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An Unbalanced President

President Obama has probably repeated the phrase “balanced approach” when talking about budget and deficit solutions, over 100 times at this point.  If you just listen to him saying that phrase over and over, you probably think that he is interested in raising some taxes, as well as cutting spending to solve our country’s debt problem.  Perhaps he should play the tape back to himself, so that he can be convinced that the country needs a balanced approach to the problem that we find ourselves in.  Fresh off getting a deal with Republicans around New Year’s that was exclusively tax increases, you would think that in order to obtain “balance”, spending cuts would be front and center.  Instead this unbalanced President seems to have a case of amnesia, or worse, when it comes to the tax increase deal.  He wants to act as if it never happened, and start with a “new balance”.  The good news is Republicans can remember three months back.thumbnailCAD94FRU

When you want people to come your way in a negotiation, you try your best to be reasonable before the negotiations begin.  Talk in generalities, and say things like “I know we can make a deal”.  You don’t want to impugn the motives of you adversaries, because it will be that much harder to make a deal.  This is vital in a public negotiation in order for all parties to claim victory, and not get resentful of the person they must strike a deal with.  Then if discussions break down, you can claim that you were looking for a deal, and were reasonable all throughout the process.  This approach allows you to claim credit for being honorable, and if you disparage your opponents, others will understand.

This President takes the exact opposite approach to what should be done.  First, he makes his position public.  This leaves little room for compromise without someone looking like they’ve lost.  He then publicly attempts to bully his opponents into changing their stance.  If that doesn’t work he goes out on the campaign trail to try to get the public to push his agenda.  After this scorched earth policy doesn’t work, he resigns himself to trying to appear reasonable.  This is completely unbelievable to his negotiating partners after they have been raked over the coals.  Either he is the worst negotiator to ever sit in the White House, or he is unstable.

This past week there was the reconciliation phase of this reverse negotiation.  The news was lit up with Presidential meetings and dinners with Republicans.  Did any of those Republicans ask the President during dinner why he accused them of not caring about: children’s daycare; women’s mammograms; or seniors’ healthcare?  Did they mention that they didn’t appreciate being blamed for the sequester (spending cuts), which was his idea?  Did they ask why he demonizes their point of view that less government helps those in need?  Probably not.  They also probably weren’t forced into another tax increase just because the received a nice dinner.

If we combined the agreements over the fiscal cliff and the sequester, there would be no doubt that a balanced accord was reached.  Somehow separating these two events by a mere 60 days has created a lack of balance in the President’s mind.  Mr. Obama is not only dishonest, he is a dishonest broker.

The President Can’t Govern

The President’s history of negotiations with Republicans has led to the remarkable feet of making Washington DC even more dysfunctional.  The President has behaved as if the country is split roughly 80-20 in his favor.  Through his negotiations and public pronouncements he has exploited every opportunity where he has had even the slightest advantage.  This has led to the Republicans slowly but surely coming to the conclusion that they can’t trust him and almost can’t work with him.  This is the man we have just elected for 4 moreMy stapler years. 

Politics is like a sporting event, but governing is more like a business.  Much like sports, winning by 1 point (or getting 50.6% of the vote in the recent election) gets the victory.  After the campaign the dynamics change almost immediately.  The winner needs to start working with the party that he just defeated in order to govern.  The rare exception to this rule came in 2009 when Mr. Obama was working with a majority in the House, as well as a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate of his own party.  This allowed him to govern without regard to the Republican point of view.  This situation lasted for 2 years, and the country received Obamacare as a gift from one party rule.  The next election in 2010 was historic in sweeping Republicans back into power in the House, and restored the balance that requires governing like a business.

In a company there are always conflicts between competing ideas or departments.  It is through the negotiations over these competing ideas that people learn about their ability to deal with those who oppose them.  Does the person push every advantage they have or do they realize that a win-win on an idea will help the company?  Unless someone is fired over the disagreement, these two parties must figure out how to work with each other.  This is not that different from the negotiations that must take place in Washington over completely different ideas of how government should work.  This is not new, but the inability of the current President to seek win-win scenarios is.

A perfect example of this is the recent negotiations over the fiscal cliff, which occurred at the beginning of the year.  This was a scenario where the President had the most leverage, in that, if nothing was resolved every person who paid taxes was going to see an increase.  In the run-up to the final deal there were many ideas floated to cut spending.  Replacing the sequester with other cuts, changing the rate of increase for entitlements, means testing Medicare, or raising the eligibility age for Social Security were all possible.  The President, however, used the fact that he had all of the leverage, and allowed none of it.  He made the Republicans swallow hard on a deal that only contained tax increases, extending unemployment, and with zero cuts in spending.  He won.

There is a different dynamic now in place with the sequester.  If nothing is done, spending will be cut, so the leverage is now with the Republicans.  Has the President acknowledged that he needs to deal with the republicans, and been humbled by his lack of leverage?  No. He has decided that he likes it better when the negotiations are winner-take-all, like an election.  This is why in recent weeks, rather than negotiating, he has been campaigning.  These campaign stops have been just like an election with staged events, human props, and scare tactics.  He is doing this even though the most recent election results show that we are roughly a 50-50 country, and his opponents can’t be fired for nearly 2 years.

The President enjoys sports, and as proof we will soon be subjected to the Presidential Bracket with the start of the NCAA Basketball Tournament (a tradition he began).  He, however, has almost no experience dealing with coequals in business.  He was elected to govern, and he simply can’t do it.  To come to this conclusion a little over a month into his second four year term is a bit disconcerting.  Years from now, perhaps when the looming debt crisis is upon us, people will look back on this time and say that we should have solved the problem of our mounting debt.  Perhaps with the passage of time the people will finally point the finger at this President. 

State of the Union – Why Don’t They Ask?

The President laid out his agenda in the State of the Union Address, and it was filled with initiatives and statements similar to what he has said before.  It gives the media the opportunity to ask questions that they have neglected in the past.  Statements that were presented as facts also need clarification.  Up until now, the President and the White House press secretary have escaped answering important questions.  We should continue to wonder why the following clarifications and challenging questions are not asked.

Mr. President:  In your speech you spoke about universal preschool.  Almost every study concludes that there can be temporary effects, but by the 3rd grade there is no lasting impact of preschool.  In these challenging budgetary times, why are you pushing for increasing a program that has shown such a universally agreed lack of results?state of the union

Mr. President:  With your interest in raising the minimum wage, can you show any time this policy has led to more employment?  Didn’t unemployment increase when you and a Democratic Congress raised the minimum wage in 2009?

Mr. President:  You said that you have cut two and half trillion dollars of the $4 trillion that economists say is needed to show a sustainable path.  If it is assumed that part of your $2.5 trillion claim is the $1.2 trillion sequester, then why are you advocating delaying and reducing these cuts, before they’re even implemented, while counting them toward this goal?  The figure of $4 trillion was put out more than three years ago.  With your delay in dealing with this problem, many groups have changed it to $6 trillion to make up for the time squandered.  Are you aware of this?  Is there going to ever be a year in our government’s future where we will spend less than the year before?

Mr. President:  You have said that you are waiting for Congress to act on climate change, and if they don’t, you will.  If climate change is truly as devastating to our future as you have expressed, and you have this power that you stated in the speech, then why won’t you act now?

Mr. President:  You said that none of your proposals will add one dime to the deficit. Certainly, most of these proposals cost money.  Can you tell us what you are proposing to cut or what taxes are you proposing to increase in order to pay for each of these new initiatives?

Mr. President:  You continue to reference the Cayman Islands and people having bank accounts offshore as a loophole in the tax code. Can you tell us the loophole in the tax code that you’re referring to, and your proposal to eliminate it?  Could you be misstating the fact that other countries have lower taxes, and it is wise for a company to locate their headquarters outside the United States for that reason?

Mr. President:  You had a very emotional appeal on gun control in you speech.  Gun control has not proven to be effective in reducing gun violence anywhere that it has been tried.  What is your reason for supporting the proposed gun-control legislation?

Mr. President:  You implied in your speech, and have stated in the past, that the Washington “dysfunction” and arguing over policy are causing the economy to underperform.  A time period that you often refer to in terms of economic success is the 1990’s.  During that time, Newt Gingrich was Speaker of the House, and the Republicans controlled the Senate as well.  Their disagreements with President Clinton led to two government shutdowns. This shows how the “dysfunction” in Washington was much worse at that time than it is now.  Shouldn’t we look at your policies and actions to explain the lack of economic performance rather than the fact that there are continuing arguments in Washington?

Perhaps some adventurous reporter will now have the opportunity to ask for clarification on these issues…but probably not.

An Inconvenient Polar Bear

The story this week that hasn’t received much play in the mainstream media is about a new book by environmentalist Zac Unger titled “Never Look a Polar Bear in the Eye”.  His goal was to document the decline of the Polar Bear population.  He undertook this task by moving his wife and 3 children to remote northern Manitoba, Canada.  Normally, books from these types of authors get tremendous coverage since they are usually peddling the latest hysterical fear of what humans are doing to destroy the planet.  The problem in this case is that he found the exact opposite of what he expected.  The problem this presents is that Polar bear with youngit counters an assumed domino effect in the theory of Climate Change:  Global Warming causes the polar ice caps to melt, the lack of ice decimates the Polar Bear habitat, their population goes toward extinction, oceans rise, all humans die.  This book challenges an almost religious orthodoxy on the liberal left.  It does not fit the media template and has been almost ignored.  If this story got the attention that it deserved, there would be the natural question…What else is not true about Climate Change?

It turns out that this story is not that unique.  A recent Canadian Government study claimed that the population of Polar Bears has been increasing since the 1970’s.  The local Inuit people go even further to say that the population is increasing even in areas where the study had population flat or down.  Why isn’t the environmental movement celebrating this fact?  Why can you only find stories about this new book on Fox News?  Why are environmentalists still lobbying the US Fish and Wild Life Service to change the classification of Polar Bear’s from “threatened” to “endangered”?  The ongoing myth about Polar Bears fits the political agenda of Climate Change, and the truth would really get in the way.    

Bison in North America were once headed toward extinction.  It has been reported that their numbers were as low as 2,000 near the end of the 1800’s.  The Bison population has recovered to over 500,000, and it is a wonderful success story about restoring a species.   The wild Bison have come back, and farm raised Bison are popular due to their very lean meat.  Bison burgers are moving from posh eateries to everyday restaurants.  The media has reported this story, and they usually like a feel good story like this.  Yet we have not seen similar attention to the good news about Polar Bears.    

Even before Al Gore’s movie about Global Warming (which he has morphed into Climate Change and now calls Climate Crisis), the NY Times, Washington Post, and the major networks bought into the theory, hook line & sinker.  They are now committed to promoting this belief, regardless of the facts that may surface.  The current President also is a true believer, and is determined to do what he can to, “Heal the planet”.  Eventually, McDonalds or some other restaurant will solve the Polar Bears overpopulation problem with a new menu item.  This does not deal with the shamelessness of the media taking an advocacy position on a issue that will have wrenching policy ramifications.  Lack of reporting on these new facts shows this complicity, and it won’t be solved with a special sauce.

Outgoing taxes

Bobby Jindal, the Governor of Louisiana, has proposed eliminating the state’s income and corporate tax.  His plan is to join the other 9 states that fund their government primarily through a sales tax.  He is attracted to this method by the fact that these states have done better economically.  There are 5 other states Cut taxconsidering lowering or eliminating their income and corporate taxes to attract business to their states.  It is no coincidence that these states are run by Republican Governors, while Democrat led states are raising taxes.   There is a more important reason to change the state’s main source of revenue to a broad sales tax.  This step will help the public hold government accountable.  The voting electorate has been removed from feeling the effects of inefficient government over time, and this change will reverse that trend.    

When any government wastes money, the only way they can be held accountable is by the voters in the next election.  If the majority of the electorate are not affected by this inefficiency, due to the fact that they do not pay taxes, there is little accountability.  Another way that these voters could track the effectiveness of government would be an aggressive investigative media.  With the press bias towards bigger government, this critical eye is missing.  It has been reported that roughly 50% of the cost of the NYC government is funded by 1% of taxpayers.  This, and a lack of media scrutiny, has been a recipe for out of control government.

Most people have such busy lives that it is difficult to track the performance of their various levels of government.  Politicians and governments are notorious for adding all different taxes and fees in order to find new ways to fund their spending.  This shell game has made it difficult for even the most interested voter to understand the efficiency of their leaders.  How easy would it be to keep track of your state government by simply looking at the sales tax?  Maintaining the sales tax will allow spending growth to be matched to the state’s growth in commerce.  The Governor can simply run for reelection by saying I did not raise the tax.

Under the sales tax scenario, imagine if there were a teachers strike.  The way that the press usually reports this event is to typically side with the striking teachers.  Invariably, there are sympathetic reports resorting to pull on the public heartstrings about “the children” and how we cannot risk the future.  Now, a Governor who wants to hold the line on spending can have a simple message by saying that if he/she gives in, the sales tax will go up 1%.  Just think of the difference in the way people will look at this issue.

These moves by Mr. Jindal and other Republican Governors are great differentiators from the Democratic Governor tax raisers.  They are also a good way to bring attention to the economics of the state.  This change ensures a larger majority to be affected by the cost of government, and the consequences of each decision.  Republicans are always trying to make the case that people don’t want bigger government.  Making sales tax the main way that the government is funded not only makes it affect all the people, but gives citizens and easy way to measure their government.

Smart Grid is Kinda Dumb

Smart Grid is one of those phrases that everyone likes the sound of, but know little about.  What is the Smart Grid?  On the surface it would seem it is like the electric grid we have now, only better.  Wikipedia says…”A smart grid is an electrical grid that uses information and communications technology to gather and act on information, such as information about the behaviors of suppliers and consumers, in an automated fashion to improve the efficiency, reliability, economics, and sustainability of the production and distribution of electricity.” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smart_grid)  Wow, that sounds great when do we start? electrocuted man

Whenever “experts” are interviewed about this they concentrate on the supply chain “smartness”, but they rarely dwell on the demand solutions of the “Smart Grid”.  Supply chain changes are very good, in that they reroute supply of energy on the fly, to make sure the grid stays electrified.  The demand side is where manufacturers install devices on your appliances, so the Public Utility can control them.  This is said to be necessary if you as the consumer are using more than your fair share of electricity, and more is needed for high priority customers.  So the solution to not enough power, is to ration who gets the power.

An early sign that we are headed in this direction is PSE&G’s (NJ utility) Cool Customer Program.  There may be similar programs being rolled out throughout the country.  It is said to “Save energy…save money…and help the environment at the same time.  An easy, voluntary way to manage your home energy use in the summer…and all year round.”  This voluntary program gives you a setback thermostat, and a $50 credit on your bill.   This sounds like an awesome program, since the setback thermostat is worth over $200.  If you read more of the details, they let you know how you get to save the environment too.  On those particularly hot days when the utility does not have enough supply of electricity to satisfy their customers, THEY TURN OFF YOUR AIR CONDITIONING!  Just think how much energy you will save when they cycle off your air conditioning every 15 minutes.  They assure you that this will only happen on the hottest days of the year.

Why wait for manufacturers to install the monitoring devices on your dishwasher, when Air Conditioning is one of the heaviest uses of electricity.  It is not surprising that this is the earliest demand target.  If there are not enough volunteers, however, we can logically assume where this program goes next.  Phase two probably makes the set back thermostat required in order to receive power.  Phase three is when they just come and take away your air conditioner.  Phase four they have another family move into your house.  You are probably using more than your fair share of electricity anyway.

In the old days, price would regulate the use of products such as electricity.  If you use more, you pay more.  Markets would lead us to the right balance between supply and demand.  As the price goes up, we find cheaper energy, or invent more efficient ways to use it.  This does not seem to be enough anymore.  ‘If we are to save the environment we must force people to behave a certain way’, seems to be the vision.  The standard solution to every problem out of government, or quasi-government such as public utilities, is more control and less freedom.    

Sick, not Stupid

In the aftermath of the Sandy Hook shootings there has been talk of trying to do something about mental illness.  The idea people are grappling with is trying to determine before the fact; who may be likely to commit the kind of horrific mass shootings as what happened in Connecticut.  Along these lines the President, in his media event of a week ago, wants to have the CDC do a study on the subject.  It should go without saying that there is certainly a mental problem no gunsinvolved when someone decides to commit mass murder.  The goal should be to find the best way to prevent these events from occurring.  Is this the best way to achieve that goal?  

John Lott (“More Guns, Less Crime” author) in a recent Wall Street Journal Op Ed pointed out that there has been only one shooting where more than 3 people have been killed, in the last 60+ years where the victims were allowed to be armed.  All other shootings took place where guns were prohibited.  In a country where 39 of our states allow concealed carry, this fact cannot be a coincidence.  Two recent examples of mass shootings drive this point home.  These examples took place in states that allowed concealed weapons, but the location of the shooting did not.    

Colorado allows the concealed carry of guns for those who have a permit.  In the Aurora Colorado shooting at the premier of Batman where 12 were killed and 58 wounded last summer, the theater strictly prohibited guns.  There were 9 theaters within a 20 minute drive of the home of the shooter that were showing this premier that night.  This was not the largest, it was not the closest, but it was the only one of the 9 theaters that did not allow guns.  This meant that he could kill with impunity without the risk of being shot himself.  The act surely shows the behavior of a sick individual, but the location was thought out.

In the Ft. Hood shooting in 2009 where 13 soldiers were killed and 30 more were injured, guns were not allowed.  It may seem strange that an army base does not allow weapons.  In fact, it was civilian police who stopped the shooter.  The largest Army base in the world called 9-1-1.  This federal property located inside the state of Texas is under federal law, not the concealed carry law that Texas has adopted.  If this sick perpetrator had tried this act anywhere outside the army base he would have likely been shot dead by a citizen or army personnel who are only allowed to be armed outside the base.  It seems surreal that these trained professional soldiers can carry their weapons outside the base but not inside.  The state of Texas trusts them more than the federal government who trained them.  Again, if you analyze the decision of where the shooter decided to commit this heinous act, there is logic to it.

It is revealing that all of these sick, mentally ill, deranged people made the rational, thought out, logical decision to shoot people where they could do the most damage.  They were almost guaranteed that their victims could not shoot back.  Perhaps there are times when it can be determined who will commit such acts, but there is one sure way to allow people to protect themselves.  A federal law allowing concealed carry would permit people to greatly reduce the impact of these shooters.  The fact that these shooters and others made a cold calculated decision to only commit these killings where the victims were unarmed is instructive.  Concealed carry could have prevented the attempt completely.

Social Security and Medicare are already Welfare

We have a basic problem in this country that we are not willing to face.  Over time our retirement programs of Social Security and Medicare have changed from insurance type of programs into Welfare programs.  We have overpromised and underfunded retirement benefits that we cannot afford.  Even these current “fiscal cliff” negotiations, which were supposed to force some tough decisions on the main drivers of our debt, appear to be headed toward postponing hard decisions.  The continual avoidance of dealing with these issues is partly due to the false notion that people paid into these programs, and are entitled to the benefits they are receiving.  They did pay in, but not nearly at the rate they are collecting.  The US government is either the worst insurance company ever, or these are welfare programs. Cane batter

Any fair analysis must combine the pay in, and benefits of both Social Security and Medicare.  To analyze only the one that is reasonable (Social Security), without the other (Medicare) is completely dishonest, since nearly all seniors are on both programs.  This would be like getting a great deal on your cable and ignoring your lousy internet rates when both are supplied by the same company.  There have been many different studies that look at the pay in and pay out of both programs.  Generally each senior will get back $100,000 – $200,000 more in benefits than they paid in (http://money.usnews.com/money/blogs/planning-to-retire/2011/01/06/will-you-get-back-your-social-security-taxes-in-retirement).  The older you are the better your deal, since the current rates of pay into Social Security (12.4%) have only been in place since 1990.  A transfer of wealth like this from taxpayers to beneficiaries is usually defined as welfare. 

Medicare benefits are going to be roughly the same throughout the income range once the changes are in place to the drug benefit next year.  There is, however, a skew in Social Security benefits for low end workers.  Namely, those at the low end of the pay scale receive 4x their yearly pay in amount, while those the top end receive 2.6x their yearly pay in amount (http://www.justfacts.com/socialsecurity.basics.asp).  In addition, the program which was originally designed to distribute benefits tax free, now subjects nearly all benefits to income taxes.  This also lessens the benefits for those with higher incomes.  There is no private insurance plan that is set up to discriminate based on income, but this is an element in most welfare programs.

If we want to have a serious discussion about solutions, we need to start speaking the truth about these programs.  During everyone’s working life, they receive a document from the Social Security Administration which shows how much he/she has contributed, and what payout they can anticipate.  This document should add Medicare, and continue to be sent to people after retirement.  Perhaps if the numbers start going negative on retirees yearly forms, they will have a better understanding of the problem.  There may even be some humility on the part of seniors, particularly if they fear they are burdening their grandchildren.  This could be a good start toward appreciating our predicament.

Once people have a proper understanding of the problem, solutions are much easier to discuss.  When Social Security began, average life expectancy was about 65, it is now 78 (http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/hus/hus11.pdf#022).  The annual cost of living increase was in 1974.  There are some simple solutions to the problem once the mindset is corrected.  There was a proposal to raise the retirement age by 1 month per year for the next 48 years.  Perhaps add to this raising the eligibility of Medicare by 2 months per year until it catches up to Social Security.  Still allow people to still start on SS at 62, but at an even lower payout.  Even add Medicare at 62, but with higher copays.  Reduce the cost of living increase by 1%.  Even implementing just some of these will extend the solvency of these programs.  

People receiving the Social Security and Medicare Bundle are always willing to talk about reductions in Welfare programs, and not the programs they benefit from.  It is not their fault, because they have been told for decades that they are collecting on an insurance type of program that they paid into.  Until we change the understanding of how our retirement programs have morphed into welfare programs, we will not be able to deal with solving these problems.

For the Children

Access to information and the broad education of the public should mean that cheap stunts or manipulative ploys would be difficult to get away with.  Well that certainly doesn’t seem to be the case, as we saw one heart tugging attempt after another this week.  At issue is the use of children to manipulate the public to your political advantage.  The President of the United States, and the NYC bus driver’s union both exploited children in their pitch for people to rally to their causes this week.  It is amazing that this does not turn people against them, but it must be working on oliversomeone.

The President showed up at his much anticipated speech about gun control surrounded by children and their parents.  These were children who had written letters saying they were scared in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook shootings.  Did he use this opportunity to point to things that have worked in the past to reduce gun violence?  Is he pushing for something like concealed carry laws, which have reduced gun violence wherever they have been tried?  No, he just wanted to borrow these children as background props for a speech used to badger congress to pass gun control legislation.  It doesn’t really matter that the laws he is pushing for have no proof of being successful in the past.  He got a chance to stand in front of children, and look like he cares.  Apparently this means that whatever he says will help the children.

The NYC school bus driver’s union decided to outdo even the President in child exploitation.  They are on strike because the mayor is going to put the contract for school bus driving out for bid.  The city uses a private company for bus service, but has not put it out for bid since 1979.  As part of the bid process the union wants the mayor to require that all bidders must honor the union contract.  The mayor has refused, and the union has gone on strike.  The drivers can apply for work at the company who wins the bid, and likely will, but may not get the sweetheart contract they have currently.  Of course the taxpayers and parents will benefit if the routes are more efficient and less expensive.  It is a good guess that waiting 33 years before bidding out the work has led to some complacency.  Mayor Bloomberg took the rare step of apologizing for not addressing this sooner, since he has been the mayor for 11 of the years.

The TV and radio ad being run by the union to try to rally support to their position is perhaps the most shameful use of children in a long time.  The 30 second ad playing on local media has pictures of crashed buses, while a voice talks about how inexperienced drivers and “for profit” companies will put your children at risk.  Also, in the background are children singing “the wheels on the bus”.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=DyGG_WzAdJs.  The ad is so despicable in so many ways.  No one is calling for less qualified drivers.  In fact, there is nothing keeping the possible new company from hiring all existing drivers.  The current company who the drivers work for is “for profit”, and private already!  The ad is basically laying out the case for ‘no change or your children will die’, and it is probably just a coincidence that this sounds like blackmail.

Whenever someone advocating a position is surrounded by children or invokes “protecting the children”, we should all know that the manure is about to start flowing and run to turn off the broadcast.  If their argument could stand on its own merits, they wouldn’t need the children.  We live in the age of communication, with more outlets for information than ever before.  This type of sideshow pitch should not work with today’s highly educated, highly informed public.  This tactic is as common as ever, so it must work.  Otherwise, why would they continue to do it?

Christian Damnation

There’s a pervasive misnomer in society which suggests that America is a Christian nation of some kind.  More specifically, that America was founded on Christian values.  It’s not.  And it wasn’t.  America is a free democracy, not a Christian theocracy.  That’s why there has never once in our history been an instance of legislation, policy or decision making which references a Christian foundation.  When was the last time a lawmaker or official said, “Well, we are a Christian nation and Christ says ‘xyz’.  So let’s do ‘xyz’.”  The idea of Christian foundation is nothing more than tired rhetoric from religious flakes who are either trying to indulge their arrogance or satiate their insecurity.Preacher

I have searched high and low to find any spiritual reference or reference to a higher power in any of our country’s writings or legislation and the few places where it shows up don’t even have anything to do with Christianity.  We have ‘In God We Trust’ on our currency which is little more than some formalized looking slogan of sorts.  We mention God in our Pledge of Allegiance.  We mention it secondarily to the colorful flag itself.  Some courtrooms still use “So help you God” in a witness’s oath.  When it is used, I wonder if jurors are then more so convinced the witness’s testimony will in fact be the truth.  Even in the constitution, the few references to a higher power come in terms like ‘creator’ and ‘inalienable rights’. 

“The founding fathers who wrote our constitution were all Christian.”  This is a defense which is often trumpeted by the spiritual brain wash victims who feel they must link their faith to their patriotism.  Well, even if that’s partly true, the founding fathers who wrote our constitution were also all male.  They were all white.  They were all heterosexual (as far as we know).   I guess it makes just as much sense to say this country was founded on white, male, heterosexual values.  How can people be so arrogant as to decide which of our founding fathers’ common traits is the trait which signingserved as their primary motivation in writing the constitution?  And if there was a foundation of values which served as the impetus in writing the constitution, don’t you think the founding fathers would have mentioned it?  The constitution is one of the most clearly written documents in history.  They belabored over every portion of it to avoid any confusion or ambiguity.  Yet, its supposed foundation of Christianity was left to be some kind of cryptic cipher or a Where’s Waldo search?  That would be like writing the Communist Manifesto without ever once mentioning socialism.

A further constipation of thought in claiming Christian foundation within our constitution is to suggest that the rules and laws and values in the constitution mirror those of Christianity.  Once again, how dare anyone suggest that’s where the motivation must have come from?  Had none of the founding fathers ever been associated with Christianity, don’t you think they would still have been able to make laws under the constitution making murder illegal?  The fact that murder is bad was a notion shared by just about every civilization prior to America.   Are Christians so arrogant as to think they had cornered the market on that notion?   

After conceding to the fact that there’s no means of proving Christian foundation through anything that’s written, a lot of bible thumping nuts will then resort to claiming this is a Christian nation simply because Christians account for over 60% of the population.  Is that all it takes?  Any numerical majority status within the population is grounds to title that nation accordingly?   If that’s the case, then titling America as a Christian nation counts just as much as titling it a white nation.  A heterosexual nation; A right handed nation; An overweight nation; A nation who doesn’t like anchovies.  Etc, etc, etc…

constitutionTrue faith is a very introspective entity.  It manifests itself in body, mind, heart and soul.  It shouldn’t be some badge that has to be worn on the sleeve.  A true believer should not have to validate their beliefs by insisting those beliefs serve as the foundation of their country’s structure.  If you feel compelled to satisfy the term ‘foundation’ with reference to our country why not simply say this is a nation which was founded on ideals like life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness?  Although, Christians will probably claim they invented those ideals.  If they didn’t, then it must have been Al Gore.

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