Refugee resettlement contractors 57% to 98% funded by U.S. taxpayers

I hadn’t checked the most recent data on how much of your money goes to the nine federal refugee resettlement contractors (aka VOLAGs) lately.  So here is the latest information I could find. I had to use several sources mostly because some contractors do not file a Form 990 (They claim they are churches and are thus exempt).

Unfortunately I couldn’t find all income information for all nine for the same year, so it is a little hard to make a direct comparison, but you get the idea.

These are the nine major federal resettlement contractors.  (Go here to see a data base with the hundreds of subcontractors working for them in a town near you.)

Church World Service (71% funded by taxpayers)

Church World Service as of June 2016 had a total revenue for the previous year of $88,455,527.

71.3% of their millions comes from you—the taxpayer—according to Charity Navigator, here. You are the source of government grants:

Their chief executive, Rev. John McCullough makes an annual salary of $251,224.

Ethiopian Community Development Council (93% funded by taxpayers)

ECDC is not rated at Charity Navigator so I had to use their most recent Form 990, see here.

(If you have trouble opening the Form 990, go here and then download the document.)

Their total revenue for the year ending September 30, 2014 was $17,448,992. You will see on page 9 that they received $16,290,580 in government grants making them 93% funded by you, the taxpayer.

ECDC’s President Tsehaye Teferra has income listed on page 7 in three columns. The first is direct compensation of $171,683 and the two other columns involve other  income from this organization and from “related” organizations of $57,857 and $46,843 (don’t ask me what that is!).

Episcopal Migration Ministries (aka Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society of the Episcopal Church) (99.5% funded by taxpayers)

We know they are 99.5% funded by you because they admitted it here.  But, because their federal funds flow in to a church ‘kitty’ and because churches don’t file Form 990’s (or most churches don’t), we have no idea how much they are getting or what the program leaders are being paid.  Frankly, this is shameful!

If you are of the Episcopal faith, you need to start asking questions!

Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (aka HIAS) (57% funded by taxpayers)

According to Charity Navigator for the year ending 12/2015, HIAS had a total revenue of $40,565,891.

Chief executive Mark Hetfield‘s annual salary in that report is $358,718.

International Rescue Committee (66.5% funded by taxpayers)

Be sure to focus on how much bigger the IRC is with an annual revenue of $688,920,920! From Charity Navigator:

66.5% is in the vicinity of $455 MILLION of your dollars annually!

Head honcho David Miliband hit the jackpot with this annual salary: $591,846!

US Committee for Refugees and Immigrants (USCRI) (98% funded with taxpayer dollars)

USCRI is a little harder to figure out. Charity Navigator does not rate them for this reason:

This organization is not eligible to be rated by Charity Navigator because, as a service for individual givers, we only rate organizations that depend on support from individual contributors and foundations. Organizations such as this, that get most of their revenue from the government or from program services, are therefore not eligible to be rated.

You could say that USCRI is a quasi-government organization masquerading as a non-profit!

Lavinia Limon (left)

So we go to the most recent Form 990 available for year ending September 30, 2015.  (Or download PDF at ProPublica, here)

On page 9 you can see that they only take in less than $1 million of their $51,524,570 from private gifts and contributions. All of their “program income” is likely through taxpayer dollars as well.

President and CEO Lavinia Limon makes $260,258 in annual compensation plus pulls down another $42,231 from this and related organizations (whatever that is!).

NOTE: We have a lot on Lavinia Limon here at RRW. She was Bill Clinton’s director of the ORR!

Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS) is 96-97% funded by taxpayers

Like USCRI it’s a little hard to figure out, from their recent Form 990 here where their total income is $55,983,615, exactly which of the fees in their income column actually are taxpayer dollars too.

We can assume there isn’t much private charity going to LIRS because Charity Navigator says the same thing they did for USCRI which is:

This organization is not eligible to be rated by Charity Navigator because, as a service for individual givers, we only rate organizations that depend on support from individual contributors and foundations. Organizations such as this, that get most of their revenue from the government or from program services, are therefore not eligible to be rated.

Hartke (blue jacket front row picture right) with refugee lobbyists last month.

Just a reminder that USCRI and LIRS are really quasi-government agencies yet they are busy lobbying Congress and otherwise community organizing in order to influence the media and Congress to support more refugees (aka paying clients!) coming to America.

LIRS President and CEO Linda Hartke makes an annual salary of $274,632 and an additional $33,401 from this and related organizations (page 8).

US Conference of Catholic Bishops Migration Fund (97% taxpayer funded)

Now it gets even trickier! The Bishops don’t file a Form 990 and their operations are so vast, I could spend the whole day and still not sort it out.  Also, maybe you can find one, but I have not found an annual report for their refugee program since I found this one for 2014.

So we will have to rely on it (again). Keep in mind these funds for their refugee resettlement program do not include millions that go directly from the feds to some individual Catholic Charities and Dioceses around the US. (If you are researching your local CC or Dioceses, you can often find good numbers at USASpending.gov)

“Federal grants” is your money, so is the Travel Loan Collection Fees, so that puts the Bishops’ refugee resettlement program at 97% taxpayer funded.  (I am not sure if the Unaccompanied Alien Children fall in to yet another fund!).

I would like to get a more up-to-date accounting for the Bishops, but they must be hiding those reports really well!  I suspect they are pulling down even more payola in more recent years.

Obviously we don’t know what salaries are being paid for their Washington, DC lobbying shop. Their previous head lobbyist was Kevin Appleby.

World Relief (Corp. National Association of Evangelicals) is 72.8% funded by taxpayer dollars

That is according to Charity Navigatorhere.  Total revenue is $62,583,313 for the year ending September 30, 2015.  But, I did find a more recent Form 990here, with a huge jump in income in one year to $71,022,032.  I thought World Relief was broke and closing offices??? (Gives me an idea for another post and that is to report on some of the contractors increases in funding over several years).

That Form 990 shows something I hadn’t seen in other Form 990’s and that is that the Prez/CEO doesn’t make a whole lot, but some financial officer (Barry Howard) is making over $250,000 big ones (see pages 7 & 8).

Here is Charity Navigator’s “contributions” breakdown. Ha! Ha! your tax dollars for government grants are contributions!

Whew!  What a job searching for all that financial information! Hope you made it this far!

Can you see now why I say there will be no reform of the UN/US Refugee Admissions Program as long as these nine contractors, masquerading as charities, are sucking on the federal teat and bidding for bodies (aka refugee ‘clients’)?

And, adding insult to injury, they lobby, kiss up to the media, and community organize against you who are paying for the whole refugee racket!

None of these organizations would survive very long if Congress and the President cut them loose (or stated more kindly and so as not to mix metaphors!—weaned them!).

Your daily assignment! Write to the White House, here.

RELATED ARTICLE: The 20 diseases ‘refugees’ bring into the West

The Startling Impact of Illegal Immigration in Florida

Jonathan Hanen, the Atlantic regional field representative from the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) recently spoke to the Champions of Liberty Tea Party in Ft. Lauderdale, joined by members of F.L.I.M.E.N, and presented a comprehensive list of statistics which reveal the startling impact of illegal immigration in the state of Florida and the taxpayer’s ultimate burden.

Immigration by the Numbers

  • Population (2011 Census Bureau estimate)            19,057,542
  • Illegal Alien Population (2010 FAIR estimate)           820,000
  • Illegal Alien Share (2010 FAIR estimate)                     4.3%
  • Projected Population 2050 (2006 FAIR estimate)     31,750,000

Dept. of Motor Vehicles, Florida Data 2017

According to the Florida Dept. of Motor Vehicles, in 2017 there was an excess of 20 million registered motor vehicles.  They project by 2050 there will be 30% more residents in the state, which means 26 million more autos on the highway.  Does anyone believe that this is sustainable?

Cost to the Florida Taxpayer

There is an estimated 820,000 illegal aliens living in Florida and ‘in state’ and ‘local’ cost to the taxpayer of $5.5 billion.  F.A.I.R estimates that they may pay an estimated $261 million in taxes collected by the state, leaving a burden of more than $5.2 billion for Florida taxpayers to absorb.

Sanctuary Cities

The number of Sanctuary Cities and Counties in Florida has exploded to at least twelve.  They are:

  • Broward County
  • Miami-Dade County
  • Herano County
  • Hillsbourgh County
  • Palm Beach County
  • Pinellas County
  • Pasco County
  • DeLeon Springs
  • Jupiter
  • Lake Worth
  • Deltona

Sanctuary cities have chosen to protect the illegal immigrant, despite the fact that he could have a criminal history or could be a terrorist that just snuck across the border.  What about the protection of the citizens and their families?

What Are Florida Taxpayers Supporting?

Illegal immigration has placed a $3.34 billion burden on the taxpayer for education, $660 million for healthcare, $579 million for law enforcement, $317 million for public assistance, and $568 million for general government services. These figures equate to $5.2 billion (2010), which amounts to $981 per household headed by a U.S. citizen.  We must remind those that support open borders that there is an ultimate burden each Florida family must bear and sacrifice for this.

In Florida, natives accounted for most of the increase in the working age population, (16-65), but more than half of the employment gains went to immigrants, (2000-2014). According to Floridians for Immigration Enforcement, (F.L.I.M.E.N.), since the jobs recovery began in 2010, 64% of net employment growth among the state’s working age population has gone to immigrants.  While agriculture is important to the state, it employs a tiny share of immigrant workers, less than one percent.

The supply of potential workers in Florida indicates that a half a million native-born college graduates were not working in the first quarter of 2014, as were one million with some college and 1.4 million with no more than a high school education.  The labor force participation of black, Hispanic and less educated worker show the biggest declines.

Illegal Alien Crime

In April of 2017, U.S. Customs Enforcement, I.C.E., arrested 73 criminal illegal aliens across Florida.  Of those arrested, 57 had criminal records including felonies for such crimes as sexual battery, child sex crimes, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, and other weapons and drug violations.  According to I.C.E. 2016 records, they conducted 240,255 removals nationwide; 92% of those removed had previously been convicted of a crime.  In April, 2016, Miami-Dade authorities announced arrest warrants for 22 people suspected of laundering money for Mexican drug cartel kingpin, Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman.  In March, 2016, Feds arrested 26 suspected MS-13 gang members from the notoriously vicious South American Mara Salvatrucha international gang, seizing narcotics and 150 firearms in Miami-Dade County.  The impact of lives lost, crime and narcotic trafficking impacts all Floridians, despite age, gender or income level.

Floridians for Immigration Enforcement

FLIMEN has been actively encouraging E-Verify for all employers in the state of Florida and nationwide, requiring them to confirm the legal status of new hires.  By doing so, the job magnet would be squelched and illegal immigration could be curbed.  Unfortunately, after years of pushing this mandate, despite the fact that Florida has a Republican governor and legislature, E-Verify still has not be voted on.  Perhaps the special interest groups and employers in the state would rather turn a blind eye to the hiring of illegal immigrants over native Floridians.

Illegal immigration may have temporarily slowed down because of President Trump’s mandate to ‘Build The Wall’ on the southern border, however, the impact of illegal immigration has not dissipated, as every taxpayer is still burdened with the ultimate absorption of costs, decline in pay and quality of living as a result of years of illegal border crossings.

RELATED ARTICLES:

DHS: 23% of all federal prisoners are illegals, just 7 of 42,034 saved from deportation

The American People, Not Unelected Judges, Must Control U.S. Immigration and Refugee Policy

Trump puts brakes on Obama immigration plan

Minnesota needs more money to combat refugee communicable diseases

Sanctuary Cities Promise to Grant Citizenship to 1 Million Immigrants in 2017

‘Sanctuary cities’ giving citizenship to migrants to oppose Trump

US News study: America seventh most popular country according to migrants

FLORIDA: Dem Senator Helps Pass Bill to Give Her Charity $1.5, Governor signs it

A Democrat Florida state lawmaker helped pass a bill that allocated $1.5 million to a nonprofit that she founded and pays her a six-figure salary and the state’s Republican governor approved it. The legislator, state Senator Lauren Book, represents south Florida’s Broward county and in 2007 she founded a charity called Lauren’s Kids to educate adults and children about sexual abuse prevention through school curricula, awareness campaigns and speaking engagements.

Book launched the south Florida-based group because her female nanny sexually abused her for years and she wants to prevent sexual abuse through education and awareness. The politician also wants to help survivors heal with guidance and support. “Armed with the knowledge that 95 percent of sexual abuse is preventable through education and awareness, Lauren has worked to turn her horrific personal experience into a vehicle to prevent childhood sexual abuse and help other survivors heal,” according to the charity’s website. Lauren’s Kids has helped advocate for the passage of nearly two dozen laws to support survivors and protect children from predators, the group’s website further claims.

It’s not just a labor of love for the Florida legislator, who got elected in 2016. As chief executive officer of her charity Book receives a generous $135,000 annual salary, according to a nonprofit investigative journalism conglomerate that broke the story about this outrageous conflict of interest. Since 2012 Lauren’s Kids has received north of $10 million in taxpayer money because the senator’s father, Ron Book, is a prominent lobbyist who happens to be the group’s chairman. In just a few years Lauren’s Kids has “become one of the Florida Legislature’s most favored private charities,” the news article states. Governor Rick Scott, who is in his second term, went along with the $1.5 million appropriation for Book’s charity when he signed Florida’s $83 billion budget recently.

As if this weren’t enraging enough, Lauren’s Kids used a chunk of the taxpayer funds it has received to pay a Tallahassee public relations firm millions of dollars, accounting for 28% of its expenses. A follow-up story by the same investigative journalism outlet reveals that the senator’s charity paid Sachs Media Group $3.1 million between 2012 and 2015 as well as a yet-to-be-disclosed amount in 2016. “Millions of taxpayer dollars flowed through the nonprofit to Sachs Media as it both promoted Lauren’s Kids and cultivated Sen. Book’s public persona as a survivor of child sex abuse,” the article states. “Critics say the domination of Lauren’s Kids by the senator and her lobbyist-father raises concerns that the work Sachs Media does is more about making her look good, not raising awareness about unreported cases of child sex abuse.” The founder of the nation’s premier charity watchdog says in the story that “nonprofit money is supposed to be used for a public benefit and not to enhance the aspirations of the charity’s officers.”

A huge lapse in Florida’s senate ethics rules allowed Book to vote for legislation that essentially enriched her. The same “loophole” let her keep the conflict from the public, the news stories point out. Here’s the broader explanation from the news outlet: “Senators are forbidden by ethics rules from voting on any matter in which they or an immediate family member would privately gain – except when it comes to votes on the annual General Appropriations Act. Abstaining senators must also disclose the nature of their interest in the matter, according to the 335-page Florida Senate Rules and Manual.” That means lawmakers can vote on issues that can benefit their profession, though it’s downright sleazy when taxpayer dollars go to an entity that the elected official actually controls and makes money from. Millions of dollars earmarked to prevent child sexual abuse going to a public relations firm is in a class of its own.

Why the Swiss Health Care Model Will Never Work in America by Kevin D. Williamson

If you’re wondering what in Hell is actually going on with U.S. health-care policy, the short version is this: Policymakers in both parties are trying to replicate Swiss policies in a country that isn’t Swiss.

The Affordable Care Act was, as thinkers as different as Paul Krugman and Avik Roy both observed, an attempt to Swiss up the U.S. health-insurance and health-care markets. (Obligatory reiteration: Those are not the same thing.) The Swiss system, Santésuisse, achieves one big progressive goal — universal health-insurance coverage — while offering much to please conservatives: a private market for health insurance and health care, consumer choice, and relatively low government spending on health care.

Obamacare vs. Santésuisse

Santésuisse is, in its broadest strokes, a lot like the model established by the so-called Affordable Care Act — a model that is kept in large part by the Republicans’ “repeal-and-replace” proposal, which neither repeals nor replaces the Affordable Care Act, though it does make some substantial changes to it.

Like Obamacare, Santésuisse mandates that all citizens purchase insurance from private insurance companies; establishes by law a minimum package of acceptable benefits to satisfy that mandate; subsidizes health-insurance premiums for lower-income people, with a goal of keeping their insurance premiums to less than 10 percent of their incomes; mandates coverage of preexisting conditions and imposes “community rating,” which means that low-risk insurance buyers pay higher premiums to allow for high-risk buyers to pay lower premiums, though the Swiss do make some adjustments for age and sex (!); it imposes controls on procedure costs and reimbursement for providers.

The Swiss model also does a few things that ACA does not: It requires that insurance companies offer their minimal policies on a nonprofit basis; it is structured around relatively high out-of-pocket expenses (high copays and deductibles) in order to encourage consumers to spend soberly; and, perhaps most important, it does this in the context of a health-insurance market that is entirely individual: There are no employer-based health-insurance plans in Switzerland. Everybody buys his own health insurance, the same way people buy everything from tacos to mobile-phone service. Swiss regulations also mandate that prices be made public, which helps consumer markets to function.

The Cost of Health Care

In terms of government spending on health care, Switzerland isn’t terribly different from the United States. Indeed, with the exception of high-spending Norway, per-capita government spending on health care is pretty consistent across a selection of advanced countries with very different health-care systems: Switzerland, the United States, the Netherlands, Sweden, Germany, and Denmark all have similar per-capita outlays. Interestingly, none of those countries has a national single-payer system: Sweden and Denmark have largely public systems, but they are run mostly by local governments rather than by the national government.

Among countries with single-payer systems, there is a fair amount of variability in per-capita spending: Australia, for example, has lower government spending than does the United Kingdom.

In terms of total spending — government and private spending together — countries with quite different systems lead the pack: The United States spends the most, followed by Switzerland, Norway, the Netherlands, Germany, Sweden, Ireland, Austria, Denmark, Belgium, and Canada. (These are OCED statistics from 2014.) The lack of a robust relationship between health-care systems, health-care expenses, and health-care outcomes suggests that the most powerful determinants of these are exogenous to policy, things like national demographic characteristics and economic conditions: Older people with lots of disposable income will tend to spend more on medical services, the Swedes and Okinawans have been healthy and long-lived under a number of different health-care systems, etc.

Which is to say, one of the reasons the Swiss and the Americans spend relatively large sums on health care may be the structure of the insurance markets; it might simply be that they are rich countries in which consumers choose to consume more health care, which would explain why Sweden and Canada are in the club of relatively big spenders. And low medical spending is not necessarily a sign of health: They don’t spend very much on health care in Cameroon.

Cultural Differences Matter

As Avik Roy and others have pointed out, trying to build Swiss health-care architecture on American foundations is a project by no means guaranteed to succeed. Switzerland, for example, has enjoyed very strong compliance with its national health-insurance mandate. Part of that is cultural (the Swiss are rule-following people), and part of it is that Swiss government: If you fail to comply with the mandate, the Swiss government will garnishee your wages and charge you a penalty equivalent to the cost of the premiums plus up to 50 percent, and, if you persist, the government will sign you up for an insurance policy and allow the provider to sue you for back premiums covering the period during which you were uninsured.

The American version is a little less robust, to say the least: The ACA mandate is “enforced” with a very small penalty that in most cases is nowhere near as expensive as signing up for insurance. That is, the Swiss have a system under which compliance makes economic sense, and we have a system under which non-compliance makes economic sense.

The Affordable Care Act was designed in a dishonest way, front-loading the revenue and backing in the expenses in order to get a nice budget score from the Congressional Budget Office. The CBO rolled its institutional eyes at this, and its report suggested very strongly that its analysts did not believe a word of what they were writing, inasmuch as the most popular parts of ACA were likely to be enforced while the unpopular bits — like the “Cadillac tax” — would be put off or softened, resulting in a program that in reality cost much more and produced less revenue than it did in the model version that CBO scored.

Sure enough, Hillary Rodham Clinton and Bernie Sanders both campaigned against the Cadillac tax (it hits their union foot soldiers first and hardest) while the House and Senate Republican plans would keep in, in theory, but put off collecting it until 2025 — at which point the smart money would be on its being put off again.

If you want a Swiss health-care system, then you have to be willing to accept ruthlessly efficient Swiss enforcement and an unsentimental Swiss bottom-line view of the program. Neither party is interested in that: The new Republican health-care plan would formally do away with the individual mandate while keeping a form of the preexisting-coverage rule, which is, the protestations of the bill’s drafters notwithstanding, probably going to be unworkable.

As long as you have a mandate that insurance companies cover preexisting conditions (i.e., that they place bets against events that already have happened) then you really have to have the mandate that people buy insurance, too; otherwise you create incentives to forgo buying insurance until you are actually sick, creating insurance markets composed mostly of sick people, a model that is not economically sustainable. If you want to cover preexisting conditions, then you have to have a mandate and enforce it strongly — Switzerland’s compliance rate is about 99.5 percent.

For comparison, the United States mandates that drivers carry automotive insurance, and about one in five drivers fails to comply with that mandate. And while the enforcement is tougher, the subsidies are less generous. Two-thirds of the Swiss receive no health-insurance subsidies at all, and the subsidies that are received tend to be relatively small except for the very poor.

But what is most critical may be that the Swiss model is free of one big problem that most Americans do not see as a problem at all: employer-based health-insurance programs. The Swiss market is an individual market, but most insured Americans get their insurance from their employers. Doing away with that would provide real benefits, but it would also bring a great deal of stress to risk-averse Americans who are, in large part, satisfied with their employer-based insurance plans. A Swiss system in the United States might — might — be a good idea, or at least better than the status quo ante of 2009.

A Swiss system with no real enforcement, sloppy economic thinking, and no dynamic, consumer-driven insurance market? A Swiss system that replaces Swiss efficiency with American sentimentality? It didn’t work when it was called Obamacare. It won’t work when it’s called Trumpcare or Ryancare or McConnellcare, either.

Reprinted from National Review. 

Kevin D. Williamson

Kevin D. Williamson

Kevin D. Williamson is roving correspondent for National Review.

Tech is Drastically Disrupting Local Taxes — Can Government Respond? by Jim Ley

In 1994 I gave a speech to a large gathering at the National Association of Counties asking the question “Will You be Roadkill on the Information Superhighway?” The Internet as an everyday thing was new and just beginning to gain some relevance. But those of us who liked to look to the future saw a lot that was going to impact public policy.

On that day I asked them the simple question — how will you tax a box the size of your kitchen table (OK, be fair, file servers were a lot larger then, but I was looking to the future) that produces all of the sales transactions that used to be produced by your local mall — at the time the arguably largest single property tax generator in most urban counties?

I look back on that presentation and realize that as close as I was to defining a set of specific challenges that might take place, I wasn’t even in the ballpark of being able to see the systematic influence that technology would drive across the board.

I find it interesting that much of the policy discussion today regarding technology is centered on the theme of “coping with disruptive technology trends.” Just the use of the word “disruptive” to describe the challenge shows how difficult it is for government and society to identify and adapt to changes in the status quo. How tied to the status quo we can become!

The way of systemic adaptation

Amazon is now the large retailer in the world.

The online shopping experience, having started in 1995, has hit its stride and has become more a part of our everyday consuming life than we could ever have suspected. Online fulfillment companies like Amazon have evolved through multiple phases of connection with their customers and have now begun to address the subliminal emotional aspects of the shopping experience.

Within 10 years even more will change as regards the online shopping experience. You won’t have to shop, as in searching and then browsing through endless pages looking for what you want. Your desires will be presented to you directly, just like you have your own digital personal shopper. Your shopping experience will become the guide to anticipating your purchasing needs.

Your closet, pantry and refrigerator will tell your computer, and that of your online retailer, how old your clothes are, when you wore an item last, and what food staples you are in need of. Your purchasing habits, social media and on line habits will be mined to produce a customized shopping experience geared just to you. The local retail store will increasingly become a thing of the past, replaced by an outlet where you may be able to try out virtual goods or where you can have them delivered in the form of 3D printed consumables. With a personal shopping list having been organized for you without much thought on your part, the push of a button will bring your groceries and supplies to your door.

Other things will change as a result.

The commercial real estate market will begin to shrink, maybe even dramatically. The need for large and small strip malls will be greatly diminished, limited in some respects to places that house grocery stores — to the degree they will be needed as grocery needs can also be algorithmically anticipated — and small offices and boutique local retail.

Personal shopping automobile trips will, over time, be reduced dramatically, and more and more people will begin to abandon personal automobile ownership in favor of car sharing services that will evolve from the current Uber model to the point where you can simply call for a self-driving vehicle on your smartphone or similar device.

Automobile sales as the significant source of state and local sales tax revenue they now are will begin to decline under this scenario. Bulk delivery services like FedEx and UPS will be replaced with drones and Uber like personalized delivery. The Amazon-type fulfillment center will become the largest building in a region — until it too is made obsolete.

A radical impact on funding governments

All of this will radically transform the property tax base, with commercial space being devalued sharply. It is this commercial and office space in the shape of downtowns and dense (not suburban) clusters that, until now, has produced the large tax premium  — defined as producing taxes over and above the average per acre — that the rest of the community uses as a dividend to keep its public services funded at a sustainable level.

Maintaining a sustainable property tax base will become a topic at every City Council and County Commission meeting as the commercial tax base absorbs this “disruptive” result. The shape of communities will change, creating large opportunities for redevelopment, always with an emphasis on propping up the property tax base. A strategy of density oriented tax farming will become more obvious as a means of maintaining the flow of public revenue while limiting costs required to provide for the basics of public service. It will no longer be a question of what is the most valuable parcel in a county or city tax base (like “the mall”) but instead it will be all about the taxes generated per acre of development. Density, a dirty word used in land-use hearings today, will be the byword for financial survival.

Collectively these trends should work to influence land-use policy now and lead to a redefinition of urban space, their collective interaction producing the catalyst that moves the market back to a more walkable and intimate urban and suburban form in our activity centers.

The question is: Are the statehouses and local council chambers that set the policies that manage our communities capable of identifying these trends and managing the political discussions and decisions required to adapt? What principle will be applied in attempts to cope? Will it be a principle of regulate-and-control that protects the status quo, or a principle of identify-and-adapt, seeking to engage and inform investment and real estate interests who themselves will have to adapt or perish?

The states and cities that can think forward like the Amazons and Apples of the private sector, will be in position to thrive in the new economy. The rest…

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

Social Democracy Didn’t Spur Post-War Growth by Tim Worstall

It is obviously going to be difficult to get an economic idea across to Owen Jones – the lad’s a socialist for goodness sake, one who praised Venezuela’s policy loudly for some years – but needs must, eh?

In his latest Guardian column, he tells us that Clem Attlee’s government produced the social democratic nirvana powering post-war growth:

That model – public ownership, high taxes on the rich, strong trade unions – delivered an unparalleled increase in living standards and economic growth. A surge in oil prices, and the collapse of the Bretton Woods international financial framework, helped bring that era to an end.

No, this is not how it worked. That post-war growth was coincident with those policies, as well as other controlling measures such as needing government permission to take your own money out of the country. But they were not the cause of the growth.

One useful hint here is that the burst of growth came in many countries at the same time despite those countries deploying a variety of economic policies. Hong Kong grew using the closest thing to laissez faire in modern times. Sweden was notably more market liberal than the UK in these years and Sweden grew.

It is also remarkably difficult to work out why those policies would, or even could, promote growth. Redistribute it, yes, but cause it? How?

A Flawed Model

Jones’s second point – that the model failed because Bretton Woods fell – is also wrong. The model’s fall was because of the model’s flaws.

So, if it wasn’t economic policy which caused the Glorious 30, as the French call it, then what was it? The absence of economic growth in the preceding two odd decades.

It is a standard of the economic literature that catch-up growth is easier than trying to work out what to do at the technological cutting edge. Bangladesh and India are growing at 6 and 8 percent a year these days mostly because the technologies they need already exist.

Working out how to do the new stuff is much harder and is part of the reason why rich nations struggle along at 2 and 3 per cent growth if they’re lucky.

At which point we should note that there just wasn’t much economic growth post-1929. We can’t use the war years themselves. GDP statistics compiled out of making things to then either be sunk or blown up after sinking or blowing up other things, aren’t a reliable guide to anything other than the ability to sink or blow things up.

It would take a very special level of delusion to try and insist that living standards were higher in 1945 than 1939, whatever the economic statistics say about gross production. And there wasn’t much growth in the period from 1929 to 1939 either. Britain did better than the US largely by devaluing and not bothering with any of the New Deal nonsense. The American performance over that period produced no cumulative net growth at all.

However, and here’s the important part, the technological advance continued apace. Here’s an example of the sort of plane Grandpa crashed in 1928, here’s what he was waving off his airfield in 1945. And in 1950 we’d not really exploited fully the automobile, electricity or transistor, let alone jet aircraft.

And that’s the secret of that post-war growth: there wasn’t much of it in the earlier decades, but technology had continued to move on. Meaning that the economies of almost all nations were inside the technological envelope where growth is much easier.

The Market Approach Produced Better Performance

We have one more proof of the insistence that it wasn’t those taxes, unions and public ownership which produced the growth. For Germany’s performance was rather better than that of Britain. And Germany’s economy was egged on by Ludwig Erhard, using a much more market-liberal approach. He was a member of the Mont Pelerin Society, the fount of Hayek and the sort of neoliberalism that drives us at the Adam Smith Institute.

Contrary to Jones’s claim, a less socially democratic and statist set of policies produced a better result. It isn’t, therefore, social democracy that produced the growth. In fact, statist policies hindered it.

Attlee’s controls upon the economy were coincident with good growth, not the cause of it. And that good growth isn’t going to return by bringing back the controls.

We need either a really good depression followed by a war to have those decades of above average growth or, by preference, more of that market liberalism which drove Germany’s outperformance at the time.

Reprinted from CapX.

Tim Worstall

Tim Worstall

Tim is a Fellow at the Adam Smith Institute in London

Which State Is Most Dependent on Government? by Daniel J. Mitchell

Red State, Blue State, Independent State, Moocher State: I don’t know if Dr. Seuss would appreciate my borrowing from his children’s classic but given how I enjoy comparative rankings, I couldn’t help myself after perusing a new study from WalletHub that ranks states on their independence (or lack thereof).

Ranking the States

Being a policy wonk, what really caught my attention was the section on government dependency, which is based on four criteria.

As you can see, the four factors are not weighted equally. The “federally dependent states” variable is considered four times as important as any of the other variables.

That’s important, to be sure, but is it really more important (or that much more important) than the other categories?

Moreover, I’m not sure the “tax freedom day” variable is a measure of dependency. What’s really captured by this variable, given the way the tax code doesn’t tax low-income people and over-taxes high-income people, is the degree to which states have lots of rich people or poor people. But that’s not a measure of dependence (particularly if the rich people stole money instead of earning it).

But I’m quibbling. I might put together a different formula with some different variables, but WalletHub has done something very interesting.

Most Independent States

And if we look at their 25 least-dependent states, you see a very interesting pattern. Of the 10-most independent states, only three of them are Trump-voting red states (Kansas, Nebraska, and Utah).

The other seven are blue states. And some of them – such as Illinois, New Jersey, and California – are dark blue states. And the #11 and #12 states also were Hillary states as well.

Which raises an interesting question. Why are voters in those states in favor of big government when they don’t disproportionately benefit from handouts?

Are they culturally left-wing, putting social issues above economic issues?

Or are they motivated by some issue involving foreign policy and/or defense?

Or maybe masochistic?

Beats me.

By the way, the WalletHub email announcing the report included a very interesting factoid that may explain why Hillary lost Pennsylvania.

Pennsylvania has the lowest percentage of government workers (local, state and federal), at 10.8 percent. Alaska has the nation’s highest percentage, at 25.1 percent.

Though I can’t see those details in the actual report, which is disappointing. I’d like to see a ranking of the states based solely on the number-of-bureaucrats criteria (we have data comparing countries, for those interested).

Now let’s shift to the states that have the highest levels of dependency.

Least Independent States

If you look at the bottom of the final image, you’ll notice that it’s a reverse of the top-10. Seven of the most-dependent states are red states that voted for Trump.

Only New Mexico, Oregon, and Maine supported Hillary (and Trump actually won one-fourth of Maine’s electoral votes).

So this raises a separate question. Are red state people voting against their interests? Should they be voting for politicians who will further expand the size and scope of government so they can get even more goodies from Uncle Sam?

For what it’s worth, a leftist actually wrote a book entitled What’s the Matter with Kansas, which examined why the people of the Sunflower State weren’t voting for statism.

Well, part of the answer may be that Kansas is one of the most independent states, so perhaps the author should have picked another example.

But even if he had selected Mississippi (#49), I suspect the answer is that low-income people don’t necessarily think that it’s morally right to steal money from other states, even if the loot is laundered through Washington.

In other words, people in those states still have social capital or cultural capital.

Demographics and Redistribution

It’s also possible, of course, that voters in red states with lots of dependency (at least as measured by WalletHub) are instead motivated by cultural issues or foreign policy issues.

There’s even a very interesting study from Professor Alesina at Harvard, which finds that ethnically diverse jurisdictions can be more hostile to redistribution (and homogeneous societies like the Nordic nations are more supportive of a large welfare state).

And since many of the red states at the bottom of the rankings also happen to be states with large minority populations, perhaps that’s a partial explanation.

Though California has a very large minority population as well, yet it routinely votes for more redistribution.

The bottom line is that we probably can’t draw any sweeping conclusions from this data.

Though it leaves me even more convinced that the best approach is to eliminate all DC-based redistribution and let states decide how much to tax and how much to spend. In other words, federalism.

P.S. I put together my own ranking of state dependency, based on a formula involving welfare usage and poverty. Vermont was the worst state and Nevada was the best state.

P.P.S. I also shared calculations based solely on the share of eligible people who signed up for food stamps. Interestingly, Californians rank as the most self-reliant. Maybe my predictions of long-run doom for that state are a bit exaggerated.

Reprinted from International Liberty.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Best and Worst States to Make a Living 2017

Best states are in blue, worst states in red.

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

This list is based on the following factors:

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

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

Full Ranking of All 50 States

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

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

President Trump Proposes Solar Panels on Top of Border Wall — Greenpeace and Sierra Club outraged!

President Donald Trump tells supporters in Cedar Rapids, Iowa that he is considering mounting photovoltaic panels atop his proposed Mexican border wall would allow the project to pay for itself.

President Trump stated, “We’re thinking of something that’s unique, we’re talking about the southern border, lots of sun, lots of heat. We’re thinking about building the wall as a solar wall, so it creates energy and pays for itself. And this way, Mexico will have to pay much less money.”

If approved this would be the largest alternative energy project in the world. But wait…

You would think that organizations who favor alternative power sources such as solar panels and wind power would be pleased with this unique and innovative idea. You would think that they would encourage companies to bid on the Department of Homeland Security contract to build the wall and give those living along both sides of the wall access to renewable energy. Well you would be wrong.

Proposed section of green border wall with solar panels submitted by Thomas Gleason, a Las Vegas construction materials supplier.

In The Daily Signal article titled How Environmental Groups Are Responding to Trump’s ‘Solar Wall’ Pitch Fred Lucas reports:

President Donald Trump’s idea of putting solar panels on his long-promised border wall hasn’t gained a lot of support among top environmental lobbying groups—even though the organizations have long backed solar power as a key renewable energy.

“The problem with talking about solar panels on Trump’s border wall is that it’s science fiction,” Travis Nichols, a spokesman for Greenpeace, a liberal environmentalist group, told The Daily Signal. “Just like clean coal does not exist and will never exist, Trump’s wall with solar panels won’t exist, so it’s irrelevant to discuss climate issues.”

A spokesman with the Sierra Club referred to a tweet storm by the Sierra Club executive director, Michael Brune, reacting to Trump’s proposal for solar panels on the border wall.

Read more.

If solar panels on the border wall is “science fiction” then isn’t the same true for all uses of solar panels?

Here’s a discussion on President Trump’s new green border wall with solar panels designed by Thomas Gleason. He is a construction materials supplier up in North Las Vegas. He says he has submitted a bid for President Donald Trump’s proposed border wall with Mexico.:

President Trump is a builder and entrepreneur. He also keeps his promises. Building the wall is one of those promises. Time for environmentalists and Democrats to jump at this chance to build some big and bold. As President Trump has said, “If your going to think might as well think big.”

It appears those opposing this unique opportunity are small thinkers, or maybe politically motivated?

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Study: The Surprising Effect of Marijuana Legalization on College Students

Researchers from Oregon State University and the University of Michigan studied marijuana use among 10,924 college students at one large Oregon university and six other universities in states that have not legalized marijuana. Using data from the Health Minds Survey, they looked at marijuana use before and after Oregon legalized the drug for recreational use.

They found that marijuana use increased among all college students but was significantly greater among Oregon students compared to those attending universities in non-legal states. Although the legal age for using marijuana in Oregon is 21, more younger students used the drug than older students. Surprisingly, the greatest increase took place among Oregon students who also reported binge drinking (four to five drinks in about two hours). These students were 73 percent more likely to report marijuana use compared to their peers at the other six schools.

Read The Atlantic story here. Read Science Daily summary here. Read journal abstract here.

Contaminated Marijuana Still Reaching Consumers in Oregon

Oregon has the toughest rules in the nation to keep pesticide-tainted marijuana off store shelves, yet contaminated pot continues to be sold. The state wrote even tougher rules but faced such a backlash from growers it modified them somewhat.

The Oregonian/OregonLive recently conducted a spot check to see if the modified rules are keeping pesticide-containing pot from being sold. The media outlet’s 2015 reporting on widespread contamination prompted the state to establish the rules in the first place.

The paper had ten samples tested by two different labs; three came back contaminated. A second round of tests of the same products resulted in only one showing contamination. Everyone – both the state and the industry — is frustrated with the lack of precision in the testing process.

A manager of Oregon’s Health Authority, which wrote the rules, says the state’s system isn’t a promise that every product on the shelf is pure. “I don’t think it’s reasonable for the general public to think that everything is 100 percent clean and safe,” he says. Instead, the system is designed to reduce but not eliminate risk.

Read OregonLive story here.

Senators Reintroduce CARERS Act to Repeal Federal Prohibition Of Medical Marijuana

Would you take a medicine that can contain hazardous pesticides, harmful bacteria, several kinds of fungi, molds, mildew, and even dangerous heavy metals? One whose labeled dose has been shown to be inaccurate? Whose labeled potency has been shown to be untruthful or inconsistent from dose to dose?

Fortunately, the medicines available today are so safe we don’t even think to ask such questions. Advances in science and medicine over the last century extended the average lifespan by 30 years.

Part of the reason for this achievement is the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which requires that all medicines be pure, safe, and effective before they can be marketed to the public. Drug makers spend millions of dollars and many years to develop and test a new medicine to obtain FDA approval. And patients who wish to take part in clinical trials to test the new medicine are told all its known harms so they can decide whether to participate.

But several members of Congress have decided such protections are not necessary for marijuana. They have reintroduced a bill to legalize medical marijuana in states that legalized the drug for medical use despite the fact that not one medical marijuana product produced in those states has been approved by FDA.

A particular irony is that the lead senator introducing the bill, Rand Paul, a libertarian who wants to reduce the size of government, is creating a situation where the states will need to create 50 FDA’s to protect the public health.

Or, states can take the view of the Oregon Health Authority manager in the story above:
“I don’t think it’s reasonable for the general public to think that everything [every marijuana medicine] is 100 percent clean and safe.”

Buyer beware.

Read A Libertarian Future story here. Read Senator Booker’s press release here.
Read Carers Act here.

New Study Estimates the Cost of Driving Under the Influence of Cannabis in Canada

In a first of its kind study, the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction calculated the number of Canadians who use marijuana (10 percent) and drive under the influence (just under half of users) and the estimated costs associated with such behavior. Data were from the year 2012.

Driving Under the Influence of Cannabis (DUIC) collisions caused 75 deaths at a cost of $8,532,200 per death, 4,407 injuries at a cost of $84,600 per injury, and 7,794 people involved in property damage at a cost of $10,700 per person. Total costs add up to $1.09 billion.

Sadly, those ages 16-34 who make up approximately one-third of the population accounted for nearly two-thirds of the victims.

Read Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction press release here. Read journal article here.

Entrepreneur Explains How to Set Up a Home Marijuana Garden as The Fresno Bee Warns That ER Docs Are Seeing Frequent Cases of Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome (CHS)

Emergency room physicians have seen an uptick in compulsive vomiting since California legalized marijuana for recreational use last November. The patients’ vomiting is accompanied by frantic screaming and kicking.

The phenomenon is called Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome of CHS. It occurs exclusivity in chronic marijuana users and was not identified until 2004 when Australian doctors made the link between chronic use and CHS.

Doctors say THC and other cannabinoid concentrations are much higher in today’s marijuana and may be contributing to more cases. The only long-term treatment is to stop using pot.

Read Fresno Bee story here.

Tobacco-Marijuana Nexus Begins . . .

Imperial Brands, a tobacco giant in the UK that removed the word “tobacco” from its name 18 months ago, is looking to diversify as smokers quit. It has hired medical marijuana expert Simon Langelier, who is chairman of the Canadian firm PharmaCielo which supplies cannabis oil extracts. Prior to that, Mr. Langelier spent 30 years at rival tobacco firm Philip Morris.

Imperial chairman Mark Williamson said Imperial will benefit from Mr. Langelier’s experience in tobacco and “wider consumer adjacencies.”

Skeptics have long warned that the tobacco industry, given its expertise in crop farming and distribution, will likely join and probably take over the marijuana industry. If so, it will likely apply its Joe Camel marketing tactics targeting adolescents as new smokers to targeting teens as new marijuana users.

Read the Independent story here.

Pictured: a Nevada legislator on a study tour of medical marijuana dispensaries, sniffs sample product.

. . . And So Does the Alcohol-Marijuana Nexus

The legalization proponents who wrote the Nevada recreational marijuana ballot initiative, which passed last November, had some help from the state’s alcohol industry. Mysteriously, the law specifies that all marijuana grown in Nevada will be distributed by alcohol distributors. This is unique to Nevada.

The state wants to license others to sell pot, but the liquor lobby has sued the state claiming it has exclusive marijuana distribution rights.

Just this afternoon, the judge hearing the lawsuit ruled for the alcohol industry and against the Nevada Department of Taxation which would have issued temporary licenses to medical marijuana dispensaries to sell recreational pot between July 1 and January 1, 2018 when licensing regulations will be completed.

Read Daily News article here.

President Trump Strengthens U.S. Policy toward Corrupt Castro Regime

Manuel Artine Buesa (center) is pictured with President John F. Kennedy.

President Donald Trump on Friday, June 16th, 2017, announced a ban on doing business with Cuban military during a trip to Miami, from the Manuel Artíme Theater and signed a Presidential Memorandum to deal with the Communist regime before returning to Washington, D.C.

The theater is named after Manuel Artíme Buesa who was a Cuban physician. Artíme was a Cuban-America and fierce anti Communist.

According to HistoryofCuba.com:

Artíme was born in Cuba on January 29, 1932. Before embarking on a career of politics, Artime received a degree in medicine, and may have served as a medic in the war against Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista (although this is often denied by Castro supporters).

After moving to the U.S. in opposition to Castro (with Tony Varona, Rafael Quintero, Aureliano Arango and Jose Cardona) he helped establish the Movement for the Recovery of the Revolution.

At the 1960 Democratic National Convention, Artíme met future president John F. Kennedy.

Artine became the leader of the failed U.S. supported Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba in 1961. Artine was later ransomed from his Cuban jail for $500,000.

Dr. Artine died of cancer in Miami, Florida on November 18th, 1977 at the age of 45.

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Statement of Support for President Donald Trump on U.S. Policy Towards Cuba

National Security Presidential Memorandum on Strengthening the Policy of the United States Toward Cuba

Section 1.  Purpose.

The United States recognizes the need for more freedom and democracy, improved respect for human rights, and increased free enterprise in Cuba. The Cuban people have long suffered under a Communist regime that suppresses their legitimate aspirations for freedom and prosperity and fails to respect their essential human dignity.

My Administration’s policy will be guided by the national security and foreign policy interests of the United States, as well as solidarity with the Cuban people.  I will seek to promote a stable, prosperous, and free country for the Cuban people.  To that end, we must channel funds toward the Cuban people and away from a regime that has failed to meet the most basic requirements of a free and just society.

In Cuba, dissidents and peaceful protesters are arbitrarily detained and held in terrible prison conditions.  Violence and intimidation against dissidents occurs with impunity.  Families of political prisoners are not allowed to assemble or peacefully protest the improper confinement of their loved ones.  Worshippers are harassed, and free association by civil society organizations is blocked.  The right to speak freely, including through access to the internet, is denied, and there is no free press.  The United States condemns these abuses.

The initial actions set forth in this memorandum, including restricting certain financial transactions and travel, encourage the Cuban government to address these abuses.  My Administration will continue to evaluate its policies so as to improve human rights, encourage the rule of law, foster free markets and free enterprise, and promote democracy in Cuba.

Sec. 2. Policy.

It shall be the policy of the executive branch to:

(a)  End economic practices that disproportionately benefit the Cuban government or its military, intelligence, or security agencies or personnel at the expense of the Cuban people.

(b)  Ensure adherence to the statutory ban on tourism to Cuba.

(c)  Support the economic embargo of Cuba described in section 4(7) of the Cuban Liberty and Democratic Solidarity (LIBERTAD) Act of 1996 (the embargo), including by opposing measures that call for an end to the embargo at the United Nations and other international forums and through regular reporting on whether the conditions of a transition government exist in Cuba.

(d)  Amplify efforts to support the Cuban people through the expansion of internet services, free press, free enterprise, free association, and lawful travel.

(e)  Not reinstate the “Wet Foot, Dry Foot” policy, which encouraged untold thousands of Cuban nationals to risk their lives to travel unlawfully to the United States.

(f)  Ensure that engagement between the United States and Cuba advances the interests of the United States and the Cuban people.  These interests include: advancing Cuban human rights; encouraging the growth of a Cuban private sector independent of government control; enforcing final orders of removal against Cuban nationals in the United States; protecting the national security and public health and safety of the United States, including through proper engagement on criminal cases and working to ensure the return of fugitives from American justice living in Cuba or being harbored by the Cuban government; supporting United States agriculture and protecting plant and animal health; advancing the understanding of the United States regarding scientific and environmental challenges; and facilitating safe civil aviation.

Sec. 3. Implementation.

The heads of departments and agencies shall begin to implement the policy set forth in section 2 of this memorandum as follows:

(a)  Within 30 days of the date of this memorandum, the Secretary of the Treasury and the Secretary of Commerce, as appropriate and in coordination with the Secretary of State and the Secretary of Transportation, shall initiate a process to adjust current regulations regarding transactions with Cuba.

(i)    As part of the regulatory changes described in this subsection, the Secretary of State shall identify the entities or subentities, as appropriate, that are under the control of, or act for or on behalf of, the Cuban military, intelligence, or security services or personnel (such as Grupo de Administracion Empresarial S.A. (GAESA), its affiliates, subsidiaries, and successors), and publish a list of those identified entities and subentities with which direct financial transactions would disproportionately benefit such services or personnel at the expense of the Cuban people or private enterprise in Cuba.

(ii)   Except as provided in subsection (a)(iii) of this section, the regulatory changes described in this subsection shall prohibit direct financial transactions with those entities or subentities on the list published pursuant to subsection (a)(i) of this section.

(iii)  The regulatory changes shall not prohibit transactions that the Secretary of the Treasury or the Secretary of Commerce, in coordination with the Secretary of State, determines are consistent with the policy set forth in section 2 of this memorandum and:

(A)  concern Federal Government operations, including Naval Station Guantanamo Bay and the United States mission in Havana;

(B)  support programs to build democracy in Cuba;

(C)  concern air and sea operations that support permissible travel, cargo, or trade;

(D)  support the acquisition of visas for permissible travel;

(E)  support the expansion of direct telecommunications and internet access for the Cuban people;

(F)  support the sale of agricultural commodities, medicines, and medical devices sold to Cuba consistent with the Trade Sanctions Reform and Export Enhancement Act of 2000 (22 U.S.C. 7201 et seq.) and the Cuban Democracy Act of 2002 (22 U.S.C. 6001 et seq.);

(G)  relate to sending, processing, or receiving authorized remittances;

(H)  otherwise further the national security or foreign policy interests of the United States; or
(I)  are required by law.

(b)  Within 30 days of the date of this memorandum, the Secretary of the Treasury, in coordination with the Secretary of State, shall initiate a process to adjust current regulations to ensure adherence to the statutory ban on tourism to Cuba.

(i)    The amended regulations shall require that educational travel be for legitimate educational purposes.  Except for educational travel that was permitted by regulation in effect on January 27, 2011, all educational travel shall be under the auspices of an organization subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, and all such travelers must be accompanied by a representative of the sponsoring organization.

(ii)   The regulations shall further require that those traveling for the permissible purposes of non academic education or to provide support for the Cuban people:

(A)  engage in a full-time schedule of activities that enhance contact with the Cuban people, support civil society in Cuba, or promote the Cuban people’s independence from Cuban authorities; and

(B)  meaningfully interact with individuals in Cuba.

(iii)  The regulations shall continue to provide that every person engaging in travel to Cuba shall keep full and accurate records of all transactions related to authorized travel, regardless of whether they were effected pursuant to license or otherwise, and such records shall be available for examination by the Department of the Treasury for at least 5 years after the date they occur.
(iv)   The Secretary of State, the Secretary of the Treasury, the Secretary of Commerce, and the Secretary of Transportation shall review their agency’s enforcement of all categories of permissible travel within 90 days of the date the regulations described in this subsection are finalized to ensure such enforcement accords with the policies outlined in section 2 of this memorandum.

(c)  The Secretary of the Treasury shall regularly audit travel to Cuba to ensure that travelers are complying with relevant statutes and regulations.  The Secretary of the Treasury shall request that the Inspector General of the Department of the Treasury inspect the activities taken by the Department of the Treasury to implement this audit requirement.  The Inspector General of the Department of the Treasury shall provide a report to the President, through the Secretary of the Treasury, summarizing the results of that inspection within 180 days of the adjustment of current regulations described in subsection (b) of this section and annually thereafter.

(d)  The Secretary of the Treasury shall adjust the Department of the Treasury’s current regulation defining the term “prohibited officials of the Government of Cuba” so that, for purposes of title 31, part 515 of the Code of Federal Regulations, it includes Ministers and Vice-Ministers, members of the Council of State and the Council of Ministers; members and employees of the National Assembly of People’s Power; members of any provincial assembly; local sector chiefs of the Committees for the Defense of the Revolution; Director Generals and sub–Director Generals and higher of all Cuban ministries and state agencies; employees of the Ministry of the Interior (MININT); employees of the Ministry of Defense (MINFAR); secretaries and first secretaries of the Confederation of Labor of Cuba (CTC) and its component unions; chief editors, editors, and deputy editors of Cuban state-run media organizations and programs, including newspapers, television, and radio; and members and employees of the Supreme Court (Tribuno Supremo Nacional).

(e)  The Secretary of State and the Representative of the United States to the United Nations shall oppose efforts at the United Nations or (with respect to the Secretary of State) any other international forum to lift the embargo until a transition government in Cuba, as described in section 205 of the LIBERTAD Act, exists.

(f)  The Secretary of State, in coordination with the Attorney General, shall provide a report to the President assessing whether and to what degree the Cuban government has satisfied the requirements of a transition government as described in section 205(a) of the LIBERTAD Act, taking into account the additional factors listed in section 205(b) of that Act.  This report shall include a review of human rights abuses committed against the Cuban people, such as unlawful detentions, arbitrary arrests, and inhumane treatment.

(g)  The Attorney General shall, within 90 days of the date of this memorandum, issue a report to the President on issues related to fugitives from American justice living in Cuba or being harbored by the Cuban government.

(h)  The Secretary of State and the Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development shall review all democracy development programs of the Federal Government in Cuba to ensure that they align with the criteria set forth in section 109(a) of the LIBERTAD Act.

(i)  The Secretary of State shall convene a task force, composed of relevant departments and agencies, including the Office of Cuba Broadcasting, and appropriate non-governmental organizations and private-sector entities, to examine the technological challenges and opportunities for expanding internet access in Cuba, including through Federal Government support of programs and activities that encourage freedom of expression through independent media and internet freedom so that the Cuban people can enjoy the free and unregulated flow of information.

(j)  The Secretary of State and the Secretary of Homeland Security shall continue to discourage dangerous, unlawful migration that puts Cuban and American lives at risk.  The Secretary of Defense shall continue to provide support, as necessary, to the Department of State and the Department of Homeland Security in carrying out the duties regarding interdiction of migrants.

(k)  The Secretary of State, in coordination with the Secretary of the Treasury, the Secretary of Defense, the Attorney General, the Secretary of Commerce, and the Secretary of Homeland Security, shall annually report to the President regarding the engagement of the United States with Cuba to ensure that engagement is advancing the interests of the United States.

(l)  All activities conducted pursuant to subsections (a) through (k) of this section shall be carried out in a manner that furthers the interests of the United States, including by appropriately protecting sensitive sources, methods, and operations of the Federal Government.

Sec. 4.  Earlier Presidential Actions.

(a)  This memorandum supersedes and replaces both National Security Presidential Directive-52 of June 28, 2007, U.S. Policy toward Cuba, and Presidential Policy Directive-43 of October 14, 2016, United States-Cuba Normalization.

(b)  This memorandum does not affect either Executive Order 12807 of May 24, 1992, Interdiction of Illegal Aliens, or Executive Order 13276 of November 15, 2002, Delegation of Responsibilities Concerning Undocumented Aliens Interdicted or Intercepted in the Caribbean Region.

Sec. 5.  General Provisions.

(a)  Nothing in this memorandum shall be construed to impair or otherwise affect:

(i)   the authority granted by law to an executive department or agency, or the head thereof; or

(ii)  the functions of the Director of the Office of Management and Budget relating to budgetary, administrative, or legislative proposals.

(b)  This memorandum shall be implemented consistent with applicable laws and subject to the availability of appropriations.

(c)  This memorandum is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.
(d)  The Secretary of State is hereby authorized and directed to publish this memorandum in the Federal Register.

DONALD J. TRUMP

Europeans Are Paying to Subsidize Jihadists by Barry Brownstein

Does the European welfare system promote hate by allowing people to avoid learning the lessons of mutual dependence and cooperation that the workplace teaches?

All Men Are Brothers

Consider for a moment how little we can do for ourselves. The food we eat, the clothes we wear, the fuel we burn are mostly obtained through the efforts of others. Would we not perish in short order without what Rose Wilder Lane calls the “brotherhood of man”?

Rose Wilder Lane was the daughter of Laura Ingalls Wilder. Rose played a crucial role in bringing her mother’s Little House on the Prairie books to life. Lane’s deep understanding of the human condition shines through in her classic book, The Discovery of Freedom.

Since we cannot survive on our own, Lane explains, “All men are brothers, of one blood, of one human race. They are brothers in one imperative desire to live, in one desperate necessity to combine their energies in order to live.” Thus, “The brotherhood of man is not a pretty phrase nor a beautiful ideal; it is a fact.”Lane adds pointedly, “Men who behave as if the brotherhood of man were not a fact, are alive to do so only because it is a fact.”

In other words, those who harm others are themselves able to thrive only because the efforts of others.

Work is one way through which we learn to create value for others. At work, we are unlikely to succeed if we don’t experience the common humanity we share with our colleagues and customers.

Become a Stranger to Humanity

Now, consider the consequences when able-bodied individuals are paid to not work.

When we don’t work because taxpayers are supporting us, it is easier to lose touch with our common humanity with others. Without creating value for others, we may never develop the facility to appreciate the “brotherhood of man” that keeps us alive.

When individuals no longer must cooperate with each other to thrive, they have perverse incentives to act against the natural brotherhood of man. In Europe, jihadists and potential jihadists are paid to separate themselves from the brotherhood of man.

Consider these facts:

  1. According to The Telegraph, the Manchester bomber Salman Abedi “is understood to have received thousands of pounds in state funding…even while he was overseas receiving bomb-making training.” Abedi never held a job in his life.
  2. Danish citizens who have been granted a “disability” pension have gone to Syria to fight on behalf of ISIS. Other Danish jihadists are receiving unemployment benefits.
  3. When the German newspaper Bild “ran an analysis of the 450 German jihadists fighting in Syria, it found that more than 20% of them have received benefits from the German state.”
  4. Before the notorious radical Islamist preacher Anjem Choudary was convicted and jailed on terrorism charges in 2016, taxpayers in England had funded his hate-filled sermons for over two decades. Choudary had been receiving more than 25,000 pounds a year in benefits and was living in a home worth over 300,000 pounds. (Note, the English pound is worth more than the U.S. dollar.)
  5. Choudary encouraged his followers to not work and instead to live off government benefits: “The normal situation is to take money from the kuffar [non-believers]. You [the kuffar] work, give us the money, Allahu Akhbar.” In Choudary’s warped world, he and his fellow jihadists are entitled to live off the labor of others.

Undermining the Brotherhood of Man

A basic economic law is that you get more of what you subsidize. The more you pay a person to not work, the more isolated, the more alienated that individual can become.

Are subsidized and alienated individuals more receptive to messages of hate? If the subsidized embrace hatred, their thoughts of hatred may go unchallenged by the realities of work life that demand cooperation, not conflict, with others.

If we understand our existence depends on our brothers, we understand the truth of Lane’s observation: “Any man who injures another, injures himself, for human welfare is necessary to his own existence.”

The jihadist living off the sweat of others has no such understanding. Jihadists may believe God is on their side, but radical jihadism is at odds with the truth of the brotherhood of man.

The great divide is not between Muslims and non-Muslims. The great divide is between those who respect the brotherhood of man and those obsessed with hatred.

Why is Europe undermining the brotherhood of man by subsidizing those who hate?

Reprinted from Intellectual Takeout.

Barry Brownstein

Barry Brownstein

Barry Brownstein is professor emeritus of economics and leadership at the University of Baltimore. He is the author of The Inner-Work of Leadership. He delivers leadership workshops to organizations and blogs at BarryBrownstein.com, and Giving up Control.

Cut Subsidies, Get Rich by David Boaz

Ever since President Trump and budget director Mick Mulvaney released a proposed federal budget that includes cuts in some programs, the Washington Post has been full of articles and letters about current and former officials and program beneficiaries who don’t want their budgets cut. Not exactly breaking news, you’d think. And not exactly a balanced discussion of pros and cons, costs and benefits. Consider just today’s examples:

[O]ver 100,000 former Fulbright scholars, among them several members of Congress, are being asked to lobby for not only full funding but also a small increase.

As a former Federal Aviation Administration senior executive with more than 30 years of experience in air traffic control, I believe it is a very big mistake to privatize such an important government function.

On Thursday, all seven former Senate-confirmed heads of the Energy Department’s renewables office — including three former Republican administration officials – told Congress and the Trump administration that the deep budget cut proposed for that office would cripple its ability to function.

This is nothing new. Every time a president proposes to cut anything in the $4 trillion federal budget — up from $1.8 trillion in Bill Clinton’s last budget — reporters race to find “victims.” And of course no one wants to lose his or her job or subsidy, so there are plenty of people ready to defend the value of each and every government check. As I wrote at the Britannica Blog in 2011, when one very small program was being vigorously defended:

Every government program is “well worth the money” to its beneficiaries. And the beneficiaries are typically the ones who lobby to create, expand, and protect it. When a program is threatened with cuts, newspapers go out and ask the people “who will be most affected” by the possible cut. They interview farmers about whether farm programs should be cut, library patrons about library cutbacks, train riders about rail subsidy cuts. And guess what: all the beneficiaries oppose cuts to the programs that benefit them. You could write those stories without going out in the August heat to do the actual interviews.

Economists call this the problem of concentrated benefits and diffuse costs. The benefits of any government program — Medicare, teachers’ pensions, a new highway, a tariff — are concentrated on a relatively small number of people. But the costs are diffused over millions of consumers or taxpayers. So the beneficiaries, who stand to gain a great deal from a new program or lose a great deal from the elimination of a program, have a strong incentive to monitor the news, write their legislator, make political contributions, attend town halls, and otherwise work to protect the program. But each taxpayer, who pays little for each program, has much less incentive to get involved in the political process or even to vote.

A $4 trillion annual budget is about $12,500 for every man, woman, and child in the United States. If the budget could be cut by, say, $1 trillion — taking it back to the 2008 level — how much good could that money do in the hands of families and businesses? How many jobs could be created? How many families could afford a new car, a better school, a down payment on a home? Reporters should ask those questions when they ask subsidy recipients, How do you feel about losing your subsidy?

Republished from Cato Institute.

David Boaz

David Boaz

David Boaz is the executive vice president of the Cato Institute and the author of The Libertarian Mind: A Manifesto for Freedom and the editor of The Libertarian Reader.

A True American Healthcare System

As Obamacare continues to reveal itself as an economic and policy disaster, it strikes me that in undoing this healthcare mess, we are not following the path forged for us by the Framers of the Constitution.

For them, the overarching, driving concern was the protection of the liberties of the nation’s citizens from the intrusions of an excessively powerful government. Translated to healthcare, this would mean protecting patients and their doctors from government interference in their most private and personal dealings.

The Framers accomplished this by creating a national government of specific and enumerated powers that was prohibited from directly regulating the actions of the American people. This latter authority was retained by the states, and specifically not given to the federal government.

So, under this strategy, what would the nation’s health care system look like?

Protecting freedoms, not relying on government

In a truly American healthcare system, the responsibility for funding one’s medical care would fall squarely upon the treated individual. In cases where the cost of receiving treatment became excessive, the individual would be aided by his or her family, local churches, and community charitable organizations dedicated to helping those who couldn’t help themselves.

More importantly, healthcare would be delivered in a society where God and worship played a central role in human interaction. And no, not because the government demanded it, but because the people spontaneously shared this unyielding resolve in a state where an environment encouraging public worship existed and the family was viewed as society’s foundational building block.

It was a milieu where people were continuously reminded of their direct relationship with God and of His greatest commandment; that each person love God with all his might and that he love his neighbor as he does himself.

If the healthcare system needed to be more formalized so that hospitals and healthcare could be regulated or a risk-diverting network could be implemented, then such a structure would be generated and executed by the state, not by the federal government. In fact, if the Constitution were properly interpreted, the courts would hold that the federal government was prohibited from directing the states on creating, implementing, or administering a health care program, or taxing the people directly for the purpose of creating a healthcare insurance company.

Healthcare not part of limited federal government

Other than Dr. Benjamin Rush, who voiced his concern for the potential of healthcare being used as a tool in support of a dictatorial regime, it is likely that the Founders gave little thought to the design of the new nation’s healthcare system. Not only was it orders of magnitude beyond their primary concern of building a functional system of government, but they would have clearly maintained that such was not the role of the new federal government. In fact, they did. It was no enumerated, as mentioned above.

If asked, the Framers would have undoubtedly agreed that the solution to the nation’s healthcare challenges lay not in the acts of politicians, but in the moral compass provided to the people by their Creator and in the unyielding pledge that each and every person had instinctively made to his or her neighbor through his or her faith in God.

It is within these concepts that the true solutions to our healthcare woes is to be found, not in the machinations conceived by politicians or bureaucrats.

Hopefully, we as a nation will recall and apply these self-evident truths before we irreparably tarnish our Great Experiment and make true the warnings of Dr. Rush some 240 years ago.

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

This State is on the Brink of Fiscal Meltdown by Daniel J. Mitchell

Illinois is a mess. Taxes and spending already are too high, and huge unfunded liabilities point to an even darker future.

Simply stated, politicians and government employee unions have created an unholy alliance to extract as much money as possible from the state’s beleaguered private sector.

That’s not a surprise. Indeed, it’s easily explained by the “stationary bandit” theory of government.

But while the bandit of government may be stationary, the victims are not. At least not in a nation with 50 different states.

Leaving Illinois

Indeed, Illinois Policy reports that a growing number of geese with golden eggs decided to fly away after a big tax hike in 2011.

Politicians enacted Illinois’ 2011 income-tax hike during a late-night legislative session in January 2011 and raised the state’s personal income-tax rate to 5 percent from 3 percent. This 67 percent income-tax hike lasted for four years, during which time Illinois experienced record wealth flight.

…The short-term increase in tax revenue gained from higher tax rates is offset by the long-term loss of substantial portions of Illinois’ tax base. The average income of taxpayers leaving Illinois rose to $77,000 per year in 2014, according to new income migration data released by the IRS. Meanwhile, the average income of people entering Illinois was only $57,000.

…During the four years of the full income-tax hike, prior to its partial sunset in 2015, Illinois lost $14 billion in annual adjusted gross income, or AGI, to other states, on net.

Illinois has always had an unfavorable ratio when comparing the incomes of immigrants and emigrants. But you can see from this chart that there was a radically unfavorable shift after the tax hike.

The Biggest Loser

Here’s a table from the article showing the 10-worst states.

Illinois leads this list of losers by a comfortable margin. Connecticut, meanwhile, has a strong hold on second place (which shouldn’t be a surprise).

The IP report observes that the states benefiting from internal migration have much better fiscal policy. In particular, most of them are on the admirable list of states that don’t impose income taxes.

…the top five states with favorable income differentials were Florida, Wyoming, Nevada, South Carolina and Texas. Notably, 4 of 5 of these states have no income tax, and none of them have a death tax.

It’s worth noting that the high-tax approach is not producing good results.

Instead, as reported by Bloomberg, the Land of Lincoln is the land of red ink.

Illinois had its bond rating downgraded to one step above junk by Moody’s Investors Service and S&P Global Ratings, the lowest ranking on record for a U.S. stateIllinois’s underfunded pensions and the record backlog of bills… are equivalent to about 40 percent of its operating budget… investors have demanded higher premiums for the risk of owning its debt. Moody’s called Illinois “an outlier among states” after suffering eight downgrades in as many years… like other states, has no ability to resort to bankruptcy to escape from its debts. A downgrade to junk, though, would add further financial pressure by increasing its borrowing costs.

Double Down

Amazing, in spite of this ongoing meltdown, the Democrats who control the state legislature are pushing hard to once again increase the income tax.

Heck, they want to increase all sorts of taxes. Including higher burdens on the financial industry.

Kristina Rasumussen, the President of Illinois Policy, warned in the Wall Street Journal that this was not a good recipe.

Proponents here call it the “privilege tax”… The Illinois bill would put a 20% levy on fees earned by investment advisers. It passed the state Senate in a 32-24 vote Tuesday, and backers are hoping to get it through the House before the legislative session ends May 31. The new tax is pitched as a way to squeeze more revenue – as much as $1.7 billion a year – from hedge funds and private-equity firms…

An earlier version of the Illinois proposal included a provision so that the 20% tax would take effect only if and when New York, New Jersey and Connecticut enacted similar measures. But the bill as written now would impose the tax regardless, and lawmakers will simply have to hope other states follow suit. Yet who says financiers can’t do their jobs just as well in Palm Beach, Fla. – or London, Zurich or Hong Kong? The progressives peddling this idea don’t understand that Chicago competes for these businesses not only with New York and Greenwich, Conn., but with anywhere that can offer cellphone service and an internet connection.

…Railing against supposed “fat cats” might satisfy progressive groups, but lawmakers shouldn’t be in the business of hounding the people who help connect capital with new opportunities for growth… Rather than focus on how to make everyone miserable together, policy makers should work to increase their states’ competitiveness. A start would be to rally against this proposed privilege tax and instead fix the spiraling pension costs and outdated labor rules that are dragging Illinois and other blue states down.

Let’s hope the governor continues to reject any and all tax increases.

If he does hold firm, he’ll have allies.

Including the Chicago Tribune, which recently editorialized about the state’s dire position,

Illinois legislators fumble repeated attempts to send a balanced budget to Gov. Bruce Rauner; while the stack of Illinois’ unpaid bills climbs by the minute; while our leaders prioritize politics over policy… Employers and other taxpayers are hopping over Illinois’ borders with alarming regularity.

…What an embarrassment. What a dereliction of duty… Illinois, boasting the lowest credit rating and the highest population loss of any state in the country, has doubled down. State government is in a full-blown crisis. Again. Since January, Democrats have discussed plans to raise income taxes and borrow money to pay down bills. They approved bills that would make Illinois a less attractive place to do business; under one proposal, Illinois would have the highest minimum wage of all its neighboring states.

This is some very sensible analysis from a newspaper that endorsed Obama in both 2008 and 2012.

Hope for the Future

Even more important, the state’s taxpayers are mostly on the correct side.

Illinoisans feel the strain of the state’s two-year budget impasse, but they are emphatic that tax hikes should not be part of any budget deal. These are the findings of a new poll of likely Illinois voters… Only 31 percent of survey respondents support raising the state income tax to end the budget impasse. An increase in the state sales tax is even more unpopular, with 76 percent of survey respondents opposed. Another key takeaway from the poll: A plurality (49 percent) of respondents who are directly affected by the state budget impasse prefer a cuts-only, no-tax-hike budget.

…Survey respondents were also asked what they think of political candidates who support raising taxes to end the budget impasse. The poll found that likely Illinois voters will be unforgiving of candidates for governor or the General Assembly who raise the state income tax or sales tax.

I suspect taxpayers realize that higher taxes will simply lead to more spending.

Indeed, a leftist in the state inadvertently admitted that the purpose of tax hikes is to enable more spending.

If there is to be any hope for the future in Illinois, Governor Rauner needs to hold firm. So long as Republicans in the state legislature hold firm, he can use his veto power to stop any tax hikes.

Or he can be Charlie Brown.

P.S. Illinois is invariably near the bottom in comparisons of state fiscal policy. The one saving grace is that the state has a flat tax. If the statists ever succeed in replacing that system with a so-called progressive tax, it will just be a matter of time before the state passes New York and California in the real race to the bottom.

Reprinted from International Liberty.

Daniel J. Mitchell

Daniel J. Mitchell

Daniel J. Mitchell is a senior fellow at the Cato Institute who specializes in fiscal policy, particularly tax reform, international tax competition, and the economic burden of government spending. He also serves on the editorial board of the Cayman Financial Review.