Archive | January, 2014

How The War On Poverty Was Lost

18 Jan

This is just so very well written that I simply want to preserve access to it on my own blog.

PA Pundits - International

RobertRectorBy Robert Rector ~abandoned_house

On Jan. 8, 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson used his State of the Union address to announce an ambitious government undertaking. “This administration today, here and now,” he thundered, “declares unconditional war on poverty in America.”

Fifty years later, we’re losing that war. Fifteen percent of Americans still live in poverty, according to the official census poverty report for 2012, unchanged since the mid-1960s. Liberals argue that we aren’t spending enough money on poverty-fighting programs, but that’s not the problem. In reality, we’re losing the war on poverty because we have forgotten the original goal, as LBJ stated it half a century ago: “to give our fellow citizens a fair chance to develop their own capacities.”

President Johnson, promoting a new campaign to help the poor, visits sharecropper William David Marlow and his family on a farm near Rocky Mount, N.C., in May 1964. Time &…

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More Thoughts on Atheism vs Christianity

16 Jan

I find my thoughts once again going to the debate about atheism, deism (a god, but uninvolved with his creation), theism (an involved god), and Christianity, as we see more attempts to suppress a) public displays of Christian symbols, and b) public expression of Christian beliefs.

[My first post offering thoughts on these murky waters was on 1/4.]

Over the centuries, and even in today’s society, we have had many great thinkers put forth cogent arguments for the existence of God and the correctness of Christianity.  They include well-known philosophers, scientists, mathematicians, and theologians, as well as many “regular Joes”.

I rather like the relatively modern argument that if you are an atheist, you must believe (if you believe the “Big Bang” theory) . . .

1) that the “Big Bang” accidentally produced all the dozens of necessary physical laws and constants (to multiple decimal places) to have accidentally created the perfect synergy of forces that resulted in the eventual formation of life on a little orb we call Earth (yes, and maybe some other orbs out there), and even intelligent life (now in decline, of course) – the odds of all of this being infinitely small;  OR

2) that there were an infinite number of “Big Bangs”, and one of them did, by chance, wind up with all the right laws and constants — an alternative that is really hard to wrap our minds around, but is under discussion in some quarters;   OR

3) that all of these perfect laws and constants predated the “Big Bang”, which then leads us to . . . what??

Whether a deist, theist, or an atheist, logically we wind up at the question of TRUE beginnings (i.e., Where did God come from? or Where did the “Big Bang” physical matter come from?), and none of the basic three beliefs (deism, theism, atheism) solves this question.

So – to me —  if we ignore the unfathomable questions of beginnings of beginnings, it seems to me that, in thinking about physical beginnings as we know them, the theory of “Intelligent Design” sounds every bit as reasonable as a theory of “accidental occurrence”.

Of course, the “Intelligent Design” theory says nothing about whether there might be one designer (god) or a group of designers (gods), and whether designers/god(s) take any interest in this intricate, marvelous creation.  But at least after thinking about “Intelligent Design”, it seems to me that arriving at a preference for theism rather than deism is a rather small hurdle, for reasons I might get motivated to put into print one day (although many who are much smarter than I have already done so).

But if a person gets to a place where (s)he accepts theism as not only a reasonable hypothesis, but an accepted likelihood (as far as faith allows), there still remains a considerable hurdle in the jump from theism to Christianity.  Acceptance of a one-god view of the universe is a pretty decent first step, though.  And the truly curious will then go on to explore the options within that view.

Speaking as a Christian, I think this would not be such a great hurdle for the questioning masses if more Christians had been able to live up to the standard that the Christ set for us.  Unfortunately, seeking to live up to that standard is not only the most rewarding quest a human can undertake, but it is the most difficult quest to sustain, as we find in evidence all around us, within us, and throughout history.  Any arguments for Christianity must at least reconcile inconsistencies between the historical, current day, and internal motivations and actions of “Christians” with the direction and promises from the New Testament.  Sounds like another fun topic for another day . . . .

I wonder, though, if, in order to find “real” Christianity throughout history, we need to look more closely at the sidebars of history rather than its main events.  Main events are often led or inspired by corrupted leaders, with (again, often) horrible results.  If we simply look at the big events, we are, indeed, tempted to say that applied Christianity can be a hellish religion.  But if we push aside the ugly weeds and look into the sidebars of history, and at the millions upon millions of “lesser” people who have preserved and spread the central theology of Christianity, and add those observations to the big events that have been Christ-driven, maybe we begin to understand the power of true Christianity a bit better.

Words of wisdom from Duck Dynasty

9 Jan

Those Terrible, Uncaring Conservatives . . .

7 Jan

David Limbaugh, in his recent column titled “The Left’s Latest Mantra:  Income Inequality”, besides addressing the left’s unjustified claims to the high ground on income inequality, has this to say about the liberal world view in general.  I thought it was well stated.  The whole column can be read at

http://www.creators.com/opinion/david-limbaugh/the-lefts-latest-mantra-income-inequality.html

Excerpt:  [Emphasis is mine]

Whether or not liberals are able to process the reality that their programs have failed, they will not abandon them, because class warfare and government dependency programs are their ticket to power. CNN’s Candy Crowley unwittingly admitted as much when she asked Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker why any unemployed American or minimum wage worker would become a Republican.

It’s not that conservatives don’t care about the poor. It’s that we do care about the poor — and everyone else. We believe that our free market solutions generate economic growth, stimulate upward mobility and improve the economic lives of far more people, including the poor and middle class, than any other system. History vindicates us.

The left will always win the “look at how much I care about you” contest. But it loses in the “actually caring” department because at some point, people have to be presumed to have intended the damaging results their policies have consistently caused.

[End of excerpt]

Differences between Income Groups Clarified

7 Jan

From PA Pundits – International

“It is the manners and spirit of a people which preserve a republic in vigor. A degeneracy in these is a canker which soon eats to the heart of its laws and constitution.” –Thomas Jefferson (1781)

Columnist John C. Goodman noted recently:

“In a study for the National Center for Policy Analysis, David Henderson found that there is a big difference between families in the top 20 percent and bottom 20 percent of the income distribution:

Families at the top tend to be married and both partners work. Families at the bottom often have only one adult in the household and that person either works part-time or not at all:

In 2006, a whopping 81.4 percent of families in the top income quintile had two or more people working, and only 2.2 percent had no one working. By contrast, only 12.6 percent of families in the bottom quintile had two or more people working; 39.2 percent had no one working. …

Having children without a husband tends to make you poor. Not working makes you even poorer. And there is nothing new about that. These are age old truths. They were true 50 years ago, a hundred years ago and even 1,000 year ago. Lifestyle choices have always mattered.”

————————————————————————————-

I daresay, also, that people in the top 20% of the economic distribution also paid more attention to getting a solid education than those in the bottom 20%, and probably grew up in a two-parent family.  One could argue that they started with an advantage, but at some point we have to bury that excuse and start strongly emphasizing and focusing on family values and the importance of education among the bottom 20%.  I think this is the only way to improve the upward mobility of this group.

The “Trickle-Down Theory” Exposed

7 Jan

Economist Thomas Sowell has a recent column titled “The Trickle-Down Lie”, in which Dr. Sowell reminds us that the oft-used phrase by the left, the damnable “Trickle-Down Theory”, is not a real theory at all, and “trickle-down” is found in no reputable texts.  He also mentions that high-profile, even far left, Democrats from the past have, in fact, cautioned against over-taxing the economically well-to-do.  The “Lie” being that conservatives have grasped onto this “theory”, to the detriment of all humankind (or so we might believe).

The full column can be found at http://www.creators.com/opinion/thomas-sowell/the-trickle-down-lie.html

. . . but here is an exciting excerpt:  [Emphasis is mine]

New York’s new mayor, Bill de Blasio, in his inaugural speech, denounced people “on the far right” who “continue to preach the virtue of trickle-down economics.” According to Mayor de Blasio, “They believe that the way to move forward is to give more to the most fortunate, and that somehow the benefits will work                         their way down to everyone else.” . . . .

The book  “Winner-Take-All Politics” refers to “the ‘trickle-down’ scenario that advocates of helping the have-it-alls with tax cuts and other goodies constantly trot out.” But no one who actually trotted out any such scenario was cited, much less quoted.

One of the things that provoke the left into bringing out the “trickle-down” bogeyman is any suggestion that there are limits to how high they can push tax rates on people with high incomes, without causing repercussions that hurt the economy as a whole.

But, contrary to Mayor de Blasio, this is not a view confined to people on the “far right.” Such liberal icons as Presidents John F. Kennedy and Woodrow Wilson likewise argued that tax rates can be so high that they have an adverse effect on the economy.

In his 1919 address to Congress, Woodrow Wilson warned that, at some point, “high rates of income and profits taxes discourage energy, remove the incentive to new enterprise, encourage extravagant expenditures, and produce industrial stagnation with consequent unemployment and other attendant evils.”

In a 1962 address to Congress, John F. Kennedy said, “it is a paradoxical truth that tax rates are too high today and tax revenues are too low and the soundest way to raise the revenues in the long run is to cut the rates now.”

This was not a new idea. John Maynard Keynes said, back in 1933, that “taxation may be so high as to defeat its object,” that in the long run, a reduction of the tax rate “will run a better chance, than an increase, of balancing the budget.” And Keynes was not on “the far right” either.

[End of excerpt]

Now, it is fair to argue just what level of taxation begins to turn the curve the wrong way, but it is entirely disingenuous to assert that “lowering taxes to increase revenues” is just another dumb idea from the far right.

Millions More on Medicaid? Great! Or Not

7 Jan

Mona Charen, in a recent column titled “Welcome to Medicaid for All”, explains why the millions of additional Medicaid enrollees under the Obamacare law just isn’t such a great thing.  I have excerpted some main points below.  The full column can be found at

http://www.creators.com/opinion/mona-charen/welcome-to-medicaid-for-all.html

Bolding and brackets are mine.

[Excerpt begins]

The Washington Post’s Ezra Klein has found what he thinks is a bright spot amid the gloomy Obamacare news. . . .  Klein reports that Obamacare’s “biggest success” is that 4 million new enrollees signed up for Medicaid as of November. . . .

Sorry, but the expansion of dependence on government is never cause for rejoicing. Conservatives acknowledge that a safety net is necessary for the poor, but we regard only the number of people leaving a government program like Medicaid as cause for celebration, not adding to the numbers who receive benefits. Klein is hardly alone. . . .

Why is it terrible news that millions more people are signing up for Medicaid? . . . [A] few of the reasons:

Medicaid is one of the entitlements whose growth endangers national solvency. . . .  The growth in health care spending was one of the rationales for Obamacare, but expanding Medicaid spending simply contributes to the problem.

Medicaid is plagued by fraud. . . .  [examples follow]

Medicaid is not just a program for the poor; it’s a poor program. Reimbursement rates for doctors, dentists and other professionals are so low under Medicaid that enrollees have difficulty finding care.

Having health insurance does not equate with having medical care. . . . The startling news is that Medicaid enrollees fare worse on health outcomes than those with no health coverage at all.

Expanding Medicaid was sold on the premise that uninsured people were driving up health care costs by waiting until they were very sick before seeking care and thus overburdening emergency rooms. If the near poor had Medicaid coverage, the argument went, they would see doctors before their conditions became critical and required expensive emergency room treatment.

But research on Oregon’s program, published in the journal Science, found . . . that Medicaid patients used emergency rooms 40 percent more than similarly situated adults who lacked health insurance. . . .

An earlier analysis of Oregon’s data found that having a Medicaid card did not improve health outcomes. . . .

Medicaid is a poor program because it promises benefits but squeezes provider reimbursement to keep costs down. The result is rationing. The poor are forced to wait in long lines for treatment . . . .  Medicaid is also the model for Obamacare — top-down price-fixing and mandates from Washington.

There are alternatives . . . . Klein’s happy talk notwithstanding, there are no “successes” in Obamacare. Left alone, it will remake the entire health care system in Medicaid’s image.

[End of excerpt]