Let’s Start With the Department of Education

I am baffled daily with the ridiculousness that masquerades as the United States Federal Government. I mean, really, is there a better example of elitist ass clowns who bleat on about fixing this and changing that all while completely ignoring all the obvious fixes and changes that need to happen? The debt debate has been a perfect example of the hopelessness that exists when one thinks that any of these fools are in the slightest bit interested in doing what needs to be done in Washington DC. The only thing that is more ridiculous than a DC politicians are the millions of Americans who play along with the charade, believing that this party or that party is really the one trying to fix things and the “other side” is a group of godless heathens intent on ruining the American way of life.

Think about what you have heard from those who appear to accept the status quo from Washington DC, both here at SUFA and among the peers you mingle with day to day. We hear things such as, “Deficit spending is necessary in order for country to whether the storms and recessions that are thrown at us.” Another of my personal favorites is, “It is ridiculous to expect a gigantic entity such as the federal government to actually operate within a budget. There are too many variables involved.” It is this type of acceptance of what politicians have created (and have created for the precise purpose of causing you to make the above statement) that is at the root of America’s problems. Think about what you are saying. Essentially: It is impossible for government to operate within a set of fiscally responsible parameters.

Yet, when those gigantic corporations operate in the exact same ways as the federal government, those same folks will be screaming to the hills about how we need more government to reign in the out of control world of big business. If the average citizen or a corporation operates with anywhere near the reckless fiscal abandon that the federal government operates, people have a fit. But when the federal government does it, it is “unavoidable” and “necessary”.

The reality is that the federal government, under every President, does nothing but continue to grow. Certainly some administrations grow at a much quicker pace than others (a certain “hopey changey” President comes to mind), but there have been ZERO administrations that actually attempted to scale back any of the nonsense that came before them. Government always grows, it never shrinks. THAT is what many people in the “uneducated masses” seem to be starting to understand (hence groups like the Tea Party).

As a means of operating the way they want without any particular way for the American public to stop them, the federal government has over 1300 federal departments, agencies, bureaus, and commissions. Let alone the ridiculous number of “President’s Committee on…” that we are forced to endure. The industry that I work in keeps a lot of “trackers” in excel. We sometimes joke (and sadly sometimes use) trackers to track the trackers. Hasn’t it become time that we appoint a Committee to begin eliminating committees? 1300+ departments, committees, bureaus, and agencies. Is it any wonder that we are constantly wondering how to find more money to fund the federal government?

And sadly, the vast majority of those groups are especially inept at operating within a budget or actually accomplishing whatever it is that they were created with the intention of accomplishing. How do you get a government agency to operate at a budget near only a billion dollars? EASY, just set their budget at $100 Million. That should be a joke. Unfortunately that has become reality and something that far too many Americans have accepted from their federal government. Overruns, delays, and regular operating costs of 30%-70% over what their allocated budget is became something that won’t even get the American people to notice, let alone care about.

So what is my answer? It is time to review and assess every single one of the government agencies, bureaus, commissions and whatever else. I don’t care if it is the PTA for elementary school for wayward Congressional children. If it was created by government, it should be looked and and the determination should be made as to whether it should continue to exist. I propose a ten year plan to do so. As a means of determining what should stay and what should go, I offer up the following as a beginning of a list of criteria:

  1. Ability to end the fiscal year at or below their allocated fiscal budget.
  2. Effectiveness of the department, agency, bureau, or commission at doing what it was “created to do.”
  3. Critical assessment of the decisions made in the course of doing what they do.
  4. Need of the department, agency, bureau, or commission in today’s world.
  5. Determination whether the Constitution mandates that the purpose of the agency falls within the scope of the US government.

A little bit of my rationale for including each of these:

Ability to end the fiscal year at or below their allocated fiscal budget. This is why I determined the need for a ten year plan as opposed to simply shutting everything down immediately. The reality is that there is probably somewhere around 10% of all departments, agencies, bureaus, and commissions that would currently make the cut if this rule is imposed. And none of that 10% would be any of the major agencies in government. The bigger and more important the agency, the further away from fiscal responsibility they seem to operate. The ten-year plan allows us to force some necessary agencies to get their house in order or face elimination.

Effectiveness of the agency, bureau, or commission at doing what it was “created to do”. This is the one that I believe will provide the impetus for closure of many major agencies. We all know that my first desired axe recipient would be the Department of Education. They have obviously failed to create an environment where our children would both learn and learn to think. Our rankings in education show them to be a complete failure. This could be said of many government agencies, such as the Department of Energy, Department of Defense, Department of Health, etc…………

Critical assessment of the decisions made in the course of doing what they do. This is one that I would aim at all but is needed primarily because of the Department of Defense and the Pentagon. In what world do we deem it rational that a hammer should cost $900? Government agencies routinely operate with little to no common sense. If an agency cannot discern between paying $900 for a hammer and picking one up at Home Depot for $20, they should be radically altered or shut down entirely. In 2009 the GAO found “staggering” cost overruns of almost $300 billion in nearly 70 percent of the Pentagon’s 96 major weapons. What’s more, the programs were running, on average, 21 months behind schedule. This is not a result of sound decision making and is a major contributor to our problems.

Need of the agency, bureau, or commission in today’s world. This is a two-fold issue. First and foremost, the amount of redundancy in today’s government is astounding. How many agriculture groups do we need? How many trade groups? Does the Department of Housing and Urban Development really need an “Office of Equal Housing Opportunity” and an “Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity”? How many “intelligence agencies” do we need to have? Isn’t it odd that we find that a major problem we found, after 9/11, was that the intelligence groups weren’t talking to one another? So why not consolidate them into a single agency? DIA, CIA, NSA, FBI, Homeland Security, etc. One agency could do all of the above, and do so more effectively. Here is a list of agencies just in the Department of Defense:

  • Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency
  • Defense Commissary Agency
  • Defense Contract Audit Agency
  • Defense Contract Management Agency
  • Defense Finance and Accounting Service
  • Defense Information Systems Agency
  • Defense Intelligence Agency
  • Defense Logistics Agency
  • Defense Security Cooperation Agency
  • Defense Security Service
  • Defense Technical Information Center
  • Defense Threat Reduction Agency
  • Missile Defense Agency
  • National Security Agency
  • National Reconnaissance Office
  • National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency
  • Naval Criminal Investigative Service
  • Pentagon Force Protection Agency
  • United States Pentagon Police
  • American Forces Information Service
  • Counterintelligence Field Activity
  • Defense Prisoner of War/Missing Personnel Office
  • Department of Defense Education Activity
  • Department of Defense Dependents Schools
  • Defense Human Resources Activity
  • Office of Economic Adjustment
  • TRICARE Management Activity
  • Washington Headquarters Services

The second part of this requirement is the fact that far too many agencies exist today that no longer are needed. And of many that may be needed, they are far larger and have far larger budgets than what they need. Do we still need an Office of Indian Affairs? Really?

Determination whether the Constitution mandates that the purpose of the agency falls within the scope of the US government. I am betting that this would be a gigantic roadblock for tons of agencies, commissions, and bureaus. The fact is that the US government should not have a Bureau for African development. Do any African nations have a Bureau for US development? But beyond this, we argue at SUFA daily about government operating within its proper scope and mandate according to the Constitution. It is time we start taking some of the government’s reach away from them, starting with eliminating agencies and groups within the federal government that shouldn’t be dabbling in their respective areas in the first place.

I am willing to go ahead and say that we can cut 50% of these entities fairly quickly and would do so without losing any effectiveness within the federal government (that was funny, effectiveness within the federal government, like that exists). I am certainly not interested in continuing to make excuses for why we need to have a government with the size and scope that we have. And if we need to scale back government in order to get the financial house in order, then I would highly suggest we start by closing many of the agencies, departments, etc that currently exist. And we should follow that up with regular reviews, which result in significant restructuring or complete elimination of the ones that cannot meet the criteria listed above.

Someone mentioned here at SUFA a week or so ago that government is not business and shouldn’t be expected to operate like one. He pointed out that business is focused solely on profit. I agree, government is not like business. Case in point, government doesn’t reach for profits (except in the pockets of Congressmen and corporate leaders), but instead fails to even reach for solvency. If government were a business instead of an entity that takes whatever money it needs at the point of a gun, they would have gone out of business a long, long time ago.

The time for accepting leadership that believes that trimming a percentage off of the amount we run in the red is sufficient is past.

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Comments

  1. 😐

  2. 8)

  3. http://www.carolinapatriots.org/cpblog/2010/04/new-government-agencies-created-by-obama-care/

    Wonder how many were created with all the new regulations and now I hear he wants to create some new Jobs agency. 😦

  4. 🙂

  5. Yet, when those gigantic corporations operate in the exact same ways as the federal government, those same folks will be screaming to the hills about how we need more government to reign in the out of control world of big business.

    Except the gigantic corporations own the government and they get bailed out when things go wrong (that’s an aside to the corporate welfare).

    THAT is what many people in the “uneducated masses” seem to be starting to understand (hence groups like the Tea Party).

    Some of that same tea party enlightening offers an out and out homophobic mentality (i.e., their “leading representative” Miss Batshit Bachmann actually has a family business that tries to pray the gay away–her husband (cough, cough) calls gays barbarians). Me thinks you ignore what the tea party has seemed to be hyjacked by (social conservatives).

    If it was created by government, it should be looked and the determination should be made as to whether it should continue to exist.

    Does that include the corporations that government created? You seem pretty protective of corporate interests (and since they own the government, isn’t that an indirect support of government)?

    Case in point, government doesn’t reach for profits (except in the pockets of Congressmen and corporate leaders), but instead fails to even reach for solvency. If government were a business instead of an entity that takes whatever money it needs at the point of a gun, they would have gone out of business a long, long time ago.

    Am I the only one who sees a contradiction here? The corporate world has NEVER done better. Why is that, you think? How can one be so against a government that is owned by big business? Isn’t your angst misplaced? Perhaps if corporations were removed from the formula, the government could work for the people it supposedly represents (in this great land of ours).

    Or am I being too envious of all those wealthy individuals who run the government? [sarcasm intended for BF].

    Why not strip the fraud and waste (to include the corporate buying of America) and start from the ground up (a true representation of the American people as opposed to business interests)?

    • Charlie,
      NOT ALL BUSINESSES ARE HUGE CORPORATIONS!
      When people like myself talk about business in a supportive sense, we are talking about businesses that operate on transactions, on filling a need and getting money in trade for it that allows for some profit to offset the effort that went into it, or rewards us for ingenuity. It is the ability to have something that operates beyond trading hours for dollars. That does not mean that it operates like the huge corporations that are in bed with and/or controlling the actions of our very corrupt government.

      As for supporting corporate rights, that is all in your head. Most here do not support big corporations and would like to see the corporation itself cease to exist. The corporation is a government entity and it should be abolished, along with any and all subsidy of business operations.

      Now, there is a side of the coin not harped on much, and that is that the $900 hammer was not just a bad government spending issue, it also includes some jerk out there making obscene profit because he can get away with it, or more likely, was in on the whole scam. That is a problem. I would love to see the corporations with government contracts try to operate at a profit without the obscene prices they charge the government. The way to accomplish that, however, is to audit the government and force them to employ standard business practices in terms of buying products from suppliers.

      You need to recognize that not all business is evil. And that most here recognize that. I really dont see how you keep ascribing support of things to people when they have said the opposite many times.

      • Jon. I have little against honest business, especially small businesses, but since it is corporate America (big huge corporate America) that does own the government, why support a no-tax policy (or loophole policy for them). Why are so many upset about a 35% corporate tax rate they rarely (if ever) actually pay (because of loopholes). 60 Minutes replayed their segment where Costco, et al, opened an office in Switzerland with 5-12 people to declare themselves Swizz and avoid U.S. taxes. Others (like GE) move jobs to China without a concern about taxes (but enjoy a cheap labor market).

        Bottom line, if you put these scumbags in real jails when they are caught cheating/fraud/buying Congressman/Congressman seeking payments, etc., you might cut back on the fraud and waste, but so long as corporate America gets to do whatever the -uck it wants (bailout) … well …

        USW has stated he supports a firm’s right to outsource … of so, isn’t that support for corporations? If the fear is they will leave, I guess that makes them too big to fail also … so, where does it end?

        • Right to outsource I support also. You cannot just force a company to stay someplace and expect it to fix things. If you drive out business with your policies and taxes, then you fail. If you think you can force businesses to operate just so your utopian fairness dream will work, then you are just being an arrogant dictator. Now, if you want to close the loopholes and make it less attractive to leave, fine, but you cannot use control to make things work, people will ALWAYS rebel. And rightly so.

          • “My utopian fairness dream” … why go there, Jon? The bottom line is your business first attitude (capitalism) is a disaster getting worse every day (why it needs the government to keep it alive). Corporations are always going to find cheaper labor elsewhere … especially in a global market. What are you going to do with all the unemployed? Do you think they’re going to go away quietly in the night? You’ve seen the riots in the middle east … they are around the corner here. When enough people are out of work, losing their homes, etc., they are going to rebel. Do you think these corporations have a game plan for that? Of course they do … they’ll flee either way. It’s all button pushing now. Capitalism has failed … unless you support (or are a part of) the corporations that profit from them, capitalism has come close to its ultimately failure. You can’t have the disparity we have now and expect it to get better, not in this high tech world. My utopian fairness dream will become your nightmare unless corporations are relieved of their grip on the government. You support that grip (with all your claims against corporates), you support their right to do whatever they want. They don’t need your support, buddy, they already own the government. They’ll ALWAYS BE TOO BIG TO FAIL in a capitalist economy. Why is that so hard to see?

            • I went there because I am frustrated at the same assumptions over and over such as when you say I am supporting corporate hold on government despite my direct explainations to the contrary. I support business first. I do not support corporations first. Businesses are what make an economy work, they are the only thing that will fix your unemployment concerns. It is a business that hired you for your contract work.

              I have ALWAYS advocated the removal of the corporation. Businesses should be tied to the people that run them, not be standalone entities created by government paperwork. Corporations, despite all the rhetoric, do not leave for cheaper labor alone. They leave to avoid taxes, regulations, government enforced labor costs that have nothing to do with the costs of labor in the free market, and a host of other things. Moving overseas is a HUGE cost and a HUGE risk. Companies do not leave just for that.

              I support the right of a business to do what they want as long as they are not violating anyone’s rights. The fact that they have the support of government is a problem, that MUST be removed. Having freedom, however, is perfectly fine. Same with individuals, people should have freedom, not government support. Government support always causes problems. Freedom does not. Freedom neither causes nor fixes problems. It allows people to fix them themselves. And history shows that ALWAYS works better.

              • fact that they have the support of government is a problem, that MUST be removed

                Then you belong in BF’s camp (anarchist) because so long as there is a government in this country, you can bet dollars to donuts (where BF is 100% correct) it is at the behest of corporate America (big business in any form). Where BF (and probably you, also) is/are wrong is when you “ASSUME” a free market would work (capitalism is a doomed entity; it CANNOT WORK). IT IS A FAILED EXERCISE that REQUIRES government support (see the Noam Chomsky videos) …

                As for freedom, you ignore how dependent we all become on the owners of the means of production (in whatever form). Slaves come in many forms … wage earners is but one, but it’s no small potatoe.

                Allowing Corporations to run free (outsource, have us bail them out, etc.), is a hurricane about to blow. I only hope I’m still alive when it happens.

              • Outsourcing and moving overseas are matter of freedom. Bailouts are a matter of theft. The two are COMPLETE opposites. You cannot have freedom and then not have to suffer the consequences of free choice when it does not go your way. Freedom comes with risk and opportunity. If you have freedom and then someone to bail you out when risk gets you, then you are not operating within a free market, and the concept is a failure. That is why I say businesses should not be corporations. Corporations have corrupted the free market, making it something that a man like Chomsky can easily point out unsustainability in because it is, in fact, unsustainable.

                As for being in BF’s camp, you and I both have flirted with the idea, you because you realize the weakness of your proposed ideas is the power of government and control involved will invite corruption, just as much as the corporate goons have now. And I because philosophically he and I agree, I am just not sure people can live with the realities of freedom, and more importantly, I am not sure they can stand up to the abuses of it. I think, taken to their final conclusion and idealism, both of our ideals would end up embracing anarchy if we thought people could handle it.

                As for dependency, speak for yourself. I do not depend on the so-called owners of production. My mind can find a way to thrive regardless of the circumstances or who owns what. It is I who drives my success and I who is at fault for failure. Tho I appreciate the many that have and do help me on my path, and I resist those who try to control, restrict, or harm me. I am not an island, but I am no dependent either. You need not be either, such a thing is a decision, a state of mind, not a state of circumstance.

  6. Good article.

    One thing I find interesting is that in cutting government programs we hear a lot of people complain that this will hurt the poor and working class. It doesn’t matter how much you cut or from what program it will be disastrous! It doesn’t matter that people were not dying in the streets in the year 2000, spending at that level (~2 trillion = our revenue) would be catastrophic!

    Also, here in IN we had a property tax referendum and school budgets were taken off of property tax support, instead getting their funding elsewhere. Now schools are charging parents several hundred dollars for busing their children. Many people are outraged and are instead driving their children to school. I wonder how much they were spending when the government was just taking it out of their checkbook. Interesting how people react when they know exactly how their money is being spent.

  7. Rush nails it: The Tea Party…it’s a state of mind.

    LOVE IT! Off to the lake for a few days!

  8. Charlie

    Perhaps if corporations were removed from the formula, the government could work for the people it supposedly represents (in this great land of ours).

    You have cause and effect backwards – again –

    Government cannot work “for the people” – it is an entity of violence, and uses ONLY violence to solve non-violent human problems.

    When that tool of violence is seized by any man it will distort whatever field, market, environment or situation that it is used in.

    It does not matter that government is seized by corporations – this does not make government useful – it makes it destructive in the hands of corporatism and mercantilism (modern USA)

    It does not matter that government is seized by peasants – this does not make government useful – it makes it destructive in the hands of peasants (100 million dead in Russia is the consequence)

    It does not matter who holds evil – evil is the consequence.
    Believing that if just the right man or men take control of government, the world would be a good place is the greatest and worse folly of man

  9. I need to ask one question-I totally agree that we must make these cuts-but I wonder about the effect on unemployment when all these governmental jobs are cut-how do we do this-I believe that the markets will make up these lost jobs with time-but how do we cover that time period?

    • This is why the cuts have to be slow. It’s frustrating that we’ve gotten to this point, but the scale back will have to be gradual to avoid major problems.

  10. One more question-what the heck is all this talk about an infra-structure Development Bank?

    • I totally agree but I’m just not sure -going slow is enough to avoid major problems. I read an article about the postal service-they are recommending laying off 120,000 people. That’s alot all at one time and it’s only one part of the government!

  11. V.H.

    I need to ask one question-I totally agree that we must make these cuts-but I wonder about the effect on unemployment when all these governmental jobs are cut

    The unemployed figures will go up – but things will get a small improvement

    Government “employees” are on welfare already – they are paid by the government but their job is to interfere with you.
    They will still be paid by the government – but in a “job” that will not interfere with you – sitting on the butts watching TV at home.

    I am not being glib here.

    The results will appear worse – the MSM will cry and weep at the numbers – but the effect will be positive

    -how do we do this-I believe that the markets will make up these lost jobs with time-but how do we cover that time period?

    “We” do not need to cover anything.

    “They” need to deal with it – they miscalculated their employment resources and will need to reallocate them on their own.

    • Buck the Wala says:

      Right BF, because massive unemployment will have no effect on you, me or anyone else.

      • Buck,
        Think about it.

        It is people being paid by the government.

        So what changed? The government continues to pay the same people – all that changes is what they are doing for government.

        The former, making the citizens life hell
        The latter, watching TV.

        I’ll take the latter….

        • Buck the Wala says:

          So you believe that, in the event of government layoffs, we should pay ex-gov’t employees the exact same as they are currently receiving? Interesting, to say the least.

          • Buck,

            Pay a percentage – doesn’t much matter – the net effect will be POSITIVE on the economy.

            The probable payment will not be much different from their current pay – minus benefits – such as pension plans and health care. However, those were NOT cash payments but IOU’s.

    • Exactly – we pay their salaries now or their unemployment soon (hopefully!) and they re-enter the workforce via the private sector. It should not be viewed any differently than the lay-offs we read about every single day in the private sector. Companies can’t make it – they downsize or close the door. Government employees should be treated the same way.

      • Buck the Wala says:

        And Kathy, I didn’t realize the private sector was hiring at the moment. It wouldn’t be a matter of them simply transitioning over to the private sector, as companies are just not hiring right now. I agree that given budget cuts there would have to be layoffs of government employees. But don’t be so cavalier with the effects this would have.

        • Buck

          Please explain what the “effects” are.

          You paying this person $X to go to an office.
          Now, you are paying this person $X to stay at home.

        • The private market is not hiring because there is concern over long term costs. Remove long term costs and they will be more likely to expand.

          Of course that is very simplistic, there are thousands of factors to consider, but you should at least try to consider them instead of looking at the problem right in front of you as if there are no other effects to actions.

          • Buck the Wala says:

            Of course there is more to it and I am being overly simplistic, but let’s not pretend massive layoffs of government employees would have absolutely no effect on the broader economy.

            • Actually, talking about this subject. Reminded me of the post a guy made on here, I can’t remember his name. Who suggested that exact thing-closing down or decreasing the size of a department-to same that expense and stop further growth-but to pay the employees their salaries at a lowering percentage for a few years.

            • Of course it would, but dont pretend the removal of complete waste or restriction on the economy would not have an effect either.

        • Buck, there certainly is one area of the workforce that unemployed govt. employees apparently shouldn’t consider:

          http://www.ihatethemedia.com/graduates-sue-law-schools

          Irony meter explodes: Graduates sue law schools
          August 16, 2011 · 4 comments

          The old joke said lawyers swimming in the ocean needn’t worry about sharks because the predators never attack one of their own. Besides killing retirements and jobs, today’s Hope It Changes economy is retiring lots of old jokes and not just the old jokes in Congress.

          Too few ambulances, too many ambulance chasers
          Reuters has the story:

          … two class-action suits were filed by graduates of New York Law School … and Thomas M. Cooley Law School … amid growing scrutiny over whether law schools across the country are deliberately concealing the truth about their graduates’ employment and salary in order to enroll more students despite their dismal job prospects.

          Suggestion: Michelle said she and Barack shunned lucrative corporate jobs in favor of community service. Considering all the free travel, housing, vacations, and all the food she can eat, you’d have to say the community serves them pretty well.

          Among the tactics allegedly employed by the schools were misclassifying graduates with temporary or part-time jobs as “fully” employed, omitting information about graduates who didn’t respond to employment surveys, and creating post-graduate job programs to hire their own graduates.

          The Stimulus and Obamacare, both designed by lawyers, were also surrounded by phony claims. Must be part of the curriculum.

          “The law school industry today is much like a game of three-card monte, with law schools flipping over ace after ace, while a phalanx of non-suspecting players wager mostly borrowed money based on asymmetrical information on a game few of them can win,” according to the New York lawsuit.

          Both sides better have good lawyers. It sounds like they can use the work.

          • Buck the Wala says:

            Actually, all joking aside, this is a pretty serious issue that goes on with both law school and undergrads (I can’t speak for other programs).

          • Buck, Kathy

            It is not just a problem with lawyers – the myth of a college degree is also collapsing.

            There are more waiters and busboys with college degrees then ever before in US history…..

            The glut was based on a lie perpetrated by the school system – that irrelevant knowledge about unimportant things will earn big bucks – and all fueled by unending government “student loans” that funded the University and College systems incredible (and pointless) expansion.

            Haverford College is a highly ranked liberal arts college: liberal, expensive, and politically correct. It costs $55,000 a year. That is after-tax money. For that transfer of family capital, according to a Haverford male student, you get this:

            Students have intellectual conversations out of class but really not that often.
            The waffles smell like semen.
            Education is not geared towards getting a job at all but there is a career development office which you can go to a any time.
            Some people live to study, others not so much, but even the athletes and party animals study pretty hard at least every week.
            If you didn’t you wouldn’t pass your classes.
            But you can find ways to skip readings and still know what’s going on in the class although you may not be getting out of it as much as someone who is doing every assignment completely.

            We must remember the purpose of a degree:
            The government-enforced accreditation system has created a cartel.

            It allows government and business a means to exclude a class of workers without violating their (artificial) rights!

            Government made it a (artificial) right that companies could avoid hiring based on race/religion/culture, etc.

            Business uses college degrees (massively earned by white, middle/upper class Christians) to de-select the “unwanted”.

            • *sigh* the attack of the missing negation

              could NOT avoid hiring based on race/religion/culture, etc.

            • I’m hearing and reading more and more of this every day. It’s one of those concepts that first seems so outrageous but the more you actually look into it and peel off the layers, the less outrageous it becomes.

              This will be a real battle – tenured professors will fight it to the bitter end.

      • Kathy…..government workers will ONLY seek employment in the private sector if unemployment is not profitable. I, for one, do not like unemployment as it currently stands…it only enables laziness. Make unemployment not a profitable situation, and they will look for work.

  12. icomeanon_13 says:

    What I would really like is some real transparency. Just where is all that money I pay in taxes going? I’d like to see the Federal Government outline what percentage of my money goes to Social Security, National Defense, Education, etc… Personally, I’m for ending the IRS altogether, but it would be telling to see just where our big government puts my money. I’m beginning to think Mr. Henry David Thoreau was onto something.

  13. USW, I like your plan. I would add, before any of them started, a 3-stage audit.
    1) put together a team of auditors from private industries, pick a few independent consultants, business owners of varying sizes, corporate buyers, etc. and make a panel of people. Have them investigate EVERY department and look at costs. Purchasing prices for supplies and other goods, costs of labor versus the standard market levels, costs of benefits, etc., all without eliminating any jobs or departments, just cutting waste.

    2) Have a second round audit looking at processes. If workflow and processes are innefficient, or if they are unnecessarily redundant, etc. they should be fixed. This will save further costs and may eliminate some positions or hours of work. Departments would remain intact.

    3) The third round of audit would be a more comprehensive look at the work being done and its effectiveness. This would fall under points 2 and 4 of your list I suppose. 🙂

  14. Mathius™ says:

    HIJACK!

    http://www.metafilter.com/106454/Rule-the-street

    Does anyone else think this is completely and utterly unacceptable?

    • Mathius

      Yes!!

      Loved this response: “Is there any non-BART evidence that a protest was planned in the first place? I don’t see how a disruption in cell phone reception would prevent people from showing up at the designated spot at the designated time – how the hell did we pull off protests before we all bought cell phones?”
      posted by muddgirl at 2:37 PM on August 12 [6 favorites]

      This person has apparently NOT been paying attention to how modern telecommunications are being used. Perhaps protests will have to be organized the old fashioned way from now on.

      • Mathius™ says:

        Without modern technology, the only way to execute an effective protest is to have Arlo Guthrie write you a song for the occasion.

    • Terry Evans says:

      Yes…this is completely and utterly unacceptable…but government does not care…

    • Buck the Wala says:

      By my understanding BART simply asked/requested the cell phone providers to shutdown service and they did. Nowhere does it indicate that BART has the authority to mandate this action. Rather it is the companies that simply complied with an outrageous request.

      I guess my point here is, where is the outrage towards these companies!?

      • Mathius™ says:

        It’s right here, Buck. Mathius is outraged.

        Yet, I love my iPhone and both AT&T and Verizon are guilty, so I cannot “vote with my feet”.. I suppose I could mail a box of dog shit to AT&T’s corporate headquarters, but I suspect they already get dozens every day due to their craptastic cell-service and probably wouldn’t even notice one more.

        • Buck the Wala says:

          That’s all I was asking for. Thank you.

          • I’m outraged too-But I don’t take it as a given that BART just requested they do this-I see government pressure in there somewhere as a high probability 🙂

  15. JB

    1) put together a team of auditors from private industries, pick a few independent consultants, business owners of varying sizes, corporate buyers, etc. and make a panel of people. Have them investigate EVERY department and look at costs. Purchasing prices for supplies and other goods, costs of labor versus the standard market levels, costs of benefits, etc., all without eliminating any jobs or departments, just cutting waste.

    This is specious – that is, superficially plausible but under inspection, fallacious or in error.

    Private industry – business – uses a measure to calculate “waste” and “costs”, etc. called Profit and Loss.

    How do you know that this “cost” is appropriate or not? Just because it has a large dollar number vs. another thing does not mean it is not valuable and effective.

    Business uses PROFIT and LOSS to determine effectiveness and value.

    Government has NO MEANS to this measure.

    This is why “business” men who enter government “to fix it” never do – their tool kit is missing a vital and key component.

    2) Have a second round audit looking at processes. If workflow and processes are innefficient,

    Measured how? How do you measure “inefficient”?

    or if they are unnecessarily redundant,

    How do you measure “unnecessary”?

    Thus, the specious comment – without understanding the tools that business and the market place uses to measure these things, it becomes easy to merely proclaim that “it shall be done”.

    But this is the reason Socialism and Government fail economically – they are not economic in their measures – they are POLITICAL in their measures

    Mises proved the failure of Socialism on the core argument that it has no pricing mechanism – thus, the allocation of resources cannot flow to the most economical use. Government and Socialists require comparison of a Free Market – that is, the watch what the Free Market produces, and then they produce the same.

    The effect is the “Russian” effect – where the West built washing machines, so Soviets built Washing machines – times 10 – to prove they could be more washing machines then the West. The problem – that wasn’t the goal – it was to build washing machines by the demand of the market – overproducing is no better than under-producing.

    Thus the Soviets were burdened by too much of the wrong things – as with all government production.

    As Mises demonstrated it is impossible for government to overcome this because it is missing the vital tool of measurement –Profit and Loss and no number of “private” businessmen cajoled into government service can solve this – for they have no tools with which to “fix” it.

    • Sorry, JB … it was for Jon Smith

    • Come on BF. We have to start somewhere! I understand your desire of no government. Reality is we have one. How do we get from where we are to something lesser? Your no government utopia is not going to just happen. It’s fine that you point out some flaws in the thinking, and I agree – determining P&L within the government structure is impossible. But Jon Smith’s auditing idea – with no politicians involved – is certainly a good first step.

      • Kathy

        Come on BF. We have to start somewhere!

        I agree!

        So why start by doing absolutely pointless and futile and irrelevant action????

        By doing pointless and futile action you lose the ability to do worthwhile and effective action – you cannot act in this minute doing something else then what you are doing! Minutes are not returned for re-use because you acted poorly!

        So the start:
        Absolute elimination of government dept./agencies – lock,stock and barrel – cold turkey

        Your no government utopia is not going to just happen.

        (1) It is not Utopia – it is Freedom.
        Utopia was a place written by St. Thomas where everything was controlled, the people all were taught and thought the same thing, and there was no freedom. To him, that would bring everlasting peace.

        Utopia is what you desire by keeping government.

        (2) It is happening – but the bad (government) is getting worse, but the good (freedom) is getting better and more pervasive. Humans tend to over-watch the bad, and un-observe the good.

        It’s fine that you point out some flaws in the thinking, and I agree – determining P&L within the government structure is impossible. But Jon Smith’s auditing idea – with no politicians involved – is certainly a good first step.

        Again, my complaint to you as to Jon

        How are you going to measure “waste” vs “not waste”???

        I spent $150,000 on a computer … is that waste or not waste? How do you know?

        Please explain….

    • Ok BF, I do not do this often, but in this case, you are dead wrong. Your argument is a cop-out for failing to consider the possibilities in an innovative and realsitic fashion and it shows a surprising lack of consideration for business operations. You are so focussed on teh philosophical aspects of the argument that lost site of realistic application.

      I get that “profit and loss” is a business term, not a government term. There is no product on which a profit is being made on which to base a cost analysis. So how do you approach it? The same way you approach a specific department within a business. For instance, an accounting or IT department within companies that do not provide accounting or IT services are NOT profitable. EVER. They do not provide a product or service that is traded for monetary value. They are a cost of doing business. Costs analysis is done based on stated goals of the company and/or department. Determinations must be made on what the most efficent manner is to acheive the stated goals. Non-profit organizations operate in similar fashion. They have goals, typically those goals include a service to as many people as possible that qualify for receipt of that service. This requires a method of doing as much as possible with limited resources.

      So how do you determine this? Same as any efficiency consultant would. Find the stated goals, and look at the processes and resources being used. Determine if they are the best possible processes and resources. Determine if those resources are being aquired for the best possible price. determine if they are being utilized properly. Eliminate purchasing that is done to “keep from losing money in the budget”. If the stated goals require the use of paper, make sure the paper is being bought at the best deal, deals comparable to similar purchases on the open market. You might not be able to do an exact determination like a business would but you can find comparisons in the market that can indicate cost overruns and innefficiency. You can discover cases where the same stated goals could be accomplished in a better way that required fewer resources, had better quality results, and better time tables acheiving those results.

      And don’t think that businesses automatically the most efficency they possibly can simply because they have a profit/loss standard. An efficient use of IT hardware funding in an engineering company would be to put the best and newest computers on the desks of the developers, the engineers that do the most demanding work. Instead, the newest machines are on the desks of managers and presidents even though all they do is check email and make reports in MS Word. The engineers get the second best stuff. Maximum efficiency? No. Within the scope of profit? Probably, and therefore they can operate that way. You make a profit on your 150k computer, then it does not really matter. If, however, you could have accomplished the same thing with a 15k computer, then you squandered profit for no reason. If it is your business, fine, you do what you want. If, however, you are a purchasing department head and you do something like that, your head will be on a chopping block, because you were operating with other people’s money. We simply need to treat government departments the same way because they are doing that exact thing.

      This is not only realistic from a standpoint of there being some measure (it may not be perfect, but nothing subjective is ever perfect), but it is also realistic from a political standpoint. At least, it is from a voter standpoint. The first and even second levels of the audit do not engage in political action at all, nor would anyone oppose them except for those profitting from the waste. It is only when determinations on the effectiveness of the directives and the need for whole departments are engage in does a political battle start. I think I could get anyone with any belief in government at all on board with my idea for the first and second levels. The left is as upset about government overpaying for office supplies and fighter jets as the right is, and all the independents are.

      Now, as far as your cold turkey solution, I support it in concept. The only realistic means of making that happen would be revolution. I am not opposed to that either, but the country is not ready, thus any such action would simply be a few crazies that get mowed down and buried with propoganda nad fluff as quickly as possible.

  16. Sidetrack:
    On March 29, 2009 – I believe was the first post where I urged the prudent purchasing of gold and other precious metals:

    On that day:
    Gold Price Close : $922.60
    Silver Price Close : $12.975

    Today,
    Gold: $1776 – 92% increase ($853 profit over 29 months, or 3% profit per month)
    Silver: $39.92 – 209% increase ($27 profit over 29 months, or 7% profit per month)

    The message today:

    They are both undervalued – today –

  17. “Absolute elimination of government dept./agencies – lock,stock and barrel – cold turkey”

    NOT GOING TO HAPPEN! Not in our lifetime, our kids lifetime, our grandkids liftime.

    Shrinkage – smaller and smaller over time. People will realize they are not missing what they thought they absolutely needed to have.

    You are entitled to pay whatever you want on your computer because it is your money and you and only you decide what its value is. I do understand your waste/not waste and applying our values on things might not be correct. But we have to start somewhere! Jon Smith’s approach makes sense.

  18. Mathius™ says:
  19. Waste or not waste?

    Obama’s Frightening Bus Tour

    http://www.whitehousedossier.com/2011/08/16/obamas-frightening-bus-tour/

    • Kathy,

      What is your measure of waste?

      Perfect example:

      There is a huge mass of people that say “Taking the message to the People is vital for the effort of fixing America! Spending a few million to do this is worth it

      But you represent a huge mass of people that say “No matter your message, I ain’t buying it, so spending the money to tell me a message I will not hear is not worth it

      But both of those are POLITICAL – NOT ECONOMICAL – calculations

      So, me, Mr. Economist, says – Please tell me MY TOOLS that I can use to make ECONOMIC CALCULATIONS based on POLITICAL goals?

      So you going to me and demanding “You have to help stop government wasting money!!” is like asking me to fly to the moon in a paper airplane.

      • OK, seriously BF, my including the Obama tour clip was a ding against The One. Yes, clearly political.

        A hammer is not political. A lot of the waste is not political. Call it the Austerity Audit!

        • Kathy,
          A lot of the waste is not political

          In fact it is all political, or it would not have been spent

          …and that is the problem.

          The choices of expenditures -from who to buy a computer from and who to give it to, as an example – is completely political.
          There is no other measure within government.

          It is purchased from whoever meets “government set criteria” and give to who ever meets “government set needs”. There is no measure 0 as it does not exist – to determine whether such criteria or needs is profitable – that is, returns an economic benefit – because economics is NOT measured for the benefit.

          Government does not spend money to build a road because it determines it will gain profit.

          It built that road because a bunch of people yelled at their politician who then went to his caucus to complain about his election chances, who then added it to some budget.

    • Kathy

      It takes a lot of vehicles to move your cheering admiring crowd around with you from town to town. 🙂

      This is WASTE. Pure and simple.

      • Kathy,

        So if he used a Beetle, that would be ok?
        But what if I did not agree – why would I see his bus a waste?

        • Enough already!

          It’s days like this that I feel for your wife. How does she do it????

          BTW, he could have at least used the Chevy Volt!

  20. Kathy (now, double checking that it was, indeed, you who was the author)

    NOT GOING TO HAPPEN! Not in our lifetime, our kids lifetime, our grandkids liftime.

    Dear Kathy –

    That is exactly how it will happen, and it will not happen any other way

    The moment government “tries” (that is, their mouths move) to cut government departments, the entire government employee union will strike – all at the same time, so to ensure maximum leverage and solidarity – for they know if one gets successfully cut, all will be cut.

    The government will panic claim “what will we do without VITAL government services and boondoggles”! and capitulate. Government has not choice – government exists for the purpose of government to exist – it will not cut its own throat.

    You may dream in fantasy land that “people” will sit around and let their cash cow be slaughtered without a fight or whimper.

    But they WILL NOT go quietly into the dark and die in a corner – they will make blood flow in the streets first.

    Thus, the only cut will come is when -suddenly- the house of cards falls down – that all the government cannot pay its bills and all those that depend on government loot see the loot evaporate – that there are “no favorites” – that everyone takes the heavy loss at the same time

    But we have to start somewhere! Jon Smith’s approach makes sense.

    Suppose you are these magical people that Jon suggests steps into government to eliminate waste.
    You demand the budgets, plans and expenditures of some dept.
    They are provided.
    You got through them.

    You see a bill for $150,000 for a computer.

    Again, how do you know what is “waste” and “not waste” when someone shows you a receipt for a computer that says “$150,000”??

    • You find out what it can do. You find out if what it can do is needed in that department. You find out if that was a relatively realistic price for a similar machine on the open market. If all of those are true, it passes round one. If any of them are not true, you know it was waste. You then determine if there is a better use of the resource. If so, move it there. If not, and the market value is too low, you leave it in place, but you mark the budget as not needing an IT funding budget that large and adjust it accordingly.

      • Jon,

        I keep asking and you keep not answering.

        By what measure to you know what is “needed” and not “needed”

        In my business, employees ALWAYS need new stuff, but when or when not do I buy it?

      • Jon

        You find out what it can do.

        “Find” out ….. what?

        I pile a bunch of paper on your desk … what is your measure to differentiate “good” from “bad” info?

        You find out if what it can do is needed in that department.

        How can YOU tell the difference between an “employee’s” needs and wishes?

        You find out if that was a relatively realistic price for a similar machine on the open market.

        How do you know this machine will pay for itself by returning a profit if you have no way to measure profit?

        • Screw your piles of paper, I talk to the engineers that built the machine.

          I don’t care about an employee’s needs or wishes. I care about the tasks the employees are hired to do. If I don’t have the expertise to know what tools are needed to accomplish those tasks, then I find someone who does. We are, for the most part, not talking about specialized activities. The vast majority of government “work” is data crunching, administration, processing paperwork, and a host of other things that are neither highly technical nor unique to the point that a reasonable and reasoned analysis could not be made. Even if the measure is not exact, it is not exact in business either. It would, however, be vastly superior to the idiotic processes and resources usage currently employed by our governmental departments.

          I am not asking the machine to pay for itself, I am asking it to be matched to the task.

    • BF

      Sorry my friend but you are wrong to say it can happen no other way.

      First of all, the Federal Employees CAN NOT strike. They might try but they will be replaced if the right person is in the White House.

      What they WILL do is user their “surrogates” to carry their message of gloom and doom to the public. Create FEAR will be, currently is, the goal.

      The reaction will depend on the speed and magnitude of cuts. Some Federal Agencies have already undergone severe reductions in work force and budgets. Yet there have been no strikes or panic.

      So the reaction DEPENDS on the action.

      • JAC

        They might try but they will be replaced if the right person is in the White House

        Won’t happen.

        That was a bullet that could only be fired once. It was one union that went at it alone, and the education was given.
        “All for one and one for all” is the motto today.

  21. Ray Hawkins says:

    So now the hard part……YBH (Yes, but how?)

    For every proposal to eliminate “something” the Federal government funds there will be opposition, sometimes big and sometimes small. Buried in there will be very explicit/obvious attempts to make you feel guilty for de-funding, scaling back and/or eliminating a program or service. I have no issue with that. I also have no issue with stating, with finality, we have no money left.

    With the Department of Education – there must be literally hundreds if not thousands of programs and structure that gobbles resources and money. It can seem inconceivable to want to eliminate Ed, but if we never explore an alternative we’ll continue to dump money into programs that never should have received money in the first place.

    Take for example the program for Native Alaska Education Equity (http://www2.ed.gov/policy/elsec/leg/esea02/pg105.html#sec7303). It may seem small (it probably is) but let’s start somewhere.

    The purposes of the program are:

    (1) To recognize the unique educational needs of Alaska Natives.

    (2) To authorize the development of supplemental educational programs to benefit Alaska Natives.

    (3) To supplement existing programs and authorities in the area of education to further the purposes of this part.

    (4) To provide direction and guidance to appropriate Federal, State and local agencies to focus resources, including resources made available under this part, on meeting the educational needs of Alaska Natives.

    Sounds good right?

    Probably some benefit is achieved right?

    But is it something that should be Federally funded versus State-funded? I don’t think so. Let the Alaskans fund it if they so wish. This may not seem a tremendous amount of money – and I don’t think we need any kind of efficiency audit here either – the program simply does not belong at the Federal level (if there is some “treaty” underlying this then eliminate the treaty).

    My simply answer here is this – for the next two fiscal years – the lead of this program is tasked with winding down the program. Benchmarks can be established to transition services to the State in year two (budget cycles may not be in sync – that is why year 2) with a full and complete shop close at month 24. If people are told – as of xx/yy/zz you will have no more money – then see how creative they get if they belief Native Alaskans truly do have unique educational needs that must be met.

    Just a thought…..

    • Sometimes you amaze me, Ray! Or is it really your wife that jumps on under your name occasionally?

      A point of emphasis would be the “For every proposal to eliminate “something” the Federal government funds there will be opposition, sometimes big”

      Good bet that every decision will result in big opposition. Sob stories galore. Media will go nuts (more so than they do right now). So be it.

      • Ray Hawkins says:

        @Kathy – I had a notion to try and co-write some stuff with JAC on this very topic – not sure he has warmed to the idea yet. One target I wanted to address was the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Again – I know its small fish – but we have to start somewhere. I am part Native American (Chippewa) and have long thought that Government “help” was actually precluding most Native Americans from enjoying prosperity by their own doing. The more I have researched and read the more I realize that with respect to “Indian Affairs”, the BIA is like a deeply entrenched cancer.

        In the last year I have heard the Dept. of Education brought up in conversation as a cutting room floor candidate. Anyone breathing this idea is immediately dismissed as a crazy teabagger – sans any dialogue or exploration of the idea/concept – and that is what is preventing us from any reform – big or small. I don’t identify myself as a tea party type (or “teabbager”) – but I think ED merits deep consideration for many of the same reasons USW has listed.

        It is definitely me Kathy. Even a left leaner has to realize when the wallet is empty and the money tree picked clean.

  22. Jon,

    Ok BF, I do not do this often, but in this case, you are dead wrong.

    (double checking post author…. confirmed…Jon)
    No, I am not dead, nor am I wrong.

    Your argument is a cop-out

    Economic law and Public Choice Doctrine is not a “cop-out” … these are real tools in understanding cause and effect of both economic and political choices. Your failure to apply either of these is the very reason that not place in modern politics has EVER a business man entered politics under the program of “cutting waste” EVER succeeded!

    Italy for a case point.

    Italian Prime Minister Berlusconi is a billionaire businessmen who entered politics to “fix Italy massive expenditures and debt”.

    Under his “reign” the Italian government expenditures, deficit and debt grew

    Need I go over the Reagan years???

    There are real reasons this cannot happen and you ignoring them does not make them “go away”.

    I get that “profit and loss” is a business term, not a government term.

    No!
    It is an ECONOMIC term used in the Science of Economics

    There is no product on which a profit is being made on which to base a cost analysis.

    Security is not a product? Ask Security companies — a $250 billion a year service industry! They make HUGE profits!
    Insurance is not a product? Ask the Insurance companies — a trillion a year service industry! They make HUGE profits!

    But government cannot suffer the consequences of loss – it does not go bankrupt, nor its assets seized and dispersed to its creditors …. It is immune to loss, hence, IT…HAS…NO…METHOD…OF…ECONOMIC…CALCULATION

    The same way you approach a specific department within a business. For instance, an accounting or IT department within companies that do not provide accounting or IT services are NOT profitable. EVER.

    Damn rights they are – or else they will be eliminated!

    You are trying to attribute a cost within production as “not earning the profit” by pretending all the profit is made by the salesmen, and all you are doing this by pointing to an artifact of cost accounting as if it was a measure of value.

    This is like saying that Ford, buying a tire from Goodyear, means that the tire is unprofitable for Ford to buy!

    Determinations must be made on what the most efficent manner is to acheive the stated goals.

    HOW …. IS ….THIS ….MEASURED
    …without referencing PROFIT and LOSS?

    Non-profit organizations operate in similar fashion.

    Not true at all!

    They are precisely and directly subject to Profit and Loss calculations, for if they have a LOSS, they evaporate.

    Do NOT confuse the expenditure of the profit in this calculation.

    Simply because this entity spends its profits for something does NOT equate that it uses a different economic calculation then IBM!

    The moment government is measured by Profit and Loss – that is, SUBJECT to the same constraints, conditions and consequences, then the economic tools exist to measure effectiveness of expenditure

    Determine if they are the best possible processes and resources.

    Again,
    HOW DO YOU KNOW THIS?

    How do you know “this is the best possible (fill in blank)?”

    I show you a computer for $150,000 and another for $300 … which is the best? How do you know? What calculation do you make to know this?

    A business measures their profit – if the $150,000 makes a 10% profit and the $300 a 5% profit – THEY WILL BUY THE $150,000…

    BUT THE MEASURE –profit– must exist to be able to determine this! Without it, you are a sailboat in the wind without a keel.

    And don’t think that businesses automatically the most efficency they possibly can simply because they have a profit/loss standard.

    Of course not! There are many UNPROFITABLE businesses!

    You miss the point – Profit AND LOSS is the MEASURE.

    Carrying a yard stick does not mean you will grow to six feet. But to see if you are growing, a yard stick is useful.

    But if you have no measure, you cannot tell how you are growing!

    This is not only realistic from a standpoint of there being some measure (it may not be perfect, but nothing subjective is ever perfect), but it is also realistic from a political standpoint.

    Ah! Exactly!

    From a Political Point of View which has absolutely NOTHING TO DO with economic point of view~!

    You want to cut government based on perception and acceptance of the people – that is, if the people believe you are cutting waste, that is your measure though the reality is completely different

    You could be cutting necessities and actually increasing inefficiencies and waste – but that does not matter – public perception is what matters

    …just like the Soviets. It did not matter that the washing machines sat unused – the politics demanded that the Soviets outproduce the West in washing machines.

    • “(double checking post author…. confirmed…Jon)”
      Lol, yes, I am the crazy man that is trying to ride the wild lion.

      “No, I am not dead, nor am I wrong.”
      I am glad you are not dead. And it is rare that you are wrong. But you are, because your are viewing this too narrowly.

      “Economic law and Public Choice Doctrine is not a “cop-out” … these are real tools in understanding cause and effect of both economic and political choices. Your failure to apply either of these is the very reason that not place in modern politics has EVER a business man entered politics under the program of “cutting waste” EVER succeeded!”
      Yes, of course they are real tools. They are also not applicable to this task, as you so aptly pointed out. So if it is the wrong tool you use a diffferent one! Businessmen have failed to cut waste because they do not understand how make changes in government. Not because they cannot determine what is waste and what is not.

      “Italy for a case point.

      Italian Prime Minister Berlusconi is a billionaire businessmen who entered politics to “fix Italy massive expenditures and debt”.

      Under his “reign” the Italian government expenditures, deficit and debt grew

      Need I go over the Reagan years???

      There are real reasons this cannot happen and you ignoring them does not make them “go away”.”
      Are you certain the Italian Prime Minister really was trying to cut waste? Was he even in a position to do so? Did he understand the fact that it is not his to run and that political negotiation and educating the public are required? And as for Reagan, dont make me laugh. He may have been a conservative, but he did not care about deficits. He cared about the cold war and trying to fix the world’s problems. There are real reasons for dismal failure and you ascribing it all to an inability to measure waste is a gross failure to consider all factors, and will certainly not aid anyone in finding a solution.

      “No!
      It is an ECONOMIC term used in the Science of Economics”
      Granted. I am not engaging in the science of economics. The science of economics shows the government spending to be too high to be sustainable (and a host of other issues). It has shown that something needs to be done. The science of economics says that the government will collapse the whole economy. If there is to be a solution other than collapse, then we must look at the science of politics. The science of politics requires a solution that can be supported by a majority of citizens. Thus a specific task arises. I am presenting a tool to accomplish a specific task. The fact that your tool of choice does not apply does not mean the task is impossible.

      “Security is not a product? Ask Security companies — a $250 billion a year service industry! They make HUGE profits!
      Insurance is not a product? Ask the Insurance companies — a trillion a year service industry! They make HUGE profits!”
      This is not the proper stage for determining the viability of an entire department. I am approaching this on a micro level and working up. It is key to making the whole thing palateable to those who do not support reduction of services, or would argue over which services. Also, on a side note, a VERY large cost has been removed from most security companies by having the training of a great many their practitioners be paid for by the taxpayers. Most security firms are heavily staffed by former military and/or former police. At least SOME of insureance profits are supported by legal requirements to carry insurance. Vehicle liability insurance, homeowners insurance (required by Freddy and Fanny), and legal pressures for health benefits levied on business. I am not saying that those industries would fail without government, but they are not exactly qualified to hold up as private examples of profit.

      “But government cannot suffer the consequences of loss – it does not go bankrupt, nor its assets seized and dispersed to its creditors …. It is immune to loss, hence, IT…HAS…NO…METHOD…OF…ECONOMIC…CALCULATION”
      This is certainly a root cause to the current problem. However, the idea that there is a need for a solution, but a solution is impossible is disappointing coming from a supporter of the market.”

      “Damn rights they are – or else they will be eliminated!

      You are trying to attribute a cost within production as “not earning the profit” by pretending all the profit is made by the salesmen, and all you are doing this by pointing to an artifact of cost accounting as if it was a measure of value.”
      NO! You are completely missing the point. Specific departments are not judged on profit, they are judged on productivity that supports the activities of the company that create profit. They ARE judged on cost, and that cost is measured against the functionality of the department. They are included in overall costs, and measured against other market options, and against their ability to accomplish what they are commissioned to do. Again, this is a measure for a department by itself.

      “This is like saying that Ford, buying a tire from Goodyear, means that the tire is unprofitable for Ford to buy!”
      No, its like saying that Ford, if buying a tire from Goodyear when a equivalent tire is available from Firestone for less, is making a bad decision and is wasting resources, even if they make an overall profit on either tire.

      “HOW …. IS ….THIS ….MEASURED
      …without referencing PROFIT and LOSS?”
      It is measured by referencing cost against productivity.

      “Not true at all!

      They are precisely and directly subject to Profit and Loss calculations, for if they have a LOSS, they evaporate.

      Do NOT confuse the expenditure of the profit in this calculation.

      Simply because this entity spends its profits for something does NOT equate that it uses a different economic calculation then IBM!

      The moment government is measured by Profit and Loss – that is, SUBJECT to the same constraints, conditions and consequences, then the economic tools exist to measure effectiveness of expenditure”

      When there is no profit for the action, how do you say this? Are you viewing fundraising as “profit”? I suppose it could be viewed that way, but the analysis that gets done, even for the purposes of donors, is based, not on the profit of services, but on the value of the service, and most importantly, the use of resources. That is what their marketting is based on. So how is it determined? By looking at the best ways to use resources and accomplish the stated goals and tasks. This is a part of their internal analysis BEFORE looking at the “profit” arm, which is more tied to the effectiveness of their marketting.

      “Again,
      HOW DO YOU KNOW THIS?

      How do you know “this is the best possible (fill in blank)?”

      I show you a computer for $150,000 and another for $300 … which is the best? How do you know? What calculation do you make to know this?

      A business measures their profit – if the $150,000 makes a 10% profit and the $300 a 5% profit – THEY WILL BUY THE $150,000…”
      I know this based on expertise relating to similar tasks. For instance, If I am recommending a computer for personal use, I will match the computer to the task within the budget of the user. If someone can afford a $150k computer, but a $300 one will do, I will tell the user to get the cheaper one. The additional stated goal of this hypothetical panel of experts is to accomplish the same services as are currently being done for less money. This is not that hard to do.

      “BUT THE MEASURE -profit- must exist to be able to determine this! Without it, you are a sailboat in the wind without a keel.”
      No, my keel is to operate at a current level and standard for less.

      “Of course not! There are many UNPROFITABLE businesses!

      You miss the point – Profit AND LOSS is the MEASURE.

      Carrying a yard stick does not mean you will grow to six feet. But to see if you are growing, a yard stick is useful.

      But if you have no measure, you cannot tell how you are growing!”
      Ok, so find a different measure. I have no yardstick, but I know how tall 10 other people are who have yardsticks. It is not an exact measure, but it is relatively effective since I know that those people all used yardsticks.

      “Ah! Exactly!

      From a Political Point of View which has absolutely NOTHING TO DO with economic point of view~!

      You want to cut government based on perception and acceptance of the people – that is, if the people believe you are cutting waste, that is your measure though the reality is completely different

      You could be cutting necessities and actually increasing inefficiencies and waste – but that does not matter – public perception is what matters

      …just like the Soviets. It did not matter that the washing machines sat unused – the politics demanded that the Soviets outproduce the West in washing machines.”
      There is more than just appearance of cutting or cutting without expertise. A relative measure is not as good as an exact measure, but it is better than none, and it can be employed in this situation, at least for a majority of government departments. The key here is that even those on the left, even the socialists, claim to be against waste. As such, the removal of said waste is difficult to argue against.

  23. I was in the Navy in the 1980’s. Every September, the Dept Heads encouraged us to order parts, equipment, tools, paint brushes etc. with reckless abandon. The reasoning was, the end of the Fiscal year was coming, and if we didn’t spend x amount of $, we wouldn’t get the money the following year. I’m sure this hasn’t changed, except the $900 hammers probably cost $1500 now.

    We can’t afford that level of spending anymore. Everyone wants to cut Govt spending but NIMBY. Take away someone else’s pork but leave mine alone. Our entitlement culture can no longer be sustained.

  24. Had to post this!

    Silicon Valley billionaire funding creation of artificial libertarian islands

    By Liz Goodwin

    National Affairs Reporter

    Seasteading Institute city design (Anthony Ling)
    Pay Pal founder and early Facebook investor Peter Thiel has given $1.25 million to an initiative to create floating libertarian countries in international waters, according to a profile of the billionaire in Details magazine.

    Thiel has been a big backer of the Seasteading Institute, which seeks to build sovereign nations on oil rig-like platforms to occupy waters beyond the reach of law-of-the-sea treaties. The idea is for these countries to start from scratch–free from the laws, regulations, and moral codes of any existing place. Details says the experiment would be “a kind of floating petri dish for implementing policies that libertarians, stymied by indifference at the voting booths, have been unable to advance: no welfare, looser building codes, no minimum wage, and few restrictions on weapons.”

    “There are quite a lot of people who think it’s not possible,” Thiel said at a Seasteading Institute Conference in 2009, according to Details. (His first donation was in 2008, for $500,000.) “That’s a good thing. We don’t need to really worry about those people very much, because since they don’t think it’s possible they won’t take us very seriously. And they will not actually try to stop us until it’s too late.”

    The Seasteading Institute’s Patri Friedman says the group plans to launch an office park off the San Francisco coast next year, with the first full-time settlements following seven years later.

    Thiel made news earlier this year for putting a portion of his $1.5 billion fortune into an initiative to encourage entrepreneurs to skip college.

    http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/lookout/silicon-valley-billionaire-funding-creation-artificial-libertarian-islands-140840896.html

  25. Canine Weapon says:

    As good a ready as any, I suppose: LINK.

  26. Ok, despite the “nay-sayers”, you’ve got a plan to reduce the size of the United States Federal Government, and the steps to carry it out.

    When are you going to start this process?

    • Todd, (yep, this time it is Todd!)

      When are you going to start this process

      They day he is elected along with 275 of others who think the same way – which is never.

      • Black Flag,

        How many times did you double/triple check the name??? 😉

        They don’t have to be elected to start the process. They can compile the data and do the analysis to make their case, and then either get current elected officials on-board or run for office themselves.

        Here’s a quick and dirty analysis of the Department of Defense:

        1. Ability to end the fiscal year at or below their allocated fiscal budget. Fail

        2. Effectiveness of the department, agency, bureau, or commission at doing what it was “created to do.” Fail

        3. Critical assessment of the decisions made in the course of doing what they do. Fail

        4. Need of the department, agency, bureau, or commission in today’s world. Current structure – Fail. Restructured it might “Pass”

        5. Determination whether the Constitution mandates that the purpose of the agency falls within the scope of the US government. Current structure – Fail. Restructured it might “Pass”

        So “1” out of 5. Looks like we cut the Department of Defense.

        But the question is will they do the hard work of actually analyzing each department, agency, bureau, or commission, or just continue to piss-n-moan about “G-O-V-E-R-N-M-E-N-T”?

        PS – before you jump all over me about how unrealistic this is, remember that I’m just “playing along” with today’s game!

      • #2 – US Forest Service – Fire & Aviation Management

        I think they fail on all 5. Hasta la vista, baby!!

        PS – Sorry Plainlyspoken 😦

        • Todd,

          Don’t be sorry. In Colorado the State contracts for aviation fire fighting units. The US Forest Service had no air units here. (Now, as to whether or not there is some federal monies given to the State that are used in contracting for those services – probably.)

    • #3 – U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) (I’ll just lump all 3 together for “FUN”!)

      Same as DOD – “1” out of 5. Hasta la vista, baby!!

      PS – Looks like the good Colonel is going to be even busier! 😉

  27. Totally agree. One problem with cutting all those agencies is finding the congress people with he guts to raise unemployment rates to what…15…20%?

  28. For all the Charlie Stellas of the world.

    FROM ROBERT HEINLEIN:

    Throughout history, poverty is the normal condition of man. Advances which permit this norm to be exceeded — here and there, now and then — are the work of an extremely small minority, frequently despised, often condemned, and almost always opposed by all right-thinking people. Whenever this tiny minority is kept from creating, or (as sometimes happens) is driven out of a society, the people then slip back into abject poverty.

    This is known as “bad luck.”

    • SK Trynosky Sr says:

      I believe the president, during his tour, remarked that we were having “bad luck” in that the economy has not sprung back as strongly as predicted.

  29. Kathy,

    How does she do it??

    After awhile, she turns to me and says:

    It probably would be a good idea for you to shut up for awhile

    • WordPress is fighting me. I was thinking after WW2, Ike did shrink the federal gov. Lead me to surpluses.

      When surpluses occur in modern times, they tend to be short-lived. Only once since World War II, in 1947 through 1949, did the federal government have three consecutive budget surpluses.1 The only other postwar back-to-back surpluses came in 1956 and 1957. By contrast, before the Keynesian Revolution of the 1930s, on three occasions the U.S. ran 10 or more years of consecutive budget surpluses: 1825-1836 (12 years); 1866-1893 (28 years), and 1920-1930 (11 years). Interestingly, the string of 28 consecutive deficits that ended in fiscal year 1997 came almost precisely one century after an era of budget surpluses of precisely the same duration.

  30. So what form of economics is this?

    Obama Ag Secretary Vilsack: Food Stamps Are A “Stimulus”

    Jay Carney (and Pelosi) says unemployment are the best form of stimulus.

    http://michellemalkin.com/2011/08/16/ag-secretary/

    • Kathy,

      This is called “Classic Keynesian Economics” – which is pretty much the only economics theory taught in Universities anywhere.

      Keynes believed that the “velocity” of money is a wealth multiplier – not the creation of wealth itself. He believed the more time a dollar passed between hands, the more wealth in an economy.

      From this, he justified government spending – as he said it was the spending that made growth (ie: wealth).

      Keynes was a crackpot.

      Keynesian do not understand the Broken Window fallacy.

      • Indeed!

        • Jon,

          Indeed, indeed!

          A simple experiment:
          You and a friend pass a dollar bill between one another and measure the increase in wealth with every pass.

          Quickly, even the moronic, see that this “transaction” is meaningless….

          ..but now, try convince an Keynesian on the payroll of a government!

  31. A Puritan Descendant says:

    Jac, just saw your response form this morning over debt ceiling/Bachman. I responded. Tnx.

    • Puritan

      My point was that govt could be restarted then turned off then back on, etc etc, as opposed to a flat shut down.

      Obviously this would be very, very, undesirable. The best short term option, in my view, was to increase the limit.

      But the fact remains, about 50% of the current Govt program expenditures must be cut. The unanswered question is whether a slow reduction would be possible before collapse, or if we need to suck it up and take one so that future generations will have a chance at the kind of life we inherited.

      • A Puritan Descendant says:

        40% 50% or 60% what’s a few hundred billion, or who’s counting? 🙂 I notice without any real budget being passed it is difficult to find any definitive budget amounts, and no one seems to agree on expediture amounts, or even what catagories fall under defense. In addition, the debt deal appears to be changing what falls under defense in 2013, or I am just confused again….. What a mess! No wonder politicians don’t know what they are talking about, and without any known facts who can prove them wrong, other than some mind twisted budget nerd. 🙂

        Also, I don’t want to beat a dead horse, but even if we ‘solve’ our budget problems, I don’t think we will ever return to the ‘good ole days’ without solving something just as serious and impossible to correct, and that is excessive REGULATIONS. I said it before and am saying it again, deregulation at ALL government levels would unleash a tidal wave of government revenue (for them to waste yet again). Only Perry seems to even mention regulations, in anything other than an occasional soundbite.

        Oh well, have a nice day! I will be working my *ss off yet again today, but I am outdoors and it is for a good cause, another yearly supply of cider 😉

  32. So Perry calls a spade a spade re the Fed and the left is going bonkers. What’s up with that?

    • Fear

      • Mathius™ says:

        The left is terrified of Perry.

        Personally, I’m not a fan, but I haven’t done all my homework yet. If I had to guess though, I imagine that I wouldn’t mind too much if he was eaten by raptors… but I’ll reserve judgment… for now.

  33. Black Flag

    I have watched your claims about the inability to determine efficiency in govt and must say your arguments are not rational, based on my experience in both private and government business mgt.

    I understand, and agree, that a general “economic” efficiency or effectiveness is determined by market forces and profits. And is thus unattainable by Govt at the broad scale. However, efficiency by itself does not require “profit”. It simply requires a measure of input and output. The best output to input ratio wins. If output is held constant then the least input wins.

    If you are as familiar with business operations as you say then you know that not all departments utilize profit as a measure of effectiveness or efficiency. Those metrics are handled at the corporate level and then targets/budgets assigned accordingly. Managers are trained and expected to understand the processes/systems, etc needed to meet their goals/objectives/targets/budgets, etc. So the Dept manager who has no profit metric falls back on general efficiency metrics. Just as with the new computer decision given as an example above. The manager knows what capability is needed to meet her goals. So then the capability is matched against purchase/operation and maintenance costs to get the “least cost” or most “efficient” option.

    I reject your notion that Govt managers can not conduct the same types of analysis to identify WASTE within their programs. All that is needed is the right skills/training and “motivation”. Your lumping of all Govt agencies and departments into the same basket reveals either a significant lack of understanding about Govt operations or a deliberate avoidance of reality, in order to support your broader point. It is the latter that reduces the credibility of the broader argument. When many of us here have done exactly what you say can not be done, it might cause some to doubt your other claims.

    Waste can easily be identified by skilled and motivated managers within Govt. But, not all waste can be identified nor can maximum efficiency be achieved with certainty. But I have found that to be equally allusive in the private sector. The conditions affecting inputs and outputs are simply to fluid to make absolute claims that last.

    • Well said.

    • JAC,

      JB posted that when he sees me post vs. him …. there is a moment of hesitation…

      Damn.

      When you post vs. me, I feel as JB.

      Be patient, I will respond…. and hopefully, hesitate you for at least a second… 🙂

    • JAC and Jon,

      . Managers are trained and expected to understand the processes/systems, etc needed to meet their goals/objectives/targets/budgets, etc.

      BUT!…

      … you misapply situations!

      Yes, the moron at the bottom, serving the Egg McMuffin is not calculating profit/loss.

      But that does NOT dismiss that his effort is calculated “somewhere” as a profit or loss

      This calculation is not dependent on the “level’ of hierarchy. It is merely dependent that “somewhere in the hierarchy” it is done!

      Somewhere, at some time, someone says “F**K, we are losing our shirts” or “F**K, we are making a mint!”

      Thus, attributing such a calculation at a level that cannot make such a calculation is inherently, and obviously
      , flawed.

      • But someone has indeed recognized we are losing our shirts. Many have, in fact. Some have not realized why.
        So, the solution is to remove the things that people think are the cause, and they are in fact a small part of it. Remove them and let them see it is not enough. Then remove what they admit to, then they will see even deeper. Eventually, you can cut those whole programs and departments.

        • Jon,

          But someone has indeed recognized we are losing our shirts

          hahahah…

          Who?

          If you are a business, the lack of money in your bank account is indeed a solid reminder.

          But we are government

          What is your reminder when you can print money or steal it without apparent recourse?

          Your bank account is minus $2 trillion dollars. …. NO PROBLEM … type a 2 with nine zero’s behind it … and *poof* whatareyatakingabout economic calculation???

          • The ones paying the bill recognized it. And it is dawning on more and more that printing money is also a cost, just as much as any tax.

  34. Charlie

    I do not see the world in black and white.

    As I know you know….

    you can find rest and protection under my house
    …food, shelter, and forgiveness…

    However,…..
    … when the debate whether 2+2=4 or 2+2=5 is compromised that 2+2=4.5…

    .. I know that you know where I stand on that…

  35. JAC

    *big sigh and deep breath*

    I have watched your claims about the inability to determine efficiency in govt and must say your arguments are not rational, based on my experience in both private and government business mgt.

    Understood.

    I raise my point on the shoulders of Hayek and Mises … who definitely demonstrated … because the lack of profit and loss motivation economic calculation was impossible

    So we are here.

    The facts: government does not, nor ever, nor is able capable of economic calculation as the government is immune to profit or loss.

    It is only – and by the strictest definition – only capable of POLITICAL calculation – and that means “COSTS BE DAMNED!”

    I understand, and agree, that a general “economic” efficiency or effectiveness is determined by market forces and profits. And is thus unattainable by Govt at the broad scale. However, efficiency by itself does not require “profit”. It simply requires a measure of input and output. The best output to input ratio wins. If output is held constant then the least input wins.

    Indeed!

    I have -as did Hayek, Rothbard, et al – here this argument.

    They all – as I – retorted this:

    Good for you!
    You have discovered a means beyond profit/loss to calculate economic outcomes


    ….

    ……
    …..

    …..Would you be so kind as to provide the method – that is NOT profit/loss – in this determination !!!!!!

    The staggering .. silence… or proclamation of fallacy is…

    …absolute.

    So I ask of you – as I’ve asked of Jon et al…

    Please give me an objective measure of “efficiency/effective/good/profti” that does NOT require profit/loss

    Trust me, your silence is deafening and not alone.

    It is so defeaning that the leading Communist/Socialist – in response to Mises question – said “You are right … it DOES NOT EXIST…”

    …and further he said “The ECONOMIC PAIN of the forceful reallocation of wealth is WORTH THE POVERTY SOCIETY WILL SUFFER”.

    …now, take that to the bank…

    • A person trained in economic calculation, however, might be able to affect policy if granted the authority. Or if, economic consequence is tied to political consequence.

      • Jon,
        trained in economic calculation

        Yes, good sir – there are two, and only two, such….

        (1) They understand the calculation and believe they can manipulate the variables.
        (2) They understand the calculation and know the cannot manipulate the variables.

        Who do you think….
        (1) Mises agreed.
        (2) Keynes agreed.
        (3) Government agreed.


        and most importantly, ….

        (4) You agree….

      • Jon,
        A person trained in economic calculation
        …would know he needs profit and loss

        But if such measures do not exist…
        …how are you figuring he can calculate?

        • Comparison to that which is known and can be measured.

          A businessman sees that he is losing his shirt. He does not know what he is doing wrong or where he can improve, perhaps because he is too busy to see it or does not understand the data fully. So he hires a consultant to help him. On what basis should he choose this consultant?

          • Jon,

            He hires a consultant based on the consultant’s past ability to solve problems.

            But that consultant uses the same tools – profit and loss calculations – to determine where and what to save and what to cut

            The tool does not change, as Mises pointed out in his book “On Human Action” and “Socialism” (which no one has read, except me) – it is the profit and loss consequences that demonstrates whether the business man (or his consultant) have made the right choices.

            Without profit and loss, economic calculation is impossible.

            (When I impossible, since no other replacement calculation has come to light; is there another economic calculation? Perhaps – but Mises didn’t find it, Hayek didn’t find it, Rothbard didn’t find it – no one has found another…. so I say “impossible”)

            • Not entirely. A consultant uses knowledge of processes and technology and negotiation to find places he can cut and/or improve. Profit/loss is not the only thing employed. It is a measure, but it is not, by itself, the whole fix. The owner who hired the consultant can look at profit and loss and know something must be done. He might be able to identify certain areas that are particularly unprofitable, but knowledge of profit and loss alone is grossly insufficient.

              In your computer example, the $150k computer might be the tool most central to making a profit. Even determining the work produced/income generated or facilitated by the computer against the cost of it is not the whole story. Expertise is required, knowledge of the technology and of the market, to determine if a $300k computer would be more profitable or if a $25k computer would generate just as much as either the $150k or $300k computer.

              So in a case where you do not have profit and loss consequences, you do still have costs and output. You are confusing profit and loss as financial measures with profit and loss as an economic rule or consequence. In business, they are inseperable, but within specific aspects of cost analysis, this is not the case. There are still costs. They can be measured. There is still output, whether the output is profitable or not (much like many non-profit organization’s services), and thus the output can still be measured. So there is an available measure using profit and loss, there is simply not a direct economic consequence for failing to abide by the rule of profit and loss. This is why the government grows, but it is not an indication of impossibility of measuring efficiency.

              • Jon,

                If I hire a consultant, and he trims and cuts for “efficiency” (however that is measured) with all things being eqaul and my profits goes down…. would you claim the consultant did “a good job”?

                Profit/Loss is the entire measure of economics! … no other measure exists …

                If you are measuring “satisfaction”, that is personal subjective choice and political calculation

                Your continuation of the example of the computer does NOT refute the Profit/Loss calculation requirement – it merely demonstrates the complexity of modern business in operation necessary to achieve a profit.

                But as D13 stated, No profit – no business; end of story.

                It is that, Loss, which corrects the Free Market allocation of resources

                Resources move AWAY from unprofitable operation TO profitable operation (remember MONEY is merely another economic good (resource)) – without money, unprofitable operations STOP

                The resources are reallocated (people lose their jobs, and take jobs elsewhere; buildings are emptied and lent out to other businesses; supplies shipments end, and are bought by other businesses…)

                This Market force – LOSS – does not exist for government – unprofitable operation continues to be funded – by force; jobs are not lost, people are not fired, building are not re-leased, supplies shipments do not stop and they continue to be poured into an economic black hole with no end.

                Therefore, government cannot operate without economic waste for it cannot suffer loss.

                It therefore will only stop economic waste by collapsing the economy as its demands for resources grows, and the destruction of economic return grows right alone with it…

              • I know how profit and loss works. I know how the market responds to it. I know the government insulates itself from this and claims it is essential to have items not based on the market to facilitate the market or society ot whatever.
                I get it.

                So, it appears you have resigned yourself to economic collapse. Ok, you have fun with that.

                I am going to look for alternatives.

                As I said, the profit and loss calculations will be based on budget and cost instead. Still an economic, or at least mathematical measure. Replacing the variable profit with the fixed budget means the remaining variable is cost. To improve government, make it spend less. If you cannot remove government services because of the irrationality of political calculations, then you reduce costs while maintaining output. This will reduce waste. This will never solve the problem entirely. It is a step, a first step only. It is intented to educate and to relieve the pressure on the economy so that people can see that government spending is bad and that left to themselves they will waste vast resources. Thie education is a step towards increasing the rationality of political action among those who are not politicians.

              • Jon,

                You are confusing profit and loss as financial measures with profit and loss as an economic rule or consequence.

                They are the same thing, Jon.

                There is no difference in the cause/effect
                It is THE tool to tell a business about the effectiveness of its operation.
                It is THE tool for the market place to determine allocation of resources.

                There are still costs. They can be measured.

                True!
                However, the effectiveness of economic measure is Profit/Loss

                I can cut costs to zero – and eliminate all 100%….
                …but then I’d be out of business too!

                There is still output, whether the output is profitable or not (much like many non-profit organization’s services), and thus the output can still be measured.

                Yep, like the “Russian” paradigm – output! output! output! – until you have lots and lots of the wrong stuff.

                So there is an available measure using profit and loss, there is simply not a direct economic consequence for failing to abide by the rule of profit and loss. This is why the government grows, but it is not an indication of impossibility of measuring efficiency.

                100% efficiency that has zero effect – makes zero difference.

                Efficiency is a great tool for measuring useful energy.
                It is pointless in economics.

              • Jon

                So, it appears you have resigned yourself to economic collapse. Ok, you have fun with that.

                Resigned??
                Nope. A man dropping a rock from a cliff knows it will hit the ground – this is not “resigned” to the rock falling – it is understanding cause/effect.

                Ignoring cause/effect and believing that some magic will occur while the rock is falling so to reverse gravity is fantasy and wasting time and effort making magic potions in hopes of finding a cure to gravity is utterly futile

          • Jon

            Comparison to that which is known and can be measured.

            Bingo! Again!

            This is exactly what the Socialist in Soviet Russia did in building washing machines.

            Without profit and loss, they had no idea what the people wanted or did not want.

            They looked into the economy of the West and used that as their determination of production. So the West produced washing machines -because there was a particular demand- Soviets made washing machines, x10.

            Soviets saw farm tractors being made in the West – because there was a particular demand – Soviets looked over the fence and said “we need farm tractor!” and made them…. x10.

            etc. etc.

            Soon, Soviet Russia was awash in toasters no one wanted, tractors no one wanted, washing machines no one wanted, apartments no one wanted, etc. etc. Waste – because they had no Profit and Loss calculation from which to actually measure Russian demand.

            They measured Russian demand by watching West German people buy things.

            The result: Economic collapse.

            • Jon
              Further…
              Why did Soviets made washing machines, x10?

              …because they had no idea how many to make…

              Did they make the same as West Germany? Well, Russia is larger in population, so do you make more by that ratio?

              But West Germany is geographically smaller … it was easy to ship washing machines to where there was demand… so Russian costs of shipping would be higher -…. so do you make more and inventory them throughout the country?

              But how many do you put in Siberia vs Moscow? Do you centralize the locations per region, or per city, or per territory … or all above, just in case?

              Their answer: all of the above

              So they GUESSED … for no economic reasoning … how many to make….

              …and were doomed to always be wrong (for they cannot be right by watching someone else) to have the worse of all worlds….

              Too much of stuff no one wanted and massive shortages of stuff everyone wanted….

              As an East German once said to a Libertarian author visiting East Germany (during those days) when asked about their government:

              “They give us want you have”

              The author pointed to the posh business center in the middle of West Berlin … “You have that?”

              The East German said:
              “Well, not exactly what you have

            • Again, you are so hung up on the macro and the philosphical that you are applying it to a micro process. We are not using profit and loss to determine if a government department should exist. We are not determining if the government should run a car company. We are looking at existing services which have been put in place through political action only, not economic reasoning. We are looking at the measurable output, based on current output and the stated goals. We are looking at costs. We are determining, through comparison and knowledge of the type of work we are judging, whether the same output could be achieved at lower cost. This is a viable goal, it is doable. Even the secondary level of determining if the output matches the stated goals. There are two measurable ways for this to fail. If the output is insufficient to meet the goals demand, as in, if there is not enough allocated resources to accomplish the task, it fails. If the output does not accomplish the goal, as in, if doing x does not achieve the final goal of z, then the output is mismatched and the department fails.

              • Jon,

                Again, you are so hung up on the macro and the philosphical that you are applying it to a micro process.

                It is not a “hang up”

                It is knowing that where you believe you will be making a difference does not one damn bit of a difference

                There is no “waste” in government to cut – you cannot cut what you cannot define and you cannot define economic waste without profit/loss and government cannot define profit and loss!

                The Only thing you can do it stop funding – period

                You can end programs; you can close agencies – but attempting to trim “waste” BUT keep the program or agency is utterly futile, pointless and a horrible waste of time, money and energy

              • Mathius™ says:

                Flag,

                Imagine there is a government program that does X, say delivers mail, and it costs Y. If the program figures out a different way to do things and now costs Y – 1, while providing the same service X, you contend that they have not trimmed waste?

              • If x can be done in a better way using less resources, then to not do it that way is waste.

  36. Jon,

    I care about the tasks the employees are hired to do.

    …and – once again – what is your measure of that performance

    …at the end of the day, if an “employee” does not earn a PROFIT.. he is a detriment to the business, no matter how much you love him.

    The measure of “care” is completely based on PROFIT.

    … a measure that does NOT exist with government.

    Therefore -again until it sinks in as a universal truth – government operates on a NON-economical method – called POLITICAL method – and can never be measured by economists

    Now, the student’s task:
    What does it mean to operate within a market without an economical methodology?

    • For the purposes of this task, and to operate within the parameters of creating political conseuence, my measure is the current standard of performance.

      As for your student’s task, that is easy, but it is not what I am doing in my argument for an audit.

      Your answer:
      To operate within a market without economic method is to depend entirely on luck. Any success will be based in luck, and any failure will be expected because, as you say, you are a sailboat without a keel, and worse, without a rudder.

      • Jon,

        Thanks for walking this long road to epigraphy … it will reach a destination … one day.

        For the purposes of this task, and to operate within the parameters of creating political conseuence, my measure is the current standard of performance.

        Whose measure?
        So the manager of that employee manufactures a measure – either his own or dictated from above. Ok, no prob.
        But what measure was that derived???

        Opps, nope – not profit or loss. No one measured that because it does not exist – it would be measuring “how big is nothing!”…

        The measure of such government manager is NON-ECONOMIC … how many people yelled at me (or not)… how many people complained (or not)… how many people made my life difficult (or not)……

        .. BUT .. NOT …ONE ..ECONOMIC.. MEASURE…

        Your answer:
        To operate within a market without economic method is to depend entirely on luck. Any success will be based in luck, and any failure will be expected because, as you say, you are a sailboat without a keel, and worse, without a rudder.

        Bingo.

        Thus, a rational person – seeing that outcomes are wholly dependent on the wind of the day – will say what… in regard to POLITICAL OUTCOMES….???

        • LoL

          Damn auto-correct …

          Epigraphy – the study of scripts
          Epiphany – the sudden realization or comprehension

          … you can guess which one I meant…

        • A measure of work and quality do not have to be economic. I can judge the quality of a weapon without considering its cost or profitability. I can judge the job of a worker without knowing his paygrade. Could it be subjective? Of course, but it can be at least relatively determined. And, in this case, it can be measured relatively to similar work.

          One will see that political outcomes are unstable. In other words, the right distraction thrown in could disrupt the entire process I described earlier. Still, the alternative, also a political outcome, involves either revolution or the aftermath of economic collapse. The same instability and perhaps a greater chance of violence and destruction, lie with the alternative.

          • Jon,

            You are correct in your assertions. Keep up the battle

            The business community has a process already in place that coupled with your audits will do this job. It is called Total Quality Management (TQM) which is a composite of Deming’s work and many others in efficient business management and organization. It describes and organizes the very process you are outlining. And government knows about it. Each year the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST, Commerce) formerly the National Bureau of Standards, gives out the Baldridge Award to the companies that best implement the principles of TQM.

            TQM teaches that every organization and process needs metrics to determine and measure success. The vast majority of these metrics are nonfinancial. Every organization has suppliers and customers. This is true at the individual level and at the department level. The objective in TQM is to find the best possible method to move product, which can be goods, ideas, paper, money, etc. from the suppliers to the customers by the most efficient means possible, eliminating wasteful steps and processes along the way. It requires continuous monitoring of the process and constant improvement. Typically TQM is initially implemented in small cells that optimize things at the worker level, but it gradually moves towards global optimization of the entire organization. Hence metrics are needed and used at all levels. All activity in the organization is question for necessity and efficiency. Mistakes and failures are given special scrutiny to find out if the problem is systemic, hence requires a fix to the processes involved. This part of the process is called continuous improvement.

            The process works when implemented correctly. It does need and require buy in from all levels of an organization. Also to make this work, the workers need to empowered to make the necessary changes without roadblocks from management or unions.

            For DOE one could argue that their metric was established in their organic act (the act that created the department). This goal was to get the US off imported oil. So I would give DOE 2 years to reduce our imports by 10% followed by a 10% reduction every year thereafter. Every year the goal is reached, all members of the department will a bonus equal to the percentage reduction in imports times 2. I would also tell them that their budget will be reduced by 8% per year as well. Any reductions in force resulting from attaining goals will be accompanied by a 1 year severance. When we are off foreign oil, DOE will no longer be needed and will fade into history as a success story after 12 years. The one year severance would then be applied to the remaining workers accompanied with much fanfare and glory. Failure to meet the annual goal will mean that top management will be canned without severance, the budget will be cut by an additional percentage equal to the percentage goal not attained and workers will get a prorated severance.

            http://www.nist.gov/baldrige/publications/education_criteria.cfm?gclid=CLzorPK-1aoCFQZhgwodJF9S9g

          • Jon, T-ray

            A measure of work and quality do not have to be economic.

            Bingo!

            I can spend a million dollars building the “perfect” data center – top notch in every way – ….. except bankrupt the company by building it.

            That is the point!

            Economic calculation does NOT use “quality”, “beauty”, “wants”, “politics”, “brownie point’, “electability” etc. etc.

            It uses PROFIT and LOSS as its measure.

            Because you (or government) do NOT use profit and loss, the decisions made cannot be economic

            So by your demand to “cut” waste, the measure will not cut economic waste -which is what you meant- indeed, it will more likely increase it because you are using a measure of something else

            It is like claiming you are measuring the length of a farmers field by how much rain a bucket catches that you have set in the middle of your back yard. You cannot claim you know anything about the length of the field by saying “I have 2.25 inches of rain in my bucket”.

            • Great, let’s make it algebraic. The government took in X dollars in tax receipts last year. They spent Y. Is X-Y positive or negative? It’s negative the last time I looked. The government operates at a loss. Time for heads to roll. Time to stop raising the debt ceiling. Time to stop the printing press. Time to pass a balanced budget amendment.

              • Mathius™ says:

                You’re really over simplifying the equation.

                The government has debt of D
                The government has income of I
                The government has expenses of E
                The government has inertia of ∞

                So “the government will scale back if” is:
                ∞ < D – (I – E)

                I think BF can tell you how that equation will come out.

                ————————-
                Adding, not that I disagree with you (entirely anyway) with regards to stopping the printing presses and scaling back, I do think that we did need to raise the debt ceiling to pay for the things we've already spent. They need to balance the budget (actually, make it run in the green for a while). The debt will take care of itself if they do that (see above equation). It's like going on a shopping spree then canceling your credit cards before you paid them off. The time to use self control is BEFORE you spent the money.

              • Howdy T Ray…….. I never did understand the algebraic equation that two negatives equal a positive….but I am not a math major……just a simple old retired colonel who knows nothing….If I remember correctly..

                (+/+)= +
                (+/-) = –
                (-/-) = +

              • T-ray,

                Now I agree!

                The less government spends, the better the economy will get.

            • The government does not use profit and loss, but the panel judging waste will use such calculations. The key, once again, is to grant them the authority.

              • Mathius™ says:

                The only problem I have here is that the goal of a company is profit. That is not the (theoretical) goal of a government. The (theoretical) goal of our government is to:

                form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure [damnit, this should be “ensure”] domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, [sp?] promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity

                So, while the government should not be running at a loss, the “P&L Calculation” shouldn’t be looking at profit but rather success or failure of the goals in light of the stated goals. But I think need to look at it in terms of cost-benefit to the goals rather than in purely monetary terms.

                Almost all government programs run at a dollar P&L loss, but the real question is this, are they accomplishing their goals (ie, instead of profit) in a manner that is net-net positive, or not. We should pay outright as a society for the expenses of our government (in it’s entirety – inflows should exactly match outflows every year, regardless of how much it is) and weight the “theft” of our money as a loss of liberty/prosperity in the equation to decide if a given program is worthwhile or not.

                If something is too costly in terms of dollars, the loss of prosperity is too high to justify the gains of whatever it is that the given program provides. Then, since the gain/loss equation balances negative, the program should be cut. Similarly, if a program is too burdensome on individual liberty (say, drug policy) to justify the reward (keeping kids off drugs?), then it would get the axe. Conversely, something might balance positive (post office, perhaps?), because the cost (financial and in terms of liberty) is less than the society benefit in terms of the stated goals of government.

                The multi-trillion dollar question, however, is how to solve this equation. Yes, yes, I know how BF would look at it, but perhaps there’s a more neutral way somewhere.

                Just my thoughts on the subject.

              • That doesnt entirely work, however. The problem is mathematical (too expensive). You cannot equate mathematical value to intangible “benefits”, thus it is hard to justify the costs, or to unjustify them. With subjective value, I might think keeping kids off drugs is not worth spending so much on, but a parent would consider it worth almost any price.

                Now, if there is a way to determine, again quantitatively, if they goal is being met by the actions being taken, then that is ok. For instance, even without considering costs, if doing X does not result in Y, or results in a fractional level of Y, then doing X does not work. Like the Head Start program that is being talked about on here.

              • The only problem I have here is that the goal of a company is profit. That is not the (theoretical) goal of a government. The (theoretical) goal of our government is to:

                form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure [damnit, this should be “ensure”] domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, [sp?] promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity

                I would submit for your consideration that your conclusion of the Preamble to the Constitution being the theoretical goal of government is in error. I would argue that the Preamble contains the intentions (or goals if we must) for the outcome of what the Founders were trying to accomplish in structuring the Constitution itself.

                Government’s goal is the proper implementation of the Constitution. Whether government meets that goal or not will be argued until the end of the nation we call the United States of America – whenever that may occur.

  37. Todd,

    How many times do I check the name

    To me and my dyslexia – which I do suffer slightly from – I see the letter “T” and pretty much nothing else.

    So to me, easily. “T”….- ray looks the same as “T”…odd

    LoL @ T … odd!

    Sorry….. 😉 I promise not to use that name like that….

    • “T” can be difficult to pronounce, especially for children. I’ve been known as Uncle Odd for many years!

      It fits – on so many levels!!

  38. Todd,

    1. Ability to end the fiscal year at or below their allocated fiscal budget. Fail

    The company I consult to ended their year well above budget – by about 25%.
    They made record profits.

    What should they have done?
    (1) Met the budget?
    (2) Gone over the budget?

    What calculation did you use to decide between 1 and 2?

    • In a profit/loss calculation, you would choose #2.

      In a cost analysis calculation that does not use profit (which would only be employed by government or non-profits), you would choose #1 because the “record profits” would not exist. Thus, your “profit” variable is fixed at your budget size.

      Variables: B = Budget, C = Cost, P = Profit

      Business success:
      P > C B is irrelevant
      Business improvement:
      P increases B and C are irrelevant, tho a decrease in C can increase P

      Government success:
      B >= C P is irrelevant
      Government improvement:
      Cost decreases B should follow C

    • Obviously these people don’t know how to run a company and should all be fired for going over budget!! 😉

      Let’s also remember what a “budget” is. It’s a plan or estimate of future activity. Things don’t always work out as planned (my crystal ball isn’t that clear!!). Anyone who sticks to a budget/plan when things change is…not real “bright”…

      My calculations above were based on the time-test economic theory of “eeny, meeny, miny, moe”. *

      Do you have a better theory for making random, biased economic decisions?

      * It was also based on who I could tease about closing a particular department. Since there is no “Department of Anarchy**”, you were excluded

      ** I think we need one of these!!

      • Dread Pirate Mathius says:

        Todd,

        I would humbly like to nominate myself to head the Project Mayhem Department of Anarchy.

        Regards,
        The Dread Pirate Mathius.

        • I’ll print up some ballots, distribute them to everyone, and then not collect them!! Cause if you vote, you’re not qualified to comment on anarchy!!

          Oh, and you’re not much of a Pirate if you think someone is going to head the Department of Anarchy! ;0

          • Dread Pirate Mathius says:

            It’s really more of a formality, as is the nomination process. I’ve already appointed myself and begun self-directed work on ::REDACTED FOR SECURITY PURPOSES::.

            My official title is “Supreme Dread Director of Anarchy”, but anyone who wants to join or leave the department is free to do so and give themselves whatever title they want. They are also free to set whatever salary they like and pay themselves – I am currently making 1,000,000 doubloons / hr.

            I have been contacted by another pirate named ::REDACTED:: who has expressed his interest in increasing unemployment in Washington DC by some, er, rather creative means. I look forward to seeing the progress he makes.

            Y’AAARRRRGH!

  39. August 17, 2011
    Turns Out Head Start’s as Bad as It Always Was
    By Michael Kimmitt, American Thinker

    While dining out with my wife some time ago, I found myself waxing poetic about the latest government offense: the folly of dumping additional billions of dollars into the ancient Head Start program, naturally as part of the President Obama’s voluminous economic stimulus plan.

    Studies have revealed, I explained, that children who participated in this 46-year-old multi-multi-multi-billion-dollar “educational” program exhibit no better academic achievement than do children from the same socioeconomic background who did not make use of Head Start.

    A lady from a nearby table approached, telling me she had overheard my comment and, as a teacher, could testify to the program’s many merits, although they might not be measurable.

    I admitted that it had been a while since I had read about the performance of Head Start, promised to look again, and offered to stand corrected if I were wrong in my opinion. It was a very civilized exchange. (Truth be told, I kept my cool because she was still holding her little white plastic fork and was in easy reach of some hermetically sealed chopsticks — and I’m a bleeder.)

    I was reminded of the encounter last week when I came upon the writings of über-liberal Time columnist Joe Klein, who, almost half a century late, finally came to the obvious conclusion that Head Start simply does not work. He even admitted that a costly study proving that point had been suppressed for several years by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). “I guess they were trying to rerun the data to see if they could come up with anything positive,” a Brookings Institution official suggested. “They couldn’t.”

    So, what value have we taxpayers received in return for the more than $100 billion we’ve poured into this program? If you read Head Start literature, you will learn much about “developmental and sensory concerns…emerging literacy and numeracy support…social and emotional development…primary nurturers…transparency…automatic indicators…determination criteria…nationally stratified random samples.” You’ll get a heaping helping of this mind-numbing education-establishment mush, but you will be hard-pressed to find out what happened to the kids.

    Head Start can boast that children show some progress after a year or two in the program, but the kids nonetheless remain well below the national norm. However, those fragile achievements seem to evaporate soon enough once the children enter our disastrous urban public schools, leaving federal government evaluators to concede that “in the long run, cognitive and socio-emotional test scores of Head Start students do not remain superior to those of disadvantaged children who did not attend Head Start.”

    A more important question, perhaps is, “What’s the point?” Head Start is like most other federal social programs. A high-minded mission statement is designed to secure funding, not to set a defined goal for measurable outcomes. The growth of the bureaucracy itself is the mission. On that basis, Head Start is a rousing success.

    The program began in 1965 by the Johnson administration with a budget of $96 million, or about $172 per child. With the additional $2.1 billion in the Obama administration’s stimulus package added to the fiscal year 2012 Head Start budget of $8.1 billion, more than $10,000 is spent per child enrolled in the program — far more than the $7,600 tuition and fees for the average four-year public university. All this for no measurable benefit.

    Those who are awarded five-year grants to manage local Head Start operations have job security that rivals that of Supreme Court justices. They automatically are given renewed non-competitive five-year grants unless their performances are so egregiously bad that they have “far more” deficiencies than the average grantee. Were those thus proven incapable of providing the most basic service banned from further participation? Well, you know the answer. In those cases, they were punished by having to reapply and compete for new five-year grants, which they too often received.

    In other words, it is a perfect federal program — large and getting larger, entrenched, costly, and ineffective. It encroaches ever more into and absorbs the role of the nuclear family and further allows parents to relinquish their responsibilities of raising their own children.

    May we take some solace in finally hoping that even hard-line leftists like Mr. Klein have belatedly seen the glaring light? Now he admits that community action programs such as Head Start are “little more than patronage troughs for local Democrat Party honchos … far more adept at dispensing make-work jobs than mastering the subtle nuances of early education.”

    His remedy? Simply transfer the Head Start carcass from HHS to the Department of Education, which has distinguished itself by driving urban public education into the sewer, and Head Start will be miraculously resuscitated.

    Head Start is a poster child for all that is broken with our government’s social engineering. But don’t look for the slightest change to be made in this aged remnant of the Great Society that rewards all the wrong people for all the wrong reasons.

    • Years ago I read a study about the impact fo preschool on reading ability. It said that preschooled students entering first grade did have better reading and math skills than the non-preschooled kids. However, by third grade they were all equal. Maturity was the big leveler. Preschool is for socialization skills not academic. It’s other purpose is daycare.

      • T-Ray

        Preschool is for socialization skills not academic. It’s other purpose is daycare

        I would say it is for “de-socialization skills” – kids learn mob rules, not social rules and by Grade 12 you have created punks and hoodlums.

        As far as a daycare center, yep – that is what public schooling right through University really is – a place where parents can abandon their brood so that the parents can earn two incomes easier.

      • And now of course, there is 4-K. In this area, small town private daycare centers are becoming extinct because the schools, at taxpayer expense, offer this. We have to start kids in the system this early, because of course, we are losing out to Japan and all that crap. Unions and government coming for your kids even earlier.

      • My younger brother was enrolled in the Head Start program where we live and he attended for a year before starting school. He is 39 years old now and can barely read or write, my youngest brother not at all. My mom taught me to read at home. She taught me my numbers and letters. I did very well in school. I think that kinda answers the question about the necessity of such a program…lol

  40. YA know…….when you are up to your ass in alligators, it is difficult to remind oneself that the initial objective was to drain the swamp.

    Set aside macro
    Set aside micro
    Set aside Milton Friedman, Adam Smith, Paul Krugman, Joseph Stiglitz, John Maynard Keynes, David Ricardo, Karl Marx, Ludwig von Mises, and Alan Greenspan. ( Not one of them had it right, anyway).
    Set aside (and feed to Raptors) all academia.

    Business economics is really quite simple. Are you ready for this? It really is quite simple.

    Here is the formula for success.

    (1) Income (price) – outgo (costs) = profit/loss
    (2) Demand for product (price) – supply (costs) = profit/loss

    It is not any simpler than that. All other factors, fit into that formula. It is when one gets away from the basic premise of supply/demand (free market) and institutes controls and favors (government) that the formula for success becomes convoluted and the arguments ensue.

    • Mathius™ says:

      Here, for the first time ever, I present Mathius’s Laws of Running a Business:

      1. Keep P&L positive.
      2. Build up reserves so that if you violate rule #1, you do not go bankrupt.
      3. Give the customer what they want, or what they think they want.
      3A. If they do not know they want your good/service, marketing is your friend.
      3B. If they do not want what you’re selling, sell something else.
      4. Reign in costs, but do not cheep out.
      5. Keep an eye on your employees with access to your accounts.
      5A. On second thought, never let any of your employees have access to the money.
      6. Keep an eye on anyone with access to your inventory – especially if any of it goes missing.
      7. Keep good records – never give these to anyone.
      7A. Keep “good” records – give these to the IRS.

      • 7A…is especially noteworthy. 🙂

        • Mathius™ says:

          I run my house on a budget that would curl your nose hairs.

          I make every assumption as negative as realistically possible, factor in every foreseeable potential cost and omit every bit of income that isn’t guaranteed (no bonus, no IRS refund, etc). Every inflow and outflow is tracked and categorized, compared on a monthly-running tally against projections. It is, perhaps, the most neurotic home-budget currently in use on the entire Eastern seaboard.

          I live within those means and skim every extra dollar into savings.

          When, not if, I run my own business, it may not be the most profitable business ever, but it damn sure isn’t going declare bankruptcy.

          • Good rule for business. Always have assets to cover losses. When it is time to get out of business….you should be able to pay your bills and cover your loans. NEVER run in a deficit.

          • And you thought you disagreed with me on practically everything.

            • Mathius™ says:

              Do you have any openings in your company for someone with no relevant experience, a SUFA-addiction, and a 6-figure base salary? Willing to commute, but not to Texas.

              • You almost have it….BUT…..you must not only commute to Texas….BUT relocate, apply for Texas passport ( I will sponsor you ), be doused in the Brazos River ( Yes, there is some water left in parts of the Brazos ), learn the term ya’ll and how it applies to everything singular and plural, love guns (the only true religion here and pack ’em), drink Dr Pepper (laced with RB is ok), ride horses ( We have plenty ), respect the lady folk ( you already do ), do not say it is hot ( unless over 110 ), understand that freezing cold is below 50 degrees (F), wave at everybody on the roads (unless you live in Dallas or Houston), eat steak and taters, understand that Jalapeno’s and Habanero’s are a normal condiment with all meals, understand that when you order a coke, you will need to specify which kind (root beer, DP, 7 up, Sprite, etc), know there are other beers in this world but Lone Star is the brand, Stetsons are made of real beaver and not straw or some sort of glued together material, boots are real leather and not simulated (PETA – stands for “People who EAT Tasty Animals).

                If you can start with this…..please, by all means,….come on down.

              • I did forget to mention that your six figure base salary is contingent upon where you place the decimal point.

              • Don’t forget, D13, this candidate grew up in Cali and lives in NY. The deprogramming necessary makes the learning curve exceptionally high. Be wary.

              • Mathius™ says:

                relocate – oh, hell no

                apply for Texas passport ( I will sponsor you ) – only if I can do this from NY

                be doused in the Brazos River – sure, why not?

                learn the term ya’ll and how it applies – Pass

                love guns – naw

                drink Dr Pepper – *gags*

                ride horses – sure, I haven’t ridden in a long time, but it was quite enjoyable

                respect the lady folk ( you already do ) – Done

                do not say it is hot ( unless over 110 ) – why would I say it’s hot if it’s not even 110?

                understand that freezing cold is below 50 degrees (F) – I’m already in full-on winter gear at 70.

                wave at everybody on the roads – sure, why not?

                eat steak and taters – YUM.. the missus makes a mean steak.

                understand that Jalapeno’s and Habanero’s are a normal condiment with all meals – you mean there are people who think otherwise?

                understand that when you order a coke, you will need to specify which kind (root beer, DP, 7 up, Sprite, etc) – odd since root beer isn’t a coke, but ok..

                know there are other beers in this world but Lone Star is the brand – I like Coors, yes it’s piss water, but it’s what I’m used to.. still, I suppose I could get used to Lone Star

                Stetsons are made of real beaver and not straw or some sort of glued together material – sure, why not? I’m not really a hat person, but I guess I can get used to it

                boots are real leather and not simulated – yes… and steel toes..

                PETA – stands for “People who EAT Tasty Animals – if god didn’t want me eating animals, why are they so tasty?

                ——–

                So, do we have a deal?

  41. USW

    I would like to make a point about your proposed “criteria” for evaluating Govt Departments. Once you have established the core philosophical principles then you build your govt according to those principles. So your first CUT should be based on the question of whether those agencies or departments meet that criteria and not whether they meet budgets, accomplish the mission or are deemed as necessary. Unless of course “necessary” means they are consistent with the core principles.

    Todd identified some examples of where your criteria would eliminate an agency that provides important services. Thus it appears to create conflict. But if you apply first principles these conflicts are eliminated. What is left is a matter of least cost or efficiency.

    So in my case, many of the existing Federal Agencies would need to be eliminated. So the question is how to do this elimination. Do we just send out pink slips to several hundred thousand employees tomorrow or do we start making reductions in some planned manner to allow a more “orderly” shutdown. It is my opinion that we make the process shorter rather than longer. You have to keep enough people to handle the shut down process, dispose of property, close out files and complete contract obligations, etc.

    Now how do we manage those Govt Departments/Agencies that remain? We hire and train good people who can manage and more importantly, share a commitment to the understanding that they are stewards of the taxpayers money. That they have a paramount responsibility to make sure that money is spent in the most efficient manner possible while accomplishing the mission. That do not promote or support mission creep, in any fashion.

    We have to find ways to change the incentives of Govt managers from one of growing govt programs to one of meeting mission goals at the least cost. Our problem is that this STARTS with Congress. If Congress does not establish clear and concise goals for a program the managers are left to “determine” what those goals are based on “constituent” demands. Obviously, not all goals can be so clear. Such as our “national defense”. But there are enough that could be to drastically reduce the cost of Govt operations.

    It is true that the decision to create a program is political. However, once that decision is made then Congress and Bureaucrats have a responsibility to make sure those programs are as lean and mean as possible.

    The irony is that if we apply core principles first, it will be harder to accomplish the “efficiency” goals. Because those agencies left will have missions that do not lend themselves well to measures of efficiency. National Defense is such an example.

    • The only reason to start at the micro level is that it is the most likely to be agreed on by the voters. You get rid of the waste and see that it is still unsustainable, then the math may start to dawn on those raised on socialist propoganda. They might just get that its all been a lie, and a stupid idea.

      • Jon

        You can not eliminate these programs by proving they cost money. There is not a program, agency, department that is NOT sustainable.

        You must address the social conditioning to have any true impact. I agree you can do micro while working on the bigger “philosophy” stuff, as most people agree we need to cut waste. This should result in some savings. But it will not come close to balancing the books while stimulating our long term economic health.

        • I take your point, but my reasoning here IS in fact part of addressing social conditioning. Granted, to be effective it would require publicizing the findings of the panel, which would be essential in making certain that their recommendations were followed. In addition to what would probably be an average of 10% or more in savings, you accomplish the following:

          1) Those who are not paying attention would start to see just how much waste there was, and how irresponsible government has been.

          2) Those who think the only real problem is waste would see that the costs remain unsustainable even after an audit.

          3) Those who take the time to look at the overall findings would discover just how many departments there are and what sort of idiotic “work” is being done, making elimination of the more frivolous or redundant functions that much easier.

          4) Those who are of the opposite philosophy as you and I will not be able to hide from the fact that government is too incompetent to be trusted with the tasks they want them in charge of.

          • Jon

            I agree there is benefit to doing both at the same time. Items 1-3 are part of that. I don’t agree with #4. Those who have opposite views to us are very adept at hiding from reality. 🙂

            • True, perhaps I should say: Those who have bought into the opposite philosophy will be unable to reconcile what they were told with the reality they see. The true believers will be able to hide, but not the rest.

  42. I just read that Obama’s million dollar buses-which I don’t really mind them buying-were bought from Canada. Before I get all bent out of shape-do American companies make these types of buses. Because if they do I find this type of thing as bad. If our government has a legitimate expense-shouldn’t they be buying from us whenever they can.

    • V.H.

      Sorry, but that’s FOXspin. The secret service bought two buses, one to be used by the GOP when after their primary.
      Remember also, this is not a campaign for the presidency. Obama is out there to promote jobs, calling on the people to demand congress act on things like the free trade agreements. WHY HASN’T CONGRESS ACTED ON FREE TRADE?(because it’s sitting on obama’s desk, where it’s been for months) WE NEED TO CREATE JOBS AND FREE TRADE IS AN IMPORTANT PART OF THIS! And let’s re-extend unemployment to stimulate jobs???????

      • Well, I certainly agree this is a campaign trip-but I have to credit most/if not all Presidents of making us foot the bill for these types of trips-not just Obama. And his words not matching reality is a given, as far as I’m concerned. It still needs to stop though.

        But I’m thinking more about whether or not using a bus vs. Air Force one to travel from one place to another is more economical in the long run. Although after watching all the other cars and it looked like an ambulance following along-I’m not sure anymore.

        And whether or not his buying in Canada vs. here is the right thing to do. People may argue that government money distributions affect on the economy is just passing a dollar between two people-but buying in Canada isn’t an even exchange-it is taking money out of our economy and not putting it back, which would be a negative. Although I can see an argument for doing so, maybe, if the price difference is huge.

        Anyway, I find it an interesting discussion. 🙂

        • Terry Evans says:

          We give so much money away to other countries now and get nothing in return…at least we go 2 busses out of this…

        • I think who bought the bus cannot and should not be blamed on Obama. On buying from Canada, I would pass on that as well, they are our biggest trade partner and closest ally. Now what the carbon footprint Deficit #1 and it’s motorcade is producing vs if he had flown, maybe Al Gore will do some research for us on that. Would also like to see Clinton, Bush and Obama first term comparisons for environmental impact side by side. What was it, 22 police cars, 20 SUV and an ambulance? Maybe the bus runs on manure, so Obama is filling it us as they travel!

          http://campaign2012.washingtonexaminer.com/blogs/beltway-confidential/black-caucus-tired-making-excuses-obama

          • I don’t know what the import/export figures are between Canada and the US-but I can accept that they are probably enough of a positive to overcome the negative-in this instance. But that isn’t true for all the money this country takes out of the people’s hands and sends to other countries for numerous reasons. On the other, I was talking economical but I really like your idea-made me laugh. Which was a wonderful break from the very interesting but brain hurting discussion of profit and loss.

            I honestly don’t know what to say about the article-an uncomfortable truth about political alliances-but for an organization that has no problem judging other people to admit it is the color of his skin that keeps them silent-to come right out and say this-is eye-opening on JUST how much trouble Obama is in.

  43. Mathius

    Re: your post above regarding the role of govt vs. business.

    From your post: “Almost all government programs run at a dollar P&L loss, but the real question is this, are they accomplishing their goals (ie, instead of profit) in a manner that is net-net positive, or not. ”

    This statement is based on the fallacy that BF identifies and to which I agreed. It is a “macro” issue, for lack of a better term. There is NO WAY to determine if it is a “net-net positive” because there is no profit motive to measure “positive”. Thus it becomes a political choice.

    Unless of course we can find a different way to assign costs and benefits that is consistent with market principles. Not perfectly but at least much closer. I think this is the essence of your commentary and question. So let me suggest one idea.

    That “way” is to move towards “user fees” to the greatest extent possible. This places the cost/benefit decision with each person actually involved in the decision. The fallacy of “net positives” to society is that they really amount to one group benefiting while others pay the costs. This prevents you from ever knowing whether “we the people” really think the cost is “worth” the benefit. The political “majority” gets to decide. With user fees then we ALL get to decide based on our own personal view of what the benefit is worth to us.

    • It seems to work in Texas pretty well…..we are user fee on almost everything including our parks and state areas….want to go to the park….it cost x. Want to have a boat and use it…it cost x. I like user fees as it does give a choice.

      • So the residents of TX don’t already own these parks and state areas?

        • Terry Evans says:

          I can’t speak for D13, but i believe the state/people own the property, but the upkeep an maintenance is funded on a user fee basis and not taken in the form of taxes…

          • Terry, you are correct…the State of Texas/people already own these parks…but several years ago, our legislature, in order to help balance our budgets as required in our Constitution, all parks and public areas are on a fee basis. Hunting, fishing, etc are all on fee basis. Also, by state law, the money taken in does not go to the general revenue fund. It is for the intended purpose only and is never part of the general revenue stream to pay for entitlements or anything like that. NO taxes are assigned to it. In addition, rest rooms and water fountains etc. are donated by private enterprise with a consideration in the franchise tax application.

  44. SUFA

    Sorry to say I must be gone for a week or so. My mother-in-law passed away this week and I am now headed back to the funeral. Will then be traveling to Montana via eastern Idaho for some fly fishing, golf and for my son to visit with his “girl friend” he had to leave when we moved.

    Until I get back, keep an active mind. And of course……….. LIVE FREE.

    Best to all
    JAC

    • Mathius™ says:

      Great link, V!

      Thanks..

      • Should I be watching for a 1000 word manuscript of rebuttal in the near future. 🙂

        • Mathius™ says:

          and.. here… we.. go.

          .. I’m taking on faith that his raw data is correct since he went to the trouble of telling us exactly how to get it for ourselves (I don’t have 4 hours to repeat his whole process).

          I find his interpretation very interesting and hard to refute. The way I see it, there are two clear readings of the data: period unemployment divided by period labor pool (artificially high due to influx of new workers) or period unemployment divided by starting labor pool (see following paragraph).

          See, the problem, as an update to the article points out (and is, to his credit, noted by the author), more workers create more jobs, so to simply back the influx out of the unemployment numbers is inaccurate. The trick, in my view, would be to back out the population increase as a percent of the base population from both the employed and unemployed numbers by period in proportion to, say, the previous period’s unemployment rate. I’m not bored enough to go digging through the raw data, but I would be willing to bet that Texas would wind up right in the middle of the pack.

          • I’m sure your aware 🙂 that math isn’t one of my strong points but if I understood the man-did he not treat all the states the same in the graph. So even if it doesn’t show an accurate unemployment % -would it not still show the true differences between the states?

            • Mathius™ says:

              No. His point (and he’s completely correct) is that the inflow/outflow of population distorts the unemployment raw numbers because the labor pool is comparably larger. However, his method of removing the inflow is to simply subtract the inflow from the unemployment numbers. This massively shrinks the unemployment number but leaves the employed number the same. That is, as if the assumption were that the inflow did not bring with it or create any new jobs and that everyone who gained employment was or would have been a native Texan – simply an unrealistic assumption.

              He rightly acknowledges this as pointed out to him, but he does not provide a solution to account for it. The upshot is that the adjusted number overshoots. The reason this is not apples-to-apples with other states is that they are gaining/losing population at different rates than Texas, so while the lensing effect is greatest in Texas, it’s less or ever opposite for other states. So, for instance, in WY, keeping the population which fled in the WY bucket would result in massively pumping up unemployment numbers for that state, while ignoring the possibility/likelihood that they would have found or created local jobs in-state had they stayed.

              It is impossible, given the data, to exactly estimate the effect of this, but no, it doesn’t treat all states fairly – I can’t tell which state it is on his graph, but one of them is pushed as high as 16% (I think it’s MI). While MI is certainly higher than the average, I don’t think it’s likely, again, given the data, that the number is actually that high.

              In other words, to make it simple, he treated all mingrants as unemployed and rebucketed them instead of a representative proportion of the population (how one would determine this is another question) and moved them out of Texas (pushing the unemp number down) and into other states (pushing the unemp numbers up), but never accounting for the fact that many of the employed people are employed because of the influx of population or conversely unemployed because of the exodus of population.

              Does this make sense?

              • Mathius,

                No it does not, because you started here with this bizarre inference.

                His point (and he’s completely correct) is that the inflow/outflow of population distorts the unemployment raw numbers because the labor pool is comparably larger

                “Distorts”????

                This is like saying the purchasing and selling of inventory goods distorts the value of the inventory!

                NO! It does not distort it – it changes it.

                Unemployment and migration is NO DIFFERENT A PHENOMENA then goods going in and out of inventory, and the same basic economic understanding can be applied.

                People move away from an area which is declining to areas which are expanding.

              • Yes, it does make sense. Thanks!

                But the true numbers on unemployment are still comparatively pretty good and I think he made a valid point-even if his graph wasn’t perfect. I don’t think the point that his graph inflates the unemployment numbers of states because people are leaving because they can’t find jobs(because of bad policies 🙂 ) is equal to the unemployment numbers being lowered too much because people are fleeing to Texas because they believe they can get jobs(because business’s are moving there).

              • Mathius™ says:

                Flag, distorts is a good term because, though the population migration changes the rates, what we’re trying to get at is simple: which state is actually performing best in the recession in terms of unemployment. The migration changes the raw data in such a way that the answers to the underlying question are distorted.

                Linguistic nuances aside, I think it’s a fascinating question and a good job interpreting the raw data into something meaningful.

                ———–

                V, you assert that you “don’t think the point that his graph inflates the unemployment numbers of states because people are leaving because they can’t find jobs(because of bad policies 🙂 ) is equal to the unemployment numbers being lowered too much because people are fleeing to Texas because they believe they can get jobs(because business’s are moving there).” Can you clarify why you think this? If the migration of workers inflates Texas’s numbers, is it not reasonable to expect it to have the opposite effect on the states from which the populations left? It has to be zero-sum (think about it in terms of the nation, the overall unemployment rate doesn’t change if you from from one state to another), so Texas’s upward adjustment must be exactly balanced by another state’s downward adjustment in the unemployment rates.

              • Sorry for not answering your question Matt-I was interrupted by my house being flooded from the wash room, kitchen and even a little bar sink in the living room. Seems my washing machines drain pipe was clogged up 😦 Water is cleaned up, plumber has come and gone. And now we are leaving, a lot later than planned, for a few days :).Talk to everybody later.

  45. CFD to add 111 black firefighters
    Updated at 12:09 PM today

    Jason Knowles
    More: Bio, News Team

    August 17, 2011 (CHICAGO) (WLS) — A court order was finalized Wednesday, adding more than 100 black firefighters to the ranks of the Chicago Fire Department.

    The 7th Circuit ordered that the city hire 111 of the plaintiffs. On Wednesday in federal court, both sides ironed out details of the agreement and asked the judge to enter an “agreed order.”

    It outlines the procedure for bringing the 111 individuals through the fire academy, sending out notices about physical agility tests and background checks.

    Courts determined that in 1995, the city based hiring only on unfair scores of a single written test, not the other factors, such as physical tests and other experience. The court said that put white firefighters at an advantage.

    “These are very good jobs, and in times like we’re living in, they want them badly. Secondly, the Chicago Fire Department has a very unfortunate history of racial exclusion. This will be the largest number of African Americans ever hired in a single period of time by the Chicago Fire Department,” said Matt Piers, plaintiff’s attorney.

    The 111 are among 6,000 candidates who filed a lawsuit saying they were discriminated against in a 1995 firefighters exam.

    The Sun-Times is reporting that a federal judge is expected to approve that settlement Wednesday and shortly after, the city will send out postcards to African Americans who were denied the firefighter jobs. Most will get cash settlements; others will get hired.

    Twenty-six thousand people took the exam. The African-American fire department hopefuls passed but didn’t make it on to the department’s hiring list, which was made up of mostly white applicants.

    Lower courts ruled that the statute of limitations had run out because the lawsuit was filed more than a year after the hiring list was created. Last year, the case went before the U.S. Supreme Court. In a landmark decision, the justices ruled that the filing was not late, and the court found that the City of Chicago committed a violation by denying African Americans a job every time it hired from the list.

    The Sun-Times reports that the city will hire more than 100 black firefighters by March of next year and pay at least $30 million in damages to the thousands of others passed up in the hiring process.

    The settlement also reportedly includes $10 million to $20 million in back pensions for the firefighters who get hired. The majority of them will not get hired. They will get cash settlements of $5,000 or more. Taxpayers will foot the bill.

    http://abclocal.go.com/wls/story?section=news/local&id=8311091

    This is just another reason why entities should be privately run whenever possible-if this was discriminatory-why should the public have to pay for the deeds of some department or individual. We did not make these decisions. How much money is spent paying for law suites filed against the government?

  46. I really like this blog!

    http://www.politicalmathblog.com/?p=128

  47. http://www.politicalmathblog.com/?p=554

    Hmmmm–Let me think-who was the President in the 1980’s 🙂

    • Mathius™ says:

      My memory of the 80’s is somewhat hazy.. can you make the question multiple choice?

  48. Canine Weapon says:

    I may never be able to sleep again.

    http://bachmanneyezed.tumblr.com/

  49. Mathius,

    Imagine there is a government program that does X, say delivers mail, and it costs Y. If the program figures out a different way to do things and now costs Y – 1, while providing the same service X, you contend that they have not trimmed waste?

    What would you answer to this question:
    “A bunch of moneys with the help of fairies happened to pound out a play in the style of Shakespeare. Should they win the Pulitzer?”

    In other words, hypothetical nonsense.

    I have given you the reason why you cannot cut economic waste out of governmentbecause it makes political, not economic, calculations

    No one, even Jon, can contradict this – Jon and you can all blather about process and budgets, etc. but no one yet has provided a political measure that absolutely demonstrates economic cause/effect

    Without, you do not know where you are – you do not know what you are doing is doing anything, let alone doing economic “good”.

    So instead of hypothetical – give me your measuring stick of economic outcomes and why it would work but without resorting to economic measuring sticks.
    My bet (and I hold the ‘nuts’)- you can’t.

    • Y > Y-1
      There is your economic outcome.

      Now, is X (being done at a cost of Y or Y-1) measureable without a profit/loss calculation? No. And I have not, at ANY POINT in this discussion claimed otherwise. I am not claiming that we can determine what government services to cut through process and budget calculation. Those services were setup through political calulations and must be either removed in the same fashion or they must be allowed to run their course, which is to collapse.

      All I am claiming is that we can take EXISTING government services and reduce the cost of provision of those services by finding different methods and investigating the efficiency. The reason to do this would be threefold:
      1) To reduce government expenditure, thereby benefitting the economy.
      2) To expose the incompetence and corruption in government services.
      3) To show that waste, mismanagement, corruption, and other abuses, even if removed, still leave an unsustainable system, thereby removing the excuses pro-government types use when they claim that their ideas would work if they were just implemented properly.

      • Jon,

        Y > Y-1
        There is your economic outcome.

        Nope it is not – that is math formula.
        Economics IS NOT a math formula.

        Now, is X (being done at a cost of Y or Y-1) measureable without a profit/loss calculation? No. And I have not, at ANY POINT in this discussion claimed otherwise. I am not claiming that we can determine what government services to cut through process and budget calculation. Those services were setup through political calulations and must be either removed in the same fashion or they must be allowed to run their course, which is to collapse.

        Exactly. You are merely dabbling in political calculation of your own making vs. someone else with whom you disagree.

        You are not cutting waste at all

        And we return to one of my initial statements – that no one; not one, ever, businessman turned politician “cuts waste” in government – NONE have succeeded because the goal is nonsense in a political environment for no such measure exists

        Unless you eliminate agencies and programs completely, all you are doing is MOVING the expenditures around the table – but nothing changes

        All I am claiming is that we can take EXISTING government services and reduce the cost of provision of those services by finding different methods and investigating the efficiency.

        You have NO MEANS to measure efficiency – thus, you cannot succeed in your goal.

        The reason to do this would be threefold:
        1) To reduce government expenditure, thereby benefitting the economy.

        …at a cost to a group of people who have lost their benefits. But you did not measure this in your political calculation – you ignored it.

        2) To expose the incompetence and corruption in government services.

        The roots of government – providing unearned benefits – is the essence of corruption.
        Therefore, what you deem is corrupt is merely a disagreement on the dispersion of loot and nothing else.

        You do not apply a MORAL PRINCIPLE to the definition of corruption since you have vacated the moral principle as soon as you accepted government.

  50. Jon,

    If x can be done in a better way using less resources, then to not do it that way is waste

    Utter nonsense.

    What is your measure of “better”?

    Why is that measure correct and mine not correct?

    “Better” is subjective and completely dependent on the measure you are using

    A company I consulted to many years ago started a “contest” between stores to improve “inventory turns”. Their measure of “better” was the more times the inventory value “turned” in a accounting period, the “better”. You divide your sales by the value placed on your inventory to calculate “inventory turns”.

    The store manager where I consulted won. What did he do to win?

    He basically had no inventory – thus his “turns” were astronomical. A large number divided by a number that was nearly zero is a large number.

    Was this “better”? He won the contest so it must be, right?!?!?!?

    What do you think his customers thought about that, when they wanted to buy something and were forced to wait extra weeks for it when it “was out of stock”?

    “Better” is a irrational measure of objective things, unless you have defined what is “better” in a very objective way.

    • Apologies, use of the word “better” screwed up my point. Insert the word “different” to get a better idea of what I was saying.

      By “better” I meant “less costly”, since we are working to resolve an already recognized issue of expenses being too high. In other words, a “better way” meant a different process, purchasing arrangement, type or use of tools, etc. that consume fewer resources to accomplish an identical set of tasks or goals. In other words, if the output is static, it is measureable. If the budget (which replaces profit in the calculation) is static, then there is no concern for a change in ratio influencing the cost analysis. In business, an increase in cost is not always bad if it is accompanied by an equivalent or greater increase in profit. In our calculation of governmental affairs, there is no increase in profit because it is replaced in our calcualtion by a fixed budget number.

      I was not, nor would I, bother with putting forth subjective definitions such as “better” without at least providing a means or qualification for determining such a thing. “Better” in this case, was just an inappropriate term and completely irrelevant to my point. I apologize for the confusion and for wasting your time writing a refutation of something that did not need to be refuted.

      • Jon

        By “better” I meant “less costly”, since we are working to resolve an already recognized issue of expenses being too high.

        Ok, so now we are right back to where we were before.

        Why do you believe “less” costly = less waste?

        We went over this with the $150,000 and $300 computer.

        We are going around and around because you still have no economic measuring tool

        All you see is “this number is too high” and cut it by 10%? 20%, 100%? — why? just because YOU think it is too high…. which is a POLITICAL decision … YOUR…THINKING…

        Jon, answer this…
        Why do you think government agencies/programs exist?

        Are they there to make a profit?

        Are they there to provide unearned benefits to a certain class of people?

        When you cut to the chase, these are the only two motivations – and #1 does not exist.

        Therefore, when you come to the table claiming”
        “I will cut waste” … you are saying “I am cutting benefits”.

        Somebody is getting the benefit of that expenditure, which is wholly consistent with the goal of providing unearned benefits

        THEREFORE,

        The motives of “cutting” are wholly political – Who will continue to benefit from unearned monies and who will not – and there is NOT ONE THING ECONOMICAL ABOUT THAT.

        You are merely “justifying” the allocation of the loot to different places then where the loot is being allocated today.

        BUT…NOTHING…CHANGES…ECONOMICALLY since you have NOT eliminated any agency or program.

        • Ok, so, you are saying that a drop in government expenditures of, say $400 billion will have no economic effect whatsoever because no department or program was entirely removed? *blink* *blink*

          It is economically measurable that government expenditures are a strain on the overall economic system, our currency, etc.

          It is therefore not simply a political opinion that the “number is too high”

          X is being done at Y cost when X could be done at Y-1 cost. Therefore it is wasteful because the expenditure is unnecessary to accomplish the same task. I am not addressing whether the task itself is unnecessary. I can say with confidence that it is, but that is, in fact, a political opinion based on my philosophy and my theories on how things would or could function without it. I do not have an economically measureable or provable method for showing that all government should be removed.

  51. Charlie,

    The bottom line is your business first attitude (capitalism) is a disaster getting worse every day (why it needs the government to keep it alive).

    Capitalism and government are OPPOSITES, Charlie – government does not “keep” it alive – it destroys it.

    Government seizes private property FROM people – Capitalism is all about the ownership of property.

    Corporations are always going to find cheaper labor elsewhere … especially in a global market. What are you going to do with all the unemployed?

    Darn, lowering costs so Charlie gets better deals for his goods is a bad thing to Charlie -… man!

    Nothing – NO ONE NEEDS TO DO “SOMETHING”

    If you are unemployed, it means the product you provide -your labor- is unnecessary, unwanted, or too expensive for others to buy.

    That is not MY fault.
    It is not MY job to fix your problem.

    It is your job to fix YOUR problem – fix one or more of the issues above, and you will get a job.

    Do you think they’re going to go away quietly in the night?

    Since the massive people have been raised to be morons, they will believe they have a right to demand a job.

    They will riot to enforce this.

    Then they will learn no such right exists.

    When enough people are out of work, losing their homes, etc., they are going to rebel.

    Yep, they will overturn the system.

    Those who want “Charlie’s” system to replace it, you need do nothing.

    Those that do not want “Charlie’s” system to replace, better get prepared to step in -with powerful articulation, rhetoric and action – with a much better idea.

  52. Will Durant’s “The Reformation”:

    It is a lesson of history that men lie most when they govern states.

  53. And the spin goes on…….

    On the POTUS’ “non campaign” drive through the countryside…..and with Perry’s stepping into the ring…..it has been noted that Obama is taking credit for the jobs growth in Texas…and that it was not Perry’s agenda nor the Texas Legislatures agenda that is driving the growth…..however the normally left sided CNN is calling the Prez into account…and noted.

    Texas got far less stimulus money per capita than any other of the 49 states. There is a reason for this. After the first round of stimulus that Texas did take, the people of Texas got very upset and sent a very strong message to Perry, etal. No more stimulus money from the Feds or we will replace you and Texas conservatism promptly trounced the libs into submission (Texas is 92% red shirted now). Even strong democratic enclaves in Hispanic south Texas elected Hispanic conservatives. THAT was part of the message. Texas refused, and rightly so, any more stimulus money that had strings attached… For example: Did not take stimulus money for continued unemployment…why? Because the Federal government said…”if you take this, then when it runs out, you must continue the payments with your own money and tax increases as a condition.” Texas said no and it was the correct decision. The Federal Government then offered stimulus money for continued housing assistance, medicaid, and extended welfare but the condition for taking this money was again, conditional on continuing the payments when this money ran out using state funds and increased taxes. Our legislature and Perry, correctly declined. Hence the less per capita. (source is CNN Money).

    Then the Obama spin machine says….”well, the increased growth was due to the huge energy price increases and Texas grew as a result of this.” But, CNN once again…says….”Not so fast”. Simple research shows that only 1 in four jobs was energy related..after all Texas is a large producer of oil and gas. Since our family is in the oil and gas business as independent wildcatters, this is also verified that while prices increased, production stayed level hence the jobs created were replacements and a small increase as the price rise did result in going after more costly reserves (depth of wells).

    So where did the other 75% of the jobs growth come from……fact check and CNN both confirmed that it was small business and mom and pop operations. BUT..how can this be, the Obama spinsters asked? It is very simple says Perry.

    The environment in Texas is producing the jobs. But lets us not stop there and let us answer the basic reasons how the environment is doing this. Why are business’ closing in northern and eastern states and moving to Texas? Why is California losing its business base to Nevada and Texas?

    (1) Tort reform….gee what does that mean? It means that Texas put limits and caps on awards. This equals to less cost to the company in insurance and the ambulance chasers left the state in droves….went North or to California and Oregon.
    (2) Workmen’s Compensation reform… Hmmmmm….lump sum awards were eliminated from the mix and there is no requirement to be in the state pool on workers comp. Companies can shop their own insurance and not be part of the state government pool. HOLY COW………companies have a choice and can compete with the State Government? But but but……………………………………..it works.
    (3) No State Income Tax….. I think this is a no brainer but I will try to explain it to the limited understanding of the economically challenged leftward leaning folks……YOU DO NOT PAY ADDITIONAL TAX ON INCOME TO A STATE GOVERNMENT. Got it?
    (4) Right to Work…..Texas is an employment at will state. You do not have to join a union and you do not have to pay homage to a union if there is one. Employment at will means……unless there is a Federal Law prohibiting something….you are employed at the will of your employer and can so be discharged at the will of your employer. This means……there is no tenure (unless previously agreed to) and if you do not do your job…..adios amigo.
    (5) No Corporate Income Tax…..gee…Employers do not pay anymore tax on income other than Federal taxes. There is, however, a corporate margins tax. The corporate margins tax is a fee based tax AFTER deductions for all expenses. And, there are no exemptions EXCEPT for sole proprietorships. This encourages individuals to open and operate their own business and prevents outside corporations from registering in Texas to avoid paying taxes in the state where they reside. (For example, almost everyone uses Delaware Corporations to avoid local taxes)…Texas eliminated that. In addition, basically, the first 30 percent of profit is exempt from the tax.
    (6) Fee Based products and services……Texas is rapidly moving towards fee based State services. If you want it, you will pay for it. If you do not want it, you will not pay for it nor will you be taxed for everyone else. Want to go to a State Park? Pay a fee to get in or don’t go. Want to hunt or fish on state property? Pay a fee and go hunting. Want to hunt or fish on private property? Do so without charge. Don’t want to hunt or fish…..then do not…and you will not be taxed for it.
    (7) Line item costs……..this means that any tax or fee that is collected goes to that specific project. It DOES NOT go to general revenue funds. Hunting and fishing license fees go to game wardens, etc. Park fees…..go to the specific park for maintenance and sanitation.
    (8) Balanced Budget requirements……….The Texas Legislature meets every two years and is required, by the Constitution, to balance the budget. This is one area where Perry screwed up and used some stimulus money to balance the budget. This happened once and he got the message. If it happens again, which I seriously doubt, he will simply be fired, or any governor that does this. In balancing the budget this year, Texas did not raise taxes nor raised property taxes to pay for it…..we did it with cuts and elimination of waste and there were NO SACRED COWS. Everything got slaughtered around 15 to 20%. Medicaid, Medicare, welfare, government (33,000 jobs), education….all got hit and hit hard.
    (9) Education has been strengthened significantly…….how? Most of the school districts have gone to a performance based formula on teacher tenure. No longer does a teacher have a secure position without being evaluated for performance….same for principals. The Texas Education Department (government) has been reduced significantly and the onus put back on the local and municipal school boards and districts to solve their own problems…locally.
    (10) Cost of Living…….There are very few astronomical salaries here? Six figure numbers are not he norm….but neither is our cost of living. It is amazing how many Californians…..sold their 1500 sq foot homes for $300,000 or more and moved to Texas and bought 3,000 sq ft homes for $150,000…

    These are but a few, Mr. President, that creates an ENVIRONMENT that is becoming based on individual accomplishment and less government regulation. We DO NOT need a government to tell us how to live, eat, drink, and get along. Actually, leave us alone and we will be just fine……if we were not….why has Texas produced the jobs.

    One last question, your Prez-ship? If it was the stimulus money that did this…..what happened to the 49 other states?

    • I forgot…..on the horizon for the next legislature. Texas is designing a immigrant worker program that will supply work visas to immigrants that wish to come to Texas and work and where employers can hire immigrants for a specific period of time. This eliminates the employer from hiring illegal immigrants and getting in trouble for it. It will also help control the crossing points in Texas and help enforce the border that the Federal Government is refusing to do. In addition, it will require that immigrants will also register and have to pay Federal Taxes that they are now avoiding. It will allow these same immigrants to enroll in schools and pay taxes to support the school district where they are working and eliminate, eventually, the need for Federal interference in local school jurisdictions and funding.

      This is, however, being fought by the Federal Government under the mistaken belief that Texas cannot enforce its own border…but we will do it anyway.

  54. Mathius,

    Flag, distorts is a good term

    No, it is not.

    Distort – to twist out of a natural, normal condition

    Economic migration of people is a natural and normal condition

    because, though the population migration changes the rates, what we’re trying to get at is simple: which state is actually performing best in the recession in terms of unemployment. The migration changes the raw data in such a way that the answers to the underlying question are distorted.

    But it must impact unemployment!

    It is ridiculous to try to eliminate one of the very mechanisms that changes unemployment so to see which “State” has the best unemployment

    This is akin to saying “Let’s test the speed of a car, but the brakes and the gas pedal cannot be used!”

    Further, you infer that the actions of the State impact unemployment – to which I would ask “….over what period of time?”

    I can eliminate unemployment overnight – guaranteed fool-proof.

    Institute a National Draft into the Army……

    But will that solve the problem 10 years from now?

    • Mathius™ says:

      The fundamental assertion being tested herein is that the “state” of Texas has a better/worse/comparable political environment for performance in terms of employment than other states.

      If we set up a scenario where I examine two neighboring towns, one of which is severely hostile to jobs and the other is not, then we examine the employment rates, we will see them as comparable because everyone will flee one into the other, driving the hostile one’s rates down and the other’s rates up.

      So, to examine which town’s political environment is more conducive to job growth, we have to control for population inflows/outflows, since population is the denominator of the equation.

      If you do not adjust at all, you reach the conclusion that they are comparable to each other since the rates are similar given the current quantity of unemployed workers over the current quantity.

      If you adjust the way the article did, while possible better, you overshoot it since you take (the current quantity of current unemployed workers minus the quantity of migrants ) / starting population.

      I do not disagree that a mobile workforce is a significant factor in terms of employment / unemployment, but it obscures what we’re looking for: is Texas more/less/comparable in terms of performance in a recession for job growth?

      To get at this, we have to account for the inflow of workers as a percentage of the jobs they create when backing them out of the current population. That is, if they hadn’t come / hadn’t been able to come, what would the economy have looked like? Migrant populations will move to wherever the jobs are, it’s nothing intrinsic to the setup of the state, but rather a symptom (perhaps?) of a better performing economy.

      That is, Texas drives it’s rate down by being better than other states. The lower rate attracts mobile workers. They don’t have jobs, so the rate goes up until it roughly matches the rest of the country. If Texas were worse, like Michigan, workers without jobs would leave, reducing the unemployment quantity, and driving the rate down. But that wouldn’t mean that Michigan is a comparable place to Texas in terms of being “good on jobs” in general, does it?

      “Further, you infer that the actions of the State impact unemployment – to which I would ask “….over what period of time?”” The state absolutely impacts jobs through taxes, policy, zoning, regulations, etc etc etc. Even though we disagree over whether it can ever be positive, surely you must think that there are ways to be “less bad”, no? So the question because what state government is the “least bad” for economic recovery?

      How would you get at that answer?

      • Simple…….results.

        • Mathius™ says:

          The “results” of the last ten years is that there are 1.5-ish million more unemployed people in Texas.

          Are you sure you wouldn’t like to read a little further into the data?

          • Yes sir, and have. The result of your post includes ALL temporary and migrant workers. Texas accounts differently than the US government. We count them all…..and not just those on unemployment. As you well know, data can be interpreted many different ways….but the legislature, to try to correlate, ordered the unemployment figures to include even summer college help that was employed only three months at malls and are not not employed and are NOT drawing unemployment insurance. IF we counted only those on unemployment insurance, our rate drops significantly to around 5% but that is not a true picture because when the unemployment insurance fund runs out, no one is paid. The way the US government counts its numbers is by new unemployment applications which is bogus at best. So, it is a worse case scenario for Texas.

            I wish the government counted the way we do and the true unemployment rate will be almost 20%…..but you know the axiom

            Figures don’t lie but liars can figure.

  55. Jon,

    Ok, so, you are saying that a drop in government expenditures of, say $400 billion will have no economic effect whatsoever because no department or program was entirely removed? *blink* *blink*

    No, that is not what I am saying at all – indeed, I specifically said the opposite.

    You are arguing that you can cut $400 billion from government at no cost… you are the one who says you can find “this” somewhere in government budgets by cutting “waste” …..

    …my point – you are measuring “cost” differently, while using the concept simultaneously to mean the same thing.

    You are using Political choices, justifying such choices on economics costs, so that you can avoid measuring political costs.

    You will cut $400 billion – which will help the economy – which will destroy you politically.

    • No, you are now attributing some benefit to government spending by saying that there is a cost to the economy in removing that spending.
      Certainly there will be an effect, there will be someone who is not getting as much money. It may be employees because they are no longer needed when the processes they used to do are streamlined or eliminated. It may be the guy selling hammers for $600 that now can only get $25 for them. It may be guy selling office supplies at the end of a fiscal year that are not really needed by anyone but are being bought to spend the whole budget. None of those persons are receiving the services that were accepted for political reasons. They are receiving the benefit of inefficient operations. So there is a cost, but it is not at a cost to the stated goals and the services that are supposed to be provided.

      Perhaps I can agree that this is a political definition of waste, but it can be detemined through methodology that businesses use. Now, what is the difference between the removal of $400 billion in government expenditures done this way and the removal of $400 billion worth of government departments? The latter is political suicide and is completely unrealistic. The former is politically viable, because the only ones in opposition to it will be those benefitting from the waste. Thus, those who cry about cuts to services will have no basis for complaint, and those who still cry will be exposed as persons benefitting from waste and corruption. It would be theit downfall, not mine.

  56. A wise man once asked, “What shall we have accomplished when we have made a law?”

    He goes on to point out that those who agree with the new law are most likely “obeying” it already, before it’s ever passed.

    Meanwhile, those who don’t agree with it will either obey it grudgingly, which is very dangerous in the long run, especially in a democracy where nothing is ever really settled, or they will break it surreptitiously. . . .

    What we will really have accomplished, says the wise man, is to have given more jobs to cops, and bought more guns and clubs. . . . If law really worked, there’d be no need for it.

  57. Mathius,

    The fundamental assertion being tested herein is that the “state” of Texas has a better/worse/comparable political environment for performance in terms of employment than other states.

    So, in other words, you want to measure which car has the best performance – after eliminating every car’s engine and brakes – and wholly judge on a bunch of guys pushing it down the street.

    Who ever wins that race -to you- means they had the “best” car.

    I do not disagree that a mobile workforce is a significant factor in terms of employment / unemployment, but it obscures what we’re looking for: is Texas more/less/comparable in terms of performance in a recession for job growth?

    No it does not.
    People MOVE to economic opportunity and AWAY from a lack of it.

    A high unemployment can have more than one reason – a sudden influx of hungry people looking for work where they believe, because of GOOD economic opportunity, it exists.

    Having high unemployment does not necessarily mean “poor economic operations”.

    So the question because what state government is the “least bad” for economic recovery?

    How would you get at that answer?

    Simple.
    The one that has the least amount of laws and regulation and taxes.

    • Mathius™ says:

      I’ll give you this: you could be the single must frustrating person I have ever known.

      Inflows/outflows in excess of the normal background rate (whatever that might be) are a response to something. Maybe the weather. Maybe jobs. Maybe they just can’t handle the way New Jersey smells. Maybe it’s social. Maybe it’s cultural. Who knows. But people don’t uproot their lives en masse and collectively migrate to the same state without a reason. It is a reasonable assumption, given the current economy, to suspect that they’re searching for jobs, but it is nonetheless still just an assumption until proven otherwise.

      I’ll ignore your maniacally intransigent insistence that “the one that has the least amount of laws and regulation and taxes” is the best option and instead just sidestep with the fact that they’re all apples and oranges and 48 other types of fruit. Maybe Texas has fewer environmental regulations but more of another type. Maybe it has lower taxes, but higher fees. Maybe it has fewer laws but the laws it does have are more onerous. Whatever. Given this, there’s no clean answer to who “has the least amount of laws and regulations”.

      I’ll reiterate my agreement that fluctuations in population affect job markets.

      But it’s a symptom of the underlying foundation. If, for whatever reason, all those people moved to Rhode Island, would RI’s economy have boomed in such a way that the unemployment rate (after initially skyrocketing) dropped back down to roughly par with the rest of the country, or is their political system configured differently from Texas’s such that it would have settled higher or lower?

      So, I’ll repeat:

      So the question because what state government is the “least bad” for economic recovery?

      How would you get at that answer?

      From the data, if you please.

      • Mathius……question for you, kind sir.

        You state ” Maybe Texas has fewer environmental regulations but more of another type. Maybe it has lower taxes, but higher fees. Maybe it has fewer laws but the laws it does have are more onerous. ”

        Why does it matter? If the bottom line and/or results are positive the important reason is the why. Why is it better. You seem to be speaking in academia terms which matter not in the reality of the situation. The results are that the inflow of new business is reality. That also is determined by the amount of infrastructure building that is going on as well….the amount of new comers in the school district from out of State….the registration of vehicles from other states. This is not in state growth….it is growth from out of state? Why is it? You tell me, if it is not the environment? (Environment not defined as Gorish).

        • Mathius™ says:

          It matters because I’m trying to determine the effect of the Texas political environment on employment rates. I’m trying to get at this from the data and show that it’s between the two rates shown on the blog. However, since I’m arguing with Flag, it’s important to clarify that the only thing he’s willing to credit (having fewer laws/regs/taxes) is unable to be taken as a metric since the effect is person-by-person and situation-by-situation. So, hopefully, I can force him to turn to the show effect, if not cause, of the political environment of Texas on jobs in that state.

          You, however, say: “the results are that the inflow of new business is reality.” And while that’s great, it doesn’t show whether the inflow of businesses is a response to the influx of population or whether the population is due to the influx of new business. If the former, we should back out those jobs as a symptom of the new workers. If the later, then the converse is true, but only by controlling for the variable in the raw data can we prove that. If, absent population growth, the unemployment rate went down, then there is something intrinsic about the way Texas is set up that performs better in a recession than other states. If, absent population growth, Texas unemployment rates are comparable to other states, then it’s just the new workers who have improved the economy and there is nothing about Texas’s political environment which is better than other states.

          So, since, at the heart of all this, Rick Perry is claiming Texas’s relative performance as his doing, it’s salient to figure out if the government, as headed by Perry, is the reason Texas did well, or if it did well because it has more people now. Similarly, his opponents have made all sorts of claims which the article dismantles (by someone who claims not to be his supporter, btw), but it is my belief, and the belief of the poster whose objection the blogger noted, that he overshot the “real” rate by simply subtracting all migrants directly from the unemployment number.

          A simple exercise in reasoning shows that increasing the population (denominator) will drive down the employment rate resulting in an artificially HIGH rate. But compensating by simply removing the new workers from both the numerator and denominator skews it too far the other way. He overshot the landing – that’s all I’m saying.

          • Ahhh.. ok. Enjoy your argument then….but beware…..Flag argues with himself when you are not around…and his ego and alter ego are in constant conflict. 🙂 The problem is…..when both sides of himself feel that he has won…then neither side is content.

            Now, on a lighter side. Our business environment has been doing well before this so called recession….we have just weathered it better is all. But argue what you wish…..

            if you compare the states that have lost to the states that have won….there is one common denominator….. and that is business friendly. Less government and less regulations.

            I wonder how many other states have a legislature that meets every two years….not professionally paid…..and have a balanced budget. I do not know as I have not researched this at all. BUT, I venture to say, that the less government is involved, the better the state. The less regulations, the less deficits and the less costs.

            Think I will have a look at this.

  58. SUFA – a good article on the futility that the vast majority continue to waste time on….

    —————-
    The American political system guarantees that mediocre candidates get nominated.

    Glenn Greenwald, writing for Salon, lamented the memory hole that the media have dropped Ron Paul down.

    Here is how Greenwald summarizes the situation.

    The reality is that both parties’ voters, early on in the process, like to flirt with candidates who present themselves as ideologues, but ultimately choose establishment-approved, establishment-serving functionaries perceived as electable (e.g., the Democrats’ 2004 rejection of Dean in favor of Kerry, the GOP’s 2008 embrace of the “maverick” McCain).

    In those rare instances when they nominate someone perceived as outside the establishment mainstream (Goldwater, McGovern), those candidates are quickly destroyed.

    The two-party system and these presidential campaigns are virtually guaranteed — by design — to produce palatable faces who perpetuate the status quo, placate the citizenry, and dutifully serve the nation’s most powerful factions.

    He has it exactly right.

    This is by design. It works very well.

    CFR Team A vs. CFR Team B.

    Reagan got through the vetting process, but only because he put George Bush on the ticket, which he had publicly promised he would never do.

    Bush was an empty suit. He was not stupid. No one gets through Yale and Harvard Business School who is stupid. He just had no guiding philosophy. He had no plan of action or any history of coming up with one. He had an empty head. Cheney filled it.

    Obama is the same. He speaks well. He has nothing of substance to say. Pelosi was his ramrod, as I predicted in 2008. Without her running the House, he is adrift.

    Think of Clinton. What did he ever accomplish? He started a war in Bosnia. What else? Nothing that I can think of. He will be remembered for Monica Lewiksky.

    Jimmy Carter was the same. What was his legacy. “Malaise,” which he never actually said.

    Nixon and Reagan got their way when they stood firm. It did Nixon no good. He sold out most of his verbalized principles. His one real gift to the nation was to end conscription. But that was because a young Friedmanite economist, Martin Anderson, pushed him on the issue.

    Leadership has ended, all over the West.

    Sarkozy and Merkel sounded like a couple of bureaucrats.

    They clearly have no solution to the sovereign debt crisis, other than to recommend the consolidation of national fiscal policies, for which there is no treaty authority and against which the electorate will battle. The Eurocrats have always wanted this, but politicians have been unable to push it through.

    The Council on Foreign Relations has screened the candidates, but what do they have for their efforts?

    Neutered spokesmen.

    These men cannot lead.

    It takes either great wisdom or great power to lead, and Western democracy has turned over most power to tenured bureaucrats. The powers behind the thrones are after handouts. They have been exposed since September 2008 as total incompetents. Does anyone trust Geithner? Bernanke is an academic. He cannot lead. He cannot even give a decent speech. Volcker could. And at 6’8″, smoking a cigar, nobody ever challenged him except Ron Paul.

    The CFR has screened magnificently.

    But what emerges from the screening process are people who cannot lead.

    They are people without reliable, well-informed independent judgment. They cannot command respect except in wartime. When the wars drag on, this respect dribbles away.

    They are riding the tiger now. This is becoming clear to a growing minority of voters.

    The Establishment still thinks the debt monster can be contained, but it can’t.

    There will be a Great Default.

    That will change the world we have known. The debt is growing faster than the sagging, struggling economies. Deficits do matter. The voters trust the government not to default, to keep the debt game going. The Establishment does too. When it at last ends, there will be great consternation.

    Then we will see how empty the suits really are.

  59. Jon

    No, you are now attributing some benefit to government spending by saying that there is a cost to the economy in removing that spending.

    No, please re-read what I said.

    If you remove benefits from someone, there will be costs – for you, Political costs – the cost you have ignored.

    End spending – you have my agreement.
    Do not try to justify such ending of spending as to be “cutting waste FROM government” – politically, it sounds good, but it is a lie.

    You are cutting waste by cutting government – period. The more the better.

    But if you do, you will be inflicting Political cost – invoking Public Choice Doctrines.

    . Now, what is the difference between the removal of $400 billion in government expenditures done this way and the removal of $400 billion worth of government departments?

    One is hiding behind a fantasy and a facade and lies, which is a significant too of Politicians.

    One is doing a truthful action – government is waste, thus cutting government reduces waste.

    The latter is political suicide and is completely unrealistic.

    Yes and then No.

    • I am not ignoring political costs. The only reason I am presenting this particular strategem is because I recognize the political costs. If I believed that the current establishment was the only one with power and that there was people and perceptions could do to change that, then I would agree with you, because it is the establishment leadership and their allies that benefit from the spending I am defining as “waste”.

      SInce, however, I still believe that the people have political power, not just the power of rebellion, in their reach, I believe that I can cut financial spending without suffering significantly from the political costs. In fact, it could be a political benefit, not only for me, but for others like me who would begin to come into government. To remove entore departments is political suicide because it threatens the establishment AND you cannot garner unified support from a large enough group of people, thus there will be massive political costs. Because of these costs, I consider it an unrealistic goal. The only way such cuts will occur will be due to financial collapse.

      The facade and lies are a tool of politicians, and “cutting waste” is indeed such a facade, but it is using their tool against them by using it up. They hide behind the wall of waste saying that is the reason for the high costs, rather than admitting that the entire concept is unsustainable. Remove the wall and they must find another place to hide.

  60. Mathius,

    I’ll give you this: you could be the single must frustrating person I have ever known.

    I agree – I am the most frustrating person I know too.

    Inflows/outflows in excess of the normal background rate (whatever that might be) are a response to something.

    First, you assume there exists some “normal” background rate.
    What is this rate?
    How did you figure it out, and why do you believe this rate is valid?

    But people don’t uproot their lives en masse and collectively migrate to the same state without a reason.

    Geo-political displacements have few core reasons

    Natural disaster? Nope.
    Pestilence? Nope
    Political unrest/war? Nope.

    What’s left:
    Economic opportunity

    It is a reasonable assumption, given the current economy, to suspect that they’re searching for jobs, but it is nonetheless still just an assumption until proven otherwise.

    Actually, no.
    As pointed out, people do not move without motives.
    They are giving up their roots, language, culture, friends, family ….. for something else.

    This is why there are few geopolitical causation – any other reasons are trivial and insufficient.

    “has the least amount of laws and regulations”.

    Embedded in your own retort, you agreed with these reasons.
    You agreed less ENVIRONMENTAL law makes a positive difference.
    You agreed less REGULATION makes a positive difference.

    I see that you think you want to “tweek” law – which one gives the “most” economical benefit.

    The answer: no law gives economical benefit

  61. D13

    Ahhh.. ok. Enjoy your argument then….but beware…..Flag argues with himself when you are not around…and his ego and alter ego are in constant conflict. 🙂 The problem is…..when both sides of himself feel that he has won…then neither side is content.

    You speak more truth here then you may realize….

    • I don’t think so, BF. Water seeks its own level, doncha’ know. I do not speak of that which I do not know…

      For..I have gone to look for myself….should I get back before I return…Please, ask me to wait.

  62. Could be coincidence………..

    Just announced…Department of Justice investigating S&P…..Senate Investigative Committee investigating S&P…..

    shake down?

  63. Chavez recalls gold from all overseas reserves and further nationalizes gold reserves in his country. He is doing this to prevent further economic sanctions against his country. He has 11 billion in gold stashed around. False dichotomy, of course but that is what he is doing.

    • D13,

      The World Gold report came out today.

      Record high purchases 900t – 55% by China and India -95t net buy by Central Banks

      Outlook: acceleration of purchases.

      • opp, overstated CB purchases

        Here is the summary:

        Gold’s strong start to the year was reinforced during the second quarter of 2011 where total global gold demand measured 919.8 tonnes (t), worth a near-record US$44.5bn, with broad-based support across all sectors and geographies. Standout markets were India and China, as these two markets accounted for 52% of total bar and coin investment and 55% of global jewellery demand.

        According to the Gold Demand Trends report for Q2 2011, gold demand in the second half of 2011 will remain strong owing to a number of key factors:

        Despite a higher gold price, Indian and Chinese demand grew 38% and 25% respectively during Q2 2011 compared to the same period of 2010. This growth is likely to continue, due to increasing levels of economic prosperity, high levels of inflation and forthcoming key gold purchasing festivals.

        The impact of the European sovereign debt crisis, the downgrading of US debt, inflationary pressures and the still-fragile outlook for economic growth in the West are all likely to drive high levels of investment demand for the foreseeable future.

        Central banks are likely to remain net purchasers of gold. Purchases of 69.4t during Q2 2011 demonstrated that central banks are continuing to turn to gold to diversify their reserves.

  64. Charlie, ol’ foil!

    fWhere BF (and probably you, also) is/are wrong is when you “ASSUME” a free market would work (capitalism is a doomed entity; it CANNOT WORK). IT IS A FAILED EXERCISE that REQUIRES government support (see the Noam Chomsky videos) …

    As pointed out numerous times, Chomsky creates a strawman – by mis-defining his terms, he attacks something else, and blames the innocent.

    …typical of Socialist…

    As for freedom, you ignore how dependent we all become on the owners of the means of production (in whatever form). Slaves come in many forms … wage earners is but one, but it’s no small potatoe.

    Again, mis-define your terms, and “up” and “down” becomes the same thing.

    Slavery requires violence.

    You taking a job is choice.

    But as long as you define choices to be violence then black can be white.

    Allowing Corporations to run free (outsource, have us bail them out, etc.), is a hurricane about to blow. I only hope I’m still alive when it happens.

    Corporations are evil – at least we agree here – but probably have different reasons.

    • Here, have some fun, compliments of The Doc …

      http://temporaryknucksline.blogspot.com/2011/08/doc-says.html

    • Chomsky is also an anarchist … doesn’t believe in capitalism, has been around for decades … no straw man; he points to the third world (look to Cuba before and after Castro; what Batista did to the Cuban people is pretty much what the Republican party seeks here in the U.S.

      Social darwinism … some arrogant bullshit that ultimately leaves violence as the only resort to end oppression.

      When people are starving and need to eat and have no choice but to accept what the master (owner) tells them, yeah, violence is one solution. Starving people, kicking them out of their homes for the sake of profit (when they lose a job to a third world cheaper labor force) is the other form of violence you can’t accept or your theoy falls apart as fast as your assumption that a truly free market would lead to anything other than slavery.

      • Bottom Line says:

        “…your theoy falls apart as fast as your assumption that a truly free market would lead to anything other than slavery.”

        How Orwellian of you, Charlie.

        What’s next? War is Peace? Ignorance is Strength?

      • Charlie,
        no straw man; he points to the third world (look to Cuba before and after Castro; what Batista did to the Cuban people is pretty much what the Republican party seeks here in the U.S.

        LOL!

        So, he believes pre-Castro Cuba was a capitalist country!!! LoL!

        …and you agree with him (no big surprise there!)

        I love ya, Charlie – you are simply the best at providing your own evidence against your own arguments ….

  65. Yes, we have quite a but but have elected to not buy anymore. We are also not buying any more silver, platinum, nor palladium. Barclays, Bank of America, and the Bank of England have recently downgraded financial statements that are carrying too much of any precious metal on them. While precious metals are a good hedge against inflation, gold cannot be used as a monetary exchange. That has not been repealed yet, to my knowledge…so it is still a commodity….a hot one right now but a commodity never the less.

    We have chosen to diversify during the panic. People are panicking unwisely and we are purchasing what they are dumping. We watch very carefully the European economic issues and the central banks that own large amounts of countries debt are finding them selves in trouble. Cash is still King and the US Dollar is still the best currency out there. Germany bears watching right now because they are the key to the Euro and it appears they may not back Spain and Italy and France. Russia is no factor and China has greater problems right now if they continue to manipulate their currency.

    Now it would be interesting to see what the acceleration in buying gold is going to do but I wonder if other countries follow the lead of Venezuela and nationalize their mining and production……wonder what that does.

    The United States is in a very unique position right now and if it can immediately (within five years) control spending and bring itself into a more conservative position of net worth…..it can own the world on the monetary system. The Austrian method is dead and everybody knows it. The US is in a strong position right now to take control. I wonder if we have the will to do it.

  66. Mathius™ says:

    “But what people recognize is that there’s a fear that the United States is in an unstoppable decline. They see the rise of China, the rise of India, the rise of the Soviet Union and our loss militarily going forward. And especially with this very bad debt ceiling bill, what we have done is given a favor to President Obama and the first thing he’ll whack is five hundred billion out of the military defense at a time when we’re fighting three wars. People recognize that.”

    HAHHAHHAHAHAHAHA!!!!

    This is so funny, I’m not even going to bother atrributing it. 1,000 Mathius Points says Charlie and/or Buck can guess it on their first tries.

    Damn Commies…

    • What Soviet Union? Perhaps they meant Russia? lol
      China will implode..India is no threat to anyone except Pakistan…

      WAIT…….a Texas invasion?….Naaah….we don’t want the rest pf the country….maybe Montana as an ally…beautiful country. We just want to be left alone and we do not want Perry to run for Pres,,,,,stay here.

  67. D13…
    Ah!

    Keynes was English, raised in India, earned a math degree and well taught Mercantilism ideology and took a dead-end government job in the bureaucracy running India

    His professor thought more of Keynes then that, and convinced a friend to hire him as a teacher, as long as Keynes’ father paid part of the salary – everyone agreed, so Keynes went to England to teach economics.

    He revived Marxist’s “theory of labor” brain-eating theories, and since it involved extensive government interference in the market place – “Messianic Government Fixes Everything” theory, government loved Keynes, his theories, his works – and the WW2 gave a great, great chance to implement it under the noses of the people by calling it “Patriotic duty”.

    So you can say Keynes is from the “Mercantilist English School”

    ——-

    Mises was a trained, lettered (PhD) economist – who followed the foundational works of Carl Menger – an Austrian, hence the “Austrian School of Economics”

    His foundational work “On Human Action” presented praxalogy as the methodology to determine economic outcomes. This methodology presents individual choice as the driver of economics and interference with that individual choice by force will distort economic outcomes from the optimal and towards destruction.

    • Mathius™ says:

      brain-eating theories

      Link.

      Are you confusing “theories” and “amoebas” again?

      • Mathius,

        Nope – Keynesians are nutty – as they get closer to a PhD, they get nuttier – thus, the “smarter” they get; that is, dabble deeper in Keynesian theory, they get nuttier and nuttier .. hence, it must eat their brains.

        • Mathius™ says:

          Oh well.. just imagine how much smarter I would be if I hadn’t spent four years studying Keynesian economics…

          c’est la vie

          • Mathius,

            You can be cured.
            Start with “Human Action” – and the disease of Keynesian will begin to reverse itself.

            • Mathius™ says:

              If I read through that schlock, cover to cover, will you admit that I’m smarter than you?

              It’s a small price to pay to spread the word and possibly win a convert to your cause.

              • Mathius,

                No it will not make you smarter than me.

                It will make you smarter.

              • Mathius,
                PS: You’re getting richer – gold crossed $1870

              • PSS: Gold Price Hits Parity With Platinum For First Time Since 2008

              • Mathius™ says:

                No it will not make you smarter than me. This is true. I am already smarter than you, so reading an book, while it may make me smarter, will not accomplish something that was already accomplished 🙂

                You’re getting richer – gold crossed $1870 Not to mention that a sizable portion of my portfolio is in miners and gold funds. However, the other side of my portfolio is hemorrhaging money. Hemorrhaging. Net-net, I’m down, but only a couple percent.

                Gold Price Hits Parity With Platinum For First Time Since 2008 Old gypsy curse: “May you live in interesting times.”

  68. Mathius,

    You cannot be smarter than me if you are still in the stock market 😉 !!!

    The next up-tick, I would advise selling everything. It will continue to fall until QE3 … then it will rise with inflation, based on every degrading value of fiat currency.

    There are no fundamentals in US business worth investing into ….

    • Mathius™ says:

      • Mathius,

        Coming from a guy whose portfolio is “bleeding”…… (shrug)……

        • Mathius™ says:

          Mathius plays the long-game.

          Today, tomorrow, next week, next year, ten years from now, forty years from now, my portfolio will be up, and I will retire in style.

          Market shocks are irrelevant unless you need the liquidity. If you can, as I can, let it ride, then up and down don’t matter except in terms of when to buy more and when not to.

          When blood is on the streets, buy real estate.

          • Mathius,

            You are irrational.

            Today, tomorrow, next week, next year, ten years from now, forty years from now, my portfolio will be up, and I will retire in style

            If you never sell and always hold, you never get your money.

            Therefore, it will be when you sell.

            But since you do not sell when the market is going down, and you do not sell when the market is going up, you will sell when you are forced to sell by your own economic issues – and whatever the market happens to be doing at that time, you will suffer it.

            In other words, your market strategy is irrational – that is, completely random and unprepared holding no regard to economic conditions

            …or more or less the same as buying lottery tickets as your retirement plan…

            • Mathius™ says:

              Not really, Flag. Once I get closer to retirement, I’ll convert over to safer investments in a strategic way over the course, probably, of a decade: choosing the best times to sell off my risky (high performance) investments and the best times to buy new safer (low performance) investments. There’s nothing irrational here, this is how it is done.

              The mistake millions of people make is failing to convert to safe investments (and, yes, cash/gold) in a timely manner before retirement, otherwise market shocks like, say, an unprecedented banking collapse and global recession will decimate you because you are “forced to sell by your own economic issues” – this can simply be sidestepped by advance planning. That is, get out on your own terms when you choose to rather than taking the crap-shoot and getting out when you have to. If the current crop of retirees got out of stocks and into safe FI instruments and cash over the last decade, the current situation wouldn’t impact them. However, the ones who are now trying to liquidate their equities suddenly find their portfolios in lousy shape.

              Any financial planner will tell you the same thing. Yet you, in your unlimited hubris, contend that you know better – again.

              • Mathius,

                You mean the financial planners that were completely caught flatfooted by the Recession? Hmmm……

                Yes, sir, I do know better.

                You are, however, typical example.

                The Financial “Planners” are suffering through the “lost decade” for stocks.

                Lately they took “your” portfolio on a roller-coaster ride up and down – and way way down – and down some more, over the last few weeks.

                Nothing about the future changes the outlooks of more of the same: a highly volatile stock market and lower annual average returns.

                You may get 2% per year after inflation.

                But what about taxes? Hmmmm.
                What about fund management fees, which are in the 1.5% per annum range. Hmmmm.

                But it will if we get mass inflation, let alone hyperinflation?

                If “you” are getting 2% per annum in stocks and bonds, there is no way you can afford to retire.

                Then you will be faced with another risk: Taxes.

                You’ll owe income tax on that 401(k) nest egg when you start pulling the money out.

                Do you believe taxes will go up or down in the next few decades?

                You and Buck advocate for raising taxes, right?

                Yet, my bet is you haven’t spent 10 seconds calculating what that will do to your very fragile nest egg.

                So, combine inflation, low returns, fund fees, and taxes. What do you get?

                If you put $10,000 into the S&P 500 in 2000, you’d have about the same amount in 2010 – whee!

                Let’s see. Prices are up 30% since 2000 – Boo!

                To buy what would have cost $10,000 in 2000, you need $13,000 after taxes today.

                This is your retirement plan?

                You believe just because you invested over time a lot of your money was invested lower and benefited from a recovery, and that’s where you are focused.

                But you don’t factor in a 30% loss of purchasing power. Don’t factor in taxes. Don’t factor in fund management fees.

                Having a terminally naive view on stocks/bonds, you will be unprepared for the crisis.

                It is coming for most Americans by the time they reach age 65. It will be the end of their dreams.

                You better get rich, sir – sooner then later…..

  69. Charlie,

    When people are starving and need to eat and have no choice but to accept what the master (owner) tells them, yeah, violence is one solution. Starving people, kicking them out of their homes for the sake of profit (when they lose a job to a third world cheaper labor force) is the other form of violence you can’t accept or your theoy falls apart as fast as your assumption that a truly free market would lead to anything other than slavery.

    You are funny, Charlie.

    You and your Chomsky/Marxist theories say:

    Capitalist exploit employed workers by giving them jobs and paying them.
    Capitalist exploit unemployed workers by starving them by not giving them jobs.

    So whether Capitalist hire or do not hire, -no matter what they do – they are exploiting workers!

    You, Marx and Chomsky are all nuts.

    When the free market prices things, You, Marx and Chomsky believe this:

    1. Prices are the same: price-setting, collusion, oligopoly. Evil!

    2. One company sets lower prices: cut-throat competition, aggressive pricing to bankrupt competitors. Evil!

    3. One company raises prices: monopoly pricing, price gouging, consumer exploitation. Evil!

    So no matter if the prices are the same, go up or go down, capitalists are EVIL!

    You guys are nuts.

    You guys believe capitalism falls into permanent crisis.

    But you argue that if capitalists cause an economic crisis when they save and do not buy or hire, but they also cause a crisis when they spend instead, then they are to blame for the crisis, no matter what they do.

    You guys are nuts.

  70. Mathius,

    ….or maybe you should ask Pelosi what her investment strategy is – and remember she did this with a full time in Congress …. during a massive Recession

    Friday, August 19, 2011
    Nancy Pelosi Reported Net Worth Triples in Last Two Years

    It’s nice to know someone is prospering during the ‘Obama years’. The rest of us are watching our home values and retirement investments plummet.

    Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) reported a minimum net worth for 2010 that was more than 50 percent higher than the prior year, according to personal financial disclosure forms made public by the Clerk of the House on Wednesday.

    Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) also saw a healthy growth in his minimum net worth, but the total change in his case is in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, while Pelosi’s is in the millions.

    Pelosi, who ranks among the 50 richest Members of Congress, reported $43.45 million in minimum assets, according to financial disclosure reports released Wednesday. That marks an increase of more than $13 million in assets from 2009.

  71. SUFA,

    Mathius has posted his investment strategy – which is entirely based on the theory that the stock market will rise.

    I suggest you consider this, in contrast:

    On December 29th, 1989, the Nikkei 225 hit an all-time high of 38,957.00. . . .

    20 years later, the Nikkei 225 is currently trading at 8,755.26.

    This is around 22% of what the index was trading at in the late 1980s.

    Why am I telling you this?

    I’ve lost count of the number of people who have told me that they are just going to sit on their long-term investments indefinitely, because the “market always comes back over time”.

    Sure, the Dow might top 13,000 again in the future.

    The S&P 500 might just trade above 1,440 once again.

    Heck, maybe the Nasdaq will return to its glory days and trade over 5,000. Anything is possible.

    I’m just saying — you NEED to consider the possibility that stocks may take decades to “come back”.

    There are probably people in Japan that are still holding from 20 years ago, hoping that the Nikkei 225 “comes back”. . . .

    Just some food for thought for you.

    The markets don’t ALWAYS come back.
    Stocks don’t ALWAYS come back.

    This is what money managers and stock brokers tell you so that you will continue to park your money with them.

    These are incredibly uncertain and unique times that we are currently living through right now. Nothing is guaranteed, including any future returns in your portfolio.

    • Mathius™ says:

      you NEED to consider the possibility that stocks may take decades to “come back”.

      I have decades. I’m 28.

      • Mathius,

        On December 29th, 1989, the Nikkei 225 hit an all-time high of 38,957.00. . . .

        20 years later, the Nikkei 225 is currently trading at 8,755.26.

        You are now 48, holding 22% of what you started with …. then inflation

        $1000 in 1989 is worth $550 now.

        So you had $1000 in the market in 1989, it is now $220 – buy can only buy $135 of goods….

        …and you have 20 years to make this up….

        You are naive.

        • Mathius™ says:

          Good point. I think I’ll start converting 25 years in advance.. problem solved 🙂

          • SUFA,

            A few posts back I showed the state of gold purchases – I wish to review this again for its importance.

            Indian citizens are buying gold. As prices rise, they still buy gold. The story is here.

            Gold imports by India, the world’s biggest consumer, may reach a record this year as investors seek a haven against inflation and volatility in stock markets, a traders’ group said.

            Imports may be between 950 metric tons and 1,000 tons this year, Prithviraj Kothari, president of the Bombay Bullion Association, told reporters at a gold conference in Kovalam in south India. Consumption in India rose to a record 963.1 tons last year, driving bullion imports to the highest ever at 958 tons, according to the World Gold Council.

            Indian citizens are buying gold. As prices rise, they still buy gold.

            When Indians slow their purchases, this is usually a signal that gold’s price is getting toppy. The Indians are the world’s canary in the gold mine. If they say “it’s too high,” it’s getting too high.

            The fact that some central banks are buying gold indicates that the other major source of demand is increasing.

            George Soros has sold his gold position, calling gold a bubble. John Paulson (not Hank) still has a large position in gold. So, the Western experts disagree.

            I trust Indian experts: common men.

            Purchases by India, the world’s biggest user, surged 60 percent to 267 tons in the three months ended June 30, from 167 tons a year earlier, the producer-funded council said on Aug. 18. Investment demand jumped 78 percent to 108.5 tons, the second-highest quarter on record

            If that Indian man in street says the “price of gold is not too high”, listen to him and not Soros.

  72. A commenter, with whom I agree in his logic and reasoning, argues that 2016/2017 will be the year of the Great Reckoning all things remaining equal….

    ————
    Of all the Republican candidates – only one comes from the Eastern Establishment. This is very rare and unique.

    It means that the rhetoric of the Republican Party has returned to “conservatism” like Reagan’s.

    Before him, it was Goldwater. Before him, it was Robert Taft. The Establishment kept out Taft and Goldwater. It thought it had boxed in Reagan, but it failed on the issues closest to his heart: top bracket tax reduction and the defeat of the Soviet Union. They staffed his administration with Bushites. They kept the government growing. Bush replaced him in 1989. Then another Bush replaced Clinton.

    This year marks a fundamental shift in the party’s rhetoric.

    It means that the conservatives have won the ideological war.
    They will not win the legislative war.

    The voters want the welfare state.
    They are not concerned enough to roll back the warfare state.
    The Federal government will keep growing even if a Republican is elected with a Republican House and Senate.
    So will the Federal debt. Paul would veto spending bills, but I think the Establishment will keep him out of office because of this.

    This will make 2016 the year of electoral reckoning. In that year, the nation will visibly run out of fiscal options.

    The stronger the rhetoric favoring a reduced Federal government, the better. It can be used to remind the President of what he promised. That rarely or never has worked. But it sets the tone for the breakdown phase, which will begin in the term of the President elected in 2016.

    Voters must prepare for 2017 and beyond. When there are no more rabbits left in the government’s hat, the voters will have to decide which way they want the country to go: hyperinflation or budget-cutting. So will the Establishment. So will the Federal Reserve.

    For as long as Washington can delay, it will.
    For as long as the voters let Washington get away with this, it will.
    There is no commitment yet to solving the debt crisis before it cannot be solved except by default.

    When Washington defaults, other nations will follow. The dominoes will fall.

  73. @Jon: I am just not sure people can live with the realities of freedom

    Careful, Jon, you sound like me (rather rational, I might add) … people cannot and will not live with the realities of absolute freedom (no government at all) … certainly not the total population of America … but even assuming they could (and it is an absurd assumption), how would you handle (how will you handle) all the unemployed?

    Basically, you’re saying because of “freedom”, corporations should do whatever they want (and they do–only they have the government support) … so what happens when the constant search for higher profit that capitalism requires (or at least is the result of capitalism) leads to more and more outsourced work? Again, what do you do with all those unemployed people? I think you’ll have some trouble on your hands not so unlike what happened in the mid-east recently. You can’t ignore the greater good, no matter how many silly Ayn Rand novels you swallow. It’s just as absurd as thinking 30,000,000 people could co-exist without the structure of a social contract. It’s silly.

    • A Puritan Descendant says:

      “so what happens when the constant search for higher profit that capitalism requires…….”

      Not trying to be picky Charlie, but I think you should to replace the word “capitalism” with “publicly stock owned corporation” or something like that, to make it more accurate.

      If I save my capital for years as a “capitalist” and invest in a simple business such as an automotive repair shop, just for example, there is no requirement for me to make ever increasing profits so long as I am happy with what I earn. I don’t need to open ever increasing service stations, just one station is fine, and I would still consider myself a capitalist.

      Not all capitalist business are run on pure greed.

      Your question is interesting though, as I always thought it odd how stock owned companies are under pressure to satisfy stock owners, while if they did not have that burden, they could find it easier to continue to reinvest in their own business with their own capital if they had not ‘borrowed’ by selling stock. But what do I know? I am happy watching the Red Sox> 🙂

      • Not all capitalist business are run on pure greed.

        I agree, not every “individual” motive is greed, but capitalism has no other way to survive. Those with the gelt need to protect their power and there’s only one way to do so, creating more capital. For Corporations it is an absolute and they will not take anything into consideration (patriotism, compassion, unemployment, poverty … nothing). They will simply seek the largest potential profit … right now it’s outsourcing. Right now, it is the beginning of the end of capitalism in America. I’ll be long gone, but capitalism will not survive … there will simply be too many unemployed to permit it to do so.

    • The “unemployed” are free to do as they wish, so long as they do not violate the rights of others. The “employed” and “employers” have that same option. Personally, I would help those unemployed that I am able to and that I believe to be deserving of help and in need of help. Sometimes that help will be monetary, sometimes it will be teaching, or networking, or offering employment myself. In a free society, I will have a LOT more to work with to that end. Further, I would be inclined to do business differently, or not at all, and even to encourage others against doing business, with greedy persons who shun their neighbors in need, or worse, take advantage of them. Will this solve all of the problems in the world? Of course not. But it will mean that I am doing all that I can do to solve those issues without violating anyone’s rights. There will be people who cannot survive without the help of others. There might even be more of those people than there are those willing to help. The worse it gets, however, the more pressure will be put on those who can help and are not. Social pressure. Trust me, when the rich guy can no longer find anyone who will trade with him or allow him to invest his money with them, they will change their attitude. Again, I do not claim that all issues will vanish and all will be taken care of. I do think, however, that far fewer will suffer, particuarly among those who are willing to earn their way in life, than with any other system.

      The sort of things I am concerned about are the people who do not have the ability to resist those who are violating their rights. I have no concern for those whose rights are not being violated by anyone. It is those who cannot must the force needed to defend themselves from violence.

      As for your other concern, I imagine, without corporations and the entity wall street that they provide, that the goals of businesses will change dramatically. Maybe not overnight, but they will change. As for outsourced work, you are making it into something larger than it is. Look at the numbers, even now most outsourcing is done within the country to other firms. Instead of hiring an IT guy, for instance, companies hire someone like me, a freelance IT person. You cannot make people work within your structure and expect it to perform as well as it would without the restrictions. And you cannot ignore the other factors that come into play. Even if companies stayed in business here without outsourcing, do you really think their products would be as affordable? There is too much restriction here, and too little innovation, much of the latter due to laziness, and the rest due to horrifyingly inept education, ESPECIALLY in the higher level schools. I have seen more good businesspeople ruined by ivy league MBAs than anythinng else.

      And no matter how much you ignore Ayn Rand, you will never make the math work in your system, thus it will always be doomed to failure.

      • The “unemployed” are free to do as they wish, so long as they do not violate the rights of others.

        Jon, what about when the numbers of unemployed become insurrmountable? We’re pretty close now. We can’t afford to supply unemployment for 3-4-5 years, yet we can’t afford not to do so. What happens over the next two years (and it will) when foreclosures skyrocket again because people who have been out of work for a year go into their second year and lose unemployment?

        The thing you ignore in your outsourcing within the country is that the outsourcing goes to other states (cheaper labor) … rr donnelly, those scumbags do it in New York, outsourcing out of state and to India. pieces of shit. people lose jobs so fatcats sitting on their duffs (and don’t tell me the investors aren’t sitting on their duffs) can earn off the backs of cheap labor. Sorry, that’s the worst form of slavery to me.

        The math works in socialist systems, you chose to swallow the kool aid propaganda on it. I can’t help that.

        • You speak as is a removal of taxes and regulation would have no positive effect on employment, nor any reduction in outsourcing. If you remove the cause of a problem, the problem goes away.

          You are correct, we cannot afford to supply unemployment, that is why we should not. Economies are not based solely on spending. You have to stop looking at all this stuff so one sided, look at the entire equasion. Even the stuff made overseas will be no good if no ne is buying, because spending is a factor. However, the drop in economy would simply bankrupt the government faster, thus removing the drain on the economy. Once that crap is out of the way people can rebuild. Necessity is the mother of invention, people will find a way. There will be riots, but the rioters will be the ignorant ones who dont understand reality, and the dependent ones who think it is the responsibility of another to take care of them. I care not for the latter, and only for the former if they are willing to learn. Let the cities burn, the rest of us can rebuild from the ashes.

          Math has never worked in socialist systems except in mindless theories that ignore reality and presume static economics. Even Marx admitted that capitalism was necessary to create the wealth needed to make socialism viable. Unfortunately, he assumed a static economy as well, he thought that the system would continue to operate just as well when the means of production was given to the workers and all were guaranteed their needs met. But it is people, not capitalism, that are lazy and greedy. And the lazy and greedy still existed in socialist and communist societies, and so they failed. Capitalism may be based on greed, but if people are greedy, then a self balancing system must be devised that can operate in spite of this. That is why it works and nothing else does.

          At least, it works until freedom is lost and rights are trampled. As is the current case. Capitalism in this country is dead, and has been for a long time. We just have the powerful looting the not powerful. The rich cannot stand up to the workers without government support, that is why it is normally a balanced system. Since they have government support, however, everything is out of balance.

          Explain to me exactly how your socialism works mathematically? How does it sustain itself?

  74. Charlie,

    Those with the gelt need to protect their power and there’s only one way to do so, creating more capital.

    What “power”?
    Power of Influence – yes!

    What you say here is:
    “The only way people with wealth protect their wealth is by creating wealth”

    …and you are right!
    Serving other people made them wealthy – continuing to serve other people keeps them wealthy.

    But to you, that is a sin.

    they will not take anything into consideration (patriotism, compassion, unemployment, poverty … nothing).

    They do so!

    But you want them to do as you do, not as they want to do for themselves.

    They are “good” in Charlie’s eye, as long as Charlie benefits from them with little effort of his own.

    They are “bad” in Charlie’s eye, if Charlie has to work for his benefits.

    They will simply seek the largest potential profit … right now it’s outsourcing.

    Correct. The greater the profit, the better at solving human problems.

    You buy at bargains – yet you hate when others buy at bargains, and not pay you your over-rated, under-delivering, expenses

    Right now, it is the beginning of the end of capitalism in America.

    Nope, it is a resurgence and a deeper rooting.

    The Socialist dogma has been shown to be utterly bankrupt – and with it has bankrupted the nation.

    The lesson will be well-learned this time….

    there will simply be too many unemployed to permit it to do so.

    Yep, Charlie’s nutty theory – profit makes unemployment.

    Unemployment will be very high as the unprofitable, and mis-allocated resources of labor is redirected to profitable use.

    True, the suffering in the mean time of the people deceived by government may be high enough to rupture the social cohesion of the US.

    The longer the delay in the Reckoning, the higher potential the risk to the social cohesion.

  75. Charlie,

    Jon, what about when the numbers of unemployed become insurrmountable?

    Cities burn

    We can’t afford to supply unemployment for 3-4-5 years, yet we can’t afford not to do so.

    It is the belief of “supplying” goods to the unemployed that has created the problem.

    The solution is easy, but it means work, therefore will be the very last solution chosen.

    What happens over the next two years (and it will) when foreclosures skyrocket again because people who have been out of work for a year go into their second year and lose unemployment?

    Housing prices will fall.

    The thing you ignore in your outsourcing within the country is that the outsourcing goes to other states (cheaper labor)

    Yep – people buy bargains.

    But your answer to that – being the one who is selling the goods at way-too-high a price is demand government violence to stop the bargains.

    The correct choice: be a better bargain then the other guy.

    Sorry, that’s the worst form of slavery to me.

    You haven’t a clue to what slavery means or what it is.

    You blame men who provide jobs as the reason their is unemployment.

    You cannot see that men will not buy over-priced, under-producing goods when there are bargains out there.

    You want to force others to pay way more to you than you are worth, and if they do not wish to pay you that price, and you take a lower price, they enslaved you!

    You are nuts.

    • “You are nuts.”

      I recall reading way back when Charlie was still “Greater Good” or something similar to that moniker, he mentioned a wife of his that worked in an institution for the mentally impaired. I came to the conclusion long before you wrote the above, that he must have been her patient. I mean no disrespect for this population, as it must be a terrifying place to be – always thinking someone is out to get you, as Charlie’s posts refer to time and time again.

      If you are not really a part of this diagnosed group, Charlie, then pick up a mirror and take a good long look. Do it often throughout the day. That person looking back at you is the reason for where you are. If you want a change, then you need to change. If you want something better, then you need to get better. But, like the BF’s post above says, it will take work. Lots of it. Not easy but possible. Even in today’s economic environment. It’s your choice.

  76. What was that saying I liked a few weeks back? Oh yeah…..

    BITCH, PLEASE!

    • No kidding! Which, btw, why isn’t she in jail right now? Whatever happened to her ethics violations?

      Notice how the rhetoric has been ramped up though? And, as we know, nothing happens by accident or independently. So the recess talking points are to continue to beat up on the tea party? A movement that supports smaller government, less spending, less taxes is the bad guy?

      Welcome back! How was the lake?

      • Agree with your reply but I have no answers..except about the lake! Finally some nice, cool weather. Nice enough to make it look like a park again. Cut down one large dead tree and several stumps. Wierd..when it got dark, one of the stumps,,err many woodchips of that stump, glowed in the dark bigtime! What’s up with that? Never saw that before…….

  77. Mathius™ says:

    Lovely.

    http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2011/08/19/299490/republican-repeals-civil-rights-wants-english-only/

    Last time I checked, there is not national language – what could this possibly do other than discourage minority voting? Minorities which, conveniently, tend to heavily favor Democrats.

    But maybe I’m just thinking the worst about Rep. Mike Coffman (R-CO) – maybe he’s not trying to rig elections – after all, this have exactly zero chance of getting a presidential sign-off. So he’s just wasting everyone’s time and taxpayer money to.. to what? To show that he’s xenophobic and anti-legal-immigrant?

    ::sigh::

    Here’s a suggestion – every time a congressman introduces a bill with no chance of passing, just to score political points, someone should smack them in the face with a week-old trout.

    • It would be nice though to have a national language, English. Went to the local hardware the other day for window caulk. I felt foolish to have to ask for help because every tube of caulk was labeled in Spanish only. I took Spanish 30+ years ago but I was helpless

      • Anita,

        (1) English has become -for many reasons- the first true international language

        (2) Why do you think that your local hardware store only supplied Spanish labeled goods?

        • Anita,

          PS:
          Another point here I want to raise.

          I urge that different thinking be applied to topics – as an example, this one regarding language.

          You look at a factual circumstance – Spanish on labels – and your default expression is “…I wish…we could force something else…”

          I urge a different thinking – instead of “wishing” – think: “why is this so?” and investigate the real reasons to why reality is what it is.

        • Mathius™ says:

          Damnit, Flag.. I hate agreeing with you.

          ::stifles nose bleed::

          Anita, for someone who decries the intrusiveness of government, why is it that you would be just fine with them mandating the way package are labeled for every product / service?

          And why is it that the world around you should change while you get to stay the same?

          • Back off both of yous!. I never said a word about mandating anything! As Flag said English is an international language. If it ain’t broke don’t fix it.

            • Anita

              . If it ain’t broke don’t fix it.

              You mis-interpret my comment.

              English is an international language without being forced on anyone – it doesn’t need “fixing” for it is something that is not part of a concept that “breaks”.

              Why do you think English is spoken in every nation on Earth?

              How did that happen?

              Does that mean that everywhere it should be spoken?

              • I’m fresh out of “keep up with BF” pills today. Could you spell it out in BF for dummies language?

        • I understood when there were dual languages on labels..kill two birds with one stone..cheaper marketing,etc. No problem. Why now only Spanish? I have no idea.My guess..more Spanish speaking folks using caulk than English speaking? Contractors, maybe. But caulking a window is kind of DIY, meaning there’s still plenty of English speaking caulkers out there. Seems to me the company (DAP..not some unknown company) is alienating English speaking people. (you probably don’t buy my answer…running for cover)

          • Anita

            Why now only Spanish? I have no idea.My guess..more Spanish speaking folks using caulk than English speaking? Contractors, maybe. But caulking a window is kind of DIY, meaning there’s still plenty of English speaking caulkers out there. Seems to me the company (DAP..not some unknown company) is alienating English speaking people. (you probably don’t buy my answer…running for cover)

            How about this really simple one?

            It was cheaper to buy

            • BS Flag thrown!. It’s the same tube of caulk that used to be labeled in English only. The same tube of caulk as when it was labeled in both languages. The same tube that is now in Spanish only. How is anything cheaper?

              • Anita,

                It’s cheaper

                I once bought 150 desktop computers that had French keyboards and French MS Operating system for a massive discount – 2/3 off.

                They were the same machines as English (except the keyboards).

                As the company had a license agreement with MSoft, the OS was irrelevant.

                These machines replaced others with working keyboards – the keyboard was irrelevant.

                We bought because they were cheaper.

                It is most probable that the outlet got a “deal” on the product. Go back in 90 days and check again.

              • Ok, now I’m keeping up…..

              • Mathius™ says:

                Studies have shown that English-only packaging will sell better amongst native English speakers than duel labeled packaging. I imagine the same can be said for native Spanish speakers. If that’s the case, it would make sense to sell Spanish-only packaged items in stores frequented by a high percentage of Spanish speakers.

                In the same way that I get (extremely) annoyed when I’m forced to “Press 1 for English,” I would be willing to bet that Spanish speakers (who are becoming a larger and larger percentage of the population) are annoyed at being forced to “Press 2 for Spanish.” They don’t like having your gibberish incomprehensible language on their packaging any more than you like having their gibberish language on your packages. I bet it’s even more pronounced because they already feel discriminated against for not speaking the unofficially official language.

                Just a hunch- if you’re really curious, pose as a reporter and call DAP and ask, I’m sure they have a press office which would be more than happy to answer your questions.

              • Wow-the official unofficial language that has been spoken here for over two hundred years -is suddenly an imposition on people who immigrated here-is that really the stand you are taking. I may get a little irritated at times-but I have no problem with helping people who don’t speak the language get by -by pushing a button or having things written in both languages-but only in one language-I don’t like that, at all-it more than irritates me-but on the basis of freedom-I would hesitate on making it law-but then I would hesitate to make it law that business’s MUST have things in two languages. But I do have a problem with immigrants wanting to actually change that unofficial language-if their language is so important to them -they can not come here. Please tell me how a country and business’s are supposed to operate without a common language. Please tell me how these immigrants are going to ever achieve success in this country-if they don’t share a basic understanding of the common language used. Is it suddenly going to be discriminatory-not to hire someone because they can’t speak English? How far should we go-government enforcement wise- to not impose on immigrants?

              • Mathius™ says:

                V.H.,

                How fluent are you in Cherokee? Or maybe you prefer Sioux? Ute? Paiute? Comanche? Chippewa? Anasazi?

                English came in and displaced the native languages. It has done this in several countries around the world, too. Why is it that you feel your language should be allowed to supplant native languages, but because it’s been in place “for over two hundred years,” it’s suddenly sacrosanct where you live?

                Please tell me how a country and business’s are supposed to operate without a common language Language is just like any other cultural nuance. Put two incompatible cultures together, eventually they will meld or one will supercede the other. Just like a subduction zone at a techtonic boundary. Businesses are supposed to play both sides, or pick a side, and eventually, maybe 100 years from now, everyone in America will speak English or Spanish or both or some hybrid of Spanglish. What? You think the English we speak today is the same English they spoke hundreds of years ago? Try reading Beowulf. Language is constantly evolving – stealing foreign words, dropping unused words, syntax and grammar are constantly in flux.

                Please tell me how these immigrants are going to ever achieve success in this country-if they don’t share a basic understanding of the common language used. This is already going out the window. Why should they have to know your language to run a business? Spanish speaking business owners hire Spanish speaking executives and sell to Spanish speaking markets. Maybe you won’t appeal to an English speaking company – or maybe they’ll want you because you’re smart and capable and hard working and know how to work with a large and growing demographic, or maybe you can help a company out with operations in LatAM? If you suddenly moved to Mexico, do you think you’d be relegated to being a day laborer, or do you think you’d find a way to be successful even without speaking Spanish (yes, I assume you’d learn it eventually, but even if you just couldn’t figure it out – you mean to say you’d be stuck doing gardening)?

                How far should we go-government enforcement wise- to not impose on immigrants? We should neither impose on immigrants (English as an official language) nor should we impose on English speakers (by making them hire non-English speakers). We should step back and let the problem work itself out. (NOTE: This recommendation comes with the Dread Pirate Mathius Seal of Approval).

                And I’d just like to add one thing: I speak Spanish, albeit poorly. I’ve studied Latin (I did terribly). I’ve studied Hebrew (I did mediocre). And I’ve certainly studied English. I can say this for sure: English sucks. It is a lousy language. The syntax is bizarre and does not conform to any sort of standard. The spelling is ridiculous. There are exceptions for virtually every rule. We do not have accent marks. We borrow from dozens of different languages. English makes almost no sense to foreign learners (whereas Spanish to French is easy, Spanish to English is annoying). So, if you want to look at it this way (I do), in a contest of linguist superiority, English is doomed to the dustbin of history – it’s just a question of when.

  78. Mathius,

    From a investment analyst –

    We teeter on the brink of another slump.
    That was writ clear with last week’s release of the Empire Index (which takes the pulse of the New York State area), which was icky, and the Philadelphia Fed’s index, which was just plain ugly.

    The Philly gauge plummeted to minus 30.7 in August, from plus 3.2 in July, the lowest level since the chilly, dark days of March 2009 and the single biggest monthly tumble ever.

    As Ashraf Laidi of London-based Intermarket Strategy points out, the Philly soundings have proved a fairly reliable lead indicator for both the Institute of Supply Management surveys (to be released early next month) and, more importantly, perhaps, the equity markets.

    Put that down as things we never knew and regret that we now do.

    Gold passed $1890…

  79. It is complicated but it does seem to be concentrating on finding the best way to be fair to business-while at the same time taking care of the middle-class. Opinions

    August 22, 2011 4:00 A.M.
    Texas and Taxes
    It’s complicated.

    Texas famously does not have an income tax, but it does have a tax on businesses’ gross receipts — not profits, but cash flow. This is the “franchise tax.” The tale of how that came to be might be filed under: How to take a race-baiting class-warfare lawsuit and turn it into a pretty good tax cut that
    basically everybody hates. Texas politics gets a little weird sometimes. (Warning: Wonkiness Ahead.)

    Back in the dark ages of 1984, the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF) filed a lawsuit against the state of Texas on behalf of the Edgewood Independent School District of San Antonio, alleging that Texas’s system of public-school finance, which relied almost exclusively on local property taxes, was unconstitutional. Because some districts are property-rich and some are property-poor, the same tax rate produced wildly different revenues from community to community. MALDEF argued that, under the state constitution, funding public schools was a state responsibility, not a mainly local one. The Texas Supreme Court, in a unanimous ruling, upheld MALDEF’s complaint, and there followed a decades-long saga that found the Lone Star State trying to construct a new system of school financing that would pass constitutional muster, and failing twice before it settled on a plan.

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    The new funding plan, adopted in 1993, had two salient features: a hard cap of $1.50 in school taxes per $100 in property value to fund “maintenance and operations” — your basic day-to-day school stuff, not including bond issues for capital improvements — and a condition that any revenues in excess of a statewide per-student ceiling be “recaptured” by the state and transferred from wealthier school districts to poorer ones. The latter feature gave the program its nickname, the “Robin Hood system.” Wealthy school districts were given a choice: They could either have their “excess” funds expropriated by the state and redistributed, or else enter into an agreement with a poorer cousin and transfer the money themselves.

    But Texas’s constitution is a complicated document. In addition to prohibiting a state income tax, it also prohibits a statewide property tax. Pretty soon, practically every district in the state had run up against that $1.50 per $100 cap in order to meet statewide educational mandates, meaning that the state in effect had a uniform rate of property taxation to support schools. Another plaintiff argued that this, was equivalent to an unconstitutional statewide property tax, and the Supreme Court agreed in a 2005 ruling.

    That left the Texas legislature with a three-pronged problem: First, it had to give local school districts enough discretion that the state would no longer have what amounted to a statewide property tax for schools. Second, it had to make sure that school districts were still able to raise sufficient revenues to get the job done. Third, it wanted to do both of those things without opening the door to endless, uncontrolled property-tax increases.

    In 2006 the Texas legislature enacted a new plan to try to get all of that done. But Texas does things a little differently: Rather than raise the property-tax cap, the legislature cut it by a third, from $1.50 per $100 to $1.00 per $100, but allowed local school districts to raise taxes beyond that cap — on the condition that voters approved the tax hike in a referendum. Voters are not much inclined to do that, and the legislature didn’t want public-school revenues cut by a third overnight, so it rejiggered its statewide business tax, changing the formula for calculating tax liabilities and applying it to more kinds of businesses, i.e. broadening the tax base. The idea was that the new revenues generated by the revised franchise tax would offset the one-third reduction in the property-tax ceiling.

    Under the original model, the franchise tax only applied to “standard corporations,” usually bigger businesses, and not to limited-liability companies and the like. And it only applied to “retained earnings” — i.e., to profit. The new franchise tax applies to all businesses except sole proprietorships and family partnerships, and it doesn’t just tax profits: It taxes cash flow. Businesses are allowed to exclude one of three expenses: payroll, the cost of goods, or certain contract costs. The thinking behind that is that some businesses (especially services) are labor-intensive, while others (like retailers) spend a lot of money on products for resale. So a hotel could exclude all of its labor costs from the calculation, while a grocery store could exclude the cost of wholesale groceries bought for resale. The contracts exclusion was added later when the legislature figured out that some businesses, like trucking brokerages, pay a ton of money out in costs that are not quite goods and not quite labor, and were being unfairly penalized. Recognizing that retailers often work on slender margins, the legislature decided to tax them at 0.5 percent, and everybody else at 1 percent.

    This change had several important effects. The first was that lots of businesses had to start paying the franchise tax for the first time, or saw their tax liability go up. The second was that lots of businesses saw their property taxes cut. Depending on what kind of business you were running, this might come out to a net tax increase or a net tax cut. Talmadge Heflin, who was the Texas legislature’s budgetary boss (chairman of the house appropriations committee) before joining the Texas Public Policy Foundation, explains that the plan was supposed to be revenue neutral. In fact, the revised franchise tax didn’t produce as much new revenue as expected, making the change a net tax cut for the state as a whole.

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    The more observant reader will notice an important point here: In addition to broadening the base of the franchise tax, the legislature shifted the tax burden from capital-intensive businesses to service businesses. Under the old franchise tax, businesses that built factories and expanded their plants got hit by both the franchise tax and the property tax. Under the new version, they saw their property taxes cut by a third, which in most cases more than offset the revised franchise tax. A high-end law firm or insurance agency, on the other hand, might have been raking in millions of dollars a year but paying no property taxes at all on its rented office space. (Not directly, anyway: Their landlords were certain to have been passing on as much of their property taxes as the market would bear.) The new version brought them onto the tax rolls.

    Lowering the tax on capital-intensive businesses is a good way to attract capital-intensive businesses to your state. The franchise-tax reform played into Texas’s economic strength: People tend to think of Texas as having an oil-and-gas economy, but, as Ed Glaeser pointed out in a 2008 article, Texas has lots of manufacturing and light industry, too. “Both greater Houston and Manhattan have about 2 million employees,” Mr. Glaeser wrote in City Journal. “In Manhattan, almost 600,000 work in the idea-intensive sectors of finance, insurance, and professional services; only 2 percent are in manufacturing, and fewer than that in construction. Finance increasingly drives New York City’s economy as a whole. By contrast, Houston is a manufacturing powerhouse that makes machinery, food products, and electronics, with a retail sector twice the size of Manhattan’s and lots of middle-class jobs.” Note that 2008 publication date: There’s more than one reason that Texas weathered the credit crunch better than lots of other states.

    Of course, not everybody is happy about the franchise-tax reform, especially the people who now have to pay the tax when they didn’t have to pay it before. And nobody likes the fact that businesses have to pay even if they’re losing money. But they have to pay property taxes when they’re losing money, too.

    Mr. Heflin has an idea for further reforming Texas’s taxes: Get rid of both the property tax and the franchise tax by raising the sales-tax rate a bit and applying it to everything except food and medical expenses. While the state would still collect certain fees and, more significant, taxes associated with the energy industry, that would leave most Texans with just one state tax to keep up with. The money out of pocket would be the same, but compliance would be simpler. And being a state with no income tax and no property tax would give Texas some real bragging rights — a nontrivial consideration, to say the least.

    http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/275136/texas-and-taxes-kevin-d-williamson?page=2

    • The new franchise tax applies to all businesses except sole proprietorships and family partnerships, and it doesn’t just tax profits: It taxes cash flow.

      I love it!

      Go Texas Go!

      Get rid of both the property tax and the franchise tax by raising the sales-tax rate a bit and applying it to everything except food and medical expenses.

      This guy is a shifty economic idiot.

      He puts “get rid of property tax” …a hurrah!.. with “get rid of franchise tax”… “only an corrupted idiot would agree to that”…so that if you say yes to the first, you just said yes to the last.

      This guy is Keynesian – punish the consumer and save the Corporations.

      Nope – dump the sales tax, property tax and raise the franchise tax (if for some reason you love taxes).

    • VH, This is not exactly true. Companies are not taxes in the basis of cash flow. Cash in the bank is an asset that is considered in the franchise tax report. In addition, it is not exactly true that a company that is in a loss situation is taxed. What is true is that a company that shows a paper loss and has a positive cash flow is taxed and for this reason. If the IRS rules allow certain depreciation for income taxes in a federal level, Texas does not accept that. It recognizes that you can have a positive cash flow and still show a loss, thereby, placing the burden on tax payers. Texas says….not so fast guys…..you are not going to pay income taxes and that is between you and this bitch of a Federal Government you deal with….we do not recognize the IRS code in our franchise tax and you will pay something. So, we are looking at your assets and your cash flow, without deductions, and go that way.

      Real loss companies do not pay a franchise tax….nor do they stay in business very long. For a real loss company will not have a positive cash flow.

      • Mathius™ says:

        Hey Colonel!

        I sent USW something for you.. I don’t even remember what it is but I remember thinking you’d get a kick out of it… did it ever make it’s way over to you?

        Mathius

  80. V.H.

    Wow-the official unofficial language that has been spoken here for over two hundred years -is suddenly an imposition on people who immigrated here

    (1) It is unofficial – that is optional – that is not required

    …therefore is no imposition on anyone

    …up until you demand that it is forced on others

    but then I would hesitate to make it law that business’s MUST have things in two languages.

    … Exactly…
    Do not impose, and people figure it out all by themselves.

    Please tell me how a country and business’s are supposed to operate without a common language.

    Switzerland does quite well, thank you.
    India has over 1500 languages and seems to move along fine.
    China the same –

    …. a “common” language is convenient, but wholly unnecessary.

    Please tell me how these immigrants are going to ever achieve success in this country

    By serving others, just like you would.

    -if they don’t share a basic understanding of the common language used.

    If it is important to that person, they will figure it out.
    If it is not important to that person, they will figure that out too.

    If you do not like being served in Spanish, make your feelings known to the store owner two ways:
    (1) tell him
    (2) then do not buy from him.

    The vote of your dollar is infinitely more powerful than your vote for any politician.

    • PS:
      If you tell him, but still buy from him, he will laugh at you and nothing will change.

      If you do not tell him and do not buy from him, nothing will change as he is ignorant.

      But if you tell him and do not buy from him, you will win eventually.

      • Well, your gonna have to explain to me=how that works in India and elsewhere-because for me to hire someone to work for me-in anything above very basic hard manual labor-I have to be able to communicate with the people I work with. How the heck can an office operate without a common language?

        Serving people doing What-having a minimum wage or worse job for the rest of their lives. Jobs that there is no advancement because they can’t speak the language. Or in all likelihood can’t even continue to do as they get older.

        And I’m not talking about force in this post. Matt brought this discussion past the normal issues and based it on imposition or multiculturalism gone nuts. Sorry Matt-but that’s my opinion of your statement.

        • Mathius™ says:

          Well, your gonna have to explain to me=how that works in India and elsewhere-because for me to hire someone to work for me-in anything above very basic hard manual labor-I have to be able to communicate with the people I work with. How the heck can an office operate without a common language? Who says that common language has to be English? There are plenty of businesses owned and operated by Spanish speakers, and more are opening every day. Maybe you won’t hire someone who doesn’t speak English, but they will.

          Adding, by the way, my old company (a major hedge fund), had an analyst on staff who spoke no English. He was, apparently, so good that they hired an interpreter for him. I am quite certain that he made far more than minimum wage. Yes, of course, that’s an exception, but let’s not pretend that people whose skills are in high demand will be ignored in English speaking businesses just because they don’t speak your language.

          How many people have to get their foot in the door before the whole thing cracks wide open? I put “Basic Spanish” on my resume and it came up in the interview – maybe it didn’t seal the deal, but it sure didn’t hurt. If the job market starts preferring bilingual (it already does in markets such as LA), how long before it’s the standard? Isn’t that the nature of the invisible-hand?

          But as I said before, this is just a temporary issue. English will speak out Spanish in America, or Spanish will beat out English in America, or they will merge. It is not, you are correct, tenable in the long-term two have two separate languages servicing the same region. My money is on Spanish.

          Matt brought this discussion past the normal issues and based it on imposition or multiculturalism gone nuts. Sorry Matt-but that’s my opinion of your statement. Sorry, what, huh?

          • What, you speak multiculturalism, without even knowing it? 🙂 🙂 Okay-you said “They don’t like having your gibberish incomprehensible language on their packaging any more than you like having their gibberish language on your packages. I bet it’s even more pronounced because they already feel discriminated against for not speaking the unofficially official language.” I’m sorry-they come to a country where English is the common language and we are supposed to worry that they are being imposed on by our culture-instead of them adapting-we are supposed to adapt. I don’t see this as an equal responsibility.

            As far as english speaking business’s and spanish speaking business’s-okay- what is the end result, in the short term-more separation-more dividing of the people-more neighborhoods that are divided culturally-multiculturalism. This is not a good thing in my mind. I certainly wouldn’t right a law to stop it-but I would certainly encourage against it.

            As far as business’s deciding that being bilingual is a good thing-fine-international business’s need to be able to communicate-but this isn’t the same as you agreed, on a regional basis.

            We can get into law , force, or just natural changes brought on by time and necessity. But we are talking about immigrants mostly from Mexico that are not highly sought after for decent paying jobs-and if one encourages the multicultural idea that they don’t need to meld to the culture-at the very least in learning the language-You are not doing them any favors. What might happen naturally in the future -isn’t going to help them in the here and now. And the great majority will stay in low paying hard jobs.

            A law to make English the official language-might actually-be doing them a favor. But it shouldn’t be necessary-common sense should rule-but somehow I don’t see the government staying out of it and allowing that to happen.

            • Mathius™ says:

              they come to a country where English is the common language How many of them came here and how many are second generation? In my native homeland of LA, many non-English speakers can trace their heritage back to when California was a part of Mexico.

              Let’s recall that LA stands for Los Angeles, or La Ciudad de la Reina de Los Angeles. It was settled by Spaniards and English didn’t arrive until long after everything (including the state name itself) was named in Spanish (what? “California” sounds like an English word? What about “New Mexico”?).

              The point is that your language took over their land, and you have the audacity to demand they should have to learn yours?

              we are supposed to worry that they are being imposed on by our culture No. We’re supposed to stay the hell out of the way and let the issue resolve itself. No laws mandating English. No laws mandating Spanish. Government forms, insofar as there has to be government forms, should be accessible linguistically to whoever is using them – whether Spanish or Esperanto. In other words, government should stay out of it. Businesses should hire and market and label as they see fit. The issue will sort itself out like all other cultural conflicts.

              more neighborhoods that are divided culturally-multiculturalism. This is not a good thing in my mind. Nor in my mind either. But I think it’s unavoidable. But if you live on the boundary of this divided neighborhood, you’ll probably learn Spanish. If you live near this boundary, you’ll probably encourage your children to study Spanish. Eventually, everyone will speak both, or one will win, or they will merge. If you try to force the issue, it sets up a culture war that’s worse for everyone in the near and long term.

              As far as business’s deciding that being bilingual is a good thing-fine-international business’s need to be able to communicate-but this isn’t the same as you agreed, on a regional basis. Sure it is. Just like businesses need to compete amongst non-English speakers abroad, they need to compete with non-English speakers aqui porque ellos tienen dinero tambien. Y si no le dan a su empresa, que le dará a otra empresa.

              if one encourages the multicultural idea that they don’t need to meld to the culture I’m not sure who is saying this. What I’m saying is that any addition to a population changes the culture. They will become more Americanized (including linguistically) and America will become more Mexicanized (including linguistically). Immigrants don’t need to do anything, but they will and do. And America adapts to them as well. (See, for reference, Tememundo)

              And the great majority will stay in low paying hard jobs. For now. But we’re really only in the opening stages. I’m sure the aforementioned Telemundo hires Spanish speaking executives. I couldn’t find anything that shows the income disparity between English-only and Spanish-only speakers over time, but I’d be willing to bet a case of Red Bull (Toro Rojo) that it’s slowly shrinking.

              A law to make English the official language-might actually-be doing them a favor. What makes you think that you know what’s doing them a favor? Why is it that when I suggest something is good for a population (ie, (some) welfare), I get beat up as paternalistic, but somehow you know what’s good for them?

              But it shouldn’t be necessary-common sense should rule. It isn’t necessary. Common sense says that a massive inflow of population will be accommodated because they are a huge part of society. Common sense says that we will learn more Spanish and they will learn more English. Common sense says that, just because they moved from place X to place Y doesn’t mean that they are willing or able to suddenly drop the culture and language of place X. America has absorbed wave after wave after wave of immigrants. Every time, the people who were here thought that the people who were incoming should lose their culture, language, and identity and become just like everyone else. But that’s not how this country operates. Melting pot, not homogenized soy latte.

              but somehow I don’t see the government staying out of it and allowing that to happen It’s the liberals who are doing their best to keep government out of it. The conservatives (red shirts) are the ones who keep pushing English-as-the-National-Language laws. It was a Rep. Mike Coffman (R-CO) who announced a bill to that would “repeal a section of the 1973 Voting Rights Act that requires jurisdictions with large populations of nonproficient English speakers to print ballots in more than one language” which started this whole debate yesterday.

              Liberals are saying the government should stay neutral and deal with everyone in their native language and the rest of the country can sort the issue out on its own terms. The right are the ones saying “there ought to be a law” – why is it ok for government to get involved only as long as it’s something that they support?

        • Mathius™ says:

          Confirmation of what I’ve been saying:

          Matthew: question: as compared with Russian, would you say that English is a better or worse language in terms of spelling/syntax/grammar/clarity/ease of learning/ease of use/etc?

          Sergei: Idle since 1:30 PM (GMT-4)
          Sent at 1:41 PM on Monday
          Sergei: worse
          Russian has rules
          English doesn’t

          Matthew: that’s what I figured

          Sergei: like why is it’s = it is
          and not that thing’s
          and yea yea I know it’s like I’ve = I have
          but blah!

          ———————

          (Adding, metric makes more sense than imperial units too – this is another one we’re going to lose over eventually.)

  81. Corrupt Obama Administration Pressuring New York Attorney General to Support Mortgage Whitewash

    http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2011/08/corrupt-obama-administration-pressuring-new-york-attorney-general-to-support-mortgage-whitewash.html

  82. V.H.

    A law to make English the official language-might actually-be doing them a favor.

    The depth of perversity cannot be expressed any greater then your statement above.

    Making a law….imposing violence on the non-violent … is doing them a favor.

    The greatest human crimes upon humanity have rested on such a statement.

    • You left out this part “But it shouldn’t be necessary-common sense should rule-but somehow I don’t see the government staying out of it and allowing that to happen.

      • V.H.

        That part that was “left out” because it is utterly and totally irrelevant to the point – unless you continue to believe that just because a person lacks common sense is enough to justify violence on non-violent people.

        Just because people smoke -even though that really lacks any common sense – does not support me bashing them with a baseball bat to stop them!

        And you are correct – common sense; that is, leaving people alone – has never stopped government.

        • You obviously don’t understand me, BF-but let me be clear-in this instance I was being sarcastic-I wasn’t supporting the law-but if government law and political talking points on multiculturalism is going to encourage people to undertake stupid actions-like not learning the language of the country they are living in, which is going to hurt them -than maybe they would be better off being encouraged by law to learn the language. Sarcasm -understand.

          I actually haven’t decided how I feel about an actual law because I don’t know how it would actually affect the country or it’s people- how is having English as the actual official language instead of the unofficial one going to hurt people. What would the law prohibit?

        • BF, just the other day you were chiding me about the coercion used by the government to take tax dollars and create national parks. So is it ok for government to take my tax dollars and print multiple copies of official documents so that immigrants can read them? As for imposing violence on these same immigrants, how does that occur if the government simply says the official language of government is English? No one is forcing them to learn the language. If they are inconvenienced, it is by their own choice. Translators could still be supplied for legal or medical proceedings.

          When it comes to driving, all our signs are in English. Is it our duty and responsibility to help the immigrants by installing multilingual stop signs? Have we done that for the Germans, the Italians, the Chinese, the French, or the Norwegians? No. Why should we bend over backwards for the Spanish speakers?

          Mathius, let’s get practical. Most humans have an innate ability for pattern recognition. When you visit a foreign country it takes only hours/days to start recognizing exit, stop and other signs necessary to navigate the area. Immigrants are here not just for a few days but for years. It is not unreasonable to expect them to absorb some of the language, at least enough to get by? As for voting, again it is pattern recognition. If the person you want to vote for is Schlub, I think you can find it on the ballot, especially if his face and signs are plastered all over the place. Most people prepare to vote by filling out a sample ballot ahead of time and transferring the answers to the real ballot. Not a hard task by pattern recognition. The sample ballot can be filled out with assistance from family members or others that do read English.

          People will survive and adapt to the rules. However, if we forever give them a non-English crutch they will take the lazy way out. The result is a country divided by language like Canada.

  83. Sufa

    Biden: U.S. has never defaulted on its debt and never will

    The US has defaulted before, so on face value the comment is political.

    However,
    if Biden is right – buy gold.
    If Biden is lying – buy gold.

    • Mathius™ says:

      What should I do if he’s half-right?

      • Half of each, or something in between the two.

      • Which half do you believe he is right?

      • LOL…I am still betting on liquidity. You can’t eat gold and you can’t use it as monetary exchange. It is, however, a great inflation hedge for now provided there is market for it and people are buying…..right now they are. We, as a family, own a considerable amount but we are quite sure that our way is better than just gold….liquidity is a great thing to have to weather storms….and liquidity in the US dollar is still best right now, in our opinion. We do not listen to financial mangers or “economist” experts except to get opinions (and opinions are like belly buttons,,, every body has one)….and have done and continue to do quite well on the economic front. Simple logic and common sense are great assets to have and all of you have this……just use it.

        Both Mathius and BF are correct. There are long term applications and short term applications….but predicting the future is like rolling the dice. If is comes up craps…you lose. If you make your point, you win. Use common sense and look at history. Even though this is somewhat new territory we are in….the end result is still the same. Make no decision on a whim and do not act out of emotional response. Take pencil and paper in hand and plan……remember the 6 “p’s”…..prior planning prevent piss poor performance.

        That is the best advice I can give without giving advice. We, all of us, are looking ahead and trying to figure things out. Remember, if the academia had the answers, we would be the most profitable country and people in the world…..Washington is full of shit, I mean, academia…I would not suggest following their example nor advice…..

        Return on your money is where you want it…not where someone says it should be….. we have averaged….the word is averaged….18.4% return on all our investments each year since 1959. Not the best…..but not bad either and we are happy with that. I remember well the Carter years when we had an abundance of cash……and bought jumbo Cd’s with interest rates that were 13%…amazing the amount of depressed dollars that brought in and look at the interest rates now. Everyone thought then, that the dollar would crash. it did not and there was more panic then than now.

        But…….times are different now and things are a little different. Do not panic and do not act out of emotion….think it through. MOst of you will make the right decisions…..but do so without RED BULL…it is amazing what THAT will do to the brain.

        • D13,

          LOL…I am still betting on liquidity. You can’t eat gold

          LOL – you can’t eat FED Reserve notes either … so the comment is pointless.

          You use gold and FED Notes to trade for food – so the question becomes -depending on Biden’s two (and only two) possible scenarios, which one will trade the most for food.

          It is, however, a great inflation hedge for now provided there is market for it and people are buying

          Strictly correct.

          If the US does not default – hyper inflation is the future. And as with anything there has to be someone trade with so to make a trade, so nothing new here. What the value of that trade…(shrug) …. won’t know until you trade.

          …..right now they are.

          Who is this “they”? The question is very important.

          (1) It is NOT Americans
          (2) It is Indians, then Chinese, then Central Banks

          ….liquidity is a great thing to have to weather storms….and liquidity in the US dollar is still best right now, in our opinion.

          “Now” is the key and working word there.

          Both Mathius and BF are correct.

          Christ, man!
          We just cleaned up the house after Mathius’ last bleed and now you’ve gone and started another one!

          There are long term applications and short term applications….but predicting the future is like rolling the dice.

          Prediction is for fortune tellers.

          There are two, and only two, outcomes.
          (1) Default on the debt
          (2) Hyperinflation.

          There is no “third” option.

          • @ BF…thought I would pull you out of the woodwork today……good evening.

            Agreed on Fed notes….however, they are or can be great toilet paper if the ink does not run.

            Agreed on the trade. It is what it is worth at trading time.

            They is they……whoever it is.

            As to cleaning up the house…..you did not expect me to NOT spark some controversy would you? I figured declaring you both correct…you for your stance on the short term and him for his stance on the long term…..would have to start the rivers running up hill.

            I think there is a third option, albeit not one I would bet on the river with, that 2012 is a telling year. It really depends on if enough people have picked up on the futility of our position now…..and actually succeed in getting enough of the smaller or non government believers in to do something….that the establishment on both sides of the isle will be cut down to a smaller size. I do not think that the government will default at all and I do think there will be inflation no matter what…..but keeping our cash handy in the event of hyper inflation will once again pile dollars up and it will strengthen again…..and we will have more dollars like the 80’s. BUT………as you say……we shall see.

  84. @ Anita……it is real easy to deal with your issue. Do as I do and if I have work to do for which I hire a company, I make two statements and ask one question. Statement number one: If you hire illegal immigrants, do not come here and , two, do not send someone that does not speak English. The question is, Can you do that? If they say no…..then go elsewhere. If they ask you back if you are prejudiced, go elsewhere because they just answered question one.

    Then, you tell two friends and they tell two friends…and so on. You will be surprised how well that works.

    As to punching a number to get your language…..it rubs me raw as well but it is a fact and it is a choice that business has made….your choice….continue to do business or go elsewhere.

    • Understood. My issue is with labeling not with labor. I am on the Buy American bandwagon as much as possible. Good for me, being an outdoors type, many camping, boating, fishing things are Made in USA, YAY!

  85. This is the first I heard-that she not only wanted me in hell she intends to help me get to hell. Wonder how she intends to do that-Is she threatening to kill me-or is she encouraging someone else to kill me-was she one of the ones screaming about civility and the dangers of inciting rhetoric. Has the media that raked the republicans over the coals for using bullseye rhetoric, calling republicans and only republicans murderers, ignoring an out and out promise to help me enter hell. Or would claiming such-be ridiculous to the extreme.

    http://www.breitbart.tv/despicable-maxine-waters-tea-party-attack-media-is-ignoring-tea-party-can-go-to-hell-i-intend-to-help-them-get-there/

  86. T-Ray

    So is it ok for government to take my tax dollars and print multiple copies of official documents so that immigrants can read them?

    The two are not dependent.

    A person can speak and use whatever language they wish, and others can or do not wish to interact with them, whatever they wish.

    Government taking money to assist either is wrong.

    As for imposing violence on these same immigrants, how does that occur if the government simply says the official language of government is English?

    Why should it get to choose?

    No one is forcing them to learn the language. If they are inconvenienced, it is by their own choice.

    That is the key – force.

    When it comes to driving, all our signs are in English.

    Every pilot in the world – bar none – speaks English.

    Is it our duty and responsibility to help the immigrants by installing multilingual stop signs?

    Nope, no one – NO ONE – has to do anything.

    People will survive and adapt to the rules. However, if we forever give them a non-English crutch they will take the lazy way out. The result is a country divided by language like Canada.

    Canada is divided, not because of language but because of culture and history – and it is much better for it.

    When the British defeated the French for control of North America, the Brits realized that even as victors, they were (at the time) seriously outnumbered in population. They knew if that they could not maintain order against a massive hostile population.

    So they organized Canada in a manner to allow the French to retain their French culture – essentially two nations in one country.

    Given that Canada has never had a civil war, it was an effective concept.

    Yes, there has always been friction – but political outcome, even if difficult, is infinitely better than thousands dead fighting over it.

  87. Mathius,

    My head is hurting because you are agreeing with me too much on the subject of language, etc……. Keep it up 😉

    It’s the liberals who are doing their best to keep government out of it. The conservatives (red shirts) are the ones who keep pushing English-as-the-National-Language laws

    Exactly correct ….

    ….which is why government continues to grow and never shrink….

    The reality of American politics is that though “Conservatives” mouth’s preach small government, they are actually lying to themselves – they have no interest in making anything “small”, they merely want their policies enacted by government, and not the socialist/progressive policies as if “their policies” are somehow “better and ordained” then any other government policy.

    They do not understand that no government policy is good – none. But they don’t believe it – hence the Ratcheting Up of Government.

    Liberals take government and push their agendas.
    Conservatives take government and push their agendas.

    Neither remove previous agendas, hence government grows … x 2…. ending with the worse of both ideologies – the “Warfare/Welfare State”

    • Mathius™ says:

      I’m going to hate myself for this… but here goes.

      Flag, the law requiring that the government print its ballots in multiple languages comes from a 1972 act. The Red Shirts are trying to repeal that law.

      It has been your stated opinion that repeal of any law, regardless, is a good thing. That is, the fewer laws, the better – period. So, though I think the repeal attempt is stupid and pushes the government to take sides in a culture war, the reason the government has (thus far) (mostly) abstained from getting involved is partially due to the 1972 act. Yet, your stance would seem to suggest that the law should be repealed by virtue of the fact that it is a law and that, by Black Flags Rules Of Reasoning, fewer laws will always have a better result.

      So, just trying to figure this out – how do you square the circle?

      • Mathius

        Flag, the law requiring that the government print its ballots in multiple languages comes from a 1972 act. The Red Shirts are trying to repeal that law.

        It has been your stated opinion that repeal of any law, regardless, is a good thing.

        This “law” has nothing to do with “people”.

        It has to do with the administration of government – a law on the operation of government.

        As such, what government does to itself really is no concern for the likes of me.

    • Like it or not the United States was founded by ENGLISH speaking people. Without doing a thing, ENGLISH has been the common language for over 200 years. Immigrants have come from every country and ENGLISH has remained constant. It’s the ONE thing we have in common. Government doesn’t need to be involved at all.

      Matt you are boxed in to your thoughts of Mexicans and the Spanish language. What about all the immigrants from other countries? They don’t cry about the English language, they assimilate to get along, as you would if you went to their country. Your view, pandering to different languages, will create more government and more social divide. Nice try, trying to make the redshirts look bad.

      • Buck the Wala says:

        Anita, all others assimilate and learn the English language?

        Ever been to Flushing or Chinatown, NYC?

        As you say “Without doing a thing, English has been the common language for over 200 years.” So why are you now proposing that we need to do something? Things have worked fine for the past 200 years.

        • Ever been to Dearborn, Michigan? Arabic signs all over the place, but they speak English to their customers, so I’m not sure what your point is. I didn’t say we had to do something,

      • Mathius™ says:

        Nice try, trying to make the redshirts look bad. I don’t have to make the red shirts look bad. They do it all on their own. I’m just pointing it out.

        Like it or not the United States was founded by ENGLISH speaking people. Yes, but what was here before was not English speaking. New Mexico, Arizona, California, a good chunk of Nevada, and Texas were all Spanish speaking. Florida through Louisiana were largely French speaking (note the Louisiana Purchase came from France). It’s like you’re looking at a long time-line, zeroing in at a range which conveniently conforms to your outlook and acting as if that somehow entitles you to maintain the status quo. The status quo is forever changing.

        This nation was not founded by English speaking people as you and I know it. If you were to try to hold a conversation with Thomas Jefferson, you would understand each other.. barely. Go back another hundred years and you’d both have to speak slowly and clearly to get the gist. Go back further and, sure it’s called English, but it’s not the English you and I speak.

        Thus made their mourning the men of Geatland,
        for their hero’s passing his hearth-companions:
        quoth that of all the kings of earth,
        of men he was mildest and most beloved,
        to his kin the kindest, keenest for praise.

        Last lines of Beowulf

        • You skipped the part about the one thing we have in common…ENGLISH. Do you have a problem with any one thing uniting us?..It is in our name..UNITED States of America.

          • Mathius™ says:

            the one thing we have in common But we DON’T all have that in common. Nearly 1 in 5 Americans (citizens) speak a different language at home (Census data). No word on how many of those speak English as a secondary language.

            A similar percentage of Americans are Christian – does that mean we should make Christianity the official religion of the United States since it unites 80+ percent of us? You know what, nevermind, we don’t need to go down that road again.

            • So that means that 80% speak English. Matt, why bother being a country if you have nothing that ties you together?

              • Mathius™ says:

                We’re all human.

                We all live here.

                We all want what’s best for ourselves and future generations – even if we disagree about how to get there.

                And we all think politicians are full of B.S.

              • English has never tied us together. It has always been the freedom that America stood for. Without that, there is no need to bother being a country. But make no mistake, it has always been common purpose and belief is the idea of America, or at least enough appreciation of it and understanding of it to find commonality, that has held us together.

  88. I literally do not get the fuss about language. From my observation, most people with a big issue concerning language are:
    1) Annoyed by the inconvenience, such as having to press 2. The same people tend not to like automated systems in general, whether language options are part of it or not, they want a person to answer the phone and talk in their accent. They don’t like dealing with product assembly instructions, and the number of pages, despite being just repeats in other languages, are intimidating. They dont like tiny print on lables as in often needed to fit both languages on certain packaging. To those crotchety folk I say suck it up, quit whining, and be a friggin adult instead of a spoiled brat.
    2) Annoyed by immigration. Sure, they play lipservice to only being against illegal immigration, but they also tend to fight against opening up the immigration restrictions. They want all the perks of america for themselves, and the rest of the world be damned, bad luck to them for not being born here. To them I say they should look closely at whether they really believe all men are created equal or not.
    3) Don’t like feeling stupid, so they don’t want it in their face that they only speak one language and their $6 an hour lawn guy speaks 2 or more. To them I say open your mind and maybe you will learn something, then you wont feel stupid.
    4) Are scared of what they don’t understand. Its a paranoia of people communicating around you without you understanding it, who knows what they could be planning! To those I say get some perspective, people talk all the time without your knowledge, its called being out of earshot. And I also say stop being so paranoid. There are a lot of scary things in the world. That will never change. Stop letting fear run your life and motivate you to give up freedom or take it from others.

    Now, there is a good argument for not having taxpayer dollars go to translators and special forms and versions of everything in other languages. I am all for that, no taxes spent on that. That does NOT, however, require an official language, that just means the government will pick on language to do its communication in as a financial savings. As far as a business goes, however, there should be no regulatiosn forcing multi-lingual anything, nor anything restricting it. That is a totally parket driven decision.

    • Agreed.

    • Mathius™ says:

      #1: I fall squarely into this group, but I still say we should open up the borders and be considerate of other languages etc. I’m pretty firmly on record in this regard, but damnit, I just HATE having to press 1 for English – would it kill them to give me a “separate but equal” phone number? Adding, more than anything, I hate having to “speak my selection” – if I wanted to shout “customer service” at into a phone while it repeatedly asks me if I mean “billing department”, I wouldn’t have called the customer service line. Jebus, what’s wrong with pressing 4 for a selection instead of having to say it out loud and being at the mercy of lowest-bidder voice recognition software? And, same thing applies as before – would it kill them to give me a separate number? Dial this number for English customer service, that number for Spanish billing department. Or hell, do one number and just hire ten operators to answer and route the calls. (no, I swear I’m not 80 years old, I was born this crotchety).

      #2: Full agreement. Well said.

      #3: Never really thought about it this way. Languages are hard – maybe I just have no talent for them? But I never cared that other people speak two languages and I speak only one.. but maybe other people are more sensitive. Who knows?

      #4: I’m sure these people are out there. They should probably just add a layer to their tinfoil helmets and move along.

      ….

      Now, there is a good argument for not having taxpayer dollars go to translators and special forms and versions of everything in other languages. I am all for that, no taxes spent on that. annnddd, you lost me. Citizen Jose was born here, but doesn’t speak Spanish. He is charged with a crime. He has little or no money and cannot afford a private translator. The court is operating in English (gibberish to him). How is he being given a “fair trial”? Isn’t a citizen entitled to that as a guaranteed right?

      • Mathius said: Now, there is a good argument for not having taxpayer dollars go to translators and special forms and versions of everything in other languages. I am all for that, no taxes spent on that. annnddd, you lost me. Citizen Jose was born here, but doesn’t speak Spanish. He is charged with a crime. He has little or no money and cannot afford a private translator. The court is operating in English (gibberish to him). How is he being given a “fair trial”? Isn’t a citizen entitled to that as a guaranteed right?

        plainly says: I was asleep at the wheel for this part of Jon’s comment. I worked in the criminal justice system in CA and agree that translators are important in the system to aid defendants. It doesn’t even have to be about Spanish – deaf people require ASL translators to understand the proceedings too. I know that I learned a lot of street Spanish working the jail – it was necessary since Spanish speaking deputies were not always available.

        There is a balance though and finding it will be the hard job.

        • Yea, me too, when I wrote that. I was more talking about forms and reports and web info, etc. If you can go online, you can find a translation for anything you need. There are matters of international relations that would still require linguistics and translation, as well as legal matters. The key is not making it specifically easy or going to expense to make someone “feel welcome”. For that matter, the government shouldnt be doing that in english either. Still, there does have to be some responsibility on the person to learn and understand the laws of the land they are in, but a translator for court is a great point, I stand semi-corrected.

        • I only have one question-if we have no right to claim English as the official language of this country-if even thinking about doing so-is an imposition on freedom-than why is any argument legitimate based on using English only when citizens of this country speak other languages. Why shouldn’t the government be bound to make endless copies of everything to everyone who wants to use their language. Why shouldn’t Spanish, German, etc. speaking people file their taxes in these languages. What right do we have to discriminate against them by insisting on ENGLISH?

          • Mathius™ says:

            No right, whatsoever. Insofar as the government is going to deal with citizens, it should deal with citizens in their own language. If I only speak Aramaic, I should be able to file my taxes in Aramaic. If I am on trial, the proceedings should be translated into Aramaic. If I am applying for assistance, the application should be made available in Aramaic.

            • And how do we go about putting this “responsibility into action” With courts-I agree-someone must translate for people, it is covered in the Constitution. But in the rest of government-the mounds of red tape-just how do we accomplish this, how much I wonder would it cost-who is responsible for paying for all these translators and multilingual people to process all this paperwork in multiple languages.

              And street signs and highway signs and names on government buildings-shouldn’t they be in multiple languages in order to be Fair. And Presidential addresses to the people-should we make TV stations and radio-translate these so that everyone can hear them in their language-if we don’t isn’t that discriminating against people.

            • NO!
              If the government is initiating force, as in threatening punishment in court, then by our legal standards the accused MUST understand the proceedings. Anything else you are on your own. If you want assistance, you figure it out (if you even think that should be available). You want to do business here and be under the tax system, you find a way to work with the system. Courts and foreign affairs are the only things the government should have a communications requirement.

              • And how my friend is this NOT officially choosing one language over another. How is it NOT using force? Because from your argument, the default language is English.

              • Because it does not initiate force on anyone. No one is required to speak a certain language, nor is the government required to spend additional monies caterring to your language. With an official language, that language requirement is put on immigration and business done in the US.

              • Okay, Jon, how is it not unofficially officially picking one language over another-per your statement “Anything else you are on your own” So if you don’t use English -you are on your own.

              • I have no problem with unofficially officially. I have no problem with choosing english for financial reasons. What I have an issue with is involving force. No one should be forced to learn English, nor should they be required to as a condition of living here or being a citizen. I have no problem with someone not speaking english if they are able to make a living speaking something else. My primary outburst is over the whole language thing being an issue at all. Outside of government wasting funds catering to non-english speaking people, I dont see it as an issue at all. I don’t get why it bothers people, and I don’t understand why people push for an official language.

              • I agree with you, Jon, it should be a non issue-but Matt’s answer should tell you why people push for a law. It is an issue mainly, IMO, because people are pushing the-its discriminatory to use English as the unofficial official language-People shouldn’t have to adapt-creating that mind set is what causes class warfare in our country. When the truth again, IMO, is that people shouldn’t be forced to do anything-if they don’t want to learn the language -fine-but live with the consequences of that decision. Don’t claim a purely economical and sensible argument that we should have the ability to communicate is a form of discrimination.

              • And one other point I’ve been trying to make, in all my rambling, and you may totally disagree- is that I don’t see how one can make this argument based on discrimination or freedom. If discrimination or freedom is the basis-we have to get rid of government or get ready to spend a fortune accomodating every different nationality by their chosen language- we cannot choose a language either officially or unofficially without making the decisions based on some logical argument based on economics or what’s best for society. English being the default language and people having to take additional steps or expense to satisfy the governments requirements-doesn’t allow for either.

  89. Mathius™ says:

    Evacuating the pentagon!

    Run for the hills!

  90. 5.8 earthquake just hit, epicenter in DC. We felt it here as well as some friends from NJ, but so far everyone I know is ok. Just wanted to report in and check on all my SUFA friends. Anyone else feel that?

    • Mathius™ says:

      Everyone in my office felt it – I didn’t feel a thing.

      But I’m from LA, so maybe I’m just inured to these pathetic examples of “earthquakes”.. bah

      I slept through the Northridge quake though – so maybe it’s just me?

      • Buck the Wala says:

        I was at a client’s house, sitting outside. Didn’t feel a thing, but his wife came running out because as she put it “the whole room was shaking”. Go figure.

      • It seems that the eastern seaboard of the country can be shut down with a little shaking of the ground. 🙂

        5.8 is hardly even acknowledged anymore on the left coast.

        Wait – this is all a government plotted conspiracy to invade Pennsylvania…………………………….

        • Mathius™ says:

          Why would anyone want to invade Pennsylvania?

          No, sir. This is clearly a terr’ist attack. We’re going to have to go start a another war now.

          • Exactly! “JAUW” (Just Another Useless War), so I chose Pennsylvania where they cling to their Bibles and their guns. 😉

            • Mathius™ says:

              A news flash from the worldwide Jewish conspiracy some people I know informs me that President Obama has, after giving the matter due consideration, determined that the nation we’ll be attacking is Moldova.

              This information is scheduled to go public during a prime-time break-in Presidential address. I suggest shorting the Moldovan Leu (MDL) before then.

              • I shall contact my broker immediately!

                On another track – did you see the interview in Libya with the rebel who entered Khadaffi’s bedroom and took Khadaffi’s hat? He was wearing it and as happy as if he’d just managed to loot Fort Knox. lol

          • Ahhh, Mathius…you won’t have to start another war…..Obama just started another one in Sudan……not printed yet because msm won’t….wait for it.

            • Mathius™ says:

              Yes, sorry. A late-breaking news flash from my conspiracy which secretly controls the world friends informed me that they changed the target at the last minute from Moldova to Sudan.

              I didn’t catch the rational though.. can you enlighten me?

              PS: FRAK! DO WE SERIOUSLY NEED ANOTHER WAR?!

              • @ Mathius……….surely you jest, my Red Bull Drinking buddy, you are asking for rationale from an irrational government? I can find NO reason to go to Sudan…..wait…..it must be the dates (the eating kind….err…..the eating kind that grows on trees). Sorry……..no caffeine yet this morning. Not even DP…..yet.

                I would ask for some of Buck’s coffee but (1) I don’t drink it, (2) he makes terrible coffee according to his secretary, and (3) it is still over 100 degrees here….but there was a slight reprieve last night,,,,,it got down to 89 at midnight.

              • Mathius™ says:

                It sounds like you’re complaining about the weather? What’s wrong with “over 100 degrees” until it’s way over 100 degrees? 89 is light jacket weather.

                I agree though, Buck makes awful coffee. Have a Red Bull – it’s delicious and nutritious!

                —–

                I’m seeing some news articles about mass graves, but I can’t find anything beyond that. Are we just bombing them back to up to the stone age, or are we putting books on the ground so that we can get mired in another Iraq/Afghanistan/Vietnam?

              • Only boots on the ground to my limited knowledge is CIA and some “advisers”. However, I do have flashbacks of Vietnam when, as a young Green Beret stationed at Ban Me Thout…..I remember when the 5th Special Forces officially “left” Vietnam in 71…..we simply took our patches from the left shoulder and moved them to the right shoulder, took off berets and replaced them with black baseball caps, and we were officially name changed to TAG…..Training Advisory Group B50….The Regimental Colors officially went home.

                So, who knows what is on the ground.

              • Great-and does anyone actually believe we won’t end up in Libya for the next ten years too. Or at the least paying the UN to be there.

              • Buck the Wala says:

                Woah! Hold on there. I make damn good coffee. Ask anyone (except Mathius who doesn’t believe in coffee – goes against his religion or something). That being said, in the morning, first thing at work, there is just something nice about having a fresh brewed pot waiting just for you.

              • there is just something nice about having a fresh brewed pot waiting just for you

                If I may Counselor? I believe what he is trying to say is that he is a man who enjoys his small eccentricities. 🙂

              • Buck the Wala says:

                Doesn’t everybody?

              • Most assuredly!

        • Buck the Wala says:

          You laugh, but did you see the damage caused!?

          http://jmckinley.posterous.com/dc-earthquake-devastation

  91. Canine Weapon says:

    Apparently, there is a well known fault line, running right through the middle of DC, called “Bush’s fault”

  92. How interesting…….GE paid no tax……GE just sent a medical division and 4 billion dollars to China and displaced 2,000 American workers two months ago….and yesterday, GE announces it will send its avionics and manufacturing of aircraft to China, eliminating, 2,000 more jobs and two billion dollars…..to compete with Boeing, an american manufacturer. The President and CEO of GE is MR, Immalt….who happens to chair Obama’s council on jobs and competition.

    Oh, yes, let us NOT forget that the two billion dollars is US tax payer money……as Immalt put it…..seed money to foster better understanding of China and its business climate…..So let me get this straight….China has no corporate income tax, GE paid no corporate taxes, GE uses tax payer money to start its new plant in China, GE lays off more workers increasing the deficit and costs here, and the President of GE is Obama’s leader on jobs and competition?

    Oh, and might I mention…………that under the arrangement, the Chinese insisted upon the avionics military division of GE and it was granted as part of the deal….and the interest on our debt finances the military industrial complex of China and no one sees a problem with this?

    Not even you, my Barrister friend?

  93. I know us TEXANS are sometimes a crazy bunch…..even me…..but I do draw the line at sharking in a kayak. A father and son off Galveston Island…..catches a black tip……bigger than the kayak and then take pictures of it and has some fun with it……we can be starved for entertainment at times, I guess. http://thestir.cafemom.com/in_the_news/124910/9yearold_boy_catches_7foot_shark

    • LOL………just saw some more on this………a new phrase and sport has been coined……

      Texas Sleigh Ride – Hook a 7 foot shark in a 12 foot kayak and let it pull you around awhile before letting it go……after taking pictures of it. And my neighbors thought keeping a 5 foot rat snake in my back yard under the hot tub was weird…kept mice and rats and nosy neighbors away….

      • You would love my cousin’s new manufacturing company. He is making specialized products for kayak fishing. All US made, all US made components, all high quality. I am psyched to be helping him with his site (he needs a new one, definitely) just because I love being involved with American manufacturing and innovation. 🙂

  94. Good Grief

    • STOOOPID !

      Either side could start..just start…with this problem. Get on the stump, explain that this effort is a complete waste of money, and demand that the presses stop. Assume that goes well and go to the next small problem, say…, the gecko on a treadmill problem. Get on the stump and explain that its a complete wast of money and demand that it be defunded. Continue with a problem of the day, every day, forever. Just non-essential spending to begin with. A candidate could use this as his campaign platform. Publish one problem per day from now til Nov ’12 and run a list. For that matter they could all run a list. Come election week publish how much money was saved in on year. If he/she gets elected, day number one will be filled with spending cuts. Day two brings spending cuts listed by the runner up candidate and so on. So before anyone starts on the ‘ why do you get to decide what gets cut’…it’s because you elected me based on what I said I would cut and so it begins……..

      • Great idea-maybe this stuff isn’t as big a deal as other things-but it adds up and it just has no justification. Maybe Congress should have to spend part of their time reviewing the actual affects of the laws they pass-instead of just passing them and then moving onto more laws.

  95. August 24, 2011
    The ‘Green Jobs’ chimera
    Rick Moran

    Dr. Milton R. Wolf has a great piece in the Washington Times about the failure of Obama’s green policies to create jobs.

    The president recently toured Johnson Controls Inc., a Michigan company that received $300 million from “Obama’s stash” to create – drumroll, please – a whopping 150 jobs. Do the math: That’s $2 million per green job. And this is the company the White House chooses to showcase? Evergreen Solar, a Massachusetts company, also received stimulus money, but the White House that is “the most open and transparent in history” won’t say how much, only that Evergreen is “hoping to hire 90 to 100 people.” Instead, it declared bankruptcy and shipped 800 jobs overseas. Well, so much for green jobs.

    Should we be surprised? During the campaign, Mr. Obama held up Spain’s green initiatives as a blueprint for America. We now know that the Spaniards lost 2.2 actual jobs for each “green job” they created. Some blueprint.

    Consider ethanol. The government takes billions of dollars from people with actual jobs to prop up the ethanol industry. The trifecta of ethanol’s corporate welfare includes a 45-cents- to 55-cents-per-gallon subsidy, a mandate that forces supposedly free Americans to buy the industry’s product and an anti-competitive tariff on ethanol imports to prevent consumers from purchasing it at a lower price.

    The unintended but easily predictable consequence of burning our food supply in our gas tanks is that grocery prices have skyrocketed. When the limited supply of farmland is diverted to ethanol, the demand for the remaining land goes up, so all food prices are affected. Simple economics. Food shortages are being felt around the world. When Mexico runs short on corn tortillas, you know there’s a problem.

    The president wanted to create 5 million green jobs by 2018. Not only is he going to come up short, it is likely that the billions we will be spending – if he gets his way -won’t buy us energy security, or even cheaper energy in the long run.

    Save the planet. Beat Obama.

    http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2011/08/the_green_jobs_chimera.html

  96. Pros and cons -Don’t know how all these apps work-sounds like more unnecessary government control-privacy possibly an issue.

    August 24, 2011
    The FDA’s Hazardous Plan to Regulate Mobile Medical Apps

    By Ira Brodsky

    One of the few bright spots in the current economy is sales of smartphones, tablet computers, and e-readers. Led by three U.S. companies — Apple, Google (Android), and Amazon — the worldwide market for these gadgets is expected to reach $190 billion this year. Driving much of the growth is a rapidly expanding universe of “apps” that offer exciting new capabilities such as helping patients manage their diabetes and letting physicians pull up CT scans from any location.

    Now the U.S. Food and Drug Administration wants to apply the brakes to this growth market. The FDA released draft guidelines for regulating mobile medical applications on July 19, 2011 and is giving the public ninety days to comment. If the FDA goes through with its plan, it could undermine the very things that make mobile medical apps so attractive to small developers: low entry cost and quick time-to-market.

    The FDA portrays this attempt to expand its fiefdom as uncontroversial. The FDA’s Dr. Jeffrey Shuren told MobiHealthNews.com, “These are the devices we have been regulating all along and just because they are on a mobile platform doesn’t mean we should be regulating differently.” But that’s not quite true. While some of the first mobile apps merely emulate products already on the market, most deliver added functionality. The ultimate goal is to create something that didn’t exist before — to transform the mobile device into an Internet gateway for a body area network of health sensors.

    Or as the FDA’s Bakul Patel explains it: since standalone stethoscopes are already regulated, apps that turn iPhones into stethoscopes should also be regulated. But that should raise questions about whether FDA regulation of stethoscopes is even necessary. It’s hard to conceive of someone being injured by a stethoscope. And surely FDA officials aren’t better-qualified to evaluate stethoscopes than the medical professionals who use them day in and day out. Besides, if we don’t think physicians are competent enough to purchase decent-quality stethoscopes, then why should we think that they are competent enough to use them properly?

    The FDA knows how crucial the first regulations are to conquering new markets. In 1989, the FDA proposed to regulate PC-based medical applications, but the market took off so quickly and in so many directions that the effort had to be abandoned. So this time around, the FDA is trying to establish a regulatory regime for mobile medical apps earlier in the market’s evolution.

    Once regulations are established, they spread like weeds. The FDA downplays the proposed regulations as only affecting a tiny slice of the larger mobile health apps market. “We are starting off with the very small tip of the pyramid,” said the FDA’s Bakul Patel. The draft guidelines focus on mobile apps that work with already regulated medical devices, mobile apps that turn handheld gadgets into medical devices, and mobile apps that generate recommendations about a patient’s diagnosis or treatment. But notice that the FDA has not ruled out regulating mobile apps for fitness, medical reference, or hospital billing further down the road.

    The FDA hasn’t identified a single case in which a patient has been harmed by a mobile medical app. Instead, the FDA is warning that small screen size, lower contrast ratio, uncontrolled ambient light, and use of the apps by ordinary consumers pose new risks. That may be true, but all products and users have limitations, so there are always going to be risks. The purpose of regulation should be to eliminate only clearly unacceptable risks. Because it’s also true that one size does not fit all: the mobile platform’s limitations may be acceptable to customers for whom mobility and low price are more important.

    The FDA should seize the opportunity afforded by mobile medical apps to try a completely different approach. Instead of deciding which products live and which products die, the FDA should focus on testing and reviewing mobile medical apps. By running products by panels consisting of vendors, medical professionals, and consumers, the FDA could provide timely, valuable, and balanced feedback.

    We’ve been hearing about how the U.S. has fallen behind Europe and Asia in key technologies for the past two decades, so it’s gratifying to learn that we are leading the burgeoning smartphone, tablet, and e-reader markets. The worst thing the FDA could do now is slap mobile medical app developers with new fees and regulations.

    http://www.americanthinker.com/2011/08/the_fdas_hazardous_plan_to_regulate_mobile_medical_apps.html

  97. This USWep thread has primarily attempted to deal with problems of government mismanagement, mostly meaning the Treasury and the Federal Reserve, who still pretended that committees were wiser than markets.

    So, political activists keep trying to influence policy.
    But how?
    The ideas they present never really proposed anything comprehensive. At best, they just talked about possibilities.

    No one pays any attention to them.

    Federal policy is mostly seat-of-the pants guesswork. These days, emergencies are constant. The ability to offer solutions is impossible as all solutions require time -and there is no time; effort – and everyone is too busy try to stay afloat; pain – and no one wants to suffer.

    The government pretends that experts are in charge.
    Bureaucrats are in charge of implementing 2,000-page laws that no one has read — surely not anyone in Congress.

    The experts are well paid. They are paid to present an illusion of expertise. They are mostly for show.

    Why the voters believe that the government knows what it is doing is a mystery to me.

    • Hey there, friend BF…….it is because MOST people want to be led. That is what I think. Very few true leaders left. And those that “think” they are leaders just talk. Sigh.

  98. Mathius™ says:

    This is an absolutely fascinating read. It’s not too long, and I think it has some very real insights into the left-right divide. Scary/bleak stuff, but good food for thought.

    http://youarenotsosmart.com/2011/08/21/the-illusion-of-asymmetric-insight/

    PS: Be sure to read the first two comments once you’re done – gave me a good chuckle.

    • Mathius,

      Creating a theory of societal formations based on the decisions and thinking of children is a massive flaw.

      Sorry “Lord of the Flies” does not fly!

      It is NOT a metaphor for society, it is NOT a metaphor for the establishment of social order. It is a metaphor for adolescent or childish thinking

      • Mathius™ says:

        I think, rather, that who people are as children is a good indicator of who people are as adults, only somewhat less self-controlled. All the other drivers (greed / ego / insecurity / vanity / etc etc) are still still there.

        But that’s not really what I was posting it for – I thought it was interesting how it talked about the way people and groups see others. That is, I think I have a better insight into others than they do into me. But they think the same exact thing about me.

        In a political debate you feel like the other side just doesn’t get your point of view, and if they could only see things with your clarity, they would understand and fall naturally in line with what you believe. They must not understand, because if they did they wouldn’t think the things they think. By contrast, you believe you totally get their point of view and you reject it. You see it in all its detail and understand it for what it is – stupid. You don’t need to hear them elaborate. So, each side believes they understand the other side better than the other side understands both their opponents and themselves.

        Interesting stuff, in my not-so-humble opinion.

  99. Nation of Esom Hill says:

    So now we’re going to call child molesters, MINOR ATTRACTED.

    Are you F’ing KIDDING me.

  100. Plainly.. I believe I’ll pass this off to you….baaaaaaa!

    Team Obama Regulates Goat Herders’ Workplaces
    http://www.humanevents.com/article.php?id=45722

  101. Mathius,

    But that’s not really what I was posting it for – I thought it was interesting how it talked about the way people and groups see others. That is, I think I have a better insight into others than they do into me. But they think the same exact thing about me.

    Nope, sorry – it is a whole bunch of hogwash dressed up to appear to be interesting.

    The basis of the social theory rests on a premise that children, in a controlled setting, give insight into creating social order.

    That premise is utter bull.
    Therefore, what they draw from it, is utter bull.

    Adults DO NOT deal with others in such a matter – if they did, there would be no such thing as “world trade” and long ago slaughtered ourselves into extinction.

    These irrational social theories are common place – and worse, are taken up by a lot of people to explain modern social order dynamics.

    Another one is the “game theory” – Nash’s Nobel Prize but utterly useless to explain social order dynamics. But that didn’t stop academia from manufacturing bizarre theories and policy suggestions to government. It was based on Nash’s psychotic thinking – which explained government to government actions – but completely missed normal person to normal person actions.

    The book is nonsense and idiotic. Anyone basing social theory on it will be completely out to lunch.

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