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The Rolla Daily News - Rolla, MO
  • That's What I Think: Debt ceiling outmoded, say media, economists

  • The other night I watched the Piers Morgan show on CNN. Piers suggested the U.S. debt ceiling is “anachronistic” and ought to be done away with. His panel of guests agreed with him. One fellow held up an aluminum can and said it is time to stop kicking the can, which I take to mean it is time to stop putting a ceiling on the debt.
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  • The other night I watched the Piers Morgan show on CNN. Piers suggested the U.S. debt ceiling is “anachronistic” and ought to be done away with. His panel of guests agreed with him. One fellow held up an aluminum can and said it is time to stop kicking the can, which I take to mean it is time to stop putting a ceiling on the debt.
    If you don’t have a debt ceiling, you won’t have a fiscal crisis because of it, according to the panel and Piers. There will be no more government shutdowns, no more “fiscal cliffs,” if we do away with the outmoded, anachronistic concept of the debt ceiling. That seemed to me to be the message.
    I did a little reading on the Internet, the source of all truth, and discovered that others believe the same thing, even economists, who are geniuses.
    So maybe I am wrong to worry about my grandchildren’s future in a country that has a debt clock on the world wide web (www.usadebtclock.org) that moves so fast as it clicks off the rising debt that it looks like it skips numbers.
    Debt is good, according to the experts, at least for the country. It is not good for our personal finances, but apparently it is great for us collectively and will be fantastic for our children’s children.
    It still sounds wrong to me, though, but I’m no economist.
    But what they mean is that it’s the wrong approach. Maybe they mean that it’s time to have a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution, so that every year we’d spend only what we raise.
    If we conservatives are real quiet, maybe they’ll think a balanced budget amendment is their idea. They can take the credit, just so we get a rein on the debt.
    GO TO HELL?: I went to see “Hell and Mr. Fudge,” a movie shown last Sunday at the Christ Community Church on the South Outer Road between here and St. James.
    What a thought-provoking movie it was. Edward Fudge is a preacher, lawyer, Bible scholar, language expert, writer and speaker. The movie told about his Biblical research into whether or not there really is a hell as we’ve been taught.
    The answer, according to the movie, is: No.
    Fudge’s research led him to the conclusion that the soul of people who die without faith in Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is annihilated after death. There is no immortal soul mentioned in the Bible, according to the movie. The idea of eternal punishment of lost souls is a Greek pagan belief, brought into the church by an old boy named Tertullian.
    Page 2 of 3 - After the movie, someone asked me what I thought. I said, “I’m a Southern Baptist, and eternal conscious torment is a mighty precious doctrine to us. I’m not sure what to think.”
    I’ve been mulling it over and doing some reading of my own. I like Fudge’s idea. I hope it’s right.
    I’m grateful to the Christ Community Church for bringing the movie to Rolla so we could see it and think. As I’ve aged, I’ve been taking another look at many of the things I’ve accepted as literal truth over the years. I’ve turned into almost a theological moderate.
    What’s most important to me is the personality, life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Other issues like the six days of creation, Jonah and the whale, the tower of Babel and eternal conscious torment are not key to me; you can believe what you want, I think.
    It’s the character of Christ, and his reason for dying, that are the key.
    Bob McKune told me that he believes I Corinthians 2:2 is an extremely important verse, and I agree.
    GOOD IDEA ON THE CENTRE: I had a good time at the wrap-up meeting at The Centre for the parks/recreation sales tax that we’re certain to be faced with in April.
    The current half-cent recreation sales tax ends with this year.
    The council has not formally proposed it yet, but there’s been plenty of talk about a new tax to be voted on in April. This one will be an eighth-cent for parks and recreation.
    You’re going to be led to believe that what the city is wanting you to do is lower your sales tax. No, that is not correct. The city will be asking you to add an eighth cent sales tax, a new tax. The current tax will end Dec. 31, just like the city promised, and we agreed, so it will not be a lower extension of the tax. It will be a new tax. It will not be replacing an old tax, because there won’t be one in effect in April.
    If I have said that it is an extension or a replacement, I was wrong, and I apologize.
    One lady had a good idea about The Centre. She said at the wrap-up meeting that she believes the city is not using its resources there fully. She is a member of The Centre and loves it; she’d like to see it expand with the inclusion of a vegetarian restaurant. Standing there in the meeting room, she said the site would be a great location for a restaurant and lunches should be served there daily.
    Page 3 of 3 - Well, of course, it would be a great place for a vegetarian restaurant and would fit right in with the fitness, health and wellness mission.
    I think the city might ought to think about expanding The Centre to include not only a vegetarian restaurant but something like a Whole Foods Market, too. There should be a Starbucks there as well.
    These fit in with the health/wellness and community center missions of The Centre.
    The city was eager to go into competition with the private fitness centers. Why not go into competition with restaurants, grocers and coffee shops, too? That would be a good way to grow the revenue because there’s a lot of interest in healthy eating and meeting friends for coffee. The city ought to tap into that large market.
    FREE GOVERNMENT MONEY: One woman at the wrap-up meeting said the subsidy of The Centre with tax money is essential. She recognized that it keeps the fees down for people who want a fitness center, swimming pool, track and gym, all for one price.
    “Rolla is not a town of rich people,” she said, and raising the fees to cover the costs of all that would put it out of reach for most people.
    The free government money from the sales tax to be voted on in April will keep the prices down. And since the sales tax will be paid by everyone who shops in Rolla, rich and poor, young and old, it will be fair.
    As one man said, even if you spend $20,000 a year on goods locally, you’d only pay $50 in sales tax, and poor people would pay, too, but they’d pay less than that because they don’t have $20,000 a year to spend on consumer goods.
    “To me, it’s a no-brainer,” said one woman.
    Maybe so. Maybe that’s exactly what it is.
    Photo of R.D. Hohenfeldt and Henry by Bea Bonebrake (facebook.com/BThirtyOne).

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