The Press-Dispatch

January 5, 2022

The Press-Dispatch

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 16 of 24

C-4 Wednesday, Januar y 5, 2022 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 Editor's note: Beginning next week, Curtis Bond's column will be moving to the Church section. Recently, I remembered touring Heinz Field in Pittsburg. A few years ago, I was invited to the University of Pittsburg's Parents' Day. Part of the celebration was to watch the Uni- versity's football team, the Panthers, play at Heinz Field. The Panthers share the stadium, which is home to the NFL's Pittsburgh Steelers. During my visit, I roamed the field where the Steelers play. As I sur- veyed the sights, I pondered what it must feel like to be a player on the field and look up into the stands filled with 68,400 screaming fans. When standing on Heinz Field looking at the one-yard line, I thought all a player must do is fall over and he's crossed the goal line and touchdown right? How hard can it be to move a foot- ball one yard? I became mindful of a recent grinding and disappoint- ing Indianapolis Colts game. In that game, the Ravens stopped the Colts just one yard from the goal line. The Colts could not get the football be- yond that one-yard line and score in four plays. The Apostle Paul uses sports sev- eral times in his letters to illustrate our walk with Christ. In one exam- ple, he likens our journey as a race: "Do you not know that in a race the runners all compete, but only one re- ceives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win it" 1Co 9:24. The emphasis here is not on the prize but on the preparation and training that proceeds the race and the prize. Good training proceeds winning. Some competitors will fall by the wayside because they do not follow a strict training discipline and they underestimate what it takes to win. Good training is just the begin- ning of a winning strategy. Between the start and finish lines are obsta- cles to overcome by endurance; "… let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us," Heb 12:1. The goal line is 100 yards away, three hundred feet, and it doesn't seem that far of a journey. Howev- er, there are eleven opposing players in front of you determined stop you from crossing the goal line. They are as determined to prevent you from scoring as you are in winning; hence, The Progressive doctrine One great mystery is the per- sistent refusal of those on the left to abandon what is clearly not true. That is, that the means for reduc- ing the burden of poverty is more government spending. It all really started in the 1960s un- der President Lyndon B. Johnson. He declared in his State of the Union ad- dress in Jan. 1964 an "uncondition- al war on poverty in America." De- spite tens of trillions of spending since then, poverty remains, and so does the conviction of progressives that it can be wiped out with govern- ment spending. Worth recalling is that the av- alanche of government spending launched in the 1960s was followed in the 1970s by runaway inflation. We now face the latest round of this misguided idea with the expan- sion of the Child Tax Credit in the Build Back Better Act — now de- railed thanks to Sen. Joe Manchin. Fellow Democrats are now all over the beleaguered senator for alleged- ly not caring about child poverty. Build Back Better would have in- creased the credit from $2,000 per child to $ 3,000, or $ 3,600 for chil- dren under 6. In a particularly destructive move, they detached any work requirement from receiving the Child Tax Credit. A team of University of Chicago economists estimates providing a new generous Child Tax Credit, with no work requirement, would result in 1.5 million parents leaving the work- force. More government, less work. This is somehow the answer that Demo- cratic Party leadership is serving up to us for how to build a better future for our nation. Where does the passion of Demo- crats really lie — in improving lives of Americans or in dramatically ex- panding government? Equally revealing is what does not interest progressives at all. A little more than a decade ago, Ron Haskins and Isabel Sawhill at the Brookings Institution publi- cized what they called the "success sequence." The success sequence consists of three steps in behavior to avoid pov- erty. Complete at least a high school education, work full time, and wait until age 21 before getting married and then having children. According to testimony of Haskins in the U.S. Senate in 2012, those fol- lowing the "success sequence" have a 2 percent chance of being in pover- ty and a 75 percent chance of reach- ing the middle class. But the success sequence doesn't much interest progressives because the focus is about individuals taking personal responsibility for their lives in a free country. The "personal re- sponsibility" part and the "free coun- try" part have little standing in the Democratic Party. Also of little interest to our pro- gressive friends is that larding down our economy with massive amounts of government retards economic growth. Why would anyone think slow economic growth is good for the poor, let alone any American? As Americans allow themselves to be convinced that government is the answer to their lives, they become more likely to abandon faith and re- ligion, which provide the light and principles for individuals to take con- trol of their own lives. New data from the Pew Research Center shows the toll that seculariza- tion is taking on our country. According to Pew, 63 percent of Americans in 2021 identify as Chris- tians, compared with 78 percent in 2007. In 2021, 29 percent indicated they have no religion, compared with 16 percent in 2007. Whereas in 2007, 56 percent said religion was "very important" in their lives, in 2021 this was down to 41 percent. Perhaps as we close out 2021, we should again recall the words of America's first president, George Washington, in his farewell address. "Of all the dispositions and hab- its which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispens- able supports... And let us with cau- tion indulge the supposition that mo- rality can be maintained without re- ligion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, rea- Money It's the season for giving. I'll give. This week I'll donate to the Doe Fund, a charity that helps drug us- ers and ex-cons find purpose in life through work. "Work works! " they say. It sure does. Most Doe Fund workers find more joy in supporting themselves than they ever found in drugs. I'll also donate to Student Spon- sor Partners, a nonprofit that gives scholarships to at-risk kids so they can escape bad public schools. SSP sends them to Catholic school. I'm not Catholic, but I support SSP be- cause government-run schools are often so bad that Catholic schools do better at half the cost. Thousands of families have broken the cycle of pov- erty thanks to SSP. When I was young, I assumed government would lift people out of poverty. "It's inexcusable that there are so many poor people in this rich country," my college professors taught. "Government programs will raise skill levels, improve parenting, give a leg up to the poor." That's when the War on Poverty began. At the time, many Americans were already lifting themselves out of poverty. Year by year, the number of families below the poverty line — defined as earning less than three times what they need to feed them- selves — had decreased. Then came the people from the government with their programs. They spent almost $ 30 trillion on their "war." They made some progress. For about seven years, the poverty rate dropped. But then progress mostly stopped. That's because many peo- ple became dependent on govern- ment handouts. Learned helpless- ness, it's called. Government poverty programs created an "underclass," genera- tions of people who don't work be- cause they lose benefits if they do. This passivity was something new, and bad. That's why it's better when char- ities help people. Charity managers can make judgments about who real- ly needs help and who needs a kick in the butt. Charities can discourage dependence. But there's an even better way to help people: capitalism. Not that I'll convince most people. When Elon Musk was named Time Magazine's Person of the Year, Sen. Elizabeth Warren complained that Musk should "pay taxes and stop freeloading off everyone else." Freeloading? "I will pay more taxes than any American in history ($11 billion this year)," Musk responded. "Don't spend it all at once ... oh wait you did already." Love that answer. Musk is skeptical about charity, too. The United Nations World Food Programme asked billionaires to do- nate $ 6.6 billion. Musk replied that if the WFB could describe "exactly how $ 6B will solve world hunger, I will sell Tesla stock right now and do it." The WFB already spends more than $ 6 billion, and the group says " $ 6B will not solve world hunger" but "will prevent geopolitical instability, mass migration and save 42 million people on the brink of starvation." Musk didn't donate. That may be wise, given how much international food aid already gets wasted. Musk does give to charities, but he's called a "cheapskate" for not giv- ing more. I'm OK with Musk not giving more. It doesn't make him a bad guy. Some billionaires do nasty things. Mark Zuckerberg censors truthful reporting. Zuckerberg and Jeff Bezos sneakily lobby for regulations (like a minimum wage) that hurt their com- petitors. But I'd still rather they spend their money than give it to some charities. Zuckerberg invents better ways to connect with people. Bezos makes shopping cheaper and easier. Musk makes satellite internet available to more people. Businesses do things like that be- cause competition forces them to spend money well. If they don't, they disappear. Government never disap- pears, even when it fails. Warren calls Musk a "freeloader" because he doesn't pay more taxes, but entrepreneurs like Musk are na- tional treasures. Capitalists are the people who do When running against Donald Trump for president, Joe Biden often made the now-ironic charge that any president who has allowed so many deaths from COVID-19 should never be in the White House. Today, there are more deaths from COVID under Biden than under Trump — and that is even with the vaccine. But it isn't just on health issues that Trump's presidency is looking so much better and competent in hindsight. Everywhere I go these days, peo- ple come up to me and say something like this: "I didn't like some of the things Trump said or the way he act- ed, but I have to admit I like what he did for the economy." No one has vindicated Trump's "Make America Great Again" poli- cies more persuasively than Biden. High gas prices, the highest inflation rate in four decades, a plan to double the national debt in 12 years and fall- ing paychecks for workers are wak- ing Americans up to the real broad- based prosperity under Trump. Trump's strategy was to reduce taxes, slash regulation, massively increase domestic energy produc- tion and overhaul trade deals to get tough with China. No one in the progressive move- ment thought it could possibly work. The Washington Post fa- mously claimed be- fore the 2016 election that "Trump could de- stroy the world econo- my." Did that turn out to be true? Here are just the facts, ma'am. Over his first three years in of- fice before COVID hit, the unem- ployment rate fell below four per- cent, which was near the lowest in half a century. The inflation rate fell to one percent, which was even be- low the target level set from the Fed- eral Reserve. This kept the interest rates on mortgages and many oth- er loans down to the lowest level in modern times. Poverty rates fell to their low- est levels ever recorded. This was true for women, children, Blacks, whites, Hispanics and Asians. Me- dian household income rose to near- ly $ 68,000, and the $5,000 gain in three years was more than over the second term of George W. Bush and the eight years of Barack Obama. Here was another remarkable feat: Under Trump, the United States became energy-in- dependent. The month that Trump left office, one year ago, America was im- porting zero oil from Sau- di Arabia, largely because U.S. oil and gas produc- tion had surged. Now we have a president who has to beg the Saudis and Ira- nians to produce more oil. How hu- miliating. The bumper stickers are start- ing to appear everywhere: "Miss Trump Yet? " Not many Americans miss some of his antics. But every day that inflation surges, the border remains in chaos, COVID runs amok and government spending and debt surges to new multi trillion-dollar highs, Trumponomics sounds like a better idea. Stephen Moore is a senior fellow at FreedomWorks. He is co-author of the book: "Trumponomics: Inside the America First Plan to Revive the American Economy." Like the noisy neighbor throw- ing a raucous, late-night, blow-out, America just can't be ignored. Here are the five biggest lessons the rest of the world learned about U.S. for- eign policy in the Biden era. THE ADULTS ARE NOT BACK Let's get the obvious out of the way. President Biden's foreign pol- icy has been marked by a series of missteps, misdeeds and misfires. That's not just my view. I've talked with scores of foreign officials from friendly nations who are absolute- ly gob-smacked by Biden blunders ranging from green lighting Nord Stream II (the Russian energy pipe- line) to the disgraceful withdrawal from A fghanistan and to the fum- bling over Ukraine. Worse, their expectations that American policy will get much bet- ter under this president are lower than the president's poll numbers. At best, they hope Team Biden can muddle through the next three years. They are already looking past this president. BUCKLE UP The world has also noticed that America's chief adversaries are act- ing like every day is a Black Friday Sale. China, Russia and Iran seem particularly willing to press the U.S. During their virtu- al summit this month, the leaders of Moscow and Beijing poked at Biden, showing little re- gard for this administra- tion. Meanwhile, Tehran continues to take advan- tage of the administra- tion's pathetic desire to revive the deserved- ly moribund Iran deal, publicly rebuffing and humiliating Washing- ton at every turn. Make no mistake, freedom-lov- ing world leaders are losing sleep over what might happen in places like Ukraine, Taiwan and the Mid- dle East. Most expect these glob- al miscreants will continue to bully their way to incremental gains. That puts the rest of the world in a tough place. Should they buckle up for a rough roller coaster ride as Ameri- ca's ally? Go it alone? Or give in and accommodate the bad guys? CONGRESS IS NOT BRAIN DEAD ON DEFENSE All is not lost. Passing this year's National Defense Authorization Act proved remarkably difficult, but in the end, Congress got it done. In the process, Congress stood firm against some of the worst efforts to mud- dle the legislation, in- cluding attempts to de- rail U.S.-Israeli defense cooperation. Moreover, Congress authorized an additional $25 billion above what the president asked for. (His anemic defense budget propos- al would not have even offset the rise in inflation.) The world noticed that, in Con- gress at least, there is still biparti- san political will for a strong Ameri- ca. That came across, not only from the overwhelming approval of the NDA A, but also from expressions of strong bipartisan concern over the aggressive actions of China and Russia. America's friends and enemies are taking stock of this. While Biden looks weak, there remains plenty of congressional support for the "peace through strength" foreign and secu- rity policy that preceded the presi- dent. Like the Terminator, it "could be back." Race for the Cure By Star Parker Give Me a Break John Stossel Eye on the Economy By Stephen Moore Trump economic record looks better every day Heritage Viewpoint By James Carafano Points to Ponder By Rev. Curtis Bond Lessons Biden taught the world in 2021 Keep looking to coach Jesus See MONEY on page 5 See JESUS on page 5 See LESSONS on page 5 See DOCTRINE on page 5 Court

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of The Press-Dispatch - January 5, 2022