Thursday, November 26, 2020

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Sunday, November 22, 2020

The $15 Minimum Wage In Florida - Will It Be The Job Killer, They All Say It is?


Opinion by:  
E. Eugene Webb PhD         

There are probably a lot of people in Florida, who think the battle for the minimum wage increasing to $15.00 an hour has been resolved by the recent election victory.

Amendment 2 increases the State's current $8.56 minimum wage to $10 next September after that the minimum wage goes up $1 each year until it reaches $15.00 an hour in September of 2026. After that the minimum wage then increases with annual inflation using the same formula that it does now.

Sounds simple doesn't it?

The battle to increase the minimum wage is just beginning.

While it would appear that the amendment is pretty clear, the final implementation of the increases to the current minimum wage will be established by the Florida Legislature.

Think of the nightmare the recent marijuana legalization amendment created, the circus that ensued in the Florida legislature, and the resulting patchwork quilt of nightmare regulations and rules starting the legalization of marijuana.

The marijuana amendment implementation will probably look like child's play compared to what the Republican legislature will likely do regarding raising the minimum wage.

The first shots are already being fired. Check out this editorial By Tampa Bay Times Editorial Board How Florida wound up with a $15 minimum wage | Editorial.

During the election, there was a great hue and cry from small businesspeople regarding how this would impact their business, their hiring, their current employees and the prices, they charge the public. Well, doubtless if you gradually must pay your employees more, you have to get that money from somewhere and the only place is your customer base.

The Tampa Bay Times Editorial points out how the amendment was passed by a select number of counties strongly supporting it. The Times editorial begins the argument against the minimum wage increase with an assumption that there should be a geographic variance in the application of the minimum wage.  

You're going to hear a lot of these arguments that jump right to the $15 mark for the minimum wage. In fact, if you go back up and look at the first paragraph or so of this post you will notice that the implementation of the minimum wage occurs over an extended period of time.

If you want to get just a hint of who is likely to oppose the implementation of the $15 minimum wage in Florida, check out Florida Small business Published by Florida Trend Trade Associations for Florida Business.

The people who worked so hard and invested so much to get this amendment passed such as the likes of John Morgan of Morgan and Morgan, need to be ready to step up and fight for the appropriate implementation of the amendment in the Legislature.

There will be a lot of campaign money flowing into the coffers of state legislators as the implementation of this amendment begins to unfold,  a lot of threats to support and a lot of threats to withhold support.

You will probably see an enormous amount of advertising regarding the minimum wage issue. As people in both small business and large business attempt to lay the groundwork, for making the implementation of this very appropriate amendment as difficult as possible.

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Friday, November 20, 2020

Local Officials - All Politics is Local


Opinion by:  
E. Eugene Webb PhD         

There is an old saying in politics, that the government that affects you the most is your local government. Most notably your City and County government.

Now that the election is over, cities and counties along the Florida West Coast are swearing in their new Commission and Council members.

Most of these County and City commissions/councils will meet within the next few weeks to begin conducting the jurisdictions’ business. Committee assignments will be made and, in many cases, Commission chairmanship elections will be held.

It's a good idea to follow these very important first sessions of City councils and County commissions. It is in these moments that the structure for the various councils and commissions will be established, and the power structure will begin to take shape.

For example, take a look at these two articles:

By Timothy Fanning Sarasota Herald-Tribune Sarasota County Commissioners criticize single-member districts.

By Timothy Fanning Sarasota Herald-Tribune Redistricting in Sarasota County helped preserve GOP control.

Some think that City and County government it's a pleasant thing where everybody gets along, and politics are more of an afterthought than a fore thought. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Some of the nastiest and most ruthless politics that go on goes on at the local level.

This is going to be an especially interesting year, as county and local governments are taxed budget wise due to the COVID-19 virus, and the very difficult decisions that the new surge in the virus is going to present to these new councils and commissions.

Furthermore, not to be overlooked is the upcoming release of the 2020 census data which starts a whole series of time clocks ticking on things like redistricting at the State, County and City levels. These are some of the fiercest political battles that are fought in state and local politics.

One of the best places to follow state and local politics is the Blog site FloridaPolitics. You can click on this link, and it'll take you right to their homepage, there is also a link on the left side of this Blog.

It used to be that your local newspaper, whether you live in Fort Myers, Sarasota, Saint Petersburg, Tampa or Pasco County was your best source for local political news. These days none of the remaining local newspapers have the resources to cover in depth every City Council and County Commission along Florida’s West Coast.

So if you're really into all this and would like to see some pretty interesting television, you might want to check out when and at what time your local City Council or County Commission broadcasts their Council or Commission meetings.

Almost all do, and while a lot of it is somewhat boring every now and then, it turns into some really interesting television.

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Sunday, November 15, 2020

Getting Ready for The Slow Drift to Socialism


Opinion by:  
E. Eugene Webb PhD

Soon the Biden administration will take over and we will begin to see the transformation from the Trump economy driven society to the Biden everything free for everybody society he promised in his campaign.

Although it's going to be difficult to rapidly move the country from a highly capitalistic view to a socialistic view with The Senate in the hands of the Republicans, the slow drift left will begin almost immediately.

Biden’s plans to reenter the Paris Climate Accord, the Iran Nuclear Deal and other liberal global geopolitical positions are going to add significant costs to the federal budget. Between the COVID19 budget impacts and the Trump tax cuts, Biden will inherit the largest national debt of any president ever elected.

So, it occurred to me it is probably time to begin to create a plan for the slow drift toward socialism and higher taxes.

For the baby boomers, most of us are just too old to really worry about it. In fact, we are already part of the government provides everything group. Between Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security we are all pretty much on the government payroll.

However if you're a successful Gen X, Gen Y, Gen Zer or millennial or any part of that group here are some things and some adjustments you may want to consider in regard to your lifestyle as we move from capitalism to socialism.

1. It will be a good idea to gradually adjust your life positions to not so overtly reflect your success and capitalistic instincts.

For example, if you drive any of these cars Audi, BMW, Mercedes, Lexus, or any of the other high-end brands you may want to consider over the next few months selling that vehicle and buying yourself a used Hyundai or Subaru. It will make you look more like one of those left wingers instead of an outright capitalist.

2. If you were thinking about buying a home downtown in the high rent district or if you already have one of those high rise condos surrounded by massive retail, dining, high end retail and all that kind of stuff you may want to think a little bit about buying a home out in the suburbs. One of those row houses where the normal people live.

3. If you're part of that liberal generation that considers children not a particular blessing and maybe you've decided to have just one in order to make yourself not look too weird, you may want to consider adding a couple of kids to your family brood so you look more like the traditional middle income or lower middle income family. It will also help sop up some of your discretionary income

4. You may want to power down your wardrobe just a bit. If you have been moderately successful as a financial advisor or a used car salesman you may want to shuck the $500 shoes, the $700.00 suit, the $90.00 dress shirts and $125 running pants.

Try shopping at Target and Walmart a little more. It will help you fit in with the needy crowd.

5. Politically it's cool to be a liberal. You know the old chicken in every pot routine and if you don't have a pot the government will provide you with one to put your free chicken in.

Remember that socialism is essentially a redistribution of wealth from those who worked hard to get it to those who have been waiting around for somebody to give it to them.

If you have it (wealth) they are coming for you.

So, if you have acquired some degree of financial success you may want to park some of that financial success in some not so obvious places. Low income housing comes to mind.

The Biden administration is going to be an interesting experiment in economics and politics.

There is already an abiding question about who's going to be running the show with Biden as president. Will it be Biden himself; will it be a coalition of his left wing highly liberal supporters; will it be the hawkish left wing, or will it be the conservative wing of the Democratic Party?

Oh yes, there is one - a conservative wing of the Democratic Party. They're all hiding over there in the corner waiting for the smoke to clear and see just how far this drift to the left is going to go.

So, for now, watch where you go, what you wear, who you support politically and remember at times like these, grey is a good color. 

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Friday, November 13, 2020

Trump Concession Ego or Objective?


Opinion by:  
E. Eugene Webb PhD

The news media and the Biden transition team continue to labor over the fact that President Donald Trump has not yet made the anticipated concession speech regarding the presidential election.

The concession speech is more a matter of protocol then it is a matter of law.

However, there is some thinking that once a president concedes, his power of the presidency during the transition process is somewhat limited or at least to some degree shared with the president elect.

The concession speech does not provide any empowerment for the president elect, but it does carry with it the hint of presidential authority.

There are a number of theories regarding why Trump is not conceding, but here are two that I find most interesting.

First is the theory that this is just more of Trump's ego, the inability to grasp reality, and a desperate attempt to hold on to the presidency, for as long as he can.

This theory is being promulgated by most of the mainstream media as they salivate over the moment when Trump leaves the presidency.

There is, however, another theory of why President Trump has not yet conceded the election. There are a lot of things that Trump would like to get accomplished in the next 75 days or so between now and inauguration day. Trump would like to make these decisions as the sitting president not a lame-duck president. Trump has no desire to dilute his power of the office my conceding to Biden at this point.

There are sure to be a number of pardons and other presidential actions that Trump will take in the next few weeks, and the possibility of successful legal challenges to those actions is somewhat diminished if Trump has yet to concede the presidency while he is in the process of completing these final actions.

The legal challenges, while not likely to change the outcome of the election, do provide Trump a platform for continuing to exercise many of his options without challenge from the president elect.

For more on this subject check out the article from The Guardian: Donald Trump has no intention of conceding, campaign insists.

And then there is the whole issue of the political mind game. Trump's continuing refusal to concede has to be a constant pain for Biden and particularly for the vice president elect, Kamala Harris, as well as Biden’s transition team.

And then there is the ongoing concern by the Republican members of the transition team that Trump is still president, and they need to go carefully in the transition process. Nobody on that transition team from the Republican side wants to find themselves crosswise with the president while he continues to occupy the bully pulpit.

For now, it's hard to say when Trump will concede, there are a couple of spots where it might be appropriate: one would be following the runoff election in Georgia; a second spot in the timeline would be when the election results and the Electoral College votes are all certified and complete.

Then there is the possibility that Trump will never concede.

In any event the one thing you have to hand it to Trump for is he continues to keep the media focus on him and off the Biden administration.   

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Wednesday, November 11, 2020

The Trump Legacy


Opinion by:  
E. Eugene Webb PhD

Throughout the entire term of Donald Trump's presidency of the United States, I never really
thought that his legacy was something he had on his mind.

It could very well be because Donald Trump was virtually convinced that he would be a two term president and I suspect if he thought about his legacy at all he thought about it in terms of eight years as president in contrast to four.

So as Trump tweeted, lied, shaded the truth, argued, and bullied, I don't think he had his legacy in mind. However, the interesting fact is that none of that may be Trump's legacy at all.

Donald Trump's legacy, his entire presidential legacy, may well be shaped in the next 25 days or so as we go through the transfer of power from Trump to Biden.

We all know Trump is not a particularly good loser; he's not a gracious loser, in fact, he absolutely hates to lose.

Losing this election and losing it in the way it is being lost, by a very narrow margin, will be difficult for Donald Trump to internalize.

Trump could go graciously with he and his wife welcoming the Bidens to the White House, wishing them the best, providing all the resources and assets necessary for a transition of power, instructing all the people who work for him to cooperate fully and completely, and exiting early perhaps coming to Florida and Mar-a-Lago and operating in his last few weeks and days totally out of Washington and out of view.

That would make for a gracious exit and at least a positive end to the legacy of the Trump presidency.

However, my best guess at this point is Trump will go out just exactly like he came in. Fighting, yelling, screaming, claiming he's being discriminated against, defrauded, cheated, lied about and loudly claiming that none of the stuff the press is saying about his legacy is true.

I would almost expect he will do everything possible to make Biden's transition to the White House and the transfer of power as difficult as it can possibly be.

There has never been a real controversy over the transfer of power in the entire history of the United States of America.

The spectacle of Trump being escorted physically from the White House by armed guards is just an image that we don't need.

This is Donald J Trump's time to make a significant difference in this country by acting like the President he never was.

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Sunday, November 8, 2020

Are We There yet?


Opinion by:  
E. Eugene Webb PhD         

By the time you read this the final election results may be in.

As I write this, it's mid-morning on Saturday November 7th, 2020, and they're still counting ballots believe it or not in at least three major states.

At this point, barring a miracle, Joe Biden will be the next president of the United States.

It's what comes next that is going to be critical in the history of this nation going forward.

I'm sure there will be legal challenges, investigations, charges and countercharges about the election, the voting process, the counting process, and probably a number of unrelated issues. That's all part of our democracy, and all of those questions should be raised and to the best extent possible they should certainly be resolved.

One thing we have learned in this election cycle is that our voting processes, which vary greatly from state to state and the counting processes which are equally convoluted from state to state need a major overhaul. In many instances, we are still operating under premises established by the original framers of the Constitution.

Rewriting these rules, and election procedures, is going to be extremely difficult but absolutely necessary.

It seems that going forward in this country we are going to continue to be a divided nation for quite some time.

As the baby boomers die out,  and the Gen X, Y and Zers and millennials become the majority of the voting pool,  and as our country diversifies and our basic core demographics shift, we are going to need an election system that supports more than just a two-party  view of our real and political process.

So, the answer to the question: are we there yet? It is not answered as of this lovely Saturday morning in South Florida, and it probably won't be for a few more days.

One can only hope that President Trump will exercise some restraint and a modicum of good judgment as the transition process begins. The last thing we need in this country to further divide us is a significant conflict on the steps of the White House or a video of Trump and his family members being physically escorted from the premises.

That would be a searing moment in the history of this country and one that would never be put behind us.

So if you're going to go to church this Sunday morning, or if you're just inclined to say a prayer before you go to bed or first thing in the morning when you wake up, you might say a prayer for your country, for your neighbor, for the person you disagree with politically, and most of all for yourself to be patient to be understanding.  And to remember all that you have now, and all that you have accomplished are a direct result of the political system that we live in.

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