Glenn Beck: Fuzzy Math

VOICE: The Glenn Beck program presents more truth behind America's march to socialism.

GLENN: Opponents of the cap and trade plan ran into a little speed bump recently when their claim that cap and trade would cost the consumer about $3100 a year in increased energy prices was disputed by one of the math geniuses at MIT. This is one of the things remember, they will say, "This cap and trade, it's not going to make that big of a deal." And you're going to save all of this money. Really? The GOP used numbers from the study that said cap and trade would raise $366 billion in revenue annually. In other words, $366 billion in new taxes. You divide that figure by 117 million households in America and you get the $3100 figure. "Well, you've got a guy..." MIT is involved. You just don't $3100, what are you talking about? John Reilly, the MIT professor who was part of the study said the claim was "Just wrong. It's wrong in so many ways it's hard to begin." Reilly said it would only cost households $215 annually. Okay, that's not so bad. $215 for the whole household for a whole year? People won't even notice that. The bloggers and the reporters couldn't wait to hammer the GOP on this one and the one, the only Keith Olbermann, in Shakespearian tones, said this.

MSNBC's Keith Olbermannn

OLBERMANN: House minority leader John Boehner of Ohio. We assume when it comes to politicians and math, there's going to be some lying. But lying to the tune of 140 times the truth? Boehner's criticism of the Obama proposals on cap and trade, making energy in this country as green as possible includes this statement: Anyone who has the audacity to flip on a light switch will be forced to pay higher energy bills thanks to this new tax increase which will cost every American family up to $3100 per year in higher energy prices. Well, that's true if your family is a large one, say 101 people. Boehner has taken a research study two years at MIT on the effective cap and trade on energy prices and he's lied about it. The number in the study was not up to $3100 per family. It was up to $31 per person. And even that would not kick in until 2015. So the average additional cost per family six years from now would be 79 bucks, minus however much foreign gas prices would drop based on decreased demand and minus the lowered healthcare because of the cleaner atmosphere. 31 bucks, 3100 bucks, it's all the same to congressman John the math leads Boehner, today's worst person in the world.

GLENN: That is such a clever bit. I wish I would have thought of that person. So here's Keith Olbermann saying worst person in the world, John Boehner. The media had their field day. Then after several e mail exchanges with the Weekly Standard, this comes out: MIT professor John Reilly wait a minute. He's the guy who said it's wrong in so many different ways, it's hard to begin. John Reilly admitted that his original estimate of cap and trades cost was inaccurate. The annual cost would be $800 per household. Quote: I made a boneheaded mistake in an Excel spreadsheet. I have sent a new letter to the Republicans correcting my error and others. "Okay, but still, $800 is way higher than $250 but it's still way less than $3100 that the GOP came up with." Yes, but the figure that Reilly came up with, according to him, is the cost of greening your lifestyle. So in other words, if you buy green insulation or a couch made of hemp, invest in a solar roller or whatever, the number of just the cost to the economy, that money just disappears. The problem is that Reilly is still lowballing the cost because he assumes that the $3100 of extra taxes on energy producers per household, which obviously they will pass on the cost to the consumer and he's admitted that, will be returned to each household. Without that assumption, Reilly writes, "The cost then would be the Republican estimate $3,128 plus the cost I estimate of $800." So in other words, if these companies don't pass their costs on to you, then it's only going to be $800. But if these companies raise their prices because they're now having to pay for higher energy costs, it will be you ready? $4,000. Keith Olbermann was right! The Republicans were wrong again! Because they said $3100. Now according to the MIT scholar that Keith Olbermann was just quoting and basing it on, it is now $4,000. "But they'll just send the money back." Mmm hmmm, right. His theory is, well, they will just use that money for programs that people will use. Obama's own Office of Management and Budget is predicting trillion dollar deficits for the next decade. Democrats are already openly salivating on how they can spend the cap and trade money. Democrats think they are saving the world by jacking up energy prices. This is a $300 billion annual cash cow for Washington. That's it. If you think they're going to turn around and give that money back to you, you are sadly mistaken. Remember, the politicians in Washington promised that the income tax would never go over 1%, never go over 1%. Look up the congressional records. They swore these progressives it would be insane and the people would rise up if we ever broke the insane percentage of 5% income tax. And by the way, they were only talking about the wealthiest of the wealthy. Congratulations. You've just witnessed the fusion of socialism and Microsoft Excel. And congratulations to the progressives and Keith Olbermann on becoming the worst person in the world!

VOICE: That was even more overwhelming evidence that we are destined to be a bunch of socialist pigs very, very soon on the Glenn Beck program.

The themes of healing and redemption appear throughout the Bible.

Our bodies are buried in brokenness, but they will be raised in glory. They are buried in weakness, but they will be raised in strength. — 1 Corinthians 15:43
It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners. — Mark 2:17.

So, for many Christians, it's no surprise to hear that people of faith live longer lives.

Heal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed; save me, and I shall be saved, for you are my praise. — Jeremiah 17:14.

But it is certainly lovely to hear, and a recent study by a doctoral student at Ohio State University is just one more example of empirical evidence confirming the healing benefits of faith and religious belief.

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Moreover, the study finds that religious belief can lengthen a person's life.

A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones. — Proverbs 17:22
Lord, your discipline is good, for it leads to life and health. You restore my health and allow me to live! — Isaiah 38:16

The study analyzed over 1,000 obituaries nationwide and found that people of faith lived longer than people who were not religious. Laura Wallace, lead author of the study, noted that "religious affiliation had nearly as strong an effect on longevity as gender does, which is a matter of years of life."

The study notes that, "people whose obits mentioned a religious affiliation lived an average of 5.64 years longer than those whose obits did not, which shrunk to 3.82 years after gender and marital status were considered."

And He called to Him His twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every disease and every affliction. — Matthew 10:1

"The researchers found that part of the reason for the boost in longevity came from the fact that many religiously affiliated people also volunteered and belonged to social organizations, which previous research has linked to living longer. The study provides persuasive evidence that there is a relationship between religious participation and how long a person lives," said Baldwin Way, co-author of the study and associate professor of psychology at Ohio State.

Prayer is good medicine, and faith is a good protector.

In addition, the study showed how the effects of religion on longevity might depend in part on the personality and average religiosity of the cities where people live, Way said.

Prayer is good medicine, and faith is a good protector.

And the power of the Lord was with him to heal. — Luke 5:17
Heal the sick in it and say to them, The kingdom of God has come near to you. — Luke 10:9.

In early June, the Social Security and Medicare trustees released their annual report on the fiscal health of these programs, and the situation looks dire. Medicare is scheduled to run out of money in 2026 (three years sooner than anticipated), while Social Security is expected to run out in 2034. The rising national debt is only one of the well-known financial struggles the millennial generation faces. The burdens of student loan debt, high housing prices (thanks to zoning restrictions), stagnant wage growth, the rising cost of healthcare and lingering aftershocks of the Great Recession are among the biggest sources of economic anxiety millennials feel.

Progressive politicians have been very successful at courting the youth vote, partly because they actually promote policy ideas that address many of these concerns. As unrealistic or counterproductive as Senator Bernie Sanders' proposals for single-payer health care or a $15 an hour minimum wage might be, they feel in theory like they would provide the economic stability and prosperity millennials want.

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Republicans, on the other hand, have struggled to craft a message to address these concerns. Fiscal conservatives recognize, correctly, that the burden of the $20 trillion national debt and over $200 trillion in unfunded liabilities will fall on millennials. Some conservatives have even written books about that fact. But the need to reform entitlements hasn't exactly caught millennials' attention. Pollster Kristen Soltis Anderson, in her book The Selfie Vote, notes that millennials generally view protecting the safety net as more important than reducing the deficit.

Clearly, Republicans have a problem. They need to craft solutions that address the millennial generation's struggles, but they can't seem to sell entitlement reform, their biggest policy preference that addresses those problems. The Republican approach to wooing millennials on policy is failing because talking about stopping the debt from reaching an unsustainable level is long-term and abstract, and offers few immediate tangible benefits. A new approach to both pave the way for entitlement reform and give millennials an immediate financial boost is to first reform not entitlement spending, but the payroll tax: specifically, by partially (or wholly) replacing it with a value-added tax.

Under the current Social Security model, workers pay for the benefits of current retirees through the payroll tax. This system creates the illusion of a pension program, in which what you put in is what you get out, but in reality Social Security is a universal safety net program for the elderly paid for by taxes. The payroll tax falls on workers and is a tax on labor, while the value-added tax (VAT) is a tax on consumption imposed at every part of the production process. Assuming that this policy change is revenue-neutral, switching to a VAT will shift the responsibility for funding Social Security and Medicare away from workers, disproportionately poorer and younger, and onto everyone participating in the economy as a whole. Furthermore, uncoupling Social Security funding from payroll taxes would pave the way for fiscal reforms to transform the program from a universal benefit program to one geared specifically to eliminating old-age poverty, such as means-testing benefits for high-income beneficiaries, indexing benefits to prices rather than wages or changing the retirement age.

Switching from the payroll tax to the VAT would address both conservative and liberal tax policy preferences.

Switching from the payroll tax to the VAT would address both conservative and liberal tax policy preferences. As the Tax Policy Center notes, the change would actually make the tax system more progressive. The current payroll tax is regressive, meaning that people with lower incomes tend to pay a higher effective tax rate than people with higher incomes. On the other hand, the value-added tax is much closer to proportional than the payroll tax, meaning that each income group pays closer to the same effective tax rate.

For Republicans, such a change would fit conservative economic ideas about the long-run causes of economic growth. A value-added tax has a much broader base than the payroll tax, and therefore would allow for much lower marginal tax rates, and lower marginal tax rates mean smaller disincentives to economic activity. According to the Tax Foundation's analysis of a value-added tax, the VAT would be a more economically efficient revenue source than most other taxes currently in the tax code.

Not only would replacing part or all of the payroll tax provide an immediate benefit to millennial taxpayers, it would also open the door for the much-needed entitlement reforms that have been so politically elusive. Furthermore, it would make the tax code both more pro-growth and less regressive. In order to even begin to address the entitlement crisis, win millennial support and stimulate the economy in a fiscally responsible manner, Republicans must propose moving from the payroll tax to the VAT.

Alex Muresianu is a Young Voices Advocate. His writing has appeared in Townhall and The Federalist. He is a federal policy intern at the Tax Foundation. Opinions expressed here are his only and not the views of the Tax Foundation. He can be found on Twitter @ahardtospell.

Glenn was joined by Alanna Sarabia from "Good Morning Texas" at Mercury Studios on Thursday for an exclusive look at Mercury Museum's new "Rights & Responsibilities" exhibit. Open through Father's Day, the temporary museum features artifacts from pop culture, America's founding, World Ward II and more, focusing on the rights and responsibilities America's citizens.

Get tickets and more information here.

Watch as Glenn gives a sneak peek at some of the unique artifacts on display below.

History at the Mercury Museum

Alanna Sarabia interviews Glenn Beck for "Good Morning Texas" at Mercury Studios.

Several months ago, at the Miss Universe competition, two women took a selfie, then posted it on Instagram. The caption read, "Peace and love." As a result of that selfie, both women faced death threats, and one of the women, along with her entire family, had to flee her home country. The occasion was the 2017 Miss Universe competition, and the women were Miss Iraq and Miss Israel. Miss Iraq is no longer welcome in her own country. The government threatened to strip her of her crown. Of course, she was also badgered for wearing a bikini during the competition.

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In an interview, Miss Iraq, Sarah Idan, said:

When I posted the picture I didn't think for a second there would be blowback. I woke up to calls from my family and the Miss Iraq Organization going insane. The death threats I got online were so scary. The director of the Miss Iraq Organization called me and said they're getting heat from the ministry. He said I have to take the picture down or they will strip me of my title.

Yesterday, Miss Iraq, Sarah Idan, posted another selfie with Miss Israel, during a visit to Jerusalem.

In an interview, she said that:

I don't think Iraq and Israel are enemies; I think maybe the governments are enemies with each other. There's a lot of Iraqi people that don't have a problem with Israelis.

This is, of course, quite an understatement: Iraq, home to roughly 15,000 Palestinians, refuses to acknowledge Israel as a legitimate country, as it is technically at war with Israel. The adages says that a picture is worth a thousand words. What are we to do when many of those words are hateful or deadly? And how can we find the goodness in such bad situations?