National debt will double in 30 years

debt-1500774_640The Congressional Budget Office released figures that project the national debt to double by 2047.

That would take it from the existing 75% of the Gross Domestic Product, which is bad enough, to 150% of the GDP, which is unthinkable.

I know!  Let’s cut taxes and increase spending!

 

Illustration by Rilsonav, “Debt,” Pixabay, Creative Commons.

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The decline of Christian bookstores

FamilyChristianStoresAppletonWisconsinThe biggest Christian bookstore chain, Family Christian Stores, is going out of business.  Then again, mostly what it carried was Christian knick-knacks.

As for books, the top 20 Christian bestsellers last year included, the words of one observer,  “three versions of Sarah Young’s controversial Jesus Calling, two kids joke books, two adult coloring books, titles by HGTV stars and athletes, and, of course, the latest from Joel Osteen.”

Better Christian books are still selling, largely on Amazon, but they often aren’t even carried by Christian retailers.

Then again, all brick and mortar bookstores are having a rough time.  Having put small mom and pop shops out of business, the big chains are now struggling against online sales.  Borders is gone, and Barnes & Noble is having a rough time, kept alive mainly by its own online offerings.

I regret the closing of bookstores.  There are still some excellent Christian bookstores, such as Wichita’s Eighth Day Bookstore (which also sells books online).  But Christians and the general public are still reading, helped too by Kindle and other readers that can download books instantly.

An article in Christianity Today, linked after the jump. argues that the end of Christian Retail that trades mostly in “Jesus junk” is not necessarily a bad thing.

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In praise of the American farmer

farmer-826912_640American agriculture has virtually eliminated world hunger.  And American farmers preside over an industry that has become an economic powerhouse.

Kevin D. Williamson tells all about the success of American agriculture, what it means for world trade, and how farmers–with their use of technology and innovative techniques–have become the best example of capitalism at its most effective.

Farmers, are you really doing as well as Williamson says you are?

Even if you aren’t, thank you for your vocation.  Through you God blesses us all by giving us our daily bread.

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Inflation may be coming back

-WIN-signPrices rose in January more than they have for four years.  And the effect is not just due to rising oil and gasoline prices.  Many observers are predicting that inflation is going to be an issue again, after years of stability.

Some are worried about the new administration’s economic policy, with the combination of tax cuts, increased spending, and protectionist trade policies being a classic formula for inflation.  Read this analysis.

I suspect a lot of you don’t remember the “Great Inflation” of the 1970s, with Nixon imposing wage and price controls, Carter overseeing inflation rates in the double digits, government mandated price freezes that created gasoline shortages and bare shelves in the supermarkets.

Do you think a revival of inflation is likely?  Trump’s economic policy is being criticized, but it hasn’t even been enacted yet.  There are rumors that it will contain massive program cuts that might offset increased infrastructure and military spending.  What do you think will happen?

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A world without property, privacy, freedom, or problems

World_Economic_Forum_Annual_Meeting_2005aDanish politician Ida Auken has written a provocative essay entitled Welcome to 2030. I own nothing, have no privacy, and life has never been better.  She envisions a time when property is replaced by services, when technology provides for our every need, individual privacy gives way to the needs of the group, and government takes complete care of us.

She says that this is not a utopia that she is actually proposing but a thought experiment about where we might be heading.  Still, that the essay is posted on the website of the World Economic Forum might give us pause.

The World Economic Forum is an organization of global politicians, tycoons, and celebrities that meet annually in Davos, Switzerland, to discuss the future and their plans for the rest of us.  Conspiracy theorists of both the right and the left shudder at the spector of the global elites meeting to plot their world domination.  But that the Davos participants are discussing this article might provoke some justified paranoia.

As Daisy Luther says, who cites the article in a critique of the proposed Universal Basic Income, all of this amounts to a restoration of feudalism–a system where the masters own everything and the peasants are kept under control in exchange for protection. [Read more…]

China pushing Communism to replace failing Democracy

3205545010_28e80765c7_zChina says Western democracy has reached its limits and has started to deteriorate (alluding to Donald Trump’s victory without saying so).  Global Communism will take its place, with China supplying new universal values.

When I have referred to “still-Communist China,” some readers have said, in effect, are you kidding?  China has become capitalist, what with all of their entrepreneurs and wealth-building.  But orthodox Marxism teaches that societies must go through a capitalist phase in order for socialism to emerge.  The problem with the Soviet Union and Mao’s China is that they attempted to go from a feudal economy straight to socialism, which can’t really work.  Capitalism and with it Western democracy will eventually fall from their internal contradictions.

China has come up with a style of Communism that is working, pragmatically.  It is centered on economic growth, but state ownership and, what is just as effective, state control of the means of production continues.

What’s new here is China’s plan to export not just its goods but its ideology around the world.  The Communists still think they will bury us. [Read more…]