Friday, February 17, 2012
Government 'Common Sense' - Not!
Good morning my fellow Rotarians. Today's stories are true and exemplify the not-so-common-sense examples of government at its finest!
A 2007 federal energy law requires companies that supply gasoline in the U.S. to blend in a certain cellulose-based ingredient into the gasoline starting in 2012 -- even though (as the Environmental Protection Agency well knows) the ingredient does not now exist. A New York Times reporter checked with the EPA in January and found that the gasoline supply companies will still have to pay penalties for noncompliance (and most likely, according to EPA officials, even-stiffer penalties in the coming years). Research scientists say the ingredient is still two or three years from actually being produced. A petrochemicals association executive said… “It belies logic. Only a federal government agency would get away with imposing a fine for non-usage of an ingredient that doesn’t exist.” The EPA is projecting to collect between 15 and 18 million this year in fines.
Local City & Fire Department
To meet its municipal budget, the town of South Fulton, TN, assessed each residence $75 a year for firefighting service, but in the name of "liberty" gave people the chance to opt out of coverage. Vicky Bell chose not to pay, and when her home caught fire in December, firefighters rushed to the scene -- but only to be on hand in case the fire spread to her neighbors, who had paid their fees. The firefighters were ready and able to put out the fire, but were told to stand by and watch as Bell's home burned to the ground. Wow.
The U.S. Treasury Department's inspector general for tax matters revealed this pass month that the IRS had certified 331 prison inmates as registered "tax preparers" during 2011, including 43 who were serving life sentences. Over 200 of the inmate did NOT disclose that they were in prison. The Treasury Dept blamed a 2009 federal law because it encourages online filing of tax returns and that law changed the rules to become a "tax preparer", which is now a simple-to-pass online 120-question test. Here’s the kicker… USA Today reported last November that inmate tax prepares were able to submit false or fraudulent tax returns to scam the IRS for nearly $39.1 million in 2009 alone.
There you have it, just a few examples of government common sense at it’s best! And that is the bottom of our news for this Friday, February 17, 2012.