Spain on the brink of civil war

200 years ago today (1817), Spain was on top of the world. A major rival, England, had just suffered the embarrassing expulsion from its American colonies, whereas Spain was milking its American colonies quite profitably. In fact, at that time Las Vegas, Nevada was part of the Spanish territory of New Spain, although we did not contribute much to the economy.

Within five years, the locals drove the Spaniards back home, and created Mexico. The new government encouraged trade between the northernmost of the old Spanish colonies – Sante Fe, NM and Los Angeles, CA. Las Vegas was an important water stop on what we call today the Old Spanish Trail. Eventually, Washington won Las Vegas in the Mexican-American War in 1848.

It seems like Spaniards have been killing each other over the government ever since. It goes through periods of peace, but those are between some pretty nasty stuff.  This morning’s Review Journal  says they may be about to go at it again.

Here’s Wikipedia’s entry on the History of Spain.

Setting Nevadans Up For A Massive Tax Hike – again!

In preparation for the upcoming budget wars lets take a look at Nevada’s welfare rolls from the pre-recession levels, through the 2007-09 recession, and during the recovery from 2009 through FY 2015. The picture from below (from the Nevada Division of Welfare site tells the story:
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This is the TANF caseloads from 2006 through 2015. TANF is the new acronym for welfare (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families). In 2007 the caseload was 17,712. At the end of the recession the caseload was 22,556 (a 27% increase). That’s a lot, but it was a tough recession – fine. But then look what happened after the recession ended. The Caseload in FY2015 skyrocketed to 35,576 – double the 2007 prerecession levels and 58% higher than the caseload at the end of the recession. Something has gone seriously awry. And it is not that the population has grown. The welfare recipients per 1,000 in NV population ballooned from 6.62 to 12.57. Simply astounding. Remember that when they want another billion in tax revenues to pay for it, including dozens of millions in advertising the welfare expansion to attract potential recipients. Some ad agency out there will do quite well!

The next data point is TANF Medicaid recipients. In 2007 there were 63,008 TANF Medicaid recipients, 23.56 per 1000 Nevada residents. In FY 2015 this number has exploded to 271,967, or 96.12 per 1,000 Nevada residents. The 2015 caseload is more than 4 times the 2007 caseload. Simply out of control.

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The next data point is CHAP (Child Health Assurance Program) recipients. In 2007 there were 28,674 recipients or 10.72 per 1000 Nevadans. In 2015 there is an astonishing 226,816 recipients or 80.26 per 1000 Nevadans. That is an nearly eight fold increase. Are we trying to build the dependency capital of the world?

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The next data point is Food Stamps. In 2007 there were 119,596 Nevadans on food stamps or 44.71 per 1000 Nevadans. In 2015 the caseload shot up to 375,506 or 133.46 per 1000 Nevadans. OMG what are we doing in Nevada. Here is the chart.

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And finally take a look at what they have done with Medicaid – by law, we can’t even institute a simple co-pay to promote responsible consumption. Simply outrageous!

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That is enough for now. It is quite sobering. Remember this when they demand that our taxes be raised by a billion dollars. This is the same crap they pulled in the lead up to the 2003 legislative session. That year was a record tax and spend hike, but set Nevada up to have the most difficult economic recovery of any state in the nation.

Constitutional Convention Soon?

In 1979, Nevada joined a parade of state legislatures in asking Congress to call a Constitutional Convention for the limited purpose of adding a provision requiring a balanced budget, except in the case of an emergency.  It was nitpicked, amended then amended again – but Governor List finally had a bill to sign on March 12, 1979, which he did. The linked PDF includes the bill and it’s legislative history.

Time wore on through the 80s, and a lot of state legislatures jumped on the bandwagon, but by 1985 states stopped. The effort fell two states short of the required 34.

The last six years of inexcusably irresponsible federal spending, much of it borrowed and showing little return, has sealed the deal. Ohio passed a resolution about six months ago, and Michigan’s house affirmed the Michigan Senate’s intent to become number 34 a couple of weeks ago.

So the tipping point – where two thirds of the states have petitioned congress to convene a convention to consider changing the Constitution to require fiscally responsible political behavior – has happened. Of maybe not – some of the state legislatures later rescinded their petitions and there is disagreement over whether that counts.

A few folks advocate that government debt doesn’t matter. Do your own research. I concluded they are wrong.

If I were lucky enough to represent my state in such a process, I would work hard to ensure the agenda is kept to a balanced budget amendment, and that one was passed.

Here’s a great Wikipedia article on the Balanced Budget Amendment.

Gold Fever

Gold, baby!

I’ve never scraped together enough money to seriously buy gold – I keep getting sidetracked into taxpayer-protection’s siren song – but nevertheless find the stuff fascinating, all the more so when combined with my passion for mining history in the West.

Which is how I stumbled across this story within hours of when the RJ published it… I am thinking some of Joaquin Murrietta‘s stash?

Wheeler Pass passed up tonight

My dad and I did not go home via Wheeler Pass tonight, having enjoyed the Nye County Lincoln Day Dinner, but we sure did talk about it.

These beehive-shaped structures are the remains of three charcoal making kilns and one Lime Kiln built for Jonas Osborne in 1877. He had designed and built a big furnace to smelt over 20 tons of silver and lead ore each day in the boomtown of Tecopa, California in January of 1878. Forty-four men attempted to keep the furnace working by cutting and hauling the ore, and feeding and constantly repairing the furnace. It completely failed and was abandoned in the fall of 1878.

As this area of the Spring Mountains had the best and closest source of wood, the kilns were setup here and the charcoal produced was carried by horse drawn wagons about 50 miles to the Tecopa Smelter. Evidence shows only tree limbs were cut in fuel and no extensive tree cutting was done.