Archive for July, 2011

RAISE THE CEILING – SPEND MORE

July 23, 2011

Raising the debt ceiling is a question that should have been answered decades ago.  It should not be a constant and ongoing battle every six months, two years or even every decade or two.  Raising the debt ceiling is like opening a jar of pickles.  Getting the first pickle is a fight.  After the first one is out of the jar, it becomes easier and easier to get more until the jar is empty.  As I see it, we are at the bottom of the jar now and the grocery store is closed.  The sandwich will have to be made without the crispness and snappy taste that we have taken for granted.

As the government grows, so does the bureaucratic waste.  The higher the debt ceiling is raised, the higher it will have to be raised.  Congress is like a spoiled teenager to whom parents have given a credit card.  The child never has concern for the bill because daddy pulls out the checkbook each month and takes care of the carelessness of the last four weeks.

I want it.  I want it.  If I can get a $600 million grant for the Tree Sitting Duck Watchers of America, to study why ducks waddle, I will surely be reelected.  I’ll promote it as an environmental issue and dupe the idiots.  Then we’ll just raise taxes on those idiots.

If we are to have any fiscal responsibility, we have to hold government bureaucracies accountable for the monies they are awarded.  We don’t need new oversight agencies or more IRS agents to find the faults after the fact, we have too many now.  That’s a major portion of the problem.  It is necessary for the agency heads, the Directors and Secretaries to take charge and account for their budgets or have their budgets slashed by the amount spent that is not directly related to the agency’s purpose.  If the money cannot be adequately accounted, everyone responsible should be caused to seek employment in the public sector.

*Built into every appropriation bill there is a minimum 10% shrinkage factor.  Congress expects and plans for theft, mismanagement and sloppiness.  They recognize and accept that there will be inept oversight of funds.

You may ask why I’m being so harsh at a critical time.  You would be half right in asking that question.  The better question might be, “Why hasn’t someone gotten mad about the unrestrained spending of our governments before this?”  Note: the plural of government is used to include state, county, and city government entities.

It took me less than three minutes – yes, less than three minutes on the Internet to find the following wastefulness of our federal government.  Just think what might be found by a competent researcher in a week or month.  The list below is from various sources, including XX.gov sites.  The money is unaccounted, yet the following fiscal years’ budgets were not adjusted downward for the mismanagement.  Without exception, the following years’ budgets were increased.

D.O.D. – FY 2000                                           $1.1Trillion

H.U.D. – FY 1999                                         $59.6 Billion

Pentagon – FY 1998-2007                                 $4 Trillion

Iraq  alone– Pallets loaded with greenbacks have gone missing

before they could be disbursed.  Estimated total  $12 Billion

D.H.H.S. – FY 1999                                      $18.9 Billion

C.I.A. FY 2002                                             $2.3 Trillion

T.A.R.P.                                                        $78 Billion

Stimulus                                                    $169 Million

If that short list doesn’t frost your patootie and cause you to see why we have such a horrendous debt, it should show that our elected and appointed officials don’t care about spending within our means.

One more!  The G.A.O. (Government Accountability Office; the agency responsible for identifying the propriety and accounting the expenditures of the federal government), could not account for $1.3 Billion of their own budgets between FY 2002 and FY 2008.  Still, bonuses were awarded and COLAs were given to the directors and key people of each agency above for their good work and sound fiscal oversight.

Advertisements

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME!

July 14, 2011

WASHINGTON–President Obama returns to Chicago on Aug. 3 to mark his 50th birthday with fund-raisers at the Aragon Ballroom, with tickets ranging from $50 a person to $35,800 per couple, which includes VIP seating at a “Birthday Concert” where celebs will be performing and a dinner with the president.

Timing?  You can’t help but find it a bit funny, funny peculiar-not funny ha-ha, that right at the time Obama is threatening to withhold payment to elderly and disabled persons (Social Security) and patriots (military) he will be hosting his own birthday bash.

While people are losing their jobs, savings and homes, he’s partying like its good times for all.

He stomped out of a meeting like a four-year-old and refused to compromise or even acknowledge the current deficit and debt or consequences of continued deficit spending.  Apparently he had to organize the community gala where he will be charging guests up to $35,800 to kiss his ring and submit waiver and exemption requests.

The man has no conscience and no shame!  But he does have an ego that is so fragile the slightest suggestion of impropriety will unleash a fierce wrath upon the purveyor.

MEET YOUR NEW MASTER

July 6, 2011

President Clinton was not and is not always wrong.  Now that he’s been out of political office for over a decade, he might be starting to see the light.  In a recent gathering, he threw out the notion that our corporate tax rate is “uncompetitive”.  However, he wanted a reasonable lowering of that rate to be in conjunction with a rise in the debt ceiling.  He’s half right, here.  The corporate tax rate should be lowered; loop holes plugged and let the corporations flourish.

Many people will remember 90s and his tenure in office.  The first few years of the decade were slow recovery from an economic down turn.  Then prosperity returned.  Jobs were available and those who chose to work could and did.  Credit card companies were willing to raise limits for people with some assurance of being repaid.

As individuals spent more and more on things they wanted, but truly didn’t need in many cases, Bank of America, Citi, Sears and others would allow them to spend more and only make a $10, $15 or sometimes as much as $30 payment.  As long as the minimum payment was met, the ten thousand dollars owed was forgotten and they could borrow more.  Then there was another hiccup in the economy.  Interest rates rose causing minimum payments to also increase.  People became aware that they could no longer afford their mortgage, car and boat payment and put out $400-$600 a month in minimum payment obligations.

Thanks to the bankruptcy laws, many people were able to get out from under their self-created madness.  The courts would simply wipe away the contracts and obligations into which consumers had entered.  Great for the consumer, bad for the creditors.  Many of the financial institutions that awarded credit to companies and consumers declared bankruptcy, some were taken over by larger or more stable competitors and yet some got bailouts from the government.  People no longer make their mortgage payment to Countrywide; they don’t exist.  That payment is now made to Bank of America, the new master.  That is, if the home hasn’t been foreclosed.

Congress and the current administration are displaying the same greed and idiocy that consumers showed not so long ago.  They are continuing to spend and asking for the credit limit to be raised.  They won’t part with the political boat or big screen.  In fact, they want to replace the boat with a bigger, faster and shinier yacht even though it sits at the dock 90% of the time.  What the heck, it’s your money that’s paying for it, raise the ceiling and they’ll continue spending.

We keep borrowing from countries that would like to see the U.S. default.  Are you ready to meet your new master?

EXCESS TAXATION

July 2, 2011

Over-regulation, personal life intrusion or excess taxation, I don’t quite know what to call it.  Perhaps all three would be appropriate.

I can almost understand the state mandating that I have a fire detector in my house.  If a fire occurs, it could affect the neighbors.  Flames from my burning abode could start theirs ablaze.  I would probably be lost in the fire if it occurred at night, however, because with my hearing deficit I can barely perceive the beeping when the battery is low and I’m standing ten feet away.  My neighbors would only be able to save their houses if they smelled the smoke or saw the flames in time.  Sorry neighbors.

Yesterday, July 1, was the last day for California residents to comply with the State of California SB 183 (Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Prevention Act of 2010).  SB 183 mandates that I have a device similar to a smoke alarm installed in my home to prevent my death in case there is excess carbon monoxide present.  This device is only to benefit me, the deaf guy.  It is meant to sound an imperceptible electronic signal, ill designed to awaken me from a sound sleep while overcome by carbon monoxide.  According to the literature, some 30-40 people in California die each year from carbon monoxide poisoning.

Details: As of July 1, 2011, Carbon Monoxide detectors will be REQUIRED in all houses (1 – 4 units) if they have any of the following:

  • Any gas appliances such as a gas stove, gas furnace, gas fireplace, gas water heater, etc.
  • A fireplace (even if it only burns wood, pellets, or any other material).
  • An attached garage (even if there are no gas appliances in the house).  Cars continue to emit CO even after they are shut off.
  • ANY rental dwelling that meets the criteria listed above.  Yes, this means that if you own a house, condo, or townhouse that you rent to another human being, you are REQUIRED to install Carbon Monoxide detectors.
  • As of January 1, 2013, ALL multi-family dwellings including multi-family dwellings that meet the criteria listed above will be required to have Carbon Monoxide detectors.  Even those that are not being sold will be required to have them just like smoke detectors.

SB 138 pg 90, 91

The bill would require the State Fire Marshal to charge an appropriate fee to the manufacturer of a carbon monoxide device to cover the costs associated with the approval and listing of carbon monoxide devices.  The bill would prohibit the marketing, distribution, or sale of devices unless they and their instructions have been approved and listed by the State Fire Marshal.  The bill would require a carbon monoxide device to be installed in a dwelling unit intended for human occupancy, as specified, and would generally provide that a violation of these provisions is an infraction punishable by a maximum fine of $200 for each offense, but the bill would require that a property owner receive a 30-day notice to correct prior to the imposition of the fine.  By creating a new crime, this bill would create a state-mandated local program.

As with far too many mandates from government, this bill has little to do with the safety of citizens.  It offers almost nothing more than revenue for the overspending idiots in Sacramento.  Look at the facts:

  1. The State Fire Marshall charges manufacturers a fee.  (for those less informed, each unit is taxed)
  2. The State receives revenue for every unit sold within the state via sales tax, business taxes and employee income tax.
  3. The State mandates that every dwelling has at least one device present and working.
  4. If a California homeowner or owner of 1-4 dwelling units is not compliant, they are subject to a fine of up to $200 per dwelling unit.

Because some 30-40 stupid people per year leave their gas fired heater on at night during the winter without cracking a window or providing any ventilation, some funding expert in Sacramento found he can mandate that we spend $20-$35 each on another unnecessary device.

Consider me a non-resident of this state just as soon as I can pack.

TRUTH AND MEDIA

July 1, 2011

I just don’t know what to believe anymore. The national and international news is so distorted that we haven’t a clue what is real and what is manufactured for effect.  In an interview with CNN, Michelle Obama even said, “Fortunately, we have help from the media. I have to say this: I’m very grateful for the support and kindness that we’ve gotten”.

In this case, she was referring specifically to the media not invading the privacy of the first daughters. That would be the very same media who headlined every antic or misstep in which Jenna or Barbara Bush could be caught. The same media that Michelle is so grateful for made jokes and plastered them on the front, above the fold or early pages of section A or teased the nightly news with them. Going back a bit further, the Clinton first daughter, Chelsea, was also off limits.

If the news is so eager to tear down a Republican president’s child and protect those of Democrats, how can we believe there is any truth presented regarding policies coming from the White House under control of either party?

If you listen to someone on the left, you will undoubtedly hear that FOXNews is a right-wing, Republican outlet with no balance as advertised. There will never be a mention of MSNBC. If FOXNews is so right-wing, the presentations are certainly balanced by the red-faced, hate spewing personalities on MSNBC. So we’ll call that a wash. Both right and left have their allies and adversaries. Print media, NPR, PBS…not so much. The left certainly has the upper hand when it comes to you hearing what they want you to hear.

When predictions are made about upcoming political events, policy changes, legislation, etc. by conservatives, be they regarding local, national or global events the predictions are either touted as insane, hate mongering, bigoted, racist.  When quoted by liberals or quietly mentioned and dropped. Reason, logic and historical events generally play a part in the conjectures from conservatives with hope and vacuity reserved for liberals. When touted insane and the predictions prove correct there is no apology from the media; there is no correction printed or broadcast.  The story is forgotten. When applauded and the predictions do not pan out for the liberals, the only place you will hear about it is from right of center talk radio or FOXNews, never the New York Times or the Washington Post or MSNBC.

So, how are Greece, Libya, Syria, Egypt, Iran and the rest of the volatile Middle East really doing? What is the truth about jobs and the economy here? We may never know for sure until it is too late. I, for one, certainly don’t know what is real and what is Memorex.