Agree to an extent... Da Vinci is a personal favorite of mine, and is the de facto example of the Renaissance Man. He was artistic, athletic, and Cerebral. Many SF authors bring Da Vinci forward in time to perform engineering miracles - oftentimes showing him disassembling an automobile engine out of curiosity - and rebuilding it as good or better than before with parts left over.
Maybe if Da Vinci had invented the radio, like Tesla did, I might think twice. I don't really think its even close.
(01-28-2014, 07:34 PM)WmLambert Wrote: Agree to an extent... Da Vinci is a personal favorite of mine, and is the de facto example of the Renaissance Man. He was artistic, athletic, and Cerebral. Many SF authors bring Da Vinci forward in time to perform engineering miracles - oftentimes showing him disassembling an automobile engine out of curiosity - and rebuilding it as good or better than before with parts left over.
Maybe if Da Vinci had invented the radio, like Tesla did, I might think twice. I don't really think its even close.
Well I share some of the same sentiments...
Da Vinci v. Tesla? No contest. Tesla wins hands down. Tesla's inventions were used across the board in so many industries. My other thing about Tesla is that he didn't care about the money. His work was not work it was just what he did. Nothing could be better than that!
Tesla's life was a tragedy, but his legacy is huge. Perhaps if DaVinci had the intervening centuries and the additional shoulders of other giants to stand on, he could have come up with other marvels as of yet undiscovered. I'd like to think so.
Quote:What’s Right With America? by Burt on February 26, 2014
The loss of freedom in America in the last ten years has disheartened many who value free markets and liberty. Indeed, we need to cut tax rates and restore a freer economy in the U.S. to speed up our recovery and halt the explosion of debt.
But having said that, we need to recognize that much is right with America, and our lives are, in many ways, steadily getting better.
First, the growth of the Internet has brought information and commerce into the living rooms of most American families. Radio talk show host Jim Blasingame calls his new book The Age of the Customer because we can now compare a multitude of products, buy the one we want, and have it shipped to our doorstep. Steel tycoon Andrew Carnegie devoted his fortune to building libraries, but the person with a computer today has personal access to a library of books and knowledge without ever leaving his house. And smartphones let us communicate immediately with friends and family.
Second, American energy has been in decline since the oil crisis of 1973–until now. Fracking has opened up new ways to capture oil and natural gas. Sixty percent of our oil was imported in 2008 and that figure is only about 40 percent today–and will steadily drop (along with gas prices) as we pump more energy out of Texas, North Dakota, and Pennsylvania. The Keystone Pipeline will help as well, unless regulators and politicians stop this new energy windfall.
Third, although Obamacare has been a healthcare disaster, medical progress continues. Two generations ago, tuberculosis, diabetes, and polio devastated the lives of millions of Americans. Vaccines and scientific improvements have greatly mitigated these killers today. Gall bladder surgery and cataract surgery are now easily done with little jeopardy to patients. Lasik surgery helps the almost blind to see and penicillin continues to give life to those who would have died in an earlier age.
All three of these areas of improvement–the Internet, energy, and medical care–have improved because entrepreneurs have been relatively free to invent and invest, and reap the rewards of their work. When government has increased in recent years, however, progress has slowed. Free people satisfy their desires by satisfying others; politicians and bureaucrats satisfy their desires by meddling in the marketplace and stifling liberty.
The trend seems to be for freedom to recede and government to increase–but even here there is hope. Twenty-four states, including Michigan, now have right-to-work laws, which increases freedom in the workplace. True, Americans voted for the Democrat, the bigger government candidate, for president in the last two elections. But the Democrats lost the House decisively in 2010, and independent pollsters are talking about the Democrats losing the Senate in 2014. To paraphrase Winston Churchill, Americans do the wrong thing until the pain finally causes them to do the right thing.
Much is still right with America, and when we focus on that it can often inspire us to fight effectively to preserve the liberty we still have.
An historian saying to have hope helps to give me that hope.
We've commented on Dinesh D'Souza and George Obama. It seems Burt Folsom has added his take on it:
Is it Better to Save the World, or One Person in the World? Wrote:by Burt on March 12, 2014
The answer to that question separates liberals from conservatives. Liberals want to save the world, and perfect it through various government programs. Conservatives believe that no one can save this imperfect world, but that we can, through our efforts, help one person at a time. When millions of conservatives help someone, the entire world is affected.
This point was recently illustrated by President Obama, a liberal, and Dinesh D’Souza, the conservative producer of the film “2016.” President Obama wants to save the world, or at least the U.S., through national healthcare, minimum wage laws, and sharp cuts in carbon dioxide. These programs all require massive government interference in people’s day-to-day lives–and sometimes the lives of people are made much worse by his well intentioned efforts to help them.
Dinesh D’Souza wants to cut out most of this government meddling, and end the damage from failed government programs. He wants people to help others, one person at a time, through charities and personal philanthropy. We can’t save the world, he believes, but we can make it a better place by our one-on-one help for our neighbors.
Dinesh D’Souza, in making his film “2016″, interviewed Barack Obama’s brother George Obama, who is living a meager existence in Kenya. Recently, George Obama made a phone call to D’Souza and asked him for $1,000 for medical treatments for his troubled family. D’Souza, being a conservative, discussed the problem with George Obama, decided it was worthy, and sent him the $1,000. People helping people.
D’Souza, however, found his situation perplexing. He said, “So it ends up I’m funding George Obama’s family medical treatments, and his brother is president. . . . It’s bizarre. ”
Not really. The liberal often neglects the individual to focus on the world. In President Obama’s mind, anything negative that results from his neglect of his brother is way offset by Obamacare, which tries to give healthcare to millions. In his mind, his niche as a compassionate man is secure.
A somewhat similar situation arose in the 2008 presidential primary when Hillary Clinton campaigned vigorously for national healthcare. Suddenly, after one of her speeches, a distraught woman came forward and described her serious medical needs. Hillary Clinton and her husband have tens of millions of dollars, but she did not offer any individual help to the woman before her in need. Instead, Clinton berated a nation that was unwilling to supply national healthcare for everyone. Then, Ms. Clinton left for the next stop on her campaign. Perhaps this woman with her medical needs should call Dinesh D’Souza.
Until recently, American life has been dominated by the D’Souza line of thought, not that of President Obama. Under this conservative approach, interested Americans (and Englishmen) have started hundreds of charities, including the Salvation Army, humane societies, hospitals, orphanages, Teen Challenge, and Alcoholics Anonymous. When people help people, they spend their dollars carefully and work hard to change lives for the better. The biblical parable of the Good Samaritan is our model.
By contrast, when society chooses to pay government bureaucrats to help people, the work is very costly to taxpayers and few lives are ever changed. President Obama’s latest new government program is called “My Brother’s Keeper” and it is designed to help those who are disadvantaged to improve their lives. Perhaps, President Obama should start by helping his own brother before we trust him and his army of bureaucrats to help the rest of us.
Burt Folsom on Free Market stimulus vs. Government.
Burt Folsom Wrote:
Where Does Innovation Come From? on March 26, 2014
From railroads to cars to iPhones, innovation mainly comes from entrepreneurs and private investors eager to back a new idea. Mariana Mazzucato, who has recently written The Entrepreneurial State, challenges this view and argues that the U.S. government, at least since World War II, has been the prime source of innovation–or at least of funding for new ideas.
She defends this thesis by citing many advances in science and national defense that were funded, in part or in whole, by the federal government. True, the federal government has increased in power since WWII, and has thrown money at boatloads of scientific projects, some of which have done well. But let’s look at two points that call this whole argument about “entrepreneurial government” into question.
First, once the federal government is allowed to fund scientific research, the funding is immediately politicized. Those scientific experiments that are considered to be politically correct, or politically connected, move to the front of the line, whether they have value or not. For example, global warming became a “hot” topic in the 1990s and many scientists rushed to capture federal dollars. These scientists were happy to produce reports that allegedly showed the earth getting warmer and that the warming problem resulted from man-made carbon emissions. Now, in 2014, in the absence of any significant global warming in the last seventeen years, many are wondering if funding global warming may have been a complete waste of tax dollars.
Second, the role of politics is huge even for research on projects that are scientifically sound and aimed helping other people. AIDS research, for example, is more “fashionable” and therefore is funded by the federal government at a much higher proportion than research on cardiovascular and heart diseases, which are the main causes of death today.
We need to make something clear. Research on curing any disease, especially AIDS, is desirable. But if nine times more people die from cardiovascular/heart disease than die from HIV/AIDS, shouldn’t we put substantially more funds into heart research than AIDS research? Our government does not do that.
Removing federal funding does not mean the absence of any funding for scientific research. Historically, inventors, universities, and private medical companies have funded cures for many diseases, and would continue to do so if federal funding were stopped. Smallpox used to be a crippling disease at best, and deadly at worst. Now it is gone. Diabetes used to be untreatable until the 1920s and the invention of insulin. Now people can, even with diabetes, live long lives. Aspirin was invented around 1900, and eased the pain of headaches. And so on. And private research and development, not federal funding, was largely responsible for these fine results. The March of Dimes was started as a collection of private funds to find a cure for polio–which happened in the 1950s.
Life expectancy in 1900 in the U.S. was only 47. Three decades later the average American lived more than sixty years. Federal funding played virtually no role in slashing the deaths from diseases that kept lives so short in America before 1900. Americans are very generous, and when they see needs they move to meet them. A room full of entrepreneurs and scientists has a better chance of finding a cure for cancer than any room full of bureaucrats and scientists eager to go where the federal dollars take them.
FDR and the AAA
This excerpt is taken from a lecture by Burton Folsom, given at The Citadel. You may read the entire lecture, and those of many other scholars, in Big Tent: The Story of the Conservative Revolution–As Told by the Thinkers and Doers Who Made It Happen
(edited by Mallory Factor and Elizabeth Factor, published by Broadside Books). Please note that the lead sentence underscores how voting for anyone looking for a perfect candidate only leads to disillusionment. We do the best we can, and then we ride the horse we brought to the race. The trick is to keep the reins and lead the horse - not let him/her run loose with no restraint.
Quote:Franklin Roosevelt ran for president in 1932 actually promising to cut federal spending….
Roosevelt came into power, though, and he changed his mind. Roosevelt began pouring federal funds into the American economy, the equivalent of the modern-day stimulus package. One of them was called the Triple-A, the Agricultural Adjustment Administration.
The idea here was for farmers to have high prices for the products they were distributing, because people couldn’t afford to buy much, because unemployment was over twenty percent. So Roosevelt came up with an idea so wild it could only have been invented by a college professor. The idea: let’s pay farmers not to produce.
Only a college professor could have thought up this monstrosity. That’s secretly because college professors like to think of themselves as being paid not to produce. Sadly, the world would be a better place if we paid many college professors not to produce.
Nonetheless, paying not to produce became part of the Agricultural Adjustment Act (AAA) under Franklin Roosevelt. Force farmers to set aside as much as a fourth of their land, 25 percent, and then you’ll pay them not to produce on that 25 percent. And that’ll be good, because it’ll get farm income up, because they’ll be getting money, and also because there won’t be a glut of product on the market. It will reduce the overproduction of corn and wheat and cotton and other farm products, because the farmer will only be producing on three-fourths of his land.
But there was a hitch in this brilliant plan. Roosevelt discovered that there were some farmers taking this money not to produce and were sneaking crops onto that land anyway, and then trying to make double money. The solution? The feds sent inspectors out to everybody’s land. They had measuring equipment to measure everybody’s land and make sure if you had a 160-acre farm, you didn’t farm on forty acres. And if you did farm on them, you would have to dig it all up.
Meanwhile, of course, people were starving. But no matter. The plan was the thing.
President Roosevelt could sit back in his chair and relax, but then he heard something again — most unpleasant news that came into Washington. Some of the farmers were taking the money that they were receiving not to produce and bribing the inspector with some of that money.
This aggression could not stand. So Roosevelt came up with another solution:
Send inspectors to inspect the inspectors! Then it turned out that those inspectors were coming in to look at the land and some of those inspectors were being bribed as well. With inspectors and inspectors inspecting the inspectors being bribed, the next step was to get a fleet of airplanes and to go over everybody’s land and take pictures of it.
Soon, the Department of Agriculture became the second-largest department in the federal government next to the Department of War, because of all these employees who were going around the country inspecting farms and flying airplanes and taking pictures.
But there was another problem. In 1934, we found that some of the farmers had taken the money that they got from being paid not to produce used it to buy fertilizer for the other three-fourths and they had great production on the three-fourths. Some crops were actually up in production in 1934.
Thus, the farm crisis persisted.
Another untold story that is generally well-known. Folsom's latest book supplies historical fact that Progressives always refuse to acknowledge.
Tax Day Is Coming – Remember, Uncle Sam Can’t Count!
April 11, 2014
Burt Folsom Wrote:Uncle Sam Can’t Count is the story of failed government subsidies in U.S. history from George Washington to Barack Obama. No one else has told this story, so we have decided to tell it at last in our newest book!
What’s especially remarkable about the stream of government aid—subsidies to the fur trade, steamships, railroads, airplanes, and even ethanol today—is that private citizens, with no federal funds, almost always outperformed the men whom the government endowed with large chunks of cash.
In the first years of the American Republic, John Jacob Astor owned a fur company that defeated a government-funded rival—supported by George Washington himself. Astor actively traded with Indians instead of trying to tell them what they wanted and how to live.
With steamships and transcontinental railroads, the government subsidized companies that either went broke or were so politically corrupt that the public demanded reform. On the other hand, the most successful companies in steamships and transcontinental railroads were both privately owned and made regular profits in spite of the vast amounts of federal aid given to their competitors.
Another example is the Wright Brothers. Wilbur and Orville Wright used two thousand dollars of their own money to design and build their airplane and successfully flew the first manned flight. At the same time the government threw money at a government bureaucrat, Samuel Langley, whose two failed attempts at flight both crashed in the Potomac River.
After the Wright brothers succeeded, Wilbur Wright said, “We have not thought of asking financial assistance from the government. We propose to sell the results of experiments finished at our own expense.” Reporting on the Langley fiasco, the San Francisco Chronicle, once a source of wisdom, said, “The destruction of Langley’s machine should put an end to Congressional appropriations of any kind in every field of experiments which properly belongs to private enterprise.”
But it didn’t. In fact, government subsidies for corporations have increased dramatically in the last hundred years.
Currently, one corporate giant in the race for government money is General Electric. GE’s chairman and CEO, Jeffrey Immelt, has led the charge to secure more federal funds for any project connected to green energy. “GE is the leading American producer of wind turbines, and Immelt has actively supported President Obama, serving in his administration as the jobs czar. GE has the biggest lobbying budget of any corporation in America, and the company gave more to Obama in 2008 than any presidential candidate in its history.” (Uncle Sam Can’t Count, pages 187-188)
From 2000-2012 the U.S. spent $3,000 a second every second of that twelve-year period on government subsidies—most of which, like Solyndra, were a huge waste.
Why does federal aid seem to have a reverse Midas touch? Simply put, federal officials don’t have the same abilities or incentives as entrepreneurs. In addition, federal control always produces political control of some kind. What is best for politicians is not often what works in the marketplace. Politicians want to win votes, and they can do so by giving targeted CEOs benefits while dispersing costs to others.
The fact that government subsidies have failed right from the start, and that they continue to fail, should alarm us when we consider the astonishing increases in federal aid given to most of the largest corporations in America today. The Constitution, in Article one section eight, limits the power of government in economic development. If we want to preserve our nation’s financial integrity for the 21st century, we need to end government subsidies and encourage the private sector to provide the goods and services that will keep our country prosperous.
Piketty's new book will be used by Progressives to create more Keynesian redistribution
Folsom Wrote:on May 1, 2014;
We Must Turn Back Piketty’s Charge
The latest book to capture “ooh-la-las” from Keynesian economists is Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the 21st Century. Piketty is a French economist, and Paul Krugman calls his new book “superb” and a “tour de force.” But actually, “tour de farce” might be more accurate.
In Piketty’s new book, he argues that inequality has increased during the last five years, and that a “wealth tax” is needed to redistribute income to that ever larger group that seems to be falling through the safety net. In Piketty’s American tour, he has met with officials from the Obama administration, and they are crafting ways to translate his research into public policy.
Piketty’s research does have merit, but he is derailed on two points. First, inequality has increased in the last five years because opportunities have decreased. For example, the weak economy since 2008, and the bloating of government, have hiked the numbers on food stamps from 29 to 48 million. The decline in incomes of the poor and middle class in the last five years has indeed increased inequality. Since wealthier Americans typically have much of their wealth in the stock market (which has doubled since 2008), they have tended to gain. But that condition begs for tax cuts and a freer economy to create jobs for the unemployed and more upward mobility for the middle class.
Piketty’s prescription of a wealth tax, perhaps more than 70% on rich people, is one of the oldest follies of the Keynesians. It never worked as intended and never will. It assumes that the rich will pay almost 3/4 of their annual income to the government and that the government will in turn transfer that cash to the poor. Wrong on both counts.
In the 1930s, when Presidents Hoover and Roosevelt increased the top income tax rate from 25 to 79%, the amount of revenue collected from rich people dropped in half. They sheltered their income in tax free bonds, collectibles, or foreign investments. Piketty admits that rich people have done well in the ongoing economic crisis of the Obama years, and they are not going to give huge chunks of cash to Uncle Sam without a fight. And what we saw under Presidents Roosevelt and Obama is that what increased revenue they did bring into the treasury went for targeted voting groups, not to poor folks. Unions and crony capitalists grabbed their favors and subsidies in the 1930s as rapidly as they do today.
For example, GM got a bailout under Obama, and under FDR, GM wrote a code under the National Recovery Act that allowed them to fix prices, wages, and, in effect, profits on all cars sold in the U.S. Ford Motor Company, by contrast, received no bailout under Obama and no protection under the National Recovery Act from FDR.
The idea of robbing the rich to give to the poor goes back to Robin Hood, and it makes for exciting rhetoric–but the lasting result is horrendous public policy. Economist Robert Lucas, who won the Nobel Prize in 1995, was wise when he observed, “Of the tendencies that are harmful to sound economics, the most seductive, and in my opinion the most poisonous, is to focus on questions of distribution.”
Folsom presents some interesting data showing how racism in sports has been self-correcting via the free market - but I do note that Donald Sterling maintains his racism in private life:
Burt Folsom Wrote:In a Free Market, Racism Is No Winner
As almost everyone in America knows, Donald Sterling, owner of the Los Angeles Clippers, recently made some offensive racist comments. He is being punished severely by the NBA, and many blacks who worked for him have expressed shock and dismay about his statements. Most had no idea he was a racist, although some suspected it. The NAACP had given Sterling a lifetime achievement award, and almost 90 percent of the players on his team were black. He hired blacks and paid them handsomely, but he obviously had some serious attitude problems.
Economists David Henderson and Don Boudreaux have made the interesting point that Mr. Sterling could have been a racist in private, but he could not afford to be one in public. His racist comments were secretly taped and made public, or no one would have really known his true feelings. Racism is so offensive today that no businessman can afford to admit racist sentiments or he will be unable to compete in the free market. What a wonderful development over the last sixty years! Racists of all colors are not only fewer in number, but they must hide their racial prejudices if they want successful careers.
The 1940s was the last decade in U.S. history where the owner of a major sports team got away with being a racist in private and also in public. Walter Briggs, an auto body manufacturer, bought and owned the Detroit Tigers from 1935 until his death in 1952. According to Wendell Smith, a black athlete and sports writer, Briggs was “very prejudiced. He’s the major league combination of Simon Legree and Adolf Hitler.”
Smith may have been exaggerating, but he has a point. Briggs absolutely refused to hire black players for his Detroit Tigers, a common practice in major league baseball until 1947, the year Jackie Robinson was hired to play for the Brooklyn Dodgers. In 1945, for example, Briggs’s all white Detroit Tigers won the World Series. In each of the next two years the competitive Tigers finished in second place. After that, other teams hired black players, but Briggs refused to do so.
In 1948, the Tigers dropped from second to fifth place in the American League. By 1952, the year Briggs died, the Tigers wound up in last place, winning only 50 games and losing 104. In only seven years, his all white franchise had plummeted from World Series winner to last place. The price of public racism had become too high to pay, and all owners of major league teams integrated by the end of the decade.
Detroit was the next to last team to integrate, and only did so after Fred Knorr became the primary owner in 1956. Knorr graduated from Hillsdale College, which was founded in 1844 as only the second integrated college in the nation. I teach at Hillsdale College and once interviewed his wife. Segregation repelled Mr. Knorr, and he immediately began to bring black players into Detroit’s minor league system. In 1958, the Tigers officially integrated, and in 1968 they again won a World Series–only this time with a fully integrated team.
Donald Sterling’s comments were indeed offensive–but the country’s reaction to his words reveals not how racist we are, but how much progress we have made as a nation. Sterling is finished as an owner. The power of the free market once again proved that being a racist is no winning proposition. The Walter Briggs era is long over, and that means blacks and whites in sports will be paid their market value, regardless of race. America–you’ve come a long way, baby.
Really? It seems the free market is good at squashing anything it doesn't like that interferes with ratings, sales and quarterly earnings. Be care on what you say in Free America, where the private sector will punish you as effectively as a tyrannical gov't.
(05-10-2014, 03:06 AM)Gunnen4u Wrote: Really? It seems the free market is good at squashing anything it doesn't like that interferes with ratings, sales and quarterly earnings. Be care on what you say in Free America, where the private sector will punish you as effectively as a tyrannical gov't.
Perhaps the latest Folsom entry will help to explain the proven and historical ideal from the corrupt progressive intrusiveness. It's not the Free Market that squashes things - but the crony Capitalism and creeping facism.
Individual Rights or Community Rights? by Burt who Wrote:.
The Founders of our nation argued strongly for individual rights. By that, they meant the right of each person to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. They believed that the sum of many people having such personal liberty would ultimately create strong communities. In other words, strong individual rights translated into vibrant communities and a prosperous nation.
In the 1830s, one generation after the Washington presidency, the Frenchman Alexis de Tocqueville visited the U.S. and observed the thriving voluntary organizations founded in city after city to improve the quality of life. The “safety net” of the 1800s was stretched out by concerned citizens in the cities of America who cared for the mentally ill, the elderly, stray dogs, and so on.
In this environment, government was small and, as President Thomas Jefferson observed, “It may be the pleasure and pride of an American to ask, ‘What farmer, what mechanic, what laborer ever sees a tax gatherer of the United States?’” Very few Americans did see tax collectors, but even so, that small revenue collected from tariffs and whiskey taxes paid off the national debt completely in the 1830s. Americans were showing the world that freedom works; and when the slaves were freed in the next generation, Americans showed themselves willing to practice more thoroughly what we were preaching in our Founding documents.
The big change in national attitude began in the Progressive Era with the idea that the federal government needed to be enlarged to protect community rights that were being threatened by the selfish use of individual rights by rich Americans. Theodore Roosevelt gave voice to this idea in 1910 when he announced that “every man holds his property subject to the general right of the community to regulate its use to whatever degree the public welfare may require it.”
Who would determine what the “public welfare” was? Progressives believed then and now that politicians, especially progressive politicians, and educated experts can objectively decipher “the public welfare.” The individual right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness had to be reigned in, new taxes had to be collected, and government planning had to take place.
Theodore Roosevelt, in his 1910 speech, declared, “The really big fortune, the swollen fortune, by the mere fact of its size, acquires qualities which differentiate it in kind as well as in degree from what is possessed by men of relatively small means. Therefore I believe in a graduated income tax on big fortunes.” What is a “swollen fortune” is a question harder to answer than what is “public welfare”? We do know that unequal taxes meant that Americans would no longer enjoy equal protection of the law for all citizens.
We have had a century since Roosevelt to watch progressives in power deciding that the public welfare required high taxes on swollen fortunes and also significant taxes on middle class incomes, more than fifty cents a gallon on gasoline, and taxes as well on movie tickets, cigarettes, stock transactions, and, more than 500 other items. Our experts in turn have lectured us, among other things, that we needed gluten in our food, that we needed to avoid gluten, that we had global cooling, then global warming, that oil in the U.S. would run out in he 1980s, and that more than one-third of our corn crop needed to be converted to subsidized ethanol.
The Founders had it right–the foundation of a free society starts with individual rights. When politicians begin taxing swollen fortunes and legislating for the public welfare, we risk ending the free society that began with such fervor and such success in the 1700s and 1800s.
This is the latest Folsom report: an analysis of the Veterans Affairs scandal. The comparison with President Harding, who started the Vet, and the resultant scandal because of his appointment of Lt. Colonel Forbes - with the currant scandal under Obama is interesting - but, Forbes was fired by Harding and sent to prison. Nobody under Obama has paid the slightest penalty. Not for Fast and Furious, disabling credit card web site verification, refusal to enforce laws, and so on.
A Fresh Look at the Veterans’ Scandal
- May 26, 2014
Quote:Let’s set the stage for discussing the scandal at the Department of Veterans Affairs: A new president, promising hope and change, campaigns to help veterans and improve their medical care. He appoints a decorated war hero to head the Veterans Bureau. But soon thousands of veterans complain about wait times and lack of treatment. On the financial side, leaders at the Veterans Bureau cook the books, and make fortunes buying and selling land to build new VA hospitals. Taxpayers lose millions of dollars in fraud and the medical needs of veterans are often ignored.
Sound familiar? It should. That’s the story of President Warren Harding and Charles Forbes, the man Harding chose as the first head of the Veterans Bureau. From the start, the Veterans Bureau was corrupt and mismanaged. Government was not capable of sound administration in the 1920s, under President Harding, and not much has improved ninety years later under President Obama. The fraud at Veterans Affairs then and now may be a foreshadowing of government-run health care for the nation.
The idea of hospital care for veterans began after World War I. Before that, war veterans received small pensions if they could show they were injured in military service to the point they could not do their civilian jobs. The American Legion became a powerful lobby after WWI, and free health care for vets became a reality in the 1920s. A more financially sound idea for providing medical care would have been to give vouchers to veterans for medical services at existing hospitals. But politicians saw advantages to setting up special veterans’ hospitals in their political districts–Congressmen, under a system of government-run hospitals, could take credit with voters for building new hospitals locally for veterans.
The good intentions of medical help for veterans turned into scandal and fraud right from the start. President Harding and the many supporters of the new veterans’ hospitals did not understand that new incentives were in place for corruption, not health care. Lt. Col. Charles Forbes, the new head of the Veterans Bureau, won the Distinguished Service Medal in WWI. But once in power in government, he and his friends made millions of dollars from selling high priced land for the new hospitals, and then overcharging to build them.
Forbes also made money marking up the costs of medical supplies–all of which took up so much of his time that he never answered 200,000 letters from veterans asking about available medical care. Many veterans suffered from lack of treatment. Harding was furious when he discovered Forbes’s shenanigans; Forbes was eventually fined and went to federal prison for over a year.
Privately run hospitals would go bankrupt if they were so corrupt and inefficient. But government-run hospitals can simply fire the culprit, if he is caught, and ask Congress for new funding. Then the cycle of fraud is potentially set to repeat itself. Some of the current VA administrators, for example, even received bonuses after deaths of veterans occurred on their watch from lack of treatment.
“We lack funds,” is the battle cry of the Department of Veterans Affairs (and most other government agencies). The VA budget, however, has tripled in the last fourteen years–faster growth than for any government agency, according to Damian Paletta of the Wall Street Journal. True, the number of veterans has increased during these years, but so has the VA staff, which now numbers almost 300,000.
The nature of government agencies is to be attuned to political shifts (to keep the funding coming), to fire almost nobody, and to give raises whether earned or not. The Department of Veterans Affairs is not subject to competition, the way private business are, and the bigger the agency the more unwieldy it becomes. Multiply the problems at The VA by about fifty and you may have the U.S. in 2020 with Obamacare.
One final question: Harding is rated as one of our worst presidents, primarily because of scandals–led by the disaster at the Veterans Bureau. Will President Obama suffer a similar fate in his evaluations by historians?
I like how Folsom lambasts the GOP and not just the Dems for crony Capitalism. Some inside info may be handy for the first quote by Bush 43. Clinton had just taken Utah's clean-burning coal out of the equation by putting it all in a new Federal preserve (so the Riaddy's, his illegal foreign fundraisers, would have a monopoly), and the restrictions against nuclear were quashing that energy segment. Some effort was made to fix some of the problems, but not enough was done before the Dems took the majority away. Still, he should have done more.
Do Crony Handouts Have a Stranglehold on the GOP?
Burton Folsom & Blaine McCormick Wrote:(Written for RealClearMarkets.com)
Guess which American president said this: “We must continue changing the way America generates electric power by even greater use of clean-coal technology; solar and wind energy; and clean, safe nuclear power. We need to press on with battery research for plug-in and hybrid vehicles and expand the use of clean-diesel vehicles and biodiesel fuel. We must continue investing in new methods of producing ethanol. . . .”
Not Barack Obama, but George W. Bush in his 2007 State of the Union Address. In that speech, Bush went on to recommend cutting the use of gasoline and also setting “mandatory fuel standards to require 35 billion gallons of renewable and alternate fuels in 2017.” What message did this send to corporations? Line up for government subsidies if you produce this “new” energy.
From 2000-2012, according to Heritage Foundation, Fortune’s top 100 corporations splurged at the trough for $1.2 trillion in federal subsidies. According to economist Stephen Moore, “If Republicans are going to get truly serious about cutting government spending, they are going to have to snip the umbilical cord from the Treasury to corporate America.”
That will be a challenge because the Republican Party, from its beginning, has been a party of corporate welfare. In the 1850s, Republicans, led by Senator William Seward, backed huge steamship subsidies to Edward Collins, who misused them and went broke by the end of the decade.
When Abraham Lincoln became the first Republican president, he proved to be brilliant on natural rights, but disastrous on corporate subsidies. He promoted what was then the largest corporate subsidy in U.S. history for the Union Pacific and Central Pacific Railroads. A transcontinental railroad, Lincoln (and his Secretary of State William Seward) argued, had to be built, and could only be done by massive federal aid. “If the subsidies provided are not enough to build the railroad,” Lincoln told the Union Pacific, “ask double, and you shall have it.” The Union Pacific, however, joined Collins’s steamship company in a flurry of waste, scandal, and eventual bankruptcy.
Shortly after the failure of the Union Pacific, James J. Hill, with no federal aid, built the Great Northern Railroad from St. Paul to Seattle. Hill’s was the only transcontinental to receive no federal aid, and the only one to be consistently profitable.
From after the Civil War until the Great Depression, the Republicans were the party of high tariffs, which were, in effect, corporate subsidies for national producers. Then, in 1932, in the midst of the Great Depression, President Herbert Hoover prolonged this economic crisis by establishing the Reconstruction Finance Corporation (RFC), which set up a board to bail out select corporations with massive federal subsidies. Those corporations deemed “too big to fail” were often run by Republicans.
Turnabout was fair play when the Democrats won the White House. Republicans were aghast when FDR and Truman used the RFC to help Democrats. So when Eisenhower became president in 1953, the Republicans abolished the RFC, and instead created the Small Business Administration–which funneled federal subsidies mainly to Republican small businessmen.
In the last forty years, Republican presidents from Richard Nixon to George W. Bush have opened the federal Treasury to their corporate friends. In one of the worst cases, Dwayne Andreas, president of Archer Daniels Midland, showered Republicans and Democrats alike with campaign contributions in return for federal aid for ethanol. In 1972, for example, Andreas secretly gave 1000 $100 bills to Richard Nixon to help him get re-elected. Even after that, Senator Bob Dole, the Republican nominee in 1996, labelled himself “Senator Ethanol.”
Here’s the big news: the Tea Party influence on the Republican Party may be challenging its direction. More Republicans than ever before are opposing corporate subsidies. In 2011, Senator Tom Coburn (R-Oklahoma) led a successful Republican attack that ended the ethanol tax credit and tariff.
Republican Mitch McConnell, Senate minority leader, has not only fought against ethanol subsidies, but in 2012 he led twenty other courageous Republicans to oppose renewing funding for he Export-Import Bank, perhaps the greatest source of corporate subsidies (through guaranteed loans) in America today. McConnell lost, but the Export-Import Bank is up for renewal in 2014. If Republicans can abolish the Export-Import Bank in 2014, they will be on their way to transforming their party’s history–and maybe beginning the process of saving their country from drowning in debt.
Burton Folsom is professor of history at Hillsdale College and author (with his wife Anita Folsom) of Uncle Sam Can’t Count: A History of Failed Government Investments, from Beaver Pelts to Green Energy. Blaine McCormick is management professor at the Hankamer School of Business at Baylor University.
"INSIDE EVERY PROGRESSIVE IS A TOTALITARIAN SCREAMING TO GET OUT" - David Horowitz
Burt Folsom does a good job of illustrating WHY Progressives fail, and offers history to prove the point. Progresive Dr. Harvey Wiley from the Department of Agricultural wanted to ban Coca-Cola, aspirin, and other benign products and not just the Prohibition of alcohol. Woodrow Wilson was an avowed Isolationist until he entered WWI to protect American international shipping and Americans abroad. Of course parachutes were not allowed for pilots, fearing they would bail out too soon, and planes were more valuable than their pilots. James Madison explained it all in Federalists Paper #51.
This article does explain Obama's failures. He believes "experts" should run the show - so he appoints them and then abandons everything to them. Since he is incompetent, himself, and unable to recognize incompetence when it sees it, his appointees are even more incompetent than the normal fare of bureaucrats.
James Madison vs. Barack Obama
JUNE 3, 2014
BURT Wrote:The scandal at the Veterans’ Administration highlights the differences between constitutionalists and progressives.
Constitutionalists often see history as the story of how and why power is abused and people are oppressed. Constitutionalists believe in limited government because kings have almost always abused power. Liberty is best preserved when power is fragmented among different branches of government. As James Madison said, “if angels were to govern men, neither external or internal controls on government would be necessary.” But angels don’t govern men, so checks and balances are necessary.
Progressives, in contrast, believe that if much government authority is given to trained experts, even though they may not be angels, they will use their skills wisely to run the bureaucracy efficiently. The better good of society is served by increasing the power and scope of government and putting educated experts in charge.
President Obama is so confident in his progressive view that he felt little need to consult HHS Secretary Sebelius during the creation of the Obamacare website, or consult Secretary Shinseki about fulfilling the promises the president made to improve the Veterans’ Administration. A leader simply appoints the expert and then turns him or her loose to create efficiency and excellence.
Even during the Progressive Era (1900-1920), when progressive theory was first tested, massive flaws appeared in the big government strategy–not just with wasted money, and lazy bureaucrats, but with lack of concern for human life.
One of the first progressive crusades a century ago, for example, was to change by law what people could eat and drink. Alcohol was the nemesis to progressives and prohibition was the solution. Progressives campaigned for years for laws to be passed that would shut down the sale of alcohol.
In 1906 in the Department of Agriculture, Dr. Harvey Wiley wanted to go even further and ban Coca Cola, borax, salicylic acid, and sodium benzoate for starters. How did Wiley determine the many items he wished to ban? Did he test them on animals? No, as historian Larry Schweikart points out, Wiley tested the chemicals he distrusted on a “poison squad” of human guinea pigs. Sometimes Wiley’s human volunteers became very sick, other times they did fine. But the larger point is that to Wiley, humans were expendable in the service of a larger idea–that experts should determine what people should be allowed to eat and drink. In a similar way, the deaths at the VA, though regretted by today’s progressives, are part of progressives’ larger idea of entrusting and growing government to make the nation better.
Constitutionalists believe that bureaucrats in power are likely to abuse it. James Madison devoted much of Federalist Paper # 51 on how “to control the abuses of government.” If there is a problem in the marketplace, Madison believed that people making choices was better than bureaucrats banning products.
Progressives have for a century cultivated the idea that if something doesn’t work well, turn the problem over to government. When the problem then gets worse, increase the funding to the government agency. The failure of this concept is not just that government is often incompetent, but that government is also inhuman, uncaring, and willing to sacrifice lives to perpetuate power.
One final illustration of this point: In last Sunday’s Wall Street Journal, Henrik Bering wrote a review of a new book entitled Enduring Courage, which describes the life of war hero Eddie Rickenbacker. During World War I, the development of parachutes for pilots became possible. Did the Allied governments supply parachutes to their pilots? No, Bering says, “the higher-ups . . . decided against the use of parachutes . . . believing they would tempt the pilots to bail out of the planes with the slightest excuse.” The plane was worth more to the bureaucrat than the life of the pilot.
That would not have surprised James Madison. Bureaucratic “higher-ups”, whether they were making rules for pilots in WWI, for foods to be banned in 1906, or for giving treatment to veterans in 2014, all put government power and expansion ahead of human lives. To our Founders, limited government meant liberty, compassion, and the right to pursue human happiness. If we have compassion today, we will cut the power of government back into its constitutional boundaries.
Continuing with Folsom's focus on Progressivism and Obama, this latest column may make Obama's actions very transparent.
Where Does President Obama Get His Ideas on the Constitution? BURT on JULY 8, 2014 Wrote:From the Progressives. And in particular from President Woodrow Wilson, who was president one hundred years ago. Wilson was the first president who explicitly attacked the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution as well. Here’s the story.
Before he was president, Professor Woodrow Wilson taught history and politics at Princeton. He admired the idea of a strong U.S. president, who could cut through red tape and use the power of government to accomplish something really important. The problem was that Constitution divided power among the president, Congress, and the Supreme Court. The Founders had distrusted King George III, and human nature as well; divided power increased the chance that Americans would secure their right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,” as described in the preface of the Declaration of Independence.
Professor Wilson therefore began writing articles and books saying that society had “progressed” since the days of the Founders and that now, in the early 1900s, mankind knew more, and college educated experts (and professors) should be given much power to accomplish great things for America. The divided powers put into the Constitution by the American Founders were no longer necessary because society had “progressed” so much.
“If you want to understand the real Declaration of Independence,” Wilson urged, “do not read the preface.” Instead, Wilson astonishingly said, the Declaration “expressly leaves to each generation of men the determination of what they will do with their lives. . . . In brief, political liberty is the right of those who are governed to adjust the government to their own needs and interests.” “We are not,” Wilson insisted, “bound to adhere to the doctrines held by the signers of the Declaration of Independence.”
As for the Constitution, Wilson concluded, “The only fruit of dividing power was to make it irresponsible.” Instead, Wilson advocated a “living Constitution”, flexible enough to give the elected president true power to transform society. The president, surrounded by advisors and experts in the science of government, would be “the embodiment of the character and purpose it wishes its government to have–a man who understood his own day and the needs of his country.”
Once elected president in 1912, politics often bored President Wilson. He considered himself the expert who should be running the country, but, as president, he found that Congress and the courts often didn’t go along with his plans to change the country. World War I would be Wilson’s “war to end wars,” and the League of Nations, which came later, would be his means to permanent world peace. When Congress refused to let the U.S. join the League of Nations, Wilson refused to accept the divided government written into the Constitution. After flailing at the Republican Congress in speech after speech, Wilson had a stroke and was bedridden during his last two years in office.
President Obama is similar in his disdain for Congress and in his desire, through his pen and his phone, to make the laws that will, in his view, “fundamentally transform” this nation for the better. For example, Wilson fought to control the hours per day people could work; Obama fights to control what their minimum pay should be. Obama had a court case last week to restrict the freedom of Hobby Lobby; Wilson had court cases restricting the liberties of German Americans. Both presidents sought to impose conformity in the schools.
Presidents Wilson and Obama have both wanted to expand executive power and have eagerly taxed the rich to pay for this greater government. During Wilson’s presidency, he was able to raise the top income tax rate from 7% to 73%. Obama has not yet doubled the national debt but Wilson (with help from WWI) increased it almost twentyfold.
The numerous parallels between President Obama and Woodrow Wilson are easy to discover when we study the history of these two presidencies. Wilson couldn’t establish world peace; he helped to set up a system in Europe that eventually led to World War II. President Obama’s foreign policy is in shambles. And he is still trying to usurp the power in the Constitution that was originally given to other branches of government.
Wilson was the worst President in history. His evil ghost still visits us in the living flesh of Obama. Folsom nails why Obama is "hands-off" in everything he does. It's not just deniable deniability, as many people contend. He claims in his autobiographies to be a Constitutional scholar- but it seems all he did was read Wilson.
The Folsom's like to provide facts and information neglected by educational curricula and the media. This is one to appreciate.
Anita Folsom Wrote:on 15 Jul 2014
Let’s Celebrate Liberty!
The 4th of July has reminded us about the importance of our liberty in this wonderful country. We have a long history of independence and personal initiative. Our forebears didn’t look to government as the answer for all problems. Instead, most individuals discovered solutions in the free market and prized limited interference from their government.
One example of this initiative involves the Statue of Liberty in New York City. After the American Civil War, a French jurist named Edouard Leboulaye wanted to celebrate the United States’ dedication to liberty. Slavery had just been abolished in the U.S., and Leboulaye, a leader of the French anti-slavery movement, mentioned to friends that France and America should work together on a statue for New York Harbor that would celebrate the liberty of the New World.
In 1875, Leboulaye felt that interest in the upcoming American centennial and Philadelphia Exposition had created a favorable atmosphere in the United States for his project. He announced the formation of a Franco-American Union to finance the statue. France would pay for and build the statue itself; the Americans would provide the base.
In Paris, sculptors worked on the design and construction of a towering figure holding a flame high, symbolizing freedom’s triumph over tyranny. Frederic Auguste Bartholdi, the head of the project, was a renown sculptor and a friend of Leboulaye. Bartholdi designed the figure that we now call “Lady Liberty,” and which he named “Liberty Enlightening the World.” He was aided by architect Gustave Eiffel, who designed an iron truss structure to support the statue from the inside, while on the outside the figure would be made of hammered copper. The statue would stand 151 feet, one inch tall, with a total height at the top of the torch of 305 feet.
Americans had to raise more than $100,000 to finance the base and pedestal for Lady Liberty. Bedloe Island in New York Harbor was available as a site. There the foundation and base of the statue were aligned to face southeast, welcoming ships as they entered New York Harbor from the Atlantic Ocean.
But fundraising in America made little progress. The New York State Legislature passed a bill to appropriate $50,000 of the state’s money for the project, but then Governor Grover Cleveland vetoed the bill. Cleveland encouraged private citizens to donate the money rather than use state tax funds.
When New York’s elites refused to donate generously, a newspaper publisher named Joseph Pulitzer had a brainstorm. He was trying to bolster the circulation of his new acquisition, The World, which had lost money under its previous owner. Pulitzer announced that he would publish the names of all donors to the project in The World, regardless of the amount. He was sure that average Americans would respond and also be delighted to see their names in print, which would increase the sale of his papers:
“We must raise the money! The World is the people’s paper, and now it appeals to the people to come forward and raise the money. The $250,000 that the making of the Statue cost was paid in by the masses of the French people- by the working men, the tradesmen, the shop girls, the artisans- by all, irrespective of class or condition. Let us respond in like manner. Let us not wait for the millionaires to give us this money. It is not a gift from the millionaires of France to the millionaires of America, but a gift of the whole people of France to the whole people of America.”
Americans responded immediately. Thousands donated small amounts. Pulitzer was so moved by some of the notes accompanying the donations that he included many of those in the newspaper as well, such as “60 cents – donated by single girl through thrift and self-denial.” More than 125,000 people donated a total of more than $101,000 (about $2.2 million in today’s dollars). America’s contribution to the Statue of Liberty would indeed make it the people’s Lady Liberty, funded not by government nor by millionaires, but by private citizens who worked each day and appreciated the liberty they enjoyed in this country. When they donated to the cost of the statue, they were indeed celebrating American liberty.
According to Folsom, the country's education department has descended once again into PC purgatory. The Latest History standards reinforce the racial divide wherever possible, ignore the noble advances actually made, and misdirect those who hold the nation guilty of things it never did.
Folsom Wrote:on August 18, 2014, The New AP U.S. History Standards Earn a Grade of F
Sadly, the best and brightest of American high school students will be taking Advanced Placement (AP) United States history courses this fall.
I say “sadly” because the AP committee has expanded its History Standards, which will guide the teaching of this course to millions of students in the fall and in years to come. These revisions are distorted and biased; they stress America’s failures and overlook many ways this country made the world better.
Where do the New AP Standards go wrong? Let’s start with the issue of race, which dominates the Standards from beginning to end. Slavery is indeed reprehensible because it violates the natural right of every U.S. citizen to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” And yes, early America–along with the rest of the world–legalized slavery. We do need to describe the damage slavery did in America, but we also need to explain clearly how slavery was abolished. The Standards never tell students that Christian groups were the impetus in both Britain and the U.S. to abolishing slavery. What a great opportunity for students to study strong Christians like James G. Birney, who twice ran for president, and Harriet Beecher Stowe, who wrote “Uncle Tom’s Cabin”–the first book in our nation to sell one million copies!
Let’s look at slavery from another angle. The story of Harriet Tubman and Thomas Garrett, also absent in the Standards, is one of black and white working together on the Underground Railroad to fulfill the goals of the Declaration of Independence. Thomas Garrett, a Quaker, sacrificed his own freedom, with a jail term, to help Harriet Tubman bring hundreds of slaves across the Delaware border into freedom in Pennsylvania. They were heroic, and can inspire high school students today. Instead of using slavery as a tool to depress students, and make them ashamed of their past, students can identify with black and white leaders like Tubman and Garrett who strived to make the Declaration of Independence a reality in our nation.
The authors of the new Standards see racism as a perpetual problem that has infected almost all American history. Even when race was a minor issue, the Standards make it a major one. The Mexican War, for example, was triggered first by Mexico’s refusal to pay its monetary debt to the U.S., and second by Mexico’s surprise attack on American troops north of the Rio Grande River.
The authors of the Standards, however, ignore both of these causes and focus more on racism: “Enthusiasm for U.S. territorial expansion, fueled by economic and national security interests and supported by claims of U.S. racial and cultural superiority, resulted in war [with Mexico], the opening of new markets, acquisition of new territory, and increased ideological conflicts.” In other words, according to the Standards we wanted more land, we thought we were racially superior to Mexico, and so we fought Mexico to get what we wanted. Not true, and all students–black, white, and Hispanic–should be taught real history, not political correctness.
The Standards, with their negative spin on American actions, miss the chance to address some of life’s big questions. For example, “How do we get along with each other in the world today?” During the 1930s, Japan and the United States had strained relations, and in 1941 Japan launched a surprise attack on Pearl Harbor. Almost four years later, the U.S. prevailed and dropped two atomic bombs on Japan before that country finally surrendered.
Then the U.S. did something almost never done in human history–we offered the hand of friendship; Americans spent huge amounts of money rebuilding Japan. The result: Japan and the U.S. have been cordial allies and at peace with each other for almost 70 years. Then we did the same thing in West Germany (through the Marshall Plan) and broke the long cycle of hate that created World War I and World War II. Our kindness softened the hurt and hate in the world and gained us new friends.
The world had never seen that reaction before, and if we teach that story to students we can inspire them to love their country, improve it, and help preserve it for its role in the world in the 21st century. Sadly, the new Standards move students in the opposite direction. Why should Americans spend huge sums of taxpayer dollars to teach students to despise their nation’s history?
This actually preceded the above post. Folsom first introduced the AP's new history standards with this post. In it he points at how the LBJ "Great Society" caused problems that the new standards lionize. If anyone ever wonders at Obama's usage of Marx and Engels, just realize how his administration and appointed Progressives are using lies in school to accomplish the 10 Pillars. (Number ten was to control education to produce good little brown shirts.)
Folsom Wrote:on August 14, 2014, Why Do So Many Know So Little About History?
The problem starts in the schools, and with the content taught (or not taught). If, for example, most high school students today don’t know when the Civil War occurred, or why it occurred, how will they understand what it accomplished?
The Advanced Placement (AP) classes in high school are important because they attract the best students and prepare them for college. The AP United States History Standards for teaching advanced history courses to millions of students across the nation were revised and expanded this year, “effective fall 2014″, so I read them to see what all the fuss was about. I was appalled.
The central theme in U.S. history, according to these slanted standards, is group conflict and the perpetual tension with race, class, and gender. Thus, the section on immigration in the late 1800s will astonish many students: Why would almost a million immigrants each year want to come to a country so oppressive to so many groups? No answer to this key question is forthcoming.
The sheer silliness of the Standards may thwart their efforts to turn the students into incipient radicals. For example, the Standards never explain why the Puritans came to America, or why the Cold War started or why it ended. Why did the U.S. become the major economic power in the world? On this question also the Standards are silent, but they do tell the students, “The market revolution helped to widen a gap between rich and poor.”
Few American presidents are even mentioned in the new Standards; entrepreneurs and even civil rights heroes are also mostly absent. Their stories of hard work, overcoming challenges, and seeing their vision change the nation have inspired many students over the years, but those stories disappear from the new Standards.
The Standards regularly confuse good intentions with outcome. In discussing the Great Society reforms of the 1960s, for example, the Standards praise liberals for good intentions in wanting to help people: “Liberalism reached its zenith with Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society efforts to use federal power to end racial discrimination, eliminate poverty, and address other social issues while attacking communism abroad.”
What the Standards don’t tell students is that the Great Society largely failed because its programs created perverse incentives. In the 1960s, under Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC), unwed mothers were given incentives to have children out of wedlock. Payments for each child out of wedlock increased, Medicaid benefits were added, food stamps and rent subsidies were tossed in, and the King vs. Smith Supreme Court decision allowed these benefits to continue even if boyfriends lived with the unwed mother.
The intentions of the liberal reformers were good, but poverty often increased after the 1960s in part because millions of new babies–black, white, and Latino–were being born into fatherless homes. Research has strongly shown that children born into intact families have much higher rates of success and happiness in life than those children born into one-parent households. The Great Society, with its good intentions, weakened the family structure and often did more harm than good.
These points are, of course, omitted in the new Standards. Thus, we may be on be verge of failing to educate another generation of students. How can we preserve and defend the liberty this country was founded on if we don’t teach students how we won our freedom and why our country, with all its faults, is worth defending?
For the time being, we need to encourage parents to consider charter schools, private schools, and even home schooling in order to educate their children. Students in AP U.S. History classes should read Larry Schweikart’s Patriot’s History of the United States to give them insight into why America has been an exceptional nation in world history.