A major voice in the conservative Christian movement has expressed his concern over the falling birth rates of American families in a recent opinion column.
James Dobson, founder of the Colorado Springs, Colo.-based Focus on the Family and of the radio broadcast Family Talk, wrote about his concerns last week for the Green Bay Press Gazette.
"Americans are realizing they are facing a demographic nightmare that has been looming in other Western nations for decades. For the first time in history, fewer American babies are being born while the number of senior citizens is growing," wrote Dobson. more >>
With the sequester days away, there is much talk about how government spending cuts will affect the economy. One area of the economy that would be affected by the sequester is commercial lending. Estimated cuts of $902 million to the Small Business Administration loan program would impact thousands of small businesses. Additionally, decreased government spending could lower gross domestic product by $215 billion, shrinking lending levels to those near or below 2008 that may initiate a lending holiday later this year, limiting any hopes for economic recovery.
If SBA loans guarantees are cut, lenders would be hesitant to offer loans to cover short- and medium-term cash flow needs, forcing some borrowers to turn to alternative lenders to fill in the gaps. Alternative lending became more popular in the aftermath of the Great Recession, with financial institutions only recently increasing their commercial lending portfolios.
Alternative lending-such as asset-based lending, allows companies to use their accounts receivable or other assets as collateral to secure a business line of credit. Lenders in this space can utilize software like ours that reviews the business's collateral to make loan decisions and can quickly provide financing for small businesses. more >>
In his State of the Union address, President Barack Obama proposed raising the minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $9 an hour. That would be almost a 25 percent increase. Let's look at the president's proposal, but before doing so, let's ask some other economic questions.
Are people responsive to changes in price? For example, if the price of cars rose by 25 percent, would people purchase as many cars? Supposing housing prices rose by 25 percent, what would happen to sales? Those are big-ticket items, but what about smaller-priced items? If a supermarket raised its prices by 25 percent, would people purchase as much? It's not rocket science to conclude that when prices rise, people adjust their behavior by purchasing less.
It's almost childish to do so, but I'm going to ask questions about 25 percent price changes in the other way. What responses would people have if the price of cars or housing fell by 25 percent? What would happen to supermarket sales if prices fell by 25 percent? Again, it doesn't require deep thinking to guess that people would purchase more. more >>
A coalition of prominent Christian leaders has recently issued a letter urging members of Congress to spare the "hungry and poor" when implementing the forced spending cuts, due to take place this Friday.
The letter encourages President Barack Obama, Majority Leader Harry Reid, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, U.S. House Speaker John Boehner, and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi to "frame the budget debate in terms of moral choices that are understandable to the American people."
"Important choices must be made: we must weigh the benefits of tax credits for low-income people and tax breaks for high income people; of nutrition assistance to low-income families and subsidies to agricultural businesses," the letter reads. more >>
There are those who think that if we put our economy back on track, everything will be all right. Material prosperity is their sole solution. They speak of happiness as if it can be expressed in terms of GDP, government statistics and employment benefits.
We certainly do need material prosperity but such a vision is really only a half-solution. This purely materialistic model takes care of the body but not the soul. It neglects the most important part of life.
This vision favors a bland secular society officially stripped of its spiritual elements. To use the words of Irving Kristol, it is a society with "no high nobility of purpose, no selfless devotion to transcendental ends, no awe-inspiring heroism." more >>
The United States is facing a crisis due to its falling fertility rate, author Jonathan Last argues in What to Expect When No One's Expecting: America's Coming Demographic Disaster.
The myth that the world is overpopulated and disasters will ensue as a result was popularized in Paul Ehrlich's 1968 book, The Population Bomb. The myth remains popular today even as Ehrlich's predictions turned out to be wildly off the mark. Not only was he wrong about mass starvation by the end of the 1970s, notes Last, a senior writer at The Weekly Standard, but he was wrong at exactly the time that fertility rates began a steep drop in the U.S. and across the world.
Last cites studies showing that nations with a growing population, those with "total fertility rate" (TFR) greater than 2.1 babies born per female over the course of her life, flourish, while nations with a TFR lower than 2.1 decline. High fertility nations flourish because they invest in their young and have higher rates of innovation. In low fertility nations, on the other hand, resources shift to caring for the elderly and fewer workers must work to pay for increased health care costs. more >>