googlef87758e9b6df9bec.html A Sure Word: June 2011

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Social Security Hasn’t Improved With Age

A few years ago, I wrote a short blog about the dire condition of social security. Rather than simply tell people it was in bad shape, I cited a few quotes that I’d taken right off of social security’s website. I suggest that you read my first post but here are the quotes again for your review:

"Social Security is not sustainable over the long term at present benefit and tax rates without large infusions of additional revenue. There will be a massive and growing shortfall over the 75-year period."

"People are living longer, the first baby boomers are nearing retirement, and the birth rate is low. The result is that the worker-to-beneficiary ratio has fallen from 16.5-to-1 in 1950 to 3.3-to-1 today. Within 40 years it will be 2-to-1. At this ratio there will not be enough workers to pay scheduled benefits at current tax rates."

"If Social Security is not changed, payroll taxes will have to be increased, the benefits of today's younger workers will have to be cut, or massive transfers from general revenues will be required."

Now, being the responsible blogger that I am, I linked to social security’s website so that people could check my source. Here’s the link I gave Social Security website’s FAQ. You can click on it now if you’d like but don’t bother because the page has been taken down. Why was it taken down? Could it be because in the three years since I wrote that, social security has been rescued? Hardly! More likely it’s because the truth was a little too dire.

It took a little digging but I found this Board of Trustees’ announcement that was just published last month. Here are some quotes from that announcement (bold added for emphasis):

The combined assets of the Old-Age and Survivors Insurance, and Disability Insurance (OASDI) Trust Funds will be exhausted in 2036, one year sooner than projected last year. The DI Trust Fund, while unchanged from last year, will be exhausted in 2018 and legislative action will be needed soon. At a minimum, a reallocation of the payroll tax rate between OASI and DI would be necessary, as was done in 1994. The Trustees also project that OASDI program costs will exceed non-interest income in 2011 and will remain higher throughout the remainder of the 75-year period.

The point at which non-interest income fell below program costs was 2010. Program costs are projected to exceed non-interest income throughout the remainder of the 75-year period.

Over the 75-year period, the Trust Funds would require additional revenue equivalent to $6.5 trillion in present value dollars to pay all scheduled benefits.

“The current Trustees Report again reflects what we have long known to be true -- we need changes to ensure the long-term solvency of Social Security and to restore younger workers' confidence in the program,” said Michael J. Astrue, Commissioner of Social Security.

There it is again, folks. Anyone who denies it is simply whistling past the graveyard. If you don’t believe me, just click on the link and read the report for yourself. Do it quickly though – I can’t guarantee how long it will be there this time.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy Father's Day

Then I said to you, "Don't be terrified. Don't be afraid of them. The Lord your God will go ahead of you. He will fight for you. With your own eyes you saw how he fought for you in Egypt. You also saw how the Lord your God brought you through the desert. He carried you everywhere you went, just as a father carries his son.

Deuteronomy 1:29-31 NIV

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Christianity and Evolution: Mutually Exclusive

I was watching a debate on YouTube between a Christian and atheist over the existence of God. For the most part, the Christian trounced the atheist but this particular Christian seemed to be a “compromiser” when it came to evolution. During the debate, the atheist made these comments concerning evolution:

The most devastating thing, though, that biology did to Christianity was the discovery of biological evolution. Now that we know that Adam and Eve never were real people, the central myth of Christianity is destroyed. If there never was an Adam and Eve, there never was an original sin. If there never was an original sin, there was no need of salvation. And if there is no need of salvation, there is no need of a Savior. And I submit that puts Jesus – historical or otherwise – into the ranks of the unemployed. I think that evolution is absolutely the death knell of Christianity.

Keep in mind that this is what an atheist thinks about the compatibility of evolution and Christianity. He sees the two as mutually exclusive. This is why I believe compromising on the meaning of Genesis has no effect on reaching the lost. Here's a quote that I've used before from a compromising Christian:

[K]ids aren't stupid, and know a specious argument when they hear it. If (in essence) they're being told that "The Flintstones" represents real and true history,... and that all they are watching on the History or Discovery channels is a sinister secular conspiracy to do away with God, then it's no wonder they fall away from the faith. I see... a Church and a Christian School which take a line which would be anathema to Ken Ham [President of Answers in Genesis], freely endorsing a harmony between modern Science and a grounded Christian faith.

Think about these two quotes together. The atheist thinks evolution destroys the foundation of the gospel and the Christian's solution is to say that evolution is true. How exactly does that work? Does the Christian mean to say, “I know that there was really no Adam, no Fall, no Curse, and no promise of a Savior, but you need Jesus anyway”? Is this how we're supposed to reach the lost?

Further reading

Why I Say Evolution is Not Compatible with the Bible

My Thoughts for Japan

Strange Bedfellows

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Everybody is a Sinner but only a Few are Idiots!

As I write this, I'm 45 years old. I've lived a while and have known a lot of people during my lifetime. I have friends, acquaintances, and even family members who have gotten involved in all sorts of sordid dealings so I know that these things happen. What Congress Anthony Weiner did isn't really that unusual though that doesn't make it excusable. I don't really wonder why it happens; I wonder why it happens to elected officials.

Look people, when you're voted into office, you are going to be in the public eye for at least the duration of your term. Don't you understand that? If you have a compulsion to send lewd photos of yourself to strangers you've met online, you might take that into consideration before running for office because after you're elected, behavior like this is almost certain to be found out.

I really don't understand the thought process of people like Weiner. His perversions must have existed prior to his running for office. If he believed he could continue his antics while in office, it's a sign of very poor judgment on his part. When that first photo went public, he should have immediately come forward with the truth. If he thought anybody might believe him when he said he wasn't sure if that was him in his underwear, it further demonstrates his poor judgment. It also demonstrates his proclivity to lie.

I have some free advice for elected officials: put your passions on hold while you are in office. Don't post embarrassing photos of yourself online, don't visit prostitutes or try to have gay encounters in men's rooms, don't father children with your mistress, and just stop being stupid in general.

I Timothy 3:1-13 details some of the qualifications for being a bishop (deacon or overseer depending on the translation). Verse 7 specifically says he must be a man of good reputation so that he will not fall into reproach and the snare of the devil. If we expect this out of a deacon in our church, can't we expect at least as must from an elected official?

I understand that people are sinners – just stop acting like idiots. My advice to Weiner is the same advice Jesus gave to the woman caught in adultry: Go!! And sin no more.

Monday, June 6, 2011

They Weren't Polar Bears Before They Got There!

A short while ago, I wrote a post about Koalas on the Ark so I apologize if I seem to be rehashing the same argument so soon. I was browsing Yahoo! Answers where I found a question that caused me to reflect on my last post so I'd like to take a minute to clarify a few things. A person calling himself Phorry None asked this: If all the animals came off of Noah's ark in the middle east, shouldn't we see all animal bones and fossils scattered all around that area and throughout the globe? Why are only certain animals found in certain places?

Phorry None didn't mention a particular species but he went on to speak generally about marsupials and “the millions of species found only in the Amazon.” Since he wasn't specific, I will supply my own example – and since I used bears in my last post, I'll use bears again only this time, I'll use the polar bear.

Now, bears existed before the Flood. However, polar bears didn't exist before the Flood. The polar bear (Ursus maritimus) is a modern species that has adapted to its post-diluvian environment. The ancestral bears that stepped off the Ark were necessarily more genetically diverse than any modern species of bear. Think of them as “mutt-bears.” Among dogs, mutts are more genetically diverse than any particular breed. Mutts can have a variety of traits among the pups of the same litter. A breed, like Irish Setters, will have pups that tend to all look alike. Likewise, the ancestral bears – the mutt-bears – could have had cubs with a variety of traits. As bears spread out among the world, bears that had traits suitable to an environment prospered in that environment; traits that weren't suitable to an environment were eliminated. This is a process known as natural selection.

In the arctic environment, white fur (actually it's clear fur) conveyed a survival advantage because it provided camouflage and allowed the bear to sneak up on prey. Larger bears were stronger and better able to pull seals out of the water. Bears with long necks and pointed faces could poke their heads into holes in ice more easily. All of these traits were selected for. Traits like dark fur, small bodies, short necks, flat faces, were selected against and so were eliminated. Thus, the polar bear species was born.

Further south, in the wooded areas of North America, white fur would be poor camouflage. Larger bears could not move as quickly through the woods plus they would need to eat more calories to support their larger bodies. It is in these areas the brown bears have the advantage. Thus, we do not find bears that look like polar bears in the lower 48.

Because species have adapted to their environment, I would not expect to find that same species in a different environment. To address Phorry None's point, why don't we find remains of some species – like polar bears – en route from the Middle East to the Arctic? It's because they weren't polar bears before they got there!