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2021-09-07 07:00 by Karl Denninger
in Employment , 352 references Ignore this thread
Did You (Not) Labor Yesterday?
[Comments enabled]

One wonders eh?

What do you labor for?

More to the point, if your employer unilaterally changes the terms are they anything other than this?

How much further can it be altered?


Unions, of course, make this (at least in theory) impossible because working terms and conditions are subject to collective bargaining.  If a union shop tries that they're begging for an immediate strike and lawsuit in response, as that is a clear violation of the contract that was negotiated.  While some judge may or may not uphold the unilateral nature of the change with very few exceptions there is nothing the judge can do about the strike.

Then again look at the conditioning on the other side.  While quite-literally now the "extra" unemployment and such is expiring what's nearly 18 months of that do to the work ethic?  Never mind closing and otherwise screwing daycare provision, which coupled with the rest has made a lot of two-parent families reconsider that second Lexus in the driveway.  Is it really worth it, when you take all the extra costs of the second person working, or should we say "screw that", dial back on both wants and needs which came about as a result of that second job, and one of us stays home and takes the kids out of the schools too?

The bonus for that, of course, is that you get rid of all the "critical race" crap and people telling your kids to pledge allegiance to the gay pride flag instead of the American flag at the same time.  Since school administrators won't put a stop to that garbage and in fact in many cases explicitly endorse it if you happen to believe that is crap, well...... 

On the other side you have employers playing games where they can.  Risk-based pricing for health insurance sounds good -- until it's used as a political cudgel.  That's illegal, by the way.  Guess what you get when you don't care about outrageous violations of the law in the health care system -- specifically 15 USC Chapter 1 -- that have been going on for decades with both provision of care and pharmaceuticals?

THISand guess who it victimizes (as if people needing insulin haven't seen this for decades themselves)?


It's not like it couldn't have been fixed 10+ years ago.  Or five years ago.  Or..... when Trump promised to largely fix it with three separate planks in his campaign platform, all of which disappeared on election night in 2016 and have never been seen again.

But.... but.... but..... Orange Man {Bad|God <-- Pick one}

People respond to incentives.  Employers, employees, ordinary people.  They also respond to threats, but often not in the way (meek compliance) the person issuing the threat would like.

So, is it worth laboring?

Or is it time to tell the employers to go screw goats and it will be on your terms that you labor?

For 50+ years, more-or-less, the pendulum has swung one way on this.

Perhaps it's starting to swing back.

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User Info Did You (Not) Labor Yesterday? in forum [Market-Ticker]
Posts: 5909
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Employers had a party for quite some time. Cost of health insurance, regulation and inflation kept people from pursuing self-employment. There was a big outcry starting in the early 90s about how we switched towards an employer model.

People thought that Obamacare would finally break this by bringing healthcare to the self-employed person at a much cheaper level. Oops, did not see something else.

Just try starting out without having a large cash reserve for when the subsidized premiums go away.

We never fixed the problems, and the corporations liked it just fine.

Perhaps the people have finally found a way to bend them over the table by varying degrees of individual and family dropping out.

People, especially the men who used to lead families, have been worked and cajoled into commuting for so much of their time and expenditure of their energy that so many other interests such as big ed and other not even half-way competent government services could screw up society virtually unopposed.

A lot of people are starting to break from looking for a community "with good schools" and looking for one that takes the least from them, so that they have the cash and freedom to do things their way.

Warning my friends: expect the vested interests to figure ways to frustrate your efforts at each and every bend in the road to freedom. HINT: at any age, career, position in life or family situation seek to MAXIMIZE your free time and try not to do so on the backs of others. Your work ethic is your weakness, and the enemy uses it against you. And, STOP teaching your children to allow their work ethic to be abused. This is the most difficult.


"Better to reign in Hell, than serve in Heaven," Satan's monologue in the first book of John Milton's Paradise Lost
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Oh absolutely @Whitehat -- I pointed that out years ago, it's why the "donor" program is gone, it's why HomeDaemon will NEVER see the light of day as a product I package and sell, etc.

The SECOND $20,000 you earn will be sucked off by Obamacare, assuming there are two of you. That, for all intents and purposes, is a 100% marginal tax rate!

I don't give a flying **** if you're offended.
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Oh but I did labor yesterday!! Had to doctor the hubbie for wasp stings after he decided on hand-to-wing combat with wasp spray in the deer stand rather than toss in a bug bomb and shut the door!!!

On another note:

Patients: Doctor, are you okay? You seem a little down.

Me: I am really getting tired of the BS in medicine. The government paperwork, insurance games, "guidelines". It has sucked all tbe joy out of being a doctor. I am thinking of retirement.

Patients: Nooos! You can't leave!! No one takes care of me like you do!!!

Me: I have sacrificed some of the best years of my life to do this. I always felt I was part of something fine & noble. Now?? Not so sure, probably time to move on.

Patients: Noooo! You can't leave! What would I do without you?????

Me: i am working twice as hard as I did 10 yeats ago. I have less time for family & friends. Not seeing the return here.

Patients: You can't leave me!! You are the best doctor ever!! Nobody even comes close. I love you!!

Me: Well, thank you for that. BTW, you really do have to pay your co-pays, deductibles and out of pocket. It is the law and I go to jail & lose my license if I don't enforce it.

Patients: Crickets
Posts: 176905
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@Blackcrow -- smiley

Ah, another relative of Satan, similar to yellow jackets.....

I don't give a flying **** if you're offended.
Posts: 225
Incept: 2019-09-26

North of Boston, but not North enough.
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I've been working quite a bit of overtime the last couple years, but it's not exactly hard. My employer wants to pay me a ludicrous amount of money to run a machine that needs 10 minutes of attention every 45 minutes? No problem. I can catch up on my reading while doubling my takehome.

The one issue is the time investment. I know if I ever go back to dating I'll have to change my work habits, and my employer will whine and seethe about it. Meh, you want me at work on Sunday when I'm home alone, whatever. If I have a family? That'll cost you, better get out that envelope of Visa gift cards!

I'm Team Virus. It Deserves to Win.

The World is Quiet Here
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Employers are almost begging for people to come to work, but the people are not responding. Sign on bonuses are common place now, but they don't solve the issue of crap pay and crappier working conditions. Add to that the cost of so called medical insurance that eats away at least 25% of an employees paycheck.

I am 59 years old. I am self employed. A crap medical insurance policy with a six thousand dollar deductible (before the insurance company pays a dime) would cost me about $900.00 a month. So that's roughly an $11,000 a year premium, plus the 6K deductible before they start paying at all. It makes zero sense. Add to that the pharmacy pricing scam where I am forced to pay a higher copay on medicine than the normal retail over the counter price given to the cash customer with no insurance. If you haven't guessed already I don't have medical insurance. Can't afford it. On a pure cost benefit analysis medical insurance is a bad way to spend your money. I used to justify it by saying "What if I get some terrible disease?" But with the current status of the american sick care system I figure I am better off staying away from doctors as a general rule. I take my vitamins and supplements, I eat a keto diet, and don't sweat the rest of it anymore. Living in fear of contracting any disease, to the point of squandering several hundred thousand dollars over the course of a mans working life is no way to live. Saving a portion of what I would spend on insurance premiums will (I believe) serve me better than handing it over to a literal criminal enterprise insurance company.

I can't be the only one coming to this conclusion.
Posts: 95
Incept: 2021-06-24

New York
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I have a problem with a workplace that is requiring testing, if the testing were simple, it would not bother so much. But it's turned into a overly complex nightmare because of bureaucracy,obviously intended to obtain submission from me.

I've had it. The CDC article you posted a couple of tickers back is what I am taking with me to an employment lawyer. If vaccinated and unvaccinated can pass SARSCOV2 equally, then requiring testing only of the unvaccinated constitutes illegal discrimination against a class of people. They cannot afford to require everyone to be tested every 7 days, with tens of thousands of employees.

I know this means no future contracts from them, though my union there might protect me (probably not; they rolled over for the mandate). I don't care.
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The Leftists/Bolsheviks have pushed their Citizen repression agenda too hard. The air is starting to come out of their COVID scam. And, the more these medical police state tyrants push the bigger the hole they make in their own balloon.
Folks that I've known who have looked on MDs like the Second Coming are now not so trusting of their "good doctor". Even the AMA is instructing its MDs to lie about the dangers of the COVID virus (whatever that is?) and the benefits of the jab. Folks are catching on.
Once sympathetic people who willingly submitted to masks, distancing, lockdowns, and the shot are now wondering why after all this and the promise of "getting back to normal" we're still in the same restriction quagmire we were in a year ago.
With the mess that's been created by our own "leaders" and "experts" it's time to rethink our whole involvement in the toxic mainstream culture. Time to start thinking about a parallel society disengaged largely or in part from the sanctioned Pop (or is it Poop?) Culture. Time to start thinking about setting up a new Black Market Economy, a good black market system, where one can find real work, real education, enduring values, and low tolerance for the lies and nonsense typical of the poisonous sanctioned culture.
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@Troymt - Exactly.

I tolerate the crap coverage as what amounts to "catastrophic" coverage (e.g. will get most of it if you have a heart attack or get cancer) because it costs me literally nothing.

But I refuse to earn more than where the "nothing" goes away and I have to pay for it. Nope, nope and nope. Why? Because the reason its so damned expensive is (1) the violations of the law by the health industry which ought to get every one of the sent to butt****-city for 10 year incarceration terms and (2) I would be paying for the drunk, massively obese diabetic who is at 100x or more my risk of needing health care services as myself. My body mass, blood pressure and blood sugar are NORMAL. I refuse to pay SOMEONE ELSE's bill for being a fat slob who got there, and accrued all that metabolic damage by their own hand and decisions.

Years ago before Obamacare I paid for a cat policy for both myself and my daughter. It was priced based on both of us being healthy. It was not cheap, but it was reasonable and, if the worst happened, ok. I had no quarrel making money then because I was paying for MY risk and not someone else's.

**** these people sideways with a rusty chainsaw.

I don't give a flying **** if you're offended.

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New York
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I'd go for that bargain, except for the emergency. I can choose to seek care at lower cost in other countries for procedures that can be planned, and buy drugs in Canada (when I can cross the border). What I cannot control is the random accident that requires emergency or trauma care.

If I could buy just that, I'd join you, as it worked out, the emergency I recently suffered would have cost me 10s of thousands at "rack rate" emergency room prices, making the 5k a year in insurance payments "worth it." Had I not sought emergency care, I'd have been crippled for life.

If we can end this looming threat, we can collapse the medical industrial complex.
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Incept: 2021-07-10

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Yeah, the so-called "benefits" are rapidly dwindling. Let's see what raises are around here with inflation running 5+ percent. And there is the whole "you did a good job last year coming into work everyday, but didn't wear your face diaper all the time, so we are going to ding you on your review", or the endless emails about getting the clot shot.

I think more people are figuring out the single-income model for a household isn't such a bad deal. Wife can stay home, homeschool the kids, tend the garden, maintain household, prepare healthy meals, have more energy for the evening, and still have time to get made-up and looking nice and happy for when her husband comes home. I know that ain't politically correct to say, but it worked for thousands of years. But what did our ancestors know?

If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace.... Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen. Samuel Adams
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Sunny UK
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@Whitehat "There was a big outcry starting in the early 90s about how we switched towards an employer model."

Indeed, you only need look at America 100 years ago, when something like 90% of people were self-employed, to America now, when that same percentage works for corpos or gubbermint.

@Bluto "But what did our ancestors know?"

A hell of a lot more than current generations, that much is clear. There are still engineering marvels from the ancient world that modern engineering and science can't reproduce, for all of our so-called advancement.
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Emergency situations are the weak link in the plan. But consider that the ER is required by law to treat you in an emergency, regardless of your insurance status. Also consider that in my case, 5k is only 5 months premium. I could conceivably rack up a 30k hospital bill or more, and then just make minimal payments on the bill every month, for much less than what a few years of insurance will cost me.

On a side note, I read an article about getting an agreement (to be charged at the medicare rate), in writing from my local medical care facility if I agree to pay them in a timely manner. I haven't pulled that off yet, but it is on my to do list.


I looked into getting insurance through the exchange, and I could get it basically for free, except that my wifes employer offers insurance to me. They won't pay for any of it, hell they only pay for half of hers. This "offer" of insurance disqualifies me for subsidized obamacare premiums. My business isn't stable enough yet to have my wife quit and come home, or that is exactly what we would do and go ahead and ride the subsidy train for insurance. Soon, maybe, that will change.
Posts: 497
Incept: 2009-06-11

Washington, DC
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Right on Blackcrow.

I had a patient last week bitch at my staff over the phone that she didnt want to pay the copay. Does her really need it.

My office manager overheard her saying this to my billing person. Both two of the most honest people I know.

Yep. Im pissed too. Bust my ass. Just expect the bills paid. Stuck my neck out prescribing IVM and HCQ.


Few men desire liberty; most men wish only for a just master.
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Uhmmmm you missed something.... Slaves don't have rights.

I don't care if your talking about Chinese Factory workers or American Joe Blowe Debt Slave. Once you become a slave, you don't have any leverage.

Posts: 176905
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True that.

But selling YOURSELF into slavery is, well.....

I don't give a flying **** if you're offended.
Posts: 223
Incept: 2021-04-13

Akron Ohio
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Im with @Troymt in the healthcare deal. Spot on.

The whole world is one big ****ing scam
Why are you giving a vulgarity warning here? Our genial host is an advocate of both skull****ing and sodomy via rusty chainsaw. Credit to Rollformer
Posts: 175
Incept: 2020-07-25

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My employers, for the most part, have treated me well. The most important thing for me has been having a decent manager. Most have been reasonable, some poor, and a few were tyrants. My rule has always been to never work for a tyrant. Life is too short and tyrants can't be pleased. When I encounter one I find another position or leave the employer.

If an employer thinks it can get away with requiring the jab, it is tyrannical. The only option is to leave/get fired. An employer that can require the jab is an employer that will force feed other crap, such as CRT, diversity and inclusion training, long uncompensated hours, etc. The work environment will become intolerable. Goodbye!
Posts: 75
Incept: 2021-01-15

East Central MS.
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Agreement to bill at Medicare rate for prompt payment is certainly doable. My wife is just about through reconstruction from breast cancer. We have no insurance , well over $100 k. Cost so far. just tell them I have no insurance whats cash price if I pay within 30 days. ..? they are usually shocked and have to call a supervisor , 60% discount from first price quoted is not uncommon.

I then submit the paid bills to Christian Healthcare Ministries, within 60 to 90 days we are reimbursed. Membership at our level is about $4k/year. Karl is not fond of programs such as this , but it has worked well for us. I wont live long enough to go in the hole on this deal.
They are about to pay for my cataract surgery as well.
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Incept: 2021-01-28

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Just a random thought as I sit in some meetings. Plan on a certain point - a red line, if you will - where you drop the mic. Channel as much disposable income as you can into those things that can provide you resilience. For instance, I'm likely going to be scratching an itch here soon. I'm eyeballing a 1979 CJ-5 Golden Eagle for a heck of a lot less than you could buy anything but maybe a Ford Focus.

Build some durability into your "home portfolio". Use the winters to prepare a 10'x20' plot and start failing on gardening. Yes, failing. Nature is a harsh mistress and the more failures you get under your belt, the greener your thumb will be.

If you want to, say, install a yard hydrant (I use that example for a reason :)), better source the parts sooner rather than later. It is ridiculous how long it's taking just to get a damn solenoid on my Mahindra. And that is apparently the most popular make right now in America. (Stupid, but it is what it is.)

Reason: Itching a Scratch???
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Incept: 2021-04-12

London, UK
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I've little other than contempt for mainstream corporations. I'll never get employed again, but then... freelance is so much better.

I'd never make it past the application form. One of the worse things, companies that demand login codes for Facebook, Twitter etc.

Technically, that would be a breach of contract, and FB, TWTR, could even claim for damages!

Despite all the unions, we have a populace that is allowing themselves to be treated like garbage, not least via the health/vax demands. Incredible!

Yours... has no deals with Lord Vader
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You make more mowing yards for cash, than working a legit job under $100,000.

Think I'm kidding....go run the numbers real quick on an excel spreadsheet for a business plan, and don't forget to factor in ALL of the "free" benefits the illegals get.

One guy with a helper, at 1 yard per hour for a days work, 6 days a week.

You do notice that is a $50,000+ truck they are pulling the trailer with.....right?

"The most grotesque act of Treason is to be born into a free Constitutional Republic, for which you did not risk your life or shed blood to create, and sit back and watch it slowly be taken from you without standing up in its defense" - me

"True Freedom can never exist, unless true Rule of LAW exists" - me
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Work hard for yourself, not an employer.

I am addicted to hard work. I know it. So I feed that addiction at home, not at work.

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Figured I'd share this email I wrote to my COO. If I can walk away as a sole breadwinner with 3 children (1 with needs), then anyone can. But YMMV and it DOES take some strategic planning. Then again, I was blessed as a young man to work for an Army Airborne GO who busted my ass and taught me that failures if made once are great for "Lessons Learned" slides. If we can plan our 401(k)s and retirement, I just don't understand why we can't plan a familial/individual/national strike.

Hi <C-Suite>,

My name is <Me>, <Acme> Employee #<123456789>. I'd like to tell you about my family, but it'd be easier if I just provided you with a few links written about us in various publications. See below.


That seems like forever ago. Unfortunately, my wife was diagnosed with a recurrence of her breast cancer this year, with chemotherapy treatments that started on <Date>. Suffice it to say it's been stressful, but even more so when we found out about the acquisition of <Fun Company> by <Acme>. As you can imagine, we had met our deductibles quite rapidly. All in all, we had spent <Lots of Thousands $$$> prior to the acquisition via our insurance policy with <Bloodsucker A>. We did have an FSA for $2,000 that cut our out-of-pocket costs in half.

Throughout the acquisition, you had mentioned compensation for previous deductibles paid, that <Acme> would "make it right". In fact, it was my <Boss> who pointedly asked that question of you in one of the Zoom calls we had had.

For the record and to date, I have received a one-time, <Chump Change> gross (<Even Less Chump Change> net) payout on <Date>. Furthermore, my wife couldn't postpone her ongoing, weekly chemotherapy treatments through the month of <Date>. That is, the month before my new FSA kicked in. I am now out an additional $2,000 in deductibles, which ended up negating my <Fun Company> FSA. All in all, we have incurred expenses of <Lots of Thousands $$$>, with <Somewhat Less Thousands $$$> directly due to the acquisition.

Finally, and since my date of hire with <Fun Company> was in <Winter> of last year, we are ineligible for FMLA when I need it most. Her last cycle of chemotherapy starts on <Date>, and 7 weeks from then she has surgery, followed up with 5 weeks of daily radiotherapy.

I write this missive to you with no requests. No "asks". I'd just appreciate it if you have read it in its entirety.

I've decided that after this entire, tragic ordeal with my beloved wife is over (physically, but certainly not emotionally) by MAR 2022, I'll be leaving IT permanently. It's too exhausting. See, engineers don't like to spend time worrying about healthcare or benefits. We like to solve problems. That's the way it was 20 years ago, but in my experience, Big Everything has changed all of that.

I just thought you'd find my anecdote an interesting data point when executives in the U.S. are wondering why folks with Bachelor's degrees and greater are dropping out of the workforce en masse. 1.2 million last month alone, if I'm not mistaken.

It's not for paltry unemployment benefits. It's because we're tired of having to beg for leave to take care of sick loved ones, or wonder why our annual raise was eaten up by a missing <Somewhat Less Thousands $$$> in healthcare deductibles.

Take care and best wishes,

Reason: Grammatical Uniformity
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