Wednesday, November 24, 2010


"On August 1, 1620, the Mayflower set sail. It carried a total of 102 passengers, including forty Pilgrims led by William Bradford. On the journey, Bradford set up an agreement, a contract, that established just and equal laws for all members of the new community, irrespective of their religious beliefs.

Where did the revolutionary ideas expressed in the Mayflower Compact come from? From the Bible. The Pilgrims were a people completely steeped in the lessons of the Old and New Testaments. They looked to the ancient Israelites for their example. And, because of the biblical precedents set forth in Scripture, they never doubted that their experiment would work.

"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," destined to become the home of the Kennedy family. "There were no friends to greet them, he wrote. There were no houses to shelter them. There were no inns where they could refresh themselves. 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. Yes, it was Indians that taught the white man how to skin beasts. 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 [of Thanksgiving] 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 going to distribute it equally. All of the land they cleared and the houses they built belonged to the community as well. Nobody owned anything. They just had a share in it. It was a commune, folks. It was the forerunner to the communes we saw in the '60s and '70s out in California – and it was complete with organic vegetables, by the way.

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.

"That's right. 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.

"'The experience that we had in this common course and condition, tried sundry years...that by taking away property, and bringing community into a common wealth, would make them happy and flourishing – as if they were wiser than God,' Bradford 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.'

Why should you work for other people when you can't work for yourself? What's the point?

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.'

Bradford doesn't sound like much of a... liberal Democrat, "does he? Is it possible that supply-side economics could have existed before the 1980s? Yes.

Read the story of Joseph and Pharaoh in Genesis 41. Following Joseph's suggestion (Gen 41:34), Pharaoh reduced the tax on Egyptians to 20% during the 'seven years of plenty' and the 'Earth brought forth in heaps.' (Gen. 41:47)

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.'"

-Rush Limbaugh

Friday, November 19, 2010

Meet the Press

There is some serious mis-representation going on by the media about votes in the congress. This, of course, has been going on forever, but I think it is important for us to see the real picture about the partisinship in the congress.

On November 18, 2010 there was a vote to extend long-term unemployment benefits for 60 days, at a cost of $12 billion or so dollars. Keep in mind that people on unemployment get 26 weeks of State funded benefits and then 99(!) weeks of Federally funded benefits. If you lose your job, you are potentially eligible for some kind of compensation for the next TWO YEARS! This is rediculous. There is absolutely no excuse for not finding a job in two years. If you can't find one...make one for yourself. Unemployment benefits seem to provide a nice benefit at a reasonable cost when the unexpected happens and people need a buffer for a few weeks (maybe months) while they figure out what to do...but the current length is rediculous.

Anyway, back to my original point. There are many reports circulating like this one in the New York Times that Republicans have blocked the legislation to extend benefits. Is this true?

Here are some facts:
- 435 members in the House of Representatives
- 2/3 majority needed to pass this legislation - that means 261 votes needed.
- The unemployment extension lost with only 258 vote Yea...they fell 3 votes short.

Who gets the blame? Republicans, because all 143 present voted against it. What they don't really tell you is that there were 11 democrats who voted against it as well. Keep in mind that they were only 3 votes short. There is no way that Republicans can block legislation, the Democrats have a super-majority.

This message by the press and many on the left have been happening for years since the Democrats took control of the House.

The facts are that there is unity and bipartisinship amongst Republicans and some Democrats against debt-spending measures that the leadership is trying to push.

Look back on all the legislation that hasn't gone through the House over the last couple of years, then think about why you've been told nothing is happening. Republicans have been powerless to stop anything IF the Democrats were unified in their efforts. Luckily there are some clear-thinking Democrats out there that realized some of the legislation being pounded through is not good for us and have voted against it.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Food Insecure

Check out these Obesity (BMI) trends from the CDC. It is pretty startling that we are all getting so fat. I know my waistline could use some discipline. Only D.C. and Colorado have average BMI rates under 20%.

Then we see reports from US Department of Agriculture that an increasing number of Americans are facing "Hunger Insecurity". As of 2009, almost 15% of US households feel they don't have access to enough food.

These reports are decieving and actually very revealing if we read them properly. I see obesity increasing at the same time that we feel like we need more food than we are getting. Are the 15% actually starving, or are they obese and feel insecure about the average portions they are able to find and purchase? I am sarcastic on one hand, but seriously curious on the other.

Are we doing a dis-service to the starving people around the world by suggesting that Americans do not have "access at all times to enough food for an active, healthy life for all members of the household?"

I can think of two government programs that can be cut immediately.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Fiscal Fix

This report released yesterday is quality reading for those interested in our national debt and all those pesky obligations that our government signs us up for.

Sort of long, but actually understandable. I see many good signs in this draft, and actually hope that Congress adopts some of these measures. I saw several good ideas, and several suspect ideas, but overall this draft seems very positive.

Fiscal Commission Draft (pdf)

Monday, November 1, 2010

Revisiting John Maynard Keynes

This is an excellent clip from NPR, and a nice counter-balance to the stuff Paul Krugman preaches; and all the other economists that our democrat leaders listen to.