Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Too Much Money

There is a strong belief amongst most Americans that public servants....from federal situations all the way down to city council folks....are not competent to understand economics or the potential for misuse or abuse of their powers.

This week.....Berkeley, California, is working on a city policy to set aside $20k a year to reimburse it's city employees for sex-change surgery.

Naturally, you are kinda scratching your head and wondering the how and why to this.  The key thing to remember here is that the city has almost $252 million in deficits....for their worker's comp, disability and retirement fund.

Berkeley is a unique place.  A vast majority of residents have a minimum of a bachelor's degree.  Most serve in some capacity of supporting the university or have a business which supports the students in some fashion.  Some folks might think that the city must be better off than most California cities, but no one has ever shown numbers to prove that point.

My guess is that the $20k is probably enough to convert one guy or gal over each year.  So one of these 1,700 city employees....out of a city of 102,000 folks....will get a chance to fix their problem or improve their life.  And if you wanted to get down to numbers....everyone in the town is donating 20 cents to make this happen.  And you have to imagine that somewhere out there.....Dalton, the grounds guy in the parks department, is grinning from ear to ear.

A Short Discussion Over Gun Control

In 1776, you needed flint, black powder, and balls to fire your weapon (pistol or long-rifle).   Anyone of any age could walk into a general store and purchase any and all of these....even a 8-year old kid.  Cash or credit via the local store keeper ensured the deal.

Statistically, there were 2.5 million Americans in 1776.  We can figure, with our current statistics, that we had around ten percent of the nation that were alcoholics or mentally ill.  That comes out to around 250,000 people that were a potential threat in 1776.

Strangely enough, by the time you counted swamp fever, chorea, yellow fever, rattlesnake bites, and pneumonia victims....you didn't really have to worry about being shot.  

Over the course of 200-odd years....we didn't really care to think about or create the rules on flint, black powder, balls, or bullets.  We actually advanced into the 1950s before anyone got around to some age requirement on the purchase of weapons.

The curious thing is that we've had a system for 200 years that allowed nuts the ability to purchase flint, black powder, balls, bullets and guns.  There are no "*'s" listed in the Constitution to say that crazy folks can't buy weapons.  The same is true that we don't have rules to stop crazy people from running for President, or voting in local elections.  In fact, as long as you avoid a felony.....you retain your right to vote and could be certified as absolutely insane.

The difference in two hundred years?  Flint, black powder and balls required a good minute for someone to load and fire.  So he'd get off one good shot, and might be halfway through the loading procedure before you brought your handy Choctaw Indian hatchet up to the throwing angle and directed into the guy's body.  One shot....maybe two max.  That's it.  You could kill one guy and that was pretty much the end of your personal vendetta....and then the reaction by the guy's friend was quick and ended judgement over whether you were insane or not.  Being dead....kinda finished up the legal issue.

So what I'm suggesting here is something that came to be readily true in 1776.....the Constitution was written to give you access to rifles....single-shot rifles.  And this meant flint, black powder, and balls.  For the folks who talk excessively on the Constitution and your rights....Jefferson basically meant for you to have access to a simple weapon, with flint, black powder and balls.  He did not write it to mean a 7-round clip or a 20-round clip, or even a 50-round clip.

Simplicity here draws you back to the state of affairs in 1776.  You didn't have mass killings.  You had one guy shot, and then the guy who pulled the trigger was usually killed by an associate.  That was the extent of what they envisioned, and frankly.....it all kinda worked.  Flint, black powder, and balls.