Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

The importance of the traditional family for income mobility

Michael Barone writes about a new report on the family by Nick Schultz of the American Enterprise Institute.

Excerpt:

[I]t is an uncomfortable truth that children of divorce and children with unmarried parents tend to do much worse in life than children of two-parent families.

(I’ll leave aside the sensitive issue of children of same-sex marriages, since these haven’t existed in a non-stigmatized atmosphere long enough to produce measurable results.)

As Schulz points out, that uncomfortable truth is not controversial among social scientists. It is affirmed by undoubted liberals such as Harvard’s David Ellwood and Christopher Jencks.

Growing up outside a two-parent family means not just lower incomes and less social mobility, Schulz argues.

It also reduces human capital — “the knowledge, education, habits, will power — all the internal stuff that is largely intangible a person has that helps produce an income.”

While children are born with certain innate capacities, those capacities can be broadened or narrowed by their upbringing.

The numbers indicate that single or divorced parents — however caring and dedicated — are unable, on average, to broaden those capacities as much as married parents can.

These differences have sharp implications for upward mobility.

Schulz points to an Economic Mobility Project analysis showing that, among children who start off in the bottom third of the income distribution, only 26% with divorced parents move up, compared to 42% born to unmarried mothers (who may marry later, of course) and 50% who grow up with two married parents.

All this matters more than it used to because two-parent families are much more uncommon than they used to be. In 1960 about three-fourths of Americans 18 and over were married. In 2011, less than half were.

Now, you might say to yourself “what exactly have the secular left down to improve the income mobility of the poor by promoting marriage?” And the answer would be that the left promotes premarital sex for people who are not even ready for marriage, made contraceptives taxpayer-funded, subsidized the largest provider of abortions with hundreds of millions of dollars, promoted the first redefinition of marriage through their feminism and trial lawyer lobbying groups, and now redefined marriage to mean either no biological father or no biological mother. Barack Obama himself has praised every other kind of non-traditional family arrangement as being equal to the traditional family. That’s the sort of nonsense that passes for wisdom on the morally relativistic left. They just don’t like the idea that there are moral rules that apply to sexual activity.

The left isn’t really interested in income mobility. They talk about it as if it’s a problem, but their “solutions” to the problem actually make the problem worse.

Filed under: News, , , , , , , , , , , ,

Christians celebrate the end of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood government

North Africa and Middle East Political Map

North Africa and Middle East Political Map

CNS News explains how the downfall of Obama’s Muslim Brotherhood allies is being greeted with joy by Egypt’s Christian community.

Excerpt:

Father Rafik Greiche, head of the press office of the Egyptian Catholic Bishops’ Conference, declared that the ouster of Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood supporters on July 3 was “a joyous day for Christians.” “The ousting of Morsi and the political new beginning is a joyous day for us Christians in Egypt and for all Egyptians. We hope that we will not be excluded from the political process that lies before us,” he said during a talk last Thursday with the Catholic charity, Aid to the Church in Need (ACN).

[...]Fr. Greiche made a point to note that what happened in Egypt was not a coup d’état. Rather, he said, “the army carried out the will of the people. They expressed this unequivocally over the last few days through millions of signatures and massive demonstrations in Cairo and throughout the whole country.”

“A number of western media are now presenting it as a coup d’état. But a putsch happens when officers take power and act without the endorsement of the people. But this is exactly what did not happen in Egypt yesterday. Moreover, the army wanted to prevent the bloodshed the Muslim brothers were threatening. This is why they took action.”

[...]A 2012 State Department report noted increased violence towards Egyptian Christians following the overthrow of President Hosni Mubarak in 2011 and the election of Muslim Brotherhood-backed Morsi a year ago.

“The government generally failed to prevent, investigate, or prosecute crimes against members of religious minorities, including Coptic Christians, which fostered a climate of impunity. In some cases, authorities reacted slowly or with insufficient resolve when mobs attacked Christians and their property,” according to the State Department’s International Religious Freedom Report.

I think this story beautifully illustrates why Christians should care about politics and foreign policy. The truth is that there are forces in places throughout the world that are hostile to Judeo-Christian values. Good foreign policy that promotes economic freedom and freedom of religion should be the cause of every informed Christian. One of the reasons why the Muslim Brotherhood, a group linked to terrorism, is doing so well is because Egypt’s economy is doing so poorly.

Investors Business Daily thinks that the best way to bring freedom to Egypt is by bring prosperity to Egypt – the same way that freedom was brought to Chile in the past.

Take a look:

Like with Morsi, Chile in 1973 was ruled by a so-called democrat, Salvador Allende, who after barely winning election revealed he didn’t intend to govern democratically. A Marxist, Allende moved fast to ram through radical, Cuban-style “reforms” on an unwilling public.

Allende foreshadowed Morsi, demolishing political institutions, trampling the free press, disrespecting minority rights, ignoring the constitution, disregarding the separation of powers, trashing property rights and ruining the economy. Also, Allende was in thrall to a failed and inhuman foreign ideology — communism — just as Morsi was to Islamofascism. In both cases, the only exit was a military coup.

Had Chilean military commander Augusto Pinochet simply handed the country back to “democracy” without changing the root causes of the turmoil and tyranny, the cycle would have had a replay.

But he didn’t. He used his military government as an incubator for free-market changes, transforming his country into not just Latin America’s best economy, but also Latin America’s most durable democracy. Pinochet — who stepped down dutifully after 17 years upon losing a referendum — understood that economic freedom had to precede political freedom. He employed a brilliant group of mostly University of Chicago-educated young Chilean economists, known as the Chicago Boys, to transform the society by cleaning out thousands of weedlike laws choking Chile’s economy — on labor, mining, currency, fishing, vineyards, startups and pensions.

They made the central bank independent and instituted hard-core fiscal discipline that has left the country debt-free and pushed its credit rating toward triple A.

Thousands of businesses were freed to open and operate without thickets of regulations — resulting in the spate of Chilean products now seen in America’s supermarkets: wine, fruit, fish.

They signed free-trade pacts with 60 countries to expand the reach of their tiny market to a global one — the better to attract foreign investment.

And in what economist Milton Friedman called “the crown jewel” of these reforms, Chile’s 30-year-old Labor Minister Jose Pinera offered Chileans a choice of public or private pensions — making each worker a minicapitalist with a stake in the system — and giving the country a vast pool of capital to develop the country.

Right now, frankly, this is what Egypt needs — a free-market economy that enables it citizens to matter.

America now pushes for political freedom before the economic kind. It did this Iraq and now in Egypt, creating weak or failed democracies. In 2011, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said she was getting calls from Egyptians during the Arab Spring asking how to replicate Chile’s reforms — and we’ve heard nothing since.

But the Chilean example shows that economic freedom is what makes political freedom possible .

Fox News recalls why the Muslim Brotherhood got into power in the first place.

Excerpt:

Millions protesting in the streets. Another leader deposed. Dozens killed in violent clashes, including at least 51 people slain on Monday. Obama’s Mideast policy is in shambles. Nowhere is that more obvious that Egypt, which just held its second revolution in as many years.

Egypt isn’t just a problem. It’s a full-fledged disaster, hand-delivered to us by President Obama. He sabotaged our ally Hosni Mubarak more than a year ago, then defended that strategy during his reelection campaign.

[...]Back in February 2011, Obama first said “change must take place” and about a week later outright called for Mubarak to go. Given the U.S.’s financial influence on Egypt, that effectively destroyed a key ally.

[...]When asked during the presidential debates in October if he regretted abandoning Mubarak, Obama was clear: “I don’t because I think that America has to stand with democracy.” He then listed several areas that he expected the new government to push including taking “responsibility for protecting religious minorities,” recognizing “the rights of women,” abiding “by their treaty with Israel,” and “developing their own economy.”

With the exception of Israel, Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood failed at the rest and now Obama is standing by them. Christians have been attacked, women raped and terrorized, and the Egyptian economy is a disaster. Fuel shortages are common and half the population is living on less than $2 a day.

The Muslim Brotherhood has shown itself to be radical and dangerous. One of the last straws for the Egyptians was apparently when Morsi called for a holy war in Syria in support of the Sunni Muslims against the Shia Muslim leadership.

The Brotherhood even released a bizarre, anti-Semitic statement about Morsi’s replacement, saying, “A Jew in Egypt’s seat of power.”

Now that same military Obama trusted last time around has rejected Morsi’s anti-American, radical Islamist government. The Obama response? He has ordered a review of the funding we send to Egypt. He even supported keeping the Brotherhood in the government.

What Christians should have done in 2008 and 2012 is voted against Obama, because apologizing to Muslim dictators and Communist dictators is not going to spread the prosperity and liberty we need in order to have world peace. Christians need to think hard about the role that foreign policy plays in a Christian worldview. I think this is especially important for Christian women, who in my experience struggle to understand how foreign policy works. We need to think about the way the world works in order to achieve good. Achieving good is not the same thing as being liked or feeling good. We want to achieve good, and that takes knowledge of how the world really works.

Filed under: News, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Happy Independence Day 2013!

The Stars and Stripes

The Stars and Stripes

The Declaration of Independence

Here’s the complete text of the Declaration of Independence here.

The best book to read about the Revolutionary War is David McCullough’s “1776″, which I highly recommend. The audio book version is awesome.

George Washington and the American Revolution

Washington Crossing the Delaware
Washington Crossing the Delaware

To really understand the founding of the United States, you should read about the story of Washington crossing the Delaware. At this point in the Revolutionary War, the British commanders had achieved a stunning series of victories against the Americans. They had even sent word home to the King that the war was over, and that the Americans would be forced to surrender. But Washington did not give up. He attacked the British forces and took them by surprise – and he won the Battle of Trenton! That was the turning point of the war. There almost never was a United States of America – that’s how close the revolution came to failing.

Ronald Reagan vision of America

Ronald Reagan
Ronald Reagan

Here is a portion of Ronald Reagan’s farewell speech:

Excerpt:

I’ve spoken of the shining city all my political life, but I don’t know if I ever quite communicated what I saw when I said it. But in my mind it was a tall proud city built on rocks stronger than oceans, wind-swept, God-blessed, and teeming with people of all kinds living in harmony and peace, a city with free ports that hummed with commerce and creativity, and if there had to be city walls, the walls had doors and the doors were open to anyone with the will and the heart to get here. That’s how I saw it, and see it still.

And how stand the city on this winter night? More prosperous, more secure, and happier than it was eight years ago. But more than that; after two hundred years, two centuries, she still stands strong and true on the granite ridge, and her glow has held steady no matter what storm. And she’s still a beacon, still a magnet for all who must have freedom, for all the pilgrims from all the lost places who are hurtling through the darkness, toward home.

This is no ordinary nation.

Songs of America

Whenever I drive on long trips, I always practice singing “The Star-Spangled Banner” and “America the Beautiful”.

Even if you are not an American, you can be an honorary American, just for today, if you sing the songs below. God knows that there are other people in the world that love freedom and look to the United States as the model.

If we fall now, then you other freedom-loving people abroad must be ready to pick up the torch!

United States Air Force

United States Air Force

The Star Spangled Banner

Lyrics:

“Oh, say can you see by the dawn’s early light
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight’s last gleaming?
Whose broad stripes and bright stars thru the perilous fight,
O’er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming?
And the rocket’s red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.
Oh, say does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

On the shore, dimly seen through the mists of the deep,
Where the foe’s haughty host in dread silence reposes,
What is that which the breeze, o’er the towering steep,
As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses?
Now it catches the gleam of the morning’s first beam,
In full glory reflected now shines in the stream:
‘Tis the star-spangled banner! Oh long may it wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

And where is that band who so vauntingly swore
That the havoc of war and the battle’s confusion,
A home and a country should leave us no more!
Their blood has washed out their foul footsteps’ pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight, or the gloom of the grave:
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

Oh! thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
Between their loved home and the war’s desolation!
Blest with victory and peace, may the heav’n rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation.
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: “In God is our trust.”
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!”

America the Beautiful

Lyrics:

“O beautiful for spacious skies,
For amber waves of grain,
For purple mountain majesties
Above the fruited plain!
America! America!
God shed his grace on thee
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!

O beautiful for pilgrim feet
Whose stern impassioned stress
A thoroughfare of freedom beat
Across the wilderness!
America! America!
God mend thine every flaw,
Confirm thy soul in self-control,
Thy liberty in law!

O beautiful for heroes proved
In liberating strife.
Who more than self their country loved
And mercy more than life!
America! America!
May God thy gold refine
Till all success be nobleness
And every gain divine!

O beautiful for patriot dream
That sees beyond the years
Thine alabaster cities gleam
Undimmed by human tears!
America! America!
God shed his grace on thee
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!

O beautiful for halcyon skies,
For amber waves of grain,
For purple mountain majesties
Above the enameled plain!
America! America!
God shed his grace on thee
Till souls wax fair as earth and air
And music-hearted sea!

O beautiful for pilgrims feet,
Whose stem impassioned stress
A thoroughfare for freedom beat
Across the wilderness!
America! America!
God shed his grace on thee
Till paths be wrought through
wilds of thought
By pilgrim foot and knee!

O beautiful for glory-tale
Of liberating strife
When once and twice,
for man’s avail
Men lavished precious life!
America! America!
God shed his grace on thee
Till selfish gain no longer stain
The banner of the free!

O beautiful for patriot dream
That sees beyond the years
Thine alabaster cities gleam
Undimmed by human tears!
America! America!
God shed his grace on thee
Till nobler men keep once again
Thy whiter jubilee!”

Here is my favorite version of America the Beautiful, sung by Ray Charles. This is the same version you hear on the Mark Levin show on Friday. Perfection.

Remember to be grateful for the Founding Fathers, and other patriots, who risked everything for liberty in the Revolutionary war. Be grateful to those men and women still fighting abroad to keep those freedoms safe from evil. And most of all, be grateful to God that America is still the beacon of liberty.

Happy Independence Day!

Filed under: Commentary, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Twinkies company liquidates due to demands of greedy labor union

The Wall Street Journal explains.

Excerpt:

Hostess Brands is going to liquidate, a blow to lovers of Twinkies, Wonder Bread and Drake’s Coffee Cakes all around the globe.

But CEO Gregory Rayburn told CNBC today that as the company winds down its operations after failing to reach an agreement with a union, it will try to sell its various brands. There are 30 separate brands under the companies sugary umbrella.

[...]Rayburn, a restructuring veteran brought in for the bankruptcy, did not shy away from blaming the striking bakers’ union for the liquidation after the company put out an ultimatum earlier this week for them to return to work or face this consequence. He told the television network the union hasn’t “returned our calls in a couple of months.”

There is a silver lining to this story, though:

The reason: insurmountable (and unfundable) difference in the firm’s collective bargaining agreements and pension obligations, which resulted in a crippling strike that basically shut down the company… [the company] was unable to survive empowered labor unions who thought they had all the negotiating leverage…  until they led their bankrupt employer right off liquidation cliff.

[...]Hostess’ numerous brands will be bought in a stalking horse auction by willing private buyers, however completely free and clear of all legacy labor and pension agreements which ultimately led to the company’s liquidation.

Now that’s progress. But what causes union bosses to be so uninformed and ignorant of basic economics? How is it that they do not understand how businesses work?

Consider this quote from Richard Trumka about the looming fiscal crisis:

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka has declared there’s no fiscal cliff and any address of runaway government spending is just “a manufactured crisis.”

[...]“‘Take what the media are calling ‘the fiscal cliff.’ There is no fiscal cliff!” Trumka thundered at a National Mediation Board Conference Thursday, sounding like an alcoholic pleading for one last swig well before he hits rock bottom.

[...]“What we’re facing,” he said Thursday, “is an obstacle course within a manufactured crisis that was hastily thrown together in response to inflated rhetoric about our federal deficit.

“But all the deficit chatter has distracted us from our real crisis — the immediate crisis of 23 million unemployed or underemployed workers. It’s time to protect Social Security benefits. It’s time to protect Medicare and Medicaid benefits. And it’s time to raise taxes for the richest 2%,” he went on.

In short, Trumka is arguing that there’s no such thing as too much government spending, that deficits don’t matter and that entitlements cannot be cut. Such denialist thinking is beyond irresponsible in the face of a $16 trillion debt, highest on global record and a sign of an irrational agenda often followed by would-be tyrants.

Trumka is trying to intimidate congressional Democrats into intransigence on a debt deal with Republicans to restore the solvency of the U.S. Instead, he wants them to stand fast on the idea that the debt, deficit and entitlements can be addressed simply by taxing higher-income earners who already account for more than half of federal income-tax revenue.

This is the kind of irresponsible thinking that has triggered riots in Greece and Spain — a belief that the money is there and only the meanness of austerity is keeping the common man from his share.

In reality, the money is not there — the pot is empty. Medicare and Social Security are now on “unsustainable paths,” paying out more in benefits than they take in, with their trust funds projected to run dry by 2024 and 2033, according to their own trustees.

Socialism is meeting its natural end — which, in the words of former U.K. Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, is when it “runs out of other people’s money.”

Unions don’t make anything on their own, only businesses do. And they just don’t understand that. They don’t understand that at some point it is possible to suck too much blood from the host so that the host dies.

I feel bad for the conservatives who are forced to join these labor unions and pay dues to greedy union bosses who don’t understand capitalism or economics. My recommendation is that individual states pass right-to-work laws. Right-to-work states have created FOUR TIMES as many jobs as forced unionization states, since 2009. That’s what happens when you embrace freedom and capitalism.

Filed under: News, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Are people who vote Democrat smarter than people who vote Republican?

Video from Neil Simpson’s round-up.

The Pew Research Center, a liberal organization, actually did a study on this uninformed voter problem.

Excerpt:

So Republicans are more knowledgeable than Democrats, contrary to what many would like to believe.

According to whom?  None other than the Pew Research Center, a left-of-center organization.  Moreover, Pew’s latest survey only reaffirms previous surveys demonstrating the same result.

In fact, the results weren’t even close.

In a scientific survey of 1,168 adults conducted during September and October of last year, respondents were asked not only multiple-choice questions, but also queries using maps, photographs and symbols.  Among other subjects, participants identified international leaders, cabinet members, Supreme Court justices, nations on a world map, the current unemployment and poverty rates and war casualty totals.

In a 2010 Pew survey, Republicans outperformed Democrats on 10 of 12 questions, with one tie and Democrats outperforming Republicans on just 1 of the 12.  In the latest survey, however, Republicans outperformed Democrats on every single one of 19 questions.

[...]Those Pew results are confirmed by some surprising other sources.  According to a New York Times headline dated April 14, 2010, “Poll Finds Tea Party Backers Wealthier and More Educated.”  Shattering widespread myths, that survey revealed that Tea Party supporters were more likely to possess a college degree than their counterparts (23% to 15%), and also more likely to have completed post-graduate studies (14% to 10%).  Tea Partiers were also more likely to have completed “some college” by a 33% to 28% margin, and substantially less likely to have not completed high school than non-supporters (3% versus 12%), or to possess only a high school degree (26% versus 35%).

Previously, I posted about how Democrat voters understand very little about economics, whereas Republicans understand more.

Excerpt:

Who is better informed about the policy choices facing the country—liberals, conservatives or libertarians? According to a Zogby International survey that I write about in the May issue of Econ Journal Watch, the answer is unequivocal: The left flunks Econ 101.

Zogby researcher Zeljka Buturovic and I considered the 4,835 respondents’ (all American adults) answers to eight survey questions about basic economics.

The first question was “Restrictions on housing development make housing less affordable.” The unenlighted answer for that one is “disagree”, since restrictions on development reduce the supply of available housing. Demand stays the same and so there is a shortage, and prices rise. D’uh!

Here are the others:

The other questions were: 1) Mandatory licensing of professional services increases the prices of those services (unenlightened answer: disagree). 2) Overall, the standard of living is higher today than it was 30 years ago (unenlightened answer: disagree). 3) Rent control leads to housing shortages (unenlightened answer: disagree). 4) A company with the largest market share is a monopoly (unenlightened answer: agree). 5) Third World workers working for American companies overseas are being exploited (unenlightened answer: agree). 6) Free trade leads to unemployment (unenlightened answer: agree). 7) Minimum wage laws raise unemployment (unenlightened answer: disagree).

And the results:

How did the six ideological groups do overall? Here they are, best to worst, with an average number of incorrect responses from 0 to 8: Very conservative, 1.30; Libertarian, 1.38; Conservative, 1.67; Moderate, 3.67; Liberal, 4.69; Progressive/very liberal, 5.26.

It’s true, the majority of Democrat voters are people who don’t work at all, or they “work” for government, or they “work” in education, or they hold picket signs while on strike, or they are in prison, or they are chasing ambulances, or they are Hollywood celebrities. No economics knowledge is required for any of that. Republicans work in private industry, and many of us own small businesses. So we actually have to work to earn money, because we have competitors to watch out for and consumers to please. Many of us are married and many of us have to get along with our spouses and raise children. Republicans don’t need the government, we do fine making our own decisions, and making our own way without help from the government.

UPDATE: I think this ad says a lot about who votes Democrat:

Their great plan is to borrow money from our children in order to provide contraceptives to unmarried college students. Is that something to vote for? Remember the Life of Julia? Their vision is cradle-to-grave government dependency, with husbands and fathers made completely unnecessary.

Filed under: News, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Wintery Tweets

Click to see recent visitors

  Visitors Online Now

Page views since 1/30/09

  • 3,956,940 hits

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 1,746 other followers

Archives

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,746 other followers

%d bloggers like this: