Blog author: jcarter
Friday, September 16, 2016
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US CONSTITUTION iStock_000007427085XSmall-300x214Tomorrow is Constitution Day, a holiday celebrated in America every year on September 17, the anniversary of the day the framers signed the document. Here are five facts you should know about the U.S. Constitution:

1. The Constitution contains 4,543 words, including the signatures and has four sheets, 28-3/4 inches by 23-5/8 inches each. It contains 7,591 words including the 27 amendments. It is the oldest and shortest written Constitution of any major government in the world.

2. Thomas Jefferson did not sign the Constitution. He was in France during the Convention, where he served as the U.S. minister. John Adams, who at the time was serving as the U.S. minister to Great Britain during the Constitutional Convention, also did not attend the signing. The only men who both became presidents and signed the Constitution were George Washington and James Madison.

3. There was a proposal at the Constitutional Convention to limit the standing army for the country to 5,000 men. George Washington sarcastically agreed with this proposal as long as a stipulation was added that no invading army could number more than 3,000 troops.
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Blog author: jcarter
Friday, September 16, 2016
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Nearly half of America’s black-owned businesses were launched in the last 5 years
The Week

African-Americans owned just 2.1 percent of the nation’s companies in 2014, despite making up 12 percent of the population, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. But nearly half of those black-owned firms were launched in the past five years, The Wall Street Journal reports, suggesting the racial gap may begin to narrow in the coming years

Human Action: A Timeless Masterpiece
Richard M. Ebeling, FEE

Human Action uniquely stands out as a classic in the literature of economics.

Report: Corruption undermines US efforts in Afghanistan
Associated Press

A U.S. report released Wednesday said that widespread corruption in Afghanistan has undermined efforts to rebuild the country and urged the U.S. mission to make anticorruption efforts a top priority.

15 Facts About US Poverty the Government Hides
Robert Rector and Rachel Sheffield, The Daily Signal

Here are 15 facts about poverty in America that may surprise you. (All statistics are taken from U.S. government surveys.)

work-life“If all of our working and all of our resting serves the same vocation of love, why do we so often feel out of balance?”

In a recent talk for the Oikonomia Network, author and church historian Dr. Chris Armstrong offers a fascinating exploration of the question, challenging the common Christian responses on “work-life balance” and offering a holistic framework for vocation, service, and spiritual devotion.

Recounting a situation where he himself was faced with frustrations about work and family life, Armstrong recalls the advice he received from his church at the time: “You need work-life balance,” they said, or, “You just need to put God first, family second, and work third.”

Despite the popularity of such refrains, Armstrong suggests there may be a deeper tension at play, pointing to the Apostle Paul’s famous admonition to the Colossians: “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord.” (more…)

airpollutionAir pollution is now the world’s fourth-leading fatal health risk, causing one in ten deaths in 2013. According to a new study by the World Bank, the premature deaths due to air pollution costs the global economy about $225 billion in lost labor income, or about $5.11 trillion in welfare losses worldwide. That is about the size of the gross domestic product of India, Canada, and Mexico combined, notes the report

While we tend to think of air pollution as occurring in the urban areas of the developed world, most of the deaths are due to poor air quality in rural and underdeveloped regions:
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How much value does religion add to the U.S. economy? According to a new study the effect of religion exceeds the revenue of the ten largest tech companies—including Apple, Google, Amazon, and Facebook combined.

The study, recently published in the Interdisciplinary Journal of Research on Religion, provides three estimates of the value of faith to U.S. society. The first and most conservative estimate takes into account only the revenues of faith-based organizations falling into several sectors (education, healthcare, local congregational activities, charities, media, and food). The second estimate takes into account the fair market value of congregational social services and contribution of businesses with religious roots. Their third, higher-end estimate based on the annual household incomes of America’s religiously affiliated population.

By their most conservative estimate, the economic contribution of the religion sector to the U.S. society is roughly $378 billion a year: healthcare ($161.0 billion), local congregational activities ($83.8 billion), education ($74.0 billion), charities ($44.3 billion), media ($0.9 billion), and food ($14.4 billion).

At ERLC, I have more more on this study and how they determined how religion affects the economy.

Blog author: KHanby
Thursday, September 15, 2016
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Pope FrancisPope Francis recently referred to climate change as a sin in a message he gave on the world day of prayer.  Research fellow at the Acton Institute, Dylan Pahman, had a lot to say about this in a new article at The Stream. He commented on Francis’ message as well as analyzing the effects on the poor of some of the policy prescriptions that Francis has praised. He says:

What seems to be lost on these hierarchs is what to do about the problem. The pope praises the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement, but similar statements have not proven effective in combating climate change. What has proven effective? Industrialization and free markets. Really.

In the short run, of course, industrialization is the problem. A quick glance at a global pollution map reveals that newly-industrialized China and India are some of the worst offenders. However, so long as we truly care about the poor, we must not overlook the fact that these countries are where the greatest progress in overcoming poverty has happened since the 1970s. Hundreds of millions of people have escaped crushing poverty through the industrialization and increased liberalization of their economies.

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Blog author: jcarter
Thursday, September 15, 2016
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Note to Malthus: Life is Good
Rachel Lu, Crisis Magazine

Malthusian theories of scarcity have been haunting progressive thinking for decades now, and that’s not hard to understand when we consider the ethos of modern life.

History Says Trade Protectionism Has Never Worked
Jay Chittooran, Third Way

Would Trump’s isolationist policy work? If you look back, the United States has implemented protectionist policies on a number of occasions. And the results have been the same: grave economic consequences.

Key papal aide says economic focus must be people over profit
Junno Arocho Esteves, Catholic News Service

The world must heed Pope Francis’s warning of the dangers of “an economy of exclusion and inequality,” Ghanaian Cardinal Peter Turkson, recently named the first head of a new Vatican mega-department on human development, told participants at a conference studying the pope’s views on the economy.

Is Service or Competition the Defining Characteristic of Free Markets?
Anne Bradley, Institute for Faith, Work, and Economics

Serving one another and free-markets might not spring to your mind simultaneously. But should they? Does service or competition best characterize the free-market system?