Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Shouldn't Spending Cuts Be Common Sense?

The federal government is notorious for inefficient use of funds. Every dollar they tax for their own use is less than a dollar put back into the economy to spur economic growth.  Obviously, there are some things only government can do: police, fire, national defense, etc. (I am not being exhaustive, just giving examples.)

When unemployment is high it leads to other things.  Underemployment, for example.  People who are qualified in terms of experience and education, but can't find as high a paying job as they could be worth.  Also, people take part-time work when they would prefer full time.  All three categories (unemployment, underemployment, and part-timers) lead to lower incomes and lower federal income tax receipts. 

And yet, at this very time, the government is creating money from nothing to stimulate the economy.  Newly created dollars decrease the value of savings and debt.  Thus rewarding the bad behavior that caused the economic downturn and punishing those who were responsible with their money and lived within their means.

For anyone who can't turn on the printing press and get more money, it is time to tighten the belt and cut waste.  If that works for everyone else, why not the government?  I have done a fair amount of construction work for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and they cut their building budget by almost 75% this year.  Obviously they are a financially sound organization and the federal government is not, but why not have the feds copy what people, businesses, and churches do? 

Cut spending when times are lean.  Sounds simple, right?  Well, not likely with Democrats (or Republicans - let's be fair) in power.  But we can dream, can't we?

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Closing Guantanamo

I remember a conversation I had on a Southwest flight to Houston earlier this year. I mentioned it before. One thing I said to him was that President Obama's announcement that closing the Guantanamo Bay terrorist detention facility was just window dressing. It was merely a cosmetic change. He felt like it was genuine change.

I suppose there is still time left this year, but I just want to gloat a little: I was right. The facility is still open and will remain so for the foreseeable future. Those scoundrels held there are dangerous and nobody wants to release them or transfer them to other prisons or other nations' prisons.

That fellow traveler also didn't believe when I told him about released terrorists landing back on the battlefield. He said it was made up by the vast right wing spin machine. I researched that a little more and was right about that as well.

Friday, October 02, 2009

Blogging My Life

Every once in a while, I include personal items on this blog. At some point, those items will land on another blog with my wife. Speaking of my wife, I'm getting married. Here are some of her blog entries about me:
I thought I would give a little of my side of the story. There are all kinds of miracles that led to us meeting at EFY this year. I was recruited by a friend to be an EFY counselor in San Antonio in 2008. He met his wife that year at EFY and moved away from College Station. Had I started my degree at Texas A&M a year earlier or a year later, I would not have known about EFY at the right time.

Friends from San Antonio EFY last year went to Nauvoo at the end of that summer. Once I decided to do EFY again, I knew that I wanted to spend two weeks in Nauvoo this summer. But doing EFY meant that I would have to be away from my regular job. So the slow economy made EFY easier to do.

Once at Nauvoo, I needed to have the right group in order to meet Jeri Lin. The coordinators described struggling more than normal when choosing which counselors would work together. After re-shuffling the deck, they grouped counselors together and the last three to be assigned were me and my two female co-counselors. That put me and Jeri Lin in the same group.

I had made decisions over my years home from my mission that I thought would help me find my wife. Long distance relationships were outlawed. And lately, I had only asked out returned sister missionaries. This did several things for me. One was it gave me a hint about her dedication to the Church. The other was that returned sister missionaries are closer to my age. With personal rules like that, it seems unlikely that I would have a young fiancee in Mesa, Arizona.

But after spending a week with Jeri Lin in my group at EFY, I couldn't help being impressed with her. As we toured Old Nauvoo, I was teaching and telling stories. But she also taught our little group of 6 and was telling Church history stories. So I knew she was smart and well read. But what really started impressing me about Jeri Lin as the week went on was her testimony. She had several opportunities to testify during the week. I'm not sure I know anyone for whom the veil is so thin.

At the end of EFY she wrote me a letter thanking me for the week and encouraging me in some of the struggles I shared with her. After reading that letter, I had this thought of "What if?" in my head. But I figured there was no way anything could happen just because of the 1000 miles that would separate us and the 10 years that do separate us.

We started chatting online after getting home and the rest is history. We were both interested, even if we were both surprised the other was. I met her family in September. She meets mine in October. And we will get married in the Mesa Temple in January. Who says miracles don't happen?