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by Walter E. Williams

   When hunting was the major source of food, hunters often used stalking horses as a means of sneaking up on their prey. They would synchronize their steps on the side of the horse away from their prey until they were close enough for a good shot. A stalking horse had a double benefit if the prey was an armed person. If the stalkers were discovered, it would be the horse that took the first shot. That's what blacks are to liberals and progressives in their efforts to transform America -- stalking horses. Let's look at it.
    I'll just list a few pieces of the leftist agenda that would be unachievable without black political support. Black people are the major victims of the grossly rotten education in our big-city schools. The average black 12th-grader can read, write and compute no better than a white seventh- or eighth-grader. Many black parents want better and safer schools for their children. According to a 2015 survey of black parents, 72 percent "favor public charter schools, and 70 percent favor a system that would create vouchers parents could use to cover tuition for those who want to enroll their children in a private or parochial school" (http://tinyurl.com/y7d57cbg). Black politicians and civil rights organizations fight tooth and nail against charter schools and education vouchers. Why? The National Education Association sees charters and vouchers as a threat to its education monopoly. It is able to use black politicians and civil rights organizations as stalking horses in its figh!
t to protect its education monopoly.
    The Davis-Bacon Act of 1931 was the nation's first federally mandated minimum wage law. Its explicit intent was to discriminate against black construction workers. During the legislative debate on the Davis-Bacon Act, quite a few congressmen, along with union leaders, expressed their racist intentions. Rep. Miles Allgood, D-Ala., said: "Reference has been made to a contractor from Alabama who went to New York with bootleg labor. This is a fact. That contractor has cheap colored labor that he transports, and he puts them in cabins, and it is labor of that sort that is in competition with white labor throughout the country." American Federation of Labor President William Green said, "Colored labor is being sought to demoralize wage rates."
    The Davis-Bacon Act is still law today. Supporters do not use the 1931 racist language to support it. Plus, nearly every black member of Congress supports the Davis-Bacon Act. But that does not change its racially discriminatory effects. In recent decades, the Davis-Bacon Act has been challenged, and it has prevailed. That would not be the case without unions' political and financial support to black members of Congress to secure their votes.
    Crime is a major problem in many black neighborhoods. In 2016, there were close to 8,000 blacks murdered, mostly by other blacks (http://tinyurl.com/y8snbfga). In that year, 233 blacks were killed by police. Which deaths receive the most attention from politicians, civil rights groups and white liberals and bring out marches, demonstrations and political pontification? It's the blacks killed by police. There's little protest against the horrible and dangerous conditions under which many poor and law-abiding black people must live. Political hustlers blame their condition on poverty and racism -- ignoring the fact that poverty and racism were much greater yesteryear, when there was not nearly the same amount of chaos. Also ignored is the fact that the dangerous living conditions worsened under a black president's administration.
    There are several recommendations that I might make. The first and most important is that black Americans stop being useful tools for the leftist hate-America agenda. As for black politicians and civil rights leaders, if they're going to sell their people down the river, they should demand a higher price. For example, if black congressmen vote in support of the Davis-Bacon Act, they ought to demand that construction unions give 30 percent of the jobs to black workers. Finally, many black problems are exacerbated by white liberal guilt. White liberals ought to stop feeling guilty so they can be more respectful in their relationships with black Americans.
    Walter E. Williams is a professor of economics at George Mason University. To find out more about Walter E. Williams and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate webpage at www.creators.com.
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by John Stossel

       As you read this, President Trump's tax plan is being debated. Congress will change it. Where this ends, no one knows.
        I want two things:
        1. Simplification.
        2. More money in private hands.
        Trump offers some of both.
        His cuts would leave more money in private hands, where it will be used more efficiently. Politicians' spending decisions already put us $20 trillion in debt; they shouldn't be trusted with more money.
        Cutting the corporate tax rate isn't popular (rich people!), but a cut is needed. Economic growth is really important. It's stifled when America's taxes are higher than other nations'.
        Trump also offers some simplification. Good. The more complex the rules, the more time we waste hiring accountants and the more time lawyers spend fighting over who qualifies for what. Trump would double the personal exemption (fewer people will itemize) and kill the "death tax," deductions for local taxes and the alternative minimum tax.
        It's a start. But that's not nearly good enough. Heck, the "simplification" bill itself is 400 pages long.
        Americans spend about 7 billion hours trying to comply with today's tax rules. That's the equivalent of 3.7 million people working 40-hour weeks. What a waste.
        I spend hours filling out forms and forwarding paperwork to an accountant. I distort my spending and investments because of tax rules. What a waste.
        America's first 1040 form was four pages long. Today's code is more than 3.7 million words. No one understands it.
        Even the tax specialists get things wrong.
        Yet parts of Trump's plan make taxes more complex: He increases the child tax credit and creates a new credit for nonchild dependents. It may be fair to help people who care for helpless adults, but each new deduction creates complexity and parasites who feed off it. As usual, some rich people will game that credit, and some poor people will never figure it out.
        Far better to lower everyone's taxes to, say, 15 percent, by getting rid of all deductions.
        Then we could focus on creating wealth instead of filling out forms.
        But good luck with that, President Trump.
        Today's tax deductions are the main reason we've got a huge culture of lobbyists.
        One of the most unfair tax breaks is the mortgage interest deduction. It encourages rich people to buy more homes than we need. It exacerbates housing bubbles.
        Trump merely proposed cutting the maximum deduction to half-a-million dollars. But even that has the swamp creatures screaming, "Unfair!"
        Jerry Howard of the National Association of Home Builders says he will fight that "tooth and nail." He claims it "is a direct assault on the American dream of homeownership."
        Bunk. Canada has no mortgage deduction, yet Canada's homeownership rate is higher than the United States'. The big mortgage deduction is welfare for the rich.
        But people like Howard have clout. Homebuilders and mortgage bankers give politicians money.
        Likewise, even some Republicans in high-tax states like New York and New Jersey now are whining about losing state tax deductibility. They fear voter backlash in their districts.
        Once again, Congress ends up fighting over who gets the biggest cuts instead of the overall tax haul and size of government.
        Ideally, tax cuts should be accompanied by even larger spending cuts to avoid expanding that $20 trillion debt. But that's not happening.
        How about a variation on Trump's two-for-one regulation rule (cut two regulations for each new one you propose)? Cut two dollars from the budget for every dollar in tax reduction. That way we won't end up deeper in the hole.
        The best way to avoid Washington's spending getting out of balance is to avoid giving them our money in the first place.
        I'm rooting for a tax law so simple that everyone understands it, and one that will keep as much money as possible out of government's hands.
        That's the best formula for a growing economy.
        John Stossel is author of "No They Can't! Why Government Fails -- But Individuals Succeed." For other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit www.creators.com.
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by Walter E. Williams

       One of the most challenging and important jobs for an economics professor is to teach students how little we know and can possibly know. My longtime friend and colleague Dr. Thomas Sowell says, "It takes considerable knowledge just to realize the extent of your own ignorance." Nobel laureate Friedrich August von Hayek admonished, "The curious task of economics is to demonstrate to men how little they really know about what they imagine they can design." The fact that we have gross ignorance about how the world operates is ignored by the know-it-all elites who seek to control our lives. Let's look at a few examples of the world's complexity.
        According to some estimates, there are roughly 100 million traffic signals in the U.S. How many of us would like the U.S. Congress, in the name of public health and safety, to be in charge of their actual operation? Congress or a committee it authorizes would determine the length of time traffic lights stay red, yellow and green and what hours of the day and at what intersections lights flash red or yellow. One can only imagine the mess Congress would create in the 40,000 cities, towns and other incorporated places in the U.S. But managing traffic lights -- and getting good results -- is a far less complex task than managing the nation's health care system and getting good results, which Congress tries to do.
        Here's another task I'd ask whether you would like Congress to control. The average well-stocked supermarket carries 60,000 to 65,000 different items. Walmart carries about 120,000 different items. Let's suppose Congress puts you in total control of getting just one item to a supermarket -- say apples. Let's not make it easy by having the help of apple wholesalers. Thus, you would have to figure out all of the inputs necessary to get apples to your local supermarket. Let's look at just a few. You need crates to ship the apples. Count all the inputs necessary to produce crates. There's wood, but you need saws to cut down trees. The saws are made of steel, so iron ore must be mined, and mining equipment is needed. The workers must have shoes. The complete list of inputs to get apples to the market comes to a very large, possibly an unknowable, number. Forgetting any one of them, such as spark plugs, would probably mean no apples at your supermarket.
        The beauty of market allocation of goods and services, compared with government fiat, is no one person needs to know all that's necessary to get apples to your supermarket. Free markets, accompanied by free trade, including international free trade, make us richer by economizing on the amount of knowledge or information needed to produce things.
        Think about this morning's breakfast. Let's suppose you and your spouse each had four slices of bacon and two eggs. You had coffee, and your spouse had cocoa. The breakfast might have cost you $22. But what might it have cost you if instead of being dependent upon others, you were independent and produced your own breakfast? What do you know about raising pigs and their subsequent slaughter? Do you know how to cure pork to make bacon? Then there are the eggs, which require knowledge about the care of chickens. What about getting pig and chicken feed? You'd have a big problem with the coffee and cocoa. I doubt whether you could simulate the growing conditions in Brazil and West Africa. One thing that's guaranteed is that your breakfast would be far costlier than in the case where you depended upon the benefits of skills of others that emerge from the division of labor and trade.
        The bottom line is that each of us is grossly ignorant about the world in which we live. Nothing's wrong with that ignorance, but we are stupid if we believe that a politician can produce a better life than that which is obtained through peaceable, voluntary exchange with our fellow man anywhere on earth.
        Walter E. Williams is a professor of economics at George Mason University. To find out more about Walter E. Williams and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate webpage at www.creators.com.
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by John Stossel

   This year marks the hundredth anniversary of one of the worst mistakes ever made: the Communist revolution in Russia.
    Communist regimes went on to kill about 100 million people. Most died in famines after socialist tyrants forced people to practice inefficient collective farming. Millions of others were executed in political purges.
    Yet when the Russian Revolution happened, people both inside and outside Russia were excited. Crowds cheered Lenin. No longer would nobles rule; no longer would capitalists exploit workers. Now the people would prosper together.
    British journalist Theodore Rothstein wrote, "The undivided sway of the Imperialist nightmare is at an end ...(there will be) rule of the labouring classes."
    But you can't have government plan every aspect of people's lives and expect things to go well. Instead, you get bureaucratic planning commissions and secret police.
    That won't stop some Americans from celebrating Communism's anniversary.
    A day of anti-Trump protests is scheduled for Nov. 4, and I'm sure some protestors will wave hammer-and-sickle flags. Some will wear Che Guevara shirts.
    A few commentators will call the protesters "idealistic" but impractical. They shouldn't. We should call them supporters of mass murder.
    Lenin ordered the hanging of 100 property owners at the very start of the Revolution, saying people needed to see the deaths of "landlords, rich men, bloodsuckers."
    Mass murder and starvation rapidly increased the death toll after that.
    It wasn't exactly what philosopher Karl Marx had in mind -- but it shouldn't have surprised anyone. Marx's writing is filled with comparisons of capitalists to werewolves and other predators who must be destroyed.
    Marx admitted that capitalism is productive but said that "capital obtains this ability only by constantly sucking in living labor as its soul, vampire-like."
    Even as the Russian regime killed millions, some journalists and intellectuals covered up the crimes.
    Stalin kept most media out, so few Americans knew that millions were starving, but New York Times writer Walter Duranty saw it first-hand.
    Yet he "covered up Stalin's crimes," says Tom Palmer of the Atlas Network, a group that promotes free market ideas around the world.
    Because Duranty wanted to support "the cause," he wrote that "report of a famine in Russia is today an exaggeration or malignant propaganda."
    Duranty "saw the truckloads of bodies," says Palmer, yet "he wrote on the front page of The New York Times how wonderful everything was." He even got a Pulitzer Prize for it.
    In some ways, times haven't changed that much. This year, the Times ran a series of essays commemorating the anniversary of Russian Communism, including one piece arguing that sex was better in the Soviet Union because the Revolution destroyed macho capitalist culture.
    At least The New York Times eventually admitted that Duranty's work was "some of the worst reporting in this newspaper," but the Pulitzer committee never withdrew its prize.
    Communism kills wherever it's practiced. But people still people believe. Making a video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wxMWs8RyLLI) on Communism's hundredth anniversary, I interviewed Lily Tang Williams, who grew up under the regime in China.
    "Mao was like a god to me," she recounts. "In the morning, we were encouraged to chant and to confess to dear Chairman Mao."
    Under Mao, Williams nearly starved. "I was so hungry. My uncle taught me how to trap rats. But the problem is, everybody is trying to catch rats. Rats run out, too."
    Still, she says she was so brainwashed by Communist propaganda that she "cried my eyes out when Mao died."
    But then, "when I was college student, I met a U.S. exchange student ... He showed me a pocket Constitution and Declaration of Independence. A light bulb came on!"
    For the first time, she realized, "I have rights ... natural rights that cannot be taken away. Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."
    She escaped to the United States. Now she says her mission in life is to teach Americans the importance of liberty.
    I think her message is wiser than that of Karl Marx, Lenin and Stalin.
    "Big, powerful government, it's very scary," she warns. "It will keep growing like cancer, will never stop. If you empower government, not the individuals, we're going to lose this free country!"
    John Stossel is author of "No They Can't! Why Government Fails -- But Individuals Succeed." For other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit www.creators.com.
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by Walter E. Williams

    I am not nearly so coldhearted and unsympathetic toward the mainstream media as some of my conservative friends, such as Rush Limbaugh, Mark Levin, Sean Hannity, Tucker Carlson, Chris Plante and Ann Coulter. In fact, my heart goes out to them. As evidence of the same, if I had President Donald Trump's ear, I'd urge him to declare this coming Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2017, a day of remembrance and order that flags be flown at half-staff on all federal buildings. Why? It will be the anniversary of what must have been a most traumatic day for mainstream media people and the political pundits they interviewed. I am not a psychologist; however, I did take several courses in psychology and sociology as an undergraduate. Thus, I have enough training to analyze the continuing trauma resulting from last year's presidential election.
    Days before the election, ABC News anchor George Stephanopoulos gleefully asked his guests about it. All except one predicted an Electoral College and popular vote landslide for Hillary Clinton (http://tinyurl.com/yaxyu44u). On one MSNBC talk show, the panelists predicted a historic defeat for Donald Trump (http://tinyurl.com/y9gbjfw9). MSNBC host Rachel Maddow confidently and laughingly made predictions about Trump's trouncing defeat at the hands of Clinton (http://tinyurl.com/ycj838aj). Not to be left out, there were Republicans who confidently predicted that Trump wouldn't even win the party's nomination, much less the presidency (http://tinyurl.com/y9ggevqv).
    There were many other highly confident election predictions of Trump's defeat all over the internet and in the media, both national and international. Take the gleeful discussion between Maddow and Chris Matthews just prior to the election (http://tinyurl.com/h3sk6ef). It would have to be pure torture to make them watch their pre-election broadcasts.
    Then, as election returns began to come in, showing Trump becoming the next president, there were many instances of emotional crackups. If you check out the internet, you will find dozens of instances featuring people crying and screaming and cursing the election results (http://tinyurl.com/y8pp7zuu). Some colleges responded to Trump's victory by having cry-ins and primal screams. Some provided their students with therapy dogs, coloring books, Play-Doh and videos of playful kittens and puppies, as well as serving snacks such as tea and chocolate. Some college administrators encouraged or allowed faculty to cancel or postpone exams because of the election results.
    Certain people have come up with a name for the ongoing liberal response to Clinton's defeat. They call it Trump derangement syndrome. I might point out that it's not only leftist Democrats who are in a tizzy over the election results but also quite a few establishment Republicans. Evidence of continuing Trump derangement syndrome can be found in the calls for his impeachment by members of Congress such as Maxine Waters, Al Green and Brad Sherman. There is a treatment for TDS. Instead of watching MSNBC, CNN, ABC News, NBC News and CBS News, one can turn to Fox News Channel and watch Bret Baier, Tucker Carlson and Sean Hannity. For newspapers, pick up The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Times or the Washington Examiner. Try listening to Rush Limbaugh's and Mark Levin's radio shows. By no means do I recommend that liberals go cold turkey on the mainstream media. They should start out by listening to conservative media for only about five minutes per day to avoid shock. I !
am normally against any kind of insurance for a pre-existing medical condition, but I'd make an exception for TDS.
    Finally, when I think of some of the wacky presidential predictions, my mind immediately turns to 1997, when the comet Hale-Bopp appeared. Art Bell's paranormal radio talk show, "Coast to Coast AM," claimed that a spacecraft was following the comet. That inspired 39 members of a San Diego cult named Heaven's Gate, who believed that their souls could escape the doomed Earth on the spacecraft, to kill themselves. Unfortunately for the predictors of Clinton's landslide win over Trump, they haven't been spared the embarrassment of being wrong.
    Walter E. Williams is a professor of economics at George Mason University. To find out more about Walter E. Williams and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate webpage at www.creators.com.
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