AHCA was NOT Obamacare Repeal or Replacement by Congressman Louie Gohmert (R-TX)

The following was contained in an email from Congressman Louie Gohmert (R-TX District 1)to his constituents:

Republicans have been promising to repeal Obamacare for seven years now. Some of us have proposed bills that had good provisions that would repeal Obamacare. In fact, we voted on a bill that would have been more of a repeal than this one through the House and Senate last year and put it on then-President Obama’s desk for signature. He vetoed the bill. But let’s be clear: the bill last week was NOT a repeal. It was NOT a replacement. It was an Obamacare tweak giving additional power to the federal government in hopes that our Republican Health and Human Services Secretary could make good changes.

Most east Texans are not in favor of giving the federal government MORE power to solve the problem of the federal government having too much power over our health care. If a true history of the rise and demise of the greatest, freest country in history is written, a chapter will detail how decade after decade, good ol’ go along folks kept providing more and more authority to the federal government rather than reining it in. But we still have a window to stem the tide and get back on track.

In closed meetings we were assured, if we will just give my friend Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price this extra power, he can weaken Obamacare substantially, though he could not repeal it administratively. However, no one could give an adequate answer regarding all that additional power in the hands of the next liberal Democrat who will one day take the reins at that behemoth department. The answer is obvious: the next liberal Secretary of HHS would bring back Obamacare with gusto, never to be repealed until it does its job—to hand over full control of your health care decisions to the government, paid for by crushing tax burdens.

There were a myriad of reasons to vote against Speaker Ryan’s rejected bill. It would hit people between the ages of 50-64 with additional costs for premiums and deductibles—in addition to what Obamacare does now. In addition to the original $716 Billion that Obamacare cut from Medicare, this bill was going to hit our seniors yet again.

Most troublesome to me was that in our own Republican meetings we heard from experts who believed that this bill would not bring premiums, deductibles or co-pays down at all and they would most likely be increasing for the next two years, though there was hope costs MIGHT come down 10% three years from now.

From what I hear from my constituents in east Texas, they are really overwhelmed with health insurance and healthcare costs. They need help, and they cannot afford to wait three years. They need help now.

Some of us were exceeding concerned about a new “tax credit” entitlement scheme that did not require proof of citizenship, not even legality, before the U.S. Treasury sends a check.  This entitlement was another transfer of wealth from those who work hard and pay taxes to those not legally present in this country.

The bill also assured that nearly 1% of your hard-earned money would be paid for a Medicare tax to be sucked out of your paycheck that already has a tax of 2.9%, half paid by you and half by your employer.

To help east Texans with the higher premiums this bill would bring, my Freedom Caucus friends and I twice agreed to vote FOR the bad bill, if the Speaker would take out a few of the requirements that were going to increase premiums. We were convinced by knowledgeable analysts that removing these provisions would drive premiums down.

Please understand, we agreed to let the “pre-existing condition” provision in Obamacare remain, though some falsely reported that we refused. We agreed to let children stay on their parents’ plans up to age 26, though I would agree to a higher age or no age limit if you are still living with your parents.

There were numerous other provisions that caused some heartburn, such as giving authority to HHA to create, for the first time ever, FEDERAL high risk insurance pools at the cost of billions of new dollars. We were told not to be alarmed, and that the hope was to eventually devolve that responsibility back to the states. As President Reagan warned, however, the closest thing to eternal life in this world is a new federal program.

Even though I was called an uncompromising “purist,” I was willing to compromise significantly if we could just get the premium costs down for my constituents.

People should also be aware that if the vote had been taken, there would have been as many moderate Republicans voting “No,” which some believe is why the vote was pulled in the first place. Republican leaders would not have been able to lay blame unfairly on conservatives when it was clear within our conference that at least as many moderates were concerned about the bill as conservatives.

The House Freedom Caucus reached an agreement to vote for the bill twice with President Trump, only to have Reince Priebus or Speaker Ryan notify us that such a compromise could not be put in the bill because, they told us, it would risk violating the budget reconciliation rules in the Senate and kill the bill.

Repeatedly we were told by our Republican leadership that the Senate Parliamentarian could not tell us in advance how she would “rule” on whether we could include our requested language in the bill without killing the bill. Late last week, we learned that the reason they could not find out was because they simply had not asked her, as Senator Mike Lee reported.

Yet the whole truth of the matter is that the Parliamentarian never “rules” on anything. She or he may only whisper a recommendation into the ear of the Senate President, either Vice-President Mike Pence or a designee of the Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell who sits in the chair with the gavel on the Senate floor. It is the President of the Senate who “rules” on admissibility, not the Parliamentarian. And if 51 Republican Senators support the ruling of the presiding officer, his or her ruling stands untouchable.

This letter offers just a glimpse of the many reasons that the last two weeks played out as they did. It is very disappointing that despite the several compromises that were offered by conservative members, we still were not near fulfillment of our promise to truly and completely repeal Obamacare. That is a promise I did not make lightly, and I will continue the fight to honor my pledge to my constituents and the American people by working aggressively to make sure we get a good bill, get it passed, and signed into law.

Faithfully Yours,

Congressman Louie Gohmert
First District of Texas

RELATED VIDEOS: Gohmert: ‘I Can’t Support a Bill That Does More Damage Than Good’

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Three-Pronged Approach to Repeal and Replace Obamacare | whitehouse.gov

Promising Advice on Car Injury Claims

When a person makes a car injury claim, two things come up to mind: settle or go to court?

Many people do not know that settling can be the more viable option. Settling is even a good choice even if the possibility of going to court has yet to surface.

Settling can be a good option, but what if the insurance company ignores you? Or the terms presented to you might be considered too small? How about when you strongly feel that you are a victim of injustice? Going to court might be the wisest option you can have.

In this article, we weigh in the advantages of both Settling and Going to court.

Settlement

As mentioned above, settlement can be the most viable option there is. If you find that the company that you are suing presents you with fair and appropriate solutions, settling may not be such a bad idea.

Here are some advantages of settling:

You can get compensation much faster

You’ll be able to get a quicker settlement because the terms between you and the company you are suing, are usually settled off the court. Therefore you can avoid those long hearing schedules which could delay you much more in the long run.

Avoiding Expensive Attorney’s fees

Depending on your agreement with your attorney, you might have to incur expensive costs. These charges are sometimes too expensive to the point that the whole settlement and compensation you make out of this lawsuit can be just for the payment fees.

Make it a point to your lawyer to talk about his fees and always consider some lawyers who do pro bono services that may greatly be beneficial for you.

Cost Efficient

Hearing schedules are what you need to endure should you decide to go to court. When you do go to court, hearings are not given automatically, instead they are scheduled. The wait for your time in court may reach a few weeks, months and even worse, some cases even take years.

Avoiding an Unpredictable Decision From the Jury

Panel members significantly affect the outcome of your trial. If you don’t understand how a jury makes its decisions, then settle to avoid any unpredictability when it comes to your trial.

Even if the trial or hearing has started, you can reach the company you are suing to agree on settling. It is always safe to say to try and talk at any point in the case to come to an agreement.

The central question that we should ask ourselves is, how much risk is there in losing the trial? If you are confident and feel good about the outcome of the case, ask for guidance from a good lawyer and proceed to court.

Going to Court

Proceeding to a hearing should be the last thing you consider. If all conditions do point towards it, then you must be prepared with the work that comes with it.

Here are some advantages of going to court:

Receiving full compensation

If a settlement is out of the question or if you feel that the compensation is unfair, then going to court can help you in claiming what is rightly yours. A court decision can legally enforce your rights for you, making the company liable for paying for the damages wrongfully done to you.

Gratification

Sometimes, companies can also refuse a re-negotiation. Compelling the defendant through the court’s powers can reverse that. If you do win in a court, gratification can sometimes be even a much greater thing than the compensation itself.

People at times feel that they have been wronged too much and be victims of injustice that they feel the whole process of going to court is the only way to alleviate their feelings. Compensation, as they say, can be the “icing on top.”

Takeaway

Settlement and going to court is a coin toss. Either you win the case, or you lose it. To avoid this situation, you have to carefully weigh your arguments and claims to make sure that no facts can disprove it. Knowing the advantages and the risks that come with it is hugely beneficial because it can make or break you when the time finally comes.

In California, Florida and Illinois 50% of all babies are born on Medicaid

Terence P. Jeffrey in his March 24th, 2017 column In 24 States, 50% or More of Babies Born on Medicaid; New Mexico Leads Nation With 72% writes:

In 24 of the nation’s 50 states at least half of the babies born during the latest year on record had their births paid for by Medicaid, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.

New Mexico led all states with 72 percent of the babies born there in 2015 having their births covered by Medicaid.

[ … ]

In California, Florida and Illinois, for example, 50 percent of all babies were born on Medicaid in the latest year on record.

Read more…

According to the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) report Implementing Coverage and Payment Initiatives: Results from a 50-State Medicaid Budget Survey for State Fiscal Years 2016 and 2017:

Medicaid has become one of the nation’s most important health care programs, now providing health insurance coverage to more than one in five Americans, and accounting for over one-sixth of all U.S. health care expenditures. [Emphasis added]

The KFF report concludes that, “Medicaid programs now play a significant leadership role in the health care systems in every state.”

Kaiser Family Foundation published a map showing the percentage of babies by state who are born on Medicaid:

babies born medicaid by state

You may view a chart with the details of each states births paid for by Medicaid by clicking here.

american_health_care_actMedicaid reform is much needed and will be part of the next version of the House of Representatives American Health Care Act (AHCA). The AHCA website lists 8 Need-To-Know Facts About the AHCA, one of which addresses Medicaid:

6. Modernizes and strengthens Medicaid by transitioning to a “per capita allotment” so states can better serve the patients most in need.

KFF gave this analysis of “per capita allotment” contained in a previous House Republican Healthcare Plan:

The House Republican Plan (“A Better Way”) released on June 22, 2016, includes a proposal to convert federal Medicaid financing from an open-ended entitlement to a per capita allotment or a block grant (based on a state choice).

This proposal is part of a larger package designed to replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and reduce federal spending for health care.  Often tied to deficit reduction, proposals to convert Medicaid’s financing structure to a per capita cap or block grant have been proposed before.

Such changes represent a fundamental change in the financing structure of the program with major implications for beneficiaries, providers, states and localities.

Read more…

There was a time in America when babies were paid for by their families. Perhaps it is time for government to get out of the baby funding business and let families take control?

Trump’s Budget Defunds Leftist Bastions NEA, NEH, NPR

These are all propaganda arms for the far-left. They don’t deserve a penny of taxpayer money. Why should American citizens have to pay for globalist, anti-American, socialist propaganda? This budget is urgently needed.

“Trump’s Budget Would Finally Fire Big Bird, Defund NPR,” by Thomas Phippen, Daily Caller, March 16, 2017:

The new White House budget proposal, a wish list of President Donald Trump’s policies, would cut funding to several arts and grants programs that Republicans have decried for decades.

Trump’s 2018 budget, called “America First: A Budget Blueprint to Make America Great Again,” requests increases in defense spending and reduction of domestic programs.

Specifically, the budget “proposes to eliminate funding for other independent agencies,” including the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which sends some amount of funding to PBS and National Public Radio.

Though Big Bird only re-airs on PBS (“Sesame Street” is now on HBO), eliminating funding to things like the NEA Corporation for Public Broadcasting is not a new idea. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney suggested cutting the CPB during the 2012 presidential campaign, and was quickly criticized. Former President Barack Obama even accused Romney of trying to kill Big Bird in a campaign ad.

Congress has the final say over all discretionary budgets, so Trump faces a tough fight to get rid of agencies like the NEA and the NEH, even though many Republicans don’t believe the federal government needs to fund arts projects, especially those seen as subversive or frivolous.

Former President Ronald Reagan tried to eliminate the NEA in his first year in office, but ultimately failed when a council of his his friends convinced him government funding of the arts was important and beneficial….

RELATED ARTICLE: Trump’s ‘Skinny’ Budget Paves Way for a Leaner Government

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in The Geller Report.

Citizens can actually read the ‘American Health Care Act’ bill Online! Refreshing

Remember this:

Speaker Paul Ryan in an email to all Americans wrote:

I want you to be the first to know: we just introduced our bill to repeal and replace Obamacare. It is called the American Health Care Act, and it is a plan to drive down costs, encourage competition, and give every American access to quality, affordable health insurance. It protects young adults, patients with pre-existing conditions, and provides a stable transition so that no one has the rug pulled out from under them.

Unlike the Democrats, we are not going to pass legislation to find out what is in it. The American Health Care Act will proceed through a transparent process of regular order in full view of the public.

Visit www.ReadTheBill.gop to download and read the bill.

How refreshing.

Michael A. Needham, Chief Executive Officer Heritage Action for America, in an email writes:

For seven years, Republican lawmakers have campaigned on the promise of full repeal. The American people elected a Republican House, Senate, and White House to ensure this promise was kept. For most people in the individual market, there would be no significant difference between the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) and the new American Health Care Act proposed by Republicans.

This is bad politics and, more importantly, bad policy.

If Republicans move forward with this bill, they will be accepting the flawed premises of Obamacare. Instead, they should fully repeal the failed law and begin a genuine effort to follow through on their seven year promises to create a free market health care system.

Let the negotiations on the proposed American Health Care Act begin.

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The Ex-Im Bank Is the Heart of the Swamp by Daniel J. Mitchell

I’ve written many times that Washington is both a corrupt city and a corrupting city. My point is that decent people go into government and all too often wind up losing their ethical values as they learn to “play the game.”

I often joke that these are people who start out thinking Washington is a cesspool but eventually decide it’s a hot tub.

During the presidential campaign, Trump said he wanted to “drain the swamp,” which is similar to my cesspool example. My concern is that El Presidente may not understand (or perhaps not even care) that shrinking the size and scope of government is the only effective way to reduce Washington corruption.

In any event, we’re soon going to get a very strong sign about whether Trump was serious. With Republicans on Capitol Hill divided on how to deal with this cronyist institution, Trump basically has the tie-breaking vote on the issue.

In other words, he has the power to shut down this geyser of corporate welfare. But will he?

According the Susan Ferrechio of the Washington Examiner, Trump may choose to wallow in the swamp rather than drain it.

President Trump now may be in favor of the Export-Import Bank, according to Republican lawmakers who met with him privately Thursday, even though Trump once condemned the bank as corporate welfare.

Veronique de Rugy of the Mercatus Center is one on the Ex-Im Bank’s most tenacious opponents, and she’s very worried.

…if the reports are true that Trump has decided to support the restoration of the crony Export-Import Bank’s full lending authority, it would be akin to the president deciding to instead happily bathe in the swamp and gargle the muck. …If true, the news is only “great” for Boeing, GE, and the other major recipients of Ex-Im’s corporate welfare. It is also at odds with his campaign promises since much of the way the program works is that it gives cheap loans — backed by Americans all over the country — to foreign companies in China, Russia, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE. Restoring Ex-Im’s full lending-authority powers is renewing the policy to give cheap loans backed by workers in the Rust Belt to companies like Ryanair ($4 billion in guarantee loans over ten years) and Emirates Airlines ($3.9 billion over ten years) so they can have a large competitive advantage over U.S. domestic airlines like Delta and United. It continued to subsidize the large and prosperous state-owned Mexican oil company PEMEX ($9.7 billion over ten years). Seriously? That’s president Trump’s vision of draining the swamp?

Ugh. It will be very disappointing if Trump chooses corporate welfare over taxpayers.

What presumably matters most, though, is whether a bad decision on the Ex-Im Bank is a deviation or a harbinger of four years of cronyism.

In other words, when the dust settles, will the net effect of Trump’s policies be a bigger swamp or smaller swamp?

The New York Times opined that Trump is basically replacing one set of insiders with another set of insiders, which implies a bigger swamp.

Mr. Trump may be out to challenge one establishment — the liberal elite — but he is installing one of his own, filled with tycoons, Wall Street heavyweights, cronies and a new rank of shadowy wealthy “advisers” unaccountable to anyone but him. …Take first the Goldman Sachs crowd. The Trump campaign lambasted global financiers, led by Goldman, as having “robbed our working class,” but here come two of the alleged miscreants: Gary Cohn, Goldman’s president, named to lead the National Economic Council, and Steven Mnuchin, named as Treasury secretary. …Standing in the rain during Mr. Trump’s inaugural speech, farmers and factory workers, truckers, nurses and housekeepers greeted his anti-establishment words by cheering “Drain the Swamp!” even as the new president was standing knee-deep in a swamp of his own.

I’m skeptical of Trump, and I’m waiting to see whether Gary Cohn and Steven Mnuchin will be friends for taxpayers, so I’m far from a cheerleader for the current administration.

But I also think the New York Times is jumping the gun.

Maybe Trump will be a swamp-wallowing cronyist, but we don’t yet have enough evidence (though a bad decision on Ex-Im certainly would be a very bad omen).

Here’s another potential indicator of what may happen to the swamp under Trump’s reign.

Bloomberg reports that two former Trump campaign officials, Corey Lewandowski and Barry Bennett have cashed in by setting up a lobbying firm to take advantage of their connections.

The arrival of a new president typically means a gold rush for Washington lobbyists as companies, foreign governments, and interest groups scramble for access and influence in the administration. Trump’s arrival promises to be different—at least according to Trump. Throughout the campaign, he lambasted the capital as a den of insider corruption and repeatedly vowed to “drain the swamp,” a phrase second only in the Trump lexicon to “make America great again.” …Trump’s well-advertised disdain for lobbying might seem to augur poorly for a firm seeking to peddle influence. …“Business,” Lewandowski says, “has been very, very good.”

This rubs me the wrong way. I don’t want lobbyists to get rich.

But, to be fair, not all lobbying is bad. Many industries hire “representation” because they want to protect themselves from taxes and regulation. And they have a constitutional right to “petition” the government and contribute money, so I definitely don’t want to criminalize lobbying.

But as I’ve said over and over again, I’d like a much smaller government so that interest groups don’t have an incentive to do either the right kind of lobbying (self-protection) or the wrong kind of lobbying (seeking to obtain unearned wealth via the coercive power of government).

Here’s one final story about the oleaginous nature of Washington.

Wells Fargo is giving a big payout to Elaine Chao, the new Secretary of Transportation.

Chao, who joined Wells Fargo as a board member in 2011, has collected deferred stock options —  a compensation perk generally designed as a long-term retention strategy — that she would not be able to cash out if she left the firm to work for a competitor. Her financial disclosure notes that she will receive a “cash payout for my deferred stock compensation” upon confirmation as Secretary of Transportation. The document discloses that the payments will continue throughout her time in government, if she is confirmed. The payouts will begin in July 2017 and continue yearly through 2021. But Wells Fargo, like several banks and defense contractors, provides a special clause in its standard executive employment contract that offers flexibility for awarding compensation if executives leave the bank to enter “government service.” Such clauses, critics say, are structured to incentivize the so-called “reverse revolving door” of private sector officials burrowing into government. …Golden parachutes for executives leaving firms to enter government dogged several Obama administration officials. Jack Lew, upon leaving Citigroup to join the Obama administration in 2009, was given a cash payout as part of his incentive and retention awards that wouldn’t have been paid if he had left the firm to join a competitor or under ordinary circumstances. But Lew’s Citigroup contract stipulated that there was an exception for leaving to work in a “full time high level position with the U.S. government or regulatory body.” Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, and Northrop Grumman are among the other firms that have offered special financial rewards to executives who leave to enter government.

This rubs me the wrong way, just as it rubbed me the wrong way when one of Obama’s cabinet appointees got a similar payout.

But the more I think about it, the real question isn’t whether government officials get to keep stock options and other forms of deferred compensation when they jump to government.

What bothers me much more is why companies feel that it’s in their interest to hire people closely connected to government. What value did Jacob Lew bring to Citigroup? What value did Chao bring to Wells Fargo?

I suspect that the answer has a lot to do with financial institutions wanting people who can can pick up the phone and extract favors and information from senior officials in government.

For what it’s worth, I’m not a fan of Lew because he pushed for statism while at Treasury. By contrast, I am a fan of Chao because she was one of the few bright spots during the generally statist Bush years.

But I don’t want a system where private companies feel like they should hire either one of them simply because they have connections in Washington.

I hope that Trump will change this perverse set of incentives by “draining the swamp.” But unless he reduces the size and scope of government, the problem will get worse rather than better.

Republished from International Liberty.

Daniel J. Mitchell

Daniel J. Mitchell

Daniel J. Mitchell is a senior fellow at the Cato Institute who specializes in fiscal policy, particularly tax reform, international tax competition, and the economic burden of government spending. He also serves on the editorial board of the Cayman Financial Review.

Iran built on stolen property — Trump should take it back

President-elect Donald Trump was right during the campaign to call the Iran nuclear agreement “the worst deal ever negotiated” by the United States government.

Not only did it reward a terrorist state with $100 billion of frozen oil revenues (some say, $150 billion), it dismantled an extensive armature of international sanctions that had cut Iran’s oil exports in half, banned it from the international financial system, and was beginning to threaten the regime with domestic unrest.

Obama tried to set this bad nuclear deal in concrete by incorporating most of its measures into a United Nations Security Council Resolution.

This will make its undoing more complicated than some analysts imagine. It’s not just a piece of paper President Trump can rip up, as a group of American nuclear scientistsimply. The international sanctions regime Obama destroyed took years to build and cannot be reconstructed in a day.

But the incoming president and Congress have other options for ratcheting up pressure on the Iranian regime, options that can be enacted unilaterally.

A group of conservative leaders released a letter to House Foreign Affairs Committee chairman Ed Royce (R-Calif.) on Thursday, commending him for a resolution he introduced in the final days of the last Congress on the restitution of or compensation for property wrongly confiscated by the Islamic Republic of Iran.

“Totalitarian regimes historically have confiscated property from individuals whose sole ‘crime’ consisted of supporting the previous government,” the letter states.

“When the Islamic regime seized power in 1979, it followed in the footsteps of these earlier totalitarians.”

The letter, and spearheaded by the Foundation for Democracy in Iran, which I chair, recalled Congressional action against previous cases of unjust expropriation, most notably the Helms-Burton Act — also known as the Cuban Liberty and Democratic Solidarity Act of 1996 — which penalized foreign companies trafficking in property stolen from Cuban nationals.

“Pro-Castro advocates screamed that Helms-Burton would cause irrevocable harm to the United States with friends and allies around the world. Nothing of the sort occurred,” the letter states.

“We believe the time has come to envisage a similar measure for the victims of the Islamic Republic of Iran, many of whom have become United States citizens, whose properties were unjustly expropriated.”

Signatories to the letter include Colin A. Hanna, President of Let Freedom Ring; Admiral James “Ace” Lyons, Jr, former Pacific Fleet commander; Frank Gaffney, President and CEO of the Center for Security Policy; Judson Phillips, founder of Tea Party Nation; Amy Ridenour, Chairman of the National Center for Public Policy Research; Ellen Sauerbrey, former Assistant Secretary of State for Population, Refugees, and Migration; and myself.

The letter also won support and was signed by Iranian-American human rights advocates and journalists and by leaders of the American Middle East Coalition for Trump.

On July 7, 1979, the new Islamic state in Iran issued a decree seizing the assets of 51 supporters of the previous regime and their families. A few weeks later, a revolutionary Court issued a separate order confiscating the assets of another 209 individuals and their families.

According to court documents the claimants provided to me, the properties seized included major factories and industrial conglomerates, hotels, private residences, real estate, land, stock, and other holdings, which today are worth more than $100 billion.

In all, thousands of Iranians were directly robbed by the Islamic regime, and millions more were terrorized with the threat of confiscations.

Many of these individuals subsequently fled to America and became U.S. citizens. But few were American citizens at the time of the revolution, and thus have been unable to seek restitution through the Iran-U.S. Claims Tribunal in The Hague, or through U.S. courts.

Their assets were turned over to para-state foundations, known as “bonyads,” which are owned or controlled by the Supreme Leader or the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC). Despite the extensive sanctions relief included in the bad Iran deal, the IRGC continues to be subject to United States government sanctions because it kills Americans in state-sponsored terror attacks around the world.

Ordinary Iranians understand that the ruling clerics have plundered their country. How else could a village cleric such as “Supreme Leader” Ali Khamenei personally own a commercial empire the U.S. Treasury has estimated to be worth more than $40 billion? A separate 2013 Reuters investigation found that the property confiscations on behalf of Iran’s clerical leadership were about $95 billion.

A Congressionally-enacted Iran Assets Recovery Plan would be a powerful weapon the ruling clerics in Iran could not ignore.

Not only would it bring justice to some of the many victims of the Islamic state in Iran, it would put the Iranian regime’s foreign partners on notice.

Traffic in stolen property at your peril. A regime founded on theft will end up bankrupt, in jail, or dead.

What’s Truly Remarkable about Bitcoin: It Exists by Jeffrey Tucker

It was the second week of February 2013 when I first ventured a public opinion that Bitcoin is the real deal. The dollar exchange rate was at $25, on its way toward another run-up and crash that had been the pattern for two years.

I had just returned from a conference where some Bitcoiners surrounded me and force-fed me the information I needed to know. It would take another two months before I wrapped my brain around it enough to be able to write an article. But in these early days, it was enough publicly to dispense with incredulity to cause the ceiling to fall in.

To this day, I’ve never faced such a barrage of criticism. Derision, ridicule, outrage, disgust – I saw it on my feed, all of it very personal and hugely inflammatory. It was my first experience with what it is like to feel like that whole world is against you (an illusion social media specializes in creating).

And yet I completely understood why. I had been reviewing submissions on Bitcoin since 2009, and I had not been a believer either.

Money for Nothing?

How can you create money out of computer code? That struck me as absurd, a techno version of alchemy. Money had to grow out of commodities used in barter – this is what Carl Menger had proven. If Bitcoin had a value, it had to be an error, a result of clever marketing, like any Ponzi scheme. Like many observers at the time (and there weren’t that many), I had no idea about the underlying payment system (the Blockchain) or the complex history of fits and starts that led to its creation in 2008. I had read the original “white paper” but could hardly understand the language.

So, yes, I dismissed it.

Bitcoin Didn’t Care About My Theory

Groucho Marx once said: “Who you gonna believe, me or your own eyes?”

After having acquired Bitcoin and used it, I had to deal with something that became profoundly important in my own intellectual life. I had to recognize the reality of something my mind could not explain. I had been writing about money, its history and theory, since college. I thought I knew it all. Now this thing came along that blew up all my understanding. Who was I going to believe, myself or my own eyes?

I finally decided in favor of my eyes. The market had outwitted my expertise. This was a very humbling experience for me, and it taught me a lesson I hope never to forget. Never become so wrapped up in the certainty of your own opinions that you fail to look out the window and walk the streets to discover something that challenges what you think you know. It’s a Hayekian point but one that intellectuals are prone to ignore.

First Public Writing

As Bitcoin reaches the age of 7 and is again floating around an exchange rate of 1BTC to $1,000, I decided to look back at my first public writing on the topic (April 1, 2013), just to re-experience the lesson. And by the way, all credit to Max Borders (then the editor of FEE) and Lawrence Read (president of FEE) for daring to publish this piece, which defied all conventional wisdom. They were willing to take the risk on this piece, which was probably the first major article in the established free-market opinion world to say: this is real and it matters.

As I look back, I put the most important point up front:

Understanding Bitcoin requires that we understand the limits of our ability to imagine the future that the market can create for us.

Thirty years ago, for example, if someone had said that electronic text—digits flying through the air and landing in personalized inboxes owned by us all that we check at will at any time of the day or night—would eventually displace first-class mail, you might have said it was impossible.

After all, not even the Jetsons had email. Elroy brought notes home from his teacher on pieces of paper. Still, email has largely displaced first-class mail, just as texting, social networking, private messaging, and even digital vmail via voice-over-Internet are replacing the traditional telephone.

It turns out that the future is really hard to imagine, especially when entrepreneurs specialize in surprising us with innovations. The markets are always outsmarting even the most wild-eyed dreamers, and they are certainly smarter than the intellectual who keeps saying: such and such cannot happen.

It’s the same today. What if I suggested that digital money could eventually come to replace government paper money?

I then marched through the reasons for my conversion to the cause. The main one was the realization that Bitcoin reproduced a key feature of money that no previous attempt at digital money had achieved: scarcity. The algorithm assigned property rights to the units in question. At that point, this was enough for me to see that it could become money. It would take another year before I discerned its intellectual origins, and another half-year before I could intelligently explain why Bitcoin gained value in the first place.

My first article concluded:

It’s possible that Bitcoin will flop. Maybe it is just the first generation. Maybe thousands of people will lose their shirts in this first go-round. But is the digitization of money coming? Absolutely. Will there always be skeptics out there? Absolutely. But in this case, they are not in charge. Markets will do what they do, building the future whether we approve or understand it fully or not. The future will not be stopped.

And Yet, the Price Doesn’t Matter

Like many observers, I became caught up in the exchange rate madness, thinking that a higher rate confirmed my embrace while a lower rate raised doubts. In my mind, I became a cheerleader for the Bitcoin boom and correctly predicted the first price break above $1,000 (December 2013) but failed to predict the bust that followed.

In retrospect, I should have stayed focussed on my main theme that started me off on this journey. The remarkable thing about Bitcoin is not its upward trajectory in valuation, the rate of its adoption, the pace which which it made its march to the mainstream. All that comes in time, and no one is in charge of the process or pace or direction of change. The main insight I had at the time is still the right one. What’s wonderful about Bitcoin is that it exists at all.

Money for the digital age, and without the state: the concept has been proven. That’s what matters. The technology is known. It works. It represents a path for reforming the world’s monetary and legal systems. It points to a bright future.

It is all the more wonderful to consider the glorious way in which Bitcoin has outsmarted the experts, including me. And this is precisely why I adore market forces so much. No one is in charge of them. No one can consistently outthink them. Markets keep us humble. They constantly remind us that even the most astute and prescient observer can be surprised, even shocked.

I like living in such a world, one where the future is not only unknown but unknowable. That will always be true, and this is also why no one will finally gain control of it.

That is the lesson that the astonishing experience with Bitcoin teaches us.

Jeffrey Tucker

Jeffrey Tucker

Jeffrey Tucker is Director of Content for the Foundation for Economic Education. He is also Chief Liberty Officer and founder of Liberty.me, Distinguished Honorary Member of Mises Brazil, research fellow at the Acton Institute, policy adviser of the Heartland Institute, founder of the CryptoCurrency Conference, member of the editorial board of the Molinari Review, an advisor to the blockchain application builder Factom, and author of five books. He has written 150 introductions to books and many thousands of articles appearing in the scholarly and popular press.

Problem Solvers Caucus: Create 250,000 jobs, balance the budget, secure American energy

WASHINGTON, D.C. /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — No Labels on Monday hosted its much-anticipated 1787 bipartisan leaders meeting focused on constructing the peace after a historically divisive election. Featuring panel discussions and private meetings, the event notably included a closed door gathering of almost 50 members of Congress along with over 100 No Labels supporters discussing the shape and focus of an emerging Problem Solver Caucus on Capitol Hill.

With extreme elements in both the Democratic and Republican parties reluctant to cooperate with each other, members said the Problem Solvers Caucus aims to be a vehicle for bipartisan cooperation—particularly on the issues of tax reform and infrastructure investment—in early 2017.

“After such a divisive election, it has never been more important for leaders to actually lead; to resist the pull of partisanship and start focusing on what is best for the country,” said No Labels co-chair Joe Lieberman. “That’s exactly what the Problem Solvers Caucus did today, when they visited No Labels and discussed their plans to create a new stabilizing center of influence in our Congress.”

Many members of the Problem Solvers Caucus had previously signed a resolution (H.R. 207) calling for both parties to come together to make progress on the four goals in No Labels’ National Strategic Agenda:

  • Create 25 million jobs over the next 10 years
  • Secure Social Security and Medicare for the next 75 years
  • Balance the Budget by 2030
  • Make America energy secure by 2024.

These goals set a vision for where the country needs to go. With a new president and Congress about to take office, members of the Problem Solvers Caucus will aim to play a pivotal role in enacting policies that advance these four goals.

“The message from the 2016 election was clear: People have had it with business-as-usual politics. They want real solutions reflective of Americans whose voices are too often lost in the noise of special interest partisanship,” said No Labels co-chair Jon Huntsman. “Today, the members of the Pro blem Solvers Caucus made a bold statement and a welcome commitment to do the people’s business and to work with both parties to deliver the durable, lasting solutions America so badly needs. They are to be commended as this is what leadership looks like.”

The No Labels 1787 meeting came on the heels of a significant pledge from supporters of No Labels to fund a $50 million Super PAC in the 2018 election cycle with the explicit purpose of supporting problem solvers and defeating obstructionists in congressional primaries. This will be far and away the most ambitious campaign effort ever to protect the political center.

1787 also featured:

  • Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, interviewed by the Financial Times’ Gillian Tett, on the rise of populist movements around the world and the global imperative to reclaim the center.
  • Trump Economic Transition Team Leader Anthony Scaramucci on what to expect from a Trump administration in the first 100 days, including perspectives on tax and trade issues.
  • Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson, Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings and Oklahoma City Mayor and Head of U.S. Conference of Mayors Mick Cornett and former New Jersey Governor Christie Todd Whitmanon local and federal cooperation.
  • Senators Roy Blunt, Steve Daines and Joe Manchin along with Representatives Kurt Schrader, Ami Bera and Peter Welch and former Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson on where President-elect Trump will need to work most closely with Congress.
  • No Labels co-chairs Gov. Jon Huntsman and Sen. Joe Lieberman on the shape of the New Center in American politics

ABOUT NO LABELS

No Labels exists to bring America’s political leaders together to solve our nation’s toughest problems. We are a citizens’ movement forging a New Center in American politics that fights for an inclusive political process and supports policies that advance No Labels’ four core values of Opportunity, Security, Ingenuity and Accountability. No Labels has inspired the creation of an emerging Congressional Problem Solvers Caucus—featuring House Democrats and Republicans—committed to working constructively across the aisle to get things done.

Inaccuracy of Polls send Gold and Silver Soaring predicting a Trump Presidency

LOS ANGELES, Calif. /PRNewswire/ — On June 25th 2015 an opinion piece entitled “What’s the Matter with Polling?” by Cliff Zukin was published in the New York Times. In it, Mr. Zukin detailed how the rapid adoption of cell phones and rapidly diminishing numbers of survey respondents has hindered the ability of public opinion researchers to conduct accurate polling.

Millennials, who represent 56% of America’s eligible voters, are one of the largest demographics in the U.S. who are slipping through the cracks with most public opinion polls. Since 85% of Millennials own a cell phone instead of a landline, Millennials cost twice as much to reach since regulatory restrictions prohibit calling cell phones – not landlines – with an autodialer.

The generational shift from landlines to cell phones, combined with the Millennials’ waning desire to take surveys, is rendering opinion polls worldwide unreliable and making it ever more difficult to predict outcomes in politics and financial markets. Just last week, when every poll in Colombia had predicted the passing of a referendum vote for peace with the rebel guerrilla army, FARC, 50.22% of Colombians rejected the peace deal and sent the Colombian peso plunging.

413518logoHere at home, most recent polls predict that Secretary of State Clinton will win the election and that belief has been priced into the markets in much the same way that ‘Bremain’ was priced into markets prior to the ‘Brexit’ vote. Jack Hanney, a senior partner with the nation’s leading gold IRA dealer, Patriot Gold Group, states that the “Associated Press and Reuters polls got the Brexit referendum wrong and they’re going to get the U.S. presidential election wrong too.” His logic is supported by recent political polls that incorrectly forecasted elections in Turkey, Scotland, Canada and Greece.

Jim Rickard, author of the book “Currency Wars: The Making of the Next Global Crisis,” goes one step further than Hanney to say that “Trump will win, the Dow will drop over 1,000 points and gold will gain $100 overnight.” These sentiments are shared by many leading political and precious metal analysts who are hedging their bets as it’s widely believed that if Trump does pull a Brexit-style upset, gold and silver will move up as much as 20% within a week from today.

In a country whose government was founded 238 years ago to protect every citizen’s right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, who’d have predicted living in the constant state of fear created by terrorism, systemic corruption, rising inequality and economic recession? If nothing else, the sad state of affairs in America today demonstrates that any outcome is possible. And the polls are no different.

Take heed of the recent warnings from the Huffington Post and Wall Street Journal: “the world will look so different six months from now” that Americans should “prepare themselves for the recession [and] hide in gold.”

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Obamacare Failure in Florida

“Healthcare costs are rising on everyday Floridians. This year’s premium hike of nearly 20 percent is a wake-up call to Hillary Clinton’s plans to double down on the failed experiment known as Obamacare. We must elect a President who will finally repeal this failed federal takeover of healthcare and replace it with commonsense reforms that put patients in control of their healthcare and focuses on lowering costs. That candidate is Donald Trump.” — Senior Trump Adviser and Florida Chief Strategist Susie Wiles

Florida The Florida Office Of Insurance Regulation Approved Average Statewide Premium Hikes Of 19.1 Percent For 2017.”The Florida Office of Insurance Regulation announced today that premiums for Florida individual major medical plans in compliance with the federal Patient Protection & Affordable Care Act (PPACA) will increase an average of 19% beginning January 1, 2017. Per federal guidelines, a total of 15 health insurance companies submitted rate filings for the Office’s review in May. These rate filings consisted of individual major medical plans to be sold both on and off the Exchange. Following the Office’s rate filing review, the average approved rate changes on the Exchange range from a low of -6% to a high of 65%.” (Charles Gaba, “Florida: *Approved* 2017 Indy Market Rate Hikes: 19.1% (Vs 17.7% Requested),” ACASignups.net, 9/5/16)

These Premium Requests Are Higher Than Last Year’s Approved Average Of 10 Percent. “Fifteen health insurers want an average 17.7 percent increase in premiums for Affordable Care Act individual plans, Florida officials said Thursday — higher than last year’s approved average of less than 10 percent.” (“Florida Health Insurers Seek Average 17.7% Rate Hike,” Insurance News Net, 5/13/16) Blue Cross Blue Shield Of Florida, Inc. Was Approved For A 19 Percent Premium Hike For Individual Plans In 2017, After Requesting A 14.5 Percent Premium Hike.(Charles Gaba, “Florida: *Approved* 2017 Indy Market Rate Hikes: 19.1% (Vs 17.7% Requested),” ACASignups.net, 9/5/16)

Celtic Insurance Company Was Approved For A 20 Percent Premium Hike For Individual Plans In 2017, After Requesting A 4.3 Percent Premium Hike. (Charles Gaba, “Florida: *Approved* 2017 Indy Market Rate Hikes: 19.1% (Vs 17.7% Requested),”ACASignups.net, 9/5/16)

Florida Health Care Plan, Inc. Was Approved For A 15.4 Percent Premium Hike For Individual Plans In 2017, After Requesting A 12.3 Percent Premium Hike. (Charles Gaba, “Florida: *Approved* 2017 Indy Market Rate Hikes: 19.1% (Vs 17.7% Requested),”ACASignups.net, 9/5/16)

Health First Commercial Plans, Inc. Was Approved For A 11.7 Percent Premium Hike For Individual Plans In 2017, After Requesting A 8.4 Percent Premium Hike. (Charles Gaba, “Florida: *Approved* 2017 Indy Market Rate Hikes: 19.1% (Vs 17.7% Requested),”ACASignups.net, 9/5/16)

Health Options, Inc. Was Approved For A 18.9 Percent Premium Hike For Individual Plans In 2017, After Requesting A 13.8 Percent Premium Hike. (Charles Gaba, “Florida: *Approved* 2017 Indy Market Rate Hikes: 19.1% (Vs 17.7% Requested),”ACASignups.net, 9/5/16)

Humana Medical Plan, Inc. Was Approved For A 36.8 Percent Premium Hike For Individual Plans In 2017, After Requesting A 43.6 Percent Premium Hike. (Charles Gaba, “Florida: *Approved* 2017 Indy Market Rate Hikes: 19.1% (Vs 17.7% Requested),”ACASignups.net, 9/5/16)

Molina Healthcare Of Florida, Inc. Was Approved For A 17.4 Percent Premium Hike For Individual Plans In 2017, After Requesting A 10.6 Percent Premium Hike.(Charles Gaba, “Florida: *Approved* 2017 Indy Market Rate Hikes: 19.1% (Vs 17.7% Requested),” ACASignups.net, 9/5/16)

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Don’t become Distracted, this Election is All About Saving America

Don’t let media distractions cause you to miss your blessing – being an American citizen.

I recently had a conversation with a good friend about the presidential election. He repeated the often heard term of voting for the lesser of two evils. The idea is which is better, Hillary the known evil, or Trump an unknown. My take is that Americans must vote for America and the candidate who best can turn our nation around.

The media wants voters to focus on the unimportant rather than what is truly important, saving America from the elitist class that seeks power at the expense of ordinary citizens.

the-way-back-to-restoring-america-book-coverFrank Buckley, author of The Way Back: Restoring the Promise of America in a speech given at Hillsdale college on July 11,2016 titled “Restoring America’s Economic Mobility” said:

In the Communist Manifesto, Marx and Engels wrote that “the history of all hitherto existing societies is the history of class struggles.” Today the story of American politics is the story of class struggles. It wasn’t supposed to be that way. We didn’t think we were divided into different classes. Neither did Marx.

America was an exception to Marx’s theory of social progress. By that theory, societies were supposed to move from feudalism to capitalism to communism. But the America of the 1850s, the most capitalist society around, was not turning communist. Marx had an explanation for that. “True enough, the classes already exist,” he wrote of the United States, but they “are in constant flux and reflux, constantly changing their elements and yielding them up to one another.”

In other words, when you have economic and social mobility, you don’t go communist. [Emphasis added]

Stop economic and social mobility and you kill America.

Buckley warned, “That is the country in which some imagine we still live, Horatio Alger’s America—a country defined by the promise that whoever you are, you have the same chance as anyone else to rise, with pluck, industry, and talent. But they imagine wrong. The U.S. today lags behind many of its First World rivals in terms of mobility.”

In his column “Aborting the Trump Revolution” Patrick J. Buchanan notes:

Five weeks before Election Day, Trump’s taxes have displaced the former Miss Universe as the critical issue, as determined by the anti-Trump media.

Their motivation is not difficult to discern. Their goals are two. First, make Trump unacceptable as an agent of change. Second, keep the people distracted from their determination to rid America of the incompetent and corrupt ruling class that controls this capital city.

Consider but a few of the disasters that establishment does not want discussed or debated, or the American people thinking about, when they head for the polls in November.

There is the great betrayal of the American working class, the deindustrialization of the country, and the loss of economic independence it took America a century to achieve.

Buckley echoes Buchanan’s “great betrayal of the American working class”, stating:

A complacent Republican establishment denies this change has occurred. If they don’t get it, however, American voters do. For the first time, Americans don’t believe their children will be as well off as they have been. They see an economy that’s stalled, one in which jobs are moving offshore. In the first decade of this century, U.S. multinationals shed 2.9 million U.S. jobs while increasing employment overseas by 2.4 million. General Electric provides a striking example. Jeffrey Immelt became the company’s CEO in 2001, with a mission to advance stock price. He did this in part by reducing GE’s U.S. workforce by 34,000 jobs. During the same period, the company added 25,000 jobs overseas.

Buckley concludes, “Since 2012, establishment Republicans have continued to be less than concerned for the plight of ordinary Americans… There are even the ‘conservative’ pundits who offer the pious hope that drug-addicted Trump supporters will hurry up and die. That’s one way to ameliorate the class struggle, but it doesn’t exactly endear anyone to the establishment.”

Buckley drives home his point with, “[T]he principles held up as sacrosanct by establishment Republicans might be logically unassailable, derived like theorems from a set of axioms based on a pure theory of natural rights. But if I don’t see them making people better off, I say to Hell with them. What the establishment Republicans should ask themselves is Anton Chigurh’s question in No Country for Old Men: If you followed your principles, and your principles brought you to this, what good are your principles?”

To hell with them!

A review of Florida Constitutional Amendment 4 — Solar Devices by James Lampe

As you consider your vote remember this is a Constitutional Amendment, and once passed the chances of changing it are slim and none.  Before we change the Constitution, shouldn’t the Amendment be clearly beneficial to most Floridians?  Unfortunately, the vast majority of Floridians will be hurt if Amendment 4 is passed.  The Amendment will raise electric rates and ad valorem taxes.  Vote NO on this Amendment.

amendment 4 ballot language

Summary:  This Amendment will exempt solar devices installed on homes or businesses from ad valorem taxes, until 12-31-2037.

First of all, homeowners who install Solar-Electric systems already get a 30% federal tax break!

This financial assistance from the federal government, has been around for years.  Secondly, Florida state government has helped by exempting “solar energy systems or any component thereof” from sales tax.  And now we have this amendment, a third gilded gift to prop-up the failing solar industry.

Nonetheless, let’s see how many people this Amendment will help.  A review of the US Census Fact Finder data on the table below, shows that 30% (2,166,215) of all Floridians live in “Rental Occupied” units, and therefore, no-one in that group would invest in solar-electric systems.  As shown in the “Owner-occupied” category, that leaves 4,986,629 potential customers.

amendment 4 survey

In addition, even if you own a house you may not be able to afford to invest in a solar-electric system.  People who own lower valued housing units valued at $50,000-$150,000, are not likely to invest $30,000 (cost estimate to buy, install, and connect a solar-electric system to the electric grid) for solar system.  So of the 4,986,629 total housing units, we can subtract 1,593,957 for the lower valued houses.  That gives 3,392,697 as the remaining moderate to higher priced housing units that would be the target market for solar-electric systems.

However, there are about 1,000,000 condominiums in Florida, whose owners would also be prevented/impeded from modifying or otherwise changing their common roofs, so the total possible number of housing units for solar falls to 2,392,697, or ~34% of all housing units.

With only ~34% of housing units available for solar-electric systems, how can this Amendment be considered fair?  Worse yet, many snow-birds and residents have mobile homes that are included the housing units, but there is no itemized number for them.  So the 34%, would be even lower if mobile home units were subtracted from the total number of units.

florida solar amendment

In 2015, the Nevada PUC changed the rules for “net metering,” which allows homeowners to sell their excess solar generated electricity to their utility at retail rather than wholesale rates.  But because that arrangement was too costly, the PUC changed the rule.

The Nevada scenario seems like a no brainer, but apparently there was enough grant money to make up for the losses, until one day when the math didn’t work, and the people in Nevada realized that the more electric generated by solar, the less profits the utilities collect.  The utilities need profit to pay staff to restore power after storms, sustain street lighting, and maintain the electric grid, etc.  In addition, utilities work on economies of scale, and their efficiency is reduced when customers convert to solar, because it costs more to generate a KW of electricity.

This Amendment is an obvious attempt by state bureaucrats to boost the heavily subsidized, yet nearly bankrupt solar industry.  It’s not fair or prudent, to let the state pick winners and losers in a free market economy, and we should not let this cronyism go unnoticed.

Vote NO on Amendment 4.

Progressivism Kills Prosperity: Example — Cleveland, Ohio

Why knock a city down, when it is just getting off the map?  Throughout America, the progressives are feverishly at work trying to establish more and more draconian government policies that have already been proven throughout the world to bring nothing but disaster.  Venezuela quickly comes to mind on that score.

Throughout our republic turned mob rule democracy, the seeds of progressivism were sewn in earnest in 1913.  That year there was a pivotal meeting between world impacting government and corporate globalists who had a negative view of a nation of true personal responsibility based liberty, coupled with equal economic opportunity for all.  In addition, the concept of unalienable rights that come from God totally rankled them.

They also understood that government itself does not produce wealth.  But they were hankering to control economic outcomes.  Thus, the early 20th century globalists encouraged the formation of the Federal Reserve Monetary System.  It was designed to usurp U.S. congressional oversight of our nation’s money supply and economy.  As I understand it, congress had the authority to oppose the globalists efforts to rule over our economy.  Unfortunately, congress failed to stand up and alert the American people they represented of the impending doom of America’s economic independence.

As usual as with most endeavors, one thing leads to another.  But in the case of the Federal Reserve system that artificially stimulates and sometimes strangles our economy, there are numerous ways our economy is affected and sometimes infected.  One way of infecting our economy has been the practice of trying to force and guarantee economic outcomes. That is the opposite of allowing for an organic growth in economic opportunities based upon an incentivized economy that rewards work, innovation and invention.

In fact, the design and operation of today’s Federal Reserve fiat system will eventually implode our economy, if certain corrections are not soon made.  Among the needed changes would be changing course and backing the U.S. dollar with gold or silver to help it maintain real spending power.  Which brings me to the original reason for this column.

We are all familiar with the legions of silly clucks who are still demanding a $15 dollar per hour minimum wage for low skilled jobs like flipping burgers, wearing a thick costume to advertise a business, or washing dishes.  But the underlying major problem lies with the Federal Reserve continuing to print massive amounts of unbacked greenbacks.  That ridiculous practice is rapidly shriveling away the value of our money supply.  The American dollar probably has lost well over fifty percent of purchasing worth since the 1970s.

That is why I find the demand of $15 dollars per hour for no or low skilled workers totally futile.  Let’s take a look at the city of Cleveland. Like Detroit, for decades that city suffered from a massive shut down of the manufacturing base. Literally hundreds of thousands of manufacturing jobs were lost due to harmful international trade agreements, high taxes, overly zealous union demands and burdensome regulations.  Both Cleveland and Detroit were economically on the ropes.  Oftentimes, people throughout America and the world wondered if either city would ever recover economically.

Things in Cleveland were dismal and even worse in Detroit.  But in recent years, Cleveland refused to remain a dark, dank, rundown shadow of it’s former glory.  At the 2016 Republican in Cleveland I saw a beautiful city that does not physically reflect the economic struggles still present there.  Downtown Cleveland is a showplace of beautifully restored iconic older buildings and stunning new structures.  Playhouse Square, Cleveland’s answer to New York City’s theater district is a stunning showplace of gloriously refurbished theater palaces the are more beautiful than any Broadway theater I have ventured into.  Cleveland is home to many world class restaurants as well as museums that rival the best America and Europe have to offer.  The Cleveland museum of art is utterly stunning, as well as the University Circle neighborhood where it is located.

Cleveland is now one of the top restaurant cities in the world, feeding the growing throngs of both millennials ­moving in and tourists going there to enjoy the city. As a result, thousands of restaurant and hotel jobs have come about offering opportunities that were at one time unavailable for low skilled citizens seeking to enter into the workforce and gain experience.  That is a great compliment to the biotech companies and burgeoning health industry opportunities that attracting many college graduates into the city.  Outside of downtown and University Circle are Little Italy, Tremont, Ohio City, Asia Town, Gordon Square and others that are filled with numerous restaurants and other attractions of their own.

But now thanks but no thanks to progressive activists and other haters of real economic growth, Cleveland’s unfinished business of rebirth could come to a screeching halt. 

They are pushing for a $15 dollar per hour minimum wage.  If that comes to fruition, Cleveland’s restaurant industry and other smaller businesses throughout the city will either move out of the city, reduce their staffs, or shut down altogether.  Many who started as hosts, dishwashers and delivery personnel are now successful chefs, servers and owners.  But now that ladder of success may be tipped over if Cleveland’s many eateries are suddenly forced to deplete their economic viability by being saddled with a $15 dollar per hour wage mandate.

Already, both grocery store owners and restaurateurs have pledged a moratorium on planned expansions until the issue is settled.  I find it down right evil of those progressive agitators to knowingly place in jeopardy the livelihood of both business owners and employees who desire to work their way up in life.  The city of Seattle has suffered the loss of numerous businesses do to that city’s $15 dollar demand. To kick Cleveland just as she has emerged off the mat of economic despair is very suspect and not helpful to anyone but those seeking to politically dismantle our free market economy of equal opportunity.

Wake up Cleveland and America and free yourself from the economic death of progressivism, before it is too late.

EDITORS NOTE: Please join Ron every Friday at 5:00 PM EST, 2:00 PM PST on AM 1180 KCKQ Reno, Nev. or at www.americamatters.us.

Concord Coalition: It’s the Federal Budget, Stupid!

WASHINGTON, D.C. /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Projections released today by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) provide further evidence that candidates for federal office should address the nation’s worsening budget problems, according to The Concord Coalition.

“Voters are hearing a lot of expensive new proposals from candidates but not so much about how to keep the nation’s debt from growing on an unsustainable path,” said Robert L. Bixby, Concord’s executive director. “Today’s CBO report, which projects a rising debt burden over the next 10 years and beyond, shows why voters should expect candidates to offer credible policies to put us on a better course.”

The new report updates the budget and economic projections that CBO made earlier this year for the coming decade. Its baseline budget projections are based on current law and do not take into account deficit-increasing policies that tend to get passed on a yearly basis, such as the extension of various tax breaks.

CBO projects that Fiscal Year 2016 will close in September with the first increase in the deficit as a share of the economy since 2009, when the country was struggling with the fiscal consequences of the Great Recession. At$590 billion, the annual deficit will be $152 billion larger than in 2015 and $56 billion higher than the agency estimated in March. However, the 10-year cumulative deficit estimate of $8.6 trillion is $700 billion lower than the March projection — primarily due to lower projections of interest rates.

The report shows growing pressure on the federal budget as the result of an aging population and rising health care costs. These factors increase the costs of Social Security and Medicare — just to provide the same services to more recipients.

“As in the past,” Bixby says, “CBO is pointing toward a structural mismatch between the federal government’s spending and tax policies. With a strengthening economy, elected officials should address this mismatch as soon as possible to put the budget on a more responsible course and avoid saddling future generations with massive government debt.”

Two reports earlier this summer also underscored the nation’s fiscal challenges. The CBO’s Long-Term Budget Outlook, released last month, makes clear that unless fundamental changes are made, federal finances will deteriorate even further after 2026. In June the Medicare and Social Security trustees issued their annual reports, calling for prompt reforms to put those critical programs on more sustainable paths.

concord_logo (1)ABOUT THE CONCORD COALITION

The Concord Coalition is a nonpartisan, grassroots organization dedicated to fiscal responsibility.

Since 1992, Concord has worked to educate the public about the causes and consequences of the federal deficit and debt, and to develop realistic solutions for sustainable budgets. For more fiscal news and analysis, visit ConcordCoalition.org and follow us on Twitter: @ConcordC

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