Let’s Find a Fix 1 – Unemployment (Continued)

I have to admit that I am pleased with the progress that was made in discussing this subject over the first couple of days. The thread was getting pretty long so I figured I would do a bit of a recap here and start with a somewhat clean thread. That way people aren’t scrolling forever to find the stuff they want to further discuss. So I figure I am going to do a somewhat short recap here in what will pass for the “article”. I will then go through the comments and pull out comments that we should continue to flesh out a bit. Obviously, I am going to be picking out the stuff that I think should be brought forward. Please don’t hesitate to bring something else over if you want to discuss it further and I didn’t bring it over. Additionally, I am going to post a few specific thoughts of mine with questions in the beginning comments. My hope is that we can come to some sort of agreement on the answers to them, but I realize that may not be the case.

It seems that the majority feel that some sort of safety net is the right thing to do. I obviously agree as I stated it in my initial article. There was a bit of a disagreement on whether we “must” provide it, or whether we “would like to” provide it. I have to say that I lean heavily towards the “would like to” side of that argument. Anytime that we change that to “must”, we set ourselves up for a mandate of government action. We also begin to put ourselves in a position where we are creating a “right”. And we should never be in the business of creating a right. We have rights. They are natural. If they aren’t natural, they aren’t rights. And we cannot fall into attempting to make things into rights which are not. I imagine that this same sort of dialogue is going to be had when we discuss social security, welfare, and other topics that we will attempt to find a fix for. But I would hold that the only thing that we must do is to ensure that whatever changes we would make to the system as it exists are accompanied by a transition plan to get to a different place.

Ray brought up a good point that there are so many other things that we are facing that contribute to the situation that we are in today. He suggested that to attempt to fix this without addressing those other things would be a futile effort. I can somewhat agree. But I think the key for us here is to operate under the assumption that those other things are not going to change. I think unemployment can be changed or eliminated regardless of the other things out there. But more important, if we allow that sentiment to impede progress, we fall into the trap of never being able to change anything because we cannot change everything. We obviously cannot change everything, but we absolutely must begin changing things one at a time, because the path that we are on is unsustainable. I don’t believe that this is in dispute, but please correct me if I am wrong.

And that is all that I am going to put in the article section! I am now going to spend the next two hours offering my thoughts and challenging a few of yours!


  1. USWeapon says:

    One of the first things I wanted to discuss further was the idea that government is the answer to this issue. Obviously, if no government is the answer, then we have to bridge the gap to get there. But I think that this is the first question that we have to answer. CAN this be done without the government? I tend to believe that it can, but there are obviously questions and concerns in doing so. So I will offer a few thoughts….

    Can this be done through a form of private insurance, similar to homeowners insurance or health insurance? I know insurance isn’t the most popular industry these days, but in its pure form it is a good service. There are a couple of reasons that I tend to lean towards an option like this. The first is that it allows for multiple levels of coverage. That is an issue that we have not addressed here. Someone who is working for $10 an hour regularly and living in a $400 a month apartment obviously has different “needs” than someone who is living in a $400k house and working a $150k a year job. So why is it that the federal government thinks that a one size fits all program will provide for the needs of both? Should I, because I lose my job through no fault of my own, be forced to sell my house at a loss, move my family into an apartment, abandon my vehicles after paying them 90% of the way off? Because that is what happens if you think I can keep my roof and transportation on what UI will provide. In fact, UI, in total, wouldn’t pay my mortgage for the month, yet one week of UI would pay the rent of the apartment dweller.

    Now before you say I could have planned better and had more savings. Let’s suppose I did. Let’s say I took my extra money and put it into IRA’s and 401K. The market takes a dive (not so out of the realm of reality there) and I lose my savings and I lose my job. Do I have to lose EVERYTHING? If the idea is to provide some minimal amount of food and shelter, I guess the answer is yes. But if we had private insurance as the UI route, people could purchase UI plans based on what their needs our. Perhaps their bills come to 4k a month and their industry is one that generally takes 6 months to get a new position, cradle to grave as Ray put it. I could purchase a plan that takes care of that situation. A much cheaper plan would be available for folks who only have bills of 1k a month and work in an industry that hires more quickly. The options for plans are unlimited and therefore can be applied effectively no matter what your situation in life may be.

    I can obviously see some issues with this. Perhaps people would wait until they thought their jobs were in jeopardy and quickly buy a policy. That could be an issue. But maybe the UI providers could place a hold on benefits until you have accrued a certain percentage of what your payout would be. Or they could say that you are ineligible to receive UI payouts for the first year. If you lose your job within that first year, you are entitled to receive all of the premiums that you paid back in full because you wouldn’t be getting benefit payout.

    What other issues do you folks see with an idea such as this? From my perspective, it would take UI out of the pocket of taxpayers and employers. The money saved on UI payments by employers could be converted into capital for industry growth or even into higher salaries for workers, allowing them to afford private insurance or better savings plans. But the key to it all for me is that it would eliminate government from the equation, allow market forces to dictate changes or incentives, and place the impetus on taking care of your family back on individuals instead of them relying on a government bailout.

    • Several problems with government run UI.

      Its paid for by employer only, the worker gets the benefit, without making any contribution. This encourages abuse, people spending “free” money don’t have a personal stake. There has to be an individual cost.

      Government keeps adding to the UI program. This could be why private insurance companies have not jumped in, you can’t compete with someone that will operate at a loss for 50 years.

      Government rewards abusers. Workers that will take a job for a week or month, then take some action to be released. Many companies will lay-off a worker to avoid possible lawsuits. Deadbeat workers are a real problem.
      A city of 20,000 will average about 1,000 that are chronically unemployed.
      And this has been pretty constant for about 20 years, based on a study I have seen.

      I think private insurance would do a better job, unless to much government
      requirements forced them to operate at a loss.

    • Ellen Spalding says:

      I guess if we are going to continue to allow the government to run unemployment then I am okay with setting limits.

      1) 7 months total of benefits-nothing after that.

      2) Random testing for illegal drugs. I dont see how we could even try to control cigs,drinking etc. My thoughts are if you are going to blow it on that, fine. But you are done in 7 months no matter what.

      3) You spend half the week doing resume/job interviewing etc, half the week working for your city or county filling in where needed. if you dont show, lose benfits

      4) Once your 7months are up, you cant collect unemployment again for another 3 years. Then it is 5months of benefits.

      Just a start from Ellen

    • posting for comments

    • I like this….isn’t this how we buy disability insurance? You buy the amount you feel you would need, based on your expenses & lifestyle and you are charged a certain premium according to that.

      If the government is out of the picture, I believe private insurers would be interested.

      • Buck The Wala says:

        Unfortunately, private insurers have not been interested in the past.

        • From LOI above:

          “This could be why private insurance companies have not jumped in, you can’t compete with someone that will operate at a loss for 50 years.”

    • If the question is “insurance”, posters must first understand what insurance means.

      Insurance is NOT a subsidy.

      • v. Holland says:

        Please explain the difference in practical terms. Insurance covers people for a specific potential future loss and subsidies give money as a safeguard against problems I think-don’t see where we are confusing them. Of course I may have my definitions wrong 🙂

        • V.,

          It is more that that.

          Insurance is calculated risk.

          If you are risk-adverse person, your rates will be lower than a risk-seeker.

          If both parties pay the same, it cannot be called insurance.

          • v. Holland says:

            Your point has to be more than just semantics BF-and I’m just not getting the significance of the point in practical terms.

            • V.

              It is not semantics – it is CORE.

              If it is INSURANCE, the cost must be calculated based on RISK.

              It cannot be a FIXED rate on EVERYONE. This is NOT insurance – it is a TAX, and must be addressed on a whole different set of criteria.

              We cannot solve a problem with tools used for solving a whole different and dissimilar problem. We will most assuredly get the wrong answer.

            • I don’t get your point here either BF. I would not be adverse to private sector unemployment insurance, purchased by individuals for their protection against future unemployment.

              You would buy based on your needs. I realize at this point that this insurance is not offered by private companies as the govt. holds the mandates. I am proposing that this change.

              Transition is first to cap govt UI at 6 months so there’s an end. No extensions. Grandfathering stages for upcoming claims, ie companies only pay into through 2010 then entire UI ends as we know (or whatever timetable – perhaps 2011).

              Private insurance company determine risks/premiums and open it up.

              Quick answer – probably some holes.

              • Kathy,

                Private insurance company ….

                But they have.

                They will not do it.

                They cannot create a plausible actuary table on an event that is nearly fully in control of the insured.

                Insurance companies cannot insure for an event that is fully in the means of the insured to create.

                If you are able to cause an insurable event with ease it is next to impossible for it to be insured!

    • Kristian says:

      I’m reading along with all of this and the only thing I can think is UI is run differently in your state than it is in mine. When we have to collect it we get 2/3 of our former salary. So if I made 500 dollars a week I would draw 2/3 of that in benefits weekly. I have to provide proof every week that I am searching for a job. That proof can be as simple as a business card from the company that I applied to or a copy of the application. There is also a form that I get filled out by the perspective employer. The money that is paid to the unemployment insurance is paid by my employer, it does not come out of my check. The only thing that I have an issue with as far as UI goes is the extensions that they put on it. I don’t think that it needed to be extended. To me it seems it would turn into a crutch if you collect it too long.

  2. USWeapon says:

    OK, back to the ideas that others were presenting. Mathius offered some good food for thought on what could be done. The next few comments from me will be addressing some of the things that he offered.

    First, the idea that people cannot smoke or drink while receiving UI. I understand this concept completely. If the taxpayer is the one footing the bill to help you survive, then you have to live with the taxpayer’s rules for your behavior. A couple of thoughts on this. First, how do you determine what they can and cannot do? By what it takes to survive? By your subjective decision? Are you going to get as far as dictating which foods and food brands are acceptable as survival food versus “luxury” food? Is anything besides water acceptable as a drink for survival? After all, we can survive on just bread and water. Is that all that would be allowed? What about fruits and vegetables? They are healthy, but they are not necessary for survival. What if someone is overweight? Do we get to dictate what their ideal weight should be and anything above that is considered not necessary for survival? How about clothing? Are there different ratings of acceptable clothing for different climates in the US? Obviously a winter coat is necessary for survival in the NorthEast, but in Southern California that may not be the same. The point to all of this is that we enter a realm where what is “need” and what is “nice to have” is really subjective. To start down that path is to open a can of worms so large that our government could not possibly regulate it….. or afford it.

    Which brings me to the other side of this idea. To enforce such mandates would require one of two things, in my estimation. Option one is that everything is purchased or provided for the beneficiary. They shop for nothing, a box shows up with “approved” survival items in it. Any bills are paid directly to the creditor, never touching the hands of the beneficiary. Option two is that we allow the beneficiary to make their own decisions within the mandates you put forth (which would have to be extensive). At that point, you would have to have a government agency twice as large as the IRS just to ensure compliance. And even a single strike and you are out policy would require massive amounts of paperwork and follow-up. I would submit that either of these two options make it entirely cost prohibitive to set any form of mandate in place that controls how they spend the money given to them by government.

    • I think Matt went a little overboard. The drug testing I think is a great ideal, if it’s illegal, it could be enforced. But booze and smokes? If they can live on that, and show up for work, do their job, it’s not our business.

      • Mathius says:

        They can’t live on that. They enjoy that. That is a luxury. And I am all for other people having luxuries, but not when I’m footing the bill. If they have enough money for their basic needs (whatever that means) and then still have enough left over for a pack of Lucky’s, we’re giving them too much.

        Give me a better solution for this problem?

        • v. Holland says:

          Matt, I know I keep harping on this but you cannot make the solution worse than the problem-your solution could create Big Brother spying on all of us-I know that sounds extreme but when it comes to governmental control we need to come from the mind frame that governmental control takes away freedom and be very careful how much power we are giving away.

          • I wrote out a whole reply, then closed the window by accident. Grr. The raptors made me do it.

            Now, I have said before, and I feel I have been very clear on this point, that I do not feel this one item is practical. I envision it more as a don’t ask – don’t tell scenario, where you can do whatever you want, and no one with monitor you, your spending, or your activities, and no one will question you, but where you still have to avoid being seen drunk by your colleagues or boss. You can’t come in to work reeking of smoke. You don’t post pictures of yourself at the track on facebook. In short, live your life, but keep the luxuries to yourself. Only egregious violations would be pursed.

            I’m on the fence on this whole provision, but I really don’t like the idea of paying for you to buy menthol kools.

    • Mathius says:

      I have said repeatedly that I don’t think this idea is necessarily enforceable. What I suggest is something akin to a don’t ask don’t tell policy. Nobody will monitor your purchases, nobody will restrict what you can and can’t buy, nobody will demand you tell them if you had a beer last night. However, you can get in trouble if you are caught anyway – if you come in with an obvious hangover, if you reek of cigarettes, if you say you need to go see your grandmother in the hospital and your facebook status says that you’re betting on the ponies at the track.

      USW seems to understand the point. I agree that the devil is in the details. I just can’t see a better way of handling this. I don’t pay to buy people beer. I don’t pay to buy people smokes. I don’t pay to send people on vacation, or to gamble. I don’t pay to provide people with luxuries. But neither do I want to create a giant institution to monitor the activities and purchases of otherwise productive members of society.

      So it seems to me that the best approach is to say no drinking/smoking/gambling/vacations, and enforce only the most blatant violations.

      Again this is a two-fold feature. First, the point the USW made that we are not paying for their luxuries. Secondly, this makes life a little less comfortable, thus giving an added incentive to get back into the work force sooner than later. Everything this program does has to be designed with the aim of incentivizing work over staying on the dole, and I think this does that.

      • Ok, so no one liked the Texas model because it is still government. So you say the “devil is in the details”….what is wrong with a private company to handle the UI but how do you keep them from abusing it. If you wish to rely on “honesty” and that the majority of the people will not abuse it, I think you are pissing into the wind. I think the mindset of today is that it is ok to abuse the system. I personally feel that most think that it is ok to try to “beat the system”, no matter who has the system. There are going to have to be rules..I see no other way around it. So, how to make and enforce rules….who does it?

        • Mathius says:

          Private company can’t handle it because it still loses money. It needs to pay these people. And that means it needs significant income. This income has to come from taxes.

          Therefore, it has to be gov’t.

          I agree that people will try to beat the system. That is why I set it up the way I did. So it’s very difficult to do. Tell me how you would ‘beat the system’ as I laid it out?

          • Matt:

            It does not “have to be” govt.

            Try hard to think outside that box. I know its hard but you can do it.

            What would it look like without Govt run programs?

            And I don’t think private insurance is the answer either. That won’t work for the reasons that both I and BF stated the other day.

        • D13

          The Texas system is good as are those of many, many states. They are very similar.

          But I would say those are good for the current Govt focused society.

          How would you reconstruct under VDLG?

          • That’s easy. VLDG, you privatize the whole shebang. You then hope that, without taxes, people will donate generously to the new charity. You further hope that Regan was right and low taxes means more jobs, so fewer people need the system. You further arrange it the I specified, so that it only helps those who are trying to help themselves, and it books the rest ASAP.

            Then you pray that those it cannot help do not become a giant criminal class who break into your home to steal your stuff while you’re off at work.

      • Matt:

        We are talking unemployment comp.

        Where do YOU pay for anything?

        • Where do I pay? Indirectly. It’s payed from payroll taxes, I believe (correct?). As such, one could suggest that the company would pay me more if it didn’t have to pay the taxes (that is, I have a value to the company, and what they don’t allocate to the gov’t, they’ll allocate to me). It’s not necessarily a 1:1 relationship, but it’s close enough to make the point.

          Further, all business owners pay it.

          Further, when I buy something in a store, the store must pay payroll taxes on its employees. And who do you think pays that? Do you think the owner of the corporation pays out of his pocket, or do you think he raises prices on the rest of us?

          I am paying, you are paying. But we should get more for our money. They should be smarter about how they use it. Maybe mine isn’t the right answer, but the current system sure isn’t either.

          • “Where do I pay? Indirectly. It’s payed from payroll taxes, I believe (correct?).” Incorrect,
            but most people believe this to be the case. Each employer pays in 6.2% on the first $7K for each employee. Around $430.

            The Federal Unemployment Tax Act (or FUTA, 26 U.S.C. ch.23) is a United States federal law that imposes a federal employer tax used to fund state workforce agencies.


            report this tax by filing an annual Form 940 with the Internal Revenue Service. In some cases, the employer is required to pay the tax in installments during the tax year.

            FUTA covers the costs of administering the unemployment insurance (UI) and job service programs in all states. In addition, FUTA pays one-half of the cost of extended unemployment benefits (during periods of high unemployment) and provides for a fund from which states may borrow, if necessary, to pay benefits.

            • Mathius says:

              And do you think the employer just pays the tax, or do you think he passes it along to his employees and as a higher price on his goods and services?

              • “passes it along to his employees”

                Sorry, I can’t follow the logic there. Is the cost passed on, yes, but not to employee’s. Whoever buys the end product or service ends up paying. You could take the view that domestic sales means all Americans pay this cost, or exporters charge that expense to foreign countries.

                I think any reform of UI will require the worker to pay a share of the cost. As is, they have no expense.

                • Me too LOI. Which brings it back to individual responsibility. Buy your own plan.

    • If it is “insurance”, then what constitutes the terms of insurance?

      But remember if Mathius does place TERMS upon insurance, it cannot be COMPULSORY to pay for insurance.

      One must be able to opt out.

      • BF

        Are not State Unemployment funds currently managed as “insurance”?

        That is why different rates for different employees and employers. Increased risk of becoming unemployed.

        Also maximum benefit payouts.

        Seems to me they are State run insurance or at least very close.

        • All insurance must be voluntary – or, again, its not insurance but a tax.

          Income tax is not “insurance” simply because there are ‘different rates’ for different people.

          Insurance offers must be able to deny coverage and the potential insured must be able to decline price.

          It is insurance or it is not. Decide which it is. That decision determines solutions.

          • BF

            I know that. You ignored what you know was the primary question.

            Are not the state funds run as insurance?

            The other day you made the case why no private insurance company would touch this. It seems to me the only real reason is that folks could hold off on getting a policy until just before they need it. But a delay in payouts would resolve that, just as is done with the state funds.

            So if they are run in a similar manner then what would preclude private insurance from developing?

            • Are the policies created on a risk portfolio?

              Can the insurer deny coverage?

              Is the purchase voluntary?

              Private insurers stay away because the insured are too closely tied to creating their own circumstance.

              For example, life insurance – though there is occasional fraud, an insurer is fairly right in assuming few people will purposely kill themselves, and the few that do for insurance fraud are more than often caught and the payment is denied.

              But in employment…. an employee can easily manipulate themselves out of a job by acting incompetent or making one too many errors or creating a personal conflict etc. An insurer cannot discern REAL causation from fraudulent causation. You got fired because your boss hates you. Is that insurable or not? I don’t know either.

              Thus, the insurer has a near impossible task of creating an actuary table regarding employment.

              • v. Holland says:

                I see your point now-perhaps Buck was right the other night maybe you are saying the only way to have unemployment benefits is through the government.

                • V. Holland,

                  So contemplate this:

                  Is unemployment a political problem so severe that hobbling the free market economy – which is, ultimately, the consumer of all worthy labor – worth it?

                  If you use politics over which you depended on to provide employment.

                  • Darn, my pointers failed.

                    Try again….

                    If you use politics over there {– to fix “unemployment” you will hobble the market place – which is the consumer of ALL worthy labor – and damage its ability to provide employment over here —}

                    The end result will be more unemployment – which is precisely (I am assuming) the opposite of your goal, true?

                    I guess I should ask – what is your the problem you expect to solve?

                    Maybe its not to lower unemployment but to manage the transition between employment? (I think this is Mathius’ goal, true)

                    Ok, so the question is:

                    Are you willing to accept higher unemployment for the country so to provide an easier transition for the few?

                    • v. Holland says:

                      Actually, I think the problem I want to fix is societies dependence on the government and the economic collapse that is being caused by all our social programs-Unemployment benefits is just a part of that problem and I don’t see most people agreeing to just get rid of it and I do believe that some small amount of help is necessary-so I just want to do it in a way that will decrease the dependence and spending in order to get people prepared to do without it.

                    • So, what is the problem you are trying to fix?

                      Unemployment or transition between Employment?

                    • v. Holland says:

                      We’ve been talking about transition between employment but my hope is that by limiting benefits we will be helping both.

                    • V.,

                      It cannot be both.

                      If you want to create a transition policy, it will cause a rise in unemployment.

                      You are creating an incentive to be unemployed, so that is what you will get.

                      If this is ok, with you, then move to step (2) – understanding the unemployment rate will go up, the benefits demanded will go up over time, and the pull on resources will increase.

                    • v. Holland says:

                      That is all happening now, if you are looking at this from where we are, than by decreasing the benefits you should be lowering the increase in unemployment.

                    • Yes but over time

                      You are dealing with Human Action.

                      You will have -initialy- people who do not believe you will maintain the cut back. They believe you will reconsider and pay out anyway.

                      They have decades of proof of such action-where a cut back was undertaken and then given back shortly after.

                      You will have to ride out the doubting Thomas’s before you see the effect on unemployment.

                    • v. Holland says:

                      True but tightening up regulations is just a first step and I too have noticed that the rules go out the window when a “crisis” hits but hopefully we will take steps in other areas to supplement this tiny step.

                    • V.

                      But what “regulation” needs tightening?

                      What measure are you using to determine which is at fault or merely difficult to implement?

                    • v. Holland says:

                      I’m being very unscientific-I’m going by what I think and listening to what others think-I don’t have the answers by a long stretch BF-I think that’s why we’ve been having this discussion the last few days. Your thoughts would would probably further the discussion.

                • v. Holland says:

                  Although, T-Ray was talking more about saving accounts that are managed and invested by private enterprise but collected in the same way they are now but privately owed-IF I understand his idea-it’s not insurance. Would this work.

                  • V. Holland –

                    Your question is:

                    If we take money from people and put into an account out of their control, but managed by a private, non-governmental company that would pay based on some series of conditions?

                    I’d ask – how does this company make money to pay its bills?

                    • v. Holland says:

                      I would assume they would get paid a management fee from the collected funds.

                    • How much?

                      What motive would they have to grow the investments?

                      Would they care if there are losses in the funds?

                    • v. Holland says:

                      A % of the collected funds-if they grow the amount through good investments they would make more money. If the amount decreases they lose money.

                    • v. Holland says:

                      Gonna get off of here for awhile will check back in a little while.

                    • V.

                      So they will still make a minimum management fee even if they lose money?

                      Or they get zero management fee if they lose money?

                      Or they lose money if they lose money?

                    • v. Holland says:

                      There are many investment firms and they have systems to handle investments and what is charged for them. I have limited experience with this type of thing but from my experience, yes they still get a % if they lose money-the incentive is to build the account so they will make more money and if they continue to lose you move the account to a better investor.

                    • V.,

                      As they still get paid when they lose money, and share profits if they make money, understand that they will take larger gambles and risk with the money then they would if it was their own.

                      They have a secured downside – they still eat – and no limit to the up side – they get to share.

                      Thus, you will see them take great risk, get great reward, get great loss, and they keep even, and risk even more next time.

                      The lesson: no matter what forumulat you place upon other people making money from your money you will ALWAYS face far more risk against your money than you realize.

                      I know I’m the wet blanket on UI reform – the nature of all FORCED systems is the perversion of the process “somewhere”.
                      I believe that this perversion will create circumstances far worse than the problem being relieved by the perversion.

                    • v. Holland says:

                      I’m sure your right about the risk but I do remember that in my investments I was asked to specify the type of risk I was willing to take-so it seems that there would be legal issues that would help to constrain them or maybe that hopeful thinking.

                    • v. Holland says:

                      I asked below about what effect this amount of money being managed could have on the stock market-if you have time would like your opinion as well as anyone else who has one-is that a problem or am I just seeing problems where they don’t exist.

                    • Hopeful thinking – you depend solely on your investment pro’s desire to keep and/or grow his client base.

                      But this phenomena of risk is why almost everyone took a massive hit in the economic ‘crash’ – the managers all got paid out and the drop didn’t effect their own pocket book – they still made money.

                      So they pushed the risk envelope across the board – and BOOM – almost everyone took a huge hit —except them.

                    • V.,

                      Don’t worry about it.

                      The money is going somewhere.

                      It will be directly invested or bonds will be purchased.

                      The sellers of the bonds will invest and/or spend the money.

                      The suppliers to the seller of the bonds will receive money for their goods and will buy their supplies and invest and/or save their profit.

                      The profit invested will go into stocks or bonds.

                      The savings will be loaned out by the bank to someone who will spend the money.

                      Repeat cycle.

                    • v. Holland says:

                      Have a lot to think about-think I’m gonna get off here and relax in my chair for awhile. Good Night-enjoyed the conversation.

                  • v. Holland says:

                    My apologies T-Ray if I’m misrepresenting your idea.

  3. USWeapon says:

    Mathius and others discussed setting stern limits on benefits. I read things from an X/Y/Z plan to Ray’s 6 months and you are done. If government is the one administering the UI benefits, I would tend to lean towards what Ray offered. UI is meant to be an emergency safety net, that offers survival for a short period. Something like 6 months and done would work for me. You have 6 months to find a job or change your situation. If you don’t do that, you don’t survive. No extensions, no exceptions. It is harsh, but nothing fuels motivation like clear cut limits.

    There was some talk of folks waiting until their benefits are almost up before they really look hard. They would have that option I suppose. But it is a gamble they are taking with their own survival. If they wait until month 5 and don’t find anything before month 6 ends, then they set themselves up for failure. No longer my problem. The safety net was there. It was their choice to lay in it until something else fell from the sky on top of them.

    This also eliminates all that confusion with “must actively seek work” and the problem of proving that it is being done. You don’t have to prove anything. But in 6 months, or whatever time frame is set, whether you looked for work every day or not, you aren’t getting another dime. If your kids are starving, you will have no one to blame but yourself.

    The problem that is inherent in this solution is that there are inevitably people who will milk the 6 months. Again, it is a gamble that they take. I would also propose that if this were the situation, say a 6 month benefit and that is it, that you are unable to go back on the system for 18 months or so. At a minimum, you must work 18 months for every six months you draw a payout. And I would limit the number of times that you can receive a payout total to 3 times. If you don’t learn to be better prepared in 3 chances, well….. Darwin has spoken.

  4. USWeapon says:

    JAC brought up a really good point that probably needs a little more discussion. That would be what is the purpose of unemployment insurance? Is it to provide a short bridge to the next job? Is it to ensure that you don’t lose what you have spent a life compiling? Is it to provide the absolute necessities for survival only? If we don’t define what the purpose is, we cannot hope to come to any agreement on how to get there.

    So I offer my thoughts on what UI should be. I think that UI should exist as a way to protect yourself from losing whatever it is that you have worked hard to gain for yourself. Perhaps it is a home that you have lived in for 20 years and paid mortgages on. Perhaps it is far less or far more. The point is that if we point to this as what UI is supposed to be, then the answer of need is purely subjective and different for everyone. In this case we cannot possibly hope to have it be a government program, in my opinion. Government simply does not have the ability to define what is important. More important, government doesn’t have the right to tell me what is important to me. So in my definition of what UI should be, the only answer is the privatized UI that I offered in comment #1.

    Now, there will be others who say UI is there to be a safety net to help someone do nothing other than survive in the event of losing a job. If survival is the only criteria, that takes very little in the way of goods. Bread and water. Roof. Clothing. Little else. In this situation, government could provide the solution universally. The expectation here is that you will lose everything you have. After all, none of it is necessary for survival. In this case, I submit that the only cost effective way to offer such survival is to operate what would amount to government “orphanages”. Once you lose your home and belongings, in order to survive the government provides a bed, bread and water, and simple clothing. It sucks but you survive. And you would work damn hard to get out of there and find a job.

    But it seems that where most want to fall in this is somewhere in the middle. Providing a subjective idea of what survival is or what is acceptable to lose. In this case, I don’t see any way for government to effectively do the job. At least not without seriously infringing on the liberties of the rest of us in order to pay for it.

    So fire away. What is the purpose of UI or what scope should it have?

  5. TexasChem says:

    I’ve posted this before from Herman Cains’ website.Not only would this create jobs doing away with the need for unemployment benefits but boost the economy tremendously.

    Here’s the solution.

    Here are three suggestions that would get this country out of a recession in 12 months, not that the Democrats will listen or even consider any of these ideas. These are not original ideas. They are just great ideas from several sources that Congress and the president are ignoring because they would result in less government control.

    The reason that we would be out of the recession in 12 months is that businesses would get excited and start planning to grow their business instead of making plans to just survive. It’s just that simple. The prospect of bigger government and more taxes does not inspire businesses to grow.

    1)Suspend the payroll tax for one year. This gives an immediate 7.65 percent increase in take home pay to all workers. It also lowers the payroll costs for all employers by 7.65 percent for one year. A total of about $900 billion would be injected directly into the economy immediately, rather than through the inefficiency of the federal government.

    The big-government types will say that it will hurt the already revenue-strained Social Security and Medicare systems. They are right. But it just means that we will have to solve those oncoming financial train wrecks one year earlier than currently projected. Facing these challenges with a healthy economy makes a whole lot more sense than trying to do it in the middle of a recession.

    2)Suspend the federal tax on repatriated profits. Multi-national U.S. businesses are hungry for cash flow, which could come from cash they have sitting in foreign countries in order to avoid double taxation. The last time this was only partially done, in 2005 during the Bush administration, nearly $300 billion dollars came back to U.S. businesses from their overseas operations.

    3)Replace the tax code with a consumption tax, popularly known as the Fair Tax. This would produce a huge sucking sound of businesses from around the world wanting to establish businesses here in the U.S. It would super-charge our economy like never before. The problem that the Democrats have with this proposal (H.R. 25) is that it gives power back to the people. What a patriotic idea!

    • TexasChem says:

      Seems kinda redundant to me to focus on unemployment benefits rather than on the direct cause for needing the unemployment benefits in the first place guys!Solve the major problem of no job demand first and foremost then concentrate on a short/term long term UI benefits package legislation.

      • TexasChem says:


      • USWeapon says:

        So you are submitting we have a better chance of fixing all the problems in America that possibly cause unemployment than we do of figuring out a more viable solution to making unemployment benefits more effective and efficient? That seems a little bit out of whack. Not that I don’t agree that without working on all that other stuff we are avoiding the root causes and thus dooming ourselves to perpetual unemployment. But the idea was to take chunks of what is wrong and see if we could come up with a better way of doing them.

        But further, I would submit that even when times are good we have somewhere around 5% unemployment. And that was true even back before government got itself into the things that are the “root cause” of the problem as you suggest. No matter what we do, we are going to have some level of unemployment. The exercise here is to find a better way to take care of those folks. What we cannot do is fall into the mentality of “we have to solve every bit of every issue first”. If we do that we will improve nothing because we will never come up with any solution that can do that. Instead, you find small workable goals that guide us towards an overall solution. To go the route that you suggest, focusing completely macro instead of micro, then you would be supporting the left’s overhaul of health insurance as opposed to the GOP’s idea of taking small bites that are effective, each being a part of the puzzle that is the solution. What I am looking ot do with this series is find pieces of the puzzle, each fix making the image become more clear.

        I think that solving the entire economic troubles of this country is a tough task for us to attempt to fix in a small forum such as this without making it a 6 month series. I wish it were as easy as the stuff you posted above. While those things listed might be part of a good start, there are far more issues in play than he is suggesting if that is all that he offered. I am all for each of the three proposals above, but they are only a start. There are far more in terms of federal laws, acts, treaties, and what not that come into play and need to be addressed. It took us a hundred years to get to the state we are in. I don’t think three quick proposals are going to make things right again.

        Thanks for the input TC!


        • TexasChem says:

          Unemployment Insurance is duct tape wrapped around a radiator hose with a hole in it USW.The current state of the economy is the hole in the hose; the reason for the high unemployment rate.

          Where does the money come from for unemployment benefits?Who pays for it?

          Increasing benefits is like tossing the pail you are bailing the water out of your lifeboat with!

          Decreasing benefits by creating jobs is like handing the guy bailing the boat out a 100 gallon per minute hand pump versus a half gallon pail!

          • Good Morning!

            posting for e-mail comments, but would like to say I agree with TexasChem on this. In Ohio, UI is still only 26 weeks, any extensions would have to be from the Feds, but nothing is expected to change. Not sure who is benefitting from any Fed actions, but it doesn’t seem to be here. I posted some ideas last night on what we can fix, as I don’t see UI as a problem, yet.



            • Richmond Spitfire says:

              Posting for Emailed Comments…

            • GMan And SUFA

              If you want to look ONLY at the program as it exists TODAY, then I submit that this is the only thing broken.

              ” any extensions would have to be from the Feds”

              The FEDERAL connection needs to be eliminated NOW.

              But in the very short term Unemp. needs to be extended and that means it needs to be paid for.

              So how do we at least break even on that?

              I gave you all my idea, now its your turn.

              • Yep and that idea was to eliminate the Dept of Ed which would free up X billions. We need to first accumulate enough cash to have any cash to support a transition to no Dept of Ed. Which means cut more spending. Where?Someone say where the next cut is so we’ll increase the pot.When we have enough money in the pot we can use it to pay for the transition.

                So who has an idea to cut more spending. So far we have X billions in the pot.

                • Anita

                  I disagree on this one.

                  No savings needed to eliminate the Dept of Ed.

                  It provides no truly needed service. It simply takes money and runs it through the grinder and sends it back to who it wants in the form it wants.

                  Cut the Dept of Ed. Use the savings to extend unemployment and the rest will go back to the tax payers.

                  The reduction in Federal subsidies will cause an immediate shake out of college over pricing. Following the restructuring college will again be affordable to those who truly want/need it.

              • I posted my ideas far below. 9 deer in Dad’s backyard this afternoon, what a great sight! They look healthy too!


        • USW; It was your request to start from where we are today. We are trying to get to no govt involvement which means we have to phase in a solution for now. They say there are 15 million unemployed today. It would be a whole lot easier to find a fix if the number was only 1 million. If the solution to is keep govt in control of UI even temporararily, then the govt needs more money to work with. That can only come from the employers which we have too few of. Less employers, or workers, means less of a pool to start with. So it’s only logical to create more jobs to start with.

          Tex proposes a good way to come up with quick cash and a way to attrack new business. I don’t see how that is not where we need to start. So now we have available cash and jobs so the next step would be to add Black Flags idea of grandfathering people in the program and eventually it would dissolve itself. Add on that UI needs to be privatized where you pay your own premiums it seems to be win-win for everyone.

  6. JAC and USW:

    I really struggling here with why you guys want to make this a bigger problem than what it is. You guys want to micro analyze this to death. Your trying to find a philosophical solution to the problem but that’s not practical. Help me out here. Talking it to death puts the solution farther away. The question is how do we fix it. You guys seem to be addressing more the symptoms than the solutions.
    Things aren’t always as complicated as they seem. I think you guys are holding out on us what your real intentions are.

    • Anita….take this a little further for me…you lost me on that turn.

      • I guess I’m just a simpler person. I’m a boss. If there’s a problem on the job,the details don’t matter to me. I want the problem solved. JAC Kept hinting around all weekend about “What is the reason for unemployment” Who cares what all the reasons might be? It’s like all talk, no action. USW has politely shot down Tex’s idea saying its bigger than that. Sure it is. But so what. He has a solution that can work. Problem solved. I don’t get why it has to be any harder than that. Now its just a matter of phsically putting it in place. What is so hard about that.

        • You guys are going to laugh but the other day Charlie was around saying he would take the job of President. You guys know Charlie to be a no-nonsense get it done kinda guy no matter what people think. But he’d get the job done. I don’t think Charlie would sit around brainstorming unemployment for 6 months. He’d just get it done. Charlie for Prez!!!!!!!!!!!!!

        • Hi Anita,

          I tend to think like you. I lose interest pretty quick when it all goes to talk and no action. Talk is good but action is required at some point. There is always some risk or give and take. Sometimes you’ve just got to do the best you can with what you’ve got and move on. It reminds me of a TV commercial I saw a few years ago. I can’t remember the company, but the people were stuck in a cable car, all freaked out. One guy started wtih the positive attitude blather, telling people to think positive, and the one loner in the back of the tram saw the red reset button, pushed it, and got the tram going again while everyone else was ‘thinking’ positve. I kind like the guy who pushed the button more than the others.

          • RIGHT……..YAY……Thank you Cyndi….Now talk that into JAC and V below

          • You both are confusing discussion of solutions with endless meaningles fuzzy talk.

            Off with their heads!!!

            • OK JAC;

              Then you have to spit it out.

              Start a new box and go start to finish. Then maybe we can go from there

              • Anita

                I think we are suffering a little disconnect here.

                What is it you want me to “spit out”?

                I have no hidden answers or agenda on Unemployment.

                I have never given it any thought with regard to VDLG or a transistion from here to there.

                I have for many topics but not this one.

                The questions and points I have made are to make sure everyone is thinking about the entire problem as V.Holland as indicated.

                You seem to be asking me to GIVE you my answer.

                I am developing my own along with everyone else. I am picking up pieces from everyone and trying to put together a solution that addresses Now, mid term and long term.

                But if WE are to solve these problems then that needs to be a TEAM (SUFA TEAM) approach and not me or USW or BF or Peter or Tex Chem or ….. giving us THE answer.

                I have to run to therapy for a while and will try to help get this straightened out when I return.

                I can help perhaps facilitate but I have no hidden agenda, other than to get everyone to THINK about the implications of the things they suggest.

                Back in about an hour.

                • I don’t think you have any ulterior motives. USW either. I just figured in your own minds you have some total plan rigged up and your bouncing your (non disclosed) ideas off us. I just want to know what your total plan is.

                  • USWeapon says:

                    I wish I had a total plan. I decided to do this series of articles because I often get accused o bitching without trying to come up with any solutions. I know that I don’t like what government has become. So I am looking for alternatives. And I am bouncing my ideas around as much as I can because all you smart folks will find ways to poke holes in it, which in the end either changes my mind or helps me refine my ideas. Either way it is a good thing.

                    Bottom line Anita…. I am a pretty smart guy, but in the end smart enough to realize that I don’t have all the answers. If I question something someone is proposing it is because I see a problem, not because it doesn’t agree with my solutions or ideas. JAC made perhaps the most important point in the entire debate. And that is that if we don’t ensure that our solutions come from the right core, we may be making the problem worse in the end. Making a macro level fix to the economy should absolutely be a goal. But for the purpose of this series, I am attempting to simply find better ways to do the things we are doing. In the end, my hope is that the plans find a way to eliminate government from the equation. But it doesn’t have to end that way. Perhaps we simply tweak what we have. But improvement should be the goal. My end goal is more liberty, not less. More personal freedom, not less. More personal responsibility, not less. It is difficult to solve the problems with those things as end goals. But that is my hope. Are their fixes to the macro economics issues that can be undertaken without resorting to a “statist” solution? Maybe. But that is a MUCH tougher task than finding a non-statist solution to UI. Small steps towards improvement. IT makes no sense to run aimlessly.


                    • USW

                      I agree in part and disagree in part.

                      While steps are a good goal, the elephant consumed one bite at a time, there comes a point in all problems where you just have to throw the old widget out and design a new one.

                      But before we make that choice we need to understand ALL the connections and implications as best we can.

                      Unemployment for example is probably not broken within the statist context nor within the normal economic context.

                      But chasing this rabbit leads to bigger game on the same trail. Lending to a conclusion that perhaps the rabbits, deer, elk and bears should be viewed as one group (food) instead of separate entities.


                    • v. Holland says:

                      Which brings us to T-Rays Idea-Which I’m gonna repost at the bottom-Am interested in everyones views on his idea. #13

    • Anita

      Let me start with your conclusion. I have no motives here, other than to provide a means to get folks to think outside the box. I have not “real intentions” other than that.

      If you go back and read my posts on this you will see I am doing just the opposite of “micro analyzing”. The brainstorming that was going on the other day reminded me of hundreds of govt meetings I have attended where someone would say “how do we fix this”? What followed looked like the start of a horse race. A flood of great ideas, bad ideas and stuff totally unrealated. Eventually there would be a ranking and evaluation and a “compromise” developed.

      We will let them have whiskey but not cigaretts. Instead of 26 week limits or 52 week limits we will compromise for 40 week limits. You get the idea. In the end the problem was “FIXED”. But was it really?
      NO, never. Because they never asked the base questions that supported the original premise. They just accepted the Task and its underlying assumptions. They were stuck in the box.

      This is where the philosophical comes in. If a solution is not consistant with the philosophical foundation that supports it then it creates a contradiction that dooms the solution to eventual failure. Or worse, it submits the foundation to rot introduced by the contradctory solution itself. That is what happened to the America we remember.

      I would like to address this comment: “Talking it to death puts the solution farther away. The question is how do we fix it.” I have heard that many, many times…….when I was running or playing a role in the meeting. Because I forced them outside the box. Most people will start and then get very frustrated because most people are very TASK oriented. But there is one other thing that happens. As they start to look at the bigger questions I think they start to recognize the contradictions. It creates anxiety in the psychic because it challenges what they know and where they thing they are supposed to go.

      Now lets look at the task. Why are you and others frustrated at this point. You were told to FIX unemployment. And off everyone went. But despite my general cautions and rules and questions regarding purpose, NOBODY asked the primary questions that should have been asked.



      In order to answer the “how do we know” part you must know the purpose, goals and objectives. You must know the philosophical foundation or the one you wish to achieve.

      In our case we are looking at issues within the context of the STATIST paradigm as well as the VDLG paradigm, and the transition from one to the other. Some of these issues must be dealt with in the context of todays paradigm because there are better Statist solutions than already exist. But we will get a different answer if we are also dealing with transition from here to VDLG or BF’s village.

      Lastly Anita, in these efforts I try to raise questions or make certain points to get everyone to THINK in ways they are not used to or maybe comfortable with. I have found that in breaking that comfort zone is when people become empowered to trully think outside the box. They become free to see possibilities that otherw will never see because they are blinded by their unknown constraints on their thinking.

      Now thats a lot of philosophical mumb jumbo for so early but I hope it helps. I personally thought this issue easy to resolve if viewed only from a technical point of view of the current statist situation. But if offers an Excellant chance to expand and train ourselves in new thinking. It would be much harder if we held off until we tackled a really big problem.

      But as I am feeling most good from a day of fly fishing yesterday I will offer a start.

      Is Unemployment broken? Go back to my first comment and rephrase.

      Is Unemployment broken in the context of a normal economic situation?

      Is Unemploymenet broken in the context of a abnormal (extraordinary) economic situation?

      Now tell me. Do you get the same answer to both questions? If you do, are the cause of the problems in both the same or are they different?

      Unemployment may be a simple example. But you should still go through the steps. If it is simply it won’t take much time to get to the end. But you will have trained and practiced critical problem solving techniques that will serve you well later.

      Does any of that help or have I made it worse?

      • Sorry JAC. I can’t buy that either. See my reply to D13. Then ask me something else 🙂 KEEP IT SIMPLE

        • v. Holland says:

          Anita, I think JAC’s point is that we have actually kept it simple for too long. We have looked for the easy quick solutions instead of looking at the whole picture, short and long term effects of the policies that we enact.

          • 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

            That’s my five smily award.

            • I UNDERSTAND, but we can wallow in the muck all day and still be there at the end of the day.

              That’s like saying Oh, today I have a flat tire. Geez if I would have only put air in it yesterday, or if only the tire guy would have given me a better tire, or if that pot hole wouldn’t have bit me then I wouldn’t have to fix it. To me it doesnt matter. You still have to fix the tire.

              • Anita

                Actually it is nothing like your example at all.

                You can fix the tire and suffer the same fate next week or you could fix the tire and next week build a new tire that doesn’t bust when hitting a pot hole.

                Or you could do that AND fix the street.

                Or you might decide to start riding a horse because it walks around the pot holes.

              • v. Holland says:

                Fixing the tire is great but if the reason for your flat is the car is out of alignment, you are wasting your money because your just going to have another flat and will probably have to buy a new tire too, unless you fix the underlying cause of the flat.

                • I’m seeing my errors there.

                  Then seems like we need to figure out what the biggest problem is first and address that. I’m saying the govt in whole. Not in unemployment. Something has to be the biggest problem. So which big problem is it and lets attack that first

                  • v. Holland says:

                    I’m not sure of that either-confused is a mild word for how I feel about the problems this country has-to use the same analogy-if you have to get to work in the next hour-fix the flat and then go after work and fix the cause-I just keep thinking we have to do a little of both. If that makes any sense.

                    • Yes it does V. Don’t forget I had your back when you wanted the R’s to win this year instead of the T ‘s. But JAC talked me outta that. I’m with you we have a lot to tackle all of which is entwined. If you have a huge ball of knots you still end up pulling it apart form all angles- sooner or later it’s apart

                  • Cyndi P says:


                    I think the real problem is with the majority of American citizens. Too many think of the government as their mommy and daddy. Most of those don’t care what mommy and daddy do because mommy and daddy will always do the right thing. I believe that most problems stem from this type of thinking. As long as we have a government by the people, for the people, we will suffer the consequences of their thinking. Until Americans on the whole cahnge their way of thinking, America’s problems will continue as they have. Unless of course, we become a dictatorship, if we haven’t already.

                    • I don’t think they even know why there around to begin with. Like I was saying to USW I just want to live. Everyone else is running around seeing who has the most or best. Doesn’t matter because if none of that was around and all we had was the earth I’d still be be ok with it because I still have my family my fishing pole and my fire pit. That’s what its all about.

        • Anita

          I am a business owner and a boss also. So that is an excuse for not doing the hard thinking, not a reason.

          I agree that USW unnecessarily constrained the solutions. This is part of my point about saying “Fix it” without challenging the question in the first place. So just ignore his sideboards. His thoughts are his opinions. Show him where he is wrong and he will change his mind.

          While unemployment comp and employent (economic vitality) are related, we are talking about the “unemployment comp. program itself”, not “employment”. Even if we had free markets today it would not eliminate large swings in unemployment from time to time.

          So, in you view is THE CURRENT Unemployment compensation programs (insurance that is not insurance) really broken?

          What is broken and why?

          Would you implement the same program under VDLG?

          If not then what would the program look like?

          But remember, VDLG is all about maximizing personal freedom and liberty to the fullest extent possible.

          And for the record, while I like all of the proposal Tex Chem put out, and Puritan, in reality they would have very little effect on the overall economy in the short term. To think these would JUMP START the economy shows a lack of understanding of what is going on and how economies function, especially during tough times. It would have been the more effective option a year ago instead of the political payback Spendulus. But that milk has long evaporated.

          • JAC:

            I’m not trying to give you a burr on your brow I just can’t make the connection between all your questions and a solution. In my opinion I have to take care of myself. I don’t think there should be any kind of unemployment comp to tell you the truth whatever kind of govt there is. For all the talk of freedom and liberty what does that all boil down to– LEAVE ME ALONE. So while you guys are trying to figure out the whys I’ll be up the road waiting on you because in the end it still has to be dealt with physically.

            • Anita

              The answers to my questions are directly linked to your answer (aka, solution).

              If you take a few moments to sketch it out on paper you will see that one question leads to another and so on, until you arrived at “leave me alone” and there should be no kind of program.

              I would only disagree slightly. The PROGRAM should be one of self funding and self managed. It is OUR program of saving for a rainy day.

              So now, what do we do to the current system that would start it down that path? I don’t have some preconcieved answer.

              Maybe we do nothing. Or maybe we just convert wholesale now.

              You have ignored the Today question however. Not letting you off the hook there. What is wrong with the Current system Today?

              Don’t worry, I have no burs on brow or under my saddle. But have noted you seem a little out of character today. Was about to ask what you did with Anita. Did you stash her where the Raptors stashed Buck and Matt?


              • I don’t see a problem with it except that it’s govt controlled and that there are so many people on it.

                I’m getting off topic little but you asked where is Anita. JAC I’ve never been involved politically in my life and I’m looking for the security of knowing were going to make it through all the BS these days. It’s already March. We need to change the mindset of the people quick. LIKE YESTERDAY QUICK. I’m having less and less patience with all the talk and no action.

                • Anita

                  Here is the TRUTH.

                  1. “We need to change the mindset of the people quick. LIKE YESTERDAY QUICK.”

                  This is NOT possible. Nor can it be done Tomorrow. It will take time. Some will awaken faster than others.

                  2. “I’m having less and less patience with all the talk and no action.”

                  You have a few choices. Get political like Mad Mom did, become a teacher, or both.

                  If you get political you MUST realize the absolutely best you can do is slow the fall. But in doing so you may also prevent the possibility of a Real Solution. That is the risk of tinkering with things we think are broken. Make them function just good enough and everyone forgets.

                  The Long Term fix is in Teaching. Until there are enough folks awakened you stand no chance.

                  Part of the education process is providing a vision of a possible future that can be described in ways that make it feasible.

                  This means taking the time to hash out VDLG solutions to existing issues/prgrams etc. Otherwise you will be viewed through the same glasses as many of you viewd BF when you first were exposed to his thinking.

                  Of course, the VDLG will eventually become the political action as well. But there is not a snowballs chance in hell of it succeeding until the education is addressed.

                  Make sense?

                  • Now that..I understand. I need to let all this soak in for a while & see where it gets me. For now I’ll be on the sidelines watchin & learnin.

                    If you saw my post yesterday to Cyndi about a meeting I have with the middle school folks. There’s a Q & A about to happen about the parents concerns about middle school curriculum, Now maybe there’s where I can make some progress.

                    • Anita

                      Yes. A very good place to start.

                      Will give some more ideas later.

                    • Ummm, in Michigan, apparently just making sure the President of the School Board can write a complete and coherent sentence?

                      Was that scary or what?

                    • Kathy,

                      It’s been that way here for as long as I can remember. Which is why Detroit is in ruins. Ridiculous. That’s what PhDs get ya. I need my boots, it’s getting deep

  7. A Puritan Descendant says:

    I don’t have much time today but I would like to add this thought.

    Success in Real Estate is said to be location, location, location. Others would argue terms, terms, terms.

    Success in solving unemployment/UI should be Jobs, Jobs, Jobs, and I mean REAL JOBS that create Real wealth. To do this we need to DEregulate NOW along with a truly free market. Time has run out. We are NOT special. People in other countries work for pennys a day, we will too if we don’t do solve our base problems soon.

  8. I soooo agree. Time has run out. We are here. We need to change the minset. So many of my friends bad mouth lower paying jobs. They think something more is “owed” to them. It’s all ego. Can’t people just live at a lesser “comfortable” level. How much comfort do you need? Do you really need your life to be that fancy?

    • Messed up again. This is to Puritan @ 8

    • Yes. Yes I do need a better life style. But the only one who owes it to me is me. If I want a nice car, a good home and big screen TV, I’ll bust my butt, earn it, and save enough so that I don’t lose everything it something bad happens.

      Not easy. But it is simple.

      • I’m not hating on you Matt but why do you need that big screen tv. Can you not see a 32 inch screen. What makes you so special that you need something so extravagant? A tv is a tv.
        It’s a TV. So what?

        • In all honesty, I could deal with a smaller TV and wouldn’t be too bothered by it. What I actually need is my stereo. I love music and need it loud and clear. To that end, my tv is connected to a 5.1 bose system that can literally knock you over. It just seemed a shame to have something so wonderful with a tiny screen. So I splurged and got myself a 72″-er. Do I need it? Nope, but I sure love my creature comforts.

          A good bed, a good tv, a great stereo, a good computer, a good wife, good food, good SUFA. What more can a man ask for? I bust my hump to keep myself in this lifestyle, and I deserve the rewards for my efforts.

          • Matt,

            You know what? Do You want all that shit right now or would you rather retire 20 yrs earlier and start really living your life. You can buy that tv when you really start living. Right now you’re just buying your way to the rest of your life. Whoa. Didn’t think I was going to say all that

          • USWeapon says:


            Sent you an email. I have a Bose system on my stuff too. It totally kicks butt.


            • Mathius says:

              Feel free to ship my any excess inventory you have. I would like two new satellites (matching my Acoustimass 15), two floor stands (the missus will stab me to death if I put any more holes in ‘her’ walls), and one of those super-awesome sideways touchpad remotes.

              In return, I shall pay you back with my continuing brilliant insights into the liberal mindset.

        • USWeapon says:


          But at that point aren’t you getting into a situation where you are dictating what is an acceptable living standard for others? Isn’t the foundation for liberty the idea that what you earn is your property, and thus can be used in the way that you see fit? It seems to me that if we get to the point where we are dictating an acceptable level of living to others, we are going even further down the road of state control.

          I know you are not arguing for that. I realize that the point you are making is that we could all do a better job saving for the future if we felt less need to have that “stuff”. But the reason that I have worked so hard in the past is to get to a point where I am able to have that stuff. I ALSO attempt to keep minimal debt and save for rainy days. But I do collect stuff as well. Could I be more safe by living minimalist now and saving for later? You bet. But is life worth living if I deny myself the things I work to earn for 4 years, only to have a few years of real happiness later? What if a bus hits me tomorrow?


          • Ok? Fair enough. You can still enjoy all the stuff you have now. But what is the point (oh boy, here we go) of life. Is it to work forever and ever. No, it’s to live free and happy and good night jimbob. That means no work and all play. What’s the fastest way to get there? You can have all the stuff you want now and still get there (slower than me) but does it have to be THE BEST stuff now. Is your Bose system gonna get you there as fast as a plain old receiver. Do you want to retire sooner or later?

            • USWeapon says:

              Agreed Anita. But I tend to go with life is for living. Work is but a portion of that. I can honestly say that there is little that someone suggested to me in my younger days that I wouldn’t try. That led me to skydiving, rock climbing, seeing 52 countries thus far, and a kick ass job in the military. Would I like to save everything and retire at 50 to do nothing but what I would like to do? You bet. And as soon as you can guarantee me that I will live to see 50 or 60, I will change my mindset. But as it is, the last thing I want is to be in the ambulance after getting hit by the bus thinking to myself, “damnit, I saved everything on the hope I would get to live at 50, and now I am dying at 45.”

              And as an aside, I would say that I am doing as good a job at saving as anyone. I have busted my butt for 25 years to get better jobs, more money, etc. I did that so I would be able to enjoy life now AND save for the future. I actually NEED very little. But I WANT to live now, and live later. Being miserable by denying myself everything I would like for 40 years doesn’t seem like a good trade for those possible ten years of living afterwards that are not guaranteed to anyone.


              • TexasChem says:

                I fully agree with what you are saying here USW. But; just remember you are going to have to pay for your ambulance ride not me nor Peter nor Paul!

              • Sidetracked being a mom for a while. I too understand where you’re coming from. But I can’t really say I have deprived myself of anything. I still travel, play my sports, enjoy my waterfront property as much as possible, hang out with the kids I still live everyday just like you and I’m basically happy. I maybe should think more like you since my own dad died at 62(his fault for smoking)but it was at that point that I quit working so hard and started delegating more so I could actually live more before I die. To each his own I guess. We grew up with nothing so I don’t see a need for all the best stuff. I still have stuff just not the best stuff. the best stuff I have is my family. But hopefully I’ll be keeping the light on fer ya when you finally catch up to me 🙂

            • USW: Reading through this again I avoided your original question of setting an acceptable living standard for everyone. Actually what I was getting at was the the cost of living to begin with. If it was cheaper to live everyday then it would be easier to pull yourself along in the hard times.

      • A Puritan Descendant says:

        Matt, I see nothing wrong with busting your Butt to buy what ever you want. Even a big screen tv.

        On the other hand if you bought it on credit and later can’t find a high enough paying job to pay for it, that would be your problem and no one elses.

        I saved and bought land and built my own home with my two hands. This way I did not buy more than I could afford. Others would convince themselves they need 3000+ sq feet of floor space, and would stop at nothing to fill this imagined need. Even I get obsessed with buying things I think I need or even want real bad, but I understand myself and can usually put the breaks on before I am in over my head or waste my money.

        Our politicians favor you take a loan and bury yourself in debt as it makes it appear we are in a booming economy, not caring what will happen further down the road.

        But you know all this Matt! 😉

  9. February’s Employment Situation Report issued by Uncle Sam’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, which showed that the official unemployment rate was the same as January’s 9.7% and that 36,000 seasonally adjusted jobs had been lost, was somehow a reason to be upbeat.

    As many have pointed out for months, the expanded version of the unemployment rate has been well above 15% for quite a long time, and it at least occasionally gets referenced in media reports and political pronouncements.

    But on the jobs added/lost front, what the press, pundits, and even opposition politicians are continuing to ignore is the key information that leads to the “seasonally adjusted” figure on which everyone seems to fixate — to the point where it’s not unreasonable to believe that almost everyone in America believes that 36,000 jobs lost is what really occurred during the month.

    It isn’t. Acknowledging that, and seeing what really did happen, is key to understanding what February’s result really reflected a significant deterioration in the employment situation, not an improvement.

    The NSA table tells us that the government’s best estimate of what really happened in February is that the economy added 473,000 jobs. Absent any other data, that would seem to be acceptable. But when you look at data for previous years, you can quickly tell that it’s not.

    Excluding February 2009, when the economy was in free-fall, February 2010’s +473,000 is the worst performance listed above. The average for 2004-2008 is +714,000, or 241,000 jobs better. In February 2008, according to the National Bureau of Economic Research, the country was supposedly in the third month of a recession (even though economic growth overall was positive). Why should we be impressed that February 2010’s economy couldn’t even match that?

    Read more: http://newsbusters.org/blogs/tom-blumer/2010/03/07/media-plays-along-wh-employment-report-whitewash-no-one-wants-recognize-#ixzz0hbUuJ26n

    • We should be impressed because we have Obama! (Insert gagging sounds here)


  10. Off Topic,

    Anyone listening to Rush right now? He’s playing the audio of Congressman Massa and how he’s being forced out because he won’t vote for Obama(doesn’t)Care. Wow…..

    Massa is a ‘D’ and he’s talking about the thuggery of O and crew. Wild!

    • Heard a clip from somewhere else…..

      Keep chirping Massa! No need to go out quietly. Let the public know what is going on in Washington.

  11. Mathius

    Do you think that the vast majority, maybe all, would save for a rainy day if they knew there was no “Govt Safety Net”?

    Do you think they would save if they “were not forced” to save?

    • Mathius says:

      I think the vast majority do not give a thought to the future. I think the overarching attitude is to deal with things as they come and live for today. They will not save – at least not enough. All removing the safety net would do is ensure that when they fall, they hit the concrete. (Behold my awesome faith in my fellow man).

      • Mathius

        But that was not always the way it was in this country. Most folks could get by during tough times. It wasn’t until the depression and FDR that we suddenly had to have help.

        Would you agree that the safety net is itself responsible for our inability to save?

        Now, as I understand, you believe that most people must be “forced” to save. Is that correct?

        After all, aren’t SS/med/medcaid/unemploy etc just tax forced savings that have been confiscated/squandered by the govt.

        • Mathius says:

          Keep going… you’re almost there…

          • Mathius


            Was that a YES, YES and another YES?

            • Mathius says:

              You were so close…

              In ye olden times (60’s) saving personal savings rates were close to 5%. Peak was around 11 (with a spike close to 15). Starting in the 80s, the rate slowly drifted down to around 0 (actually going negative briefly), during Bush Jr.’s term.

              Now, ask yourself this: what changed between 1960-1980 vs 1980-2010. If your argument is that the government safety nets are responsible for the end of savings, why did the rate rise for 20 years?

              • A Puritan Descendant says:

                I was under the idea that way back in the ‘olden days’ even before the 60s, that people were offered a decent interest rate from a bank for their savings. Then the Bank would use that money and loan to borrowers at an even higher rate. This way the bank made a profit.

                But now it seems the gov. loans money to the banks practically for free and the banks loan to the borrower at a higher interest rate so the Bank makes a profit. The problem I see is the Banks today don’t offer high enough interest rates to everyday people. The Banks don’t need the peoples savings because the gov. loans it to the Banks with extremly low interest rates.

                Is their any truth in this, or am I suffering delusions?

                • Puritan Descendant,

                  Interest rate is the cost of money.

                  Money is simply another economic good, just like apples.

                  If there is a lot of supply of apples in face of demand, the price of apples goes down.

                  If there is a lot of supply of money, the cost of money goes down.

                  If there is a shortage of apples in the face of demand, the price of apples goes up.

                  If there is a shortage of money in the face of demand, the price of money goes up.

                  The base money supply has doubled in the last 18 months.

                  Is this a increase or decrease in the supply of money? What does this increase or decrease in the supply do to the price of money?

                  There are other pushes and prods we can get into – but at the root, this basic understanding of commodities and goods and price needs to be solid.

                • A Puritan Descendant says:


                  I guess I am wondering how often the government loaned cheap money to the banks long ago compared to more modern times.

                  Has the philosophy changed over time?

                  I assume it has but I don’t know to what degree

              • Mathius

                Lets first stay on the point YOU raised.

                You said they would not save and removing the net would cause a crash into the concrete.

                I simply pointed out there were no nets prior to the New Deal. And the population somehow managed to survive and eventually prosper during the next up turn.

                The other day you were talking about how Unemp. results in people cheating the system because they know they can rely on this money and work on and off. So, are you now saying that the nets established from the New Deal forward have NOTHING to do with this attitude you ascribe to your fellow citizens?

                Which is it, yes or no?

                • Mathius says:

                  A lot – a lot – of people did hit the metaphorical and literal concrete during the great depression. Do not think that because we survived it there wasn’t a great deal more suffering than there needed to be.

                  People will cheat whatever system you put in front of them. It’s human nature. So we have to design the best system we can and hope for the best.

                  Savings rates are complicated – just think of how you decide whether and how much to save! – so it makes sense that there’d be more to this than simply knowing someone will catch them. But my point here is this: UI was established long before the 80’s. If the reason people don’t save is because they know UI will save them, why would savings rates have gone up from 1960-1980? Something else must be at play here, no?

                  • Mathius

                    For God’s sake man, listen to the question.

                    I said “BEFORE” the depression.

                    Of course their is pain during tough times. The point is that folks got by somehow.

                    Now you claim they can not get by somehow, without Uncle Sam.

                    Why not?

                    The savings rate did not go up from 1960 until 1980. Take a closer look. Basically you have a 10% savings rate with the normal up and downs. Notice is had been dropping before 1960 then started climbing again.

                    It is my understanding that we have run around 10% savings before 1960. And in fact returned to 10% last year.

                    So if as you propose, the Nets have nothing to do with savings then I guess we can ABOLISH them immediately.

                    They seem to be causing undo economic strain on those who could otherwise be saving.

                  • Mathius,

                    First see this graph

                    The savings rate has been – generally – static until the mid-80’s when it fell like a rock.

                    I would not say UI is the SOLE cause of lower savings rate.

                    I can say UI causes a lower saving rate among other causes.

              • Does this chart include 401Ks, IRAs & SEPs? If not then the numbers are grossly distorted as most savings are in these plans today. Lack of including these funds would account for the apparent decrease since 1980.

                • TRay

                  I went looking for answers to Matt’s point.

                  1984 Tax Revisions looks like a good place to start.

                  That would match up with your comment on other savings.

                  I think the stats were based on liquid assets, such as passbook savings and CD’s of 6 mo’s or less.

                • T-Ray and Black Flag

                  The savings rate is not tied to DEBT.

                  From the BEA 3/1/10 report

                  “Disposable personal income (DPI) — personal income less personal current taxes — decreased
                  $47.6 billion, or 0.4 percent, in January, in contrast to an increase of $40.3 billion,
                  or 0.4 percent in December.

                  Personal outlays and personal saving

                  Personal outlays — PCE, personal interest payments, and personal current transfer payments — increased
                  $53.0 billion in January, compared with an increase of $21.6 billion in December. PCE increased $52.4 billion, compared with an increase of $26.4 billion.

                  Personal saving — DPI less personal outlays — was $367.2 billion in January, compared with $467.9 billion in December. Personal saving as a percentage of disposable personal income was 3.3 percent in January, compared with
                  4.2 percent in December. For a comparison of personal saving in BEA’s national income and product accounts with personal saving in the Federal Reserve Board’s flow of funds accounts and data on changes in net worth, go to


                  The interesting connection is that “nonwitheld taxes” increased in Jan due to loss of withholding allowance and tax increases. Thus the Disposable Income dropped largely due to tax increases.

                  • That makes no sense.

                    How can disposable income (less some crap) minus outlays be ‘savings’?

                    Where is the measure to determine ‘outlays’??

                    They state later its disposable income – so how is ‘savings’ equal to disposable income??

                    Savings is what is left after you dispose of your income!

                    In other words, are you agreeing that if I borrow on my credit card and hold cash, I’ve increased my savings?

                    • BF

                      Funds received by borrowing are NOT included in income.

                      You’ll have to go to the BEA site ans research.

                      Near as I could tell Income is wages, and other income, including payments made to your 401 K or health insurance by an employer.

                      Expenditures include all normal living expenses as well as interest expenses but not expenditures for increases in investents such as real estate or stocks.

                      I could not determine if principle payments for home mortgage are included. I assume they are but could not confirm.

                      If not then Savings is grossly overstated as it does not include expenses for residential assets.

                      Disposable Income is gross minus taxes.

                      DI – Expenses = Savings.

                      Debt load does not fit in the “savings” calculation. But the interest payments on debt are accounted for.

                    • I guess is does not really matter how it is calculates as long as it remains consistent since we are comparing the numbers relative to another and not using the actual value as being substantial.

                    • BF

                      That is true, but being the govt and how often they change methods there is not way to be sure.

                      I also noticed T-Rays citations used several different measures.

      • Mathius

        “People will cheat whatever system you put in front of them. It’s human nature. So we have to design the best system we can and hope for the best.”

        It seems to me that you have created the ultimate moral argument for ABOLISHING government provided safety nets.

        That is the ONLY way you can efficiently and effectively prevent the thief from stealing from others. If he can only steal from himself, perhaps he will no longer wish to steal.

        • Not to mention that if these programs did not exist, we would all have more money to which to save as our own safety net.

          Paece JAC, hope you day is a good one!


  12. Canine Weapon says:

    Thought for the day:

    There are many ways to skin a cat. But they all involve a great deal of caution, because that cat will scratch the living daylights out of you.

  13. v. Holland says:

    Reposted from yesterday.

    T-Ray said
    March 7, 2010 at 1:12 pm

    Maybe we are thinking too small. We have all these separate programs to help with personal disasters, SS, Medicare, Medicaid, UI, HSA, FSA, IRA, 401K, long term disability, short term disability, …. Could we make make one savings plan that could be used for all? The employee and the employer would both contribute. Currently 15% goes to SS and the medi’s plus any retirement monies due the employee (401K matching, ESOP, etc). We learned above that an average $430/yr goes to UI, for this in seasonal businesses, contributions would be higher. The employee can contribute to 401K, IRA, HSA, and FSA. Often the employer contributes (or is forced to contribute) to long and short term disability. If all of these monies were pooled into one individual private (and privately managed and invested) fund would we not all be the richer for it. This would get government totally out of the picture. It would also mean that individuals have ownership and thus personal responsibility. There might still be a need for a catastrophic insurance plan but again it could be one plan to cover health, long term disability, workman’s comp., etc. The fund should be private and portable. Having one fund, reduces overhead. Having it private takes the politicians out of the picture and prevents the funds from being spent by government for other purposes.

    There will still be people who fall through the cracks, cannot work for health or other reasons. These would be left to welfare. There would be limits on how much you can withdraw from the fund such as X weeks and % for unemployment. The employee should have the option of replacing the funds once re-employed. (Actually, what is wrong with current people on UI refunding some of the money after they get a new job?)

    As BF noted, this could not be started overnight. It would take years to phase in such a program based on age. One could start with healthcare (HSA, FSA, and 401Ks) and gradually add in UI, SS, Medicaid, etc. Let me know what everyone thinks about this.

    • V.H.

      I am thinking that this is the direction we need to explore. Hence my questions to Matt just above.


      • Sorry I could not get online earlier to explain this as I was busy earning tax money to pay for government (til tax freedom day).

        JAC, V, and all the others, if you have a 401K and an HSA or FSA account you have the basic concept already. What I am proposing is that these funds be combined into one catchall fund. Add to this both halves of SS plus Medicare. Medicaid may need to be separate for now since it is more of a welfare program. Add in UI and any long and short term disability that the employer and employee pays. The employer would not put in anymore than he is currently paying in taxes. The employee would be putting in the mandatory amounts now collected in payroll taxes plus any voluntary amounts like 401K, HSA, and FSA contributions. This then becomes the property of the employee but is managed and invested in a fund similar to a 401K. The fund is tax deferred. Withdrawls for medical or unemployment could be made similar to what is currently done for HSAs but would be limited to annual maximums. Proof of medical expenses and unemployment would be demonstrated on your IRS 1040 just like now for HSA accounts. No bills would need to be submitted to the account to receive the funds. Afterall it is your money. If there are excess withdrawls then penalties and taxes are accessed when you file your income taxes. Management fees should be only marginally more than 401K fees are now, basically minimal.

        For government, we eliminate the bureaucracies, SSA, the unemployment system, Medicare as you are now saving for that eventuality and so forth. The savings could be used for other purpose or to reduce taxes. It takes the funds away from politicians with their insatiable spending habits. Healthcare is simplified as catastrophic coverage plans are all that are needed for both young and old alike. Employers would still provide insurance as now and premiums could be payed from the fund for the older folks.

        If you mismanage the fund, tough. You had your chance. Naturally, there is always the fear that inflation will eat it away so pressure needs to be on government to control inflation.

        This approach relies heavily on personal responsibilty. It does not address welfare for those that are truly needy. It is both a voluntary and involuntary savings plan. It does provide a large pool of money for investment.

        One fund, one management fee, no politicians spending the money and then taxes us again when it is needed, no bureaucrats wasting the funds, reduction in government size and intrusiveness, portability, inheritability, tax deferred or tax free, personal responsibility, solves many problems at once,… What more could we want?

        This program would take 10-20 years to implement. I would venture a guess that those under 35 or 40 would be willing to forget any SS funds collected to date to switch to such a program. Someone would need to run the numbers to see if it works out but in the long run, I see it as a big win for nearly everyone. I wish we had done it in 1984 when they fixed SS for the last time.

        Comments welcome.

        • T-Ray

          I would eliminate the penalties for withdrawals. If the contributions are not taxed then they will be taxed when withdrawn.

          Generally the funds would be accessed to maintain a general level of income to expense. I doubt in most cases it would reduce the tax bracket.

          Of course a flat tax would eliminate this issue all together. I am going to run some numbers to see if it is better for the tax payer to have tax now or later if inflation is not cured.

          I also think we could get much done in 10 if your just looking at getting unemployment and medical covered. A 20% contribution per year for 10 years with some minor draw down should give almost 2 years wages in the bank at the end of 10 years.

          With a maximum tax rate of 20% (15 Fed and 5 State) that leaves 60% for living on. Of course by using employer contributions it cuts the time even more.

          Of the 15% Fed I set at least 5% aside to reduce the debt. The budget is balanced to live on the remaining 10% for now.

          I remember clearly the announcement that SS had been “saved”. About that time the Fed Govt was trying to get employees to switch from the old system to their new system. Those with half a brain ignored the sales pitch. I remember the discussion went along the lines of “If they are pushing this so hard it isn’t going to be good for us in the long run”.

          Good suggestions that form a basis for many issues.

        • T Ray

          I forgot, I would also move it all to the States.

          The Fed can authorize and set rules for transfer of funds from state to state so the savings accounts move with the person. Otherwise the states can regulate the banks where the funds are held. That would be State chartered and regulated banks.


          • JAC, right now I am trying to stay within the current rules. Penalties are accessed for early withdrawls from 401Ks and IRAs. This is to encourage people to leave the next egg for retirement. You would have the option to borrow the money. There would be a distinction between HSA & UI funds from Medicare and retirement funds. HSA & UI could be withdrawn up to the amount in the fund. However, there needs to be some discouragement against abuses of the UI withdrawals.

            I care not which government agency “regulates” the process. Their involvement should be limited to setting the rules and enforcing them against any banks or fund managers that violate their fiduciary responsibilites. Since I live in Hangtown, CA, I like the old miner’s justice.

            There are many ways you can slice and dice the contributions. I could see the employer half of SS continuing to fund the current retirees and some of the boomers. But my kids would greatly benefit from this approach. There needs to be some form of phase in to minimize the impact.

            I would love to see your numbers.

            One point I mentioned yesterday was if you have 6 bank accounts each with a $1k minumum deposit, you have $5K of unusable money. Keep it in one pot, one management fee (fixed amount + %).

            The idea of bank regulations (1:1 instead of 9:1) is good. So, I agree some improvement in the lending ratio would make the funds safer in the long run. Inflation is the primary worry so there needs to be some investment opportunities that will keep up with or exceed inflation.

            Glad to see others thinking about it.

            • T Ray

              I agree for now to keep the 401K rules in place, except no more Fed.

              But I see no need to impose anything on Medical or unemployment.

              Both would require proof of expense or loss of income to justify payout by the bank.

              Fiduciary………ahhh yes, set them all up as Trusts. That gives you and me recourse against the trustees and they know the court will be watching.

              Inflation: Remember my formula from Friday. The base of the solution is sound fiscal and monetary policy. I know those are big ones to solve but if we don’t all this stuff is “just pissin in the wind”.

              Figured if you like miner justice you’d like a little Jerry Jeff Walker.

              Somebody must have cranked the numbers on Soc Sec conversion because Bush was pretty explicit about which age groups got what. Somebody calculated those age breaks in the plan. Perhaps we can sic BF on finding that stuff……hint…..hint.

    • v. Holland says:

      I have a question about this plan though-it seems that the amount of money being managed could have a huge effect on the stock market-if I’m right how would you guard against that possibility.

      • V.H.

        I have always had that concern as well. Not just the amount but the tendency to try and use that buying power to leverage other kinds of power. See Calif public employee unions trying to force social changes on companies their retirement funds invest in.

        In the short and mid term I say we simply prohibit investment in the securities market.

        If this is a State function then the States can set up banks or bank rules regarding the amount than can be invested in certain types of investments. Perhaps as simple as not allowing a fractional lending against the initial deposit. You can only lend dollar for dollar.

        While I don’t like such rules I think they are needed to build faith in the system. In the long run most citizens should be smart enough to figure out how much risk they are willing to take with their savings.

        Kind of quiet this evening.
        Hope you had a nice day.

        • There would need to be some restictions on investments. Part of the money, the safety net part would be restricted to bank type savings,money market accounts, or bond funds. The 401K portions could be more aggressive and placed in mutual funds similar to 401K investment now. T-bills would be one option that could be available. These are individual accounts unlike CalPers so there should not be a political agenda.

          Currently you can borrow your own money from a 401K and pay it back with interest. This is one advantage of this approach.

          Re: current 401Ks, think about all the boomers about to retire who will be moving or are moving their funds from equities to bonds and such now. The next 15 years will see a large amount of money moved out of the market.

          • TRay

            I just had another connected thought.

            Why not eliminate the employer contributions all together but mandate that all employers must pass 100% of their payroll burden to the employees as an increase in pay?

            Then under current tax system, all contributions are deducted before Adj. Gross Income is calculated.

            The employers would of course divert the funds but officially it would be the employees money. This would reduce some accounting paperwork as the numerous splits in payroll wouldn’t be needed any longer. And no more Fed filing for FICA and FUTA. A simple 1099 or W2 at the end of the year.

            That should make Anita a little happier.

            🙂 Ho ho ho!

            • Anything that reduces paper work would be OK with me. Yes it should all go on the W2 form however it is computed. I just wanted to emphasize that no more money would be taken for either party than is currently taken. We all know that a significant percentage of SS, FUTA and other taxes are lost in the vast government bureaucracies. These would be eliminated so there should be significant savings once the system is fully implemented. The only fees involved are the fund management fees which should not be much greater than are currently collected for 401K accounts. HSA and FSA accounts also have fees, so these should be eliminated as well.

            • Ahaa.. I thought I heard my name. Actually, at first I was thinking cool more for me then- but then you made me give it away again. I’ll never get anywhere ! 🙂

              • Anita

                Ah my dear, there is more for you.

                No more Govt overhead expenses on your contributions.

                No more 940’s and other BS reports.

                • I’m still here JAC scrolling around feeling like I was a real pain in your ass today. Gotta love me though, right. I try hard, really I do 🙂

              • I don’t think there is any way out of the current mess without a great deal of short term pain. How do we manage and minimize the pain? We do that by finding methods that reduce paper work and redundancy. Having separate 401Ks, HSA, FSA, SS, Medicare, UI, disability programs is unnecessary if the employee can lump all of these funds into one managed fund. It is less work for the employer, less work for government. We as individuals get the advantage of a large single lump to work with depending on our individual needs. I currently am unworried about UI. I do worry about medical and long term care expenses because I drop $10s of thousand on these annually. I also have to worry about retirement in a few years although I am healthy and plan to go as long as I can because I like intellectually challenging tasks. This is an enforced savings plan. It would be nice if it could all be voluntary, but we all know that some would just live for the moment and not plan for the future. Fail to plan, plan to fail. Too many take this approach, buy the boat today and live off someone else tomorrow. We have to break the cycle and take it back to personal responsibility.

                • That would be a great big

                  HELL YES!

                  Well tomorrow I must tackle my taxes so it is off to bed for me.

                  Good discussion this evening.
                  See ya’ll tomorrow.


                  • Nite, its been fun. I might mention that I sent this idea to Rep. Tom McClintock (R-CA). He is as close to a Liberterian as they come in CA. I will let everyone know if he responds.

  14. Optimus says:

    I’m still wondering why we ‘need’ to deal with the ‘problem’ of unemployment? We don’t, it’s a naturally occurring issue that economic swings will increase or decrease as needed. I didn’t start reading this until last night and found that a large majority of posts dealt with the ‘problem’ of UI. So given that it was such a largely discussed issue I’d like to offer my 2 cents and then move on. First, I agree with several posts that if the option to take the government check lasts for too long, then too many people with goof off for too long before getting a job. Do we need the program? I go to the side of NO. Rip the band-aid off, in the long run we’ll be better off for having done so. You asked how we get from here to there, that’s one solution. Stop the madness! Privatize UI? There is a reason that insurance companies like the idea and yet have not embraced the idea of offering their own solution. Why do they like it? Ask any business owner if the would be happy with a government plan that pushed thousands of customers their way on a weekly basis! So why not jump at the chance? Simple, calculate the risk. You can’t – too many variables. Calculate the probability the economy will not plunge; that a company will be successful in selling it’s products; that a competitor won’t show up with a better and cheaper product; that a million other variables don’t happen (like some jackass flying a plane into a building) and eventually your head blows up. Give me some basic information (age, gender, health history, occupation, etc.) and I can reasonably calculate how long you should live. Based on that, I can tell you what it will cost you today and going forward to give someone else a big check when you die. But even then mistakes crop up. Privatization isn’t the answer.
    TexasChem offered, IMHO, the best solution thus far to get us from where we are today to a more stable and positive economic situation. But I would offer some additions to get us there. First, extend the 22nd Amendment to include the other two branches of the Federal Government. USW mentioned a while back that he felt Sen Bunning acted like a jackass for holding up the vote in the Senate. However, a day or two after he did it, a comment from Fox & Friends really struck a nerve with me: Gretchen Carlsson said that maybe he’s doing this because he can act his conscience and not worry about election repercussions! What would happen if all our elected officials did that?
    Next, to revisit TC’s comment get rid of the 13th Amendment and put in place the Fair Tax. Remove’s any Federal Government monkeying around with the tax code. The lest those fools can impact any market, the better off we all are! The government should set rules for businesses to operate and make sure they are followed, nothing else. You want to fix our unemployment ‘problem’? Does that mean you want unemployment at zero %? As was mentioned earlier (by USW, I believe) in a good economy we usually have about 5%. Is our current situation acceptable? Nope. But give businesses a good reason to invest in more production domestically and they will do so. Give people more $$$ in their pockets and they will buy things. The Fair Tax does just that. Will it solve the worlds problems before tomorrow’s SpongeBob episode on Nick Jr? Nope. But it’s a start.
    And, I believe, that was the professor’s assignment.

    • TexasChem says:

      Kudos Optimus, you have taken all the bits and pieces and molded them into your own sculpture of Lady Justice! Bravo! LOL I am glad someone else reading this blog gets my thought process!

  15. Hi Ya’ll 🙂

    Just some musings after following along all day. First, I’m blown away be the thaught that someone should have their privacy invaded (drug testing) because they have lost a job through no fault of their own. This is so unnecessary and meaningless. On top of that, let’s make them work for the government to earn it :roll:, why don’t we just repeal the 13th Amendment and end all entitlement programs, because this is the thought process as I see it.

    When the government forces this payment on companies, along with workers comp payments, taxes, and whatever else they are required to pay the government, all it causes, in the end, is more unemployment. A vicious circle of government imposed theft that leads to causing the problems they are pretending to save us from. UI, IMHO, is part of the cause of unemployment, not a solution to it.

    My solution would be to scrap UI, and build a community based program that is voluntary. Those who get in, will be helped in that time of need, those that don’t get in, will learn a valuable lesson in life. Employees of larger companies can also do the same thing, and in most cases, the very company that they work for would contribute in some form, and it could be managed by the same people that manages the retirement programs. Many companies already have severence pay programs, that are their to help these people when their position is eliminated.

    Hope everyone is having a great day! 🙂


  16. SUFA

    Here are a few of my closing, as in getting close to a final proposal, thoughts on the unemployment program.

    In keeping with my philosophical foundation of freedom, liberty and justice the absolute best is very minimal govt. That is a govt that is limited to its propery role of protecting the rights of its citizens. of course that goal in itself creates great challenges due to the historic nature of govt.

    But with regard to the question of unemployment payments, and other such programs, I would like to suggest that we should always look first to eliminate the Federal control on a program. If it can not be eliminated then how can it be greatly reduced.

    If it can be eliminated then it goes to the State. Such is the case with unemployment payments. It is and should be a State issue and up to the citizens of the state to decide.

    This covers the normal program but what about the extraordinary situations, like we have now. I say in the future it should ALSO be a State problem. Because once you make it a federal problem all you are doing is reducing the standard of living for one group to benefit another. Which is exactly what the left argues against when it comes to our jobs being exported to China, but somehow that value is lost when it comes to reducing the living standard of Californians or New Yorkers to advantage Nevadans.

    In the short term, as in this crisis I suggested that the Fed’s extend the benefits until a real change in the economy occurs. This must be paid for with savings from cuts in other programs. My vote is the entire Dept of Education. Others can propose their own.

    As for the medium term, I am thinking of some kind of “required payroll or gross revenue deposits (small business owners not on wages) to be placed in private accounts. Regulations need to be put in place to assure these funds are invested in low risk investments. Limits can be placed on the amount withdrawn as a % of the total. But the weekly/monthly amount is based on the need to maintain ones life while finding new work or adjusting to the new reality.

    The goal is to protect the family from collapse during transition. It should be up to them to determine what that is. Once the money is gone their only option is Charity or living off the land.

    The same mechanism can be used for all other welfare/trust fund programs. Rules can be established to require repayment of each separate account, ie unemployment, medical savings, and retirement. In the transition from now to medium term the employer contributions would remain the same as would the employee portions. Except the employees would provide matching funds for unemployment until 1 year living expenses are saved.

    But all of this would be done at the STATE level. No Federal Programs in the mid term.

    In the long term the goal is to eliminate the “mandatory” contribution”, once our society has once again grasp and implemented “saving for a rainy day” as a key part of their responsibilities.

    The fewer controls on a program the more efficient it is. Each control on a govt program requires a “govt employee” to monitor and control. That is a cost that is not necessary as the ultimate regulator should be the individual themselves. That and only that will build the needed value of individual responsibility and self respect required for a flourishing life.

    Only the individual can determine the purpose or meaning of their life. It is for them to decide and for them to pursue within the bounds of their abilities and reality.

    Now the astute among you will notice that my solution has raised another CONNECTED issue. Bank and investment regulations. See how even the simplest of problems have connections that we often overlook. Oh, and of course it is connected to the issue of taxation.

    This is kind of off the cuff so feel free to point out my errors. I didn’t have time today to put it to paper to make sure everything fit.

    If we can not get government out of our lives then the goal is to decentralize that power to the lowest form of govt possible. In 99.9% of the cases that WILL NOT be the Federal Govt.

    Until later my friends.
    Have fun picking at my carcass for awhile.


    • TexasChem says:

      I agree 100% with you JaC.

      What troubles me is I see no end to the current administrations will to increase big government and force the yoke of socialism upon America.Only a fool could not see this administrations goals.Instead of truly focusing on improving the economy this administration has used the troubles with the economy to further its’ agenda.Just as it has tried to use global warming for cap n trade, swine flu scare tactics for healthcare,banking and housing bubble bursts for a stimulus bill (in which a large part of the funds have gone to leftist organizations) it will continue to do so.America should be focused on first and foremost on economic recovery at this time.

      This administration is like an invading parasite burrowing into our country and needs a healthy dose of antibiotics come the November elections and indeed as well in 2012!

      • Tex

        You really shouldn’t limit your condemnation to the Dems or THIS Administration.

        Just listen to the Repubs harping about how “WE need to reform health care”.

        What I am hoping for is not a wholesale change from blue to red. But just enough of a change to cause TOTAL GRIDLOCK until we can find a new generation of liberty loving Americans to pay the price of going to Congress or the State House.

        Hope all is well with you these days.

  17. Health Care Costs

    An analysis of what is driving some costs so high.


  18. SUFA

    Thought everyone should have a chance to read up on FUTA history. Matt pointed out that the safety net did not appear to affect savings since created by FDR et al. But note that the federal tax rates and a policy of extending benefits split 50/50 with the states comes with amendments in the early 80’s.

    Anyway, from Answers.com

    “Act of Congress:

    Federal Unemployment Tax Act (1939)

    Home > Library > History, Politics & Society > Acts of Congress

    The Federal Unemployment Tax Act (FUTA) (P.L. 76-379) emerged from the country’s experience during the Great Depression. By 1932, 25 percent of the workers in the United States were unemployed. In his presidential message of June 8, 1934, President Franklin D. Roosevelt declared that the American people wanted “some safeguard against misfortunes which cannot be wholly eliminated in this man-made world of ours.” In the summer of 1934, President Roosevelt created the Committee on Economic Security to draft legislation that would help alleviate the pain of the Great Depression and prepare for future economic downturns.

    Members of the committee gave the highest priority to the establishment of some form of unemployment insurance. They believed that involuntarily unemployed workers had earned the right to a temporary and partial wage replacement. A wage replacement program would not only prevent the need for welfare relief but also maintain workers’ purchasing power and thus stabilize and stimulate the economy during recessions. Sections of the Social Security Act of 1935 created such a program, and the Federal Unemployment Tax Act of 1939 established the framework for a joint state and federal scheme of unemployment insurance as set out in the 1935 act.

    Features of the Act

    FUTA applies a uniform nationwide tax to “employers” on certain “wages” paid to individuals with respect to “employment.” Since the time of enactment, the definition of these terms has excluded large numbers of agricultural and domestic workers from coverage. As originally enacted, FUTA applied only to employers of eight or more. It now applies to employers that pay at least $1,500 in wages in any calendar quarter or who have at least one employee on any given day in each of twenty different calendar weeks.

    Both as originally enacted and under current law, FUTA provides that, if a state has a state unemployment law that satisfies certain requirements, an employer can claim a 90 percent credit against the federal tax otherwise due for contributions to the state fund. The federal government also makes grants to the state for the administrative costs of any qualifying program. For employers to be eligible for the credit and for states to qualify for federal money to cover administrative costs, federal law requires that (1) the money from any state funds go to a central fund controlled by the federal government, (2) money from the fund be spent only on unemployment compensation, (3) a state account for how it spends the money, and (4) the state provide certain due process procedures in administration of the fund. All fifty states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands have unemployment programs satisfying these requirements.

    The Federal-State System

    Subject to the relatively minimal federal requirements, states have had wide discretion in their unemployment compensation laws. Each state determines its own rate of compensation, waiting periods before compensation is made available to the unemployed worker, and the maximum duration of the benefits. States vary widely in the benefits they provide. Typically, state programs provide up to twenty-six weeks of benefits and replace on average 38 percent of a worker’s immediate previous wages. State eligibility generally depends on amounts of earnings from recent employment as well as the worker’s demonstrated ability and willingness to seek and accept suitable employment.

    At the time FUTA was enacted, proponents of unemployment insurance believed that a nationwide system was necessary. Without a nationwide system, they argued, no state would enact an unemployment scheme because each state feared competition with states that did not impose such a burden on employers. Although some proponents argued that the federal government should set the level and duration of unemployment benefits, the program as enacted involved both state and federal control. This joint control was designed to enable the plan both to pass Congress and to withstand constitutional scrutiny. In two 1937 cases involving five-to-four votes, Steward Machine Co. v. Davis and Carmichael v. Southern Coal & Coke Co., the Supreme Court upheld the joint federal-state unemployment system. The Court rejected the argument that federal inducement for state participation through the 90 percent credit coerced states in violation of the constitutional guarantee of state autonomy.

    Changes to the Act

    Congress has made various changes to the unemployment system since its enactment. In addition to the basic federal-state benefit, the current system of unemployment compensation includes an extended benefits program, funded half by the federal government and half by state governments. The extended benefit program, which was first enacted in 1970 and revised substantially in 1981, provides additional weeks of benefits to jobless workers in particular states where unemployment has worsened dramatically. Moreover, in times of national recession, the federal government has historically provided funding for additional weeks of benefits in every state. For example, the federal government did so in March 2002 under a program called Temporary Emergency Unemployment Compensation. Such additional weeks of benefits are financed entirely by funds from the federal unemployment tax, without contribution from state funds. Federal funds are also available to make loans to insolvent state unemployment funds. Under the Reed Act of 1954, transfers are made to state unemployment funds when the federal unemployment fund balance reaches a certain high level. Since 1986 unemployment benefits have been subject in full to federal income tax.

    Congress has from time to time adjusted both the tax rate and amount of wages subject to FUTA taxes. The taxable wage base was set at $3,000 in 1939, raised to $4,200 in 1972, $6000 in 1978, and $7,000 in 1983. The effective tax rate (after credit for state unemployment taxes) began at 0.3 percent in 1939 and was raised to 0.8 percent in 1983. This 0.8 percent rate includes a surtax of 0.2 percent enacted by Congress in 1976. The surtax, extended several times, was extended through 2007 by the Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997. Further changes can be expected.”

    Now wasn’t that enlightening?????? Did ya notice this little “PROGRESSIVE AGENDA” hidden in the summary…”They believed that involuntarily unemployed workers had earned the right to a temporary and partial wage replacement.”

    The Great Detective Story, I love it when we find their tracks.

    Bwah hahahaha

  19. I am off for the night. I will check in again in the morning before I leave for work to see if anyone else grabs the third rail. This has been a good string of posts thanks to our host. Much cudos to you Wep and all the other thinkers here. When this series is done, we will need one more on how to broadcast and implement hope and change for the better. (I couldn’t resist!) Til morn.

  20. TexasChem says:

    Strange things going on in politics these days gentlemen!Can you say flabbergasted?I mean like wow!

    Houston Democrats, You Have a Problem!

    By Brian O’Connell on 3.8.10 @ 6:08PM

    On March 2nd, Democratic voters of the 22nd District of Texas nominated a congressional candidate whose platform includes the impeachment of President Obama. Kesha Rogers carried 53 percent of votes in a rather easy victory in the south Houston and suburban district. She will be challenging Republican incumbent Pete Olson in November.

    “Democrats have made it clear that they are not happy with the policies of the Obama administration… They are putting forth a mandate that they want Obama out now,” Rogers told TAS.

    When asked on what grounds President Obama could be impeached, Rogers responded that several acts the president had done were “treasonous”:

    “What he is doing right now is against his constitutional oath of office. Not only is he continuing the bailout of Wall Street, the shutdown of man-space exploration with respect to NASA, but you have a continuous policy of acting on behalf of foreign interests — the interests of Wall Street and London Bankers, on behalf of the British imperial system. If that’s not treason, then I don’t know what is.”

    Rogers then said that President Bush should have been impeached as well. When asked who the last president who should not have been impeached was, she replied “FDR”, but then said John F. Kennedy and Bill Clinton should not haven been impeached either.

    The district that Rogers is seeking to represent is home to the Johnson Space Center. Her campaign calls for colonization of other planets, saying that scientific research would stimulate the economy while saving jobs in her district. Rogers is also calling for high speed rail projects, a return to Glass-Steagall banking practices, and an end to the Wall Street bailouts.

    Rogers describes herself as a “Franklin Roosevelt Democrat,” but has been groomed in the Lyndon LaRouche movement. Over the summer, LaRouche backers held pictures at town halls and rallies depicting President Obama with “Hitler mustaches.” The news media at the time had widely reported that the protesters were Republicans. When asked if she supported the tactic of portraying the president as Hitler, Rogers responded, “Oh, absolutely. One of the signs we had in the campaign was Obama with a moustache that says ‘Houston we have a problem’, or ‘Impeach Obama.'” She justified the tactic by comparing Obamacare to the health care policies of Nazi Germany.

    This is not the first time a LaRouche supporter has won a Democratic nomination despite its controversial past. But in this election, the calling for the impeachment of a president within one’s own party will likely raise some additional eyebrows.

    At the moment, Rogers has no support from any prominent state or national Democratic officials. Yet, she told TAS she is optimistic about her chances in the general election. “Unless Pete Olson is willing to go for the impeachment of Obama, his chances are slim to none,” Rogers predicted.

    The District is rated R+13 by Cook Partisan Voter Index, and was long-held by Republican Majority Leader Tom DeLay prior to his resignation in 2006. One of her primary opponents, Doug Blatt, laments on his website, “I can’t believe that most people who voted for her, knew that she wants to do that [impeach the president]. I do believe that most of them didn’t do any research about the candidates before voting.”

    One wonders whether this is a lone example of an intraparty fight, or if there is a more widespread uprising against the president within the Democratic party. The Texas Democratic Party could not yet be reached for comment, nor could the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, nor could any of the local County Democratic organizations in District 22. A spokesperson from the Democratic party of Texas last week vowed that Rogers would “not receive a single dollar” from the state Democratic Party staff.

    Office of the Secretary of State
    2010 Democratic Party Primary Election
    Election Night Returns

    3/3/2010 2:34:08 PM
    Our election night returns are updated every five minutes.
    This page refreshes every three minutes, or you may click on the “Refresh” or “Reload” button in order to get the current results.

    U. S. Representative District 22
    … Doug Kesha Freddie John … … …
    County Blatt Rogers Wieder Jr. Total Precincts Total
    … DEM DEM DEM Votes Reported Precincts
    ALL COUNTIES 3,954 7,465 2,858 14,277 218 218
    Early 1,634 2,548 1,108 5,290 … …
    BRAZORIA 392 1,020 256 1,668 21 21
    Early 202 331 113 646 … …
    FORT BEND 1,223 3,997 1,129 6,349 100 100
    Early 507 1,352 404 2,263 … …
    GALVESTON 612 660 824 2,096 21 21
    Early 255 227 337 819 … …
    HARRIS 1,727 1,788 649 4,164 76 76
    Early 670 638 254 1,562 … …

    • TexasChem says:

      Here is her website…


      Odd thing is I agree with a lot of her platform and I think a lot of you will as well!I feel kinda dirty agreeing with democrats…something is wrong…what is happening!

      • Tex

        Just another version of OFF WITH THEIR HEADS.

        Now that we killed the king what do we do?

        Oh No! Hello Mr. Biden, er I mean Mr. President.

        Tex, neither party has a monopoly on sanity or its inverse.

        Run Tex, run the other way.

  21. A Puritan Descendant says:

    “a potentially controversial” see below LOL

    From FoxNews >

    Under a potentially controversial plan still taking shape in the Senate, all legal U.S. workers, including citizens and immigrants, would be issued an ID card with embedded information.

    Lawmakers working to craft a new comprehensive immigration bill have settled on a way to prevent employers from hiring illegal immigrants: a national biometric identification card all American workers would eventually be required to obtain.

    Under the potentially controversial plan still taking shape in the Senate, all legal U.S. workers, including citizens and immigrants, would be issued an ID card with embedded information, such as fingerprints, to tie the card to the worker.

    The ID card plan is one of several steps advocates of an immigration overhaul are taking to address concerns that have defeated similar bills in the past.



    Woman Charged for Squirting Breast Milk at Deputy

    Monday, March 08, 2010

    A Kentucky woman was charged with assault after she allegedly squirted breast milk into the face of a deputy, sparking online debate Sunday in the local media.

    Toni Tramel, 31, was arrested Thursday for public intoxication in Owensboro, WYMT-TV reported, but it is what she did next which has attracted headlines.

    As Tramel changed into an inmate uniform, she squirted a stream of breast milk into the face of the female deputy watching over her.

    A press release from the Daviess County, Kentucky, Detention Center, said that after the deputy decontaminated herself from the “bio-hazard”, Tramel was charged with third degree assault.

    While the public drunkenness was merely a misdemeanor offense, the assault is a felony charge and a US$10,000 bond was set.

    Reports of the case have sparked debates about whether using breast milk as a weapon should constitute a felony assault case, with many readers likening it to an accused person spitting on an officer.

    Also sparking feedback has been the use of the term “bio-hazard” to describe breast milk.

  23. It is natural for high time preference people who refuse to save and invest for the future to see any and all needs which arise naturally in the progress of life as being unexpected and unfair.

    These “grasshoppers” who have spent the summer eating and playing rather than working and saving see their own wintertime hunger as an unfortunate and unforeseeable condition.

    By the time the grasshopper realizes that he is in need, his hunger has become a pre-existing condition.

    The grasshopper will inevitably show up on the doorstep of the industrious ant and make demands for sustenance based on the moral argument that he is a victim of circumstance worthy of rescue in the name of charity.

    Low time preference Austrians do save in order to meet future needs and so those needs remain, for the most part, manageable.

    Like the prudent ant, the Austrian eats today from his established hoard and sees the need to eat next winter as a pre-existing condition, which must be dealt with by working and saving today while the sun shines.

    Unfortunately for the grasshopper, the ant also knows that if he is forced to support the grasshopper as well as the members of his own anthill, all will starve.

    The ant’s refusal to help the grasshopper in deference to self survival is just one more pre-existing condition with which the grasshopper can only fail to contend.

    Is it any wonder that those who see no value in preparing for the future find themselves stupefied and unprepared when the future arrives?

    • A Puritan Descendant says:

      I just luv true stories!

      • A Puritan Descendant says:

        Saving and investing does not have to mean putting money in a bank or investment house. It can also mean saving home grown food products, and home created wealth such as firewood, lumber, or what ever it may be. One can create their own wealth and use it for themselves while avoiding the insanity of much of our present system.

        Life offers many options if we think outside of our present system.

        • Puritan,

          Any property for sale directly next door to you? I’m interested.

          • A Puritan Descendant says:

            Behind me, and in front, is owned by paper companies.

            An old man owns to my left and loves it here.

            Old woman owns 400 acres to my right and has the whole road posted.

            I will let you know if something opens up.

            • Just kidding. I’m still stuck for six years. Would be nice though. You could however buy the abandoned house 2 doors from me. We’d get along just fine. Have no fireplace but I do have at least 15 cords of split wood handy

              • A Puritan Descendant says:

                Aw Shucks, now I will probably end up with another crazy neighbor.

                ‘Crazy’ seems to be what is required to live up here.

    • You know, Aesop, there is some merit to what you say.

      It’s not necessarily very obvious, but I am somewhat torn between two extremes which are fundamentally irreconcilable. On the one hand, we have the bleeding heart liberal you’ve all come to know and love. On the other is a brutal Darwinian libertarian.

      Part of me would love to say, screw it, it’s not my problem. And leave the masses (the grasshoppers) hanging out to dry – “you failed to plan? Well I didn’t, why should I suffer because you’re an idiot?” Further, why should I pay taxes to provide for services that I don’t use, that I didn’t consent to, that are poorly organized, poorly run, poorly managed, and which every yahoo is trying to take advantage of? Why should I pay more than anyone else? I am one person, he is one person, so why do I pay X while he pays Y? Why should I subsidize you? Why did I pay 100-something-thousand to go to a good 4-year college to get a high earning job just to give half of it away to people who were to lazy or too stupid to do so for themselves? Why is the government entitled to add an 8% sales tax to everything I buy? Why should the government be able to give me a $200 ticket (as they did yesterday) for going a completely safe speed, just because some desk jockey decided what the ‘speed limit’ should be and estimated way, way too low. Why should I pay an arm and a leg for county taxes, state taxes, and federal taxes? Why can they send me to jail if I decide I want to put drugs in my body in the privacy of my own home? Why did I have to wait until I was 21 (I didn’t wait, but that’s not the point) until I was allowed to consume alcohol? Who the hell are these people and why do they get to micromanage my life? For who am I paying and what am I getting back? Shouldn’t Darwin be allowed to cull the heard? As a species, we have no respect for natural law – is this a good thing?


      • I think I have awoken in a different universe.

        Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, did I go insane during the night?

      • A Puritan Descendant says:

        Mathius, I always sensed you would become one of us someday.

      • Help! I’ve fallen and I can’t get up!

      • I smell a trap. Is that quick sand I see with a cover of libertarian straw placed carefully to cover the pit?

        • A Puritan Descendant says:

          Worse yet, what if it isn’t a trap? How will we ever replace him?

          I hope he is just upset over his speeding ticket and recovers soon!

          • Puritan is, of course, correct. Put you’re going to have my alter-ego for a little while until I cool off.

            His name is Dread Pirate Mathius.

      • OMG…..have we entered the twilight zone?

      • Mathius

        On a more serious note.

        If you truly open your heart and your mind you will find it is in fact the Libertarian who is compassionate and there is nothing brutal at all in the solution that favors liberty.

        Remember when liberal meant liberty? That is the root of the word. Seems so long ago.

        It is the modern liberals use of govt to carry out “their” version of compassion that is in fact brutal. Because it requires the sacrifice of all for the some and in the end it destroys the very nature that is needed for you and I to enjoy a flourishing life.

        The meaning or purpose of your life is yours to design and pursue. You are free to fail and you are free to succeed. To impose your will upon others by use of govt force is to destroy the freedom you require to achieve your life purpose. And of course it destroys the same for the rest of us as well.

        Americans are among if not the most charitable people in the world. Just imagine what that charity might look like if we were not so impoverished and manipulated by taxes, fees and other govt impositions?

        What if Americans FREELY gave 10% of their income to charitable purposes? That would be 1.3 trillion per year for charity.

        Now I must begin the painful task of preparing my 09 taxes. Such a fitting job following Matt’s revelation.

        Best to you and yours.

        • Make no mistake: without the government as we know it, there will be unimaginable die-offs. Then the corporations will begin to pollute (much, much more so). Then all kinds of other mean, nasty stuff.

          But the government just acts so stupidly in some regards, how am I supposed to defend it when it’s right? And I want my money back if it’s going to arbitrarily punish me.

          Further, would it kill them to post the actual speed limit? You know, the speed at which you’ll get pulled over, rather than this bogus number we see now that may or may not be accurate to within 20mph?

          • Mathius

            I asked you to OPEN your mind to the concept. This:

            “Make no mistake: without the government as we know it, there will be unimaginable die-offs.”

            is nothing but rhetoric, reactionary rhetoric at that. Cetainly not supported by any serious rational thinking.

            There is absolutely nothing to base such a claim. Corporations or anyone else who pollutes and “causes harm” will be swiftly dealt with. Because govt will not be standing in the way. With the govt protection they will be held liable for their damage.

      • We should throw a birthday party for Matt

      • Mathius,

        Do not despair.

        There is great, great good in holding empathy for other people – even people who by their own decisions wreck on the rocky shores.

        When people crash because they drive too fast and carelessly, we still rush to their urgent aid, don’t we?

        That’s what being human is all about. We are as much a part of the whole as we are individuals.

        But the most important part is choice

        I chose when I offer support to the careless and when I do not. I make up my own mind who ‘deserves’ and who does not.

        Sometimes I walk past street beggars.

        Often, I go to a takeout, buy a meal and deliver it to them. So far, every time, it was eagerly and politely accepted and consumed.

        I can tell the fakers from the needy.

        But those who steal my money and throw it upon every Tom, Dick and Mary cannot, because it is not their money and they are careless and care less and ignorant.

        Leave free men alone and society flourishes. Punish free men and society falters.

        • I don’t usually give money to those that ask in the street.

          But one time I saw this fellow.

          He was wearing a backpack and sitting on a bench in a shopping mall when I came in. He was still there as I left a few of hours later – still staring ahead like he was lost in something.

          Something was wrong. Nobody sits on in a mall on bench with a backpack staring at a wall for hours.

          I went back and asked if he needed help.

          He looked up, surprised, and said yeah!

          He had traveled to the city on his last few bucks to take a job and it fell through by the time he got there. He was out of money and stuck – he couldn’t get a ticket home and had no idea what to do. He’d been wandering around that part of the city for more than a day – and was physically and emotionally exhausted – and just plunked himself down in the mall, despondent, not knowing where to go or what to do.

          He looked out of place. His appearance, look on his face, his attitude and his actions all added up inside his story.

          I gave him a couple of hundred bucks to get some food, a motel room to rest and enough to get a ticket home. He couldn’t believe it and he started to cry.

          My money and my choice. That’s the way it works the best.

          • A Puritan Descendant says:

            Caution! Puritan is thinking out loud again.

            That was nice of you BF.

            You helped the man get back to where he began. I wonder what would have became of him if you had not helped. Is it possible he would have solved his problem on his own? Maybe ended up better off? Maybe changed his whole life?

            In my own life I have found ‘bad luck’ befall me when I help others.

            Just one example is the following. A friend asks me for help replacing his transmission. This during snowy weather. While we replace the transmission I fail to keep my own driveway clear of snow. I come home to find my wife was stuck in our driveway only to burn out our transmission. This sort of thing has happened to me often. I now think long and hard before I offer help.

            After a few times this happens I cannot help but wonder if “someone upstairs” is trying to tell me something.

            • Puritan.

              You are correct. I diverted his life – for better or worse.

              But since we cannot measure the entirety of consequences – we can only act in the ‘now’ for the best possible consequence we know.

              Like poker – making the right play often means you will still lose. But making the right play is the right play.

              Often in poker I wonder if God is teaching me a lesson too as I lose a few grand to a villain hitting is 1 out 50 hand.

              But the truth is this. It is the only way he could win.

              I play so well that I am rarely in a position with me being the underdog.

              I am the holding the best hand and the odds are in my favor.

              The reason I get beat by the 1/50 is because I put my opponent in a position of being 50/1. That is the trick; to get my opponent in a lousy odd situation – the outcome (shrug) it is what it is.

            • A Puritan Descendant says:

              I guess I should not even speak of helping people. I just went outside and slipped on the ice and cut my hand. Don’t know what to think now. LOL

        • Mostly, right now, I’m feeling irked that I pay huge amounts of money to the gov’t. I am also paying for insurance (I would do this even without the requiremetn to do so). Speeding tickets are, essentially, a surtax on speeders for the increased danger they represent to society. But, because I personally paid for a disproportionate amount of that society, and because I am insured to cover anything or anyone I damage if I do happen to lose control of my vehicle, I cannot reconcile myself to being taxed (and that’s what it is, make no mistake) by some cop who arbitrarily picked me out of a crowd.

          Screw it. I paid my share. I paid several other people’s shares. And, right now, I’m not sure I recognize the concept that I even have a ‘share’ to begin with.

          If what I did caused no harm, and was covered against loss if it did cause harm, then simply put: WTF.

          • Buck the Wala says:

            Ah Mathius, you’re just angry at the world due to your ticket. Its only natural. Give it a few days and I’m sure you’ll be back to your old self…

            • Perhaps, but you’re going to have to hold down the fort on your own, while I’m off in VLDG-mode.

              We will return to our regularly scheduled programming within a few days. Probably.

              • Buck the Wala says:

                Oh I have no doubt you’ll return to your old self.

                Even in VLDG-mode though there would still be local police officers. And there would still be local regulations, such as speeding laws. So even with VLDG, unless I am mistaken (which is a distinct possibility here) you could still have gotten your ticket.

                I pose this question to VLDG supports, which apparently include Mathius for the next few days — under VLDG, would Mathius have still gotten a ticket? Would there be community-based police departments? Speeding laws?

                Oh and Mathius, one last thing: Let me agree with BF for a change and echo his advice below – Do Not Hire A Lawyer. If it is a speeding ticket and nothing more you should be able to handle this on your own. Regardless the cost of the lawyer will be more than the ticket itself.

                • I pose this question to VLDG supports, which apparently include Mathius for the next few days — under VLDG, would Mathius have still gotten a ticket? Would there be community-based police departments? Speeding laws?

                  I would say yes to your question, Buck. VLDG, I feel is more geared to the Federal government first, then see what happens at the State and Local levels, all of which have faults as well. But a starting point seems to be the biggest problem, the Feds.

                  Hope your day was a goodun!


                  • Buck and GMan

                    In my opinion there would be local and state police.

                    Hope this doesn’t sour Matt on VDLG before he has had a chance to try it on.

                    • I concur.

                      Lets take this to the bottom, to squishy

                    • Buck the Wala says:

                      Thanks for clarifying that guys. No, don’t think Matt will be happy with that answer; should serve to drive him back to his old self sooner though!

                      Hope your days were well. Mine was eh – found myself ksitting at home sick all day, but should be back to relatively normal tomorrow.

                    • Hope you feel better Buck! A cup of tea mixed with a shot of whiskey works wonders before you hit the sack! 🙂

                    • Buck the Wala says:

                      I’ll have to give that a try! Sounds good even if I wasn’t sick.

                    • For the non-drinkers, add some fresh honey when your making the tea. You cannot believe how well you will sleep after a cup, and yes, just a cup. Makes Niqill a waste of money.

                      Peace my Friend!

                • The highways will be privately run, so whatever rules they wish to apply (shrug).

                  I expect it to work like NASCAR – those that are trained and competent get the high speed lanes.

                  Those not get to walk 😉

                  • Now that would be fun, and fit my driving style!

                  • Mathius says:

                    Seems like the best answer to me. Further, you should be able to take the risks you feel comfortable taking. That is, if you kill someone, your life is in turn forfeit (what is appropriate restitution to the kin of the victim?). If you damage someone’s property, you are liable for that. As such all will drive with the suitable level of caution for their personal risk/reward appetite and driving talents.

                    Just a thought.

                    -Dread Pirate Mathius

                    • Mathius,

                      Did you get kidnapped by aliens? 😆

                      Sorry you got that ticket, never had one myself. Hope you can let it go and come back to earth. We miss you! 🙂


          • Speeding tickets:

            Absolutely NOT – they have dick-all to do with safety. A great lie.

            North American highways have been engineered in many areas to accept much higher speeds safely.

            Tickets are a money revenue thing and safety is a distant third reason.

            • Could you expand on the dick-all concept? I’m unfamiliar with the term. A short essay will do. 🙂

            • A Puritan Descendant says:

              I have never gotten a speeding ticket. One time when I was younger I was on the highway at night with no traffic. i was going 120+ mph. I saw a cruiser on the side of the road put his flashing lights on and start after me. I kept it floored and in 2 seconds he became a dot and shut off his lights.

              There is more than one way to avoid tickets.

              • Puritan.

                And, if you get caught, it is a good way to get shot, and/or beaten up, and/or thrown in jail, and a criminal record.

                In my younger wealthier days, I had a very high performance sports car.

                I was smokin’ through Oregon towards the BC border at waaaaay over 130+ and up came them lights behind me.

                I didn’t speed up, but I didn’t slow down either – pretending I didn’t see him.

                He was entangled in traffic as I was meandering quickly to the border – 15 miles – 10 miles -5….!

                Then grid lock…. he caught up and I pulled over.

                He came up, big smile on his face… and said:

                “Ya almost made it, son!”

            • OK if you’re going to tell a Rahm Emanuel shower story – stop right now!

          • Mathius,

            You should challenge in court every ticket you get.

            Do NOT say anything to the cop. If he asks “Do you know how fast you were going”? You say “Why did you stop me?”

            Do NOT admit you were speeding. You do NOT have to tell him you know how fast you were going. You have to surrender your license and insurance and registration on demand. Nothing else.

            Do NOT debate with the cop at all. Everything you say will be used against you and NOTHING YOU SAY WILL HELP YOU.

            Take detailed notes. Where you were, what you were doing and descriptions of other cars that may have been confused with yours.

            Go to court. Demand disclosure of evidence. Demand the means and verification of the speed measuring device. RADAR is very easy ticket to beat – if you have good notes of location – near power lines, transmission towers, rail line, near buildings, weather conditions – you will beat every RADAR ticket.

            • Mathius says:

              Oh, Mr. Flag, I agree with much of what you say. I did, in fact, not admit to speeding. He came right out and told me my speed, and I said nothing. I come from a long line of lawyers. The only conversation I had with him was to ask if he would consider giving me a non-moving violation instead (I have had success with this), but he said no and gave me the ticket. The details on the citation are accurate. I will have go back to check for power lines etc. Anything else you can add?

              I am very annoyed. He gave me a ticket for 21 miles over the limit. 20 over would ahve been one speed, but 21 puts it in the next bracket. At the very least, I should be able to get it put into the lower group because of the margin of error.

              • v. Holland says:

                He must of not liked you 🙂 -in my experience(and no I do not have a lot) they put it under the reckless driving number unless your speed is extreme or they don’t like you. Had a cop stop me a month or so ago-I really didn’t know why because I wasn’t speeding-He stood at the side of my car with his back towards the side of my car and looked really mean-said nothing-I finally asked him why he stopped me and wait for it-he said-I clocked someone speeding and it was either you or the white car-Can you believe he would stop me when he wasn’t even sure I was the one speeding-I know I looked at him like he was a complete idiot-with his all tough stern looks-wanted to scream but instead I said the obvious -must of been the white car. 🙂

              • Every RADAR ticket can be beat. If it was mobile RADAR, it will be almost automatic if you can offer almost any of the following reasons – if it was stationary RADAR, you will have to work a bit harder.

                RADAR works on the fast speed not the strongest signal. Most believe it is the latter, but it is not.

                The gun receives the Doppler by reflection – the circuitry will bias the largest Doppler shift – not the strength. Thus, if there was another car down the road speeding, he could have recieved his speed.

                That is why power lines are one source. The hertz going through the lines causes the lines to shake quickly – we can’t see it on the ground but if you could – please don’t – put your hand on them, you feel them vibrate. RADAR can respond to that vibration and show a speed.

                Wind against a building will cause RADAR to pick up a speed in excess of your travel.

                Many building materials are transparent to microwave – and RADAR can pick up the electrical cable and motion inside the walls and building.

                A flapping piece of car molding or plastic can add MPH to your RADAR signal.

                There is also the “Cosign” effect – unless he was exactly inline with your motion he has an angle – now that angle is in your benefit – it will show a slower speed, but remember the ticket says “This is your speed” – and if the angle is high, the ticket is now in error. You do NOT HAVE TO ADMIT to a faster speed – it is up to the cop to present an accurate and truthful charge and if he is not accurate in demonstrating your speed, is he as careless in maintaining the tuning of the RADAR device or its operation?

                You can demand the policy operation manual of the device and test the cop to see if he was operating as per policy. Often they are not.

                He must have a log that proves the tuning of the RADAR — it must be tuned at the start of his shift and measured at the end – to prove that the tuning was maintained throughout his entire use of the device. If he failed to log the tuning, he cannot verify that his gun was working properly. This is part of the discovery.
                Most cops are lazy.

                You demand his notes – and ask specifically for his rough notes. He must maintain two copies – one he writes up after his shift – so that other can read them – and the ones he wrote on shift which are scribbles. You want the scribbles. It should have your car as observed and the speed. If the ticketed speed is different than his notes, you win. (Even if he gave you ‘a break’ and he wrote down a faster speed in his notes but not on the ticket.)

                Be very suspicious of speeds +1 over their ‘mulligan’ speed. He may have been quota-filling and many courts simply do not like that on principle.

                If you can out-detail the cop, you will win. If your note pile is higher than his, you will see him sweat. He has to try to remember 100’s of tickets – you only have to remember one. He has to remember! And often, they will stumble on the stand and they are toast.

                And, if you don’t want the trouble (as this will take a couple of court appearances) you can always negotiate with the prosecutor. He is lazy too. Knocking your ticket in half to avoid days of court …. he’ll probably lazy out.

      • No Matthius, Darwin will not be allowed to cull the herd. It will be Big Green and it will be done according to their ‘wisdom’. Do not fail to report to your friendly neighborhood FEMA facility when summoned, BWHAHAHAHAHAA!

  24. Godzilla says:

    HIJACK: A borderline diabetic friend of mine got pulled over the other day. Cop says his license was suspended because he’s listed as diabetic in the system and doesn’t have a form from his doctor that says he is ok to drive. The cop had never seen this before. I know on the Ohio license it lists me as having corrected vision, but nothing about diabetes. My buddy doesn’t require insulin so I’m shocked that his diabetes was even linked to his drivers license. I know that epileptics aren’t allowed to drive and the doctor has to report it to the DMV, but I didn’t know they are required to report diabetics, especially borderline cases. It got me to thinking that where does this end? Since I’m borderline high blood pressure and borderline high cholesterol, is this reported to the state as well? Just wondering if anyone has heard of this before in their state.

  25. Stolen from above, USW said,

    I am attempting to simply find better ways to do the things we are doing. In the end, my hope is that the plans find a way to eliminate government from the equation. But it doesn’t have to end that way. Perhaps we simply tweak what we have. But improvement should be the goal. My end goal is more liberty, not less. More personal freedom, not less. More personal responsibility, not less. It is difficult to solve the problems with those things as end goals. But that is my hope. Are their fixes to the macro economics issues that can be undertaken without resorting to a “statist” solution? Maybe. But that is a MUCH tougher task than finding a non-statist solution to UI. Small steps towards improvement. IT makes no sense to run aimlessly.


    Illusion says,

    Can we come to a consensus on “fixing” un-employment? I have one thought that I think must be required of government or private insurance.

    A person receiving a benefit must contribute to that fund. We could debate on how much, but they cannot be given money if they have never paid any into the account.

    • v. Holland says:

      Man, I just don’t know -you open the door to the government and they will happily charge a new tax-problem is they don’t care much about getting rid of the old one and if they lower it -it’s only for looks and will very soon be raised back up again.

  26. Watching some pretty telling Glenn Beck at the moment. Rep Massa in the hotseat chirping like a bird. More to come after the break.

    • I missed the initial show, so I just caught it online. I have to agree with the way Beck ended his show, apologizing for the wasted hour. Massa said nothing and had even less to offer. Beck gave him several opportunities to so something other than be a soundbite or commercial, but Massa failed miserably.

  27. Mathius,

    Re: Restitution for killing.

    Well, obviously, killing you ends all potential restitution, wouldn’t it? So death for death is pretty stupid.

    However, financial compensation – at least what would be lost in wages plus companionship – which probably would mean all of your earnings until your death (minus mere living expenses). You’d be a slave.

    • The way I see it is this: you killed me, whether accidentally or on purpose, I have a right to kill you back. Because I am dead, all of my belongings – including my right to kill you – passes to my heirs. My heirs then may decide to seek your death or may opt instead to garnish your wages until your natural death or any other arrangement you work out – or they may pardon you since it was an accident.

      Stupid or not, it may make my heirs feel better to have you dead, and the choice is theirs.

      • Buck the Wala says:

        DPM, I hardly know thee…can you bring back Mathius??

        Death for death – now you’re just reverting back to Hammurabi’s code. No, your heirs do not get to kill the person who killed you. As BF notes, your heirs would of course be entitled to financial compensation. But killing? No.

        • My heirs (I suppose just one heir, as the right to kill someone probably isn’t divisible), will be entitled to avenge me. If you punch me, am I not entitled to respond by punching you back? An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, a burning for a burning. Such is natural law. The imposition of violence upon me justifies the use of violence in return.

          Now, because they have the right to kill my killer, they may offer him an alternative to accept. Or they may not.

      • Mathius,

        No, you do not have a right to kill me back

        You have a right to restitution – “a return to what was, before what was lost”. Because that may be impossible does not suddenly create a new right!

        The ONLY time you have a right to kill is when you are defending yourself from violence.

        When that violence is over, so is that right.

        • Mathius,

          Eye for an Eye is a Natural consequence to the Law of Mutuality. Therefore, it is a valid human response. It is instinct.

          However, it fails in providing Civilization.

          Civilization is not a human right. It is a consequence of a superior expression of Mutuality – that is mankind, instead of instinct, thinks

          Man is not just a animal – we are thinkers.

          Civilization does not come from our instincts, it comes from our thinking.

          We still follow the Law of Mutuality tightly – but intellectually apply a different course restitution.

          Intellectually – put back the harmed person to a condition before they were harmed is as better situation than that person remaining in a damaged state while equalizing the damage to another person.

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