Wednesday, April 03, 2013
The Associated Press, the largest news source in the world, says that they will no longer use the term “illegal immigrant” to describe someone who is in violation of America’s immigration laws, explaining that the term stigmatizes undocumented workers, carrying the connotation that breaking the law is somehow objectionable. They don’t want to label people.
According to one highly reliable source (1), AP is considering replacing the offensive term with “Undocumented Democrat.”
It occurred to me that there are other similar terms which also unfairly stigmatize lawbreakers.
For example, “Drunk driver” is a mean and nasty term. “Social commuter” is a much more positive description.
“Wife beater” is another phrase which unfavorably reflects on otherwise upstanding citizens. “Dominant spouse” is a preferable term.
And “child molester” should be replaced with “Youth stimulation specialist.”
(1) Jay Leno
Tuesday, February 19, 2013
A few decades ago elephants were in danger of being hunted into extinction in the savannahs of Africa because poachers were killing them for their tusks, which they sold for a large profit. It was clear that enforcing the laws against killing elephants was not practical because they couldn't field enough agents to cover the vast regions of Africa, and poachers could easily avoid the authorities. People around the world realized that the ivory trade only existed because of the demand, and paying high prices for ivory drove the poachers to meet that demand in order to reap a profit. Most nations responded by banning the import or sale of ivory. The market dried up, poachers couldn't sell their illegally obtained ivory, and elephant populations rebounded.
Similarly, we know how to stop illegal immigration in its tracks. The question is whether we have the political will to do it. The dirty little secret behind illegal immigration is that both parties benefit from its continuation. Democrats see illegal immigrants as a large pool of future Democrat voters, and build their power base on pandering to illegal immigrants to curry favor with Hispanic voters. Republicans depend on illegal immigrants as a pool of dependable low-cost labor. Without them, businesses would have to spend more money paying workers, paying their taxes, providing them with benefits, pensions, and health care, and all the other costs which they avoid by hiring illegal immigrants. In addition, Republicans have bought into the myth that we lose elections because we have failed to reach out to Hispanic voters, and that supporting amnesty is the only way to secure their votes. History refutes this argument, as Republicans won a significantly smaller portion of the Hispanic vote in 1988, after Reagan passed amnesty than they did in 1984.
The proposal being discussed by various Senators is only slightly different than other amnesty bills which have been tried or proposed in the past. It seems to be light on enforcement of our existing laws and heavy on rushing to wave a wand to legalize millions of people whose first act on American soil was to violate our laws. There is no reason to believe that this plan will result in border security being increased to the point where it effectively prevents most illegal crossings. The predictable result will be another flood of people coming across the border to claim the offer of amnesty and legal status to stay in the country. Obama's assurance in his State of the Union that they would have to go to the back of the line of people waiting to immigrate legally makes no sense. The line is in their home country, not in the United States.
So how could we stop illegal immigration immediately? Border security is the most common answer, and that is important from a national security standpoint as well as for the protection of our national sovereignty in controlling who enters and leaves the country. The American-Mexican border is nearly 2,000 miles long, and the American-Canadian border is another 5,500 miles. In addition, the United States has 12,000 miles of coastline. It is far too easy to tunnel under, fly over, swim or boat across these borders, so keeping millions of determined people out of the country is a futile effort.
We need to dry up the demand for illegal immigrant labor just as we did with the ivory trade.
The essential first step is having a dependable system to identifying and documenting legal workers. We have a system called E-Verify which is intended to allow employers to verify the legal status of their employees. But E-Verify has a lot of problems and is not accurate enough to be highly effective. In addition, it does not have an adequate way to positively identify the employee, making it vulnerable to fraud. The system needs to be improved to the point where it is 99.99% accurate or better, probably by incorporating some sort of biometric identification.
Once a robust E-Verify system is in place, employers have no excuse for hiring people who are not legally authorized to be employed in this country. It is already illegal to hire an "undocumented worker", but those laws are largely unenforced. We need to enforce those laws to the point where it is not economically advantageous to hire illegal immigrants. This means imposing stiff fines for a first offense and jail time for the executives of companies who commit subsequent offenses. An employer may hope to save $20,000 a year by hiring an illegal immigrant, so the fine per infraction should be several times that in order to ensure that the payoff is not worth the risk. I would suggest a fine of $50,000 per infraction. Employers could prove that they are in compliance simply by producing the E-Verify approvals for all of their employees. By aggressively enforcing these laws, demand for illegal immigrant labor would quickly dry up, and just as poachers no longer hunt elephants, the flood of people illegally entering the country looking for work would slow to a trickle.
The fact that illegal immigration continues at such a startling rate when it is within our power to stop it indicates that politicians of both parties want illegal immigration to continue. Until the political will to enforce our immigration laws exists, don't expect real solutions.
Tuesday, January 15, 2013
It happens with amazing predictability every time some deranged individual goes on a murder spree: opportunists seize on the public’s very legitimate sense of the tragedy of the event and twist their righteous anger from being directed at the person who committed the act to instead target the inanimate object used by the killer. They seek to blame the lawless act of one evil madman on the freedom exercised responsibly by millions of Americans, and then to use the force of law to deprive people who didn’t commit the act of their freedom, ignoring the Bill of Rights which expressly prohibits the government from taking such action.
Such efforts generally include politicians holding up scary-looking rifles, which they invariably hold with their fingers on the trigger, pointed at their colleagues who respond with mindless admiration like a bunch of bobbleheads.
The conga line of gun grabbers have a number of mantras which they repeat endlessly.
“No one NEEDS an assault weapon. They have no legitimate sporting use.” Thus the “Bill of Needs” in the US Constitution says that government can impose whatever expedient and reasonable restrictions they wish. Anyone with a lick of historical perspective knows that the Bill of Rights is not about hunting or recreational shooting, but about limiting the power of the government to ensure that it never becomes tyrannical. Military weapons are exactly the weapons which the Second Amendment is intended to protect.
“If it saves just one life it is worth doing.” Which is why Senator Kennedy’s car is still legal? Or hammers, which after all, kill more people than rifles? Or the venerable tuna fish sandwich, weapon of choice for one woman who wanted to kill her husband last year? If you go down the list of mass killings, you have to go quite a ways to find one which used one of the weapons they want to ban. The worst mass murder in American history used box cutters. The second worst mass murder used fertilizer.
“The only purpose of guns is to kill people.” This is perhaps the most asinine one coming from an ignoramus whose freedom to spout such nonsense was bought by men with guns. Police carry guns, not to kill people, but to protect themselves. The mother who last week retreated from a home invader clear into her attic and then shot him with a .38 revolver didn’t use the gun to kill, but to protect herself and her family. Maryann Watkins didn’t use her .38 revolver to kill. She used it to stop an attack, and she did it without firing a shot. Did that gun serve a purpose? Of course it did! My Sig which I am licensed to carry most places I go serves its purpose every day. It has never killed anyone. It is an inanimate object which can be used for good or for evil depending entirely on the person wielding it. You want a good person with a gun nearby if you are in danger. The laws being proposed won’t affect the bad people, only the law-abiding ones. Criminals, by definition, don’t follow the law.
“We need to have an honest national conversation about guns.” I’m bringing the coercive power of the Federal Government against you, but we’re just chatting. Pay no attention to those ATF thugs behind me. We’ll only need them if you are… unreasonable.
“Common sense gun control is not a violation of the Second Amendment.” We’ll decide which guns you need, and we’ll let you have those. Because the Bill of Rights are really just favors the government does for the people when they feel like it. How would they feel about a law which says that they can exercise their First Amendment rights so long as they only express views selected from the approved list or observe only a government sanctioned religion? Don’t you think that the British government thought that taking away the colonists means of resisting their rule was a reasonable restriction? Fortunately, the Minutemen, ordinary citizens, farmers, tradesmen, and clergy, were armed and fought back.
The push for gun control is consistent with the rest of Obama’s agenda and goals. Not only does he push his agenda by demagoguery, threatening horrible things if we don’t give him the tax revenue, borrowing authority, spending, and power over our lives that he craves, he also seeks to create dependency on his benevolence. He wants as many people as possible to feel that they would not have a place to live, a car to drive, a phone to talk on, food to eat, medical care, or protection from criminals if not for his gracious provision. This is why Obama is so popular with single moms. Obama is the ultimate sugar daddy, provider, and protector, a substitute for the father that their family doesn’t have. That can’t work if we can protect and provide for ourselves, which is why married women don’t like Obama as much. They don’t need a father figure. If you refuse to submit to his dependency and instead strive to produce for yourself prepare to be demonized as selfish and immoral. That is how he justifies taking what you produce from you and giving it to someone else who didn’t earn it. Taking away your ability to protect yourself is an integral part of his statist utopian Leviathan.
The hypocrisy of the left extends to gun control as well. The President who lectured us about needing to contribute a little bit more while he was on a three-week $7 million vacation to Hawaii on the taxpayers dime will ram through laws targeting our ability to protect ourselves just weeks after he signed a law giving himself life-long Secret Service protection. You see, armed protection is only for the ruling elite.
Gun control advocates claim that a few small restrictions on our liberty will make us safer. Let’s examine that claim. What kind of restrictions would be necessary to really make us safe? Would even the most onerous restrictions provide safety? In prison, the inmates have no freedom whatsoever. They certainly have no right to a gun, or any other kind of weapon for that matter. They are locked in small cells for most of the day, told when to get up, when to go to bed, when to eat, when to use the bathroom, what to wear, and what to do. Their every move is watched. Their communication is monitored and the items which they are allowed to possess are extremely restricted. Their property, cells, and body is subject to search at any time. Body cavity searches are part of the regular routine. They have no liberty left to restrict. In spite of that, the murder rate in US prisons is 7.2 per 100,000, a higher rate than the national average of 4.8 per 100,000. Prison riots, in which prisoners take hostages, torture, rape, mutilate, and kill people, burn buildings, and generally wreak havoc, occur in spite of the total lack of freedom. This demonstrates that no amount of restriction on people’s liberty will keep bad people from doing bad things. The promise that “we can keep you safe” in return for just a small restriction on your liberty is a fool’s bargain. When one small restriction predictably fails to deliver the safety it promised, another small restriction will be required. And then another. And another…
Inmates in prison are not murdered because they are too free. They are murdered because evil people murder them. Neither are American citizens like the kids in Sandy Brook Elementary murdered because we are too free. The killer, not the weapon, is responsible for the murder. We need to do a much better job of dealing with crime through meaningful sentencing rather than revolving door prison policies. We need better ways of treating mental illness to keep insane people from committing acts of violence. Instant background checks would help keep criminals from getting guns. But no amount of government intervention will stop all violence. The root of violence is sickness in the human heart, and government has no jurisdiction over the heart. How many of the young men who have gone on killing sprees in recent years have had a father actively playing a positive part in his life? Answer: zero. You may remember the “DC sniper”, a young kid who looked to an older man as a substitute father figure. How would things have played out differently if his own father was the father figure in his life? Government can’t make dads raise their kids with sound and loving guidance, but you can make sure that YOUR kids have that kind of guidance. In the end, it is an issue of the evil in men's heart. Government can only deal with the external. It tries to regulate the external because it can’t change what is inside. The only one who can redeem a person’s heart and purge the evil from within is Jesus Christ. Pointing people to Him is far better than passing more laws.
Monday, December 03, 2012
I couple of different people have asked me what I think about the “fiscal cliff” which has Washington all in an uproar these days. I do have a thing or two to say about it, so it seemed like a good occasion to break the long silence on my blog.
Before I get into my thoughts about how to deal with the current situation, let’s go back and review how we got here. This is essentially a manufactured crisis, a result of both Republicans and Democrats kicking the can down the road to the point where it can’t be kicked any farther. Three major events are set to happen around the end of December, 2012. Why then? Mainly because Democrats refused to deal with these issues until after Obama secured re-election. Like he did with Obamacare, whose most unpopular provisions take effect in 2013, three years after the law passed, Obama made sure to wait until he is no longer accountable to voters to enact the most onerous parts of his agenda. Republicans have gone along with this abdication of responsibility because they are deathly afraid of being blamed for government shutdowns or interruptions in government services. This fear is largely irrational, but nonetheless it has prevented Republicans from using a series of opportunities to achieve any progress towards fiscal responsibility. I expect the Republicans to cave again, and give Obama most of what he demands. I don’t think that Speaker Boehner has the courage or the strength of conviction to stand on principle. When it comes down to what is best for the country versus political expediency, he will choose the easy way out. You can count on it.
The first element of the “fiscal cliff” is the expiration of the Bush tax cuts. Democrats want to make permanent the cuts for the middle income taxpayers, acknowledging for the first time in 12 years that George Bush did cut taxes significantly for the middle class. Republicans want to make all of the tax cuts permanent. This issue has come up twice before. The tax cuts were originally scheduled to expire at the end of 2010. Ending the tax cuts to higher income people is a cornerstone of Obama’s class warfare demagoguery. Obama has used devices like the “Buffett Rule” fraud to lead people to believe that the “rich” are “not paying their fair share” of the tax burden. His efforts were so successful that more than 90% of Obama voters answering an exit poll after the 2012 election agreed with the statement “The rich pay a lower tax rate than the middle class.” At the Democrat convention, one reporter asked many Democrat delegates what tax rate would be fair for rich people to pay. Most of them said that the top rate should be 25 or 30%. They didn’t realize that the top rate is already 35%, and Obama wants to raise it to 39.5%. The Democrat’s position is that unless the “rich” are taxed more, everyone will be taxed more. Republicans want rates for everyone to stay exactly where they have been for the past 10 or 12 years. Obama has said that allowing the middle class tax cuts to expire amounts to a “lump of coal” for Christmas. Obama wants to deliver a lump of coal to the very people who create most of the jobs and produce most of the goods and services that we all use. There is nothing “fair” about raising taxes on the 5% of taxpayers who already pay more than the rest of us combined. I don’t earn even half enough to be affected directly by that tax increase, but I do hope to earn that much someday, and punishing success and productivity through confiscatory taxation makes it harder for everyone to achieve success. Does anyone believe that the problem is that government simply doesn’t have enough money to spend? Seriously?
In addition to the Bush tax cuts, the AMT fix is about to expire. The Alternative Minimum Tax was passed in 1970 to make sure that 155 super-wealthy families could not use tax loopholes to dodge taxes altogether. However, the income amounts in the bill were not indexed to inflation, so with decades of inflation, it would now impact millions of taxpayers. Every year or two, Congress amends the tax so that it continues to apply to only the very highest income taxpayers. Congress could permanently change the law to index to wages, making the repeated patches unnecessary. But they don’t, because they use the tax to pad their long-term budget projections. The CBO uses the law as passed to project the budget deficit for the next ten years. Because the AMT is only changed for this year, they generate projections as if that tax would be collected for the following nine years, even though everyone knows that it will not be. It’s another form of cooking the books, like the Medicare “Doc fix” and arranging Obamacare to collect taxes for the first ten years while only providing benefits for six, to make the bill look like it is deficit neutral. Like the Bush tax cuts, the AMT patch expires at the end of 2012. Without a new patch, millions of families will be hit by a much larger tax than was ever intended.
Remember that the Social Security payroll tax will go up on January 1, 2013 as well. No one is talking about this regressive tax increase which affects every person with an income. When Democrats or Republicans tell you that we can't have a tax increase on lower income people, ask them if they are now in favor of keeping this years payroll tax rate permanently.
The second part of the “fiscal cliff” is an automatic, across the board spending cut. This is the result of a “debt ceiling” deal cut by Congress in 2011. Democrats promised a package of spending cuts in return for an increase in the debt ceiling, allowing them to continue their reckless spending binge. The spending and the debt happened, but not the spending cuts. The default spending cut specified in the deal was an across the board cut. When the deal was cut, no one thought that the default could ever happen. I think that the Republicans failed to think it through, because they would have realized that huge cuts to the military are a Democrat’s dream come true, and the threat of such cuts would give Democrats leverage to demand pretty much anything they wanted. Of course Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and the rest of the entitlement programs will be cut too, but that can be blamed on the Republicans. You’ve heard the line over and over: “Republicans threw the poor and downtrodden people under the bus to protect millionaires and billionaires.” Or “Republicans are balancing the budget on the backs of the poor.” Or “Republicans are holding the middle class hostage to the interests of the fat cats.” But Democrats have not offered up their own proposed spending cuts or suggested a way to reform entitlement to prevent them from going bankrupt. Instead they push us at an ever-increasing rate towards a fiscal collapse which will make Greece look attractive, never mentioning that government dependants will bear the brunt of that disaster.
The final component of the “fiscal cliff” is the debt ceiling, which we will reach in early 2013. Congress has raised the debt ceiling twice during Obama’s first term, but the ravenous appetite of the government knows no limit. Whatever money is available to spend, it will spend. In 2008, Obama called President Bush “irresponsible” and “unpatriotic” for adding $4 trillion to the debt in eight years. Obama has added $6 trillion to the debt in four years. Obama has had months in which he racked up more debt than Bush did in the entire year of 2007. Obama’s demands include giving him the authority to raise the debt limit without the approval of Congress, allowing government spending to be even further out of control.
I think it is fair to say that Obama inherited a worse situation in his second term than he did in his first term. Who will he blame this time?
Obama’s proposal is to raise the top tax rate, pass a new stimulus package, eliminate the debt ceiling, and promise to cut spending later. You may remember that George HW Bush agreed to a similar deal, including tax hikes with the promise of spending cuts later. Twenty years later we are still waiting for Congress to make good on those promised spending cuts. We would be fools to accept another promise to cut spending later.
Obama claims that he has a mandate to raise taxes on the “upper class”, reverting to his standard class warfare rhetoric. America doesn’t have a class structure. This is not India where people are born into a caste where they will remain for life regardless of their merit, unable to improve their situation. Obama’s exploitation of dependency and resentment and his policies of redistribution destroy the opportunity which free market capitalism provides for anyone to achieve unlimited success. Rush Limbaugh called Obama “Santa Claus” because his party is based on giving away “free” stuff. I think that is slanderous to the jolly old elf. After all, Santa Claus is a producer, not a redistributer. He makes the toys, and they are his to give as he wishes. He doesn’t confiscate the toys from one group of kids in order to curry favor with other kids. Obama was re-elected, so it can be argued that he does have a mandate, but if you listen to what Obama voters said in the exit polls, his mandate is not for higher taxes on the producers, which didn’t even make the “top five” most important issues to Obama voters.
On the other hand, voters also re-elected a Republican majority in the US House of Representatives, and those people ran on a platform of lower taxes, fiscal responsibility, and less government dependency. So a majority of the members of the House of Representatives, where all legislation relating to taxation and spending begins, have a mandate to oppose tax hikes and spending increases, and to pursue pro-growth policies of lower spending, entitlement reform, and fiscal responsibility.
The government can’t spend a dime without the approval of the House of Representatives. The House could take a principled stand by passing a budget package which makes all of the Bush tax cuts permanent, reigns in spending significantly, reforms entitlements in a way which averts the coming bankruptcy of those programs, and eventually balances the budget. Harry Reid’s Senate, which has not passed a budget in three years, would declare the House bill DOA, and together with the White House demagogues, they would blame the Republicans for sending us over the fiscal cliff. Then, in 2014 they would retake control of the House and ram their entire tax and spend agenda down our throats anyway.
Or Boehner could do like he did in the past few fiscal showdowns: give Obama all of what he wants in return for a few insignificant concessions. In the debt ceiling negotiations, Boehner started off asking for $100 billion in spending cuts. He cut a deal, reportedly for $38 billion in spending cuts, but in the end it turned out to be something like $300 million in actual cuts, an utterly meaningless trifle in the context of a government which spends trillions of dollars every year.
Is there a better alternative to caving?
First of all, Republicans must make it clear that any solution must be in the form of a budget. Harry Reid’s Senate has refused to meet the most basic of their Constitutional obligations by passing a budget, which would make them accountable for their unhinged spending binge. Obama has argued for a “balanced approach” to deficit reduction, by which he means tax increases and spending cuts. But his proposals have included only tax increases and spending increases, with actual spending continuing to increase at a staggering rate. That is not a balanced approach. Tax increases should be off the table until Democrats agree on entitlement reforms and sweeping cuts to non-defense spending which will get us on track to balance the budget in a few years. Until they show us a budget which spends less in 2013 than they spent in 2012, we won’t discuss increasing taxes on anyone. Otherwise there is no reason to think that any additional money taken from the private sector will simply be spent in the public sector.
Second, the House should pass a tax reform package making the current rates permanent, and permanently cutting the 25% bracket to 22% and the 15% bracket to 12%. Obama and the Democrats, who claim to be the self-appointed champions of the middle class, should have no hesitation in reducing the tax burden of millions of middle and lower income workers. Send the package to the Senate and let them pass it or reject it. If they refuse, any tax increase which happens can only be because Democrats refused a middle-class tax cut simply because it did not punish the wealthy. Cutting taxes and removing the threat of an impending tax increase is the best thing we could do to revive the economy and end the Obama malaise, and in the long run, a growing economy with more people working and paying taxes and reinvesting their own money is the best way to reduce the deficit and balance the budget.
Finally, the debt ceiling should be changed from a fixed amount to be indexed to GDP. The ceiling should start out at its current percentage of GDP, with that percentage gradually decreasing over time to force a gradual reduction of our dependence on debt. This stops the debt ceiling from being a political football which must be dealt with over and over, and instead turns it into a predictable guard rail to get government spending back under control. Republicans need to understand that the debt ceiling is the ultimate leverage which Republicans have in this showdown. Howard Dean recently revealed, in an unguarded moment of honesty, that Democrats would secretly love the opportunity to raise taxes on everyone and return to Clinton-era tax rates, and they can barely contain their excitement at the prospect of cutting defense. But the debt ceiling is a direct threat to their very life blood -- an ample supply of other people's money to spend on their cronies, dependents, and special interest groups. The ability to deliver free goodies is the secret to Democrat's grasp on power, and a threat to that power is a dire threat to the very existence of the Democrat party. Republicans can get a lot of what they want by tying it to the debt ceiling. Remember that the producers of the Republican party could exist indefinitely and even thrive without the welfare state, but the government class and their dependents couldn't last a month without government handouts.
The term "Fiscal cliff" is intended to inspire fear, but the true disaster awaiting our nation is not reaching January 1, 2013 without Republicans giving in to Democrat's demands. The real catastrophe is what happens if we remain on our current course of spending unmoored to the realities of government revenue, borrowing more and more from China, promising more future benefits with no means to pay for them, eventually reaching a point where America’s obligations grow faster than our economy, destroying our creditworthiness and leaving us with high interest debt which we can never pay off.
Of course the best way to get the government back to fiscal sanity was to fire Obama, repeal Obamacare, and put in place a long-term plan reinstituting constitutional Government under law, implement free market reforms, low taxes, pro-growth policies, and individual liberty rather than government dependence. That didn’t happen, but there are still better alternatives than surrender or political suicide. It will require twisting the Democrat’s arms, and even holding the RINO’s feet to the fire, but if he’s not up to the job, Boehner should step aside and let a real leader lead.
Monday, April 02, 2012
Since the last Mega Millions jackpot was won in January, more than $1,469 million has been spent on tickets. In return, the lottery paid out $105 million to three winners and a total of about $294 million in smaller prizes. The big winners are the state governments and the lottery commissions who raked in $670 million in profits and the Federal Government which collected more taxes than anyone won.
But surely the big losers were the ones who drove up the jackpot in the weeks when there were no winners? Once the jackpot got so high the odds tilted in our favor, right? Again, wrong. In the 4 days leading up to the Friday drawing, people spent $740 million on tickets to win a total of $609 million. Even with the biggest jackpot in history the lottery only paid out 83 cents for every dollar spent.
A few years ago the Consumer Federation of America and the Financial Planning Association published a survey which found that 21% of the population agreed with the statement "Winning the lottery represents the most practical way for me to accumulate several hundred thousand dollars." Last week that strategy worked for 3 people but failed for hundreds of millions. On the other hand, systematically investing 10% of your income in a diversified, tax sheltered diversified portfolio of stocks and bonds is very likely to result in accumulating several hundred thousand dollars, given adequate time.
Tuesday, November 15, 2011
I listened, along with the rest of the nation, in shock and horror as the news about events at Penn State University unfolded in the news. At every level, from the janitor, to the trainers, to the coaching staff, and all the way to the top levels, including the athletic director and president of a large, state university, faced with the choice between interceding on behalf of children who were being molested or covering it up to avoid upsetting the apple cart, people opted to protect themselves and their situation rather than protect the vulnerable and innocent children.
We were all shocked, disappointed, and maybe even disillusioned to discover that leaders in positions of trust and responsibility were so callous. How could a trainer walk out of the locker room, allowing the rape of a child to continue uninterrupted? There is not a jury in the country who would have convicted that trainer if he had smashed the skull of the rapist then and there. How, then, could he wait until the next day to mention it to anyone? How could agree to close ranks and not report the rape to the police, allowing untold other victims to endure the same violation? How could the coach and athletic director allow these things to continue for years?
Our culture would not accept that, right? We would rise up in outrage and demand justice, wouldn't we?
The verdict is in, years ago. The answer is no, we would turn a blind eye on such an abdication of responsibility if it allowed us to continue our lives undisturbed.
Ten years ago, Life Dynamics investigated the way Planned Parenthood and the National Abortion Federation comply with the laws requiring them to report cases when they are made aware that a child is being sexually exploited by an adult. In more than 90% of the cases, these organizations, using tax dollars, chose to turn a blind eye to the plight of the victim, collect the $400 fee for the abortion, and allow the exploitation to continue. In many cases they actually facilitated the exploitation.
I would encourage you to read the report in the link above. I'm not going into all of the details here. But in short, Life Dynamics investigators called hundreds of abortion clinics operated by Planned Parenthood and the National Abortion Federation, the two largest abortion providers in the country, posing as a 13-year-old girl who believes that she might be pregnant by her 22-year-old boyfriend. In all 50 states, such a relationship is illegal, and health care providers are required by law to report such criminal abuse to law enforcement or child protective agency. In more than 90% of the cases, abortion providers indicated that they were willing to hide the crime and protect the criminal by performing an abortion without notifying the child's parents. In many cases they advised the child to lie about her age or the age of her boyfriend, to give a false address so that her parents could not be notified, or even to cross state lines to evade laws requiring judicial approval in such cases. In more than 90% of cases, they agreed to provide contraceptives to the child, facilitating the continued exploitation of a child by an adult. In many cases they agreed to allow the adult boyfriend to pick up the contraceptives.
Can someone tell me how this is different from the coaching staff at Penn State who allowed a vile child molester to continue raping and exploiting children? The main difference is that Penn State is not a key constituency of the Democrat Party. When this report was released, where was the outrage in the media? Where was the angry outcry from the public? Where was the self-righteous indignation from the same talking heads who have been all over the Penn State case from the beginning? Why didn't heads roll at Planned Parenthood? Where were the investigations, arrests, and prosecutions? Did you even hear about the report? As a society, we closed our eyes, plugged our ears, turned away, and went back to sleep.
Sad to say, the failure to protect victims at Penn State was not the exception . It was par for the course. We need to do better. As Tim Henderson says, the key is to love people and go beyond the minimum required by law. This is a function of families and churches and neighbors and communities, not of government. Indeed, Penn State and Planned Parenthood are both government supported organizations, and looking to the source of the problem for the solution is an exercise in futility. The solution is found only in God's transforming work in the hearts of individuals through faith in Jesus Christ.
Monday, October 24, 2011
Do you remember when reporters used to ask tough, probing questions in an effort to get to the bottom of the issue of the day, rather than simply regurgitating the talking points they are fed? Today, however, the media unquestioningly repeats the President’s mantra as established fact, never bothering to raise the glaring questions to the source of those claims, Warren Buffet.
There are so many questions which need to be asked about Buffett’s claim that his secretary pays a higher tax rate than he does.
Mr. Buffet, who exactly is your secretary and what percentage of her income does she pay in Federal income taxes? What would her tax bill be if she hired your team of accountants and tax attorneys to fight the IRS on her behalf? How is your secretary’s income tax equivalent to your capital gains taxes paid on growth of money you have already paid income taxes on?
Mr. Buffett, if you believe that you should pay more in taxes, why did you spend the last decade fighting to avoid paying a billion dollars in back taxes?
Mr. Buffett, exactly how much do you feel you should pay in taxes, and why have you not voluntarily contributed that amount to the Federal Treasury? They do accept donations.
More important than probing into the untruthfulness and hypocrisy of Warren Buffett’s claim is a query into the flawed philosophical assumptions behind it.
Mr. Buffett, does a nation become more prosperous because of bigger government or more private sector investment?
Mr. Buffett, who is responsible for creating more jobs, you or your secretary? Who is responsible for creating more wealth, you or your secretary? Can you name one poor person who has brought prosperity to more people than you have? Can you name one government entitlement program which has produced more innovation, more goods and services increasing the mean standard of living more than you have by your investments in American corporations?
Mr. Buffett, your claim that the rich should pay higher taxes is being used by the President to support raising taxes to pay for his stimulus bill. Does the economy benefit more from you investing your money in growing, profitable businesses or from the government taking your money and distributing it to failing companies such as Solyndra? Do the companies you invest your own money in create more jobs than Solyndra? Which are the better criteria to determine which companies will most effectively use the money they receive to create jobs and boost the economy: a solid business model producing profitability and growth potential, or political cronyism?
Mr. Buffett, if the government confiscated all of your wealth and distributed it equally to every American citizen, giving every American roughly $127, how many jobs would we create with our $127?
Mr. Buffett, you are famous for earning a consistently high return on investment. What is the return on investment of the Federal Government?
Mr. Buffett, if the government confiscated 100% of your income from last year, would the deficit be reduced by even one one-hundredth of a percent?
Mr. Buffett, you have pledged to give 99 percent of your wealth to charity. Why do you think that money confiscated from you by the government will do more good for mankind than if you gave it to a charity of your choice?
Mr. Buffett, in a free market economy where buying and selling transactions are voluntary, the only way to make a profit is to produce goods or services which are worth more to the buyer than the price for which you sell them. Thus earning a higher income indicates that you have produced more value for more people than someone who did not earn as much. Why should producing more value be punished by higher taxes?
Mr. Buffett, did you invest your money in Solyndra? Why not? If you determined that Solyndra was not a good investment, why would you want the government to take your money and give it to Solyndra?
Mr. Buffett, the President's first stimulus bill spent nearly a trillion dollars and cost $412,500 per job created, and two years later, unemployment is higher than it was before the stimulus. Would you invest in a company which produced that kind of return on investment?If not, why would you want to pay more taxes for the wasteful Federal Government to squander?
Saturday, October 22, 2011
How does the 1% get to be the 1%? Does being the top 1% make them evil and greedy? Does it mean that they owe a debt to society? Do they need to "give back" some of what they have "taken?"
In a free market, most of us are not born into the 1%, but we all have the opportunity to use our minds, to work hard, to learn, grow, and innovate, and become part of the 1%. I find that to be a very noble goal. In a free market, all transactions are voluntary trades. A voluntary trade is, by definition, win-win. Both parties are trading for something they value more than what they are giving up. When I buy something, I am choosing one product out of millions of options, and one seller out of many, and I am freely choosing to trade my money, representing the product of my labor, for that product. That means I believe that the product is worth more to me than the work I put into earning that money. If someone is in the top 1% of income, it means that he has produced more value than the 99%. He doesn't need to "give back to society". The act of honestly earning money benefits society more than it benefits you.
Liberals get all wound up over how much corporate executives earn. What is important to remember is that all of the transactions up and down the chain which lead to that executive's pay are voluntary. If the board of directors think that they are getting their money's worth, what is that to me? It is their money, not mine.
But the fact is we have not had a free market economy for a very long time. Everything changes when the government subverts the free market. Some people are a part of the 1% because they play the system and benefit from government tampering rather than earning their way by trading value for value. Bailouts, stimulus, corporate welfare, Halliburton, Freddie Mack, Fannie Mae, Government Motors, Solyndra, etc. People call it "crony capitalism", but that is an oxymoron. Cronyism is not capitalism at all. In capitalism, decisions are based on economic self-interest. Cronyism means that decisions are based on political pull. If the government mandates that everyone must buy a certain product, then the seller no longer has to trade value for value. When government bails out a failed bank, every taxpayer becomes a stakeholder in that company. If they pay their CEO a huge bonus, we have reason to be upset about that. When government gives huge amounts of money to special interests, that is not wealth created by the recipient.
Occupy Wall Street would be right to object to people who get rich off of government corruption, but their demands indicate that ending government redistribution of wealth is not their objective. They are not demanding that top-down command and control economics stop. Instead they are demanding their piece of the pie. They want in on the action. They are going cap in hand looking for some more of the largesse to come their way.
As part of the 53% of American's who pay Federal income taxes, I object to Occupy Wall Street claiming to speak for me, with their mantra of "We are the 99%". Perhaps if they were to Occupy a Job they would get further.
Monday, May 02, 2011
Osama bin Laden, the terrorist responsible for the murder of thousands of American civilians, was killed yesterday in a raid by an American special forces team.
There is plenty of credit to go around. Osama's death was the result of years of effort by countless people.
First of all, the President gets credit. Barack Obama appears to have been involved in overseeing the details of the execution of the raid, from the time when the CIA obtained intelligence reports that Osama may be in that compound, up until the operation was completed. Without Obama's actions, Osama would be alive today.
I've already heard some people asking why Obama ordered Osama to be killed and his body dumped into the sea. Is he really dead? If he is not, he'll be on al Jazeera in June holding the front page of the New York Times with the headline "Obama says Osama Killed". Obama knows that this would be the result, so he can't claim credit if OBL is still alive. And we are far better off with OBL dead rather than captured, with Obama's base demanding that he face civilian trial in America, where a judge is likely to throw the case out for some technicality. And he is better off dumped in the ocean where no nut jobs of any variety can make a monument out of his grave. In all, I think that Obama handled the case very well.
But to an even greater extent, the American military gets credit. The exceptional men and women of our armed services have been working for years to bring bin Laden to justice, putting themselves at risk, dodging bullets, stepping over IEDs, spending months and years apart from their family to serve their nation so ably. To each one of you, thank you. We have not forgotten that last month, Obama was going to stop paying you to make sure that we continue subsidizing abortion.
Several specific individuals in the military deserve special recognition.
Team 6, the Navy Seals special operations team which actually went into the Bin Laden compound and killed this evil man showed amazing skill and preparation by carrying out their mission with such precision and effectiveness. I salute you.
The men and women working at Gitmo also deserve our gratitude. They have been much maligned, but without the intelligence they extracted from the heads of the terrorists in American custody, this victory could not have been won. Liberals want to take credit for catching Bin Laden, but without waterboarding, it would not have happened. Senator Dick Durbin said that the "enhanced interrogation" which Obama ended on his second day in office was responsible for producing the lead which led the CIA to discover the courier who led them to the OBL compound. And they did it at Gitmo, the detention center which Obama ordered to be closed down as his first executive order. Thank you Gitmo.
Next, the CIA and military intelligence officers deserve credit. The breakthrough which made it possible to bring justice to OBL was essentially accomplished by intelligence gathering. Our intelligence agents are among the best in the world, and they did their job tirelessly and with excellence.
Just as Osama would be alive without the actions of President Obama, he would be alive today without the actions of President Bush. For seven years after 9/11 Bush laid the groundwork for yesterday's raid, establishing a military presence in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and implementing the policies which Obama continued and which ultimately resulted in Osama's death. No one has called this "Bush's War" today. The Obama administration who have blamed their own dismal failures on Bush for two solid years didn't give a bit of credit to Bush for his part in accomplishing this mission. If Bush had shown the same level of resolve and leadership which Obama has demonstrated in Libya, Osama would never be brought to justice. Not by Obama. Not by anyone.
In the end, it was an American bullet fired from an American firearm by an American soldier who sent an evil terrorist to bow his knee before Jesus. All of those things are detested by liberals, but without them, Osama bin Laden would still be living high in northern Pakistan, and Obama would be watching his approval ratings drop as Americans face higher unemployment, soaring gas prices, record deficits, and ever-increasing government interference in their lives.
Thursday, April 21, 2011
God brought ten plagues on Egypt, each one demonstrating His power over the Egyptian pantheon of gods. He showed the god of the Nile to be powerless by turning the Nile to blood. He mocked the Egyptian frog god by bringing hoards of frogs to cover everything. Pharaoh's magicians claimed that they also could conjure frogs, but they were powerless to do what was really needed, which was to make the frogs go away. God revealed the impotence of the gods of cattle, livestock, and grain by wiping out the herds and crops of the Egyptians. Egypt's supreme god, Ra, the sun god was shown to be worthless when God brought darkness on the entire land.
Passover focuses on the final plague, when God told each Hebrew family to kill a perfect, spotless lamb and spread it's blood on the doorposts of their houses. They were given detailed instructions of what to eat that night, and how to eat it. They ate unleavened bread because they did not have time to wait for the bread to rise, and they ate with their shoes on, robe on, and walking stick ready, expecting to leave in a great hurry. That night, God struck down the first-born son in every Egyptian house, but when he came to a house with the lamb's blood on the door, he passed over that house. Thus the name, Passover.
Why was the blood on the doorposts necessary? God certainly knew who the Hebrews were. They lived in one particular part of town, and the Egyptians lived in another. So the idea that it was for God's information doesn't hold up. Killing the lamb and putting its blood on the doorposts does not make a lot of sense. There was no practical reason for it. God commanded it as an act of faith, requiring that the people place their trust in God to deliver them.
While this observance was filled with rich meaning regarding what God has done in the past, it also pointed forward to what God would do in the future. The blood of Jesus, the perfect, sinless lamb would be shed to free God's people from slavery to sin through faith.
Hundreds of years before Jesus birth, Isaiah made the connection between the Messiah and the Passover lamb in Isaiah 53:
He was oppressed and afflicted,
yet he did not open his mouth;
he was led like a lamb to the slaughter,
and as a sheep before its shearers is silent,
so he did not open his mouth.
This section is a lengthy Messianic prophecy, in which Isaiah refers to the coming Messiah as "The Servant". A few verses earlier he described Jesus death:
But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
and by his wounds we are healed.
John the Baptist identified Jesus as the Passover lamb, saying "Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!" (John 1:29)
There are many interesting components of the Seder meal. Before the meal is observed, all yeast must be removed from the house. Throughout the Bible, yeast is used to represent sin, because the smallest amount of yeast can affect an entire loaf of bread. There is a ritual washing of hands before the meal, representing a spiritual cleansing. Four cups of wine represent something different. The cup about which Jesus said "This is my blood shed for you" was the cup of Redemption, which was proceeded by praying "I will redeem you with a demonstration of my power". Each part of the meal has significance. Bitter herbs dipped in salt water represent the bitterness of slavery and the tears cried while in bondage. This applies equally well to physical slavery in Egypt or spiritual slavery to sin. I strongly encourage you to attend a Seder dinner next year. We went to one at Christ Chapel in Fort Worth presented by a Messianic Jew, David Teitelbaum, but I am sure that there are many others.
I find it remarkable that centuries before Jesus birth, God laid out his plan of redemption in both prophesy and in the Jewish holidays and temple rituals, and then he brought it about exactly as he said that he would. It gives us confidence to know that when Jesus says he will return to defeat Satan, judge the earth, and take his own to live eternally in his presence, it is certainly going to happen. You can count on it.
I will leave you with one thing I learned last night which was completely new to me. One part of the Seder dinner tradition which emerged in the first century involves placing three pieces of matzo, or unleavened bread, in a bag. At a certain point in the Seder, the middle matzo is removed from the bag, broken in half, and wrapped in a linen cloth. It is then hidden, and later in the meal, the children find it and remove it from the wrapping. This piece of unleavened bread is call the afikoman, which comes from a Greek word meaning "I have come". In Judaism, the number three is usually associated with the three patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. But what is the significance of breaking Isaac in half, wrapping him up, and finding him later? In Christianity, the number three is often associated with the Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The middle piece of matzo would then be the Son, or Jesus. When Jesus broken the bread and said "This is my body given for you" he identified himself as the one who the Seder points to. Like that bread, he was broken, wrapped in a burial cloth, and hidden for three days. But as the bread suggests, the story was not over. He arose from the dead and lives today as Savior and Lord, the only way for a person to be made right with God. As Isaiah said:
After he has suffered,
he will see the light of life and be satisfied;
by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many,
and he will bear their iniquities.
Therefore I will give him a portion among the great,
and he will divide the spoils with the strong,
because he poured out his life unto death,
and was numbered with the transgressors.
For he bore the sin of many,
and made intercession for the transgressors.
Monday, April 18, 2011
Last November American taxpayers sent a strong message at the ballot box. We stated in no uncertain terms that the reckless spending and massive deficits of the past two years are unacceptable and that a dramatic change in direction is needed. As a result of this tidal wave, you were swept into the position of Speaker of the House. We expect you to make something of this opportunity, or to step aside and let someone else seize the opportunity.
There were three key points where Republicans had significant leverage to convince the unwilling Democrats to adopt a new direction of fiscal sanity. The first was the establishment of a budget for the remainder of the 2011 year. The Democrats sidestepped their duty to pass a budget, meaning that only with the approval of the new Republican majority in the House could government operations continue. This allowed you to set the conditions. But long before the situation came to a head, you stated that you would not allow the government to shut down. You essentially gave up your position of strength. Is it any surprise that instead of the $100 billion in cuts you promised in the campaign, you settled for $38 billion? What is even more disappointing is that the $38 billion are not real cuts, and the deal you brokered only reduces actual spending by less than one billion dollars. That is not even one percent of what you promised. That is unacceptable.
Your excuses are even less acceptable. You said that the House of Representatives is "One half of one third of the government." However, the House is where every single dollar of spending authorization originates. If anything is funded by the Federal Government, it is because Republicans in the House of Representatives voted to authorize it. In this budget deal, either you played us or you got played. I'd really like to know which it was.
The next leverage point is the debt ceiling. Within a very few months we will reach the level of indebtedness which Congress has authorized. Democrat fearmongering about the dire consequences of not raising the debt ceiling have already begun, with the intention of intimidating Republicans into backing down from their demands for effective spending controls to be in place before they authorize more debt. If reaching the debt ceiling would truly be such a great calamity, Democrats should be highly motivated to implement those spending controls. Unfortunately, you are already on record as having caved once, so they will expect you to do it again. If that is your intention, please step down now and allow someone with a spine to take your place.
On the other hand, if you are ready to do what you were sent by your boss to do, an excellent way to go about this would be to attach an increase in the debt ceiling to the Ryan budget. Pass it and make it clear that the Senate and President must either approve the whole thing or figure out how to get by without any new borrowing. However you decide to do it, spending cuts measured in billions are not adequate. It will require trillions to even put a dent in the debt crisis.
Please decide quickly. If you waste this opportunity, there may not be another.