A recent study of 33 countries by Anthony Gill and Erik Lundsgaarde found an inverse relationship between religious observance and welfare spending. Countries with larger welfare states, such as Sweden, Norway and Denmark, had markedly lower levels of religious attendance, affiliation and trust in God than countries with a history of limited government, such as the U.S., the Philippines and Brazil. Public spending amounts to more than one half of the GDP in Sweden, where only 4% of the population regularly attends church. By contrast, public spending amounts to 18% of the Philippines’ GDP, and 68% of Filipinos regularly attend church.
In politics, as in physics, an action causes a reaction. With the election of President Obama and strong Democrat majorities in both houses of Congress, the stage is set for a radical increase in the size, power and scope of government to transform the United States into a socialist state, along the lines of the European social welfare states. The Bankrupt the Nation Act of 2009, erroneously called a stimulus bill, is merely the first step in the process. The President has already warned of trillion dollar budget deficits as far as the eye can see, and he has the votes for now to carry out his vision. Can he be stopped?
Ronald Rotunda, is currently a Professor of Law at George Mason University. Twenty-seven years ago he had the onerous task of attempting to beat legal ethics ( and I can almost hear most of you shouting “Oxymoron!”) into the heads of second year law students at the University of Illinois. I was one of his pupils. I came away from his class no more ethical than when I went in, but with a thorough knowledge of the rules regarding legal ethics in the state of Illinois. I also came away with a keen appreciation for both Professor Rotunda’s dry wit, and his strong intellect. Here is his web-site. He is the one wearing a bow tie and not the Vulcan. As you can see from his site, Professor Rotunda, unlike most law professors and most lawyers, does not take himself very seriously.
So here’s an argument against irreducible complexity. Take a family that works hard for a living, saves a large chunk of its earnings for old age, emergencies, sending kids through college, and so on. Then create (through some combination of amino acids and other proteins) an institute that offers insurance against disaster. The family, being prudent, realizes that the insurance, while it costs them a little more each month, could potentially save them thousands of dollars in the long run, and so it buys into the insurance company. Now introduce a mutation: the family decides that since disasters are covered, they can divert a little more money into luxuries. Repeat this process with a health care institute that helps cover the soaring prices of medication; a loan agency to cover college tuition (which is steadily outpacing what the normal family can afford); a loan agency to cover the cost of a business; a house; a car; anything at all with the swipe of a plastic card with a magnetic strip. With that final mutation, we now have a system in which the removal one component causes the whole organism to fail, and yet was built up by increments.
Nearly half a year after the great crash that marked our current recession as one of the worst in decades, we are still bleeding. Our economy continues to shed jobs; the stock market wavers, falls, stabilizes, wavers, and falls again; big businesses, like the insurance titan AIG, continue to need billions of dollars of bailout money just to survive; and the government continues to scramble to pass legislation that supposedly will fix all our problems, but in reality will simply make matters worse. The gigantic stimulus package was laughable (in more a mad, gibbering, hysterical laughter than a ha-ha laughter) in that hundreds of pet projects suddenly found funding, but precious little in the bill actually targeted economic stimulus, and much of the spending won’t happen immediately.
I have referred to the “Stimulus” bill as the Bankrupt the Nation Act of 2009 here, here, here, here, here, and here. Now we have Senator Judd Gregg (R., N.H.), the man who Obama wanted to be Commerce Secretary, confirm what should be obvious to everyone: we are on the road to national bankruptcy. Heaven knows this problem didn’t start with President Obama. However, his misguided policy of multi-trillion dollar annual deficits will push us over the brink into national insolvency. We are in for very tough economic times for a very long period.
It seems a bipartisan effort to ensure that there is some sort of stimulus bill, and only a few politicians think there should be no package at all. Many economists have warned in the past, and continue to do so now, that stimulus packages like the one currently waiting final approval, do not work. Let’s take a moment and examine the arguments as to why they don’t work.
President Obama ran on a platform of Hope and Change. From the details of the National Bankrupt the Nation Act of 2009, sometimes called a “stimulus” bill, we can now see who gets the change:
“Q: What are some of the tax breaks in the bill?
A: It includes Obama’s signature “Making Work Pay” tax credit for 95 percent of workers, though negotiators agreed to trim the credit to $400 a year instead of $500 — or $800 for married couples, cut from Obama’s original proposal of $1,000. It would begin showing up in most workers’ paychecks in June as an extra $13 a week in take-home pay, falling to about $8 a week next January.”
Thanks a heap!
A month into the Obama administration, who could it be that left-wing firebrand economist and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman is denouncing? Is it the dividers? Is is the extremists? Is it the old way of politics?
Has anyone ever wondered if it is possible that one can land in a financial crisis when one has a steady income, no debts, and a large reserve of money in case of emergencies? Certainly, I suppose, if something devastating comes around, like an accident that requires weeks in the ICU, surgeries, and a long rehabilitation, that could bankrupt a person. Yet such accidents, on a whole, are rare, and most people who live a financially responsible life never have to plead for a bailout.
When we look at our current financial crisis nationwide, I can’t help but wonder what people are thinking. President Obama has promised us trillion dollar deficits for years to come in an effort to restore our economy. Like most right-leaning folk, I’m under the impression that our current crisis has come from overspending, living beyond our means, and not being prepared for when we hit bumpy times in the economy (like $4/gallon gas, which drives prices up all around). Perhaps, if this view is incorrect, someone will be willing to explain to me why it is so. But my impression has been that first, people individually are consumed with buying, buying, buying, even when they don’t have the money to buy. I have friends who, though they grossed over $60,000 a year, were still living paycheck to paycheck because of their deficit spending. I’ve seen people who, upon receiving their government money, have gone and blown it on new cell phones (that are shut down after two delinquent months), on fancy steack dinners, and so on, instead of buying necessities or saving up what they can. I’ve seen people struggling with hundreds of thousands of dollars of accumulated debt that came from student loans, house loans, car loans, credit cards, and so on. This is just what I’ve seen. What I’ve heard–word of mouth, or in the news, or on blogs–is even worse.
There are many good reasons to oppose the “stimulus” bill, more accurately known as the Bankrupt the Nation Act of 2009, in addition to the basic objection that it is an act of fiscal insanity. Now we can add one more: religious bigotry.
The Bankrupt the Nation Act of 2009, sometimes called the “Stimulus” bill, looks like it might pass the Senate. The amount of money we are about to saddle upon our grandchildren, if not our great-grandchildren, to attempt to pay back, may be as little as $780,000,000,000. For the sake of comparison, here is a list of how much other monumental undertakings in our nation’s history cost, adjusted for inflation. Between the Bankrupt the Nation Act of 2009 and the Great Bailout Swindle of 2008, our government will be allocating funds in less than six months that represent one-third the inflation adjusted cost of the US expenditures in WW2 over three years and eight months. This is fiscal lunacy on a cosmic scale and future generations will wonder at our abysmal folly.
I decided to find out for myself what is in the Stimulus Package being debated. The version I’ve looked at is the version the House passed, and I can’t image the Senate version looks much better. Here is the results of Division A (the first 250 pages or so).
Things this package will not be used for: casinos and other gambling establishments, aquariums, zoos, golf courses, or swimming pools; any public work (airports, bridges, canals, dams, dikes, pipelines, railroads, mass transit, roads, etc) that does not purchase all iron and steel from within the U.S. (unless there simply isn’t enough iron available, or buying locally increases cost by 25% or more, or it is “in the best interest of the public” to buy abroad).