Why Single-Payer Health Care Delivers Poor Quality at High Cost by Daniel J. Mitchell

I shared last year a matrix to illustrate Milton Friedman’s great insight about the superior results achieved by markets compared to government.

Incentives explain why markets work best. When you spend your own money on yourself (box 1), you try to maximize quality while minimizing cost. And that drives the businesses that are competing for your money to constantly seek more efficient ways of producing better products at better prices.

This system generates creative destruction, which sometimes can be painful, but the long-term result is that we are vastly richer.

Governments, by contrast, don’t worry about efficiency or cost (box 4).

Today, though, let’s use Friedman’s matrix to understand the shortcomings of the US health care system. Way back in 2009, I opined that the most important chart in health care was the one showing that American consumers directly paid for less than 12 percent of health expenditures.

For all intents and purposes, instead of buying health care with their own money, they use other people’s money (box 2), a phenomenon known as third-party payer. And because most of their health expenses are financed by either government (thanks to Medicare, Medicaid, Obamacare, etc) or insurance companies (thanks to the tax code’s health care exclusion), consumers focus only on quality and don’t care much about cost.

That 2009 column was written before Obamacare’s enactment, so let’s see if anything has changed.

Well, we know health care has become more expensive. But do we know why?

The answer, at least in part, is that consumers are directly financing an even smaller percentage of their health care expenses. In other words, the distortions caused by third-party payer have become worse.

Here’s the most-recent data from the federal government’s Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (specifically the National Health Expenditures by type of service and source of funds, CY 1960-2015). Consumers are now paying only 10.5 percent of health care costs.

Now let’s consider the issue of efficiency.

Are we getting better health care for all the money that’s being spent?

That doesn’t seem to be the case. Here’s another chart from the archives. It compares per-capita health spending in various nations with average life expectancy.

As you can see, the United States is not getting more bang for the buck. And I very much doubt an updated version of those numbers would show anything different.

Heck, we even have more government spending on health care, per capita, than many nations with fully nationalized systems.

So if we’re not buying better health outcomes with all this money, what are we getting?

The blunt answer is bureaucracy and inefficiency. Here are some excerpts I shared years ago from a column by Robert Samuelson.

There are 9 times more clerical workers in health care than there are physicians, and twice as many clerical workers as registered nurses. This investment has not paid off in superior outcomes or better customer service, however. …Every analysis of medical care that has been done highlights the significant waste of resources in providing care. Consider a few examples: one study found that physicians spent on average of 142 hours annually interacting with health plans, at an estimated cost to practices of $68,274 per physician (Casalino et al., 2009). Another study found that 35 percent of nurses’ time in medical/surgical units of hospitals was spent on documentation (Hendrich et al., 2008).

Let’s close with a chart from a left-wing group that wants a single-payer system.

And this chart clearly makes a compelling case that the current approach in the United States is very wasteful.

For what it’s worth, I’m slightly skeptical about the veracity of the numbers. Why, for instance, would there be a sudden explosion of administrators starting about 1990?

But even if the data is overstated, I’m sure the numbers are still bad. We see the same thing in other areas of our economy where government-instigated third-party payer enables waste and featherbedding. Higher education is an especially shocking example.

The real issue is how to solve the problem. Our leftist friends think a single-payer health care system would solve the problem, but that would be akin to nationalizing grocery stores to deal with the inefficiencies created by food stamps and agriculture subsidies.

The real answer, as Julie Borowski explains in this video, is unraveling all the government interventions that caused the problem in the first place.

And if you want another video on the topic, here’s a Dutch expert making similar points. I also recommend this clever cartoon video that explains third-party payer. And this Reason video on how costs are lower when actual markets operate.

And if aren’t already numbed by lots of data, Mark Perry and Devon Herrick have more evidence of lower costs when third-party payer is reduced.

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.

RELATED ARTICLE: GOP Defeat. Conservative Victory.

It’s Fake News to Call the ‘Freedom Caucus’ the ‘Rebellious Far Right’ by Jeffrey A. Tucker

My hope is that this article will settle this nonsense once and for all. It won’t. Fake news outlets will persist as long as they are allowed to get away with it. It’s a smear and an outright lie but it goes on often, especially recently.

The Background

First of all, as you undoubtedly know, there is a faction within the House of Representatives gaining consciousness of the great task of our time: to get government out of the way of the productive forces of freedom, and to do this in every area of life. It is called the “Freedom Caucus,” and their influence just brought down the false alternative to Obamacare that preserved all its essential features.

Given the upheaval in the Republican Party, these people are developing a new understanding of themselves. They stood up to Trump. Clearly, they don’t exist on the common left/right spectrum.In how they handled the great Obamacare/Ryancare debacle, they should be called “libertarians,” because this is the word that has emerged to describe them in our times.

But more correctly, they should be called “liberals,” because they are the successors to the great cause of human liberation that began in the late Middle Ages, extended through the Enlightenment, drove the revolutions against power in the 18th century, ended slavery and the subjugation of women in the 19th century, and fought socialism and fascism in the 20th century. In the 21st century, they’ve championed digital innovation, privacy, and technological progress.

Here is good tutorial.

What They Believe

This group, which is undergoing a revival in many forms in our times, is trending toward being a consistent force of freedom. It’s not there just yet but the trend line is unmistakable and good. It’s not just about lower taxes, though they do desire that. They also want free trade, free migration as an ideal, free speech, deregulation, penal and prison reform, and an end to wars of all sorts. In short, they see the free society as the answer and government as the problem.

They have few connections to what is called the Left, except in areas like prison reform, drug decriminalization, and free speech. But neither do they share the values of the emergent far Right we’re seeing in Europe or the United States. They reject authoritarians of all sorts, which is why they are not reliable friends of the Trump administration. They will back him when he is right but fight him when he is wrong. They are independent in this way, recognizing that both Right and Left are forms of statist ideology, two flavors of the same cause.They are often called “conservatives” in American political lexicon, and sometimes they too have to embrace this term because it has resonance with the media and the voters. But they don’t like it, and it doesn’t really describe them. They do not want to conserve any old habits of government. They want government out of the way precisely so market forces and society in general can discover new and better ways of doing things.

Now, having described the Freedom Caucus in the House as best I can, consider what the New York Times says. The article “Trump Becomes Ensnared in Fiery G.O.P. Civil War” is by Glenn Thrush (twitter.com/GlennThrush) and Maggie Haberman (twitter.com/maggieNYT). Here is what they write:

In stopping the repeal of the Affordable Care Act, the Republican Party’s professed priority for the last seven years, the rebellious far Right wing of his party out-rebelled Mr. Trump, and won a major victory on Friday over the party establishment that he now leads.

You see that? The “rebellious far Right wing.”

The Real Far Right

Any reader would equate that designation with Marine Le Pen in France, Geert Wilders in the Netherlands, the Golden Dawn in Greece, Jobbik in Hungary, Norbert Hofer in Austria, and so on. Actually, you can read all about the rise of the far Right in Europe in a very authoritative source: the New York Times, in an article published only a few months ago.

Their policies are by now predictable. They want protectionism, restricted immigration, some form of industrial economic planning, a strong welfare safety net, and, very often, they favor national health care systems.In fact, even in the United States, the most highly-trafficked Nazi website (please forgive me for not linking) came out with a front page editorial on the day of the Republican vote that came out explicitly for nationalized health insurance.

These policies are not pro-freedom. They have more in common with an interwar-style fascism. Most people who hang out on Twitter know them well. They are masters of the troll, self-proclaimed edge lords who tweet racist, anti-semitic, and nativist slogans and memes all day and all night. There are whole packages of software designed to block them.

Libertarianism is different, very different, from the alt-right, the far Right, the fascist right, the Nazi right, and so on.

Rebellious, Yes; Far Right, No

With health care, in particular, you see a striking difference. The Freedom Caucus opposed the Trump/Ryan plan because it preserved the statist features of Obamacare. It did not introduce market competition. They knew, as a matter of personal conviction and experience, that the replacement would not work. They acted out of principle but also out of a genuine knowledge of the sector, what has broken it, and how it must be fixed.

These reporters really must find a way to clean up their language, or risk sowing a very dangerous confusion. It is ridiculously misleading to persist in these old habits of describing any non-Leftist as associated with the “far Right.” It smacks of propaganda. These reporters have to do better if they want to describe the emergent liberal faction of the Republican party with any accuracy.On a personal note, I adore the New York Times. I read it thoroughly every day. I don’t agree with it, but I find it an indispensable source of news. I would like to see the ideological reporting of this paper improve.

If you tweet to these reporters, please be nice. No trolling. They are human beings. They are trying to do their best. They just need a bit of help. It is crucial they get this right.

Jeffrey A. Tucker

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.

RELATED ARTICLE: Is Trump Sabotaging Obamacare? – POLITICO Magazine

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EDITORS NOTE: Learn real skills from successful entrepreneurs at FEEcon: June 15-17 (Register by May 15).

More Firearms, More Firearms Owners, Fewer Fatal Accidents

The National Safety Council released the 2017 edition of its annual Injury Facts report this week, and it contains welcome news about firearm safety. 

The number of fatal firearms accidents dropped to the lowest point ever (since 1903, when the data was first tracked).  There were 489 total fatal firearm accidents nationwide – a 17% decrease from 2014. As a percent of the total number of fatal accidents, firearms accident rank very low: just 0.3% of all fatal accidents involved a firearm. 

Comparing the odds between the types of fatal accidents can help put these numbers into context, and the National Safety Council puts fatal injury data in this format to make comparisons easier. The odds of a fatal firearms accident are 1 in 6,905. You are more likely to be killed by:

  • Poisoning (1 in 96)
  • A motor vehicle crash (1 in 114)
  • A fall (1 in 127)
  • Drowning (1 in 1,188)
  • A bicycle crash (1 in 4,486)

What makes the record low number of fatal firearms accidents even more noteworthy is that it came at a time when the number of firearms in the country was skyrocketing. The year 2015 saw the most background checks ever conducted in a single year until that point (the number was surpassed in 2016).  More than 23 million NICS checks were conducted in 2015. Background checks don’t have a one-to-one correlation with firearms purchases, so we don’t know for sure how many more guns were bought in 2015 than previous years…. but we do know that the number of American gun owners was on the rise. 

PEW Research Center reported a five-point increase in the percentage of American households with a firearm between mid-2015 and mid-2016. Fox News reported on a host of other surveys with similar findings

So, in 2015 we had more background checks conducted AND more Americans exercising their Second Amendment rights AND a record low number of fatal firearms accidents. The safety efforts of the NRA, our partners and allies supporting the Second Amendment, and, most of all, responsible, law-abiding American firearm owners made the record-setting safety of 2015 possible.

RELATED ARTICLE: What’s Happened to Gun Sales After Trump’s Election

Trump’s Supreme Court Nominee Embraces Heller and Originalism During Senate Hearings

Judge Neil M. Gorsuch, President Trump’s pick to replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia on the U.S. Supreme court, asserted during his confirmation hearings this week that Scalia’s landmark Second Amendment opinion in District of Columbia v. Heller “guarantees the individual right to keep and bear arms for self-defense.”

Gorsuch made the comment during an exchange with Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), who was trying to goad him into agreeing with the anti-gun opinion recently issued by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit (see story at this link).

He refused to take the bait, however, telling her,

“Well, it’s not a matter of agreeing or disagreeing, Senator, respectfully it’s a matter of it being the law. And — and my job is to apply and enforce the law.”

Throughout his hearings, Gorsuch deftly answered questions about his judicial philosophy and parried on inquiries that would have required him to prejudge legal issues that he could face as a Supreme Court justice.

His answers made clear, however, that he would staunchly defend Americans’ constitutional rights, including the Second Amendment.

They also reinforced his belief in Justice Scalia’s signature technique of constitutional interpretation known as originalism. This methodology focuses on the actual words of constitutional provisions as they would have been publicly understood at the time of their enactment.

This approaches ensures that the inalienable rights recognized at the founding cannot later be declared null and void by judges who might consider them outdated or counterproductive in the modern world.

As Justice Scalia put it in Heller:

A constitutional guarantee subject to future judges’ assessments of its usefulness is no constitutional guarantee at all. Constitutional rights are enshrined with the scope they were understood to have when the people adopted them, whether or not future legislatures or (yes) even future judges think that scope too broad.

Gorsuch paid homage to Justice Scalia in his opening statement at the hearings. Calling Scalia a “mentor,” Gorsuch stated, “He reminded us that words matter. That the judge’s job is to follow the words that are in the law, not replace them with those that aren’t.”

He also invoked the words of Alexander Hamilton:

“Liberty can have … nothing to fear from judges who apply the law. But liberty has everything to fear if judges try to legislate, too.”

President Trump promised to appoint Supreme Court justices who would respect constitutional rights, including the Second Amendment, and who would faithfully apply the law.

Judge Gorsuch embodies those ideals, and his performance this week before the Senate Judiciary Committee gives every indication he will soon get to exercise them as a U.S. Supreme Court justice.

And when he does, all Americans – including gun owners – will be better off as a result.

Leader of Hillary supported ‘Day Without a Woman’ strike deported for naturalization fraud

We raised concerns that Rasmieh Odeh, one of the leaders of the Day Without a Woman strike, was a convicted terrorist. According to Fox News:

A convicted terrorist is reportedly among the organizers of the so-called “Day Without a Woman” strike.

In a letter posted by The Guardian, the female authors – including Rasmea Yousef Odeh – call on women around the world to join them in a “new wave of militant feminist struggle.”

Rasmea Odeh listens to supporters after leaving federal court in Detroit Thursday, March 12, 2015. A judge sentenced the Chicago activist to 18 months in federal prison Thursday for failing to disclose her convictions for bombings in Israel when she applied to be a U.S. citizen. Odeh, 67, also was stripped of her citizenship and eventually will be deported. But she will remain free while she appeals the case. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

Rasmea Odeh leaving federal court in Detroit Thursday, March 12, 2015. AP Photo/Paul Sancya

We now learn that Odeh has been deported for naturalization fraud. The Investigative Project on Terrorism in an article titled Breaking News: Rasmieh Odeh Reportedly Accepts Plea Deal reports:

Palestinian terrorist Rasmieh Odeh, who faces a May 16 retrial for naturalization fraud, reportedly has agreed to plead guilty and leave the United States in exchange for avoiding any prison time.

According to a statement from her supporters, Odeh “has made the difficult decision to accept a plea agreement.” [Emphasis original.] The statement hailed the decision as “a victory, considering that the government had earlier fought for a sentence of 5-7 years.”

No court papers have been filed to confirm the report.

Odeh was convicted in November 2014 and sentenced to 18 months in prison, the loss of her citizenship and deportation. The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals sent the case back to U.S. District Judge Gershwin A. Drain in February 2016, ruling that he improperly barred testimony supporting Odeh’s claim that she failed to disclose her Israeli conviction for participating in two 1969 Jerusalem bombings, including one at a grocery story that killed two Hebrew University students.

Drain granted a new trial including the testimony, prompting federal prosecutors to issue a new indictment adding greater emphasis on Odeh’s acknowledged membership in the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) terrorist group.

Read more…

Refinery 29’s Landon Peoples in an article Why Hillary Clinton Wore A Red Pantsuit Today noted:

Hillary Clinton proved during the election that she knows the potential of a good pantsuit. At various times during her campaign, she’s chosen various colors to convey messages of empowerment and unity. And today, at the Girls, Inc. luncheon in New York, the former Democratic nominee wore a red pantsuit to add support to another important initiative: A Day Without A Woman.

Clinton spoke to the New York sector of Girls, Inc. as she honored Lisa Blau, Annie and Maggie Ford Danielson, Shaun Robinson, and Barry Sternlicht who were all dressed in red, too — the official color of A Day Without A Woman. “Sometimes the road to progress can feel like it’s two steps forward and one step back, particularly when it comes to advancing the rights and opportunities, and full participation of women and girls,” Clinton said in her speech. “It can seem discouraging whether you’ve been on that road for a long time, or you’re just starting out, but think how different the world would be today if the people who came before us had not just gotten discouraged, but because of that, had given up.”

It appears we once again see the Red/Green alliance in full force. Hillary the socialist wearing red and Rasmieh Odeh, an Islamic supremacist and convicted terrorist, representing the color green representing Islam.

When is comes to those who believe in the power of government over the people must be absolute, birds of a feather really do flock together. Most recently in support of the Day Without a Woman strike.

EXPLAINED: Government Healthcare is not Christian

The latest salvo against Christians who are politically conservative is to charge in the most morally superior of tones that failure to continually expand welfare programs is in direct defiance of biblical teachings.

This is true, of course, as long as you don’t actually read the Bible.

But the lack of truth rarely slows a political assailment, particularly against Christians who are politically conservative.

So this quickly became an attack line against the healthcare reform program Republicans proposed in Congress last week. It wasn’t the substance of the need to stem the bleeding of Obamacare; it wasn’t the skyrocketing insurance costs the program incurred; it wasn’t the all-important personal freedoms at stake that we spelled out previously.

It was this, best represented in a couple of tweets from CNN political analyst and USA Today columnist Kirsten Powers retweeting one of her followers. Her follower tweeted: “We do not require religious writings to know that it is right for gov to have compassion for the poor.” To which Powers added: “This is true. And it’s sad that so many people demanding scripture citations have such antipathy toward the poor.”

They are probably demanding those citations in relationship to the role of government. And in that, there are none to be found.

Personal experience with this

This is not a new line of attack.

Many years ago, I was at a luncheon function sitting at a large table with others from the newspaper where I worked. As the speaker was walking up to the podium, the editorial page editor — an older, liberal atheist man who knew I was both Christian and politically conservative — turned and said, “Based on Jesus’ teaching on the Sermon on the Mount, I don’t understand why all Christians aren’t liberals.” He then turned away toward the speaker as the program began, allowing no time for a response.

That was purposely timed. I wrote him an extensive explanation. But he never responded, nor could I get him to engage when I saw him, because he did not want a discussion or a better understanding. He wanted to take a cheap shot, feel smugly self-satisfied and move on.

That is a lot of what we are seeing here today. Many of the people saying that any opposition to government-funded or government-run healthcare insurance is un-Christian are themselves not even Christians. (Powers, to be noted, is a Christian.)

It’s a dual purpose political attack line to score points for big-government welfare programs among the uninformed while also taking a whack at RWRN (social media slang for Right Wing Religious Nuts.)

But they have an empty case on multiple levels, and they should be and can be knocked down vigorously.

Christianity and government healthcare

Let’s take the Sermon on the Mount, as this is a favorite for those who skim the Bible, or hear it paraphrased from others who have skimmed it.

The problem with the editorial page editor’s cheap shot is that it suffered from a fatal fallacy. Jesus teaches for three full chapters in Matthew on the deeper Christian life of joy, suffering and generosity toward others. In one portion of one chapter, Jesus says:

“Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.

“So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” (Matthew 6:1-4)

Jesus not only is speaking directly to his followers — that is, those who are now called Christians — but he is also telling them to not be generous in ways that call attention to ourselves. Do it quietly, even secretly when possible. In the very passage he is talking about giving to the needy, he exhorts his followers to do it tacitly, humbly.

No place in these three chapters does he mention a role for government in his teachings. This is consistent throughout Scripture. Some argue that just because Jesus did not overtly say this should be done by government does not mean he opposed it.

That is true, but that is not what defenders of big government welfare programs are asserting. They are saying Christians are compelled to support helping the poor through government programs because they are Christians. But Christianity is based on the Bible, and it is clear that is not what the Bible says at all.

Further, Jesus had plenty of opportunities to spell out a Christianized government role when talking to soldiers, centurions, Roman leaders, Pontius Pilate and so on. And he stayed mum.

Given his teachings that were always aimed at the responsibilities of the individual believer and not the government, and his choice to stay mute when given the open opportunity to spell out the role of government, it seems more than likely that he was disinterested in government doing what individual Christians should be doing.

The error of compassionate government

Compassionate government is an impossible combination.

An entity such as a government cannot have compassion. People can have compassion because it is a uniquely human trait. Anthropomorphizing government is a grave error leading to terrible policies — exactly what we’ve seen for decades.

Government as an institution has a critical role, but it has nothing to do with compassion or love or anger or any other human emotions or traits. The American government’s primary role was meant to be the protection of individual human rights. That’s why the very Declaration separating us from a distant tyrant launches with:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed…”

Government is meant to secure the rights of the individual, and protect them from intrusion by other individuals and by the government itself. Hence we have a system of checks and balances within the government so as to keep itself in check because by nature it is not compassionate. It was a machine designed to protect us from itself.

Endowing government with human attributes such as compassion and placing upon it the burden of caring for individuals is a doomed proposition. We see it fail again and again and again.

Opposition to government healthcare is not hatred

Kind of an absurd point to have to make, but alas, here we are. Powers used the word “antipathy.”

An American, whether Christian or not, can believe that X should be done and also think that it is wrong for government to do X. We can believe in helping the poor individually, through churches and synagogues and other charitable organizations and oppose the government doing the same. It is not an either/or proposition.

What we’ve seen is that when government fills this space, it displaces charities that would otherwise be doing the work. And it does it inefficiently while creating an entitlement mentality among those receiving it. Instead of gratefulness to an individual or a church or an organization, recipients see the gifts bestowed from government as a virtual right. And if the gifts are not sufficiently large, they are angered and will protest for more.

That alone is a bad sign for the soul.

So we spend about $1.3 trillion every year on various safety net programs and in return we get deep familial dysfunction, enablement of bad behavior, more debt that eventually we will be unable to pay off and, maybe as much as anything, we lock the poor into generational poverty and ingratitude.

Opposing the system doing this is not hatred. In fact, it may actually be more loving and therefor more Christian. But politicians cannot take credit for that system. Only when ladled by their generous hand can they take the credit and secure future votes — accomplished by forcibly taking money from others. There is no love in any of that.

There is nothing virtuous about giving other people’s money to the poor. In fact, if you want to go to Scripture, Jesus has a few harsh things to say about such grandstanding.

We cannot outsource moral obligations

Shifting responsibility to the government is a pathway for us to feel relieved of any personal duty to help those in need. For many, merely advocating for more money to go to the poor proves our compassion and moral superiority.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

Conservatives tend to want a system where there is minimal welfare, just enough to help people get back on their feet. The institutional variety we have now breeds ever more welfare and robs people of their self-worth, making them comfortable living in poverty on handouts.

That is not loving and it certainly is not Christian.

So any Biblical case for Christians being required to support government healthcare and other welfare programs is DOA — if we actually read the Scriptures.

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

HEALTHCARE REFORM: Freedom Is Its Own Indispensable Goal

The healthcare debate in D.C. is following predictable form: Miles off track with the media hyperfocused on the politics, rather than the substance. The coverage focuses heavily on the daily ins and outs of the political struggle, the D.C. winners and losers.

Will Republicans be able to placate the Freedom Caucus and still keep moderates? Will they put together something that can get through the House and have any life in the Senate? Is Ryan back-peddling? Is Trump? Will McConnell detonate the nuclear option? Is it Trumpcare or Ryancare?

The thing is, most Americans outside of political junkies don’t really care about that.

They do care about whether they will be able to afford health insurance. They do care about whether our country will drowned itself in unsustainable debt. They do care about their children’s future. But those are rarely the story. Because the truth is that in Washington, D.C., Americans are basically pawns to be played in the furtherance of personal agendas.

On the rare occasions when the substance of the proposal is actually explored, it is mostly along the lines of how many people are covered, will be covered, won’t be covered, how much it will cost, how the changes will play out politically for each party, etc. Those are fine in their place, and should be regularly reported on. They are not.

What Washington and the media never, ever talk about is the principle of American freedoms, which is at the heart of this. Virtually no one wants to talk about it.

So, status quo in the swamp. And for Americans.

The Old Liberties for Security Trade

But here is the whittled down nub of the issue: How much personal freedom are we willing to give away to get a little healthcare security? Because the reality of the human condition always and forever is that some people will be irresponsible with their life decisions — from relationships to finances to health.

So there will always be a percentage of Americans who do not want to purchase, or simply will not purchase, health insurance. Here’s the thing: They should be free to not and that point of freedom should be argued strenuously.

Because the only way to stop that dynamic is to give government total authority to force every single person to have health insurance. That was what Obamacare attempted to do, require every American to either buy a product — health insurance — or be fined increasing amounts by the government to financially force them to to buy it.

In an enormously tragic precedence, the Supreme Court made a political calculation and approved the forcible purchase requirements under Obamacare by calling it what it was not, what is authors including President Obama argued it was not, so as the court could rule it “constitutional.” Truly, a constitutional travesty.

Among the many things wrong with Obamacare, this was perhaps the most egregious because it went to undermining fundamental freedoms. It wasn’t just bad policy, or inefficient, or expensive — which are all true. It was a denial of basic liberty, the concept upon which our nation was founded and thrived to be what she is today.

Benjamin Franklin said, “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.” Franklin was looking at the real physical and economic threat of a distant tyrant.

And so are we, though not so distant.

The Real Cost

Obamacare undoubtedly reduced the percentage of uninsured Americans, or more accurately, uncovered Americans. This was accomplished by expanding Medicaid — direct welfare — subsidizing plans in the state exchanges — indirect welfare — and forcing every American to participate — coercion. Even then, the total number of Americans not covered in some fashion, only declined a few percentage points.

Trillions of dollars, catastrophic rises in premiums and deductibles, loss of health care insurance options — often down to one in an entire state — all to pick up a few percentage points. About 9 percent of Americans remain without health insurance.

If Republicans did nothing more than simply repeal the Obamacare mandate, at least 10 million people would no longer have coverage, according to the Office of Management and Budget estimate of the repeal measure. The media reports this as Americans who will “lose” their coverage, but this particular 10 million will actually choose not to have coverage.

Whether that is a good idea or not is debatable. What is not debatable is what it represents: Freedom.

Because unless the government forces people by law to have health insurance, some will not. Freedom calls us to allow them to not and accept the consequences. Otherwise, with this precedent in place, the government could also make the case for regulating what we eat (because eating healthy is good for us) and forcing us to exercise (because exercising is good for us.) It could also require us to buy, say, solar panels and electric cars, because it deems those to be a good thing like health care insurance is a good thing.

You see the problem here. There is really no end to it, which is why it was a line that should never have been crossed.

So yes, Obamacare is costing hundreds of billions of dollars and would continue to until its complete failure. But it’s real cost is the loss of American liberty. And precious few seem to care.

Alas, Republicans fighting on Democrat ground

Republicans however, will not fight this on the grounds of freedom, the high ground and the right ground. They allow Democrats and the media to define the terms and put Republicans on the defensive on bad ground.

Republicans are doing what they always do, and part of it is the swampy D.C. mentality. Republicans end up abandoning conservative principles and going with Democrat-lite. They are willing to expand government, just less so. They are willing to raise taxes, just not as high. They are willing to trade rights for securities, just not as fast. But inexorably this moves in the same direction: More government control, more “free” giveaways, fewer American freedoms.

The health care coverage debate is a perfect example.

Democrats built it on the Democrat ground of heavy-handed government control and giveaways, and dared Republicans to come after it. To boil it down, in Obamacare, Democrats gave more Americans more free stuff that was not their’s and that we cannot afford — at the cost of lost freedoms — and Republicans now want to take some of that free stuff and restore those freedoms.

Meanies.

This of course is rough politics for Republicans, as so many Americans have lost the sense of liberty, self-reliance and personal responsibility. Too many are willing to trade a lot of liberties for a little security. But part of the reason for that is that no one is making the case for this and other issues on the grounds of freedom.

But in reality, Republicans aren’t even making the freedom case — or do so rarely. They want to make sure enough Americans get enough free stuff so they can be re-elected.

Taking away an entitlement once in place is just never done, and Democrats knew that in 2010. A big part of Obamacare is the entitlement portion. But that is only a problem if Republicans fight this on the grounds of coverage and giveaways, and not on the grounds of essential liberties.

Republicans hold every nationally elected office of power and there is one window for fixing the Obamacare debacle. If it does not happen now, Obamacare will be a permanent fixture of our health care system until it totally fails, and sucks the healthcare system into its death swirl.

The final step will be nationalized healthcare.

And the result will be an even greater loss of freedoms, and precious little in the way of securities. The worst of trade-offs.

RELATED ARTICLES: 

GOP leaders unveil changes to healthcare bill

Nearly 200 State Lawmakers Are Pushing for Changes to GOP Obamacare Repeal Plan

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

School ‘Accountability’ Gone Wild

Children should not be measured like products of “factory style” schools, where we sort out the “defective” student products and throw them away. They should be educated based on their individual, God given spark of genius, to be the best they can be. When you test a monkey, a fish, and an elephant on their ability to climb a tree, the elephant and the fish will be left behind, but they, too, have unique talents.

“Holding teachers accountable” is a popular phrase. I am not supporting unions, but the design of incentives based on student scores is the major flaw in this plan. You get what you reward. Teachers (and administrators) will only teach to the test and game the system any way they can. Curriculum is narrowed, and cheating is rampant.

Teachers no longer control of what they teach and how they teach it. Administrators are openly calling them “facilitators” and not teachers. They are unfairly measured on elements out of their control.

Learning is clearly in decline, so well-meaning legislators want a means of escape from failing public schools, strangled in bloated bureaucracy, by creating vouchers or charter schools.

But unless we remove Common Core and the federal monopoly, the focus on charter schools and vouchers is meaningless, as all education is the same, with the same tests, the same curriculum, and the same counterproductive incentive system. When federal and state dollars are used to bludgeon schools to conform or lose funding, there will be no real education.

The move toward home schooling shows that parents are awakening to the fact that the legislature has sold our children down the river for the age old motives, MONEY and POWER. Tallahassee and DC are the swamps of education lobbyists selling their new testing and conformity toys to ignorant and/or greedy legislators who don’t understand or don’t care why our children are learning less every year.

We must break that mold and end Common Core and high stakes testing. We can use nationally normed testing on sample groups or even infrequently to determine progress without wasting SO much money and time that we have no time to learn. Teachers used to give tests, correct the tests and give a grade at the end. They were trained and certified to do that. They were managed, promoted and fired by locals who could observe their skills.

Unions and bad education schools made this difficult and the legislature responded by taking away their control. To get at this problem, other countries are good examples. Finland, with the best education results, trains their teachers better and longer. They are paid more and are well respected. Children do not waste their time on standardized testing until they are 16. They don’t even start school until they are 7. There are 15 minute breaks between classes in high school so that students can stretch and be prepared for learning. There is more recess in lower grades. All this and their results are outstanding!

Then there is the “annoying” US Constitution which is violated daily by the very people who have taken an oath to protect and defend it at all levels, from school boards to the President of the United States. The Constitution is crystal clear about the duties of the federal government in Article 1 section 8. They are “clear and defined.” There is NO mention of any duty whatsoever in the area of education. Then the “capper” is the 10th Amendment, which simply states that anything NOT identified in Article 1, section 8 belongs to the States or to the People. Our founding fathers had good reason for designing our federal government to be the servant and not the master of the sovereign states.

People who solve their problems and define their own success are more likely to achieve great things. Our country grew great because individuals were free to determine their own destiny. We must unleash that human potential once again by freeing our children from the slavish conformity now demanded through illegal and unconstitutional federal control of education.

Our state legislators were supposed to guard us against an intrusive federal government. They need to stand against unlawful overreach. They need to nullify laws that violate our Constitution such as the ESSA, No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top. Instead, they crumble under the fear of “loss of federal money.” Their knees buckle when the USDOE coerces them with dollars and then they end up with unintended consequences and unfunded federal mandates like Common Core.

News Flash! Federal money comes out of my left pocket and State money comes out of the right. The federal government is taking money from my right pocket to the left and then keeping their cut like a mob protection racket.

Where is our Eliot Ness? Who in our state legislature will stand up to the “mob” in Washington D.C.?

Trillions in Debt and We’re Just Scratching the Surface by Antony Davies and James R. Harrigan

As the federal debt has gone from astounding to unbelievable to incomprehensible, a new problem has emerged: The US government is actually running out of places to borrow.

How Many Zeros Are in a Trillion?

The $20 trillion debt is already twice the annual revenues collected by all the world’s governments combined. Counting unfunded liabilities, which include promised Social Security, Medicare, and government pension payments that Washington will not have the money to pay, the federal government actually owes somewhere between $100 trillion and $200 trillion. The numbers are so ridiculously large that even the uncertainty in the figures exceeds the annual economic output of the entire planet.

Since 2000, the federal debt has grown at an average annual rate of 8.2%, doubling from $10 trillion to $20 trillion in the past eight years alone. Who loaned the government this money? Four groups: foreigners, Americans, the Federal Reserve, and government trust funds. But over the past decade, three of these groups have cut back significantly on their lending.

Foreign investors have slowed the growth in their lending from over 20% per year in the early 2000s to less than 3% per year today. Excluding the Great Recession years, American investors have been cutting back on how much they lend the federal government by an average of 2% each year.

Social Security, though, presents an even bigger problem. The federal government borrowed all the Social Security surpluses of the past 80 years. But starting this year, and continuing either forever or until Congress overhauls the program (which may be the same thing), Social Security will only generate deficits. Not only is the government no longer able to borrow from Social Security, it will have to start paying back what it owes – assuming the government plans on making good on its obligations.

With federal borrowing growing at more than 6% per year, with foreign and American investors becoming more reluctant to lend, and with the Social Security trust fund drying up, the Fed is the only game left in town. Since 2001, the Fed has increased its lending to the federal government by over 11% each year, on average. Expect that trend to continue.

Inflation to Make You Cry

For decades, often in word but always in deed, politicians have told voters that government debt didn’t matter. We, and many economists, disagree. Yet even if the politicians were right, the absence of available creditors would be an insurmountable problem—were it not for the Federal Reserve. But when the Federal Reserve acts as the lender of last resort, unpleasant realities follow. Because, as everyone should be keenly aware, the Fed simply prints the money it loans.

A Fed loan devalues every dollar already in circulation, from those in people’s savings accounts to those in their pockets. The result is inflation, which is, in essence, a tax on frugal savers to fund a spendthrift government.

Since the end of World War II, inflation in the US has averaged less than 4% per year. When the Fed starts printing money in earnest because the government can’t obtain loans elsewhere, inflation will rise dramatically. How far is difficult to say, but we have some recent examples of countries that tried to finance runaway government spending by printing money.

From 1975 to 1990, the Greek people suffered 15% annual inflation as their government printed money to finance stimulus spending. Following the breakup of the Soviet Union in the 1990s, Russia printed money to keep its government running. The result was five years over which inflation averaged 750%. Today, Venezuela’s government prints money to pay its bills, causing 200% inflation which the International Monetary Fund expects to skyrocket to 1,600% this year.

For nearly a century, politicians have treated deficit spending as a magic wand. In a recession? We need jobs, so government must spend more money! In an expansion? There’s more tax revenue, so government can spend more money! Always and everywhere, politicians argued only about how much to increase spending, never whether to increase spending. A century of this has left us with a debt so large that it dwarfs the annual economic output of the planet. And now we are coming to the point at which there will be no one left from whom to borrow. When creditors finally disappear completely, all that will remain is a reckoning.

This article first appeared in InsideSources.

Antony Davies

Antony Davies

Antony Davies is an associate professor of economics at Duquesne University in Pittsburg.

He is a member of the FEE Faculty Network.


James R. Harrigan

James R. Harrigan

James R. Harrigan is the Senior Research Fellow at Strata, in Logan, Utah.

VIDEOS: Why We’re Being Watched by Kelly Wright

Wikileaks has just published over 8,000 files they say were leaked from the CIA, explaining how the CIA developed the capacity to spy on you through your phone, your computer, and even your television. And Wikileaks’s Julian Assange claims these “Vault 7” documents are just one percent of all the CIA documents they have.

The media will be combing through these for weeks or months, so now is a perfect moment for us to reconsider the role of privacy, transparency, and limited government in a free society.

We’ve put together a quick list of the six best Learn Liberty resources on government spying and whistleblowing to help inform this discussion.

1. War Is Why We’re Being Watched

Why is the US government spying on its citizens in the first place? Professor Abby Hall Blanco says that expansive state snooping at home is actually the result of America’s military interventionism abroad:

2. Is Privacy the Price of Security?

Yes, you may think, the government is snooping on us, but it’s doing that to keep us safe!

That’s the most common justification for sweeping and intrusive surveillance, so we held a debate between two experts to get right to the heart of it. Moderated by TK Coleman, this debate between Professor Ronald Sievert and Cindy Cohn, the Executive Director of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, was inspired in part by the revelations about NSA surveillance leaked by Edward Snowden in June 2013.

3. Freedom Requires Whistleblowers

People are already drawing parallels between the Snowden leaks and the Vault 7 revelations. If the leaks are indeed coming from a Snowden-like whistleblower, that will once again raise the issue of government prosecution of people who reveal classified information to the public.

Professor James Otteson argues that a free society requires a transparent government, and whistleblowers play a key role in creating that accountability. Otteson also sounds a warning that should resonate with many Americans today:

Maybe you’re not concerned about the invasions of privacy that the federal government agencies are engaging in because you think, “Well, I haven’t done anything wrong. What do I have to fear?” Maybe you think, “I like and support this president. I voted for him.”

But what about the next president?  The powers that we let the government have under one president are the same powers that the next president will have too.

What if the next president is one you don’t support? He, too, will have all the power that you were willing to give the president you now support.”

4. Encryption Is a Human Rights Issue

Documents from Vault 7 suggest that the CIA has been so stymied by encrypted-messaging apps, such as Signal and Whatsapp, that it has resorted to taking over entire smartphones to read messages before they are sent.

That turns out to be a costly, targeted, and time-consuming business that doesn’t allow for mass data collection. But for decades, government officials have tried to require tech companies to give the government a backdoor into their encryption. In “Encryption Is a Human Rights Issue,” Amul Kalia argues that protecting encryption from government is essential to our safety and freedom.

5. The Police Know Where You Live

It turns out that it’s not just spy agencies that have access to detailed information about your life. Ordinary police officers have it, too, and they often face little supervision or accountability. As Cassie Whalen explains, “Across the United States, police officers abuse their access to confidential databases to look up information on neighbors, love interests, politicians, and others who had no connection to a criminal investigation.”

Surveillance is a serious issue at every level of government.

6. Understanding NSA Surveillance

If you’re ready to take your learning to the next level, check out our complete video course on mass government surveillance with Professor Elizabeth Foley. In it, you’ll learn what you need to know to make sense of the NSA scandal in particular and mass surveillance in general.

Reprinted from Learn Liberty.

Kelly Wright

Kelly Wright

Kelly Wright is an Online Programs Coordinator at the Institute for Humane Studies.

RELATED ARTICLE: Deterrence and Human Nature

GOP Repeal/Replace Bill Cuts Taxes By Nearly a Trillion Dollars

On the White House website one of the key accomplishments of President Trump’s first 50 days in office is:

PUTTING PATIENT HEALTHCARE FIRST: After years of false promises, rising costs, and shrinking accessibility, President Trump is championing reforms to put patients first.

  • President Trump has supported efforts by Republicans in Congress to repeal the worst parts of Obamacare and replace them with the American Health Care Act.
  • President Trump acted on his first day in office to instruct Federal agencies to minimize the burden of Obamacare on Americans.

Katie Pavlich in a Townhall article titled ATR: Obamacare Replacement Cuts Taxes By Nearly a Trillion Dollars reports:

Yesterday the Congressional Budget Office released its official score for the Obamacare repeal and replacement bill, better known as the American Health Care Act.

Reaction to the scoring, which estimates an additional 21 million Americans will become uninsured by 2020, was mixed. House Speaker Paul Ryan said last night he is “encouraged” by the score. However, the Trump administration is hardly pleased.

“We disagree strenuously with the report that was put out. We believe that our plan will cover more individuals at a lower cost and give them the choices that they want for the coverage that they want for themselves and for their families, not that the government forces them to buy,” Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price said at the White House Monday evening.

But Americans For Tax Reform sees some good news. If passed, the bill will cut taxes by $883 billion. Here’s where the cuts come from:

Medicine Cabinet Tax on HSAs and FSAs
Flexible Spending Account Tax
Chronic Care Tax
HSA Withdrawal Tax Hike
Ten Percent Excise Tax on Indoor Tanning
Health Insurance Tax
Employer Mandate Tax
Surtax on Investment Income
Payroll Tax Hike
Tax on Medical Device Manufacturers
Tax on Prescription Medicine
Elimination of Deduction for Retiree Prescription Drug Coverage
$500,000 Annual Executive Compensation Limit for Health Insurance Executives

You can read more about the details and specific amounts behind this list of tax repeals here.

As we have said, this bill is out in the open. Now is the time for every citizen to read it and then contact their U.S. Senators and member of Congress and tell them what you think about this bill.

We’ve come a long way to get to this point, we’ve got a long way to go to make sure it gets done right.

RELATED ARTICLES: 

After Paul Ryan Admits Obamacare Plan Needs Changes, Conservatives Hope to Strike Deal Uniting Party

House Leadership’s Health Bill Is Not What Republicans Promised. We Can Do Better

Which Parts of the Obamacare Replacement Face Trouble in the Senate

Conservative Lawmakers Join Rally Against GOP Health Care Plan

Democrats and the Science of ‘Thintelligence’

Michael Crichton is a man, author, filmmaker, doctor, teacher and visionary. Crichton is the author of The Andromeda Strain and Jurassic Park.

Crichton in Jurassic Park wrote, “They don’t have intelligence. They have what I call ‘thintelligence.’ They see the immediate situation. They think narrowly and they call it ‘being focused.’ They don’t see the surround. They don’t see the consequences.”

Democrats suffer from “thintelligence.”

An example of Democrat’s thintelligence is climate change. In an March 9th, 2017 article titled 30 New (2017) Scientific Papers Crush The Hockey Stick Graph And ‘Global’-Scale Warming Claims Kenneth Richard writes:

There were at least 60 peer-reviewed scientific papers published in 2016 demonstrating that  Today’s Warming Isn’t Global, Unprecedented, Or Remarkable.

As of the end of January, another 17 papers had already been published in 201717 New (2017) Scientific Papers Affirm Today’s Warming Is Not Global, Unprecedented, Or Remarkable

Within the last month, another 14 papers have been published that continue to cast doubt on the popularized conception of an especially unusual global-scale warming during modern times.

Yes, some regions of the Earth have been warming in recent decades or at some point in the last 100 years.  Some regions have been cooling for decades at a time.  And many regions have shown no significant net changes or trends in either direction relative to the last few hundred to thousands of years.  In other words, there is nothing historically unprecedented or remarkable about today’s climate when viewed in the context of natural variability.

Read more…

What natural variability deniers fail to see is “the surround.” By not seeing the surround they don’t see the consequences of their actions to try to halt the natural variability of the climate. Blinded by thintelligence they push forward an agenda to reduce CO2 emissions (CO2 being necessary for plant growth), regulate water use, impose CAFE standards on all motor vehicles and worst of all use food (corn) for fuel (ethanol).

There are three indisputable facts about the climate:

  1. The climate (weather) changes. If you don’t believe this just look out your window.
  2. These changes are cyclical that adhere to nature and nature’s laws (natural variability). If you don’t believe this then why does the earth have a summer, fall, winter and spring seasons?
  3. There is nothing that mankind can do change nature and nature’s laws. Man cannot control the weather (climate) by his own actions or inaction.

Crichton observed, “You know what’s wrong with scientific power? It’s a form of inherited wealth. And you know what assholes congenitally rich people are.”

Crichton warned, “In the information society, nobody thinks. We expected to banish paper, but we actually banished thought.”

We agree with Dr. Crichton.

RELATED ARTICLE: Axing Wasteful EPA Program that Gave Leftist Groups Millions Called “Racist” – Judicial Watch

The Radical Ties of the Imam Behind the Trump Immigration Lawsuit by Jordan Schachtel

Originally published in the Conservative Review, March 10, 2017:

The plaintiff listed in Hawaii’s lawsuit against President Trump’s executive order on immigration is a member of an organization that has several current and former leaders tied to terrorist activity.

Dr. Ismail Elshikh — the imam of the Muslim Association of Hawaii — is suing Trump in reaction to the second version of his immigration moratorium, which was signed on Monday. The order imposed a 90-day hold on foreign nationals from six terror-tied countries from entering the United States.

According to the Muslim Association of Hawaii website, Imam Elshikh is a member of the North American Imam Federation (NAIF), a fringe Islamic organization that has a board and current leadership stacked with radical Islamic connections.

Kyle Shideler, a terrorism expert and director of the Threat Information Office at the Center for Security Policy, tells CR that it’s concerning that Imam Elshikh is a part of NAIF.

“Given NAIF’s history it should come as no surprise that the end goal of this lawsuit is, ultimately, weakening American counter-terrorism or immigration security efforts,” Shideler said.

He added: “That a member of an organization whose leaders have included a convicted war criminal, an individual who defended donating money to a Hamas linked charity, and an unindicted co-conspirator in a terrorism bombing wants to tell the American people who they can admit for immigration should say a lot about why such an executive order is needed in the first place.”

Steven Emerson, the executive director of the Investigative Project on Terrorism, also voiced his concerns about Elshikh’s associations. He tells CR:

“NAIF is an extremely radical Islamist group whose leaders and members have defended some of the most violent terrorist groups in the world. Some members have been found to be actually linked to acts of Islamist terrorism. This is a group, some prosecutors have argued, whose incitement for violence could qualify their categorization as a providing material support for terrorism.”

Current NAIF board members include the former leader of an al-Qaeda-connected mosque and a radical preacher. Former leaders include a man convicted of leading an international death squad, and a prominent Islamist preacher who has praised Osama bin Laden.

Current NAIF leadership

Omar Shahin, a current board member of NAIF, is the former president of the Islamic Center of Tucson, a mosque that was once utilized as the “de-facto al-Qaeda headquarters in the United States,” according to the Investigative Project on Terrorism. As imam of the mosque, Shahin raised funds for the Holy Land Foundation, which was later shut down for funneling money to the terrorist group Hamas. He also held fundraisers for the Global Relief Foundation, which was later deemed by the U.S. Treasury Department to be connected to al-Qaeda and Osama bin Laden.

El Shikh received his PhD from the Graduate Theological Foundation Islamic Studies Department, which is headed by Shahin. The program was created in collaboration with the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), an organization that was started as a Muslim Brotherhood front group.

Dr. Waleed Meneese, another NAIF board member, has explicitly called for fellow Muslims to kill Jews. “When the Children of Israel returned to cause corruption in the time of our Prophet Muhammad,” Meneese said in a recent sermon. “And they disbelieved him, God destroyed him at his hand. In any case, God Almighty has promised them destruction whenever they cause corruption,” he said of the Jewish people.

Meneese has also called for the killing of apostates from Islam, and for the treating of non-Muslims as second-class citizens.

Former NAIF leadership

Ashrafuzzaman Khan is the former president of NAIF and a current leader at the Muslim Brotherhood-connected Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA). In 2013, he was tried in a Bangladesh court as he was accused of drafting a kill list of intellectuals inside the country. He was charged with 11 counts of war crimes as the alleged leader of the Al-Badr death squad. In 2013, he and an accomplice were sentenced in absentia for the abduction and murder of 18 people, including nine university professors, six journalists, and three physicians.

Egyptian cleric Wagdi Ghoneim was the chairman of NAIF at the turn of the century. In 2005, he agreed to deportation to Qatar after U.S. authorities were concerned about his potential connections to terrorist organizations. Ghoneim has called Osama bin Laden a “martyred heroic mujahid” and is now closely tied to the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood. He has been banned from entering several countries due to his radicalism.

LINK: Wagdi Ghoneim Video

Another former NAIF board member is Siraj Wahhaj, who was infamously listed as an unindicted co-conspirator in the 1993 World Trade Center bombings. Wahhaj testified in defense of the Blind Sheikh, Omar Abdel-Rahman, who served a life sentence for being the mastermind behind terrorist plots in the United States.

What else?

The North American Imam Federation is perhaps best known as the group that allegedly planned and staged the “flying imams” incident. After a 2006 NAIF conference, several imams connected to the group were booted from a domestic flight after exhibiting bizarre, threatening behavior, terrifying fellow passengers. NAIF and the Hamas-tied Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) showcased the incident as a prime example of America’s supposed problem with “Islamophobia.”

President Trump’s immigration moratorium, blocking non-citizens from coming into the U.S. from the six terror havens of Iran, Yemen, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Libya, will go into effect next week, barring a successful legal challenge by Elshikh and Hawaii or other actors.

RELATED ARTICLES: 

A Short History of Islam in Hawaii

DTN: North American Imams Federation 

President Trump’s First 50 Days of Action: Achieving Results for the American People

JUMPSTARTING JOB CREATION: President Donald J. Trump is looking out for the American workers who Washington has left behind.

  • President Trump has worked with the private sector to deliver tens of thousands of new jobs for Americans.
  • President Trump ordered the United States to withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement and negotiations.
  • President Trump signed a Presidential Memorandum to clear roadblocks to construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline.
  • President Trump signed a Presidential Memorandum declaring that the Dakota Access Pipeline serves the national interest and initiating the process to complete its construction.
  • President Trump signed a Presidential Memorandum to help ensure that new pipeline construction and repair work use materials and equipment from the United States.

CUTTING GOVERNMENT RED TAPE: President Trump has quickly taken steps to get the Government out of the way of job creation.

  • President Trump directed each agency to establish a Regulatory Reform Task Force to identify costly and unnecessary regulations in need of modification or repeal.
  • President Trump has required that for every new Federal regulation, two existing regulations be eliminated.
  • President Trump directed the Department of Commerce to streamline Federal permitting processes for domestic manufacturing and to reduce regulatory burdens on domestic manufacturers.
  • President Trump signed legislation, House Joint Resolution 38, to prevent the burdensome “Stream Protection Rule” from causing further harm to the coal industry.
  • President Trump ordered the review of the “Clean Water Rule: Definition of Waters of the United States,” known as the WOTUS rule, to evaluate whether it is stifling economic growth or job creation.

REFORMING WASHINGTON: President Trump has taken actions to reform the old Washington way of doing business and to ensure that his entire Administration are working for the American people.

  • President Trump put in place a hiring freeze for Federal civilian employees to stop the further expansion of an already bloated government.
  • President Trump signed an Executive Order establishing new ethics commitments for all Executive branch appointees, putting in place a five-year lobbying ban and a permanent ban on lobbying for foreign governments, so that appointees serve the American people instead of their own interests.

PUTTING PATIENT HEALTHCARE FIRST: After years of false promises, rising costs, and shrinking accessibility, President Trump is championing reforms to put patients first.

  • President Trump has supported efforts by Republicans in Congress to repeal the worst parts of Obamacare and replace them with the American Health Care Act.
  • President Trump acted on his first day in office to instruct Federal agencies to minimize the burden of Obamacare on Americans.

PRIORITIZING AMERICAN NATIONAL SECURITY: President Trump has taken action to ensure the safety and security of the United States homeland, its borders, and its people.

  • Under President Trump’s leadership, the Department of the Treasury sanctioned 25 entities and individuals involved in Iran’s ballistic missile program.
  • President Trump implemented new protections against foreign terrorists entering our country.
  • President Trump has proposed increasing the military’s budget by $54 billion so that it can begin to rebuild.
  • As a result of a Presidential Memorandum President Trump signed on January 28, he has received a plan to defeat ISIS designed by the Secretary of Defense and other members of his Cabinet.
  • President Trump ordered a review of military readiness and made it the policy of the United States to rebuild the United States’ Armed Forces.
  • President Trump has negotiated to bring down the price of the F-35, saving millions of dollars.

DELIVERING ON IMMIGRATION REFORM: President Trump has made enforcing the Nation’s immigration laws a priority of his Administration.

  • President Trump signed an Executive Order to start work on a southern border wall.
  • President Trump signed an Executive Order to enhance the public safety of Americans through enforcement of immigration laws.
  • President Trump signed an Executive Order to halt funding to jurisdictions in the United States that do not comply with Federal immigration rules.
  • President Trump signed an Executive Order to begin the removal of illegal immigrants who have committed certain crimes.
  • Following through on President Trump’s direction, the Department of Homeland Security will hire 10,000 Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers and agents and 5,000 border patrol agents.

RESTORING PUBLIC SAFETY TO AMERICAN COMMUNITIES: President Trump is following through on his promise to restore public safety for all Americans.

  • President Trump signed an Executive Order directing the Attorney General to develop a strategy to more effectively prosecute people who engage in crimes against law enforcement officers.
  • President Trump signed an Executive Order to establish a task force, led by the Attorney General, to reduce crime and restore public safety in communities across America.
  • President Trump signed an Executive Order re-focusing the Federal Government’s energy and resources on dismantling transnational criminal organizations, such as drug cartels.

HELPING WOMEN AND MINORITIES SUCCEED: President Trump knows the country cannot reach its potential unless every American has a chance to prosper.

  • President Trump signed an Executive Order strengthening and repositioning the Historically Black Colleges and Universities initiatives within the White House to foster better opportunities in higher education.
  • President Trump and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau launched the United States-Canada Council for Advancement of Women Entrepreneurs and Business Leaders.
  • President Trump signed into law the Promoting Women in Entrepreneurship Act to encourage the National Science Foundation’s entrepreneurial programs to recruit and support women to extend their focus beyond the laboratory and into the commercial world.
  • President Trump signed into law the Inspiring the Next Space Pioneers, Innovators, Researchers, and Explorers (INSPIRE) Women Act to encourage women to study science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), pursue careers in aerospace, and further advance the nation’s space science and exploration efforts.

KEEPING HIS PROMISE TO DEFEND THE CONSTITUTION: President Trump promised a U.S. Supreme Court justice in the mold of late Justice Antonin Scalia selected from his previously announced list of 20 judges

  • President Trump nominated Judge Neil M. Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme Court because of his consistent record defending the Constitution.

RELATED ARTICLE: How President Trump Is Performing on His Promises Halfway to First 100 Days

Head Start Programs Are Setting Kids Up for Failure by Annie Holmquist

In recent years, support for preschool education has grown by leaps and bounds. After all, who wouldn’t want to help adorable little kids get an early jump on success?

But the enthusiasm for Pre-K dampened a bit with the release of two studies, one from 2012 which studied children in a Head Start program and another from 2016 which studied children in Tennessee’s statewide preschool program. The Head Start study found that its children were more inclined to behavioral problems than those who did not participate. The Tennessee study, on the other hand, found that participants did worse academically several years into school than those who had not participated.We need to study the effects of preschool education more before we wholeheartedly commit to public Pre-K programs.

The news that these Pre-K programs may hurt rather than help was not received favorably by preschool advocates. And according to a recent Brookings Institute article by scholars Dale Farran and Mark Lipsey, Pre-K advocates have done their best to discredit these studies.

But as Farran and Lipsey explain, the attempts to dismiss these findings “are based on incorrect and misleading characterizations of each study.”

For starters, the Head Start study is dismissed on the grounds that some participants ended up in the wrong study group. But according to Farran and Lipsey, such occurrences happen in many scientific studies, and as such, are controlled for in the final statistics. The authors caution that this does not change the fact that children who participated in the Head Start program exhibited more aggressive behavior, the most concerning factor of the study.

Secondly, Farran and Lipsey explain that the Tennessee study is dismissed on the grounds that it is not a “high-quality” program such as those in major cities like Boston and Tulsa. However, when sample sizes are taken from each of these programs, Farran and Lipsey note that there is no major difference between the academic outcomes of each program. In other words, because of the similarity in the outcomes, those who dismiss the Tennessee preschool program as being low quality must also dismiss the programs they hold up as models.

Given this information, does it seem we need to study the effects of preschool education more before we wholeheartedly commit to public Pre-K programs? Is it possible that young children would learn more and have greater long-term success if they weren’t subjected to the classroom at such early ages?

Republished from Intellectual Takeout.