Well, there’s a new sheriff in DC now, and it looks likely that he is disinclined to go after our guns. That being the case, I am looking forward to not buying more ammo than the thousands of rounds I own already, thinking maybe some of the insanity will get pushed back. We can still buy powder and the things we need for reloading, but if the anti-gun crowd gets their ball rolling again, that is a likely next step. Or requiring you to register your reloader; don’t know if they will do that for control or for more taxes, likely both.
In particular, all of this lead poisoning nonsense regarding spent rounds I find very bothersome. Most of us are not living or growing crops in an old shooting range, which would be required for plants and humans to take up that much lead without just eating it. And lest the younger generation is ignorant or we elders have forgotten, the entire “no lead allowed” legislation was based on kids eating lead paint chips and families living near big highways when we burned leaded gasoline – both of which are no longer produced in the USA. Everything after that was piled on for various political and regulatory reasons, and now we don’t even have any lead mining going on in the US. All our bullets are from imported lead – I don’t think this is what America first means – maybe that will get pushed back into reality too.
I am and have been an independent voter for 30 years, and I am waiting and watching our orange haired POTUS, as actions speak louder than words. And I have to say, he is a man of both at this point, but I would like to see him quiet down a little. But maybe that’s just how he is – a little pushy and loud. But so far, I haven’t seen him do much that is outside of what he told people. That in itself is very new for most, including me, after the whole Bush-Clinton-Obama mess we have been dealing with – where we were told things then delivered the opposite or nothing at all. In some cases we were delivered things we had no inkling were even coming, but that is the way it works when government is far removed from the people being governed.
In keeping with the orange hair of the POTUS, I am making a 5 gallon batch of orange wine tomorrow, from the crop of satsumas we harvested in early December. It will not be ready to drink until late 2018, but then that’s why there are always several batches going during the year. This is a hobby I enjoy, and it makes for one-of-a-kind gifts, some very different tastes than traditional grape wines and it is one of my “trade items” in case of the sudden collapse of everything. I think sudden societal collapse unlikely, but all it takes is one big volcano or one solar flare…
We talk about the future a lot amongst my friends, and one thing that we all agree on is that there is a financial collapse coming, just due to the amount of debt floating around the world. Most of our taxes go just to pay the interest on the debt we already have, and it is the Federal Reserve Bank that underwrites our giant debt by printing money. There isn’t any way for us to pay this back on our current trajectory, or even a lesser trajectory. So what happens when this crises hits?
My friend George is predicting a big Wall Street run-up this year, and then a market collapse, followed by inflation. My little bunch of friends thinks the inflation will be a certainty, as that will lessen the debt by lowering the value of the dollar. It could be we wind up like Zimbabwe, but likely much less severe. It may be that the dollar gets replaced, but the process of doing that would likely involve trading 10 bucks of old money for one of the new dollars – in which case we eliminate the debt but beggar the entire population.
For us, the immediate horizon has lots of drama playing out with Trump, but none of it addresses the debt problem. Borrowing more money, even for infrastructure projects, just puts us more in the hole. We already have a huge un- and under-employment problem that is being heavily doctored by the government BLS, so even getting the jobs to return to the country is unlikely to make a real dent in this issue. And it takes years for plants to be built, and nobody is talking about how many robotic systems will replace workers after these plants are operating.
We have sort of agreed that the real problem is one of too many middlemen. By middlemen, I mean people that do not actually manufacture or produce a product or a tangible service. Some examples:
1) Insurance – required by government for health and autos, required by mortgage companies for loans – nothing is produced here but money for the insurance companies, who raise premiums and reduce services every year or two. So we get less and spend more for something we only need in an emergency – middleman industry, as there is no actual product, nothing you can actually touch with your hands.
2) Stupid Safety – explosion proof propane tanks (less than 2 deaths per year), more than 2 air bags in a car, seat belt laws where motorcycle helmets are not required, backup cameras in cars that can play a movie on same screen, gasoline can spouts that require more than a single line of operating instructions, mower blade brakes that function in more time than it takes for your foot to get under the mower – you can likely add to this list. All the people doing this are middlemen working for industry or government, and produce nothing but paperwork and increased product costs.
3) Regulating Safety – as of today, I am still required by OSHA to buy fireproof clothing to work on a drilling rig. What they do not tell you is that after 6 or 7 washings, the fireproof is pretty much gone from the cotton fibers. Now, there are no safety guys inspecting this other than to see if you have a tag that says ‘fireproof’, which I could sew on myself anyway. Since these pants go for $45-65 a pair, it’s not fun to buy them. What’s more, in the event of a fire, if it is hot enough to melt steel then these frakking pants are not going to do much for me. Again, no product made you can touch, other than a spray nozzle in a clothing factory overseas somewhere. Hundreds of regulations like this in every heavy industry, none of which make a thing, but hundreds or thousands of middlemen making a living from looking at the tags on clothing.
4) Building Regulations – my home is 40 years old. My water heater sits in a closet on the slab floor. It went out, and when I got bids to replace it, the cheapest one was $2500. They did say that the building permit would be added to the $2500 as well. Why? Well a new regulation requires that water heaters be more than a foot off the floor, have a double wall exhaust pipe with a 16” metal roofing flange and have the pressure relief line piped into the drain system. Why? In case the house floods, they don’t want the gas to escape and cause a fire. Pilot light is all that would be on, and the house is flooded and they are worried about a fire? The double wall exhaust has no reason other than it is “inherently safer” – same with the metal flange. The only way around this, since plumbers must sign off they inspected the installation, is DIY. I did, but the entire thing is just another vigorous shagging from behind by the local middlemen, who make nothing you can touch.
These are just a very few examples of how middlemen increase the cost of everything, yet provide, at best, a tiny bit of safety for those I consider the shallow end of the gene pool. If you don’t know gas or propane is flammable, or do and choose not to respect that, then you deserve what you get. Making me wear fire-resistant pants that are only good for a couple of weeks in case of an oil rig fire is also stupid. Making me buy health insurance that has a $5000 deductible and premiums of nearly that, yet disallows my medications and forces me to go make 3 doctor visits to stay in their plan doctors isn’t insurance – it’s me paying for middlemen.
When I didn’t have insurance, I had to get a CAT scan of my knee. They told me it would be $1350 and they needed my insurance card. When I told them I would be paying cash, the price was suddenly $450. I paid the $450, and then all the way home, all I could think was that the pricing difference was all middlemen getting paid.
So if nothing else, my orange wine will be to celebrate Trump making the “one regulation in, two regulations out” rule. It may take 50 years to get the load off of our backs, but it is a start. And it is something that no other candidate even spoke about.
I am not a Trump fan – he has quite the ego, tends to shoot his mouth off too quickly and other character flaws. You and I each have our flaws as well. But what I have seen is a guy actually trying to sort things out and do what he said he would. Frankly, I am surprised positively so far, knowing the mess that is politics and influence peddling in DC. Not just that, but the media is all over him like a cheap suit, just foaming at the mouth to pin something on him. This president didn’t get even a honeymoon night from the media, while the last few presidents had unending honeymoons from the same media.
I will wait and see what has changed in April, and then I may have a better idea of what he will actually do. Meanwhile, I will try to ignore his tweeting and watch what he does – just as I would be ignoring what Hillary said and watching what she did.
It’s the only way to watch politicians – what they say has no meaning at all. If Orange Julius is different, then I will be pleasantly surprised. I need to go check my yeast and start that orange wine…