The Press-Dispatch

January 26, 2022

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B-4 Wednesday, Januar y 26, 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 End of the Roe v. Wade era? A fter a COVID-19 driven timeout last year, March for Life returns this year to Washington, D.C., for the 49th year, noting the anniversary of and support to overturn the Roe v. Wade decision of Jan. 22, 1973. This began the era of legal abortion in the USA. A high turnout is expected due to last year's hiatus, but even more so, to express optimism that this could well be the last March for Life with Roe v. Wade the law of the land. The Supreme Court heard last De- cember Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization, challenging the constitutionality of Mississippi's Ges- tational Age Act, passed in 2018, pos- ing a frontal assault on Roe v. Wade. Should the Mississippi law be found constitutional, the Roe v. Wade era, af- ter a half-century, would be over. Giv- en that we now have the most conser- vative Supreme Court in years, pro-lif- ers anticipate history in the making. The Mississippi law alters the via- bility standard, key to Roe v. Wade, which permits abortion up to the 24th week of pregnancy — the period af- ter which the child is deemed able to survive outside the womb. The Gestational Age Act moves the focus to when the infant first can feel pain, rather than alleged viability, substantially reducing the time when abortion would be permitted. Looking back over the last half cen- tury that abortion has been part of our national culture, it is difficult to imag- ine how anyone can see anything but damage that this decision has done to our nation and to our national soul. The most obvious statistic to con- sider is the some 63 million children whose lives were taken over those 49 years. Those whose lives were taken in 1974 would be 48 years old now, at the height of their working careers and, if not for the cultural damage that has been done over these years, may have been well into building their own families. Surveying our national culture since 1973, I cannot identify a single cultural institution that is better. On the contrary, regarding our core so- cial institutions, everything is uni- formly worse. The American family is in far worse shape today than in 1973. According to the Census Bureau, in 1968, 85.4 percent of American chil- dren lived with two parents. By 2020, this was down to 70.4 percent. Fewer and fewer of our young peo- ple are interested in marriage and children. In 1970, per the Census Bureau, the median age at first marriage for men was almost 24 and for women a little over 20. By 2021, for men this reached almost 31 and for women almost 29. Fertility rates have dropped dra- matically. The fertility rate — the av- erage number of children that a wom- an brings during her productive years — must be 2.1 to keep a population from shrinking. In 1970, our fertility rate was 2.54. By 2020, it was down to 1.78. The overall implications are an age- ing society. According to the Feder- al Reserve Bank of St. Louis, in 1970, 10.1 percent of Americans were over 65. Today, almost 17 percent are over 65. An increasing burden of caring for the elderly falls each year on a shrink- ing number of working Americans. Per the Kaiser Family Foundation, those over 65, now 17 percent of the population, account for over 35 per- cent of our health care expenditures. How can anyone not see all this as flashing danger signs to our nation- al future? The bottom line is a country with a future is a country that values and respects the sanctity of life. With all the supposed concerns of woke culture, the truth is that respect between people — whether between races and ethnicities, or between men and women — begins with respect for the sanctity of life. Let us all pray, as we begin a new year, that this will be the last year that pro-lifers need to march in Washing- ton to protest the Roe v. Wade regime. Star Parker is president of the Center for Urban Renewal and Education and host of the weekly television show "Cure America with Star Parker." Evil Florida Omicron spreads. The media say, "Governments must act! " Many have, bringing back mask mandates and closing schools. Do these rules work? No. My new video shows why Florida's approach is better. Gov. Ron DeSantis ended pandem- ic restrictions last spring and refuses to impose new ones. "The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result," he said. Lockdown states let "hysteria drive them to do really damaging things." The media hate him for saying things like that. "Some governors are putting their own political gain ahead of children's lives," said CNN anchor Don Lemon. If you watch most T V news, you'd think the rules, bans and shutdowns really save lives. Florida killed peo- ple because Florida didn't impose tougher rules, we're told. "Florida leads the nation in new COVID cases," says Action News in Tampa. "Florida has the worst rate of coro- navirus anywhere in the country! " rants "The Young Turks" host Cenk Uygur. But it's not true. Florida has had fewer deaths than 16 other states. Mississippi, Arizona, Alabama and New Jersey had the most deaths per capita. New York, where most T V an- chors and I live, had the sixth most deaths. Florida did better even though Florida has more high-risk old peo- ple. What's going on? The media rarely just lie. Most sim- ply cite Florida when deaths are high and ignore the state when deaths fall. They deceive by omission. Florida's good numbers just don't fit the re- porters' biases. But even some pro-lockdown poli- ticians know that less regulated Flor- ida is no more dangerous than oth- er states. A fter Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cor- tez complained that "anti-shutdown people" are "spreading COVID all over the place," she was filmed par- tying in Florida. Two days after Rep. Eric Swal- well sneered that "Republican liars ... prolonged" the pandemic ... "your vacation cancelled," he was photo- graphed in Miami. DeSantis laughs about this. "If I had a dollar for every lockdown poli- tician who decided to escape to Flor- ida over the last two years, I'd be a pretty doggone wealthy man." Fewer rules allow people to build better lives for themselves. Lack of shutdowns is one reason Florida's un- employment rate is 4.5 percent, well below New York's 6.6 percent. Does this mean shutdowns and mask mandates are useless — and less regulated Florida has the an- swer? No. We can't say that. There's no clear pattern. Yes, strict mandate states like New York, New Jersey and Michigan have some of the worst death counts, but California had strict mandates and fewer deaths. The one clear trend: Lockdowns don't stop COVID-19, but they do de- stroy opportunity. California's unem- ployment is the highest in America. Florida did some bad things. De- Santis should pay more attention to his own pro-freedom speeches. Last year, he decreed that even private companies may not require custom- ers or workers to be vaccinated. Governor? They're private compa- nies! They should have the right to make their own decisions. It's usu- ally the totalitarian left that won't let people set their own rules. Aside from that nastiness, Flori- da's COVID-19 policies are among the most sensible. Since lockdowns won't stop the virus, we must learn to live with it. Thanks to vaccines and new drugs that reduce COVID-19's effects, now most of us can. "We don't have to upend human life in our quest to eliminate COVID... which can't happen anyway," says economist Don Boudreaux. Giving up these laws is not "admit- ting defeat" but "admitting reality. We learn to live with COVID in the same way that we learn to live with many other pathogens... One day, ev- ery one of us is going to be done in by something." That's why I will vacation in Flori- Once, during a meeting with then-presidential candidate Donald Trump inside Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue in New York, we discussed energy policy. I told Trump that if we went all out to produce Ameri- ca's abundant supply of oil, gas and coal, the United States could be ener- gy independent in four years. Trump looked at me from behind his desk and shook his head. "I don't want America to be energy indepen- dent. I want America to be energy dominant." There are few issues where Trump and President Joe Biden have dif- fered more broadly on policy than on energy production. Trump went full speed on fossil fuel production. He lifted drilling restrictions, espe- cially in states such as Alaska and on federal lands in the continental states. He gave the green light to vi- tally needed pipelines. He blocked new extreme environmental regula- tions that were intended to choke off our oil and gas supplies. He recog- nized the shale oil and gas revolution as an unparalleled opportunity to re- duce reliance on foreign oil. The Trump energy policy was an astonishing economic success sto- ry. By January 2021, exactly a year ago and Trump's last month in office, for the first time in nearly 50 years, the U.S. was producing more oil than we were consuming. We imported no net oil from Saudi Arabia and the OPEC cartel nations. We were also producing more oil and gas than the Russians and the Arabs. Free at last. Biden has come in- to office, and after one year, we have seen a 4 percent surplus of do- mestic oil and gas pro- duction fall to a 4 per- cent oil and gas defi- cit. We have gone from energy independence back to energy depen- dence. This is because Biden has declared war on American energy. He has killed pipelines and reversed almost all of Trump's pro-drilling policies. In ear- ly January, Biden stopped drilling on hundreds of thousands of potential- ly prime oil fields in Alaska. He is obsessed with climate change, so he loves wind and solar power and electric cars that don't use gasoline. But under even the most optimistic assumptions, we will be getting the majority of our electric power, heat- ing oil and transportation fuels from fossil fuels for at least the next 25 - 30 years. The only question is whether we will get our fossil fuels to keep the lights on and the cars running from states such as Texas, Oklahoma, North Dakota, Wyoming, Pennsyl- vania, West Virginia and Ohio, or whether we will get it from the Ar- abs, the Russians, the Iranians and the Mexicans. Since the U.S. has much stricter environmental stan- dards than these other oil-produc- ing nations, any move to lower U.S. production and import the fuels from abroad adds to greenhouse gas emis- sions. It's lousy econom- ics, a danger to our na- tional security, and isn't even green. The economic cost of moving away from ener- gy independence is al- ready about a $1 billion loss of economic output each week and about $50 billion a year down the drain. What is worst of all (and a pitiful and embarrassing turn of events) now that oil production has fallen due to Biden edicts, this president goes to the Saudis and the OPEC nations and begs them to increase their out- put. It is a black eye for America. It makes us look weak, and it has made us weaker. The two biggest winners from Biden's war on American energy have been Chinese President Xi Jin- ping and Russian President Vladi- mir Putin. These leaders of nations that are clearly enemies of the U.S. cannot believe their good luck that Biden is president. He has made western and northern Europe de- pendent on Putin for reliable energy. Meanwhile, in China, Xi pats Biden on the head and pledges that he will reduce the Chinese pollution levels while building scores of new coal plants that burn dirty, not clean, coal. Does any of this make even one iota of sense? Does any of this strat- egy put America first? And by the Now almost two years since the COVID-19 pandemic began, and af- ter $ 6.6 trillion in total federal spend- ing on it—the equivalent of $51,600 per household—some policymakers want to pass yet another so-called COVID-19 relief package. Not only has Congress already spent more than it should have, some of the previous COVID-19 re- lief spending is actually hurting our economy today by adding to prob- lems like rising costs, supply chain problems, and an unprecedented la- bor shortage. The following are nine reasons why Washington should not enact any more COVID-19 spending. 1. Unspent Funds: There's still $ 989 billion in COVID-19 relief that hasn't been spent. According to the Committee for a Responsible Fed- eral Budget's COVID money track- er, there's still nearly $1 trillion in COVID-19 relief funds that have yet to be committed or spent. That's equivalent to $7,700 per household across the U.S. If policymakers enact any further COVID-19 spending, it should come exclusively from already authorized funding, including more than $200 billion in unspent health funds. 2. Hurting Business: Business- es need less government interven- tion, not more. Potential new spend- ing would likely be conditional on metrics that encourage COVID-19 policies and restrictions that active- ly make things worse for business- es, such as vaccine passports and vaccine mandates (for a vaccine-re- sistant variant of COVID-19), school closures, mandatory asymptomatic testing, and lengthy isolation peri- ods, including for individuals who have merely come into close contact with someone who has COVID-19. According to the National Federa- tion of Independent Businesses, on- ly 5 percent of businesses said that either "poor sales" or "interest rates and finance" were their most import- ant problem in December. Far more listed factors that government poli- cies have made worse, including 10 percent saying government regula- tion, 14 percent listing taxes, and 22 percent citing inflation as their big- gest problem. 3. Inflationary Effect: It could also exacerbate inflation. Deficit spending financed by the Federal Re- serve would further add to inflation- ary pressures that have hurt consum- ers' pocketbooks and resulted in re- al wage declines. Furthermore, ma- ny of the specific policies that could be included would reduce the supply of labor, goods, and services, which would push prices even higher. 4. Labor Shortages: It will add to the labor shortage. Paying people not to work is a big reason why there are 2.9 million fewer people working today than there were prior to the pandemic—despite there being 3.6 million more job openings today. With more than 1.5 jobs available for every unemployed worker, we need policies that will encourage people to take jobs instead of add- ing more missing parts to already fractured supply chains and further contributing to shortages and rising prices. 5. Down Rathole: Fraud, misuse, and waste plague federal COVID-19 funds. Throwing lots of money at things quickly invites that fraud, misuse, and waste. Not surprising- ly, the federal government's rate of improper payments surged from 2.9 percent in fiscal year 2019 to 7.1 per- cent in fiscal year 2021. A lot of that came from the incred- ibly problematic $ 600 per week bo- nus unemployment benefits that be- came widely available without suf- ficient eligibility verification. Con- sequently, a Heritage Foundation analysis estimated that at least 40 percent of pandemic unemployment benefits— $ 357 billion in total—went to people who weren't actually unem- ployed. Other COVID-19 program expansions were similarly exploited, to the detriment of taxpayers. 6. Winners, Losers: Picking winners and losers is ineffective and unfair. Some policymakers are talking about providing additional federal taxpayer dollars to target- ed industries, such as restaurants, gyms, and live entertainment ven- ues. While some businesses have been more adversely affected than others, the impact is not universal across the U.S. Federal lawmakers have the least knowledge and wherewith- al to meet the unique needs of com- munities, individuals, and business- es across the U.S. Consequently, fed- eral funds often fail to deliver the in- tended results. For example, Congress provided $54 billion in emergency child care funds over a little more than a year. That's more than the revenue of the entire child care industry in 2019. As of December, 20 states haven't been able to spend more than half of those funds, including 13 states that have spent none of them. It's not that there aren't child care needs—including a lack of provid- ers, a shortage of child care work- ers, and ongoing COVID-19 restric- tions intermittently shutting down care—it's that funneling federal money through multiple layers of bu- reaucracy fails to meet those needs. 7. Mask Giveaway: Sending masks to households is a day late and a dollar short. It might have made sense, as some policymakers now want to do, to send N-95 masks to households at the start of the pan- demic, in 2020, but that would be wasteful and ineffective now. The 500 million COVID-19 tests that President Joe Biden announced he was purchasing more than three weeks ago aren't expected to reach households for weeks or months. Similarly, N-95 masks would arrive well after the current Omicron vari- ant surge, and in the meantime, the federal government's massive pur- chase orders could drive up the cost Race for the Cure By Star Parker Give Me a Break John Stossel Eye on the Economy By Stephen Moore Remember US energy independence day? Heritage Viewpoint By Rachel Greszler Don't pass another COVID 'relief' package See ENERGY on page 5 See FLORIDA on page 5 See 'RELIEF' on page 5 Court

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