MARY REICHARD: Good morning!
President Biden proposes another trillion dollar spending plan, ostensibly to improve American infrastructure. Republicans say it’s wasteful and damaging. We’ll talk about it.
NICK EICHER: That’s ahead on Washington Wednesday.
Also today, World Tour.
Plus a musician whose hardship over the past year sparked creativity and renewed faith.
And Janie B. Cheaney on the danger of calling everything beautiful.
REICHARD: It’s Wednesday, April 7th. 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 it’s time for the news. Here’s Kent Covington.
Biden: All Americans can get vaccine by April 19 » President Biden announced on Tuesday that all Americans who want a COVID-19 vaccine will be eligible to get it within the next two weeks.
BIDEN: Beginning April 19th, every adult in every state, every adult in this country is eligible to get in line to get a COVID vaccination.
The president previously set May 1st as the deadline for states to make all adults eligible. But White House press secretary Jen Psaki said the distribution process has gone so smoothly, the president felt confident bumping up the date.
PSAKI: COVID response coordinator Jeff Zines announced there will be more than 28 million doses across channels this week. Cumulatively over the last three weeks we will have sent out nearly 90 million doses of the vaccine.
According to the CDC, more than 207 million doses have gone out so far. Nearly two-thirds of them have been administered.
Prior to the president’s announcement, many states had already expanded eligibility to include all adults.
The White House announced Monday that nearly 1 in 3 Americans have had at least one dose of the vaccine. Nearly 1 in 4 is fully vaccinated.
Senate parliamentarian rules reconciliation OK to use again » The Senate parliamentarian has given Democrats a boost in their bid to pass President Biden’s massive new spending bill. WORLD’s Paul Butler has more.
PAUL BUTLER, REPORTER: The ruling issued late Monday gives Democrats permission to use the budget reconciliation process again this year. They already used it to push through the president’s COVID-19 relief package.
Budget reconciliation allows Democrats to avoid a likely filibuster and pass the legislation with just 51 votes.
But that doesn’t mean the $2.3 trillion dollar proposal is a done deal. With the Senate evenly split between the parties, Democrats can’t afford to lose any support from their own members.
Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia has already said he opposes raising the corporate tax rate above 25 percent. President Biden wants to increase it to 28 percent to help pay for his infrastructure bill.
Reporting for WORLD, I’m Paul Butler.
Navy corpsman shoots two people in Maryland » A Navy corpsman shot and critically wounded two people at a business park in Frederick, Maryland, on Tuesday.
Frederick Police Chief Jason Lando said the 38-year-old petty officer shot his victims at a business in the Riverside Tech Park.
LANDO: Both males were in critical condition. They were flown by helicopter to Baltimore Shock Trauma.
Police confirmed that both victims are U.S. Navy sailors.
After leaving the business park, the shooter drove to nearby Fort Detrick. Lando said guards on the military base confronted him shortly after he drove through the front gate without stopping.
LANDO: We were given notice that personnel on the base had shot the suspect and he was down. When we arrived at that scene, life saving efforts were in progress and we were notified shortly thereafter that the shooter was reported dead.
Investigators are still trying to determine a motive for the shooting.
Netanyahu tries again to form government » Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will try once again to form a government headed by his Likud Party.
NETANYAHU: [Man speaking Hebrew]
Netanyahu told Likud members on Tuesday that he would try to stop the cycle of recurring elections and establish a strong government.
The country’s president tasked Netanyahu with forming a governing coalition after no party won a majority in the March 23rd election. It was the fourth time Israeli voters have gone to the polls in the last two years.
Netanyahu has six weeks to put together a coalition. If he cannot, one of his rivals will get a shot.
The prime minister’s political battles are playing out alongside his legal ones. He is on trial for corruption. Witnesses in the case began testifying on Monday. Netanyahu claims the charges against him are politically motivated.
Congressman Alcee Hastings dies » Longtime Florida Congressman Alcee Hastings died on Tuesday. He was 84 years old. WORLD’s Leigh Jones has that story.
LEIGH JONES, REPORTER: Hastings began his career as a civil rights lawyer and eventually went on to take the bench as a state judge. President Jimmy Carter elevated him to the federal bench in 1979. But he quickly ran into legal trouble of his own.
Prosecutors accused Hastings and a Washington-based lawyer friend of soliciting bribes from two convicted racketeers who wanted to shorten their sentences. Hastings became the first sitting U.S. judge tried on criminal charges.
Although a jury acquitted him, a judicial panel accused Hastings of fabricating his defense. The House impeached him in 1988 and the Senate convicted him in 1989.
Three years later, Fort Lauderdale-area voters elected him to Congress.
Hastings announced two years ago that he had pancreatic cancer. But he won reelection in 2020 with 80 percent of the vote.
Reporting for WORLD, I’m Leigh Jones.
And I’m Kent Covington.
Straight ahead: the president’s infrastructure spending plan.
Plus, Janie B. Cheaney on appreciating true beauty.
This is The World and Everything in It.
NICK EICHER, HOST: It’s Wednesday, the 7th of April, 2021.
Glad to have you along for today’s edition of The World and Everything in It. Good morning, I’m Nick Eicher.
MARY REICHARD, HOST: And I’m Mary Reichard.
Up next: spending bigger than ever in Washington.
Democrats last month approved President Biden’s near-$2 trillion dollar spending bill. Just days later, the president said he would soon unveil a plan to spend trillions more and last week, he did. Speaking in Pittsburgh, he pitched a $2.3 trillion dollar proposal.
BIDEN: It’s not a plan that tinkers around the edges. It’s a once in a generation investment in America – unlike anything we’ve seen or done since we built the interstate highway system and the space race decades ago.
EICHER: A once in a generation investment with a once in a generation tax to pay for it. According to The Wall Street Journal, the biggest corporate tax hike in 50 years.
Republicans say that’s the last thing we should do as the economy recovers from pandemic-related shutdowns. They also note that the economy is already showing signs of bouncing back, and they say the Titanic spending bill is neither responsible nor necessary.
The White House says the proposal, which it’s calling the “Build Back Better Plan” is needed to sustain the economic growth.
REICHARD: Joining us now with more insight on what’s in the bill and what it will mean for Americans is David Ditch. He studies budget and transportation policy at the Heritage Foundation. David, good morning!
DITCH: Thanks for having me.
REICHARD: Well, the White House has pitched this as an infrastructure bill, but only a portion of it would be spent on what we normally think of as infrastructure. If we use a very broad definition of that word, infrastructure, what portion of the bill fits it?
DITCH: If we’re talking about construction projects of all sorts, generally, it’s about half of the value of the program. But the first thing that comes to mind for most people, when we think about government infrastructure projects, is things like roads and bridges. And based on the numbers I’m seeing any more like 5 percent of the plan would go towards that work.
REICHARD: Is it true that the United States does have actual infrastructure problems that need to be fixed, though?
DITCH: I would say a lot of the rhetoric around roads and bridges is overblown. The people talk – constantly use the phrase crumbling to describe our infrastructure. But if you compare things, decade by decade, generation by generation, the quality of our roads and bridges is in fact improving. There is certainly not any sort of a crisis, necessitating trillions of dollars spending.
REICHARD: There are other elements in this plan. I see things like upgrading the power grid, expanding broadband access, those things are potentially beneficial. What do you think about those?
DITCH: I think that those are activities that should be investments that should be made by the private sector and not by the federal government. In the case of rural broadband, you’re essentially saying that people who live within areas with broadband, who didn’t get subsidies should subsidize people who live in remote areas. I don’t think the federal government should be in the business of subsidizing people, whether they live in rural areas, or urban areas, and this plan tries to subsidize just about everyone a little bit, but it’s going to make all of us poorer as a result.
REICHARD: Can you give us a high level picture of what’s in the rest of the bill and where the money that’s not being spent on infrastructure would go?
DITCH: The biggest single piece that has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with infrastructure is $400 billion in spending that would be towards providing federal subsidies for home care, health care. And that’s something that should be its own discussion, packaging that with dozens of other provisions that are mostly about construction projects is, frankly, inappropriate. I mean, unfortunately, when you have a bill that spends this much money on this many different things, it’s really hard to say, oh, it does X, Y, and Z when you have to go through all the letters of the alphabet to really cover it.
REICHARD: Let’s let’s try to get a sense of scale with this. As we said, President Biden wants to pay for this in part with a corporate tax hike. If the corporate tax rate jumps from 21 to 28%, as proposed how much of that increased taxation would go to pay for this new infrastructure, plus all the other spending?
DITCH: One of the things that’s really amazing about this plan that’s been put forward by the administration is that they envision 15 years of tax increases on businesses to pay for eight years of spending. Yet there is an inevitable result when you have such huge programs where the federal government would take over responsibility for spending decisions that are normally held by businesses by state and local governments, is that in eight years from now, all those entities are going to be partially or completely dependent on these federal handouts and they’re going to come looking for more money, except we’ve already done this big tax increase and they’ll need to increase taxes on something else to pay for it.
REICHARD: And then that move would partially undo tax cuts that were passed in 2017?
DITCH: Yes, the corporate tax increase would revert business taxes to where they were before the 2017 tax cuts. And the reason why the 2017 tax cuts on businesses were necessary is that the US, because of a combination of federal and state taxes, had very uncompetitive business taxes relative to the rest of the world. It made us a worse place for businesses to invest, it made us a worse place for people to try to start businesses. And when we’re in the midst of trying to jump-start an economic recovery, this is exactly the opposite direction, because business investment is the number one thing that’s going to create jobs and get the economy back to where it was before the pandemic.
REICHARD: And for the average person, what would that look like?
DITCH: It would look more like the sluggish economic recovery that we saw after the 2008 financial crisis, unemployment took years to get down below 6%, let alone 5% and 4%, that were some of the numbers that we saw after 2017. And we have no idea how good the economy can get. If we make the right choices on taxing and spending. We do know that the long term prosperity of the country doesn’t depend on growing the federal government. It depends on growing businesses.
REICHARD: There are those who will say all of that spending must surely create at least some jobs. David, do you think that that might balance out the impact of the tax hikes?
DITCH: Absolutely not. Federal infrastructure spending is an incredibly inefficient way to create new jobs in the economy. For one thing, when you have a big surge of federal spending, for instance, we saw this in 2009. under the Obama administration, what happens is you pull skilled construction workers off of projects that are being done in the private sector, and you pull them into these government funded projects. So that just means it’s harder for private construction work to get done. And again, that’s slowing businesses down. Also, construction projects involve lots of raw materials, lots of machines. So the actual human part of the equation is lower than it would have been, say, a couple generations ago. So you end up spending a huge amount of money per worker. And that also, it takes years, in many cases, for major projects, to get through all the hoops and cut through all the red tape that the federal government imposes.
REICHARD: And you also say that this bill will harm our system of divided government. What do you mean?
DITCH: While about half of this plan is focused on construction projects, much of the work that would be done is normally handled by state and local governments. So we’re talking about school construction, we’re talking about water and sewer lines. We’re talking about things like the electrical grid that are normally handled by the private sector. And as a result, all of these areas are going to be captured by the federal rules and regulations and micromanagement. It means that rather than being able to go to elected officials in town, a city, the county or even the state, to give your input on the local infrastructure that you use on a daily basis, things are going to increasingly be run through Washington DC. The problem is that Washington doesn’t even have the ability to properly manage the government we have today, let alone piling even more power and responsibilities on top of it.
REICHARD: David, is there anything else that you want the public to know about this bill that maybe isn’t being reported?
DITCH: The thing that really worries me is that there is about $700 billion in what I would deem corporate welfare. And you’re taking from businesses as a whole and you’re giving to select, in many cases politically connected and politically favored, businesses and industries. And, again, that’s more federal micromanagement of the economy that, over the long run, is going to slow things down.
REICHARD: David Ditch is with the Heritage Foundation. He’s been our guest today. David, thank you so much for joining us.
DITCH: You’re very welcome.
REICHARD: Coming up next on The World and Everything in It:World Tour with our correspondent in Africa, Onize Ohikere.
ONIZE OHIKERE, REPORTER: Mozambique retakes town from rebels—We start today here in Africa.
Residents of Palma in Mozambique are returning home after government forces retook the city from rebel fighters.
The provincial governor toured the damaged port town on Monday.
AUDIO: We are here with our troops and we feel ok.
The rebel fighters launched their attack nearly two weeks ago. Survivors said they were well-armed and fired at residents indiscriminately.
AUDIO: They shoot people, even they were following us, shooting at us, then we ran away.
The fighters are mostly unemployed local youth. Community leaders say some of the men traveled abroad to study on scholarships from Muslim organizations and returned preaching a radical form of Islam.
They began launching small-scale attacks in 2017, and claimed an affiliation with Isalmic State in 2019.
Putin signs law allowing him to stay in power—Next we go to Russia.
PUTIN: [Man speaking Russian]
President Vladimir Putin signed a law Monday that could allow him to stay in power until 2036. The bill resets presidential term limits, giving Putin the chance to run for president two more times.
Putin has been in power for more than two decades. That’s longer than any other Russian leader since Soviet dictator Josef Stalin. When he proposed the constitutional changes last year, Putin said the government needed the expanded term limits so his lieutenants could focus on their work and not worry about who would succeed him.
Nearly 78 percent of voters approved the change.
Tropical storm batters Indonesia, East Timor—Next to Southeast Asia.
AUDIO: [Sounds of women crying]
More than 100 people died and dozens more are missing after a tropical cyclone dumped torrential rain on the remote eastern islands of Indonesia. Another 27 people died in neighboring East Timor.
The deluge triggered mudslides and flash flooding that inundated villages overnight. Damaged roads and bridges, as well as widespread power outages, are hampering search and recovery efforts.
WIDODOAUDIO: [Man speaking Indonesian]
Indonesian President Joko Widodo offered his condolences in a televised address. Regional governors say they expect to find more victims as the flooding recedes.
Aftermath of train crash in Taiwan—Next to Taiwan.
AUDIO: [Man speaking Mandarin]
The man responsible for the country’s worst train disaster in decades apologized on Sunday. Lee Yi-hsiang owned the unmanned construction truck that slid down a hillside and rolled onto the railway tracks Friday. Investigators said Lee did not set the truck’s emergency break before getting out.
The train that slammed into the truck was packed with nearly 500 passengers.
AUDIO: [Sounds of mourning]
Relatives of the victims visited the crash site Sunday. Fifty people died and nearly 200 suffered injuries.
Mummy parade in Egypt—And finally, we end today back in Africa.
AUDIO: [Sounds of parade]
Egypt opened a new museum in grand style on Saturday. The mummified remains of 22 pharaohs paraded through the streets of Cairo from their old home at the iconic Egyptian Museum to their new resting place: The National Museum of Egyptian Civilization.
The 18 kings and four queens traveled the 4 miles in order, oldest first. The Pharaohs’ Golden Parade included live music, floodlights, flaming torches, and performers dressed in ancient Egyptian costumes.
That’s this week’s World Tour. I’m Onize Ohikere in Abuja, Nigeria.
NICK EICHER, HOST: Tom Brady is without a doubt the most accomplished quarterback in NFL history. Brady has broken many a Super Bowl record on the field, but he just set a big record off the field.
A Tom Brady rookie card autographed by the man himself just fetched the highest price ever for a football card.
Jordan Gilroy with Lelands Auctions told TV station WHDH,
GILROY: When your team wins the Super Bowl and your greatest card gets sold publicly at an auction a few months later, it’s just perfect timing, the perfect season for the Bucs and Tom Brady.
This was the second time this year that one of his rookie cards set that record. Last month, a Brady card sold for $1.32 million dollars!
And just days ago, he topped that record.
The sale price of the 2000 Playoff Contenders Championship Rookie Ticket card: $2.25 million dollars.
It’s The World and Everything in It.
MARY REICHARD, HOST: Today is Wednesday, April 7th.
We’re so glad you’ve joined us here on WORLD Radio.
Good morning. I’m Mary Reichard.
NICK EICHER, HOST: And I’m Nick Eicher.
Coming next on The World and Everything in It: Emerging from a season of sorrow.
The past year brought heartache to many families. WORLD senior correspondent Katie Gaultney talked with one woman grappling with loss.
AMBI: KIDS IN KITCHEN
KATIE GAULTNEY, SENIOR CORRESPONDENT: Life in the Barnard house looks typical. On this Thursday morning, half-empty smoothie cups sit alongside a cold mug of coffee on the kitchen table. A few steps away, the homeschool room boasts math manipulatives and a stack of textbooks.
But, the fact is, the Barnards aren’t exactly like a typical suburban family. Mom and dad have their own Wikipedia pages. Between them, they have multiple Dove Award nominations and awards. Dad Shane Barnard is half of the contemporary Christian music duo Shane & Shane. And you may recognize Beth by her stage names—first, Bethany Dillon when she made it big at age 14.
SONG: YOU’RE ALL I NEED BY BETHANY DILLON
Then, Bethany Barnard after she got married at 19. Beth insists most days are routine.
BARNARD: It looks like: community group, cul-de-sac life and doing school and homeschool…
But their older girls are starting to notice that a lot of people recognize Mom and Dad’s names.
BARNARD: We’re very glaringly normal, but at the same time, there’s those little things that happen that aren’t very normal. So they ask the super uncomfy questions like, “Are you guys famous? Wait, wait, wait, wait…”
Starting out in Christian music at such a young age makes for an unusual adolescence. But Barnard said it felt like an adventure.
BARNARD: I had a lot of fun. I really did. And God, I think he just had me in this grace bubble…
It was low-pressure. After about six years of touring and recording, “settling down” felt like a new kind of adventure. Barnard recalled growing up in rural Ohio in a stable home, with extended family nearby. And she found beauty in the mundane.
BARNARD: God gave me the gift of seeing a picture of a mama who is home. So I think once I got married and yes, I was a baby, but I was like, man, I just, I would love to be a mom…
And things were normal, for a little while. But 2020 brought hardship for a lot of people, and the Barnards were no exception. Beth’s dad’s cancer returned, and the
prognosis was grim. She lost him in May of last year. Meanwhile, close friends were walking through difficult seasons too. And her own health suffered.
BARNARD: So I got a diagnosis in July that I had severe depression and severe OCD. And there began the journey of treatment. Kind of making sense of a lot of things in my life, but also it really not being fun and being really heavy and shaming—even though it isn’t, it feels that way. I just was not okay.
We hear a lot these days about high-profile Christians deconstructing their faith. Authors, like Joshua Harris. Comedians Rhett & Link. And plenty of musicians: Audrey Assad, Hawk Nelson frontman Jon Steingard, and Derek Webb, to name a few. Barnard went through her own period of questioning.
BARNARD: It’s not a: “Is there a God?” It’s just like, “There is a God, wait, can you please just be a little nicer because my dad just suffered and died. And so all these other things, could you have just spaced them out?”
Loved ones reassured her and pointed her back to truth.
BARNARD: … It’s okay that you’re not sure. And I am not banking on you. I’m banking on Him. And I see these evidences of grace… it’s okay.
Barnard said OCD isn’t always what many of us may picture: washing hands over-and-over, touching the lightswitch a certain number of times. For her, if she didn’t read her Bible first thing in the morning, she would find herself spiraling throughout the day. Or, she would stress to an unhealthy degree trying to remember all the people she felt like she was supposed to pray for.
BARNARD: I have identified with Martin Luther my whole spiritual life, because he’s writhing in a fetal position trying to remember everything that he needs to confess. And that is what really loving God looked like to me.
It’s a term known in mental health circles as “scrupulosity.” Barnard’s diagnosis revealed that she had equated “religiosity” with a relationship with Christ.
A Christian therapist helped her retrain her brain—and her habits.
BARNARD: It became something I became enslave to. I thought functionally, those things are keeping me saved.
Her heart followed.
BARNARD: I’m going to start like, I’m just going to read a verse, just one verse. I’m not going to read it over and over and over again, I’m going to read it and I’m going to simply pray something. And I’m not going to think about everybody that I needed to pray about…
Healing is an ongoing process. And there’s still grief. Amid the tumult, she said the Lord filled her with new songs, after a long season of feeling like the music was on hold.
BARNARD: I’m thinking something and feeling something, and it just feels right to sing that, to lament with a melody.
The songs aren’t glossy and upbeat. They’re raw. She captured her season of questioning in her music.
BARNARD: There’s a line in one of the songs that I sing all the time to myself is: “Jesus, will you still be my friend when I can do nothing for you?”
Barnard’s “deconstruction” led to a reconstruction—a firmer belief in God’s love and pursuit of her, and an acknowledgment of her frailty and imperfection.
BARNARD: God created us as humans with limits and it glorifies him because God is not limited. God is God. I’m going to be human today. And I don’t know where I have let some gaps happen on purpose or not. I just don’t know what he has for that. So I’m just going to lean into that uncertainty.
MUSIC: INSTRUMENTAL EXCERPT FROM TEARS ON YOUR FACE BY BETHANY BERNARD
Reporting for WORLD, I’m Katie Gaultney in Dallas, Texas.
NICK EICHER, HOST: Today is Wednesday, April 7th. Good morning! This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Nick Eicher.
MARY REICHARD, HOST: And I’m Mary Reichard.
WORLD Commentator Janie B. Cheaney now on one of the problems with Critical Race Theory.
JANIE B. CHEANEY, COMMENTATOR: All through my K-12 education I learned popular anthems like “This Is a Great Country.” By 1967, such guileless flag-waving wasn’t cool. I gave even a speech against patriotism to the Rotary Club—truth to power and all that.
Patriotism was an outmoded idea: the cause of unending wars when we had so many problems to solve at home. Racism, poverty, the military-industrial complex—what was not to complain about?
But you know what? Most of us had enough food, a place to live, the freedom to move around and find another job if you didn’t like the one you had (we did that a lot). My husband had acquired a B.A. degree at tuition rates we could pay off in ten years. We had black friends because they were no longer relegated to the back of the bus or “separate but equal” schools.
Also, I started reading history, and decided this country was actually pretty great after all. There was ugliness, but also hope and upward mobility, with a form of government that allowed for self-correcting over time.
Still, it seems that the only time a certain subset of people can speak well of the United States is when they are running for office. Then, it’s the land we love, even though it may have lost its way or forgotten its ideals. That was the vibe from Barak Obama and the Clintons, though it didn’t always sound like it was coming from the heart.
When President Biden talks about this great country, I think he’s sincere, as someone who rose from a humble beginning to the nation’s highest office. So I don’t understand why he’s promoting Critical Race Theory. The premise of CRT is that the United States is founded on racism (not a bug but a feature). Biden has mandated “racial sensitivity training” (a euphemism for CRT) in all federal agencies. He’s disbanded the 1776 Commission established by President Trump, calling it “inaccurate and harmful.” The 1776 Commission was intended to counteract the negativity embodied by CRT and the 1619 Project—to restore some balance or to whitewash, depending on who’s talking about it.
Has President Biden read either? Because if he has, and still buys into CRT, he can’t believe this is a great country. If the United States was founded on racism, the only solution is to dismantle our constitutional government and rebuild it from the ground up—which is just what some Critical Race theorists would like to do.
I assume that’s not what Joe Biden wants to do, or other patriotic Democrats. But it suggests that the deep division he wants to unify goes through his own heart (to paraphrase Solzhenitsyn). And through the Democratic party’s heart, and through the heart of America as well. If the USA is as bad as the critical theorists say, it’s not worth saving.
Is that what they really think?
I’m Janie B. Cheaney.
NICK EICHER, HOST: Tomorrow: the uproar over Georgia’s new voting laws and the new influence of woke capitalism. We’ll talk to a financial analyst about how corporations are throwing their weight around in politics.
That and more tomorrow.
I’m Nick Eicher.
MARY REICHARD, HOST: And I’m Mary Reichard.
The World and Everything in It comes to you from WORLD Radio.
WORLD’s mission is biblically objective journalism that informs, educates, and inspires.
“What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him —these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit.”
Go now in grace and peace.