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Chains of Spanish Silver: The Church in the Modern Culture

  Chains of Spanish Silver: The Church in the Modern Culture "Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful." - Joshua 1:8  The old craftsman ran the links slowly through his stubby, dirty fingers. He felt the smooth texture, the solid weight of each loop of precious silver mined from the hills of Peru. He gazed at the noble metal's sheen through squinted eyes, drinking in the chain's beauty. The silver chain was a precious piece from the collection of the silversmith Aragon. The old craftsman ran it time after time through his hands, remembering when he, as a much younger man, had been an artisan of the silver from the Cordillera districts. He had formed the malleable metal into ornaments for tableware and jewelry. But never had he seen or touched anything as lovely or perfect as this chain. But something wasn't righ

Is It Okay to Question Ukraine Spending?

 


There was an essay written in 1867 that was published in harper's magazine it was called “Not Yours to Give”. It's the story of Davey Crockett as a congressman in the late 1820s. Like most stories of that vintage some will argue that the story is an accurate account while others may say it is legendary. However, the moral of the story is indisputable.

 Davey Crockett had only served two terms in congress. On one day, in congress, he was confronted with a bill to give money to the widow of a military officer. Davy Crockett arose and gave this speech,

 “Mr. Speaker, I have much respect for the memory of the deceased and much sympathy for the suffering of the living. As any man in the house suffers but we must not permit our respect for the dead or our sympathy for a particular part of the living to lead us into an act of injustice.

 We, the rest of the living, have the right as individuals to give away as much of our own money as we please in charity. However, as members of congress we have no right to take one dollar of the public money. I'm the poorest man on this floor. I cannot vote for this bill but I will give a one week's pay. I will give my salary for one week and if every member of congress were to do this it will amount to more than this bill asks.”

 When Crockett finished there was silence and remarkably the bill failed. When later asked for an explanation he said, “A few years ago I was standing one evening on the steps of the capitol when we saw a large great light over Georgetown. It was a large fire. We jumped got on a horse and rode over there as fast as we could. In spite of all that could be done many homes were burned and many families were made homeless and some of them had lost all but the clothes they had on. The weather was very cold and when I saw so many women and children suffering, I felt that something must be

Done. The next morning a bill was introduced appropriating $20,000 for their relief. We put aside all of the business and rushed it through as soon as it could be done.

 Later in the year when Davy Crockett was back in Tennessee, he ran into a constituent by the name of Horatio Bunts. Crockett asked him for his vote and Horatio Bunts responded and said, “You'd better not waste your time on my vote. I will not vote for you again. Your vote last winter shows that either you have not the capacity to understand the Constitution or that you're lacking in honesty and character to guide you. Because, for the Constitution to be worth anything it must be held sacred and rigidly observed in all its provisions. The man who wields power and misinterprets the Constitution is more dangerous the more honest he is. Horatio Bunts continued, “No Colonel there's no mistake. The newspapers say that last winter you voted for this bill to give $20,000 to some who suffered from a fire in Georgetown. Is that true?

 Congressman Crockett answered, “Well my friend I may as well own up. You've got me there but certainly nobody would complain that a wealthy country like ours couldn't give $20,000? The insignificant sum of $20,000 to relieve the suffering women and children?”

Horatio Bunts replied, “Crockett, the power of collecting and distributing other people’s money at pleasure is the most dangerous power that can be entrusted to a man. While you are contributing to relieve one you are drawing it from thousands who are even worse off than he if you had the right to give anything. The amount was simply a matter of discretion with you and you had as much right to give 20 million as to give 20,000. If you have the right to give to one you have the right to give to all and as the Constitution neither defines charity nor stipulates the amount you are at liberty to give to any and everything which you may believe or profess to believe as a charity and to any amount you may think proper. No, Colonel Crockett congress has no right to give charity. Individual members may give as much of their own money as they please but they have no right to touch a dollar of the public money for that purpose. If twice as many houses had burned in this county in Tennessee as had in Georgetown neither you nor any other members of congress would have thought of appropriating a dollar for our relief.”

 Bunts informed Crockett that, “If each congressman had shown their sympathy for the fire victims by giving one week's pay it would have nearly covered the cost but it was easier simply to give other people's money. The people at Washington no doubt applauded you for relieving them from the necessity of giving by giving what yours was not to give. The people have delegated congress by the Constitution the power to certain things. To do these it is authorized to collect and pay monies and for nothing else. Everything beyond this is usurpation and a violation of the Constitution. So, you see Colonel you have violated the Constitution in what I consider a vital point. It is a precedent filled with danger to the country. When congress begins to stretch its power beyond the limits of the Constitution there is no limit to it and no security for the people.”

 Today we are faced with a vastly greater sum of money than $20,000. We are faced with 40 billion dollars to be gifted to Ukraine. A noble cause no doubt. A cause for which we have great sympathy and support but a cause for which the Constitution does not sanction or approve of. Now we could ask, as Davy Crockett did, if each member of the Senate would like to contribute individually to Ukraine but of course that would simply serve to demonstrate the enormity of the gift. To come up with 40 billion dollars each

Senator would need to give 400 million dollars. Not a likely scenario. It's much easier to spend such exorbitant amounts if you're spending someone else's money. But even if the senators won't agree to contribute their own money surely, we're a rich country and can afford it. Well not exactly. The us debt now approaches 30 trillion dollars. In the past two years alone, we have added nearly 6 trillion dollars in new debt. Inflation roars throughout the land. Grocery bills are punishing the working class and poor and gas prices exceed 4 dollars. Even before the pandemic bailouts for our country was running a trillion dollar annual deficit just to pay for its routine commitments. Putting aside the constitutionality of the 40 billion dollars to Ukraine, isn't there a more fiscally responsible way this could be done? What about taking the 40 billion from elsewhere in the budget.   

The US spends more on our military than the eight countries around Ukraine combined. Couldn't congress simply shift over the 40 billion and not add to the debt in the defense of Ukraine. If the defense of Ukraine is really in our national security interest shouldn't the gift come from our military budget? What about cutting wasteful spending? We have a cataloged of over 50 billion dollars in wasteful spending.

 I don't know about you but couldn't we cut programs like the million dollar study to see if taking selfies of yourself while smiling and then looking at these selfies later on if that makes you feel good?

 Couldn't we cut the budget of the national science foundation that spends billions of dollars studying such burning questions as do Panamanian city frogs have a different mating call than the country frogs.

 Couldn't we maybe cut the 2 million the NIH spent studying cafeterias to see if someone in front of you sneezes on the food whether you're more or less likely to eat that food.

 Couldn't we maybe cut the money spent on Japanese quail studying whether or not they're more sexually promiscuous or not when you give them cocaine.

 If we're not willing to cut the budget at all couldn't we ask the American people to stay up and pay a war tax? If this is really for our national security it should be very popular with the people. Why don't we offer to tax them in exchange for this.

 Guess what? The American people don't want this nonsense. Their representatives don't want to pay any taxes for this they just say put it on Americas tab. We've been doing that for decades and that's why we have a 30 trillion dollar debt and that's why we have roaring inflation. If you want to pay for this with a tax you could triple the gas tax. I’m guessing that's going to be really popular and people really want to send this money so badly that they'd be willing to triple the gas tax.

 If we were honest, that's what the people who were for this would propose. Now that would guarantee 6 dollar gas for the foreseeable future. Alternatively, congress could raise the income tax about 5 hundred dollars for every American taxpayer. I'm sure that would be popular and for the people who think it's a great idea to send 40 billion dollars overseas why don't they just be honest with people and tax them. Here's your bill Mr. and Mrs. America. 5 hundred dollars a taxpayer and then would it be paid for? No. It's like everything else put it on our tab, Uncle Sam's tab, is full. It is complete.

To be clear I’m not for raising taxes to finance Ukraine’s defense but it's irresponsible to simply borrow more money. To borrow the money from China simply to send it to Ukraine. Makes no sense and makes us weaker not stronger. Let's be honest most of congress doesn't seem to care about the debt. Doesn't seem to care how much money we shovel out the door and out of the country. Why? Because it's not their money. Everyday Milton Friedman’s statement has proven correct, that “nobody spends somebody else's money as wisely as their own.” I doubt the big spenders in congress

will ever consider spending any of their own money but Americans across the land should sit up and take notice and attach blame to these profligate spenders. In the past 5 months bipartisan majorities republicans and democrats have added over 100 billion dollars to the debt. Now these same big spenders are proposing another 50 billion dollars next week to bail out restaurants. Restaurants that have been primarily injured by overzealous democrat governors and their edicts. There are ramifications to this mountain of debt. Make no mistake, inflation is here and it's rip-roaring and, on the rise.

Just as aiding the victims of fire in Georgetown during the days of Davy Crockett ignored the misfortune of the suffering people in lands too distant from Washington to be noticed so too does today's deficit spending to be sent overseas ignores the pain and suffering and the inflation that is caused by that debt on everyday American families.

 Inflation is simply an increase in the money supply. It comes from the federal reserve buying the US debt. M2 is a measure of the money supply. For the last three years it's been going up at about a 15 percent rate. So we shouldn't really be surprised that there's inflation because inflation is an increase in the money supply. In January of last year the annualized rate of the M2 expansion, the monetary expansion, was 27 percent. No one should be shocked we have inflation. We have rising prices in the grocery store. We have rising prices at the pump because we borrowed too much money. We went heavily in debt and the federal reserve is buying the debt. All of this so-called free money floods the market and chases prices higher. Adding to our debt will only make the problem worse. So, yes our national security is threatened but not by Russia’s war on Ukraine but by congress's war on the American taxpayer. The vast majority of Americans sympathize with Ukraine and want them to repel the Russian invaders but if congress were honest they'd take the money from elsewhere in the budget or ask Americans to pay higher taxes or heaven forbid loan the money to Ukraine instead of giving it to Ukraine. But congress will do what congress does best, spend other people's money. – Senator Paul

 

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