Category: PowerLinks

Blog author: jcarter
Tuesday, January 3, 2017
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The fate of religious freedom in the former USSR, 25 years after its collapse
Kelsey Dallas, Deseret News

When the Soviet Union was dissolved on Dec. 26, 1991, the future looked bright for faith groups. During nearly 70 years of Soviet rule, religious practice had been gradually forced out of public and private life. Faith leaders were sent to labor camps and sacred buildings fell into disrepair.

Americans Rate Healthcare Providers High on Honesty, Ethics
Jim Norman, Gallup

Most Americans trust their healthcare providers to be honest and ethical, but few other professions fare so well in Gallup’s annual look at honesty and ethical standards among various fields.

Will the Minimum Wage Debate Ever Be Settled?
Bourree Lam, The Atlantic

States are implementing new laws about worker pay. That will provide plenty of research fodder for economists who can’t seem to agree on whether raises are good or bad for workers.

Edmund Burke on Free Will, Christian Charity, & the Good Society
Bradley J. Birzer, The Imaginative Conservative

Christianity, Edmund Burke held, is the great equalizer. Not only is it the first force in the world to recognize the moral equality of all men and women, but it allows the high and the low to become one in their equal desire for the good society.

Blog author: jcarter
Monday, January 2, 2017
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A US law meant to safeguard religious minorities abroad now covers atheists, too
Neha Thirani Bagri, Quartz

By updating an 18-year-old religious freedom law, the US Congress has for the first time taken steps to explicitly protect people who identify as atheists.

How Obama’s Overtime Rule Hurts Working Americans
Thomas Parker, The Federalist

Workers who value their flexibility should not be punished (or lose their jobs) just to help Democrats feel good about themselves.

Why Are Americans Less Charitable Than They Used to Be?
Alexia Fernandez Campbell, The Atlantic

The average American has grown more tight-fisted in recent years, donating a smaller portion of his or her income to charity than he or she did 10 years ago

Why Trump’s Economic Nationalism is the Wrong Prescription
Louis D. Johnston, Arc

The President-elect thinks Making America Great Again = Made in America. This is a mistake.

Blog author: jcarter
Friday, December 30, 2016
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The Morality of Banking in It’s a Wonderful Life
Bourree Lam and Gillian B. White, The Atlantic

In addition to its holiday cheesiness and religious moralizing, the 1946 classic touches on financial themes that remain painfully relevant.

The good news and bad news about homelessness in America in 2016
Tim Fernholz, Quartz

Homelessness in the US has dropped 15% since 2007, with 97,000 fewer Americans living on the streets or in shelters, according to a year-end report (pdf) from the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

50,000 coins for $1.99: How mobile game in-app purchases are warping kids’ understanding of basic economic ideas
James Ledbetter, Quartz

The design of many of these games sends potentially confusing signals to children about fundamental economic ideas like value and pricing.

Five Key Findings on Religion in the U.S.
Frank Newport, Gallup

Religion remains an integral part of most Americans’ lives, but Gallup’s ongoing research shows how this has changed over time. The following are five important findings about religion in the U.S.

Blog author: jcarter
Thursday, December 29, 2016
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Where’s the Pope on Syria?
William McGurn, Wall Street Journal

No papal prayer vigils to protest the military solution Putin has imposed on Aleppo.

Who went insane? BuzzFeed editors or the Greek Orthodox believer who leads the GOP?
Terry Mattingly, Get Religion

What happens when you mix Christmas, politics, Twitter and the ongoing emotional meltdown on the cultural left in the wake of the 2016 presidential race?

To the Poor, Poverty Is More Than Material
Kathryn Feliciano, Institute for Faith, Work, and Economics

The body of Christ functions properly and more efficiently if each person is using their God-given gifts to do what God has designed them to do.

How Government Regulation Makes Us Poorer
Per Bylund, Mises Wire

We recently spoke with Professor Bylund about his book and how the effects of government regulation are more far-reaching and more damaging than many people realize.

Blog author: jcarter
Wednesday, December 28, 2016
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Top Ten Religious Liberty and Church-State Developments of 2016
Howard Friedman, Religion Clause

Each year in December, I attempt to pick the most important church-state and religious liberty developments of the past year. This was a busy year, and a number of the important developments amounted to themes that spanned many months.

Iraqi Christians celebrate a bittersweet Christmas amid destruction and liberation
Bonnie Kristian, The Week

Christians in Bartella, Iraq, are celebrating their first Christmas since 2013 following their town’s liberation from Islamic State militants as part of the campaign to retake Mosul.

Unthinkable Today, Obvious Tomorrow: The Moral Case for the Abolition of Cruelty to Animals
Matthew Scully, National Review

On that issue, our evolving standards approach the ancient ones of Judeo-Christian morality.

The Relationship Between Culture and Poverty
William Reddinger, FEE

In a state of learned helplessness, people who are suffering consistently feel like something has been done to them.

Blog author: jcarter
Tuesday, December 27, 2016
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Is scarcity as much about psychology as it is economics?
Dan Nixon, Bank Underground

“Unlimited wants, scarce resources”. This is the economic problem. But once basic needs are met, how much should scarcity – having “enough” – be understood as a psychological problem? Is it possible to cultivate an “abundance mindset”? And what does all of this mean for how economics is taught?

Combining Creativity, Purpose, and Freedom to Help the Poor
Anne Bradley, Institute for Faith, Work, and Economics

We want for the poorest among us to experience the long-term dignity which comes from their ability to showcase each of their gifts to the world.

How Unions Used Licensing to Crush Ethnic Barbershops
Ryan McMaken, Mises Wire

For far too long, historians who wrote on inter-racial and inter-ethnic relations focused almost exclusively on the victimization of various groups while ignoring the entrepreneurship and mutual aid that took place within those same ethnic groups.

Orange Rocks and the Minimum Wage
Bryan Caplan, EconLog

I’ve long been deeply suspicious of contrarian research that purports to show that the minimum wage doesn’t decrease low-skilled employment.

Blog author: jcarter
Monday, December 26, 2016
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The Spiritual Crisis of the Modern Economy
Victor Tan Chen, The Atlantic

The main source of meaning in American life is a meritocratic competition that makes those who struggle feel inferior.

Aleppo presents a moral dilemma for Christian leaders
The Economist

Syria’s Christians see Bashar al-Assad as their protector.

USCIRF Appoints Singshinsuk As Executive Director
Howard Friedman, Religion Clause

The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom announced yesterday that Erin D. Singshinsuk, who has served since September as the Commission’s Acting Executive Director has now been named Executive Director.

Your sneakers are a case study in why Trump’s America-first trade policy is nonsense
Marc Bain, Quartz

A combination of protectionist policies and lobbying by US trade groups has kept these tariffs high since the Great Depression, despite import duties for other products being reduced.