Who’s Really to Blame for the Mess We Are in?

Mark Skousen

Named one of the "Top 20 Living Economists," Dr. Skousen is a professional economist, investment expert, university professor, and author of more than 25 books.

“A virtuous and industrious people may be cheaply governed.” — Ben Franklin

I have to laugh when I read about the fight over the budget and the “fiscal cliff” coming our way, and the decision by both President Obama (a Democrat) and John Boehner (a Republican) that taxes must go up to pay for the deficit.

What a joke!

First of all, there is no evidence whatsoever that raising more taxes (either through higher rates or limiting deductions) will do anything to cut spending. In fact, tax hikes just encourage them to spend more money. Government is out of control — and you are being hoodwinked if you think that raising taxes on anyone will make Death Star (Washington, D.C.) any more responsible.

I just reviewed the budgets of Obama and President George W. Bush since 2001 and guess what? Spending ballooned, skyrocketing 74%, or 6.2% a year!

Former President Bush never did run a budget surplus during his eight years in office, even though we generally were enjoying full employment. Even Keynesian economists believe you should run a surplus during times of prosperity.

Earlier this year, I met with ex-President Bush at a conference he was holding in New York. The title was “The 4% Growth Project.” I said to the organizer, “Do you mean economic growth or government growth?” The fact is that the economy never grew more than 4% in any one year of Bush’s administration. But government spending sure did. In fact, the rate of spending rose more than 7% in six out of his eight years of office. The only exceptions were 6.1% growth in federal spending in 2004 and 2.8% in 2007.

Government spending grew an astronomical 17.5% in 2009 alone, during the financial crisis.

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So, who’s to blame for the fiscal crisis we are in? George W. Bush.

And President Obama has only made matters worse. Don’t get me started.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise to learn that politicians are ranked the lowest in the most recent Gallup poll on professions you can trust:
http://www.gallup.com/poll/159035/congress-retains-low-honesty-rating.aspx.

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To read my e-letter from last week, please click here.

You Blew It! Are We in a Common Era or a Christian Era?

Last week on TV, Christine Hayes, a professor of religious studies at Yale University, referred to the Christian Era as the Common Era. It’s one of my pet peeves. Here’s why.

For the past 20 years, scholars, especially Jewish historians, have started to replace the traditional abbreviation AD with CE. Anno Domini (AD) means “in the year of our Lord,” and non-Christians started using CE to avoid acknowledgement of Christ as Lord. Okay, I can understand that — Professor Hayes specializes in Hebrew studies. As a believer, I will continue to use the traditional AD and BC (Before Christ) designations.

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If Jewish and secular scholars want to be objective and intellectually honest, they should still refer to CE as “Christian Era.” After all, it was the Christians who invented our current calendar that is used worldwide, even in non-Christian Asia. Historically, there are dozens of calendars out there, such as the Mayan, Julian, Byzantine, Buddhist, Chinese, Japanese and Hebrew. But the calendar adopted by all major countries, East and West, is the Gregorian or Christian calendar. Since they dominate, CE should stand for the Christian Era, not the Common Era, if you are going to give credit to the originators.

To call CE the “Common Era” would be like calling the Arabic numerals “common” numerals. It’s intellectually dishonest to refuse to give credit to an inventor, even if he or she is of another religion.

The next thing you know, “Yalees” will be saying “Merry Commons.”

Yours for peace, prosperity and liberty, AEIOU,

Mark Skousen

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