Anti-Capitalism: Trendy but Wrong

We should remember; the data simply doesn’t support the anti-capitalists.


You can’t escape it; capitalism has a bad rap.

Last night, thousands of anti-capitalist protestors took to the streets in capital cities across the world. Wearing V for Vendetta-inspired Guy Fawkes masks (most of which are made in China), these self-styled “anti-establishment” demonstrators, who took part in annual Million Mask March, sought to express their dissatisfaction with the capitalist system and the unfair outcomes it allegedly creates.

Large anti-capitalist protests like those we saw last night are, of course, nothing unusual. In August, French police resorted to using water cannons and tear gas to disperse thousands of anti-capitalist demonstrators who were protesting in the French coastal town of Bayonne, during the G7 summit which was taking place in a nearby resort.

But it is not just during protests that we see disdain for capitalism. All over our newspapers there are headlines such as, “Capitalism is in crisis,” “Capitalism is failing,” or most recently “Capitalism is dead,”—the latter being a recent quote from billionaire Salesforce CEO, Marc Benioff, who amassed his fortune thanks to the capitalist system.

The consistent bombardment of capitalism in our media and on our streets has culminated in a recent YouGov poll showing that nearly half of all Millennials and Gen-Z’ers hold an unfavorable view of capitalism. The same poll also found that more than 70 percent of Millennials would likely vote for a socialist candidate.

It is fundamentally trendy to be socialist, and to decry the alleged ills of capitalism. But does this persistent condemnation of capitalism hold up to scrutiny?

Every year, the Fraser Institute, a Canadian think tank publishes its Economic Freedom of the World (EFW) report in order to find out which countries have the freest (i.e. most capitalist) economies. The EFW ranks the level of freedom of 162 economies, using 43 indices, across major policy areas: size of government, legal systems and property rights, sound money, freedom to trade internationally, and regulation.

The idea behind the EFW report is that if you can find out which countries have the most capitalist economies, you can then use this information to see if more capitalist countries have better outcomes for their citizens when compared to their more socialist (or at least: less capitalist) counterparts. To analyze the correlation between economic freedom and human wellbeing, the EFW splits the 162 economies into quartiles, based on their level of economic freedom. And the results are staggering.

The average income in the most capitalist quartile of countries is an astonishing six times higher, in real terms, than the average income in the least capitalist economies ($36,770 and $6,140 respectively). For the poorest in society, this gap widens even more. The bottom 10 percent of income earners in the most capitalist countries make, on average, seven times more than the poorest ten percent in the least free economies.Similarly, more than 27 percent of people in the most socialist economies live in extreme poverty (as defined by the World Bank as an income of less than $1.90 a day), whereas just 1.8 percent of people in freest economies live in extreme poverty—a figure that is still too high (the optimal number is zero), but vastly better than the level that persists in the least free countries.

Economic measures aside, people living in the most capitalist countries also live on average 14 years longer, have an infant mortality rate six times lower, enjoy greater political and civil liberties, gender equality, and to the extent you can measure such things, greater happiness too—when compared to the least capitalist economies.

Take Hong Kong, for example, which is the world’s freest economy according the EFW report. In 1941, journalist and travel writer Martha Gellhorn visited the city-state with her husband, Ernest Hemmingway and noted “the real Hong Kong…was the most cruel poverty, worse than any I had seen before. Worse still because of an air of eternity; life had always been like this, always would be.” But just a few years after Gellhorn’s visit, the surrender of the Japanese in 1945 meant that British rule returned to the island and with it came a largely laissez-faire approach to the city’s economy.

In 1950, the average citizen in Hong Kong earned just 36 percent of what the average citizen in the United Kingdom earned. But as Hong Kong embraced economic freedom (according the EFW, Hong Kong has had the most capitalist economy every year bar one since 1970), it became substantially richer. Today, Hong Kong’s GDP per capita is a whooping than 68 percent higher than the UK’s. As Marian Tupy, editor of HumanProgress.org, notes, “the poverty that Gellhorn bemoaned is gone – thanks to economic freedom.”We can see far bigger gaps whenever we pair a broadly capitalist country with an otherwise similar socialist country: Chile vs. VenezuelaWest Germany vs. East GermanySouth Korea vs. North Korea, Taiwan vs. Maoist China, Costa Rica vs Cuba, and so on. (Yes, I know: none of that was “real” socialism. But then, it always is real socialism, until it isn’t.)

Decrying the ills of capitalism on a placard or in a newspaper headline is a trend with little sign of going away any time soon, but when we see such unsubstantiated claims, we should remember; the data simply doesn’t support the anti-capitalists.

This article is republished from the Institute of Economic Affairs.

COLUMN BY

Alexander Hammond

Alexander C. R. Hammond is a researcher at a Washington D.C. think tank and Senior Fellow for African Liberty. He is also a Young Voices contributor and frequently writes about economic freedom, African development, and globalization.

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Top Arab Figures From 15 Countries Meet to Say ‘No’ to BDS

Prominent figures from 15 Arab countries met in London last week to reject the BDS movement and encourage relations with Israel.

At the same time last week, a delegation of Arab journalists, bloggers and musicians toured Israel at the invitation of the Israeli Foreign Ministry. Some of the journalists were from countries with no diplomatic relations with Israel.

BDS stands for Boycott, Sanction and Divest. It is an anti-Semitic movement against the state of Israel devised to  strangle the Jewish state economically.

Participants in the London meeting hailed from Morocco, Libya, Sudan, Egypt, Lebanon, Iraq and the Persian Gulf states and included journalists, artists, politicians, diplomats, Quranic scholars, women and young people.

The meeting was publicized only after its participants returned to their native countries. The New York Times was allowed to post a live stream of the meeting (held in Arabic) after the event.

The London meeting was sponsored by the Center for Peace Communications, an organization that “works through media, schools, and centers of spiritual and moral leadership in the Middle East and North Africa to roll back divisive ideologies and foster a mindset of inclusion and engagement.”

The Times reported that the group in London agreed that “[BDS] has only helped [Israel] while damaging Arab nations that have long shunned the Jewish state. Demonizing Israel has cost Arab nations billions in trade.”

Mustafa el-Dessouki, an Egyptian who is the managing editor of the prominent news magazine, Majalla (which is funded by Saudi Arabia), was one of the main organizers of the meeting.

In recent travels around the Middle East, Dessouki said met many Arabs with similar views to his, including citizens of Lebanon. This was in spite of the fact that the Arab news media and entertainment industry have long been “programming people toward this hostility” against Israel and Jews, he said, while politicians were “intimidating and scaring people into manifesting it.”

Meanwhile, in Israel last week, the visiting delegation included journalists from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Iraq and Egypt.

The trip was organized by Hassan Kaabia, the Israeli Foreign Ministry’s spokesman for the Arabic media. “My goal is to bring people here to get to know the real Israel, to see it first hand, and not through television or social media, and see how Israel is unjustly slandered,” he said.

Kaabia brought a similar delegation to Israel last summer.

He said he met the journalists on Twitter and didn’t know if their governments knew their citizens were visiting Israel.

Speaking on the condition of anonymity, one of the journalists, who was described as a prominent figure in Saudi Arabia, said, “There is no escape from establishing normal relations with Israel.”

By “normal relations,” he said he meant “real peace,” not the peace that is currently seen between the Egyptian and Jordanian governments with Israel, which he criticized for fomenting hate against Israel.

In regards to the Palestinian issue, the Saudi said, “Why should the Arab world ignite problems with Israel and the super-powers because of a small minority? This minority had a chance to form a state in ’47 but refused because it only dealt with the question, ‘Why do the Jews have an independent country?’”

When asked about his experience touring Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and Haifa, he said, “When people heard I am from Saudi Arabia, they were amazed. Not in a hostile manner, but by accepting who I was.

“I love the Jewish people and all the citizens of Israel,” he concluded in Hebrew.

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The Effect of New Trade Agreement on Business

The digital age is the perfect time to start a business. Businesses, both big and small, are being connected to their clients directly than ever before and it’s all thanks to the internet. In fact, because of this, the playing field has been leveled somewhat, giving businesses an equal opportunity to flourish.

However, as boundaries blur, the questions of globalization and free trade come to mind. Are they really going to benefit our economy or are they our downfall? Don’t worry, in this article, we are going to flesh out those arguments, focusing on what free trade agreements are, why they’re needed, and of course, their benefits. Let’s get started.

What Are Free Trade Agreements?

Economists have varied opinions as to what the effects of globalization and free trade will bring to our economy, but they do agree on one thing: both of these rely on free trade agreements or FTA. What are they anyway?

In a nutshell, FTAs are contracts made between countries in order to encourage trade between them. FTAs usually have two objectives: to lower tariff rates and protect the investors. If you’re a small business owner and you’re thinking of leveling up and taking your investment overseas, then you can file for a personal loan for the additional capital.

It is one of the fastest and most efficient ways to raise the needed budget and to get ahead of your competitors as soon as possible. We’re guessing that the tides will turn for the better really soon.

Did you know that our country, the United States, is currently maintaining more than a dozen FTAs around the globe? One of the most controversial right now is the USMCA or the United States-Mexico-Canada trade agreement.

Why Do Businesses Need to Be Aware of Trade Agreements?

Before talking about the USMCA, though, let us first discuss why businesses need to concern themselves about trade agreements. Here are a few points to keep in mind:

  • The lower tariff rates will allow small businesses access to more affordable imported resources.
  • This will also allow them to price their products competitively and perform well on a global scale.
  • Finally, FTAs will reduce the challenges that small businesses go through in order to take their brands overseas. One such challenge is expensive import license requirements that larger companies don’t really bother themselves with, especially those that have already established their branches on foreign soil.

Yes, FTAs are really helpful. This is the reason why we’re really keeping an eye out for USMCA.

The USMCA

But what is it anyway? USMCA is the newest trade agreement that is still currently in the works. This means that it hasn’t been signed by the president yet, but if he does, according to Vice Pres. Michael Pence himself, it is expected to be “one of the largest trade deal in American History”.

The Benefits of USMCA

How big? Well, let’s just say that it is projected that it will bring almost $70 billion to our economy, and more than 150,000 jobs. It will also benefit a lot of industries. According to the Office of the United States Trade Representative, the USMCA will benefit food and agriculture trade, automobile and vehicle manufacturing industries, and even digital trade.

There are also new chapters on improved regulatory practices and intellectual property protection. In a nutshell, this agreement seeks to provide us, business owners, as much protection and security as we can possibly hope for, while also helping improve our country’s (and our partner countries) economy.

In Conclusion: How Can We Get the President to Sign?

The USMCA agreement is one of President Trump’s promises to us during his campaign which explains why he is also passionate about passing this agreement as soon as possible. However, due to some important points in the agreement that are yet to be discussed, it hasn’t been signed yet. You might be thinking if there’s any way to help speed up the matter, though. We hear you. There are actually a few steps:

  • Inform yourself and other business owners about it. Like what we’re doing right now, you can help spread awareness on how people from different sectors (from businessmen to farmers) can benefit from the USMCA.
  • Sign the petition. There are online petitions that you can sign in order to push for the faster processing and signing of this trade contract.
  • Finally, you can join a demonstration. There are different sectors that are taking their voices to the streets.

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VIDEO: Invisible Hands — The Market Process

The essence of any economy is built on the production and exchange of goods and services. And one of the most important and effective ways we know to achieve the fulfillment of people’s wants and needs in any society is through the market process.

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Why the Pilgrims Abandoned Common Ownership for Private Property

The first few years of Plymouth colony were fraught with hardship and hunger. Economics had a lot to do with it.


Next year at this time, Americans will mark the 400th anniversary of the landing of the Mayflower in 1620 and the subsequent founding of the Plymouth colony by English Puritans we know as the Pilgrims. They, of course, became the mothers and fathers of the first Thanksgiving.

The first few years of the settlement were fraught with hardship and hunger. Four centuries later, they also provide us with one of history’s most decisive verdicts on the critical importance of private property. We should never forget that the Plymouth colony was headed straight for oblivion under a communal, socialist plan but saved itself when it embraced something very different.

In the diary of the colony’s first governor, William Bradford, we can read about the settlers’ initial arrangement: Land was held in common. Crops were brought to a common storehouse and distributed equally. For two years, every person had to work for everybody else (the community), not for themselves as individuals or families. Did they live happily ever after in this socialist utopia?

Hardly. The “common property” approach killed off about half the settlers. Governor Bradford recorded in his diary that everybody was happy to claim their equal share of production, but production only shrank. Slackers showed up late for work in the fields, and the hard workers resented it. It’s called “human nature.”

The disincentives of the socialist scheme bred impoverishment and conflict until, facing starvation and extinction, Bradford altered the system. He divided common property into private plots, and the new owners could produce what they wanted and then keep or trade it freely.

Communal socialist failure was transformed into private property/capitalist success, something that’s happened so often historically it’s almost monotonous. The “people over profits” mentality produced fewer people until profit—earned as a result of one’s care for his own property and his desire for improvement—saved the people.

Over the centuries, socialism has crash-landed into lamentable bits and pieces too many times to keep count—no matter what shade of it you pick: central planning, welfare statism, or government ownership of the means of production. Then some measure of free markets and private property turned the wreckage into progress. I know of no instance in history when the reverse was true—that is, when free markets and private property produced a disaster that was cured by socialism. None.

A few of the many examples that echo the Pilgrims’ experience include Germany after World War II, Hong Kong after Japanese occupation, New Zealand in the 1980s, Scandinavia in recent decades, and even Lenin’s New Economic Policy of the 1920s.

Two hundred years after the Pilgrims, the Scottish cotton magnate Robert Owen thought he’d give socialism another spin, this time in New Harmony, Indiana. There he established a community he hoped would transcend such “evils” as individualism and self-interest. Everybody would be economically equal in an altruistic, fairy-tale society. It collapsed utterly within just two years, just like all the other “Owenite” communes it briefly inspired. Fortunately, because Owen didn’t have guns and armies to glue it together, people just walked away from New Harmony in disgust. They learned from socialism, even if today’s socialists don’t. You can read all about it in this splendid 1976 article by Melvin D. Barger, “Robert Owen: The Wooly Minded Cotton Spinner.”

Socialism flops even when it’s the “pretend” or “voluntary” variety. Imagine the odds against it succeeding when it’s compulsory! The use of force prolongs the agony but doesn’t breed any less bitterness, resentment, or decline. It magnifies the calamity, in fact.

Consider this as you feast at the Thanksgiving table this week: The people who raised the turkey didn’t do so because they wanted to help you out. The others who grew the cranberries and the yams didn’t go to the trouble and expense out of some altruistic impulse or because of some nebulous “sharing” fantasy.

Sacrificial rituals, even if they make you feel good, rarely bake a bigger pie. Charity is laudable, and I engage in it, too, but it’s not an engine of production or prosperity. For that, you need profit, incentive, and private property.

In North Korea and Venezuela, socialist regimes work to see that almost nobody makes a profit or owns a private business. There won’t be anything like widespread Thanksgiving dinners in either country this week, and that’s no coincidence. I wonder if that lesson is still taught in schools these days; polls that suggest young people are attracted to socialism suggest maybe it isn’t.

I’ll be offering gratitude for more than just good food on Thanksgiving Day. I’m going to give a prayerful thanks for private property and the profit motive that has made abundance possible. When God instilled a measure of peaceful, productive self-interest into the human mind, he knew what he was doing.

For additional information, see:

COLUMN  BY

Lawrence W. Reed

Lawrence W. Reed is President Emeritus, Humphreys Family Senior Fellow, and Ron Manners Ambassador for Global Liberty at the Foundation for Economic Education. He is also author of Real Heroes: Incredible True Stories of Courage, Character, and Conviction and Excuse Me, Professor: Challenging the Myths of ProgressivismFollow on Twitter and Like on Facebook.

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

VIDEO: Why Kanye West Is Leaving California and Taking Yeezy With Him

For entrepreneurs and visionaries, California’s regulatory climate is more than just frustrating—it’s innovation-killing.


Rumors have swirled that Kanye West and wife Kim Kardashian are giving up on California ever since it was reported that the rapper had purchased a $14 million “monster ranch” in Cody, Wyoming. (It’s actually called that: Monster Lake Ranch). The rumors intensified when it was revealed the couple, who have four children, are touring schools near the 4,500-acre property.

Apparently, the power couple is not done, though. TMZ reports that Kanye just closed on another ranch property near Cody, this one 6,713 acres and valued at $14.5 million. (Evidently, West’s money problems are a thing of the past.)

What’s going on?

The purchases appear to be related to West’s label Yeezy, a billion-dollar apparel empire. West recently announced plans to move the company to Wyoming, and apparently it’s not all talk. The headquarters of Yeezy, previously in Calabasas, California, has already been moved to Cody (population: 9,828), West said, and all manufacturing is slated to happen there eventually.

“Our goal in the next two years is to bring the manufacturing back to America: South America and North America,” said West, speaking at the 2019 Fast Company Innovation Festival earlier this month.

During his interview, West made it clear he found California’s rigid regulatory structure stifling and a bit irritating. He shared a story about regulators telling him his Star Wars-inspired domes for the homeless—a project West was experimenting with—were not up to code.

“One of the domes was 10 feet too high,” said West. “They came and said, ‘You got to take it down.’”

West said he was fine with taking it down, but he was angry that officials informed the press about the action.

“Ten feet? On my own 300-acre property?” said West. “And we could have handled it…but [they] wanted to go to the press to let everyone know [they] were tearing down Kanye’s domes.”

The episode apparently was enough to help convince West, an innovator who speaks glowingly about creativity and the virtue of competition, that California was not the place for his multibillion-dollar brand (Yeezy is owned solely by West).

No doubt some of the usual reasons were at play—the state’s high poverty, high taxes, and housing issues—but the biggest reason for the split is that California and Kanye are just too different. They’re like that couple you know—the free spirit and the control freak—who you sense just isn’t going to make it, not long term. They might not openly quarrel, but you see all kinds of problems beneath the surface. They just don’t fit.

This was clear listening to West and designer Steve Smith as they discussed the creative process at Yeezy. West spoke about his aversion to structure and deadlines. Smith, himself a master disruptor who has worked at pretty much every major American sportswear brand in America—including Nike, New Balance, and Reebok—talked about West’s thirst for originality and creativity.

“The thing I love about Kanye is the rules are gone,” Smith said. “Everything you’ve ever done has just been smashed to pieces and we think about it completely different. It’s liberating creativity like I’ve never seen before.”

For someone who doesn’t like rules, California is probably not the best place to be. (Sometimes it seems there is no behavior or product California lawmakers don’t want to ban.)

For entrepreneurs and visionaries, California’s regulatory climate is more than just frustrating—it’s innovation-killing. Instead of just creating, entrepreneurs often need to hire lobbyists and make political donations to navigate the regulatory labyrinth.

For someone like Kanye West, who clearly has a grand vision, working in such an environment is not an option. Yeezy might be a shoe company, albeit a billion-dollar one, but it’s clear that West has a much grander vision. To make his vision a reality, he needs space “to think,” he said.

“Dayton, Ohio, the Wright brothers. They needed a chance to think or we wouldn’t have flight today,” West said. “If the world only knew the capabilities of what we have, the press would get out of the way.”

The Wright brothers, of course, began their flight experiments at their Dayton, Ohio, bicycle shop in 1896. But the brothers famously took their operations to the sand dunes of North Carolina, where they tested their flight technology over a period of several years. The tests eventually led to the first controlled powered airplane flight at Kill Devil Hills on December 17, 1903, just south of the small town of Kitty Hawk.

Comparing his own move to Cody to that of the Wright brothers might be a stretch, but it’s also totally Kanye. Maybe West will create an empire that realizes his grand vision. What’s clear is that he’ll be able to try while facing much less interference.

And at the very least, he’ll be able to build his Star Wars domes.

“The building restrictions are way lax in Cody,” West said.

Apparently not lax enough, however. On Wednesday, TMZ reported that county officials had ordered West to halt construction on his Monster Lake Ranch property. West, who plans to build an amphitheater on the ranch, reportedly broke ground without a permit.

This article has been updated to reflect that West has been ordered to halt construction of his amphitheater until his building permit application is approved. 

COLUMN BY

Jon Miltimore

Jonathan Miltimore is the Managing Editor of FEE.org. His writing/reporting has appeared in TIME magazine, The Wall Street Journal, CNN, Forbes, and Fox News. 

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Newspapers Are Collapsing, And They’re Not Alone

The recent merger between Gatehouse Media and Gannett Corporation is another milestone in the rapid decline financially and journalistically of newspapers.

Don’t expect either to change anytime soon. But what is more enlightening is that they are not the only mainstream media outlets struggling. Turns out that in addition to TV news networks, a lot of major online digital outfits are also in contraction mode.

The Gatehouse/Gannett merger creates the largest U.S. media company measured by print circulation along with, in total, perhaps the biggest online news and information outlet, albeit it is diffused. The purchase price, using a combination of cash and stock, is valued at about $1.1 billion — a surprisingly small number for the nation’s largest newspaper conglomerate; like, depressingly small for newspaper investors.

“Our mission is to connect, protect and celebrate our local communities,” said Paul Bascobert, who will lead an operating company called Gannett Media Corp. “Great journalism really is the core of that mission. The question really becomes, what’s the sustainable and exciting business model that powers that mission?”

If part of that model or mission is not fair, objective, non-biased reporting — something that everyone can trust — then this new conglomerate also is doomed. And here’s the problem. It is almost assuredly doomed. All of the newspapers owned by the new company, which will be called Gannett, are staffed at every level of the newsroom by liberals and leftists of some stripe. It is impossible for them to be objective, to be balanced, to be unbiased, because they are incapable of even recognizing they are biased. Best as they can tell, everyone around them agrees on “good” journalism. And they win prizes for it by other liberals and leftists, so it must be great!

And so the shrinking of the mainstream newspaper industry will continue apace until it finds equilibrium at some miniaturized point in the future as a universally accepted partisan media.

According to a Pew Fact Tank report, mainstream newspapers shed 33,000 newsroom jobs between 2008-2018. Media in general experienced a 25 percent decline in those same 10 years — after rolling declines in previous decades.

While Pew said that digital news publications added 6,100 jobs, some of the biggest operations have been laying off people.

“Among the largest digital-native outlets — those with a monthly average of at least 10 million unique visitors — 14% went through layoffs in 2018 and 20% did the year before. Nearly all the digital-native news outlets that laid off staff in 2017 or 2018 cut more than 10 employees,” the Pew report said.

And then we wrap back around to where we started. Pew found a continuing decline in the number of Americans who get their news from newspapers and television — the heart of the mainstream media.

For newspapers, the results were just embarrassing. They are dead last in consumership, with just 16% of Americans saying that “they get news often” from newspapers.

This isn’t just about the competition from online sources, although that is real. The truth is that even many medium and small metro newspapers are deeply infected with the liberal bias, because virtually every college journalism school has become a dumpster fire of liberal to radical leftist professors. And those are the journalists they are churning out.

However, most of those communities don’t have any comparable digital outlets, such as there are in the largest cities or nationally. That means those newspapers have not lost readers to online competitors. They’ve just lost readers. Millions of one-time newspaper readers have walked away because they know they cannot trust what they are getting.

The tragedy for newspapers is that this has been obvious for a couple of decades. When I worked for a New York Times-owned newspaper in the 1990s, I pushed for a policy of recruiting based on a diversity of worldviews, not skin color and gender, as the only solution for the bias. Of course, that was shot down once it got to New York muckity mucks.

The reality is that newspapers have no intention of changing how they cover news, how they define news or how they present it. Most importantly, they won’t change who their journalists are. They and the rest of the mainstream media are like alcoholics who cannot get past the first step — admitting they have a problem.

And so, they dig their own graves and blame someone else for the hole in the ground.

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

The DOW’s High Record Numbers: What Does It Mean for Business Owners

The Dow Jones Industrial Average hits a record high at 182.24 points. This came after two of the world’s largest economies (U.S. and China) agreed to remove existing trade tariffs.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average, with 123 years of history, is a stock market index that measures the stock prices of the top 30 companies in the U.S. It is used by experts to assess the overall health of the stock market and the investors’ level of confidence in those companies.

The Dow average is calculated by adding all the stock prices of the companies in each index and dividing it by the number of companies.

For 2019, the top five companies that form Dow’s index are Microsoft, Apple, JPMorgan Chase & Co., Johnson & Johnson, and Walmart. Some experts still argue that the Dow is less representative of the broad stock market as it includes only 30 out of the 2,800 companies listed in the New York Stocks Exchange.

Just this year, the Dow Jones Industrial Average broke records three times. The first happened last June 11, when it hit 26,885. On July 3, The Dow hit another record, closing above 27,000. This was the time when President Trump announced that the administration would continue its negotiation with China to avert additional tariffs. And just last week, another record-breaking moment came when Dow’s numbers hit 27,492.63. This led to Dow’s year-to-date gain close to 18%.

But it’s not just the Dow that had their record-setting stock indices. Even the S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite also finished theirs at the highest level on record.

What does it all mean for business owners?

Stock trading affects companies in a myriad of ways and plays a very important role in the U.S. economy.

Consumer Spending

First of all, trends in stocks influence consumer behavior. When stocks are high, people feel confident over their investment portfolios and feel empowered to spend money on big-ticket items like a home or a brand new car.

On the other hand, falling stock prices make people hold back on spending, especially in non-essential items. They are also more likely to tap on their emergency fund or get a personal loan to cover expenses. Reduced consumer spending has a huge effect on the business sector and obviously slows down economic growth.

Growth and Profitability

Stock trading allows businesses to raise capital for expansion, or to launch new products or pay off debts. For investors, stocks provide an opportunity to profit from gains in stock value.

Moreover, stock prices affect business and consumer behavior, which in turn, impacts the economy overall. This relationship can also be perceived from the other way around – economic conditions influence stock prices.

As a rule, the higher the stock prices, the better for companies. It also suggests a company’s ability to earn and grow its profits in the future.

Business Financing

Another major benefit of high stock prices is in equity financing. During the initial stages of their initial public offering (IPO), most companies receive an infusion of capital which they can use to acquire other companies, fund expansion, or pay off debt. Equity financing is the process of gaining capital by selling new shares. However, for a company to obtain equity financing, it needs to demonstrate a healthy share price that will attract potential investors.

Takeovers

An increase in stock prices also reduces the risk of company takeovers. When a company’s stock price falls, it’s market value goes down as well, which makes it vulnerable to takeovers. Furthermore, companies with high stock prices tend to attract media attention, which positively favors their brand reputation and attracts more potential investors.

While the stock market influences the economy, it’s not the only factor. Things like interest rates, consumer spending, and business spending also influence the economy as a whole. For example, when consumers spend less and invest less in businesses, the economy slows down. Meanwhile, falling interest rates can prompt economic growth. On top of these, fiscal policies, such as rate cuts and large budget deficits, can all impact the health of the business sector.

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Most Affordable States to Start Your Business

Now more than ever, aspiring entrepreneurs are pursuing their passions and looking for ways to start a business. One of the key considerations when starting a business is keeping costs low and profits high. Choosing the right place in which to open up shop can make a significant impact on the bottom line.

If you’ve been considering opening a business in the USA, some states will be more profitable than others. Here are the most affordable states in which to start your business.

Considerations

Before you learn which states are the best for entrepreneurs, you need to understand the elements that play a role in affordability. Some implications affect the business itself, while others have an indirect influence by affecting the business owner.

Some key considerations include:

  • Taxation – some states have higher taxes than others. Choosing a state with lower taxation means you keep more of the money you’ve earned.
  • Entrepreneurial environment – is the area in a state of economic growth? These are essential components of market research when choosing a home state.
  • Funding opportunities – what are the startup costs in this area when compared to funding opportunities? Some states promote entrepreneurship by offering grants and loans.
  • Labor market – depending on your business venture, you may require specialized or highly-educated workers, which are more affluent in some states.
  • Cost and quality of living – will you be able to afford to live in the state you work when you consider housing, groceries, and utilities? Also, the safety of the area, school options, and more.

By weighing these factors, you’ll be able to determine which state is best for your business. Keeping these concerns in mind, here are some of the most affordable states in which to start a business.

Texas

Texas is at the top of the list for affordability when considering a new business. First and foremost, cities in Texas– Houston and Austin, to name a few– have been booming in recent years. This influx of people and skilled workers has created ample opportunity for aspiring entrepreneurs.

Texas encourages entrepreneurs to open up shop in the Lonestar State with grants and funding options to support their endeavors. This is backed further by free resources, like the Texas Entrepreneur Networks, which helps business owners find investors.

Finally, utilities are affordable in Texas. The electricity plans for Texas are deregulated, creating an open market situation resulting in savings for the end-user. As Texas is such a great place to live and work, it’s the number one state for opening a new business.

Utah

Utah is another state in which to give serious consideration to opening a business. It’s one of the best states in terms of resources for business owners and offers some of the most accessible financing options. Grants and loans are abundant in Utah, and it boasts a higher economic growth rate for small businesses than Texas.

As far as the cost of living goes in Utah, it’s perfectly average in comparison to the rest of the states, ranking 27th overall. While things like groceries, utilities, and transportation are slightly lower than the national average, housing is the tipping point. The median home cost in Utah is slightly over $100,000 more than the national average.

Fortunately, Utah is also one of the best states to rent in. The average rent in Utah is about $200 less per month than the national average. Between the financing options and rent affordability, Utah is a worthy contender for the most affordable and profitable state in which to start a business.

Colorado

Colorado is an entrepreneur’s dream. With low taxation and startup costs, it’s no wonder why so many Millennials are immigrating to Colorado to pursue their business goals. This state boasts a burgeoning labor force, with over fifty percent of residents holding a bachelor’s degree at minimum. In fact, Colorado is one of the most educated states in the country.

The cost of living in Colorado is slightly higher than the national average. This is primarily due to the prices in Denver and some of the more affluent areas. However, as it is a highly educated area, the average income is slightly higher than the national average, as well.

Due to the startup culture in Colorado, there are a lot of incredible resources for entrepreneurs. Denver Startup Week takes place every September and is both an educational and networking opportunity that can open doors for entrepreneurs and investors. The education tracks address everything from business growth, to being a founder, to specific industry concerns.

Make Your Move

While these are the top three affordable states for starting a business, there are many other options. Choosing the right place to start your business builds a strong foundation for growth and success.

Entitlement Liabilities Are a Graver Threat to the Next Generation of Americans Than Climate Change

On January 31, 1940, Miss Ida Fuller received a check for $22.54. She was the first person to retire under the Old-Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance (OASDI) scheme, better known as Social Security. At the time of her retirement in 1939, she had paid just $22 in Social Security taxes. Ms. Fuller lived to be 100, cashing over $20,000 worth of Social Security checks.

If she had only paid $22.54 in contributions, where did the $20,000 Ms. Fuller received in Social Security payouts come from? It came, as it does now, from the taxpayers of the day. As of 2019, your employer deducts 6.2 percent of your wages up to $132,900 a year, matches this amount, and sends it to the Social Security Administration (SSA). The SSA deposits this with the Treasury, which spends it and receives Treasury bonds in return. This is the fabled trust fund that guarantees Social Security.

But these Treasury bonds are simply IOUs redeemable against the income of tomorrow’s taxpayers. When one of the Treasury bonds held by the SSA falls due for payment, the Treasury can only get the funds to meet this liability by taxing, borrowing (taxing the taxpayers of tomorrow), or printing money (imposing an inflation tax). In each case, what really guarantees Social Security is not the money you paid in but the earnings of today’s or tomorrow’s taxpayers.

Such a pay-as-you-go scheme could chug along well enough as long as there were lots of workers relative to retirees. When the program began, every 100 workers were supporting three retirees.

This favorable ratio encouraged politicians to be more generous. Originally intended to cover only about 50 percent of all workers, Social Security was expanded even before Ida Fuller received her first check to provide benefits for dependents of retired workers and surviving dependents. In the post-war years, Social Security grew further. Disability benefits, payable as early as age 50, were added in 1956, and during the 1950s coverage was extended to other previously excluded workers, making it essentially universal. Congress passed across-the-board benefit increases of 7 percent (1965), 13 percent (1967), 15 percent (1969), 10 percent (1971), 20 percent (1972), and 11 percent (1974). In 1972, benefits were tied to the Consumer Price Index, yielding an annual “cost of living adjustment.”

In 1965, Medicare was signed into law, establishing a heavily subsidized federal health care program for the elderly. Former President Harry Truman and his wife received the first Medicare cards without paying a cent in Medicare taxes.

Like Social Security, Medicare is financed by a payroll tax of 2.9 percent split between employer and employee, up from 0.7 percent in 1966. Like Social Security, that money gets paid right out to meet current expenses, which were vastly expanded by passage of Medicare Part D in 2003. And like Social Security, such a pay-as-you-go scheme could chug along well enough as long as there were lots of workers relative to retirees.

Two things derailed that. US birth rates fell from births 3.65 births per woman in 1965 to 1.80 in 2016, and life expectancy rose from 68 in 1950 to 79 today. Together, this meant ever more retirees relative to the workers supporting them. By 2017, 100 workers were supporting 25 retirees.

These shifting demographics have shredded the solvency of the “trust funds.” Social Security is estimated to run out of reserves in 2034, after which benefits would have to be reduced by about 25 percent to keep spending within available annual revenue. Over 75 years, Social Security has an unfunded liability of $13.9 trillion.

The Medicare hospital insurance trust fund will run out of reserves in 2026. Medicare’s second trust fund, for physician and outpatient services and for prescription drugs, is permanently “solvent” because it has an unlimited call on the general fund of the Treasury—the incomes of future taxpayers. Premiums paid by the beneficiaries will cover only about 25 percent of program costs; the rest of the spending is unfinanced. Medicare’s overall unfunded liability over 75 years is more than $37 trillion.

The taxes levied to fund Social Security have already risen drastically. In 1937, the Social Security tax rate was one percent on earnings up to $3,000 ($53,449 in 2019 dollars) to be matched by the employer. By 1971 it was 4.6 percent on earnings up to $7,800 ($49,411 in 2019 dollars). It now stands at 6.2 percent up to $132,900.

This is only going to get worse. According to Census Bureau projections, by 2030 each 100 working-age Americans will be supporting 35 retirees, and this could rise to 42 by 2060. Another way to think of this is to calculate the number of retirees each worker must support. In 1946, the burden of one retiree was shared between 42 workers. Today, according to the SSA, roughly three workers cover each retiree’s Social Security and Medicare benefits. By 2030, however, there will be only two workers supporting each retiree.

In other words, a working couple will have to support not only themselves and their family but also someone outside the family thanks to Social Security and Medicare.

To make Social Security solvent again, the payroll tax rate would need to be hiked immediately from 12.4 percent to 15.2 percent, or Social Security benefits would need to be cut on a permanent basis by about 17 percent. According to economists Roger LeRoy Miller, Daniel K. Benjamin, and Douglass C. North:

[F]or Social Security and Medicare to stay as they are, the payroll tax rate may have to rise to 25 percent of wages over the next decade. And a payroll tax rate of 40 percent is not unlikely by the middle of the twenty-first century.

Teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg recently made international headlines with an impassioned speech to the United Nations in which she complained that her future had been stolen by inaction on climate change. An American Ms. Thunberg’s age could say the same about entitlement spending on Social Security and Medicare.

By the expanding eligibility for and hiking the benefits of a pay-as-you-go system while at the same time having fewer children to fund it, the generations preceding that child have left a fearsome financial obligation. Either taxes will go up sharply for the workers of tomorrow, lowering their standard of living, or benefits will go down for the retirees of tomorrow, lowering their standard of living. One group is going to feel pretty angry.

These problems were foreseen even as politicians were hiking payouts. In 1978, the economist Paul Samuelson wrote:

[O]ur Social Security system is also an actuarially unfunded system…there is no obligation for this generation to have children at the same rate as did previous generations. Therefore, when those born during the baby-boom period of the ‘50s reach retirement age in the next century, their stipends will be felt as more of a burden by the thinner ranks of the then working population

We are on the brink of inter-generational strife. We have the political shortsightedness of decades past to thank for that.

COLUMN BY

John Phelan

John Phelan is an economist at the Center of the American Experiment and fellow of The Cobden Centre.

RELATED VIDEO: The Living Wage Makes It Harder to Make a Living.

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

Liberal Policy Failures Are the Reason for Socialism’s New Appeal

Multiple forms of socialism, from hard Stalinism to European redistribution, continue to fail.

Russia and China are still struggling with the legacy of genocidal communism. Eastern Europe still suffers after decades of Soviet-imposed socialist chaos.

Cuba, Nicaragua, North Korea, and Venezuela are unfree, poor, and failed states. Baathism—a synonym for pan-Arabic socialism—ruined the postwar Middle East.

The soft-socialist European Union countries are stagnant and mostly dependent on the U.S. military for their protection.


The demand for socialism is on the rise from young Americans today. But is socialism even morally sound? Find out more now >>


In contrast, current American deregulation, tax cuts, and incentives, and record energy production have given the United States the strongest economy in the world.

So why, then, are two of the top three Democratic presidential contenders—Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren—either overtly or implicitly running on socialist agendas? Why are the heartthrobs of American progressives—Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y.; Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich.; and Ilhan Omar, D-Minn.—calling for socialist redistributionist schemes?

Why do polls show that a majority of American millennials have a favorable view of socialism?

There are lots of catalysts for the new socialism.

Massive immigration is changing the demography of the United States. The number of foreign-born U.S. residents and their children has been estimated at almost 60 million, or about 1 in 5 U.S. residents. Some 27% of California residents were born outside of America.

Many of these immigrants flee from poor areas of Latin America, Mexico, Africa, and Asia that were wrecked by statism and socialism. Often, they arrive in the U.S. unaware of economic and political alternatives to state socialism.

When they reach the U.S.—often without marketable skills and unable to speak English—many assume that America will simply offer a far better version of the statism from which they fled. Consequently, many take for granted that government will provide them an array of social services, and they become supportive of progressive socialism.

Another culprit for the new socialist craze is the strange leftward drift of the very wealthy in Silicon Valley, in corporate America and on Wall Street.

Some of the new progressive rich feel guilty about their unprecedented wealth. So they champion redistribution as the sort of medieval penance that alleviates guilt.

Yet the influential and monied classes usually are so well off that higher taxes hardly affect them. Instead, redistributionist taxation hurts the struggling middle classes.

In California, it became hip for wealthy leftists to promote socialism from their Malibu, Menlo Park, or Mill Valley enclaves—while still living as privileged capitalists. Meanwhile, it proved nearly impossible for the middle classes of Stockton and Bakersfield to cope with the reality of crushing taxes and terrible social services.

From 2008 to 2017, the now-multimillionaire Barack Obama, first as candidate and then as president, used all sorts of cool socialist slogans, from “spread the wealth around” and “now is not the time to profit” to “you didn’t build that” and “at a certain point you’ve made enough money.”

Universities bear much of the blame. Their manipulation of the federal government to guarantee student loans empowered them to jack up college costs without any accountability. Liberal college administrators and faculty did not care much when graduates left campus poorly educated and unable to market their expensive degrees.

More than 45 million borrowers now struggle with nearly $1.6 trillion in collective student debt, with climbing interest. That indebtedness has delayed—or ended—the traditional forces that encourage conservatism and traditionalism, such as getting married, having children, and buying a home.

Instead, a generation of single, childless, and mostly urban youth feels cheated that their high-priced degrees did not earn them competitive salaries. Millions of embittered college graduates will never be able to pay off what they owe—and want some entity to pay off their debts.

In paradoxical fashion, teenagers were considered savvy adults who were mature enough to take on gargantuan loans. But they were also treated like fragile preteens who were warned that the world outside their campus sanctuaries was downright mean, sexist, racist, homophobic, and unfair.

Finally, doctrinaire Republicans for decades mouthed orthodoxies of free rather than fair trade. They embraced the idea of creative destruction of industries, but without worrying about the real-life consequences for the unemployed in the hollowed-out, red-state interior.

Add up a lost generation of woke and broke college graduates, waves of impoverished immigrants without much knowledge of American economic traditions, wealthy advocates of boutique socialism, and asleep-at-the-wheel Republicans, and it becomes clear why historically destructive socialism is suddenly seen as cool.

Regrettably, sometimes the naive and disaffected must relearn that their pie-in-the sky socialist medicine is far worse than the perceived malady of inequality.

And unfortunately, when socialists gain power, they don’t destroy just themselves. They usually take everyone else down with them as well.

(C) 2019 TRIBUNE CONTENT AGENCY, LLC.

COMMENTARY BY

Victor Davis Hanson is a classicist and historian at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, and author of the book “The Second World Wars: How the First Global Conflict Was Fought and Won.” You can reach him by e-mailing authorvdh@gmail.com. Twitter: .

RELATED ARTICLES:

Next Generation of Americans Will Embrace Socialism If We Lose ‘War on History’

History Has Shown That Socialism Isn’t the Cure

Russia Became a Communist Hellhole Because of This Man

Problematic Women: Allie Stuckey on Millennials, Mentors, and Motherhood


A Note for our Readers:

With the demand for socialism at an all-time high among our young people—our future leaders and decisionmakers—the experts at Heritage stopped and asked a question that not many have asked:

Is socialism really morally sound?

The researchers at The Heritage Foundation have put together a guide to help you and our fellow Americans better understand the 9 Ways That Socialism Will Morally Bankrupt America.

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

GET YOUR FREE COPY NOW! >>


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

This is us! A person age 65 or older has a net worth 47 times greater than someone under 35.

This commentary was received from a longtime international friend of ours. A thoughtful commentary indeed:

The typical U.S. household headed by a person age 65 or older has a net worth 47 times greater than a household headed by someone under 35, according to an analysis of census data released Monday. They like to refer to us as senior citizens, old fogies, geezers, and in some cases dinosaurs. Some of us are “Baby Boomers getting ready to retire. Others have been retired for some time. We walk a little slower these days and our eyes and hearing are not what they once were. We worked hard, raised our children, worshiped our God and have grown old together. Yes, we are the ones some refer to as being over the hill, and that is probably true. But before writing us off completely, there are a few things that need to be taken into consideration.

In school we studied English, history, math, and science, which enabled us to lead America into the technological age. Most of us remember what outhouses were, many of us with firsthand experience. We remember the days of telephone party-lines, 25 cent gasoline, and milk and ice being delivered to our homes. For those of you who don’t know what an icebox is, today they are electric and referred to as refrigerators. A few even remember when cars were started with a crank. Yes, we lived those days.

We are probably considered old fashioned and outdated by many. But there are a few things you need to remember before completely writing us off. We won World War II, fought in Korea and Viet Nam. We can quote The Pledge of Allegiance, and know where to place our hand while doing so. We wore the uniform of our country with pride and lost many friends on the battlefield. We didn’t fight for the Socialist States of America; we fought for the “Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave. We wore different uniforms but carried the same flag.

We know the words to the “Star Spangled Banner, America, and America the Beautiful by heart, and you may even see some tears running down our cheeks as we sing. We have lived what many of you have only read in history books and we feel no obligation to apologize to anyone for America .

Yes, we are old and slow these days but rest assured, we have at least one good fight left in us. We have loved this country, fought for it, and died for it, and now we are going to save it. It is our country and nobody is going to take it away from us. We took oaths to defend America against all enemies, foreign and domestic, and that is an oath we plan to keep. There are those who want to destroy this land we love but, like our founders, there is no way we are going to remain silent.

It was mostly the young people of this nation who elected Obama and the Democratic Congress. You fell for the “Hope and Change” which in reality was nothing but “Hype and Lies.” You youngsters have tasted socialism and seen evil face to face, and have found you don’t like it after all. You make a lot of noise, but most are all too interested in their careers or “Climbing the Social Ladder” to be involved in such mundane things as patriotism and voting. Many of those who fell for the “Great Lie” in 2008 are now having buyer’s remorse. With all the education we gave you, you didn’t have sense enough to see through the lies and instead drank the ‘Kool-Aid.’ Now you’re paying the price and complaining about it; no jobs, lost mortgages, higher taxes, and less freedom. This is what you voted for and this is what you got. We entrusted you with the Torch of Liberty, and you traded it for a paycheck and a fancy house.

Well, don’t worry youngsters, the Grey-Haired Brigade is here, and in 2016 we took back our nation. We may drive a little slower than you would like, but we get where we’re going, and in 2020 we’re going to the polls again by the millions.

So the next time you have the chance to say the Pledge of Allegiance, stand up, put your hand over your heart, honor our country, and thank God for the old geezers of the “Gray-Haired Brigade.”

Footnote: This is spot on. I am another Gray-Haired Geezer signing on. I will circulate this to other Gray-Haired Geezers all over this once great county.

Can you feel the ground shaking??? It’s not an earthquake, it is a:

STAMPEDE!!!!

You and I are Members.

In God we STILL trust!

Over 99% of Americans Have Access to Health Coverage

Last month’s Census Bureau report on the uninsured overlooked an important point: More than 99% of Americans have access to health coverage, regardless of their income or medical condition.

The overwhelming majority of those lacking insurance could have obtained coverage but did not enroll.

Many of those with lower incomes may not sign up for subsidized coverage because they know they can receive care at little or no cost to themselves even if they remain uninsured until they arrive at a clinic.

Those in the top two income quintiles may remain uninsured because government intervention in health insurance markets has created a menu of unattractive products at unattractive prices.


The demand for socialism is on the rise from young Americans today. But is socialism even morally sound? Find out more now >>


Either way, Americans across the income spectrum deserve a better approach to health care.

Understanding the Challenge

It’s critical that policymakers understand the distinction between lack of coverage and lack of access to coverage.

A Kaiser Family Foundation analysis of last year’s Census Bureau report found that, of the estimated 27.4 million non-elderly people who were uninsured in 2017:

  • 6.8 million (25%) were eligible for Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program, but not enrolled.
  • 8.2 million (30%) were eligible for Obamacare subsidies but did not enroll.
  • 3.8 million (14%) declined an offer of employer-sponsored coverage.
  • 1.9 million (7%) were not eligible for subsidies because they had income more than four times the federal poverty threshold, which put them in the top two income quintiles.
  • 4.1 million (15%) were ineligible for subsidies because they were not lawful U.S. residents. Their situation is a matter to be settled by immigration policy, not health care policy.
  • 2.5 million (9%) were under the poverty line but ineligible for federal assistance. They represented just 0.7% of the population.

These 2.5 million lawful U.S. residents ineligible for federal assistance lived in states that had not expanded Medicaid eligibility to non-elderly, non-disabled adults with incomes up to 138% of the federal poverty level.

Here, it is important to draw a second crucial distinction: between access to coverage and access to care.

These 2.5 million individuals are eligible for free care at 3,000 federally-funded health centers in the nonexpansion states and 11,000 nationwide. In addition, all public and nonprofit hospitals are required to have programs to provide free or low-cost care to low-income patients.

These hospitals can enroll low-income people in Medicaid when they show up for care, which is another reason some Medicaid-eligible people wait until they need to see a doctor to sign up for their free coverage.

Flawed Laws Make It Harder for the Uninsured to Get Covered

The federal government has not done a good job of covering those who are eligible for assistance.

A recent Heritage Foundation report examined the Kaiser study and another by the Department of Health and Human Services. Heritage found that while 8.2 million people claimed Obamacare subsidies in 2017, an additional 8.2 million people who were eligible for those subsidies remained uninsured.

That means that only half the people eligible for subsidies claimed them. The heavily regulated individual policies are unattractive to millions of people, even at steeply discounted prices.

Things are even worse among the unsubsidized, who have dropped individual coverage at an alarming rate. Between 2015 and 2018, the number of unsubsidized people with individual coverage fell by half, from 7.9 million to 3.9 million.

Millions remain uninsured, not because the federal government is doing too little, but because it is doing (and spending) a lot and doing it badly.

Americans Deserve a Better Approach to Health Care

Advocates of expanding government control of health care take the Census Bureau’s estimate of the number of uninsured out of context. They use it as a call for government to do more.

Some advocate government takeover of health care financing, as in “Medicare for All.” Others seek further expansions of Medicare, Medicaid, and Obamacare subsidies. Still others will call for the creation of a “public option,” a government-run insurance company that “competes” with private insurers.

But these are all line extensions of an already-failing approach.

A new approach is needed, one rooted in a better understanding of the problem.

Working together, dozens of health care analysts and policy leaders have developed such an approach.

The Health Care Choices Proposal would convert the $1.6 trillion in Obamacare entitlement spending into grants to states. States would use these fixed allotments to establish consumer-centered programs that make health insurance affordable regardless of income or medical condition.

It also would: expand health savings accounts, which help people save tax-free for routine medical expenses; write into law Trump administration regulations that expand consumer choices; and address high medical costs through choice and competition.

And it would require states to establish programs that concentrate public resources on people with pre-existing medical conditions. In states that have obtained federal waivers to establish such programs, people have seen substantial premium reductions.

The proposal would enhance health care choices for all Americans, including those with low incomes. And it would reduce premiums for individual policies by up to one-third.

The Health Care Choices Proposal represents a commonsense approach to solving an uninsured problem that is poorly understood.

Originally published in National Review.

COMMENTARY BY

Doug Badger is a former White House and Senate policy adviser and is currently a senior fellow at the Galen Institute and a visiting fellow at The Heritage Foundation. Twitter: .

Jamie Bryan Hall is a senior policy analyst in empirical studies at The Heritage Foundation. Twitter: .


A Note for our Readers:

With the demand for socialism at an all-time high among our young people—our future leaders and decisionmakers—the experts at Heritage stopped and asked a question that not many have asked:

Is socialism really morally sound?

The researchers at The Heritage Foundation have put together a guide to help you and our fellow Americans better understand the 9 Ways That Socialism Will Morally Bankrupt America.

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

GET YOUR FREE COPY NOW! >>


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

The Revolutionary and anti-Constitutional 1941 Lend Lease Act

“It’s not a choice between war and peace. It’s a choice between war and endless war. It’s not appeasement. I think it’s better even to call it American self-interest.” – Former CIA agent, Michael Scheuer

“When we look at how, constitutionally, only Congress can declare war, and that is routinely ignored. Not NATO or the UN, but Congress has to authorize these endless wars, and it isn’t.” –  Edward Snowden

“If Tyranny and Oppression come to this land, it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy. No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare.” – President James Madison


Few people have heard of the “Lend-Lease Act” and its revolutionary change to our Constitution. In his 1961 Farewell to the Nation Speech President Dwight D. Eisenhower stated, “In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex.”  But it’s not just the military industrial complex, it’s the Soviet agents who long ago infiltrated the upper echelons of our government and gave us this unconstitutional legislation.

The Lend Lease Act

The Lend Lease Act was proposed in 1940, and President Franklin Roosevelt signed it into law on March 11, 1941.  It was the principal means for providing military aid to foreign nations during WWII.  The act authorized the president to transfer arms or any other defense materials for which Congress appropriated money to “the government of any country whose defense the President deems vital to the defense of the United States.”  Despite strong protests from isolationists, the Act passed by wide margins in the House and Senate.

FDR signs the Land-Lease Act in 1941 to give aid to Britain and China. President Roosevelt (FDR) sold the Act to the American public as aid to Great Britain, but in reality Lend Lease aid to the Soviet Union was a priority that superseded all other allies’ military needs, including our own.

American aid to the Soviet Union included weapons, ammunition, tanks, oil, fighter aircraft, trucks and jeeps, and materials for the making of the atomic bomb including uranium. (Sound familiar?) In addition, lavish personal items and great quantities of food, including 200 million pounds of butter, were sent while at the same time America had strict rationing of goods.  Our patents, including military blueprints also reached the Soviets in the hundreds of thousands.  It was indiscriminate aid to the Soviet Union.  (American Betrayal chapter 2, Diana West)

Executive Power

The Act allowed the president alone to make the decision regarding transferring materials to beleaguered nations without payment as required by the Neutrality Act of 1939.  It also skirted the thorny problems of war debts that had followed World War I; Britain had defaulted on $3.5 billion. The Neutrality Act of 1937 did contain one important concession to Roosevelt: nations were allowed, at the discretion of the President, to acquire any items except arms from the United States, so long as they immediately paid for such items and carried them on non-American ships—the so-called “cash-and-carry” provision. The revised 1939 Act allowed arms to be sold, but once America entered WWII, the Act became irrelevant.

The Johnson Act of 1934 also prohibited the extension of credit to countries that had not repaid U.S. loans made to them during World War I—which included Great Britain who desperately needed funds to fight Hitler. But it was Russia’s Stalin who wrote to FDR asking him to help the Britain.  If Britain fell to the Nazis, the Soviet Union would be next.  In securing aid to the UK, Stalin had more time to ready his red army for war.

Over the course of the war, the United States contracted Lend-Lease agreements with more than 30 countries, dispensing some $50 billion in assistance.  The agreements signed by the United States and the recipient nations laid the foundation for the creation of a new international economic order in the postwar world and it has continued until now.

Isolationists, such as Republican senator Robert Taft, opposed it. Taft correctly noted that the bill would “give the President power to carry on a kind of undeclared war all over the world, in which America would do everything except actually put soldiers in the front-line trenches where the fighting is.”  Now, however, without action by Congress, the President is allowed to send military support of any kind, including our troops, to any country deemed “vital to the defense of America.”

Soviet Agents

In Diana West’s books, American Betrayal and The Red Thread she exposes the revolutionary and anti-constitutional Lend Lease Act.  The three Soviet agents behind the Act were Armand Hammer, Harry Hopkins and Harry Dexter White.

In The Red Thread, West states, “We may now regard Lend Lease as the founding document of the ‘new world order’ that arose in the aftermath of WWII, its heaviest cornerstones laid by covert Soviet agents Alger Hiss at the United Nations and Harry Dexter White at the International Monetary Fund.  The sea change (with Lend Lease) came in making ‘any country’s defense’ vital to our own.”

Hiss was also president of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and was involved in the establishment of the United Nations both as a U.S. State Department official and as a UN official.

What no one but a few intelligence professionals knew was that in the early 1940s our government had recorded thousands of coded messages from Soviet agents in Washington and New York to their Moscow superiors.  In later years they decoded those messages proving Hiss and White were indeed Soviet spies as charged. Under their code name, the “Venona Papers” are now available to everyone through the Library of Congress.

President Truman knew in 1950 about the Soviet agents as did Eisenhower who was elected after him, along with a select group of Washington elites, but no one seemed to care.  There was a conspiracy of silence that continues to this day.

Armand Hammer

In his book, Dossier: the Secret History of Armand Hammer, Edward Jay Epstein calls Hammer a traitor.  By 1940, British intelligence had developed a lengthy dossier on Hammer.  It identified him and his associates as part of the Soviet “secret regime” in the West.  Earlier that year, it had even monitored the movements of his brother Victor in Egypt (then a British protectorate) on the suspicion that the Hammer Galleries were a front for the Soviet intelligence service.  Yet American history still refers to Hammer as an industrialist (CEO of Occidental Petroleum) and philanthropic.

Nineteen years earlier, Hammer had a meeting with Lenin, who sought to break the isolation of the Soviet Union by making him his “path” to American business.

At the time, Hammer was acting to influence America knowing that if Britain fell to the Nazis, the Soviet Union would be next.  He went directly to President Roosevelt through his wife Eleanor.  Hammer had contributed substantial funds to FDR’s reelection campaign, but had also personally financed an extraordinary radio dramatization which promoted the achievements of FDR’s New Deal.  He sent Eleanor a copy of the recording and that opened the door for him to promote the Lend Lease to FDR regarding aid to the UK, and ultimately to Russia.

Hammer came armed with a large volume of editorials from U.S. newspapers from October 1940, the fruits of a survey he had commissioned to show that newspapers favored financial aid to Great Britain.  He convinced FDR that he would gain popular support by effecting Hammer’s plan.  FDR put him together with his personal advisor and secretary of commerce, Harry Hopkins.

FDR sent Harry Hopkins who was to be the czar of Lend Lease to New York to meet with Hammer on the plan.  Hopkins later flew to London to discuss the plan with Churchill and a few months later Hopkins negotiated the destroyers-for-bases swap with the British. This laid the precedent for waiving restrictions on military aid for those nations fighting Hitler.  When Hitler invaded Russia in June 1941, this opened the door to Lend-Lease for the Soviets.

Harry Hopkins

Harry Hopkins was referred to as the co-president with FDR.  He was unelected and unconfirmed and according to Life Magazine, a one-man cabinet.  He was also the architect of FDR’s New Deal.  He slept in the White House in the Lincoln bedroom and worked at Lincoln’s desk.  He was FDR’s constant traveling companion, was with him for breakfast and before he nodded off to sleep at night.  And Soviet agent Harry Hopkins was the boss of the Lend Lease program.  It was the lifeline to the Soviet war with Hitler and it was run via the Kremlin from inside the Roosevelt White House and bypassed the State Department.

As a devotee of Marx, in 1941 Hopkins wrote, “When a democratic victory is won, then the great wealth of the world must be shared with all people.”  Sounds like our democratic presidential candidates of today.

In a message dated May 29, 1943, Iskhak Akhmerov, the chief Soviet “illegal” agent in the United States at the time, referred to an Agent 19 who had reported on discussions between Roosevelt and Winston Churchill in Washington at which the agent had been present. Only Harry Hopkins meets the requirements for this agent’s identity. Akhmerov, in a lecture in Moscow in the early 1960s, identified Hopkins by name as “the most important of all Soviet wartime agents in the United States.”

Victor Kravchenko

Victor Kravchenko was a Soviet official who defected to America.  Hopkins wanted him sent back to Russia, but FDR was afraid Kravchenko would be murdered by the Soviets.  Kravchenko wrote two books on the horrors of life in the USSR prior to Solzhenitsyn’s defection.

He had been at the Soviet headquarters of Lend Lease in Washington.  After the war, he testified before Congress that the Soviet Lend Lease operation he defected from and that was located only three blocks from the White House, was the Soviet spying, thieving and ransacking Commission.  They succeeded in stealing as many industrial and military secrets as possible.  (American Betrayal, Chapter 5, Diana West)

Harry Dexter White

Harry Dexter White was an American economist and senior U.S. Department of Treasury official. He was the first head of the International Monetary Fund and played an important role in formation of the World Bank. He was also a Soviet secret agent—”the most highlyplaced asset the Soviets possessed in the American government.”

White was the assistant secretary of the treasury in the administration of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and caused incalculable harm to the United States. In “Operation Snow,” White did everything within his power to scuttle the peace efforts of the forces within the Japanese government that were striving to avoid war with the United States. He authored an ultimatum adopted as official policy by FDR that upped the ante of belligerent acts Roosevelt was directing at Japan.

Through the infamous Lend-Lease program, White helped facilitate the transfer of billions of dollars in aid to Stalin.

In Albert Weeks’ book, Russia Life-Saver, Lend-Lease Aid to the U.S.S.R. in World War II, a book drawing on Russian revisionism, he tells us that White was “one of the main drafters of the administration’s side of the Lend-Lease particulars, especially as Lend Lease was to be extended to the Russians.

But Weeks also tried to destroy patriot Major George Racey Jordan who was the supervisory expediter of Soviet Lend Lease aid and was stationed at Great Falls, Montana, the hub of the Soviet pipeline.  Jordan saw that atomic secrets were being sent to the Soviets.  Weeks, in his book, claimed it was unverifiable myth, but Jordan wrote a book on what he kept and saw in his diaries.

While providing the Soviets with every possible assistance, White was doing everything to cut off aid that had been appropriated by Congress to assist our ally Chiang Kai-shek’s anti-communist government in China. White was a key operative in treachery that pushed China into Communist hands.  Today, we see Hong Kong’s demonstrations for freedom from Communist China where the demonstrators fly and carry the American flag and sing our national anthem.

Conclusion

Our President brought home the soldiers at the Syrian border and quietly reduced our forces in Afghanistan by 2,000Andrew Bostom and Cliff Kincaid tell us not to romanticize the Kurds, that our President is doing exactly what he promised his supporters he would do.

Trump was raised on Norman Vincent Peale’s positive, pro-freedom, pro-capitalist, anti-totalitarian ideology. His family attended Peale’s church.  Andrew Bostom writes, “President Trump’s own muscular anti-totalitarianism stands in stark contrast to the hard left—even overtly Communistsympathies of the cabal of anti-Trump putschists aligned against him.”

FDR’s ideology of building a democratic world via Lend Lease is coming to an end through Donald Trump.  For nearly 80 years, America has sent taxpayer dollars and our soldiers to foreign lands. Trump promised to get us out of this nation-building business and he’s doing it.  The globalist elite of both parties are enraged.

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Watch: THANK YOU for rebuilding our country! [+Video]

President Donald J. Trump traveled to Pittsburgh yesterday, where he spoke to workers in America’s booming energy sector at the Shale Insight Conference.

The last time President Trump spoke at the conference was on the campaign trail in 2016. Back then, American energy was under relentless assault—not from some foreign enemy, but from our own Federal Government. The previous Administration made it its mission to stifle growth with crippling regulations aimed at energy producers. These policies did nothing to advance “green energy,” but they did cost many workers their jobs.

American energy dominance is a powerful symbol of President Trump’s larger mission for our nation: “Instead of relying on foreign oil and foreign energy, we are now relying on American energy and American workers like never before,” he says.

“I’m here with the incredible people who fuel our factories, light up our homes, power our industries, and fill our hearts with true American pride,” he added. “With unmatched skill, grit, and devotion, you are making America the greatest energy superpower in the history of the world.”

Energy superpower is no exaggeration. Here are some of the facts and numbers behind America’s energy boom under the Trump Administration:

  • The United States is now the world leader in oil and natural gas production.
  • Crude oil reached a record high in production last year—and is projected to set another record this year.
  • Ditto for natural gas: Production is on pace to set a record high in 2019, the third straight year of such a record.
  • In 2018, coal exports reached their highest level in 5 years.

It wasn’t a mystery figuring out how to get America back on top globally—it just took a President willing to abolish the counterproductive war on American energy workers. The Trump Administration ended job-killing policies put in place under President Obama, like the Clean Power Plan and “stream protection rule.” It pulled America out of the fraudulent, ineffective, and one-sided Paris Climate Accord. And it has opened up federally owned land and offshore areas for exploration and production.

President Trump also believes in building world-class infrastructure that puts more Americans back to work—no matter what the far left tries to block. His Administration has approved permits for the crucial Dakota Access and Keystone XL pipelines, for instance.

Back in 2008, Democrats actually offered a startling preview of what was to come. “If somebody wants to build a coal-fired power plant, they can. It’s just that it will bankrupt them,” then-Sen. Barack Obama explained. He was telling the truth: By the time President Trump took office, more than a third of all coal mining jobs had vanished.

The left is at it again, but this time there’s even less pretending about their true motives. If implemented, the “Green New Deal” would be the most radical takeover of America’s economy ever contemplated. The ultimate goal is to eradicate all production of oil, coal, and natural gas in the United States—and millions of jobs along with it.

President Trump made clear yesterday that he will never let that happen. That’s because he knows who built this great country—and it wasn’t wanna-be socialists in Congress.

“I will never stop fighting for you, because I know that you are the ones who are rebuilding our nation. You are the ones who are restoring our strength. You are the ones renewing our spirit. And you are the ones who are making America greater than it has ever been before.”

Thanks to President Trump, the war on American energy is over.

ReadThe President’s full remarks to energy workers in Pennsylvania.