Why We Need Voter Identification Laws

As of January 2024, 34 states required voters to present identification in order to vote at the polls on Election Day. The states vary on exactly what that identification should be, but some identification is required.

On Tuesday, Hot Air posted an article that illustrates why requiring voters to show some form of identification is a good idea.

The article reports:

Here’s a story that shows a political prank can turn into a good case for the need for voter identification when registering to vote. It involves five recording artists and a house in Katy, Texas.

Katy is a city west of Houston, in the Houston metro area. Katy’s population at the time of the 2020 census was 21,894. The point is that it is a small city, most often thought of as a suburb of Houston. There is a story out today that recording artists  Drake50 Cent, Chris Brown, Trey Songz, and The Game are all registered to vote with the same address in Katy. 

The house is described as “a beige, $300,000 house in a modest new development in Katy.” The homeowner had no idea why the men were registered to vote at that address. Neighbors said they had not seen the performers. 

It’s a prank that uses a federal loophole in voter ID laws. 

…The apparent prank shines a spotlight on a potential loophole in federal voting registration law that allows virtually anyone to register friends, enemies or celebrities to vote. Whether the intent is malicious or not, experts say it is still illegal.

The article concludes:

What is this federal loophole that allows people to register to vote without an ID? It is the Help America Vote Act of 2002. Eligible voters without a driver’s license or a Social Security number are able to take advantage of it. There are some people who are eligible to vote but don’t have either. It might be someone born outside the United States who never applied for a Social Security number. 

When they go to vote, they have to show some other form of identity, like a utility bill. For example, Drake wouldn’t be able to do that. 

Don’t worry. This doesn’t pose a threat to the singers’ actual voter registrations if they are registered in Texas. 

This story, odd as it is, is a good example of the need to close the federal loophole that allows voter registration applications to be presented without identification. It invites shenanigans and creates extra work for election officials.

It is particularly urgent to get voter identification in place because of the number of illegal aliens currently in America that may be encouraged to vote.

Behind The Jobs Numbers

On Saturday, Zero Hedge posted an honest analysis of the jobs report that recently came out. It may be the only honest analysis out there. All of us know that the Biden economy is a problem for middle America–food inflation is in double digits, gas prices are lower than they have been but still a dollar or so a gallon more than they were under President Trump, and utility bills have increased dramatically in some places. President Biden may tell us that the economy is wonderful, but many of us living in it are not convinced. Just as an example, the total increase in my husband’s and my Social Security this year (after deducting the cost of Medicare) was about $115. I suspect that a lot of retirees didn’t even see that much of an increase. I can assure you that our grocery bill has gone up more than that.

The article at Zero Hedge is complicated and detailed. I suggest that  you follow the link and read it for yourselves. I will try to highlight some of it.

The article reports:

The headline data was stellar across the board, starting with the unemployment rate which once again failed to rise – denying expectations from “Sahm’s Rule” that a recession may have already started – all the way to average hourly earnings, which unexpectedly spiked from 4.1% (pre-revision) to 4.5%, the highest since last September, and a slap in the face to the Fed’s disinflation narrative…

… or it would be if one didn’t think of checking how the average rose: well, it turns out that, since average hourly earnings is a fraction, it did not rise due to a jump in actual wages but – since it is earnings over a period of time – “rose” because the BLS decided to sharply slash the number of estimated hours that everyone was workingfrom 34.3 to just 34.1, which may not sound like a lot until one realizes that the last time the workweek was this low was when the economy was shut down during covid Excluding the covid lockdowns, one would have to go back to 2010 to find a workweek that was this anemic.

The article concludes:

…Said otherwise, not only has all job creation in the past 4 years has been exclusively for foreign-born workers, but there has been zero job-creation for native born workers since July 2018!

This is a huge issue – especially at a time of an illegal alien flood at the border – and is about to become a huge political scandal, because once the inevitable recession finally hits, there will be millions of furious unemployed Americans demanding a more accurate explanation for what happened – i.e., the illegal immigration floodgates that were opened by the Biden admin.

Which is also why the Biden admin will do everything in his power to insure there is no official recession before November… and is why after the election is over, all economic hell will finally break loose. Until then, however, expect the jobs numbers to get more and more ridiculous.

Where Are The Fact-Checkers?

On Friday, Just the News posted an article detailing some of the lies being told about raising the debt ceiling.

The article notes:

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s office is disputing reports on social media and websites that Republicans are demanding President Biden agree to work requirements on a litany of social services programs in exchange for raising the debt ceiling.

A headline on the website Raw Story declared, “McCarthy demands work requirements on ‘all the programs’ including Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and SNAP.”

The story was also retweeted by a former Obama campaign official Jon Cooper. 

“Kevin McCarthy is demanding that WORK REQUIREMENTS be added to receive not only Medicaid but also Medicare and Social Security. He doesn’t think Americans have earned their benefits – despite paying into all three programs over the course of their entire working lives,” Cooper wrote in another post Wednesday.

However, House Republicans’ push for work requirements as part of an agreement to raise the nation’s debt limit would apply only to Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Medicaid and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF).

The article notes:

The plan proposed by McCarthy and other GOP leaders to enforce work-related requirements in these federal benefit programs would not apply to Social Security and Medicare, contrary to information spreading on social media, the speaker’s office confirmed.

The article also notes that most Americans support work-requirements for some federal programs.

The article concludes:

Texas GOP Sen. Ted Cruz argued that most Americans support work requirements as opposed to issuing benefits without any strings attached.

“An overwhelming majority of Americans support a work requirement for welfare,” Cruz said.

He also suggested that Biden doesn’t support such a requirement but once did.

“You know someone [whom] President Joe Biden ought to listen to? That would be Senator Joe Biden who has previously voted for work requirements for welfare. But now he’s handed the Democrat Party over to the crazy socialist wing of the party that doesn’t want anyone to work,” he said.

Democrats point to analysis from liberal organizations such as The Center for American Progress, which have concluded that work requirements would not work under programs like Medicaid. 

Most Americans are generous people who support charity. However, the government bureaucracy has grown so bloated that it is very easy for people to scam the welfare system. When social programs were handled locally, it was easy to tell who was gaming the system and who was not. Now there is a thought in the back of the basic bureaucrat’s mind that says, “If I get everyone off welfare, I will lose my job.” This is not a good business model.

Some Basic Facts About The Debt Ceiling

Issues & Insights is a blog that was started by the team that for decades had produced IBD Editorials at Investor’s Business Daily. They are one of the most reliable sites on the web for financial and political information.

On Monday, Issues & Insights posted an article about the debt ceiling ‘crisis.’ The article pointed out a lot of basic facts that are being overlooked in the debate.

The article notes:

At the heart of all fearmongering over the debt ceiling “crisis” is the claim that if the federal government can’t borrow more money it won’t be able to pay interest on its existing debt, leading to a default.

But that’s poppycock. The government will collect more than a trillion dollars over the next three months. (It collected $638 billion in taxes in April alone.) That will be more than enough to pay interest on the debt. And it will be enough to pay all Social Security benefits, Medicare and Medicaid bills, welfare checks, food stamps. There will even be enough money to pay for Joe Biden’s new electric car subsidies.

There just won’t be any money left for anything else. Nothing for the military, infrastructure, education, the environment, law enforcement, or any other program the federal government currently operates.

That’s because, as it stands today, every penny collected in taxes goes to pay interest on the debt and a category described as “payments for individuals.” Everything else is paid for with borrowed money.

…This year, the federal government will collect $4.8 trillion in taxes, according to the Office of Management and Budget.

It will spend $4.2 trillion on “payments for individuals,” and $661 billion in interest on the national debt.

Everyone knows about interest payments. But what are these “payments for individuals”?

As the budget document explains, payments for individuals:

Are federal government spending programs designed to transfer income (in cash or in-kind) to individuals or families. To the extent feasible, this category does not include reimbursements for current services rendered to the Government (e.g., salaries and interest).

In 1946, “payments for individuals” accounted for less than 11% of federal spending. By 1991, they reached 50%. In 2014, they topped 70% for the first time and have been bouncing around that level ever since.

The article also notes:

The vast bulk of these “payments for individuals” involve middle-class entitlements such as Social Security and Medicare, which are paid for in volume by … the middle class. Only a fraction of the money (26%) targets the poor and needy for programs such as Medicaid, welfare payments, food stamps, earned income tax credits.

Worse, some programs, Medicare, for instance, are regressive. A paper published by the National Bureau of Economic Research concluded that “Medicare has led to net transfers from the poor to the wealthy, as a result of relatively regressive financing mechanisms and the higher expenditures and longer survival times of wealthier beneficiaries.”

This is all by design. The left desperately wants to increase dependency on government, and there’s no better way to do that than through income redistribution. Take as much money away from people as possible, then give it back to them in the form of a “benefit.”

Please follow the link to read the entire article. We don’t just need to cut spending–we need to overhaul the entire federal budget and follow the lawful budget process.

President Biden Has Announced He Is Running For Re-election

Why would an 80-year-old man run for President? He has obviously lost some of his mental abilities, and he is not likely to regain them. On Tuesday, Townhall posted a fact check of President Biden’s announcement that he was running for President in 2024. The announcement was in video form–it was not live, which in itself is curious.

In the video, the President noted:

“The question we are facing is whether in the years ahead we have more freedom or less freedom, more rights or fewer,” the 80-year-old stated. “I know what I want the answer to be. This is not a time to be complacent. That’s why I’m running for reelection.”

The article notes:

As Katie pointed out, vaccine-obsessed Biden, the so-called leader of the free world, issued a COVID-19 vaccine mandate for federal workers, ordering that all employees were required to get vaxxed against the coronavirus or be subject to disciplinary action, which included termination. Likewise, in an affront to individual autonomy and those bravely fighting for America’s freedom, Biden imposed a military-wide vaccine mandate, causing thousands of U.S. military personnel to have been discharged or sidelined for refusing the jab. Biden’s administration also sought to enforce a draconian vaccine-or-test mandate on private businesses through the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), but the move was deemed illegal.

The article also notes:

Attacking GOP leadership, Biden claimed, “But you know, around the country, MAGA extremists are lining up to take those bedrock freedoms away,” which the octogenarian alleged included “cutting Social Security that you’ve paid for your entire life.”

Townhall previously debunked this oft-repeated claim that Biden regurgitates in office and on the 2024 campaign trail. The majority of conservative lawmakers aren’t on board with sunsetting Social Security and Medicare as Republican top brass has repeatedly declared that mainstream GOP members have no intention of ending these generations-old federal entitlements.

…Moments after the false Social Security claim, Biden alleged that “MAGA extremists” across America are “banning books.”

Please follow the link to the article for further details. I really can’t believe that anyone believes President Biden is capable of being President until 2028. I do wonder exactly what the Democrats are setting up.

Common Sense Rears Its Ugly Head

On Friday, The U.K. Daily Mail posted the following headline:

Trump warns Republicans not to cut Social Security or Medicare in their debt ceiling battle – and instead focus on ‘foreign aid, cracking down on migration and BILLIONS spent on climate extremism’

I think history has proven that giving excessive amounts of money to people that hate us has not caused them to hate us less. Migration is costing millions in health and dental care for illegal aliens, and the climate change people have gone over the edge with their war on gas stoves.

The article reports:

Former President Donald Trump waded into the debt ceiling impasse on Friday, urging Republicans to protect hardworking Americans and seniors by not cutting money from entitlement programs.

‘Under no circumstances should Republicans vote to cut a single penny from Medicare or Social Security to pay for Joe Biden‘s reckless spending spree,’ Trump said in a video message. 

It comes as House Republicans flex their muscles, warning Democrats that they will only help head off a crisis and raise the debt ceiling if it comes with sweeping cuts to spending programs.

Just for the record, Social Security is not an entitlement program–the people currently collecting it have paid into it all of their working lives. Had they been allowed to invest the money themselves (and done it prudently and faithfully), they would have a whole lot more money to spend. Also consider the fact that if someone paying into Social Security dies before collecting, the money they put into Social Security is not inherited by their family–it is simply paid out to someone else.

The article continues:

In a two-minute policy video, Trump makes clear his opposition — channeling his 2016 campaign, when he distanced himself from small-government, spending-cut conservatives.

Instead he suggests his party’s lawmakers should target foreign aid, money spent on climate change and migration. 

‘While we absolutely need to stop Biden’s out-of-control spending, the pain should be borne by Washington bureaucrats, not by hardworking American families and American seniors,’ he said in the video first obtained by Politico.

‘The seniors are being absolutely destroyed in the last two years. 

‘Cut the hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars going to corrupt, foreign countries. 

‘Cut the mass releases of illegal aliens that are depleting our social safety net, and destroying our country. 

‘Cut the left-wing gender programs from our military. Cut the billions being spent on climate extremism.

‘Cut waste fraud and abuse everywhere we can find it.’

Love him or hate him, President Trump is an astute businessman who solves problems. I wish he were in the White House now.

The Washington Post Fact Checker Gets It Right

On September 4th, The Washington Post posted an article checking the veracity of one of the statements the Biden campaign is making about President Trump. The statement has been made often enough that I see it frequently posted by my friends on Facebook.

The article reports:

“The chief actuary of the Social Security Administration just released an analysis of Trump’s planned cuts to Social Security. Under Trump’s plan, Social Security would become permanently depleted by the middle of calendar year 2023. If Trump gets his way, Social Security benefits will run out in just three years from now. Don’t let it happen. Joe Biden will protect Social Security.”

— Voice-over in a new ad by Joe Biden, “Depleted,” released Sept. 3

Without fail during a tough election season, Democrats bring up Social Security. The ads are often ubiquitous in states with high percentages of senior citizens who rely on Social Security as their main source of income.

Trump gets mentioned in this ad three times. But there is no such Trump plan.

The article explains the false basis for the claim:

The president gave the Democrats an opening with a series of confusing remarks after he signed an executive order that would suspend the payment of payroll taxes until the end of the year.

The executive order would halt collection of the 6.2 percent payroll tax imposed on wages for Social Security, starting Sept. 1. In theory, taxpayers would still be liable for the taxes at a later date, but the executive order says “the Secretary of the Treasury shall explore avenues, including legislation, to eliminate the obligation to pay the taxes deferred pursuant to the implementation of this memorandum.”

While the Trump White House has suggested this is similar to a payroll tax holiday in the Obama administration during the Great Recession, that law had a provision saying Social Security would be made whole with transfers from general funds (regular tax revenue). This executive order does not say that, but one would presume that any forgiveness would be accompanied by such transfers.

Please follow the link to read the entire article. It details exactly what is being said and what has been said. Just for the record, Congress has been raiding Social Security since the 1960’s.

 

 

 

 

A Valid Lawsuit

As North Carolina fights for voter id laws, other states are finding people on the voter rolls that are more than 100 years old. While that is possible, it is somewhat unlikely.

Yesterday Breitbart reported that the Public Interest Legal Foundation has filed a lawsuit against Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. The lawsuit claims that nearly 1,600 dead people are registered to vote in the 2020 election in the county.

The article reports:

The Foundation reviewed birthdates from a portion of the County’s voter registration list against records in the Social Security Death Index. After matching other biographical information, the Foundation found 1,583 deceased registrants whose registrations should have been canceled, yet they remain actively registered to vote in the County. [Emphasis added]

…“One registrant is stated as being born in ‘June 1800,’ the same year Thomas Jefferson won eight of Pennsylvania’s 15 Electoral College votes against President John Adams,” the lawsuit claims.

The lawsuit claims there are 1,178 registered voters who are missing dates of births in Allegheny County, about 193 registered voters who are missing dates of registration, and 35 registered voters with corrupted or out-of-state addresses.

Officials with the Public Interest Legal Foundation are looking to ensure that Allegheny County makes reasonable efforts to maintain their voter rolls, as required by the National Voter Registration Act of 1993.

Unfortunately there are a number of states that have chosen to ignore the requirement to maintain their voter rolls that was part of the National Voter Registration Act of 1993. The act has been used to register large numbers of voters, not all of whom are citizens, with very little effort put into maintaining accurate voter rolls.

Elizabeth Warren And Your Retirement Savings

Occasionally I post an article that I have no understanding of. This is one of those articles. I am posting it because the source and headline are an indication to me that this is important information.

Yesterday Forbes posted an article detailing how Elizabeth Warren intends to change your retirement funds if she is elected. Keep in mind that she is rapidly becoming the Democrat front-runner. The dust up about Biden and the Ukraine may be the party’s effort to remove Biden (because he is not looking electable) and replace him with Warren.

The article reports:

So, as it turns out, Elizabeth Warren’s Social Security expansion proposal is not the only one of her plans to affect Americans’ retirement well-being. But the proposal of hers which will affect Americans’ retirement savings, in their 401(k)s and their IRAs and the funded status of their pension plans (which might be irrelevant for single-employer traditional pension plans guaranteed by employers but matters considerably for multi-employer plans), is tucked away in a component of her platform with the harmless-looking title, “Empowering Workers Through Accountable Capitalism.”

It’s a proposal that’s a repeat of legislation she proposed in 2018, the “Accountable Capitalism Act,” which, as it happens, I dug into at the time on another platform. The most nebulous part of the proposal is the notion that large corporations would be obliged to pursue the “best interests” of a long list of entities, not merely shareholders but also employees, suppliers, customers, the local communities where the companies locations are based, and others, with the fundamental premise that such a corporation “shall have the purpose of creating a general public benefit.” But however much writers such as Kevin D. Williamson decried this as “the wholesale expropriation of private enterprise in the United States” this all appears to be aspirational and symbolic, without any enforcement mechanism included in the legislation, or administrative agency named to ensure the corporation is indeed “creating a public benefit.”

What is far more concrete is a requirement that such “United States corporations,” that is, those with over $1 billion in revenue, would be obliged to bring onto their boards of directors, representatives elected by employees, at a minimum ratio of 40% of the total board members. The website declares:

“Elizabeth’s plan gives workers a big voice in all corporate decisions, including those about outsourcing, wages, and investment,”

and references Germany as an example of a country with a similar approach.

In an abstract way, of course, directors are bound to represent shareholders; if 40% of board members no longer represent the shareholders, than this is, in effect, taking away from shareholders the ownership of 40% of the company. But this is more than just an abstract impact. How much of a difference would it make?

The article explains that Elizabeth Warren’s plans would reduce the value of the stocks. In the German model, only the wealthy own stocks

The article concludes:

Take a look at the estimates from Pensions & Investments: 80% of stock market equity is held by institutions: that means, mutual funds, pension funds, 401(k)s, and the like. In particular, 37% of stock is owned by retirement accounts; when subtracting out foreign owners of US stock (26% of the total), 50% of US-owned US equities are owned within retirement funds. And it should go without saying that there is no way to “punish” the wealthy by causing the value of only the stock they own to go south while somehow protecting the 401(k) and other retirement accounts for the rest of us. It’s cutting off your nose to spite your face and, as someone with a 401(k) account, I’d really prefer not to do this.

As I said, I don’t fully understand what this is all about, but I do know that as many Americans lose faith in our Social Security system, they are creating 401(k) accounts and other holdings in preparation for retirement. I have a feeling that if Ms. Warren is elected, none of us will be able to retire.

How Red Flag Laws Can Be Misused

The American Thinker posted an article today about a move during the Obama administration to deny gun rights to veterans and senior citizens.

The article reports:

The Obama administration’s idea of keeping guns out of the hands of the mentally ill was based on a bizarre and discriminatory definition of who might be mentally unstable. In 2013 it was reported that the Veterans Administration was sending letters to vets warning them that they might be declared mentally incompetent and denied their Second Amendment rights unless they could prove otherwise:

The contempt by the Obama administration for our Constitution and our rights has reached a new low with news the Veterans Administration has begun sending letters to veterans telling them they will be declared mentally incompetent and stripped of the Second Amendment rights unless they can prove to unnamed bureaucrats to the contrary…

“A determination of incompetency will prohibit you from purchasing, possessing, receiving, or transporting a firearm or ammunition. If you knowingly violate any of these prohibitions, you may be fined, imprisoned, or both pursuant to the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act, Pub.L.No. 103-159, as implemented at 18, United States Code 924(a)(2),” the letter reads…

While mental health is a factor in the current gun control debate and recent mass shootings in Newtown, Conn., and Aurora, Colo., and elsewhere have in common the questionable mental state of the shooters, to single out returning vets from Iraq and Afghanistan this way is unconscionable and unconstitutional.

As the Los Angeles Times has reported, the Obama administration would have liked like to make our Social Security records part of the background check system. The move would have stripped some four million Americans who receive payments though a “representative payee” of their gun rights. It would be the largest gun grab in U.S. history.

A potentially large group within Social Security are people who, in the language of federal gun laws, are unable to manage their own affairs due to “marked subnormal intelligence, or mental illness, incompetency, condition, or disease.”

There is no simple way to identify that group, but a strategy used by the Department of Veterans Affairs since the creation of the background check system is reporting anyone who has been declared incompetent to manage pension or disability payments and assigned a fiduciary.

The article concludes:

Keeping guns out of the hands of the truly mentally unstable is a worthy goal, but it should not be used as a cause for disarming veterans who carried a weapon in defense of their country or seniors who might need some assistance in paying their bills.

They deserve the presumption of innocence, and sanity, every bit as much as Vester Flanagan. Stripping away their Second Amendment rights in the name of mental health would be a gross injustice that would not make us safer, but would merely create millions of unarmed victims for the next shooter with an agenda.

We need to make sure that American citizens understand our Constitution and Bill of Rights. The Bill of Rights is there to limit the rights of government–not the rights of citizens. If we want to preserve our republic, we have to continue to fight to protect those rights our Founding Fathers codified in the Constitution and The Bill of Rights.

About The Taxes You Pay On Your Social Security

In the past few days I have been getting notices on my phone to sign a petition to end taxing Social Security. I normally support smaller government, less spending, and lower taxes, but in this case, I want to keep taxing Social Security. I want to keep taxing Social Security until the federal budget is balanced. Who do I hold responsible for the unbalanced budget and the increasing debt? The voters. I will explain.

There are a lot of factors that went into my deciding that Social Security should be taxed (despite the fact that the money has already been taxed once). I will attempt to list them here. The majority of today’s Social Security recipients are the baby boomers. Those born in 1957 or before are now eligible to collect Social Security. In 1971, the voting age was lowered to 18, and those people born in 1957 began voting in 1975. The gold standard ended in 1973. Up until that point, budget deficits were running between $1 billion and $23 billion.

I want to focus on the baby boomers. We were the generation that ‘had it all.’ We were the ‘me generation.’ Our parents had come through the depression and World War II and enjoyed the prosperity of the 1950’s. We were consumers. As adults, we began the serious use of credit cards. We took out student loans to send our children to college. We were seriously into instant gratification. We were idealistic–we wanted to end poverty. We also wanted to end communism. We tried to do both at once and spent money we didn’t have. In the 1970’s and 1980’s the deficits grew rapidly. We continued to elect people who helped them grow. We complained when they grew, but continued to elect people who overspent. We are the ones currently collecting Social Security. We deserve to be taxed on it because we are the ones who elected the people who have run up the deficit.

So who is responsible for the rapidly growing federal debt–the voters. Don’t talk to me about the money or lobbyists in politics–if your Congressman is voting against your interests because of lobbyists, it is your responsibility to vote him out of office. When the Republicans caved on repealing ObamaCare, they deserved to be voted out of office. We need to keep voting people out of office until we get what we want.

I would love for Social Security to be tax free, but let’s put people in Congress who will control spending first!

There Will Always Be Some Excuse Not To Prepare For The Future

Somewhere along the line, our students have been taught that because of climate change, the world is going to end before they reach a ripe old age. Somehow the idea that the earth’s climate goes through cycles is not mentioned. Also not mentioned is the fact that in the past the earth’s climate has changed drastically, and we are still here. Remember, they have found plant fossils deep under the ice in Greenland. Aside from the destruction of the scientific method, what our children are being taught also has real-world consequences.

Marketwatch posted an article yesterday with the following headline, “Young people blame climate change for their small 401(k) balances.”

The article reports:

Lori Rodriguez, a 27-year-old communications professional in New York City, is not saving for retirement, and it isn’t necessarily because she can’t afford to — it’s because she doesn’t expect it to matter.

Like many people her age, Rodriguez believes climate change will have catastrophic effects on our planet. Some 88% of millennials — a higher percentage than any other age group — accept that climate change is happening, and 69% say it will impact them in their lifetimes. Engulfed in a constant barrage of depressing news stories, many young people are skeptical about saving for an uncertain future.

“I want to hope for the best and plan for a future that is stable and secure, but, when I look at current events and at the world we are predicting, I do not see how things could not be chaotic in 50 years,” Rodriguez says. “The weather systems are already off, and I don’t think it’s hyperbolic to be a little apocalyptic.”

It’s a fairly safe bet that Social Security will not exist by the time she is old enough to retire, so if the world chooses not to end before then, she will be up a creek without a paddle.

The article lists other consequences of what our children are taught regarding climate change:

Mental-health issues affecting young adults and adolescents in the U.S. have increased significantly in the past decade, a study published in March in the Journal of Abnormal Psychology found. The number of individuals between the ages of 18 and 25 reporting symptoms of major depression increased 52% from 2005 to 2017, while older adults did not experience any increase in psychological stress at this time, and some age groups even saw decreases. Study author Jean Twenge says this may be attributed to the increased use of digital media, which has changed modes of interaction enough to impact social lives and communication. Millennials are also said to suffer from “eco-anxiety,” according to a 2018 report from the American Psychological Association, with 72% saying their emotional well-being is affected by the inevitability of climate change, compared with just 57% of people over the age of 45.

The article concludes:

Similarly, Rodriguez said that, even without the threat of climate change, she likely couldn’t afford to save for retirement — and might not need to. Because she comes from a Latina family, she says culturally it is expected she would move in with family in old age and not have to pay as much in retirement costs.

“Both of my parents are immigrants. I did not grow up in a culture of professionalism. I graduated with thousands in student loans — I have never made enough money to save for the future,” she says.

Although she does not save money for retirement, Rodriguez does take action for the future: she’s taught herself to garden (“in case of a total collapse of the food system,” she says) and invests in learning hands-on skills like mechanics and bike repair.

“It’s kind of my own version of retirement,” she says.

Erin Lowry, author of “Broke Millennial Takes On Investing,” recommends preparing for retirement no matter what you believe will happen, referencing the Y2K phenomenon, when some people sold their belongings and made other rash choices in the belief that the world would end with the dawn of the year 2000.

“Even if you have a defeatist mind-set about the future of the planet, it’s better to prepare as though you, and the planet, will survive into your retirement years because the alternative is also bleak,” she said. “Failing to properly plan for a future means guaranteeing yourself a more difficult life.”

The baby boomers survived hiding under their desks in case of nuclear attack and the Vietnam war. We grew up to be tough old birds (with a few exceptions). I don’t think the problem here is the teaching on climate change–I think the problem is raising children without the moral foundation our country was built on. I also think parents need to let their children fail occasionally. Everyone shouldn’t get a trophy.

We Need To Celebrate This

Issues & Insights posted an article today about the change in the number of Americans dependent on Government since President Trump took office.

The article includes a chart showing the change:

Here are some of the highlights listed in the article:

Disability. The number of workers on Social Security’s Disability Insurance program has sharply declined as well. It went from 88 million in January 2017 to 84.9 million as of May. That’s the lowest it’s been since August 2011.

…Medicaid. Enrollment in Medicaid also has dropped sharply since Trump took office — despite the fact that Virginia decided to expand its program under Obamacare, which added some 300,000 to its Medicaid rolls over those years.

As of this March, the total number of people on Medicaid and CHIP — the health insurance program for children — was down by 2.5 million.

Obamacare. The number enrolled in Obamacare has declined every year since Trump took office as well, and is now 1 million below where it was at the end of 2016.

Welfare. The number of those collecting welfare — either on the federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families or what are called “separate state programs” — has dropped by more than 800,000 under Trump.

The article concludes:

In a less biased news media world, the decline in government dependency would be front-page news.

Instead, when they’re acknowledged at all, these enrollment drops are treated as bad news by the Left, which treats any declining benefit programs as a problem that needs to be fixed — usually by expanding these programs. Thus, you have every Democratic candidate for president talking about trillions upon trillions of new benefit programs, which are designed to ensnare as many as possible in the net of government dependency.

They have it exactly backward. The goal should be to have zero people collecting government benefits — because they are gainfully employed and don’t need them. Anything else should be treated as a failure.

One of the reasons that it is so difficult to shrink government programs is that in addition to the people they serve, they provide employment for government workers. These workers understand that if assistance programs shrink drastically, then there will be fewer staff members needed to oversee the programs. It is definitely a reverse incentive to cut dependence on the government.

How Your Tax Money Is Spent

The Daily Signal posted the following today:

Obviously we have some work to do. The question that comes to mind is why do we always hear that Social Security is running out of money but we never hear that the Welfare State is running out of money. I think it is truly time to examine the bureaucracy that support each. I suspect we could save some serious money there without hurting the people who truly need government assistance.

What Is This Actually About?

On Friday, Breitbart posted an article about the debate over one of the questions that is supposed to appear on the 2020 Census.

The article reports:

Republican lawmakers are working with Democrats to ban the 2020 Census from asking United States residents whether or not they are American citizens.

In March, President Donald Trump’s administration announced they would put the citizenship question back on the census. It has not been included since 1950. For seven decades, all residents living in the United States have been counted on the census but have not been asked whether or not they are American citizens, making it impossible for the federal government to know the size of the citizen population versus the immigrant population.

The article explains why this question is significant:

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach has noted the citizenship question on the census is necessary to further implement congressional apportionment based on the citizen population rather than the current rules that base state representation on the total population — including ocitizens, illegal alien residents, legal immigrants, and nonimmigrants on visas.

Should congressional apportionment be based on the number of American citizens in each state — which is only possible through asking the citizenship question on the census — Democrat-strong coastal areas with large foreign populations like California and Florida could lose representation, while states with small foreigon populations like Wyoming and Ohio would likely gain representation in Congress. Such a rule change would shift power from coastal states to the heartland of the country, Breitbart News reported.

Keep in mind that there are some serious philosophical differences in the politics of the elites in Washington (combined with the elites in coastal America) and the average American living in the mid-west.

Congress has been discussing illegal immigration since the 1980’s. Why hasn’t the issue been resolved? It’s a matter of viewpoint–the Democrats see illegal immigrants as future citizen voters–the corporate Republicans (the non-conservative, country-club Republicans) see cheap labor.  Until we elect Congressmen who are willing to see the problem of having millions of people in the country who are not contributing to Social Security or taxes yet are receiving government benefits, we will continue to have the problem of a large population of illegal immigrants. They do not have the right to represented in Congress–they are not citizens,

The question belongs in the 2020 Census, but I sincerely doubt it will be there.

 

A Few Observations From The Polls

I have visited my local voting place twice today. Don’t worry–I didn’t vote twice–my husband was handing out information, and I went to provide food and moral support. While I was there, I picked up some literature from the Democrats and investigated the talking points on their local website.

This is what I learned.

Their website states:

Democrats are standing up for the American Dream: an economy and government that works for everyone, not just the few.

Found on their Twitter page:

Hi kids, this is your Mom. Remember to vote on 11/6. If Trump cuts my Social Security and Medicare I’m moving in with you!

Both these statements are totally misleading.

The American Dream is more accessible to everyone under President Trump than it was under President Obama, a Democrat. According to a Western Journal article posted December 18, 2017:

The national unemployment rate for black Americans, ages 16 and over, is the lowest it has been in 17 years, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

In November 2016, the unemployment rate for black people was at 8 percent, and in November 2017 that rate dropped to 7.3 percent — a percentage not seen since the months of September, October and November 2000.

As reported by CNS News, black unemployment rate during the Bush and Obama era’s fluctuated between 7 and 17 percent.

BLS data also shows that labor force participation among African-Americans rose from 61.9 percent in November 2016 to 62.2 percent in November 2017.

Unemployment rate for the Hispanic demographic fell from 5.7 percent to 4.7 percent — the lowest it’s been in 44 years, while the unemployment rate for whites and Asians hovered around 3 percent, roughly the same as one year prior.

About Social Security cuts–none of us can predict the future, but we can draw conclusions based on past behavior. This is the chart showing Cost of Living Adjustments (COLA) to Social Security in recent years:

I know that it’s only a coincidence that one of the biggest increases in Social Security occurred in 2011, a year before the 2012 election.

As far as Medicare is concerned, the statements are also misleading. The Republicans are not the ones who have cut Medicare. Medicare funding was cut to fund ObamaCare. On August 13, 2012, Forbes Magazine reported:

You wouldn’t know it from listening to the Obama campaign, but there’s only one Presidential candidate in 2012 who has cut Medicare: Barack Obama, whose Affordable Care Act cuts Medicare by $716 billion from 2013-2022. Today, the Romney campaign reiterated its pledge to repeal Obamacare, and promised to “restore the funding to Medicare [and] ensure that no changes are made to the program for those 55 and older.”

If any of the above is news to you, you need to reconsider where you are getting your news. If you were already aware of the above information and voted Democrat, then it is obvious that facts will not get in the way of your opinion. Facts are such inconvenient things.

Preventing The Fleecing Of The Middle Class

The American tax code is a tribute to the effectiveness of lobbyists and big campaign donors. The loopholes in the code for people who make a lot of money are numerous. Even with loopholes in place, the rich pay a lot of taxes. As I have previously reported, The top 10 percent of income earners, those having an adjusted gross income over $138,031, pay about 70.6 percent of federal income taxes. About 1.7 million Americans, less than 1 percent of our population, pay 70.6 percent of federal income taxes. These numbers come from actual IRS data.

However, it seems that when it comes to eliminating loopholes, it’s always the middle class loopholes that go away.

Breitbart posted an article today about Congress‘ latest effort to take away a middle-class tax break. Because of a certain lack of faith in the future solvency of Social Security, many employers offer employees 401k retirement plans. Aside from allowing middle-class families to save for the future, these programs provide a place to put money so that it will not be taxed during the highest earning period of the employee. It will be taxed later at retirement when traditionally a person’s earnings are lower and generally taxed at a lower rate. Congress was evidently planning to alter the current system.

Breitbart reports:

“There will be NO change to your 401(k),” Trump tweeted. “This has always been a great and popular middle class tax break that works, and it stays!”

House Republicans were considering a plan to slash the amount of income American workers can save in tax-deferred retirement accounts. Currently, workers can put up to $18,000 a year into 401(k) accounts without paying taxes on that money until they retire and withdraw money from their savings. Proposals under discussion on Capitol Hill would set the cap lower, perhaps as low as $2,400. The effect would be a huge tax hike on middle class workers.

The plan to lower the cap on 401(k)’s would not have had an effect on long-term government deficits. Instead, it would have raised tax revenue now but lowered it in the future, since the retirement savings would already have been taxed. But taxing the savings would have had an impact on household budgets and may have discouraged workers from saving, increasing their future dependence on government benefits.

Let’s cut spending to ‘pay for’ tax cuts. Actually, if taxes are cut, economic growth should increase to a point where there is no loss of revenue. During the 1980’s, after President Reagan cut taxes, government revenue soared. Unfortunately, the Democrats who controlled Congress at the time greatly increased spending, so the government debt increased rather than decreased. Generally speaking, lowering taxes increases revenue–people are less inclined to look for tax shelters.

The Laffer Curve works:

Congress needs to keep this in mind while revising the tax code.

 

Where The Social Security Money Goes

We have heard all sorts of horror stories that Social Security will go bankrupt if the benefits are not cut. We have heard stories that the younger people paying in will never see a penny of their money. We have heard stories of benefits being limited for those Americans who actually saved for retirement. We have heard very few stories of how the Social Security Administration spends the money it has.

Yesterday The Washington Free Beacon posted a story about how some of the money taken in by the Social Security Administration was spent.

The article reports:

The Social Security Administration billed taxpayers $32 million for work conferences, according to a new audit.

The inspector general for the agency reported that just over 300 conferences cost taxpayers roughly $100,000 each in travel, meals, and lodging expenses during a three-year period.

The audit found that the agency mostly complied with federal reporting requirements to disclose conferences that cost $20,000 or more. The inspector general did find two instances where those conferences were not reported, because initial cost estimates fell below the $20,000 threshold.

Another reason to drain the swamp. How much of the money spent could have been used to shore up the program or provide Cost of Living Allowances for senior citizens?

 

How Much Does It Cost?

Charity is a wonderful thing when it is voluntary–not so much when it is coerced. Yesterday The Washington Examiner posted an article that illustrates how charity can be coerced.

The article reports:

Amnesty for illegal immigrants like a program proposed by Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton would require an immediate tax hike of $1.2 trillion, a $15,000 hit on every household in America, according to a new analysis of immigration reform.

…”The findings in the report indicate that if amnesty for illegal immigrants were enacted, the government would have to raise taxes immediately by $1.29 trillion and put that sum into a high-yield bank account to cover future fiscal losses generated by the amnesty recipients and their children,” said Robert Rector, Heritage’s senior domestic research fellow.

“To cover the future cost, each U.S. household currently paying federal income tax would have to pay, on average, an immediate lump sum of over $15,000,” he added.

So why is the Democratic Party so intent on amnesty? There are a number of reasons. The most obvious is to create an underclass of Democratic voters. The demographics of the Democratic voter have changed in recent years as the party has moved dramatically to the left. People in the working middle class are no longer willing to blindly follow the Democrats–they have watched Democratic politicians take bigger and bigger chunks of money out of their paychecks to support social programs that do not reduce poverty and do destroy families. The legalization of unskilled illegal aliens would create a permanent underclass to replace the middle class voters.

But there is also another reason. Our politicians in Washington have not always represented us well. They have avoided the hard decisions in order to be re-elected. One of those hard decisions is the reform of Social Security, which is rapidly going bankrupt. One reason for that bankruptcy is the lack of new workers coming into the workforce to support the payments to retirees. One of the reasons for the lack of new workers is the number of babies that have been aborted since 1973. According to the Guttmacher Institute, more than one million babies have been aborted every year since 1975. Some years the number has been as high as 1,500,000, some years it has been about 1,000,000. These are workers who would have been entering the workforce over the past twenty years that would have kept Social Security solvent. An influx of workers that were formerly under the table would fund Social Security for a few more years. By the time the new workers retire, the current members of Congress may no longer be in Washington to be held accountable. Congress would rather kick the can down the road than solve the Social Security funding problem. Amnesty is one way to do that.

More For Me But Less For Thee

Yesterday Fox News reported that President Obama has requested an increase in the appropriations for expenditures of former presidents, according to a report from the Congressional Research Service published Wednesday. In other words, he wants an increase in the amount of money allotted to him to pay for his retirement.

Meanwhile, in October of last year, The Washington Post reported:

Tens of millions of seniors will see no annual cost-of-living adjustment in their Social Security checks in 2016, the government said Thursday, unwelcome news that also will flatten benefit payments for retired federal workers and service members.

It is only the third time in 40 years — all of them during the Obama administration — that the Social Security Administration has not increased its payments. The raises are tied to the consumer price index (CPI).

Lower gasoline prices have kept the CPI low. At the same time, medical costs for senior citizens are going up, but for some reason, the increase in Medicare expenses for seniors did not get factored into the equation.

Also, USA Today reported in January of last year:

The plan calls for Congress to create a hybrid system that includes a smaller defined-benefit pension along with more cash-based benefits and lump-sum payments. A significant portion of troops’ retirement benefits would come in the form of government contributions to 401(k)-style investment accounts, those familiar with the report told Military Times.

Specifically, the proposal calls for automatically enrolling each service member in the federal government’s Thrift Savings Plan, or TSP, an investment account that accrues savings. Individual troops will be responsible for managing their accounts, and the money is typically not available for withdrawal without penalty until age 59.5.

The proposed change to military retirement makes my blood boil. Our military relocates their families approximately every three years, puts their lives in jeopardy, and makes unbelievable sacrifices, and the government wants to change the rules of the contract they signed up under. Military benefits for retirees and their families have already been cut in terms of their healthcare. Changes have also been made to the commissary system that have made it less economical for our military to shop there. Budget cuts have already been made at the expense of our military.  Any further changes should not apply to those currently serving.

At any rate, before we raise the retirement benefits of our Presidents, we need to consider our military and our senior citizens. Our past Presidents seem to do very well with speaking fees, and I am sure they will find a way to make ends meet. For further information, check the net wealth of the Clintons before and since they occupied the White House.

The Answer To Social Security Is In South America

Investor’s Business Daily posted an article today about the success of private, personal retirement plans in Chile.

The article reports:

In 2012, the Chilean government invited a group of journalists to the South American country to show off its innovations — language programs, new uses for llama fur, greenie aquaculture, microfinance, quake-proof skyscrapers and the world’s most powerful telescope.

But there was one thing missing amid all these new ideas: recognition for Chile’s most spectacular innovation, the one that made the country’s development into a first-world country possible.

That concept? Chile’s 35-year old private pension program, which a new report confirms is working spectacularly well.

Sergio De Castro, the dean of Santiago’s Catholic University, became Finance Minister of Chile in 1976. He began a free market revolution in the Chile. Jose Pinera designed and implemented the profoundly innovative private pension system, which up until then had never been tried — and which was copiously praised Milton Friedman?

The article further reports:

Pinera, who was Chile’s labor minister in 1978, knew that the idea of private pensions would have to be sold to the public. Economic ignorance was widespread, and he utilized the most important media outlet of the day, radio broadcasting, to give five-minute talks for the citizens on savings, ownership, control, responsibility and wealth building — which are the pillars of the Chilean Model — and have as their ultimate reward a comfortable retirement, which Chileans now do.

His daily broadcasts led to sign-ups for the new private pension option that went well beyond expectations. At the time, Chile’s leaders had expected 4% of the population to sign up, but got 25% right off the bat.

I am somewhat convinced that the problem in America is not economic ignorance–it is people who are wrongly informed on the subject of economics.

So what were the results:

A Wharton professor, Olivia Mitchell, recently went down to Chile to sort the complaints out, and found that there was nothing to complain about — the system worked exactly as advertised, creating wealth and providing a dignified retirement for millions of people well beyond what the state could accomplish and, in fact, a much better one than Americans get with Social Security.

We need a leader with the courage to copy what has already proven successful rather than continue with the current ponzi scheme that we call Social Security.

 

Where Does Your Tax Money Go

Investor’s Business Daily posted an article showing some of the details of President Obama’s proposed budget.

The article includes the following chart:

This chart illustrates the fact that 70% of all the money the federal government spends will be in the form of direct payments to individuals.

The article reports:

In effect, the government has become primarily a massive money-transfer machine, taking $2.6 trillion from some and handing it back out to others. These government transfers now account for 15% of GDP, another all-time high. In 1991, direct payments accounted for less than half the budget and 10% of GDP.

…Where do these checks go? The biggest chunk, 38.6%, goes to pay health bills, either through Medicare, Medicaid or ObamaCare. A third goes out in the form of Social Security checks. Only 21% goes toward poverty programs — or “income security” as it’s labeled in the budget — and a mere 5% ends up in the hands of veterans.

The fact that so much of the federal spending is going toward direct payments makes it very difficult to cut the budget. Rather than cut these payments, the government is forced to cut programs it is actually constitutionally required to fund, such as defense.

The bottom line here is simple. We need to elect fiscal conservatives to Congress. We have reached the point where Democrats and establishment Republicans are no longer fighting over cutting spending–they are simply fighting over who will control the out-of-control spending. It is time for a change. It is also time to understand that Democrats and establishment Republicans will be working against that change.

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Silencing The Opposition Before 2014

I have written a number of articles about the IRS and the Justice Department targeting of conservative groups and their donors. It seems to be a way of life under the Obama Administration. (Use the search engine at the top of the page if you are curious to see who has been targeted and when.)  Evidently Governor Cuomo has decided to follow the example being set by the White House.

NewsMax is reporting today that James O’Keefe, founder of Project Veritas, a group based in New York has been served a subpoena by the Board of Labor asking for every single financial transaction over the last three years.

Mr. O’Keefe is considering relocating to New Jersey because of the harassment he has experienced in New York.

The article concludes:

O’Keefe said among the documents the New York State Department of Labor is demanding to see by next week are general ledgers, journals, caches, pay roll records, checks, stubs, and copies of Social Security returns.

“Like I said, I’m happy to comply with all this stuff, it’s not my first audit, I’ve been audited nonstop for the last three years but it gives us pause. We’ve got to take a step back and look at what’s happening to our country right now,” O’Keefe said.

“I’m a journalist, OK, and I’ve decided to maintain a small nonprofit. When you look at the corruption in the state of New York, when it comes to the pension funds have been robbed and the state university system, all the stuff that’s going on, I wasn’t going to look into these things but now I think I am.

“The American people need to know that they think this is just standard procedure, [but] it’s politically motivated and it’s got to stop.”

James O’Keefe has done a good job of uncovering corruption in our government from ACORN to voter fraud. Any state government that was interested in honest, transparent government should be glad to have his organization in the state. If he is being harassed and driven out of the state, there is probably something in the state that those leading the state do not want exposed. New York needs more of James O’Keefe and less of Andrew Cuomo.

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America Needs To Learn The Lesson Britain Just Learned

Yesterday the U.K. Daily Mail posted an article about what is happening to the British workforce–it is growing and unemployment is going down!

The article reports:

A record 3,100 people every day are finding work as Britain’s jobless total falls at the fastest rate in 17 years.

The number of unemployed tumbled to 2.32million – falling by 167,000 between September and November, the biggest drop since 1997.

Yesterday the Office for National Statistics said the unemployment rate is now at 7.1 per cent after falling faster than any economist or the Bank (Bank of England) predicted.

…In an unusually political statement, the Bank also said the Coalition’s benefits clampdown may have pushed more people into looking for work, rather than continuing to rely on State handouts. It said: ‘A tightening in the eligibility requirements for some State benefits might also have led to an intensification of job search.’ 

Meanwhile, Congress in America is debating extending unemployment benefits.

Statistics have shown that people collecting unemployment insurance tend to intensify their search for work as their unemployment benefits begin to run out. Extending unemployment or increasing welfare benefits does not encourage people to join the work force–it destroys motivation. In most cases, it is simply more fun not to have to get up and go to work every morning. When the government subsidizes not working, more people don’t work. I am not saying that we should end unemployment or welfare, but we should put enough restrictions on both to prevent generations of America who have not grasped the concept of working for a living. America needs to follow the example of Great Britain.

 

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What Spending Cuts?

John Hinderaker posted an article at Power Line about the omnibus spending bill recently passed.

The article states:

…Which illustrates, for the umpteenth time, a point I have made over and over: budget/spending deals that purport to dictate spending many years into the future are a joke. No Congress can bind a future Congress. When a Congressman tells you that a purported ten-year deal cuts spending in the “out years,” grab your wallet and run. The out years never come.

***Because the defense cap was lower in 2014 under the original Budget Control Act, defense spending does not meaningfully increase from 2013 enacted levels. Nondefense spending, however, receives an increase that is 10 times larger than defense. The 5 percent rate of growth of nondefense spending is almost three times the projected 1.7 percent rate of inflation (see table below).

Spending Chart 02

As you can see, the budget does not decrease–it increases! Then why is the only actual cut the decrease in the cost of living adjustment (COLA) to military retirement?

The article concludes:

The other point that emerges from these spending numbers is that discretionary spending is relentlessly being squeezed out by entitlements. The real constraint on the growth of both defense and non-defense discretionary spending is the explosion in entitlements–Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and now Obamacare. With the Democrats vowing to fight to the last ditch to resist any sort of entitlement reform, and with federal debt having risen to more than $17 trillion–another budget-crusher as soon as interest rates rise again–there is simply no money for the social spending boondoggles that the Democrats would dearly love to finance. I suppose we should count our blessings.

***This paragraph is taken from a Senate Budget Committee report.

 

 

 

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