Thursday, October 11, 2007

Choosing A President


The Christian Science Monitor ran an article describing the dilemma of Christian conservatives with regard to Rudy Giuliani and the selection of a Republican candidate for president.

"We are struggling about what to do in a very difficult election cycle," said Gary Bauer, president of American Values, at a Monitor breakfast Wednesday. The nonprofit group describes itself as "defending life and traditional marriage" as well as standing against "liberal education and cultural forces."
Mr. Giuliani is one of the front-runners in the pre-primary scramble for the Republican Party's nomination to be their candidate in the 2008 election. His sticking point with these Christian conservatives is his "liberal" stance on abortion... pretty much willing to let things stand as they are. Despite Giuliani's positions on social issues,
"If you look at regular church attendees across the country, Giuliani has a clear plurality of those voters," Bauer said. He added, "Now there could be a number of reasons for that. One is they don't fully realize his position on the social issues. The other possibility, though, is that some of these voters have decided that defending Western civilization is a moral issue, too."
One doesn't have to be Christian or Christian conservative to feel that abortion is a most unfortunate, if not immoral, action.
On the other hand, I haven't seen that much evidence that the Christian conservatives are willing to do much more than preach morality when it comes to dealing with the issue of poor, abused, turn-them-into-uneducated-criminals children who are born to women clearly unable or unwilling to accept the responsibility of parenthood.

How many of those children who end up in the "social services" system receive support or acceptance or adoption from those same Christian conservatives?
Guiliani doesn't have the "personal credentials" to make him the ideal Christian conservative candidate. On the other hand, most Christian conservative public leaders would make really bad presidents with their "my way or the highway" approach to life.
Guiliani has demonstrated his effectiveness and principled nature in public service. One must ask if having integrity and being effective is less important in the selection of a presidential candidate than adhering to the beliefs of a specific religious group.
I don't know if Mr. Guiliani is the best person to lead this country, but so far I haven't seen anything related to public service issues that are anywhere near as negative as some of his potential opponents.
And the fact that he won't change his positions to placate a special interest group seems a rather large positive to me. He certainly hasn't shown a willingness to accept funding from shady sources or gained a reputation as one who places personal power above public good.
We'll see if the Christian conservative coalition gets both their defender of the faith as well as one who is an effective defender of this nation. I can live with the latter.


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There is always an easy solution to every human problem—neat, plausible, and wrong.
Henry Louis Mencken (1880–1956)
“The Divine Afflatus,” A Mencken Chrestomathy, chapter 25, p. 443 (1949)
... and one could add "not all human problems really are."
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- O. Henry
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Tracking Interest Rates

Tracking Interest Rates


SEARCH BLOG: FEDERAL RESERVE for full versions... or use the Blog Archive pulldown menu.

February 3, 2006
Go back to 1999-2000 and see what the Fed did. They are following the same pattern for 2005-06. If it ain't broke, the Fed will fix it... and good!
August 29, 2006 The Federal Reserve always acts on old information... and is the only cause of U.S. recessions.
December 5, 2006 Last spring I wrote about what I saw to be a sharp downturn in the economy in the "rustbelt" states, particularly Michigan.
March 28, 2007
The Federal Reserve sees no need to cut interest rates in the light of adverse recent economic data, Ben Bernanke said on Wednesday.
The Fed chairman said ”to date, the incoming data have supported the view that the current stance of policy is likely to foster sustainable economic growth and a gradual ebbing in core inflation”.

July 21, 2007 My guess is that if there is an interest rate change, a cut is more likely than an increase. The key variables to be watching at this point are real estate prices and the inventory of unsold homes.
August 11, 2007 I suspect that within 6 months the Federal Reserve will be forced to lower interest rates before housing becomes a black hole.
September 11, 2007 It only means that the overall process has flaws guaranteeing it will be slow in responding to changes in the economy... and tend to over-react as a result.
September 18, 2007 I think a 4% rate is really what is needed to turn the economy back on the right course. The rate may not get there, but more cuts will be needed with employment rates down and foreclosure rates up.
October 25, 2007 How long will it be before I will be able to write: "The Federal Reserve lowered its lending rate to 4% in response to the collapse of the U.S. housing market and massive numbers of foreclosures that threaten the banking and mortgage sectors."
"Should the elevated turbulence persist, it would increase the possibility of further tightening in financial conditions for households and businesses," he said.

"Uncertainties about the economic outlook are unusually high right now," he said. "These uncertainties require flexible and pragmatic policymaking -- nimble is the adjective I used a few weeks ago."

December 11, 2007 Somehow the Fed misses the obvious.
[Image from:]
December 13, 2007 [from The Christian Science Monitor]
"The odds of a recession are now above 50 percent," says Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody's "We are right on the edge of a recession in part because of the Fed's reluctance to reduce interest rates more aggressively." [see my comments of September 11]
January 7, 2008 The real problem now is that consumers can't rescue the economy and manufacturing, which is already weakening, will continue to weaken. We've gutted the forces that could avoid a downturn. The question is not whether there will be a recession, but can it be dampened sufficiently so that it is very short.
January 11, 2008 This is death by a thousand cuts.
January 13, 2008 [N.Y. Times]
“The question is not whether we will have a recession, but how deep and prolonged it will be,” said David Rosenberg, the chief North American economist at Merrill Lynch. “Even if the Fed’s moves are going to work, it will not show up until the later part of 2008 or 2009.
January 17, 2008 A few days ago, Anna Schwartz, nonagenarian economist, implicated the Federal Reserve as the cause of the present lending crisis [from the Telegraph - UK]:
The high priestess of US monetarism - a revered figure at the Fed - says the central bank is itself the chief cause of the credit bubble, and now seems stunned as the consequences of its own actions engulf the financial system. "The new group at the Fed is not equal to the problem that faces it," she says, daring to utter a thought that fellow critics mostly utter sotto voce.
January 22, 2008 The cut has become infected and a limb is in danger. Ben Bernanke is panicking and the Fed has its emergency triage team cutting rates... this time by 3/4%. ...

What should the Federal Reserve do now? Step back... and don't be so anxious to raise rates at the first sign of economic improvement.
Individuals and businesses need stability in their financial cost structures so that they can plan effectively and keep their ships afloat. Wildly fluctuating rates... regardless of what the absolute levels are... create problems. Either too much spending or too much fear. It's just not that difficult to comprehend. Why has it been so difficult for the Fed?

About Me

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Michigan, United States
Air Force (SAC) captain 1968-72. Retired after 35 years of business and logistical planning, including running a small business. Two sons with advanced degrees; one with a business and pre-law degree. Beautiful wife who has put up with me for 4 decades. Education: B.A. (Sociology major; minors in philosopy, English literature, and German) M.S. Operations Management (like a mixture of an MBA with logistical planning)