Lawsuit filed to Stop the Political Indoctrination of Collier County, Florida Students

Collier County, FL – Florida Citizens Alliance has decided, “Enough is enough!”  We are now an active participant along with Collier parents in a lawsuit for an emergency injunction to stop this “flawed” textbook adoption process. This lawsuit was filed today, May 31st, 2017 in The Circuit Court for the 20th Judicial Circuit in and for Collier County (see a copy of the filed complaint).

The Collier County School Board (CCPS) has violated Florida Sunshine Law and ignored at least four  Florida statutes, all at the expense of our 46,000 plus students who deserve the “highest quality instructional materials of professionalism and historical accuracy”. Quote: FS 1003.42

We strongly believe the School Board here in Collier County has violated Chapter 128, Florida’s sunshine law and at least four other Florida Statutes including FS 1003.42, FS 1006.28, FS 1006.31(2), and FS 1006.283.

As parents, grandparent and taxpaying community members, we demand that the Collier School Board pause the current process and start the adoption process over on June 1st for three overriding reasons:

  1. The text book adoption process, that the prior board authorized and that has been used under  the current Board’s supervision, violates Florida Sunshine law (Chapter 286 of the Florida Statutes).
  2. This process included hand-picked reviewers with an extreme political bias. Many of these reviewers do NOT represent Collier demographics and have turned this process into biased and political indoctrination.
  3. The Social Studies materials Collier School Board members are considering to adopt are riddled with violations of several Florida laws including FS 1003.42, FS 1006.28, FS 1006.31(2), and FS 1006.283.

To approve both the process and any of the materials considered….we repeat, any of these materials, the Collier School Board not only violates the School Board’s legal/constitutional responsibility but also is fiducially a major waste of budget and taxpayer money.

THIS IS NOT A PARTISAN ISSUE. IT IS ABOUT OUR CHILDREN’S FUTURE, following FLORIDA LAWS and adopting FACTUAL, UNBIASED TEXTBOOKS that are not used to indoctrinate our children.

This is three year adoption process. There is no rush and the process can be corrected by following Florida laws.

Reluctantly, after numerous and varied interactions to get Collier School Board members to honor Florida Statutes, we have concluded that our only course of action is to seek an emergency injunction to stop this injustice to each and every student, parent and community member in Collier County.

According to Florida Statute, the Collier School Board is constitutionally responsible for the Instructional materials- NOT the Superintendent, NOT the FL Dept. of Education!

RELATED ARTICLE: San Diego school district sued over anti-Islamophobia campaign

Comedian Kathy Griffin holds bloody head of ‘decapitated Trump’

Kathy Griffin should be sent to prison. Now.

The left is destroying this great nation. It’s time to fight back.

COMEDIAN KATHY GRIFFIN HOLDS BLOODY HEAD OF ‘DECAPITATED TRUMP’

‘WE’RE GONNA GO TO PRISON. FEDERAL PRISON’

By Joe Kovacs, WND, May 30, 2017:

Then she clowns with Shields about the possibility of her going to federal prison for her provocative posing and the immediate need to move south of the border.

“We have to move to Mexico today because we’re gonna go to prison. Federal prison. … Because we’re not surviving this, OK?”

Comedian Kathy Griffin holds a bloody, decapitated likeness of President Donald Trump (Tyler Shields courtesy TMZ)

Comedian Kathy Griffin is starring in a new photo shoot that features her holding the bloody, decapitated head of a figure that resembles President Donald Trump.

The shoot, documented by TMZ, was with famed photographer Tyler Shields, known for creating edgy photographs.

“Tyler and I are not afraid to do images that make noise,” said Griffin in a video posted by TMZ.

“First, I’m an artist,” she explains, as she is shown holding the gory image of the Trump lookalike near her own head.

Then she clowns with Shields about the possibility of her going to federal prison for her provocative posing and the immediate need to move south of the border.

“We have to move to Mexico today because we’re gonna go to prison. Federal prison. … Because we’re not surviving this, OK?”

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

Trump is pulling U.S. out of UN Paris Climate Pact – A Victory for Science!

WASHINGTON, D.C. — President Donald Trump today officially announced that he intends to withdraw from the UN Paris climate pact. Trump has fulfilled a key campaign promise and is gutting one has been termed one of the “most expensive treaties in the history of the world.”

The Hill is reporting:

President Trump will pull the United States out of the Paris climate change agreement, Axios reported Wednesday. The report, citing two sources with “direct knowledge,” said Trump is working with a group led by Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) chief Scott Pruitt on the exact mechanism of pulling out before announcing his final decision. CBS News also reported that Trump is telling allies about his decision. The move marks a dramatic departure from the Obama administration, which was instrumental in crafting the deal. It also makes the U.S. an outlier among the world’s nations, nearly all of whom support the climate change accord. But Trump’s decision fulfills an original campaign promise he made just over a year ago to “cancel” the accord. 

The Associated Press is reporting:

A White House official says President Donald Trump is expected to withdraw the United States from the Paris climate accord. But the official says there may be “caveats in the language” that Trump uses to announce the withdrawal – leaving open the possibility that the decision isn’t final.

According to Axios, GOP Senators played a key role in influencing Trump to pull out of the UN climate pact.

Axios: How it happened: A letter from 22 Republican Senators (including Mitch McConnell) that called for a clean exit had reinforced Trump’s instincts to withdraw, and the president had been telling confidants over the past week that he was going to pull out.

Skeptics Rejoice:

Climate Depot’s Marc Morano statement: “A U.S. Clexit (Climate Exit from UN Paris Pact) is a victory for science.President Trump today, in one swoop, made perhaps the most consequential decision of his presidency both in domestic and international policy by announcing a Clexit of the U.S. from the UN Paris agreement. One of Trump’s core political principles has been an America first policy and knowing the art of a deal. Trump realized that the UN Paris climate pact would not serve the interests of U.S. foreign policy or domestic energy policy. The near total dismantling of former President Obama’s “climate legacy” is now almost complete. Bravo!  President Trump understands that the UN has no interest in climate. The UN’s real goal is “global governance” and “wealth redistribution.” Flashback: UN IPCC Official Edenhofer: ‘We Redistribute World’s Wealth By Climate Policy’

Climate Depot’s Morano predicted Trump’s actions today back in November 2016 while attending the UN climate summit in Morocco. Morano was ejected from the summit for shredding the UN Paris agreement. See: UN Armed Security Shuts Down Skeptics After SHREDDING UN Climate Treaty at Summit Next To Trump Cut-out – November 16, 2016

A UN climate agreement that is totally meaningless when it comes to the climate. University of Pennsylvania Geologist Dr. Robert Giegengack  has noted: “None of the strategies that have been offered by the U.S. government or by the EPA or by anybody else has the remotest chance of altering climate if in fact climate is controlled by carbon dioxide.”

Climate Depot Marc Morano adds: In layman’s terms: All of the so-called ‘solutions’ to global warming are purely symbolic when it comes to climate. So, even if we actually faced a climate catastrophe and we had to rely on a UN climate agreement, we would all be doomed!  Make no mistake, climate campaigners who tout UN agreements and EPA regulations as a way to control Earth’s temperature and storminess are guilty of belief in superstition. Today, America rejects superstition and the believe that governments regulations and UN agreements can control the climate. 

NASA’s former lead global warming scientist Dr. James Hansen is also not a big fan of the UN Paris accord. See: ‘Fraud, Fake…Worthless Words’: NASA’s James Hansen on UN Paris Pact – Trump should take note – “[The Paris agreement] is a fraud really, a fake. It’s just bullshit for them to say: ‘We’ll have a 2C warming target and then try to do a little better every five years.’ It’s just worthless words. There is no action, just promises. As long as fossil fuels appear to be the cheapest fuels out there, they will be continued to be burned.”Climate experts who have looked at the UN climate agreement think Trump is correct to dismantle it. Danish statistician Bjorn Lomborg wrote “Trump’s climate plan might not be so bad after all.” Lomborg added that Trump withdrawing from the UN treaty “will will stop the pursuit of an expensive dead end” because even if you accept the climate claims of the UN, the agreement “will matter very little to temperature rise.” (Also see: Bjorn Lomborg: ‘Germany Spends $110 Billion to Delay Global Warming by 37 Hours’)

Statistician: UN climate treaty will cost $100 trillion – To Have No Impact – Postpone warming by less than four years by 2100

Statistician: UN climate treaty will cost $100 trillion – To Have No Impact – Postpone warming by less than four years by 2100Lomborg: “If the U.S. delivers for the whole century on the President Obama’s very ambitious rhetoric, it would postpone global warming by about eight months at the end of the century.”Danish statistician Dr. Bjorn Lomborg, the President of the Copenhagen Consensus Center: “We will spend at least one hundred trillion dollars in order to reduce the temperature by the end of the century by a grand total of three tenths of one degree…the equivalent of postponing warming by less than four years…Again, that is using the UN’s own climate prediction model.” “But here is the biggest problem: These minuscule benefits do not come free — quite the contrary. The cost of the UN Paris climate pact is likely to run 1 to 2 trillion dollars every year.”
Lomborg Blasts UN Paris Treaty’s $100 Trillion Price Tag For No Temp Impact: ‘You won’t be able to measure it in 100 years’ – Bjorn Lomborg: The debate about the UN Paris Agreement is “about identity politics. It’s about feeling good… but the climate doesn’t care about how you feel.”
Bjorn Lomborg on UN climate deal: ‘This is likely to be among most expensive treaties in the history of the world’

#

Report: Trump tells ‘confidants’ U.S. will leave Paris climate deal

Latest developments below.

https://www.axios.com/scoop-trump-is-pulling-u-s-out-of-paris-climate-deal-2427773025.html?stream=top-stories&utm_source=alert&utm_medium=email&utm_term=alerts_all

Trump is pulling U.S. out of Paris climate deal

Pablo Martinez Monsivais / AP

President Trump has made his decision to withdraw from the Paris climate accord, according to two sources with direct knowledge of the decision. Details on how the withdrawal will be executed are being worked out by a small team including EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. They’re deciding on whether to initiate a full, formal withdrawal — which could take 3 years — or exit the underlying United Nations climate change treaty, which would be faster but more extreme.

Why this matters: Pulling out of Paris is the biggest thing Trump could do to unravel Obama’s climate legacy. It sends a combative signal to the rest of the world that America doesn’t prioritize climate change and threatens to unravel the ambition of the entire deal.

The other outliers: The only other two countries that aren’t supporting the deal are Nicaragua and Syria.

How it happened: A letter from 22 Republican Senators (including Mitch McConnell) that called for a clean exit had reinforced Trump’s instincts to withdraw, and the president had been telling confidants over the past week that he was going to pull out.

Image result for trump climate paris

Climate Skeptics cheer Clexit from UN Paris Agreement
Cheers! Trump Refuses To Sign G7 Statement Endorsing UN Paris Climate Agreement

UN Armed Security Shuts Down Skeptics After SHREDDING UN Climate Treaty at Summit Next To Trump Cut-outFull Video of UN Climate Cops Shutting Down SkepticsSkeptics Sought to End Climate Activists Denial Over Trump Rejecting UN Paris Climate AgreementLife size stand up of Trump taken down — Would UN have objected if life size Obama image were displayed instead?

Associated Press: Climate skeptic shreds Paris Agreement at UN ‘global warming’ conference

Watch Associated Press Video of UN armed security escorting Marc Morano & Craig Rucker from UN climate summit

Climate Depot’s New ‘Talking Points’ Report – A-Z Debunking of Climate ClaimsClimate Depot’s New ‘Talking Points’ Report – A-Z Debunking of Climate Claims

Read Full report Here: http://www.cfact.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/Climate-Talking-Points.pdf

The “Talking Points Memo,” by Marc Morano of CFACT’s Climate Depot, is a complete skeptics’ guide for elected officials, media and the public on how to discuss global warming backed up by dozens of citations to peer-reviewed research. “Make no mistake, climate campaigners who tout UN agreements and EPA regulations as a way to control Earth’s temperature and storminess are guilty of belief in superstition,” he added.

Palestinians Paid Terrorists and their families $1 Billion in past 4 Years

The PLO (Palestinian leadership) pay Palestinians and their families  who murder Jews and Christians in Israel money as a reward for  murder. They also name monuments and streets after these murderers. Leaders as well as people and countries who continue to pay the PLO money used to incite murder are ‘Accessories to Murder’ .

Congress should immediately cut off funds paid to the PLO unless this incitement to murder is stopped.

Palestinians Paid Terrorists $1 Billion in Past 4 Years

The Palestinian Authority has paid out some NIS 4 billion — or $1.12 billion — over the past four years to terrorists and their families, a former director general of the Ministry of Strategic Affairs and ex-head of the army’s intelligence and research division told a top Knesset panel on Monday.

Setting out the figures, Brig.-Gen (res.) Yossi Kuperwasser told the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee that the longer the period for which a Palestinian security prisoner is jailed, “the higher the salary… Anyone who has sat in prison for more than 30 years gets NIS 12,000 ($3,360) per month,” said Kuperwasser, according to the (Hebrew) NRG website. “When they’re released, they get a grant and are promised a job at the Palestinian Authority. They get a military rank that’s determined according to the number of years they’ve served in jail.”

Kuperwasser also told the committee that PA claims that the payments to terrorists’ families are social welfare benefits to the needy are false. The Palestinians’ own budgetary documents, he said, “clearly state that these are salaries and not welfare payments.”

Kuperwasser was briefing MKs days after US President Donald Trump visited Israel and held talks with PA President Mahmoud Abbas in Bethlehem. In an apparent public upbraiding of Abbas over the payments, Trump told him at their joint press conference: “Peace can never take root in an environment where violence is tolerated, funded or rewarded.”

Read more…

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EDITORS NOTE: The featured image is of Mahmoud Abbas celebrating the return of Palestinian prisoners as part of Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations in August 2013 (photo credit: Issam Rimawi/Flash90)

USAA reinstates advertising with Sean Hannity, other companies rebuff Media Matters report as a Lie

USAA reinstates advertising with Sean Hannity.  Other companies rebuff Media Matters report that they stopped advertising on Sean Hannity. Have you sent your email urging companies to continue to advertise on Hannity?

Click here to send your email to urge marketing officials at most of Hannity’s advertisers to continue advertising with Sean Hannity.

Media Matters is targeting companies that advertise on Sean Hannity because of his conservative values.

Florida Family Association first responded with an email alert that reported that USAA had succumbed to Media Matters pressure by stopping its advertising on the Sean Hannity Show.  The email alert asked people to send emails urging USAA to start advertising again.  Thousands of people sent emails to USAA officials through Floridafamily.org’s action email center.

Ad Week reports:  USAA Marches Back to Hannity.  Sean Hannity seems to have many fans who currently serve or have served in the U.S. military. When they heard USAA was pulling its commercials from Hannity’s Fox News program, they weren’t pleased, and apparently made their feelings known to the company. It’s probably no coincidence then that USAA announced today it has revered its decision, and will resume its advertising on Hannity.

Your emails made a difference.  And here’s more good news.

Florida Family Association responded with an email alert that provided an email that people could easily  send to most of Sean Hannity’s advertisers to urge them to continue to support his show.   Thousands of people responded by sending emails to encourage advertisers to stay with Hannity.

Some advertisers’ responses to these emails are posted below:

My Pillow’s Michael Lindell stands with Sean Hannity

I have no intention of ever going off my friend Sean’s show!

I am in this fight too!

Blessings
Mike
Michael J. Lindell
CEO
My Pillow, Inc.

InterContinental Hotels Group never advertised on Sean Hannity so it could not have stopped advertising as Media Matters reported.

Greetings from the Executive Office of IHG.

Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts regarding advertising with the Sean Hannity show.  We greatly appreciate the opportunity to clarify our position.

Simply, we are not an advertiser on this show, and therefore never pulled ads. We are aware there was a third-party programming error, which caused our ad to be aired in a few local markets.  Unfortunately, a lack of fact-checking created this misunderstanding, and we are appreciative of top-tier media outlets, including the Wall Street Journal, who have taken the time to get the facts right in their reporting.

We are also grateful for you contacting us – so we have the opportunity to set the record straight.

Thank you,
Executive Liaison, IHG
IHG | P.O. Box 30321, Salt Lake City, UT 84130, USA

GoodRX was NOT pressured to stop advertising as Media Matters reported.

Hello –

I’m the co-founder of GoodRx. You list our company as an advertiser on the Hannity show. Thanks to you, we’ve received hundreds of emails from concerned folks who would like us to continue running ads on Fox News and/or Hannity.

Unfortunately, I think you have incorrect information. While GoodRx has in the past advertised on Fox News (and elsewhere), we recently ceased ALL television advertising. We stopped advertising a few weeks PRIOR to this current controversy and it had nothing to do with any particular personality or political view – we simply stopped advertising for a few months as we work on new ways to talk to Americans.

We believe this incorrect information came from an organization called Media Matters. They have (after much effort on our part) edited their original post to indicate that we did not pull any advertising related to this issue.

We’re not some faceless corporation – we’re just a small group of frustrated Americans who are fed up with high drug prices. We spend our days simply trying to provide information and savings to help people not have to choose between rent, food or medications.

We have no immediate plans to run more advertising, but we’re constantly evaluating the market and we appreciate the feedback from so many concerned citizens. Our mission is to help all Americans, and hearing from so many this week has reminded our team (and me especially) that we have to keep working hard to fix America’s many issues.

We’d appreciate it if you removed us from your list, as we’re not a current advertiser and don’t want your members to think that we’ve done something wrong. Trust is a core value of our company, and I’m concerned that a controversy we have nothing to do with us will reflect poorly on us.

Thanks for your consideration.

Doug Hirsch

Ring.com was NOT pressured to stop advertising as Media Matters reported.

We did not (stop advertising as Media Matters reported).  As you know things get falsely reported all of the time and we are now a victim of that as well.

Because the situation seems so hot on either side and because we actually as a company are a combination of multiple views we have decided to just not comment on this at all anymore as we believe that there is no fair and balanced reporting that will come from it.

So sorry you were offended, I am a father and an inventor.  Not a politician.

Jamie

Florida Family Association removed USAA, InterContinental Hotels Group, GoodRX and Ring.com from the floridafamily.org articles that Media Matters had reported as dropping Sean Hannity.

Sean Hannity is a true American patriot.  Hannity has brought us news that no other cable news host has produced.  He has relentlessly stood for traditional Judeo Christian values.  Sean Hannity routinely gives honor to our military leaders, fallen heroes and military families in need.  There is no better weekend than the Memorial Day Weekend to start defending Sean Hannity against leftist attacks aimed at the values we cherish.

Media Matters published a list of companies that advertise and companies that stopped advertising at the bottom of their article.

Florida Family Association has prepared an email for you to send to urge marketing officials at most of the companies to continue advertising with Sean Hannity.  The companies included in this email are ones listed by Media Matters as “primary advertisers” and “advertisers who’ve announced they’ll no longer advertise on Hannity.”  The contact information for the advertisers that have said they will no longer advertise is posted below.  Contact information for companies that continue to advertise is not being provided in order to reduce the chances of opponents using the information.  There is a list of a few companies that are blocking emails that would have been sent through the Floridafamily.org email server.  Please consider preparing an email using your own email service for these companies.

To send your email, please click the following link, enter your name and email address then click the “Send Your Message” button. You may also edit the subject or message text if you wish.

Click here to send your email to urge marketing officials at most of Hannity’s advertisers to continue advertising with Sean Hannity.

Contact information for companies that continue to advertise is not being provided in order to reduce the chances of opponents using the information.

The contact information for the advertisers that have said they will no longer advertise is posted below:

These are the advertisers who’ve announced they’ll no longer advertise on Hannity:

Boehringer Ingelheim
Paul Fonteyne, CEO
paul.fonteyne@boehringer-ingelheim.com
Ann Davin, Public Relations Manager
adavin@rdg.boehringer-ingelheim.com

Cars.com
Gracia C. Martore, President and Chief Executive Officer
gmartore@tegna.com
Anne Bentley, Vice President and Chief Communications Officer
abentley@tegna.com

Casper
Philip Krim, CEO
philip.krim@casper.com
Michael Behrens, Chief Marketing Officer
michael.brehrens@casper.com

Leesa Sleep
David Wolfe, CEO
david@leesa.com
Lisa Scotti, Vice President of Marketing
lisa@leesa.com

Peloton
John Foley, CEO
john@pelotoncycle.com
Vicki Reed
press@pelotoncycle.com

The following companies are blocking emails that would have been sent through the Floridafamily.org email server.  Please consider preparing an email using your own email service for these companies.

Cars.com  blocking
Gracia C. Martore, President and Chief Executive Officer
gmartore@tegna.com

Hisamitsu Pharmaceutical
Patrick Carroll, Chief Marketing Officer USA
pcarroll@hisamitsu-usa.com

Hulu
Jenny Wall, Chief Marketing Officer
jenny.wall@hulu.com

Leesa Sleep  blocking
David Wolfe, CEO
david@leesa.com
Lisa Scotti, Vice President of Marketing
lisa@leesa.com

Nutrisystem
Keira Krausz, Chief Marketing Officer
kkrausz@nutrisystem.com

ProFlowers
Melissa Reinking
WeCare@ProFlowers.com

The G-7’s Outrageous Hypocrisy by John Tamny

An article in Saturday’s Wall Street Journal about the European leg of President Trump’s first foreign trip came with the headline: “Leaders Confront US on Russia, Climate.” In particular, non-US G-7 leaders are all strongly in favor of the 2015 Paris climate agreement that would require participating countries to limit carbon emissions, among other restraints on economic activity.

Trump disagrees, thus the confrontation, owing to his correct belief that the climate deal would prove a barrier to economic growth.That Trump was in opposition to the other G-7 members apparently led to some tense discussion about the US’s desire to exit commitments made during the presidency of Barack Obama. German Chancellor Angela Merkel confirmed that opinions expressed about the withering climate accord “were exchanged very intensively.”

You Obey, We Ignore

Merkel and other G-7 leaders disappointed in the 45th president have no leg to stand on, and certainly aren’t in the position to confront any US president. Trump should make this plain without an ounce of regret. The latter would be true even if the Paris accord were a credible answer to the theory that says economic progress is a major threat to our existence.

Indeed, the Europeans talk a big game about the importance of commitments, and of how the alleged fight to save the earth “has to be a collective effort,” but they’ve shown no remorse about their own persistent failure to honor their NATO spending pledges.

Translated, these nations expect the United States to weaken its economy based on an unproven, but rather expensive theory about the effects of climate change. But when it comes to living up to a longstanding agreement among NATO members to share the costs of a mutual defense shield, they’ll let the US foot the bill.

More interesting here is that in their desperation to keep the US in the Paris fold, Merkel and others are implicitly saying that any agreement made among leading western European countries without the US isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on. With good reason.

So Much for Commitment

Consider non-NATO treaties like Maastricht, in which EU nations agreed to limit their deficit spending so that their debt/GDP ratios would always stay below 60%. Woops. As of 2015, Germany (74.4%), France (89.6%), and Italy (122.3%) were all well above what the G-7 countries committed to when they signed the treaty that led to the euro. As for their commitment to requiring euro member states to individually handle their debts, it too went out the window given the fear among EU members about what debt default would do to certain large banks.

Back to NATO, the European leaders so eager to guilt Trump into a climate commitment not his own have once again shown no commensurate guilt about their own safety being a function of US taxpayers and legislators regularly living up to commitments that they haven’t lived up to.

Mutual Defense

This is particularly galling when we remember that NATO’s mutual defense shield arguably has very little to do with US safety. Lest we forget, the US already has the strongest military in the world, and it’s also quite far from the world’s trouble spots. In short, the US has long stuck to an agreement that weakens it economically, and that has little to nothing to do with its ongoing existence.

Would Americans feel any less secure absent this pricey post-WWII arrangement? At the same time, could NATO survive and would Europeans still feel secure sans American support that gives NATO global relevance?The answer to the previous question explains why the Paris agreement will lose all meaning and relevance if the US backs out. We know this given the historical truth that non-US G-7 nations speak with a forked tongue.

They talk grandly about honoring commitments, but their actions invariably belie their lofty rhetoric. Just as they’ve done with NATO, or with their own inter-European treaties, they want the US to abide the Paris agreement so that they don’t have to.

In that case, President Trump would be very unwise to lend US credibility to an agreement that history says G-7 members will eventually trample on. While the Paris accord surely can’t survive without Trump’s support, neither can his commitment to 3 percent growth survive more government meddling meant to placate shaky G-7 members, all based on a theory. Trump has an easy answer; his rejection of the Paris agreement one that checks the political, economic and rationality boxes.

Trump has an easy answer; his rejection of the Paris agreement one that checks the political, economic and rationality boxes.

John Tamny

John Tamny is a Forbes contributor, editor of RealClearMarkets, a senior fellow in economics at Reason, and a senior economic adviser to Toreador Research & Trading. He’s the author of the 2016 book Who Needs the Fed? (Encounter), along with Popular Economics (Regnery Publishing, 2015).

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VISA Overstays: A Gap in the Nation’s Border

After decades, and billions of dollars, a major terror vulnerability still persists.

A recent headline blared: Secretary of Homeland Security head says terror situation is scarier than you know.

However, the situation at the Department of Homeland Security that the Trump administration inherited when it took office is so dire, that I refer to the DHS as the “Department of Homeland Surrender.”

Unquestionably the Obama administration did incalculable damage to the security of our borders and the enforcement of our immigration laws, however, for decades a series of administrations, led by presidents from both parties, have sought to undermine national sovereignty in their push for globalism.

In my judgement, many components of the immigration system have been rendered dysfunctional with the intentional purpose of flooding America with ever increasing foreign tourists, foreign students and a veritable army of cheap and exploitable labor that displaces Americans workers and drives down the wages of  those Americans fortunate enough to keep their jobs.

This is not only in the economic bottom rung jobs but, increasingly, within the high-tech industries as well.

I support my claim by providing at the end of my article, outrageous findings of the Office of Inspector General who lays out, in has May 23, 2017 report, information about a level of dysfunction in a component of national security that could not be created by accident or incompetence.

But before we get ahead of ourselves, the very structure of the DHS, as implemented by the administration of President George W. Bush, in the wake of the terror attacks of September 11, 2001 appears to have been designed to hobble any efforts to secure our borders and/or enforce our immigration laws.

On May 5, 2005, approximately 44 months after the attacks of 9/11, the House Subcommittee on Immigration, Border Security and Claims conducted a hearing on the topic, “New “Dual Missions” Of The Immigration Enforcement Agencies.”

There is a parallel that must be drawn in considering that the hearing was conducted 44 months after the attacks.  It took the United States and its allies 44 months to defeat the Axis nations during the Second World War.

In order to achieve that incredible success our nation and its allies built fleets of aircraft of brand new designs that had not existed before.  Fleets of ships and even nuclear weapons with brand new and un-proven technology.

On September 11, 2001 nineteen terrorists, barely out of their teens, were able to cause more casualties than did the Japanese fleet at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.  Yet tracking the arrival and departure of aliens who were legally admitted into the United States is beyond the grasp of the nation that more than 40 years ago repeatedly launched astronauts to the moon and returned them all safely to the earth.

Rep. John Hostettler was the chairman of that subcommittee at the time of that hearing and his courageous prepared statement at that hearing included the following disturbing conclusion:

 At no time during the reorganization planning was it anticipated by the Committee that an immigration enforcement agency would share its role with other enforcement functions, such as enforcement of our customs laws. This simply results in the creation of dual or multiple missions that the act sought to avoid in the first place.

Failure to adhere to the statutory framework established by HSA (Homeland Security Act) has produced immigration enforcement incoherence that undermines the immigration enforcement mission central to DHS, and undermines the security of our Nation’s borders and citizens.

I was one of the witnesses at that hearing and included information about that hearing in my previous article Immigration Failure – By Design which explored how these failures were created and exacerbated to meet the demands of the globalist immigration anarchists.

These failures not only facilitate the entry of foreign workers, students and tourists but transnational criminals and international terrorists.

However, as long as politicians, acting on behalf of various supremely greedy special interest groups including the United States Chamber of Commerce and its corporate allies, that are more focused on head counts on airliners than body counts in the morgue, our immigration failures will not be effectively addressed.

An area of vulnerability that was addressed by the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 was the need to track the arrival and departure of nonimmigrant aliens to determine if those nonimmigrant (temporary) foreign visitors departed the United States as required by the terms of their admission into the United States.

This legislation was enacted just years after two deadly terror attacks were carried out in the United States by Middle Eastern aliens in 1993.  In January of that year CIA officials were gunned down at CIA Headquarters by Kansi, a Pakistani citizen who entered the United States on a non-immigrant visa and went on to apply for political asylum.

The following month the first bombing at the World Trade Center left six dead, more than 1,000 people injured and devastated that iconic complex of buildings, inflicting approximately a half billion dollars in damages.

Yet the tracking of nonimmigrant aliens was not implemented.

The 9/11 Commission established tracking the arrival and departure of nonimmigrant aliens as a vital component of national security.

Consequently, on June 3, 2004 it was reported, “Accenture secures U.S. Visit.”  (US-VISIT was the term provided to describe the tracking system.)

That report provided a bit of insight into the wrangling that went on to award that contract to Accenture the company that would go on to “distinguish itself” when it attempted to create a website for Obama Care.

As to the magnitude of the contract, Government Executive Magazine reported, Accenture wins $10 billion US VISIT contract.

Yet in March 2013, nine years after giving that contract to Accenture, the goals of tracking the arrival and departure of non-immigrant aliens was still not accomplished.  Consequently the DHS renamed the program, giving it the title, Office of Biometric Identity Management (OBIM).

On May 22, 2017 the Department of Homeland Security issued a press release, DHS Releases Fiscal Year 2016 Entry/Exit Overstay Report.  The press release provided note the nexus between national security and the ability to effectively track the arrival and departure of aliens.

This excerpt illustrates part of the magnitude of the challenges we face:

The report specifies that U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) processed 50,437,278 in-scope nonimmigrant admissions at U.S. air and sea POEs who were expected to depart in FY16—of which 739,478 overstayed their admission, resulting in a total overstay rate of 1.47 percent. Of the more than 739,000 overstays, DHS determined 628,799 were suspected “in-country” overstays, resulting in a suspected in-country overstay rate of 1.25 percent. An individual who is a suspected in-country overstay has no recorded departure, while an out-of-country overstay has a recorded departure that occurred after their lawful admission period expired.

There was no mention, however, about aliens who are admitted or depart through land borders.

That issue and others were raised in the report issued on May 23, 2017 by the Office of Inspector General (OIG) for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued a report, “Visa Overstays: A Gap in the Nation’s Border.

These findings included in this report will likely keep you awake.  That these failures have not been addressed goes beyond mere incompetence:

The results of our audit revealed that DHS’ information technology (IT) systems do not effectively support U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) visa tracking operations for the following reasons:

Identifying and investigating potential visa overstays requires pulling data from dozens of systems and databases, some of which are not integrated and do not electronically share information;

Access to real-time data is mired by system access restrictions, the need to retain up to 40 passwords, and systems that are not updated;

ICE personnel do not have the training and guidance they need to effectively identify and utilize the myriad systems currently available for visa overstay tracking; and

In the absence of a comprehensive biometric exit system at U.S. ports, DHS relies on third-party departure data, which is not always accurate and fails to capture land departure data, which accounts for the vast majority of visitors exiting the United States.

These deficiencies have significant real-world impact, including:

A backlog of more than 1.2 million visa overstay cases;

Considerable resources wasted investigating thousands of leads that should have been ruled out as visa overstays (e.g., individuals who already left the country or applied for / received immigration benefits);

Arrests of less than 0.4% of the individuals who potentially overstayed their visas; and

Congress receiving DHS visa overstay reports that underestimate and distort the true scope of the visa overstay problem.

Until the Department properly equips its personnel with the tools and training required for the vital work of tracking visitors who overstay their visas, timely identification, investigation, and adjudication of visa overstays will not be possible, increasing the risk to public safety and national security.

Our “leaders” have squandered billions of dollars, but more importantly, they have squandered many years.  Time is not on our side.

Politicians, on every level of government, and corporations and their executives who are awarded contracts for national security-related programs must be made truly accountable.

National security is serious business- deadly serious business.

The Deficit Problem Is a Spending Problem by John Tamny

After 2008, the US economy has experienced relative stagnation. The  common refrain from the Left was that federal budget deficits weren’t big enough. Of the belief that government spending is what lifts economies out of slow-growth ruts, Paul Krugman, Lawrence Summers and other neo-Keynesians called for federal borrowing beyond what Treasury took in as a way of allegedly boosting the economy.

Who cares that excessive spending failed so impressively in the U.S. back in the 1930s, and who cares that massive increases in Japanese debt have failed to awaken its economy from its “lost decades?” The Keynesians most associated with America’s Left (they populate the Right too, but most who think this way don’t admit it, or know it) pointed to increased deficits as the certain source of our economic salvation.

This is interesting mainly because with the election of Donald Trump in 2016 in concert with promises of big tax cuts, the same left that cheered deficits as the path to recovery suddenly claimed they would hold the economy down. This requires mention as a reminder that budget deficits and national debt are political props, first and foremost.As for their economic implications, governments can only spend insofar as they tax or borrow from the private sector. Period. As such, and in a very real sense, all government spending is deficit spending; the deficits and national debt a bit of a distraction.

Spending Is What Matters

The level of government spending is what matters the most because the wealth we produce in the private sector is precious. The spending consumes capital that otherwise might reach innovators. Government spending is the worst kind of tax mainly because its horrors are mostly unseen.

Taxes we see and feel in each paycheck, devaluation of the dollars we earn (a tax like any other) we suffer through reduced work opportunity and spending power, but government spending represents the unseen; as in what would intrepid, innovative minds do with the expropriated capital if government weren’t consuming it?

How many Apple, Amazon and Microsoft equivalents haven’t, and will never emerge from start-up infancy thanks to government’s consumption of crucial resources, how long ago would cancer and heart disease have been cured; only for bright minds to train their genius on the erasure of other life-ending maladies, or the fulfillment of other market needs?

The Salsman View

All of the above at least partially explains why I approached Duke political economy professor Richard M. Salsman’s new book, The Political Economy of Public Debt: Three Centuries of Theory and Evidence, with some reservation.

Salsman’s genius and broad knowledge have long been evident, but e-mail exchanges over the years between author and reviewer revealed a friendly difference of opinion about budget deficits. Though no deficit “hawk,” Salsman views them as a problem in their present state, while I view government spending as the real problem. If given the choice between a balanced budget of $4 trillion, and annual deficits of $1.4 trillion on $1.5 trillion in spending, I would take the latter. In a heartbeat. It represents less government waste of precious capital to the tune of $2.5 trillion.

So while my views on what Salsman refers to as “public debt” haven’t changed much, Salsman’s book forced a very healthy rethink of the debt question, though for reasons different from the traditional critiques of deficit spending. And while this review will reveal some ongoing areas of disagreement with the author, none of the differences should be construed as a non-endorsement of what I’ll refer to going forward as “Public Debt.”Salsman has written something beyond special, a book dense with information and history that I’ll be referencing for years to come. It’s perhaps commonly thought that Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff’s This Time Is Different is the definitive history of government debt, but Salsman’s Public Debt trumps their book by many miles. It’s quite simply spectacular, and informative in a way that few academic economics books (or, for that matter, any economics books) are.

To give readers a sense of how the book is constructed, it “examines three centuries of the most prominent political-economic theories of public debt.” Salsman addresses the debt through the eyes of some of the grandest names in economics, along with others who similarly deserve stature, but who have in a sense been forgotten. One of Salsman’s many triumphs is the staggering amount of research he conducted in order to explain to readers the myriad ways economists of different persuasions viewed government debt in the past, and how some do in the present.

Salsman divides up the economists of varying Schools into three groups. “Public debt pessimists” typically “argue that government provides no truly productive services,” that the “taxing and borrowing detract from the private economy, while unfairly burdening future generations,” plus they generally believe that government debts are “unsustainable and will likely bring national insolvency and perpetual economic stagnation.” David Hume, Adam Smith and Nobel Laureate James Buchanan were three public debt pessimists, and then the list today is endless: Niall Ferguson, Laurence Kotlikoff, David Stockman, etc. etc. To the debt pessimists, the world is seemingly always about to end.

“Public debt optimists” think “government provides not only productive services, such as infrastructure and social services,” but they also think deficit spending can lift economies out of “savings gluts, economic depressions, inflation, and secular stagnation.” Interesting about the optimists is that while they’re convinced of the wonders of deficits, they almost universally despise the creditors (the “rentier class”) who make deficits possible. Those who lend to governments in return for an income stream are almost invariably immoral financiers in the eyes of the optimists, and so the optimists fully support defaulting on those who provide government with the funds to waste.

Alvin Hansen and Abba Lerner are prominent in Public Debt as some of the old-style optimists, but the list of neo-optimists in today’s commentariat is similarly endless; think once again, Krugman, Summers, Alan Blinder, Christina Romer, etc. At book’s end, Salsman correctly points out that the “pessimists and optimists have more in common than is commonly realized – and each perpetuate long-established falsehoods.” Salsman was being kind….

The Realists

And then there are the “public debt realists.” They “contend that government can and should provide certain productive services,” but within strict limits. Realists neither whine all the time about world-ending government debts, nor do they claim that they can be essential sources of economic sustenance as the equally confused optimists believe.

Realists who favor “constitutionally limited government” don’t think public debt is “inevitably harmful” mainly because when government is limited, so will borrowing be. Alexander Hamilton was the most famous public debt realist. Of the moderns in our midst, Steve Forbes is a realist, so is George Gilder, and so of course is Salsman. More on your reviewer’s stance later.

Up front, public debt isn’t some recent concept reflecting the supposed immorality of the modern world whereby governments borrow today only to heartlessly pass the debt on to future generations. Salsman notes early on that public borrowing by governments such that the citizens were “ultimately responsible for servicing the debt” came about in the “late seventeenth century” through the issuance of “tangible securities traded in secondary, liquid markets with prices and yields visible on public exchanges.”People have long wanted a way to securely store wealth today in favor of future consumption tomorrow, governments have long looked for ways to borrow existing wealth, and financiers brought the two together. This isn’t to defend the public borrowing as much as it’s to say that it’s not something that arose in the 20th century.

The Founding

Going back to the U.S.’s founding, Salsman writes that “Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson differed pointedly over whether government should borrow at all, whether it should fully pay its debts (even when trading at a discount), whether the currency in which debts were to be repaid should be gold backed and of uniform consistency nationally or instead be cancelled, and whether private banking was legitimate. On all such questions Hamilton answered in the affirmative, Jefferson in the negative.” Based on Salsman’s analysis, Jefferson would be grouped with the pessimists, and Hamilton as mentioned with the realists.

Hamilton felt a national debt would be very additive to the U.S.’s early fortunes as a sign of the new country’s strength. Issuance of debt would “show the world the United States could and would pay its debts.” This was a particularly important signal to send to creditors analyzing what was again, a new country. Salsman is very clear that Hamilton wasn’t a “proto-Keynesian optimist” as much as the world was then, as it is now, uncertain. If the U.S. was seen as creditworthy, borrowing for national defense (defense spending a legitimate function of government in the eyes of realists) during times of war would be easier.

David Hume

At the same time the great philosopher David Hume said “sovereign borrowing breeds ‘poverty,’ national ‘impotence,’ and ‘subjection to foreign powers.'” Salsman classifies David Ricardo as a debt pessimist too, but acknowledges the differences within the group. Ricardo felt, like your reviewer, that “public spending itself constitutes the real economic burden, regardless of how funded, because it deprives private actors of the saving, capital accumulation, and productivity gains necessary for long-term prosperity.”  Absolutely. Government spending brings instantaneous injury to the economy for it depriving the productive of resources that would otherwise be put to higher use.

On the optimist side Robert Malthus believed in the impossible whereby supply could exceed demand, so he viewed deficit spending “as a ‘cure’ for gluts.” Interesting there is that Malthus apparently knew, like Ricardo, that the spending dissolved wealth, but still felt it was necessary “to dissipate ‘excess’ aggregate supply.” A.C. Pigou was more sanguine about British borrowing since so much of the debt was owed within Britain itself.And to show how much Pigou influences public debt optimists today, Salsman adds that he cheered deficit spending that would redistribute the wealth of the rich to the middle class and poor “because they save less.” As Pigou put it, “The bulk of this money is pretty sure to be expended on the purchase of consumption goods, and so indirectly in creating money income for producers of those goods.”

Ok, per Pigou, the rich should be fleeced, then paid back a percentage of what was taken from them through consumption. Naturally Pigou’s analysis ignored that his scenario included no production, and worse, no investment in future production; investment that would have been more likely had the rich been able to hold onto their wealth in the first place. Fear not, it gets worse.

Secular Stagnation

Lawrence Summers’ hero Alvin Hansen, he of “secular stagnation” fame, felt “prodigality may be the appropriate social virtue in a society in equilibrium at underemployment.” Forget that savings never sit idle, and also forget that no economy can progress without the savings that fund innovation, to Hansen government issuance of debt with an eye on spending was a “means of providing adequate liquidity in a growing economy.”

Abba Lerner felt debt was ok since “we owe it to ourselves,” plus the debt wasn’t burdensome in a broad sense because debt payments are “received by the citizens and government bondholders.” This is perhaps what helped inform Keynes’s line about the “fools” in the economics profession who were allegedly carrying the banner for his views. For an economist to presume no present burden when government is extracting capital from the private economy is the height of foolishness. Fear not, however, it gets even stupider.

Thomas Piketty loves wealth redistribution while bemoaning debt because “it usually has to be repaid.” Piketty would prefer to “tax the wealthy rather than borrow from them.” To this endlessly naïve economist, when governments sell debt to the rich, the rich grow wealthier through ownership of bonds and their income streams. You can’t make this up, except that you don’t need to. Never forget that Piketty isn’t a fan of private investment either because in the process of capitalizing companies (on the way to voluminous opportunity creation for individuals), investors are getting rich in the process if their courageous investments bear fruit. When they succeed, it’s the rich getting richer.

Misesian Fresh Air

On the other hand, Ludwig von Mises was a breath of fresh air. Mises all-too-correctly pointed out that “Keynesian economics and the political process are almost entirely focused on short-run demand-side concerns while largely ignoring the long-run importance of economic productivity.” Precisely. Along these lines, a few years ago Alan Blinder penned an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal in which he talked up the allegedly positive demand implications that would spring from increased government spending. What he missed is that demand is always and everywhere the result of production first, and production is more abundant the more that savings and investment power enhancements that boost individual productivity.

Yes, Keynesianism is all about short-term demand, all at the expense of much greater production (and much greater subsequent demand) in the long-term given the truth that savings author progress. Demand is the easy part, and it’s not something economists or politicians should spend any time worrying about. Much thanks go to Salsman for compiling countless opinions on the subject of spending and debt. There are more to come, but this review will only scratch the surface.

Back to government spending in a broad sense, Salsman adds that government borrowing was relatively cheap in the 18th and 19th century (“typically 3-6 percent”) because “most sovereigns were fiscally prudent.” Other than issuing larger sums of debt during war, Salsman indicates that they “otherwise eschewed chronic budget deficits.” Of greater importance is that governments used “various pre-commitment devices – sinking funds, annuities, and the gold standard – to assure creditors of timely repayment in money that would hold its value over time.”

There’s no real mystery here behind the government debt surge. Governments could borrow because investors trusted the quality of the debt securities paying out income streams in currencies backed by gold, but most important was that good money correlated with surging investment, and subsequent economic growth.

Debt doesn’t power growth as much countries with growing economies can issue lots of debt. Add to all that a theme that Salsman returns to throughout Public Debt: “Only a state can legally compel tax paying, which is crucial to its capacity for debt servicing.” Governments can borrow fairly easily precisely because they can ultimately use force to extract payment on their debt from others. Debt servicing is logically much easier if the people are flush. The latter is important with the book’s future direction in mind.

Credit Worthy

Indeed, rich countries can borrow with ease. Poorer ones struggle to borrow, if at all. If readers doubt this, they need only pull up lists of the nations with the most debt versus the ones with very little. The big debtor nations are predictably the richest countries, while the ones with little debt are almost invariably the poorest. It’s worth repeating that this isn’t to say that deficits and debt power economies forward. Of course they don’t.

Government spending amounts to politicians misallocating precious resources that would otherwise be directed to their highest use by the profit motivated. Government spending is a huge tax on progress.

At the same time, politicians exist to spend. And if we don’t provide them with enough of our earnings, they’re happy to borrow against our future earnings. It’s much easier for them to borrow if investors feel the future earnings of the citizenry will be abundant, and easily taxable. Just as rich individuals and companies can borrow with ease, so can politicians who rule countries populated by the rich.The above truth brings us to one of many myths slayed by Salsman in his excellent book. Reinhart and Rogoff’s alleged insight that countries tip toward decline once their debt to GDP ratios move beyond 90 percent is accepted wisdom within the commentariat. Except that it’s not true. As Salsman reveals throughout Public Debt, England’s debt/GDP ratio reached the 261 percent mark in 1819, but far from it foretelling the country’s long decline, England was on the verge of a century of staggering growth. Considering the U.S., its debt/GDP ratio blew past 120 percent during World War II, only for the U.S. to experience pretty impressive post-war prosperity.

What To Do?

What all of this speaks to is that while debt isn’t on its own the source of country decline, socialistic responses to heavy debt loads are. High levels of taxation are what cause stagnation, and so do efforts by politicians to reduce their debt burdens sans payment. In pressing the previous point with great regularity, Salsman began to soften my broad dismissal of deficits. To me, they still don’t matter in a normal sense simply because the spending is the problem.

Bolstering the previous point for this reviewer, Salsman brings countless economic names from the past back from obscurity, including Italian aristocrat De Viti De Marco who asserted crucially that “the purchase of a public bond is voluntary, hence open to a self-interested, utility-maximizing calculus, while the payment of a tax is compulsory.” De Marco’s observation is one I’ve often made; as in it’s better if governments pay for the right to waste money than it is for them to take it from the productive without compensation. Again, deficits don’t matter. It’s the spending that does. That’s the tax, how the money is raised immaterial.

At the same time, Salsman’s exhaustive discussion of debt once again forced a rethink, and caused me to partially change my mind. No doubt spending is the real tax, but the problem with deficits is that while the borrowing is an act of government expropriating precious capital in order to waste it, we don’t feel it right then. No doubt we do soon enough, no doubt the waste leads to reduced innovation and lower pay, but it’s not seen as quickly and intimately as a direct tax. In that case, wouldn’t taxation meant to pay for all government spending free of borrowing force more prudence on politicians whose spending would fleece voters with tangible immediacy?

Along the same lines, the way in which public debt optimists have long dismissed the creditors, and worse, called for default on creditors (see Piketty), was a reminder of another horror of deficits; as in how politicians dispose of them.

Enter Keynes

Indeed, as one can imagine in a book about government debt, Salsman writes about how politicians go about shrinking it; albeit on the sly. This brings us to John Maynard Keynes. Though Salsman is very critical of the British economist, he indicates that “arguments for perpetual deficit spending and public debt accumulation come not from Keynes but Keynesians.” Those “fools” once again. While Keynes was in no way a public debt pessimist, “he never counseled unmitigated deficit spending.” More notable about Keynes is that while he had no problem with debt per se, he loathed creditors and sought “the euthanasia of the rentier” class.

Most important about Keynes from a public debt perspective is that in describing ways for governments to shrink their debt, he invariably offered up false solutions the harm of which would extend well beyond the supposedly “immoral” creditors.

Explaining Keynes’s suggested ways to default on debt, Salsman said governments could do so “explicitly (by a repudiation, or deliberate non-payment), implicitly (by inflation), and by a taking (levy on rentiers).” Governments have regularly employed the first two, and did so long before Keynes was prominent. Yet here’s the problem with deficits and debt: while government debt is an effect of the wealth produced by the citizenry, governments often respond the wrong way, thus adding insult to the wasteful borrowing/spending injury.

First up is repudiation or deliberate non-payment. To show just how delusional and contradictory are Keynesian debt optimists, they love the extra government spending that debt enables, but loathe the creditors who make the debt possible. Their position is impossible.

At the same time, I’ve long liked the idea of debt “haircuts” or repudiation not out of dislike for the creditors as much as maybe one or the other will cause creditors to skip buying government debt altogether. Arguably the latter would be more prevalent today if institutions like the IMF weren’t so ready to bail out governments, which has long been a way for governments to bail out banks and other creditors with high exposure to government debt.

Devaluation

Of course the much more problematic form of debt default or repudiation is devaluation of the income streams that debt securities pay out. Amazingly, Keynes well understood the horrid implications of devaluation, yet his dislike of creditors trumped the pain experienced by everyone thanks to devaluation. As Keynes so correctly put it, devaluation “is the form of taxation which the public find hardest to evade.”

While there are myriad ways for the citizenry to get around excessive headline rates of taxation, when governments repudiate debt through currency devaluation, everyone suffers. People earn dollars, pounds, euros, yen, and all manner of other currencies, which means devaluations meant to reduce government debt mean everyone suffers a shrinking paycheck. Much worse, the devaluation is a repellent to the very investors and savers whose capital commitments author economic progress to begin with.The point of all this is that deficits in isolation trump direct taxation as a way for governments to raise funds simply because they’re paying for the right to consume precious capital, as opposed to expropriating it without compensation for those fleeced. The problem is that deficits don’t occur in isolation. Or they don’t always. Precisely because governments want to borrow and spend sans the long-term implications of doing just that, we all frequently suffer the cruel tax that is devaluation so that wasteful governments can shrink what they owe.

To those who think the U.S. has never defaulted, think again. Even Reinhart and Rogoff described FDR’s 1933 decision to devalue the dollar from 1/20th of an ounce of gold to 1/35th as a debt default, and looked at in terms of the dollar since then, it’s apparent that the U.S. Treasury has been rampantly defaulting ever since. As of this writing a dollar buys 1/1200th of a gold ounce. America’s creditors have long suffered defaults, and the American people have had to accept the slower growth that is the tautological result of “implicit,” or “stealth” default. The seen is that despite Treasury’s horrid oversight of the dollar the U.S. remains the richest, most dynamic country in the world. But imagine the unseen. Imagine where the U.S. economy would be today absent the serial dollar devaluations that have needlessly shrunk investment that would have otherwise been directed to mass experimentation ahead of stunning advance.

Why Deficits are Bad

So, at risk of being repetitive, Salsman has me convinced of the horrors of deficits, but not for the reasons that compel most. Spending remains the problem. The problem with deficits is once again the socialistic responses of governments whereby they make everyone pay the massive, economy-sapping tax that is devaluation as a way of shrinking what they owe.

All of this speaks to another area of disagreement with Salsman ahead of the ones that will conclude this review. He correctly notes that the Keynesian “demand-side model was so discredited in the 1970s” in concert with vindication for supply-side economics, which “delivered such positive financial-economic results in the 1980s and 1990s.”

There’s no dispute that supply side won precisely because the latter is a tautology: when the tax, regulatory, tariff, and debased money barriers to production are shrunk, booming economic growth is the result. Supply side makes perfect sense, but it’s arguable that supply-siders have become ridiculous to the point that their policies have become self-suffocating. Indeed, supply siders, in their worship of the rising revenue implications of tax cuts, have forgotten that government spending is the biggest tax of all.

And in ignoring rising government spending, they’ve allowed the genius of their tax cut, deregulation, free trade, good money policy mix to be neutered. Figure that the posthumous John F. Kennedy tax cuts were great for economic growth, and as a result, gifted Treasury with a revenue surge in 1965. The latter gave Congress the means to for instance introduce Medicare; a program that was initially funded with $3 billion. The problem modernly is that a program which once cost $3 billion is projected to cost $1 trillion by 2025. Taking nothing away from the good of supply side policies, if not met with spending cuts, they’re not nearly as effective as they otherwise would be.

The Supply Side Problem

The problem with supply siders isn’t their belief that deficits don’t matter, but it’s a major problem their belief that government spending doesn’t matter. This reviewer wishes Salsman had spent more time on this point. As a deficit realist, Salsman plainly doesn’t like government expanding beyond strict constitutional limits. Ok, but rising federal revenues have enabled just that, not to mention that it’s much easier for governments to issue new debt if incoming tax revenues are abundant.Moving on from this quibble, Public Debt is wildly informative, and once again a magisterial myth slayer. Salsman spends a lot of time on Nobel Laureate James Buchanan’s contributions to the debt story, contributions that were important. He showed the “public choice” side of this whereby politicians act in what they deem their self-interest which is to spend with abandon.

At the same time, the public debt pessimist in Buchanan presumed to know a number, or a “critical threshold” after which government debt would cause economic decline. Buchanan offered a “moral case” for repudiation that supports Salsman’s wondrous contention previously mentioned that the pessimists and optimists are more alike than they know. Both sides endorse clipping the creditors who make all the waste possible.

As to magisterial myths slayed, through England and the U.S. Salsman as previously mentioned shows that if governments don’t respond to major debt with excessive socialism, it’s not an economy killer as Reinhart and Rogoff contend, and as did Buchanan. While England once again had a debt that was 261 percent of GDP as of 1819, by 1914, amid booming economic growth, the number had declined to roughly 35 percent.

The U.S. ratio as previously mentioned grew beyond 120 percent during World War II, but it shank to 35 percent by 1982. Japan presently has a debt/GDP ratio of over 225 percent. That it does exposes the absurdity of Krugman’s contention that deficit spending boosts growth, but at the same time it exposes as faulty the Reinhart/Rogoff magic number. Though not booming as it once did, Japan remains a very rich country. Rich countries can easily borrow. The problem is, as always, the spending. Imagine how much more advanced Japan’s economy would be today had its political class not responded to the country’s early 1990s recession with so much waste.

Deficits and Interest

Regarding the wildly popular view that deficit spending drives up interest rates, Salsman makes a mockery of what’s plainly absurd. Tracking the deficit spending of G-7 nations, Salsman finds that amid average debt/GDP ratios of 37.7 percent in 1980, the average interest rate on 10-year government bonds paid by those countries was 11.9 percent. Fast forward to 2000 when the debt/GDP ratio for those same countries was 74.5 percent, the average rate was 5 percent. In 2015, with the debt/GDP ratio having surged to 116 percent, the average 10-year government bond coupon was 1.3 percent. Though it’s common to say that rising deficits correlate with rising rates to service those deficits, there’s no evidence that the latter is true. Salsman’s book is beyond valuable, yet at the same time his statistics unearth another quibble.

On the same page that he provides the above numbers, Salsman contends that central banks “now also act as lenders of last resort to profligate governments,” and that the “reach of central banking expands virtually without limit.” Salsman’s explicit contention is that politicians created central banks to enable their borrowing given his oft-stated view that there’s “no effective limit on central banks’ power and willingness to create fiat money.”

This is not compelling. Sure enough, in communications with Salsman he’s acknowledged that most vastly overstate the power of the Fed, and central banks in general. How then could that which interacts with increasingly neutered banks have so much economic influence, let alone enable broad debt issuance by governments? My view here is that Salsman reverses causation. Central banks that buy a lot of government debt are a certain effect of an otherwise powerful economy, as opposed to an enabler of government debt issuance.

My evidence is Salsman’s very own mention of England’s adoption of a gold standard after the Glorious Revolution. Once a desperately poor country, the issuance of good money authored an economic surge that enabled borrowing that subsequently enabled England’s wars, and its colonization of one quarter of the world’s land mass.

In Salsman’s case, he cites the establishment of Britain’s Bank of England in 1694 as the facilitator of Britain’s “financing yet another war with France.” Ok, but if all it took for France to fight toe to toe with England was a central bank, then it could have mimicked Britain’s establishment of one. In truth, what enabled England’s warring was economic growth that gifted its politicians with abundant revenues, not a supposed lender of last resort to governments. Salsman himself references central bank independence as “a mere shibboleth,” which reminds us that any purchasing of debt amounts to one government entity buying from another.

Reducing all of this to the absurd, if central banks could truly enable reckless spending, the central banks of Nigeria and Bahamas could theoretically monetize massive government growth, as could the creation of a central bank in Haiti. But nothing like the latter would materialize simply because central banks can’t alter economic reality. If a government is “desperate for funds,” why the need for a central bank in the first place? What could a central bank do?

Going back to his assertion that there’s “no effective limit on central banks’ power to and willingness to create fiat money,” Salsman is making somewhat of a Keynesian statement himself (in fairness, members of the Austrian School regularly commit the same error) in presuming that central banks, for being central banks, can fix the alleged problem of credit scarcity. But they can’t. Individuals, businesses and governments seek access to “central bank notes” not to stare at the money, but instead do so because of what “money” can be exchanged for.

Credit is always and everywhere created in the private sector; money just a measure that facilitates its exchange and its direction toward future wealth creation. In short, the limit on central banks is that governments, like individuals and businesses, want to exchange money for real things. None of this means that government always does a good job with money, but it does mean central banks are a sideshow contra Salsman and other central bank critics. Much as central bank critics might wish otherwise, and much as the very existence of central banks is an offense to common sense, governments themselves ultimately decide whether to issue good or bad money, not central banks as is so commonly assumed.

Democracy and Deficit

Salsman is not a friend of democracy, and with good reason. Like most reasonable thinkers, he prefers a constitutionally limited federal republic that has very little power; spending or otherwise. Unrestrained democracy is unquestionably bad simply because it empowers the mob to theoretically vote all manner of benefits to itself on the backs of others. Where we part ways somewhat is in his assertion that democracy is the source of excessive spending.

Politicians who exist to spend. If the money’s there, they’ll spend it. India is a democracy, but the size of its debt isn’t very notable. What ultimately powers spending and borrowing is the wealth of the citizenry that sadly gifts politicians with surging revenue streams that enable endless spending and borrowing. Rich countries can borrow, and they do. The fix is constitutionally limited government. Always.

Lastly, Salsman asserts that “political elites’ electoral incentive is to maximize spending, minimize taxation, and borrow or print money to plug the gap, while treating wealth minority groups and future generations as fiscal commons worth exploiting.” This doesn’t ring true.

Indeed, to separate direct taxation from borrowing and spending is to make a distinction without a difference. Either way, the damage done by government is immediate since government spending (even that which is constitutional) amounts to instantaneous mis-allocation of precious resources. As for the popular notion that deficits burden future generations, it’s accepted wisdom that is also utter nonsense. The burden isn’t debt that can easily be grown out of if government is limited.

More realistically, we all suffer government spending in the here and now thanks to greatly reduced progress wrought by government consuming the resources necessary for advance. As for future generations, the true burden of spending in the here and now is that experimentation and advance that would have otherwise taken place in the past, only to set the stage for greater advance in the future, hasn’t happened.

The burden we leave for those in the future is a world that is much less advanced than it otherwise would be. The spending burdens future generations with work and experimentation that would have otherwise already been completed, and that will detract from much more productive toil had government not previously wasted resources. Something tells me Salsman knows this, but the idea of debt as “someone else’s” burden is very much ingrained.

Still, the minor quibbles should in no way be taken as a reason for readers to not purchase The Political Economy of Public Debt. Richard Salsman has written an endlessly excellent book that expertly tells the story of debt and its implications. Readers will come away exponentially more knowledgeable, and with minds that have been changed at the very least a little, but most likely a lot.

Readers will come away exponentially more knowledgeable, and with minds that have been changed at the very least a little, but most likely a lot.

John Tamny

John Tamny is a Forbes contributor, editor of RealClearMarkets, a senior fellow in economics at Reason, and a senior economic adviser to Toreador Research & Trading. He’s the author of the 2016 book Who Needs the Fed? (Encounter), along with Popular Economics (Regnery Publishing, 2015).

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There’s No Way Obamacare Can Last by Charles Hughes

The Congressional Budget Office score of the American Health Care Act [claims to shows] that the bill will reduce deficits by $119 billion over the next decade and result in 23 million more people being uninsured by 2026. This leaves the impression that people would be better off if Obamacare were unchanged. But a new report from the Department of Health and Human Services dispels this myth.

Premiums have doubled and tripled and are rising further. 

The HHS report shows that premiums in the individual market exchanges increased by 105 percent in the 39 states using Healthcare.gov from 2013 to 2017. This is equivalent to $244 per month in additional premium payments for people buying insurance through the exchanges, or $2,928 over the course of a year. People not eligible for exchange subsidies are fully exposed to these increases, while taxpayers will bear the brunt in the form of higher outlays for subsidies for enrollees who are eligible.Despite the promises that Obamacare would “cut the cost of a typical family’s premium by up to $2,500 a year,” average premiums on the exchanges more than doubled over this period. In some states, such as Alabama and Alaska, the average premium more than tripled.

The high average increase is not driven by a few outliers, as 23 out of the 39 states included in the analysis experienced premium increases in excess of 105 percent. Only three states, North Dakota, New Hampshire, and New Jersey, had cumulative premium increases below 50 percent.

Source: Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation
Created with Datawrapper

As the report acknowledges, the composition of the population enrolling in plans through the exchanges has changed over time due to the adverse selection problems created by the laws subsidy and regulation frameworks.

For example, the community rating age bands, which dictate how much more companies can charge older, higher-risk enrollees, were set at 3:1 under Obamacare. A recent study by Milliman estimated that relaxing these age bands to 5:1 would reduce premiums for people aged 20-29 by 15 percent while increasing premiums for older enrollees.

Lower premiums for younger, healthier people would encourage more of them to enroll through the exchanges instead of foregoing health insurance because it is too expensive for them. Older, less healthy people make up a larger share of the exchange population now than in earlier years, which exacerbates the premium increases on that population.

Due to data limitations, the report does not deal with the population getting plans on the individual market but not through the exchanges. These people accounted for more than a third of the total individual market. They are not eligible for the law’s subsidies, so there is likely less adverse selection for the off-exchange population, but these enrollees have to bear the entirety of the costs of those increases.

Families choosing a plan through the exchanges have seen their premiums more than double since 2013. In some states, a wave of insurers leaving the exchange market has created situations where only one insurer is offering products for entire states.

Alabama and Alaska, which have seen the two highest cumulative premium increases, are both down to only one insurer. In the entire country, only Virginia saw the number of participating insurers increase from 2016 to 2017. Just today, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Kansas City announced it would be exiting the exchange, leaving 25 counties in Missouri without a participating insurer for now.The lack of choices and competition in a growing number of places makes it unlikely that there will be an end to rapid premium growth, absent reform. While the CBO estimates will provide some insight into the effects of the bill in its current iteration, a working group of Senators is crafting a revised bill with major alterations.

Getting the design of replacement legislation right is important, and the CBO score will give the working group of senators more information about which aspects of the bill that passed the House need the most adjustment. Provisions that allow for more competition and choice for people trying to get insurance through the individual market will help bring down annual premium increases.

Since 2013, this group has had to grapple with fewer choices while their premiums doubled. A well-crafted bill could go some way to reversing that unsustainable trend.

This originally ran on the E21 blog.

Charles Hughes

Charles Hughes is a research associate at the Cato Institute.

RELATED ARTICLE: In 3 Charts, the Biggest Revelations From New Obamacare Study

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TAKE ACTION: Media Matters attacks Hannity advertiser USAA whose base is military members

Media Matters is targeting companies that advertise on Sean Hannity because of his conservative values.

Media Matters provides a list at the bottom of this article of companies that advertise and companies that stopped advertising.

USAA is one of seven companies and the largest company that has stopped advertising on Sean Hannity.  USAA tweeted the following:

As a forty-one year member of USAA and proud member of a military family I am shocked that USAA would bow to the pressures of the extreme left.”  Proclaims David Caton, President of Florida Family Association.

USAA provides insurance and financial services to millions of active and retired military personnel as well as their families.

There is no doubt that the super majority of the millions of military families USAA serves believes in the public policies and social morals espoused by Sean Hannity.

USAA tweeted “Advertising on opinion shows is not in accordance with our policy and we’ve since corrected that.”  USAA must have just adopted that policy because USAA ads have appeared on Sean Hannity and numerous other opinion shows for years.

The fact is USAA caved to leftists who do not represent the values of the super majority of their members.  USAA’s decision goes against the core values of their membership base.

If USAA truly has a policy not to advertise on “opinion shows” then USAA must stop ALL advertising on CNN and MSNBC because their entire programming including news is opinion based and loaded with fake news.

Unlike many cable news programs, Sean Hannity routinely gives honor to military leaders, fallen heroes and military families in need.

Florida Family Association has prepared an email for you to send to urge USAA officials to continue advertising with Sean Hannity.

To send your email, please click the following link, enter your name and email address then click the “Send Your Message” button. You may also edit the subject or message text if you wish.

Click here to send your email to urge USAA officials to continue advertising with Sean Hannity.

RELATED ARTICLES:

In another Newsbusters post, the Media Research Center found USAA advertising on MSNBC’s The Rachel Maddow Show

Look What Was Just Uncovered About Former Hannity Sponsor USAA

In a post on their website Newsbusters, Media Research Center reports:

A quick search of our recent recordings shows that USAA advertised routinely on cable news channels, so then you can wonder what their “policy” is? Do they somehow think Hardball is not an “opinion show”? Is Chris Cuomo yelling at Republicans on New Day a “news program”? Advertisers can’t just claim they’re not supporting wild partisan opinions and hope no one notices that their claims of a “policy” aren’t true when you watch TV.

Here’s video of a USAA ad on MSNBC’s Hardball With Chris Matthews on May 24.

A Tale of Two Trumps: One with Anonymous Leaks, One Without

President Trump’s mega-trip to Saudi Arabia, Israel, Rome, Belgium, and Sicily is presenting the American public with a fascinating insight — not into Trump but into Washington, D.C. and the American media.

The Trump at home is beset by the triumvirate of what is now referred to as the Deep State’s daily leaks, a virulently dishonest media and the weak but wildly flailing Democratic Party. These three work in a common direction to undermine the Trump presidency and have been doing so since before inauguration day.

Trump abroad is presidential, courageous, respected and making progress in the impossible quagmire of the Middle East of all places. The Trump at home is under a barrage of embarrassing stories about his corruption or incompetence or collusion from “anonymous” sources.

The two Trumps could hardly be more opposite.

But is Trump really that different on the road, or is there another difference going on here?

The Deep State revelation

One of the early revelations in the Trump administration is that there actually is a vast Deep State apparatus that wields enormous power of the most unaccountable kind.

The Deep State refers to long-time entrenched bureaucrats who oppose Trump and have the power and apparent freedom to seek and send classified material to journalists. Journalists are joined at the hip with the Deep State as the anonymous leaks are what drive a lot of news cycles now.

Many of the leaks are illegal and could and should be investigated and prosecuted. That the FBI seemingly has no interest in doing so suggests that it is probably rife with a type of Deep State also.

Now to be clear, this is not likely to be any sort of broadly coordinated conspiracy.

Like the media, it is made up of hundreds, maybe thousands, of fellow travelers who share a worldview ideology that is distinctly left of the American center. As such, they reactively oppose Republicans and conservatives and are somewhat amoral regarding the means to accomplishing the ends.

So as they come across information that could be damaging to Trump, or are simply sitting on a pile of documents, they share it with journalists who they trust to not “out” them.

The leakers are not heroes. They are cowards and criminals. Cowards for demanding anonymity. Criminals for violating federal law on classified documents.

The Deep State Nuclearized

What’s important to remember about the Deep State is that the Obama administration, spearheaded by Susan Rice, armed them by unmasking an enormous number of Americans caught up in NSA intercepts. These were apparently fishing expeditions for Trump associates who were talking to Russians in order to create as many opportunities as possible to give the appearance of shadiness, without any actual evidence. Of course, it is common for presidential campaigns to communicate with foreign leaders to gather campaign information and prepare for being in office.

Those names and files were then disseminated through several branches of the federal government — nuclearizing the Deep State. The detonations are set off daily, providing regular damage to Trump, but in turn making the media and government radioactive to a large number of Americans.

Is there an investigation of this unmasking and dissemination of state secrets? Not that we are aware of. (See reason listed above for why no serious investigation of the leaks.)

It is entirely possible that this leaking from the Susan Rice unmaskings and the Obama dissemination could go on for a long time. But we also see it continuing after the Trump inauguration, and Rice and Obama were out of office. At least three personal phone calls between Trump and heads of state of other nations have been leaked in hopes of embarrassing the president.

That never happens to other presidents.

True deplorables.

The trip’s solid successes

Because Trump’s trip has been largely a success, and better than most any presidents do on their first trip, that doesn’t mean the triumvirate does not try to undermine him back home.

When Trump got to Israel, several good things had already happened:

  • In Saudi Arabia, Trump called out the Islamists and spoke the truth in the heart of Islam, speaking of “honestly confronting the crisis of Islamic extremism and the Islamists and Islamic terror of all kinds.” (Particularly timely as the next day an Islamic extremist in Manchester, England, slaughtered more than 20 people at an Ariana Grande concert.)
  • Egypt’s president told Trump publicly: “Let me say that you have a unique personality that is capable of doing the impossible.” Naturally, Trump agreed with this. But what you have here is a president speaking the truth, acting with strength, but willing to talk.
  • In Jerusalem, Trump got the Israelis to make changes that could improve the Palestinian economy and expand the border crossings to improve the climate for finding peace. He met with the heads of Israel and the Palestinian Authority. (Of course, the Palestinians don’t want peace with Israel, they want Israel exterminated. It’s literally written in their laws. But he’s getting some movement.)
  • Trump kept relentless pressure on Iran, which is obviously the biggest problem in the region, and has been. He vowed to never let them get nuclear weapons. And he and his team may be able to create a new alignment of several Muslim nations and Israel against Iran — which of course Obama put on a path to nuclearization and helped further destabilize the region.
  • Trump became the first sitting president to visit the Western Wall, and did so with the solemnity the occasion required.

At the halfway mark, the trip has been successful when the naysayers said he should just visit Canada on his first trip.

The Triumvirate strikes back

But the triumvirate of Trump opposition will have none of it, and continues its relentless drumbeat of negativism.

The front-page reporting of the successful trip to Israel that followed the successful trip to Saudi Arabia outlined above was predictably jaundiced, and had to rely on the home team of underminers to get the narrative out. Headlines generally fell along the lines of “Accusations dog Trump’s trip” and “Questions follow Trump to Israel.” (These were followed by obligatory reporting of the actual trip.)

The media even went so far as to seek out and highlight any missteps — no matter how minor — and report on the apparent awkwardness between Trump and his wife. Because those are the things Americans care about.

PBS wanted to assure its loyal listeners that Trump’s trip would not overshadow all his problems at home with this story “Trump’s overseas trip doesn’t stop storm brewing at home over Russia.”

And of course, it is all about the Russia investigation, the collusion accusations, and the idea that many or most Washington journalists have that Trump was in bed with the Kremlin to get elected.

But our story from nearly three months ago remains exactly true. There is no evidence of any wrongdoing on the part of Trump. There is no crime. There is no collusion. Months more of daily hyperventilating stories by the media and now a special counsel, and we still have nothing.

Perhaps it’s because there is nothing and despite all of his personality foibles and Twitter nonsense, Trump can be a very effective President and leader — when it does not go through the media filter.

RELATED ARTICLES:

Has Anyone Ever Leaked So Much To So Little Effect?

Trump Is Not Pro-Russia, Despite What the Media Says

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

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.

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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.

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Google is a mainstream supporter of Sex Traffickers

Yesterday a coalition of consumer and anti-trafficking advocates released a report documenting that Google has financially backed the efforts of digital rights groups to defend Backpage.com—a website notorious for facilitating prostitution and sex trafficking—from numerous legal challenges. The report cited evidence that Google and the groups it financially supports have filed a series of amicus briefs on Backpage.com’s behalf, distorting Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act (CDA) to defend the company’s actions. The report further documents that Google has deployed a band of lobbyists to stymie efforts to amend the CDA. The National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE) applauds this report for revealing mainstream supporters of sex trafficking.

“There can be no doubt that Backpage’s entire business model is built on sexual exploitation, and that as such, Backpage’s CEO and founders represent America’s top pimps,” said Dawn Hawkins, Executive Director of the National Center on Sexual Exploitation. “What will come as a shock to many is that Google—a company with the motto ‘Don’t be evil’—has aggressively buttressed the legal defense of Backpage.com in an effort to protect its own corporate interests, according to the report.

“In a series of court cases favoring Backpage.com, the courts have interpreted Section 230 of the CDA to give third-party hosting sites carte blanche immunity for everything and anything that occurs online. To help ensure Backpage’s legal defense was successful,” Hawkins added,

“Google has financed powerful digital rights groups to bolster Backpage’s legal arguments, according to the report. The report also indicates that Google has taken its campaign to Capitol Hill where it has unleashed a cadre of lobbyists to oppose efforts to amend the CDA.”

“While the law is important in protecting Internet companies from frivolous lawsuits for content posted by users of those websites, we believe that the Backpage.com case is fundamentally different as evidence suggests that the company proactively coaches sex traffickers about how to post ads for underage victims in order to avoid detection by legal authorities.”

“We believe that reasonable reforms to Section 230 are essential to ensure that companies like Backpage.com can no longer hide behind the safe harbor provisions of the law when they knowingly and with reckless disregard allow sex-trafficking ads to be posted on their site. We call on Google and all Internet companies to recognize that people are not objects to be sold online and to support reasonable reform of Section 230 of the CDA.”

Backpage.com is a member of the 2017 Dirty Dozen List due to its history of facilitating, and profiting from, sexual exploitation. Google’s Youtube is also a member of the 2017 Dirty Dozen list for its failure to address the volumes of sexually explicit videos available on its site.

Globalism: Persuading the Individual to Stop Being an Individual

If society understood the reality of collectivism instead of the promise of collectivism then their support for collectivism would vanish.

The elite globalist leaders selling collectivism know this to be true and so they have had to rebrand collectivism as Globalism. Songs are written about globalism – John Lennon’s classic song “Imagine” is the globalist anthem. The successful marketing of collectivism requires the names to change from already rejected Communism and faltering Socialism (think Venezuela) to the promise of a New World Order renamed GLOBALISM that disingenuously pledges social justice and income equality.

Globalism is the new word for the old lie about collectivism – that surrendering individual rights and national sovereignty will deliver social justice and income equality.  

Philosopher Ayn Rand understood the sinister nature of collectivism and and wrote extensively about socialism/communism and how it persuades the individual to stop being an individual:

“Socialism is the doctrine that man has no right to exist for his own sake, that his life and his work do not belong to him, but belong to society, that the only justification of his existence is his service to society, and that society may dispose of him in any way it pleases for the sake of whatever it deems to be its own tribal, collective good.” 

The Islamization of Europe and the West demonstrates how mass social indoctrination toward collectivism leads to cultural suicide and the death of the individual.

Ayn Rand writes:

“When you consider socialism, do not fool yourself about its nature. Remember that there is no such dichotomy as “human rights” versus “property rights.” No human rights can exist without property rights. Since material goods are produced by the mind and effort of individual men, and are needed to sustain their lives, if the producer does not own the result of his effort, he does not own his life. To deny property rights means to turn men into property owned by the state. Whoever claims the “right” to “redistribute” the wealth produced by others is claiming the “right” to treat human beings as chattel.”

Europe’s surrender of its national sovereignty began after WWII with the 1957 Treaty of Rome that created the European Economic Committee (EEC) which eventually became the European Union(EU) of today. Internationalizing Europe’s sovereign nation states into the EU left the United States as the single greatest obstacle to one-world government.

Macron’s victory in France is a victory for collectivism at the expense of French sovereignty and French individualism represented by Marine Le Pen. It is a surrender to postmodern moral relativism, and historical revisionism designed to destroy democracy and its incomparable individual rights and freedoms. The question is WHO benefits from Macron’s victory?? The globalist elite of course. Socialism (total government control) is the death of democracy and is the prerequisite for internationalizing nation states and the imposition of one-world government Globalism. The greatest single obstacle to one-world government is the nation state. National sovereignty is to a country what individual sovereignty is to a human being.

The left-wing liberal agenda seeks to destroy the socio-political capitalist infrastructure of America and transform it into a dependent European-style socialist state with cradle to grave control by the government. Their strategy is to destroy American democracy by dismantling the supporting American institutions of family, religion, and education that promote independence, adulthood, individualism, and ego strength – the same qualities that made America great.

Ayn Rand warns us:

“Socialism is not a movement of the people. It is a movement of the intellectuals, originated, led and controlled by the intellectuals, carried by them out of their stuffy ivory towers into those bloody fields of practice where they unite with their allies and executors: the thugs.” 

American education, our elementary schools, middle schools, high schools, and universities, are a specific target and field of practice. The anarchists, socialists, and hippies of the 60s have become the teachers and professors now indoctrinating their students toward collectivism. The problem, of course, is that these narcissistic intellectuals have never lived under collectivist tyranny – they are armchair pundits living in subjective reality. Anyone interested in the objective reality of collectivism should be listening to those who have escaped from its tyrannical rule.

The entire narrative of the Left is designed to induce regression through educational indoctrination and the media – as Hillary Clinton famously remarked they need “an unaware compliant public.” Unaware and compliant are the hallmarks of childhood. The pitch might sound good to a childish mind who is seduced by candy from a stranger but the adult mind understands the sinister end-game. Once the public is entirely dependent on the government they lose all individual rights and national sovereignty as the socialized state becomes part of the internationalized one-world government. The doors of the car lock and there is no escape – only exploitation and enslavement.

One-world government is the big lie of the 21st century. It promises redistribution of wealth and social justice. What it delivers is unapologetically described in chilling detail by globalist elite English aristocrat Lord Bertrand Russell in his 1952 book The Impact of Science on Society.

The left-wing liberal lemmings are the useful idiots who are too arrogant to understand that they are participating in their own destruction. They have been indoctrinated to believe they are fighting for “social justice” when in fact they are helping to establish the dystopian nightmare of one-world government where there is no middle class, no upward mobility, no national sovereignty, and no individual freedoms. There is only the ruling elite and the enslaved population who service them.

The left-wing liberal lemmings in Europe and in America should take a break from marching and “resisting” and start reading Bertrand Russell’s The Impact of Science on Society written in 1952. They will learn that their script was written 65 years ago by the globalist elites who dreamed of one-world government – a binary socio-political system of masters and slaves.

The globalist elite’s New World Order was their self-serving answer to the Malthusian problem of the earth not having enough resources to sustain the population growth. Tavistock Institute was exported to America with the purpose of indoctrinating Americans via education and the media – particularly television – the greatest vehicle for mass social engineering ever invented. The Hollywood glitterati and the protesting hoards should take a pause and understand there is no place for them in the New World Order – they are simply useful idiots who will be destroyed.

The aristocratic Lord Bertrand Russell and the late David Rockefeller had no moral problem with eliminating the useless eaters any more than Hitler with exterminating Jews, Islamists with exterminating infidels, or the Chinese Emperors with burying their concubines alive to service them in the afterlife. The point is elitism is supremacist – there is no egalitarian respect for human life only the pretense of humanitarian considerations. The Left and the Islamists have common cause in trying to destroy America from within – but it is the globalist elites who finance and disingenuously facilitate both groups because the social chaos they each engender is a prerequisite for imposing globalist one-world government. For the globalist elite whether in Europe or in America, the Left and the Islamists are BOTH useful idiots.

Socialism will never provide social justice – it will only provide the pathway to one-world government where no individual rights or self-determination exist. Socialism strips the individual of his selfness and transforms that individual into property of the state. The individual who willingly forfeits his selfness for socialism has been successfully persuaded to stop being an individual. Socialism is not a free ride it is slavery.