CLICHES OF PROGRESSIVISM #6 – Capitalism Fosters Greed and Government Policy Must Temper It

The Foundation for Economic Education (FEE) is proud to partner with Young America’s Foundation (YAF) to produce “Clichés of Progressivism,” a series of insightful commentaries covering topics of free enterprise, income inequality, and limited government.

Our society is inundated with half-truths and misconceptions about the economy in general and free enterprise in particular. The “Clichés of Progressivism” series is meant to equip students with the arguments necessary to inform debate and correct the record where bias and errors abound.

The antecedents to this collection are two classic FEE publications that YAF helped distribute in the past: Clichés of Politics, published in 1994, and the more influential Clichés of Socialism, which made its first appearance in 1962. Indeed, this new collection will contain a number of essays from those two earlier works, updated for the present day where necessary. Other entries first appeared in some version in FEE’s journal, The Freeman. Still others are brand new, never having appeared in print anywhere. They will be published weekly on the websites of both YAF and FEE: and until the series runs its course. A book will then be released in 2015 featuring the best of the essays, and will be widely distributed in schools and on college campuses.

See the index of the published chapters here.

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#6 – Capitalism Fosters Greed and Government Policy Must Temper It

On April 19, 2014, the Colonial Bread store in my town of Newnan, Georgia, closed its doors after a decade in business. The parent company explained, “In order to focus more sharply on our core competencies, the decision was made to close some of our retail stores.” A longtime patron responded in the local newspaper this way: “It’s just sad. It’s simply greed and we’re on the receiving end. It’s frustrating to know there isn’t anything you can do about it either.”

Now there’s a rather expansive view of “greed” if there ever was one! Trying to make more efficient the business in which you’ve invested your time and money is somehow a greedy thing to do? And what is it that the disgruntled patron wishes should be done about it? Perhaps pass a law to effectively enslave the business owner and compel him to keep the store open? Who is really the greedy one here?

“Greed” is a word that flows off Progressive tongues with the ease of lard on a hot griddle. It’s a loaded, pejorative term that consigns whoever gets hit with it to the moral gutter. Whoever hurls it can posture self-righteously as somehow above it all, concerned only about others while the greedy wallow in evil selfishness. Thinking people should realize this is a sleazy tactic, not a thoughtful moral commentary.

Economist Thomas Sowell famously pointed out in Barbarians Inside the Gates and Other Controversial Essays that the “greed” accusation doesn’t meet the dictionary definition of the term any more. He wrote, “I have never understood why it is ‘greed’ to want to keep the money you have earned but not greed to want to take somebody else’s money.”

Once upon a time, and for a very long time, “greed” meant more than just the desire for something. It meant the inordinate, obsessive worship of it that often crossed the line into actions that harmed other people. Really, really wanting a million bucks was not in and of itself a bad thing if you honestly worked for it, freely traded with others for it, or took risks and actually created jobs and wealth to secure it. If you worshiped the million bucks to the point of a willingness to steal for it or hire a public official to raid the Treasury on your behalf, then you were definitely a greedy person. Shame on you. If you’re one of those many people today who are willing to stoop to stealing or politicking your way to wealth, you’ve got a lot to answer for.

“Greed” also means, to some people, an unwillingness to share what’s yours with others. I suppose a father who buys a personal yacht instead of feeding his family would qualify. But that’s because he is evading a personal responsibility. He owes it to the family he brought into being to properly care for them. Does the bakery owner who closes his store thereby violate some responsibility to forever serve a certain clientele? Was that ever part of some contract all parties agreed to?

Let’s not forget the fundamental and critical importance of healthy self-interest in human nature. We’re born with it, and thank goodness for that! I don’t lament it for a second. Taking care of yourself and those you love and have responsibility for is what makes the world work. When your self-interest motivates you to do that, it means on net balance you’re good for the world. You’re relieving its burdens, not adding to them.

A common but misleading claim is that the Great Recession of 2008 resulted from the “greed” of the financial community. But did the desire to make money suddenly appear or intensify in the years before 2008? George Mason University economist Lawrence White pointedly explained that blaming greed for recessions doesn’t get us very far. He says, “It’s like blaming gravity for an epidemic of plane crashes.” The gravity was always there. Other factors must have interceded to create a serious anomaly. In the case of the Great Recession, those factors prominently included years of cheap money and artificially low interest rates from the Federal Reserve, acts of Congress and the bureaucracy to jawbone banks into making dubious loans for home purchases, and government entities like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac skewing the housing market—all policies that enjoyed broad support from Progressives but never from genuinely “free market” people.

The Progressive perspective on “greed” is that it’s a constant problem in the private sector but somehow recedes when government takes over. I wonder exactly when a politician’s self-interest evaporates and his altruistic compassion kicks in? Does that happen on election night, on the day he takes office, or after he’s had a chance to really get to know the folks who grease the wheels of government? When he realizes the power he has, does that make him more or less likely to want to serve himself?

The charlatan cries, “That guy over there is greedy! I will be happy to take your money to protect you from him!” Before you rush into his arms, ask some pointed questions about how the greedy suspect is doing his work and how the would-be protector proposes to do his.

The fact is, there’s nothing about government that makes it less “greedy” than the average guy or the average institution. Indeed, there’s every reason to believe that adding political power to natural self-interest is a surefire recipe for magnifying the harm that greed can do. Have you ever heard of corruption in government? Buying votes with promises of other people’s money? Feathering one’s nest by claiming “it’s for the children”? Burdening generations yet unborn with the debt to pay for today’s National Cowboy Poetry Gathering in Nevada (a favorite pork project of Senator Harry Reid)?

If you are an honest, self-interested person in a free market, you quickly realize that to satisfy the self-interest that some critics are quick to dismiss as “greed,” you can’t put a crown on your head, wrap a robe around yourself and demand that the peasants cough up their shekels. You have to produce, create, trade, invest, and employ. You have to provide goods or services that willing customers (not taxpaying captives) will choose to buy and hopefully more than just once. Your “greed” gets translated into life-enhancing things for other people. In the top-down, socialized utopia the Progressives dream of, greed doesn’t disappear at all; it just gets channeled in destructive directions. To satisfy it, you’ve got to use the political process to grab something from other people.

The “greed” charge turns out to be little more than a rhetorical device, a superficial smear intended to serve political ends. Whether or not you worship a material thing like money is largely a matter between you and your Maker, not something that can be scientifically measured and proscribed by lawmakers who are just as prone to it as you are. Don’t be a sucker for it.

Lawrence W. Reed
Foundation for Economic Education


  • Greed has become a slippery term that cries out for some objective meaning; it’s used these days to describe lots of behaviors that somebody doesn’t like for other, sometimes hidden reasons.
  • Self-interest is healthy and natural. How you put it into action in your relationships with others is what keeps it healthy or gets it off track.
  • Lawmakers and government are not immune to greed and, if anything, they magnify it into harmful outcomes.
  • For more information, see, and

20130918_larryreedauthorABOUT LAWRENCE W. REED

Lawrence W. (“Larry”) Reed became president of FEE in 2008 after serving as chairman of its board of trustees in the 1990s and both writing and speaking for FEE since the late 1970s. Prior to becoming FEE’s president, he served for 20 years as president of the Mackinac Center for Public Policy in Midland, Michigan. He also taught economics full-time from 1977 to 1984 at Northwood University in Michigan and chaired its department of economics from 1982 to 1984.

Frak! Has Your Mother Sold Her Mangle? by Sarah Skwire

Language—even profanity—evolves faster than it can be regulated.

I was all ready to write a column about Anthony Trollope, Francis Hodgson Burnett, and women’s property rights, when Brighton, Michigan, decided to start enforcing $200 fines against people who swear in public.

This was such a perfect demonstration of the extension of Skwire’s First Law from politicians to those who enforce the laws enacted by politicians that I had to shelve my original plans and devote this week’s column to the question of cussing. (Skwire’s First Law, by the way, cannot be stated in Brighton, Michigan, without incurring a fine. Suffice it to say that it addresses my opinion of politicians.)

What the fine law enforcement agents of Brighton are failing to consider, however, is that language is a Hayekian spontaneous order. That means language changes and evolves faster than it can be regulated.

Charles Mackay discusses the rapid evolution of nonsensical slang phrases in his book Memoirs of Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds. Though Mackay may have been too much of a gentlemen to discuss actual profanity, he does record the speedy shifting of popular phrases of the day from “Quoz!” to “What a shocking bad hat!” to “Hookey Walker!” to what may be one of the earliest recorded “your mama” jokes, “Has your mother sold her mangle?” As Mackay notes, the inscrutability and the ephemerality of such slang insults drive their popularity. “Like all other earthly things, Quoz had its season, and passed away as suddenly as it arose, never again to be the pet and the idol of the populace. A new claimant drove it from its place, and held undisputed sway till, in its turn, it was hurled from its pre-eminence, and a successor appointed in its stead.”

My guess is that language—especially profanity—evolves even faster and more creatively in response to attempts to regulate it. W. C. Fields, for example, charmingly evaded rules about swearing in film with epithets like “Godfrey Daniels!” It’s still a fairly satisfying response when a small child steps painfully on one’s foot. In similar fashion and for similar reasons, smart kids have been using “shut the front door” and “see you next Tuesday” for ages.

In fact, it is my hope and expectation that the young skate rats and adolescent flaneurs of Brighton are, even now, innovating new curse words and resuscitating old ones in order to confound the cops and maintain the great teenaged prerogative of insulting geezers in language they can’t understand.

To further that noble end, I have a few suggestions for areas where Brightonians might wish to focus their research.

Science Fiction

Science fiction movies and literature have long been a productive source of alternate curse words. FromBattlestar Galactica’s “frak” and “felgercarb” to Farscape’s “frell” and Firefly’s “gorram,” there are a host of useful and satisfying epithets to explore. The extensive and apparently very well-researched Chinese language cursing in Firefly also serves as a realm that the citizens of Brighton should explore.

Foreign Languages

Anyone who grew up in a multilingual household knows the utility of cursing in a language that most people around you can’t understand. I grew up learning the emphatic pleasures and subtle distinctions of Yiddish cursing, but friends give me to understand that—satisfying as shmendrick and shmeggege andpaskudnyak are—other languages offer equally profane pleasures.


The past is a foreign country as well. They curse so differently there. My high school French teacher taught us curses from the pre-war era. So, to this day, I cause Gallic hilarity with my tendency to exclaim “Ma foi!” and “Zut alors!” when I am in France and incensed. But resuscitating earlier curses from English will work as well. Recall the episode of The Simpsons where Bart notes:

Bart: That ain’t been popular since aught-six, dag-nab it!

Homer: What did I tell you?

Bart: No talking like a grizzled 1890s prospector. Consarn it.

How quaint!


This may be my favorite option, because I cannot keep myself from envisioning the perplexity among Brighton’s law enforcement agents when confronted by a populace who take their cusswords from theScarlet Pimpernel. “Sink me! You can’t really intend to ticket me for that, can you? Zounds, you rogue!” Those wanting to explore this fertile source of filth will want to pay particular attention to the works of Chaucer, Shakespeare, and Rabelais.

The difficulty with all the foregoing options, of course, is that if one is sufficiently unlucky, one may encounter an officer who is familiar with the obscure curses one has chosen. To evade this problem, I suggest a solution that has been popular with parents of young children since time began.

Curse Words That Arent

Titmouse. Ballcock. Christological. Zeugma. Fractional reserve. Bassinet.

And I will cheerfully pay the $200 fine for the first Brighton-area citizen who can show me a citation for having called a cop a “bilabial fricative.”

20121127_sarahskwireABOUT SARAH SKWIRE

Sarah Skwire is a fellow at Liberty Fund, Inc. She is a poet and author of the writing textbook Writing with a Thesis.

Scandal Exhaustion

Listening to President Obama respond on May 21 to the latest scandal regarding something about which he knew and did nothing—the mess at the Veterans Administration—was such a familiar event that I have reached a point of exhaustion trying to keep up with everything that has been so wrong about his six years in office. As he always does, he said was really angry about it.

Writing in the May 20 Washington Post, Jennifer Rubin said, “Forget ideology for a moment. Whether you are liberal or conservative, the Obama presidency’s parade of miscues is jaw-dropping.”

Stacked against the list of Obama scandals and failures, Rubin could only cite the Bush administration’s 2005 handling of Hurricane Katrina, the seventh most intense ever, and, as anyone familiar with that event will tell you, the failure of FEMA’s response was matched by the failures of Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco and the New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin. Bush had declared a national emergency two days before it hit the Gulf coast.

Rubin concluded that the Obama administration scandals “reflect the most widespread failure of executive leadership since the Harding administration”, adding “The presidency is an executive job. We hire neophytes at our peril. When there is an atmosphere in which accountability is not stressed you get more scandals and fiascos.”

Obama spent his entire first term blaming all such things on his predecessor, George W. Bush, until it became a joke.

One has to wonder about the effect of the endless succession of scandals and fiascos have had on Americans as individuals and the nation as a whole.

While it is easier to lay all the blame on Obama, the fact is that much of the blame is the result of a federal government that is so big no President could possibly know about the countless programs being undertaken within its departments and agencies, and all the Presidents dating back to Teddy Roosevelt’s progressive initiatives have played a role in growing the government.

It is, however, the President who selects the cabinet members responsible to manage the departments as well as those appointed to manage the various agencies. Kathleen Sebelius, the recently resigned former Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, responsible for the implementation of Obamacare, comes to mind. She had solicited donations—against the law—from the companies HHS regulates to help her sign up uninsured Americans for Obamacare and signed off on the millions spent on and other expenses leading up to its start.

AA - Obama's Scandals

For a larger view click on the graphic.

There are lists of the Obama scandals you can Google. One that continues to fester is the attack on September 11, 2012—the anniversary of 9/11—that killed an American ambassador and three security personnel in Benghazi, Libya. It has been and continues to be investigated, mostly because of the lies told by Obama and then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton of “What difference at this point does it make?” fame. Clinton was asked what she had accomplished in her four years as Secretary and was unable to name anything.

Eric Holder, our Attorney General, continues in office despite having been held in contempt of Congress, professing that he knew nothing about “Fast and Furious”, the earliest scandal involving a gun-running scheme to Mexican drug cartels by the ATF presumably to track them, but they lost track and many were used in crimes including the killing of a Border Patrol agent.

Holder also told Congress that he was not associated with the “potential prosecution” of a journalist even though he had signed the affidavit that named Fox News reporter, James Rosen. as a potential criminal. Holder was also in charge when the Justice Department culled the phone records of Associated Press reporters to find out who they deemed was leaking information.

Keeping track of the solar power and other “renewable” and “Green” energy companies like Solyndra that received millions in grants and then rather swiftly went bankrupt became a fulltime effort and, of course, there was the “stimulus” that wasted billions without generating any “shovel ready jobs” qualifies as a fiasco.

In the midst of the recession that was triggered by the 2008 financial crisis various elements of the Obama administration continued to spend money in ways that suggested their indifference. In 2010 the General Services Administration held a $823,000 training conference in Las Vegas, complete with a clown and mind readers.

An Agriculture Department program to compensate black farmers who allegedly had been discriminated against by the agency turned into a gravy train that delivered several billion dollars to thousands of recipients, some of whom probably had not encountered discrimination.

The Veterans Affairs agency made news when it spent more than $6 million on two conferences in Orlando, Florida, and is back in the news for revelations about alleged falsified records concerning the waiting times veterans faced amidst assertions that many died while waiting for treatment surfaced. This was a problem of which the then-Senator Obama was already aware, but six years into his presidency it still existed despite his early promises to fix it.

Obama has been the biggest of Big Government Presidents since the days of Franklin D. Roosevelt and Lyndon Johnson, and Obamacare put the federal government in control of one sixth of the nation’s economy while putting the government in charge of the care Americans expect to receive. Obamacare will dwarf the problems associated with the Veterans agency.

Meanwhile, we have been living with a President who is so indifferent to working with Congress that he has gained fame for his use of executive orders such as the decision to not deport illegal immigrants. His aides have promised more executive orders.

All this over the course of the last six years has left Americans exhausted by the incompetence and wastefulness of an administration that now presides over the highest national debt in the history of the nation and the first ever downgrade of our credit rating.

It has also left them angry if they were conservatives and disillusioned if they were Obama supporters. The Veterans Administration scandal is likely a tipping point for the independent voters and even for longtime Democrats who will want a change.

It is increasingly likely that the November midterm elections give the Republican Party control over the Senate as well as the House and then to hope that it will begin to rein in the spending and save the nation from a financial collapse that will rival the one in 2008.

© Alan Caruba, 2014

USPS Drinks the Harvey Milk Kool-Aid — Awards stamp to “Degenerate Homosexual Icon”

Candice Naranjo from KRON 4 reports, “Long lines have formed in front of a U.S. Post Office in San Francisco’s Castro District this morning as supporters of assassinated city Supervisor Harvey Milk rush to get a stamp dedicated to the gay rights leader, a postal service spokesman said. The stamp with Milk’s laughing face, name and a small strip of the rainbow flag, first became available this morning at post offices throughout San Francisco and nationwide.”

Americans  For Truth About Homosexuality noted in an email, “USPS Awards stamp to degenerate homosexual icon, Harvey Milk–who was big supporter of murderous cult leader Jim Jones. No problem that as a 33-year-old man, Milk had an illegal sexual relationship with a 16-year-old runaway boy! (Imagine if you were the boy’s dad or mom or grandparent.).”

The American Family Association reports, “The Harvey Milk stamp was a result of seven years of lobbying by a self-described drag queen (a biological man with implanted breasts) and former transsexual prostitute Nicole Murray Ramirez of San Diego.”

Watch the White House “Harvey Milk stamp” ceremony:



Question: Why honor Harvey Milk rather than Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens? Milk was a minor figure, Ambassador Stevens was a Presidential appointee and died in service to the nation.

In the byline to his San Francisco City Journal column “Drinking Harvey Milk’s Kool-Aid” Daniel J. Flynn states, “Lionized by Hollywood and California state legislators, the real Milk was a demagogue and pal of Jim Jones.”

Flynn writes:

Milk makes a rather unremarkable subject for the silver screen. In his seven years in San Francisco, he made four bids for elective office, only emerging victorious in his last—a 1977 run for city supervisor. For his persistence, Milk jokingly referred to himself as the “gay Harold Stassen.” He served for less than a year. In naming the onetime camera-shop proprietor one of the 100 most important people of the twentieth century, Time conceded, “As a supervisor, Milk sponsored only two laws—predictably, one barring anti-gay discrimination, and, less so, a law forcing dog owners to clean pets’ messes from sidewalks.” Eleven months on the city council hardly seems the stuff of Hollywood legend. So Hollywood invented a legend.

Rather than the gentle, soft-spoken idealist portrayed by Sean Penn, the real Harvey Milk was a short-tempered demagogue who cynically invented stories of victim hood to advance his political career. During his successful run for city supervisor, for instance, Milk’s camera store was the object of a glass-shattering attack by low-grade explosives. Milk blamed singer Anita Bryant, the outspoken opponent of gay-friendly legislation. “Years later friends hinted broadly that Harvey had more than a little foreknowledge that the explosions would happen,” biographer Randy Shilts noted. One friend explained to Shilts: “You gotta realize the campaign was sort of going slow, and, well . . .”

[ … ]

Milk was far more cavalier about the privacy of others than he was about his own. When Bill Sipple became a national hero for tackling gun-toting kook Sara Jane Moore before she could kill President Gerald Ford in 1975, Milk anonymously leaked news of the former Marine’s homosexuality to the media. “It’s too good an opportunity,” Milk reasoned. “For once we can show that gays do heroic things.” Just as Milk anticipated the “outing” tactics of ACT-Up and Queer Nation, his rhetoric, too, foreshadowed the hyperbole of AIDS activists of the following decade. Milk liberally tossed the “Nazi” label at opponents of various gay-rights proposals and even compared politically moderate homosexuals to Nazi collaborators. “We are not going to allow our rights to be taken away and then march with bowed heads into the gas chambers,” Milk proclaimed at 1978’s Gay Freedom Parade in San Francisco.

But Harvey Milk’s homosexuality played about as much of a role in his murder as San Francisco mayor George Moscone’s heterosexuality played in his. Their murderer, troubled political neophyte Dan White, had donated $100 to defeat the Briggs Initiative, which would have empowered school boards to fire teachers for homosexuality. White hired a homosexual as his campaign manager and voted as a city supervisor to fund a Pride Center for homosexuals. White wasn’t driven to murder by Milk’s vision of gay rights but rather by something more pedestrian: the petty politics of City Hall. What makes for good history doesn’t always lend itself to good theater.

[ … ]

Nine days prior to Milk’s death, more than 900 followers of Jim Jones—many of them campaign workers for Milk—perished in the most ghastly set of murder-suicides in modern history. Before the congregants of the Peoples Temple drank Jim Jones’s deadly Kool-Aid, Harvey Milk and much of San Francisco’s ruling class had already figuratively imbibed. Milk occasionally spoke at Jones’s San Francisco–based headquarters, promoted Jones through his newspaper columns, and defended the Peoples Temple from its growing legion of critics. Jones provided conscripted “volunteers” for Milk’s campaigns to distribute leaflets by the tens of thousands. Milk returned the favor by abusing his position of public trust on behalf of Jones’s criminal endeavors.

“Rev. Jones is widely known in the minority communities here and elsewhere as a man of the highest character, who has undertaken constructive remedies for social problems which have been amazing in their scope and effectiveness,” Supervisor Milk wrote President Jimmy Carter seven months before the Jonestown carnage. The purpose of Milk’s letter was to aid and abet his powerful supporter’s abduction of a six-year-old boy. Milk’s missive to the president prophetically continued: “Not only is the life of a child at stake, who currently has loving and protective parents in the Rev. and Mrs. Jones, but our official relations with Guyana could stand to be jeopardized, to the potentially great embarrassment of our State Department.” John Stoen, the boy whose actual parents Milk libeled to the president as purveyors of “bold-faced lies” and blackmail attempts, perished at Jonestown. This, the only remarkable episode in Milk’s brief tenure on the San Francisco board of supervisors, is swept under the rug by his hagiographers.

Is Harvey Milk deserving of recognition by the United States Postal Service? We report you decide.

EDITORS NOTE: Daniel J. Flynn, the author of A Conservative History of the American Left, blogs at The featured image is courtesy of KRON 4

Washington Shame Game: Dumb Things Politicians Say

The first edition of the game that tests viewer knowledge of shameful things officials say. How good is your knowledge of the shameful statements by elected officials?… test yourself here:



EDITORS NOTE: The edited featured image was originally taken by Anthony Easton. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

Slogans or Science? Regression toward the meme in the minimum wage debate by Sandy Ikeda

The debate over raising the legal minimum wage (LMW) to $10 an hour has people on both sides saying things they should know better than to say. For example, a friend recently posted the following meme (which isn’t the worst I’ve seen) on Facebook:

One year ago this week, San Jose decided to raise its minimum wage to $10/hour.

Any jobs disappear?

The number of minimum wage jobs has grown.

Any businesses collapse?

The number of businesses has grown.

Any questions?

Yes, several, but I’ll get to those in a bit.

Memes like these are just as silly and misleading as the simplistic arguments they’re probably attacking. In fact, the economic analysis of significantly raising the minimum wage says that, other things equal, it will reduce employment below the level where it would otherwise have been. It doesn’t say that that employment will fall absolutely or businesses will collapse.

A little thinking can go a long way

Have a look at this chart published in the Wall Street Journal. At first, it seems to support the simplistic slogans. But it’s important to compare similar periods, such as March–November 2012 (before the increase was passed) versus March–November 2013, (just after it went into effect). The LMW increase wasn’t a surprise, so in the months before it was passed, businesses would have been preparing for it, shaking things up. Comparing those two periods, which makes the strongest case for the meme’s assertions, the total percentage increase in employment (the area under the red line) looks pretty close, going just by my eyeballs and a calculator. In fact, the post-hike increase might actually be smaller, but you’d need more data to be sure. So if you compare similar periods, the rate of employment growth seems not to have been affected very much by the hike. So is the meme right?

According to that same chart and other sources, hiring in the rest of California and the country, where for the most part there was no dramatic increase in the LMW, was also on the rise at pretty much the same time. Why? Apparently, the growth rate of the U.S. economy jumped in 2012, especially in California. So the demand for inputs, including labor, probably also increased. I’m certainly not saying this correlation is conclusive, but you could infer that while hiring in San Jose was rising, it wasn’t rising as fast as it might have otherwise, given the generally improving economy.

That’s a more ambiguous result, and of course harder to flit into a meme.

You are stupid and evil and a liar!

Those strongly in favor of raising the LMW cast opponents as Republican apologists for big business. Take this post from DailyKos, which apparently is the source of the above meme. The author writes, “Empirically, there’s no clear negative effect that can be discerned. The concerns of Teahadists like Paul Ryan and Marco Rubio is [sic] rather unfounded in academic literature and in international assessments of natural experiments.”

Now, the overwhelming conclusion of years of economic research on the effects of a minimum wage on employment is that it tends to increase, not lower, unemployment. As this article from Forbes summarizes, “In a comprehensive, 182-page summary of the research on this subject from the last two decades, economists David Neumark (UC-Irvine) and William Wascher (Federal Reserve Board) determined that 85 percent of the best research points to a loss of jobs following a minimum wage increase.”

So, saying there is “no clear negative effect” is an outrageously ignorant claim. And there’s not one mention of the economic evidence that significantly raising the LMW will hurt the very people you wish to help: the relatively poor. But why address solid scientific research when there’s sloppy sloganeering by politicos to shoot down?

Attacking easy targets is understandable if you want to vilify your opponents or win an easy one for the cause. In that case, you take the dumbest statement by your rival as the basis of your attack. Such is the way of politics. In intellectual discourse, however, you may win the battle but you’ll lose the war. That is, if your goal is to learn from fruitful intellectual discussion, you must engage your opponent’s best arguments, not her weakest ones.

Let me use a counterexample. The sloganeering approach to attacking those who oppose raising the LMW is the equivalent of someone saying: “Well, this past winter was one of the coldest on record in the Midwest. So much then for global warming!” That may be “evidence” in a mud-slinging contest, but it’s not science.

What’s the theory?

While weather is complex and unpredictable, economic systems are even more so. Does that mean there are no principles of economics? Of course not. In fact, it’s because of such complexity that we need whatever help economic theory can offer to organize our thinking. And it doesn’t get any more basic than this: The demand curve for goods slopes downward.

That is, other things equal, the costlier something is, the less of it you’ll want to buy.

Note that the caveat—other things equal—is as important as the inverse relation between price and quantity demanded. That’s why my earlier back-of-the-envelope analysis had to be conditional on more data. Unfortunately, those data are often very hard to get. Does that mean we abandon the theory? Well, that would be like letting go of the rope you’re hanging on to for dear life because you’re afraid it might break.

So what exactly is the theory behind the idea that raising the LMW will increase hiring low-wage workers and boost business? If raising wages will actually increase employment and output, then why not also mandate a rise in interest rates, rents, electricity rates, oil prices, or the price of any of the other myriad factors of production that businesses ordinarily have to pay for? I would hope that this idea would give even the meme promoters pause.

As far as I know, the only situation in which forcing people to pay a higher wage rate will increase employment is when there is a dominant employer and there are barriers to competition. Economists term this “monopsony,” a situation that might occur in a so-called “factory town.” There, the dominant employer (of labor, capital, land, or whatever) can lower what she pays for inputs below the revenue that an additional unit of input earns the company. I would love to hear that argument and challenge it, because it’s the strongest one that standard economics can offer in favor of coercing businesses to raise wages. But so far I’ve not come across it, let alone any discussion of the economic literature on monopsony in the labor market, most of which questions its relevance. Some almost random examples are here and here.

Margins of analysis

Finally, economics teaches us that we can adjust to a particular change in different ways. In a thoughtful article on the effect of the LMW increase in San Jose that all sides of the debate should read, we get the following anecdote:

For his San Jose stores to make the same profit as before the wage increase, the same combo meal would be $6.75. “That would chase off a large percentage of my customers,” Mr. DeMayo said. He hasn’t laid off San Jose workers but has reduced their hours, along with some maintenance such as the drive-through lane’s daily hosing, and may close two unprofitable stores.

Employers can adjust to higher costs in one area by cutting back on spending in others. That might mean less unemployment than otherwise, but it doesn’t mean that raising the LMW has no negative employment effect at all. It means that the effects are harder to see. There’s that darn “other things being equal” again!

Slogans and memes are no substitute for science, or even clear thinking.


Sandy Ikeda is an associate professor of economics at Purchase College, SUNY, and the author of The Dynamics of the Mixed Economy: Toward a Theory of Interventionism. He will be speaking at the FEE summer seminars “People Aren’t Pawns” and “Are Markets Just?

School Choice: Historic developments in KS, FL, AZ, as other states play defense by Leslie Hiner

Alabama – Stephanie Linn @StephanieJLinn

U.S. District Judge Keith Watkins dismissed a lawsuit that challenged the Alabama Accountability Act on grounds that the school choice program contained within the Act violated equal protection. The Southern Poverty Law Center had filed a lawsuit contending that its clients, students in “failing” public schools, were unable to take advantage of the program because they do not live near a non-failing public school or a participating private school, and, thus, no student in the state should have the ability to participate in the program. The judge issued his opinion stating:

“The requested remedy is arguably mean: Withdraw benefits from those students who can afford to escape non-failing schools. The only remedy requested thus far would leave the plaintiffs in exactly the same situation to which they are currently subject, but with the company of their better-situated classmates. The equal protection requested is, in effect, equally bad treatment.”

In 2013, the Alabama Supreme Court blocked a challenge to the Accountability Act. A separate lawsuit from the Alabama Education Association is still pending in Montgomery County Circuit Court.

On April 1, the Alabama Senate Fiscal Responsibility and Accountability Committee passed HB 558 that would have amended the Alabama Accountability Act to lift the cap on individual donations and expand the types of entities that could contribute to scholarship granting organizations. The bill died when the Senate adjourned sine die without taking up the bill.

Alaska – Michael Chartier @Mchart1

The legislative session in Alaska was dubbed “The Education Session” by Gov. Sean Parnell (R), and it certainly lived up to that name. The legislation that most interested the Friedman Foundation was Senate Joint Resolution 9, a constitutional amendment that would have removed sections of the state’s Blaine amendment, allowing for a universal voucher system. Unfortunately for the people of Alaska, that amendment did not make it through the legislature. However, the bright spot on the horizon was in the education funding bill. It contained a corporate tax credit for donations to private and religious schools. It is the Friedman Foundation’s hope that money could be used for scholarships for students. Please see our previous coverage of Alaska’s education funding bill for more information on that unique proposal.

Arizona – Leslie Hiner @LeslieHiner

April 23 was a day of victories and defeats for school choice. Here is a summary of significant legislation:

  • Gov. Jan Brewer (R) signed into law HB 2150, which will allow children of active duty military families to enroll in the Empowerment Scholarship Account (ESA) program upon being stationed in Arizona; no prior Arizona public school enrollment is necessary.
  • Gov. Brewer signed into law HB 2139, which expanded the Empowerment Scholarship Account (ESA) program to include siblings of current ESA recipients and children with disabilities who are eligible to enroll in a preschool program.
  • Gov. Brewer vetoed SB 1048, which would have allowed chapter S corporations to contribute to Arizona’s corporate tax-credit scholarship program.
  • The Senate defeated SB 1236, which would have expanded the ESA to include children living in ZIP Codes where the average income is 185 percent of poverty or less; children of various emergency services personnel and siblings of current scholarship recipients would also have been eligible. It is estimated that more than 100,000 children would have become eligible. A similar bill, HB 2291, was defeated in the House on April 17.
  • The House passed HB 2328 and sent the bill to Gov. Brewer. This bill removes the requirement that children with disabilities who qualify for Lexie’s Law scholarships must first attend an Arizona public school to qualify for a scholarship. The bill was signed by Gov. Brewer on May 5.

A week later, Gov. Brewer signed into law HB 1237, which added clarifying language to the existing ESA program. Some of the new specifications include:

  1. requiring parents to use a portion of funding for the child’s current educational needs,
  2. specifying that an individual or facility accredited by a state, regional, or national accrediting organization may provide teaching/tutoring service,
  3. clarifying that only children with disabilities may use the ESA for certain therapies, and
  4. improving the funding formula.

Florida – Stephanie Linn @StephanieJLinn

The Florida House of Representatives passed a bill, April 11, to expand the existing tax-credit scholarship program and a new Personal Learning Scholarship Account Program for students with special needs, similar to Arizona’s ESA program. The expansion to the tax-credit scholarship program included increasing the per-student funding amount, increasing student eligibility by raising the limit on household income, and providing eligibility to students in kindergarten and first grade and siblings of students already in the program. Check out our legislative update for more details of the bill.

Kansas – Michael Chartier @Mchart1

Gov. Sam Brownback (R) signed a school funding bill into law, April 21, that included a provision creating a corporate tax-credit scholarship program. This development ushered Kansas into the school choice club as the 24th state. Low-income children from failing schools are eligible for up to an $8,000 scholarship from approved nonprofits. Corporations that donate to such nonprofits are eligible to receive a 70 percent income tax credit, with the total amount of credits capped at $10 million. Click here for more program details.

Louisiana – Leslie Hiner @LeslieHiner

On April 10, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the district court ruling denying parents the right to intervene in the Department of Justice request for injunction against the Louisiana voucher program in the decades-old desegregation case, Brumfield v Dodd, 405 F. Supp. 338 (E.D. La. 1975). Parents now have the right to intervene in the case.

Mississippi – Stephanie Linn @StephanieJLinn

The Mississippi House voted down an ESA bill for students with special needs by a vote of 57-63 on April 2. House sponsor, Rep. Carolyn Crawford said she intends to file the bill again next year.

New Hampshire – Leslie Hiner @LeslieHiner

The New Hampshire Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Duncan v. State of New Hampshire on April 16. This case positions individuals represented by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and Americans United For Separation of Church and State (AU) against the state’s new tax-credit scholarship program, that is currently serving well over 100 students in schools of their choice. Check out our explanation of that lawsuit here.

Oklahoma – Leslie Hiner @LeslieHiner

On April 24, the House passed HB 2643, enlarging Oklahoma’s Equal Opportunity Education Scholarship program, making sub-chapter S corporations eligible for participation and providing a 75 percent state tax credit to those donors who commit to give for three years. The House dissented in Senate amendments, and the bill is currently in conference committee.

Tennessee – Stephanie Linn @StephanieJLinn

A voucher bill backed by Gov. Bill Haslam (R) made great progress in the Tennessee legislature, but the bill failed to garner enough support to make it over the finish line.

On April 10 the Senate passed the Tennessee Choice & Opportunity Scholarship Act, SB 196, a voucher program capped at 5,000 students in the first year of operation. If the bill had passed, students from low-income households who attend a “failing” public school would be given the first opportunity to receive a voucher. If remaining spots were available, students from low-income households in districts containing failing schools would be eligible to apply. The House companion bill, HB 190, stalled in the House Finance Committee. The bill sponsor, Rep. Bill Dunn, withdrew the bill citing a lack of support in the committee.


 serves as the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice’s Vice President of Programs and State Relations. She also serves on the Schools That Can National Advisory Board. She is an appointee to the U. S. Commission on Civil Rights Indiana State Advisory Committee, and also serves as an appointee to the Indianapolis City-County Ethics Commission.

Drug War Crimes: The Consequences of Prohibition by George C. Leef

Drug Prohibition Is Deadly.

In perhaps no other public-policy question is the United States more hopelessly in the grip of a conventional wisdom that is utterly and egregiously wrong than drugs. Most Americans, no matter their political affiliation, are adamant supporters of the “war on drugs.” Try suggesting that the war might be stupendous folly and you’ll most likely run into vehement opposition replete with ad hominem attacks.

It is hard to get people to examine their ideas—“prejudices” might be a better word—about drugs, but in Drug War Crimes, Boston University economics professor Jeffrey Miron has put into the public discourse an attack on the conventional wisdom that is impossible for any serious-minded person to brush off. Written with a professional economist’s careful attention to costs and benefits, both seen and unseen, the book relentlessly challenges all the beliefs that support the criminalization of drugs.

Miron begins by toting up some of the principal costs of our anti-drug crusade. Government spends more than $33 billion annually on it. Arrests for drug-related infractions exceed 1.5 million per year. The United States now has well in excess of 300,000 people behind bars for drug violations. If they’re even aware of the cost, drug-war supporters contend that we would experience a disastrous rise in drug use—which is assumed to be a life-ruining event—and therefore worth it. Prohibitionists assert that “drug use causes crime, diminishes health and productivity, encourages driving and industrial accidents, exacerbates poverty, supports terrorism and contributes generally to societal decay,” Miron writes. Those beliefs are carefully reinforced by spokesmen for the drug war. Our author takes on all those claims and shows them to be erroneous.

Consider, for example, the widely held idea that drug use causes crime. Statistics show that in 35 cities monitored by the U.S. Department of Justice in 2000, at least 50 percent of adult men arrested for crimes tested positive for drugs. That’s enough to frighten the typical citizen into supporting the drug war. After all, who wants more crime? But Miron points out that those statistics don’t show that drug usage causes criminal behavior or that the arrestees were under the influence of drugs at the time of the crime. “The methodology used in these analyses would also demonstrate that consumption of fast food or wearing blue jeans causes criminal behavior,” Miron observes with appropriate sarcasm.

Another mistaken belief that leads to support for the drug war is that any drug use almost inevitably leads to addiction and an increasingly dissolute life. That notion causes people to view drug use as so dangerous as to warrant the extreme measures the government employs in its attempt to prevent anyone from using any illegal drug in any amount. Miron shows that belief to be unfounded. Drug use may be addictive, but is not necessarily so and many drug users lead perfectly normal lives. True, some users suffer adverse health consequences, but, the author observes, “A critical problem with standard depictions of the health consequences of drug use is reliance on data sources that are systematically biased toward those who suffer the worst consequences.”

For all our costly enforcement efforts, Miron shows that drug prohibition has little impact on the incidence of drug use, mainly because drug producers and sellers can evade law enforcement so easily. Yet the costs extend beyond the obvious ones already mentioned. One of them is increased racial tension because drug enforcement is so often targeted at minority areas.

Another is a great increase in violence. Miron argues that without drug prohibition, homicide rates in the United States would fall by half. A third is the non-availability of drugs, particularly marijuana, for medical reasons, thus causing much avoidable pain and suffering. By the time our author is done with his analysis of costs and benefits, it is clear that the war on drugs is an exceedingly foolish policy.

Miron advocates legalization rather than any of the halfway alternatives sometimes advanced. He concludes by saying, “American tradition should make legalization—i.e., liberty—the preferred policy, barring compelling evidence prohibition generates benefits in excess of its costs. As I have demonstrated here, a serious weighing of the evidence shows instead that prohibition has enormous costs with, at best, modest and speculative benefits. Liberty and utility thus both recommend that prohibition end now: the goals of prohibition are questionable, the methods are unsound, and the results are deadly.”


George Leef is the former book review editor of The Freeman. He is director of research at the John W. Pope Center for Higher Education Policy.

US lawmakers pressure Obama to grant asylum to Christian Sudanese mom sentenced to death for leaving Islam

Why aren’t all the Muslim spokesmen in the West, who claim that Islam has no death penalty for apostasy, such as Harris ZafarMustafa AkyolSalam al-MarayatiM. Cherif Bassiouni, and Ali Eteraz (among many others), jetting to Khartoum now to explain to Sudanese authorities that they are misunderstanders of Islam and must release Meriam Yehya Ibrahim immediately?

One wonders: why, if it is so clear that Islam has no death penalty for apostasy, do so many Muslims misunderstand that? And why is it “Islamophobia” to point out that so many don’t seem to get the memo?

Muhammad said: “Whoever changed his Islamic religion, then kill him” (Bukhari 9.84.57).

“US Lawmakers Pressure Obama Administration to Grant Asylum to Christian Sudanese Mom Sentenced to Death,” Chinatopix, May 24, 2014:

Lawmakers in the US are calling on the Obama team to provide asylum to a pregnant Sudanese wife of an American citizen after she was sentenced to death for upholding her Christian faith.

Meriam Yehya Ibrahim has been imprisoned with her 20-month-old son for over three months because she refused to recant her Christianity. Last week, a Khartoum judge stirred international condemnation by sentencing the 27-year-old mom to death by hanging after giving birth and nursing her baby for two years, wrote Fox News.

Senate Foreign Relations Committee member Marco Rubio said he was shocked with the “inhumane verdict” given to Ibrahim. GOP senators Roy Blunt and Kelly Ayotte have already sent two letters to the White House requesting for “immediate action” and political asylum for Ibrahim and her child.

On Wednesday, four senators filed a resolution condemning the death sentence and urging Sudan to respect their people’s religious freedom in order to restore their ties with the US or reduce their economic sanctions. Republican Jim Inhofe and Democrats Chris Coons and Bob Menendez co-sponsored the said resolution.

Ibrahim was raised as a Christian when her Muslim father abandoned the family when she was still a child and has now been charged by the Sudanese court has charged with apostasy, or leaving Islam. In some Muslim countries, this crime has a corresponding death penalty.

Ibrahim was also sentenced to receive 100 lashes after she gives birth, for adultery, for having relations with her Christian husband. Her lawyers said the eight-months-pregnant woman is chained by her feet in jail.

Jen Psaki, the State Department’s spokesperson, said the Obama team is doing their best on Ibrahim’s case.

Daniel Wani, Ibrahim’s husband, is confined to a wheelchair and is fully dependent on his wife for everything, the lawyer explained. Wani said he called the US Embassy in Khartoum before the death sentence, but the embassy showed no interest in their problem.

After stating that his son was an American citizen, he was asked to present DNA evidence. He conceded and provided their wedding documents and his son’s birth certificates as additional evidence, but Wani said the embassy still did not offer any help.

Ibrahim’s case is being further complicated by political forces in her country. According to Sudanese Parliament speaker Fatih Izz Al-Deen, it is not true that Ibrahim was raised as a non-Muslim and added that it was her Muslim brother who filed the complaint against her….


Uganda: Churches step up security after threats from Islamic jihad group
Nigeria: Islamic jihadist murders two in bungled jihad/martyrdom suicide bombing
Sharia Egypt: Christian gets four years prison, $1400 fine for insulting Islam by drawing cartoon of Muhammad on Facebook

Florida’s Communist Congressman Joe Garcia, Jr.: The Latest Threat to the Republic

Born again Communist José Antonio “Joe” García, Jr. the U.S Representative for Florida’s 26th Congressional District made a statement that “Communism is working.”


Democrat Rep. José Antonio “Joe” García, Jr

I called Rep. García’s office at 202-225-2778 and told the Congressman to pack his bags, clean out his cubicle and resign from office. I will pay his one way ticket to North Korea. He is the same person that picked his ear during a congressional hearing, then ate the ball of wax that he diligently scooped from his inner canal protrusion.

On May 31st, 2013, Representative García’s chief-of-staff and top political strategist resigned after being implicated in a sophisticated scheme to manipulate the previous year’s primary elections by submitting hundreds of fraudulent absentee-ballot requests. Jeffrey Garcia’s resignation came three months after a Miami Herald investigation found that hundreds of the 2,552 fraudulent online requests for the August 14th primary election originated from unknown hackers using IP addresses in Miami.

On the same day, the Miami-Dade state attorney’s office, served search warrants seeking computers and electronic equipment in the homes of Representative Garcia’s communications director and his 2012 campaign manager. Jeffrey García, the aide, pleaded guilty and was sentenced in October, 2013. He was released from Miami-Dade Correctional Center on December 25, 2013 after having served 65 days of a 90 day active sentence. He must now serve three months of house arrest followed by 15 months of probation.

Joe Garcia is the chief sponsor in the House of Representatives of a comprehensive immigration reform plan which is similar to legislation that has passed the United States Senate. If enacted, the plan would create a pathway to citizenship for millions of illegal immigrants already living and working in the United States. Why they would want to be citizens though is a good question. They will then be subject to Obamacare and the income tax that redistributes taxpayer wealth to Michelle Obama’s vacation planning office and dress designer.

Governor Rick Scott of Florida also signed legislation giving illegal immigrants living in Florida, who have attended high school for at least 3 years, in-state tuition. In effect he is now redistributing wealth from law abiding American tax payers in Florida to criminal law breakers living in this state illegally in violation of federal law.

November 4th is just around the corner. Choose wisely. Our nation’s sovereignty and security rests in your hands. Please vote for those people who will protect the Republic and its sovereignty. Please vote for those who will protect this nations wealth and tax payer money. Flush the rest.


Florida Congressman Garcia Accepts Money from Radical Muslim Group

Bring Back the House Un-American Activities Committee

The Koch Brothers: Wealthy Good Guys

Nobody should be bullied in America. We expose the lefts most vicious bullying against minorities, like the wealthy. But only certain wealthy people. A favorite target of Democrats is the Koch brothers, good men who use their wealth to make the USA a better place.

Democrats use the name Koch to fund raise at every level. It is the Democrat rallying cry – stop the Koch Brothers. What citizens must ask is: Who are the good guys?


“LGBT” Teachers Conference in Boston – Part II: Pushing ‘Gay’ clubs in Middle Schools

The latest push: “Gay” clubs for kids in middle schools. Here’s how they get them in — and what comes with them.

The homosexual-transgender movement is working hard to indoctrinate schoolchildren as young as possible. By far, the most effective way is to get them into school-based “gay” clubs that are run by activist, often radical, adults, but though otherwise unsupervised. They have been working at this for several years (see our 2008 report) but are now ramping up their efforts considerably.

We reported last week, on this year’s annual GLSEN Conference in Boston which brought together LGBT teachers, activists, and supportive administrators to discuss their latest tactics for the schools.

A prominent part covered strategies for setting up “gay-straight alliance” (GSA) clubs in as many middle schools as possible, given that most high schools now have them.

Getting kids to feel involved — especially middle school students — is a major tactic of the LGBT movement. These buttons were given out at the GLSEN Conference in Boston.

At that conference, there were kids as young as 11 and 12, and that younger age group was clearly the focus of much of the conference.

Middle school student gives speech at LGBT conference opening session

Middle school are such an important target that GLSEN recruited an activist “LGBT” middle school student to address the conference’s opening session. She said she’s bisexual (in middle school!) and that her sister is lesbian.

The girl spoke about how she helped organize the “Day of Silence” in her middle school. She said that one teacher was reluctant to put up the posters because of parent conferences that evening, saying that parents might not be comfortable seeing it. The girl labeled the teacher “ignorant” and said the teacher is “no longer working at the school” (which brought a cheer).

She added that “kids are figuring out who they are younger than ever” (i.e., being persuaded to self-identify as L, G, B, or T) and that “we need to create a safe environment for them in the lower grades.” This was a mantra that was repeated again and again in the conference. (“Safe environment” is the Orwellian term for a school that aggressively enforces pro-“LGBT” sexual ideology and suppresses all dissent.)

Given that middle school students would not have these ideas and talking points on their own, this shows how well the adult activists instruct them.

Helping kids be “safe” at school is the Orwellian term for aggressively enforcing pro-“LGBT” sexual ideology — and more importantly, suppressing all dissent. In particular, it’s used very effectively to confront any criticism by adults, including parents.

The workshop: “Starting a Middle School GSA”

The LGBT movement is getting serious about the lower grades. One of the prominent workshops at the GLSEN conference was “Starting a Middle School GSA.”

At first glance, a “gay” club for middle school students would seem beyond something even most liberals would buy into. But that’s simply another challenge for the movement to overcome. After all, it wasn’t too long ago that ANY “gay” club at all, even in high school, was beyond the pale.

Here is how the conference program listed it:

3.1 Starting a Middle School GSA: A Sustainable, Grassroots Approach
Practical advice and encouragement for students, staff, parents and community members who would like to establish a sustainable GSA in their local middle school.

Presenter(s): Anna Watson, Friends of the Ottoson Middle School [Arlington, MA] GSA

This workshop gave step-by-step instructions by a seasoned activist.

The presenter, Anna Watson, started out by saying that she believes that “coming out” is a “life-saving adventure” and that kids are coming out at younger and younger ages. Thus, they need support groups to help them do that.

She told the workshop attendees that she has been an “LGBTQ” activist and organizer for several years. In particular, she is interested in starting GSA-type groups for young people.

“Queering the ‘Burbs Since 1992.”  Anna Watson gave out this card at the workshop. She is no casual activist, obviously.

She said that in city schools there are lots of GSAs, but it’s different in the suburbs. This is likely because the parents are more attentive to what’s happening in the schools. She used the term “suburban gap” and said that just a few people with a lot of energy can make it happen.

The strategy: Build up incrementally then hit with petition!

Her goal at the Ottoson Middle School in Arlington, Mass., was to put in a GSA with “permanent club” status — with a line item in the school budget for financial support.

At first, the principal was resistant, even though Arlington is a very liberal town.

The homosexual movement has found that a very effective approach for overcoming resistant school officials is using a petition as a pressure tactic, along with other maneuvers.

Watson’s tactic was to do incremental, smaller things to set up an informal GSA and have it become active as much as possible in the school. They would get everything else in place so that there would be no procedural or other excuse not to allow it. Then they would go over the head of the principal and blitz the superintendent with a petition — with as large a force as necessary — to push it over the top with a demand it be given permanent “club” status in the school.

The Petition presented to the Superintendent (and Anna Watson’s timeline of events)

That strategy worked perfectly. Here’s the timeline of events that Watson described:

1. Starting in the fall of 2010, Watson began discussing it with the principal. Since the principal had an interest in anti-bullying, Watson positioned it as an anti-bullying group.
2. Spring 2011: Watson established an “informal” GSA group at the school that met every other week. She submitted a grant to the local “Arlington Education Fund” for funding.
3. Fall 2011: The grant was awarded from the local group. The GSA’s outside activities, including a stipend to the adult staff advisor, were now funded and it started meeting every week.
4. Spring 2012: The GSA began giving out “Human Rights” awards to students at the school. They also attended the GLSEN Conference that year, brought in “educational” groups, and established a “peer leader” program in the school.
5. Fall 2012: They persuaded the principal’s discretionary fund, the PTO, and the Parent Advisory Council to give the GSA funding. They also had volunteers raise money in the community.
6. Fall 2013: The petition was put together and formally presented to the Superintendent, accompanied by a lot of pressure.  The superintendent easily capitulated and granted the GSA permanent club status and a budget item in the school budget. They achieved their goals.

The principal and any other staff who might have been resistant were completely steamrolled. It’s a strategy that can be replicated at other schools where there is any significant resistance.

Other comments at the workshop

Many of the other people at the workshop were experienced GSA activists. Some of their remarks and ideas on starting a GSA were interesting:

  • Some schools have made it easier by having a less overt title, such as calling it an “affinity” group rather than a GSA.
  • One person said, “For school clubs, no permission slips are needed. Thus parents do not know. The same is true for GSAs. You don’t have to let your parents know. There is a sort of goodwill around it.”
  • They always say that GSA’s are about “school safety” and suicide prevention. They also remember to make a point to say that GSAs “are not about sex.”
  • One teacher recommended that the GSA follow the GLSEN “Ally week” program. (See more on that below.)

How to get kids to come to their first GSA meeting? Most middle school kids would not normally think of going to a “gay” club. So the LGBT activists use a variety of tricks and misleading tactics. Once the kids are there, it’s easier to persuade or pressure them to keep coming back.

Here are some of the ideas brought up by activists at the workshop:

  • Announcing a “cheese & food” party.
  • Getting the school football coach to come is a great draw for bringing kids to a GSA meeting.
  • One school put up posters with the message: “You don’t have to be gay to be in the GSA.”

For a larger view click on the flyer.

The LGBT movement will use any tactic they can to lure kids into their “gay” clubs for the first time. GLSEN passed out this information at the Conference.

What is Watson’s next project? Apparently, her next goal is to set up AGLY (“Arlington Gay and Lesbian Youth”) which would probably be a youth/adult “gay” club not connected with the school. There are several of those around the state, supported at least in part by taxpayers.

GSAs: A poisonous experience for vulnerable kids

In our experience going back nearly twenty years working with parents and kids, the GSAs in the schools are emotionally poisonous and physically dangerous to vulnerable kids, many of whom have serious psychological issues to deal with. And GSAs are often run by radical “gay” adults who themselves are psychologically dysfunctional.

GSAs persuade students that homosexuality, transgenderism, etc., is perfectly normal to engage in. They take troubled kids and tell them that if they feel “different” or that they “don’t fit in” then they’re probably really “gay” or “transgender.” This causes enormous trauma down the road. We’ve seen that these kinds of “clubs” lead kids into engaging in perverse sexual activities.

Also in GSAs: Indoctrinating kids in radical “queer theory” as “LGBT allies”

But additionally, a purpose of GSAs is to indoctrinate the kids (including those calling themselves “straight”) in the radical ideas of the LGBT movement, which they term “queer theory.” Most people are not aware just how extreme this is. Then the GSA leaders have the kids spread those ideas to the rest of the school through events like the “Day of Silence”“Gay History Month”, and “Transgender Awareness Day.”

When getting this training, the kids are told that this helps them become “allies” of the LGBTs. The concept of being an “ally” pushed very hard throughout the schools. It becomes another identity for the kids in their fight for so-called social justice.

At the GLSEN Conference, this “training” pamphlet, titled “Ally Packet” was given out. It’s a pretty frightening example of what the LGBT movement teaches children, and what parents know almost nothing about.

“Ally Packet” given out at GLSEN Conference

Here are just a few examples and excerpts from the 8-page pamphlet. THIS is what the LGBT movement is teaching schoolchildren:

What is an Ally?
An ally is a member of the dominant social group who takes a stand against social injustice directed at target group(s) – for example .. . heterosexual individuals who speak out against heterosexism and homophobia. An ally works to be an agenda of social change rather than an agenda of oppression.

Characteristics of an ally
Recognizing that unlearning oppressive beliefs is a lifelong process.

Appropriate Group Terminology
Genderqueer: A term used by individuals, especially transgender youth, who identify as neither male nor female, or as both, and who often seek to blur gender lines.

Appropriate Social Justice Terminology
Gender-Normative Privilege: The benefits and advantages that gender-normative people receive in genderist culture.

Inappropriate Terminology
Homosexual: A clinical term for gay men and sometimes lesbians.
Transvestite: An outdated clinical term for crossdressers.

What are Biphobia, Homophobia, and Transphobia?
Example of Biphobia: Believing that bisexuals are confused or indecisive about their sexuality. Example of Transphobia: Believing that cross-dressing is a sexual perversion or that people who cross-dress do so for sexual gratification.

How to Be an Ally to LGBT People
Validate people’s gender expression. For example, if a person assigned male at birth identifies as female, refer to that person as “she” and use her chosen name.
Educate yourself about LGBT histories, cultures, and concerns.
Support and involve yourself in LGBT organizations and causes.

What is Heterosexual Privilege?
You can belong to the religious denomination of your choice and know that your sexuality will not be denounced by its religious leaders.
You can expect to see people of your sexuality positively presented on nearly every television show and in nearly every movie.

Myths and Realities of LGBT Life
Myth: The majority of child molesters are gay men. Reality: Very few gay men molest children. Myth: Bisexual men are largely responsible for the spread of HIV/AIDS to heterosexual women. Reality: This stereotyping of bisexual men ignores the realities of AIDS. It is unsafe sexual practices and needle-sharing behavior, not membership in a particular group, that spreads HIV.

Lots of help from your tax dollars

In Massachusetts, once these “clubs” are set up, they get substantial organizational and financial help from the state. This will likely become more prevalent in other states.

Among other things, the Mass. State Department of Elementary and Secondary Education maintains a staff to make sure that the GSA clubs across the state are properly organized and that the school is cooperating with them. The Department also provides training for GSA adult leaders.

In addition, the state-funded Mass LGBTQ Youth Commission goes into the schools and works directly with students and pushes LGBT programs statewide.

Just the beginning

The GSAs and the “training” are, unfortunately, just the foundation of what the LGBT movement is doing in the nation’s high schools and now, the middle schools.

In upcoming posts we will reveal more from the 2014 GLSEN Conference. As we’ve said, most people are completely uninformed of what the LGBT movement does with schoolchildren . . . and where this leads beyond the school doors.

National Council on Teacher Quality Gets Caught in a Data Collecting Lie

NCTQ-300x240The National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ) will be “grading” university-level, traditional teacher training programs again soon.

Last year, 2013, they released this report on June 18. They “grade” in a superficial manner, relying upon program artifacts to form skewed judgments– judgments that they publish in US News and World Report and that are meant to damage the credibility of traditional teacher training in favor of the privatization of American public education. Just consider who ends up on their advisory board. (For example, in a profound irony, NCTQ’s board even includes five-weeks-of-training, temporary-teacher organization Teach for America founder Wendy Kopp.)

Georgia State University Professor Emeritus of Science Education Jack Hassard had this to note about reading NCTQ’s “report” on traditional teacher training programs:

When you read the NCTQ report it seems as if teacher prep institutions are the enemy. …All of the data come from paper or online documents. None involved interviews or discussions with people at the teacher prep institutions. As hard as this is believe, it is the pattern that the NCTQ has followed since it was formed by the Thomas Fordham Institute. [Emphasis added.]

Passing maligned judgment is what NCTQ does. And because their reporting is done with much fanfare and is backed by reformer cash (Gates alone has paid NCTQ $11 million since 2005), the public views NCTQ as a credible source for information on teacher education.

NCTQ is the creation of the Fordham Institute, a pro-privatization organization that is pushing hard for the Common Core State Standards (CCSS), having itself taken over $6 million from Gates, $2 million of which is earmarked for the CCSS push. Fordham Institute’s VP Mike Petrilli is even willing to tell states with comparable or better standards that they should retain CCSS.

Back to NCTQ’s shallow “reviews” of teacher training:

The beauty of NCTQ’s grading teacher training programs based upon artifacts (as opposed to on-site observations and in-person, open communication with the evaluated programs) is that NCTQ is still able to complete its “evaluations” even when programs do not wish to participate.

As far as non-accredited, self-appointed traditional-teacher-training policeman NCTQ is concerned, programs are not allowed to refuse the NCTQ intrusion.

NCTQ insists upon gathering teacher training program artifacts, and it will resort to deceptive tactics to get those artifacts.

Consider this email sent to a Fordham University teacher education professor even today (May 23, 2014). The entire account was forwarded to me by Fordham University Associate Professor John Craven. (Note: Fordham University is not affiliated with the Fordham Institute):

Dear Professor **,

I was informed you would be able to assist me.  My daughter is currently looking at different grad programs.  Being a teacher myself, I have a question about the student teaching aspect of the program.  I was on the school website and couldn’t find how many formal observations are conducted by the university supervisor during the student teaching semester.  Could you please elaborate on this?

Thank you.

Emilie Baker [Emphasis added.]

An odd email: A teacher “parent” writing on behalf of a college-age “student” and singling out the number of formal observations??

The Fordham professor to whom this email was addressed wrote the following to Craven and others:

I’m pretty sure this would be an attempt to get information from us for NCTQ (or similar) purposes.  Have any of you received something similar?

Teacher training faculty are apparently alert to NCTQ’s tactics.

Craven responded to “Emilie Baker” on behalf of the initial Fordham faculty member:

Dear Ms. Baker,

As coordinator, I’ve been forwarded a request you recently made regarding our program.  Firstly, let me thank you for your interest in our programs at Fordham.  Secondly, I understand you are seeking to better understand our clinically rich programs (funded by NYSED) and scholarship opportunities for initial certification.  It would be my pleasure to mail you a copy of our scholarship program, student handbook, and requirements for field experiences.  Following internal policies, I need to send hard copies of these materials  to interested prospects and potential applicants.  Accordingly, can you please indicate where you would like these materials sent?  I’ll have my graduate assistant send out the information immediately upon our response to this email.  Again, thank you for your interest in the programs at Fordham.


“Emilie Baker” offers the following response– including an address:

Great, thanks so much!  I’d like it all sent to the following address:

Andrew McCorry 

1823 W. Henderson St, #3

Chicago, IL 60657

Well, now. Who is Andrew McCorry in Chicago?

Craven investigated and uncovered the following Linkedin bio:

Andrew McCorryAndrew McCorry
Research Analyst at National Council on Teacher Quality

Greater Chicago Area 
Nonprofit Organization Management

Uh oh. Looks like NCTQ has been found out.

As for “Emilie Baker”: No information that clearly connects her to NCTQ is available. However, NCTQ is known for hiring students to collect teacher training program artifacts (as noted in these Central Washington University October 2011 meeting minutes).

In his review of the 2013 NCTQ “report,” Hassard notes the unorthodox “student solicitation” role:

…I’ve never read a study in which researchers demanded cooperation from the research participants. The NCTQ policy is very clear. If you don’t give us what we want we’ll use legal means to get it. They also “reached out” to a few students to supply materials that were requested from the administration.

The so-called NCTQ researchers not only resort to coercive strategies to get data (syllabi, curriculum, etc.), but you get the feeling that they snoop around universities, trying to find what texts are used by bookstore shopping.

The NCTQ “snooping” apparently incorporates direct-yet-deceptive solicitation of information from university departments of education.

NCTQ should really better “train” its information gatherers in their would-be-deceptive practices.

Otherwise, they might reveal more information about NCTQ than they manage to gather– and that NCTQ “research analyst” Andrew McCorry might prefer.


The 2008 Common Core Sales Job: Part Two
Duncan Flunks the “State led” Test with His Indiana NCLB Waiver Warning
College Dropout Bill Gates, Who Spends Millions on Harvard, Gets Honorary Doctorate
Arne Duncan’s “Principal Ambassadors”: Federally Monitored “Local Control”??

It All Depends on Who You Know

A May 20, 2014 report by the Reuters news agency tells us that Credit Suisse, Switzerland’s second largest bank, has been fined $2.5 billion by U.S. regulators.  The bank was charged with helping wealthy Americans conceal major cash assets, making it possible for them to evade U.S.  federal and state income taxes.

In a related story, the Associated Press reports that, “The case is part of an Obama administration crackdown on offshore banks believed to be helping U.S. clients hide assets.  Justice Department officials said their investigations into secret bank accounts held by Americans in Switzerland and other countries likely will bring forth additional resolutions.”

The prosecution of Credit Suisse came after prolonged criticism that the Obama administration has not been aggressive enough in its pursuit of wrongdoing in the banking industry.  According to the AP, “A report from the Senate subcommittee that investigated Credit Suisse accused (Eric Holder’s) Justice Department of (surprise, surprise) lax enforcement and faulted the government for gleaning only 238 names of U.S. citizens with secret accounts at Credit Suisse, or just 1 percent of the estimated total.”  The Senate subcommittee was able to find more than 22,000 U.S. clients with Credit Suisse accounts totaling some $10-12 billion.

The subcommittee report charged that Credit Suisse had sent bankers to recruit American clients at golf tournaments and other events.  They encouraged potential clients to travel to Switzerland where they were assisted in hiding assets.  The report disclosed that, in one instance, a Credit Suisse banker passed bank statements to a U.S. client hidden in the pages of a Sports Illustrated magazine during a breakfast meeting.  In some instances, Credit Suisse bankers helped wealthy U.S. depositors withdraw funds from their Swiss accounts by either providing hand-delivered cash in the United States, or through Credit Suisse bank accounts in the U.S.

The $2.5 billion fine will be divided between the U.S. Department of Justice, the Internal Revenue Service, the Federal Reserve, and the New York State Department of Financial Services.  Just under $200 million has already been paid to the Securities and Exchange Commission.  In order to appease investors, the bank will begin paying out roughly half its profits to shareholders until its profitability reaches a pre-established price/earnings ratio.

However, the Credit Suisse settlement calls into question a 2009 “deferred prosecution agreement” between the U.S. Department of Justice and Switzerland’s largest bank, the Union Bank of Switzerland (UBS).  In 2009, following a lengthy investigation by the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, UBS agreed to pay just $780 million in fines and to turn over the names of thousands of customers suspected of evading U.S. taxes.

So why the disparity in fines between the two largest Swiss banks, UBS and Credit Suisse?

In July 2008, Barack Obama boasted of a contributor base totaling some 1.5 million people, with one-fourth of his $265 million coming from those contributing $2,000, or more.  However, by October 2008, just five months later and just days before the General Election, the campaign reported that their contributor base has grown from 1.5 million to 2.5 million, and that the total amount raised approached $600 million.  So who were all those people, and where did all that money come from?

In a July 25, 2008, column we pointed out that UBS Americas, headed by Robert Wolf… along with George Soros, one of Obama’s top two money men… had been accused of highly unethical and illegal banking practices in six months of hearings by the Senate subcommittee.  According to an article in The Nation, UBS Americas had advised wealthy Americans, including many of our worst villains, how to shelter funds from the IRS, as well as from prosecutors, creditors, disgruntled business associates, family members, and each other.

In a Statement of Fact in the criminal trial of former UBS executive Bradley Birkenfeld, it was learned that UBS took extraordinary steps to help American clients manage their Swiss accounts without alerting federal authorities.   For example, UBS advised American clients to avoid detection by using Swiss credit cards to withdraw funds, to destroy all existing off-shore banking records, and to misrepresent the receipt of funds from their Swiss accounts as loans from the Swiss bank.  According to The Nation, UBS established an elaborate training program which taught bank employees how to avoid surveillance by U.S. authorities, how to falsify visas, how to encrypt communications, and how to secretly move money into and out of the country… ”

It was the perfect instrument for funneling illegal campaign contributions into the coffers of an unscrupulous American politician.  Putting two and two together, I suggested that a very wealthy individual, such as George Soros, wishing to influence the outcome of an American presidential election, could transfer unlimited sums of money through this device.  A U.S. recipient, such as the Obama campaign, could receive tens of thousands of individual contributions via Swiss credit card transfers, with the identities of bogus contributors “borrowed” from their extensive list of $10 and $20 U.S. contributors and entered onto FEC reports by teams of paid staffers working in a “boiler room” setting.  The owners of the Swiss accounts would receive periodic statements indicating debits of varying amounts, up to $2,300 each, and offsetting credits funded by the wealthy, but unnamed, “international financier.”

For most of the super wealthy, especially those attempting to hide income and assets from U.S. authorities, an unexplained debit and credit of $2,300, or less, would not even raise an eyebrow.  It would look to the depositor as if the bank had made a debit error which had been immediately corrected with a credit of like amount.  However, in this instance, the Swiss bank account would actually have been debited, money transferred to the U.S. recipient, and funds replaced by person or persons unknown.  The scheme would represent money-laundering of the first order.  So who would ever know the source of such contributions?  No one.

In response to my July 25 column, and at my suggestion, Newsmax sent a team of researchers to the Federal Election Commission to take a closer look at Obama’s FEC reports.  In a follow-up October 20 article by Kenneth Timmerman, Newsmax provided details from FEC records that gave substantial weight to my theory.  In studying Obama’s FEC filings, Newsmax found more than 2,000 donors who had given substantially more than their $4,600 limit ($2,300 in the primaries and $2,300 in the General Election).

But these were relatively minor infractions compared to 66,383 highly suspicious contributions that were, oddly enough, not rounded to even dollar amounts.  For example, Newsmax reported that John Atkinson, an insurance agent in Burr Ridge, Illinois, gave a total of $8,724.26, more than double his legal limit.  He gave in odd amounts such as $188.67, $1,542.06, $876.09, $388.67, $282.20, $195.66, $118.15, and one of $2,300.  A self-employed caregiver from Los Angeles made 36 separate contributions totaling $7,051.12, of which thirteen were later refunded.  However, in an odd coincidence, those 13 refunds, in amounts such as $233.88 and $201.44, came to an even $2,300, the maximum amount allowable in any one election.

One contributor interviewed by Newsmax, Ronald J. Sharpe, Jr., a retired schoolteacher from Rockledge, Florida, was reported to have given $13,800… $9,200 over his limit.  However, when interviewed by Newsmax, Mr. Sharpe did not remember giving that much money to Obama, nor had anyone from the Obama campaign ever contacted him about a refund.

Lest anyone suggest that those 66,383 donors either emptied their piggy banks or emptied their pockets and purses periodically and just sent it all to Obama, pennies and all, I think it is far more reasonable to assume that those contributions were the proceeds of foreign currency conversions, smuggled into the country in foreign credit card transactions, converted to U.S. dollars, and deposited in Obama’s campaign coffers.  Of course, when your money is coming in large chunks from illegal offshore accounts and laundered though a Swiss bank in Zurich, it takes a bit of creativity to put authentic-sounding names on all of it for the quarterly FEC reports.  But the Obama campaign had a huge source of such data: the names, addresses, and occupations of tens of thousands of $10 and $20 U.S. Kool-Ade drinkers.

According to Newsmax, the Obama campaign finance reports contained some 370,500 unique names… a far cry from the 2.5 million contributors claimed by the campaign.  Of course, a great many of those 2.5 million contributors were illegal Muslim “conduits” who were given money by their local imams with the understanding that they would use it to help elect Obama… a crime for which Eric Holder is now prosecuting a major Obama critic, author Dinesh D’Souza. The principal difference being that, instead of creating tens of thousands of illegal conduits, as the Muslim clerics clearly did, D’Souza reimbursed only three people in a New York senate race.

So what happened to Robert Wolf, Obama’s most important friend in the international banking industry?  Was he fired, tried and imprisoned?  No, Wolf was named to UBS’s Group Executive Board and promoted to President and COO of the UBS Investment Bank.  From 2009-11, Wolf served on Obama’s Homeland Security Advisory Council, in 2011 he became a member of Obama’s Council on Jobs & Competitiveness, and in 2012 he was appointed to the President’s Export Council.

In response to the Credit Suisse prosecution, Attorney General Eric Holder has said that no bank  is immune from criminal prosecution.  But it’s clear that in his world, and in Obama’s world, the severity of punishment depends very much on who you are and who you know.

EDITORS NOTE: The featured photo is courtesy of  Reuters/Ruben Sprich.

Democracy Inaction: Who would be a politician?

Who would be a politician?  It’s a serious question.  At the best of times politicians face an unpleasant set of challenges.  They work ungainly hours.  They have to live under permanent public and media scrutiny.  And they have to smile and nod while members of the public address stupid remarks to them.  In Britain, even the manner in which a party leader might eat a bacon sandwich has opened up as a potential avenue for criticism.

But if the lot of politicians has always looked poor, the situation has just got a whole lot worse.  Because having lived through an age of comparative political indifference, we now seem to have entered an era of anti-politics.  Across Europe people are casting their votes, and an increasing number of votes seem to be going to anti-politics politicians.  This leads to several conundrums, not least: what does an anti-politics candidate do once they become a politician themselves?

But the bigger question is for the political mainstream.  Because it is no good for mainstream politicians to condemn the public for not voting for them, or to say that the public are voting for the wrong people for the wrong reasons.  In recent years the whole relationship between politicians and the public has suffered a number of terrible blows.  Some, like the British Parliamentary expenses scandal, are specific.  Others, are the result of too much being promised and too little being delivered.  But whatever the cause, an increasing number of people are showing themselves willing to vote for absolutely anyone, so long as they promise to be opposed to the mainstream political class which they rightly or wrongly deem to hold sway.

Of course relationship breakdowns of this kind cannot be rectified overnight.  But this one is too important to leave broken.  One way to start mending it is for politicians to be far more honest about what they can and cannot achieve.  From Barack Obama and other Western leaders, the world can hear many lofty speeches.  It is sometimes even possible for a moment to be carried aloft on their words.  But then, when it turns out that the new Jerusalem hasn’t just been ushered in, the elected politician may hope that nobody has noticed, but we do notice.  And remember.

In this age of globalization it is especially necessary to say what is simply not in our control.  This may be a humbling process, but it may prove more and more necessary.  Politicians could improve their lot significantly if they were more frank about the world that we live in.  It is a world where a mortgage financing problem in America can trigger a worldwide recession and where a law may have been passed in Brussels without ever having come before any politician in Westminster.  It may sound like a risky strategy, but it is a vital one.  Anti-politics comes from a sense that politicians are lying to the people.  One solution for that problem is for politicians to tell more truths to the public: especially difficult truths.  And among the unpalatable truths they may venture to say is, ‘You know what, we’re not always in charge.’  At the very least it might return politics to being what it is meant to be – a masterclass not in the politics of fantasy, but in the art of the possible.