Winning the Ultimate Lottery

by Gerald Weston


We are hearing this week of a record mega-lottery here in the United States. Some people tweeted the following answers to the question, “What would you do if you won a billion dollars?” One said he would build the wall between Mexico and the U.S. Another said he would rebuild Mexico Beach on the Gulf coast, destroyed by Hurricane Michael. And another said he would give some to charity and spend the rest of his life hunting and fishing.

Perhaps you dream about what you would do with a billion dollars, or a significant fraction of that amount. After all, one hundred million, or even ten million, will go a long way! Many people, when asked the question, say they would give a portion to charity. I’m sure they are sincere in saying this, but would they really build the wall or give it all to rebuild a destroyed city? Maybe, but probably not.

Have you ever considered that, in principle, you have already won the lottery? Let me explain.

Jesus made it plain that His message was not understandable by the majority. For example, Jesus said, “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him” (John 6:44), repeating this truth to His disciples shortly afterward (v. 65). How few understand this! Consider also, why did Jesus speak in parables? It is not the reason I heard in Sunday school. Jesus’ own disciples asked Him this very question. Here was His answer: “Because it has been given to you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given” (Matthew 13:11). A parallel account on this same occasion adds, “But without a parable He did not speak to them. And when they were alone, He explained all things to His disciples” (Mark 4:34).

If you understand these things you are part of a very small group of people. You understand, not because you are more intelligent or better than others, but because God has specially selected you to do His end-time Work. He opened your mind to precious truth not generally understood by billions on earth today! No, it is not a lottery based on chance. It is selection by the Creator of the universe! But as with lotteries, only a precious few win, and you have been called to win!

Jesus’ parables reflect the value of knowledge you receive from Tomorrow’s World and the Living Church of God, the sponsor of Tomorrow’s World. “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and hid; and for joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking beautiful pearls, who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had and bought it” (Matthew 13:44–46).

The Apostle Peter wrote an encouraging passage regarding the difficult and painful things we experience in life. “In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 1:6–7). And Paul wrote, “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us” (Romans 8:18).

These passages and parables all point to one great truth: Everything physical will perish, but the choices we make in life and the faith in God that we express by our actions are of far greater value than the things for which most people crave. As John instructs us, “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.    And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever” (1 John 2:15, 17).

We do not like to think about it, but we will all come to the end of this physical existence, and the end of the trail comes sooner than we once thought. Young people may know this academically. Older folks measure the days (Psalm 39:4).

What if you did win the mega-lottery? How long would it last? What would you do with it? What truly lasting value would hunting and fishing give you in the end? Now please understand. Hunting and fishing have worthy recreational value, and I personally try to take off a few days each year to go fishing, but should that be the purpose of one’s life? What happens when the end of the trail comes? Then what?

The fact that you are reading this indicates you are probably one who sees more to life than another fishing trip, a game of golf, or winning the mega-lottery. Your contributions and your prayers show your love for God and your love for others (Matthew 22:35–40).

Our offices around the world receive a continual stream of letters from individuals thanking us for what we give them free of charge. We also receive some not too flattering letters, but that is fine. We know that we are reaching beyond the choir! However,  I want to share a few comments with you, because you make them possible and these people want to thank you. I have embolden a few words for emphasis.

Here is a letter from Colorado from a reader who appreciated our booklet explaining the purpose of life. “Good Day. I just want to thank you for the Booklet: Your Ultimate Destiny! Awesome!!! Really opened my mind! Keep up the Good Work! GOD Bless You All.” If you have not read this booklet, please let us know and we will send you a free copy. It explains the very purpose of life straight from the pages of the Bible. Can there be any more valuable truth?

A writer from South Africa wants you to know how much he appreciates you. “I just want to thank you for the booklet and the Bible Study Course. Thanks for all the People at Tomorrow's World. You are Highly Appreciated! GOD Bless!”

A woman shared her thoughts by e-mail regarding a Tomorrow’s World article. “I read ‘Which Jesus Do You Worship,’ and it left me wondering and wanting to know more. Cause it is my heart’s desire to follow Christ Jesus. Thank you for waking me up.” You make the magazine possible, so we share her thanks with you!

Earlier this year someone from Perth, Australia wrote regarding Dr. Roderick C. Meredith’s series on the Protestant Reformation. “I am in receipt of May-June 2018 T/W magazine, for which as always, I am deeply grateful. . . . May Almighty God through Christ Jesus, continue to Bless each of you in this Wonderful Work that you are doing, and [I] look forward to receiving a copy of Dr. Meredith’s brilliant work.”

A subscriber from Toronto, Ontario wrote to express his appreciation. “Thank you so much for your ministry, you are helping people to understand we are living in the last days, and we have to live a life according to God’s Word. Thank you again. God Bless this Ministry.”

Some of our subscribers are in prison for serious sins committed earlier in life. This man writes from Hunlock, Pennsylvania. “Thank you for your magazine, Tomorrow’s World. . . . I am a life sentence prisoner serving a life without parole sentence. I have 30 years served so far. Your magazine helps me to keep my sanity in a world with so much misinformation and injustice. Your publication keeps me aware of what’s truly important.”

Another prisoner, this one from Marino, Ohio writes regarding Tomorrow’s World, “This magazine has been truly one of the most consistently read pieces of Christian literature in my 13½ years of incarceration. You guys are truly a blessing and exemplary of what a Christian today is to ‘look like’ and ‘sound like.’

There are so many more I could share with you, but I’ll give just one more. This one is from Gatundu, Kenya. “I have been transformed by your magazines. The word of God is real, [and has] become simpler and clearer each day.”

Okay, I cannot resist. Here is one more, from a woman in Johnstown, Pennsylvania. “Other than the Holy Bible itself, I have been searching for a teaching program [that] teaches ‘Sound Christian doctrine.’ I applaud your ‘FREE’ teachings that other programs want to charge a lot of money for. How else would poor people be able to understand this wicked world?

Once again, thank you for your part in making it possible to reach people of all races, nationalities, economic conditions, and ages. I pray that God fully opens your minds and hearts to the very purpose of life and that you will stand before the Son of God upon His return. You are making a difference through your tithes, offerings, and heartfelt prayers! Thank you dear friends!


Hillary Caught Making Claim About Kavanaugh That Was Already Proven False by Fact-Checkers


by Randy DeSoto

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton doubled down Wednesday on a claim Sen. Kamala Harris made regarding Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s views on birth control that multiple fact-checkers have already determined to be false.

“I want to be sure we’re all clear about something that Brett Kavanaugh said in his confirmation hearings last week. He referred to birth-control pills as ‘abortion-inducing drugs,'” Clinton tweeted. “That set off a lot of alarm bells for me, and it should for you, too.”

“Kavanaugh didn’t use that term because he misunderstands the basic science of birth control—the fact that birth control prevents fertilization of eggs in the first place. He used that term because it’s a dog whistle to the extreme right,” she added.

Hillary Clinton‏Verified account @HillaryClinton Sep 12

I want to be sure we're all clear about something that Brett Kavanaugh said in his confirmation hearings last week. He referred to birth-control pills as "abortion-inducing drugs." That set off a lot of alarm bells for me, and it should for you, too.

20,281 replies 41,031 retweets 137,358 likes

Kavanaugh didn't use that term because he misunderstands the basic science of birth control—the fact that birth control prevents fertilization of eggs in the first place. He used that term because it's a dog whistle to the extreme right.

6:14 AM - 12 Sep 2018


The Washington Post awarded Harris with four Pinocchios for sharing a selectively edited video about Kavanaugh while arguing that he is “going after” birth control.

The California Democrat tweeted footage of an exchange Kavanaugh had with Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas during the judge’s confirmation hearing last week before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Cruz asked Kavanaugh about his dissent in the 2014 Priests for Life case before the Washington, D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals involving the Affordable Care Act’s contraception mandate.

The nominee answered by recounting the plaintiff priests’ position in the case regarding filling out a Department of Health and Human Services form to obtain a waiver from the contraception mandate, which, if accepted by HHS, required health insurance providers to offer the coverage free of charge to those who were interested.

Kavanaugh told Cruz, “They said filling out the form would make them complicit in the provision of the abortion-inducing drugs that they were, as a religious matter, objecting to.”

Harris’s video omitted Kavanaugh saying, “they said,” making it appear that he was offering a statement about his views on the matter, and even birth control more broadly.

Harris wrote of the exchange in a tweet on Friday.

Kamala Harris‏Verified account @SenKamalaHarris

Kavanaugh chooses his words very carefully, and this is a dog whistle for going after birth control. He was nominated for the purpose of taking away a woman’s constitutionally protected right to make her own health care decisions. Make no mistake - this is about punishing women.

11:45 AM - 7 Sep 2018
8,538 replies 15,061 retweets 

Here is Kavanaugh's full answer. There's no question that he uncritically used the term "abortion-inducing drugs," which is a dog whistle term used by extreme anti-choice groups to describe birth control.

Kavanaugh explained to Cruz that the reason he dissented in the case was based on the Supreme Court’s Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores decision, which found business owners have the right not to provide contraception coverage to employees if it runs contrary to their sincerely held religious beliefs.

It should be noted that Hobby Lobby’s owners did not object to providing birth control coverage, which they were in fact doing, but did object to providing contraceptives they believe cause abortions, including “morning-after pills” and two types of intrauterine devices.

There are 16 other FDA-approved contraception methods that the company did not object to, as they prevent the egg from being fertilized in the first place.

However, the four methods of contraception at issue in the case “may have the effect of preventing an already fertilized egg from developing any further by inhibiting its attachment to the uterus.” Thus, the concern was that by providing these abortifacients, they would be facilitating abortion.

After receiving significant criticism for her misleading tweet, Harris included Kavanaugh’s comments in context in a subsequent post, but argued, “There’s no question that he uncritically used the term ‘abortion-inducing drugs,’ which is a dog whistle term used by extreme anti-choice groups to describe birth control.”

The Washington Post was not buying the senator’s explanation.

“Harris’s decision to snip those crucial words (‘they said’) from her first post on the video is certainly troubling,” wrote Post fact-checker Glenn Kessler.

Regarding her follow up tweet, he added, “But there was no acknowledgment by Harris that the original tweet was misleading.”

Kessler concluded, “She earns Four Pinocchios — and her fellow Democrats should drop this talking point.”

Politifact also found Harris’ Twitter post in error.

“In Harris’ tweet, Kavanaugh appears to define contraception as abortion-inducing. But the video failed to include a crucial qualifier: ‘They said,’” Politifact reported.

“In fact, he was citing the definition of the religious group Priests for Life. He has not expressed his personal view,” the fact-checker added. “We rate this statement False.”


David French‏Verified account @DavidAFrench

David French Retweeted Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton comes barreling back into the conversation with a timely reminder that she’s one of the more prolific liars in modern American politics.

David French added,

Hillary ClintonVerified account @HillaryClinton
I want to be sure we're all clear about something that Brett Kavanaugh said in his confirmation hearings last week. He referred to birth-control pills as "abortion-inducing
drugs." That set off a lot of alarm bells for me, and it should for you, too.
Show this thread
7:18 AM - 12 Sep 2018
175 replies 652 retweets 2,373 likes

National Review’s David French chastised Clinton for grabbing onto Harris’ claim against Kavanaugh, which she should have known to be false.

He tweeted, “Hillary Clinton comes barreling back into the conversation with a timely reminder that she’s one of the more prolific liars in modern American politics.”



A fuel-economy change that protect freedom and saves lives

by H. Sterling Burnett


If finalized the proposal by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to freeze fuel-economy targets at 2020 levels through 2026 is good news for anyone concerned about consumer choice, vehicle affordability, and highway safety.

Acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler’s determination freezing fuel-economy standards would benefit the American people should surprise no one, because in April EPA announced it would revoke the Obama-era standards requiring cars and light trucks sold in the United States to achieve an average of more than 50 miles per gallon (mpg) by 2025.

President Obama signed off on the 50 mpg standards just before leaving office in December 2016, two years before the previous standards were scheduled to be reviewed. Studies show the 50 mpg standard would substantially increase the price of cars, change the composition of the nation’s automobile and light truck fleet, and put lives at risk.

The “Safer Affordable Fuel-Efficient (SAFE) Vehicles Rule for Model Years 2021-2026 Passenger Cars and Light Trucks” is a culmination of EPA’s consultation with NHTSA to determine how fuel-economy standards can best balance consumers’ concerns about automobile affordability, vehicle safety, and fuel economy. 

“Our proposal aims to strike the right regulatory balance based on the most recent information and create a 50-state solution that will enable more Americans to afford newer, safer vehicles that pollute less,” Wheeler said. 

“There are compelling reasons for a new rulemaking on fuel economy standards for 2021-2026. More realistic standards will promote a healthy economy by bringing newer, safer, cleaner and more fuel-efficient vehicles to U.S. roads and we look forward to receiving input from the public,” stated Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao.

EPA calculates freezing fuel-economy standards at 2020 levels through 2026 will save more than 500 billion dollars in societal costs over the next 50 years and reduce highway fatalities by 12,700 lives. 

Fuel standard mandates began in 1975, when Congress established Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards to reduce dependence on foreign oil following the 1973–74 Arab oil embargo. The law required car manufacturers to meet mandated fuel-economy targets or else pay a hefty tax on gas-guzzling sedans. What happened? Some people bought smaller, more fuel-efficient cars. Others, however, started driving trucks, and new categories of vehicles were born: SUVs and minivans.

Over the years, compact cars have become less popular because of low fuel prices, underpowered engines, and lack of passenger and storage space. Most full-sized cars and trucks can seat five adults, and minivans and many SUVs can seat between seven and nine people. Numerous SUVs, trucks, and minivans offer ample cargo space and are capable of hauling a trailer or boat, which no subcompact can do safely. 

Ironically, the high popularity of trucks, SUVs, and minivans is at least partially a result of environmentalists’ efforts to reduce the appeal of large, powerful cars. EPA’s stringent fuel-economy standards didn’t apply to trucks, SUVs, or minivans, which didn’t then exist. So, to keep the features they liked, millions of people replaced the family sedan or station wagon with an SUV or truck. As fuel efficiency increased and driving became cheaper, people drove more miles — thereby negating the marginal gains of owning more-fuel-efficient vehicles.

CAFE standards did not reduce America’s dependence on foreign oil — it would take the fracking revolution to do that — but they did have deadly unintended consequences. To meet federal fuel-economy guidelines, carmakers reduced vehicle size, weight, and power. By doing so, manufacturers compromised cars’ safety, resulting in tens of thousands of unnecessary injuries and deaths in vehicle crashes. For every 100 pounds shaved off new cars to meet CAFE standards, between 440 and 780 additional people are killed in auto accidents, amounting to 2,200 to 3,900 lives lost per year, according to researchers at Harvard University and the Brookings Institution. As a result, CAFE has resulted in more deaths than all U.S. soldiers lost in the Vietnam War and every U.S. military engagement since then.

The laws of physics will never change. In a vehicle crash, larger and heavier is safer than lighter and smaller. EPA’s fuel-economy freeze will prevent unnecessary deaths while protecting consumer choice.

If fuel economy is the driving force behind your purchasing decisions, nothing changes under EPA’s decision to freeze current fuel-economy standards. You are free to continue buying the electric, hybrid, or clean diesel vehicle of your choice. If, however, comfort, power, vehicle safety, and the ability to haul a boat or ferry a little league team are your goals, EPA’s CAFE freeze ensures you can continue to make that choice as well. 

Ain’t freedom grand!



Utility Double Whammy as KGS Joins the 2018 Rate Hike Request Bandwagon

by Allen Williams


Kansas Gas Corporation is back for another rate increase in just two years, Docket No.:18-KGSG-560 RTS   The last one having been approved in 2016.  KGS is a subsidiary of ONE Gas.  ONE Gas Inc is another large conglomerate supplying Oklahoma, Eastern Kansas and parts of Texas where guaranteed levels of income are desired regardless of overall consumption.    

Breitbart reports that Electric, Gas, and Water Rates Falling Due to Trump Tax Cuts 

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act cut the corporate rate from 35% to 21%.. Utility companies are passing on the tax savings in the form of lower rates for customers,” – Americans for Tax Reform.

But this phenomenon is apparently not true in Kansas where utility rates continue to rise.  

The ONE Gas financial report at http://investor.onegas.com/news/news-releases/news-details/2018/ONE-Gas-Announces-First-quarter-2018-Financial-Results/default.aspx  shows:

Net margin increased by $0.8 million compared with first quarter 2017, which primarily reflects:

  • A $5.1 million increase from new rates primarily in Texas and Kansas;
  • A $2.5 million increase from the impact of the weather-normalization mechanisms in Kansas and Oklahoma;
  • A $2.5 million increase due primarily to higher transportation volumes;
  • A $1.2 million increase attributed to net residential customer growth in Oklahoma and Texas;
  • A $0.9 million increase due to a compressed natural gas excise tax credit that was enacted in February 2018 and retroactive to 2017; and
  • A $0.8 million increase in rider and surcharge recoveries due to a higher ad-valorem surcharge in Kansas, which is offset with higher regulatory amortization expense; offset by
  • A $12.3 million decrease related to the deferral of potential refund obligations from the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017.

So KGS admits revenues are up from a combined increase in Texas and Kansas but it’s NOT enough! There appears to be no end to KGS rate and new cost factor requests, the latest being the Kansas  Gas System Reliability Surcharge which now is to include Cyber attacks.  Why not include impact from the stock market impact in a cost factor as well?

SOURCE:  http://investor.onegas.com/investors/financial-reporting/earnings-and-guidance/default.aspx

 “ONE Gas 2018 net income is expected to be in the range of $167 million to $178 million, or $3.15 to $3.35 per diluted share. The midpoint for ONE Gas’ 2018 net income guidance is $172 million, or $3.25 per diluted share.”

Requests for Kansas utility rate increases are a revolving door chiefly to guarantee satisfactory dividends to ONE Gas investors.  The current KGS request increase is a 10% rate hike to consumers when inflation currently stands at 2.3%.

Is there ANYTHING the rate payer is NOT being asked to fund?  Where is the promise of lower rates to get the earlier rate increase approvals?  Just lies as the market for gas has improved revenues rather than diminished them. Instead rate payers are asked to pay dividends of $3.35 a share. But why stop there? Why not $5.15 or even $10 a share? 

General Motors a for profit corporation is paying just $0.38 cents per share as of their 1st Quarter 2018 financial report:  http://quote.morningstar.com/stock-filing/Quarterly-Report/2018/3/31/t.aspx?t=:GM&ft=&d=8ba56ee4bdd422dcb28a39f579bc9cda while Kansans are forced to pay dividends in the dollar range. WHY?

Extraneous surcharges mask the true price users pay for gas services and in effect are automatic rate bumpers that increase consumer bills unfairly for such things as weather, reliability etc. It is an effective hedge against conservation.  These charges are designed to keep utility bills from advantaging consumers by being too low.  The KGS COG delivery charge is an example.   In Sept of 2018 the service charge was 0.4 MCF at a stated rate of $3.85 per 1000 ft3. 

Extraneous surcharges mask the true price users pay for gas services and in effect are automatic rate bumpers that increase consumer bills unfairly for such things as weather, reliability etc. It is an effective hedge against conservation.  These charges are designed to keep utility bills from advantaging consumers by being too low.  The KGS COG delivery charge is an example.  In Sept of 2018 the service charge was 0.4 MCF at a stated rate of $3.85 per 1000 ft3. 

This $0.4*1000 ft3 * $3.8523/1000 ft3 = $1.54 COG

So the ratio of gas consumption to the charge for providing it is $16.70/$1.54 or 10.84 nearly 11 times the cost of the gas which illustrates my point.  Now KGS wants to increase the delivery service charge from $16.70 to $22.66 which is $22.66/ $1.54 or 14.7 times the cost of the gas.

The result is that KGS customers will pay nearly 15 times as much for the gas to be delivered to their home as for the actual gas consumed not to mention all the other ‘hedge factors’.  The rest of the bill is local taxes.  When service charges exceed the cost of a product by double digits the company is gouging consumers.

BreitBart continues:  “Thus far, ATR has found 102 utility companies that have lowered rates or ceased rate hikes due to President Trump’s tax cuts.”

Why do ONE Gas/KGS customers have to fund dividends at a higher rate than General Motors, #21 on the 2017 fortune 500 list despite a record federal tax cut?

I seriously question the company’s claim that it has “experienced increases in payroll expenses and supplier costs” to justify their current rate request. These cost claims appear to be creative paper expenses towards the end of providing investor dividends.

102 other utilities have either decreased rates or ceased rate requests but not Kansas?  

Commission Consultants are not tantamount to citizen ratepayer oversight of a regulated monopoly

The KGS rate increase is nothing short of rubber stamp legalized robbery.


Trump Orders Declassification of FISA Docs and Comey Texts

WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 17: U.S. President Donald Trump participates in the inaugural meeting of the Presidents National Council for the American Worker in the Roosevelt Room of the White House on September 17, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Oliver Contreras - Pool/Getty Images)



President Donald Trump ordered the declassification of several documents and texts related to the FBI’s Russia investigation during the 2016 presidential election.

Included among the documents are the 21 pages of the FISA court application used by the FBI to obtain a warrant to surveil Trump campaign advisor Carter Page, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement on Monday.

Sanders added that the president has also directed the release of all reports by the FBI of interviews with Justice Department official Bruce Ohr in relation to the Russia investigation.

View image on TwitterView image on Twitter
Trump further ordered the public release of all text messages concerning the Russia investigation, “without redaction,” from former FBI Director James Comey, former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, former FBI agent Peter Strzok, former FBI attorney Lisa Page, and Ohr.

The House Intelligence and House Oversight and Government Reform committees have both been seeking the unredacted FISA applications on Carter Page for months.

Fox News reported sources familiar with the matter do not know how soon the documents will be released, but the release covered “pretty much everything that (House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes) wanted … and the text messages are a bonus.”

Nunes stated on FNC on Sunday, “If the president wants the American people to really understand just how broad and invasive this investigation has been to many Americans and how unfair it has been, he has no choice but to declassify” key documents.

House Majority Whip Steve Scalise praised Trump’s decision to release the FISA documents and text messages, tweeting, the president “made the right call. Americans deserve the truth about these egregious actions by government officials.”

Freedom Caucus chair Rep. Mark Meadows tweeted after Trump’s announcement, “Transparency wins.”

“It’s time to get the full truth on the table so the American people can decide for themselves on what happened at the highest levels of their FBI and Justice Department,” he added.

House Intelligence Committee ranking member Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., accused Trump of “ordering the selective disclosure of classified materials he believes helpful to his defense.”

“The DOJ and FBI have previously informed me that release of some of this information would cross a ‘red line,’” he wrote.

On Monday morning, Trump tweeted about a Fox News report concerning Lisa Page’s testimony before the House Intelligence Committee in July during which she stated the FBI had found no evidence of Russia collusion by May 2017, when special counsel Robert Mueller was named to take over the investigation.

“Therefore, the case should never have been allowed to be brought. It is a totally illegal Witch Hunt!” wrote the president.

In another tweet, he wrote, “Immediately after Comey’s firing Peter Strzok texted to his lover, Lisa Page ‘We need to Open the case we’ve been waiting on now while Andy (McCabe, also fired) is acting.”

“Page answered, ‘We need to lock in (redacted). In a formal chargeable way. Soon.’ Wow, a conspiracy caught?” Trump wondered.









Senior Staff Writer
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Randy DeSoto is a graduate of West Point and Regent University School of Law. He is the author of the book "We Hold These Truths" and screenwriter of the political documentary "I Want Your Money."

On Gay Adoption, S.E. Cupp is Out to Lunch

by Robert Oscar Lopez


{An excellent 2014 article that exposes the insipidness of gay adoption:  Lopez considers himself a “children’s advocate” in rejecting gay marriage and gay adoption.  In the process he is also addressing one of the greatest threats to the survival of the family in recent history, especially with the global explosion of gay surrogacy and gay adoption.  Some of the dark “underworld” agendas he hints at need more attention -- publicly.  Read his own story at:  http://www.thepublicdiscourse.com/2012/08/6065. -- DNI]


S.E. Cupp is one of the latest media figures to make a pitch on gay marriage and adoption.  As is often the case, she throws out so many canards in this cocktail of insipidness, one scarcely knows where to begin

I will say conservatives have got to move on gay marriage....[and] on gay adoption. If abortion is the abhorrent option – and I believe it is – then adoption by any two loving people has got to be the better option. 

First of all, the latest estimates indicate that somewhere between 12-15% of heterosexual couples struggle with infertility.  Currently many of these viable homes, rather than adopting, are being steered to the artificial reproduction market and contributing to the 1.5% (and rising) of live American births tied to in vitro technology.  The alternative to abortion is obviously to get more of these viable straight couples to avoid sperm-banking or surrogacy, and to consider adopting instead.

Anyone who’s lost a birth parent to death, divorce, or a tragedy knows that a kid feels the absence of a father or mother.  This is square one for adoptees, orphans, children of divorce, or children of same-sex couples – someone was there when you were born, and now he or she is not there.  That person is a very real human being, tied to you by flesh and blood.  A kid mourns the missing person, thinks about him, longs to reconnect with him.  It hurts to be cut off from a mother or father.  I was cut off from my dad because he divorced my lesbian mother; I was reared by two women.

It’s not a small thing to make a kid grow up without a father because a bunch of self-centered adults can’t get their acts together.  I’ve had enough of pundits like S.E. Cupp being so glib about things that are incredibly painful for people who are actually in these situations, and powerless about it to boot.  If you haven’t been raised by a gay couple and you haven’t been adopted, it might be hard to understand how offensive it is to hear people on TV talk about fraught transactions like adoption and same-sex parenting with such confident nonchalance.

One of the unnoticed ironies in the debate on gay adoption has to do with David Brock, the chieftain at Media Matters, whose subdivision Equality Matters has gone after me more than once for my views on a child’s right to his mother and father.  Brock spent much of his 2002 memoirs, Blinded by the Right, on the pain he felt about being adopted.  In fact, his adoption weighed on him and complicated his relationship with his father much more than did his gayness. You would think that Brock would understand why it’s not such a simple thing to yank kids from a birth family and toss him into a home with one or two adults unrelated to him.  Ironic self-awareness is apparently lacking on the left.  {And with Child Protective Services who often remove children from their true parents with out sufficient justification. - ED}

The truth is that adoption in the United States is too expensive, and many heterosexual couples find the costs prohibitive, so they are priced out of the market by gay couples, who have much higher incomes and are, 100% of the time, forced to take babies from other people since they cannot conceive them on their own.  In fact, gay adopters have such an insatiable desire to parlay their high incomes into cash-for-kids that they waged a war against Catholic Charities adoption centers, going as far as forcing many such agencies to shut down as punishment for not giving gay couples other people’s abandoned children.

The dirty secret about gay adoption is that most often when homosexual couples adopt, one of their pair is the biological parent.  Usually the child comes from a former heterosexual relationship that broke down.  So when they “adopt,” they typically have to put a bunch of people through the mud fight that my dear friend Janna endured: they have to drag the opposite-sex parent to family court, strip him or her of custody, and then force the poor little kid to submit to the parental authority of a new, sometimes creepy, person who’s sleeping with a biological parent and very likely caused the breakup of that child's original family.

That’s the real-life adoption story that doesn’t make for great gay headlines.  Gay adoption has unfortunate but ineluctable ties to divorce.  In fact, by encouraging gay adoption so much, we are encouraging a whole new generation of homewreckers – gays who want to be parents and figure out that the cheapest way to do it is to seduce someone of the same sex who is currently in a rocky marriage with children.


You will hear, from time to time, about hundreds of thousands of children in foster care who can’t find families to adopt them.  This is a favorite statistic for gay marriage gurus to throw out as a kind of emotional Shock and Awe, a debate-stopper of the first order, especially if you can cough up an example of special-needs children being raised by adorable lesbians in Michigan.  There has never been a backlog of infants, so these holdouts are typically older children who landed in the child protective services system because of a crisis.  Many of them are kids who don’t want to placed with gay couples, or kids whom gay couples don’t want, either.  What people don’t tell you – because they don’t want to and don’t have to, until you push them on it – is that most of those children have living parents, or living kin networks, and the foster care system has to work on reuniting them with their struggling birth families.  Otherwise, the government would merely be an oppressive police state taking people’s kids away and signing them over to rich folks in exchange for cash, as happened in dictatorships like the kind that governed Argentina in the 1970s.

Most people don’t have the time to work through the nuances of foster care versus adoption.  Fewer still are aware of how many people in “Adoption Land” – the community of adoptees and adoptive families – are calling for massive reform in both foster care and adoption.  What gay activists are asking for, on both fronts, would actually be moving in the precisely wrong direction; gay lobbyists want agencies to speed up the process by which foster kids are cut off from their birth mothers and fathers and subordinated permanently to same-sex couples eager to acquire them.  On the international adoption front, even gay adoptive father Frank Ligtvoet has faced the painful reality that adoption systems are overemphasizing the desire of wealthy childless families rather than the needs of impoverished communities that are struggling to provide for their children (in the Huffington Post, no less).

It took a while for brave activists like Claudia Corrigan D’Arcy to apply the same critiques on the domestic fronts, but now, too, people are scrutinizing domestic adoptions and finding much to improve.  (The film Philomena, ironically, humanizes the pain of a birth mother who is pressured to give up her infant who turns out to be gay; despite the film’s sympathy for homosexuals, the gay movement is pushing to create more Philomenas nowadays so they can build their rainbow families.)

Foster care costs the public money, whereas adoption is a huge moneymaker for certain attorneys and even, in the United Kingdom and here, for social service agencies (see this article on the blowback that resulted from rewarding people too handsomely for placing foster kids in adoptive homes).  So the mentality that it’s always best to get kids out of foster care and into adoption is a mixed bag.  On the one hand, we have ample evidence that life in foster care is hard, and we know that many adoptive homes are great places to save suffering children from such instability.

(I should confess: when I was fifteen, there were problems in my home, and my father did not want to take me in, so he drove me to a “boarding school” in Maine, where I stayed while my home situation might improve.  It was very hard to feel abandoned, essentially, at the moment that my dad dropped me off at the main office with a check, but would it have made sense for some couple to adopt me at that point?  In the end I returned to my mothers’ home and finished high school early, going to college as a de facto emancipated minor.)

On the other hand, we have much to worry about when we envision rushing kids out of foster care into gay adoption.  Gay adoptive parents have proved just as capable as straight foster parents of kidnappingmurderabuserapechild pornography, and neglect involving the children they acquire.  So everything that’s painful about foster care with straight people is also painful about gay adoption; the difference is that in a gay adoption, the child loses forever his chance at having a mom and dad.  Whether adopters are gay or straight, it’s not a good idea to incentivize social services agencies’ power to remove children from troubled homes and transfer all parental equivalence to a new home without making a good-faith effort to repair problems with the birth family.

It sounds ominous to be in the position of “aging out” of foster care without having been adopted.  But it’s not necessarily as bad as it sounds.  You can still maintain contact with foster parents, but once you are emancipated, it is your choice to do that (not something forced on you by law), and you also have the choice to rebuild your relationship with your birth kin network, the way I rebuilt a relationship with my father as an adult.  My mother’s lesbian partner never adopted me, and that was probably the right decision.





Robert Oscar Lopez edits English Manif.  [See also his own “bio”: http://www.thepublicdiscourse.com/2012/08/6065/ The article first appeared here.


Report: Federal Prosecutors Weighing Criminal Charges Against Former Obama White House Counsel

By Jack Davis

An attorney who served as White House counsel in the Obama administration is under investigation for his role in dealings linked to the case against Paul Manafort, according to a report from CNN, citing sources “familiar with the matter.”

Manafort, who briefly served as Donald Trump’s campaign manager, was the target of an investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller.

Manafort pleaded guilty on Friday to conspiring to defraud the United States and conspiring to obstruct justice, both having to do with dealings in Ukraine that took place years before his involvement with the Trump campaign.

CNN reported Friday that attorney Greg Craig, who was White House counsel from 2009 to 2010, is under scrutiny over whether he lobbied for Ukrainian leaders without registering as a foreign agent.

The investigation also touches on the firm of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP, where Craig was a partner at the time.

Craig’s actions were taken after he left the White House, according to the report.

Connections between Manafort, the firm and Craig were revealed in filings in the Manafort case.

Craig’s attorney William Taylor III said his client did nothing wrong.

“Greg Craig was not required to register under the Foreign Agents Registration Act,” Taylor said in a statement, Law.com reported.

Craig himself would not comment on the investigation.

This is not the first controversial case for Taylor, who represented Fusion GPS, the firm involved in the production of a dossier of discredited claims against Trump.

NBC News reported that Craig was the supervisor of Alex van der Zwaan, a Skadden lawyer who has pleaded guilty to lying to prosecutors and about communications concerning the Ukrainian politician for whom Manafort was also working.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office and Justice Department have not yet decided if they will file charges against either Craig or the law firm, CNN reported.

The law firm was paid more than $4.6 million, which Manafort sought to hide, the court filing said.

Bloomberg reported that the law firm is also facing questions of conflict of interest in the issues surrounding former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko.

Skadden lawyers, which would have included Craig,  may have violated their ethical responsibilities through their actions, said Rebecca Roiphe, who provides instruction on legal ethics at New York Law School.

“Skadden could face some problems with disciplinary authorities in D.C., assuming this is as bad and as baseless as described,” she said.




The Biggest TAX SCAM in American History

Owen Sullivan
By Owen Sullivan
Derek Walters was stuck in rush hour traffic when he got the call.

“Mr. Walters, this is Officer Rick Selznick of the Department of Treasury.”

The voice on the other end of the line was a gravelly, pack-a-day voice. It sounded serious.

“We need to have a little chat.”

Rick said Derek owed the government $5,000 in back taxes.

Rick said there was a warrant out for Derek’s arrest.

Rick said Derek was in big trouble.

Derek’s heart dropped into his stomach. His mouth went dry.

He couldn’t go to jail. He had a family, two kids in school and a new job to worry about.

He drove straight to the bank.  He was sure there had been a mistake. But now wasn’t the time to argue. He would pay the money to get the warrant squashed and try to get the money back later.  He withdrew $5,000 from his savings account and wired it to a bank account provided by Officer Selznick. All the while, never got off the phone with Rick.

“Thank you very much, Mr. Walters. You did the right thing.”

And just like that, Derek had fell for the biggest tax scam in American history.

Wrong Number

This week in Money & Crisis, we’ve been investigating a bombshell report that claims almost 50% of all phone calls in 2019 will be scam phone calls.  That means that every time you pick up the phone, there’s a 50/50 chance the person on the other end of the line will try to scam you out of your money.

Derek fell for one of the most prevalent scam techniques known as the “back taxes” scam.

“When I was explaining it to my wife, it was obvious it was a scam,” says Derek. “I mean, of course the Treasury Department doesn’t call you up and force you to wire money to them on the spot!  “But they put so much pressure on you, you don’t have time to think. It was like an action movie. ‘Do this NOW and the bomb won’t go off.’ That’s why they keep you on the phone. So you don’t have time to think.”

This is a common thread in reports of phone scams. The thieves will use the fear of jail time or financial ruin to manipulate their marks. But today, their attacks and techniques have become so varied, that it’s getting harder and harder to tell scams apart from legitimate phone calls. Sometimes, even saying one word is enough to get you into heaps of trouble.

Today, we’re going to delve the most common scams people fall for and some strategies for beating them.

The Robot

One of the most common types of scams is known as a robocaller. This is a pre-recorded message — usually that of a pleasant sounding woman — that will try to get you to fork over your credit card information.

They’ll hide their scam behind the pretense of collecting money for emergency relief, local charities and even political parties.

When you hear that pleasant sounding robot’s voice, hang up.

WARNING: Some of these robocallers will give you the “option” to unsubscribe by hitting nine on your keypad. Don’t do it. This just tells the scammers that this is an active phone line to be targeted for more scams.

The Silent Caller

Some scammers have found the best moneymaking strategy is…

Complete silence.

They simply call you up… say nothing… and record anything you say while you’re on the line. The goal is try and get you to say “yes” or anything else that could be used as a verbal contract. They’ll try and use this recording of you saying “yes” to sign you up to expensive subscriptions services.

There are variations on this strategy, where callers will ask you questions to trick you into saying yes, such as “can you hear me?” or “are you a homeowner?”

If you get caught by one of these scammers, know that your “yes” isn’t a valid contract. They will try and intimidate you and manipulate you psychologically into paying up. But you don’t owe these thugs jack.

Too Good to Be True

As a rule, if a stranger calls you to tell you “good news” they’re after your money.

Callers will make wild claims of extravagant prizes and free products. But in reality, these “awesome prizes” are nothing more than bait.

Scammers are just buttering you up to get you to listen to a sales pitch or to trick you into forking over your credit card details.

Common claims to watch out for are:

Foreign Lotteries: The winning ticket was purchased in your name or as a gift. All we need is a “small fee” to transfer the funds.

Free or Low Cost Travel Packages: These travel packages often have sky-high hidden fees. While others don’t exist at all. The scammer just takes your money and disappears.

Credit and Loans: These loans might look good up front. But hidden costs and sky-high interest means you’ll end up paying back far more than you bargained for.

Extended Car Warranties: Scammers will find out what car you drive and try to sell you overpriced, worthless warranties.

Scam Beating Strategies
  1. Don’t answer calls you don’t recognize. If it’s important they’ll leave a message. Some scammers will leave a message. But this will give you time to think and google the phone number. Scam numbers will often be listed online.
  2. If you pick up the phone and suspect someone is impersonating a government employee or legitimate business, say you will call them back and hang up. Instead of using the number they called you from, look up their number online and ask for the person by name. If they protest, it’s a scam.
  3. Download a scam blocker app. Nomorobo catalogues all the scam numbers and blocks them from connecting to your phone. True Caller is a similar app that uses its database of 2 billion numbers to identify incoming calls. True Caller won’t actually block any calls but it will give you the information you need to screen the calls yourself. Both apps are available on Apple and Google Play.
And with that, I’ll leave you with a piece of wisdom from Laissez Faire’s Editorial Director Justin Fritz.

“I knew it wasn’t a scam, because they sent me a letter!”

What about you? Have you had any close calls with a scam caller? What was the lie they told you? When did you realize they weren’t legit?

All the best,






EPA’s Non-Politicized Science Benefits Americans

by H. Sterling Burnett


A direct challenge to the hardcore enviros who heretofore controlled and corrupted the agency.

President Donald Trump committed to fundamentally transforming the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from an agency producing politicized science to one instilling sound scientific standards for research. By doing so, Americans should expect improved environmental and health outcomes.

Currently, regulatory costs top $1.9 trillion annually, which amounts to $14,842 per U.S. household. That’s nearly $15,000 less for Americans to pay for health insurance, medical bills, education expenses, groceries, gasoline, or entertainment. Because the economic and social implications of regulations are profound, the science they are built upon must be impeccable.

Over the last few decades — under Republican and Democratic administrations — EPA formed a cozy relationship with radical environmental activists and liberal academic researchers. With the support of environmental lobbyists who despise capitalism (expressed by consumers’ free choices in the marketplace) EPA bureaucrats, in pursuit of more power and expanded budgets for the agency, funded researchers who, because they were largely dependent on government grants for the majority of their funding, were only too happy to produce results claiming industry was destroying the earth.

Of course, the only way to prevent environmental collapse was more government control of the economy. However, these reports were produced despite the fact poverty and hunger have steadily declined and people are living longer and more productive lives than ever before.

As Jay Lehr, a colleague and science director at the Heartland Institute told me once, “For decades, EPA has been a wholly owned subsidiary of the environmental left. Together, radical environmentalists and EPA bureaucrats, including the members of all their advisory panels, have used their considerable power to thwart American business at every turn.

Under Trump, EPA changed how it pursues science to pay greater fealty to the scientific method and remove temptations for scientific self-aggrandizement and corruption.

Not surprisingly, researchers, environmentalists, and bureaucrats, seeing their power curtailed and their gravy train ending, are crying foul saying the Trump administration is undermining science. However, in reality this is simply not true.

EPA’s scientific advisory panels are tasked with ensuring the research the agency uses to develop and justify regulations is rigorous, has integrity, and is based on the best available science.

To better ensure this, EPA ceased automatically renewing the terms of board members on various panels. EPA is now filling its scientific panels and boards on a competitive basis as each board member’s term expires.

This should improve the science EPA uses to inform its decisions, by expanding diversity — diversity of interests, diversity of scientific disciplines, and diversity of backgrounds — thus bringing in a wider array of viewpoints to EPA decision-making.

In addition, to reduce opportunities for corruption, EPA ceased allowing members of its federal advisory committees to apply for EPA research grants and instituted policies to ensure advisory panel members and grant recipients have no other conflicts of interest. It was always a foolish practice to allow those recommending, often determining, who gets EPA grants to also be in the running for those grants. However, this was business as usual at EPA, where grant makers awarded themselves, research teams they were members of, or their friends billions of taxpayer dollars over the years.

In April, then EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt declared “The era of secret science at EPA is coming to an end.” Pruitt proposed requiring the data underlying scientific studies used by EPA to craft regulations be available for public inspection, criticism, and independent verification.

For years, EPA bureaucrats have used the results of studies by researchers who would not disclose the data underlying their results to be examined and retested for confirmation or falsification. Fortunately, EPA is finally ending this unjustifiable practice.

Many scientists have objected to EPA’s new secret science policy because they claim the studies EPA uses have undergone “peer review.” However, the peer review process is often nothing more than other researchers, often hand-picked by the scientists whose research is being reviewed, sitting around in their ivory towers reading the reports and saying, “this looks okay or reasonable to me.”


Unless the reviewers are able examine the underlying data and assumptions, and attempt to replicate the results, peer review is unable to ensure the validity of studies used to underpin regulations. Absent transparency and replicability, peer review is hollow.

Another long overdue EPA regulatory reform was the decision to end exclusive use of the “Linearity No Threshold” (LNT) model when assessing the dangers of radiation, carcinogens, and other toxic substances in the environment. Going forward, EPA will incorporate uncertainty into its risk assessments using a variety of other, more realistic models.

The LNT model assumes there is no safe dose of ionizing radiation or exposure to various other chemicals or toxins. Relying on flawed studies from the effect of ionizing radiation on fruit flies from the 1950s, EPA and other regulatory agencies have used LNT as a basis for regulation of environmental clean-ups, setting safety standards for nuclear plants, and limiting low dose radiation treatments for medical patients, a policy that has cost lives and billions of taxpayer dollars.

Although science has progressed phenomenally since the 1950s, with copious amounts of research showing the LNT model is seriously flawed, EPA and other agencies never questioned the LNT standard. That is, until now.

In fact, adverse effects from low dose exposures to radiation and most other chemicals and potential toxins are often non-existent. Indeed, substances that may be harmful in large quantities can be beneficial in small amounts, a process known as hormesis.

In the commonly paraphrased words of Swiss physician and astronomer Paracelsus, “the dose makes the poison.” Vitamins, which are valuable in small quantities, and even water, which is literally necessary for life, can become deadly if too much of either is taken over a short period of time. Or consider sun exposure. While exposure to too much sunlight can contribute to skin cancer, sunlight is required to catalyze the final synthesis of Vitamin D, which strengthens the bones, helping prevent osteoporosis and rickets. There is also ample evidence sunlight can help fight depression and several skin and inflammatory ailments.

Replacing reliance on the untenable LNT model with other models of exposure and response will result in better safety and health protocols, potentially saving billions of dollars and thousands of lives each year.

In service of the American people and the pursuit of continued American greatness, science practices at EPA are improving under President Trump. One can only hope equivalent changes are adopted at other executive agencies so the regulations they produce are grounded in the best available science, free of political corruption and bureaucratic incentives for agency mission creep and growth.




The article first appeared here.

The Bad Economics of Short-Run Policies


Bad economics can bring about or grow out of bad politics. But the question is, what are bad economics and bad politics?

Bad economics can bring about or grow out of bad politics. But the question is, what are bad economics and bad politics? Unless this is clearly and correctly identified, a bad situation can be made worse, and a good situation can be turned into a bad one. So sorting this out is crucial to having a free and prosperous society.

British economist, Robert Skidelsky, is confident that he knows the answer. In a recent article on “Good Politics, Bad Economics,” he states that bad economics and bad politics are free markets and limited government along classical liberal lines. How does he know that such economics and politics are “bad” in their effects on the society? The financial crisis of 2008-2009, Skidelsky says, was due to unbridled financial markets combined with “hands-off” economic policies once the downturn set in, in 2009-2010.

Good politics and good economics, in his view, comprise an openness and sensitivity to the concerns of many in the society for social securities and job assurances in a changing and uncertain world. Oh, Adam Smith’s invisible hand of unhampered free markets is fine enough when taking the long view, but, Skidelsky says, they are “also highly disruptive and prone to periodic breakdown,” in the shorter run.

Skidelsky: Populist Demagogues as Good Economists

Adhering to such Smithian free market policies opens the door to “populist” demagogues, such as Victor Orban in Hungary who has instituted illiberal political policies attempting to restrict civil liberties and personal freedom. But, on the other hand, as far as Skidelsky is concerned Orban has a highly redeemable set of good fiscal policies, based on a “sound Keynesian footing.”

This echoes back to the infamous forward that John Maynard Keynes (1883-1946) wrote for the German translation of his, The General Theory of Employment, Interest, and Money (1936), that “The theory of output as a whole, which is what the following book purports to provide, is much more easily adapted to the conditions in a totalitarian state than . . . under conditions of free competition and a large measure of laissez-faire . . .”

It is worth recalling that in 1936, the only remaining academic economists to whom the content of Keynes’s book could be addressed in recommending it as a guide for government economic policy were Nazi economists, since all others already had been removed from university and related positions by Hitler’s National Socialist regime.

Following in the footsteps of his intellectual mentor (being the author of a highly regarded three-volume biography of Keynes), Skidelsky points out that illiberal nationalist regimes such as Orban’s find it far easier “to pursue policies of social protection.” Why? They can use the heavy hand of government control to impose such policies on society without the type of resistance or public criticism possible in a more politically open liberal system.

The Bigger the Government, the Better for Keynesians

The smaller the government’s fiscal presence in the economic activities within a country, the less is likely to be the impact from “activist” government spending policies, since government expenditures and taxation would be relatively small to start with. If there is, say, a $1 trillion economy, with government taxing and spending only representing one percent (or $10 billion), a 20 percent increase in government spending in the form of a budget deficit only comes to an additional $2 billion.

But if, on the other hand, out of a $1 trillion economy, government taxing and spending comes to, say, 20 percent that is equal to $200 billion. If, now, the government increases it’s spending by only 5 percent through deficit financing that comes to $10 billion, or five times as much as in the first case.

Keynes’s point, and Skidelsky’s, is that the greater the degree of government influence or control over the economic activities within a country to begin with, including the size of government spending as a percent of the economy as a whole, the larger the impact from any increase in spending by that government. The bigger the government, the more policy-relevant is the introduction or expansion of Keynesian-type fiscal policies.

In fairness, Keynes had no sympathy for the ideology or the politics of the Nazi regime in Germany, and Robert Skidelsky is equally unsympathetic with the political and cultural policies of Orban’s government in Hungary. But Skidelsky believes that the best way to prevent or make less likely the coming to power of a populist, “right-wing” government like Orban’s is for a more liberal and democratic government to introduce “good” Keynesian and other interventionist policies before economic circumstances become so bad in a country that the citizens turn to an Orban-type of leader, due to the affects of “bad” free market policies that limit the size and scope of a government to “fix” and set things right.

Bastiat and Hazlitt: Good Economists Look Beyond the Short Run

Slightly modernizing the insight of the French free market economist, Frederic Bastiat (1801-1850) in his famous essay, “What is Seen and What is Not Seen,” economic journalist Henry Hazlitt (1894-1993) explained the crucial difference between a “bad” and  “good” economist in his classic, Economics in One Lesson (1946):

“The bad economist sees only what immediately strikes the eye; the good economist also looks beyond. The bad economist sees only the direct consequences of a proposed course; the good economist looks also at the longer and indirect consequences. The bad economist sees only what the effect of a given policy has been or will be on one particular group, the good economist inquires also what the effect of the policy will be on all groups . . .

“The long-run consequences of some economic policies may become evident in a few months. Others may not become evident for several years. Still others may not become evident for decades. But in every case those long-run consequences are contained in the policy as surely as the hen was in the egg., the flower in the seed . . . The art of economics consists in looking not merely at the immediate but at the longer effects of any act or policy; it consists in tracing the consequences not merely for one group but for all groups.”

Now no personal or moral slight is intended by implying that Robert Skidelsky, by Bastiat’s and Hazlitt’s definition, is a “bad” economist. It simply means that it is “bad economics” if the analyst, for whatever reason, exclusively or primarily focuses on the immediate or nearer effects from a government policy while ignoring or downplaying the possible or likely impact of such policies when taking the longer-run perspective on what the consequences of a policy may be.

The reason being, as the old adage says, “the road to hell is paved with good intentions.” It is clear from Skidelsky’s argument that he is concerned that if a “good” or well-intentioned government pursues “bad” economic policies, it may create the political conditions in which an authoritarian or populist demagogue may be able to promise “good” interventionist economics, some of which he might even successfully deliver, but at the cost of reduced or lost political and civil liberties.

However, a “good” diagnosis requires a correct judgment concerning the cause and nature of the (social) ailment. Otherwise, the illness may be made worse, or at a minimum recovery may be delayed or prolonged more than otherwise might have been necessary.

Short-Run Policies Created the 2008-2009 Crisis

What Skidelsky interprets as the economic system prevailing in the United States and most other Western countries has little to do with how classical liberals define a “free market.” Financial markets have been and are heavily regulated by government regulatory agencies. The creation of money and credit and the rates of interest they charge to borrowers are not truly market-based. Central banks set the regulatory and loan-creating rules for the member banks within the banking systems.

Governments and their central banks created the financial crisis of 2008-2009. For years the Federal Reserve had been increasing the quantity of loanable funds in the banking system, and when adjusted for price inflation as measured by the consumer price index, some real interest rates were negative. (See my article, “Interest Rates Need to Tell the Truth”.)

In other words, loan money was being handed out for free in terms of real buying power that a borrower was paying back to lenders for the period of their loans. To get the central bank-created money in the banking system out the door, besides the equivalent of negative interest charges on some loans, the banks were induced to extend loans to uncredit-worthy home buyers with the promise that government agencies like Fanny Mae Freddie Mac would pick up the tab if and when the loans went bad – which many eventually did.

Bad Economics and Short-Run Politics Cause Society’s Ills

What had motivated these policies? In the case of the Federal Reserve, a fear in the early years of the 21st century that there might be a tendency for price deflation, which the Fed Board of Governors decided had to be prevented at all costs through counter-acting monetary expansion. The longer run consequence was an unsustainable financial and investment bubble that came crashing down in 2008-2009. (See my article, “Don’t Fear ‘Deflation,’ Unless Caused by Government”.)

In the case of the housing market, pressures by members of Congress were placed on the government’s home loan guaranteed agencies – Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac – that not enough people were attaining the American dream of having their own home, especially among members of minority communities in the United States. So credit standards were lowered or seemingly almost waved. Banks were told not to worry; just extend home loans to those not meeting the traditional credit-worthy standards of income and work history or not enough of a usual down payment, because if things went wrong those government agencies guaranteed to cover any that went “bad.”

Misplaced fears about possible price deflation and the pressures of politicians looking no further than needing votes from happy home-owning constituents; these were the short-run policy contexts that created the longer run disaster of one of the severest economic downturns of the post-World War II period.

Macroeconomic Mindset Prevents Understanding of Markets

Both factors reflected the bad economics of focusing on the short-run. The Keynesian mindset is to have the monetary central planners try to micro-manage every twist and turn in the financial and economic climate, and frequently turn the money-creation and interest rate dials in an attempt to keep the macro-economy on an even keel, as the defined by the Keynesian-oriented policy makers.

The same applies to using government taxing and spending to try to influence investment, employment and wages in the economy as a whole. But, again, what this mindset summarizes away in the macroeconomic aggregates used as indicators and targets are the complex and interconnected microeconomic relationships in the structure of relative prices and wages, relative profitabilities of directing productions to satisfy multitudes of different consumer demands, and the need for on-going and continuous adaptations and adjustments in prices and wages, and the allocation of resources (including labor) for successful economy-wide coordination of what everyone is doing in the social system of the division of labor. (See my article, “Macro Aggregates Hide the Real Market Processes at Work”.)

The Best Short and Long Run Policy: Limited Government

For a market economy to succeed in this endeavor the only long run set of policies for any government needs to undertake is to protect the individual and private property rights of the citizenry, enforce all contracts and agreements peacefully and voluntarily entered into that are not fraudulent or misrepresentations, and prevent foreign aggressors from invading and plundering the people within a country.

This represents the “good politics” of a (classical) liberal political order that helps secure people’s liberty and assures the economic setting most conducive to prosperity and price-guided market coordination. A stable and healthy market order such as this precludes the likelihood of the disruptions and distortions that are central to Skildelsky’s concerns.

If such disruptions do arise for some external reason, it remains nonetheless the best long run and short run policy for open and competitive markets to be left free to rebalance and recoordinate in the most appropriate and timesaving ways possible. Government planners, regulators and bureaucrats can never know or acquire the needed and necessary microeconomic knowledge of time and circumstance that only the actors within the various sectors of the economy can discover and attempt to utilize in the most effective manner.

Following this type of economic policy approach is most likely to preclude the emergence and attractiveness of the populist demagogues that Skidelsky fears as threats to political freedom and civil liberties. His proposed policies are far more likely to bring about the very “bad politics” about which he is rightly concerned.

[Originally Published at the American Institute for Economic Research]






Dr. Richard M. Ebeling is the BB&T Distinguished Professor of Ethics and Free Enterprise Leadership at The Citadel. Full Bio
rebeling@citadel.edu