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by Walter E. Williams

       If one needed evidence of the gross ignorance of millennials, and their teachers and college professors, it's their solid support for socialism and socialist presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders. Socialism has produced tragedy wherever it has been implemented. Last year marked the 40th anniversary of nearly 1,000 Americans perishing in a mass suicide/murder in the jungles of Guyana. Just as Sanders and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez see socialism as mankind's salvation, so, too, did Rev. Jim Jones, who told his followers, "God is Socialism, and I am Principle Socialism, and that's what makes me God."

        Perhaps the most disastrous failing of our educational system and the news media is that people are neither required nor encouraged to test ideas against facts. The promises of socialism sound wonderful and caring, but in reality, wherever it has been tried it has been a true disaster. Let's examine the history of socialism.

        During the first three decades of the 20th century, Argentina was one of the world's top-10 richest nations. It was ahead of Canada and Australia in total and per capita income. After Juan Peron's ideas, captured in his economic creed that he called "national socialism," became a part of Argentina's life, the country fell into economic chaos. Today it has fallen to 25th in terms of GDP.

        Nicolas Maduro, an avowed socialist, has turned oil-rich Venezuela into a place where there are shortages of everything from toilet paper to beer, where electricity keeps shutting down, and where there are long lines of people hoping to get food. Some people are eating their pets and feeding their children from garbage bins. Socialism has crippled Venezuela's once-thriving economy. Today, Venezuela is among the world's most tragically poor countries.

        Socialism can be tested by doing a few side-by-side country comparisons. After Germany's defeat in WWII, it was divided into socialist East Germany and capitalist West Germany. West Germans had far greater income, wealth and human rights protections. In large numbers, East Germans tried to flee to West Germany, so much so that the East German government set up deadly mines and other traps to prevent escape. Few, if any, West Germans tried to flee to East Germany, and the West German government spent no resources preventing its citizens from leaving.

        Then there's North Korea and South Korea. North Korea's nominal per capita GDP is only 3.6 percent of South Korea's nominal per capita GDP of $23,838. There are few human rights protections for North Koreans. North Korea, like East Germany, has set up deadly mines and other traps to prevent its citizens from escaping.

        The key features of a free market system are private property rights and private ownership of the means of production. By contrast, socialist systems feature severely limited private property rights and government ownership or control of the means of production.

        There has never been a purely free market economic system, just as there has never been a purely socialist/communist system. Let's do an experiment. First, rank countries according to whether they are closer to the free market or the communist end of the economic spectrum. Then, rank countries according to per capita gross domestic product. Finally, rank countries according to Freedom House's "Freedom in the World" report.

        Here's our finding: People who live in countries closer to the free market end of the economic spectrum not only have far greater income and wealth than people who live in countries toward the communist end; they also enjoy far greater human rights protections. Moreover, it's the socialist nations that have murdered tens of millions of their own citizens such as the case with the former USSR and China.

        Sanders and other socialists hold Denmark as their dream, but Prime Minister Lars Lekke Rasmussen said: "I know that some people in the U.S. associate the Nordic model with some sort of socialism. Therefore I would like to make one thing clear. Denmark is far from a socialist planned economy. Denmark is a market economy." Scandinavian socialism is a myth.

        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

        Please, regulate me!

        That was Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg's message to Congress recently.

        "Lawmakers often tell me we have too much power over speech, and frankly I agree," he wrote in an op-ed. "(W)e shouldn't make so many important decisions ... on our own."

        It sounds so self-sacrificing.

        But give me a break. Big companies use regulation to their advantage.

        His smaller competitors can't afford the squads of "compliance officers" that Facebook employs.

        "You, as a company, welcome regulation?" Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., asked Zuckerberg during a congressional hearing.

        "If it's the right regulation, then yes," replied the CEO.

        "Would you work with us in terms of what regulations you think are necessary in your industry?"

        "Absolutely," replied Zuckerberg.

        Zuckerberg's no dope. He sees which way the wind is blowing. He issued his plea to be regulated after receiving months of criticism from politicians.

        If he cooperates early and enthusiastically, Facebook is likely to get to work with the regulators to shape the rules.

        This is sad for two reasons.

        One, the First Amendment says Congress "shall make no law ... abridging the freedom of speech." I'd think Zuckerberg would know that, but no, he called for government to "require companies to build systems for keeping harmful content to a bare minimum."

        Currently, his own website is a wonderful forum for all kinds of useful speech. There's hateful speech, too, but it's the private company's job to decide whether to police that, not government's.

        The second reason Facebook working with regulators is sad is that if anyone should fight for permissionless, unregulated innovation, it should be people like Mark Zuckerberg.

        It's no accident that the amazing wealth creation that brought us Facebook, Google, Instagram, Microsoft, Amazon, etc., happened in the two big metropolitan areas farthest from Washington, D.C.

        As Yaron Brook, chairman of the Ayn Rand Institute, says: "Microsoft in the early 1990s was the largest company in the world, incredibly successful. They spent exactly zero dollars on lobbying, on cronyism, on lawyers. They had no presence in Washington, D.C. -- not a single lawyer, not a single building."

        Instead of investing in lawyers and lobbyists, Microsoft spent money on technology.

        But then the sleepy codgers in Washington, D.C., noticed Microsoft's success.

        "They were literally brought in front of Congress," recounts Brook, "yelled at by a Republican, Orrin Hatch from Utah. He said, 'You guys need to get involved here in Washington, D.C. You need to build a building here, hire lawyers here.' ... The unspoken text: 'You need to bribe me.'"

        The company didn't immediately obey.

        "Microsoft said, you know what? You leave us alone," says Brook. "We're busy. We're running the biggest company in the world. There's a lot to do!"

        But that wasn't the end of it.

        "Six months later, knock on the door at Microsoft: 'We're from the Justice Department and we're here to prosecute you because you're offering ... customers a product for free,'" paraphrases Brook. "Internet Explorer. At a time when (customers) were paying money for Netscape, they offered it for free."

        The government called that a violation of anti-trust law. Free services might make Microsoft too popular.

        "For 10 years they had to fight that lawsuit," says Brook. "They lost. They got regulated. They got controlled. Guess how much Microsoft spends today in Washington, D.C.? Tens of millions of dollars."

        A company that should focus on pleasing customers had to start thinking more about pleasing government.

        Today, "they have a beautiful building about equal distance from the White House and from Congress. They have lawyers, lobbyists, they spend a lot of money," says Brook, "and indeed a lot of other tech companies like Google learned the lesson."

        The lesson is that if you don't want politicians destroying your business, you must go to Washington to give them money. Kiss their rings.

        "A lot of the lobbying and so-called cronyism," explains Brook, "is self-defense."

        Yes, Zuckerberg is acting in self-defense, but it's still ugly. And this crony capitalism is a threat to future innovation. Entrepreneurs will learn to do things government's way instead of heeding the market.

        "If we really want to end cronyism, reduce the power of politicians over our lives," argues Brook, correctly. "Separate economics from state."

        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

        Sometimes, during my drive to work, I listen to Clarence Maurice Mitchell IV, host of the Baltimore's WBAL C4 radio show. Mitchell was formerly a member of Maryland's House of Delegates and its Senate. In recent weeks, Mitchell has been talking about the terrible crime situation in Baltimore. In 2018, there were 308 homicides. So far this year, there have been 69. That's in a 2018 population of 611,648 -- down from nearly a million in 1950. The city is pinning its hopes to reduce homicides and other crime on new Police Commissioner Michael Harrison.
        Another hot news item in Baltimore is the fact that Johns Hopkins University wants to hire 100 armed police officers to patrol its campuses, hospital and surrounding neighborhoods. The hospital president, Dr. Redonda Miller testified in Annapolis hearings that patients and employees are "scared when they walk home, they're scared when they walk to their cars."
        Philadelphia's Temple University police department is the largest university police force in the United States, with 130 campus police officers, including supervisors and detectives.
        In 1957, I attended night school at Temple University. There was little or no campus police presence. I am sure that people who attended Johns Hopkins, University of Chicago, and other colleges in or adjacent to black neighborhoods during the '40s, '50s and earlier weren't in an armed camp. In the nation's largest school districts that serve predominantly black youngsters, school police outnumber, sometimes by large margins, school counseling staffs. Again, something entirely new. I attended predominantly black Philadelphia schools from 1942 to 1954. The only time we saw a policeman in school was during an assembly where we had to listen to a boring lecture on safety. Today, Philadelphia schools have hired more than 350 police officers. What has happened to get us to this point? Will hiring more police officers and new police chiefs have much of an impact on crime?
        No doubt hiring more and better trained police officers will have some impact on criminal and disorderly behavior -- but not much unless we create a police state. The root of the problem, particularly among black Americans, is the breakdown of the family unit where fathers are absent. In 1938, 11 percent of blacks were born to unmarried women. By 1965, that number had grown to 25 percent. Now it's about 75 percent. Even during slavery, when marriage between blacks was illegal, a higher percentage of black children were raised by their biological mothers and fathers than today. In 1940, 86 percent of black children were born inside marriage. Today, only 35 percent of black children are born inside marriage. Having no father in the home has a serious impact. Children with no father in the home are five times more likely to be poor and commit crime, nine times more likely to drop out of school and 20 times more likely to be in prison.
        Our generous welfare system, in effect, allows women to marry the government. Plus, there is shortage of marriageable black men because they've dropped out of school, wound up in jail and haven't much of a future. Unfortunately, many blacks followed the advice of white liberal academics such as Johns Hopkins professor Andrew Cherlin who in the 1960s argued that "the most detrimental aspect of the absence of fathers from one-parent families is not the lack of a male presence but the lack of male income" Cherlin's vision suggested that fathers were unimportant and if black females "married the government"; black fathers would be redundant.
        Most of today's major problems encountered by black people have little or nothing to do with racial discrimination and a legacy of slavery. People who make those excuses are doing a grave disservice to black people. The major problems black people face are not amenable to political solutions and government anti-poverty programs. If they were, then they'd be solved by the more than $20 trillion dollars nation has spent on poverty programs since 1965. As comic strip character Pogo said, "We have met the enemy and he is us."
        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

        I skipped breakfast again this morning. I won't worry about it.
        Yes, I've heard the advice. "It's the most important meal of the day." It balances blood sugar levels, kick-starts your metabolism, stimulates the brain, etc.
        A Harvard University study said men who regularly skip breakfast have a 27 percent higher risk of suffering a heart attack. 27 percent!
        But I'm not worried, because I now know there's no proof that skipping breakfast causes heart attacks or any other problem.
        In my latest video, nutritionist Dr. Ruth Kava points out that just about all the claims about breakfast being especially important are unproven.
        Those Harvard researchers actually say it "remains unknown whether specific eating habits ... influence ... heart disease risk."
        Strokes and heart attack news persists in part because people who skip breakfast tend to have other bad habits, like smoking.
        But the breakfast bunk keeps coming.
        Several years ago, the government announced that skipping breakfast may make you fat. Of course, the media jumped on that one. "Missing breakfast tricks your brain into thinking you want higher-calorie foods," says WebMD.
        "Far from making you fat, breakfast actually helps activate your metabolism so you start burning fat," says StepToHealth.com.
        But it's not true, shows a new analysis by the British Medical Journal.
        "They looked on a number of different studies, and they did not find that eating breakfast ... helped people lose weight," says Kava.
        The government has backed away from its claim.
        Why did researchers and the government get it so wrong?
        Partly because eating habits are hard to study. You can't follow test subjects for years, continuously controlling what they eat.
        So, many studies are based on what people say they ate. Some people forget. Or lie.
        Many of us have been suckered by studies funded by cereal makers. Five of 15 studies mentioned by the government in its breakfast push were funded by General Mills or Kellogg.
        "Yeah, well, they're the ones that are interested in having their products sold," says Kava.
        On its cereal boxes, Kellogg touted that study that found people who didn't eat breakfast could lose weight by starting to eat cereal or breads for breakfast instead of skipping breakfast altogether or eating meat and eggs.
        "Don't get your nutrition education from cereal boxes," says Kava.
        In fairness, cereal companies don't always try to spin the results. One study funded by Quaker Oats found skipping breakfast was associated with weight loss in people who were overweight. Instead of ignoring the result, Quaker Oats actively pushed the researchers to publish the data.
        Even cereal boxes might be better sources of information than television, though.
        "Sesame Street" is more reliable than most shows, but even there, Michelle Obama told Grover he was probably tired because he hadn't had a "healthy breakfast!"
        While it's true that a hungry child may not do well in school, Obama tells Grover, "Everybody should have a healthy breakfast."
        Not true. You need nourishment, but there's no good evidence it has to come at a specific time of day.
        "Eat breakfast if you're hungry. If not, eat a little later," advises Kava.
        Of course, the key to good health isn't just to do whatever you feel like doing. Our appetites can lead us astray. Smoking kills. Some tempting foods are unhealthy.
        But years of consumer reporting have taught me that moderation and common sense are better guides than the hyped warnings from government and the media.
        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

        Federal prosecutors have charged more than 50 people involved in cheating and bribery in order to get their children admitted to some of the nation's most prestigious colleges and universities such as Georgetown, Yale, Stanford, University of Texas, University of Southern California and UCLA. They often paid more than $100,000 to rig SAT or ACT exams. In some instances, they bribed college officials and secured their children's admissions to elite schools through various fraud schemes. As corrupt and depraved as these recent revelations are, they are only the tip of the iceberg of generalized college corruption and gross dishonesty.
        According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 70 percent of white high school graduates in 2016 enrolled in college, and 58 percent of black high school graduates enrolled in college. However, that year only 37 percent of white high school graduates tested as college-ready but colleges admitted 70 percent of them. Roughly 17 percent of black high school graduates tested as college-ready but colleges admitted 58 percent of them.
        About 40 percent of college freshmen must take at least one remedial course. To deal with ill-prepared students, professors dumb down their courses so that students can get passing grades. Colleges also set up majors with little or no academic content so as to accommodate students with limited academic abilities. Such majors often include the term "studies": ethnic studies, cultural studies, gender studies or American studies. The major selected by the most ill-prepared students, sadly enough, is education. When students' SAT scores are ranked by intended major, education majors place 26th on a list of 38.
        One gross example of administrative dishonesty surfaced at the University of North Carolina. A learning specialist hired to help UNC athletes found that 60 percent of the 183 members of the football and basketball teams read between fourth- and eighth-grade levels. About 10 percent read below a third-grade level. These athletes both graduated from high school and were admitted to UNC. More than likely, UNC is not alone in these practices because sports are the money-making center of many colleges.
        It's nearly impossible to listen to college presidents, provosts and other administrators talk for more than 15 minutes or so before the words diversity and inclusion drop from their lips. But there's a simple way to determine just how committed they are to their rhetoric. Ask your average college president, provost or administrator whether he bothers promoting political diversity among faculty. I'll guarantee that if he is honest -- or even answers the question -- he will say he doesn't believe in that kind of diversity and inclusion. According to a recent study, professors who are registered Democrats outnumber their Republican counterparts by a 12-1 ratio. In some departments, such as history, Democratic registered professors outnumber their Republican counterparts by a 33-1 ratio.
        The fact is that when college presidents and their coterie talk about diversity and inclusion, they're talking mostly about pleasing mixtures of race and sex. Years ago, their agenda was called affirmative action, racial preferences or racial quotas. These terms fell out of favor and usage as voters approved initiatives banning choosing by race and courts found solely race-based admissions unconstitutional. People had to repackage their race-based agenda and call it diversity and inclusion. Some were bold enough to argue that "diversity" produces educational benefits to all students, including white students. Nobody has bothered to scientifically establish just what those benefits are. For example, does a racially diverse undergraduate student body lead to higher scores on graduate admissions tests such as the GRE, LSAT and MCAT? By the way, Israel, Japan and South Korea are among the world's least racially diverse nations. In terms of academic achievement, their students r!
 un circles around diversity-crazed Americans.
      I'm not sure about what can be done about education. But the first step toward any solution is for the American people to be aware of academic fraud that occurs at every level of education.
        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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