San Juan Mountains

San Juan Mountains
San Juan Mountains: Grenadier Range

Friday, January 16, 2015

My Adventure At The DMV

My wife accidentally allowed her driver's license to expire.  Colorado renews licenses for a period of several years with the renewal date established as the license holder's birthday.  Unlike profit seeking businesses which go out of their way to contact their customers and inform them about important dates, the Division of Motor Vehicles in Colorado does not remind license holders that a renewal is pending.  I suspect there is more revenue to be generated through the payment of past due renewals than there is with an ordinary on-time renewal.  Could you imagine a profit seeking business seeking to exploit the forgetfulness of its customers for its own financial advantage?  Any business attempting to do so would soon be out of business.  That is not true for government run operations however.  Let me tell you about our adventure to get her license renewed.
Since my wife is now officially not permitted to drive I ended up providing chauffeur services for her.  That is okay by me.  I kind of like her and spending more time with her is no burden at all.  As if turns out there is a DMV office located right in our Yuppie neighborhood.  I had visited that office myself when I had to renew my driver's license a couple of years ago.  I was required to go in and take an eye test because I had reached some magical age at which the government determined I was likely to become legally blind.  As it turned out I was not blind and my license was renewed.  I hoped it would be a relatively simple matter to get my wife's license reinstated.
We walked into the office and, shock of shocks, there was hardly any line.  We quickly estimated that the entire process could be completed and still leave us enough time to have lunch together.  We were amazed.  After just a couple of minutes of waiting she was called to the counter by a surly clerk who refused to look up or make eye contact.  My wife informed him that she needed to renew a license that had expired.  Without looking up and without changing his monotone he told her that his office does not do that type of renewal.  What?  How could an office of the DMV not do renewals?  I asked why this office would not do renewals and he grunted something to the effect that they specialized in giving out new licenses rather than renewing old ones.  I didn't point out that I had no problem renewing my license a year or two previously.  He was not in the mood to talk.
We walked back to the car to consider  our options.  The nearest office that would actually renew her license, according to Google, was about fifteen miles away.  Having nothing better to do we decided to make the trip.  After a pleasant drive up the road we arrived at a crowded parking lot outside the Golden office of the Colorado DMV.  I had to circle the parking lot several times looking for a parking space.  Even turning around in the lot was a major chore as the spaces were jammed together tightly.  The fact that dozens of other cars were doing the same thing I was did not help matters.  After finding a place to park we entered the building only to find it stuffed to the gills with sad looking people some of whom were sitting in chairs and others who were lined up against the wall.  I wondered if the people lined up against the wall were about to be shot by a firing squad.  They certainly looked like that was their immediate future.  My wife found a kiosk that was dispensing pieces of paper that would theoretically inform her how long she would have to wait.  She took a piece of paper and attempted to decipher it.  It was undecipherable.  It was then she noticed the anger filled woman shouting instructions to the "customers."
This woman was a classic bureaucrat.  She would fit in well at the airport working for Homeland Security.  She had nothing but disdain for everyone in the room.  She was repeating a mantra about how the piece of paper we were all holding in our hands did not describe what time we would be served.  Rather it described what time we would be granted the privilege to stand up from our chairs and line up against the wall.  How long it would take to be served by a surly clerk after we lined up against the wall was anybody's guess.  One man stood up to go stand in line at the end of her speech and was immediately reprimanded for his actions.  She informed him in no uncertain terms that he was not permitted to stand until she said so.  We quickly found two seats.
After sitting there for a couple of minutes we could not help by notice that the "customers" were all casting their glances downward, towards the floor, and saying nothing.  All of them had sad looks on their faces.  They all seemed resigned to accept whatever punishment they needed to  in order to get their government approval to drive on the roads.  I appreciated that.  It magnified the importance of understanding the fact that whenever we deal with the government the best attitude to take is one of absolute submission.  Suffer in silence is my motto.  We joined them in their suffering.  It was then we noticed that practically everyone in the room was coughing and sneezing.  It was the peak of the cold/flu season and I believe everyone in that room was ill.  We were not ill and so we exchanged hushed conversation with one another about whether we wanted to subject ourselves to this process or not.  We decided to adjourn to the outside, even if it might cost us our place in line.  We exited the building as the drill instructor once again began her diatribe about the little piece of paper.
We needed to consider our options.  Is it possible to renew an expired license online?  My wife consulted Google and discovered that it could be done but the price to be paid was that it could take up to 31 days for the license to be delivered and the supplicant was not permitted to drive until the license was received.  It took about two seconds to make our decision.  A month long wait to receive a government approved permit to drive a car was an extremely small price to pay when compared to suffering in silence for several hours at a DMV office.  We hopped into our car, relieved that the process was over, and had an enjoyable drive home.  I think I am going to enjoy driving my wife around for a month.  Like I said, I kind of like her.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

About Losing...

The Denver Broncos lost their football game against the Indianapolis Colts last Sunday.  You would think the world has come to an end if your only source of information is the local media in Denver.  The front page headline on the Monday and Tuesday editions of the Denver Post was about the Broncos.  If you turned to the sports section for those two editions of the paper you would have found that the headline on that section was also about the Broncos.  There was a common theme to all of the stories about the Broncos.  That theme was how unacceptable it is to lose and how ending the season with a loss necessarily means that the entire year was an abject failure.  My, I thought to myself, what have we become when losing one game is sufficient reason to pronounce an entire year's efforts a failure?
My mama taught me many things about losing.  One thing she used to tell me is that I would learn a lot more about myself, others and life in general when I lose rather than when I win.  Losing, she would say, would show me the things I am most in need of fixing about myself.  Losing, she told me, was an opportunity to improve myself.  Losing, she would adamantly assert and despite the fact that it showed me many things about myself, is "never an excuse to be selfish so stop your silly whimpering and get on with life."  Knowing how to lose seems to be a lost art these days.  Maybe it was never an art form.  Maybe everyone has always been a poor loser.  I don't remember the past well enough to recall if people used to lose better than they do today.  I do know that almost nobody knows how to lose these days and that is a really sad testimony about what we have become.
Yuppies, Type-A personalities and people who are infected with the mental illness known as Obsessive Compulsive Disorder all have a difficult time losing.  These three groups of people tend to be the most successful people in the world.  They all have advanced degrees.  They all have successful careers.  They all engage in a wide variety of extreme activities and sports.  They are all good looking and they all smell really nice.  And these people are all accustomed to winning.  When they win these people are insufferable.  When they lose they are inconsolable.  Something is wrong with these people, desperately wrong.  When an individual's personal contentment becomes directly connected to his performance of various tasks in life rather than his personal practice of moderation in all things he is doomed to a life of self-perceived failure and depression.  That pretty much describes Yuppies, Type-As and OCs.  Evening winning is not enough since each win sets them up for a possible failure in the next attempt. 
Some old football coach, I believe it was Lombardi, is quoted as saying, "Winning isn't everything, it is the only thing."  How depressing is that?  When the only reason to experience some sense of contentment with one's life experiences is directly related to the outcome of some silly contest we have truly descended into the depths of selfish inane stupidity.  After the Broncos lost the game last Sunday many of the individual players were interviewed.  To a man they all said the same thing.  Each comment went something like this, "The season is a total loss.  I feel horrible.  I have a terrible taste in my mouth that will not go away.  We have to win the Super Bowl next year or I might commit suicide."  Okay.  They didn't say that last sentence but they should have.  What happened to the joy of the game?  What happened to the pleasure of competition?  What happened to camaraderie?  What happened to the happiness that should be surrounding the fact that most of these men are making millions of dollars to play a game while being adored by tens of thousands of fans?   What is wrong with these people?
I love the after game interviews.  You would think someone had had his head cut off during the game.  You would think someone had keeled over from a heart attack or brain aneurism while playing.  Both interviewer and interviewee speak in hushed tones, as if everyone is terminally depressed and on the verge of taking their own lives.  Why does nobody smile? Why does nobody say, "That was a great season and a fun game?"  Why does no one acknowledge, "I made tons of money playing a game I love?"  Why must everyone be such a poor sport about a single loss?
The fear of going through the horrible emotions associated with losing has had a strong impact upon the emotions of the victor as well.  How many times have we seen a victor in a contest say that he will enjoy the experience for "about two minutes" before he is "off to prepare for the next contest?"  Is everyone incapable of enjoying the moment these days?  How about enjoying several moments?  It seems as if everyone is so terrified of losing that they are now incapable of enjoying winning. The ability to savor a victory and to take joy in a job well done is lost upon most folks today.  The obsessive voices in their brains tells them to quickly get back to whatever it was they are obsessing about.  There is no time for contentment or happiness when there are other things on the list to check off. And when all of the things on that list are checked off it is time to move to the next list.  How sad.
I think I know the answer to all of the questions I have raised in today's post.  The answer to all of the questions is that everyone is extremely selfish.  To be a good sport requires that a person be capable of thinking about someone other than himself.  Today's athletes, Yuppies, Type-A's and OCs are incapable of thinking about others for even a millisecond.  Every thought, every action, every emotion is always and only about themselves.  On the one hand this state of affairs makes them very successful people.  On the other hand this state of affairs makes them miserable human beings.  Everyone, Yuppies and OCs included, will experience more losses in life than victories.  The ability to deal with loss well will go a long way towards building personal character in people.  But insofar as everyone is taught that losing is a horrific state of affairs that must be avoided at all costs we will only perpetuate the condition of poor sportsmanship.  As long as people are encouraged to be one hundred percent self-centered we are guaranteed to have post game interviews that seem like funerals when a team loses. 
I would love to see some professional athlete have the courage to be happy after a loss.  Doing so will incur great wrath for him but it would be worth it.  His teammates will accuse him of not caring if he does not go home after a game, beat his wife, kick his dog and mope around the house for days.  They will say that he has no fire in his belly if he does not whine like a little girl when he loses.  They will say that he does not care about his profession if he does not throw a hissy-fit every time things do not go his way.  How odd it all is when a man's intensity, commitment and passion for an activity is measured by how much of a hissy-fit he throws when he loses. Since when does being a poor sport equate to being a good competitor? 

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Norway And Obamacare

I was reading an article on the internet the other day written by a fellow making the argument that citizens of the Socialist Democracy of Amerika are generally ignorant about how people in the rest of the world perceive us to be.  Since I agreed with his premise and since I, like most people, only read things that I know I am going to agree with in advance, I read the entire piece.  To my shock and dismay I discovered that the author told me something I did not want to know because it challenged my dearest and most closely held beliefs.  He listed a series of questions that are most often asked of him about the SDA by citizens of other countries.  At the top of that list of questions being asked by ignorant foreigners was, "why would anyone in his right mind oppose Obamacare?"
The idea that the first thing on the minds of people living outside the SDA, when they think about life within the SDA, is that we are all rubes for refusing to openly and enthusiastically embrace Obamacare surprised me.  The author was Norwegian.  His article went to great lengths to extol the virtues of the Norwegian welfare state.  He described, among other things, how nobody in Norway, or the rest of the socialistic Scandinavian countries for that matter, would ever advance the position that people should be forced to pay for their own medical care.  Compassionate people must recognize, he argued, that some people simply cannot afford to pay for their medical care and if they are forced to do so they will end up dying on the streets.  Since nobody should ever die on the streets in a first world country, it is necessarily the case that all first world countries should adopt socialized medicine.
I do not agree that it is a bad thing for people to die in the streets.  In fact, I believe it is God's revealed will that poor sick people die.  Go here for the post in support of that position.  The heart of the argument in favor of allowing poor sick people to die is that it is never right to do wrong, no matter how serious the price for not doing wrong.  In this case it is never right to steal money from someone, no matter how much "excess money" you might believe he has, in order to give it to someone else.  That is true even when the person who would receive the money is going to die if someone does not pay for his operation.  But this is not the point of today's blog.  What intrigued me was the fact that the author accurately pointed out that Norway has a per capita GDP that is higher than the per capita GDP in the SDA.  That economic truth appears to contradict my economic belief that excessive taxation leads to lower rates of economic growth.  So I set out to investigate and here is what I discovered.
Total taxation in Norway, expressed as a percentage of GDP, comes to 44%.  For comparison purposes, total taxation in the SDA, also expressed as a percentage of GDP, comes to 26%.  Taxing almost half of all that is produced should create a massive disincentive to produce and yet the Norwegians still have a per capita GDP that is higher than that found in the SDA.  This should not be, but it is.  Can this apparent anomaly be explained or is this the Achilles heel of free market economics?  Will I be forced to abandon free market principles and embrace the socialist economics of Scandinavia?  I dug a little deeper into the tax system of Norway. 
21% of the revenue generated by Norway's tax system is created by the Value Added Tax.  The VAT is a tax on profits at each step of the production chain, ending with the final sale of a consumer good.  As such the VAT is a tax on consumption and ultimately is paid by the final consumer of the good since all other stops along the supply chain simply add the tax into the cost of doing business.  In general taxes upon consumption are less harmful for capital creation than direct taxes on production itself.  If the VAT is added to the total amount paid in personal income taxes (see below) it would come to a total of 34% of all government revenues, still less than what is paid by SDA citizens who pay 39% of all government revenues.
The next largest source of tax income for Norway is derived from its prodigious oil and gas operations.  A full 20% of all state revenues come from taxes imposed upon what are essentially state owned oil and gas operations.  Most of those operations are found in the North Sea and Norway has been a big player in worldwide oil and gas production for decades.  When all of the taxes that oil and gas companies are required to pay are added up it comes to a whopping total of 78% of net profits.  In other words, the state run oil companies are essentially paying all of their profits into the state coffers.  Now I was on to something.  When Norway is looked at more closely it can be seen that it is very similar to countries in the Middle East.  Norway can afford its welfare state primarily because it is sitting upon enormous oil and gas fields which dispense their profits directly to the state treasury.
Corporate income taxes in Norway account for  7% of total revenue.  In the SDA the figure is 8%.  14% of total revenue is derived from individual income taxes compared to 39% in the SDA.  Social insurance taxes account for 12% of total revenue compared to 24% in the SDA.  A clear picture is now beginning to emerge.  Corporate taxes in both Norway and the SDA are essentially a wash.  There is a huge difference in the amount paid by individuals however.  SDA citizens pay 178% more in individual taxes than Norwegians and social insurance taxes in the SDA are 100% higher than Norway.  No wonder the Norwegians never complain about how much they are paying in taxes.  A closer examination of their situation reveals that the entire socialist system is able to stay afloat because of state owned and operated oil and gas businesses.  Take away revenue from oil and gas and Norway, along with the other Scandinavian countries, would be in a world of hurt.
It is easy to see now how Norwegians can look at SDA citizens and accuse them of being callous and cruel when it comes to having the state pay for everyone's medical bills.  In their country they have a situation in which oil and gas revenues pay for the medical bills of all the citizens.  If the SDA were to pass a law nationalizing all oil and gas companies and then utilized those revenues to finance universal health care we would be in the same situation.  If you were not in the oil and gas business you would feel no pain.  Even those in the oil and gas business would quickly adjust and a generation later it would seem normal for the state to own every oil and gas well.  Being awash in oil and gas cash the Norwegians cannot conceive how SDA citizens would oppose socialized medicine.
SDA citizens, however, are not awash in oil and gas cash.  The SDA government operates with huge annual deficits and runs up a bigger and bigger national debt every day.  There is no cash left to spend.  Even future cash has already been spent by the profligate career politicians who rule over us and buy our continued submission to them with disbursements of federal largess to privileged groups and classes.  In the SDA Obamacare cannot be paid for with revenues derived from enormous state owned industries that are hemorrhaging cash to the treasury.  To pay for Obamacare it is necessary to extract cash income from the top 49% of the income population (the group that pays 98% of the entire federal budget) and distribute it to those who have made the rational decision to let others pay for their medical bills.  That is called theft and notwithstanding the "Scandinavian socialist miracle" it is still immoral. 

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

My Concerns About The Denver B-Cycle Boondoggle

There is a government program (read "taxpayer financed program") near where I live called the Denver B-Cycle.  I am not sure which career politician cooked up the program but I would guess former Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper (now Governor Hickenlooper) had a hand in it.  B-Cycle is a program whereby anyone who wants to can pay $8 for the right to rent a city-provided bicycle in order to ride around downtown Denver.  The $8 fee entitles a person to use any bike from any station for that day.  Once a customer picks up a bike and goes for a spin, a charge will accrue once the rider exceeds 30 minutes of operation.  The charge starts at $1/hour and rises from there.  If you change bikes every 30 minutes you can avoid the hourly charge, although you still have to pay the daily access fee.
The Denver Post had an article in it last week about a Denver resident by the name of Rick Plenge who "logged more than 1,800 miles on B-Cycle bikes in 2014 with a daily round trip between his home and office."  Good for Rick.  The article had an accompanying photograph showing a smiling Rick riding in downtown Denver.  The bikes used by B-Cycle appear to be most similar to the type and style of bicycle ridden by the lady who eventually becomes the wicked witch of the west in The Wizard of Oz movie.  It is upright and clunky with a basket on the front. It is not something you would want to take on a century ride but for a Yuppie getting around Denver it serves the purpose. 
What I find interesting is the positive press the B-Cycle program is receiving while similarly themed private businesses are being banned by governments around the country.  In particular, I find it very ironic that automobile ride share companies like Uber are being systematically persecuted by career politicians and bureaucrats while government sponsored transportation scams are expanding and praised by all.  Here is a link to a story that describes the problem.  But that is not the point of today's blog.  I am rambling here and need to get to the point.
Monday's letter to the editor page in the Post had two letters about the previous story on the B-cycle program.  When I read those letters I became outraged.  Fortunately I had already finished drinking my scalding hot coffee or the dog would have been hauled off to the animal hospital with third degree burns on his back.  The first letter was from Jonathan Ormes of Denver.  He wrote,"For those of us concerned about global warming, it is heartwarming to see that people are adapting to fewer miles on the roads and the use of public transportation...Denver's commitment to bicycles will pay dividends for hundreds of years.  I hope the new director of the Colorado Department of Transportation...will continue this trend that helps avoid paving our beautiful state over with roads."  Let's consider Mr. Ormes' argument for a moment, shall we?
Mr. Ormes is concerned about global warming.  I have no idea what that means.  I am concerned about the mole that is growing on the top of my head but I can tell you why.  I don't want to have skin cancer or, even worse, brain cancer as the mole metastasizes into my brain.   As a result of my concern I have made an appointment to have the mole surgically removed from my head.  It is my mole, my head, my doctor and I will be paying the bill for the surgical procedure.  When Ormes tells me he is concerned about global warming I have no idea what he is trying to tell me.  Does he believe in the religion of global warming or does he believe he actually has scientific support for his position?   If the globe is, in fact, getting somewhat warmer, why should that be a matter for concern?  As I sit here writing this it is below freezing outside.  I would not be concerned at all if the temperature went up a couple of degrees.  In fact, I would prefer it.  So should I not use a B-Cycle because I prefer a warmer earth?  Even more confusing to me is the apparent direct relation between making the decision to rent a B-Cycle and global warming.  Mr. Ormes does not explain what that connection is.  Or, at least I think he does not explain it.  He does say that his heart has been warmed by seeing people rent B-Cycles.  Maybe that is contributing to global warming.  But if global warming is bad, as Mr. Ormes seems to think it is, a cold heart would more suit his purposes. 
Out of nowhere Mr. Ormes declares that the taxpayer funded program of B-Cycles will "pay dividends for hundreds of years."  This is a common variation of the economically clueless argument that government spending and government programs are investments that have measurable returns.  Anyone who uses this argument immediately betrays his abysmal lack of economic understanding.  Government tax and spend programs do not create capital.  All government initiated tax and spend programs are ultimately capital destructive since government cannot perform any service for free and all costs associated with all government services must first be extracted from taxpayers.  Government creates nothing, it simply moves things around, less 25% for handling.  To speak of any government program yielding a measurable return is meaningless and stupid. 
Mr. Ormes does not expect that the B-Cycle program will actually yield cash returns to the City of Denver.  At least he is not that stupid.  But his conception of return on investment is limited exclusively to his own psychic enjoyment of his own environment.  Why his own personal experiences should become the measure of value for a government tax and spend program and for all of the rest of us who are citizens of Colorado is not described.  Nevertheless, Mr. Ormes proudly proclaims that thanks to the B-Cycle program less surface area of the State of Colorado will have paved road surfaces on it.  Why having less paved surface areas on those lands within the geo-political boundary of Colorado is considered to be a good thing is not described.  I can think of many Colorado citizens who would appreciate a bit more pavement in their part of the state.  No matter, Mr. Ormes is satisfied that there is some connection between folks like Rick Plenge renting a B-Cycle and less pavement being placed on the surface of the land this year.  Furthermore, that connection makes him happy. Good for him.
A second letter followed the letter from Mr. Ormes and it truly warmed my heart.  I do not know if the heartwarming I experienced contributed to global warming or not but it still made me feel good.  Using the Ormes rule for what is good for everyone, if it feels good to me it should feel good for you.  Only in this case, the letter was written by a man who does not feel good about the B-Cycle program.
Jeffrey Barter, who identifies himself as a pediatrician from Centennial, is quite upset that the photograph of Rick Plenge riding his bike while logging a couple feet of his 1,800 miles last year shows Mr. Plenge riding without a helmet!  Mr. Barter is also concerned.  He writes, "I am concerned to see the picture of him riding the streets of Denver without a helmet...I have found that parents are the most effective role models for their children. Adults should take on the responsibility for safety....I would hope that Plenge would use his brain and start using a helmet when on his bike."  Thank you Dr. Barter.  You have restored my faith in the belief that everyone in the Socialist Democracy of Amerika believes he should have the right and power to establish the rules and regulations for how everyone else in the SDA must conduct their daily lives.  I only wish that while he was at it Dr. Barter would have said something about the importance of not smoking.
I conclude that the Denver B-Cycle stimulates concerns on the part of many people.  I am very concerned about that. I am concerned that government is hypocritical.  I am concerned that some of my money is being stolen from me in order to subsidize Yuppie bike riders in downtown Denver.  I am also most concerned that the citizens of this sad land are apparently completely incapable of minding their own business and leaving others alone. 

Monday, January 12, 2015

Hickenlooper's Solution To A Problem That Does Not Exist

John Hickenlooper is Governor of Colorado.  As a resident of Colorado in 1986 he was fired from his job and spent the next two years on unemployment.  Today he claims that that experience transformed him into a man with tremendous amounts of compassion for the long term unemployed.  Beware the career politician who professes to have compassion for any group. That usually means taxpayer dollars are about to be wasted. 
During his reelection campaign Hickenlooper emphasized the importance of having government programs for the unemployed.  It never occurred to Hick, as his friends call him, that the two iron-clad rules of political economy might apply to his plans.  You know what those rules are.  The first rule is that if the government wants to have less of something all it needs to do is tax it.  The second rule is that if the government wants to have more of something all it needs to do is subsidize it.  These rules never fail but for some incomprehensible reason no politicians I have ever seen have been able to comprehend these two rules, despite the fact they are in operation right in front of their faces every day of their careers.
Hick wants to do something about unemployment.  The two rules of political economy would dictate that if he wants to have less unemployment he should tax those who are unemployed.  That would give them an incentive to get back to work.  I don't think it is the business of government to force people to work against their will but if the good governor thinks it is his business, who am I to argue with him?  Create a tax on the unemployed and throw them into prison if they do not pay it.  I guarantee you people will go back to work and the rate of unemployment will drop dramatically.
Conversely, if Hick wants to cause the rolls of the unemployed to swell all he needs to do is subsidize their condition.  Because the governor is a compassionate man and because he has millions of taxpayer funds to spend he has decided to take the subsidy route to solve what he perceives to be a problem with employment in the state of Colorado.  By doing so he is willingly ignoring the fact that his actions will either create more unemployment or decrease the rate of job creation in the state.  Paying people to not work will create more people who do not want to work.  Hick proposes to pay people to not work.
According to the Denver Post, "Governor John Hickenlooper on Thursday debuted a $3 million program aimed at getting long-term unemployed workers into jobs, a key priority for his second term and a deeply personal mission.  The initiative, backed by federal dollars, will provide comprehensive assistance to those without a job for more than 26 weeks...The state is also putting $100,000 into a marketing campaign and website to promote the effort across the state."  So there you have it.  Let me ask you a question.  If you have been unemployed for 25 weeks and you discover that the state is going to give you unemployment benefits for another 26 weeks, how hard would you go about searching for a new job?  Me too.  I would extend my vacation at the taxpayer's expense.  So the expected result of the governor's new program to wipe out long term unemployment will actually end up creating an increase in long term unemployment. 
Of more interest to me was a statement made a bit later in the newspaper article. After going into detail about how wonderful Hick's new program is going to be, the author of the article (John Frank) says this, "In December, the state's long-term jobless workers numbered an estimated 37,000, down from 47,000 a month earlier....A year ago November, the number topped 69,000."  So let me get this straight.  Long-term unemployment dropped by 10,000 people in the last month alone.  Long-term unemployment dropped by over 20% in the last month alone.  Long-term unemployment dropped by 45% in the last year alone.  Long-term unemployment is dropping precipitously and Hick decides now is the time to spend 3 million taxpayer dollars on a problem that is going away all by itself?  Now that is what I call political leadership.
While I was thinking about the governor's proposal over the weekend I saw an article in the Sunday Wall Street Journal that caught my eye.  It was entitled, "Job Growth in 2014 Was Strongest in 15 Years."  The story went on to describe how, "altogether, employers added 2.95 million jobs in 2014, the biggest calendar-year increase since the figure topped three million in 1999."  The Journal article made note of the fact that the almost three million new jobs created in 2014, the most since 1999 by the way, were created by profit seeking businesses as they expanded operations in the steady process of seeking to provide goods and services to consumers at prices those consumers are willing to pay.  Nobody was taxed and no tax dollars were spent to create those 3 million jobs.  Indeed, no government action was involved at all while almost 3 million new jobs were created last year.
So the citizens of Colorado find themselves in a most interesting situation today.  Long-term unemployment is dropping rapidly, both nationally and in Colorado.  But because the governor of Colorado once had a stint on the long-term unemployment rolls he has decided to throw $3 million federal taxpayer dollars at a problem that does not exist.  Colorado citizens do not care because this money comes from the federal government and most of the money is therefore coming from citizens in neighboring states.  It does not take a genius to know how this scenario is going to play out.  A year or two from today Hick will take credit for his foresight and compassion as he notes that long-term employment has been reduced to the "structural" level.  In other words, it will have been wiped out.  He will claim that his program accomplished its goal of wiping out long-term unemployment in Colorado.  He will get reelected and receive a plaque from an organization that honors those career politicians who display the most compassion for their subjects.  Meanwhile, after Hick has received his plaque, an article will run in the local newspaper describing how profit seeking businesses are evil and in need of both higher taxes and more government regulation.

{Note:  This is blog post # 666.  Dispensationalists should probably not read this post and, if they inadvertently do, they should probably immediately run a virus scan for anything that might have been placed on their computers by the demons that are inevitably associated with this post.}