time, so that your children grow up breathing it as naturally as air (Deuteronomy 6:7#150;9).
  4. Remember that everything you have is a free gift from God: You had nothing and he gave you everything.
  5. Never get the idea that you have earned what you have; beware lest “when thou hast eaten and art full,… Then thine heart be lifted up and thou forget the Lord thy God,” and you say to yourself: “My power [ability] (koakh) and might of mine hand [hard work: otsem yadhi, meaning the strength of my hand, or etzem yadhay, meaning my own two hands] hath gotten me this wealth [fortune]” (Deuteronomy 8:10, 14, 17). But you must bear in mind that God alone has given it all to you, and that it is not for any merit of yours, but for the sake of confirming promises made to your fathers that he has done it–if you forget that for a moment you will be destroyed (Deuteronomy 8:18–19). “And while our flocks and herds were increasing upon the mountains and the plains,” said Brigham, “the eyes of the people seemed closed to the operations of the invisible hand of Providence, and they were prone to say, ‘It is our own handi-work, it is our labor that has performed this!?”
  6. The gifts of God have come to you not because of your righteousness, because you are not righteous, and have in no wise deserved what you have received, nor are you worthy of it (Deuteronomy 9:4–29). It is all given to fulfill promises made to righteous men before you. Moses’ parting word to the people after 40 years of struggling with them was, “Behold, while I am yet alive with you this day, ye have been rebellious against the Lord; and how much more after my death?” (Deuteronomy 31:27).

As the law is laid down to Israel by Moses, each precept is accompanied by a reminder of their endless obligation to Jehovah, who took them in his charge when they were the lowest of the lowly and brought them with signs and wonders to a land where they have everything. With this in mind, God expects them to be as loving, merciful, and open–handed in dealing with down–and-outers as he has always been with them (cf. Deuteronomy 15:7–8). With this goes a promise, that no matter how much they give to others, he will always make it up to them many times over, “for the Lord shall greatly bless thee” (Deuteronomy 15:4).

I’d love to quote the entire talk but that wouldn’t be ethical. I have taken the unusual liberty of quoting more extensively than I ever have before in an opinion piece. But the concepts here are of eternal worth and I want you to understand them completely.  If you want to read Nibley’s talk in its entirety just click Here.
Following an extensive treatise on the Law of Moses and a couple of other examples from the scriptures, Nibley moves on to the issue of what constitutes “enough?”

“Having food and raiment,” says Paul to Timothy, “let us be therewith content” (1 Timothy 6:8). We must have sufficient for our needs in life’s journey, but to go after more is forbidden, though you have your God–given free agency to do so. “Our real wants are very limited,” says Brigham; “When you have what you wish to eat and sufficient clothing to make you comfortable you have all that you need; I have all that I need.” How many people need to eat two lunches a day? We all eat too much, wear too much, and work too much. Brigham says if we all “work less, wear less, eat less,… we shall be a great deal wiser, healthier, and wealthier people than by taking the course we now do.”

It should not take too much hard work to assure anyone of the makings of a lunch; but what is one to do after that? That is the question. Aristotle’s famous dictum in the Nichomachean Ethics I, that our proper function on earth is not just to live but to live well, to live as we can and should, reminds us that there should be no serious economic problems at the human level: after all, mice, cockroaches, elephants, butterflies, and dolphins have all solved the economic problem–their mere existence on earth after thousands of years of vicissitudes is adequate proof that they have found the secret of survival. Can we do no better than to dedicate all our time and energy to solving just that one problem, as if our whole object in life were simply lunch? “What is a man,” asks Shakespeare, “if his chief good and market of his time be but to sleep and feed? A beast, no more. Sure he that made us with such large discourse, looking before and after, gave us not that capability and god-like reason to fust in us unused.” And what is it to be used for? Those very popular how–to–get–rich books, which are the guides to the perplexed of the present generation, say we should keep our minds fixed at all times on just one objective; the person who lets his thoughts wander away from anything but business even for a moment does not deserve the wealth he seeks. Such is the high ethic of the youth today. And such an ethic places us not on the level of the beast but below it.

For today many a TV documentary will show you the beasts of the field not spending their days perpetually seeking out and consuming each other for lunch, as we have been taught, but in pleasant relaxation, play, family fun, bathing, exploring (for many of them have lively curiosity), grooming, sparring, and much happy napping, etc. Even the most efficient killers hunt only every few days when they are really hungry, kill only weaker members of the herds, thus strengthening the stock, and never take more than they need, usually sharing it with others. Between meals we see leopards, lions, and tigers calmly loping through herds of exotic ungulates, who hardly bother to look up from their grazing at the passing visitors. It is only the human predator who keeps a 24–hour lookout for victims in the manner prescribed in the flourishing contemporary success literature.

“No free lunch” easily directs our concern to “nothing but lunch.” The Adversary keeps us to that principle, making lunch our full–time concern either by paying workers so little that they must toil day and night just to afford lunch (his favorite trick), or by expanding the lunch–need to include all the luxury and splendor that goes with the super–executive Marriott lunch, about which Paul’s letter to Timothy is most instructive. Let us return to it, considering the passage in the “original”: “Having adequate nourishment (diatrophas) and decent covering (skepasmata) we shall with these suffice ourselves (arkesthesometha). But those who want to be rich (ploutein) fall into temptation (peirasmon, a test) and a snare (pagida, a trap, noose, decoy), and into hankering for many things (epithumias, a passionate desire to possess) which are silly (anoetous ; mindless, senseless) and harmful (blaberas), and which drag (buthizousi, plunge) human beings down to ruin (olethron, deadly danger) and utter destruction (apoleian). For the root (rhiza) of all evil doings (panton ton kakon) is the desire for money (philargyria, cash–loving), being driven by which people have gone astray, got lost (apeplanesthesan, Heb. abad, stray from the path) from the faith and become hopelessly involved (peripeiran, spitted, engangled) in agonizing situations (odunais, rapids, pangs). But thou, O man of God, keep away from these things” (1 Timothy 6:8–11). The Lord teaches the same lesson when he tells how members of the church fall away because of “the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, [which] choke the word (logos), and it becometh unfruitful (akarpos, fruitless, barren) (Mark 4:19; Matthew 13:22).

The parables of the Lord are particularly rich in matters relevant to the free lunch, and in them Jesus appeals before all things against meanness of spirit. What could be more abominable than to “offend one of these little ones,” taking advantage of the helpless? What shall we say of one who uses the gifts that God has given him to take from others, no matter how legally, the gifts which God intends to give them? “The kingdom of heaven is like a certain king…. One was brought unto him which owed him 10,000 talents…. The servant fell down,… saying, Lord, have patience with me and I will pay thee all. Then the Lord of that servant was moved with compassion,… and forgave him the debt. But the same servant went out and found one of his fellow–servants, which owed him an hundred pence: and he laid hands on him and took him by the throat, saying, Pay me that thou owest,” and had him taken to prison (Matthew 18:28). It was all perfectly legal–we cannot legislate pity and compassion; altruism, argued Ayn Rand, is the greatest weakness in our society and the greatest obstacle to the unhindered operation of free enterprise. But the kingdom of heaven, of which the Lord is here speaking, does not operate on that principle: “O, thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst me,” said the Lord. “Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee?” (Matthew 18:23–35). Then the King “delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due to him. So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses [or debts, the word is aphete, cancel a debt]” (Matthew 18:34–35).

Unfortunately skipping yet another extensive section of Nibley’s talk in which he discusses the concept that we are all equal, (and not in a collectivist sort of way) he moves on…

How do we distribute it then? “I have given unto the children of men to be agents unto themselves” (D&C 104:17). You are perfectly free to make all the money you can; just as you are perfectly free to break any one of the Ten Commandments, as millions do every day, though God has forbidden it, as he has forbidden seeking for riches. But your behavior once you have entered a covenant with God will be judged by the standards which he sets: “Therefore, if any man shall take of the abundance which I have made and impart not his portion, according to the law of my gospel, unto the poor and the needy, he shall, with the wicked, lift up his eyes in hell, being in torment” (D&C 104:18). A clear reference to the rich man who fed Lazarus the beggar with crumbs (Luke 16:23).

…This started out to be an exhilarating study of the pleasures and advantages of the free lunch. But as it progressed it became more and more depressing as the relevant scriptures accumulated and the gulf steadily widened between the Zion of God and those Babylonian institutions in our midst that brazenly bear the fair name of Zion as a gimmick to promote local business.

We are being asked even at this moment to choose between the peculiar economy which God has prescribed for us and what we have always considered the more realistic, convenient, and expedient economy by which the world lives and in which at the moment it is convulsively gasping and struggling to survive. The difference between the two orders is never more apparent than at lunchtime, in the homely perennial ordinance that was meant to unite us all for a happy hour but which instead divides God’s children with the awful authority and finality of the last judgment–in which, by the way, the Lord assures us that the seating order is going to be completely reversed.

The liberal/progressive movement has completely missed the point that they blindly support and promulgate the arguments of the wrong employer. Their way leads to slavery, subjection, poverty, and dictatorships. The second employer, the one championed by the conservative movement, promotes freedom, independence, self-reliance, mercy, compassion, and love. The choice is ours. We are engaged in a war for the souls of men. We have joined battle with the forces of darkness who cloak their true identities and intentions with a variety of misleading labels such as liberal, progressive, environmentalism, “the working man,” the “American Dream,” “Civil Rights,” and “Social Justice.” That last term is a cruel joke. If their philosophy ever wins out we will all be living in a society that will have no justice. Instead, it will be a life of luxury for the anointed few and the new Dark Ages for everyone else.

This is a battle we must win. This is a war we must not lose. The stakes are too high. I offer high praise to the courageous State Senators from Wisconsin. They are showing us how to win. They refused to be intimidated. They resisted the coercion of the “Free Lunch.” Instead they chose the path of honor, freedom, and dignity.
May we choose the same for ourselves.