How Mass Schooling Perpetuates Inequality by Kerry McDonald

While visiting a public park out-of-state recently, we met a young boy who shares many interests with my 8-year-old son and is also homeschooled. They hit it off immediately and we met up with Matt, along with his mom and younger brother, several times.Schooling can bring out the worst behaviors.

We learned that life is tough for this family. Matt’s father isn’t around, and his mother struggles as a single mom supporting two young children on her own. She pulled Matt out of public school a couple of years ago feeling that it wasn’t working for him. He was labeled as hyperactive, a troublemaker, a slow reader, a kid with a temper.

As I interacted with this engaging, polite, energetic boy, it became obvious to me how mass schooling would be a terrible fit for him – a square peg in a round hole. Mass schooling was designed to crush a child’s natural exuberance and make him conform to a static set of norms and expectations.

Being Labeled a Deviant

For kids like Matt, schooling can bring out the worst behaviors. Like a trapped tiger – angry and afraid –  they rebel.

Unable to conform properly to mass schooling’s mores, they get a label: troubled, slow-learner, poor, at-risk. They will carry these scarlet letters with them throughout their 15,000 hours of mandatory mass schooling, emerging not with real skills and limitless opportunity, but further entrenched in their born disadvantage. A tiny few may succeed at overcoming these labels – a dangling carrot that sustains the opportunity myth of mass schooling – but the vast majority do not.

Monique Morris writes in her book, Pushout: The Criminalization of Black Girls in Schools: “Literature on the structure of dominance and the socially reproductive function of school tells us that schools may reinforce and reproduce social hierarchies that undermine the development of people who occupy lower societal status.”

In reference to the black girls she writes about in her book, Morris concludes that “these socially reproductive structures constitute educational experiences that guide them to, rather than direct them away from, destitution and escalating conflict with the criminal justice system.”[1]

That is why I was heartbroken to hear that Matt is going back to school in the fall.

What Do You Do With No Real Alternatives?

I understand why his mother feels she has no other choice but to send him there. She’s struggling to support her family on her own, to build a better life for her kids. It’s hard to be a single mom and to homeschool. In fact, a new homeschooling report issued last week by Boston’s Pioneer Institute for Public Policy Research shows that 90 percent of homeschoolers live in two-parent families, and they are three times more likely to have one be a stay-at-home parent. Homeschooling as a single mom is beyond hard.

But it doesn’t have to be. If Matt’s mom could enroll him in a self-directed learning center, like those scattered across the country, she could support her family and continue to homeschool Matt with a complementary learning environment that encourages freedom and autonomy and pursuit of his passions and gifts. These learning centers, where tuition is typically only a fraction of a standard private school, often rely on donations to offer sliding scale fees or scholarships.

Of course, if Matt’s mom had a voucher that could help too, not only in defraying some education costs but also in encouraging the innovation and entrepreneurship necessary to launch more of these self-directed learning centers – and other school alternatives – across the country.

Imagine if some of the over $600 billion that American taxpayers are charged each year to pay for U.S. public schools were re-allocated to create alternatives to the mass schooling monopoly. Imagine what that might do to help families like Matt’s.

Generating a Resistance to Learning

I can see the reel playing before me of Matt’s remaining years in school: the endless discipline, the daily detentions, the force-fed academics, the testing that masquerades as learning, the sadness and despair that will only be amplified now that Matt has had a taste of education freedom and autonomy. He knows how learning can be, should be, but for most children is not.

As Schooling the World documentary filmmaker, Carol Black, writes in her powerful essay:

Children’s resistance takes many forms; inattention, irritability, disruption, withdrawal, restlessness, forgetting; in fact, all of the ‘symptoms’ of ADHD are the behaviors of a child who is actively or passively resisting adult control. Once you start to generate this resistance to learning, if you don’t back away quickly, it can solidify into something very disabling.”

I hope I’m wrong. I hope school will be ok for Matt this time around. But I am not optimistic. And I am angry: angry that mass schooling is the only other option for Matt, angry because this was how the system was designed to be. Remember: Horace Mann, the proclaimed “father of American public education” who created the nation’s first compulsory schooling law in Massachusetts in 1852, homeschooled his own three children with no intention of sending them to the common schools he mandated for others.

The Pioneer Institute homeschooling report says of Mann:

This hypocrisy of maintaining parental choice for himself while advocating a system of public education for others seems eerily similar to the mindset that is so common today: Many people of means who can choose to live in districts with better schools or opt for private schools resist giving educational choices to those less fortunate.”

Matt is an important reminder for me of why I advocate so strongly for education choice and parental empowerment. He should be a reminder for all of us that mass schooling was created as a system of social control for those without privilege. If we truly care about equity we should care about choice.

[1] Morris, Monique. Pushout: The Criminalization of Black Girls in Schools. New York: The New Press, 2016, p. 188.

Reprinted from Whole Family Learning.

Kerry McDonald

Kerry McDonald

Kerry McDonald has a B.A. in Economics from Bowdoin and an M.Ed. in education policy from Harvard. She lives in Cambridge, Mass. with her husband and four never-been-schooled children. Follow her writing at Whole Family Learning.

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Trump’s Immigration Reform Fights for American Workers

Is it outlandish to say that the welfare of Americans should come before the welfare of potential immigrants in the actions of the American government?

No. Of course not.

It is reasonable, rational and what almost every other country does without all the name-calling we get from the progressive left in this country. Some European countries recently tried magnanimity over the protection and welfare of their citizens and their citizens have paid a steep and deadly price. Wrong choice.

America has been increasingly throwing the door open to wrong legal immigration in the front door, while leaving the back door unlocked for massive illegal immigration. The result has been a predictable stew: of the diminishment of American culture that was, and amazingly still is, the envy of the world; of overburdened public facilities (including hospitals and schools); of stagnant incomes; and of a growing entitlement mentality for many of those sneaking in the back door.

While the ruling amalgam of coastal elites, big businesses and Washington smarmies have enjoyed this arrangement for various reasons, most Americans have witnessed the damage in real life. This was the first and biggest issue that President Trump tapped into and that propelled his election.

He has slowly started delivering on locking the back door: Building the wall to stop the endless flow of illegal immigrants.

On Wednesday, Trump unveiled his immigration reform for the front door with U.S. Senators Tom Cotton and Dave Perdue, entitled the Reforming American Immigration for Strong Employment (RAISE) Act.

The devil is always in the details of this sort of legislation, but it is promising on the surface and it keeps another Trump promise. For all of his personal peccadilloes, the man does seem to be keeping his promises, and that’s good for the American people.

Of course the problem will be the faux Republicans in the Senate and getting past a Democratic filibuster. That will require 60 votes, but if they do, they should have to do it the old-fashioned Mr-Smith-Goes-To-Washington way — stand there and keep talking constantly.

Rightly done immigration is necessary

Immigration is a powerful engine for economic growth, but wrong immigration has been a recipe for low wages at the bottom and middle parts of the income scale, high governmental costs and faster growing wages at the top end of the scale.

And there is wrong immigration. We’ve been practicing it for decades and are reaping the results.

The unofficial, bipartisan policy of the Washington smarties the past 30 years or so has been a de facto open border with Mexico that allows somewhere between 11 million and 20 million illegal immigrants to sneak in here and work, live and enjoy the benefits of this country without assimilation or legal contribution. Talk about cultural appropriation!

However, they are allowed to keep sneaking in with a wink and a nod because politicians have opposed enforcing U.S. immigration laws — largely for their own personal, political futures. Sure, we have some fencing and a Border Patrol and we do stop some and send them back — about 250,000 annually. But even those come right back again and eventually get through. President Obama made it much easier by enacting “catch and release,” meaning we did not send them back at all, but released them into America with a promise to show up at a court date in the future. Needless to say, they didn’t, and no one expected them to anyway. It was more flouting of American law.

In the rest of the picture, we have legal immigration that takes many years and is an arduous and expensive journey. But because we are controlling it, we are getting immigrants that as a batch are more capable of not only improving their own lives, but those of other Americans.

In 2014, 29 percent of the 36.7 million immigrants ages 25 and older had a bachelor’s degree or higher, compared to 30 percent of native-born adults. While that lines up nicely with the existing American population, the bottom end still does not: 30 percent of immigrants lacked a high school diploma or GED certificate compared to 10 percent of native-born Americans.

What this overall picture shows is that we allow — legally and illegally — millions of low-end workers into the country, and that has enormous consequences for low- and middle-income Americans and eventually for economic growth. That is what is being fixed in this reform.

The “compassion” deceit

The conceit of quasi open borders is that we are a “compassionate” nation. Well yes, that is indisputable by nearly every definition of charity — at home and around the world. Of course in this case, compassion emanates from people who will never be negatively impacted by wrong immigration but will most often gain from it personally. So it’s a bit lame.

In the meantime, while letting millions of poor, unskilled, illiterate immigrants into our country may play as showing compassion toward them, it is demonstrably not showing compassion toward tens of millions of poor Americans.

Consider: Millions of uneducated, unskilled and illiterate immigrants from south of the border come to America seeking a better life — or for many, just income to send money back “home.” The economics is undeniable: Their very presence not only blocks many Americans trying to get a foothold in the workforce, but also depresses the low end of wages for those jobs.

The canard of jobs “Americans won’t do” are actually only jobs Americans won’t do at the prevailing wagesset by wrong and illegal immigration. Without all those immigrants — legal or illegal, but most are illegal — low end wages would inevitably rise to meet demand. Perhaps a lot. And that would push up middle incomes as well.

Professor George Borjas, at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, writes: “Wage trends over the past half-century suggest that a 10 percent increase in the number of workers with a particular set of skills probably lowers the wage of that group by at least 3 percent.”

That is invaluable information and explains part of wage stagnation while also explaining the big social bogeyman in American politics: income inequality. And it is due to both illegal immigration and wrong legal immigration.

The RAISE Act reforms some errors

Americans have long admired and desired merit-based systems. They understand that too often that is not the case — in unionized schools, certainly in Congress, in the welfare system.

But the remnants of rugged American individualism know that is still the right path forward. And Trump and the Senators’ plan does just that by creating a more merit-based legal immigration system.

The RAISE Act would dramatically reduce low-skilled immigration (which we already have far too much of) while overhauling the system for skilled immigration and cutting low-skilled immigration by more than 40 percent immediately. That may be more than is necessary, but those are quibbles in the big picture.

It ends the absurd “diversity” lottery to get more immigrants from countries that do not send as many — mostly from Africa. And crucially important, it eliminates most of the abused system of preferences for family members — aside from spouses, minor children and elderly parents who need care. So no more brothers, sisters, parents, aunts, uncles, cousins, the butcher, baker and candlestick maker being allowed to come in because of one person here — legally or illegally.

The RAISE Act creates a system for those seeking green cards to be awarded on the basis of employment via a new point system similar to those used in other Western countries, such as Canada and Australia. Points are earned by level of education, English fluency (yes!), their age, the salary they’ve been offered, and, if an applicant wants to bring a spouse, the spouse’s education, age, and language skills also. Further, immigrants allowed entry through the point system would not be eligible for welfare benefits for five years.

This system is obviously better for the United States and for all Americans — except maybe the wealthy and powerful who have benefited most from the current system. Whether that gives it any chance in Congress is doubtful.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in The Revolutionary Act.

Florida Ranks 33rd on Best Places to Make a Living List

Governor Rick Scott, the Florida Congressional delegation and the Florida legislature has been touting how many jobs have been created in the Sunshine state. As we have written jobs are not created by government, rather a job is created by one thing only, a profit. Allow companies to make a profit and that company will hire more people to meet demand. The question is are we creating jobs that allow our workers to make a living? A good living?

Government can help companies by cutting their taxes, reducing the regulatory burden on companies and get government out of the way of entrepreneurs.

But more is needed. New research gives Florida, and each state, an idea of the quality of jobs created in their state in 2017. Many of our contributors have argued that Florida needs to diversify its job market and attract high paying jobs. Florida’s job market is built on sand, with the majority of workers in service industries. Tourism, agriculture and construction are the top three job creators. What Florida lacks is high paying jobs in manufacturing, energy exploration, and high tech industries. A recent study shows why Florida must look beyond tourism, agriculture and construction.

Richard Barrington, Senior Financial Analyst MoneyRates.com, in an article titled, Best Places to Make a Living: MoneyRates.com Ranks the Top States wrote:

This nation has come a long way since the Great Recession, but some state economies are coming ahead farther than others. Unemployment nationally is down below 5 percent, and wages are finally starting to rise.

However, some states are grappling with unemployment rates more than twice as high as in others. The highest-paying states have median wages that are about $15,000 above those of the lowest-paying states. There are some areas where it’s not low wages that drag down the standard of living but expenses that drain savings accounts, as costs of living and/or state income tax rates are much higher than the national average. In still other cases, the risks are more tangible – a couple states have work-related health incident rates that are three times the national average.

Best and Worst States to Make a Living 2017

Best states are in blue, worst states in red.

All of these financial factors are especially important if you are thinking of moving to another state, or finding a way to jump-start your career. Are things likely to be tougher or easier if you relocate? To help you look before you leap, MoneyRates.com has assembled a list of the best and worst states to make a living.

This list is based on the following factors:

  • Cost of Living
  • Workplace safety
  • State tax burdens
  • Median wages
  • Unemployment rates

Based on a combination of the above five factors, these are the best and worst states to make a living in 2017:

Full Ranking of All 50 States

Rank State Cost of Living Index Median Income Tax Rate on Average Income Unemployment Rate Incidents/100 Workers
1 Washington 107.0 43,400 0.00% 4.7 6.6
2 Minnesota 99.8 40,100 4.15% 3.8 6.2
3 Illinois 95.2 38,270 3.54% 4.9 6.1
4 Texas 90.8 35,480 0.00% 5 7.1
5 Colorado 101.0 39,710 4.63% 2.6 6.3**
6 Wyoming 91.6 38,710 0.00% 4.5 15.5
7 Virginia 100.1 39,070 4.51% 3.8 5.4
8 Ohio 92.9 35,760 1.91% 5.1 6.8
9 Michigan 93.5 36,030 3.78% 5.1 6.5
10 Kansas 90.3 34,460 3.07% 3.8 7.6
11 Nebraska 91.2 34,890 3.19% 3.1 8.8
12 Indiana 88.8 33,790 3.13% 3.9 7.7
13 Utah 92.6 35,010 4.57% 3.1 6.7
14 Wisconsin 96.8 36,250 3.52% 3.4 7.2
15 Delaware 102.5 37,960 4.04% 4.5 4.6
16 North Dakota 94.0 39,160 0.81% 2.8 15.9**
17 Iowa 91.6 34,790 4.66% 3.1 7.8
18 Tennessee 89.7 32,800 0.00% 5.1 6.9
19 Missouri 90.7 34,230 3.86% 3.9 7.4
20 Massachusetts 127.4 46,690 4.62% 3.6 5.1
21 Arizona 98.6 35,470 2.25% 5 5.5
22 Oklahoma 88.5 33,140 3.32% 4.3 8.9**
23 Georgia 91.5 34,330 4.57% 5.1 7.4
24 Idaho 89.6 32,800 4.29% 3.5 8.2**
25 New Jersey 120.8 41,950 1.84% 4.2 5.3
26 North Carolina 94.0 33,920 4.08% 4.9 6.2
27 Alaska 131.5 47,170 0.00% 6.4 8.1
28 Pennsylvania 102.7 36,680 3.07% 4.8 6.6
29 Kentucky 90.7 33,190 4.81% 5 9.2
30 Connecticut 130.5 45,090 2.89% 4.8 6.1
31 Maryland 124.8 43,010 4.05% 4.3 5.6
32 Alabama 90.2 32,100 4.88% 5.8 6.7
33 Florida 98.3 32,790 0.00% 4.8 6.5**
34 New Hampshire 119.1 38,270 0.00% 2.8 6.1**
35 Nevada 104.4 34,510 0.00% 4.8 7.4
36 Rhode Island 122.0 39,730 2.59% 4.3 4.6**
37 Arkansas 88.4 30,130 3.56% 3.6 8.6
38 New Mexico 95.6 32,900 2.50% 6.7 7.6
39 Louisiana 94.3 32,080 2.66% 5.7 7.9
40 South Dakota 98.2 31,590 0.00% 2.8 8.3**
41 Mississippi 85.9 29,590 3.09% 5 10.2**
42 New York 130.1 42,760 4.45% 4.3 5.7
43 Maine 111.9 35,380 3.23% 3 7.4
44 South Carolina 99.4 32,140 3.19% 4.4 8.5
45 Oregon 115.3 37,990 7.82% 3.8 6.4
46 Vermont 122.3 37,920 2.58% 3 7.5
47 West Virginia 95.6 30,760 3.48% 4.9 8.4
48 Montana 100.7 32,750 3.73% 3.8 11.9
49 California 143.5 40,920 2.19% 4.9 6.0
50 Hawaii 167.1 40,030 5.80% 2.7 6.1

**Data was not available for these states for non-fatal work-related injuries and illnesses, per equivalent of 100 full-time workers so the average of all other states was used.

VIDEO: President Trump withdraws from the Paris Accord — Let the Hysteria Begin!

President Trump has kept another campaign promise. On June 1st, 2017 he formally announced that the United States is withdrawing from the Paris Agreement stating, “I was elected to represent Pittsburgh, not Paris!”

In their column 4 Reasons Trump Was Right to Pull Out of the Paris Agreement Nicolas Loris  and Katie Tubb write:

President Donald Trump has fulfilled a key campaign pledge, announcing that the U.S. will withdraw from the Paris climate agreement.

The Paris Agreement, which committed the U.S. to drastically reducing greenhouse gas emissions, was a truly bad deal—bad for American taxpayers, American energy companies, and every single American who depends on affordable, reliable energy.

It was also bad for the countries that remain in the agreement. Here are four reasons Trump was right to withdraw.

1. The Paris Agreement was costly and ineffective.

2. The agreement wasted taxpayer money.

3. Withdrawal is a demonstration of leadership.

4. Withdrawal is good for American energy competitiveness.

Read more…

PowerLine’s  Steven Hayward reporting on the President’s decision wrote:

I know what you’re thinking. How can the climatistas be any more hysterical than they already are? Is it even possible to turn it up past 11? In any case, here are a few early returns, which I’ll update as the day unfolds. (That was a great speech, by the way: “I was elected to represent Pittsburgh, not Paris.”) Hear, hear! For now, this first one is the winner (although the ACLU tweet is a close rival):

Read more…

Watch the full remarks of Vice President Pence, President Trump and the Secretary of the Environmental Protection Agency Pruitt’s comments on withdrawing from the Paris Accord:

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RELATED VIDEO: Watch Rand Paul bulldoze through each global warming talking point – TheBlaze

Yes, it is a Virtue to Reject Charity by Jeffrey A. Tucker

There is a moment I found a bit startling in the new Anne of Green Gables series on Netflix. The farm is in trouble and the bank is talking foreclosure. The family starts to panic. Anne suggests that many people will chip in and help the family through these hard times.

The mother reacts with firmness and conviction: “Absolutely not. We do not accept charity.”How old fashioned! The statement alone reveals we are talking about the past here. I vaguely recall people in my own extended family – at family reunions in West Texas, sitting around shelling peas – saying something similar. It was a matter of pride, even morality.

When was the last time you have heard that assertion? I personally can’t remember hearing that in many years.

Maybe it is time to bring back that ethos and ethic.

What we have here is a principle at work, a matter of character. Don’t live at other’s expense. Make your own way in this world. Keep your independence and retain your dignity.

Is there any virtue here? I would suggest so. It is a forgotten virtue, to be sure, but a virtue nonetheless.

Charity with Dignity

The family in the story truly needed help. Rather than beg, they gathered up many of their possessions and took them to town to sell them. Merchants had heard about the family’s need, so some actually overpaid as a way of helping without letting the family know what was going on.

This is a great way to be charitable without letting the person know about it, which is yet another expression of virtue. The Bible tells people to give unto others without letting the left hand know what the right hand is doing – which is to say, don’t congratulate yourself and likewise expect others to praise you for your generosity. This is what the neighbors did.

By the same token, the shame associated with begging is ever-present in the Bible. In the parable of the unrighteous steward, the guy complains that he is been released from his master, but he is too weak to dig and “too ashamed to beg.”

Ashamed! Can you imagine? Social welfare professionals have been trying to remove the stigma of welfare for a century. But let’s face: it will never entirely go away. That might even be a good thing.

Don’t Be a Beggar

The story of Anne is set in Canada, but the attitude behind it feels quintessentially American. It is fundamentally a character trait forged in a setting of freedom. You encounter this often in the Little House books too, this attitude that it represents something of a humiliation to accept charity from others.

Even when the opportunity is there, there once seemed to be a cultural commitment against dependency, against living off others. Think of the old term hobo. The hobo ethic was never to beg – that’s what bums do – but rather to completely avoid all forms of dependency, even the need for a comfortable bed and nice clothes, and to travel and work small jobs to get enough to live and then move on. The hobos believed that this was the only way to stay free.In the American spirit, the hobo was making a dignified choice. The bum? Never.

Even when the redistributionist state came along, the American spirit of individualism rebelled.

Rose Wilder Lane, the daughter of the author of those books, writing at the height of the New Deal, put it like this:

The spirit of individualism is still here. The number of us who have been out of work and facing actual hunger is not known; the largest estimate has been twelve million. Of this number, barely a third appeared on the reported relief rolls. Somewhere those millions in need of help, who were not helped, are still fighting through this depression on their own. Millions of farmers are still lords on their own land; they are not receiving checks from the public funds to which they contribute their increasing taxes.

Millions of men and women have quietly been paying debts from which they asked no release; millions have cut expenses to the barest necessities, spending every dime in fear that soon they will have nothing, and somehow being cheerful in the daytime and finding God knows what strength or weakness in themselves during the black nights.

Americans are still paying the price of individual liberty, which is individual responsibility and insecurity.

This view is of course routinely lampooned in the progressive press, overtly by socialists like Elizabeth Warren but implicitly in venues like the New York Times and National Public Radio. Their voices drip with disdain for what they say is the myth of “rugged individualism,” a phrase popularized at the end of the 19th century. It is the supposedly cruel and unrealistic idea that people should get by on their own wherewithal.

The idea behind this phrase is to celebrate individual achievement and to suggest that it is a compromise of your potential as a human being to expect others to care for you if it is not necessary.Too often the idea has been caricatured, at least since the New Deal sought to break down the social stigma of dependency on government. For example, maybe people associate this with selfishness. It’s not true. There is a paradox that the more independent you are, the more you are willing to step up and help others. As Lane says: “We are the kindest people on earth; kind every day to one another and sympathetically responsive to every rumor of distress. It is only in America that a passing car will stop to lend a stranded stranger a tire-tool.”

This is not living off others. This is benefitting from the kindness of others when it is necessary and helpful. You accept it because you would certainly do the same for them. And you don’t expect it from others. And you certainly don’t craft your life around the idea that everyone or anyone is morally obligated to help you when you encounter misfortune.

Help Yes, Dependency No

It’s not complicated: you accept help when necessary but don’t make a habit of it. My own mother, who comes from the stock and heritage that celebrated self-reliance, used to say to me, very simply: “never be beholden.” If you owe others, you have given up that most precious thing, your independence, which means giving up some of your freedom.

That includes owing debt. CNN reports: “Total household debt climbed to $12.58 trillion at the end of 2016, an increase of $266 billion from the third quarter, according to a report from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.” Meanwhile, 44% of Americans don’t have $400 cash that they can throw at an emergency expense.

Private creditors are bad enough. It is surely worse to be beholden to government. Right now 43 million Americans are on food stamps. That is not a mark of national pride. And this is true even in times when groceries are absurdly cheap and available by any historical standard.

Once you accept the largesse, you have a political investment in continuing it. Your loyalties gradually change.

People justify this based on observing how much they are paying into the system. It pillages them with every paycheck, so they might as well get something back. No matter how much welfare they pay in, they can never take enough out to make the bargain work out equally. For most people, this is surely true.Once you accept the largesse, you have a political investment in continuing it. Your loyalties gradually change. The state becomes your benefactor. Your sense of self reliance is compromised.

Do you see the vicious cycle? You are forced to pay in, so you have no moral resistance about taking out when the time arises. Pretty soon you find yourself part of the Bastiatian calculus: the state becomes the great fiction by which everyone tries to live at everyone else’s expense.

In service of people’s dignity, programs like food stamps ought to be abolished, as much as that would upset the corporate agricultural interests that are forever lobbying for this racket to continue.

It seems that government does everything possible to rope people into the role of dependent these days. Whether it is student loans, Obamacare, or just guilt tripping us all to love the highways and glorious national defense we get for our tax dollars, we are supposed to feel forever on the hook, forever beholden. Forever indentured.

This is not the attitude of a free people.

A Word for Individualism

To hear about “rugged individualism” is a bit strange for us today. We have a vague sense that people used to believe this. We feel mischievous even to sense that there might be a grain of truth in it. The attitude built the world’s most prosperous economy. It gave us new inventions. It created the most dynamic, thriving, progressing society in history, and this became a model for the world.

To be sure, there is often a confusion over the phrase self-reliance. It does not mean to grow your own food, make your own furniture, and walk instead of drive. It has nothing to do with the technology you use, and there is a sense in which the market and the division of labor it creates makes us all deeply dependent on each other. That is a beautiful thing.

The point is that market dependency is rooted in exchange and mutual benefit. We go into every exchange with the freedom to change our minds, and we benefit from exchange as much as the other party. We aren’t doing favors for each other. We cooperate together in our own interest.Self-reliance really means something else. It means not being on the hook for a favor someone else did you or being expected to live in a constant state of owing others for some act of benevolence on their part. It certainly rejects forcing others through the state to be productive so that you can get a free ride.

Pay Your Debts

My mother is right. It’s not good to be beholden to others. This idea was once baked into our institutions. Government had no charity to offer anyone. Your debts had to be paid. Americans didn’t rush to create the cradle-to-grave welfare state. The thing existed in Europe long before it came to our shores. Even when we created the institutions, people were reluctant to use them.

And it’s not just about the compromise of your individualism that you make when you accept welfare. It is also about the annoyance others feel when forced to pay for it. Both sides are degraded in this forced wealth transfer.

For our ancestors, it was a matter of personal character.

This is the underlying thinking behind the quote that Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged worked to forge into a life doctrine: “I swear, by my life and my love of it, that I will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for mine.”It’s best to think of that line, not as a hard religious doctrine but just very solid life advice, a good bedrock practice for how to think of yourself in relation to others. With that idea in place, all the rest of the virtues fall into place.

What Can We Do About It

The idea of rejecting charity means that you should take charge of your own life, regardless of pressures around you to do otherwise. This is possible even today. It’s true that you are forced to pay into the system. But no one is forcing anyone to take food stamps, to live on handouts, to be dependent on government programs. It’s not so easy to refuse them anymore. The struggle is real. Still, this is something you can control – unlike national politics.For our ancestors, it was a matter of personal character. It is always easier to take the more temporarily lucrative path and the safer route. Maybe you feel like a chump for turning down government money when it is so easily available. But if you relent, what are you giving up in the exchange?

We don’t need to bring back the shame that comes with living off others. Anyone who does that when it is not absolutely necessary knows in his or her heart that there is a better way. If we can choose the better path, we should.

If everyone did this, the welfare state would be de facto abolished overnight.

Jeffrey A. 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.

EDITORS NOTE: Get trained for success by leading entrepreneurs.  Learn more at FEEcon.org

EXPLAINED: The Spectacular Failure of Socialism

“The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people’s money.” – Margaret Thatcher

In full deference to the Iron Lady, that’s not the only problem. That is a functional reality that dooms socialism in action. But at its core, socialism is a violation of elemental human nature that desires to build, innovate, expand and improve life — the same nature that drives parents to be always working towards a better future for their children.

Socialism denies that elemental nature and so not only dooms itself to eventual self-destruction, but creates enormous misery enroute. This has been demonstrated in every country where it has been substantially put in place, from the Soviet Union to Cuba to Vietnam to Venezuela.

Yet for many — from college campuses to Reddit to a recent major presidential candidate — socialism still holds a dreamy-eyed allure. They passionately to angrily believe the world would be dramatically better if socialism supplanted capitalism. This defies not only human nature, but also all historical experience. And yet it persists at amazing levels.

So let’s start with defining socialism, no small task really.

“Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy, its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery.” — Winston Churchill

Socialist ideology defined

Wikipedia has a fair if somewhat dry definition of socialism, summarized as being a range of economic and social systems characterised by social ownership and control of every aspect of production. Social ownership includes public, collective, or cooperative ownership.

Means of production is the key. The means of production is essentially anything that is not human that is part of an economy. In socialism, the means of producing everything are in the hands of the “everyone.” There are no individual property rights, there is no individual ownership. Everything is owned by the collective, the hive, an economic Star Trek Borg 100 percent antithetical to the founders and the Constitution.

Socialism grew out of pre-Marxist ideologies that saw the inherent problems with feudalism. But it’s popularity exploded with Karl Marx and others as the industrial revolution took hold in the 1800s and abuses of the low-end labor pool grew exponentially at the same time wealth did. Socialism was a response to that by upending the entire system.

People power. But not person power.

Merriam-Webster defines socialism as “any of various economic and political theories advocating collective or governmental ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods.” Google defines socialism as “a political and economic theory of social organization that advocates that the means of production, distribution, and exchange should be owned or regulated by the community as a whole.”

“Democracy and socialism have nothing in common but one word, equality. But notice the difference: while democracy seeks equality in liberty, socialism seeks equality in restraint and servitude.” Alexis de Tocqueville

What it looks like in reality

The Russian Revolution of 1917 led to the largest experiment in socialism. The doey-eyed utopianism of Trotsky led to the authoritarianism of Lenin which led to the brutal tyranny of Stalin and the soul-crushing Communist Soviet Union.

That story is pretty well known but also a well-worn path for every socialist experiment, albeit it was on maybe the largest scale.

Cuba was the people’s revolution heralding in a communistic state that was ruled with an iron fist by Fidel Castro, just as Stalin, Khrushchev and the rest did in the Soviet Union. That was a thriving little island economically, but it was not hugely free and it was not a democracy. The income disparities and relative poverty in large swaths fueled Castro’s form of socialism and people followed him.

Venezuela is the most recent example. Due to its oil wealth, Venezuela had the highest per capita GDP in South America in 2005. It had not been well run and was fairly corrupt and incompetent at the government level. But it was still the best and richest in South America — a continent known for corruption and incompetence in government.

In 2005, President Hugo Chavez took the country in a deep socialist direction. He began nationalizing industries such as oil companies and the media — natural steps for socialism — and started transferring large sums to the poor. The results are truly epic. Venezuela now has a totally collapsed economy with starvation and the lack of basic infrastructure becoming more common. A failure on an amazing level.

In an explanation of Venezuela’s collapse, Bloomberg noted:

“The last years of Chavez — he died of cancer in 2013 — and the first under his handpicked successor Nicolas Maduro have been a time of unparalleled fiscal profligacy.”

But that is always the case in socialism. Massive government debt driven by a declining economy — a common side effect of socialism — and huge welfare spending generated hyper-inflation has made the country the poorest in South America. In eight years it went from the richest to the poorest by pivoting sharply to socialism.

“Socialism only works in two places: Heaven where they don’t need it and hell where they already have it.” Ronald Reagan

Capitalism’s inequality “problem”

Capitalism is duty-bound to create inequality in wealth. Some people are just great at making money. Some are great at making things. Some are clever and some are lucky. Those generally do very well in capitalism. Many others are simply hard workers and they often do well, though in more of a middle class sort of way.

Other people are bad at making money and worse at money management. Others are not clever and some are unlucky. Some are just lazy. These all do relatively poorly in capitalism.

Relatively.

The question is whether inequalities are bad if all or most boats are being lifted, just some lifted higher than others. In the United States, the poorest 10 percent of people are better off than the richest 10 percent in any third world or developing nation. But Forbes points out an Economist chart that shows that America’s poor are better off than most of Europe’s poor, including better off than in far more socialist countries such as Germany, France, Great Britain and Italy.

This is worth noting because those are considered social democratic nations, where they have heavy socialist programs but retained some capitalistic free markets, too. They are often heralded as examples for America to follow. Seems like the trade-off of inequality is worth it for the poor — unless envy trumps quality of life.

China is the largest socialist/communist country and struggled with universal poverty for decades after its revolution. But as it instituted capitalism’s free market reforms beginning in the 1980s — while retaining its authoritarianism, and socialist structure in name anyway — China’s economy began booming and is now second only to the United States. Capitalism did that. But it also created the inevitable inequalities.

Vietnam became socialist/communist after the Vietnam War. The country was already a disaster from the long war, but socialism provided no means for pulling it out. In recent years, the leadership has instituted more capitalist-based market reforms, a la China. That has begun creating more wealth for the country, but it is mostly flowing into a few hands — starting with those most connected to government leadership.

So capitalism works everywhere to generate more wealth. But it will always be unequal. Socialism equalizes, but does so by making everyone but those in charge poorer.

“Socialism in general has a record of failure so blatant that only an intellectual could ignore or evade it.” Thomas Sowell

What it might look like in America

Long food lines in Venezuela.

What happened in Venezuela is instructive, because it is similar to Cuba and even the Soviet Union, although every situation will have its unique dynamics.

In a hint of what socialism would look like in the United States, Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, undoubtedly the most well-known American socialist, laid out his initial steps for making America more socialist. During the 2016 campaign, Sanders promised $15 trillion to pay for a Single-Payer Healthcare program, expand Social Security and make tuition free at all public universities.

To pay for it — and this is where Thatcher is just so right — Sanders would dramatically increase taxes by trillions of dollars. In fact, he expected tax increases to pay for all of the nationalized healthcare plan. That’s just taking other people’s money on a more massive scale.

Sanders’ proposals were only a small step toward full-blown utopian socialism. A totally predictable outcome would be that the high taxes would start slowing the economy, necessitating more tax increases, which would further slow the economy. You see the spiral.

The tax increases would never keep up with the expenses being run up in national healthcare, free college, expanded Social Security and the host of further steps that would ultimately be taken. The United States would not be immune to the immutable laws of economics and human nature. Eventually, we would succumb as has every other nation.

Socialism is a siren song to the idealistic, the frustrated and the naive. But it is a fool’s errand.

Socialism’s end is the proverbial pack of wolves and a sheep deciding what’s for dinner. There is a new sheep member each dinner until there are no more sheep, and the wolves starve.

And you have Venezuela. Or Cuba. Or Vietnam. Or the Soviet Union.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in The Revolutionary Act.

Temporary refugees taking jobs from Americans sent $1.3 billion back to Haiti in 2015

Steve Forester

Steve Forester

At first I didn’t think they were going to get to the crux of the matter when Tucker Carlson last night grilled Steve Forester, an attorney for the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti, about the upcoming Trump decision about whether to extend Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Haiti (we mentioned it here the other day).

At first they beat around the bush on whether there were any criminals in the Haitian population living legally (temporarily!) in the US, but with continued questioning Forester finally mentioned the ‘R-word’—remittances!

The 50,000 or so Haitians who got in to the US (mostly illegally) prior to the earthquake of 2010 were given a temporary amnesty to stay and work in America and according to Forester in 2015 alone sent $1.3 billion American dollars back to their home country.  That money is propping up Haiti and Forester says the country will be destabilized if those ‘temporary’ legal workers are returned to Haiti!

However, the question I have is: so what about the fact that that money is now lost to the US economy? And are those Haitian workers taking jobs Americans can do (or legal refugees might do).

You know I mostly write about the UN/US Refugee Admissions Program where of course refugees are also sending billions ‘home,’ but it’s important for you to know about the many other programs for legal immigration, like TPS and the ‘Diversity Visa Lottery’ I told you about here the other day.

Disney wants the Haitian workers!

Forester told Tucker there were 50,000 Haitians here enjoying temporary protected status and have been here 7-15 years. I think Forester completely lost the audience (and Tucker) when he got to his final argument—Disney would lose 500 workers if TPS is not extended—instead of continuing his ‘humanitarian’ shtick.

Tucker commented that maybe Disney would have to pay higher wages to hire new (American) workers!

Watch the whole interview starting at 22:49 and ending at around 28:43.  You might want to watch the segment prior to the Haiti piece about how Mexicans aren’t too happy with all the Central Americans parked in their country who are no longer headed to the US border!

I have a category on Haiti here, with 56 previous posts!

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Useful Idiots: American Workers Protesting Trump’s Immigration Policies

The first day of May is also known as “May Day” a day that brings out demonstrators around the world to ostensibly support workers around the world.

On May 1, 2017 supposedly pro-labor demonstrations were carried out around the United States purportedly to defend workers’ rights, wages and working conditions.  In some instances the May Day demonstrations became “Mayhem” demonstrations with participants rioting and destroying property.

Incredibly, in addition to demanding better wages and working conditions, these same demonstrators and rioters demanded an end to the Trump administration’s immigration policies and efforts to effectively and fairly enforce our immigration laws.

In point of fact, President Trump’s immigration policies are pro-labor and pro-American.

The demonstrators apparently don’t understand the principle of “Supply and Demand” and that flooding the labor pool with millions of foreign workers suppresses wages and working conditions and also results in American and lawful immigrant workers being displaced by foreign workers.

cair seiu logosToday all too many Americans have fallen victim to the massive fraud campaign that has been foisted on Americans by politicians and a laundry list of special interest groups including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and labor unions such as the SEIU (Service Employees International Union). that are literally and figuratively “making out like bandits” by exploiting the immigration system.

These unions are betraying America and their members, seeking to flood America with foreign workers whom they seek to enroll as dues paying members.  More members provides unions with more political leverage and more money in the form of dues.

As for the notion that “immigrants” need protection from federal immigration law enforcement personnel is utterly fatuous and is part and parcel of the Orwellian Newspeak tactic of the open-borders / immigration anarchists begun when President Jimmy Carter insisted that illegal aliens be referred to as “undocumented immigrants.”

Demanding protection for immigrants is not unlike the rhetoric of President George W. Bush who attempted to create a Guest Worker Amnesty program for illegal aliens to provide them with lawful status.  Back then I said that Bush’s offer to make immigrants legal was as absurd as offering to make water wet.

Water is already wet and immigrants are already legal.

Simply stated, Bush wanted to legalize illegal aliens through an amnesty program even though he knew that the Reagan amnesty that was an integral part of the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 was a disaster that ultimately led to the greatest influx of illegal aliens in the history of the United States.

Today President Trump’s immigration policies which stand out in stark contrast to the policies of Both Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, employers are whining that they have to “resort” to hiring Americans.

Under our immigration laws Americans are supposed to get first crack at jobs and not be the employees of last resort.

By now most Americans have heard about the H-1B Visa Program that enables highly skilled nonimmigrant workers to be employed in the United States.  Another category of temporary work visa is the H-2B visa for Temporary Non-Agricultural Workers.

These visas are issued to aliens to work at non-agricultural jobs such as cooks, waiters/waitresses and hotel workers provided that these foreign workers don’t displace American workers or harm the wages and working conditions of Americans who are similarly employed.

On April 28, 2017 the Bangor Daily News reported, Amid foreign worker shortage, Bar Harbor businesses turn to local labor.

Consider this excerpt from the article:

“There are people who have come here year after year after year and worked in the same restaurants as cooks, as waiters, as whatever is needed, and they’re like family. And now for the first time, it’s uncertain that they’ll be able to come back,” says Bar Harbor Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Martha says that’s why the chamber is holding a job fair Saturday, hoping to attract significant numbers of workers from the area and the region to fill a long list of openings.

The article went on to note:

“The best thing that can happen right now is for the administration to do an audit of how many of these visas are actually being used, because the indications are that the visas are taken out early in this sort of deadline process and a lot of them never get used,” he says. “So if we can determine — and the administration can do this very quickly — which ones haven’t been used, that would open up an allocation that would be available to our businesses for this summer.”

Until then, Bar Harbor area employers are enticing workers in other ways. Higher wages are part of the solution. Searchfield says some businesses are also weighing new schedules that might appeal to older workers in the region, interested in working only a day or two each week.

It is important to focus on the statement that “Higher wages are part of the solution.”

According to requirements of the H-2B visa program, as posted on the official USCIS website, an element of this program requires that:

  • There are not enough U.S. workers who are able, willing, qualified, and available to do the temporary work.
  • Employing H-2B workers will not adversely affect the wages and working conditions of similarly employed U.S. workers.
  • Its need for the prospective worker’s services or labor is temporary, regardless of whether the underlying job can be described as temporary.

It it would appear that American workers are available since employers are now seeking to hire Americans and would likely have to raise wages in order to do so.

Clearly these employers have been gaming the H-2B visa program which requires that visas should only be issued when American workers are not available to do the work.  Furthermore, it is obvious that unscrupulous employers have also used the H-2B visa to suppress wages inasmuch as the article noted that in order to hire Americans wages would have to be increased.

To put it succinctly, the immigration policies of the Trump administration are actually meeting the demands of the protestors, freeing up jobs for Americans and, at the same time, increasing wages.

Yet the May Day “Mayhem” protestors who profess that they are fighting for better wages and working conditions even as they protest President Trump’s effective and beneficial immigration policies.

Of course not all of the demonstrators are motivated by the same factors.  Some, particularly those who went on a rampage are likely anarchists who are looking for opportunities to justify their aggressive actions.

There are, however, undoubtedly some naive folks who have been caught up in the rhetoric about how the Trump immigration policies are “Anti-Immigrant” when, in reality, the only aliens who have to fear arrest are those who are present in the United States in violation of our laws.

I recently wrote, an extensive article, “Immigration Fraud: Lies That Kill – 9/11 Commission identified immigration fraud as a key embedding tactic of terrorists,” in which I not only explored the two traditional forms of immigration fraud- fraudulent documents and fraud schemes such as marriage fraud, visa fraud and political asylum fraud, but also looked at the fraud perpetrated upon Americans by politicians, pollsters and special interest groups.

It is likely that a significant percentage of the protestors have been snookered by these open borders fraudsters.

These protestors should consider that the exhortations of the SEIU and other unions parallel the open borders demands of the United States Chamber of Commerce, one of the most anti-American and anti-labor special groups in the United States today

It is, for example, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce that has been responsible for the continual increase in the number of Visa Waiver Countries since the terror attacks of September 11, 2001 even though the Visa Waiver Program violates the findings and recommendations of the 9/11 Commission.

My article, Immigration Failure By Design– Immigration Failure By Design– Doing the bidding of the Open Borders anarchists, lays out the way that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, motivated by blind and unbridled greed has applied extreme pressure upon our government to endanger national security and public safety by expanding this dangerous program.

One of the key goals of the globalist U.S. Chamber of Commerce is to flood America with a limitless supply of cheap exploitable labor by opening our borders to foreign workers.

This precisely parallels the cries for open borders and Sanctuary Cities by the leaders of the SEIU and other such unions.

Apparently, as the memorable saying in the film, “Cool Hand Luke” starring Paul Newman goes, “What we have here is a failure to communicate.”

If only the mainstream media would tell the truth, perhaps the protestors wouldn’t have bothered to demonstrate, except, perhaps to demonstrate on behalf of President Trump’s immigration policies.

RELATED ARTICLE: San Francisco Chronicle Admits: Some Anti-Trump Protesters are Paid – Breitbart

What Eastern Europe Can Teach Cuba and Venezuela by Daniel J. Mitchell

It appears that Venezuela is on the brink of collapse as it enters the fourth circle of statist hell.

And the death of Cuba’s long-time dictator gives hope that the people of that island nation may soon escape communist tyranny.

Moreover, one certainly hopes that the lunatic leadership of North Korea’s brutal regime won’t last forever.

Let’s cross our fingers that these evil governments will soon lose power. But that’s only the first step. We also need to think about the policies that would enable these nations to undo the damage of pervasive socialism.

We can learn some lessons by looking at the experience of post-communist nations in Eastern Europe, which is a topic I addressed in the latest edition of The Conservative, which is the quarterly magazine published by the Alliance of Conservatives and Reformers in Europe.

I started the article with some broad observations about grim political and economic impact of communism.

Communism was an awful system for people trapped behind the Iron Curtain. The political cost was enormous. Personal rights and individual liberties were sacrificed to protect the power of the state. Human rights were abused, dissidents were imprisoned, and some were even killed. Communism also imposed huge economic costs. Collectivized agriculture, central planning, price controls, and government-run industries were among the policies that resulted in a debilitating misallocation of resources. And because labor and capital were poorly utilized, living standards lagged far behind western nations.

That was the bad news.

The good news is that the Soviet Empire collapsed, the Berlin Wall was dismantled, and democratic forms of government are now the norm in Eastern Europe.

But good news isn’t perfect news. Nations that emerged from the Soviet Bloc are still economic laggards. And if you dig into the latest version of Economic Freedom of the World, a big problem is that post-communist nations have not been very successful in defending property rights and implementing the rule of law.

Establishing genuine capitalism, though, has been a bigger challenge. Part of the problem is policy. And to be more specific, data from the Fraser’s Institute’s Economic Freedom of the World shows that the major difference today between Western Europe and Eastern Europe (nations that were part of the Soviet Bloc) is that the former get much better scores for “Legal System and Property Rights.” Indeed, the average ranking of Western European nations is 20.6 (with 1 being the best) while the average ranking of Eastern European countries is 67.1 (Economic Freedom of the World ranks 159 jurisdictions).

Here’s a graph comparing Western European nations with Eastern European nations.

As you can see, this is an area where Western Europe leads the world. Nordic nations tend to be at the very top of the rankings (thus helping to offset bad fiscal policy in those countries), and other countries in the region also are highly ranked (though a few countries in the region, such as Italy and Greece, don’t get good scores).

Eastern European countries, by contrast, don’t do well. There’s a significant gap when looking at average scores. Indeed, only Estonia ranks in the top 25.

And bad scores in this category are akin to putting a house on a foundation of sand. Other policies may create a house that looks very nice, but it probably won’t last very long on the unstable foundation.

And speaking of other policies, post-communist nations have better fiscal policy than the countries from Western Europe. Or, to be more accurate, they have less-worse fiscal policy.

If you examine the overall ratings for “Size of Government,” Eastern European nations actually are ranked significantly better, with an average ranking of 89.2 compared to 129.2 for Western European countries. This is because tax rates tend to be lower (many former Soviet Bloc nations have flat tax regimes, for instance) and welfare states aren’t as burdensome.

As I already hinted, doing “significantly better” on fiscal policy than Western Europe does not mean Eastern Europe has good fiscal policy.

Indeed, an average ranking of 89 means that most Eastern European nations are in the bottom half of the world.

So while it’s good that some Eastern European nations have flat taxes, that’s not an economic elixir if there are very high payroll taxes, stifling value-added taxes, and onerous energy taxes.

And since the burden of government spending is extremely onerous in Western Europe, it’s hardly an impressive achievement that Eastern Europe ranks slightly higher.

Though there’s one aspect of fiscal policy where the post-communist countries are lagging their neighbors to the west.

…if you dig into the details and examine the various components that determine “Size of Government,” there’s one area where Eastern Europe lags. The numbers for “Government Enterprises and Investment” are better in Western Europe. …In other words, politicians play too large a role in the allocation of capital in former communist nations.

To put that message in blunter terms, there’s too much cronyism in Eastern Europe.

So long as politicians can directly (state-owned enterprises) or indirectly (handouts, subsidies, and bailouts) provide favors and tilt the playing field, the enriching forces of private markets will be stunted.

Which is why I shared this conclusion in my article.

The bottom line is that post-communist nations need to choose genuine capitalism if they want a brighter future for their citizens.

If you want to close with some good news, I did point out in the article that there are some bright spots in the region, especially Estonia, though Poland also has made big progress.

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.

Brexit Group calls for ‘five-year ban on unskilled workers’ immigrating

Brexit group Leave Means Leave says the measures will help migration back to levels last seen in the 1990s and finally hit the failed Tory target of tens of thousands. The group… says Brexit provides a “golden opportunity” to stem immigration at last.

This would be a good start for Britain, yet while the main concern discussed there about migration is the economy, let’s not forget the politically incorrect truth about the threat of jihad terrorism from Muslim migrants and the shocking sex assaults on up to a million British girls by Muslim grooming gangs, which led Rotherham’s Labour MP Sarah Champion to describe the situation as a “national disaster” and “demanding a taskforce to fight the horror.” But news about all that has gone rather quiet. This is no surprise, since many reports failed to even mention that Muslims were involved, while others were blunt in stating that “white girls are seen as easy meat by Pakistani rapists,” as also reported here and here.

“Call for new migrant freeze: UK ‘needs five-year ban on unskilled workers to hit targets’”, by David Maddox, Express, April 10, 2017:

Brexit group Leave Means Leave says the measures will help migration back to levels last seen in the 1990s and finally hit the failed Tory target of tens of thousands.

The group, backed by former Cabinet ministers as well as 15 Tory MPs, says Brexit provides a “golden opportunity” to stem immigration at last.

It is particularly concerned about unskilled labour which pressure group Migration Watch claims makes up 80 per cent of existing EU incomers.

The blueprint for “fair” immigration has been drawn up by former UKIP leadership candidate Steven Woolfe.

He wants to see the introduction of a “British working visa system” and have Parliament vote each year on a figure for net migration.

Many pro-Brexit supporters were angered last week when the Prime Minister hinted that free movement from the EU could continue for years into an “implementation period” after leaving in 2019.

In a speech introducing his findings today Mr Woolfe, now an independent, says Britain needs an immigration system that is “fair in its outlook, flexible in practice and forward-thinking for our economy.

“It won’t mean pulling up the drawbridge as we will continue to encourage the best and the brightest to migrate and settle here.

“But by introducing strict controls, an annual cap and a five-year freeze on unskilled migrants, it will reduce net migration year on year, lessen the strain on our public services and help build a more cohesive society”.

His report states that a five-year freeze on unskilled migrants would significantly reduce immigration from its current level of 273,000 a year.

Work permits would only be granted if the applicant had a job offer with a minimum £35,000 salary, had passed an English test, signed a five-year private health insurance contract and could show savings in the bank.

Among the other recommendations is a proposal to combine work visas with an Australian style points system aimed at judging the annual immigration need for different parts of the UK and different sectors.

It also urges the Government not to give preferential treatment to EU citizens as part of a deal for leaving the failed economic bloc.

He wants those in the UK to be allowed to stay but anybody who arrived after March 29, the day Article 50 was triggered, should not have the same rights.

The report says there should be no cap on highly skilled workers, entrepreneurs, investors or those in the highly skilled top category, or restrictions on students.

It also wants a new body set up to assess NHS needs and ensure it is fully staffed. Former Tory minister Sir Gerald Howarth described the report as “thoughtful, measured and constructive”…..

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Crack in Democrat Party: ‘Islamic Supremacists’ fighting ‘Union Infidels’

In the Daily Caller article Influential Muslim Group Fights Employees Over Efforts To Unionize by Ted Goodman it appears that two pro-Democrat organizations are fighting one against the other. This is a classic battle between the Muslim lead Islamic supremacist organization Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) and the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). Both CAIR and SEIU have historically supported the Democrat Party (go here and here).

Is this a crack in the Democrat base – the Muslim versus the non-Muslim (infidel)?

Goodman reports:

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), an influential Muslim advocacy group, is fighting efforts by the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) to unionize its staff.

SEIU Local 500, which represents 20,000 teachers, health care workers and non-profit employees in Washington, D.C. and Maryland, submitted union authorization cards that were filled out by over half of CAIR’s eligible staff, Christopher Honey, communications director for SEIU Local 500 told The Daily Caller News Foundation Tuesday.

CAIR appealed to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), according to the Washington Examiner, arguing that it is a religious organization and therefore exempt from the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). Congress passed the NLRA in 1935, which protected the rights of employees to organize under a union but included exemptions, including one for religious organizations.

The NLRB’s Region 05 rejected CAIR’s argument Friday, asserting the the group is primarily a civil rights organization, not a religious one. The NLRB also set April 24 as the date for employees to vote on whether or not to join the SEIU Local 500 chapter.

Read more…

According to Discover the Networks:

CAIR was co-founded in 1994 by Nihad Awad, Omar Ahmad, and Rafeeq Jaber, all of whom had close ties to the Islamic Association for Palestine (IAP), which was established by senior Hamas operative Mousa Abu Marzook and functioned as Hamas’ public relations and recruitment arm in the United States. Awad and Ahmad previously had served, respectively, as IAP’s Public Relations Director and President. Thus it can be said that CAIR was an outgrowth of IAP.

CAIR opened its first office in Washington, DC, with the help of a $5,000 donation from the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development (HLF), a self-described charity founded by Mousa Abu Marzook.

CAIR is a Hamas (Muslim Brotherhood) affiliated organization. The United Kingdom designated the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) a terrorist organization in 2015. Lead by Senator Ted Cruz, legislation has been introduced by the U.S. Congress to also designate the MB a terrorist organization, which would in effect designate CAIR because of its ties to Hamas, a terrorist organization.

Discover the Networks reports the following about SEIU:

Designated as a “527 organization,” SEIU in 2003 became a national partner in the America Votes (AV) coalition. AV, in turn, belongs to the so-called Shadow Democratic Party, a nationwide network of leftwing unions, activist groups, and think tanks engaged in supporting the Democrats. To view SEIU’s fellow partners in America Votes, click here.

[ … ]

A noteworthy affiliate of SEIU is its powerful and militant, New York City-based Local 1199, which has more than 300,000 members and is the world’s largest union local. Sixteen years after its 1932 founding, 1199 was investigated by the House Un-American Activities Committee on suspicion of Communist “infiltration.” When the Communist Party USA (CPUSA) split in 1991, several officials of Local 1199 took many comrades with them into the breakaway group, the Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism. One of those officials, Rafael Pizarro, also went on to help establish the New Party, a socialist organization that Barack Obama would join in 1995. At a March 2007 meeting, 1199’s executive vice president Steve Kramer spoke enthusiastically about the role which CPUSA had played in building up his union.

[ … ]

In November 2003, SEIU dispatched thousands of volunteers to work on the presidential campaign of Howard Dean. After Dean dropped out of the race in early 2004, Andrew Stern played a major role in persuading the Democratic nominee, John Kerry, to select John Edwards as his running mate. By June 2004, SEIU had already committed $65 million to voter-registration, voter-education, and voter-mobilization initiatives on behalf of the Kerry-Edwards campaign. Moreover, the union pledged to assign 50,000 of its members as get-out-the-vote “volunteers” just prior to, and on, election day.

[ … ]

In 2008, SEIU spent approximately $60.7 million to help elect Barack Obama to the White House, deploying some 100,000 pro-Obama campaign volunteers who “knocked on 1.87 million doors, made 4.4 million phone calls … and sent more than 2.5 million pieces of mail in support of Obama.” During his campaign, Obama told an SEIU audience: “Your agenda has been my agenda in the United States Senate…. Just imagine what we could do together…Imagine having a president whose life’s work was your work…” After Obama’s election, the SEIU became an enormously influential force in his administration: and to SEIU.

Read more…

It appears the red (Communist)/green (Islamist) alliance may be splitting on ideological grounds?

Unionizing CAIR would empower its predominantly Muslim employees to dictate working conditions to its Islamic supremacist superiors. We shall see how this turns on on April 24th, 2017 when the employees vote on becoming members of SEIU.

The Return of the Shale Boom

The shale boom is back.

After a decrease in shale oil production in 2016 we’re seeing an upswing in 2017:

The Energy Information Administration on Monday said it expects an increase in domestic shale-oil production to nearly 5 million barrels a day for April, which would be the highest monthly level in roughly a year.

The EIA offered forecasts for a climb from seven major U.S. shale producers by 109,000 barrels a day to 4.962 million barrels a day in April from March, according to the agencies monthly Drilling Productivity Report.

EIA: Monthly oil production by basin.
Source: Energy Information Administration.

Improved Efficiency

During the two-year span of falling oil prices, companies retooled. By employing new technology and rethinking the fracking process, they became more efficient and lowered their “brake-even price,” the lowest oil can be for a producer to recoup its costs.

When oil prices rebounded, companies took advantage and ramped up production.

Big Oil Finds in Texas and Alaska

In addition, as technology and techniques to find and get shale oil continue to advance, more areas become commercially available for production.

For instance, late last year, a massive oil and natural gas field was found in Texas:

Geologists say a new survey shows an oilfield in west Texas dwarfs others found so far in the United States, according to the US Geological Survey.

The Midland Basin of the Wolfcamp Shale area in the Permian Basin is now estimated to have 20 billion barrels of oil and 1.6 billion barrels of natural gas, according to a new assessment by the USGS.

That makes it three times larger than the assessment of the oil in the mammoth Bakken formation in North Dakota.

The estimate would make the oilfield, which encompasses the cities of Lubbock and Midland — 118 miles apart — the largest “continuous oil” discovery in the United States, according to the USGS.

And Alaska could be the next fracking frontier:

A pioneer of the U.S. shale revolution wants to take fracking to America’s final frontier. Success could help revive Alaska’s flagging oil fortunes.

Paul Basinski, the geologist who helped discover the Eagle Ford basin in Texas, is part of a fledgling effort on Alaska’s North Slope to emulate the shale boom that reinvigorated production in the rest of the U.S. His venture, Project Icewine, has gained rights to 700,000 acres inside the Arctic Circle and says they could hold 3.6 billion barrels of oil, rivaling the legendary Eagle Ford.

[ … ]

The companies’ first well, Icewine 1, confirmed the presence of petroleum in the shale and found a geology that should be conducive to fracking, Basinski said. Their second well, due to be drilled in the first half of 2017, will fracture a small section of that range and see how readily the oil flows.

“We don’t know what we have yet,” said Michael McFarlane, Burgundy’s president. “We know that the shale has sourced a tremendous amount of oil, but is it commercial? That’s a question that we haven’t answered yet.”

If companies can figure out how to safely get and transport shale oil at a cost that makes business sense, we’ll see it come to market.

Great for U.S. Companies and Workers

Rising domestic energy production is great news for U.S. companies and workers.

Even with the fall in oil prices in the last few years, since President Barack Obama lifted the oil export ban in 2015, exports have surged. As production increases, there will be more opportunity for American workers to satisfy overseas energy appetites.

Abundant shale energy is also good for manufacturing. ExxonMobil recently announced $20 billion in manufacturing investments that will create 45,000 jobs.

After some dark times, it’s looking brighter for American shale energy.

UPDATE: Check out this fascinating 360-degree video from a drilling rig in Texas’ Permian Basin.

MORE ARTICLES ON: ENERGY

RELATED ARTICLES:

More Evidence that the Energy Revolution has Sparked a Manufacturing Renaissance in the U.S. by Karen Alderman Harbert

How to Think About NAFTA as the U.S.-Mexico Energy Landscape Changes by Sean Hackbarth

EDITORS NOTE: An oil rig worker in the Permian basin outside of Midland, Texas. Photo credit: Brittany Sowacke/Bloomberg

Breitbart: Refugees cost taxpayers BILLIONS each year

While bringing refugees to the US from certain parts of the world poses a security risk for America, often forgotten is the huge cost to US taxpayers (federal, state and local) of placing them in communities already loaded with poor people, a practice the mayor of Springfield, Mass. recently pointed out.

domenic-sarno

Democrat Domemic Sarno, Mayor Springfield, Massachusetts.

And, before the refugee industry starts shouting about the fact that some refugees ultimately pay taxes, in reality very few even reach the income threshhold to pay taxes and many who make small amounts of income can actually file to get money back from the government through earned income tax credits while not ever having paid in anything.

The Democrat mayor of Springfield, Mass recently said that the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program concentrates “poverty on top of poverty!

Here is Michael Patrick Leahy at Breitbart in an article entitled: ‘Refugees Will Cost Taxpayers an Estimated $4.1 Billion in FY 2017’ says:

American taxpayers will spend more than $4.1 billion in the 2017 budget to support the 519,018 refugees who have been resettled by the federal government in the United States since October 2009, according to a cost estimate by Breitbart News.

To put that very large number in context, $4.1 billion can buy 10,677 new homes for $384,000 each, which is the average price of a new home sold in the United States in December 2016. Or it could buy 170,124 new autos for $24,100 each, which is the manufacturer’s suggested retail price for a 2017 Chevrolet Malibu.

Even if the Trump administration were to entirely shut down the flow of refugees into the United States in FY 2018 and beyond, the refugees who have already arrived in the country will cost at least another $3.5 billion in 2018, and about $2 billion to $3 billion annually thereafter until FY 2022 and beyond.

Here is one of several useful charts prepared by Leahy. This summarizes the COST PER REFUGEE:

screenshot-323

For more fun with numbers, continue reading here.

Where is Congress?

Donald Trump can cut the numbers arriving in the US while he is in office and can tinker with the regulations, but unless Congress grows a spine and reforms this out-of-control federal program, in 4 or 8 years we will go back to a wide open spigot! There is a limit to what can be done with a phone and a pen as Obama learned the hard way.

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WSJ explains (sort of) what that March 3rd date means for slowing U.S. refugee admissions

Visualizing the Flow of Asylum Seekers Into the Industrialized World

Based on data from the UN Refugee Agency, approximately 4.4 million asylum applications were submitted to 44 industrialized countries between 2013 and 2016. The map below shows the flow of these asylum seekers from their country of origin to the country in which they applied for asylum. Each point represents 500 asylum seekers.

To navigate around the map with a mouse:

  • Pan: left mouse button + drag
  • Rotate: right mouse button + drag
  • Zoom: both buttons + drag / two-finger touchpad scroll

Full screen version / Youtube video

Asylum seeker vs refugee

An asylum seeker is someone who has requested sanctuary from persecution in their home country. If the request is granted, the asylum seeker then becomes a refugee. In some cases, a host country may not have a formal process for evaluating asylum requests for all migrants crossing its border seeking refuge, in which case these displaced persons become “prima facie” refugees.

The map above displays the flow of asylum seekers into industrialized nations, which makes up only a small piece of the global refugee crisis. As of the end of 2015, there were about 16 million refugees globally, and a much larger number of displaced persons who did not qualify as refugees under the U.N. statue.

The countries hosting the largest number of refugees are all in the developing world. No industrialized nation features in the top 10.

Which countries host the largest refugee populations?

This map shows how the world’s 16 million refugees are distributed by country. To take a closer look, see the interactive map.

refugees map

The seven largest refugee populations are in Turkey, Pakistan, Lebanon, Iran, Ethiopia, Jordan, and Kenya, respectively. Together they host more than half the world’s refugees.

Credit:

My latest project is launching soon: Blueshift, a platform for designing and publishing dynamic maps for the web. If you’d like to give it a try, request a pre-launch invitation.

DeVos Confirmed: Everything They Said about Her Is False by James Agresti

Betsy DeVos has been confirmed as Secretary of Education, but just barely. In the course of the hearings, outrageous claims were made about her views. Most originated from the public school industry itself, which is clinging to old forms for dear life. The result has been nothing but confusion. Let’s look more carefully.

In an op-ed for the New York Times, U.S. Senator Maggie Hassan (D-NH) alleges that she is voting against Betsy DeVos for Secretary of Education because:

  • DeVos opposes policies that allow “our young people, all of them, to participate in our democracy and compete on a fair footing in the workforce.”
  • DeVos supports “voucher systems that divert taxpayer dollars to private, religious and for-profit schools without requirements for accountability.”
  • “The voucher programs that Ms. DeVos advocates leave out students whose families cannot afford to pay the part of the tuition that the voucher does not cover; the programs also leave behind students with disabilities because the schools do not accommodate their complex needs.”

Each of those claims is belied by concrete facts, and Hassan is guilty of most of the charges she levels at DeVos. Also, Hassan sent her own daughter to a private school, an opportunity that she would deny to other children.

A Fair Footing

Under the current U.S. education system, the quality of students’ schooling is largely determined by their parents’ income. This is because wealthy parents can afford to send their children to private schools and live in neighborhoods with the best public schools. Such options narrow as income declines, and the children of poor families—who are often racial minorities—typically end up in the nation’s worst schools.

Contrary to popular perception, funding is not the primary cause of differences between schools. Since the early 1970s, school districts with large portions of minority students have spent about the same amount per student as districts with fewer minorities. This is shown by studies conducted by the left-leaning Urban Institute, the U.S. Department of Education, Ph.D. economist Derek Neal, and the conservative Heritage Foundation.

Moreover, contrary to the notion that certain minorities are intellectually inferior, empirical and anecdotal evidence suggests that with competent schooling, people of all races can excel. For example, in 2009, Public School 172 in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, New York, had:

  • a mostly Hispanic population.
  • one-third of the students not fluent in English and no bilingual classes.
  • 80% of the students poor enough to qualify for free lunch.
  • lower spending per student than the New York City average.
  • the highest average math score of all fourth graders in New York City, with 99% of the students scoring “advanced.”
  • the top-dozen English scores of all fourth graders in New York City, with 99% of students passing.

These and other such results indicate that school quality plays a major role in student performance. Hassan and other critics of school choice are keenly aware of this, as evidenced by the choices they make for their own children. For example, Obama’s first Education Secretary, Arne Duncan, stated that the primary reason he decided to live in Arlington, Virginia, was so his daughter could attend its public schools. In his words:

That was why we chose where we live, it was the determining factor. That was the most important thing to me. My family has given up so much so that I could have the opportunity to serve; I didn’t want to try to save the country’s children and our educational system and jeopardize my own children’s education.

Duncan’s statement is an admission that public schools in the D.C. area often jeopardize the education of children, but he would not let this happen to his child. Few parents have the choice that Duncan made because most cannot afford to live in places like Arlington, where the annual cash income of the median family is $144,843, the highest of all counties in the United States.

Other prominent opponents of private school choice—like Barack Obama, Joe Biden, and Bill Clinton—personally attended and also sent their own children to private K-12 schools. Likewise, Hassan’s daughter attended an elite private high school (Phillips Exeter Academy) where Hassan’s husband was the principal.

The existing U.S. education system does not provide an equal footing for children, but Hassan criticizes DeVos for supporting school choice, which would lessen this inequity. By its very definition, school choice allows parents to select the schools their children attend, an option that Hassan and other affluent people regularly exercise.

Taxpayer Money and Accountability

Four lines of evidence disprove Hassan’s claim that DeVos wants to “divert taxpayer dollars” to non-public schools “without requirements for accountability.”

First, private school choice generally increases public school spending per student, which is the primary measure of education funding. As explained by Stephen Cornman, a statistician with the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics, per-pupil spending is “the gold standard in school finance.”

Private school choice programs boost per-student funding in public schools because the public schools no longer educate the students who go to the private schools, which typically spend much less per student than public schools. This leaves additional funding for the students who remain in public schools.

According to the latest available data, the average spending per student in private K-12 schools during the 2011-12 school year was about $6,762. In the same year, the average spending per student in public schools was $13,398, or about twice as much. These figures exclude state administration spending, unfunded pension liabilities, and post-employment benefits like healthcare—all of which are common in public schools and rare in private ones.

Certain school costs like building maintenance are fixed in the short term, and thus, the savings of educating fewer students occurs in steps. This means that private school choice can temporarily decrease the funding per student in some public schools, but this is brief and slight because only 8% of public school spending is for operations and maintenance.

Second, school choice provides the most direct form of accountability, which is accountability to students and parents. With school choice, if parents are unhappy with any school, they have the ability to send their children to other schools. This means that every school is accountable to every parent.Under the current public education system, schools are accountable to government officials, not students and parents. Again, Hassan knows this, because her son has severe disabilities, and Hassan used her influence as a lawyer to get her son’s public elementary school to “accommodate his needs.”

Unlike Hassan, people without a law degree, extra time on their hands, or ample financial resources are at the mercy of politicians and government employees. Short of legal action or changing an election outcome, most children and parents are stuck with their public schools, regardless of whether they are effective or safe. That is precisely the situation that DeVos would like to fix through school choice, but Hassan talks as if DeVos were trying to do the opposite.

Third, taxpayer funds are commonly used for private schools, and Hassan actually wants more of this. Her campaign website states that she “will fight to expand Pell Grants” but fails to reveal that these are often used for private colleges like, for example, Brown University, the Ivy League school that she, her husband, and her daughter attended (disclosure: so did this author).

In other words, Hassan supports using taxpayer money for top students to attend elite private universities, but she opposes the same opportunity for poor students to attend private K-12 schools.

Hassan’s position on college aid also undercuts her objection that DeVos supports programs that “leave out students whose families cannot afford to pay the part of the tuition that the voucher does not cover.” If that were truly Hassan’s objection, she would also oppose aid that doesn’t cover the full costs of every college, because that would leave out students who can’t pay the rest of the tuition.

Fourth, contrary to Hassan’s rhetoric about accountability to taxpayers, she supports current spending levels in public K-12 schools, “debt-free public college for all,” and expanding “early childhood education” in spite of the facts that:

  • the U.S. spends an average of 31% more per K-12 student than other developed nations, but 15-year olds in the U.S. rank 31st among 35 nations in math.
  • federal, state, and local governments spend about $900 billion per year on formal education, but only 18% of U.S. residents aged 16 and older can correctly answer a word problem requiring the ability to search text, interpret it, and calculate using multiplication and division.
  • the average spending per public school classroom is $286,000 per year, but only 26% of the high school students who take the ACT exam meet its college readiness benchmarks in all four subjects (English, reading, math, and science).
  • federal, state and local governments spend $173 billion per year on higher education, but 80% of first-time, full-time students who enroll in a public community college do not receive a degree from the college within 150% of the normal time required to do so.
  • 4-year public colleges spend an average of $40,033 per year for each full-time student, but one-third of students who graduate from 4-year colleges don’t improve their “critical thinking, analytical reasoning, problem-solving, and writing” skills by more than one percentage point over their entire college careers.
  • the federal government funds dozens of preschool programs, and the largest —Head Start—spends an average of $8,772 per child per year, but it produces no measurable benefit by the time students reach 3rd grade.

In sum, Hassan supports pumping taxpayer money into programs with high costs and substandard outcomes, but she opposes doing the same for private K–12 schools that produce better outcomes with far less cost.

Left Behind?

Hassan’s claim that private school choice programs “leave behind students with disabilities because the schools do not accommodate their complex needs” is also false.

In Northern and Central New Jersey, there are more than 30 private special education schools that are approved by the state. As far as parents are concerned, these schools serve the needs of their children better than the public schools in their areas. If this were not the case, these private schools would not exist.

More importantly, if parents don’t think that a private school will be best for their special needs child, school choice allows them to keep the child in a public school that is better-funded thanks to the money saved by school choice.

In a recent brief to the Nevada Supreme Court, the nation’s largest teachers’ union, and its state affiliate argue that free-market voucher programs will lead to “cream-skimming—the drawing away of the most advantaged students to private schools––and lead to a highly stratified system of education.”

As detailed above, the current public school system is highly stratified by income, and income and education go hand in hand. Hence, the real issue is not stratification but what happens to students who stay in public schools. Contrary to the belief that school choice will harm these students, a mass of evidence shows the opposite.

At least 21 high-quality studies have been performed on the academic outcomes of students who remain in public schools that are subject to school choice programs. All but one found neutral-to-positive results, and none found negative results. This is consistent with the theory that school choice stimulates competition that induces public schools to improve.

Who Wins and Who Loses?

Wide-ranging facts prove that school choice is a win for students, parents, and taxpayers. However, it financially harms teachers unions by depriving them of dues, because private schools are less likely to have unions than public ones.

In turn, this financially harms Democratic politicians, political action committees, and related organizations, which have received about $200 million in reported donations from the two largest teachers’ unions since 1990. Unions also give many unreported donations to Democratic Party causes.

Teachers’ unions are firmly opposed to private school choice, and the National Education Association has sent an open letter to Democrats stating that “opposition to vouchers is a top priority for NEA.”

So why does Hassan oppose giving other children opportunities that she gave to her own children? Motives are difficult to divine, but the reasons she gave in her op-ed are at odds with verifiable facts and her own actions.

James Agresti

James Agresti

James D. Agresti is the president of Just Facts, a nonprofit institute dedicated to publishing verifiable facts about public policy.

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