Archive for the ‘Waste’ Category
If Americans will trample one another just to save a few dollars on a television, what will they do when society breaks down and the survival of their families is at stake? Once in a while an event comes along that gives us a peek into what life could be like when the thin veneer of civilization that we all take for granted is stripped away. For example, when Hurricane Sandy hit New York and New Jersey there wasrampant looting and within days people were digging around in supermarket dumpsters looking for food. Sadly, “Black Friday” also gives us a look at how crazed the American people can be when given the opportunity. This year was no exception. Once again we saw large crowds of frenzied shoppers push, shove, scratch, claw, bite and trample one another just to save a few bucks on cheap foreign-made goods. And of course most retailers seem to be encouraging this type of behavior. Most of them actually want people frothing at the mouth and willing to fight one another to buy their goods. But is this kind of “me first” mentality really something that we want to foster as a society? If people are willing to riot to save money on a cell phone, what would they be willing to do to feed their families? Are the Black Friday riots a very small preview of the civil unrest that is coming when society eventually breaks down?
Once upon a time, Thanksgiving was not really a commercial holiday. It was a time to get together with family and friends, eat turkey and express thanks for the blessings that we have been given.
But in recent years Black Friday has started to become even a bigger event than Thanksgiving itself.
Millions of Americans have become convinced that it is fun to wait in long lines outside retail stores in freezing cold weather in the middle of the night to spend money that they do not have on things that they do not need.
And of course very, very few “Black Friday deals” are actually made in America. So these frenzied shoppers are actually killing American jobs and destroying the U.S. economy as well.
The absurdity of Black Friday was summed up very well recently in a statement that has already been retweeted on Twitter more than 1,000 times…
It has gotten to the point where it is now expected that there will be mini-riots all over the country early on Black Friday morning each year. The following are a few examples of the craziness that we saw this year…
Fortunately, many Americans are starting to get fed up with Black Friday. In fact, one activist named Mark Dice actually went out and heckled Black Friday shoppers this year. I found the following You Tube video to be very funny, and I think most of you will too…
In the end, it is not that big of a deal that people want to fight with one another to save 50 dollars on a cell phone.
But this kind of extreme selfishness and desperation could become a massive problem someday if society breaks down and suddenly millions of extremely selfish and desperate people are scrambling for survival.
With each passing day our economy is getting even weaker, and the next wave of the economic collapse is rapidly approaching. What are people going to do when the next spike in unemployment hits us and nobody can find work?
To get an idea of where things are headed, just look at Europe. In both Greece and Spain the unemployment rate is over 25 percent and civil unrest has become almost a constant problem in both of those countries.
So what kind of riots will we see in the United States when the economy gets much worse than it is now?
Already there are signs of social decay all around us, and most Americans are completely unprepared for what will happen if a major disaster or emergency does strike.
Sadly, the reality is that most Americans live on a month to month basis. Most families do not have any emergency savings to speak of, and one recent poll found that 55 percent of all Americans only have enough food in their homes to survive for three days or less.
To me, that is an absolutely insane number.
We just came through a summer of extreme drought and global food supplies have dropped to a 40 year low. Our world is becoming increasingly unstable, and the global financial system could fall apart at any time. Most of us just assume that there will always be huge amounts of very cheap food available to us, but unfortunately that simply is not a safe assumption. The following is from a recent article in the Guardian…
Evan Fraser, author of Empires of Food and a geography lecturer at Guelph University in Ontario, Canada, says: “For six of the last 11 years the world has consumed more food than it has grown. We do not have any buffer and are running down reserves. Our stocks are very low and if we have a dry winter and a poor rice harvest we could see a major food crisis across the board.”
“Even if things do not boil over this year, by next summer we’ll have used up this buffer and consumers in the poorer parts of the world will once again be exposed to the effects of anything that hurts production.”
When I watch my fellow Americans trample one another to get a deal on a television or a video game, it makes me wonder what they would be willing to do if they went to the store someday and all the food was gone.
Desperate people do desperate things, and someday if there was a major economic breakdown in the United States I think the level of desperation in this country would be extremely frightening.
So what do you think? Please feel free to post a comment with your thoughts below…
An American economist travelled to China to observe a canal project. The Chinese delegation showed him the plans and the model of everything that would be built along this new masterpiece. When they travelled out to the worksite, the economist was aghast at what he saw. The men were all using hand tools such as shovels, pick axes, and wheelbarrows.
The American economist asked the leader of the Chinese delegation, “Why on Earth are your people using hand tools? Why are there no bulldozers or other modern equipment?”
The leader of the delegation stood up straight and replied, “If we used that type of equipment, all of these men would lose their jobs in a couple of months.”
The economist rubbed his chin in thought and then smiled, “Oh, it’s a jobs program. Why don’t you take away their shovels and give them spoons?”
Anarchists don’t break windows… Keynesians break windows.
There are so many reasons to criticize stimulus and public works projects but let’s just focus on a couple of the main ones.
The money that is used for these projects comes from taxation which is also known as theft. The people that are looted for the purpose of funding these projects incur an “opportunity cost.” The money that was taken is money that the tax victim will NOT be able to use to build his business or take care of his family. The other way of looking at this is to say, “We see this project being worked on but what we don’t see is what would have been done without the government taking the money from people and businesses.” The business owner has more incentive to economize his scarce resources than the government because he is not guaranteed to get an inflow of cash through compulsion.
But surely, the government must build roads in order for businesses to exist. How would business get their goods to market without government roads? How would the customers get to the markets? Surely only the coercive power of the State can provide these valuable roads!
Building roads does not create commerce any more than throwing a hook and worm in a puddle creates fish. Commerce comes from the capital investment and actions of a market actor that provides a good or service that the public is willing to exchange their money for. It is not necessary for the government to build these roads as there is a long history of private roads. Carl Fisher built a private road that went from San Francisco to New York City and another from Canada to Miami without a single tax dollar or toll booth. This happened before the State monopoly of roads. In more recent times, business owners on the island of Kauai did their own road repairs because they could not afford to wait for the government to do it. here
The real fallacy of infrastructure projects is that it for the purpose of repairing roads and bridges that are in disrepair. It is not. It is only for the purpose of putting people to work, spending gobs of money, and putting up re-election signs that say, “The government built that.” If the real purpose was to repair these bad roads, there would be no projects for new roads, bridges, bicycle paths, or animal crossings until the existing infrastructure was taken care of.
For the most part, these projects are nothing more than dig-a-ditch-fill-a-ditch programs. If you would not pay people out of your own pocket to dig holes and fill them back in, you should not support when the government does. Perhaps the question should change from, “Who will build the roads?” to “Does it really matter who builds the roads.”
Lou – Freedom Feens
Government promises to public employees have created “zero-risk” Wonderlands protected from the market forces of risk and consequence. These islands of privilege are snapping back to join the real economy.
Every government entity that reckoned it was moated from the market economy will be snapped back to “discover” risk and consequence. Let’s lay out the dynamic:
1. Every government can only spend what its economy generates in surplus.
2. Every government transfers risk and consequence from itself, its employees and its favored vested interests to the citizenry and taxpayers.
3. Every government collects and distributes the surplus of its private sector to its employees, favored constituencies and vested interests.
4. Since the government (State) promises guaranteed salaries, benefits and entitlements to its employees and favored constituencies, these individuals believe they are living in a risk-free Wonderland that is completely protected from the market economy.
5. Risk cannot be repealed or eliminated, it can only be masked or transferred to others.
6. The Federal government and the Federal Reserve have pursued a policy of inflating serial speculative credit-based bubbles.
7. These bubbles inflated assets, profits and taxes, creating the illusion that blow-off speculative tops were “the new normal.”
8. Speculative credit-based bubbles misallocate capital and incentivize malinvestment on a spectacular scale.
9. Once the bubble deflates, the capital is lost or trapped in illiquid malinvestments.
10. As a direct result of the dot-com bubble, Stockton’s tax revenues (general fund) leaped to $139 million in 2001. As a direct consequence of the housing bubble, it jumped to $186 million in 2007.
11. This “new normal” encouraged the belief that the stock market would double or triple every decade into the future, generating 8%+ annual returns for public union employee pension funds.
12. The city government granted employees open-ended guarantees of lifetime healthcare coverage.
13. This meant that there was no limit on the cost of each employee’s benefits.
14. As noted here many times, healthcare costs rise by 7%-10% every year, even as the economy which supports healthcare grows by 2% on average.
15. Healthcare alone will bankrupt the nation, and the bankruptcy of entities that promised open-ended healthcare is merely one manifestation of the coming bankruptcy of the entire sickcare/entitlement Status Quo.
16. Once the stock market reverts to the mean and is revalued to the “new normal” of global recession and low earnings growth, it will decline by 40% or more and yields will remain around 2%.
17. Pension funds earning 2% at best based on expectations of permanent 8% returns cannot sustainably pay the benefits promised.
18. If the city attempts to make up the shortfall annually, the services provided to the citizenry will be gutted. The risk and consequence of malinvestment and favoritism has been offloaded onto the citizens while those protected by the government moat live “risk-free” lives of guaranteed pensions and benefits.
19. The public-employee pension and healthcare benefits were separated from the market economy with this government guarantee: regardless of what happens in the real economy, you will be paid pensions and benefits that have zero exposure to the market economy and private-sector pensions/benefits.
20. In effect, the government has placed its employees and vested interests in a moated “risk-free” zone outside the market economy. The risk that is distributed to all participants in an open market (i.e. a democracy) is transferred to the citizens and taxpayers.
21. Any government that siphons off an increasing share of its taxpayers’ disposable income (to distribute to the privileged few) in return for declining services will eventually be overthrown by the citizenry and taxpayers who must bear the full consequences of the city’s mismanagement of their capital and income.
22. Every city, county and state in the U.S. which has secured a risk-free wonderland for its favored few will “snap back” into the real economy and face the discipline of the credit market and the “discovery” of price and value.
23. Risk cannot be eliminated by government mandate, it can only be transferred to others. No government entity can maintain a “risk-free” fortress outside the market forever. The moat around Wonderland will be drained or filled, regardless of what promises were made.
24. Government has no mechanism to transparently price risk, value and return on investment. The market will “discover” all these and re-set government services and salaries accordingly.
Charles Hugh Smith – Of Two Minds
The USSC upheld Obamacare by, basically, twisting the Constitution into a pretzel, crapping on it, whizzing on that and then eating it.
Finding first that the Commerce Clause bars the government from compelling one to enter into commerce, the analysis then turned to whether there was any way to save the constitutionality of the act.
The justices found one.
They re-interpreted the penalty clause as a tax.
And of course, Congress can levy taxes.
That’s the path taken by this tortured process — a path that could only be dreamed up if someone had already determined the outcome they sought instead of being an independent jurist.
The real surprise, however, is that Chief Justice Roberts, believed to be a strict constructionist on the court, managed to not only agree with this piece of tortured logic he found and constructed it as the opinion is his!
So much for judicial restraint and strict construction!
You really ought to read the dissent that starts on page 127 of the opinion. Justice Scalia, Thomas, Kennedy and Alito eviscertate the majority, saying in part:
Here, however, Congress has impressed into servicethird parties, healthy individuals who could be but are not customers of the relevant industry, to offset the undesirable consequences of the regulation. Congress’ desire to force these individuals to purchase insurance is motivatedby the fact that they are further removed from the marketthan unhealthy individuals with pre-existing conditions, because they are less likely to need extensive care in the near future. If Congress can reach out and command even those furthest removed from an interstate market to participate in the market, then the Commerce Clause becomes a font of unlimited power, or in Hamilton’s words, “the hideous monster whose devouring jaws . . . spare neither sex nor age, nor high nor low, nor sacred nor profane.” The Federalist No. 33, p. 202 (C. Rossiter ed. 1961).
What little was left of The Constitution died today, June 28th, 2012.
And incidentally, the math on federal health spending coupled with this decision means that by the time a 55 year old man reaches 85 (his life expectancy, roughly) the Federal government will be attempting to spend roughly $15 trillion a year on health care.
(No it won’t, no we won’t get that far, and the detonation of our government on the fiscal side is now assured — or your health care will be sacrificed. This is mathematics, not politics.)
Why do chimpanzees throw poop? The federal government would like to know and is using your tax dollars to investigate the matter. Every single year, we all send huge amounts of our hard-earned money to the federal government. We hope that they will spend that money wisely. Unfortunately, that is simply not the case. You are about to read some examples of how the government is wasting your money that are absolutely mind blowing. Anyone that claims that there is not a lot of waste that can be cut out of the federal budget is lying to you. Our politicians have racked up the biggest pile of debt in the history of the world and they are spending our money on some of the stupidest things imaginable. It is imperative that the American people be educated about all of this outrageous government waste, because right now the political will to change this corrupt system is simply not there among the current crop of politicians in Washington. We are stealing trillions of dollars from future generations and many of the things that our politicians are wasting that money on are almost too bizarre to believe.
The following are 30 mind blowing ways that the government is wasting your money….
#1 In 2011, the National Institutes of Health spent $592,527 on a study that sought to figure out once and for all why chimpanzees throw poop.
#2 The National Institutes of Health has spent more than 5 million dollars on a website called Sexpulse that is targeted at “men who use the Internet to seek sex with men”. According to Fox News, the website “includes pornographic images of homosexual sex as well as naked and scantily clad men” and features “a Space Invaders-style interactive game that uses a penis-shaped blaster to shoot down gay epithets.”
#3 The General Services Administration spent $822,751 on a “training conference” for 300 west coast employees at the M Resort and Casino in Las Vegas.
The following is how the Washington Post described some of the wasteful expenses that happened during this “conference”….
Among the “excessive, wasteful and in some cases impermissable” spending the inspector general documented: $5,600 for three semi-private catered in-room parties and $44 per person daily breakfasts; $75,000 for a “team-building” exercise — the goal was to build a bicycle; $146,000 on catered food and drinks; and $6,325 on commemorative coins in velvet boxes to reward all participants for their work on stimulus projects. The $31,208 “networking” reception featured a $19-per-person artisanal cheese display and $7,000 of sushi. At the conference’s closing-night dinner, employees received “yearbooks” with their pictures, at a cost of $8,130.
You can see some stunning pictures of GSA employees living the high life in Las Vegas right here.
#4 Do you remember a few days ago when credit rating agency Egan Jones downgraded U.S. government debt from AA+ to AA? Well, someone in the federal government apparently did not like that at all. According to Zero Hedge, the SEC plans to file charges against Egan Jones for “misstatements” on a regulatory application with the SEC.
Normally, the SEC does not go after anyone. After all, when is the last time a major banker went to prison?
No, the truth is that the SEC is usually just a huge waste of taxpayer money. According to ABC News, one investigation found that 17 senior SEC officials had been regularly viewing pornography while at work. While the American people were paying their salaries, this is what senior SEC officials were busy doing….
One senior attorney at SEC headquarters in Washington spent up to eight hours a day accessing Internet porn, according to the report, which has yet to be released. When he filled all the space on his government computer with pornographic images, he downloaded more to CDs and DVDs that accumulated in boxes in his offices.
An SEC accountant attempted to access porn websites 1,800 times in a two-week period and had 600 pornographic images on her computer hard drive.
Another SEC accountant used his SEC-issued computer to upload his own sexually explicit videos onto porn websites he joined.
And another SEC accountant attempted to access porn sites 16,000 times in a single month.
#5 According to InformationWeek, the federal government is spending “millions of dollars” to train Asian call center workers.
#6 If you can believe it, the federal government has actually spent $750,000 on a new soccer field for detainees held at Guantanamo Bay.
#7 The U.S. Agency for International Development spent 10 million dollars to create a version of “Sesame Street” for Pakistani television.
#8 The Obama administration has plans to spend between 16 and 20 million dollars to help students from Indonesia get master’s degrees.
#9 The National Science Foundation spent $198,000 on a University of California-Riverside study that explored “motivations, expectations and goal pursuit in social media.” One of the questions the study sought an answer to was the following: “Do unhappy people spend more time on Twitter or Facebook?”
#10 The federal government actually has spent $175,587 ”to determine if cocaine makes Japanese quail engage in sexually risky behavior”.
#11 In 2011, $147,138 was given to the American Museum of Magic in Marshall, Michigan. Their best magic trick is making U.S. taxpayer dollars disappear.
#12 The federal government recently spent $74,000 to help Michigan “increase awareness about the role Michigan plays in the production of trees and poinsettias.”
#13 In 2011, the federal government gave $550,000 toward the making of a documentary about how rock and roll contributed to the fall of the Soviet Union.
#14 The National Institutes of Health has contributed $55,382 toward a study of “hookah smoking habits” in the country of Jordan.
#15 The federal government gave $606,000 to researchers at Columbia University to study how heterosexuals use the Internet to find love.
#16 A total of $133,277 was recently given to the International Center for the History of Electronic Games for video game preservation. The International Center for the History of Electronic Games says that it “collects, studies, and interprets video games, other electronic games, and related materials and the ways in which electronic games are changing how people play, learn, and connect with each other, including across boundaries of culture and geography.”
#17 The federal government has given approximately $3 million to researchers at the University of California at Irvine to fund their research into video games such as World of Warcraft.
#18 In 2011, the National Science Foundation gave one team of researchers$149,990 to create a video game called “RapidGuppy” for cell phones and other mobile devices.
#19 The U.S. Department of Agriculture once handed researchers at the University of New Hampshire $700,000 to study methane gas emissions from dairy cows.
#20 In 2011, $936,818 was spent developing an online soap opera entitled “Diary of a Single Mom”. The show “chronicles the lives and challenges of three single mothers and their families trying to get ahead despite obstacles that all single mothers face, such as childcare, healthcare, education, and finances.”
#21 The federal government once shelled out $2.6 million to train Chinese prostitutes to drink responsibly.
#22 Last year, the federal government spent $96,000 to buy iPads for kindergarten students in Maine.
#23 The U.S. Postal Service once spent $13,500 for a single dinner at Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse.
#24 In 2011, the Air Force Academy completed work on an outdoor worship area for pagans and Wiccans. The worship area consists of “a small Stonehenge-like circle of boulders with [a] propane fire pit” and it cost $51,474 to build. The worship area is “for the handful of current or future cadets whose religions fall under the broad category of ‘Earth-based’, which includes Wiccans, druids and pagans.” At this point, that only includes 3 current students at the Air Force Academy.
#25 The National Institutes of Health once gave researchers $400,000 to study why gay men in Argentina engage in risky sexual behavior when they are drunk.
#26 The National Institutes of Health once gave researchers $442,340 to study the behavior of male prostitutes in Vietnam.
#27 The National Institutes of Health once spent $800,000 in “stimulus funds” to study the impact of a “genital-washing program” on men in South Africa.
#28 The National Science Foundation recently spent $200,000 on a study that examined how voters react when politicians change their stances on climate change.
#29 The federal government recently spent $484,000 to help build a Mellow Mushroom pizzeria in Arlington, Texas.
#30 At this point, China is holding over a trillion dollars of U.S. government debt. But that didn’t stop the United States from sending 17.8 million dollars in foreign aid to China in 2011.
Do you feel good about paying your federal taxes after reading all of those examples of wasteful government spending?
All over America, middle class families are scratching and clawing in an effort to survive in this economy, and the oppressive levels of taxation imposed on those families certainly does not make things any easier for them.
It is tremendously immoral for the federal government to take money out of the hands of hard working families and spend it on such ridiculous things.
So what do you all think about the list above?
Do you have any things that you would add to that list?
Are you disgusted by how the federal government is mismanaging our money?
Feel free to leave a comment with your opinion below….
In the bitter cold on Monday night, a man and woman picked apart a pyramid of clear trash bags, the discards of the HM clothing store that reigns in blazing plate-glass glory on 34th Street, just east of Sixth Avenue in Manhattan.
Cynthia Magnus with mutilated clothing she found on West 35th Street last month. She said she was appalled by the waste.
At the back entrance on 35th Street, awaiting trash haulers, were bags of garments that appear to have never been worn. And to make sure that they never would be worn or sold, someone had slashed most of them with box cutters or razors, a familiar sight outside H & M’s back door. The man and woman were there to salvage what had not been destroyed.
He worked quickly, never uttering a word. A bag was opened and eyed, and if it held something of promise, was tossed at the feet of the woman. She said her name was Pepa.
Were the clothes usually cut up before they were thrown out?
“A veces,” she said in Spanish. Sometimes.
She packed up a few items that had escaped the blade — a bright green T-shirt that said “Summer of Surf,” and a dark-blue hoodie in size 12, with a Divided label. The rest was returned to the pyramid.
It is winter. A third of the city is poor. And unworn clothing is being destroyed nightly.
A few doors down on 35th Street, hundreds of garments tagged for sale in Wal-Mart — hoodies and T-shirts and pants — were discovered in trash bags the week before Christmas, apparently dumped by a contractor for Wal-Mart that has space on the block.
Each piece of clothing had holes punched through it by a machine.
They were found by Cynthia Magnus, who attends classes at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York on Fifth Avenue and noticed the piles of discarded clothing as she walked to the subway station in Herald Square. She was aghast at the waste, and dragged some of the bags home to Brooklyn, hoping that someone would be willing to take on the job of patching the clothes and making them wearable.
A Wal-Mart spokeswoman, Melissa Hill, said the company normally donates all its unworn goods to charities, and would have to investigate why the items found on 35th Street were discarded.
During her walks down 35th Street, Ms. Magnus said, it is more common to find destroyed clothing in the H & M trash. On Dec. 7, during an early cold snap, she said, she saw about 20 bags filled with H & M clothing that had been cut up.
“Gloves with the fingers cut off,” Ms. Magnus said, reciting the inventory of ruined items. “Warm socks. Cute patent leather Mary Jane school shoes, maybe for fourth graders, with the instep cut up with a scissor. Men’s jackets, slashed across the body and the arms. The puffy fiber fill was coming out in big white cotton balls.” The jackets were tagged $59, $79 and $129.
This week, a manager in the H & M store on 34th Street said inquiries about its disposal practices had to be made to its United States headquarters. However, various officials did not respond to 10 inquiries made Tuesday by phone and e-mail.
Directly around the corner from H & M is a big collection point for New York Cares, which conducts an annual coat drive.
“We’d be glad to take unworn coats, and companies often send them to us,” said Colleen Farrell, a spokeswoman for New York Cares.
More than coats were tossed out. “The H & M thing was just ridiculous, not only clothing, but bags and bags of sturdy plastic hangers,” Ms. Magnus said. “I took a dozen of them. A girl can never have enough hangers.”
H & M, which is based in Sweden, has an executive in charge of corporate responsibility who leads the company’s sustainability efforts. On its Web site, H&M reports that to save paper, it has shrunk its shipping labels.
“How about all the solid waste generated by throwing away usable garments and plastic hangers?” Ms. Magnus asked in a letter to the executive, Ingrid Schullstrom. She volunteered to help H & M connect with a charity or agency in New York that could put the unsold items to better use than simply tossing them in the trash. So far, she said, she has gotten no response.
On Monday night, Pepa’s shopping bag held a few items. She pointed to her gray sweatpants. “From here,” she said.
How about coats?
“Maybe tomorrow,” she said.