Thursday, August 25, 2011

We Americans are getting way more than we deserve

Commentary by James H. Shott

When you hear of someone getting more than they paid for, or more than they expected, you know immediately that they aren’t talking about some item or service they’ve bought. We all know that the big corporations are greedy money machines that gouge the public so they can pay their executives millions for finding ways to avoid paying taxes, and small businesses are just in it for the profits, and don’t give a hoot about their moral responsibilities.

So what is it that Americans get a real bargain on? Government.

One excellent example of going above and beyond is the case of Schylar Capo, an 11 year-old juvenile delinquent who lives in Virginia. She stole a woodpecker from a cat and set it free, but fortunately was caught by a federal Fish & and Wildlife officer and state troopers who charged her with the illegal transportation of a protected species and fined her $535. Justice was served.

Police in Coralville, Iowa earned special recognition for protecting the public when they closed down an illegal lemonade stand operated by a known criminal, 4 year-old Abigail Krutsinger. The evil Abigail was determined to prey on dozens of bike riders who were coming through town in the Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa, and set up her stand in violation of the Town’s ordinance requiring vendors to have a permit in order to prey on bicyclers.

But Abigail isn’t the only vicious criminal targeting the thirsty. Julie Murphy was confronted by health inspectors for Multnomah County in Oregon who told the 7 year-old she would have to shut down her stand or pony up $500 in fines.

As egregious as the acts of these unscrupulous merchants are, Julie Bass of Oak Park, Michigan is far worse. This dirt bag was growing vegetables in her front yard. Can you believe that? Even after the City issued a warning, then a ticket, Ms. Bass persisted in growing her own food. And now she faces up to 93 days in jail for perhaps not having “suitable” live plant material. Aren’t you residents of Oak Park proud of your municipal government?

Then there is the miscreant in Pennsylvania who purchased some property that was littered with illegally dumped tires and abandoned cars. After cleaning up his property without first asking all appropriate government agencies if it was okay to clean up his own property, the idiot got his just desserts: a year-and-a-half in jail for destroying wetlands under the Clean Water Act, and declared bankruptcy. Not appreciating this outcome, and rising to defend the public’s best interests, three environmental groups filed complaints charging he got off too easy.

And thank goodness for the Consumer Product Safety Commission for its diligence in protecting the public from unscrupulous sellers of old stuff they found in their attics and basements. So concerned with the public’s safety is the CPSC that it has expanded the prohibition against new Chinese-made products that exceed the limits on lead to include the deliberate re-selling of the old recalled toys by people trying to slip them to the unknowing public at garage sales, yard sales and bazaars. Not only that, these wicked people are charging a dollar or more for these items. "Those who resell recalled children's products are not only breaking the law, they are putting children's lives at risk,” said CPSC Chairman Inez Tenenbaum. (Oh, Tenenbaum, oh, Tenenbaum, how wondrous are your efforts!)

Not to be outdone by other government agencies, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has sued an unprincipled Raleigh, NC insurance office for not hiring a recovering drug addict who tested positive for methadone in his system. Those rotten insurance companies are nearly as bad as oil companies and drug manufacturers.

In an effort to protect the public’s investment in the continuing education of young people, the Department of Education has decided to make sure the enormous irregularities in the operation of the Student Loan program are corrected and the public’s money repaid by employing SWAT teams in some cases. Suspecting Michelle Wright of Stockton, California of funny business in the program, the DOE sent one of its SWAT teams to her home at 6:00 a.m., whereupon Mr. Wright was dragged without explanation from his home in his underwear, handcuffed and then imprisoned in a police car with his 3, 7, and 11 year-old children for six hours while the feds searched his home. Unfortunately, they didn’t find any evidence and didn’t even find the suspect, because she had the unmitigated gall not to live there anymore, and not tell the DOE.

These tales of glory of our public servants show what a bargain Americans get from government at all levels, what intelligent and resourceful people we have working for us, protecting us from unscrupulous lemonade merchants, private property owners who do horrible things on their land, and others who exist only to take advantage of their fellow citizens.

These examples magnificently illustrate the stupidity of former President Ronald Reagan when he said, “the nine scariest words in the English language are, ‘I’m from the government and I’m here to help.’”

Really; what was that man thinking?

Cross-posted from Observations

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