Monday, October 26, 2009

Language and Politics

Politicians and reporters sometimes have an awfully bad way of throwing fuel to the fire. Misrepresenting history, people, and plans through vague language is just one of them. The reasoning is oftentimes very simple: people in power want to ease the fears of their constituents. However, journalists sometimes have the tendency to do the same with their readers. I think the former is understandable. But the second, the journalists who intentionally misrepresent history, people, and plans, is as perplexing as it is infuriating.

What good is it when writers for big publications, such as U.S. News & World Report, call men like Ben Bernanke and former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan laissez faire, although their policies have spoken differently? After all, laissez faire is French for “leave alone.” And the current and former Federal Reserve Chairmen are certainly not innocent of not intervening in the economy.

Is there any good in politicians not being honest when they do wrong? I once heard that it is better to believe a man is speaking mistakenly unintentionally, than to accuse a man of intentionally telling something wrong. Hopefully, the former is true, but sometimes I can’t shake the feeling that some politicians do know they are skewing the truth.

For instance, when Obama said “we brought the global economy back from the brink” during his speech at the G-20 meeting a few weeks ago, listeners have to wonder what exactly does that mean. Listeners would also have to question how they did that over the course of a meeting. What kind of action could the G-20 nations have taken that could have caused such a quick reversal?

Also, how many times will they tell us they brought our economy back from the brink? Why do they have to tell us this at one-month to two-month intervals? If they keeping telling us this at this rate, doesn't it suggest that they incapable of permanently sustaining the economy? Doesn't it suggest stimulus is what it is, temporary. Why can't they permanently do this?

Or how about during the same speech Obama said “because of the bold and coordinated action” millions of jobs have been “saved or created.” These terms have resurfaced in various places in 2009: the health care speech, the G-20 speech, and even his most recent Youtube weekly address. Listeners also have to ask which one is it. Which jobs were saved and created? We know now; it is the thousands, not millions, of government jobs that were saved. Hardly any stimulus money (not that we need it) is reaching the private sector.

Politicians also have a really good way of misleading the American public into believing that things are getting better – especially when they are not. Pay attention to the language in President Obama’s weekly address last week. “Perhaps transform the economy." President Obama is still using the same ambiguous language that made me skeptical of his economic “wisdom” during his presidential campaign.

Or how about on October 19 when the Associated Press’ Julie Pace interviewed Jared Bernstein, the Executive Director of the White House Middle Class Task Force, and he said that they money received from stimulus dollars will be used to “buy more groceries, more furnishings, you name it, that causes more economic activity and jobs in and of itself.” Yes, maybe a temporary stimulus effect may become visible, but at the expense of injecting more money into the economy, thus causing inflation and the progressive devaluation of our dollar; talk about "change" we can believe in and "change" we can see.

The time will come when people will begin to trust their eyes more than their ears. They will see when the rhetoric does not match up with the reality. When that time comes, I hope politicians have more than rhetoric to ease the discontent of the people.

Repealing Minimum Wage Saves Jobs, Helps Poor

Last Wednesday, Dr. Margaret McGuiness gave a speech on entitled “How Should the Church Take Care of the Poor?” During her presentation she opened up the floor to the audience and invited their suggestions to help those living in poverty. Several of the suggestions included ones I agree with. Others I did not. Among those I disagreed with was the suggestion that we should raise the federal minimum wage.

For decades people thought that raising the minimum wage actually helps the poor. In fact, it does exactly the opposite.

We have to realize that low wages are a good thing if that is what the job is worth. They keep people employed. We have to keep this in mind when considering the morality behind repealing the minimum wage. Let's see how this would work within the framework of several moral theories.

Utilitarianism states that it wants the greatest good for the greatest number of people. Repealing the minimum wage should be attractive to the utilitarian because it creates more jobs for more people. Yes, the wages will be less. But at least people will have jobs. Perhaps this way people will learn how to save more and increase their capital.

For the consequentialist, that is those who do something primarily for the reason that it produces good consequences, would also find this appealing. If a consequentialist were to ask me to raise the minimum wage, I would respond to him with the following question: Have you weighed the consequences? If he followed his consequentialism to its logical conclusions, he would have to agree with me (to see how read my scenario below). He would have to agree that reducing the minimum wage has good consequences; it keeps jobs for the poor.

What about the group egoists? How would they feel about the minimum wage ban? According to Lawrence H. Hinman, group egoists would say that their response requires them to "set aside self-interest and respond directly to relieve the suffering of others, even [if]...sacrifices [must be made]." Well, this wouldn't be too hard for the group egoists either. Once they understood that more jobs would be created through the repeal of minimum wage laws, how could they resist? Wouldn't advocating the repeal of this law qualify for the response to "directly relieve the suffering of others?" Even more appealing would be that no sacrifices would be made!

Finally, what about the libertarians? First, libertarianism (which overlaps with my personal belief in the Bible and my constitutionalism) says that, according to Hinman, "hold[s] the right to property to be practically as strong as the right to life." Also, libertarianism says that "that government has very few, if any, rights to deprive individuals of their property." Libertarians then see the minimum wage as nearly theft from the person demanding minimum wage, or minimum wage increase.

Forcing employers to pay a minimum wage is unjust. To see how this works, let’s take my website,, for example. As owner and chief operator of my site, I have saved enough capital in order to begin to hire employees. I decide I want to hire an editor and a graphic design artist to maintain the site. Our revenue is based mainly upon $1 monthly subscriber payments. On our first month we have about 2000 subscriptions and our earnings are $2000. My employees are paid $3 per hour and work eight-hour shifts five times a week for one month. These are low-skilled workers and they leave happy each month with $480 each. I am worth $6 an hour and receive $960 a month. That leaves our total spent on payroll at $1920. This leaves the company with an $80 surplus to save and possibly use for improving the quality of services, or bonuses, which will leave workers wanting to increase their productivity.

Our business does so well that I decide on the second month I want to reduce the price of subscriptions to $0.90 to gain more subscriptions. But immediately I am told by an outside agency that I must raise the wage I pay my workers to a minimum $4.50 because it will improve their quality of living. This means I must at least rake in either $1,840 more worth in subscriptions each month via an increase in subscribers, inflate the price of the subscription, or cut one job in order to keep the company afloat.

The first option is unfeasible. I would have to find 1,840 more subscribers in order to keep my workers on their payroll. The second one is also unlikely. If I inflate the subscription price to $1.92, a 92 percent increase, it will prove unpopular and unaffordable for many of my subscribers. Also, it hurts my subscribers because now they have to pay 92 percent more out of their incomes which could easily be directed toward their personal savings. The third option seems to be the only alternative. One employee must lose his job in order for me to keep my subscribers paying low costs. I take the third option.

At the end of the day, has maintained its revenue. However, the site did so at expense of a worker. This example is exactly what can happen, and has happened, when the minimum wage is raised; it represented a 150 percent increase in wages in one month - it is a jump that is unrealistic. But, this is close to what happened over four years (2006-2009) when the minimum wage jumped from $5.15 in 2006 to $7.25 in 2009, a 140.77 percent increase over time. Obviously, such a jump would never work in reality (the one-month jump). That's why it works better over time. It causes a slow inflation to creep in. It's pretty slick.

During a recession, people shouldn’t be suggesting that to help the poor the minimum wage should be raised. In fact, the exact opposite should happen. They should pressure their government to abolish the minimum wage. That way, employers would be free to set prices as low as they want.

Related Articles:
Minimum Wage Protects the Rich

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Let’s Not Forget Why We Don’t Listen to Hitchens

On September 7, everyone’s favorite “anti-theist” wrote an article that concluded with sappy pathos and not enough appeals to the U.S. Constitution or the appeals of the greater American population to justify the war in the Middle East. In his article, written for Slate magazine titled “Let’s Not Forget Why We Are in Iraq and Afghanistan,” Christopher Hitchens attempts to justify the wars with the following: “to make up for past crimes of both omission and commission and to help safeguard emergent systems of self-government that have the same deadly enemies as we do and to which…we gave our word.”

Perhaps I am misreading Hitchens, and he is merely reminding us of why we got in to Iraq and Afghanistan in the first place. But either way, and unfortunately, this kind of justification completely ignores what the constitutional limits of government are and couldn’t pass the Preamble of the Constitution - which was created to “provide for the common defence” and “promote the General Welfare” of the United States of America. As you will soon find out, the wars in the Middle East have done the exact opposite.

There is no economic justification for ever going into Iraq or Afghanistan. Since 2001, both wars have costs U.S. taxpayers over $900 billion, according to estimates from the National Priorities Project. In an economy that has an incredible shrinking dollar, that is, the dollar’s purchasing power has decreased by nearly 95%, there is no reason to spend tax payer money overseas. Want to know how much the current dollar is really worth in 1776 dollars? According to, “$24.45 in the year 2008 has the same "purchase power" as $1 in the year 1776.” It seems to be grand theft what we have allowed the Federal Reserve to do.

But is seems to be even more of a grand theft to fall into the plan of Osama Bin Laden. It was, after all, his plan to bleed America to the point of bankruptcy. Well, it has been five years since he made that statement and we are broke.

Consider the estimated price of war as of September 7, 2009. In Pennsylvania, both wars have cost taxpayers $34,581,137,000 and counting. In Bucks County, both wars cost $2,506,115,000 and counting. In Philadelphia County, both wars cost about $3,275,865,000. These numbers should be alarming for the politically apathetic and involved.

Also, consider the report by the New York Times last March. They reported that a troop withdrawal would cost $388 billion for a quick withdrawal and a $867 billion price tag for a slower one. Both numbers are insanely large but anyone ought to choose the smaller amount - now!

So much for fighting those “deadly enemies” abroad, the Taliban and Al-Qaeda forces have strengthened while the U.S. forces have weakened. The deadliest attacks and the highest rates of death among U.S. soldiers have been at their highest in August. And, the violence and losses are expected to increase in coming months. Those fighting for the “common defence” are weakening ours and not helping the Afghans or Iraqis.

The war, like most of the government's projects, was supposed to start out small, short and effective but end ups becoming a bloated, unmanageable mess. It is, the calculating how effective the war will be, a more speculative practice than predicting the up and downs on the stock market – unless, of course, the seer is Libertarian financial expert Peter Schiff.

The war, with all its good intentions of helping safeguard “emergent systems of self-government” is not ours to fight. Iraqis and Afghans need there own Declaration and War of Independence. We are depriving them of that honor and in the process siphoning off billions of dollars from the U.S. Treasury unnecessarily.

Interestingly enough, within the pages of God is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything Hitchens writes: “Our belief is not a belief. Our principles are not a faith…we distrust anything that contradicts science or outrages reason.” So according to his own logic, he would distrust the very views he espoused last September; because his every justification contradicts the common sense of economics and stultifies reason.

This whole brouhaha makes me think back to the Republican campaigns of 2007 when Ron Paul was being interviewed by Sean Hannity about his position on U.S. foreign policy. Of course, Congressman Paul never supported the war whereas Hannity did. In that interview, Hannity attempted to justify U.S. intervention overseas by making U.S. non-intervention in foreign affairs seem immoral.

When Sean Hannity and Christopher Hitchens agree that America has a moral obligation to defend the people of Iraq and Afghanistan, you know from the agreement alone that something is fundamentally wrong with that picture. Let there be an end to war in sight.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Investing in Preparation for a Hyperinflationary Environment

Some general rules of thumb:

[1] The U.S. Stock Market is not a good place to start. If you have never invested before, opening a brokerage account may cost you more than it will help you. For example, opening an account with Fidelity will cost you around $2,500. Do you have $2,500 to spare? Do you have enough to buy $7 per share? How many shares would you buy? Will you have money left over to pay for bills and food? Did you know some of the minimum deposits for some accounts begin at $10,000 and the cheapest being $500? Can you afford that? These are some of the questions you should ask yourself before diving into the stock market.

P.S. The only stocks that look as if they will do good are Gold Stocks, Silver Mining Stocks, and Oil and Natural Gas. Some of these stocks are really low (beginning at $1.69 per share; $6.95; $12.95, etc, these are general prices for demonstrative purposes only) Others are already as high as $2,000 per share (these are mainly the oil stocks)

[2] Gold is more valuable than silver, period. Gold ended today at $1,042.26. Silver ended at $17.38. Get my point.

[3] Gold is rarer than silver. Silver is used for industrial purposes because it is more common. Nobody uses Gold for industry.

[4] Gold is an inflation hedge. More people are buying gold than ever before to protect their money. (I was recently told that gold is better used for the recovery period i.e. post-depression. I will rebut that with more facts later.)

[5] Stay liquid. "Liquidity" basically means keeping money in your pocket to spend. It also means keeping money in your pocket to save.

[6] Here is a recent article on Gold. Check it out.

[7] Some gold companies require you to make a minimum purchase of $10,000. Sound familiar? Perhaps you are better buying a year's worth of dry food to eat in the case of food inflation. (Especially if you live in an urban area.)

[8] Here is another website giving basic information on the history of gold, investment tips, and more. I highly recommend it.

....More to come later.....

Monday, October 5, 2009

Hollywood Tells the Truth about the Obamas

Big Bird: Maybe you're here to finally show your husband's United States Birth Certificate?
Michelle: No, Big Bird. I'm not.
Big Bird: That's cause you can't!

(P.S. I'm not a birther)

The Saturday Night Live scene depicted Obama as doing absolutely nothing since he got into office. Obama is seen refuting critics' claims that he is leading the country into socialism. Why? Because he has done absolutely nothing in office to get there. It is a clever skit.

A Youtube page I am subscribed to uploaded these two very funny videos. Sadly, that Youtube channel I am subscribed to no longer exists today.

Unfortunately, some videos of SNL spoofing Obama's accomplishments are no longer available online. A lot of them are being restricted "due to copyright restrictions." The few videos that I've watched yesterday are no longer available today. I did manage to find this one.

I don't think it is too much of a big deal. But is very interesting considering many other Youtube pages I am subscribed to have been shut down in recent days. They also seem to be channels with a conservative bent. Of course, speculating whether this is liberal media bias is exactly that, speculating. All you have to do to disprove this is show an even amount of liberal Youtube channels being shut down (the whole feat would be hard to do anyway. Where would you begin if they are already shut down? Where is the database that records such information?).

I am familiar with the process. For example, on my Youtube page I had a video using Lauryn Hill's song behind a slide show of one of my videos. I received a warning for that. Perhaps, the accounts that were cut off were repeatedly uploading videos that they had no right to. Even the copyright page says to "Be sure that all components of your video are your original creation—even the audio portion." But if this is the case, unless there are other legal elements I am missing out on, there are plenty of videos that are not completely original. In fact, there are Youtube channels that are entirely unoriginal. I wonder what that would mean for all those accounts?

That's interesting, considering I just took screen shots of the Obama videos yesterday! Is this liberal media bias striking again? Or is Youtube just getting better at cracking down on illegal videos? Is Youtube in cahoots with the Administration (I don't think so and probably not likely) or possibly being informed by honest youtubers about infringement rights (more likely)? Maybe youtube is actually enforcing policy (most likely)? So I guess that means the millions of other videos that are violating rights are going to be restricted now too right? Perhaps Youtube is enforcing copyright policies. Although I become quite curious to why they only enforce policy when it comes to criticism of the Obama administration. Hmmm? Eh, I'd give Youtube the benefit of the doubt in some cases. Perhaps I'm seeing something that isn't there.

From this point on, shouldn't we expect every single SNL skit illegally uploaded to be closed down as well? Yes, I think we should, and hopefully it happens. If Youtube wants to call this "clamping down" on bad accounts, maybe it should start enforcing the policy across the board. This would actually help the networks that upload these videos, since it will give them incentive to create their own video channels and therefore draw more viewers to their networks. Actually networks already have. NBC has a SNL channel online.

See, consistency isn't a bad thing. Consistency should just begin with someone other than the president.

Oh and guess what. The account which uploaded the video in the second snapshot is now closed. Here's proof:

The only videos that I've seen so far even addressing the spoof are ones like these.

By the way, Youtube is not clamping down on all SNL skits. Plenty of other users still have SNL skits up. Even ones about Obama. Check out this one. If they are consistent, I'd expect to see more videos that violate copyright infringement shut down. Perhaps the very links I provide will no longer be available in a few days. I'll wait and see.

Lastly, this sketch stirred up so much controversy that Politifact fact-checked the skit. See here.

So what is the verdict? Most likely Youtube is clamping down on those bad accounts. But I wonder if all those MSNBC videos, NBC videos, full-length movies, Fox News videos, and every other video that people ripped without permission will get closed down too. If they are, it will be a lot of accounts closed down.

I'll find out the copyright information soon. Here is some more legal information:
[1] Fair Use

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Economics - Christian Worldview

Christianity has an excellent economic philosophy. Here is a video that sums up what Christianity teaches about economics. Click here.

The Necessity of a Christian Economic Worldview

I just wanted to reflect on something that I noticed as I've been visiting different churches lately. I want to talk about something that happened this last weekend though. At this church, the preacher preached the Gospel of Jesus Christ and his message contrasted Jesus' suffering with the hard times we are experiencing now. I agree with the pastor that no one has suffered a worse beating, crucifixion, humiliation, etc than Jesus. Isaiah 53 predicts the horrors of this suffering that didn't come to pass until the time of Jesus. Yes, he was trying to bring souls in the Kingdom - and Isaiah 53 is a perfect apologetic to do so - and I am glad he did that.

However, I feel as though many pastors (not all) have a woefully deficient Christian Economic Worldview. No one is preaching about how to live in rough economic times. No one seems to know that times are getting harder, or why it is happening, and going to get way worse due to government intervention in the economy (past presidents, current president, and several government agencies and there's more...). No one seems to know what the Bible says about economics. It is as if they think God is the God of your soul's salvation alone, and not the present world. And even if that isn't the case, and they believe God is the God of all, including economics, then they certainly haven't sat down and explained it to us. I think there is truth to both cases.

All I am saying is that even Christians, too, have just as much false sense of security as those lost in the world (as we say in Christian-speak) because of their lack of knowledge of what God has to say about their lives.

I'll end with three points.

Christians should learn about hyperinflation and teach their congregations how to prepare for it.

Christians should seek to God's will in every area of life, including law, economics, government, education, etc - Literally every area of life!

Christians should
still remain strong because God has already granted them victory.

There are a few Christians though (and they aren't pastors) that have picked up the mantle of a total Christian worldview and applied Biblical principles to the current economic situation. The results are amazing. One Christian has been doing this for decades. His name is Dr. Gary North.

Dr. North has written a 10,000 page economic commentary on the Bible. You can download them for free here:

He has also written "An Introduction to Christian Economics" which you can download for $2.95. You can also sign up for $14.95 a month and become a member to get advice, personal advice. I am a member, and I ask questions all the time. And guess what, I have them answered from a Christian Economic Worldview. You can quit your subscription anytime. It is a good deal.

Also, if you want to know about how to prepare for the next stage of the economic downturn, visit . Visit the article links and read the link that says "How to Survive Hyperinflation."

Saturday, October 3, 2009

A Spike in my Youtube Views

I guess all it takes for your Youtube video hits to increase is to upload a video of someone famous. In this case it was Peter Schiff. On September 20, 2009 Schiff came to the Four Points by Sheraton in Philadelphia to give a three-hour lecture on the U.S. economy, his Senate run, China, and more.

Unfortunately, I didn't plan on recording video that day so I only got about 54 minutes of the lecture (I had my camera to take a photo with him).

To visit my Youtube page click the videos on the right of your screen. To see the Schiff Lecture in full, click here:

Schiff Lecture in Philadelphia

WCF Chapter One "Of Holy Scripture" Sunday School (Sept.-Oct. 2021)

Our text for Sunday School (also "The Confession of Faith and Catechisms") Biblical Theology Bites What is "Biblical Theology...