Bank of America’s over $50,000 in Contributions to Planned Parenthood Itemized

Planned Parenthood organizations received at least $51,830 from the Bank of America Charitable Foundation in 2017. The foundation’s IRS Form 990 shows contributions made to 4o different Planned Parenthood affiliates.

Will you help us expose Bank of America’s support for Planned Parenthood’s abortion business? Click here to share our Action Alert, and then sign 2ndVote’s petition asking Bank of America to STOP all funding for the abortion giant.

Planned Parenthood of Northern New England $50.00
Planned Parenthood of Northern New England $500.00
Planned Parenthood of Southern New England $350.00
Planned Parenthood of Southern New England $100.00
Planned Parenthood of Southern New England $50.00
Planned Parenthood of Metropolitan New Jersey $100.00
Planned Parenthood Federation of America $3,655.00
Planned Parenthood Federation of America $1,200.00
Planned Parenthood Federation of America $3,795.00
Planned Parenthood Federation of America $275.00
Planned Parenthood Federation of America $325.00
Planned Parenthood Federation of America $100.00
Planned Parenthood Federation of America $3,756.00
Planned Parenthood Federation of America $2,485.00
Planned Parenthood Federation of America $875.00
Planned Parenthood Federation of America $265.00
Planned Parenthood Federation of America $225.00
Planned Parenthood Federation of America $25.00
Planned Parenthood of Delaware $250.00
Planned Parenthood Carol Whitehill Moses Center $3,000.00
Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio $200.00
Planned Parenthood Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota $100.00
Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast $750.00
Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast $600.00
Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast $25.00
Planned Parenthood Arizona $125.00
Planned Parenthood Arizona $100.00
Planned Parenthood Arizona $50.00
Planned Parenthood Arizona $50.00
Planned Parenthood Los Angeles $100.00
Planned Parenthood of the Pacific Southwest $500.00
Planned Parenthood Shasta Diablo $650.00
Planned Parenthood Shasta Diablo $3,000.00
Planned Parenthood of the Columbia Willamette $250.00
Planned Parenthood of League of Massachusetts $200.00
Planned Parenthood of League of Massachusetts $200.00
Planned Parenthood of League of Massachusetts $250.00
Planned Parenthood of Northern, Central and Southern New Jersey $100.00
Planned Parenthood of Northern, Central and Southern New Jersey $50.00
Planned Parenthood of New York City $200.00
Planned Parenthood of New York City $300.00
Planned Parenthood of New York City $500.00
Planned Parenthood Federation of America $500.00
Planned Parenthood Federation of America $1,706.00
Planned Parenthood Federation of America $250.00
Planned Parenthood Federation of America $150.00
Planned Parenthood Federation of America $75.00
Planned Parenthood Federation of America $25.00
Planned Parenthood Federation of America $50.00
Planned Parenthood Federation of America $250.00
Planned Parenthood Federation of America $50.00
Planned Parenthood Hudson Peconic $500.00
Planned Parenthood of Nassau County $200.00
Planned Parenthood of the Mid-Hudson Valley $75.00
Planned Parenthood of Western Pennsylvania $1,180.00
Planned Parenthood of Western Pennsylvania $375.00
Planned Parenthood Keystone $50.00
Planned Parenthood Keystone $350.00
Planned Parenthood Federation of America $1,375.00
Planned Parenthood Federation of America $4,358.00
Planned Parenthood Federation of America $25.00
Planned Parenthood Federation of America $200.00
Planned Parenthood Federation of America $25.00
Planned Parenthood of Metropolitan Washington, DC $300.00
Planned Parenthood South Atlantic $950.00
Planned Parenthood South Atlantic $25.00
Planned Parenthood South Atlantic $100.00
Planned Parenthood South Atlantic $100.00
Planned Parenthood of Pasco $500.00
Planned Parenthood of Southwest and Central Florida $50.00
Planned Parenthood of Southwest and Central Florida $50.00
Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky $375.00
Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky $100.00
Planned Parenthood of the Heartland $500.00
Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin $2,000.00
Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin $1,035.00
Planned Parenthood of Illinois $50.00
Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region & Southwest Missouri $50.00
Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region & Southwest Missouri $50.00
Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region & Southwest Missouri $75.00
Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region & Southwest Missouri $75.00
Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region & Southwest Missouri $50.00
Planned Parenthood Great Plains $50.00
Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas $30.00
Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas $50.00
Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas $30.00
Rocky Mountain Planned Parenthood $1,000.00
Rocky Mountain Planned Parenthood $100.00
Planned Parenthood Salt Lake Health Center $300.00
Planned Parenthood of the Pacific $50.00
Planned Parenthood of California Central Coast $25.00
Planned Parenthood Mar Monte $150.00
Planned Parenthood Mar Monte $50.00
Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands $500.00
Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands $1,000.00
Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands $500.00
Planned Parenthood of Greater Washington and North Idaho $35.00
Planned Parenthood of Greater Washington and North Idaho $75.00

More information on Bank of America’s activism can be found here.


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RELATED ARTICLE: Court Rules President Trump Can Defund Planned Parenthood, Will Cut Almost $60 Million in Taxpayer Funding

Income Is Determined by the Scarcity of Your Contribution, Not the Value of Human Worth

In a few months’ time, my wife and I will send our second child to daycare. Like all parents, nothing is more precious to us than our children. So it’s surprising that the people whom parents trust to take care of their kids—childcare workers and preschool teachers—get paid median salaries of just $22,290 and $28,990 a year.

This seems more than unfair. It seems perverse. Why would people trusted to take care of infants and toddlers 40-50 hours a week be paid the same as dog walkers and janitors? Why should people with such important jobs be paid so little?

There’s a lot of popular misperception concerning why some people make more than others. Most recently, Rep. Ocasio-Cortez, citing the “value of human worth,” tweeted confusion over why people resist a $15 minimum wage when an airport croissant costs $7. Such confusion stems from the Marxist labor theory of value, a theory that economists have thoroughly debunked.

Popular misperception of how wages are determined is understandable because even the introductory economics course explanation of “productivity” doesn’t help much. “More productive workers get paid more” is a fine approach for the classroom but ultimately incomplete for the apples-to-oranges comparisons people like to make. Are people who take care of your children really as productive as dog walkers and janitors?

Here’s a better explanation, one that accounts for essentially all income differences:

Your income is determined by the scarcity of your contribution.

That’s it. There is no trick here, no intellectual gymnastics to perform. This is the grounding explanation for why some people make more than others. If you want to understand income inequality, or you simply want to make a lot yourself, this is the explanation you should always keep in mind.

Consider childcare again. Taking care of a room full of kids is exhausting. Like all jobs, it’s not inherently fun, which is why you have to pay people to do it. But it’s certainly more appealing than most jobs. There’s no work to take home and no grading to do. The hours are regular and, if the weather is nice, the work is outside. Many find the work meaningful.

It’s not only a relatively enjoyable job, but the skills required are also relatively easy to acquire. Evolution demands that most people be able to do the job of early childhood educators. Applicants might not always have the credentials, but its essential elements are no mystery. Most people have a lot of practical experience with their own children.

Even though childcare work is incredibly valuable, capable workers are relatively abundant. Pay falls accordingly because wages are determined not only by value or by availability. Wages are determined by scarcity.

Wages (or compensation, to include benefits) are prices of labor, and like all prices, wages measure scarcity. Scarcity is the operative word here. Scarcity is not just a matter of how much there is of something (supply) but also considers how much people want something (demand). The higher the price, the greater the scarcity. The lower the price, the lesser the scarcity.

For example, lots of people want water, but there is so much available, the price of water is low. At the same time, if I made a sculpture it would be the only one that exists, but no one would want it. Its price would also be low. Honestly, its price would probably be zero: even one David Youngberg original would be too many.

Labor markets are like any other market, and wages are like any other price. To illustrate, consider how crucial cashiers are to any grocery store. Though self-checkouts have taken away some of their necessity, most stores absolutely need cashiers. Yet cashiers make just $10 an hour, and their pay was low even in the time before self-checkouts, when a store literally couldn’t function without them.

Now compare cashiers to other grocery store jobs. Floristsbutchers, and bakers aren’t nearly as critical to the store, but their median pay is $12-$15 an hour. You don’t need a flower shop or deli or bakery to sell most groceries, so why are cashiers paid so little?

Scarcity is why. It’s not just about how much employers want to hire (demand) but how many people are available to hire (supply). Anyone can do a cashier’s job, as evidenced by the proliferation of self-checkouts. Florists, butchers, and bakers require more training and a greater degree of conscientiousness. Even though a cashier is more “productive,” other workers are much scarcer and are paid accordingly.

The “incomes as scarcity of contribution” explanation is merely descriptive; it is not a commentary on the justness of the outcomes. Luck can suddenly render a useless skill relevant or a valued skill redundant. That’s unfortunate, even unfair, for the people on the losing end of that change, but it’s how the world works.

There’s no avoiding the underlying reality of the competitive pressure of markets.More commonly, the level of scarcity is politically manipulated. Licensing creates barriers to entry, making jobs like hairdresser and interior designer scarcer than they otherwise would be. Other regulations drive up the wages of providers in industries like health care and law. Corporate subsidies, including farm subsidies, drive up demand and artificially increase scarcity. Just because income is determined by the scarcity of the contribution doesn’t mean all levels of scarcity are natural.

Contribution is a wholly different concept from hard work. Some work hard doing low-value activities, and others can create a lot of value with little effort. There’s a correlation between effort and contribution, but it’s noisy. As the saying goes: work smarter, not harder.

Nor is your “worth” as a person the same as your income—it probably doesn’t even correlate. “Contribution” describes only market activity. Many people add a great deal of value to society, from stay-at-home parents to volunteers to very good friends. That they don’t get paid for this contribution only means that people are more than what they do for a living. They are valuable in some larger sense, but you only get paid for market activity. People are much more than their income.

This last point is the hardest to internalize. There are many people who have contributions that are so relatively abundant, they have a difficult time purchasing their basic needs. It’s easy to fall into a trap that the world thinks little of them because of their income.

The low salary of preschool teachers, janitors, and cashiers only tells us that what they contribute to economic activity isn’t that scarce. It says nothing about their worth as people. When you understand that wages are just measurements of scarcity, deriving from natural differences in work and people, the absurdity of minimum wage increases become clear.

COLUMN BY

Bank of America Donated over $20,000 to SPLC in 2017

Over 60 organizations are currently considering legal action against the Southern Policy Law Center (SPLC) over the falsely applied “hate group” designation. However, the most recent available financial documents show Bank of America has increased its financial support for SPLC in recent years.

The Bank of America Foundation is a 501(c)3 tax-exempt organization that serves as Bank of America’s charitable giving arm. The foundation’s 2017 Form 990 reports $20,518 in contributions to SPLC for the purpose of “program/operating support” in that year.

Similar contributions for previous years fall with the range of $2,000 to $5,000.

The spike in funding corresponds with an increase of corporate partnerships with SPLC beginning in 2017. Corporations like GuidestarFacebook, Twitter, Amazon, Google, and Paypal have implemented SPLC’s “hate” designation as an authority for excluding or labeling organizations on their platforms. Companies like Apple specifically solicited donations for SPLC from their customers and CNN republished SPLC’s data to create a list of alleged “hate groups” without explaining the origin until called out by conservative groups.

However, recent events suggest SPLC’s operations have less to do with fighting “hate,” and more to do creating political animosity for the purpose of fundraising. Conservative groups like the Family Research Council, Alliance Defending Freedom, the American Family Association, and more have all been tagged as “hate groups” for simply upholding traditional marriage in accordance with Judeo-Christian values. Yet, entering 2017, SPLC reported nearly $450,000,000 in net assets.

Jeremy Tedesco, an attorney with ADF, told PJ Media:

Today’s SPLC has zero credibility and its ‘making hate pay’ business model should be rejected. Whether or not this opens the SPLC to future lawsuits, it is clear this group has defrauded the public for long enough.

[ … ]

Today’s SPLC is a corrupt fundraising scheme that capitalizes on fear by mixing legitimate societal concerns with baseless allegations against its ideological opponents. The media commits journalistic malpractice when it cuts and pastes the SPLC’s unfounded allegations and lies as fact.

Given that Bank of America has pumped tens of thousands of dollars into SPLC’s coffers, shouldn’t stockholders be concerned a “zero credibility” organization that has “defrauded the public” is receiving corporate funds? Bank of America customers should certainly be offended that a portion of their banking fees and return on investment is being used to prop up a “corrupt fundraising scheme.”

Customers and investors should contact corporate offices immediately and demand Bank of America change its charitable giving policies. Remember, Bank of America’s annual meeting is on April 24th—shouldn’t these activities be addressed?

Send Bank of America an Email!

Reach Out to Bank of America on Facebook!


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EDITORS NOTE: This 2ndVote column is republished with permission.

RAISE Act Reintroduced By Jennifer G. Hickey

On Wednesday, Sen. Tom Cotton, (R-AR) joined with fellow Republican Sens. David Perdue of Georgia and Josh Hawley of Missouri to reintroduce the “Reforming American Immigration for a Strong Economy Act,” dubbed the RAISE Act. The bill, which was first introduced in 2017, would replace the existing employment visa framework with one that serves the national interest.

The RAISE Act would build an immigration system that increases working-class wages, creates jobs, and gives every citizen a fair shot at achieving the American Dream, no matter whether their family came over on the Mayflower or just took the Oath of Allegiance,” said Cotton.

Specifically, that system would be a skills-based points system that places a priority on immigrants with U.S.-recognized college degrees, English language competency and eliminate the fraud-plagued diversity visa lottery.

It also would lower overall immigration to 637,960 in its first year with a goal of seeing a 50 percent reduction in legal immigration in the tenth year of the bill.

“Senators Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), David Perdue (R-Ga.), and Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), along with Representative Francis Rooney (R-Fla.), should be applauded for recognizing the current dysfunction of our outdated immigration policies that, unlike the rest of the nation, have been stuck in a time warp for the last 50 years,” said FAIR President Dan Stein in a statement.

If you are interested in reading more about this important legislation, please check out our blog on ImmigrationReform.com.

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EDITORS NOTE: This FAIR column is republished with permission.

The Truth About How Much Americans Are Paying in Taxes

As Americans file their taxes this April, they might be in for a surprise: Most Americans got a tax cut last year.

It shouldn’t be a surprise given the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, but unfortunately, the media have produced a neverending deluge of misleadingor inaccurate reporting on the issue.

Last year, The Heritage Foundation studied how the tax cuts would affect Americans in every congressional district across the country. We found that each of the 435 districts got a tax cut and that the average American household paid about $1,400 less in taxes as a result in 2018.

Americans with children also benefit from the tax cuts. A married couple filing jointly with two children saw their tax bills fall by an average of $2,917.

Depending on how much you make, where you live, and how many kids you have, the numbers can look different. You can check out the average tax cut in every congressional district here.

Americans don’t just benefit from the lower taxes. They benefit a second time from higher wages generated by a faster-growing economy. Lower taxes for businesses and individuals help fuel more investment and innovation, which means more jobs and higher wages.

Over the next 10 years, thanks to a larger economy, the typical American will benefit from over $26,000 more in take-home pay, or $44,697 for a family of four.

Tangible Results

Average tax cuts can be a bit abstract and can seem too good to be true, so we crunched the numbers for specific taxpayers. Here are two examples.

Sofia Lopez, a single teacher making $50,000, paid $5,474 in federal income taxes for 2017. This year, she paid $1,104 less to the federal government. Her marginal tax rate dropped from 25% to 12%. Overall, she got a 20% tax cut.

Under the old tax code, John and Sarah Jones—a married couple with combined earnings of $75,000, three children, and a home mortgage—paid $1,753 last year. They just finished filing their taxes, and this year their federal income tax bill will decline by $2,014. In fact, because of the larger $2,000 child tax credit, they will get a refundable credit of $261.

As a result of tax reform, 9 out of 10 taxpayers got a tax cut, which most Americans received through lower employer withholding.

Even if most people got a tax cut, some people are concerned that their tax refunds might be smaller after initial reports showed that some refunds could be smaller than in previous years.

The key to remember here is that tax refunds are the government paying you back if you overpaid your taxes throughout the year. They are not related to the size of your actual tax cut. Nonetheless, folks are still rightly concerned about the unanticipated change.

Since the initial reporting, revised numbers now show that average refunds are about the same as last year. Americans likely got a tax cut and still got the refund they were expecting.

Another change that has gotten a lot of negative attention is the capping of the state and local tax deduction (SALT). This cap begins to fix the deduction that until recently had subsidized unusually high taxes in some states at the expense of federal taxpayers in low-tax states.

After sustained negative press, Ryan C. Sheppard, an accountant at Knight Rolleri Sheppard in Fairfield, Connecticut, recently explained to Bloomberg that “[a] lot of folks are coming in assuming they’re going to lose under the new tax law when in fact, they’re not.” That’s because the cap was paired with new lower tax rates and other reforms, like a larger exemption for the alternative minimum tax.

It has now been more than a year since the tax cuts were signed into law, and many Americans may have forgotten how the law changed.

Here’s a brief summary of the major reforms for individual taxpayers in 2018:

  • Lower Tax Rates. Tax rates were cut across all seven of the income tax brackets. The top marginal rate decreased from 39.6% to 37%. The marginal rate for a single earner making $50,000 dropped from 25% to 22%, while the rate for a married couple with $75,000 of income declined from 15% to 12%.
  • Bigger Standard Deduction. The amount of income fully exempt from the income tax, called the standard deduction, almost doubled. For married joint filers, the deduction is $24,000; for single filers, it is $12,000. The new larger deduction takes the place of the personal exemption and simplifies tax filing. About 9 in 10 taxpayers will simply claim the new standard deduction in 2018 rather than itemize their taxes.
  • $2,000 Child Tax Credit. The child tax credit doubled from $1,000 to $2,000 per child and begins to phase out at almost quadruple the income level of $400,000. The new larger credit more than offsets the repeal of the personal exemption for dependents.
  • $10,000 State and Local Tax Deduction. Taxpayers who choose not to take the standard deduction are able to deduct up to $10,000 of state and local property taxes and income taxes (or sales taxes) paid.

For individuals, the bill also expanded 529 college savings accounts to K-12 expenses, limited the mortgage interest deduction for new mortgages, zeroed out the individual mandate tax, raised the death tax exclusion, eliminated the phase-out of itemized deductions, and increased the exemption for the alternative minimum tax, among many other changes.

But all of the individual tax cuts expire after 2025 and will need to be extended. Otherwise, Americans will face steep tax increases down the road.

Taken as a whole, these changes simplified taxpaying for typical American taxpayers and cut their taxes by thousands of dollars. Thanks to tax reform, paying taxes this year will be less painful than last year.

COMMENTARY BY

Adam Michel

Adam Michel focuses on tax policy and the federal budget as a policy analyst in the Thomas A. Roe Institute for Economic Policy Studies at The Heritage Foundation. Twitter: .

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Dear Readers:

Just two short years after the end of the Obama administration’s disastrous policies, America is once again thriving due to conservative solutions that have produced a historic surge in economic growth.

The Trump administration has embraced over 60 percent of The Heritage Foundation’s policy recommendations since his inauguration. But with the House now firmly within the grips of the progressive left, the victories may come to a screeching halt.

Why? Because they are determined more than ever to give the government more control over your lives. Restoring your liberty and embracing freedom is the best thing for you and the country.

President Donald Trump needs all of the allies he can find to push through the stone wall he now faces within this divided government. And the best way you can partner with him is by becoming a member of his greatest ally in Washington: The Heritage Foundation.

Will you activate your membership with a tax-deductible gift today?

ACTIVATE YOUR MEMBERSHIP TODAY


EDITORS NOTE: This Daily Signal column is republished with permission.

Hoaxes, Scams, and Your Medical Care

Preview:

  • Hoaxes and scams have been dominating the news lately. We have a marginally known actor faking a hate crime supposedly to raise his Hollywood profile.
  • The scandal about Hollywood and other elites buying their children’s way into top-rated universities really hit home.
  • Now we continue to have a slew of healthcare hoaxes: corporate stakeholders, legislators, and government agencies promise everything and have no accountability for their failure to keep their promises.
  • The opioid crisis is an example of the unintended consequences of intervention by oversight agencies not directly involved in patient care.
  • Central control is not a good idea. Period. Do not believe the hoax perpetrated by the ruling class who will never have to live by their own rules. It is highly unlikely that Venezuela’s President Maduro is starving along with his people.

Hoaxes and scams have been dominating the news lately. We have a marginally known actor faking a hate crime supposedly to raise his Hollywood profile. His attempt to claw his way to the middle could have resulted in race riots, injury, and death. His punishment? All charges dropped.

The scandal about Hollywood and other elites buying their children’s way into top-rated universities really hit home. I remember when I had tutored some recent Vietnamese immigrants for a debate contest to win a scholarship for college. I could only hope that their hard work was rewarded and not wiped away by special favors bestowed on the “haves.”

Now we continue to have a slew of healthcare hoaxes: corporate stakeholders, legislators, and government agencies promise everything and have no accountability for their failure to keep their promises.

Take the large health systems’ claim that hospital consolidation and buying up physician practices would benefit consumers with cheaper prices from coordinated services and other unspecified savings. A major study of California hospital mergers found just the opposite. The analysis showed that the price of an average hospital admission went up as much as 54 percent. When the large hospital systems bought doctors’ groups, the prices rose even more. There was as much as a 70 percent increase in prices of medical services in geographic areas with minimal competition. This finding seems obvious to any of us who has the choice of shopping at Walmart or Target or Costco.

Logic aside, some legislators believe that having the government take over medical care would solve our access and cost problems. Single payer means no competition whatsoever. The single payer plans (H.R. 1384 and S. 1804) that abolish private insurance leave patients with an empty choice. Patients can contract with a physician to pay cash for government medical services covered by the government. But if the physician contracts for such services he cannot be part of the government program for any patient for 2 years. Realistically, these single payer bills make it financially unfeasible for physicians to privately contract with patients. Thus, only well-heeled patients, along with independently wealthy doctors, can buy their way out of the system.

There are variations on the theme of government involvement that allow buy-ins to Medicare, Medicaid, or iterations of the Affordable Care Act marketplaces. All of these all have the same defect: expanding the government healthcare monopoly.

The opioid crisis is an example of the unintended consequences of intervention by oversight agencies not directly involved in patient care. The Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO), now the Joint Commission, a nonprofit organization that accredits more than 20,000 healthcare organizations and programs in the U.S, is for all practical purposes a government surrogate. In 2001, JCAHO declared that pain was the “5th vital sign” that had to be addressed or face consequences. The Federation of American Medical Boards told physicians that “in the course of treatment,” large doses of opioids were just fine. Moreover, Medicare has a hospital payment formula that relies on patient satisfaction surveys. If the patients are satisfied, including being so zoned out on opiates that they can’t taste the bad food, the hospital is paid more. The hospital is penalized for a bad rating.

And now to deal with the opiate issue, the government has issued guidelines that have been found to be harmful to some patients. One-size-fits-all restrictions have caused physicians to fear being flagged as over-prescribers by the medical board. Consequently, some physicians are tapering patients off opioids more quickly than they would ideally like. And in the public eye patients have been transformed from objects of compassion to criminal drug addicts.

Individualized medical care must not be reserved for the chosen few. Patients need physicians who are empathetic, thorough, and not married to a medical cookbook written by disinterested third parties. Perhaps this is why Mick Jagger of the Rolling Stones chose to have his heart surgery in the U.S. and not with his British homeland’s National Health Service.

Central control is not a good idea. Period. Do not believe the hoax perpetrated by the ruling class who will never have to live by their own rules. It is highly unlikely that Venezuela’s President Maduro is starving along with his people.

PODCAST: Transformation of the Global Monetary Central Banking System, R.I.P.

The global financial reset is unfolding according to plan. You won’t hear much about this on the financial news (just yet), so let’s connect the dots on but a few occurrences leading up to what may prove to be perhaps one of the biggest stories of the century as the transformation of the global monetary central banking fiat system is coming to an end, R.I.P. Actually rather than rest in peace, shall we say, R.I.H. (rest in heat)?

Connect the Dots

There have been many random events occurring now for quite some time as it relates to the global financial reset. For starters, Russia has sold off nearly all of its US treasuries. This  is very telling. What is even more telling about this event is what they did with the proceeds. They invested mainly in gold and some other currencies. China, once the largest purchaser of the US treasury notes has also been liquidating US treasuries over a period of some years. Today, the largest purchaser of the US treasury is the Federal Reserve.

If we are connecting the dots we must mention the recent meeting in Switzerland, Basel III. In essence, gold is becoming sort of a de-facto currency as central banks are beginning to acquire a substantial amount of gold. In 2017 in a GQ interview, Trump stated, “Bringing back the gold standard would be very hard to do, but boy, would it be wonderful. We’d have a standard on which to base our money.”  Articles like this in Forbes are yet another indicator of restoring sound money. In my opinion, gold will back the currency and perhaps other commodities. The dollar will reset, dropping in value to help offset the debt debacle. There may also be a forgiveness of debt, a sort of jubilee if you will. Time will tell. And this may even be just a step in a series of steps to follow. One thing for sure, the US dollar and the Bretton Woods Agreement has seen its day in the sun. This will soon come to an end. Please remember that there is nothing Federal about the Federal Reserve and there is no Reserve. The Federal Reserve is no more a government agency than Federal Express.

President Trump is not only transforming the 9th circuit courts and the Supreme Court, but he is also transforming the Federal Reserve board with two recent nominations, those being Herman Cain and Stephen Moore. It is important to note that both of these men are pro gold and understand the magnitude of the problem with our Central Banking fiat system. Meanwhile Federal Reserve Chairman Powell has done a 360 with regards to slowing down or holding off on raising rates through 2019. It appears that President Trump may have exerted a degree of control over the Fed when it comes to the recent decision by Powell. Trump has managed to get the Fed to cease the raising of rates for now and this will help keep markets in tact so that a collapse does not endanger the 2020 election. After the election (and perhaps before hand, time will tell), the thrust of the reset springs into full force and there will be some carnage and pain until we see this through. One thing we can be on the lookout for is a battle of sorts playing out in 2019 and in 2020 between President Trump and the Fed.

Setting the Table

President Trump is three feet behind the heads of the economic swamp creatures heads as well as the fake news media. He will catch them all by surprise. The 3D chess maneuvers of the President that the astute observer has become accustom to, is telling us that the stage is being set. Trump is setting the table. He will continue to play within the rigged doomed systems and beat them at their own game. Meanwhile President Trump’s plan is in motion with regard to China and other world leaders. Now, with the biggest political scandal in US history and the treasonous, illegal take down and the failed coup d’ etat attempt behind the President, he can now accelerate and complete his negotiations with China, Russia and others. The stage is being set. Once re-elected in 2020, things accelerate. The positioning will be a such that the collapse that will hit, is to be blamed on the Fed. Accounts will be hemorrhaging. The President will then get the support he needs from the people and the Congress to audit the Fed. Check out HR 24 and HR 25. Ron Paul will be dancing in his PJ’s as the conclusion of the audits (which will go on for some time), will result in the end of the Fed and the fiat system. There is much more to this and I will be commenting on this in future articles for some time as this plays out.  Look for contributions to these articles from PHD economist Dr. Kirk Elliott.

Summary

Not only will the audits expose the Fed and the Central Banking system, but Gold too will prove just what it is this debt based fiat monetary system is worth and what it has really done to the people. They fear gold like a Vampire fears the light. Support this President. Vet and vote for candidates that will do the same. The reset will not happen without a collapse and correction of sorts. The President will do all he can to minimize the carnage.

And as to your investments? The time to begin repositioning assets is right now. I will do a dedicated series of articles on this specific subject as well. In the meantime you can request a free digital PDF report loaded with everything you need to know. Send a request to me for the Global Financial Reset report. I will send it to you. We are transitioning from the economic swamp creatures’ crippling Central Bank economy to the peoples economy. Thus restoring power to the people. It’s an amazing time to be alive. Buckle down and stay the course.

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The Economic Patriot Plan Activated, On Schedule, Did You Miss It? – Episode 1834a

Trump Draining the Economic Swamp

Trump, Money and the Fed

Signs The Global Financial Reset Has Begun

Setting the Stage for the Next Global Reserve Currency

Trump’s Economic Capitalism and the Coming Collapse, Blame it on Trump

Trump Economic Policy Speech

EDITORS NOTE: This JMC column with podcast is republished with permission.

Bernie Sanders’s Idea of Economic Rights Is the Path to Serfdom

Such a policy will require the government to wield a huge amount of control over the direction of the economic activity of the state. – Adam Toomey


Senator Bernie Sanders fired up the Twitterverse last Sunday with an impassioned tweet touting the “economic rights” of the citizen. Everyone has the “right to a decent job, the right to health care, housing, education, [and] retirement security,” the senator said. While this type of rhetoric has become the norm for him, questions abound about the details of such a policy.

For starters, what jobs will be guaranteed? The senator has never really gone into explicit detail on this matter. However, he strongly hinted at what this might look like in a recent tweet. “Our lives, our existence, should be about more than just the accumulation of more and more wealth,” the senator claimed. Although scant in details, Sanders is alluding to the fact that economic worries are a hindrance to political liberty.

Free Markets and Political Freedom Go Together

In doing so, however, he is ignoring the fact that free-market economics is a prerequisite for political liberty to exist at all. The two are intimately intertwined. Writing in Capitalism and Freedom, Milton Friedman noted, “I know of no example in a time or place of a society that has been marked by a large measure of political freedom, and that has not also used something comparable to a free market.”

Exploring the likely scenario of Bernie Sanders’s job guarantee will only serve to validate Friedman’s belief. Such a policy will initially result in government-backed industries competing alongside private enterprises. This is a textbook socialist policy of “economic security” rather than “economic rights.”

And what economic security promises is a set standard of living for all citizens. Every person is entitled to a job with a guaranteed salary. In providing this, the government alleviates the risk inherent to freedom of choice and opportunity. The individual no longer has to worry about being fired or a potential setback in their material means. As the theory goes, free from the burden of economic risk, the citizen will be freer than ever before.

But this is far from the reality of the situation. Writing in The Road to Serfdom, F.A. Hayek noted that “the security of an invariable income can be provided for all only by the abolition of all freedom in the choice of one’s own employment.” And it’s easy to understand why Hayek would reach such a conclusion.

For one, to enact such a policy will require the government to wield a huge amount of control over the direction of the economic activity of the state. The individuals that submit to such guarantees will not be given a choice of which jobs they wish to pursue. Instead, a centralized department will allocate them to a job based off of their perceived skill set and a perceived economic need. Freedom of choice will inevitably be traded for the security of income.

Centralized Economic Planning Restricts Freedom

An additional problem with such a scheme is that it will completely distort market economics. In a free market, it is inevitable that groups of people will face layoffs. It is a burden that we all sympathize with. However, there is a valuable teaching lesson for those affected. When their job is no longer in demand, groups of people are able to allocate their resources and focus on pursuing jobs that are in demand.

Senator Sanders’s proposal of economic security poses a risk to this painful yet critical lesson of the free market. With the guaranteed job in hand, the individual has no way of knowing the usefulness of their task. They have no standard by which to judge their skills. As such, they lose the ability to see a goal to aim and strive for.

The economic planner will seek to alleviate this problem, as well. In overseeing the economy, the planner will make a centralized decision on what jobs are useful. A group of men, rather than the impersonal free market, will decide where to allocate resources. Citizens will be herded to and fro and assigned to certain tasks.

Morally Problematic

The moral problems of such a policy are glaring. For John Stuart Mill, the power of choice enlivens our faculties of thought and introspection. “The human faculties of perception, judgment, discriminative feeling, mental activity, and even moral preference are exercised only in making a choice,” Mill says in On Liberty. In the absence of choice, such people will come to resemble what Mill called “ape-like.” The citizen will not develop the faculties distinctive of being a human being.

Alexis de Tocqueville, author of Democracy in America, reached the same conclusion as Mill in observing the citizens of the centralized state. Such a man “sleeps…without passion and enlightenment,” always looking to the government to make his decisions for him. He loses control of his individual life and lacks “a spirit of ownership and [is] without ideas of any improvement.” He is of no use to himself or his fellow man. In the hyper-centralized state, he is machine-like rather than human.

But alas, we are still human. And as humans, we are usually in need of external motivation to perform the task at hand. Hayek observed this in The Road to Serfdom,as well. For Hayek, with a job guaranteed as our “right,” we lose the greatest motivator, which is the potential for material loss. With our interests no longer involved in our work, we are highly unlikely to remain productive. Thus, balancing the “right to a job” with the problem of discipline will be an impossible task to solve.

Therefore, what we have with Senator Sanders’s proposal is an inefficient system that reduces men to cogs in machinery. Devoid of passion and interest, such a person will meander from assigned task to assigned task. This person will practice the skill of passivity rather than actively controlling his individual aims and ambitions.

Perhaps, then, it is as Benjamin Franklin popularly said: “Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.”

COLUMN BY

Adam Toomey

Adam Toomey is a Philosophy graduate and current Masters student at St. John’s College. You can follow him on Twitter at dare2besocrates.

RELATED ARTICLE: Saving Capitalism from the Capitalists

EDITORS NOTE: This FEE column is republished with permission.

The Racist Roots Behind the Minimum Wage

Economist Walter Williams has called the minimum wage “one of the most effective tools in the arsenal of racists everywhere in the world.”

Yet today’s “Fight for $15” has placed a federal minimum wage increase at center stage.

“The federal minimum wage of $7.25 is a starvation wage,” Sen. Bernie Sanders tweeted. “If you work 40 hours a week, you should not live in poverty.”

Legislation to increase the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour also gained the support of 2020 Democratic Presidential nominees including Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris and Cory Booker.

Today’s progressives deny that minimum wage hikes cause unemployment, specifically for low-skill and minority workers. But in the Progressive Era that initiated the first minimum wage laws, they considered such unemployment to be a feature and not a bug.

The Minimum Wage’s Beginnings

As documented in this Cato Institute research paper, the first minimum wage law, the Davis-Bacon Act of 1931, had racist origins. According to researcher David E. Bernstein, the story begins in 1927 when a contractor from Alabama “won a bid to build a Veteran’s Bureau hospital in Long Island, New York. He brought a crew of black construction workers from Alabama to work on the project. Appalled that blacks from the South were working on a federal project in his district, Representative Robert Bacon of Long Island submitted H.R. 17069.”

This bill was the precursor to the legislation known as the Davis-Bacon Act that was eventually passed into law. The act mandated a minimum wage to any workers on construction projects part of a contract with the U.S. or District of Columbia governments that exceeded $2,000.

As Walter Williams has further noted about the Act, “Among the widespread racist sentiment was that of American Federation of Labor President William Green, who complained, ‘Colored labor is being sought to demoralize wage rates.’”

In practice, the mandated minimum wage in Davis-Bacon “was almost universally determined to be the same as the union wage,” wrote then-Harvard law student John Frantz in this 1994 article for the Foundation of Economic Education.

“Most major union construction unions excluded blacks. This was an effective tool to fight against what some legislators openly complained about, cheap black laborers from the south,” Frantz continued.

Representative John Cochran from Missouri laid bare the motivation behind the act when he stated, “I have received numerous complaints in recent months about southern contractors employing low-paid colored mechanics getting work and bringing the employees from the South.”

The minimum wage being used as a means to discriminate against minorities was not exclusive to the U.S., however.

Economist Thomas Sowell points out how the minimum wage has been used to keep minorities and immigrants from accessing jobs in several nations across the world for generations.

In 1925, a minimum wage law was passed in the Canadian province of British Columbia, with the intent and effect of pricing Japanese immigrants out of jobs in the lumbering industry, Sowell wrote.

In 1912, Sowell notes, Harvard professor Arthur Holcome referred approvingly to Australia’s minimum wage law as a means to “protect the white Australian’s standard of living from the invidious competition of the colored races, particularly of the Chinese” who were willing to work for less.

Minimum Wage as a Means of Social Control

These days, you can count on media talking heads and countless politicians to proclaim how wonderful the minimum wage is for the poor. Wage floors will improve the standard of living, they say.

But back during the Progressive Era, they knew better. They understood that minimum wages exclude workers — and they favored them precisely because such wage floors drive people out of the job market. People without jobs cannot prosper and are thereby discouraged from reproducing. Minimum wages were designed specifically to lock “racial inferiors” out of the workforce and keep wages for white natives high enough to prevent immigrants and minorities from out-breeding the native population.

Princeton University’s Thomas C. Leonard wrote about this extensively, including in a 2003 issue of the History of Political Economy academic journal. Leonard’s research led him to conclude “Progressive economists, like their marginalist interlocutors, believed that binding minimum wages would result in job losses.” Those progressive economists, however, viewed these job losses as a benefit.

Leonard further noted that progressives in the early 20th century didn’t reject the prevailing notions that “blacks, Asians, Southern and Eastern Europeans, and mental and physical ‘defectives’ should be seen as innately different and inferior.” Indeed, progressives at the time embraced the notion and sought measures of social control to weed them out of the labor force, and ultimately society.

Moreover, progressives were concerned that immigrants and other “inferior stock” like blacks could outcompete natives and whites for work because they were willing to accept lower wages.

“Low-wage ‘races’ are depicted as innately disposed to endure a low standard of living,” Leonard wrote. “Racial theories were flexible enough to found a willingness to accept low wages on racial causes that ran from laziness to greed.”

The willingness of these “low-wage races” to accept low wages would drive down the wages of native whites, progressive economists feared at the time. Because of these lower wages, the native whites would be less able to afford larger families, and the blacks and immigrants would reproduce in greater number. Over time, the “inferior stock” of races would overwhelm the native white population and create a new ethnic majority in the country, according to progressives. This process of “race suicide” became a genuine concern.

One way to combat this process, the progressive economists theorized, was to create minimum wage laws to prevent a fall in wages and to effectively block low-skilled immigrants and minorities from the labor force.

For instance, progressive Princeton economist Royal Meeker favored the minimum wage for its effective means of culling out the least productive workers, Leonard wrote. Once separated, the ‘unemployables’ become easy to identify and in turn to be managed by the state.

Conclusion

There is little debate that the Fight for $15 is a fight to increase unemployment among low-skilled workers. Particularly hardest hit would be minorities and immigrants.

Today’s minimum wage advocates, however, naively deny any such negative economic consequences. Perhaps this denial is a manifestation of a guilty conscience created by the racist motivations of progressives a hundred years ago who disturbingly viewed such unemployment as a social benefit.

Either way, we should all agree that there is no place for the criminalization of voluntary labor agreements in a free society. The minimum wage’s racist roots serve to underscore its destructive nature.

Trump Really Does Have a Plan That’s Better Than Obamacare

“If the Supreme Court rules that Obamacare is out,” President Donald Trump said last week, “we’ll have a plan that is far better than Obamacare.”

Democrats couldn’t believe their luck. They still were reeling from special counsel Robert Mueller’s finding that the Trump campaign neither conspired nor coordinated with Russian efforts to interfere in the 2016 elections.

Now the president was changing the subject from collusion (a suddenly awkward topic for Democrats) to health care (which helped them capture dozens of House seats last November).

Besides, the president really doesn’t have a plan that is far better than Obamacare, or any plan at all. Right?

Wrong.

A look at his fiscal year 2020 budget shows that the president has a plan to reduce costs and increase health care choices. His plan would achieve this by redirecting federal premium subsidies and Medicaid expansion money into grants to states. States would be required to use the money to establish consumer-centered programs that make health insurance affordable regardless of income or medical condition.

The president’s proposal is buttressed by a growing body of evidence that relaxing federal regulations and freeing the states to innovate makes health care more affordable for families and small businesses.

Ed Haislmaier and I last year published an analysis of waivers that have so far enabled seven states to significantly reduce individual health insurance premiums. These states fund “invisible high risk pools” and reinsurance arrangements largely by repurposing federal money that would otherwise have been spent on Obamacare premium subsidies, directing them instead to those in greatest medical need.

By financing care for those with the biggest medical bills, these states have substantially reduced premiums for individual policies. Before Maryland obtained its waiver, insurers in the state filed requests for 2019 premium hikes averaging 30 percent. After the federal government approved the waiver, final 2019 premiums averaged 13 percent lower than in 2018—a 43 percent swing.

Best of all, Maryland and the other waiver states have achieved these results without increasing federal spending or creating a new federally funded reinsurance program, as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., has proposed to do.

State innovation also extends to Medicaid. Some states have sought waivers permitting them to establish work requirements designed to help Medicaid recipients escape poverty.

Arkansas, for example, last June began requiring nondisabled, childless, working-age adults to engage in 80 hours of work activity per month. The program defined “work activity” broadly to include seeking a job, training for work, studying for a GED, engaging in community service, and learning English.

More than 18,000 people—all nondisabled and aged 30-49—were dropped from the rolls between September and December for failing to meet these requirements. The overwhelming majority did not report any work-related activity. All became eligible to re-enroll in Medicaid on Jan. 1. Fewer than 2,000 have done so, suggesting that most either don’t value the benefit or now earn enough to render them ineligible for Medicaid.

Nonetheless, last week a federal judge ordered Arkansas to drop its Medicaid work requirement, a requirement that would likely improve lifetime earnings of Medicaid recipients.

Administration efforts to relax federal rules to benefit employees of small businesses also were nullified last week by a federal judge.

Most uninsured workers are employed by small firms, many of which can’t afford Obamacare coverage for their employees. The Labor Department rule allowed small firms to band together, including across state lines, giving them purchasing power comparable to that of big businesses.

study of association health plans that formed after the new rule took effect last September found that they offered comprehensive coverage at premium savings averaging 23%. The court ruling stopped that progress in its tracks.

Waivers and regulations that benefit consumers are susceptible to the whim of judges and bureaucrats, which is why Congress should act on the president’s proposal.

It closely parallels the Health Care Choices Proposal, the product of ongoing work by national and state think tanks, grassroots organizations, policy analysts, and others in the conservative community. A study by the Center for Health and the Economy, commissioned by The Heritage Foundation, found that the proposal would reduce premiums for individual health insurance by up to 32 percent and cover virtually the same number of people as under Obamacare.

It also would give consumers more freedom to choose the coverage they think best for themselves and their families. Unlike current law, states could include direct primary care; health-sharing ministries; short-term, limited-duration plans; and other arrangements among the options available through their programs.

Those expanded choices would extend to low-income people. The proposal would require states to let those receiving assistance through the block grants, Medicaid, and other public assistance programs apply the value of their subsidy to the plan of their choice, instead of being herded into government-contracted health maintenance organizations.

Outside groups that helped develop the proposal, which is similar to the president’s, are looking to refine it by incorporating other Trump administration ideas like expansion of health savings accounts, health reimbursement arrangements, and association health plans. They’re also reviewing various administration ideas to reduce health care costs through choice and competition.

The president really does have “a plan that is far better than Obamacare.” Congress should get on board.

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: .

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RELATED VIDEO: America’s Biggest Issues: Health Care


Dear Readers:

Just two short years after the end of the Obama administration’s disastrous policies, America is once again thriving due to conservative solutions that have produced a historic surge in economic growth.

The Trump administration has embraced over 60 percent of The Heritage Foundation’s policy recommendations since his inauguration. But with the House now firmly within the grips of the progressive left, the victories may come to a screeching halt.

Why? Because they are determined more than ever to give the government more control over your lives. Restoring your liberty and embracing freedom is the best thing for you and the country.

President Donald Trump needs all of the allies he can find to push through the stone wall he now faces within this divided government. And the best way you can partner with him is by becoming a member of his greatest ally in Washington: The Heritage Foundation.

Will you activate your membership with a tax-deductible gift today?

ACTIVATE YOUR MEMBERSHIP TODAY


EDITORS NOTE: This Daily Signal column is republished with permission.

Marijuana-Related ER Visits Triple During Legalization in Colorado

A toxicology specialist has found a connection between legalized marijuana and a threefold increase in related visits to emergency rooms in Colorado for heart and other issues, confirming that cannabis poses health risks.

Marijuana may be a recreational activity for many, but marijuana-infused “edibles” in particular have been subject to scrutiny because of their ties to a jump in patients seeking medical treatment.

The new study from researchers with the University of Colorado School of Medicine found that marijuana-related ER visits tripled between 2012 and 2016.

The study also found that people consuming marijuana edibles suffer from toxic reactions at higher rates than those who simply smoke the drug. These edibles typically include brownies and other baked goods.

Dr. Andrew Monte, an associate professor at the medical school’s Anschutz campus, was lead author of the research paper published Tuesday in the Annals of Internal Medicine, touted as the first study to show an increased rate of adverse health events linked to marijuana edibles.

“Some patients will have psychosis, hallucinations, or they will hear things,” Monte, also an emergency medicine and toxicology specialist at UCHealth University of Colorado Hospital, told the website UCHealth. “The more common thing is acute anxiety, panic attacks, and very high heart rates.”

“There’s a much higher risk with taking edible agents,” he added. “It’s so unpredictable in terms of the effects.”

Colorado legalized medical marijuana shops in 2009, then legalized recreational marijuana use in 2014. Since the legalization of marijuana in some jurisdictions across the U.S., public health experts have called for better quality control of marijuana.

ER visits by those consuming marijuana edibles have risen since Colorado legalized marijuana use, for both cardiac and psychiatric problems, the study found.

From 2012 to 2016, the study found, a total of 10,000 ER visits were tied to patients who previously smoked marijuana or used edibles.

More than 25 percent of the ER visits involved symptoms related to marijuana use. Visits related to toxic reactions from marijuana edibles were 33 times higher than expected, the study found.

Another finding: Marijuana users often suffered from nausea and vomiting, a condition known as cannabinoid hyperemesis.

Although sales of edibles make up a small share of Colorado’s marijuana market, the number of patients suffering from toxic side effects was found to be 11 percent.

Edible marijuana products also were tied to unpleasant psychiatric symptoms and, though rarely, death, according to the study. It also found that marijuana users who sought treatment generally were younger and male.

“When people take something to get high, they generally don’t want to get high three hours later and be high for 12 hours,” Monte told UCHealth, referring to the potency of some edibles.

Edibles containing greater concentrations may produce cyclic vomiting syndrome, he warned.

Enjoying pot-infused edibles “isn’t completely safe,” Monte said, but it’s hard to pinpoint all the side effects because of a lack of clinical trials.

COLUMN BY

Joshua Nelson

Joshua Nelson is a member of the Young Leaders Program at The Heritage Foundation.

RELATED ARTICLE: Study Shows Heavy Adolescent Pot Use Permanently Lowers IQ


Dear Readers:

Just two short years after the end of the Obama administration’s disastrous policies, America is once again thriving due to conservative solutions that have produced a historic surge in economic growth.

The Trump administration has embraced over 60 percent of The Heritage Foundation’s policy recommendations since his inauguration. But with the House now firmly within the grips of the progressive left, the victories may come to a screeching halt.

Why? Because they are determined more than ever to give the government more control over your lives. Restoring your liberty and embracing freedom is the best thing for you and the country.

President Donald Trump needs all of the allies he can find to push through the stone wall he now faces within this divided government. And the best way you can partner with him is by becoming a member of his greatest ally in Washington: The Heritage Foundation.

Will you activate your membership with a tax-deductible gift today?

ACTIVATE YOUR MEMBERSHIP TODAY


EDITORS NOTE: This Daily Signal column is republished with permission.

PODCAST: Why We Work

PODCAST: Why we work.

In this age of entitlement, some young people are wondering if they should be enjoying life as opposed to working as diligently as we do. This explains why Millennials do not seriously think about long-term employment. Studies indicate they would rather see the world now, not later, sample new delicacies, relax and play games as opposed to being attached to a career. From their perspective, they have two lives, personal and working, but they do not see them intertwined. This is the antithesis of preceding generations who worked hard, not just to survive, but to prosper.

As someone from the old school, I tend to believe we were put on this planet to work, e.g., to explore, to discover, to invent, to compose, to engineer, to basically leave the world better than how we found it. Of course, this represents evolution, to aspire for perfection, knowing we may never achieve it, but to improve it nonetheless.

Some do not see work in this light as their job may seem too mundane, such as pushing a broom or digging a ditch. However, I believe there is dignity in all forms of work and I, for one, certainly do not look down my nose at anyone regarding their form of employment, as long as they do it professionally. The work of common laborers may seem trivial, but as Michelangelo observed, “Trifles make perfection and perfection is no trifle.”

To illustrate, a janitor is typically responsible for cleaning, sweeping and tidying up. The cleanliness of the work place has a huge impact on the other workers as studies have shown people work more productively in a clean environment as opposed to a cluttered one. If the janitor doesn’t perform the job properly, it could very easily have an adverse effect on the output of the other employees.

I remember a time when I was working with a customer late at night in a large office. I happened to observe the janitor cleaning up as most of the staff had gone home. He noticed a framed picture was skewed ever so slightly. Where some people would skip over it, he stopped and straightened it. I asked him why, to which he replied, “It just wasn’t right.” In other words, he took his responsibilities seriously and developed a professional attitude which ultimately influenced the lives of others in the office.

To those who take on a professional attitude, there is no separation between personal and working lives, as they are merged into one. Our working life is an extension of our personal life. After all, there is only one you. Even when we are charged to perform a task at work we do not like, this is essentially no different than doing a difficult task in our personal life. The marriage of the two affects both sides; our skills and ethics on our personal side influences our decisions at work, and our working side teaches the personal side new lessons.

When a person decides to retire, it severs an important part of their life. Some people begin to deteriorate shortly thereafter as they have lost their sense of purpose and have difficulty finding a new endeavor to pursue. To illustrate, when American presidents leave office, it is not uncommon to see their health and mental acuity diminish. Lyndon Johnson is a good example. Here is a man who spent his life in government as a member of the House, the Senate, as Vice President, and finally as President. He was a man who stood at the helm during our Viet Nam War and oversaw the civil rights movement. Regardless of how you felt about LBJ, when his term of office was over, and he retired to his Texas ranch, his health declined rapidly and he died just five years later. This is why it is important to remain busy in some pursuit following retirement.

There are fundamentally three reasons why we work:

  1. Survival – to put food on the table and secure the well-being of ourselves and loved ones.
  2. Improve the human condition – to go above survival and endeavor to achieve greater things.
  3. Spirituality – for our mental well-being and development as a person.

As to this last point, learning to work and mastering a craft gives the person a sense of purpose, structure, and sense of accomplishment (reward gratification). It also teaches us to learn the differences between right and wrong thereby affecting our sense of ethics. Bottom-line, work leads to the development of our character, our sense of worth and dignity.

This is why it is important to assume a professional attitude regardless of your job. If you are not happy with your current job or want to do something else, quit and move along, but while you are charged with a task, do it to the best of your ability if, for no other reason, your mental well-being.

Consider the adverse effects on a person who is unemployed. They become unstable and a burden on society. The old adage, “Idle hands are the devil’s workshop,” comes to mind.

On the other hand, “if you find a job you love, you’ll never work again,” as you have found stimulation and fulfillment as a person.

While others want a free ride, there is something to be said about the satisfaction of earning something on your own, which can be very motivational to people and instills pride in our work. I am, therefore, a proponent of the benefits of gainful employment.

Finally, always try to remain positive and never embrace a defeatist attitude. As former President Theodore Roosevelt observed in a talk to schoolchildren in Oyster Bay, Christmas-time 1898:

“There are two things that I want you to make up your minds to: first, that you are going to have a good time as long as you live – I have no use for the sour-faced man – and next, that you are going to do something worthwhile, that you are going to work hard and do the things you set out to do.”

Keep the Faith!

EDITORS NOTE: This Bryce is Right podcast is republished with permission. All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Pro-Gun Senators Introduce Bill to Prohibit Discrimination in Financial Services

On March 14, pro-gun Sens. Kevin Cramer (R-ND) and John Kennedy (R-LA) introduced S. 821 the Freedom Financing Act, a bill to prohibit discrimination against the firearms industry in the provision of financial services.

We have long been reporting on how anti-gun activists are seeking to use access to financial services as a means to punish and suppress lawful firearm-related commerce.

First came Operation Choke Point, a supposed “anti-fraud” effort during the Obama administration that morphed into a campaign by federal regulators to intimidate banks and payment processers into refusing business with politically disfavored clients, including firearm-related businesses. That program was officially repudiated by the Trump Administration, but for some businesses, the damage had already been done.

Anti-gunners next turned directly to the financial service providers themselves, extorting them with “social justice” condemnation for “financing” mass shootings and insisting they drop their firearm industry clients or impose gun control-like conditions on doing business with them. Several national banks did just that.

Activist institutional investors in publicly-traded gun companies also tried to embarrass those companies with proxy actions designed to portray the businesses in a negative light. To date, those efforts have been largely unsuccessful.   The Freedom Financing Act aims to put a stop to this discrimination by ensuring that banks participating in certain federal programs – as well as credit card companies, credit unions, and users of the Automated Clearing House Network — cannot refuse business with law-abiding federal firearm licensees for political or “reputational” reasons.

More recently, anti-gun members of Congress have reverted to Choke Point-like tactics in a continuing effort to intimidate banks and marginalize law-abiding businesses in the firearm sector. Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) went so far as to berate the president and CEO of Wells Fargo Bank during a public oversight hearing for refusing to buckle to the pressure of the anti-gun lobby’s demands.

“How bad does the mass shooting epidemic have to get before you will adopt common sense gun safety policies like other banks have done?” Maloney demanded to know.

To his credit, the Wells Fargo executive stood firm, replying, “We just don’t believe that it is a good idea to encourage banks to enforce legislation that doesn’t exist.”

The Freedom Financing Act aims to put a stop to this discrimination by ensuring that banks participating in certain federal programs – as well as credit card companies, credit unions, and users of the Automated Clearing House Network — cannot refuse business with law-abiding federal firearm licensees for political or “reputational” reasons.

It is important to keep in mind that the national banks targeted by this legislation owe their very existence in large part to government and taxpayer largesse. Among other things, they benefit from public bailouts and federally-subsidized loan programs, as well as from infrastructure financed or subsidized by the government.

Private businesses generally enjoy broad discretion in setting their own policies and objectives, as is appropriate in our free market system. But exclusionary politics in the financial services industries hearken back to some of the most shameful episodes in American history. They are rightfully condemned, and have long been rightfully prohibited in other contexts.

The NRA thanks Sens. Cramer and Kennedy for their leadership in this important effort and commends the bill for swift action by the Senate.

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NRA Praises Vermont Superior Court Decision on Magazine Bans

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EDITORS NOTE: This NRA-ILA column is republished with permission.

Open Borders Push Americans To Socialism: Democrats seek total control over America.

My dad sagely told me that you could turn a capitalist into a communist overnight, simply by taking away his/her money.

In the beginning, it was the Republicans who wanted open borders to provide their political base, the business owners, with cheap and compliant workers.  As more foreign Third World workers entered the labor pool and brought with them Third World expectations of drastically substandard wages and working conditions, these wages and working conditions became the new standard.  This forced American workers to settle for less money and fewer benefits if they wanted to keep their jobs.

For the greedy and immoral exploitative employers, the bottom line is the bottom line.

Decades ago the Democrats resisted this push for foreign workers because the Democrats understood that their base, Americans workers, wanted to be  protected from the unbridled greed of their employers.  Unions also promised to protect their members against unscrupulous employers.

Essentially the scales were balanced.  The Republicans represented business owners and the Democrats represented the workers.

However, the labor unions began pushing for the rights of illegal alien workers as the number of Americans who joined unions dropped.  The union leaders simply “did the math.”  More members meant the union had more political leverage and more members paid more union dues.  This was a “win/win” for the unions and a disaster for the American workers they purported to represent while encouraging ever more foreign workers to come to America.

When I was a new INS agent I was more than a bit surprised that when I participated in raiding garment factories, literal “sweat shops” and arrested many illegal aliens, often the labor unions would send bail bondsmen to our office who arrived nearly as soon as we arrived with our illegal aliens in custody.  It was clear that the unions did not care whether their members were U.S. citizens, lawful immigrants or illegal aliens, only if they joined the unions and paid their dues.

In recent years the Democratic Party came to the same conclusion reached by the labor unions years earlier.  Flooding America with alien workers, both legal and illegal, would ultimately increase the numbers of voters who would likely vote for the Democratic candidates, not unlike the unions, cynically claimed that they would protect their jobs and wages.

Commentators frequently opine that the Republicans want cheap labor while the Democrats want those new voters.

While that simplistic assessment has merit, what is being missed is that as more foreign workers enter the United States, either legally or illegally, the wages for American workers is suppressed.  Labor is, after all, a commodity.  When you flood the marketplace with any commodity, the value of that commodity is decreased.

This would negatively impact millions of Americans who would be forced to vote for the party of the hand-out, the Democrats.

A massive increase in H-1B visas for high-tech workers greatly lowers the wages for workers in those industries.  Therefore the Republicans who are eager to placate their constituents have sought to greatly increase the numbers of those visas.

As noted above, the Democrats are also eager to increase the numbers of those visas as well.

My recent article, Open Borders Facilitate America’s Race to the Bottom included a quote from Alan Greenspan the former Fed Chairman when he testified at a hearing before the Senate Immigration Subcommittee on April 30, 2009 at the behest of Chuck Schumer, the then-chairman of that subcommittee on the need for Comprehensive Immigration Reform.  He was referencing the need to drastically increase the number of H-1B visas to meet the demands of Microsoft’s Bill Gates.  Greenspan’s prepared testimony included this outrageous assertion in which middle class workers were referred to as the “privileged elite!”

Greatly expanding our quotas for the highly skilled would lower wage premiums of skilled over lesser skilled. Skill shortages in America exist because we are shielding our skilled labor force from world competition. Quotas have been substituted for the wage pricing mechanism. In the process, we have created a privileged elite whose incomes are being supported at noncompetitively high levels by immigration quotas on skilled professionals. Eliminating such restrictions would reduce at least some of our income inequality.

In other words, the solution to “wage inequality” is to destroy middle class wages!

When huge numbers of Americans lose their jobs or face wage suppression they will invariably vote for the (Democrat) candidates who promise to provide financial assistance.  After all, it is an established fact that voters vote their wallets.

In addition to flooding America with foreign workers, America’s non-secure borders also floods America with narcotics.  Americans who are addicted to drugs frequently lose their jobs and their ability to be hired.  This adds to the huge number of unemployed Americans.

Of course Americans who are convicted of crimes lose their right to vote.  Is it any wonder that the Democrats are attempting to pass laws around the United States that would enable convicted felons to vote?  Those felons, because of their economic hardships are virtually guaranteed to vote for Democratic candidates.

Do you still wonder why Democrats want to legalize marijuana, the gateway drug to heroin and cocaine, or not secure the borders to prevent the entry of drugs or illegal aliens?

If you doubt the impact all of this has on the United States, on March 11, 2019 CBS News’ 60 Minutes aired a wide-ranging interview with Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell.

In addition to noting the impact of AI (Artificial Intelligence) and globalism Powell also turned to the current opioid crisis:

PELLEY: This builds on a conversation that we were having a short time ago. You mentioned the opioid crisis. It’s that big a problem in the labor force?

POWELL: Yes, it is. The opioid crisis is millions of people. They tend to be young males. And it’s a very significant problem. And it’s part of a larger picture of low labor force participation, particularly by young males.

PELLEY: I mean, you seem to be talking about part of this generation being lost, unattached from the rest of the economy.

POWELL: That is the issue. When you have people who are not taking part in the economic life of a country in a meaningful way, who don’t have the skills and aptitudes to play a role or who are not doing so because they’re addicted to drugs, or in jail, then in a sense they are being left behind. And there are too many of those people. And I think bringing them into the labor force would enormously benefit our country. We’d grow more strongly. And I think it would be good for the economy and good for the country.

These disenfranchised Americans are potential Democrat voters if only they were able to vote.

The Lunatic Left’s new darling, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez stunned her audience when she said that we shouldn’t fear robots because people who have no jobs would be able to pursue their interests.

What has been missed by those who ridiculed her is the fact that the goal of the Democratic Party Socialists is to unemployed as many Americans as possible.  Without paychecks they would be entirely dependent on the handouts offered by the Democrats.

The obvious long-term goal of Ocasio-Cortez and her cohorts is a one-party government.

The Democratic Party.

EDITORS NOTE: This FrontPage Magazine column is republished with permission.

Fascism: Socialism with a Capitalist Veneer

As an economic system, fascism is socialism with a capitalist veneer. The word derives from fasces, the Roman symbol of collectivism and power: a tied bundle of rods with a protruding ax. In its day (the 1920s and 1930s), fascism was seen as the happy medium between boom-and-bust-prone liberal capitalism, with its alleged class conflict, wasteful competition, and profit-oriented egoism, and revolutionary Marxism, with its violent and socially divisive persecution of the bourgeoisie. Fascism substituted the particularity of nationalism and racialism—“blood and soil”—for the internationalism of both classical liberalism and Marxism.

Where socialism sought totalitarian control of a society’s economic processes through direct state operation of the means of production, fascism sought that control indirectly, through domination of nominally private owners. Where socialism nationalized property explicitly, fascism did so implicitly by requiring owners to use their property in the “national interest”—that is, as the autocratic authority conceived it. (Nevertheless, a few industries were operated by the state.)

Where socialism abolished all market relations outright, fascism left the appearance of market relations while planning all economic activities. Where socialism abolished money and prices, fascism controlled the monetary system and set all prices and wages politically. In doing all this, fascism denatured the marketplace. Entrepreneurship was abolished. State ministries, rather than consumers, determined what was produced and under what conditions.

Fascism is to be distinguished from interventionism, or the mixed economy. Interventionism seeks to guide the market process, not eliminate it, as fascism did. Minimum wage and antitrust laws, though they regulate the free market, are a far cry from multiyear plans from the Ministry of Economics.

Under fascism, the state, through official cartels, controlled all aspects of manufacturing, commerce, finance, and agriculture. Planning boards set product lines, production levels, prices, wages, working conditions, and the size of firms. Licensing was ubiquitous; no economic activity could be undertaken without government permission.

Levels of consumption were dictated by the state, and “excess” incomes had to be surrendered as taxes or “loans.” The consequent burdening of manufacturers gave advantages to foreign firms wishing to export. But since government policy aimed at autarky, or national self-sufficiency, protectionism was necessary: imports were barred or strictly controlled, leaving foreign conquest as the only avenue for access to resources unavailable domestically. Fascism was thus incompatible with peace and the international division of labor—hallmarks of liberalism.

Fascism embodied corporatism, in which political representation was based on trade and industry rather than on geography. In this, fascism revealed its roots in syndicalism, a form of socialism originating on the left. The government cartelized firms of the same industry, with representatives of labor and management serving on myriad local, regional, and national boards—subject always to the final authority of the dictator’s economic plan. Corporatism was intended to avert unsettling divisions within the nation, such as lockouts and union strikes. The price of such forced “harmony” was the loss of the ability to bargain and move about freely.

To maintain high employment and minimize popular discontent, fascist governments also undertook massive public-works projects financed by steep taxes, borrowing, and fiat money creation. While many of these projects were domestic—roads, buildings, stadiums—the largest project of all was militarism, with huge armies and arms production.

The fascist leaders’ antagonism to communism has been misinterpreted as an affinity for capitalism. In fact, fascists’ anticommunism was motivated by a belief that in the collectivist milieu of early-twentieth-century Europe, communism was its closest rival for people’s allegiance. As with communism, under fascism, every citizen was regarded as an employee and tenant of the totalitarian, party-dominated state. Consequently, it was the state’s prerogative to use force, or the threat of it, to suppress even peaceful opposition.

If a formal architect of fascism can be identified, it is Benito Mussolini, the onetime Marxist editor who, caught up in nationalist fervor, broke with the left as World War I approached and became Italy’s leader in 1922. Mussolini distinguished fascism from liberal capitalism in his 1928 autobiography:

The citizen in the Fascist State is no longer a selfish individual who has the anti-social right of rebelling against any law of the Collectivity. The Fascist State with its corporative conception puts men and their possibilities into productive work and interprets for them the duties they have to fulfill. (p. 280)

Before his foray into imperialism in 1935, Mussolini was often praised by prominent Americans and Britons, including Winston Churchill, for his economic program.

Similarly, Adolf Hitler, whose National Socialist (Nazi) Party adapted fascism to Germany beginning in 1933, said:

The state should retain supervision and each property owner should consider himself appointed by the state. It is his duty not to use his property against the interests of others among his own people. This is the crucial matter. The Third Reich will always retain its right to control the owners of property. (Barkai 1990, pp. 26–27)

Both nations exhibited elaborate planning schemes for their economies in order to carry out the state’s objectives. Mussolini’s corporate state “consider[ed] private initiative in production the most effective instrument to protect national interests” (Basch 1937, p. 97). But the meaning of “initiative” differed significantly from its meaning in a market economy. Labor and management were organized into twenty-two industry and trade “corporations,” each with Fascist Party members as senior participants. The corporations were consolidated into a National Council of Corporations; however, the real decisions were made by state agencies such as the Instituto per la Ricosstruzione Industriale, which held shares in industrial, agricultural, and real estate enterprises, and the Instituto Mobiliare, which controlled the nation’s credit.

Hitler’s regime eliminated small corporations and made membership in cartels mandatory. The Reich Economic Chamber was at the top of a complicated bureaucracy comprising nearly two hundred organizations organized along industry, commercial, and craft lines, as well as several national councils. The Labor Front, an extension of the Nazi Party, directed all labor matters, including wages and assignment of workers to particular jobs. Labor conscription was inaugurated in 1938. Two years earlier, Hitler had imposed a four-year plan to shift the nation’s economy to a war footing. In Europe during this era, Spain, Portugal, and Greece also instituted fascist economies.

In the United States, beginning in 1933, the constellation of government interventions known as the New Deal had features suggestive of the corporate state.

The National Industrial Recovery Act created code authorities and codes of practice that governed all aspects of manufacturing and commerce. The National Labor Relations Act made the federal government the final arbiter in labor issues. The Agricultural Adjustment Act introduced central planning to farming. The object was to reduce competition and output in order to keep prices and incomes of particular groups from falling during the Great Depression.It is a matter of controversy whether President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal was directly influenced by fascist economic policies. Mussolini praised the New Deal as “boldly . . . interventionist in the field of economics,” and Roosevelt complimented Mussolini for his “honest purpose of restoring Italy” and acknowledged that he kept “in fairly close touch with that admirable Italian gentleman.” Also, Hugh Johnson, head of the National Recovery Administration, was known to carry a copy of Raffaello Viglione’s pro-Mussolini book, The Corporate State, with him, presented a copy to Labor Secretary Frances Perkins, and, on retirement, paid tribute to the Italian dictator.

This article was reprinted with permission from the Library of Economics and Liberty.

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