8 Ideas That Will Teach You to Think Like an Economist

Sound economic thinking is vital for a prosperous future.


Economics is the study of human action—the choices people make in a world of scarcity. Scarcity means that people have unlimited wants but we live in a world of limited resources. Because of this fact people have to make choices, and choices imply trade-offs. The choices people make are influenced by the incentives they face and those incentives are shaped by the institutions—rules of the game—under which people live and interact with others.

The Foundation for Economic Education has published some excellent essays on the economic way of thinking and basic concepts (“The Economic Way of Thinking” by Ronald Nash and “Economics for the Citizen” by Walter E. Williams).

In this essay, I will explain eight ideas and give examples of the economic way of thinking.

We often hear how wonderful certain countries are because they provide “free healthcare” or “free education.” Many will also say “I got it for free” because they didn’t pay with money.

The error lies in not understanding the difference between price and cost. For example, people usually say, “The Starbucks latte cost me five dollars” or, “The movie ticket cost me fifteen dollars.” Cost in economics means what you give up or sacrifice. In these examples, the prices were $5 and $15. But the cost of the latte was perhaps the sandwich one could have purchased instead with that same $5, and the cost of the movie was perhaps the three lattes one could have purchased instead with that same $15.

Labeling healthcare and education “free” is not just wrong—”there’s no such thing as a free lunch”—it’s also misleading. As my former professor Walter E. Williams would say, “Unless you believe in Santa Claus or the Tooth Fairy, the money has to come from somewhere.” You might not get a medical bill in those countries but you have more taken out of your paycheck (i.e., taxes) and you might have to wait much longer to get that test or have that “minor” (from the bureaucrats’ perspective) surgery. You pay with either money or time, but either way, you pay! Taxes are also used to pay for public schools, which is yet another example of how people call something “free” when it is not.

There’s a difference between zero price and zero cost. There could be a zero price ($0), but there’s never a zero cost. Therefore, don’t swear anymore by using the “F” word!

“Actions speak louder than words,” is a well-known idiom. Humans act, and the act of choice tells us something. Consider this example: A person walks into an Apple store and sees the price of the latest iPhone and angrily mumbles, “What a rip off” but still proceeds to purchase that phone.

When one does something voluntarily, it demonstrates their true preference at the time. Assuming that individuals are self-interested and will ex ante (looking forward in time) subjectively weigh the cost and benefit of an action, and, also assuming it’s not a right to have the private property of another (i.e., Apple’s iPhone), then when a person walks into an Apple store and buys the new iPhone, the individual obviously expects to be better off in some way at that moment. To say that Apple “took advantage” of the willing customer would be nonsense since Apple, or any private business, cannot force people to buy their product. It’s one thing to say something, but the proof is in the act of choice.

“Don’t cry over spilt milk” means what’s done is done. The only costs that should come into our decision-making are future opportunity costs. Past costs are “sunk.” The typical example to explain the sunk cost fallacy is the movie example. You spend $15 to see a movie and an hour into this three-hour movie you realize that it’s horrible and will only get worse. However, your feeling is that you should stay and get your money’s worth. That is bad economic thinking. The $15 is gone so don’t lose the next two hours of your valuable time—get up and leave.

Most of us know people who were (are) in a horrible relationship or dating the wrong type of person (perhaps this applies to you). But the feeling of “I’ve already spent two years of my life with this person” can lead to a bad decision. Many end up marrying the person in order to justify the investment of time.

No offense to Beyoncé, but if you like yourself, then perhaps don’t let that person “put a ring on it”! Don’t lose the next two years of precious time. It’s better to be single than in a bad relationship (but that’s for another essay).

The optimal or efficient level of pollution is not zero. The optimal number of traffic deaths or sports injuries also is probably not zero. The optimal number of people getting a virus is not zero. The optimal level of safety is not perfect safety. Does this sound strange or harsh? Well, if you want to do a cross country road trip and not walk or ride a bike, or if you want to enjoy playing or watching sports, and if you want to physically interact with others, then it is clear that the optimal level of pollution, deaths, injuries, and people getting a virus is actually greater than zero. The optimal level of safety is less than perfect safety. Nothing is free including more safety—trade-offs are always involved because there is always an opportunity cost when we do something, even things like travel, play sports, or interact with others.

Incremental decision-making is what economists call thinking at the margin. Marginal means the one additional or extra unit. Every time we make a decision it’s as if we are calculating the marginal benefit (the benefit of one more unit) and the marginal cost (what would be given up to acquire one more unit) of the action. The economic way of thinking says something should be done until the marginal benefit (MB) equals the marginal cost (MC). There’s also a concept known as the law of diminishing marginal utility—each additional unit gives less and less utility or benefit.

We want clean air so that our eyes aren’t irritated when we go outside and our lungs don’t burn when we take a breath. However, if the desire is perfectly clean air this would mean no more cars, no planes, no boats or ships, and no trains (some would actually desire this situation, at least theoretically). This would impose tremendous costs on society.

Let’s look at it another way. If I snapped my fingers and made the Pacific Ocean perfectly clean but then put one drop of oil somewhere in the ocean unbeknownst to everyone else, would it be worth it to spend money, time and other resources to hunt down that one drop of oil? The marginal benefit of finding and removing one drop of oil in the quintillions of gallons of water would be less than the marginal cost. In plain English, it’s not worth it. Again, the optimal level of pollution is some, not zero.

When it comes to studying, practicing a sport or musical instrument, or dating someone before marrying them, you might think, “The more time, the better.” I am a literal person so if I told my students, “The more you study the better,” this would mean they would never eat, drink, sleep, or spend time with family and friends. But common sense says that after studying for a certain amount of time most students will say, “I get it” or simply “time to move on.” Why waste more time studying?

Also, if you are in a place in your life where you are considering marriage, then the point of dating is to acquire information about the other person so that you can make a good decision. Ultimately, you come to a point where you have enough information to propose, accept a proposal, or break up with this person. When I proposed to my wife, I did not have perfect information about her, but my information was good enough. Sure, one more month of dating would have given me some marginal benefit in terms of additional information about her, but I came to a point where I had enough information—where MB=MC.

“Good enough is good enough” is what economists mean by doing something until the marginal benefit equals the marginal cost. The MB=MC rule implies that the “more is better” thinking is not optimal. One aspirin from the bottle can help your headache but it’s dangerous to think, “Well, if one is good, the whole bottle is better.” Yes, your headache will be gone but so will you.

In a standard economics class, students are taught absolute advantage and comparative advantage. The former means being able to produce more than another with the same amount of resources or using fewer resources to produce an output. The latter means being able to do something at a lower opportunity cost than another.

Because there’s always an opportunity cost when doing something, sometimes it is advantageous to pay someone else to do something even if we have the knowledge and skills to do it ourselves. This also has applications to trade policy. Just because the United States (actually individuals in the United States) can produce certain products does not mean we should. It’s ok if not everything we buy says “Made in USA” because if the government tries to “protect American jobs” and begins imposing tariffs and quotas, we are not actually saving American jobs. It’s more correct to say we are saving particular jobs at the expense of other American jobs. Of course, good politics and good economics often go in different directions.

The complaint that businesses can charge “whatever they want” is nonsense. For example, why is it that movie theaters only charge $8 for popcorn and not $8,000 or $8,000,000 if they can supposedly charge whatever they want? There are two sides to a market transaction, and it’s this interaction of sellers and buyers that determines the price. What’s interesting is that many times the same people complaining are the ones making noise eating that popcorn during the movie.

Entrepreneurs become wealthy if they create a product or service that provides value for a large number of people. Unless the entrepreneurs received special privileges from the government, they didn’t forcibly take money from their customers.

The anger directed at “the rich” is based on the fallacy of thinking the economy is a fixed-size pie. In other words, those who criticize the “filthy rich” believe that they took a piece that was too big, leaving less pie for the rest of us regular folks. The reality is that these entrepreneurs baked a bigger pie. They benefited, but so did we!

In a business transaction, exchanges are voluntary, and voluntary trade is a win-win situation. The entrepreneur wins (as well as the employees he or she hires) and the customers win.

Intentions and results are not always the same thing. The economic way of thinking teaches us to consider possible unintended consequences of our own actions or the actions of politicians. Just because something sounds good or feels right does not mean a certain goal will be achieved. In fact, the very problem that is being addressed can become worse.

Sound economic thinking also removes one’s blinders. The effects of a policy on all groups are considered, not just one group. This helps individuals to see through politicians’ claims that a policy will save American jobs when in reality only some special-interest group will benefit at the expense of other Americans. When politicians confiscate money (i.e., taxes) to build sports stadiums using the “it will create jobs” argument, the mistake is to focus on the jobs seen and neglecting the unseen—the opportunity cost of those tax dollars.

There is so much more to say about this subject called economics and there are many more examples of the economic way of thinking that I could have included. Some characterize economics as applied common sense; yet, economics also gives us counterintuitive insights.

This is the power and beauty of economics

AUTHOR

Ninos P. Malek

Ninos P. Malek is an Economics professor at De Anza College in Cupertino, California and a Lecturer at San Jose State University in San Jose, California. He teaches principles of macroeconomics, principles of microeconomics, economics of social issues, and intermediate microeconomics. His previous experience also includes teaching introductory economics at George Mason University.

EDITORS NOTE: This FEE column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

Charging an All Electric Car Uses 4 Times the Electricity of a Home Air Conditioner

Watch as Congressman Thomas Massie (R-KY) puts Biden’s Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg on the spot during a hearing on the cost to charge all electric vehicles on Tuesday, July 18th, 2022.

Congressman Massie states, “Numbers are important. It would take four times as much electricity to charge the average household’s cars as the average household uses on air conditioning. Do you think that could be — so, if we reach the goal by 2030 that Biden has of — of 50 percent adoption instead of 100 percent adoption, that means the average household would use twice as much electricity charging one of their cars as they would use for all of the air conditioning that they use for the entire year.”

Tesla Model charging
Tesla Model Energy required to charge battery (kWh) End charge of battery (kWh)
Model 3 Long Range 88.541 kWh 78.557 kWh
Model 3 Performance 94.242 kWh 80.818 kWh
Model S** 118.366 kWh 103.892 kWh
Model S Plaid 116.344 kWh 99.287 kWh

NOTE: Most air-conditioning units run on a cycle of 15 minutes twice per hour. The actual power consumption is at 7.7kWh.

CLICK HERE: Access the Global Energy Tracker on CFR.org

In a December 21st, 2021 column titled Electric Cars vs. Gas Cars: Is the Conventional Wisdom Wrong? Bill Wirtz reported,

Electric vehicle batteries need a multitude of resources to be manufactured. In the case of cobalt, the World Economic Forum has called out the extraction conditions in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where more than half of the world’s cobalt comes from. Miners as young as seven years are suffering from chronic lung disease from exposure to cobalt dust. Not only does battery manufacturing account for 60 percent of the world’s cobalt use, but there are also no good solutions to replace it, which is something Elon Musk is struggling with.

This does not even address the extraction procedures, complications, ethical conditions, and emissions produced by the need for aluminum, manganese, nickel, graphite, and lithium carbonate.

With a European market estimated to reach a total of 1,200 gigawatt-hours per year, which is enough for 80 gigafactories with an average capacity of 15 gigawatt-hours per year, that need is set to increase exponentially.

The renowned German research institute IFO declared the eco-balance of diesel-powered vehicles to be superior to electric vehicles in a study released in April.

In an April 7th, 2022 column titled The Environmental Downside of Electric Vehicles Michael Heberling reported,

An electric vehicle requires six times the mineral inputs of a comparable internal combustion engine vehicle, according to the International Energy Agency.

At one time, “Saving the Environment” and “Fighting Climate Change” were synonymous. That is no longer true. The quest for Clean Energy through electric vehicles (EVs) epitomizes “the end justifies the means.”

According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), an electric vehicle requires six times the mineral inputs of a comparable internal combustion engine vehicle (ICE). EV batteries are very heavy and are made with some exotic, expensive, toxic, and flammable materials.

The primary metals in EV batteries include Nickel, Lithium, Cobalt, Copper and Rare Earth metals (Neodymium and Dysprosium). The mining of these materials, their use in manufacturing and their ultimate disposal all present significant environmental challenges. Ninety percent of the ICE lead-acid batteries are recycled while only five percent of the EV lithium-ion batteries are.

The Bottom Line

All electric vehicles (EVs) are costly to manufacture, use exotic, expensive, toxic, and flammable materials, harm the environment and harm those children working in the mines in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where more than half of the world’s cobalt comes from.

Now we learn that Biden’s Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg has not idea what it costs the ordinary American family to own, charge and maintain EVs. If you purchase a Tesla is will cost $45 for their outlet, and an estimated  installation cost of between $750-$1500.

You see it’s not about the environment, saving the planet from climate change or what is best for the American family.

It’s all about their green agenda and its ideology. The ends justifying their nefarious means!

The American consumer be damned.

©Dr. Rich Swier. All rights reserved.

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There’s 1 Big Problem with Any ‘Climate Emergency’ Biden Might Declare

Data Show California Is a Living Example of the Good Intentions Fallacy

“Concentrated power is not rendered harmless by the good intentions of those who create it.”


During a speech at Harvard several years ago, Charlie Munger related a story about a surgeon who removed “bushel baskets full of normal gallbladders” from patients. The doctor was eventually removed, but much later than he should have been.

Munger, the vice chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, wondered what motivated the doctor, so he asked a surgeon who participated in the removal of the physician.

“He thought that the gallbladder was the source of all medical evil, and if you really love your patients, you couldn’t get that organ out rapidly enough,” the physician explained.

The doctor was not motivated by profit or sadism; he very much believed he was doing right.

The anecdote is a perfect illustration of the righteousness fallacy, which Barry Brownstein noted is rampant in modern politics and a key driver of democratic socialism.

The Righteousness Fallacy (also known as the fallacy of good intentions) is described by author Dr. Bo Bennett as the idea that one is correct because their intentions are pure.

It recently occurred to me that California is a perfect example of this fallacy. Consider these three facts about the Golden State:

  1. California spends about $98.5 billion annually on welfare—the most in the US—but has the highest poverty rate in America.
  2. California has the highest income tax rate in the US, at 13.3 percent, but the fourth greatest income inequality of the 50 states.
  3. California has one of the most regulated housing markets in America, yet it has the highest homeless population in American and ranks 49th (per capita) in housing supply.

That politicians would persist with harmful policies should come as little surprise. The Nobel Prize-winning economist Milton Friedman once observed the uncanny proclivity of politicians “to judge policies and programs by their intentions rather than their results.”

In his book Capitalism and Freedom, Friedman described the danger of such thinking.

[The threat comes] … from men of good intentions and good will who wish to reform us. Impatient with the slowness of persuasion and example to achieve the great social changes they envision, they’re anxious to use the power of the state to achieve their ends and confident in their ability to do so. Yet… Concentrated power is not rendered harmless by the good intentions of those who create it.

I don’t doubt that California lawmakers, like the physician who was removing healthy gall bladders, believe they are doing the right thing. Yet they, like the physician, need to wake up to reality and realize they aren’t making people better.

AUTHOR

Jon Miltimore

Jonathan Miltimore is the Managing Editor of FEE.org. His writing/reporting has been the subject of articles in TIME magazine, The Wall Street Journal, CNN, Forbes, Fox News, and the Star Tribune. Bylines: Newsweek, The Washington Times, MSN.com, The Washington Examiner, The Daily Caller, The Federalist, the Epoch Times.

EDITORS NOTE: This FEE column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

VIDEO: Ten Minute Lesson on the Nature of Money

I was sent this by a gentleman who has a financial magazine read by some of the top people in finance. This is not my field and am uncomfortable even thinking about it in some ways. But I am reliably informed by a few people now, that there is truth in this world view, and profundity. In fact, this is not the usual video about how things work or what to invest in, so much is its an attempt to explain an entire world view about how money is created and destroyed, what wealth is, and so on. I plan to watch it a few more times and hopefully develop an understanding that gives me some predictive ability.

To the extent that I get it now, it doesn’t necessarily change much. It still appears that we are moving from a more or less credit driven free market system into what might be a more controlled feudal system. I dunno. Hopefully this offers insight. Looking forward to the comments on this.

EDITORS NOTE: This Vlad Tepes Blog column by  Eeyore is republished with permission.

U.S. Devotes $195 Mil to ‘Redress the Legacy of Harm’ in Racist Transportation Infrastructure

In the Biden administration’s latest racial equity project, American taxpayers will spend $195 million to help connect minority communities that are cut off from economic opportunities by racist transportation infrastructure. The costly plan is known as Reconnecting Communities Pilot (RCP) and it is part of the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) “Equity Strategy Goal to reduce inequities” across the nation’s transportation systems and the communities they effect. In its announcement, the DOT writes that “preference will be given to applications from economically disadvantaged communities, especially those with projects that are focused on equity and environmental justice, have strong community engagement and stewardship, and a commitment to shared prosperity and equitable development.” The language sounds like material found in a communist manifesto.

DOT Secretary Pete Buttigieg justifies the investment by explaining that “transportation can connect us to jobs, services, and loved ones, but we‘ve also seen countless cases around the country where a piece of infrastructure cuts off a neighborhood or a community because of how it was built.” RCP is the first-ever initiative funded by the federal government that is completely dedicated to unifying neighborhoods living with the impacts of infrastructure that divides them, Buttigieg adds. It will help reconnect communities that are cut off from economic opportunities by what the administration seems to claim is a racist transportation infrastructure. In fact, the lengthy grant announcement states that the multi-million-dollar community reconnection program “seeks to redress the legacy of harm caused by transportation infrastructure.” The “harm” includes barriers to opportunity, displacement, damage to the environment and public health, limited access and “other hardships,” according to the document.

In pursuit of redressing the legacy of harm, RCP “will support and engage economically disadvantaged communities to increase affordable, accessible, and multimodal access to daily destinations like jobs, healthcare, grocery stores, schools, places of worship, recreation, and park space,” the administration writes in the grant announcement. Thus, the new program will be implemented in line with a multitude of other federal initiatives launched by a 2021 Biden executive order to advance racial equity and support for underserved communities through the federal government. Besides the DOT’s Equity Action Plan, the agency grant document identifies them as federal actions to address environmental justice in minority and low-income populations, affordable housing in the nation’s most desirable neighborhoods and a program to strengthen the economy through the creation of good-paying jobs with the free and fair choice to join a union, strong labor standards, and workforce programs. There are many more that were left out of the RCP document.

In the last year, key federal agencies have implemented racial equity plans as per Biden’s order. The Department of Justice (DOJ) created a special initiative to advance equity for marginalized and underserved communities. The Department of Labor (DOL) dedicated $260 million to promote “equitable access” to government unemployment benefits by addressing disparities in the administration and delivery of money by race ethnicity and language proficiency. The Treasury Department named its first ever racial equity chief, a veteran La Raza official who spent a decade at the nation’s most influential open borders group. The Department of Defense (DOD) is using outrageous anti-bias materials that indoctrinate troops with anti-American and racially inflammatory training on diversity topics. The U. S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) created an equity commission to address longstanding inequities in agriculture. The nation’s medical research agency has a special minority health and health disparities division that recently issued a study declaring COVID-19 exacerbated preexisting resentment against racial/ethnic minorities and marginalized communities. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) recently hired a Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer even though most of its employees come from “underrepresented racial and ethnic groups.” Just a few days ago Judicial Watch reported that the administration is spending $6 million to advance racial equity in the government’s food-stamp program that already serves a large minority population.

EDITORS NOTE: This Judicial Watch column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

How Gen Z Is Stepping Into Financial Independence

Gen Z is one of the most well-educated generations, but they also face a unique set of challenges.


Recent financial literacy surveys have found that Generation Z adults (people aged 18-25) are more financially educated than any previous generation. Today, over half of Gen Z already invests in some form. 26% of those who are invested put their money into the stock market.

But this doesn’t mean there isn’t more for Gen Z to learn. Of the group that invests in the stock market, only 1 in 4 thinks they could explain how it works to a friend. The financial concepts most familiar to Gen Z are how spending and saving work.

The key takeaway is that Gen Z knows a lot about finance, but they lack education depth. By addressing educational gaps, Gen Z, and anyone else, can boost their understanding of finance and secure their way towards financial independence.

Gen Z is a series of juxtapositions when it comes to finances. Most of them are off to a good start, but others face shortfalls in their financial understanding. Importantly, many Gen Zers know that they need to learn more. But many who understand basic principles are intimidated by more complex and sophisticated investing principles. Finally, Gen Z is one of the most well-educated generations. Unfortunately, they are also saddled with huge amounts of student loan debt to get by while studying.

As Gen Z enters the workforce, a recent survey by Investopedia polling 4,000 U.S. adults looked at the financial knowledge of various generations. Just under half of Gen Zers feel confident about their financial literacy. Gen Z has the lowest confidence in financial knowledge among Gen Zers, Millennials, Gen Xers, and Baby Boomers.

It’s perhaps surprising that Gen Z has such low confidence in their financial literacy despite how much information is available today. Whether it’s in the classroom or online via platforms like TikTok and Instagram, Gen Z has a seemingly endless stream of knowledge at its fingertips.

But a recent survey conducted by Greenlight Financial Technology found that while members of Gen Z have a strong interest in personal finance, they also desire more financial education and subsequently lack the confidence to properly handle their finances.

Spending and saving, which seems to be Gen Z’s strong points, have been attributed to them watching their parents struggle, particularly throughout the Great Recession.

Even if they aren’t totally confident, Gen Z is big on investing. 54% of Gen Z holds investments of some kind, whether stocks, cryptocurrency, or non-fungible tokens (NFTs).

Importantly, investing occurs across a wide range of demographics within Gen Z. 48% of Gen Z women hold investments, with the number being higher for Gen Z men (60%).

An area that does divide Gen Zers is income. Of those that earn less than $50,000 a year, only 45% are investing. By comparison, 73% of those making more than $50,000 have put their money into financial instruments.

Like Millennials, the most popular areas of investing for Gen Z are new financial technologies, like crypto.

Crypto has become an increasingly popular investing tool as younger generations become skeptical of traditional investing. Some of their concerns revolve around how the government always seems to just print more money whenever the economy cools down. Both Gen Z and Millennials invest in crypto and stocks at similar rates, with around 1 in 4 investing in crypto.

Men tend to own cryptocurrencies and NFTs at nearly double the rate of women. However, these financial instruments can be particularly vulnerable to fluctuations. One way to prevent taking on too much risk can be to spread out the purchase of your assets into other more stable and reliable investments.

Gen Z relies on technology to stay educated. YouTube and other videos are the preferred learning methods; only teachers rank higher as a source of learning.

Millennials, the generation closest to Gen Z, have similar habits, with internet searches being their top method for learning about financial information. Unlike Millennials, Gen Z also utilizes TikTok at a huge rate to get more financial information.

Importantly across generations, friends/family were the number two source of financial information. The only generation that departed were Boomers, who considered friends/family their number one source of finance-related information.

However, there are still gaps in Gen Z’s financial knowledge. Gen Z tends to struggle when it comes to credit and debt management. Understanding your credit score is important, particularly when it comes to how your credit score impacts car insurance and other areas.

According to surveys, Gen Z is particularly worried about paying their taxes. In fact, paying taxes, managing debt, and borrowing money are the biggest areas of concern for Gen Z. During the pandemic, Gen Z faced huge struggles—39% said they lost their jobs, were furloughed, or faced a temporary layoff. As a result, stories about the Great Recession and the fallout from the Covid-19 pandemic have left Gen Z particularly concerned about their financial health and well-being. One other concern Gen Z faces is the present inflationary bubble.

Interest in taxes for Gen Z seems to be driven by income. 37% of those who made less than $50,000 cited “how to do my taxes” as the number one skill they’d like to learn vs. 31% for those who made more than $50,000.

Debt is another area of huge concern for Gen Z. During 2020, Millennials and Gen Z saw the greatest debt growth. Again, income played a direct role, with those making more than $50,000 being less concerned about debt than those who made under $50,000. One particular area of concern is student loans. Being incredibly well-educated means that Gen Z has also taken on larger student loan debt. Consider using a tool to calculate how to refinance your student loans to lower your monthly payments.

Gen Z excels in many different areas. The key for them is to continue taking control of their finances by self-educating. However, self-education isn’t enough. Gen Zers that want to make the most out of their finances also must adopt a mindset of personal responsibility and self-empowerment.

That means understanding how to live within your means, evaluating your spending and savings habits, and making any changes to put yourself on secure financial footing even if that means making sacrifices or delaying desirable purchases.

AUTHOR

Sam Bocetta

Sam Bocetta is a retired defense contractor for the U.S. Navy, freelance journalist and part-time cybersecurity coordinator at AssignYourWriter. He specializes in finding solutions to seemingly-impossible ballistics engineering problems. Sam writes independently for a handful of security publications, reporting on trends in international trade, InfoSec, cryptography, cyberwarfare, and cyberdefense.

EDITORS NOTE: This FEE column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

Food Banks Straining to Meet Demand Show the Real Human Cost of Progressive Policies

Families are seeing the pinch at home, but so too are the charities that pick up the grocery bill for those who can’t make ends meet.


Thanks to inflation, Americans increasingly cannot afford their grocery bills. Global food prices are projected to increase 23 percent this year, on top of the 30 percent they increased last year. And per usual, those already living on the margins are feeling the consequences the most.

Food banks are struggling to keep up with the increased demand they’re experiencing. Families are seeing the pinch at home, but so too are the charities that pick up the grocery bill for those who can’t make ends meet. Many are struggling to keep up with the increased demand on top of the increased cost of food.

Forgotten Harvest, which serves the metro Detroit area, said demand increased 25 to 45 percent since December. According to the Labor Department’s Consumer Price Index, grocery bills increased by 10 percent in March compared to the year before while restaurant charges went up by 6.9 percent.

Furthermore, Feeding America, one of the nation’s largest charities working to prevent hunger with over 200 food banks and 60,000 food pantries, reported 85 percent of their food banks saw increased demand for food assistance.

Tim Fetsch, the chief operating officer of the St. Louis Area Foodbank, which provides nearly 400,000 meals per year, told the Wall Street Journal, “We have had to work harder to secure the food needed to support the community.” He went on to explain that his organization is grappling with supply chain issues, increased transportation costs, and the increase in food prices. And he pointed out that while retail stores used to donate heavily to their program, they too are facing many of the same challenges.

For its part, Feeding America has begun purchasing its food for the first time to make up for the loss in donations. However, their President and Chief Operating Officer Katie Fitzgerald indicated that might not be a permanent solution, telling the Journal, “We’re still trying to purchase that food, but now it’s costing us 40 percent more.”

How do you say “we told you so” in progressive?

Since the beginning of the pandemic, the left has mocked those of us who said the response to the coronavirus might be worse than the disease itself. We were called grandma killers, selfish, idiots. (Never mind the fact that Democratic governors actually killed grandmas by sending infected patients back into nursing homes.)

But every step along the way we have been horribly right.

In March of 2020, we at FEE.org published a headline that read, “Panic Has Led to Government ‘Cures’ That Are Worse than the Disease, History Shows.”

While the New York Times called for more stimulus spending, Tyler Goodspeed (a Fellow at the Adam Smith Institute) wrote in The Hill, “Back to ’70s inflation? How Biden’s spending spree will hurt your wallet.” That was in July of 2021. The Washington Post was advocating lockdowns even as recently as this past December writing, “Lockdowns can be necessary to slow the spread of the coronavirus.” Meanwhile, my colleague at FEE.org has been presciently pointing to the unscientific nature of such claims—reporting all the way back in May of 2020, “Sweden’s Top Infectious Disease Expert Says COVID-19 Lockdowns Are Not Based on Science. History Shows He Could Be Right.”

It’s been like watching a car crash in slow motion while being unable to intervene and stop it.

The response to the coronavirus was worse than the disease, which has a less than 1 percent death rate for the vast majority of people, and for which a vaccine was quickly developed.

There are myriad repercussions we can point to that stemmed from lockdowns and stimulus spending: increases in domestic abuse, loss of education, an increase in poverty, staggering inflation, increases in hunger. The list goes on.

All of these repercussions were predictable and predicted by many who understand the tendency of central planning to generate adverse unintended consequences. Kids can’t just make up for years of learning lost. Trapping people in their homes can be dangerous when their living situation is unstable. Shutting down the economy was always going to lead to supply chain disruptions and shortages, while printing trillions of dollars is bound to lead to inflation.

Our government decided to be truly detached from economic reality and pursue both lockdowns and money printing—meaning you had a huge increase in dollars chasing a decreased number of goods. That’s the specific recipe for high inflation and anyone who didn’t say that all along should probably revisit basic economics.

And lastly, it was clear all along we would see an increase in poverty and hunger as a result of pushing people out of work, limiting the supply chain, and creating high inflation. All of this goes hand-in-hand.

This is yet another example of how the left’s policies hurt the very people they claim to stand for the most. It’s good to care about the poor, but we can’t help them if we don’t understand the economic factors that actually lead to prosperity. A bleeding heart paired with an economically illiterate mind never lifted anyone out of poverty.

Regrettably, those who were already on the margins in our society are being pummeled by the reckless policies of progressives. And let’s be clear, there were plenty of Republicans in the progressive camp as well. Many supported stimulus spending and even lockdowns. Trump himself and many of his supporters even tried to have Representative Thomas Massie (R, KY) kicked out of the GOP when he stood against stimulus spending in 2020.

But saying “I told you so” doesn’t feel good when there are real lives on the line. This story is a heartbreaking one that represents countless children and parents going to bed hungry tonight.

As economist Murray Rothbard once said, “It is no crime to be ignorant of economics, which is, after all, a specialized discipline and one that most people consider to be a ‘dismal science.’ But it is totally irresponsible to have a loud and vociferous opinion on economic subjects while remaining in this state of ignorance.”

Those who waged economic war on the American people over the last two years need to stand down and let entrepreneurs and workers rebuild our ravaged economy.

AUTHOR

Hannah Cox

Hannah Cox is the Content Manager and Brand Ambassador for the Foundation for Economic Education.

EDITORS NOTE: This FEE column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

The 3 Greatest Economic Threats Facing America in 2022 [and Beyond]

An academic and an entrepreneur outline three of the most problematic issues of 2022.


As 2022 unfolds, there’s much concern regarding the US economy and our geopolitical standing. According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the United States was once again the world’s largest economy in 2021, producing an estimated $22.94 trillion or 24.4 percent of global GDP. The number is especially impressive given the population of the US. at just over 333 million people, which is a per capita GDP of roughly $68,700, among the highest in the world.

However, we are concerned with the size, growth, and state of the US economy when comparing its transition from 1960 to date. In 1960, the US produced $543 billion in GDP, or just under 40 percent of the world’s $1.367 trillion global economy. When adding Canada and Mexico, North American GDP totaled $597.42 billion or 43.7 percent of the world’s GDP. In comparison, China in 1960 produced a GDP of $59.72 billion or 4.39 percent of global GDP.

Today, North America comprises only 27.9 percent of global GDP while China, now a country of 1.445 billion people, generates a GDP worth $16.86 trillion (17.8 percent). Including India, Japan, South Korea and all of Asia, total 2021 Asian GDP was 33.7 percent of the $94 trillion global economy. Clearly, North America has been outpaced by Asia since 1960.

While the reasons US competitiveness has declined since 1960 are many, we’ll focus on three of the issues that have been the most problematic, and if not remedied, will continue to be for decades to come.

The month of December saw US consumer price inflation at 7 percent on an annualized basis and the Producer Price Index up a record 9.7 percent on the year. As 2022 begins, many experts predict food inflation will increase 5 percent for the year. US holiday sales were partially fueled by stimulus checks and the child tax care credit that will no longer exist in 2022, thus presenting a potential major decline in retail sales in Q1 2022, but not necessarily accompanied by lower prices.

In addition to food inflation, we expect a high level of wage inflation across all labor markets in 2022. There is a clear shortage of labor in the United States, as evidenced by rising wages in 2021 for jobs from truck drivers to airline employees and $180,000 bonuses for many Apple employees. Perhaps the telltale sign of higher wages to come in 2022 is that the US unemployment rate has declined to 3.9 percent with 6.3 million Americans unemployed, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, and roughly 11 million job openings available. We believe the US chip shortage will improve in 2022 but remain an economic factor through early 2023, continuing to put upward price pressure on automobiles and electronic devices.

Our preliminary estimate for inflation in 2022 is 8 percent as inflation indicators like the 10-year Treasury Bond Yield, gold and oil are up in January. We believe, as did Nobel laureate Milton Friedman, that inflation is caused by government monetary policy. The Federal Reserve, through its open-market operations, must eliminate its years of quantitative easing by tightening the US money supply to bring inflation under control before it becomes an even larger and more difficult problem.

The US federal government continues to threaten to break up America’s largest companies. Should it?

Consider: On Jan. 4, 2022, the stock market value of Apple was worth more than Walmart, Disney, Netflix, Nike, ExxonMobil, Comcast, Coca-Cola, Morgan Stanley, McDonald’s, ADT, Goldman Sachs, Boeing and IBM — COMBINED. For a brief period during the trading of Apple stock on Jan. 3, 2022, Apple’s market cap or stock value surpassed $3 trillion … marking the first time in the history of global stock markets a company achieved a value at or above $3 trillion. Is the fact that only a few stocks — Apple, Microsoft, Google, Amazon, Tesla, Meta, Nvidia — seem to control the size, scope, and fate of the S&P 500 a problem? Is the index concentration of the S&P 500 itself a risk for the market? Is it a problem that the seven largest mega cap stocks account for nearly a third of the entire S&P 500 market value? Or are these companies simply among America’s finest companies in the areas of invention, innovation, and entrepreneurial leadership setting the stage for growth and change within the economy, making them companies government should laud and encourage rather than break up?

Simply stated, the top seven S&P 500 Stocks outperformed the remaining members of the S&P 500 by 33 percent in 2021 because American consumers and consumers around the world felt they had more to offer and purchased their goods, services, and stocks at record levels. Apple alone represented roughly 7 percent of the S&P 500 estimated market value of $42.5 trillion on Jan. 3, 2022. This market share was due to many factors, including the millions of devices, such as phones, watches, and iPads in use around the globe and the broad range of entertainment provided by Apple streaming services.

For the most part, we believe the “magnificent seven” are evidence of the best and brightest ideas and minds business has to offer. It would be counter to the short- and long-term best interest of the US to break these companies up. It is outdated for US antitrust laws to only regulate a company’s size, scope, and influence in the US rather than globally. As noted earlier, America no longer dominates the global economy as we once did.

Still, US companies should compete without government protections, favors or subsidies, to promote successful entrepreneurial activity, improve lives, and safeguard America’s position as an economic powerhouse.

As the US national debt has grown over the last 50 years, interest on the national debt is now among the top 10 items in the annual US federal budget.

The national debt recently eclipsed $30 trillion, which is almost $90,000 per US man, woman, and child, and roughly $239,000 per taxpayer.

Today, the US national debt is 127.55 percent of today’s roughly $23.4 trillion GDP, up from 53.33 percent in 1960 and even higher when compared to 34.5 percent in 1980. In addition, the current debt figures do not include the more than $3.25 trillion in state and local government debt.

Much of our current national debt is due to excessive government spending on unnecessary items. If the massive spending continues into 2022 and beyond, U.S. credit ratings will decline, while adding trillions of dollars to an already unsustainable budget deficit.

In 205 years, from 1776 to 1981, the total US national debt went from $0 to $998 billion. With an accumulated national debt of less than $1 trillion over the first 205 years of American history and a debilitating additional $29 trillion since 1982, perhaps there are lessons for Congress to learn related to a.) budgeting; b.) public policy; and c.) Consensus building in Congress prior to 1982 — lessons that will help restore the American competitive, free enterprise system and enhance opportunities for an ever wider range of Americans and investors from abroad.

COLUMN BY

Timothy G. Nash

Timothy G. Nash is the Director of the McNair Center for the Advancement of Free Enterprise and Entrepreneurship at Northwood University.

Donald S. Gottwald

Donald S. Gottwald is an entrepreneur based in Indianapolis, Indiana.

RELATED ARTICLE: Harvard Medical Prof. Says the Government’s Pandemic Response ‘Failed Miserably,’ Ignored Consequences of Its Policies

EDITORS NOTE: This FEE column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

INFLATION EXPLODES: Consumer Prices Skyrockets 7.5% Higher, Worst Inflation in 40 Years

After they stole the election, the Democrats declared asymmetric war on the American people. They are killing us. literally and figuratively.

So 39 percent of Americans approve of this? As well as skyrocketing crime, and a chaotic Southern boarder, and mask mandates, and the stability of the world in a freefall. Bull S***! Millions of Americans voted against President Trump, because the corrupt media elites told them to do so. Today, millions of Americans are paying the price. Literally.

Consumer Prices Explode 7.5% Higher, Worst Inflation in 40 Years

By Breitbart, February 10, 2022

U.S. consumer prices jumped by the most in nearly four decades as the new year started, sapping the savings of American families, diminishing the purchasing power of worker paychecks, and putting pressure on the Federal Reserve to hike interest rates beginning in March.

The consumer price index climbed 0.6 percent from a month before, the Department of Labor said Thursday. Compared with January of last year, consumer prices are up 7.5 percent.

Economists had expected prices to rise 0.4 percent on a monthly basis and 7.2 percent above a year ago’s prices.

CLICK HERE TO VIEW CUSUMER PRICE INDEX CHART #1 AND CHART #2

In December, consumer prices rose 0.6 percent compared with November. For the full year, prices were up seven percent in 2021, the worst annual inflation since 1982.

Excluding the volatile food and energy components, so-called core prices rose by 0.6 percent. The measure soared six percent from a year earlier. Both exceeded economist estimates.

Although many economists and anti-Trump journalists claimed President Donald Trump’s tariffs would raise prices, consumer prices remained low throughout his administration. Trump’s tariffs turned out not to be taxes on consumers. Instead, they were absorbed by Chinese producers and exporters and the profit margins of most large U.S. companies.

Inflation only began to accelerate last March after years of coming in below the Fed’s two percent target. The Fed had decided to keep interest rates low although the economy was recovering at a faster than expected rate. What’s more, the Biden administration pushed through billions of dollars of deficit spending in the American Rescue Plan. These combined to fuel demand for goods and services faster than supplies could expand, pushing up prices.

Federal Reserve chief Jerome Powell, following the advice of many of the economists on the central bank’s staff, initially claimed that inflation was due to transitory factors. Fed officials forecast that inflation would fall in the latter half of 2021, predicting that supply chains would swiftly unsnarl and a rebalancing of consumer demand from goods to services would relieve pricing pressure. The Biden administration, under the tutelage of former Fed chair and now Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, largely followed suit and continued to press for even more spending.

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EDITORS NOTE: This Geller Report column is republished with permission. All rights reserved.

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$200 Million in Somali Welfare Fraud Paid for Trips to Mecca

Rep. Ilhan Omar’s favorite restaurant claimed to be feeding 6,000 kids a day.

Feeding Our Future, the Minnesota food charity sponsor whose offices have been raided by the FBI over allegations of massive fraud that some estimates have placed in the hundreds of millions of dollars, claimed that it wants to make “the world a better place for all”.

10 members of FOF’s staff boast of speaking Somali, others of Arabic and related languages often spoken by Muslim minorities, but only 3 speak Spanish and only 1 knows Chinese. The organization’s Manager of Operations, Food Program Coordinators Manager, Food Program Support Manager, and multiple administrators, all appear to be Somali.

The contact page is decorated with a photo of a woman in a hijab chowing down on a burger.

The pandemic destroyed lives, hundreds of thousands died, millions lost their businesses and jobs, but a great river of government money flowed to those who knew how to play the game.

As The Counter notes,

“In the early months of the pandemic, the Department of Agriculture (USDA) acted quickly to loosen rules governing how child nutrition programs had to operate. Gone were the strict nutrition guidelines, the group dining requirements, and the in-person inspections. Instead, the agency focused on cutting red tape as part of a broad effort to keep snacks and meals accessible to hungry families while mitigating the spread of Covid-19.”

In 2019, Feeding Our Future distributed $3.4 million in taxpayer food aid funds to the non-profits it was sponsoring, In 2020, that shot up to $42 million and then up to $197 million in 2021.

These were impressive numbers for a charity that seemed to focus on Somalis in Minnesota.

While there may be some hungry Somali Muslim kids in the Gopher State, $197 million would buy them all meals at five-star steakhouses before jetting them away from the snow to Vegas.

According to a lawyer for Aimee Bock, FOF’s founder, who isn’t Somali, but whose lawyer previously represented a Somali ISIS recruit, “all Ms. Bock did was feed children.”

When over 200 FBI agents converged on the offices of various non-profits, their search warrants claimed that the Somali aid groups received “tens of millions of dollars” but that “almost none of this money was used to feed children.” The FOF’s Minneapolis offices were near the Somali Abu Huraira mosque and not far from a multitude of Somali community organizations.

Some of the money allegedly went to Bock and her boyfriend, Empress Malcolm Watson Jr., apparently a bail bondsman tracking wanted fugitives, who had previously been arrested for domestic violence, and whose construction company received $600,000 from her non-profit.

The only client listed on its site has the first name, “Aimee”.

Bill Glahn, a reporter for American Experiment who has been investigating the case, noted that Empress Malcolm Watson, Jr. “has an impressively long list of encounters with local law enforcement. 4 felony convictions, one for theft by swindle and one for domestic assault” which is even bigger than the rap sheet of his revered father, Empress Malcolm Watson, Sr.

From there it gets quite complicated.

Abdikerm Abdelahi Eidleh, a Feeding Our Future employee, according to the FBI documents, controlled multiple target premises, opened over 20 bank accounts in the name of his various entities, and “solicited and received kickbacks” from the groups receiving child nutrition cash.

According to Feeding Our Future, the organization’s “extensive knowledge of the USDA Child and Adult Care Food Program” helped “child and adult care programs maximize their reimbursement”. These were the groups on whose behalf it acted as a sponsor.

Feeding Our Future was getting a 10% administrative fee off the top. But that wasn’t enough.

Safari Restaurant, which boasts “traditional Somali cuisine” like french fries and safari chicken quesadilla, where Rep. Ilhan Omar had celebrated her victory party, applied to participate in the Federal Child Nutrition program.

When the money was denied, Feeding Our Future complained that “minority-owned businesses serving almost exclusively economically disadvantaged children of color” were being denied the right to serve “culturally relevant foods” to “youth” during a “national emergency”.

Crying racism worked and at its peak Safari claimed to be feeding 6,000 children a day. That’s a lot of children. Documents note that the Somali eatery claimed to be serving a comparable number of meals to “the entire St. Paul public school district.”

Safari was just one of the many providers who claimed to be feeding thousands of children.

Glahn in American Experiment found that, “Feeding Our Future had 312 authorized sites for the program, approved for a maximum of 126,000 children.” That’s a lot of hungry Somali kids.

Oliver Twist, eat your heart out.

He also noted that, “Five of the sites are religious centers.”

The Feds staked out various Feeding Our Future meal sites and found no one at the places that were supposed to be feeding 50,000 children. According to the FBI, the money being stolen wasn’t used to feed children, it went into various shell companies and fronts operated by Somalis and was used to buy everything from a Porsche to African properties.

According to the Twin Cities Pioneer Press, S&S Catering led by Qamar Ahmed Hassan received $13.8 million in federal funds. The FBI warrants note that,

“Qamar Ahmed Hassan wrote approximately $27,000 in checks from S&S Catering bank accounts… to Amax Travel, a travel agency that specializes in Haji travel packages.”

Haji is the Islamic obligation for every Muslim to visit their holy city of Mecca.

Amax offers trips to the Saudi cities of Mecca and Medina, that non-Muslims are banned from entering, five-star hotels, and tours led by Imams.

One of the non-profits associated with FOF, Stigma-Free International, was incorporated by Minneapolis City Council Member Jamal Osman. The Somali politician is a political ally of Rep. Ilhan Omar and has been photographed with her. He had previously been featured in a Project Veritas undercover investigation which appeared to show his brother “rifling through piles of ballots strewn across his dashboard” and declaring, “just today we got 300 for Jamal Osman.”

The man in question had also allegedly worked on Omar’s political campaign.

The scale and scope of the alleged fraud is as vast as the network that perpetrated it. The FBI warrants list numerous people, the vast majority of them Somali Muslims, a dizzying variety of non-profits that received the money, and a wide variety of destinations for the cash. The fraud was lubricated by false accusations of racism and discrimination by FOF and its recipients.

During the initial controversy, a video in support of Feeding Our Future at the Safari restaurant featured numerous local politicians, including Senator Omar Fateh, the first Somali Muslim in the state senate, who had been backed by the Democratic Socialists of America.

A Deputy District Director for Rep. Ilhan Omar gave what was described as an “impassioned speech” declaring, “This community is tired. It’s tired of the bulls—”

But it’s Americans who have every right to be tried.

Open borders migration is not feeding our future. It’s stealing our future away.

COLUMN BY

Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is an investigative journalist and writer focusing on the radical Left and Islamic terrorism.

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EDITORS NOTE: This Jihad Watch column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

Bridge Collapses In Pittsburgh Before Biden Is Set To Visit To Talk About Infrastructure

A bridge in Pittsburgh collapsed Friday morning hours before President Joe Biden is set to visit the city to give remarks about infrastructure.

Pittsburgh Public Safety confirmed the bridge collapse, tweeting a photo of the snow-covered structure and warning residents of “a strong smell of natural gas in the area.”

The president heads to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on Friday to visit Carnegie Mellon University’s Mill 19, a research and development hub incorporated into the bipartisan infrastructure plan passed in 2021. 

Biden will then give remarks “on strengthening the nation’s supply chains, revitalizing American manufacturing, creating good-paying, union jobs, and building a better America, including through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law” at Mill 19, according to the White House schedule.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki tweeted that Biden was made aware of the bridge collapse. “Our team is in touch with state and local officials on the ground as they continue to gather information about the cause of the collapse,” she said.

“@Potus is grateful to the first responders who rushed to assist the drivers who were on the bridge at the time. The President will proceed with trip planned for today and will stay in touch with officials on the ground about additional assistance we can provide,” Psaki added.

Pennsylvania has 3,353 bridges in poor condition, the second-highest in the country, according to ABC News. Pittsburgh Public Safety added in a tweet that there will be a news conference about the bridge’s collapse.

COLUMN BY

SHELBY TALCOTT

Senior White House correspondent. Follow Shelby on Twitter.

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EDITORS NOTE: This Daily Caller column is republished with permission. All rights reserved.

Biden’s Infrastructure Bill Fleeces Floridians in Favor of Blue States

The Biden administration announced Florida would get significantly less money than other states for bridge repairs!

Governor Ron DeSantis highlighted this week how Florida is receiving less than $245 million for bridge repairs out of the almost $27 billion for bridges nationally through the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. The formula used to calculate the amount given to states penalizes Florida for doing its job and successfully maintaining the infrastructure that Floridians require to live and work every day. But even then, Florida’s small amount still does not add up.

“The Biden Administration continues to punish states that are succeeding,” Governor DeSantis said. “Despite obstacles created by the Biden Administration, the State of Florida continues to thrive and foster an environment that draws new residents and tourists every single day. By doing so, Florida has continued to grow, and our infrastructure must be able to keep up the pace. The Biden Administration though is short-changing Florida yet again.”

The federal government claims the funding is based on the number of bridges in disrepair. But states with a similar or fewer number of bridges in disrepair are frequently receiving more than twice as much funding as Florida. Florida has more than 12,500 bridges statewide, and the Bridge Formula Program has identified 408 bridges that are in poor condition and provided $245 million for those.

Under the same formula, Washington State has 416 bridges identified as in poor condition, similar to Florida’s 408, but Washington State is set to receive $605.1 million from the federal government. Connecticut has 248 bridges identified as in poor condition and is set to receive $561.4 million in funding, over twice as much as Florida is receiving with 160 fewer bridges to repair. Biden’s home state of Delaware will receive $225 million, just $20 million less than Florida, but has only 19 bridges to repair according to the formula.

This is just another attempt to harm Floridians because our leaders have rightly criticized the Biden Administration’s reckless policies, and Florida stands out as a leader in job creation and economic growth while the nation, as a whole, suffers under Democrat mismanagement.

Americans see it all. Destructive Democrat policies have created a wave of new Florida arrivals. Between July 2020 and July 2021, Florida added 220,890 new residents from other states, the largest net gain in the country. People are fleeing other states for the free and growing state of Florida, and all of them will need access to quality infrastructure that was not available in the states they left.

Governor Ron DeSantis Awards More Than $20 Million to Repair Water, Sewer and Stormwater Infrastructure Damaged by Hurricane Michael in Panama City

PANAMA CITY, Fla. — Today, Governor Ron DeSantis announced more than $20 million has been awarded to Panama City through the Department of Economic Opportunity’s (DEO) Rebuild Florida Mitigation General Infrastructure Repair Program. The funding will be used to make repairs and replace 2.4 miles of water lines, 2.4 miles of stormwater lines and 3 miles of sewer lines that were damaged by Hurricane Michael. These improvements will fully restore water quality, functioning stormwater drainage and dependable sewer for the area.

“Since the beginning of my administration, we have remained committed to helping Northwest Florida recover from Hurricane Michael, and today I am proud to award another $20 million to help Panama City’s recovery,” said Governor Ron DeSantis. “This project will make a real difference by restoring water, sewer and stormwater infrastructure in the city.”

“In a state that often experiences unpredictable natural disasters, we are fortunate to have the leadership of Governor DeSantis to support these recovery efforts,” said Secretary Dane Eagle of the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity. “We are very pleased to be able to assist the people of Panama City with this award and will continue to strengthen Florida by fulfilling the needs of all communities.”

The program, administered by DEO allows local governments to develop large-scale infrastructure projects to make communities more resilient to future disasters. DEO is the governor-designated state authority responsible for administering all U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) long-term recovery funds awarded to the state. Rebuild Florida uses federal funding for Florida’s long-term recovery efforts from the devastating impacts of natural disasters. For more information, visit RebuildFlorida.gov.

Yesterday, Governor DeSantis also announced $17 million for the City of Bonita Springs in Lee County through the DEO Rebuild Florida Program to make infrastructure repairs related to Hurricane Irma.

For more information, visit RebuildFlorida.gov.

©Republican Party of Florida. All rights reserved.

Single Payer: A Toxic Brew of Politics and Medicine

The Left’s dream of socialized medicine is still kicking around.  The Left has been salivating for single payer for a hundred years, and they’re not about to give up now.

A single payer healthcare proposal made it out of a committee in California’s legislative Assembly earlier this week.  Governor Gavin Newsom campaigned on single payer in 2018, but a separate measure would have to be put to the voters to fund the gargantuan program with huge tax increases.  Even then, the tax increases being proposed would only bring in less than half of what single payer was estimated to cost when it was considered in 2018.  Unsurprisingly, there are no cost estimates this time, because the idea was shelved in 2018 after Californians realized how much it would cost.  The same reality check occurred some years ago in Vermont.  Single payer died there when it became known payroll taxes would have to consume 25 percent of everyone’s paycheck to pay for it.

The radical California Nurses Association is pushing single payer, holding a ‘Day of Action’ in 15 California cities last Saturday.   Leftists elsewhere in the country also continue to agitate for single payer.  A nationwide march for single payer was also held last Saturday in all 50 states.   Far-left publications recently urged their readers to continue to fight for single payer, although the publications are split on whether to fight at the national or state level.  The Yale School of Medicine ran an editorial praising single payer and the resolution New Haven passed last August supporting Medicare for All for the entire country.

Similar resolutions passed in several New Jersey cities and Duluth last year.  Single payer proposals are also kicking around in New YorkOregon, and Ohio.  The idea has not been abandoned at the national level, either.  Joe Biden’s Build Back Better proposal would put more building blocks in place by creating a public option for health insurance, increasing Obamacare subsidies, and ramping up Medicaid.  Critics say this is just a stone’s throw away from single payer.

But no matter how you get there, single payer is still a bad idea.  The stratospheric cost is reason enough to oppose single payer, not to mention the experience of the National Health System in Britain which shows such programs are continually broke and always pleading for more money.  There’s never enough money for single payer and, when more money isn’t forthcoming, single payer is forced to ration your healthcare even more than it usually does.  Long wait times and rationing, that’s the fate of anyone on single payer.  It takes three years to get a tooth removed in Britain.  Is that what you want?

Horror stories about rationing and long waits are familiar.  But there’s another aspect of single payer that’s just as insidious that doesn’t get nearly enough attention.  Healthcare would become completely politicized under single payer and, if private medicine is banned, you won’t have anywhere else to go.  Look what’s happened recently in the pandemic.  The federal government told Florida to pound Daytona Beach sand when the state asked for more monoclonal antibody treatments.    The Woke FDA is saying life-saving COVID treatments should be doled out based on skin color.  That’s despicable.  We also have the spectacle of public health authorities falling all over themselves lately to tell everyone they need an N95 mask.   Maryland’s going to give out 20 million of them.  In case you haven’t figured it out yet, what this really means is everything you’ve been told about cloth masks for the last two years has been a lie – that cloth masks work and should be mandated.  You’ve been fed a line of bull for political reasons.   What do you think’s going to happen when the government gets its hands on all of healthcare under single payer?   Every single aspect of medicine will become politicized.  You will be told what healthcare you can have and no more.  You will be told how to behave and what rules you must obey in order to get it.  Too bad for you if Washington decides it doesn’t like your diet or your lifestyle choices.  When rationing isn’t enough, we will have to bring the hammer down to make sure you don’t cost the government too much money for your healthcare.

And, of course, the politicians who pass single payer and implement it will exempt themselves from whatever rules they impose on the rest of us.  That’s what happened in Obamacare with the congressional exemption.  It’ll happen again in spades if you fall for single payer.  You’ve been warned.

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©Christopher Wrights. All rights reserved.

Fake Students, Vacations for Random Koreans, and Fattening Up Eels: Rand Paul Exposes 8 Insane Ways the Feds Wasted Our Money in 2021

Yet again, taxpayers are footing the bill for some truly crazy expenditures.


Every holiday season, Senator Rand Paul honors the fictional Seinfeld holiday “Festivus,” an annual airing of grievances, with a report exposing how the federal government wastes taxpayers’ money. The libertarian-leaning Kentucky Republican just released his latest report for 2021 and its findings are even worse than expected.

And that’s saying something.

Senator Paul’s office documents $52.6 billion in waste, which is equivalent to wasting the taxes of 3.43 million Americans! The full 43-page report covers far too many egregious examples of government waste to list in one article. But here are 8 of the most outlandish ways the federal government wasted our money according to this year’s report.

The federal government’s COVID-19 efforts were a scammer’s dream. The Paycheck Protection Program was meant to help struggling small businesses stay afloat during the pandemic, but it sent an astounding $4.29 billion to ineligible businesses or duplicate loans. It even sent $3.6 billion of that money to businesses explicitly on the Treasury Department’s “Do Not Pay” list—which includes known scammers—yet, it didn’t bother to check!

So, too, countless billions were lost to unemployment fraudsters during the expanded pandemic benefits system.

Apparently, the federal government gives out more than $9,000 in federal funding per student in Baltimore, Maryland. One school evidently decided to take advantage of this system, claiming $1.27 million in funding for 140 students who were not actually enrolled and whose “whereabouts were unknown.” According to the report, “A City of Baltimore investigation found some administrators were changing grades and padding enrollment with ‘ghost students’ who were not actually attending the school in order to get more funding.”

The federal government’s multi-trillion-dollar COVID-19 “stimulus” efforts flooded the coffers of state and local governments with more money than they knew what to do with. This resulted in many absurdly wasteful programs, like one in New York City where Mayor Bill de Blasio used federal taxpayer money to set up a “City Arts Corps” paying artists to create public art and “resurge the cultural scene.”

Senator Paul’s report documents billions wasted on jaw-droppingly dumb expenditures in Afghanistan. The US reportedly allowed foreign nations to use military aircraft for free at a total expense of $773 million and spent $549 million on planes that were later scrapped and sold for parts. The federal government also apparently wasted $2.4 billion on constructing buildings in Afghanistan that were left unused as well as $88 million invested in building irrigation systems for Afghan farmers—only 2.7 percent of which were later used properly.

There’s a hot debate in American politics about how much money the federal government should spend securing our southern border. Yet apparently we are already spending hundreds of millions on border security—in other countries.

“$250 million of your taxpayer dollars are going to building borders in Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt, Tunisia, and Oman,” the report notes. “While Americans may be divided on how to solve the crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border, we should all agree that using our taxpayer money to fix someone else’s border is not the best idea.”

Many Americans could use a vacation but can’t afford one right now. Well, rest assured that the federal government is using their tax money to send random South Koreans on climate change vacations.

“Partnering with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the United States Embassy in Seoul is allocating up to a $150,000 grant to send ten Koreans aged 15-30 to Washington, D.C. for two weeks to learn about climate change activism,” the report notes.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reportedly gave $337,500 to a Canadian company to fatten up eels for human consumption in an effort to boost the… eel market?

“This is corporate welfare, driven by somebody at the FDA who must really like eating eel,” the report notes. “Someone should remind the FDA that there are other fish in the sea.”

At least the federal government is carefully stewarding our retirement money, right? Yeah, about that…

According to Senator Paul’s report, the Social Security Administration made “100,766 overpayments totaling nearly $4.2 billion that may not be fully recouped until 2049. Of this, the Administration completely deleted and could not account for over $1.2 billion due to an error in their system.”

Rest assured, this list is hardly exhaustive. The full depths of waste across trillions and trillions of dollars in federal expenditures can’t be captured by one report or one senator’s office. The above items and $52+ billion are just the tip of the iceberg, indicative examples that remind us how wildly irresponsible the government is with our money. But as Nobel-prize-winning economist Milton Friedman famously explained, that’s a feature of the government, not a bug.

Why? Friedman identified four ways money can be spent. We can spend our money on ourselves, in which case we have every incentive toward frugality and quality assurance. We can spend our money on someone else or someone else’s money on ourselves, like buying gifts or spending a gift card. In either scenario, some incentive toward frugality still exists.

Yet Friedman outlined a fourth scenario, wherein someone spends other people’s money on other people. In that scenario, there’s really no incentive at all to spend frugally or wisely. And that scenario perfectly describes most government programs.

The takeaway here is clear. There’s only one way to get the government to waste less of our money, and that’s to give them a lot less of it in the first place.

WATCHRand Paul: What’s REALLY Behind Disastrous Inflation? (Interview)

COLUMN BY

Brad Polumbo

Brad Polumbo (@Brad_Polumbo) is a libertarian-conservative journalist and Policy Correspondent at the Foundation for Economic Education.

EDITORS NOTE: This FEE column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

FLORIDA: Governor DeSantis Vows ‘We Will Not Let Anybody Lock’ Floridians Down or ‘Take Their Jobs’

Under Governor DeSantis, the state of Florida is the envy of the country. Everyone and their mother wants to move there. And for good reason. People want freedom, safety, and prosperity. Everything that Florida represents today. We love President Trump, but it is becoming increasingly difficult to imagine Governor DeSantis not being our candidate in 2024. We are going to have to wait and see what happens.

Watch below.

DeSantis SAYS ‘NO’: Gov Vows ‘We Will Not Let Anybody Lock’ Floridians Down or ‘Take Their Jobs’

By The First, December 20th, 2021

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis defended freedom in the Sunshine State Monday; saying he will not let the federal government “lock” anyone down or “take their jobs.”

“Floridians know we will not let anybody lock them down, we will not anyone take their jobs, we will not let anyone ruin their businesses, and we will not let anyone close their schools,” said the Governor.

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EDITORS NOTE: This Geller Report column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

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