The Press-Dispatch

September 8, 2021

The Press-Dispatch

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B-4 Wednesday, September 8, 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 Corporate social justice programs don't work According to a new report from The Washington Post, America's cor- porations have committed "at least" $49.5 billion to the cause of "racial justice" since the George Floyd mur- der last year riveted our national at- tention on race. This amounts to a little over $1,100 for every Black man, woman and child in America. Or, from another perspective, about $16,500 for every Black house- hold earning $25,000 or less. But we're not talking about cor- porate America, despite their deep concern for racial justice, just sim- ply giving black Americans cash. As much as they undoubtedly care about these Black citizens, they would nev- er trust them to just take the money and spend properly. These corporate executives na- tionwide have concluded that they can justify taking a huge chunk of their shareholders' funds — an amount equal to the entire economy of the state of Alaska — and spend it in a way that will produce more ra- cial justice. It is reasonable to ask why they be- lieve they can achieve this. It goes against all experience we have had with government. The federal government has been spending trillions since the war on poverty began in the 1960s — $20 trillion, by some estimates — and the incidence of poverty over these years has hardly budged. Apparently, these corporate execu- tives feel they have some insight that has eluded politicians all these years. A large percentage of these funds is earmarked for loans and invest- ments in housing and business loans. According to the report, $28 bil- lion flows from a pledge by JPMor- gan Chase to move 40,000 families into home ownership over the next five years. But, again, special loans and grants to encourage minority home ownership are nothing new. Government has been doing this for years, causing more damage than good. Most should recall that we had a major financial crisis in our coun- try in which we saw a collapse in fi- nancial markets in 2008 that was the worst since the Great Depression. According to research at the American Enterprise Institute, this collapse was driven by the bursting of a highly inflated bubble in housing prices, the result of widespread de- terioration in lending standards driv- en by government affordable housing goals and mandates. Black citizens, who these govern- ment programs were designed to help, were disproportionately hurt when housing prices collapsed as a result of the plethora of bad loans. The great mystery is why the prin- ciples that made and make our coun- try great are nowhere to be found in the various ideas and programs be- ing promoted with this vast sum of funds. Why have so many in corporate America signed off on left-wing dog- ma that American principles — prin- ciples of protection of life, of liberty, of property — are the problem rath- er than the solution? A healthy portion of American Blacks are doing very well because of these American principles. Per the Census Bureau's recent an- nual report — Income and Poverty in the United States, 2019 — a larg- er percentage of Black households, 29.4% , were earning $75,000 or more than the percentage earning $25,000 or less, 28.7% . Those left behind need liberation from government control of their lives. Less government-created ghet- tos from federal housing programs, more freedom from failing govern- ment schools and from broken gov- ernment entitlement programs such as Social Security. I started promoting the idea 25 years ago of releasing low-income earners from the Social Security pay- roll tax and allowing them to invest those funds in a personal retirement account. Back then, the Dow Jones Industrial Average stood at 10,000. Today, it stands at 35,000. The very naysayers I heard back Mandate the vaccine? Politicians love force. The idea of leaving us alone to make our own decisions goes against their nature. To be sure, civilized society some- times needs government force: po- lice to punish killers, soldiers to pro- tect us from foreign invaders, envi- ronmental police to stop my smoke from flowing to your lungs ... But the political class always goes too far. Now some want medical police to force everyone to get vaccinated. I'm surprised it hasn't happened already. "It has! " you say. "I have to get vac- cinated to keep my job, for my kids to attend school, to go to the movies, a restaurant, etc." That's force, absolutely. But it's not mandatory. There's an out — we don't have to work for the gov- ernment, eat indoors or go to a mov- ie theater. We can home-school our kids. We still have choice. So far, politicians haven't sent po- lice into homes to force everyone to get vaccinated. They did do that once. In Philadelphia 30 years ago, a measles outbreak sickened 1,400 people, mostly children, and killed nine. The outbreak spread be- cause leaders of two fundamental- ist churches told congregants to re- fuse the vaccine; God would do the healing. Philadelphia's health department got a court order that compelled par- ents to allow their kids to be vacci- nated. Remarkably, "They complied with the law," says vaccine expert Dr. Paul Offit in my new video. "They were law-abiding." The Philadelphia par- ents didn't fight the order. That end- ed the epidemic. But I doubt that vaccine-resistant Americans would be similarly com- pliant today. Now there's an anti-vac- cine movement. I'm surprised by the outpouring of hatred for Offit on my YouTube and Facebook channels that follows my video. Some of it is nonsense from igno- rant anti-vaxxers. But I respect com- menters expressing versions of the chant, "My body, my choice! " That slogan makes a good point. We are not really free if we don't own our own bodies. (It's another reason to oppose the Drug War.) In- dividuals should get to decide what's put in our own bodies. But a deadly pandemic is a spe- cial case. COVID-19 continues to kill, partly because some people refuse the vac- cine. "This virus has a great many friends," complains Offit. "Science denialists, conspiracy theorists, po- litical pundits. It's hard to watch." "People have reason to be suspi- cious! " I say. "The government has experimented on people and lied to people." (Officials once promised Black syphilis patients treatment but gave them empty pills. The CIA sneaked L SD into people's drinks. More re- cently, Dr. Anthony Fauci said Amer- icans don't need to wear masks, and then he said we should wear masks.) "I'm not saying that the govern- ment hasn't done things that make one trust them less," Offit responds. "Or that the CDC hasn't made state- ments that were incorrect, (but) such is the nature of science. You do learn as you go." What we have learned now is that the vaccine does dramatically reduce hospitalization and death, and we'd all be better off if more people took it. Vaccine skeptics point to media re- ports of "breakthrough" cases, vacci- nated people who get COVID-19 any- way. Offit's reply? "I'm on CNN and MSNBC a lot ... I think they want to scare people." They do. It raises ratings, and it makes reporters feel important. But Offit points out that even after delta, "99.5% of people killed by this virus are unvaccinated! Ninety-seven percent of those hospitalized are un- vaccinated! No vaccine works 100 % ." Today's COVID-19 vaccines have now been tested on millions of peo- ple. It's clear that they are very safe and that they save lives. It's why Offit would mandate vac- cinations. That's where we disagree. I consider vaccine refusers foolish and selfish. I got vaccinated, and I wish you would. But government should never President Joe Biden describes his $ 3.5 trillion spending scheme as a way to improve the economy and "build back better." The intention is a good one, but at its core, this plan isn't so much about growing people's wealth as it is redis- tributing it. The goal is to make the economy not more prosperous but more equitable — fairer. The multitrillion-dollar spending plan offers lower-income and even middle-income people truckloads of free things: health care, dental care, food, pre-K, child care, rental assistance, student loan forgiveness and free community college. And we know that Americans love freebies. But nothing the government doles out, including the proverbial "free lunch," is ever really "free." So to pay for the giveaways, the rich will pay more taxes under the Biden plan — a lot more. Tax rates would rise to 50 percent or more, and death taxes would increase by a record amount. As one liberal commentator recent- ly put it, "It's time to divide the spoils of the American economy." But our tax code already is high- ly progressive, and far more than most people have been told. If you believe the media, you would think there are country clubs full of millionaires and billionaires who pay little or no tax- es. Some invest a lot of money in tax ac- countants and tax avoidance, but that isn't because tax rates are not high enough. If some- one has a zero tax liability, raising the tax rate to 50 percent still means paying 50 percent of zero, which is zero. Tax avoidance happens be- cause Congress has affixed so ma- ny special interest loopholes onto the tax code, like barnacles on the hull of a ship. But as a group, the top 1 percent carry a surprisingly hefty portion of the income tax burden on their backs, much more so than in the past. For example, in the 1970s and 1980s, the top 1 percent in income paid a little less than 20 percent of all federal income taxes. Amaz- ingly, back then, tax rates were a lot higher than now. Today, according to IRS data collected by the Ur- ban-Brookings Tax Policy Center, the top 1 percent pay roughly 40 percent of income taxes. The Tax Foundation has found that this is close to a record share of taxes paid by the rich, and far higher than in most other nations. Even in the more socialist European nations, the rich don't pay that large a share. Here's another way to think about it. The wealthiest 1 percent now pay more in federal income taxes than the bottom 90 percent. But as rich as Warren Buffett, Oprah Winfrey, Jay- Z and Bill Gates are, they don't make anywhere near the combined income of the tens of millions of people with incomes below $100,000 a year. The Biden plan seeks to force the top 1 percent to pay almost half of With the world watching in horror, the hasty withdrawal of U.S. troops from A fghanistan resulted in the Tal- iban's near complete control over A f- ghanistan's population of 40 million. The Taliban is a brutal, repressive, Islamist regime that almost certainly will perpetuate severe human rights abuses against the A fghan popula- tion, making its return to power par- ticularly catastrophic for women. This betrayal of the A fghan peo- ple—not to mention U.S. citizens and allies left behind—is especial- ly harsh coming from the very lead- ers within the Biden administration who claim to be the ultimate cham- pions of human rights. Although President Joe Biden re- marked in an Aug. 16 speech that "human rights must be the center of our foreign policy," his promise rings hollow to the millions of A f- ghans who now are at the mercy of the Taliban to exercise their funda- mental rights—to life, religious be- lief, conscience, and speech. A Taliban official recently told Reuters that the new government structure will not be a democracy, but "will protect everyone's rights." But even these tepid assurances of a kinder and gentler Taliban govern- ment are made with the caveat that the Taliban's ver- sion of Shariah law will be the ultimate framework. When the Taliban was last in control of A fghanistan—from 1996 until 2001, when the U.S. de- feated the terror- ist organization fol- lowing the Sept. 11 attacks—its imple- mentation of Shariah law resulted in severe restrictions on religious, po- litical, and social freedoms for the A f- ghan people. If history is any guide, religious freedom will not exist under the Tal- iban's rule—not for moderate Mus- lims, and certainly not for A fghani- stan's dwindling population of Chris- tians and other minority faiths. And as Nina Shea, director of the Hudson Institute's Center for Reli- gious Freedom, explains: Denying religious freedom [means that] international rights to freedom of belief, expression, publi- cation, association, assembly, move- ment, marriage, education, occupa- tion, and other areas are to be cir- cumscribed by the Taliban re- ligious code. Already we have seen ma- ny heartbreaking stories of families risking everything in desperate attempts to es- cape the Taliban, and of reli- gious minorities, particular- ly A fghan Christians, trying to flee certain persecution by the Taliban by crossing into Iran and Pakistan. The successes achieved by A fghan women over the past 20 years—attending school, graduating with advanced degrees, holding po- litical office, pursuing careers, rais- ing families, and living their lives in relative freedom—are now on the brink of being lost. The Taliban es- pecially endangers women such as Zarifa Ghafari, the young mayor of Maidan Sharh, who have broken bar- riers and achieved things unimag- inable 20 years ago. Although the United Nations' hu- man rights mechanisms are notori- ously imperfect and often ineffective, even Michelle Bachelet, the U.N. 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 Eye on the Economy By Stephen Moore If we soak the rich, will everyone get wet? Heritage Viewpoint By Grace Melton Points to Ponder By Rev. Curtis Bond Stand up for rights of Afghan women Son of A Right-Winger Continued on page 5 Continued on page 5 Listening to the radio one day, I happened upon an interesting pro- gram. The host was talking about a letter a man wrote to "The Village Voice" (New York) asking for ad- vice from one of their contributors, Andrew W.K. Andrew is an Ameri- can singer-songwriter, multi-instru- mentalist, entertainer, music produc- er and new age motivational speaker. The letter he shared on his program is enlightening. "I'm writing because I just can't deal with my father anymore. He's a 65 -year-old super right-wing conser- vative who has basically turned into a total #@&! on ruining our relation- ship and our planet with his politics. I'm more or less a liberal democrat with very progressive values and I know that people like my dad are go- ing to destroy us all. I don't have any good times with him anymore. All we do is argue. When I try to spend time with him without talking poli- tics or discussing any current events, there's still an underlying tension that makes it really uncomfortable. Don't get me wrong, I love him no matter what, but how do I explain to him that his politics are turning him into a monster, destroying the envi- ronment, and pushing away the peo- ple who care about him? Thanks for your help, Son of A Right-Winger." This Son of A Right-Winger has a serious problem with his father be- cause he has allowed his liberal po- litical beliefs to drive a wedge be- tween him and his father. He certain- ly views everyone through the lens of liberal political beliefs. He brands anyone who does not embrace his lib- eral beliefs as an enemy, including his father. His letter accurately por- trays the social and political climate we live in today. To disagree with someone over their political or so- cial beliefs and not receive a sharp rebuke is a thing of the past. Dis- agreeing with someone's political viewpoint today is inviting a sharp rebuke or a riot. This man's letter to W.K. demonstrates how deep the political chasm in America has be- come. Andrew W.K.'s reply: "Dear Son of A Right-Winger, Go back and read the opening sentences of your letter. Read them again. Then read the rest of your letter. Then read it again. Try to find a single instance where you referred to your dad as a human be- ing, a person, or a man. There isn't one. You've reduced your father — the person who created you — to a set of beliefs and political views and how it relates to you. And you don't consider your dad a person of his own standing — he's just "your dad." You've also reduced yourself to a set of opposing views, and reduced your relationship with him to a fight between the two. The humanity has been reduced to nothingness and all that's left in its place is an argu- ment that can never really be won. And even if one side did win, it prob- ably wouldn't satisfy the deeper de- sire to be in a state of inflamed pas- Court

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