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Small Government America, Before the EPA, Before OSHA

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May 02, 2009 – Comments (16)

A short history lesson on why I believe that the EPA budget needs to be doubled, at least. Why I believe taxes to pay the bill are worth every cent. And why you should look to the people who have fought for clean water, good working conditions and clean air for guidance, and not the people who have praised personal gain and profit as justification for what they do.

And a special shout-out to Dare, David and Option who have forgotten what happened in order for us to have needed an EPA, and an OSHA.

 

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Lorraine Street borders Carteret Park. Carteret Park used to be called Barrows Field.

About Barrows Field:

EPA report 1984.

Conditions at proposal (October 15, 1984): The Montclair/West Orange Radium Site is in two residential neighborhoods in Montclair and West Orange in Essex County, New Jersey. Radioactive material, believed to be radium-processing waste, was used as fill, resulting in unacceptable levels of radon gas and its decay products in a number of private residences. Approximately 50,000 cubic yards of contaminated material are scattered throughout a neighborhood covering about 1.0 square mile.

Several years ago, the State started to investigate a radium-processing facility in Orange that had ceased operation in the 1920s. The possibility of off-site disposal of processing waste prompted an aerial survey of surrounding areas for gamma radiation. In July 1983, the survey identified a number of homes with high levels of radon gas. About 80 people are immediately affected.

In December 1983, EPA started a major field investigation to define the perimeter of contamination and identify additional problem homes. Using CERCLA emergency funds, EPA installed ventilation systems in affected homes as a temporary corrective measure

EPA Report April 29th, 2009

The state began some work at the site in the 1980s and EPA installed a number of radon systems and lead shielding to alleviate the immediate threats posed to some residences by the radium. EPA carried out the cleanup in phases, addressing the most severely contaminated properties first. This soil cleanup effort took approximately 14 years to complete from 1990 to 2004. In all, EPA excavated contaminated soils from a total of 355 properties at a cost of nearly $220 million. Contaminated soil was transported by rail to licensed disposal facilities. Once the contamination was removed, EPA restored the properties to their pre-excavation conditions.

About radium painting, where it all began: In Ottowa Illinois and in Orange New Jersey.

The year was 1923, a giddy time for a small-town teen who had no money for college but found herself able to buy silk dresses and high-heeled shoes. Margaret Looney, known as Peg, was fresh out of high school when she and dozens of other young women were hired to paint glow-in-the-dark watch dials at the Radium Dial Co.

Another little bit of the history:

Radium paint was popular long before Jefferson began using it. In The Literary Digest for November 13, 1920, a full-page ad for radium products can be found on page 65. It is called UNDARK (trade name applied for) and made by the Radium Luminous Material Corporation, 58 Pine Street, New York City. The factory was in Orange, NJ and the mines were in Colorado and Utah. It was recommended for all kinds of uses such as watches, clocks, doorbell buttons, fish bait, gauges, theater seat numbers, fire extinguishers and poison labels. A "try-out" set was available for $3.00 through the mail.

In a most amazing coincidence, the radium that was mined in Utah for the glow in the dark paint, eventually found its way back. The waste dirt removed from Glenn Ridge, New Jersey found it way back to its final resting place, a hazardous waste disposal site in Clive Utah, the only reason the town of Clive, Utah exists.

Which suddenly has me remembering the legend of the Hawaiian Goddess Pele...

 

16 Comments – Post Your Own

#1) On May 02, 2009 at 1:16 PM, whereaminow (20.23) wrote:

You want to fight pollution?  Respect private property rights.  Give owners who suffer from others polluting on their property the right to sue.  You don't need OSHA or EPA.

The U.S. government is the worst polluter in the world.  It's like giving a thief the job of guarding the diamond.  

I'm off to bed. It's late and I need to get up just after midnight to catch Bulls-Celts Game 7.  But I can't wait to respond in length tomorrow.

David in Qatar

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#2) On May 02, 2009 at 1:28 PM, devoish (98.26) wrote:

You want to fight pollution?  Respect private property rights.  Give owners who suffer from others polluting on their property the right to sue. 

Give owners who suffer

So AFTER her teeth fall out, you'll step in for Margeret Looney. Or not at all because she was not an owner? And I know how the US Gov't pollutes, and it only might be the worst. It is the Ralph Naders and Greenpeace and the Sierra Club who would also hold the Gov't in line, and the free marketeers who mock them as NIMBY's and Treehuggers.

Get some sleep, enjoy the game.

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#3) On May 02, 2009 at 1:35 PM, devoish (98.26) wrote:

Give owners

Give owners, what about Give Everybody?

And what small, helpless, puny little Gov't is also big and strong enough to Give anything?

Remember, your world is purely imaginary.

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#4) On May 02, 2009 at 1:54 PM, whereaminow (20.23) wrote:

Ralph Nader? LOL, what do you know about my boy Ralph Nader?

Ron Paul was joined by third party candidates Chuck Baldwin, Cynthia McKinney, and Ralph Nader who issued the following joint statement and agreement:

We Agree

Foreign Policy: The Iraq War must end as quickly as possible with removal of all our soldiers from the region. We must initiate the return of our soldiers from around the world, including Korea, Japan, Europe and the entire Middle East. We must cease the war propaganda, threats of a blockade and plans for attacks on Iran, nor should we re-ignite the cold war with Russia over Georgia. We must be willing to talk to all countries and offer friendship and trade and travel to all who are willing. We must take off the table the threat of a nuclear first strike against all nations.

Privacy: We must protect the privacy and civil liberties of all persons under US jurisdiction. We must repeal or radically change the Patriot Act, the Military Commissions Act, and the FISA legislation. We must reject the notion and practice of torture, eliminations of habeas corpus, secret tribunals, and secret prisons. We must deny immunity for corporations that spy willingly on the people for the benefit of the government. We must reject the unitary presidency, the illegal use of signing statements and excessive use of executive orders.

The National Debt: We believe that there should be no increase in the national debt. The burden of debt placed on the next generation is unjust and already threatening our economy and the value of our dollar. We must pay our bills as we go along and not unfairly place this burden on a future generation.

The Federal Reserve: We seek a thorough investigation, evaluation and audit of the Federal Reserve System and its cozy relationships with the banking, corporate, and other financial institutions. The arbitrary power to create money and credit out of thin air behind closed doors for the benefit of commercial interests must be ended. There should be no taxpayer bailouts of corporations and no corporate subsidies. Corporations should be aggressively prosecuted for their crimes and frauds.

So devoish.........

Are you going to pass yourself off as a Ralph Nader supporter now?  Or is his historical viewpoint too narrow for you?  Seems to me he doesn't quite see the world the way you do.

Ok, now I'm really off to bed.  Bulls-C's is way too important.

David in Qatar

 

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#5) On May 02, 2009 at 2:40 PM, devoish (98.26) wrote:

What are you kidding me? Nader tries to represent the good that a strong elected government can do. You and Ron Paul would leave us to the mercy of private interests, and just not call them Kings, or Princes or Dukes. 

Is Cynthia McKinney the girl for you just because she was there too? it is not just the recognition that there are problems that matters. It is the vision of the world after the Fed where Ron Paul and you are caught in an imaginary world that does not compare to the realities of what you promote.

That is why there is no "small" Government model that delivers your promise, even though "small" Governments are plentiful.

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#6) On May 02, 2009 at 6:00 PM, devoish (98.26) wrote:

What would Qatar do? 

Chapter 5
Sanctions / punishments

Article (66)

Without contravention by any maximum sanction stated in the criminal code or any other law , to be punished any one who commits violation of Articles rules stated in this chapter will be charged by the sanctions or punishments indicated in the following , and the punishment will be doubled in case of repeating the violation

Article (67)

Any one who breaches the rules of articles (31), (35), (36 secl) from this law, will be punished by a payment of penalty not less than one thousand Qatar riyal and not to exceed twenty thousand QR.

Article (68)

Anyone who breaks the rules of articles (13 , Para 2) , ( 16 , Para 1 ) , (18) , (32, Para ,1 ) , (33) , ( 37) , (38) , (48 ) ,(60) , (61) , from this law , will be punished by a penalty not less than five thousand QR , and not to exceed fifty thousands QR.

Article (69)

Any one who breaches the rules of articles (27 ,Para 2) , (29 ) , (30) , (41 ) , (45 , Para) , (53) , ( 54 ) , (56) , from this law will be punished by a detention period not to exceed one year with a penalty not less than twenty thousand QR , and not to exceed hundred thousand QR , or by one of the two mentioned punishments

Article (70)

Any one commits a violation of rules of articles (25, Para), (26), (27, Para), (45. Para 2) , ( 51 clause 1, 2) from this law , will be punished by a detention period not less than one year , and not to exceed three years , with a penalty not less than one hundred thousand QR , and not to exceed three hundred thousand Qr , or by one of those punishments .

Article (71)

Any one who breaks the rules of the articles (24) , ( 25 , para 3) , (43 ) , (44) .(51, clause 3) from this law , will be punished by a detention period not less than three years and not to exceed ten years , and by penalty not less than two hundred thousand QR. And not to exceed five hundred thousand QR, or by one of those punishments

Article (72)

Considered as a repeater , in application of the rules of this law , any one who commits a crime typical to a previous crime , which he committed before and punished with one of the punishments determined for its rules violation and that before five years passed from the date of the punishment end, or cancelled by period factor.

Article (73)

The court when charged by conviction is authorized accordingly to close the project or the establishment or deportation of foreigner from the country or seizure of tools and equipments used in the violation, with engaging the breaker to remove the violation and turning the situation back as it is.

Article (74)

If the one who commits the crime, or committed on his behalf, or for his benefit, a moral person, his legal representative in a capacity of partner for the real doer, punished with the punishments stated in this law.
The representative of the moral person, exempted from the punishment, if approved that the crime is committed without his notice, or compulsory, or to harm him, or he delegated another person to practice his jurisdictions, or perform a reasonable effort to avoid the crime aimlessly.

Article (75)

The owner, captain, operator, responsible of the ship and the principals of the projects, and establishments, are all responsible of all damage rising from committing a violation to the rules of this law, and paying the penalties and compensations that decided, and the expenses of the removal of effects of that violation.

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#7) On May 03, 2009 at 11:23 AM, ralphmachio (25.37) wrote:

The  video on nader exemplifies how this country is impotent from political correctness. If we haven't the balls to call it what it is out of fear of offending those with sensitive ears, we make those fearful of the truth the least common denominator that defines the truth. lemmings...

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#8) On May 03, 2009 at 12:15 PM, jdgee2 (< 20) wrote:

The question for me isn't why government programs were created. It's "why does the government, with it's well deserved and hard earned reputaion of inefficency, waste of taxpayer dollars, and abuse of power, have to be the fixer upper ?"

Best Wishes,

Jon

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#9) On May 03, 2009 at 5:49 PM, devoish (98.26) wrote:

Ralphmachio,

To some degree I agree with you, but to often today people are called "politically correct" as though it is a bad thing to be coutreous and polite. The term "politically correct" has become useless.

Jon

The largest destroyer of wealth in this country is the banking system by far, not the Gov't. I asked Dare and David for an example of a successful small Gov't in the hope of finding an answer to your question. Without a Gov't strong enough to provide and enforce a legal framework there is only warfare. What would you suggest as the "fixer upper"?

Countries stands only a one in four chance of being successful. Small Gov't, good or bad, never is. Larger Gov't only has a 50/50 chance of being good. If American gov't is abandoned today, only the interests of those who corrupted her will remain.

Unless you have another answer.

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#10) On May 04, 2009 at 2:26 PM, wrparks (62.17) wrote:

Devoish,

I'm been catching up on old blog posts for a while now.  I recall you saying wealth cannot be created, only transferred.  Now, banks destroy wealth?

History proves that is an untenable position, unless you believe we really were better off the 100 years ago. 

 

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#11) On May 04, 2009 at 5:30 PM, devoish (98.26) wrote:

wrparks,

I am glad I popped back in here. Thanks.

I should not have described banking as a destroyer of wealth. Lending is a transfer of wealth from tomorrow, to today. Saving is a transfer of wealth from today, to tomorrow.

I get frustrated with ideologues gangbashing government as a destroyer of wealth and celebrating business as a creator of wealth, when either can serve in either role, if you choose to understand wealth as something that can be created at all.

Environmental degredation may be a true destroyer of wealth.

My consideration is that what most people refer to as "wealth creation" is really just finding something that is already there, not something that is created. And most often when it is used it "destroys" an equal amount of wealth somewhere else. More of a balance sheet outlook, I suppose.

I should not have used the term in my response to Jon.

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#12) On May 05, 2009 at 11:05 AM, wrparks (62.17) wrote:

Fair enough, I was just curious about that one.  Both lending and saving I believe are essentially the same thing, since all savings, unless in a mattress, gets lended out by the bank. 

Your outlook on labor and wealth is unique, and while I largely disagree, it's still interesting.   Governments simply redistribute wealth.  Some redistribution can be a net positive on society, if it is invested correctly.  I would cite the USDA-ARS, NIH, etc as examples of government finding a proper balance between public and private.  Much of the ARS research has made availible the wealth of food we enjoy.  In other cases, such as the WIC program (interestingly, also through USDA), gov't spending is a net drag on the economy (or zero gain at best), since it is simply a transfer of spending from 1 person to another.  That doesn't mean WIC should be closed down or reduced, it simply means that we, as a people, must decide our priorities. The milatary is another expenditure that I see as wholly negative to the economy, however, I believe some limited military spending is necessary. 

Do we want an essentially European style stagnant economy with 80% debt to GDP, or do we want to maintain an a more free economy with debt to GDP in the 40-50% range.  I've heard the term "compulsory consumerist society" and I believe it completely describes the current american state and is not a far leap from where we are now to Italian style Fascism or corporatism.  I'm afraid we may already be making that leap.I beleive the European style economies are as unsustainable as the methods of Brazilian farmers destroying forest to grow soybeans. Capitalism demands economic growth, or it fails.  Like it or not, we live in a capitalist society, and for all it's faults, it's the best we have to date. European style governments are getting too large, eventually leading to stagnation, and I believe an eventual revolution.

I find idealogues intriguing, and yes, both you and Mr. Quatar (David???) are idealogues.  Confirmation bias is a very powerful force.  People believe what they want to believe, often in contradiction of fact, especially idealogues. Clear evidence of this is recent polling indicating that, though economic conditions have plateaued at best during Obama's first 100 days, self-described democrats feel things are on the right track, self-described republicans feel the opposite.  There is zero evidence for or against an economic recovery at this point, but based on ones biases we make decisions.

A better understanding of economics would likely alter your opinions on wealth creation, since under the system you describe, capitalism would be impossible since all gains are offset by losses somewhere in the system, eventually leading to stagnation and failure of the system.  Capitalism can survive both booms and busts, but prolonged stagnation will kill it completely.

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#13) On May 06, 2009 at 10:46 PM, devoish (98.26) wrote:

wrparks,

Thanks for the thoughtful reply. I cannot believe you are calling me, of all people, an idealogue! ;-)

My understanding of economics is strongly biased by having listened to "trickle down" theory all my adult life and watching it fail more and more people as the USA has taken each new step toward its preachings.

I love your last paragraph.

A better understanding of economics would likely alter your opinions on wealth creation, since under the system you describe, capitalism would be impossible since all gains are offset by losses somewhere in the system, eventually leading to stagnation and failure of the system.  Capitalism can survive both booms and busts, but prolonged stagnation will kill it completely.

There is no reason to believe that Capitalism would be impossible under my system (what you call a system, I consider a natural law that cannot be avoided).

I believe Rothbard understood natural limits as I do and proposed to make sure his was the last subgroup of humanity standing. I do not believe he considered all human races equal. If he did, I believe he only considered them threats to his own group's survival.

I am not sure if Rothbard has misrepresented Mises or not.

I do not know who David in Qatar is. I do know he offered Qatar as a small government to model after and I learned it was not.

I do know the "small gov't, free marketeers" preach nonintervention in the economy in any fashion. I do know that not interfering in energy benefits Qatar at our expense. I also know that not interfering in healthcare will benefit Qatar as they use their oil money to build healthcare facilities and teaching hospitals and we do not. Our aging population and failing insurers will be saved by medical tourism.

 Economic theory only works in a vacuum, where any economic theory works fine.

 

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#14) On May 06, 2009 at 11:31 PM, wrparks (62.17) wrote:

Oddly enough, I haven't been able to sleep tonight and was checking in. 

 I didn't mean idealogue as a dig.  Hopefully you didn't read it that way.  I believe anybody with a brain who takes the time to think about something ends up as an idealogue, unless they just can't make their mind up about things.  We are all colored by things beyond our control, and I firmly believe genetics has a role in political philosophy, I just can't prove it.

I mostly agree with you that the Austrian school fails, but for completely different reasons.  Every mode of political though, socialism (we'll say true socialism, or better yet marxism, not the chinese/soviet model), capitalism, etc requires a group to make decisions.  This group, however they got their power, must maintain the state and ferret out corruption.  With corruption come problems. You end up with a pseudo-capitalist society with things like Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, etc where nobody really knows who owns the thing, but we do know who guarantees it.  The free marketers failed because their system requires a certain set of conditions for even the possibility of success.  Instead, we got a mixed state controlled economy with capitalist side shoots.  Essentialy, we got the worst of both worlds, and it's a miracle the bubble lasted as long as it did.

Unfortunately for all idealogical arguements, every government eventually ends up corrupt and the government ceases to serve the good of the people and begins to serve the good of the government.  People crave power, and those in power have the means to maintain power.  I guess I could be called a cynical-capitalist, since I feel like it's the best we have, even if it requires periodic revolutions to maintain.

My state has been having this health care problem you mention lately.  I proposed to my group of friends on the state payroll that the solution to the problem would be to simply raise the doctor visit copay to say $40, since it seems odd that I can see a medical specialist cheaper than I can get an oil change.   This is a group of people of diverse ages, and with current copay levels, they visit the doctor on average twice a month, for things that are absolutely nothing (sniffles, colds, etc).  With an economic incentive, I think they would think twice about things.  But, when the state runs the program, any increase in costs will meet intense resistance and they begin to run deficits.  Plus, my system has the added benefit of decreasing antibiotic resistance since they would be improperly prescribed less often.  Once you make something a protected right, you have lost the power to selectively allocate it, and eventually it runs into the tragedy of the commons as well.  This is the eventual fate of state health care.  But, I have no doubt it will have a great run while it lasts.

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#15) On May 08, 2009 at 11:04 PM, devoish (98.26) wrote:

 Every mode of political though, socialism (we'll say true socialism, or better yet marxism, not the chinese/soviet model), capitalism, etc requires a group to make decisions.  This group, however they got their power, must maintain the state and ferret out corruption.

That is why I support Democracy. There is no reason the State cannot collect 0% taxes from the poorest and from the wealthiest, 80-90% taxes to stay solvent. You certainly cannot get more money from the poor.

On its own capitalism eats its own. The moment any one individual collects more than he produces there is an imbalance, and that begins the failure. And there is an extreme disconnect between pay and worth right now, which means collapse was/is upon us. Only the wealthy returning money to labor will restore the economy. Whether financial balance is kept through taxes or unions does not matter. Every time a union surrenders its benefits and an executive does not we move further from a peaceful resolution.

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#16) On May 10, 2009 at 12:26 AM, wrparks (62.17) wrote:

Actually, there is a simple reason that you can't collect 80-90% taxes from the wealthy indefinitely. 

Revolt.  They won't stand for it and either they leave, or they will hide their money (why do you think the beatles left Europe?).  Then what?  Obviously, force.  The threat of the gun.  You absolutely must force them to give up their money and not leave the country, while continuing to support the rest of us with their taxes.  What perverse logic supports such a thing?  Plus, now you have taken the first step towards totalitariansim and each subsequent step gets easier. Simply because the majority supports it does not make it right.  That's why we have a constitutional democratic republic.  It guarantees basic rights, one of which has always been the freedom to move and the freedom to leave.  Democracy gives us slavery.  Democracy with basic irrevocable rights gives freedom.

Even if you could convince or force them to stay, you have removed all incentive to produce and succeed, and have simply increased the numbers of the poor.

Plus, the wealthy are less than 1% of the population, do you really want to rely on them?  That would be the greates ponzi of all, and works well until recruitment dries up, and it always does.

Tell you what.  If you agree to remove voting rights from the 0% taxed citizens, then I will agree that the remining citizens can vote away basic rights.  Both arguments are absurd, but you are advocating the second, possibly without realizing it.

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