"If a word in the dictionary were misspelled,how would we know?"-Stephen Wright

Has the time come for a universal basic income?

Posted by 5etester on September 11, 2014

The idea for a universal basic income for all is not new dating back to the birth of America. Certainly, the argument could be made that we already have one anyway with the various social safety net programs in place. However, the push to implement one continues on with the idea of scrapping all existing welfare programs which only reach targeted groups with one that is universal regardless on one’s situation.

Of course, this proposal raises a whole host of issues. Should each person get the same amount regardless of the cost of living where they reside? What about the number of dependents? Would there be a means test? What would the amount be and would it be indexed to inflation? And of course the big one. Where does the money come from?

Switzerland is used as a test case right now as they have accrued the minimum amount of signatures to put it on the ballot this year although a date hasn’t been set yet. The amount would be $2,800 USD per month or $33,600 per year.

The federal poverty guidelines for 2014 state that a single person would require $11,670 to reach the poverty line and a family of four $23,850. Apparently, this idea wouldn’t sit well with the $15 per hour minimum wage crowd as a full-time worker at that rate would gross $31,200 per year. The propaganda suggests that this amount is just to earn a fair living wage.

Clearly, the amount would need to be below the annual minimum wage threshold as the disincentive to work would automatically exist and if the amount were anywhere near the minimum wage, no one would ever work. Or would it? Turns out the basic income crowd want this amount handed out regardless of whether or not you’re working so the minimum wage becomes irrelevant to the argument.

What do we spend right now annually on welfare programs? Depends upon whom you ask. The Washington Post will vehemently deny that we spend the $1 trillion annually that conservative groups generally cite.

Here is the self described world’s simplest plan to implement a basic income – http://www.vox.com/2014/9/8/6003359/basic-income-negative-income-tax-questions-explain. Oh, sorry. The article never actually answers the most basic question of how much.

According to the census bureau, in 2013 we had approximately 242,470,820 persons age 18 or older in the United States of America. If we’re going to implement a universal basic income to all regardless of circumstances, this would seem to be the most logical number to use. Every single adult in the United States.

What if we followed the lead of the Swiss and doled out $33,600 per year to each one of us? That equates to over $8.1 trillion dollars annually, just a tad more than the $1 trillion dollar welfare number were arguing about now. With an economy worth an estimated $17.3 trillion annually, a basic income at that level would eat up nearly 50% of everything produced. Except that doesn’t count. Only our federal budget spending does which was only a meager $3.5 trillion last year.

Worse yet, federal revenues were only $2.8 trillion. We borrowed the rest just to spend $3.5 trillion. Can you imagine if we had to cough up $8.1 trillion for a basic income program? In fact, the biggest budget expenditure we have currently is social security at $814 billion last year, or 24% of the budget. A basic income program would be ten times the size of social security.

Redistributing federal budget monies is only a partial solution. Private wealth must be tapped as well (retirement funds anyone?).

This exercise in futility is funny until you realize that so many people are serious about it. I mean, what if we just took the $1 trillion the left claims is pie-in-the-sky and divided that up amongst our 242 million recipients? That’s only $4,124 bucks a year. Think that wouldn’t send the $15 minimum wage crowd over the edge? That’s chump change to them.

The bottom line is that the seemingly eternal quest of the socialists is that spending other people’s money still doesn’t get us to nirvana. If they ever want to get serious about it than the full-fledged approach of communism is the only way. All wealth must be confiscated and handed out to the masses. And we all know how that approach turns out.

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What is the most wasteful, inefficient, unproductive entity ever devised by man? That would be your United States Federal Government

Posted by 5etester on September 3, 2014

Think the federal government needs to “do more” on the behalf of the American people as our POTUS is so fond of saying?

Fact is that not only do all of those federal regulations infringe upon our liberty, they also come with a real cost. Most people have heard of Tax Freedom Day, the day in which the nation has earned enough money to satisfy its tax bill for the year. In 2014, that day was April 21st – http://taxfoundation.org/article/tax-freedom-day-2014-april-21-three-days-later-last-year.

Unfortunately, it gets worse. many people don’t realize there is another, less well-known measure called Cost of Government Day. This is the day in which tax burdens at all government levels are satisfied including the cost of those massive regulations from the video. In 2014, that day was July 6th - http://www.usnews.com/opinion/blogs/peter-roff/2014/07/03/cost-of-government-day-reveals-the-burden-of-taxes-and-regulations.

Over half a year worked to pay for what? National defense? We await Sept. 11th with baited breath to see where the Islamists will attack us at will. Infrastructure? Crumbling. Education? Over-priced and far under-performing. Jobs? If you’re happy with a perpetual welfare state filled with part-time service sector jobs. Healthcare? Obamacare is the contrived death of the private healthcare industry and the best medical treatment system the world has ever known.

By any measure, our experiment with a behemoth all-powerful centralized bureaucracy has been an abject failure. And an expensive one to boot.


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Labor takes Labor Day off in the birthplace of unions

Posted by 5etester on September 2, 2014

No Labor Day activities were held in Flint – http://www.abc12.com/story/26421133/no-labor-day-activities-were-held-in-flint

FLINT (WJRT) – 9/1/14 Flint has long been known as a leader in the labor movement. But on Labor Day there were no rallies, parades or picnics to celebrate the holiday in the Flint area. Union members say there are three factors contributing to absence of Labor Day activities. Lack of membership, lack of money and a lack of commitment.

Last year at Flint Sitdowners Memorial Park, about 300 people, including union members and politicians were on hand. But this year the park was vacant. No celebration, no applauding the sacrifices made by Sitdowners. Union members say it was a cost cutting move.

“It’s just all the downsizing and the union has got to figure ways to cut costs so they can keep all the programs going,” said Doug Trouten, Local 651 retiree.

Thirty years ago there were approximately 80,000 UAW members in the Flint area. Today there are about 8,000. In 2010 Crossroads Village was filled with UAW members. There was a parade and a picnic. That was the last year for the gathering at Crossroads.

“On Labor Day the UAW would sponsor a picnic out here and it just got to the point, it was the cost and the members coming out,” said Trouten.

At Crossroads this year, there were no banners announcing Labor Day, no red, white and blue bunting. You couldn’t tell it was a holiday.

“I don’t see any of my UAW friends here,” said Barbara Erler of Swartz Creek.    

“People have different interests I guess,” said Bea Samson of Flint Township.

“Oh, its absolutely an important holiday. It’s what makes our engine tick around here. And it’s very important for people to take time to recognize that,” said Jeff Sabolish of Flushing Township.

 UAW Local 599 held a picnic Saturday in Flint to celebrate its 75th anniversary. But other than that there were no labor celebrations in the Flint area.

Meanwhile, in la-la land

President Obama used Labor Day to tout the country’s economic gains under his leadership and make an election-year case that higher wages and other progress for workers can only be achieved through a Democrat-controlled Congress.

“American workers and the American economy are better off since I took office,” Obama told a crowd filled with union supporters at the annual Laborfest event in Milwaukee – http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2014/09/01/obama-on-labor-day-touts-economic-gains-under-his-leadership-is-mum-on-pressing/?intcmp=latestnews

Seems kinda tough to ever make any progress when you have a POTUS that is delusional. But you can say the same for Big Labor. Like any addict, until you can admit you have a problem, no solution is possible.

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Are democrats like having a conversation with our wives?

Posted by 5etester on August 25, 2014

The question came from out of the blue. While watching the ballgame, my daughter’s boyfriend hits me with the question greater than the origin of the cosmos. More puzzling than the meaning of life. Yes, that question. Understanding women. Holy impossibility Batman!

So I went with the experience angle. My wife and I have been together for 23 years now. That doesn’t happen without learning a thing or two along the way. Specifically what brought us to this point today was the fact that my daughter’s boyfriend has been trying to work out what my daughter means when she tells him he never listens to her.

Ever heard that one before boys? Yeah, most of us have all been there. He said, “she always says I never really listen to her”. I told him how I learned to look at it. You see, it isn’t that we don’t listen. And don’t ever say the big mistake. Honey, I just didn’t hear everything you said. Wrong answer! Then you will hear, “see, you only hear what you want to hear”.

Truth be told is that men involved in long-term successful marriages have learned that we don’t hear what they say. We hear what they mean. Huge difference. While we may be accused of selective hearing or not paying attention to exactly what they said, we learn to figure out over time what is really behind the words.

It then occurred to me how this describes the democrat party of today. The party of symbolism. The party of idolatry. The party of making policy based upon feelings rather than rationale. The party absent of foundational principles choosing the dynamic whims of society instead. They want you to believe in their good intentions rather than unrealistic reality.

They want you to listen to what they say, not what they mean. They are professional politicians. So are they really like my wife? Of course not, she has a soul. But I still know what she really means when she tells me I don’t really have to get her cards or flowers anymore :) :)

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Climate change you can believe in

Posted by 5etester on August 24, 2014

Yes, it’s true. Not the hoax of global warming, a real climate changing event may be upon us.

Icelandic volcano could trigger Britain’s coldest winter EVER this year!

Weathermen say the effect in the UK could be nothing short of catastrophic if an explosion is strong enough

Jonathan Powell, of Vantage Weather Services, said: “There is a definite potential knock-on effect and with an eruption looking imminent, this is fairly worrying.

“Particles can also be picked up by the jet stream ands spread globally, a large amount can have a significant effect on the weather, the first could be an exceptionally cold winter this year.

“But the effects can last for many years, even decades.”

The strange thing is that global warming believers tend to blame virtually every event these days on it. Storms, droughts, rising sea levels, you name it and the fossil fuel industry is responsible for it. Yet I haven’t heard them lay claim to volcanic eruptions. You know, those pesky little things that truly do have a massive effect on the climate both short and long-term.

Just another inconvenient truth? The fact that a volcanic eruption vastly outweighs human impact on the climate? The only sure thing is that this eruption, should it be as devastating as some predict, won’t change any minds. Both sides will use it to reinforce their position.

In the meantime, invest in snow shovels.

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Already bored with the ice bucket challenge? Try this bucket on for size

Posted by 5etester on August 18, 2014

So the ice bucket challenge is everywhere but it’s already getting old, wouldn’t you say? Time to up the ante. People need to step up from a tiny little bucket with a few ice cubes to something a little more visually stimulating. Like this.



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The Benghazi investigation is officially closed (or should be)

Posted by 5etester on August 16, 2014

There are two kinds of people when it comes to investigating the Benghazi terrorist attacks of 2012. Those who want the truth and those who are playing politics. Determining what category one fits in is easy. Simply utilize the attack timeline. If their focus is the attacks themselves, the response or the aftermath, then the agenda is politically driven. If the focus is the lead up to the attacks and why they ever occurred to begin with, then the truth is the goal.

It’s why the endless charade of committee’s and reports concerning Benghazi are of little value except that of political fodder for the 2016 election. And it should come as no surprise to anyone with even a passing interest in what really happened there. Both major political parties would be indicted should the truth ever come to light. Tis why we’re highly unlikely to ever see it. Sorry to those of you holding out hope that Trey Gowdy is the guy to get it done. Not gonna happen.

That’s not to say that the GOP won’t keep it alive as valuable political points are still at stake simply by showing Obama and Clinton as inept at handling the response. But the entire explanation lies in the covert weapons/Jihadist fighter ops the U.S. had undertaken prior to the attacks. And nobody on either side of the aisle ever wants to see that truth come to light. So it will remain in the midst of conspiracy theorists.

Makes one wonder if the little people (meaning you and I) are even capable of ever wrapping our heads around the truth that it really is us against them. Party affiliation or other various intricacies that would lead one to believe that your side is behind you and really trying to root out the other side is a very functional way to do business. Most of us buy into it.

For those of you who truly see the light, bravo! Congratulations! Resisting to the end is still the best way. I don’t know if our conscience gets left behind at the grave, but I don’t want to find out the hard way if it doesn’t. You can still lead a pretty darn good life here in America just by being sheeple and going along for the ride. I certainly know quite a few people who fit that category. But I won’t be one of them.

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Heed the warnings! Behold the power of lightning

Posted by 5etester on August 12, 2014

If you’re like me, you probably became fascinated with lightning as a child as it was fun to count the seconds between a lightning strike and the bolt of thunder to follow. Or watching a far off storm on a summer night with its display of ‘heat’ lightning. Those were neat experiences that never seemed threatening.

I did, however, listen to my parents to get inside to shelter when the t-storms were near and the possibility existed of getting hit by lightning. I never really knew until now that even the safety of your home or your car with its rubber tire isolation may not be enough.

Recently, my mother experienced this firsthand. Her house was virtually destroyed by lightning and it wasn’t even a direct hit. Lightning struck a tree in the backyard. From there it traveled to her well and blew up the well casing. It followed the water line into the house burning the deck along the way. Siding was blown off the house with insulation strewn about.

She has heavy steel Bilco entry doors leading to her crawlspace underneath the house. Despite being shut, those were blown open. The lightning traveled under the house and blew up her well pump and furnace. The paint cans stored under the house had their lids blown off and the paint spilled all over.

It then actually ruptured the floor supports (later we found out 22 floor joists had been split) and cracked the walls and ceilings. The house had actually been moved 4 inches off the foundation. Everything was knocked off the walls and a heavy china hutch and dining room table were lifted off the floor and slammed back down breaking their legs.

My mother was standing in the kitchen when the lightning hit. She was actually lifted off the floor some inches when the floors ruptured. Luckily, she was fine physically. A neighbor had been watching as it hit and witnessed three fireballs roll across the lawn from the well and travel into the crawlspace.

The fire chief and insurance adjuster that have been out have both said they have never seen anything like it. Her home resembled being hit by an earthquake and was damaged from end to end.

Insurance will take care of the house as it has to be condemned but it could easily have been much worse if she had been standing in the wrong spot.

So make sure you take those warnings seriously. Thinking your safe in a storm by simply standing under a pavilion or overhang just isn’t true.

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Which right is more important than the rest?

Posted by 5etester on August 4, 2014

At the risk of alienating every reader this blog has ever had, we have to continue discussing human rights where water is concerned. In the eyes of the United Nations, water is literally at the top of that list.

In November 2002, the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights adopted General Comment No. 15 on the right to water. Article I.1 states that “The human right to water is indispensable for leading a life in human dignity. It is a prerequisite for the realization of other human rights”. Comment No. 15 also defined the right to water as the right of everyone to sufficient, safe, acceptable and physically accessible and affordable water for personal and domestic uses. http://www.un.org/waterforlifedecade/human_right_to_water.shtml

A prerequisite for the realization of other human rights? Well, it’s certainly one of the prerequisites for life. As is food, air and possibly shelter from the elements depending upon where one lives. Beyond that there are far too many variables to make a blanket statement that anything is a requirement to sustain life.

The larger question here is can the various definitions of what is a right coexist? Unalienable rights, social contract, natural rights, etc., etc. According to the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, “rights structure the form of governments, the content of laws, and the shape of morality as it is currently perceived.”

As it is currently perceived? Can rights be devoid of principle? If a right is changeable based upon the whims of how it is currently perceived, there is no foundational value to it. In other words, it is nothing more than populist opinion.

The Stanford definition would be more appropriate to say the ends justify the means when it comes to rights. For a right to exist in perpetuity in its original unaltered form, it cannot be open to interpretation. It cannot come with a cost, not even an “affordable” one as is the argument concerning clean, safe drinking water. It cannot be implemented by any governing body, nor taken away by one.

Those are commonly called privileges. They may be based in ethics or morals, they may be formed out of compassion or charitable means. Governments may use them as a basis for law, human rights organizations may draw upon them to establish their charters. It doesn’t matter. If any human or group or government, any entity whatsoever, can take it away, then it is not a human right. A human right absolutely must exist for all under any conditions.

This is an extremely important distinction. Understanding the concept of what a true human right would require serves as a reminder that prioritizing the collective above the individual surrenders whatever claim to rights we ever had.

I would challenge you to prove otherwise. This isn’t meant as an attack on the Founders. They simply got it wrong. Not that didn’t debate it thoroughly. They did. Article 9 only came about after a tremendous back and forth for this very reason. Enumerating certain rights comes at the peril of excluding others.

Isn’t that why Thomas Jefferson laid it out in the Declaration of Independence that governments are instituted by men to secure our rights and if they fail, it is our right to abolish them? Securing rights doesn’t mean granting them.

Getting back to the idea that water is some sort of human right. It isn’t the only essential we have to sustain life. Nor is it any more important than the others. The notion that the U.N. should randomly determine that it is a prerequisite to all other rights is presumptive at best and more realistically just flat out wrong.

This argument needs to be debated because it isn’t about insuring the human race isn’t denied its right to water. It is about empowering the collective to decide the rights of the individual. We have already heard the blame game in full effect. Global warming is to blame. Conservatives who wish to disband the EPA are the cause. The farmers and their fertilizer runoff are the culprits.

I’ll give the progressive’s a freebie they haven’t even hit on yet. Blame capitalism. After all, it was the invasion of the Great Lakes basin by the zebra mussel that is behind the recent rise in algae blooms. It was the global economy at fault as European vessels dumping their freshwater ballast in the Great Lakes that brought us the zebra mussel invasion. Bad capitalists!

Blaming zebra mussels isn’t very sexy though. Besides, algae blooms have a long history in the Great Lakes. They were just as big a problem in the 1960’s and 70’s before global warming was even on the radar. Creating fear from water supply toxins is far more effective at getting individuals to hand over their rights and let big government take over. Rallying residents against the big and rich over shutting off their water supply when they don’t pay their bills is another slam dunk.

Ensuring that every human being has access to clean, safe water is a noble cause we should all pursue. Handing over the reins to government to make it happen is probably the surest way to guarantee that cause will fail.

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If water is a human right, shouldn’t it be free?

Posted by 5etester on July 31, 2014

Sometimes you just have to keep beating a dead horse. The water is a human right crowd demands it – http://rinf.com/alt-news/usa-news/americans-demand-president-obama-intervene-detroit-water-crisis/.

“It’s absurd that, in the twenty-first century, we have to argue about whether or not Americans have the right to water,” said Charles Chamberlain, executive director of Democracy for America, a national progressive political organization with one million members nationwide.

Progressives are infamous at wordsmithing. Treated water delivered through a public infrastructure has never been a human right. Neither is a living wage as the $15 per hour minimum wage crowd is. Minimum thresholds of what is considered essential for life are determined by society. In other words, by our peers. A right isn’t open to interpretation or subject to a law or voted on by a democracy.

Should a desert dwelling Bedouin tribe also possess this perceived “right to water”? After all, it’s the 21st century there as well. If you say no because they choose to live where water isn’t readily available, then it isn’t a right. If you say no because they don’t live in an advanced society such as America, it isn’t a right. Rights aren’t concerned with geography or the status of a society’s development.

Therein lies the key point. Clean, safe water delivered directly to your household is a result of entrepreneurs operating in an industrialized nation. Modern plumbing didn’t come about as a right. That came with a cost. Rights don’t come with a cost.

In fact, cost is completely overlooked by the water is a human right crowd. In 2009, the EPA estimated that $335 billion in infrastructure costs would be required over a 20 year period to maintain our water systems – http://www.bna.com/epa-releases-survey-n17179874350/. The American Water Works Association paints a much more dire scenario estimating $1.7 trillion would be necessary over 50 years – http://www.awwa.org/legislation-regulation/issues/infrastructure-financing.aspx.

Think the residents of Detroit can’t afford their water bill now? Imagine if they are tapped to cover the costs to maintain their water system over the next half century. Those reports are only for upgrade and replacement costs, not operating costs.

The good folks over at the Michigan Welfare Rights Organization even developed a Water Affordability Program for the city of Detroit to adopt – http://mwro.org/water_affordability_program.htm. This is simply a wealth transfer system in which the higher income pay for the lower income water bills.

The Detroit Water and Sewerage Department (DWSD) will provide annual funding for a water affordability program for income-eligible Detroit residents, funded solely by customers in Detroit.

Again, no accounting for the true cost of maintaining the “basic human right” of water delivered to your tap, just a straight up welfare program.

The entire argument is nothing more than thinly disguised collectivism. Create a dependency and enable big government to be the only entity capable of delivering it. If it is truly the duty of society to deliver all of lifes essentials to every man, woman and child, than communism is your only alternative. However, even communism comes with a cost, doesn’t it?

Air, food, water, energy, shelter, health care, education, etc. All are required and all should be equally important. All should be human rights under this logic and if so, all should be free for the taking. After all, isn’t eliminating wealth inequality a hot topic? Why not take the financial aspect right out of the equation? Oh, that’s right, you can’t because somebody always has to pay for it. Even when it’s a basic human right which should never cost a penny.

Perhaps this should be their anthem.

BTW, the water is a human right crowd have valid points about the need for clean, safe water. And wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could ensure that every human had all of their basic needs satisfied? The collectivists believe forced wealth redistribution is the way to go about it. This makes it more than clear that this isn’t a debate over rights. It’s simply another attack on individualism.

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