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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

It's The Big One,,,World Economy On Life Support

     Well it may have finally happened.  The stock market is up over 400 points.  That is good?  No this tiime it is bad.  The world economy has just been put on life support.  Why?  Well yesterday the borrowing cost hit a point they had not seen since the Lehman Brothers collapse in 2008.  In panic Central Banks around the world pumped billions into the markets trying to stabilize things.  Which was about like trying to put out a forest fire with a squirt gun. Better yet  it was the equivalent of hitting a dying patient with a defibrilator.  This time the shock may not do any good though.  They have done nothing to address the real problems.  Oil is at $100 a barrel. which makes me wonder why gas prices are down.   They should be hitting the $4.00 mark, but I am not going to complain.  If the price of oil stays where it is, it will eventually suck the prices back up.  Basically the patient(economies) have blown a hole in a major blood vessel and are starting to bleed out.  Only the best surgeon in the world has any hope of saving the patient..  Unfortunately none seem to be available.

      This is truly one of those Deja'vu moments in history.  Back in 1929 just a week or so before the crash JP Morgan and other bankers saw the imminent collapse  of the market.  They tried to push huge sums into the market. They tried to push or support the stocks of key companies like U.S. Steel and others they considered key to the markets survival.  It did not work though as people scared of a collapse started pulling their money out of the markets.  As much of it was done on borrowed money, many loans could not be covered(paid) and the crash was on.   Once in a while I hope I am wrong, but history does repeat itself, over and over.  As they say the hand writing is on the wall.  This stock rise is just a dying man taking his last breath.  Can it be saved?  I doubt it, but I hope so.  It grieves me to think of all the misery a totally collapsed world  market would cause.   Only time will tell in this one.

       Not to change the subject.  Actually it is right on subject.  America considers itself a "Christian" nation.  In the Bible God laid out a list in Deuteronomy chapter of all the blessings that would fall on nations that followed his Word and the curses on the nations that didn't.  Their are 14 verses of blessing, however the remaining 54 verses deal with the curses.  A few I directly apply to America.  Verse 7 says the enemies of a blessed nation shall flee before them seven different ways. Verse 8 says their storehouses shall be blessed and verse 12 says a blessed nation shall lend to many nations and not borrow money.  Of course all these same things are addressed in the cursing part and reversed in outcome.  All the above used to apply to America.  However, simply looking at verse 12 and our national debt, one might ask if America has fallen from grace. When I look at all the things America is involved in I can believe it has fallen or is in the process.

      Here is a trivia thing that probably means nothing to most people, but I find it fascinating.  In Revelations the last book of the Bible that talks about the end times and the end of the world.  It forecasts that there will be a number that all must take.  A "mark of the Beast" so to speak.  It is given a number, which is 666.  Here is where it gets interesting.  If you give a numerical value to the letters of the alphabet.  Such as A is 1, B is 2, C is 3 and so on and translate it to the Hebrew or Jewish alphabet.  The sixth letter of the Hebrew alphabet translates to the English equivalent of W.  So the WWW of the world wide web could be translated into the number 666, but that is just a coincidence or is it.  As each name is numbered in a way by the internet system. Think about it. The Bible says that Satan could fool the very elect of God himself, if that were possible.  It also says "God's people shall perish from a lack of knowledge"  Are we knowledgeable or are we being duped by the system.  The day of every person having to have a number so they can not circumvent the world system is definitely in the realm of possibility.  This is off from the market issues, but it filled out my post in what I find as an interesting way.  Maybe it will give people something to think about. 
In the words of the famous Paul Harvey,  "Have a nice day."

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

An Already Working Job Solution, That Needs To Be Applied Nationally

      It seems everytime you access a news source anymore the issue is jobs.  There are solutions.  In fact this solution was sent to President Obama immediately after he took office.  It is something that is already working and simply needs to be implemented nationwide.  If the President truly cared, all it would take is a signature.  Most of expenditure would be done by private enterprise. It would create hundreds of thousands of jobs.  What is it?  Simply converting many of the trucks moving across country to tandem operations.  What is a tandem truck?  See the picture above.  The arguments I got did not listen to what I was saying at all.  How would this create jobs?  It would do it several ways.  Much of the equipment moving up and down the highways today can easily be adapted.  This would create jobs.  However before I get into the jobs issue let me cover the benefits of going to this system.  First it would reduce the number of trucks running up and down America's highways.  Second it would slow the wear and tear on the infrastructure nationwide. Thirdly and most important from my perspective is that it would save millions of gallons of fuel.  This would reduce our dependence on foreign fuel.  Moving us toward energy independence.  Many people I talk to who only drive cars are intimidated by the size ot the trucks.  That really should not be a problem.  It is mostly psychological.  Having driven trucks most of my life I can argue against that idea. 
     At present the Department of Transportation allows a maximum overall vehicle weight of 80,000 pounds for a single trailer unit.  The states that already allow it to be used allow a gross vehicle weight in the area of 140,000 pounds.  My goal would be to create to unique classes of vehicles.  The Eagle Class that would pull two trailers, but yet stay under 80,000 pound limit.  There are many loads that meet that criteria.   These are what I call high volume low density freight which is what I specialized in hauling to survive my last years of trucking over the road.  The freight rates are higher as these are high dollar items like furniture, appliances, electronics and many other items.  While a desk or fridge might seem heavy to the individual, but you can not put that many into a trailer and when fully loaded they might be in the 9,000 to 12,000 pound range.  A vehicle hauling two completely loaded trailers would be under 60,000 pounds gross weight.  The single tractor on a cross country run would save about 323 gallons a trip.  This would equal a yearly savings of around 16,798 gallons.  This could heat as many as 28 homes just on the savings of one truck.   The other class of trucks would be the Condor Class, they would haul the loads that exceed the 80,000 limit but still meet the per axle requirement as esstablished by the DOT.   Several states already allow the tandem system to be used. New York on their turnpikes, Montana and Oregon to name a few that I have actually seen the longer tandem trailers.  Many states allow the twenty-eight and thirty foot trailers.  This system in the states mentioned allow tandem forty-eight foot trailers.  My goal would allow the Eagle Class to haul tandem fifty-three foot trailers.
     My goal here is not to get bogged down in the descriptions, but to show how it would create jobs instantly.  The technology already exists and it works.  My correspondence with the director of Wal-Marts transportation division verified to me that it does save them energy and they do use it everywhere they are able to use it.  It saves energy which helps them cut costs.   So it is not my pie in the sky idea.  It is a system that has already been proven to work.  Well how does it create jobs.  Vehicles that already exist can be adapted to work with the system.  Each system requires a tandem axle system that fits under the rear trailer and connects it to the front trailer.  Thousands and thousand of these would have to built requiring tons of steel, thousands of tires and many specialized couplings and hardware.  Also at certain places all across the country special parking areas would have to be built to assemble and breakdown the units where they get on and off the interstate.  The tandems are an interstate only arrangement and they are not feasible on secondary roads.  It would not eliminate trucking jobs either.  It would require a skill level increase and drivers would have to be licensed to pull the units.  The real benefit of these units would be long haul and cross country runs.  Therefore to get maximum benefit they would require team drivers to keep them moving. 
     It would not happen over night but the jobs to get it started would be immediate.  If you count in all the suppliers, manufacturers and construction workers anyone can see that it would create hundreds of thousands of jobs.  Supposedly there are over eight million trucks on America's highways.  This system could realistically cut that number by over a million.  If more of the small straight trucks pulled more trailers this would create savings also.  The energy savings would be in the millions of barrels.  This is not the only way America could save energy.  I plan to post several other energy saving ideas.  Some of it would require government involvement , but most would be generated and done by private industry, what they need is a change to the rules so they can implement it.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

The 10/20/30 Tax Plan

       CARP(Constitutional American Reform Pary)which is my own personal party, has a tax proposal that I feel is sound.  It will have to be evaluated and possibly be adjusted, but I think it addresses most ot the problems. The Program is the 10/20/30 Plan.  First thing is that anybody living below the poverty level in America will not owe any taxes under this system.  They will be taxed at the lowest rate but will recieve all their money back at the end of the year.  Most of the people in the lower brackets already pay nothing.  Those earning from the poverty level to the $100,000 dollar level will pay 10% of their income in taxes.   Those making $100,000 net income and up to the $10,000,000 level will pay 20% of their net income.  Those making more than $10,000,000 will pay 30% of their net income, including that from capital gains.   The tax rate for businesses will be a flat 20% of net income.  All loopholes and subsidies that do not directly benefit each and every American equally will be eliminated.  This should generate enough comments for me to address.

     Creating an honest budget would or will be a necessary part of the process.  The budget should be limited to 90% of annual income.  The remaining 10% should be used for emergencies, debt reduction, infrastructure or whatever it is necessary to do that does not fall within the budget.  A plan to bring America into compliance with this plan within ten years should be put in place.  Any expenses that exceed those guidelines should be cut out immediately.  Each dollar spent should be evaluated as to whether it benefits each and every American equally.  If it does not, it is pork.  That means eliminating all corporate subsidies immediately.  Also eliminating all loopholes and exemptions for businesses and corporations.

       The only problem with the plan is that it is based on the idea that the more blessed you are the more you should  pay.  The reason being you can afford more.  Not to preach but the Bible says we should labor to give.  It also says if a man will not work he should not eat.  A few verses to reference are: Ephesians 4:28, Micah 6-8 and James 2:15-16.  The Bible has a lot to say about giving.  If one does not believe the Bible that is okay, because everyday life shows that sharing and helping others pays off.  Henry Ford paid his employees a wage high enough that they could afford to buy the cars they made.  Which was higher than the average wage for the time. Many business men have benefited and built empires.  They did so by being willing to give others the opportunity to work. Two of the richest men in American history and one in the present day spent much of their time giving away the fortunes they made.  Andrew Carnegie and John D. Rockerfeller made their fortunes before an income tax existed.  Bill Gates made his fortune inspite of the income tax and he is actively sharing his wealth in projects to benefit mankind.  These few are contrary to the normal Wall Street attitude of get all you can.  You can not take it with you, so why not share it and make the world a better place to live.  The starvation going on in the world does not need to be happening.  There is enough food for every person on the planet.  The problem is with the distribution and greed that keeps it from being shared.  A problem America could conquer if it could get over its greed and me first attitude.

Monday, November 21, 2011

The CARP Party Platform, Offering Solutions To Fix America

       The CARP Party Platform, Offering Solutions For Helping Fix America

       CARP is the Constitutional American Reform Party...CARP is about solutions.  Solutions to the problems in America. Whether the problems are leadership, energy, budget, taxes it is CARPS goal to rise up and find a workable solution to the problem.  CARP is meant to be a Progressive party seeking change for the better and bringing the government back in line with the Constitution.  Our goal is to get government back under control of, to, by and for the people.  The present two party system is out of control and is not answering to the needs of the citizens of the United States.  With areas of the economy, housing, jobs, infrastructure and energy in a state of chaos or crisis it is time for solutions.   Yes solutions do exist. Some can be done by private industry by repealing restrictive regulations and some by government sponsored and directed programs. Some of them require thinking outside the box and some require biting the bullet and making tough choices.  Choices that are geared to restoring America to where it was. It is time for a party that cares about the people and what is good and right for America. The two present parties have problems.  The Republicans, or as I call them, the Republi-can'ts will not face the fact that to get out of debt requires spending money to pay for the debt that they doubled during the Bush administration.  They raised the debt but provided no funds or way to pay for the expenditures they made. The rule is you spent it, you pay for it.  Who benefited from their expenditures? Certainly not the poor or middle class Americans.  If anyone has benefited it is big business and the wealthy Americans.  Much of it was spent to support countries that not only hate us, but hold values that totally oppose everything America stands for.  America is in economic bondage to countries that not only despise America, but are financing those that would destroy us and what we do stand for.  The other party the Democrats are not much better.  The Dum-ol-crats as I call them have never seen a program that they did not want to raise the funds for.  They won't cut spending and the Republi-can'ts know that.  Every dollar increase in taxes will be spent on new programs and not to reduce the debt.  This has to change.

      The following ideas are laid out as guidelines and goals of CARP.  Most have already been addressed in my blog.  You can see my blog at http://rictheturtleryan.blogspot.com/  and most of the following issues have at least one blog entry dedicated to and explaining my or the party point of view.  Yes a couple of my ideas are out there radical ideas, but I think if most people will think about what I say they will agree with me.  If they do not, I eagerly await their input. Some issues need more detail and clarification.  My goal was to get the ideas out there for discussion.  At present I have no goal to support or push anyone for president.  CARP's goal is to force changes and direction to the present system.  Eliminating existing programs and waste may accomplish more than passing new programs.  Therefore it is not the parties idea to pass new legislation, but to make sure what is already in place and proposed in the future is sound.  Not only sound but in the best interests of all Americans and America as a whole.

      It is my opinion that the average American sees the problem and is willing to do whatever it takes to put America back on the right track

1. Constitution:  Any and all programs, actions and legal activities of the party will comply with the Constitution.

2. Taxes:  The first issue is the economy.  CARP has a tax proposal that I feel is sound.  It will have to be evaluated and possibly be adjusted, but I think it addresses most ot the problems. The Program is the 10/20/30 Plan.  First thing is that anybody living below the poverty level in America will not owe any taxes under this system.  They will be taxed at the lowest rate but will recieve all their money back at the end of the year.  Most of the people in the lower brackets already pay nothing.  Those earning from the poverty level to the $100,000 dollar net income level will pay 10% of their income in taxes.   Those making $100,000 net income and up to the $10,000,000 level will pay 20% of their net income.  Those making more than $10,000,000 will pay 30% of their net income, including that from capital gains. The inheritance tax will be eliminated.  You earned it, it is yours.   A tax rate of 10% of net income for all businesses with gross revenues below ten million dollars.  Businesses making over ten million gross revenue will be taxed at the rate of 20% of net income.  All loopholes and subsidies that do not directly benefit each and every American equally will be eliminated.  This should generate enough comments for me to address.

3. Infrastructure: Based on the Consitution's Article 1, Section 8, paragraph one. States that the Fed has the responsibility to raise taxes and levys, provide for the security and the welfare of the United States.  They have failed to perform on the welfare requirement.  Welfare means meeting the needs of the country, just as any individual would meet the needs of his family.  Shelter, clothing, food, education and even a path to the outhouse if necessary. This was not suggested by the Founding Fathers, it was a duty.  A program will be established to create a perpetual and long term system of dealing with and funding the infrastructure problems in America.  This is addressed in my blog as a fuel tax.  Yes it is a seperate tax and the money goes directly to the states.  It is a Federal program only in that they give oversight to make sure all funds collected are used for what they are intended for.  That is infrastructure.  This program is immediate and will help solve the job problem in America.  It is my belief that American's will be willing to bite the bullet and pay this tax if it really helps solve the problems in America.  It has to be written and done in a way that the Fed has no access to the money involved.  The Fed will get its share from the increased tax revenue as American's go back to work.  With the failure of the supercommittee to solve the problems facing America it is guaranteed that the problems facing America will get worse and not better.  As people are cut off from unemployment, more homes will go into foreclosure.  This will drag down the markets further and slow the economy even more.  The revenues the Federal government has based its projections on will start to shrink.  Federal income will drop as it did during the Great Depression.  Prople who are making nothing, pay nothing.  That is not totally true they still have the duty to pay their property taxes.  However with no income they go into foreclosue and bankruptcy.  At some point that reality will hit home.

4.Balanced Budget: The government must have a completely balanced budget within ten years.  Balanced from my point of view means paying no interest on debt. 

5. Debt Free: The government must be debt free in twenty years.  Which means running on what it takes in.  This means all programs must be paid for as they go and not dependent on borrowing from one program to support another.

6.  Four Day Week...This is self explanatory.  It can maintain the forty hour week, but by cutting the days worked it should open opportunities for more workers.  The main goal of this is energy conservation.  Closing businesses, schools, parking buses, reduced commuting to work,  when added up nationally total an awful large amount of energy savings.

7. Military: Bring all troops home to the United States.  Not just from Iraq and Afghanistan, but also from Korea, Germany, Italy and all the other places we have them stationed around the world.

8. Medicare:  Make the medicare program pay 100% of all medical bills. Also enforce the government getting a discount for bulk buying.  At present the government gets no discount for buying large quantities of medical supplies and medicine.  The government pays top dollar.  Example if I buy a ninety day supply of one of my meds thrrough the VA it costs $24 dollars and they send me pills that I have to cut in half to get the right dosage.  If I buy the same meds at Wal-Mart.  They come in the right dosage. They come packaged in sheets of thirty and it costs me only $10.  As you can see veterans and the taxpayers are getting ripped off by the pharmaceutical and insurance companies.

9. PAC:  PAC's Political Action Committees will no longer be allowed to donate funds to any candidates campaign.  The risk of buying influence needs to be eliminated.  They can advise, but not give or contribute to candidates financially in any way.

10. Legalize All Drugs:  This is probably my most controversial position.  This is a First Amendment item.  The 1st Amendment guarantees the freedom of religion.  Genesis 1:29-30 says God gave "every" herb bearing seed, upon the face of all the earth, and every tree in which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed, to you it shall be for meat...I have given every green herb for meat...Our government is spending billions of dollars every year trying to stop and wipe out God given plants.  If one simply looks at prohibition you will realize you can not legislate morality.  However you can tax it and you can set quality standards.  How many thousands of people die every year because of using contaminated drugs.  Drugs contaminated so the dealers can make extra profit at their customers expense.  Their attitude is who cares if a junky dies.  They are right in that the government certainly does not care.  Then there is the issue of incarceration of hundreds of thousands of people and the cost.  What they really need is guidance.  My argument is that if the churches were reaching out to families and teaching the value of life, maybe people would not get messed up to start with. My final argument for legalization is that there are many products that can be made from the plants.  Marijuana for instance can be made into rope, canvas (look that word up in Webster and see where the Can in canvas came from) and clothing material.  Legalization takes away the profit motive. Why would you pay ridiculous amounts for something you can grow for yourself free.  If there is no money in it the dealers are not going to mess with it.  Do you see any alcohol dealers on the corners?  Sure some sell to minors and they get sent to jail and they should.  Taxing the drugs allows them to provide money to take care of the drug abuser, with their money and not ours.  Legalizing all drugs lowers the cost.  Even the phamaceutical drugs being legalized will reduce medical costs.  Sure some can hurt people, but often you know what you need but you have to pay some doctor to give you a piece of paper to legally get it. Getting medical costs under control is going to take some major changes and adjustments in attitudes.  What is needed here is education not regulation.

11. Home Schooling:  Is it time to start home schooling all kids.  Taking them to school periodically for testing.  The internet could be used for this.  Some say children would not be able to socialize.  Go to church.  Get involved in community sponsored leagues.  Only kids that desire to do so get into sports.  Why should taxpayers have to subsidize it. Think of all the energy savings and the cost of "not" building schools.  This one may come about on its own if the government does not get it together and fix the problems.  When unemployment hits 30 to 40 % it could very well happen because of a lack of taxpayer revenue.  You say that can not happen.  Well in the Great Depression many cities had 50% unemployment.  The national average hit over 25% for middle aged white males.  All other age, sex and racial groups had much higher levels of unemployment.  So it already has happened and it can happen again. 

12. The party will limit support for CARP party candidates to 8 years in the house and 12 years in the senate.  The party will not support candidates attempting to continue in office.

13. Eliminate the Electoral College and have direct popular election of the President and Vice-President

14. All citizens will recieve full rights at age eighteen.  A person who is willing to serve and die for their country deserves full rights of a citizenship.  All rules requiring a citizen to be twenty one will be amended to be effective at eighteen.

15.  Repeal the light bulb bill and eliminate agencies involved in creating such lunacy.

16.  The Congress will serve the last two weeks in January in Washington, DC and then will return how to serve their constituency.  They will return to Washington in the last two weeks of March, May, July, September, and last two week meeting of Congress for the year will convene the first Monday after Thanksgiving.  They will do their communicating by phone, computer or how they see fit. This will ensure they serve their constituents and not the lobbyists.  The less time they spend in Washington may actually benefit the country. 

17. A survey and review will be done of all government programs and spending.  Programs that can be eliminated will be.  Laws and regulations will be reviewed and revoked when not needed.  Government will be reduced to its minimum operational level and all possible programs will be administered and run by the states with the Fed acting only in an advisory capacity.
     In closing let me say that the only thing that is going to fix America is citizens getting involved and making the things happen that need to happen.  There are things that could be improved through new legislation and accomplished by the private sector.  Some things could be done by the private sector by getting rid of regulations that strangle business.   It is not going to happen with the present two party system and that is a fact. I read somewhere that the United States has the best government money can buy.  The wealthy do not care who is in charge. As long as they have a price and they can get the politicians to vote your tax dollars to pay for it.  Which is probably the one of the most honest appraisals of our government ever spoken.

   CARP is for all Americans.  It does not discriminate because sex, race, age, sexual preference, disabilities, marital status, or your service to America.  However neither does it, give special breaks or attention because of your status in any of the groups mentioned.  Your status is simply that you are a concerned American, and concerned about the direction the nation is going.  There is still time to set up and get the party recognized in many states before next years elections.  Anybody that would like to help set up state chapters, spread the message, get involved or donate to the cause, your Help is welcome.  It is my desire to get in contact with the Occupy Wall Street movement and hopefully we can help each other.  This is all new to me, but it needs to get moving.  If you have any comments, suggestions, or other input.  You can message this blog or send me an E-mail my address is ric.f.ryan@gmail.com .  Thanks for any and all support and interest.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

The Stock Markets Are About To Get Sucked Down, By The Ship of State

The Republi-can'ts and the Dum-ol-Crats Maintain The Do Nothing Quo!!!!!

     Surprise, Surprise the politicians on the super committee have accomplished nothing.   The best cuts they could come up with are ones that simply slightly reduce future increases. Then you add on the President's pay tax cut which is simply robbing future revenues from Social Security and shipping the problem down the road.  It is sad, sad, sad and all America is about to find out how sad.  Some say it won't be that bad.  Well if the past is any indicator it will be.  Even if they do not cut our credit rating it is not going to sit well with the stock markets.  It would not surprise me if the market falls below 10,000 by the 28th.  It will not surprise anyone if the market goes down.  The question is how far down it will go?  This is one time I hope and pray I am wrong,  If American markets closed under 10,000 it could trigger absolute chaos in the world markets.  Hope I am wrong.

      The Obama administration says it is not that bad and it is getting a little better.  Excuse me but the economy is still bleeding.  Maybe not as bad as in the past, but it is still bleeding.  As more and more people fall off of unemployment the foreclosure problem will continue.  It is not because there are not solutions.  There are plenty of solutions.  However that would require action by both the President and the Congress and they are not so inclined.  I have personally sent letters to both Obama and members of Congress containing ideas and plans that will create jobs.   You can find those ideas in other posts on my blog.  My next blog page will be the platform for my attempt at starting a third party.  The party acronym is CARP, which means a type of fish or to complain.  Both are appropriate.  The full name is the Consitutional American Reform Party.  As the name implies it is a constitutionally based party.  Its platform is Progressive.  It promotes change not just for changes sake, but for the countries sake.  Changes that will put America back on its feet and start us moving forward toward a better America with a solid future.  One that is not mortgaged on our children's backs.   We need to deal with our problems, not pass them on to our children and grandchildren.  Changes will and do need to be made.  Some will be forced on us regardless somewhere down the road, especially energy problems, but they can be met.   It will take a party that not only has the will, but the desire to sit America's house in order.  Some of it is going to hurt no matter how we do it.  The truth is though if we do nothing  it is going to hurt a lot worse.

       I truly believe that the averge American does care about America and the direction in which we are headed.  The present two party system is "NOT" working.  They are too tied to special interests and lining their own pockets to care about what it is doing to the nation as a whole.  They just want to get all they can out of the system before it goes down.  They have no intention of fixing it.  The Republi-can'ts are the true fools in this whole fiasco.  They think protecting the rich will in some way help them.   They are to stupid to see that when the ship goes down the wealthy will be in the lifeboats with all their wealth.      
The Republi-can'ts will quickly learn that those they made wealthy have no intention of saving them as they get their fingers smashed by the oars when they try to get in lifeboats they helped create.  Unfortunately for them the poor that planned well enough and survive are not going to be willing to help them either.

      The government is bankrupt whether they are willing to admit it or not does not matter.  It can get a lot worse and it can do so quickly.  America is only surviving because other countries are willing to store their excess money in America.   They are earning virtually nothing for doings so.  When the world market collapses they will need that money and will call for it.  We do not have it to pay and they will quickly learn that and send no more.  Even China will come to the conclusion keeping their money at home and getting no interest is better than paying the exchange fees to get nothing in America.  That day is soon approaching.  The failure of Congress just may be the straw that breaks the proverbial camel's back.  Sooner or later  America will break that straw.  Having moved down the road of life for a long time and been through a bankruptcy myself.  A day of reckoning comes sooner or later.  What congress does will determine which it is.  It is looking like that by their inaction they are pushing for sooner.

      Average Americans do not want the government to fail.  They also do not want the hardship that is being dumped on America by actions or lack of action in some cases of their elected officials.  Americans need an alternative and a way out.  The last third party president America had was Abraham Lincoln.  It about tore the nation apart.  Unfortunately we are at a point in history where it is going to take that kind of forceful action to save America.   It will take a new party with foresight that understands the problems and is willing to step up deal with the problems no matter how much it hurts.  If it is not done in the short term, it is going to hurt much more in the long term.  The thing is that by the frustration with politicians and their low poll ratings it is clear that Americans see the problem.  The trouble is the present two party sysem offers no solution.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

The Cost of Stuff-itis, It Can Make or Break You

       Some people might say what is stuffitis.  It is stuff.   How we get it, and what we do with it shapes our lives and our destiny.  The question is do you have stuff or does stuff have you.  If you have ever watched one of the programs called "Hoarding" you are witnessing stuff-itis out of control.  Hoarders are created several ways.  Some people look at everything they ever purchase as an investment.  Therefore is has value and should be kept no matter what.  Other hoarders no that the stuff they have accumulated has no value anymore but they can not decide what to get rid of.   Yet others consider anything they get as adding to their wealth and making them better off.  Many of us fall at some level into cracks between the extremes.  All stuff has a cost.  Sometimes to acquire it.  Sometimes to keep it.   Sometimes it is because it is kept.  When it gets out of hand and is infested by insects, rodents or mold it can even effect the health of the hoarder.

       Most of the time I see it, in my opinion, as a failure to understand how to manage money.  Often times hoarders are virtually destitute even though they have a big enoung cash flow to meet their needs.  The problem is it is mismanaged.  If a person has never been taught how to save money they purchase items they do not really need simply because they have the money to do so.  It is this last bunch that the media advertising dollar is targeted at. 

      In my own case I have far more than I actually need, but I have discovered how to use stuff-itis of others to meet my financial needs.  Being on disability and some months not having enough to get by my solution was to go to yard sales and auctions looking for "good deals" that I could by for pennies on the dollar and resell for a profit.  My goal is to get it for a fifth of its value and sell it for as much as possible.  Hopefully for at least half its new value.  Even if I only sell it for two fifths of its value I have doubled my money.  If you can double your money and keep doing it consistently you should get ahead sooner or later.  The trick is learning to buy only stuff you can sell, and that you will sell.   If you end up keeping it yourself your losing ground.  Also just because it is cheap does not always mean it is a bargain.  Some stuff is cheap because nobody wants it.  Which means you will not be able to sell it no matter how cheap you got it.  I learned this lesson the hard way.  At one auction I got five couches for five dollars.  After a year I had sold one for ten dollars.  The rest of them I wound up burning so I would have room in my shop for new stuff or at least more stuff.  In the end my accomplishment was to pay to remove someone else's trash.  So even though I doubled my money it was really a loss.  Fortunately it happened early in my career of selling "Stuff."  Several years later I have learned to leave many things sitting even though they are cheap.  If you can not sell it you are simply paying to become a hoarder.

     It is not always about used stuff.   Many people have to stroke their ego and drive a brand new car.  That new car will lose several thousand dollars in value the moment it leaves the showroom floor.  If your ego needs it and you consider it worth it go for it.   It might be a lot better investment to buy a slightly used version of the same car and put the thousands of dollars in your pocket.   A compromise way to buy a new car and one I have done myself is to buy last years car.  When the 2012's come out you simply go looking for a new 2011.  The best time to actually buy it is just before tax time in 2012.  You still have a car only you have driven.  While also saving some on taxes in many states.  The taxes are less on a technically two year old car.  The goal is to save money.  Part of the trick to that is get your own preapproved credit so you can shop and know how much you have.  If you have been shopping since the 2012's first came out you know what a 2011 was really going for.  You can make an offer several thousand dollars below the asking price. When you tell them you have your own financing and your offer is a take it or leave it offer.  They will probably deal.  You might have to haggel a little, the secret is knowing what it is worth and what "You" are willing to pay.  Dealers hate letting a sure deal walk out the door even if they do not make anything on the car.  Their goal is to move it, if it is last years model.

     When I go to yard sales and auctions I see stuff sold for pennies on the dollar.  The people are trying to get rid of something they no longer need and in many cases never needed in the first place.  One of the things I see this on the most is excercise equipment.  Tread mills, excercise bikes and weight benches.  Most of them have been sitting for years and the only excercise they saw was as a coat or clothing rack.  The trick to this whole deal and how make money from Stuff-itis is knowing what people will buy and really need.   A couple things I always, eventually, sell is baby beds, chest of drawers, rockers and recliners in good condition.  It is a learning process, but it can supplement your income to some degree.  It could make a lot more if  one pursued it, but for me it is a way to make gas money so I am not stuck at home all the time.

      The next time you are having a yard sale do a quick.  See how much of the stuff you have out for sale that you never really needed in the first place.  Also when you are planning to make a purchase of some items you do not need right away, but that you know you need.  Take a small tablet and write the price of the article down at several competing stores.  It can save you  a lot of money over impulse buying.  Hopefully this will help someone get in control of their stuff-itis.

Monday, November 7, 2011

How To Not Go Down A Hill..or..Murphy's Law At Work The links go to similar stories


                             How To Not Go Down A Hill..or..Murphy's Law At Work



     Sometimes you can kill more than one bird with a stone.   It requires taking a hard look at the problem and believe me I have had many years to look at it.  I learned to drive a truck OJT in 1967 in Vietnam.  That education went on till I retired in 2004.  Over the years I had some, let's say, interesting experiences.  Shippers who were paying for the use of the truck always tried to get their money's worth.  One time I hauled a load of lumber from Louisville, Kentucky to Phoenix, Arizona.  Unfornately I went to load with a half full tank of fuel.  The shipper loaded me to my maximum legal limit.  Which at that time was 80,000 pounds.  This created a problem as if I filled my tanks with fuel I would be almost 800 pounds over weight which would get me fined if I pulled on a state scale.  It was a hassel stopping for fuel several times, but it all went okay until Flagstaff, Arizona.  Then the fun really started.

    A few miles south of Flagstaff on I-17 near Sedona is a long steep grade.  Shortly before the top of the grade there are signs that warn of a very long grade ahead.  It also advises all drivers to  pull into the rest area before the grade and adjust your brakes.   This is good advice.  However if it was marked like Emigrant Pass in Oregon it might be a lot safer.  On Emigrant a sign tells you what gear to go down the hill in based on your gross weight.  This being my first time driving down a long mountain grade, at least first in a civilian truck, and having been trained OJT, the lack of formal training would become an issue.  Being a good little trucker I pulled into the rest area and adjusted my brakes.  Well a couple of them anyhow.  I mean how steep and long can a hill be.

      After taking what I considered an adequate break I got back up into my Cabover Cornbinder.        (trucker slang for an International brand of truck, oh yeah a cabover is one where you sit above the engine and there is no hood.) and pulled out of the rest area and started off the top of the grade.  As soon as I went over the top it occurred to me that adjusting all the brakes might have been a better way to go.  The start of the grade is very steep.  All of a sudden a pickup pulling a camper went to the right shoulder then back across to the left shoulder.  I could tell he was out of control.  Suddenly he cut back right to quick and his trailer went over on its side and pulled the pickup over with it.  Being only a couple hundred yards behind I was standing on my brakes.  While I was slowing down it did not seem enough. The camper finally slid to a stop across both lanes of traffic.  My truck stopped about ten feet from the wreck.  First thing I did was yell on the CB for somebody to stop the southbound traffic and why.  Then I helped the elderly couple crawl out of their truck.  They were shaken but okay.   I went back to my truck and moved it a couple hundred yards down hill to a small dip where their was a little rise.  As I walked by my trailer I could smell that my brakes were hot.  It was twenty to thirty minutes before the state police showed up.  I had been directing the  traffic that had come down the hill.  There was barely room to squeeze past the wreck on the shoulder.  Once the wrecker showed up, about an hour later, the state trooper told me to leave and that they would take care of the problem.

     After saying goodbye to the couple I walked back down the hill to my truck.  Again I could smell the brakes. I started easing down the hill and in second gear my truck could hold itself back with the engine compression.  Feeling a little more confident I pulled out into traffic and started shifting  gears.  Rule one is keep a steady pressure on the brakes.  However not knowing this I kept speeding up and then using the brake pedal to slow down.  It seemed to be working except I kept having to push the brakes a little harder to slow down.  Just as I was feeling pretty confidant about it all.  A voice came over the CB, "How about that southbound load of lumber.  Do you have your ears on?"  "Yes" I replied and he kind of burst my bubble.  He said, " You might want to check your rear view mirrors.  You have a problem.  As much as you are smoking you are not going to make it to the bottom of this hill."  I looked in the rear view mirrors and sure enough I was smoking pretty good.  "Thanks," I said.'"This is my first time going down a hill like this.  What do I do?"  He replied,  "I would stop if you can. If you can't I would start praying."I did  and it would not be the last time.

    Suddenly I realized this might not be a good day.  I tried to stop but couldn't but slowed, almost, to a stop.  I tried to down shift to a lower gear but kept missing it.  My speed was picking back up as I was out of gear and free wheeling.  Finally I got it in about seventh gear.  As I pressed on the brakes the pedal started melting into the floor.  Even with the pedal all the way down I was picking up speed.  This was suddenly not fun.  I looked in the rear view mirror and so much smoke was rolling out behind me I looked like one those World War II bombers you see in the war footage going down in flames.  Not sure what to do I remembered the Emergency Brake knobs on the dash.  In desperation I pulled them.  Nothing really happened except the amount of smoke increased dramatically and my speed was steadily climbing.

    The chatter on the CB was not comforting.  They were taking bets on how far down the hill I would get before I lost it.  Suddenly a voice from heaven started talking on my CB.  It was a trucker right behind me and he knew the hill very well and asked me how I felt about it all.  His voice was very soothing.  He asked me how my brake pedal was feeling and what I had done so far.  He told me to push the emergency knobs back in as all they would do is get all the brakes hot.  He said so far most of the smoke was coming from the trailer.  He asked what gear I was in and I told him.  He said regardless of what happened leave it in gear.  He said the worst that could happen was I would blow up the engine.  The speedometer slowly climbed and the engine was over revving quite a bit, but I seemed to steady out a little.

     He advised me to let off the brakes entirely as we were getting into a stretch that was not as steep.  The truck started to slow a little.  That was a relief.  He started explainng what we were going to try to do.  Now I believe a big part of the talking was to keep my mind settled down.  The shallow grade ended and we started off and another steeper grade.  My engine had gotten back into its RPM range which made things feel a little better.  He told me there was an escape ramp another little bit down the hill and that I should use it.  Finally the escape ramp came into view, but their was a problem.

   Some older couple was out walking their dog.  However their car and camper trailer were parked directly in the path I needed to take.  I debated going through the trailer and at the last second decided somebody might be in it.  Cursing the elderly as I passed, my speed started to build again and the engine was almost off the tachometer.  I kept waiting for it to explode.  The steering wheel started vibrating from the engine shaking so hard.  We made it to another area where it leveled out a little.

     He told me there was a rest area ahead and the road went through a little upgrade stretch and maybe I could get it stopped in the rest area.  As the grade leveled out my engine slowed down quite a bit.  He talked me through how I should rev the engine to downshift to a lower gear which would help me slow down even more.   It worked and I kept at it as quick as I could.  While I was going much slower I realized I could not go into the rest area because if someone pulled out in front of me I would not be able to stop.  Finally I got down to second gear.  All that was left was granny and I knew I could not hit it.  Slowly I pulled to the shoulder in front of the rest area.  As I looked to the right I saw many people watching and waving.  My situation was going down the hill, no pun intended, by radio even faster than me evidently.  My truck slowed, and slowed and just before I hit the crest where the hill would start down again I stood on the brakes.  However stopping was evidently not meant to be.  At about 5 miles per hour my truck crossed the crest and the hill started down again.

    Slowly I started building speed.  My guardian angel started talking me down the hill again.  I discussed that this was not exactly a ship and I thought maybe it was time to jump and let the ship go down by it self.  He told me we only had a few more miles to go and if I could make the next corner ahead we would make it to the bottom.  We made the corner and out in front of me was a couple of miles of straight but down hill grade.  Looking harder I could see that once you hit bottom it started back up grade.  Slowly my speed started building.  My angel talked me through using the gears as much as possible.  Finally he told me to put it in high gear and to hold on.  The speedometer passed 75 and then 80 which is as far as it went.  I was gaining on the cars in front of me with no way to slow down.  Suddenly I saw my path.  I pulled over on the right shoulder and down the hill I went.

    The RPM guage was way past the end mark and the truck was vibrating like and excercise machine.  I figured my speed had to be just over a 100 miles per hour.  Finally I was down and crossed the bottom of the hill and started up the next one.  My guardian angel told me not to stop under any circumstances.  If I did, he informed me, the brakes would catch fire.  It was several miles of upgrade and I rode as far as I could before I stopped.

      When I did my guardian angel pulled over and told me how the road was the rest of the ways to Phoenix.  While the truck cooled off I took a much needed break and when the truck was cool enough I adjusted the brakes.  However there were problems as a couple wheels were covered with oil on the inside.  My angel informed me that the heat had gotten so hot the wheel seals had melted.  He gave me some oil and showed me how to add some which I had to do a few times before Phoenix. The next morning I unloaded the lumber and took my truck to a shop to get checked out.  They had to replace several seals and all the brake pads.  The repair bill was well over $2000 dollars.  To me the only thing that mattered was that I was alive to tell about it by the Grace of God.

     It was several years before I ever went west again.  When I did I sat down with several experienced drivers and absorbed all the knowledge they could bestow on me.  This was a life changing experience, but being honest I had a worse one in Viet Nam and a couple not quite so bad ones after, but I did finally get it figured out.  The old saying is.  "You can go down a hill too slow a thousand times, you can go down too fast once."  It is the truth.  Slowing down solved my problems.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Prohibition, Income Tax and Pot & What They Have In Common

      Have you ever found something you  had always been told was not true.  It is really scarry when the truth though is harder to believe than the lie.  It happened to me recently. It had always been my understanding that the income tax had been passed by Congress to finance our part in World War I.  Somebody lied to me along the way.  What I discovered was that Taxes, Prohibition and Pot laws all had a common beginning.

      Contrary to what I had been told Income Taxes are covered under the 16th Amendment.  That means not only did Congress pass the law to create taxes but so did at least two thirds of the states.  What were they thinking and how could the American people be finagled into reaching into their own wallets.  My research discovered the power of fanaticism and hypocrisy when manipulated.  They came together in the form of the Prohibition Movement.  Prohibition has deep roots that go clear back to 1657 when the General Court of Massachusetts passed a law making strong liquor illegal.   It did not end with that decision.  In 1789 a group of about 200 Connecticut farmers formed a group called the Temperance Association based on the writings of Benjamin Rush.  His book on "The Effects of the Ardent Spirits on the Human Body and Mind" fueled a movement that in 1826 inspired the formation of the American Temperance Society.  It grew rapidly and ten years later was in most states and had over 1.5 million members.  It started with a pledge to abstain from alcohol, but later it advocated prohibition of any alcohol.  In 1850 the State of Maine voted to become a dry state.  It did not work out and was repealed in 1856.  The battle lines were drawn. After the Civil War the movement had several new groups advocating abolition of alcohol.  The movement was growing when Kansas in 1881 put it in the state Constitution to make Kansas a dry state.  The battle moved on and gathered even more strength.

     They had a problem though.  During the Civil War the government created the requirement to buy a license to make alcohol.  The license cost $20 and the government also put a tax of twenty cents per gallon on alcohol.  By 1862 the alcohol revenues represented 30% of the governments income.  The amount continued to increase after the war and by 1900 the alcohol revenues represented over 70% of the governments income.  This made it really hard for the prohibitionist to push their program.  They realized the only way they could get rid of alcohol was to figure a way to replace the revenue the government would lose.  Over time a plan was hatched and the prohibition movement pushed for a national income tax.  They evidently had great zeal as they managed to get the 16th Amendment passed.  The amendment was proposed in July 2009 and ratified by the states by February 1913 which means it was completely done before World War I had even started.  End if that myth.

     Once the ball got rolling the period of 1910 to 1920 saw four amendments passed.  The 17th Amendment concerned the direct election of Senators.  They had been selected by state legislatures until then.  The 18th was Prohibition.  It was passed by not giving the details of how it would be enforced.  The activists argued it would simply close the bars.  However when the Volsted Act which enacted the amendment was passed, even though it was vetoed by President Woodrow Wilson,  it was much more sweeping and banned all alcohol.  The exceptions were medical and wine for church communion services.  Most Americans know the consequences of the Amendment and that it was eventually repealed.  One irony is that the Income Tax was used to catch one of the biggest criminals of the Prohibition Period.  Eventually America realized that the program was not working and that you could not legislate morality.  In December 1933 the law was repealed and liquor started to flow again.

    So the next time you pay your income taxes you can thank the Prohibitionists that not only bought you the Income Tax, but also got pot banned in America.  It was already illegal before prohibition.  After Prohibition new laws were passed to make it a controlled substance.  I learned this from a conversation I had with my grandfather back in the mid 60's.  He lived through the period and he said smoking pot was very popular during prohibition. In fact it was so popular that after Prohibition ended the alcohol companies were not getting their business back.  Having learned few things from the Prohibitionists the alcohol companies lobbied to get pot made illegal so they could get their business back.  So now you know why you pay taxes and why pot is illegal.

     Just for the record the only winner in the deal was the Federal Government.  They got to keep the Income Tax in effect after Prohibition ended.  They also got the liquour taxes back.   Seems like the average citizen got it from both sides on that little bit of political finagling.  This does not help anybody, but it at least lets those interested know how the system works.  If you want change in the government it can happen, but it takes a lot of work over a lot of time with a lot of focus.  It also proves Americans can be talked into about anything.  I mean, like, why would you vote to tax yourself? DUH!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Is It Time To Put The Ship of State in Drydock

      With the ship of state taking multiple hits and listing badly it may be time to do a major overhaul.  Having been hit buy several torpedos in quick succession the ship is floundering and needs repairs desperately. The housing market seems unable to recover.  The truth is it will not recover as long as unemployment is out of control.   The liberal unemployment payments are not helping and in the long run may be making the situation worse.  The gaping hole from the war in Iraq may soon be sealed, however the bleeding of the economy by the Afghanistan war continues.  There is talk of cutting programs and the size of government.  This sounds good to many people, however this will only add to the unemployment problem.  While downsizing the military may cut expenses in one area, it will raise them in another.  As it will put more people on the unemployment rolls.  This will not solve the problem it will only compound it and stretch it out over a longer time.  Cutting social programs only increases the hardship on those who are already struggling to survive.  The out of control student loans and collapsing infrastructure are just two more signs of the need for a major overhaul.  It is time to put the Ship of State in drydock before it sinks.

      So how do you put the ship of state in Drydock.  The only way I see to do it is find a way to bypass the present system, but keep it working.  They use that system all the time in construction.  A temporary bridge is built to take traffic around a site.   Then the regular bridge can be rebuilt without the interference of traffic. My plan provides a way to do that.  While the temporary plan is in place Congress can focus on fixing the real problems in a real way.   They can cut out all the loopholes, subsidies and other benefits that do not benefit each and every citizen.  They can start by eliminating those that just benefit special interest of the wealthy and big business.  Big oil for one does not need subsidies no matter how much they complain.  Banks and businesses that can not stand on their own merit need to be allowed to disappear.  If there is a demand it will be filled by a provider that is able to make a profit because of better practices.  So I can not buy a Chevy.  That is Chevy's fault.  There will still be companies providing cars and they will be doing it at a profit. 

     Cutting benefits is not the answer.  Yes we need to cut the debt, but there are other solutions.  It is the obligation under the Constitution to provide for the welfare of the nation.   That is where Congress has come up short.  Article 1. Section 8, paragraph one, says it is the duty of the Congress to levy taxes and tariffs as needed and to raise a military to defend America while also providing for the welfare of the nation.  What is welfare.  From my readings of Paine, Franklin and Jefferson they did consider taking care of the old, retired and indigent a responsibility of the state.  That being said when you provide welfare for your family you provide, not only shelter, but food, clothing, healthcare and security.  These are the duties of a family and of a nation. While a certain Veteran Congressman is able to have seven homes and live high on the hog, while it is not illegal.  It hardly seems right.  Especially when his fellow veterans are sleeping on the streets because there are no jobs for them.  From my experience in America.  There are always jobs.  Sometimes I have held three or four at one time to make ends meet.  The problem is the jobs available do not pay enough for the work involved or require more training than many Americans have.  Instead of allowing illegals to fill the menial jobs or documented  foreigners to fill the better ones while letting many Americans do without.  America needs a jobs oriented education system instead of one dedicated to sucking all the financial resoures of its victims while providing nothing in return.

    So how do you accomplish this?    I have a plan that does it right now.  It is a plan that pays for itself and can be implemented immediately. It will not be popular but anyone who seriously looks at it can tell it will work. The old saying of "no pain, no gain" is true.  However refusing to change and continue with politics as usual guarantees even more pain down the road.

   My plan accomplishes several worthwhile and needed goals.  It sets in motion a "paid for" plan to fix, repair and replace America's crumbling infrastructure.  It creates jobs and stimulates business.  Fixing the infrastructure requires not only laborers,  it requires equipment, materials and cash flow that stimulates the economy.   This creates payroll taxes that help the struggling economy.  The final thing it does is reduce our dependence on foreign oil.  It will encourage the American people to become a serious part of the world economy and to limit our waste and pollution. While also showing the world America is serious about dealing with our problems.  A couple of my blog pages explain plans that could save America millions of gallons per day.   Not by reducing our standard of living, but by maximizing the energy usage from the what we already consume.  Electric cars may help, but they are not the total answer.  If you drive long distances electric at present is not the answer.  What do you do when you head out cross country and hit the middle of Kansas or Nebraska.  You will be parked and have no where to plug in.  There are viable alternatives that will work.  In France a company builds an air powered car.  Yes it runs on compressed air.  It will run seventy miles per hour and go one hundred twenty miles on a tank of air.  If air stations are built a car can refill its tanks in less than five minutes.  Even doing it at home on your own compressor, which comes with the French car, takes less time and equivalent amount of energy to an electric car.

    So how does this wonderful program work.  This technically does not raise taxes, it creates a new one.  For the Republi-can'ts who argue against tax increases.  They had no problem doubling the national debt during the Bush Administration.  However they did not  provide a means to pay for it.  It is time to step up to the plate and help solve the problem they created. That being said it is paid for in advance by a tax of $1.00 per gallon on gas.  It is immediate.  All it takes is being voted in and it can be implemented tomorrow.  Based on America's present consumption average per state is about eight million two hundred and thirty two thousand gallons a day.  That means the state immediately can pursue projects that are already going or ready to go.  Over a year that would generate over three billion dollars for each state to use.  The tax can be reduced later if it is doing the job it was designed to do.  This tax will provide an incentive to buy more economical cars.  This program eliminates a constantly recurring budget drain.  This program creates a possibly permanent fund to constantly deal with the infrastructure  problems.  The tax collected in each state should stay in the state it is collected in.  The Federal government other than creating the tax, should have no part in it or access to the funds.  The Fed should only be allowed to make sure each state is using the money for what it is designated for.  Fixing infrastructure.   It should generate enough tax income that each state should be able to fund their own programs.   This is a solution and it works now.  Its does not take months or years.  It will start stimulating the economy immediately.

    This is definitely an outside the box program.  The thing is it can work while giving Congress time to deal with the real problem which is the budget.  The budget needs to be cut and cut drastically.  The couple trillion the Congressional Super Committee is supposed to cut is just the tip of the iceberg.  It will take cutting over 5.6 Trillion to balance the budget.  With 1.2 billion per day paid in interest on the national debt we will be over 4.3 trillion more in debt than when we started the ten years period they are talking about.  That is just in interest.  That means we have accomplished absolutely nothing.  It is time to get real and deal with the problems.