America is scared. There’s a realization sinking in that we’ve reaching a tipping point when it comes to national debt and long term financial obligations for America. Our greatness depends on righting the ship. Paul Ryan’s plan will right the ship. The CBO confirms his assumptions. More…
Copyright 2010 by Tom Quiner
Iowa is dying.
The numbers are damning. We’re not replacing ourselves. Our population growth is stagnant. The magic number needed to replace ourselves is 2.1 live births per woman. That’s known as the Total Fertility Rate (TFR).
Iowa’s TFR is only 1.98 according to National Vital Statistics. We’re one of 36 states not replacing ourselves. Our population growth is slower than any other state except West Virginia and North Dakota’s, according to the Iowa Fiscal Partnership.
The only thing saving us from demographic death are immigrants.
In other words, our fair state is experiencing a devastating shortage of the Iowa Fetus. I humbly present a Modest Proposal to save the state you and I love: I propose we add the Iowa Fetus to the Endangered Species List.
You may think this sounds strange. And yet isn’t that what the law is for, to protect species whose numbers are dwindling?
I am proposing that we elevate the Iowa Fetus to the status of the Iowa Pleistocene Land Snail, the Piping Plover, the Indian Bat, or some other currently protected endangered species.
We need more Iowa Fetuses for practical reasons. Iowa needs more taxpayers.
According to estimates from the Alan Guttmacher Institute, 188,000 Iowa Fetuses have been destroyed since 1974. We are squandering our state’s resources!
Granted, some of these Iowa Fetuses would have left Iowa had they been allowed to live. On the other hand, the female strain of the Iowa Fetus conceived in the 70’s and 80’s would now be in the Fetus-bearing years themselves, generating a whole new crop of taxpayers. So who knows how many Iowans we would have had today if only we had begun employing Fetus conservation measures back in the 70s.
We need Iowa Fetuses because our state’s budget is a mess. I talked to State Auditor, David Vaudt, about this situation. Back in 1980, our state spent about $600 per Iowan. Today the number is $2122. These numbers are adjusted for inflation in 1980 dollars based on “total true expenditures” by the state.
We’ve been spending like we have a much bigger population. We don’t, because we’ve been squandering our posterity, the Iowa Fetus, for a generation.
We need them to take care of Baby Boomers and pay for the expanding social welfare system we’ve created. How is our aging population supposed to manage with a shortage of younger Iowans?
I have to admit I’m not totally objective on this issue. I think the Iowa Fetus is beautiful. On the other hand, I have liberal friends who are more partial to the Indian Bat. Another is absolutely gaga over the Iowa Pleistocene Land Snail and has a poster of one over his pool table.
I guess beauty is in the eyes of the beholder.
Some say the solution is simply more immigration.
Don’t hold your breath. Iowa isn’t exactly a job magnet these days.
What is Congress doing to help alleviate our Fetus crisis? They passed health care legislation that will ultimately provide free Fetus terminations at taxpayer expense. Memo to Senator Harkin and Congressman Boswell: we need more Iowa Fetuses, not less.
Democrats are in love with Europe’s health care model. Guess what? Europe is dying faster than Iowa. The continent with taxpayer-funded Fetus termination has a TFR much lower than Iowa’s.
Instead, why don’t we pay married Iowa women to create more than 2.1 Iowa Fetuses? Now there’s a welfare program that makes sense!
My Modest Proposal presents Iowa with a bipartisan, long term solution to its demographic exigency.
Conservatives will quickly embrace the idea. Most of them believe each Iowa Fetus harbors an eternal soul. Although liberals aren’t swayed by such sentimental notions, they do love endangered species and enthusiastically support laws which protect them. And they understand the need for more future taxpayers.
It is time to add the Iowa Fetus to the Endangered Species List to save Iowa.
By Tom Quiner
Does God exist?
This question is in the news more than ever. We live in strange times. Atheists have become evangelical. Here in Des Moines and around the world, they advertised on buses last year in an effort to recruit acolytes. Nationally, their books are best sellers. Christianity is now under attack more than ever. Why?
After all, Christianity offers a message of hope to believers, namely eternal salvation. Their belief system makes the case that there is more to life than the pain and superficiality of this world. On the other hand, atheism offers no hope. An atheist denies the possibility of God’s existence. So why are atheists working so hard to make converts? And why in the world would anyone be attracted to such a nihilistic philosophy?
Atheism appeals to some for political reasons and to others for moral reasons. Let’s start with the political.
The Judeo-Christian religions claim man was made in God’s image. The great psalmist, King David, said God knew us “before we were born.” If you accept that premise, it is very difficult to sanction abortion. You’ll note that the political Left in this country has something in common: they embrace abortion on demand at any point in a woman’s pregnancy. In addition, they are disproportionately atheistic when compared to the rest of America.
You may ask if I have any proof of that claim. Yes.
The Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life surveyed 35,000 Americans on how religious attitudes influence values. The differences between atheists and evangelical Christians, for example, are profound. Only 13 percent of atheists believe abortion should be illegal in all or most cases, compared with 61 percent for evangelical Christians. This is not to say that all atheists are liberal. They’re not. Statistically, though, more are concentrated in the political Left. They are motivated to attract adherents to their own “religion” in order to advance their political agenda.
Do people really become atheists because of politics?
I’m suggesting that people without faith tend to view the world through a different political prism than people with faith. The atheist ads on Des Moines buses let the faithless know that “they’re not alone.” In other words, join our club. Let’s change the world … in our image, not a phony god’s.
What’s the other reason for evangelical atheism?
In the eyes of some, religion has caused more harm than good in this world.
Think about the attack on the World Trade Center and Pentagon. Think about the Spanish Inquisition, about the Salem Witch Trials. Think about all the people who have been killed in the name of God or Allah down through history. As best selling atheistic author Christopher Hitchens puts it, “God isn’t so great.” A lot of non-believers are sick of what they view as self-righteous pontificators who try to cram their religion down others’ throats, when they themselves lead less than exemplary lives. They view Christianity in particular as being hypocritical.
I would respond by saying that although many bad things have been done in the name of God, those actions are in direct contradiction to the Christian beliefs they represent. On the other hand, the 20th century witnessed cold-blooded carnage in the name of atheism like history has never seen.
Without God, there is no such thing as good and evil.
Without God, we are merely automatons whose actions are subject to the whims of our genes and environment.
Without God, art itself becomes ugly.
So why are atheists organizing to spread their gospel of non-belief?
Because without God, they are liberated to make society’s rules subject to the whims of the day. Do you trust unrestrained human nature? I don’t.
I choose God.
By Tom Quiner
The Gallup Poll surveyed Americans about their attitude toward critical institutions. The poll was conducted July eight through eleventh. Gallup asked people if they have alot/great deal of confidence in various institutions. Here are a few high points.
The military and small business ranked highest, with 76% and 66% confidence respectively.
Congress finished dead last with but 11% confidence.
The biggest drop came with the institution of the Presidency which fell 15% from last year, down to 36%, but still higher than President Bush’ 26% confidence rating in his last year in office. Congress and the military both saw their confidence rating drop 6% from last year. Newspapers enjoyed an anemic 25% confidence rating.
Why does Congress elicit such little confidence? What do you think?
Does Congress represent your interests … or theirs? Based on Gallup, I suspect the latter.
Do they exercise statesmanship or partisanship? Based on Gallup, I suspect the latter.
Do they pass clean, understandable legislation? Or do they create 2000 page bills that they haven’t even read that unelected bureaucrats will end up interpreting … and imposing on us? Based on Gallup, I suspect the latter.
I am bothered that not only Congress is held in such little confidence, but all institutions surveyed, including our churches and schools, are less than 50% with the exception of the military, small business, and the police.
We all are connected in one way or another to critical institutions in our communities. We have some serious work to do to rebuild confidence. Let’s get started.
By Tom Quiner
What an interesting question! It depends on the context, doesn’t it? It depends on the principle involved.
I pose the question in light of the great exchange in the video above between the late, great Nobel laureate economist, Milton Friedman, and a college student who is allegedly Michael Moore. (I don’t know if it is really Mr. Moore, nor does it matter for purposes of this discussion.)
You can’t help but appreciate the way Mr. Friedman engages the young man and forces him to think, to wrestle with a principle.
The young man has a problem with Ford Motor Company’s decision to not put a $13 part on the Pinto back in the 1960’s knowing full well that two-hundred deaths could occur as a result of their economic decision. His chagrin seems reasonable, don’t you think?
Mr. Friedman’s response is that “no one can accept the principal that an infinite value can be put on an individual life.” This, too, seems reasonable.
The young man disagrees, but then offers that he is a supporter of abortion rights. He explicitly states that he does not believe that human life is sacred, that principles have to be balanced.
This young man very much articulates the triumphant philosophy of the Democratic Party today. Human life is not sacred if it is in the womb. It can be discarded, and even more, someone else should have to pay for it. However, their philosophy categorically rejects Mr. Friedman’s central principle: “Individuals should be free to decide how much they’re willing to pay to reduce the chance of their death.”
The recent healthcare debate touched on this principle. Democrats reject Friedman’s timeless arguments. Instead, they passed legislation which reduces the consumers freedom to choose, and in fact, goes either further by requiring someone else to pay.
Are we free to choose? Yes, if it involves aborting your baby. No, if you would prefer not to purchase health insurance.