jeudi, octobre 16, 2008

Come the Revolution?

After an email chat with a friend last night about the possibility that socialism/Marxism might direct our new fiscal policy if Barack Obama and Warren Buffett take over, I started to wonder: how much are things really going to change?

That's what Joe the plumber wants to know, isn't it? Will the spirit of capitalism be destroyed? Will the wealthy be robbed of their rightful earnings? Will the "little man" have a chance to make it in America anymore?

I would say that its close to unarguable that in the past, oh, say, 15 years, our tax policies have become much kinder to the upper middle class and the wealthy (those who earn above 250,000) a year. Those who earn that kind of money could say that it's their money, they earned it, and why should the government take it away from them.

I do think that we are, with the exception of the very poor, going to have to pay higher taxes, whoever gets into office. The amount of debt we are in is staggering - if your kid owed 5,000 on his or her credit card, would you ask someone in Australia to loan him or her money? I don't think so.

I don't feel any pity for the very wealthy, because they are cunning about tax dodges. The more you have, the better you are at hiring folks who will help you keep it. But I have to admit that I admire those of my friends who are sincerely trying to determine who to vote for on the merits, even though it will affect their bottom line. I have one wealthy friend who I think will cast a vote for McCain. Another is undoubtedly going to vote for Obama.

I have these kinds of conversations with my friend Tad a lot. Tad is a Polish immigrant who has done very well over here by working 80 hour weeks. As soon as his normal job is over, Tad drives to someone elses house to fix their electrical system or paint a room or install a bathroom.

Tad is worried, too, that if Obama gets in, his hard earned money will disappear. I have to say, I doubt it. The guys running Washington aren't radicals. A few terms in the House or Senate seems usually to take the edge off of whatever kind of radicalism they have, whether of the right or the left.

It's time for the pendulum to swing back a little bit -- but I doubt its going to swing that far.

A scarier possibility, and a real one, is that we've lost control of the pendulum. Liberal or conservative, that's a possibility that ought to frighten us more than the return of Robert Rubin.

mardi, octobre 14, 2008

A bigger stage

OK, I'm a publicity hound.

I really like it when readers write to me, taking my columns seriously enough to respond, even when they disagree. But I have to say that I got a start when I realized my musings at GetReligion ( are being linked to other 'blogs on science, religious orthodoxy, and to that of a writer in Lancaster, where I have a monthly column.

The idea that others are reading carefully enough to want to comment on their sites makes me wonder if I'm really polished enough for that mass audience. Surely they can discern all of the cracks, glossed over with a few trendy terms and a critical eye?

Actually, folks seem remarkably charitable. Hopefully they will hold me accountable when I display my ignorance -- and I wont have too many dreams where I show up for work dressed only in my underwear!

lundi, octobre 13, 2008

Great article from Krugman in the NY Times

Congrats, Paul Krugman on winning the Nobel Prize for your work on global financial markets.

Check out this link for today's column on how the British government moved quickly and craftily to help reassure consumers - and take a beachhead in the almost unregulated private sector. In comparison, we seemed to be drifting. Ok, so Great Britain is a "junior partner" -- but junior partners have good ideas sometimes.

I sense the pendulum swinging, you de-regulators. Let's just see if establishing some standards brings a little stability - if it doesn't, feel free to call for deregulation again. But if it does...

dimanche, octobre 12, 2008


I'm done with Bill Ayers, for the moment - a guy who probably made some great contributions to education, but can't seem to get over himself.

Back to the dating world, with a bit of religion thrown in (well, a lot, but take only as much as you can stand).

So often, I have been thrown back into that strange phantasmagorical land in which I am never quite sure what is true and what is fiction -- mine, or someone elses.

Everyone is seeking, and many of the guys have ventured far afield, into places I would never dream of going.

I still don't dream of these places, and I've certainly heard more than enough to construct a decent fantasy. I think that tells me something.

My fantasies seem so daytime by contrast.

I would like a sometime companion, a fellow voyager, a guy with a wacky sense of humor and a love of fitness, someone humane and loving towards kids -- but I've been solicited for other kinds of relationships so often that I am often quilled, like a porcupine facing a predator.

At church today, I was taking communion when the praise band started playing one of my very favorite songs, "Hungry," by Jeremy Camp.

hungry I come to You for I know You satisfy
I am empty but I know Your love does not run dry
so I wait for You
so I wait for You
I'm falling on my knees offering all of me Jesus,
You're all this heart is living for
broken I run to You for Your arms are open wide
I am weary but I know Your touch restores my life
so I'll wait for You
so I'll wait for You

If I hadn't been in the room where we pray for folks, waiting for some victim of the financial crisis to come for spiritual solace, I would have sat in my pew with tears streaming down my face. The past month has been so tough (for reasons that have nothing to do with dating) that I am drained, running on fumes, and I'll wait for You when I crave truth.

And hope, in the meantime, that Mr. Relatively Normal (but not boring) comes into my life.

I wonder what these guys, with their law degrees and good salaries and many gifts and hunger ---I wonder what they are waiting for. Whatever it is, I hope they find something worth having.