Category Archives: Cedarville

Health Care Ethics Conference

Cedarville University invites the general public for the 2010 Health Care Ethics Conference, Protecting the Vulnerable in the 21st Century, on September 15-17, 2010. An impressive assembly of leading experts in the field of bioethics will provide biblical perspectives on the critical issues shaping the church, our health care system, and the medical profession. The conference will include presentations by keynote speakers (Kathy McReynolds, Christopher Hook, and Nigel Cameron) as well as small-group discussions.

Topics will include:

* Reproductive Ethics
* End-of-Life Ethics
* Genetic and Biotechnology Ethics
* Health Care Reform

To learn more, go to Health Care Ethics Conference webpage.

Economic Crisis : A Commentary, Part 1

The Problem

In the latest edition of The Torch, Cedarville University provides readers with varied perspective on America’s current economic crisis. The theme mentioned on the front cover is aptly titled A Fragile Economy. Associate professor of finance, Dr, Bill Ragle, wrote the one article I want to focus on.

In Waking Up to an Economic Crisis, Prof. Ragle begins by setting the mood for his commentary. The recession is like a bad dream. The problem is it hasn’t faded away once since we began to awaken. As Prof. Ragle points out, “rousing from today’s economic debacle will be very slow in coming. We may want a quick recovery, but it isn’t going to happen.” Why? Because the current situation developed over several decades, it will not be resolved quickly or easily. He further clarifies this point claiming “[a] few multi-billion dollar bailouts and a massive redistribution of America’s wealth will not fix the problem.”

Prof. Ragle presents a number of causal factors that have led to the current economic crisis. They include the undermining of key principles of Constitutional governance in part because of the demoralizing effects of New Deal and Great Society welfarism and the enslavement of Americans to unsustainable entitlement debt. Christian morality is necessary for our form of Constitutional governance. As John Adams once said, “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” The Protestant work ethic is antithetical to a welfare entitlement mentality. Many Americans have become totally dependent on government for nearly every part of their economic wants; the federal government has become just as irresponsible. Quoting Prof. Ragle,

“Another way to think of the fiscal irresponsibility of the federal government is to compare their costs to their revenues. The cost to run the federal government in 2008 was $3.64 trillion. Total revenues of the federal government were $2.66 trillion, a deficit of $980 billion. During that year, expenses increased 25 percent, while revenues increased 1.3 percent.”

From this point of view, it seems valid to infer that the millionaires running the federal government feel entitled to spend way beyond working American taxpayer means. The Rich lawmakers did not get to Capitol Hill to change the economic status quo.

Prof. Ragle considers the Community Reinvestment Act as the camel that broke the irresponsible straw man’s back. By straw man, I mean national and international corporations like Fannie Mae, GM, Washington Mutual Bank, and Bear Stearns. Fannie and Freddie, Lehman Brothers, and now GM are like Bonnie’s and Clyde’s dressed in pin stripped suits. Unlike the pair of bank robbing legends, our modern institutional version were created and sanctioned by Congress. Their existence and actions violate the supreme law of the land, they rip off taxpayers, and any repayment to the federal government will be through inflation, which means by ripping off taxpaying consumers. Anyway, Prof. Ragle explains why the Community Reinvestment Act (1995) was the culprit crashing the economy.

“As the U.S. economy began to unravel in the spring of 2008, one of the main culprits was default on subprime mortgages. These loans were to individuals unable to repay them, yet the government forced financial institutions to provide them to citizens anyway. The name of the offending legislation was the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA). The CRA, as revised in 1995, stipulated that down payments, credit history, and proof of income was no longer required as qualifying criteria for mortgage loans. Banks that did not actively solicit these subprime loans were punished…. Lending to [these] unqualified borrowers … resulted in artificial demand for residential real estate, which in turn caused housing pricing to increase 120 percent. Borrowers stuck in interest-only adjustable rate loans or negative amortization loans were further unable to make payments, and many had no recourse other than foreclosure. The national home foreclosure rate in the spring of 2008 spiked to between 200,000 and 250.000 per month, a 300 percent increase from pre-crisis level of 2005.”

Financial institutions holding large amounts of subprime loans incurred massive losses, and consequently they collapsed overnight.

In 1995, Democrat Bill Clinton was president not George W. Bush. According to Family Security Matters, it was Clinton who mandated bank lending to unqualified buyers. Clinton signed the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (1999) that deregulated New Deal regulations into law. Democrats who voted for the Act included Harry Reid and Joe Biden. The left has little grounds to blame Bush. In 2003, GW Bush tried to get Congress to amend Fannie Mae and Freddie rule to prevent unqualified borrowers from obtaining mortgages.

Yet, in 2007, a Democrat-led Congress did refuse to bailout the big three automakers while GW Bush insisted on giving the automakers $17 billion claiming to allow the automakers to enter bankruptcy would be too big a blow to the economy. This sent a bad message to other corporations and municipalities, according to Prof. Ragle. The message was “if you get into trouble Congress will bail you out.” Americans have since discovered Congress agrees that banks, automakers, commercial real estate developers, newspapers, states and municipalities alike think they too are entitled to taxpayer dollars.

Sources: The Torch, (Spring/Summer 2009), pp4-8.

Election Results November 4, 2008

Voter Turnout

Greene County registered voters can stand tall and proud this election season. Their patriotism out- shined the rest of the state 70% to 67.5%. That was the level of voter turnout this presidential election. Ohioans exceeded the historic high of 65% of voter turnout by 2.5% and Greene County voters by 5%.

Presidential Race

In Greene County, McCain and Palin were the winners with 58.8% of the vote. That means only 39.7 voted for the Obama/Biden socialist ticket. Other parties voting received only 1.5% of the total number of votes, which means Democrats had no chance of winning in Greene County, Ohio. We can all be thankful that Greene County voters continue to uphold original liberal principles. We can look forward to another season when more Americans across the nation return to honoring those same principles.

Do you remember the battle between Ohio Democrats and Republicans over giving new registered voters the immediate right to early voting and the issue over voter record discrepancies? If I remember correctly, the number of questionable voters was around 250,000. Isn’t it an interesting coincidence that Obama won Ohio by a little over 200,000 votes? If I were McCain Republicans, I would make certain those 204,156 popular votes were legitimate. Who knows maybe McCain actually won a slight majority of Ohioans hearts and votes, but I suspect many of those votes were for Sarah Palin too.

I also suspect conservative feminists are just getting started.

US House of Reps Plus State Legislative, Executive & Judicial Races

Greene County voters were delighted with the campaigns over one Congressional race and many races for legislative, executive, and judicial offices.

Republicans running for seats in Congress and in both Ohio houses won by similar margins. Steve Austria took over Dave Hobson’s seat in the US House of Representatives. Austria beat Democrat and millionaire Sharen Neuhart 65.3% to 34.7%. Rep. Chris Widener is moving into the Ohio Senate because he won 66.3% of the vote to poor Roger Tackett’s 33.7%. Young Jarrod Martin also did well as demonstrated his gaining 59.8% of Green County votes. The more seasoned Bill Conner earned 40.2%. Was it the Republican version of yes we can change or something else? I’m not sure. Whatever it was. Martin now represents the 70th District taxpayers. Running for the 84th District was Republican Robert Hackett and Democrat Connie Crockett. Hackett hacked off Crockett when he won 62.1% of the votes to her 39%.

Woe, tears, and agony on ….

In the race to win the top law enforcement spot, Republican Mike Crites took 53.8% of the votes for Attorney General to Democrat Richard Cordray’s 41.6%. It’s too bad that Crites did win all of Ohio. A bright spot in the race was the fact that independent Robert Owens earned 4.8% of Ohio votes. I for one hope Owens keeps coming back to eventual win a place in Ohio government.

Let’s not forget how political public education actually is. The winner of the race for a seat on Ohio’s Board of Education for our district was Jane Sonenshein. She won 38.6% of the Ohio vote. Runner-ups were Jeff Hardin with 35.8% and John McHenry with 25.6%. If you know any of those candidates who will make many decisions effecting education in Greene County, you are either an educator, a friend of an educator, or a politician. No one does, but all should.

It would be a crime to forget the races for the judiciary. Given their reputation for activism and making law, it might have been a crime you didn’t. Being serious, Ohioans elected two Supreme Court justices. The lucky women were Maureen O’Conner and Evelyn Stratton, both Republicans thank God.

Wait a minute! Am I still allowed to use the G—word in the public domain. Those pesky ACLU and ASCS troublemakers are always stalking and lurking.

Anyway, O’Conner stole Russo’s thunder by winning by a whopping 67.3% of the Ohio vote to Joseph Russo’s 32.7%. Ohioans overruled Democrat Peter Sikora attempt to gain a place on the Court. The Ohio verdict was in favor of Straton 63.1% to Sikora’s 36.9%.

Unfortunately, Judge George Reynolds (R) got benched (sports term) being outperformed by Jeffrey Froelich (D), who won by a small margin of 52.6% to Reynolds’ 47.4%. I have to admit that my disappointment was not only the result of voting for Reynolds but because one of my grandparents last name was Reynolds.

Ohio Constitutional Amendment Issues

Possibly more important than who were elected to office were the six Constitutional amendment issues this election cycle. Amendments one through three and five won by nearly a 3:1 margin or approximately 70% to 30% while amendment six lost by the same margin. Amendment 4 was removed from the ballot.

Amendment 1 requires earlier deadlines for statewide ballot initiatives. Amendment 2 gives the state the ability to create funds for environmental preservation through bond issues and consequently through higher taxes. Amendment 3 redundantly adds to state law protection to private property owns and adjacent water use rights, but with the same exceptions as before. Amendment 5 places long overdue restrictions on payday lenders who have been bilking the poor to make themselves rich for years. This practice was sanctified by bipartisan politics until the terrible reign of GW Bush. Nevertheless, I still image that even the world’s Supreme Judge is pleased. Issue 6, the last Constitution amendment, was soundly defeated by Ohio voters. Casino gambling, its harm to communities and families, was once again rejected by 63.8% of Ohio voters. Only 37.2% favored it. Ohioans thus gave Providence reason to smile a little more.

Races for Greene County Government Offices

Greene County government is still the provenance rock-solid Republicanism. During This election cycle, most of the incumbents retained their titles and paychecks. Rick Perales defeated newcomer and Democrat Eddie Baumann, otherwise known to some young adults as professor. Perales earned 64.3% of Greene County votes to Baumann’s impressive 35.7%. Sorry, Eddie we like your religion but not your party. Like George Patton, I’ll be back Marilyn Reid is indeed back in office. She won a smiling 54.7% to Democrat Jerry Sutton’s respectful 45.3%. It’s good to have someone who cares about the common good back in county government–not that the one she replaces was not. After all of the trouble, Republican Eric Sears still won the County Recorder position by 19.6 points. After the party was over, Sears was showered with 59.8% of the votes and Democrat Mary Taylor received 40.2%. Then there was race for County Treasurer. It’s true. It is all about the money and incumbent James Schmidt gets to keep counting it. Schmidt defeated Democrat Corrina Grooms to the County gold by count of 65.3% to 34.7%. What amazes me is how Republicans can win even without any competition. I won’t name names, but you can read about them by going to the Greene County Board of Election website.

Greene County Levies & Bond Issues

Three out of four countywide issues passed. Greene County Children Services Board Operating (Issue 21) levy increase was passed by 51.6% of voters to 48.5%. Greene Memorial Hospital Operating (Issue 22) renewal was favored by 58.4% of Greene County voters to 41.6%. Greene County MRDD Operating (Issue 23) renewal was approved by 61.3% to 38.7% of voters. The last issue was the Greene County Mental Health and Recovery Board Operating (Issue 24) levy increase that was opposed by 56.4% to 43.6 of Greene County voters.

Local School Levies & Bond Issues

Almost all schools in the county had either a levy or a bond issue on the ballot. Beavercreek’s bond issue was approved by 53% of the voters. Seventy-one percent of Cedarville voters passed their school improvement levy. Jamestown voters once again rejected efforts of their school district to increase funding. About 50.1% of voters said no to an income tax proposal. So did Bellbrook voters. Sugar Creek School District’s proposed income tax was rejected by 58.8% of their voters. Wayne Local Schools current operating levy was opposed by almost 73% of voters. Last but not least was the Xenia Community City Schools Income Tax & Bond Issue (Issue 20). Fifty-eight percent of Xenia voters turned the opportunity to increase taxes on two fronts.

Booze Wins Big In Greene County : A Puritan Perspective

I’m not certain about this but it appears that the boozers won big throughout Greene County. All but one business seeking approval to sell liquor was favored by their local patrons—I mean voters. I almost wrote saints. I refrained, however, for one simple but profound reason. Saint Paul encourage boozing for health purposes—like Tylenol or Nyquil, but not for pagan partying nor for mixing drinks with tears of self-pity. I recently read that Puritans, who were also Paul’s disciples, liked rum. They liked fermented molasses a lot. This sheds some light on the debate about whether the early church disciples consumed real wine like Lutherans and Catholics believe. Just keep in mind though that back in those ancient times people didn’t have cars and trucks. No, they were lucky to have a donkey. Only the rich had real horses or chariots to loose control of and to harm themselves and others.

Remember that the next time you are tempted to mix your blue tears with some modern liquid painkiller after another partisan election.

Cost of Government in Xenia, Greene County and Dayton Area

A study of the cost of government was recently published by the City of Fairborn. The total cost of government included real estate taxes, income taxes, school district taxes, plus water and sewer services. The study compared the cost of government in 24 cities and villages in both Montgomery and Greene Counties. Each place was ranked from highest to lowest according to total costs.

The study used current tax rates as well as the water and sewer costs from a 2007 Water & Sewer Rate Survey prepared by Oakwood. Comparisons were based on a home valued at $144,896 for real estate taxes and $57,959 Earned Income for city income taxes. School District Taxable Income was
based on $53,609 with one personal, one spouse, and one dependent exemption.

The chart below represents only the study findings for places in Greene County. Continue reading