alpipkin.com

Contemplations of a United States Constitution loving, big-government hating right-wing extremist whacko-bird

alpipkin.com - Contemplations of a United States Constitution loving, big-government hating right-wing extremist whacko-bird

Horror at Sandy Hook

The killing of all those children at Sandy Hook Elementary School last Friday elicited a level of horror and outrage beyond anything seen in decades. The age of most of the victims was the one thing that made this particular tragedy so much more horrific than the shootings at Fort Hood, Tuscon, VTech, Aurora and other recent mass shootings, even though there were children shot/killed in some of those instances.

Someone specifically targeting six and seven year old’s conveys an extraordinary level of evil. And that is exactly what the act was … evil. Acts of evil can only be preformed by a being with free will … a human. Animals cannot do evil, inanimate objects cannot do evil … only humans and it was one human that is responsible for the death and destruction in Newtown, Connecticut.

So what is the first thing our “Leaders” propose as a “solution?” Gun control! (scare quotes used on purpose)

Never mind those who inhabit the Fourth Estate have turned past killers into an apotheosis for those striving to make themselves even more renown. Never mind the thousands of people looking for help for their loved-ones suffering from mental illness who are told the only help is if their child/sibling/parent break the law.

And for heaven’s (read Washington DC) sake we shouldn’t discuss how removing religion from our schools, village squares and all other public places contributes to a coarsening of our society. No … gun control is what’s needed.

Connecticut has some of the strictest gun control laws in the nation, next to California and New York. However, not one of these laws were broken by the killer in order to arm himself for his evil deed. And there can be no law tough enough to have stopped him, because those who would do evil are not going to be deterred by a simple law.

Watch the video below for one of the most cogent arguments ever made as to why Americans should fight against those who would take our guns away. (h/t to David Breece)

This woman has captured in five minutes the entire argument against more gun control. Those who demand more gun control are only interested in the “control” part of the equation, as the woman’s ending statement so clearly articulates.

Our Scolder-in-Chief  told us on Sunday evening that we can only raise our children “with the help of a nation.” The nation hasn’t helped anyone raise their children … ever! An example of a nation that helps raise its children is Yugoslavia. Our children are raised by families and by neighbors and by teachers.

He also blamed us for not “doing something to stop the violence.” In case you don’t speak Obamaese, that means more gun control.

Stop it! Don’t let the elites who are doing everything in their substantial power to control every aspect of our lives (ever hear of something called “Obamacare?”).

Euro is Toast

Speigle Online posted an article yesterday titled Investors Prepare for Euro Collapse. The article summary states:

Banks, companies and investors are preparing themselves for a collapse of the euro. Cross-border bank lending is falling, asset managers are shunning Europe and money is flowing into German real estate and bonds. The euro remains stable against the dollar because America has debt problems too. But unlike the euro, the dollar’s structure isn’t in doubt.

The article goes on to describe growing resentment in both borrowing (PIIGS – Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Greece, Spain) and lender (pretty much Germany) nations. Further, it seems someone in Germany has challenged the authority of Germany’s constitution to accommodate the European Stability Mechanism (EMS), a new agreement that is meant to try yet again to stave off the collapse of the Euro.

Anyone who has even the most minimal understanding of what has been happening within the European financial markets over the past year and a basic understanding of human nature could tell you the Euro doesn’t have a chance of succeeding.

Germans are renown for, and proud of, their reputation as an efficient, hard working society, frugal but not cheapskates. They are the epitome of the ant in Aesop’s fable, the Ant and the Grasshopper. Greece plays the role of the Grasshopper, except they haven’t yet learned the lesson of the tale (but then the fable doesn’t say what ultimately happened to the grasshopper).

The German populace are becoming more and more resistant of their leaders loaning their hard-earned money to what they perceive as a bunch of sloths. Furthermore, Germany is about the only European Union member with an economy capable of lending out the amounts needed to keep the PIIGS afloat … for a while.

Side note: should France, the only other European Union country with a sizable enough economy, continue down the path they seem to have chosen, we’ll need a new acronym for the countries that prefer to keep their head in the sand rather than address their prolific socialist spending.

Borrowing is not the solution to the PIIGS’ problem, no more than it’s the solution to the economic fiasco we have allowed Washington to foist on us here in the United States. One of the reasons the PIIGS cannot continue to borrow is they are unwilling to adopt the measures necessary for them to actually repay the loans. They remain in denial of their profligate spending and therefore resentful of requirements that they adopt “austerity measures” (code for STOP SPENDING!).

Borrowers don’t really like those they owe money to. When did you last say “… oh look, a new bill from those nice folks at Master Card!?” And this isn’t a feeling that arrived with the advent of credit cards. (See Proverbs 22:7 – “The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower is the slave of the lender.”)

Based on the circumstances in Europe now and into the foreseeable future, there is very little chance the Euro will survive. Germans will not continue laboring to give their Euros to people who believe they are entitled to good paying government jobs, four weeks vacation a year and retirement at age 52. Greeks, Italians and Spaniards don’t believe they should give up their lifestyles just because they and their governments have spent themselves into poverty.

I’ve heard for years that our markets build into their price events such as what is going on in Europe. Let’s just say I’m skeptical of this conventional wisdom. The market is still made up of people, and they still have a tendency to act all to human.

Exit question: what will the failure of the Euro do to the US economy? The United States is teetering on the brink of another recession. Would the Euro’s collapse push it over? If we do enter into another recession we won’t know it until after the November elections.

All sorts of scenarios begin swirling in the mind!

“Comprehensive” Uncertainty List

Over and over you see, read, hear and watch Democrats and Liberals (but I repeat myself) ask “why isn’t the economy growing” or “why doesn’t big business spend the money they’re hording to create jobs?” And just as often there is a business leader, small business owner or Tea Party member who replies “it’s because of the uncertainty created by the politicians and regulators.”

We haven’t seen a complete list of all the laws regulations and lawsuits either passed or proposed that help to drive the uncertainty and thought we’d have a go at creating such list. We use Comprehensive in the title in quotes as a paean to the propensity of Washington DC to refer to all they do as “comprehensive.” We’re certain that this list isn’t comprehensive! One caveat: the list is limited to Federal issues.

We’ll begin with the MOAUL (mother of all uncertainty laws), Obamacare, aka The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). On a side note, this is an example of what we wrote about here regarding libs turning our language on it’s head. Also know that on this law and all other laws, but especially those described as “comprehensive,” it isn’t the law itself that creates the uncertainty but the unknowns that are bound up in yet-to-be written regulations.

Obamacare

Obamacare is such a change to our society that it may be impossible to list all the areas of uncertainty the law and accompanying regulations will ultimately cause (assuming it actually survives legal challenges and the threat of repeal). The known regulations that are prescribed in the law but not yet written include:

  • The cost of the final regulation has been debated since prior to its passage, but anyone with half a brain and any experience with how governments define costs know that the ultimate costs will exceed the 10 year, $900B described by the bills supporters. It is impossible to add 30M people to an existing system and lower the costs! I don’t intend on arguing over what the final costs will be as I fully expect the law will not see full daylight. Nevertheless, actual costs have been estimated somewhere between $1.75T and $3T the first full ten years of operation. It is doubtful the law as written would survive a second ten years as most of the remaining insurers would have closed shop and the government would be forced to a single-payer system; i.e. a national health care system like in Great Britain.
  • Regulations haven’t been completed as to the final requirements for businesses who provide health insurance benefits for employees. Any insurance plan will have to meet criteria developed by HHS (Health and Human Services, another misnomer), including coverage of preexisting conditions. We know that there will be a penalty for employers who don’t provide coverage and the penalty appears as it will be less that the cost of insurance, possibly significantly less. This will cause many businesses to opt for paying the penalty, causing their employees to have to move to a government sponsored plan, such a Medicaid. Additionally, many individuals will opt to pay the penalty rather than buy a qualified insurance plan.
  • Taxes will increase by at least $550B. Unknowns not yet defined will certainly grow that number. We could continue, but we have no intention to turn this into a harangue on Obamacare. There are huge numbers of resources on the internets about this monstrosity of a law should you be curious.

Dodd-Frank

We next tackle another “Comprehensive” law that is referred to (lovingly by some) as Dodd-Frank, or “An Act to promote the financial stability of the United States by improving accountability and transparency in the financial system, to end “too big to fail”, to protect the American taxpayer by ending bailouts, to protect consumers from abusive financial services practices, and for other purposes.” Really! That’s the official name of this bill (another Newspeak phrase). This law causes even more uncertainty for businesses than Obamacare.

  • The very first thing is that not only doesn’t it end “to big to fail,” it makes it law. Big corporations are backed by the full faith and credit of the United States, leaving medium and small sized companies to fend for themselves in an unfriendly regulatory environment. According to Rep Sam Graves (R-MO), Chairman of the Small Business Committee in the House, “The stricter regulatory environment created by Dodd-Frank, and the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), combined with the uncertainty brought by many of the laws’ vague provisions, is slowing small business lending.” Additionally he says “Small lending institutions lack the capability of their larger counterparts to hire the additional manpower necessary to deal with the hundreds of additional regulations created by Dodd-Frank. The increase in costs associated with these new regulations will lead to a decrease in revenue and will reduce small banks’ ability to meet the credit requirements of their communities.”
  • New regulations on small banks, credit unions and others that use credit in the course of their business will add untold thousands of hours each year in order to meet compliance. Many will opt out of the loan business, leaving consumers with fewer choices as to where to go for credit. Now guess what will happen to the cost of credit?

Spending and Debt

The stock market has resoundingly spoken of its displeasure with the so-called resolution of the debt ceiling debate and reduction of spending by the federal government. I recently wrote about some of the causes of spending here. The drivers of this spending take resources from the marketplace, but the real uncertainty is caused by the borrowing.

Government is borrowing so much money from the world markets, it is crowding out other borrowers. Were it not for government-backed programs such as Fannie Mae, Freddy Mac, the student loan program, Small Business Administration, and other lesser known entities, the cost for a loan for private borrowers would be astronomical.

Oil Drilling Moratorium

The Gulf oil well disaster provided a huge opening for the Obama administration to to place its proverbial boot on the necks of the oil industry. Initially stopping all offshore drilling operations, lawsuits eventuality pushed the administration into beginning issuance of new drilling permits, though at less than a snails pace.

Companies in the drilling industry are not going to keep their capital setting idle waiting for some bureaucrat to move a permit from his desk to the desk of the next bureaucrat, in the never-ending slog through officialdom. The driller or supplier is going to find another country that is friendly to private enterprise and take his business there.

Environmental Regulations

The EPA has become a super agency under the Obama administration. It has initiated regulation far beyond its congressional mandate and in the process inhibited business’s ability to function or stopped business in it’s track. We’re not going to go into detail as to why or how each of these regulations cause uncertainty; you’d be bored and we’d just get mad.

  • New air quality regulations will be closing coal-fired power plants or prohibiting new plants to open, causing coal mines to close or prohibit new mines from opening.
  • New water quality regulations
  • The EPA will now be regulating carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from businesses. These regulations will first affect the energy industry,  oil production and refining, and cement manufacturing.

DOJ Lawsuits

Arizona caught the brunt of a hostile Department of Justice covering for the Administration’s poor performance on controlling our Southern border. With laws passed by multiple states but unenforceable because of these harassment law suits. many businesses hang in limbo until these are resolved.

Consumer Protection and Product Liability

More small businesses have been closed as a result of so-called consumer protection and product liability regulation than from any other cause short of the high rate of new business failures inherent in beginning a new enterprise.If you’ve ever wondered why you see some of the ridicules warning labels on products, this is the reason.

Actually these laws and regulations should be clumped together and called The US Attorney’s Full Employment Act because these laws cause a very large proportion of the law suits every year. Businesses are always watching for changes in these regulations that could and do affect how business is done or products are brought to market. On occasion, these regulations become so stringent that entire industries are shuttered because the cost of compliance exceeds profitability.

Endangered Species Act

The Lord only knows which snail, owl or lizard will be the next species to bring the hammer of the Fish and Wildlife Service down upon the next unlucky enterprise. Currently a lizard is blocking oil exploration in several areas of Texas.

Free Trade Agreements

On occasion Obama mentions our free trade agreements as a source for new jobs (you remember that three letter word, J-O-B-S don’t you?). There are three free trade agreements on his desk awaiting signature and he hasn’t signed any since taking office. Those agreements mean jobs (four letters) if he really cared.

Farmers Required to have Commercial Drivers License

Proposed regulations from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration will require farmers across the country to obtain a commercial drivers license to operate any farm vehicles on public highways. This is far more invasive than it sounds on the surface. Read this article.

UPDATE 20110824:

Regulation of Goat Herder Workplace

The Department of Labor issued new regulations to assist foreign workers who fill goat herding positions in the U.S. , including employee-paid cell phones and comfy beds. These new special procedures must be followed by employers who want to hire temporary agricultural foreign workers to perform sheep herding or goat herding activities.  It describes strict rules for sleeping quarters, lighting, food storage, bathing, laundry, cooking and new rules for the counters where food is prepared.

We’ll end this for now, knowing there are many more laws and regulations hidden somewhere within the massive, 30-some thousand pages of the Federal Register.

Ode From the Common Man

A Twitter friend (twiend? frietter?) sent me the link to the video below. I immediately connected with this guy and deeply understand his plaintive cry.

This could be me, because he expresses my frustration precisely.

The Debt Ceiling vs the Size of Government – Updated

When was the last time you maxed out your credit card and then went to the bank to ask them to raise your credit limit? And did the bank said “thank you Mr. Customer for asking us to raise your credit limit; we were worried that you might run out of credit before asking for it to be raised?” If you answered yes, either your credit limit was below your monthly income and/or you owe no one else anything, and have significant assets and/or a perfect credit rating. If you answered “huh?” you live with the rest of us.

Most of us live within our means and use credit wisely, though sometimes outside forces can turn us upside down, i.e. autumn 2008 and the collapse of the housing bubble. Sure, an emergency may come up that causes you to borrow far more than you should. When that happens you compensate by cutting back on other, more discretionary spending until you correct your financial situation and things returns to more manageable levels.

Well, the federal government has been on a spending binge for over a decade. Moreover, the spending over the last three years has been at an unprecedented pace. In fact, the spending is on an unsustainable path and if not curtailed, it will bankrupt the US within a decade, two at most!

House Republicans and the President have been doing a kabuki dance, supposedly trying to find a way of addressing the debt ceiling to allow the Federal government to continue to operate. Unfortunately, what needs to be addressed isn’t the debt ceiling … it’s the size of the government!

Our budget deficit in 2007 was $165 Billion, down from the past decade high of $463B in 2004. The 2011 budget deficit will be about $1.65 Trillion … that’s $1,650 Billion … and it can all be traced to the Democrat’s drunken spending spree after the US housing bubble’s collapse.

Surpluses and Deficits 1940-2010 (thanks to DaveManuel.com)

The connection between the Dems spending spree and our current push against the debt ceiling is the large increase in the number of government employees and the massive increase in spending by most government agencies. For anyone to say that the fix to our current situation is just to raise the debt ceiling isn’t serious about beginning a recovery of the recession nor addressing our mountainous debts.

Obama wants new taxes (calls them “new revenue sources”) and is against any spending cuts. Both of these positions will cause a continuation of the insipid economy (but, but, but what about Recovery Summer??).

He also refuses to put his “plan” in writing, which makes the Republican’s job of negotiating with he and the Dems impossible, but it does allow Obama to bob and weave when anyone tries to pin him down to a single position. This approach is nothing less than perfidious, demonstrating that he isn’t governing nor leading, but [still] campaigning.

Spending is the problem and cutting spending is the solution. Cutting the current spending means laying off US government workers (did you see the story about government workers more likely to die than get fired?) and eliminating or cutting back on many government programs. That is it! Cutting spending; something we all have to do at some point in our own personal lives!

Now as to our debt, that is something that is going to take several years to get back to a manageable level (I’m talking about less than $1 Trillion). But if we give into the proclivities of the DC spendaholics we will continue into the abyss.

Updated 20110722 15:45 PDT: POTUS just had a melt-down during a hurriedly called press conference this afternoon. House Speaker Boehner has walked away form talks with Obama after getting nothing but frustration trying to negotiate a deal with him over the debt ceiling. Boehner released a letter explaining the futility of his talks with Obama.

Obama hasn’t had much experience in not getting his way and he isn’t handling it very well! Poor baby!

Don Barack of the Fed Family?

The Federal Government is beginning to look more like a criminal enterprise than a “government of the people, by the people and for the people” envisioned by President Lincoln in his address at Gettysburg. This is a pretty strong statement, so allow me to provide evidence.

Criminal organizations use a very simple strategy to first gain, then maintain their dominance over their victims; making false promises and intimidation. Criminals can be masters at understanding human behavior. Interaction with criminals is sometimes driven by desperation (think of the lender of last resort), but more often it is due to folks thinking they can get something for nothing (illicit gambling with unsupportable odds or a ‘business’ deal too good to pass up).

Once a person is involved in some nefarious scheme or other with ‘Jimmy the Weasel‘ or a more renowned ‘Whitey Bulger‘ it becomes increasingly difficult to extract yourself so long as you have value to your villainous partner. Some of those who tried to back out of their relationship with the aforementioned Whitey met with an untimely end (Bulger is accused of killing some 19 people). If knowing your new partner isn’t above killing people, or at a minimum breaking bones isn’t intimidating, then I don’t know the meaning of the word.

Now let’s review the some of the actions “our government” has been involved in lately:

  • The NLRB (National Labor Relations Board) recently filed suit against Boeing to prohibit them from opening a newly built South Carolina plant. The new plant was to allow Boeing a second production line for their new 787 Dreamliner. For the first time in American history a federal government agency intervened to stop a publicly owned company from expanding their business. The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers based at Boeing’s Washington plant is behind the suit and the NLRB is using its muscle in IAM’s behalf, similar to the way muscle was used in the take-over of GM and Chrysler. Bringing the power of the federal government to bear on private companies to protect union jobs at the expense of free enterprise is pure thuggery. Interestingly, it is akin to some of the same kind of thuggery ascribed to companies in the 1920’s and 30’s involved in union busting.
  • Speaking of GM and Chrysler, several agencies within the federal government colluded with the UAW (United Auto Workers [union]) to deprive non-union workers and individual investors of their legal share of two bankrupt companies. First, the Feds illegally used funds from TARP (a $700 billion fund specifically for use in bailing out the financial industry) to ‘purchase’ the companies. A group of those investors, as well as a separate group of non-union employees, have file separate law suits against New GM/New Chrysler, so far without result. Talk about being muscled out of your rights!
  • Were you aware that your Department of Education has their very own Tactical SWAT Team? Well neither were most of us until just recently. This ultra-secret para-military force (okay, maybe that is piling it on a bit thick) lost its cover when it raided the Stockton, CA house of violent offender failing to repay they’re college loan … or something. According to News10 in Stockton, “After the Department of Education raided the home of a Stockton man Tuesday morning, officials said the search was part of an ongoing criminal investigation. Kenneth Wright, after retaining a Sacramento lawyer, gave News10 the full original search warrant he was given by federal agents Tuesday.” The DOE SealTeam 6 broke into Wright’s home, handcuffed him, took his three children custody and searched his home, releasing him six hours later. BTW … they refused to reveal what they were looking for in the first place. Question … does the Department of Agriculture have its own private police force?  How about HUD, the Energy Department, Health or Commerce? Departing question … what is it that this (these?) force(s) do that couldn’t be handled by the FBI or the US Marshall’s office?
  • One aspect of our country that is fairly unique is that or founding documents require us all to be equal under the law. At least that’s the way it is supposed to be. I won’t rehash the story of the Justice Department refusing to prosecute the two New Black Panther Party members for voter intimidation in Philadelphia in 2008. Follow the links if you’ve not heard of it or want to refresh your memory. The point of raising this story is that this sort of behavior, favoritism, is what gangs and corrupt regimes do. It is precisely for this reason that our founding fathers put such a clause into our Constitution. Still thuggery nevertheless!
  • Ever wonder what would drive the Feds to sue Arizona for trying to do the job of protecting its borders exactly in the manner that the Feds are supposed to be doing? It has nothing to do with a fear that ‘citizens’ will be ‘illegally profiled.’ Obama knows that the legal citizens of this country are far more center right/conservative than he admits. The Democrat’s only hope to hanging on to their power is to get as many illegal aliens either voting for them or turned into legal “citizens” as quickly possible to vote for them. This is what crime bosses do; remember the famous Al Capone line? “I want everyone to be sure and vote early … and vote often.” Well the Dem’s want you to do the same … so long as it’s for them, and they do everything in their power to inhibit stronger voting laws, i.e. motor-voter laws, same-day voter registration and the Secretary of State Project. Why would that be? Can anyone sayACORN?’
  • What in heavens name was the ATF doing allowing thousands of semi-automatic weapons to be purchased and then freely cross the boarder and land into the hands of some of the most vile terrorists in North America? Nothing said so far by the regime makes any sense, and I can’t know what was behind the operation. Nonetheless, I’m leaning towards the story that it was some kind of operation to get “proof” that it was weapons from the USA that was arming the drug runners, thereby strengthening the Liberal’s case to impose more gun control. But what they forgot was that they had to involve loyal Americans, agents of the ATF that didn’t buy into their bosses’ corrupted view of the USA. From the looks of the story these last couple of days, we may have the head of the AFT implicating his bosses in the Justice Department. I certain;y hope so … because we don’t want him (Kenneth E. Melson) to “accidentally” fall out of his 15th floor office window.

I could keep going, but this is getting long and I think by now you get the drift. We have never had people in positions of power that had so little regard for our founding traditions, history of liberty and freedoms.

I’d love to be proven wrong, but it’s going to take more than hope, change and empty words to convince me.

How Can We Cut the Federal Deficit?

The Strong America Now Conference is underway in Des Moines, IA as I write. The organization’s mission statement says it is “dedicated to mobilizing and educating grassroots activists to support only those Presidential candidates who will commit to eliminating the deficit with no new taxes.” Their plan goes on to state:

Each Presidential candidate will be provided a Waste Reduction Deployment Plan which defines what actions are needed to detect and eliminate waste in the Federal Government. To be listed on our website as a supporter of the Strong America Now plan, they must sign the Strong America Now Candidate Pledge and agree to take a two day course on Waste Reduction and practice their knowledge on a waste reduction project prior to their Inauguration. Why do we require this?  Because it works! Every CEO of a private company who did this was successful in reducing waste across their business. The same is true in federal, state and local governments.

Why do we demand leaders train and practice on a project?

“Education creates understanding, but only practice creates belief”

Hugh Hewett (#hhrs) discussed this conference on his radio program yesterday (live from Des Moines) and interviewed the man behind the organization, Mike George. The basis for Mr. George’s organization’s focus is an improvement process called “Lean Six Sigma.” Lean Six Sigma is the latest iteration in a line of quality management programs going back to W. Edwards Deming, the man credited with teaching the Japanese how to build quality cars. I don’t say this to denigrate Lean Six Sigma; quite the contrary.

Six Sigma began like the other programs as a method of improving quality and lowering cost in manufacturing. Some of the folks using it though began thinking it might apply to other work processes, and its effectiveness began being used in hundreds and subsequently thousands of organizations. It is not my intent to sell you on Lean Six Sigma here, so if you want to know more follow the link above of do a search yourself.

Strong America Now’s objective is to gain the commitment of all the Republican presidential nominees and, if one is actually elected, for that person to take a two-day training program before entering office in Jan 2013. The idea behind this approach is that for Six Sigma to succeed in any organization, the executive at the top bust be committed and then each successive level will also have to buy into the program.

First, I was and remain skeptical that such a program could actually result in cost reductions in the federal government. There are only two ways to reduce the cost of the federal government: cut programs and/or cut people. Implementing a process like Lean Six Sigma (this is getting tiresome writing out the full name every time I need to name this process; surely if/when it becomes a daily part of government business the name will become acronymized) can lead to improved or more efficient processes. However, what becomes of the excess resources (read ‘people’) as a result of the improvements?

[I have never worked for the federal government so I base everything I say about employment practices of the federal government on my experiences working with federal agencies and hear-say, so if I say something that is incorrect, please let me know.]

Shedding federal employees is challenging at best, impossible at worst. I am unfamiliar with the Civil Service rules governing layoffs, but suspect they are similar to some State government rules. Furthermore, I don’t think there has ever been a large-scale federal layoff in our history (Reagan fired the air traffic controllers, so that doesn’t count).

That being said, layoffs based on seniority could in some cases be worse than no layoffs. Too often long-term government workers are the most resistant to change and could impede any earlier progress. I’ve seen this at a unionized warehouse operation trying to carry out a quality management process. A new conservative government should review Civil Service rules regardless, but it would be imperative if trying to bring a process such as Lean Six Sigma into play in the federal government.

Speaking of unions, that brings up another whole can of worms. With the myriad labor contracts in place, progress in cutting spending will be fought at every turn if there is a union involved, and I don’t have to speculate on this point.

I know I sound very cynical … somewhat my nature of late. I do want to see something put in place to get control of the run-away spending and begin to corral our unsustainable debt. But I also recognize that it is not going to happen unless our leaders admit that some of our systems need revamping.

My dad had a very appropriate phrase for a situation such as this: if you’re going to make some changes in your life … you’re going to have to make some changes in your life!