Eye on the World - Church of God, Big Sandy, Texas

Eye on the World
Jan. 31, 2015
This compilation of material for “Eye on the World” is presented as a service
to the Churches of God. The views stated in the material are those of the
writers or sources quoted by the writers and do not necessarily reflect the
views of the members of the Church of God Big Sandy. The following articles
were posted at churchofgodbigsandy.com for the weekend of Jan. 31, 2015.
Compiled by Dave Havir
Luke 21:34-36—“But take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts be weighed
down with carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that day come
on you unexpectedly. For it will come as a snare on all those who dwell on
the face of the whole earth. Watch therefore, and pray always that you may
be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to
stand before the Son of Man.”
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An article by Kevin Sullivan titled “New Saudi King Ascends to the Throne as
Terrorism Threat Grows” was posted at washingtonpost.com on Jan. 25,
2015. Following are excerpts of the article.
At 3 a.m. on a cold desert night earlier this month, four Islamic State militants
carrying guns, grenades and cash slipped into Saudi Arabia here through a
hole in the new heavy fencing that separates this country from Iraq.
They were immediately spotted by Saudi border guards in a state-of-the-art
control room 35 miles away, appearing first as blips on radar, then as ghostly
white figures on night-vision cameras scanning the desolate desert landscape.
Heavily armed troops were dispatched to confront them. When the battle
ended, the four intruders—all Saudi citizens—and three Saudi soldiers were
dead, including the local base commander, who was killed when a militant
pretending to surrender detonated a suicide vest.
“Thanks to God and our new systems, we are ready for whatever they try,”
said the new commander, Ali Mohammed Assiri, whose troops have now been
issued orders to shoot on sight anyone breaching the border. “If you are not
willing to defend the country, you don’t deserve to live in it.”
Except for Syria and Iraq, where the Islamic State controls territory, no country is more directly threatened by Islamist militants than Saudi Arabia, which
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the extremists regard as a traitor to Islam for Riyadh’s close associations with
the United States and the West.
President Obama will visit Saudi Arabia Tuesday and meet its new King
Salman, ending his planned three-day trip to India early.
No king of Saudi Arabia has ascended the throne amid more regional turmoil
than King Salman, who was crowned Friday [Jan. 23] upon the death of his
brother King Abdullah.
With war raging in Syria and tensions with Iran increasing, Saudi Arabia is
threatened by a disintegration of the national government in Yemen across
its southern border and by the Islamic State militants who are dominating the
Iraqi desert just over its northern border.
Salman indirectly mentioned the threat of rising violence and regional instability
on Friday [Jan. 23] in his first speech to the Saudi people, saying that “the Arab
and Islamic nation is in dire need today to be united and maintain solidarity.”
Militants have staged four attacks inside the kingdom in the past six months,
resulting in the deaths of eight civilians, 11 police or border guards and 13
militants, according to Saudi officials.
As in the recent attacks in Paris on the Charlie Hebdo satirical newspaper and
a kosher supermarket, most of the Saudi attacks have been carried out by
homegrown radicals influenced or trained by the Islamic State, al-Qaeda or
other extremist groups. Saudi authorities said that they have arrested 293 people in connection with the incidents and that 260 of them are Saudi nationals.
Saudi officials are anticipating more attacks, either by some of the 2,200 or
so Saudi citizens they say have gone to fight with the Islamic State in Syria
or Iraq, or by others who infiltrate Saudi Arabia’s borders, especially the
nearly 600-mile frontier with Iraq, which runs mainly through empty desert.
“They are targeting Saudi Arabia, and they want to have a very big terrorist act
in this country,” said Gen. Mansour al-Turki, spokesman for the Interior Ministry.
The Saudi government has responded by sharply beefing up border security
and by creating new laws that give the government broad power to arrest
anyone who joins, or even praises, the radical groups—which has led to complaints from human rights groups that the laws are being unfairly used
against activists who merely criticize the government.
Officials have also made it illegal for imams in the country’s 85,000 mosques
to give sermons sympathizing with religious extremists. The Ministry of Islamic
Affairs has launched the al-Sakinah Campaign for Dialogue, an anti-radicalization program that includes a Web site offering anonymous counseling.
“We are also educating the imams to tell people that what ISIS is saying is
against Islam,” said Tawfeeq al-Sediry, Saudi Arabia’s deputy minister of
Islamic affairs. “They represent violence. We represent the real Islam.”
Eye on the World • Jan. 31, 2015 / 3 of 12
Saudi officials said they have also tightened controls on charities suspected
of channeling money to radicals. Wealthy Saudi individuals are widely believed to be a significant source of funding for the Islamic State and al-Qaeda.
Critics point to that funding as evidence that many Saudis quietly support the
Islamic State, seeing it as a Sunni Muslim force fighting to protect other
Sunnis, especially in Syria and Iraq, where Shiite Muslims control the government with the support of Saudi Arabia’s chief rival, Iran.
“In the Middle East, it’s nothing new: You create your own terrorists, then
pretend you are fighting them,” said Ali al-Ahmed, a Saudi activist who runs
the Institute for Gulf Affairs in Washington. “The Saudis didn’t even invent it,
but they’re good at it.”
Ahmed said the Saudi government is “playing both sides” to give “the appearance that they are the good guys.”
“They get a lot of political traction out of it,” Ahmed said. “To the Americans,
they are the guardians of safety, and no matter how horrible they are on
human rights, the way they treat women and all that, they are the ones who
are keeping things under control. Really, they are very clever.”
Awadh al-Badi, a researcher and scholar at the King Faisal Center for Research
and Islamic Studies in Riyadh, rejects those assertions. He says the Islamic
State is offering arguments that attract some idealistic young Muslims.
Islamic State leaders say they want to establish a vast Islamic caliphate or
“khalifa,” including taking control of the holy cities of Mecca and Medina,
which are in Saudi Arabia.
“For many young people, the idea of khalifa is the idea of the great Islam,”
Badi said. “The idea itself is attractive to many people who aspire to see a
return of Islamic dignity and influence.”
The most visible sign of Saudi Arabia’s response to the rising militant threat
is the extensive new system of fences, ditches, razor wire and berms along
the border with Iraq, which stretches from the border with Kuwait in the east
to Jordan in the west.
King Abdullah inaugurated the barrier system in September after six years of construction on the project, which was initially conceived as a defense against the
sectarian chaos in Iraq but is now primarily a defense against the Islamic State.
Saudi officials have also embarked on a multiyear project to similarly fortify all
the thousands of miles of land borders, with Jordan, Qatar, the United Arab
Emirates, Oman and especially Yemen—where the government was recently toppled by rebels aligned with Iran, Saudi Arabia’s main rival for power in the region.
Sometimes jokingly referred to as the “Great Wall,” the Iraq border defense system involves two high fences topped with concertina wire, backed by deep ditches and tall sand berms designed to make it impossible for any vehicle to cross.
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The physical barriers are reinforced by technological ones, with 40 radar towers, each 125 feet high, that constantly sweep a radius of nearly 25 miles
looking for any movement. Each tower is fitted with two cameras—one for
daytime, one for night—that can zoom in on objects up to 12 miles away.
At the border’s main control room, at the border guard base in Arar, a town
of about 100,000 people in the empty desert nearly 600 miles northwest of
Riyadh, operators sit at computer monitors watching 24 hours a day.
When radar spots something moving in a suspicious place, the operators use
a mouse to swivel the camera in its direction. Most of the time it’s nothing
dangerous—a camel or a shepherd’s dog—but in the pre-dawn hours of Jan.
5, it was four heavily armed militants.
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An article by Adam Kredo titled “Saudi Arabia’s New King Helped Fund Radical
Terrorist Groups” was posted at freebeacon.com on Jan. 26, 2015. Following
is the article.
King Salman, Saudi Arabia’s newly crowned monarch, has a controversial history of helping to fund radical terror groups and has maintained ties with several anti-Semitic Muslim clerics known for advocating radical positions,
according to reports and regional experts.
Salman, previously the country’s defense minister and deputy prime minister, was crowned king last week after his half-brother King Abdullah died at
the age of 90.
While Abdullah served as a close U.S. ally and was considered a reformer by
many, Saudi Arabia has long been criticized by human rights activists for its
treatment of women and its enforcement of a strict interpretation of Islamic law.
President Barack Obama is scheduled to travel to the Saudi capital of Riyadh
on Tuesday to pay respects to Abdullah and meet with Salman, who also has
been seen as a moderate friend of the United States.
However, throughout his public career in government, Salman has embraced
radical Muslim clerics and has been tied to the funding of radical groups in
Afghanistan, as well as an organization found to be plotting attacks against
America, according to various reports and information provided by David
Weinberg, a senior fellow at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies.
In 2001, an international raid of the Saudi High Commission for Aid to Bosnia,
which Salman founded in 1993, unearthed evidence of terrorist plots against
America, according to separate exposés written by Dore Gold, an Israeli
diplomat, and Robert Baer, a former CIA officer.
Salman is further accused by Baer of having “personally approved all important appointments and spending” at the International Islamic Relief Organi-
Eye on the World • Jan. 31, 2015 / 5 of 12
zation (IIRO), a controversial Saudi charity that was hit with sanctions following the attacks of September 11, 2001, for purportedly providing material support to al Qaeda.
Salman also has been reported to be responsible for sending millions of dollars to the radical mujahedeen that waged jihad in Afghanistan in the 1980s,
according to Bruce Riedel, a former CIA officer who is now director of the
Brookings Intelligence Project.
“In the early years of the war—before the U.S. and the Kingdom ramped up
their secret financial support for the anti-Soviet insurgency—this private
Saudi funding was critical to the war effort,” according to Riedel. “At its peak,
Salman was providing $25 million a month to the mujahedeen. He was also
active in raising money for the Bosnian Muslims in the war with Serbia.”
Salman also has embraced radical Saudi clerics known for their hateful rhetoric against Israel and Jews.
Salman has worked closely with Saleh al-Moghamsy, who tweeted in August
2014 that “Allah only gathered Jews in the land of Palestine to destroy them.”
Al-Moghamsy also stated in a 2014 television interview that “the hatred of Jews
toward Muslims is an eternal hatred.” He also claimed in 2012 that Osama bin
Laden had died with more “sanctity and honor” than any infidel, or non-Muslim.
Despite this rhetoric, Salman has maintained close ties to al-Moghamsy.
Salman chairs the board of an organization run by al-Moghamsy and has
sponsored the cleric’s public events, including a 2013 festival. Salman and alMoghamsy were pictured many times together at that event, according to
regional reports.
Al-Moghamsy also has been an adviser to two of Salman’s sons, one of whom
posed for a selfie with the cleric in July.
Salman also has reached out to other hardline preachers, including Safar
Hawali, a one-time mentor of Osama bin Laden who has called for nonMuslims to be expelled from Saudi Arabia.
In 2005, Salman called Hawali to inquire about his health and in 2010 praised
him upon the release of a book.
While crown prince, Salman also made a point of phoning Aidh Abdullah alQarni, a Saudi author currently on the U.S. Terrorist Screening Center’s No Fly
List who has praised Hamas and called Israelis “the brothers of apes and pigs.”
Additionally, Salman, in his role as crown prince, has recently visited Saudi
Arabia’s grand mufti, the nation’s highest religious authority, who has asserted that 10 is an appropriate age of marriage for girls and called for the
destruction of all churches in the Arabian Peninsula.
Weinberg, who has been tracking Salman closely, said that the new monarch
is taking up his predecessor’s mantle of moderate reform.
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“Just like King Abdullah tried to present himself as a reformer, some are trying to suggest that the new king, Salman, is a moderate who will continue his
half-brother’s so-called progressive policies,” Weinberg said. “But just look at
where Saudi Arabia is after Abdullah: people are being decapitated and
flogged by the state in the streets.”
“Women are systematically oppressed by their own government, and the
regime continues to propagate incitement and intolerance,” he continued.
“Salman’s background funding mujahedeen abroad and embracing hateful
clerics suggests that he is at best a political opportunist who will tolerate continued religious extremism, even if he does not hold such views himself.”
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An editorial by Burt Prelutsky titled “A Cornucopia of Facts & Notions” was posted at bernardgoldberg.com on Jan. 8, 2015. Following are excerpts of the article.
In the wake of so many people trekking off to see The Interview in the belief that
they’re simultaneously striking a blow for freedom of speech and spitting in North
Korea’s eye, it occurred to me that when it comes to stiffing the First Amendment,
Kim Jong-un can’t hold a candle to the folks who run the NY Times, NBC, ABC
and CBS. North Korea, after all, was just trying to save us from seeing an adolescent comedy and probably anticipated the thanks of a grateful nation.
But it’s these American news corporations that continue to ignore the various
scandals connected to Barack Obama. Even when they deign to report on
one—usually because Fox and America’s bloggers finally force the issue—
these liberal enablers persist in putting the best possible face on it.
In the final analysis, North Korea doesn’t owe us a damn thing. But those who
wrap themselves in the First Amendment when it comes to disseminating the
Pentagon Papers or Edward Snowden’s stolen Intel owe us the unvarnished
truth. That’s an IOU that’s been marked “Unpaid” for the past 40 years, at
least when Carter, Clinton and Obama were ensconced in the White House.
Watching what passes for demonstrations in America—whether it was the
unwashed Occupy Wall Street mob or the thugs and their enablers calling for
open season on cops—one could reasonably conclude that “demonstrators” is
merely a polite synonym for vandals, vagrants and thieves. And so I did, until
reading an article sent to me by a longtime reader, Sam Marx.
The article was about a book, Resistance of the Heart: Intermarriage and the
Rosenstrasse Protest in Nazi Germany, by Nathan Stoltzfus.
It seems that in Berlin in 1943, in what was to be the final round-up of Jews, hundreds of German gentile women held a vigil in front of the community center
where their Jewish husbands were being held prior to being sent off in cattle cars.
Eye on the World • Jan. 31, 2015 / 7 of 12
For a week, the women stood freezing in the street. When Propaganda Minister Goebbels finally had machine guns mounted in front of the building and
threatened to open fire, instead of dispersing, they held their ground and
began chanting: “Murderer, murderer, murderer . . .”
By that time, their ranks were expanded by other German women, who probably didn’t like Jews but were opposed to tearing apart families, which might suggest they were okay with entire Jewish families being transported to concentration camps but opposed the idea of husbands and wives being separated. By this
time, with so many of their own husbands and sons lying dead in the snow at
Stalingrad, they knew a little something about being separated from loved ones.
Rather than risk a public relations nightmare, Goebbels caved and released
1,700 Jewish men, and then went on to insist that Berlin was now free of Jews.
So, as with so many other things in life, there are demonstrations and then
there are demonstrations.
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An editorial by Burt Prelutsky titled “Guilt by Association” was posted at
bernardgoldberg.com on Jan. 10, 2015. Following are excerpts of the article.
Liberals are contemptuous of those who believe that associating with bad
apples might be an indicator that you yourself are rotten to the core. In fact,
if you dared point out that Robert Byrd, who wound up serving 51 years in
the U.S. Senate and not only became the Senate majority leader, but the
president pro tempore—placing him third in line of presidential succession—
had jump-started his political career by forming a chapter of the Ku Klux Klan
in Sophia, W.Va., they’d accuse you of McCarthyism.
Joe McCarthy, for the youngsters in the audience, was a junior senator from
Wisconsin. He was a drunk and a boor, but that’s not why his name has come
to be equated by liberals with the very worst elements in American politics.
After all, Lyndon Johnson was a bigger drunk and a bigger bully, and if you
look up “boor” in the dictionary you’ll find his picture. In spite of that, LBJ is
hailed as a shining star and a champion of civil rights by Democrats.
McCarthy’s sin is that he dared to point out that communists had infiltrated
the federal government under FDR and had remained steadfastly loyal to the
Soviet Union under Harry Truman and, ultimately, under Dwight Eisenhower.
What liberals most detested about McCarthy isn’t that some of those he mistook for traitors were merely muddleheaded pacifists—the sort of boneheads
who thought it was a swell idea for America to share our atomic secrets with
the Soviet Union so that Joseph Stalin didn’t have to have American turncoats
steal them for Mother Russia—but that so many of those in the State
Department, people like Alger Hiss, whom McCarthy claimed were communist
agents actually happened to be communist agents.
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Getting back to Sen. Byrd, in 1946 he wrote to segregationist Sen. Theodore
Bilbo (D-Miss.) to say: “I shall never fight in the armed forces with a negro by
my side. Rather I should die a thousand times, and see Old Glory trampled in
the dirt never to rise again, than to see this beloved land of ours become
degraded by race mongrels, a throwback to the blackest specimen from the
wilds.” Is it any wonder that he rose to the KKK rank of Grand Cyclops?
But that didn’t prevent his Senate colleagues from granting him their greatest honors.
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An editorial by Burt Prelutsky titled “I Hereby Resolve in 2015 . . .” was posted
at bernardgoldberg.com on Jan. 13, 2015. Following are excerpts of the article.
I’m not big on making New Year’s resolutions, but I do pledge to continue
holding the feet of liberals to the flames until they pull this computer keyboard out of my cold, dead hands.
Although I know it’s too much to ask that left-wingers stop providing me with
so much grist for my mill, I would appreciate it if they would at least slow down
the rate at which they commit their mischief. I’m not getting any younger, after
all, and I would appreciate a chance to occasionally catch my breath.
For instance, Obama made it a point before the midterm elections to remind
us that, although he wasn’t on the ballot, all of his policies were. So his policies led to across-the-board losses for Democrats, costing them the Senate
and a dozen more seats in the House, and somehow Obama took that as a
mandate to do more of the same.
Speaking of Obama, after I recently stated that those who insist that respect
must be paid to the office of the presidency sound infantile to me, I heard
from a few people who took me to task. To them I responded: “Here’s the
deal—I’ll respect the office of the president, but only if and when Barack
Obama belatedly shows me that he does.”
For years I fully expected, but dreaded, that some European nationalist would
rise up and ride to political power by using the Muslims the way that Hitler used
the Jews. It’s not that I wouldn’t sympathize with their anti-Islamic feelings,
but because one always has reason to fear a European nationalist. Whether his
name is Napoleon, Bismarck, Lenin, Stalin, Hitler, Mussolini or Putin, a great
deal of innocent blood is always certain to be spilled along the way.
In any case, this is to report that in Dresden, Germany, 17,000 people recently took part in an anti-Muslim demonstration that was organized by a
group calling itself PEGIDA, which translates as Patriotic Europeans against
the Islamization of the West.
Eye on the World • Jan. 31, 2015 / 9 of 12
It was a welcome change from the demonstrations Muslims seem to stage
every week or so, expressing their displeasure with the host countries that
clothe, house and feed these Islamic ingrates. For one thing, this demonstration was peaceful. For another, it was justified.
For many years, I have balked at the notion that there are good Muslims as
well as bad ones. The good ones, I’m told, are those who would never slit the
throat of an infidel. So far as I can tell, those are the ones who simply cheer
on those who do the actual slitting.
Shortly after 9/11, I suggested that if American Muslims wished to show their
good faith, they would pass the hat at their mosques and raise reward money
for Osama bin Laden, dead or alive. Instead, they not only continued funding
Middle East terrorism until the FBI shut them down, and—rather than mourn
the slaughter of 3,000 innocent Americans—they spent most of their waking
hours whining about being racially profiled.
Because far too many of us in America have been cowed into accepting the
lie that every culture is superior to our own and that Islam is every bit as
peaceful and life-confirming as Christianity and Judaism, nobody is supposed
to question the morality of those who continue worshiping Allah in spite of
the fact it is the most bloodthirsty cult the world has ever known.
My question is why in a world that offers worshipers not only Christianity and
Judaism but Hinduism, Shintoism and Buddhism would any decent human
being cling to Islam, which was born and bred in savagery 14 centuries ago?
After all, why is it perfectly rational for people to abandon the nation of their
birth to seek a better, safer, more productive life somewhere else in the
world, but it’s insulting to suggest they abandon the religion into which they
were unfortunately born for equally sensible reasons?
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An editorial by Thomas Sowell titled “Random Thoughts” was posted at jewishworldreview.com on Jan. 27, 2015. Following is the article.
Random thoughts on the passing scene:
Who says President Obama doesn’t promote bipartisanship? His complicity in Iran’s moving toward nuclear bombs has alarmed some top Senate
Democrats enough to get them to join Republicans in opposition to the
Obama administration’s potentially suicidal foreign policy.
Before the current measles outbreak, measles was once almost wiped out in
the United States. But an article in a medical journal more than a decade ago
had many parents afraid to have their children vaccinated, for fear that the vaccine causes autism. After scientific studies refuted that claim, the medical journal repudiated the article, and the doctor who wrote it had his license revoked.
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If not a single policeman killed a single black individual anywhere in the
United States for this entire year, that would not reduce the number of black
homicide victims by one percent. When the mobs of protesters declare “Black
lives matter,” does that mean all black lives matter or only the less than one
percent of black lives lost in conflicts with police?
In politics, never assume that because something is insane it will not be
done. The Holocaust was as insane as it was a moral horror. But it was done.
Even after the tide of war turned against Germany and it faced invasion and
devastation, Hitler continued to pour scarce resources into the mass killing of
people who were no threat.
When someone tries to lay a guilt trip on you for being successful, remember that your guilt is some politician’s license to take what you worked for
and give it to someone else who is more likely to vote for the politician who
plays Santa Claus with your money.
So long as public schools are treated as places that exist to provide guaranteed jobs to members of the teachers’ unions, do not be surprised to see
American students continuing to score lower on international tests than students in countries that spend a lot less per pupil than we do.
Would you go to a funeral if you knew that your presence would be unwelcome and would just add to the pain of the mourners? Probably not. But New
York’s mayor Bill de Blasio went to both funerals for the two New York City
policemen recently murdered—and gave speeches. That epitomized what a
truly despicable human being he is, even by the low standards of politicians.
Demographic “diversity” is a notion often defended with fervor but seldom
with facts.
Few things are more irritating, or more phony, than statements from various
organizations about their “privacy policy.” What that really means is their invasion
of privacy policies—how much information about you that your bank, hospital or
Internet service is going to pass on to other people without your permission.
Somewhere Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes says that the purpose of an education should be to produce a mind that cannot be humbugged. But today our
educational system, from kindergarten to the universities, is engaged in the
mass production of fashionable humbug—propaganda rather than education.
Some people see discrimination when schools punish black students more
often than white students. But schools punish white students more often than
Asian students. Lenders turn down black applicants for loans more often than
white applicants—but they turn down whites more often than Asians. Most statistics on such things omit Asians rather than spoil a politically correct story.
President Obama may have gained something politically or ideologically by
recognizing Cuba, but just what did the United States gain? Like so much that
has been done by this administration, the diplomatic recognition of Cuba
demonstrates how safe it is to be our enemy, while our policies toward
Ukraine and Israel demonstrate how risky it is to be our ally.
Eye on the World • Jan. 31, 2015 / 11 of 12
Despite radical feminist organizations’ frequent bursts of outrage, these
same radical feminists’ response to the mass capture of school girls by
Islamic terrorists in Nigeria, and turning those girls into sex slaves, has been
strangely muted. Is this because there is no political mileage or lawsuit settlements to be achieved by expressing outrage at such unconscionable raw
savagery in Nigeria?
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An editorial by Walter Williams titled “Defense Against Demagogues” was
posted at jewishworldreview.com on Jan. 28, 2015. Following is the article.
When gasoline sold at record prices, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., said, “I think
it’s time to say to these people, ‘Stop ripping off the American people.’ ”
When the average price of regular gas was close to $4 a gallon, Sen. Chuck
Schumer, D-N.Y., called for Congress to look into breaking up giant oil companies. The claim was that “Wall Street greed (was) fueling high gas prices.”
Today in some places, gasoline is selling for less than $2 a gallon, less than
half of its peak price in 2008. The idiotic explanation that attributed high oil
prices to greed might now be adjusted to argue that big oil executives have
been morally rejuvenated.
They are no longer greedy and no longer want to rip off the American people.
My guess is that everyone in the oil business would like to charge higher
prices. Plus, there’s no legal prohibition against big and powerful Exxon
Mobil’s selling its regular gas today for $4 a gallon. Exxon stations don’t do
so because the market wouldn’t bear that price.
The attempt to explain human behavior by greed is foolhardy. If we define
greed as people wanting much more than what they have, then everyone is
greedy. Show me someone who doesn’t want more of something, be it cars,
houses, clothing, food, peace, admiration, love or war. The fact that people
want more is responsible for most of the good things that get done.
You’ll see Texas cattle ranchers this winter making the personal sacrifice of
going out in blizzards to care for their herds. As a result of their sacrifice, New
Yorkers will have beef on their grocery shelves. Which do you think best
explains cattlemen’s behavior, concern about New Yorkers or their wanting
more for themselves?
This year’s congressional efforts to reduce corporate income tax will create
great opportunities for demagogues. The United States has the highest corporate income tax rate among the 34 industrialized nations of the
Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development. The effect of high
corporate taxes gives corporations incentives to lower their effective tax rates
by engaging in activities that lower their competitiveness and to shift profits
to foreign subsidiaries.
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Demagogues will claim that corporations should pay their fair share of taxes.
The fact of the matter, which even MIT economists understand but might not
publicly admit, is corporations do not pay taxes. An important subject area in
economics called tax incidence says the entity upon whom a tax is levied does
not necessarily bear the full burden of the tax. Some of the tax burden is
shifted to another party.
If a tax is levied on a corporation—and if the corporation is to survive—it will
have one of three responses or some combination thereof. It will raise the
price of its product, lower dividends or lay off workers. The important point
is that only people, not some legal fiction called a corporation, bear the burden of any tax. Corporations are merely government tax collectors.
Here’s a tax-related question: Which worker receives the higher pay, a worker on a road construction project moving dirt with a shovel or a worker moving dirt atop a giant earthmover? If you said the guy on the earthmover, go
to the head of the class. But why? It’s not because he’s unionized or that
employers just love earthmover operators. It’s because he is more productive; he has more physical capital with which to work.
It’s not rocket science to conclude that whatever lowers the cost of capital
formation will enable companies to buy more capital, such as earthmovers.
The result is that workers will be more productive and earn higher wages.
Policies that raise the cost of capital formation—such as capital gains taxes,
low depreciation allowances and high corporate income taxes—reduce capital
formation and do not serve the interests of workers, investors or consumers.
The greatest tool in the arsenal of demagogues is economic ignorance, which
my colleagues in George Mason University’s economics department battle
against tooth and nail.
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Isaiah 55:6-11—“Seek you the LORD while He may be found, call upon Him
while He is near. Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his
thoughts; let him return to the LORD, and He will have mercy on him; and to
our God, for He will abundantly pardon. ‘For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
nor are your ways My ways,’ says the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than
the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your
thoughts. For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven, and do not
return there, but water the earth, and make it bring forth and bud, that it may
give seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall My word be that goes
forth from My mouth; it shall not return to Me void, but it shall accomplish what
I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.”