2009-02-25

Never, Never, Never, Give Up


give-up-bgImage by bk2204 via Flickr

That Winston Churchill guy was really onto something with that quote, however today is Ash Wednesday and therefore giving up is perfectly acceptable for the next 40 days.

Now, why am I, a non-denominational leaning non-Catholic, writing about a historically Catholic tradition? And most importantly, why would I willingly give up anything when I am under no obligation and only a couple weeks away from giving up my freedom bachelor hood? Good questions.

I'm joining in the fun simply because I've always appreciated the spirit of Lent (i.e. Jesus), but basically cheated every year by abandoning various habits that I should probably avoid otherwise; drinking cokes, eating fast food, etc... This year is bit different though, because now I've actually written all of this down and opened myself up for some accountability.


I Give Up!


Traditionally the three practices to be taken up during Lent are prayer (justice towards God), fasting (justice towards self), an almsgiving (justice towards neighbour). I won't get into all of this here, because believe or not I still appreciate some privacy, but as for the latter two, here is what I'm giving up over the next 40 days:

1. Not running 10 miles per week (this seems to fall inline with justice towards self)

2. Not being married (the Lord knows there's been a noticeable uptick in my prayer life throughout this whole engagement process )

and finally...

3. Writing politically (you can thank me later).

There are far too many problems going on in the world right now to focus on what our government is or is not doing correctly here on this site. The combination of the most recent Gallup Poll showing Obama gaining with the Dems and losing with the GOP and the realization that mo [knowledge] really does = mo problems (as well as this old WJW post) finally caused the lightbulb to go off in my head. I am only adding noise to an already overcrowded room, and at this point my voice is getting tired.

Right now, there is not a single person in Washington or on Wall-Street that believes that the worst is behind us or that we will be out of this in 2009. Uemployment will rise (perhaps as high as 10% or 11%), defaults will rise (as house to rent ratios are still too high), consumers will deleverage (if the savings rate would've returned to historical levels at ~8% in the 4th Quarter, we would've seen a ~17% dip in GDP as opposed to the modest 3.4% we witnessed... the paradox of thrift ladies and gentlemen) the government will spend our money to fix the unfixable, and interest rates will be raised to counteract inflation when all is said and done (which will contract the economy at the time we are set to recover). This is the best case scenario that I've seen/read/or heard. At the same time however, life will go on.


Thoughts on the Future

I'm not 100% sure which direction I will take this site over the next 40 days, or after that, so stay tuned. Politics were always the low hanging fruit from which I could easily pluck for a post or two during the few hours / week I have to devote to this site. Not anymore!

While I do commit to instilling more of a philanthropic angle to all postings contained within the confines of the Schop, I cannot promise what exactly that will look like.

What are your thoughts? Do you have a charity that you support? A missionary / missions agency that you pledge money towards? If not, I strongly urge you to reread Jake's missive about his leap of faith into missions.

Take care,
Mike


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Picks of the Week


Because sometimes comedy is the best way to digest current events:




David Faber's "House of Cards" should be required viewing:





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2009-02-17

Why We All Want A Big Wedding

3 comments

stimulus package billImage by somaholiday via Flickr

Or the Truth About the Economic Stimulus Plan

With the news coming out that the stimulus package was signed into law today, I thought I would try to explain the reasoning behind the bill in terms that most of us can understand; a wedding. With my life becoming almost 100% about weddings these days, I started to notice that the same logic used to plan a wedding reception is more or less the same logic the government is using to explain their decision to stimulate the economy. What do I mean by that? Let me explain.

The wedding ceremony is a very personal and spiritual moment, so I’ll exclude this for the sake of not offending anyone. The wedding reception on the other hand essentially boils down to a large amount of money spent by the bride and groom’s parents to bring a very large group of people together in order to drink stimulate the young couple’s modest existence through the giving of gifts. If money is spent unwisely or if the wrong date is selected, then despite the best efforts of everyone involved, there is a good chance that the cost of the event will outweigh the amount given to the young couple as the financial burden assumed by the parents failed to translate into an adequate number of guests. The newlyweds will then be forced to spend money on the items they think they need (b/c let’s be honest, no one needs a $100 tea kettle) to get started. Spend too little and you’ll find yourself in a very similar predicament.

The stimulus bill on the other hand is a plan by the government (the parents) to spend a very large sum of money on a smorgasbord of pet projects (infrastructure spending, tax cuts, state government bailouts, green energy initiatives… aka the guest list) in order to benefit the economy (the newlywed couple) during a time of reduced productivity. If money is spent unwisely or if it is not spent quickly enough, then despite the best efforts of those in Washington, the bill will fail to translate into adequate GDP growth (the wedding presents) and the government will be forced to raise taxes or do more harm to the dollar by borrowing more from China to make up for the original cost of the bill. If the bill that is too small it will fail to address any of the problems brought about by the recession, and the end result will be very similar (i.e. bad).

Maybe the government should take a page out of the wedding planning book and start a registry for what it really needs/wants. Then contractors could openly bid for the right to assume the work; theknot.com for government expenditures if you will. I’ll call it www.taxmenot.gov.





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