The Beginning Of The End
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The Level Of Economic Freedom In The United States Is At An All-Time Low

Photo by U.S. Senator Mike LeeAmericans have never had less economic freedom than they do right now.  The 2014 Index of Economic Freedom has just been released, and it turns out that the level of economic freedom in the United States has now fallen for seven consecutive years.  But of course none of us need a report or a survey to tell us that.  All we have to do is open our eyes and look around.  At this point our entire society is completely dominated by control freaks and bureaucrats.  Our economy is literally being suffocated to death by millions of laws, rules and regulations and each year brings a fresh tsunami of red tape.  As you will see below, the U.S. government issued more than 80,000 pages of brand new rules and regulations last year on top of what we already had.  Even if we didn’t have all of the other monumental economic problems that we are currently facing, all of this bureaucracy alone would be enough to kill our economy.

Yes, every society needs a few basic rules.  We would have total chaos if we did not have any laws at all.  But in general, when there is more economic freedom there tends to be more economic prosperity.  In fact, the greatest period of economic growth in U.S. history was during a time when the federal government was much smaller, there was no Federal Reserve and there was no income tax.  Most Americans do not know this.

Those that founded this nation intended for it to be a place where freedom was maximized and government intrusion into our lives was minimized.

If they were still alive today, they would be absolutely horrified.  We are literally drowning in red tape.

The photo posted below was shared by U.S. Senator Mike Lee on his Facebook page.  Study it carefully…

Photo by U.S. Senator Mike Lee

The following is what he had to say about this photo

“Behold my display of the 2013 Federal Register. It contains over 80,000 pages of new rules, regulations, and notices all written and passed by unelected bureaucrats. The small stack of papers on top of the display are the laws passed by elected members of Congress and signed into law by the president.”

I didn’t even see the small stack of paper at the top of the cabinet until I read his explanation.  Most of the time everyone is so focused on what Congress is doing, but the truth is that the real oppression is happening behind the scenes as unelected federal bureaucrats pump out millions upon millions of useless regulations that are systematically killing our economic freedom.

On Tuesday, an article about the 2014 Index of Economic Freedom was published by the Wall Street Journal.  As I mentioned above, the United States has fallen for seven years in a row

World economic freedom has reached record levels, according to the 2014 Index of Economic Freedom, released Tuesday by the Heritage Foundation and The Wall Street Journal. But after seven straight years of decline, the U.S. has dropped out of the top 10 most economically free countries.

That same article mentioned some of the reasons why the United States is falling…

It’s not hard to see why the U.S. is losing ground. Even marginal tax rates exceeding 43% cannot finance runaway government spending, which has caused the national debt to skyrocket. The Obama administration continues to shackle entire sectors of the economy with regulation, including health care, finance and energy. The intervention impedes both personal freedom and national prosperity.

And of course the results are predictable.  Our economy has been steadily declining for many years, and that decline appears to be ready to start picking up speed once again.  The following is an excerpt from a recent article by Dave in Denver

In the latest retail sales report for December, auto sales were nailed – down 1.8%. The only reason overall retail sales from November to December showed a slight “gain” that November’s number was revised lower. Electronics fell off of a cliff. The housing market is about to get crushed. Feedback I’m getting from my Seeking Alpha articles and blog posts on housing from housing market professionals all around the country tells me that the housing market hit a wall at the end of 2013, as I have been forecasting.

What he said about the housing market is definitely true.  In recent months, mortgage originations have been falling like a rock.  Just check out this chart.

And as I wrote about the other day, there has been absolutely no employment recovery since the end of the last recession.  In fact, 1,687,000 fewer Americans have jobs today compared to exactly six years ago even though the population has grown significantly since then.

Unfortunately, these are not just “cyclical problems”.  Long ago we abandoned the fundamental principles that once made our economy great, and now we are paying a tremendous price for that.

Posted below is a story that has been circulating all over the Internet for quite some time.  It is a fake story.  Once again, let me repeat that.  This is a fake story.  But I think that it does a great job of illustrating what is happening to America as we march toward full-fledged socialism…

An economics professor at a local college made a statement that he had never failed a single student before, but had recently failed an entire class. That class had insisted that Obama’s socialism worked and that no one would be poor and no one would be rich, a great equalizer.

The professor then said, “OK, we will have an experiment in this class on Obama’s plan”.. All grades will be averaged and everyone will receive the same grade so no one will fail and no one will receive an A…. (substituting grades for dollars – something closer to home and more readily understood by all).

After the first test, the grades were averaged and everyone got a B. The students who studied hard were upset and the students who studied little were happy. As the second test rolled around, the students who studied little had studied even less and the ones who studied hard decided they wanted a free ride too so they studied little.

The second test average was a D! No one was happy. When the 3rd test rolled around, the average was an F. As the tests proceeded, the scores never increased as bickering, blame and name-calling all resulted in hard feelings and no one would study for the benefit of anyone else.

To their great surprise, ALL FAILED and the professor told them that socialism would also ultimately fail because when the reward is great, the effort to succeed is great, but when government takes all the reward away, no one will try or want to succeed. Could not be any simpler than that.

But of course it would be disingenuous to pin all of the blame for this just on Obama.  The truth is that our nation has continued to march toward socialism no matter who has been in the White House and no matter who has been in control of Congress.  So if you want to place some of the blame on a “Bush” or a “Clinton” or a “Boehner” or a “Pelosi” please feel free.

And the American people are getting sick and tired of this one party system that has two heads.  According to a recent Gallup survey, only 29 percent of all Americans consider themselves to be Democrats right now.  And the news was even worse for Republicans.  According to that survey, only 24 percent of all Americans consider themselves to be Republicans at this point.

A staggering 45 percent of all Americans now consider themselves to be Independents.  Deep down, most Americans know that something is seriously wrong with our nation and that they are being lied to be our politicians and the mainstream media.

Unfortunately, there is very little agreement about how to fix things because Americans do not have a set of shared values that we all agree on anymore.

So what do you think?  Do you believe that you know how to fix things?  If so, please feel free to share your plan by posting a comment below…

Basel III: How The Bank For International Settlements Is Going To Help Bring Down The Global Economy

The Bank For International Settlements - Photo by Yago VeithA new set of regulations that most people have never even heard of that was developed by an immensely powerful central banking organization that most people do not even know exists is going to have a dramatic effect on the global financial system over the next several years.  The new set of regulations is known as “Basel III”, and it was developed by the Bank for International Settlements.  The Bank for International Settlements has been called “the central bank for central banks”, and it is headquartered in Basel, Switzerland.  58 major central banks (including the Federal Reserve) belong to the Bank for International Settlements, and the decisions made in Basel often have more of an impact on the direction of the global economy than anything the president of the United States or the U.S. Congress are doing.  All you have to do is to look back at the last financial crisis to see an example of this.  Basel II and Basel 2.5 played a major role in precipitating the subprime mortgage meltdown.  Now a new set of regulations known as “Basel III” are being rolled out.  The implementation of these new regulations is beginning this year, and they will be completely phased in by 2019.  These new regulations dramatically increase capital requirements and significantly restrict the use of leverage.  Those certainly sound like good goals, the problem is that the entire global financial system is based on credit at this point, and these new regulations are going to substantially reduce the flow of credit.  The only way that the giant debt bubble that we are all living in can continue to persist is if it continues to expand.  By restricting the flow of credit, these new regulations threaten to burst the debt bubble and bring down the entire global economy.

Not that the current global financial system is sustainable by any means.  Anyone with half a brain can see that the global financial system is a pyramid scheme that is destined to collapse.  But Basel III may cause it to collapse faster than it might otherwise have.

So precisely what is Basel III?  The following is a definition from the official website of the Bank for International Settlements…

“Basel III” is a comprehensive set of reform measures, developed by the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision, to strengthen the regulation, supervision and risk management of the banking sector. These measures aim to:

  • improve the banking sector’s ability to absorb shocks arising from financial and economic stress, whatever the source
  • improve risk management and governance
  • strengthen banks’ transparency and disclosures.

All of that looks good at first glance.  But when you start looking into the details you start realizing what it is going to mean for the global financial system.  Banks are going to be required to have higher reserve ratios and use less leverage.  Banks are going to have to be more careful with their money, which is a good thing, but it is also going to mean that credit will not flow as freely.  Unfortunately, the only way for a debt bubble to survive is if it keeps expanding.  Anything that restricts the flow of easy money threatens to bring a debt bubble to an end.

These new regulations are going to be phased in between 2013 and 2019.  You can see a chart which shows the implementation schedule for the Basel III regulations right here.

So why is bringing the debt bubble to an end a bad thing?

Well, because it will cause the false prosperity that we have been enjoying to disappear, and that will be an exceedingly painful adjustment.

Sadly, most people have no idea what is happening.  Most people have never even heard of “Basel III” or “the Bank for International Settlements”.  Most people just assume that the people they voted into office know what they are doing and have everything under control.

Unfortunately, that is not the case at all.  The truth is that an unelected, unaccountable body of central bankers is making decisions which deeply affect us all, and there is not much that we can do about it.

This unelected, unaccountable body of central bankers played a major role in bringing about the last financial crisis.  The following is a brief excerpt from a recent article posted on Before It’s News

If you have any questions about the power of these Basel Banking Regulations you can also see the effects that Basel II and 2.5, mark to market accounting, had on the Housing Markets in the United States of America in 2008. There were many causes for that housing bubble, then housing crisis, but Basel II and 2.5 was most assuredly the pin that popped the housing bubble that led to the financial crisis of 2008-09.

But do most people know about this?

Of course not.  Most people want to blame the Republicans or the Democrats or Bush or Obama, and they have no idea about the financial strings that are being pulled at the highest levels.

It is so important that we get people educated about how the global financial system actually works.  The following is a summary of how the Bank for International Settlements works from one of my previous articles entitled “Who Controls The Money? An Unelected, Unaccountable Central Bank Of The World Secretly Does“…

An immensely powerful international organization that most people have never even heard of secretly controls the money supply of the entire globe.  It is called the Bank for International Settlements, and it is the central bank of central banks.  It is located in Basel, Switzerland, but it also has branches in Hong Kong and Mexico City.  It is essentially an unelected, unaccountable central bank of the world that has complete immunity from taxation and from national laws.  Even Wikipedia admits that “it is not accountable to any single national government.”  The Bank for International Settlements was used to launder money for the Nazis during World War II, but these days the main purpose of the BIS is to guide and direct the centrally-planned global financial system.  Today, 58 global central banks belong to the BIS, and it has far more power over how the U.S. economy (or any other economy for that matter) will perform over the course of the next year than any politician does.  Every two months, the central bankers of the world gather in Basel for another “Global Economy Meeting”.  During those meetings, decisions are made which affect every man, woman and child on the planet, and yet none of us have any say in what goes on.  The Bank for International Settlements is an organization that was founded by the global elite and it operates for the benefit of the global elite, and it is intended to be one of the key cornerstones of the emerging one world economic system.

Even though most people have never even heard of the BIS, the truth is that the global elite have had big plans for it for a very long time.  In another article I included a quote from a book that Georgetown University history professor Carroll Quigley wrote many years ago entitled “Tragedy & Hope”…

[T]he powers of financial capitalism had another far-reaching aim, nothing less than to create a world system of financial control in private hands able to dominate the political system of each country and the economy of the world as a whole. This system was to be controlled in a feudalist fashion by the central banks of the world acting in concert, by secret agreements arrived at in frequent private meetings and conferences. The apex of the system was to be the Bank for International Settlements in Basle, Switzerland, a private bank owned and controlled by the world’s central banks which were themselves private corporations.

Today we have such a system, and most of the public does not even know that it exists.

And when the next great financial crisis strikes, there will probably be very little ever said about the Bank for International Settlements in the mainstream media.

But right now the BIS is helping set the stage for the great credit crunch that is coming.

Get prepared while you still can, because time is running out.

They Are Murdering Small Business: The Percentage Of Self-Employed Americans Is At A Record Low

They Are Murdering Small Business - The Percentage Of Self-Employed Americans Is At A Record Low - Photo by Tina McKimmieThe percentage of Americans that are working for themselves has never been lower in the history of the United States.  Once upon a time, the United States was a paradise for entrepreneurs and small businesses, but now the control freak bureaucrats that dominate our society have created a system that absolutely eviscerates them.  This is very unfortunate, because by murdering small business, the bureaucrats are destroying the primary engine of job growth in this country.  One of the big reasons why there are not enough jobs in America today is because small business creation is way down.  As I mentioned yesterday, entrepreneurs and small businesses are being absolutely devastated by rules, regulations, red tape and by oppressive levels of taxation.  If anyone doubts that small business in the United States is dying, just look at the charts below.  Sadly, this is what the bureaucrats that run things want.  They don’t want us to be independent of the system.  Instead, they are much more comfortable when as many of us as possible are heavily dependent on the system in one way or another.  If all of us have to go running to the government or to one of the big corporations for a job, then we are much easier to control.  But as the control freaks continue to construct their bureaucratic utopia, they are also killing off what once made the U.S. economy so great.

The other day I came across the following two charts in an article by Charles Hugh Smith, and I was absolutely stunned by what I saw.  This first chart shows that the number of unincorporated self-employed Americans has dropped back to levels that we have not seen since the mid-1980s even though our population has increased by tens of millions of people since that time…

The Number Of Self-Employed Americans

As you can see, from 1970 to the mid-1990s the number of unincorporated self-employed Americans rose steadily.  But in the mid-1990s it began to level off and now it is falling rapidly.

This next chart shows the percentage of self-employed Americans as a share of non-farm employment.  In other words, those that work on farms are excluded from this chart.  The percentage of self-employed Americans was fairly stable between 1970 and 1990, but since 1990 it has been steadily eroding and it has now reached a level never seen before…

Self-Employed As A Share Of Non-Farm Employment

At this point, only about 7 percent of non-farm workers are self-employed.  That is depressingly low.  That means that an overwhelming majority of those that are employed in America are working for the system in one capacity or another.

But isn’t that what we pound into the heads of our children these days?  We teach them to work hard in school so that they can “get a good job” when they grow up.  From a very early age we train our children to plug themselves into the system.

Not that working for someone else is wrong.  Of course not.  It is just that we are not fostering a spirit of entrepreneurship in America today.  In fact, we seem to be doing everything that we can to kill it off.

In a previous article, I detailed how the number of new businesses (and the number of jobs those businesses create) has been steadily declining.  In particular, this decline has accelerated dramatically under the Obama administration.  According to an analysis of U.S. Department of Labor data performed by economist Tim Kane, the following is how the decline in the number of startup jobs per 1000 Americans breaks down by presidential administration

Bush Sr.: 11.3

Clinton: 11.2

Bush Jr.: 10.8

Obama: 7.8

Is that a good trend or a bad trend?

It doesn’t take an advanced degree in economics to figure out where things are going.

Kane speculated about why we are witnessing such a decline in his paper

There is anecdotal evidence that the U.S. policy environment has become inadvertently hostile to entrepreneurial employment. At the federal level, high taxes and higher uncertainty about taxes are undoubtedly inhibiting entrepreneurship, but to what degree is unknown. The dominant factor may be new regulations on labor.  The passage of the Affordable Care Act is creating a sweeping alteration of the regulatory environment that directly changes how employers engage their workforces, and it will be some time until those changes are understood by employers or scholars. Separately, there has been a federal crackdown since 2009 by the Internal Revenue Service on U.S. employers that hire U.S. workers as independent contractors rather than employees, raising the question of mandatory benefits. New firms tend to use part-time and contract staffing rather than full-time employees during the startup stage. According to Labor Department data, the typical American today only takes home 70 percent of compensation as pay, while the rest is absorbed by the spiraling cost of benefits (e.g., health insurance). The dilemma for U.S. policy is that an American entrepreneur has zero tax or regulatory burden when hiring a consultant/contractor who resides abroad. But that same employer is subject to paperwork, taxation, and possible IRS harassment if employing U.S.-based contractors. Finally, there has been a steady barrier erected to entrepreneurs at the local policy level. Brink Lindsey points out in his book Human Capitalism that the rise of occupational licensing is destroying startup opportunities for poor and middle class Americans.

In my previous article, I also pointed out some of the other statistics that show that small business in America is dying…

-According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the U.S. economy lost more than 220,000 small businesses during the last recession.

-As a share of the population, the percentage of Americans that are self-employed fell by more than 20 percent between 1991 and 2010.

-As a share of the population, the percentage of “new entrepreneurs and business owners” dropped by a staggering 53 percent between 1977 and 2010.

Unfortunately, this is a crisis that has taken decades to develop and that there are not any easy solutions for.  But there are certain factors that should be addressed immediately.  The following are some of the things that are contributing to the murder of self-employment and small business in America…

#1 Taxes: The IRS seems to especially enjoy tormenting entrepreneurs and small businesses.  In fact, things have gotten so bad that even late night talk show hosts are joking about it.  Recently, NBC Tonight Show host Jay Leno joked that if Barack Obama really wanted to close down Guantanamo Bay, he should “do what he always does: declare it a small business and tax it out of existence”

#2 Ridiculous Regulations: If you have ever tried to start a small business, you probably know how frustrating it can be dealing with government red tape.  In particular, the federal government has burdened our small businesses with gigantic mountains of rules and regulations and it gets worse with each passing day.

#3 State Governments That Are Openly Hostile To Business: A perfect example of this is the state of California.  In 2011, the state of California ranked 50th out of all 50 states in new business creation, and yet they just continue to pass more legislation that hurts small businesses.

#4 Obamacare: Our broken healthcare system is a tremendous burden on small businesses, and Obamacare is going to make things much worse.

#5 The One World Trade Agenda: In many industries, U.S. small businesses simply cannot compete against products made by workers that are being paid slave labor wages on the other side of the globe.

#6 Predator Corporations: Time after time we have seen corporate giants extract huge tax breaks and other enormous concessions from local officials which give them an overwhelming advantage.  But once the corporate giant moves into town, many of the existing small businesses find that they cannot compete and are forced to shut down.

#7 Our Corrupt Political System: On the national level, elections are almost always won by the politician that raises the most money.  Our politicians know that their careers depend on raising money, so they tend to be very good to those that they get big money from.  There is a reason why big corporations spend billions of dollars on campaign contributions and lobbying.  They do it because it works.  Over the decades, the big corporations have been able to shift the rules of the game massively in their favor, and this has been to the detriment of entrepreneurs and small businesses.

Can you think of any other factors that you would add to this list?  Please feel free to share your opinion by leaving a comment below…

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Rise Of The Droids: Will Robots Eventually Steal All Of Our Jobs?

Rise Of The Droids: Will Robots Eventually Steal All Of Our Jobs? - Photo by stephen bowlerWill a robot take your job?  We have entered a period in human history when technology is advancing at an exponential rate.  In some ways, this has been a great blessing for humanity.  For example, I am absolutely blown away by all of the things that my little iPod can do.  But on the other hand, all of this technology is eliminating millions upon millions of high paying jobs.  In the past, I have written extensively about how millions of American jobs have been sent to the other side of the world, but now we may be moving into a time when workers all over the planet will be steadily losing jobs to super-efficient robots.  For employers, robots provide a lot of advantages to human workers.  Robots never complain, they never get tired, they never need vacation, they never show up late, they never waste time of Facebook, they don’t need any health benefits and there are a whole lot of rules, regulations and taxes that you must deal with when you hire a human worker.  In the past, robots were exceedingly expensive, and that limited their usefulness in the workplace, but as you will see later in this article that is rapidly changing.  As robots continue to become even more advanced and even less expensive, will there eventually come a point where the “human worker” is virtually obsolete?

Of course I can hear the objections already.  Many of you will insist that even though automation has always eliminated jobs in the past, it has also always created new jobs that were even better.  For instance, once upon a time most of the U.S. population worked on farms, but thanks to automation now hardly any of us do.

But what happens when we get to the point where super-intelligent robots are more efficient at everything?

What will be left for “human workers” to do?

And if human workers are no longer needed for most tasks, what will their role in society be?

Personally, I still complain about self-service check-in kiosks at airports and self-checkout lanes at supermarkets, but most people seem to have accepted them.  There are even many bank branches now that don’t have any humans in them at all.  The number of jobs where a human worker is absolutely “required” is dwindling all the time.

And a lot of the jobs that are disappearing thanks to advances in technology are fairly high paying jobs.  In fact, one recent study of employment data from 20 countries discovered that “almost all the jobs disappearing are in industries that pay middle-class wages, ranging from $38,000 to $68,000.”

As I mentioned earlier, in the past robots were simply far too expensive to perform most tasks.  So human workers had an advantage.

But that advantage is disappearing right in front of our eyes.  For example, one company has produced a new robot called “Baxter” that only costs $22,000.  The following is from an article about Baxter in the MIT Technology Review

Baxter was conceived by Rodney Brooks, the Australian roboticist and artificial-intelligence expert who left MIT to build a $22,000 humanoid robot that can easily be programmed to do simple jobs that have never been automated before.

Eventually, the goal is to produce versions of Baxter that will perform tasks even more cheaply than Chinese workers do…

Brooks’s company, Rethink Robotics, says the robot will spark a “renaissance” in American manufacturing by helping small companies compete against low-wage offshore labor. Baxter will do that by accelerating a trend of factory efficiency that’s eliminated more jobs in the U.S. than overseas competition has. Of the approximately 5.8 million manufacturing jobs the U.S. lost between 2000 and 2010, according to McKinsey Global Institute, two-thirds were lost because of higher productivity and only 20 percent moved to places like China, Mexico, or Thailand.

The ultimate goal is for robots like Baxter to take over more complex tasks, such as fitting together parts on an electronics assembly line. “A couple more ticks of Moore’s Law and you’ve got automation that works more cheaply than Chinese labor does,” Andrew McAfee, an MIT researcher, predicted last year at a conference in Tucson, Arizona, where Baxter was discussed.

So it won’t just be American workers that will be displaced by robots – it will literally be workers all over the planet.

In the future, when you call someone for customer service you probably won’t be talking to someone in India.  Instead, you will probably be talking to a robot.  In fact, this transition is already starting to happen…

IPsoft is a young company started by Chetan Dube, a former mathematics professor at New York University. He reckons that artificial intelligence can take over most of the routine information-technology and business-process tasks currently performed by workers in offshore locations. “The last decade was about replacing labour with cheaper labour,” says Mr Dube. “The coming decade will be about replacing cheaper labour with autonomics.”

IPsoft’s Eliza, a “virtual service-desk employee” that learns on the job and can reply to e-mail, answer phone calls and hold conversations, is being tested by several multinationals. At one American media giant she is answering 62,000 calls a month from the firm’s information-technology staff. She is able to solve two out of three of the problems without human help. At IPsoft’s media-industry customer Eliza has replaced India’s Tata Consulting Services.

Even some of the largest companies in China are starting to make the transition from human workers to robots.  The following is from a recent TechCrunch article

Foxconn has been planning to buy 1 million robots to replace human workers and it looks like that change, albeit gradual, is about to start.

The company is allegedly paying $25,000 per robot – about three times a worker’s average salary – and they will replace humans in assembly tasks. The plans have been in place for a while – I spoke to Foxconn reps about this a year ago – and it makes perfect sense. Humans are messy, they want more money, and having a half-a-million of them in one factory is a recipe for unrest. But what happens after the halls are clear of careful young men and women and instead full of whirring robots?

So what will the world look like as robots begin to replace humans in just about every industry that you can imagine?

A recent Wired article described what this transition might look like…

First, machines will consolidate their gains in already-automated industries. After robots finish replacing assembly line workers, they will replace the workers in warehouses. Speedy bots able to lift 150 pounds all day long will retrieve boxes, sort them, and load them onto trucks. Fruit and vegetable picking will continue to be robotized until no humans pick outside of specialty farms. Pharmacies will feature a single pill-dispensing robot in the back while the pharmacists focus on patient consulting. Next, the more dexterous chores of cleaning in offices and schools will be taken over by late-night robots, starting with easy-to-do floors and windows and eventually getting to toilets. The highway legs of long-haul trucking routes will be driven by robots embedded in truck cabs.

All the while, robots will continue their migration into white-collar work. We already have artificial intelligence in many of our machines; we just don’t call it that. Witness one piece of software by Narrative Science (profiled in issue 20.05) that can write newspaper stories about sports games directly from the games’ stats or generate a synopsis of a company’s stock performance each day from bits of text around the web. Any job dealing with reams of paperwork will be taken over by bots, including much of medicine. Even those areas of medicine not defined by paperwork, such as surgery, are becoming increasingly robotic. The rote tasks of any information-intensive job can be automated. It doesn’t matter if you are a doctor, lawyer, architect, reporter, or even programmer: The robot takeover will be epic.

I don’t know about you, but the phrase “robot takeover” is not exactly comforting.

Perhaps I just watch too many movies.

In any event, as technology advances there will eventually be very few jobs that robots cannot perform.  In fact, you might be surprised to learn some of the things that robots are already doing.  The following is from a recent Yahoo News article

Google and Toyota are rolling out cars that can drive themselves. The Pentagon deploys robots to find roadside explosives in Afghanistan and wages war from the air with drone aircraft. North Carolina State University this month introduced a high-tech library where robots — “bookBots” — retrieve books when students request them, instead of humans. The library’s 1.5 million books are no longer displayed on shelves; they’re kept in 18,000 metal bins that require one-ninth the space.

So what will the 3.1 million Americans that drive trucks do for a living once robots are driving all of our trucks?

What will the 573,000 Americans that drive buses do for a living once robots are driving all of our buses?

And eventually even our skies may be filled with robotic drones that are busy performing one task or another.  Just check out what a recent Time Magazine article had to say about the emerging drone industry…

But the drone industry is ramping up for a big landgrab the moment the regulatory environment starts to relax. At last year’s Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) trade show in Las Vegas, more than 500 companies pitched drones for filming crowds and tornados and surveying agricultural fields, power lines, coalfields, construction sites, gas spills and archaeological digs. A Palo Alto, Calif., start-up called Matternet wants to establish a network of drones that will transport small, urgent packages, like those for medicine.

In other countries civilian drone populations are already booming. Aerial video is a major application. A U.K. company called Skypower makes the eight-rotored Cinipro drone, which can carry a cinema-quality movie camera. In Costa Rica they’re used to study volcanoes. In Japan drones dust crops and track schools of tuna; emergency workers used one to survey the damage at Fukushima. A nature preserve in Kenya ran a crowdsourced fundraising drive to buy drones to watch over the last few northern white rhinos. Ironically, while the U.S. has been the leader in sending drones overseas, it’s lagging behind when it comes to deploying them on its own turf.

Unfortunately, many people will not understand what I am really trying to get at in this article.

They will just say something like this: “Well, they are going to need someone to build all of those robots.”

Even if that is true, they won’t need hundreds of millions of us to build them.

No, the truth is that when human workers become “obsolete”, those that dominate society with technology will look at the rest of us as “useless eaters” that are not contributing anything to society at all.

Already, there are many economists that are warning that advancements in technology are steadily reducing “the natural employment rate”.

And we are already seeing this happen in the United States.  As I wrote about the other day, the percentage of the labor force that is employed has declined every single year since 2006…

2006: 63.1

2007: 63.0

2008: 62.2

2009: 59.3

2010: 58.5

2011: 58.4

In January, only 57.9 percent of the civilian labor force was employed.

Of course there are certainly a lot of factors involved in why those numbers are declining, but without a doubt technology is playing a role.

So what do we do with all of the workers that are being displaced?

Are we just going to put everybody on food stamps?

Will the gap between the rich and the poor grow even larger than it is today?

Will most people eventually become dependent on the government in order to survive?

We are moving into uncharted territory, and nobody is quite sure what comes next.

As time goes by, robots will even start to look more like us.  In fact, this is already starting to happen.  Just check out the following description of a “bionic man” that has been created from a recent article in the Guardian

He cuts a dashing figure, this gentleman: nearly seven feet tall, and possessed of a pair of striking brown eyes. With a fondness for Ralph Lauren, middle-class rap and sharing a drink with friends, Rex is, in many ways, an unexceptional chap.

Except that he is, in fact, a real-world bionic man. Housed within a frame of state-of-the-art prosthetic limbs is a functional heart-lung system, complete with artificial blood pumping through a network of pulsating modified-polymer arteries. He has a bionic spleen to clean the blood, and an artificial pancreas to keep his blood sugar on the level. Behind the deep brown irises are a pair of retinal implants, giving him a vista of the crowds of curious humans who meet his gaze.

He even has a degree of artificial intelligence: talk to him, and he’ll listen (through his cochlear implants), before using a speech generator to respond.

As robots become more like us, will we eventually become more like them?

Will we be told that we must “merge with the machines” in order to keep up and be useful in society?

As we rapidly approach the “technological singularity” that futurist Ray Kurzweil and others have talked about, will humans increasingly seek to “enhance” themselves with technology in an attempt to “get an edge”?

What will happen to those of us that refuse to “merge with the machines” and that refuse to “enhance ourselves” with technology?

Will we be outcasts?

Those are some important questions.  Feel free to share your thoughts on those questions by posting a comment below…

Terminator - Photo by tenaciousme

Share This Massive List Of Post-Election Firings And Layoffs With Everyone You Can

The victory by Barack Obama on election night has resulted in a huge wave of firings and layoffs all over America.  A large number of businesses seem to have suddenly shifted into panic mode.  The number of layoff announcements that we have seen in the last 48 hours has been absolutely shocking.  So why is this happening?  Well, the truth is that the federal government is absolutely suffocating small businesses all over America with rules, regulations and taxes.  If you have never tried to run a small business, then you have no idea how oppressive this system actually is for people that are trying to run small businesses successfully.  It has steadily gotten worse over the years no matter who has been in the White House and no matter who has controlled Congress.  So we shouldn’t put 100% of the blame on Obama.  Bush massively expanded government and made things harder on small business people too.  But what many small business people were looking for on this election day was just a little bit of help.  Many were desperately holding out hope that Obamacare would be repealed so that they would not have to get rid of some of their employees.  Many were hoping to get a little bit of relief from the crippling regulations and taxes that are absolutely crushing them.  But now that Barack Obama has been given another four years, they understand that there is no hope on the horizon and that things are only going to get worse.  So they are making the hard decisions that they feel are necessary in order to survive in this economic environment.

And I certainly don’t blame them.  You only want to have employees if you can make a profit on them.  And in this environment it is getting harder than ever to make a profit on an employee.  You see, the truth is that what you cost your employer goes far beyond your salary or your hourly wage.  I think many of you would be absolutely shocked if you learned how much it actually costs your employer to employ you.  And now thanks to Obamacare, that cost is going to go up even more.

Many businesses are not even feasible at all in this economic environment.  Many small businesses had been holding out hope that somehow this election might turn things around and make it possible for them to keep going, but when Obama won it was kind of like the straw that broke the camel’s back.

You can’t do what the federal government and the state governments are doing to us and expect to have a thriving economy.  They are choking the life out of us.

New businesses and small businesses are supposed to be at the heart of our economic system.  Unfortunately, the environment that has been created is absolutely killing them.  This is a recipe for disaster.

In a previous article, I noted that the number of jobs created at new businesses in 2010 in the United States was less than half of what it was back in the year 2000.

Now we can expect that number to get even worse and we can expect large numbers of small businesses to shrink in size or close their doors completely.

The following is a list of some of the post-election firings and layoffs that we have seen since Tuesday night…

#1 Utah

A Utah coal company owned by a vocal critic of President Barack Obama has laid off 102 miners.

The layoffs at the West Ridge Mine are effective immediately, according to UtahAmerican Energy Inc., a subsidiary of Murray Energy Corp. They were announced in a short statement made public Thursday, two days after Obama won re-election.

The layoffs are necessary because of the president’s “war on coal,” the statement said. The slogan is one used frequently during the election by Murray Energy CEO Robert Murray, who was an ardent supporter of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney.

In its statement, UtahAmerican Energy blames the Obama administration for instituting policies that will close down “204 American coal-fired power plants by 2014″ and for drastically reducing the market for coal.

#2 Ohio

I work for the oldest and largest health insurer in the state of Ohio in the underwriting department. At 9 a.m.this morning, my department (about 50) were called into a meeting in the executive boardroom. We were informed that due to a provision in the healthcare ‘reform’ effective 2014 called guarantee issue, our services would no longer be needed, and we were offered severance  So Obama got to keep his job, and we lost ours. It is maddening that some tyrant 400 miles away can have such a ruinous effect on peoples lives.

#3 Nevada

A Las Vegas business owner with 114 employees fired 22 workers today, apparently as a direct result of President Obama’s re-election.

“David” (he asked to remain anonymous for obvious reasons) told Host Kevin Wall on 100.5 KXNT that “elections have consequences” and that “at the end of the day, I need to survive.”

Here’s an excerpt from the interview. Click the audio tab below to hear even more from this compelling conversation:

“I’ve done my share of educating my employees. I never tell them which way to vote. I believe in the free system we have, I believe in the right to choose who they want to be president, but I did explain as a business owner that I have always put my employees first. I always made sure that when I went without a paycheck that [I] made sure they were paid. And I explained that I always put them first and unfortunately I’m at a point where I’m being forced to have to worry about me and my family now and a business that I built from just me to 114 employees.

#4 Posted below is a list of layoff headlines from the past few days that was posted on AmericanThinker.com

Obama was “fired up” and so were the voters, and so now, the mass firings begin. Here’s a collection of today’s headlines.  Please say a prayer for the families who will be suffering. Had Romney won, many of these companies would now be hiring.

Teco Coal officials announce layoffs

Momentive Inc plans temporary layoffs for 150

Wilkes-Barre officials to announce mandatory layoffs

600 layoffs at Groupon

More layoffs announced at Aniston Weapons Incinerator

Murray Energy confirms 150 layoffs at 3 subsidiaries

130 laid off in Minnesota dairy plant closure

Stanford brake plant to lay off 75

Turbocare, Oce to lay off more than 220 workers

ATI plans to lay off 172 workers in North Richland Hills

SpaceX claims its first victims as Rocketdyne lays off 100

Providence Journal lays off 23 full-time employees

CVPH lays off 17

New Energy lays off 40 employees

102 Utah miners laid off because of ‘war on coal’, company says

US Cellular drops Chicago, cuts 640 jobs

Career Education to cut 900 jobs, close 23 campuses

Vestas to cut 3,000 more jobs

First Energy to cut 400 jobs by 2016

Mine owner blames Obama for layoffs (54 fired last night)

Canceled program costs 115 jobs at Ohio air base

AMD trims Austin workforce – 400 jobs slashed

100 workers lose jobs as Caterpillar closes plant in Minnesota

Exide to lay off 150 workers

TE Connectivity to close Guilford plant, lay off 620

More Layoffs for Major Wind Company (3,000 jobs cut)

Cigna to lay off 1,300 workers worldwide

Ameridose to lay off hundreds of workers

#5 According to the Blaze, the following major corporations have all announced layoffs in just the past two days…

Energizer

Exide Technologies

Westinghouse

Research in Motion Limited

Lightyear Network Solutions

Providence Journal

Hawker Beechcraft

Boeing (30% of their management staff)

CVPH Medical Center

US Cellular

Momentive Performance Materials

Rocketdyne

Brake Parts

Vestas Wind Systems

Husqvarna

Center for Hospice New York

Bristol-Meyers

OCE North America

Darden Restaurants

West Ridge Mine

United Blood Services Gulf

You can get the rest of the details right here.

#6 The following is a list of companies that will be laying off workers just because of Obamacare that was compiled by FreedomWorks

Dana Holding Corp.

As recently as a week ago, a global auto parts manufacturing company in Ohio known as Dana Holding Corp., warned their employees of potential layoffs, citing “$24 million over the next six years in additional U.S. health care expenses”.  After laying off several white collar staffers, company insiders have hinted at more to come.  The company will have to cover the additional $24 million cost somehow, which will likely equate to numerous cuts in their current workforce of 25,500 worldwide.  

Stryker

One of the biggest medical device manufacturers in the world, Stryker will close their facility in Orchard Park, New York, eliminating 96 jobs in December.  Worse, they plan on countering the medical device tax in Obamacare by slashing 5% of their global workforce – an estimated 1,170 positions.

Boston Scientific

In October of 2009, Boston Scientific CEO Ray Elliott, warned that proposed taxes in the health care reform bill could “lead to significant job losses” for his company.  Nearly two years later, Elliott announced that the company would be cutting anywhere between 1,200 and 1,400 jobs, while simultaneously shifting investments and workers overseas – to China.

Medtronic

In March of 2010, medical device maker Medtronic warned that Obamacare taxes could result in a reduction of precisely 1,000 jobs.  That plan became reality when the company cut 500 positions over the summer, with another 500 set for the end of 2013.  

Others

A short list of other companies facing future layoffs at the hands of Obamacare:

  • Smith & Nephew – 770 layoffs
  • Abbott Labs – 700 layoffs
  • Covidien – 595 layoffs
  • Kinetic Concepts – 427 layoffs
  • St. Jude Medical – 300 layoffs
  • Hill Rom – 200 layoffs

A lot of other businesses are going to reduce the number of employees they have or reduce the average work week in order to avoid the Obamacare insurance coverage mandate that will soon be implemented.

This is how CNSNews.com describes the choice that many employers will be facing…

That section, known as the employer mandate, requires any business with 50 or more full-time employees to provide at least the minimum level of government-defined health coverage to those employees. In other words, a business must provide insurance if it has 50 or more employees working an average of just 30 hours per week, which is 10 hours per week fewer than the traditional 40-hour work week.

Thus, by cutting employees’ hours to ensure they average less than the 30 per week, employers could potentially avoid the cost of providing the minimum insurance levels mandated by Obamacare.

So if your company trims the number of workers to just under 50 or starts going to “29 hour work weeks”, then you will know who to blame.

All of this is complete and utter insanity.  We are committing national economic suicide.

But perhaps we deserve this.  After all, Americans willingly chose their leaders on election day.  It is getting harder and harder to deny that our politicians are truly a reflection of who we are as a nation.

The American people chose this path, and now we get to see where it leads us.

18 Examples Of The Nanny State Gone Wild

America has been overrun by control freaks.  Once upon a time the United States was considered to be “the land of the free and the home of the brave”, but today there are millions of laws, rules and regulations that tightly regulate our daily lives.  Most of these laws, rules and regulations were established by people who believed that they had “good intentions”, but at this point the nanny state has become so oppressive that it is strangling the life out of us.  If you look back throughout history, the societies that have really thrived have had a very high degree of liberty and freedom.  When the bureaucrats get the upper hand, it can suck the life out of any economy.  Unfortunately, our political system seems to be a magnet for control freaks.  These control freaks truly believe that they know better than the rest of us and they are systematically moving toward taking total control of our lives.  Our rights are being stripped away a little bit more with each passing day, and we are being told that we need a “permit” or a “license” for almost everything.  Many younger Americans have been living this kind of “straight jacket existence” for so long that they don’t even remember what real liberty and freedom are.  We are steamrolling down the road toward totalitarianism, and most Americans don’t even realize what is happening.

Sadly, there are many Americans that actually agree that the state should regulate nearly every detail of our lives.  There are many Americans that actually believe that life is better when there are millions of rules that we all have to follow.  There are many Americans that actually believe that too much liberty and freedom is a bad thing.

If we are not careful the control freaks are going to destroy this nation.  They always tell us that the rules that they are imposing upon us are “for our own good”, but every time they lay another burden on our backs they just suck a little bit more life out of us all.

The following are 18 examples of the nanny state gone wild….

#1 New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has announced that he wants to ban the sale of all large sodas and sugary drinks in order to fight obesity.  Personally I don’t have any sodas in my refrigerator, but I certainly do not want the government telling me that I am banned from drinking large sodas.  Every American should have the freedom to decide if they want to drink soda or not.

#2 In North Carolina, authorities are threatening to send a blogger to prison for blogging about his battle against diabetes….

Steve Cooksey has learned that the definition, at least in the eyes of the state board, is expansive.

When he was hospitalized with diabetes in February 2009, he decided to avoid the fate of his grandmother, who eventually died of the disease. He embraced the low-carb, high-protein Paleo diet, also known as the “caveman” or “hunter-gatherer” diet. The diet, he said, made him drug- and insulin-free within 30 days. By May of that year, he had lost 45 pounds and decided to start a blog about his success.

But this past January the state diatetics and nutrition board decided Cooksey’s blog — Diabetes-Warrior.net — violated state law. The nutritional advice Cooksey provides on the site amounts to “practicing nutrition,” the board’s director says, and in North Carolina that’s something you need a license to do.

#3 In San Francisco, if you do not recycle your trash correctly you can be fined up to $500.

#4 The following are just some of the cities that have started using RFID tracking chips to monitor the recycling habits of their citizens….

*Cleveland, Ohio

*Charlotte, North Carolina

*Alexandria, Virginia

*Boise, Idaho

*Dayton, Ohio

*Flint, Michigan

#5 In Minnetonka, Minnesota you can be fined up to $2,000 for having a muddy vehicle.

#6 In Hazelwood, Missouri it is against the law for little girls to sell girl scout cookies in front of their own homes.

#7 San Francisco has implemented a ban on Happy Meal toys.

#8 Over the past couple of years there have been quite a few instances all over the country where lemonade stands run by children have been shut down by police because the children had not acquired the proper permits.

#9 State legislatures all over the country have been passing legislation making it more difficult for parents to opt out of having their children vaccinated.

#10 In many U.S. states is it now illegal to collect any rain that falls on to your own property.

#11 In San Juan Capistrano, California it is against the law to hold a home Bible study without a “conditional use permit“.

#12 In New York City, it is against the law to smoke at public parks and beaches.

#13 In California,”food confiscation teams” visit the homes of people that have been discovered to have purchased raw milk.  The following is from a recent Natural News article….

In a bombshell revelation of the depth of the food police state that now exists in LA County, California, NaturalNews has learned that the LA County health department has unleashed door-to-door raw milk confiscation teams to threaten and intimidate raw dairy customers into surrendering raw milk products they legally purchased and own.

According to Mark McAfee (see quotes below), both LA County and San Diego county have attempted to acquire customer names and addresses from Organic Pastures (www.OrganicPastures.com) for the sole purpose of sending “food confiscation teams” to customers’ homes to remove the raw milk from customers’ refrigerators. Using both phone calls and home visits, these teams intimidate customers and try to force them to give up their milk.

#14 In Hilton Head, South Carolina it is illegal to have trash in your car.

#15 In major cities all over the United States feeding the homeless has been banned due to “health reasons”.

#16 In Louisiana, one church was ordered to stop passing out water because it did not have the proper permit.

#17 At public schools all over the United States, the lunches that little children bring from home are now inspected to make sure that they meet USDA guidelines.  The following is one recent report of this phenomenon from North Carolina….

A preschooler at West Hoke Elementary School ate three chicken nuggets for lunch Jan. 30 because the school told her the lunch her mother packed was not nutritious.

The girl’s turkey and cheese sandwich, banana, potato chips, and apple juice did not meet U.S. Department of Agriculture guidelines, according to the interpretation of the person who was inspecting all lunch boxes in the More at Four classroom that day.

The Division of Child Development and Early Education at the Department of Health and Human Services requires all lunches served in pre-kindergarten programs — including in-home day care centers — to meet USDA guidelines. That means lunches must consist of one serving of meat, one serving of milk, one serving of grain, and two servings of fruit or vegetables, even if the lunches are brought from home.

#18 Today, a vast array of government agencies is constantly monitoring what all of us say and do on the Internet.  They claim that this helps makes us all more “safe” and “secure”.

In order to maintain proper “control” over our lives, the nanny state is obsessed with watching us and monitoring us.  This point was beautifully made in a recent article by Chuck Baldwin….

America is no longer “one nation under God.” Today, America is “one nation under surveillance.” Cameras monitoring our every movement, satellites taking pictures of our homes, listening devices being used to record our conversations, hi-tech computers capturing virtually every piece of correspondence, banking institutions forwarding our private financial records to Big Brother, and now armed drones flying over the neighborhoods of the American citizenry all reveal that America is anything but the “land of the free.”

Is this really how we want to live?

Do we want our children and our grandchildren to live their lives in a nation that is increasingly coming to resemble totalitarian regimes like North Korea?

Yes, every society needs laws.

But we don’t need millions of them.

Our founders intended to create a society where liberty and freedom would be maximized, and all of that liberty and freedom helped create an environment that gave birth to the greatest economic machine that the world has ever seen.

But now the control freaks are choking the life out of our society.  Please take a stand against them while you still can.

Federal Bureaucrats: Get Your Dirty Hands Off Of Our Light Bulbs

In the United States today, thousands upon thousands of ridiculous federal regulations tightly control almost every area of our lives.  One example of this is that starting on January 1st, we are no longer going to be able to buy certain kinds of light bulbs in the United States.  Back in 2007, President George W. Bush signed a law that mandates the following: “Manufacturers will no longer be able to make the 100-watt Thomas Edison bulb after Jan. 1, 2012, followed by the 75-watt version in Jan. 2013, and the the 60- and 40-watt bulbs in Jan. 2014.”  Yes, you read that correctly.  Federal bureaucrats are running wild and the nanny state has decided that you are simply not going to have the choice to buy traditional light bulbs anymore.  So why the change?  Incandescent light bulbs have not been proven to be unsafe and consumers still want to buy them.  The new CFL (compact fluorescent lamp) light bulbs are more expensive and are actually worse for the environment.  So why was this law passed?  The feds passed it because they decided that existing light bulbs use too much energy and have too large of a “carbon footprint”.  Instead of giving us choices and attempting to persuade us to change, the federal government is ramming their will down our throats.  Well, it is about time that we told the federal bureaucrats that are trying to take our freedoms away that we want them to get their dirty hands off of our light bulbs.

Thankfully there are some members of the House and Senate that are seeking to repeal this law, but right now it looks extremely doubtful that a repeal would ever be signed into law by Barack Obama.

Some people may not think that light bulbs are a big deal, but the truth is that the fact that the government tells us what kind of light bulbs to buy is just another sign of how rapidly liberty and freedom are dying in this country.

The founding fathers intended for this nation to have a very limited central government and lots of room for liberty and freedom.

But today we are “fenced in” by thousands and thousands and thousands of government regulations.  We only get to enjoy very small amounts of  “liberty” and “freedom” within the very-tightly defined boundaries that the federal government has set up for us.

Unfortunately, this “control grid” has been developing for decades.  The elite that make up America’s ruling class are raised and educated to believe that they know better than the rest of us how things should be done.  They are taught all through school that it is their “responsibility” to impose their vision of “a better life” on all the rest of us.  To the ruling elite, we are all just a bunch of sheep that do not even understand what is best for us.

If it seems like the people running this country are a bunch of “control freaks”, that is because that is exactly what they are.  They are smug, arrogant and convinced that they are better than you are.  They believe that democracy needs to be “directed” and that all of us need to be told what to do and what to believe.

But it is not just politicians that have these attitudes.  The elites that own and operate the mainstream news have these attitudes as well.

Do you ever get the impression that television news is “talking down” to you?

Well, that is because that is exactly what is happening.

The people that own and deliver the news come from wealth and privilege.  They have been “educated” at schools like Yale, Harvard and Stanford.  They live in cities like New York and Los Angeles and they mingle with the ultra-wealthy and the very famous.  They feel like they are making the world a better place by not only delivering the news but also by telling you what you should think about it.

So when the “establishment” passes a law that bans you from buying certain kinds of light bulbs, most of those in the “establishment” media are going to back them up on it.

The establishment has decided that the rest of us are not smart enough to want “the green agenda” on our own, so they are just going to start imposing it on all of us.

So what is so great about the new light bulbs?

Well, the new light bulbs that they are trying to push on us use less energy and therefore leave less of a “carbon footprint”.

But instead of giving us a choice and trying to make their case, they are just banning the old light bulbs that we have been using for decades.

What kind of “freedom of choice” is that?

In addition, these new light bulbs are actually worse for the environment and they have been known to cause health problems.

The following are just a few of the known issues with CFL bulbs….

*When a CFL light bulb is broken it releases high levels of mercury into the air.

*The quality of light produced by CFL bulbs is poorer.

*CFL bulbs are dimmer.

*CFL bulbs tend to flicker and this causes some people to become dizzy or ill.

*CFL bulbs have been associated with migraine headaches and sleep abnormalities.

*CFL bulbs are so toxic that they require special disposal.

*The mercury in CFL bulbs is particularly harmful to fetuses and children.

*The amount of mercury in a CFL bulb is enough to make 1,000 gallons of water unsafe for human consumption.

So what do you do if you break one of these toxic little bulbs in your home?

Well, you better have a few hours to set aside.  The following are some of the guidelines from Maine’s Department of Environmental Protection on how to properly clean up a broken CFL bulb….

What if I accidentally break a fluorescent lamp in my house?

The lamp contains a small amount of mercury, but you can clean this up yourself if you do the following:

* Do not use a vacuum cleaner to clean up the breakage. This will spread the mercury vapor and dust throughout the area and could potentially contaminate the vacuum.

* Keep people and pets away from the breakage area until the cleanup is complete.

* Ventilate the area by opening windows, and leave the area for 15 minutes before returning to begin the cleanup. Mercury vapor levels will be lower by then.

* For maximum protection and if you have them, wear rubber gloves to protect your hands from the sharp glass.

* Carefully remove the larger pieces and place them in a secure closed container, preferably a glass container with a metal screw top lid and seal like a canning jar. A glass jar with a good seal works best to contain any mercury vapors inside.

* Next, begin collecting the smaller pieces and dust. You can use two stiff pieces of paper such as index cards or playing cards to scoop up pieces.

* Pat the area with the sticky side of duct tape, packing tape or masking tape to pick up fine particles. Wipe the area with a wet wipe or damp paper towel to pick up even finer particles.

* Put all waste and materials into the glass container, including all material used in the cleanup that may have been contaminated with mercury. Label the container as “Universal Waste – broken lamp.”

* Remove the container with the breakage and cleanup materials from your home. This is particularly important if you do not have a glass container.

* Continue ventilating the room for several hours.

* Wash your hands and face.

* Take the glass container with the waste material to a facility that accepts “universal waste” for recycling.

Have you got all that?

You might want to be very careful not to drop any light bulbs in the future.  As you can see, cleaning one up in a huge pain.

But all in the name of conforming to the “green agenda” of the ruling elite, eh?

You know what one of the saddest things about all of this is?

This freedom-killing regulation was signed into law by George W. Bush.  Millions of Republicans went along with it because they were just blindly following whatever Bush did.

Well, you know what?

Bush was an absolutely horrible president and if Republicans want to have any credibility they need to start admitting that.

The elitist Bush passed lots of freedom killing laws like this one, and now the elitist Obama is cramming them down all of our throats.

The sad truth is that Bush and Obama are much more alike than they are different.

Fortunately, there are still a few members of the U.S. government that have some common sense.

For example, have you seen the recent video of U.S. Senator Rand Paul questioning Kathleen Hogan, the deputy assistant secretary for energy efficiency at the Energy Department?

During a recent hearing in the Senate, Rand Paul told Paul told Hogan “my toilets don’t work in my house. And I blame you and people like you who want to tell me what I can install in my house.”

Video of this exchange is posted below….

U.S. Representative Michele Bachmann has also come out against these ridiculous regulations.  She recently had the following to say about her new bill to repeal the light bulb ban….

“The government has no business telling an individual what kind of light bulb to buy.”

She is right about that.

Federal bureaucrats should quit trying to be little “gods”.  They are supposed to be “public servants”.  Americans are fully capable of getting along just fine without the federal government micromanaging every single little detail of our lives.

How can we claim that we are still living in a country that cherishes liberty and freedom if things have progressed this far?

Sadly, every new crop of federal bureaucrats just seems to be worse than the one before it and the U.S. government just continues to grow in size.  There are thousands upon thousands of control freaks that sit in their offices all day thinking of new ways to tighten the “Big Brother” control grid that is being constructed all around us.

Do you feel like you are being suffocated by all of this government control sometimes?

Well, you are not alone.

The truth is that there are millions of Americans that are absolutely sick of it.

It is time for the federal government to get off our backs.

We don’t need some sick, twisted control freaks in Washington D.C. telling us what light bulbs we can or cannot buy.

We are Americans, and our forefathers bled and died so that we could enjoy liberty and freedom in this land.  They did not sacrifice so much so that a bunch of elitists could impose a nanny state on all of us and micromanage all of our lives.

We just want the basic liberties and freedoms that we were taught about as we grew up.

Is that too much to ask?

Suffocated By Red Tape – 12 Ridiculous Regulations That Are Almost Too Bizarre To Believe

Even with all of the massive economic problems that the United States is facing, if the government would just get off our backs most of us would do okay.  In America today, it is rapidly getting to the point where it is nearly impossible to start or to operate a small business.  The federal government, the state governments and local governments are cramming thousands upon thousands of new ridiculous regulations down our throats each year.  It would take a full team of lawyers just to even try to stay informed about all of these new regulations.  Small business in the United States is literally being suffocated by red tape.  We like to think that we live in “the land of the free”, but the truth is that our lives and our businesses are actually tightly constrained by millions of rules and regulations.  Today there is a “license” for just about every business activity.  In fact, in some areas of the country today you need a “degree” and multiple “licenses” before you can even submit an application for permission to start certain businesses.  And if you want to actually hire some people for your business, the paperwork nightmare gets far worse.  It is a wonder that anyone in America is still willing to start a business from scratch and hire employees.  The truth is that the business environment in the United States is now so incredibly toxic that millions of Americans have simply given up and don’t even try to work within the system anymore.

Today, the U.S. government has an “alphabet agency” for just about everything.  The nanny state feels like it has to watch, track and tightly control virtually everything that we do.  The Federal Register is the main source of regulations for U.S. government agencies.  In 1936, the number of pages in the Federal Register was about 2,600.  Today, the Federal Register is over 80,000 pages long.  That is just one example of how bad things have gotten.

But it is not just the federal government that is ramming thousands of ridiculous regulations down our throats.  The truth is that in many cases state and local governments are far worse.  We have become a nation that is run and dominated by bureaucrats.  Yes, there always must be rules in a society, but we have gotten to the point where there are so many millions of rules that the game has become unplayable.

The following are 12 examples of ridiculous regulations that are almost too bizarre to believe….

#1 The state of Louisiana says that monks must be fully licensed as funeral directors and actually convert their monasteries into licensed funeral homes before they will be allowed to sell their handmade wooden caskets.

#2 The city of Philadelphia now requires all bloggers to purchase a $300 business privilege license.  The city even went after one poor woman who had earned only $11 from her blog over the past two years.

#3 In the state of Massachusetts, all children in daycare centers are mandated by state law to brush their teeth after lunch.  In fact, the state even provides the fluoride toothpaste for the children.

#4 If you attempt to give a tour of our nation’s capital without a license, you could be put in prison for 90 days.

#5 A reader named Gene recently shared his regulatory horror story with us….

Started a new business this year in AZ. Paid over $10,000 in fees for permitting, $10,000 in fee for elec hookup, $10,000 in fees for gas hook up and an extra $200 fee per month just for the “privilige” of having gas. Adding up all the fees to start our business, I don’t think we would do it again. We are now just getting to the point that we are making our bills each month, and so we are not taking a paycheck, and don’t anticipate one for at least another year. Our family has been in business for ourselves for decades,and we know what we are doing, but the rising fees caught us off guard. Cities, municipalities, counties and states are raising all fees at astronomical rates to help offset the slump in their real estate income (since banks apparently don’t have to pay real estate taxes)…I’m telling you every business person I know is on their last leg. In a few more years, if things don’t turn out better for the BUSINESS PEOPLE THAT SUPPORT THE GOV, then the last ones standing will go down, and the GOV with it. Not counting the other bubbles that could blow, this one is just common sense. People talk about TAXES. This has nothing to do with taxes, or the blatent disregard for taking my money and giving it to someone else. This is just about the issue of actually getting a business started and keeping a business going. The fees are feeing us all out of business.

#6 Federal agents recently raided an Amish farm at 5 A.M. in the morning because they were selling “unauthorized” raw milk.

#7 In Lake Elmo, Minnesota farmers can be fined $1,000 and put in jail for 90 days for selling pumpkins or Christmas trees that are grown outside city limits.

#8 A U.S. District Court judge slapped a 5oo dollar fine on Massachusetts fisherman Robert J. Eldridge for untangling a giant whale from his nets and setting it free.  So what was his crime?  Well, according to the court, Eldridge was supposed to call state authorities and wait for them do it.

#9 In the state of Texas, it doesn’t matter how much formal interior design education you have – only individuals with government licenses may refer to themselves as “interior designers” or use the term “interior design” to describe their work.

#10 Deeply hidden in the 2,409-page health reform bill passed by Congress was a new regulation that will require U.S. businesses to file millions more 1099s each year.  In fact, it is estimated that the average small business will now have to file 200 additional 1099s every single year.  Talk about a nightmare of red tape!  But don’t try to avoid this rule – it is being reported that the IRS has hired approximately 2,000 new auditors to audit as many of these 1099s as possible.

#11 The city of Milwaukee, Wisconsin makes it incredibly difficult to go out of business.  In order to close down a business, Milwaukee requires you to purchase an expensive license, you must submit a huge pile of paperwork to the city regarding the inventory you wish to sell off, and you must pay a fee based on the length of your “going out of business sale” plus a two dollar charge for every $1,000 worth of inventory that you are attempting to sell off.

#12 The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is projecting that the food service industry will have to spend an additional 14 million hours every single year just to comply with new federal regulations that mandate that all vending machine operators and chain restaurants must label all products that they sell with a calorie count in a location visible to the consumer.

The following short video produced by the Institute for Justice examines some more examples of completely ridiculous regulations across the United States.  The video is very funny, but please keep in mind that all of this red tape is absolutely killing many very real businesses….

So is this what “free enterprise” is supposed to look like?

Over and over again I have written about the dangers of globalization, but no matter what changes are made a lot of companies will still not want to set up shop in the United States until something is done about all of these ridiculous regulations.

As mentioned earlier, the U.S. economy is facing a vast array of incredibly serious problems, but if government would just get off our backs at least we would have a fighting chance.

Instead, it gets worse every single year.  Each new wave of bureaucrats just seems to get worse than the wave before it.  They always seem to think that if they just write more regulations and impose more fees and require more licenses and raise more revenue that they will be able to “fix” things.

But the truth is that they always make things worse.  Our economy is literally being suffocated by red tape.  A “total control grid” is being erected all around us and most Americans are so numb that they don’t even realize that it is happening.

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