Archive - October, 2008

Joe The Plumber Gets His Own Commercial

Greg Koukl Discusses Proposition 8

Greg Koukl of Stand To Reason discusses California’s Proposition 8, which deals with the definition of marriage.

Robert George: Obama’s Abortion Extremism

Robert P. George is McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence and Director of the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions at Princeton University. He has a law degree and a theology degree from Harvard, and a doctorate from Oxford. He is a member of the President’s Council on Bioethics and previously served on the United States Commission on Civil Rights. Today, Dr. George published an article entitled Obama’s Abortion Extremism, which begins this way:

Barack Obama is the most extreme pro-abortion candidate ever to seek the office of President of the United States. He is the most extreme pro-abortion member of the United States Senate. Indeed, he is the most extreme pro-abortion legislator ever to serve in either house of the United States Congress.
Yet there are Catholics and Evangelicals-even self-identified pro-life Catholics and Evangelicals – who aggressively promote Obama’s candidacy and even declare him the preferred candidate from the pro-life point of view.
What is going on here?

Read the whole thing. If you don’t have time, Justin Taylor provides a helpful summary. Also, Dr. George was the guest on Dr. Albert Mohler’s radio program today.

PBS Frontline Special: John McCain & Barack Obama

PBS has a two-hour documentary entitled “The Choice 2008“, which will air tonight on public television. You can also watch it on-line. My guess is that it will be fairly pro-Obama, but it looks interesting.

Obama’s Kenya Ghosts

(HT: Mark R. Levin)

Obama’s “95% will get tax cut” Illusion

The Wall Street Journal writes an extremely fair, helpful, and succinct review of Obama’s tax proposals. The author helps readers understand why Obama claims to give tax cuts to 95% of Americans: by “tax cut” Obama includes tens of billions of dollars in government handouts that are disguised by the phrase “tax credit.” If you think Obama is somehow better for the economy, this article is a must read. Don’t forget to look at the chart. It is not too hard to understand: look what happens at about the $45,000 mark: your marginal tax rate goes up. This disproportionally punishes low-income workers for earning raises or bonuses –cutting off the incentive for achievement and growing one’s income:

Because Mr. Obama’s tax credits are phased out as incomes rise, they impose a huge “marginal” tax rate increase on low-income workers. The marginal tax rate refers to the rate on the next dollar of income earned. As the nearby chart illustrates, the marginal rate for millions of low- and middle-income workers would spike as they earn more income.
Some families with an income of $40,000 could lose up to 40 cents in vanishing credits for every additional dollar earned from working overtime or taking a new job. As public policy, this is contradictory. The tax credits are sold in the name of “making work pay,” but in practice they can be a disincentive to working harder, especially if you’re a lower-income couple getting raises of $1,000 or $2,000 a year. One mystery — among many — of the McCain campaign is why it has allowed Mr. Obama’s 95% illusion to go unanswered.

Read the whole thing.

Why Obama Has Been Winning The Debates

A great article on debate strategy, and why McCain has been missing chances to score points.

USA Today: Church Giving “Lukewarm”

USA Today gives this decidedly unflattering report:

Americans spent nearly twice as much on first-day sales of the video game Grand Theft Auto IV as would be needed by the Southern Baptist Convention to share the gospel with all the world’s “unreached people groups” by 2010, according to a new report on church giving.

This data comes from the annual report of Empty Tomb Inc. — an Illinois-based ministry dedicated to helping the poor and assisting “historically Christian congregations increase missions spending as a portion of total spending.”
The USA Today article goes on to note that while an estimated 2800 additional missionaries are needed to engage the remaining unreached people groups, and while it would cost about $11 per Southern Baptist to fund those extra missionaries, the denomination’s “2008 goal of $170 million to support existing missionaries is the equivalent of asking each Southern Baptist to donate just 31 cents more than last year.”
I am not sure why the article focuses so much attention on the SBC (whom the journalist praises as a “denomination that takes this religious task seriously”), since the data is really a stinging indictment on all Christians. The closing thoughts:

“The total portion of per capita income given to churches in 2006 was lower (in 2006) than in the worst year of the Great Depression,” the authors found.
The report estimates that for only $26 a year per evangelical, U.S. evangelicals as a whole could fund $544 million in efforts through evangelical-affiliated denominations and other missions agencies.
The report estimated that it would cost each U.S. church member just 8 cents a day to help reach the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goal of cutting infant mortality by two-thirds by 2015.

(HT: Daniel L. Patterson)

Thomas Sowell on Freddie, Fannie, and the Bailout

Thomas Sowell helpfully and succinctly dispels the notion that pure free-market economics led to the collapse. In short: Elected officials such as Congressman Barney Frank and Senator Christopher Dodd “wanted the government to push financial institutions to lend to people they would not lend to otherwise, because of the risk of default”. The mantra was “affordable housing” and the avoidance of “redlining” (whereby loans are denied in circumstances where the financial risk is deemed too great). The problem was the built-in assumption that politicians “can assess risks better than people who have spent their whole careers assessing risks”. Sowell writes:

“If Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were free market institutions they could not have gotten away with their risky financial practices because no one would have bought their securities without the implicit assumption that the politicians would bail them out.”

Read the whole thing.

Three-Way Conversation: John Piper, Don Carson, Tim Keller

An absolutely fantastic six-part conversation between John Piper, Don Carson, and Tim Keller (total time 1 hour):
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6
(HT: JT)

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