Sunday, February 28, 2010

Olympics and a very stinky situation...

So tonight the Olympics are over. And I will get back to my schedule--it's very hard to get up at 5:30 AM when you go to bed after 11 PM! But I have thoroughly enjoyed and been inspired by the events. Notice in the collage that photo of Timo watching curling. Seriously you have to have the Olympic spirit to watch that JUST because it's the Olympics! Unfortunately, I did not ever see a special on what the rules are but I did see one on how they make the stones! I thought of looking it up but forgot. I included the photo of Timo because we have all have had not a lot of rest these past 2 weeks nor gotten much done. Except for Tim...our next story.

Poor Taran and Timo. Last fall I walked by their room and smelled mold. We figured out their bathroom shower had started leaking into their closet because some of the tile caulk had come off. Since we don't usually clean their tub we didn't notice esp since it was toward the bottom. So Tim fixed it and we removed the padding that was ruined but the drywall and carpet seemed to be fine. A couple of weeks ago we noticed or Timo noticed the their top shelf had mold. I checked the floor it was wet too. Come to find out we had major water damage from our upstairs shower/tub faucet in the Masterbath. Luckily, yesterday Tim finally had time to cut open the area--after many trips to get the proper tools. He figured it out after experimenting and we think it's fixed! Now we'll just need to re-drywall some parts and paint and get new carpet pad. Not as bad as it could have been, we are so relieved to figure it out. We also think that it might have been causing the paint and drywall to peel in the boys bathroom above their shower. Which we were going to try and fix but now that we think it's related we can let it dry out and have it all fixed together!

This week was also filled with scouts, basketball, homework...I took Timo to the doctor to make sure he didn't have an infection, he isn't 100% but the doctor said that it seemed viral and that he was probably slowly getting better. I am sure his sleeping habits haven't helped him get any better. Hopefully soon. He got lucky they canceled lacrosse practice the 2 days we had snow. I also went to the Jr High for Timo's parent teacher conf and that was fine. Gwen had playgroup here only one of her friends came but she had fun anyway. They had a tea party with water, popcorn, fruit snack and brownie bites. It's in the collage--they dressed up too. Taran got to go to the BYU vs San Diego St game and got a tour of the locker room, etc. for scouts Wednesday--sweet. Micah had a birthday party too this week, fun times. He also earned his Bobcat last Sunday so he got it at the Blue & Gold banquet. Izak got his religious square knot there too. Tim took me to see New Moon that night since we knew the big boys and Emily would not be available for us to go on a date this weekend. It was better than Twilight but I am just not sure on the hype except for maybe Jacob's abs! I was able to go to the temple in between things Friday. Timo got to go out to eat with his friend John and his parents Friday night, he thoroughly enjoyed that. After they (and some other friends) played basketball outside our house and then watched some of Brian Regan here too. Taran and band performed at a coffee house to raise money for a charity--our niece Erika who is going to Paul Mitchell helped organize it, invited them. Unfortunately their drummer couldn't come but Tim said that he thought it was alright--at least what he saw. Erika picked the guys up and Tim brought them home that night. Originally I was going to take them...Emily got to go to Idaho this weekend with my niece Erin because Erin's dad Erick is Captain Von Trapp in a Sound of Music. Maddie who is also Emily's age went with too. So far we have hardly heard from her so we think she is having a lot of fun! We are not surprised. TIm's dad was in the hospital for a little yesterday Tim went and helped give him a blessing. Hopefully the tests will be helpful but nothing serious! Church was good today except that I spent most of Sacrament meeting in the bathroom with Gwen. No she did not have the runs just not sure on those body signals yet! I missed the first 2 talks and part of the choir song: Come Thou Fount, which I really wanted so hear too! Owell...parenthood teaches patience, it demands it! Kind of funny. We also had a friend of Taran's who spoke who is going to Taiwan on his mission. It was very touching. Tim is off to home teach and then stake choir practice. He also has a regional sports meeting tonight.

Have a great week...March begins "in like a lion and out like a lamb"? We'll see. Here it's usually like a lion all month!

PS I put some photos in the collage of Zane with the different hats his teacher has them make in class--I swear he comes home with one every week!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Freedom Friday

February 26, 2010
Let free enterprise take over health care
By Tom Jahn
The challenge with health care is that the fix doesn't lend itself to a political solution. Medicare is a good example. Most people think it is a good program now, but when the baby boomers begin entering the system next year, Medicare goes broke. Long-term success depends upon protecting Medicare revenue collected over a person's working years, something government is very poor at doing.

In California, housing prices more than doubled between 2000 and 2006, bringing government incredible windfall profits from the accompanying rise in property taxes. Where is that money now? Spent, just like past Medicare revenue, and California is broke.

Bernie Madoff is in jail for doing exactly what the government has done with Medicare: fund payouts to seniors with revenue collected from new people coming into the system. The Congressional health care proposals fund Medicare recipients by mandating young people buy health insurance at between two and three times the actuarial cost.

Our government has always known Medicare was going broke once the baby boomers reached 65. If Congress had taken the money collected for Medicare and issued zero-coupon bonds that matured at the same time citizens needed the money, we eventually would have had that 'lock box' Congress used to talk about, and Medicare would be solvent. In the long term any health care fix has to be pay-as-you-go. Congress hasn't learned anything from Medicare. In order to claim revenue neutrality in the current health care bills legislators in both houses of Congress tax ten years to provide six years in benefits.

The way Congress has mishandled health care has made rationing a certainty. There simply will not be enough money. Either we will get politically based rationing in the case of the government, or profit-based rationing in the case of the insurance companies. Neither is palatable.

Health insurance has its place, but payment for day-to-day normal treatments is not one of them. We buy car insurance to protect us from a catastrophic event. We don't buy insurance that pays for oil changes or new tires. Right now, there is a sign at my doctor's office that offers a 30 percent discount if the patient pays cash and saves the doctor from having to deal with an insurance company.

The current Senate bill is a boon for insurance companies, which now have a mandated market insuring millions of young healthy people, raking in huge profits and at the same time cost-shifting from senior citizens onto the young to cover up Congress' theft of Medicare funds. Stocks in insurance companies hit 52-week highs as soon as the Senate bill took its final form. This is crony capitalism at its best.

Without a third-party payer, health care consumers would order fewer tests. They would explore less-expensive alternative treatments and medications, resulting in self-rationing. Self-rationing is important because a major problem in adding millions of new people onto the health insurance rolls is availability of physicians. Following implementation of Massachusetts' universal health insurance program the average wait to see a physician has increased to more than two months.

There is no question that instituting a plan whereby individuals pay directly to their doctors will work for those who now have employer-based health insurance. One proven method that has controlled health care costs is health savings accounts. Employers place a certain amount of employees' pre-tax earnings into accounts that employees control and spend on health care, and the employer buys a high-deductible catastrophic insurance policy to pay for amounts in excess of the employee contribution. Unused portions each year can be accrued for future use by employees.

Critics maintain that this type of approach will not work for the population at large, but this is wrong-headed. Market based solutions are the only way to halt or reverse the trends of ever-increasing health care costs and steadily declining coverage by employers. The challenge is to extend health insurance to those who cannot pay based upon risk assessment and manageable resources, not entitlement. Congress recoils at the thought of confronting entitlement excesses because elected officials see it as a political loser. It need not be that way.

For instance, advocates of universal health insurance coverage who insist a great nation like the United States should provide everyone with a health insurance entitlement are the very ones who have advocated more government spending and higher current deficits that lead to huge debt loads being placed on future generations.

Likewise, proponents of a single payer system who claim tens of thousands of people die annually because they have no health insurance are the very ones who have condemned perhaps hundreds of thousands from future generations to go without health insurance because of the lower standard of living they have guaranteed with their legacy of $50 trillion in unfunded mandates.

Those who constantly lobby for unrestricted entitlements have no claim to any moral high ground and should be aggressively challenged. Newly elected New Jersey governor Chris Christie is winning the argument against entitlements by pointing out that 30-year state employees who retire at 49.5 years of age and contribute $124,000 towards their retirement reap a $3.3 million return on investment plus $500,000 in health benefits.

But in Washington Congress is too cowardly to take on entitlement reform, too fiscally irresponsible to make health care pay-as-you-go, too arrogant to allow health care consumers freedom of choice, too impotent to take on the insurance companies, too bought-and-paid-for to take on unions and trial lawyers, and too dishonest to level with the American people about the true cost of this abomination Congress proposes to enact.

Legislators should abandon the crony capitalism model now being used and allow free enterprise and truly competitive markets to operate. However, our entrenched incumbents in Congress will pick winners and losers based solely upon those who can best help them get re-elected or line their pockets - a statist political solution incapable of fixing health care.

Tom Jahn is a landlord and former UCLA swimming coach.

This is me the muddler posting--it's still not too late to let your representatives know this bill is NOT the health care reform we want! Thanks!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

A book worth reading...

If you haven't read 3 Cups of Tea, you should start with that book first. This is a continuation of the story of Greg Mortensen who has been building schools in Pakistan and now Afghanistan through his non-profit Central Asia Institute. I think Stones into Schools is written much better--it flows better than 3 Cups but it's the amazing story of what one person can do. In Stones you read how his group of Pakistani guys who work for his non-profit have caught the vision and pursue amazing projects. These are in remote places that both Pakistan and Afghanistan governments are too overwhelmed with their own problems to consider. I could write an essay of the many valuable themes from what governments could incorporate into how they "help" the impoverished and uneducated to how these uneducated and impoverished people realize the education of their children esp their daughters will make the biggest difference in their communities. It is extremely inspiring on so many levels. I finally finished this book last week, not because it's not an easy read but because I am trying to be a responsible parent and only read when I am waiting somewhere--doctor's office, sports practices to get over...My daughter read the juvenile version of 3 Cups and that inspired her to collect for Pennies for Peace over Christmas. She plans on doing it every year. We got a cool magazine that shows what Central Asia Institute does with those donations. And it is promoting peace and you will see why when you read the books!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

The Lightning Thief and other happenings...

Last Monday my mom took Micah to lunch in honor of his birthday and then he picked out a football and Lego at Walmart after. He was thrilled. Then we went to see the movie The Lightning Thief. Tim HAD to work so I took most of the kids and my dad, who enjoys Greek mythology. Izak went with his cousins since they had an extra ticket last minute. I have not read the books, although I just started this one and the movie is very different. All in all the kids and I enjoyed it, and I think my dad did too. Gwen went to my mom's to play because I was sure it would not be a movie she would sit through. Later we went to Tim's sister Amy's to celebrate Juan (my bro-in-law), Jeremy (nephew) and Micah's birthday. We had a potluck dinner of soup, salad and rolls and the birthday families brought dessert. It was a yummy time. Everyone enjoyed their gifts and it was fun to be together since it had been awhile since we saw everyone--my niece came down from Salt Lake and my nephew came up from Provo to join in the festivities. It's always fun to see them too!

Tuesday I helped in Zane's class in the morning. Timo and Micah stayed home with nasty colds. I had scouts and Izak had scouts, we forgot about Emily's basketball practice. Wednesday, Gwen had playgroup. Emily had Musical theater. I went shopping after dropping her off. Timo had a basketball game he felt well enough to go and they won and play again this Wednesday. He went to scouts after. Thursday Zane's friend Camden came over after kindergarten and they had fun. Tim and Taran went to Salt Lake to a new museum for Taran's young men activity. Emily had piano too. Timo had lacrosse practice. Friday Timo had had a bad night and stayed home the first few classes and I took him for his last class since he had a test and didn't want to miss it. I made Micah's cupcakes for his party that afternoon. I also managed to go to the temple. The lady there said that I was the happiest person she had seen all day--I laughed. She reassured me that was true and I sobered! Izak had a basketball game that night and did great. Emily had a birthday party, Taran and Timo had plans that night so my mom and dad hung out with the kids and watched the Olympics while Tim and I went to Fanzz in Sandy to finally get Micah's birthday presents. We got home just after 9 PM so they went home before it was too late. I finished preparations for the party. Saturday was Micah's birthday and he wanted crepes for breakfast so I made them. We wouldn't let him open his presents until Emily got back from the temple. We got him a Jazz NBA basketball jersey and a Denver Bronco shirt. Not too exciting but it's what he wanted and he had invited 19 kids to his party so we figured he'd get a lot of toys anyway--which he did! Emily had a basketball game and I took her she did well but jammed her finger towards the end and was done playing. It was a close game and they won, yeah! I must good luck! We got Micah Wendy's kids meal on the way home for lunch. We got all the stuff done we needed to before the party and all but 1 kid came! It was a sports theme and we had lots of different activities and we split the kids up so they wouldn't have to stand around too much. The weather was iffy with snow and rain so we couldn't do as much as we would have liked outside but I think it turned out alright. We had a pinata, cupcakes, ice cream then he opened his presents and that ended just in time as the first parents showed up. He had a blast and hopefully his friends did too. He got quite a few Legos and lots of other fun things including a basketball. He spent a bit of the afternoon building Legos. And then the other toys too! He chose pizza for dinner so I was relieved not to cook but did make his special birthday dessert: Health Bar cake.

Today was scout Sunday for us so I and the 4 boys had to wear our uniforms to church and we also sang a musical number as well. After church they took a picture of all the scouts and their leaders. Timo left church after Sacrament Meeting because he had coughed a lot the night before, he came home and slept. We had choir at our house, our hometeachers visited and Micah had his interview for his baptism with the bishop. Tim, Taran and Emily went to stake choir practice and then we had dinner. Micah has our devotional and hopefully that will be soon!

We spent most 'extra' time watching the Olympics, what fun!!!! We love it but barely got the birthday stuff done for Micah because of it! We let our kids stay up late to watch some of the events, not a wise thing but it just got so exciting we got carried away! We need to be more disciplined this week! I hardly ever watch TV but when the Olympics are on I seem to find myself GLUED to the TV and internet checking updates! I am always this way with it!

Taran is getting ready to ask a friend to the prom, here it has to be creative not just ask in a normal way so he is stumped on how to do it! He thinks my ideas are lame...hopefully he'll do it soon before she gets asked!

Have a great week, hopefully your resolutions are firm. I heard on the radio most people quit their resolutions by Valentines Day! Hang in there if you've been a slacker, it's a new week and you can get back on top! Enjoy this last week in February!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Happy 8th Birthday Micah!

If you are on Facebook I tried to upload these same photos about 3 times and it failed each time so check it them out on my blog! Today our 5th child Micah turns 8! I had him during one of Apollo Ohno's qualifying heats! Yes, I remember that vividly! I had him about an hour after getting to the hospital. I think I posted the whole story last year so go there if you want to know more!

Micah is an interesting kid. He is super intense yet lots of fun and can be very funny. An example is he made up the word jibbers for when he is wacky and it totally expresses how he is! He can be extremely thoughtful, he prays for and fasts for people in and outside our family on his own. He is a good student,talented in piano and sports too. You can love him one minute and be completely beside yourself with anger at him the next--ask any sibling or Tim it's so true! But the bottom line is we love him. He adds a new dynamic to our family and as long as we can teach him to channel that intensity and talent in a positive direction he will achieve great things! Have a great day Micah!!!!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Freedom Friday, a little late

An interesting article I found...enjoy or not.

June 14, 2009

Why does capitalism work best? Capitalism works best because it is the only social and economic system that aligns itself with the combined human spirits of achievement, ambition, self-improvement, individualism, self-esteem, and initiative.

Capitalism is not perfect, by any means. No system made up of imperfect human beings has been, nor can be. However, capitalism comes closest in bringing out the best in society because it appeals to our highest ideals of individual rights which come in the form of economic freedom. Capitalism is a system based on the firm establishment of individual rights, including property rights, in which all property is privately owned.

Granted, and to the shocking surprise of some of you, this is not the system we have, or have had during the last century in the United States. When I say "capitalism," I mean pure, unadulterated, unfiltered, laissez-faire capitalism, with a total separation of the government from the economic system where the only real function of government is one of protecting individual rights (instead of studying tree frog mating habits or hog stench, etc.) and protecting him or her from physical force.

Capitalism demands the very best of every person and rewards him or her according to his efforts accordingly. It allows anyone the freedom to choose the work or business of their skill and interest, and to trade that labor or product for either the equivalent monetary value, or an equally desirable product or service in trade (which the IRS would now still tax!). The value of a person's work is determined by the free market where there is a 100% correlation between the value added to society and the compensation earned in return.

There is such a plethora of distortion, misinformation, misrepresentation, and outright falsehoods about capitalism today that the upcoming generation of young people actually think that there may be other superior or equal systems to be tried, like socialism, which has failed to produce anywhere near the broad degree of wealth enjoyed by the people of the United States.

In a capitalist society, all transactions are voluntary. For example, banks would not be coerced to make loans to people that wouldn't be able to repay them for the "betterment" of society (the root of the current economic mess). No person or group may initiate the use of physical force against others.

"But wait," you say. "I thought we weren't a pure capitalist society, Mr. Capitalist." You are correct. We aren't. But, we have allowed more economic freedom than other countries which has correlated into more economic wealth for more people than any other place on the planet.

Another interesting article by the same author here

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Rites of Passage...

Big week at our house. Gwen is potty trained. I finally feel confident that she is. We've had our ups and downs but she finally has done it! I really didn't want to buy more diapers so my sister-in-law Katie said, "Why don't you tell her when you are out of diapers you have to use the potty?" So I thought, "I think I will try it." Normally, I don't push my kids with potty training, I just let them dictate to me when they are ready but a couple of months ago she went 3 days without an accident super excited with the cute pink potty then lost all interest and went back to diapers. So we had a rough go 4 accidents the second day. But we are going into our fourth week and we still have had our rough times so we've been getting creative. Let's just say that every kid is different and even though I have had 6 kids go through this 'rite of passage' it didn't get any easier and I still feel like I have no idea what I am doing as a parent! My rite of passage: no children in diapers, it's been almost 17 solid years of diaper changing.

Taran got his license! He has had his permit a year so we decided to go get it. Here in Utah they do their road test in drivers ed so he just had to take in his certificate stating he passed his road test. We also had another stack of papers to take to take in. We had heard that there were 5-6 hour wait so we were pleasantly surprised when it only took 1 hour! YEAH! He has to wait 6 months before he can drive anyone but family but by the time school starts he'll be able to drive himself, Timo and friends to high school. Here again, Taran not too motivated to drive so we let him go at his own pace. He got his learner's permit 2 months before he turned 16 only because he was going to need it for driver's ed. I wasn't nervous about he driving until now. He is pretty good just not super smooth but I know he gets his driving skills from me. Timo is anxious to get his learner's permit so we need to do that now that Taran is done.

Emily had her 6th grade dance Friday. Here they teach the 6th graders the waltz, cha cha, and 4 line dances and then they end the unit with this big dance. They have a dance card and they get to ask 2 kids to dance and then they get to be asked by 2 people. Emily loved it and wished it wasn't over. Check her out in the collage in her dress. So those were are the rites of passage.

This week we had scouts, basketball practices and games and now lacrosse is starting up for Timo. We also had piano lessons and playgroup. We had the cousins who live here over for a sleepover Friday night. Only Maddie, Jeremy, Giovanni and Cristian stayed the night, the twins weren't sure but came and played until Shellie's ward party was over and she called to see if they wanted to stay or not. We watched the Olympic Opening ceremonies and they also watched Robots the animated movie and played. So it was a late night.

Saturday I had our stake women's conference and I went even though I had woke up with a nasty cold. It was really good so I am glad I went and I got to be with some great women from my neighborhood. I feel truly blessed to have so many amazing women in my life. After womens conference it was back to getting the house back together and ready for the sabbath. We had some basketball games that afternoon. And I know I wasted a lot of time watching the Olympics...owell.

Today we forgot to set the alarm and so we got up at 7:30 AM! Yikes for 9 AM church. Tim and I were late getting there after getting the little boys and Gwen ready and timing showers with the older kids so we still got a hot shower! Church was good, we had a young woman speak who just returned from a mission in Armenia. She had met my niece, Anna, who had recently returned from there and got some tips. After church we had choir. We also gave the kids a bag with treats (see the picture of Zane). Later, my parents, Tim's parents and my sister came over for Valentine's dinner. Tim marinated steak and chicken it was so good! Taran and Timo made mashed potatoes, Teresa did rolls, Tim's mom made a fruit salad and my mom did desserts. It was so good! I thought anyway.

Thursday Tim and I went out to dinner in honor of Valentines Day. We went to the Blue Lemon a delicious restaurant near our house. They have really yummy healthy food. It was nice and not crowded like most Valentines Day excursions can be--this we learned a long time ago to go out other days instead and enjoy time with the family on that day!

We got our state taxes back this week! Yippee! Tim and Taran are going on choir tour next month and Taran is counting down the days! He also needs to decide on a date to ask for prom--it's the end of March! Life is never dull. Have a great week! And hopefully you have had a great Valentines Day and know you are loved! Yes, you are!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Freedom Friday a little early...

Stimulus Packages or Economic Nightmares? Author: David Kretzmann

Monday, July 6th, 2009

It’s hard to not go gaga over the ideas and intentions of “stimulus packages” and ramped up government programs. After all, won’t it create a lot of jobs, boost the economy, and lift us out of a rough spot? This is what we’ve constantly heard from politicians and the media especially over the past couple years. “Government needs to do something.”

Never forget how government gets its money. It does not earn it. It does not work for it. Every penny that goes to government must come forcefully from a productive area of the economy. Government can’t take money from a failing business or struggling individual, it must forcefully take money from wealthier (i.e. productive) businesses and individuals.

This brings us to the first problem with “stimulus projects” in the form of increased government programs, public works, and public spending in general. The only way any government can afford to spend billions and trillions of dollars “stimulating” the economy is to either tax, borrow, or print that money. In other words, people will either directly lose more money to government through taxes, the effect may be felt in the longer-term through debt and borrowing, or the currency will depreciate and prices will rise through the process of monetary inflation. Pick your poison; all three options for government to increase spending will inevitably pinch people the most either directly or indirectly.

“Stimulus packages” aim to boost the economy in the short-term. If government can provide jobs to build public entities (such as transportation options, buildings, etc.) the economy will correct quicker than if the market could work, right? The problem with this theory is people always ignore where that money comes from. Taking money from productive sources in the economy and throwing it to unproductive and expensive projects does not set the economy on a sustainable foundation.

Strong economies are not build on artificial spending. The more that government takes from productive sources in the economy and pumps it into unproductive government projects, the longer the correction and recession will be. Consider some of the projects being funded under Obama’s massive spending plan. One is building a light rail track. This is all well and good, but how is spending billions of dollars on a train track and system going to increase long-term productivity? Few people use government-operated trains as it is (witness Amtrak and its black hole of wasted money), it will simply require more funds sucked out of productive sources to survive.

People buy into the illusion that as long as people have jobs, regardless of productivity, it is good for the economy. Unproductive jobs do no good for the economy and will not expand sustainability and prosperity. Napoleon tried to create jobs and work just by paying people to dig up ditches and fill them back in. It’s a nice idea, but it won’t do a thing to improve the economic picture. It is when labor is efficiently and sustainably used that an economy will expand on a strong foundation.

Today we are seeing government promote and prop up unproductive entities like nothing else. First, we bail out companies who lived beyond their means, made terrible business decisions, and recklessly spent money. These companies were unproductive and hurting the economy. Second, we have the ongoing “stimulus package” pumping money into pork projects that will not be productive in the least. It may sound great to build roads and infrastructure to stimulate the economy, but it won’t create wealth and expand productivity. It is not beneficial to use productivity to fund nonproductive goals. It is a bogus and failed theory that we continue to follow. It will not help the long-term economic picture.

One does not need to look very hard to see how terribly these government shenanigans have failed in the past. The Great Depression is the first obvious example. Hoover and Roosevelt both increased taxes, public projects, and expanded government with hopes of curing economic ills. Subsidies, public works projects, and many other government programs were created and expanded in the 1930s. Roads were built, prices were propped up, and government would not let the market organize labor and money on its own. Despite the intervention and spending efforts from government, unemployment was higher in 1939 than in 1931. The New Deal cost billions of dollars and expanded the federal government like never before, but unemployment and productivity still did not improve.

Let’s take a brief detour to the recession of 1921. Few people have heard of this recession because government actually decreased its size, spending, and taxes during the rough economic period. The government and Federal Reserve did next to nothing as the economy began to correct after the government’s market intervention during World War 1. The government (to the disappointment of some interventionist politicians), rather than increase its role as it would do disastrously just eight years later, ended up sitting this recession out. Prices fell, unproductive businesses failed and reorganized, and the economy was back on its feet after no more than 18 months. The pain was brief, the correction and reorganization was quick, and it all happened largely because government reduced its size and let the market shift money and labor to productive areas of the economy.

In more modern times, Japan’s “Lost Decade” can be another example of the botched intervention of government and the central bank. Some believe that Japan did too little to “stimulate” the economy, when the government and central bank actually took a nearly identical road to the U.S. today. Failed businesses were propped up by government, the central bank lowered interest rates to 0% for a time and pumped cheap money and credit into the economy, and huge amounts of Yen were spent on unproductive and essentially worthless public projects. All of this did nothing but lead to huge government debt and a devastated economy.

It’s hard to understand how much money Keynesians want to spend on “stimulating” the economy. Paul Krugman, the front-runner of the Keynesian crowd, is calling for a second and larger stimulus package. The trillions of dollars already pumped into unproductive businesses and projects wasn’t enough? How much do these guys think we need to spend to bring about their Keynesian Utopia? Rather than realize that government intervention and central manipulation have done more to agitate the economy than help, people are crying for more of the same that historically has done more damage than good.

Government is great at managing the time, labor, and money of other people. It also guarantees that politicians won’t manage that time, labor, and money more efficiently than the people who own that time, labor, and money. The very concept that by taking from productive parts of the economy and spreading it to various unproductive jobs and projects is downright silly. The worst recessions and depressions have come in many countries when government prevents the market from reallocating funds from unproductive businesses and sectors to the strong and productive areas of the economy.

Preventing the failure of a large corporation because jobs would be lost is the equivalent of saying that government should have propped up horse and buggies and the many jobs in the industry regardless of its uselessness to society. The natural order of a free market is to shift funds to the strongest, smartest, and most productive businesses and industries. When government gets in the way with bailouts, “stimulus plans,” and countless other intervention methods, it only guarantees inefficiency, unsustainable activities, and prolonged suffering.

The answer to our economic problems does not lie in government spending as Paul Krugman and many other Keynesians would like, but in more freedom for the market and people to reallocate money and labor to the productive and sustainable portions of the economy.

Muddler here writing, isn't that a great article? Now go tell your senators and congressman to cut spending and taxes so we can let the productive part of our society do it's job!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Sweet things...

Monday Gwen's buddy Max came over while his mom helped at the school. I had scouts that afternoon. Emily had taught the devotional on Sunday so she chose to have a lip sync for family night. Timo videotaped the groups: Emily and Gwen "Under the Sea", Taran, Izak, Micah and Zane "New Divide", Emily "The Climb" and Tim and I did a quick impromtu to "Celebration" that turned out pretty good. It was a little outside some of our comfort zones but it ended up good.

Tuesday I was suppose to help out in Zane's class but Gwen had woke up in the night with an ear infection--we didn't know why until I took her in to the doctor. She slept better each night since getting the antibiotics. Izak had scouts and babsketball. Emily had basketball. Tim and I dropped Emily and her friend off at practice and then we went on to BYU to see the New Shanghai Circus--WOW! Check them out on YouTube, amazing acrobats! It was a really fun date!

Wednesday Gwen's friends came over for playgroup and during that I tried to get Taran and Timo signed up for the local EFY. This is less expensive than the one they do at BYU yet it is the same curriculum and they sleep at home but spend each day with their groups. The computer system was a mess but with the help of my friend Julie I was able to do it. I made heart sugar cookies and the kids frosted their own. Emily had musical theater that afternoon. I also went shopping and got some stuff for Taran's big dance date Saturday.

Thursday I went with Taran to a meeting with his counselor to plan his schedule for next year. He has some big decisions to make. At least he will get into BYU and if he gets his ACT score up he will get somewhat of a scholarship too--he didn't study and got 28 so maybe he can improve with some practice studying. He has the possibility for other scholarships if he is willing to take AP stats and Chemistry next year so he needs to decide that. Emily had piano right after school and then once I got her home I walked over to the school for 4 parent-teacher conferences. Fortunately, the kids are doing well, there are some things we can work on of course but they all have As in everything, I am amazed! Then I chatted a bit with a friend and then we ate dinner quickly and ran off to Timo's last regular season JR Jazz Basketball game. It was fun until the end when the refs really let the other team beat up Timo's team--one ref admitted he was trying to even it up since Timo's team was killing the other team! But that is very dangerous! Timo almost got a concussion from a kid knocking him down. Luckily someone knew where there were ice packs. Taran and Timo had a ward ball game after and Tim had to coach. Timo didn't play until the end when he didn't feel like throwing up. Tim had a game later. It was a late night.

Friday the kids didn't have school so I got my crown put back on that morning, Tim worked in Salt Lake, I tried the temple but the wait was so long I went back later and got right in and out. Taran, Emily, Izak, Micah, Zane and Gwen and I went to the hospital to see my new nephew Tate, my brother Charl's newest addition--check out the little cutie in the collage! Isn't he sweet. The kids were thrilled to hold him. Katie looked well. Timo was dead asleep after the physical evening the night before. Taran finished his eagle project write up--it just needs some refineing but he delivered requests for letters of reccomendation around. O, PHEW! Taran went to Provo to play in a ward talent show with the 2 guys from his band that go to BYU. He said that they didn't have time to get the equipment all set up properly so they didn't sound as good as they had hoped. Tim took the others kids (minus Gwen) and some of their friends to a UTAH Flash basketball game--the kids had gotten a bunch of free tickets. I stayed with Gwen who wanted to read books and go to bed right away, so we did. I piddled around after I got her bed. I didn't get much done.

Saturday, was mild only Emily had a Jr Jazz Basketball game. We did the usual chores. Taran had his Sweetheart Dance date that started that afternoon. It's a Utah thing--I think, at least in California we didn't do that. Since Prom is just over a month away this is a casual dance. They decided to make pirate t-shirts, they also had skull material to make a sash, bandanas, eye patches and plastic gold earrings. They went to this theme restaurant called Pirate Island Pizza. They played arcade games and won prizes. The kids he went with opted out of eating there even though their food is suppose to be amazing--check out their website to see the cool theme inside! This place used to be an old movie theater. Some day we are going to check this place out! They went to the mall to eat since it had an eatery and it was close by. Meanwhile I went shopping with my sister in Salt Lake and Tim held down the fort. There were four extra little boys who played --Tim is such a trooper. We, my sister and I went down to Orem to buy some things since Tim was doing fine without me. We ended up at the mall. Guess who we saw as we entered the eatery? Yep, Taran and company. They looked really cute and I wish I had taken a photo of them with my camera/phone. They got pictures at the dance so I'll post those when I can. He and his friends had a really fun time. I am so glad he has good friends and good girls to date! Teresa finished out shopping experience at Walmart by our house! We had alot of success and fun on our trip. When I got home Timo and Emily were watching Ground Hog's Day the movie with Tim (he was manually editing for them). Crazy movie!

Today was church and it was very good. I am grateful for the strength I gain from my fellow church members and for their examples. It was a sweet week, lots of good things going on! Hope you've had your share of sweet successes!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Freedom Friday

What’s the matter with you Americans?
posted at 4:05 pm on January 31, 2010 by King Banaian

More years ago than I’ll admit, I was a student in a class of the man who became my mentor, Tom Willett. The course was in economics and public policy, and the early part of the syllabus had us read on the nature of arguing about economics. One line that stuck out to me like nothing else was this: Saying “if you knew what I know you’d agree with me” is poor argumentation. I may know what you know, my professor argued, and yet find a flaw in your logic or add another piece of evidence that leads me to a different conclusion.

The notion that we know enough to know what is in someone else’s best interest is evidence of this fallacy, and I have found over the succeeding decades there are many academics that fall into it. Applied in the political sphere, it takes the form of “why does the public not understand what we are trying to do?” We heard it in President Obama’s State of the Union address last week in his claim that his failure on health care was “not explaining it more clearly to the American people.” It characterizes the thoughts of Thomas Frank in “What’s the Matter With Kansas?, a book that I found alternately patronizing and pathetic, arguing that it must be false consciousness or hypnotizing demagoguery that leads the working class of Kansas, once home of agricultural Wobblies, to now vote consistently conservative.

That meme is now everywhere. David Brooks calls tea partiers anti-intellectual and Frank Rich calls them comatose. Responding to the election of Scott Brown, the BBC carries a column by David Runciman, a British academic political scientist of high birth (how else to describe someone whose Wikipedia entry notes his viscountcy?) that cannot understand why town halls are filled with people repulsed by Democrats health care reform. It’s to help them, dears!

But it is striking that the people who most dislike the whole idea of healthcare reform – the ones who think it is socialist, godless, a step on the road to a police state – are often the ones it seems designed to help.

In Texas, where barely two-thirds of the population have full health insurance and over a fifth of all children have no cover at all, opposition to the legislation is currently running at 87%.

Instead, to many of those who lose out under the existing system, reform still seems like the ultimate betrayal.

Why are so many American voters enraged by attempts to change a horribly inefficient system that leaves them with premiums they often cannot afford?

My friend Marty Andrade tweeted this link with the comment “But I stole this for you,” says the plunderer. “Why do you not take it? Why do you not vote for me?” But it is not so much the politician but the wonk, the analyst who makes such pretty plans, that finds himself exasperated by the failure of the public to appreciate them. No place does this happen more than in academia, particularly in America, where as I’ve argued before the academic does not often travel in either the working class circles or in those the successful businesspeople.

The answer to Prof. Runciman’s question is inside America’s DNA. The founders, writes Prof. Carl Richard, were a deeply suspicious bunch.

The founders’ immersion in ancient history had a profound effect upon their style of though. They developed from the classics a suspicious cast of mind. They learned from the Greeks and Romans to fear conspiracies against liberty. Steeped in a literature whose perpetual theme was the steady encroachment of tyranny on liberty, the founders because virtually obsessed with spotting its approach, so that they might avoid the fate of their classical heroes. It has been said of the American Revolution that never was there a revolution with so little cause. Whatever his faults, George III was hardly Caligula or Nero; however illegitimate, the moderate British taxes were hardly equivalent to the mass executions of the emperors. But since the founders believed that the central lesson of the classics was that every illegitimate power, however small, ended in slavery, they were determined to resist every such power. Even legitimate authority should be exercised sparingly, lest it grow into illegitimate powers. (pp. 118-19)

Doesn’t it seem the same today? When one points out the connection between parts of the Obama agenda and those of European socialists we are told “he’s certainly not one of those!” Of course not. But we called tyranny a level of taxation that many other places just accepted as their lot in life. Our common people believe they deserve explanations, and they are mistrustful most of those who say, “trust us.”

And this is a vital point — a country that has the character to not use government power to plunder a minority for the sake of a majority (or vice versa, as in Saddam’s Iraq) better resists the eventual trials of war, depression, famine, etc. Many Western countries took a sharp left turn after WW2. The US did only a little less so. In both the US and UK a swerve back came from Reagan and Thatcher. I still find the latter more remarkable than the former, but the common culture that ties them owes much to the ancient Greeks and Romans.

Prof. Runciman cites facts and wonders why they fail before the stories that critics of Obamacare have told. Some no doubt do not understand the facts as presented. But presenting them better will not work well in the face of America’s preternatural wariness towards power. It may worry over unemployment but that is something that is ultimately under their control. Government debt, however, appears out of their control and is used towards things we are told to trust. Trust in government is exactly NOT what this country was founded on.

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