Power bills and Moral Hazards

Posted On: Monday - April 27th 2020 10:42AM MST
In Topics: 
  Economics  The Future  Socialism/Communism

"Uggh. Another post on taxes and shit!". The Peak Stupidity reader may think that some of these recent posts are here just to keep us from ranting about this Kung Flu Infotainment Panic Fest twice a day, on the 11's. Or, he may figure that it's just a fixation that one must put up with, such as with the posts about golf course architecture or Hollywood people out of one of my favorite bloggers, Steve Sailer. Well, you gotta think, hey, I'm not paying for this, and I didn't have to read, so what's the problem?

Exactly! However, this financial/economic stuff is NOT unrelated to this Kung Flu, when it comes down to it. High-powered Socialism is coming, with a vengeance! As we've noted in , this Panic-Fest we are trying to come out of has been taken full advantage of, and, if not fully planned*, being continuously egged on. I will have another post shortly on the large amounts of future-taxpayers' money being doled out in unemployment, which I think will hook a big mass of formerly working-class Americans on Uncle Sugar, like crack whore's hooked on, well, crack.

No, this one is about a note in the bill from the power company. (I hope the reader can make it out, as I need to keep the images small horizontally.). This seems like an innocuous nice gesture by this Big-Biz outfit at first glance. Sure, no late fees, we know you're stressed out financially. No, we won't turn off the power if you get way behind either. Wow, now that is mighty white of you!

If that were all it were to end up to, no, I'm not bent out of shape about my having probably paid a late fee or two back in the day (especially when I was helping renters save 80 bucks by keeping the bill in my name) while now people get a break. If you put a hold on disconnects, though, that sure is encouragement for a lot of damn people. When you incentivize something, you will get more of it. How far will they let this no-cost debt go?

A commenter on unz, along with a friend this morning, have both told me not to worry, saying that customers of the power company will have to catch up, and the latter saying that there are plenty of people who end paying the penalties and interest later, as they just plain live like this. I don't know. Will the power company get part of the $2,000,000,000,000 - [the ionosphere] bailout, and then use a chunk of that to bail out those poor 8-month behind electricity customers? I think that is highly likely. It's not something I'd bet on, but it's just that, in a Socialist economy, where it's not about the work one does, but how you play the system, there's a damn good chance of that. Let's put it that way.

I'm really getting sick of getting screwed as someone trying to be responsible with finances. I think I'd be a lot sicker were I to have scrimped in college to avoid having mortgage-sized loans, as the other kids partied hardy (or is that "party hardied"?), once student loan forgiveness gets implemented.** It's only due to college being MUCH more reasonable when I went that I am not sick like a Kung Flu victim over this.

Over the last 10 years or more, since finances have been stable for me, I have been paying these bills 4 or 5 at a time, ahead. Yes, being a luddite or privacy freak, depending on how you see it, I don't want the money coming out of my bank account, so I've been sending checks. My method saves 50 ¢ on a stamp and about the same on a check (yes, talk about inflation - that's what they work out to be. Is ink some rare commodity?) It's my 5 minutes of time to take care of this that save, well, yeah, at least 50 ¢, I hope!

I'd gotten the check out and put the stamp on the envelope, before I read that note above. I was committed, but not to the amount. I wrote it for a smaller amount than planned. I regret writing it at all, but it's not my nature to just stiff the power company unless I have an argument with them (that leverage thing). Next month, I dunno. Why not just get behind like everyone else? If they start trying to collect, I've got the money and I'll send it in. If they are going to bail out the deadbeats, well, that's a good time to be a deadbeat. The term in use today, at least on Peak Stupidity is "Moral Hazard".

I'm only concerned about this, what might seem a piddly thing, because these moral hazards will keep coming at us. Only the irresponsible come out ahead.

* I don't give the left that much credit. "Fully planned" does not compute, when one is trying to analyze those retards.

** I think it is a question of "when", not "if", as this $1,600,000,000,000, with 15% or something in serious default, CAN'T be paid.

Tuesday - April 28th 2020 12:54PM MST
PS No doubt they could raid one’s checking account. I figure that if the utility outfits start making unauthorized withdrawals, it’s already time to get out the guns (just speaking hypothetically here, Mr or Ms or Mx FBI agent, if you’re reading this), so I let convenience over-ride caution. Fortunately, no problems, so far.
Monday - April 27th 2020 6:58PM MST
PS: Computers being weird, negative numbers, and (non-moral) hazards:

I worked for a while with a group involved in "formal methods for verification of computer systems". At a couple of the conferences, I met a guy from the FAA who was supposed to be developing a formal specification of what it meant for a plane to fly correctly. They wanted to avoid situations like the following in the real world: (He, at least, believed this story; but others deny it) (this version copied from the internet)

Since the F-16 is a fly-by-wire aircraft, the computer keeps the pilot from doing dumb things to himself. So if the pilot jerks hard over on the joystick, the computer will instruct the flight surfaces to make a nice and easy 4 or 5 G flip. But the plane can withstand a much higher flip than that. So when they were 'flying' the F-16 in simulation over the equator, the computer got confused and instantly flipped the plane over, killing the pilot [in simulation]. And since it can fly forever upside down, it would do so until it ran out of fuel.

Something about the Latitude changing sign, causing the computer to mis-interpret GPS signals, and so up vs. down.
Monday - April 27th 2020 6:20PM MST
PS: "... my wife asked me to stop my campaign because she was getting the stink-eye from the HR lady that also submitted payrolls." Ha! Great humorous writing style, Robert, thanks!

To Bill H., OK it's not done with the same process as a withdrawal, but man, a "negative check", that's kind of funny too. I wish they had a few negative denominations of US Currency. Let's see, who'd be on them: Obama on the $-10, FDR on the $-50 (and get him off the freakin' dimes), and maybe the bastard LBJ on the $-100. "OK, ring up this pallet of toilet paper, and I'll take my money in Lyndons."
Monday - April 27th 2020 5:50PM MST
PS: Thanks Mr. H.

It is rather annoying to learn that they were technically correct when I complained, but good to know.
Bill H
Monday - April 27th 2020 5:28PM MST
PS No, they cannot withdraw money but, as you have found out, they can deposit negative amounts. They result is much the same, but the process actually is not. Computers can be really weird.
Monday - April 27th 2020 12:45PM MST

"hey, if they can put some in, then can take some out!"

At one point my (now ex-) wife had direct deposit and they UNDERpaid her by about $10.00. They 'fixed' this by withdrawing the full amount, and then paying her double NEXT month.

When I went to complain, they said:

"Oh, no, no, they couldn't do THAT."

even though they just had. I never succeeded at getting them to pay the bounced check fees, and my wife asked me to stop my campaign because she was getting the stink-eye from the HR lady that also submitted payrolls.

As you say, who has the leverage here.

P.S. Polite persistence against bureaucracy can work, IF they make the mistake of filing a piece of paper early on (A new secretary is useful for this.) and you are willing to pay the price of disapproval. I have twice gotten "important" people fired. One of those times the entire department got cleaned out --- but they had been falsifying fire inspection records, and TPTB were unhappy.
Monday - April 27th 2020 11:51AM MST
PS: BTW, Mr. Blanc: This would be easier if I could get into details, but about direct deposit of paychecks, I stick with old-fashioned paper ones as long as they'll let me. I told a few people "hey, if they can put some in, then can take some out!" "Oh, no, no, they couldn't do THAT." Well, one employee rightfully owed quite a few expenses on the benefits (not health benefits), and he told me that he got a negative check! Direct withdrawal, in action. I was cracking up.

Again, this was nothing untoward, not anything that this company shouldn't have done. It just added up in the red for the guy for that 2 weeks, haha.
Monday - April 27th 2020 11:46AM MST
PS: Yeah, I get your point on the bank account (routing number), Mr. Blanc, but I definitely have more leverage when writing checks. (I got into it with the water department about a leak in my yard - wasn't going to pay for the sewer charges. Yes, I beat city hall that time, and the last time through this, it was actually pretty amicable.) Privacy-wise, you are right though.

With, whatever it is now in the checking account, what a whopping 0.12% or some-such, interest is not so much a factor.

Yes, it's been like this with deadbeats, but what if deadbeats become a majority? That's what this type of thing does. It's not only losing some money by playing it straight, but I hate being taken for a fool too.
Monday - April 27th 2020 11:31AM MST
PS Well, statism and corporatism are not only coming, they’re here. And growing. I wouldn’t give the utilities an interest-free loan, even with interest being practically zero these days. And if you send them a check, they’ve got all the bank account info they’d have if you signed up for direct withdrawal. As far as the deadbeats go, they’re always going to beat the system, while we Goody-Two-Shoes types pay their freight. That’s life in modernity. It’s probably always been life.
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