New Development

I've come to change my mind on the whole Lenten fast concept. This change of mind was inspired by the 5-year-old that I tutor every day. (Now I don't want any comments about it being typical that I'm inspired by kindergarteners.:) His family is Catholic and all the kids were deciding what they wanted to give up. His older sisters were quite noble in their choice--they both gave up candy, and each gave up either the computer games they loved or video games. Little brother was far too hesitant to give up anything that significant, so he decided he was going to give up homework. Of course, he doesn't get any from his school, so the only homework he has is if I help him write letters or learn how to read. I thought this was hilarious and it inspired me to modify my 40 day fast.

Here it goes:

1. I'm giving up sympathizing with terrorists. This will be difficult.

2. I'm going stop sending large donations to the DNC for 40 days. I just can't help myself otherwise.

and finally,
3. I'm going to stop praying wisdom for Saddam Hussein's lawyers. I'm just going to try to leave this one in the fates' hands for a month and a half.

I hope this inspires someone else just as it's inspired me. :)

Posted by Portia at February 10, 2005 09:03 AM

Emily! You make me laugh! I love you! :)

Posted by: Kristin at February 10, 2005 09:43 AM

This is too funny. So are you eating Bread again? Isn't it funny what kids come up with! It's fantastic...inspiring :)

Posted by: Kelly at February 10, 2005 11:09 AM

Dangit took all the funny "fasts"

Posted by: Peter at February 10, 2005 12:36 PM

I'm going to give up spending time with my girlfriend, then. Thanks!!

Posted by: Jon at February 11, 2005 09:32 AM

I'm giving up liver.

Posted by: Dee at February 11, 2005 04:56 PM

Nice post. LOL.

Posted by: Spear Shaker at February 12, 2005 09:37 PM

How about you give up tax cuts for the rich? Here is the situation for some of the not-so-lucky:

Posted by: ziggy at February 15, 2005 08:06 AM

How about you give up welching on promised Social Security benfits? Or gambling on the stock market?

Posted by: ziggy at February 15, 2005 09:16 AM

Now why would we go and do a thing like that? The rich pay the majority of the nation's taxes, so don't you think it's a nice gesture to give them a break every once in a while. Besides, what do people do with money they get out of a tax break? They spend it and fuel the economy. Ziggy, I don't think you want the rich to get a break because you don't want to hold up your end of the tax bargain. You'd rather have someone else pay out half of their earnings to the government, while the middle and lower class represent less than 10% of the tax output bracket, am I wrong?

Posted by: Jon at February 15, 2005 09:33 AM

You are making two assumptions here that I disagree with. The first is that pre-tax income is purely free of government influence. This is not true because private income comprises many kinds of public authority, such as limited liability and corporate charters, themselves legal creations.

The second is that it is fair for the rich to pay taxes at the same rate as the poor. I disagree because the rich can afford to pay a higher rate and still have much higher income.

Moreover, you are arguing from an abstract principle to a specific case. The two biggest items in the discretionary budget consists of interest on the debt and defense spending. It's not possible to cut enough of the remainder of the discretionary budget to finance these with Bush's tax cuts in place. An argument for tax cuts for the rich is, in effect, an argument for budget deficits, or borrowing in order to give the rich money.

Cutting taxes for the rich and cutting services for the poor is just greed, what Christians would call a sin. Why not give up a sin for lent?

Posted by: ziggy at February 15, 2005 11:01 AM

First of all, Christians take care of the poor a lot better than the Gov't does. Why, you might ask? Because we don't give them money and expect them to be happy. Christians train the poor and homeless to become independent of the Dole and the make their own way. With Welfare programs, the gov't gives money to these people and that's it. There's no sense of self-satisfaction because those people just had to be poor to recieve any benefits. Also, The US did not have a great national debt before 1933. The debt was not caused by the Great Depression, as some might speculate. It was caused by FDR's New Deal. He created so many welfare programs that gave people money, or created temporary jobs that didn't need to be created in the first place. If the nation had stuck with Hoover, there still wouldn't be a national debt (although it would have taken a lot longer to recover from the economic tragedy). Technically speaking, the US has never left the Great Depression. We're still in it. We've always been in it because we still have this growing National Debt.

The Gov't doesn't give the rich money. What the gov't is doing by giving the rich tax cuts is keeping more money in circulation. They are enabling the private sector to balance the nation's budget by increasing corporate taxes, and decreasing private income taxes. If a worker makes more, they spend more. And if a company makes more, it pays more in taxes (far more than the rich pay, i'll tell you that much).

My Favorite debt recovery tactic is "Trickle Down Economics". It was Hoover's original plan to get out of the GD. You give money to the companies, and they create jobs. When they create jobs, the people work more. When the people work more, they earn more. When the people earn more, they spend more. When the people spend more, companies earn more money and hire more workers to meet the demand of the people. And the circle goes on and on and on. The only "problem" with this system is that it shows no "immediate" results.

Frankly, if all we did was pay a national tax on everything we buy, the Gov't would be fine because the tax burden would then be on the corporations and not on the individual.

Posted by: Peter at February 15, 2005 11:24 AM

Nah, gambling on the stock markets is the greatest high ever!! Beats that dang celebrity poker!

Posted by: Emily at February 16, 2005 08:37 AM

Emily, I think you should be adding poker to your new list.

Posted by: Dee at February 16, 2005 08:46 AM

Peter, great post.

Posted by: Dee at February 16, 2005 08:52 AM

If you read the linked story you will see that Christians are not making up for the decline in municipal social benefits. Nor did they provide the same level of benefits the elderly and the unemployed received under the Social Security system before 1935.

You deserve some credit for having the courage to explicitly defend Hoover. Had Bush made similar statements, for example, his political career would have been over. Hoover himself was resoundingly rejected by the voters after his approach was tried for three years of depression, and the economy continued to worsen.

The debt from the New Deal was relatively small compared to the debt incurred during World War II, which was in fact what ended the Depression. From a public utility standpoint, which is the perspective you are taking, the debt was worth it because of the postwar boom from 1945 to 1973, not to mention reducing unemployment and winning the war.

At any rate, the public debt was projected to be paid off as of 2000. It was Bush's tax cuts that put the budget deeply back in the red, not the New Deal.

Posted by: ziggy at February 16, 2005 12:13 PM


First of all, thanx for the compliment.

Now to the good stuff. WWII did not end the depression. It, in fact, worsened it. Like I said, Hoover's plan of trickle down economics takes a while to take effect, and his plan was never thouroughly implemented (any high school econ or US history class will tell you this). The general populus did not want to wait, and they were very against giving the big corporations gov't money.

The debt from the New Deal was MASSIVE! The gov't created millions of jobs. IT CREATED THEM! USING GOV'T MONEY! At this point, the gov't was already in the red, but voter satisfactionn was up because they were working. When we entered WWII, the gov't used the private sector to create jobs. The gov't gave out more money to purchase military goods, and created an even larger debt (you were correct on that point).

If the public debt was projected to be paid off by 2000, why wasn't it? Bush wasn't in office until 2001. His tax cuts weren't implemented until mid 2002.

Posted by: Peter at February 16, 2005 01:52 PM

You seem to be saying that it was Hoover's policies that ultimately ended the Depression. I've never heard of a historian or an economist who has made this claim. Perhaps you can point me to a source that supports it. Similarly your statement that the war worsened the Depression. There was practically zero unemployment during the war, after about 25 percent unemployment at the trough of the Depression.

I'm certain about the relative impact on the debt with respect to the New Deal and World War II. Just look at a graph of the budget deficit over time. It balloons during the war years.

I meant that as of 2000, the accumulated debt was forecasted to be paid off going forward, not that it was was to be paid off by 2000.

Posted by: ziggy at February 16, 2005 09:48 PM