BB&T and SunTrust are merging – make sure they support 2ndVote values

By the end of 2019, two of America’s leading banks are expected to create a new mega-bank: Truist, a merger of BB&T (2.1 – Leaning Liberal) and SunTrust (2.3 – Leaning Liberal). The new company will serve 10 million Americans and be worth $66 billion, making it the nation’s sixth-largest bank.

Truist is meant to convey “trust” and “true.” As the merger comes closer to reality, 2ndVote is urging you to make sure the new company can be trusted to be true to American values. Currently, SunTrust ranks a 2.3 (lean liberal) on the 2ndVote scale, and BB&T ranks a 2.1 (lean liberal).

Neither of these rankings is impressive – but there is great potential for Truist to be a bank instead of a funder of the left-wing agenda. SunTrust donates to many groups who support liberty, such as The Heritage Foundation and the Cato Institute. Other donations are to groups which advocate for left-wing policies but have legitimate missions – such as Susan G. Komen and United Way.

Alas, SunTrust did recently pull the financial rug out from under two companies which partner with the federal government to house immigrants. That’s a policy which must not carry forward to Truist.

BB&T doesn’t engage in much corporate activism at all. Their greatest challenge is the total acquiescing to the LGBT agenda – BB&T ranks a 100 percent on the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index. This means that while they don’t push LGBT priorities in their external donations, their corporate structure is set up to make LGBT activists happy.

2ndVote Americans can engage with the future Truist in several key ways to urge the new bank to serve all Americans instead of using your money to serve the liberal agenda.

First, contact BB&T CEO Kelly King and SunTrust CEO Bill Rogers. They will serve in top leadership roles at Truist for the next several years – they must know how their Middle America customers feel and what you believe.

Second, spread the word on social media and among your friends and family. Let everyone know that these companies lean left, but that with the right pressure they may get back on the path of serving customers instead of spending hard-earned money on political advocacy. It’ll take everyone working together, but it can be done if all 2ndVote Americans are working arm-in-arm.

Third, let the future Truist know that you need to see progress or you’ll have to take your business elsewhere. No bank is truly neutral on the 2ndVote scale, but Central Pacific Financial is close –  a 2.9. Its main issue is that it donates to the gun control-supporting YWCA. However, they balance that support with donations made to Catholic Charities and The Salvation Army.

Again, the name “Truist” is meant to convey trust and true. You can help make that a reality instead of simply a slogan.

RELATED ARTICLE: The Company Contrast – Marriott International

EDITORS NOTE: This 2nd Vote column is republished with permission. © All rights reserved.

THEATER OF THE ABSURD: Democrats go from screeching ‘Russia, Russia, Russia’ to ‘Recession, Recession, Recession!’

The Democratic Party has for some time now focused entirely on one thing and one thing only – President Donald J. Trump. Their rhetoric has given rise to the likes of Antifa. Their rhetoric has caused the shooting of members of Congress to the harassment of members of the Trump cabinet in public places. It has gone from holding up the severed head of President Trump by a comedian to the mock assassination of the President at a Democratic fundraiser in Illinois. It has become a game of pin-a-name on President Trump, and his supporters, leading to violent protests in Portland, Oregon.

But now the attacks are directly against the American people.

It began with Bill Maher saying that he wants America to go into a recession so that President Trump does not win a second term in office. Watch.

For Democrats it’s no longer the economy, it’s the narrative stupid!

The Democratic Party has gone off the rails when it embraces the idea that it must destroy America and every American in order to win back the White House in 2020 by creating a recession. Something that they’re actually good at dating back to FDR, Jimmy Carter and Barack Obama.

The concern is that Democrats will actually succeed in tearing down our economy. Their policies are designed to do just that if they win the White House  – destroy America from within. From raising taxes to 90% on the successful job creators, to the Green New Deal’s goal of saving the planet by instituting a Marxist government. Their ideas are designed to gain control of something government should never control, the economy. Just look at the former Soviet Union, Cuba and most recently Valenzuela.

President Trump understands that it really is the economy stupid.

He’s doing everything he can as the Chief Executive to reduce spending, cut regulation and lower taxes. His campaign promise is to “Keep America Great.” The only way to keep America great is to unleash its full potential. That means giving power back to the people.

As newly elected President Trump said during his inaugural address:

Today’s ceremony, however, has very special meaning. Because today we are not merely transferring power from one administration to another, or from one party to another — but we are transferring power from Washington, D.C. and giving it back to you, the American People.

For too long, a small group in our nation’s Capital has reaped the rewards of government while the people have borne the cost. Washington flourished — but the people did not share in its wealth. Politicians prospered — but the jobs left, and the factories closed.

The establishment protected itself, but not the citizens of our country. Their victories have not been your victories; their triumphs have not been your triumphs; and while they celebrated in our nation’s capital, there was little to celebrate for struggling families all across our land.

That all changes — starting right here, and right now, because this moment is your moment: it belongs to you.

It belongs to everyone gathered here today and everyone watching all across America. This is your day. This is your celebration. And this, the United States of America, is your country.

What truly matters is not which party controls our government, but whether our government is controlled by the people. January 20th 2017, will be remembered as the day the people became the rulers of this nation again. The forgotten men and women of our country will be forgotten no longer.

Everyone is listening to you now.

We will see what the Democrats come up with as their slogan for 2020. Whatever it is it can’t beet MAGA and KAG.

RELATED ARTICLE: The left stokes racist flames and demonizes millions

Each American Is $240,000 in Debt Because of Excessive Government Spending

As Americans, we are greatly indebted not only to the men and women who have fought and died for our country, but also to the thinkers, statesmen, innovators, and ordinary people who gave us our founding principles.

This debt is paid back not with money, but with a commitment to the active and vigilant self-government of our republic in keeping with the principles and virtues of our forefathers.

Yet, our forefathers would shudder at our current $22 trillion in gross national debt. By the end of 2019, the debt will be close to $23 trillion. That amounts to a credit card bill of $69,200 for every man, woman, and child in America.

But that’s only the money that the government has explicitly borrowed. It doesn’t include any measure of “unfunded obligations”—money the government doesn’t have, but nonetheless promised to spend.

Unfunded obligations are often considered problems for future citizens, but with Medicare and Social Security both running cash flow deficits and running out of money in 2026 and 2035, respectively, these future obligations have become a current burden.

Social Security’s unfunded obligations alone amount to $13.9 trillion. This means that, over the next 75 years, the government has promised to pay out $13.9 trillion more than it expects to collect in payroll taxes.

At $42,200 per person, Social Security’s shortfall alone is about as much as the average person earns in a year. It’s enough to buy a new sedan and pay for a year’s rent in a median-rent two-bedroom apartment.

If Social Security’s shortfall wasn’t bad enough, it pales in comparison to Medicare’s $42.3 trillion in unfunded obligations. At $128,500 per person—a whopping $514,000 for a family of four—America’s runaway Great Society program, lauded by socialists as a model for the future of health care, is already breaking America’s bank.

All combined, each American effectively owns $240,000 worth of U.S. debt and unfunded obligations—an amount equal to the average home price in the U.S. Just imagine having to pay two mortgages instead of one just to cover past government excesses.

While some politicians will be quick to blame this gargantuan bill on recent tax cuts, it’s excess spending—not a shortage of taxes—that’s driving America’s deficits and debt.

After all, the tax cuts represent a much smaller percentage of gross domestic product than Social Security’s rising shortfalls.

A tax to make Social Security solvent, by covering its yearly cash flow balance and gradually increasing it to a point of sustainability, would require yearly payroll tax increases for the foreseeable future. This year alone, we would need an immediate increase to 13.5% from the current level of 12.4%, and in 2035 it would exceed 15.5%.

For a worker making $50,000 a year, that’s an extra $1,550 (and $7,750 in total Social Security taxes) that she could have taken home and spent or saved as she wished. And that 15.5% would be enough only to cover Social Security’s unfunded liabilities for that year. Covering Medicare’s costs would require much larger tax increases.

Paying for the government services that workers receive as well as the interest on the debt—which will soon exceed spending on national defense—would require crushing levels of taxation for all workers, not just the rich.

Instead of calls for prudence and responsibility, we have cries for major expansions of programs like Social Security, Medicare, and Obamacare, and unprecedented discretionary handouts like student debt relief and a “Green New Deal.”

Raising taxes enough to cover current excesses and also finance a socialist spending spree would be simply impossible: The cost per household for the Green New Deal alone would top $165,000 by 2040, not factoring in increased electricity costs and the costs of a shrunken economy.

And as a new report from The Heritage Foundation shows, it would be mathematically impossible to fund the progressive agenda by taxing the rich. Even confiscating every dollar earned by taxpayers with incomes over $200,000 would not come close to paying for the left’s agenda.

Instead, the progressive agenda would require between 200% and 900% tax increases on the middle class or radically higher, unsustainable federal borrowing.

In the end, tax hikes and government expansion are not a viable option for solving America’s entitlement problem.

Once Americans recognize that the entitlement programs they paid into are really just generational wealth transfers, with no actual money sitting in their notional trust funds, perhaps we can get serious about reforming the programs in ways that protect those who need them most while letting everyone keep more of their hard-earned paychecks.

By returning Social Security to its anti-poverty roots and modernizing the program’s rules and requirements, Congress could reduce the payroll tax and let workers have more control over their incomes and savings.

And by capitalizing on the free market—instead of government intervention—to curb health care costs and spur innovation, we can avoid health care rationing that exists in other countries.

The Heritage Foundation’s “Blueprint for Balance” chapter on health care and entitlements proposes changes that would accomplish just that, if policymakers have the will to put our nation’s future ahead of current and excessive spending.

Raising taxes and making individuals and families more dependent on government programs isn’t just bad policy; it’s wholly un-American.

COMMENTARY BY

Benjamin Paris is a member of the Young Leaders Program at The Heritage Foundation.

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.

RELATED ARTICLE: Greenland Deserves the Attention Trump Is Giving It


Dear Readers:

With the recent conservative victories related to tax cuts, the Supreme Court, and other major issues, it is easy to become complacent.

However, the liberal Left is not backing down. They are rallying supporters to advance their agenda, moving this nation further from the vision of our founding fathers.

If we are to continue to bring this nation back to our founding principles of limited government and fiscal conservatism, we need to come together as a group of likeminded conservatives.

This is the mission of The Heritage Foundation. We want to continue to develop and present conservative solutions to the nation’s toughest problems. And we cannot do this alone.

We are looking for a select few conservatives to become a Heritage Foundation member. With your membership, you’ll qualify for all associated benefits and you’ll help keep our nation great for future generations.

ACTIVATE YOUR MEMBERSHIP TODAY


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

ICE Field Operation Helps American Workers

When will compassion apply to beleaguered Americans?

On August 7, 2019 ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) issued a press release that announced, ICE executes federal search warrants at multiple Mississippi locations.  Fox News also reported on that massive field operation in its report, ICE raids on Mississippi food processing plants result in 680 arrests.

The mainstream media, in reporting on the ICE field operation, immediately sought to paint the most disturbing picture it could about the nature of the ICE operation and along the way, the children of illegal aliens who had been arrested were interviewed on camera, hysterically crying that they wanted their mother/father or both to come home to take care of them.

However, I doubt the media will show the lines of American workers lining up to take the jobs that have been liberated by the ICE agents.

While it is admittedly heart-wrenching to see a child in distress, it is remarkable that the media totally ignores that children are frequently separated from the parents whenever their parents are arrested for a wide spectrum of violations of law that include administrative motor vehicle violations.

Every year as the dreaded “Tax Day” approaches, the IRS frequently arrests tax cheats and fraudsters and publicizes their law enforcement actions to remind tax payers that they should not defraud the IRS.  This is a clear tactic of intimidation that creates a “climate of fear.”  Yet Nancy Pelosi who frequently lambasted immigration law enforcement efforts for creating such a climate of fear, I have never seen her or any other politician complaining about the tactics of the IRS.

When taxpayers are arrested for not paying their taxes, it is likely that their children will have to be cared for by other family members, friends of the family or, as a last resort, child welfare.

However, when was the last time you saw a reporter interview a child who parent was carted off by the IRS or other law enforcement agency?

As a former INS special agent, my goal today is to set the record straight.

I was an INS (Immigration and Naturalization Service) special agent for 26 of my 30 year career with the INS.  Having rotated through all of the squads within the Investigations Branch of the New York District Office I participate in many similar “raids” to locate and arrest aliens working illegally in the United States.  Therefore my comments are not based on speculation but real-world experiences.

To begin with, since the passage of the massive immigration amnesty legislation in 1986 known as IRCA (Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986) employers who can be shown to have knowingly hired illegal aliens can be fined and even criminally prosecuted for such hiring practices.  This is important because until passage of IRCA employers were essentially shielded from any adverse consequences for hiring illegal aliens unless they were involved in smuggling such aliens into the United States and/or harboring them.

Employers could also be punished for failing to meet labor standards or committing tax fraud, but there were no penalties for knowingly hiring illegal aliens.  Most illegal aliens violate our immigration laws to work illegally and it was believed that punishing unscrupulous employers who intentionally hire exploitable illegal aliens would deter their crooked hiring practices, thereby turning off the “jobs magnet.”

Of course there has always been an abject lack of immigration law enforcement personnel for this to work effectively.

Prior to World War II the Labor Department bore the primary responsibility for enforcing and administering our immigration laws.  The concern was that illegal alien workers would displace American workers and, adversely impact wages and working conditions for American workers.

That mission is now one of many assumed by ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement).

I began my career with the INS as an Immigration Inspector assigned to John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York.  While we were concerned about preventing fugitives, criminals and spies from entering the United States and worked closely with other federal as well as state and local law enforcement agencies, our most frequent concern was that aliens we admitted might disappear and take jobs that they were not authorized to take.

You would imagine that all Americans would be happy that our goal as immigration law enforcement agents was to protect the jobs and wages of American and lawful immigrant workers and that all politicians from both parties would support that vital mission.

But today, we live in a time that only George Orwell could have predicted where up is down and good is evil!

This past April I wrote an article about another massive field operation to locate and apprehend aliens working illegally while also seeking to punish the employer, Ice Field Operation Liberates Hundreds Of Jobs.  In that article I noted that such interior enforcement of our  immigration laws helps American workers.

The meatpacking industry used to provide decent-paying jobs for Americans.  The work was always filthy and dangerous but the wages were essentially commensurate with the nature of those jobs.  In the mid 1980s such workers generally earned roughly $20 per hour.

Today those jobs frequently pay approximately half that amount, but when taking inflation into account, in reality, the purchasing power that the wages provide is far less than half of what the wages had been before illegal aliens flooded into that industry.

Wikipedia posted an insightful article under the title, Labor rights in American meatpacking industry.  This excerpt was published under the heading of “Meatpacker Demographics”

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that in 2000, 148,100 people worked in meatpacking and over 250,000 worked in poultry processing. Despite the growth of the meat production industry, slaughterhouse workers’ wages have been decreasing rapidly. Slaughterhouse workers’ wages were historically higher than the average manufacturing wage. This trend reversed in 1983 when slaughterhouse worker wages fell below the average manufacturing wage. By 2002, slaughterhouse workers’ wages were 24% below the average manufacturing wage. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2006, the median wage for slaughterhouse workers was $10.43 per hour which comes out to $21,690 per year.

Isn’t it remarkable that the Democrats insist that they want to establish a minimum wage of $15.00 per hour today while years ago workers in slaughterhouses were earning more than $20.00 per hour until illegal aliens displaced American workers.  Yet today the Democrats want to import an endless supply of exploitable illegal alien workers, figuratively and literally, at the expense of hardworking American and lawful immigrant workers.

Frequently illegal aliens who take jobs in the United States have violate more than our immigration laws.  Many such aliens also have committed identity theft, hardly a “victimless crime” and some of these aliens may also have criminal histories and may be fugitives in their home countries.

As an INS special agent I frequently arrested aliens from countries around the world who we found working illegally in various jobs who had extensive criminal backgrounds.  This placed their coworkers at risk.

However, one case in particular stands out.  I remember in the early 1980’s encountering a man in his mid-thirties from Honduras working at a glass factory in Brooklyn.  He claimed that he had become a naturalized United States citizen.  I took down his name, date of birth and other relevant information and his boss approached me and told me that this guy had worked for him for a few years and was extremely trust worthy- so much so that he had given him the keys to the factory so that he could open the factory if he was late and lock up at night if he had to leave early.

I checked in with my office but they could find no record of this individual.  The only solution was to bring him down to our office.  It turned out that he was a citizen of Honduras but that he had not only lied about his name and date of birth but he had left out some additional information.  He had pleaded guilty to homicide and had been sentenced to jail time.  Upon his release he had been deported from the United States, only to return illegally.  Because of his criminal conviction he was arrested and prosecuted for unlawful reentry after deportation and escaped from a federal penitentiary where he was serving his sentence.

You should have seen the look on his employer’s face when I briefed him on his “loyal employee’s” extensive criminal “resume!”

If you believe that employers who intentionally hire illegal aliens are being compassionate, then you would likely believe that the person who puts cheese on a mousetrap is simply trying to feed hungry mice!

Employers who intentionally hire illegal aliens are not demonstrating compassion but greed.

RELATED ARTICLES:

Church World Service on the Sanctuary Bandwagon; Cut Their Federal Funding!

Everyday Americans Shoulder The Burden Of The Immigration Crisis

What Democrats Say Happens At The Border Vs. What Actually Happens

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

Missouri: Somali Day Care Owner Sentenced for Ripping Off Taxpayers in Lucrative Fraud Scheme

Thanks to reader Joanne for alerting me to this news from a week ago about the sentencing of a Somali ‘new American’ in a day care fraud scheme that cheated taxpayers out of a half a million dollars.

I’m posting almost the entire Justice Department press release because it is chock full of information about how he operated the scam and how the feds nabbed him.

(Emphasis below is mine!)

KC Day Care Owner Sentenced for $556,000 Fraud Scheme

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The owner of a Kansas City, Missouri, day care center was sentenced in federal court today for his role in a conspiracy to fraudulently receive more than $556,000 in federal benefits.

Sharif Karie, 41, of Olathe, Kan., was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Brian C. Wimes to four years and 10 months in federal prison without parole.

On Jan. 11, 2019, Karie was convicted at trial of participating in a conspiracy to steal government property, theft of government property, three counts of aggravated identity theft, three counts of wire fraud, 15 counts of money laundering, and six counts of mail fraud.

Can you believe it!  The feds are not making us play the secret decoder ring game and have actually said where the crook is from!

Karie, a naturalized U.S. citizen from Somalia, was the owner and CEO of a day care center established under two businesses and two names for the same location, with the same key employees: KARIE Day Care Center, LLC, and Tima Child Care Center, LLC, at 1019 Admiral Blvd., Kansas City, Mo. Tima Child Care Center was established under false pretense with a straw owner, according to court documents, apparently to circumvent the state’s oversight efforts.

Co-defendant Sheri Beamon, 48, of Kansas City, Missouri, was the director of KARIE/Tima Childcare Center. Beamon pleaded guilty on Sept. 10, 2018, to her role in the conspiracy and will be sentenced on Aug. 15, 2019.

The day care centers submitted false childcare claims to the state of Missouri that fraudulently inflated the number of hours and children who actually attended the childcare centers. The conspiracy, which lasted from October 2013 to June 2016, resulted in a loss of $536,833 to the Missouri Department of Health and Social Services.The Child Care and Development Fund provides daycare subsidies for low-income families where the parents are employed or engaged in job training. Providers contract with the Children’s Division of the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services and submit claims electronically.

Additionally, Karie committed fraud by misleading the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) when he understated his income and assets. Karie received Section 8 assistance, which is funded by HUD. The fraud scheme resulted in a loss of more than $40,000 to the Housing Authority.

You will be happy to see this next bit of information:

This case was the result of a nationwide sweep that targeted child care center fraud schemes. The national law enforcement operation in Missouri and six other states was the result of separate, but related, federal investigations into childcare center fraud that resulted in a loss of more than $1 million to the government.

Clever feds!  I love this:

Pole cameras, which were installed near the day care center, captured footage of the entrances and exits of the building during two time periods in 2015 and in 2016.

Timesheets and billing records were reviewed and compared to the children seen on the pole cameras being dropped off and picked up from the daycare center during that time. There were significant discrepancies between the timesheets, claims submitted, and the pole camera footage. According to court documents, even the fire evacuation records were falsified indicating a fire drill was performed on a date when pole cameras were capturing footage of the entrance/exit of the day care and the planned evacuation route as provided to the state. The drill never took place.

At no time during its operation, according to court documents, did Karie Day Care Center meet the minimum health and safety standards for operation as established by Missouri statute and agreed to by contract. Tima Child Care Center was conceived as the state was in process of shutting down Karie Day Care Center for failure to comply with standards for health, safety, and record keeping. Had the state known that Karie was actually operating the business, according to court documents, a license would not have been approved.

Parents were being paid to care for their own kids on the taxpayers’ dime:

The state conducted a compliance review of the daycare center’s billing for May 2014 and July 2014. The review found several attendance records missing. The review also identified 14 out of the 15 families with children at the center who had a parent employed there. With only two classrooms, it is improbable that parents were not caring for their own children. One of these parents reported that her job was contingent on having all of her children placed in care at KARIE Day Care Center so her child care would be paid by the state. According to court records, nearly all children enrolled for services were those of employees, in violation of state regulations.This same 2014 audit found several discrepancies on the time sheets submitted to the state.

Subsequent unannounced inspections at KARIE Day Care Center found the facility in violation of state regulations pertaining to child care licensing rules, including health and safety, staff ratios, and the maintaining of attendance records. Each of the inspections resulted in violation findings.

LOL!  Just another example of how immigrant (new American!) entrepreneurs benefit the US economy (NOT!). 

This is a story worth spreading far and wide!

This post is filed in my ‘Daycare fraud’ category, here.

Business Electricity Rates by State

Electricity prices vary in each state. We have compiled years of data to find pricing trends around the country. You can see data for all 50 states below, but deregulated states are labeled in each chart/graph.

If you live in a deregulated state you have the choice to change providers and get a lower rate at any time. Compare rates and suppliers in your zip code here.

Historical Electricity Prices in Each State

The chart below shows the average electricity price businesses paid in each state.

Commercial Energy Rates by State
STATE 2018 2017 2016
Alabama 11.31 11.62 11.11
Alaska 18.83 19.46 17.56
Arizona 10.25 10.58 10.41
Arkansas 8.47 8.44 8.23
California 14.83 15.89 15.07
Colorado 9.64 9.95 9.6
Connecticut 16.67 16.1 15.75
Delaware 9.6 9.95 10.07
District Of Columbia 11.93 11.68 11.72
Florida 9.53 9.61 8.9
Georgia 9.62 9.98 9.81
Hawaii 28.87 26.82 24.64
Idaho 7.99 8.02 7.76
Illinois 8.84 8.87 9.02
Indiana 10.32 10.3 10.01
Iowa 9.23 9.62 9.17
Kansas 10.39 10.49 10.47
Kentucky 9.6 9.7 9.57
Louisiana 8.95 8.91 8.59
Maine 12.18 12.14 12.08
Maryland 10.48 10.76 10.99
Massachusetts 16.77 14.88 15.6
Michigan 11.45 11.02 10.64
Minnesota 9.9 10.58 9.86
Mississippi 10.89 10.3 9.57
Missouri 8.51 9.32 9.26
Montana 10.02 10.2 10.19
Nebraska 8.69 8.98 8.8
Nevada 8.04 7.98 7.93
New Hampshire 15.78 14.75 14.43
New Jersey 12.14 12.31 12.26
New Mexico 9.69 10.27 9.75
New York 13.58 14.76 14.45
North Carolina 8.64 8.56 8.62
North Dakota 8.79 9.18 9.15
Ohio 10.09 9.97 9.97
Oklahoma 7.61 7.97 7.66
Oregon 8.98 8.88 8.91
Pennsylvania 9.02 8.99 9.22
Rhode Island 16.34 15.24 14.88
South Carolina 10.48 10.49 10.28
South Dakota 9.29 9.58 9.58
Tennessee 10.35 10.5 10.19
Texas 8.23 8.31 8.26
Utah 8.24 8.74 8.75
Vermont 15.14 14.61 14.54
Virginia 8.33 8.07 7.93
Washington 8.66 8.51 8.43
West Virginia 9.64 9.57 9.35
Wisconsin 10.9 11.08 10.77
Wyoming 9.59 9.75 9.4

States with the most expensive business electricity

This chart shows the states with the highest average kWh price for businesses.

Most Expensive Commercial Electrcity Rates (kWh)
STATE KWH RATE (¢)
Hawaii 28.87
Alaska 18.83
Massachusetts 16.77
Connecticut 16.67
Rhode Island 16.34
New Hampshire 15.78
Vermont 15.14
California 14.83
New York 13.58
Maine 12.18

States with the cheapest businesses electricity

This chart shows the states with the highest average KWh price for businesses.

Cheapest Commercial Electrcity Rates (kWh)
STATE KWH RATE (¢)
Oklahoma 7.61
Idaho 7.99
Nevada 8.04
Texas 8.23
Utah 8.24
Virginia 8.33
Arkansas 8.47
Missouri 8.51
North Carolina 8.64
Washington 8.66

Residential vs Commercial Rates

This graph gives a side-by-side comparison of rates for homes and businesses. Residential rates are almost always higher than commercial because the volume of power used. The more volume, the cheaper the kWh.

Regulated vs Deregulated States

This chart shows average price per kWh in states with energy choice vs those that do not.

Regulated states have a lower average rate overall vs those with energy choice.

Isn’t deregulation supposed to lower prices? Yes, but there are a lot of variables at work here. So don’t fret – deregulation doesn’t always mean a higher rate.

For example, Texas (a deregulated state) traditionally has some of the lowest rates in the country.

The Northeast has some of the highest rates in the country, before deregulation and after. Economics are at play here. These are high population density states, with high demand, and high cost of living. The lower rates in the central states (regulated) also have a smaller demand, cost of living etc.

The most important take away from this data is simple. If you live in a state with energy choice (deregulated) you can lower your electric bill by shopping suppliers and rates to make select the plan that works for you.

WARNING: Thanos is Still Alive… And Everywhere.

When we last talked about Thanos, we focused on the nature of resources, the value of humanity, and the history of failed overpopulation doomsday proclamations.

This time, we’re following up on some of those themes with a deeper discussion of environmentalism and the role wealth creation plays in generating better standards of living for both people *and* the environment around us, then we shift gears to the concept of “central planning” and explain why Thanos’ is no different than countless historical and modern tyrants who believe they can easily plan out the future for billions (or trillions) of people… and what inevitably happens when things don’t go their way.

CREDITS: Written & Produced by Sean W. Malone. Edited by Arash Ayrom & Sean W. Malone.

EDITORS NOTE: This Foundation for Economic Education video is republished with permission. © All rights reserved.

Nazism returns: European Union to put warning labels on Jewish-made products

Europe has gone down this road before. It didn’t end well. This time, its principal motivator is the continent’s rapidly growing Muslim population, as well as its endless infatuation with an increasingly anti-Semitic Left.

Europe Poised to Put Warning Labels on Jewish-Made Products,” by Adam Kredo, Washington Free Beacon, August 9, 2019:

The European Union is poised to mandate that Israeli products made in contested territories carry consumer warning labels, a decision that could trigger American anti-boycott laws and open up what legal experts describe as a “Pandora’s box” of litigation, according to multiple sources involved in the legal dispute who spoke to the Washington Free Beacon.

The Advocate General of the European Court of Justice recently issued non-binding opinion arguing that EU law requires Israeli-made products to be labeled as coming from “settlements” and “Israeli colonies.”

The decision was seen as a major win for supporters of the anti-Semitic Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement, or BDS, which seeks to wage economic warfare on Israel and its citizens. Pro-Israel activists, as well as the Jewish businesses involved in the legal dispute, see the decision as an ominous warning sign that they say is reminiscent of Holocaust-era boycotts of Jewish businesses.

With the EU court’s 15 judge panel now poised to issue its own binding judgment in the case, legal experts are warning that a potential decision mandating such labeling could pave the way for goods from any disputed territory to receive such treatment. The decision also could trigger U.S. anti-boycott laws meant to stop Israeli-made goods from being singled out for unfair treatment on the international market….

The legal dispute first began after France passed a law mandating that products made in the West Bank territory of Israel be labeled as coming from an “Israeli colony,” a label not applied to any other products across the globe.

The term “Israeli colony” is not legally required to be applied under EU law and was seen as overly burdensome by Israeli business leaders.

Following the French decision, the Israeli Psagot winery filed a lawsuit alleging unlawful discrimination against Jewish companies. That lawsuit eventually made its way to Europe’s highest court, the European Court of Justice.

That court now appears poised to affirm the advocate general’s opinion mandating that Israeli goods be labeled in a fashion that opponents say is unfair and anti-Semitic in nature….

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

VIDEO: Why Welfare Hasn’t Cured Poverty

More than five decades, several welfare programs, and $25 trillion later, the welfare system has utterly failed the poor.

The poverty rate remains mostly unchanged, and tens of millions of Americans are dependent on government assistance.

Currently, the United States spends about a trillion dollars a year on 80 different federal, state, and local welfare programs.

About 40 million Americans are considered poor. If we divided that $1 trillion among those 40 million people, we could give each person approximately $25,000 a year, or $100,000 a year for a family of four.

We’re clearly spending a lot of money, so why have we not ended poverty?

Our welfare system discourages work. It discourages families from staying together. And it encourages dependence on government.

In other words, welfare keeps the poor poor.

In many cases, welfare has harmed the very people it was supposed to help, especially children.

Why has this happened?

As welfare benefits grew over the years, they increasingly served as a substitute for a working parent.

As the taxpayer became the family breadwinner, that encouraged many men to stop upholding their responsibilities, leaving more and more women as heads of single-parent households.

On the other side of the coin, single mothers were discouraged from marrying the fathers of their children because that reduced their benefits.

Sadly, the cycle continues today as many children who grow up on welfare eventually follow in their parents’ footsteps when they have families of their own.

So, what do we do?

First, we have to understand that the problem with the current system is that it discourages work. Work is the fastest and most effective way to get out of poverty and become prosperous.

Welfare programs should be designed to offer temporary help while encouraging able-bodied recipients to find work and become self-reliant.

In states that have implemented time limits and welfare-to-work requirements, recipients have received job training, found jobs, and increased their incomes dramatically. They’ve also dropped off the welfare rolls.

Second, we must continue to create the jobs that help recipients transition to work.

As we’ve seen in just the past few years, cutting taxes on individuals and businesses and cutting regulations that hinder business growth are the keys to massive new job creation, high levels of employment, and increased wages for workers.

Most Americans want a social safety net that helps those who can’t help themselves and they want to help the poor find meaningful work.

We’ve learned through decades of experience that throwing more money at poverty doesn’t end it. Temporary assistance, jobs training, growing the economy, and promoting self-sufficiency do.

As we wage the war against poverty for the next generation, let’s fight smarter.

COMMENTARY BY

Portrait of Genevieve Wood

Genevieve Wood advances policy priorities of The Heritage Foundation as senior contributor to The Daily Signal. Send an email to Genevieve. Twitter: .

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Baltimore Blues


Dear Readers:

With the recent conservative victories related to tax cuts, the Supreme Court, and other major issues, it is easy to become complacent.

However, the liberal Left is not backing down. They are rallying supporters to advance their agenda, moving this nation further from the vision of our founding fathers.

If we are to continue to bring this nation back to our founding principles of limited government and fiscal conservatism, we need to come together as a group of likeminded conservatives.

This is the mission of The Heritage Foundation. We want to continue to develop and present conservative solutions to the nation’s toughest problems. And we cannot do this alone.

We are looking for a select few conservatives to become a Heritage Foundation member. With your membership, you’ll qualify for all associated benefits and you’ll help keep our nation great for future generations.

ACTIVATE YOUR MEMBERSHIP TODAY


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

Another Budget, Another Load Of Boulders On Our Children’s Backs

We should not be sleeping well at night, but not for the reasons you are thinking.

Yes, there is the threat of socialism and open borders and unnecessarily fanned racial strife amongst other general insanities. But there is the reality that every single year we are binding our children as indentured servants. Right now. It’s happening. And it is shameful.

You may not have seen it, but D.C. is entering into another irresponsible and immoral budget agreement where the politicians, the bureaucrats and the D.C. establishment get what they want — and future Americans get the shaft.

I warned that “draining the swamp” was going to be far, far bigger than a single president or a single election. It will take a change of who we send to Washington on an ongoing basis, which means that Americans need to think differently than we’ve been trending. That’s a tall order and it’s a challenge to be optimistic about it.

Even after promising last year to never again bust the budget in a compromise agreement that piles on the debt, President Trump appears ready to do just that with the support of both Republicans and Democrats. When everyone agrees on spending, you know that the American taxpayer is about to get nailed — or more specifically, future taxpayers. But hey, it’s for two years, which pushes it past the next election as per the normal arrangement, so the hacks get to skate on the issue.

Yet it appears that by all polls, the national debt barely ever even shows up even at the bottom, and probably the number of views this article will likely get, that no one really gives a rat’s hiney about the budget and the debt. It’s just not all sexy and loud and Us versus Them. Too bad. Because eventually it’s fatal. And it’s immediately immoral.

I keep using that word. It does mean what I think it means.

In 2018, the per capita debt for Americans was $65,600 — about 50 percent more the national average income for a year. So if you took all of everyone’s income for an entire year, you wouldn’t come close to erasing the debt — plus you wouldn’t fund the government that year. And everyone would die.

But worse, it was $62,100 in 2017. For every trillion-dollar annual deficit, the per capita debt load increases about $3,400 per year. That actually does come due, and it won’t be Nancy Pelosi or Mitch McConnell paying it. So by the end of this budget deal, the debt per capita will be $72,400 — $10,000 more per person than in 2017.

Yes. That’s immoral.

Of course this comes about because of the decades of irresponsible spending and spending and spending, and the constant brinkmanship of the Continuing Resolutions that allow for larded up pork projects and no cuts because of the threat of a government shutdown. The GOP should have figured out by now that the shutdown issue is a media creation that virtually no Americans outside of some government employees and contractors notice even with the incessant media coverage.

And there is the deadline for the U.S. missing debt payments in September because of the spending cap, which is obviously not worth the piece of paper it was scribbled on in crayon as they just lift it every year, or in this case, every other year. The budget is not about spending or taxing, it’s about whether we use the “crisis” of a government shutdown or the “crisis” of not making a debt payment that requires whatever spending free-for-all we have to swallow.

Here’s the gist of yet another horrible deal.

The spending increase that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin agreed to would raise current budget caps by $320 billion over two years. The increase is a paltry $30 billion less than Democrats sought. They got 90 percent of what they wanted.

Further, Noah Rothman wrote on Bloomberg:

“If split evenly over two years, that would equal a $17 billion increase for defense and $17 billion increase for domestic programs in 2020 over 2019 levels, giving Democrats the parity they sought for increases in both categories of spending.”

The Trump team wanted to partially offset the increases with savings from entitlement programs like Medicare and Medicaid that are not subject to annual budget caps. But of course, that did not happen. And don’t be fooled by the $320 billion number. That is the budget cap issue. The deficit is expected to be about $1 trillion each year. Because the Swamp always wins.

So the Democrats got essentially everything they wanted. This is what I meant when saying that one election of one president could not change the corruption level of the D.C. establishment.

But whatever — just another trillion dollars dumped on our children and grandchildren while we debate the really big issues of rats in Baltimore, Trump’s tweets and who had the best sound bite at the Democrat debates.

A few lonely Republicans have remained opposed to the irresponsible spending.

“I paid off a third of the state debt when I was governor of Florida,” Sen. Rick Scott said on CNBC Wednesday ahead of Thursday’s vote. “There’s no focus up here on the debt. We can’t have $22 trillion worth of debt and growing a trillion dollars a year and it not have a consequence at some point.”

That’s right. But obviously we’re doing it anyway. The vote was 67-28. Scott went on.

“We’ve got to have a legitimate conversation about how do we spend our money up here, let’s stop the waste, let’s live within our means, we do it at the state level,” he said. “I paid off $10 billion worth of debt and cut $10 billion worth of taxes. We cut 20 percent of our regulations. And we added 1.7 million jobs. This is all doable, but you’ve got to make choices. Up here what happens is everyone gets everything, so there’s no tough choices made.”

But even Scott, when pushed gently, would not name the big dogs in the debt — the ever-growing entitlement trifecta of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. We can eliminate entire agencies and squeeze out waste, fraud and abuse, but it won’t close the trillion-dollar annual gap. The Swamp knows what needs to be done, and has no intention of doing it.

No, we should not be sleeping well at night. We are loading up our offspring to pay off debts they did not incur.

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

Middle America: It’s time to make your 2ndVote count

Starbucks. Nike. Amazon. Facebook.

To millions of Americans, these companies embody our nation’s entrepreneurial spirit. However, they also represent the takeover of leftist values in our nation’s largest and most influential corporations – all on the backs of Middle America’s second vote
consumers.

  • Starbucks (1 – Liberal) is perhaps most famous for its opposition to religious liberty – a position which contradicts America’s Judeo-Christian traditions in favor of the LGBT agenda. It also supports gun control and open borders. Facebook (1 – Liberal) blocks
    and removes pro-life videos while promoting Planned Parenthood’s life-ending agenda.
  • Amazon (1.3 – Liberal) recently removed books promoting the scientifically-sound principle that people with same-sex attractions don’t have to engage in the LGBT lifestyle. (Of course, Amazon has no problem selling books celebrating pedophilia or Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf.)
  • And Nike (1.9 – Liberal). They support taxing Middle America to pay for left-wing environmental projects and they back putting bureaucrats in charge of your kids’ education. Worst of all, they pushed racial strife by endorsing Colin Kaepernick’s view that America’s law enforcement is racist instead of dedicated to public safety.

As second vote Americans, you have the power to change this! You have the power to tell these corporations that they should stick to providing their product or service instead of being political actors.

The best way to do this is to use your dollars wisely. Talk with your wallet and your feet.

Shop at Peets (3 – Neutral) and Green Mountain (3 – Neutral) for your coffee instead of Starbucks. Go to Champs (3 – Neutral) and Under Armour (2.3 – Lean Liberal) for your active apparel. Tell Amazon to take a hike by shopping at Overstock.com (4 – Lean
Conservative) when you can.

Facebook, of course, presents a different challenge. They are the dominant player in their space, and Twitter (2.1 – Lean Liberal) is no better at representing your values. You can still stand up to them by e-mailing CEO Mark Zuckerberg and urging him to
stand up for true diversity – not of race or sex, but of thought. Tell him that keeping conservatives off of Facebook hurts his bottom line and even more importantly violates the social media principle of open and free sharing of ideas.

The Company Contrast – Google

Each week 2ndVote will be taking a look at a popular company that scores poorly on the 2ndVote scoring system, and then providing some better alternatives for you to easily align your shopping dollars with your values. This series is called The Company Contrast, and the company we will be focusing on today is Google (1 – Liberal).

Google is a search engine and technology company, and continues to be the most visited website in the world year in year out. Google is the parent company of the following brands: YouTube (1 – Liberal), Nik Software, AdMob, ITA Software, and Kaggle. Even though Google is the largest and most used search engine in the world, using their services and products undermines your values based on their continual contributions to the liberal leftist movement.

Google scores a 1 on 2ndVote’s scoring system because of their contributions to organizations such as Center for American Progress, Planned Parenthood, Human Rights Campaign, and many more leftist organizations. To see all of the reasons Google scores so poorly, you can click on their company score page here

Fortunately, when you need to use a search engine, but don’t want to sacrifice your conservative values, there are better alternatives out there. Brave (3 – Neutral), and Reagan (3.3 – Lean Conservative) both offer great options to search the internet without funding the left’s agenda. These websites’ neutral stance on issues and commitment to providing quick and accurate web searches is why 2ndVote has deemed them better alternatives to Google.

EDITORS NOTE: This 2nd Vote column is republished with permission. All rights reserved.

Gillette Comes within a Whisker of Disaster

“Your stupid boycotts will never make a dent in a company like P&G,” one liberal scoffed back in January. Turns out, they didn’t just make a dent. After a string of male-bashing, transgender shaving ads, the parent company of Gillette got nicked so badly, market experts wonder if the brand will survive. Gillette’s CEO insists the radical activism was “worth the price.” Let’s hope so — because so far, that price is a whopping $8 billion dollars.

To most customers, a razor company dabbling in gender politics never made sense in the first place. Gillette used to be “the best a man can get.” Now the company can’t even acknowledge what a man actually is! Things for the brand started to unravel earlier this year when P&G gave the green light to a controversial commercial about the culture’s “toxic masculinity.” The idea, CEO Gary Coombe said at the time, was to reach millennials. Weeks into the flop, even he admitted it backfired.

But instead of ditching its politically-charged messages, Gillette dug in deeper. On Father’s Day, the company finally went too far, launching an ad about a dad teaching his “son” — who happens to be a biological girl — how to shave. That did it. Conservative groups like One Million Moms activated, warning customers that unless they wanted their money to support an ideology Pediatricians call “child abuse,” they’d better find another razor.

Based on this quarter’s report, an astonishing number of Americans did. “P&G reported a net loss of about $5.24 billion, or $2.12 per share, for the quarter ended June 30, due to an $8 billion non-cash writedown of Gillette. For the same period last year,” Reuters explains, “P&G’s net income was $1.89 billion, or 72 cents per share.” At least for now, the company’s executives are refusing to blame their liberal politics. Instead, CFO Jon Moeller found another culprit: Beards. That’s right. P&G is actually writing off its monumental fail on the rise of facial hair. “Lower shaving frequency has reduced the size of the developed blades and razors market,” he tried to justify on a call with analysts.

Some shareholders might buy that, but most shoppers agree — it’s time for companies like Gillette to look in the mirror. Political activism never pays. Just look at the fanatics at Target and Nike, whose stocks took a nose-dive for offending Americans’ basic sense of decency and patriotism. Even so, some companies are pressing forward despite the fallout. Just last month, grocery giant Whole Foods surprised everyone by sponsoring drag queen story hour. Even Nabisco’s most famous cookies — Oreo and Chips Ahoy — have spent 2019 waving the transgender flag. But the reckoning isn’t just coming. It’s here.

So the next time someone tries to tell you that shopping your values doesn’t work, or one person can’t possibly make a difference, remember Gillette. It only takes a handful of committed shoppers to send a message. As former Walmart CEO Bill Simon explained on “Washington Watch,” the “very, very best way you can communicate your concern is with your wallet.” Companies are in the business to make money.

“When [a] company does something that you don’t agree with — or their product represents something that you don’t agree with — the simple answer is to not buy it or not participate. And that’s honestly the loudest voice that a customer can deliver to a company is, ‘I choose not to buy your product.'”

“A three percent change in sales of a company or a five percent change in the sales company will make a huge statement. It doesn’t take a lot of people to stop buying product or to stop going to a retailer or a restaurant — or whatever it is — for them to notice, because a couple of percentage points is win or lose for a company.”

** The Washington Update is taking its own August recess — but we’ll make sure you stay informed and up-to-date with our Action Alerts! You can also keep up with what’s happening by tuning into “Washington Watch” Monday through Friday at 5:05 p.m. (ET) and by downloading FRC’s Stand Firm App. The daily Update will return in September. **


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


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

Tesla: More Than Just A Car Company

If you know anything about Tesla it’s probably the following two points:

  1. They make electric, semi-autonomous automobiles.
  2. The company is led by controversial billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk.

A deeper dive, however, reveals some additional information that many individuals may prove interesting, if not surprising, to many.

Humble, Yet Sporty Beginnings

While the South African born Musk (who also co-founded online payment processor PayPal and space technology firm SpaceX, the latter of which he still oversees) has served as the public face of Tesla since 2008, it was actually founded five years earlier by two American engineers – Martin Eberhard and Marc Terpenning.

Tesla’s first electric vehicle, the Tesla Roadster, debuted in 2008 and was far ahead of its time. A prototype of sorts in which Tesla only built 2,450 vehicles, the car achieved performance numbers once exclusively reserved for gasoline-powered sports cars.

0 to 60 in 3.7 seconds.

A top speed of 250 mph.

All with a range of 244 miles on a single charge – arguably the most impressive number.

new version of the Roadster, due in 2020, looks to raise the bar even further on the capabilities of an electric sports car.

Its second vehicle, the Model S sedan, launched in 2012.

Although their main focus is cars, Tesla does have a burgeoning business in solar energy with residential solar roof tiles and panels and their residential home battery the Powerwall.

The company also offers a commercial and utility version of its solar energy and storage solutions.

Although Tesla is first and foremost an automaker, the company, much like its namesake, is just as much an innovator.

To understand where the US’s only fully electric car company has been and their plans for the future, we must answer two initial questions for where the company is staking its biggest claim – what is an electric car and what is automotive autonomy.

What is an Electric Car?

Electric cars come in two varieties – hybrids and battery electric vehicles or EVs. Hybrid electric cars, to varying degrees, utilize both gasoline and electricity to power their engines. EVs are fully electric.

No gas. No combustion engine. Just an electric engine powered by fully rechargeable batteries.

The primary selling point to EVs is zero emissions. It’s an important distinction for the lithium-ion battery-powered Teslas.

Although the company may deal exclusively in high-end, fully electric vehicles, its founding was less as an automaker and more on the principle of creating something that did not consume gasoline.

According to Martin Eberhard:

“I didn’t start as an electric car enthusiast but as a non-fossil fuel enthusiast.” 

In order to realize this early goal, Tesla’s ultimate plan is to control every aspect of production and become a fully vertical electric car company. This includes making its batteries in-house.

What is Automotive (or Vehicle) Autonomy?

Apart from producing wholly electric vehicles, Tesla aims to produce automobiles that one day will be fully autonomous.

What exactly does that mean? Here’s a quick lesson in the six levels of vehicle autonomy:

  • Level 0 – No Automation: Driver controls every aspect of the driving experience.
  • Level 1 – Driver Assistance: Vehicle features one automated system (such as cruise control).
  • Level 2 – Partial Automation: Autonomy includes regulation of speed and lane awareness in optimal conditions (interstate driving, for example), but the driver still monitors and controls vehicle
  • Level 3 – Conditional Automation: Huge leap in technology from level 2 to level 3 with the vehicle able to self-drive in most circumstances, but driver influence is required.
  • Level 4 – High Automation: Vehicle is fully autonomous in most conditions; a driver can still override in certain situations or emergencies.
  • Level 5 – Full Automation: No gas or brake pedals, no steering wheel, no physical driving skills necessary.

Tesla vehicles currently achieve around Level 2 autonomy.

However, the company states that its Tesla Computer chip is already installed on all of their latest car models, and all those due to come after. Significant because, as Elon Musk states:

“All cars being produced all have the hardware necessary – computer and otherwise – for full self-driving. All you need to do is improve the software.”

Translation: The hardware is installed, and the Tesla cars are designed and built to one day drive themselves, but the software, and, really the whole idea of a fully autonomous vehicle remains a work in progress.

Tesla’s First Generation of Automobiles

What isn’t a work in progress are the actual cars that Tesla produces.

We’ve already noted the groundbreaking Roadster, which piqued the curiosity of car enthusiasts everywhere. But the car that grabbed everyone’s attention was the Model S.

After Tesla’s initial public offering in 2010, which generated almost $230 million in capital, the Model S sedan was released in 2012. Running between 235 and 300 miles on a single charge based on the battery options purchased, the Model S represented a leap forward in mass production of electric cars.

In the years following its release, the Model S received accolades from both professionals and car enthusiasts. It was named car of the year by both Motor Trend (2013) and Car and Driver (2015), has been on Consumer Reports Recommended List since 2016.

Produced at an assembly plant in Fremont, California, the car topped the electric car sales charts in both 2015 and 2016. It ranks second only to the Nissan Leaf in total sales (although it’s worth noting the Leaf has been in production longer and is considerably cheaper).

As of today, the Model S has sold over 250,000 units, over half of which are in the US. On its Long Range version, the S can achieve a range of 370 miles on a single charge – the highest level of performance of any current electric car.

In 2015, Tesla launched the Model X crossover SUV. It’s a bit of a misnomer as the X is built on a car chassis, but its styling and function lend itself comparison to SUVs as opposed to sedans.

While not nearly as celebrated as the Model S, Tesla’s crossover still represented a considerable breakthrough for electric vehicles as it was the first commercially available, fully electric SUV on the road.

However, as groundbreaking as they may, both the Model S and the Model X remain out of reach and impractical for most consumers. The Model S ranges in price from $75,000 to near $96,000 and the Model X runs from $81,000 to over $102,000 (not counting electric car incentives or gas savings).

Tesla, though, is looking to expand its customer base.

The Model 3 and Model Y

The entry-level Model 3, which is already in production, and the mid-range Model Y, set to start production in 2020 (although it is available for order), look to bring Tesla into a crowded and highly competitive market segment.

Starting at $35,000, the Model 3 will be in direct competition with the aforementioned Nissan Leaf, as well as the Chevy BoltHyundai Kona, and Kia Niro.

The Model Y will serve as Tesla’s company crossover – an increasingly popular segment within the car industry. The purchase price starts at $48,000.

Compared to the established line of Tesla autos, the Model 3 and Model Y, don’t offer anything remarkably new, except of course for the lower price points.

What they do signal though, is the beginning of a new business model for Tesla, and for the auto industry as a whole – online car purchasing. The move will pit Tesla against the more traditional dealership-driven car buying method, which has been protected by state laws for decades.

Consumers for Auto Reliability and Safety president Rosemary Shahan elaborates on what the change would mean for future customers:

“What Tesla is proposing is actually consumer-friendly. It gives you more of an opportunity to take control of the action, and you’re not on the dealer’s turf.” 

Although it does mean lost jobs for some at Tesla, according to a memo Musk sent to employees, the ultimate goal is affordability:

“Unfortunately, this means that some jobs will be impacted or transitioned to other areas of the business. This is a hard decision, but it [store closings] is necessary to make our cars more affordable.”

Tesla’s Future

Much like the transition to online-only vehicle sales and bringing battery production in-house, there is only one word that aptly describes Tesla’s outlook for the future – ambitious.

For starters, Tesla has plans to increase its already expansive network of superchargers, the electric car equivalent of a gas station. In doubling its network, as well as releasing a next-gen version, the plans are to have superchargers close to 95% of the population in “active” markets – read: where a lot Tesla’s have been purchased.

Next up is the bold claim from Musk (which he has a habit of making) is that Tesla plans on having a full network of robotaxis available at some point in 2020. In Musk’s words:

“I feel very confident predicting that there will be autonomous robotaxis from Tesla next year — not in all jurisdictions because we won’t have regulatory approval everywhere. From our standpoint, if you fast forward a year, maybe a year and three months, but next year for sure, we’ll have over a million robotaxis on the road. The fleet wakes up with an over the air update; that’s all it takes.”

Finally, it’s worth noting that Tesla even has plans for its first truck, which would ultimately match its offerings with every other major manufacturer. Musk called the new vehicle a “cyberpunk truck” at a recent shareholders meetings.

From a sports car to a pick-up truck and all-electric points in between, Tesla has indeed made the transition from car maker to innovator.  Not too bad for a company that started merely as a means to save a few fossil fuels.

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EDITORS NOTE: This PartCatalog.com column is republished with permission. All rights reserved.

Note to Bank of America: Some companies don’t scare easily

Leftists are at it again – declaring that corporate America must bow in every way to their agenda or face their wrath. In this case, online activists and some staff at Wayfair (3.3 – Lean Conservative) and Ogilvy (3 – Neutral) have demanded that their leadership stop doing business with U.S. agencies which house immigrant children separated at the border.

Twitter warriors and activist employees already notched a victory – Bank of America (1 – Liberal) stopped financing private detention centers in June. But Ogilvy’s CEO isn’t backing down. Via Buzzfeed, John Seifert pointed out that:

  1. The company has worked with the federal government for decades in various capacities.
  2. The company has worked with many brands which are associated with controversies – from tobacco companies to Coca-Cola to BP after the latter’s 1999 oil spill.
  3. His primary duty is to ensure that Ogilvy survives and thrives during and after his time as CEO.

Seifert noted that Ogilvy’s contracted duty is to help U.S. Customs and Border Protection find qualified staff. Ogilvy is not involved in agency policies or supporting the Trump administration. It is simply doing what it does best – advertising.

Wayfair likewise refused to be cowed. Ranking a 3.3 on the 2ndVote scale, its executive leadership said in a statement that the company follows its obligation to fulfill lawful orders for its furniture. Ironically, opponents of Wayfair’s federal contract say that the company should protest horrible conditions…by not providing furniture for migrant children to sit and lay on. #TwitterLogic

It’s not just Wayfair and Ogilvy which are standing up against these protests. Even leftist-leaning companies like Microsoft (1 – Liberal) and Amazon (1.3 – Liberal) are refusing to stop doing business with the U.S. government despite employee protests.

As elected officials decide on America’s border policies, we urge you to use your second vote to let Bank of America’s CEO know that his cowardice isn’t appreciated – and let leaders at Wayfair, Ogilvy, Amazon, and Microsoft know that you appreciate them doing their jobs instead of engaging in tacit or explicit political action.

You can do this in two ways:

First, e-mail the CEOs who are being politically neutral business leaders. Let them know that you appreciate them standing up to their activist employees and Twitter warriors. Then let Bank of America’s CEO know that you oppose his cowardice.

Second, shop your values. Shop at Wayfair. Let them know in the most important way – with your money – that you value the stand they’ve taken. Be sure to check out their score and all of the other company scoreswhich 2ndVote has compiled so you can make the most informed consumer decisions.

The 2ndVote website allows you to easily communicate directly to any company scored on their individual score page. Take the time to thank companies that focus on business and not social activism, and ask the companies who pander to the radical anti-American agenda that you want them to stop and just provide their good, or services.

Wayfair CEO Niraj Shah – nshah@wayfair.com

Ogilvy CEO John Seifert – john.seifert@ogilvy.com

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos – jeff@amazon.com

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella – satyan@microsoft.com

Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan – brian.t.moynihan@bankofamerica.com

EDITORS NOTE: This 2nd Vote column is republished with permission. All rights reserved.

The Progressive Caucus’ push for a $15 Minimum Wage using Lies and Half Truths

The Congressional Progressive Caucus (which includes the four members of The Squad) sent out an email titled “JUST IN: Florida Minimum Wage update →.” The email targets U.S. Senators demanding that they bring up the Raise the Wage Act for a vote. The Raise the Wage Act has already passed by the House of Representatives.

There appear to be some white lies and half truths in the Progressive Caucus email. The email quotes a Common Dreams article stating:

A $15 minimum wage would reduce household and child poverty while increasing worker productivity and retention rates.

Sounds good until you look at the Congressional Budget Office report “The Effects on Employment and Family Income of Increasing the Federal Minimum Wage.” The CBO report states:

Effects of the $15 Option on Employment and Income. According to CBO’s median estimate, under the $15 option, 1.3 million workers who would otherwise be employed would be jobless in an average week in 2025. (That would equal a 0.8 percent reduction in the number of employed workers.) CBO estimates that there is about a two-thirds chance that the change in employment would lie between about zero and a reduction of 3.7 million workers. [Emphasis added]

The Bernie Sanders Effect

Senator Bernie Sanders, a member of the Progressive Caucus, has been pushing Senator McConnell to bring the Raise the Wage Act to the Senate floor for a vote. At the same time we have learned that Senator Sanders doesn’t pay his campaign staff a $15 minimum wage. According to their contract with the Sander’s campaign his field workers get an annual salary of $36,000, which is $15 an hour for a normal work week. But Sander’s staff complained that they are putting in 60 hour work weeks, which means they are making $13 an hour.

According to Vox Sanders got away with this bate and switch by making his field staff salaried and therefore not eligible for overtime pay. In a Vox column titled “The controversy over Bernie Sanders’s low-paid field staffers, explained. A moralist gets a taste of his own medicine” Matthew Yglesias notes:

But capitalism abhors a vacuum, so over time, more and more low-paid workers found themselves in the category of being salaried and ineligible for overtime. The Obama administration tried to tackle this with a Labor Department regulation mandating overtime for anyone earning less than $47,000, but it was challenged in court and the Trump administration elected not to defend the rule, instead writing a new rule that set the threshold at $35,000. At an annual salary just below that threshold, Sanders’s field staff would be collecting lots of overtime and thus earning more than $36,000, but instead, their salary was pegged (perhaps not coincidentally) to be just above the exempt threshold.

This is what I call the Bernie Sander effect – do as I say, not as I do.

Conclusion

Senator Bernie Sanders has proved what economists have been saying and now even Vox confirms,

“Beyond the question of campaign optics, however, this is exactly the point that opponents of minimum wage increases are always making — if you force employers to pay more, they’re going to respond by cutting back elsewhere.”

Bernie cut his own campaign staff’s hours understanding that a guaranteed minimum wage, while raising income for some, will cause others to lose income and their jobs. Senator Sanders is playing both sides against the middle. In this case passage of the Raise the Wage Act can, according to the CBO, cause as as many as 3.7 million workers to lose their jobs.

Are you feeling the Bern?

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