Archive for February 11th, 2009

February 11, 2009

The taxpayer shortage

(BUMPED; UPDATES BELOW) For years, pro-life activists have warned that abortion and the contraceptive culture were leading us toward a demographic crisis. At least a decade ago, Jim Sedlak of the American Life League was warning: “In order to turn things around . . . young people getting married have to be thinking of having four or more children.”

Well, the crisis is now upon us. Today, Conservative Grapevine linked my reaction to Obama’s Monday press conference:

Suppose a pipe-dream hypothetical: Somehow, this “stimulus” actually produces a sort of dead-cat bounce in the economy, so that unemployment is down around 5% again by 2012. Is that good? No, not really, because government will have produced that bounce by borrowing massively against the future in a society that’s about to sustain a serious demographic shock.
The first Baby Boomers turn 65 in 2011, and every year after that will see more and more retirees going onto the Social Security and Medicare rolls. Even if we raise the retirement age, there is still the net drain of productive labor. The average 67-year-old can’t produce goods and services as efficiently as the average 38-year-old and (due to certain legal decisions circa 1973) after 2011, we’ll have a growing shortage of 38-year-olds and a growing surplus of 67-year-olds.
We are on the verge of a taxpayer shortage, you see, and what the Democrats want to do is take out a massive loan that will have to be repaid by a shrinking pool of taxpayers, who will be expected to support a burgeoning population of increasingly sickly Baby Boomer retirees.

Yet, even as America reaps the disastrous economic consequences of the Culture of Death, the misanthropic Malthusians continue to scream about “overpopulation.” As I’ve said elsewhere, some people at least have the excuse of ignorance. Others are merely evil.

UPDATE: A 12-year-old pro-lifer speaks:

“I was stunned by how good this video is,” says Cassie Fiano. (Via Melissa Clouthier, who isn’t sure that 12-year-olds should be voicing their opinions on political issues.)

Meanwhile, Michelle Malkin reports that House Democrats have reached a backroom deal on the “stimulus,” excluding Republicans from the conference negotiations. Which is good news, because now they’ve given Republican Senators a valid excuse to filibuster the conference report. This “stimulus” abomination might blow up yet!

UPDATE II: Thanks to the commenter who informs me that YouTube commenters are saying vile things about the girl who made this video. You stay classy, “progressive netroots”!

UPDATE III: Welcome Ace of Spades readers.

UPDATE IV: Allahpundit:

[Y]oung talent in the service of a righteous cause deserves some extra publicity. Worth watching for the sheer precocity of the performance, which suggests she’s destined someday for Hollywood.

Destiny? Kind of a religious concept, eh?

UPDATE V: “She’s more articulate than most people I know, and even our teleprompter president.” Heh.

“[I]f this girl is this good at 12, just imagine what she’ll be like in high school and college. Politics is clearly in her future.” Heh — and once again, happy birthday, Sarah Palin!

UPDATE VI: Linked at JillStanek.com.

February 11, 2009

The moral aspect of the crisis

“Today ‘virtue’ is literally and figuratively missing from our public vocabulary and the idea of ‘the moral’ has been either trivialized or totally relativized. No training session or quick executive briefing can revive ethics and morality because they are habituated over years and years not in some late afternoon consultants’ PowerPoint presentation or a touchy feely weekend retreat. At the very root of our financial crisis is a moral vacuum, which can only be filled with true virtue.”

UPDATE: My compliments to Fear and Loathing in Georgetown for reading further than I did, to where the author disparages “greed.” To quote an AOSHQ commenter, “Greed is a constant element.”

The guy behind the counter at Burger King is not necessarily less “greedy” than the millionaire Wall Street tycoon. Both want to make big bucks; the difference between them is that the Wall Street tycoon has been more successful in finding and exploiting the opportunity to make big bucks. It is an error of logic to assume that the guy making $9 an hour at Burger King is less “greedy” — i.e., more virtuous — than the Wall Street tycoon, and yet liberalism assumes just that: The poor are virtuous merely because they are poor.
Both the Burger King guy and the Wall Street tycoon may be trustworthy, industrious, diligent and thrifty — the sort of Boy Scout Law stuff we associate with “virtue.” Such virtues are, really, much more important on Wall Street. If the guy at Burger King is lazy or dishonest, his potential to do harm is less than the potential harm done by a Bernie Madoff. But are the people who thought they could get a 10% annual return from Madoff’s scam really so much less culpable than Madoff himself?
The guy who thinks he can make an easy buck playing three-card monte is enabling the three-card monte dealer. And the guy who thought he could make an easy buck by refinancing his house was enabling the mortgage industry. Yet the “victims” of such scams profess their innocence and expect us to feel sorry for them.
February 11, 2009

Happy Birthday, Sarah Palin!

Conservatives4Palin reminds us that this is the governor’s 45th birthday.

So, let’s see, Gov. Palin is 45 and has five kids. My wife is 44 and we have six kids.

Considering that the U.S. total fertility rate is 2.1 lifetime births per woman, this means that between our two families, we’re 268% above average.

The sun on the meadow is summery warm.
The stag in the forest runs free. . . .

February 11, 2009

Helen Rittelmeyer, girl genius

“The road to success is paved with cheesecake,” she says, and there’s never a bad excuse to blog about Christina Hendricks.

Charles G. Hill got the message, too.

BTW, I noticed there will be a debate next week involving that punk, Ryan Sager, who never blogs about Christina Hendricks. Hint, hint.

URGENT UPDATE: Guess who’s No. 1 on a list titled, “Ten Hottest Women Size 10 and Up”? (H/T: Conservative Grapevine.)
February 11, 2009

Sowellism

“You can’t raise a whole population of people who don’t know how to think, but are taught to resent anything they don’t understand, and expect that you’re going to survive in the long run.”
Thomas Sowell

February 11, 2009

Imported poverty

Immigration has consequences:

Utah’s Latina teens have an alarmingly high birth rate: They are nearly four times more likely than other 15- to 17-year-olds to have a baby.
The Utah Department of Health is releasing the report on Latino health disparities today as part of a series exploring the challenges facing Utah minorities.
It shows that while nearly 18 of every 1,000 girls ages 15 to 17 in the general Utah population had a baby in 2006-07, 66 of 1,000 Latinas had one.
The implications go beyond those teens’ immediate futures. National data show Latina teen moms are more likely to drop out of high school than other teen mothers, and teen mothers are more likely to be on welfare. Children of teen mothers are more likely to live in poverty and have educational and social problems and are more likely to become teen parents themselves.

I’ve written about this seldom-acknowledged consequence of our immigration problem, but our political system can’t address it, because any politician who opens his mouth about the demographics of teen pregnancy is immediately targeted as a racist xenophobic nativist bigot.

“Teen pregnancy,” per se, is not the problem. As Maggie Gallagher has pointed out, the real problem is unwed pregnancy. Yet as a society, we spend millions to discourage “teen pregnancy,” even while celebrating single motherhood (a subject that Ann Coulter addresses in her new book).

There is a cultural factor involved that nobody wants to talk about, even when you have 14-year-old brides being bartered for beer in California. And the fact that this story about Latina teen pregnancy rates is coming out of Utah highlights the unaddressed double standard. On the one hand, when the polygamous FLDS cult relocated to Texas, the Texas legislature actually raised their state’s age of consent from 14 to 16, in order to outlaw the cult’s known practice of marrying off young teenage girls. And yet Texas led the nation in teen pregnancy in 2004 — and it wasn’t because of fundamentalist Mormons, OK? Like I said, if Texas is going to stage a paramilitary raid every time a 15-year-old gets pregnant, they’re going to need to hire a lot more SWAT officers.

Given the seriousness of our nation’s demographic crisis, one could argue — and I actually have argued — that we probably need more teen pregnancy, and if it weren’t for Hispanic immigrants, the U.S. birth rate would still be below replacement level. Yet while liberals demand that we spend millions of taxpayer dollars on teen-pregnancy prevention, they simultaneously demand that we have open borders, so as to import more teen pregnacy. And if anybody tries to talk about this in a realistic way, they’re denounced by liberals as “hatemongers.”

Given these contradictory messages from liberals — unlimited immigration, good; teen pregnancy, bad; honest policy discussion, hate — one must question either their sanity, their intelligence or their bona fides.

February 11, 2009

The Hasidic pornography defense

Somehow, I don’t think his First Amendment rights are going to help him here:

NEW YORK – A Spring Valley man accused of having sex with underage girls claims his religious beliefs prevent him from viewing sexual photographs and helping his own defense.
David Silverman, 21 at the time, is accused of having sex with three Westchester girls during a day of debauchery in Manhattan in March 2007, authorities said. . . .
Silverman is accused of not only having sex with the girls, but also taking photographs of them having sex with other men, according to the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office.
But because he later returned to being an ultra-religious Hasidic Jew, Silverman won’t look at the photos, his lawyer, Israel Fried, said yesterday. . . .
A grand jury indictment accuses Silverman of having sexual intercourse and oral sex and of committing other sex acts with three girls – two 15-year-olds and a 14-year-old. . . .
Silverman and another man are accused of picking up the girls on March 23, 2007, in Westchester and driving them to a building near the Javits Convention Center on 34th Street.
A third man joined them, and they are accused of getting the girls drunk on alcohol.
Silverman and the other men were accused of having sex with each girl, with digital photos being taken, Kushner said.

OK, so three guys have a pornographic orgy with three jailbait girls, and one of the accused refuses to look at the evidence because he’s a born-again Hasidim. Just when you think you’ve heard everything . . .

February 11, 2009

Re-inflating the bubble?

The news that Senate Republicans have added “tax relief for homebuyers” to the stimulus bill is not good news, says Doug Bandow at The American Spectator:

The housing market bubble burst. It cannot be reinflated. The bust will be painful, but dumping more money into the market in an attempt to inflate prices will only slow the adjustment process. The pain is unfortunate, even tragic for some people, but inevitable.

Exactly — a point made by Ron Paul just yesterday. While driving to Washington, I was listening to C-SPAN radio coverage of the House Financial Services Committee hearing with Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and caught this:

Ron Paul . . . says that, as a free marketer, he is also upset that Congress wants to prop up housing prices when there is a glut of housing on the market. “What’s wrong with allowing the market to allow these prices to adjust,” and drop quickly, so that “we can all go back to work again?”

That is to say, from a free-market perspective, those houses are worth whatever they’ll sell for. The losses caused by the collapse of the bubble are real, and until those losses are realized — that is, until the houses are sold and the market readjusted — we are living in a state of economic denial, which Senate Republicans are attempting to prolong.

This is what Michelle Malkin has been trying to say in her many months of outspoken opposition to Washington’s bailout/stimulus frenzy. The market is the market, and you can’t fool the market. It might be the only thing that Ron Paul and Michelle Malkin agree about.

UPDATE: While trying to find video of Dr. No’s statements yesterday, I found this video from February 2007 — two years ago, before the bubble burst — where he’s talking “fiat money.”:

This sounds kooky at times, but his essential points are correct:

  • By manipulating the money supply and interest rates, the Fed conceals economic reality behind a wall of artificial price-signals.
  • During the “bubble,” the consumer price index (CPI) did not accurately reflect the inflation that Americans were experiencing in higher costs of housing, health care and college tuition.

We had government “experts” telling us that inflation was running only 2% annually, even while housing prices soared, effectively pricing many young people out of the market.

In retrospect, we see that kooky “Dr. No” was prescient, and all the “experts” were full of crap.

February 11, 2009

Death by karaoke

Being a legendary karaoke performer, I am troubled by this report:

Last November, an inebriated 24-year-old with the woefully apt name of Kyle Drinkwine was found by police in the back of a Wisconsin alley, his hands covered in blood. According to testimony compiled by the Smoking Gun, Drinkwine had spent the evening unwinding at Emma’s Bar, a local watering hole that was hosting a karaoke night. Shortly after performing an Eminem song, he allegedly became so enraged by another patron’s version of “Holy Diver” — the 1983 anthem by heavy-metal patriarch Ronnie James Dio — that he assaulted the singer and his friend and fled when police arrived. “This had started … over one’s ability to sing karaoke,” notes the arrest report, which reads like a Mike Judge novella.
Drinkwine’s sad, stupid plight wasn’t an isolated incident: In August 2007, a Seattle man was assaulted onstage during a karaoke rendition of Coldplay’s “Yellow,” while last December, a San Diego man encored his karaoke set by walking toward the crowd and attacking an audience member. And in Asia, there’s been a string of karaoke-bar stabbings and shootings, including a horrific incident in Bangkok in which eight amateur singers were murdered by their neighbor, reportedly due in part to his hatred of John Denver’s “Country Roads.”

To begin with, no one should ever sing Dio for karaoke. Heavy metal was not meant for karaoke. So that attack was understandable. And did the Bangkok singers really deserve to die for “Country Roads”? It depends on how bad they were. In general, karaoke violence is a bad thing; but bad karaoke is itself a form of violence.