Greece: The Oil Slick in the Mediterranean

Greece: The Oil Slick in the Mediterranean

The Greeks are in trouble.  And their troubles are spreading like the oil slick in the Gulf of Mexico. They need $158 billion. They hired too many government workers. They give too many social benefits. Let’s just guess they spent money on infrastructure, mass transit, extended unemployment benefits, fat bureaucracies, health agencies, financial regulatory employees, green initiatives. (Sound familiar?)  They bloated government. Now they want more prudent neighbors to rescue them. They are endangering the coastlines and interiors of Europe.

Greek is a small place. It could fit into a couple of Montana counties. It has 10 million inhabitants. $158 billion divided equally is $16,000 per person. They really have a problem. We should quit emulating them.

If Dogs Could Vote

If dogs could vote, I would be king.

I visit people’s homes as a candidate for the state legislature.

After three or four dogs have smudged my pant legs with their wet noses, I become a cocktail of smells. Then the next dog goes into a frenzy of delight. And the next dog. I’m so popular with them. They can mentally trace my steps.

“This candidate came from the west. He’s up to five dogs today. He visited that cute little beagle down four doors. Oh, what I’d give if she’d look my way! There’s the smell of that passive Newf. What a clutz.”

I’m a walking dog-Facebook.

Resisting Obama Care in Montana

It looks like the window of opportunity for forbidding implementation of

federal health care in Montana is rapidly closing. (Read the news article below.)

Is there any way for the legislature to require that no state agency or employee be permitted

to enact, implement or change agency procedures at least until the

constitutionality of FHC is settled?

At the very least, could a letter be sent to Monica Lindeen requesting same?

Montana Ready for Health Overhaul

State’s insurance regulator says state government

ready to implement first parts of federal health overhaul

Obama’s Steamroller

Last year we got Obama Motors.

A few weeks back we got Obama Care.

This week Congress is incorporating Obama Bank.

The next takeover will be Obama Power.

That should just about do it.

Sun Tan Tax in US; Sun Tan Subsidy in Europe

Under Obama Care, patrons at sun tan parlors will face a tax. 10%. Nothing is free!

This is one way to introduce younger Americans to the reality that social schemes will cost them.

In Europe, beach sun tans are being subsidized.

Cash for Tanners

A new subsidy for hitting the beach.

Liberté, égalité, St. Tropez. That could be the motto of the European Union’s “social tourism” project, which advocates subsidized holidays for the underprivileged. According to European Commissioner Antonio Tajani, visiting foreign countries is a “right,” and one that could soon be financed by EU taxpayers. This gives a whole new meaning to the concept of “paid vacation.”

The EU last year launched a €1 million project to .. read full article here.

Social welfare architects are having a hard time deciding; tax or subsidize? Such decisions!!

Earth Day Today

It’s Earth Day.

What can you do? REsolve to not wash your hair for a week. If you are already not doing that, change the resolution to a month.

Cancel your airline tickets.

Walk to work. Barefoot.

Launder clothes only after 8 wearings.

Eat parched corn.

Turn off all lights and heat and air conditioning.

Flush only once per day.

That’s what righteousness requires.

The Republic of Plato

The Republic of Plato

Read Spring 2010

Finished April 20, 2010

Tom Burnett

This is the second or third try I have made at The Republic. One of the kids gave it to me for Christmas. This time, I was transfixed. I understood fully.

I noticed the difference in writing style between this and Thoreau. Thoreau relies on bombast. This is steady, never overstated. It proceeds line upon line. It unfolds. I noted a few pieces of humor.

I noticed many parallels with the plan of salvation. As one small example, at the conclusion, he mentions the River of Unmindfulness, from which souls drink before coming to earth.

I’m fully persuaded that seeking justice and wisdom is the highest pursuit. I find the Form to be that of Christ, the ideal man.

I love the notion of forms, first introduced to me by Mortimer Adler’s Aristotle For Everbody, which I read 30 years ago and I began again today.

I understood the allegory of the cave and the myth of Er.

I find much keen observation about human tendencies in business and politics. I am lured by his idea of seeking Beauty for itself, in the most abstract way. His notion of training the young has practical, policy aspects. His notion of procreation among the Guardians, ardor of men for boys, and of naked athletics I find ridiculous.

Those are just a few of the things I remember from my 2 month project of reading the book, hardly a full report. I’m exceedingly glad I took the opportunity. I will be thinking about these things for the rest of my life.

Montana Has High Taxes

Montana Has High Taxes

At last night’s Lincoln-Reagan Day Dinner, Sen. Joe Balyeat spoke of Montana income tax rates compared with other states.

Apologists often call Montana taxes light. That’s not so.

A taxpayer making $75,000 pays the 11th most taxes of all earners of that level in the 50 states.

Our top rate of 6.9% is the 16th highest rate out of 50 states.

Our capital gains rate is 4.9%

My previous studies comparing Montana’s tax burden with that of other states show that in relation to Median Household Income, Montana has the 8th highest taxes in the US. In relation to disposable income, Montana has the 5th highest taxes in the US. That’s because our Median Household Income is so low, and our disposable income is so low, but our taxes are middle-of-the-pack.

How Smart are Smart Cars?

An $18,000 Smart Car requires about 13,360 gallons of oil in its production. Smart!

Unemployment Benefits Ad Infinitum

Unemployment Benefits Ad Infinitum

Reading the two dueling articles in the Wall Street Journal about The Obama Administration extending unemployment benefits to 99 weeks, made me remember an incident in business a few years back.

Read the Wall Street Journal editorial here.

Read the Larry Summers editorial here.

An unemployed worker came to my shop. He asked, “Would you please sign this form saying that I came and asked about available jobs?” (We were not advertising openings. He felt safe.)

I asked, “Well, are you looking for a job or are you not?”

It was clear he was not. He was playing the Unemployment Benefits Charade.