Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Hits the Nail on the Head

 W.J.Pilsak at the German language Wikipedia

A Clear and Concise Observation

Sheila Bair at the New York Times has made a very astute observation in her article "Grand Old Parity".

I am a capitalist and a lifelong Republican. I believe that, in a meritocracy, some level of income inequality is both inevitable and desirable, as encouragement to those who contribute most to our economic prosperity. But I fear that government actions, not merit, have fueled these extremes in income distribution through taxpayer bailouts, central-bank-engineered financial asset bubbles and unjustified tax breaks that favor the rich. 

 Not a Republican or a Conservative Phenomena

The yawning gap between rich and poor has been growing since the 1970s and reached a 90-year peak in 2007, just before the financial crisis. 

Our approach, Left or Right, has been flawed

On the Obama administration's policies:

These strategies have done little to encourage sustainable economic growth, but they have worked wonders to increase Wall Street profits and inflate the value of stocks and bonds — which are disproportionately owned by the rich.  
Government’s role should not be to rig the game in favor of “the haves” but to make sure “the have-nots” are given a fair shot.  

 A Fair Shot

Redistributionist policies are not a fair shot, they are bread, tossed to the masses to keep them quiet because they know the playing field isn't level.  As government laws and regulations become more and more complicated they favor the large corporation with a top notch legal team.  Joe's Mop & Bucket cannot compete with a corporation like Servicemaster,  Bill's gas station cannot compete with Exxon-Mobil, and it has nothing to do with employee costs, overhead, or Obamacare... it has to do with compliance.

Regulatory Reform

Now, before I get accused of wanting to eliminate regulations and allow Bill's Gas to dump used motor oil in the creek behind his shop let me make it clear I am not advocating the elimination of regulation but the simplification of regulation.  I have worked in environmental management and I have run a quality control office responsible for compliance, including OSHA compliance .  The issue isn't simply complying with regulation, but understanding regulation.  Our legal and regulatory system is written by lawyers and for lawyers, it is written for corporations.  It is not written to allow Joe, of Joe's Mop and Bucket to pick up a rule book, read it, and comply.   

A Humorous Example

This one even left me scratching my head.  When I was the Environmental Manager for an industrial operation (vehicle maintenance, industrial electronics, power production) of about 100 people I was responsible for training and compliance with the myriad of environmental regulations in EPA Region 6.  A Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) is anywhere from a 1 to 10 page document listing all of the chemicals used in and hazards derived from the use of commercial chemical products.  It contains eye safety, dermal safety, inhalation, ingestion, etc. hazards that you may be exposed to during routine use, to include abnormal circumstance such as during a building fire.  All useful information.

There is a "home use" exemption, that means if you use a product like Windex, as it is used in the home... say you occasionally clean your computer monitor with it, you don't need an MSDS, but if you're a window-washer using it all day long, you do need an MSDS.  I've never met anyone in a corporate or industrial environment that uses that exemption because management is always afraid of the large fine that might result from an inspector disagreeing with their interpretation of "home use".

The funny part.  Our vehicle maintenance shop, as was the norm at the time, maintained lead acid batteries.  As part of this "industrial process" they used distilled water, which came in five gallon jugs.  As this water was used in an "industrial process" we were required to maintain an MSDS on it.  Water.  We used to joke that the MSDS should list under the ingestion hazard "Warning - Ingestion of large quantities may cause excessive urination" and "Inhalation may cause drowning".   

Your government in action... all thrust, no vector.  I'll come right out and say it, we need regulation, but what we need is  common sense regulation written in plain language for the layman to understand.

Don't believe me about an MSDS for distilled water?  

You can find one here.  

Now how much do you think it costs that company to create, maintain, and distribute?




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