Why excessive regulation is a bad thing.

We’ve all experienced them one way or another.

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Regulations

You know those natty little issues that prevent you for pursuing happiness YOUR WAY.

Obviously, some regulations are good. I personally think it’s a great thing that in general folks aren’t allowed to store their excrement in a big pile in the back yard.

In this extreme example, it really is about public health and safety.

But what happens when the regulations become so all encompassing and pervasive that they retard innovation and growth?

Then you have California…

…where the light at the end of the tunnel is actually an oncoming train of smothering laws… all implemented “For the public good“.

Here are some short examples of regulation gone wild.

Gas Prices

California gas prices recently made national news because they were the highest in the nation. Heck they even beat Hawaii!

How is that possible? Hawaii is an island in the middle of the Pacific and has to import everything by ship. WTF?

Well the simplest answer is that California has regulations that make it different from all the other states in the country. California is not unique in this, there are a number of states that have “Boutique” gas blends they’re also in as risky a position as California.

California gas is “special” due to AQMD regulations, EPA, and no doubt tons of extraneous laws that help to drive the legal system. For the sake of  argument California Gas is refined only in California therefore making it sole sourced.

That’s the problem with insisting on being different and then tying your wagon to a single source of anything. I’d bet that since the auto industry has pretty much standardized on emission control devices… these “boutique blends” are relics of a time long past and no longer necessary.

VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds)

Have you tried to find a small mom & pop independent auto body shop lately? Guess what? There are a lot fewer of them in California than there once were. Why? because regulations came into effect that forced these folk to either work with paints that are a lot more delicate and far more difficult to apply or get out of the body shop business.

I wonder, how many small independent shops have closed since the VOC regulations took effect? How many people ended up unemployed? How many people took their businesses and tax revenue out of the state?

This affects everyone here in California, because excessive regulation has limited competition. A door scrape that used to cost $125 to fix, now costs $550. Why?

Because in addition to there being less competition you now have to sand and repaint the ENTIRE Door, not just the area surrounding the scrape.

It seems you can’t mix water based paints with oil based paints (No Shit Sherlock) and since many auto manufacturers are still using oil based paints to initially paint their vehicles YOU,  the consumer get stuck with higher repair bills. That translates to higher insurance costs too.

Independent Offset Printers, have exactly the same problem. There was an article in the Orange County register that discussed a business owner who moved to Nevada. He was able to assist his employees in the move, and was also able to provide them with fully paid healthcare due to savings he realized once he was out of California. By the way… The business owner was still able to make a profit because is was after all an evil capitalistic pig.

The funniest part of it was that his company had switched over to inks that were water based and he only very rarely used anything with any kind of VOC.

Like most of us would, when the quality of water based inks was equal to the older VOC based inks he switched.

It was better for him, his employees, his equipment, and made for a more pleasant working environment. 

However,  because he was an offset printer in California he still had to pay all the fees as if he was using the older inks.

Even if he never used anything containing a VOC again and turned away some jobs, His designation as an Offset Printer demanded that he paid for the privilege of running his business.

Essentially, this small business owner was regulated right out of the state.

Building Codes

I’ve touched on building codes several times in this blog. I agree fundamentally that a certain level of building regulation is a good thing. After all you do want your house falling apart in a few years?

OH Wait… My house IS falling apart after just a few years… and it passed all the inspections. 

Honestly, I’d have rather had the building code less concerned with how many damn lights were in the ceiling and MORE concerned with the materials in the house and the way those materials were being used. That’s another story entirely, so I’m not going into it here.

Just as an aside… If you’re looking at buying a house in California, buy something that’s older. The quality is going to be better and you’ll get to duck a lot of the stupid regulations unless of course you decide to remodel. Word to the wise… DON’T REMODEL.

My original house built in 1992 was far superior to my rebuilt house built in 2009. I’m reminded of that each and every Winter as I freeze my ass off.

Automobiles

This is one of those things that I simply can’t wrap my head around.

California has different regulations for cars. There are bolt on improvements today, that can make your car run more efficiently. I’m not talking about some lame ass “As seen on TV” hunk of junk. I’m talking about manufacturer approved modifications.

Take my car for example… I could change the air intakes, add a larger oil cooler, change the exhaust (Keeping the catalytic converter mind you) and increase my horsepower by 10HP. That translates to the engine running more efficiently and increases my MPG by a minimum of 2 MPG, estimates are it would be closer to 5MPG. That’s not even changing the computer programs that control the engine.

All of those modifications are illegal in California

Why? Because the California regulators haven’t been paid to test and approve these modifications and therefore these modifications are by definition bad.

I’d push my base EPA milage to 30MPG, Save money, the environment, and use less fuel. How the hell is that BAD?

I could go get these improvements in neighboring states. But then I’d risk the possibility that when I needed to get smog certificates and other California regulatory inspections I’d have to put everything back to “Factory” (read California inefficiency) specifications.

It’s probably easier to just move to a state that doesn’t have the same restrictive regulations.

Apparently the SmartCar gets something close to 100MPG in Europe.

Here in the United States, it gets a paltry 38MPG Why is that???

Regulations! In this case it’s probably something to do with protectionism of the American auto industry. But that kind of regulation flies directly in the face of good ‘ol capitalism.

Isn’t it supposed to be that the guy who builds a better mouse trap gets more business? And by building the better mouse trap, the guys competition begins to innovate and in their turn build an even better mousetrap?

In the age of over regulation that doesn’t happen. If your’e in a protectionist market why compete or innovate?

Then you have Proposition 39

The California legislature has realized that businesses are in fact leaving, and putting their manufacturing in other states. The California Lawmakers in a tacit acknowledgement of this fact have decided to add yet more regulation to the companies who have already moved the majority of their businesses out of the state.

I can’t seem to locate the actual text of proposition 39. Here is the closest link I could find.

This proposition is about imposing taxes on companies for the privilege of having any of their corporation based in California.

WTF???

I can pretty much guarantee that companies affected by this proposition if it’s approved, will move the rest of their corporate holdings out of the state and with them go untold numbers of jobs.

This is how a regulatory mentality destroys an economy. The people making the regulations just don’t get cause and effect.

As I’ve watched California over the past 30 years, there has been a definite trend towards a more controlling state government.

I find now that I can’t really blame businesses for leaving places that are excessively regulated, highly taxed, and whose infrastructure is crumbling.

Proposition 39 is a prime example of what’s wrong with our state and what may be wrong on a broader national basis.

Instead of reviewing the underlying reasoning behind why corporations chose to shutter their operations here  and then addressing those factors. Our politicians are saying they’re going to “Close the tax loopholes” (Crapspeak) and impose taxes on corporations that still maintain a presence in California.

I think I see myself moving out of California in the very near future.

Hey, you have to go where the jobs are…

I think it’s time to start an UN-Occupy movement in California

Let’s face it, California is in the news again and not in a good way.

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One of the news headlines this morning was “California’s Insane Gas Prices Just hit a New All-Time HighPhoto credit AP Images

$6 a gallon there on the sign. Wow!

Given the high unemployment and the insanity of the price of gas. It’s time for Californians to stand in solidarity.

I suggest the following.

Nobody go to work!

Take a few days off.

Don’t occupy anything!

Avoid, Businesses, Schools, Malls and Freeways.

Stay home, watch TV. Play with your kids and don’t go anywhere.

The Oil companies and the State government want to play games with the state economy… FINE, Lets Play! 

We the people of California still have the ability to make a major impact on these people. What do you think they’ll do when no-one reports to work, or buys gas, or does anything?

Without people buying gas, the Oil companies don’t make a profit.

The state government loses out on tax dollars. The People of California can kick off the Holiday season with a Bang. The losses can be laid right at the feet of big oil and over regulation.

The PEOPLE can have the satisfaction of flexing their muscle reminding the “Players” that we still hold their leash.

Remember the infamous “Day without Mexicans”?

Folks noticed… 

How about making a Day without Californians?

Just a thought…

What a racket!!!!

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Ok this is a rant. It’s probably not very coherent but I’m madder than hell!

I live in a recently rebuilt house. That means that I now meet the Kalifornia standards for new construction. You’d think that would be a good thing wouldn’t you?

Well it’s not!

Because of California code, I had to add more overhead lights to save energy…

Don’t ask… someone seemed to think that if you had nasty assed fluorescent lighting in the ceiling you’d be less likely to have actual lamps in your house, BOY WERE THEY WRONG!

The builder fought me about putting skylights in the bathrooms because the building inspector “Might” not like them. GO Figure!

I still don’t get that.. I was trying to be energy efficient and they fought me tooth and nail even when I asked why there had to be x number of fluorescent light fixtures in the house, when fewer fixtures obviously translated to lower building and lower overall energy costs. the answer as it turns out was… It’s the law. (Re: those nasty assed fluorescent lights… If I keep this house I’m ripping those things out and replacing them with LEDs.)

Add to this,  I also by law have to have a fire suppression system, and basically the hands of our Komrad Kalifornians are well and truly up my ass with no lubrication.

The previous house had a fire suppression system too.

Every year I dutifully had the system inspected and certified pursuant to the law referenced here .

It is completely arguable that the fire suppression systems FAILURE was entirely due to these annual inspections.

See a few years back, when my house had burned, I came under suspicion because the fire inspector found the fire suppression was actually turned off.

Yep, I’d paid for inspections and maintenance which left my home with a NON-Working suppression system. Fanfuckingtastic!

The water company sends out these notices yearly about having your system inspected.

I’m frankly at odds about the whole thing. Given my personal experience… I wish I didn’t have a sprinkler system. After all it’s just another useless yearly expense and maintenance hassle because I own a home.

Truth to tell, I’d rather have a house without a fire suppression system. It’s like living under a loaded gun.

I can’t tell you how many homes up here have suffered water damage because the fire suppression system malfunctioned or the pipes froze. Well, I can tell you about my next door neighbor…

But when you don’t have your shit inspected exactly on time the water company sneaks up on your doorstep and hangs a little bullshit tag on your door. They threaten to turn your water off if you don’t have the inspection.

Say what????

Ok so lets get this straight, you’re going to turn my fucking water off, to force me to have a fire suppression system inspected, a system that REQUIRES WATER to operate?

These MORONS are essentially going to disable a fire suppression system to force me to have an inspection???

Where the hell is the sense in that? I pay my fucking water bill every month, I’m never late, I don’t even raise my voice when I get bills from them that say (1) I’m late, and (2) I’m 6 months behind! When I call them, they call up the account and say, “Isn’t that strange, your bill is paid and has been for the past year. This is a billing error I’ll notify accounting.

And yet the California Department of Forestry and Fire protection forces new homes to have these systems, then they force the homeowners to pay every year to inspect and maintain them.  There’re penalties for disabling the system too. Prison time for example.

Humm, I wonder if I could have the asshole arrested who turns my water off?

By definition that person is disabling a fire suppression system. Now there’s a thought!!!

And the insults go on.

Recently, the State sent out a notice that they were going to start billing those of us who lived in rural settings an additional $150 to $200 per year to pay for the additional fire support. Excuse ME??? What about my taxes? What about the fact that my Fire department is paid for BY the County?

Oh and there is no-one more attuned to the issues of Fire safety than the people in the mountain communities. WHY? Because in the past we’ve seen these communities burn to the ground.

Sadly those fires were entirely preventable but the “Smart guys” at the State level refused to listen when these communities suggested that the fire threat could be mitigated simply and efficiently. The solution was start clearing the sick, dying, & dead trees out of the forests. 

Well the smart guys in Sacramento told everyone they were stupid for making such a suggestion.

Then there was the Arrowhead fire. Nature cleared the sick, dying, and dead trees for us. 

The communities that fared better were those where the people had paid out of their own pockets or their community coffers to remove the hazard. Sacramento got all up & arms because these communities had cut trees that were in some cases inside a national forest. Cuttng dead and dying trees in a national forest is bad… even if the State or federal government won’t allocate the funds to take the preventative steps themselves. But they’ll pay a fortune in fire fighters and risk lives and property when the fire breaks out.

It was all about Sacramento having the last word and refusing to admit that the locals actually knew what they were doing.

It’s statist crap. The government always claims it knows better than YOU do.

I’m sick and of Nanny governing!

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I’m also sick and tired of the Golden State Water Company. There is the particular person who delivers these notices. He likes to sneak up on your porch and hang the notice in hopes that he can escape without having to deal with an angry person.

I’ve been trying for at least 2 months to get this inspection done mainly because I don’t want to have to deal with the hassle and bullshit. It’s just really difficult to find a certified inspector that will haul their asses up here. 

In my opinion the fucking water company should be doing it FREE! After all they claim that they’re protecting the water supply from the antifreeze in the system. You’d think it would be in their best interests to deal with it. But no… 

It’s an opportunity to have the plumbers with the right certifications come out to your house, charge you $150 for the house call and potentially leave your system off. I come from a place that says “If it ain’t broke… don’t fix it”

I’m really starting to believe it’s time to leave.

More and more lately I find myself thinking about just putting this place on the market and leaving this town, this state, and I swear… Even this country.

Hell, I seriously doubt that there much difference between living in California and oh say any EU country in terms of the regulations and controls the average citizen has to deal with.

I want to be free! I thought I lived in a free country… I suppose the only places that are truly not under the government thumb are the “Flyover States”. Of course that’s only because the snooty fuckers that like to impose their will on everyone else know better than to get too far from the city.

Well 20 years ago when I moved to this town… I was far enough away from the city that we lived pretty much according to our own thoughts and as long as we didn’t hurt anybody everyone pretty much minded their own business.

Now, I guess it’s time to move on… It’s a real pain to say ahead of people who are “smarter and know” more about my life than I do.

Now wheres’ that map of the “Fly Over” states?

I call Bullshit on Oil Companies

An article in the Christian Science Monitor talking about the gas prices in California has really convinced me of a couple of things. Read the article here

Gas prices california e1349449021752

First, I’ve come to believe that the oil companies USE California as a test bed to see how the public will respond to ever increasing gas prices. They raise the prices till the bitching gets really loud and the people of California start demanding hearings in congress.

Then the oil companies back the prices down after apologizing and giving some lame ass excuse.

At the same time they’ve modeled how fast the gas prices can go up before people start really bitching. Then they halve that rate of increase and apply it to the rest of the country. But… and this is the interesting thing… The cost of gas never returns to it’s “Pre-Crises” value.

If the crises is over why doesn’t the cost return to the previous level?

Second, California environmental regulations play directly into the hands of the oil companies. Fully .50 of every gallon of gas is nothing but state taxes. Which means that even those people in California trying to pay attention to the actual price of a gallon of gas have to separate out the state, county, and city taxes on the price per gallon and since those rates are all over the map depending on where you fill up in your 4 hour commute per day you may have all or only one or two of those additional fees.

Southern California is particularly vulnerable to this kind of manipulation. Because the mass transit system SUCKS!

Yes… the politicians would have you believe that mass transit in Southern California is wonderful…

But the reality is; If you happen to live in the Inland Empire (Pomona, Glendora, San Dimas, Riverside, Ontario, Corona, San Bernardino, or Fontana) and you work by necessity in Orange County or Los Angeles you’re kinda screwed. If you live in Orange County and work in LA you’re just as screwed.

 Taking a train to Orange County is pretty much pointless because after you’ve gotten there the transit system is unreliable as hell and you’re talking busses or calling a taxi… there’s nothing else. If you’re trying to get from OC to LA that’s an expensive and painful trip via train, provided you don’t get a message like this;

Trip Options

TripMaster found NO trip(s) leaving from ORANGE COUNTY AIRPORT to LOS ANGELES INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT. You are traveling on Saturday and Leaving at 12:12PM . Fare class: Regular. Max walk: 1/3 Mile. Mode: ANY. Try changing walking DISTANCE or travel TIME or MODE or FILTERING. Make sure the locations are correct.

Getting to LA from the Inland Empire via train isn’t that bad then you can grab a metro rail (like the “L” in Chicago but not elevated) the problem is that using the train/metro rail system/bus can literally add hours to your commute and god help you if you have to work late, or you have a swing shift you might get to work but you can’t get home.

Essentially, the people of Southern California are faced with spending 5 or 6 hours commuting via train versus 4 hours commuting via their cars. Which would you choose, given that you do want to spend some time with your loved ones. You’d like to see your children and perhaps have an opportunity to have sex. Then there’s the issue of maybe trying to work out and get some exercise.

I know… I’ve done that madness for years! Give me my car not because I like sitting on the freeway but because I like getting home before 10PM.

The point is the Oil companies have a mostly captive audience.

Los Angeles, Orange County, The Inland Empire are these wonderful petri dishes where Big Oil can float higher gas prices and see just what kind of lame assed excuses the moronic public will accept.

The article I referenced above says that three factors are driving the cost of gas up in California.

1) State refineries have lowered production as they get ready to switch to “winter blend” (This is all about California regulations and pollutions controls. It also causes excessive wear & tear on our engines and a commensurate drop in our MPG. So we’re at the gas stations more often buying more shitty gas.) This is a yearly event and yet… The Oil companies always shut the refineries down at the same time. How about this MORONS? Try scheduling one refinery at a time being shut down then when it’s switched to winter blend, and running again take the next one offline to make the switch and so on. You can do the same damn thing when you switch to Summer Blend so you don’t screw the hell out of the public as they’re trying to get set for their paltry 2 week vacations. (Don’t forget it’s not just Gas. It’s also Airline fuel, and diesel that are suddenly in short supply twice a year.)

2) A power outrage at a Torrance Refinery, and partial shutdown at a Richmond refinery. Really? Just how long was the refinery without power? Months? I think not… And why is the Richmond refinery partially offline?

3) Several refineries in the Central Valley have been shutdown for weeks because of “High Organic Chloride Levels in the Crude”.  SAY WHAT??? So what exactly does that mean? Are they shipping the High Organic Chloride crude to another refinery? Are they throwing it away? What EXACTLY does that mean?

 SO I call BULLSHIT on Big Oil and think that everyone else should too.

Time to BITCH LOUD LONG and HARD

Write your representatives and demand the oil companies stop fucking with us. 

Off to write a letter to politicians

Because I’m not going to pay 4.99 a gallon for gas. Oh and don’t even try to make me say “Oh goodie” about 4.99 a gallon by pointing out that Europe is over $8 per gallon.

Big Deal! So What? 52% of their oil isn’t coming from under their feet.

Don’t even mention a Prius, or accuse me of driving a gas guzzler. I’ll give you an earful that will feel like an ice pick through your brain.

 

Hey… It’s not Politics!

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But the news is just as bad for me personally.

I got a notice yesterday that I was out of the running for a job that I really wanted.

Sigh…

This is one of those positions that I was completely willing to take a lot less money for and that I think I would have really enjoyed doing.

I wanted it so bad that I asked all kinds of people to write letters of recommendation for me and got everything in under a deadline.

I’m guessing that they looked at my previous salary and wondered why I was applying for a position that was going to be 30K less.

Sadly they didn’t give me a change to point out that the commute was less than 30 miles and that the savings in fuel and insurance per month alone would go a long way toward making up the difference.

I’m sure that they hired some hot shot from the local college, whole will be gone in a couple of months. I applied for a similar position several years ago. They interviewed me, but hired a new graduate.

3 months later they called me back to see if I wanted the position because the new graduate had accepted another position for more money.

I was polite at the time but pointed out that I too had recently found another position and that it wouldn’t be appropriate for me to switch so soon into my new job.

I strongly suspect that I’m looking at the same sort of event.

Of course if they call me in a few months… I may still be looking this time.

On the other hand I hope that I’ll be able to politely turn them down again. Not out of any sense of vengeance or retribution…

But because I’ll have a new JOB!

Again, the Sacramento politicians use “The Children” as Pawns

No on Prop 30 California 2012

Here we are again.

Proposition 30 in California is nothing  short of yet another tax hike designed to close a budget shortfall caused by the incredible mis-spending in Sacramento.

One of the talking points of this proposition is 

Preventing Deep School Cuts,

However, the very first line on their web site says “After Years of cuts, California’s Schools, Universities, and local public safety services are at the breaking point.”

So which is it?

Are they saying that they’ve been cutting from the schools to fund other programs for years and have depleted the funds and NOW they need to raise taxes to cover the shortfall that they created?

Is it just me or does this make no damn sense?

The Sacramento Politicians want to raise the sales tax and… wait for it… Impose more taxes on the rich.

You know the rich… those evil bastards!

The ones who have been taking money from the schools (not), the wealthy who’ve not been paying their share of taxes.

Those successful motherfuckers who’ve made all that money and who are making donations to charities or starting charities that support research or the arts, or the environment.

The bastards that are building new larger buildings for their filthy money making companies. So that they can employ yet MORE filthy workers and keep the construction businesses busy.

YEAH! Those rancid thundercunt FUCKS!!!

When you think about it that way… raising taxes on just the wealthy starts to seem a little stupid.

I’m not saying that all business people or wealthy people are saints… in fact a lot of them are cut throat bastards. BUT you really have to remember that without them we’re all pushing tacos at the local taco stand for 1.98 an hour.

I’ve said it before, the wealthy have the means to bail out.

They can leave this state and this country any time they want to.

What will Sacramento do if the wealthy leave California and take their businesses with them?

How long would it be before someone puts a proposition together to authorize a sign saying “Will the last educated person please shutdown San Onofre before you leave?”

And this isn’t even the worst of it…

The politicians are going to THE CHILDREN Again. Essentially, they’re attempting to hold every single child in the state hostage to force the people of California to vote to raise taxes instead of responsibly spending the money California currently receives in revenue.

If you’re interested… Head on over to CalTax.org. This is a watchdog organization that researches how California spends it’s tax payers money. On that site is an interesting report that details the waste between 2000 and 2010. This is very interesting reading. It’s doubtful that anything in California’s spending pattern has changed.

Instead of raising taxes and threatening the school system… Why doesn’t Sacramento clean up their spending before going back to the taxpayer?

The document is linked in PDF here.

201003_CalTaxResearchBulletin_Decade of Waste.pdf

After reading this… If you still think that these politicians really need more of our money you go right ahead and vote for Prop 30.

The rest of us will be voting no… 

After all how many times can Sacramento expect us to fall for those scare tactics? Especially when in the past we have fallen for it and found out well after the fact that the money allocated to the schools got cut anyway…

Tell Sacramento to KISS OUR COLLECTIVE ASS and vote a resounding NO to every single measure that seeks to raise taxes!

Force Sacramento to actually be responsible for their spending.