LESSONS LEARNED #46: “Liberals say ‘do as I say not as I do’ because they can’t point to anything worthwhile they’ve done.” -Old Pithy

Posted by PITHOCRATES - December 30th, 2010

The High Compliance Costs of The American with Disabilities Act of 1990

I have a friend who worked at a company that was renovating one of their buildings.  He was in a foul mood one day.  The renovation included a high-end sales and marketing center.  Some place to impress clients.  Included in the renovation was a media room for multimedia presentations.  It was a competitive business; they were looking to woo some clients away from their competitors.  And to keep their current client base from straying to the competition.

It was an existing building.  Space was tight.  They were trying to do a lot in a small footprint.  And they did.  I saw it one day before the work was completed.  Wow.  It was gorgeous.  Especially the media room.  It looked like something you saw in a 5-star hotel.  They built the control room for the media room on a raised platform.  Equipment racks would sit on the floor.  And the cabling would leave the racks through the raised floor and out into a floor duct wiring system.  The walls and ceiling were some nice architectural finishes.  There was no drop ceiling.  No place to conceal wiring but in the walls.  And in the floor.

Well, there was a problem.  The American with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) was relatively new.  This architectural firm complied with the new law in almost every place.  Drinking fountains were wheelchair accessible.  There were ramps to get up the curb so wheelchairs could enter the building.  And various other compliances.  The building complied.  Everywhere.  Everywhere, that is, but one area.  The control booth for the media room.  On the raised floor.  There was a step to enter this room.  And no space to add a ramp.  They fought the building inspectors.  The various authorities having jurisdiction.  But to no avail.  The spiffy new sales and marketing center would not be as designed.  They had to redesign it.  Rebuild it.  And delay the scheduled completion date.  Hence my friend’s foul mood.

The Government Exempts themselves from the High Compliance Costs of their own Legislation

You’d think the authorities having jurisdiction (AHJ) would have given a waiver.  But they didn’t.  It was a big office building.  And a small control room.  Less than 1% of the company’s total employees would ever enter that room.  Didn’t matter.  Some of the AHJ enjoyed their power.  Others were simply afraid someone would sue them down the road.  So they delayed the project. 

Unfortunately, they had already begun to relocate operations from the old to the new.  They suspended all presentations for a month at this facility so the old conference room could be demolished and rebuilt into something else.  And it was.  Demolished.  Now they had no place to wow their customers.  For another month or two.  That’s a whole quarter they had to reschedule around.  It did not impress their clients.  And may have cost them one or two.  All because of the silly inflexibility of the AHJ.

This is a good example of the unintended consequences of liberals’ best intentions.  It’s a microcosm of the ADA’s affect on business everywhere.  Sure, they had a noble goal.  To make a barrier-free world for all.  But the compliance costs to fully meet the letter of the law were brutal to small and medium sized businesses.  But Congress didn’t care.  It’s ‘do as I say, not as I do’.  Literally.  You see, Congress exempted themselves from the American with Disabilities Act of 1990.  Why?  Wait for it.  Because they said it would be too costly for them to comply.  And they said this publicly to justify their exemption from the act.  Unbelievable.  The height of arrogance and condescension.

The High Compliance Costs of OSHA

Well, Congress was dragged kicking and screaming into the real world.  Thanks to Newt Gingrich and the Republican Revolution of the 1994 midterm elections.  That Congress authored the Congressional Accountability Act of 1995.  Congress would no longer be above the law.  Now they, too, had to comply with the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 and the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970.  To name a few.

I have a friend who works in construction in a metropolitan area.  He’s a project manager for a construction manager.  And you should hear some of the things he tells me.  Big construction projects often have federal money involved.  And when they do, there are some pretty restrictive rules.  Especially on the big projects.  Why?  Because big projects have deep pockets.

You would not believe some of the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) requirements on a construction project.  Well, on big projects, because no small contractor could afford the compliance costs.  Or the owner, for that matter.  A couple come to mind.  He said that a worker had to tie himself off when working on a ladder more than 6 feet off the ground (a nylon safety line tied to a body harness attached to something fixed and immovable).   Contractors had to conduct daily safety meetings with their field employees.  They had a safety trailer on site with a couple of safety officers to walk the site and police safety.  They had to get ‘hot work permits’ anytime they used a welding torch or other open flame.  You get the idea.  Workers couldn’t do anything dangerous without an inordinate investment in time and money on part of the contractor.  And yet workers still did stupid things.  Like refuse to wear a hardhat on a hot day.  Of course, when they did and OSHA happened to be on site, they’d write a pretty big fine.  And guess who had to pay it?  Not the employee.  But the employee’s boss.

But when Congress passed the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, they exempted themselves.  Because it would have cost them too much to comply.

The High Compliance Costs of Affirmative Action

But there’s more.  When federal money is involved, there are other hoops to jump through.  You see, the metropolitan area had a large minority population.  And the federal government wanted minority owned businesses to share in some of that construction money.  It was affirmative action.  To help minority owned businesses.  A certain percentage of the work was set aside for these businesses.  The problem was big projects have tight schedules and high-tech building processes.  The kind of work that big and established contractors do all of the time.  And the kind that little contractors starting out who need help (the kind of contractor the government wanted to help) had little to no experience doing.  The idea was for the big guy to mentor the little guy.  Which is not easy to do when competitively bidding work.  Helping these contractors earns no revenue.  It just adds cost.  So you either include the cost up front (and not get the job because you’re not the low bidder).  Or you leave it out and try and recoup it on the back end (I believe the technical term is raping and pillaging on change orders).

Well, there are rules.  And it starts at bid time.  Your bid form asks for the percentage of these minority businesses you’ll be using.  There’s a minimum required.  But you can use more.  And the government weighted things differently.  You counted contractors at their full contract value.  But material suppliers were discounted (I don’t remember, but it might have been 50%).  Suppliers are safer to use because you can use your own highly skilled work force.  So you max these out.  Then you use some small minority contractors on some easier work you can peel off from the rest.  It’s nothing against these guys.  They do well on some of the less exotic stuff.  But some of the other stuff is just over their skill level.  Because they’re new and inexperienced.

Now, because they can use suppliers, there are minority ‘suppliers’ out there looking to exploit this set aside.  They’re not really a supplier, though.  They’re a ‘pass-through’ company.  What they do is offer their services to basically buy from a contractor’s preferred supplier and then resell to the contractor for a small markup.  This basically defeats the whole point of helping minorities, but it helps you stay on schedule.  Construction today uses just-in-time deliveries.  Especially on construction site with no storage area available for material.  And they need their well established working relationships to feed their supply pipeline.  It usual works.  But sometime a contractor’s audit will disallow a previously approved ‘pass-through’ supplier.  And when they do, look out.  If you don’t meet the percentage you included on your bid form you’re looking at some serious fines.  My friend told me the government wrote this one poor contractor of his a fine greater than the value of his contract.

Liberal Legislation:  Compliance Costs, Avoidance Costs and Unintended Consequences

The federal government has no business experience.  At least, the liberal left.  But they’re always trying to make business better.  And fairer.  This results in huge compliance costs.  And avoidance costs.  The federal government has little sympathy for the swath of destruction their legislation causes.  Especially when they were exempting themselves from much of that legislation. 

But it’s ‘do as I say, not as I do’.  Because they feel they’re above the law.  Or, at least, should be.  So they continue to tinker.  Failing more times than not.  And causing a slew of unintended consequences.  Despite their best intentions.

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Tax and Spend and Raise Your Taxes: The Ultra-Left Liberal Agenda

Posted by PITHOCRATES - November 7th, 2010

Fiscal Extortion Responsibility:  Approve Our Millage to Raise Your Taxes or Else

Whenever the government wants to raise your taxes, they use fear.  What does the typical family in suburbia hear?  “If the city doesn’t get this millage approved, the city will have no choice but to lay off police officers and fire fighters.”  It’s never, “If we don’t get this millage approved, the city will have to cut pay and benefits of our bloated and overpaid city bureaucracy.  Or lay off some of the deadwood.”  No.  It’s always the cops and the fire fighters.  Because it’s more scary.  Mothers worry about the safety of their children.  And will do anything for them.  Even pay more taxes.  If it was anyone else talking like this, we’d call it extortion.  But when our government shakes us down for protection money, they call it fiscal responsibility.

The federal government works much in the same way.  Of course, there are no federal police officers or fire fighters protecting our communities day in and day out.  So they go for the jugular.  That third rail.  Social Security.  When the White House and Capitol Hill were staring each other off into a government shutdown in the 1990s, what did Bill Clinton do?  He threatened Social Security (see GOP to Use Debt Cap to Push Spending Cuts by Damian Paletta posted on The Wall Street Journal).

Eventually, the debt ceiling was raised, but only after a brief government shutdown and warnings from the Clinton administration that the government might temporarily stop mailing Social Security checks.

One thing not on the table was lawmaker pay and benefits.  Little old ladies would lose their Social Security checks before they would ever let that happen.  Fast forward to today.  Federal deficits and the debt have never been higher.  In the discussion of spending cuts, that discussion included the other third rail of politics.  Lawmaker pay and benefits.  There’s talk now about cutting their pay.  Of course, that will never happen.  Even though they could afford it (see Boehner under fire: First cut should be lawmakers’ salaries by Jordy Yager posted on The Hill).

Boehner is slated to receive a $30,100 pay increase next year when he becomes Speaker of the House. His annual salary will be $223,500. The base pay for House and Senate lawmakers is $174,000, while majority and minority leaders each make $193,400 per year.

And this doesn’t include any of their benefits or graft.  How does this make you feel?  These are the people that are bankrupting our country.  Destroying our jobs with their anti-business policies.  And forcing us to get by on less.  While they live the good life.  Yes, let’s cut their pay.  If we slash it by $100,000, they’d still be making more than the majority of their constituents.  Something just wrong with that.  Our servants living better than us.

President Obama:  Typical Tax and Spend Liberal Who Hates Tax Cuts

With the loss of the House in the 2010 midterm elections, President Obama’s FDR/LBJ spending has hit a snag.  Nancy Pelosi is not there to rubberstamp his ultra-left liberal agenda.  In fact, the new House leadership is talking about repealing some of that ultra-left liberal legislation to reduce that projected annual deficit of $4,125 billion (see Barack Obama Outspends George W. Bush and Ronald Reagan Combined from this same website). 

Front and center in this debate are the George W. Bush tax cuts scheduled to expire at the end of this year.  And all of a sudden, President Obama is concerned about deficit spending (see Obama calls for compromise, won’t budge on tax cuts by Kevin Cullum posted on The Hill).

“At a time when we are going to ask folks across the board to make such difficult sacrifices, I don’t see how we can afford to borrow an additional $700 billion from other countries to make all the Bush tax cuts permanent, even for the wealthiest 2 percent of Americans,” the president said. “We’d be digging ourselves into an even deeper fiscal hole and passing the burden on to our children.”

Oh, he’s concerned now.  He wasn’t with his bailouts to help fund union pensions.  Or the biggest explosion in federal spending ever.  The trillion dollar+ per annum Obamacare.  But he’s being a little devious here.  Earlier, he said that $700 billion cost of the Bush tax cuts was over ten years (see the above link to this same website).  That comes to $70 billion annually.  Compared that to his projected $4,125 billion annual deficit and he loses all credibility.  He doesn’t care about $4,125 billion in deficit spending but will put his foot down about a paltry annual $70 billion in tax savings.  Why?  He’s a tax and spend liberal.  Any spending (other than defense) is okay.  But any tax cut is simply irresponsible.

We Rejected Obama’s Ultra-Left Liberal Agenda on Tuesday

The message on Tuesday was that the people have rejected Obama’s ultra-left liberal agenda.  America is a center-right country.  That center-right is made up of conservatives, moderates and independents.  Obama, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, et al, belong to that far left minority called liberal.  The clear message is that the 80% rejected the 20%.  Of course, Obama sees it differently. 

The president said that the “message was clear” from voters on Election Day, and that he was also “frustrated” by the sluggish pace of economic recovery. “You’re fed up with partisan politics and want results,” Obama said. “I do too.”

No, we’re not upset that Democrats and Republicans weren’t working together.  We were upset that the liberal Democrats used their majority in Congress to govern against the will of the people.  That is the true message.  It wasn’t the partisanship that bothered us.  It was the lack of it to stop the far-left liberal agenda that did.

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The Message of the 2010 Midterm Elections: The ‘Teenaged’ Voted for Maturity?

Posted by PITHOCRATES - November 6th, 2010

Two Americas:  The Silly and the Sensible

Well, the 2010 midterm elections have come and gone.  And everyone has had their say about what they meant.  Few agree.  At least, few on different sides of the aisle agree.  Two interesting columns show the thought on these two sides.  The two Americas.  One sensible.  The other silly.  You decide which is which.

Graydon Carter, editor for Vanity Fair opines in Man Up, America!

What do you call an electorate that seems prone to acting out irrationally, is full of inchoate rage, and is constantly throwing fits and tantrums? You call it teenaged.

Meanwhile, Peggy Noonan writes in the Wall Street Journal (see Americans Vote for Maturity):

‘The people have spoken, the bastards.” That would be how Democrats in the White House and on Capitol Hill are feeling. The last two years of their leadership have been rebuffed. The question for the Democratic Party: Was it worth it? Was it worth following the president and the speaker in their mad pursuit of liberal legislation that the country would not, could not, like? And what will you do now? Which path will you take?

So one says the electorate is stupid, immature and churlish.  The other says the electorate is mature, sober and discerning.  One says the voters are idiots.  The other says that they are thoughtful.  One is a sore loser.  The other an objective realist.  One silly.  The other, sensible.

Conservatives, Moderates and Independents Exasperate the Liberal Elite

To make it clear, this is what the liberal elite think conservatives, moderates and independents are.  Too stupid to know what’s good for them.  It is just so exasperating that 80% of the electorate has the right to vote.  Like the children they are, they should be seen and not heard.  While those better than them tell them how they should live their lives.

Noonan further points out the folly of the silly by pointing out their negative ads.

Two small points on the election’s atmospherics that carry implications for the future. The first is that negative ads became boring, unpersuasive. Forty years ago they were new, exciting in a sort of prurient way. Now voters take for granted that politicians are no good, and such ads are just more polluted water going over the waterfall. The biggest long-term loser: liberalism. If all pols are sleazoid crooks, then why would people want to give them more governmental power to order our lives? The implicit message of two generations of negative ads: Vote conservative, limit the reach of the thieves.

For smart people, liberals are pretty dumb.

Ranaldo Magnus Earned his Rendezvous with Destiny

Too many people want to be politicians for the wrong reasons.  They want to be career politicians.  To be part of the ruling elite.  The American aristocracy.  For special privilege.  And because of this, a lot of inexperienced and unqualified people are in Washington.  President Obama perhaps being one of the most unqualified and inexperienced ever to hold elected office.  (Come on, be honest.  What qualifications and experience did he have?  Not as much as Sarah Palin.  And the Left ridiculed her.)

Ranaldo Magnus, on the other hand, did it the old fashioned way.  He earned it.  His rendezvous with destiny.  As Noonan points out so well:

Ronald Reagan was an artist who willed himself into leadership as president of a major American labor union (Screen Actors Guild, seven terms, 1947-59.) He led that union successfully through major upheavals (the Hollywood communist wars, labor-management struggles); discovered and honed his ability to speak persuasively by talking to workers on the line at General Electric for eight years; was elected to and completed two full terms as governor of California; challenged and almost unseated an incumbent president of his own party; and went on to popularize modern conservative political philosophy without the help of a conservative infrastructure. Then he was elected president.

And what did President Obama do?  A partial term as U.S. senator.  Before that?  Community organizer.  A pretty sparse resume.

We Need More Like Benjamin Franklin and George Washington Entering Public Service

Whatever irrationality there was that swept Obama and his Democrats into power is gone.  The grownups spoke this past Tuesday.  And they voted for maturity.  Let’s hope the grownups build on this.  And from them another Ronald Reagan earns his or her rendezvous with destiny.  Again, from Noonan:

Here is an old tradition badly in need of return: You have to earn your way into politics. You should go have a life, build a string of accomplishments, then enter public service. And you need actual talent: You have to be able to bring people in and along. You can’t just bully them, you can’t just assert and taunt, you have to be able to persuade.

This is the true American tradition.  Benjamin Franklin.  George Washington.  The two grand old men of the Founding.  These men were in the autumn of their years when they entered public service.  Old but wise.  Experienced.  With real-world talent.  Masters of persuasion.  Everything that Obama and his Democrats are not.  We need these wise and experienced.  To answer the call of service.  After having a life and a string of accomplishments.  The question is, are they out there?  Yes.  They are.  As we saw this past Tuesday.

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As Usual, the Democrats are Trying to Deceive the Voters to Get Reelected

Posted by PITHOCRATES - October 24th, 2010

Yes, I Voted for Obamacare.  But I’m Really a Reagan Democrat.

America is a center-right country.  That’s why liberals don’t run as liberals during elections.  They lie.  And deceive.  They morph into something the people actually want.  Which isn’t who they are.  They move to the center.  They sound like conservatives.  Even invoke Ronald Reagan’s name during the election.  The leftist of liberals are all Reagan Democrats at election time.  Once the polls close, though, they go right back to castigating Reagan and his policies.  And scold us that we can’t return to the failed policies of the past.

Bill Clinton ran as a New Democrat.  But once in office he governed so far to the left that he lost both houses of Congresses at the midterm elections.  Barack Obama, too.  Well, is about to.  Lose super majorities in the House and the Senate.  Why?  Because he campaigned as a centrist.  And has governed as the most liberal president to date.

Obama did not run on the platform of nationalizing our health care.  But that’s the path we’re on.   Obamacare is forcing insurance companies to raise their premiums to comply, setting the stage for further attacks against these greedy corporations.  Some are dropping children-only policies because of the mandate to insure those with preexisting conditions.  With that mandate, no parent will spend money for insurance until their child needs health care.  Obamacare is full of such legislation that has but one purpose.  To kill the private health insurance industry.  To make way for the public option.  And, eventually, nationalize health care.  But he didn’t campaign that way.  Because the voting public clearly didn’t want this.

Don’t Look at My Liberal Legislative Accomplishments.  I’m Actually Against Everything I Voted For.

You see, liberals cannot be honest during campaigns.  They can’t say that their economic policies will make the recession worse.  And prolong it.  Which they have.  They can’t say they are going to raise everyone’s taxes.  Which they will after their commission reports after the election.  They will say that there is no choice but to raise taxes on everyone to reign in the out of control deficit spending.  And they can’t say that we will lose our doctors or the health insurance we like and want to keep under Obamacare.  Which we will.  They can’t be honest about these things and still win elections.  So they lie.  And they deceive.

And now here we are.  At the midterm elections.  If you have been following the campaigns across the country, you’ve no doubt noticed something.  Or, rather, noticed something that’s not there.  That is conspicuous by its absence.   Obama and his Democrat controlled Congress passed an enormous amount of liberal legislation in not quite two years.  And nary a Democrat is running on their impressive liberal legislative accomplishments.  In fact, some are now campaigning against their own legislative record.  Why?  Because they governed against the will of their constituents.  And it’s election time.  So now it’s time, once again, to lie.  To deceive.  And they found a new game this year.  Thanks to the Tea Party.

Oh, these people hate the Tea Party.  They came up with that pejorative ‘tea bagger’ to describe these people.  They did everything they could to mock and belittle these people.  Because these people scare them.  They’re educated.  They understand the issues.  And they know who these liberals are and see through all their lies.  So what’s the logical thing for these liberals to do during this election season?  Why, support Tea Party 3rd party candidates. 

Hello, I’m Devious.  Democrat Candidate for Office.  And I want to Deceive You

The Democrats are heading for a shellacking this November.  They’re desperate.  Especially poor old Harry Reid.  The consummate professional being beaten by some Tea Party hack.  Well, that’s how the Left views it.  So they’re turning up the devious this election.  The following quote comes from an article by Jim Rutenberg published 10/22/2010 at The New York Times on line (see Democrats Back Third Parties to Siphon Votes).

Democrats are working behind the scenes in a number of tight races to bolster long-shot third-party candidates who have platforms at odds with the Democratic agenda but hold the promise of siphoning Republican votes.

And, you’ve guessed it, these 3rd party candidates are balloted as ‘Tea Party’ candidates.  They’re competing against the Democrat candidate.  And the Tea Party endorsed Republican candidate.  That’s right, the actual Tea Party, the grassroots movement with that name, doesn’t endorse these ‘Tea Party’ candidates.

Democrat operatives are actually calling people, identifying themselves as registered Republicans, to promote these 3rd party candidates.  They’re trying to deceive registered Republicans into voting for the more conservative ‘Tea Party’ candidate in lieu of the ‘liberal’ Republican candidate.  If they deceive enough registered Republicans with this trick, they may just be able to Ross Perot their election (Perot was the 3rd party candidate that swept Bill Clinton into office).

Whether they do or not it sure says a lot about the Left.  They just can’t win elections honestly.

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