The World and Everything in It: August 22, 2022
On Legal Docket, an address from Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito about the importance of religious liberty; on Moneybeat, the latest economic news; and on History Book, important dates from history. Plus: the Monday morning news.
MARY REICHARD, HOST: Good morning!
Religious liberty protects other fundamental rights. A Supreme Court Justice delivers a warning.
NICK EICHER, HOST: That’s ahead on today’s Legal Docket.
Also the Monday Moneybeat, I’ll ask David Bahnsen about the economic news of the week and about that new statistic on the rising cost of raising a family.
Plus the WORLD History Book. Five years ago this week, Hurricane Harvey made landfall in east Texas.
REICHARD: It’s Monday, August 22nd. This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Mary Reichard.
EICHER: And I’m Nick Eicher. Good morning!
REICHARD: Now news with Kent Covington.
KENT COVINGTON, NEWS ANCHOR: FBI latest » Former Vice President Mike Pence says he’s among those with serious questions about the FBI’s raid of Donald Trump’s Florida home.
He acknowledged over the weekend that he’s had his differences with the former president…
PENCE: But I was deeply troubled when I learned that they’ve executed a search warrant.
But he said he does not want to pre-judge the bureau’s actions before having all the facts.
When asked, Pence also said that he did not take any classified documents with him when he left office.
The vice president made his remarks at the Iowa State Fair. He was one of several possible 2024 presidential hopefuls on hand for the event.
A federal judge could decide this week to release a redacted version of the affidavit the FBI used to get the search warrant.
Republican Congressman Mike Turner said Sunday…
TURNER: Now, what’s important about this affidavit is that it will give us the information to understand - how did the FBI justify raiding Mar-A-Lago and spending nine hours in the president’s house.
Trump insists that any documents he possessed were “all declassified” before he left office.
Cheney speaks out on loss » Wyoming Congresswoman Liz Cheney is speaking out after losing her GOP primary to a Trump-backed candidate last week.
Cheney, who is now rumored to be mulling a White House bid, has vowed to continue campaigning against Donald Trump and others. She told ABC’s This Week …
CHENEY: I’m going to be very focused on working to ensure that we do everything we can not to elect election-deniers. And I’m going to work against those people. I’m going to work to support their opponents.
Former President Trump said her election loss was a “referendum on the never ending witch hunt.”
Cheney’s emphatic criticism of Trump cost her her position as Chair of the House Republican Conference last year. But she said she had no regrets.
Migrant buses » More buses arrived in New York City over the weekend, each carrying dozens of migrants from the Texas border.
City officials complain that the busing program is straining their resources. And New York City Schools Chancellor David Banks added …
BANKS: We think it’s incumbent upon the federal government to figure out ways to help us to meet that need.
But Texas says it's a small sliver of the burden it carries as a border state.
And Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich said the same. He and many other Republicans blame President Biden’s border policies.
BRNOVICH: We’re paying a cost in lives and money as a result of the failure of the Biden administration. So New York mayor, DC mayor, call your buddy Joe Biden and tell him to secure the border.
The Border Patrol has recorded more than 2 million migrant encounters since October 1st.
Gas/oil » Republicans also take issue with President Biden’s energy policies. They say those policies are the only reason the United States isn’t producing more oil and gas with global supply down.
But Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm predicts “record” U.S. oil production next year to help keep gas prices in check.
Granholm said the world is still feeling the energy effect of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
GRANHOLM: That pulled millions of barrels off of the global market. Since oil is traded globally, we have to make up for that lost amount of fuel.
She said US producers will turn out 12.7 million barrels per day in 2023, compared to less than 12 million per day now.
That would top a U.S. record-high of 12.2 million barrels a day in 2019.
Jill Biden negative » First lady Jill Biden has tested negative for COVID-19.
She departed South Carolina, where she had isolated since vacationing with President Biden and rejoined him at their Delaware beach home on Sunday.
The 71-year-old first lady tested positive last Tuesday. The White House described her symptoms as mild.
Box office » At the weekend box office, a Japanese anime import claimed the top spot.
TRAILER: You need to believe in yourself and unleash that power. It’s do or die time.
Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero hauled in $20 million in its opening weekend.
The Idris Elba action-thriller Beast finished second with about $12 million.
I'm Kent Covington. Straight ahead: A warning from a Supreme Court justice about religious liberty.
This is The World and Everything in It.
MARY REICHARD, HOST: It’s Monday morning and welcome back to another week of The World and Everything in It. Today is the 22nd of August, 2022.
Good morning to you, I’m Mary Reichard.
NICK EICHER, HOST: And I’m Nick Eicher.
Before we get rolling, a quick bit of housekeeping: We are told that our stock of prerolls is beginning to run low. We are adding listeners all the time, so maybe you’re not familiar with program lingo, the preroll is the daily introduction of the program.
REICHARD: One of my favorite parts!
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EICHER: So, send us a preroll. It doesn’t take long, and as we said, all the instructions are at WNG.org/preroll. We started these back in 20-18, and over 1,000 prerolls later, and still going. So, keep the streak alive, jump on over and record your preroll today. Look forward to hearing from you.
It’s time for Legal Docket.
Today, we feature a speech by U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Samuel Alito. The University of Notre Dame Law School hosted a religious liberties summit last month at its campus in Rome.
Justice Alito outlines challenges to religious liberty and warned that without religious liberty, other fundamental rights cannot survive.
REICHARD: We’ve edited the 34 minute speech to fit our available time, but we’ll link to the entire speech
in today’s transcript.
Here now are excerpts from Justice Alito’s remarks at the Religious Liberty Summit in Rome last month.
JUSTICE SAMUEL ALITO: Here in Rome, history is all around us. The hotel in which my wife and I are staying looks out over the Roman Forum. And as a result, I find myself thinking about the proud civilization that was centered here two millennia ago. And as I think back, I also think ahead, and I wonder what historians may say centuries from now about the contribution of the United States to world civilization.
One thing I hope they will say is that our country after a lot of fits and starts and ups and downs, eventually showed the world that it is possible to have a stable and successful society in which people of diverse faiths live and work together harmoniously and productively while still retaining their own beliefs. This has been truly an historic accomplishment. But as the remnants of the classical past incessantly tell us here in Rome, no human achievement is ever permanent. And therefore, we can't lightly assume that the religious liberty enjoyed today in the United States, in Europe, and in many other places will always endure. Religious liberty is fragile, and religious intolerance and persecution have been recurring features of human history. We can't escape thinking about that here in Rome either.
This, after all is where St. Peter and St. Paul and countless other early Christians were martyred. If we look at the Colosseum today, we see a tourist attraction. We might see men dressed up as gladiators prancing around outside the Colosseum. But in its day, it was the killing place. It was the place where hundreds who knows who knows how many Christians were torn apart by wild beasts, to the delight of spectators, citizens of a rich, powerful and technologically advanced state, with little regard for the inherent worth of human life. Near the Colosseum, we can see the place where Nero is said to have used Christians as human torches to light up his garden parties. I think we're all aware of the persecution of the early Christians.
But more Christians are killed for their faith in our time than in the bloody days of the Roman Empire. And of course, Christians have by no means been the only victims of religious persecution. Religious persecution is alive and well in the world and in many places, it is a violent life and death thing.
Religious liberty is under attack in many places, because it is dangerous to those who want to hold complete power. I'm not very well positioned to talk about religious liberty outside the United States, Europe, and other economically advanced countries. But in those places, religious liberty is facing a different challenge. This challenge stems from a turn away from religion. And this has a very important impact on religious liberty because it is hard to convince people that religious liberty is worth defending if they don't think that religion is a good thing that deserves protection. I'm reminded of an experience I had a number of years ago in a museum in Berlin. One of the exhibits was a rustic wooden cross. A young, affluent woman, a well dressed woman and a young boy, were looking at this exhibit. And the young boy turns to the woman, presumably his mother, and said, “Who is that man?” That memory has stuck in my mind as a harbinger of what may lie ahead for our culture.
And the problem that looms is not just indifference to religion, it's not just ignorance. There's also growing hostility to religion, or at least the traditional religious beliefs that are contrary to the new moral code that is ascendant in some sectors. As most of you know, I think a dominant view among legal academics is that religion doesn't merit special protection. A liberal society they say should be value neutral, and therefore it should treat religion, just like any other passionate personal attachment, say rooting for a favorite sports team, pursuing a hobby or following a popular artist or group. Now, I think we would all agree that in a free society, people should be free to pursue those avocations. But do they really merit the same protection as the exercise of religion? Does support for a sports team, for example, really merit the same protection as religious devotion?
Well, for me, the Constitution of the United States provides a clear answer. Some of my colleagues are not so sure. But for me, the text tells the story. The Constitution protects the free exercise of religion, it does not protect the free exercise of support for the Packers. Think of the increasing number of young Americans whose response when asked to name their religion, say none. Think of those who proclaim that religion is bad. What can we say to such people, to convince them that religious liberty is worth protecting?
That is the challenge and it is a challenge that will not be met by federal judges for whom the Constitution should be enough. So my primary point tonight is to pose that challenge to others. Not to offer anything like a full answer, which I certainly don't have. Nevertheless, I'm going to offer a few brief thoughts.
The first concerns a lesson that I think we can learn from American history. And that is that religious liberty promotes domestic tranquility. It provides a way for religiously diverse people to hold together and to flourish. As I said at the outset, I think that the American experience illustrates that well.
We all know, of course, that there has been a lot of religious discrimination against a variety of groups throughout the history of this country. And there is prejudice today, against members of other religions. But although we live in an era where people tend to dwell on what is bad about American history, I think, in the case of religious liberty, if we draw back, and we see what we achieved, after all of these missteps, it is something that we can be proud of. And it's an example I think, that we can give to the rest of the world.
A second point is the enormous charitable work that is done by religious groups and people of faith.
Two terms ago, I wrote an opinion in a case called Fulton, which concerned an effort by the city of Philadelphia to expel Catholic social services from the foster care program. And as part of that opinion, I recalled the history of providing help for orphaned and abandoned children. The first orphanage is thought to be one that was founded by Saint Basil the Great in the fourth century, the first orphanage in the United States, was founded by nuns in New Orleans in 1729. Long before governments began to institute programs to care for orphaned and abandoned children, for people who are sick, for the poor, for other people who are in need, churches were there. They have a long history of doing this, they continue to do it today. And it's something that I think we can remind our fellow citizens who may not be religious themselves about.
Another important point that can be made concerns social reform. Religious Liberty has always fostered social, has often fueled social reform. It's not an accident I think that leaders of the movement to abolish slavery, both in Europe and in the United States, were very often men and women of faith. Nor is it an accident that the most prominent leader of the American civil rights movement in the 1960s was the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr, an ordained minister. By drawing on his faith, Dr. King was able to speak to all Americans regardless of race, and make a powerful case for equal treatment of all people. If religious liberty is protected, religious leaders and other men and women of faith will be able to speak out on social issues, and people with deep religious convictions may be less likely to succumb to dominating ideologies or trends, and more prone to act in accordance with what they see as true and right. Civil society can count on them as engines of reform.
And this brings me to a related argument we can make to those who are not themselves religious and that is the relationship between religious liberty and other rights. Consider the relationship between freedom of religion and freedom of speech. The exercise of religion very often involves speech: a spoken or written prayer, the recitation of Scripture, a homily, a religious book or article. These are all forms of speech. They are also forms of religious exercise. If this sort fo speech can be suppressed or punished, what is to stop the state from crushing other forms of expression? Or consider the relationship between freedom of speech and the freedom of assembly. A religious service in a church, synagogue, mosque or temple is a form of assembly. If a government can ban those assemblies will it hesitate to outlaw others?
On the other hand, if religious liberty is allowed, it will be harder for the state to restrict other speech and other assemblies. Thus, as a practical matter, religious liberty and other fundamental rights tend to go together. And many have seen the rise of limited government often attributed to liberal ideology as an outgrowth of the freedom for which the Church has always fought. So powerful is religious liberty that it even helped to bring down what once seemed an indomitable totalitarian state.
When the state signs on to protect religious liberty, it necessarily signs on to a particular conception of what it means to be human, and that conception entails a respect for a panoply of rights. These are just a few thoughts about what may be said to a skeptical culture, about the protection of liberty. And make no mistake about it: unless the people can be convinced that robust religious liberty is worth protecting. It will not endure.
Learned Hand wrote, “Liberty lies in the hearts of men and women. When it dies there, no constitution, no law, no court can do much to help us help it.” I'm going to add another reminiscence. During my lifetime, the People's Republic of China did its best to eradicate religion completely. And yet it failed. Just as the Roman emperors who spent centuries trying to destroy Christianity failed. In China, there are now more Christians than there are in France or Germany. And if trends continue, the number of Christians in China may surpass those in the United States.
The Cultural Revolution did its best to destroy religion, but it was not successful. It was not able to extinguish the religious impulse. Our hearts are restless until we rest in God, and therefore the champions of religious liberty who go out as wise as serpents and as harmless of doves can expect to find hearts that are open to their message.
Thank you very much.
REICHARD: That was U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Samuel Alito in a keynote speech last month in Rome before a religious liberty summit hosted by Notre Dame Law School.
MARY REICHARD, HOST: Next up on The World and Everything in It: the Monday Moneybeat.
NICK EICHER, HOST: Time now for our weekly conversation on business, markets, and the economy with financial analyst and adviser David Bahnsen, head of the wealth management firm The Bahnsen Group. Good morning!
DAVID BAHNSEN, GUEST: Good to be with you, Nick.
EICHER: Grab bag of economic data points this past week. I’d like to know what if anything you found most significant. We had a retail sales report for July, virtually unchanged month on month. We saw home sales decline and that’s six months in a row. Industrial production, slight tick up. Any conclusions from any of this?
BAHNSEN: Yeah, I'm not sure if any of it’s overly significant. I think you're right, there were quite a few data points this week. And we can just sort of go through a handful of them. Look, the retail sales for the month of July, were flat, they were not down as many were thinking they would be. And they were up 8.5% from where they were a year ago. There is still a shift in the composition, though I do think what people are buying is a little bit different. But the fact of the matter is, even if there's a little more services and a little less goods, the consumer is just simply not acting like they believe we're in a recession. There's more or less pretty consistently normal behavior from a consumer. I think that the manufacturing data is not great. You did see a negative PMI print, you saw certain issues in housing continuing to go negative, homebuilder sentiment; the industrial production number has been, you know, pretty positive for the most part. So I just think it's a mixed bag of economic data continuing to lean into ambiguity.
EICHER: We saw several stories trying to discern where the Federal Reserve may be going ultimately with interest-rate increases, how far, how fast? All the reports last week were built on the release of meeting minutes of the Federal Open Market Committee, that would be the FOMC meeting where the Fed increased interest rates another three quarters of a point.
So there’s always a fair bit of interpretation of those minutes, trying to figure out what’s likely to happen at the remaining three Fed meetings this year, where is the Fed going to land. How’d you read the minutes, David, what do you think?
BAHNSEN: Well, I guess I have to just keep answering the question because it comes up every day. And it is what a lot of people are asking. So it's a pretty fair question. And yet, I am worried that I myself am a broken record, because I'm repeating the same thing over and over again: The Fed is saying exactly what they have to say.
The minutes for the FOMC meeting from July when they raised the interest rate 75 basis points for the second month in a row, there was chatter about “okay, well, maybe we'll be able to slow down the rate of growth of interest rate hikes into the future if the rate of inflation is coming down.” And the rate of inflation is coming down, and I believe is going to continue to come down.
And so the market took it to be like, “Okay, they're showing the signs of us being closer to the end in the beginning.”
It's hard for me to believe that's a surprise to anybody. It is most certainly my expectation, has been for a long time. I've always felt that if they raised rates five times at such and such a rate or four times at a little higher rate, but regardless, in both cases get to the same place, I don't think it matters. I think that they're getting to 3.5% at the end of the year, and then stopping. That's my belief. And if it's a little bit sooner than that or a little bit later than that, and if it's 3.25 versus 3.75. None of those things matter that much.
But roughly, my expectation is 3.5%, and then stopping going into next year. And the wildcard here is when we talk about the Fed stopping raising interest rates, it's what the impact will be when the quantitative tightening picks up, as they reduce the balance sheet instead of 47 billion a month and closer to 100 billion a month, which begins next month, what will that start to do to financial conditions and things like that? And I've always believed the Fed cares about that, but they're going to be very worried if they see credit markets seize up as a result of their actions.
And all of this is undergirded by my belief that the Fed knows, rightly, that they really can't do much about inflation, that most of the inflation issue we're dealing with is a byproduct of other circumstances.
So they have to pretend one thing, say one thing, but ultimately, do I think that they're going to allow this to go to that extreme level, going into next year with really tight financial conditions when they don't believe it's doing any good anyways? I don't. And that's really what I think the FOMC minutes were hinting at this week.
EICHER: Before we go, I wanted your take on the interesting think tank report that generated a lot of attention, that the cost of raising children, it’s now hit $300,000The Brookings Institution calculated and it represents about a 9% rise over the last time they ran the numbers two years ago. What jumped out was a comment from a Brookings scholar who said: “A lot of people are going to think twice before they have either a first child or a subsequent child because everything is costing more.” I wonder what you think of these kinds of analyses.
BAHNSEN: You know, the Brookings Institute is more center-left institution. American Enterprise Institute, AEI, is more center-right. And Lyman Stone, who's a man of faith and a really wonderful demography expert, has done some work for AEI indicating much of the same.
I wrestle with how much I think the growing cost of raising a kid is a factor in the clearly declining birth rates, but most demographers do believe - and for that matter, most economists do believe - that it's inevitably connected to some degree, that there is a impediment to having multiple kids in a family when the costs continue to increase, where there's another school of thought that thinks it simply they're going to have the kids they are going to have, but then it becomes, you know, the cost takes away from other spending that they may want to do or whatnot, it affects lifestyle, I'd say. I would assume it's probably a little bit of both—anything, though, that is impeding the cause of more family formation, more household formation, people having more kids, I think is a negative.
I am very much in favor of a growing birth rate, both for theological and spiritual reasons and economic ones. I think population growth is vital to productivity, growth and economic well-being.
So the cost structure going higher is problematic. But if we unpack the cost structure, it is not going to come down to consumer-goods prices. The cost structure of raising kids is higher because of housing, period. You can throw in tuition for those who are in private school or college savings. Those things are astronomical. Health care costs have grown.
But to the extent that things like groceries and gas are higher, they are also less than half a percentage of wallet expense relative to what they were 20, 30, and 40 years ago. And so in other words, people are spending more dollars, but it's a lower percentage of their expenditures, because income has grown proportionately, as well. So if anyone's really serious about addressing the cost of having a family, it starts with the ridiculous prices of housing. That's the low hanging fruit here, Nick.
EICHER: David Bahnsen is founder, managing partner, and chief investment officer of The Bahnsen Group—his personal website is Bahnsen.com.
We will soon begin selecting listener questions for David, so you can submit those to firstname.lastname@example.org.
David, thanks for your time each week, I’m grateful. Have a great week!
BAHNSEN: You bet Nick, thanks so much.
MARY REICHARD, HOST: Today is Monday, August 22nd. Good morning! This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Mary Reichard.
NICK EICHER, HOST: And I’m Nick Eicher. Next up: the WORLD History Book.
A few notable events during this fourth week of August: This week marks the first publication of the Guinness Book of World Records in 1955. Also, 15 years ago this week, the first instance of the Hashtag on Twitter.
REICHARD: WORLD’s Paul Butler now with a couple more entries. This week: remembering Hurricane Harvey and the very first Little League World Series.
PAUL BUTLER: The Little League baseball program began in 1939 with three local teams in Williamsport, Pennsylvania.
LITTLE LEAGUE PROMO: Little league is designed for boys nine to 12 years...
Audio here from a 70-year old promotional film:
LITTLE LEAGUE PROMO: It teaches good sportsmanship and teamwork, on and off the playing field. And importantly, it builds healthy minds and bodies for the use of our land.
That first season, local businesses sponsored teams of 30 boys for $30 to help with equipment and uniforms.
LITTLE LEAGUE PROMO: Little League Baseball is a real community project and everyone participates: mother, dad, sister, and brother. It's entirely amateur and completely nonprofit. Sponsorship of the team is strictly a local undertaking.
It didn’t take long for Little League teams to spring up all across the region…
LITTLE LEAGUE PROMO: The purpose of Little League is for them to play ball. Big league ball the Little League way— properly planned and supervised…
The very first National Little League Tournament happened 75 years ago this week. It featured 12 teams. Don Deiter played for the Perry County team that lost in the second round. He also returned the following year. In 2015, he reflected back on the most memorable part of the experience for PennLive.com:
PENNLINE.COM: Well Mr. Deiter, what are your memories of the 1947 Little League World Series? DEITER: It was really a big deal to us as kids. We stayed overnight, so that definitely made it a big deal. I believe it might even been the first time I was away from my parents. It was fun.
That first tournament ended on August 23rd, 1947 as the Maynard Midgets beat the Lock Haven All Stars, 16-7.
LITTLE LEAGUE PROMO: Yes, sir, these boys are champions in every sense of the word. They represent the best in sportsmanship and theirs is the honor so justly earned.
The Little League World Series is currently underway, with 20 teams from around the world competing in the tournament. The final game is scheduled for Sunday, August 28th.
Our second and final story today is from five years ago: August 25th, 2017. Audio here from NBC Nightly News:
HURRICANE HARVEY NEWS: Tonight along the Texas Gulf Coast, utter devastation in the town of Rockport entire blocks are decimated.
Hurricane Harvey comes ashore as a powerful Category 4 hurricane. It’s the strongest hurricane to make landfall in the U-S since 2004. Amanda Evans speaks with NBC in front of her destroyed home:
EVANS: By one o'clock it was terrible. It was so I was crying. I was on my knees praying that we make it.
Winds from the storm peak at 130 miles per hour. But that doesn’t mean it is a fast moving storm. The hurricane crawls across the region dropping huge amounts of rain. Texas Governor Greg Abbott:
ABBOTT: We want to do everything we possibly can to keep people out of rising water.
Many areas are hit with more than 40 inches of rain, with other spots recording as much as 60 inches over four days. News coverage here from ABC News:
HURRICANE HARVEY NEWS: Now you're looking here at the satellite image of where Harvey is right now a category one hurricane about 30 miles southwest of Victoria, Texas.
Harvey spawns more than 20 tornados. Flooding and storm damage kills more than 100 people. 336,000 people lose electricity and tens of thousands require rescue. Eastern Texas’s refinery industry is hit hard, creating a fuel shortage across the region. In the end, Hurricane Harvey causes $125 billion in damage.
A recent study of the Houston area found that five years after the storm, about seventy five percent of those affected report they are mostly to completely recovered.
That’s this week’s WORLD History Book, I’m Paul Butler.
NICK EICHER, HOST: Tomorrow: we head back to Uvalde, Texas, to hear how the community is doing as a new school year begins. We’ll get a first hand report.
That and more tomorrow.
I’m Nick Eicher.
MARY REICHARD, HOST: And I’m Mary Reichard.
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