Trump Administration wrongly blamed for closure of refugee offices

I told you about it herebut I’ve noticed over the last 24 hours that the story about Trump’s refugee policies being blamed for closure of NON-PROFIT GROUP offices is all over the media.

Let me be clear!

The blame rests squarely on the design of the US Refugee Admissions Program (and Congress) which has shoveled so much federal money to NON-PROFITS that they long ago gave up any idea of seriously attempting to raise private money to TAKE CARE OF THE REFUGEES THEY CLAIM THEY WANTED!

The program has essentially become a ponzi-scheme built on US Treasury payments to NON-PROFIT groups on a refugee per head basis.  Refugee (paying client) numbers decline, and thus so does the NON-PROFIT groups’ taxpayer support.

For ten years I have been hammering this point—nothing has stopped NON-PROFIT refugee agencies from raising PRIVATE money in the old fashioned way! They could have held more fundraisers, sought out grants from businesses AND from religious groups to tide them over through the ups and downs of the refugee admissions flow.

(If, at this point, they say there isn’t enough private money for this, then that means the public doesn’t want it!)

So instead they got lazy on the federal dole.  It isn’t the Trump State Department’s fault if refugees brought in previous months and years are now left without local support. The State Department can’t legally shutter NON-PROFIT groups.

It is the management at the top of the nine federal contractors (below) who were careless and lazy (all the while collecting exorbitant salaries themselves!) who are to blame if refugees are left in the lurch now, or staff at the lowest levels is dismissed.

Where the h*** is Congress! It is way past time to either dump or completely reform the Refugee Act of 1980!

The nine contractors….

The number in parenthesis is the percentage of their income paid by you (the taxpayer) to place the refugees and get them signed up for their services (aka welfare)!  From most recent accounting, here.

RELATED ARTICLES: 

Politico says Trump refugee slowdown is the result of “engineered chaos”

World Relief (Evangelicals) defends its reliance on millions of dollars in federal grants/contracts

Hungarian Prime Minister calls for global alliance against migration

U.S. Refugee program is a kind of Ponzi-scheme that is failing

Tech Workers Are Relocating to Los Angeles Because Silicon Valley Is Too Liberal

Tech workers following the lead of Peter Thiel, a President Donald Trump supporting venture capitalist and bolting Silicon Valley for Los Angeles. Not that LA is all that much better. But push back is good and it’s happening.

TECH WORKERS ARE RELOCATING TO LOS ANGELES BECAUSE SILICON VALLEY IS TOO LIBERAL

Western Journalism, February 19, 2018:

A number of workers in Silicon Valley are planning to leave the tech hub due to a discomfort stemming from a uniform way of thinking in the industry and region, according to The Wall Street Journal.

The workers already are or plan on indirectly following the lead of Peter Thiel, a President Donald Trump-supporting venture capitalist.

The billionaire entrepreneur recently announced he is leaving Silicon Valley for the slightly less liberal Los Angeles area to escape an allegedly pervasive discrimination against conservatives and some libertarians.

Citing a number of influential investors, and a couple of tech workers and startup entrepreneurs, the WSJ reports Thiel’s geographic “defection” is emblematic of an apparently larger trend.

“I think the politics of San Francisco have gotten a little bit crazy,” Tom McInerney, an angel investor who now resides in Los Angeles, told The Wall Street Journal. “The Trump election was super polarizing and it definitely illustrated–and Peter (Thiel) said this–how out of touch Silicon Valley was.”

A large majority of conservatives said they are in some way uneasy in the area due to their political and personal beliefs, according to a study published earlier in the month by the Lincoln Network. Roughly 89 percent and 74 percent of people who identified as “very conservative” or “conservative,” respectively, said they are hesitant of being themselves while working in Silicon Valley. Additionally, more than two-thirds of libertarians, which were the largest portion of respondents in the survey, said the same.

Only 30 percent and 36 percent of Silicon Valley employees who identify as “very liberal” or “liberal” are reluctant to be their true selves, according to the study.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in The Geller Report. Pamela Geller’s shocking new book, “FATWA: HUNTED IN AMERICA” is now available on Amazon. It’s Geller’s tell all, her story – and it’s every story – it’s what happens when you stand for freedom today. Buy it. Now. Here.

Congress Blew Through the Budget Caps, Again. Here’s What Needs to Change.

The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 signed into law last week really should be renamed the Bipartisan Budget Crash Act.

This spending spree takes a Mack Truck and rams through the hard-fought budget caps under the 2011 Budget Control Act to the tune of at least $300 billion.

When all is said and done, the fiscal wreckage could be worse than that. With a federal debt already at $20.5 trillion, we have just lurched closer to fiscal insolvency.

Republicans touted that they got $1 of new military spending for every $1 of domestic social programs, but even that is wishful thinking at best. This calculation doesn’t include emergency disaster spending for hurricanes and fires, which was close to $90 billion. At least $21 billion of “defense” spending goes to the State Department instead, which does not fight wars.

In the end, the domestic agencies may wind up with $2 of added funding for every $1 for national security, which is hardly a good deal for taxpayers.

It also isn’t clear why the recovery efforts to pay for disaster relief should be paid for by the federal government.

In the wake of some of the worst disasters in American history—the hurricane that wiped out Galveston, Texas, the Great Chicago Fire, and the San Francisco earthquake, for example—the rebuilding of these cities happened swiftly and was almost all funded by private businesses, private charities, and state and local initiatives, not by Washington writing a big check.

And when, alas, the feds do write big checks for disasters, the money should come from across-the-board cuts of 2 or 3 percent from all the other federal agencies—not by running up the debt.

The Budget Control Act caps are now a victim of their own success. From 2011-2016, the spending caps held discretionary spending increases below the 2 percent level of inflation. For three years, federal spending actually fell, in no small part because of those caps.

But now those tight caps have been evaded four times in six years, and each time the overspending has been larger. The cork has been pulled off the champagne bottle.

The lack of spending restraint and the inability of Congress to keep its past legislative promises not only erodes trust in the political class, but shows a frightening and complete indifference by Washington toward our nation’s growing fiscal crisis.

The big question is, where do we go from here on the budget?

With neither party at all committed to reducing debt and deficits, our worry is that the budget caps are, for all intents and purposes, gone forever.

The caps after 2020 are still technically in place, but the 2019 levels of spending are going to come in at as much as $200 billion above the 2020 caps. So either we see a massive cut in government spending in the election year of 2020, which would be a wonderful thing to behold—but is as likely as President Donald Trump and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi dancing a tango together—or, Congress throws the caps into the dustbin of history.

That’s a scary prospect, because it would mean that Congress would be budgeting without any fiscal guard rails or speed limits at all. This will only invite further bipartisan spending sprees that are against the interests of the American people.

The indefensible budget behavior of Congress over the last several weeks reinforces the case for Congress to extend the Budget Control Act caps into 2022 and beyond, since the caps expire at the end of 2021.

These future caps should be based on the 2011 Budget Control Act’s average annual spending growth rate, not the new budget’s enormous spending growth rate. Failure to extend the caps would be a total surrender and a green light to the already out-of-control Mack Truck.

COMMENTARY BY

Portrait of Stephen Moore

Stephen Moore

Stephen Moore, who formerly wrote on the economy and public policy for The Wall Street Journal, is a distinguished visiting fellow for the Project for Economic Growth at The Heritage Foundation. He was also a senior economic advisor to Donald Trump during the 2016 presidential campaign. Read his research. Twitter: .

Christian Andzel

Christian Andzel is a member of the Young Leaders Program at The Heritage Foundation.

A Note for our Readers:

Trust in the mainstream media is at a historic low—and rightfully so given the behavior of many journalists in Washington, D.C.

Ever since Donald Trump was elected president, it is painfully clear that the mainstream media covers liberals glowingly and conservatives critically.

Now journalists spread false, negative rumors about President Trump before any evidence is even produced.

Americans need an alternative to the mainstream media. That’s why The Daily Signal exists.

The Daily Signal’s mission is to give Americans the real, unvarnished truth about what is happening in Washington and what must be done to save our country.

Our dedicated team of more than 100 journalists and policy experts rely on the financial support of patriots like you.

Your donation helps us fight for access to our nation’s leaders and report the facts.

You deserve the truth about what’s going on in Washington.

Please make a gift to support The Daily Signal.

SUPPORT THE DAILY SIGNAL

EDITORS NOTE: The featured image is by erick4x4/Getty Images.

Budget Deal Is a Betrayal of Limited Government Conservatism

Last week, Congress passed a continuing resolution that will keep the federal government funded through March 23.

This is the fifth continuing resolution of the fiscal year—a sixth may be needed before March 23, since both parties have agreed to begin debate on an immigration bill this week.

But as bad as the decision to continue funding the government through unamended short-term autopilot bills is, the two-year budget cap deal that passed along with the continuing resolution is even worse.

With the continuing resolution, Congress agreed to fund specific government programs at specific levels only through March 23. The larger budget deal set overall spending levels for two years. The breakdown of spending on specific programs after March 23 will be decided in future funding decisions.

But no matter how Congress divvies up the budget in the months ahead, the budget deal guaranteed that the end result will blow the top off the nation’s already rising debt.

According to the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, the spending increases in the budget deal will drive next year’s budget deficit to almost $1.2 trillion, a level not seen since the beginning of President Barack Obama’s failed stimulus program.

This is a complete betrayal of everything limited-government conservatives fought for during Obama’s presidency.

It also is a betrayal of the limited-government vision the Trump administration outlined in its fiscal year 2018 budget. That document called for a $1.4 trillion reduction in discretionary spending over the next 10 years. By contrast, this bill sets up a path to dramatically increase discretionary spending.

But that’s not all. The bill also threw in more than $17 billion in tax loopholes to special interests, including tax rebates for rum producers in Puerto Rico, accelerated depreciation for racehorse investors, special expensing provisions for Hollywood producers, and tax subsidies for electric vehicles.

It even suspended the federal government’s $20.5 trillion debt limit through March 1, 2019. Suspending the debt limit functionally raises the borrowing authority of the federal government by over $1 trillion—and it does so without any effort to reduce or reform federal spending.

If you hoped that this budget deal would create the possibility for welfare or spending reform, I have bad news for you. By setting spending levels for the next two years, the deal has made passage of a budget resolution this year extremely unlikely.

Without a budget resolution, there can be no reconciliation process. And without a reconciliation process, any serious effort to reform welfare or spending is dead.

It is unclear what the Senate will do legislatively between now and the November elections. What should be clear to limited-government conservatives is that they have been completely abandoned by the Republican Congress.

COMMENTARY BY

Portrait of Sen. Mike Lee

Mike Lee is a Republican senator from Utah. Twitter: .

A Note for our Readers:

Trust in the mainstream media is at a historic low—and rightfully so given the behavior of many journalists in Washington, D.C.

Ever since Donald Trump was elected president, it is painfully clear that the mainstream media covers liberals glowingly and conservatives critically.

Now journalists spread false, negative rumors about President Trump before any evidence is even produced.

Americans need an alternative to the mainstream media. That’s why The Daily Signal exists.

The Daily Signal’s mission is to give Americans the real, unvarnished truth about what is happening in Washington and what must be done to save our country.

Our dedicated team of more than 100 journalists and policy experts rely on the financial support of patriots like you.

Your donation helps us fight for access to our nation’s leaders and report the facts.

You deserve the truth about what’s going on in Washington.

Please make a gift to support The Daily Signal.

SUPPORT THE DAILY SIGNAL

EDITORS NOTE: The featured image is by MarianVejcik/Getty Images.

Trump Budget Proposal Projects Deficit Spending for Next Decade

President Donald Trump is proposing a 10-year spending plan that never produces a balanced budget, and increases deficit spending by $7.2 trillion over the next decade.

The White House unveiled the $4.4 trillion fiscal year 2019 budget plan on Monday.

“The first message [is] you don’t have to spend it all, but if you do, this is how you spend it,” Mick Mulvaney, director of the Office of Management and Budget, told reporters Monday.

“The second message is: We are not condemned to trillion deficits forever. There is a way out of this.”

Trump’s first budget proposal balanced the budget over 10 years. The current Trump proposal doesn’t come near to doing so.

The White House budget director noted that last year he said the longer Congress waits to make spending reforms proposed in the president’s fiscal year 2018 proposal, the more difficult it will be to balance the budget.

“We didn’t make hardly any of the reforms. We sent up $54 billion worth of savings to the Hill last year, [and] they took about $5 billion worth of it,” Mulvaney said.

“They didn’t make any of the large structural changes we proposed. I probably could have made it balanced, but you all would have rightly excoriated us for using funny numbers, because it would have taken funny numbers to do it. These are real numbers.”

The proposal does attempt to bend the trajectory to lower deficits over 10 years by $3 trillion, according to the White House.

The White House calls the proposal “Efficient, Effective, Accountable: An American Budget.”

Presidential budget proposals are rarely passed by Congress. Last week, Congress approved a two-year deal to hike spending caps by $300 billion over two years, upsetting many fiscal conservatives, as it also increases spending by $153 billion more than the previous two budget deals combined.

“It’s certainly alarming to us that the budget is not balanced at any point,” Justin Bogie, senior policy analyst in fiscal affairs at The Heritage Foundation, told The Daily Signal. “The budget may not matter as a policy matter, but it demonstrates the direction the White House is striving for.”

Romina Boccia, deputy director of the Thomas A. Roe Institute at The Heritage Foundation, called the budget a “mixed bag.”

“The president’s budget makes progress by investing in the military, eliminating numerous ineffective agencies and programs, and beginning the process of welfare and entitlement reform. However, the budget fails to balance, ever, and does not sufficiently move the country away from its currently unsustainable fiscal path,” she said.

The budget proposal fully funds the national defense strategy with $716 billion. This includes a 2.6 percent pay hike for troops.

Trump’s signature campaign issue, immigration and border security, gets a boost in the proposal at a time when Congress has started to debate how to address illegal immigrants brought to the United States as minors.

Mulvaney said he anticipates having a deal on Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals recipients and the wall.

The budget proposal asks Congress for $23 billion for border security and immigration enforcement. Of that, $18 billion goes for a wall along the U.S.-Mexican border.

Also, $782 million would go to to hire 2,750 additional officers and agents at U.S. Customs and Border Protection and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Another $2.7 billion would go to pay for an average daily detention capacity of 52,000 illegal immigrants.

Trump is asking for $17 billion to fight the opioid abuse epidemic.

The Trump administration wants Congress to dedicate $85.5 billion in discretionary funding for the Department of Veterans Affairs for medical care.

Having already done away with the individual mandate, the chief financing mechanism of Obamacare, in the tax reform package that passed in late 2017, the Trump budget seeks to take another step on health care. The proposal includes the idea of $1.6 trillion in health care block grants to states, which was part of the bill sponsored by Sens. Bill Cassidy, R-La., and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.

The budget proposal also calls for numerous civil service reforms to ensure the federal government can “hire the best and fire the worst.” The proposal largely deals with reforming the hiring system, moving to a more merit-based pay system for federal workers, and making it easier to fire bad employees. Trump already signed a similar reform in place during his first year, but it only affected the Department of Veterans Affairs. This reform is aimed across government.

COMMENTARY BY

Portrait of Fred Lucas

Fred Lucas

Fred Lucas is the White House correspondent for The Daily Signal. Send an email to Fred. Twitter: @FredLucasWH.

RELATED ARTICLES: 

New White House Budget Would Bail Out Obamacare

5 Takeaways From Trump’s New Budget Proposal

Trump Goes After Automatic Raises, ‘Worst’ Employees to ‘Drain the Swamp’

A Note for our Readers:

Trust in the mainstream media is at a historic low—and rightfully so given the behavior of many journalists in Washington, D.C.

Ever since Donald Trump was elected president, it is painfully clear that the mainstream media covers liberals glowingly and conservatives critically.

Now journalists spread false, negative rumors about President Trump before any evidence is even produced.

Americans need an alternative to the mainstream media. That’s why The Daily Signal exists.

The Daily Signal’s mission is to give Americans the real, unvarnished truth about what is happening in Washington and what must be done to save our country.

Our dedicated team of more than 100 journalists and policy experts rely on the financial support of patriots like you.

Your donation helps us fight for access to our nation’s leaders and report the facts.

You deserve the truth about what’s going on in Washington.

Please make a gift to support The Daily Signal.

SUPPORT THE DAILY SIGNAL

EDITORS NOTE: The featured image is of White House budget director Mick Mulvaney speaking during a news briefing Monday at the White House about President Donald Trump’s budget propsal for fiscal year 2019. (Photo: Yuri Gripas/Reuters/Newscom)

Are Our Roads and Bridges Actually Crumbling? It Depends on Where You Live!

During his State of the Union Address President Trump said:

As we rebuild our industries, it is also time to rebuild our crumbling infrastructure.

America is a nation of builders.  We built the Empire State Building in just 1 year — is it not a disgrace that it can now take 10 years just to get a permit approved for a simple road?

I am asking both parties to come together to give us the safe, fast, reliable, and modern infrastructure our economy needs and our people deserve.

Tonight, I am calling on the Congress to produce a bill that generates at least $1.5 trillion for the new infrastructure investment we need.

Every Federal dollar should be leveraged by partnering with State and local governments and, where appropriate, tapping into private sector investment — to permanently fix the infrastructure deficit.

Any bill must also streamline the permitting and approval process — getting it down to no more than two years, and perhaps even one.

Together, we can reclaim our building heritage.  We will build gleaming new roads, bridges, highways, railways, and waterways across our land.  And we will do it with American heart, American hands, and American grit. [Emphasis added]

According to data from Transportation.gov the “crumbling infrastructure” that President Trump referred to depends on where you live. The states in which over 70% of roads are in “poor/mediocre condition are Colorado (70%), Oklahoma (70%), Wisconsin (71%), Illinois (73%) and Connecticut (73%). The top two states with the highest percentage of “structurally deficient/functionally obsolete bridges are Massachusetts (52.5%) and Hawaii (43.9%). See the chart below for a state by state breakdown of the status of bridges and roads and the cost to repair them.

Why is infrastructure important?

In a Motor Trend magazine article titled “Tapping the Brakes: Autonomous-car Society is Still Decades Away” Mark Rechtin reports:

Pull out any issue of Popular Science from the past 50 years, and you’ll likely find a story predicting that we would be living in a world of self-driving cars any decade now. (You can add in recent long-form pieces by other national media that push that Jetsons-tinged future even harder.)

[ … ]

But the truth is we are still a long way from a fully self-driving society, for several very key reasons that have nothing to do with our ability to create the technology. Here is the cocktail party checklist of the interrelated barriers we face:

Infrastructure: Autonomous vehicles need roadways that are well-marked and in good shape. There are 4.12 million miles of road in America, according to the Federal Highway Administration, of which 2.68 million miles are paved. How bad are our roads? According to the FHA, 42.1 percent of Connecticut’s federal-aid highway miles are in “poor or mediocre condition.” Traffic-choked California is close behind, with 35.1 percent in terrible shape.

Read more.

Rechtin concludes, “The ability to create autonomous vehicles is not at issue. At issue is how to incorporate 21st century technology into a world that is still mired in the 20th. And that will take time.”

Why are our roads mired in the 20th century?

According to Transportation.gov:

The Highway Trust Fund is set to expire on July 31. Without action from Congress, federal funding for transportation will come to a screeching halt — and with it, so will traffic in many places. Over the last six years, Congress has passed 33 short-term measures rather than funding transportation for the long term. And our transportation system — our roads and bridges, especially — is in a dire state of disrepair because of it. The attached fact sheet shows us this.

Experts agree:  The only way to prepare our transportation system for the next generation is to stop this cycle of short-term measures and pass a long-term transportation bill. [Emphasis added]

So there you have it. Taxes are paid to Congress every-time you fill your tank but Congress can’t get its act together and pass a single year transportation bill let alone a long-term bill.

It’s the Congress stupid!

RELATED ARTICLES:

Trump Releases Infrastructure Plan Focused on Deregulation and New Funding

Our Roads and Bridges Are Not Actually Crumbling

Hawaii Highways Rank 47th in Cost-Effectiveness

Road and Bridge Data by State
State Structurally Deficient / Functionally Obsolete Bridges* Annual Total Extra Vehicle Repairs / Operating Costs Due to Driving on Roads in Need of Fixing** Percentage of Roads in Poor / Mediocre Condition**
ALABAMA 3,608 of the 16,078 (22.4%) $530 million ($141 per motorist) 25%
ALASKA 290 of the 1,196 (24.2%) $181 million ($359 per motorist) 49%
ARIZONA 954 of the 7,862 (12.1%) $887 million ($205 per motorist) 52%
ARKANSAS 2,894 of the 12,748 (22.7%) $634 million ($308 per motorist) 39%
CALIFORNIA 6,953 of the 24,955 (27.9%) $13.892 billion ($586 per motorist) 68%
COLORADO 1,438 of the 8,612 (16.7%) $1.034 billion ($287 per motorist) 70%
CONNECTICUT 1,472 of the 4,218 (34.9%) $847 million ($294 per motorist) 73%
DELAWARE 177 of the 864 (20.5%) $168 million ($257 per motorist. 36%
FLORIDA 2,044 of the 12,070 (16.9%) $1.792 billion ($128 per motorist) 26%
GEORGIA 2,600 of the 14,769 (17.6%) $374 million ($60 per motorist) 19%
HAWAII 494 of the 1,125 (43.9%) $456 million ($515 per motorist) 49%
IDAHO 859 of the 4,232 (20.3%) $316 million ($305 per motorist) 45%
ILLINOIS 4,246 of the 26,621 (15.9%) $2.4 billion ($292 per motorist) 73%
INDIANA 4,168 of the 18,953 (22%) $1.249 billion ($225 per motorist) 17%
IOWA 6,271 of the 24,398 (25.7%) $756 million ($381 per motorist) 46%
KANSAS 4,465 of the 25,171 (17.7%) $646 million ($319 per motorist) 62%
KENTUCKY 4,436 of the 14,116 (31.4%) $543 million ($185 per motorist) 34%
LOUISIANA 3,790 of the 13,050 (29%) $1.2 billion ($408 per motorist) 62%
MAINE 791 of the 2,402 (32.9%) $246 million ($245 per motorist) 53%
MARYLAND 1,418 of the 5,291 (26.8%) $1.598 billion ($422 per motorist) 55%
MASSACHUSETTS 2,694 of the 5,136 (52.5%) $1.461 billion ($313 per motorist) 42%
MICHIGAN 3,018 of the 11,022 (27.4%) $2.534 billion ($357 per motorist) 38%
MINNESOTA 1,513 of the 13,137 (11.5%) $797 million ($250 per motorist) 52%
MISSISSIPPI 3,636 of the 17,044 (21.3%) $811 million ($419 per motorist) 51%
MISSOURI 6,633 of the 24,350 (27.2%) $1.6 billion ($380 per motorist) 31%
MONTANA 882 of the 5,126 (17.2%) $136 million ($184 per motorist) 52%
NEBRASKA 3,765 of the 15,370 (24.5%) $380 million ($282 per motorist) 59%
NEVADA 253 of the 1,853 (13.7%) $391 million ($233 per motorist) 20%
NEW HAMPSHIRE 790 of the 2,438 (32.4%) $267 million ($259 per motorist) 54%
NEW JERSEY 2,334 of the 6,566 (35.5%) $3.476 billion ($601 per motorist) 66%
NEW MEXICO 654 of the 3,935 (16.6%) $397 million ($291 per motorist) 44%
NEW YORK 6,775 of the 17,442 (38.8%) $4.551 billion ($403 per motorist) 60%
NORTH CAROLINA 5,534 of the 18,168 (30.5%) $1.555 billion ($241 per motorist) 45%
NORTH DAKOTA 966 of the 4,439 (21.8%) $112 million ($237 per motorist) 44%
OHIO 6,647 of the 27,015 (24.6%) $1.685 billion ($212 per motorist) 42%
OKLAHOMA 5,828 of the 22,912 (25.4%) $978 million ($425 per motorist) 70%
OREGON 1,754 of the 7,656 (22.9%) $495 million ($173 per motorist) 65%
PENNSYLVANIA 9,561 of the 22,660 (42.2%) $2.947 billion ($341 per motorist) 57%
RHODE ISLAND 433 of the 766 (56.5%) $350 million ($467 per motorist) 70%
SOUTH CAROLINA 1,920 of the 9,275 (20.7%) $811 million ($255 per motorist) 40%
SOUTH DAKOTA 1,459 of the 5,875 (24.8%) $194 million ($324 per motorist) 61%
TENNESSEE 3,802 of the 20,058 (19%) $809 million ($182 per motorist) 38%
TEXAS 9,998 of the 52,561 (19%) $5.27 billion ($343 per motorist) 38%
UTAH 437 of the 2,974 (14.7%) $332 million ($197 per motorist) 25%
VERMONT 903 of the 2,731 (33.1%) $230 million ($424 per motorist) 45%
VIRGINIA 3,588 of the 13,765 (26.1%) $1.344 billion ($254 per motorist) 47%
WASHINGTON 2,066 of the 7,902 (26.1%) $1.349 billion ($272 per motorist) 67%
WEST VIRGINIA 2,514 of the 7,125 (35.3%) $372 million ($273 per motorist) 47%
WISCONSIN 1,970 of the 14,088 (14%) $1.147 billion ($281 per motorist) 71%
WYOMING 723 of the 3,099 (23.3%) $96 million ($236 per motorist) 47%

*According to 2013 data from the Federal Highway Administration
**According to the American Society of Civil Engineers 2013 Report Card for America’s Infrastructure

Updated: Thursday, October 13, 2016

EDITORS NOTE: The featured image of a highway at dusk is courtesy of The Daily Signal. Photo: MarioGuti/Getty Images.

The Constitutional Amendment That Would Rein in Spending

Some people have called for a balanced budget amendment to our Constitution as a means of reining in a big-spending Congress.

That’s a misguided vision, for the simple reason that in any real economic sense, as opposed to an accounting sense, the federal budget is always balanced.

The value of what we produced in 2017—our gross domestic product—totaled about $19 trillion. If the Congress spent $4 trillion of the $19 trillion that we produced, unless you believe in Santa Claus, you know that Congress must force us to spend $4 trillion less privately.

Taxing us is one way that Congress can do that. But federal revenue estimates for 2017 are about $3.5 trillion, leaving an accounting deficit of about $500 billion. So taxes are not enough to cover Congress’ spending.

Another way Congress can get us to spend less privately is to enter the bond market. It can borrow. Borrowing forces us to spend less privately, and it drives up interest rates and crowds out private investment.

Finally, the most dishonest way to get us to spend less is to inflate our currency. Higher prices for goods and services reduce our real spending.

The bottom line is the federal budget is always balanced in any real economic sense.

For those enamored of a balanced budget amendment, think about the following. Would we have greater personal liberty under a balanced federal budget with Congress spending $4 trillion and taxing us $4 trillion, or would we be freer under an unbalanced federal budget with Congress spending $2 trillion and taxing us $1 trillion?

I’d prefer the unbalanced budget.

The true measure of government’s impact on our lives is government spending, not government taxing.

Tax revenue is not our problem. The federal government has collected nearly 20 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product almost every year since 1960. Federal spending has exceeded 20 percent of the GDP for most of that period.

Because federal spending is the problem, that’s where our focus should be.

Cutting spending is politically challenging. Every spending constituency sees what it gets from government as vital, whether it be Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid recipients or farmers, poor people, educators, or the military.

It’s easy for members of Congress to say yes to these spending constituencies, because whether it’s Democrats or Republicans in control, they don’t face a hard-and-fast bottom line.

The nation needs a constitutional amendment that limits congressional spending to a fixed fraction, say 20 percent, of the GDP. It might stipulate that the limit could be exceeded only if the president declared a state of emergency and two-thirds of both houses of Congress voted to approve the spending.

By the way, the Founding Fathers would be horrified by today’s congressional spending. From 1787 to the 1920s, except in wartime, federal government spending never exceeded 4 percent of our GDP.

During the early 1980s, I was a member of the National Tax Limitation Committee. Our distinguished blue-ribbon drafting committee included its founder, Lew Uhler, plus notables such as Milton Friedman, James Buchanan, Paul McCracken, Bill Niskanen, Craig Stubblebine, Robert Bork, Aaron Wildavsky, Robert Nisbet, and Robert Carleson.

The Senate passed our proposed balanced budget/spending limitation amendment to the U.S. Constitution on Aug. 4, 1982, by a bipartisan vote of 69-31, surpassing the two-thirds requirement by two votes.

In the House of Representatives, the amendment was approved by a bipartisan majority (236-187), but it did not meet the two-thirds vote required by Article 5 of the Constitution.

The amendment can be found in Milton and Rose Friedman’s “Tyranny of the Status Quo” or the appendix of their “Free to Choose.”

During an interview about the proposed amendment, a reporter asked why I disagreed with the committee and called for a limit of 10 percent of GDP on federal spending. I told him that if 10 percent is good enough for the Baptist church, it ought to be good enough for Congress.

COMMENTARY BY

Portrait of Walter E. Williams

Walter E. Williams is a professor of economics at George Mason University.

A Note for our Readers:

Trust in the mainstream media is at a historic low—and rightfully so given the behavior of many journalists in Washington, D.C.

Ever since Donald Trump was elected president, it is painfully clear that the mainstream media covers liberals glowingly and conservatives critically.

Now journalists spread false, negative rumors about President Trump before any evidence is even produced.

Americans need an alternative to the mainstream media. That’s why The Daily Signal exists.

The Daily Signal’s mission is to give Americans the real, unvarnished truth about what is happening in Washington and what must be done to save our country.

Our dedicated team of more than 100 journalists and policy experts rely on the financial support of patriots like you.

Your donation helps us fight for access to our nation’s leaders and report the facts.

You deserve the truth about what’s going on in Washington.

Please make a gift to support The Daily Signal.

SUPPORT THE DAILY SIGNAL

Trump’s ‘America First’ Economy by Stephen Browne

“As President of the United States, I will always put America first, just like the leaders of other countries should put their country first also,” Trump declared at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

The numbers don’t lie, the Trump economy is the best America has had in years.

At the close of Trump’s first year in office the economy will likely have seen three percent growth for three successive quarters, which we haven’t seen for 13 years. The Dow hit 25,000 which we’ve never seen before. Wages and employment are rising, most significantly at the bottom end of the income distribution scale with most concentrated in the blue state heartland.

Moreover, the confidence of small businesses as measured by the National Federation of Independent Businesses, is the highest it’s been since they started doing the survey 45 years ago.

There has predictably been a lot of grumbling: “This is Obama’s policies finally kicking in!”

After eight years of assuring us that two percent growth is the new normal, he never achieved it.

“Almost a-quarter-million employees have been notified of plant closings and layoffs!”

That may be true – but so what?

Sorry, I know that sounds callous for those going through job loss – been there, done it; but the fact remains when the economy is expanding and employment increasing, layoffs in certain sectors means the economy is changing, not static. The slack will be taken up in new more dynamic sectors and Americans will do what we always have; move somewhere else, learn new skills, and get a new job.

So why has this happened and what does it mean? Because a great many of the ‘Wise and Wonderful’ on both the right and left predicted gloom, doom, and disaster.

In the past, when we’ve seen the economy improve with a new and more business-friendly administration, there has usually been a year’s lead time before Americans have seen improvement — but this has been immediate.

Some have proposed the first effects were largely psychological, and there is something to this. The Democrat Party is more than ever before dominated at the national level by hard leftists ferociously hostile towards free enterprise.

A change to an even tepidly pro-capitalist administration is like a shot of espresso to the economy.

And this change has been more than token. Trump promised to remove two business regulations for every one passed. At last count, 22 regulations have been removed for every single regulation imposed.

It’s not just that the regulatory burden on business is difficult and expensive, we could live with that – in fact, we have. It’s that it is so complex that it’s nearly impossible to understand.

Want to start a business or move yours into a new market? If you don’t have lots of lawyers and accountants on your payroll to navigate the regs – good luck! Complex regulations and tax laws favor “Big Business” over the little guys, and that’s how the big guys like it.

Nonetheless, “Regulation is stealth taxation,” Trump stated clearly in his Davos speech.

Trump’s 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act on top of massive deregulation will provide larger paychecks for American workers along with unanticipated company bonuses and pay raises that will boost the economy even more.

The White House highlighted these economic gains for American workers:

USA TODAY: Starbucks Boost Worker Pay, Gives Bonuses After Tax Cut
CNBC: 125,000 Disney Employees to Receive $1,000 Cash Bonus Due to Tax Reform
FT: Verizon To Give Most Employees Stock in Anticipation of Tax Savings
REUTERS: JP Morgan Rolls Out $20 Billion Investment Plan After Tax Gains
BLOOMBERG: Whirlpool Says It’s Adding Jobs After Trump Tariff Decision

During Trump’s first year, the Dow climbed 31 percent, according to CNBC, surpassed only by FDR, reporting that the “30-stock index has surged more than 31 percent since Trump’s inauguration.”

CNBC: The Dow’s 31% Gain During Trump’s First Year Is the Best Since FDR

“Donald Trump lifted the Dow Jones industrial average in his first year in office more than any other president since Franklin Roosevelt. The Dow has surged more than 31 percent since Trump’s inauguration on Jan. 20, 2017. That marks the index’s best performance during a president’s first year since Roosevelt. The Dow skyrocketed 96.5 percent during Roosevelt’s first year in office….Trump quickly moved to cut regulations enacted by previous administrations. He also successfully pushed to overhaul the U.S. tax code. That revamp included slashing the corporate tax rate to 21 percent from 35 percent.”

Right, after the 1929 Wall Street Crash followed by the Great Depression, there really wasn’t anywhere else for the stock market to go but up. Elected in 1932, becoming the 32nd President of the United States, FDR saw the Dow Jones Industrial Average rise during his first year in office from 1933 to 1934. In fact, it took the market 25 years to fully recover from the Wall Street Crash.
He served from 1933 to 1945.

And then there’s the hot button issue, climate change.

Whatever your opinion of climate change, the fact is the proposals for addressing it these days consist almost entirely of political theater. The least burdensome proposals cripple the economy and accomplish nothing. The most radical proposals amount to dismantling industrial civilization resulting in impoverishment and mass starvation.

If we are going to find alternatives to fossil fuels the only thing that can accomplish this is a rich and dynamic economy that can support the research, development, and large-scale implementation of new technologies.

That’s a job for businessmen and engineers, not bureaucrats.

Probably the biggest thing the Trump administration has done is to remove a lot of the uncertainty of doing business. A thriving economy can stand a lot of stupid regulation, if they are consistent from day-to-day.

What the economy can’t stand is the uncertainty of a business environment where regulations are imposed capriciously by a chief executive who overturns settled law to pick winners and losers, decides who has to obey, and who gets special exemptions.

And, I must say, I did not see this unshackled vibrant economy coming. Trump seemed like the archetypal crony Capitalist, leveraging political influence for his own advantage, even to the point of trying to use eminent domain for private projects.

It never occurred to me that a player skilled in that game could still realize it is horribly bad for the U.S. economy, and once in power act on that knowledge. As a businessman, Trump has learned the economic lessons taught by Eastern Europe in their transition from socialism to market economies. And if you’d told me, I wouldn’t have believed you. What a pleasant surprise!

“As President of the United States, I will always put America first, just like the leaders of other countries should put their country first also,” Trump declared at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.


ABOUT STEPHEN BROWNE

Stephen Browne has been a sewage treatment plant worker, a truck driver, an English teacher and a journalist. In 1991 he received his MA in anthropology and set out for Eastern Europe, which was to become his home for the next 13 years. While teaching English and working with local dissidents abroad he began to write professionally about the tremendous changes happening after the collapse of the Soviet empire. In 1997, he was elected Honorary Member of the Yugoslav Movement for the Protection of Human Rights. In 1998, he co-founded the Liberty English Camps in Lithuania, which teach the principles of free markets and political liberty through English-language instruction, and eventually became the Language of Liberty Institute. He returned to the U.S. to study journalism on a graduate fellowship and pay some dues in rural newspapers in the Midwest. At present he lives in his native Midwest with his two children Jerzy Waszyngton and Judyta Ilona. Mr. Browne is also a contributor to SFPPR News & Analysis of the conservative-online-journalism center at the Washington-based Selous Foundation for Public Policy Research.

President Trump Decreased the Debt to GDP Ratio – First Time in More than 50 Years!

Gateway Pundit in an article titled It’s Official=> President Trump Decreases the Debt to GDP Ratio in His First Year in Office – First Time in More than 50 Years!  Joe Hoft reports:

The higher a country’s debt to GDP ratio, the less healthy the country’s economy.  With the GDP numbers released yesterday, President Trump’s policies have officially decreased the Debt to GDP ratio by 1.2% in the President’s first year in office.

In contrast, President Obama increased the US Debt to GDP ratio his first year in office by 14.5%.  Obama increased the rate a total of 37% over his 8 years in office.

Since his inauguration President Trump has focused his efforts on the security of the country and on the prosperity of its economy. The results of his actions are taking shape.

The US GDP has increased each quarter in 2017 with the 4th Quarter GDP increasing to $19.739 trillion – the highest GDP for any country in world history.

Read more.

RELATED ARTICLES:

He’s A Genius: Trump Bumps Tariffs Up On Solar Panels – Look What China Just Did

Media Ignorance on Capitalism Hurts Low-Wage American Workers

Trump Tower Russian Lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya, Exposed in Swiss Corruption Case

 

When Community Initiatives Don’t Wait Around for Government Intervention

Homes for Heroes announced their intention to continue their enterprise of providing homes for modern-day heroes. These heroes include the likes of the American war veterans who come back to American soil with a bit more on their minds than merely kicking off their boots and soaking up the glory of heroism. Only 66% of war veterans receive employment resources, which means it requires a powerful ally to stand in the gap for them. Homes for Heroes provides more than just a glimmer of hope, they provide the keys to a new home.

A New Beginning

There are a number of reasons military veterans may need additional assistance when they come back home. Instead of merely just facing challenges, these veterans can look forward to ongoing support in the form of rehabilitation thanks to funding initiatives. When Homes for Heroes isn’t busy scoping out new plots for homes for their heroes, they’re funding initiatives to help returning soldiers with rehabilitation, both physical and emotional. Injured soldiers such as Air Force Capt. Nathan Nelson can now enjoy a comfortable home specifically designed around his unique injuries. Capt. Nelson suffered severe injuries that left him immobile from the waist down and also the limited use of his hands. Not only did a specialized team design the perfect layout to accommodate his injuries, but the property is entirely mortgage free.

More Than Just the Occasional Free Home

Homes for Heroes strives to raise fundsto assist all wounded heroes not only get the help they need to deal with their trauma, but also have a home of their own. Military personnel, emergency response technicians, healthcare professionals, teachers, and more are on this list of heroes. The project receives its funding from generous donors but also raises capital through its home-buying initiative. With it, these heroes can apply for mortgages and enjoy massive savings that will allow them to better afford a home of their own. These heroes will then also help other heroes get back on their feet without even lifting a finger.

Veterans make up around 12% of the homeless population in America and one of the biggest reasons is their struggle to integrate with others. With the right support from families, communities, and organizations that recognize these needs. Support programs are vital during this phase and families of soldiers are encouraged to support them during this period. For a hero, the ability to walk through a door that now belongs to their very own home is more than just a roof over their heads. It’s also a token of a nation rallying behind them and reminding them that their sacrifices were not in vain.

These men and women stand on the front line to protect the freedom of the nation and on their return, communities should rally together and welcome them back into the fold. With each act of kindness towards these heroes, it’s another life saved or another family restored. Those are the things these heroes strive to protect.

High-Tax States Should Lower Their Taxes Instead of Trying to Evade Federal Taxes

High-tax states such as New York, California, and New Jersey are spending significant time and resources trying to concoct ways for their high-income residents to evade federal taxes.

This strategy is in direct response to the newly enacted Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which caps state and local tax deductions from federal income taxes at $10,000 per taxpayer. But legislators in high-tax states who wish to prevent the wealthy from fleeing to lower-tax states should lower the cost of local and state government instead of ducking federal taxes.

The $10,000 cap in the state and local deduction is irrelevant for most taxpayers.

For starters, 70 percent of taxpayers don’t itemize their deductions when filing their federal income taxes. These taxpayers benefit instead from the standard deduction.

Since the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act nearly doubles the standard deduction, The Heritage Foundation estimates that about 85 percent of taxpayers will not itemize deductions. And the state and local tax deduction is worth nothing to taxpayers who don’t itemize.

What’s more, the cap won’t limit many taxpayers’ state and local tax deductions because only about half of those who currently claim the deduction pay more than $10,000 in state and local taxes.

It’s primarily high-income taxpayers in high-tax states who will be affected most by the change in federal tax law. And that’s why lawmakers in those states are trying to find ways around the law.

Instead of trying to pass the buck of their big-government costs to federal taxpayers in lower-tax states, policymakers in high-tax states should just reduce their own state taxes.

As U.S. Rep. John J. Faso, R-N.Y., aptly said:

“The solution is to lower the cost of government in New York and make our state a place where businesses can create jobs so our people don’t have to flee.”

While a dollar in additional state and local tax deductions could save taxpayers as much as 37 cents in federal taxes (depending on their marginal tax rate), a dollar in state and local tax cuts would put 100 cents back into most taxpayers’ pockets.

Rather than address New York’s own high-tax problems, Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, is proposing a new payroll tax on employers that would be deductible at the federal level.

But a new payroll tax on employers—one that would be in addition to existing income taxes—could hurt workers, businesses, and government revenues by discouraging companies from locating in New York. Such a tax would be extremely complicated and have disparate impacts on workers and businesses across the state, creating big boons for some and losses for others.

New York already has experienced the largest outmigration of residents of any state in recent years. State officials don’t need to exacerbate that with higher or more complex taxes.

Another idea being considered by states such as California and New Jersey is to circumvent the new cap on state and local tax deductions by setting up state-run charitable institutions to fund the government. Taxpayers who make donations to those institutions would receive a dollar-for-dollar reduction in their state tax bills.

But federal tax law specifies that donations providing a direct monetary benefit for the donor do not qualify as charitable deductions. It’s hard to contest the direct monetary benefit of a dollar-for-dollar reduction in state tax liability.

Rest assured, even if states such as New York and California manage to circumvent new federal limits on state and local tax deductions, the IRS will implement new rules to enforce the intent of the cap. Instead of reducing total taxes for residents, the result could be higher taxes because high-tax states may not fully abandon their newly generated “workaround” revenue sources.

Additional sources of tax revenues are the last thing residents in high-tax states need. Taxpayers who live in New York and who make between $75,000 and $100,000 already pay an average of $9,950 in state and local income taxes. And the average millionaire in New York pays $502,000 in state and local taxes.

These highly taxed residents don’t need their governments spending more time and resources trying to evade taxes or create new, hopefully deductible taxes. Instead, they need state policymakers to make their governments more efficient and accountable; to limit nonessential government services; and to cut out waste and redundancies.

If states reduce government costs to more reasonable levels, residents will have more money in their pockets and fewer will be affected by the new cap on state and local tax deductions.

And, as economic studies show, states with lower tax burdens have significantly better economic outlooks, including higher growth in incomes, employment, population, gross state product, and even state and local tax revenues.

It’s time for lawmakers in high-tax states to throw in the towel on their efforts to shift their high-tax burdens onto federal taxpayers in other states, and instead focus on reducing the taxes they charge their residents.

COMMENTARY BY

Portrait of Rachel Greszler

Rachel Greszler is a senior policy analyst in economics and entitlements at The Heritage Foundation’s Center for Data Analysis. Read her research.

A Note for our Readers:

Trust in the mainstream media is at a historic low—and rightfully so given the behavior of many journalists in Washington, D.C.

Ever since Donald Trump was elected president, it is painfully clear that the mainstream media covers liberals glowingly and conservatives critically.

Now journalists spread false, negative rumors about President Trump before any evidence is even produced.

Americans need an alternative to the mainstream media. That’s why The Daily Signal exists.

The Daily Signal’s mission is to give Americans the real, unvarnished truth about what is happening in Washington and what must be done to save our country.

Our dedicated team of more than 100 journalists and policy experts rely on the financial support of patriots like you.

Your donation helps us fight for access to our nation’s leaders and report the facts.

You deserve the truth about what’s going on in Washington.

Please make a gift to support The Daily Signal.

SUPPORT THE DAILY SIGNAL

EDITORS NOTE: The featured image is of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, speaking in Harlem during the National Action Network’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day event Jan. 15, 2018. Gov. Cuomo is proposing a new payroll tax on employers rather than cutting the cost of government. (Photo: Eduardo Munoz/Reuters/Newscom)

Walgreens to Review Support for Sanctuary City Advocates

Representatives from the National Center for Public Policy Research confronted Walgreens executives at last week’s annual shareholder meeting over the company’s partnerships with left-wing activists that lobby for sanctuary city policies.

According to our research, Walgreens has supported the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) and UnidosUS, formerly known as the National Council of La Raza. In 2015, LULAC organized a letter which was signed by La Raza asking Members of Congress to oppose legislation that would compel cities and municipalities to enforce standing immigration law. LULAC has also approved a resolution in support of sanctuary cities at its annual convention. Walgreens has also partnered with the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and the National Urban League, organizations that support sanctuary city policies as well.

At the shareholder meeting, Justin Danhof, Esq., General Counsel for the National Center, submitted the following questions:

  • Does Walgreens’ support of these groups indicate that Walgreens believes states and localities can flout federal law and not turn over the names of arrested illegal immigrants to federal authorities – even if they’ve committed violent felonies?
  • Because 80 percent of Americans surely include current and potential customers, do you see any potential downside for Walgreens related to the company’s support of groups lobbying for sanctuary cities and amnesty?
  • If these groups do not represent Walgreens’ position on immigration, then why would you fund them?
  • What exactly is the company’s stance on immigration reform?

Danhof’s complete statement can be viewed here.

Walgreens Vice President for Communications and Community Affairs Chuck Greener responded to these questions saying, “Having listened to your question and the points you’ve made… we’re going to go through all of our donations and certainly take those views into consideration.”

After the meeting, Danhof released the following statement:

I am pleased Walgreens committed to reviewing its charitable giving. It’s a shame, however, that executives wanted no part in answering the substance of our question during this public meeting.

Whether its executives acknowledge it or not, Walgreens is funding radical groups lobbying for illegal sanctuary city policies. They say their charitable contributions are not intended to weaken our immigration policies, but they were quick to cut me off when I reminded them that their money is fungible. Once Walgreens donates to a charity, it has no legal right to direct the charity’s actions.

Will Walgreens review its charitable giving policies with due diligence? The company’s leadership may be best influenced by customers who don’t want their shopping dollars to fund support for sanctuary cities. The buttons below will let you contact Walgreens corporate to tell them why supporting groups like LULAC and UnidosUS are bad for business.

Make your voice heard today!

Contact Walgreens corporate!

Reach out to Walgreens on Facebook!

Help us continue holding corporations and non-profits accountable for their activism by becoming a 2ndVote Member today!

Whose to blame for the Government Shutdown? It boils down to the number “3”!

On Saturday, January 20th, 2018 at 7:44 p.m. EST House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) sent out a fundraising email titled “Paul Ryan just lied:” Rep. Pelosi wrote:

I just watched Paul Ryan blatantly lie on the House floor.

He blamed DEMOCRATS for this shutdown — and said we “refused to do our job.”

So who is right? Rep. Pelosi or Rep. Paul Ryan.

The House of Representatives passed a bill to fund the government on a continuing resolution. The bill was sent to the U.S. Senate for a vote. The U.S. Senate did not bring the bill up for a vote because a procedural motion failed to pass. Due to U.S. Senate rules the motion requires 60 votes to move the funding bill forward. The vote was 50 to 49 and the motion failed.

Who is actually responsible for this vote that stopped funding for the government? Answer: Those U.S. Senators who voted NO!

According to the vote:

  • Senator John McCain (R-AZ) DID NOT VOTE due to illness.
  • Two Independents voted NO.
  • Five Republicans voted NO.
  • Forty-two Democrats voted NO.

If all the Republicans, including John McCain, and the two Independent Senators Bernie Sanders and Angus King voted YES, the bill would still have failed on a vote of 57 to 43. Therefore, to pass the procedural motion required 3 more Senate Democrats to vote YES.

Recall when Senator John McCain was the vote that killed the repeal of Obamacare and Democrats Celebrated his stance? Well, three Democrats killed the procedural motion which lead to the current government shutdown.

Should Rep. Nancy Pelosi be pointing fingers?

It is now up to voters in those states to decide if a NO vote, and the resulting government shutdown, will become a NO vote at the polls for those U.S. Senators up for re-election in 2018 who voted NO!

For as former Speaker of the United States House of Representatives Tip O’Neill (D-MA) wrote, “All politics is local.”

ROLL CALL OF “NO” VOTES ON THE SENATE PROCEDURAL MOTION BY STATE:

Arizona
Sen. Jeff Flake, Republican: NO
Sen. John McCain, Republican: Did not vote
California
Sen. Dianne Feinstein, Democrat: NO
Sen. Kamala Harris, Democrat: NO
Colorado
Sen. Michael Bennet, Democrat: NO
Connecticut
Sen. Richard Blumenthal, Democrat: NO
Sen. Christopher Murphy, Democrat: NO
Delaware
Sen. Thomas Carper, Democrat: NO
Sen. Chris Coons, Democrat: NO
Florida
Sen. Bill Nelson, Democrat: NO
Hawaii
Sen. Mazie Hirono, Democrat: NO
Sen. Brian Schatz, Democrat: NO
Illinois
Sen. Tammy Duckworth, Democrat: NO
Sen. Dick Durbin, Democrat: NO
Kentucky
Sen. Mitch McConnell, Republican: NO
Sen. Rand Paul, Republican: NO
Massachusetts
Sen. Edward Markey, Democrat: NO
Sen Elizabeth Warren, Democrat: NO
Maryland
Sen. Ben Cardin, Democrat: NO
Sen. Chris Van Hollen, Democrat: NO
Maine
Sen. Angus King, Independent: NO
Michigan
Sen. Gary Peters, Democrat: NO
Sen. Debby Stabenow, Democrat: NO
Minnesota
Sen. Amy Klobuchar, Democrat: NO
Sen. Tina Smith, Democrat: NO
Montana
Sen. Jon Tester, Democrat: NO
New Hampshire
Sen. Maggie Hassan, Democrat: NO
Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, Democrat: NO
New Jersey
Sen. Cory Booker, Democrat: NO
Sen. Robert Menendez, Democrat: NO
New Mexico
Sen. Martin Heinrich, Democrat: NO
Sen. Tom Udall, Democrat: NO
Nevada
Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, Democrat: NO
New York
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, Democrat: NO
Sen. Chuck Schumer, Democrat: NO
Ohio
Sen. Sherrod Brown, Democrat: NO
Oregon
Sen. Jeff Merkley, Democrat: NO
Sen. Ron Wyden, Democrat: NO
Pennsylvania
Sen. Bob Casey, Democrat: NO
Rhode Island
Sen. Jack Reed, Democrat: NO
Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, Democrat: NO
South Carolina
Sen. Lindsey Graham, Republican NO
Utah
Sen. Mike Lee, Republican: NO
Virginia
Sen. Tim Kaine, Democrat: NO
Sen. Mark Warner, Democrat: NO
Vermont
Sen. Patrick Leahy, Democrat: NO
Sen. Bernie Sanders, Independent: NO
Washington
Sen. Maria Cantwell, Democrat: NO
Sen. Patty Murray, Democrat: NO
Wisconsin
Sen. Tammy Baldwin, Democrat: NO

RELATED ARTICLES: 

White House: Dems Are ‘Obstructionist Losers’ For Forcing Shutdown.

How senators voted on the government shutdown – CNN

Burdened by Debt: The Best and Worst States at Managing Debt

How does your state rank in terms of debt management? A new study by Credible exposes where people are best (and worst) at managing their credit card bills, student loan debt, and housing costs.

Read on to see how your financial profile compares to the average person in your state—and across state borders.

Key highlights

  • Michigan, Arkansas, Delaware, Kentucky, and Missouri have the highest scores in the U.S., with low debt-to-income ratios: on average, Michigan residents in this dataset spent just 25.3% of their monthly income on credit card, student loan, and housing payments—the lowest percentage in the U.S.
  • Hawaii, Washington, Colorado, Oregon, and Montana came in towards the bottom of the list with the highest average debt-to-income ratios: Residents of Hawaii spend, on average, 36.2% of their monthly paychecks on credit card, student loan, and housing payments—the highest percentage in the nation, and over 43% more than residents of Michigan
  • Monthly credit card payments were highest in Minnesota ($241/month), Hawaii ($238), Nevada ($234), New Jersey ($231), and Connecticut ($231)
  • Conversely, those in Mississippi ($154), Louisiana ($157), Washington, D.C. ($160), Arkansas ($174), and South Carolina ($181) spend the least on paying off credit card debt
  • The data showed average student loan payments to be highest in D.C., Maine, Massachusetts, Alaska, and New Jersey, and lowest in Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama, Wyoming, and North Dakota

Map: debt and income by state

Toggle through the menu below to see the overall score, average monthly credit card, student loan, and mortgage payments, and average annual income for each state.

Financial health is relative

On average, Americans included in this dataset paid $207 on their credit card debt, $370 on their student loans, and $906 on their housing each month, while taking home an average salary of $60,671.

But what’s the special sauce that makes some states’ residents so much better at debt management than others?

Well, it depends.

In Michigan, for example, cost of living plays a large role. Low average monthly housing payments relative to average income (combined with lower than average credit card and student loan payments) push the state up the rankings.

At the other end of the spectrum, some states rank lower because of particularly high payments made in one category or another.

Residents of Hawaii, for example, pay the second highest amount on monthly credit card bills and fourth highest amount on housing costs and their average income isn’t high enough to offset those costs.

$207

Average monthly credit card payment of all Americans included in this dataset

$370

Average monthly student loan payment of all Americans included in this dataset

$906

Average monthly housing payment of all Americans included in this dataset

One in five borrowers is a homeowner

Mortgage debt can increase a resident’s debt-to-income ratio. The vast majority of the 540,000 borrowers included in this analysis are not homeowners but nearly 19% have one or more mortgages.

Of that group, the average housing payment increases to $1,705, nearly double the average housing payment for all borrowers, a group that includes renters, homeowners, and people living with parents.

You are not your state

While this new ranking sheds light on how residents of various states perform in terms of debt management, keep in mind that these are average numbers — and that your debt is a personal matter.

No matter how your state ranks, find a debt payoff plan that fits your budget and lifestyle, as well as minimizes what you’ll owe in interest as you pay off each loan.

For example, balance transfer credit cards can be useful to begin paying off your credit card debt. These cards will often offer you six to 18 months of 0% APR for balance transfers, giving you some time to get your finances in order without accruing a ton of interest. If paying off credit card debt is one of your goals, Credible can help you find the best balance transfer credit cards of 2018.

Methodology

We used proprietary data from over 540,000 borrowers with student loan debt from all 50 U.S. states and D.C. to calculate average monthly credit card, student loan, and housing payments as a percentage of average monthly income. Therefore, the debt-to-income ratio we used to rank all states included credit card debt, student loan debt, and housing costs (such as rent or mortgage payments).

That percentage was then assigned a normalized score from 0-100 for each state, 0 being where debt payments are the highest percentage of monthly income, and 100 being where monthly payments are the lowest percentage of monthly income.

Full rankings and data

Connecting the Dots: How the Latest Affordable Housing Policy Benefits Homeowners and Realtors, not First-time Buyers

Tobias Peter, senior research analyst at the AEI Center on Housing Markets and Finance, wrote the following blog post: Connecting the Dots: How the Latest Affordable Housing Policy Benefits Homeowners and Realtors, not First-time Buyers.

In it he explains how “another government housing policy intended to open “the door to home purchase mortgages for large numbers of new buyers” has failed.  Instead of bringing income-constrained borrowers into the market, it making housing less affordable by adding more fuel to a national house price boom that is pricing them out of the market, while providing a windfall to home sellers and real estate agents.”


Connecting the Dots: How the Latest Affordable Housing Policy Benefits Homeowners and Realtors, not First-time Buyers

Tobias Peter (Tobias.Peter@AEI.org), Senior Research Analyst

AEI’s Center on Housing Markets and Finance

January 16, 2018

The numbers are in and yet another government housing policy intended to open “the door to home purchase mortgages for large numbers of new buyers” has failed.  Instead of bringing income-constrained borrowers into the market, it is making housing less affordable by adding more fuel to a national house price boom that is pricing them out of the market, while providing a windfall to home sellers and real estate agents.

Let’s connect the dots.  As of the weekend of July 29, 2017, Fannie Mae, one of the two government sponsored housing enterprises (GSE), started buying and securitizing many more mortgages with a debt-to-income ratio (DTI) of up to 50 percent.  The DTI measures the ratio of monthly payments to income.  The higher the ratio, the greater a borrower’s monthly debt payments and the greater a borrower’s likelihood to default.

Prior to the policy change, the large majority of Fannie borrowers were limited to a DTI of 45 percent, with only a few borrowers allowed to go as high as 50 percent with compensating factors such as a certain number of months of cash reserves or a higher down payment.  Fannie’s move thereby allowed borrowers to take on more debt relative to their income.  Freddie Mac, the other GSE, had been buying more mortgages with DTIs over 45 percent than Fannie, but it too ramped up its purchases after Fannie’s announcement as data from the AEI National Mortgage Risk Index (NMRI) show.

Sensing an opening for income-constrained borrowers to now enter the housing market, housing advocates hailed Fannie’s move as a “win for expanding access to credit.”  Yet this line of reasoning was always flawed.  Access for income-constrained borrowers already existed.  The Federal Housing Administration (FHA), another government housing entity, already guarantees loans with a DTI up to 57 percent and with less stringent credit score and down payment requirements than Fannie or Freddie ever would.  By offering this service at a lower cost to certain borrowers, Fannie’s (and Freddie’s) move thereby pitted one government guaranteed insurer of mortgages against another.

The effect of the change has been stunning since it took effect.  First, the share of Fannie borrowers with a DTI above 45 jumped 11 percentage points to 17 percent within just three months after the program’s implementation.  Yet precious few of these borrowers were new market entrants while the large majority were Fannie borrowers taking on more debt.

This is problematic.  In today’s seller’s market, prices have been rising rapidly.  The measures from a variety of sources all show prices rising 6 to 7 percent over the past year, and as much as 10 percent for entry-level homes.  DTIs function as a friction slowing the increase of house prices through binding limits.  Remove the friction and house price increases will pick up.  This happens the following way: First, income-constrained borrowers take advantage of the higher limits, as they initially no longer have to settle for lower priced homes.  Then, because supply is limited, the extra debt ends up raising prices – either directly through more aggressive bidding for houses or indirectly through appraisals when inflated home sales become comparables for other sales as our research shows.  Soon, the cycle feeds on itself and everyone, not just income-constrained borrowers, has to take on more debt.  This is exactly what happened as the NMRI data also show (see chart).

What is driving up prices so rapidly today is the combination of a seller’s market, which is now in its 63rd month, and more liberal access to credit through, for example higher DTI limits, or generally looser lending standards as documented by the NMRI.  Since 2012, national house prices have risen by around 50 percent as shown by the Case-Shiller index, but in the bottom tier of the market, where supply is more constrained and credit more liberal, prices have doubled.

And so, what started as a policy change by Fannie Mae to close the growing affordability gap has added yet more fuel to the house price boom, especially at the lower end of the market.  Thereby this policy will benefit existing homeowners, realtors, and builders, but it will hurt first-time buyers and those with limited resources as they will have to stretch further to afford homeownership or be forced to remain on the sidelines.