Clean Water Scam of Minnesota

rubbish

Every year, we hear the same cry from the spending crowd about our terrible water conditions and every year the duped citizens jump on board for another sack full of money to fix the problem.  I’m guessing that a lot of states have the same situation as Minnesota does.  Here are some facts to consider the next time Minnesota politicians post pictures of dead fish and water bottles floating in the water and holding their hands out for more money. (Insert picture of Native American with a tear running down his face.)

 

Since 1972, after having had $850,200,000 to fix our water problems, we get this from our Governor:

“Last year the condition of Minnesota’s fresh water was laid bare after pollution experts revealed the toll intensive farming was having on Minnesota’s lakes, rivers and groundwater.

And the high-profile contamination of water supplies that led to lead poisoning in Flint, Michigan, this month thrust the issue of water safety into the national conversation.

Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton presented a plan to tackle these problems in 2016.

The governor wants to spend $220 million from his upcoming jobs bonding bill on upgrading and protecting Minnesota’s freshwater supplies, according to a press release.”

 

History of Clean Water funding in Minnesota

2008 Lessard Clean Water, Land and Legacy Act ammended to Minnesota Constitution

The Post-Bulletin March 14, 2009

The Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment adds more than $300 million per year in revenue by increasing our state sales tax 3/8 of 1 percent.

The proceeds of this additional sales tax are to be divided among the following areas:

  • 33 percent for water quality
  • 33 percent for wildlife
  • 19.75 percent for arts funding
  • 14.25 percent for parks.

From 2008 – 2016 Clean Water Projects received approx. $800,000,000 from this program alone.

Clean Water Legacy Act of 2006

Governor Pawlenty signed the Clean Water Legacy Act into law on June 2nd, 2006. The CWLA provides a new operational framework, tools and first-year start-up funding that will help ensure Minnesota’s famed legacy of clean water passes intact to future generations. Enactment of this law places Minnesota in a position of national leadership in developing a collaborative and innovative approach towards implementing the Clean Water Act.   $24.5 million was appropriated

Federal Clean Water Act 1972 Appropriations to the States.

SEC. 106 [33 U.S.C. 1256] Grants for Pollution Control Programs

   (a) There are hereby authorized to be appropriated the following sums, to remain available until expended, to carry out the purposes of this section–

(1) $60,000,000 for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1973; and

(2) $75,000,000 for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1974, and the fiscal year ending June 30, 1975

$100,000,000 per fiscal year for the fiscal years 1977, 1978, 1979, 1980 $75,000,000 per fiscal year for the final years 1981 and 1982

Such sums as may be necessary for fiscal years 1983 through 1985  (What?)

$75,000,000 per fiscal year for each of the fiscal years 1986 through 1990; for grants to States and to interstate agencies to assist them in administering programs for the prevention, reduction, and elimination of pollution, including enforcement directly or through appropriate State law enforcement officers or agencies.

[106(a)(2) amended by PL 96-483; PL 100-4]

That comes to 1.285 billion dollars nationally or 25.7 million dollars for each state to be used in the course of 17 years.

 

$850 million dollars to fix one problem and our Governor wants $220 million more added onto the annual $300 million we get every year from the Lessard Act to tackle the same issue.   Just a wild guess on my part, but if you or I were that inept at correcting problems in our workplace while draining the revenue stream so we could keep trying, we would probably be holding a cardboard sign on the street corner sooner than later.

Whadayathink?

 

Santa Claus – My Hero

Picture of tired Santa Claus

Santa Claus.  I feel sorry for the old boy.  He works his tail off all year monitoring all the little rugrats for badness and goodness, makes all the toys, and drives a somewhat limited delivery system through rain, sleet, hail and dark of night to deliver all those presents on time and for WHAT?   He’s been officially named the poster boy for everything that’s bad about commercialism, consumerism, and materialism. Yes, the annual rants are out again this time of year decrying the waste and expense of all the “stuff” we buy, use, and throw away.

But, ya know what?  I don’t feel the least bit ashamed of spending as much of my meager bank account on as many things that I can and giving those things to other people.  Do you want to know why?

Here’s reason #1

Everything we consume, whether it’s food, housing, clothing, toys, electronics,  or gadgets goes through the same process to get to our homes.  Someone comes up with an idea.  Resources are gathered to produce the product or service.  The products are manufactured and the services are equipped with the tools of the trade. Marketing is used to introduce the product to the people.  A delivery system is used to get the product to you and a customer service department is there to listen to you complain.  Every single part of this process needs employees to advance the product to the next level – employees like you and me, the neighbor and the country folks, and other businesses whose employees provide support.

When you think of all that goes into the gift that you just gave someone, the positive economic impact is almost immeasurable – not only for this one gift, but the employees responsible for bringing this gift to you are now able to buy whatever product or service the company you work for provides.

As beneficial as buying a gift might seem, it’s still rampant consumerism, isn’t it?   So let’s say that you could snap your fingers and a miracle would happen.  Excluding food, clothing, and shelter nobody would buy anything else.  OK. We’ve got to have schools and doctors and nurses.  And we should probably have transportation to get to the schools, hospitals and general store.  It would be environmentally beneficial and cheaper to use horses.  I guess we need someone to build windmills to pump water and wood stoves to keep us warm.  Lucky me, you’ll need someone to make horseshoes for your horse and wagons and wagon wheels.   You see, this is already getting out of hand, but if we could snap our fingers and a miracle would happen, how many of the 330 million people in the U.S. would actually have a job afterward?

A lot of people don’t like consumerism.  They don’t like Big Business and they don’t like that our country is so obsessed with buying stuff.  I’m guessing that they would be first ones to quit their jobs and close down the company they work for so less stuff is being made. You think they would do that, don’t you?  No?  I don’t either.  They want us to quit buying so much, but keep buying the product that their company makes.  That’s only fair, isn’t it?

Consumerism creates an environment where a person with a great idea for a product  can cut a deal on Shark Tank and be selling a million dollars worth of product within a year, employing scores of people who didn’t have a job before then.  That’s a good thing.

If you want to be a minimalist – great.  Just don’t get on your soap box every Christmas and criticize those who don’t.  We’re the ones who keep the economy going and people employed – including you.

Reason #2 for buying a whole bunch of stuff and giving it to other people

The joy I feel in my heart when I see the excitement on someone’s face as they open their gift.  That’s the best reason of all.

Whadayathink?

 

 

Big Business Isn’t the Problem

Only Government Can Make You Do Anything

I’m reading a book that I really enjoy, but the author is continuously saying that  “Big Pharma” (the pharmaceutical industry) or “Madison Avenue” (the ad agencies in concert with “Big Business”) are causing us to make bad decisions that affect our lives.

It’s true that businesses want to make a profit.  It’s true that they use creative methods to advertise their products or services.  It’s true that they don’t actively advertise the possible negative effects that overuse or misuse of their product may produce, but they can’t make us do anything.

Have you ever wondered why there’s a label (required by Government) on a power lawnmower that warns against putting your hand under the deck while it’s running?  How about the warning label that tells us to not use the hair dryer in the shower?  What about the label that tells us to not stand on the top of a step ladder? We all know the reason that these labels exist, don’t we?  Some lame-brain has already either maimed or killed themselves by putting their hand under a running lawnmower, using a blow dryer in the shower, or standing on the top of a step ladder.  Some people aren’t too bright.

I’m going to be nervy, here and suggest that if you think that the government should protect us from all advertising and other persuasive methods that businesses employ, maybe you need a warning label about watching advertisements.

I hope that all of you know that the only thing that Big Pharma and Big Business can do is TEMPT you to take action in some way or another.  They can’t garnish your paycheck, put you in jail, or threaten your life if you don’t buy their product or service.  Now, you might say that they are misrepresenting their products or services.  That could be, but there are already laws that punish that behavior.  If it were true that advertising could make you do something that you shouldn’t or buy something that you really didn’t want, then virtually everyone would be susceptible to advertising about everything.

That’s simply not true.  Ask a life-long Vegan how much deceptive advertising it would take before they would eventually grab a greasy, hormone-injected double Whopper with bacon on it and wolf it down.   My guess is that they would tell you that no amount of advertising in the world could make them do that.  As a former alcoholic, I can tell you that nothing – financial disaster, loss of a loved one, or terminal illness, much less deceptive advertising – would cause me to drink another drop of alcohol.   The same is true about luxury cars.  Someone would have to give me a luxury car before I would own one and even then, I’d trade it in for a truck as soon as I could.

There’s a reason why the Vegan and I can’t be tempted in these specific areas.  It’s because there’s nothing in our subconscious mind that sees any value in having the burger, the booze, or the luxury car.  As many of you know, it takes almost no advertising for me to buy another handgun.  They just have to advertise a brand or caliber that I don’t already have.  Here’s a small list of things that I could be tempted by or that I’m not susceptible to be tempted by:

  • Dark chocolate with almonds – susceptible
  • Full time job – not susceptible
  • Pasta – not susceptible
  • Smoking – not susceptible
  • Tools – susceptible
  • Suits – not susceptible (but could be a legitimate necessity at some time)
  • Cowboy boots – susceptible
  • Pets – not susceptible
  • Anything my grandkids want – highly susceptible

What does your list look like.  Do you have things that you would never be tempted by?

The point is – if you’re running up credit card debt, don’t blame the credit card companies and the product advertisers.  There’s something inside of you that wants stuff that you can’t afford.  If you’re still smoking after your first drag off a cigarette that nearly choked you to death, there’s a belief inside you about cigarette smoking that most people don’t share.  If you buy a $300,000 house with nothing down, and monthly payments of $250 a month for the first two years and you don’t think there’s anything odd about that, it’s ‘cause your subconscious desire to own a house completely obliterated any common sense you might have had.  Don’t blame the mortgage company.  I had a client who was a second-generation welfare recipient with an extremely limited education who bought a house with a sub-prime loan and even she knew enough to convert it well before her payments were scheduled to go up.  If you change the meaning attached to having these things, you’ll stop being tempted to have them.

Let’s take a little personal responsibility, here. Until we challenge our internal reasoning about these things, how about if we start an accountability partnership.   You keep me away from dark chocolate, tools, guns, and cowboy boots, and I’ll keep you away from the stuff that you’re tempted by, but let’s get over blaming everyone else for the self-inflicted misery that comes from being undisciplined, uneducated, and naïve.  O.K?

 

Whadayathink?

It Could Get Ugly

Picture of an ugly manYes, it could get ugly.  I was thinking about the content of my blog posts and came to the conclusion that there was something missing.  I’ve been doing a lot of teaching about how we all became who we are and that understanding the beliefs and meanings of others with whom we associate would be  beneficial when we have disagreements.

I’ve thrown in a couple of “safe” posts about cultural things, but being safe is boring.  I’ve been told a million times, since my youth, that we shouldn’t talk about religion or politics.  As I ponder that admonition, it occurs to me that there are no other more influential aspects of our lives than government and spirituality.  The government is reaching deeper and deeper into our lives and our spirituality or lack thereof has a huge influence on how we live our lives and how we interact with others.

I just wrote a blog post about being offended.  When I open up the possibilities for new blog content, I guess we’ll see if my readers will get offended and leave or join in a debate.    So, “There’s a new Sheriff in town”.  We’ll be talking about new stuff – guns, prejudice, race, politics, religion, “rights” and responsibilities, white privilege, and the American Dream.  I think the next post will be call “Babies and Patriotism”.

Are you up for it?  I hope you are.

Whadayathink?

Money, Greed, and Envy

 

Money

MONEY

When I say the word, “Money”, what comes to mind?

Here are some of the typical answers:

  • Money is the root of all evil.
  • Money causes the most strife within a marriage.
  • People who want more money have to take advantage of others in order to climb the corporate ladder.
  • You can’t take it with you when you die.
  • Money makes people think they are better than everyone else.

Now, if I ask someone what they would do if they won a $100 million lottery, their answers would often look like this:

  • I would help my family get on their feet.
  • I would invest in a Green energy business.
  • I would donate money to non-profits that support my values.
  • I would start a start a scholarship program for poor kids to go to college.
  • I might buy a new car for myself.

You see – in response to the first question, the person is talking about how money affects other people and in response to the second, they are talking about themselves. So, the fact of the matter is that there is nothing intrinsically wrong with money.  The end result of having money depends on the character of the person who has it.  Money doesn’t create bad character, but it will exhibit bad character when it is present.  Continue reading