Friday, May 20, 2011

Michigan still bleeding jobs

The Michigan Legislature just passed a tax cut for businesses that is aimed at bringing jobs back into the state.
That is good, because we need it.
Michigan lost 10,200 jobs last month, the largest decline of any state. By comparison, Minnesota lost 5,200 jobs and South Carolina lost 3,800.
The big gainers were New York, which gained 45,700 jobs in April, (the most of any state). and Texas, which added 32,900 jobs. Pennsylvania, added 23,700 jobs.
The state's unemployment rate actually edged up a tenth of a point -- from 10.3 unemployed in March to 10.2 in April.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Food aid is for poor people

It is funny, but when I talk about this incident of the lottery winner being given permission by the state to continue to use his food-aid card, certain people get very defensive.
So let me make this clear: I am in favor of Michigan helping people who cannot afford food so they do not go hungry.
What fascinates me about this story is that it is such a clear example of why bureaucracies are bad.
In this case, some bureaucrat in the federal government decided that winning the lottery and taking the lump sum is somehow separate from what they count as income. Some bureaucrat in the Michigan Department of Human Services said, well if the Feds say it, then that is the way that it must be, and that means that although this lottery winner is now not poor, we cannot count his lottery winnings as riches, and so by our definition he is still poor, which means he can continue to use his bridge card which uses Michigan tax dollars to buy food,
This is obviously nuts on a number of levels.
First, food aid is for poor people.
If these bureaucrats define a lottery winner as a poor person, they obviously have some problems with common definitions.
Second, we taxpayers are told that the state is in the red and there is a limited amount of money available for food aid. So if the state is giving food aid to someone who does not deserve it, then are they depriving someone who does need it?
Third, if our state is so short of money, surely one quick fix would be to stop giving it away to people who do not deserve it.
Fourth, another effective fix would be to fire the stupid bureaucrat who was hired to help poor people but instead decided to help lottery winners.
Fifth, it would be a good idea to examine all the supervisors audit the entire department to dig out any other kinds of unjustifiable nonsense.
When the state bureaucrats say they have cut everything to the bone and the only thing left to do is to raise our taxes -- examples like this indicate that they have not cut all the fat out of the budget.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Win the lottery? Lose your food stamps

The federal government and Michigan that if you win the lottery and take it as a lump sum, those winnings should not be considered income. And if you have a food-aid card, which uses Michigan tax dollars to help you buy food, you can keep it.
Forgive me if I am mean-spirited, but that is just wrong.
What is more, it is being way too free with my tax dollars.
The Legislature just past a bunch of tax increases that are going to ask me to help share the burden of getting the state out of the red. That is OK, but I think lottery winners should also share the burden.
It is simple. If you win the lottery, you are no longer poor and no longer in need of a bridge card.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

I'm driving under the speed limit

I need a bumper sticker that says: I'm driving under the speed limit to save gas, so who is the blinking idiot?"
Why is driving slower not an option for most drivers? We all complain when the price of gas is around $4, so why is slowing down not an option?
Here is how it works: If you drive a Ferarri that has a pointy front and the top is about 3 feet off the ground, your best gas mileage may be around 80 mph. But if you drive a big SUV that tops out at over 7 feet and has a square front, your best mpg may be closer to 40 mph.
You can and will save gas by driving slower. My car has a manual transmission and I know that I can get gas mileage -- above 35 mpg -- if I drive about 55 mph and keep the engine revolutions around 2,000. Every car is different, but few vehicles -- unless they are racing cars -- get their best mileage at 70 or above.
The odd thing is that I believe drivers are beginning to get the idea.
For the first time this weekend, I found drivers on the freeways going 65 in a 70 zone. Amazing.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Tips to save money on gas

Max Bohbot, President of penny auction site, has put together tips on how to get the most out of what you’re paying for at the pump:
  • Drive consistently and carefully: Avoid braking hard or accelerating unnecessarily quickly, you waste gas each time you accelerate just to brake a few seconds later.
  • Slow down. Most vehicles get their best gas mileage between 45 and 60 mph.
  • Do Your Research: Calculate how much a trip will cost in gas (you can use AAA’s gas calculator) and then compare it to bus, train or air fares.
  • Cash not credit: Pay for gas with cash instead of charging it to a card, you’ll save a few cents per gallon.
  • Fill ‘em up: Check that your tires are inflated according to the manufacturer’s recommended pressure. By maintaining well-inflated tires, you ensure your car is getting better mileage than on under-inflated tires.
  • Invest in a GPS: Using a GPS cuts down on the chances of getting lost while driving to your destination which can waste time and gas.
  • The one minute rule: If you’re going to idle your car for more than a minute, it’s worth turning off the engine. If it’s going to be under a minute, just leave the car running.
  • The more, the cheaper: Try and carpool to destinations and split the costs of transportation costs.
  • Quality goes a long way: Make sure to have your car or motorcycle inspected before you take a road trip, it’ll save you money to fix anything that might need repairs before your trip instead of potentially breaking down on the road which can become a costly inconvenience.