Saturday, August 20, 2011

Binary Fundamentalism

This clip from one of Ken Ham's talks really says everything that needs to be said about Young Earth Creationism.

Ken is trapped in an all-or-nothing mentality. If the Bible's claims about biological origins are false, then it's claims about souls and the afterlife must also be false. In order for him to believe that he will go to Heaven when he dies, he must also believe that the Earth is just several thousand years old and biological evolution is impossible. Ken wants to believe he's going to Heaven, so decades of study by hundreds or thousands of scientists with mountains of evidence must all be dismissed with a wave of his hand.

For him, there is no compromise, no middle ground, no other resolution. His mind is made up; don't waste his time with the evidence.

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Politics: Deficit Reduction

Well, the stooges in Washington are patting themselves on the back for averting the crisis that never should have been a threat if they'd been doing their jobs, so maybe they can get around to some real work, now.

I can sympathize with the deficit hawks, since I too think that Congress (which really controls the purse strings) has been living like a kid with daddy's credit card for far too long, and a string of Presidents have been letting them get away with it. Adding services and lowering taxes look good for you at election time, but it racks up debt like crazy, and before someone accuses me of being a wacky conservative tea-bagger, I blame Ronald Reagan for this mess. He was the one who made it okay to raise the budget while lowering taxes and keep it up year after year. He thought he'd be able to cut back the entitlement programs like the modern tea partiers, but he was never able to pull it off. Good luck, ya mooks.

Anyway, I see a series of things that need to happen now.
  1. Set a binding rule (with like a 2/3rds majority needed to break it or something else atrocious) that there can be no new spending programs and no expansion of existing programs as long as we're carrying a debt. That means that existing programs can't offer new services or reduce the qualifications to be enrolled.
  2. Go through the various Federal programs, especially the big entitlement programs, and decide how much needs to be spent on them. Cut if you think the country will tolerate it, make each one as efficient as possible, vote, and move to the next one.
  3. Determine how much all of that is going to cost.
  4. Revise and simplify the tax system, creating a revenue stream sufficient to pay for everything, plus enough extra to actually start paying down the debt.
  5. When the economy recovers, keep the tax rates the same. Don't squander good times by cutting back the revenue stream; work on the debt hardest when you're in the best position to do so!
Yeah, it may result in some higher tax rates, but it's got to be done. I'm willing to take that hit myself to see it happen. I don't have kids of my own, but I've got nieces and friends with kids, and I don't want those kids to have to deal with our crap.

Basically, if you don't have the guts to cut the budget (and I really don't think they do), at least have the guts to raise enough money to cover it.