Nearly 30% of Public School Teachers Are ‘Chronically’ Skipping Classes, Study Says

Almost 30 percent of public school teachers are “chronically” skipping classes, according to a new study.

Over 28 percent of public school educators miss 11 or more school days each year, discovered a report from the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, an education policy nonprofit think tank.

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The study, released Wednesday, found that public school teachers are three times more likely than their charter school counterparts to take more than 10 days a year off school for personal or health-related reasons.

The Thomas B. Fordham Institute also revealed the average teacher takes eight days off per year. This figure is over twice as large as the three-and-a-half days missed by the average employee across industries nationwide.

Teachers employed by unionized charter schools were two times as likely as their peers to miss more than 10 days of school a year, the report revealed.

“When in doubt, the simplest explanation is usually the correct one,” David Griffith, the author of the study, told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “And the simplest explanation for the teacher chronic absenteeism gap between charter and traditional public schools is that the latter are usually subject to collective bargaining agreements that are extremely generous when it comes to the amount of sick and personal leave that teachers are guaranteed.”

Griffith referenced Hawaiian teachers, who receive 18 paid sick leave days out of their 180-day school year. The study says that nearly four-fifths of Hawaiian teachers take advantage of at least 10 of these days.

“In general, the union response defends these sorts of provisions by arguing that teachers are more likely to get sick than workers in other industries,” Griffith said. He noted the statement likely bears some truth.

“There’s a very direct link between teacher attendance and student achievement; so if teachers are missing more than two weeks of school (which is how teacher chronic absenteeism is defined), then students are losing about two weeks of education. And that’s incredibly damaging to their long-term prospects,” Griffith said.

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has advocated school choice and alternatives to public school, including charter schools and school vouchers.

Rob Shimshock

Rob Shimshock is a reporter for The Daily Caller News Foundation. Twitter: @ShimshockAndAwe

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EDITORS NOTE: “There’s a very direct link between teacher attendance and student achievement,” says the author of a Thomas B. Fordham Institute report. (Photo: iStock Photos) Americans need an alternative to the mainstream media. But this can’t be done alone. Find out more >>

9th Circuit, once again, throws monkey wrench into U.S. Refugee Admissions Program

Groups like the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society and International Refugee Assistance Project, with their lawsuits through friendly courts, have so perverted the legal process that has been in place since 1980 for admitting refugees that there is even more reason for President Donald Trump to simply suspend the USRAP for FY18 which begins in 22 days.

Here is the latest crowing at the New York Times about how the recent 9th Circuit decision will allow more refugees to be admitted to the US.

But, but, but….

No where does the NYT article mention that the Supreme Court did affirm the President’s legal right to set a CEILING for the fiscal year and that Trump did set it once he was sworn in at 50,000.  We are now at 51,726 (as of this writing).  This is the first time in the history of the program that the ceiling has been exceeded. 

Any day now Donald Trump could set the CEILING for Fiscal year 2018 that begins on October 1 making moot so much of this legal wrangling.

All of this language created out of thin air by the Supreme Court—this “bona fide relationship” BS—is not in refugee law.

My argument again is that since the courts (including the Supremes) have so mangled refugee law (with the help of these political agitators) that the program should be suspended beginning October 1 to give CONGRESS and the President time assess the program and to regain their Constitutional authority to write and administer law!

The Refugee Act of 1980 does not mandate any number that a President must admit.  He can set the level at zero! He can do that without any executive order via his September ‘determination’ required under the Act!

If he sets the level at zero at the outset, he also takes away any claim the contractors have to having been promised (via contract/agreement) by the Dept. of State that they will be getting a certain number of paying clients (aka refugees) in the coming year.

Here is the New York Times helping to further muddy the public’s understanding of how refugee admissions to the US are processed.

Rebecca Heller, director of the International Refugee Assistance Project.

LOS ANGELES — A federal appeals court on Thursday reopened the country’s door to thousands of refugees who had been temporarily blocked by President Trump’s travel ban, and also upheld a lower court decision that had exempted grandparents and other relatives from the ban. [Thousands in 22 days?—ed]

The ruling, from the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in Seattle, was cheered by refugee resettlement organizations,*** and clarified, for now, who was covered by the ban.

In June, the Supreme Court allowed parts of President Trump’s executive order temporarily barring all travelers from six predominantly Muslim countries, and all refugees, to take effect while the court considered arguments over whether such a ban was constitutional. But the court said the government should let in travelers and refugees with a “bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States,” without fully defining what that meant.  [There is no “bona fide” relationship standard in refugee law! Bona fide dies when the executive order dies unless Congress rewrites the law and the President signs it!—ed]

[….]

They also said that working with a resettlement agency*** meets the standard for a “bona fide” relationship with an entity in the United States.

[….]

The United States refugee resettlement program virtually ground to a halt at the end of June as a result of the travel ban. Since then, the government has frozen the applications of individuals already assigned to a resettlement agency, unless they could show ties to a close family member in the United States. Some 24,000 refugees were affected, the court noted in its opinion.

The court mandated that the government resume resettling refugees in the United States beginning in five days.

Becca Heller, director of International Refugee Assistance Project, an organization that provides free legal assistance to refugees abroad and has sued the government over the ban, said Thursday, “I am thrilled that two courts have now recognized the importance of the decades-old relationship between refugees and the American families, communities and organizations that help them resettle.”

More here.

The Dept. of Justice said they will appeal (to the Supreme Court) this latest legal overreach by the 9th Circuit.

If the Leftist resettlement agencies*** had never gotten involved, accepted the 120-day moratorium, it would be long over now and they would be back to their normal process.

And, so since this whole exercise will be moot shortly, what have the refugee advocacy and contracting agencies*** gained from these legal machinations?

They have gained an enormous anti-Trump media campaign, that’s what!

Tell the President and Congress that the US Refugee Admissions Program should be suspended for fiscal year 2018!

*** For new readers, these are the Federal contractors/middlemen/employment agencies/propagandists/lobbyists/community organizers? paid by you to place refugees in your towns and cities listed below.  Under the nine major contractors are hundreds of subcontractors.

The contractors income is largely dependent on taxpayer dollars based on the number of refugees admitted to the US, but they also receive myriad grants to service their “New Americans.”

If you are a good-hearted soul and think refugee resettlement is all about humanitarianism, think again! Big businesses/global corporations depend on the free flow of cheap (some call it slave) labor.  It is for this reason that Republican leaders of Congress are supportive of an uninterrupted flow of refugees into America.

The only way for real reform of how the US admits refugees is to remove these contractors/Leftwing activists/big business head hunters from the process.

As far as I know, all of the contractors below supported the lawsuits that Ms. Heller and the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society filed.

RELATED ARTICLES: 

HIAS conference call informative; but appears to be in the dark about FY18 Presidential determination on refugees

Letter to media: “discredited” SPLC should be ignored

San Diego IRC office gets slap on wrist from U.S. State Department

When I was young there were only 2 classes of people — the working class and those wanting to join the working class

“I don’t pity any man who does hard work worth doing. I admire him. I pity the creature who does not work, at whichever end of the social scale he may regard himself as being.” ― Theodore Roosevelt

When I was growing up there were only two classes of people, those who were working and those who aspired to work. The type of work did not matter so long as it was honest work.

Many Americans remember Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s I have a dream speech at the Lincoln Memorial. I however, believe that his greatest speech was his “Street Sweeper” speech given at the New Covenant Baptist Church in Chicago, Illinois, on 9 April 1967.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said:

If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as a Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, ‘Here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.’

No work is insignificant. All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence.

The King Center expands on Dr. King’s words noting:

We need to constantly reflect on the privilege of being blessed to live in a country where we are free to labor in whatever work we choose, and are divinely called into, let us remember that no labor is in vain, nor is it worthless, but brings lasting value to those that we serve – let us serve with honor and excellence!

It seems that this quotation’s from Dr. MLK Jr. alludes to two things:

  1. That all work or actions have an impact in the world — there is nothing humanity does that is insignificant.
  2. That when such work is focused on uplifting and freeing human kind, it must be practices with awareness to doing it precisely and carefully…or in his words “with painstaking excellence”.

All our tasks are so intertwined no matter where we are in the society, in our churches, in our factories.  If one of us does not do our task well it brings down the entire group. [Emphasis added]

Read more.

The first black president did not heed the words of Dr. King, Jr. with a focus on “the privilege of being blessed to live in a country where we are free to labor in whatever work we choose.” Rather President Obama during his administration has:

  1. Created a black white racial divide.
  2. Created an economic divide, which created social stratification (i.e. more haves and abandoned the have-nots).
  3. Used government regulations and departments to attack opponents.
  4. Introduced Common Core into public schools nation wide to indoctrinate not educate.
  5. Created a divide between Christians and anti-Christians (e.g. Muslims, homosexuals, satanists, collectivists).
  6. Created a social divide between naturalized citizens and illegal aliens.
  7. Created class warfare (i.e. the 99% versus the 1%).
  8. Created a war on fossil fuels, especially coal, using Environmental Protection Agency rules.
  9. Created a barrier between law enforcement and citizens (e.g. in cities like Baltimore, Ferguson, Detroit)
  10. Created a war against lawful gun owners rather than addressing criminals like Vester Lee Flanagan.
  11. The war against unborn children – over 55 million causalities and counting.
  12. The Planned Parenthood Industrial Complex – selling dead, mostly black, babies for profit.
  13. Created a opaque government rather than his promised transparent government.
  14. Created a political divide between Democrats and all others opposed to his policies, including some Democrats.
  15. Created a divide between America and Israel.
  16. Created a foreign policy divide between America and global freedom loving movements.
  17. And on, and on, and on…

Before President Obama Americans did not see issues like being black, being a member of a particular economic class, being Hispanic, homosexual or bulling as important. Rather Americans were focused on working, providing for their families and being good members of their community.

President Trump understood that Americans simply wanted to get back to work, hence his slogan Make America Great Again. This slogan resonated with the working class and those who aspired to become part of the working class in America.

Americans understand that “If one of us does not do our task well it brings down the entire group.”

Time for Americans to get to work. Work is a blessing.

EDITORS NOTE: The featured image is of President Trump and Vice President Pence meet with workers at the Carrier factory in Indiana.

The Recent Popes on Work and Workers

Pope St. John Paul II, and Pope Francis on work and working men and women. Work is fundamental. 

The Church is convinced that work is a fundamental dimension of man’s existence on earth. She is confirmed in this conviction by considering the whole heritage of the many sciences devoted to man: anthropology, palaeontology, history, sociology, psychology and so on; they all seem to bear witness to this reality in an irrefutable way. But the source of the Church’s conviction is above all the revealed word of God, and therefore what is aconviction of the intellect is also a conviction of faith. The reason is that the Church-and it is worthwhile stating it at this point-believes in man: she thinks of man and addresses herself to him not only in the light of historical experience, not only with the aid of the many methods of scientific knowledge, but in the first place in the light of the revealed word of the living God. Relating herself to man, she seeks to express the eternal designs and transcendent destiny which the living God, the Creator and Redeemer, has linked with him.

The Church finds in the very first pages of the Book of Genesis the source of her conviction that work is a fundamental dimension of human existence on earth. An analysis of these texts makes us aware that they express-sometimes in an archaic way of manifesting thought-the fundamental truths about man, in the context of the mystery of creation itself. These truths are decisive for man from the very beginning, and at the same time they trace out the main lines of his earthly existence, both in the state of original justice and also after the breaking, caused by sin, of the Creator’s original covenant with creation in man. When man, who had been created “in the image of God. . . .male and female,” hears the words: “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it,” even though these words do not refer directly and explicitly to work, beyond any doubt they indirectly indicate it as an activity for man to carry out in the world. Indeed, they show its very deepest essence. Man is the image of God partly through the mandate received from his Creator to subdue, to dominate, the earth. In carrying out this mandate, man, every human being, reflects the very action of the Creator of the universe.

Work understood as a “transitive” activity, that is to say an activity beginning in the human subject and directed towards an external object, presupposes a specific dominion by man over “the earth,” and in its turn it confirms and develops this dominion. It is clear that the term “the earth” of which the biblical text speaks is to be understood in the first place as that fragment of the visible universe that man inhabits. By extension, however, it can be understood as the whole of the visible world insofar as it comes within the range of man’s influence and of his striving to satisfy his needs. The expression “subdue the earth” has an immense range. It means all the resources that the earth (and indirectly the visible world) contains and which, through the conscious activity of man, can be discovered and used for his ends. And so these words, placed at the beginning of the Bible, never cease to be relevant. They embrace equally the past ages of civilization and economy, as also the whole of modern reality and future phases of development, which are perhaps already to some extent beginning to take shape, though for the most part they are still almost unknown to man and hidden from him. – from John Paul II’s Laborem Exercens (1981)

Click here to read the rest of the popes’ words . . .  

Robert Royal

Robert Royal is editor-in-chief of The Catholic Thing, and president of the Faith & Reason Institute in Washington, D.C. His most recent book is A Deeper Vision: The Catholic Intellectual Tradition in the Twentieth Century, published by Ignatius Press. The God That Did Not Fail: How Religion Built and Sustains the West, is now available in paperback from Encounter Books.

EDITORS NOTE: The featured image is a painting titled Men of the Docks by George Bellows, 1912 located in the National Gallery, Washington, D.C.

Unions Are the Worst Labor Day Deal by Gary M. Galles

Every Labor Day, unions repeat assertions of advancing the interests of all workers. But those claims are false. Unions harm most American workers.

Project Labor Agreements

Unions use government-delegated powers to restrict competition from other workers, extracting higher wages for their members. But higher wages mean fewer job openings because each worker is more expensive to the employer. That forces workers to move to other jobs, increasing the supply of labor services in non-union employment and reducing wages for all workers in those jobs. With far less than 10 percent of private sector workers in unions, more than 90 percent of them are injured by that exercise of union power.

Other union-backed initiatives also show how unions feather their own nests at the expense of other workers. Among the best examples are Project Labor Agreements (PLAs), such as the one recently adopted in Santa Ana (despite a staff report that estimates that it would increase construction costs by 10-20 percent).

PLAs are agreements negotiated between government bodies and unions (but excluding non-union workers and contractors), establishing in advance the terms and conditions that will be imposed on all workers for designated projects.

PLAs are rationalized as buying labor peace, “leveling the playing field” for competitors, guaranteeing projects are completed on time, holding down costs, increasing quality, and safety, etc. But they advance none of these goals. They restrict competition, raise costs, and pick taxpayers’ (i.e., other workers’) pockets. As Wharton Professor Herbert Northrup wrote in the Journal of Labor Research, PLAs “have little or no economic rationale, nor can they be defended on the grounds of labor peace, enhanced safety, or other reasonable criteria.”

Non-union workers must also contribute to union health and pension funds with nothing in return.

PLAs supposedly buy labor peace because unions promise not to engage in disruptive activities. Of course, strikes still hit the San Francisco International Airport expansion project, the largest PLA at the time. Such PLAs punish nonunion workers and contractors, who do not threaten strikes, to buy labor peace from unions who threaten strikes–penalizing the innocent (including taxpayers) to reward the guilty. As the New York Supreme Court described it in the Albany Specialties case, it reflects “capitulation to extortion” by unions.

PLA backers assert they just impose equal labor terms on all project bidders, allowing equal competition. But those “equal” terms are anything but even-handed. As in San Francisco and Santa Ana, all workers on the concerned projects, including non-members, must pay union dues and fees, for which they will receive no benefits. Non-union workers must also contribute to union health and pension funds with nothing in return.

Restricting Competition

Virtually all new workers are forced through union hiring halls and even apprentices are union-controlled. Union wages, work rules, job classifications, and hiring and grievance procedures are mandated, raising costs, particularly for non-union bidders. In 2009, John McGowan estimated that PLAs faced employees of non-union contractors with 20 percent cuts in their take-home pay, while increasing non-union employers’ costs by about 25 percent.

PLA terms are so onerous to non-union contractors and workers that most will not even bid on PLA projects (86 percent, in a 1997 survey of non-union contractors in Washington). Bids rise as restrictions eliminate bidders (particularly lower-cost non-union contractors), raising costs for taxpayers. For instance, a 1995 study of the Roswell Park Cancer Institute in New York found that the winning bid without a PLA was 26 percent lower than the one with a PLA.

PLAs harm other workers both directly and as taxpayers financing public projects.  

Such results reinforce the repeated failure of PLAs to demonstrate an increase in either quality or safety, and a 1998 GAO investigation that could document no cost efficiencies from PLAs.

Just as with their other exercises of their unique, government-granted power to restrict competition, PLAs harm other workers both directly and as taxpayers financing public projects.

Rather than living up to union claims, Diana Furchtgott-Roth concluded that a PLA “drives out small businesses from competing for these projects; raises their cost to the taxpayers; and funnels a larger stream of union dues from taxpayers’ pockets to union treasuries.”

So, if we want to make the workers whose contributions we claim to celebrate on Labor Day better off, we should give them more freedom, rather than subjecting them to so many harmful union impositions.

Gary M. Galles

Gary M. Galles

Gary M. Galles is a professor of economics at Pepperdine University. His recent books include Faulty Premises, Faulty Policies (2014) and Apostle of Peace (2013). He is a member of the FEE Faculty Network.

RELATED ARTICLE: On This Labor Day Please Remember the 94 Million Killed by Communist Workers Party in the 20th Century

Grandfathered Salary Suit Filed Against Miami-Dade Schools

Last week, the Grandfathered Salary lawsuit was served upon Miami-Dade County Public Schools.

Read the redacted complaint filed in federal court in Miami (redacted due to federal law per personal information of plaintiffs).

In the fall of 2015, M-DCPS and the United Teachers of Dade together unlawfully changed a legislatively designated “grandfathered salary schedule.”

Thus, a group of teachers incorporated as “The Grandfathered Inc.” decided to take action and challenge M-DCPS’ and UTD’s unlawful collusion in court and to set the record straight.

Sadly, the United Teachers of Dade sided with M-DCPS in PERC and is opposed to this lawsuit.

Why would 19,000 teachers sue the School Board of Miami Dade Public Schools for $60 million in lost salaries?

Because a law passed by the Florida Legislature in 2011 required that as of July 1, 2014, whatever salary schedule was in place would thence forth be frozen in time, or, as the statute phrased it, grandfathered.  But the school district just didn’t do it.

The current law (Fla. Stat. §1012.22) was intended to prevent further annual increases to district salary schedules for teachers hired before July 1, 2014.  Teachers hired after that date would receive performance pay, which would be calculated or derived from the greatest increment between levels of the grandfathered schedule, depending upon a teacher’s effectiveness.  In theory, performance pay would quickly out-pace the frozen schedule forcing veteran teachers to relinquish their tenure to join the new comers.

However, M-DCPS just kept on bargaining new schedules to attack the higher end salary steps for teachers approaching retirement.  And not incidentally, for two years, the District did not award any performance pay whatsoever.   The damage to teacher salaries is estimated at $20 million per year.

A few points of the lawsuit explained:

  1. The statutes (both of them) are easy to read:

Grandfathered Salary Schedule — The District school board shall adopt a salary schedule or salary schedules to be used as the basis for paying all school employees hired before July 1, 2014.

Florida Statute § 1012.22 (1) (c) 4. a. (emphasis added).

Grandfathered salary schedule means the salary schedule or schedules adopted by a district school board before July 1, 2014, pursuant to subparagraph 4. (Cited immediately above).

Florida Statute § 1012.22 (1) (c) 1. b. (emphasis added).

  1. How about an example of grandfathering?

Many cellular phone carriers including AT&T and Verizon had an unlimited data plan in the past, but these plans were discontinued. However, customers who already had subscribed to unlimited data plans could continue them for as long as they kept the same service. They were grandfathered.  But not new subscribers.  For them, the unlimited plan was no longer available, and they had to select from a limited plan.

  1. Some examples of 2015-16 salary schedule deviations from the grandfathered salary schedule:

Step

17             48,425             Down $1,875.00 from the grandfathered schedule.
19             51,900             Down $1,200.00 from the grandfathered schedule.
21             57,350             Down $1,000.00 from the grandfathered schedule.
22             60,775             Down $3,539.00 from the grandfathered schedule.
23             66,575             Down $3,750.00 from the grandfathered schedule.

  1. The District tried to justify it by saying that the grandfathered salary schedule would be any schedule they “designated as such.”

The below video highlights a large part of the problem, which is M-DCPS seemingly diverting money meant for teacher salaries into capital projects.  From the video, you can view teacher Shawn Beightol putting Superintendent Carvalho on the spot at a public forum on this issue and view a PERC transcript with talking points that debunk District explanations.

The progress of the lawsuit can be followed on the  Grandfathered Salary Suit Facebook page.

If you are a M-DCPS teacher and desire to collect damages and regain your steps, sign a retainer.

Please note the lawyers will be paid out of the settlement, so you, the teacher, will not be billed lawyer fees, and legal costs are being covered by donations.

Man On the Street: Income Inequality

We know progressives deplore income inequality and believe the idea of income equality will bring about a better world, one that is more “socially just.” But do they know anything about what actually happens when their dream comes true?

Like, what do “income equality” societies (like Venezuela) look like?

Which society should the U.S. model itself after?

Documentary filmmaker Ami Horowitz asks progressives what they know about income equality. Turns out, not that much. Watch Ami’s video here.

RELATED ARTICLES: 

Illegal Immigration Drives Income Inequality

Busting Myths about Income Inequality by Chelsea German

Can Soaking the Rich Reduce Income Inequality? by Karen Walby, Ph.D.

PROGRESSIVE ABSURDITY #43 – “Income Inequality Is the Great Economic and Moral Crisis of Our Time” by Ron Robinson

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.

RELATED ARTICLE: K-12 School Agrees to Gender Inclusion Policy With No Notice or ‘Opt Out’ for Parents

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