VIDEO: Bernie Supporters Love the Republican Tax Plan

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So what about those perks?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Portrait of Rachel del Guidice

Rachel del Guidice

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

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

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

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

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

What does this mean to the United Nations?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Portrait of Adam Michel

Adam Michel

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

dcnf-logo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ARTICLE BY:

Will Racke

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

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

It’s Time To End Chain Migration

The White House posted the following on chain migration:

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

The White House added the following infographics on chain migration:

 

VIDEO: Defending Tax Cuts Against Democratic Disinformation

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

Jewish Agency to Begin Closing Refugee Resettlement Sites

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

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

(Go here to see HIAS sites near you.)

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

Mark Hetfield

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

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

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

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

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

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

More here.

That last bit really gets me hopping angry!

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

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

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

RELATED ARTICLES: 

Director of Refugee Admissions at Dept. of State reassigned to Puerto Rico

Refugees joyful about going home!

MPR working overtime to make Trump look bad with ICE Somali deportation flight

Syrian refugee in Canada claims discrimination in drivers’ license case

Rebuilding the Military Comes With a Price Tag. But the Price of Waiting Is Higher.

The Congressional Budget Office estimates that it will cost an additional $295 billion over the next four years to execute President Donald Trump’s plans to rebuild the military.

Its calculation was done by comparing the current Budget Control Act defense caps with the Trump budget outline. Those budget caps, established in 2011, limit how much Congress may appropriate for defense and nondefense discretionary spending through 2021, regardless of need or strategy.

The analysis of the Congressional Budget Office is based on information published by the administration on its budget request as well as public statements from the White House.

It is common for defense budget requests to include a projection of the administration’s plans for the five or 10 years. But it is also common for the first budget of a new administration to omit these plans, as was the case with the 2018 budget.

While the Congressional Budget Office’s calculation gives some preliminary data on the administration’s defense trajectory, it is not the whole picture.

The administration is currently working to craft both its national security strategy and its national defense strategy. These documents will likely be released in the near future and will, undoubtedly, have budgetary implications in the next four years.

Since 2015, The Heritage Foundation’s Index of U.S. Military Strength has documented the current state of our military. When looking over all recent editions of the index, deteriorating readiness is the main theme that emerges. Every service has experienced deteriorated readiness.

This deterioration accelerated when the Budget Control Act disproportionately targeted the defense budget for reductions, amounting to over 40 percent of all cuts that were planned under the law. A heavy price tag.

A better approach would be for lawmakers to put in place a single cap for all spending priorities, both defense and nondefense.

Regardless of the actual cost, defending our nation is the most important function of the federal government and one of the main reasons it was created in the first place. Defense should not take a backseat to frivolous domestic programs that have no constitutional basis, like government-sponsored beer festivals.

The current erosion of military readiness is similar to a car that needs an oil change. Every day you delay the oil change, you are further eroding your engine. It might keep running for a while longer, but it will eventually grind to a halt. And in the meantime, it will make some warning noises.

In the case of the military, these warning noises are the training accidents that have taken the lives of some of our service members, as well as the two ship accidents this past year.

We need to start rebuilding our military in 2018. Delaying will only make the price tag higher.

COMMENTARY BY

Portrait of Frederico Bartels

Frederico Bartels is a policy analyst for defense budgeting at The Heritage Foundation’s Davis Institute for National Security and Foreign Policy. Twitter: .

5 Myths About Tax Reform, and Why They’re Wrong

Next week, the House and Senate will take their final votes on tax reform. The president’s goal is to sign the legislation into law before Christmas.

Although there are still some unknown details, the important parts of the bill for most Americans are already known and would greatly improve our current, woefully out-of-date tax code.

The bottom line is that taxpayers across America can expect a tax cut. The bill would lower tax rates for individuals and businesses, double the standard deduction, and significantly increase the child tax credit.

The bill is also pro-growth and pro-American worker. The economy could grow to be almost 3 percent larger at the end of 10 years. That translates to more than $4,000 dollars per household, per year. American families could finally get a real raise.

Americans deserve to know the truth about the proposed tax reform packages. There are several myths going around about what the proposed plan would do.

Here are a few of them, and why they’re wrong.

Myth 1: This is just a tax cut for the rich, and it will actually raise taxes for everyone else.

The truth is in fact the opposite. The Senate tax bill increases the amount of taxes paid by the rich and, according to the liberal Tax Policy Center, 93 percent of taxpayers would see a tax cut or no change in 2019. It found similar results for the House bill.

Both tax bills would actually increase the progressivity of the U.S. tax code. That means fewer people at the bottom will pay income taxes, and people at the top will see their share of taxes paid increase.

The Cato Institute’s Chris Edwards notes that the Senate tax bill cuts income taxes for people making $40,000 to $75,000 a year by about 37 percent. People making over $1 million see a cut of only 6 percent.

In two recent Daily Signal pieces, we calculated how 12 different taxpayers would fare under each of the tax plans. The results show that almost everyone will see a tax cut, and only the wealthiest families are at risk of their taxes going up.

Under the current tax code, the top 10 percent of income earners earn about 45 percent of all income and pay 70 percent of all federal income taxes. The U.S. tax code is already highly progressive, and these tax reforms will only increase the trend of the wealthy paying more than their share of income earned.

Myth 2: Repealing the individual mandate will raise taxes on the poor, raise insurance premiums, and kill 10,000 people a year.

Only in Washington can removing a tax penalty be considered a tax increase.

Tax reform will likely repeal Obamacare’s individual mandate, which imposes a tax penalty anywhere from $695 to upward of $10,000 for not purchasing the type of health insurance mandated by the federal government.

Depending on income and available health insurance options, the federally mandated health insurance comes with subsidies paid to the insurance company that can range from no more than a few dollars to over $12,000 a year per individual, and upward of $20,000 per year for families.

Repealing the mandate would not force anyone to give up their coverage or forego their current tax credits. It would just make the Obamacare insurance optional, and thus increase health care choices.

Eliminating the Obamacare individual mandate will not reduce any taxpayer’s income by a single cent. It will, however, reduce the tax bills of many individuals and families—based on their own choices—by hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars.

The individual mandate with its penalties is also not the “glue” that holds Obamacare together, as some have claimed. It never was.

“The lifeblood of the law is the generous taxpayer insurance subsidies, which attract and maintain the historically sluggish enrollment,” explains senior Heritage Foundation senior fellow Robert Moffit. Repealing the mandate will not precipitate doomsday for insurance premiums.

While it is extremely difficult to predict how insurance premiums would change without the individual mandate penalty, we do know that eliminating the penalty will prevent low- and middle-income individuals and families from having to subsidize the high medical costs of others.

One particularly outrageous claim is that due to people voluntarily choosing alternative health care solutions, 10,000 people will die each year because the government is no longer forcing Americans to buy health insurance.

Two economists reviewed these claims and found the exact opposite. They found that there is “poor evidence linking insurance coverage to mortality” and that “the mandate may in fact be elevating death rates in some populations.”

When you factor in the economic growth and higher wages from tax reform, the tax bill could actually save lives.

Myth 3: Corporations and their rich owners will receive a huge windfall.

Politicians who don’t want tax reform claim that cutting taxes for business will only help the rich.

Despite the name—“corporate” tax reform—the burden of the corporate income tax falls almost entirely on workers in the form of lower wages. Americans are undoubtedly skeptical about this claim, but the realities on the ground are actually quite simple.

When business taxes go down, workers’ wages go up.

That’s not just the result of corporate benevolence. Rather, wages rise because higher profits translate to additional investments that make workers more productive, and businesses that don’t pay workers what they are worth will lose them to competitors who do.

American corporations pay a federal income tax rate of 35 percent—one of the highest in the world. If tax reform can lower that rate to 21 percent, American businesses and the workers they employ will be globally competitive again. Businesses will invest more, hire more workers, and be forced by the laws of supply and demand to raise wages.

This is exactly what happened over the past decade and a half in neighboring Canada. In 2007, Canada began lowering its corporate tax rate. And guess what? Wages grew significantly faster in Canada than other comparable countries.

Most economic researchers agree. A recent review of 10 separate studies published between 2007 and 2015 concluded that when governments cut corporate taxes, workers receive almost all of the benefit through higher wages.

Myth 4: Tax reform will be bad for seniors.

Retirees may be the most concerned about what tax reform will mean for them, as most rely on relatively fixed incomes.

But, the proposed reforms are good news for retirees. For the most part, they would be less affected than other Americans, as the proposed reforms would not change the way Social Security and investment income are taxed.

Many retirees would in fact benefit from the tax bills’ doubling the size of the standard deduction.

While seniors’ earnings and pension income would be subject to new individual income tax brackets and rates, those changes would actually mean tax cuts—not increases—for an overwhelming majority of seniors and retirees.

Myth 5: Tax reform won’t grow the economy, it will only add to the debt.

Congress rightly allowed the tax reform bill to decrease revenues over 10 years by $1.5 trillion—about 3.5 percent of projected revenue. But such “static” budget scores provide zero useful information about how the reform will actually affect the deficit.

Properly designed tax reform will lead to a larger economy and higher wages. Each of these economic benefits can result in more tax revenue.

A recent Heritage Foundation analysis shows that the Senate tax reform bill could boost the size of the U.S. economy by almost 3 percent over the long run.

Other estimates are even more optimistic. Nine leading economists recently described how the economy could see a boost of up to 4 percent due to tax reform. The President’s Council of Economic Advisers believes the economy could grow between 3 and 5 percent, a range that was independently verified by three economists from Boston University.

Tax reform that grows the economy could result in more than $130 billion of new federal revenue in every year outside the current budget window. And that’s using the most conservative of the estimates above.

More optimistic estimates would bring in well north of $200 billion, making up most—if not all—of the static tax cut once the economy reaches its new larger potential.

Congress’ spending addiction shouldn’t stop tax reform, but the tax cuts will be short lived if Congress continues to increase spending every year.

The fact remains that our deficit cannot be eliminated with tax increases. Believing it can denies the fundamental problem: The deficit is driven by out-of-control spending. Spending is where congressional deficit hawks should turn their attention.

It is true that the proposed tax reform packages would mean big changes for individuals, families, and businesses across the United States. Overwhelmingly, however, these changes would be resoundingly positive.

Lower- and middle-income families would receive the largest tax cuts, and they would be the primary beneficiaries of business tax reforms that would generate higher wages and more job opportunities across America.

COMMENTARY BY

Portrait of Adam Michel

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

Portrait of Rachel Greszler

Rachel Greszler is a senior policy analyst in economics and entitlements at The Heritage Foundation’s Center for Data Analysis. Read her research.

RELATED ARTICLES: 

U.S. factories closed out 2017 with a boom.

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Contra Activist Judges, It’s Not Discriminatory to Prohibit Transgender Individuals From Joining Military

On Dec. 11, a federal lower court judge in Washington, D.C., refused to stay her earlier Oct. 30 order blocking President Donald Trump’s Aug. 25 directive regarding transgender military service.

That directive, transmitted to the departments of Defense and Homeland Security, put to a halt the Obama administration’s June 2016 plan to allow transgender individuals to serve openly in the U.S. armed forces, beginning in July 2017 (but put on hold until Jan. 1, 2018, by Defense Secretary James Mattis).

If allowed to stand, Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly’s decision—coupled with similar Nov.  21 and Dec. 11 holdings in separate case by federal judges in Maryland and Seattle—would have enormous negative consequences.

It would mean that effective Jan. 1, 2018, the U.S. armed services would have to begin admitting transgender individuals, subject to certain guidelines. The armed services also (based on the ruling by the Maryland judge) would have to fund sex reassignment surgical procedures for military personnel—on the taxpayer’s dime.

As a legal matter, these federal court decisions are deficient. Judges have no business displacing the reasoned decision of the president, under his constitutional authority as commander-in-chief, to promote military readiness by establishing sound principles for eligibility to serve in the armed forces.

The lower court decisions acknowledge this presidential authority, but nevertheless claim that, by being prevented from serving in the military, transgender individuals would be denied “equal protection of the law” guaranteed by the Constitution.

But equal protection prohibits invidious discrimination based on immutable characteristics such as race—discrimination lacking any rational justification. It does not apply to rationally based noninvidious differentiation among classes of individuals needed to advance national goals, such as a strong military.

Rules denying military service opportunities to individuals who have serious medical problems (for example, heart disease, chronic asthma, or cancer) are not invidious discrimination—they are fully rational efforts to promote well-run and effective military services. Because individuals suffering from significant medical difficulties drive up costs and tend to impair combat effectiveness, it is perfectly rational to bar them from military recruitment.

These medical considerations apply directly to transgender individuals, who often must cope with serious physical and psychological problems. As Heritage Foundation scholar Thomas Spoehr, a retired three-star general, has explained, transgender individuals allowed into the military “would need medical treatments—hormone therapies and often surgeries and the accompanying recovery times—throughout the duration of their service.” Moreover:

Some studies report that transgender individuals attempt suicide and experience psychological distress at rates many times the U.S. national average. To be clear, this is self-reported data, not data gleaned from rigorously controlled, clinical tests. But at this time, these survey results are the best available data. It would be both irresponsible and immoral to place such individuals in a position where they are exposed to the additional extraordinary stresses and pressures of the battlefield.

In short, admitting transgender individuals into the armed forces, even with the best of intentions, is highly problematic.

As Trump’s Aug. 25 directive explained, the Obama administration “failed to identify a sufficient basis to conclude that terminating the [Defense and Homeland Security] Departments’ longstanding policy and practice [regarding transgender service] would not hinder military effectiveness and lethality, disrupt unit cohesion, or tax military resources[.]” Thus, Trump concluded that “there remain meaningful concerns that further study is needed to ensure that continued implementation of last year’s policy change would not have those negative effects.”

Heritage Foundation scholars have detailed the problems service by transgender individuals poses for military preparedness here and here.

Summing up their concerns in a July 25 announcement, Heritage analysts Spoehr, director of the Center for National Defense; Emilie Kao, director of the DeVos Center for Religion and Civil Society; and Ryan Anderson, senior research fellow in the DeVos Center, stated:

At a time when growing foreign threats are stretching our military’s resources, our priority should be on maintaining military readiness and directing taxpayer funds towards mission-critical purposes. Respecting the dignity of all people does not mean subjecting taxpayers to the tremendous medical costs of sex reassignment and allowing the enlistment of individuals whose resilience to the rigors of combat is uncertain.

Let us hope that the federal courts of appeal—and, if necessary, the Supreme Court—expeditiously reverse the lower court decisions and make it clear that the president has full authority to establish the terms, if any, under which transgender individuals are given (or denied) the opportunity to serve in the United States armed forces.

COMMENTARY BY

Portrait of Alden Abbott

Alden Abbott is deputy director of the Edwin Meese III Center for Legal and Judicial Studies and the John, Barbara, and Victoria Rumpel Senior Legal Fellow. Read his research. Twitter: .

A Note for our Readers:

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

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

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

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EDITORS NOTE: The featured image is of President Trump at a press conference in August announcing a directive put to halt the Obama administration’s June 2016 plan to allow transgender individuals to serve openly in the U.S. armed forces. (Photo: Ron Sachs/CNP/AdMedia/SIPA)

Illegal Immigration Costs U.S. Taxpayers a Stunning $134.9 Billion a Year

Illegal immigration costs American taxpayers a mind-boggling $134.9 billion annually, according to a detailed analysis of federal, state and local programs that include education, medical, law enforcement and welfare. Conducted by the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), a Washington D.C. nonprofit dedicated to studying immigration issues, the in-depth probe reveals that state and local taxpayers get stuck with an overwhelming chunk—$116 billion—of the burden. State and local expenditures for services provided to illegal aliens total $88.9 billion and federal expenditures $45.8 billion, the analysis found. For those who claim illegal immigrants contribute by paying taxes, government figures show that only $19 billion was recouped by Uncle Sam.

Click on the image to read the full report.

“A continually growing population of illegal aliens, along with the federal government’s ineffective efforts to secure our borders, present significant national security and public safety threats to the United States,” the FAIR report states. “They also have a severely negative impact on the nation’s taxpayers at the local, state, and national levels. Illegal immigration costs Americans billions of dollars each year. Illegal aliens are net consumers of taxpayer-funded services and the limited taxes paid by some segments of the illegal alien population are, in no way, significant enough to offset the growing financial burdens imposed on U.S. taxpayers by massive numbers of uninvited guests.” This defies a myth, long promoted by influential open border groups, that illegal aliens pay their fair share of taxes.

More than 12.5 million illegal immigrants and their estimated 4.2 million citizen children benefit from the U.S. government’s generosity. The biggest expenditure ($17.14 billion) on the federal level is for medical services, which include uncompensated hospital costs, Medicaid births, Medicaid fraud and Medicaid benefits for U.S.-born children (anchor babies) of illegal immigrants. The second-largest federal expenditure is law enforcement and justice ($13.15 billion), which includes incarceration, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) operations and an alien assistance program. The feds spend $8 billion on general government programs and $5.85 billion on welfare, which consists of free school meals, food stamps, a supplemental nutrition program known as Women Infants and Children (WIC) and temporary assistance for needy families. FAIR points out the profound impact that illegal immigration has on programs intended to provide services exclusively to low-income Americans.

For state and local governments education is by far the largest expense, an eye-popping $44.4 billion that goes mostly to K-12 public schools nationwide, though over a billion of it is spent on college tuition assistance. General public services, described as expenses associated with garbage collection, fire departments and other locally-funded services total $18.5 billion for illegal aliens, the analysis found. Medical expenses came in third ($12.1 billion) for state and local governments and law enforcement ($10.8 billion) in fourth. FAIR researchers determined that a large percentage of illegal aliens work in the underground economy and frequently avoid paying income tax, leaving law-abiding, taxpaying Americans to foot the exorbitant tab for public services. The report also breaks down expenditures by state, with the top four spenders to provide illegal alien benefits California ($23 billion), Texas ($10.9 billion), New York ($7.5 billion) and Florida ($6.3 billion).

Over the years Judicial Watch has reported on a variety of studies and assessments involving the huge cost of supporting illegal immigrants, but this appears to be the most thorough and alarming in recent memory. The breakdown by category, state and federal services offers an incredibly detailed account of a major crisis perpetuated by a famously porous southern border. As FAIR writes in its report, it’s not just about money though the cost of supporting illegal immigrants should outrage every legal U.S. resident and American citizen. “A continually growing population of illegal aliens, along with the federal government’s ineffective efforts to secure our borders, present significant national security and public safety threats to the United States,” FAIR writes.

Judicial Watch has also extensively covered the dire national security crisis along the Mexican border, including an investigative series documenting how Islamic terrorists have joined forces with Mexican drug cartels to infiltrate—and attack—the United States.

RELATED ARTICLE: Latest ICE Operation Snaps Up 101 Illegal Immigrants, Mostly Criminals, in New Jersey

EDITORS NOTE: The cost of illegal aliens in Florida is estimated to be $6.3 billion. Democrat candidate for governor Andrew Gillum sent out the below answer to a tweet from Republican candidate for Governor Adam Putnam. Gillum has made statements that oppose President Trump’s immigration policies. As Tallahassee Mayor, according to Politifact, “was clear that local law enforcement agencies are not Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents. In other words, Gillum believes local law enforcement should be focused on enforcing the laws of their city, not deporting undocumented immigrants.” Putnam was given a Half True by Politifact on his charge that Gillum would make the Sunshine State into the Sanctuary State.

 

VIDEO: President Trump endorses Judge Roy Moore for the U.S. Senate

In an email to supporters Judge Roy Moore wrote:

This afternoon I had a great conversation with President Trump.

He called from Air Force One to offer his full support for me and my campaign in our all-out battle against Doug Jones and the forces of evil on December 12.

And earlier this morning, President Trump officially endorsed my campaign for U.S. Senate — slamming my opponent as just another “Pelosi/Schumer Liberal Puppet” who flat-out hates our conservative values.

If elected as the next U.S. Senator from Alabama, I pledge to fight with everything I’ve got to help President Trump Drain the Swamp in Washington — including repealing ObamaCare and building the wall!

I’m honored to have President Trump’s support.

And I’d be honored to know I’ve earned your support, too.

President Trump tweeted the following:

One America News published an exclusive two part interview by OANN journalist Emerald Robertson with Judge Moore.

One America Exclusive Interview with Alabama Senate Candidate Roy Moore: Part One

One America Exclusive Interview with Alabama Senate Candidate Roy Moore: Part Two

RELATED ARTICLES:

Roy Moore’s lead over Doug Jones increases in new poll

CBS News Poll: As Majority of Alabama Republicans Believe Allegations Against Roy Moore False, Judge Takes Commanding Lead

Trump’s Roy Moore endorsement triggers million dollar ad buy from official super PAC

In 1 Chart, the Differences Between the House and Senate Tax Reform Bills

The House and Senate have now each passed different versions of Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.

Both bills are a big improvement to America’s out-of-date tax code and could boost the economy by almost 3 percent, leading to more jobs and higher wages for working Americans.

Both bills cut taxes for individuals and businesses, largely repeal the state and local tax deduction, and allow businesses to invest more in the American economy through temporary expensing.

The bills now head to a conference committee where a unified bill will be crafted. Here are some of the major differences you need to know about:

In addition to these differences, the House bill repeals or scales back many credits and deductions that are largely left intact by the Senate.

For example, the House bill caps the mortgage interest deduction for future home buyers; repeals the deductions for medical expenses, private activity bonds, and student loan interest; and eliminates credits for historic rehabilitation, energy production, and orphan drugs. The Senate largely leaves each of these provisions intact.

The conference committee has a tough, but doable, job ahead of it. It has the opportunity to borrow the best components of each bill to further enhance the proposed reforms’ benefits for all Americans.

COMMENTARY BY

Portrait of Adam Michel

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

RELATED ARTICLE: These 229 Businesses and Groups Support Tax Reform

A Note for our Readers:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Please make a gift to support The Daily Signal.