Pinnacle of Stupdity? Maybe...

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New federal regulation:

All street and road signs in the country must have letters of a height specified by the feds (which happens to be one inch higher than currently used for mot signs) and must have reflective lettering. All streets/roads/lanes/avenues/loops in the US must have these new signs in place by 2018.

Who conducted the study that resulted in this new spending program? 3M - the company that makes reflective lettering.

We don't need Wikileaks to make us look ridiculous - we are doing a fine job of that on our own! One wonders how long before we are told only double layer toilet tissue may be used....guess Charmin would do that study?

kay

P.S. This is not a comment on any side of govt - it's about the absolute ridiculous levels we have reached. At some point there will be a place where states and cities simply say "no" - could this be it?
  • Profile picture of the author MikeAmbrosio
    Originally Posted by Kay King View Post

    New federal regulation:

    All street and road signs in the country must have letters of a height specified by the feds (which happens to be one inch higher than currently used for mot signs) and must have reflective lettering. All streets/roads/lanes/avenues/loops in the US must have these new signs in place by 2018.

    Who conducted the study that resulted in this new spending program? 3M - the company that makes reflective lettering.

    We don't need Wikileaks to make us look ridiculous - we are doing a fine job of that on our own! One wonders how long before we are told only double layer toilet tissue may be used....guess Charmin would do that study?

    kay

    P.S. This is not a comment on any side of govt - it's about the absolute ridiculous levels we have reached. At some point there will be a place where states and cities simply say "no" - could this be it?
    Nothing new. About 15 years ago, the Parkway near where I live had many miles of those little reflectors installed on the painted lines (for better nighttime visibility). 6 months later, they repaved the entire Parkway and over all those little reflectors.

    2 months after that,guess what? Same company out there putting them all back in.

    Tell me there was nothing fishy there...
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    • Profile picture of the author Kay King
      That's funny. I've always wondered if some company missed the hint for a payoff a few years ago.

      When I lived in Ohio there was a study being conducted using reflective paint for the lines in the center and on edges of the roads.

      The stuff was GREAT as it showed up in heavy rain and even fog as your car lights picked up the lines.

      It was so good for drivers I thought it would become the standard - but it didn't. Instead the little reflector thingies (costing much more) began to be used.

      It's not who you know - it's who you pay off
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      • Profile picture of the author Bill Farnham
        Originally Posted by Kay King View Post

        Instead the little reflector thingies (costing much more) began to be used.
        Hi Kay,

        If it's the same reflector thingies I'm thinking about they also have another inherent quality of acting as 'road braille' so you can feel your tires hitting them. This helps as a reminder while you're texting, as an example.

        Btw, most new regulations are written by lobbiests, not our elected officials. Their staff may have some input, but the main job of our elected officials is raising money for their own re-election. That's just a fact based on the hours spent doing that versus what we as a populous believe they do. They have no time whatsoever to create the legislation they sponsor. They just rubber stamp it and promote it based on whatever spin suits their goals.
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        • Profile picture of the author Dennis Gaskill
          Originally Posted by Bill Farnham View Post

          Btw, most new regulations are written by lobbiests, not our elected officials. Their staff may have some input, but the main job of our elected officials is raising money for their own re-election. That's just a fact based on the hours spent doing that versus what we as a populous believe they do. They have no time whatsoever to create the legislation they sponsor. They just rubber stamp it and promote it based on whatever spin suits their goals.
          Unfortunately, there's far too much truth in that statement to just dismiss it as coming from the kook fringe. Reform is badly needed. Unfortunately, too many citizens are content to vote party lines so they don't have to actually think and evaluate candidates and issues. Feelings-based voting is sooo much easier.
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          • Profile picture of the author Ken Strong
            Originally Posted by Dennis Gaskill View Post

            Unfortunately, there's far too much truth in that statement to just dismiss it as coming from the kook fringe.
            Dennis, are you calling Bill a one-man kook fringe?
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            • Profile picture of the author Dennis Gaskill
              Originally Posted by Ken Strong View Post

              Dennis, are you calling Bill a one-man kook fringe?
              My buddy KJ? No sir, but if the fringe fits, tie some bells to the end so we can hear 'em coming.
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              • Profile picture of the author Kay King
                The new upper- and lower-case lettering specifications have been issued in the Federal Highway Administration's "Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices for Streets and Highways."
                And I say this is a fed agency abusing their authority in dictating that towns, cities and states throughout the country must spend tens of millions of dollars on something they don't need or want. This plan needs to be killed. Want to make streets and roads safer? Make a federal law prohibiting driving while texting or using a cell phone.

                Also ignores the fact more and more cars are produced with GPS and this will be standard before long. "Turn right at the next intersection" is quickly replacing trying to read street signs.
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                • Profile picture of the author seasoned
                  Originally Posted by Kay King View Post

                  And I say this is a fed agency abusing their authority in dictating that towns, cities and states throughout the country must spend tens of millions of dollars on something they don't need or want. This plan needs to be killed. Want to make streets and roads safer? Make a federal law prohibiting driving while texting or using a cell phone.

                  Also ignores the fact more and more cars are produced with GPS and this will be standard before long. "Turn right at the next intersection" is quickly replacing trying to read street signs.
                  Regarding TLs post about safety, etc.... Here are OTHER things PROVEN to CAUSE ACCIDENTS!

                  1. Unclearly marked obstructions! I am in San Jose, CA now, and they have these HUGE tracks in the middle of some roads that are NOT clearly marked!
                  2. Streets that veer off in another direction.
                  3. One way streets.
                  4. Lack of address signage.
                  5. Poorly designed/placed street signage.
                  6. MULTILANGUAGE DRIVING TESTS! Yeah, I know, you are saying WHAT!?!?!? Well, some signs are VERY complicated and they have NO way of drawing icons, etc... so they have to be written in ONE language! If written in multiple languages it would be distracting and/or SLOW! SO, they are usually written in ENGLISH in the US!

                  OH, and you will LOVE this one! I have to make a left turn to work every morning. It is a HUGE multinational company and may have THOUSANDS of people right there. Almost EVERY one comes down the street I do, so over 50% probably make that left hand turn!
                  Well, CALIFORNIA, in its INFINITE wisdom, decided to spend THOUSANDS of dollars on plants that may cost THOUSANDS of dollars a year to trim and water! Don't worry though, they are manicured so they look nice and are JUST low enough that if the car is a bigger car MAYBE you will be lucky and be able to see it! At the VERY least, it slows down traffic. At worst, people could DIE! And WHY!?!?!? So it may look a LITTLE more natural?

                  I do NOT like spending MORE money so some BUFFOON can slow down and endanger people's lives, let alone MINE!

                  I'm sorry, but NO argument about a MAJOR sign on a MAJOR throughway that you can clearly see for maybe a mile or so, etc... being safer means ANYTHING when the little signs that people need in the city that they have little time to see are almost NON EXISTANT! Don't tell me you haven't seen those people going slowly looking at the side of the road.

                  Steve
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                • Profile picture of the author Michael Oksa
                  Originally Posted by Kay King View Post

                  Make a federal law prohibiting driving while texting or using a cell phone.
                  Nah, they'd find a way to mess that up, too.



                  ~M~
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      • Profile picture of the author pjCheviot
        Banned
        Originally Posted by Kay King View Post

        Instead the little reflector thingies (costing much more) began to be used.
        They're called "Cats Eyes" here in the UK - and were invented by a guy named Percy Shaw. Must have made a lot of money from that

        Sorry to go OT in the OT, Kay
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  • Profile picture of the author HeySal
    Reform? Nope. We need to kick every one of them to the curb and start over with people not tied to high level industry.

    They had a chance to do away with lobbying and instead put in legislation to make lobbying stronger. The only way we can get rid of legislation written in the last few years is to impeach the president or kick him out by other means than not voting him back in. Everything that took place under him would be nullified. Same with congress. You impeach enough of the people that voted for something that is unconstitutional or otherwise a bad idea, and you can get the legislation automatically rescinded with the need for a revote to reactivate it. After kicking people out for voting on it, the new guys aren't as likely to vote on it again.

    Of course - the judicial branch can also knock out a piece of legislation -- but you have to clean all the crony capitalists out of that branch before those routes do much good either.

    In other words, I hope everyone likes their new street signs.
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    • Profile picture of the author MikeAmbrosio
      Originally Posted by HeySal View Post

      Reform? Nope. We need to kick every one of them to the curb and start over with people not tied to high level industry.

      They had a chance to do away with lobbying and instead put in legislation to make lobbying stronger. The only way we can get rid of legislation written in the last few years is to impeach the president or kick him out by other means than not voting him back in. Everything that took place under him would be nullified. Same with congress. You impeach enough of the people that voted for something that is unconstitutional or otherwise a bad idea, and you can get the legislation automatically rescinded with the need for a revote to reactivate it. After kicking people out for voting on it, the new guys aren't as likely to vote on it again.

      Of course - the judicial branch can also knock out a piece of legislation -- but you have to clean all the crony capitalists out of that branch before those routes do much good either.

      In other words, I hope everyone likes their new street signs.

      Great in theory perhaps, but won't ever happen, so we have to do what we can within our power - voting.

      BTW, Tom Clancy wrote one of his novels based on this very thing. Something like 90% of the elected officials, cabinet, etc. were a victim of a hijacked plane crashing in to one of the buildings in Wash. DC while a shindig was going on. The lead character, Jack Ryan, became President and put out the call to regular people - non career politicians - to come to Wash.

      Entertaining book
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    • Profile picture of the author Dennis Gaskill
      Originally Posted by HeySal View Post

      Reform? Nope. We need to kick every one of them to the curb and start over with people not tied to high level industry.

      They had a chance to do away with lobbying and instead put in legislation to make lobbying stronger. The only way we can get rid of legislation written in the last few years is to impeach the president or kick him out by other means than not voting him back in. Everything that took place under him would be nullified. Same with congress. You impeach enough of the people that voted for something that is unconstitutional or otherwise a bad idea, and you can get the legislation automatically rescinded with the need for a revote to reactivate it. After kicking people out for voting on it, the new guys aren't as likely to vote on it again.

      Of course - the judicial branch can also knock out a piece of legislation -- but you have to clean all the crony capitalists out of that branch before those routes do much good either.

      In other words, I hope everyone likes their new street signs.
      You won't get reform without kicking out the current office holders. I thought that was obvious. It won't do any good to kick everyone out if there is no reform because the lobbyists will just do the same things with their replacements. So yes, reform is needed.
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  • Profile picture of the author seasoned
    I will STILL refer to the time, when LA county ripped up ALL of their walk/don't walk signs. They removed the WHOLE thing, from the base to the sign! THEN they REPLACED them with signs showing people walking, and a hand indicating stop.

    OK, WHY was it done? Did they REALLY think that everyone was too stupid to learn the STANDARD meaning of two colors, or two simple words? Couldn't they simply replace the filter that showed the symbols?

    BTW they CLAIMED that was for the olympics. Still, that is NO excuse!

    Steve
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    • Profile picture of the author Bill Farnham
      Originally Posted by seasoned View Post

      I will STILL refer to the time, when LA county ripped up ALL of their walk/don't walk signs. They removed the WHOLE thing, from the base to the sign! THEN they REPLACED them with signs showing people walking, and a hand indicating stop.
      Long Beach replaced all their street lighting with those 'energy saving' yellow lights that was supposed to save them a $MM a year or better on electricity.

      The problem was that under those lights humans can't tell one color from another and the crime rate went up. "Ma'am what color was the get-away car?"...No way to answer than question except "The same color they all are!"

      :rolleyes:
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      • Profile picture of the author ThomM
        ... that it is harder to read all-caps signs, and those extra milliseconds spent staring away from the road have been shown to increase the likelihood of accidents, particularly among older drivers, federal documents say.
        So this is to help those with bad eyesight?
        Maybe they should just get better glasses or stop driving.


        Here's how reform is going.
        In a bi-partisan show of support, a bill to put a temporary ban on earmarks was defeated today in congress. Seems neither side wants to really balance the budget
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        • Profile picture of the author Dennis Gaskill
          Originally Posted by ThomM View Post

          In a bi-partisan show of support, a bill to put a temporary ban on earmarks was defeated today in congress. Seems neither side wants to really balance the budget
          That's why a massive expulsion of incumbents is needed. Both major parties are corrupt and need to be voted out. If we can keep them from rigging the election results.
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          • Profile picture of the author MissTerraK
            Originally Posted by Dennis Gaskill View Post

            That's why a massive expulsion of incumbents is needed. Both major parties are corrupt and need to be voted out. If we can keep them from rigging the election results.
            And good luck with that one Dennis. Unfortunately, it all reverts back to that one word you used, "corrupt"

            MissTerraK
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        • Profile picture of the author TLTheLiberator
          Originally Posted by ThomM View Post

          So this is to help those with bad eyesight?
          Maybe they should just get better glasses or stop driving.


          Here's how reform is going.
          In a bi-partisan show of support, a bill to put a temporary ban on earmarks was defeated today in congress. Seems neither side wants to really balance the budget

          Tom,

          Earmarks are less than 2% of the federal budget but every little but helps.


          What reform are you referring to???


          TL
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          • Profile picture of the author seasoned
            Originally Posted by TLTheLiberator View Post

            Tom,

            Earmarks are less than 2% of the federal budget but every little but helps.


            What reform are you referring to???


            TL
            ACTUALLY earmarks are MORE than 2%! HECK, some "representatives" have said that they are EXPECTED to put in earmarks for their "constituents", and that that is why they are there. There is a LOT of nasty and EXPENSIVE stuff that they want to pass, and they really can't so HOW do they do it? They attach it to bills others DO want to pass. If they remove it, the cycle starts over, and the bill loses support. So they often keep it in.

            But if someone tells you it is only a small portion of the budget, consider the source. ESPECIALLY since a LOT of the stuff is HIDDEN! Have you ever seen a government RFP? They are often SO detailed and demanding that only one supplier can really do it. sometimes they have consultants in the industry create them. So was that RFP really needed? Does it give them the best value?

            Steve
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            • Profile picture of the author TLTheLiberator
              Originally Posted by seasoned View Post

              ACTUALLY earmarks are MORE than 2%! HECK, some "representatives" have said that they are EXPECTED to put in earmarks for their "constituents", and that that is why they are there. There is a LOT of nasty and EXPENSIVE stuff that they want to pass, and they really can't so HOW do they do it? They attach it to bills others DO want to pass. If they remove it, the cycle starts over, and the bill loses support. So they often keep it in.

              But if someone tells you it is only a small portion of the budget, consider the source. ESPECIALLY since a LOT of the stuff is HIDDEN! Have you ever seen a government RFP? They are often SO detailed and demanding that only one supplier can really do it. sometimes they have consultants in the industry create them. So was that RFP really needed? Does it give them the best value?

              Steve
              I'm not buying the argument that the earmarks are hidden.

              I am not going to argue in favor of earmarks or their merits etc.

              There are serious deficit hawks on the right and the left that say earmarks for 2010 are about 16 billion and less than 2% of the federal budget.

              Here's an article with some sources etc. - if you're interested...

              Value of congressional earmarks increased in fiscal 2010 - washingtonpost.com


              TL
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          • Profile picture of the author ThomM
            Originally Posted by TLTheLiberator View Post

            Tom,

            Earmarks are less than 2% of the federal budget but every little but helps.


            What reform are you referring to???


            TL
            How about a reform in taxes and spending?
            And don't come back with that so called pay freeze on federal employees.
            That's just a freeze on cost of living raises which will save less then a temp. ban on earmarks would have.
            I don't want to hear it's the other sides fault either, that's just a handy excuse that both sides pull out and use. Lets face it, it's easier for all involved to blame the other side then to do the real work needed to solve our problems.
            Every time I hear that excuse used it reminds me of a little kid blaming his brother for braking the lamp he just broke.
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            • Profile picture of the author TLTheLiberator
              Originally Posted by ThomM View Post

              How about a reform in taxes and spending?
              And don't come back with that so called pay freeze on federal employees.
              That's just a freeze on cost of living raises which will save less then a temp. ban on earmarks would have.
              I don't want to hear it's the other sides fault either, that's just a handy excuse that both sides pull out and use. Lets face it, it's easier for all involved to blame the other side then to do the real work needed to solve our problems.
              Every time I hear that excuse used it reminds me of a little kid blaming his brother for braking the lamp he just broke.
              Thom,

              I get your drift.

              OK, since we had a balanced yearly federal budget in 2000, why don't we take a look at what's happened to the yearly budget since fiscal year 2000?


              BTW, we had a budget surplus of at least 225 billion in 2000 - according to the CBO:


              Handed off to new president in 2000.


              What has happened to our federal spending and federal income pattern since 2000???


              Let's see...

              Tax cuts = 400 billion per year no longer going to the federal coffers:

              New wars, Afgan & Iraq = at least 125 Bill per year:

              New Drug Prescription Bill - passed in 2006 ( I think )

              90 billion per year for the next 10 years:

              Defense department budget goes from 325 billion in 2000 to almost 800 billion now.

              - That's an increase of almost 500 billion in new defense spending.

              New Homeland Security Dept: At least 50 billion per year

              Federal gov collected est. 2.7 trill in 2007 but now collects about 2.2 trillion - thanks to this historic economic downturn.

              That's a difference of at least 500 billion per year missing from federal coffers.

              so...

              Let's add up new yearly spending or missing income for the federal gov since 2000...

              Tax cuts = - 400 Bill ( 70 bill per year goes to top 2% & 330 bill to all others )

              New Wars = - 125 Bill

              Drug Bill = - 90 bill

              Defense Depart: - 500 bill more than in 2000

              Homeland Security Dept: - 50 billion per year

              Economic Downturn = - 500 billion per year
              ------------------------------------------------------------

              1.625 trillion!!!


              In new yearly spending, tax cuts and loss of income for the federal gov since year 2000.


              The federal budget of 2010 will come in at about 1.2 trill yearly deficit down from 2009 at around 1.4 trillion.



              Where do we start???


              There are at least 2 items that are going to take time to wind down or ramp up.

              - Defense Budget at 800 billion:

              IMHO it could be wound down to about 500 billion saving 300 billion per year.


              - Federal receipts at 2.2 trillion will take time to get it back up to at least the 2.7 trillion figure is was in 2007. ( when the economy grows this # will grow )


              Big items added to the national debt since 2009:

              - Recovery Act = 800 Billion:

              - Bank Bailout = 800 billion but reduced to 25 billion from paybacks according to CBO:

              - Auto Industry Bailout = 80 billion, reduced to about 50 billion and should be paid off within 2-3 years.


              There is is Thom, a basic layout of the national budget since 2000.

              All The Best!!!


              TL
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  • Profile picture of the author TLTheLiberator
    The new upper- and lower-case lettering specifications have been issued in the Federal Highway Administration's "Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices for Streets and Highways."

    Studies have shown...

    ... that it is harder to read all-caps signs, and those extra milliseconds spent staring away from the road have been shown to increase the likelihood of accidents, particularly among older drivers, federal documents say.

    The new regulations also require a change in font from the standard highway typeface to Clearview, which was specially developed for this purpose.


    The federal directive was established in 2003, but the Department of Transportation gave everyone fifteen years to get it done.
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  • for some reason this doesn't surprise me at all
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  • Profile picture of the author Slin
    Lobbying gotta love it.

    Amazing how our (the U.S.) government still works so well.

    (Note: the above statement is up to your interpretation, if you disagree I have no problem with you)
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  • Profile picture of the author seasoned
    OK, TL have it your way. I guess, based on what YOU said, that earmarks are all by their lonesome in separate bills, and all listed CLEARLY as earmarks. It is just coincidence that some bills, like a ***BIG*** one recently passed, seem to allocate a LOT of the money to two groups that have little to do with the bill.

    As for the cellphone deals, I like the "non distraction laws" better. Even eating a fry is against the law, if it is destracting.

    Steve
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    • Profile picture of the author TLTheLiberator
      Originally Posted by seasoned View Post

      OK, TL have it your way. I guess, based on what YOU said, that earmarks are all by their lonesome in separate bills, and all listed CLEARLY as earmarks. It is just coincidence that some bills, like a ***BIG*** one recently passed, seem to allocate a LOT of the money to two groups that have little to do with the bill.

      As for the cellphone deals, I like the "non distraction laws" better. Even eating a fry is against the law, if it is destracting.

      Steve
      Steve,

      I don't know about the earmarks being all by their lonesome in separate bills but...

      ...People that are on your side say the earmarks are about 16 billion in 2010.

      TL
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      • Profile picture of the author ThomM
        Where do we start???
        We start at stopping the blame game, I know you are just stating facts:rolleyes:
        At this point though it doesn't matter who got us into this mess, what matters is getting us out of it.
        But wait, lets just play the blame game some more.
        One side wants to get us out of this mess, but the other side won't let them.
        Sounds more like a couple kids in kindergarten fighting, then the way adults should handle their problems doesn't it?
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        • Profile picture of the author Kay King
          In 2008, there were 1.2 million civilian workers. In 2010, that number jumps to 1.43 million federal workers.
          In the past five years the number of federal civilian workers earning more than $150k a year has gone from 7400 workers to 82,000 workers!

          Federal workers in 2005 who earned more than $180k numbered 805 - today that number earning over $180k is 16,900. The graph on the link below is shocking when it comes to federal salaries.

          More federal workers' pay tops $150,000 - USATODAY.com

          For years we've been told federal salaries had to "compete" with private salaries. Yet this huge increase in federal pay has come in the past two years at a time when private workers have lost income so the excuse doesn't fly.

          The idea that 2% of the budget isn't worth saving is hogwash. Add up a bunch of 2%, 1%, 4% that are called "negligible expenses" - and you have a few billion that you aren't spending.

          ...People that are on your side say
          That frightens me - because if we don't all get on the same side and start demanding fiscal responsibility and accountability - there won't be any sides left. Sort of reminds me of fiddling while Rome burned.

          kay
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  • Profile picture of the author seasoned
    Kay,

    I don't know WHAT he meant by "your side". I NEVER mentioned PARTY and, for once, this IS, sadly, a BIpartisan complaint. In fact, technically it is NOT BI-partisan, but OMNI-partisan! I WISH I could say ONLY democrats do it.

    Oh well, Obama supposedly called for a stop in the raises. I'll believe it when I see it. STILL, assuming the economy does well and they are NEVER given a penny raise, it will be over 50 YEARS before public workers are again on par with the workforce overall. And that pay does NOT include the various PERKS! THEY are apparently on the order of over about $105K a year for those making $150K. Between pensions, insurance, various discounts, expense accounts, etc....

    BTW NOTHING here is against a party, so hopefully it can remain.

    Steve
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    • Profile picture of the author TLTheLiberator
      Originally Posted by seasoned View Post

      Kay,

      I don't know WHAT he meant by "your side". I NEVER mentioned PARTY and, for once, this IS, sadly, a BIpartisan complaint. In fact, technically it is NOT BI-partisan, but OMNI-partisan! I WISH I could say ONLY democrats do it.

      Oh well, Obama supposedly called for a stop in the raises. I'll believe it when I see it. STILL, assuming the economy does well and they are NEVER given a penny raise, it will be over 50 YEARS before public workers are again on par with the workforce overall. And that pay does NOT include the various PERKS! THEY are apparently on the order of over about $105K a year for those making $150K. Between pensions, insurance, various discounts, expense accounts, etc....

      BTW NOTHING here is against a party, so hopefully it can remain.

      Steve
      Steve knows full well what I meant when I said "on your side" so he can stop pretending that he's not on any side.

      I'll try to explain it to you Kay.

      I mentioned the number of 2%/16 billion in earmarks for year 2010.

      Steve countered by saying it's more than 2% - something about earmarks being secretly hidden etc.

      I pointed him to a news story and said that even people that he would normally agree with ( on his side ) happen to agree with the 2% figure so there is no need to dispute the figure.



      TL
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  • Profile picture of the author MikeAmbrosio
    The blame game is one that will always be played as long as there are elections.

    Funny thing is when you listen to one side or the other spew out their "facts", they typically come off as "Everything we have done is right. Everything THEY have done is wrong". It might not be what is MEANT, but it's how it comes out.

    As far as who is in office during the GOOD years or BAD years is really only part of the "skewed" story anyway. It's not just about the man in charge at the time. It's about every level of government. We had a debate on this very forum, pointing out how great things were with (D) Presidents over the years and how horrible things were when (R) Presidents ran things. That's convenient, but only part of the story. When you go back and dig a little deeper, you'll find that MANY of those "good" years, the opposite party was in control of the house/senate and during those "bad" years... same thing.

    I think both parties have their merits and their good ideas and contributions. But they both have the other side of that coin too. And whether or not either side wants to think so, these elections are won and lost by voters like me...those who vote NOT party line, but for candidates they feel can do the most good, or who think it's actually worse for this country for EITHER party to have total control. That was proven when Bush and the (R)s had it all, and again just recently. The major shift from this mid-term should be a HUGE indication of this very fact.

    I agree with Thom - too much blame, not enough cooperation from BOTH major parties.
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    • Profile picture of the author Kay King
      [QUOTEI'll try to explain it to you Kay.[/QUOTE]

      Gee - think I'm bright enough to understand? Thing is - I don't care - it doesn't matter - it's a few rocks in a mountain of debts. At some point, we need to start moving rocks.

      I SEE earmarks at work in my state - and we could survive just fine without many of them. I'm not against money going to states and cities for projects...I'm against earmarks totalling millions and billions being passed by sliding them into a totally unrelated bill. It is done in a way meant to hide these spending bills - and that is what needs to end. When bills are so bloated that 80% of the cost of a bill that's passed is due to the earmarks in the bill ...the system is broken.

      I think that's what many people are saying. If there are projects worthy of funds - by all means, fund them....out in the open where people know where our money is going.

      The argument for earmarks is "there isn't time to consider them all". There is time to pass dozens of resolutions honoring various people - wishing them well on birthdays - praising sports heros, etc. There were months to spend flitting the country campaigning for others and for causes and for parties - I think it's time to sit down and do some real work in D.C. and drop the posturing and blaming on both sides.

      kay
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      • Profile picture of the author ThomM
        The argument for earmarks is "there isn't time to consider them all".
        TRANSLATION: We wouldn't get the money, if you knew what it was for.
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  • Profile picture of the author TLTheLiberator
    Actually, the earmark process has been a lot more transparent since around 2006.

    From Wikipedia...

    The process of earmarking has been substantially reformed since the beginning of the 110th Congress. (2006-2008)

    Members of Congress must post all their requests on their websites and they must sign a certification letter (which are then put online) indicating that neither they nor their spouse has a financial interest in the earmark request.

    Many members have also instituted an applications process that their constituents must undergo for earmark requests.
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  • Profile picture of the author seasoned
    TL that is all LIP SERVICE! HECK, they have votes, campaign donations, related companies and investments, etc... Things that THEY may FULLY know about but feel that nobody could reliably find out. HECK, there have EVEN been cases of like a company being invested in to have a related company hire a nephew or whatever.

    In any event, WHO CARES!?!?!? I went down a street DAILY over the past 4 years! *****NOTHING***** changed! It wasn't repaved, etc... NOTHNG CHANGED! OK, ONE thing changed! They added a stupid little sign that its maintenance was paid out of that shovel ready projects fund.

    Apparently a LOT of signs like that went up and they cost MILLIONS of dollars. For SIGNS!?!?!? And WHY? To stroke someone's ego!?!?!? That money could EASILY have purchased a nice home to help dozens of homeless a month to recover and get viable employment. It could have made things BETTER! Instead, it simply wasted money!

    Steve
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    • Profile picture of the author TLTheLiberator
      Originally Posted by seasoned View Post

      TL that is all LIP SERVICE! HECK, they have votes, campaign donations, related companies and investments, etc... Things that THEY may FULLY know about but feel that nobody could reliably find out. HECK, there have EVEN been cases of like a company being invested in to have a related company hire a nephew or whatever.

      In any event, WHO CARES!?!?!? I went down a street DAILY over the past 4 years! *****NOTHING***** changed! It wasn't repaved, etc... NOTHNG CHANGED! OK, ONE thing changed! They added a stupid little sign that its maintenance was paid out of that shovel ready projects fund.

      Apparently a LOT of signs like that went up and they cost MILLIONS of dollars. For SIGNS!?!?!? And WHY? To stroke someone's ego!?!?!? That money could EASILY have purchased a nice home to help dozens of homeless a month to recover and get viable employment. It could have made things BETTER! Instead, it simply wasted money!

      Steve


      Are you saying that some/most/all earmark projects are phony as in the funds have not been used for the stated purposes?


      If so, what percentage of them do you think are fraudulent?


      TL
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      • Profile picture of the author seasoned
        Originally Posted by TLTheLiberator View Post

        Are you saying that some/most/all earmark projects are phony as in the funds have not been used for the stated purposes?


        If so, what percentage of them do you think are fraudulent?


        TL
        Well, I gave you a real example of one. It was in MA near exit 31 on the 95! Around the burlington/lexington area.

        Quick show of hands! WHO here wants to spend MILLIONS on signs just to have signs?

        You know what? ANYONE that wants to say YES, I ask them to PLEASE go to the federal government, pay them the money, and ask that it be refunded IN FULL to the tax payers!

        Steve
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  • Profile picture of the author Patrician
    The issue in this case is a clear conflict of interest. (thread topic)

    Obviously someone who has an agenda (to get the contract) should not be the one that conducts a study to determine if it is necessary -
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    • Profile picture of the author Kay King
      The problem with earmarks is the same as a problem with some other spending decisions such as the airport scanners.

      On the surface - in writing - these sound like logical proposals made in the public interest. Under the surface, they are too often associated with paybacks of one kind or another. A former head of FEMA will profit greatly from the scanners deployment - bridges to nowhere sound good on paper.

      In my area, one earmark was a few million designated for solving flooding on some roads. The money was applied in an area where flooding roads are not - and have never been - a problem. There were no drains installed but the green medians separating east/west lanes were dug up and concrete poured to replace the grass and trees. The public hates it - didn't want it - but the answer was "needed to use money allocated by the fed within a certain time frame". What was revealed was the money was a result of an earmark meant to benefit a certain county on the coast.

      I don't know if it can be changed or will be changed. But the "must use fed money allocated" is a common excuse for useless projects across the country. Two years ago a few hundred thousand of fed govt money was used in a nearby town to plant wildflowers between sidewalks and streets. It's pretty but already there are proposals to replace the wildflowers with grass or concrete - and guess who will be asked to pay for it? It's a vicious cycle and we have to break it before it breaks us.

      For me, it means not defending anyone who blindly accepts doing things "the way they've always been done". These people are not party centric but are throughout the system.

      kay
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      • Profile picture of the author seasoned
        Originally Posted by Kay King View Post

        The problem with earmarks is the same as a problem with some other spending decisions such as the airport scanners.

        On the surface - in writing - these sound like logical proposals made in the public interest. Under the surface, they are too often associated with paybacks of one kind or another. A former head of FEMA will profit greatly from the scanners deployment - bridges to nowhere sound good on paper.
        HEY, I am ****NOT**** kidding! Millions of dollars were paid to replace a plenty usable bridge across a freeway. The KICKER? Almost 100% of the traffic will be a few horses going between parts of a farm. Talk about bridge to nowhere. And if it were SO important, why didn't the few people that use it get together to pay for it? Supporters CLAIM it may help support vehicles and emergency traffic, but that seems a bit far fetched. Even THAT excuse, though, is not often mentioned.

        $4.6 million bridge for horses eyed on

        In my area, one earmark was a few million designated for solving flooding on some roads. The money was applied in an area where flooding roads are not - and have never been - a problem. There were no drains installed but the green medians separating east/west lanes were dug up and concrete poured to replace the grass and trees. The public hates it - didn't want it - but the answer was "needed to use money allocated by the fed within a certain time frame". What was revealed was the money was a result of an earmark meant to benefit a certain county on the coast.
        That isn't a government problem, but CORPORATE, and includes governments. STILL, why not use it for a project that benefits people, etc... HECK, if they DON'T use it their future allocations MIGHT be cut. They MIGHT lose the money. MAYBE, though, the tax payer can get a LITTLE break! That garbage happens EVERYWHERE! I have seen it in companies, cities, counties, police departments, etc... Heck, I met a sheriff that worked for LA COUNTY and he said he got a laptop he DIDN'T need or ask for because they had too much money in their budget! How many companies have HURT because a place not bringing money in spent FAR more than it had to so it could keep the budget?

        I don't know if it can be changed or will be changed. But the "must use fed money allocated" is a common excuse for useless projects across the country. Two years ago a few hundred thousand of fed govt money was used in a nearby town to plant wildflowers between sidewalks and streets. It's pretty but already there are proposals to replace the wildflowers with grass or concrete - and guess who will be asked to pay for it? It's a vicious cycle and we have to break it before it breaks us.

        For me, it means not defending anyone who blindly accepts doing things "the way they've always been done". These people are not party centric but are throughout the system.

        kay
        YOU'VE SAID IT!

        Steve
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