Sarah Palin and Generational Theft

by Dave Miller

“This debt is immoral because we’re stealing opportunities. It’s so unfair what we’re going to hand to our children and our grandchildren,” Sarah Palin said. “To me, it’s generational theft.”

Last night my wife and I, along with group of friends had the privilege of hearing Sarah Palin speak at the Friends of the Family banquet in Hershey. The Pennsylvania Family Institute puts on this banquet every year as a fund raiser. 1100 people attended the fundraiser which had some smacking good food in addition to the engaging speaker. Filet mignon and crab cakes as the meat. Need I say more?

Fox News on the scene catches my wife and I in the crowd at :57 into the clip

Okay back to Sara Palin, she hit hard on the subject of family and its ability to strengthen America. “Faith must be welcomed in the public square and be given room to flourish,” she said. “Only then can we become the society that we aspire to and that we are destined to be.” Again and again she talked of strong family values rebuilding the foundation.

I started to look for ways strong family values could build up America economically. When I stopped to think, the opportunities were endless. Strong family values revolve around honest and hard work. If we return to an honest, hardworking nation we will flourish. If you take today’s economic condition and bring an honest, hardworking person into the picture, the results would be for good.

We will take this an example a little farther and create a small scale hypothetical economy.

This economy consists of 10 people, 8 of whom have jobs. So 20% are unemployed (which is close to the real national rate).

These two unemployed people, Fred and Tom, are lazy folks that have given up the hope of employment. Fred and Tom envy their neighbors and refuse to talk to them. They sit around drinking beer they cannot afford, complaining of pleasures absent in their lives. They live a lackadaisical unmotivated life. But they are doing okay, their governor steals beer money for them from the other eight employed.

One night Fred, while drunk, has an unfortunate encounter with the front end of a Mack truck. Yes, he died.

Now we could change the percentages and say the unemployment rate has turned for the good. But we won’t. So enter Joe.

Joe was a plumber but has been out of work for weeks. He is an honest, hard working individual that is happily loves life and enjoys the people around him. Joe has a choice, as we all do – he can maintain his integrity or he can sit around drinking beer. Being raised in a family that taught him values and uprightness, he chooses honor. He spends the first week repairing the plumbing at his house. The next week he works on other things on the property. Soon his home is the nicest on the block. He has the neighbors stopping by to admire his handiwork. Being the nice guy he is he starts helping the neighbors with their work, in return for his kindness and hard work he receives parcels of food and other items of usefulness. They do not pay him, he is still unemployed.

The governor now only needs to steal enough beer money for Tom. Luckily he is honest and restrains himself from stealing the same amount as before. Now the people have more money and can afford to spend more in this economy. This creates the need for another job. Guess who gets hired; Joe the honest respectable hard worker or Tom the other unemployed lazy beer drinker? Yep, Joe gets hired.

One honest, hard working individual makes life more pleasant for the people around him and in turn they are all more apt to thrive.

So, Yes I do believe that honest, hardworking people can reclaim this country.

Maybe if the governor stopped rewarding the drunk for drinking he (the drunk) would turn from his idle ways and start being honest and hard working, since he saw that being rewarded.

Maybe, just maybe it would make a difference. Come on, of course it would. I say we start rewarding the people worthy of it and stop rewarding the people not.

This is something that would not only improve our current situation but pass on to our children, the next generation. Are we building up our children or are we stealing from them?

This brings me back to Sarah Palin.

In a Q&A session after the speech she was asked a paradoxical question. Knowing that she stands for limiting and reducing government intervention, the moderator asked her, what is the single most important legislation or action our government could facilitate. Palin’s response was that it would be just that, reduce the size and power of the government.

Amen I says, Amen. I’ll drink to that.

Published in: on August 28, 2010 at 6:35 pm  Comments (2)  
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Priority of Liens

by Dave Miller

When owning a property a lien can be placed against the property.

A lien is an encumbrance on the property to gain an interest in the ownership of the property. It is a charge or claim against a property made to force the payment of a debt by the owner. This is done to collect taxes or money owned to someone else. Real estate taxes, mortgage liens, IRS liens or mechanics liens are the types most commonly seen.

There are voluntary and involuntary liens.

Voluntary liens are placed against a property with the owner’s consent, meaning you agreed to the lien. This is commonly done with a mortgage. You are allowing the bank to place a lien against your property that says they can force the sale of it if you fail to fulfil your commitment. By forcing you to sell they then get to collect the money owed to them, and an exuberant amount for additional fees. They would need to take you court but you can lose your property if you fail to meet the agreed upon obligations of the mortgage.

An involuntary lien is one that you did not mutually agree to. This may be from unpaid taxes or bills. When you fail to make payment of a debt, the person you fail to pay can place a lien on your property. This is usually done without your consent.

Order of liens

Real estate taxes take precedence over other general liens. You can have a mortgage on a property but if you fail to pay your taxes they (the taxes) will be paid off first if your property is sold.

Priority of liens refers to the order in which claims against the property will be satisfied (paid off). The rule generally on the priority of liens is “first come, first served.” Liens take priority from the date of recording in public records of the county where the property is located. This position is especially desirable if the lien must be enforced by a court-ordered sale or when the property value drops below the amount of the liens.

There are exceptions to this rule. Real estate taxes and special assessments generally take priority over all other liens, regardless of the order in which the liens are recorded. This means that if the property goes through a court sale to satisfy unpaid debts or obligations, outstanding real estate taxes and special assessments will be paid from the proceeds first. The remainder of the proceeds will be used to pay other outstanding liens in the order of their priority. Mechanics’ liens take priority as provided by state law but never take priority over tax and special assessment liens. Then if any money is left you finally get your share.

There are two types of real estate taxes: general real estate taxes (also called ad valorem taxes) and special assessments or improvement taxes. Both are levied against specific parcels of property and automatically become liens on those properties.

Either way you slice it, liens are a pain in the deed.

If you are buying a property, be sure to get an attorney to do a title search and purchase title insurance. By doing a title search the attorney can see if any liens or encumbrances are attached to the property. By getting title insurance the burden of a rogue lien that slipped under the searcher nose is placed on the searcher. You can get the lien paid by the insurance company that you paid the fee too, and you walk away free of the lien.

It costs a few dollars to buy title insurance but the safety easily outweighs the risk.

Published in: on August 28, 2010 at 10:30 am  Comments (1)  
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Buying a Bundle of Sticks

by Dave Miller

We say we bought real estate, land or property; but what did we really buy?

The terms most commonly used are: land, real estate and real property. Believe it or not they are three separate items. 

  • Land – is defined as the earth and the air. It consists of the surface of the earth extending downward to the center of the earth and upward into space. It also includes natural objects that are permanent such as trees and water.
  • Real Estate – includes the land, listed above, and all things permanently attached to it; natural, artificial or man-made.
  • Real Property – is all of the above, real estate which includes the land and then add in your rights. Better known as your “bundle of rights”.

When people today talk of buying and selling property it’s commonly referred to as real estate. For all practical purposes, the term is synonymous with real property as defined here.


Land consists of three rights; subsurface rights, surface rights and air rights.

  • Subsurface are the rights to the natural resources below the surface of the earth. These can be sold off separately. They are commonly the mineral rights or gas rights. Currently in some areas of Pennsylvania gas rights are highly saleable since the new drilling techniques allow access to Marcellus shale areas far below the surface.
  • The surface rights are the rights to use the surface of the earth. One may sell off his surface rights while retaining the ownership of the subsurface rights. These rights are separate and can be sold individually.
  • Air rights are the rights to the air space above your land.

The ownership of property is at times referred to as the owning of a “bundle of rights” By owning a property you own some or all of the rights associated to the property. These rights are:

  • right of possession
  • right to control the property within the framework of the law
  • right of enjoyment (to use the property in any legal manner)
  • right of exclusion (to keep others from using the property)
  • right of disposition (to sell, will, or otherwise dispose of the property)


These rights can be separated and bought, sold or leased individually. This happens when a right of way is sold to someone else or a tenant leases rights from the owner of the rights.

 Just as Boaz took off his shoe in a seemingly strange manner in the book of Ruth so we view the next illustration. The real reason was a symbolic method of helping the persons involved to understand what was happening. Most people could not read or write so they relied on methods that allowed them to visualize the transfer. So when rights were transferred the symbolic method was to hand the new owner a bundle of sticks.

Old English law was the origin of the concept of the “bundle of rights”. When a seller transferred ownership of his property (or rights), he gathered sticks from a tree on the property and bound them together. If all the rights were transferred he gathered five sticks. This process was called the livery of seisin. The purchaser accepted the symbolic sticks as his method of receiving ownership of these rights. Because the rights, like the sticks, can be separated and sold independently, multiple parties may own certain rights to the same property.

 So the next time you go to your banker tell him you need a loan to buy a bundle of sticks.

Published in: on August 5, 2010 at 3:18 pm  Leave a Comment  
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