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Know when people are crazy?

• The public is crazy when it pays retired municipal employees more money to be retired than it paid them to work.

Take Los Angeles (please). Deputy Police Chief Earl C. Paysinger receives $1.5 million a year in pension and $11,053.17 in “benefits” after 33 years of service. He retired in 2011. Others in Los Angeles public safety agencies receive well over $1 million in pension and benefits. Many dozens get more than $700,000 per year. This is all paid for by the Los Angeles Fire and Police Employees Pension system. The citizens of Los Angeles pay every dime of this. They are crazy. And the rest of us may be crazy, too. Experts have been saying for years that PERS, the Public Employees Retirement System is going broke, and that extreme increases in retirement plan funding will soon be necessary. This is likely to put a lot of towns, like Madera, into hock.

• Drivers are crazy when they allow themselves to be distracted. Distracted driving is the Number 1 cause of traffic accidents. The most frequent distraction is cell phone usage. Those drivers are crazy.

• People are crazy if they continue smoking. The most common externally caused cancer is lung cancer, and the external cause is smoking. The biggest external cause of death is suicide (That doesn’t count people who commit suicide by smoking and giving themselves lung cancer.)

• People are crazy if they trade in their cars too often. Modern cars are well built and last longer than most of the models built before 2002. Even trading in every three years costs more in depreciation. Keep your car longer, take good care of it and keep it clean, and it will turn out to a longer-lasting value.

• People are crazy if they think giving the homeless a place to live will cure homelessness. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try to help the downtrodden by finding shelter for them, and providing ways for them to learn or relearn life skills they may have lost through addiction. But that only cures the symptom of homelessness not the root causes. Sixty-eight percent of U.S. cities report that drug and alcohol abuse is the biggest cause of homelessness. Druggies and drunks have a hard time finding and holding jobs, and the result is that poverty sticks to them like chewing gum sticks to cheap false teeth. Another cause, according to the Salvation Army, is abuse in the home (often an effect of drug and alcohol use) and mental illness, which leads to physical illness and the inability to provide for oneself. Gambling is often a cause of homelessness.

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