Fiscal Insanity

The Daily Wire posted an article today about the latest proposal by Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

The article reports:

The 29-year-old former bartender has unveiled a new six-bill package of legislation titled “A Just Society.”

“A just society provides a living wage, safe working conditions, and healthcare. A just society acknowledges the value of immigrants to our communities. A just society guarantees safe, comfortable, and affordable housing,” says a page on her House website dedicated to the package. “By strengthening our social and economic foundations, we are preparing ourselves to embark on the journey to save our planet by rebuilding our economy and cultivate a just society.”

The package has six parts:

  • “The Place to Prosper Act” would prevent year-over-year rent increases of more than 3%.
  • “The Uplift Workers Act” would mandate that the Department of Labor to create a “worker-friendly score” considering factors such as paid-family leave, a $15 minimum wage and union membership.
  • “The Mercy in Re-entry Act” would grant public benefits to those convicted of criminal offenses.
  • The “Guarantees the Economic, Social and Cultural Rights for All” Act does, well, just that.
  • “The Recognizing Poverty Act” orders the Department of Health and Human Services “to adjust the federal poverty line” based on location.
  • “The Embrace Act” would allow illegal aliens to claim the same welfare benefits as all U.S. citizens and legal immigrants.

How about a “just society” where everyone gets to keep what they earn, and those who feel the need to help others are free to do that.

A New York Times article from November 3, 2018, reported the following:

Charitable contributions may be lower in Democratic-leaning counties, but residents support the social safety net through higher taxes.

Note to those who support government programs over private charity–in general private charities are run much more efficiently than government programs. Private charities also have a handle on who genuinely needs help and who has learned how to game the system.

Generally speaking it is never a good idea to take money from people that earn it and give it to people who did not–at best it is de-motivational, at worst it is simple theft.

Eventually Everyone Figures This Out

This post is based on an article on The Federalist Papers website. It consists of two quotes about welfare and the consequences of our current welfare programs.

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback explained the problems with our current welfare system:

“Welfare is failing, just not for the reason you think. For too long, conventional wisdom in Washington, D.C., has dictated the best way to move people out of poverty is to expand welfare programs so that individuals could possibly, gradually, work their way out of dependency.

Kansas’ recent reform experience turns that notion upside down.

It is now clear that welfare fails because it ensnares people in poverty by paying them to not work. Welfare fails because it discourages people from improving their lives. So many recipients don’t work and get caught on welfare, suffering in poverty for years…even generations.

Fortunately, there’s a proven way to help.

Kansas shows what’s possible when you free people from the welfare trap. With assistance from the Foundation for Government Accountability, Kansas just completed the most comprehensive welfare tracking project of its kind. We matched more than 41,000 individuals as they moved off welfare with their employment records at the state’s Department of Labor.

…When moved off food stamps, half of these Kansans began working immediately. Nearly three-fifths were employed within 12 months and their incomes rose by an average of 127 percent during that first year. Incomes kept increasing as they progressed to full-time work and increased their wages. Better still, those higher wages more than offset the food stamps lost, making them more financially secure. This is real success!

Kansas’ simple reforms have led to more employment, higher incomes, less poverty, and lower spending.

Even those still on food stamps (but now required to work to keep them) are twice as likely to be working and have also substantially increased their incomes, though their overall incomes are still not as high as those freed completely from welfare. The result is that these individuals now need less help and their average time on food stamps is cut in half.

…For too long, Washington, D.C. has encouraged states to extend food stamps and expand Medicaid to ever more able-bodied adults. They promised welfare as an economic stimulus and states – red and blue alike –bought it. The result is not stimulus, but malaise.

People on welfare are working less, earning less and as a result are trapped in poverty. Millions of them. It’s a national tragedy.

Fortunately, states have many reform tools to roll back what has become the gateway to dependency: food stamps. States can assist their citizens by restoring work requirements, time limits, asset tests, reducing eligibility loopholes, and eliminating fraud.

Once free, those previously dependent on the government are motivated to work and earn more than just money: they gain self-worth, dignity, and a hopeful future. All things a person can’t get from welfare.

Americans know the value of hard work. That’s why common-sense work requirements were core to the bipartisan 1996 welfare reform that turns 20 this year.

Now is the perfect time for Congress to expand work requirements and time limits for non-disabled adults on all welfare programs – including Medicaid, ObamaCare’s Medicaid expansion, food stamps, and housing. It’s time to start holding states to asset tests for all welfare programs. It’s time to return welfare to the truly needy and stop trapping Americans in government dependency.

With these reforms, Congress can help restore the working class and give real hope to millions still trapped in poverty and a failing welfare system.”

The second quote is from Benjamin Franklin:

I am for doing good to the poor, but I differ in opinion of the means. I think the best way of doing good to the poor, is not making them easy in poverty, but leading or driving them out of it. In my youth I traveled much, and I observed in different countries, that the more public provisions were made for the poor, the less they provided for themselves, and of course became poorer. And, on the contrary, the less was done for them, the more they did for themselves, and became richer.

There is no country in the world where so many provisions are established for them; so many hospitals to receive them when they are sick or lame, founded and maintained by voluntary charities; so many alms-houses for the aged of both sexes, together with a solemn general law made by the rich to subject their estates to a heavy tax for the support of the poor.

Under all these obligations, are our poor modest, humble, and thankful; and do they use their best endeavors to maintain themselves, and lighten our shoulders of this burthen? — On the contrary, I affirm that there is no country in the world in which the poor are more idle, dissolute, drunken, and insolent.

The day you passed that act, you took away from before their eyes the greatest of all inducements to industry, frugality, and sobriety, by giving them a dependence on somewhat else than a careful accumulation during youth and health, for support in age or sickness.

In short, you offered a premium for the encouragement of idleness, and you should not now wonder that it has had its effect in the increase of poverty.

Repeal that law, and you will soon see a change in their manners. St. Monday, and St. Tuesday, will cease to be holidays. SIX days shalt thou labor, though one of the old commandments long treated as out of date, will again be looked upon as a respectable precept; industry will increase, and with it plenty among the lower people; their circumstances will mend, and more will be done for their happiness by inuring them to provide for themselves, than could be done by dividing all your estates among them.

We don’t do anyone any good by giving them things they did not have to work for. There is something in human nature that feels a sense of accomplishment when we earn something and feels less than capable when we have to depend on someone else for everything. We need a change of attitude in the American welfare system. It’s time to help people get back to work instead of encouraging them to take more from those who do work.

Unions Members Inspecting Non-Union Companies

Yesterday the Daily Caller reported that union representatives are allowed to accompany OSHA to nonunion work sites due to an Obama administration rule clarification. The clarification has been accused in congressional testimony of violating federal laws.

The article reports:

Union representatives from the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) are now accompanying federal government safety inspectors on site visits to review labor complaints at nonunion private businesses, The Daily Caller has learned.

SEIU and other labor unions can accompany the government inspectors on site visits due to a quiet and contested Obama administration rule clarification issued last year in response to a request from a union representative.

SEIU agents recently accompanied an inspector from the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), a division of the Department of Labor, on three visits to nonunion work sites under contract with the Houston-based janitorial company Professional Janitorial Services (PJS).

The argument against allowing SIEU and other union member to be involved in OSHA inspections is that it brings into question the neutrality of OSHA in labor-management disputes. Union members have no business being involved in the inspection of a non-union company.

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Overruling The Law When Convenient

Sequestration is scheduled to occur on January 2, 2013. As usual, note that this is after the November election. Sequestration is essentially drastic cuts to government spending triggered by the fact that Congress was unable to reach a budget compromise. Sequestration will have an incredibly negative aspect on the American economy overall if is actually happens, and as of now, it will happen.

Scott Johnson at Power Line posted an article today about some of the political maneuvering revolving around sequestration. The article explains that under the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act, defense contractors are required to issue notices of layoffs to employees 60 days before the layoffs occur. Since under sequestration defense contractors can expect major layoffs (January 2, 2013), those notices would go out in early November. Obviously, the Obama Administration does not want that to happen.

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has issued a memorandum stating that they do not believe these notices should be issued. Please follow this link to read the entire memorandum.

Some highlights from the memorandum:

DOL (Department of Labor) concluded that it is neither necessary nor appropriate for Federal contractors to provide WARN Act notice to employees 60 days in advance of the potential sequestration because of uncertainty about whether sequestration will occur and, if it did, what effect it would have on particular contracts, among other factors:

Specifically, if (1) sequestration occurs and an agency terminates or modifies a contract that necessitates that the contractor order a plant closing or mass layoff ofa type subject to WARN Act requirements, and (2) that contractor has followed a course of action consistent with DOL guidance; then any resulting employee· compensation costs for WARN Act liability as detennined by a court, as well as attoroeys’ fees and other litigation costs (irrespective of li tigation outcome), would qualify as allowable costs and be covered by the contracting agency, if otherwise reasonable and allocable.

Translated into English, this says don’t send out the notices and the government will pay any legal penalties.

The Hill reports:

“The Obama Administration is cynically trying to skirt the WARN Act to keep the American people in the dark about this looming national security and fiscal crisis,” Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) said in a statement. “The president should insist that companies act in accordance with the clearly stated law and move forward with the layoff notices.”

No one actually knows if sequestration will happen, but right now it is scheduled to happen. The law needs to be followed, regardless of the politics involved. The government is not supposed to be used as a campaign committee. This is totally over the top.

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