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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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by John Stossel

        Seven academic journals were recently hoaxed into publishing ridiculous studies on topics like "rape culture and queer performativity" in dog parks.
        The editor of only one of the journals, Roberto Refinetti of Sexuality and Culture, agreed to talk to me about the hoax and whether academics learned anything from being duped.
        The hoaxers had said their experiment showed that "making absurd and horrible ideas sufficiently politically fashionable can get them validated at the highest levels of academic grievance studies."
        Refinetti says the experiment proved nothing. "You're deceiving people without much of a reason."
        I told him I thought the hoaxers had good reason. "Their hoax woke us up to the fact that some academic journals publish nonsense."
        The paper Refinetti's journal accepted, called "Going in Through the Back Door," claimed to show you can reduce "straight male homo-hysteria and transphobia through receptive, penetrative sex toy use."
        "It's not your everyday article," replied Refinetti in my new video about the hoax, but he says Sexuality and Culture "is a specialized journal that deals with sexuality and culture."
        Why publish this particular paper, which claims penetration by sex toys "will decrease transphobia and increase feminist values"?
        "What is the problem with that?" asked Refinetti. "It is a statement that could be correct. It's nothing really absurd or unusual."
        But if it only "could" be correct and it's not unusual, why publish it?
        "That's an issue in publication. That's the specialization. We've been doing that for maybe 100 years," responds Refinetti.
        Seems silly, I suggest.
        "What is silly? Is the respiration mechanism in an ant not silly?" countered Refinetti.
        "But that's facts," I tell him. "It breathes this way or that way. This is speculation."
        "Is it a speculation? If it were just a statement, a thesis not tested, we wouldn't do anything with it," replied Refinetti.
        To help them decide what to publish, journals submit papers to "expert" reviewers.
        In the case of the bogus sex toy study, Refinetti's reviewer wrote, "I'm just overwhelmed, which is a sign of a marvelous paper."
        I suggested to Refinetti that his reviewer was an idiot.
        "They made up data that he or she wished he had! So he says, wow, these people did a study that I wanted to do, and they got the results that I thought should be there!" answered Refinetti, seeing no problem.
        It would be more obvious that claims in hoax papers like that were silly if the academics wrote in plain English instead of pretentious and politically loaded language. This is from the dog rape paper: "Inferring from the lessons relevant to human and dog interactions to suggest practical applications that disrupt hegemonic masculinities."
        "That's one thing they like these days, disrupt masculinities. I don't like that concept," said Refinetti.
        "Is there such a bias here that, instead of knowledge, we're just putting political correctness?" he asked, basically rephrasing my question. "In some areas, that is the case, but that's my feeling. I wouldn't do anything until I can document it."
        Refinetti pointed out to me that many things society once considered ridiculous or unworthy of study are now accepted.
        "Let's question our assumptions... When homosexuality was considered a mental illness, people pushed (back). Psychiatrists got together and said, it's a perfectly fine thing to choose, and not to call it mental illness. That's the type of thing that a journal in sexuality and culture does: discuss."
        To discuss is good. 
        But today, journals of this sort seem to be mostly advocacy disguised with obscure academic jargon. They're filled with words such as bropropriating, otherization, performativity, androcentrism, matrix of domination, ableism, kyriarchy, intersectionality, etc.
        The hoax article Refinetti accepted said, "Some feminists assert the dildo was an oppressive tool of the patriarchy."
        "Ah, the jargon," he replied. "(But) it's just describing that some women think that using the dildo is a man's idea," said Refinetti. "That is a correct statement."
        I assume it is.
        But like so much of what today's academics write, and what journals treat as neutral science, it reinforces only one side of the political spectrum.
        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

    Do you pay enough taxes? What is enough?
    When asked on "60 Minutes," Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez didn't seem to have a specific tax rate in mind, but then she said, "back in the '60s ... you see tax rates as high as 60 or 70 percent."
    Suddenly, 70 percent tax rates are a progressive plan, although Rep. Ilhan Omar added, "We've had it as high as 90 percent."
    She's right.
    That was the top tax rate when I was a kid, and today, many Democrats say if we'd just raise rates on rich people, government would have plenty of money to pay for our wonderful programs.
    But it's a myth. What progressives don't say, perhaps because they don't know it, is what economic historian Dr. Phillip Magness explains in my new video: "No one actually paid anywhere close to those rates."
    For more than a decade, Magness has researched old taxes.
    He discovered that America's 90 percent tax bracket didn't bring in much extra money. That's because rich people found loopholes.
    Then, because of that, and because the high tax rates discouraged work, President Kennedy backed a bill that lowered the top rate to 70 percent.
    But it turned out that the 70 percent rate wasn't very real either.
    "A millionaire on average would pay 41 percent," says Magness, because of "all these deductions and exemptions and carve-outs that are intentionally baked into the tax code."
    If you look at newspapers of that time, you see ads promoting things like free $2,499 ocean cruises.
    "(B)asically take a vacation around the Caribbean," explains Magness, "but while you're onboard the ship you attend, say, an investing seminar or a real estate seminar, and then write off the trip."
    Some rich people bought musical instruments for their kids and deducted the cost because, say, a clarinet would supposedly provide "therapeutic treatment."
    Instead of investing in ideas that might create real wealth, rich people hired accountants to study the tax code.
    "Who can afford the best accountants? It's always the wealthy," says Magness.
    Today, our top tax rate is 37 percent. A dozen years after President Kennedy's tax cuts, Ronald Reagan proposed reducing the 70 percent rate, saying, "Our tax system could only be described as un-American."
    "Democrats actually agree with him," recounts Magness. "Reagan goes to the table and says, 'Let's make a deal ... cut the rates ... and in exchange, we'll consolidate the tax code."
    They did.
    Surprise -- the lower rates brought in just as much money.
    It turns out that tax revenue as a percentage of gross domestic product stays about the same no matter what the top bracket is. Higher tax rates don't necessarily get rich people to pay more taxes.
    "They'll change where they earn their income," economist Art Laffer told me about what he'd once said to President Reagan. "They'll change how they earn their income. They'll change how much they earn, when they receive the income. They'll change all of those things to minimize taxes."
    President Trump, who in some years paid zero income tax, understands that. Before he became president, I asked him about a proposed tax hike. "Look, the rich people are going to leave -- and other people are going to leave!" he told me. "You are going to end up with lots of people that don't produce. And then, that's the spiral. That's the end."
    That happened in Europe, recounts Magness: "France attempted a massive tax on its wealthiest earners. ... the business people left in a mass exodus from the country."
    But today's progressives are selective when they look at history. On TV, Ocasio-Cortez said, "Under Republican administration ... Dwight Eisenhower, we had 90 percent marginal tax rate."
    I asked Magness what would happen if the U.S. were to return to those rates -- while also eliminating the deductions that came with them.
      "You're asking for an economic disaster," he answered. "I ask the question: Do we leave (wealth) in the private sector where the market decides? Or do we subject it to corrupt politicians?"
    Please, let's leave most of America's wealth in private hands.
    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

    Some Americans have much higher income and wealth than others. Former President Barack Obama explained, "I do think at a certain point you've made enough money." An adviser to Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez who has a Twitter account called "Every Billionaire Is A Policy Failure" tweeted, "My goal for this year is to get a moderator to ask 'Is it morally appropriate for anyone to be a billionaire?'" Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Elizabeth Warren, in calling for a wealth tax, complained, "The rich and powerful are taking so much for themselves and leaving so little for everyone else."
    These people would have an argument if there were piles of money on the ground called income, with billionaires and millionaires surreptitiously getting to those piles first and taking their unfair shares. In that case, corrective public policy would require a redistribution of the income, wherein the ill-gotten gains of the few would be taken and returned to their rightful owners. The same could be said if there were a dealer of dollars who -- because of his being a racist, sexist, multinationalist and maybe a Republican -- didn't deal the dollars fairly. If he dealt millions to some and mere crumbs to others, decent public policy would demand a re-dealing of the dollars, or what some call income redistribution.
    You say, "Williams, that's lunacy." You're right. In a free society, people earn income by serving their fellow man. Here's an example: I mow your lawn, and you pay me $40. Then I go to my grocer and demand two six-packs of beer and 3 pounds of steak. In effect, the grocer says, "Williams, you are asking your fellow man to serve you by giving you beer and steak. What did you do to serve your fellow man?" My response is, "I mowed his lawn." The grocer says, "Prove it." That's when I produce the $40. We can think of the, say, two $20 bills as certificates of performance -- proof that I served my fellow man.
    A system that requires that one serve his fellow man to have a claim on what he produces is far more moral than a system without such a requirement. For example, Congress can tell me, "Williams, you don't have to get out in that hot sun to mow a lawn to have a claim on what your fellow man produces. Just vote for me, and through the tax code, I will take some of what your fellow man produces and give it to you."
    Let's look at a few multibillionaires to see whether they have served their fellow man well. Bill Gates, co-founder of Microsoft, with a net worth over $90 billion, is the second-richest person in the world. He didn't acquire that wealth through violence. Millions of people around the world voluntarily plucked down money to buy Microsoft products. That explains the great wealth of people such as Gates. They discovered what their fellow man wanted and didn't have, and they found out ways to effectively produce it. Their fellow man voluntarily gave them dollars. If Gates and others had followed President Obama's advice that "at a certain point" they'd "made enough money" and shut down their companies when they had earned their first billion or two, mankind wouldn't have most of the technological development we enjoy today.
    Take a look at the website Billionaire Mailing List's list of current billionaires (http://tinyurl.com/yd6mme37). On it, you will find people who have made great contributions to society. Way down on the list is Gordon Earle Moore -- co-founder of Intel. He has a net worth of $6 billion. In 1968, Moore developed and marketed the integrated circuit, or microchip, which is responsible for thousands of today's innovations, such as MRIs, advances in satellite technology and your desktop computer. Though Moore has benefited immensely from his development and marketing of the microchip, his benefit pales in comparison with how our nation and the world have benefited in terms of lives improved and saved by the host of technological innovations made possible by the microchip.
    The only people who benefit from class warfare are politicians and the elite; they get our money and control our lives. Plus, we just might ask ourselves: Where is a society headed that holds its most productive members up to ridicule and scorn and makes mascots out of its least productive and most parasitic members?
    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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