Ah, The Good Life

Posted Wednesday, September 23, 2009, at 9:33 PM
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    I agree about the police, fire, etc. I don't mind paying people well. I want to be paid well! What irritates me, is the the public employee unions, teachers unions, etc. They constantly demand more money, if never ends.

    Then these same public employee unions, after demanding more money, support liberal Democrat and Republican politicians who try and kill small business in America.


    Let me share with you something I see far too often in small towns all over the country. I'll use Greybull, WY as an example. The town is small, 1600 - 1800 folks, and like allot of small towns they are shrinking.

    Slowly older businesses are drying up, and few new ones are replacing them. No new houses are really being built in town, and the towns' main street in declining a bit, but still a nice town. What Greybull does have, in a big super duper way, is a brand new, fancy high school, with all the trimmings.

    Manicured lawns, and professional landscaping, a new gym, and of course all the latest green stuff. The high school seems rather odd looking in a town with fifty year old houses, for this massive new high school.

    My point here is this, could that money have been much better spent actually bringing some jobs or economy to Greybull? Why do today's kids need the absolute best of everything before they can learn to read? Our fathers and mothers certainly needed no such extravagance to learn. Millions of dollars for a new high school, in an economically depressed town, doesn't make sense to me, and yet, this is the kind of stupidity that the left proposes every day.

    Senator Ben Nelson, when he made his awful decision to back Obama's slush fund, (stimulus) said that the reason he did it was for school money for Nebraska kids.

    Sounds good huh? It's not good, it's sad, and it represents what wacky progressive thinking does to a society.

    Common sense is long gone. If your grown children came to you and said, "Dad, we're broke, and we are loosing money. We never have enough money. So, we are going to build a new home, and garage, it will be all green technology Dad, but we have to borrow lots more money, from anybody and everybody". You slap 'em upside the head wouldn't you?

    -- Posted by sameldridge on Thu, Sep 24, 2009, at 11:15 AM
  • A new school is a good way to bring in youg couples to your town. Most parents look at the schools system and facilites before moving.

    -- Posted by president obama on Thu, Sep 24, 2009, at 11:56 AM
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    point taken sir!

    -- Posted by sameldridge on Thu, Sep 24, 2009, at 12:05 PM
  • Indeed a new school can bring young couples in search of a decent community to raise a family. Still, Sam's point that there needs to be jobs is valid. Real jobs, not phony government "make-work". Sam, I wonder if you could have made the point better, that we in the private sector could do a better job of providing retirement and pensions plans for ourselves, if we did not have such a huge tax burden to provide nice pensions for government employees. This was much of Ayn Rand's philosophy, that if we are allowed to fully take care of ourselves, to have legitimate self interest, that allows you to provide for yourself, therefore, you have the ability to provide for others. The liberals have it the other way around, provide for everyone else first. That sounds almost Christian, but the problem is, the folks that are asking you to provide everything for them, are only looking out for themselves. That is why the liberal way will not work. The only way a society can work, is for that society to have the freedom to pursue their self interest. Then people realize it is their self interest to help others when they can.

    I apologize for being so long winded.

    -- Posted by RMontana on Thu, Sep 24, 2009, at 12:16 PM
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    Good post Sam. I'd like to read your link above, but it doesn't work.

    I don't have experience with government budgets at all, but I wouldn't doubt they are much the same as corporate budgets that I do have some experience with. Corporate budgets I was involved with had to be bigger than the previous year, or you would lose resources. Bigger is better and way too much is just about right was the rule of thumb. That works just great in an expanding business as it appears the department is expanding... business growth, whether the extra monetary resources were needed or not. If you didn't spend it, you got less the next year, even if all you want is the same available the previous budget cycle. It seems to be the same scenario Sceptre mentions. There was never incentive to cut costs.

    In the "good old days", Ma Bell was a fully regulated business with a guaranteed rate of return against cost. In other words, the company was guaranteed to be able to make a determined profit percentage over what their costs were. So, to increase dollar profits, the more you spent, the more you got. Backwards thinking, but perhaps the only way to run a monopoly. One advantage is that it allowed the company to foot the bill for training, health benefits, R&D, paid vacations, great retirement and a whole lot more.

    After deregulation, Ma Bell got trashed, we ended up with multiple phone companies that have morphed into who knows what. Call today for phone service, and you will be told that if the problem is found to be in your house, you will be billed. Not so in the old days, people got the problem fixed with one call. Competition better? I'd say it depends on your point of view there.

    If government budgets operate similarly, it's pretty easy to see how things get way out of hand.

    -- Posted by Brian Hoag on Thu, Sep 24, 2009, at 1:31 PM
  • -- Posted by sameldridge on Thu, Sep 24, 2009, at 9:55 PM
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    Sceptre... Great job with those benefits you had. I imagine you never thought about changing to a job that didn't have those great benefits did you? I had virtually the same experience as you in the private sector.

    While it would be great if everybody was responsible about their retirement planning, health care insurance, or whatever you would like to talk about, there are a lot of people that either won't or can't achieve the goals of forward planning into retirement.

    What do you folks propose to do with the people that don't or are unable to plan into the future? They are part of our society as much as you and me... I guess we could just shuffle 'em on down to the local euthanasia depot since we don't want to pay for their lack of planning.

    Maybe Sceptre's recent link to the new "concentration camps" that were built under the Republican's watch is really about taking care of those that don't plan ahead. In case you missed the link, here it is again... Notice carefully when the video was posted to verify who was running the show at that time... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dJBxdRIQx7Y&feature=related

    -- Posted by Brian Hoag on Fri, Sep 25, 2009, at 8:18 AM
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    Something else to consider... the bankers that got those huge bonus payments got them because business claimed that the payments were justified to keep their talented employees. Government has to compete against the private sector for good employees too.

    -- Posted by Brian Hoag on Fri, Sep 25, 2009, at 8:46 AM
  • Congratulations all,

    It is great to see exchange of ideas and positive suggestions for improvement in this ongoing experiment of our represental democratic/republic.

    The major problem with getting a handle on government at all levels is one simple fact:

    PUBLIC ADMINISTRATORS at all levels receive early and ongoing intense training in public manipulation. They have major course work on:

    Manager and Council/Board relations -- how to direct the amateur elected officials in the direction you wish to see them go.

    Manager and Community Relations -- How to communicate with the public to direct them in the manner you wish.

    The average elected local legislator (Councilman, commissioner, school trustee) serves about three terms -- 12 years on average. A few stick around for 16 years, fewer still serve 20.

    They are usually competent to comprehend the manager's skilled manipulation, about the time their third term is ending. Often that realization is why they choose not to run again.

    Another huge problem. Setting "our" staff and employee pay, based upon a comparison with like communities.

    Bet your bippy, as Goldie Hawn said.

    The figures provided are heavily weighted toward similar communities with higher salaries for "your" area of study.

    Somehow, only one or two communities with lower scales get included. Who assembles these lists? The professionals wanting their salaries to grow.

    It becomes a pattern, better compensation and benefits packages in one political subdivision are used as justification for increases in others.

    Which means after two to three years, the comparisons are moving upward.

    I knew one small town of 5,000 where a city clerk/manager, office manager and part time billing machine operator ran the office, water, sewer and trash collection services efficiently.

    Police department -- a working chief, four paid patrolmen and about 20 volunteer reservists.

    Fire Department -- All volunteers, with the first five on the scene of a fire were paid $5.00 to $15.00 per response. Four trained volunteers manned the ambulance, being paid $10 per hour.

    Public works -- Three full time workers and four part timers, who only worked as needed.

    That was it.

    A few years later, the town had grown to 6,500 and the city payroll had swelled to 94 people.

    Service bills were never correct and required weeks to get straightened out.

    There was a full-time, professional City Manager, two assistants, and an office staff of six.

    Twenty-four in public works, twenty-two police officers with a Chief, two Captains and seven sergeants and 12 patrolmen.

    The all volunteer parks and recreation programs had a ful-time paid staff of ten.

    What happened, four of five councilmen were first termers and the pattern continued.

    One state data entry center had 250 operators, with enough work for 50. Guess how many were reading novels most of the day.

    The newest employees did the work, a half dozen experienced people supervised -- everyone else played bridge or whatever in the lunchroom or read novels.

    In an era of cutbacks, highway planners and engineers were not cut. But with no work to do, one clever crew used office dividers to build a completely closed off area in one corner -- and ran a casino. Some of the highest paid state employees playing casino games full time.

    A sheriff's department with 28 patrol vehicles.

    Moonshine sales occupied 26 uniformed deputies, with two REAL LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS handling all calls. By showing leniency for felony suspects, the sheriff was able to coerce all the votes in that person's extended family.

    Deputies diverting from "shine" sales to grab a felony suspect would arrange a deal. If he would deliver the entire family's votes and arrange for the "availability" of younger women to the deputy -- there would be no formal arrest, if he also signed a handwritten confession, affixed his thumbprint and provided any other evidence demanded.

    A major West Coast military base with a computerized $110-Million Energy Management system and no qualified computer engineers or programmers within the responsible organization.

    With hundreds of buildings -- the employees would bypass the computerized system by rewiring it, leaving heating systems operating 24/7, while all windows were open.

    It took a computer science major working as a summer intern less than two weeks to determine why the base was consuming more than $12-Million monthly in natural gas and electricity.

    That intern and a tech borrowed from the base's Cable Television system, developed a 35 cent circuit which they could hide in all building controls to shut the system down completely if the system was bypassed.

    After ten years of the ongoing waste, the base's monthly utility bills were cut to $1.7-$1.9-Million.

    Which meant in the previous decade, more than $1-Billion in wasted energy costs.

    Meanwhile combat units in Viet Nam were short of munitions, repair parts and medical support.

    The really sick part -- More than 90% of the people responsible for this deliberate waste were self-identified as Super Conservative, Super Patriots.

    The problem is not expressed political philosophy.

    The problem is a broad lack of common sense.

    -- Posted by HerndonHank on Fri, Sep 25, 2009, at 8:39 PM
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    Hank - I wish I could say my jaw dropped while reading some of your examples of bloated gov't waste...but unfortunately it's not too much of a surprise anymore.

    I've long juggled with and stumbled over the notion that we actually elect and pay these politicians to figure out ways to separate us from our money...and more and more...our individual liberties and freedoms. I recall a quote by Winston Churchill which goes something like "Taxing yourself into prosperity is like standing in a bucket and trying to lift yourself."

    The point being that the private sector is absolutely necessary to pony up the financing for an ever expanding gov't. I once got into an argument with a county fireman who was complaining about what he had to pay in taxes. I replied, "Think how I feel, your taxes are paid out of your wages which are paid out of MY taxes."

    That was about as popular as a rat in the punchbowl.

    -- Posted by Mickel on Fri, Sep 25, 2009, at 9:38 PM
  • Hank,I Agree_The broad lack of COMMON SENSE is in all sectors of the UNITED STATES.

    -- Posted by orville on Sat, Sep 26, 2009, at 11:43 AM
  • Hey Mickel and Orville,

    I have one even worse.

    When Reagan became California's governor the first term, he cut back the highway crews, their DOT by 40% - 60% in most areas -- not Palm Springs, or Ojai and Santa Barbara -- Just most.

    He then replaced that payroll with political hacks in new offices scattered around the state.

    Same budget, just the state's once superb highways went to pieces in double time.

    I no longer am shocked or even stunned, certainly not surprised when another example of bureaucratic waste in unearthed.

    Take a look at corrupt bankers getting $54-Million bonuses at the top, with $250-Million of taxpayer money going to executive bonuses within the executive committee and their closest associates --- THEIR REWARD FOR BANKRUPTING THEIR COMPANY THEY WERE SUPPOSED TO MANAGE FOR PROFITS.

    Or how about Bank of America executives, admitting they knew Merrill Lynch executives were cutting themselves $300-Million plus in bonuses as a reward for bankrupting their company, as BofA was using part of their $60-Billion of our bailout money to buy Merrill-Lynch.

    In essences, We the Suckers of the United States of America, have ponied up about $2.00 per person at a minimum -- just to handsomely reward some of the most incompetent, corrupt businessmen in this world's history.

    That is just part of the $6-Trillion in total wealth they destroyed with their dishonesty. It is just part of the $2.5-Trillion that will eventually be the minimum cost of the bailouts.

    Now if that won't make you mad, I don't know what it takes.

    Compared with this, G.M. Chairman Charlie Wilson's time as Ike's Secretary of Defense, which included DOD's top dollar purchase of one-half million Hydramatic Truck Transmissions from G.M., was almost virtuous -- even considering

    Good Ol' Ike's "incorporated Gettysburg farm" being given the Mid-Atlantic Mid-Size Truck Distributorship for G.M. Trucks.

    That little number finally drove me out of the GOP, well that along with "my" party greeting the DixieCrats into our ranks, along with their corruption, bigoted racism and total dishonesty.

    So you will understand, my father moved to indict one of his best friends and another close friend seconded the motion on a grand jury investigating criminal voter fraud involving paying political campaign workers with welfare checks.

    The indicted friend, my old 4-H leader, had organized an election campaign in our county for a state representative.

    Saturday after the vote, all the campaign workers were in town to get their pay, when two boys from the state capital showed up with a briefcase full of Welfare Dept. checks.

    Our friend, the patsy in this situation, went to the bank, drew out enough cash in all small bills at and under the $100 level, returned to his business. He pulled each check out so only he could see the front, read off the name and amount, laid the check face down for endorsement, and counted out the cash, without the workers ever seeing they were endorsing Welfare checks.

    All tracks from the state capital to him were erased before secret Grand Jury investigators could arrive at the State Welfare offices with a court supoeno.

    The jury remained secluded without telephone access, with only the District Attorney leaving the area, until the investigators had more than ample time to collect the welfare records.

    Only, when they arrived, there were two large steel dumpsters in the middle of the parking lot, still smoking -- and every file in the office gone.

    Guess what, the D.A. was the only person who could have called in a warning to the Welfare bosses.

    Another surprise, these were all DixieCrats recently accepted into the Republican Party.

    -- Posted by HerndonHank on Tue, Sep 29, 2009, at 3:41 PM
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