San Francisco Won't Do Business with 56% of America
Boycotting America, NYU's new class, MiLB posting W's
Good afternoon! A month ago I predicted that inflation would be peaking soon. That’s going to turn out to be very wrong. In fairness to me, I did not anticipate a war between 2 countries that would have an outsized impact on the commodities and energy markets. In any case, here are some super helpful tips from Bloomberg on how to manage.
→ San Francisco boycotts America. According to World Population Review, California has the second-highest cost of living in the US (behind Hawaii), and San Francisco—the epicenter of the liberal alternate reality—ranks in as the second-most expensive city (behind NYC). One excellent way for a city government not to reduce the cost of living is to boycott the rest of the country. That’s not what the Golden City has done, but they’re getting close.
In 2017, San Francisco started keeping a Naughty List of states which didn’t seem to understand what ought to be, beginning with those that passed what they deemed anti-LGBT laws. The parameters of the list were expanded in 2020 to include abortion laws, and again this month for states engaging in “voter suppression”. States on the Naughty List are persona non grata, meaning San Francisco will not enter contracts with any businesses headquartered in one of them. The city will not allow official travel to any Naughty States either—that is forbidden.
After the latest memo, the list of states left to do business with for San Francisco is down to 21. For those keeping score at home that’s 28 states the city has boycotted, or 56% of America.
Wyoming has a population of 585,501. Imagine having a problem with Wyoming!
They don’t discriminate either. You could be the fiercely homosexual and pro-LGBT owner and operator of Miami’s most fabulous establishment, but San Francisco won’t do business with you because you’re located in Florida, which is (ironically where many San Franciscans are looking to escape from the delusion) on the Naughty List.
The city has no measures in place to measure the policy’s effectiveness nor does it calculate how much it costs the city, but it’s definitely a lot. For starters, limiting your suppliers will guarantee you either lower quality, higher costs, longer lead times, or all three. There’s also no guarantee that the bans can be enforced competently: San Francisco still sometimes ends up buying products from Naughty States via third-party vendors. This ends up costing them more and ultimately undermines the policy’s intent. Congratulations—you’re stupid twice.
At the core of San Francisco’s problem is an extreme case of lack of awareness. This is from the author who wrote the article I sourced criticizing the city’s policies:
“In order to have a chance at success, San Francisco needed to inspire a mass movement. Instead it finds itself as an elite cadre.”
It’s not his fault that San Francisco has this ridiculous policy in place, but even in his criticism of it, he manages to encapsulate the problem. “It finds itself as an elite cadre”. San Francisco (and the author) sees itself as this holier-than-thou entity whose purpose is to impose its version of the way things ought to be onto the rest of us who are unencumbered by the burden of knowing everything. The possibility that they are wrong simply does not exist. That last sentence (in bold) is basically saying, “and the plan would’ve worked if only the rest of the states weren’t morons!”.
“No city has reached out to say they want to mirror our rules.”
→ Speaking of morons, NYU has a new class. This WSJ article from December says that NYU is the top-ranked in loans that alumni and parents struggle to pay. Last school year the university covered only 62% of undergrad financial need, which is the lowest of any private school with at least a $1B endowment (theirs is $5.8B). Like many other outrageously overpriced Social Justice Factories, the university recommends students take out federal Plus loans to afford classes. In 2018-19, NYU undergraduates borrowed more in Plus loans than 99% of 4-year colleges in the US.
These loans tend to pay off less for NYU students than others. Graduate students who took federal loans to attend NYU borrowed more than they earned 2 years out of school. By this metric, the university has more grad programs with high debts loads than any other in the US.
Having said that, some NYU undergrads just wrapped up a new course that’s sure to help quickly pay down that mounting debt. It was about Taylor Swift and it explored important concepts such as, “her impact on the music industry, her songwriting style, her feud with rapper Kanye West and whether Jake Gyllenhaal has her scarf”.
Look, having a class on a musical legend is fine, and the article even notes that NYU has offered similar classes on Aretha Franklin, James Brown, and Nirvana, but there have to be some parameters around when in an artist’s career you can devote an entire accredited university course to them. Rule #1: the artist cannot be in their thirties.
But back to the original point about tuition costs and debt. At the risk of sounding insensitive, here’s an unpopular opinion: at some point, some of the blame needs to be put on students who go into debt to get degrees in underwater basket weaving and so on. There should also be a warning label on these classes marking them as high “debt-to-income” and loans against them should be limited.
P.S. NYU has an easy solution (read: a slap in the face) for students who face affordability issues: “finish faster”.
→ Last week’s blog was a little sports-heavy but… Minor leaguers caught a couple of W’s this week and I’d be remiss not to mention them.
In 2018, Congress was just days away from a government shutdown. To avoid it, it hastily considered and passed a 2,232-page omnibus bill less than 24 hours after it had been unveiled. I’m not an expert, but that doesn’t seem like enough time for a fully comprehensive review.
Save America’s Pastime Act—a bill that had previously been rejected—lies quietly in a small section of page 1,967 of the voluminous spending bill.
The bill was written to exclude minor league players from the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938. The Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, lest we forget, is what protects workers from shitty employers with rights like minimum wage and overtime pay. The bill passed, of course, leaving minor leaguers to be treated as seasonal employees (i.e., creative artists) who are not protected by the act.
“Plaintiffs [minor leaguers] here have an employment contract with Defendants [MLB] that provides for the payment of compensation and expressly requires that Plaintiffs perform service throughout the calendar year.”
- Judge Joseph Spero
Minor league players are paid shit. They are not compensated for the year-round training required to perform at the level they’re expected to perform at during “business hours”. This is a step in the right direction to ensure that they are.
They got more good news after California Senator Josh Becker (on the same day) introduced a bill aimed at improving their labor conditions. The centerpiece of the bill seeks to “limit the length of an initial player contract to four years” from the current seven. Currently, a team retains a player’s rights until he’s eligible to negotiate for better pay as a 6-year minor-league free agent. This is typically achieved in 7 years. The bill would carve out a shorter path to higher compensation.
We’re not there yet but changes like these could cost MLB and its teams millions in penalties and back pay, which would kind of be like Karma’s funny way of bitch slapping them for the aforementioned money grab in 2018.
1 2 for the little guy!
Senne v. Major League Baseball