Wednesday, April 14, 2010


It is tax day tomorrow, April 15, 2010, and I have a new tax code tweak that I think will "hope and change" the health-care debacle to death. The beauty is that everyone, whether right or left, can get behind this idea.

The Democrats and Independents who voted for Obama like big government and like paying over most of their income to make government bigger, stronger and better able to pay out benefits.

The Republicans who voted against Obama don't like that so much.

The tax gambit is this: everyone who was a registered Republican in 2008 gets a "Health Care Tax Credit" (HCTC) from IRS for their per capita share of any taxes paid that are attributable to funding Obamacare.

The Republicans will use the money to jump start the economy by buying fur coats or cars or some such. Or maybe even buying health care, if that's what they want. It's just like the $8,000 stimulus for first time home buyers, only more effective, since first time home buyers are usually not as smart with their money as "Rs."

Everyone who registered Democrat or Independent pays their share of the extra tax burden, plus extra bucks to fund the new HCTC. This satisfies the "D" moral fervor to pay more taxes and grow government and makes them feel much happier than they are now.

To pay for the heavier taxes, "Ds" can sell their houses and cars, buy older bicycles (the ones with heavy tires), move into cramped apartments in the city, smoke home-grown marijuana, stop shaving and using air conditioners, eat more tofu and navy beans, and stop having babies. Since these are all things they know they should be doing anyway, all the better.

Republicans can buy cheap health care from highly qualified non-citizen professionals in Metuchen, or even Singapore, with their extra HCTC money, and maybe catch a few days in South Florida or Acapulco, where they will smoke too much and eat unhealthy foods. This means they will die sooner, which has to be a plus for "Ds."

Democrats and Independents can get health care insurance through carefully regulated regional cooperative insurance federation thingies with impenatrable names and accounting rules. These Leviathans will provide mediocre health care insurance and mediocre health care for all "Ds" and "Is," while reducing America's budget deficit and making America just a little bit more like France, without the arrogance, racism and huge unemployment problem.

As I said, this is a total win-win. Republicans get to spend the money as they see fit while dying sooner from their inevitably poor decision-making, while Democrats get to pay taxes and grow government.

The only potential glitch is if the Republicans pool their HCTC money and start shorting U.S. Treasury bonds. But so what? Who cares if the Chinese lose money?

Monday, April 5, 2010


Last week I read an article on the Church/Sex story, titled "Pope Opens Solemn Holy Week Amid Sex Abuse Crisis." It's the usual story line: the Church didn't react fast enough or forcefully enough to predatory priests. For more on the painful subject, buy and read "The Faithful Departed," an honest and deeply troubling book.

EO was intrigued by a small quote near the end of the article. A Cardinal - identified in the article as a "liberal" - suggests that "mandatory chastity for churchmen should be thought over to prevent further abuse cases by clergy and help the church regain lost trust."

The Cardinal may have been "sound-bit," for all we know. "Sound-bit" is when you say something for one purpose, but a piece of your quote is used for another.


Rather than speculate on what the Cardinal actually had in mind, EO will just "think over" the actual language of the quote, which is safer. "Thinking over" stuff is almost always a good idea, except when you are "thinking over" sin. Then, not so much.

But I digress.

"I'll do the thinnin' around here!"
- Quick Draw McGraw
(photo credit)

EO can think of two different things the quote might mean: (A) requiring priests to be chaste actually causes them to become pedophiles, or (B) allowing priests to be married reduces the chances they will turn to pedophilia.

Theory (A) generally means that if you don't give people latitude to fornicate they will develop unhealthy sexual appetites. The flip side would be that if allowed to fornicate as they wish, people will wind up with healthy moral habits.

Smart people say so.

Sigmund Freud: "Let's Get It On."
(photo credit)

Cool people say so.

Marvin Gaye: "Let's Get It On."
(photo credit)

Bottom line: America has "Gotten It On" for the last 50 years, with genocidal results: a million abortions a year, a horrendous worldwide AIDS epidemic, a 70% illegitimacy rate in large segments of our society, explosions of rape, domestic violence, and pornographic abuse of women and children.

"Let's Maybe Not Get It On So Much."
(photo credit)

I would prefer not to import this wholesale into the priesthood.

Theory (B) generally means that if you let priests marry you can avoid having child molesters in the priesthood.

Problem is, two-thirds of child victimizers have been married. One-third of child abusers committed the crime against their own child. School teachers and married clergy may have higher incidencea of child abuse than Catholic clergy. The links supply a starting point, but there is plenty more.

So "married" is a truly lousy proxy for "won't commit child abuse."

Contrary to popular mythology, marriage is not something radically different from holy orders. It shares many of the same attributes, requiring chastity, faithfulness, sacrifice and endurance.

Priests who have problems with chastity in holy orders will have problems with chastity in marriage.

The problem is too little chastity, not too much.

There is ample room in God's kingdom for all his children, no matter what their struggles. God has a way to redeem all of us. But that doesn't give us a license to be stupid. EO does not try to minister to Sports Illustrated swimsuit models. He keeps a respectful distance from them.

The Catholic Church does not force anyone to become a priest, or to stay a priest. Someone who struggles with a sexual attraction to young boys should not be a priest. You need to work that out in another environment.

For the last generation Catholic seminaries have been thrown open to people who were living in violation of the Church's rules on sexual morality. During the same period many in the Church's hierarchy dealt with pedophilic priests by sending them to "treatment" centers, then putting them back on active duty, rather than following historic norms for dealing with priests with sexual problems.

Now chastity is to blame for the sex scandal?

This is like torching a store and then suing the fire company for not putting it out fast enough. Next we will start blaming gluttony on prayer and fasting.

Nero fiddling.
photo credit)

Excuse me while I curb my enthusiasm.

Celibacy and chastity don't cause perversion, any more than marriage cures it.

Successfully celibate priests mean that sexual immorality is not an uncontrollable outcome of the human condition. The VAST majority of priests are faithful to their vows. People in my generation hate the celibate priesthood because it stands as a quiet witness against our culture of sexual immorality.

The notion that chastity causes or contributes to perversion is unsupported and a little whacky. It is the type of "virtue is vice" accusation that characterized the first Good Friday.

So thank God for Easter.

(For more on the history of priestly celibacy in the Catholic Church,
see the Catholic Encyclopedia article.)