|Government Gone Crazy!||11/5/07|
|Last Update: 9/06/08|
|If I recall correctly, the original purpose of having a Government was to:
1> Protect the people from harm caused by other people, natural disasters, fires, etc.
(The military, federal, state, local police, inspectors, fire departments.)
2>Provide services that would benefit everyone, such as roads, at reasonable cost.
(Highway departments, trash collectors, environment, etc.)
3>Establish laws and rules to keep things running in an orderly fashion.
(Legislators, courts, city hall.)
4>Collect money from the people to pay for the Government to operate.
(The Tax Man!)
I'm sure there's a few more things I could add, but the examples above are enough for this story. As far as I'm concerned, that's already enough Government for everyone!
Wal-Mart is huge and can buy a million of something at once, and get it for less money. They don't pay their employees huge salaries, their stores are pretty basic, and therefore they can "Sell for less" as it says in their advertising. And people who work hard for a living shop there, to save money.
I believe the original intention of Government was the same. By picking up the garbage from every house in the city, they should be able to provide that service at less cost than having several different companies doing it. One fleet of trucks, one group of employees. The same goes for materials. By buying 1000 4 x 4 posts for signs, for example, the Government should pay a fraction of the cost of what you or I would pay to buy just 1 post at the lumberyard.
The government has turned into just the opposite. Once people start working with large amounts of money, especially if it's someone else's money, $1000 here and $1000 there means nothing anymore. In my Wal-Mart example above, I said "people who work hard for a living shop there to save money." The government doesn't work hard for a living, they simply take YOUR money and spend it instead! No reason for the government to shop at Wal-Mart. The result is that anything paid for with tax dollars now costs several times more than it should.
Sure we "vote" people in to run Government, but no matter how well-intentioned a candidate may be, once they're "in" they find that for the most part, they can't really change anything. And many tax-dollar spending positions are appointed, rather than elected. In Government, the word "appoint" means "hire your buddy" so he can ride the gravy train too! And to be sure there's enough positions for all of the buddies, they have to keep "expanding services".
Another thing is "user fees". Things that tax-dollars used to pay for now have these fees. If you call the Fire Department, you'll be billed hundreds of dollars per hour for each truck they send. But you're still paying for fire-protection with your taxes. I guess it's just another way for them to suck you dry, even as your house is burning down. Double-dipping, it's sometimes called.
Here's a few examples I've seen myself or read about:
Several years ago, I watched the County Highway Department replace a sign on my road. At 8:00 am, 2 big trucks and 5 workers arrived The trucks had hydraulic winches and post-hole diggers, and looked like they cost about $70,000 each.. At about 10:00 am they had the post stood in the ground, and the 3-foot square sign was hanging from the boom on the truck, waiting to be attached to the post. By noon, they had used the power tools to turn the bolts into the post, and were done! So 5 guys that I'm guessing were costing the taxpayers $50 per hour each including benefits, killed 20 hours for a total of $1000. I know the farmer across the road could have went out with a hand-operated post-hole digger and a step ladder, and had the job done in an hour or two!
Near my hometown there is a company that makes trucks for the military. At least twice I read stories in the paper that this company is going after more government work, because they make so much money on it. One quote even said that "when the government wants something, they don't care what it costs."
Quite often I'll see them completely rip up and replace a road. Looks real nice when they're done. Then a month later, they come and dig trenches across it all over to replace the water pipes, and then it don't look so nice anymore. I suppose it's expecting too much work from someone to plan ahead a little and do those things in the opposite order? Who cares, we can just re-pave the whole road again.
Quite a few years ago I read a story in the paper about the reflectors that you see installed down the centerline of highways. The housing on them was made of cast iron, with a reflective material attached to it. The price then was around $25 each. So as you drive by them about every second, count 25, 50, 75, 100, 125...... it won't be long before you'll lose track of your total. But that's ok, to the Government it don't really matter if it's a million or a billion, the only real difference is one letter. But if this same item was a part being made for a new car, it would cost about $5. And that $25 doesn't include installation!
Years ago when there was a "terrorist attack" on some ship, the USS Cole, I think it was, I recall reading that the Government had planned on spending several million dollars just on "cleaning up the ship." But somehow the project got awarded to some "minority business" and was completed for about three-quarters of a million dollars. Someone really slipped up there, the Government getting something accomplished for LESS than expected?? I haven't heard of that kind of thing happening ever since.
In the the City of Ashwaubenon near me, I read a story in the paper that they won the "Most beautiful squad car" award for the paint job on the cars. I highly doubt that the taxpayers would have authorized spending the money for that. But I have to remember that in Ashwaubenon, drafting an ordinance detailing where the homeowner shall keep their recycling bin when it is not out at the road on collection day, is front-page news. They are "unsightly" sitting in front of the garage. This municipality is the first in the area to provide "single-stream recycling" where paper, plastic, glass, and metal cans all go in the same recycling bin. Then the Government pays even more for someone to seperate it again later. Max Tax Max Tax Max Tax!
Traffic Signals. These are almost always paid for with tax dollars, so the companies that make and sell them know they can charge 5 times what they are really worth. I recently read an article in the local paper about the TV cameras that many newer traffic signals use to "see" the traffic, and control the signals (see <signals>). It was stated that the cameras they use have a very low-quality picture, similar to that of a cheap cell-phone camera. It was further stated that each camera costs $5000. I can't imagine that the best-possible outdoor security camera that a bank would use, would cost even $1000! But that's how tax dollars work, easy come, easy go.
Years ago, my nephew was in a minor traffic accident and sideswiped a fire hydrant, scratching the paint on it. The city sent him a bill for $400 to repaint the hydrant! That paint must be a very special color, called "tax dollar yellow", only available to Authorized Tax Dollar Spenders.
Very recently, I read in the paper that government employees are becoming the highest paid workers around, especially when benefits and retirement plans are figured in. I suppose the garbage man gets $50 an hour, plus full insurance, more days off than most workers, and can retire at 55 and still make more money than the average worker. I recently heard on the news, a representative of the government employees union say that the reason government jobs pay more, is because the unions in the private sector are not working hard enough at getting more money for their workers. My answer to that is that in the private sector, when unions push the pay too high for the company to stay in business, they simply fire all the workers and move the jobs out of this country. But the government jobs can't be moved out of the country. Unless you want to bring your trash can to China on collection day!
I've been told that due to unions, even when the Government hires a private contractor, that contractor has to pay it's workers a wage that is normally higher than the going rate . Therefore the private company has to charge the Government a higher rate for the job. To put it simply: IF IT'S BEING PAID FOR WITH TAX DOLLARS, IT WILL COST MORE!
I can understand that Government may be within their means to require people to maintain their homes to a reasonable degree. I'm sure no one wants to live next to a rat-infested, tipping over shack. But like most Government concepts, this one is getting quite bloated also. Now they can require that condominiums be equipped with hot tubs. And they could decide that a strip-mall shopping center is a better use of your property than your house is, and FORCE you out of it! I often hear that the City won't approve a developer's plans for a given property unless it's worth at least X amount of dollars. What this is all about is making sure that the MAXIMUM AMOUNT OF TAX DOLLARS POSSIBLE is being taken from the people. Then the Government can give themselves a nice raise, and maybe even hire a few more of their buddies!
I get notices in the mail, and even hear commercials on the radio, that I can get Government grants to buy or remodel my home, or to work on my invention, and about 20 other reasons. They emphasize that these are grants, not loans, and you never have to repay them. I don't recall voting to authorize anyone to give my money away.
Many counties now have a 'county sales tax' to rake in more dollars. This isn't generally earmarked for any special projects, it just goes into the general fund. One reason given is that "costs of providing services have increased". But taxes are generally a percentage, and when prices rise due to inflation, the tax collections automatically increase by the same rate. What they really mean to say is that "the cost of the Government providing services has increased more than inflation", which is what is actually happening.
In Brown County I now have to pay a .5% sales tax for renovating Lambeau Field for the Green Bay Packers. The Packers are a multi-million dollar corporation. Although I'm sure they do bring a lot of tourism dollars to the area, most of the grossly overpaid players live outside of the area, and take their money with them.
Speaking of sales tax, my small business collects it and sends it to the State on a quarterly basis. I've been doing it for about 20 years now. About 5 years ago, I received a notice from the Department of Revenue, claiming I didn't file a return for a period 6 months earlier. This notice arrived on a Friday, and required action by the following Monday. Over the weekend, I looked up my copy of the return, and double-checked that I had written out a check for the payment. Interestingly, even though the Department keeps records of all my payments and can easily approximate what amount was owed, their letter "estimated" that I owed almost 42 times the actual amount, with interest and penalties. On Monday, I called my bank and learned that the check had never cleared. I called the Dept. of Revenue to try to straighten it out, and of course they insisted that I never filed the return. When I asked why it took 6 months to discover this, he said it was because they were in the process of switching over to a new computer system at the time. And he said they always make the estimates way high, "to get your attention". But they also calculate interest and penalties on their way high estimates! I concluded that the payment and return got lost somewhere, maybe on my end, more likely in the mail, but PROBABLY on their end. He was insisting that I send this huge amount of money immediately, and if after they review my return, I could get a refund of the difference. After a heated argument, including a reminder of who's paying his wages, I slammed the phone down. I then made a copy pf the return, made out a new check for the original amount, and sent it to them. Haven't heard a word about it since.
On a related matter, part of my business involves doing refrigeration work. In order for the Government to come up with more money to hire more of their buddies, they created Global Warming. Specifically, it's gotta be the Freon that's causing global warming. So anyone who works with Freon had to become licensed by the Government. Even though plans were in the works for the Federal Government to handle this, Wisconsin is a "leader" and started their own program first. I had to take a 2nd grade level "exam" (copying a word from a book onto an answer sheet) and pay money, to keep working with Freon. And I was assured that the money I pay will be used to enforce the proper handling of Freon, including regular inspections of repair shops, and the detailed reports we must now maintain about any Freon we buy or sell. That was 15 years ago, I still have to pay regularly to keep the license, but have yet to hear of any shops or records being inspected. I think that money must be disappearing through that big hole in the ozone layer! On top of that, the Feds did start their program not too long after Wisconsin did. And most states that had their own programs, discontinued them. But not Wisconsin, they continue to be the leader!
Speaking of Global Warming. In January of 2007, we had like a 70 degree day here in Wisconsin. Definitely has to be global warming. But for some reason no one mentioned that it was warmer yet, on the same date back in 1919 or so!
Corruption is a word I forgot to use throughout this story. That word means "crookedness" or "dishonesty". Both of those words describe exactly what is taking place in Government, from the top down. But it's not just the Government, big business is just as bad. And I see it's filtering down to not-so-big business also. Pretty soon corruption we be so common, that no one will even realize it's happening.
If it's OK for the Government to rip us off for TRILLIONS of dollars, then I guess it's OK for the oil companies to rip us off for BILLIONS of dollars. I'm sure that somewhere in between, it's OK that someone is ripping us off for MILLIONS, then THOUSANDS, then HUNDREDS. Watch out, if you still happen to have a DOLLAR, you owe some sort of tax on it!.
LOTS MORE ON THIS COMING SOON!!!
More just came! I live on a dead-end road that is sort of "out in the boonies". I'm in the middle of acres of land, with my closest neighbor, who happens to be my sister, hundreds of feet away. The house is an old farmhouse, and I've lived here for over 35 years. At the advice of an attorney, some paperwork was filed with the County government regarding my mother's will. The attorney assured me that the process would not trigger any type of inspections of the property, including the septic tank system, which I specifically asked him about.
So a few weeks later, I get a letter from the County Zoning Office, saying that they have no records on file regarding the septic system, and that I am required to have inspections and soil testing done at my expense, within 30 days.
I called the zoning office and explained that the septic system is working just fine, and nothing has changed as far as the number of people living in the house, which is my 82-year old mother, and myself. And I told him that the attorney said there was no cause to trigger the inspection. He informed me that the attorney was wrong, that there is a ordinance relating to the matter, that the attorney should be familiar with. Of course a call to the attorney confirmed the problem, he wasn't aware of the ordinance. Too late to do anything about it now. Oh well, what would you expect from a "professional", that he actually knows what he's doing?
Anyway, the zoning inspector insisted that I had to get one of his buddy contractors out to inspect the system. So I had the buddy come over, and 45 minutes later and $400 richer, he told me he would file the report with the zoning office. Of course he didn't inspect anything, he simply poked a couple holes a foot deep in the ground, and informed me that the soil was suitable for the new system that I'll have to have one of HIS buddies install, at a cost of about $12,000!
A week later, I got a copy of the report. It was a form from the Zoning Office, intentionally designed with a bunch of jargon about soil conditions that no one would understand. I was amazed at how the Soil Tester Guy was able to describe the soil conditions at a depth of 39 inches, by poking a hole only 12 inches deep. Smells funny. Then there were several check boxes followed by reasons that the system is failing, and needs to be replaced. One reason was if the system "fails to accept sewage", in other words the toilet overflows. Nope, didn't have that problem. Second reason was that sewage was overflowing from the tank or pipes onto the ground. Nope, no problem there. Third reason is that "sewage flows into a drain tile". Nope. Not happening, he says. But kind of funny, because that IS HOW a septic system works! Then the clincher, Reason Number 4. "Drain field is located in an area of seasonal saturation". X marks the spot. Busted. Dish out the bucks!
I think the Soil Tester Guy knew I had a few live brain cells, and that I was aware that Reasons #1 & #2 did not exist, and that Reason #3 probably wouldn't cut it either. So that's why they put Reason Number 4 on the form. If the guy says it's seasonally saturated after looking at it on a sunny 80 degree day, then it is seasonally saturated. Gotta Getcha somehow!
Still not done yet! The Professionally Prepared Form indicates that my mother and I generate a "code-derived" flow rate of 600 gallons per day of wastewater! That'll require an extra large 120 foot long Mound System to handle all that!
Let's see, the toilet gets flushed twice a day, that's 8 gallons. I shower once a week, I'll guess on the high side at 21 gallons, or 3 gallons a day. My ma showers once a year, let's forget about that.We're up to 11 now. Dishes and clothes get washed once a week too, say 28 gallons for the week, or 4 gallons a day. (Yes, I have a high-efficiency washer.) Wow, we're at 15 now. Let's add on a little extra, say 85 gallons a day, for brushing teeth, etc. That makes a hundred gallons a day. But the Government says I have to install a system 6 times that large.
The more it costs, the more the Government can rake in on taxes from everyone.
ADDED 9/08 I spent the big bucks, close to $13,000 for the new system. When this shows up as an "improvement" and increases my property taxes, I'M GOING TO BITCH!!
I'm gonna go now and look at my drainfield, to see if it's still seasonally saturated. And you should go home now, too!