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Thursday, July 28, 2011

chicken feed

Okay, you are good at math. Try this one. If the Boehner bill becomes law it promises to raise the debt ceiling $900 billion (.9 trillion). If the current debt ceiling is $14.3 T, what will be the new debt ceiling? Answer: $16.3T. That is because of automatic baselining. Each year the fed gov't assumes that the next year's budget will grow by some percentage. It is now around 10% per year. So if you do that for 10 years, you accumulate $1.1T of extra spending needed automatically. 14.3T+.9T+1.1T=16.3T. Welcome to government math. So Boehner's $915 billion in accumulated 10 year spending is nicely counteracted by the increase of baseline. Looks like Washington has snookered us again. We need to elect someone who institutes Zero Baseline Budgeting in 2012.

A chicken has the ability to survive on most any seeds or grains for a diet. For that reason the traditional farming of chickens simply consists of letting them out of the chicken house to roam the farmstead and clean up spilled grain and eat weeds and seeds. But if inclement weather keeps the chicken couped, the farmer can scoop up the grain in the driveway of the granary or barn, dirt, gravel and all and toss it to the chickens. They will pick it clean. For that reason, when something is of little value or meager, the expression, "chicken feed" is used to describe it. We are going to get chicken feed budget cuts from Washington. When the government runs an annual $1.6T budget deficit and the best deal the House can get is about $90 billion in annual cuts, it will be almost imperceptible-- 2% of the entire budget. Chicken feed.

A soldier would just say "nuts", and tell the Democrats "I ain't voting for anything." Retreat, regroup, launch a later offensive. Indeed it might seem better to simply let Obluffer go on spending and ruining our credit rating since we are so powerless to stop the spending. But of course that might damage our nation's economy for years to come with high interest rates and runaway entitlements. This truly is a time of a silent national crisis.

More worrisome than the debt however is what Obluster told La Raza recently. Beck had this on his website He said he was very tempted to take matters into his own hands, i.e., operate dictatorially. La Raza, the socialist outfit of Mexican Nationalists who want USA to hand over everything from Texas and Colorado to California over to Mexico, wildly cheered and applauded the Prez.

You know I really don't fear Obama and his dictatorship daydreams so much. Who I fear is the real dictator who is serious about taking over this country and uses Obama's precedents of taking over auto companies and controlling banks. Of using the peronistas--those who pay no taxes--to riot in the streets. Of his methods of hooking so many people on government assistance, medicine, pensions, and jobs, that they look to the government for all that matters. Of his use of the EPA and agencies to hyper-regulate and make businessmen criminals for trying to do business. And I fear those who will stand and applaud and cheer wildly as this takes place.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Painting your house

I'm going to send a shortened version of this to the newspaper for an editorial.
Some folks have told me that EPA overreach will not be an issue in the next election. I disagree and though it won't be the main thrust, I think it should be highlighted as an example of the dictatorial bureaucracy that is being set up to snuff dissent in the future.

So you want to paint your old house? Not your residence but perhaps your rental house, your cabin by the lake or your business is what you have in mind. Well, you can't unless it is post 1978 in construction and won't have children more than 6 hours per week. For example, a day care or school obviously falls in this category. Maybe your little shop on mainstreet can argue its way clear of this regulation. It takes a pro who has Lead-Safe Certification. He will have correct equipment (Hazmat suit, disposable headgear and shoe covers, and P100 respirator), training (all day EPA course), license, testing equipment, and know-how to set up containment and abatement procedures.

This "act" went into effect over a year ago, but until recently was not enforced and no fines were given. But since the first of the year, draconian fines have been handed out to many contractors and individuals. What? You say you must have missed the Congressional vote on this new law? No, you didn't. There was no vote. It is simply done by executive fiat--EPA wrote regulations that required Lead-Safe. Homeowners can still paint their primary residence. Cleverly the bureaucrats have also exempted work done by charities where volunteers do work and receive no remuneration. Think about the tornados in Tuscaloosa or Joplin. If Lead Safe practices were required, the costs would be astronomical and vols could never do any relief work. Politically, that would be hard to defend. But what about folks like the Laborers For Christ who built much of a recent church project for my church? They ask for minimum wages in order to buy accident insurance for the volunteers who otherwise go to great personal expense to help with these projects. No, they have to get certified and follow EPA rules. They are paid. Bottom line: if you are an evil businessman, you have to follow the rules.

Suppose you simply disregard the Lead-Safe rules and get caught painting your wife's day care in your pre-1978 home (doesn't matter if the day care is in the new addition. It depends on when property was first built.) ? Fines are levied up to $32,500 PER JOB and $3750 PER DAY out of compliance. The days when dad handed his son a paintbrush and taught him to paint are fading. But say you just shrug and hire a pro? Costs are headed up dramatically to reflect the added procedures. And this doesn't affect painters only. It affects ANYONE who disturbs more than 6 square feet of lead painted surface doing a job. (2 s.f. if a HUD project) This applies especially to window installers who remove trim boards in order to install a new window. I am not certain about this but the EPA class instructor seemed to indicate that window jobs are covered no matter how small the square footage. It also pertains to heat and air, plumbing, carpenters, electricians and anyone doing construction. Weirdest of all is roofers. How, you might wonder, would a roofer disturb lead paint? If he puts on drip edge, he might flake off paint and then the entire facia board is counted as 'disturbed'. The ground under eves must be draped with plastic or tarps out 20 feet from the house--and cannot be reused. (Plus vertical drapes if there is wind. Is there ever 'no wind' in Oklahoma?) I asked the instructor what happens when there are shrubs around the house? He noted that those have to be draped well enough to be sealed. Don't think your roofer will do this for free. Once repairs are made, the certified Lead Safe technician must keep a log of the entire project including proof of cleaning (pictures) and cannot clear more than 40 s.f. of surface with an appliance before discarding.

As a conscientious landlord, I've acquired the training ($275 class) and license ($300). Lead poisoning is a bad hazard. But I disagree with EPA in many ways. Their pamphlet, which I am to distribute to all renters, "The Truth About Lead Paint Poisoning" says, "Once poisoned, it's for life and can never be reversed." That's a baldfaced lie. Lead Chelation Therapy has been used by physicians for years to cleanse people of lead. I have a friend who got a dire, near-death case of lead poisoning 30 years ago. And after chelation, is doing quite well, arguing spiritedly with me at nearly age 80. So I asked the EPA communications director for USA Southwest Region about that statement. He vacillated with what to say and told me that if I looked at other EPA literature, they state, "the effects of lead poisoning can never be reversed." Which is to say that the psychological trauma will always be remembered even after chelation. I would say that their pamphlet is a scare tactic. Now think, if lead poisoning was a common and pernicious hazard, why didn't the federal government declare that all old houses had to be tested and stripped accordingly? This would have provided the ultimate shovel ready stimulus plan, providing jobs in the moribund construction industry for several years! In fact the National Assoc. of Home Builders alleges exactly that logic in a lawsuit over EPA rules.

Most contractors who have been forced to comply saythe reg is just a means of shaking down the tradesmen for high fees. I asked, who enforces this? EPA answer: We are asking people to turn others in. This has caused much consternation and back-stabbing on the part of competitors in large metro areas. It will surely spred to small towns like ours. But when you hear about "neighbors turning in neighbors" does this remind you of Soviets or Nazis? I refuse to turn in other landlords or contractors. Heck, if they don't know how to do the Lead-Safe stuff, I would volunteer for that part of their job. Around here, we are all doing our best to just make a living! So talking to the contractors who took the course with me, I have discovered that the 3 main snitches are some neighbor or another contractor who doesn't like the guy who got the job, or some neighbor who doesn't like the construction next door, or disgruntled employees. It's a great way to enforce something important!

So what if a renter scrapes and paints without approval? He is held harmless but the landlord is held responsible if the rug rat ingests paint flakes. (But that is because we are evil businessmen) What I am going to do to combat the EPA is start a revolution among my renters. As I hand out my brochures, it will be accompanied with estimates of how much of their rents are due to the EPA, and if they want cheaper rents they need to vote the party of Big Government Control out. It won't change anything in OK, already a red state, but I would love to see this become a nationwide campaign.

If we don't get EPA under control, it will certainly illuminate a precedent for how some future socialist can gain control by using the bureaucracy. Because tyranny doesn't stop. No tyrant wakes up one morning and says, "Well, that's enough tyranny. I won't do that anymore." Already our Mayor Nicholson tells about how EPA is standing by with a regulation that would require every incorporated town in America to catch all storm water and then treat it before releasing it into rivers. He calls such regulation "crazy" as does Representative Frank Lucas. How could such a rule be done? Have they not seen our inability to control storm water like Katrina or Minot? Farmers will soon face fines for creating dust (and counties with dirt/gravel roads too). Insecticide spraying must not have more than 1 foot of drift. Good-bye crop dusting industry! Many of these regulations are scheduled for Jan. 2013.

All these EPA rules have one common thread. They all hit hard at small town America or rural America. Now think. Farmers vote 85% Republican. Small towns are lopsided bastions of non-Democrat voters. Looks like a political vendetta to me. What do we need? Someone to pull the plug on EPA would be a good start. Congressional hearings would be lesser but good for those who have less fortitude to stand up to bureaucrats run amuck. Americans need to be educated to what is happening to their freedom.