164 Companies Credit Tax Reform for Bonuses and Pay Raises

One hundred sixty-four companies have gone on record stating they gave bonuses and pay raises to employees because of the new tax reform law, according to Americans for Tax Reform.

The list has been continually updated and jumped from 40 companies to 164 in 10 days, the Washington Examiner reports.

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The businesses include American Airlines, AT&T, prominent banks and savings and loans, Boeing, Comcast, Pacific Power, and Visa.

The list shows what each company paid in bonuses and includes attached statements or press releases, saying tax reform was the catalyst for each company’s decision.

AT&T showed direct support for President Donald Trump in its statement and said it expects the changes to produce more jobs and “economic growth.”

“Congress, working closely with the president, took a monumental step to bring taxes paid by U.S. businesses in line with the rest of the industrialized world,” AT&T Chairman and CEO Randall Stephenson said in a statement. “Tax reform will drive economic growth and create good-paying jobs. In fact, we will increase our U.S. investment and pay a special bonus to our U.S. employees.”

Americans for Tax Reform tweeted the list and said companies also provided increased 401K contributions along with the bonuses as a result of the new tax law.

EDITORS NOTE:  Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities for this original content, email licensing@dailycallernewsfoundation.org.

Trump: Immigration Deal Has ‘Got to Include the Wall’

President Donald Trump said Wednesday that he would not sign an immigration bill without funding for a border wall—clarifying some doubt left over from a bipartisan meeting with members of Congress a day earlier about reaching a deal on the policy for the Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals, or DACA.

Asked during a joint White House press conference with Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg if he would sign a deal that didn’t include the wall, Trump responded, “No, no.”

“It’s got to include the wall. We need the wall for security,” the president said. “We need the wall for safety. We need the wall for stopping the drugs from pouring in. I would imagine that the people in the room — both Democrat and Republican —I really believe they’re going to come up with a solution to the DACA problems.”

House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., and House Homeland Security Chairman Michael McCaul, R-Texas, proposed legislation Wednesday to allow illegal immigrants brought to the country as minors receive protection from deportation to get a three-year renewal; to provide $30 billion for construction of the wall, adding  5,000 Border Patrol agents, and another 5,000 Customs and Border Protection officers; defund sanctuary cities; and require employers to use E-Verify to ensure the legal status of workers. Co-authors of the legislation are Reps. Raúl Labrador, R-Idaho, and Martha McSally, R-Ariz.

When meeting with members of Congress Tuesday, the bipartisan group decided to address four issues: DACA, border security, chain migration, and the visa lottery system.

During the meeting, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., asked the president about doing a “clean” DACA bill and saving the other issues for a second phase of a “comprehensive immigration reform.”

Trump, at first, seemed to be warm to the idea.

“We’re going to do DACA, and then we can start immediately on the phase two, which would be comprehensive,” Trump said in response to Feinstein. “I think a lot of people would like to see that. But we need to do DACA first.”

After that, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., jumped into explain the need for border security.

Trump later said during the meeting: “To me, a ‘clean’ bill is a bill of DACA. We take care of them, and we also take care of security, and the Democrats want border security, too. … Then we go to comprehensive later on.”

DACA stemmed from President Barack Obama’s 2012 executive action that shielded an estimated 800,000 illegal immigrants from deportation brought to the country as minors. Comprehensive immigration reform has in past proposals included providing legal status to the more than 11 million illegal immigrants in the United States.

Last fall, the Justice Department announced it was reversing DACA, under threat of a lawsuit from 10 state attorneys general, giving Congress a deadline of March for legislating a replacement. However, on the same day as the bipartisan meeting, a federal judge in California ordered the Trump administration to maintain the program. The Justice Department announced it would appeal the ruling.

Trump also took questions about the possible interview with special counsel Robert Mueller, named to investigate possible collusion between the Trump presidential campaign and Russia.

“There is collusion, but it is really with the Democrats and the Russians far more than it is with the Republicans and Russians,” Trump said.

Many legal experts said they believe Mueller if focused less on Russia and more on building an obstruction of justice case against Trump or associates.

“When they have no collusion, and nobody’s found any collusion, at any level, it seems unlikely that you’d even have an interview,” Trump said.

COMMENTARY BY

Portrait of Fred Lucas

Fred Lucas

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

RELATED ARTICLE: Trump: Judge’s move to protect DACA shows court system is ‘broken and unfair’

RELATED VIDEO: President Trump and Prime Minister Solberg of Norway hold joint news conference

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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EDITORS NOTE: The featured image is of President Donald Trump answering questions from reporters during a joint news conference with Prime Minister Erna Solberg of Norway Wednesday in the East Room of the White House. (Photo: Olivier Douliery/Abaca Press/Newscom)

Trump’s EPA Is on Course to Retire Half Its Staff

Due to a series of buyouts and retirements, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) could cut its workforce by half by the end of President Donald Trump’s first term in office, The Washington Examiner reports.

Several agencies in the Trump administration are focused on a leaner workforce and cutting spending. The EPA is leading the pack. It is on track to reduce the size of the agency anywhere from 25 to 47 percent.

“We’re proud to report that we’re reducing the size of government, protecting taxpayer dollars and staying true to our core mission of protecting the environment,” EPA administrator Scott Pruitt said in a statement to The Washington Examiner.

At the start of 2018, EPA employed 14,162 workers. Through Pruitt’s series of buyouts and generous retirement packages, as well as normal retirements, up to 47 percent of employees will leave the agency in the next five years.

Trump initiated a hiring freeze in Jan. 2017 that will prevent retirees being replaced by new hires.

If the EPA remains on its current course, agency could employ less than 8,000 people in the next few years. It would be the leanest workforce the agency has seen since 1972, two years after it was created.

Tim Pearce

Tim Pearce is a reporting fellow for the Daily Caller News Foundation. Twitter: @timbpearce.

U.S. Has a National Mango Board With a $6.7 Million Budget

Even those who follow government closely may not know that the United States has a National Mango Board with a multi-million-dollar budget to help increase consumption of the juicy tropical fruit. This is a serious matter that is handled at the presidential cabinet level. The Mango board is a type of panel that was authorized by Congress decades ago and has 18 members who are appointed by the secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). It operates under a USDA oversight body known as the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS).

Based in Orlando, Florida, the National Mango Board has a generous $6.7 million annual budget, according to USDA figures. The board is composed of eight importers, two domestic producers, one first handler and seven foreign producers who serve three-year terms. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue recently appointed six members to the board, including a mango producer from Jalisco, Mexico and another from Piura, Peru. The others are importers from California and Texas and a producer from Hawaii. “I truly appreciate the time and expertise that these individuals have agreed to give guiding the National Mango Board in its mission to find ways to provide fresh mangos to U.S. consumers and help their industry thrive,” Perdue said in an agency statement.

Here’s why this obscure government entity exists; to increase the consumption of fresh mangos in the United States, unlikely to be a pressing issue for most Americans. The board accomplishes this with promotion and market development activities that naturally also support a thriving industry. “The board’s vision is to bring the world’s love of mangos to the U.S.,” according to the National Mango Board website, which describes itself as a “promotion and research organization.” The site includes all sorts of interesting information about mangos, including the unique texture and flavors of different varieties, how to ripen, cut and store the fruit and tips on choosing the perfect mango—don’t focus on color because it’s not the best indicator of ripeness. There are also recipes for just about any dish with mango, including tropical mango guacamole, shrimp and mango curry, mango Manchego stuffed with jalapeños and crusted pork with mango relish, among others. Six varieties of mangos are sold in the U.S.; Tommy Atkins, Haden, Kent, Keitt, Honey and Francis.

The board’s research portion is displayed in several sections that offer information on nutrition, history and “fun facts.” For instance, mangos were first grown in India over 5,000 years ago and mango seeds traveled with humans from Asia to the Middle East, East Africa and South America beginning around 300 or 400 A.D. “Legend says that Buddha meditated under the cool shade of a mango tree,” according to the National Mango Board. More serious research includes academic studies on consumer attitudes, bioactive components of mangos and the effect of hot water treatment on a Mexican specie (Tommy Atkins) vulnerable to fruit flies. A separate study on this type of mango, which also comes from Guatemala, Brazil, Ecuador and Peru, focuses on sunken pits on the fruit’s peel caused by pitting or lenticel damage. This can deter consumers at the store level, according to researchers, and most packers do not have a clear understanding if the damage comes from the orchards or the packing process. Tommy Atkins mangos from Oaxaca, Jalisco, Nayarit and Sinaloa are the focal point of that research.

One of the more recent studies sponsored by the board includes an in-depth analysis on the ideal temperature to deliver the highest quality mangos. The findings are delivered in an exhaustive 38-page report, but the nutshell is that the optimal transit temperature for mangos is around 55 degrees Fahrenheit. The problem however, is that mangos are often transported in refrigerated trailers with other food items that require colder temperatures and the mangos get compromised. The experts in“perishable food cold chain”  hired to research the matter were left with the objective of finding commercially available pallet covers for the thermal protection of mango pallets transported in a mixed load refrigerated trailer. It’s not clear how much this important research cost the Mango Board. For those wondering, Kent mangos were used in the study and pallet covers were tested with and without a base.

How Tax Reform Is Keeping Promise ‘Fight for $15’ Couldn’t

As the union-backed “Fight for $15” movement has sought to enact mandatory minimum-wage increases in states and localities across the country, tax reform seems to have spurred wage growth using a different approach.

On the day President Donald Trump signed the sweeping tax-reform law, the New Jersey-based OceanFirst Financial Corp. issued a press release announcing “a commitment to increase the bank’s minimum hourly pay rate to $15.00 within 30 days of the enactment of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act,” affecting 135 employees.

It’s one of 21 companies that have announced raising their base wage to $15 per hour because of tax reform, on a running list compiled by Americans for Tax Reform that currently shows more than 120 companies have announced raises or bonuses for employees.

Businesses large and small are taking the same action, citing tax reform as the reason, including some of OceanFirst’s much larger national competitors, such as Fifth Third Bancorp, with 13,500 employees, 3,000 of whom will benefit from the boost in base wage to $15, according to a company.

Others include BB&T with 27,000 employees; PNC Bank, with 47,500; U.S. Bancorp, with 60,000; and Wells Fargo, with more than 200,000. All raised their minimum wage to $15 per hour, and credited tax reform for the change.

It isn’t just banks. Connecticut-based insurance firm The Travelers announced that along with $1,000 bonuses for its 14,000 employees, “we have only a small number of U.S.-based employees making less than $15 an hour. We will increase their hourly wage to $15.”

While still early in the wake of enactment of the tax-reform law, the demonstrable results seem to be in stark contrast with the mandatory minimum-wage laws requiring a $15 wage.

After passing such a city ordinance, Seattle commissioned a study by the University of Washington, which found the cost to low-wage workers outweighed the benefits by a 3-1 ratio, and found that on average, low-wage workers would lose $125 per month in lost work hours, lost employment or lost job opportunities because of the law.

The National Bureau of Economic Research published the study.

“The problem with legislating a $15-per-hour wage is that if productivity is not up to $15 per hour, that person loses their job,” Americans for Tax Reform President Grover Norquist told The Daily Signal. “When you change the regulatory and tax policies, you expand the economy for workers, and productivity can expand for a greater reward.”

The results were predictable, said David Kreutzer, senior research fellow for labor markets and trade at The Heritage Foundation.

“What happens with tax cuts is that demand pulls wages up, and then you don’t have a problem with people losing jobs,” Kreutzer told The Daily Signal. “Without an increase in demand, people will lose their job, or typically don’t get hired. … The fight for $15 is unambitious and impossible. You can’t make people rich through mandates. We want an economy so strong that people can make $20 or $25 per hour because productivity is so strong.”

At the start of the new year, 18 states instituted a higher minimum wage, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Of those, California and New York passed laws to eventually raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2022 and 2020, respectively. Other states that approved increases to less than $15 were Arizona, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Michigan, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington.

The states of Alaska, Florida, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, New Jersey, Ohio, and South Dakota automatically increased their minimum-wage rates based on the cost of living.

Americans for Tax Reform found that overall, at least 1 million Americans were benefiting from announced pay raises or bonuses as a result of tax reform, and the nonprofit organization thinks that it’s likely more than that, since many companies don’t make public announcements.

In most cases, companies didn’t specify how many of their employees would benefit from the minimum-wage hike.

Companies on Americans for Tax Reform’s list that announced raising the base wage to $15 per hour are, with number of overall employees listed, where announced:

  • American Savings Bank, 1,100 employees
  • Americollect, 250 employees
  • Aquesta Financial Holdings, 95 employees
  • Associated Bank
  • Bank of Hawaii, 2,074 employees
  • Bank of James
  • Bank of the Ozarks, 2,300 employees
  • Central Pacific Bank, 850 employees
  • Comerica Bank, 4,500 “non-officer” employees
  • First Hawaiian Bank, 2,264 employees
  • HarborOne Bank, 600 employees
  • INB Bank, 200 employees
  • Regions Financial Corp.
  • SunTrust Banks, 24,000 employees
  • Territorial Savings Bank, 247 employees

“We didn’t become a prosperous country because our Founding Fathers said, ‘Let’s pass a law to make everybody rich,’” Norquist said. “We became prosperous because they got out of the way to let people trade and invent. This is very helpful in getting out of the way so that more people will earn more than $15.”

A spokesman for the Fight for $15 organization did not respond to comment for this article. While it primarily advocates for laws, the organization doesn’t oppose companies voluntarily raising the wage, noting on its website Target raising the wage for employees as a “big win.”

The AFL-CIO, an umbrella organization for labor unions, supports laws to raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour, but opposed the tax reform law. An AFL-CIO spokesman did not respond to The Daily Signal’s request for comment.

The tax-reform law cut the corporate tax rate, previously the highest in the world among developed countries, from 35 percent to 21 percent, putting the U.S. on par with most other industrialized nations. The tax law also cut individual rates and eliminated some loopholes.

Portrait of Fred Lucas

Fred Lucas

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

RELATED ARTICLE: Right-to-Work Advocate Blames Unions’ Legal Threats for Loss

A Note for our Readers:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Analysis Finds 1 Million Americans So Far Getting Pay Raise From Tax Reform

One million Americans are getting pay increases because of the tax reform package signed into law in December.

“More than one million hardworking Americans have already received a ‘Trump Bonus’ or ‘Trump Pay Raise’ as a result of the historic tax reform package that President Donald J. Trump signed into law just before Christmas,” @PressSec says.

That’s according to Americans for Tax Reform, a conservative group that established a running list of companies that have announced bonuses, wage hikes, and charitable donations.

“Just five days into 2018 the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act has changed the nation for the better,” Americans for Tax Reform President Grover Norquist said in a statement. “American companies are raising wages, paying bonuses, expanding operations, and increasing 401(k) contributions.”

The website asks for people to provide information if they are aware of other companies providing pay raises because of tax reform.

President Donald Trump and Republicans in Congress said the reform would grow the economy, while Democrats argued the corporate tax cuts would not benefit employees.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders issued a statement Friday night, which said:

More than one million hardworking Americans have already received a “Trump Bonus” or “Trump Pay Raise” as a result of the historic tax reform package that President Donald J. Trump signed into law just before Christmas. President Trump said from the beginning that lowering tax rates, simplifying the complicated tax code, and making our companies more competitive would be the fuel that propels our economy to new heights. The preliminary results show that the president is right, and American workers and families are the big winners. And this is only the beginning. The president remains focused on empowering Americans to build more prosperous lives for themselves and brighter futures for their children.

The new law cut the corporate tax rate from 39.6 percent to 21 percent. It also lowered individual rates and closed loopholes.

Among the employers to give bonuses were AT&T, which gave $1,000 bonuses to its 200,000 employees; American Airlines, which gave $1,000 bonuses to 127,600 employees; BB&T Bank, which gave $1,200 bonuses to its 27,000 employees and raised the base wage from $12 to $15 per hour; Southwest Airlines, which gave $1,000 bonuses for 55,000 employees and $5 million in charitable donations; and Sinclair Broadcasting, which gave $1,000 bonuses for 9,000 employees.

For the full list of companies, click here.

This story was updated to include a comment from White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders.

Portrait of Fred Lucas

Fred Lucas

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

RELATED ARTICLES: 

How Tax Reform Is Keeping Promise ‘Fight for $15’ Couldn’t

We Hear You: Tax Cuts, the GOP Establishment, the Job Outlook, and the Trump Economy

Black Unemployment at Lowest Rate on Record

A Note for our Readers:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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VIDEO: Bernie Supporters Love the Republican Tax Plan

By and large, New York City Democrats seem to hate the Republican Tax Bill. But how do they feel about it when told it’s Bernie Sanders’ plan? Documentary filmmaker Ami Horowitz took to the streets of New York’s East Village to find out.

EDITORS NOTE: The featured image is of supporters of Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-VT) hold signs during the Independence Day Parade in Waukee, Iowa July 4, 2015. REUTERS/Scott Morgan – RTSNRSX.

INFOGRAPHIC: 1 of Every 5 Government Employees Has a 6-Figure Salary

KEY TAKEAWAY: Almost 30,000 rank-and-file government employees make over $190,823, more than any governor of the 50 states, according to a report from OpenTheBooks.com.

The U.S. government pays employees a total of about $1 million per minute, according to a watchdog group’s report on the sprawling federal bureaucracy.

Looking at 78 large agencies, the nonprofit organization OpenTheBooks.com found that the average salary of a federal employee exceeds $100,000 and that roughly 1 in 5 of those on the government payroll has a six-figure salary.

Almost 30,000 rank-and-file government employees make over $190,823, more than any governor of the 50 states.

“Our oversight report shows the size, scope, and power of the administrative state,” Adam Andrzejewski, Open the Books’ CEO and founder, told The Daily Signal in a phone interview. “Two million federal bureaucrats have salaries, extraordinary perquisites, and lifetime pension benefits. This compensation package has never been seen in the private sector.”

The median wage for all American workers was $44,148 a year for a 40-hour work week in the final quarter of 2016, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Andrzejewski said the Open the Books report, released Tuesday and including an interactive map of the 2 million federal bureaucrats by ZIP code, is meant to educate taxpayers on where their dollars are going.

So what about those perks?

When federal employees reach the third anniversary of their employment, he said, “they get eight and a half weeks’ paid time off” plus “10 holidays, 13 sick days, and 20 vacation days.”

“We estimate those perks alone cost the American taxpayer $22.6 billion a year,” Andrzejewski said.

With the government paying the disclosed workforce $1 million per minute, according to the report, every eight-hour workday costs taxpayers more than $500 million.

A total of 406,960 employees make a six-figure income, amounting to roughly 1 in 5 employees. From 2010 through 2016, the number of federal employees making more than $200,000 increased by 165 percent.

“People are really hungry for these hard facts, they are interested in searching their little piece of the swamp,” Andrzejewski told The Daily Signal.

An image from the report. (Photo: OpenTheBooks.com)

Among other findings of the report, called “Mapping the Swamp: A Study of the Administrative State”:

—A small federal agency in San Francisco, Presidio Trust, paid out three of the government’s four largest bonuses, including the largest in fiscal year 2016. The biggest bonus, $141,525, went to a personnel manager who did payroll.

—The Postal Service and the Department of Veterans Affairs employ over half of all disclosed federal workers, at 32 percent of and 19 percent, respectively.

—About 2 million “undisclosed” employees work for the Defense Department, including active military duty. Their compensation, including $1 billion in bonuses and $125 billion in pensions, amounts to $221 billion per year.

Federal workers are paid a “new minimum wage,” Open the Books argues, because the average employee at 78 of the 122 departments and independent agencies reviewed makes $100,000 or more.

“Congress should hold hearings to bring transparency to all the information we’re still missing, including performance bonuses and pension payouts,” Andrzejewski said in a prepared statement. “It’s time to squeeze out waste from compensation and stop abusive payroll practices.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Portrait of Rachel del Guidice

Rachel del Guidice

Rachel del Guidice is a reporter for The Daily Signal. She is a graduate of Franciscan University of Steubenville, Forge Leadership Network, and The Heritage Foundation’s Young Leaders Program. Send an email to Rachel. Twitter: @LRacheldG.

A Great Week for President Trump, Utter Failure for the United Nations

The past week saw an unparalleled accomplishment by President Donald Trump and his team in the domestic arena in the passage of a tax plan that not only lowered corporate rates by 14 points, but repealed the individual mandate, and state and local tax deductions.

By contrast, the United Nations displayed its consistently hateful and irrational bias towards Israel, along with its ill-directed ire towards the United States, by first considering a resolution calling for the United States to withdraw its recognition of Jerusalem as the rightful capital of Israel (a resolution with absolutely no chance of adoption due to America’s veto power at the General Assembly) and with the passage of a resolution condemning the United States for its position on the matter. In the end, 128 countries voted in favor of this overtly hostile second resolution with 35 nations abstaining and 8 nations joining the United States in opposing it.

But in contradistinction to other occasions, the United States forewarned the member nations that it considered these two resolutions direct insults to its sovereignty and would be holding complicit members accountable. As fearless Ambassador Nikki Haley said, “We’re taking names.”

What does this mean to the United Nations?

The United States provides about 22% of the international organizations’ general budget funds with the second highest contributor being Japan at a distant 9.68%. Additionally, the United States provides the organization a permanent home in New York replete with diplomatic immunity for its members to avoid criminal punishment, plus the majority of its military and policing capabilities. In light of the impatience of the American people at the continued antics emanating from the United Nations, it is likely that these numbers will precipitously drop as early as 2018.

Unquestionably, the United States must work to undo the damage done by the weak standing of the Obama administration. Few things can more effectively accomplish this goal than withdrawing 22% of one’s revenues, and it is high time that we did just that.

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

In 1 Chart: What’s in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act is the most sweeping update to the U.S. tax code in more than 30 years. The recently released conference report would lower taxes on business and individuals, and unleash higher wages, more jobs, and untold opportunity through a larger and more dynamic economy.

The conference report is a serious effort to reform a complex and badly broken system that provides significant tax relief to the vast majority of taxpaying Americans.

Portrait of Adam Michel

Adam Michel

Adam Michel focuses on tax policy and the federal budget as a policy analyst in the Thomas A. Roe Institute for Economic Policy Studies at The Heritage Foundation. Twitter: @adamnmichel.

RELATED ARTICLE: Trump’s Tax Reform Will Benefit Middle Class More Than Wealthy

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U.S. Sends Al Qaeda’s Arabian Peninsula Headquarters $768 Mil in Humanitarian Aid

The U.S. government keeps sending an Islamic nation that serves as an Al Qaeda breeding ground hundreds of millions of dollars in humanitarian aid. The cash—$768 million since October 2016—flows through the famously corrupt U.S. Agency of International Development (USAID), which has a monstrous budget and little oversight. The money is reportedly helping to counter a humanitarian crisis in Yemen, the headquarters of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). In its Country Reports on Terrorism, the State Department reveals that AQAP militants carried out hundreds of attacks including suicide bombers, vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices (VBIEDs), ambushes, kidnappings and targeted assassinations. The media has also documented this for years with one in-depth report confirming that “Yemen has emerged as the breeding grounds for some of the most high-profile plans to attack the U.S. homeland.”

Additionally, dozens of terrorists freed from the U.S. military prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba have joined Al Qaeda in Yemen. Among them is an Al Qaeda chief who masterminded a U.S. Embassy bombing after getting released, according to a mainstream newspaper. His name is Said Ali al-Shihri and after leaving Gitmo he became an Al Qaeda deputy chief in Yemen and he organized a deadly bombing of the United States Embassy in Yemen’s capital. The former captive was also involved in car bombings outside the American Embassy that killed 16 people. Remember that the convicted terrorist who planned to blow up an American passenger jet over Detroit on Christmas in 2009 trained in Yemen and the plot was organized by Al Qaeda leaders in the Middle Eastern Arab country. A recent study published by the RAND Corporation concludes that the most significant threat to the United States comes from terrorist groups operating in Yemen, Syria, Afghanistan and Pakistan.

So why does the U.S. government continue giving Yemen huge chunks of taxpayer dollars? Because it is “gravely concerned about a worsening humanitarian situation” in the Islamic nation, according to a statement issued this month by USAID. The document was released to announce a recent $130 million in “emergency food assistance to Yemen.” The U.S. government has determined that “protracted conflict” has created the “world’s largest food security emergency” in Yemen as well as the “world’s worst cholera outbreak.” More than 17 million people are at risk of severe hunger or starvation, according to the agency. The U.S. is also using military force to crack down on Yemen’s Al Qaeda problem. Earlier this month U.S. airstrikes killed five Al Qaeda militants, including one of the group’s key leaders, Mujahid al-Adani.

USAID is well known for gushing out cash with no follow up or oversight to assure the money is spent appropriately and the Yemen allocations are probably no exception. A perfect example is that millions of dollars in malaria drugs provided to Africa are stolen each year and sold on the black market. The problem has gotten so out of control that USAID launched “malaria hotlines” to offer cash rewards for information about the illicit operations that have fleeced American taxpayers out of tens of millions of dollars. Through a variety of programs, the U.S. government has spent billions of dollars to combat malaria in Africa in the last few years. One USAID program alone has dedicated north of $72 million since 2011 to give 19 African countries free malaria drugs, $15 million in 2016 alone. The agency has long acknowledged that malaria drugs financed by American taxpayers are regularly stolen in Africa. “This is not the first report of theft or illegal diversion,” USAID admitted in a statement years ago.

USAID has committed other atrocities with public funds and Judicial Watch has launched investigations to uncover details. Earlier this year Judicial Watch obtained records showing that USAID spent millions of taxpayer dollars to destabilize the democratically elected, center-right government in Macedonia by colluding with leftwing billionaire philanthropist George Soros. The scheme was masterminded by Barack Obama’s U.S. Ambassador to Macedonia, Jess L. Baily, who worked behind the scenes with Soros’ Open Society Foundation to funnel large sums of American dollars for the cause, constituting an interference of the U.S. Ambassador in domestic political affairs in violation of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations. Judicial Watch’s ongoing probe has so far revealed that USAID earmarked at least $9.5 million to intervene in the Balkan nation’s governmental affairs, which deviates from its mission of providing humanitarian assistance.

VIDEO: Democrats’ Favored DACA Amnesty Bill Would Cost $26 Billion

The legislative replacement for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program favored by most Democrats would add billions to the budget deficit, according to an estimate from Congress’ nonpartisan accounting shop.

The Congressional Budget Office released Friday its score of the Dream Act of 2017, a DACA amnesty bill that would provide legal permanent residence and, eventually, a path to citizenship for well over 1 million younger illegal immigrants. The CBO found that the Dream Act would increase the federal budget deficit by $26 billion over a decade, mostly by conferring eligibility for federal benefits to the amnestied immigrants.

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Introduced earlier this year by Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., and Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., the bill has become the DACA replacement of choice for congressional Democrats. Both Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi have said they are committed to passing a “clean” Dream Act to legalize DACA recipients and other similarly situated illegal immigrants.

The Dream Act would direct the Department of Homeland Security to give lawful conditional status to illegal immigrants who were under 18 years old when they initially entered the U.S. and have lived here for at least four years prior to the bill’s enactment. Because of the Dream Act’s expansive eligibility criteria, the number of illegal immigrants who would benefit from the Dream Act is far higher than the DACA population of about 790,000.

The CBO estimates that about 2 million illegal immigrants would be granted conditional lawful permanent resident status under the Dream Act. “Roughly 1 million of the 1.6 million people receiving unconditional LPR status would become naturalized U.S. citizens during the 2018-2027 period,” the CBO cost estimate states.

Amnesty for that population would boost the deficit mainly through increased direct spending on Medicaid, health insurance subsidies, and food stamp benefits. On the revenue side, any tax gains from bringing illegal immigrants “on the books” would be largely offset because “increased reporting of employment income would result in increases in tax deductions by businesses,” according to the CBO’s estimate.

“As a result, corporations would report lower taxable profits and pay less in income taxes,” the CBO report added.

Democrats’ push for a “clean” Dream Act is unlikely to result in a DACA replacement before the end of the year, as immigration advocates and their allies on Capitol Hill have demanded.

Though Republicans have expressed support for crafting a legislative fix, both the White House and immigration hawks in Congress have insisted that any DACA replacement bill include border security enhancements and deeper reforms such as limits on chain migration and ending the Diversity Visa Lottery.

Republican leadership has also rejected the idea of including Dream Act provisions in the 2018 spending bill, which is due Friday.

ARTICLE BY:

Will Racke

Will Racke is a reporter for The Daily Caller News Foundation. Twitter: @hwillracke.

DITORS NOTE: Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities for this original content, email licensing@dailycallernewsfoundation.org.

It’s Time To End Chain Migration

The White House posted the following on chain migration:

Most green cards in the United States are awarded based on an antiquated system of family ties, not skill or merit. This system of Chain Migration – whereby one immigrant can bring in their entire extended families, who can bring in their families and so on – de-skills the labor force, puts downward pressure on wages, and increases the deficit. Chain Migration also undermines national security, by failing to establish merit-based criteria for evaluating entrants into the United States – instead, familial relations are all that is required to obtain a green card and, in turn, become a voting U.S. Citizen within a short period of time, with access to Federal welfare and government benefits.

The White House added the following infographics on chain migration:

 

VIDEO: Defending Tax Cuts Against Democratic Disinformation

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

Jewish Agency to Begin Closing Refugee Resettlement Sites

As I mentioned yesterday, when I reported that true-believer, Lawrence Bartlett, Director of Refugee Admissions at the U.S. State Department, had been reassigned to Puerto Rico (voluntarily we assume), resettlement contractors are in a panic.

At Jewish Telegraphic Agency (hat tip: ‘badboylookout’) we learn that the State Department is in talks with its contractors about which sites to close—the smaller ones first.

(Go here to see HIAS sites near you.)

This is a far cry from the heyday (Hillary on the horizon!) in mid-2016 when the State Department was reportedly working on a secret list of 40-plus NEW sites. (emphasis below is mine)

Mark Hetfield

(JTA) — HIAS, the Jewish refugee aid agency, will be closing resettlement programs in several cities due to a sharp reduction in the total number of refugees let into the country in the next fiscal year.

The group’s Chicago chapter announced in an email Friday that it would be shuttering its refugee resettlement program.

The same day, HIAS President Mark Hetfield told JTA that programs in other cities would likely follow, though nothing has been finalized. HIAS runs refugee resettlement programs in 21 large to midsize metropolitan areas.

“It is true that smaller resettlement sites are being closed, and we’re in negotiations with the State Department right now as to which those will be,” he said. “We want to keep open as many sites as we can. Chicago has a lot of resettlement agencies there, and that was a smaller site.”

Just think about that above—negotiations with the US State Department—once again confirming that state and local opinions are not considered (when opening or closing sites).  A non-profit group accountable to no voters and the US State Department are making decisions about your home town!

For the fiscal year 2017, HIAS resettled about 3,300 refugees after being approved to resettle nearly 4,800 refugees. The organization has been approved for about 3,300 this year, but Hetfield expects to resettle fewer. He said the reduced number will make it a challenge to engage 380 synagogues nationwide that had signed up with HIAS to help with welcoming refugees to their cities. [Of course no mention of the loss to their wallets!—ed]

More here.

That last bit really gets me hopping angry!

Here is an idea for the 380 synagogues:  Have we run out of needy people? Why not help the poor people where you live!  And, if it’s refugees you want to help, then find the ones who came in previous months and years who are STILL STRUGGLING to find housing, food, jobs, etc. Are only the newest ‘Americans’ more attractive to you, more worthy of your charity?

Go here to see my entire Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS) file.

These are the nine resettlement contractors (six are ‘religious’ charities) that can’t survive without federal funding (your tax dollars). They work jointly with the US Dept. of State to change America by changing the people. Maybe it’s time they shifted their focus and take care of poor, homeless, needy Americans! Wouldn’t that be refreshing this holiday season!

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