The Press-Dispatch

February 17, 2021

The Press-Dispatch

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A-8 Wednesday, Feburar y 17, 2021 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 Race for the Cure By Star Parker Points to Ponder By Rev. Ford Bond Opt out of Social Security for racial equity A recent Reuters headline read, "Yellen, Rice tout economics as key to fixing American inequality." According to Susan Rice, Presi- dent Joe Biden's new domestic pol- icy adviser, "The evidence is clear, investing in equity is good for eco- nomic growth." Our new Treasury secretary, Janet Yellen, says, "I believe economic poli- cy can be a potent tool to improve so- ciety. We can — and should — use it to address inequality, racism ..." I couldn't agree more. According to the Federal Reserve's most recent Survey of Consumer Fi- nances, the median wealth of white families is $188,200, compared with $24,100 for Black families. To the extent that change in gov- ernment policy can lift the median wealth of Black families, I am for it. The good news is there is such an opportunity. I have been writing about it for many years. We should give work- ing Americans the option to opt out of Social Security and use the tax- es they are paying into it to invest in their own personally owned retire- ment account. We'll achieve more racial equity by allowing low-income Americans the opportunity to have more equity in — ownership of — America. A big reason for the huge wealth gap between white and Black fami- lies is the huge gap in ownership of equities — stock — between white and Black families. According to the Pew Research Center, 61% of white families have ei- ther direct or indirect ownership in stocks. Only 31% of Black families do. Per the Federal Reserve, among white Americans ages 35 to 54, 65% have at least one retirement account. Among Blacks in this age range, on- ly 44% do. It is true that median Black house- hold income is also lower than medi- an white household income, meaning Blacks on average have less to save and invest. Which is why giving the option to opt out of Social Security is so vitally important. Every working American pays 12.4% of their income to Social Secu- rity, half taken out of their paycheck and half paid by their employer. This is a tax, not an investment. The government then uses this tax revenue to recycle and make pay- ments to those currently retired, who themselves paid taxes during their working life. The Committee to Unleash Pros- perity, working with the nonpartisan Tax Foundation, recently calculated what working families at different in- come levels would have earned at re- tirement if they could have invested their payroll tax rather than paying into Social Security. For instance, a low-income cou- ple who started working in 1971 and retired in 2015, where one earn- er earned 45% of the national medi- an income and the other 25% , would have gotten an annual Social Secu- rity benefit of $21,035. If that same couple could have invested 10 % of their paychecks in a stock fund over the same period, using actual histor- ic data for this 45 -year period, they would have had $738,360 at retire- ment that could produce $40,610 an- nual income for them — almost dou- ble what they would get from Social Security. They would also have the benefits of ownership. They could bequeath what remains to their heirs. Per the Federal Reserve, 29.9 % of white Americans say they have ben- efited from inheritance or some oth- er family gift. Only 10.1% of Black Americans say they have received an inheritance or family gift. If Black Americans do not feel part of and invested in the nation, as they should, one reason is that they are disenfranchised by the same govern- ment that claims it wants to help. So, Secretary Yellen, policy advis- er Rice, how about getting on board with me? How about showing Black Americans, and all Americans, that you really want to level the playing field? The Social Security Trustees re- port that by 2034, the system will have insufficient funds to meet ob- Continued on page 9 I have a friend who always shares good materials which are entertain- ing, especially during these times, during this kind of weather, and es- pecially on gloomy days. He sent me a registration note about enrolling into virtual technol- ogy on a conference to take place in two weeks. The conference is spon- sored by a group of men who will share wisdom they have learned when dealing with women. Here are some interesting topics being of- fered: Class 1: How to adjust a thermo- stat. Up in Winter, Down in sum- mer, step by step instructions with slide presentation. Meets a total of 4 weeks, Monday and Wednesday, starts 7 p.m. Class 2: Round table discussion – Is it possible to drive past a Wal-Mart without stopping? Debate will be re- stricted to two hours for two Satur- days only. The Program is available in two weeks. Class 3: Can a bath be taken with- out 12 different kinds of soaps and shampoos? Open forum beginning Monday ,starts 6 pm, limited capaci- ty. Register now. Class 4: Topic: I was Wrong and He was Right- Real Life testimonials. Class- es every Tuesday, discussion limited to 15 minutes only. Starts at 6 pm. Program is available for the entire year. Class 5: How to Parallel Park in Less than 20 Minutes without an insurance claim. Driving simula- tions will be shown and replays will be available daily. Audiovisual pro- grams can be downloaded easily. Register soon. Class 6: Fundamental Differenc- es Between a Purse and a Suitcase. Pictures and Explanatory Graph- ics showing different Brands and Prices. Register early due to limited availability of items. • • • Well, in fairness to the op- posite gender, there are also video conferences being of- fered by a group of Women who want to share their in- sights and wisdom. They are offering classes through vir- tual learning. The programs are free courtesy of Women's Charitable Ministry. Here they are. Class 1: How to Convince Men to Read Manuals First. Classes are of- fered daily from 8 a.m.-5p.m. Mon- day to Sunday. Ten minutes of great learning per session. Hurry and en- roll today, few spots remaining. Free brochures on "Fist Aid Measures on How to Treat Injuries" will be mailed to the first 100 applicants. Class 2: How To Say Maybe When My Point of View By H. K. Fenol, Jr., M.D. Uplifting our spirits Continued on page 9 Continued on page 9 Continued on page 9 Continued on page 9 Give Me a Break By John Stossel Socialism never works Eye on the Economy By Stephen Moore The worst budget in American history I hate ashes The small town I grew up in was surrounded by coal mines. City gas came late to Brazil, Indiana, so the local homes had coal stoves and fur- naces. Coal is black, sooty, and dirty. It doesn't burn clean, so there are lots of smoke and grime. Someone has to build, stoke, and control that fire so that heat can be produced to keep a family warm. Can you believe 10 -year-old kids were do- ing it? I was doing it. That means busting large chunks of coal into pieces, building a fire and not burning the house down, and keeping the fire box clean. But there is more; coal does not burn equally, so there are clinkers in the bottom, and those have to be bust- ed into small pieces so that they can fall through the grates. That means shoveling ashes into buckets and hauling them up a stairway. I hate ashes! I have never missed dad replac- ing the coal furnace. I had a lifetime of dragging ashes in just a few short years. Now, I do not hate Ash Wednesday, but I still hate ashes. Ashes in the scripture have a unique position. Ashes remind us of our fallen state as the crown of God's creation. Ashes are akin to dust: "You are dust and to dust you will return." For some, dust is a symbol of the death and the end of life. Ashes remind us of our eventual death. Ashes as used in the scriptures are a symbol of repentance and sorrow for our sins. Ashes mean that something was set afire, burned, and destroyed. The ashes from the burnt offering meant something that was alive was rendered dead and burned. That is our focus of Ash Wednes- day. The most used phrase when Ash- es are applied is "Remember that you are dust to dust, and you will return; therefore, turn away from sin and be faithful to the Gospel! " I hate ashes because it reminds me that I am fallen from grace. I am not what God intended me to be. I must accept what the apostle Paul told the church at Rome: "For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwells no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not." Ash Wednesday is the opening to Lent. The Post-modern church is not heavily into traditions or rituals be- cause they want to feel and have an experience. What is lost in seeking a feeling is the spirituality that God poured out upon his sons and daugh- ters who were in travail. Jesus in his time of agony prayed, and it appeared as drops of blood was upon him. That will never hap- pen while doing the Holy Ghost Hop. Lent is a time to assess our connec- tion to the faith. Are we living faith or have we bestowed upon ourselves a false grace that doesn't exist? We hear the drum beat of demon- strate love, embrace love, and give love, yet we hear little of personal ho- liness and sanctification. The two are not mutually exclusive. We hear weekly the cream of God's love: "By grace you are saved," yet I cannot hear the circuit riding mes- sage of, "Repent. The Kingdom of God is at hand – believe the Gospel! " Lent is a time to embrace the call to be God's living temple, Paul told the Church at Corinth: "Don't you know that you yourselves are God's temple? Don't you know that God's Spirit lives among you? If anyone destroys God's temple, God will de- stroy that person. God's temple is holy. And you all together are that temple. Don't fool yourselves. Sup- pose some of you think you are wise by the standards of the world. Then you should become "fools" so that you can become wise. The wisdom of this world is foolish in God's eyes." Lent is a time to repent and put away the strange gods that have crept in unawares and beguiled us. Lent is not a time of celebration, but a time to put on spiritual sack- cloth and ashes and cry out in tra- vail to God, "We have not loved You as you commanded! " Lent is a time of self-inspec- tion so that we may become ful- ly aware why the gift of God is free and exciting; Paul reminds the faithful, "For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that Last week, I reported on two myths about socialism. Here, I cov- er three more. Myth No. 3: Socialism works if it's "democratic." As the Democratic Socialists of America put it, "Society should be run democratically — to meet public needs, not to make profits for a few." Sounds nice. If socialists are elect- ed, then we'll have a more just so- ciety. But Venezuela's socialists were elected. "They can start off democratical- ly elected," says economist Ben Pow- ell, director of the Free Market In- stitute at Texas Tech, but "once they centralize control over the economy, it becomes impossible to 'un-elect' them." Hugo Chavez was elected but be- came an authoritarian who chose his successor, Nicolas Maduro. Maduro now gets "elected," by having oppo- nents arrested and "ordering state employees to vote for him or they lose their job," says Powell. "Socialism always becomes au- thoritarian? " I ask. "Everywhere you try socialism, that's what you get," he replies. "It's hard to exercise political freedom if you don't have economic freedoms. If you're dependent upon the state for your livelihood, you lose your ability to use your voice to oppose (the state) because you can be punished. And if the state directs the econo- my, some govern- ment department must manage mil- lions of produc- tion decisions and prices. That nev- er works. No bureaucrat can antici- pate the needs and wants of millions of people in different places. No pol- itician can match the wisdom of de- centralized entrepreneurs making subtle adjustments constantly. Celebrities like Rosario Dawson, Susan Sarandon and Danny DeVito star in videos selling "democratic" socialism as "public schools" and "in- terstate highways." They are not wrong. "Some indus- tries are government-owned," replies Powell, but "when you look at things that are inefficiently done — public education, our congested streets — (it's clear) socialized industries don't work well." "They do in Scandinavian countries!" say socialism's pro- moters. That's myth No. 4. Scandinavia does have big wel- fare programs, but capital- ism pays for them. The socialists call Swe- den socialist, but that's just wrong. "Volvo is a pri- vate company," says Powell. "Restaurants and hotels are privately owned. Markets or- ganize the vast majority of Swedish economic activity." Sweden did once try social- ism. The result was high tax- es, inflation and economic decline. It's an example of how people in pros- perous places often don't know what made their lives better. In 1950, Sweden was the world's fourth-richest country. Then Swe- den tried socialism. Suddenly, once industrious Swedes started taking sick days. Wealth creation stopped. "Talent and capital stormed out of Sweden to escape taxes and red tape," writes Swedish historian Jo- han Norberg. "Businesses moved headquarters and investments to more hospitable places. IKEA left for the Netherlands... Bjorn Borg and other sports stars fled to Monaco." Sweden recovered only when it ended its socialist experiment. They Is there even one half-sane Demo- crat that will stand up and denounce the fiscal atrocity of President Joe Biden's $1.9 trillion spending bill? Is there not one single patriotic Dem- ocrat in the entire country who will speak out? The silence is deafening. The House Democrats are now rallying behind a budget resolu- tion that calls for a $ 6.1 trillion sin- gle-year budget. When I first came to Washington in 1985, President Ron- ald Reagan passed the first $1 tril- lion budget bill. We were all aghast. Now, we are spending six times that amount, and no one blinks an eye. Even worse, the Biden budget plan would authorize just under $4 trillion of borrowing in one single year. That is more debt than was allowed, ad- justing for inflation, to finance the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, the Great Depression, World War I and World War II. The Democrats plan to use "recon- ciliation" instructions, which allow the Senate to pass spending and tax bills with only 51 votes in the Sen- ate. They don't need a single Repub- lican vote. Call it the "unity" budget. Sen. Bernie Sanders said Democrats have earned the right to bankrupt the coun- try because Repub- licans do it. This bill has very little to do with coro- navirus relief. Pelo- si has inserted the $15 minimum wage, a $400 billion blue-state bailout to fund leaky gov- ernment pension programs in states such as California and Illinois, and $130 billion for school funding, even though schools have been closed for 10 months. There is also a $400 per week bonus unemployment benefit that will pay most unemployed work- ers more money to stay home than go back to work and, of course, bil- lions for the New York subway paid for people living in Nebraska. We are told this is "urgent" to stave off an economic "crisis." Wait. Congress had already autho- rized $ 3.7 trillion in spend- ing in five previous bills last year. The House Budget Re- publicans reported that there is still $1 trillion of unspent money from those bills. What ever happened to eating your dinner before you get your dessert? One reason for the mad rush is that Democrats fear the crisis is disappearing right be- fore our eyes. Coronavirus cases and deaths have plunged by more than one-third in the last three weeks, and the vaccine is getting injected into 1 million arms a day, thanks to for- mer President Donald Trump's Op- eration Warp Speed program. As for the economy, the Wall Street Jour- nal reported that the housing market is red-hot, with prices up 12 % over last year. The manufacturing index Down Court Heritage

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