Scott Powell


Scott Powell is senior fellow at Seattle-based Discovery Institute and managing partner at RemingtonRand LLC.
Reach him at [email protected]

Most Recent Articles by Scott Powell:

Times Change, but the Ideas in Declaration of Independence Endure

Jun 27, 2018 — Scott Powell

Times Change, but the Ideas in Declaration of Independence Endure
July 4th is a generally more festive American holiday — with cookouts, parades, parties and fireworks — than other patriotic holidays, such as Memorial Day or Veterans Day.

Most people forget that when the Declaration of Independence was drafted and signed on or about July 4th 1776, it was both a revolutionary and a somber occasion.  It was revolutionary in being the first political doctrine in human history to assert that the rights of the people come from God, and not the state—which made those rights natural, absolute and “unalienable.”


The Big Picture behind Memorial Day

May 28, 2018 — Scott Powell

The Big Picture behind Memorial Day
Memorial Day had its origin as Decoration Day following the Civil War, but it only became an official federal holiday to honor those who lost their lives while serving in the armed forces of the United States in 1971.

Memorial Day is also an occasion to associate those who died with the just causes for which the United States was willing to go to war. World War I, World War II, Korea, and Vietnam were conflicts where freedom was clearly at stake.  The post 9/11 engagements in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria remain a bit more complicated, being associated with responses to horrific abuse of power and to transnational radical Islamist terrorism.


Results and Substance Trump Form and Appearance

May 11, 2018 — Scott Powell

Results and Substance Trump Form and Appearance
Preoccupation with form over substance combined with denial and avoidance behavior are the chief causal factors for human failure—from the individual and family right up to the national level. 

World War II became inevitable because of denial by the British, French and Americans that Hitler meant what he said in Mein Kampf and was rearming to carry it out.  Subsequent denial in the form of appeasement policies enabled Hitler’s early swift success in conquering and subjugating almost all of continental Europe, until Churchill rallied the British people with his famous declaration that “we shall never surrender.”


The Day that Transformed the World Forever

Mar 30, 2018 — Scott Powell

The Day that Transformed the World Forever
Of all holidays, Easter is the one that celebrates a single event that transformed the world forever.  There are many religions with different founders, prophets and teachers going back thousands of years, but only one of them has a founder who professed to be the messiah—the son of God who could save mankind. 

Jesus was born in a Jewish family and lived and walked amongst the people of Israel.  Every year Jesus’ parents took his family to Jerusalem for the Festival of the Passover.  On one such occasion when he was twelve, Jesus got separated from his parents and made his way to the temple, where he sat with the esteemed teachers—listening, asking questions and teaching.  According to Luke 2:47, “Everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding and his answers.” Later, when his adult ministry began, Jesus drew thousands upon thousands who flocked to hear him.


Valentine’s Day Wake-up Call from Parkland

Mar 6, 2018 — Scott Powell

Valentine's
The Valentine’s Day massacre at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida was the latest in a series of mass school shootings dating back to the Columbine, Colorado shooting in 1999. Evoking shock, these tragedies inevitably prompt a call to pray for the victims and their families. 

Calls for prayer are natural and appropriate after such wanton evil acts, but the question begs: What about prayers invoking protection in advance of danger? That’s not likely following two Supreme Court decisions in the early 1960s—Engel v. Vitale and Abington School District v. Schempp—which declared school-sponsored prayer unlawful. The fact is that the departure of God from public schools combined with schools being soft targets as gun-free zones has been an invitation to evil—an invitation that has been answered repeatedly by the deranged prone to violence.


Democracy’s Highest Crime and Misdemeanor

Jan 29, 2018 — Scott Powell

Democracy’s Highest Crime and Misdemeanor
In his Gettysburg Address, President Lincoln reminded Americans that they were uniquely privileged to have a new birth of freedom that was contingent on “government of the people, by the people, and for the people.”  That was then. What about now?

Every week brings new revelations and details about a cabal in the federal government whose actions border on a conspiracy. The evidence suggests that specific high level officials in the Justice Department and the FBI colluded together to violate the law in unprecedented ways for the singular purpose of subverting the will of the people both before and after the 2016 election.


2018 Comes in Like a Lion

Jan 15, 2018 — Scott Powell

2018 Comes in Like a Lion
If there is one thing about which most economists understand and agree it’s the law of supply and demand. A derivative of that law is that demand and velocity of transactions tend to diminish as costs increase. While few individuals disagree about this, many in the collective body of economists have become so politicized that when it comes to the cost of variables such as taxes and regulations, that consensus all but vanishes. Indeed, to listen to many of the pundits and experts there seems to be notable confusion, denial and disagreement about how the cost of regulations and taxes actually affect economic activity.

Last year a University of Chicago Booth School of Business survey of so-called top economists—including Nobel Prize winners and former presidents of the American Economic Association—found that only one in 42 economists polled thought that the Republican tax reduction bill would boost the economy. Recently, Princeton economics professor and former vice chairman of the Federal Reserve Alan Blinder stated in the Wall Street Journal that there was “little economic evidence” that “tax benefits showered on corporations will translate mostly into higher wages and vastly faster economic growth.”


It’s Time to Prosecute the Clinton Political Crime Syndicate

Dec 1, 2017 — Scott Powell

It’s Time to Prosecute the Clinton Political Crime Syndicate
Few would deny that the ascendance of the United States from colonial poverty to the world’s top economic and military superpower in just 200 years is largely attributable to principles and rule of law in our founding documents enshrined in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.  And so it should come as no surprise that America’s decline in the last 25 years has coincided with the erosion of the U.S. Constitution and the corruption of the nation’s law enforcement and judicial system.

What has most greased the skids of America’s decline toward the ways of a banana republic is the emergence and acceptance of two-tiered justice and attendant cronyism and political corruption.  And nowhere is this more obvious than in the pass given to the Clintons, and particularly former First Lady and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.


The 500th Anniversary of the Reformation and What It Means Today

Oct 27, 2017 — Scott Powell


When Martin Luther posted his 95 theses on the church door in Wittenberg, Germany in 1517, 500 years ago this October 31, he probably had no idea what forces he was unleashing.  Although his intention was to spur reform within the Catholic Church rather than breaking off and starting a new church, he ended up accomplishing both. 

American history from the very beginning—with the Anglicans settling Virginia,  the Puritans and Presbyterians settling in New England, the Reformed Dutch settling in New York, and the Quakers settling Pennsylvania to name a few—is inextricably linked to the Protestant Reformation.  To understand the relevance of the Reformation, let’s revisit its core ideas and central figures and assess what is happening today.


Revisiting Orwell to Understand our Times

Sep 21, 2017 — Scott Powell

Just two or three generations ago, most Americans understood that George Orwell’s classics Animal Farm and 1984 were written to explain how freedom is lost to totalitarianism and the intolerance that accompanies it. Big Brother, a term that many people still casually use to describe an all-knowing governing authority, comes right out of 1984. In the society that Orwell describes, all citizens are continually reminded that “Big Brother is watching you,” by way of a constant surveillance through the pervasive use of “telescreens” by the ruling class.

Orwell’s warnings about totalitarianism written in novel form in Animal Farm and 1984 came shortly after Freidrich Hayek’s Road to Serfdom was published at the end of World War II. But it took the shocking revelations from books on Nazism and Soviet Communism, by scholars like William Shirer and Robert Conquest in the 1960s to really make Orwell relevant to the masses educated in American public schools.  And it was not just an academic exercise, insofar as Stalin was at that time brutally crushing all resistance, enforcing the Soviet model of totalitarian control on East European countries that became satellite states of Moscow.


Repealing Obamacare is Key to Economic Recovery

Aug 11, 2017 — Scott Powell

For the last seven-plus years, Republicans ran on repealing and replacing Obamacare. It was a winning platform, demonstrated by their gaining seats in Congress in almost every election since Obama was elected in 2008—achieving a majority in the House in 2010, a majority in the Senate in 2014, and finally the White House in 2016.  And with President Trump stating that he is anxious to sign a “repeal” or a “repeal and replace” bill into law, passage seemed like a sure thing.  Yet so far the Senate has failed to pass a bill.  But there is still a way forward. 

The legislative priorities of the new administration started with repealing Obamacare because of the need to eliminate the complexity and burden of its 20-odd new taxes on business, families and small businesses—a total of some $500+ billion in additional taxes—and to abolish and reduce costly regulations on small businesses.


Message to Republicans: In War there is No Substitute for Victory

Jul 24, 2017 — Scott Powell

Who would have ever thought that the United States could face a coup attempt against its duly elected President?  But for all intents and purposes that’s what’s going down.  It’s a derivative of an old-fashioned, third world banana republic mob-style coup that is brewing against Donald Trump.

It matters not that there is a lack of substance to the charges of Russian collusion.  That a charge of treason has been bandied about by Democrat Vice Presidential candidate Tim Kaine

to justify impeachment of Trump shows both madness and utter ignorance of the Constitutional definition of treason. It also begs the commonsense question of how a leader of the opposition party who lost thinks he can resurrect credibility by applying the extreme charge of treason to a man whose “America First” patriotism is so incontestable that even cynics don’t doubt it.


Travel from Countries Harboring Terrorists Should be Restricted

Feb 15, 2017 — Scott Powell

President Trump has been working at breakneck speed since inauguration, and perhaps more care should have been exercised in drafting the executive order imposing a 90-day travel ban from seven designated countries known for lawlessness and harboring terrorists. Were it redrafted, the travel ban could stop the potential bad guys, but provide entry for existing green card holders and those with prior visa documentation.  Nevertheless, the President had full and proper authority to issue such an order under the powers vested by the Constitution and the provisions of section 212(f) of the Immigration and Nationality Act.  Additionally, it goes without saying that the vast majority of Americans want the President to take appropriate steps to prevent terrorists’ entry into the United States.


Real Risk is Blackmail, Not Just Interference with U.S. Politics

Jul 29, 2016 — Scott Powell

After the flap about Russia passing on internal emails and communiques from the DNC to Wikileaks who made public—on the eve of the DNC convention—documents that showed that the fix had been in on Bernie Sanders,  all hell broke loose a few days later on Wednesday when Donald Trump dropped his bombshell.  “Russia—if you are listening,” said Trump, “I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing [and] I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press.”  Naturally, the press jumped on Trump, accusing him of encouraging the Russians to not only intrude in U.S. politics but also hack into Hillary’s server.


P.C. – R.I.P.

Mar 19, 2016 — Scott Powell

There should be no surprise that former Weather Underground terrorist Bill Ayers, who played a role in launching the political career of Barack Obama, was found among the street demonstrators in Chicago who succeeded in forcefully disrupting and shutting down Republican frontrunner Donald Trump’s campaign rally on March 11, injuring two police officers who were trying to maintain order.

When Trump proceeded to move to his next campaign stops in Ohio the following day, he came before crowds and naturally addressed the previous night’s unfortunate descent into violence, only to experience another attempt at disruption.  Four secret service agents raced to surround Trump after something was thrown and someone attempted to rush the stage.  What is going on?


Sanctuary Cities, Immigration Reform and Heightened Vigilance

Jul 16, 2015 — Scott Powell

In the wake of the San Francisco murder of Kate Steinle by serial illegal immigrant Francisco Sanchez—a story garnering national headline attention—the spotlight on immigration debate has now shifted to sanctuary policies adopted by some 275 U.S cities to protect illegal aliens from the reach of federal law enforcement.

The sanctuary movement began in the 1980s as an extension of the “underground railroad” to help illegal aliens from El Salvador and Guatemala.  But it was more than that. The sanctuary movement in the U.S. not only sought to provide safe haven for the oppressed of foreign lands,  but sanctuary leaders saw their movement as being in the vanguard of the Democratic Party left to spearhead change in the demographics and political policies of the United States by increasing the number of illegal immigrants.


Trans-Pacific Partnership is about more than Trade

Jun 2, 2015 — Scott Powell

Most common sense people rightly assume that reducing trade barriers is good in and of itself. But it’s a mistake to think that the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) involving the U.S., Canada and ten other countries that is close to being concluded after six plus years of negotiation under the Obama administration is primarily a free trade pact. It’s also a misstep to grant the Obama administration with fast-track authority and the attendant secrecy on all details of this trade pact.


Obama Turns Machiavelli on His Head

Apr 24, 2015 — Scott Powell

The most quoted political wisdom from Machiavelli is that “it is better to feared than it is to be loved.”  President Obama’s Middle East policy may well go down as the turning point in U.S. policy in which Machiavelli was turned on his head, setting the stage for the whirlwind of chaos and war.


The Real State of the Union and Simple Steps for Improvement

Jan 18, 2015 — Scott Powell

With a new year often comes anticipation and optimism. And this year the State of the Union address comes before a new Congress—a Republican majority in both the House and Senate.


2015 Needs to be the Year of Normalization at the Fed

Jan 8, 2015 — Scott Powell

Ordinarily, the plunging oil prices experienced during the last three months would be welcomed as beneficial for the economy—lowering transportation costs and stimulating consumer spending. But these are not normal times, and the sharp 45% drop in oil prices can trigger a larger financial market crisis and a recessionary contraction.