The World and Everything in It: August 3, 2022
On Washington Wednesday, the Democrats’ plan to beat back inflation; on World Tour, the latest international news; and a prayer warrior who loves to pray with strangers. Plus: commentary from Janie B. Cheaney, and the Wednesday morning news.
MARY REICHARD, HOST: Good morning!
We’re spending more and buying less. Democrats pitch a big spending bill they say will fight inflation.
MYRNA BROWN, HOST: That’s ahead on Washington Wednesday.
Also during our weekly WORLD tour—we’ll visit the Democratic Republic of Congo, Iraq, Lebanon, and Ukraine.
Plus today we’ll meet a man who loves to pray with strangers.
And WORLD commentator Janey B. Cheaney on God's providence and bad weather forecasts.
REICHARD: It’s Wednesday, August 3rd. This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Mary Reichard.
BROWN: And I’m Myrna Brown. Good morning!
REICHARD: Up next, Kent Covington with today’s news.
KENT COVINGTON, NEWS ANCHOR: Pelosi visits Taiwan » House Speaker Nancy Pelosi woke up in Taiwan this morning.
SOUND: [Taiwan plane]
Her plane touched down under cover of darkness Tuesday night in Taipei … where she was greeted with cheers.
AUDIO: Welcome! [cheers]
She is the highest-ranking American official to visit Taiwan in 25 years.
China views the island as part of its territory and objects to any high-level U.S. visits there. But back in Washington, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle expressed support for the speaker.
GOP Sen. Roy Blunt says he doesn’t agree with Pelosi on much, but…
BLUNT: So I’m about to use four words in a row that I haven’t used in this way before, and those four words are: Speaker Pelosi was right.
Beijing vowed to retaliate if Pelosi visited Taiwan. And in response to her arrival, China responded by announcing live-fire military drills in the Taiwan Strait from Thursday through Sunday.
White House National Security Council Spokesperson John Kirby said he’s still hoping cooler heads will prevail.
KIRBY: There’s no reason, no justification whatsoever for the tensions to ramp up more than they already are.
He said the United States will not return China’s threats or participate in saber rattling.
US says Taliban violated agreement by hosting al-Qaeda » The U.S. government says the Taliban has grossly violated its promise not to shelter terrorists. That after U.S. Hellfire missiles killed Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahri in the country’s capital over the weekend.
Congressman Mike Waltz serves on the House Armed Services Committee.
WALTZ: Al Qaeda is clearly back in Afghanistan just like they were pre 911 And not only were they back he was staying in the guest house of the Taliban’s interior minister.
The Taliban promised in 2020 not to harbor terrorists.
Critics of the US withdrawal from Afghanistan say this broken promise was entirely predictable.
Senate passes burn pit bill » AUDIO: On this vote, the yeas are 86. The nays are 11. The motion is agreed to.
The Senate passed a bill last night enhancing healthcare and disability benefits for veterans exposed to toxic burn pits near US military bases.
Majority Leader Chuck Schumer …
SCHUMER: Today we tell our veterans suffering from cancers, lung diseases, other ailments from burn pits, the wait is over for the benefits you deserve.
Some Republicans blocked the legislation temporarily last week over what they said was a costly and unrelated spending measure Democrats had slipped into the bill. They pushed an amendment to remove that provision. But Sen. Tom Cotton said …
COTTON: If the Toomey amendment fails, I will still vote on passage of this bill. I think the vast majority of Republicans will do so as well.
It did fail, and as Cotton predicted, most Republicans still backed it.
The legislation directs the VA to presume that certain illnesses were related to burn pit exposure rather than veterans having to prove causation.
The bill now heads to the president’s desk. He is expected to sign it into law.
Job openings dipped in June » Businesses are hanging fewer ‘help wanted’ signs in their windows as inflation continues to weigh on the economy. WORLD’s Josh Schumacher has more.
JOSH SCHUMACHER, REPORTER: The Labor Department said Tuesday that while job openings remain high, they dipped by about half a million in June.
From December to May, employers consistently posted more than 11 million job openings each month. June was the first month under that benchmark this year, at 10.7 million openings.
The number of Americans quitting their jobs fell slightly and layoffs dropped from 1.4 million in May to 1.3 million in June.
The Labor Dept. expects that when it analyzes the July data, it will find that job openings ticked upward again by roughly quarter of a million.
Reporting for WORLD, I’m Josh Schumacher.
KY flooding recedes, heat sets in » Just as the rain finally lets up in Kentucky, here comes the heat.
Gov. Andy Beshear told reporters …
BESHEAR: It’s going to get really, really hot. And that’s going to be our new weather challenge.
That will leave many communities still without power baking in the sun with temperatures likely to reach the mid-90s in parts of eastern Kentucky today.
Nearly 10,000 customers still have no electricity. Authorities are setting up cooling stations in the affected areas.
Beshear said the flooding has caused hundreds of millions of dollars in damage.
BESHEAR: It's going to take years to rebuild. People left with absolutely nothing. Homes that we don’t know where they are, just entirely gone.
First responders and National Guard troops have been very busy, rescuing 1,300 people.
At least 37 people have died, but that number is expected to rise sharply with many still unaccounted for.
I’m Kent Covington. Straight ahead: how the Democrats plan to fight inflation.
Plus, a prayer warrior for strangers.
This is The World and Everything in It.
MYRNA BROWN, HOST: It’s Wednesday the 3rd of August, 2022.
Glad to have you along for today’s edition of The World and Everything in It. Good morning, I’m Myrna Brown.
MARY REICHARD, HOST: And I’m Mary Reichard. It’s time for Washington Wednesday.
First up: the Democrats’ plan to fight inflation.
West Virginia Democrat Sen. Joe Manchin is the biggest swing vote in the Senate. He’s the most moderate member of that party.
In an evenly divided chamber, Democrats can get almost nothing done without his approval.
BROWN: But now they have his approval on a bill that would spend nearly three-quarters of a trillion dollars.
It would, among other things, rework the tax code and address climate change.
Democrats say the legislation will help beat back inflation. Republicans counter, it will only make the problem worse.
So what would this proposal do and what are the odds that it passes?
REICHARD: Joining us now James Capretta. He is a former associate director at the White House’s Office of Management and Budget. James, good morning!
JAMES CAPRETTA, GUEST: Good morning. Thank you.
REICHARD: Well first of all, James, just give us a high-level overview of what’s in this bill and what Democrats say it’s designed to do.
CAPRETTA: Well, it’s actually a pretty straightforward piece of legislation. As you know, it's a long bill, many pages, but it has a few major provisions. One is that it institutes a new corporate income tax rate minimum of 15 percent for certain larger corporations that have revenue above a certain threshold. So it's trying to say to corporate America that if your company is making a certain amount of money, forget all the other loopholes, there's going to be a minimum tax of at least 15 percent.
Then it says, we're going to give the IRS a bunch of money—quite a bit of money, tens of billions of dollars—in the coming years to help them perform and do greater monitoring of income tax payments, especially by higher income individuals. So they're trying to make sure compliance is higher with existing tax law by giving the IRS much more resources than they currently get.
So those are the two big provisions on the tax side. There's one more having to do with carried interest, which is something that is smaller in terms of its revenue effect, but which is controversial just because of its effect on the financial services industry in particular. Some people view it as a loophole closer, some people view it as a tax increase. I guess that depends on your perspective. But in terms of its revenue consequence, it’s a much smaller amount of money.
On the other side, there is a major provision associated with prescription drugs. Basically, this new bill would give Medicare and the government the authority to get much more involved with certain higher cost drugs in terms of setting the price for them. Now they call it a negotiation, but candidly, when the government gets involved with the things, they say it's a negotiation, but there's always a backup price that would be paid if they fail to come to an agreement. And that could end up being very well the price that does get paid, which is substantially below what these pharmaceutical companies would likely receive in the absence of this new bill. So they're basically lowering the price that Medicare will pay for certain numbers of drugs.
And then finally, they would spend some money by extending some subsidies on the Affordable Care Act exchanges, that is for premiums for enrolling into insurance, health insurance for people with certain income levels. Those were bumped up in 2021 and 2022. And they want to extend that for another three years, through 2025.
And then finally, the big one, the one that they talked about quite a bit and is a major focus and why they're very pressed and want to get this bill done is the provisions having to do with energy transformation. Basically, trying to subsidize the movement of energy production in the United States away from fossil fuels to renewable sources of energy. So that's a major, major push and really like $300-some billion in new spending over the next decade is associated with that part of the bill.
So when you net it all out, it's about potentially—and this is what Senator Manchin insisted on—about $300 billion potentially in deficit reduction. But that presumes that the subsidies for the health insurance end after 2025, which if you do them for that many years, five years, the likelihood they ever end is near zero. So they will get maintained. And then it also assumes a repeal of a regulation, which isn't going to happen anyway, which on paper saves about $120 billion. So there's a little bit of—as usual in these kinds of measures—some gaming and some gimmicks. But anyway, that's by and large what's in the bill.
REICHARD: The nonpartisan Joint Committee on Taxation — “JCT” for short — put together an analysis of the bill showing that most Americans will have to pay higher taxes if it passes. And I know during the 2020 campaign President Biden said, candidate Biden said, no new taxes on anybody earning less than $400,000 per year. So what explanation is offered for this new conclusion that everybody’s going to have to pay more taxes?
CAPRETTA: Well, when you implement a tax on corporations of a minimum of 15 percent, on paper it looks like or at least in an accounting sense, the first payer is the company itself. They send more money to the IRS if you impose this tax. But truthfully, they pass it on in various ways. They may pass it on to shareholders, who are mostly higher income people, but not entirely. Or they may pass on some of it in the form of less hiring or potentially lower wages. This is what the JCT assumes. Tthey assume some of that will get passed on to the various categories of people. And some of it will end up hitting the people who are below $400,000 a year in income. So, my view of this is that politicians make all kinds of pledges and they often are stretching it a little bit. And this one stretched it a little bit with President Biden, saying he wasn't going to raise taxes on this income category, and this tax would for sure. But on the other hand, I think trying to say that this is a big tax increase on working Americans is probably not accurate either. That, yeah, there'll be some effect on working Americans, but it's relatively minor in the scheme of things relative to the size of the bill and the taxes that will be paid by other people.
REICHARD: What are the odds then that this bill reaches President Biden’s desk? Does this bill need to pass the 60 vote threshold to avoid a filibuster, or is this something Democrats could pass just with a simple majority?
CAPRETTA: Well, they’ve written it to be passed with a simple majority. It will never make it to the president if it had to get 10 Republican votes, which it would if it needed 60 votes. So they're passing this just with Democratic votes in the Senate. And then a very party-line vote in the House for sure. So they're banking on this passing under the rules of budget procedures called reconciliation, where they only need 50 votes and they're counting on that. And what are the odds of that happening? This story has been lots of ups and downs and twists and turns, but this is so important to the Democratic Party, so important to the president, it's hard to imagine it not getting through the Congress eventually.
REICHARD: Sen. Joe Manchin, as we mentioned, is probably the most moderate member of the Democrats in the Senate, at least. What won him over on this? He wasn’t sold on this before. So why is he now?
CAPRETTA: Well, you kind of have to look at it from his perspective. I think he actually really changed the bill quite a bit. I mean, the bill is no longer a trillion dollar bill. It's basically a hundreds of billions of dollars bill instead of trillions of dollars. And the only spending in the bill really is associated with the climate change provisions, which he says he always supported. He may have moved a little bit in part because he wanted to have some of it in his jurisdiction, and he got some side deals that allows benefits for industries in his own state. So I think that was a big part of how we got to Yes. And to be honest about it, he always supported the prescription drug provisions and raising taxes on corporations. So this isn’t entirely inconsistent with where he's been all year to be honest with you. And I would give him a fair amount of credit for moving the bill pretty far away from where it was originally, much closer to a set of principles that he's articulated pretty consistently.
REICHARD: We’ve been talking to James Capretta. He is a Senior Fellow and Milton Friedman Chair at the American Enterprise Institute. James, thanks so much!
CAPRETTA: Thank you.
MYRNA BROWN, HOST: Coming up next on The World and Everything in It: WORLD Tour with our reporter in Africa, Onize Ohikere.
ONIZE OHIKERE, REPORTER: DRC unrest—We begin today with protests in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
AUDIO: [Protesters chanting]
Chanting protesters stormed the United Nations bases in the eastern cities of Goma and Butembo last week, demanding the departure of U.N. peacekeepers.
They smashed windows and looted computers and other items from the bases.
Residents accuse the peacekeepers in the restive region of failing to protect civilians and colluding with some of the active armed groups.
At least 22 people, including 16 civilians, died in the violence.
Ned Price, the U.S. State Department’s spokesman, called for peace.
PRICE: We call on the national and local authorities in the DRC (Democratic Republic of Congo) to ensure the protection of MONUSCO sites and personnel and for protesters to express their sentiments peacefully. We appreciate the government of the DRC's commitment to investigating these events and holding accountable those responsible.
In a separate incident on Sunday, peacekeepers killed two civilians when they opened fire at the Ugandan border. Authorities have launched an investigation.
Iraqi protests — Next, to a camp-out at Iraq’s parliament.
AUDIO: [Protesters chanting]
Protesters loyal to the influential Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr toppled concrete walls and stormed the parliament in Baghdad’s highly secure Green Zone over the weekend. They continued to camp out there this week as volunteers brought bread, water, and blankets.
They are opposing a rival Shiite bloc’s nomination for prime minister. Iraq had elections last October but has still failed to form a new government as negotiations between factions continue to fail.
The protesters are now calling for early elections, constitutional amendments, and the ouster of some government officials.
PROTESTER: [Speaking in Arabic]
This protester said he joined the sit-in because only political party members benefit from state services. The Health Ministry said more than 100 people sustained injuries during the weekend breach.
Beirut silos collapse — We head over to Lebanon, where a section of grain silos in Beirut collapsed on Sunday.
AUDIO: [Silos collapsing]
It came days before the second anniversary of the deadly disaster that first made the silos unstable. The structure had absorbed much of the impact of the explosion that killed more than 200 people and injured more than 6,500 others.
The government had ordered the demolition of the structure back in April, but relatives of the blast victims want it preserved as a memorial site.
Ukraine grain transport— Finally, we end today at Ukraine’s port of Odessa.
AUDIO: [Honking ship departing]
The first ship to depart from the port of Odessa set sail on Monday with more than 26,000 tons of corn onboard. It comes after Russia and Ukraine reached separate agreements with Turkey and the United Nations. The deal would see Russia and Ukraine export 22 million tons of grain and other agricultural produce stuck in the Black Sea ports due to Russia’s invasion.
The ship arrived at the Istanbul port on Tuesday and continued on to Lebanon, which is facing one of the world’s worst financial crises. Many are hopeful it would ease some of the global food crisis and soaring prices brought on by the war.
That’s it for this week’s World Tour. Reporting for WORLD, I’m Onize Ohikere in Abuja, Nigeria.
MARY REICHARD, HOST: Training to be a lifeguard means you learn how to safely pull someone from the water, how to perform CPR. Things like that.
Normally though you don’t learn how to deliver a baby.
Eighteen-year-old Natalie Lucas had to learn that skill on the job.
The very pregnant Tessa Rider and her husband, Matthew, were visiting their local YMCA for a little exercise in the pool.
All of a sudden, the 29-year-old mother of three said she “felt the need to push.”
Tessa dialed 911. But she soon realized the baby had no intention of waiting for an ambulance.
That’s when lifeguard Natalie sprang into action. She grabbed towels and a first-aid kit, did everything she could to help, and within minutes, little Tobin Thomas Rider was born.
MYRNA BROWN: Sometimes in life, you gotta improvise!
It’s The World and Everything in It.
MYRNA BROWN, HOST: Today is Wednesday, August 3rd. Thank you for turning to WORLD Radio to help start your day.
Good morning. I’m Myrna Brown.
MARY REICHARD, HOST: And I’m Mary Reichard. Coming next on The World and Everything in It: The prayer of a righteous person!
Myrna, according to the rest of that verse in the book of James it has great power and can accomplish much.
BROWN: And I met a man from Wisconsin who is doing his best to put that verse to the test. Let’s listen!
CONCERT: You guys know this one…. sing out….
MYRNA BROWN CORRESPONDENT: It’s Friday afternoon… day two of a four-day Christian music festival. As thousands of excited concert goers gather around the outdoor stage, a 72-year-old grandfather strolls through the festival’s crowded indoor market. Tee-shirts, books, and CDs fill the space. But Chema Paba isn’t focused on the music or the merchandise.
CHEMA TO CHRIS: Chris it’s a pleasure to meet you. Good to meet you, too. What’s your name? I’m Chema. Any special way I can pray for you?
Chema isn’t just a people person. He’s a self-proclaimed prayer warrior, who’s never met a stranger he wasn’t led to pray for.
CHEMA: Lord Jesus I pray for your continued anointing upon Chris and his family. What precious girls you have given him. I love them where they are at. That’s what He calls me to do. Those God-appointed encounters. I don’t know these people. I make eye contact. The Lord says go talk to them and it's amazing what happens.
Up one aisle, down the next, Chema prays with a middle-aged woman working as a Christian college recruiter at the festival. He also chats with the founder of an online radio station. Then, he walks over to a young man with long, dark, curly hair selling bathroom fixtures.
CHEMA TO VENDOR: Have you been here before? First time here. Hey, welcome man. What’s your name? Jesse. Jesse, I’m Chema. Is there any special way I can pray for you? I’m not interested today. You’re not interested. I’m not selling anything. There’s no charge. Do you mind? I’m not interested today…
As we walk out of the marketplace, headed towards the golf cart Chema uses to traverse the 100-acre-venue, Chema says he can’t remember the last time someone turned down prayer.
CHEMA: So you’re not discouraged by that? Not at all. I take it as a challenge to love them as God has loved me. Because for a while I rejected God. But he didn’t give up on me. He pursued me.
Chema was born in Caracas, Venezuela.
CHEMA: Was I a Christian? I went to church. But I really did not know Him as my Lord.
That missing relationship with Jesus left him vulnerable. During his senior year in high school, he was introduced to Marxism.
CHEMA: And that captivated my heart because they have a lot to say about social injustice and justice overall.
Four years later, Chema was a college senior. A friend of a friend gave him a Bible. The acquaintance encouraged Chema to read it. He was persistent.
CHEMA: I said, you don’t give up do you? He said eternity is a very long time. Do you know where you’re going to spend it? I said let’s do it before I change my mind. And I did it. All I knew is that I knew at that moment there was a real God, who cares about real people, who lives in a real world that is truly broken.
After college, Chema worked as an accountant and later as a project manager for an international corporation. While he enjoyed material success, Chema says true contentment was still elusive.
CHEMA: Well, since I was in seventh grade I didn’t grow any longer. My buddies kept on growing.
Standing just a few inches over five feet, Chema says he always felt he had something to prove.
CHEMA: I wanted people to know that because I was short, you’re not going to push me around. Because I’m short, I’m not a weakling.
In this last season of his life, Chema says he now rests in his identity in Christ.
CHEMA: And I said Lord forgive me. I want my all, my frame, 5’4 or however tall it is or however short, I’m going to serve you with passion.
Chema is a chaplain in the prison system. It’s how he makes a living.
AUDIO: [FOR KING AND COUNTRY CONCERT]
But every year since 1999, he uses his vacation time to serve as the chaplain at this music festival.
CHEMA: Sometimes I want to listen to a concert. Nine out of ten times I never make it there…
But he does get to pray for the men and women on stage.
CHEMA: What’s your performance, what you do? I’m a rapper. You’re a rapper? Yeah!
Standing under a huge white tent, Chema strikes up a conversation with Caleb, a Christian rap artist in the middle of his lunch.
CHEMA TO CALEB: How do you come to know Christ? It was 2018, I graduated from high school, I was in this depressing state and I decided to take God seriously….
Then over a burger and pasta…
CHEMA TO CALEB: Do you mind if I pray with you? Oh yeah, come on. Let’s pray. Lord Jesus, I thank you for this man. May people come to know You because of his testimony…
Before leaving the tent, Chema notices Dennis, a festival volunteer, wearing work boots and a baseball cap.
DENNIS: My wife filed for divorce after 36 years…
Chema learns he’s fighting for his broken marriage.
CHEMA: Father, you know my brother Dennis. You know exactly what he’s going through.
MYRNA TO DENNIS: What did that mean to have someone in this venue pray for you? What did it mean? (pause) The world.
Reporting for WORLD, I’m Myrna Brown in OshKosh, Wisconsin.
MARY REICHARD, HOST: Today is Wednesday, August 3rd. Good morning! This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Mary Reichard.
MYRNA BROWN, HOST: And I’m Myrna Brown. It’s been a sweltering summer in much of the U.S. But WORLD commentator Janie B. Cheaney reminds us that weather is no obstacle to God’s good work.
JANIE B. CHEANEY, COMMENTATOR: For the Midwest, it's been the kind of summer that gives summer a bad name. The weather forecast is stuck on a blazing orange heat advisory. My garden is stuck, too: tomatoes refusing to turn red and corn refusing to fill out. Even the sun seems stuck in the sky, an angry eye glaring down at the earth. It reminds me of an Old Testament curse, like this one in Deuteronomy:
“And the heavens over your head shall be bronze and the earth under you shall be iron.”
It looks like that around here: bronzey sky, iron hard earth, wave after wave of bad news on the national scene. Is it a curse? Or, in some paradoxical way, a blessing? Deuteronomy makes a clear distinction between the two. Obey me, says the Lord, and you will be blessed everywhere—in the field, in the house, in the community. Disobey me, and you will be cursed when you come in and when you go out.
He spoke these words to a child-like nation in the wilderness of Arabah, just before entering their promised land. Israel needed reminders and warnings and the clear distinctions of their covenant. Christ brought us a new covenant, where the moral distinctions are still clear, but the line between punishment and discipline isn’t, so much.
What is God doing now? Are we being punished, warned, or disciplined? Well, remember that God is never doing just one thing: he’s doing any number of things, to any number of people. Some are being judged, some punished, some forced to rethink their assumptions, and others just may look back on these miserable months as a blessing.
About ten years ago, on a torrid July noon, I was setting up for a church picnic in the park and thinking surly thoughts. Whose idea was it to plan a picnic in July, anyway? Oh yeah—mine. The first arrival, a relentlessly perky young lady, reminded me that weather is no barrier to a good time. She was right. The kids discovered a new cave to explore. The old folks chatted under the pavilion in a gentle breeze. Someone brought homemade root beer and someone else brought ice cream and voila! Root beer floats.
We were blessed.
In his farewell address, Moses reminded the people of their sojourn in the wilderness with its fiery serpents and thirsty ground, all so that God, quote, “might humble you and test you, to do you good in the end.” Romans 8:28 comes to mind about God working all things together for good. I like the NIV translation better: “In all things God works for the good of those who love him.” In all things, He’s at work, and even if we don’t understand how, we can know for sure that it will do us good in the end.
I’m Janie B. Cheaney.
MARY REICHARD, HOST: Tomorrow: we’ll hear how some states are looking to restrict the legal amount of THC in marijuana products—as troubling side effects are on the rise.
And, China’s complaints about Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to the region.
That and more tomorrow.
I’m Mary Reichard.
MYRNA BROWN, HOST: And I’m Myrna Brown.
The World and Everything in It comes to you from WORLD Radio.
WORLD’s mission is biblically objective journalism that informs, educates, and inspires.
The Book of Matthew says: ...everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. (Matthew 7:24-25 ESV)
Go now in grace and peace.
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