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The Single Answer to America’s Crisis

America is in crisis. Mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton killed 32 and injured 50. In the last ten days, 46 have died and 67 have been injured by crazed men with guns. Sixty-two have died similarly so far in 2019. Then there are the riots, the hate speech, the pouring water on policemen, the vulgar rhetoric, and the chaotic politics. Solutions abound with good intention, but are unworkable. But, there is one rather simple solution that is the sole answer to this crisis.

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Champions of gun control say it will resolve everything. Others believe more restrictive legislation will save us. Maybe if we could just eliminate poverty. Or, if America would finally do something about mental illness, these killers might not reach their breaking point.

I lowered my backyard flag to half-staff on Monday as ordered by the president in mourning for those who lost their lives to these deranged murderers. Every time I look at it, I consider I am mourning for America as well as for the victims. Too many American lives are being lost in mass shootings, crimes, IMG_1749 drugs, suicides, and abortions. It has become an epidemic. No amount of legislation, gun control, mental health policies, or economic enhancements will resolve this crisis, but one thing will. And, it involves little cost or effort on our part.

The answer is simply for all of America to return to God who made our country the greatest in the history of mankind. Because we were founded on faith in God, guided by His church and the Bible, and strengthened by worship and prayer, God has blessed us and favored us as a nation. This is blatantly obvious from a casual review of our history. However, about a half-century ago, we as a nation began to fall away from the power of God and depend on our own power. That started a decline of civility that has steepened with every passing year. We are now a nation in crisis having moved so far away from God that He has virtually left us to our own evil ways.

The good news is He has shown us in His Bible and through historical observation that He will always accept the repentance of a nation and will again return a nation to His favor and protection. That necessitates a return to a culture of faith. The Bible plainly gives us the answer. If My people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land. (2 Chronicles 7:14)

What does this look like practically and on a national scale? It means moving from dependency on government to dependency on God. It means returning to a lifestyle of praying and meditating on scripture. It means getting back into church and worshiping, studying, ministering, and fellowshiping with others. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another. (Hebrews 10:25) It means reinstating prayer and Bible study in our public schools. It means making God part of our conversations, our news reports, our entertainment, our workplace, and our parenting.

Just this morning, I heard a news reporter say that there is not one action we can take to fix the crisis in our nation, but there are several partial solutions that we should pursue. I counter that there is in fact one action that would absolutely fix our crisis: A return to “one nation under God.” The same God who created our nation and nurtured it through two centuries desires to recover it now. It starts with each of us making a personal commitment to …choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve. Joshua 24:15

Have Democrats Forgotten About American Workers?

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If you had asked Democrats a decade ago what the soul of their party was, most would have said the working class. They don’t say that anymore.

Liberals for years marketed themselves as advocates for the blue-collar worker with a high school education, a union job, and the American dream. Nowadays, the Left has become obsessed with the socialism movement of cultural Marxists and the destruction of capitalism. In essence, the Democrat Party has lost its soul to the radical fringes of its base. And nowhere else is this trend more clearly illustrated than the Democrats’ most recent attack on President Trump’s increased tariff imposition.

For a half-century, America has ignored a growing trade imbalance with almost every international trading partner. Since the 1970’s the US has seen imports trending higher compared to exports except for small trade surpluses in 1998 to 2001. In 2018, our nation’s exports were valued at $2.5 trillion while our imports were valued at over $3.1 trillion, a deficit of over $600 billion. That equates to 3% of our GDP.

Over $400 billion of that deficit is from our trade with China, up from $34 billion in 1990. The bulk of the rest is from the Canada, Mexico, and the EU. Most of these nations’ businesses enjoy government subsidies and low labor costs. All of them levy substantial tariff taxes on most American goods and services while we levy much less or nothing on theirs. Thus, America’s appetite for cheaper foreign goods and services, although satisfying consumers, is taking jobs and higher wages from our workers. The great economy we are currently enjoying would be even more robust without the imbalance in tariffs.

While the Left has been more than happy to ostracize the American worker by ignoring tariffs, the Trump Administration has taken the opposite approach. The president has embraced workers in domestic commerce, defending our nation’s manufacturing from the corrosive policies of our international trade partners. As a professor of economics, I have long advocated free trade on a global scale. However, when other nations establish barriers to free trade, the US must respond in kind to remain competitive. Temporary declines in exports and imports due to our increased tariffs are a short-term price worth paying for an eventual level playing field that benefits both consumers and employees.

Here is one example. In 2018, the president approved relief for the U.S. appliance industry, specifically washing machines. After an independent investigation by the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) found that “US producers had been seriously injured by imports,” the president took action. He announced tariffs on foreign-produced washers to protect domestic manufacturers and, in effect, American workers.

Liberals were quick to try to delegitimize the president’s efforts to buttress America’s labor force. Last April, a trio of academics released a study attempting to demonstrate the economic harm caused by the president’s washer tariffs. Unfortunately for academia, the study was full of holes. The authors overlooked many glaring flaws to arrive at their preferred conclusion that the tariffs were harmful. Not only did the authors fail to consider the thousands of manufacturing jobs saved and created by the tariff, but they also failed to account for the more than 15,000 jobs indirectly supported by the president’s action.

President Trump’s administration is succeeding exactly where liberals have failed: in protecting America’s vulnerable blue-collar sector. While Democrats are increasingly content to advocate for socialist policies designed to attract the dependent segment of society, the president has shown his willingness to fight for the jobs of all Americans. It’s clear that Democrats in their push for social experimentation have forgotten about the American workers. Thankfully, President Trump hasn’t.

Where Were You Then (if over 50)?

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Fifty years ago this week, three brave men aided by the greatest country in the history of mankind were on their way to the greatest human accomplishment in the history of mankind. My question is where were you at that anxious moment when Neil Armstrong proclaimed, “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind?” Here is my answer plus more interesting facts about this heroic event.

Coincidentally, on that Wednesday, July 16th, when the Apollo 11 crew of three blasted off, I was flying an Air Force training flight as a student at Vance Air Force Base in Enid, Oklahoma. In the program to become an Air Force pilot, I was as excited about flying jets as the two Air Force pilots and one former Navy pilot were about landing on the moon. I actually remember feeling a kindred spirit with mission commander Neil Armstrong, lunar module pilot Buzz Aldrin, and command module pilot Michael Collins. All three had once been where I was learning to master the challenge and joy of military flying that words can’t express.

Armstrong, Aldrin, and Collins lifted off at 9:32 EDT with the understanding that a thousand things could go wrong and with no guarantee of ever returning. Such a complex mission was not without extreme risk. We all learned two moon missions later just how easily things could turn south so unexpectedly when the Apollo 13 crew had to abort their mission due to an on-board explosion and almost didn’t make it back. Two years earlier, there had been the tragedy of the Apollo 1 crew who lost their lives in a prelaunch cabin fire. But this Wednesday, the adrenaline level of the three, knowing over 500 million people were watching, pushed fear aside. At 12:56 pm, in earth orbit, they separated from the Saturn Five booster rocket, rotated their command module (CM) “Columbia”, and docked nose-to-nose with their accompanying lunar excursion module (LEM), dubbed “Eagle” before departing earth’s orbit at 2:13 pm.

For about three days, they watched the moon grow in their windscreen as they sped toward it at speeds up to 25,000 miles per hour. Collins fired the burners to begin circling the moon on Saturday, July 19th at 1:21 pm. On Sunday morning, July 20th, Armstrong and Aldrin entered the LEM and tested all systems. At 3:08 pm, Aldrin fired the burners to separate the LEM from the CM and begin the decent. Thus far, this mission had been much like the two practice missions to the moon weeks earlier. But that was all about to change. This wasn’t a practice low approach in the LEM. This was real!

At 4:18 pm, Armstrong, having had to take manual control of the LEM due to unanticipated terrain issues and guidance computer failure, touched down with a cloud of moon dust on the moon plain called Sea of Tranquility. Armstrong generated a huge sigh of relief heard around the world with the words, “The Eagle has landed.” After about 6 1/2 hours of post-flight checks and well-deserved rest, Neil Armstrong donned his space suit and head gear, opened the LEM hatch, climbed down the ladder, and made that famous footprint as he voiced the proclamation almost everyone knows by memory. It was 10:56 pm on the east coast. Nineteen minutes later, Buzz Aldrin joined his history-making partner for a few minutes of exploration and photo ops. What a moment!

On Monday, July 21st, after about 21 hours on the moon’s surface, the two were back in the LEM, and Aldrin fired the launch rockets at 1:54 pm to blast themselves back into moon orbit. The rendezvous with a welcoming Collins was uneventful as he was more than ready to fly them back home. Splashdown was on Thursday, July 24th, at 12:50 pm 900 miles southwest of Hawaii. Mission accomplished! God bless America!

My wife and I drove from Enid to Oklahoma City on that Sunday to watch the incredible event with a couple who were dear college friends and classmates. I will never forget sitting in front of the TV, the four of us mesmerized by the minute-by-minute playing out of history. As I watched, I fantasized about becoming an astronaut. Maybe I would walk on the moon someday. Maybe mars! I must say this dream wouldn’t have been too far-fetched if America had kept up the momentum of space travel. I have been disappointed that our country has languished with the shuttle program.  Nevertheless, I still often relive in my mind that awesome July 20, 1969, when I was blessed to be part of the generation that put the first men on the moon.

Both Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins are still alive and in relatively good health at age 89 and 88 respectively. All three crew members were born in 1930. Sadly, Neil Armstrong died in 2012.

Please reply with your whereabouts and any other pertinent information regarding your witness of the first moon landing. To my under-50 friends, sorry you missed it.

 

 

Work, Gift, or Theft?

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God created mankind with only three ways to personal gain: work for it, receive it as a gift, or steal it. The first two are moral; the third is immoral. Yet, American society has evolved over resent years toward sanctioning theft through our government programs. Let’s look from a biblical perspective at how our nation may be disregarding God’s economy.

The Bible has much to say about the virtue of labor and the sin of laziness. It also advocates generosity in giving. But it strongly warns against thievery. No scripture sums up these ideals more than Ephesians 4:28: He who steals must steal no longer; but rather he must labor, performing with his own hands what is good, so that he will have something to share with one who has need.

Physical and mental exertion rewarded by money or in-kind return is the foundation of God’s economy. Most of this return is to be used for life’s necessities and reasonable pleasures. Then, part of that return is to be shared willingly with those who need it for living or for the general good of mankind. According to the Bible, at least ten percent of it is to be freely given to the Lord’s work through the church. Any part of personal gain given up forcibly or unwillingly to others is theft. That may be through direct stealing, fraud, or forced giving. Thieves receive their personal gain not by work or gift, but by taking from others against their will. Work, gift, or theft. There are no other categories of personal gain.

In a perfect world, all needs of those who cannot work would be supplied as a gift by those who are able according to biblical teaching. Because of our greed and insufficient love, Americans and other capitalist societies agree to collectively meet those needs through assistance programs funded by taxes. We who work contribute willingly to the needy through government programs for health care (e.g., Medicaid), basic necessities (e.g., welfare), etc. through a portion of our taxes. Our willingness to contribute this way is expressed by our voting for lawmakers who enact such wealth distribution laws and policies. In Socialist societies, the government controls all work and personal wealth and redistributes the wealth as they deem necessary.

For several decades, America’s provision for the needy by the will of the majority through government taxation has worked reasonably well. The problem in recent years is with the majority of our lawmakers who are not following the will of the voters in their distribution of wealth. When those in charge spend our taxes on others against our will as a whole, we are being robbed–plain and simple. Nearly 60% of Americans oppose making government-provided health insurance available to illegal immigrants, according to a CNN poll released last week. Yet, when 10 Democratic presidential candidates in their last debate were asked for a show of hands of those in favor of such government spending, all 10 hands went up. The same betrayal is evident with government funded abortions as Democrats rally to repeal the Hyde Amendment.

Americans are the most benevolent people on earth. They willingly allow their Congressional representative to distribute some of their tax money to those deemed deserving of it. Those representatives would do well to not steal that tax money for those whom the majority of taxpayers deem undeserving. As you observe what politicians are advocating in their campaigns, put them to the test. Are they proposing to gift or steal your tax dollars?

 

 

 

 

Moms for America Rally for Freedom

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If you are a mom or know a mom who is concerned about the rapid deterioration of America’s freedoms and values that must be preserved for our children and grandchildren, become familiar with Moms for America. They will hold a rally with Gold Star Wives and Mothers at the U.S. Capitol on Thursday, July 4th. On behalf of the sons and daughters who have died for their country, the cry of these moms is, “We are not willing to sacrifice what they gave their lives for.” Let’s look at much more this organization is doing for the future of our children.

MFA is a national non-profit organization rooted in the principles of liberty and virtue upon which our nation was founded, and focused on promoting these principles in the home and family through the women and mothers of America. They are many faces in many places supporting and encouraging each other in the most important work they do–raising and nurturing the future of America. They are creating a national movement of moms to restore the republic, promote the principles of liberty, and reclaim their culture for truth, family, freedom and the U.S. Constitution.

Their “Declaration of Mothers” is as follows:

  • Our Rights come from God not government and the Constitution of the United States was created under the inspiration of Almighty God to secure our inherent rights and the liberty for all people.
  • We recognize the sacred role of mother as the heart of the home and home as the heart of society.
  • Mothers by their divine nature and intrinsic influence determine the future of a nation, mold its citizens, determine its institutions, and shape its destiny.
  • Parents are, first and foremost, the primary teachers and protectors of their children in a free society.
  • We affirm the self-evident truths that all men and women are created equal; endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights which include life, liberty, property, and the pursuit of happiness.
  • Freedom is a rare and prized possession which requires constant care and vigilance for its preservation. Each generation has a responsibility to instill a love of liberty and virtue in the hearts of the next generation.

MFA’s Director of Strategic Initiatives and Gold Star Mom, Karen Vaughn, in a recent national news interview said tKaren Vaughnhat one of her greatest concerns is the determined effort of our nation’s liberal leaders to embrace socialism. Socialism tickles of ears of the young, less mature Americans who don’t understand the consequences of its claims. Karen sees the critical role of moms in nurturing their children in the superiority of democracy and capitalism that made America great.

I believe mothers have been key to the direction of the history of all nations throughout civilization as they have shaped their sons and daughters for the next generation. Mothers of America will, in large measure, determine the principles and values of this nation’s next generation. President Ronald Reagan said, “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.”

Moms, go to https://momsforamerica.us, now and consider becoming a part of this worthy organization. Also, watch for news coverage of the Rally for Freedom event in Washington, D.C. on the Fourth of July.

 

The 2020 Election: Capitalism or Socialism

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For the first time in America’s history, the 2020 election will be a choice between capitalism and socialism as our future way of life. Most voters may think it’s still all about who will be President or the majority party in the House and Senate. But election results will more so determine whether we remain a free-market capitalist society or embrace the failed, oppressive socialist movement with which many Americans seem to be enamored.

Who could have predicted that America would ever be flirting with socialism? Yet, here we are, less than three decades from the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of the Soviet Union, with millions of citizens being duped by the empty promises of socialist advocates. In a 2016 Gallup poll, 55% of respondents 18 – 29 said they hold a positive view of socialism. A 2017 YouGov poll asked millennials whether they would prefer to live in a capitalist, socialist, fascist, or communist nation, with 44% answering socialist. Nearly one-third of 22-37 year-old Americans responded to a Maru-Blue study by saying their political leaning was toward socialism. None of these polls defined socialism, leaving the question of whether our younger generation understands what socialism really is.

The deception is almost entirely from the Democratic Party. This is the party that once was a legitimate alternative to the GOP in debating labor, social, and economic issues. But they have abandoned these practical advocacies. Now, with openly socialist candidates, the ideological center of the Democratic Party has shifted to the far left in just the last few years. They are sugar-coating the philosophy by calling it “democratic socialism” as if it is just a spin-off of democracy. This has misled the hearts and minds of easily impressionable Americans who haven’t lived through the cold war or studied history seriously.

The tempting fruits of Medicare for all, guaranteed income, and free college tuition seem like heaven on earth. The leftists conveniently disregard the inability of a socialist government to produce prosperity and its reliance on oppression to control economic objectives. They neglect to mention how a socialist government dictates terms of life, education, career choices, family autonomy, travel, associations, and political dialogue. We need to look no further than the ongoing starvation and chaos in Venezuela or the present upheaval in Hong Kong to see clearly the “success” of socialism.

The history of American capitalism is not without faults and missteps, but it is what made this nation the greatest in the history of mankind. We who have observed and experienced the hopelessness of socialism must somehow help others see through its facade. The new generation of voters who have not lived through the threat of an encroaching “evil empire” and who give little attention to modern-day oppressive governments must be convinced that warning about socialism is not a “new McCarthyism.”

Listen carefully to what the 20-plus Democratic presidential candidates are proposing. It doesn’t take a political science major to perceive they are promoting socialism as the new direction for our country. A Democratic-majority congress and/or a Democrat in the White House will swing the door wide open for America’s rush to abandon capitalism. Make the next eighteen months a period of close attention to the voices and actions of our political candidates. Seriously consider what is at stake for you, your children, and your grandchildren.

 

 

Understanding Impeachment

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We’ve all been subjected to the Democrat threats of Trump impeachment, but what is really at stake? The term “impeach” is highly provocative and refers to the first step to unseat a properly elected president. The present effort is taking national divisiveness to a new level with virtually no chance of conviction. Few people really understand impeachment, but all citizens need to. Let’s look at just what it is and what it is not.

Many view impeachment to mean the removal of a president. However, it is just like an indictment in the court system. A president has to be later convicted of the articles of impeachment to be removed. The whole process is codified into law by Article 1 of the Constitution which basically follows the 14th Century British process. It is not a criminal trial process, but rather a determination of fitness for office.

Very serious charges have to be considered by the Congress in order begin an impeachment process. Article 1 specifies “treason, bribery, and other high crimes and misdemeanors” as justification for impeachment. Such infractions of the law would have to be compiled into Articles, or charges, of Impeachment by the House of Representatives. The House would select certain members as prosecutors to make the case before their full body. Then, they would need a simple majority of those voting to impeach, which they would probably have in this Congress (217 out of 433 [currently two vacancies], and they have 235 Democrats). Should they impeach, it would be only an indictment that would then go to the Senate for a conviction decision to remove the president.

The whole body of the Senate would consider the evidence in a court-like trial with the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, John Roberts, as presiding judge. As in the House, a Senate committee of prosecutors would bring the charges. The Senate would then require a two-thirds super-majority vote to convict (67 out of 100). So only 34 Republican votes would be needed to block conviction. The Senate has 53 Republicans. The bottom line is there would be almost zero chance of conviction unless the president were proven to have committed some kind of heinous crime. Most Americans would view the House action as purely political and an abuse of their constitutional responsibility. Democratic representatives would be attempting a last-ditch effort to oust the president because everything else had failed.

In the history of America, no president has ever been removed from office following impeachment. In 1842, an attempt to impeach John Tyler for vetoing a string of tariff bills failed to get a House majority vote. In 1868, Andrew Johnson was impeached for replacing the Secretary of the Navy without Congressional consent, but the Senate fell short of the two-thirds vote for conviction. In 1999, Bill Clinton was impeached in the Monica Lewinsky debacle, but the Senate couldn’t muster even a majority of votes to convict him. Richard Nixon resigned in 1974 over the Watergate cover-up before an impending impeachment.

If a president would ever be removed by impeachment and conviction, the vice president would assume the presidency and would select a new vice president. If the vice president were also removed or declined the position, the speaker of the House Pelosi, oh my!, would become president.

There is no provision for a president to appeal an impeachment or conviction. However, removal by impeachment and conviction for a crime is not subject to sentencing. If criminal activity is involved, the president would be subject to entering the criminal justice system afterward for possible arrest, indictment, trial, conviction, and sentencing.

So, what does all the hoopla about impeaching Trump bode for his future? Almost assuredly nothing. Incivility, miscalculations, even lying and sharing of classified information are not impeachable offenses. Even impeachable offenses such as Clinton’s obstruction of justice would not likely result in conviction and removal. Treason, bribery, and high crimes are very high bars to clear. Personally, I don’t believe impeachment of President Trump will ever get past the threat stage, and shouldn’t. Even if the craziness in the House somehow managed to get the President impeached, there is hardly any possibility of conviction in the Senate. Unless something turns up tantamount to treason or murder, the  storm winds of impeachment will have no more effect than a light breeze.

I invite your comments and shares.

Memorial Day Dishonored by Washington Antics

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As a 24-year career veteran, on Memorial Day, I have always honored the Americans who sacrificed their lives in defense of their country. For years, I took pride in the way our nation memorialized those brave heroes. In the last few years, however, my Memorial Day has been clouded by thinking how disappointed these fallen warriors would have been in the antics in Washington that disrespect so much of what they died for. This year, particularly, I am deeply grieved over Washington’s foolishness.

Never in my life have I seen such foolhardiness as is being displayed by Democrats in both houses of Congress. Their objectives for undermining American values over recent decades were abruptly halted by the election of President Trump. Since that election, Democrats have been unhinged, in panic, and delirious from the shock of losing their leftest momentum. I doubt that any conservative expected such a rabid reaction.

Trump’s presidency had every potential of major progress in economic growth, immigration reform, tax reform, infrastructure enhancement, viable healthcare, Social Security resolution, racial reconciliation, balanced international trade, and international peace initiatives. Aside from a few notable victories, these anticipated advances have been stifled by the Democrats through endless accusations and investigations, spying on the administration, intransigence on almost all White House initiatives, and raging opposition to most presidential appointees. Now they are readying for impeachment proceedings with no impeachable offense.

By and large, the Democratic representatives and senators have spent two-and-a-half years spewing hatred, conniving, manipulating the media, obstructing, spying, and aggressively pursuing a four-year campaign cycle for 2020. They are acting as if their whole world were inside the DC beltway with no regard for the American general public. They apparently believe their very survival depends on removing President Trump from office. If it weren’t so damaging to our country, it would be hilarious just watching their comedy act. Everything they try blows up in their face, but instead of cooperating in bilateral efforts, they try some other farcical scheme. In my observation, there has never before been such idiocy on the hill.

So, this Memorial Day, I will do my best to concentrate on the purpose of the solemn day of remembrance. I will try to compartmentalize my thoughts and prayers surrounding those who paid the ultimate price for their country’s freedoms. They died for our freedoms and way of life, not for the insanity in Washington. I will do my best to ignore for one day those in Washington who are making a mockery of our government that those courageous men and women fought under.

Pray for a second term for President Trump and a Republican majority in both houses in 2020. We must stop this madness.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Truth About Social Security

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There are so many rumors and so much misinformation about Social Security today. Here is the truth. No, Social Security is not going broke, but it will be out of reserves soon if not modified. Yes, Social Security future benefits will be reduced if something isn’t done. No, your Social Security payments have not been used for other government programs or wars.  Here are some myth busters and warnings you need to know about your Social Security.

In 2018, America’s workers paid in $965 billion into Social Security, and beneficiaries paid $36 billion in income taxes on benefits for a total of about $1 trillion in payments. All this went into the U.S. treasury earmarked for Social Security. The treasury paid out $998 billion in retiree benefits. The other $3 billion went into the Social Security trust fund, or as some call it, the “lock box.” The trust fund also earned $85 billion in interest last year. So, all pay-ins and pay-outs are accounted for. They always have been and always will be. Not a dollar of your hard-earned payroll taxes has been used for anything but to pay qualified beneficiaries. No, illegal immigrants don’t get Social Security. And, yes, Congressmen and Senators pay into Social Security just like the rest of us. But there is reason for great concern for the program.

I recently attended the annual conference for the Association of Mature American Citizens (AMAC) congressional delegates. Serving as an AMAC delegate for Arkansas’s Congressional District 4 has been a joy and an education for me. Congressman Bruce Westerman is a pleasure to work with. One of AMAC’s principal efforts right now is lobbying Washington for its sensible reform plan to keep Social Security solvent for present and future retirees. The program is rapidly approaching the end of its reserves and will soon be on a strictly pay-as-you-go basis. This will reduce benefits by 20% or more.

Social Security was designed in 1935 for contributions to equal withdrawals. That was when life expectancy was 61 years. Most people didn’t live long enough to collect benefits. Each person who lived long enough had many workers paying for his or her benefits. In the 60’s the ratio of contributing workers to retired recipients was around 5 to 1. Today it is close to 2 to 1 and trending lower. The good news is there is about $3 trillion in the Social Security trust fund today. The bad news is it will all be gone by 2034, because there will not be enough workers to support the longer-living retirees. Most retirees now collect more in their lifetime than they have paid in. If we don’t make adjustments, or even if we wait too long to start making adjustments, benefits in 2034 will be limited to what is being paid in–about 21% less than current benefits.

I urge you to get smart on Social Security and put pressure on your Congressman and Senators to have the courage to do the unpopular and reform the program well before reserves are depleted. Congressman Westerman supports the AMAC plan for saving Social Security and believes it is the best plan in Washington. Click here to learn about the plan. Also, if you need personal advice about anything concerning Social Security, ask America’s best and friendliest advisors at ssadvisor@amacfoundation.org. You can also call them at 1-888-750-2622. It’s free, even to non-members. It could save you a lot of money. For instance, they will calculate whether it would be best to begin drawing at age 62 or later based on your individual situation.

If you’re over 50 and not a member of AMAC, you’re missing out. It’s the same price as AARP with the same benefits, but it is a conservative organization. Click here for their website.

Please share this post with your friends and family who have questions about Social Security.

 

 

God in a Bluebird

It takes a lot of faith to be an atheist. One must believe in the impossible. The evidence of God’s omnipotence, omniscience, and omnipresence in all things great and small is overwhelming. Consider just one of millions of observances that is inexplicable other than through the Creator. I reference the bluebird. Animal instinct cannot have developed through any kind of random evolution theory. That is inherently obvious in the bluebirds nesting in my back yard.

A few years ago, Linda and I ordered one of those little bird houses that sticks on the outside of a window. The bird house has no back wall, so we can observe the nesting and hatching process from inside our house. Each spring, a bluebird couple arrives and begins fluttering around the yard. In just a few days, we start seeing them busily carrying little twigs to the bird house and arranging them neatly into a perfectly crafted nest. Soon, we wake up to a few little blue eggs in the nest. Then, we watch for several days as the plainly feathered mama sits dutifully on the eggs while her brightly feathered hubby brings her periodic helpings of worms and bugs. Mamma leaves her nest only for short periods for water and a little fresh air. Daddy never leaves the back yard, but is constantly foraging for food or just standing guard in a nearby tree.

We celebrate with the proud couple when we peak through the glass to see a few of the eggs cracked open and tiny naked babies appear with beaks open wide. For the next several days, mamma and daddy alternate in bringing the babies worms and bugs pureed in their mouths and deposited in the babies’ wide open begging mouths. Gross, but sweet. We witness the babies grow little feathers until one day we find the nest empty. The parents have released them to the challenging environment of the natural world. Sometimes this process is repeated once or twice over the summer months. All this is exhilarating to observe, but the greatest fascination is in pondering the miracle of it all.

These bluebirds get no education or training in marriage and procreation. They have little or no capacity for logic or deductive reasoning. Everything they do is driven by a mysterious inner “voice” that we humans call animal instinct. Webster defines instinct as, “a largely inheritable and unalterable tendency of an organism to make a complex and specific response to environmental stimuli without involving reason.” This instinct is what causes certain fouls to go south for the winter, spiders to build artistic and symmetrical webs, ants to engage in intricate construction projects, and water turtles newly hatched on land to crawl immediately toward a distant body of water. It is what compels the bluebirds to prepare an architecturally correct nest to support the babies they somehow know are coming. It makes the mamma sit on eggs for days. And it tells the new parents what and how to feed and water their offspring. It assigns the daddy to be ever-present as protector of his family. It appoints the time to kick the little ones out of the house.

So, what is this enigma called instinct in animals. Author Randy Alcorn suggests that non-human animal instinct is the “soul” God puts in every animal. It is not like the human soul that lives eternally and in which the Holy Spirit dwells. But, like the human soul, God’s Spirit indwells the soul of animals to direct them above their level of consciousness. How else could animals do these supernatural things? Humans are created in the image of God to posses logic and reason which guide our actions in coordination with Him. We humans don’t need, and therefore don’t possess, animal instinct. The Spirit of God in us works through our heart, mind, and spirit to guide us on a much higher plain than that through which He guides animals. There is absolutely no other explanation for what drives natural animal behaviors other than through the power of God instilled in every animal of His creation.

So, when I watch my bluebird family, I am enjoying a worship experience of seeing the undeniable hand of Almighty God. It is everywhere!

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. Romans 1:18-20.

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