Great News For America

Energy independence is wonderful, but in today’s technology age, there are other important areas where America needs to be self-sustaining. One of the them is the rare earth minerals used in the manufacture of our technology. On Wednesday (updated yesterday) The Epoch Times posted an article about one step that has been taken in this direction.

The article reports:

Owners of the Wheat Ridge facility for processing rare earth elements and critical minerals have received an operating permit that will enable minerals critical to advanced technology manufacturing to be mined and processed in the United States.

USA Rare Earth, LLC, and Texas Mineral Resources Corp. announced on June 18 that their Wheat Ridge, Colorado, facility has received its operating permit, with its pilot plant now in the commissioning process.

Texas Mineral said in a press release that the plant “will have the ability to produce the full range of high purity, separated rare earths as well as other critical minerals … which are essential for modern manufacturing ranging from defense applications to wind turbines, electric vehicles, smart phones, advanced medical devices, and the physical backbone of emerging 5G networks.”

The company says its objective is “to build the first rare earth and critical minerals processing facility outside China.”

The CEO of USA Rare Earth, Pini Althaus, said in a press release that the establishment of an independent, robust, and domestic rare earth metal and critical mineral supply chain is vital for the United States, “overcoming reliance on China.”

Congress and President Trump have both recognized the need to produce these minerals in America.

The article notes:

Reps. Michael Waltz (R-Fla.) and Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) introduced legislation (pdf) on May 28 to protect American mineral supply chains.

Gosar described critical minerals as the building blocks of our modern lives, as they are vitally important for special components in defense systems, health care applications, and energy generation technology.

“For years, our country has become increasingly dependent on China and other nations to fulfill our demand for minerals,” said Gosar. “The global pandemic has demonstrated the severe consequences of allowing this longstanding over-reliance on China to go unchecked.”

Waltz said that critical minerals are integral to our way of life.

“As coronavirus has unfortunately demonstrated, if China can threaten to cut off our pharmaceutical supply, they can do the same with their supply of rare earth minerals,” said Waltz. “We need to bring this supply chain back to America—and this bill will be an important step to do that.”

…President Donald Trump issued Executive Order 13817 in December 2017, titled “A Federal Strategy to Ensure Secure and Reliable Supplies of Critical Minerals.” The order directed federal agencies to list critical minerals, develop strategies to reduce reliance on the minerals themselves and on foreign suppliers, and increase domestic production.

The positive impact of the coronavirus is that it reminded us that as a nation we need to be as self-sufficient as possible. It is encouraging to see steps being taken in this direction.

Recognizing A Long-Standing Problem

The Washington Examiner posted an article today about America’s dependence on Chinese manufacturing for inexpensive products.

The article reports:

American companies that produce essential goods in China should plan to shift their operations back to the United States or other Western countries, according to a senior Republican lawmaker.

“We’re staring into a significant, significant crisis of supply chain,” Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner told the Washington Examiner. “Cheap labor or cheap manufacturing be damned if you are reliant on them for your life and livelihood.”

Gardner’s warning was spurred by the shortage of hospital masks in the United States, a dearth driven by Beijing’s refusal to allow American companies that make the products in China to ship them out of the country amid the coronavirus pandemic. And he’s not alone in that sentiment, raising the possibility that anger over China’s self-interested response to the coronavirus outbreak could produce one of the most dramatic alterations of global economics in decades.

“Because of the coronavirus problem, people are recognizing that any supply chain that has single points of failure is incredibly vulnerable,” the Heritage Foundation’s Dean Cheng, a senior research fellow in the organization’s Asian Studies Center, told the Washington Examiner. “China is going to be very concerned about decoupling, offshoring, [or any] redirection of investments out of China.”

Obviously, the coronavirus has caused American companies to rethink outsourcing manufacturing to China, but the threats by the Chinese government have not helped the situation.

The article notes:

That suspicion of China reflects the degree to which the coronavirus pandemic has exacerbated the tensions between the world’s two largest economies. American officials are angry that Chinese Communist officials censored the early warnings that a new virus had emerged in Wuhan. In response, fuming Chinese diplomats have accused the U.S. Army of starting the pandemic while reminding the West that China controls key parts of the medical supply chain.

“There could be nothing more ham-handed and catastrophic than for the Chinese to talk some more about ‘how the U.S. created coronavirus, and, by the way, maybe we’ll cut off pharmaceuticals,’” Cheng said. “You want to have a situation where there really is that kind of a backlash, where the U.S. actively tries to not only decouple but move specifically away from China? That’s inviting that kind of a backlash.”

America can’t afford to outsource its drug manufacturing to a country that threatens to cut off the supply. It’s time to bring drug manufacturing home and employ American workers.

Some Thoughts On One Long-Term Effect Of The Coronavirus

On March 1, Forbes Magazine posted an article about the long-term impact of the coronavirus. Obviously the article was written before America went on lockdown and the stock market felt the full impact of the epidemic.

The article reports:

The new coronavirus Covid-19 will end up being the final curtain on China’s nearly 30 year role as the world’s leading manufacturer.

“Using China as a hub…that model died this week, I think,” says Vladimir Signorelli, head of Bretton Woods Research, a macro investment research firm.

China’s economy is getting hit much harder by the coronavirus outbreak than markets currently recognize. Wall Street appeared to be the last to realize this last week. The S&P 500 fell over 8%, the worst performing market of all the big coronavirus infected nations. Even Italy, which has over a thousand cases now, did better last week than the U.S.

So who wins as China loses its place as the world’s leading manufacturer?

The article notes:

Yes. It is Mexico’s turn.

Mexico and the U.S. get a long. They are neighbors. Their president Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador wants to oversee a blue collar boom in his country. Trump would like to see that too, especially if it means less Central Americans coming into the U.S. and depressing wages for American blue collar workers.

According to 160 executives who participated in Foley & Lardner LLP’s 2020 International Trade and Trends in Mexico survey, released on February 25, respondents from the manufacturing, automotive and technology sectors said they intended to move business to Mexico from other countries – and they plan on doing so within the next one to five years.

“Our survey shows that a large majority of executives are moving or have moved portions of their operations from another country to Mexico,” says Christopher Swift, Foley partner and litigator in the firm’s Government Enforcement Defense & Investigations Practice.

Swift says the move is due to the trade war and the passing of the USMCA.

The article points out one of the major problems with manufacturing in Mexico:

Safety remains a top issue for foreign businesses in Mexico who have to worry about kidnappings, drug cartels, and personal protection rackets. If Mexico was half as safe as China, it would be a boon for the economy. If it was as safe, Mexico would be the best country in Latin America.

“The repercussions of the trade war are already being felt in Mexico,” says Miralles.

Mexico replaced China as the U.S. leading trading partner. China overtook Mexico only for a short while.

A strong Mexican economy would solve a lot of problems for America if the drug cartels and other illegal activities could be stopped. A strong Mexican economy would provide incentive for migrants from poorer South American countries to remain there and work. It might ebb the flow of illegals into America that burden the American welfare system and negatively impact the wages of Americans on the lower end of the wage scale.

There will always be drawbacks to outsourcing manufacturing to a country that is controlled by a group of tyrants. American companies who scream about civil rights in America have been willing to overlook sweatshops in China. It is time to add the concept of conscience to the corporate decision-making process.

The Silver Lining?

I’m not ready to say that there is a silver lining to the coronavirus, but I will admit that there are lessons we can learn from it. The American Thinker posted an article today listing some of the lessons that can be learned from our experience with the coronavirus.

The article notes:

Businesses now see that their precious supply chains and just-in-time inventory models are laden with risk.  Also, the American public and even our brain-dead political class are now aware of the folly of being dependent on China for so much of our essential goods, especially prescription medicines and health care products.  Both these factors will accelerate the relocation of U.S. businesses out of communist China….

In January, President Trump restricted people coming in from China.  He was called this and that for that action, but now it can be seen that the president was both prudent and foresighted.  That is what leadership looks like.  Europe currently has a greater problem with the Wuhan Virus because it did not act in a similar fashion.  The Democrats and media will never give Trump credit for this, but the average person sees it, thus discrediting both the media and Democrats even more.  Plus it drives home the point once again that borders are vital to a nation’s security and well-being.

And speaking of the Europeans, they are in high dudgeon because on Thursday night, President Trump announced that the United States will suspend travel from 26 European countries into the U.S. for the next 30 days starting Friday, March 13.  Europe is complaining that it wasn’t consulted on the travel ban ahead of time.  But to consult with the Europeans would be to give them an opportunity to delay the ban when time is of the essence — or, even worse, to undermine it.  

I guess some lessons have to be learned the hard way.

Another Unsung Accomplishment By President Trump

Hot Air is reporting today that America reduced its greenhouse gas emissions in 2019.

The article reports:

Increased natural gas consumption helped bring down U.S. greenhouse gas emissions in 2019, according to a recent report from the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Chances are you haven’t heard. That’s because the mainstream media and environmentalists insist on condemning the Trump administration for championing fossil fuels even though the United States is doing a better job at reducing emissions than many other countries that signed the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement.

The public can credit much of this success to the fracking boom, which has made natural gas much more plentiful. Cheap, abundant natural gas has gradually been displacing coal, which emits about twice as much carbon dioxide. A recent Rhodium Group study found that coal-fired power generation dropped by 18% last year, the lowest level since 1975.

The article concludes:

Meanwhile, thanks to a huge abundance of cheap natural gas (generated via fracking), America reduced its greenhouse gas emissions by 2% in 2019 after previously cutting them by the same amount the prior year. In fact, U.S. emissions went down by 12% between 2005 and 2017. By next year, American emissions are projected to be the lowest they have been since 1991, a time when the population was much lower than it is now.

By comparison, how are the “good” countries who signed on to the Paris accord doing? As it turns out, France Germany and the United Kingdom all missed their emissions reduction goals last year. Germany’s emissions actually increased after they started gutting their nuclear power program and were forced to restart some coal-fired plants to keep the lights turned on.

The only countries that are given high marks for meeting the climate agreement’s objectives are very small nations with low populations and not very much economic or industrial activity. So who are the real bad guys in this story? Before any global consortium starts trying to dictate to us how to handle our greenhouse gas emissions, perhaps they should get their own houses in order and follow our example. Rather than just talking about reducing emissions, we’re actually doing it. And we didn’t need a treaty with anyone else to get the job done.

The reason the success of America in reducing greenhouse gases is not heralded is that the success goes against the purpose of the climate change agenda–it doesn’t allow tyrannical countries to shake down democracies and republics.The goal of the climate change rhetoric is to redistribute the world’s wealth–to take money from countries that have prospered under the free market and give it to countries where the government controls the economy. America’s success in reducing greenhouse gas emissions simply does not fit the desired template.

Spin vs. Reality

The Washington Examiner posted an article today about the latest events in the climate change debate.

The article reports:

Speaking at the United Nations in December, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi drew cheers by saying the United States was “still in” the Paris Climate Agreement. Green activists applauded Pelosi’s defense of the international climate accord, which President Trump had vowed to exit. These activists claim that remaining in the Paris Agreement will help reduce global emissions.

They are wrong.

European leaders have spent years trying and pointedly failing to solve the climate crisis with regulation. Whether intentionally or not, U.S. policymakers have mostly avoided top-down solutions. And counterintuitively, or perhaps it should have been intuitive, the U.S. now leads the developed world in reducing carbon emissions.

America didn’t need a treaty–we just needed a President who understood how to balance environmental policy and the freedom and interests of the American people.

The article explains why the American approach has worked:

…instead of banning fossil fuels outright, the U.S. embraced natural gas amid a boom in its production. Thanks to a process called hydraulic fracturing or “fracking,” we’ve managed to tap new reserves of natural gas. In 2015, the U.S. surpassed Saudi Arabia and Russia to become the world’s top producer of natural gas. By 2018, energy companies produced over 60% more natural gas than they had two decades earlier. This newfound abundance of natural gas has helped our nation transition away from coal, which emits twice as much carbon dioxide.

Thanks to this shift, U.S. carbon dioxide emissions have hit 30-year lows, even as global emissions have increased by 50% during the same period. And since 2005, natural gas has done more to reduce power sector dioxide emissions than all renewable energy sources combined, according to the Energy Information Administration.

By eschewing regulation, America has also spurred additional emissions-reducing innovations in the private sector. Freed from red tape, U.S. energy firms have been able to devise and implement a host of groundbreaking green technologies. For example, a new technology called CleanWave strips chemicals from fracking wastewater using positively charged ions and bubbles. The Texas-based energy firm Apache reduces greenhouse gas emissions by powering fracking engines with natural gas instead of diesel.

The article concludes:

While the rest of the world fumbles with green energy policies, the U.S. continues to reduce emissions. We don’t need regulation to guarantee future success. American firms will continue to combat climate change, as long as we let them.

The free market works any time you let it.

President Trump And His Trade Policies

Yesterday Fox News reported that the US trade deficit has dropped for first time in 6 years because of the taxes President Trump has placed on China.

The article reports:

The U.S. trade deficit fell for the first time in six years in 2019 as President Donald Trump hammered China with import taxes.

The Commerce Department said Wednesday that the gap between what the United States sells and what it buys abroad fell 1.7 percent last year to $616.8 billion. U.S. exports fell 0.1 percent to $2.5 trillion. But imports fell more, slipping 0.4 percent to $3.1 trillion. Imports of crude oil plunged 19.3% to $126.6 billion.

The deficit in the trade of goods with China narrowed last year by 17.6 percent to $345.6 billion. Trump has imposed tariffs on $360 billion worth of Chinese imports in a battle over Beijing’s aggressive drive to challenge American technological dominance. The world’s two biggest economies reached an interim trade deal last month, and Trump dropped plans to extend the tariffs to another $160 billion in Chinese goods.

The article notes:

Overall, the United States posted a $866 billion deficit in the trade of goods such as cars and appliances, down from $887.3 billion in 2018. But it ran a $249.2 billion surplus in the trade of services such as tourism and banking, down from $260 billion in 2018.

America is a nation of consumers, so I suspect trade deficits are something that will always be with us, but as the manufacturing base in America expands and our trade policies become more balanced, I believe we will see lower trade deficits.

Is This The Future We Want For America?

Breitbart posted an article today about a tax crisis in Sweden. The causes are something Americans need to consider as our southern border continues to be seen as a political issue rather than a national security and economic issue.

The article reports:

A Swedish municipality that took in one of the highest numbers of asylum seekers per population faces a crisis as natives move out and decimate the local tax base.

The municipality of Filipstad took in many asylum seekers during the migrant crisis of 2015 and now are facing increasing costs as unemployment among migrants has surged and financial assistance rates have tripled, broadcaster SVT reports.

Claes Hultgren, the local municipal manager, described the situation, saying of the migrant population: “In this group, unemployment and dependency are very high, while education levels are very low. This group runs the risk of ending in an eternal alienation that is already heavily burdening the municipal economy.”

The article concludes:

While many cities across Sweden are facing housing shortages, the rate of unemployment between native Swedes and migrants is stark.

A 2018 report stated that the unemployment rate for native Swedes was a mere 3.6 per cent while the foreign-born rate was much higher at 19.9 per cent. The city of Malmo, which has a high migration-background population, was shown to have double the national unemployment average.

At some point, we need to realize that generosity has to have limits. You can only accept a certain amount of people who are dependent on others for their basic needs before those policies have a negative impact on the people who are working to meet their own basic needs. Charity is a wonderful part of life, but it has to be voluntary and it has to be within the bounds of ability. The number of immigrants coming into Europe and America who have no marketable skills and do not know the language is a burden on the economics of the countries involved. Immigration needs to be controlled, and assimilation needs to be part of immigration.

Unfortunately This Is Going To Require A Response

Fox News is reporting today that two tankers flying British flags have been seized by Iran in the Strait of Hormuz.

The article reports:

Fox News has learned that a second Liberian tanker operated by a British company was also seized by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard and was seen on maritime tracking services making a turn, headed towards Iran.

President Trump said Friday that Iran is “nothing but trouble” and that “we heard one, we heard two,” tankers were seized.

Iran seized a British-flagged oil tanker in the Strait of Hormuz earlier Friday amid growing tensions in the region.

The Stena Impero, which has a crew of 23 onboard, “was approached by unidentified small crafts and a helicopter during transit of the Strait of Hormuz while the vessel was in international waters,” Stena Bulk, the shipping company that owns the vessel, said in a statement. “We are presently unable to contact the vessel which is now heading north towards Iran.”

Iran’s Revolutionary Guard forces, in a statement on their website, say the ship was seized for “non-compliance with international maritime laws and regulations” and is being brought to an unnamed Iranian port, according to the Associated Press.

Websites tracking the ship’s path show it turning sharply in the direction of Iran’s Qeshm Island, instead of its intended destination of Saudi Arabia.

“We are urgently seeking further information and assessing the situation following reports of an incident in the Gulf,” a U.K. government spokesperson told Fox News.

In July 2018 Reuters posted the following:

With a third of the world’s sea-borne oil passing through it every day, the Strait of Hormuz is a strategic artery linking Middle East crude producers to key markets in Asia Pacific, Europe, North America and beyond.

That dynamic has changed slightly due to the fact that America now exports more crude oil than they import. The countries that will be hurt by problems in the Strait of Hormuz will be Europe, India, and China. I am sure that America will be willing to help Europe, Russia will also increase her oil production. The price of oil will rise sharply, but it is doubtful that the Strait will remain closed.

The latest report that I have heard is that there are actually three tankers that have been seized. This is an international problem and should be handled by the international community in unison.

Received in my email today:

The United States’ Founders created the
Electoral College to ensure the STATES and ALL AMERICANS  are FAIRLY represented.

Why should one or two densely populated areas speak for the whole of the Nation?  Do they truly represent all states and our entire Nation?

There are 3,141 counties in the United States.

Trump won 3,084 of them.
Clinton won 57.

There are 62 counties in New York State.

Trump won 46 of them.

Clinton won 16.

Clinton won the popular vote by approx. 1.5 million votes.

In the 5 counties that encompass NYC, (Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan,
Richmond & Queens) Clinton received well over 2 million more votes
than Trump. (Clinton won 4 of these counties; Trump won Richmond)

Therefore these 4 MEGA counties in New York City alone, more than accounted for Clinton winning the popular vote of the entire country.

These 5 counties comprise 319 square miles.

The United States is comprised of 3,797,000 square miles.

Should a Nation that encompasses almost 4 million square miles,

be ruled by those who live in one small corner of the vast nation–a mere 319 square miles?

Should this small section of the country dictate a National Election?

Should large, densely populated Democrat cities (NYC, Chicago, LA)  speak for the entire Nation?

 

Yes, The President’s Border Policies Have Changed Things

One America News posted an article today with the following title, “Border apprehensions nosedive after President Trump’s Mexico deal.”

The article reports:

Apprehensions on the southern border have plummeted, following President Trump’s historic deal with Mexico. According to leaked Department of Homeland Security data, apprehensions at the southern border dropped by 25-percent between May and June.

This drop was corroborated by acting Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan on Friday, who attributed the change to President Trump’s deal with Mexico in June. The deal called on Mexican officials to do more to stop the flow of illegal migration to the U.S. southern border.

“It’s become clear that over the past three weeks, since the administration reached a new agreement with Mexico, that we’ve seen a substantial increase in the number of interdictions on the Mexican southern border and a sincere effort to address the transportation networks coming through Mexico,” stated McAleenan.

While the month of June typically sees a decline in border apprehensions, a 25-percent decrease is unprecedented compared to previous years.

The article concludes:

“While it’s been many weeks coming, I think we should pause to note the significance of the strong bipartisan votes to respond the administrations request and provide the over $4.5 billion in total to support these humanitarian missions,” said the DHS secretary. “Although we did not get everything we asked for, including — importantly — additional ICE beds for single adults, the bill substantially addresses our request.”

Despite the decline, McAleenan admited there’s still a lot of work that needs to be done to stop the flow of migrants from central America. He also said he believes we should wait to see if the drop in apprehensions continues in the coming months to assess just how much more work needs to be done to combat the migrant crisis.

One of the advantages of having a businessman as President, is that President Trump understands that money (tariffs) can be used as leverage. The change in the situation at our southern border is an example of that. Hopefully, the decrease in illegal immigrants attempting to enter America illegally will continue.

Our Ancestors Understood Human Nature A Lot Better Than We Do

From Vox June 23:

Sen. Bernie Sanders’s proposal to make college free in the United States just got bigger: He wants to erase all student debt too. All $1.6 trillion of it.

The Vermont senator will unveil the most ambitious higher education plan in the Democratic 2020 presidential primary so far on Monday. The proposal would make two- and four-year public and tribal colleges and universities tuition-free and debt-free, and erase the roughly $1.6 trillion in student loan debt currently owed in the US, paid for by a tax on Wall Street.

Currently, about 45 million Americans have student loans. This would cancel debt for all of them — regardless of their income or assets. That’s a notable difference from Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s free college proposal, which also provides broad debt relief but caps it for households with incomes over $250,000.

Sanders is proposing funding streams to states, tribes, and historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) to allow them to eliminate undergraduate tuition and fees. The bill would also increase spending on work-study programs and build up federal grant programs for low-income students for additional costs related to getting an education, from housing and transportation to buying books.

The proposal would cost $2.2 trillion over 10 years, which Sanders says would be paid for with his Wall Street tax. He proposed a Wall Street speculation tax in 2016, which would raise small levies on buying and selling stocks, bonds, and derivatives; many experts estimate it could raise hundreds of billions of dollars annually. Sanders’s office cited progressive economist Robert Pollin’s projection that the tax would bring in $2.4 trillion in revenues over 10 years.

From The New York Post February 22nd:

Democratic presidential hopefuls Sens. Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren said they both support reparations for African-Americans affected by slavery.

Asked about the matter last week on the 105.1 FM show “Breakfast Club,” Harris agreed with the host that reparations are necessary to address problems of “inequities.”

“America has a history of 200 years of slavery. We had Jim Crow. We had legal segregation in America for a very long time,” she said on the radio show. “We have got to recognize, back to that earlier point, people aren’t starting out on the same base in terms of their ability to succeed and so we have got to recognize that and give people a lift up.”

From Alexander Fraser Tytler, Lord Woodhouselee (15 October 1747 – 5 January 1813), who obviously understood a lot more than all three of these Democrat candidates for President:

“A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy, always followed by a dictatorship. The average age of the world’s greatest civilizations has been 200 years. These nations have progressed through this sequence: From bondage to spiritual faith; From spiritual faith to great courage; From courage to liberty; From liberty to abundance; From abundance to selfishness; From selfishness to apathy; From apathy to dependence; From dependence back into bondage.”
Alexander Fraser Tytler
We have a choice of where we will be on that timeline.

‘Merit’ Under Attack

Merriam-Webster defines merit as follows:

a obsolete : reward or punishment due

b : the qualities or actions that constitute the basis of one’s deserts Opinions of his merit vary.

c : a praiseworthy quality : virtue but originality, as it is one of the highest, is also one of the rarest, of merits— E. A. Poe

d : character or conduct deserving reward, honor, or esteem also : achievement composed a number of works of merit — H. E. Starr

The concept behind the definition is that something is earned. A person’s conduct, character, or actions deserve either a positive or negative response–generally today it implies a positive response.

The following quote is from an ABC News article posted yesterday:

“I want to just say something about the word that they use ‘merit.’ It is really a condescending word,” Pelosi said. “Are they saying family is without merit? Are they saying most of the people who have ever come to the United States in the history of our country are without merit because they don’t have an engineering degree? Certainly we want to attract the best to our country and that includes many people from many parts of society.”

I would like to point out that the most of the people who came to the United States came before the existence of the welfare state. Their ‘merit’ was their willingness to work to build America. Unfortunately many of the people now arriving lack that ‘merit.’ Many are coming here looking for a free lunch.

I am not opposed to family immigration, but we need to look at the consequences of having family immigration as the majority of our immigration. Uncle Fred might have been a successful farmer in his younger years, but his best years are behind him. His medical needs have increased and his ability to work has decreased. It may be the humane thing to do to reunite Uncle Fred with his family and give him the medical care he needs, but it is the humane thing to do while our veterans are waiting years for medical care that they have earned?

Can we afford to have an immigration system not based on what will help our country remain prosperous? Again, I am not opposed to family immigration, but we need to be certain that the people we bring into America will help build America and not be a burden on the people already here.

Merit doesn’t necessarily mean an engineering degree, but it does mean an ability to assimilate into America, work hard, and be an asset to themselves and to their community.

The Latest Economic Numbers

On Friday, Market Watch reported that the U.S. economy did better than expected during the first three months of 2019.

The article reports:

Reports of the demise of the U.S. economy proved unfounded as first-quarter activity showed surprising strength. The U.S. economy expanded at a 3.2% annual pace in the first three months of 2019, the government said Friday.

The gain was well above forecasts. Economists polled by MarketWatch had forecast a 2.3% increase in gross domestic product. The economy grew at a 2.2% rate in the final three months of 2018.

Inflation moderated a bit in the first quarter.

The article includes other good economic news:

Final sales to domestic purchasers, which excludes trade and inventory behavior, rose 2.3% in the first quarter, the smallest gain in three years, but still well above what economists were expecting.

The value of inventories increased to $128.4 billion from $96.8 billion, adding to GDP.

The trade sector added a little more than 1% to growth in the first quarter. Exports rose 3.7%, while imports dropped by the same amount, leading to a smaller trade deficit.

Offsetting these gains, consumer spending decelerated to a 1.2% gain, the slowest increase in a year.

Business fixed investment decelerated to a relatively slow 2.7% gain, down from a 5.4% gain in the prior quarter. Investment in structures fell 0.8%, the third straight decline.

Investment in new housing was another weak spot. Residential investment dropped 2.8%, the fifth straight quarterly decline.

I believe that the weakness in the housing market is being caused by a number of things. The millennials, the generation that would currently be entering the housing market, are weighed down by student debt. There is also a different attitude among young Americans about owning a house that there was a few generations ago. In the past, many Americans looked at their home as an investment–something that would grow in value over the years. Many older people began with a ‘starter house’–a small house that allowed them to enter into the housing market. Today, couples are having children later than previous generations. Their first house is paid for by two incomes, and they are not dealing with the expense of having children. The concept of a ‘starter house’ is no longer with us. Those facts, along with the price of the home most young people want to own are working to slow down the housing market. I am not convinced any of those factors are going to change.

Do We Really Want To Do This?

On February 15th The Washington Examiner posted an article with the following headline: “‘Medicare for All’ would require obesity laws.” I wonder if the few Americans who actually support the idea of ‘Medicare for All’ understand that would be part of the deal (along with drastic increases in taxes, long waits for medical care, and a reduction in the quality and quantity of medical care available).

The article notes:

At 36.2 percent, the American obesity rate is the 12th-highest in the world and first among OECD countries. Of every European nation with universal healthcare, only the United Kingdom (27.8 percent) and Hungary (26.4 percent) come within 10 percent of the American obesity rate.

In Germany, France, Portugal, and Sweden, the national obesity rates are 22.3 percent, 21.6 percent, 20.8 percent, and 20.6 percent respectively. And in Denmark and Italy, fewer than 20 percent of people are obese.

Like it or not, we live in a country where ordering a salad at a fast food place often costs more than ordering something less healthy. Unless Americans are willing to change their eating habits significantly, Medicare for All would be a disaster.

The article concludes:

The country under single-payer will make former Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s soda taxes and food-nannying look like child’s play. Everything from your sugar consumption to your alcohol would become a matter of public regulation, and the public would not only have the power but also the moral right to regulate how people live.

Of the 2.6 million deaths in the U.S. per year, 300,000 are caused by obesity. It’s one of the single greatest drivers of avoidable healthcare spending, costing the country around $200 billion annually.

Progressives may call this fat-shaming. But it’s really just public health and economics.

Keep your hands off my Bo-Jangles!

Killing A Growing Economy One Law At A Time

On January 4th, Investor’s Business Daily reported:

Since President Donald Trump took office nearly two years ago, some 4.8 million new payroll jobs have been created. That’s more than four times as many as created during President Obama’s first four years.

Hold on, you say, didn’t the unemployment rate jump from 3.7% to 3.9%? It did. Yes, but not because more people were unemployed, but because more people entered the labor force, seeking opportunities that didn’t exist before.

It’s actually a bullish sign. Some 419,000 people entered the workforce during the month, driving the labor force participation rate to 63.1%, up from 62.7% a year ago. That bellwether employment figure declined pretty consistently during the job-poor Obama years, from 65.7% when Obama entered office to 62.9% when he left. It stabilized under Trump. Last month’s 63.1% tied for the highest point since September 2013.

This rapidly improving economy is the result of President Trump’s deregulation and tax cuts. Cutting the corporate taxes and regulations resulted in manufacturing jobs returning to America (after President Obama told us they were never coming back). So why is the Democrat House of Representatives trying to undo this progress?

The Hill reported yesterday:

Rep. John Yarmuth, the new House Budget chairman, said his chamber’s budget blueprint will aim to claw back lost revenue by boosting the corporate tax rate from its current 21 percent to as high as 28 percent, with rate increases also possible for high-earning individuals.

The Kentucky Democrat said Friday he wants to mark up a fiscal 2020 budget resolution, which will outline his party’s vision for taxes and spending over the next decade, in time to reach the House floor in early April. Yarmuth said Democratic leaders have told him they want to be ready so they can set the procedural stage for passage of all 12 appropriations bills before the August recess.

Are they simply economically badly informed or is there another motive? Well first I would like to mention my favorite Milton Friedman quote, “If you put the federal government in charge of the Sahara Desert, in five years there’d be a shortage of sand.” I think there are two forces at work here–first of all the Democrats love taxes. They believe that the more of everyone else’s money they have to spend, the more powerful they are. Second of all, Democrats with brains realize that increasing taxes will slow economic growth. Slowing the Trump economy is the only chance the Democrats have of taking the presidency in 2020. That is the plan. Hopefully the Senate will not pass the House of Representative’s budget plans. They will be harmful to average Americans. President Trump has helped average Americans economically. President Obama helped Wall Street but ignored Main Street. The House Democrats seem determined to go back to that model which ignored average Americans.

We Need A Wall

The following was posted at CBN recently:

As President Donald Trump and congressional Democrats remain at an apparent impasse over the border wall, the commander in chief is drawing criticism for shutting down the government. Others, however, insist the wall is necessary, saying the president must stand up for national security.

CBN News‘ Charlene Aaron spoke with Center for Security Policy President Frank Gaffney about why he believes it’s so important for the president to win this particular battle over immigration.

I realize that a five minute video is a lot to post on a blog, but it is worth listening to. Frank Gaffney has been involved in national security for a long time and knows what he is talking about.

Misleading Propaganda From The United Nations

Yesterday The Daily Signal posted an article about the latest numbers on worldwide poverty.

The article reports:

Philip Alston, the United Nations’ special rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, recently reported that in the United States, “[a]bout 40 million live in poverty, 18.5 million in extreme poverty, and 5.3 million live in third-world conditions of absolute poverty.”

He further argued before the U.N. Human Rights Commission that “one of the world’s wealthiest countries does very little about the fact that 40 million of its citizens live in poverty.”

That would be very serious if it were true. Thankfully it is not.

The article further reports:

Such claims do have a veneer of legitimacy, however, because when compiling the U.S. government’s official poverty statistics, the Census Bureau considers only the cash income each family reports in an annual survey.

These “official” income figures exclude substantial off-the-books earnings among low-income households and omit roughly 95 percent of the $1.1 trillion U.S. taxpayers provide in means-tested cash, food, housing, and medical benefits for low-income persons each year.

Fortunately, the Census Bureau also conducts, on behalf of the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a survey of household expenditures, in which families are asked to report how much money they spend each month on each of up to 594 categories of purchases. Poor families routinely report spending an average of $2.40 for each dollar of official cash income.

…Alston claims that 40 million Americans have incomes below the official U.S. poverty level of roughly $24,000 per year for a family of four. However, the reality is that at most 25.9 million Americans live in poverty, based on reported spending less than the official poverty threshold. And, the official U.S. poverty threshold is far higher than the living standard for most of the world’s population.

The article explains what poverty looks like in America:

The severe shortcomings of income-based poverty measures are made clear when one considers the actual living conditions of those whom Alston considers to be in “extreme poverty.” American families living in “extreme poverty” typically have air conditioning, computers, DVD players, and cellphones. They rarely report material hardships such as hunger, eviction, or having utilities cut off.

The article notes that we need to find a better way of compiling our poverty statistics in America so that they actually reflect the truth. An accurate reporting of poverty statistics would help the government gauge exactly what our spending on poverty needs to be.

Do They Really Think We Are That Stupid?

On Friday, Investor’s Business Daily posted an editorial about poverty in America.

The editorial states:

Amid all the immigration hoo-ha, maybe you missed the uncritical mainstream media reports of a United Nations study faulting President Trump for poverty in America. Turns out, it’s just more fake news.

An uncritical Reuters headline says it all: “America’s poor becoming more destitute under Trump: U.N. expert”. The Hill’s equally blase headline: “UN poverty official: Trump exacerbating inequality.”

The report — really a first-person narrative — released earlier this month, ripped President Trump for his “contempt” and “hatred of the poor.”

The report cited 18.5 million Americans who live in extreme policy, and massive U.S. defense spending at the expense of social programs.

Only one problem: As Chuck DeVore, vice president of the Texas Public Policy Foundation, points out, the data on which the study was based came from 2016.

Whoops.

The editorial continues:

Worse, the U.N. report uses misleading and “wildly inaccurate” Census data to bolster its claims of 18.5 million living in the U.S. under extreme poverty. The real level, as a separate study reveals, is “less than half that.”

In fact, unemployment at 3.8% is a 29-year low. Food stamp recipients in 2017 numbered 42.1 million, 2 million below Obama’s last year and the lowest since 2010.

Somehow I don’t think the definition of poverty in America is the same as the definition of poverty in some other areas of the world.

The Media Doesn’t Care If It Is True As Long As It Fits Their Agenda

The problem with Internet searches is that it is easy to look up past events and compare them with current events. That’s not a problem for most people, but it is becoming a problem for the news media. Any person can do their own fact checking. Since some of the fact checking sites are not accurate or biased, that is a dangerous thing for a somewhat dishonest media.

Yesterday The Daily Caller posted an article that was a perfect example of basic fact checking. By now we have all seen the cover of TIME Magazine with Trump looking down at a crying child. It’s a powerful image. But even TIME Magazine admits it is fake:

John Moore, a Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer for Getty Images, has been photographing immigrants crossing the U.S.-Mexico border for years. This week one of his pictures became the most visible symbol of the immigration debate in America.

…TIME’s editors selected Moore’s photograph to create a photo illustration…

Photo illustration is a polite word for fake picture.

The Daily Caller provides more background:

The father of the child later revealed that the girl was never separated from the mother and that the child was only briefly set down so that border patrol agents could perform a pat down. The mother also left three other children behind in Honduras.

As more information comes out about the situation of Sandra Sanchez and her 2-year-old daughter, ICE confirmed on Friday that Sanchez was previously deported in 2013.

“ICE said Sanchez was previously deported to Honduras in July 2013,” The Washington Post reported.

While illegally crossing the border is a misdemeanor, illegal reentry is a felony.

The picture is a lie. You might as well put up a picture of a teenager crying because they couldn’t get into a concert because they didn’t have a ticket. You need to come to America legally. If you come illegally, you are breaking the law. If you come illegally after being sent home, you are committing a felony.

Sometimes You Wonder If Members Of Congress Have Ever Read The Constitution They Swore To Uphold

Yesterday The Hill posted an article about legislation proposed by Republicans to keep families together at the southern border of the United States.

The article reports:

Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer (N.Y.) on Tuesday dismissed a legislative proposal backed by Republican leaders to keep immigrant families together at the border, arguing that President Trump could fix the problem more easily with a flick of his pen.

“There are so many obstacles to legislation and when the president can do it with his own pen, it makes no sense,” Schumer told reporters. “Legislation is not the way to go here when it’s so easy for the president to sign it.”

Asked if that meant Democrats would not support a bill backed by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to keep immigrant families together while seeking asylum on the U.S. border, Schumer said they want to keep the focus on Trump. (Italics mine)

Legislation is the job of Congress. They are responsible for making laws. Not only is Senator Schumer shirking his responsibility, his statement makes it clear that he is more interested in politics than finding a solution. Senator Schumer is illustrating the difference between a politician and a businessman, and he is also illustrating the reason Donald Trump got elected. A politician ‘never lets a crisis go to waste.’ A businessman’s focus is on solving problems and moving forward.

It’s time to stop playing politics with border enforcement, secure our borders, and discourage people from trying to come to America illegally. If Senator Schumer chooses not to do his job, he should be replaced by a Senator who has read the Constitution and is willing to abide by his Oath of Office.

It Will Be Fun To Watch The Media’s Reaction To This

The Gateway Pundit is reporting today that Norwegians Christian Tybring-Gjedde, an MP, and former justice minister Per-Willy Amundsen have nominated President Trump for the Nobel Peace Prize. Remember that in 2009 President Obama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. He had been in office less than a year and really hadn’t accomplished much except apologizing on three continents for what he views as the sins of America and his predecessors. This was perfectly in line with those who award the prize–they have very little respect for the principles that make America free and strong.

President Trump deserves the award for beginning negotiations with Kim Jong Un. Obviously we have no idea how those negotiations will turn out, but talking is better than lobbing nuclear weapons. That is a step toward peace.

It will be interesting to see how this plays out–will the Nobel Peace Prize Committee take an honest look at the contribution to peace that President Trump has made to world peace or will they continue to allow politics to determine their choice to receive the award.

The 2018 Doomsday Clock Statement lists the North Korean nuclear program as one of the reasons the clock was moved to two minutes to midnight in 2018. It remains to be seen if the meeting this week will begin to end that threat, but at least President Trump has made a step in that direction.

This Is Good News For A Lot Of People

George Soros has a rather checkered past. He has been associated with Nazis in Germany when they were in power and has been accused of acquiring much of his wealth through collapsing the currency of various countries. He is one of the richest men in the world and tends to dabble in the political affairs of various countries–America included. He hasn’t had a lot of luck in America recently–Hillary Clinton lost and many of the California District Attorney candidates he funded lost. He believes in a one-world government controlled by himself and his friends. It won’t be a democracy, and the American Constitution would be irrelevant. Freedom would be optional. Well, I’m grateful things are not going his way right now. I am hoping that continues to be the case.

The Daily Caller posted an article about George Soros yesterday.

The article reports:

George Soros recently lamented the rise of President Trump and anti-establishment parties across the globe, saying “everything that could go wrong, has gone wrong.”

Soros made the comment in an interview with The Washington Post published Saturday. He also said that he did not expect Trump’s election, saying, “Apparently, I was living in my own bubble.”

The activist billionaire also made the bizarre claim that President Trump would be “willing to destroy the world.”

Soros has become known for using his immense wealth to influence politics in the United States and around the world.

Actually I suspect George Soros would be willing to destroy the world. He has worked very hard to undermine the national sovereignty of America. I don’t suspect he is giving up on that–just grousing that it is taking so long. Eight years of Donald Trump might make him go away.

In What Universe Does This Make Sense?

I will admit that I think beauty contests are dumb. I will also admit that one of my daughters participated in one as a teenager. One was enough. However, I don’t think ill of anyone who does participate in them. Beauty contests have provided a way for many young ladies to get scholarships to get an education they could not otherwise afford. Great. However, the politically correct people who want everyone to be the same and everyone to have a trophy have now ventured into the realm of beauty pageants (and ruined an American tradition in the process).

The Chicago Sun Times posted an article today stating:

The Miss America Organization is dropping the swimsuit competition, saying it will no longer judge contestants on their appearance.

…“We’re not going to judge you on your appearance because we are interested in what makes you you,” Gretchen Carlson, a former Miss America who is head of the organization’s board of trustees, said while making the announcement Tuesday on “Good Morning America.”

I guess I don’t understand how a beauty contest can be judged on anything other than beauty. How do you judge someone on “what makes you you?” Are some “what makes you you’s” better than others?

This is the dumbest idea I have heard in a long time.