The Scandalous Truth about Obamacare Is Laid Bare

A government program that is ruined by permitting more choice is not sustainable.

Jeffrey A. Tucker

by  Jeffrey A. Tucker

It’s not just that Obamacare is financially unsustainable. More seriously, it is intellectually unsustainable, even though this truth has been slow to emerge. This has come to an end with President Trump’s executive order.

What does it do? It cuts subsidies to failing providers, yes. It also redefines the meaning of “short term” policies from one year to 90 days. But more importantly–and this is what has the pundit class in total meltdown–it liberalizes the rules for providers to serve health-coverage consumers.

In the words of USA Today: the executive order permits a greater range of choice “by allowing more consumers to buy health insurance through association health plans across state lines.”

The key word here is “allowing” – not forcing, not compelling, not coercing. Allowing. Why would this be a problem? Because allowing choice defeats the core feature of Obamacare, which is about forcing risk pools to exist that the market would otherwise never have chosen. If you were to summarize the change in a phrase it is this: it allows more freedom.

The tenor of the critics’ comments on this move is that it is some sort of despotic act. But let’s be clear: no one is coerced by this executive order. It is exactly the reverse: it removes one source of coercion. It liberalizes, just slightly, the market for insurance carriers.

Here’s a good principle: a government program that is ruined by permitting more choice is not sustainable.

The New York Times predicts:

Employers that remain in the A.C.A. small-group market will offer plans that are more expensive than average, and they will see premiums increase. Only the sickest groups would remain in the A.C.A. regulated risk pool after several enrollment cycles.

Vox puts it this way:

The individuals likely to flee the Obamacare markets for association plans would probably be younger and healthier, leaving behind an older, sicker pool for the remaining ACA market. That has the makings of a death spiral, with ever-increasing premiums and insurers deciding to leave the market altogether.

The Atlantic makes the same point:

Both short-term and associated plans would likely be less costly than the more robust plans sold on Obamacare’s state-based insurance exchanges. But the concern, among critics, is that the plans would cherry-pick the healthiest customers out of the individual market, leaving those with serious health conditions stuck on the Obamacare exchanges. There, prices would rise, because the pool of people on the exchanges would be sicker. Small businesses who keep the more robust plans—perhaps because they have employees with serious health conditions—would also likely face higher costs.

CNBC puts the point about plan duration in the starkest and most ironic terms.

If the administration liberalizes rules about the duration of short-term health plans, and then also makes it easier for people to get hardship exemptions from Obamacare’s mandate, it could lead healthy people who don’t need comprehensive benefits to sign up in large numbers for short-term coverage.

Can you imagine? Letting people do things that are personally beneficial? Horror!

Once you break all this down, the ugly truth about Obamacare is laid bare. Obamacare didn’t create a market. It destroyed the market. Even the slightest bit of freedom wrecks the whole point.

Under the existing rules, healthy people were being forced (effectively taxed) to pay the premiums for unhealthy people, young people forced to pay for old people, anyone trying to live a healthy lifestyle required to cough up for those who do not.This is the great hidden truth about Obamacare. It was never a program for improved medical coverage. It was a program for redistributing wealth by force from the healthy to the sick. It did this by forcing nonmarket risk pools, countering the whole logic of insurance in the first place, which is supposed to calibrate premiums, risks, and payouts toward mutual profitability. Obamacare imagined that it would be easy to use coercion to undermine the whole point of insurance. It didn’t work.

And so the Trump executive order introduces a slight bit of liberality and choice. And the critics are screaming that this is a disaster in the making. You can’t allow choice! You can’t allow more freedom! You can’t allow producers and consumers to cobble together their own plans! After all, this defeats the point of Obamacare, which is all about forcing people to do things they otherwise would not do!

Freedom or coercion: these are the two paths.

This revelation is, as they say, somewhat awkward.What we should have learned from the failure of Obamacare is that no amount of coercion can substitute for the rationality and productivity of the competitive marketplace.

Even if the executive order successfully liberalizes the sector just a bit, we have a very long way to go. The entire medical marketplace needs massive liberalization. It needs government to play even less of a role, from insurance to prescriptions to all choice, over what is permitted to be called health care and who administers it.

Freedom or coercion: these are the two paths. The first works; the second doesn’t.

Jeffrey A. Tucker

Jeffrey A. Tucker

Jeffrey Tucker is Director of Content for the Foundation for Economic Education. He is founder of Liberty.me, Distinguished Honorary Member of Mises Brazil, economics adviser to FreeSociety.com, 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, most recently Right-Wing Collectivism: The Other Threat to Liberty, with a preface by Deirdre McCloskey (FEE 2017). He has written 150 introductions to books and many thousands of articles appearing in the scholarly and popular press.

Unlikely that today’s refugees will be like yesterday’s self-reliant immigrants to America

Reader Bob Enos sent us his thoughts after reading Ms. Wolfe’s paean (in Foreign Policy) to grandpa (in which the author takes the opportunity to, like all good Leftists, use hot button words to describe RRW).  See my post here with a link to “journalist” Lauren Wolfe’s opposition to the idea of “assimilation.”  (You may be able to get the Foreign Policy article the first time without registering.)

In 2015, Enos spoke about refugees. Last time I checked this video had over 61,000 views. Read about it and watch it here:

Enos tells us this:

The article penned by Ms. Lauren Wolf – a New York liberal presumably of Russian Ashkenazi Jewish extraction – for Foreign Policy magazine was yet another piece of revisionist history designed to obscure a 27 year-old change to immigration policy that the American public neither understood nor asked for.

In her fantasy depicting Russian Jewish immigrants as ethnic culturists fiercely holding on to cultural identity in contrast to the American “melting pot,” she conveniently omits the major difference between then and now: the concept of the “public charge.” Her ancestors entered the United States, as did mine, with three pre-conditions in place. One, they were represented by American citizens acting as sponsors – often a rabbi or parish priest. Two, private, unsubsidized housing had been arranged ahead of time. Three, the new immigrants had jobs arranged for them ahead of time. The concept was a simple one: entrance to the United States is a privilege, not a right. Freedom of opportunity provides the means to support oneself, to “sing for your supper,” and to pose no burden to your new home country.

The Immigration Act of 1980 abandoned the 100+ year-old standard of the public charge – at least for refugees.

This is the story of my paternal grandparents, Manuel and Maria Ignacia, from the island of St. Michael, in the remote chain of archipelago islands called the Azores, 1,000 miles off the coasts of both Europe and America in the North Atlantic Ocean. The Portuguese language was spoken in the home. My grandfather worked full-time in the Glenwood Stove factory, and part-time for a local Jewish merchant and landlord, Mr. Steinberg, who rented apartment and sold home furnishings to “green horns” fresh off the boat. My grandparents were Roman Catholic, but Mr. Steinberg’s religion meant nothing to my grandparents. “Mr. Steinberg is like a god to us!”, my grandmother exclaimed, more than once.

Once my grandparents learned the ropes from Mr. Steinberg, they began investing their savings in their own tenement houses and became landlords. During World War II, they bought a meat market, selling what my “vo-vo” (Nana) called “midnight meat” – black-market meat sold out the back door, in the middle of the night, to circumvent rationing restrictions during the war. I’d often thought that, had my grandmother been born in the US about 50 years later, she would have been running General Motors.

Now, to the assimilation part of the story. As in many Portuguese homes in the area, there were four portraits adorning the living room walls. First, a portrait of Jesus Christ. Second, the Pope of the Roman Catholic Church. The church is at the center of family life in traditional Portuguese households. Third, a picture of Cardinal Umberto Medieros, the Archbishop of the Boston Diocese, the first Archbishop of an American Catholic diocese of Portuguese extraction. And last, a portrait of President John F. Kennedy.

One running quip was that Portuguese men preferred smoking Winston cigarettes and drinking Carling-Black Label beer, because the packaging contained the colors of the American flag.

Once, as a teenager, I asked vo-vo if she and voo-voo (grandpa) ever thought about returning home for a visit. She laughed at me; “Ai, cuzao (don’t ask)! Go where? Sao Miguel? Whadda you talkin’ about? I know what it looks like! THIS is our home!”

Enough said.

My grandparents never became citizens. I don’t know why. They were proud of the United States and grateful to be here. It could be that, Portugal having been ruled by a repressive military dictatorship for many years, my grandparents simply distrusted government. They never had a bank account. My grandmother accepted public assistance only once. A bureaucrat from city hall called her at home. Vo-vo was a widow by now. Vo-vo was asked if she would like 100 gallons of home heating oil for free. “Sure,” she replied. When my parents learned of this, they were mortified. They asked her, “why did you take that?” She laughed, “I didn’t ask for nothing. I didn’t call them, they called me!” Of city hall, she said they were idiots.

Both of my grandparents died in nursing homes, one at a time. They financed their nursing home stays with their own money. They came to the US with no money. They died in the US with no money. They left no money to bequeath; only mementos of sentimental value and memories. What they did leave, the really important stuff: opportunities for their progeny to thrive in the greatest land of opportunity the world has ever known.

Our family has been, and continues to be, grateful for the opportunities this wonderful social experiment called the United States has provided us. Today, my grandparents have one grandchild who is a retired Wall Street executive, one grandchild who is chief financial officer and treasurer for one of the most important technology companies in America, and a great-grandchild who graduated with honors from Yale University, and is an associate at the investment bank Goldman Sachs.

This story, my friends, is one that, sadly, is largely lost on the current crop of refugees, in my opinion.

And for those of my fellow Americans who insist that the current crop of refugees will blend in and thrive, no different than previous immigrant waves, I refer you to the caveat of every legitimate stock broker and investment advisor: “past performance is no guarantee of future returns.”

This post is filed in my Comments worth noting/guest posts category.

See another guest column by Mr. Enos about the issue of refugees and the public charge, here.

A refugee designation is the most desired form of entry to the US for wannabe immigrants because it is the only category where the immigrant is legally (there may be migrants receiving illegally) allowed to receive welfare within weeks of arrival.  In fact, the major job of the resettlement contractors is to get their assigned refugees enrolled at local welfare offices ASAP.

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Comment worth noting from St. Cloud, MN

The Humanitarian Hoax of Socialism: Killing America With Kindness

The Humanitarian Hoax is a deliberate and deceitful tactic of presenting a destructive policy as altruistic. The humanitarian huckster presents himself as a compassionate advocate when in fact he is the disguised enemy.

The distinguishing feature of fascism, communism, and Islamism is totalitarian centralized government. All power is vested in a central government and all aspects of life are controlled by its foundational ideology whether secular or religious.

In contrast, the United States is a federal republic that has a power sharing arrangement between its three branches of government. What distinguishes the governing structure of the United States is decentralization of power and the separation of Church and State. The U.S. government was designed by our Founding Fathers to specifically deny totalitarian rule to any political party or particular religion.

The Constitution is the supreme law of the United States and codifies the framework of our government. Interpretation of the Constitution and tensions between the m,federal government, state governments, and individual rights are integral to American politics and fluctuate according to the political party in power. Government agencies and institutions were designed to function as non-partisan components of the bureaucratic whole.

Probably the greatest source of political tension is the disagreement over the role of government in American life. In totalitarian governments there is no private property. The State owns all means of production and the people are basically employees of the State. There are two classes of people – the ruled and the rulers (masters and slaves). The decentralization of power in America and the individual freedoms guaranteed by our Constitution allowed private ownership of the means of production where people own, operate, and work for private businesses. Private ownership incentivized a strong extremely productive middle class and by WWII the United States of America was the most powerful country in the world. Our enemies were not happy.

It is the existence of private ownership and a strong middle class that provides the greatest defense against totalitarian rule which is precisely why enemies of the United States are determined to destroy the middle class and private ownership of means of production. This is where socialism enters the picture.

Ayn Rand

Socialism is a soft sell. As Ayn Rand famously said,

“There is no difference between communism and socialism, except in the means of achieving the same ultimate end: communism proposes to enslave men by force, socialism – by vote. It is merely the difference between murder and suicide.”

Ayn Rand also compared socialism and fascism saying,

“The difference between [socialism and fascism] is superficial and purely formal, but it is significant psychologically: it brings the authoritarian nature of a planned economy crudely into the open. The main characteristic of socialism (and of communism) is public ownership of the means of production, and, therefore, the abolition of private property. The right to property is the right of use and disposal. Under fascism, men retain the semblance or pretense of private property, but the government holds total power over its use and disposal.”

The humanitarian hucksters selling socialism in America deceitfully market it as the system that empowers the people by providing public ownership of the means of production. They disingenuously insist that the workers own the means of production without mentioning that the State manages the property. The State has the power in socialism – not the individual. Cuba and Venezuela are primetime examples of the outcome.

Fascism, communism/socialism, and Islamism are all totalitarian systems that have been or continue to be enemies of the United States. Theoretically all promise their adherents social justice and income equality provided by their centralized governments. Here is the problem – the application of fascism, communism, socialism, and Islamism exposes them as tyrannical and oppressive for all except the elite ruling class.

So why do people choose the fiction of the promise instead of the reality of the application? Why do people ignore the words of real people who have escaped the tyranny and oppression of totalitarianism?

The answer is that centralized governments are an escape from freedom. Their cradle-to-grave care appeals to the most dependent, regressive, and emotional parts of ourselves at the expense of our adult strivings for individual rights freedom and liberty. The government mommy and daddy control the infantalized citizens.

Decentralized governments provide freedom and appeal to the most independent rational adult parts of ourselves. Decentralized governments offer adult independence and freedom but require adult responsibility. The enemies of America did not go quietly into the night after WWII. They were determined to infantalize America and offer cradle-to-grave socialism to destroy the middle class.

America’s enemies understood that the U.S. would have to be defeated from within. They launched a deliberate effort to reverse traditional American strivings for adulthood, freedom, and independence in an effort to infantilize the American public and move the country toward socialism. Cry-bulliies on campus who now require safe spaces to protect themselves from unwelcome ideas are a glaring example of the success of the effort. The infantilized students at UC-Berkeley have similarly declared free speech dead on campus – opposing ideas apparently too threatening to their fragile egos.

Left-wing radical socialist Barack Obama, the quintessential humanitarian huckster, politicized every American government institution during his two lawless terms. Activist judges, activist lawyers, activist politicians, activist teachers, activist curriculum developers, activist administrators, activist IRS CIA FBI CDC. Activists are not just a bunch of out-of-control college students, they are men and women in positions of power intent on destroying American democracy and replacing it with socialism.

Activists are a broad seemingly disparate genus joined by their activist ideology. The reason they are so dangerous is that they embrace a lawless ends justifies the means mentality. So, now the country is confronted with whole institutions that lawlessly pursue a political agenda that is antithetical to American democracy. The censorship and disabling of accounts on social media is a particularly disturbing phenomenon.

In his famous 1961 farewell address President Eisenhower warned America against the “unwarranted influence” of the military-industrial complex. He advised the public to “guard against the grave danger that public policy itself could become the captive of a scientific-technological elite.”

Eisenhower understood how the increasing power of the military-industrial complex could threaten the decentralized power sharing arrangement of the U.S. government. His words echoed the words of English aristocrat Lord Bertrand Russell in his 1952 book The Impact of Science on Society. Eisenhower’s words were a warning, Russell’s words were a promise of the new world order and one-world government.

Both men anticipated the power of the scientific-technological elite. Both could imagine industry (means of production) being consolidated into the hands of fewer multi-national conglomerates. But neither could have imagined the application of science and technology in a digital age of information wars where the manipulating and censoring of information could direct public opinion worldwide and destabilize governments including our own. The Internet and the World Wide Web did not exist in their time.

Neither men could have imagined the globalist elite being in control of the means of production AND a weaponized politicized worldwide information industry. Globalism is the clear and present danger to the United States of America today. It is the existential threat of the expanded military-industrial complex capable of creating a worldwide echo chamber that controls public opinion completely.

The left-wing radical socialist Barack Obama opened the doors for the globalist elite by soft-selling socialism to America. Globalism requires socialist nations that manage the means of production to be internationalized into their new world order of one-world government.

Eisenhower’s parting hope for America that our democracy “survive for all generations to come, not to become the insolvent phantom of tomorrow” will be dead.

After 241 years of decentralized government and American freedom the world will be returned to the dystopian existence of masters and slaves because a willfully blind American public was seduced by Barack Obama, the quintessential humanitarian huckster, deceitfully promising hope and change for America. The Humanitarian Hoax of Socialism will have succeeded in killing America with “kindness.”

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared on Goudsmit Pundicity.

After Nationalists’ Surprise Showing in Germany, is Austria Next?

With days to go before the balloting in the parliamentary elections, the issue of immigration dominates political debate. In 2015, as Germany’s Merkel was admitting refugees from Syria, whose ranks would reach one million, Austria received 90,000 asylum requests. In 2016, that number was 42,000. Inarguably, this flood of immigrants played into the hands of the Freedom Party. Its longtime charges that a tide of non-European Muslims will drain the welfare system, cost Austrian jobs, and drown the culture clearly resonate more than ever.

blue_logo
By John Gizzi

Freedom Party (FPO) leader Heinz-Christian Strache (left) and Sebastian Kurz of the People’s Party, OVP

The defeats of nationalist leaders Marine LePen of France and Geert Wilders of the Netherlands earlier this year afforded evidence that nationalism—also known as right-wing populism—was running out of steam in Europe.

But this attitude began to change on the evening of September 24. That’s when German voters, as widely predicted, re-elected Chancellor Angela Merkel and her CDU-CSU (conservative) Party. But in a surprise move, voters gave an unexpectedly high 13.4 % of the vote to the Alternative for Germany (AfD) Party—which emphasizes a hardline on illegal immigration, an exit from the European Union, a revisionist (and more positive) narrative of Germany’s Nazi past, and a closer relationship with Vladimir Putin’s Russia.

Making the AfD showing all the more impressive is that the party is barely four years old—the “baby” of the nationalist parties that now bewilder political prognosticators and alter the political playing field of Europe.

All eyes are now increasingly focusing on neighboring Austria and its national elections October 15.

As it was in Germany, an escalating migration and refugee crisis, relations with Eastern European neighbors such as Hungary, and a national government that seems distant and aloof from the people are major factors setting the stage for the political drama now unfolding in neighboring Austria.

And the beneficiary is the Freedom Party (FPO), the voice of Austrian nationalism for more than a generation. According to a just-completed Unique Research/Haute and Austrian TV poll, the Freedom Party is drawing a strong 25 percent of the vote—not far behind the two major parties, the center-right OVP (People’s Party) being at 34 percent and the center-left SPO (Social Democratic Party) 27 percent.

Haider’s Legacy Today

If the five-year-old AfD is the “baby” of European nationalist parties, then the Austrian Freedom Party is surely their “father.”

Founded first in 1949 as VdU (Verband der Unabhangigen) and renamed in 1955 as FPO (Freedom Party) by onetime Minister of Agriculture and former SS officer Anton Reinthaller, the Freedom Party was initially a vehicle for former Nazis to reintegrate into the postwar political system. Seemingly doomed to single-digits in national elections, the FPO evolved into a party with two strands: near-libertarian, small-government party akin to Germany’s small Free Democratic Party, and a second strand of hard-core extreme members with much nostalgia for the German “Third Reich” of the Nazis.

If the Freedom Party had a defining moment, it was in 1986 when the charismatic (and controversial) Jorg Haider took over as its leader. Haider moved the FPO to its present status as a hard-liner on illegal immigration, a booster of a positive redefinition of Austria’s Nazi past, a proponent of more direct democracy such as U.S.-style initiatives, and an advocate of breaking up the state-run TV monopoly.

In 1989, the FPO scored big in state elections in Carinthia and made Haider governor. Haider became a more turbulent public figure with each passing year. In 1999, the FPO reached its high point in a national election (27.7 percent of the vote) and actually placed second in number of parliamentary seats.

The third place OVP agreed to a coalition with the FPO but Haider—who under normal circumstances would have become chancellor—abjured a role in government amid widespread international censure. Haider also stepped aside following the threat of sanctions by the European Union against the Austrian government over the participation of an extreme-right party in a Western EU member-state.

Among Haider’s incendiary actions and statements were to greet former Waffen-SS as “decent comrades” and to praise the Hitler government for a “decent employment policy” in a television interview.

(During an interview with this reporter in December 1994, Haider insisted his remarks about employment were in jest and were subsequently twisted by “the state-owned TV network.” He likened his tough stand on illegal immigration to that of California’s then-Republican Gov. Pete Wilson, who had just won a landslide re-election after embracing an initiative to deny state services to non-citizens).

Haider would finally break with the FPO in 2004 and launch an insurgent party (BZO) of its own. In 2008, he died from injuries in an automobile crash.

Nearly a decade later, much of the agenda sculpted by Haider lives on in the present FPO leader, Heinz-Christian Strache. Under Strache, the old Haider insurgents of the BZO have come back to the FPO and, in an effort to shed its identification with Nazi sympathizers the party has had a major outreach to the extreme right in Israel (although Strache and his party have never been welcomed by the Netanyahu government).

Strache has also studied and praised the American “Tea Party” movement and considers as “good friends” France’s LePen, the Netherlands’ Wilders, and German AfD leader Frauke Petry.

Strache also brought his party closer to Putin. In December, he went to Moscow to sign a cooperation agreement with Putin’s United Russia Party and vow its opposition to Western sanctions against Russia over its actions in Ukraine.

A “shoulder-to-shoulder” relationship between Vienna and Moscow, said Strache, would help bring peace to Syria.

Can Sebastian Kurz Stop the Freedom Party?

There is a sidebar in modern Austrian history that works to the advantage of “outsider” candidates and parties: the incestuous nature of the two major parties.

For 44 of the past 72 years, Austria has been governed by a “grand coalition” of the Social Democrats and the People’s Party. For much of that time, the party chieftains divided patronage at the federal, state and local level through a system called “Proporz.”

“It was a recipe for corruption and nepotism,” observed columnist Tony Barber of the Financial Times, “[T]his political establishment looked tired and out of ideas.”

That’s what the voters appeared to be saying. In the parliamentary elections of 2013, the major parties got an aggregate total of 50 percent of all votes cast—down from 79 percent cast for the “Big Two” parties in 2002.

Earlier this year, nominees for the ceremonial office of president of Austria failed to even make the run-off. The top vote-getter in the first round of the race (35.1 percent) was Freedom Party nominee Norbert Hofer, with Alexander van der Bellen of the Green Party placing second with 21.3 percent. (In a subsequent run-off that had to be re-run because of irregularities in the casting of some ballots, van der Bellen narrowly staved off Hofer.)

With days to go before the balloting in the parliamentary elections, the issue of immigration dominates political debate. In 2015, as Germany’s Merkel was admitting refugees from Syria, whose ranks would reach one million, Austria received 90,000 asylum requests. In 2016, that number was 42,000.

Inarguably, this flood of immigrants played into the hands of the Freedom Party. Its longtime charges that a tide of non-European Muslims will drain the welfare system, cost Austrian jobs, and drown the culture clearly resonate more than ever.

Aware of this, the People’s Party turned to a different kind of leader in this election: Sebastian Kurz, foreign minister and former immigration minister, and 30 years old.

Kurz endorses most of Strache’s anti-immigration agenda and is regarded by many commentators as the “soft-spoken Strache” who has moved the OVP considerably to the right of the political spectrum.

Kurz eschews the labels of “left” or “right” and makes statements designed to appeal to different political factions in a populist manner. As immigration minister, he targeted “people smugglers” and tried to reduce economic incentive for refugees to “flood” Austria. He favors U.S.-style tax cuts as well as increased public spending to jump-start Austria’s moribund economy.

But Kurz also eschews the tough, beer-hall rhetoric on immigrants that is a staple of Strache’s rallies. Moreover, he is a strong booster of the European Union, in sharp contrast to the Eurosceptic Freedom Party.

Given the People’s Party’s first-place showing in the polls at this time, the nomination of the “Austrian Macron” appears to have been a shrewd move. But a “Chancellor Kurz” may be forced to form a coalition with the Freedom Party rather than his party’s traditional ally, the Social Democrats headed by outgoing Chancellor Christian Kern.

“In this way, an extreme right-wing party which endorses xenophobic, nativist and anti-EU rhetoric would become part of the Austrian government again – a government which would probably move Austria closer to the ever more authoritarian policies of [Prime Minister] Victor Orban of Hungary,” says social scientist Ruth Wodak, professor at Lancaster University, UK, and author of “The Politics of Fear. What Right Wing Populist Discourses Mean.

The Freedom Party sharing power after eleven years will be a much-reported story from Austria—and a defining moment in the saga of whether nationalism is here to stay in Europe or is just a passing fad.


John Gizzi

John Gizzi is the White House correspondent and chief political columnist for Newsmax. He is also a contributor to SFPPR News & Analysis of the conservative-online-journalism center at the Washington-based Selous Foundation for Public Policy Research..

The Numbers Are in: Social Security Robs the Working Poor

The Social Security Administration’s own numbers reveal that a private investment pays more than Social Security.

Tom Eddlem

by  Tom Eddlem

Back in 2011, investment guru Warren Buffett famously complained in the New York Times that his secretaries were paying higher federal payroll tax rates than he was:

Our leaders have asked for ‘shared sacrifice.’ But when they did the asking, they spared me…. what I paid was only 17.4 percent of my taxable income – and that’s actually a lower percentage than was paid by any of the other 20 people in our office. Their tax burdens ranged from 33 percent to 41 percent and averaged 36 percent.”

Buffett used some creative accounting for his numbers; he used only “taxable income,” which means he didn’t count all the deductions his employees were using to write off their income taxes. For middle-class workers making about $75,000 per year, that’s typically a heavy percentage of their income. Moreover, for the tax rates Buffett claimed applied to his assistants, they must have been paid in the range of $200,000 per year or more.

Despite Buffett’s accounting trickery, there was a level of truth to his complaint: the burden of Social Security and Medicare payroll taxes does fall almost exclusively upon the poor and middle classes. And Buffett acknowledged this fact in his New York Times op-ed:

The mega-rich pay income taxes at a rate of 15 percent on most of their earnings but pay practically nothing in payroll taxes. It’s a different story for the middle class: typically, they fall into the 15 percent and 25 percent income tax brackets, and then are hit with heavy payroll taxes to boot.”

The Questionable Benefit of Paying Those Heavy Taxes

Buffett was correct to claim the poor and middle class pay heavy payroll taxes for the Social Security program. But do the poor and middle classes receive benefits from Social Security compared to the “investment” the federal government requires they make?

The Social Security Administration’s website now allows its “customers” to enter income numbers over a career and pull out a precise benefit level. So it’s relatively easy today for anyone to contrast private investments with Social Security benefit levels with an unprecedented level of precision. (This author has run the numbers several times before in the past few decades using the SSA’s PIA calculator application.)

While it has long been known that middle class and wealthy people do not profit by “investing” their money in Social Security compared with a private retirement fund, the impact of Social Security upon a worker trapped in a minimum wage job throughout his career has been left uncalculated – until now.Thus, the following question can be answered authoritatively:

Is it possible for a minimum wage worker to do better putting his money into Social Security than if he were allowed to invest his money in a private fund earning interest at the same rate as the S&P 500?

And the answer is this: No, it’s not possible. In every conceivable scenario, the private fund pays more than Social Security to the minimum wage worker.

The Numbers Don’t Lie

Consider the case of a person who works 50 weeks per year, 40 hours per week at the legal minimum wage, beginning in 1970 and retiring at the end of 2017.

Only the Old Age and Survivors’ Assistance proportion of the Social Security tax can be added to the private fund, not Disability Insurance or Medicare, which in 2017 is 10.6 percent of total income (out of the 15.3 percent total tax imposed upon the self-employed). The worker must purchase a term insurance policy with a private fund to cover the “survivors” part of the risk in the Social Security program, and (to keep things fair) a 0.75 percent “management fee” is deducted from the retirement account annually.

Most couples in that salary range are actually two-income families.

At the end of his career, the minimum wage worker ends up with a retirement fund of $262,551.02 from the wages he otherwise would have paid into the Social Security “trust fund.”

From this account, a person could safely withdraw just over seven percent per year, with the fund replenishing itself in perpetuity without losing value – meanwhile, the S&P has grown at just over 11 percent annually, and inflation has been a little less than four percent during the same last 50 years. That’s an average monthly income of over $1,500, adjusted upwards for inflation over time, it is far more than the $974.00 that the Social Security Administration’s website claims it will pay its customers.

The numbers favor a private account even if one uses favorable circumstances for receiving Social Security, with a single income earner in a two-couple household where the spouse gets half the Social Security benefit of the wage-earner. The spousal benefit increases the monthly Social Security payment to $1,461.00, while the private fund remains the same at $1,579.68.

And this scenario is highly unlikely: A couple with just one worker making the legal federal minimum wage is a rarity; most couples in that salary range are two-income families. In a two-income minimum wage family, the private fund pays $3,159.36 versus a $1,948 monthly benefit from Social Security. In every family scenario, whether single, married with one income or married with two incomes, the difference is that Social Security is cheating poor retirees out of several hundred thousand dollars in benefits (see table below).

Single or Married, Alike

All three family scenarios assume a 2017 bull market with earnings of 10.62 percent increase in S&P 500-based private fund for 2017 (based upon YTD as of August 23). But what if the retirement date is at the bottom of a 2008-level stock market crash? Even in that scenario (in calendar year 2008, nearly 37 percent of the S&P 500’s value was erased by the bear market), every possible permutation of family arrangement makes more total money from the private fund than from Social Security. Whether single earners, two-income couples, and one-income couples, all make more than Social Security in a private fund.

There’s only one artificial scenario that could be constructed where Social Security could claim to be of partial benefit to a poor family. If:

  1. The minimum wage worker retires at the bottom of a 2008-style recession, and
  2. One were to count only monthly payments (not discounting a death benefit of the value of $166,588.62 in the recession-reduced private fund), and
  3. It is a single-income married family.

Then, Social Security pays a slightly higher monthly benefit. Over a typical benefit lifespan – 256 months for women and 215 months for men – Social Security’s monthly payments make up for nearly two-thirds of the death benefit in a private fund.

When the leftist mainstream media reported about Warren Buffett’s column, they focused exclusively upon the income tax proportion of the tax burden. They ignored how Buffett’s column acknowledges that Social Security and Medicare payroll taxes are not “contributions” to a “trust fund” to care for workers, akin to private sector 401k plans, but are instead regressive taxes imposed upon the working classes.

This admission belies a political establish core tenet of faith that goes back to the New Deal, that Social Security serves as an investment to protect poor and middle-class workers and is not as a general revenue tax. Buffett’s essay busted that myth by correctly claiming that Social Security impoverishes working people with general revenue taxation.

But even if one assumes Social Security taxes are an “investment” made by the poor for their retirement like a 401k plan, the numbers provided by the Social Security Administration itself reveal it’s still a financial rip-off for the very poorest of the working poor.

Tom Eddlem

Tom Eddlem

Thomas R. Eddlem is a freelance writer who has been published in more than 20 periodicals, and a high school history and economics teacher. He’s the author of Primary Source American History, available on TeachersPayTeachers.com and his blog is located at teddlem.blogspot.com.

Department of Health and Human Services: ‘Life Begins at Conception’

In a stunning turn of events President Trump’s Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has declared that life begins at conception.

The 2018-2022 DHHS draft strategic plan reads:

Mission Statement

The mission of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is to enhance the health and well-being of Americans, by providing for effective health and human services and by fostering sound, sustained advances in the sciences underlying medicine, public health, and social services.

Organizational Structure

HHS accomplishes its mission through programs and initiatives that cover a wide spectrum of activities, serving and protecting Americans at every stage of life, beginning at conception.

Readers may share their thoughts on each part of the draft strategic plan.

Download the HHS DRAFT Strategic Plan FY 2018 – 2022 – PDF

The Federalist’s Harvest Prude reports:

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) just released their 2018-2022 plan, which unequivocally states that life begins at conception and deserves protection. In the introduction it says,

“HHS accomplishes its mission through programs and initiatives that cover a wide spectrum of activities, serving and protecting Americans at every stage of life, beginning at conception.”

The draft mentions conception five times total. The overwhelmingly pro-life stance in the draft is welcome news to many.

The debate over the personhood of unborn children has been a central issue of the abortion debate. Ever since Roe v. Wade in 1973, pro-life advocates have been trying to establish constitutionally protected rights for the unborn. In the ruling’s majority opinion, Justice Harry Blackmun wrote that Roe v. Wade would collapse if “the fetus is a person.”

In support of the HHS’s draft, author and bioethics expert Wesley J. Smith wrote, “life ‘beginning at conception’ … is a fact of basic biological science.”

Read more.

VIDEO: America Truth Conference — You are invited!

America – The Truth

“Election Day 2018: Truth or Consequences”

  • Is our immigration policy making America better or destroying it?
  • Is our Christian culture now obsolete and is Islam better? Is Globalization better or worse for America?
  • Are the shadow government and deep state better for America?

Click here for details and to register

(NOTE: The cost for adults is $10.00 and students $5.00)

Attend the America – The Truth conference. Become informed and enlightened on:

Saturday, October 21st, 2017

at the Knights of Columbus Hall

4880 Fruitville Road, Sarasota, Florida 34235

Time: 8:00 AM to 1:30 PM

Speakers:

John Michael Chamber

Suzanne Shattuck

and me Tom Trento

The Catholic Magazine Interview with Milo they Refuse to Print

Milo Yiannopoulis talks about his Catholic faith, masculinity, Fr. James Martin.

Milo Yiannopoulos is best known as a conservative provocateur, famous for making statements like “Feminism is cancer,” “Birth control makes women unattractive and crazy,” and “Islam is cancer,” among others. His talks are routinely interrupted by leftist protestors, most notably at Berkeley in February, which ended up cancelling Yiannopoulos’ talk after Antifa members smashed windows, overturned barricades, set fire to property and attacked police. Although Church Militant does not endorse everything Yiannopoulis says and does, we are on the same page with regard to the unchanging teachings of the Church and opposing Catholics who would try to change Christ’s teachings to make them more comfortable. Church Militant reproduces here what America magazine refuses to publish. 

By Milo Yiannopoulos

Over five weeks ago, I sent the following answers to questions I was asked by America magazine, a journal run by Jesuits. They have chosen not to publish it, perhaps out of compassion, fearing too many of their aging readers would suffer heart failure. Or perhaps they couldn’t stand my tweaking of their most famous contributor, Fr. James Martin, notorious for equivocating over any Church teaching that might cause a stir at an Anglican garden party.

Amusingly, while the Jesuits struggled to decide if they could bear to publish my answers, one of the Church’s highest ranking Cardinals called out Fr. Martin by name as “one of the most outspoken critics of the church’s message with regard to sexuality.” That means my side in this dispute enjoys support from a black prince of the Church raised on a continent where martyrdom is common, while the other side’s champion is a white bourgeois man in whose life the worst threat is that the wine is a bit off this week. 

Ask yourself:  Which of these men would you want to have your six?

Although you grew up Catholic, you now say and do many shocking things in your public career which seem to be at odds with your childhood faith. In what sense do you still consider yourself a Catholic? 

Plenty of saints were shocking, to say nothing of our Lord, who got in a spot of trouble for His shocking claims, as you might recall. I am certainly no saint, but I don’t think “shocking” is a helpful way of approaching the question of Catholics in public life. It doesn’t settle much to say that the current Pope is shocking to many Catholics, including me. Or to note that I’m shocked by supposedly Catholic politicians who make laws in flat contradiction to the natural law, which you need no faith to grasp.

In my case, do you mean it’s shocking that a Catholic like me is loudly worried about Islam, which has waged war on Holy Mother Church for more than a millennium?

Or that I say Planned Parenthood’s abortion crusade amounts to black genocide?

Or that I’ve supported Pope Paul VI’s criticism of artificial contraception so strongly that Hillary Clinton attacked me for it in her presidential campaign?

Frankly, what’s really shocking is that a poor sinner like me has spoken out more on contraception than 99% of our bishops, who seem too preoccupied with diversity and climate change to talk about God.

Maybe you mean it’s shocking that I’m always joking about my lack of chastity and my fondness for black dudes, but I still call myself Catholic. And I don’t see what’s so shocking about that, either. One of the most famous saints of all time, sixteen centuries ago, prayed, “Lord, make me chaste, but not yet.”

Image

Anyone who grows up in Catholic cities like New Orleans and Rome emerges pretty unshockable — and certainly wouldn’t be alarmed by me.

I think it was a visit to New Orleans that inspired Evelyn Waugh to make an observation I often quote:  Protestants seem to think, I’m good, therefore I go to church, whereas Catholics think, I’m very bad, therefore I go to church. Waugh also said, when people asked how he could call himself a Catholic: You have no idea how bad I’d be if I weren’t.

Sins of the flesh, let us remember, are at the bottom of the scale. The Church says self-righteousness is at the top. Therefore, I’m in a lot better shape than some of my feminist and establishment Republican enemies. To say nothing of Islam!

In life, I believe in aspiration. If you’re a poor kid, aspire to rise economically. If you’re shy, aspire to confidence, so you can defend your views in public. And if you’re a wretched sinner like me, aspire to end up better than you are now. Miracles do happen!

Where do you experience tensions with Catholicism in your life?

Who says any Catholic should lack tension stoked by his weaknesses? We Catholics are better at clothes, food, and parties. Why shouldn’t we be better at guilt, too?

You don’t see me disputing the Church’s teachings on homosexuality. There’s no intellectual tension, because I wouldn’t dream of demanding that the Church throw away her hard truths just to lie to me in hopes I’ll feel better about myself. I love the truth, not lies, and I know no one’s feelings are the basis of truth.

That’s why I don’t understand those Catholics — such as, if you’ll forgive my horrid impertinence, this magazine’s editor at large, Fr. Martin — who imply that if people don’t like what the Church says, maybe the Church is wrong or should apologize. The Church was founded on a rock and a cross, not on a hug.

Still, if you insist I talk about feelings, I’ve said before that I feel there’s something wrong with the fact that my lovemaking can’t produce the mini-Milo’s I’d like to have. How’s that for a subjective confirmation of the Church teaching that same-sex attraction is “objectively disordered” because it can’t lead to procreation?

Bottom line: The Church says I’m not culpable for my temptations, but I shouldn’t sin. She’s right. And her founder said He came to heal those who knew they were sick, so I don’t despair.

What was the best thing about your Catholic upbringing?

One good thing was hearing Mary praised for her motherhood. Whatever my own mother’s shortcomings, I learned that motherhood is the greatest vocation, and one that God banned all men from. That’s why I think it’s sad that today’s feminists, as Chesterton observed, despise motherhood and all the other chief feminine characteristics. The idea that men and women shouldn’t be different — shouldn’t have different interests, strengths, and ways of relating to Creation — is insane, and it’s empirical fact that trying to deny these differences makes all of us less happy.

“I think it’s sad that today’s feminists, as Chesterton observed, despise motherhood and all the other chief feminine characteristics.” Milo tweet.

Growing up Catholic also taught me the value of humility, even if that’s not exactly a forte of mine. This virtue is important for society, because it teaches us to be tolerant of a diversity of opinions, rather than arrogantly trying to silence people we disagree with. And it’s important for me personally, because despite my vanity, I know I’m not as smart as Thomas Aquinas or as good as St. Francis.

There’s a great line from the novelist Flannery O’Connor, who liked to shock and troll a bit herself: “I’m not limited to what I personally feel or think; I’m a Catholic.” She meant the same thing Chesterton did in his famous quip, “Tradition is the democracy of the dead.” Political correctness gives us thin gruel and loneliness. The Church gives us a grand party with red meat and red wine.

[ … ]

How do you pray?

On my knees.

Who are your role models, either living or dead, in the Catholic faith?

Pope Benedict XVI is still the wisest and most erudite man in Europe, though I’m sure he doesn’t deserve to have me hung around his neck as an admirer. He was also brave enough to declare publicly that Islam’s irrationalism is one of the world’s great problems.

By the way, in the same Regensburg lecture he pointed out that secularists in the West are also dangerously unbalanced, because they’re as hostile to religion as Muslims are to rationality. I note that he credits my wild pagan ancestors in Greece for the West’s deepest rational roots.

My personal motto, “laughter and war,” comes from a passage in Chesterton’s Heretics. He should be the patron saint of Catholic journalists. And of course Hilaire Belloc was brilliant as a defender of the West. In the 1930s, when the Caliphate had collapsed and no one imagined Islam would ever come back, he prophesied that the West would again be threatened, because our superior money and technology can’t take the place of a devotion to your civilization.

I’ve already quoted St. Augustine, who had his own pelvic issues. I once tweeted out an illustrated page from his Confessions that began, “I will now recall my past foulnesses.” That’ll work for my memoirs someday, too.

Rabelais and the anonymous trolls who wrote the Carmina Burana are kindred spirits.

She wasn’t a Roman, but the conservative essayist Florence King earned a title I aspire to. A New York Times book reviewer said of her: “The mind of a Jesuit with the mouth of a truck driver.”

What’s your favorite Scripture passage and why? 

I’m tempted to go for the easy Waugh line from Ecclesiastes:  “Vanity of vanities, all is vanity.”

You recently self-published the new book Dangerous after Breitbart fired you and your original publisher withdrew the contract. How do you respond to critics who say you are “hateful” and “hurtful” to others?

The truth often hurts, as the Church has always understood. That’s one reason she so often shows us a Man in agony on a cross. I don’t delight in others’ pain, but I’m not scared into silence by the fear someone somewhere will take offense.

“The fact that so many of us think hurting people’s feelings is the greatest evil says all you need to know about the decline of our civilization.” Milo tweet.

If I’m wrong about something, don’t whine; show me evidence and make rational arguments.

Or tell a good joke! A big part of what I do is playing the jester, telling the powerful the truths they don’t want to hear. Maybe that’s what you meant about my “shocking” aspect. A friend who’s a brilliant medievalist at the University of Chicago (and who was just received into the Church this Easter, Deo gratias), likes to embarrass me by writing about me as a holy fool.

The fact that so many of us think hurting people’s feelings is the greatest evil says all you need to know about the decline of our civilization.

I say embarrass, but of course it’s a great compliment and I am happy to receive any kind of attention.

By the way, I wasn’t fired.

In the book you mention that you made a mistake in the broadcast that got you fired. Looking back at your public career to date, what would you do differently if you could do it all over again?

I would change nothing.

In 2011 and 2012, you were featured in Wired UK’s yearly top 100 most influential people in Britain’s digital economy, and the Observer once called you “the pit bull of tech media.” How is tech media changing the way we do journalism today?

I blame tech bloggers for the proliferation of “process journalism,” which means writing whatever appears to be true at that moment and fixing it later. Of course, they never bother. Tech journalism today has lower professional standards than a Detroit bordello, which is why I left to become famous for a living instead.

You were one of the first tech journalists to cover the Gamergate controversy, criticizing what you saw as the politicization of video game culture by “an army of sociopathic feminist programmers and campaigners, abetted by achingly politically correct American tech bloggers.” How do you respond to critics who say you are supporting the tendency of video games to demean women?

Just as there was no evidence in the 1990s that rock music, heavy metal and video games caused violence, there is no evidence today behind the moral panic that video games make you sexist. It’s politics masquerading as well-meaning academic enquiry. Fortunately, we won, and the noxious feminists are on the defensive in gaming.

What does masculinity mean to you?

It means a willingness to expose yourself to enemy fire, whether or not you wear a uniform, in order to defend the good — your family, your church, your country, your civilization. Now the men in uniform are much better men than I, but even I can do a bit to defend those things with the gifts God gave me.

Our Lord, as always, showed the way: He endured the horrors of the Passion to defend and redeem the whole world. I’m with Rod Dreher: Anybody who only preaches a namby-pamby God, and not the highly masculine God of Scripture, is leaving young men vulnerable to the monstrous false gods of race and ideology.

Boys struggling to become men are always potential barbarians, because they hunger for masculinity but aren’t sure where to find it or how to productively express it. Our Lord revealed it to them, but too many in the Church keep masculinity hidden or the subject of shame.

As a gay Catholic, you’ve debated same-sex civil unions on television news programs, surprising some people with your perspectives. In a nutshell, what do you believe about this issue and why?

First, I’m with St. Thomas Aquinas: The civil laws can’t forbid everything the Church forbids, because utopianism does more harm than good, given how weak most of us are.

I was for a long time contemptuous of gay marriage. But then I fell in love, and now I don’t know what to think.

I’d add that just as the Church doesn’t insist civil society require everyone to follow all her views of proper conduct, so civil society should follow the First Amendment and not bully believers into espousing whatever views politicians have enacted. It disgusts me when gay activists harass in the public square, much less in the courts, those simple believers who aren’t harming anyone while they bake pizzas and the like.

In 2008, the BBC featured you in media coverage of Pope Benedict XVI’s historic visit to the United Kingdom. From your perspective, what was most significant about his visit?

One major thing he did was to visit John Henry Newman’s Oratory and move him a step forward toward canonization. That’s great, given that Newman’s nemesis was liberalism in religion. He was not, as George Weigel has joked, a believer in an ice-your-own-cupcake world.

The Vatican has launched a commission to examine and overhaul the Holy See’s media communications strategy. If you could give any advice to Pope Francis about how to do journalism today, what would it be?

Stop talking.

Any final thoughts?

Pray for me. I need it.

Reprinted with permission from MiloYiannopoulos.net; slightly edited.

Harvey Weinstein — Question: Why? Answer: It’s in the Holy Bible!

American poet Criss Jami wrote, “The motive behind criticism often determines its validity. Those who care criticize where necessary. Those who envy criticize the moment they think that they have found a weak spot.”

I have been watching the unfolding of the Harvey Weinstein scandal. Weinstein was born in the borough of Queens, New York City, to a Jewish family. His parents were Max Weinstein, a diamond cutter, and Miriam (née Postel).

There are currently ten U.S. Senators and nineteen members of the U.S. House of Representatives who are Jewish. Of these twenty nine members of Congress twenty seven are Democrats, one, Bernard Sanders is an Independent and one, Lee Zeldin, is a Republican.

As a Christian I believe that Jews are the “chosen people.”

The Jewish Virtual Library notes:

In Judaism, “chosenness” is the belief that the Jewish people were singularly chosen to enter into a covernant with G-d. This idea has been a central one throughout the history of Jewish thought, is deeply rooted in biblical concepts and has been developed in talmudic, philosophic, mystical and contemporary Judaism.

Most Jews hold that being the “Chosen People” means that they have been place[d] on earth to fulfill a certain purpose. Traditional proof for Jewish “chosenness” is found in the Torah, the Jewish bible, in the Book of Deuteronomy (chapter 14) where it says: “For you are a holy people to Hashem your God, and God has chosen you to be his treasured people from all the nations that are on the face of the earth.” In the Book of Genesis (chapter 17) it also written: “And I [G-d] will establish My covenant between Me and you [the Jewish people] and your descendants after you in their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and your descendants after you.”

The Jewish people have suffered great persecution and continue to do so. The Jewish state of Israel is hated by many but still stands as a shining light of freedom in the most dangerous neighborhood in the world – the Middle East.

You would expect that Jews in America would understand their “covernant with God.” That they would live up to be His “holy people.”

So why do we see one of His chosen people, Harvey Weinstein, fail so miserably?

Covenant is defined as, “[T]he agreement between God and the ancient Israelites, in which  God promised to protect them if they kept His law and were faithful to Him.”

Faithful to Him means faithful to His laws. His laws are contained in Exodus 31:18, known as the Ten Commandments. Perhaps the commandants that strike home in the case of Harvey Weinstein are:

You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.

You shall not commit adultery.

You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.

Washington, D.C., deemed “the swamp” by President Trump, is guilty of breaking their agreement with God by coveting. Hollywood, what some call a cesspool, is guilty of breaking its agreement with God by worshiping false idols and adultery.

Washington, D.C. covets power, wants our property our wages, homes, and possessions. Hollywood wants our souls. Hollywood wants us to worship them and not the God of Abraham.

I write this not because I found a weak spot named Harvey Weinstein. We all have weak spots and we are all sinners.

I come to criticize where necessary. To help those in Washington, D.C. and Hollywood to embrace God in all of His glory. This is a time for prayer. Prayers for all sinners.

As it says in John 3:16 (KJV):

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

As a Christian I pray for President Trump, all members of Congress and those in Hollywood that they see the light, that they believe in Him and have everlasting life.

RELATED ARTICLES: 

George Clooney Accused of Helping Blacklist Actress Who Complained of Sexual Harassment – Breitbart

Why Hollywood is the perfect hunting ground for pervs

RELATED VIDEO: Cecil B. DeMille – The Ten Commandments – Trailer – Charlton Heston As Moses And The Voice Of GOD.

Problematic Women Video: College Students Use Sex Objects to Protest Katie Pavlich

At the University of  Wisconsin-Madison this week, Fox News contributor and Second Amendment advocate Katie Pavlich faced a new brand of protest from liberal campus activists—sex objects.

The protest, named “Cocks Not Glocks,” was reportedly organized by students and led by Katherine Kerwin and focused on Pavlich’s views that guns can protect women from being sexually assaulted on campus.

Their rationale, according to Facebook, goes like this:

Katie Pavlich thinks that you can murder campus sexual assault away. Young Americans for Freedom thinks that her presence on campus is necessary to defend free speech.

Therefore, Cocks Not Glocks: UW Madison will be gathering during Pavlich’s speech to create and present dick art that has ZERO literary, artistic, political, educational, or scientific value. You know, for free speech.

In order to participate, the event page encouraged students to “tie that dildo to your backpack and wear it proudly to class every day.”

If people think taking loaded guns to class is socially acceptable, harmless vibrating toys should be too.

Although Pavlich’s speech, hosted by the Young Americans for Freedom chapter at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, went smoothly on Tuesday, students did come out to demonstrate using these profanities.

For this reason, this week’s edition of “Problematic Women” is honoring Pavlich as our “Problematic Woman of the Week.” In this show, co-hosted with Bre Payton of The Federalist, we show clips of the protest Pavlich faced, discuss the hypocrisy of liberal Hollywood, and the Boy Scouts of America deciding to welcome young girls into its programs.

Watch in the video above.

COMMENTARY BY

Portrait of Kelsey Harkness

Kelsey Harkness is a senior news producer at The Daily Signal. Send an email to Kelsey. Twitter: 

A Note for our Readers:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Judge: Congress Still Living on a Prayer

For over 240 years, our elected representatives to the federal government have begun their public duties with prayer. When a session of the House of Representatives is opened, a prayer seeking God’s guidance is offered. Among other things, this is a reflection of the faith of many people across America who themselves seek His guidance in their lives.Nevertheless, there are always those who just can’t stand the idea of Americans, especially leaders, acknowledging their dependence upon God.

The Freedom from Religion Foundation (FFRF) perpetuates its existence by trying to stamp out the very recognition of God’s existence from across our land, much as — quite sadly — communist governments tried to wipe out the church from public life during the last century.

The FFRF has challenged public monuments, prayer, and virtually any public recognition of religion. Like most on the Left, FFRF engages in bullying tactics threatening to haul the “offenders” into court for their “unconstitutional” activities. Unfortunately, too many school districts and city and town councils hand over their milk money to the bullies and capitulate.

When FFRF actually does sue, a very high percentage of their cases are simply dismissed. However, they occasionally find a sympathetic ear (just several days ago, a quite radical federal judge in Wisconsin ruled in favor of the group’s claim challenging housing allowances for pastors). After failing so many times, the FFRF is now trying a new tactic, with founder Dan Barker (who has publicly proclaimed his atheism but maintains ministerial credentials) applying to the U.S. House of Representatives chaplain to be able to lead a prayer.

His application was rejected, and he sued, claiming the practice of House prayer was in violation of the Supreme Court’s decision in Town of Greece v. Galloway (which had ruled permitting ministers to pray before legislative gatherings was constitutional).

Thankfully, Judge Rosemary Collyer from the D.C. District Court wasn’t too eager to go along. She rejected FFRF’s claims, holding that Barker could not piggyback on Town of Greece to demand that the House allow a “prayer” to what or whoever he wanted: “[C]ontrary to Mr. Barker’s hopeful interpretation, Town of Greece did not reference atheists — who are, by definition, nontheists who do not believe in God or gods — but ‘any minister or layman who wished to give [a prayer].'”

The interpretation of the Establishment Clause in this and other cases simply doesn’t require what Barker demanded. Sanity has prevailed — for now.

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.), who was named a defendant in Barker’s suit, praised the ruling and observed:

“Since the first session of the Continental Congress, our nation’s legislature has opened with a prayer to God. Today, that tradition was upheld and the freedom to exercise religion was vindicated. The court rightfully dismissed the claims of an atheist that he had the right to deliver a secular invocation in place of the opening prayer.” He concluded: “I am grateful that the People’s House can continue to begin its work each day as we have for centuries: taking a moment to pray to God.”


Tony Perkins’ Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.


Also in the October 12 Washington Update:

Watch VVS Live on a Screen Near You

Class is in Session

Watch the Premiere of ‘Islam in Our Schools’

America needs a national awakening to be aware of the growing number of public schools that are attempting to convert children to Islam and turn them into evangelists for the Islamic faith

Watch the Premiere of “Islam in Our Schools”

The live stream of the premiere was a success!  If you missed it live you can still watch the video of the event including an excellent question and answer session with me and Ryan Mauro.

Plus, an additional SURPRISE guest joins in and gives some great insight to the increasing issue of…. “Islam in Our Schools”

FBI Arrest Data by Race and Ethnicity in 2016

There has been much discussion about how blacks are being targeted and shot by police. The narrative is that “white privilege” has kept Caucasians out of prison, while others are arrested just because they are black or Hispanic. Let’s look at two sets of data for 2016:

  1. The racial breakdown of America and;
  2. The breakdown of arrests in America by race and age.

Perhaps this will paint a clearer picture for readers about differences in arrests by race and age.

The U.S. Census Bureau estimate of the racial breakdown of America in 2016 is depicted in the below chart:

Race and Hispanic Origin
White alone, percent, July 1, 2016, (V2016) 76.9%
Black or African American alone, percent, July 1, 2016, (V2016) 13.3%
American Indian and Alaska Native alone, percent, July 1, 2016, (V2016) 1.3%
Asian alone, percent, July 1, 2016, (V2016) 5.7%
Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander alone, percent, July 1, 2016, (V2016) 0.2%
Two or More Races, percent, July 1, 2016, (V2016) 2.6%
Hispanic or Latino, percent, July 1, 2016, (V2016) 17.8%
White alone, not Hispanic or Latino, percent, July 1, 2016, (V2016) 61.3%

The most recent data release by the Federal Bureau of Investigation portrays those arrested by race/ethnicity. Below is a summary of FBI data (the full report may be reviewed and downloaded here).

Arrests, by Race and Ethnicity, 2016

  • In 2016, 69.6 percent of all individuals arrested were White, 26.9 percent were Black or African American, and 3.6 percent were of other races.
  • Of arrestees for whom ethnicity was reported, 18.4 percent were Hispanic.
  • Of all juveniles (persons under the age of 18) arrested in 2016, 62.1 percent were White, 34.7 percent were Black or African American, and 3.2 percent were of other races.
  • Of juvenile arrestees for whom ethnicity was reported, 22.8 percent were Hispanic.
  • Of all adults arrested in 2016, 70.2 percent were White, 26.2 percent were Black or African American, and 3.6 percent were of other races.
  • Of adult arrestees for whom ethnicity was reported, 18.0 were Hispanic.
  • White individuals were arrested more often for violent crimes than individuals of any other race and accounted for 59.0 percent of those arrests.
  • Of adults arrested for murder, 52.0 percent were Black or African American, 45.4 percent were White, and 2.6 percent were of other races.
  • Black or African American juveniles comprised 52.0 percent of all juveniles arrested for violent crimes. White juveniles accounted for 58.4 percent of all juveniles arrested for property crimes.
  • Of juveniles arrested for drug abuse violations, 74.8 percent were White.
  • White juveniles comprised 64.7 percent of juveniles arrested for rape and 60.2 percent of juveniles arrested for larceny-theft.

Arrests, by Age, 2016

  • In 2016, 92.0 percent of all individuals arrested were adults (18 years of age and over). Adults comprised 89.9 percent of all persons arrested for violent crimes and 86.4 percent of persons arrested for property crimes.
  • Adults accounted for 93.7 percent of persons arrested for drug abuse violations.
  • In 2016, 25.9 percent of persons arrested for arson were juveniles. More than half of those juveniles (57.4 percent) were under the age of 15.
  • Persons between the ages of 25 and 29 accounted for 17.1 percent of all arrestees in 2016.

When comparing these data sets the following stand out about “adult” arrests:

  1. Whites are by far the largest group arrested for crimes (70.2%).
  2. The total percentage of whites arrested for crimes (70.2%) is less than the percentage of “white alone” population (76.9%) but greater than the “White alone, not Hispanic or Latino” population ( 61.3%).
  3. Whites comprise the largest race arrested for violent crimes (59.0%).
  4. Black/African American arrests (26.9%) was just over twice the “Black or African American alone” population (13.3%).
  5. Of those arrested for murder 52.0% were “Black or African American” or nearly four times higher than their population (13.3%).

When comparing these data sets the following stand out about “juvenile” arrests:

  1. Of all juveniles (persons under the age of 18) arrested in 2016, 62.1 percent were White, 34.7 percent were Black or African American, and 3.2 percent were of other races.
  2. Black or African American juveniles comprised 52.0 percent of all juveniles arrested for violent crimes.
  3. White juveniles accounted for 58.4 percent of all juveniles arrested for property crimes.
  4. Of juveniles arrested for drug abuse violations, 74.8 percent were White.
  5. White juveniles comprised 64.7 percent of juveniles arrested for rape and 60.2 percent of juveniles arrested for larceny-theft.

As a law enforcement agency, given these data points, profiling criminals is a must.

To reduce “violent” crimes law enforcement would focus primarily on adult whites of which 89.9% were arrested. To prevent property/larceny-theft the focus would be on white adults first and white juveniles second. To stop drug abuse law enforcement would target the 93.7% of white adults and 74.8% of white juveniles. To reduce rape and arson juveniles would need to be profiled.

While black/African American juveniles arrested for violent crimes (52.0%) is high for their population, it is not indicative of the need for great police concern as juveniles (age 18 and younger) of all races only 8% (half black and half white) were arrested for committing a crime.

A law enforcement model must look at the profile of those who do the crime, if the police, given limited resources, are to be effective in reducing crime.

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My Fourth Health Care Plan Just Died Thanks to Obamacare by Michelle Malkin

Cue the funeral bagpipes. My fourth health insurance plan is dead.

Two weeks ago, my husband and I received yet another cancellation notice for our private, individual health insurance coverage. It’s our fourth Obamacare-induced obituary in four years.

Our first death notice, from Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield, arrived in the fall of 2013. The insurer informed us that because of “changes from health care reform (also called the Affordable Care Act or ACA),” our plan no longer met the federal government’s requirements.

Never mind our needs and desires as consumers who were quite satisfied with a high-deductible preferred provider organization that included a wide network of doctors for ourselves and our two children.

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Our second death knell, from Rocky Mountain Health Plans, tolled in August 2015. That notice signaled the end of a plan we didn’t want in the first place that didn’t cover our kids’ dental care and wasn’t accepted at our local urgent care clinic.

The insurer pulled out of the individual market in all but one county in Colorado, following the complete withdrawal from that sector by Humana and UnitedHealthcare.

Our third “notice of plan discontinuation,” again from Anthem, informed us that the insurer would “no longer offer your current health plan in the state of Colorado” in August 2016.

With fewer and fewer choices as know-it-all Obamacare bureaucrats decimated the individual market here and across the country, we enrolled in a high-deductible Bronze HSA EPO (Health Savings Account Exclusive Provider Organization) offered by Minneapolis-based startup Bright Health.

Now, here we are barely a year later: Deja screwed times four. Our current plan will be discontinued on Jan. 1, 2018.

“But don’t worry,” Bright Health’s eulogy writer chirped, “we have similar plans to address your needs.”

Riiiiight. Where have I heard those pie-in-the-sky promises before? Oh, yeah. Straight out of the socialized medicine Trojan horse’s mouth.

“If you like your doctor,” President Barack Obama promised, “you will be able to keep your doctor. Period. If you like your health care plan, you’ll be able to keep your health care plan. Period. No one will take it away. No matter what.”

Is pathological lying covered under the Affordable Care Act?

Speaking of Affordable Care Act whoppers, so much for “affordable.” Our current deductible is $6,550 per person—$13,100 for our family of four. Assuming we can find a new plan at the bottom of the individual market barrel, our current monthly premium, $944.86, will rise to more than $1,300 a month.

“What’s taking place is a market correction; the free market is at work,” says Colorado’s state insurance commissioner, Marguerite Salazar. “[T]his could be an indication that there were too many options for the market to support.”

This presumptuous central planner called federal intervention to eliminate “too many” options for consumers the free market at work. Yes, friends, the Rocky Mountain High is real.

This isn’t a “market correction.” It’s a government catastrophe.

Premiums for individual health plans in Virginia are set to skyrocket nearly 60 percent in 2018. In New Hampshire, those rates will rise 52 percent.

In South Carolina, individual market consumers will face an average 31.3 percent hike. In Tennessee, they’ll see rates jump between 20-40 percent.

Private, flexible preferred provider organizations for self-sufficient, self-employed people are vanishing by design. The social-engineered future—healthy, full-paying consumers being herded into government-run Obamacare exchanges and severely regulated regional health maintenance organizations—is a bipartisan big government health bureaucracy’s dream come true.

These choice-wreckers had the arrogant audacity to denigrate our pre-Obamacare plans as “substandard” (Obama), “crappy” (MSNBC big mouth Ed Schultz), and “junk policies” (Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa).

When I first called attention to the cancellation notice tsunami in 2013, liberal Mother Jones magazine sneered that the phenomenon was “phony.” And they’re still denying the Obamacare death spiral. Liberal Vox Media recently called the crisis “a lie.”

I don’t have enough four-letter words for these propagandists. There are an estimated 450,000 consumers like us in Colorado and 17 million of us nationwide—small business owners, independent contractors, and others who don’t get their plans through group coverage, big companies, or government employers.

The costs, headaches, and disruption in our lives caused by Obamacare’s meddling meddlers are real and massive.

But we’re puzzles to corporate media journalists who’ve never had to meet a payroll and don’t even know what is the individual market.

We’re invisible to late night TV clowns who get their Obamacare-at-all-costs talking points from Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y.

We’re pariahs to social justice health care activists and Democrats who want us to just shut up and subsidize everyone else’s insurance.

And we’re expendables to establishment Republicans who hoovered up campaign donations on the empty promise to repeal Obamacare—and now consider amnesty for immigrants here illegally and gun control higher legislative priorities than keeping their damned word.

We’re the canaries in the Obamacare coal mine. Ignore us at your peril, America. You’re next.

COMMENTARY BY

Portrait of Michelle Malkin

Michelle Malkin is the senior editor of Conservative Review. She is a New York Times best-selling author and a FOX News Channel contributor. Twitter: 

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Gay Coffee Shop Owner Kicks Out Pro-Life Customers

The gay owner of a coffee shop in Seattle kicked a group of Christians out of his coffee shop Sunday after declaring in obscene terms that he would like to sodomize Jesus Christ.

The owner heatedly tells the Christians to leave his shop immediately in a video posted to Facebook by Abolish Human Abortion, a Christian group seeking to end the practice of abortion.

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“I’m gay, you have to leave,” the owner tells the group. “This is offensive to me. I own the place. I have the right to be offended.”

The group tried to explain that they hadn’t placed any in the shop, but the owner repeatedly told them to”shut up.”

“There’s nothing you can say. This is you and I don’t want these people in this place,” the owner says. The group asks why he can’t tolerate their presence, prompting the owner to ask them if they would watch him have sex with his boyfriend.

“Can you tolerate my presence? Really? If I go get my boyfriend and f— him in the a– right here you’re going to tolerate that? Are you going to tolerate it?” the owner asked. “Answer my f—ing question! No, you’re going to sit right here and f—ing watch it! Leave all of you! Tell all your f—ing friends don’t come here!”

The group gets up to leave, as one woman among them says, “just know that Christ can save you from that lifestyle.”

“Yeah, I like a–. I’m not going to be saved by anything. I’d f— Christ in the a–. Okay? He’s hot,” he said.

According to The Liberator, the Christian group had been handing out pamphlets to Seattle locals on abortion, sin and the Bible. The group entered Bedlam Coffee to take a break and drink coffee when a barista went upstairs to tell the owner that the group was there.

“They had good coffee,” Caytie Davis, a group member, said. “It’s just too bad the service sucked.”

Amber Randall

Amber Randall is a reporter for The Daily Caller News Foundation. Twitter: @ARAND1990

RELATED ARTICLE: This Couple Faces Jail Time If They Film Weddings, But Decline Same-Sex Wedding

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