Hey! Randy

Archive for the ‘government’ Category

Deputies for Dollars

Posted by heyrandy on April 24, 2010

The local sheriff’s department has had its deputies out setting up check points on our expressway’s on ramps. I have so far seen three checkpoints, each having five or six marked sheriff’s car present. These checkpoints are not set up to catch evil doers. The checkpoints are set up to raise funds for the county.

Governments are all levels are searching for new ways to get money to spend. All government agencies are being pressed into service. What better way to protect the public than to issue to them a bunch of nuisance citations? Isn’t this what law enforcement is for?

The system works like this. Once you are on the entrance ramp, you can’t turn around. There is no going back. The cops then slow you down to check if your car inspection sticker is expired. Wow! I feel safer already. What a relief to know that the cops have done such a fine job of stopping crime that they can now spend their time going after the really hard-core traffic offenders!

This really raises the question of why we need the cops. Can’t we do this a lot cheaper by hiring private thugs checkers? How hard can this job be? Why all the cost of police cars with radios, special costumes, guns, and training? Any high school dropout can do this job. So could most high school graduates.

I think that the county would be better off just firing the deputies and hiring a bunch of semi-literate dope heads to do the job. The jail is full of them, so we can get them pretty cheaply. Take the petty criminals off of highway cleanup duty and put them to work making money. After they issued enough valid citations, they would be released from jail to go back to their community to help with the underground economy. The more successful ones could hire some of those ex-cops as private security guards. That is a real incentive!

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I Do Not Work for the Government

Posted by heyrandy on October 3, 2009

Once upon a time, the only contact that most Americans had with the Federal Government was when they used the Post Office. I hope it was a pleasant experience. Mine was not.

I needed to mail a letter, but I did not have a stamp. So I went to the Post Office to buy one. The Post Office was closed. I suspected that it might be, but I knew that main office has an after hours self-serve facility. Since I only need a stamp, I thought that this would be an easy operation. I was wrong.

I got into the building without any trouble. The counters were closed, but the self-serve machines were available. In fact several people were using them. I waited. The people using the machines seem a little unsure about how they worked. It was taking some time to get my stamp. I waited some more.

As I waited I saw that the machines had a sign on them that said that they took only credit and debit cards. I looked for a place to put in money. I found none. I left without my stamp.I was not going to put the purchase of a single stamp on my credit card.

I do not think that there is a postal function much simpler than buying a stamp. How could it be so difficult? Is not the idea of a self-serve system to be easy to use? Is buying a single stamp not understood by the postal authorities?

I can not believe that a private system would be this silly and difficult to use. That is because I do not work for the government.

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A Reply

Posted by heyrandy on September 5, 2009

I have just received a reply to my letter to Jackie Mendez. She gave some general answers to my questions. This does not surprise me since detailed answers are seldom forth coming.

I wrote back stressing my views on government projects. I noted that government can only get its money by taking it from those who own in. The federal government being the only entity that can print its own, California’s attempt notwithstanding.

I ended my letter by telling her that politics is the art of compromise and that she will be taking an oath of office to the contrary.

I feel a tax increase coming.

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Turning Iron into Gold

Posted by heyrandy on August 1, 2009

We have all heard about the federal government’s Cash for Clunkers program.  If your old car meets certain criteria, the federal government has authorized itself to force taxpayers to subsidize your new car purchase if you trade in your old car.

It was just recently announced that the program is so successful that it ran out of money in the first week.  The federal government is in the process of authorizing itself to force the taxpayers to spend even more money on this subsidy.

I hope the government hurries.  If there is no new money for the program, there are going to be a lot of walking people.  That is bad for the program.  It seems that the car dealers cannot submit the paperwork for their reimbursement unless the dealers certify that the engines of the old cars have been destroyed.  If the program is out of money, how will all those who are awaiting for their new car get around if they are forced to take back their old car, now with a destroyed engine?

So far no one has addressed the issue of how this program is going to affect the used car market.  Most of us can not afford a new car even with the subsidy.  We have to buy used.

No one is saying how this will affect the used car parts market.  Those destroyed engines were once quite valuable.  Now they are scrap iron.  This greatly reduces the vaue of these “clunkers” to the junk yards.  Is it even worth the junk yard’s time to come and tow away the now immobile clunker?

This program of scrapping usable cars is another example of the government’s short sightedness.  There was not thought given about the consequences.  It is characteristic of the political class to pander to the prevailing pressure group without thinking through the secondary issues.  All that matters is image.  It must appear that something was done.  Most voters demand that.  Most voters are suckers.

This whole program is a giant boondoggle.  It is a political gift to the auto companies and their unions.  It is a political pay back for votes cast.

So what else is new?

Has anyone thought of what will happen next year?  The pool of eligible buyers will be vastly depleted by this year’s program.  Who will buy a new car next year?  Will the government have a new program, a “Cash for Clunkers II”?

You have to ask?  This is the same group of folks that handled so well the transition to digital television.  How is your reception?

The US auto industry is doomed.  Once an industry is nationalized it always declines.  Nationalize industries are in effect monopolies.  They do not have competition to force the needed changes  to keep the industry healthy.   No government bureaucrat looses his job because his bureau looses money.  The most that happens is that a low level nobody is cashiered.  Never underestimate the power of a sacrificial lamb.  No senior managers are ever punished.  Just look at the military torture scandals.

If you don’t get your cash for the clunker you traded in at someone elses’ expense, just wait until next year.  Then you can tow that old hunk of iron to the mint and cash it in for gold.  Taxpayers are standing by.  And they never run out of money.

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Jobs for the Boys

Posted by heyrandy on October 17, 2008

It is silly season: the time of life when people who should know better run for election to public office.  There is not much I can do to stop this farce, but why should I try?  Someone has to spend my money.  If it can’t be me, it might as well be someone I never met elected by people I don’t know.

It is what is done with the money that I find to be so vexing: it is taken from me.  I am the victim.  I don’t pay taxes because I want to.  I pay taxes because there will come to my house guys (and, these days, girls) with guns.  They will rob me at gun point.  This is usually a felony, but the guys (and the girls) have badges.  This makes it not a felony.  It is only a felony if I don’t pay.

It seems that everyone and his brother wants money they have not earned.  They all have their hands out for tax money for their projects.  Money for the Arts.  Money for the schools.  Money for bridges to Nowhere.  Nowhere must be where the “Money for” ends.  It has to end somewhere.  (We also have bridges to there.)

There is no end of people who want “Money for” and no end of “Money for” people who want it.  Every good, bad, and ugly idea is advanced with a plea for government funding.  Why not? Its free.  Well, no; but who cares if you are the one getting?  I do.

There is a lot of concern about special interest groups giving politicians campaign contributions for political favors, but I have not heard too much about politicians giving out political favors for votes.  This is where the money goes: into some kind of jobs program.  It may not be called Jobs for the Boys courtesy of Sen. Graft, but it really is.  Everyone is getting on the government payroll.

Whenever you hear “Public and Private Partnership” read that as public pay, private benefit.  I have heard many pleas along the lines of “we will get all the public money back in increased sales tax revenues.”  Or better, “the project will pay for itself.”  On this type of reasoning the local political class has built a refuse processing facility that was supposed to turn garbage into fuel for the local power plant (it never worked; the stuff wouldn’t burn very well, and the building is now a recycling center for our household bottles and cans), a minor league baseball stadium (it drinks money), a ferry boat across Lake Ontario to Canada (it sank in a great lake of red ink), a major league soccer stadium (a major league drain on the city’s finances now that the team is going broke), and the purchase and demolition of an indoor shopping mall for a new office building (it is not the city’s building, of course).

Yes, the boys (and the girls) need jobs, and it is your civic duty (and legal requirement) to pay for them.  If you don’t, you may end up making license plates for the prison industrial complex.  That is one way to get on the payroll.  You may even like living in Attica.

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