The World and Everything in It: August 8, 2022
On Legal Docket, First Amendment rights cases from the lower courts; on Moneybeat, the July jobs report and the “hidden” costs of inflation; and on History Book, important dates from the past. Plus: the Monday morning news.
MARY REICHARD, HOST: Good morning!
When government officials violate your constitutional rights, it’s often hard to hold them accountable.
MYRNA BROWN, HOST: That’s ahead on Legal Docket.
Also on the Monday Moneybeat, rising insurance rates. We’ll talk about the “hidden” costs of inflation.
Plus the WORLD History Book: this week the anniversary of a Kentucky revival meeting.
REICHARD: It’s Monday, August 8th. 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: Now here’s Kent Covington with the news.
KENT COVINGTON, NEWS ANCHOR: Democrats deficit reduction bill » Democrats pushed their election-year spending package through the Senate on Sunday.
AUDIO: On this vote, the yeas are 50, the nays are 50. The Senate being equally divided, the vice president votes in the affirmative, and the bill as amended is passed.
Those cheers, of course, came only from one side of the aisle after the straight party-line vote.
Democrats passed it using the budget reconciliation process to avoid a GOP filibuster.
The $740 billion dollar package will cap out-of-pocket drug costs for seniors on Medicare to $2,000 a year and extend expiring health insurance subsidies. It also allows the government to negotiate drug prices for Medicare.
But the majority of the bill, $400 billion dollars worth, will go to measures designed to fight climate change. Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.
SCHUMER: The legislation marks a turning point in the nation's commitment to protect our planet.
Democrats call it the “Inflation Reduction Act.”
Republicans say it’s anything but. They say to counter inflation, now is the time to produce more oil domestically, not less. And Sen. Mike Rounds notes that the bill will raise corporate taxes. He says that cost will be passed on to consumers, further fueling inflation.
ROUNDS: Corporations raise prices. They do pass it all down. We will see those tax increases coming down the line, and Americans are going to feel it.
The bill next heads to the House where it’s expected to pass.
Every Senate Democrat votes against defining pregnancy as unique to biological females » Republican Senator Marco Rubio introduced an amendment to the bill on Sunday that would have defined pregnancy as a condition unique to biological females.
Democratic Sen. Patty Murray objected to that definition.
MURRAY: It is outrageous that Republicans are trying to define pregnancy of all things on this floor, on this day, after hours of amendments.
But Rubio told Senate colleagues that he wants to ensure …
RUBIO: Since every pregnancy that’s ever existed has been in a biological female that our federal laws reflect that and our pregnancy programs are available to the only people capable of getting pregnant, biological females. Very simple. I would accept unanimous consent if they want to offer it and we can move on and not waste any time.
The vote split 50/50, straight down party lines, with all Democrats opposed and the vice president breaking the tie.
Border traffic and buses » New York City Mayor Eric Adams is renewing his call for the federal government to step in and help his city deal with an influx of migrants from the US-Mexico border.
ADAMS: We will be on the phone with the White House. They are willing to speak with us and communicate so that we can resolve this real humanitarian issue.
Adams said homeless shelters in the city are overrun.
He also blasted the state of Texas for recently busing dozens of migrants to his city.
But Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said he’s hopeful that busing migrants to blue cities will get the Biden administration to pay attention to the border crisis.
PAXTON: It’s kind of a statement of personal fairness and, hey, why don’t you pay attention to our real problem. You’re experiencing just a small part of it.
The Border Patrol reported more than 200,000 migrant encounters in the month of June.
Cease-fire between Palestinians, Israel takes effect in Gaza » In the Middle East, Palestinian militants continued firing rockets into Israel last night after a cease-fire with Israeli forces officially took effect.
SOUND: [IRON DOME]
Egypt helped broker the cease-fire in a bid to end nearly three days of violence. During the fighting, Israel launched airstrikes on militant positions that killed dozens of Palestinians. Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid …
LAPID: Israel carried out the precise counterterror operation against an immediate threat. Our fight is not with the people of Gaza.
He said the operations targeted the Iran proxy group, Islamic Jihad.
The flare-up in violence marks the worst fighting between Israel and Gaza militant groups since Israel and Hamas fought an 11-day war last year.
China wraps up live-fire drills, Taiwan to hold drills »
Meantime, in southeast Asia...
A rocket heard there from China’s live-fire military drills over the Taiwan Strait.
The Chinese military conducted a fourth straight day of drills on Sunday. Taiwan said that more than a dozen warships and 20 planes carried out what appeared to be a dress rehearsal for an invasion of the island.
Beijing says it's a response to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan. But both the White House and Taiwanese leaders say they believe China’s simply using that as an excuse.
Secretary of State Tony Blinken …
BLINKEN: We’ll keep our channels of communication with China open with the intent of avoiding escalation due to misunderstanding or miscommunication.
Taiwan will reportedly conduct its own military drills this week to test its military readiness.
Kentucky weather » More rain in the forecast for parts of Kentucky still reeling from catastrophic flooding. Geertson Philomon with the National Weather Service said he does not expect the same level of torrential rain that triggered the flash floods more than a week ago…
PHILOMON: But it is a wet pattern that could cause at least some more isolated to scattered instances of flash flooding and further complicate the recovery effort.
Forecasts show a “persistent threat of thunderstorms” through Thursday.
President Joe Biden is scheduled to join Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear at a FEMA disaster recovery center in eastern Kentucky today. They plan to survey the damage and meet with those affected.
At least 37 people died in the flooding. Two people remain missing.
I'm Kent Covington.
Straight ahead: When government officials violate your constitutional rights, it’s often hard to hold them accountable.
This is The World and Everything in It.
MYRNA BROWN, HOST: It’s Monday morning and a brand new work week for The World and Everything in It. Today is the 8th of August, 2022.
Good morning to you, I’m Myrna Brown.
MARY REICHARD, HOST: And I’m Mary Reichard. It’s time for Legal Docket.
Today, we continue to bring you cases of interest from the lower courts having to do with First Amendment rights.
Specifically, what happens when the government retaliates against citizens for exercising their rights under the Constitution. Like issuing tickets when you say something the government dislikes.
One attorney well versed in current lower court disputes in this area of the law is Ben Field, with the Institute for Justice.
BEN FIELD, GUEST: It’s been well established for decades that the government can’t target somebody because of their protected speech. So it’s a pretty natural follow-on from the First Amendment that if you’re, you know, going out making political statements or engaging in any other protected speech, it’s unconstitutional for a government official to take action against you because of your protected speech.
REICHARD: And how does a person go about making a claim against the government when that happens?
FIELD: The way you have to make a First Amendment claim is you have to show that the government took some action against you, that that action would deter a person of ordinary firmness from exercising their First Amendment protected rights, and that the government wouldn't have taken the action but for the retaliatory motivation.
REICHARD: I think it’d help to understand this better by applying the concepts to actual disputes you’re handling. Now, we’re only talking to one side here, but the point is that this is the sort of litigation that’s going on.
Here’s one about a woman down in Texas who ran for local council and won, but it angered incumbents. Her name is Sylvia Gonzalez. What happened to her?
FIELD: Sure, so, Sylvia lives in Castle Hills, Texas, which is just outside of San Antonio. And she ran for a seat on her local city council. And while she was campaigning, she heard a lot of constituents complain about the city manager. And so when she got on the council, she spearheaded a petition to have the city manager removed. The city manager was tightly connected to the mayor, and to the prosecutor, and they concocted this elaborate conspiracy to target Sylvia for her speech. And what they ended up doing is they took a law that is really about targeting people who use a false driver's license or something like that. And they applied it to her saying that when she accidentally picked up her own petition at a city council meeting, that she was absconding with a government file. And they went through this elaborate process and circumvented the normal prosecutorial route to make sure that she spent some time in jail before eventually, this went to the regular prosecutor who promptly dismissed the charges, realizing that it was bogus. And unfortunately, the government was able to get away with it, or at least has so far.
REICHARD: What’s the status of this litigation now?
FIELD: At the end of July, the Fifth Circuit issued a ruling in this case where the majority said, Well, we're not sure whether they arrested her because of her political speech, because she can't point to a specific example, where somebody else did the same thing and wasn't arrested. The dissent in that case, very, very powerful by Judge Oldham, in the Fifth Circuit, went through in detail just how obvious it was that these officials had developed this elaborate conspiracy to punish Sylvia for her speech. But you know, it was just the dissent, and we're gonna seek further review. And if that’s now successful we’ll definitely go to the Supreme Court and ask them to review it.
REICHARD: Let’s move on to another case, this one in Ohio. A man named William Fambrough supported a challenger to the incumbent mayor in his town of East Cleveland.
Now, you’ve given me some audio of Fambrough telling part of the story for himself. Let’s start with that and have you fill in the details after.
This starts with body cam audio of police issuing him a citation and towing his truck.
OFFICER: Sign the citation or I take you to jail for failing to sign the citation. No, no, no. No warning. Come with me to jail. Sign on the X for me, please.
REICHARD: Later, Fambrough explains what he thinks is really going on.
FAMBROUGH: The police came after my truck simply because I was supporting the mayor's opponent.
REICHARD: So, Ben, fill in the blanks? Fambrough’s lived in East Cleveland for decades and was good friends with a city counsel member who was running for mayor.
FIELD: And he very naturally supported her when she ran for mayor against the incumbent on an anti corruption platform. And William has a step van, which is like a FedEx truck. In fact, that used to be a FedEx truck before he purchased it. And he outfitted it with a speaker and a life size poster of the candidate. And they would drive around town after he got the sound permit signed by the chief of police broadcasting campaign messages, mostly endorsements by prominent local residents in favor of this challenger to the incumbent mayor. And then all you know, out of the blue, the police started harassing William saying he was violating a parking ordinance by having his van parked at his home, even though they've been parked there for 15 years. And so he's brought a lawsuit against the city of East Cleveland and the officials responsible for these retaliatory actions for violating his first amendment rights.
REICHARD: And then what’s the status of this litigation?
FIELD: So we filed the case in June, and the defendants have filed a motion to dismiss. So we're briefing that now. And we're hopeful that the court will allow us to proceed to discovery to really get into the details of who was behind this retaliation and what their roles were.
REICHARD: Okay, so that’s in the very early stages of litigation.
Moving on to the last case today, out of Wisconsin. This also has to do with municipal enforcement codes and how town officials carry them out. What are the facts there?
FIELD: So the principal plaintiffs there are Erica and Zach Mallory, who live in Eagle, Wisconsin, in a pretty rural area. They have a farm, lots of their neighbors have farms, and they've been major advocates for farmers in their community and, including, you know, trying to protect their ability to have livestock. And this has led them into conflict with certain members of the city government. And in response to that, city code enforcement officials really came down on them with very, very ticky tacky enforcement, for instance, you know, saying that they needed a permit to just have a small farm stand on the road or that they had two sheep too many at their farm, or that, you know, on their like large farm certain parts of their grass where a couple inches too high, racking up 1000s of dollars in fines. And this is pretty clearly related to the fact that they were speaking out against the incumbent government.
REICHARD: And I understand that case is still in early stages, too. Ben, what is something we’re not likely to understand about this area of law and government that you wish we did?
FIELD: Yeah, I think that the thing I want people to understand is that the First Amendment protections that you normally think of have to do with actually passing laws or writing down laws. And so when a city council or a state legislature or congress passes a law that purports to restrict speech, the courts are very, very good at scrutinizing it to protect people's liberty. But if the government doesn't write down a law, and instead, executive officials, like a code enforcement officer or police officer or prosecutor just takes action against you for your political speech, it's very difficult to enforce those rights. And so the Supreme Court has made it very, very difficult, for instance, if you're arrested or you're prosecuted, to be able to seek any redress, for that, and even for other things, the doctrines like qualified immunity, give the government a huge amount of leverage to defeat First Amendment retaliation suits. And so if you're somebody like William Fambrough, if the government takes action against you, you face a major uphill battle to be able to either stop the activity or to get compensation for having your rights violated.
REICHARD: Ben Field is a lawyer with Institute for Justice. And that’s this week’s Legal Docket.
MARY REICHARD, HOST: Next up on The World and Everything in It--the Monday Moneybeat.
MYRNA BROWN, 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: Well, good morning. Good to be with you.
REICHARD: Well, David, let’s begin with the July jobs report: It showed 528-thousand new jobs added and the unemployment rate hitting a 50-year low— 3-point-5 percent. And according to The Wall Street Journal, with those jobs added, that means the economy has completely recouped the 22 million jobs lost due to the economic shutdown related to the pandemic.
But, and here’s where my question comes in, the same report says that even though all the jobs lost since February 2020 are recovered, there are still more than 600-thousand fewer people in the workforce than there were then. This is the “labor force participation rate” I hear you talk about so often.
It has to be good that the jobs are back, but how concerning is it that so many have dropped out of the workforce?
BAHNSEN: Well, it's extremely concerning. And I also would point out that the absolute number of jobs that had been lost since the pandemic had been recovered, meaning the payrolls are now back to where they were February 2020. But that actually doesn't tell the whole story because the populations higher and and you have what's called a trend line growth. And the payrolls are not where they would be on trend, we would expect to be at a higher level just based on a normal trend of job growth that is in concert with population growth. So it's still a little bit lower than it was. However, it's been remarkably quick in terms of a comeback from that violence of job loss that we experienced. But your question on labor participation for us is the operable question, because as I love talking about to these listeners, it is a cultural question 16 to 24 year old, so the primary demographic impacted meaning having left the workforce, the 55 + demographic concerns me a lot as well, but for different reasons, 16 to 24. Those are people losing muscle memory of working, losing training, losing development, losing social skills, and pressures and deadlines. And that has an exponential impact because you develop things when you're 22 years old, that you're going to be using for decades to come and we're inhibiting that future productivity.
BROWN: Would you say the jobs report was the biggest story of the week? You mentioned cultural factors. Was there something else, maybe a close second, that we ought to know about?
BAHNSEN: Well, I do think that it was the job report Friday, that was the biggest story. But I also think that this so-called Machin-Schumer Bill and the kind of developments going on there are quite interesting on the policy front, Senator Sinema of Arizona chimed in. And while the headline was she's now on board, she took out the two worst parts that were left in it from a growth standpoint. So that bill already was really quite a cosmetic joke in terms of what its real impact would be. And now, her having taken out the carried interest tax issue and essentially brought back the ability for full expensing for manufacturers on this corporate minimum tax, that whole deal has become quite a joke. And now it could even get worse for the Democrats from there because the parliamentarian and the Senate could very well this week rule that some of the drug benefits they want to put in are not appropriate for the budget reconciliation process. So I think that would be a second place story, but most certainly, the job story is front and center because it is continuing and it's something I've talked about many times on this podcast. It is creating a very inconvenient narrative. There's slowing economic data that is diluting the benefit of strong jobs. And there's strong jobs diluting the narrative of us being in recession and these two things continue to play tug of war.
BROWN: I’d like to take a moment to say we will try most weeks to have listener-questions for David. We’d like to handle these the same way we do listener-feedback: that is, we will prefer questions you record in your own voice. So record your question and send us the file at editor-at-W-N-G-dot-org. So please get your questions in and we may use them on future Monday Moneybeats with David Bahnsen. So here’s our first one, and I’ll read it to you, David:
“As part of inflation woes, insurance companies are dramatically raising rates. They claim that because materials cost so much more these days, the cost to replace a house, or make major repairs, has increased substantially. … What kind of widespread economic effect might this kind of ‘hidden’ cost have?”
What light can you shed on that, David?
BAHNSEN: Well, the rising insurance premium that goes with a rising cost of goods is actually a pretty small piece of the overall puzzle. It's the rising goods themselves, that is far more impactful, the insurance companies are not lying. The cost of replacement, which is part of the economics, to how they would go about ensuring the home is what their own replacement cost would be, the replacement cost has gone higher. So the premiums being increased is probably not as big of a factor as just merely the prices themselves. The question will be if it's sticky, because those building costs are coming down, lumber prices have dropped dramatically, copper prices have dropped. And so will insurance premiums stay higher, even when cost of goods does decrease. That's the question. I think that's in front of us. I wouldn't say it's a major economic impact, but it's certainly--like a lot of these things on the margin--has an impact.
REICHARD: Before we go, I understand that you’ll be offering an Economics 101 online course, David. With Nick on vacation, I was a tad concerned about coming up with what to ask you about. I’m a lawyer, not an econ specialist, so I wish I’d had the chance to take your class. But today, your course is online, and I’ll note there’s no disclosure we need to make, because the course is free of charge! Maybe I should ask, given you’ve written a book titled, “There’s No Free Lunch,” how can there be a free economics course?! [haha] But seriously, tell about the course, why you’re doing it, and where listeners can find it. I imagine homeschoolers will especially appreciate it!
BAHNSEN: Well, I certainly hope homeschoolers would and I hope other Christian classical schools and just different one offs, I expect an awful lot of adults will end up wanting to take the class as well. But of course, the point of there's no free lunch is not to say that somebody can't get something for free, it's that somebody else had to pay for it. And so I assure you that this course was not free for me, but it is something I cared about deeply and felt that distributing this content, at no cost to the person hearing it was more beneficial to the cause I care about then the revenues that it would generate. So essentially there are 30 lectures that have all been professionally recorded, and all of the quizzes and exams, and essay prompts and a full syllabus with links to all the reading material and video material is all available and incubated at bahnsen.com. And so we're really excited and hopeful that a foundational understanding of economics completely and explicitly rooted in a Christian worldview will have the impact I believe it needs to have.
BROWN: All right, that’s David Bahnsen. He’s a financial analyst and advisor and head of the wealth management firm The Bahnsen Group. David writes at Dividend-Cafe-dot-com. And, as you heard, his free Economics 101 course you’ll find at Bahnsen-dot-com. B-A-H-N-S-E-N-dot-com.
David, thanks again.
BAHNSEN: Thank you for having me.
MYRNA BROWN, HOST: Today is Monday, August 8th.
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 WORLD History Book. Today, a notable revival meeting during the second great awakening. Plus, a baseball milestone. And if you have a box of old 45’s in your basement, you might want to dust them off. Here’s WORLD’s Paul Butler.
INSTR. MUSIC: CAMP MEETING ON THE FOURTH OF JULY
PAUL BUTLER, REPORTER: We begin today with August 6th, 18-01 in the early years of the Second Great Awakening. Presbyterian minister Barton Stone begins a week-long camp meeting about 20 miles east of Lexington, Kentucky. He invited other Presbyterian and Methodist congregations to his church in Cane Ridge for a shared communion service.
His building could accommodate about 500, so he erected a tent as well. Late in the week, people began to arrive and set up camp around the grounds. Audio here from a lecture by Thomas Sullivan of Puritan Reformed Audio Books:
SULLIVAN: People were coming in their wagons. It was too far for them to go home, and so they just set up camp.
The meeting began quietly on that Friday with a full house. Nothing out of the ordinary, except a handful of spontaneous prayer meetings that sprouted up after the gathering. But the next day as people continued to stream in, excitement spread. Preachers addressed the crowds in the church and in the tent. They even cut down trees so they could use the stumps as makeshift pulpits.
Men, women, and children alike responded with weeping and wailing as they felt the weight of their sinful condition. Many fell to the ground, some moaning, others seemingly unresponsive.
SULLIVAN: The meetings resembled a battlefield where people were lying around under conviction like they had been shot…
Some pastors returned to their own churches for Sunday morning services: spreading news of the revival. Many returned the next day, bringing others with them. Numbers swelled to more than 10,000.
In his book The Great Revival of 1800, author William Speer writes:
SULLIVAN: The shouting, the shrieking, praying, and nervous spasms of this vast multitude produced an unearthly and almost terrible spectacle...
Methodist minister James B. Finley heard of the revival and came mid-meeting. He could hear it long before he arrived. He later described the scene this way:
SULLIVAN: The noise was like the roar of Niagara, the vast sea of human beings seemed to be agitated by a storm.
Many who experienced the Cane Ridge Revival later compared it to the Day of Pentecost. Joel chapter two seemed an apt description—as “sons and daughters prophesied,” and the Spirit fell on slaves and free alike.
After seven days, the meeting ended almost as unexpectedly as it began. Similar revivals and camp meetings continued for decades. Barton Stone eventually left the Presbyterian church and became the leader of the Restoration Movement. He called for Christians to return to a simpler and more Biblical expression of faith and practice as seen in Acts chapter two—spawning a handful of new denominations.
INSTR. MUSIC: CAMP MEETING ON THE FOURTH OF JULY
Next, August 11th, 19-29…
SOUND: [CRACK OF BAT AND PEOPLE CHEERING]
New York Yankee, George Herman Ruth, becomes the first major league baseball player to hit 500 home runs in his career—a benchmark only 27 other players have achieved in the years since.
When Ruth entered the league in 1914, baseball strategy focused almost exclusively on getting batters on base. Players were instructed to hit the ball down or through the infield.
With his powerful swing, Ruth revolutionized the game. In 1919, he hit 27 home runs—a new single-season record. Eight years later, he set the bar at 60. Ruth’s bat propelled his teams to World Series victories on 7 different occasions. He hit a total of 714 home runs in his career—a record that would stand for nearly 40 years.
Ruth was elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1936 as one of its inaugural five members.
SONG: TAKE ME OUT TO THE BALL GAME
And finally today, August 12th, 1877—145 years ago. Thomas Edison sketches out a device he calls the “phonograph.” The US Patent office issues Edison a patent for the invention a few months later. Edison’s device was not the first to record sound, but his phonograph soon becomes the industry standard.
SOUND: EDISON RECORDING
Edison’s early phonographs use cylinders about the size of a lint roller.
In the early 20th century, the recording medium flattens into a disc shape. In the 1940s vinyl becomes the preferred medium making mass production by companies like RCA easier.
RCA EDUCATIONAL FILM: The record compound—the finest pure vinyl obtainable—is fed into the press in granular form…
Twenty years ago, Gary J. Freiberg—a vinyl record enthusiast turned preservationist—founded National Vinyl Record Day, commemorated each August 12th in honor of Edison’s first phonograph. Here is Freiberg from a 2011 appearance on the Dave Congalton show:
FREIBERG: I think that it's very, very important to preserve our audio history…and part of the goal of Vinyl Record Day is to urge and perhaps educate the public to take care of their vinyl records.
Freiberg hopes that National Vinyl Record Day encourages everyday music lovers to not only preserve the cultural influence of vinyl records—but also the artwork and analog experience as well. So pull out your turntable, dust off your LPs or 45s, and take a listen down memory lane.
That’s this week’s WORLD History Book, I’m Paul Butler.
TODD SNIDER: “VINYL RECORDS”
MARY REICHARD, HOST: Tomorrow: the latest on Sweden and Finland’s entrance into NATO.
Plus, how forests are making a comeback in the country of Niger.
That and more tomorrow.
I’m Mary Reichard.
MYRNA BROWN, HOST: And I’m Myrna Brown.
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