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        It's bad enough when leftists smear capitalism. I hate it more when capitalists do it, too.
        I'd hoped for more from the world's current richest man, Jeff Bezos.
        I love the service he created. Amazon lets me buy Christmas gifts right from my couch. Its prices are so low that the Fed chairman says Amazon probably lowered America's inflation rate.
        Entrepreneur Jeff Bezos is a hero. He created lots of jobs and better service, and he and his investors pay billions in taxes.
        So I got angry when I saw Sen. Bernie Sanders' opportunistic fundraising letters condemning Bezos because some of his workers are eligible for food stamps. "In ten seconds," whined Sanders, Bezos makes "more money than the median employee of Amazon makes in an entire year."
        Well, at least Bezos will stand up for himself and the free market system that created his wealth, right?
        At first, he did. Amazon called the criticisms "inaccurate" and "misleading." It's not the company's fault that some workers qualify for handouts. More people would collect them if Amazon did not hire. By creating jobs, Bezos gives workers better choices.
        But the anti-capitalist media don't report that. They called Amazon a "sweatshop" and "cutthroat corporate jungle."
        So Amazon, to my disappointment, caved.
        The company announced it would pay all its workers at least $15 per hour. MSNBC anchors grinned with glee.
        Of course, the higher wage will be good for workers who still have jobs.
        But what progressives don't understand is that entry-level workers will be shut out. Poor people's lives are made worse when laws meant to protect them price them out of jobs.
        Those unhired workers are just as real, even if they're harder to see.
        My recent video on this features a restaurant manager who understands that she only got the opportunity to work because when she was a teenager, her boss could pay her much less. Had a higher minimum wage existed then, her labor would not have been worth it to the restaurant, and she would never have gotten a chance to work her way up the ladder.
        "Minimum wage jobs are an entry-level job to get someone some experience," says California restaurant manager Merv Crist. "Raise that high enough, you cut people out of the market completely!"
        That's not compassionate. Yet progressives talk as if a higher minimum wage lifts everyone.
        At least Amazon is just one company, and Bezos just one CEO. If he wants to pay his workers more, fine. Amazon will attract better job applicants.
        Beginners, kids, the disabled, etc. will still have other choices. They can get jobs elsewhere. Bezos was still a man to like.
        But then Amazon announced that it would lobby government to force everyone to pay what Amazon pays!
        This entrepreneur I admired turns out to be just another craven opportunist.
        Bezos knows a higher minimum wage will hurt his competitors more than it hurts him. Amazon has a lead in automation. He's already replacing some workers with robots.
        I suppose Bezos is just being clever: He'll use government to handcuff his rivals -- and then pat himself on the back and pander to progressives who believe a higher minimum wage spreads money with no ill effects.
        If American politicians are dumb enough to think they can raise wages by force, maybe a CEO has a fiduciary responsibility to his investors to pander to those politicians.
        Bezos has done this before.
        Amazon didn't just announce it would build a second headquarters. It started a competition to see which politicians would squeeze their taxpayers most. One city council even voted to grab land to create a new town called Amazon, Georgia, if the company moved there.
        That city should be grateful it wasn't chosen. Now taxpayers in New York City and Arlington County, Virginia, will subsidize Amazon's jobs.
        This is not good for taxpayers or capitalism.
        Politicians shouldn't pander to companies, and companies shouldn't pander to politicians. We need separation of shopping and state.
        Bezos should stick to innovating, not scheming with politicians.
        Sometimes the worst enemies of capitalism are capitalists.
        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

        How appropriate would it be for a major publicly held American company to hire a person with a history of having publicly made the following statements and many others like them? (In the interest of brevity, I shall list only four.) "The world could get by just fine with zero black people." "It's kind of sick how much joy I get out of being cruel to old black men." "Dumbass f---ing black people marking up the internet with their opinions like dogs pissing on fire hydrants." "Are black people genetically predisposed to burn faster in the sun, thus logically only being fit to live underground like groveling bilious goblins?"
        I think most Americans would find such blatant racism despicable and would condemn any company that knowingly hired such a person. Leftists of every stripe would be in an uproar, demanding the dismissal of such an employee. College students and their professors would picket any company that hired such a person. I could be wrong about this, so I'd truly like any employer who'd hire such a person to come forward.
        Most Americans would see such statements as racist, but consider this: Suppose we slightly changed the wording of each statement, replacing the word "black" with "white." For example, "The world could get by just fine with zero white people." Would you consider that statement to be just as racist? I would hope you'd answer in the affirmative. They're all racist statements!
        The full scoop on those statements can be found in an excellent essay by William Voegeli, "Racism, Revised," in the fall edition of the Claremont Review of Books. The racist statements about white people were made by Sarah Jeong, one of the newest members of The New York Times' editorial board. Jeong attended the University of California, Berkeley and Harvard Law School. She decided to become a journalist specializing in technology and the internet. She has an active Twitter account with over 97,000 followers.
        One person excused Jeong's tweets by saying they "were not racist" but merely "jokes about white people." Leftists have been taught utter nonsense by their college professors. The most insidious lesson taught is who can and who cannot be a racist. Jeong was born in South Korea in 1988 and became a U.S. citizen in 2017, so she is a minority. According to the thinking of academia's intellectual elite, a minority person cannot be a racist. The reason is that minorities don't have the political, economic and institutional power to adversely affect the lives of whites.
        Such reasoning is beyond stupid. Here's a test. Is the following statement racist? "Jews are money-hungry hustlers." Before you answer, must you first find out the race of the person making the statement? Would you suggest that it's not a racist statement if the speaker is black but it is if he's white?
        Voegeli says that calling someone "racist" is one of the most severe accusations that can be made against a person but at the same time is among the vaguest. Years ago, one had to don a hood and robe to be a certified racist. Today, it's much easier. Tucker Carlson of Fox News questioned whether diversity is all that it's cracked up to be. He asked: "How, precisely, is diversity our strength? Can you think, for example, of other institutions, such as ... marriage or military units, in which the less people have in common the more cohesive they are?" The Washington Post's media critic declared that it was racist for Carlson to cast doubt on the proposition that diversity is good.
        Voegeli's article is rich with many other examples of how lots of Americans are losing their minds in matters of race (http://tinyurl.com/yd8fhe9f). Muhammad Ali had it right when he said: "Hating people because of their color is wrong. And it doesn't matter which color does the hating. It's just plain 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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by John Stossel

        Struggling to find gifts to get for loved ones? How about a book?
        I just made a video about some books that shaped my thinking.
        First, Friedrich Hayek's "Road to Serfdom" recounts how government trying to centrally plan an economy often leads to tyranny.
        Government shouldn't intervene, wrote Hayek, because a free market, like a school of fish or a flock of birds, creates a spontaneous order. No central planner will allocate resources as efficiently as individuals do themselves.
        For arguing that, Hayek was ridiculed. But years later, even defenders of socialism conceded that he was right.
        With "democratic socialism" newly popular and celebrities like Jim Carrey saying, "We have to say yes to socialism -- to the word and everything!" today is a great time to give "Road to Serfdom" to your socialist friends.
        If only they'd read it...
        Of course, "Road to Serfdom" is written in old-fashioned language that some people find tough going. A simpler, more America-focused book from which to learn about economics is Thomas Sowell's "Basic Economics."
        Sowell writes in plain English, without graphs or equations. Not only will Sowell educate your socialist friends, he'll show Donald Trump fans why free trade is good.
        Two even easier-to-read introductions to economics and free market philosophy are the cartoon-filled "Libertarianism for Beginners" by Todd Seavey and "Give Me a Break," written by an ignorant anti-business reporter (me) who finally discovered the benefits of markets.
        But promoting those would be self-serving (Todd helps me write this column) so I won't even mention those fine books. I'll move on.
        Prefer fiction?
        How about "Animal Farm" for the animals in your family? George Orwell describes how farm animals revolt against an abusive human master -- only to end up ruled by new tyrants, the pigs.
        "Animal Farm" was meant to be an allegory for the Russian revolution turning into Soviet tyranny, but it could just as easily apply to today's America if populists get their way.
        Another fun read is Ayn Rand's "Atlas Shrugged." It's long -- more than a thousand pages -- but easy reading because the novel pulls you along, describing how cultural bias against capitalism and love of big government grows.
        Rand depicts creeping government oppression so convincingly that it feels like she's describing America today.
        Rand argues that government isn't just inefficient; it's evil because it violates property rights and tells people how to live their lives. Government is like a looter or burglar, she wrote.
        Today's media, by contrast, call capitalists looters and burglars. Years ago, the media called the most successful of them "robber barons."
        A book by Burton W. Folsom, "Myth of the Robber Barons," debunks those myths. It explains that capitalists such as John D. Rockefeller and Cornelius Vanderbilt were neither robbers nor barons. They were not born rich, and they did not get rich by robbing people. They got rich by creating better things.
        Rockefeller lowered the price of kerosene so much that it allowed poor people to read at night.
        He probably even "saved the whales." That's because once Rockefeller made oil cheap, killing whales to get whale oil was no longer profitable. Bet your kids won't learn that in environmental studies class.
        "Robber baron" Cornelius Vanderbilt didn't rob people. He made steamship travel faster and cheaper. It was jealous competitors who called him a "robber baron" because he charged lower prices than they did. The ignorant media picked up the term, and it stuck.
        Finally, another great introduction to freedom is the book "Free to Choose," in which Milton and Rose Friedman explain how limiting government creates prosperity.
        Friedman reportedly joked that if you put the federal government in charge of the Sahara Desert, in five years there'd be a shortage of sand.
        In the TV series accompanying "Free to Choose" he argued, "We somehow or other have to find a way to prevent government from continuing to grow and continuing to take over more and more control over our lives."
        Well, we've failed at that!
        But at Stossel TV, we won't quit trying. Those books should help.
        I hope my columns help a little bit, too. Happy holidays!
        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 John Stossel

    This morning Google told me that it would not allow my YouTube video "Socialism Leads to Violence" to be viewed by young people. It violates "community guidelines," said the company in a computer-generated email.
    Anti-capitalist bias? Or just an algorithm shielding children from disturbing violence in Venezuela? I don't know.
    But a new documentary, "The Creepy Line," argues that companies like Google and Facebook lean left and have power they shouldn't have.
    The title "Creepy Line" refers to a comment by former Google chairman Eric Schmidt, who said when it comes to issues like privacy, Google policy "is to get right up to the creepy line but not cross it."
    But the documentary argues that Google crosses that creepy line every day.
    Google's power comes from its dominant search engine. We assume that whatever appears at the top of our searches is the "best" or most popular result.
    But is it?
    "It is a company that has an agenda," the writer of "The Creepy Line," Peter Schweizer, says in my latest video.
    Google executives do give much more money to Democrats than Republicans. Eric Schmidt even advised Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign.
    "Their ability to manipulate the algorithm is something that they've demonstrated," says Schweizer, and last election Google put positive stories about Hillary Clinton higher in Google searches.
    But that doesn't prove Google bias. It could be because the media lean left, and "unbiased" algorithms rely on links to popular media.
    "But they're not using unbiased algorithms to do things like search for unacceptable content," says psychologist Jordan Peterson in the documentary. "They're built specifically to filter out whatever's bad."
    True. Mark Zuckerberg testified that Facebook actively filters out "hate speech, terrorist content, nudity, anything that makes people feel unsafe."
    Human "content monitors" do some of that censoring, and some of them despise conservatives. A former Facebook employee reported that the human censors sometimes ignored stories trending among Facebook users if the stories came from a conservative website.
    Google's censors briefly shut down Jordan Peterson's Gmail and blocked his YouTube channel (Google owns YouTube).
    "That's a real problem," says Peterson in "The Creepy Line." "You come to rely on these things, and when the plug is pulled suddenly, that puts a big hole into your life."
    It does. My TV channel, "Stossel TV," will survive if YouTube won't let young people watch some of my videos, but it's a big setback.
    My purpose in making the videos is to reach kids, to educate them about the benefits of free markets. It's why I started StosselInTheClassroom.org, a nonprofit that provides videos, plus teachers' guides, free to teachers.
    If Google and Facebook decide adults should be "protected" from seeing those videos, too, then "Stossel TV" will go dark.
    As Peterson says in the documentary, "Whatever the assumptions are that Google operates under are going to be the filters that determine how the world is simplified and presented."
    We asked Google and Facebook to reply to accusations of censorship made by "The Creepy Line" and to explain why YouTube restricted my anti-socialism video but allows other videos that include violence. So far, they haven't replied to questions about bias, but right before this column's deadline, Google emailed us saying they will remove the age restriction on my video. Good.
    If social media companies do censor, what can be done about it?
    "Put them under the same shackles as other media companies," Peter Schweizer told me.
    Shackles? But that's not good. Regulation means innovators must ask bureaucrats for permission to try new things.
    It's no accident that wonderful services like Google and Facebook (I do love them -- despite what they may do to me) were developed in the parts of America farthest from Washington, D.C. It was all "permissionless" innovation.
    Certainly, politicians aren't qualified to regulate the internet. When a congressional committee grilled Facebook's Zuckerberg, Sen. Orrin Hatch didn't even know that Facebook funds itself with ads. "How do you sustain a business model in which users don't pay for your service?" he asked.
    I don't presume to know what, if anything, should be done to make sure Facebook and Google "don't do evil."
    I assume government, as usual, should do nothing. Market competition may address the problem.
    But "The Creepy Line" makes a compelling case that a small number of people at a few Silicon Valley companies have tremendous power to do creepy things.
    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

    A recent Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation survey found that 51 percent of American millennials would rather live in a socialist or communist country than in a capitalist country. Only 42 percent prefer the latter (http://tinyurl.com/ybsejy3f). Twenty-five percent of millennials who know who Vladimir Lenin was view him favorably. Lenin was the first premier of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. Half of millennials have never heard of Communist Mao Zedong, who ruled China from 1949 to 1976 and was responsible for the deaths of 45 million Chinese people.
    The number of people who died at the hands of Josef Stalin may be as high as 62 million. However, almost one-third of millennials think former President George W. Bush is responsible for more killings than Stalin (http://tinyurl.com/yb43dlhm). By the way, Adolf Hitler, head of the National Socialist German Workers' Party, was responsible for the deaths of about 20 million people. The Nazis come in as a poor third in terms of history's most prolific mass murderers. According to professor Rudolph Rummel's research, the 20th century, mankind's most brutal century, saw 262 million people's lives destroyed at the hands of their own governments (http://tinyurl.com/lu8z8ab).
    Young people who weren't alive during World War II and its Cold War aftermath might be forgiven for not knowing the horrors of socialism. Some of their beliefs represent their having been indoctrinated by their K-12 teachers and college professors. There was such leftist hate for former President George W. Bush that it's not out of the question that those 32 percent of millennials were taught by their teachers and professors that Bush murdered more people than Stalin.
    America's communists, socialists and Marxists have little knowledge of socialist history. Bradley Birzer, a professor of history at Hillsdale College, explains this in an article for The American Conservative titled "Socialists and Fascists Have Always Been Kissing Cousins." Joseph Goebbels wrote in 1925, "It would be better for us to end our existence under Bolshevism than to endure slavery under capitalism." This Nazi sentiment might be shared by Sen. Bernie Sanders and his comrade Rep.-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Goebbels added, "I think it is terrible that we and the Communists are bashing in each other's heads" (http://tinyurl.com/yd4lqxvs).
    When the tragedies of socialist regimes -- such as those in Venezuela, the USSR, China, Cuba and many others -- are pointed out to America's leftists, they hold up Sweden as their socialist role model. But they are absolutely wrong about Sweden. Johan Norberg points this out in his documentary "Sweden: Lessons for America?" Americans might be surprised to learn that Sweden's experiment with socialism was a relatively brief flirtation, lasting about 20 years and ending in disillusionment and reform (http://tinyurl.com/lvdwzhr). Reason magazine reports: "Sweden began rolling back government in the early 1990s, recapturing the entrepreneurial spirit that made it a wealthy country to begin with. High taxation and a generous array of government benefits are still around. But now it's also a nation of school vouchers, free trade, open immigration, light business regulation, and no minimum wage laws." School vouchers, light business regulation and no minimum wage laws are practice!
s deeply offensive to America's leftists.
    Our young people are not the first Americans to admire tyrants and cutthroats. W.E.B. Du Bois, writing in the National Guardian in 1953, said, "Stalin was a great man; few other men of the 20th century approach his stature." Walter Duranty called Stalin "the greatest living statesman" and "a quiet, unobtrusive man." There was even leftist admiration for Hitler and fellow fascist Benito Mussolini. When Hitler came to power in January 1933, George Bernard Shaw described him as "a very remarkable man, a very able man." President Franklin Roosevelt called Mussolini "admirable," and he was "deeply impressed by what he (had) accomplished." In 1972, John Kenneth Galbraith visited Communist China and praised Mao and the Chinese economic system. His Harvard University colleague John K. Fairbank believed that America could learn much from the Cultural Revolution, saying, "Americans may find in China's collective life today an ingredient of personal moral concern for one's neighbor th!
at has a lesson for us all."
    Are Americans who admire the world's most brutal regimes miseducated or stupid? Or do they have some kind of devious agenda?
    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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