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WDEL Blog: Allan Loudell

Outlines to a 'Fiscal Cliff' compromise that would NOT just kick the can down the road

WASHINGTON POST columnist Robert J. Samuelson - captive to neither Right nor Left, Republican nor Democratic - offers this blueprint for a compromise on the "fiscal cliff". Food for thought...



http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/robert-samuelson-the-fiscal-cliff-deal-we-need/2012/11/18/3870f9c6-3014-11e2-9f50-0308e1e75445_story.html?hpid=z2





Posted at 7:37am on November 19, 2012 by Allan Loudell

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Comments on this post:

teatime
Mon, Nov 19, 2012 8:07am
This one's easy: draw the troops in Afghanistan, saving trillions of dollars.. By not starting any new wars, we'll' have plenty of money to reverse the deficit and even provide free public education for college.

Mike from Delaware
Mon, Nov 19, 2012 10:36am
Teatime's got a point. Bring our troops home from Afghanistan, it's time for those folks to fight their own civil wars and YES do NOT get involved in any other wars, including this mess that Israel is fighting. They definitely can fight their own wars and kick some major butt in the process. Sure, sell them any equipment/weapons they need, but no US military involvement at all.

Second, start charging at least half the cost for our bases and troops that are stationed in other parts of the world. We'll find out real fast who really has value for our military. Sure for FREE they love it, as you and I pay for THEIR defense and let OUR men and women die for them. If they won't pay, then we remove those troops, close down the base, taking everything with us, leaving only the sidewalks and runways.

Yea, I know the odds of our "mighty" Congress ever having the "kahoonas" to do that is nil, but doing those two things will make a huge dent in America's debt.

Allan Loudell
Mon, Nov 19, 2012 11:03am
Sorry to tell you guys...

Yes, former President George W. Bush aggravated our financial situation by committing us to two wars while lowering taxes... and President Obama's stimulus package, Wall Street bail-out, etc., only added to the red ink...

But even a complete end to America's foreign entanglements would only close a fraction of the deficits, partly because of the ever-rising cost of health care, and the aging of a dependent population! (Although the "containment" of China - part of the reason for President Obama's current Southeast Asian trip - probably means MORE U.S. military in THAT part of the world!)

Meanwhile, we have our decaying infrastructure!

Allan Loudell

Mike from Delaware
Mon, Nov 19, 2012 1:30pm
Allan: IF Bush Jr. hadn't gotten us into Iraq and Afghanistan, we'd have NOT spent all that money on two unfunded wars. So not continuing in that trend would save future money.

The bases and forces in support of those bases is costing us tons of money, so why shouldn't those nations pay part of the cost? Yes it would cut a portion of our debt. What's with you people who continue to use the argument, oh we can't cut THAT, because it is a drop in the bucket. Yea, but better to cut all those drops FIRST which will help, BEFORE sticking to the little guy once again. So yes, cut the military as I suggested; cut PBS/NPR, no foreign aid other than food or medical help; cut perks to Congress (one admin assistant, no limos, no free haircuts or beauty-shop visits, no free gym, scale back THEIR pension plan [see how they like it], etc., etc.)

There's so many so-called little things that could and should be cut, but NO we can't do that, let's cut Social Security and Medicare first and other things that actually help folks in need. I say do the other stuff FIRST, then yes, there will still need to be cuts, but at least it will be a smaller number and then all segments of our society will have done their part instead of the middle-class and elderly being on the hook once again. THAT's my point.

The wealthy and government folks NEVER have to feel the pain. IT'S their turn, first. If we're as broke as is implied, then just as we'd do in our household budget, we cut, but the government NEVER cuts its stuff, ALWAYS cuts what benefits the citizens.

Obama is correct, the wealthy need to pay more in taxes, that would help, but good luck getting the GOP to vote for that.

Allan Loudell
Mon, Nov 19, 2012 1:54pm
Mike from Delaware...

I appreciate your passion, fervor, and reason.

I'm just saying that even complete withdrawal from that part of the world doesn't solve the problem, not even a half or a quarter of it. (This is like all the Americans who think we'd absolutely balance our budget by cutting foreign aid, when it represents under one percent, and is disproportionately smaller a percentage of budget or GDP than for some other smaller countries.)

And, of course, Uncle Sam will absorb the cost of the aftermath of those wars, notably high-cost medical treatment and care for members of out military who suffered (and continue to endure) lasting, grotesque injuries.

The Republicans will never agree to real military cutting because they're the defense party, and the Democrats won't agree to much because they suffered two generations of Republican attacks as the pacifist, McGovernite party. Also, don't forget the military--industrial complex, meaning the Congressional delegation of nearly every state will fight cuts.

On the Congressional perks, idealistically, I agree with you on most except for one. With the volumes of specialized hearings and legislation, a member of Congress - or indeed a member of Parliament in some other country - absolutely requires expert staff for research of issues, preparation and evaluation of legislation. Otherwise, penny wise, pound foolish, I'm afraid. (Of course, I realize, to critics -- Congress is still often foolish!) No one human being - even with one or two assistants - could possibly absorb it all.

Allan Loudell

Mike from Delaware
Mon, Nov 19, 2012 3:14pm
Allan: I understand your point about staff for Congress, but my guess is, they have way more than they actually need (given how government works - in the private sector we learn to do with less and get more accomplished), so probably some cutbacks could, and should, happen.

I'm just throwing out stuff from the top of my head that I can see. Someone in government probably could really find stuff to cut, but of course the problem is they themselves benefit so they'll not be calling out places to cut inside the government where you and I can not see.

I understand the cuts are small in comparison to the big social programs, but that's not a reason to not cut in those areas, just because it's only a small amount. That's what gets me upset is that attitude. Ah, it's only a small amount, so we'll just not bother. Is it any wonder the public has no confidence in the clowns who govern us?? The only cuts they can ever see to cut always affect the little guy, NEVER those in government, nor the wealthy.

I realize some social stuff will have to be cut, especially for those under 55 years of age (both Obama and Romney said they'd not stick it to those above that age in terms of Social Security or Medicare - they'll probably get it stuck to them in other ways yet known), but it is not right or proper for the middle-class to always be first in line when it's time to make cuts and at the back of the line when its time to give stuff away or protect their interests, THAT's not reasonable and what I'm ranting about.

mrpizza
Mon, Nov 19, 2012 6:03pm
All I can say is that whatever happens my conscience is clear and God is in control. Only those firmly anchored on the solid rock of Jesus Christ will weather the storms coming upon the world. If your trust is in government - well - good luck. Historically, it never has done a good job of playing God.

Mike from Delaware
Mon, Nov 19, 2012 6:23pm
Mrpizza: That doesn't mean the Lord won't allow trials and tribulations to occur in a believer's life. Being a Christian is not an insurance policy where only good stuff will happen to you. The difference between a Christian and the unbeliever is yes, we do have that anchor or rock, Jesus Christ, so even though we may go through bad times, we are not alone, Christ is there with us, helping us to get through it. The Lord never said earth would be heaven, it isn't. So we rest in that blessed hope in Christ that someday we'll be with him in paradise.

Allan Loudell
Mon, Nov 19, 2012 6:51pm
mr pizza...

But if you DON'T have the notion of a governmental safety net, good luck too!

How about the destitute in some Latin and African nations, where you have a large poverty class and a small wealthy elite? Is that any more Christian?

Lest we forget - and I'm hammering at this theme - "Christian Democratic" parties in Europe were inspired by the Christian impulse toward helping thy neighbor, and these parties were not particularly hard right or left.

And, of course, in Latin America, theologians reacting to the chasm between rich and poor formulated Liberation Theology.

Allan Loudell


mrpizza
Mon, Nov 19, 2012 11:37pm
You guys completely miss the point. God doesn't "allow" bad things to happen to people. The fact is that we live in a fallen world and because we live in this world, stuff happens. I know what I'm talking about. I've been rescued by the hand of God like most people will never experience, and most of what I've been rescued from was stuff I brought upon myself. It all depends on whether you believe scripture literally or metaphorically. No, God didn't say earth would be heaven, but he did say "on earth, as it is in heaven." Jesus said "I have overcome the world". "Come out from among them, and be separate" has been widely accepted as an admonition for Christians to not engage in the world's bad morals, but it's much more. It means to rise above and not be victims of whatever is happening around us. He said we are the head and not the tail. Notice I said "rise above", not just "get through it".

Unfortunately, many believers, both here and abroad, have a misconception of what prosperity is. You hear that word, and automatically it's a dirty four-letter word because a few so-called preachers have told folks that if you send them a thousand dollars then you'll become a millionaire overnight. Of course that isn't true, but "Give and it shall be given unto you, pressed down, shaken together and running over shall men give unto your bosom" was scripture the last time I checked. No, it isn't instant lotto jackpot, but it's a lot more of an insurance policy that what you give it credit for. Did you know that only 20% of church attendees tithe? It's no wonder much of the church is in the same shape the world is in, and when the church is broke it sure can't help anybody else.

Now I'm not a millionaire, but another misconception is that everything is dollars and cents aka black and white. It isn't. But because I made a decision over 30 years ago to be obedient to scripture and bring my tithe into the storehouse, I've been able to rise above financial difficulty and to also help others. "Whatsoever a man sows that shall he also reap". Reaping doesn't necessarily come in the form of dollars and cents. God sometimes uses barter as a way to give his people what is needed.

Another thing I've learned over the years is that it comes down to motive. "It is God that gives us the power to get wealth that his covenant may be established". If we're just looking for God to prosper us to provide our own needs or wants, then the entire message has been lost. "Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and all these things shall be added unto you." We must be motivated by a vision for reaching the world, and we must learn to tie everything we do to that. My employment isn't just something to pay my bills with, but it's a force for establishing the covenant of God in the earth. Too many Christians are motivated by what's in it for them rather than by a desire to serve. "Without a vision the people perish".

And this isn't just American Christians. These misconceptions make their way all over the world. To address Allan's point about foreign countries, the problem lies in the same spiritual ignorance that we suffer from here. Now I'm convinced that God has called those of us in the western world who are blessed with much to take the truth to these less fortunate places, which is why I've made seven trips to Belarus and the Mrs. and I as you know are involved in Africa as I introduced our guest the day we were on the Jensen show. Anyway, while American and European ministries provide aid to these countries, we also are equipping the people to make it on their own. I recently was involved in a distribution program where we put vegetable seeds into the hands of Africans and then they in turn plant rows which then turn into acres of vegetables and people in a once destitute area are now perpetually able to replant seed from the previous year and continue to eat. "It is my desire that you prosper and be in health, even as your soul prospers". This is just one example of how God makes people rich without the use of dollars and cents. I should also add that no help from government was provided - it was done through the obedience of God's people. Some gave, some packed seeds, others went over and worked with the churches to get the seeds and to teach the people how to use them.

Another example is my friends Sergei and Sveta in Belarus who are in the ministry of saving marriages. The divorce rate there is higher than it is here, if you can believe that. But he brings couples together and brings in guest speakers sometimes from other countries and holds conferences and the results have been remarkable. What amazes me even more is how these people have prospered and succeeded in their mission in spite of the Lukashenko communist government. They are regularly harassed by the KGB, and in fact the government shut down the only major humanitarian organization in the country which they were very involved in. Despite all that, they live in a very nice house and drive a reasonably nice car at least by Belarusian standards. No, they're not millionaires, but they live just about as good as one. "The blessing maketh rich and addeth no sorrow to it". And yes, Sergei does have a good job.

I would argue that in the western world we have too many things tied to dollars and cents, and therefore too much stock invested in government. No, I'm not against a safety net, but it's become a hammock for many. 99 weeks of unemployment is just one example of that. Now we have people who have been unemployed for so long that they're unemployable. No, being a Christian isn't a guarantee we won't face difficulty, but I've found in my own experience and the experiences of people such as Sergei that we can do so much more than we do. It's time to think outside the box and stretch beyond our status quos. God has a whole lot more for us right here in this life if we'll dare to take his word literally and act upon it. By the way, I'm preaching this to myself as much as anyone else. To quote Saint Paul, I've at times been "chief of sinners".

Allan Loudell
Tue, Nov 20, 2012 5:55am
Wonderful insightful response, mr pizza!

Mike from Delaware
Tue, Nov 20, 2012 8:45am
Mrpizza: Good post. You articulated your point of view in an excellent way.

I never said that God allows bad things to happen to people, but even Christians do have bad things happen to them. God is there with them to help them get through and be over comers.

No argument with the tithe issue. However, we don't give with the anticipation of receiving something back. I look at Mother Teresa, who gave knowing that those folks could never give her anything back, other than their gratitude, thanks, and love. She gave for the right reason. We give, because of the love that Christ has put that desire into our hearts.

In fact I'd argue that the person who's grudgingly putting in the tithe may as well not bother, because his/her heart attitude isn't right and he/she is giving out of a sense of guilt, obligation, or something else. God looks at our hearts, not just our actions. So we can do a good thing for the wrong reason. So that tithe is an expression of honoring the Lord, NOT, works where we show God how holy and generous we are. The Pharisees obviously had this as one of their shortcomings.

It's very easy for us Christians to slip into an attitude of what can I do for God. Fact is we can't do anything for God. He did and does it all. We come to church to honor and worship our Lord. God blesses us. We don't bless God. It's not a works mentality. We don't do good works to gain our salvation, we do our good works, because the love of Christ via the Holy Spirit that lives in us has changed our heart. We want to be a blessing, be it in giving money, or lending a physical helping hand, in praying for folks, etc, etc.

What you are saying would work IF this nation were totally a Christian nation, but it isn't. So in your church, do you all take care of each other like they did in the first century church? Usually, folks may help in small ways, when they find out that someone has a need, but let's take your example of someone being laid off for 99 weeks. I know of some folks who were laid-off and are actively looking for work all that time. One of these people about 3 weeks ago finally was hired into a job that actually brought home more money than the unemployment check (that's why many didn't take a minimum wage job at McDonald's - the check was even less than their unemployment checks - so that would put them even into worse financial problems with their creditors). Don't be so fast to judge those who've been unemployed during this recession. But getting back to my point, does your church meet all these folks financial needs so that they are paying all their creditors? My guess is NO. Does your church have everyone sell off their stuff and put the money into big pot for all to use? Well that's what the first century church did, today we call that sort of thing socialism or even communism. I doubt you as a Republican would support that idea, yet it's in the Bible too.

The Christian Democrats' of Europe's idea of helping the lesser than thee isn't a bad idea for the secular government to do to add to what the church is already doing. Our DEM party has a heart for that sort of thing too; the problem with the DEMS is they don't want God in the nation and have the morals of Bill Clinton; support gay/lesbian marriage; abortion, etc., etc. Sadly, the GOP, that supposedly is filled with Christians, doesn't have a heart for the poor, the lesser than thee.

kavips
Tue, Nov 20, 2012 1:18pm
Then there are those who see conflict in the mingling of religion and government together. It is like marrying together a husband and wife who have entirely different financial outlooks. There is going to be trouble.

As one single demonstration of such a conflict, some poor lady runs up $3000 in parking fines. According to religion she should be forgiven and let go. According to logic, she should be forgiven and let go, because the cost of incarcerating her, is far more than the fines she owes, putting society at a net loss. But according to society, and rules of law, if you let her get away with doing so, you must let everyone else get away as well and that crumbles the foundation of such rules and regulations....

On the opposite point of view, if one is religious and doesn't forgive a poor old penniless woman, though he is doing the right thing by society, he is not held in high regard, by his religion....

The two are in inherent conflict.... That is the best argument for maintaining a divorce between the two....

The structure of our government must be to value all religions equally and have a hands off attitude with choosing any one over any other....

The secret to a moral government founded upon the principals of religion, is to elect good men and women who hold those moral and religious principals into various positions of a neutral government, who then, when it comes time to exercise judgment in the determination of future policy, can do so based on their moral and religious beliefs.

That is how we achieve the best of both worlds...

Mike from Delaware
Tue, Nov 20, 2012 1:23pm
Kavips: I totally agree with your last paragraph,

"The secret to a moral government founded upon the principals of religion, is to elect good men and women who hold those moral and religious principals into various positions of a neutral government, who then, when it comes time to exercise judgment in the determination of future policy, can do so based on their moral and religious beliefs." Well said.

mrpizza
Tue, Nov 20, 2012 8:26pm
MFD: To answer your question about whether my church has a benevolent fund, I don't know for sure it's in the form you're speaking of, but we certainly are serious about helping the poor. We just did a gigantic Thanksgiving basket project. I attend Word of Life, which you have previously said was your former church. I know in the past the church has provided financial help, but of course the recipient's privacy is considered in such matters.

With regards to sowing with the expectation of reaping, it all goes back to motive. If you think that it's irreverent to give without expectation of return, then that's a form of false humility. There's a right way and a wrong way, and I would encourage you to explore the scripture I gave you in my previous post. If Christians are poor, they won't have the means to help anybody else. It's important to have a benevolent fund like the early church, but many churches are deficient in teaching people how to prosper. Personally, I want more so I can give more. Jesus said we'd always have the poor with us, but he never intended for the poor to be the same group of people year after year. Poverty is a mentality. Having delivered pizza in some of the worst parts of town, I've seen it first hand. You may consider it judgmental, but before you can lift a person out of poverty, you have to change the person first. That's why we have a bible. If our belief of scripture is only metaphorical, then it's useless. It's time to take ALL scripture seriously, not just the ones that say care for the poor. Also, sometimes tough love is necessary.

In the Allan Loudell tradition of "Devil's Advocate", I have a very compelling question to ask of everyone on this blog, regardless of political or religious belief:

What would you do if the entire government and economic system totally collapsed? What if all of a sudden the government said "Sorry, we can't pay anymore unemployment or our Social Security and pension obligations
because we're out of money, can't borrow anymore, and can't print anymore"? In addition, what if all the money you have in the bank became worthless? This is the main point of my original post about being firmly anchored. Are we looking to God as our source or are we looking to our money and government and our employers as our source? Money, jobs, and benefits are merely a means. What if the means falls apart? Do we really believe God will take care of us the same as he did the children of Israel in the wilderness? I think now is the time for each one of us to answer that question for ourselves, not after the unthinkable happens.

Finally, I have an article I'd like you to read regarding seed time and harvest. Even if you reject it outright, I still want you to read it and keep it in your back pocket:

http://thefount.hubpages.com/hub/Name-That-Seed

Mike from Delaware
Tue, Nov 20, 2012 11:54pm
Mrpizza: I went to Love of Christ Church back 20+ years ago. It's been a while. It was a good church. This was before they were in that large building they now own on Old Baltimore Pike.

I'm not talking about a benevolent fund of thanksgiving baskets. See Acts 2: 44-45, and Acts 4: 32- 35 for what the early church did.

We'll just have to agree to disagree on the motive for giving. When I do something for somebody I'm not expecting anything in return. The right hand isn't supposed to know what the left is doing. I don't do good works to earn my salvation (Jesus already paid that price, it is a gift to me and you from God). I also don't do good works to get praise or a pat on the back or any other sort of reward. The Holy Spirit guides me (when I'm paying attention). God puts some need, etc, on my heart and if I'm faithful, I do what God leads me to do. It has nothing to do with me, its all about God, his love and goodness. There's no false humility about it. I know that my righteousness is like filthy rags. I can never be good enough, do enough good things, etc, etc, to pay the price for my salvation. Jesus did it all.

If the government eliminates the social safety net as you seem to come across hoping they would, we'll go back to how it was prior to 1932 when FDR became President and started the New Deal. Millions of folks will overwhelm the already over burdened soup-kitchens, food-closets, clothes closets, shelters, etc., that many churches now run in the Wilmington area (Catholics, Lutherans, United Methodists, Salvation Army, Sunday Breakfast Mission - maybe others I don't know of) as they'll not have any food, clothes, or space left in the shelters, etc. No Social Security means millions of elderly folks will be living in destitution as millions were doing during the years prior to FDR starting Social Security. Yes, millions of elderly who were not welfare bums, but folks who worked and paid taxes into the system for 40+ years, would be out in the cold. You'd be surprised that many of the elderly truly do depend on that Social Security check to survive, not all Baby Boomers or older folks are wealthy, yet they've worked their entire life paying taxes, but now are old and need to retire or already retired.

Millions of kids will go hungry due to no School Breakfast/Lunch Program. Just maybe God put it on President Roosevelt's heart back in 1932 to offer these programs as a way to help folks. God can use "secular" things and people to also accomplish his will too, remember he created it all, not just Christians. I know it's a bit strange today, but back then many if not most Democrats also were Christians, so who knows, God may have put those things on FDR's heart.

mrpizza
Wed, Nov 21, 2012 4:27pm
MFD: I don't question anything you've said in the above post.
I do think you've missed the whole point of what I'm trying to present, but that's okay. Not everybody is ready for the message I'm trying to convey, and it took me more than 20 years of listening to teaching tapes and a near-bankruptcy experience before it went from faith to sight for me. When I had my financial crash, I realized then that I didn't know what I thought I knew, and I'm still a long way from knowing it all. Please continue to do the good works you're doing. I appreciate your care for the poor, and I shall continue to do the same.

With regards to the social security question, I don't wish they would get rid of it, but rather I wish they would make it so the politicians can't borrow it and then use it as collateral for more borrowing so that we can be sure it goes to the people it was promised to. What I was trying to ask is whether we believe God to provide for us in the event that these things were to collapse. I don't wish for it to happen, but what if it did? Is God really our source?
That was a question I had to come to grips with when I had to answer to answer to my creditors for some bad real estate investments. At that point, God was ALL I had. I was on the edge of the cliff literally. I had to find out what God's word had to say about a lot of stuff because I was right in the middle of it. I had to experience a lot of rivers in the desert to rise above it. No, I didn't lose my job, but they were after everything I had, so I could conceivably have been living in the street while all my wages were garnished. Yeah, I know, there's bankruptcy court, but God made a way for me to not have to face that shame. It was then I learned that God and only God, is my source.

My admonition is not to limit God to what you see around you. Reach for the supernatural. It'll take a lot of effort, but it's worth it.

Mike from Delaware
Thu, Nov 22, 2012 9:54am
Mrpizza: Good post. I agree that many may not see their job or government programs as possibly coming from God, as I do believe God is in control. I also agree that God can and does use the supernatural as well, certainly in healings (I experienced that when in an auto accident back in 1971) and certainly can do so with financial things too.

I think most of us tend to try to find a way out of a problem with our own efforts and then when we've got no other choice, we turn to prayer. When we do that, we've got it backwards.

mrpizza
Thu, Nov 22, 2012 11:04am
MFD: Yep. And in that regard, I have at times been "chief of sinners".


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