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Texas Catholic Conference wants $21 billion state tax increase January 23, 2011

Posted by Tantumblogo in Dallas Diocese, foolishness, General Catholic, scandals, silliness.
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Or, about $2000 per family, because, apparently, the government is the source of almost all economic growth, and there are giant groves of money trees in Austin that are just waiting to spread their tremendous wealth around to all the citizens of the state.  I can’t link to a source, because our diocesan newspaper, Texas Catholic, is so inconsistent at putting their articles online, but I’ll excerpt the following sections of the article “Bishops: lawmakers should turn to rainy day fund,” which is odd, because NO bishop is quoted making such a request of the legislature in the article (Texas Catholic, January 21, 2011):

[regarding Texas facing a budget deficit of ~$31 billion according to the DMN]…This shortfall, which must be addressed during this legislative session, can be resolved with a balanced approach that includes using the entire Rainy Day fund [about $10 billion – but what if we have another downturn, that leaves nothing for the future?], generating revenue [raising taxes], cutting corporate loopholes [raising taxes], and insuring that the state appropriates funding at a level that meets the needs of Texans [meaning, at least at the present level, but I would not be surprised if TCC, with it’s profound left-wing viewpoint, would not advocate an increase, for reasons I’ll demonstrate later]  ……………

[the major efforts to achieve a balanced budget in the legislature are by deeply cutting state spending] Relying on a cut-only approach not only threatens the recovery of the state as it endeavours to meet the needs of those most affected by the recession, but also hurts our nation’s recovery, as state and local [government] spending is a large component of our nation’s economy. [No really, the author, Jennifer Carr Allmon, associate director of Texas Catholic Conference, said that].

So, Texas Catholic Conference’s (TCC) solution to the state funding shortfall?  taxes Taxes TAXES!  We don’t need to cut funding at all!  Now, in all of the originally proposed $154 billion budget, I would hazard to guess there must be a number of areas where funding could be legitimately cut, at least for the short term, without dire consequences.  This is, after all, something of a crisis situation.  However, my biggest problem with the article, and it’s a problem that’s virtually endemic with this kind of soft-left lobbying organization, is the idea that the government is some kind of engine of economic growth.  This is a hideous error in reason, something I pray is a mistake of innocent exuberance, and not a calculated claim of  a lobbyist advocating a special interest agenda.

Government does not create economic expansion.  While it may be true that state and local governments are “large components of our nation’s economy,” they do so as a drain on the overall economy, and not as a positive contributor.  This writer seems to make the classic mistake of those with an overly sanguine view of government, that money belongs by right to the government, and not to the citizen, and that the all the various governments in this country contribute money that seemingly came from nowhere, providing some benefit to the overall economy.  This is completely, utterly false.  Governments are leaches on the economy, all of them, they are a constant source of drain that can be tolerated for certain, important societal roles (roles I feel should be narrowly limited, but I digress), but they are absolutely not contributors in any positive sense.  All that money the author is claiming is such a wonderful contributor to the “nation’s economy,” is money that has been taxed from me, you, all the businesses in this state, etc., that could have been used far more efficiently, far more effectively, in the private sector, to foster true economic growth.  Later in the article, the author implies that high levels of spending are essential in sour economic times in order to help the poor, downtrodden private sector recover – the classic Keynesian error – something that governments around the world are rejecting, even the socialist governments of Europe.  In fact, Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel recently warned the Obama Administration that the Keynesian high tax, high spending policies it is pursuing are deadly not only to economic recovery in the US, but that of the entire world.  The results of this kind of governance has been demonstrated time and time again – high unemployment, crushing debt, and little growth.  It’s something governments of Western Europe, in particular, have grown far too familiar with over the last 20 years, and they are desperately seeking to break the cycle by reducing taxes AND spending. 

If you want to better the lives of all Texans, including the poor and ‘vulnerable’ the Texas Catholic Conference purports to care very much about, the Republican led legislature is doing exactly the right thing – cutting spending as much as possible while seeking to keep the low tax rates that have made Texas such an attractive destination for businesses.  We only have to look to California for the disaster that awaits if we adopt the high-spending high-tax formula endorsed by TCC. 

One final note – which bishops in particular endorse this agenda being pursued by TCC?  Is it all the bishops of Texas?  Is it just Cardinal DiNardo?  Does TCC speak for every bishop, all the time?  This is one of the primary reason I am strongly against all this plethora of conferences, USCCB, TCC, The Mackinaw Island Catholic Conference, etc. – they purport to speak for all the bishops of this state and present themselves as some kind of authoritative arm of the Church, when, in reality, they have no authority whatsoever.  They are simply the lobbying arm of the collective diocese of this state, and even that is something of an exaggeration  – not all bishops support this kind of activity. And, they are yet another example of the huge number of “professional Catholics” the Pope recently derided for various reasons.  I mean, do we really need a “Texas Catholic Conference?”  

This gets back to the reason why I don’t support the annual appeal -money is fungible, and you wind up either funding, or helping fund, this kind of activity.

2011 March for Life report January 23, 2011

Posted by Tantumblogo in Abortion, awesomeness, Dallas Diocese, General Catholic, North Deanery, Society.
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If you didn’t make it to the 2011 March for Life in downtown Dallas today, you missed a fantastic event.  Attendance was HUGE – I’d say nearly twice any peak attendance from the past 2 years (probably close to 10,000 people marched).  And, they got the streets blocked off, so we weren’t marching on the sidewalks as we were last year (with the number of people present this year, that would have been a disaster).  Such an amazing testimony to life and to the power of God in people’s lives, to see thousands of people marching, singing, and praying peacefully to end the horrid scourge of abortion. 

The Mass at Sacred Heart Catedral Santuario de Virgen de Guadalupe was good.  Is it just me, or are there new side altars in the Cathedral?  With angels on the altar adjacent to the tabernacle!  There’s a blow for Tradition!  The crowd was way overflow, again – I maintain that if Bishop Farrell really wants the attendance to double again next year, the chancery needs to strongly consider a larger locale – possibly renting the convention center (I know – $$).   Bishop Farrell’s homily was good – it started out great, built to a crescendo, and then inexplicably kept going on for 7 or 8 minutes past the crescendo, which was a bit long of a denoument.  Nevertheless, the first 2/3 of it was FANTASTIC, with very strong language attacking the culture of death that reigns so strongly in this culture, and reminding us that Jesus was considered crazy by many for standing athwart the culture with a radical message of conversion, too.  It was really good to that point.  Way to go Bishop Farrell – I’ve seen a number of sermons from him in the past, but this was by far the best.  I believe he feels very strongly about life issues, and he seemed genuinely touched at the size of the crowd, which I would estimate was 3/4 Catholic (with a large number of baptists and some other protestant sects).

The only down side was the music at the Mass – horrid, terrible, shameful.  It was every syrupy pop-py protestant inspired drivel you can think of – “Here I am to worship,” “We are one body,” “take my life (please)“, and the all time Marty Haugen favorite “Here I am, Lord.”  C’MON!  I understand the Cathedral choir actually performs chant sometimes – that would have been far more appropriate than this trite, protestant pop schlock.  Look, I know they’re trying to appeal to the kids, and I guess some of the kids (perhaps the Lifeteen types?) seem to kind of like it, but couldn’t we at least have a mix, something that is profoundly Catholic in character, since the Catholic view of life issues so informs the entire pro-life movement?   And since I know, because I saw so many of them, that orthodox Catholics made up such a large portion of those assisting at Mass?   Did anyone else feel the music was just sad? 

That was the only negative thing – dealing with the crowds is just part of the process, and while I would love to see a new altar at the Cathedral, and a nice helping of Latin thrown into this very public Mass, I won’t hold my breath.  Under the circumstances, I thought it was a very good Mass.

What thoughts did you have?  Any issues I missed ranting about in my very unhinged manner?