Permanent Budget Fix – American Greatness Steps #4

Our government spending is out of control. Especially at the federal government level.

I’ve got an incredibly simple 10-step plan that congress could easily implement that would end overspending, reduce government waste, and pay off our national debt.

Impossible you say?!?!

Read on to see how it can be done… Continue reading “Permanent Budget Fix – American Greatness Steps #4”

American Greatness Steps – #3: Fix The Law-Making Mess (Part 9)

Ignorance of the law is no excuse, but how is the average citizen supposed to know the laws?

In previous posts, I pointed out that the number of laws on the books is too large for anyone to know or understand them all. And that number is growing all the time!

So how can citizens know the law?

I have an idea who’s time has come.

Continue reading “American Greatness Steps – #3: Fix The Law-Making Mess (Part 9)”

Sad lack of accountability – Kerry O’Grady failure at the Secret Service

So, secret service agent, Kerry O’Grady, posted on social media that she wouldn’t take a bullet for President Trump.

According to CBS News, she’s under investigation and has been suspended from her job with pay.

[ CBS News story here ]

At the time of her post, Kerry was the special agent in charge of the Denver district of the Secret Service.

Why is this a big deal?

Continue reading “Sad lack of accountability – Kerry O’Grady failure at the Secret Service”

American Prosperity: The Two Things Every American Benefits From

The two things that EVERY American benefits from are lower taxes and lower energy costs. They’re also the two things that will have the BIGGEST impact on every American.

Taxes affect all of us.

Even the poorest of the poor who don’t pay anything in taxes because they don’t make any money are still greatly affected by taxes.

And every time taxes go up, the cost of the things we want to buy go up too! That leaves all of us with less money to try and pay for more expensive things.

How can that be you ask?

Continue reading “American Prosperity: The Two Things Every American Benefits From”

American Greatness Steps – #3: Fix The Law-Making Mess (Part 8)

Laws that overlap or do the same thing as other laws are redundant, wasteful, and confusing for America and Americans. They increase the complexity of our legal system, increase the costs of our legal system, and create a financial and administrative burden for all Americans.

Why are they so wasteful?

Why do politicians keep creating more laws that address the same issues as old laws?

What should be done about it?

Continue reading “American Greatness Steps – #3: Fix The Law-Making Mess (Part 8)”

Our Government Lacks Accountability (Completely)

Joe Bilello’s opinion piece on Fox News beautifully sums up the feelings of a great many Americans, myself included.

Link: Fox News – http://nation.foxnews.com/2016/12/04/musings-average-joe-government-run-health-care-potentially-giving-people-aids-not

I don’t want to take away from Joe’s excellent article so I won’t give away much here. Please read his article.

Joe writes from the perspective of an average American in disbelief over the way our veteran’s administration continues to fall far short of providing acceptable care for our veterans while Washington apparently doesn’t care.

To make matters worse, a recent press conference revealed that a dentist violated the rules and policies of the VA resulting in the potential exposure of 600 veterans to possible hepatitis and HIV infections.

And what is the penalty for violating rules for 1 year and exposing 600 people who served our country in the most honorable way to possible hepatitis and HIV infection?

Were charges pressed against the dentist?

No.

Was he fined?

No.

Did he get fired?

No.

Instead, he got promoted to an administrative position.

If a private sector employee had knowingly and intentionally violated rules and policies for a year they would be fired without question.

In the private sector if you don’t do your job, you don’t get to keep your job. It’s that simple.

But the VA not only didn’t fire the dentist but instead promoted them to an administrative position.

To keep them employed is beyond reason. What purpose could they possibly serve? Clearly they can’t be trusted.

They don’t follow rules and policies. What job can you give someone where it doesn’t matter if they don’t follow rules or policies?

This person also put other people at risk and showed no consideration for their safety. No consideration for their humanity.

In the private sector, otherwise known as “the real world”, people bring value to organizations and companies they work for or they don’t get to keep their job.

You and I know that if we don’t serve our customers, make the people around us better, and bring value to our employer we’ll be fired.

But the message that the VA is sending here, and the message our government has sent way too many times, is that government employees aren’t measured the same way. They can be negligent, inept, intentionally derelict, willfully disobedient, and downright destructive without any consequences.

Let’s think about the result of this government mentality…

If you’re not capable of keeping a job in the private sector you’re going to be attracted to working for the government. You’ll be thinking, “I should get a government job. I can get paid well, get better benefits than I’m getting now. I can slack off or even totally screw up and there’s no way I can ever get fired.”

So automatically, government jobs are attracting the wrong kind of people.

Then if you are a hard working, honest, ethical person who works for the government and you see this going on, you tell yourself, “Why am I even trying? The harder I work, the more work they give me. I’m working hard but people like this are getting promoted instead of fired. I’m done working hard.”

So we end up demoralizing other government workers who are good people and trying to do a good job to the point they stop trying to do a good job.

And if you are a hard working, honest, ethical person who works in the private sector, you’re thinking, “No way could I put up that kind of bureaucracy, corruption, incompetence and ineptitude. I’d go insane.”

So, good people, the kind we want in our government, are turned off by even the thought of working in government and reluctant to consider a public service position.

The net effect?

  1. Reward the wrong people working the government
  2. Attract more of the wrong kind of people to government positions
  3. Demoralize the good people working in government so they stop trying to do a good job any more (and maybe even quit their job)
  4. Decrease the likelihood of good people wanting to work in government

All this ultimately leads to a downward spiral of worsening service by our government, more corruption, more bureaucracy, more ineptitude, more incompetence, and higher cost of government because we need more managers to keep the monkeys in check but government still gets less and less done and delivers less and less value to us citizens.

The solution?

Accountability.

Our government needs to be held responsible to the people it serves.

Government employees need to be held accountable for their actions and the value they bring to the government. If they don’t bring value or can’t follow the rules, they get fired. Period.

– Weston Henry

Links:

Fox News – http://nation.foxnews.com/2016/12/04/musings-average-joe-government-run-health-care-potentially-giving-people-aids-not

Questions:

What would happen to a private sector dentist who exposed 600 people to hepatitis and HIV because they intentionally disregarded safety regulations?

Should this dentist be fired? Should their supervisor be punished as well?

American Greatness Steps – #3: Fix The Law-Making Mess (Part 7)

In first six parts, I posted that one of the problems in America today is that our legal system and our laws are too complicated. It’s impossible to understand the laws that we have in place. And it’s impossible to enforce the laws we have.

I posted these 10 steps to clean up the laws in America:

  1. Fewer laws, not more
  2. Simpler and easier to understand
  3. Easier to enforce
  4. ONLY have laws that are enforceable
  5. Enforce all the laws we have
  6. Laws can’t change meaning over time
  7. Get rid of old laws that don’t apply any more
  8. Don’t have laws that modify previous laws. If the law should be changed, then replace the old law
  9. Don’t have laws that do the same thing as a previous law. If there’s already a law against something, don’t make a new one that covers a special case of the same thing
  10. ALL laws must be made available on the Internet

1 – Fewer Laws was discussed in part 1.

2 – Laws That are Simpler and Easier to Understand was discussed in part 2.

3 – Easier to Enforce and 4 – ONLY Have Laws That Are Enforceable were discussed in part 3.

5 – Enforce All The Laws We Have was discussed in part 4.

6 – Laws Can’t Change Meaning Over Time was discussed in part 5.

7 – Get Rid Of Old Laws That Don’t Apply Any More was discussed in part 6.

8 – Don’t Have Laws That Modify Old Laws

One of the things that makes our legal system overly complex is the way new laws are written to modify previous laws.

This creates an unnecessarily complex tangle of old laws interwoven into the current laws. It also makes trying to figure out the meaning of even one of the current laws a confusing trip “down the rabbit hole” as there’s no telling how deep and complex the web of laws will be.

And since new laws reference and modify old laws and those old laws could also reference and modify older laws, this system will continually get more and more complex as time goes on.

It’s already overly complex today and it’s clearly unsustainable for the future.

Instead of this complex tangled mess, we need a new plan. Each time a law is modified, the entire law should be rewritten completely so that it is self-contained and doesn’t reference prior versions or prior laws.

That way, it’s possible to understand each law in their entirety because the full language of the law will be in one place and one document.

An extremely valuable side effect of making our laws this way would be the improvement it gives to lawmakers in their understanding of the complexity of our laws.

Right now, when lawmakers want to make a simple change that change can seem small to them, for example let’s say the new changes are only 3 pages of written legalese. However, what they don’t see is that this 3 page change references another 30 pages of previous law. And that 30 page document also references 3 other 12 page laws.

To the lawmakers, this seems like a simple 3 page adjustment. But in reality it’s taking an already complex 66 page law to an even more complex 69 page law.

The complexity just grows and grows and lawmakers don’t see it.

My guess is that they’re writing the 3 page change because it’s faster and easier for them. They may even have the mistaken belief that a small written change is helpful to people who work related to the law (police, judges, lawyers, etc.) because those that already know the law only have to learn the 3 page change instead of reviewing the full law again and trying to figure out what changed.

But as I’ve already shown, this layered process where new laws build off of and modify previous laws over and over in an ever-increasing web of complexity is unsustainable and already causes a huge burden on our society.

If laws are so complex that no one understands them then no one can follow them, which defeats the purpose of having those laws in the first place.

It’s time to change for the simpler, better, and fairer to citizens plan.

– Weston Henry

Links:

American Greatness Steps – #3: Fix The Law Making Mess (Part 1)

American Greatness Steps – #3: Fix The Law Making Mess (Part 2)

American Greatness Steps – #3: Fix The Law-Making Mess (Part 3)

American Greatness Steps – #3: Fix The Law-Making Mess (Part 4)

American Greatness Steps – #3: Fix The Law-Making Mess (Part 5)

American Greatness Steps – #3: Fix The Law-Making Mess (Part 6)

American Greatness Steps – #3: Fix The Law-Making Mess (Part 7)

American Greatness Steps – #3: Fix The Law-Making Mess (Part 8)

American Greatness Steps – #3: Fix The Law-Making Mess (Part 9)

Questions:

Do you agree that our laws are too complex?

What do you think it would it take to simplify our laws and legal system?

American Greatness Steps – #3: Fix The Law-Making Mess (Part 6)

In first five parts, I posted that one of the problems in America today is that our legal system and our laws are too complicated. It’s impossible to understand the laws that we have in place. And it’s impossible to enforce the laws we have.

I posted these 10 steps to clean up the laws in America:

  1. Fewer laws, not more
  2. Simpler and easier to understand
  3. Easier to enforce
  4. ONLY have laws that are enforceable
  5. Enforce all the laws we have
  6. Laws can’t change meaning over time
  7. Get rid of old laws that don’t apply any more
  8. Don’t have laws that modify previous laws. If the law should be changed, then replace the old law
  9. Don’t have laws that do the same thing as a previous law. If there’s already a law against something, don’t make a new one that covers a special case of the same thing
  10. ALL laws must be made available on the Internet

1 – Fewer Laws was discussed in part 1.

2 – Laws That are Simpler and Easier to Understand was discussed in part 2.

3 – Easier to Enforce and 4 – ONLY Have Laws That Are Enforceable were discussed in part 3.

5 – Enforce All The Laws We Have was discussed in part 4.

6 – Laws Can’t Change Meaning Over Time was discussed in part 5.

7 – Get rid of old laws that don’t apply any more

If you do a search for “old laws still on the books”, check out this article on LegalZoom, or the Dumb Laws website to get an idea of some of the old, outdated laws that are still in effect today.

These old laws are unnecessary, not enforced any more, and many are totally ridiculous.

I won’t list them all here, but some examples include:

  • Illegal for a child to build a snowman taller than themselves on school property
  • Illegal to drive a car in reverse
  • Illegal to wear suspenders
  • Illegal for women to wear pants
  • Illegal for a man and woman to flirt with each other in the street
  • Illegal to eat in a vehicle
  • Illegal to kiss your wife on a Sunday
  • Illegal to shower naked
  • Illegal for a barber to advertise prices
  • Illegal to say “Oh, boy”
  • Illegal to sell donut holes
  • Illegal for a child to burp during church
  • Illegal to sneeze within city limits
  • Illegal to serve beer and pretzels at the same time
  • One-armed piano players must perform for free
  • Illegal to keep Christmas decorations up after January 14th
  • Illegal to cross state lines with a duck atop their head
  • Illegal for a man to knit during fishing season
  • Illegal to wear slippers after 10pm
  • Illegal to sleep with your shoes on
  • Illegal NOT to drink milk
  • Illegal for children to trick-or-treat on Halloween

And there are MANY, MANY more!

Sure some of these are pretty unlikely to happen (crossing state lines with a duck on your head) but others are extremely intrusive and should NEVER have been put into law in the first place. Some of them even violate our right to freedom and violate the constitution.

Why would you care, you might ask?

The biggest reason is because you might inadvertently violate one or more of these dumb laws, most likely without even knowing it. In fact, it’s extremely likely you’ve violated one or more of these dumb laws in your life.

If you violate one of these laws, technically you’re a criminal. It doesn’t matter if the law is fair or just. In the eyes of the law, if you break the law, you’re subject to the penalties dictated by the law. And if you were ever convicted of violating one of these laws, your permanent record will show that you are a criminal.

Even if you are later able to get the conviction overturned it will still be on your record for the rest of your life.

It’s reasonable to assume that most of these laws are so ridiculous and so unlikely to be enforced that you don’t have to worry about it. I think that’s probably true. But what if… ?

What if the judge is crabby that day?

Or what if the police officer has a grudge against you?

Or what if someone has a reason to want to get back at you for political reasons?

It’s also very possible that you could be harassed through enforcement of one or more of these ridiculous laws. At best, people could make your life miserable while you had to fight off these claims while racking up legal expenses for your defense.

At worst, you could be found guilty, face fines, and possibly even face jail time plus have an unjust black-mark on your permanent criminal record.

The second reason why you should care is that every law on the books has a cost to us as citizens of the United States. The more laws on the books, the harder it is for police, lawyers, and judges to learn their jobs and do their jobs.

More laws also makes it more complex and more time consuming for people, businesses, law makers, and attorneys to research when they are trying to find out what laws apply to certain situations.

Having more laws on the books also makes it more expense to print and purchase the set of laws. That raises the costs for lawyers who need to have copies of all the laws for their practices.

It also drives up the costs for libraries who want to maintain a copy of the laws and statutes for their customers.

In other words, the more laws there are, the more it costs every single one of us American citizens.

These laws are unnecessary and wrong. To leave them on the books is an insult to citizens of the US.

Call on your government officials and law-makers at all levels to strike these laws from the books, clean up the laws we have, and work to reduce the overall number of laws in America (at all levels of government.)

– Weston Henry

Links:

American Greatness Steps – #3: Fix The Law Making Mess (Part 1)

American Greatness Steps – #3: Fix The Law Making Mess (Part 2)

American Greatness Steps – #3: Fix The Law-Making Mess (Part 3)

American Greatness Steps – #3: Fix The Law-Making Mess (Part 4)

American Greatness Steps – #3: Fix The Law-Making Mess (Part 5)

American Greatness Steps – #3: Fix The Law-Making Mess (Part 6)

American Greatness Steps – #3: Fix The Law-Making Mess (Part 7)

American Greatness Steps – #3: Fix The Law-Making Mess (Part 8)

American Greatness Steps – #3: Fix The Law-Making Mess (Part 9)

LegalZoom – https://www.legalzoom.com/articles/top-craziest-laws-still-on-the-books

Dumb Laws – http://www.dumblaws.com

Huffington Post – http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/weird-laws-in-america_us_56a264abe4b0d8cc1099e1cd

Questions:

How many of dumb laws do you think you’ve ever violated?

Why do we still have dumb laws like these on our books?

American Greatness Steps – #3: Fix The Law-Making Mess (Part 5)

In first four parts, I posted that one of the problems in America today is that our legal system and our laws are too complicated. It’s impossible to understand the laws that we have in place. And it’s impossible to enforce the laws we have.

I posted these 10 steps to clean up the laws in America:

  1. Fewer laws, not more
  2. Simpler and easier to understand
  3. Easier to enforce
  4. ONLY have laws that are enforceable
  5. Enforce all the laws we have
  6. Laws can’t change meaning over time
  7. Get rid of old laws that don’t apply any more
  8. Don’t have laws that modify previous laws. If the law should be changed, then replace the old law
  9. Don’t have laws that do the same thing as a previous law. If there’s already a law against something, don’t make a new one that covers a special case of the same thing
  10. ALL laws must be made available on the Internet

1 – Fewer Laws was discussed in part 1.

2 – Laws That are Simpler and Easier to Understand was discussed in part 2.

3 – Easier to Enforce and 4 – ONLY Have Laws That Are Enforceable were discussed in part 3.

5 – Enforce All The Laws We Have was discussed in part 4.

6 – Laws Can’t Change Meaning Over Time

Once a law is passed, citizens and businesses are expected and required to know about it and obey it.

It’s important that the meaning of the law, the interpretation, does not change over time. If it does, citizens who are following the original meaning of the law may be vulnerable to a new interpretation of the law.
In other words, if you understand and comply with a law today and the interpretation (or meaning) of that law changes in the future, you can be violating the law without even knowing it.

The same is true for the meaning of the constitution.

The constitution was written to express some specific views and founding beliefs upon which our county, legal system, and government are based.

The meaning of those words, views, and beliefs cannot change over time.

They’re not open to interpretation. They aren’t meant to fit with your beliefs or desires. They have universal meaning that is meant to stand the tests and trials of time.

Allowing laws to shift meaning over time is like building your house on quicksand. Sure it’s easier than finding solid ground and it requires less work and less commitment. Plus it allows moral flexibility. But it is guaranteed to be unstable and eventually collapse. Better hope you’re not inside when it does.

Our government cannot be allowed to pass laws that change over time, nor can we allow them to change the meaning of the laws that have already been passed.

If the meaning of the original law is no longer valid, then it needs to be removed from the books and replaced with a new law that has a clear and solid meaning that will stand forever.

Government exists to serve the people and laws exist to serve the people.

They need to make life better, more consistent, stable, and safe.

– Weston Henry

Links:

American Greatness Steps – #3: Fix The Law Making Mess (Part 1)

American Greatness Steps – #3: Fix The Law Making Mess (Part 2)

American Greatness Steps – #3: Fix The Law-Making Mess (Part 3)

American Greatness Steps – #3: Fix The Law-Making Mess (Part 4)

American Greatness Steps – #3: Fix The Law-Making Mess (Part 5)

American Greatness Steps – #3: Fix The Law-Making Mess (Part 6)

American Greatness Steps – #3: Fix The Law-Making Mess (Part 7)

American Greatness Steps – #3: Fix The Law-Making Mess (Part 8)

American Greatness Steps – #3: Fix The Law-Making Mess (Part 9)

Questions:

What issues happen when the meaning and enforcement of laws changes over time?

How can we ensure the meaning (and interpretation) of the constitution, bill of rights, and other laws don’t change over time?

American Greatness Steps – #3: Fix The Law-Making Mess (Part 4)

In the first three parts, I posted that one of the problems in America today is that our legal system and our laws are too complicated. It’s impossible to understand the laws that we have in place. And it’s impossible to enforce the laws we have.

I posted these 10 steps to clean up the laws in America:

  1. Fewer laws, not more
  2. Simpler and easier to understand
  3. Easier to enforce
  4. ONLY have laws that are enforceable
  5. Enforce all the laws we have
  6. Laws can’t change meaning over time
  7. Get rid of old laws that don’t apply any more
  8. Don’t have laws that modify previous laws. If the law should be changed, then replace the old law
  9. Don’t have laws that do the same thing as a previous law. If there’s already a law against something, don’t make a new one that covers a special case of the same thing
  10. ALL laws must be made available on the Internet

1 – 4 are discussed in previous posts.

5 – Enforce All The Laws We Have

If we have laws on the books they should be enforced.

Let me say that another way: Every law we have must be enforced.

Why have laws that we don’t enforce? It only serves makes the system more complex.

Plus, what happens when you break a law that’s never enforced, but for some reason it is suddenly enforced when you break it? You’re going to argue that lots of people break that law all the time and they never get in trouble so why are you getting in trouble. And the response will be, “This is the law and you’ve broken it. Whether or not anyone else has ever broken this law in the past has no bearing your crime and punishment.”

It’s going to feel horribly unfair and there is little you can do about it.

Laws that aren’t enforced are a waste, add complexity and cost to society, and serve as traps for people who suddenly find themselves facing enforcement of the law.

– Weston Henry

Links:

American Greatness Steps – #3: Fix The Law Making Mess (Part 1)

American Greatness Steps – #3: Fix The Law Making Mess (Part 2)

American Greatness Steps – #3: Fix The Law-Making Mess (Part 3)

American Greatness Steps – #3: Fix The Law-Making Mess (Part 4)

American Greatness Steps – #3: Fix The Law-Making Mess (Part 5)

American Greatness Steps – #3: Fix The Law-Making Mess (Part 6)

American Greatness Steps – #3: Fix The Law-Making Mess (Part 7)

American Greatness Steps – #3: Fix The Law-Making Mess (Part 8)

American Greatness Steps – #3: Fix The Law-Making Mess (Part 9)

Questions:

Do you know any laws that aren’t normally enforced?

What else could be done to simplify and improve our legal system?