Blog author: jcarter
Friday, August 26, 2016
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Don’t Blame Capitalism for Your Pricey EpiPen
Jay Stooksberry, FEE

What is usually left out in any anti-capitalist blather written in response to this controversy is an accurate depiction of how free markets actually work.

The Feudal Origins of America’s Most-Hated Tax
Alana Semuels, The Atlantic

Property tax—one of the most criticized taxes on U.S. residents—stems from a system put in place by William the Conqueror.

Surprise! Minimum Wage Hikes Lead to Massive Job Losses in DC Restaurants
Opportunity Lives

Eight jobs a day, every day. That’s how many jobs were lost in the restaurant industry of Washington, D.C. alone during the past six months.

With Wyoming Judge’s Case, Left Aims To Ban Religious People From Legal Field
Holly Scheer, The Federalist

The case of Judge Ruth Neely in Wyoming shows, in stark clarity, that it doesn’t actually matter whether religious people do their jobs well and keep their religion to themselves.

Note: This is the third in a series examining the positions of several minor party and independent presidential candidates on issues covered by the Acton Institute. A previous series covered the Democratic Party platform (see here and here) and the Republican Party Platform (see here and here).

ASP BannerAlthough minor parties — often called “third parties” to distinguish them from the dominant two — have always been a part of American politics, the dissatisfaction with the Republican and Democratic parties in the current election season has led some Christians to give them more consideration. The intention of this series is to provide some basic information on where some of these parties stand on issues covered by the Acton Institute.

A couple of caveats are thus in order.

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Blog author: jcarter
Thursday, August 25, 2016
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Is Rising Extreme Poverty a Myth?
Robert VerBruggen, Family Studies

Critics argue that welfare reform made the poor even poorer. New research shows otherwise.

Protecting the conscience: A battle between pharmacists and Washington state
Barrett Duke, ERLC

The state’s total lack of concern for conscience in this matter is distressing.

The last country to abolish slavery is jailing its anti-slavery activists
Abdi Latif Dahir, Quartz

Thirteen anti-slavery campaigners were sentenced for up to 15 years in prison in Mauritania last week, for their role in a protest aimed at denouncing the practice of slavery in the country.

Find Out How Many Jobs Your State Could Lose With a $15 Minimum Wage
Melissa Quinn, The Daily Signal

According to a new study from The Heritage Foundation, proposals at the state and federal levels to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour would lead to job losses in nearly all states and the District of Columbia.

Blog author: jcarter
Wednesday, August 24, 2016
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“When Nicaragua is in the news, it is usually bad news,” says Paul J. Bonicelli in this week’s Acton Commentary, “and so it is once again as it descends into another dynastic dictatorship.”

The man currently building the latest family-run state is the incumbent president Daniel Ortega, although apparently the irony is lost on him since he led a socialist revolution 40 years ago to overthrow the previous dynasty. The history of Nicaragua is a cycle that runs from dictatorship to democracy and back to dictatorship again; a hope and change story that is now ending very badly. There are heroes of liberal democracy, Nicaraguans from all socio-economic classes who understand the value of democratic capitalism and want to be free, and they deserve our praise and pity, for they have suffered the cruelest fate of having put their country on the right track only to see it return to the road to serfdom.

The full text of the essay can be found here. Subscribe to the free, weekly Acton News & Commentary and other publications here.

 This month marks the 20th anniversary of welfare reform, a bipartisan measure that made important changes to our country’s welfare system. Here is what you should know about this milestone legislation.

What was “welfare reform”?

Welfare reform is the nickname given to the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (PRWORA). This 251-page federal law was introduced by Rep. E. Clay Shaw, Jr. (R-FL) in June 1996 as part of the Republican Contract with America and signed into law by President Bill Clinton on August 22, 1996.

Among other things, notes AEI’s Angela Rachidi, the law eliminated the cash welfare program Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) and replaced it with a block grant program that gave states flexibility to use federal funds to move people from welfare to work.

What does PRWORA require?

PRWORA contains requirements for both the states and welfare recipients.

Work requirements and time limits for individuals and families:
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Brooks-2x1500We continue to see the expansion of freedom and the economic prosperity around the world. And yet, despite having enjoyed such freedom and its fruits for centuries, the West is stuck in a crisis of moral imagination.

For all of its blessings, modernity has led many of us to pair our comfort and prosperity with a secular, naturalistic ethos, relishing in our own strength and designs and trusting in the power of reason to drive our ethics.

The result is a uniquely moralistic moral vacuum, a “liberal paradox,” as Gaylen Byker calls it — “a hunger for meaning and values in an age of freedom and plenty.”

In the past, American prosperity has been buoyed by the strength of its institutions: religious, civil, political, economic, and otherwise. But as writers such as Yuval Levin and Charles Murray have aptly outlined, the religious and institutional vibrancy that Alexis de Tocqueville once hailed appears to be dwindling, making the space between individual and state increasingly thin.

The revival and restoration of religious and civic life is essential if we hope to cultivate a free and virtuous society, occurring across spheres and sectors, from the family to business, from the church to political institutions.

Given the increasing attacks on religious liberty, Christian colleges and universities are standing particularly tall, even as they endure some of the highest heat. In a recent talk for the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities, David Brooks demonstrates the cultural importance of retaining that liberty, explaining how his recent experiences with Christian educational institutions have affirmed their role in weaving (or re-weaving) the fabric of American life. (Read his full remarks here.) (more…)

Blog author: jcarter
Wednesday, August 24, 2016
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First Worldwide Meta-Analysis Proves the Benefits of School Choice
Evan Smith, Opportunity Lives

Now a new study, the first-ever worldwide meta-analysis on the benefits or faults of providing school choice in relation to student success, has shown Friedman’s ideas to be systematically accurate.

In Louisiana, Private Disaster Relief Outperforms the Government
FEE

One of the greatest stories of the Louisiana flooding is how the people and free markets are playing a role in helping to both rescue people and deliver relief much quicker than the government.

Not Two Kingdoms, But Two Ages
Jonathan Leeman, TGC

Luther’s two kingdoms also divides the person between inner and outer, and places a spiritual government over one and a secular government over the other. But does the Bible divide things so cleanly?

Crimes and no punishment
The Economist

Violence is only one of the problems faced by Christians in Egypt.