Archive for August, 2011

Minucia Monitoring

Monday, August 29th, 2011

Two things happened to me yesterday that demonstrate how far we have gone down the path of letting our government control virtually everything. I was at my tennis club. I was the first one to arrive that morning and I went to use the elevator which had been turned off from the previous night, as it is every night. I went to turn the elevator on by flipping the switch in the elevator and I found no switch there. It had been replaced by a key cylinder and now a key was necessary. An employee arrived at that time and told me that an inspection had been done by the city, and the key switch is now required by law. This is a private club, members only and not open to the public at large. It’s just as private as your own home, the club admits who it wants to admit just like you do in your home. The club doesn’t get any tax breaks or use any public funds. I wonder what the law says about who can have keys? Is it OK to give keys out to everyone who uses the elevator? Are keys only allowed to be given to licensed elevator operators?  Is it OK to leave a key hanging permanently in the elevator? How about just permanently welding the key in the lock, I wonder if that violates the law.  Why do we have to ask these questions and hire lawyers just to learn if it is OK to use our own elevator?

Later in the day I took my car in for service because an electrical component inside the gas tank needed to be replaced. I was told that I might want to run my tank down near empty because in accordance with the law once they take gas out of the tank they have to dispose of it, they can’t put it back in the tank. Here we are trying to conserve fuel and re-cycle what we can, then we pass a law that requires perfectly good gasoline to be thrown away.

I’m sure someone can find some instance where these laws make sense, and we can describe some scenario where laws like this will be helpful to someone. But these laws affect all of us all of the time and we are constantly paying the cost of enforcement for these laws, even if on some rare occasions they do some good for someone. If you have a dollar and you don’t want it to be stolen you might higher a security guard to watch it, but we’ve now come to where you’ve lost the choice and you’re forced to pay that security guard $1.10 to watch your dollar. At some point government becomes more expensive than it is worth. How do you know when you are there?… we’ll probably know when it is too late.

Aim high

Wednesday, August 10th, 2011

It might be a good goal just to be a little bit less of an idiot than 51% of the people on earth.

Just 1 hope

Sunday, August 7th, 2011

There is one thing and one thing only that will give me hope for America’s future: tax refusal. If I see signs that people are refusing to pay taxes I will believe in a future. I’m not talking about tax protesting and I don’t care at all about about voting for someone who says they will lower our taxes. The government will live within its’ means and stop mishandling our resources if and when, and only if and when we no longer give our resources to them. Every time I hear people complain about the government spending too much and wasting too much I cringe. The government is us. We are doing it. We can stop it. We don’t need to talk about it.

Are you willing to stop? Do you have the guts? I don’t. I’m looking for a leader who is braver than I am.

The difference between S&P and a 4 year old

Sunday, August 7th, 2011

Lots of people are upset that Standard & Poors (S&P) just announced they are downgrading the US federal governments credit rating from AAA to AA+. Politicians are claiming S&P got it wrong and made errors. According to S&P, it is not as certain that the US will pay its’ debts as it used to be. Why are people upset about this? Imagine for a moment that 3 weeks ago you were talking with a 4 year old and he told you that he didn’t think the federal government was going to pay its’ debts… would you have been upset? Of course not. Who cares what this 4 year old child thinks and says?… he doesn’t influence your investment policy. This is not a rhetorical question, it deserves consideration.

Are we upset because we believe S&P speaks the truth? Assuming we want to know the truth that makes no sense. Are we upset because many others will listen to S&P and that will lead to financial problems? Well then we are upset with those who listen to S&P. There are only two possibilities: S&P is right or they are wrong. If you believe S&P is right then should be be happy to be in the know. If you believe S&P is wrong then you are free to lend the federal government as much money as you like, and they’re happy to take it. The simple truth is that the financial situation of the federal government did not change one iota as a result of S&P’s announcement. They had the same amount of debt and income before the announcement as after. The realm of possible things that the federal government can do is the same now as it was before the announcement. What are we afraid of? S&P is merely an entity that provides their opinion, we are free to follow it or ignore it, just like the advice from the 4 year old child.

I believe we are afraid that S&P is right. I believe we know it intuitively. I’m not lending any money to the federal government, I believe they are a bad risk. Frankly, I believe they are criminals violating laws that have not yet been written.

Jobs suck!!

Sunday, August 7th, 2011

We hear a lot today about how jobs are important. “It’s all about jobs”, “This economy has to get back on track with job creation” and similar statements are what the politicians and TV’s talking heads are telling us. We hear lots of talk about “good jobs” too. Let’s think about that for a minute… I mean really think about it. Imagine a person whose job is to go out each day and pick up rocks from a field. For some reason someone is paying this person to go out and do this. There are no plans to put up any buildings on this field, no intention to farm crops there, nothing of the sort. The work being done accomplishes nothing towards raising our standard of living. There is no product produced and no service rendered that improves anyone’s life.

Now imagine that there are a lot of people doing this. If someone suggests that expenses be cut thus putting these people out of “work”, the uproar will be loud. The screams of concern regarding “What are these people supposed to do?” will echo across the country. There is little concern for the fact that we are using valuable time, energy and resources for people to do things that produce no product or service that improves our standard of living. The focus goes entirely to the short term affect on the people who will be “out of work”. How about the long term affect? What would happen if these people were no longer paid to perform a task that does not produce any valuable product or service? They would have to go out and seek someone who was willing to pay them to provide a valuable product or perform a valuable service… and they would!!!! They are not nearly as helpless as we like to pretend they are. Don’t be fooled by the rhetoric, they are fully capable of doing so, virtually everyone has some capacity to provide something of value to society. They would do it by either one of two ways: knocking on doors and looking for people who can benefit from what they have to offer, or by convincing a team of people who are already set up and doing so that they can help by becoming part of the team.

If you have a way to get lots of products and services without expending any effort, you would of course choose to get them the easy way. While it may be impossible to get the products and services that are required for a good life without working for them, we certainly want them to be provided in the most efficient manner possible. Getting them for the least amount of work is what it’s all about. Hence the title of this article. It’s the products and services that make our lives better, not the job. The job is just usually a requirement to get the things we want. But this fact has become lost on our society. We automatically think that any “job” is good and the removal of anyone from any job is bad. I guess you are losing out on a big opportunity every time you wash the dishes… you should hire your neighbor to wash them for $10,000 and he will hire you to do his dishes for $10,000. Now you’ve both got “jobs”, the  economy is looking good, unemployment is down, it’s a winning scenario by the standards we use. Of course this strikes you immediately as silly nonsense (or so I hope) but is this how we think? Is the work of picking up rocks in the field a “good” job? Good for who?

If we make the above scenario a 3 way pass along: person A pays person B to do the dishes, person B pays Person C, and C pays A, it gets harder to see through it. Now if we make it a little more involved by having person A do the dishes for person B, B does the laundry for C and C vacuums the car of A, it can easily appear to be a thriving economic situation. But the truth is that this is no different than having each person do their own dishes, laundry and vacuuming. Swapping the people doing the work and passing money around as part of the process does not improve anything. Improvement comes in only one of two ways:

1) More efficient methods are used to produce the products and services that make our lives better

2) More people chip in to produce the products and services that make our lives better