Emergency! Now Is The Time To Narrow The Economic Recovery Curve

There are three key letters everyone needs to focus on. They are V, U, and L.  These are the common shapes economic recoveries take.

A V shaped recovery is ideal.  It means bounce right back.  This is where we should aim, but if we don’t get the economy functioning fast, the opportunity will be lost.

A U shaped recovery means a reasonable period of loss, followed by growth.  This is more common, but second best.  If we let this scenario slip from our grasp… heaven help us.

An L shaped recovery is the wolf now stalking us.  It means drop down and stay down, with suffering over a prolonged period.  We’re talking stagnation — Japan’s lost decade — if we’re lucky.  It means long-term bread lines, brother can you spare a dime, shanty town, 1930s great depression, if we’re not.

We’ve worked together to flatten the virus transmission curve and enable our medical system to cope.

Well done.

We hope these efforts stem the loss of life and the burden on our nurses, hospitals, and doctors.  To all those who have lost someone, or are concerned about their health, or the well-being of a loved one, our prayers are with you.

We must work together now to narrow the economic recovery curve.

With huge portions of our economy shut down, markets are crashing.

How could they not?

If we don’t get the economy functioning we will all learn a terrible lesson in what “unsustainable” actually means.

Trillions of dollars in bailouts and stimulants will quickly be consumed, vanish and be  wasted, unless markets are permitted to function and the economic motor to run.

The good news is that if we’re smart, we are better equipped to harness the productive power of our free market, and safely phase economic activity back on, than we’ve ever been before.

  • The CODVID-19 crisis is not an opportunity for partisan advantage.  STOP IT!
  • One-size-fits-all edicts are what we issue at the first moment of emergency.  We must do better moving forward.
  • We’re in the digital age.  Information is power.  Use it.
  • Not all activities operate at the same level of risk.  Assess them individually and phase them back on as quickly as reasonable.
  • State-wide orders are inefficient.  Rural and desert counties in California with little exposure, for instance, shouldn’t receive the same mandates as dense urban areas.  Fine tune.
  • Slash bureaucratic red tape and remove unnecessary obstacles to working in novel ways.
  • Remove disincentives and create no new disincentives to hiring Americans and producing goods here.
  • Make remote working incredibly productive.
  • Tailor safety procedures to allow businesses to resume functioning.
  • Set aside unneeded regulations.
  • Keep emergency programs temporary.  Make long-term policy changes through normal due process.
  • Phase activity back on as the virus threat diminishes.
  • Phase activity back on if, sadly, the virus becomes widespread and social distancing is no longer effective.
  • Government is vital, but inefficient.  Enable the private sector to provide solutions.
  • Harness today’s data-driven economy to replace blanket shutdowns with a mosaic of safe activity.
  • Be kind, caring, compassionate, appreciative, polite and helpful to others.
  • Plan a COVID-19 endgame.

If we don’t enable economic recovery to get moving, the resulting harm will exceed the harm from the virus.

Time to be smart.  Fast.

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

Feminists’ ‘Equal Pay Day’ Compares Apples and Oranges

Both men and women are gravely affected by the surge in unemployment due to measures aimed at containing the spread of the novel coronavirus in the United States.

Pitting men and women against each other with simplistic statistics about a gender wage gap needlessly adds to the real pain.

Tuesday, March 31, is a fairly random day selected as “Equal Pay Day” by the National Committee on Pay Equity to draw attention to the difference in the median annual earnings of all men and women working full time for wages or a salary.

According to the committee, the date “symbolizes how far into the year women must work to earn what men earned in the previous year.”


In these trying times, we must turn to the greatest document in the history of the world to promise freedom and opportunity to its citizens for guidance. Find out more now >>


To the extent that implies that women get paid less than men for doing the same work, that representation is just plain wrong.

According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2018, women who were full-time wage and salary workers had median weekly earnings of 81% compared with men.

That’s a simple statistic that does not allow us to draw any conclusions beyond stating that if you take all men and women working full time in the economy, and take the person in the middle of each distribution, the woman in the middle earns 81% of what the man in the middle earns.

It provides no answers to the question of whether men and women receive equal pay for equal work.

To answer that question, we need to dig deeper and consider a number of factors that determine pay, including the number of hours worked, occupations and industries, education, experience, and tenure, and the distribution of benefits-to-cash compensation.

Once we account for relevant factors for which we have available and reliable data, the wage gap all but disappears.

To the extent that we observe differences between men and women in the workplace, many of those differences come down to the different preferences and choices individuals make—with the starkest differences observed for working mothers, compared with both working men (fathers included) and women.

Some of those differences include:

  • Men are more likely than women to take on higher-risk jobs in exchange for higher pay: 93% of civilian workplace fatalities occur to men, who are far more likely to work in riskier industries, such as construction and natural resource extraction.
  • Among full-time workers, women worked 10% fewer hours, on average, than men.
  • Women are more likely than men to choose jobs for reasons other than pay, showing preferences for workplace benefits and more flexible hours, with women who have children showing the greatest preference. According to a Pew survey, 70% of working mothers consider a flexible schedule extremely important, versus 48% of working fathers.

And yet, we observe differences in compensation even when men and women work in the same job and under completely identical compensation structures.

A study examining the earnings of male and female bus and train operators for the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority identified that women earned 89% of what men earned, concluding that “while having the same choice sets in the workplace, women and men make different choices.”

As my heritage Foundation colleague Rachel Greszler elaborated:

[W]omen chose to work only half as many overtime hours—80 hours per year, compared with 160 hours for men. Women also took an average of 17.5 days of unpaid leave (often to avoid undesirable schedules) … compared with 10 days of leave for men.

Women and men have different earnings in large part because of the choices they make about how much to work, in which jobs and industries to work, and which aspects of a job are important to them.

Some of those choices are likely influenced by social and cultural factors and the opportunities we encounter, based on the environments in which we are born and raised.

The good news is that in the United States today, men and women are paid based on the contributions they make and the wages and working conditions they are able to negotiate, rather than based on their sex.

As the nation confronts the novel coronavirus threat, we should remember that we are all in this together. Both men and women are best served by a strong economy that provides them with opportunities to work and provide for their families, in accordance with their own values and abilities.

The economic disruptions experienced by millions of workers due to necessary measures to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus know no sex.

COMMENTARY BY

Romina Boccia focuses on federal spending and the national debt as director of the Grover M. Hermann Center for the Federal Budget at The Heritage Foundation. Read her research. Twitter: .

RELATED ARTICLE: America’s National Pastime: Remembering the Role of Women


A Note for our Readers:

This is a critical year in the history of our country. With the country polarized and divided on a number of issues and with roughly half of the country clamoring for increased government control—over health care, socialism, increased regulations, and open borders—we must turn to America’s founding for the answers on how best to proceed into the future.

The Heritage Foundation has compiled input from more than 100 constitutional scholars and legal experts into the country’s most thorough and compelling review of the freedoms promised to us within the United States Constitution into a free digital guide called Heritage’s Guide to the Constitution.

They’re making this guide available to all readers of The Daily Signal for free today!

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

America Needs a Formula for Reopening

This week, President Donald Trump began openly considering at what point the American government ought to take steps to reopen the American economy.

He explained: “Our country wasn’t built to be shut down. America will again and soon be open for business,” suggesting that the timeline will be weeks instead of months.

“If it were up to the doctors,” Trump said, “they’d say, ‘Let’s shut down the entire world.’ This could create a much bigger problem than the problem that you started with.”

Later, Trump optimistically proclaimed that he “would love to have the country opened up and just raring to go by Easter.”


In these trying times, we must turn to the greatest document in the history of the world to promise freedom and opportunity to its citizens for guidance. Find out more now >>


Trump’s projections drew fire—as do all of his statements. These statements, however, caused inordinate faux heartburn among commentators, who shouted that Trump was weighing dollars against lives and deciding in favor of dollars.

The hashtag #NotDyingForWallStreet began trending on Twitter, followed by the hashtag #DieForTheDow.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo tweeted: “My mother is not expendable. Your mother is not expendable. We will not put a dollar figure on human life. … No one should be talking about social darwinism for the sake of the stock market.”

Former Vice President Joe Biden said, “I don’t agree with the notion that somehow it’s OK … to let people die.”

That, of course, was not Trump’s suggestion. Trump was merely pointing out—quite correctly—that since the federal government has now taken the unprecedented and justifiable action of completely shutting down the American economy, to the tune of millions of lost jobs and the greatest quarterly economic decline in recorded history, we must also have a plan to end this situation.

The economy cannot remain shuttered indefinitely; the federal government cannot engage in endless cash expenditures on the basis of treasuries nobody is buying. Nor is the economy merely Wall Street. The vast majority of those who will lose their jobs are not day traders but workers. Small companies are more likely to go under than large ones.

The economy isn’t an abstraction. It’s the real lives of hundreds of millions of American citizens, and costs to those Americans must be weighed in the balance.

That’s not controversial. That’s a simple fact. Public policy is the craft of weighing risks and rewards, and policymakers do it every day. It’s just that this time, the stakes are the highest they have ever been.

So, when do we reopen, and how?

The biggest problem is that we lack the data to answer the question.

How many lives will be lost if we take heavy social measures after how many weeks? Moderate social measures? What will be the concomitant economic gain or loss? How many additional ICU beds and ventilators will we need to make available in order to clear the flattened curve such that we do not experience excess deaths due to lack of equipment, a la Italy?

Our goal should be to move from the Chinese model—total lockdown—to the South Korean model—heavy testing, contact investigations, and social distancing. In order to accomplish that, we need to flatten the curve and stop the spread, allowing us to reset. How long will that take?

We’re not going to have answers until some time passes—until we test more, until the outcomes of cases are made certain. But we can certainly construct the formulas that should allow us to calculate possible outcomes as new data comes in, and that should allow us to collectively commit to actions directed at certain outcomes.

We require a formula from the government. That’s the transparency the markets need, that the American people need. And that, at least, should be attainable over the next two weeks.

COPYRIGHT 2020 CREATORS.COM

COMMENTARY BY

Ben Shapiro is host of “The Ben Shapiro Show” and editor-in-chief of DailyWire.com. He is The New York Times best-selling author of “Bullies.” He is a graduate of UCLA and Harvard Law School, and lives with his wife and two children in Los Angeles. Twitter: .

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This is a critical year in the history of our country. With the country polarized and divided on a number of issues and with roughly half of the country clamoring for increased government control—over health care, socialism, increased regulations, and open borders—we must turn to America’s founding for the answers on how best to proceed into the future.

The Heritage Foundation has compiled input from more than 100 constitutional scholars and legal experts into the country’s most thorough and compelling review of the freedoms promised to us within the United States Constitution into a free digital guide called Heritage’s Guide to the Constitution.

They’re making this guide available to all readers of The Daily Signal for free today!

GET ACCESS NOW! >>


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

The Way Out From Here Means Rethinking The Shutdown

A lot of smart people are growing more concerned that we are overreacting to coronavirus in a way that could create dramatically more harm, including health effects, than the virus itself.

So let’s look at the possible overreaction impact along with a method for stepping out of it. Please accept as a given, that there is a lot we don’t know. But there is more and more we do. And a much better way to go forward.

First, the virus is very contagious, and spreads more easily and rapidly than the flu. Or so it seems. But it seems to be less deadly than the flu for young people and for the entire group under 50, about the same as the flu; while for 50-60 it is somewhat more dangerous than the flu and for 70 and above it is much more dangerous than the flu.

But we have shut down everything. Everyone. Some states have issued “shelter in place” orders (we can’t just say “stay home”?) and most others are encouraging everyone to stay home. Everyone. (I won’t even go into the First Amendment implications of the government ordering people not to gather together — right of assembly.)

This is done to keep younger people from infecting older people. But since this requires all of the older people to be quarantining anyway, do we need to include all the younger people, too?

This shutdown will generate its own health care issues, such as depression in a country where there is almost an epidemic of depression among young people, almost assuredly increased smoking, drinking and drug use. The longer we stay closed, the worse these get — directly on the health care system.

So there are some immediate health implications in the shutdown, but that barely scratches the surface of the real impact.

The economic repercussions of shutting down the country for 4-8 weeks is devastating, perhaps beyond our imagination. The chart below shows the spike in unemployment claims just from 17 states. Note how it reaches the peak recession-level claims at their peak. In. One. Week. JP Morgan is predicting that GDP in the second quarter will contract by 14%. They had it at 5% a few days earlier. This is a collapse level decline [view chart here].

A recession is guaranteed at this point, but the risk is of throwing us into a full-scale Depression. The last one of those was 90 years ago and was crippling for most of a generation. Today, it would be worse because we are far more inter-reliant.

A Depression would risk crippling not just the economy, but the health care system in the long-term — the very system we are trying to keep from being overwhelmed. All those ventilators, masks, medicines and so on require companies to make them. That’s no problem right now because the demand is high.

But there are thousands and thousands of medical device needs, plus all the personnel. Do you know how that is all paid for? Hundreds of thousands of companies making a profit and paying their employees. Thriving companies and their employees send trillions of dollars in taxes to governments. If they are not thriving, or existing at much smaller levels, then a lot of that money goes away. There just isn’t money for health care.

But at the same time, people in a Depression would forgo regular doctor visits and use medical care only in an emergency, which we know is both less healthy, causes shorter lifespans, and costs more money. These health care costs physically and monetarily would not be caused by the virus, but by the reaction to it.

Have these trade-offs been weighed? Are they now?

If we go into a Depression, it’s guaranteed that the “cure” was worse than the disease. It will not have been worth it — based on what we know now. The long-term consequences of an 8-week economic nap are staggering.

But we don’t need to do it.

Right now, we should be making plans for stepping out of this national shutdown by allowing everyone under 60 to return to work as normal. Not life as normal, but work as normal.

Heather MacDonald wrote in the Spectator for us to “Consider the costs.” “We should focus our efforts on our known vulnerable populations — the elderly, the infirm, and those who care for them. The elderly should be protected from unknown contacts. Nursing homes must be immaculately maintained. But until there is clear evidence that canceling commerce is essential to preventing mass casualties, the stampede of shutdown oneupmanship should end.”

Post stay at home orders (or preferrably strong suggestions) for everyone over 60 and create financial help for that group. We can target that much, much smaller group with help that will cost our children considerably less than throwing a thousand dollars we don’t have at every American every few weeks. Because it is not necessary.

Everyone else, get back to work, wash your hands, practice social distancing, be extremely cautious with at-risk groups — as in, stay away from them like you carry the plague, because you might for them — but otherwise keep calm and carefully carry on.

This is a modified South Korean model. We crank out ventilators like crazy (although we already have more per person than most countries, including Europeans) and necessary crisis equipment and even adapt buildings while lightening-tracking treatments.

About 80 percent of workers would be back on the job, cranking on the economy. We will have a recession, that’s baked in at this point, but probably a short one. We’d pull back out pretty quickly. And we would continue on with a sound economy for moving past the virus.

Dr. David Katz, founding director of the Yale-Griffin Prevention Research Center, said this targeted approach is best. “There may be more targeted ways to beat the pandemic.” This is the point: “The rush to impose sweeping restrictions on public and commercial life across the entire economy should be more carefully evaluated.”

We can’t wreck our economy for perhaps as long as a generation. The costs are just too high.

EDITORS NOTE: This Revolutionary Act column is republished with permission. All rights reserved.

Why Are There Toilet Paper Shortages around the World?

There are a few explanations for the run on toilet paper, but one basic economic lesson explains the shortage.


Americans have seen scarcity, bailouts, price fluctuations, and epidemics before, but one thing seems to set the coronavirus emergency apart:

The toilet paper.

Shelves where the product once was stored are bare—and not just in the US. The United Kingdom has experienced similar shortages, leading consumers to purchase toilet paper substitutes (at the risk of the sewage system), and an Australian newspaper went so far as to print eight blank pages in a recent issue to be used in case of emergency for, you guessed it, toilet paper.

The desire to hoard during a pandemic may be totally natural, but hoarding for some means scarcity for others.

What is a good solution for this problem? Many stores have instigated their own rationing devices (limits of X amount of toilet paper, hand sanitizers, etc., per customer), with others instituting hours of shopping reserved for the elderly or immunocompromised.

These are creative and compassionate ideas, and they may solve some of the problem of hoarding—but the market has another way.

The problem? It’s incredibly unpopular, and, of course, even illegal in many places.

Price gouging” has a particularly negative connotation. It refers to a phenomenon wherein customers at an especially vulnerable time are charged unusually high prices by “greedy” business owners taking advantage of their need.

But think about the incentives of business owners—do you know a single entrepreneur, business owner, or honest employee who wants to intentionally upset their customers? The incentive of business owners is always to provide great service and reasonable prices. To act otherwise is to eventually run out of business.

These incentives do not suddenly change during a crisis—business owners are still judged by the court of public opinion, and those who treat customers unfairly will not go unnoticed, at least not for long.

So why do prices rise during times of need? The answer is found in the basic economic principles of supply and demand.

When demand increases, it’s a signal that customers want to consume more of a certain product.

The graph below demonstrates these changes. The demand line shifts up from D1 to D2—increasing prices, but only temporarily. Prices are a rationing device and signal of scarcity, so this higher price naturally encourages customers to make do with less while simultaneously indicating to producers to expand production.

Though buyers have to pay more for each product, it reduces the risk of shortages by making it easier for suppliers to meet the increased demand for their goods. [See chart]

What’s perhaps more relevant to our current situation is that hoarders are indirectly discouraged from hoarding. A higher price makes consumers think twice before buying a cart-full of toilet paper, leaving more product on the shelves and limiting or delaying, perhaps indefinitely, any shortage.

But that’s not all, remember that the higher price is only temporary, since higher prices will spur production.

Sellers see product flying off the shelves and note that they need to ramp up production to meet the growing demand. Potential entrepreneurs also recognize that there may be room for extra business in this particular market, so they start production.

Once supply is able to catch up, the supply line shifts from S1 to S2, and prices normalize once again. [See chart 1 and chart 2]

Sure these are merely graphs, and it is difficult to appropriately convey the nuances of human behavior and the complexity of the economy in a single graph.

However, we’ve already seen these forces at work in the past few weeks. Distilleries have taken note of hand sanitizer shortages and are helping to meet the increased demand by producing their own—some even giving their product away for free. Last week Georgia-Pacific, a toilet paper supplier, increased production capacity by 120 percent.

Amplified production by existing companies, and the entrance of new business into markets, will lower prices to pre-crisis levels.

Referring to rising prices as “price gouging” will not change the economic fact: in a free economy, prices are a vital signal to producers and consumers alike. It’s incredible that a single number can do so much.

This is the miracle inherent in free markets—no solitary, all-knowing authority is dictating the direction of prices or production in a single market (let alone an entire economy). It happens naturally, as if led by an invisible hand.

So why was there a sudden run on toilet paper? Who knows.

Perhaps in anticipation of long periods of quarantine, shoppers are looking for any necessary household goods to stockpile. One consumer psychologist explained that it could simply be retail therapy; stressed consumers rushing for feelings of security during a pandemic. Others simply blame herd mentality—the idea that if everyone else is hoarding toilet paper, you might as well be too.

The ultimate lesson? Let prices rise and markets do their work. As long as economic freedom exists, ingenuity and innovation will never be in short supply—and neither will toilet paper.

COLUMN BY

Amanda Snell

Amanda Snell is an analytics associate at FEE. She grew up in small-town Idaho and is a recent graduate of BYU-Idaho in Economics. Prior to joining FEE, she completed the Charles Koch Internship Program and interned with The Heritage Foundation’s 2019 Index of Economic Freedom. She enjoys working with entrepreneurs and is passionate about the potential for innovation in the private sector. Amanda was deeply impacted by FEE and the freedom philosophy as a high school student and is thrilled to be part of an organization committed to individual liberty and economic freedom.

RELATED ARTICLE: Flexibility Is Needed for Economies to Cope With COVID-19, Not $2,000 Checks

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

FAIR Launches Major Digital Campaign Calling on Companies to Reinvest in U.S. Workers

UPDATE: Due to the rapid economic changes resulting from the COVID-19 global pandemic, this campaign has been modified to call on American companies to hire and rehire American workers after the crisis has passed. With so many American citizens now facing layoffs and unemployment, this is no time for companies to be hiring foreign workers. Now more than ever, corporate America must #reinvestinUS.

Despite a growing economy and a falling unemployment rate, there are still thousands of Americans looking for an opportunity to put their talents to use. Unfortunately, many well-known companies are leaving them on the sidelines as they choose to hire foreign workers through the H-1B visa program. That cannot stand, so FAIR is standing up for them with a massive digital advertising campaign.

The digital campaign will run for the next six weeks on Twitter and will target those U.S. companies who are growing reliant upon the H-1B program for their hiring needs. FAIR has highlighted some of the major companies, including Microsoft, Nike, Netflix, Uber and Starbucks, who are pushing hard to increase visa caps because it benefits their bottom line and not the American worker. For example, we reported recently that Uber fired more than 1,000 employees over a ten-week period, but simultaneously was doubling the number of H-1B visa workers it was hiring for management, marketing, and tech positions. In FY19, Uber had over 1,160 initial and continuing H-1B approvals.

Uber is not alone. In fact, Microsoft too laid off 18,000 U.S. employees in 2014 while also pushing for more H-1B visa workers. Their preference for foreign workers, however, has not impeded their ability to keep landing top government contracts. In October 2019, the U.S. Department of Defense picked Microsoft for a JEDI cloud computing contract worth $10 billion.

Many of these companies have a significant social media presence and use that presence to communicate with and influence their customers. So, what better way to get the message across to them – and millions of their followers on Twitter – that abusing the visa process to get cheap foreign labor is not okay with the American public? FAIR will not stand by while the American middle class is ignored or sold out by self-interested companies. We will continue to stand up and speak out – wherever we can – on behalf of the American worker.

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

PODCAST: Trump Bets the Pharma on U.S.

“The world owes China a thank you.” To most people, the words from the Xinhua news service, hit like a ton of bricks. With the entire planet in crisis and leaders scrambling to stop another Great Depression, the communist regime is wrong. What the world is owed is an apology.

Because China kept the world in the dark about its outbreak, tens of thousands of people are dead. National economies are on the brink. The world, as we know it, has come to a halt. Now, Chinese officials, with their already fragile reputation in the gutter, is looking for somebody to blame. “They clearly mishandled the coronavirus,” Asia expert Gordan Chang explained on “Washington Watch.” “They kept it secret for at least six months, maybe even more. And now they need to say it wasn’t us. It didn’t come from us. We are the victims.”

Now, furious at the flood of criticism world leaders are directing their way, China is responding the only way they know how: with threats and lies. “There have been a series of propaganda pieces [coming out of] Beijing which say that if the United States doesn’t do this or that, China could cut off the supply of pharmaceuticals and medical protective gear — and throw the U.S. into ‘a mighty sea of coronavirus.'”

To a lot of experts, Gordon included, the important thing isn’t whether China will go through with it, but whether they could go through with it. And given their stranglehold on American supply chains — everything from gloves, masks, gowns, and medicine — the risk is a serious one. Believe it or not, Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) pointed out, “up to 80 percent of the active pharmaceutical ingredients in American drugs are sourced abroad.” In places like China, that gives the community party incredible leverage over the U.S. — especially if we get to a point of widespread shortages or dire need.

And while a global pandemic isn’t how most leaders would choose to deal with this, one of the positive things about this crisis is that it’s forcing government to reevaluate its supply chains. America is “dangerously reliant,” Rubio (R-Fla.) warned, on “important lifesaving goods.” This problem isn’t new to President Trump and his team. For his entire first term, he’s tried to bring the manufacturing of American goods back home. Now, staring down a savage Chinese regime, bent on bringing disaster to America, that becomes an even more urgent priority.

Earlier this week, one of the president’s key trade advisors, Peter Navarro, said he was drafting an executive order that would limit America’s dependence on foreign manufacturers for medicine. When the president signs it (which may be this week), a big chunk of our essential pharmaceuticals, medical supplies, and equipment productions would come back to U.S. soil, where it can’t be exploited by bad actors like China. “The movement of supply chains and production and essential medicines to the U.S. is not just a matter of public health and economic security, it’s a matter of national defense,” Navarro insisted.

In response to the pushback from Big Pharma, which seems to care more about keeping costs down and profits up than keeping America safe, Navarro made it clear: “Nothing in the order will prevent us from getting what we need, when we need it, and from wherever we need it.” Our country has too many vulnerabilities, Rubio argued — at a time when it can afford none. Taking back control of our own medical destiny will “help stabilize the U.S. economy, potentially help save American lives, and strengthen our ability to mitigate the effects of disease. Most importantly, it would be a high-return investment in our long-term capacity and independence from China during a moment when supply chains are up for grabs.”


Tony Perkins’s Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.


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EDITORS NOTE: This FRC-Action column is republished with permission. All rights reserved.

Tucker Carlson: Shutting Down Economy Poses ‘Its Own Kind Of Public Health Risk’ [Video]

Fox News host Tucker Carlson struck a balanced approach between epidemiologists who would argue for shutting everything down to fight the coronavirus pandemic and those concerned that an economic recession and even depression could pose “its own kind of public health risk.”

Acknowledging the “major threat to the country” that coronavirus poses, Carlson pointed out the fact that there is “no clear consensus on how the country should respond.”

WATCH:

“That should not surprise you,” said the Fox News host on Monday night’s edition of “Tucker Carlson Tonight.” “People of good faith are working toward a couple of different goals tonight which at times collide with one another.”

While the “first obligation” is always public safety and should be accomplished if possible, Carlson pointed out that protecting the economy should also be considered.

“At the same time though, we need to protect our economy, and it’s not just something that Wall Street cares about, to be totally clear,” he said. “Economic decline is dangerous for everyone, especially at the bottom of the economy. It’s a legitimate human concern. It’s not just financial, it’s about families.”

The “two imperatives” can “often conflict,” the Fox News host contended. “So if you ask an epidemiologist what we ought to do next, the answer is simple: shut it down, close every public space until the virus passes.”

“From a public health standpoint, that makes sense, but what would be the consequences of doing that?” he asked. “Millions and millions of people would lose their jobs, some of them for good. We would enter a severe recession with mass unemployment and it could get worse from there. It’s not a joke, that could happen. You would see an awful lot of people in poverty in middle America and that poses its own kind of public health risk. Poor countries are never healthy countries. If you want great health care, you’ve got to pay for it and you have to have money to do so.”

Any proper response “requires balance” and is a “complex question” with “no obvious answers.”

Later in the monologue, Carlson warned against printing cheap money and eventually entering a situation where the U.S. “becomes Zimbabwe.”

“It’s missing the point anyway,” he said. “The real imperative is saving jobs. For government bureaucrats and administrators and corporate H.R. directors, a month out of the office constitutes a vacation, but for the classes below, it could be the beginning of a long spiral, a real one. Of waiters, bartenders, retail workers, huge parts of the service industry on which we are dependent could see their income dropped to zero and not come back.”

Carlson called the “guaranteed basic income” proposed by Utah Sen. Mitt Romney a “well-meaning” idea but in actuality “decadent and foolish.”

“Name a place that’s become happier and more prosperous under a scheme like that,” he said before lauding the German system that allows employers to place their workers on “reduced hours” with the government making up the difference.

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

If It Bleeds, It Leads: The Morbidity of the News

“The mainstream media has its own agenda. They do not want to print the facts. They have an agenda, they have a slant, they have a bias. It is outrageous to me.” –  Curt Weldon

“In dictatorships the media is controlled by the State. In democracies the media is controlled by wealthy individuals with political affiliations. Objective media and journalists simply do not exist in the mainstream.” –  Robert Black

“The media’s the most powerful entity on earth.  They have the power to make the innocent guilty and to make the guilty innocent, and that’s power.  Because the control the minds of the masses.” –  Malcolm X


If it bleeds, it leads” appears to reflect the morbidity of the news conglomerations. This quote has been around for over thirty years.  New York Magazine ran an article in 1989 titled “Grins, Gore, and Videotape – The Trouble with Local TV News” by journalist Eric Pooley. Pooley was angry about the quality of the stories being published locally and the sheer volume of stories whose subject matter was grim and menacing.  Pooley said, “The thoughtful report is buried because sensational stories must launch the broadcast: If it bleeds, it leads.”

The media in and of itself is a physical manifestation of our primal desires and fears, and they take great joy in using it for their own political purposes.  Most likely, the populace is the very cause of the demand.  Ever notice the number of rubbernecking motorists who slowdown in order to see something on the other side of a road or highway, often the scene of a traffic accident.  It’s the same thing with this Covid-19 outbreak.  If it bleeds, it leads…and they are doing their best to panic America.

This virus is about making sure the Democrats and their comrades in the mainstream media destroy Trump’s magnificent economy and the stock market (which has to do with the virus, and also with oil which the media is not reporting).

Pumpjacks in an oil field in Midland, Texas. (Nick Oxford/Reuters)

If people suffer and small businesses close, they don’t give a damn.  Covid-19 is two-fold…decimating the economy and killing off the elderly who are considered “useless eaters” by globalist elitists and UN Agenda 2030.

Harvard and Wuhan

Dr. Charles Lieber, 60, Chair of the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology at Harvard University was arrested in late January.  Lieber served as the Principal Investigator of the Lieber Research Group at Harvard University, which specialized in the area of nanoscience, and has received more than $15 million in grant funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and Department of Defense (DOD).  These grants require the disclosure of significant foreign financial conflicts of interest, including financial support from foreign governments or foreign entities.

Unbeknownst to Harvard University beginning in 2011, Lieber became a “Strategic Scientist” at Wuhan University of Technology (WUT) in China and was a contractual participant in China’s Thousand Talents Plan (TTP) from in or about 2012 to 2017.  It is once again about spying and intellectual property theft.

WUT paid Lieber $50,000 USD per month, living expenses of up to 1,000,000 Chinese Yuan (approximately $158,000 USD at the time) and awarded him more than $1.5 million to establish a research lab at WUT.  In return, Lieber was obligated to work for WUT “not less than nine months a year” by “declaring international cooperation projects, cultivating young teachers and PhD students, organizing international conference[s], applying for patents and publishing articles in the name of WUT.”

U.S. officials say TTP encourages economic espionage and theft of intellectual property, the issue at the heart of President Trump’s trade war with China. They also argue that China’s so-called military-civil fusion strategy—in which the government employs resources, technologies, and people to advance both sectors simultaneously, elevates the threat.

Lieber had to pay a $1 million cash bond within five days of walking out of federal court for not telling the feds he was working for and being paid by China.

It was the Clinton-Gore team who compromised national security for campaign cash from none other than Communist China.  They sold our country’s security to Communist Red China for funds to remain in power.

World Health Organization

WHO Director declares Covid-19 a pandemic (a disease prevalent over a whole country or the world) and claims the death rate is higher than thought.

Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, former Obama administration health policy adviser who promoted Obamacare’s “death panels,” is the current special adviser to the director-general of the World Health Organization (WHO).

Emanuel says he found Trump’s statements on Covid-19 a little incoherent.  Well excuse the daylights out of me, but Dr. Ezekiel, you are the one who is incoherent and deliberately obtrusive.  Trump speaks plainly and clearly and tweets to his supporters daily.

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus is an Ethiopian politician and academic who has been Director-General of WHO since 2017.  Tedros is another hardcore leftist and is credited by abortion advocates with liberalizing Ethiopia’s abortion laws.  In early 2017, he attended the Dutch “She Decides” conference, organized in opposition to President Trump’s expanded Mexico City Policy blocking U.S. funds to international abortion groups.  Link

Dr. Tedros seems to be inflating the number of deaths to fulfill the scare tactics of our democratic socialists rather than looking at the real numbers, and President Trump is disputing the inflated numbers.  The mortality rates vary from country to country depending on the host country’s elderly population and their healthcare system.  The virus is normally less deadly than Sars or Mers, but more highly contagious.

Infectious Disease Research

In late 2015, an infectious-disease researcher at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, published a study on his team’s efforts to engineer a virus with the surface protein of the SHC014 coronavirus, found in horseshoe bats in China. It is a SARS like virus that affects the respiratory system. The research was done in order to help combat animal to human spread of viruses.  The NIH defunded the UNC research although Obama had approved numerous grants for same.

Netflix produced a 2019 docuseries, “The Next Pandemic.”  In the episode, Bill Gates warned that a pandemic was on the horizon and pushed for funding saying it takes years to find a cure for a new viral outbreak.  Link

The biotech Moderna said it is working with the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to develop a coronavirus vaccine.  The effort is funded by the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, a group started by Norway and India, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Wellcome Trust, and announced in 2017 at the World Economic Forum.

There are 19 different Coronaviruses.  Depending on your health and your age, the Covid-19 virus affects everyone differently.  Some folks don’t even know they’ve had it or their cases are extremely mild, and others are desperately ill and struggle to breathe.

Fear, Hysteria and Panic

Was Covid-19 created in one of Wuhan’s biolabs?  The anomalies of this virus, lead me to believe it is manmade. Unlike flu viruses that often kill the young and elderly, this virus attacks the elderly and those with infirmities like heart disease, lung disease or diabetes.

The origin is Wuhan, but China is blaming America, and Iran is blaming Israel for Covid-19.  And now China is hinting at withholding drugs that help with the virus.  In 2000, under Bill Clinton’s administration, China was given entry into the World Trade Organization (WTO) and granted “Most Favored Nation” status. We have suffered the consequences in many ways, and Covid-19 has exposed the danger of relying on China for our drugs.

Taking the same precautions as during the flu seasons will keep most people healthy.  The media has created an environment of fear to where everything is being cancelled or shut down including conventions, schools, universities, travels, sporting events, concerts, medical facilities, churches, movies, and jobs.  Mainstream media spreads fear 24/7.  Even the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in my hometown of Chicago where the Chicago River is dyed green, has been postponed.

James Foster/Chicago Sun-Times via AP

And now, the governors of Illinois, Ohio, Michigan, California, Massachusetts and Washington have ordered all bars and restaurants closed.  Idiocy reigns, and businesses are destroyed.

New York Governor Cuomo has actually announced the deployment of New York’s National Guard and the creation of a “Containment Zone” in a one square mile section of New Rochelle that is the epicenter of New York State’s outbreak.  The National Guard has been called out in five more states, Florida, Iowa, Louisiana, Rhode Island, and Washington.

In Champaign, Illinois, home of the University of Illinois, an executive order has given the Mayor of that city the ability to suspend all firearm and ammunition sales, and allows her to restrict the sale and distribution of food and water as well as taking the title to private property.  As of yet, there are no Covid-19 cases in Champaign, and this EO has not been used, but it’s on the books and dangerous to freedom.

In Cliff Kincaid’s recent article, he wrote, “The President has another option: put the military in charge of the coronavirus response and move quickly to a war footing with Communist China.”

These military ideas are extremely dangerous.  The Posse Comitatus Act (1878) prohibited use of the U.S. Army to aid civil officials in enforcing the law or suppressing civil disorder unless expressly ordered to do so by the president.

Emergency Declaration

President Trump declared the Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, a United States federal law designed to bring an orderly and systemic means of federal natural disaster assistance for state and local governments in carrying out their responsibilities to aid citizens during natural disasters.  This emergency declaration frees up $50 billion for use during this virus. There have been 59 other declarations, including one for H1N1 influenza by President Obama.

The government/media now controls you and everything about your life. Mass shut downs have occurred for fear of contracting this new respiratory flu virus.  Overnight our freedoms have been limited, all because mainstream media is selling panic.  We now have mass hysteria over a virus whose survival rates are extremely high.

H1N1 Flu Pandemic – 2010

Never before with all the deadly viruses that have killed far more Americans has the entire country shut down.  And why has this virus depleted grocery store resources including meats, canned goods, toilet paper, soaps, disinfectants, etc. My local meat market was nearly sold out, and Sam’s shelves were emptied of all paper products and now police are guarding the place.  How easily the media has molded the minds of Americans into a frenzied hysteria.

Remember the H1N1 swine flu pandemic of 2010?  Probably not…because there was no media panic. Why?  Because Obama was in charge and the media exalted and lauded him. They praised the handling of a virus far more virulent and deadly than Covid-19.  H1N1 infected 61 million Americans, 300,000 were hospitalized and the flu killed 17,000 Americans, including 1,800 children.  It affected young adults and children.  Yet the weaponization and politization of the Wuhan virus has received 10,000 times the media coverage H1N1 received. Yes folks, it’s all politics.

Covid-19 affects the elderly and those with compromised immune systems, but we don’t have 17,000 people dead in America from Covid-19.  According to Johns Hopkins, 70,000 people have recovered from the virus. Yet, everyone now thinks they have the virus if they catch a common cold or this year’s flu.  There are differences!

Covid-19 v. Truth

Don’t panic!  The media is selling lies for one reason only…to destroy the economy and President Trump. The real mortality rate is under one percent, and the true case fatality rate of this virus is likely to be far lower than current reports suggest. Even some lower estimates, such as the one percent death rate recently mentioned by the directors of the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, likely substantially overstate the case.  The arithmetic of Covid-19 death rates is totally misleading.

A recent Gateway Pundit article states, “The US has reported 68 deaths to date.”  Sharyl Attkisson writes, “Almost all of the reported coronavirus deaths in the U.S. happened in long-term care facilities in Washington State. And almost all of those occurred at the same facility.”

No young or middle-aged people have died of Covid-19 in the U.S and most people around the world diagnosed from January-March 1, have already recovered. Attkisson notes that the average age of deaths from the coronavirus in the US is 80 years old, (and that’s with immune system deficiencies).

As the Gateway Pundit reported earlier, according to CDC numbers, in the 2019-2020 flu season in the US, there were 222,000 confirmed cases of the flu from testing and an estimated 36 million flu cases in the United States. There were 22,000 confirmed deaths from the flu.

There are so many lies by mainstream media regarding this virus, that have been debunked by solid medical authorities.  The two articles by Chris Centeno, MD, entitled Why I Am Not Concerned About the Coronavirus – Episode 1 and Coronavirus Myths Debunked – Episode 2 are well worth your time to read.

Jim O’Neill’s latest article links to what Dr. Drew Pinsky has been saying about the media and panic…it too is well worth the read.  In two separate interviews, Dr. Drew Pinsky, M.D., said the liberal media are “over-reacting” to coronavirus and selling out America; they do not know how to report on it, and have created a “hysteria.” The “press needs to shut up,” he said, adding that the measures taken by President Trump, the CDC, and Dr. Anthony Fauci are “appropriate” and should be heeded.

The numbers make the current responses by government officials, communities and companies appear highly exaggerated.

Conclusion

Every year we lose approximately 30,000 people to flu, but we go on with our lives.  We didn’t bring everything to a screeching halt with swine flu, and the deaths from Covid-19 are miniscule compared to a normal flu season.  Stop the panic…go back to your lives, wash your hands, don’t be in crowds, and this too shall pass when warm weather arrives.

The democrat socialists don’t care about deaths of our elderly, or the murders of our unborn innocent young…but if there is one politician in America today who actually does care about the American people, it’s Donald Trump.

And you can see it every day simply from the policies that he tries to implement, the policies that he supports, the agenda that he has implemented. He’s all about making America great, not about making Trump great. And the left doesn’t get that he loves all Americans so dearly and completely that he wants to enrich their lives.  They are blinded in their hatred of a great leader.

The biothreat of China is accomplishing all the goals of Trump’s enemies.  You think America’s commie left and Red Chinese didn’t get together to do this?  It came from China and who do you think has been warning us about the Chicoms?  Donald J. Trump!

© All rights reserved.

PODCAST: Price of oil drops dramatically, what does it mean? Liberals link climate change to Wuhan virus?

GUESTS AND TOPICS:

GREG KOZERA

Greg Kozera is the director of marketing for Shale Crescent USA (www.shalecrescentusa.com). Greg is a professional engineer who has a lifetime of experience in the energy sector. He is also the author of the books Just the Fracks Ma’am and Learned Leadership.

TOPIC: Price of oil drops dramatically, what does it mean?

GREGORY WRIGHTSTONE

Gregory Wrightstone is a geologist with more than 35 years’ experience and was recently accepted as an expert reviewer for the — IPCC — Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. He is also the bestselling author of “Inconvenient Facts: The Science that Al Gore doesn’t want you to know.” He has presented the results of his research around the world, including India, Ireland and China. Greg is a strong proponent of the scientific process and believes that policy decisions should be driven by science, facts and data — not a political agenda.

TOPIC: Climate change LIBERALS say it will be impacted by the Coronavirus!

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Trump Administration Aims to Calm Coronavirus Fears on Economic, Health Fronts

President Donald Trump announced Monday evening that he will push Congress for a payroll tax cut to stem concerns about the coronavirus that sent the stock market into a spiral earlier in the day.

Trump also pledged he would push for hourly wage earners to be able to take off work without fear of losing their jobs, as the number of related U.S. deaths rose to 26, all but four in Washington state.

The president said he would give more details Tuesday after meeting with members of Congress.

“We are going to be seeing the Senate and meeting with House Republicans and discussing possible payroll tax relief,” Trump said at the White House, flanked by members of the administration’s coronavirus task force headed by Vice President Mike Pence.

“We are also going to be talking about hourly wage earners getting help so that they can be in a position where they are not going to miss a paycheck,” Trump said. “We are going to be working with small companies, large companies, so that they don’t get penalized for something that’s not their fault.”

The number of confirmed cases in the U.S. jumped to 600, spanning 30 states and the District of Columbia. California and Florida each confirmed two deaths, USA Today reported.

Around the world, the coronavirus has infected more than 108,000, killing more than 3,800, CNN reported.

Trump said his administration is handling the health crisis “very well,” noting travel restrictions he said never were imposed before.

“We’ve never done that in our country before. We could have had a situation a lot more dire,” the president said.

Trump said the administration would work with the airline, cruise ship, and hotel industries, which are being hit hard by the spread of the disease.

“Also, we are going to see the Small Business Administration creating loans for small businesses,” Trump said.

Pence said the task force held a conference call earlier Monday with 47 governors. He said 1 million test kits would be sent out this week, and that another 4 million test kits will go out next week.

Pence, speaking after Trump had left the briefing, said that nether he nor the president had been tested for the virus.

Administration officials sought to confront the coronavirus on both the economic and public health fronts.

“President Trump has delivered a historically strong economy,” Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar told reporters earlier Monday at the White House. “The fundamentals of this economy are unbelievable, whether it’s employment, or wage growth, or productivity, or international trade deals. The fundamentals remain what they are.”

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed Monday with a decline of 2,000 points, a fall that also came during a shake-up in the oil industry that added to market woes.

The World Health Organization said the spread of the virus is close to a pandemic, citing escalating cases in China and Italy.

In the U.S., the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is spearheading research for a vaccine as well as public information efforts.

Trump administration officials were readying to present options for policy changes to respond to the economic disruption and public health fears caused by the new coronavirus disease, which health officials call COVID-19.

After Azar’s remarks outside the White House, HHS announced a diagnostic test for coronavirus designed for use in a system that can process up to 1,000 tests in 24 hours. The test will get financial support from HHS.

The molecular diagnostic test from Hologic Inc. will be the first product to combat COVID-19 selected for development through the department’s Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority. The HHS division is contributing $699,000 in federal tax dollars to accelerate Hologic’s development.

“President Trump is leading a whole-of-government response, with the vice president helping him on the public health issues we are facing on the novel coronavirus,” Azar said. “That is his No. 1 concern.”

Congress last week approved a $8.3 billion emergency spending package for coronavirus. However, House Democrats are pushing for another bill to mandate paid leave as a response to the disease, something party leaders advocated before the virus surfaced.

Ideas to prevent panic include deferring taxes for certain industries hit by coronavirus, including the hospitality and travel industries, and directing federal funds to specific areas of the country that are most affected, The Washington Post reported.

The Treasury Department and the National Economic Council have worked on the proposals for the past 10 days, the Post reported.

“In terms of the economy, he and his economic team have the tools to keep this economy going strong,” Azar said of the president. “They delivered that historic fundamentals. They’ve got tools to deal with that.”

“But the public health and protecting the American people is the No. 1 priority for all of us,” he said.

Ken McIntyre contributed to this report, which was updated to include the president’s remarks.

COLUMN BY

Fred Lucas

Fred Lucas is the White House correspondent for The Daily Signal and co-host of “The Right Side of History” podcast. Lucas is also the author of “Tainted by Suspicion: The Secret Deals and Electoral Chaos of Disputed Presidential Elections.” Send an email to Fred. Twitter: @FredLucasWH.

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

Liberals’ FAMILY Act Would Hurt Low-Income Workers and Families

If liberals want to provide access to paid family and medical leave, they need to come up with a better solution than they have so far.

According to a recent analysis from the Congressional Budget Office, Democrats’ proposed Family and Medical Leave Insurance Act would fail to benefit most of the workers who need it and leave policymakers with a choice between rationed benefits or massive tax hikes.

That’s because, according to the CBO analysis, the new payroll tax revenues proposed to fund the initiative would fall short of the program’s expenses just one year after benefits were to begin.

As more and more people applied for benefits, the so-called FAMILY Act’s costs would soar to 240% of the program’s tax revenues in 2028, just six years after benefits are slated to start.

But because the legislation sets up a new unfunded entitlement program, Congress either would have to ration benefits—limiting who could take leave, for how long they could take it, and the amount of benefits they could receive—or else raise taxes.

The legislation is being sold to Americans as costing a “cup of coffee a week,” but it could end up costing a tank of gas instead. According to the American Action Forum, a federal paid family leave program would cost the average American approximately $1,500 a year.

If you think that’s an exaggeration, America’s first entitlement program—Social Security—started out as a 2% payroll tax. Today, it’s 12.4%. And by 2040, it will have to be 16.6% to pay scheduled benefits.

The pain of higher taxes would be worst for low-income workers and families who, evidence shows, tend to lose more than they gain from government-paid family leave programs.

There are many reasons for that reality, including lower awareness of the programs, inability to make ends meet with partial benefits (such as the FAMILY Act’s 66% benefit level), lower eligibility for government benefits, and rigid rules and administrative barriers.

Consequently, government-run paid family leave programs are regressive, redistributing resources from low-income workers and families to middle- and high-income ones:

  • In California, 38% of the workforce has wages below $20,000, but only 1% of them use the state’s paid family leave program, and workers in the highest income bracket are five times more likely to file paid family leave claims.
  • Even in San Francisco, which provides 100% benefits, low-income mothers were only half as likely as higher-income mothers to receive government benefits.
  • New Jersey’s program was characterized as “simply unaffordable, even for middle-class families, many of whom still live paycheck to paycheck in high-cost New Jersey,” and criticized for “put[ting] many workers below the poverty level for the duration of their leaves, and push[ing] people who are already struggling deeper into poverty.” Recent expansions aimed at increasing awareness and use are projected to quadruple workers’ maximum payroll taxes.
  • Canada’s paid family leave programs have exacerbated class inequality as “the distribution of benefits is unbalanced and aids the social reproduction of higher-income families.”
  • In Norway, which expanded paid leave to 100% replacement rates for nearly all mothers, researchers found that “the extra leave benefits amounted to a pure leisure transfer, primarily to middle- and upper-income families.” They concluded that “the generous extensions to paid leave were costly, had no measurable effect on outcomes, and [also had] poor redistribution properties.”

The FAMILY Act’s provisions would fail to meet most workers’ leave needs, particularly those in the lowest income brackets. Moreover, it would provide windfall benefits to employers and workers who already provide and have access to paid family leave.

Increasingly, employers are providing paid family and medical leave because their workers want it. With a strong economy and competitive labor market, employers find they can lose good workers and incur high turnover costs if they don’t provide paid leave.

Instead of implementing a one-size-fits-all federal program, policymakers should seek to build upon the recent increase in more flexible, generous, and accommodating employer-provided policies.

One way to do that is through the Working Families Flexibility Act, which allows employers to give lower-wage, hourly workers the choice of accumulating “comp time” instead of pay for their overtime hours.

If lawmakers want to help with family leave, they should reject the FAMILY Act, which would cost too much, serve too few, and become more of a burden on taxpayers over time.

Instead, they should take a closer look at the Working Families Flexibility Act and other measures that would encourage more flexible and accommodating leave options.

COMMENTARY BY

Rachel Greszler is research fellow in economics, budget, and entitlements in the Grover M. Hermann Center for the Federal Budget, of the Institute for Economic Freedom, at The Heritage Foundation. Read her research.


Stopping Fraud Against Seniors a Top Priority for the Attorney General Barr

AG Bill Barr and FBI Director Christopher Wray announced this week that an unprecedented number of cases of fraud against senior Americans have been charged or prosecuted and announced a hotline where you can report suspected fraud and help them catch more of the crooks, often foreign crooks, stealing from older Americans.

From CBS News  (good for them because I have seen very little elsewhere about this story from Tuesday):

Barr announces more than 400 charged for defrauding seniors over past year

Washington — More than 400 people have been charged with defrauding seniors out of more than $1 billion over the past year, the Justice Department revealed Tuesday. Attorney General William Barr announced the charges in Tampa on Tuesday at the Sun City Center Community Hall for seniors.

Barr explained why this issue has personal meaning for him. “I myself was used as a lure in a scam,” the attorney general told retirees. Before he became the nation’s 85th attorney general, the 1991 official photograph of Barr from his first stint in in the job in George H.W. Bush’s administration was used by scammers offering phony federal grants in exchange for money. “It was really heart-wrenching. People called in desperate hope that this was real,” Barr explained. “That crystalized the issue for me, and when I got to the department I wanted to make sure that this was one of our highest priorities to go after this.”

[….]

Barr has made elder fraud one of his top priorities as attorney general, and Tuesday’s announcement nearly doubles last year’s prosecutions.

Every U.S. attorney’s office across the country participated in either prosecuting or conducting proactive community outreach as part of the department’s sweep.

[….]

Scams targeting the elderly are usually foreign-based, like the “Nigerian prince” scheme or robocalls involving the impersonation of a U.S. government official who demands money from targets.

“The charges announced today demonstrate the great success of the Transnational Elder Fraud Strike Force to identify and stop those who are targeting our senior communities from overseas,” said FBI Director Christopher Wray in a statement. “We’re committed to continuing our efforts to keep our elderly citizens safe, whether they’re being targeted door-to-door, over the phone, or online.”

More here.

And, see the FBI Press Release on the announcement which includes a link to an interactive US map so you can see where some of the 400 cases are being prosecuted.

As I have said on innumerable occasions the President should be highlighting this fraud-busting work of his Justice Department, like this Transnational Elder Fraud Strike Force , at every one of his rallies.

Note to PayPal donors!  I want to thank all of you who send me donations for my work via PayPal. I very much appreciate your thoughtfulness. However, PayPal is making changes to their terms of service and I’ve decided to opt-out beginning on March 10, 2020.

RELATED ARTICLE: Plastic Surgeon Charged with Drugging/Raping Women on Camera

EDITORS NOTE: This Frauds, Crooks and Criminals column is republished with permission. © All rights reserved.

Tax Cut Gains and Losses, Health Care Costs and the Tidal Wave Exodus from High Tax States

“To compel a man to subsidize with his taxes the propagation of ideas which he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical.” – Thomas Jefferson – Founding Father and U.S. President

“I cannot undertake to lay my finger on that article of the Constitution which granted a right to Congress of expending, on objects of benevolence, the money of their constituents…” – James Madison – Founding Father and U.S. President

“The power to tax is the power to destroy.” –  John Marshall – Founding Father and 4th U.S. Chief Justice

“Collecting more taxes than is absolutely necessary (according to our Constitution) is legalized robbery.” – President Calvin Coolidge

“If, from the more wretched parts of the old world, we look at those which are in an advanced stage of improvement, we still find the greedy hand of government thrusting itself into every corner and crevice of industry, and grasping the spoil of the multitude. Invention is continually exercised, to furnish new pretenses for revenues and taxation. It watches prosperity as its prey and permits none to escape without tribute.” –  Thomas Paine – Founding Father


The whores in Washington D.C. are money junkies who will ultimately suck the life out of our country for the benefit of their friends and family.  Franklin Delano Roosevelt was no different, his administration was infiltrated with communist agents, agents he allowed to destroy and dismantle the standards set forth by the founders of our Constitutional Republic.

FDR told us the arrangement with Stalin after WWII was a “good deal.” China turned Red, half of Germany was controlled by Communists, and the world was sold to the devil.  Do I trust government, not then and not today!  Yet, I know the President we have in our White House is one of the best men we have ever chosen and he truly loves this country.

Nevertheless, in the long run, the economists who designed both Reagan’s and Trump’s tax programs ended up hurting taxpayers, and ultimately the entire country.  The Democratic socialists always regain power, and when they do, the taxes get raised, but the eliminated deductions are never given back to us.  Worse yet, the 2017 tax reduction has motivated liberals to move out of high tax states into Red states, eventually turning them Blue.

Reagan’s Tax “Cuts”

In 1981, Reagan lowered federal income tax rates significantly with the signing of the Economic Recovery Tax Act of 1981, which lowered the top marginal tax brackets and slashed estate taxes and trimmed corporate taxes over five years.

Unfortunately, his 1982 tax increase undid a third of his initial tax cut. Reagan agreed to the tax hikes on the promise from Congress of a $3 reduction in spending for every $1 increase in taxes.  Promises made, but never kept.

In 1983, Reagan instituted a payroll tax increase on Social Security and Medicare hospital insurance. In 1984 another bill was introduced that closed tax loopholes. According to tax historian Joseph Thorndike, the bipartisan bills of 1982 and 1984 “constituted the largest tax increase ever enacted during peacetime.”

Then came the Tax Reform Act of 1986 where Reagan and Congress sought to simplify the tax system by eliminating many deductions, reducing the highest marginal rates, and reducing the number of tax brackets. It exempted millions of low-income families from a federal income tax by expanding the standard deduction, personal exemption and earned income tax credit (wealth redistribution). It drastically reduced the number of tax brackets, with the top rate for individuals cut from 50 percent to 28 percent; and it slashed corporate tax rates from 48 percent to 34 percent, paid for by eliminating or reducing corporate tax breaks.

It destroyed the middle-class deductions we used to have. There were many, even for contact lens solutions and OTC medications, deductions for interest on credit card purchases and interest on car loans…now long gone, plus so much more.  Middle class Americans were screwed, but they didn’t realize it until Democrats regained power.

This reminds me of Hydra, the mythical Greek beast with hundreds of heads. Each time you cut one off, two more grow back. Like Hydra, our tax code has grown out of control. Since 1986, Congress has made 15,000 changes to the tax code.

President Trump’s Tax Overhaul

Gary Cohn is an American business leader who served as the 11th Director of the National Economic Council and chief economic advisor to President Trump from 2017 to 2018. When Secretary of the Treasury, Steven Mnuchin’s confirmation hearings were held up, Cohn pushed ahead on taxes, infrastructure, financial regulation, and replacing the health-care law.

Cohn was a supporter of globalism and was nicknamed “Globalist Gary” and “Carbon Tax Cohn.”  He led the Trump administration’s efforts to pass the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 (TCJA). Mick Mulvaney, the Director of the Office of Management and Budget said about Gary Cohn, “As a right-wing conservative and founding member of the Freedom Caucus, I never expected that the coworker I would work closest, and best with at the White House would be a globalist.”

Tax Cuts and Jobs Act

So, what did the TCJA actually do for us?  It’s not all good news for taxpayers. The TCJA also eliminates or limits many tax breaks, and much of the tax relief is only temporary.  It includes significant changes for individual taxpayers, most of which took effect for 2018, but expires after 2025.  Once they expire, the tax rate will undoubtedly be hiked, but bye-bye to our former deductions, just like the ones we lost with Reagan.

TCJA calls for annual inflation adjustments to be calculated using the chained consumer price index.  This will push taxpayers into a higher tax bracket much quickly and far easier.  This part is permanent.

The increased standard deduction could compensate for the elimination of the exemptions, and perhaps even provide some additional tax savings. But for those with many dependents or who itemize deductions, these changes might result in a higher tax bill — depending in part on the extent to which they can benefit from the family tax credits.  Many common and righteous deductions are eliminated.

  • Moving expenses for work is eliminated, except for active duty military.
  • Alimony payments that were deductible, so that the receiving spouse paid the income taxes, are no longer a deduction for the payee.
  • State and local tax deductions were on the chopping block but survived in part. For 2018–2025, taxpayers can claim a deduction of no more than $10,000 for the aggregate of state and local property taxes and either income or sales taxes.
  • The TCJA tightens limits on the deduction for home mortgage interest. For 2018–2025, it generally allows a taxpayer to deduct interest only on mortgage debt of up to $750,000. However, the limit remains at $1 million for mortgage debt incurred before December 15, 2017, which will significantly reduce the number of taxpayers affected.
  • Home Equity loan interest is no longer deductible if it is not for home improvements. The rules are complex and the new law is still being interpreted.
  • A deduction for expenses such as certain professional fees, investment expenses and unreimbursed employee business expenses is suspended for 2018–2025. If you’re an employee and work from home, this includes the home office deduction.
  • Personal casualty and theft loss deduction. For 2018–2025, this deduction is suspended except if the loss was due to an event officially declared a disaster by the President.
  • For 2018–2025, the limit on the deduction for cash donations to public charities is raised to 60% of Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) from 50%.
  • Beginning after December 31, 2017, the TCJA prohibits taxpayers who convert a pretax traditional IRA into a post-tax Roth IRA from later “recharacterizing” (that is, reversing) the conversion.
  • The TCJA eliminates the individual mandate under the Affordable Care Act requiring taxpayers not covered by a qualifying health plan to pay a penalty, effective for months beginning after December 31, 2018. However, we are still receiving notices that we must submit to IRS that we are covered by insurance…Why?

There are many more changes, especially to business, but these are just a few of those which affect individual taxpayers.

The Mass Exodus

Some folks are seeing smaller federal tax bites and bigger refunds, thanks to a more generous standard deduction in the tax overhaul of 2017, and this is the part the president wants to make permanent. But the millions of people who are accustomed to writing off state income tax and local property tax payments are feeling the pinch due to one of the most contentious aspects of the revised system.

It limits deductions for state and local taxes (SALT) to $10,000 on a joint return, which has the intended effect of increasing federal taxes, particularly on residents of high-taxing states such as California and New York, and don’t forget New Jersey, Oregon, Washington State, Massachusetts and others.  Folks who own homes in both warm and cold climates are limited to the deduction, but it’s not just luxury homes, the middle class is feeling the pinch as well.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said that his state has collected $2.3 billion less during December and January of tax revenue.  And this is blamed on the flight of high-income taxpayers to states with low or no state income taxes, especially Florida.

States with no income tax like Florida, Texas and Tennessee are seeing population explosions.  Other states are popular, but these three are at the top, and all three are Red States!  People are leaving these high tax states in droves.  Did globalist Gary Cohn figure this into the tax plan?

Virginia used to be a conservative state until many of the Democrat DC residents moved south, and now they’ve taken over North Carolina as well.  When they leave the higher cost living areas, they don’t leave behind their politics, they bring them with them, and their newly occupied states eventually turn Blue.  This is the danger in the 2017 tax bill.  America could drastically change.

Healthcare Losses

Most middle class Americans gained in 2018 through the new tax bill, but we must remember that thanks to neo-con Trotskyite Republican Senators John McCain, Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski, Repeal and Replace for Obamacare failed.  McCain had campaigned on a promise to repeal the bill, but once again he lied to his constituents. His hatred for President Trump meant more than his promise to the people. The House passed the bill by a narrow margin.

In 2019, business insurance costs went up exponentially for employees.  Even privately held insurance went up again including higher deductibles. In 2020, many employees are paying increases of $2600 or higher per year to cover the cost of healthcare and that’s with deductibles reaching from $5,000 to $15,000 per family.

This easily wipes out the paycheck gains of the 2017 middle class tax cut.  Medical deductibles have risen every year across the board; most families never meet the deductibles for the year, and if they do, it’s not until September or October. The cost of medication has increased as well.

Under Obamacare, physicians who prescribe medications must be seen at least once a year to insure they can continue to fill your prescriptions throughout the year and each year new paperwork is required. And now, insurers including Blue Cross and Medicare insist that if you have hypertension, high cholesterol, or are on medications that used to be checked during yearly physicals, you must now see your physician two to four times a year for blood tests.  Americans who have been on medications for 15 to 20 years and only needed yearly checkups, are now stuck with extra checkups and blood tests.

The costs are increasing exponentially with the deductibles and having to pay for more blood tests and office visits per year is punitive. If patients fail to keep these appointments, insurers can and will consider them “non-compliant patients” and drop them from their insurance.

Yes, Obamacare needs to be destroyed, and national healthcare in America needs to be buried in the dustbin of toxic and murderous ideas and that is why we need to regain the House.

Conclusion

Communist Bernie Sanders and his Democratic socialist comrades love progressive taxation, and they support the Affordable Care Act as a first, but insufficient, step toward full national health care.  Like all socialists, their political theory is derived from Karl Marx, advocating class war and leading to a society in which all property is publicly owned and each person works and is paid according to their abilities and needs.

The Trumps were close to Norman Vincent Peale and his family.  Peale was the nationally renowned pastor of Marble Collegiate in Manhattan.  He was also known for his opposition to collectivism, from FDR’s New Deal, to Soviet communism.  Peale knew communism was the biggest threat to liberty and freedom, and Donald Trump, who loved Peale, knows that as well.  It is why he ran for president.  He knows that freedom means individual choice, not communist collectivization.

President Donald Trump absolutely must be re-elected…but more importantly, true hardcore old-right conservatives must replace the neo-con Republicans and the socialist democrats in Congress.  We must regain the House and keep and enlarge the Senate with strongholds of true conservative old-right Constitutionalists.

President Trump is counting on us to help him Make America Great Again.

© All rights reserved.

Ivanka Trump’s Global Development and Prosperity Initiative Empowers Women

Implementing free-market policies that advance economic freedom is the key to empowering women.

Elaborating on that critical linkage, the president’s Council of Economic Advisers recently published a report, “The W-GDP Index: Empowering Women’s Economic Activity Through Addressing Legal Barriers.”

The W-GDP Index quantifies prior legal reforms in the five crucial areas that affect women’s “full and free” economic participation in developing countries and can be used to track progress of the Trump administration’s Women’s Global Development and Prosperity Initiative in removing barriers to equal economic opportunity for women.

Advancing women’s economic activity by dismantling regulatory barriers hindering them and providing them with the same legal protections as men can result in large increases in economic output and promote overall economic development.


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According to the Council of Economic Advisers’ report, “fully removing the legal barriers to women’s economic activity could increase annual global gross domestic product by $7.7 trillion, or 8.3 percent.” Ensuring women’s full and free participation in the economy, the report says, is “smart economic policy.”

The administration’s Women’s Global Development and Prosperity Initiative, which was spearheaded by first daughter and presidential adviser Ivanka Trump and launched in February 2019, involves the National Security Council, the State Department, and eight other relevant agencies.

Equally notable is that Congress has been paying keen attention to the initiative, too. Two lawmakers—Sens. Lindsey Graham, R.-S.C., and Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H.—are leading a bipartisan legislative effort to have the initiative written into law.

This, Ivanka Trump said, “would permanently authorize W-GDP and establish women’s economic empowerment as a core facet of the United States foreign policy, in line with the president’s own national security strategy.”

The initiative aims to advance women’s empowerment and reach 50 million women in developing countries by 2025 by helping them start small businesses, attend vocational schools, and access loans, particularly through amending “laws in dozens of countries that restrict the ability of women to own property or work in the same jobs as men do,” The Washington Post reported.

As specified in the presidential memorandum on promoting women’s global development and prosperity:

It is the policy of the United States to enhance the opportunity for women to meaningfully participate in, contribute to, and benefit from economic opportunities as individuals, workers, consumers, innovators, entrepreneurs, and investors, so that they enjoy the same access, rights, and opportunities as men to participate in, contribute to, control, and benefit from economic activity.

Indeed, the administration has hit on one pragmatic tool; namely, empowering key segments of the society to lead transformation through free-market initiatives and structural reforms that respect human liberties. Advancing economic freedom is essentially about ensuring human empowerment.

Strengthening and expanding economic freedom guarantees an individual’s natural right to achieve her or his goals and then own the value of what they create.

Amartya Sen, a Nobel laureate economist who has made considerable contributions to development economics, once noted: “Development consists of the removal of various types of unfreedoms that leave people with little choice and little opportunity for exercising their reasoned legacy.”

According to The Heritage Foundation’s annual Index of Economic Freedom, liberalized economies not only have higher levels of entrepreneurial dynamism, higher standards of living, lower rates of poverty, and safer environmental standards, but also greater democratic governance, more social progress, and more gender equality.

Not surprisingly, as shown in the following chart, improving economic freedom and empowering women (measured by the Women’s Global Development and Prosperity Index) go hand in hand.

Reaching a greater global audience since its inception, the Women’s Global Development and Prosperity Initiative has become a unique tool for using U.S. aid more effectively to encourage entrepreneurship, push private enterprise, and increase innovation while focusing on comparative advantage.

Promoting economic freedom in developing or repressed countries is a crucial pillar of America’s strategic foreign policy engagement that not only will advance U.S. interests, but also cement foundations of free-market principles and defend democratic values.

By using U.S. economic diplomacy in this unique way, America has practical opportunities to help women become agents of real and measurable changes in their home countries.

COMMENTARY BY

Anthony B. Kim researches international economic issues at The Heritage Foundation, with a strong focus on economic freedom. Kim is the research manager of the Index of Economic Freedom, the flagship product of the Heritage Foundation in partnership with The Wall Street Journal. Read his research. Twitter: .


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The Heritage Foundation has compiled input from more than 100 constitutional scholars and legal experts into the country’s most thorough and compelling review of the freedoms promised to us within the United States Constitution into a free digital guide called Heritage’s Guide to the Constitution.

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