To the Editor,
On Wednesday your article on the private property seizure in Brooklyn said, “The decision is a blow to private-property owners who have argued that they are defenseless in protecting their ownership rights…But it boosts developers and government entities in New York that have sought to boost local economies by offering incentives for private developers” (Builders Net Win in N.Y. Case 11/25).
The decision is more than a blow to private property owners. It is a blow to the rule of law. Economies are not “boosted” by seizing private land, and giving the land to developers. Strong economies and long term growth have for their foundation a respect for private property, and the rule of law, no exceptions.
The rule of law simply means that ‘the law is king’ - it can be reliably depended upon as firm and unchanging, allowing individuals to make plans, sign contracts, make decisions and so forth, without worry of arbitrary changes from the powers that be. This was the purpose of the American Republic, to reestablish rule of law where it had been laid waste by the English government.
Where the Constitution once reigned as the supreme law of the land now politicians and courts are discovering that they can, with little consequence, attempt a rewriting of natural law (“Thou shall not steal”). In doing so governments show they are no longer concerned with “protecting from threats foreign and domestic” but with becoming a threat themselves. Such fraud and thuggery done in the name of ‘incentives for private developers’ and sports stadiums is shameful. Beware the civilization that increasingly blurs the lines between right and wrong, pitting man against man in contests of “legal plunder”. That men use formal ceremony, high sounding rhetoric and good intentions does not make them any less barbaric or the results less deadly.
Saturday, November 28, 2009
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
See what cause the saints have to be frequent in the work of thanksgiving. In this Christians are defective; though they are much in supplication, yet little in gratulation. The apostle says. “In everything give thanks” (1 Thess. 5.18). Why so? Because God makes everything work for our good. We thank the physician, though he gives us a bitter medicine which makes us sick, because it is to make us well; we thank any man who does us a good turn; and shall we not be thankful to God, who makes everything work for good to us? God loves a thankful Christian. Job thanked God when he took all away: “The Lord hath taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord” (Job 1.21). Many will thank God when He gives; Job thanks Him when He takes away, because he knew that God would work good out of it. We read of saints with harps in their hands (Rev. 14.2), an emblem of praise. We meet many Christians who have tears in their eyes, and complaints in their mouths; but there are few with their harps in their hands, who praise God in affliction. To be thankful in affliction is a work peculiar to a saint. Every bird can sing in spring, but some birds will sing in the dead of winter. Everyone, almost, can be thankful in prosperity, but a true saint can be thankful in adversity. A good Christian will bless God, not only at sun-rise, but at sun-set. Well may we, in the worst that befalls us, have a psalm of thankfulness, because all things work for good. Oh, be much in blessing of God: we will thank Him that doth befriend us.
From "All Things for Good". This also reminds of this song by Fernando Oretega:
This Thanksgiving, while partying like a the Puritans, let us also give thanks like the Puritans.
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
The Detroit Free Press
To the Editor:
Bledsoe and DeShazor assume Michigan “face[s] an economic crisis of similar proportions” to the Great Depression. They plead for more generous term limits: “As these elected officials mature in office, our legislative institution will be strengthened…” (How to repair our state's broken legislative branch 9/22).
Nonsense. The amount of wealth in society at that time was profoundly less than it is now (“Hoovervilles” are not yet popping up, even in Detroit). Today even the poor and jobless can live with necessities thanks to stores like Wal-Mart and Kroger. During the Depression such abundance was unheard of.
Since elected leaders are the reason behind depressions and recessions they ought not be sought for answers. What Michigan is in need of today is not legislative leaders who mature in office but legislators who have a spine. Legislating to protect taxpayer dollars, not taking and redistributing them.
Monday, November 23, 2009
It cannot be said too often that inflation is never an unavoidable natural disaster; it is always the result of the weakness or ignorance of those in charge of monetary policy."
Before we can hope to solve these problems sensibly, democracy will have to learn that it must pay for its own follies and that it cannot draw unlimited checks on the future to solve its present problems."
Though we may have speeded up a little the conquest of want, disease, ignorance, squalor, and idleness, we may in the future do worse even in that struggle when the chief dangers will come from inflation, paralyzing taxation, coercive labor unions, an ever increasing dominance of government in education, and a social service bureaucracy with far-reaching arbitrary powers -- dangers from which the individual cannot escape by his own efforts and which the momentum of the overextended machinery of government is likely to increase rather than mitigate."
Saturday, November 21, 2009
The planned deficits will have destructive consequences for both fairness and economic growth. They will force upon our children and grandchildren the bill for our overconsumption. Federal deficits will crowd out domestic investment in physical capital, human capital, and technologies that increase potential GDP and the standard of living. Financing deficits could crowd out exports and harm our international competitiveness, as we can already see happening with the large borrowing we are doing from competitors like China.
At what point, some financial analysts ask, do rating agencies downgrade the United States? When do lenders price additional risk to federal borrowing, leading to a damaging spike in interest rates? How quickly will international investors flee the dollar for a new reserve currency? And how will the resulting higher interest rates, diminished dollar, higher inflation, and economic distress manifest itself? Given the president's recent reception in China—friendly but fruitless—these answers may come sooner than any of us would like.
Finally, the bills are fiscally dishonest, using every budget gimmick and trick in the book: Leave out inconvenient spending, back-load spending to disguise the true scale, front-load tax revenues, let inflation push up tax revenues, promise spending cuts to doctors and hospitals that have no record of materializing, and so on....
In short, any combination of what is moving through Congress is economically dangerous and invites the rapid acceleration of a debt crisis. It is a dramatic statement to financial markets that the federal government does not understand that it must get its fiscal house in order.
Friday, November 20, 2009
To the Editor:
Friday’s editorial states, “Mid-Michigan, of all places, needs to recognize the importance of what the stimulus funds provide here and now - a tiny measure of stability while citizens” (Stimulus funds matter to mid-Michigan 11/20).
This is a fine recipe for disaster and explains how our politicians manage to get us in such messes. Sound policy requires that we consider long-run effects and all people, not simply short-run effects and a few people. Of course, when a government creates money out of thin air, and promises they can’t keep we will indeed have a tiny bit of security “here and now”.
Moral considerations of theft and fraud aside, apparently the politicians and people of this state have forgotten that there will indeed come a tomorrow and that a man reaps what he sows. Or, perhaps more chilling, our children will reap what we sow. Shame on this state and this newspaper for applauding the government package that takes from many and gives to a few for nothing more than a façade of short term stability.
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
John Burke wishes Congressman Stupak realized that “health care reform is a moral issue in itself. That thousands are dying every year because of the lack of affordable health care is also a call to provide help ‘to the least of these’ (Matt 25:40).” (Letters, 9/18)
True, health care reform is a moral issue. But that’s the precise reason government should be kept far, far away. The government apparatus reeks of hubris, avarice, and extravagance. In fact, these vices, which are naturally taken to their extreme by politicians, are among the worst antidotes to apply. And why should we allow such an institution to take from Peter to pay Paul, even if Paul is sick?
True morality consist in “visiting orphans and widows in their affliction…” (James 1:27), not in garnering a majority vote in congress to hire a government bureaucrat to do that for you.
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
For the 10-year period ended Sept. 30, stocks, as measured by the S7P 500stock index, delivered an annual average return of:
What percentage of workers age 55-plus have nest eggs totaling $250,000 or more?
What percentage of workers and/or their spouses have tried to calculate how much money they will need to save for a comfortable retirement?
The single best cure for a battered nest egg is to:
Christians realize that ultimately our earthly goods are never safe and we should never rest our security in them. We can say with the psalmist, "My flesh and my heart, and my 401(k) may fail, but the Lord is the strength of my heart and my portion forever." That should be our final and most substantial lesson from any event like this. Our possessions and plans can vanish in a second. Should we plan for retirement and save for it and try to maximize our benefits in it? Yes, but not to the point where it becomes our final security and something on which we rest a faith.