2020-04-22 04:30:26

I’m “social distancing.” I stay away from people.

I do it voluntarily.

There’s a big difference between voluntary—and force.

Government is force. The media want more of that.

“Ten states have no stay-at-home orders!” complains Don Lemon On CNN. “Some governors are still refusing to take action!”

Fox News’ host Steve Hilton agreed. “Shut things down! Everywhere. That includes Utah, Wyoming.”

But wait a second. People in Utah and Wyoming already socially distanced just by living there. Why must Utah and Wyoming have the same stay-at-home rules as New York?

I find it creepy how eager some people are for authorities to boss us around.

That’s the topic of my new video.

In Raleigh, North Carolina, people gathered to protest a “stay-at-home” order. The police arrested a protester and tweeted, “Protesting is a non-essential activity.”

I bet they got a chuckle out of that. But our Constitution guarantees Americans the right to “peaceably assemble” and “petition the government for a redress of grievances.”

The coronavirus doesn’t override the Constitution.

Protests also erupted in Michigan, where Gov. Gretchen Whitmer imposed some absurd rules. She declared, “All public or private gatherings of any size are prohibited.” Her executive order stopped people from seeing relatives and banned anyone with more than one home to travel between them.

Big-box stores are allowed to stay open, but they must not sell things like carpet, flooring, furniture, garden supplies, paint, etc. So, Walmart stores are open, but some of their shelves have tape blocking certain products.

That’s just dumb.

Gardening and painting can be done far away from other people.

So can exercise. But in California, police chased down and arrested a paddleboarder paddling in the ocean. He was far more than 6 feet away from anyone.

In Encinitas, California, police fined people $1,000 just for sitting in cars to watch the sunset at the beach. Yes, inside their cars. The police said, “We want compliance from everybody (because of) lives that we’re trying to save.”

But it’s not clear that demanding total compliance is the best way to save lives.

Sweden took a near-opposite approach.

Yes, they encouraged older people to stay inside and sick people to stay home. They didn’t want hospitals overwhelmed. But otherwise, Sweden is carrying on almost as normal.

“Closing schools, stringent measures like that, closing borders, you cannot do that for months or years,” said epidemiologist Anders Tegnell of the Swedish Health Agency. “What we are doing in Sweden we can continue doing for a very long time. I think that’s going to prove to be very important in the long run.”

The long run matters most.

Since a vaccine is probably at least a year away, the Swedes reason that the best protection is what epidemiologists call “herd immunity,” a critical mass of people who get the disease and then are resistant to it.

The hope is that once enough people get COVID-19, there will be enough immunity to prevent mass outbreaks later. Many of the most vulnerable may then be able to avoid ever getting the virus.

The jury is still out on this experiment. More than 1,500 Swedes have died, five times the death rate of neighboring Norway. But if Swedes acquire “herd immunity,” their death rate will be the first to drop.

Other European countries agree that lockdowns are not sustainable.

Last week, Denmark reopened nursery and elementary schools. Germany opened retail stores this week. Norway opens schools next week. Austria reopens shops to people who wear masks on May 1.

That seems smarter than the “absolute shutdown” promoted by so many American authorities. Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti has threatened to “shut off water and power” to homes of people who do not shelter in place.

Shut off water and power?

Politicians rush to limit our choices in the name of “keeping us safe.” They don’t even want to think about places like Sweden or the argument that leaving us alone might make us safer.

They just like pushing people around.

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2020-04-15 04:30:51

The media tell us China “beat coronavirus.”

I don’t believe it. The Chinese government lies. Derrek Scissors of the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) argues that they’ve underreported the number of COVID-19 cases by millions.

Still, it’s possible that China has the virus under control.

But at what cost?

Most of us in America now practice “social distancing.” I’ve barely left my house in a month. I do that voluntarily.

Forty-two states do have some sort of shelter-in-place orders, but most of American’s social distancing is voluntary.

Not so in China. China’s dictators are quick to take extreme measures against whatever they see as a problem. They locked down Wuhan—closed roads to the city, stopped public transit, and banned private cars. Chinese police have even welded people into their homes to keep them inside. They’ve tied people to posts for not wearing face masks.

China spies on every citizen, using more than 200 million cameras and social media tracking. Electronic eavesdropping lets them analyze every person’s political leanings and social interactions. They use that to give everyone a trust score.

Your “trust” score drops if you criticize the government—or the trust score system. You lose points if you do things like play “too many” video games, watch porn, or have friends with low scores.

Then the government punishes you by doing things like slowing your internet speed, keeping your kids out of good schools, or stopping you from getting good jobs.

Now, some Americans say our government should be more like China’s.

“Still no nationwide stay-at-home order!” complains MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow (even though that would be unconstitutional—the 10th Amendment leaves such things to states).

Frightened people push bad law.

“You’re walking toward the communists voluntarily! That scares me,” said Li Schoolland, an immigrant from China I interviewed before the pandemic.

“After I came to the United States I thought, no more politics. I’m in the land of the free!” she recounts. But after she saw some Americans embracing authoritarian ideas, she thought, “No, I have to tell the American people, ‘Don’t let this happen.'”

Schoolland survived China’s Great Leap Forward, Great Famine, and Cultural Revolution. Her parents were doctors, “intellectuals,” which meant they, and she, were sent to horrible work camps where they received communist “re-education.”

I thought this repressive era of communism was over. Starting in the late 1970s, China’s leaders modernized their economy and became a major trading partner with the United States.

But no, “The repression is not over,” says Schoolland. China’s spying on people to create “social trust” scores is an example of it.

“The control of people’s mind, people’s mouth, people’s pen, never stopped.”

That’s something to think about now in America, when so many politicians are eager to do more.

Florida set up checkpoints on highways and planes, requiring people who enter from coronavirus hot spots, like New York and Louisiana, to self-quarantine for 14 days. Travelers must give officials contact information so officials can check up on them.

In Rhode Island, police went door to door, checking on people with New York license plates.

Colorado police handcuffed a man for playing softball with his daughter in a park. Father and daughter were more than 6 feet apart, but the officers clustered together to make their arrest.

California police ordered a group of young men to sit on the ground while they photographed them and fined them $1,000 each because they bought beer at 7-Eleven that was an hour away from their homes.

Of course, in a pandemic, some extreme measures are needed.

But repressive government controls like China’s should not be our role model. The virus began in China and spread farther because their autocrats suppressed information, denied the virus could spread between people, and punished scientists who told the truth. Even people who post opinions about the virus may be locked up in China.

I’m glad I live in America, where I’m free to say anything I want about the virus—or my government.

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2020-04-08 04:30:20

Two weeks ago, President Donald Trump signed the largest stimulus bill in U.S. history: more than $2 trillion.

For once, both Republicans and Democrats agreed. The Senate voted 96-0. The House didn’t even bother with a formal vote.

At the White House, a reporter asked the president, pointing out that the bill includes $25 million for the Kennedy Center, “Shouldn’t that money be going to masks?”

“The Kennedy Center has suffered greatly because nobody can go there,” Trump responded. “They do need some funding. And look—that was a Democrat request. That was not my request. But you got to give them something.”

“Something” they got. The bill includes $25 million for congressional salaries, $50 million for an Institute of Museum and Library Services, and lots of other wasteful things.

Only a few politicians were wary. Rep. Thomas Massie (R–Ky.) complained that he wasn’t even allowed to speak against the bill.

Rep. Alex Mooney (R–W. Va.) asked: “How do you pay for it? Borrow it from China, borrow it from Russia? Are we going to print the money?”

Those are good questions.

Our national debt is already $24 trillion. Now it will jump, percentage-wise, to where Greece’s debt was shortly before unemployment there hit 27 percent.

Greece was bailed out by the European Union. But the United States can’t be bailed out by others.

How will we pay off our debt? That’s the topic of my new video.

There are really three options:

  1. Raise taxes.
  2. Print money.
  3. Default.

Let’s consider each:

  1. Raising taxes on rich people is popular. Even Michael Bloomberg wants “higher taxes on billionaires” like him

But raising taxes on the rich often kills the wealth and jobs some rich people create. And it won’t solve our debt problem. Even if we took all the billionaires’ wealth—reducing their net worth to zero—it would cover only an eighth of our debt.

  1. Some on the left now say, “Don’t worry about debt, just print money!”

This belief, called Modern Monetary Theory, destroys lives.

Zimbabwe’s dictator tried it. Eager to spend more money on wars, higher salaries for government officials, and luxury for himself, he had his government print more money. But that meant more money pursued the same goods. That caused explosive inflation. Soon, a $2 bag of onions cost $30 million Zimbabwean dollars.

The more money the government printed, the more inflation there was. They eventually even issued 100 trillion dollar bills. Today those 100 trillion bills are worth about 40 cents.

Inflation wrecked lives in 1920s Germany, Argentina, and Russia, and in modern-day Venezuela, too.

  1. America could simply refuse to pay our debt. But that would betray everyone who invested in America, and bankrupt Americans who bought Treasury Bonds.

Defaulting on your debt wrecks economies, too. When Argentina defaulted, unemployment rose to 21 percent.

Once you’re deep in debt, no option is good.

How did we get to this point?

Presidents have talked about the dangers of debt for decades. But they didn’t deal with it; they just talked about it.

“We have piled deficit upon deficit, mortgaging our future and our children’s future,” warned Ronald Reagan. “We must act today to preserve tomorrow.”

Bill Clinton said, “We’ve got to deal with this big long term debt problem.”

Barack Obama called driving up the national debt “irresponsible” and then proceeded to do exactly that.

Donald Trump complained that Obama “doubled” the nation’s debt. But now, under Trump’s presidency and the new CARES Act, our debt will grow even faster.

This will not end well.

So far, the deficit spending hasn’t done enormous harm. But it will. You can stretch a rubber band only so far, until it breaks.

Our debt will wreck our children’s lives.

Yet, today politicians mostly talk about spending more.

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2020-04-01 04:30:40

Congress passed and the president signed a $2 trillion “stimulus” bill.

“Not enough!” shrieked politicians. They said the government must do more.

They demanded President Donald Trump reactivate the Defense Production Act, a 1950 law that lets government force companies to make things.

Trump hesitated.

That upset lovers of big government. They demanded the president order companies to make respirators, masks, and other desperately needed medical equipment.

CNN’s Alisyn Camerota joined the media mob asking “What’s the holdup!?” Then a White House press reporter confronted Trump at the White House, asking, “Why not use it now?”

The president surprised me by responding: “We’re a country not based on nationalizing our business. Call a person over in Venezuela, ask them, ‘how did nationalization of their businesses work out?’ Not too well.”

No, it didn’t.

Venezuela was once one of the richest countries in Latin America. Now it’s one of the poorest.

That’s because government dictating production leads to less production.

Although Venezuela has more oil in the ground than any other country, once the socialists nationalized the oil industry, production declined. Today, Venezuelans struggle to buy gasoline.

When government orders companies to do things, companies don’t innovate. They’re less able to adjust quickly to market demand. That’s the topic of my new video.

Today, hospitals need more ventilators. But the government doesn’t need to order companies to make more. The private sector is already on it.

Automakers slowed car production and are gearing up their factories to produce ventilators. Other businesses are, too. That’s what businesses do when conditions change; they pivot.

Distillers that once made gin and vodka now make hand sanitizer. The federal government had to waive regulations to allow them to sell it.

Some give it away. It’s not just charity; it’s “goodwill.” They hope customers will remember the good deed, and that’ll lead to profit in the future.

The best catalyst to spur production is simple pursuit of profit. It’s what gets companies to produce new things instantly. Unlike governments, businesses have no guaranteed income. To survive, let alone grow, they must constantly innovate to make sure more money comes in than goes out.

The socialists call that “greed.”

Without question, some tycoons are greedy. They pursue profit to the point that they have more money than they will ever need.

That’s fine. That greed for success drives them to get me what I need.

I assume it’s what inspired Ford to start using 3D printers to make face masks.
The profit motive delivers the goods. Higher prices tell companies what products are most urgently needed.

When our government failed to produce enough coronavirus test kits, private companies filled the gap. Some offered convenient tests you could use at home.

But the government didn’t like it, saying the test hadn’t been approved. The tests were withdrawn.

Government’s rules often make it harder for private actors to help people. In a crisis, America’s unsung heroes are people who overcome that.

Many truck drivers wanted to work overtime to help, but federal law said they must not work more than 11 hours a day. Finally, the government suspended the regulation.

We ought to suspend a lot of these rules permanently. Allow Americans to make our own choices about when we want to work.

In this crisis, businesses are trying all sorts of new things. Supermarkets started offering special “senior hours” so older people can safely get supplies we need.

Musicians are livestreaming concerts.

Restaurants are switching to takeout and delivery.

People have lost jobs, but if businesses are free to adapt, they’ll create many new jobs.

Because demand for deliveries has increased. Amazon is hiring 100,000 new workers. Walmart is hiring 150,000.

The free market adjusts. We don’t need “production acts” to tell us what to do.

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2020-03-25 04:30:38

Coronavirus is frightening.

I’m working from home, practicing “social distancing.” Experts say it’ll help “flatten the curve” so fewer people will be infected simultaneously. Then hospitals won’t be overwhelmed.

But the infection rate grows. Doctors and hospitals may yet be overwhelmed.

It didn’t have to get to this point.

COVID-19 deaths leveled off in South Korea.

That’s because people in Korea could easily find out if they had the disease. There are hundreds of testing locations—even pop-up drive-thru testing centers.

Because Koreans got tested, Korean doctors knew who needed to be isolated and who didn’t. As a result, Korea limited the disease without mass quarantines and shortages.

Not in America. In America, a shortage of COVID-19 tests has made it hard for people to get tested. Even those who show all the symptoms have a difficult time.

Why weren’t there enough tests?

Because our government insists on control of medical innovation.

That’s the topic of my new video.

When the new coronavirus appeared, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention made its own tests and insisted that people only use those CDC tests. But the CDC test often gave inaccurate results. Some early versions of the test couldn’t distinguish between the new coronavirus and water.

Private companies might have offered better tests, and more of them, but that wasn’t allowed. The World Health Organization even released information on how to make such tests, but our government still said no. Instead, all tests must go through the government’s cumbersome approval process. That takes months. Or years.

Hundreds of labs had the ability to test for the virus, but they weren’t allowed to test.

As a result, doctors can’t be sure exactly where outbreaks are happening. Instead of quarantining just sick people, state governors are forcing entire states to go on lockdown.

At the same time, many people who show no symptoms do have COVID-19. Without widespread testing, we don’t know who they are, and so the symptomless sick are infecting others.

A few weeks ago, the government finally gave up its monopoly and said it was relaxing the rules. There would be quick “emergency use authorizations” replacing the months- or years-long wait for approval. But even that took so long that few independent tests were approved.

So President Donald Trump waived those rules, too.

Now tests are finally being made. But that delay killed people. It’s still killing people.

Other needlessly repressive rules prevented doctors and hospitals from trying more efficient ways to treat patients.

For example, telemedicine allows doctors and patients to communicate through the internet. When sick people consult doctors from home, they don’t pass on the virus in crowded waiting rooms.

But lawyers and bureaucrats claimed such communications wouldn’t be “secure,” and would violate patients’ privacy.

Only last week did officials announce they would allow doctors to “serve patients through everyday communications technologies.”

Americans shouldn’t have to ask permission to use “everyday” technologies.

Now doctors fear that as more people get sick, hospitals won’t have enough beds for the critically ill.

But the bed shortage is another consequence of bad law. Critical access hospitals in rural areas are not allowed to have more than 25 beds. Trump has now announced that he’s waiving those rules.

In some states, there’s a shortage of doctors or nurses. That, too, is often a product of bad law—state licensing laws that make it illegal for professionals licensed in one state to work in another. Trump said he would waive “license requirements so that the doctors from other states can provide services to states with the greatest need.” Then it turned out that he could only allow that for Medicare; he didn’t have the power to override stupid state licensing rules.

Fortunately, many states finally waived harmful licensing laws on their own.

It’s good that governments finally removed some rules.

But the time that took killed people.

Once COVID-19 passes, America should leave those regulations waived.

And we should repeal many others.

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2020-03-18 04:01:14

“We don’t have any…!” Fill in the blank.

People are stocking up on things, fearing that we will be stuck in our homes, under quarantine, without essential supplies.

Some hoard toilet paper. A popular internet video features someone driving up to what appears to be a drug dealer but is really someone selling toilet paper.

When it became hard to find hand sanitizer in New York, Governor Andrew Cuomo said the state would produce its own, made by prison labor.

Yet in-demand items like masks and hand sanitizer can still be found. It’s just that we have to pay an inflated price.

People on social media are outraged by that. They post pictures showing stores charging high prices, like $19.99 for a can of Lysol spray and $22.99 for a 12 oz bottle of Purell.

We’re encouraged to report such high prices to the government because “gouging” is illegal. New York has an online “price gouging complaint form” that people can fill out if they are charged “unconscionably high prices.”

“On my watch, we will not tolerate schemes or frauds designed to turn large profits by exploiting people’s health concerns,” said New York’s economically clueless Attorney General Letitia James. “Some people are looking to prey on others’ anxiety and line their own pockets.”

Well, yes.

People always look for ways to line their own pockets.

But what politicians call “gouging” is just supply and demand. Prices rise and fall all the time.

Most state’s anti-gouging laws never even say exactly what is “unconscionably excessive.” That invites abuse. Vague laws give politicians dangerous power. They can use anti-gouging law to punish any merchant who doesn’t give them money or kiss their rings.

It seems cruel to charge customers more during a crisis, but when there are no laws against sharp price increases, people don’t experience long lines and shortages.

Think about what happens when stores don’t raise their prices: People rush to buy all they can get. The store sells out. Only the first customers get what they want.

But if the store charges more for items in extraordinary demand, people are less likely to hoard. Customers buy what we need and leave some for others.

Prices should rise during emergencies. That’s because prices aren’t just money; they are signals, information. They tell suppliers what their customers want most.

Entrepreneurs then make more of them and work hard to get them to the people who need them most. If “anti-gouging” laws don’t crush these incentives, prices quickly fall to normal levels.

Stossel in the Classroom contest winners explained that in a video.

Last week, some people bought lots of hand sanitizers and masks and then sold them on the internet. One couple boasted that they made over $100,000 reselling Lysol wipes.

They’re not bad people. Their actions allow people desperate for supplies to buy what they need, even if it’s at a higher price.

We’re supposed to stay indoors, so it’s good that we can get these products online. Then we don’t leave home and infect others.

Unfortunately, Amazon, eBay, and Facebook, worried about accusations of “profiteering,” cracked down on resellers. The companies removed listings for masks, hand sanitizers, and disinfectants.

This will only cause more shortages. Bigger profit was what encouraged people to sell online. Now no one gets those products until the market returns to normal.

In China, there was a severe mask shortage. That raised the price of masks and kickstarted production of face masks all around the world. A factory in France hired more people and raised its production of face masks from 170 million a year to half a billion.

The French company didn’t do it only because they want to help people in China. Extra profit motivated them.

Price “gouging” saves lives. In a crisis, we like to think that everyone will volunteer and be altruistic. But it’s not realistic to believe that all will.

If we want more supplies, we ask sellers to risk their money, their safety, and comfort. (Sellers often travel long distances to reach people most in need.) Most sellers won’t do that unless they’ll profit.

Government should dump its anti-price gouging laws and let the free market help those in need.

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2020-03-11 04:31:15

Freelance jobs are “feudalism,” says Democratic California Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez.

She persuaded California’s legislature to pass a new law reclassifying freelance workers as employees. That means many people who hire them must now give them benefits like overtime, unemployment insurance, etc. Politicians said it would help freelancers a lot.

Of course, much of the media agreed. Vox called it “a victory for workers everywhere”!

Sigh. Young reporters just don’t understand that stifling economic freedom always creates nasty side effects.

Actually, more understand now, because they got a very personal lesson. Once the bill passed, Vox media cut hundreds of freelance writing jobs.

When Gonzalez was asked if she felt bad about that, she sneered, those weren’t “real jobs.”

The arrogance of politicians! People choose jobs. Freelancers like flexibility. Politicians have no right to say certain jobs aren’t good enough.

“You’re thinking you’re helping us, but you’re not,” says musician Ari Herstand in my new video. He says the anti gig-work law could “crash the California music economy.”

Why? Before the law passed, if he played a gig where he’d hire a drummer, bassist, and guitar player, “I just cut (each) a check for $200. Now, I have to take that drummer, put him on payroll, W2 him, get workers’ comp insurance, unemployment insurance. I have to pay payroll taxes. I also have to now hire a payroll company.”

All to hire musicians for one just night. The paperwork alone might cost more than the music.

The anti-gig-work law originally targeted rideshare companies like Uber and Lyft, because unions claimed the companies abuse drivers.

But now many rideshare drivers are upset because the law takes away their freedom.

“I liked being independent!” said one. “I don’t want a boss to tell me when or where to drive.”

Herstand says Uber and Lyft drivers would often tell him: “I’m a photographer and this is my fourth side gig. I want to do this when I want to do this, and if now I’m an employee, and I’m W2’d, they’re going to dictate my hours. I don’t want that. (The law is) preventing us from doing what we want to do.”

The law upset independent truck drivers, too. After some nosily drove big rigs in front of the legislature, they got an exemption from the law. Other politically connected professions, like lawyers and realtors, got exemptions as well.

Now Herstand’s working on getting an exemption for musicians, too.

“Why is that good law?” I asked him. “An exception for whoever is clever enough to get to the politicians?”

“It’s definitely not the solution,” laughed Herstand. “‘Write us out of this law and help us out? Here’s money for your next campaign.’ No, that doesn’t seem like that’s a way to legislate.”

But that’s how it’s often done. The more rules politicians pass, the more money they extract from people who are regulated.

Now other politicians want to copy California’s law. New York, New Jersey, and Illinois have their own versions of gig economy bills. The House of Representatives wants to nationalize the law. And, this week, Democratic front-runner Joe Biden cluelessly said such a law “will give workers the dignity they deserve.”

Democrats do what unions ask them to do. Politico points out that just a few years ago, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) called gig work “a great service for people, giving people jobs. I don’t think government should be in the business of trying to restrict job growth.” He even joked that Uber drivers might earn more than he does.

But now he wants to outlaw most gig work and calls it “exploitive, abusive!”

It’s no surprise that Gonzalez’s biggest political donors are unions. She talks a lot about “protecting our union jobs.” But now that her bill is killing jobs, she wouldn’t agree to an interview.

Neither would the California unions, or any of 75 law professors, political scientists, sociologists, etc., who published a letter in support of the law.

Yes, we contacted all 75.

Herstand says that’s because the law now embarrasses its supporters, but politicians won’t repeal it because “no politician ever wants to admit they did something wrong.”

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2020-03-04 11:00:32

South Carolina mom Debra Harrell worked at McDonald’s. She couldn’t afford day care for Regina, her 9-year-old daughter, so she took her to work.

But Regina was bored at McDonald’s.

One day, she asked if she could just play in the neighborhood park instead. “I felt safe there,” tells me in my new video, “because I was with my friends and their parents.”

“She had her cellphone, a pocketbook with money in it,” says Debra. “She had everything she needed.”

Regina was happy. Debra was happy.

But one parent asked Regina where her mom was, and then called the police. Officers went to McDonald’s and arrested Debra.

In jail, they berated her.

“You can’t leave a child who is 9 years old in the park by herself!” said one officer. “What if some sex offender came by?”

People interviewed by the media were also outraged.

“What if a man came and just snatched her?” asked one.

“This day and time, you never know who’s around!” said another.

But what are they talking about? Crime in America is way down, half what it was in the ’90s. Reports of missing children are also down.

If kids are kidnapped or molested, it’s almost always by a relative or an acquaintance, not by a stranger in a park.

Nevertheless, prosecutors charged Debra Harrell with “willful abandonment of a child,” a crime that carries up to a 10-year sentence.

They also took Regina away from her mom—for two weeks. “I would cry as night because I was really scared,” Regina told me. “I didn’t know where I was, or what was going on.”

Fortunately, attorney Robert Phillips took Debra’s case for free. He didn’t like the way police and media portrayed her.

“Here was this black female that society gives a hard time. ‘Welfare queens, living at home, not getting a job!’ Well, that’s what she was doing,” he said. “She was out working, trying the best she could to take care of her child. And now we’re beating her up because we didn’t like the way she took care of her child.”

The cops said that Harrell should have sent her daughter to day care. But even if she could have afforded it, it’s not clear that day care is safer. “We found 42 incidents of sexual molestations, rapes in day cares,” said Phillips. “We couldn’t find (in South Carolina in the last 20 years) a single abduction in a park.”

Philips blames people in my business for scaring people about the wrong things. “The media has brought up this ‘stranger danger’ to where, if you’re not under the protective wings of mom and dad 24/7, then you’re exposing your child to some unknown danger.”

That has frightened police and child welfare workers into taking absurd steps when parents leave children alone.

In Maryland, police accused parents of child neglect for letting their kids roam around their neighborhood.

In Kentucky, after police reported a mom who left her kids in the car while she dashed into a store, child welfare workers strip-searched the kids to make sure they weren’t being abused.

This doesn’t protect kids. It mostly scares parents into depriving their kids of chances to learn. “When you don’t let them spread their wings, that’s when they get in trouble!” says Debra.

She was fortunate that her case got enough attention that even Nikki Haley, then South Carolina’s governor, asked that Regina be given back to her mom.

Prosecutors finally dropped the child abandonment charge.

It’s just not right that when stranger kidnappings are increasingly rare, police and child welfare workers are more eager to punish parents who let kids play on their own.

“A Utah law guarantees that giving kids some reasonable independence isn’t ‘neglect,'” says Lenore Skenazy, of the nonprofit Let Grow, “More states need this!”

Of course, some parents are so neglectful that government should intervene.

But as lawyer Phillips put it, they should intervene “only if you are subjecting your child to a real harm. We should not have unreasonable intrusions by the government telling us every little detail how to raise our children.”

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2020-02-19 05:30:32

Bernie Sanders leads the race for the Democratic nomination.

He may become America’s first self-described “democratic socialist” president.

What does that mean?

Today, when Sanders talks about socialism, he says: “I’m not looking at Cuba. I’m looking at countries like Denmark and Sweden.”

But Denmark and Sweden are not socialist. Denmark’s prime minister even came to America to refute Sanders’ claims, pointing out that “Denmark is far from a socialist planned economy.”

Both Denmark and Sweden do give citizens government-run health care and have bigger welfare programs than America has. However,  recently, they’ve moved away from socialism. Because their socialist policies killed economic growth, they cut regulations and ended government control of many industries.

Sanders probably doesn’t know that. He, like many young people, just loves the idea of socialism.

For my new video this week, Stossel TV producer Maxim Lott went through hours of Sanders’ old speeches. What he found reveals a lot about what Sanders believes.

When Sanders was mayor of Burlington, Vermont, he went out of his way to defend Fidel Castro. “He educated the kids, gave them health care, totally transformed the society!” Fortunately, Sanders added, “Not to say Fidel Castro or Cuba are perfect.”

No, they are not perfect. Castro’s government tortured and murdered thousands. By confiscating private property, they destroyed the island’s economy. Life got bad enough that thousands died trying to escape.

Even now in Cuba, most people try to live on less than $2 a day

Sanders focuses on other things, like: “They did a lot to eliminate illiteracy!”

Sanders has long had a soft spot for socialist countries. He chose to honeymoon in Communist Russia, where he said people “seem reasonably happy and content.” He was “extremely impressed by their public transportation system…[the] cleanest, most effective mass transit system I’ve ever seen in my life!”

He praised Soviet youth programs: “Cultural programs go far beyond what we do in this country.”

He did at least qualify his support, calling the Soviet government “authoritarian.”

But Sanders made no such criticism after Nicaragua’s socialist revolution. He praised the Sandinistas’ land “reform” because they were “giving, for the first time in their lives, real land to farmers so that they can have something that they grow. Nobody denies that they are making significant progress.”

Former landowners sure denied it. They’d had their land stolen. Sanders suggested that was OK because landowners are rich.

“Rich people, who used to have a good life there, are not terribly happy,” he said. “As a socialist, the word socialism does not frighten me… (P)oor people respect that.”

What about the hunger and poverty that socialism creates? Bernie had an odd take on that.

“American journalists talk about how bad a country is because people are lining up for food. That’s a good thing! In other countries people don’t line up for food; the rich get the food and the poor starve.”

After he said he was “impressed” by Sandinista leaders, Sanders added, “Obviously I will be attacked by every editorial writer in the free press for being a dumb dupe.”

I join them.

Bernie Sanders is indeed a “dumb dupe” about economics. Or as the Soviet Communists used to put it, “a useful idiot.”

Under Ortega’s rule, Nicaragua quickly fell further into poverty, and the socialists were voted out in 1990. Ortega later returned as a violent dictator. For most people in Nicaragua, Cuba, and other centrally planned economies, life is hell.

Once Sanders was elected to Congress, he mostly stopped praising violent socialist revolutions.

At that time, Communist governments in Europe were collapsing. It was convenient for embarrassed former supporters of those governments to rebrand themselves.

In Congress, Sanders would call himself an independent and, in the estimation of his fellow Vermonter, former Democratic National Committee chairman Howard Dean, he “votes with the Democrats 98 percent of the time.”

But Sanders has never taken back the enthusiastic praise he gave to socialist regimes.

COPYRIGHT 2020 BY JFS PRODUCTIONS INC.

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2020-02-12 05:45:44

President Donald Trump “saved the United States,” says former Trump adviser Steve Bannon.

He’s one of the “smartest, most clever, and successful” presidents, says Fox’s Jeanine Pirro.

No, he’s “dumb and racist,” says comedian Seth Meyers, and guilty of “rampant corruption,” say commentators on MSNBC.

The man divides opinion like no one else in America.

My latest video looks at the “good, bad, and ugly” of Trump. The good is wonderful.

Unemployment is down, and the stock market is up.

Trump deserves credit for that. By criticizing “job-crushing regulations” and appointing some regulators who fear government overreach, Trump signaled people that government would not crush you merely because you make a profit or want to try something new. As a result, 6 million more Americans were hired.

Unemployment fell during Barack Obama’s presidency, too, but under Obama, fewer Americans chose to even look for work. People dropped out of the labor force.

Once Trump was elected, more people applied for jobs again.

Why? I say it’s because his administration sent a new message. Instead of telling people: “You’re victims of an unfair system! You need handouts,” Trump said: “You don’t need welfare. Most of you can get a job.”

Even disability claims, which had been steadily rising, have declined.

Trump did other good things, like appointing judges that tend to rule in favor of free speech and private property.

On the other hand, Trump’s done a lot of bad.

To undermine a political opponent and expose the sleaziness of the opponent’s son, Trump sleazily withheld aid to an ally. Then he lied about it.

Trump lies about all sorts of things—big and small.

He said his inauguration had “the biggest audience in… history.” He kept saying it, even after reports showed it wasn’t true.

He broke his promises about ending America’s wars.

Unlike his predecessors, he hasn’t started new wars—but he’s increased bombings. The USA is now dropping more bombs on Afghanistan than at any time in the last 10 years.

Trump broke promises about spending. He promised he’d “cut spending, big-league.”

But he did the opposite. Spending has increased by half a trillion dollars since Trump was elected.

Rep. Warren Davidson (R–Ohio) is a Trump supporter, but he’s upset that Trump’s gone along with a big increase in the national debt. Davidson complained to his fellow Republicans, but suddenly, they didn’t seem to care much about the debt now that someone from their party was president.

This week, Trump proposed a budget that would slow the growth of most unsustainable welfare programs. But he knows that won’t get through Congress. Probably, he’ll sign the gusher of spending that Congress produces instead.

“We are on a path to bankrupting our country,” says Davidson.

Trump also says false things about trade. He claimed our $500 billion trade deficit means the U.S. is “losing on trade with China.” But that’s absurd.

“He’s telling people trade isn’t win-win; there’s a winner and a loser.” I complained to Davidson, adding, “I don’t think Trump understands trade.”

“He has a metaphor that the average American understands,” responded Davidson.

“But it’s a wrong metaphor, right?” I asked.

“It is technically inaccurate,” said Davidson.

Trump is also a bully. That’s his ugly part.

He calls people “stupid,” “pathetic,” “a low-IQ individual.” He makes fun of their looks and weight. It’s unpresidential.

“Some of his words certainly have been ugly,” Davidson agreed.

“He’s like a 3-year-old!” I said. “We’re supposed to outgrow that narcissism when we’re an adult.”

“This is all baked into Donald Trump,” replied Davidson. “He is true to who everyone knows Donald Trump as, and they love him anyway.”

“You love him anyway?” I asked.

“I do,” said Davidson. “His policies have been great, and the results are measurably great.”

Many are. And Trump is likely to be reelected, according to the odds on my site ElectionBettingOdds.com. So it looks like we’ll see much more of him.

I hope we get more of the good and less of the bad and ugly.

COPYRIGHT 2020 BY JFS PRODUCTIONS INC.

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