Beyond the Cusp

July 24, 2013

What is the Real Story Behind Detroit?

If anything about Detroit is true, it was no surprise and everybody has watched this train wreck coming down the tracks for at least a decade or two if not longer. Detroit is not the first city to declare bankruptcy nor is it the first major city to go broke, but it may be the first major city to die from severe bankruptcy. One of the first cities of the modern era in the United States to dance around bankruptcy was Flint, Michigan which reinvented itself and made a comeback. There have been a number of the old steel mill cities which have found it necessary to reinvent themselves and come close to destitution. New York City is the largest of American cities to experience the threat of bankruptcy and received some assistance from the Federal Government in order to redirect the way the city was managed and adjusted the manner that the city government acted and its direction and New York City made a successful comeback. But Detroit is the first major city to not only go financially bankrupt but has also fallen to a level of collapse in the areas of population, functioning infrastructure, employment opportunities, functional education system, or anything which is considered as a basic service or property any modern city would possess. Detroit has few remaining operative emergency vehicles, the police take close to an hour to respond to an emergency situation, the majority of the citizenry are functionally illiterate, and it has an unfunded mandate in the form of retirement funds owed that would bankrupt most cities which have functioning systems. Detroit has slipped beyond the cusp and may very well never make a comeback. We may only have one choice concerning Detroit, plow it under and see if it can be transformed into a productive piece of farmland.

 

But enough about Detroit as there is a larger problem which has been made all the more evident by the calamity that has struck Detroit, and that is the financial disaster that is the National Government which is very close to bankrupt. We have been observing the Federal Government slowly circling the whirlpool of unfunded liabilities which is being enlarged through deficit spending that has risen beyond anything even imaginable just a few decades ago. We have heard for as long as can be remembered about how Social Security is almost broke, how Medicare costs are spiraling beyond the Government’s ability to fund, Government employee retirement benefit payments are ballooning out of control, and among other items, just the interest payment on the national debt is taking an ever larger chunk percentage wise from the national budget despite the inflated amount being spent. There is one thing which is allowing the United States to avoid the imminent financial doom that the payments of only the interest of the debt should have and that is the low interest rates. This is much of the reasoning at the Federal Reserve which is twisting and contorting monetary policy to near the breaking point in order to keep the interest rates at a level which allows payment of the interest on the debt to remain manageable. The government has even found it necessary to manipulate the definition of inflation in such a way as to hide the real rate of inflation which would require interest rates to be increased. What other reason can one give for omitting the cost of fuel, electricity, and food from the cost of living for the determination of the inflation rate? This has been done in order to cherry pick what items are used to measure inflation rates so as to minimize the official measure of inflation rates thus allowing the Federal Reserve to claim there is no measurable inflation that requires an increase in the interest rates allowing the Federal Government to make the payments on the debt.

 

Eventually the interest rates will have to be adjusted higher when the Federal Reserve finally reaches the point where they can no longer keep the lie that inflation rate is minimal if not negligible and they have to take steps to prevent inflation from hitting runaway rates. The Federal Reserve will find that necessity will require a fairly healthy rise in interest rates simply because the inflation resulting from the printing of money required under the Quantitative Easing, of which there have been three separate injections of which the third is one that has been spread over many months for as long as it was deemed necessary and is still being implemented each month. When the interest rates take off they will toll the knell of reckoning because should the interest double, the payments on the debt would double, if they triple the debt payments will triple, and should they grow by more the debt payments will rise accordingly. There have been pessimistic estimates that because of the games being implemented pretending to be a financial strategy that when the interest rates increase and the piper must be paid, the interest rates could rise by a multiple of five or more, that would mean at least a fivefold increase in the interest rates taking them from one and a half percent to seven and a half percent. There is no possible way the Federal Government will be able to operate should the interest rates have any sizeable increase and such an increase appears each day to be more and more inevitable. One has to worry of what happens when the United States follows the model of Detroit and hangs the sign on the doors reading, “Gone Out of Business.”

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

March 30, 2013

The Sane Solution to Same Sex Marriage

We have written about this solution that addresses the recognition of same sex couples under the law while also maintaining the traditional definition of marriage as the union of one man and one woman that should satisfy both sides of the argument. It preserves marriage while granting same sex couples with the legal rights they claim to seek and does so by reducing the intrusion of government into what should be a religious matter decided by each individual house of worship. The answer is to allow houses of worship to issue marriage certificates and hold marriage ceremonies while for those couples who wish the benefits and responsibilities the state applies to couples can receive a civil union contract from the state which will allow their pairing to have all the legal rights which currently are restricted to married couples. The marriage the houses of worship would perform would not allow the couple to claim any of the benefits of those who have a civil union contract unless the married couple also satisfied the state requirements and received a civil union contract. This separates the institution of marriage from any entanglement within the legal workings of the state thus freeing the individual state governments to decide what will be acceptable as a couple in the eyes of the law while the religious institutions decide what defines a married couple. The two are separate from each other and though any couple married by a religious ceremony would very likely also qualify for receiving a civil union contract, not every recipient of a civil union contract would be eligible to be necessarily married by every religious institution. There are also other advantages and options which become available in defining marriage which is currently disallowed due to the state being the issuing body of marriage certificates.

The main advantage is that each house of worship would be enabled to define marriage in whatever manner their congregation decides it should be defined. If the house of worship only wishes to recognize marriages between people of their religion and refuses to allow mixed religion marriages, which would be that house of worship’s right and the state would have no problems as the state has no jurisdiction over any religious service or definition as per the First Amendment. On the other side, if a couple can locate a house of worship willing to marry them, then they can have a marriage license and be considered married. Also, if a couple wishes to be married but does not deem it necessary to have state sanctioning their marriage, they would not be forced to receive a civil union contract but by not receiving the state’s issuance of a civil union contract would negate them of the benefits of being a couple in the eyes of the state and in all state functions. They would not be able to file a joint tax return or necessarily be allowed to visit each other in a state run hospital or have numerous other benefits. They would still be able to be the benefactor in their wills but would face the taxes upon one’s death as if they were not a legally joined couple.

The reason we like this solution is not because it enables same sex unions as much as it removes the government from what should be a purely religious institution, marriage. The further the government can be removed from defining terms in our lives and society, the more free the society will become. It is necessary to have the government define legal contracts as those are enforced in the courts of the state. It is not necessary to have the state define anything that does not require a legal contract. Marriage was originally not a legal contract but was a moral contract issued by the religious culture. The interest of the state in marriage has been as a financial interest, a social interest, a contractual interest, and a left over remainder from when the state and church coexisted almost as one entity through much of human history. By granting the state the issuance of the civil union contract the state continues to have all the jurisdictional constraints which it currently possesses but allows for marriage to be returned to the religious sector of our society. This is something which is desirable as it is fitting to have marriage and civil union contract both exist as the state and religion have been divorced from their previous relationship and thus should have separate interests in the whole idea of marriage. The religious institutions would have their historic interest of defining the basic structure of family and all that entails. The state would have their rightful fee for the contractual legal aspect which has been the main interests of the state as well as defining family for tax and other considerations.

There is one more benefit with this solution. We have heard time and time again that all those wishing to legalize same sex marriages desire is to have the same legal rights as do heterosexual couples. By relegating marriage to religious institutions and removing it from legal and public jurisdiction and in the legal and public forum having the contractual part of marriage relegated to civil union contracts, then all who are accepted by the state, which would likely include same sex couples as the state should not have any legal reason to deny such and moral reasons are not the state’s purview, would have the same identical rights while religious institutions could define marriage in any manner they wish. Religious institutions which allow polygamy or polyandry could allow such and it would then be up to the state on whether such could receive a civil union contract and with what limitations or provisions. Since the state licenses separate from religious institutions such discrepancies should not make for the problems we are currently facing as each would define their own definitions. This is just another application of a kind of separation of powers where the state has its set of considerations, legalizations and limitations while the religious institutions have their definitions and preferences and the two do not necessarily have to match.

Beyond the Cusp

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