Monday, May 19, 2014

The Government's "Lemonade Stand"


You've seen them dozens of times somewhere around your neighborhood.  A ten year old kid plucks a dozen lemons from mom's tree in the back yard.  They cut up the lemons, fill up a pitcher with water, throw in  some sugar, and, "voila", they're in business...lemonade:  10 cents a glass.

Let the government open that same lemonade stand.  They'll hire a million dollar designer architect, pay him a million bucks to design a stone and glass edifice, erect the building for another five or ten million (winning bidder has to be a lobbyist over on K Street).  Then they'll hire an interior designer who'll select the finest draperies, install new furniture, install a wall of filing cabinets, then put out a federal call for two hundred $150,000 dollars per year bureaucrats.  Then, they'll buy each federal slug a personal I-Pad and a desktop I-Mac, and an I-Phone which the slugs will use to draw up a sole source contract with a "green farmer" who can provide organic lemons.

Think that doesn't happen?  Well, you weren't reading the weekend headlines, then.  Remember all those old vets who died waiting months for an appointment at a VA hospital?  Remember our VA Secretary crying "budget restraints" as the cause?  Well, this weekend we learned that the VA spent $697,000,000 dollars on new drapes, new furniture and new office equipment in the last three years...even as their "customers" were dying before their eyes as they "cooked the books" and said no veteran was waiting for treatment.

Or perhaps the IRS is more to your liking.  We also learned this week that, when the IRS is not harassing conservative groups, they are busy playing video games.  Apparently with management's blessing.  And paid for by taxpayers!  Seems the game is called "What If" and the IRS claims these games keep their employees minds alert!   Yes, readers, this is the same IRS that was rewarding IRS malcontents with bonuses and paid time off (as much as two months!) in order to boost morale!  Oh, and did I mention the IRS fella caught watching porn eight hours a day and didn't get canned?

Let's all pray that the feds don't open a lemonade stand.  It would costs us $100 dollars a glass...and we just can't afford that if we're gonna keep footing the bill for VA and IRS boondoggles.



Jerry Carlin said...

Alright, I admit it. Sometimes, (really not that often!) I agree with you 100%. ...and you could have been even harsher. Both sides do it and that doesn't make it right.

A Modest Scribler said...

Yep. And Jerry, please note I didn't mention a political party so of course I agree that both sides are at fault. i will say this: it is always the liberal ilk who champion the role of government and these two instances simply reinforce the notion that big government , given the chance, will screw it up and cost a lot in doing it.

Less government, please.

Jerry Carlin said...

I know, and getting screwed that way takes takes the fun out of it! But kudos to you for attacking an idea instead of a person! Big Government pays your pension! some good/some bad to it.

A Modest Scribler said...

Jerry, some day you will learn a little more about contract law and the difference between a government handout and an entitlement.

Carol said...

I have a friend in Chicago that works the bugs out of computerized payment systems so he goes to various businesses as needed. He despises being sent to the VA hospital there, as it makes him irate! Says that the emergency room is filled with vets in pain waiting to be seen/treated, yet half the employees are standing around talking, joking, shooting the breeze! He even requested that he NOT be sent there any more but his supervisor said that just wasn't possible.

A Modest Scribler said...

And yet, Carol, when Obama was campaigning for President, and touting his Obamacare program, he always cited the VA system as a sterling, shining example of a good government health program. I learned the truth twenty years ago when the VA hospital began "means-testing" medical care to vets....they said I don't qualify for care because I made more than the $24k per year maximum threshold. Funny, no one said anything about means testing during my entire 22 year career...

Jerry Carlin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jerry Carlin said...

actually, I do know a little about contract law! been a contractor for over 35 years, making contracts is what we do. MY DEFINITION of a government hand out would include public pensions (contract), most unearned benefits (like the huge salaries you often mention) and basically ANYTHING I HAVE TO PAY FOR! Welfare and unemployment might fall under contract law as they have become expected benefits and are written into law! Basically I question ANYTHING I have to pay for, period. I am NOT saying you (and others)haven't earned it or even deserve it. Only questioning because I am paying for it.

A Modest Scribler said...

Amazing! A liberal questioning government spending? Even more amazing! A liberal with the slightest inclination that government might not be the most efficient means of delivering a service?


I'm not truly convinced yet though because I never see or hear of your criticism of Obamacare or welfare or food stamps or pell grants or minority preference hiring, or oppressive government tyrants like Holder's Justice Department, or the IRS, or even an indignant comment on Weingergate, Filner's Follies and the liberal war on women.

Jerry Carlin said...

Ha! I am complex. I am not out to convince you, just question you. I learned a long time ago to be careful what you wish for! When Eisenhower built (well, not by himself!) the interstate freeways the government spent (+-??) 9% of the GNP on infrastructure. Now it is less than 3% and all falling apart.
So, here's the question: Do we turn all this over to private enterprise and have toll roads everywhere, across every bridge or let the government do it as Eisenhower did? Do we allow wholesale "fracking" to get cheap fuel without questioning what is happening? Do we say simply "sorry" when BP has an accident in the Gulf or should there be rules and regulations? Was the fine for the Exxon Valdez oil spill enough to change the industry? They have not paid it yet!!! Or do we say oil spills and environmental pollution are the cost of free enterprise? Do we want the air of China or water of Mexico? I am trying to discuss the roll of Government. The Republicans, under Nixon, started the EPA. It used to be a good idea. The Republicans, under Eisenhower, spent more on infrastructure. That used to be a good idea. The Republicans WERE in favor of a "Romenycare" type of National Health. What we have now was really their proposal, not the single payer system advocated by most liberals. Why WERE these all good ideas and are no longer valid?
I guess a part of me hungers for "the good old days" when we had better leadership and Congress was not in such internal turmoil and no one was so far to the right or the left. What a lot of people don't realize is when we had "the good old days" we also had a progressive income tax, up to 90% even!
Somehow if you want something you have to be willing to pay for it and that is the problem. What we have been doing since Reagan was President is charging it to the future. Recently we are doing that on a Grand Scale. and there is no sacrifice so we feel no pain. It would actually be interesting if every month every American received a bill. Then they would know that every time public pensions, welfare, food stamps,and when we go to war, the bills add up and money is due. We want a lot and we are not willing to pay for it.
Who was it? William Douglas? who said the "greatest right is the right to be left alone". That's me.
I seldom read the "Liberal Left" or the "self righteous Right". I seldom watch Fox News or MSNBC.
I try my best to stay away from arguments that appeal to emotions.
I get tired of hearing how bad the other guy is. I am interested in making a situation better. How would you do it?

A Modest Scribler said...

Part One

Jerry, I know that at one time you were a teacher, that you grow tomatoes, that you possess a degree of intelligence capable of grasping somewhat more than the average liberal, so let me address some of the things you said, which are sadly, gross generalizations are recycled pap from the liberal press.

First of all, the gist of my last post was that, while you mention my military pension quite often as some government "manna" from heaven, seemingly undeserved by me, you never nail the welfare cheats or the career tit-suckers, or the gross fraud, waste and abuse of big government...only that part that sends a check monthly to retired vets. Now let me get to some of what you said:

First of all, I have repeatedly laid out the numbers on taxes in the 50's vs taxes in the here and now. So few paid a 91% tax rate back in the 50's but liberals love to use that yard marker as justification for sucking the blood even further from the rich and working rich. But don't take my word for it. Read here what finance and tax guru Peter Schiff said about that often used 91% ruse. (
And please take the time to read the percentage of folks who had skin in the game and paid federal taxes back then, as opposed to now when half of America pays not a cent. And pay particular attention to the scary rise in government expenditures compared to now.

A Modest Scribler said...

Now let's get back to private vs public; as i wrote in a recent blog, Eisenhower built that national highway system (surprise...using private labor, not federal and state labor force contracts) and he did it without deficit spending. The year the highway system was completed Ike sent $4 billion in surplus back to pay down a very small national debt.

AND, as I have written repeatedly, AND as Shiff's article clearly shows, the reason our infrastructure spending is so small is because Obama simply must pay for his votes in government green checks..and that figure is huge!..thus, nothing left to build roads and bridges or update our air traffic control system and airports.

The EPA? Proof positive that the government can take a good idea and turn it into a nightmare...same way with the Department of Education which, since its formation has supervised the dramatic decline in student SAT scores and illiteracy rates.

The Exxon Valdez, Jerry? What the hell is that all about? I'll have to google that one (the part about their not having paid the fine ((though I doubt that)) BUT that is just a cheap ploy to demonize all business who, per liberals, just want to bring us the air of China or the water of Mexico. Let's assume the Exxon Valdez didn't pay their full fine...contrast that with the number of jobs lost, as well as the loss of a cheap source of energy from the failure to approve the XL pipeline, even after both the State Department AND the EPA cleared it for construction.

And please, please don't roll out the old ancient bones of William O. Douglas, the most liberal judge to ever sit on the Supreme Court, a liberal who imposed the most oppressive government mandates ever levied on the souls of mankind (re-read Dougas doings in liberal Teddy White's "America In Search of Itself"), and one of the judges, appointed by FDR, who fully supported FDR's failed effort to pack the court with additional judges..cause the ones on board kept declaring his Executive Orders unconstitutional.

And finally, I disagree that you stay away from arguments that are just employed emotion in spewing out untrue liberal pap that has little truth to them...i.e. 90% tax rates and Obamacare as the model Republicans first your history...there were many provisions in the Republican proposed health care bill that are never discussed by tort reform, marketing health care across state lines, vouchers for personal healthcare choices, etc.

Meantime, Jerry...I'm keeping my pension cause I earned it. I earned it when I was 19 years old in Vietnam drawing $98 bucks a month, i earned it with those six Christmases deployed overseas, away from family, I earned it when, as a junior officer managing a hundred people, and getting paid $500 a bucks a month to do so..,and AI earned it when I wrote a blank check to the American people up to, and including my life.

A Modest Scribler said...

Just googled the Exxon Valdez fine. Jerry said they didn't pay. They paid in full the $4 billion they were initially assessed...a second fine of half a billion was assessed them only 12%, not the "100%" that Jerry seemed to imply was not paid. The environmentalists were successfully able to convince a court that an eagle was worth $20,000 dollars a piece and an ocean salmon was worth $200 dollars a pound....nuff said.

A Modest Scribler said...

forgot to mention, in addition to the $4 billion Exxon paid for the cleanup, they also paid $5 billion in punitive damages.

TartanMarine said...

While I agree that big government is by nature wasteful and inefficient, I have to defend the VA Hospital here in Madison, WI. Throughout my lung transplant process, I haven't interacted with one professional, from the surgeon to the CNAs, who I would not want to care for me in the future. The appointments have been fine. There have been small glitches, but not as bad as with most big organizations--I've had worse with banks and cable companies. There is some "deferred maintenance on the building, and the chow is pretty bad when they stick you inside, maybe to get you to want to go home...~Bob Hall

A Modest Scribler said...

Good for you, Bob...I was pleased to read your earlier posts on this. I personally have only had bad experiences with them...(I could write a blog on the old military practice of granting 80 or 90% disability status to Colonels and Generals, while denying even 10% to most enlisted)

But I'm glad you are in a good one. Yes, we have some good people in there, as evidenced by those who tried to blow the whistle on the VA much earlier. What is coming out these days has been going on for a long time and only now getting media attention.

Finally, let me say how honored I am to have you far as I remember this is the first ever...and coming from the "old marine" who I admire so.

Jerry Carlin said...

I honor and admire your time spent in the military and think whatever tiny pension you receive, you deserve. Every penny of it. It is still a product of "Big Government" and one more bill to be paid.
I do not have blanket faith in Big Business or Corporate America to save the day. I do not wish to become like Corporate Russia. I actually have very little trust in anything except myself. I don't trust government nor business nor politicians of any persuasion. I know there are consequences to every decision and many are not thought out.
I have a hatred (really, I do!) of lazy people. I dislike anyone who has been on unemployment more than six weeks. This is NOT a benefit that workers paid for unless you consider paying less than $10 a paycheck to be full payment of insurance. That fund ran out of money years ago and is supported by taxpayers.
I think it is a tough job to create a working society without problems and without a Police State. There may just be too many of us to get along. We are not an endangered species, after all.
I think Capitalism is failing us and seeing its rise in Russia, China and Mexico and other countries makes me see all I detest about it. I realize that it goes through stages and it wasn't that long ago that we had child labor and mob bosses and the free enterprise of Al Capone. It was our government that stepped in and righted these wrongs and maybe there are more to right? I don't know. Maybe this is as good as it gets? I don't want people living on the streets. It is bad for my business and bad to raise a family.
Eventually we have to agree on some issues, be able to define our terms and set common goals. That is the way any sport game is played and the method to get the best political satisfaction. Just to bitch until we are old men (in the far future!) and we will go down as complainers having accomplished nothing.
I am not as interested in how things were as how things could be improved. My main complaint against our welfare system is it makes people lazy and I think you need to be a little bit hungry to want something so bad that you (not really YOU!) are willing to work for it. Walmart and Target and those kind of stores LOVE our welfare system!!! It is 25% of their business! Now, I wonder if prices would go up if we did away with it? always consequences! Has anyone studied the economics of welfare? Not what it costs business and taxpayers but where the profit goes? Like people paying rent with unemployment checks? or buying milk? What would it do to the dairy industry if there were no food stamps? Just saying...
I know that USA is no longer #1 in almost everything except total people incarcerated. sad, as you would say.

A Modest Scribler said...

Thanks, Jerry...I'll leave you with the last word for least from me. Be well, my friend.

Jerry Carlin said...

Thanks friend, I'll see ya tomorrow!