Saturday, October 29, 2011

I'd vote for that...

I was delighted to learn this week that the Palladium-Item had endorsed Matt Hisrich for the Richmond Common Council. While it's not the first time the Pal-Item has endorsed a Libertarian, it is a rare enough occurrence to warrant at least some local attention. While Matt is clearly the more qualified candidate in the race, he does face the problem of running as a third party candidate in a gerry-mandered district where the Democrat incumbent hasn't faced an opponent for 16 years.

Being somewhat of a political junkie, I attended a candidate forum in Richmond a couple of weeks ago where all candidates for the council races were given the opportunity to express their opinions on why they were qualified to serve on the council. I think all agreed that Richmond needed more jobs. But then I don't suppose there is anyplace these days that doesn't need more jobs. One candidate thought things would get better if the Greyhound Bus stopped in Richmond again. I'm not sure if he wanted the bus to bring people in or take people out.

I also couldn't help but notice that many the candidates had adopted the buzz phrase "economy of scale", the practice of buying in bulk to achieve a lower per unit cost.

They seemed to be of the opinion that if enough governmental departments join together and buy toilet paper in bulk, somehow all of the departments will become affordable.

I was happy to hear Mr. Hisrich suggest that we need to have an honest evaluation on the proper and necessary role of government in Richmond. That's something the other political parties seem to have forgotten.

We'll be a lot better if we work to make big government smaller, instead of trying to make big government affordable. Less government means lower taxes, and lower taxes means more jobs.

And less paperwork.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

What was the question again?....

I heard Michael Cloud say one time that if you can get people to ask the wrong question, it doesn't matter what the answer is.

Barack Obama recently stated that he was going toallow some states to opt out of the No Child Left Behind requirements as long as they agreed to meet certain other requirements.

Of course, Republican members of Congress immediately accused Obama of exercising too much control over their control of education.

Instead of asking ourselves whether the President or Congress should be controlling our childrens' education, the question we should be asking is where the federal government thinks it gets the authority to be involved in our childrens' education at all.

Once we start asking the right questions, maybe we can come up with better answers.

Sunday, October 09, 2011

Wait a second...

On more than one occasion, I've brought up how most people lose perspective when the discussion of numbers advances from millions to billions to trillions. One of my favorite comparisons is that a million seconds amounts to about 11 days, while a billion seconds amounts to about 32 years, and a trillion seconds amounts to about 317 centuries.

I think that is why most of us have a hard time comprehending the $15 trillion debt the federal government is spending towards, or the $100 trillion or so in unfunded liabilities that the government has to try to come up with eventually.

Money comes and goes pretty fast when the government is involved, and usually goes out faster that it comes in. The other day I read that the government is going to take about $2 billion from Apple CEO Steve Job's estate. It will go through it in about 48 minutes. That takes a second to comprehend.

I take a great deal of comfort in the fact that when my time gets here, my estate taxes won't sustain the government's spending for a nanosecond.

That's a billionth of a second, if anyone's counting.

Sunday, October 02, 2011

Bless my sole.....

Someone at church this morning mentioned that I was wearing my workboots. Actually, I wasn't really wearing my work boots. These are my workboots:

These are the boots I was wearing this morning:
They're the boots I wear most of the time when I'm not working.

I do have some work tennis shoes that I wear in the summer when I'm working, and some other tennis shoes that I wear in the summer when I'm not working. And I have a pair of black shoes that I keep around in case someone dies or get married.

But most of the time it's just boots.

I hope that's alright.

Saturday, October 01, 2011

The ins and outs of it...

I've been to a lot of family reunions in my life. Bell family reunions and Bowman family reunions pretty often when I was growing up, and still once or twice a year. When I got married, I picked up a couple more on my wife's side of the house. I think they were probably better attended when people didn't have so many places to go, and when families stayed together a little better. But we still manage to have them, and we attend as many as we can, and encourage our children to do the same, although I think reunions generally are more important to the older crowd than they are to the youngsters.

One thing that has always been a common factor in the Bell/Bowman/Moyer reunions is the inordinate amount of food that is hauled in and consumed. I imagine that is a common factor in all family reunions.

Speaking of times when people didn't have so many places to go, many years ago, when I was younger, I attended a few reunions with my old buddy Stinky Wilmont. The Wilmont family tended to be fairly large, both individually and collectively. I never did get what I considered to be an accurate count on how many cousins, uncles, and aunts Stinky had, partially because I never knew for sure how many in attendance were actually related, and partially because all of them never stood still or sat down at the same time.

Like our reunions, the Wilmont reunion relied heavily on the moms and aunts to provide the majority of the food, and usually there was plenty to go around. I do recall a time however, when Stinky and his brothers, along with a few guests, had grown older and hungrier. A couple of aunts from Kentucky, who always brought a lot of food and not many mouths, failed to make the journey north. Stinky's mom said something about sciatica, I think. At any rate, I quickly discovered that when you get too many people filling their plates and not enough people filling the bowls, somebody's likely to miss out on the baked beans and a chicken leg. And sugar cream pie.

I read the other day that the federal government was spending about $1.4 trillion more than it is going to take in this year. It did about the same thing last year, and it's going to do about the same thing next year. So far, that has managed to grow our immediate federal debt to about $14 trillion. I guess that's what happens when the people taking money out take out more than people putting in are putting in. Apparently some of the people that are taking out think the people that are putting in should put in more, while some of the people that are putting in think the people that are taking out shouldn't take so much out.

It isn't too hard to figure out how the government got into such a situation. A lot of people that aren't working anymore aren't putting much in, and a lot of people that are still working aren't earning as much as they used to, and subsequently aren't putting in as much as they used to. In just one government program, Social Security, there used to 16 people putting money in for every person that was taking money out. Now there are 2 or 3 people putting money in for every person that is taking money out. In 2009, 64.3 million Americans depended on the government for their daily housing, food, and health care.

Nobody knows for sure exactly when the government will run out of credit and money, just like nobody knew for sure exactly when the Wilmonts were going to run out of potato salad, but if you are one of the people who is depending on government to take care of you in the next few years, it might not be a bad idea to start coming up with an alternative plan.

And if you go to Wilmont reunion this year, you might want to stick a peanut butter sandwich or two in your pocket, just in case.