Ending An Illegal Practice

Heritage.org posted an article today about the ending of Operation Choke Point. Operation Choke Point was the brainchild of the Obama Administration that was used to isolate financially businesses the administration did not approve of.

The article reports:

Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-Mo.), who helped lead a multi-year effort to shut the program down, highlighted some of theses newest findings and pointed out that stopping Operation Choke Point is not a partisan issue.

Luetkemeyer’s legislation to prevent a redo of Choke Point – The Financial Institution Customer Protection Act of 2017 – overwhelmingly passed the House, with only two nay votes. Operation Choke Point was an egregious affront to the rule of law, so it is good to see that so many lawmakers want to prevent a repeat.

For those unfamiliar, Choke Point consisted of bureaucrats in several independent federal agencies taking it upon themselves to shut legal businesses – such as payday lenders and firearms dealers – out of the banking system. Given the nature of the U.S. regulatory framework, this operation was easy to pull off.

The Operation was carried out by the people in the F.D.I.C. who are supposed to be engaged in insuring that Americans who have placed money in American banks will not be bankrupted by a financial crisis.

The article explains:

Officials at the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), for instance, simply had to inform the banks they were overseeing that the government considered certain types of their customers “high risk.” The mere implication of a threat was enough to pressure banks into closing accounts, because no U.S. bank wants anything to do with extra audits or investigations from their regulator, much less additional operating restrictions or civil and criminal charges.

Banks are incredibly sensitive to any type of pressure from federal regulators, and they know that the regulators have enormous discretion.

The article concludes:

It is now clear that these unelected government officials set out to harm law-abiding citizens. Yet many of the government officials named in these documents are still employed by the same government agency. Most of these folks work at the FDIC, and one has even moved up from a regional director position to FDIC Ombudsman.

At the very least, the Trump administration owes the public a full investigation into Operation Choke Point and an explanation for why many of the people involved in this abuse of power are still working for the government.

Operation Choke Point was mainly directed at banks dealing with payday lenders or any business related to gun sales. It was obviously a government shakedown of banks doing business with legal businesses. Hopefully the legislation passed to prevent this from happening again will be successful. Meanwhile, there are people in government who need to be held accountable.

 

Some Relevant Thoughts On Voter Fraud

On Friday, Investor’s Business Daily posted an editorial titled, “Why Do Democrats Pretend Voter Fraud Doesn’t Exist?”

The editorial begins by providing examples showing that voter fraud does exist:

In August, the Justice Department announced the prosecution of 19 foreign nationals for illegally voting in North Carolina. Some of them voted in multiple elections.

Texas State Attorney General Ken Paxton decided to crack down on voter fraud before the midterm elections. So far, he’s prosecuted 33 people for 97 counts of voter fraud this year alone. Among the discoveries was a voter fraud ring that had received financial support from the former head of the Texas Democratic Party.

Pennsylvania let thousands of noncitizens register to vote, many of whom have since voted, according to reporter John Fund, who has been following this issue for years.

The Heritage Foundation has a database that now includes 1,165 cases of election fraud across 47 states. More than 1,000 of them resulted in criminal convictions.

One case of voter fraud is too many. Any fraudulent vote cancels out the vote of a legal voter. This is an issue all of us should be concerned about. One of the foundations of a healthy republic is honest elections. Without honest elections, we could easily become a banana republic.

The editorial concludes:

The fact is that committing voter fraud isn’t all that difficult, but minimizing it is easy. Cleaning up registration rolls, enacting voter ID requirements, using paper ballots, and implementing better controls on early and absentee voting would make non-citizen voting and other forms of fraud virtually impossible.

Critics of such efforts say that they will only serve to suppress the vote of minorities and the poor — that is, voters who tend to vote Democratic. They want to make it easier and easier to register and vote.

But there’s no evidence that voter ID laws suppress turnout. In fact, of 11 states that adopted strict voter ID laws, nine either saw increased turnout in 2016, or had turnout rates higher than the national average, the Heritage Foundation notes.

Nor does cleaning up registration rolls, aggressively pursuing voter fraud cases, using paper ballots, or other measures to ensure the integrity of the ballot suppress legitimate voters.

Those who say voter fraud is no big deal should realize something. Every single vote cast fraudulently cancels out one legitimate vote. They need to ask themselves how they’d feel if it was their vote being canceled.

It is long past time to fix this.

The Ignored Threat

On October 5, The Daily Signal posted an article about the threat posed to the United States by China.

Vice-President Pence lists four major threats to America from China:

1. Cyber Espionage

…Microchips, about the size of a grain of sand, were inserted into the manufacturing of equipment in China of Super Micro Computer Inc., which is a server supplier for several major companies in the United States.

Investigators determined the chips allowed attackers to create backdoor entry to alter computers. However, Amazon, Apple, Super Micro itself, and the Chinese government all disputed the Bloomberg reporting.

“This is a backdoor into the hardware level in determining personal identification, health care records, and possibly even voting machines,” Dean Cheng, research fellow on Chinese political and security affairs at The Heritage Foundation, told The Daily Signal.

“If the chip story is true, there is something fundamentally wrong with our supply chain,” he added.

Cheng contends these cybersecurity concerns are far weightier than concerns about election interference and spreading propaganda.

2. Election Meddling

…“It’s using wedge issues, like trade tariffs, to advance Beijing’s political influence,” he said.

“When it comes to influencing the midterms, you need only look at Beijing’s tariffs in response to ours,” Pence added. “The tariffs imposed by China to date specifically targeted industries and states that would play an important role in the 2018 election.

“By one estimate, more than 80 percent of U.S. counties targeted by China voted for President Trump and I in 2016. Now, China wants to turn these voters against our administration,” he said.

3. Squeezing US Companies

Pence called out Google for its seeming willingness to work with the Chinese government.

“Google should immediately end development of the ‘Dragonfly’ app that will strengthen Communist Party censorship and compromise the privacy of Chinese customers,” he said in his Thursday speech.

Pence also noted that Chinese officials tried to influence business leaders.

“In one recent example, China threatened to deny a business license for a major U.S. corporation if they refused to speak out against our administration’s policies,” Pence said.

4. Military Buildup

…China wants nothing less than to push the United States of America from the Western Pacific and attempt to prevent us from coming to the aid of our allies. But they will fail.

America had hoped that economic liberalization would bring China into a greater partnership with us and with the world.

Instead, China has chosen economic aggression, which has in turn emboldened its growing military.

Please follow the link to read the entire article. We ignore this threat at our own peril.

Making Our Schools Safer

The IJR posted an article yesterday about a panel on school safety. The panel was held during Turning Point USA’s High School Leadership Summit and moderated by Townhall’s Guy Benson. The panel included family members of school shooting victims.

The article reports:

While many family members of victims usually speak out in support of enacting more gun control laws, that wasn’t the case with Hunter Pollack and J.T. Lewis.

Pollack, whose sister, Meadow, died in the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting, said he was proud to help pass Florida Senate Bill 7026, which allows programs to be created for retired law enforcement and veterans to go through an extensive training course before being sent to protect public schools in the event of an active shooter.

“When Columbine happened, gun control was the talk, and it was a big distraction,” Pollack said. “Then Red Lake happened. [They said] we needed gun control, big distraction. Then Sandy Hook happened. They fought for gun control, [gun control] was another distraction.

“Now, it’s Stoneman Douglas, it stops with us,” he continued. “Our schools need to be safe. We need metal detectors, we need single-point entry, we need armed guards, and we need more resources for mental health.” 

Lewis, who lost his brother in the Sandy Hook shooting, echoed Pollack’s view of gun control not being the answer to school shootings.

Gun control has never been successful–criminals find ways to get guns–but in the age of 3-D printers, gun control is pretty much impossible. The Second Amendment protects the rights of Americans to bear arms, but even if that right were somehow taken away, the advent of the 3-D printer would make any laws prohibiting guns unenforceable.

The article further reports:

Matt Whitlock, who also serves as Hatch’s [Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah)] communications director, told the audience the importance of getting involved at the local level since it is local leaders who are in charge of keeping kids safe, using the recently passed STOP School Violence Act as an example.

“The STOP School Violence Act is an excellent example of what good, substantial activism can lead to,” Whitlock told IJR. “First, because it was the powerful voices of young people that helped pass the bill into law, and second, because young people now have an opportunity to work with their local leaders to ensure STOP resources are used in their own schools.

“The STOP School Violence Act is about empowering local leaders to tailor school safety programs to fit their specific needs, and it’s about empowering local communities to hold those local leaders accountable for using these tools to keep them safe,” he added.

Amy Swearer, a legal policy analyst at The Heritage Foundation, pointed to how schools are the safest they’ve been in 30 years despite the massive coverage of school shootings when they occur. She cautioned, however, that simply citing the numbers is not always the best approach when talking to victims.

There is a solution to school shootings. The STOP School Violence Act is one part of that solution.

Policies Have Consequences

On Friday, Investor’s Business Daily posted an article about the impact of some of the changes President Trump is making to federal handouts.

The article first cites changes in welfare:

Earlier this month, the government reported that enrollment in food stamps plunged by nearly 600,000 in one month. Is this part of a broader trend toward greater self-reliance?

…In the months since President Trump has been in office, the number of people collecting food stamps plunged by nearly 2 million.

The same is true for welfare. Enrollment in the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program dropped 12% last year, to reach 2.3 million.

Better still, the number of workers on Social Security Disability Insurance was down to 8.6 million in March — a decline of more than 100,000 since January 2017, and the lowest level since February 2012.

So far this year, disability applications have averaged 179,000 a month, compared with more than 193,000 a month in 2016. And the number of people dropping off disability rolls is up.

The next area cited is Medicaid:

Even enrollment in Medicaid and CHIP — the health care program for the poor and children — dropped by almost a million in 2017, to 74 million. In contrast, enrollment surged by more than 2 million in 2016. (Medicaid’s rolls could climb gain if additional states decide to expand the program under ObamaCare.)

In other words, millions of people are now free from at least some of their dependence on federal benefit programs.

The article notes that some people judge the success of these programs by how many people take advantage of them–thus a drop in enrollment is seen as a drop in the level of success. Actually, it would be nice if those running the programs actually wanted people to be successful enough not to need the programs. However, if the level of participation in these programs dropped greatly, there would no longer be a need for the giant federal bureaucracy that administers them. It is unrealistic to expect people to do something that in the long run might make their job obsolete.

The article also cites changes in Work Benefits:

ObamaCare, for example, allowed able-bodied childless adults — with incomes above the poverty line — to enroll in Medicaid in expansion states. Because these states are now picking up a bigger share of the expansion costs, many are looking to impose work requirements to stay on the program. There’s also a push to add work requirements for food stamps.

That may seem heartless. But keep in mind that most of these programs have the word “temporary” right in their titles. They were never envisioned as permanent means of support, but a way to cover over rough patches.

The article reminds us that a poverty program is truly successful when there is no one who has the need to enroll in it!

To understand more about poverty in America and exactly what qualifies as poverty, I strongly recommend reading The Heritage Foundation‘s report Poverty and the Social Welfare State in the United States and Other Nations.

 

Some Charts From The Heritage Foundation About Welfare In America

On April 5, The Heritage Foundation posted an article titled, “Understanding the Hidden $1.1 Trillion Welfare System and How to Reform It.” I strongly suggest that you follow the link and read the entire article, but I would like to post some basic charts from the article:

The article lists three goals of welfare reform:

The goal of welfare should not be to reduce poverty after receipt of welfare through an ever-larger welfare state. A new approach is needed. The goal of welfare policy should be updated to include three other concepts:

  • Increasing efforts toward self-support;
  • Reducing self-defeating and self-limiting behaviors; and
  • Increasing psychological well-being.

It should be noted that adopting these new goals does not mean that the government should stop assisting the poor. For example, as noted previously, a low-wage parent who works full-time for the full year under the existing welfare system has combined economic resources from earnings and welfare assistance that are well above the poverty level. Ensuring that the families of full-time workers are not poor is a laudable goal that should continue to be pursued.58

The objective might be inappropriate for families with large numbers of children. See Rector and Sheffield, “Five Myths About Welfare and Child Poverty.”

 Unfortunately, the current structure of welfare assistance undermines rather than enhances self-support and psychological well-being. That aspect of the welfare system must be transformed.

It is time to combine charity and encouragement. We need to provide incentives for people to get off the welfare rolls. Welfare should not be a generational profession.

 

 

Good News For Taxpayers

Yesterday The Daily Signal posted an article about a new bill in Tennessee. On April 9, Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam signed a bill that ends state taxpayer funding of Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers in the state.

The article states:

The bill will direct TennCare, the state’s Medicaid program, money to health care facilities instead of Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers.

“This money is a form of supporting abortions,” state Rep. Jimmy Matlock said last month, reported The Tennessean. He fought to remove state funding from Planned Parenthood, saying that in the last six years, nearly $1 million has been paid to abortion clinics in Tennessee out of TennCare reimbursements.

…Monica Burke, a research assistant in the DeVos Center for Religion and Civil Society at The Heritage Foundation, told The Daily Signal in an email that no state should use taxpayer dollars to fund abortion.

“The government should not be entangled with Planned Parenthood and the abortion industry,” Burke said. “Taxpayers should not be forced to fund abortion. In order to provide women with quality health care, public funding should be directed to qualified health care centers instead.”

Abortion is legal in America, but there is no reason taxpayers should be forced to pay for it. I am not a doctor, but my understanding is that there is sometimes a medical need to do an abortion. I have no problem with that, but abortion should not be a million dollar industry. In 2015, Breitbart reported that Planned Parenthood reports more than $127 million in excess revenue, and over $1.4 billion in net assets. The majority of that money comes from performing abortions. I am sure that I am not the only person who finds that offensive. It’s time for Americans to step up to the plate–teach abstinence in our schools, help teenage mothers who do get pregnant, and adopt the children of teenage mothers. We also need to look closely at those government programs that encourage having children without benefit of marriage. We are looking at the future predicted by Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan in 1965. We can change that future, but it will take time and serious effort.

The Immediate Impact Of The Tax Cuts

The Daily Signal posted an article today about the immediate impact of the tax cuts recently passed by Congress.

I would like to remind people of what happened the in the 1980’s when President Reagan and Congress passed major tax cuts.

According to a Washington Post article April 10, 2015:

…the government’s budget numbers show that tax receipts expanded from $517 billion in 1980 to $909 billion in 1988 — close to a 75 percent change (25 percent after inflation),” Moore (Stephen Moore of The Heritage Foundation) wrote.

We checked the historical records of the White House budget office, and those numbers are right. But it’s devoid of important context.

First of all, revenues as a percentage of gross domestic product (GDP), which is the best way to compare across years, dropped from 19.1 percent in 1981 to a low of 16.9 percent in 1984, before rebounding slightly to 17.8 percent in 1989. One reason the deficit soared during Reagan’s term is because spending went up as a share of the economy and revenues went down.

A HeraldNet article of December 15, 2012 reminds us that President Reagan made a deal with the Democrats that included spending cuts as well as tax cuts. Conventional wisdom concerning that deal was that for every dollar in tax cuts there would be a three dollar cut in spending. Unfortunately, the Democrats never kept their end of that bargain.

The HeraldNet article reports the plan:

Here’s the actual breakdown of the three-year agreement, according to a June 1982 chart prepared by the GOP-controlled Senate Budget Committee staff, which appears in the 1989 book “The Deficit and the Public Interest,” by Joseph White and Aaron B. Wildavsky. (Note: The numbers represent reductions from anticipated outlays.)

Revenue:

$98.3 billion (26 percent)

Defense cuts: $26.4 billion (7 percent)

Nondefense cuts: $34.8 billion (9.1 percent)

Entitlement cuts: $30.8 billion (8.1 percent)

Other reductions/offsets: $7.8 billion (2 percent)

Freeze federal pay raise: $26.1 billion (6.9 percent)

Management savings: $46.6 billion (12.3 percent)

Net interest: $107.7 billion (28.4 percent)

Total non-revenue:$280.2 billion (74 percent)

Total: $378.5 billion

…At best, the spending savings that Congress could deliver, including defense cuts, amounted to a 1:1 ratio.

As Congress debates spending, we can hope that they will not repeat this mistake. Increased government revenues due to tax cuts should not lead to increased federal spending.

So far the results of the recent tax cut have been positive.

The article at The Daily Signal reports:

More businesses are announcing bonuses, higher minimum wages, and new benefits for employees after passage by Congress of Republicans’ tax reform bill. 

An email from House Speaker Paul Ryan’s press office highlights 33 businesses—including Aflac, Associated Bank, and PNC Bank—that have announced raises, bonuses, and other improvements for employees.

In moves that may defuse efforts to mandate higher minimum wages across the nation, at least nine of the 33 businesses announced they are boosting their minimum wage for thousands of workers to $15 or more an hour.

The article at The Daily Signal includes a partial list of companies offering benefits to their employees as a result of the tax cut. The article also includes a link to a complete list.

All working Americans have many reasons to celebrate the tax bill.

 

Something To Consider As The Senate Debates Tax Reform

The Heritage Foundation posted an article on Wednesday explaining some of the ways that the Senate version of tax reform is better than the House of Representatives version. It is quite likely that even if the Senate passes its version of the bill, the final bill will be different from both the House and Senate Bill.

Here are some of the things The Heritage Foundation likes about the Senate bill:

1. Lower tax rates at every level.

The House bill does not lower the top rate and in fact raises rates for the very wealthy. While that sounds nice, it is patently unfair–the rich already pay more than their share of taxes.

The National Taxpayers Union reports:

It seems to me that everyone deserves a tax break!

Other things that The Heritage Foundation supported in the Senate bill:

2. Full repeal of the state and local tax deduction.

3. Simpler treatment of business income.

4. Better treatment of investments.

5. Lower tax rate on overseas profits.

6. Repeal of the individual mandate.

Please follow the link to The Heritage Foundation article to see the details and reasons for supporting these points.

I would like to mention what impact the repeal of the individual mandate would have. First of all, does the government have the right to force Americans to buy a product? Second of all, if a person can’t afford health insurance, how are they supposed to afford the penalty for not having it?

The following video was posted at YouTube today explaining the impact of the individual mandate on the middle class:

The individual mandate was put into ObamaCare to gain the support of the health insurance companies–it was a promise to give them more customers. That promise, along with the promise of the government paying the companies to cover their losses under ObamaCare, was the reason the health insurance companies supported ObamaCare–they were in it strictly for their own gain–not because it would improve healthcare in America.

The six reasons listed above are the reasons that The Heritage Foundation supports the Senate tax reform bill. We all need to pay attention to see if the bill passes the Senate and what is done to it after it passes. It’s time to tune out the class warfare rhetoric and stay informed.

President Trump’s Tax Plan

The information in this article is from Investor’s Business Daily and the Tax Foundation.

Investor’s Business Daily reports:

Among the most potent provisions in the GOP tax reform package unveiled Wednesday by President Trump are the big cuts in taxes on corporations and small businesses. Inevitably, they will be styled by foes as a sop to the rich and Wall Street. In fact, they’re one of the best middle-class tax cuts of all.

How we tax businesses is among the most distorted, costly and anti-competitive elements of our tax code. Today, U.S. corporations competing on the world stage face a top tax rate of 39%, compared to a 23% average for the rest of the world.

The proposed Republican tax reform would slash that to 20%, below the average. It would also shift the U.S. to a “territorial taxation” model, which keeps overseas profits from being taxed twice — once when the profit is earned overseas, and again when repatriated to the U.S. The U.S. is almost alone among nations in doing this.

Meanwhile, new rules would level the playing field between U.S.-headquartered companies and foreign-headquartered companies by keeping our rates low. This will keep companies from buying foreign companies and relocating their headquarters overseas to take advantage of lower rates.

Then there’s small businesses. Among other things, the plan cuts levies on so-called S corporations (small businesses and sole proprietorships, in which the profits go to the owner’s individual tax form) to 25%, thus giving many small business owners who now pay super-high individual tax rates of 30% or higher a big tax cut. It also lets businesses write off investments (except for structures) immediately. This would let companies recapture the value of their investments more quickly, lowering their tax bite now and boosting profits later on.

The article notes that the media generally portrays business and business owners in a negative light. They fail to realize that businesses pass the expense of taxes along to the consumers. We are the ones who pay the corporate taxes.

Investor’s Business Daily further states:

…A survey of tax-cut research by the Heritage Foundation finds 10 studies demonstrating that corporate tax cuts improve worker welfare by upgrading their skills, improving the equipment they work with, and boosting their pay.

Another recent study, this one published in August by economists Andrew Hanson of Marquette University and Ike Brannon of the Cato Institute, asserted that “recent tax reform discussions that propose a (corporate) rate reduction between 30% to 57% … would imply employment gains between 6% to 22% and wage increases between 15% to 28%.” That’s quite a gain, and a big reason why tax reform could put us back on the path to 3% average GDP growth.

Sadly, because of the relentless anti-business bias of the U.S. media, many Americans think corporations are “greedy,” and so they should be taxed to the gunwales.

The Tax Foundation reports:

  • Mr. Trump’s tax plan would substantially lower individual income taxes and the corporate income tax and eliminate a number of complex features in the current tax code.
  • Mr. Trump’s plan would cut taxes by $11.98 trillion over the next decade on a static basis. However, the plan would end up reducing tax revenues by $10.14 trillion over the next decade when accounting for economic growth from increases in the supply of labor and capital.
  • The plan would also result in increased outlays due to higher interest on the debt, creating a ten-year deficit somewhat larger than the estimates above.
  • According to the Tax Foundation’s Taxes and Growth Model, the plan would significantly reduce marginal tax rates and the cost of capital, which would lead to an 11 percent higher GDP over the long term provided that the tax cut could be appropriately financed.
  • The plan would also lead to a 29 percent larger capital stock, 6.5 percent higher wages, and 5.3 million more full-time equivalent jobs.
  • The plan would cut taxes and lead to higher after-tax incomes for taxpayers at all levels of income.

The Democrats will fight this plan tooth and nail. Why? Because under this plan states with reasonable tax burdens will no longer subsidize states with high tax burdens. New York, California, Connecticut, and Massachusetts (to name a few) all will have to re-examine their tax policies or they will see a taxpayers’ revolt.

I celebrate the end of the death tax. The purpose of the death tax is to redistribute wealth–that is not an American value. The money in an estate was taxed as it was earned. If land increased in value, so be it. A family should not have to sell the family farm to pay their taxes.

Democrats have never met a tax cut they liked. I expect this one will be no different. The other thing to keep in mind is that the worst nightmare for the Washington establishment is a successful Trump administration. These tax cuts would promote economic growth, which in turn would begin to lower the deficit. The Washington establishment cannot afford to have an outsider reach that level of success. Now if we could only cut the spending.

You can expect the Federal Reserve to begin to raise interest rates quickly in an attempt to slow economic growth. The Federal Reserve is also part of the Washington establishment that does not want an outsider to succeed.

One Answer To The Problem Of Illegal Immigration

This video created by The Heritage Foundation was posted on YouTube yesterday:

Every Congressman needs to watch this. The safety of Americans depends on it.

This is a screenshot of one part of the video:

That is the kind of impact a border wall has.

Why have the Republicans in Congress refused to fund the wall? Because many of them accept large campaign donations from businesses that increase their profits by hiring illegal workers. This keeps the operating cost of the business lower, and also has the effect of keeping the wages of the average American worker lower. Every voter needs to know that. Why have Democrats in Congress refused to fund the wall? The Democrats plan to make all of the workers that come here illegally Democratic voters. This could be done with amnesty for illegals or simply by having the illegals obtain driver’s licenses and using them to register to vote (that is illegal, but there is proof that it has happened). Neither the Democratic Party or the Republican Party have the interests of America in mind when they oppose the funding and building of a border wall. There are some Congressmen and Congresswomen who support the wall. They need to be re-elected. The Congressmen and Congresswomen who oppose the wall need to be voted out of office–they are looking out for their campaign donations and future votes–they are not looking out for the interests of Americans.

 

Why We Need To Increase Military Spending

On March 23rd, The Sacramento Bee posted an article with the following headline, “Yes, Obama-era cuts left US too weak to deal with multiple global menaces.”

The article points out that there are currently multiple threats to the United States worldwide.

The article explains:

The global forces of instability are growing, especially in three parts of the world where regional peace and stability are particularly important to the U.S.

The solidity of Europe, Asia and the Middle East is threatened by Russia, China, Iran, North Korea and the transnational Islamist threat spearheaded by al-Qaida and the Islamic State.

Individually, none of these powers rise to the level of menace posed by the old Soviet Union. But when one of these threats acts up, we cannot expect the others to stand down. Indeed, we can expect them to try to exploit the situation.

For that reason, the U.S. must have the capacity to deal with all of them at once, and here we have a problem. While we need to be able to respond globally, the Pentagon no longer has a global-size force.

Because former President Obama chose to ignore the growing instability around the world, he did not prepare the United States to deal with it.

The article reports:

The Heritage Foundation‘s annual Index of U.S. Military Strength objectively measures the ability of our armed forces to protect vital national interests in a multi-conflict scenario.

And the measurement shows that, in terms of capacity, capability and readiness, the military has been in noticeable decline for years. In the 2017 index, the military’s overall ability to provide the hard power needed to prevail in a multi-conflict scenario was rated as “marginal.” Subsequent assessments suggest no change in the downward trend.

It is time for Americans to realize that we have to take a really good look at our budget priorities. The time has come to go back to the budge priorities set by our Founding Fathers. The federal government was supposed to be weak, and the state governments were supposed to be strong. The federal government has no business being involved in either health insurance or education–those are state issues if individual states choose to deal with them. There are many areas that the federal government has taken control over that they have no constitutional right to be involved in. Our Founding Fathers never planned to have generations of families who never went to work a day in their lives because other Americans were supplying all of their needs. We have turned a helping hand into a crutch. That is not healthy for either the people receiving the handout or the people giving the handout. The government does not have the right to take money from people who earned it and give it to people who did not. In any other context that would be called robbery.

Why We Need To Increase Defense Spending

The Heritage Foundation has posted highlights from the 2017 Index of U.S. Military Strength and the 2016 Index of U.S. Military Strength. I strongly suggest following the links and reading the report summaries, but I can give you the bullet points here:

From 2016:From 2017:

This is the summary of the 2017 Report:

Overall, the 2017 Index concludes that the current U.S. military force is capable of meeting the demands of a single major regional conflict while also attending to various presence and engagement activities—something it is doing now and has done for the past two decades—but that it would be very hard-pressed to do more and certainly would be ill-equipped to handle two nearly simultaneous major regional contingencies. The consistent decline in funding and the consequent shrinking of the force over the past few years have placed it under significant pressure. Essential maintenance continues to be deferred; the availability of fewer units for operational deployments increases the frequency and length of deployments; and old equipment is being extended while programmed replacements are either delayed or beset by developmental difficulties.

The military services have continued to prioritize readiness for current operations by shifting funding to deployed or soon-to-deploy units at the expense of keeping units that are not deployed in “ready” condition; delaying, reducing, extending, or canceling modernization programs; and sustaining the reduction in size and number of military units. These choices and their resulting condition, driven by the lack of funding dedicated to defense, hazard America’s ability to secure its interests now and erode America’s ability to shape conditions to its advantage by assuring allies and deterring competitors.

As currently postured, the U.S. military is only marginally able to meet the demands of defending America’s vital national interests.

If we are to remain free and protect our citizens, I believe that we have to increase our defense spending.

Work Works

Yesterday The Daily Signal posted an article about the House Ways and Means Committee hearing on welfare reform. The Committee is seeking a way to help poor Americans get out of poverty.

The article reports:

The hearing, titled “Moving America’s Families Forward: Setting Priorities for Reducing Poverty and Expanding Opportunity” examined the welfare system. One area of reform examined was work requirements for individuals receiving welfare.

…“I have a personal relationship with this situation, where I started out, and my family started out, in public housing,” Rep. Diane Black, R-Tenn., said at  the hearing. “I know what hard work could do to put me to where I am today, from living in the halls of public housing to serving in the halls of Congress.”

In his testimony, Bragdon ( Tarren Bragdon, CEO of the Foundation for Government Accountability) used two states as examples, Kansas and Maine, that have restored work requirements for welfare programs. In Maine, “Thousands of able-bodied adults leaving food stamps found jobs and increased their hours, leading their incomes to rise by 114 percent on average. And in both states, that higher income more than offset the food stamps they lost, leaving them better off than they had been on welfare,” Bragdon said in his written testimony.

“It turns out work works,” Bragdon said. Bragdon testified that work requirements for able-bodied adults would likely deal with much of the fraud happening in the welfare system.

President Lyndon B. Johnson introduced the idea of ‘declaring war on poverty’ in his State of the Union address in 1964. The chart below shows the impact of the legislation that followed:

PovertyRate1959to2014Although we initially made some progress, it seems as if we have lost the war on poverty. It’s time to rethink our strategy.

The article concludes:

On Tuesday, the Ways and Means Committee passed two bills related to the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program that provides assistance to families in need.

“These bills are part of a commonsense package of proposals to ensure TANF – one of the nation’s most important anti-poverty programs – effectively spends taxpayer dollars to help those most in need,” a blog post from the committee says.

Robert Rector, a senior research fellow at The Heritage Foundation, says the legislation “undermines work requirements” in the TANF program.

“Rhetoric aside, the Ways and Means Committee legislation actually undermines work requirements in TANF,” Rector, who played a key role in writing the original TANF legislation twenty years ago, told The Daily Signal. “A key principle of workfare is that parents who refuse to participate should have their  welfare checks halted. Ironically, the legislation financially penalizes states for doing this. The bill shifts from the successful ‘work first’ strategy embodied in the original law to a social service and training model that has a very long history of failure.”

If Congress cannot figure out something that is so completely obvious, maybe it is time for a new Congress.

Who Is Actually Working?

The economic recovery under President Obama has been weak. The Heritage Foundation posted the following graph of our unemployment situation:

EmploymentInTheUSThat tells part of the story, but there is another part that is not being widely told. The Washington Free Beacon posted a story yesterday showing that more foreign workers are employed in America than Americans. That is not encouraging news.

The article reports:

A record-high average of 24,963,000 foreign-born workers were employed in the United States in 2015, according to data released Thursday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

According to the bureau, foreign-born individuals include legally admitted immigrants, refugees, temporary residents such as students and temporary workers, and undocumented immigrants.

The bureau began recording this data in 2002. At that time, there were nearly 19 million foreign-born workers employed in the United States. The number has increased by 31.4 percent since then.

While the average number of native-born workers employed also reached a record high in 2015, it did not increase at the same rate as foreign-born workers. In 2015, there were an average of 123,871,000 native-born workers employed, up from 117,487,000 workers employed in 2002, an increase of 5.4 percent.

Additionally, the bureau found that the unemployment rate for foreign-born persons was 4.9 percent for 2015, lower than the 5.4 percent unemployment rate for the native born.

I suppose there are a lot of reasons for hiring foreign-born workers–foreign-born workers are generally willing to work for a lower wage than American workers, foreign-born workers may have a better work ethic than the one we have been teaching Americans, and foreign-born workers may be more inclined to take jobs Americans are not interesting in doing. It may be in a company’s best interest to hire foreign-born workers for the above reasons.

So what is the solution? One thing that might help would be to link the number of visas available to foreign-born workers to the number of jobs available. I have no objection to a legal alien working in America as long as he is not taking a job away from an American. Disney is the poster child for replacing American workers with foreign workers (see article in the Orlando Sentinel).

Meanwhile, until the American people stand up to our government and ask them to limit the number of foreign-worker visas so that it corresponds to the jobs available, Americans will be out of work. Corporations have lobbyists, and those lobbyists strongly encourage Congress to allow more foreign workers in so that corporations can cut their cost of doing business. That is why no one has closed our southern border–corporations make more money by hiring illegal aliens as workers. Until we have someone in Washington in power who is not bought and sold by corporate interests, we will not have a secure southern border and American workers will not be secure in their jobs.

 

The Negative Impact Of Universal Preschool

As the tax burden on the American Family has increased and the value of our currency has decreased, many families now have two parents who work outside the home. One result of this is a growing daycare industry that takes care of children from the time they are three or four months old. What impact does this have on the children and what impact does this have on our society?

The Heritage Foundation posted the results of research on the impact of universal preschool on its website today. We might want to rethink what we are doing.

Some highlights from the article:

Evidence continues to mount that government-funded preschool fails to fulfill the promises of its proponents. New studies of large-scale preschool programs in Quebec and Tennessee show that vastly expanding access to free or subsidized preschool may worsen behavioral and emotional outcomes. Even proponents of universal preschool admit that it does nothing to improve future academic performance.

As proponents of government preschool programs continue to appeal to findings from 50 years ago that have never been replicated, current, large-scale, rigorous evaluations of major programs at the federal level, in the states, and internationally make a strong case against such initiatives and deserve serious consideration from policymakers wont to further expand government intervention in the care of the youngest Americans.

…The Head Start Impact Study. In late 2012, the Department of Health and Human Services released the Head Start Impact Study, a scientifically rigorous evaluation that tracked 5,000 three-year-old and four-year-old children through the end of third grade. The study found little to no impact on the parenting practices or the cognitive, social-emotional, and health outcomes of participants. Notably, on a few measures, access to Head Start had harmful effects on participating children.[7] For both the three-year-old and four-year-old cohorts, access to Head Start had no statistically measurable effects on any measure of cognitive ability, including reading, language, and math.[8] In other words, by the time they finished third grade, there was no difference between those children who attended Head Start and the control group of their peers who did not.

Vanderbilt Tennessee Voluntary Pre-K Study. In 2015, a team of researchers from Vanderbilt University released an evaluation of Tennessee’s Voluntary Pre-K (VPK) Program, a state-subsidized preschool program open to low-income children in the state. Some 18,000 children participate in the program, which was introduced in 1996. Proponents have long claimed Tennessee’s VPK program is a model state-based preschool program, with standards aligned to the Obama Administration’s Preschool for All initiative.[9] Teachers must be licensed, the child-adult ratio is limited to 10:1, and a structured “age-appropriate” curriculum must be used in classrooms. The program is available first to children from low-income Tennessee families, and then, space permitting, to children with special needs and children with limited English proficiency, among other children deemed “at-risk.” An earlier evaluation found that gains made by participating four-year-olds had faded by kindergarten. In a follow-up evaluation released in September 2015, Mark Lipsey, Dale Farrar, and Kerry Hofer reported that there were no sustained benefits for the same children through the end of third grade.[10]

These studies showed no benefit. Some studies show that preschool can be harmful. The article reports:

The province of Quebec introduced universal low-cost day care for children through age four beginning in 1997. The program has had a large impact: privately funded child care arrangements have almost disappeared, and Quebec has the highest rate of subsidized child care in Canada, at 58 percent in 2011.[13] The program caused a 14.5 percent increase in the share of mothers of young children working outside the home.[14] The Quebec experience offers more guidance for the potential introduction of universal child care than small, targeted programs, because it implicitly includes indirect effects on non-participants and any general equilibrium effects due to the drastic shift in the way child care was funded and conducted.

Regrettably, new research has found that children who became eligible for the program in Quebec were more anxious as children and have committed more crimes as teenagers. The availability of day care clearly worsened children’s non-cognitive “soft” skills.

Michael Baker, Jonathan Gruber, and Kevin Milligan found that children exposed to the program were 4.6 percent more likely to be convicted of a crime and 17 percent more likely to commit a drug crime. Their health and life satisfaction were worse.

I realize that staying at home is not an option for every mother. However, the decision to have someone else with your young child for most of their waking hours does have consequences. Mothers are one of America’s most important assets.

Debunking The Myth Of White Privilege

In recent years there has been talk about ‘white privilege.’ There has also been some talk on college campuses recently about ‘Christian privilege.’ (rightwinggranny.com) I think we are all forgetting some of the basic aspects of ‘privilege.’

In 2012, the Heritage Foundation posted an article about poverty in America. The article was essentially a study of the causes of poverty in America, stating that one of the main causes was the demise of the two-parent family. The article included the following quote:

Historically, the black out-of-wedlock childbearing rate has always been somewhat higher than the white rate; however, through much of the 20th century, the rates for both groups were comparatively low. For example, as Chart 10 shows, 2 percent of white children and 14 percent of black children born in 1940 were born out of wedlock.

These rates remained relatively low until the onset of Lyndon Johnson’s War on Poverty in the early 1960s. Then the black out-of-wedlock birth rate skyrocketed, doubling in little more than a decade from 24.5 percent in 1964 to 50.3 percent in 1976. It continued to rise rapidly, reaching 70.7 percent in 1994. Over the next decade, it declined slightly but then began to rise again, reaching 72.3 percent in 2008.

The white out-of-wedlock birth rate followed a similar but less dramatic pattern. It remained almost unchanged at around 2 percent between 1930 and 1960 and then began a slow but steady rise in the 1960s that accelerated in the 1980s, reaching 20 percent by 1990. It slowed in the 1990s but then resumed its upward rise. In recent years, it has been increasing at a rate of 1 percent per annum, reaching 28.6 percent in 2008.

This is the impact of a government program that pays women if there is not a man in the house–there are less men in the house! When the government subsidizes a behavior, there is more of it. When a government taxes a behavior, there is less of it.

whiteprivilegeChildren raised in two-parent, monogamous families do better in school and ultimately achieve more than their contemporaries raised in one-parent homes. There are exceptions–notably Dr. Ben Carson and others.

Until the government stops supporting living arrangements other than marriage, we will continue to have a poverty problem. Until the government stops creating generations of people who have grown up with the idea that they do not have to work for a living, we will have ever-growing welfare rolls. Until the success of welfare programs is measured by how many people leave them and go into the work force, rather than how many more employees are needed to administer them, we will still have growing dependency in black and poor white communities.

White privilege does not exist. It is a term invented to divide people and to discourage people from reaching their full potential. How many great scientists and inventors have we lost because the black culture said it wasn’t cool to study and do well in school? How many brilliant minds have been shamed into not doing well in school because education was ‘a white man’s thing.’ Before you talk about white privilege, teach black children that it is cool to do well in school. Teach the black community to encourage academic success, and encourage those who are successful and involved in the black community to provide scholarship money to students who do achieve, so that they can continue their education.

White privilege is a term that will create problems rather than solve them. It is time we all worked together to make sure all races were privileged by encouraging achievement and bringing back the two-parent family.

States Can Take Action When The Federal Government Fails To

Last Friday, The Daily Signal posted an article about states that have defunded Planned Parenthood since the undercover videos showing the sale of aborted baby body parts were released.

The article reports:

Ohio Gov. John Kasich is expected to sign a bill defunding Planned Parenthood, making Ohio the ninth state to do so since undercover videos exposed the abortion provider’s apparent role in harvesting the body parts of aborted babies.

The bill, H.B. 294, ensures that state and certain federal funds are not used to perform or promote nontherapeutic abortions at Planned Parenthood or elsewhere. The Ohio House passed the final version 62-32 on Wednesday and sent the legislation to the Republican governor’s desk.

“Governor Kasich has worked with legislative leaders to ensure that public dollars are used to their best purpose,” Kasich spokesman Joe Andrews said, according to The Columbus Dispatch. “The Ohio Department of Health had already stopped awarding state dollars to Planned Parenthood.”

Eight states—Alabama, Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Texas, and Utah—have defunded Planned Parenthood after the pro-life Center for Medical Progress released a series of hidden-camera videos that put the nation’s largest abortion provider under the microscope for questionable and perhaps illegal practices.

As was previously reported here:

Two CMP (Center for Medical Progress ) investigators, David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt, were indicted by a grand jury Monday with tampering with governmental records by creating fake driver’s licenses as part of a nearly three-year undercover investigation.

Mr. Daleiden was also indicted on a misdemeanor charge of soliciting human organs. He released a statement Monday defending the investigation and saying that “buying fetal tissue requires a seller as well.”

Judie Brown, president of the American Life League, said it was “not surprising” that the DA’s office would findPlanned Parenthood “blameless while trying to silence those who want to protect every human being’s life.”

“The evidence against Daleiden, as reported by the mainstream media, may or may not be valid, but lest we forget that the prosecution in this case is a district attorney’s office that has a Planned Parenthood board member as a prosecutor,” Ms. Brown said in a Tuesday statement.

Eleven undercover videos released by the CMP beginning in July prompted a dozen states to examine whetherPlanned Parenthood was illegally trafficking in fetal tissue from abortions. Planned Parenthood officials have insisted they were only reimbursed for costs associated with providing fetal tissue to researchers, which is legal.

The indictment of David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt was a travesty of justice. I am sure that the fact that the staff of the district attorney’s office includes a board member of Planned Parenthood had a lot to do with the indictment. I suspect that eventually that indictment will be overturned.

The article at The Daily Signal concludes:

Sarah Torre, a policy analyst in the DeVos Center for Religion and Civil Society at The Heritage Foundation, wrote that Planned Parenthood affiliates receive over half a billion dollars each year from state and federal sources.

“Congress should end federal taxpayer funding to Planned Parenthood affiliates and redirect those funds to health centers that provide health care for women without entanglement in abortion or questionable handling of baby body parts,” Torre wrote.

The prosecution of those trying to expose the horrific practices involving the sale of aborted baby body parts is horrible, but that is understandable when you consider the amount of money involved in making abortion an acceptable practice. However, there is a lesson here. The videos have resulted in a number of states defunding Planned Parenthood. The exposure of the practice of selling aborted baby body parts did bring positive results.

Finally, I would like to state that I do not want to make all abortions illegal. There are times when an abortion is a medical necessity. In those cases (which are very rare), that abortion should be done in a hospital under the supervision of a medical doctor. Abortion should not be a for-profit industry bringing in millions of dollars a year–it should be a medical procedure to be used only when absolutely necessary.

Elections Have Consequences

One of the things to keep in mind as you prepare to vote in your state’s primary election is that elections have consequences. The Daily Signal posted an article today about the decline in economic freedom during the Obama Administration. The Heritage Foundation posted a more complete article.

The Heritage Foundation reports:

According to the 2016 Index of Economic Freedom, an annual publication by The Heritage Foundation, America’s economic freedom has tumbled. With losses of economic freedom in eight of the past nine years, the U.S. has tied its worst score ever, wiping out a decade of progress.

The U.S. has fallen from the 6th freest economy in the world, when President Barack Obama took office, to 11th place in 2016. America’s declining score in the index is closely related to rapidly rising government spending, subsidies, and bailouts.

Economic freedom creates prosperity across the board. Without economic freedom there is no incentive to achieve. When there are no rewards for achievement, there is less achievement.

The Heritage Foundation reports:

Since early 2009:

  • Government spending has exploded, amounting to $29,867 per household in 2015.
  • The national debt has risen to $125,000 for every tax-filing household in America—a total over $18 trillion.
  • The government takeover of health care is raising prices and disrupting markets.
  • Bailouts and new government regulations have increased uncertainty, stifling investment and job creation.

This is not something to take lightly. Economic freedom is the foundation of U.S. economic strength, and economic strength is the foundation of America’s high living standards, military power, and status as a world leader. The perils of losing economic freedom are not fictional.

This is something to consider as you cast your primary ballot, regardless of which political party you belong to. Economic freedom matters–to you, to your children, and to your grandchildren.

The Problems With The Budget Deal

Yesterday John Hinderaker at Power Line posted an article about the budget deal recently reached by Congress. He strongly suggests that Republicans do not approve the deal.

The chart below from the Heritage Foundation is included in the article:

image001

As you can see, there are no immediate spending cuts and no significant cuts until 2025. We all know what happens to budget cuts in the distant future–somehow they never materialize. There is also the matter of this Congress trying to bind a future Congress to a budget it had nothing to do with.

In an article posted yesterday, The New York Times described the deal as follows:

The deal is the policy equivalent of keeping the lights on — hardly the stuff of a bold fiscal legacy. But it achieves the main objective of his 2016 budget: to break free of the spending shackles he agreed to when he signed the Budget Control Act of 2011, an outcome, the president allowed Tuesday, that he could be “pretty happy” about.

I don’t want to see the government shut down, but this is not a compromise–iti’s a cave. This budget deal is an example of why John Boehner is being replaced as Speaker of the House.

An article at Daniel Mitchell’s website states:

Moody’s Investors Service announced Monday that, despite dire warnings from the Treasury Department, the government would find a way to pay money owed on its debt, regardless of whether lawmakers agree to raise the $18.1 trillion borrowing cap. …”Even if the debt limit is not raised, …the government will order its payment priorities to allow the Treasury to continue servicing its debt obligations,” says Moody’s Senior Vice President Steven Hess.

Raising the debt limit is not really required despite what the big spenders are telling you.

I think Senator Jeff Sessions said it best:

“Once again, a massive deal, crafted in secret, unveiled at the 11th hour, is being rushed through Congress under threat of panic.  Once again, we have waited until an artificial deadline to force through that which our voters oppose.

At its core, this deal with President Obama does two things: First, it lifts federal spending caps for the next two years – including a $40 billion increase in spending on the federal bureaucracy.  Second, it waives the federal debt limit through March of 2017, allowing for approximately $1.5 trillion to be added to the debt – ensuring no further conversation about our debt course or any corresponding action to alter it.

It appears this deal is built on the same principles as the Ryan-Murray budget deal from 2013.  It exchanges instant increases in federal spending for distant savings, as much two decades down the road, that are likely to never materialize.  It funds increased spending through increased revenues – violating a core budget principle by collecting more money to expand an already too-large federal bureaucracy.  And it trades the termination of today’s spending limits for the promise of new spending limits ten years from now.

The spending caps in law today were pledged as part of the 2011 Budget Control Act agreement to lift the debt ceiling by $2.1 trillion.  It represented a bipartisan commitment to cap spending at a fixed amount.  This deal shatters that commitment by spending $80 billion more than we promised over the next 2 years.

The deal also uses a common gimmick where alleged savings in an entitlement program are used to boost unrelated spending in the federal bureaucracy.  Any savings found to entitlement programs faced with insolvency must be used to shore up those programs – not to surge spending somewhere else.  Yet this deal claims illusory savings from Disability Insurance and increased pension insurance fees in order to boost bureaucratic budgets.  Perhaps even worse, the deal attempts to stave off the shortfall in fraud-ridden Social Security Disability by plundering from the Social Security Trust Fund for retirees.  One hundred and fifty billion dollars in funds will be siphoned from Americans’ payroll retirement contributions and redirected to the mismanaged disability program….

Republicans in Congress need to vote against this budget deal.

 

Another Reason To Oppose An Increase In The Gasoline Tax

I have previously stated my objection to raising the tax on gasoline now that the price per gallon has dropped–the gas tax is much more of a burden on lower income people than on the upper middle class. As much as I do think tax burdens should be somewhat equal, I don’t like to see people spend a major portion of their income just getting to work. When the price of gasoline dropped, I think everyone breathed a sigh of relief–it was like getting a tax rebate. Now Congress is ready to mess that up.

The Wall Street Journal posted an article today explaining where the money paid in gasoline taxes has been spent. Because we are hearing cries about our crumbling infrastructure, you would think that the gasoline tax money would be spent on roads. Think again.

The article reports:

But before considering any policy that would raise additional revenue, Congress should first reform where the fund’s money goes. The Highway Trust Fund now pays for a plethora of projects that have little to do with highways. According to a 2013 analysis by the Heritage Foundation, at least 20% of gas-tax revenues in recent years went toward other programs, from light rail to bike lanes to landscaping projects. Some funds even went toward establishing transportation museums.

Hence the financial problems. According to an editorial in this newspaper, spending on non-highway projects has increased by nearly 40% since 2008, while highway-related spending has remained flat. If Congress directed the fund to spend its money only on highways and other road-related infrastructure—what it was initially created to do—it would be 98% solvent for the next decade.

This is the perfect picture of the problem with government spending–the problem is not lack of money–the problem is how the money they have is being spent.

The article concludes:

Higher gas prices, tax-induced or otherwise, also correspond with diminished economic growth. When you and I have more money to spend, we usually do so, benefiting the economy in the process. Financial analysts at Goldman Sachs predict that lower gas prices could add as much as half a percentage point to GDP growth this year. Some of this will be offset by corresponding declines in the oil and gas industry, but the overall effect on America’s economy is still expected to be positive in 2015.

This puts in perspective the first quarter’s lackluster 0.2% economic growth. Without the benefits of lower gas prices, growth could have been even slower, which is the last thing Americans need. When the Highway Trust Fund’s future comes up for congressional debate in the coming weeks, legislators should consider reforming it rather than simply demanding that you and I pay more at the pump.

There are Republicans and Democrats who have authored this bill. Every one of them should be voted out of office at the next opportunity. This is not the time to raise taxes–this is the time to begin to spend responsibly.

Ghouls On Parade

The crash of an Amtrak train on Tuesday night was a tragedy. It was also an accident. Sometimes accidents can be avoided; sometimes they cannot. However, it is truly disgusting to see the death of American citizens innocently riding a train used for political purposes. While authorities were still rescuing the injured from the crash scene, Democrats in Washington went to work blaming the accident on Republican spending cuts. First of all, I would like to point out that President Obama has been in office since January 2009. If Amtrak spending were a priority for him, would the President have asked for more spending while the Democrat party had full control of the House and Senate? Would he have asked while the Democrat party had majorities in both the House and the Senate? To blame anyone before investigators have had a chance to begin their search for a cause is simply ghoulish political opportunism. Also, just for the record, where has spending been cut?

The Heritage Foundation posted the following graph of federal spending:

Federal Government Has a Spending, Not Revenue, Problem

There have been no serious budget cuts.

It also posted the chart below:

Where Does All the Money Go?

I don’t believe our problem is that we are not spending enough–our problem is that the politicians in Washington have used taxpayer money to buy so many votes that they don’t have very much left over. I would also like to know where in the U.S. Constitution it states that the taxpayers should be funding Amtrak.

It is a tragedy that people died in a train accident on Tuesday night. It is also really sad that some politicians sought to gain political points through the death of their fellow citizens.

Do We Really Want To Do This?

Yesterday Breitbart.com posted a story about the cost of President Obama’s executive order on amnesty. This executive order has major consequences.

The article reports:

The lifetime costs of Social Security and Medicare benefits of illegal immigrant beneficiaries of President Obama’s executive amnesty would be well over a trillion dollars, according to Heritage Foundation expert Robert Rector’s prepared testimony for a House panel obtained in advance by Breitbart News.

Rector, a senior research fellow at Heritage, is slated to speak on the costs of Obama’s executive amnesty Tuesday before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. He will testify to the high entitlement costs of granting legal status to millions of illegal immigrants.

Based on Rector’s calculations, which assume that at least 3.97 illegal immigrants would apply for and receive legal status under Deferred Action for Parents of U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents (DAPA), and that the average DAPA beneficiary would have a 10th grade education, the costs would be immense.

Specifically, in 2010 dollars, the lifetime costs of Social Security benefits to DAPA beneficiaries would be about $1.3 trillion.

This would be a problem for the federal government.

The article also calculates the cost of welfare benefits to the new immigrants.

The article explains:

“On average, the combined cost of means-tested welfare benefits currently received, the EITC and ACTC cash, and potential Obamacare benefits would come to $17,800 per year per DAPA family,” Rector’s testimony reads. “The aggregate cost would be over $35 billion per year.”

In terms of what DAPA eligible individuals would contribute in tax payments once they are “on the books,” Rector estimates that “Federal Insurance Contribution Act (FICA) and federal income tax revenues would increase by about $7.2 billion per year.”

As you watch the fight for executive amnesty unfold, you might want to add the Cloward Piven Strategy to your list of possible explanations for this fight.

TeaPartyInTheHills defines Cloward Piven as follows:

The strategy was first proposed in 1966 by Columbia University political scientists Richard Andrew Cloward and Frances Fox Piven as a plan to bankrupt the welfare system and produce radical change. Sometimes known as the “crisis strategy” or the the “flood-the-rolls, bankrupt-the-cities strategy,” the Cloward-Piven approach called for swamping the welfare rolls with new applicants – more than the system could bear. It was hoped that the resulting economic collapse would lead to political turmoil and ultimately socialism.

The National Welfare Rights Organization (NWRO), founded by African-American militant George Alvin Wiley, put the Cloward-Piven strategy to work in the streets. Its activities led directly to the welfare crisis that bankrupted New York City in 1975.

Veterans of NWRO went on to found the Living Wage Movement and the Voting Rights Movement, both of which rely on the Cloward-Piven strategy and both of which are spear-headed by the radical cult ACORN.

Both the Living Wage and Voting Rights movements depend heavily on financial support from George Soros‘s Open Society Institute.

 Something to consider.

 

 

She Obviously Just Got To Congress And Doesn’t Know How It Works

The Daily Signal posted an article yesterday about legislation introduced by freshman Congresswomen Gwen Graham, D-Florida. The bill is called Travel Perks Elimination Act.

The article reports:

Nine months ago, I pledged I would work to end wasteful Congressional perks. Today, I’m following through on that promise,” Graham said. “It’s a common sense idea that Republicans and Democrats can both agree on: members of Congress shouldn’t be able to charge taxpayers for first-class airfare or long-term personal car leases.”

According to her statement, the legislation would also ban the use of taxpayer funds for personal car leases, some of which are “as high as $825 a month.”

It is very obvious that she is new to Congress. It is also very obvious that she has the right idea.

The article further reports:

Rep. Rod Blum, R-Iowa, is the cosponsor of the bill.

“This is not a partisan issue,” Blum said in a statement. “Members of Congress don’t need taxpayer funded perks like first class travel and long term car leases to do their job. America’s founders never intended for public servants to live a life of luxury paid for by everyday Americans. That’s why I’ve made it a high priority to back legislation which reforms Congress and ensures good stewardship of U.S. taxpayer dollars.”

Romina Boccia, the Grover M. Hermann fellow in federal budgetary affairs at The Heritage Foundation, supports the measure as an appropriate way to reduce government waste.

Note to those people in Congress who say they have no place they can cut the budget–this might be a place to start.