Sunday, May 18, 2008

The Campaign Continues

The other day I had a captured audience at the YMCA, five young people and two older ones. I was speaking to the five young ones about SS and other issues. One guy about 35 spoke up saying that they needed to research and find out for themselves what the facts are, which I agreed with. His position is that Social Security is more than just retirement it helps widows, disabled and more, which is true. However, the plan as many know is not to reform the Disability program, but the old age survivors insurance program.

After I gave my spiel this same individual stated that he recommended that they go to college and get good paying jobs. Which, I agreed with. The only problem is that less than 25% of all positions require a college degree and we already have millions of degreed people working in positions that pay far less than degreed positions.

This individual then came back and said that if you save 15% of your income each year, you would not be dependent on social security, which I agreed with. The only problem is that if you are fortunate to make enough to cover your fixed costs (food, housing, and utilities) that you have something left to save. But more importantly if you are the only one who has saved or are in the vast minority, where do you think the government is going to go to get money to pay those who were unable to save for retirement? That is right we see it already happening.

  • Taxation on SS benefits above a specified income.
  • Luxury tax on boats and cars.
  • Additional tax on eating out.
  • Phasing out of dependency exemptions above a specified income
  • Alternative minimum tax
  • Phasing out of itemized deductions
And the list is growing. The best way to protect your savings and your future is to have everyone save so that you are not the source of tax revenues in the future.

When it was all said and done, this individual left. Those that remained pondered the discussion. One of the five remaining told me I had his vote. The others were smiling.

Many will say I am not a viable candidate because I spend very little. This five minute interaction is what I do. I cannot buy enough time on radio or TV to get my message out. It takes longer than that. However, this one on one interaction or small group gathering pays off. They are more likely to vote and more importantly more likely to tell others and spread the word. I ask all those who support my platform who believe in the same issues to go out and speak to others. We need public involvement and we need an educated public to have an effective government of the people, by the people and for the people.

Politics and Oil

Issues in the news recently is oil. Who would have guessed that? Our elected politicians have voted to stop filling the nations Emergency Oil reserve. The official reason is to take pressure off demand. Each day about 70,000 barrels go into this reserve. This is about 1% of what we consume daily. Does/will this have any affect, no?

What I have been doing is tracking unleaded gas futures versus the pump price. When I see a divergence I buy and stock up on gas. My problem is I have limited storage capacity, but it is enough to span three weeks without having to buy. In this way I have been able to keep from having to pay more than $3.51 a gallon. Hopefully, the price will fall before it goes higher.

The word on the street is $150 a barrel oil. Is it better to buy oil at $125 or $150 a barrel? If it is better at $125 then why stop filling the reserve? The only reason would be that they predict oil to drop below current levels. Is this wishful thanking?

Our problem is not only increased world demand, but devaluation of the Dollar and a no drilling position, but we have max’d out our refining capacity. Even if we did have more oil, we cannot refine it.

We have candidates for President who would tax the windfall profits of oil companies, but do nothing to increase supply. On top of this they provide tax credits to perpetuate the same type of fuel to use in cars. It is time politicians stop subsidizing energy alternatives and let the private market do what they are best at doing, innovation. With the price of oil at over $100 a barrel, it will spur research and development into other types of energy. The reason is simple, there is a huge potential for profit with oil at over $100 a barrel.

Ethanol Tax Credit

The Ethanol Tax Credit is finally being reduced by 6 cents per gallon. The problem is that it should be zero. Ethanol needs to stand on its own. Below is the old legislation.

For all ethanol blends:
51 Cent per Gallon Ethanol Tax Credit Is Important Tool

The Volumetric Ethanol Excise Tax Credit, also known as VEETC, is a Federal tax credit that went into effect on January 1, 2005. This is a credit of $.51 for every gallon of pure ethanol blended into gasoline. For example, an E10 blend will have a credit available of $.051/gallon, and E85 will have a credit available of $.4335/gallon. This credit is identical for both E10 and E85, as are the forms to file for it.

A registered blender is the only individual in the supply chain that is eligible for this credit, and it can only be taken once. Understanding where this credit is taken and who is eligible is imperative to keep the pricing of ethanol-blended fuels below regular gasoline and in-line with where they should be. This credit is now refundable quarterly, and all funds are paid out of the General Fund of the federal budget. In years past, these funds were allocated from the Highway Fund.

It is recommended that you consult with your accountant to see how this credit will affect your business.

VEETC Details

· Credit of 51 cents for every gallon of pure ethanol blended into gasoline

· E10 would have a credit of 5.1 cents per gallon.

· VEETC is sometimes referred to as the “blenders credit”. A registered blender is the only individual eligible for the credit.

· The credit is refundable quarterly from the General Fund

link reference

Federal Reserve, Earmarks, The Culprits

Last night on Saturday Night they had a skit with McCain. It was funny, but at the same time very sad. One portion of the skit had to do with earmarks. Earmarks are the pork spending for things that have nothing to do with roll and responsibilities of the Federal Government. The last time this country, our elected representatives passed a non unified general federal balanced budget was in 1959 (excluding Social Security and Medicare funding and dedicated tax revenues). I have no idea how much all the earmarks have totaled over the decades, but with interest I would not be surprise me if it topped $1 Trillion. This is what we are leaving our children with. The culprits are Lugar, Souder and all the other elected officials.

The Economic Stimulus Package of $600 per adult and $300 per child is also an Earmark. It is an earmark because they have misspent so much money, borrowed so much to provide earmarks that the Dollar has been devaluated and these elected representatives have led us to our current economic predicament. With each drop in the Federal Funds Rate we see the dollar fall more. This causes the price of oil to rise. If we increase the Federal Funds Rate we cause our economy to falter. Maybe the Federal Reserve is not as good as we were led to believe?

I never had much faith or respect for Greenspan and my initial impression appears to be correct.

Senatorial Blackmail

I heard on WOWO that Feinstein, Dianne- (D - CA) has snuck in an amnesty provision inside the funding for the Iraq war. To me this is treason. We have laws in this country dealing with immigration. We also have a military action taking place over seas. At the same time Al-Qaeda has stated they are going to attack us at every opportunity. Feinstein is attempting to coerce others into either letting the United States be over run from within or overrun from outside.

This is a good reason why congress should have to read each bill being voted on and if they have not, it must be counted as a no vote. Maybe before each bill, Senators and Representatives should have to take comprehension test about the bill. I bet that would be an eye-opener. We could then find out which of our elected representatives actually understand what they are voting on.

To me it just is not right to add a provision to any bill that has no association with it. Each bill should stand on its own merits. However, when politicians do what Feinstein has done, it gives politics a the connotation it deserves and that is one of disrespect. Blackmail is against the law and this is nothing more than Feinstein blackmailing the American People.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

My proposal for voting on legislation.

Our elected representatives need to do a much better job of reading the bills they vote for. I would propose the following;

  • If a representative is not in the chamber when a vote is taken, their vote is automatically counted as a no vote. This makes sure that they are not skirting an issue. Every elected representative must take a stand for or against.
  • If a representative has not read the bill in its entirety, then they must vote no. This keeps ignorant individuals from voting for a bill, not know what they are doing and we the constituents getting hammered by bad legislation. An example is the Patriot Act. It came out the same day they voted on it. There is no way anyone of these elected representatives read the bill. It is better that no bill is passed than a bad one.
They have a responsibility to us to read and understand what they are voting on. Many companies hold their employees accountable for reading and understanding procedures with many have the employee initial and date a form.

If they do not have time to read every bill that is up for a vote, then they are creating far too many bills.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Windfall Profits

Both Clinton and Obama have stated publicly they intend to tax the oil companies for their windfall profits they are reaping. They intend to use these windfall profits tax to subsidize alternative energy sources. While they are at it maybe they need to look at some other commodities that are also reaping some huge windfalls because of government policies.

Our elected representatives passed legislation that provides a huge subsidy to ethanol production. They are exempt from the gasoline tax of 51 cents per gallon. In addition the construction cost of an ethanol plan also reap huge tax credits from both federal, state and local taxing authorities.

Ethanol production now is consuming over 25% of our corn crop. Keep in mind there used to be only 87 million acres devoted to corn now there is over 105 million acres. This increase in corn cultivation did not come about because more land is being cultivated, but because rice production has dropped 2 million acres and, wheat and soy bens have dropped some16 million acres

So with all this tax subsidization of ethanol we now have our food supply being used for fuel. This had resulted in corn going from $2 in spring of 2006 to $6.17 a bushel. Wheat has gone from $4.50 to a high of $12.90 a bushel Soy beans now cost $13.25 versus $5 a bushel in 2006. Most corn is used for feed stock (chickens, beef, pigs). Wheat of course is used to make bread, cakes, donuts and noodles. We have all seen the amount we spend on groceries go through the roof and the reason is obvious, ETHANOL. Our representatives without putting any thought into what they were doing have created this mess.

If these presidential candidates think oil companies are making excessive profits, then they should also look at others who are making huge profits as well. Here are some more;

Since November 2006
35% Aluminum
128% Brent crude
93% Corn
60% Coffee
141% Crude oil
92% Cocoa
51% CRB Commodities Index
29% Feeder cattle
71% Gold
65% Copper
125% Heating oil
20% Live cattle
53% Lean hogs
107% Natural gas
126% Unleaded gasoline
84% Cotton
90% Orange juice
86% Palladium
66% Pork bellies
114% Platinum
145% Soybeans
81% Silver
20% Sugar
208% Wheat

Oh, and let’s not leave out doctors, dentists, professional athletes who continue to see record incomes.

Seriously it is not these record profits that are the problem, it is government itself. Government did this because they got into areas they have no expertise in and exceeded the authority of the United States Constitution. We let them do this to us. The good news is we can correct this error by voting every last one out and send them home this November.

Northeastern REMC

In 2006, there were projections that electricity and natural gas rates would increase substantially. For the most part my family is good at using only the electricity they need, but like any family, there is always room to save more. Keep in mind this is pre daylight saving time when the sun actually rises earlier in the morning reducing the need for lights. One of the things we did was to replace all our incandescent with compact fluorescent bulbs. If there were four bulbs in a lamp, we put only two or three in its place. I also made sure that lights went off instead of kids reading in bed, falling a sleep and leaving five lights on all night. Our single largest consumer of electricity is our dryer. With seven people, the dryer runs a lot. You can save about 50% of the energy consumed in drying a load by simply using a lower hear, shaking the clothes out every five minutes and removing those items that dry fast allowing more air flow around the clothes. We even did without air conditioning up until August relying on the cool nights to cool down the house. For the most part, I thought we were doing a good job. Based on replacing light bulbs, we should have saved about 250 Kw-hr per month.

When I received the next month’s electric bill, I was pleased with our savings. Our reduction was in line with what I had projected. What added to our reduction was our kids went to their aunt and uncle’s on the lake for several weeks. Our consumption was in line when my wife and I were first married BC (before children). Over the next two-months, we took a long vacation, turned everything off except the refrigerator and sump. We came back and our bill was again low. If you our not using electricity it should be low. In the third, month band camp started both Girl and Boy Scout camps reduced our numbers again. Our third month was again, in line with what I had expected. However, in the fourth month we found a note in our electric bill stating our electric meter went bad in August and they installed another. These things happen. What I did not count on was that the Northeastern REMC began looking at our electrical consumption and said their meter actually went bad four months previous. They estimated a new bill based on the previous year’s usage. They stated that all our changes we made to consumption in the previous four months did not reduce our consumption at all and estimated

I asked Northeastern REMC how the calculated the bill, but they will not tell me. They would not listen to my explanation of why our consumption was low nor was why their estimate based on 2005 high. In fact, they still charged us $15 a month for the use of their faulty meter. I estimated what I though the last month should be and paid what I thought was fair. Northeastern REMC would have none of this. They said they had the right to estimate our usage any time our usage in any given month falls below 50% of the normal usage. I filed a complaint with the Indiana Regulatory Commission. The Commission finally replied. In the reply, I find that Northeastern REMC did not provide the Commission with the actual billed electric usage for 2005 and 2007. In addition, during the same periods in 2005 and 2006, they misread our meter three times. Generally, this is not a problem in that you end up with a low-billed amount one month and a high billed amount the next. In this case, because the two months were at the beginning and the end of the months in question, using same period usages to estimate usages are not accurate. These incorrect meter readings increased the previous and post same period consumption by 50% beyond what was actually used.

Warnings to all whom travel and turn off all appliances and lights; if you have Northeastern REMC, they may charge you for too little consumption on a meter if it reads less than 50% of the same period previously. In addition, you may start doing what we have done and read you meter daily. In this way, you can defend yourself when they misread a meter or state your meter has gone bad and bill you for a theoretical faulty meter. Make sure you call the Utility as soon as you find a discrepency with your meter and the monthly-billed usage. This should make it more difficult for them to go back farther than one month. In addition, if you suspect a faulty meter, call them immediately. In this day of being mindful of energy consumption, it is amazing that Northeastern REMC cannot come up with a better way to estimate electrical usage when a meter goes bad.

What is Northeastern REMC’s take on all of this? I as a consumer should have known my meter was bad when I got my first low bill. It is not up to Northeastern REMC to ensure the meter that I pay a monthly fee for is accurate and working but mine as a consumer. If a meter is found to be faulty, they have the right to go back 12 months and adjust ANY months they think were under read by their meter.

This past months consumption was 608 Kw-hr and that was with the furnace still on, day light savings time (now know to increase utilities by 4 to 7%) and a full house with many additional sleepovers. I guess I should expect Northeastern REMC to come and say my meter is bad again.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

The Right To Vote

I enlisted in the United States Navy in 1977. When I enlisted I took an oath to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies foreign and domestic. Those who know me know that I hold the United States Constitution with total respect for all. It is basis by which are rights are defined. The most important are found in the Bill of Rights. They are freedom of religion, freedom of the press, freedom to assembly, freedom of speech and the right to redress grievances of the government.

In the United States of America we take for granted that all citizens age 18 and over have the right to vote. We have fought many warss outside the United States so that others are free to vote for those they want to represent them. In the United States Women fought for the right to vote. Blacks fought for the right to vote. In fact multiple Amendments to the Constitution of the United States were ratified dealing with the guaranteed right to vote that some states tried to block. What happens if a statute is passed that takes this right away?

In the state of Indiana the requirement to register is simple. Fill out Indiana Voter Registration Application (VRG-7). Sounds simple enough. Box 13 Voter Identification Number is also straightforward. This box asks for your 10-digit Indiana issued driver's license number. If you do not posses an Indiana driver's license, then provide the last four digits of your social security number her. Next to this are three boxes to be checked.

  • Driver's license
  • Social Security Number
  • None
If you have none of these, the election division will assign a voter identification number to you. In very basic and simple terms, all that the law requires to register and vote in the state of Indiana is to be age 18, United States Citizen and meet Indiana residency requirements. But wait, Indiana has reverted back to the good ol' days when the good ol' boy's were in control of elections. In the good ol' boy days there were ways to make it difficult to vote. There was the poll tax, literacy test and more. But now Indiana has passed a Photo ID law and on the surface you would think this was good. Make sure the person who is voting is who they say they are.

The Supreme Court recently upheld Indiana's Voter ID law. Ken Falk of the Indiana Civil Liberties Union was contacted about two known person's who's right to vote would be violated under this law, yet Mr. Falk did not think their particular case had merit. He instead took a case where there were no actual known injured parties. In my opinion Ken Falk of the ICLU thru the case. In fact there are probably thousands like them in the State of Indiana.

The Supreme Court ruled that Indiana was providing free State ID's to those who needed it to vote, but were not able to afford the ID. But this is a lie. They do provide State ID's free to some, but not all even if they can afford the $5 fee. The State of Indiana is requiring a social security account number from all Indiana residents in order be issued a state ID. Yet there is no federal law requiring any United States Citizen apply for a SSN. The US Passport Office does not require the person have a SSN to be issued a US Passport. The Selective Service System does not require a person have a SSN to register for the draft. In fact the IRS lost a case this year over the requirement of a SSN from those who do not have a SSN. The Judge in that case clearly stated "we take for granted that a social security account number is required, when in fact it is voluntary." The Veteran's administration does not require a person have a SSN to receive benefits.

The fact is there is only one federal statute that requires a person have a SSN and that is the Social Security Act. If you want to apply for SS benefits, then you need a SSN, otherwise there is no other federal agency authorized to require you have a SSN. SSA Publication 5-10023 states applying for a SSN is voluntary. The Privacy Act of 1974 states no one may be denied rights, benefits or privileges for not having a SSN unless required by federal statute.

Indiana’s statute IC 9-24-9-2 requires a person present a social security account number to obtain a driver’s license or State ID. The social security account number is a federal identification number issued by the Social Security Administration. My question to the state four years ago was how does the state of Indiana have authority to require a person have a SSN when no Federal agency does?

Whom does this law affect? All Amish who do not have a SSN. There are an estimated 2 million individuals in the United States who are US Citizens and do not have SSN's because of religious reasons.

What is truly absurd is that the State of Indiana has done this according to the Marion County Court purely to reduce identity theft. The State of Indiana states they have a governmental interest in reducing ID theft, good for them. The problem is that the state in the same breath states they are not actually taking the ID's away from those who's SSN do not match the SSA's data base so that they will be able to vote. If the purpose was to reduce ID theft, then they should take the ID's away. If not there is no reason to require a SSN.

But the issue gets even muddier yet. They are denying driver licenses to those who do not have a SSN, yet posses US Passports. What is better proof of identity, a SSN with no photo or a US Passport with photo? Further, the SSLOV matching program only matches first, middle and last name, date of birth, gender and SSN. If this produces a match with that presented by an applicant then a driver's license is in reach. The problem is any person's identity that has not been presented to the State of Indian for a driver's license or State ID could easily produce a good match, yet be presented by an ID thief. So where is the reduction in identity theft?

Then there are the past decades of state BMV's across the country selling their records to data marketers to the highest bidder. The states that sold their BMV information were given up to 50% discounts when they used these data marketers to verify applicants for driver's licenses. In my opinion the Federal and State agencies created the identity theft problem we have today.

If Indiana was truly interested in reducing identity theft then they should simply outlaw the use of the SSN by all non-government entities in Indiana. Other states have recently done this.

I suggest everyone pull out their Social Security Card and read the back of it. It says misuse of a SSN is punishable by fine and or imprisonment. Maybe it is time we actually began to enforce this provision.

NBC-33 Debate poll results from 2002