Posts tagged: Government

Friday Thoughts – June 9 – North Bans Sex !!

By , 06/08/2012 10:47 AM

Always Free and Worth Every Penny”


 The City Council of North, South Carolina decided New York City Mayor Bloomberg’s plan to address obesity with a ban large size sugary drinks just did not go far enough – they have announced a plan to ban all sex in their town.

 North, South Carolina – located 90 miles southeast of Due West, SC – has not always been at the forefront of social change but Mayor East, speaking at a packed house at Laird’s BBQ Pit, provided the Friday Thoughts news team with an exclusive interview

Friday Thoughts: Mayor East, this is a very extreme step – can you explain your logic?

Mayor East: Obesity is a major problem and, no disrespect to Mayor Bloomberg ….but  we believe simply banning large size soft drinks will not have any impact on obesity.  Besides, people in NY are already pretty good at smuggling coke.

We decided to get serious and carefully studied a wide range of options

FT: Such as…..

East: …… banning foods with high fat content: Krispy Kreme Donuts, fried apple pies, fried chicken, fried pork rinds, whole head sausage…. and even Moon Pies  !!! But we decided we just could not do that…..

FT: Why ??

East: Can you imagine?? Folks would never put up with such government intrusion on their personal lives! That would be like telling them they must have health insurance!     Besides – we don’t have a Whole Foods here yet – how can you eat healthy without Whole Foods ??

FT: yes, that does seem to take things a bit far…..

East: We thought we might copy San Francisco and ban foie gras. But it failed in Chicago …. And we don’t think anyone here was eating it any way.   We did seriously consider banning cable TV.

FT: cable TV ???

East: Well yes, instead of getting up and going to their Yoga and Pilates classes to stay healthy, everyone is sitting on the couch watching Troy Landry on Swamp People or  Phil Robertson on Duck Dynasty.  Cable TV is a big problem….

FT: So why didn’t you ban Cable TV

East: Too intrusive – it just seemed like the government has no right telling people they can’t watch TV. We thought about banning couches – but we realized folks would just sit on the floor – it’s hard to tell people what to do……

FT: Yes it is…..

East: We thought about banning cell phones and wireless handsets.

FT: Why cell phones??

East: People are sitting in their chairs and calling and texting folks that are in the same house ….or even the same room ! With the old land line phones at least you had to get out of the chair to answer it.

FT: Why did you decide not to ban cell phones ?

East: We realized that government might not have the right to ban certain types of communication. Besides there are new apps of how to choose low fat fried chicken or Lite Moon Pies….and most people get some exercise when they play Angry Birds.

FT: You have a point there…..

East: We tested a new approach to reducing people’s appetite – we asked a group of  residents to watch 2 hours of campaign ads before each meal –  people quickly become nauseous and lost their appetite after just a few ads.

FT: That’s interesting…..

East: But we found it was too dangerous when we expanded the content – we had a small group watch the John Edwards trial last week. But it made people very sick – it is too cruel to make people watch that stuff. We also considered free cigarettes…..

FT: What ??!!

East: Hey – it is proven to reduce appetite !!

FT: But the other health risks are proven and so high.

East: Look I work for the government – do we have a track record of considering the consequences of a particular program???  This program reduces obesity. If we have other issues we can just introduce another program.

FT: Good point ….so why didn’t you go ahead with the plan ?

East: The same reason Bloomberg is banning Big Gulp instead of Camels …. Taxes !! We would have lost so much tax revenue. We know cigarettes are bad for you but we need the tax revenue.

FT: That’s pretty cynical….

East: Why do you think Bloomberg did not ban alcohol?  Lots of health issues from alcohol!

FT: I think we tried Prohibition – but it did not work……

East:  Exactly – and taxes…… Given Bloomberg’s concern for the health of New Yorkers,  I have an idea for him – restrict the size of cigarettes and ban hard liquor. Allow only short cigarettes and wine and beer …. Maybe he did not think of that…. I should give him a call.

FT: I am sure he is waiting to hear from you – so what did the City Council of North decide to do ?

East: We decided to ban all sex in North !

FT: Banning sex – that is certainly unconventional -help our readers understand that decision

East:  Studies have shown that the biggest issues start in childhood

FT: Yes, but how does banning sex address childhood obesity ??

East: Our studies show that most children are the result of sex….. if we ban sex then we won’t have children and then they can’t be obese. It is really quite simple.

FT: So you plan to eliminate children in order to eliminate obesity ??!

East: Yes. We thought about banning beer and that would eliminate most sex here, but we decided to go directly to the root cause.

FT: Why not just encourage birth control?

East: Are you kidding? And get the Catholic Church fighting us ? Don’t you know anything about politics?

FT: But isn’t this a major intrusion on personal rights – does government have any right to be in the bedrooms of America?

East:  Obesity is a major problem and, as you can see, the government of North has studied this very carefully. It is the same as seat belt laws – people once fought against seat belts because they restricted personal freedom. Sometimes government just knows better and has to step in and make the right decisions for people.

FT : How will you enforce this ban ?

East: That is a technicality we will leave to the police. We can learn from New York on how they keep people from drinking a large Mountain Dew.

FT: How are your citizens reacting to this proposed ban?? They must be outraged…..

East: No not at all – When we started the study there were a few men worried that we would find that guns caused obesity.  We could not find conclusive evidence – so no gun controls – they are happy.

FT: what about others ?? They must be very upset…….

East: Actually most people are OK with the ban.. They tell us that as long as they have their cell phone, Swamp People, beer and Krispy Kreme donuts they really don’t need sex.

FT: That about sums it up – Thank You


Have a great weekend !!



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Friday Thoughts – September 30 – Tax the Rich !

By , 09/30/2011 11:55 AM

“Always Free and Worth Every Penny”

                                              Be thankful we’re not getting all the government we’re paying for.       Will Rogers

As every major developed country struggles with massive sovereign debt, the obvious and enticing solution is to tax the rich people more.  Let them have it !!

The Friday Thoughts research team conducted a broad survey on this issue and found that an overwhelming 99% of people favor increasing taxes on the wealthiest 1%.  Even Warren Buffet (Jimmy’s brother) wants us to tax the rich more……

A really smart guy, Bruce Bartlett, has analyzed the situation for us:

  • In 1986, the US effective tax rate on the top 1% was 33.1% percent.
  • The rate has declined every year since. In 2008 the rate was 23.1%
  • If the tax rate had remained 33.1% the federal government would have collected additional $1.7 Trillion revenue in the past 20 years.

Well, that makes it pretty clear – just raise the tax rate on the rich !! How hard can it be? We knew the rich folks were not paying very much … and they probably caused this whole mess anyway….


But before we go too far down this road, let’s make sure we know who these rich folks are……..  in 2008 in the US you had to earn $380K to make it into the top 1%; $160K is the cutoff for the top 5% – $114K for top 10%……….  to be in the top 50% of all taxpayers in the US you had to earn $33K…..

Now for all these rich people… how much tax are they paying??! … according to the Tax Foundation the top 1% in the earners paid 38% of all income taxes. …top 5% paid more in income taxes than the next 95% of taxpayers (59% of all tax revenue) ….The top 50% paid 97% of all taxes.

How does this compare around the world ?  The OECD says the top 10% of earners pay 1/3 of total tax revenues (not just income taxes) —France 28%, Germany 31%, Britain 39% and Italy 42%.  America’s wealthiest 10% pay more in taxes than in any other OECD country – 45%.

There is one little point   – the main reason the rich are paying more taxes is they are doing pretty damn well. In 1987 in the US the top 5% of earners claimed 26% of all income – in 2008 it was 35%.  Wow – the rich are getting richer – so maybe they should pay more……

But we might be missing the main point here –

the crime is not the taking of the taxes, it is the spending of the taxes.”  (not sure who said that)

There seems to be no limit to government spending – in the US it has increased from 7% of GDP in 1902 to roughly 37% in 2010.  OK, the world is more complicated now than it was 100 years ago…. And maybe we need more government – but how much government do we need?
The US spends more than South Korea, Japan and Switzerland …….but less than Germany, UK or France.

Sure if marginal tax rates had stayed at 33% for the top 1% we would have had $1.7T in more tax revenue….but the Federal Government has traditionally spent 30% more than revenue – so we would be $600B deeper in debt if the taxes has been higher.


Giving money and power to government is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys.      
P.J. O’Rourke

We do need to pay down the debt, but how well did we spend the money over the last 20 – 40 years? Can we look at education, infrastructure, health, crime etc. and believe that governments have made sufficient progress?  Will more money help?

One only has to view a small sample of the pork barrel projects to get an ill feeling…. An $800K  joke machine??  $2M to listen to ants?    ……can we read this and seriously think raising taxes is the answer?

And everyone is guilty….Go ahead – look up your state or congressman or senator here.

I object and take exception to everyone saying that Obama and Congress are spending money like a drunken sailor. As a former drunken sailor, I quit when I ran out of money.                   Bruce L. Hargraves , U.S. Navy, retired


Sure, let’s tax those rich people !!!  ……I am OK with that……. but what will our  the government spend it on ?  I don’t get a very good feeling about that….

Have a great weekend,


Interesting unrelated facts:

  • The income tax act of 1913 was 14 pages long.
  • Roughly 50% of all peanuts produced in the U.S. are grown within 100 miles of Dothan, Alabama.
  • How much does money cost?GAO study  Each $1 bill costs 4.2 cents to manufacture and lasts 40 months. By comparison, a $1 coin costs between 12 and 20 cents to produce but has a lifespan of 30+ years. Eliminating the $1bill would save taxpayers  $200M annually and $5.5B  over the next 30 years.
  • Abercrombie and Fitch has offered to pay The Situation and rest of the cast of Jersey Shore to NOT wear A&F apparel during the show.
  • Miniatur Wunderland, a museum in Hamburg, has opened a fully operating model airport, with 40 perfectly detailed aircraft that take off and land and 90 service vehicles automatically move around the airport.


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