Saturday, November 29, 2008

Stuff White Christians Like

One of my favorite blogs is If you're not familiar, it is the definitive guide to stuff white (liberal) people like. Stuff white people like includes: awareness, gifted children, knowing what's best for poor people, hating corporations, comparing people to Hitler... you get the idea.

I am pleased to present a shameless ripoff blog: Stuff White Christians Like at Any suggestion that I am posting stuff white Christians like under the pen name Abraham Calvin is preposterous! And the other poster, Luther Zwingli is certainly not a pen name for a good friend and frequent commenter on this blog - equally preposterous.

Stuff White Christians Like officially launched Saturday night at 11:59 pm CST. Because the posters wouldn't dream of blogging on the Sabbath, there will be a new post every Saturday night at 11:59.

I hope you like it. Feel free to pass on the link to friends and email stuff white Christians like to abrahamcalvin at

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving! Last year I posted the real story of Thanksgiving (as told by Rush Limbaugh) and I'll do so again.

On August 1, 1620, the Mayflower set sail. It carried a total of 102 passengers, including forty Pilgrims led by William Bradford... But this was no pleasure cruise, friends. The journey to the New World was a long and arduous one. And when the Pilgrims landed in New England in November, they found, according to Bradford's detailed journal, a cold, barren, desolate wilderness... And the sacrifice they had made for freedom was just beginning. During the first winter, half the Pilgrims -- including Bradford's own wife -- died of either starvation, sickness, or exposure.

When spring finally came, Indians taught the settlers how to plant corn, fish for cod and skin beavers for coats. Life improved for the Pilgrims, but they did not yet prosper! This is important to understand because this is where modern American history lessons often end. Thanksgiving is actually explained in some textbooks as a holiday for which the Pilgrims gave thanks to the Indians for saving their lives, rather than as a devout expression of gratitude grounded in the tradition of both the Old and New Testaments. Here is the part that has been omitted: The original contract the Pilgrims had entered into with their merchant-sponsors in London called for everything they produced to go into a common store, and each member of the community was entitled to one common share. All of the land they cleared and the houses they built belong to the community as well. They were collectivists! Now, Bradford, who had become the new governor of the colony, recognized that this form of collectivism was as costly and destructive to the Pilgrims as that first harsh winter, which had taken so many lives. He decided to take bold action.

Bradford assigned a plot of land to each family to work and manage, thus turning loose the power of the marketplace... Long before Karl Marx was even born, the Pilgrims had discovered and experimented with what could only be described as socialism. And what happened? It didn't work! Surprise, surprise, huh? What Bradford and his community found was that the most creative and industrious people had no incentive to work any harder than anyone else, unless they could utilize the power of personal motivation! But while most of the rest of the world has been experimenting with socialism for well over a hundred years -- trying to refine it, perfect it, and re-invent it -- the Pilgrims decided early on to scrap it permanently. What Bradford wrote about this social experiment should be in every schoolchild's history lesson. If it were, we might prevent much needless suffering in the future. Here's what he wrote: 'For this community [so far as it was] was found to breed much confusion and discontent, and retard much employment that would have been to their benefit and comfort. For young men that were most able and fit for labor and service did repine that they should spend their time and strength to work for other men's wives and children without any recompense...that was thought injustice.' That was thought injustice. Do you hear what he was saying, ladies and gentlemen? The Pilgrims found that people could not be expected to do their best work without incentive. So what did Bradford's community try next? They unharnessed the power of good old free enterprise by invoking the undergirding capitalistic principle of private property. Every family was assigned its own plot of land to work and permitted to market its own crops and products. And what was the result? 'This had very good success,' wrote Bradford, 'for it made all hands industrious, so as much more corn was planted than otherwise would have been'... In no time, the Pilgrims found they had more food than they could eat themselves... So they set up trading posts and exchanged goods with the Indians.

The profits allowed them to pay off their debts to the merchants in London. And the success and prosperity of the Plymouth settlement attracted more Europeans and began what came to be known as the 'Great Puritan Migration'.

Monday, November 24, 2008

47 Million Uninsured

Obama's health care plan is a well disguised march toward socialized medicine, as I wrote earlier. When this debate begins to heat up sometime next year, the media will be sure to beat us over the head with the "47 million uninsured" line. Let's break down these 47 million people.

  • 10 million are not U.S. citizens.
  • 8.3 million make between $50,000 and $74,999.
  • 8.7 million make over $75,000.
  • 45% (21 million) will be insured within 4 months. There are always people between jobs who are counted as uninsured.
  • 15 million already qualify for existing government health care.
17 million who can afford health insurance but choose not to purchase it + 15 million who only need to sign up for government health care they already qualify for + 10 million non-citizens = 42 million. Out of the additional 5 million, 2 million or more will have insurance in the next four months.

Really we're talking about 3 million people or 1% of the population. This is not a crisis requiring a massive government takeover of 1/7 of our economy. Allowing people to buy health coverage across state lines would allow many more people to afford health care without higher taxes and government intrusion. For example, the average premium for family coverage in America is about $5,800. In New York the average is $12,250 because of over regulation. It is currently illegal for a New Yorker to buy cheaper health insurance from out of state and the President-elect is opposed to any legislation that would change this situation.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Media Bias

This video is incredible. Obama voters could tell you about Palin's daughter and her clothes but have no idea who Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, or Bill Ayers is. They attribute Tina Fey's lines on SNL to Sarah Palin yet are unaware of any Obama/Biden gaffes. They're sure they want change, yet they think the Republicans control Congress.

The point is not that Obama voters are less intelligent, it is that the media abandoned any pretense of objectivity during this campaign.

See more at

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Don't Bail Out the Big Three

GM, Ford and Chrysler are in big trouble. The Feds recently authorized a $25 billion loan, now they are debating another $25 billion infusion for the cash strapped automakers. The Big Three have caved to union demands for decades, driving up their cost for each automobile. They pay workers over $70/hour on average plus enormous health and pension costs. Similar, non-union workers making Honda and Toyota cars (in the U.S.) make $40-50 an hour. Honda and Toyota are making better cars and they are making them cheaper. Another $25 billion isn't going to change that. The Big Three will continue to hemorrhage money (GM lost $7 billion in the third quarter of this year) and before long their lobbyists will be back on the Capitol steps asking for more.

Democrats favoring this new bailout paint doomsday scenarios resulting from a collapse of the Big Three. However, these companies wouldn't close their doors and layoff all their employees. They would file bankruptcy and restructure their organization. This would allow them to get out of the ridiculous union contracts that are weighing them down. They still have valuable brands and could emerge from bankruptcy with a much better chance for long term success. The airline industry went through this a few years ago and is much stronger for it.

An essential element of capitalism is "creative destruction". Once successful firms are often outmaneuvered by newer, smarter, more innovative firms. The 8-Track was replaced by the cassette, then the compact disc, and now by the MP3 player. The Big Three's way of doing business was once very profitable, but now is causing billions in losses every quarter. Creative destruction is usually a painful process, as people may lose jobs. However, the process leads to more opportunity and productivity in the long run. Propping up the automakers with taxpayer money is unfair to its competitors and the larger population that benefits from economic growth and lower taxes. And if we prop up the failing domestic automakers, who else should we bail out? Should any failing business of a certain size get a multi-billion dollar bailout? We can't afford to manage the economy in this way.

The Democrats are in a tight spot. Do they do what's best for the country and allow the Big Three to go bankrupt or do they side with the powerful unions that are an important part of their base? Pelosi and House Democrats are crafting a bill that would provide the cash, but force the automakers to accept fuel efficiency standards that would make them even more unprofitable. If making smaller cars is good for business, they will do so without a mandate. However, their best competitive advantage over Honda and Toyota are their trucks and SUVs. It appears that Pelosi is using this bill to placate two special interest groups: the unions and the environmentalists.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Conservatives and Charity

Democrats are making an effort to peel off evangelical Christians from the Republican base by stressing their commitment to "social justice." Conservatives are not very good at talking about the poor and are often assumed to be greedy and uncaring.

To start, social justice, as promoted by the left, is based on the false premise that inequality is evidence of injustice. Inequality is portrayed as a societal problem to be remedied by government. However, I think most people would agree that people choose different paths in life and some acquire skills that are more useful to society than others. The fact that a brain surgeon, who after years of training makes more money than a fast food worker should surprise and upset no one. The chance to make more money than the fast food worker probably played a part in the surgeon's desire to complete the necessary training. People have a right to life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness and equal protection under the law. People do not have a right to economic equality.

Although the poor are not, as a rule, being denied justice, that does not mean we are free of responsibility to help them. Liberals have labeled conservatives as greedy and uncaring because we oppose income redistribution, however, Arthur C. Brooks' research in his book Who Really Cares shows that label to be the furthest thing from the truth. Brooks found that in the U.S., conservatives actually give more of their money to charity than liberals.

Brooks defined "liberals" as the 30% of the population calling themselves "liberal" or "very liberal" and conservatives as the 40% of the population calling themselves "conservative" or "very conservative." He was surprised to find that in 2000, conservative households gave 30% more than liberal households, even though liberal households earned 6% more on average. 24 out of 25 of the most giving states (charitable gifts/adjusted gross income) went for Bush in the 2000 election.

Brooks saw an even bigger difference when people were asked whether "the government has a responsibility to reduce income inequality." This is the crux of the argument between fiscal conservatism and liberalism. The 43% who disagreed with the statement gave 12 times as much as those who agreed strongly. The difference also carried over into volunteer hours and blood donation.

Many (certainly not all) liberals substitute political opinions for private giving while conservatives are more likely to actually give and volunteer. Favoring tax policies that "donate" other people's money is not charity and opposing them is not greed.

So conservatives do care about the poor. Why do we oppose income redistribution? It takes away economic freedom and stifles opportunity. Punitive tax policies reduce incentives to be productive. Less production means less opportunity. As Ronald Reagan once said: "I believe the best social program is a job." Private charities are much more efficient than government. Thoughtful givers can focus their gifts on efforts that help lift people out of poverty while government programs tend to keep poor people dependent and, well, poor. What's more, Brooks' research shows that these programs depress charitable giving.

I fear that President-elect Obama's policies will not help the poor. Instead his policies are likely to make them more dependent on government and reduce their opportunities to help themselves. I believe conservative policies are better for everyone, we just need to get better at explaining them.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Obamanomics is Coming

Faced with challenging economic times, Obama's remedies all discourage work, investment, and job growth when we need more of all three. Another stimulus check? This is nothing more than redistribution of wealth and the recipients are likely to just stick the money in their bank account. Longer unemployment benefits may or may not be necessary, but any benefit should be weighed against the cost: the unemployed will wait longer before finding a new job. Taking away workers' right to a secret ballot on the decision to form a union will hurt job growth and is fundamentally unjust. Raising capital gains taxes and corporate taxes dissuades investors from creating jobs in this country and will send capital overseas. I'm sure China and India won't mind.

Obama named Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm to his economic advisory team. Maybe she can share her policy secrets for Michigan's booming economy with the rest of the nation. As Phil Gramm and Mike Solon note in the Wall Street Journal, states still have some freedom in their own economic policies. The effectiveness of state policies will be evident in movement of people into the state, increased per-capita income and employment growth.

A study that ranked states according to these three factors found that from 1996-2006, Texas, Florida and Arizona were the three most successful states. The three worst were Illinois, Ohio and Michigan. A third of all new jobs created during this ten year period came from Texas (1.7 million), Florida (1.4 millions) and Arizona (.6 million). Illinois gained only 122k, Ohio lost 63k and Michigan lost 318k jobs and the citizens of these states saw their real income increase by just 58% of the national average.

Economic policies matter. The successful states have lower taxes, lower government spending and they are right-to-work states (employees are not forced to join or contribute to unions). The least successful states promote all powerful unions and have a higher minimum wage, yet their workers make far less.

Obama promises to bring the economic policies of Illinois, Ohio and Michigan to the nation.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Post-Racial America?

Here's a column from the LA Times by Shelby Steele that I think gets to the heart of the argument that erupted on this blog yesterday. While some celebrate Obama's presidency as a great cultural victory that represents some kind of new, post-racial America, race was clearly an important factor in the election.

Obama's ideas are nothing new, yet he is being hailed as a great visionary who will not just change government, but America. As Steele notes:
On the level of public policy, he was quite unremarkable. His economics were the redistributive axioms of old-fashioned Keynesianism; his social thought was recycled Great Society. But all this policy boilerplate was freshened up -- given an air of 'change' -- by the dreamy post-racial and post-ideological kitsch he dressed it in.

Race indeed explains much of Obama's attractiveness to the electorate. For whites, supporting Obama presented a way to escape the stigma of racism. For blacks, the stigma of feeling somehow inferior:
When whites -- especially today's younger generation -- proudly support Obama for his post-racialism, they unwittingly embrace race as their primary motivation. They think and act racially, not post-racially. The point is that a post-racial society is a bargainer's ploy: It seduces whites with a vision of their racial innocence precisely to coerce them into acting out of a racial motivation. A real post-racialist could not be bargained with and would not care about displaying or documenting his racial innocence. Such a person would evaluate Obama politically rather than culturally.

A truly post-racial voter would support a candidate based solely on his or her character and positions on the issues. A post-racial America did not go to the polls on Tuesday.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Center-Right? Yeah Right

One thing is certain, President-elect Obama will be less popular a year from now. How crazy is it that someone could earn the support of everyone from Louis Farrakhan, Rev. Wright and Jesse Jackson to Christopher Buckley and Colin Powell? Obama has to disappoint someone. Many expect him to lead as a center-right President (Newsweek cover a week ago). Others expect and hope for massive wealth redistribution, immediate removal of troops from Iraq, cradle to grave entitlements, socialized medicine and a college football playoff.

Those promoting the center-right theory are deluding themselves. Nothing in Obama's past suggests this is even a remote possibility, especially with the Democrats dominating Congress. Bill Clinton could be considered a moderate Democrat only because the Republican controlled Congress kept him in check. The country will be taken way left. Obama has promised to raise income taxes on the moderately wealthy, he will raise capital gains taxes and corporate taxes. He said his first priority is to pass the Freedom of Choice Act, which legalizes partial birth abortion and requires the tax payers to pay for abortion. He is unfriendly toward free trade. Obama promised to pass the Employee Free Choice Act, which is the exact opposite of how it sounds. It does away with secret ballots for employees considering unionizing and allows union thugs to intimidate people into voting to unionize. Small business owners are terrified by the prospect of this legislation. His health plan will likely result in socialized medicine. He favors driver's licenses for illegal immigrants.

These are not "center-right" ideas. They are leftist ideas. I am inclined to believe that the Francisco nut job wing of the Democrat Party are going to happy and moderates are going to have big regrets. I hope I'm wrong.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Historic Night

A sad day for individual liberty.
A sad day for the unborn.
A sad day for limited government.
A sad day for free speech.
A sad day for taxpayers.

A victory for style over substance.
A victory for eloquence over character.
A victory for socialism over capitalism.

A historic night: the first socialist elected President of the United States.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Obama and Abortion

We all know that Obama is an abortion extremist - he has argued that infanticide should be legal for babies that survive abortions and pledged to pass federal legislation allowing partial birth abortion in all circumstances and requiring the tax payers to pay for abortions. He will probably get to appoint two Supreme Court Justices and they will be just as radical as he is. This will guarantee that Roe v. Wade will not be overturned in our lifetimes, leading to the deaths of millions of unborn babies (3,000 a day currently).

My questions for Obama voters: what are the Obama policies that will outweigh this great evil? What good can he possibly accomplish that will make up for millions of dead babies? While some of you would be excited by an Obama victory - would it at least be bittersweet, knowing that the pro-life fight (from a legal standpoint) will be lost?