The Press-Dispatch

August 9, 2017

The Press-Dispatch

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The Press-Dispatch Wednesday, August 9, 2017 C-11 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 Between 1913 and 1920, Pro- gressives were feverishly rewrit- ing the U.S. Constitution. Within a seven-year period, they enacted four Constitutional amendments —for the federal income tax, Pro- hibition, women's suffrage and di- rect election of senators. Before the 1914 elections, U.S. Senators were elected by the 48 state legislatures. That sounds bi- zarre to the modern ear after a cen- tury of direct election of U.S. Sen- ators. But it was part of the genius of the Founding Fathers to give the states powerful political leverage in the law-making branch of the na- tional government. It was one of the original checks and balances. The reason all the states got two senators apiece, regardless of pop- ulation, is that the U.S. Senate was originally intended to represent states, not populations. Now that it's directly elected, it represents populations. But is California's population sufficiently represented in the U.S. Senate? Their two senators represent a lot more people than Wyoming's two sena- tors. California's reg- istered voters now out- number the population of 46 states, combined. Shouldn't California have more U.S. Sena- tors than those states? Yes, if the Senate is just another chamber of directly-elected na- tional legislature, like the House of Representatives. No, if the Senate is a bulwark of states' interests, a barrier to runaway cen- tral government authority. Thus the 17th Amendment, which voided and replaced the original language in the third sec- tion of Article I, introduced struc- tural schizophrenia into the ele- gant Constitutional scheme. We now have a system in which states have no say-so in the membership of the U.S. Senate, which is de- signed and empowered to frustrate popular legislation on their behalf. The Constitutional provision for election of U.S. Sena- tors by state legisla- tures played a crucial role in ratification. It reassured Anti-fed- eralists like Patrick Henry that the Consti- tutionally empowered central government could be prevented from running rough- shod over states, swal- lowing up their powers and prerog- atives. It's clear today that Henry's darkest suspicions were justified. The 10th Amendment, proposed in 1789 and ratified in 1791, is in tatters. It guarantees that "powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibit- ed by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people." That means that if the Constitution doesn't grant a power We need a voice. Once upon a time, we had several voices, but they are long silenced. These voices challenged the status quo and wrote how they saw it. Their names are legendary to those past fifty: Murrow, Sevareid, and Royko. Mike Royko was a columnist who has no modern contemporary. He declined all social invitations to rub elbows with the powerful and the political. He oft remarked, "I don't socialize with those I write about." Maybe that is the problem. Too many columnists and journalists want to be the news, instead of re- porting and commenting upon the news. In addition, they are buffet- ed by the social justice warriors and the politically correct mantra and the 15 minute news cycle. Speaking of the news cycle, what has become of the saga of Charlie Gard since his demise by those who took an oath to do no harm? I suspect that there will be no cultural outcry from George Will nor Charles Krauthammer on what the saga of Charlie Gard actually entailed. Charlie is dead; time to move on; there is nothing to see here. This is the secular media and culture we are captivated by. The mainstream media and cultural si- rens stand up for anyone who ridi- cules Islam or Christianity and de- nounces those who ob- ject to the smear cam- paign claiming that they seek to squelch freedom of speech. Unwittingly, these same defenders of truth embrace death. What was the tug of war between Char- lie Gard's parents [Chris Gard and Con- nie Yates] and the British doctors and legal system really about? I offer that if you reduce the arguments and actions of all in- volved, it was about liberty vers- es the power of the state. It was secularism against hope in things transcendent. The saga of Charlie Gard dem- onstrated the power of the state over the desires, wishes, and rights of the parents—progres- sivism verses individualism; but it goes beyond that. What we witnessed was state sponsored medicine usurping the natural rights of a small child's par- ents who wanted a chance for their child to live. Who has the right to deny life? That question, at least in Britain, has been answered. Maybe the doctors were right. Maybe Charlie Gard's life was un- tenable; but how did the doctors treating him gain the right to decide that he should die with digni- ty? Is not that the in- herent right of the par- ents to decide? The answer is no! Maybe the doctors were right. Maybe he was beyond help, but it was they who months ago sought legal pro- tection for Charlie to die as they prescribed. Yes, Charlie's life be- came untenable, but they them- selves disallowed early interven- tion. Maybe the doctors were right. Charlie Gard would never have had any semblance of quality of life. Nevertheless, who granted them the right to deny his parents a chance for him to live? Consider what the parents were told. Charlie was actually dead. Let him die. Most people would con- sider the opinion of the attending experts and concede to their con- clusions. Charlie's parents said no, and early on when he was first diag- nosed, they wanted to take him somewhere else. Doctor Death said no! Judge Death said no! The Continued on page 12 Continued on page 12 Continued on page 12 Minority View by Walter E. Williams The Weekly by Alden Heuring My Point of View by Dr. H. K. Fenol, Jr., M.D. Conflicting visions Points to Ponder by Rev. Ford Bond It wasn't about Charlie Give our states back Lucid Moments by Bart Stinson Obamacare repeal still not accomplished Heritage Viewpoint by Edwin J. Feulner For more than seven years, Re- publican lawmakers, including President Trump, campaigned on a promise to repeal Obamacare. They rightly noted that Obam- acare severely disrupted the health insurance markets, making health plans prohibitively expensive for many Americans. They reminded everyone of President Obama's hollow promise that those who wanted to keep their health care plan or their doctor could do so if they wished. The drumbeat was such that in 2015, when Mr. Obama was still in office, Congress managed to pass a partial repeal of Obamacare. The effort was vetoed, of course. But conservatives didn't give up. We kept sounding the alarm about the damage that Congress had unleashed by foisting the iron- ically named "A ffordable Care Act" on the public, while the Obama ad- ministration insulated them from the full costs of the program with taxpayer subsidies that were nev- er even appropriated. We ran the numbers. We chroni- cled the plight of real Americans suffering under the law. Fast forward to 2017. The party that ran on a repeal plat- form now holds the White House and a majority in both hous- es of Congress. Sure- ly the plug would fi- nally be pulled on Obamacare. But no. In a vote that ignored the clear will of the American people, the Senate recently voted against taking the next step in undoing this damage. In 2015, it was a cakewalk. Now, when there is an administration and a Congress in place that could get the job done, lawmakers have balked at the hard work of govern- ing and undoing the hardships of this disastrous law. And make no mistake, undoing is exactly what is required here. No half-measures will do. Repeal is a must. Obamacare cannot be fixed or bailed out. The law's mandates, insurance regulations, taxes, and expansion of government simply go too deep. No partial effort to address these problems can truly free Americans from the high insurance costs and lim- ited choice they now face. "For millions of middle-class Americans, paying their health insurance bills is now equiva- lent to taking out a second mort- gage," writes health care policy ex- pert Robert Moffit. "Competition among insurers is declining pre- cipitously in the individual mar- kets (Aetna just recently pulled out of the Obamacare exchanges), and For the most part, people share common goals. Most of us want poor people to enjoy higher stan- dards of living, greater traffic safe- ty, more world peace, greater ra- cial harmony, cleaner air and wa- ter, and less crime. Despite the fact that people have common goals, we often see them grouped into contentious factions, fighting tooth and nail to promote polar op- posite government policies in the name of achieving a commonly held goal. The conflict is centered around the means to achieve goals rather than the goals themselves. The policies that become law often have the unintended consequence of sabotaging the achievement of the stated goal. Let's look at a policy pushed by advocacy groups, politicians and poorly trained, perhaps dishon- est, economists — mandated in- creases in the minimum wage. No- bel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman claimed in a 2014 inter- view with Business Insider that there is actually not much risk of significantly higher wages hurt- ing workers. He argued that low- wage workers are in non-tradable industries for which production cannot be moved overseas and are in industries in which labor can- not be easily replaced by technol- ogy. Krugman's vision is one that my George Mason University col- leagues and I try to correct. Those who argue that the price of something can be raised with- out people having a response to it have what economists call a zero- elasticity vision of the world. For them, labor prices can rise and em- ployers will employ just as much labor after the price increase as before. There is no evidence any- where that people have no re- sponse to the change in price of anything. Plus, the longer a price change remains in effect the great- er the response to it. Let's examine Krugman's asser- tion that low-skilled labor cannot be easily replaced by technology. Momentum Machines has built a robot that can "slice toppings like tomatoes and pickles immediate- ly before it places the slice onto your burger, giving you the fresh- est burger possible." The robot is "more consistent, more sanitary, and can produce about 360 ham- burgers per hour." Let's Pizza is a pizza-making vending machine from Europe that can make four different kinds of pizza in about 2 1/2 minutes. Kay S. Hymowitz's recent article "The Mother of All Disruptions," in a special issue of City Journal, gives numerous examples of jobs loss through technology. Accord- ing to The New York Times, 89,000 workers in general merchandise lost their jobs between the begin- ning of November 2016 and the end of March. And it's not just the U.S. where robots are replacing la- bor. Foxconn's iPhone-making fa- cility in China has replaced 60,000 workers with robots. The economic phenomenon that people who call for higher minimum wages ignore is that when the price of anything rises, people seek substitutes. We see it with anything. When the price of oil rose, people sought ways to use less of it through purchasing more insulation for their homes and fuel-efficient cars. When the price of beef rose, people sought cheaper substitutes such as pork and chicken. The substitution ef- fect of price changes is omnipres- ent, but do-gooders and politi- cians seem to suggest that labor markets are an exception. It's bad enough when do-gooders and poli- ticians have that vision, but it is ut- terly disgusting and inexcusable for a trained economist to buy into that zero-elasticity vision. It's not just Krugman. On the eve of the 2007 minimum wage increase, 650 of my fellow econ- omists, including a couple of No- bel laureates, signed a petition that read, "We believe that a mod- est increase in the minimum wage would improve the well-being of low-wage workers and would not have the adverse effects that crit- ics have claimed." At the time, I wrote that I felt professional em- barrassment for them; however, I felt proud that not a single member of our distinguished George Ma- son University economic faculty signed the petition. In touch As time flows past us, the people we meet flow around too—some- times closer to us, sometimes far- ther away. In this age, there are multitudes of ways to stay in touch with an old friend who's far away, yet it's often easier to just let some- one drift out of our lives when cir- cumstance or distance (or both) separate us. There's a certain beauty to a dis- tant friendship, a wistfulness that gives gravity to the moments spent in contact, whether that contact is by letter, phone, or digital mes- sage. For example, a certain friend of mine now lives all the way in Ari- zona. But we were friends through all of college, thanks to a fresh- man misadventure that brought us together, and we even shared an apartment for a couple of years. He flew here to be in my wedding (let me tell you, I was glad to have at least one person present who knew how to put together a tuxedo), and sometime next spring, I'll fly there to be in his. But we wouldn't have stayed friends this long (I mean we probably would have, but hyperbo- le helps the story!) after moving so far apart if we hadn't found ways to stay in touch. Right now, one of the ways we stay in touch is by playing games together. My friend somehow land- ed a gig doing voice work for a mo- bile game, and since he likes the sound of his own voice, he's an av- id player. So of course, I download- ed the same game, and we play and chat together almost every day. I call it "quality time," tongue-in- cheek, but considering he's a few thousand miles away, it could be a lot worse. In fact, we're playing a pickup game together now while I'm writing this. So how do you keep in touch with friends from far away? I'd love to hear about it at my email, aheur- Have a great week! Stuff of the week: Book: In honor of my friend I'll recommend his favorite series, The Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan. Television: Cromartie High School, a deeply absurdist comedy series about a high school for delinquents. We've been sniping volumes of it on DVD for about $1 from a nearby flea market. Coffee: I won't even name the bourgeois trash I've been drinking this week, but I like it way more than I should—and it's cheap! Haiku: Distant sight- in withered fields a little house's lamp -Kobayashi Issa MONEY I got everybody's attention. I was going through some of the books I have saved and now that I have a little bit more time to read without worrying about time constraints, I thought I'd share some of the com- pilations of the author Peter Potter. • For instance- Who is rich? Those who are content. Who is that? Nobody -by Benjamin Frank- lin. • Getting money is like digging with a needle. Spending it is like water soaking into sand- Japanese proverb. • Ill gotten-ill spent- Plautus. • The love of money is the root of all evil- the Bible. • Love of money is the root of half of the evil in the world. Lack of money is the root of the other half- Anonymous. • The two most beautiful words in the English language are— Checque enclosed- Dorothy Park- er. • Gentlemen prefer bonds-An- Compilations Continued on page 12 Continued on page 12

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