8 Big-Government Policies that Hurt the Poor by Patrick Tyrrell

It’s clear that many big government policies are creating winners and losers in America.

The story has been the same for decades. Government makes friends with a company or an industry, blocks out the competition with regulation, and in some cases gives the company subsidies.

Such cronyism is bad for innovators and for consumers. But fewer people realize that it’s also bad for the poor. A recent report from The Heritage Foundation detailed 23 of these big government policies that hurt the poor, and provided concrete ways to address them.

Winners and losers from big government policies are not always clear. And yet for some crony policies, the winners and losers are very clear. The winners are a small group of identifiable government cronies, while the losers include people of little or no influence with the government.

Here is a look at eight big government policies from the report that benefit government cronies at the expense of other groups of people, including the poor.

1. Renewable Fuel Standard

The Energy Policy Act of 2005 mandated that renewable fuels be mixed into America’s gasoline supply, primarily by using corn-based ethanol. Then, the 2007 Energy Independence and Security Acts significantly increased the amount that must be mixed in.

This mandate is known as the Renewable Fuel Standard. It forces the use of higher levels of biofuels than the market would otherwise bear. The result has been higher food and fuel prices.

Who Wins: Corn farmers, soybean farmers, and biofuel companies.

Who Loses: Consumers of gasoline, consumers of food, and farmers that rely on feedstock and restaurants.

2. Federal Sugar Program

The federal government tries to limit the supply of sugar that is sold in the United States.

This federal sugar program uses a combination of price supports, marketing allotments that limit how much sugar processors can sell each year, and import restrictions that reduce the amount of imports.

As a result, the price of American sugar is consistently higher than world prices.

Who WinsSugar growers and sugar harvesters.

Who Loses: Workers in sugar-using industries, and consumers of food (including bread) that contains sugar.

3. Catfish Inspection Program

As a result of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s catfish inspection program, the USDA inspects catfish while the Food and Drug Administration inspects all other seafood.

This creates duplication because seafood processing facilities that produce both catfish and any other seafood will have to deal with two different types of seafood regulatory schemes instead of just one.

This program also creates a non-tariff trade barrier that will make it extremely difficult for foreign catfish exporters to export to the U.S., likely reducing competition for the domestic catfish industry.

Who WinsDomestic catfish producers.

Who Loses: Domestic catfish consumers.

4. The Merchant Marine Act of 1920 (the Jones Act)

The Merchant Marine Act – nicknamed after Sen. Wesley Jones, R-Wash. – requires the use of domestically built ships when transporting goods between U.S. ports. The ships must also be U.S.-owned, and mostly U.S.-crewed.

Who WinsThe U.S. domestic shipping industry.

Who Loses: The U.S. military, automobile drivers, users of propane and heating oil, and anyone benefitting from the trade and transportation of goods between U.S. ports.

5. Occupational Licensure

Licensure laws create government requirements for being allowed to practice a profession. These requirements exist even though the market would produce certification options if consumers desired such information.

Who WinsWorkers who have already obtained licenses.

Who Loses: People wanting to work who can’t because they don’t have a license, and consumers who have to pay higher prices for services.

6. Economic Development Takings

On June 23, 2005, the U.S. Supreme Court held in Kelo v. City of New London that the government can seize private property and transfer it to another private party for economic development.

This type of taking was deemed to be for “public use” and ruled a proper use of the government’s eminent domain power under the Fifth Amendment of the United States Constitution.

Who Wins: People who successfully lobby the government to seize other people’s property for financial gain.

Who LosesProperty owners who have their property seized.

7. Home-Sharing Regulations

Local governments sometimes ban or excessively regulate home-sharing – that is, renting out one’s home to accommodate travelers, such as through Airbnb.

When this happens, consumers have less choices of where to stay when traveling, hotels can charge higher prices, and homeowners and renters can’t make full use of their legally possessed homes to earn income for themselves.

Who WinsHotel employee union lobbies, and the hotel industry.

Who Loses: Homeowners and renters.

8. Ride-Sharing Regulations

In some state and local jurisdictions (such as outside Portland, Oregon; Alaska; and Austin, Texas), the government bans or heavily regulates ride-sharing companies like Uber and Lyft.

These companies are popping up all over because they meet consumers’ needs, but they are being held down in certain cities where the government backs the establishment industry.

Who WinsTraditional taxicab companies.

Who Loses: Uber, Lyft, and drivers looking for low barriers to entry; taxicab customers; customers who want to go in or out of certain neighborhoods that traditional taxi drivers avoid; and users of public transportation seeking to complete the “last mile” of their trips.

When industries or groups win special favors from politicians at the expense of ordinary Americans and the poor, it is an affront to freedom – especially to the economic freedom of the poor.

Policies that drive up prices – especially of commodities – are harder to absorb if you are poor.

The policies listed above can block off the only escape route that poor people have from poverty, preventing them from doing what they are good at for a living, for example, or from renting out their home or other property.

All Americans should have the same opportunities open to them. But when government cronyism rears its ugly head, they don’t.

Those who fall on the losing side of cronyism are more likely to agree with President Ronald Reagan when he said, “The nine most terrifying words in the English language are: I’m from the government and I’m here to help.”

Reprinted from Daily Signal.

Patrick Tyrrell

Patrick Tyrrell is a research coordinator in The Heritage Foundation’s Center for Data Analysis.

EDITORS NOTE: Get trained for success by leading entrepreneurs.  Learn more at FEEcon.org

Yes, it is a Virtue to Reject Charity by Jeffrey A. Tucker

There is a moment I found a bit startling in the new Anne of Green Gables series on Netflix. The farm is in trouble and the bank is talking foreclosure. The family starts to panic. Anne suggests that many people will chip in and help the family through these hard times.

The mother reacts with firmness and conviction: “Absolutely not. We do not accept charity.”How old fashioned! The statement alone reveals we are talking about the past here. I vaguely recall people in my own extended family – at family reunions in West Texas, sitting around shelling peas – saying something similar. It was a matter of pride, even morality.

When was the last time you have heard that assertion? I personally can’t remember hearing that in many years.

Maybe it is time to bring back that ethos and ethic.

What we have here is a principle at work, a matter of character. Don’t live at other’s expense. Make your own way in this world. Keep your independence and retain your dignity.

Is there any virtue here? I would suggest so. It is a forgotten virtue, to be sure, but a virtue nonetheless.

Charity with Dignity

The family in the story truly needed help. Rather than beg, they gathered up many of their possessions and took them to town to sell them. Merchants had heard about the family’s need, so some actually overpaid as a way of helping without letting the family know what was going on.

This is a great way to be charitable without letting the person know about it, which is yet another expression of virtue. The Bible tells people to give unto others without letting the left hand know what the right hand is doing – which is to say, don’t congratulate yourself and likewise expect others to praise you for your generosity. This is what the neighbors did.

By the same token, the shame associated with begging is ever-present in the Bible. In the parable of the unrighteous steward, the guy complains that he is been released from his master, but he is too weak to dig and “too ashamed to beg.”

Ashamed! Can you imagine? Social welfare professionals have been trying to remove the stigma of welfare for a century. But let’s face: it will never entirely go away. That might even be a good thing.

Don’t Be a Beggar

The story of Anne is set in Canada, but the attitude behind it feels quintessentially American. It is fundamentally a character trait forged in a setting of freedom. You encounter this often in the Little House books too, this attitude that it represents something of a humiliation to accept charity from others.

Even when the opportunity is there, there once seemed to be a cultural commitment against dependency, against living off others. Think of the old term hobo. The hobo ethic was never to beg – that’s what bums do – but rather to completely avoid all forms of dependency, even the need for a comfortable bed and nice clothes, and to travel and work small jobs to get enough to live and then move on. The hobos believed that this was the only way to stay free.In the American spirit, the hobo was making a dignified choice. The bum? Never.

Even when the redistributionist state came along, the American spirit of individualism rebelled.

Rose Wilder Lane, the daughter of the author of those books, writing at the height of the New Deal, put it like this:

The spirit of individualism is still here. The number of us who have been out of work and facing actual hunger is not known; the largest estimate has been twelve million. Of this number, barely a third appeared on the reported relief rolls. Somewhere those millions in need of help, who were not helped, are still fighting through this depression on their own. Millions of farmers are still lords on their own land; they are not receiving checks from the public funds to which they contribute their increasing taxes.

Millions of men and women have quietly been paying debts from which they asked no release; millions have cut expenses to the barest necessities, spending every dime in fear that soon they will have nothing, and somehow being cheerful in the daytime and finding God knows what strength or weakness in themselves during the black nights.

Americans are still paying the price of individual liberty, which is individual responsibility and insecurity.

This view is of course routinely lampooned in the progressive press, overtly by socialists like Elizabeth Warren but implicitly in venues like the New York Times and National Public Radio. Their voices drip with disdain for what they say is the myth of “rugged individualism,” a phrase popularized at the end of the 19th century. It is the supposedly cruel and unrealistic idea that people should get by on their own wherewithal.

The idea behind this phrase is to celebrate individual achievement and to suggest that it is a compromise of your potential as a human being to expect others to care for you if it is not necessary.Too often the idea has been caricatured, at least since the New Deal sought to break down the social stigma of dependency on government. For example, maybe people associate this with selfishness. It’s not true. There is a paradox that the more independent you are, the more you are willing to step up and help others. As Lane says: “We are the kindest people on earth; kind every day to one another and sympathetically responsive to every rumor of distress. It is only in America that a passing car will stop to lend a stranded stranger a tire-tool.”

This is not living off others. This is benefitting from the kindness of others when it is necessary and helpful. You accept it because you would certainly do the same for them. And you don’t expect it from others. And you certainly don’t craft your life around the idea that everyone or anyone is morally obligated to help you when you encounter misfortune.

Help Yes, Dependency No

It’s not complicated: you accept help when necessary but don’t make a habit of it. My own mother, who comes from the stock and heritage that celebrated self-reliance, used to say to me, very simply: “never be beholden.” If you owe others, you have given up that most precious thing, your independence, which means giving up some of your freedom.

That includes owing debt. CNN reports: “Total household debt climbed to $12.58 trillion at the end of 2016, an increase of $266 billion from the third quarter, according to a report from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.” Meanwhile, 44% of Americans don’t have $400 cash that they can throw at an emergency expense.

Private creditors are bad enough. It is surely worse to be beholden to government. Right now 43 million Americans are on food stamps. That is not a mark of national pride. And this is true even in times when groceries are absurdly cheap and available by any historical standard.

Once you accept the largesse, you have a political investment in continuing it. Your loyalties gradually change.

People justify this based on observing how much they are paying into the system. It pillages them with every paycheck, so they might as well get something back. No matter how much welfare they pay in, they can never take enough out to make the bargain work out equally. For most people, this is surely true.Once you accept the largesse, you have a political investment in continuing it. Your loyalties gradually change. The state becomes your benefactor. Your sense of self reliance is compromised.

Do you see the vicious cycle? You are forced to pay in, so you have no moral resistance about taking out when the time arises. Pretty soon you find yourself part of the Bastiatian calculus: the state becomes the great fiction by which everyone tries to live at everyone else’s expense.

In service of people’s dignity, programs like food stamps ought to be abolished, as much as that would upset the corporate agricultural interests that are forever lobbying for this racket to continue.

It seems that government does everything possible to rope people into the role of dependent these days. Whether it is student loans, Obamacare, or just guilt tripping us all to love the highways and glorious national defense we get for our tax dollars, we are supposed to feel forever on the hook, forever beholden. Forever indentured.

This is not the attitude of a free people.

A Word for Individualism

To hear about “rugged individualism” is a bit strange for us today. We have a vague sense that people used to believe this. We feel mischievous even to sense that there might be a grain of truth in it. The attitude built the world’s most prosperous economy. It gave us new inventions. It created the most dynamic, thriving, progressing society in history, and this became a model for the world.

To be sure, there is often a confusion over the phrase self-reliance. It does not mean to grow your own food, make your own furniture, and walk instead of drive. It has nothing to do with the technology you use, and there is a sense in which the market and the division of labor it creates makes us all deeply dependent on each other. That is a beautiful thing.

The point is that market dependency is rooted in exchange and mutual benefit. We go into every exchange with the freedom to change our minds, and we benefit from exchange as much as the other party. We aren’t doing favors for each other. We cooperate together in our own interest.Self-reliance really means something else. It means not being on the hook for a favor someone else did you or being expected to live in a constant state of owing others for some act of benevolence on their part. It certainly rejects forcing others through the state to be productive so that you can get a free ride.

Pay Your Debts

My mother is right. It’s not good to be beholden to others. This idea was once baked into our institutions. Government had no charity to offer anyone. Your debts had to be paid. Americans didn’t rush to create the cradle-to-grave welfare state. The thing existed in Europe long before it came to our shores. Even when we created the institutions, people were reluctant to use them.

And it’s not just about the compromise of your individualism that you make when you accept welfare. It is also about the annoyance others feel when forced to pay for it. Both sides are degraded in this forced wealth transfer.

For our ancestors, it was a matter of personal character.

This is the underlying thinking behind the quote that Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged worked to forge into a life doctrine: “I swear, by my life and my love of it, that I will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for mine.”It’s best to think of that line, not as a hard religious doctrine but just very solid life advice, a good bedrock practice for how to think of yourself in relation to others. With that idea in place, all the rest of the virtues fall into place.

What Can We Do About It

The idea of rejecting charity means that you should take charge of your own life, regardless of pressures around you to do otherwise. This is possible even today. It’s true that you are forced to pay into the system. But no one is forcing anyone to take food stamps, to live on handouts, to be dependent on government programs. It’s not so easy to refuse them anymore. The struggle is real. Still, this is something you can control – unlike national politics.For our ancestors, it was a matter of personal character. It is always easier to take the more temporarily lucrative path and the safer route. Maybe you feel like a chump for turning down government money when it is so easily available. But if you relent, what are you giving up in the exchange?

We don’t need to bring back the shame that comes with living off others. Anyone who does that when it is not absolutely necessary knows in his or her heart that there is a better way. If we can choose the better path, we should.

If everyone did this, the welfare state would be de facto abolished overnight.

Jeffrey A. Tucker

Jeffrey Tucker is Director of Content for the Foundation for Economic Education. He is also Chief Liberty Officer and founder of Liberty.me, Distinguished Honorary Member of Mises Brazil, research fellow at the Acton Institute, policy adviser of the Heartland Institute, founder of the CryptoCurrency Conference, member of the editorial board of the Molinari Review, an advisor to the blockchain application builder Factom, and author of five books. He has written 150 introductions to books and many thousands of articles appearing in the scholarly and popular press.

EDITORS NOTE: Get trained for success by leading entrepreneurs.  Learn more at FEEcon.org

President Trump’s ‘Taxpayer First’ Budget

President Trump’s first proposed budget shows respect for the people who pay the bills. The administration’s proposal reverses the damaging trends from previous administrations by putting our nation’s budget back into balance and reducing our debt through fiscally conservative principles, all the while delivering on President Trump’s campaign promise not to cut Social Security retirement or Medicare. The budget’s combination of regulatory, tax, and welfare reforms will provide opportunities for economic growth and creation. Get the facts about President Trump’s budget.

BALANCE & CUTTING SPENDING

Unlike any budget proposed by the previous administration, the Fiscal Year 2018 Budget achieves balance within the 10-year budget window and begins to reduce the national debt within that same window.

The policies in this Budget will drive down spending and grow the economy. By 2027, when the budget reaches balance, publicly held debt will be reduced to less than 60 percent of GDP, the lowest level since 2010.

NO CUTS TO MEDICARE & SOCIAL SECURITY

The President’s Budget does not cut core Social Security benefits. And the President is fulfilling his presidential campaign promise not to cut Medicare benefits.

SAVING TAXPAYERS MONEY

President Trump’s budget saves the American people billions of dollars through welfare, tax, and regulatory reform.

SUPPORTING OUR MILITARY

The President is requesting $54 billion, or 10 percent, more than the defense level President Obama signed into law for both the 2017 CR and the 2018 budget cap. This increase balances the need to rebuild the military with the need for disciplined, strategy-driven, executable growth.

KEEPING AMERICANS SAFE

The Budget includes over $2.6 billion in new infrastructure and technology investments in 2018 to give CBP frontline law enforcement officers the tools and technologies they need to deter, deny, identify, track, and resolve illegal activity along the border.

PUTTING AMERICAN FAMILIES FIRST

President Trump’s budget provides national paid family leave for the first time in the history of this country.

Find out more information about President Trump’s Taxpayer First Budget at WhiteHouse.gov/taxpayers-first.

Here are the 66 programs eliminated in President Trump’s budget:

Agriculture Department — $855 million

  • McGovern-Dole International Food for Education
  • Rural Business-Cooperative Service
  • Rural Water and Waste Disposal Program Account
  • Single Family Housing Direct Loans

Commerce Department — $633 million

  • Economic Development Administration
  • Manufacturing Extension Partnership
  • Minority Business Development Agency
  • National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Grants and Education

Education Department — $4.976 billion

  • 21st Century Community Learning Centers
  • Comprehensive Literacy Development Grants
  • Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants
  • Impact Aid Payments for Federal Property
  • International Education
  • Strengthening Institutions
  • Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grants
  • Supporting Effective Instruction State Grants
  • Teacher Quality Partnership

Energy Department — $398 million

  • Advanced Research Projects Agency—Energy
  • Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing Loan Program and Title 17 Innovative Technology Loan Guarantee Program
  • Mixed Oxide Fuel Fabrication Facility

Health and Human Services — $4.834 billion

  • Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality
  • Community Services Block Grant
  • Health Professions and Nursing Training Programs
  • Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program

Homeland Security — $235 million

  • Flood Hazard Mapping and Risk Analysis Program
  • Transportation Security Administration Law Enforcement Grants

Housing and Urban Development — $4.123 billion

  • Choice Neighborhoods
  • Community Development Block
  • HOME Investment Partnerships Program
  • Self-Help and Assisted Homeownership Opportunity Program Account

Interior Department — $122 million

  • Abandoned Mine Land Grants
  • Heritage Partnership Program
  • National Wildlife Refuge Fund

Justice Department — $210 million

  • State Criminal Alien Assistance Program

Labor Department — $527 million

  • Migrant and Seasonal Farmworker Training
  • OSHA Training Grants
  • Senior Community Service Employment Program

State Department and USAID — $4.256 billion

  • Development Assistance

Earmarked Appropriations for Non-Profit Organizations

  • The Asia Foundation
  • East-West Center
  • P.L. 480 Title II Food Aid

State Department, USAID, and Treasury Department — $1.59 billion

  • Green Climate Fund and Global Climate Change Initiative

Transportation Department — $499 million

  • National Infrastructure Investments (TIGER)

Treasury Department — $43 million

  • Global Agriculture and Food Security Program

Environmental Protection Agency — $493 million

  • Energy Star and Voluntary Climate Programs
  • Geographic Programs

National Aeronautics and Space Administration — $269 million

  • Five Earth Science Missions
  • Office of Education

Other Independent Agencies — $2.683 billion

  • Chemical Safety Board
  • Corporation for National and Community Service
  • Corporation for Public Broadcasting
  • Institute of Museum and Library Services

International Development Foundations

  • African Development Foundation
  • Inter-American Foundation
  • Legal Services Corporation
  • National Endowment for the Arts
  • National Endowment for the Humanities
  • Neighborhood Reinvestment Corporation
  • Overseas Private Investment Corporation

Regional Commissions

  • Appalachian Regional Commission
  • Delta Regional Authority
  • Denali Commission
  • Northern Border Regional Commission
  • U.S. Institute of Peace
  • U.S. Trade and Development Agency
  • Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars

RELATED ARTICLES: 

Why Washington Hates Trump’s Budget

Finally, a Budget That Slashes Funding at Education Department

5 Things Congress Can Do to Get a Budget That Controls Spending

9 Key Takeaways From Trump’s First Budget

RELATED VIDEO: Romina Boccia joins CNBC’s “Closing Bell” to talk President Trump’s budget.

Lawmaker Calls for the Repeal of Compulsory Schooling by Kerry McDonald

Most Americans agree that an educated citizenry is a priority for a thriving democracy. In fact, the first compulsory education statute was passed in Massachusetts Bay Colony not long after the Pilgrims arrived.

Forced Education in America

In 1642, that first compulsory education law prioritized childhood literacy, but it placed the responsibility on parents to educate their children.

It wasn’t until 1852 that Massachusetts passed the country’s first compulsory schooling statute, requiring attendance at a state-approved school.

That law required 12 weeks of school attendance per year for 8 to 14 year-olds, paltry in comparison to the minimum 180 days a year now mandated by most states.

Let Parents Choose

A lawmaker in Arizona is hoping to challenge the 165-year experiment with compulsory schooling, and once again place parents, not the state, in charge of children’s education. Paul Mosley, a junior Republican legislator in the Arizona House of Representatives, wants to repeal compulsory education laws that he says limit choice and parental empowerment.

On his campaign website, Mosley writes:

“A good quality education is essential in preparing the next generation. I believe that parents understand the needs of their children better than bureaucrats and I am a proponent of education choice. Competition in education is good and I support district schools, charter schools, private schools, home schooling and tuition tax credits.”

The U.S. spends more on education than most other developed countries.

This week, Mosley elaborated on his vision for broader education choice by calling for the elimination of restrictive, outdated compulsory schooling laws. In an interview with the Arizona Capitol Times, Mosley states, “The number one thing I would like to repeal is the law on compulsory education.”

Mosley challenges the idea of the state, and not the parents, being in charge of children’s education. He says:

“So now it’s not the parents’ responsibility to educate their children. It’s the state’s responsibility because the state took it from the parents

The Results Are InRepresentative Mosley joins a growing number of citizens concerned about the rise in forced schooling and the decline in overall competence. Despite data showing that the U.S. spends more on education than most developed countries, current education outcomes are disappointing.

On international comparison tests, such as the well-regarded Programme for International Student Assessment, U.S. students are lagging far behind their peers in other nations, with U.S. 15-year-olds ranking 38th out of 71 countries in math, and 24th in science.

According to the 2015 National Assessment of Education Progress—known more widely as the Nation’s Report Card—student reading and math skills declined.

Over the last century, education and schooling have become inextricably linked, to the point where it’s hard to imagine being educated without being schooled.

Perhaps by separating education from forced government schooling, and equipping parents with broader education choice, we can achieve better education outcomes for all children.

Republished from Intellectual Takeout.

Kerry McDonald

Kerry McDonald has a B.A. in Economics from Bowdoin and an M.Ed. in education policy from Harvard. She lives in Cambridge, Mass. with her husband and four never-been-schooled children. Follow her writing at Whole Family Learning.

RELATED ARTICLE: Betsy DeVos Says We Should ‘Start Fresh’ on Higher Ed. Here’s Where to Begin

EDITORS NOTE: Get trained for success by leading entrepreneurs. Learn more at FEEcon.org

The High Cost of Not Owning Your Healthcare by Rachel Mills

You either pay in dollars or control. And loss of autonomy in your own healthcare decisions can be much more expensive.

For example, I have excellent teeth, thanks to my dad and his excellent teeth genes. However, even though I have no particularly bad dentist stories to tell, I am terrified of the dentist. I can only attribute this to the ‘fear of the unknown’ factor. I have no better explanation.During my “Year of Adulting” last year I had my first checkup in about 8 years and two small cavities were found. I had them filled last week and was very afraid. Facebook assured me beforehand that the survival rate for these procedures is pretty high. Afterwards, I proudly proclaimed on Facebook that I had voluntarily gone to the dentist to have a procedure done.

Voluntarily?

Someone inquired. What other way is there to go?

Ohhhhh, dear sir! Involuntarily, as per when I was a child. Our mother took us kids dutifully for checkups on the regular! Every second of that was involuntary, I assure you. My mother had my best interests at heart, but she was calling the shots and paying the bills and cries to CPS about forced dental visits fell on deaf ears, so I said “ahhhhh” and went to my happy place and hoped nothing horrible would happen to me.

It almost did.

At 16, I still had a stubborn baby tooth that hadn’t dislodged itself yet and the dentist proclaimed braces and head gear were in order to bring the adult tooth down. Mom opted for a more conservative approach as she saw large tears coursing down my angsty teenage face (and, being a frugal woman, wondering what all that could possibly cost) and viola! In a few months, after a mere extraction, the adult tooth made its appearance, no embarrassing, expensive headgear required.Bullet dodged, thanks to my mother listening to either/both the concerns of weeping teenage daughter and/or her own pocketbook.

Walk Away

But it was kind of a relief to remind myself in the chair last week that I could leave the dentist office at any time. I can walk right out of there untreated at basically any point. Or I could go through with it. I could even opt for tooth whitening if I am having a particularly nice time.

The bill comes to me. I call the shots. I am in control.

I could get treatment. Or not. It felt reassuring. And that’s the point. He who pays the piper calls the tune. When my mother was in charge, that was one thing. She was truly concerned with my long term well-being.

Government Loves You Not

When you ask or force some other entity that doesn’t love you to pay for your healthcare (or education for that matter) for how long will you suffer under the illusion that you also retain control or that decisions made for you are truly in your best interest?

Put a large layer of bureaucracy between you and your doctor and what do you imagine you might get?

I promise you it won’t be more control.

Health insurance companies routinely deny this or that course of treatment, for whatever reason and they largely get their way. They are paying the piper.

He who pays the bills will always preeminently care about smaller bills. I just don’t know how you get around that. Only you’re slathering on an additional thick, thick layer of bureaucrats into the mix who need specialized knowledge of how to deny claims and fight court battles and they don’t come cheap. Instead of paying medical bills, you’ll be paying them.

If what you want is healthcare, be the one paying the doctor, as directly as possible. If what you want is denial of treatment, give as much of the money that should go to your doctors as possible to entities that deny treatments. It is basically as simple as that, in the long run.

Do you have a right to healthcare?

Does the doctor have a right to work and make a living at a wage commensurate with the time and money spent on the necessary education?

Here is what you have a right to:

You have a right to see the doctor. But the doctor is also not your slave. Neither is he/she your slave by proxy.

When you argue that everyone else should shoulder your healthcare costs and/or for doctors to be forced to serve you, think about what you are advocating.

You are advocating for people charged with controlling costs (denying healthcare) to be in charge of healthcare.

You are advocating for an unsustainable system in which the financial burden of years of expensive medical training can never be recovered. In other words: You are arguing for a doctor shortage. And long waits instead of large bills. You pay one way or the other.You are arguing for the stable and lucrative employment of faceless bureaucrats whose measure of success will very probably not be how healthy you are but how much they saved the system in payouts. (You can see how there might be a conflict there.)

In short, you are not advocating for your own health.

We need other solutions. The “health insurance” model as a whole is failing.

A Real Market

Here’s an idea: How about payment plans? You can negotiate these with the hospital already and often for very reduced rates. If healthcare is so exorbitantly expensive, how about saving money on all these middle men, and only using insurance for major medical events like accidents and cancer? Anything under 6 figures, you could just pay directly to the doctor/hospital in installments?

But that is currently illegal as of the ACA. That model was actually insurance. What we call health insurance now is nothing of the sort. It is some kind of paperwork producing bureaucratic jobs program that makes the “health insurance” industry about 10 times bigger than it needs to be.

I don’t know about you, but as a grown adult myself, I take comfort in owning my own healthcare decisions as much as I can. And if I could legally own even more of them in the form of a cheaper major medical insurance plan instead of what has been forced down our throats by Obama, and now his successor, I would.

Rachel Mills

racial millsRachel served as Ron Paul’s communications director on Capitol Hill for 5 years. She is now a freelance-from-home wife and mom who writes extensively about gold and financial markets and occasionally consults on political campaigns, most recently for Sean Haugh for US Senate.

EDITORS NOTE: Get trained for success by leading entrepreneurs. Learn more at FEEcon.org

Minnesota needs $5 million to fight infectious diseases in migrant population

Hey, since many of the refugees and other immigrants now causing expensive infectious diseases to spread in the state are a result of Obama’s migration policy, maybe he could contribute his $3 million speaking fee to Minnesota as a partial payment to handle the crisis!

Remember this story! Gov. Mark Dayton: If you don’t like our Somali refugees, get out of Minnesota because they are here to stay! 

Here is the latest news generated by the recent Measles epidemic in Minnesota. As of Tuesday there were 50 diagnosed cases, most (45) are in the ‘Somali community.’

And, we are told that refugees don’t cost state and local taxpayers a dime!

FILE In this June 30, 2011 photo, Gov. Mark Dayton speaks during a news conference hours before the midnight deadline to pass a budget at the Minnesota State Capitol  in St. Paul, Minn.   The Democratic governor and legislative Republicans are deadlocked over a $5 billion budget deficit. Republicans have refused any tax hike.   (AP Photo/Genevieve Ross)

Gov. Mark Dayton  (AP Photo/Genevieve Ross)

From Michael Patrick Leahy at Breitbart:

Minnesota Health Commissioner Dr. Ed Ehlinger sounded an alert on more frequent and costly threats to the public health, referencing measles, tuberculosis, and even the Zika virus and syphilis, according to a statement released by the MDH on Wednesday as reported by Hometownsource.com.

“In recent months, state and local public health officials have had to respond to a series of infectious disease outbreaks including multi-drug resistant tuberculosis, hundreds of new cases of syphilis, and now, the largest measles outbreak the state has faced in nearly 30 years. These outbreaks come on the heels of extensive public health efforts in 2016 for the Zika virus response and in 2014-15 for Ebola preparedness,” he added….

[ … ]

Minnesota is currently in the middle of the largest outbreak of measles in over twenty years. As of Tuesday, 50 cases of measles have been diagnosed in the state since the first case was reported on April 11, 45 of which have been diagnosed in Somali Minnesotans.

As Breitbart News reported previously, 90 percent of the 168 cases of active tuberculosis diagnosed in Minnesota in 2016 were foreign-born, much higher than the 67 percent of foreign-born cases that accounted for the 9,287 cases of active TB diagnosed in the United States in 2016.

Fourteen of those cases were from newly arrived refugees, eleven of whom were diagnosed with active TB in medical screenings overseas but were nonetheless allowed to resettle in Minnesota by the Obama administration’s Department of Homeland Security.

Continue reading here. The article is chock full of important information and links to follow.

See my ‘Health issues’ category, here, where I have archived 329 previous posts about health issues (including mental health issues) involving the refugee flow to America.

I wondered here if this Measles outbreak started with a newly arrived refugee from Somalia (or from elsewhere in East Africa since a large number of our Somalis come from UN camps in Kenya).

BTW, Slate had a hysterical story the other day claiming this Measles outbreak is Trump’s fault—not because he is admitting infected Somalis, but because he hangs with “Anti-vaxxer pals.”  Huh?

Mr. Cool goes to Milan, announces that ‘climate refugees’ will flood the first world

Changing the subject?

Unbuttoned to mid-chest: We are told that Mr. Cool forgot his tie. If you are a former President of the U.S. staying in what must be the most expensive hotel in the city, isn’t it possible to send out for a wonderful selection of beautiful ties?

Just in case Islam-generated conflicts run out of steam in the Middle East and Africa, Barack Obama crossed the Atlantic to collect a speaking fee reportedly in the $3 million range to pronounce that, as a result of global warming there would be a refugee crisis “unprecedented in human history.”

He wants to make sure that world Open Borders activists (and global corporations looking for cheap labor) wouldn’t run out of reasons to tear down borders to the first world (if Islamic conflicts fail to do a good enough job).

Obama talked extensively in the speech about the impact of warming, while several reports lately say the earth is entering a cooling period.  So which is it?

Below is some of what Obama said in what some, here are calling a “contradictory speech.”

From the UK Independent:

Climate change could produce a refugee crisis that is “unprecedented in human history”, Barack Obama has warned as he stressed global warming was the most pressing issue of the age.

Speaking at an international food conference in Milan, the former US President said rising temperatures were already making it more difficult to grow crops and rising food prices were “leading to political instability”.

“Floods on sunny days”—bad, very bad….

He said the United States was currently experiencing “floods on sunny days”, increased wildfires and, in Alaska, increased coastal erosion as the ice melts and no country was “immune” to the problem.

Climate refugees on the march….

If world leaders put aside “parochial interests” and took action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by enough to restrict the rise to one or two degrees Celsius, then humanity would probably be able to cope. [So, might we shut up about this issue if sunspot activity and natural cycles restrict the rise to one or two degrees?—ed]

Failing to do this, Mr Obama warned, increased the risk of “catastrophic” effects in the future, “not only real threats to food security, but also increases in conflict as a consequence of scarcity and greater refugee and migration patterns”.

“If those rain patterns change, then you could see hundreds of millions of people who suddenly find themselves unable to feed themselves, because they’re already at subsistence levels.

“And the amount of migration, the number of refugees that could be resulting from something like that, would be unprecedented in human history.”

Dare I mention the scientific notion of carrying capacity and that a population die-off might be mother earth’s way of staying in balance (okay stone me!).

Continue reading here.

I have a ‘Climate Refugees’ category with 49 previous posts on the topic, here.  I don’t know if they have settled their differences, but early-on the climate refugee agitators were at odds with the ‘humanitarian’ refugee agitators over the use of the word “refugee.”  ‘Humanitarians’ were angered by environmentalists stealing the word that they had over decades built up as one that invokes warm and fuzzy feelings among people who know nothing.

RELATED ARTICLE: Largest US Solar Panel Maker Files for Bankruptcy After Receiving $206 Million in Subsidies

Australian Manufacturing CEO Investing $2 Billion in U.S., citing ‘Confidence in Trump’

President Trump is making good on his promise to make America great again. Unemployment has plummeted. Americans are going back to work. In response, the Democrats continue to relentlessly pursue their Trump-Russia fantasies. The party of treason at work.

“Manufacturing CEO Says He’s Investing $2 Billion in US Because of ‘Confidence in Trump,’” by Andrew Kugle, Washington Free Beacon,

Australian billionaire and manufacturing CEO Anthony Pratt said Friday on Fox Business that he is investing $2 billion in the United States because he has “confidence” in President Trump.

“We have enormous confidence in President Trump. He’s doing a wonderful job, and we think he will continue to do a great job,” Pratt said. “He’s reducing unemployment. As we saw today, the job figures show unemployment is the lowest it’s been for a decade, and he’s supporting manufacturing.”

“And that’s why we are doubling down on our investment in the United States, creating 7,000 high-paying manufacturing jobs, mainly in the Midwest,” Pratt added.

The latest jobs report was released Friday and showed the U.S. created 211,000 jobs in April, leading the unemployment rate to fall to its lowest level in a decade, 4.4 percent. The report also showed 12,000 more Americans joined the labor force in April.

Fox Business reporter Elizabeth MacDonald asked Pratt in which states these new manufacturing jobs would be located.

“Well, it’s everything from Wisconsin, for example. Last month in March, Gov. Scott Walker opened our new Wisconsin factory recently,” Pratt said. “Then Gov. [Mike] Pence opened our paper mill in Indiana. We got plants in Ohio. We got plants in Pennsylvania. We got plants in a lot of the Midwest.”…

EDITORS NOTE: This column with video originally appeared in The Geller Report.

President Trump Loosens Free Speech Cuffs on Churches

President Donald Trump, in an executive order released Thursday — timed to coincide with National Prayer Day — loosened some of the Internal Revenue Service restrictions on churches that prevented pastors from preaching about politics from the pulpits.

Specifically, he called for the easing of the tax agency’s enforcement of the Johnson Amendment, a decades-old rule that bans churches from openly endorsing political candidates.

Churches and places of worship may have an easier time getting in the political game, thanks to a new executive order signed by President Donald Trump that loosens some of the regulations guiding nonprofits and tax exemptions.

The rule’s been used by far-leftists and atheist groups, like the Freedom From Religious Foundation, in recent years to clamp all types of speech in churches that seem applicable to modern day issues, however. The FFRF, for example, complained in 2012 to the IRS that a bishop was breaking the Johbnson Amendment by telling readers of a local newspaper in a letter to the editor that Catholics, in good conscience, could not vote for candidates who favored gay marriage and abortion.

Trump’s newest executive order makes clear: such enforcement is above and beyond the scope of the Johnson Amendment.

USA Today writes:

“Seeking to redefine the balance between church and state, President Trump signed an executive order that – depending on your point of view – either protects religious liberty, licenses religious groups to practice discrimination, or doesn’t go far enough in any direction.

“‘We’re a nation of believers,’ Trump told supporters during a signing ceremony in the Rose Garden at the White House. “Faith is deeply embedded in the history of our country… No American should be forced to choose between the dictates of the American government and the tenets of their faith.’

“Trump’s executive order, which he signed on Thursday to coincide with the National Day of Prayer, calls for easing of Internal Revenue Service enforcement of the so-called ‘Johnson Amendment,’ which prohibits churches from getting directly involved in political campaigns.

“While only Congress can formally do away with the law, this will pave the way for churches and other religious leaders to speak about politics and endorse candidates without worrying about losing their tax-exempt status.

“Trump, criticizing the Johnson amendment as a violation of free speech rights, views his actions as fulfillment of a campaign pledge. “I talked about it a lot” during last year’s presidential campaign, and “promised to take action,” he said. “I won.”

“The Executive Order on Promoting Free Speech and Religious Liberty also aims to make it easier for employers with religious objections not to include contraception coverage in workers’ health care plans, although it would be up to federal agencies to determine how that would happen.

“At the ceremony, Trump recognized members of the Little Sisters of the Poor, an order of nuns which runs homes for the elderly. The group objected to the Obama administration’s policy that while religious organizations don’t have to directly provide birth control to employees, workers could still get it through a third party. ‘Your long ordeal will soon be over,’ he told them.

“Vowing to fight what he called discrimination against religious people and institutions, Trump said, ‘We will not allow people of faith to be bullied, targeted, or silenced any more.’ The government, he added, has been used as ‘a weapon’ against religion and people of faith.

RELATED ARTICLES:

Trump: ‘No One Should Be Censoring Sermons or Targeting Pastors’

Trump’s Executive Order Fails to Address Most Pressing Religious Liberty Threats

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in The Geller Report.

VIDEO: We Don’t Need Another Obamacare | Senator Rand Paul on Healthcare Plan

Senator Rand Paul talks about the new Obamacare repeal and replacement bill that passed the U.S. House of Representatives.

Senator Paul believes it is better than what it was before but it is still a far cry from being a free market bill and will most likely be Obamacare cut in half.

The Every Day American in an email notes:

TODAY’S BIG THING: THE AMERICAN HEALTH CARE ACT

WHAT’S THE BIG PICTURE?

The American Health Care Act (AHCA) is the Republican plan to repeal and replace Obamacare.

HAVEN’T I HEARD THIS BEFORE?

Yes. About six weeks ago, Republicans came close to voting on the AHCA. Ultimately, the bill was pulled. So, moderate and conservative Republicans spent time working together to improve the legislation.

WHAT ARE THE DETAILS?

The updated AHCA is the same bill as before, but with three important changes.

  1. Palmer/Schweikert Amendment: creates a new federal risk-sharing program, a high-risk pool that will lower costs for people with pre-existing conditions, and lower costs for everyone else.

  2. The MacArthur Amendment: allows states to apply for waivers to three of Obamacare’s costliest mandates: essential health benefits; age rating; and community rating, but only if the state has a risk-sharing program to help individuals with pre-existing conditions afford coverage.This new flexibility will allow states to design insurance frameworks that are right for their unique populations, providing superior care and lowering costs for patients.

  3. The Upton-Long Amendment: dedicates $8 billion solely to reducing premiums and other out-of-pocket costs for patients in the individual market with pre-existing conditions who do not maintain continuous coverage and who live in states that receive a waiver to redesign their insurance market.

SO… IS IT LAW?

Not quite. Next it goes to the Senate and then to the White House, where it is signed into law. Don’t worry. We’ll keep you updated every step of the way.

WAIT, IS CONGRESS EXEMPT?

No. Yesterday, Congress also voted on the McSally Bill, which ensures that Members of Congress and their staff live by the same health care rules as everyone else.

WHAT’S NEXT?

Congress has several big projects coming up this year and next, including balancing the budget, funding the military, fixing America’s infrastructure, and overhauling the tax code.

Stay tuned. It’s sure to be an exciting year.

RELATED ARTICLES:

As Senate Mulls Obamacare Repeal, Insurers in 2 States Ask Double-Digit Premium Hikes

Fact Check: It’s a Lie That the GOP Healthcare Bill Abandons People With Pre-Existing Conditions

The Growing Problem of ‘Fake Science’

Tillerson Cuts 2,300 Jobs From Bloated State Department

Let’s hope that as he makes these cuts and streamlines State Department operations, Tillerson clears out the Obama loyalists who are trying to impede President Trump from draining the swamp and implementing needed reforms.

state_department“Tillerson Cuts 2,300 Jobs From Bloated State Department,” by V Saxena, Conservative Tribune, April 29, 2017:

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has begun fulfilling President Donald Trump’s mission to reduce the size of government and save taxpayers a boatload of money by proposing to eliminate 2,300 jobs at the State Department.

If implemented, the plan would trim the State Department’s budget by more than a quarter and its staff by approximately 3 percent, according to The Associated Press.

The majority of the job cuts would be attained through attrition, or the process of waiting for employees to simply retire, while the remainder would be acquired via buyouts. As noted by The AP, buyouts would be offered first to employees over the age of 50 who have at least two decades of government service under their belts.

The cuts were expected to take approximately two years to materialize, according to Bloomberg, though the results could wind up lasting far longer.

During an interview Friday with NPR, Tillerson explained that he was hoping to make the department far more efficient and effective.

“We are undertaking a reorganization of the State Department, but it’s not just a collapse of boxes,” he said. “What we really want to do is examine the process by which the men and women — the career foreign service people, the civil servants, our embassies — how they deliver on that mission.”

Suffice it to say, just throwing a bunch of people together into one department wasn’t doing the trick. Changes were needed, and he intended to bring forth those changes.

Also on the chopping block were departmental policies: “(T)here are a lot of rules — and people follow the rules, and you look at the rule, and you say … ‘Why do we do it that way?’ And no one can seem to remember why we did it that way.”…

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared on The Geller Report.

Congress seeks to fund U.S. Refugee Admissions Program as if Trump didn’t exist

President who? This budget “deal” makes me wonder if Obama is still in the Oval Office!

The so-called budget deal being ironed-out to fund the government to the end of the year commits billions to the refugee program.  You might think that Obama was  back in the White House and that Donald Trump never campaigned on slowing the flow of refugees from countries that produce terrorists.

I can’t make heads or tails out of the budget bill language, but here Alex Pfeiffer at the Daily Caller tells us it is full steam ahead with refugees because if they have your money, you can bet it will be spent.

It isn’t too late….

trump-extreme-vettingTrump could flex his muscles this week and say to Congress, go back to the drawing boards.

He could say: we will do another continuing resolution for a couple of weeks until you get it right.  (After all, it isn’t just with the refugee program that Congress is dissing the Prez).

You may have seen the Dems gloating about their apparent budget victory yesterday.

And, the RINOs are pretty slick too! 

Look at it this way, the Dems and the RINOs join forces to make sure almost none of Trump’s campaign promises are fulfilled, voters blame it on Trump and Trump becomes a one-term President.  The only question is, does Trump get that and will he show some muscle and fight back right now!

Here is what the Daily Caller says about refugees:

The budget deal to keep the government funded through September agreed upon by congressional leaders would continue funding the refugee resettlement program.

An agreement on the omnibus budget was reached by leaders from both parties Sunday, as a government shutdown looms on Friday. The proposed spending agreement includes no money to construct the president’s border wall, and continues funding Planned Parenthood.

[….]

The bill would include a total of $3 billion towards migration and refugee assistance, which is roughly the same that was spent in Fiscal Year 2016. It would also include $50 million towards the emergency refugee and migration assistance fund, which is also the same amount spent in the previous fiscal year.

With President Trump’s executive orders temporarily blocking refugee resettlement held up in court, 12,397 refugees have been resettled during his presidency.***

Pay close attention to the last line here, and below.

This is why I have been saying that Trump did not have to include changing the ceiling or language about a moratorium in the Executive Order.  He has the power to stay anywhere under the ceiling! The Refugee Act of 1980 tells the President to set the ceiling in advance of the fiscal year, before October 1, and if he wants to raise the ceiling during the year he must inform Congress, but he does not have to reach the ceiling—few Presidents in recent times have reached the ceiling—or even inform Congress that he will be coming in under it!

The Obama administration set a goal in September of 110,000 refugees admitted in Fiscal Year 2017. A State Department official told The Daily Caller in early April that “this language represents a ceiling on refugee admissions – it is not a mandatory target.”

It isn’t too late for Trump to quietly institute the 120-day moratorium, as he originally planned, to assess whether our security screening is adequate. It gets much harder if the agencies are awash in money that they want to send out to government contractors!

EndNote: See my post here from a couple of days ago about Trump’s refugee admissions.

RELATED ARTICLES: 

At this point in the fiscal year, more refugees have entered US in FY2017 than in any of the previous ten years

237 Somalis have been removed from US since last October; not thousands!

Tennessee Senator Corker wants refugee program back to ‘normal’ ASAP

UAE Ambassador to Germany warns Merkel about radical Islamist preachers

Somali refugees resettled in Arizona headed to Minnesota in large numbers

Trump’s America: 100 Days Later

Here we are folks, 100 days into Trump’s presidency. My “Never Trump” friends are still itching for Trump to betray us so they can say, “I told you so.” Well, if Trump betrays us tomorrow, we are still winners; light years down the road to making America great again than where we would be had another Republican won.

I was accused of betraying conservatism when I jumped aboard the Trump train after my candidate Ted Cruz dropped out. For me it was a no brainer. Hillary in the Oval Office would have ended America as founded. I care more about saving my country than saving conservatism.

I have also come to realize that Trump is you and me. While I have voted Republican ever since Ronald Reagan, I never got involved in politics until the Tea Party. As a rookie, political experts instructed me to walk-on-eggshells during media interviews, less the press brand our side mean and racist.

My Baltimore projects instincts kept nagging me; why please dishonest bullies who don’t care about truth and only seek to destroy you? When Trump entered the political arena, he blew up everything I was taught about how to deal with fake news media. I cheered Trump on feeling vindicated and liberated.

NeverTrumps are still embarrassed by Trump and Press Secretary Spicer. It is like NeverTrumps are in high school and fake news media are the cool kids they want to like them. I do not give a rat’s derriere about what Leftists think about me. I am focused on defeating their evil agenda. Therefore, Trump is you and me.

I suspect it has been eye-opening for our non-ideological president to see how insanely and viciously Leftists have responded to him doing common-sense things in the best interest of our country. Conservatives are the every day common-sense thinking Americans. Leftists are the extremist and wackos who are out-of-touch and out-of-sync with American values and culture.

So, while Leftists continue to have foot-stomping, pulling-out-their-hair, temper-tandems in frustration, here are several of Trump’s incredible reversals of Obama’s mess in only 100 days.

Trump ended Obama’s War on coal, bringing back jobs.

Trump reversed various Obama attempts to disarm Americans

Trump has begun rolling back Obama’s nonsensical climate change regulations.

Trump reversed Obama’s dangerous mandate for public schools to allow boys into girl’s restrooms and locker rooms. 

Trump ended Obama’s policy of forcing us to pay for abortions overseas

Trump ended Obama’s iron-fist mandate that states fund Planned Parenthood

Trump has begun unclogging Obama’s overreaching EPA water rules

Trump is fixing Obama’s awful deal in which he funded the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism.

Thus far, Trump has signed 37 orders reversing Obama’s Make America Last policies/agenda.

Meanwhile, fake news media relentlessly promotes their false narratives; Trump has backtracked on all of his crazy/naive campaign promises; his supporters are dispirited; his administration of bulls in Washington DC’s china shop cannot get anything done.

Oh how they lie and lie and lie. Congrats Mr President on your amazing first 100 days. We are all behind you, looking forward to tax reform and repealing Obamacare.

Trump Administration Steps Up to the Plate with Tax Reform Plan

The big news on taxes this week was the Trump administration releasing its tax reform proposal.

The U.S. Chamber’s tax expert welcomed it, calling it, “the start of the conversation.”

Releasing the plan shows the administration is “stepping up to the plate and engaging and working towards pro-growth tax reform,” Caroline Harris, chief tax council and vice president for tax policy, told Bloomberg.

Harris brought up three principles of tax reform: Permanence; moving to a territorial system; and appropriate transition rules.

  1. “Businesses want certainty; they want permanence,” Harris said. Knowing what to expect will help companies determine how to best deploy investments and hire workers.
  2. “We need to shift to a territorial system, which is something we heard from the Trump White House talk about,” Harris explained. “If you have a territorial system you’re not subjecting cash to that extra layer of tax when you bring it back to the United States, and it frees that capital up going forward.”
  3. “Businesses also need time to change how they operate to respond to changes in the tax code,” said Harris. Reform should avoid causing unnecessary business disruptions.

[Here is the U.S. Chamber’s list of principles for pro-growth tax reform.]

To keep the momentum going, Harris said President Trump is “going to have to start having conversations with Chairman Brady in the House, Hatch in the Senate, with leadership—with Speaker Ryan—with Leader McConnell and parse out what they want to do and how we can have the most pro-growth tax code.”

Also, all sides need to be involved in the conversation. Republicans, Democrats, the White House, Congress, and the business community have to work together. “Everyone has to come to the table. This has to be a group effort,” she emphasized.

EDITORS NOTE: The featured image is of Steven Mnuchin, Treasury secretary (right), and Gary Cohn, director of the U.S. National Economic Council. Photo credit: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg.

Trump’s Tax Plan Is Brilliant Politics and Even Better Economics by Jeffrey A. Tucker

Donald Trump’s tax plan seems to mark a new chapter in his presidency, from floundering around with strange and sometimes scary policies (bombings, border closings, saber rattling) to focusing on what actually matters and what can actually make the difference for the American people and the American economy.

Under Trump’s plan, taxes on corporate profits go from 35% to 15%. They should be zero (like the Bahamas), but this is a good start. Taxes on capital gains go from 23.8% to 20%. Again, it should be zero (as with New Zealand), but it is a start. Rates for all individuals are lowered to three: 10%, 25%, and 35%. The standard deduction for individuals is doubled (politically brilliant). The estate tax and the alternative minimum tax is gone. Popular deductions for charitable giving and mortgage interest are preserved. The hare-brained idea of a “border adjustment tax” is toast.

All of this is wonderful, but the shining light of this plan is the dramatic reduction in taxes on corporate profits. The economics of this are based on a simple but profoundly true insight. Economic growth is the key to a good society. This is where good jobs come from. This is how technology improves. This is what gives everyone a brighter outlook on life. If you can imagine that your tomorrow will be more prosperous and flourishing than today, your life seems to be on track.

Tax Capital, Wreck Prosperity

Where does economic growth come from? For decades dating back perhaps a hundred-plus years, people imagined that it could come from government programs and policy manipulation. Surely there are some levers somewhere in the center of power that can cause this thing we call economic growth. We just need solid experts with power, resources, and intelligence to manage the system.

This turns out to be entirely wrong. It hasn’t worked. Since 2008, government has tried to mastermind an economic recovery. It has floundered. We are coming up on a full decade of this nonsense with economic growth barely crawling along. We are surviving, not thriving, and income growth, capital formation, and entrepreneurial opportunity restricted and punished at every turn.

The Trump tax plan is rooted in a much better idea. Economic growth must come from the private sector. It must come from investment in private capital. The owners of this capital who are doing well and earn profits should be allowed to keep them and invest them. This creates new job opportunities. It allows for more complex production strategies. It expands the division of labor.

The crucial institution here is capital. Sorry, anti-capitalists. It’s just true. Capital can be defined as the produced goods for production, not consumption. It is making things for the purpose of making other things. Think about it. Without capital, you can still have markets, creativity, hard work, enterprise. But so long as you have an absence of capital, you are forever floundering around just working to make and sell things for consumption. This is called living hand to mouth.Without capital, and the private ownership of capital, and security over your property rights, you can’t have economic growth. You can’t have complex production. You can’t raise wages. You can’t live a better life. Every tax on capital, capital formation, capital accumulation, and business profit reduces the security of property rights over capital. This is a sure way to attack economic growth at its source.

And this is precisely what American policy has done. The rest of the world has been wising up about this, reducing taxes on capital for the last 15 years. But the US has languished in the mythology of the past, regarding capital not as a font of prosperity but rather a fund of stagnant resources to be pillaged by planners in government. It is not surprising that this strategy results in slow growth and even permanent recession.

What This Can Do for Growth

I have no regression to present to you but this much I can say out of experience and intuition. If this tax plan goes through, the entire class of entrepreneurs, investors, and merchants will receiving a loud signal: this country is safe for you to realize your dreams and make the dreams of others come true.It wouldn’t surprise me to see GDP growth go from an anemic 1-2% to reach 4% and higher in one year. There is so much pent-up energy in this country. This tax cut will unleash it. And think what it means for the next recession or financial crisis. It prepares the entire country to weather such an event better than we otherwise would.

The beauty of unleashing the power of private capital is that the brilliant results will always be surprising. We don’t know what kind of experimentation in investment and business expansion this will create. This is the nature of a capitalist economy rooted in the freedom of enterprise. It defies our every expectation. No model can forecast with precision the range of results here. We only know that good things will come.

Now, of course, the opponents will talk of the deficit and the national debt. What about the lost revenue? The problem is that every revenue forecast is based on a static model. But an economy rooted in capital formation is not a static one. It is entirely possible that new profits and business expansion will produce even more revenue, even if it is taxed at a lower rate.If you want to cut the deficit, there is only one way: cut spending. I see no evidence that either party wants to do this. Too bad. This should change. But it is both economically stupid and morally unsound to attempt to balance the budget on the backs of taxpayers. Letting people keep more of what they earn is the right thing to do, regardless of government’s fiscal problems.

In the meantime, these pious incantations of the word “deficit, deficit, deficit,” should be seen for what they are: excuses to continue to loot people of their just earnings.

The Politics of It

Already the opponents of this plan are kvetching in the predictable way. This is a tax cut for the rich! Well, yes, and that’s good. Rich capitalists  – sorry for yet another hard truth – are society’s benefactors.

But you know why this line of attack isn’t going to work this time? Take a look at the standard deduction change. It is doubled. Not a single middle-class taxpayer is unaware of what this means. This is because they are profoundly aware of how the tax system works. If you take the standard deduction from $6,200 to $15,000, that means people are going to keep far more of their own money. There is not a single taxpayer in this country who will not welcome that.

This is why it strikes me as crazy for Democrats to inveigh against this plan. Doing so only cements their reputation as the party of pillage. Do they really want the United States to be outcompeted by every other nation in the OECD? What they should do is rally behind this, forgetting all the ridiculous pieties about the deficit and the rich and so on. Do they favor the interests of the American people are not?It’s also fantastic politics to retain the deductions for charitable giving and mortgage interest. These are popular for a reason. They are two of the only ways that average people can save on their tax bill. It always pained me when the GOP would propose a “flat tax” that eliminated these provisions. People are very aware: taking away an existing tax break is a terrible foreshadowing of bad things to come. So this Trump plan dispenses with all that. Good.

As for compliance costs of the current system, the elimination of the Alternative Minimum Tax will do worlds of good.

What I love most about this plan is its real-world economic foundation. It embraces a truth that so many want to avoid. If you want jobs, rising wages, and economic growth, you have to stop the war on capital. You have to go the other way. You need to celebrate capital and allow rewards to flow to those who are driving forward economic progress.

It’s a simple but brilliant point. Finally, we’ve got a tax proposal that embraces it.

Jeffrey A. Tucker

Jeffrey A. Tucker

Jeffrey Tucker is Director of Content for the Foundation for Economic Education. He is also Chief Liberty Officer and founder of Liberty.me, Distinguished Honorary Member of Mises Brazil, research fellow at the Acton Institute, policy adviser of the Heartland Institute, founder of the CryptoCurrency Conference, member of the editorial board of the Molinari Review, an advisor to the blockchain application builder Factom, and author of five books. He has written 150 introductions to books and many thousands of articles appearing in the scholarly and popular press.