Haven’t we seen this movie already?
Haven’t we seen this movie already?
The outrage over the unemployed mother of six, who somehow caused herself to get pregnant with eight more babies (please excuse my lack of detail on this case–I’m determined not to read anything about it) is sort of amusing to me. Certainly the notion that a woman who is a ward of the state, along with her six children, should choose to have eight more babies, is beyond absurd. The notoriety has made the woman a great celebrity, with a book deal and a made-for-TV movie in the works, no doubt. She even caused a new word to be coined–“Octomom.” And the American public, oblivious to the economic pillaging to which we are subjected daily, is boiling in indignation. Why? Because this woman was so irresponsible that she has brought 14 kids in the world, with no ability to provide for them, and expecting the US public to assume the cost of supporting them. There has even been legislation introduced in several states to prohibit fertilization clinics from assisting women in getting pregnant, if the women lack the ability to provide for the children.
Well I suppose that’s a perfectly understandable reason to be mad. But what makes it all amusing to me, in a sad way, is that there are MILLIONS of children born under those circumstances every year in this country, although admittedly in more conventional and less dramatic ways.
Between 15-20 percent of all the children in this country live in poverty. Millions are beneficiaries of TANF (commonly known as “welfare”). The vast majority of these children are born to single mothers, a substantial majority of which will give birth to multiple welfare babies. And there will be no book deals or movies for them. They won’t make the talk shows. No new words will be created to describe them. No laws are going to be passed designed to prevent them from getting pregnant.
But the behavior of millions of them is just as irresponsible as that of the now famous Octomom.
Maybe our society should give as much attention to them, and their innocent children, as we do to Ms. Octomom.
“Remember that a government big enough to give you everything you want is also big enough to take away everything you have.”
Income tax deduction, what a hell of a function
“Bastards of Young,” The Replacements
Even though income tax season has mercifully ended, I’m still fretting about it. I’ve blogged frequently about much I detest the income tax. But I’m not done railing about the wretched thing this year, so I’ll launch another vain tirade.
As if confiscating a big chunk of our wages weren’t offensive enough, we are also subjected to the government’s social engineering, carried out via so-called income tax “deductions.”
The purpose of these deductions is to incent economic behavior. The policy makers correctly reason that Americans will do just about anything to reduce the amount of their wages that they are required to hand over to a corrupt, irresponsible bureacracy, so they created rules that allow taxpayers to lessen their “taxable” income by the amount of certain specified transactions. So, for example, gifts made to charity (provided the charity is properly certified under Section 501(c)(3) and gives an acceptable receipt) are “deductible.” Presumably there are American citizens who give money to charity that they would otherwise keep for themselves, in order to avoid paying it to the government. I don’t think I need to comment further on that one.
All such “deductions” are offensive and should be abolished, but the single most outrageous of them is the deduction for mortgage interest. This incredibly moronic provision of the Tax Code incents mortgage debt. Why on earth our nation would want to incent mortgage debt is beyond me. If asked, the policy makers will respond that they want to incent home ownership. But if that were their purpose, then why not make mortgage principal payments deductible, rather than mortgage interest payments? Why not make the down payment deductible? In other words, why not make the amounts paid to actually buy a home deductible, rather than amounts paid as interest to a mortgage lender? Obviously what this idiotic provision actually does is promote debt. And not just any debt, but debt of the worst kind: debt secured by a mortgage on one’s very home. Because no other interest payments are deductible, Americans are being encouraged by their government to pay off every other interest-bearing debt before paying off their home loans. Americans are encouraged to use home equity lines to buy anything they would otherwise finance. And of course Americans are given discounted debt, provided they secure it with their homes. A huge and influential industry profited from this nonsense, and the mortgage interest deduction is one of Washington’s most sacred cows. Meanwhile, those who have no mortgage, either because they rent or because they prudently paid off their mortgage loans or never took one, must subsidize everyone else.
This lunacy contributed greatly to the housing bubble, and therefore to the entire economic meltdown we are now experiencing. It is a perfect example of government economic manipulation and social engineering, creating malinvestment and asset bubbles, and the recession that inevitably follows them.
The mortgage interest deduction is the most damaging of them, but none of the deductions make any sense. Did you provide shelter to displaced Midwesterners (I still don’t even know what that means)? If so, you get a deduction. Buy a solar powered hot water heater? Deduction. Give money to a government approved charity (and get a government-approved receipt?)? Deduction. The list goes on and on.
Did you prudently avoid paying any mortgage interest in 2009? Do you believe charitable giving should be confidential and anonymous, and that its none of the government’s dang business how much you gave to charity, and to what charities you gave? Do you prefer to make your economic decisions independently of whatever push or shove the IRS is giving? Then pony up sucker.
The income tax is an abomination and it should be abolished. But if that sweet dream can’t come true, how about at least abolishing the deductions and lowering the marginal rates? Yeah, I know. That too is a pipe dream.
Govco will not be denied.
For thousands of years, religiously observant Jewish men have recited the following as part of their morning prayers:
Blessed are you, O Lord our God, King of the Universe, who did not make me a gentile.
Blessed are you, O Lord our God, King of the Universe, who did not make me a slave.
Blessed are you, O Lord our God, King of the Universe, who did not make me a woman.
Up until the time of his conversion, the Apostle Paul, as an observant Pharisee, would have said those prayers every morning, thanking God every day that he was a free, male Jew, rather than some lesser creature.
So it must have been scandalous, and liberating, to the young Christian community when Paul wrote these words to the church in Galatia:
There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
Sometimes it’s easy for us to forget just how revolutionary our faith is.
For most folks in the modern urban and suburban world, “spring cleaning” is just an expression without literal meaning. But I suspect the origin of the term is from farm life, where spring cleaning is a real and important event.
I spent part of today shoveling out stalls in our barn. Last week I spent hours cleaning out the chickenhouse. The bedding from the stalls goes to my compost pile, and next year will be fertilizer in our gardens. The litter from the chickenhouse (a year’s buildup of manure and bedding) goes directly into our legume rotation gardens as immediate fertilizer.
As I’ve posted before, all we’re really doing is harvesting sunlight and rain. God provides those and they provide the grass that feeds the animals that produce the manure that fertilizes the fields that produce the crops that we eat. It’s beautifully simple if we exclude the chemical companies and the USDA.
Cleaning out barn stalls and henhouses is something sustainable and traditional farmers do every Spring. The bedding and litter are integral to the fertilization of our gardens.
I won’t claim to enjoy spring cleaning. But I am grateful for it nevertheless.
I’m going to give the blog a rest for a while. I’ll go out with a poem from John Wesley:
Do all the good you can,
to all the people you can,
at all the times you can,
in all the ways you can,
by all the means you can,
as long as ever you can.