Forum Index » Chaff » Newtown -- Who Here Changed His (or Her) Mind?


Display Avatars Sort By:
Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Is California really that big of a burden on 01/23/2013 16:05:35 MST Print View

"I guess it is now having a bit of a crisis, but is that good enough reason to grumble that it is now putting it's hand out for assistance? Or is our idea of social welfare that, like insurance companies, we only pay out when revenue still exceeds profits?"

Many of our cities, counties, and the state are struggling with employee pension funds. Instead of being self-funded, they are going to have to take monies out of the general funds. That is looming as the number one problem.

Sales taxes (local and state) are among the highest in the country. This really impacts lower income citizens.

Gasoline taxes are outrageous. We can drive to Arizona or Nevada and gas can be up to $0.50 cheaper. Recently because of our special winter blend of gasoline (only required in this state) gasoline shot up to over $1 a gallon more than any state. This impacts lower income people the most.

State income tax is among the highest in the country. Wealthy individuals and companies are fleeing to other states. That means less income for the state and fewer jobs for the people who live here.

Lets do it the simple way. When people lose their jobs or their income is reduced, they cut expenses at home. Here, the government spends more money when their income is reduced.

-----------
An Example
-----------

A while back my city spent $1.8 million dollars of Federal TARP money, during the height of the economic downturn, to build a bocce court along a street and "improve" the intersection. They city calls this small piece of land a "park." These improvements included the elimination of ingress/egress on the largest street to a strip mall that has been there for over 40 years, resulting in all the businesses going broke, to include the property owner who had operated a small grocery market/convenience store for all these years. Today there is one new business operating, a mattress store. Traffic could not get into the shopping area easily, after the "improvements." But hey, we have nice landscaping... or we did. Apparently there is no money to properly keep up the improvements and remove the weeds that are growing. I don't know anyone who plays bocce -- I never even heard of the sport until this was built. But it is my understanding that elderly people play bocce. That won't work here... there is no parking for the "park." Oh, and I have never seen a single person playing bocce here. and no one walks on the sidewalks, because the only place someone would want to walk to is the small shopping mall, which is now mostly vacant. Plus a lot of the area around here is zoned industrial.

And this goes on and on across the state :(


Gateway Park Sign

$1.8 Million



Dead Center

The shopping mall is all but dead. But, there is nice landscaping along the street.


Landscaping

I think someone forgot to tell the city they would need money to maintain the landscaping.


bocce courts

The bocce courts are ALWAYS empty when I drive by. My wife drives by twice a day and has never seen anyone there either.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: Is California really that big of a burden on 01/23/2013 16:13:25 MST Print View

Nick, there is one way to avoid paying such big income taxes to the state.

Don't owe any income tax.

I've got that licked.

If I ever have to pay any income tax, I can pay it out of my pocket change.

--B.G.--

Lynn Tramper
(retropump) - F

Locale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
Re: Re: Is California really that big of a burden on 01/23/2013 17:23:02 MST Print View

Nick, it sounds to me like California is the biggest burden on itself. That stinks of inept state government, and a reason to begrudge paying taxes at many levels. This does not make the idea of taxation for public good a bad idea, just the decisions made by those higher up. Again, this comes down to 'responsible' government, which requires that oxymoron of 'responsible' politicians, or a lynch mob to hold them responsible. Good luck with that!

Ben Crocker
(alexdrewreed) - M

Locale: Kentucky
Cali on 01/23/2013 17:36:04 MST Print View

I wish those rich folks would hurry up and leave to make room for me. I want to load up the truck and move to Beverly ... and play me some of that bocce

Lynn Tramper
(retropump) - F

Locale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
Re: Cali on 01/23/2013 17:39:24 MST Print View

Good idea Ben. I have some beach front property in mind myself. Should be able to pick it up for a song soon!

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Re: Re: Is California really that big of a burden on 01/23/2013 17:45:36 MST Print View

"Nick, it sounds to me like California is the biggest burden on itself."

It is happening in most states. Government bureaucrats and politicians think tax money is a cookie jar. And when it runs empty they just raise taxes and fees.

As to what government should provide, I'll leave that to another thread. I think everyone knows how I feel about that anyway.

Any idea where I can buy the equipment needed to play bocce? Oh, and I'll need some instructions on how the game is played too.

R K
(oiboyroi) - M

Locale: South West US
Re: Re: Re: Re: Is California really that big of a burden on 01/23/2013 18:20:45 MST Print View

Cookie jar? No. Officials don't have any incentive to reduce their budgets. That park does have a very useful purpose.

Brad Fisher
(wufpackfn)

Locale: NC/TN/VA Mountains
Re: Cali on 01/23/2013 18:35:11 MST Print View

"When you look at that data, the southern states are in trouble if they ever really get what they think they want: less taxes and less government spending."

Why are they in trouble? Controlling government spending and lower taxes is not a bad thing. Why is being in a state with high taxes, large deficit and large unfunded future liabilities the place to be? You can look at about any study and you will see the states like CA, IL, MA, SC among the worst run states. My state of NC is not perfect, but we have had a AAA rating for 46 straight years. We also have a lower debt per capita and low cost of living. Guess I don't understand how you define success. What states would you say are the model state?

It's really very simple. The more expensive the cost for individuals and corporations will eventually result in people leaving. To make matters worse the ones you would like to stay are the only ones who can really afford to leave.

Brad

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Re: Cali on 01/23/2013 18:41:09 MST Print View

"Guess I don't understand how you define success."

Brad,

Obviously you do not understand accounting or philosophy. You can have your cake AND eat it too.

;)

Ken Thompson
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: Behind the Redwood Curtain
California vs. World east of I-5 on 01/23/2013 18:50:45 MST Print View

Climate, natural beauty, and being oceanfront will always make California popular. Sure we get paid in "Sunshine Dollars" and costs are high. Everywhere has a compromise. I would not move back east if you gave me a house. Been there, done that.

The gun issue will resolve itself when the collective conscience of our society shakes off the grogginess of a long slumber.


Or not.

Brad Fisher
(wufpackfn)

Locale: NC/TN/VA Mountains
Re: California vs. World east of I-5 on 01/23/2013 19:06:09 MST Print View

I understand how you feel Ken. Just don't ask me to pay for it with more federal tax dollars because you guys can't pay your bills. Illinois tried that trick last year and it didn't work.

Brad

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Re: Re: Cali on 01/23/2013 20:40:38 MST Print View

"Obviously you do not understand accounting or philosophy. You can have your cake AND eat it too."

Question to accountant: what's 2 + 2?
Answer: What do you want it to be?

We're run by a bunch of political accountants these days.

Lynn Tramper
(retropump) - F

Locale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
Philosophy and accounting on 01/24/2013 13:00:49 MST Print View

I must confess, accounting is not my strong point. I basically try to stay out of debt and keep food, shelter and health at the top of my priorities. Although I pay taxes, they are removed from my pay each pay day before I ever see them, so I never end up owing taxes. If I think I am owed a tax rebate, I am free to apply, but in practice I never do anything that would either make me owe more taxes, or deserve a rebate. So I guess you could say I keep my personal accounts very simple.

I know a lot more about philosophy, but I don't have a lot of respect for it as a 'do or die' principal. I am 100% a practical person and would rather do what works than what looks good philosophically. For instance, I am a vegetarian in philosophy and practice, but if times ever got tough, food wise, I would eat meat to survive. I am a socialist in philosophy, but if social order collapsed around me I would do whatever I needed to ensure me and my family's survival. To me the philosophy of the US constitution has out-lived itself. American society has mostly moved on. Many of the things that the framers of the constitution knew were needed for the constitution and republic to work as intended just didn't pan out. The amendments to the constitution are an aknowledgement of this. The second amendment reflects this, as do all of the others that reflect that changes or clarification of the constitution are necessary and desirable. Why is it that hard to accept that, for instance, voting rights and eligibility needed to be changed or clarified, but the second amendment can't be altered? Agreed, it won't solve all, or even most social problems and violence, but it could clarify exactly what those the right to bear arms entails to reflect modern culture and technology. The pro- second amendment people feel this could threaten their rights to the extend that all guns could be taken out of their hands. Do they also worry that their voting rights could be taken away? Given about the number of people eligible to vote but who don't is similar to the number of people who could own guns but don't, I just can't understand why 'arms' in particular are so sacrosanct.

As I understand it, the ideals of a republic eschewed by the forefathers, by their own recognition, required a thriving middle class of people who were engaged in political education and philosophy, and who were generally civic minded. They recognised that factions, especially by wealthy and powerfully groups, were detrimental. They recognised so many things that needed to be in place for it to work...many of these things do not exist now, or in the case of powerful factions, exist in the extreme now. Surely it's time to move forward!

Brad Fisher
(wufpackfn)

Locale: NC/TN/VA Mountains
Re: Philosophy and accounting on 01/24/2013 13:43:09 MST Print View

"Many of the things that the framers of the constitution knew were needed for the constitution and republic to work as intended just didn't pan out. The amendments to the constitution are an aknowledgement of this. The second amendment reflects this, as do all of the others that reflect that changes or clarification of the constitution are necessary and desirable. Why is it that hard to accept that, for instance, voting rights and eligibility needed to be changed or clarified, but the second amendment can't be altered?"

How would you alter the 2nd amendment? I think once you start trying to clarify things you just open up a can of worms. We would constantly be changing the amendment for changes in technology, etc. I don't think that is the answer either. Not say we don't need to make some adjustments, but changing the 2nd amendment just doesn't seem like the right thing to do.

Interesting that you brought up gun rights and voting rights. Just guessing, but I think the majority that are for tightening up the gun laws are adamantly opposed to tightening up the voting rights. Funny how we take positions..

Brad

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Re: Re: Is California really that big of a burden on 01/24/2013 13:44:22 MST Print View

"which requires that oxymoron of 'responsible' politicians, or a lynch mob to hold them responsible. Good luck with that!"

No luck needed, Lynn. Our farsighted Founding Fathers foresaw exactly such a contingency and bequeathed us the 2nd amendment to deal with it. ';0]

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Re: Re: Re: Is California really that big of a burden on 01/24/2013 13:53:14 MST Print View

"Any idea where I can buy the equipment needed to play bocce?"

At your local gun shop.

"Oh, and I'll need some instructions on how the game is played too."

It's a real easy game to learn. A person from one team throws the ball up in the air, and a player from the other team tries to blow it to smithereens with his AR-15. The game ends after 30 rounds for each player on each team, and the winner is the team who hits the ball the most times. Any player who hits the thrower is automatically disqualified and his team penalized 30 rounds. 4 members on each team. Simple as that.

Lynn Tramper
(retropump) - F

Locale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
Re: Re: Philosophy and accounting on 01/24/2013 14:11:01 MST Print View

"How would you alter the 2nd amendment? I think once you start trying to clarify things you just open up a can of worms. We would constantly be changing the amendment for changes in technology, etc. I don't think that is the answer either. Not say we don't need to make some adjustments, but changing the 2nd amendment just doesn't seem like the right thing to do."

I don't know that changing the second amendment would help, or not. Just puzzled why this amendment in particular is so adamantly defended by some as being carved in stone. Changes in technology, changes in what is considered 'right' or 'wrong'? How can clarifying things be bad in itself? Other amendments have clarified who has the right to vote as our sense of right and wrong have changed. Though I'm sure there are still some people who think that minorities, women, and people who don't pay poll taxes shouldn't be able to vote, the consensus seems to be that these clarifications were not a bad thing and merely reflect changes in societal attitudes. Prohibition seemed a good amendment to some when it was introduced, its repeal seemed an even better idea when it wasn't working.

But I mostly agree that what needs to change most is not gun law or amendments, but the rather schizophrenic apathy that says 'terrosists' must be tracked down and dealt with at all costs, yet feels that criminal behaviour from within is just too hard to solve. To me this is just accepting internal terrorism as something you have to live with, or arm yourself ever more and more to feel safe against such terrorists...

As someone with both an inside view and an outside view of constitutional law, I see the US constitution's biggest flaw as being treated as if it were carved in stone. This attitude seems to limit the flexibility of societies that need to change to adapt. But hey, I am living in a constitutional monarchy, at least in theory and philosophy. What's important to me is 'does it work'? Something like 60% of Kiwis seem to think it works just fine, and don't (yet) see a need for change. There will one day be a transition to an independent republic, but as long as it works, why fix it? The other side of that is to ask, if it's not working, by all means take up arms and fix it if there is no diplomatic/political solution to the problems...

Brad Fisher
(wufpackfn)

Locale: NC/TN/VA Mountains
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Is California really that big of a burden on 01/24/2013 14:13:03 MST Print View

Tom,

When we play those gun games in the south they usually begin with "Ya'll watch this...."

Ben Crocker
(alexdrewreed) - M

Locale: Kentucky
Tightening up the voting rights on 01/24/2013 14:22:07 MST Print View

Brad, I appreciate the way you phrased this issue. Several states did tighten up the voting rights. This has been done in several states recently to try to disqualify or or run off minority voters. It was a pure political ploy to try to keep Rs in power since minority voter tend to vote D. With this tightening of the voting rights, I think the Rs can expect to get even less of the minority vote. Anyone trying to keep people away from the polls should be ashamed.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Is California really that big of a burden on 01/24/2013 14:30:12 MST Print View

"When we play those gun games in the south they usually begin with "Ya'll watch this....""

LOL Regional dialects are fascinating. Out here where we have real mountains with lots of snow, they say, "Dude, watch this...." Also known as a snowboarder's last words. ;)