The Press-Dispatch

July 21, 2021

The Press-Dispatch

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B-4 Wednesday, July 21, 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 Bogus claims from the Poor People's Campaign The Poor People's Campaign has announced a "season of nonviolent, moral direct action," targeting the U.S. Senate with disruptive activi- ties every Monday, July 12 through Aug 2. According to the campaign's co- chair, the Rev. William Barber II, "The Senate must end the filibuster, protect and expand voting rights, and pass a minimum wage of $15 an hour." Barber is getting national atten- tion. Even President Joe Biden re- corded a video expressing his sup- port. Concern about poverty is some- thing we all share. What bothers me is that the factors driving poverty, according to the re- search of my organization and oth- ers, are ignored by the Poor People's Campaign. And the issues on which they choose to focus either have nothing to do with the reality of pov- erty or actually make things worse. It may surprise Barber that the Senate filibuster is a powerful tool to protect minority interests. He is either confused or disingen- uous when he claims abolishing the Senate filibuster is about protecting "democracy." It is not democracy he cares about, but Democrats, who now control the government, being able to pass ev- ery piece of far-left, big-government legislation they want. The only thing that stands in their way is the 60 -vote requirement of the Senate filibuster. The history of our American de- mocracy is that government chang- es hands all the time. When Repub- licans are running the show, as they will again, Barber will direct his heavenly prayers to save the filibus- ter so that Democrats can prevent Republicans from doing whatever they want. It is the filibuster in the Senate that prevents passage of the For the Peo- ple Act, the voting and election re- form legislation, House Resolution 1, that passed in the House without a single Republican vote. Although HR 1 is being labelled as "voting rights" legislation, it ad- dresses many more aspects of elec- tion law than just voting. The legisla- tion eviscerates actions that Republi- can states have moved on to reduce voter fraud, such as voter ID laws and stopping vote harvesting. But it also moves the federal government into a host of other areas, such as defining political speech and the organization of the Federal Election Commission. The issue here is not to debate election law but to ask what this has to do with poverty and why it is such a priority for the Poor People's Cam- paign. In the current Congress, there are 60 A frican American senators and House representatives. In 1964, there were five. Per The Wall Street Journal's Ja- son Riley, in 1970, nationwide, there were fewer than 1,500 Black elected officials. Today, there are more than 10,000. In the 2008 and 2012 presidential elections, Black turnout was higher than white turnout. Yet in 2019, the average Black pov- erty rate was more than 2 1/2 times higher than the white poverty rate. There is little evidence that Black poverty has persisted over the last half-century because Black Ameri- cans have not been able to accumu- late political power or express their will on election day. Regarding minimum wage, eco- nomic logic and economic facts show that the higher the minimum wage, the more low-wage jobs disap- pear. Raising the minimum wage is a great tool to make poverty worse, not better. What can make a difference? In 2019, the average poverty rate among American households was 9 percent. The average poverty rate in Black households headed by a mar- ried couple was 6.4 percent, per Sta- tistica. However, the average poverty rate in Black households headed by a sin- gle woman was 29.5 percent, and 41 percent of Black households were Break rules America has so many regulations that today, often the only way to do something new, to create something great, to prosper is to ignore rules. Minutes before SpaceX launched a rocket, the government told the com- pany that the launch would violate its license. SpaceX launched anyway. CEO Elon Musk says that the Fed- eral Aviation Administration has "a broken regulatory structure" and that "there is simply no way that hu- manity can become a spacefaring civilization without major regulato- ry reform." But reform isn't likely. While businesses must constantly adjust to survive, once bureaucrats create regulations, they have no in- centive to repeal them, ever. Instead, they add hundreds of new ones ev- ery year. Musk complains that government "can overregulate industries to the point where innovation becomes very difficult. The auto industry used to be a great hotbed of innovation ... but now there's so many regulations that are intended to protect consum- ers. ... Regulation for cars could fill this room." So, Musk broke rules to make Tesla the success it is. He knew he couldn't innovate if he obeyed all of them. He's flaunted the rules of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Com- mission, even tweeting that SEC stands for "Suck Elon's ... " So far, he's gotten away with it. So have a few others. In my latest video, Adam Thierer, author of "Evasive Entrepreneurs and the Future of Governance," ex- plains why rule breakers are the best hope for innovation. "When 23andMe came out with genetic testing by mail," he says, "They didn't get a permission slip from the Food and Drug Adminis- tration. They just started providing that service." Once the bureaucrats noticed, they ordered 23andMe to stop offer- ing health insights based on genes. "The product was off the market for over a year. That stopped genet- ic testing by other companies, too," says Thierer. "Smaller players saw what the government did and said, 'I don't want that to happen to me.'" This delayed innovation for years. "Maybe the only way to succeed to- day is to break the rules," I suggest. "Yes," says Thierer. "Just to go out and try doing it." A group of parents whose chil- dren have diabetes did that. They developed software that helps peo- ple track blood sugar levels. "Their hashtag is, '#WeAreNot- Waiting,'" says Thierer. "What are they not waiting for? For the Food and Drug Administration to approve new insulin monitoring devices. In- stead, they built them themselves. These devices were better than reg- ulatory approved devices." But it only happened because they had the courage to do it without per- mission. "Innovations come out of no- where," Thierer points out. "The problem is law sometimes blocks all of that and says, thou shall not until you get a permission slip. That's the death of entrepreneurialism." Ride-sharing companies such as Uber and Lyft prospered only be- cause they didn't ask for permission; they just created ride-sharing apps. By the time sleepy bureaucrats no- ticed and took steps to regulate Uber and Lyft to death, the company had so many satisfied customers that pol- iticians were afraid to crush them. Some regulation is useful. The al- ternative isn't zero rules. "If a prod- uct is dangerous," says Thierer, "it can be recalled. You can be sued. But don't treat innovators as guilty until proven innocent." It's easier to see how absurd reg- ulators can be when you look at old regulations. In 1982, after Sony's Walkman came out, a New Jersey town banned wearing them while walking. "You couldn't wear headphones because they would be a danger to yourself! " laughs Thierer. "Sometimes, laws stop making sense. Governments need to adapt." COVID-19 persuaded some gov- ernments. Suddenly, it was OK if private com- panies made virus tests, if nurses and doctors practiced in other states, if doctors used telemedicine without obsessing about stupid privacy rules, if liquor companies made hand san- The price of oil surged to $75 a barrel the other day under President Joe Biden's green energy policies. The price was as low as $ 35 a bar- rel under former President Donald Trump because he believed in Amer- ican energy dominance ("Drill, ba- by, drill"). So, more oil meant lower prices at the pump. It was effectively a massive, multibillion-dollar tax cut for lower- and middle-income earn- ers of tens of billions of dollars a year. But now, with the exploding de- mand for energy as the world econ- omy reopens, the self-defeating Biden policy is to curtail oil drilling here at home, which is often done by the smaller and independent "wild- cat" drillers. Instead, this adminis- tration enriches the major oil com- panies such as Exxon and Chevron with existing wells that are suddenly more profitable to drill. This is why the gas price at the pump is $ 3.29 a gallon nationally and above $5 a gal- lon in California. Are these higher-energy prices transitory? Harold Hamm, one of the fathers of modern shale gas innova- tions, doesn't think so. Instead, he predicts the price may surge to more than $100 a barrel, which means well over $4 a gallon at the pump. The most signif- icant deterrent to more drilling on these shores is the Biden de facto mor- atorium on domes- tic drilling on feder- al lands. How fool- ish is this? Up to an estimated $50 trillion of energy resources are right below our feet. This is like a buried treasure that could supply energy for 100 -plus years. In addition, the royalties and taxes would help pay off some of our $ 30 trillion nation- al debt. Here's the worst part of the sto- ry. None of this tomfoolery is doing any good for the environment. Even Biden's own Energy secretary, Jen- nifer Granholm, has complained that in some ways, the Biden policies are making carbon emissions worse by approving pipelines of dirty energy from Russia to Germany while kill- ing pipelines from relatively cleaner oil and gas here in the United States. What is clear is that the re- newable energy push and the subsidies for electric cars and electric batteries aren't going to change our fossil fuel ener- gy demands for years. So, it is only a question of whether we get the oil from here at home or from some of our major ad- versaries, such as Russia. Meanwhile, The Wall Street Jour- nal reports that even coal is making a comeback. A fter years of low prices, the coal price is now spiking due to less production. Biden has declared war on American coal, which has led to the closing of coal plants across the country. As utilities begin to awaken to the low reliability of wind and solar power, coal is in demand as a backup energy source to prevent blackouts. The rest of the world, es- pecially Asia, is still addicted to coal. Unreliable statistics, mounting debt, and nonperforming loans are just a few underlying characteristics of China's economy. For years, China has tried its best to hide and shadow its unsustainable economic practices from its people and from the world. Research sug- gests that it has been overstating gross domestic product numbers for the past decade. It's important to acknowledge that Beijing does release huge amounts of data. However, when it comes to statistics, there's a big difference be- tween quality and quantity. Isn't it time to find out what's real- ly going on in China? On June 30, The Heritage Foun- dation released its inaugural "Chi- na Transparency Report." (The Daily Signal is the news outlet of The Her- itage Foundation). This 120 -page assessment ana- lyzes China's transparency on eight different issues, ranging from the economy to human rights. The re- port rates economic transparency from the Chinese government at on- ly 4 out of 10. The overall rating isn't much better at 5 out of 10. Unfortunate- ly, recent exter- nal shocks, includ- ing the COVID-19 pandemic, have led President Xi Jinping and the Chinese Communist Party to adopt a more au- thoritarian approach. The government has interfered by harshly cracking down on protests, collecting private data, and surveil- ling the country. Unambiguously, the Chinese Communist Party has made it clear that authoritarianism is here to stay. The economy is no exception. In- stead of making structural changes aimed at forwarding progress, Bei- jing turns to more command and con- trol to keep businesses afloat. Over the past 30 years, China's economic development has been quite impressive. The country's 2001 entry into the World Trade Organization allowed it unprecedented op- portunities for foreign trade. Global trade revolutionized Chinese markets, lifting mil- lions out of poverty. But de- spite this and other seeming- ly positive reforms, China has never let go of its tight grip on the economy. In fact, more than ever, business- es can only operate in China if the Chinese Communist Party approves, and only to further its goals. Heritage's recently released annu- al Index of Economic Freedom mea- sures economic governance in key areas related to economic growth and prosperity. It highlighted, once again, that China remains a "mostly unfree" economy. Race for the Cure By Star Parker Give Me a Break John Stossel Continued on page 5 Continued on page 5 Continued on page 5 Continued on page 5 Eye on the Economy By Stephen Moore OPEC and Big Oil's new best friend Heritage Viewpoint By Anthony Kim Points to Ponder By Rev. Curtis Bond What China hides about its economy Beginning of America's end Continued on page 5 Court The Book of Revelation is good news for a believer in God. It is bad news for the ungodly and the govern- ments of this world. It is God's last word for sin, and how he will deal with it in his time. Historically, the church has taken comfort and hope from its pages as it struggled under the heavy hand of Rome and its suc- cessors. The world has been at the brink of an apocalypse many times since Revelation was written. Are we approaching the real thing? In 2011, Patrick Buchanan pub- lished a book, "Suicide of a Super- power: Will America Survive to 2025." Ten years ago, he observed America is disintegrating. He wrote that in a few decades the America that we grew up in will be gone for- ever. "In its place will arise a coun- try unrecognizable to our parents." Buchanan traces the disinte- gration to three historic changes: "America's loss of her cradle faith, Christianity; the moral, social, and cultural collapse that have followed from that loss; and the slow death of the people who created and ruled the nation." Since the year 2000, our presi- dents have included a president sur- round by warmongers, a communi- ty organizer, a real estate and casi- no mogul, and a career politician. Looking at the present administra- tion occupying the White House, are we seeing a modern version of Nero fiddling while Rome Burns? There was a time when our presidents were people of moral reputation and near statesman quality but no more. America's founding was unmis- takably and deeply influenced by Christian beliefs, so says our found- ing fathers such as John Adams. Ad- ams said, "The general principles on which the fathers achieved indepen- dence were the general principles of Christianity. I will avow that I then believed, and now believe, that those general principles of Christianity are as eternal and immutable as the exis- tence and attributes of God." America entered the 20th centu- ry with a firm conviction and faith in God. Over the past century Amer- ica has been turning away from that faith. Since the turn of the 21st cen- tury, that pace has accelerated. Bu- chanan writes: "When the faith dies, the culture dies, the civilization dies, the people die. That is the progres- sion. And as the faith that gave birth to the West is dying in the West, peo- ples of European descent from the steppes of Russia to the Coasts of California have begun to die out, as the Third World treks north to claim the estate. The last decade provided corroborating if not conclusive proof that we are in the Indian summer of our civilization. Historian Arnold Toynbee wrote, 'Civilizations die from suicide, not by murder.' And so it is. We are the Prodigal Sons who squandered their inheritance; but unlike the Prodigal Son, we can't go home again." Sounds prophetic. Adams also said, "We Recog- nize No Sovereign but God, and no King but Jesus! " On January 9, 1776, Thomas Paine publishes his pamphlet "Common Sense." Paine argued that the monarchy was evil and should be rejected as a form of government. He cited the Bible to ar- gue his case. Judges 8:22-23: "The Israelites said to Gideon, 'Rule over us, you and your son and your grand- son....' Gideon told them, 'I will not rule over you. The Lord will rule over you.'" Thus is the beginning of Amer- ica founded upon Jewish and Chris-

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