Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Repeal and replace

 85% of Americans had health insurance in 2008 either through private employers, federal and state employers, Medicare, Medicaid, VA, BIA, SCHIP. Some people didn't want insurance; some were young and thought they didn't need it; some didn't apply for what was available. Then the heavy hand of government came up with a plan that forced every citizen to purchase a product, threatened them with fine or jail if they didn't, and violated the religious values of many. [For those calling Trump a fascist, what do they think this was?] I doubt that Obamacare was ever intended to work, it was so flawed and so expensive. October 2016 prices released during the campaign showed an increase of 22% for midlevel plan. The rates were artificially low at the beginning to lull Americans into accepting more government control.

Kay, a CPA friend, reminded me: "Democrats want the billions of tax write offs that businesses get for providing insurance, and the additional billions in taxes that the rest of us don't pay because it's a non-taxable feature of employment. In Obama’s eyes and his party of socialist/progressives, all those taxes belong in Washington to be redistributed after bureaucrats and lobbyists get their share. "

 I believe the latest figure is 11% are uninsured. The main reasons low income people do not buy it is they say it is too expensive.  All that to go from 15% to 11%.  Big whoop.  With all those smart people and policy wonks, you would think that they could have found a way to insure those who needed it. . . except that wasn't the purpose.  It was power.

 

Seven insights about Mainline Protestants

Rodney Stark explains various worldwide religious trends including U.S. Mainline decline in "The Triumph of Faith" (Photo Credit: ISI Books)

Rodney Stark is a terrific writer, and he has a new book, The Triumph of Faith. "[It] explodes the myth that people around the world are abandoning religion. Stark marshals an unprecedented body of data to reveal that the world is more religious than it’s ever been—and why everyone gets the story wrong." Although 95% of Congress checks the box for Christian (90%) or Jewish (5%), for the general public it's between 75-80%.  Meanwhile the churches that built this nation, that supported the great 19th century causes, are struggling to survive. Methodists, Presbyterians, Congregationalists (UCC), Anglicans, Lutherans, etc. are struggling to stay alive with aging congregations hanging out banners about diversity and inclusiveness--something young people can get by joining an athletic club or chess interest group. Other churches have exploding congregations.

(1) “Protestantism is as strong as ever in America—only the names have changed.”

(2) “Not many years ago, a select set of American denominations was always referred to as the Protestant ‘Mainline’ … Today that designation, though still commonly used, is out of date; the old Mainline has rapidly faded to the religious periphery, a trend that first was noticed more than forty years ago.”

(3) “Some religious institutions—but not all—fail to keep the faith. In an unconstrained religious marketplace, secularization is a self-limiting process: as some churches become secularized and decline, they are replaced by churches that continue to offer a vigorous religious message. In effect, the old Protestant Mainline denominations drove millions of their members into the more conservative denominations.”

(4) “The wreckage of the former Mainline denominations is strewn upon the shoal of a modernist theology that began to dominate the Mainline seminaries early in the nineteenth century. This theology presumed that advances in human knowledge had made faith outmoded… Eventually, Mainline theologians discarded nearly every doctrinal aspect of traditional Christianity.”

(5) “Aware that most members reject their radical political views, the Mainline clergy claim it is their right and duty to instruct the faithful in more sophisticated and enlightened religious and political views. So every year thousands of members claim their right to leave. And, of course, in the competitive America religious marketplace, there are many appealing alternatives available.”

(6) “Even though so many have left, most of the people remaining in the former Mainline pews still regard the traditional tenets of Christianity as central to their faith. As a result, the exodus continues.”

(7) “Many liberals have attempted to make a virtue of the Mainline decline, claiming that the contrasting trends reflect the superior moral worth of the Mainline… Meanwhile, the Mainline shrinks, and conservative churches grow.”

From the review at Juicy Ecuminism by Joseph Rossell

Only jobs reduce poverty

The percentage of children in middle childhood (6 through 11) living in low-income families (both poor and near poor) increased from 42% in 2009 to 44% in 2015. The Obama years. Even one parent employed or having married parents reduces childhood poverty. http://www.nccp.org/publications/pub_1173.html

Let's get on to the jobs, Mr. President. It's for the children. 

National Center for Children in Poverty chart

Why is this important to know? Because after one month, President Trump and Congressional Republicans are being blamed for the failures of the last 8 years. More breakfast and lunch programs do not solve this problem. Regulations that tied up small businesses (our job creators) and insurance that prevented businesses from hiring created the slowest recovery since the Depression of the 1930s, which was also slowed down by ineffective government rules and regulations. The percentage of the population in poverty hasn't changed since the "War on Poverty" began over 50 years ago. One reason is the government continues to raise the bar because middle class bureaucrats and state poverty employees who earn very good salaries would lose their jobs if poverty were actually reduced or eliminated.

Although the "about us" at the NCCP website reports it is a nonpartisan, public interest research organization, its affiliation is with Columbia. Left of center like all university policy centers. The reports for 2015 children are divided by age beginning with infants and toddlers, but the overall poverty rate reported is 45%. I personally think this is exaggerated because NCCP would have no reason to get grants or publish or influence policy if they actually succeeded in making a difference. Also, most of these policy centers do not report the transferred (from us--there are 123 programs) income like SNAP, section 8, TANF, EITC, school meal programs, home repair and heating, scholarships, Medicaid, etc. which for non-employed or low-income parents can add anywhere from $20,000-$60,000 value to their non-incomes. If these make no difference in the lives of poor children, why does Congress continue to raise it or lose their elections? 

Be prepared for "mean old Republican" memes floating around the internet and pumped up on Washington Post or NYT. Be prepared for liberal churches to open the NT to Matthew 25 and club you with it.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Monday, February 20, 2017

Monday Memories--moving the books out

My friends and I compare notes on how we're doing in clearing out the clutter. Three are planning moves to retirement apartments; we're not there yet, but we want to do some rearranging. Our photo albums are taking over the house--I think I counted 70! We did a massive sweep about 11 years ago, but it all came back.  Before I got sick in January, I'd started on the books again, and then last week renewed the effort.  The books have been rounded up and herded into the garage, tied with some twine, and Christmas ribbon, but there's not much change on the shelves. They'll go to the church, the cancer resale shop, the public library, our son, and the sailing books we'll take to the lake next time to see if a neighbor wants them.  A lot of cookbooks went this time.  That's unusual for me, but they were mainly just hanging around to remember the good times.  I have in that stack a 12 volume set of the Woman's Day Encyclopedia of Cookery that I bought one week at a time at the grocery store in the 1960s, and many Taste of Home Annuals. If you are looking for a new set of that encyclopedia, it goes for about $2,000 according to Amazon, or about $40 used.  I think there are volumes in my set that are "new."  I wrote a Thursday Thirteen blog about my cookbooks in 2006.  

Then I decluttered in 2009 about 8 years ago. Shelves looked pretty good, but still tight.

Another set (tied in red ribbon in the photo) is the Famous Writers school of writing, 3 volumes plus an annual. I found them at a used book store about 20 years ago when I was doing more writing, but never really used them. Lots of famous names. According to Wikipedia, as many as 90% never finished the course, so perhaps this was from a disgruntled student. There was eventually a law suit. But I think there should be 4 volumes.  Going through the architectural journals I found an annual that included some places we've been like Thorncrown Chapel.

The bookshelves with all those titles removed, still very full.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Because they lost the election

In 2015 the Census reported "changes in income, poverty, and health insurance coverage in the United States between 2013 and 2014. The main takeaway is that income is still stagnant. The median income in 2014 was $53,657—essentially unchanged for the third consecutive year, but 6.5 percent lower than in 2007, before the recession, and 7.2 percent lower than in 1999." All that recovery Obama bragged about, that hope and change, was for the top 1% and those with investments. So why is the left raging in rent a mobs about Trump when he's been president for 3 weeks, and we had Obama for 8 years? (Mother Jones, Sept. 16, 2015) Because they lost the election.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) took to social media to quell what it calls "dangerous and irresponsible" stories that allege the agency is executing "roundups" of illegal immigrants for deportation.
Untrue, ICE said in a tweet.

ICE arrested nearly 700 illegals over recent operations, saying 75 percent of those had criminal records. One President Obama operation alone in 2012 netted 350 percent more illegal fugitives."

Why does the left rage and pass along these stories then? Because the protests have nothing to do with illegal immigration. They lost the election.  (Newsmax.com, Feb. 17)

There's another women's march coming up--not sure if it's about inequities or Trump.  Women with the same education, marital status and position of the same age and geographic area are earning more than men of the same status. Are they going to strike to earn less? A 2009 report commissioned by the Labor Department that analyzed more than 50 papers on the topic found that the so-called pay gap “may be almost entirely” the result of choices both men and women make. In 147 out of 150 of the biggest cities in the U.S., the median full-time salaries of young women are 8% higher than those of men in their peer group. In two cities, Atlanta and Memphis, those women are making about 20% more.

In Obama's final year women were 35 percent more likely to live in poverty than men. So why are they mad at President Trump who's been in charge 3 weeks?  Because they lost the election.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Withdrawing books

I'm withdrawing books. That's librarian talk. We also call that deacquisitioning. I have three locations to take them--church, library sale, and cancer resale shop (four if you count my son). Each item is recorded on my book blog and they are in piles by topic/theme on the floor of my office. This is the first time I've ever given away cook books. We have become ROMEOs. Retired old men eating out. (Need any Martha Stewart?) The shelves seem to look the same.

Then my husband gets inspired, takes a break from the watercolor of Granada he's working on, and brings up about 50 titles from his office. Bad idea. He doesn't know how to do it. I found one of my grandfather's books on farm buildings with terrific drawings from early 20th century, and half of what he "contributed" were my books which were on his shelves (too large for mine). 

The Saturday Evening Post - Fall 1972 - Richard Nixon

This introduction to book blues is to tell you I found a pristine copy of Saturday Evening Post, Fall 1972, with a portrait of Richard Nixon on the cover. That surprised me a bit since neither of us ever voted for him, or liked him. However, what is stunning is an article by Paul Ehrlich on "Population Control." He was very influential in the 60s and 70s and totally misled all western nations about the dangers of overpopulation and advocated ZPG. (It was really a disguised message I think about keeping blacks and browns under control.) Anyway, if you sort through his hints, hysteria and hyperbole, it sounds exactly like the "climate change" gooble-degook we hear today.

Erhlich is still around. There's a Vatican workshop on Biological Extinction Feb. 27-Mar.1 and he's a speaker. What a shame. Abortion, contraception, euthanasia. Speakers completely violating all church teaching. But then, so do Nancy Pelosi and John Kerry. All advanced and Western countries, U.S. Europe, Japan, China have birth rates below replacement. That's what is behind the push for more immigration--there aren't enough workers to fund the social programs. But I'm not sure Somali-Swedes or Yemeni-Germans really want to work and merge into a thrifty, hard working value system. Of course, Japan and China aren't taking in middle east refugees despite birthrates well below replacement. Nor are Nigeria or Kenya--they are coming to the U.S.--over a million in the last decade under our "diversity" immigration plan.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Guns purchased by Social Security recipients?

There is no national data base of the mentally ill that I'm aware of. Yet I know people concerned that the latest restriction on the 2nd amendment defeated on Wednesday was to protect us from them. Obama wanted to identify people based on their Social Security status as needing 3rd party assistance to receive benefits so they would be flagged in the National Instant Criminal Background Check System. Is that legal for denying other rights, like speech or religion or assembly? I can't imagine that advocacy groups for the disabled didn't take this on as a very slippery slope. 

The man who robbed, raped and murdered a 21 year old OSU student last week as she left work probably wouldn't have been on that sweep of people who receive benefits, but he had recently been released from prison with a rap sheet, including sexual assault, going back to his pre-teen years. Is that a mental illness or just a very sloppy judicial system?

Obama's Executive Order squeaked through in late December probably just to irritate the gun lobby, but was first proposed in 2012 after the Sandy Hook killer was determined to be mentally ill. The problem is this rule wouldn't have caught him. He stole his mother's guns and first killed her before going to the school.
 http://www.breitbart.com/2nd-amendment/2016/12/23/obama-administration-finalizes-social-security-gun-ban/

https://obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/the-press-office/2016/01/04/fact-sheet-new-executive-actions-reduce-gun-violence-and-make-our

If you voted for Mrs. Clinton--WHY?

The issues important to voters between New York and LA in 2016 where Trump won were,
1) terrorism,
2) economy,
3) education,
4) jobs,
5) health care costs.

I have no idea what mattered to those voters on the left coast, but it appears,
1) Hillary is biologically a woman, although that matters in nothing else to the left,
2) abortion on demand especially for the poor and minorities,
3) raising minimum wage (4% of hourly employees) to keep the poor at the bottom longer,
4) illegal immigration to change the racial mix of the U.S.,
5) higher taxes and more regulations to strangle American small businesses so the big guys can hold them back and reduce competition.

If you voted for Mrs. Clinton, and I missed your reason(s), let me know. For a lot of people it was her name wasn't Trump. According to the polls additional concerns showed Republicans cared more about poverty and race relations than Democrats.

March 8--a day without women

Why is the left afraid to investigate the differences in wages among women? For the obvious reasons--we all know the answer. Career choice, education, experience, skill and geography determine salaries in the USA. For men and women.  Both of us use an all female medical practice. I have no idea if they purposely keep out men (except for patients), but there's a high level of estrogen when you walk in. I think I did see a male tech several years ago, but I he's moved on.

And guess what? There is a vast difference in pay among the 
1) female staffer who moves the sliding window, takes our insurance cards and hands us a clipboard, and 
2) the tech who checks our weight, blood pressure and types notes into the computer, and 
3) the doctor who rushes in for 5 minutes and tries to find out what's going on since the last visit.

I'm guessing at income--about $25,000 for the first woman who is a high school graduate, $35,000 for the second who had 6 months of technical school, and about $200,000 for the third woman who had 4 years of undergrad, 4 years of medical school and 3-7 years of residency before I saw her in that office. Where's the rage, and who should be marching on the Day without women? Woman one, two or three?
I asked a pleasant young clerk at the ophthalmologist office what her training was for the field, and she said none, she had a degree (something in the humanities) and this was the job she found when she and her husband moved to the area. Which category will she go in?   That practice is almost all male doctors and female staff.