If It’s Not About The Money, What Is It About?

In January of 2018, The Washington Times noted that the estimated $18 billion over the next decade spent on a border wall between the United States and Mexico would be roughly 0.0338 percent of the $53.128 trillion the Congressional Budget Office currently estimates the federal government will spend over that same 10-year period. So what is all the fuss about?

Yesterday WWF came to the Oval Office in the White House when Representative Nancy Pelosi and Senator Chuck Schumer discussed the border wall with President Trump. YouTube posted the video:

The battle is not about money–it’s about votes. The Democrats have lost some of the voting blocs they have counted on to win elections–they can no longer be sure of the working man’s vote or the union vote. So how are they going to win elections? They are counting on the minority vote. The Democrats are afraid that if the wall is built, they will lose the Hispanic vote.

According to the Pew Research Center, this is how Hispanics voted in 2018:

According to a USA Today article posted November 9, 2016, President Trump did surprisingly well among Hispanic voters:

Hispanics favored Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton 65% to 29%, a 36-point difference that helped her secure winning margins in states like Nevada and Colorado and kept her competitive late into the night in other key battleground states.

But that margin, based on exit polling conducted by Edison Research, was smaller than the 71%-27% split that President Obama won in 2012. And it was smaller than the 72%-21% her husband, former president Bill Clinton, won in 1996.

Because the Democrats are becoming more dependent on the votes of minority groups to win elections, it is easy to understand why they would oppose any legislation or spending that most cost them votes in the minority community.

Looking Forward And Protecting Your Gains

Yesterday The Washington Examiner posted an article about some of Representative Nancy Pelosi’s plans should she become Speaker of the House. Say what you will about the lady, she wants to protect the Democrat party from themselves.

The article reports:

Democratic leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., in the midst of fending off a coup to derail her return to the House speakership, is proposing a series of rules changes that could kneecap liberals from pursuing a bold agenda in the new Congress.

Among the many proposed rules changes the incoming majority plans to make in a draft document obtained by the Washington Post, is one backed by Pelosi and Rep. Richard Neal, D-Mass., ranking member of the House Ways and Means Committee, that would “[r]equire a three-fifths supermajority to raise individual income taxes on the lowest-earning 80% of taxpayers.”

The proposed changes also hint at restoring some sort of “reasonable rule” aimed at making sure legislation is paid for, though there isn’t much elaboration.

Below is a chart from Pew Research Center illustrating who pays taxes. The chart is from 2016:

Raising taxes on the lowest 80 percent of taxpayers would theoretically even the tax burden, but it would be another blow against the Middle Class. Keep in mind that one of the signs of a country with a healthy economy is a thriving Middle Class. I would like to see all Americans pay some income tax–everyone needs ‘skin in the game’, but simply raising taxes on the lower 80 percent of Americans makes no sense–it will only slow down the economy and not raise revenue.

The article concludes:

Now, I suppose Democrats technically would have some wiggle room if the new rule were adopted. Because the proposed rule specifies “income taxes” it leaves an opening to raise money in other ways — payroll taxes, VAT taxes, and so on. But politically, that’s really a nonstarter. If Democrats make the 80 percent pledge and end up raising taxes on the middle class, Republicans will be able to effectively campaign against it as a broken promise, and any Democratic candidate trying to claim, “Well, we said income tax, but not payroll tax,” will be scorched.

I mean, I didn’t expect Pelosi to suddenly go full speed ahead with the Sanders agenda, but I also wouldn’t have predicted that she would have cut liberals down right out of the gate.

Representative Pelosi is attempting to protect her party’s chances in the 2020 presidential election. As much as I don’t wish her success, her fellow party members would do well to pay attention to what she is doing–she is trying to protect the future of the party. Older Americans are the majority of the voting population, and generally speaking, they do not support socialism–they have seen too much.

Tax Cuts For The Rich?

The Democrats objection to President Trump’s tax plan is that it is ‘tax cuts for the rich.’ That is always their objection to any sort of tax break for Americans. Never mind that the rich pay most of the taxes, Democrats do not want to give them a break.

The graph below is from the Pew Research Center last year. It shows who is paying taxes in America:

Obviously it does not make a lot of sense  to cut taxes for people making less than $50,000 a year–they don’t pay a lot of income taxes to begin with.

Yesterday Thomas Sowell, a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, posted an article at Investor’s Business Daily about the Democrats’ cry of ‘tax cuts for the rich.’

Here are some highlights from the article:

One of the key arguments of those who oppose what they call “tax cuts for the rich” is that the Reagan administration tax cuts led to huge federal government deficits, contrary to “supply side economics” which said that lower tax rates would lead to higher tax revenues.

This reduces the whole issue to a question about facts — and the hard facts are available in many places, including a local public library or on the internet.

The hardest of these hard facts is that the revenues collected from federal income taxes during every year of the Reagan administration were higher than the revenues collected from federal income taxes during any year of any previous administration.

How can that be? Because tax rates and tax revenues are two different things. Tax rates and tax revenues can move in either the same direction or in opposite directions, depending on how the economy responds.

The article explains:

Before we turn to the question of “the rich,” let’s first understand the implications of higher income tax revenues after income tax rates were cut during the Reagan administration.

That should have put an end to the talk about how lower tax rates reduce government revenues and therefore tax cuts need to be “paid for” or else there will be rising deficits. There were in fact rising deficits in the 1980s, but that was due to spending that outran even the rising tax revenues.

Congress does the spending, and there is no amount of money that Congress cannot outspend.

As for “the rich,” higher-income taxpayers paid more — repeat, more tax revenues into the federal treasury under the lower tax rates than they had under the previous higher tax rates.

That happened not only during the Reagan administration, but also during the Coolidge administration and the Kennedy administration before Reagan, and under the G.W. Bush administration after Reagan. All these administrations cut tax rates and received higher tax revenues than before.

The article concludes:

As a source more congenial to some, a front-page story in The New York Times on July 9, 2006 — during the Bush 43 administration — reported, “An unexpectedly steep rise in tax revenues from corporations and the wealthy is driving down the projected budget deficit this year.” Expectations, of course, are in the eye of the beholder.

The problem is not the revenue–it’s the spending. Unfortunately, Congress has not yet heard the cries of the American people to stop overspending. It may take another election to cause them to listen.

A Little Honesty Would Have Been Appropriate

The beginning of President Obama’s speech in Dallas yesterday was wonderful. Unfortunately, it went downhill after that. There are two major lies that the President has been telling in relation to the shooting that need to be exposed.

My source on this article is a post at The Federalist website.

The first lie is the statement, “I think it’s very hard to untangle the motives of this shooter.” That’s an interesting statement when you consider that the shooter himself told the police that he “wanted to kill white people, especially white officers,” Actually I think that makes his motive pretty clear.

The second lie, which President Obama’s stated in his speech yesterday, was, “It’s easier for a teenager to get his hands on a Glock than a computer…or even a book!” That is simply not true.

The article at The Federalist reports:

For starters, it’s against federal law for anyone under the age of 18 to legally purchase or possess a handgun or handgun ammunition (Glock is the manufacturer of a popular line of handguns, not a synonym for handgun). It’s also against federal law for anyone to sell or deliver a handgun to anyone the seller reasonably believes is under the age of 18. As far as I know, neither computers nor books are illegal. And judging by the number of teenagers I see walking around with their faces glued to their smartphones, they don’t seem to have a particularly difficult time getting hold of a computer.

In 2015, Pew Research Center conducted a survey of teens to gauge their access to technology. According to the Pew study, 87 percent of U.S. teenagers had access to either a desktop or laptop computer. Eighty-one percent had access to a gaming console. The Pew study found that 73 percent had access to a smartphone (for black teens, that number was 85 percent).

At a time when the nation needs healing, neither lie told by President Obama moved us closer to that healing. It is unfortunate that at this critical time in America, we don’t have a leader who is adequate for the task ahead.

 

What We Need To Know

The Center for Security Policy recently posted an article listing the things all Americans need to know about the current wave of Syrian refugees.

The list is a as follows:

  1. Many are not from Syria. They are not refugees–they are migrants. That would be fine if they were willing to assimilate rather than trying to recreate the mess that they left.
  2. Most of them are not widowed women or orphaned children. According to a Pew Research Center review of Eurostat data, 72 percent of asylum applicants are male, and over half are men under the age of 40.
  3. Those in charge of ensuring our security don’t think that the refugees can be properly vetted.
  4. Most are not from the minority groups ISIS targets for persecution.
  5. Some have ISIS sympathies.According to the article: Some 16 to 23 percent of the estimated 3 million Syrian refugees who have fled the country are Christians. Even though ISIS has specifically targeted religious minorities (notably Christians and Yazidis) for persecution, less than 3 percent of the Syrian refugees admitted to the United States so far are Christian, and 96 percent are Muslim.
  6. It costs more money to resettle refugees in the U.S. than in countries that neighbor Syria.
  7. The wealthy Arab-Islamic countries surrounding Syria aren’t taking refugees because of security concerns.

The article concludes:

Critics of President Obama’s plan for resettling Syrian refugees in the U.S. are labeled xenophobic bigots by those seeking warm fuzzy feelings and accolades for doing the supposed “right thing.”  It’s time for the president to stop demonizing his opponents, take a look at the facts, realize that they run counter to his narrative, and change course before we’re placed in a dangerous situation similar to the one Europe now faces.

It is time to mix common sense with compassion, something the Obama Administration seems reluctant to do.

Learning The Economic Lessons Of History

Yesterday George Will posted an article at National Review Online about the sluggish economic recovery under President Obama. When Ronald Reagan took office in 1981, the unemployment rate was approximately 7.5%. By January 1, 1983, the unemployment rate had risen to 10.4%. By January 1, 1988, the unemployment rate was 5.70%. Presidential economic policies do impact the economy.

The article reminds us:

Ronald Reagan lightened the weight of government as measured by taxation and regulation. Obama has done the opposite. According to the annual “snapshot of the federal regulatory state” compiled by Clyde Wayne Crews Jr. of the Competitive Enterprise Institute, four of the five largest yearly totals of pages in the Federal Register — the record of regulations — have occurred during the Obama administration. The CEI’s delightfully cheeky “unconstitutionality index,” measuring Congress’s excessive delegation of its lawmaking policy, was 51 in 2013. This means Congress passed 72 laws but unelected bureaucrats issued 3,659 regulations.

One of the things that is slowing down the recovery in our consumer-drive economy is the amount of student loan debt. Student loan debt is currently the fastest growing debt–larger than credit-card or auto-loan debt. Another factor is the retirement of the baby boomers.

The article further reports:

In April, the number of persons under 25 in the workforce declined by 484,000. Unsurprisingly, almost one in three (31 percent) persons 18 to 34 are living with their parents, including 25 percent who have jobs.

These are not positive numbers.

The article concludes:

There is, however, something new under the sun. The Pew Research Center reports that Americans 25 to 32 — “Millennials” — constitute the first age cohort since World War II with higher unemployment or a greater portion living in poverty than their parents at this age. But today’s Millennials have the consolation of having the president they wanted.

At some point the Millennials may realize that elections have consequences and that they have voted themselves out of jobs.

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Manufacturing A Phony Crisis

In recent years we have had a number of very disturbing incidents involving guns. While those incidents are horrific, they are not an indication of where things are in relation to guns in the United States.

CBN News reported today that the Justice Department released a report on Tuesday showing that gun violence in the United States has decreased 39 percent since 1993.

The article reports:

Another report by the Pew Research Center found a drop of 49 percent. Both studies indicate non-fatal crimes involving guns were down by about 70 percent over that same period.

The article also reminds us:

“The public doesn’t get its feelings out of crime statistics,” Alfred Blumstein, an urban systems professor at Heinz College at Carnegie Mellon University, noted. “The public gets its feelings from particularly notorious events, and what the press talks about.”

If we choose to watch the mainstream media, we need to remember that they have long since departed from the idea of reporting the news impartially.  The fact that gun violence has decreased rather than increased would be news for most Americans. The question remains as to whether or not they will ever hear that news.

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America No Longer Supports Religious Freedom Around The World

Yesterday Investors.com posted an article stating that the United States State Department is no longer including religious freedom in its annual Human Rights Report. The stated reason for this change is that they want to avoid duplicating another document, the annual Report on International Religious Freedom.

The article points out:

The Pew Research Center has produced two studies showing that 70% of the world’s population lives in countries where religious freedom is severely restricted, either by governments or by hostile groups allowed to run amok by indifferent or hostile leaders.

Religious liberty was considered so important by our Founders that it was written into the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution in a country populated by those fleeing the religious oppression of governments.

We considered religious liberty a bedrock of freedom and democracy and, as stated in our Declaration of Independence, we believed we were endowed with Unalienable rights by our Creator, not by men or governments.

The U.S. in recent years has grown increasingly indifferent to the lack of religious tolerance around the world as it has taken an increasingly violent turn.

America used to be the lighthouse of the world. I am afraid that lighthouse has gone dark.

The article concludes:

Here at home we find a different kind of war on religious liberty, not violent but insidious, conducted by a government intent on imposing its beliefs regarding access to contraceptives and mandating that religious institutions violate their beliefs and consciences in the name of government health care edicts.

Here we see an unprecedented attempt by the Obama administration through ObamaCare to define what a church and religious institution is — the notion that you’re a church if the government, in Soviet-style fashion, says you’re a church.

Religious institutions see the universities, hospitals, charities and other social services they perform as part and extensions of their faith.

The government believes they are impediments to its growing power over every facet of our lives. As a result, these religious institutions and the freedom on which they are founded, are in serious jeopardy.

We need to keep the focus on religious persecution — both abroad and here at home.

Our Changing Culture

The traditional family has always been considered the foundational building block of society. What does it mean when the traditional family is disappearing?

The Houston Chronicle reported on recently released statistics from the Pew Research Center which stated that the marriage rate in 2010 was 51 percent, compared with 72 percent in 1960.

The article posted the following chart:

The article further reported:

The 20-something demographic shows the steepest marriage rate declines, and this is also the generation that’s less likely to attend church regularly or identify with a specific religious tradition.

Pair that with earlier Census analysis by GetReligion showing that “Religious people are most likely to be married and unlikely to cohabitate while nonreligious people are as likely to be single as to be married,” and this might also be a factor contributing to the lowest marriage rates in recent history.

The article also stated that the marriage rate for 18 to 29-year-olds has declined to 20 percent–one third of what it was in 1960.

Quite frankly, I am not sure what this means for our culture and society. Marriage and the family are a vehicle for personal growth–ideally, family members learn to share and to care for each other. My fear is that less marriage will mean less sharing and more selfishness.

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