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    Random Thoughts on a Tuesday Morning

    I’ve been on the road quite a bit lately, which means lots of reading.  Here are a couple of mini-reviews for you to consider:

    • The Forgotten Man  A detailed analysis of the impact of Roosevelt’s “New Deal” policies and programs on America and Americans by an author with a decidedly conservative point of view.  The most interesting part of the book was the section dealing with America’s fascination with Soviet-style collectivism in the 1920s and how close our government came to implementing some of these concepts.  Given some of the current proposals to dramatically expand the reach and role of the government, this is a particularly timely read.  I’ll be honest, though.  It took me FOREVER to get through this.  It’s quite complex and not what you’d call a “thrill ride” of a read.  For the short version, just skip to the author's afterward.  She spells things out pretty clearly there: the New Deal slowed the economic recovery coming out of the Great Depression, nearly resulted in the U.S. becoming a socialist state, and did not create jobs.  All well and good, but I’d like to see her try to convince my father of that notion.  His first job was in the Civilian Conservation Corps and the meager savings he put away from two years of planting trees and building roads on the New York-Pennsylvania border fueled a cross-country hitchhike to California and the creation a business that hired thousands of individuals, many of whom are still reaping the rewards of a pension program he put in place.

    • The Lost City of Z A world-renowned British explorer and his small expedition walk into the Amazon basin in 1925 searching for a lost civilization and are never heard from again.  The author – a self-acknowledged city boy who doesn’t even like camping – sets off to find out what happened and along the way encounters his own journey of discovery.  A true story and a wonderful read.

    Remarks from a state regulator on fraternal solvency:

    State regulators in Pennsylvania are now becoming very concerned with RBC, according to a Department representative speaking to a group of fraternal executives at a recent meeting in Pennsylvania.  From now on, any insurer doing business in the state with an RBC of less than 300 will get a letter from the Commissioner, requesting the company explain their course of action.  The regulator noted that a number of fraternals are in financial trouble and stated that if they are even considering surplus relief, they should think very seriously about merger.  He said that often fraternals will typically hold on until the very end – when they have no value – to consider merger and that by then their bargaining power is gone.  Given the number of fraternals domiciled in Pennsylvania, the state insurance department’s thorough understanding of fraternal operations, and regulators’ historically tolerant approach to solvency issues, this hard-line stance sends a strong message to fraternal executives that regulators in the Keystone State – and almost certainly in other states – will have a very short leash when it comes to addressing solvency concerns that could negatively impact consumers.

    It’s Commencement Season…

    Our youngest son graduated from the University of Miami last Friday.  Unfortunately, the commencement speaker delivered what had to be one of the most boring addresses in history.  His long-winded remarks conjured up a memory of the greatest commencement address I’ve ever heard.  I don’t remember the speaker’s name or the college where it was delivered, but it went something like this:

    “Ladies and gentlemen, you will notice some major differences between your college career and ‘real life,’ with the following three being the biggest:

    1. From now on, Thanksgiving is a Thursday;

    2. Christmas is December 25;

    3. And summer is the time of year when you go to work in the heat."

    For additional graduation quotes, be sure to check out the following sites:

    Inspirational Quotes and Quotations.com

    Great Inspirational Quotes.com

    One Response

    1. The Forgotten Man is one of my favorite books. I zipped right through it, and thought it was very readable. That’s probably the policy wonk in me. It is, of course, true that those who lived through the depression tended to have a more favorable view of FDR – my mother voted for him four times. My father, on the other hand, detested him. Mom and Dad pretty much agreed to disagree on that. My own view is that FDR was responsible for removal of key limitations on the power of government that had endured since the founding, to our long term detriment.

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