Sometimes you just have to wonder how the minds of some people work.
Gov. Deval Patrick is urging federal officials to change a “wacky rule” he says could cost Massachusetts $15 million in transportation funding, and last week he took his case to the nation’s top transportation official.
Patrick told the News Service that he met last Thursday with the Obama administration’s transportation chief, Secretary Ray LaHood, and urged him to support a change in the rules governing the spending of federal stimulus dollars on transportation projects.
Those rules require states to return unspent funds to the federal treasury if construction projects come in under budget, rather than allowing states to retain those funds and spend them on other projects.
In other words, the “weird rule” the governor is complaining about says if you do what is right and are fiscally responsible, the money that is not spent comes back to the source. Somehow, Governor Patrick is saying the state should keep the money.
To us, this is another case where the government wants to run itself differently than the average American household.
In “real America,” when households budget something and the item is on sale, the money saved goes back into the household budget. For example, if a mother gives her child $2.00 to get a dozen eggs and the eggs are on sale for $1.50, the kid doesn’t keep the money. It goes back to the mother. That is not to say that the mother then can give the kid money for doing the errand or whatever, but the kid has no right or claim to the money that was saved.
This attitude is part of the core “triad” of governmental fiscal beliefs:
1) Departments and agencies have to spend money at the end of the year otherwise their budgets may be cut the following year. There is no reward or incentive for saving, being frugal and procuring only that which is needed. If the agency doesn’t spend it all, it is considered a negative.
2) The government never has to stay within its means because it has the greatest revenue raising plan known to mankind: raising taxes. Unlike every American household that looks to reduce spending and tighten its belt when household income is down, the government simply says “we are taking more” at the point of a sword.
3) “Being fiscally responsible and looking to save taxpayers money should be rewarded.” No, it shouldn’t. Looking to save taxpayers money and being fiscally responsible should be a primary goal of the government’s monetary policy. Responsibility is not rewarded with a cookie and a hug. If you take our money from our pockets, you darn sight better be responsible with it.
We don’t normally go as far into the world of “libertarianism” as Lew Rockwell does, but even a blind squirrel finds a nut once in awhile.
We think he might be onto something with the following screed.
Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr.[send him mail], former editorial assistant to Ludwig von Mises and congressional chief of staff to Ron Paul, is founder and chairman of the Mises Institute, executor for the estate of Murray N. Rothbard, and editor of LewRockwell.com. See his books.
The Evil 1%
by Lew Rockwell
The “occupy” protest movement is thriving off the claim that the 99% are being exploited by the 1%, and there is truth in what they say. But they have the identities of the groups wrong. They imagine that it is the 1% of highest wealth holders who are the problem. In fact, that 1% includes some of the smartest, most innovative people in the country – the people who invent, market, and distribute material blessings to the whole population. They also own the capital that sustains productivity and growth.
But there is another 1% out there, those who do live parasitically off the population and exploit the 99%. Moreover, there is a long intellectual tradition, dating back to the late middle ages that draws attention to the strange reality that a tiny minority lives off the productive labor of the overwhelming majority.
I’m speaking of the State, which even today is made up of a tiny sliver of the population, but is the direct cause of all the impoverishing wars, inflation, taxes, regimentation, and social conflict. This 1% is the direct cause of the violence, the censorship, the unemployment, and vast amounts of poverty, too. (more…)
In case you missed it, Connecticut Governor Dan Malloy declared last Thursday as “Diaper Need Awareness Day” hoping to highlight the need of low income families for diapers. It is Malloy’s desire for the state to start supplying diapers for those “in need.”
Let us say this right off the bat – when it comes to Phil Keaggy, the green eyed monster of jealousy rears its ugly head.
No one – and we mean no one – should be that talented, and yet Phil Keaggy is. Long noted as one of the best guitar players in the world, Keaggy has an air of humbleness about him that is warm and engaging.
We hate him. (Just kidding.)
What makes Keaggy all the more amazing is that the middle finger of his right hand is missing – severed in a childhood accident. As Keaggy tells the story:
We lived on a farm in Hubbard, Ohio, which had a big water pump, and I was climbing up on it. As I was kneeling on top of the platform, it broke and the faucets came crashing down on my finger and cut it off. I can remember it very vividly—as if it happened yesterday, and I can see my dad running down the hill, rescuing me, and taking me to the hospital. I can recall having a white cast and bandage; it was gigantic! They tried to sew it on, but it didn’t take, so I grew up with nine fingers. As a young kid, I was embarrassed about it a lot, especially when I was beginning to get into guitar. I used to be red when I’d play in front of people because I believed they were looking at my hand, which they probably weren’t…Before my accident with my finger occurred, my oldest brother was killed in a car accident and two weeks afterward my younger sister had her big toe cut off. These were all really heavy things for my mom and dad to go through
Keaggys’s story is like many of his generation. A seminal event in Keaggy’s life, in his case the death of his mother, made Keaggy examine his life. Keaggy was into drugs, LSD and a host of other things so when the man in the mirror was not who he wanted to be, he dedicated his life to Christ. Ever since then Keaggy has toured the world singing, preaching and playing.
It is hard to define Keaggy musically. His style can range anywhere from blues to rock to classical and everything in between. He must be doing something right as his career has spanned more than 30 years and over 50 albums. Countless Dove Awards have followed, but for Keaggy, he seems content to use the massive talent God gave him for God’s purpose, and the awards just sort of “happen.”
Keaggy is still working today. He is producing albums, being a studio musician, touring, recording and collaborating with other artists such as Mickey Dolenz of the Monkees.
The first video of Keaggy is of him demonstrating the “Ebow,” an electronic device for the guitar. While the Ebow certainly enhances the performance, it is still Keaggy’s talent on display. (more…)
The IRS has announced plans for fees and licenses for tax preparers.
To get certified, preparers will need to register and pass a competency test. Some will need to be fingerprinted, pass a background check with the FBI and take continuing education classes.
The IRS estimates the licensing fee for each tax preparer at between $250 and $275, but H&R Block expects the cost will be more than $400, including state fees and its own background-check expenses.
For companies such as Jackson Hewitt and H&R Block, the fees are an imposition, but not a stumbling block. For the tax preparer who prepares taxes on the side or even as part of a small business, the fees cut directly to the bottom line.
The IRS claims the tests and fees are to prevent individuals who set up shop during tax season and then disappear preventing prosecution for fraudulently filed taxes.
However, there is also a great possibility the fees and tests are simply a new tax without being a tax.
As the proposed rules stand now, fees would hit about 450,000 preparers particularly hard — those lacking professional credentials as lawyers or certified public accountants and those registered with the IRS as preparation supervisors.
Fees and competency tests could drive out honest preparers along with swindlers, said Chuck McCabe, chief executive of the Income Tax School in Richmond.
“The fees definitely do pose a barrier to entry,” said McCabe, who noted that tax preparation has been a valuable job opportunity for many older people and women with young children looking for part-time work.
The tests and fees would result in $112,500,000 to $180,000,000 headed toward the government.
The IRS tries to make a case for the fees and licensing: (more…)
The saw was originally sold by The Home Depot for roughly $159.00 and was used by contractors on the job as well as the home woodworker. (The newer model, the BTS-16 sells for $199.)
In April 2005, Colombian Carlos Osorio, who has a degree in computer science, was working on a job installing flooring while he learned English. Osorio removed the rip fence and the blade guard from the saw. Then, while trying to freehand a rip cut on a 2′-long, 2-1/2″-wide by 3/4″-thick piece of oak flooring, Osorio raised the blade to it’s maximum height of almost 3 inches.
Osorio knelt on one knee as the saw was on the floor and tried to push the piece of oak through the saw. When he started to get “chatter,” he stopped the cut and cleaned the blade and the saw. He then tried to make the same cut again.
At this point in time it is important to note Osorio had removed every single single safety device from the saw. The blade was extended far higher than is safe. He was kneeling, and therefore did not have a safe and stable “base” for his body.
When the blade started to “chatter” again, Osorio did the exact opposite of what every woodworker and professional knows you should do – he pushed on the wood harder.
Tragically, his hand slipped off of the wood and went into the blade.
Osorio’s left hand was injured , his small and ring finger were completely severed, and his middle and index fingers were severely lacerated, including damage to nerves, blood vessels and tendons. His fingers were surgically repaired and reattached, but he continues to suffer from lack of motion, numbness and pain in his left hand, according to court records.
Osorio sued “One World Technologies,” the parent company of Ryobi claiming the saw was “defective.”
The trial was held in April of 2011.
Osorio’s chief expert witness during the trial was Stephen Gass, a physicist who developed a “flesh sensing” technology which jams a aluminum block into the saw blade when moisture, such as in human flesh, is sensed. The blade is stopped withing milli-seconds, saving the hand of the user, but ruining the blade and the aluminum block.
A video of Gass’s “Saw Stop” technology is below. The narrator says the replacement assembly is about $60, but that is not true. On the StopSaw website, a contractor’s saw similar to the $200.00 Ryobi BTS 15 is a whopping $1599.00. Quality blades alone can be well over $60.00 and of course that doesn’t include the aluminum stop block assembly. (more…)