sotuI have a can’t miss prediction: tonight, when President Obama gives his sixth State of the Union address, he will describe the state of the union as “strong.”

Admittedly, predicting that the state of our union will be described as “strong” is about as safe a bet as you can make when it comes to politics. Over the last hundred years presidents have described the State of the Union (SOTU) in various ways — Good (Truman), Sound (Carter), Not Good (Ford). But it was Ronald Reagan who started the “strong” trend in 1983 by referring to the SOTU as “Strong, but the economy is troubled.” Since 1983, “strong” has been used to refer to the SOTU in 26 addresses.

Here is how the state of the Union has been described over the past hundred years:
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cpr uncle samThe Gateway Pundit gives us a list of “fun” facts about the economy. Of course, “fun” is used in an ironic way, which become clear when you look at just how dreary these facts are:

  • $1.8 Trillion: Cost Of ObamaCare’s Coverage Provisions From 2014 To 2023 (CBO, 7/30/13)
  • $1 Trillion: The Total Student Debt Held By Americans. (Josh Mitchell, “Student-Loan Debt Slows Recovery,” The Wall Street Journal’s Real Time Economics, 12/30/13)

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Blog author: jcarter
Tuesday, January 28, 2014
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War on Poverty special page article banner“Why, if we have made such great strides reducing poverty,” asks Scott Winship, “is there such widespread belief that, to quote Ronald Reagan, ‘We fought a war on poverty, and poverty won’?”

We won the War on Poverty in the sense that the prevalence of material hardship has declined. According to Meyer and Sullivan, just 8 percent of Americans live at the low standard of living endured by a third of Americans in 1963. But it was a limited and costly victory. Elderly entitlements will bankrupt the country moving forward. Great Society-style no-strings-attached welfare may have had behavioral and cultural impacts that have hurt child opportunity at the bottom. Upward mobility has not expanded. The conservative turn toward welfare reform after 1980 and the limited embrace of a work-promoting safety net by New Democrats produced an important shift in anti-poverty policy, but historically conservatives have not been constructively engaged in formulating a positive opportunity agenda for children at the bottom. That this is changing is the most hopeful sign in domestic policy in some time.

Read more . . .

Blog author: jcarter
Tuesday, January 28, 2014
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Pope tells Christians to put aside their divisions
Associated Press

Pope Francis has led a prayer service in a Rome basilica attended by representatives of Orthodox, Anglican and other Christian communities in hopes of healing centuries-old divisions.

On “Shark Tank,” Income Inequality, and the Glory of Entrepreneurship
Owen Strachan, thoughtlife

It has struck me in my limited viewings of “Shark Tank” that this wildly popular show offers a nice response to the quandary of “income inequality” so frequently discussed today.

Conservatives and the Constitution
Rob Schwarzwalder, Public Discourse

Conservatives must resist the temptation toward “big-government conservatism.” Easy acceptance of extra-constitutional federal powers betrays the philosophical roots of the conservative movement.

A Sustainable Solution to Poverty
Lord Brian Griffiths, Institute for Faith, Work, and Economics

What’s the best way to help the poor without trapping individuals in a cycle of dependency? It’s not aid. Not philanthropy. Not even straightforward commercial activity.

indexThe Think Thanks and Civil Societies Program at the University of Pennsylvania has just published their seventh “Global Go To Think Tank Index.” This report takes almost a full year to compile and  looks at almost 7,000 think tanks worldwide and ranks them in 47 categories. Their website states that “the purpose of the rankings is to help improve the profile and performance of think tanks while highlighting the important work they do for governments and civil societies around the world.”

The Acton Institute was named in four categories:

  • 34th in “Top Think Tanks in the United States” (same as last year)
  • 11th in “Top Social Policy Think Tanks” (up from 13th in 2012)
  • 10th in “Best Advocacy Campaign” (19th in 2012)
  • 17th in “Best Think Tank Conference” (new category)

The “advocacy campaign” refers to Acton’s initiative PovertyCure, an international network of organizations and people looking towards free market entrepreneurial solutions to poverty.  Acton sponsors a number of events throughout the year including, Acton University, Toward a Free and Virtuous Society, Thriving Churches, Flourishing Communities, and Liberty and Markets. Acton’s largest event, Acton University, is a four-day conference held each June in Grand Rapids exploring the intersection of virtue and individual liberty. The event consists of lectures and informal discussions on practical topics in free-market economics, public policy, popular culture, private charity, and entrepreneurship. In 2013, Acton welcomed nearly 900 participants (of 1,200 applications received) from six continents.

You can visit TTCSP’s “rankings page” to view the 2013 or any of the older reports. You can visit this page to see the exact timeline and process of their report. Acton’s full release is available here.

 

On iHeart Radio’s Janine Turner Show, Conna Craig of the Hoover Institution’s Institute for Children, discusses the state of foster care in the U.S. and its link with human trafficking. Craig is concerned with the fact that so many children are “missing” from the foster care system and no one has reported them missing. Many, she believes, are lured into sexual trafficking situations.

Blog author: ehilton
Monday, January 27, 2014
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How can it be that the place where free speech should be most free is now the place where free speech goes to die? “Ideological re-education,” banned books, and so-called “approved” views abound in higher education.