Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Answer to Economic Woes is in Museum

The answer to all our economic woes lies in a display at the Museum of Church History and Art.

Well, not all our woes, but a lot of them.

So, make a short trek downtown, walk into the museum, and step into a little room titled, "Zion's Co-operative Mercantile Institution," and uncover what President Obama, John Boehner, and Harry Reid all need to know.

The title says,
"The Public Works Program
Providing Labor, and Stimulating a Pioneer Economy"
Ahh, how that word "stimulating" reminds us of our current affairs, and the "stimulus." What then, we wonder, did they do to "stimulate" the economy back then?

"Organized in 1850, the Church's Public Works program provided work for immigrant laborers, artisans, and mechanics. The Public Works created an immediate labor market by sponsoring construction projects and setting up shops for skilled craftsmen. By providing employment to thousands of workers, the Church contributed to the well-being of the entire community."

So, what did the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints do? Simple, simple: It created jobs, and put people to work.

There's a trick that's been lost somewhere along the line.

Instead of pumping cash into the economy, pump jobs into it. Create companies. Back then, they were settling a land, converting it from a wilderness. Today, maybe we would look at our own frontier and have a portion of the jobs be on the Internet.

I think of where we are at today, unemployment running above 9.0. Why would we not go out and create jobs, just start companies so people would be employed? It sounds a whole lot better than just giving people money.

There, again, is that difference of jobs vs. money.

And, as I think back on the spirit of the Public Works program, of how it provided jobs, I recall another story from those days, probably the same year, 1850. Wish I would have saved it. While reading microfilm copies of the Deseret News, I had come to a story of a visitor to the Salt Lake Valley in those days. He spoke of walking the streets of the city, and seeing an industrious people. I believe he might have said not an idle person was to be seen, as in, everyone was seen working.

There must not have been much of an unemployment rate back in the early1850s, then, and that makes sense. If you give people jobs, unemployment drops. That's obvious. There simply is no more direct way of addressing the problem. But, if you give them money, like we do today, well . . . your unemployment rate might be lucky to only be 9.1 percent.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Do We Limit Not Buying, But Paying Bills?

A quick thought on the economy before heading for bed:

I never did understand the bit about raising the debt ceiling not being for new debt, but it rather being simply to pay the bills on money already spent. Seems if you have a debt ceiling, it should be on spending, not on your ability to pay for the spending. Did we, then, in fact, break the debt ceiling? Did we break our own law not to go above $14.3 trillion? True, I must be wrong on this. Either the ceiling prevents us not from buying such-and-such amount, but for paying off the bills when they reach such-and-such amount, or I got ill information when I heard the deficit had to be raised just to pay for existing expenditures. Otherwise, surely there would have been an outcry. . . .

But, if this is what did happen and there wasn't an outcry . . . amazing!

I will say this: Supposing the ceiling is on the paying the bills, and it doesn't specifically and in writing restrict us from running up bills at all, as long as we don't pay them. I say that still implies you should not be spending the money. If a father gave his son access to the family credit card, wouldn't he be a fool to say, "Okay, son, I can only afford to pay off  $14.3 thousand dollars, but you are welcome to use the card beyond that. Go as high as you like."

Did we really do that? Did we create a law limiting how much we allow ourselves to pay for, but not limiting how much we can actually buy?

If we did this, we are sooo foolish. I think I must have got wrong information when I read raising the ceiling was to pay for existing bills. This simply cannot be true, for I cannot believe we would have such an unwise debt ceiling.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Prophecies of Current-Day Israel?

So, Israel is being fought over by different religions. Islam, too, believes it is their land. Is there any scripture that prophesied this?
I do not know that I am right, but I might be. This scripture might be saying as much: "Surely in the fire of my jealousy have I spoken against all Idumea, which have appointed , my land unto their possession with the joy of all their heart, with despiteful minds, to cast it out for a prey." (Ezekiel 36:5)

It does seem, in this day, that Islam has "appointed" God's land unto themselves, that they have "despiteful minds" against Israel, and they they would to "cast it out for a prey."
All of Ezekiel 36 is interesting, but I love that it also contains a passage that might be referring to the fact that the Jews continued to deny Jesus was the Savior, even as they were scattered across the world. I wonder, when the scripture says they "profaned my holy name" if that is what is meant. This scripture that I quote says that those in the world would be aware that the Jews scattered are the Lord's people. I find that neat as it is a prophecy fulfilled.

"And when they entered unto the heathen, whither they went, they profaned my holy name, when they said to them, These are the people of the Lord, and are gone forth out of his land." (Ezekiel 36:20)
Why, then, if the Jews were not ready to accept their Savior would God so bless them? "Therefore say unto the house of Israel, Thus saith the Lord God: I do not this for your sakes, O house of Israel, but for mine holy name's sake, which ye have profaned among the heathen, whither ye went." (Ezekiel 36:22)

I am not studied enough to know whether the Jews consider their return to Israel as fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy, or whether they reject the notion. But I know Christendom sees it as fulfillment in this very day we live in. The immediate nations around Israel -- the Arab nations -- might not be considering it a fulfillment of scripture, but perhaps they are being pushed around so much that they, too, are becoming fearful the true God is with Israel. I do not know. I only know the scripture says (and I do not even know the scripture is referring to this, I only wonder);

"Then the heathen that are left round about you shall know that I the Lord build the ruined places, and plant that that was desolate: I the Lord have spoken it, and I will do it." (Ezekiel 36:36)

So it was spoken, and so it seems to me that it is.

Friday, August 5, 2011

You Want to be an American? Go Get a Lawyer

So, you want to stay here in America, maybe even become a citizen? Fine, go get a lawyer.

Often, our borders are locked to the person without an attorney. So regulated and complicated is immigration these days, that it often takes help from someone with a large pile of law books.

Shouldn't be so. Coming to America, to live in the land of the free, shouldn't take a lawyer. Becoming an American shouldn't take a lawyer.

Hold On'M Loosely, Don't Let'M Go

The most nerve-racking debt ceiling debate ever, two of the roughest weeks in Wall Street history, and the U.S.'s credit rating being dropped for the first time ever.

Forgive the U.S. public for feeling a little jittery.

It would be good to keep our chins up, as public confidence fuels the economy as much as anything. But, we cannot be blind to reality.

What does that song say? Without looking it up, something like, "Hold on'm loosely. Don't let'm go. . . . You're going to lose control."

Okay, we do need to hold on loosely. With the word "loosely" meaning don't be clingy, but rather be ready to accept economic failure if comes to that, we need to hold on and not let go of our working, investing, and buying. Don't give in to not having a job. Keep looking. Don't decide to not start that little company because it just seems like a bad time. If your business idea is solid, launch it. Don't not buy that car simply because the economy is bad. If you need a new car and can afford it, buy it.

Otherwise, we are going to lose control. Hang on, America. Hold on'm loosely.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

He Who is Free is also Governed

He who is free is also governed. But instead of being governed by others, a free man is governed by himself, at least in part. For, instead of having laws foisted upon him by a monarch, to benefit the monarch, a free man is part of the government, having a hand in the creation of laws, and the laws are created not to benefit a ruling class, but to benefit the people.

Freedom isn't lawlessness. It isn't the absence of laws. It's the enactment of just laws. Freedom does not seek to oppress one people for the benefit of another. It does not exclude anyone from its virtues, to suppose that they are not worthy and therefore cannot be partakers. It does not suppose one group has rights, while another doesn't. Freedom only takes its rights away when they are violated, or in danger of being violated.

And, just as freedom is not an invitation to lawlessness, it is not a protection of sin. Freedom allows for laws which engender virtue. It allows for laws that create a good and moral society. Freedom is not the allowance of corruption, but the removal of corruption's chains.