Truth in Journalism: Truth about Charlottesville, Alt-right, and Antifa Violence

Truth in Journalism:

Truth about Charlottesville, Alt-right, and Antifa Violence

Update:

Antifa Protestors Appear at Funeral of Heather Hayer, Show up With Bats and Shield

At a press conference a day earlier Trump made reference to a “beautiful statement” Heyer’s mother, Susan Bro, had sent him. Bro had written, “Thank you, President Trump, for those words of comfort and for denouncing those who promote violence and hatred.”

Following the violence in Charlottesville, Trump condemned what he described as the “egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence” saying it has no place in America. He specifically condemned the KKK, neo-Nazis, white supremacists, but has also said that the alt-left was in part to blame for the violence.

At the memorial service, Hayer’s mother said she hoped that people can talk about their differences instead of resorting to violence.

“The truth is, we are going to have our differences. We are going to be angry with each other, but let’s channel that anger, not into hate, not into violence. Not into fear, but channel that difference, that anger, into righteous action,” she said.

7 Things You Need To Know About Antifa

ByMichael Qazvini

August 14, 2017

Over the weekend, Charlottesville erupted into chaos. White supremacists and neo-Nazis brawled with masked left-wing Antifa rioters in what could only be described as a battle between Satan and Lucifer.

While the mainstream Left has attempted to frame this weekend’s insanity as a one-sided issue, video evidence clearly demonstrates that members of Antifa, or anti-fascists, heavily contributed to the violence.

Here are seven things you need to know about Antifa:

  1. Antifa uses fascist tactics to achieve its goals. Antifa is to anti-fascism what Stalin was to freedom. Antifa is fascism personified. Despite calling themselves “anti-fascist,” members of Antifa routinely deploy fascist tactics to shut down, intimidate, harass, and bloody their political opponents.
  2. The Department of Homeland Security labeled Antifa’s actions as “domestic terrorism.” “Shortly after Trump’s election, anarchist and far-left protesters rioted in Portland, bringing at least a million dollars’ worth of damage — and resulting, in the eyes of the Department of Homeland Security, in ‘domestic terrorism,’” explains Politico.
  3. Antifa uses “black bloc” attacks to promote violence, sow chaos, and evade law enforcement. Like their counterparts in Europe, American leftist activists often promote violence and reap chaos through time-tested tactics such as black bloc assaults, which feature thousands of black-clad and masked self-professed anarchists destroying everything in sight with hockey sticks, baseball bats, metal poles, trash cans, and virtually anything they can get their hands on.
  4. Antifa’s garbled ideology is grounded in Marxism. All Antifa members seem to share an aversion to capitalism. Beyond that, Antifa’s political aim cannot be pinned down to one issue or cause.
  5. The mainstream Left is praising Antifa. Paranoid and conspiracy minded, the mainstream Left has abandoned all sense of political decorum to embrace vigilantism. And even liberals who aren’t explicitly praising Antifa are refusing to condemn their behavior.
  6. The vast majority of Antifa members are pitiable losers. As The Daily Wire’s Aaron Bandler reported, While Antifa claims to support “diversity,” the group’s rank-and-file is comprised mostly of single, unemployed young white males (far-left Antifa meet “alt-right” neo-Nazis and white supremacists). 7. Antifa conflates speech with violence, believing that “offensive” rhetoric, “hate” speech, and micro-aggressions should be counteracted with macro-aggressions, or physical violence.

http://www.dailywire.com/news/19717/7-things-you-need-know-about-antifa-michael-qazvini#

Truth About Neo-Nazis or ‘Alt-Right’

Rush Limbaugh

Not enough Neo-Nazis and KKK to elect Anybody—They have No Power

And here’s the real irony. This bunch of people down in Charlottesville, this ragtag bunch of Nazis and Klan members and white supremacists? There’s not enough of those people to affect any kind of change whatsoever. Not systemic change. Not enough of those people to elect enough people to matter. There aren’t enough of those people to matter, period.

They are not the problem. They don’t have power in America today. They don’t have any, compared to the people opposing them. How many people show up at a Klan rally these days if they have one? The media doesn’t show you because it’s so tiny. The media wants you to think the Klan elected Donald Trump. The media wants you to think the Klan, the Nazis, and the white supremacists elected Donald Trump and that Steve Bannon put ’em all together and grew them. There aren’t enough of those people to elect a member of Congress, much less a president.

They are not the problem. The problem is on the other side. The problem comes from people who do have power — and what power they have! They have the power to shut down free speech on campus. They have the power to totally corrupt the movie, the book, the music and TV industries. They have real power! The anarchists, the anti-Americans, the Antifa, the Occupy Wall Street, the Black Lives Matter, the United States mainstream media, the Democrat Party, they have power.

These little hapless people marching around wearing white hoods couldn’t stop diddly-squat. They don’t have any power. They’ve been shamed into practically nonexistence. Yet they are hoisted up. They are portrayed as the people running this country — or the people who used to run this country and they ran it for all these years, and now they are losing it, justifiably, and they are panicked and causing trouble. They don’t have any power compared to the people that I’m talking about. You think the Klan can compare to the mainstream media?

You think the Nazis, however many of them there are — or few — can compare to the media and academia and Hollywood? It’s a joke! The same thing with the Nazis and the same thing with the white supremacists. But when you talk Black Lives Matter, when you talk Occupy Wall Street or any of these other left-wing groups that end up rioting and protesting, they are the military wing of the people with power in this country. These people run the Washington establishment. You don’t find in you Klansmen there, and you don’t find any Nazis there, because there aren’t enough of those people to matter a hill of beans.

Neo-Nazis have no Power on the Internet, But Facebook Has Power to Shut Down Free Speech

Do you say, “Well, Rush, I gotta side with ’em. I don’t think the storm troopers ought to have a website, and I don’t think the supremacists ought to…” Okay, fine. Remember, they don’t have any power to do diddly-squat. All they can do is offend you and make you mad. They don’t have any power to do anything.

But do you think that three people — Zuckerberg and whoever the other two are that run PayPal and Facebook, Twitter, whatever. Do you think they ought to be able to wake up one day and just decide? But they’re doing it — under the guise, by the way, of cleansing and pursuing and sanctifying.

That’s not what they’re doing. They are limiting speech.

 

https://www.rushlimbaugh.com/daily/2017/08/18/america-is-under-attack-from-within/

 

 

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Culture Wars Alert: Electric Cars built on the backs of Child Slavery in Africa

Culture Wars Alert:

Abuse Report

Electric Cars built on the backs of Child Slavery in Africa

These revolutionists are using a technique that is as old as the human race, —fervid but false solicitude for the unfortunate over whom they thus gain mastery, and then enslave them. ~David O. McKay

Send This Story to Everyone You Know Who Drives an Electric Car

Rush Limbaugh

RUSH: Those of you driving a Prius, those of you who have ordered a Tesla, those of you who think that you are saving the planet before it climate change or other horrible acts of nature because you are purchasing an electric car, which means that you are engaging in sustainable, renewable energy, this story is for you. It’s from the U.K. Daily Mail. I want those of you out there to pass this story on to everybody you know that drives an electric car or a hybrid.

I don’t care if it’s a Prius or if it’s a Tesla. Even if they’ve ordered one and don’t yet have possession of it. Here’s the headline of the story: “Child Miners Aged Four Living a Hell on Earth So That You Can Drive an Electric Car: Awful Human Cost in Squalid Congo Cobalt Mine that Michael Gove Didn’t Consider in His ‘Clean’ Energy Crusade. Sky News investigated the Katanga mines and found Dorsen, 8, and Monica, 4″ — eight and four! — that “were working in the vast mines of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

“They are two of the 40,000 children working daily in the mines, checking rocks for cobalt,” the “tell-tale chocolate-brown streaks of cobalt — the prized ingredient essential for the batteries that power electric cars.” Now, we hear all the horror stories of the cheap labor and the inhuman conditions on the iPhone assembly lines in China and routinely the Drive-By Media tries to guilt iPhone buyers and Apple into changing this. “This is inhumane what’s necessary for you selfish people to have your precious iPhone!”

Well, look at this: 40,000 kids mining rocks looking for cobalt because it’s an essential ingredient in batteries that are used to power electric cars. You people that I’ve asked to copy this link when you see it at RushLimbaugh.com and send it to all your friends that drive electric cars? I want you to do something else. Send it on to all the leftist media that you know. Send it to the websites. Send it to CNN. Send it New York Times. See if anybody will dare even cover this.

As I say, the story is in the U.K. Daily Mail, and it has pictures of the two kids — one eight, one four — who are being slapped and physically abused by foremen. And, by the way, these are Africans. These are black people. These are minorities in America being forced at age four to mine cobalt and being physically abused if they slack off or don’t find enough during the busywork day. Young children working in Congo mines in horrific conditions, all for “sustainability,” all for clean, renewable energy — which also is a crock.

UKDM: Child Miners Aged Four Living a Hell on Earth So YOU Can Drive an Electric Car: Awful Human Cost in Squalid Congo Cobalt Mine that Michael Gove Didn’t Consider in His ‘Clean’ Energy Crusade

 

https://www.rushlimbaugh.com/daily/2017/08/08/send-this-story-to-everyone-you-know-who-drives-an-electric-car/

YouTube Video: Milton Friedman, Capitalism and Freedom

Dinner Topics for Thursday

YouTube Video: Milton Freedman, Capitalism and Freedom

From Rush Limbaugh Radio

miltonfriedman2One sound bite is two minutes of Milton Friedman schooling Phil Donahue and his audience in greed and capitalism and virtue.

RUSH:  [Obama] was quoting Reverend Wright, and he said that’s for me, man, I love that.  White folks’ greed runs a world in need.  So let’s go to 1979, ancient times for many of you.  We may as well be going back to the Roman Coliseum for this.  Nineteen seventy nine, I was 28.  Ancient times for many of you.  Phil Donahue interviewing Milton Friedman, and they had this exchange.  And Donahue starts off wanting to know about greed and capitalism.  Here it is.  And listen to this.

DONAHUE:  When you see around the globe the maldistribution of wealth, the desperate plight of millions of people in underdeveloped countries, when you see so few haves and so many have-nots, when you see the greed and the concentration of power, did you ever have a moment of doubt about capitalism and whether greed’s a good idea to run on?

Greed Definition

FRIEDMAN:  Well, first of all, tell me, is there some society you know that doesn’t run on greed?  You think Russia doesn’t run on greed?  You think China doesn’t run on greed?  What is greed?  Of course none of us are greedy. It’s only the other fellow who’s greedy.

The world runs on individuals pursuing their separate interests.  The great achievements of civilization have not come from government bureaus.  Einstein didn’t construct his theory under order from a bureaucrat.  Henry Ford didn’t revolutionize the automobile industry that way.  In the only cases in which the masses have escaped from the kind of grinding poverty you’re talking about, the only cases in recorded history are where they have had capitalism and largely free trade.  If you want to know where the masses are worst off, it’s exactly in the kinds of societies that depart from that.

So that the record of history is absolutely crystal clear that there is no alternative way, so far discovered, of improving the lot of the ordinary people that can hold a candle to the productive activities that are unleashed by a free enterprise system.

DONAHUE:  But it seems to reward not virtue as much as ability to manipulate the system.

Virtue Definition

FRIEDMAN:  And what does reward virtue?  Do you think the communist commissar rewards virtue?  Do you think Hitler rewards virtue?  Do you think American presidents reward virtue?  Do they choose their appointees on the basis of the virtue of the people appointed or on the basis of their political clout?  Is it really true that political self-interest is nobler somehow than economic self-interest?  You know, I think you’re taking a lot of things for granted.  Just tell me where in the world you find these angels who are going to organize society for us.

DONAHUE:  Well —

FRIEDMAN:  I don’t even trust you to do that.

RUSH:  Milton Friedman back in 1979 schooling Phil Donahue, and everybody else who heard that on the notions of virtue and greed and just basically upsetting Phil’s applecart.  Phil wasn’t smart enough to know it was happening. He’s still running around lamenting the accident of birth. If he’d been 30 miles south he would have grown up in poverty.  Anyway, we wanted to play that for you and recognize Milton Friedman.

miltonfriedmanMilton Friedman:  “If you put the federal government in charge of the Sahara Desert, in five years there will be a shortage of sand.” 

 Milton Friedman:  “Underlying most arguments against the free market is a lack of belief in freedom itself.” 

Another Milton Friedman quote:  “Most of the energy of political work is devoted to correcting the effects of mismanagement of government.”  

Boy, isn’t that true? Pass another law.  Government comes along and creates a program.  The program is an absolute disaster.  Government says, “That’s gotta get fixed.”  Government says, “Okay, we’ll fix it.”  And it compounds itself, one error atop another. (Rush)

Another Milton Friedman quote:  “Nothing is so permanent as a temporary government program.”  

I’ll tell you, the guy was great.  He was a genius.  He lived into his late eighties.  He would have been a hundred years old this week. (Rush)

Dinner Talk

1. Who does Mr. Friedman say is greedy?

2. Do you think political self-interest is better than economic self-interest? Why or why not?

3. According to Mr. Friedman, which system fosters a stronger economy— management by government bureaucracies (socialism), or free enterprise? Why?

Gallery

Truth about Net Neutrality: Net Neutrality explained—It stifles Internet Freedom

This gallery contains 2 photos.

Truth about Net Neutrality: Net Neutrality explained—It stifles Internet Freedom Firefox has been pushing Net Neutrality hard. On their home page, they gave an option to contact the FCC and tell them what you think about Net Neutrality. I made … Continue reading

Gallery

History Facts: Judeo-Christian Culture Pushing Back against Globalization in European Union

This gallery contains 6 photos.

History Facts: Judeo-Christian Culture Pushing Back against Globalization in European Union “I declare today for the world to hear that the West will never, ever be broken. Our values will prevail. Our people will thrive. And our civilization will triumph. … Continue reading

History Facts: Snopes Bias and Islam Founder

History Facts,

Critical Thinking Skills

Snopes Bias and Islam Founder

Truth Matters—Discern it. The billboard does not name the subject . . . but truth is. . .

the truth hurts too much to ignore and EVERYONE knows who it is.

Snopes: The Left’s “Fact Checker” That Carries Water For Muhammad

Robert Spencer

The self-proclaimed fact-checker Snopes.com has been harshly criticized for its Leftist bias, and as is so often the case, a tilt to the Left also means a willingness to foster ignorance and complacency about the nature and magnitude of the jihad threat. After a billboard went up in Indiana pointing out six unsavory aspects of the life of Muhammad, the prophet of Islam, Snopes labeled the billboard’s charges “Mostly False” – but that label applies far more accurately to the Snopes report than to the billboard.

Complete article:

Snopes: The Left’s “Fact Checker” That Carries Water For Muhammad

 

Moral support:

Michigan Gov. Signs Law Making Female Genital Mutilation a Felony

Moral Support: Congress Bills, President Trump seek to end Human Trafficking

Moral Support:

Congress Bills, President Trump seek to end Human Trafficking

Yesterday, the House of Representatives passed three bills that seek to end human trafficking, and the President is urging the Senate to pass these bills so that he may sign them into law.

Western Culture Dinner Topics Newsletter: American Exceptionalism

Western Culture Dinner Topics Newsletter:

American Exceptionalism

July 2017

Welcome to Western Culture Dinner Topics! 

TRY TO IMAGINE THE WORLD WITHOUT AMERICA.[1]

I know, a few people with very loud voices, some leading to violent action, continue to hate America and try to destroy her. But while the dogs bark, the wagons roll on. As we have seen in the last election, an overwhelming majority of Americans prefer a patriot at the helm of our government—a patriot who believes in American Exceptionalism.

               No one can deny that America stands out among the nations of the world. But what is the cause of this exceptionalism? That is where the debate arises.

The hate groups claim that America rose to power because of greed and oppression. The truth is, fewer than 5 percent of all people who have ever lived on the earth have lived under conditions that we could consider “free.” [2]

  Only through inspired leadership by men raised up by God for that purpose did America become great. If not for the courage and integrity of the Founding Fathers, would America have been any better than the bloody tyrannies of previous thousands of years of history? But the protecting Hand of God has been over America from the beginning.

               Even in his historic voyage of 1492, despite daunting opposition, Christopher Columbus was driven by a sense of divine purpose. He brought with him a Jewish Rabbi, for he hoped to find the lost tribes of Israel. His writings reveal that he was led by the Holy Spirit. His first action upon arriving on shore was to kneel and thank God, and then claim the land for Jesus Christ.

George Washington and his compatriots felt a strong connection to Biblical Israel. They wove it into the great shield, into the money, into the architecture, and in everything they did.

George Washington consecrated, not only his own life and sacred honor, but he also dedicated his troops and his every action to the cause of liberty. He made a covenant with God. In return, God has blessed this land with liberty, protection, and prosperity, so that the gospel of Jesus Christ could flourish and be sent out to all the world.[3]

So the next time you hear the current smear campaign against America and the good men who have fought and died for the liberty we enjoy, let us remember that without the smile of God’s approval and His protective Hand, we would all be in bondage, just like the rest of the world.   

Highlights

Thanks for visiting. Come often, stay late.

For Faith and Freedom,

Christine Davidson

News and Updates:

Transmit a Legacy of Faith and Freedom to Your Children and Grandchildren

In the coming months, we are developing the Birthright Academy. We are seeing the effects of decades of secularism which started in the schools, and from thence have invaded our government and our culture. Today’s college students will be tomorrow’s leaders. We cannot leave the teaching of our youth to the public schools and colleges. By then it will be too late.  If we want to preserve our Judeo-Christian values and culture of liberty, we will need to start serious teaching to the middle school and high school youth, so they will be prepared when they get on their own in college. This is the purpose of the Birthright Academy—to instill the Biblical Worldview into the rising generation, preparing Epic Heroes to lead our nation.

 

So from now on, we are sharpening the focus of Western Culture Dinner Topics on what matters most— to continually define and defend Judeo-Christian values, more about Israel, our spiritual  brother in the house of Israel,  and to know true history, so as not to be deceived.

As Joshua Benamoz  taught us,

Battered but not beaten, Western Culture wins the day!

Stronger than ever, Western Culture’s here to stay!

New Parenting Resource!

Life Lessons from Biblical Big Picture

Critical thinking skills are taught in very few public schools anymore. Some of the best resources for character education and critical thinking are found in literary fiction. Using the historical novel series, Birthright, by C.A. Davidson, as a platform, parents can teach their families vital critical thinking skills and Life Lessons from the Biblical big picture.

Topics include:

  • Truth–
    • How to Know What is True
    • Discerning Right and Wrong
  • Scientific Method (Empiricism) and Academic Freedom
  • Life Lessons from Historical patterns and literary symbolism

 

NEW PAGE!

Western Culture Center:

Quetzal bird, symbol of freedom

Under the Ceiba tree, meet the memorable characters from Birthright,  join the Crusaders’ Council, with our motto—

Battered but not beaten, Western Culture wins the day!

Stronger than ever, Western Culture’s here to stay!

Knowing that truth matters and ideas have consequences, come meet with us in the arena of ideas at Nobles’ Western Culture Center as we work together to restore Judeo-Christian values to their rightful place in our society.

 

Stress Relief Tip of the Month: Keep the Commandments

The Commandments of God are like warning signs along the road of life—they keep us out of the danger zones. Keep the Commandments. It is not always easy, but in the long run, as one Christian leader said, it is easier to Prepare and Prevent than to Repair and Repent.

Keep the Commandments

Keep the commandments! In this there is safety; in this there is peace.

He will send blessings, He will send blessings.

Words of a prophet;

Keep the commandments.

In this there is safety and peace.

 

Text and music: Barbara A. McConochie

Theme Quotes for July: American Exceptionalism

Try to imagine the world without America. ~ Thomas H. Conner

The greatest export of America has been the constitutional principles that have paved the way for God and gospel to make entry in other lands. ~Timothy Ballard

Objects of the most stupendous magnitude, and measure in which the lives and liberties of millions yet unborn are intimately interested, are now before us. We are in the very midst of a revolution the most complete, unexpected and remarkable of any in the history of nations. ~ John Adams

[I]t is a common observation here that our cause is the cause of all mankind, and that we are fighting for their liberty in defending our own.~ Benjamin Franklin

 

The happy union of these states is a wonder; their Constitution a miracle; their example the hope of liberty throughout the world. ~James Madison

James Madison

Happily for America, happily, we trust, for the whole human race, they pursued a new and more noble course. They accomplished a revolution which has no parallel in the annals of human society. They reared the fabrics of governments which have no model on the face of the globe. ~James Madison

I shall rejoin myself to my native country, with new attachments, and with exaggerated esteem for its advantages; for though there is less wealth there, there is more freedom, more ease, and less misery. ~Thomas Jefferson

Our cause is noble; it is the cause of mankind! ~George Washington

 

For we must consider that we shall be as a city upon a hill. The eyes of all people are upon us. ~John Winthrop

A recent report produced by Pew Research Center concluded that the United States of America has more Christians than any other nation in the world. Studies further conclude that Americans—in addition to representing the largest Christian nation—actually live their religion. Almost 80 percent of the America population claims to be Christian. But their actions speak even louder than their words. Charitable donations in the United States (not including the colossal amount of service hours offered by Americans) is twice as much as the next most charitable nation (the United Kingdom.) ~Timothy Ballard, The Covenant, 29-30.

 

July Preview

The Western Culture Dinner Topic Theme for July: American Exceptionalism

Featured Topics

The Parenting Value for this month: Teaching Integrity

Defining Moment: Defining communism, fascism, and socialism

Famous Birthdays: William Blackstone, John Paul Jones, Calvin Coolidge, Alexis De Tocqueville, Milton Freedman

  • Bible Stories: Samuel on the evils of tyrants
    • Birthright
  • Biblical Worldview: 3 Spiritual Reasons for Europe to exit European Union
  • Constitution Series 7: Equal Rights, not Equal Things
  • Critical Thinking: Defining Communism, Fascism, and Socialism
  • Culture Wars: 10 Ways to Protect Religious Freedom
    • AFA Christian News
  • Faith: His Daily Guiding Hand
  • Hillsdale Imprimis: The Left’s Attack on Free Speech, Part 2
  • History: Book Review, 7 Miracles that Saved America
    • Debunking the Myths about Thomas Jefferson
  • Stress Relief Tip: Keep the Commandments
  • Truth in Journalism: Free Americans reach out to rescue baby doomed by socialized medicine; Media censors story

And as always—current events, updates, cultural enrichment, great cartoons, and analysis

Please Vote for our Site and help us reach more readers. Do you enjoy this web site? If you do, please consider voting at the link in the right-hand sidebar beneath the Follow button. If we can be listed in the Top Sites at “Christians Unite!”—we can reach more people who think like you do. You can vote more than once—any time you appreciate a post with Christian content. This keeps us up toward the top 10 so we get referrals.

Thank you for your support.

 PLEASE VOTE FOR EPICWORLD DINNER TOPICS.

Ongoing

1. Does it all seem too complicated to train your Children for the Future? Here’s How to Keep it Simple!

Everyone has to eat dinner, right?

Nothing like a fascinating dinner table conversation to teach the Biblical worldview in a comfortable setting.

And it’s so much easier to explain what you stand for when it’s a way of life.  

Just follow this blog.  Every day, you get two dinner topics to choose from. Follow me here, at  Epicworld Dinner Topics.

Even if you do it once a week to begin with, it’s a great start. Congratulate yourself. Out of small and simple things, great  things come to pass. Do not be weary in well-doing.

 

 P.S. Don’t Forget the Stress Relief Tips every month!

2. Parents, You Can Educate Yourself, for Free, from the convenience of your own Home!

“Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same.”–Ronald Reagan

 

New Resource: Take this online course from Hillsdale College!

History 102: American Heritage, From Colonial Settlement to the Reagan Revolution

Recommended Readings

The U.S. Constitution is the key to securing liberty for all Americans — yet very few know exactly what it says, and what freedoms it protects. Hillsdale College is dedicating this year to educating millions of Americans about this critical document. That’s why the College is offering its most popular course, American Heritage,  for free, when you sign up now, and receive first lesson by email. 

3. Study the U.S. Constitution!

It is the last remaining safeguard of our precious freedoms! A good way to do this is to study the monthly Constitution series from The 5,000 Year Leap. To access this series of posts, type US Constitution Series in this site’s search bar. Also, look for posts that refer to the Constitution in current events. This month Constitution series #7: Equal Rights, not Equal Things

 

[1] Thomas H. Conner, American Heritage, Online course from Hillsdale College

[2] Stewart, Chris and Ted, The Miracle of Freedom, the 7 Tipping Points that Saved the World

[3] Ballard, Timothy, The Covenant: One Nation Under God.

 

History Facts: Economy, Taxation, and Integrity

History Facts:

Economy, Taxation, and Integrity

Calvin Coolidge represents the exact opposite of President Obama. Coolidge had integrity. He deserves a lot more respect than he ever got. ~C.A. Davidson

“Reprinted by permission from Imprimis, a publication of Hillsdale College.”

key“We must have no carelessness in our dealings with public property or the expenditure of public money. Such a condition is characteristic of undeveloped people, or of a decadent generation.” ~Calvin Coolidge

Senator Selden Spencer once took a walk with Coolidge around the White House grounds. To cheer the President up, Spencer pointed to the White House and asked playfully, “Who lives there?” “Nobody,” Coolidge replied. “They just come and go.”

It is much more important to kill bad bills than to pass good ones. ~Calvin Coolidge

Amity Shlaes
Author, Coolidge

calvincoolidgeCalvin Coolidge and the Moral Case for Economy

AMITY SHLAES is a syndicated columnist for Bloomberg, a director of the Four Percent Growth Project at the George W. Bush Presidential Center, and a member of the board of the Calvin Coolidge Memorial Foundation. She has served as a member of the editorial board of the Wall Street Journal and as a columnist for the Financial Times, and is a recipient of the Hayek Prize and the Frederic Bastiat Prize for free-market journalism. She is the author of four books, Germany: The Empire Within, The Forgotten Man: A New History of the Great Depression, The Greedy Hand: How Taxes Drive Americans Crazy and What to Do About It, and Coolidge.

The following is adapted from a talk given at Hillsdale College on January 27, 2013, during a conference on “The Federal Income Tax: A Centenary Consideration,” co-sponsored by the Center for Constructive Alternatives and the Ludwig von Mises Lecture Series.


WITH THE FEDERAL DEBT spiraling out of control, many Americans sense an urgent need to find a political leader who is able to say “no” to spending. Yet they fear that finding such a leader is impossible. Conservatives long for another Ronald Reagan. But is Reagan the right model? He was of course a tax cutter, reducing the top marginal rate from 70 to 28 percent. But his tax cuts—which vindicated supply-side economics by vastly increasing federal revenue—were bought partly through a bargain with Democrats who were eager to spend that revenue. Reagan was no budget cutter—indeed, the federal budget rose by over a third during his administration.

An alternative model for conservatives is Calvin Coolidge. President from 1923 to 1929, Coolidge sustained a budget surplus and left office with a smaller budget than the one he inherited. Over the same period, America experienced a proliferation of jobs, a dramatic increase in the standard of living, higher wages, and three to four percent annual economic growth. And the key to this was Coolidge’s penchant for saying “no.” If Reagan was the Great Communicator, Coolidge was the Great Refrainer.

Enter Coolidge
Following World War I, the federal debt stood ten times higher than before the war, and it was widely understood that the debt burden would become unbearable if interest rates rose. At the same time, the top income tax rate was over 70 percent, veterans were having trouble finding work, prices had risen while wages lagged, and workers in Seattle, New York, and Boston were talking revolution and taking to the streets. The Woodrow Wilson administration had nationalized the railroads for a time at the end of the war, and had encouraged stock exchanges to shut down for a time, and Progressives were now pushing for state or even federal control of water power and electricity. The business outlook was grim, and one of the biggest underlying problems was the lack of an orderly budgeting process: Congress brought proposals to the White House willy-nilly, and they were customarily approved.

The Republican Party’s response in the 1920 election was to campaign for smaller government and for a return to what its presidential candidate, Warren Harding, dubbed “normalcy”—a curtailing of government interference in the economy to create a predictable environment in which business could confidently operate. Calvin Coolidge, a Massachusetts governor who had gained a national reputation by facing down a Boston police strike—“There is no right to strike against the public safety by anybody, anywhere, any time,” he had declared—was chosen to be Harding’s running mate. And following their victory, Harding’s inaugural address set a different tone from that of the outgoing Wilson administration (and from that of the Obama administration today): “No altered system,” Harding said, “will work a miracle. Any wild experiment will only add to the confusion. Our best assurance lies in efficient administration of our proven system.”

One of Harding’s first steps was to shepherd through Congress the Budget and Accounting Act of 1921, under which the executive branch gained authority over and took responsibility for the budget, even to the point of being able to impound money after it was budgeted. This legislation also gave the executive branch a special budget bureau—the forerunner to today’s Office of Management and Budget—over which Harding named a flamboyant Brigadier General, Charles Dawes, as director. Together they proceeded to summon department staff and their bosses to semiannual meetings at Continental Hall, where Dawes cajoled and shamed them into making spending cuts. In addition, Harding pushed through a tax cut, lowering the top rate to 58 percent; and in a move toward privatization, he proposed to sell off naval petroleum reserves in Wyoming to private companies.

Unfortunately, some of the men Harding appointed to key jobs proved susceptible to favoritism or bribery, and his administration soon became embroiled in scandal. In one instance, the cause of privatization sustained damage when it became clear that secret deals had taken place in the leasing of oil reserves at Teapot Dome. Then in the summer of 1923, during a trip out West to get away from the scandals and prepare for a new presidential campaign, Harding died suddenly.

Enter Coolidge, whose personality was at first deemed a negative—his face, Alice Roosevelt Longworth said, “looked as though he had been weaned on a pickle.” But canny political leaders, including Supreme Court Justice and former President William Howard Taft, quickly came to respect the new president. Secretary of State Charles Evans Hughes, after visiting the White House a few times that August, noted that whereas Harding had never been alone, Coolidge often was; that whereas Harding was partial to group decisions, Coolidge made decisions himself; and most important, that whereas Harding’s customary answer was “yes,” Coolidge’s was “no.”

The former governor of Massachusetts was in his element when it came to budgeting. Within 24 hours of arriving back in Washington after Harding’s death, he met with his own budget director, Herbert Lord, and together they went on offense, announcing deepened cuts in two politically sensitive areas: spending on veterans and District of Columbia public works. In his public statements, Coolidge made clear he would have scant patience with anyone who didn’t go along: “We must have no carelessness in our dealings with public property or the expenditure of public money. Such a condition is characteristic of undeveloped people, or of a decadent generation.”

If Harding’s budget meetings had been rough, Coolidge’s were rougher. Lord first advertised a “Two Percent Club,” for executive branch staffers who managed to save two percent in their budgets. Then a “One Percent Club,” for those who had achieved two or more already. And finally a “Woodpecker Club,” for department heads who kept chipping away. Coolidge did not even find it beneath his pay grade to look at the use of pencils in the government: “I don’t know if I ever indicated to the conference that the cost of lead pencils to the government per year is about $125,000,” he instructed the press in 1926. “I am for economy, and after that I am for more economy,” he told voters.

Coolidge in Command
“It is much more important to kill bad bills than to pass good ones,” Coolidge had once advised his father. And indeed, while Harding had vetoed only six bills, Coolidge vetoed 50—including farming subsidies, even though he came from farming country. (“Farmers never had made much money,” he told a guest, and he didn’t see there was much the government could rightly do about it.) He also vetoed veterans’ pensions and government entry into the utilities sector.

The Purpose of Tax Cuts

In short, Coolidge didn’t favor tax cuts as a means to increase revenue or to buy off Democrats. He favored them because they took government, the people’s servant, out of the way of the people. And this sense of government as servant extended to his own office.

Senator Selden Spencer once took a walk with Coolidge around the White House grounds. To cheer the President up, Spencer pointed to the White House and asked playfully, “Who lives there?” “Nobody,” Coolidge replied. “They just come and go.”

But as unpopular as he was in Washington, Coolidge proved enormously popular with voters. In 1924, the Progressive Party ran on a platform of government ownership of public power and a return to government ownership of railroads. Many thought the Progressive Party might split the Republican vote as it had in 1912, handing the presidency to the Democrats. As it happened, Progressive candidate Robert LaFollette indeed claimed more than 16 percent of the vote.

Yet Coolidge won with an absolute majority, gaining more votes than the Progressive and the Democrat combined. And in 1928, when Coolidge decided not to run for reelection despite the urging of party leaders who looked on his reelection as a sure bet, Herbert Hoover successfully ran on a pledge to continue Coolidge’s policies.

Unfortunately, Hoover didn’t live up to his pledge. Critics often confuse Hoover’s policies with Coolidge’s and complain that the latter did not prevent the Great Depression. That is an argument I take up at length in my previous book, The Forgotten Man, and is a topic for another day. Here let me just say that the Great Depression was as great and as long in duration as it was because, as economist Benjamin Anderson put it, the government under both Hoover and Franklin Roosevelt, unlike under Coolidge, chose to “play God.”

Lessons from Coolidge

Beyond the inspiration of Coolidge’s example of principle and consistency, what are the lessons of his story that are relevant to our current situation? One certainly has to do with the mechanism of budgeting: The Budget and Accounting Act of 1921 provided a means for Harding and Coolidge to control the budget and the nation’s debt, and at the same time gave the people the ability to hold someone responsible. That law was gutted in the 1970s, when it became collateral damage in the anti-executive fervor following Watergate. The law that replaced it tilted budget authority back to Congress and has led to over-spending and lack of responsibility.

A second lesson concerns how we look at tax rates. When tax rates are set and judged according to how much revenue they bring in due to the Laffer Curve—which is how most of today’s tax cutters present them, thereby agreeing with tax hikers that the goal of tax policy is to increase revenue—tax policy can become a mechanism to expand government. The goals of legitimate government—American freedom and prosperity—are left by the wayside.

Thus the best case for lower taxes is the moral case—and as Coolidge well understood, a moral tax policy demands tough budgeting.

Finally, a lesson about politics. The popularity of Harding and Coolidge, and the success of their policies—especially Coolidge’s—following a long period of Progressive ascendancy, should give today’s conservatives hope. Coolidge in the 1920s, like Grover Cleveland in the previous century, distinguished government austerity from private-sector austerity, combined a policy of deficit cuts with one of tax cuts, and made a moral case for saying “no.” A political leader who does the same today is likely to find an electorate more inclined to respond “yes” than he or she expects.

Coolidge and Moral Economy, complete article