San Juan Mountains

San Juan Mountains
San Juan Mountains: Grenadier Range

Friday, March 8, 2013

Investors Are Afraid To Celebrate New Market Highs

Fool me once, shame on you.  Fool me twice, shame on me.  And never, never, never get fooled three times.  That seems to be the mantra for investors in the stock market today.  In case you are unaware, the Dow Industrials stock market index just set an all time high this week.  The S & P 500 is less than two percentage points from its all time high set back in 2007.  On the other hand, the NASDAQ is still over fifty percent below the high it set way back at the end of the technology bubble in 2000.  Still, it would seem that there is something for investors to celebrate when the Dow reconnects with its all time high.  Strangely, there is no party.  On the contrary, investor attitudes seem downright moribund.
I tuned into the nightly news the day the Dow passed its previous high and was treated to a news report informing me that yes, indeed, the Dow had passed its previous high but nobody in his right mind expected it to stay there. Everyone looked at each other and nodded his head and winked his eye and concurred that the bull market is about to end and stock values are about to plunge.  The talking head on the television delivering the report concluded it with a snicker and a snide comment about how long it will be before we experience the next market plunge.  CNBC is in the same boat.  The market gurus at CNBC seem incapable of celebrating a new market high.  It is as if every single one of them is afraid of looking foolish by getting suckered into the belief that this time it could be different.  They don't want to be wrong by showing any optimism about the future whatsoever. 
Here was one report that I read on CNBC's website, "The stock market's run will result in either a 20 percent correction or a more nasty sell off at some point this year, Marc Faber, publisher of the Gloom Boom and Doom report, told CNBC's Closing Bell on Thursday.  Faber pointed out that it's been almost exactly four years since the stock market bottomed out. 'We're up very substantially, I think investors who today rush into stocks should be reminded of that,' he said."  So there it is.  The stock market is not permitted to ever stay above a previous high point.  We are doomed to constantly cycle back and forth around the previous high point.  Dramatic rises and equally dramatic plunges are the new normal.  What happened to the days when people would be genuinely optimistic about the future of the economy and that optimism would spill over into the belief that the stock market should be routinely setting new highs?  That belief was destroyed by the experience of the past twelve years.
The graph below dramatically illustrates the reason why so many investors are pessimistic about the future.  The graph shows the performance of the S & P 500 for the period of time from 1960 to the present.  It does not require a doctoral degree in psychology to understand why so many investors are emotionally burned by the stock market and therefore unwilling to allow themselves freedom to believe that the future could be bright.  From the depths of the market bottom in 1974 to the stratospheric heights of the technology bubble in 2000, the stock market inexorably rose, with only the occasional "correction".  Investors learned that market downturns were not to be feared and used those occasions as opportunities to invest more money into stocks.  Then, starting in 2000, investor apprehensions dramatically changed.
Look at the graph.  Look at what has happened since 2000.  Is it hard to understand why so many investors believe that the bottom is about to fall out once again?  Investor emotions are funny things.  They lead normally wise and prudent people into outrageously wrong predictions about the future.  Almost no one is capable of breaking out of the mold of extrapolating his recent past experience as his basis for his prediction for the future.  As a result, everyone expected the market to always go up during the 80s and 90s.  As a result, everyone today expects the market to experience a dramatic drop.  Just like the 90s investors were wrong about the future, so today's pessimism will also be proven to be wrong.

SPX chart

Today is not like it was in 2000, or 2007 for that matter.  There is no "bubble" in stocks today.  Present market bubbles can easily be found in bonds and gold but there is no bubble in stocks.  The most recent rise in the stock market from its previous low on March 9, 2009 is also not being fueled by inflation, as so many would have us believe.  See my posting for February 19th for conclusive evidence that this present bull market is not the by-product of inflationary pressures.  No, the present bull market is legitimate.  The market is not "overheated".  The previous low set on 3-9-09 was based upon overselling that was so ridiculously out of control there is no rational reason to declare the 100%+ rise since then anything other than normal.  We are now merely coming back to reasonable market valuations.  Present stock market valuations are based upon real earnings growth and capital creation.  They are based upon real economic growth around the world.  They are based upon reduced barriers to trade and increased divisions of labor around the world. This market is real and it is not going away anytime soon.  I don't know about you but I am going to pour myself an adult beverage and raise a toast to the stock market, may it continue to rise.  I may be celebrating alone but I will be celebrating.  Won't you join me?

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Patriotism Is Synonymous With Militaristic Imperialism

I was driving home yesterday when I was passed by an SUV with a bumper sticker on the back that said, "If you can't get behind our troops, feel free to get in front of them."  The sticker had an outline of an infantry man kneeling down and shooting his rifle, ostensibly into the heart of any citizen of this country who would dare to question the moral propriety of anything he does.  I found that bumper sticker to be very disconcerting.
If I understand the issue properly, and I think that I do, the person who placed that bumper sticker on his car believes that anybody who questions the morality of US military actions around the world should be immediately executed for his attitude of non-submission to the state's decree.  There is no other way to interpret that bumper sticker.  The statement that it makes is a clear affirmation that whatever the US military decides to do is good, right and proper and anyone, including a citizen of this country, who does not agree with everything the US military does is worthy of death by firing squad.   I have been accused of some rather hyperbolic statements in this blog over the past year but I have never approached anything like what was said by that bumper sticker.
So let me get this straight.  If I believe that it is not the business of the US military to be fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan I should be executed.  If I believe that it was not the business of the US military to fight a war to depose Saddam Hussein I should be executed. If I believe that it is not the business of the US to fight a war in Iraq to maintain US interests in oil I should be executed.  If I believe that it is not the business of the US military to destabilize the political structure of Egypt I should be executed.  If I believe that it is not the business of the US military to seek to overturn the Syrian government I should be executed.  If I believe that it is not the business of the US military to send drones into Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia to kill citizens of those sovereign nations I should be executed.  Simply put, if I do not wholeheartedly agree and support every military action ever undertaken by the US military I should be executed.
Is there any place for dissent when it comes to US military actions?  Is it possible, or even just conceivable, that the US military might undertake a military action that is not morally defensible?  According to the owner of the car with the bumper sticker, and others of his ilk, it is impossible that the US military would ever do anything that is immoral.  I am afraid that is a position I simply cannot agree with and, therefore, I must die.  The morally correct and proper thing to do with anyone and everyone who questions the supreme authority of the US military is execution.  Am I crazy or does that sound a lot like conditions previously found in Stalin's Russia, Mao's China, Castro's Cuba and Hitler's Germany? 
All of this makes me wonder what crime I have committed.  The bumper sticker did not say what I have done that makes my miserable existence worthy of being snuffed out.  All that it said is that I must "get behind our troops".  My refusal to mindlessly obey his order to "get behind our troops" is an infraction that should properly result in my execution.  But what, exactly, have I done?  Since he did not tell me what sin I am guilty of I am forced to speculate.  My best guess is that I am guilty of the sin of not being patriotic.
I believe that if we are truly honest with ourselves we must admit that patriotism in the Socialist Democracy of American today is synonymous with a love for militaristic imperialism.  To be patriotic no longer means love for one's country and the things and people who populate it.  No, today patriotism means love of the US military and all of its imperialistic wars of conquest.  A true patriot, according to the bumper sticker, is a person who never questions anything undertaken by the military.  A true patriot glories in how many foreign people the US military is able to kill and subjugate.  A true patriot cries when he hears the Star Spangled Banner and has the hair on the back of his neck stand up when a fighter jet flies over.  A true patriot is quick to shout, "Bomb them all to hell".  My goodness. What have we become?
I do not believe the war in Iraq is morally justifiable.  I do not believe that we had the moral right to kill Saddam Hussein.  If you do, explain why.  If your explanation is that the US has the moral right to kill any citizen of any sovereign nation that the US military deems to be a "dictator", please explain why we are not currently at war with North Korea, China, Venezuela and Cuba for the exact same reason.  Saddam Hussein did not have "weapons of mass destruction", as we were told he did.  Iraq was not and is not a threat to US national security, as we were told that it was and is.  I can see no way the war with Iraq can be justified on moral grounds.  That being the case, I should be killed at dawn by a firing squad of US infantry men.  My execution should be made public.  It should be on the television.  I should be made into a public spectacle so nobody else will ever be so foolish as to challenge anything the US military decides to do.  That, my fellow citizens,  is patriotism run amok.  I should be made a serious example of the consequences of not practicing blind obedience to all state decrees.  Nobody should ever be permitted to have an independent thought again.   

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Colorado Legislature Abolishes The Fourth Amendment

The Fourth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States says, "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."  This statement is not difficult to understand.  In addition, it is not difficult to understand the historical setting that brought about this affirmation of the right of every citizen in this country to his own personal privacy.  Every constitutional scholar in the universe understands precisely what the Fourth Amendment asserts. My right to be "secure in my person" shall not be violated except in cases where prosecutors from the government believe there is "probably cause" that I have committed a specific crime.  In those cases the government agents are required by the inviolable law of the Constitution of the United States to obtain a Warrant for my arrest that specifies precisely what I have allegedly done and that also specifies precisely what of my property and person may be searched for evidence of my wrongdoing.  When the conditions of probable cause and a properly sworn warrant for my arrest are not present, the government has no right to be aware of anything about my private life.  Under no other circumstances shall the government invade my right to privacy.  Since this is such a bizarre concept to the modern citizen, let me write it again....the government has no right to know anything about my personal affairs and activities unless it and its agents believe that there is a very high degree of likelihood that I have committed a specific crime.  Only then may the government's agents invade my privacy, and then only under the restrictions of a properly served Warrant for my arrest.  The rest of the time the government is to leave me alone.
The notion of being "secure in my person" is not difficult to understand.  When we speak of having security in our homes we quite simply mean that our homes are closed to everyone that we do not invite inside.  When we speak of being secure from a physical assault we mean that our bodies are in such a place that we are not about to experience a physical assault against them.  The idea of security carries with it the concomitant concept of a barrier or boundary and the right to exclude others by means of that barrier or boundary.  The Fourth Amendment affirms my God-given right to exclude the government from the particulars of my private affairs.  Besides the fact that I am a citizen living in the country, the only thing the government has a right to know about my personal affairs is how much money I make each year.  How and where I make that money is none of the government's business.  The only reason the government has a right to know how much money I make each year is because the government has the right to tax that income at the maximum rate of ten percent.  Therefore, the only breach of my personal security and absolute right to privacy in regards to my person, house, papers and property is directly related to the right of the state to collect the income tax and nothing else.
The idea that my private activities and affairs are the business of nobody but myself was a common idea at the time this country was founded.  Expressing that idea today, however, gets me put on a suspected terrorist list with the Department of Homeland Security.  Expressing that idea today gets me classified with conspiratorial wackos who believe the world is coming to an end.  My how things have changed.  Citizens in the United States used to believe that the government that governs best, governs least.  Those same citizens believed that government should stay out of their personal affairs.  On the other hand, citizens in the Socialist Democracy of America have willingly given up the protections of the Fourth Amendment for the illusory promise of personal security at the hands of the government.  Citizens of the USA used to say that the government had no right to probe into their personal affairs.  Citizens of the SDA say, "what are you worried about if you have not committed a crime?"  There is a vast difference in political philosophy between those two doctrines of government.
JFK is infamous for his dictum in which he said, "Ask not what your country can do for you.  Instead ask what can you do for your country?"  That one sentence has done incalculable harm to us.  In the simple turn of a phrase Kennedy completely reversed the roles of government and citizen.  Previously it was the role of the government to serve the citizen.  Now it is the role of the citizen to serve the government.  A more insidious plan for the destruction of personal privacy could not have been conceived.  Previously it was the job of government to prove that I had committed a sin/crime.  Now it is my job to continually prove to the government that I have not committed a sin/crime.  Now it is my  job to aid the government in any way possible to chase down those that it has accused of illegal conduct.  And that brings me to the reason for today's post to this blog.
A bill has been introduced into the Colorado legislature that will require any person who is convicted of a misdemeanor offense to provide a sample of his DNA to the state, at his expense.  There was a similar law passed in 2010 that now requires all people who have been convicted of a felony to provide a sample of his/her DNA to the state database.  The legislator who introduced this bill, which is expected to pass easily, stated that "DNA is the modern fingerprint."  Apparently he believes that the state has a right to have a means to identify everybody who lives in the land.  No doubt being fully aware that his law is patently unconstitutional, the legislator offered up the additional statement that "courts have found this type of law constitutional."  Merely repeating the erroneous assertions of fools who have gone before does not make it right.
The reason given for requiring the DNA of every person who gets involved in the criminal justice system of Colorado is easily understood.  Having DNA in the state database makes the job of the police and the district attorneys much easier.  Anytime they have a crime scene that contains DNA, all they have to do is take a sample of that DNA and run it through the database.  If they get a match, they have an arrest.  I do not think they have gone nearly far enough however.  If it is our duty to serve the government, and JFK said that it is, and if we have nothing to fear if we have done nothing wrong, as so many people repeated tell me, then let's be efficient about this, shall we?  I propose a new law that requires all new-born infants to be subject to fingerprinting, DNA sampling and retinal scans.  That data shall then be stored in a vast computer owned by the government and be available to all branches of government in the event there is a future criminal investigation.  Why stop with just misdemeanor offenses?  If this is really a constitutional act, let's get the dirt on everyone.  In addition to the original submission of identifying marks, each citizen should be required to submit an annual photograph and statement of physical characteristics to the local "Citizen Identification for the Purpose of Protection" bureau.  Only then can we be truly safe.  To be truly safe government should be able to recreate all of your daily activities at will.  To be truly safe we need to make sure that nothing we do is ever kept from the beneficent eyes of government officials. 
Sadly, I suspect most people who repeatedly chant the mantra, "you have nothing to fear if you have done nothing wrong" would be OK with my proposal.  That is, until the day comes when they are the subject of a criminal investigation.  What do you think these people will think when it becomes illegal in the SDA to make negative public statements about the practice of homosexuality (as is presently the case in Canada)?  Do you think that they will believe the DNA law to be a good idea when the police gather samples of DNA from every pew in the church where the criminal statements were uttered?  Do you think they will praise the state for its provision of personal security when their DNA match sends them to prison for "hate crimes against homosexuals"?  I could have a lot of fun with this type of scenario and create dozens of examples of "crimes" that you can be found guilty of that are not really crimes at all.  In fact, in many cases the behavior that is alleged to be criminal is actually highly moral.  Do you want to be in the position of having to prove yourself innocent when those events transpire?  Do you really want your DNA in the state's database?  There is a reason why the founding fathers sought to limit the state's awareness of our personal affairs.  Too bad that reason is lost on today's citizen of the SDA.
I acknowledge that having DNA records for every citizen in the SDA can sometimes aid in the legitimate solving of a crime.  I admit that serial rapists could be captured more readily by means of this database.  I admit that some criminals who are unjustly accused could be released from prison due to this program.  However, I also assert that the benefits of this mandatory DNA law are far outweighed by the negative aspects of the law, both actual and potential.  The government should never be trusted to use this information judiciously.  Agents of the government should never be expected to act morally.  Information is power and government agents should never have this sort of power over us. There are way too many opportunities for abuse of information to allow the state to keep our DNA on file.  There are way too many immoral laws being enforced by the state to allow the state this sort of investigative power.
I have frequently argued in this blog that we have a mandate from God to mind our own business (see "Yes, I Read Ask Amy", March 1, 2013).  In the exact same fashion, the state has a mandate from God to mind its own business.  The business of the state is to serve the public by protecting the citizens from foreign invasion, wielding the power of the sword against those who have transgressed the moral law and enforcing the terms of voluntarily entered into contracts.  If the terminology of that last sentence sounds strange to you that is because it is terminology consistent with the way people in this country used to conceive of the role for state government.  Other than the limited functions described above, the state has nothing else to do.  From the perspective of the state you should be invisible until you actually commit a crime that is a transgression of the moral law.  That is what the Fourth Amendment was designed to guarantee.  Today, all of the protections of the Fourth Amendment are under attack and a great many of them have been lost.  Welcome to the SDA.

UPDATE:  April 11, 2013

The Denver Post reported today that Representative Dan Pabon (D-Denver) has proposed a new law that will dramatically expand the State of Colorado's rejection of the Fourth Amendment.  Not satisfied with the law that requires the mandatory banking of DNA from every person convicted of a felony, Pabon wants to expand the law to include misdemeanor convictions.  According to the Post, "Whether its an assault or a relative minor offense such as destroying a library book, Coloradans convicted of a misdemeanor would have to open wide and say 'aaagh', should lawmakers pass a requirement that the state collect from them an oral DNA sample....And those convicted of a misdemeanor under the proposed legislation would have to pay a $128 fee to cover the costs of the sample."  All of this kind of reminds me of the story of the camel that just edges his nose under the flap of the tent.  It seems to me as if we had better set another plate at the dinner table for our newest guest, the camel.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Professional Victims Of Gun Related Violence

There is something going on with the Colorado legislature right now that I find very disturbing.  The Colorado Senate is holding hearings on seven separate gun-control bills today (see "Colorado's Democratic Legislators Go Insane", February 6, 2013).  The most odious of the proposed new laws is the one that would hold manufacturers and sellers of guns criminally liable for how that gun is used after the sale.  If passed, this law would create an amalgam of inscrutable liabilities anytime a gun is used in a crime.  Juries will be required to somehow figure out if the manufacturer of the gun had used the "highest degree of care" when selling the gun in order to make sure that it did not "negligently entrust" the weapon to somebody who "could have reasonably been known" as someone who might "use the weapon to cause harm."  What a mess.  The only people who will eventually profit from this legislation are the lawyers.
The usual argument that "no one needs to have" a semi-automatic weapon is being thrown about as well (see "Who Needs An Assault Rifle?", January 10, 2013).  The Constitutions of both Colorado and the United States have been thrown out of the window and the democratically controlled legislature is on a rampage against the rights of gun owners.  Who knows where it will end?  I certainly don't.
Fortunately some folks are standing up to these career politicians and their tyranny.  One particularly large employer in the state of Colorado, which makes high capacity rifle magazines, has promised to close up operations and move to another state if the law holding it criminally liable for its products is passed.  I only hope the owners of that business have the guts to follow through with the threat.  In addition, I have read numerous encouraging reports of manufacturers of guns and gun related items refusing to sell to any government institution if that government institution is located in a locale that violates the Fourth Amendment.  Let the jack-booted thugs of government manufacture their own weapons.
All of this, however, is not what is on my mind today.  The front page of the Denver Post has a photograph with this caption under it, "Former astronaut Mark Kelly, the husband of former U.S. Rep. Gabby Giffords, testifies before Colorado lawmakers on a universal-background-check bill for private guns sales Monday.  Kelly expressed support for House Bill 1229."  What is wrong with this picture?  Many things are wrong with this picture.  Allow me to point them out.
Why is a citizen of Arizona giving testimony to the Colorado legislature on a gun-control bill?  What possible business of his could Colorado gun-control laws be?  Let me put it straight....Kelly has no business coming to my state and testifying about what he wants my legislators to do to me.  I don't care that his wife is a high powered federal politician.  I do not care that his wife was shot.  I do not care anything about him or his opinions about gun-control; and neither should the people elected to the Colorado legislature by the voters of Colorado. 
Kelly is not the only example of improper testimony being given.  Other folks are being paraded before the legislators to give testimony.  Many of them are the grieving mothers of young people who were killed at the Aurora theater massacre last summer.  Surprise, surprise, these ladies are in favor of gun-control.  Others from the ancient massacre at Columbine High School are being brought before the lawmakers to testify.  Surprise, surprise, they are in favor of gun-control.  What possible purpose can be served by parading a long line of victims before career politicians and the media cameras that follow them around?  Why would an allegedly objective legislator want to hear testimony from a group of people that are undoubtedly the most nonobjective and biased against a free market in guns in the world?  Does anybody expect a grieving mother or husband to testify that she/he wants less gun-control and more access to guns for everyone?  Why bother with this ridiculous charade?
Are our politicians so stupid that they actually need the testimony they are gathering?  Are they really learning anything from what is being said to them?  Do they have any greater understanding of the issues after watching the pathetic display of a grieving mother or husband?  I can see no reason for gathering this testimony other than the blatantly self-serving purpose of seeking to appear "compassionate" to the electorate in order to garner more votes from soft-headed liberals in future elections.  Why should Colorado taxpayers be paying for this circus?
Most disturbing of all, however, is the fact that so many of the victims who are giving testimony this week in Colorado have also been jetting around the country giving testimony to other states and local governments.  Many of these same people have appeared on C-SPAN as they give testimony to the federal government about the evils of guns.  I have been shocked at how the same people keep appearing at political rallies in favor of gun-control.  All of this makes me wonder....are these "victims" being paid for their services?  There is a great deal of money being spent by both sides in the gun-control debate.  Have these alleged victims of gun violence turned into professional victims who now travel the country preaching the message of state inflicted gun-control at every opportunity?  It sure seems that way to me.
The debate over gun-control should be a philosophical one, not an emotional one.  The question is not whether or not people have been hurt by other people who wielded guns.  There is no value whatsoever in listening to the story of a gun violence victim.  Our esteemed legislators should be spending their time using their brains to figure out if they have a constitutional leg to stand upon when they decided to pass these gun-control laws.  After all, they all swore an oath to uphold the Constitution of the State of Colorado when they took office, didn't they?  Would it not make more sense for them to consider the issue of gun-control from a rational, legal perspective as opposed to running a line of pathetic grieving widows before the media cameras?  Of course it would.  And that is precisely why it will not happen.  For you see, professional lawmaking by career politicians is no longer about political philosophy and enforcing the principle of limited government. It is no longer about true public service. No, on the contrary, professional lawmaking is now nothing more than grand theater.  It is all a show.  It is a gigantic musical with horrendous consequences.  The goal is to get everyone emotionally stirred and then send them home with a good feeling in their hearts.  The entire process should be moved from the government buildings downtown to the Denver Center for the Performing Arts.  The DCPA is without a doubt the proper venue for the political process we witness today.
Why do our elected rulers do this?  Because they know that the voters like the show and that a Tony award winning show will get them reelected.  That off-Broadway production will continue to provide employment for professional victims and the career politicians who direct them.  These professional victims are the principle actors and stars of the play.  Give them a standing ovation.  They have won our hearts with their tales of woe.  Now we will all have less freedom and more government oppression.  Praise be to the professional victims!

Monday, March 4, 2013

Christians Are Cheapskates

It's official.  Data has been collected.  Interviews have been conducted.  Surveys have been undertaken and the results have been tabulated.  Evangelical Christians are cheapskates.  In fact, they are the single worst category of restaurant patrons when it comes to leaving a tip for the waiter/waitress.  Steve Lipsher of Silverthorne, Colorado writes a monthly column for the Denver Post.  Today's edition of that column is entitled "What would Jesus tip?" and leads Lipsher the following conclusion, "The scripture-quoting cheapskates among us would be well reminded that Jesus advocated giving to the poor in the Sermon on the Mount.  Or as Mahatma Gandhi once said, 'I like your Christ.  I do not like your Christians.  Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.'"  Although accusing evangelical Christians of hypocrisy is like shooting fish in a barrel, Lipsher makes some valid points in his column.
Lipsher's column was motivated by the story about the female pastor named Alois Bell who crossed out a mandatory 18% tip that had been added to her bill and replaced it with the following statement, "I give God 10 percent.  Why do you get 18%?"  The waitress who was serving the Bell party posted her bill on the internet website "Reddit' and it went viral from there.  Once the restaurant owner discovered what had been done he promptly fired the waitress.  Bell went public with the standard form of public apology that is delivered these days.  That should have been the end of it.  Then, Mr. Lipsher decided to pursue the issue a bit further.
Here is the evidence he accumulated against Christians:
  • A website entitled "The Daily Finance" is quoted as saying, "The idea that Christians are poor tippers apparently has been whispered in service circles for a long time.  Many waiters try to not work Sunday brunch, so as to avoid notoriously stingy churchgoers."
  • Lutheran Minister Justin Wise wrote this in The Lutheran Magazine, "As a matter of fact, we're pretty cheap.  What makes this worse is that we paint 'cheap' with a religious sounding veneer and call it 'being a good steward'.  Nothing like hiding behind the Bible to camouflage your stinginess."
  • Lipsher reports that, "Here in Summit county, a waitress working last Christmas Day was given a big fat goose egg for a tip on a $114 tab for a family of four.  Instead the patron signed the bill 'Isaiah 41:10.'"  Isaiah 41:10 says, "Fear not, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you.  I will help you."
  • Daniel Readle, pastor of a church in Cleveland, wrote this on his blog entitled Christ and Culture, "By leaving tracts and not tips, that person is saying to their waiter or waitress, 'You are not a person, but rather just a notch on my belt of evangelistic pride.'"  
  • A 2012 study of 1,638 adults conducted by Cornell University professors Michael Lynn and Benjamin Katz indicated that "self-identified Christians tip poorly almost twice as much as Jews and people with no religion."
  • Karen Swallow Prior, Professor of English at Liberty University has written this about one of her restaurant experiences, "Knowing there would be little, if any, tip left at the end of their meal, the servers saw the Christians' robust attempts at friendliness instead as pushy and arrogant.  The memories still pain me now."  
Not knowing anything more than what I have read I am afraid I must find the Christians guilty as charged.  Evangelical Christians apparently are cheapskates.  The question that intrigues me is, why?
Could it simply be that Christians are losers?  See my posting to this blog for February 14th for some pretty strong evidence that most evangelical Christians are serious losers.  As losers they do not make very much money.  Since they do not make very much money they do not tip well.  Also, as losers they most likely have advanced cases of "victim complex".  Victim complex could easily explain how these Christians can justify leaving little or no tip to their waiters.  Why should they leave an average or generous tip when the whole world is out to get them?
I suspect the idea that evangelizing a waiter with a tract is more important than a tip bears some weight in this issue.  Lots of Christians I know correctly believe that our spiritual futures are infinitely more important than our physical presents.  It is not hard to see how this proper view about the priority of spiritual matters over physical matters could be used to improperly justify selfishness and poor tipping.  After all, any Christian can quote the words of Peter when he said, "I do not possess silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you:  In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene--walk!"  Of course it is highly unlikely that any waitress is going to be working as a paralytic.
I do not know of any Christians who have developed a doctrine of tipping.  I would think that someone might have done some work in that area but if someone has, I am not aware of it.  I can't imagine how any Christian could develop a doctrine that would disallow the moral propriety of tipping according to the generally accepted standards of the culture.  I guess it would be possible to argue that tipping according to the generally accepted standards of the culture is an example of worldliness, and therefore to be avoided. But I don't really know of anyone who is advancing that argument.
So I am at a loss.  I do not know why evangelical Christians are such poor tippers.  As an evangelical Christian I find that fact more than a bit disconcerting.  I do not see why I should be required to apologize for the stinginess of my cheapskate fellow believers.  It is an embarrassing mark against the Church.  It is another black-eye for biblical Christianity.  It is another open door for unbelievers to criticize the Church and paint us all as hypocrites.   That disturbs me.  But other than making sure that I reward good service with a generous tip I don't know what I can do about it.