Monetary Policy: Where the Candidates Stand

On January 12th, the United States Senate is scheduled to vote on a bill that would expand Congressional oversight of the Federal Reserve by allowing the Government Accountability Office to review Fed decisions on monetary policy (http://www.wsj.com/articles/senate-to-vote-on-audit-the-fed-bill-in-january-1450483894). During a GOP Presidential Primary Debate back in November, the Federal Reserve was a hot topic, with several candidates weighing in on the topic. As with any issue, we as Christians should first look to what God’s Word says…

The Bible makes it clear that deceptively manipulating/ changing the value of an item of trade (including money) is abominable to God (Leviticus 19:35–36; Proverbs 20:10, 23). It also likens diluting the value of money (silver) to the diluting of a society’s morality (Isaiah 1:22). From these passages we can conclude that God’s design is that governments refrain from inflating their currencies as a short-term remedy for deficits since this practice defrauds the citizens by paying them for their goods and services with money that is actually worth less than advertised. It is a lie enforced as if it were truth.

In today’s economy, the most prevalent methods of enforcing this lie are through quantitative easing and fractional reserve banking. Quantitative easing is the practice central banks (such as the Federal Reserve) often use to lower interest rates and increase the money supply by providing financial institutions with large amounts of additional capital in an attempt to increase economic activity. Fractional reserve banking is a banking system in which a bank keeps only a fraction of its deposits backed by cash-on hand and loans out the rest. This system effectively creates new money because the money that is loaned out is not directly tied to a corresponding amount of deposited money. When these two practices are combined, the money supply rapidly increases, leading to inflation.

Though this practice is heralded by many economists today as fostering economic growth, especially during periods of recession, it actually makes our problems worse by rewarding poor banking practices. This leads to malinvestment and misallocation of capital, resulting in economic bubbles and the boom-bust cycle. More importantly, these practices are immoral because they result in a dishonest inflationary tax, are a form of counterfeiting, unjustly favor a few at the expense of the many, are done in secrecy and by force, violate our right to property (inflation reduces the value of our savings), promote the philosophy of instant gratification (easy credit and low interest rates encourage spending rather than saving), encourage corruption in politics (the ability of a government’s central bank to give money away to specific organizations encourages the practice of bribing politicians), hurt savers and those on fixed incomes (including retirees), and violate the Constitution (which gives no authority for the creation of a central bank, much less the creation of fiat currency).

The Founding Fathers realized that the issue of money is extremely important to the well-being of any society. George Washington advised, “We should avoid…the depreciation of our currency; but I conceive this end would be answered, as far as might be necessary, by stipulating that all money payments should be made in gold and silver, being the common medium of commerce among nations.” German banker Mayer Rothschild succinctly stated the incredible power of money over society when he announced, “Permit me to issue and control the money of a nation and I care not who makes its laws.” Lenin, always looking for methods to advance communism, observed that the best way to destroy the capitalist system is to debauch the currency. By a continuing process of inflation,
governments can confiscate, secretly and unobserved, an important part of the wealth of their citizens. There is no subtler or surer means of overturning the existing basis of society than to debauch the currency.

President Obama is opposed to the current legislation to Audit the Federal Reserve…so where do the current Presidential Candidates stand on this extremely important issue?

Candidate Monetary Policy
Jeb Bush Quiet on the Fed; Top donors are affiliated with Goldman Sachs
Ben Carson Quiet on the Fed; Defensive of Janet Yellen
Chris Christie Minor campaign issue; Says he wants the Fed audited
Hillary Clinton Minor campaign issue; Pro Fed
Ted Cruz Minor campaign issue; Says he wants the Fed audited and supports Rand Paul’s Audit the Fed bill but is pro-bailout and sees a role for the Fed; Wife is a high ranking official with Goldman Sachs since 2005; Worked on Bush’s economic advisory staff which was pro-stimulus and bailout
Carly Fiorina Minor campaign issue; Opposed to recent Fed monetary policy
Jim Gilmore Minor campaign issue; Opposed to recent Fed monetary policy
Mike Huckabee Minor campaign issue; Critical of Janet Yellen but supported 2008 stimulus by the Fed
John Kasich Minor campaign issue; Believes in a role for the Fed
Martin O’Malley Minor campaign issue; More government oversight, but believes it has a role
Rand Paul Major campaign issue; Introduced legislation for the Fed to be audited; Anti-central bank; Wants the Fed abolished eventually
Marco Rubio Minor campaign issue; Says he wants the Fed audited and supports Rand Paul’s Audit the Fed bill
Bernie Sanders Major campaign issue; Opposed to Fed corruption; Wants major reforms and an audit of the Fed but believes it still has a role
Rick Santorum Minor campaign issue; Wants Fed audited but believes it has a role
Donald Trump Minor campaign issue; Opposed to recent Fed monetary policy

Please share your thoughts with us!

In Christ – Samuel and Lydia

 

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Women in Combat?

While there are many issues more directly related to the 2016 campaign that I would love to write about, one recent move by the Department of Defense really caught my attention in light of the ongoing debate within both parties over how much we should spend on our military. After doing a little research, thinking, and praying about it I discussed it with my wife and then decided to share our thoughts with you.

On December 4th, the following letter was sent out to members of the U.S. Army :

Full Integration of Women in the Army

Yesterday the Secretary of Defense directed the full integration of women in the Armed Forces following a thirty-day review period required by Congress. The purpose of allowing all Soldiers, regardless of gender, to serve in any Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) for which they are qualified is to increase our military effectiveness. The Army will provide our final, detailed implementation plan to the Secretary of Defense no later than January 1, 2016. Subject to his approval, we will begin implementing our integration plan to open all MOSs, career fields, and branches for accession by women as soon as practicable following January 2, 2016, but not later than April 1, 2016. Our best qualified, regardless of gender, will now be afforded the opportunity to serve in any MOS. Our detailed and deliberate implementation plan will maintain the readiness of our force and ensure we remain a standards-based Army. This methodical plan will establish and enforce MOS-specific and gender neutral standards based on the rigors of ground combat. Done properly, the integration of women into all MOSs will improve combat readiness and make our Army better. Readiness is our top priority. Our Army exists to fight and win the Nation’s wars. An incremental and phased approach by leaders and Soldiers who understand and enforce gender-neutral standards will ensure successful integration of women across the breadth and depth of our formations. We are honored to serve with all of you who have taken an oath to support and defend our Constitution and demonstrate the values which make our Nation great. ARMY STRONG!

Signed: Daniel A. Dailey (Sergeant Major of the Army), Mark A. Miley (General, United States Army Chief of Staff), and Eric K. Fanning (Acting Secretary of the Army).

At a press conference discussing the decision, Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter explained, “They’ll be allowed to drive tanks, fire mortars and lead infantry soldiers into combat … and everything else that was previously open only to men.” President Obama voiced his approval, stating that “our armed forces will draw on an even wider pool of talent” and will therefore be stronger. The Pentagon was not entirely unified behind this decision, however. General Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and former Marine commandant, had voiced concerns and objections to women entering infantry and armor positions and was absent from the conference due to his differences with the administration over the issue.

Though several studies have been done on the issue, with differing conclusions depending on the specifics being assessed (here is a summary of several such studies by an advocate for women serving in combat arms: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cibtp4-FxdU), the universal consensus is that men, as a group, are more physically capable to handle the physical rigors of serving in a “front-line” combat unit. One recent notable study with the Marines found that:

  • All-male units performed higher than mixed-gender units on 93 of 134 tasks, or 69 percent; gender-integrated units performed better than all-male units on two tasks, which were not identified.
  • All-male infantry squads were faster in each tactical movement, with differences more pronounced when crew-served weapons such as machine guns had to be carried in addition to the standard assault load.
  • All-male infantry rifleman squads were more accurate shots, with notable differences in all weapons except the M4 rifle.
  • Men in the provisional infantry platoon who had not attended the infantry course were more accurate marksmen than women who had, hitting 44 percent of targets with the M4 rifle versus 28 percent among women trained at the infantry schoolhouse.
  • All-male squads were notably better as a group when tackling obstacles and evacuating casualties; “When negotiating the wall obstacle, male Marines threw their packs to the top of the wall, whereas female Marines required regular assistance in getting their packs to the top.”
  • The men had an average of 20 percent body fat, compared to 24 percent among women.
  • Women had an average of 10 percent lower peak oxygen uptake than men.
  • The musculoskeletal injury rate for women was 40.5 percent, compared to 18.8 percent for men.
  • None of the 29 females who attempted infantry officer training through April passed, compared to 71 percent of men who graduated.
  • Female enlisted Marines in the entry-level infantry training course had six-times the injury rate of male counterparts.
  • Of 402 female volunteers for the Infantry Training Battalion course through June, 144 passed – a 36 percent graduation rate compared to 99 percent among men during the same period.
  • Of 14 female volunteers for the Artillery Cannon Crewman course, 12 passed – an 86 percent graduation rate, the same as the male rate.
  • Of seven female volunteers for the Tank Crewman course, five passed – a 71 percent graduation rate, compared to 99 percent of males.
  • Of seven female volunteers for the amphibious assault vehicle AAV Crewman course, five passed – a 71 percent graduation rate compared to 94 percent of males.

Source: http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/news/2015/sep/10/marines-women-in-combat-task-force-results/

These findings are nothing new: The Presidential Commission on the Assignment of Women in the Armed Services stated in the November 15, 1992 Executive Summary Conclusion in the Report to the President: “The case for assigning women to combat fails for the very basic reason that it is grounded principally in the concept of equal opportunity. When national security is at stake, however, the need to maintain a strong military must take precedence over concerns about equal opportunity … mixed-gender units, particularly as [they] get closer to the combat area, have lower deployment rates, higher attrition, less physical strength, more sexual activity, higher costs, et cetera.” As then-Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney said: “It’s important for us to remember that what we are asked to do here in the Department of Defense is to defend the nation. The only reason we exist is to be prepared to fight and win wars … we aren’t there to run social experiments.”

It is important to note that in these experimental studies, the women evaluated had passed the physical fitness tests to be included in infantry units. One female combat veteran who worked extensively with Infantrymen in a combat environment, Marine Captain Katie Petronio, has argued that due to the physical demands of combat, women should be excluded from certain positions due to their different physical make-up: “Which once again leads me, as a ground combat-experienced female Marine Corps officer, to ask, what are we trying to accomplish by attempting to fully integrate women into the infantry? For those who dictate policy, changing the current restrictions associated with women in the infantry may not seem significant to the way the Marine Corps operates. I vehemently disagree; this potential change will rock the foundation of our Corps for the worse and will weaken what has been since 1775 the world’s most lethal fighting force … for the long-term health of our female Marines, the Marine Corps, and U.S. national security, steer clear of the Marine infantry community when calling for more opportunities for females. Let’s embrace our differences to further hone in on the Corps’ success instead of dismantling who we are to achieve a political agenda.”

http://usnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2012/07/12/12684555-women-in-the-infantry-forget-about-it-says-female-marine-officer?lite

https://www.mca-marines.org/gazette/blog/2012/07/05/get-over-it-we-are-not-all-created-equal

http://www.businessinsider.com/female-troops-against-women-in-combat-tammy-duckworth-katie-petronio-2013-2

While the evidence supporting the argument that including women in our military units makes us more combat effective is found wanting, others argue that opening up combat positions to women is a victory for women’s rights. While it is true that increased opportunities for deployments and combat experience can (but not always) help advance a military career, it is important to remember that with equal opportunity comes equal responsibility. Legal cases requesting that women be required to register for the selective service equally with men are already being heard, and women who join the military may end up being forced into a combat position even if they have no desire to do so. Does this policy change increase women’s rights or is it actually a major step towards forcing women to change who they are in the name of “equality” and thereby destroying their rights?

Of course, there is also the issue of sexual tension and activity (including sexual harassment and assault as well as rivalries and broken relationships) in mixed-gender units, particularly in close-quarters, that can lead to a breakdown in morale and trust within the unit. This is already a huge issue in the military even without the decreased oversight and added stresses and intimacy that come with a combat environment. As Congressional foreign affairs advisor Daniel McAdams commented, “It’s hard to have the strongest military in the world when the barracks are turned into frat houses.”

Inevitably, with sexual activity also comes unwanted pregnancy, which could further diminish combat unit capabilities. This has also already been an issue during deployments: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/23/pregnant-military-unplanned-women_n_2534873.html   http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2560898/200-women-troops-sent-home-pregnant-MoD-wont-impose-war-zone-pregnancy-tests-privacy-fears.html

Other things to consider, especially from the Christian perspective, are that the sexual, family separation, and unwanted pregnancy issues that result from combat deployments in mixed units often result in broken families and abortions.

While all of these practical issues are important to consider and discuss, much more important for the Christian is considering how God’s Word speaks to the issue: opening up all combat Military Occupational Specialties to women rejects God’s design for women (Titus 2:4-5; 1 Peter 3:1-7; Deuteronomy 22:5) and weakens the military’s effectiveness (Nahum 3:13; Jeremiah 50:37). The Bible makes it clear that men (after the example of Christ for His church) are to give themselves up for their women and children as a demonstration of their love for them. Nehemiah 4:13-14 speaks of men who were exhorted to “remember the Lord who is great and awesome, and fight for your brothers, your sons, your daughters, your wives and your houses.” Furthermore, husbands are exhorted in Ephesians 5 to “love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her”; such love was defined by Christ as being willing to lay down one’s life for the object of that love (John 15:13).

As Christians, we need to look at the facts and the truths of Scripture and realize what is at stake here: women in combat isn’t just a matter of increasing opportunities for women – it is an issue of redefining manhood, womanhood, and even the marriage relationship (which is the sacred picture of Christ’s relationship to His church). We, especially the men, must decide where we stand and who we are called to be in Christ and ask ourselves some hard questions:

  • Are we a set-apart redeemed people (Titus 2:11-14) who cherish women as those who should be protected at all costs or are we willing to literally “throw them to the wolves” and expose them to the horrors of combat and all that comes with it?
  • Are we willing to speak out on God’s design for men, women, and marriage with “all authority” regardless of the criticism (Titus 2:15)?
  • With accelerating military challenges from the likes of China, North Korea, Russia, Iran, and ISIS, is now the time for social experimentation in our combat units?
  • Are we justified, at a time when we are faced with approximately $19 trillion in national debt (and counting), in continuing to argue that the solution to our military challenges abroad is continued increases in defense spending while knowingly diluting our combat readiness through the integration of women into combat units?
  • What does it say about the state of our government and our military leadership, when our President ignores the findings of the studies he requested and then our military leaders comply by knowingly misleading the public through their rhetoric?

While this issue is not yet one of the hot-topics of this campaign, it shines a light on the direction our society is headed and should be a wake-up call to us as Christians to increase our prayers for our nation (particularly the Christians in our military and government), our courage in taking a stand in whatever place God has put us, and our efforts in spreading the good news of Jesus Christ. As David Horowitz, a former Communist radical, warned our nation: “I was dedicated to the subversion and overturning of every American institution … We were successful in subverting and overturning every American institution but one – it was the military institution … Why don’t you wake up? Women in combat … is to finish the job on the only institution that survived the ’60s and ’70s revolution intact.”

—– UPDATE —–

Just a few days ago, some of the top leaders in our military stated that women should be required to register for the draft equally with men:

http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2016/02/03/465404486/army-marine-corps-generals-say-women-should-have-to-register-for-the-draft

 

In Christ – Samuel and Lydia

 

 

 

Looking for Godly Leadership (part 2)

In our last post we listed some of the qualities listed in Scripture of godly leaders. The table below compares each of the candidates on some of these****:

 

 

Candidate Citizen Accomplished Man Fears God* Capable, Experienced One-woman man
Bush Yes Businessman; FLA Sec. of Commerce, Governor Yes Roman Catholic Business and government executive experience Yes -Married 41 years
Carson Yes World- renowned surgeon; author; speaker Yes 7th Day Adventist Concerns about policy knowledge, no political experience, highly intelligent Yes – Married 40 years
Christie Yes U.S. District Attorney; NJ Governor Yes Roman Catholic Legal and government executive experience Yes – Married 29 years
Clinton Yes Lawyer; 1st Lady; NY Senator; U.S. Sec. of State No Methodist Legal and extensive top-level government experience NA (marital problems)
Cruz Yes** Lawyer; clerk; TX Solicitor General; TX Senator Yes Southern Baptist Extensive legal and political experience Yes – Married 14 years
Fiorina Yes CEO of HP No Non-Denom. Christian Extensive business executive experience NA (married twice)
Graham Yes Lawyer; AF Colonel; Congressman; Senator Yes Southern Baptist Legal, military, and political experience NA (never married)
Huckabee Yes Baptist Pastor; AR Lt. Gov. and Governor Yes Southern Baptist Government executive experience Yes – Married 41 years
Kasich Yes Congressman; OH Governor; Business Executive Yes Anglican Extensive government and business executive, legislative, and political experience No – Married twice
O’Malley Yes Baltimore Mayor; MD Governor Yes Roman Catholic Legal and extensive government executive experience Yes – Married 25 years
Pataki Yes Peekskill Mayor, NY state congressman, NY Governor Yes Roman Catholic Extensive legal, and legislative experience, UN delegate Yes – Married 42 years
Paul Yes Eye Doctor, KY Senator Yes Presbyterian Legislative experience Yes – Married 25 years
Rubio Yes FLA House Speaker, FLA Senator Yes Roman Catholic Legal and extensive legislative experience Yes – Married 17 years
Sanders Yes Burlington Mayor, VT Congressman and Senator Yes Jewish Extensive legislative and political experience No – Married twice
Santorum Yes Lawyer, PA Congressman, Senator Yes Roman Catholic Extensive legal, legislative, and political experience Yes – Married 25 years
Trump Yes Billionaire Businessman Yes No*** – Presbyterian Extensive business executive experience No – Married 3 times

* This table simply presents the candidate’s identified religion – showing that they at least publicly claim to believe in God and a form of divine revelation/moral law to which they are accountable. However, it is best to prayerfully examine each candidate to determine their actual theology and sincerity and commitment to those beliefs. My personal observations from studying the candidates’ lives and interviews are that Ben Carson and Mike Huckabee are probably the most genuine born-again believers in the race. However, another important factor to consider is how the candidate’s fear of God impacts how seriously they would take their oath of office. Their strict adherence to the Constitution regardless of the political circumstances speaks volumes about their fear of God rather than fear of man. Probably the greatest example of strict incorruptible commitment to keeping one’s oath of office to champion the Constitution is found in the public service of Ron Paul:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qZ1aXD3_cVw&list=LL4arH-dtjEx6OT5tonisEmg&index=74

** Ted Cruz was a Canadian citizen (where he was born) as recently as May of 2014 and has some questions surrounding his legitimacy for President.

*** Donald Trump has publicly stated that he isn’t sure if he has ever asked God for forgiveness and that he doesn’t bring God into the picture whenever he does anything wrong.  His excessively proud boasting also identifies himself more with the tyrants identified in the previous post rather than as a godly leader.  (http://www.newsmax.com/Headline/trump-does-not ask/2015/07/18/id/657832/)

**** The other qualities we identified were non alcoholic (to my knowledge, although pretty much all of the candidates drink alcohol socially, none of them are alcoholics to the point where it could impact their ability to rule) and consistent and trustworthy, hates corruption, and morally discerning – which are subjective and closely tied to the person’s fear of God and unwavering commitment to their oath of allegiance to the Constitution. As such, it is extremely important that we place a lot of emphasis on electing candidates who not only say they know and fear God, but who we actually trust to do so in keeping their oath of office. George Washington was keenly aware of this when he said, “Let it simply be asked where is the security for prosperity, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert the OATHS, which are the instruments of investigation in the Courts of Justice?”

 

Please share your thoughts with us!

In Christ – Samuel and Lydia