The Press-Dispatch

February 6, 2019

The Press-Dispatch

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C-8 Wednesday, Februar y 6, 2019 The Press-Dispatch OPINION Submit Letters to the Editor: Letters must be signed and received by noon on Mondays. Email: or bring in a hard copy: 820 E. Poplar Street, Petersburg If someone were to ask you to name the economically freest country in the world, what would you say? Probably the United States. Even many non-Americans would likely give that answer. Unfortu- nately, they'd be wrong. The economy that enjoys the highest level of economic free- dom is thousands of miles away. It's Hong Kong. The United States, surprisingly enough, isn't even in the top 10 of the latest "Index of Economic Freedom," an annual data-driven research project that scores and ranks almost every country. So where does the U.S. finish in the 2019 "Index"? No. 12. That puts us between Iceland and the Netherlands, and behind two of our closest allies in the top 10 : the United Kingdom (No. 7) and Can- ada (No. 8). But before you assume there's nothing to celebrate, let's put that ranking in context. For one thing, yes, the U.S. isn't finishing as high as it once did in the "Index." But after sliding to its worst showing yet in the 2017 edi- tion, it's been making a comeback. It posted a better score on the 2018 "In- dex" — a 75.7 score (on a 0 -100 scale, with 100 being the freest). This year, however, the U.S. earned a 76.8 score. That helped it move up six slots in the world rankings from No. 18. So we're doing better — which is more than we can say for many other countries. Among the 180 countries ranked in the latest edi- tion, scores improved for 81 and declined for 92. Seven remained unchanged. The U.S. still has a good amount of work to do before it again hits (or hopefully surpasses) its per- sonal best of 81.2 points, which it posted in the 2006 "Index." Still, we're moving in the right direc- tion. So let's consider for a moment what we're doing right — and what we're doing wrong. Two things contributed to our improved showing. One is a significant improvement in our "government integri- ty" score, which mea- sures such things as cronyism and corrup- tion. Another is a less- ening of the tax and regulatory burdens. The tax-cut pack- age passed by Con- gress in December 2017 and signed by President Trump has given our economy a sizable boost. Lawmakers would be wise to lock in those gains by making those cuts permanent. For that matter, they should find oth- er ways to reduce taxes on hard- working Americans. But the "Index" editors also recorded modest declines in the U.S. scores for fiscal health (gov- ernment spending is still climbing, and public debt keeps rising), la- bor freedom (a higher minimum Eyes on Washington My Point of View by Dr. H. K. Fenol, Jr., M.D. I can't seem to get my focus away from the events taking place in Washington D.C. The reason is because whatever happens in that part of our nation I know will af- fect all of us. So again for the sake of our children and especially our grandchildren, I wanted to share my thoughts as a citizen of this great country. Don't kid yourself, we need to be aware and express our thoughts to our lawmakers because you will be surprised our elected officials do listen to phone calls and letters especially handwritten ones about our concerns. The total investment I have put per letter is 50 cents for a stamp and no extra cost for emails . Phone numbers to various gov- ernment offices usually have a toll free 800 number. Let your fingers do the talking. I do get a response acknowl- edging my communications but I am not sure if it goes to the of- ficials I had addressed my com- munications to. I hope it does. So, please take time, contact lawmak- ers and government officials. We have elected them so that we can be heard and be represented. Those who do not take time should not complain. I mean it in a sincere way. • • • While we do value checks and balances, and we value the pres- ence of different opinions which avoids a monopoly of power, there is a delicate line to watch where obvious agendas are targeted. We Among the ancients, human sac- rifice can be found worldwide as a means of worship to their deity. From the Middle East around 860 BC King Jehoshaphat of Ju- dah was waging war against King Mesha of Moab, and the Moabites were losing. We read in II Kings, "Then he [King of Moab] took his eldest son that should have reigned in his stead, and offered him for a burnt offering upon the wall. And there was great indig- nation against Israel: and they de- parted from him and returned to their own land." In the same era, the Phoenicians and Carthaginians worshipped of Baal-hamon, and sites have been unearthed where the remains of a large number of children was found. The early Greek civilization lo- cated on Crete seems to have par- ticipated in human sacrifice due to large number of the remains of children have been unearthed along with evidence of cannibal- ism; the same has been found in Tibet and China. In Peru, archeolo- gist discovered a site in 2018 where ritu- al sacrifice was car- ried out among 140 children and 200 lla- mas at the capital of the Chimú Empire [near modern Trujil- lo] around 1448 AD. The Romans refined the art of human sacri- fice and made it a cultural event. Thousands would flock to the col- iseum or arenas to watch the ex- ecutions in a variety of ways of criminals, Christians, and cap- tured slaves from beheadings, to being attacked by animals, to cru- cifixion, or being used as a torch as a precursor to the gladiatorial games where entire teams were pitted against one another at times to the death. The killing of individ- uals was a spectator sport and the bloodier the merrier. It is worth noting that the powerless and dis- enfranchised were chosen as wor- thy of death. Christianity wher- ever it flourished even- tually overpowered the culture of death of human sacrifice and it ceased. Christiani- ty became a champi- on of life, and life had value. For whatever rea- son, the United States Supreme Court in 1973 decided in the case Roe v. Wade that women had the legal right to terminate a pregnancy, and the era of neoin- fanticide began. It is worth not- ing that no legislative body enact- ed this law. Since that ruling in ex- cess of 50 million "fetuses" have been killed. Let us not split hairs; regardless of how the unborn are classified, something is being killed. No rea- son to get squeamish. When peo- Points to Ponder by Rev. Ford Bond Pass through the fire Continued on page 9 Continued on page 9 Continued on page 9 Continued on page 9 Minority View by Walter E. Williams Demonizing white men Continued on page 9 Continued on page 9 Rush Limbaugh's December 2018 Limbaugh Letter has an ar- ticle titled "Demonizing White Men." It highlights — with actual quotations from people in the me- dia, academia and the political and entertainment arenas — the attack on white men as a class. You can decide whether these statements are decent, moral or even sensible. Should we support their visions? Don Lemon, a CNN anchorman, said, "We have to stop demonizing people and realize the biggest ter- ror threat in this country is white men, most of them radicalized to the right, and we have to start do- ing something about them." Ste- ven Clifford, former King Broad- casting CEO, said, "I will be lead- ing a great movement to prohibit straight white males, who I be- lieve supported Donald Trump by about 85 percent, from exercis- ing the franchise (to vote), and I think that will save our democra- cy." Teen Vogue, a magazine tar- geting teenage girls, wrote, "Not only is white male terrorism as dangerous as Islamic extremism, but our collective safety rests in rooting out the source of their radicalization." Econ- omist Paul Krugman, a New York Times col- umnist, wrote a col- umn titled "The Angry White Male Caucus," in which he explained, "Trumpism is all about the fear of losing tradi- tional privilege." There have been similar despicable statements made by academics. James Livingston, a Rutgers histo- ry professor: "OK, officially, I now hate white people... I hereby re- sign from my race." Stacey Patton, a Morgan State University profes- sor: "There is nothing more dan- gerous in the United States than a white man who has expected to succeed and finds himself falling behind." Stony Brook University sociology professor Michael Kim- mel explained, "White men's an- ger comes from the potent fusion of two sentiments: entitlement and a sense of victimization." Then there's the political are- na. Sen. Bernie Sanders: "There's no question that in Georgia and in Flori- da racism has reared its ugly head. And you have candidates who ran against (An- drew) Gillum and ran against Stacey Adams who were racist... And that is an outrage." Michael Avenatti, crit- icizing the GOP sena- tors during the Brett Kavanaugh hearings: "These old white men still don't understand that assault victims and women deserve re- spect and to be heard." "What troubles me is... they're all white men," commented former Mich- igan Gov. Jennifer Granholm re- garding GOP senators questioning Christine Blasey Ford at the Ka- vanaugh hearings. William Falk, editor-in-chief of The Week, said, "There's something odd about the overwhelming white maleness of Washington's current leadership." The US stands at number 12 in this year's 'Index of Economic Freedom' Heritage Viewpoint by Edwin J. Feulner Pursuit of the Cure by Star Parker Observations By Thomas Sowell Trump is leading, not caving Lessons from the past The media is having another field day at the alleged expense of President Donald Trump. Supposedly, per what we read, the president "caved," "folded," or "lost" in the government shutdown showdown with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Except it's not true. Our elite spends so much time inside the Washington, D.C., bub- ble that they're sealed off from any sense, connection or interest in what this nation is about. Ours is a democracy. Remem- ber? In the end, the people de- cide. Trump, who these same pun- dits love to call "dictator," has not forgotten. It's the president's job to lead, to put on the line what he believes is best for the nation. But ultimately, the people decide. As put by our first Republican president, Abraham Lincoln: "In this age, and in this country, public sentiment is everything. With it, nothing can fail; against it, nothing can succeed. Whoever molds pub- lic sentiment, goes deeper than he who enacts statutes, or pronounc- es judicial decisions." Sometimes at the first try, the message doesn't get through. It means you try again a different way. This is exactly what Trump is doing. In the words of General MacAr- thur: "We are not retreating. We are advancing in another direc- tion." The president must negotiate through the fog of a hostile media and now with a Democratic con- gress more interested in inflict- ing political damage on the presi- dent than implementing policy that serves our nation. Seventy-one years ago this month — in January 1948 — a black, 17-year-old high school dropout left home. The last grade he had completed was the 9th grade. He had no skills, little ex- perience, and not a lot of maturi- ty. Yet he was able to find jobs to support himself, to a far greater extent than someone similar can find jobs today. I know because I was that black 17-year-old. And, decades later, I did research on economic condi- tions back then. Back in 1948, the unemploy- ment rate for 17-year-old black males was just under 10 percent, and no higher than the unem- ployment rate among white male 17-year-olds. How could that be, when we have for decades gotten used to seeing unemployment rates for teenage males that have been some multi- ple of what it was then — and with black teenage unemployment of- ten twice as high, or higher, than white teenage unemployment? Many people automatically as- sume that racism explains the large difference in unemploy- ment rates between black and white teenagers today. Was there no racism in 1948? No sane person who was alive in 1948 could believe that. Racism was worse — and of course there was no Civil Rights Act of 1964 then. How then could there be this low unemployment rate, with virtually no racial difference? Racism is de- spicable. But that tells us nothing about what weight it has — com- pared to other factors — as a cause of particular social problems such as unemployment. Perhaps the most widely con- demned racism in the second half of the 20th century was that in South A frica under apartheid, when an openly racist govern- ment proclaimed white suprem- acy, and denied blacks basic hu- man rights. Yet, even under such a regime, there were particular oc- cupations in which black workers outnumbered white workers — even though it was illegal to hire any blacks at all in those particu- lar occupations. Economics car- ried weight, even in South A frica under apartheid. In the United States, what was unusual about 1948 was that, for all practical purposes, there was no minimum wage law in effect. There was a minimum wage law on the books. But it was passed in 1938, and a decade of high infla- tion had raised money wages, for even low-level jobs, above that min- imum wage. Among the effects of a minimum wage law, when it is effective, is that many unskilled and inexpe- rienced workers are priced out of a job, when employers do not find them worth what the law specifies. Another effect of a minimum wage law is that it can lead to a chronic surplus of job applicants. When an employer has 40 quali- fied applicants for 20 jobs, it costs the employer nothing to refuse to hire 10 qualified black applicants. But if he has no more than 20 qual- ified applicants, that is a different ball game. The point here is that econom- ic factors carry weight, and some- times, under some conditions, those economic factors carry more weight than racism. Even in South A frica under apartheid. In the United States, as the min- imum wage rate specified in the law began to be raised, beginning in the 1950s, so as to catch up with inflation and then keep up with in- flation, the minimum wage law be- came effective in practice once again — and a racial gap in unem- ployment rates opened up and ex- panded. As a black teenager, I was lucky enough to be looking for jobs when the minimum wage law was ren- dered ineffective by inflation. I was also lucky enough to have gone through New York schools at a time when they still had high educational standards. Decades later, when examining the math textbook used by some young relatives of mine, who were living where I grew up in Harlem, I discovered that the math they were being taught in the 11th grade was less than what I had been taught in the 9th grade. The opportunities open to my

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