House Democrats Unveil Plan to Bring Total Government Control Over American Health Care

Liberal House Democrats just unveiled the Medicare for All Act of 2019, a comprehensive bill to abolish virtually all private health plans—including employer-sponsored coverage—and impose total federal government control over Americans’ health care.

Despite its sweeping and detailed government control, as well as the imposition of huge but unknown costs, the 120-page bill has nonetheless initially attracted 106 Democrat co-sponsors, almost half of all Democrats in the House.

The legislation is profoundly authoritarian.

For example, Section 107 ensures that no American, regardless of their personal wants or medical needs, would be able to enroll in any alternative health plan that “duplicates” the government’s coverage. 

Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., the bill’s primary sponsor, is at least open about the bill’s intent: “The Medicare for All bill really makes it clear what we mean by ‘Medicare for All.’  We mean a system where there are no private insurance companies that provide these core comprehensive benefits.”

Under Section 201, Congress would decide the content of the health benefits package, what is and is not to be available in the new government health plan. The bill forbids cost sharing, a statutory prohibition guaranteed to induce demand and hike Americans’ overall health costs. 

Americans would not be able simply to spend their own money for medical care from a doctor of their choice. Personal contracts between doctors and patients outside of the government plan would be tightly restricted. Under Section 301, “ … no charge will be made to any individual for any covered items or services than for payment authorized by this Act.”  

Under Section 303, a provider “ … may not bill or enter into any private contract with any individual eligible for benefits under the Act for any item or service that is a benefit under this Act.”  

Even private contracts for “non-covered” medical services require the doctor to report them to the health and human services secretary. Section 303 also stipulates that a private contract between a doctor and a patient for “covered” services would be permissible if and only if the doctor signs and files the affidavit with the secretary of HHS and refrains from submitting any claim for any person “enrolled under this Act” for two full years.

Altogether, these restrictions, layered atop the prohibition on private insurance coverage, would virtually eliminate private agreements between doctors and patients.

In practice, Americans could spend their own money on their own terms with just the very few doctors who could afford to see cash-paying patients entirely outside the system.  

In most respects, the new House bill is broadly similar to Sen. Bernie Sanders’, I-Vt., bill. Beyond creating a government monopoly of health insurance, it centralizes key health care decisions in the office of the secretary of HHS; establishes a national health budget; and it creates a temporary Medicare-style “public option” (along with subsidies for enrollees) in the moribund Obamacare exchanges. 

Like Sanders’ bill, the House bill would also eliminate Medicare, Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program, the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program, the Obamacare exchange plans, and Tricare, the health program for military dependents. All of these beneficiaries would be absorbed into the new government plan; it would not be a matter of personal choice.  

In striking contrast to the earlier version of the House “Medicare for All” bill, the new House bill contains no tax or funding provisions. This is a conspicuous omission. This is especially so because the House sponsors (under Section 204) also incorporate long-term care coverage, including nursing home and community-based care, into the basic benefit package. This coverage would likely be hugely expensive.

Recall that independent analysts from the Mercatus Center and the Urban Institute roughly agree that the true 10-year cost of Sanders’ similar plan would be approximately $32 trillion.

Ken Thorpe of Emory University, formerly an adviser to President Bill Clinton, estimates that the federal taxation needed to finance the Sanders’ plan would amount to an additional 20 percent tax on workers’ income, and more than 7 out of 10 working families would end up paying more for health care than they do today.

The federal spending and taxation needed to fund the new House bill would certainly be larger. Beyond the potential impact of the bill on the nation’s deficits and debt, independent analysts and economists will also focus laser-like on the size and impact of the new federal taxes on individuals and families at various income levels.

Simply taxing “the rich” will not cut it.    

The House co-sponsors of the Medicare for All Act intend a rapid transformation of American health care.

Under Section 106 of the bill, they authorize the completion of this massive disruption of today’s public and private health insurance arrangements within just two years.

In the meantime, analysts at the Congressional Budget Office have a very big job to do.

They need to get on it. Now.

Let the debate begin.

COMMENTARY BY

Portrait of Robert Moffit

Robert Moffit

Robert E. Moffit, Ph.D., a seasoned veteran of more than three decades in Washington policymaking, is a senior fellow in domestic policy studies at The Heritage Foundation.

RELATED ARTICLE: Pence: Democrats Embrace ‘Infanticide and a Culture of Death’

The Daily Signal depends on the support of readers like you. Donate now

EDITORS NOTE: This Daily Signal column with images is republished with permission. The featured image is by Wikimedia Commons.

‘Put Socialism on Trial,’ Larry Kudlow Urges

Larry Kudlow, director of the president’s National Economic Council, called Thursday for putting socialism “on trial”—and convicting it. 

“I want you, and everybody in this room and your friends and your neighbors, I want you to put socialism on trial, that’s what I’m asking,” Kudlow said, speaking at the Conservative Political Action Conference just outside Washington.

“I don’t want us to stand idly by,” he told the CPAC audience. “I don’t want to let this stuff fester. I want it challenged. I want it debated. I want it rebutted. I want to convict socialism.” 

The top economic adviser to President Donald Trump noted the emergence of support for socialism among young voters and among Democrats in Congress. 

He singled out the so-called Green New Deal, a proposal backed by congressional Democrats in the form of a resolution sponsored by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, D-N.Y., and Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass. 

The Democrats’ plan would move the country away from fossil fuels while implementing a raft of liberal initiatives. 

Kudlow called the proposal “central planning on a grand scale.” 

“The Green New Deal would literally destroy the economy. Literally,” Kudlow said. “It would knock out energy, transportation, airlines, jobs, business. We’d probably lose 10 to 15 percent of our GDP. That’s remarkable. But that’s what our opponents and critics are saying.” 

Kudlow added: “About $75 trillion is the total cost of the Green New Deal and its associated policies.”

He called for Americans to be armed with facts. 

“Tax the rich. Tax wealth. Wealthy, successful people don’t pay their fair share,” Kudlow said, echoing the left’s arguments. 

“The top 1 percent of income earners pay about 40 percent of taxes,” he said, ticking off some facts. “The top 10 percent pays nearly 70 percent. The bottom 50 percent pays 3 percent. So, who pays the taxes? Successful people.”

“So don’t let this ‘tax fairness’ debate go by,” Kudlow urged his audience. “Use the numbers.”

CPAC, the largest annual national gathering of conservative activists, runs through Saturday at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in National Harbor, Maryland, just outside Washington.

COLUMN BY

Portrait of Fred Lucas

Fred Lucas

Fred Lucas is the White House correspondent for The Daily Signal and co-host of “The Right Side of History” podcast. Send an email to Fred. Twitter: @FredLucasWH.

The Daily Signal depends on the support of readers like you. Donate now

EDITORS NOTE: This Daily Signal column with images is republished with permission. The featured image of Karl Marx is by Wikimedia Commons.

Blue State Refugees Flock to Conservative Florida

While most attention has been focused on immigrants trying to enter the United States over America’s southern border, there is legal migration taking place that has been largely ignored, though it may have at least as much economic and political impact as the other.

People are moving out of high-tax states to Florida and other states with lower tax burdens.

Florida’s new governor, Ron DeSantis, mentioned the movement in a speech to the Club for Growth, which describes itself as “a national network of over 250,000 pro-growth, limited government Americans who share in the belief that prosperity and opportunity come from economic freedom.”

DeSantis says New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has accused him of stealing residents from his state. “I’m not stealing anybody,” said DeSantis, “they are driving people away.”

The data back him up. Chris Edwards of the Foundation for Economic Freedom, the first free-market organization in the United States, produced a research document for the Cato Institute that shows “of the 25 highest-tax states, 24 of them had net out-migration in 2016.” One of the states that gained from migration was Florida where “145 households moved in for every 100 that left.”

DeSantis says this influx has fueled economic growth of the state, leading to a $1.4 billion revenue surplus.

Economist Richard Rahn has created a chart that includes a comparison between the tax rates of New York and Florida. He writes that while New York imposes high taxes and conveys an anti-business attitude (the recent debacle with New York City losing a headquarters for Amazon is just the latest example), “Florida imposes no state and local income taxes in addition to the federal income tax—yet Florida is booming, with a budget surplus, while New York is mired in debt. Only 50 years ago, New York had four times the population of Florida, and now Florida is larger than New York.”

The sound economic state of Florida is not the only subject DeSantis is touting. He won applause from the dinner crowd when he mentioned his executive orders suspending Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections Susan Bucher and Brenda Snipes, Broward County supervisor of elections. Republicans have accused these two of manipulating votes, causing confusion and chaos over vote counting that dates back to Bush-Gore in 2000.

DeSantis has other victories in his short time in office. He has named three conservatives to the state Supreme Court, transforming it from a liberal to a solid conservative majority. He has also announced plans to sign an executive order scrapping the “Common Core” public school curriculum, replacing it with a “strong American civics” course.

As a new Florida resident, what amazes me is why high-tax states don’t get it? The facts are there for anyone to see, except for those who deliberately refuse to see them. And that’s the problem. In the case of New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, California, and other Democrat-run states, ideology appears to have eclipsed reality.

If Cuomo thinks DeSantis is stealing residents from New York, maybe he should consider whether his policy of “stealing” taxpayer earnings and demanding that residents pay even more isn’t the real reason for the exodus.

It is not a difficult question to answer. In addition to the economic benefits associated with living in Florida, the weather is a lot nicer, if you discount the occasional hurricane. While people were freezing up North during the recent polar vortex, the sunny temperatures in South Florida ranged from the 70s to the low 80s.

So, keep coming, New Yorkers, and others from high-tax states. Down here, the policy seems to be that if you can earn it, you get to keep more of it. That is the best prescription for economic growth and personal satisfaction.

(c) 2019 Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

COLUMN BY

Portrait of Cal Thomas

Cal Thomas

Cal Thomas is a syndicated columnist, author, broadcaster, and speaker with access to world leaders, U.S. presidents, celebrities, educators, and countless other notables. He has authored 12 books, including his latest, “What Works: Common Sense Solutions for a Stronger America.” Readers can email him at tcaeditors@tribpub.com. Twitter: @CalThomas

The Daily Signal depends on the support of readers like you. Donate now

EDITORS NOTE: This Daily Signal column with images is republished with permission. The featured photo is by David Masemore on Unsplash.

Taxpayers Deserve a Refund for California’s Rail Debacle

Nearly 10 years after Congress passed billions of dollars in funding with no expiration date for rail boondoggles, American taxpayers have received a fresh reminder of how their hard-earned money has gone to waste.

On Tuesday, the Federal Railroad Administration issued a notice of intent to end a grant agreement funding California’s high-speed rail project. This came a week after California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced that the state would be massively scaling back construction, which was initially supposed to link San Francisco to Los Angeles.

The debacle dates back to 2009. With the economy in the throes of the Great Recession, President Barack Obama and congressional Democrats pushed through massive amounts of spending.

Much of this took the form of a massive (and poorly designed) stimulus package, while hundreds of billions more were spent through the annual appropriations process.

Among the dubious decisions in the stimulus was $10 billion in grants to state and local governments for rail transportation, of which California ultimately received $2.5 billion. Following that, another $929 million was granted to California for the project as part of regular funding of the Department of Transportation.

Due to the way in which stimulus funds were time-limited, the $2.5 billion was distributed relatively quickly. In contrast, the other $929 million is still “obligated” for future stages of California’s high-speed rail project.

The Federal Railroad Administration’s notice on Tuesday sets the stage for clawing back that $929 million, since it has not yet been used.

California will likely sue the federal government to keep that money, but the Federal Railroad Administration has strong grounds for taking it back.

California’s high-speed rail construction was already running well behind the agreed-upon schedule before the governor announced the massive scale-back. His announcement meant that the original route will not be completed. Since California is unable to hold up its end of the agreement, it would seem reasonable for taxpayers from coast to coast to no longer be responsible for giving it the $929 million.

But the federal government is going even further. The Federal Railroad Administration’s notice also mentions that the administration is “exploring all available legal options,” including “the recovery of the federal funds expended,” meaning it would try to retrieve the initial $2.5 billion.

In a similar vein, President Donald Trump recently called on California to return the $2.5 billion it had received from federal taxpayers to date.

Clawing back the $2.5 billion in stimulus funds from California would be a much more ambitious undertaking than sticking to the $929 million. California already spent the $2.5 billion. Once funds for a grant are authorized by federal law and spent by the grantee (in this case, California), it’s hard to imagine a court ordering a return of that money after the fact.

Hence, the Federal Railroad Administration is merely “exploring” its options. It hasn’t yet made a decision.

Regardless of the final outcome, this ordeal is proving to have been a wasteful mess. Lawmakers should take it as an object lesson and begin to change the way it spends money on projects. Here are two things in particular that need to change.

First, the federal government should not be used as a piggybank for state and local politicians.

Even if the California high-speed rail project had gone smoothly, it still would have provided no benefits to taxpayers in the other 49 states.

Congress is an inefficient allocator of money for local projects. Instead, state and local governments should live up to their own responsibilities and allocate funds to meet their own needs. This would allow Congress to better focus on core constitutional duties like national defense.

Second, Congress should severely limit the practice of open-ended or “no year” funding, which puts no deadline on when allocated funds have to be spent.

The $929 million that will likely be clawed back by the Federal Railroad Administration comes from a spending package that was signed into law on Dec. 16, 2009.

If California loses the $929 million, that money will not be used to improve the nation’s shaky fiscal situation. Instead, because the funds have no time limit, they will be made available again for grants to rail or anti-congestion projects.

It is absurd that the final destination of such a large amount of money is still up for debate. In theory, California could even get the money back.

Funds left unspent after several years should be rescinded and used for deficit reduction. Congress should take steps to ensure that agencies make good-faith efforts to spend what is required by law, and then make sure excess funds are returned to the treasury upon reaching the spending deadline.

With America $22 trillion in debt, we need responsible leadership and leaner government right now.

COMMENTARY BY

David Ditch

David Ditch is a research assistant in the Grover M. Hermann Center for the Federal Budget at The Heritage Foundation. Twitter: @davidaditch.

The Daily Signal depends on the support of readers like you. Donate now

EDITORS NOTE: This Daily Signal column with images is republished with permission. The featured image by dfsym on Pixabay.

Trump Draining the Economic Swamp

If you go back in time and look at the footage of citizen Trump, you will find that Donald Trump has been on point from day one. From the Oprah interview to the NY supreme court as an expert witness during the S&L crisis and everything in between. As stated by Q, America needed to be resurrected. Our Constitutional Republic needed to be restored. Back in 2014, the plan was set and the rest is history. Trump has come aboard to restore the power to the people as intended by our founding documents. And so, along with many other areas being addressed, draining the economic swamp has now begun.

The global financial reset is underway, albeit mostly behind the scenes. The market meltdown may now have been delayed ensuring a Trump victory in 2020 as Trump now is controlling the Fed. Dangers and opportunities through this reset are evident and I will post on this over the months and short years ahead.

The existing controlled and rigged debt based economic and monetary model is being disassembled. You cannot MAGA without controlling your currency. Trump is now going for the jugular and he, (we), will win once again. Let the force be with you sir.

Now I get it, many say this cannot and will not happen and I for one completely disagree. We have been programmed to believe this. And I too, was in that camp, pre-Trump. Well, my friends it’s a new day dawning. The great awakening is upon us as is the light of God. We are winning and draining the economic swamp will soon be (perhaps within a couple of short years), another item to be filed here, in promises kept.

No Longer

The old model of which Trump and company has begun to seize control, will soon be taken out. No longer will there be a debt based monetary system. Sound money will be restored. No longer will the bankers fund both sides of endless manufactured wars, reaping the profits and the harvest. No longer will our constitution and bill of rights be shredded. No longer will we the people be controlled by debt, debt slaves. Face it. We are debt slaves. No longer will we be taxed on our income. No longer will a private for profit banking cartel control our currency as this is in fact a violation of our constitution. Yes, President Trump will lead us back to sound money. Gold may become the de facto currency, so watch gold (and silver) as Trump restores in due time , sound money and crushes the power of the central banks. No more digital fiat. Over the many months to come, the President will expose the Fed and the central bank debt based monetary system. Watch. You will see. This will take some years, but this too will soon come to light. Now it may be confusing along the way. There will be many mixed signals and signs day by day along the way. So stay truly informed. In order to do this you must change the channeland build an arsenal of truth news versus fake news. Americans are  starving for truth. Seek and ye shall find. This will restore your faith, hope and trust. This will help raise your tone level from apathy, anger, fear etc., to perhaps becoming an informed, empowered and engaged and active citizen. If nothing else, you will at least feel better.

In Closing

I will keep this post short and sweet as this is a subject that is rather complex as Trump takes on the Federal Reserve, IMF and the Central Banking Rothschild dynasty. I will be posting content along the way to play my part in keeping us informed. Put on your seat belts. Be prepared. And get some popcorn and enjoy the show! Visit these supportive and insightful links below. Stay the course. Trust the plan. Pray for and support our President.

Q Plan to Save the World

Q We are the Plan

Q From Dark to Light

Video: Global Reset I

Video: Global Reset II

Global Financial Reset

Weekly Address: Draining the Economic Swamp

EDITORS NOTE: This John Michael Chambers column with images is republished with permission.

Ripping the Mask off KGB Activity in Our Midst

Once upon a time there was a country named the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics—the USSR. Actually, there was no real union and the country collapsed December 26, 1991. The West cheered the collapse, announcing victory and the end of the Cold War. The notion of “the Soviets” was forgotten and the words the Soviets have disappeared from our lexicon. That was a crucial, international mistake in the West, because the collapsing part was the Socialist economy, which couldn’t compete with capitalism, while the other part, the Soviet System-a hard line leftist regime stayed largely intact. Now we are paying a dear price for our incompetence and lack of action. Knowledge is Power!

In fact, nothing substantial was changed in Russia, except the name of a country. We are dealing now with the Russian Federation under the leadership of a former KGB counterintelligence officer Vladimir Putin. The old regime of the Soviet System is running the country: Socialist economy that had collapsed was replaced by oligarchic-crony capitalism under the KGB’s leadership. Moreover, a substantial number of problems continue to plague the world as they have for a hundred years—Soviet Socialism is fighting capitalism of Western civilization and its bastion, the American Republic. Writing about that for a long time and analyzing the current events, I have renamed Soviet Socialism as Soviet Fascism.

Anyone who has observed the general political climate in America knows that conspiracy theories surrounding allegations that President Trump has connections to the Russian government abound. I too am uncovering a kind of conspiracy, from an opposing point of view and aisle —about the constant collaboration of the Democrat Party and its members with Russia, about the Obama/Putin conspiracy, and about attempts to undermine Trump’s presidency, attacking him and all members of his family personally for the last three years. As a former Soviet attorney, I know the real reason for the Dems doing that—“Offense is the best defense” and this is the only way for the Dems to survive. They have to cover up their criminal conduct over the last several decades.  

Yes, There is an Axis of Evil

I wrote this in my column two years ago: “Knowing the Russian methods, agenda, and its proclivity to mold Soviet style charlatan-leaders around the world to engineer cadres of fifth columnists, I believe there are two types of people committing betrayals: Those who do not like the political system established by our Founding Fathers and are trying to transform it– they are currently collaborating with the KGB to destroy the country, and those people who haven’t a clue about the KGB infiltrations, hence becoming their unwitting accomplices. Both groups constitute a huge help to President Putin, who is running the anti-Trump show… “

Using the term KGB, I mean the entire Russian Intelligence Service–a collective image of several Intel agencies. Those three letters are familiar to the vast majority of Americans and they really represent the Soviet Gestapo, the mighty vehicle of dispersing globally the ideology of Soviet Socialism, I renamed Soviet Fascism. American foreign policy blunders and fatal mistakes by our top Intel, have greatly helped the KGB to spread their ideology in the 20th century. Their methods are easily recognizable: lies, fraud, deceit, cheating, and the like. They are charlatans fooling, deceiving, and indoctrinating decent people.

Look at the world of the year 2019: Stalinist North Korea, Communist China, Russian mercenaries in Syria and Ukraine, the terrorist Hamas, Hezbollah, ISIS, and all their affiliates, Iran, the Taliban, socialist Cuba, Nicaragua, and Venezuela have now established the critical mass for an Axis of Evil, fighting for control and power under Kremlin’s umbrella and ideological leadership. Watch Pakistan and Turkey, they are on their way to join the Axis. All of them adhere to the ideology of Soviet Fascism, inculcated by Moscow over many decades–they are all the enemies of a peaceful, prosperous world, using the same tactics, strategy, methods, and tricks taught by the KGB—dispersing their ideas globally… If you want to know how to deal with the above mentioned countries, you must know KGB’s methods, as each country is fighting on different fronts under the same leadership…

I am giving you this information for a reason. If you haven’t read my books and columns, you don’t know that the KGB started their infiltration into the Middle East in the 1950s. Yasser Arafat was recruited by the KGB in 1957. Many tribal based Islamic terrorist groups have been created in the Middle East since then and they are all (men and women) under Russian leadership and coordination. Watch now how Islamism intertwined with radical Socialism is fighting Western civilization. A major wave of infiltration into America, with the subsequent recruitment and corruption of its citizens started in the 1960s, predominantly under the supervision of KGB Chairman Yuri Andropov…  

Do You See What I See?

American Dems did not escape the KGB influence and infiltration they were attracted by it; I’ve been reporting this for the last thirty years. Based on the historical reports, there were several if not many “Red Flags” to deal with the KGB. We did not—the Dems ate up the Soviet propaganda, giving them the Soviets time to multiply and do overwhelming harm to our institutions and laws. We have to understand the gravity of the mistakes that were made, so this never happens again. Russia is the foremost enemy of Western civilization while the KGB is in power and Andropov’s design is alive and well, still working on destruction of capitalism on American soil today…   

Trump called his intelligence leaders “passive and naive” after reading reports about their testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee. Passive—definitely, but I would use another adjective—incompetent. If not, then they ignored the “Red Flags” deliberately. Now, Democrats are seizing on President Trump’s latest feud with his intelligence chiefs to cast themselves as the party that is taking national security more seriously today. This an attempt to divert your attention from the crime the Dems have committed for decades. Here is an example of several “Red Flags” showing the Dems’ working under the KGB’s supervision in Virginia …

There is a real political crises in Virginia in February 2019. At first, it was an attempt to enact a late-term abortion law by Governor Northam, then a racist photo of him came to light. Today, the three top Democrat officials in command, the top of the State power, have been incriminated in different scandals. It is hard to believe the depth of State corruption in Virginia. Yet, in my writings about radical socialism that only hurts people for the last thirty years, I just called it Soviet Fascism and analyzed the action of the former Virginia’s Governor Terry McAuliffe. What you know today is only half of Virginia’s story. I’ll try to give you the rest…

Terry McAuliffe was a prominent member of Clinton’s mafia, inculcating and corrupting everybody around in the State of Virginia for many years. Today, I saw him acting and speaking like a typical mafia apparatchik, lying, cheating, always harming the American interests, as designed by Andropov. Let me give you the current story missed by the FBI, and maybe missed deliberately.

The Anti-Defamation League described the event this way: “A torchlight rally by white supremacists that descended into violence in Charlottesville in August 2017, drew participants from at least 35 states and spoke to the ability of the self-described alt-right fringe movement to mobilize adherents nationwide.” The analysis of 200 participants came one day after Richard Spencer, the leader of the demonstration on Aug. 11 and 12, 2017 returned Saturday with fewer than 50 followers to the home of the University of Virginia as it celebrated its bicentennial and posted a video of a planned, 10-minute “flash mob.”

The next day, President Trump stated: “those who cause violence in its name are criminals and thugs, including the K.K.K., neo-Nazis, white supremacists and other hate groups are repugnant to everything we hold dear as Americans.” President Trump is right. In my opinion, the event was orchestrated by an un-American criminal cabal, a false flag collaboration of the DNC with KGB’s political operatives. It was done to undermine Trump’s presidency in the best traditions of Stalinist methods and tricks. I can identify two members-coordinators of criminal cabal: Terry McAuliffe and Andrew McCabe. The FBI had missed this “Red Flag”. I have written about the agenda of Clinton’s mafia for decades. To grasp the details, please read in this e-magazine my column Revelation, April 26, 2018.

When Roger Stone complained about the fascist tactics of his arrest with 27 armed men, George Stephanopoulos insisted that it was “a standard operation.” And he is right, it is a standard operation of the KGB in the fascist regime of Russia. And when I saw it in America, Andropov’s design and his legacy stunned me. In front of me was his complete combination of the media working with security forces—the way Andropov planned them acting together… Please remember, it was Bill Clinton, who made political operative, George Stephanopoulos, a member of the media: you saw the result. Just read my books and columns to know who George really is…

I purposely showed you the inextricable connection between Dems, FBI, and the KGB acting in cahoots for the last several decades. Trump is right again about the Dems: “Dems ‘Killing Great State of Virginia.’” I would add: This is not the face of Virginia, but the historical face of the Democrat Party. There is another vivid example of radical Socialism in a criminal cabal–the Dems, FBI, and KGB’s connection. Like in Stalinist Russia, the war against all religions was permanent, but the Catholic Church was dismantled at once and completely by Stalin. That same culture war waged by Soviet fascism is now raging in America: Bill O’Reilly and others warned us constantly. The episode with the Covington Catholic High School boys in January 2019 was a sequence in the ongoing culture war waged by the criminal cabal of Socialist mafia:

“One of these days, conservatives are going to wake up to the fact that we are in a cold WAR against the left in this country. Maybe then they’ll stop falling for these obvious decoys. But even the shameful, deceptive, biased media still has the capability of surprising us, apparently, because what they did to a group of students from Covington Catholic High School … was nothing less than despicable. Maybe we shouldn’t have been surprised, given what this very same media did to Brett Kavanaugh last year. But damn, this was disgusting. This was reprehensible. This was the “enemy of the people” with their masks fully off.” The Left Views MAGA Hats as Equivalent to KKK Hoods, UnFiltered Patriot, Posted 20 Jan 2019

I agree with every word written above—it is naked Truth for me—a collaboration of the criminal cabal with the media. Yet, I have mine, a very different approach to the events that occupied media for several days in the end of January 2019. It is the same culture war going on for decades…

Second Lady Karen Pence recently took a job at a Christian school, and a negative leftist propaganda blast against Christianity followed the event immediately. Soon after that the second religious topic piled in on top of the first: the controversy was followed by another blow for Christian education when Catholic schoolboys were accused of being rude to a Native American and Army veteran, Mr. Phillips. You know the essence of the story, as framed by the media. I don’t want to repeat it. My focus is the negative force of the criminal cabal fighting Christianity, as this force is very familiar to all people coming from the Socialist countries to America. The entire incident was engineered during the March for Life in January 2019, where people celebrated life.

This is not the first time Phillips thrust himself into this kind of confrontation.  “In 2015, Phillips was verbally attacked by a group of Eastern Michigan University students who were dressed as Native Americans during a theme party near the town of Ypsilanti, according to news reports,” wrote the Washington Post. “Phillips had approached the group, informing them that their celebration was racially offensive, a local Fox News station reported. One of the students threw a beer can at him, Phillips told the news outlet.”

Who is Mr. Phillips in reality? As I found out, he is not a Vietnam veteran as he claimed, and his aggressive approach to the kids from the Catholic School had a definite motivation. With his militant drum-bit, his face with a stern antagonistic expression, he was provoking the kids to act. For me he was a typical leftist provocateur-activist. And it wasn’t only his group of people acting destructive against the kids. By a “pure” coincidence, another, no less suspicious group of people has appeared in front of the Catholic kids—the Black Hebrew Israelites. I had never heard of them and found a description of their provocative actions during the incident:   

“A group of half a dozen (Black) Hebrew Israelites had, in fact, been goading and preaching at both the Native Americans and high schoolers, using profanity and highly provocative language, for nearly an hour.” Who are the Black Israelites at the center of the viral standoff at the Lincoln Memorial? By Sam Kestenbaum, January 22, 2019.

Meanwhile, a Catholic student quietly urged classmates to refrain from making any comments that might aggravate the situation created by Phillips and the Black Hebrew Israelites. I believe this is the actual picture of the incident and my intent is to identify the organizer-coordinator of the ‘coincidental encounter’—someone who arranged this meeting of the three groups on the March for Life to provoke the Catholic kids wearing red caps Make America Great Again. The actions of the aggressors, speak for themselves—to attack and provoke children of a Catholic School, wearing the red caps to accuse Catholic Church of racism.  A simple piece of cloth—the red MAGA caps have become the main target for thugs in the Socialist mob. It was clear to me–the incident was pre-arranged by the same anti-Trump campaign run by Putin’s KGB…

The recent wave of racist statements, wearing of blackface, KKK photos, and anti-Semitic remarks by Democrats currently holding public office are fueling racism in the United States today. This is a vivid demonstration of the ideology of Soviet Fascism the Dems adhere to.  As a matter of fact, since President Reagan, Republicans have never been aggressive enough defending capitalism against the ideology of Soviet Fascism, fighting only the symptoms of this ideology. The first thing for Republicans to do is that of fighting the nucleus of the problem and calling a spade a spade–the real name of the ideology is Soviet Fascism. The Republicans have a duty to educate Americans and the world in the aggressive, vicious, and merciless   ideology of Soviet Fascism that is striving to take over the world by spreading a fraudulent Soviet Socialism globally.

Don’t Allow Andropov’s Design for America Succeed!

My books and columns have given you ample of examples how the evil ideology influenced an ill-informed population with propaganda, hoax, deception, and fraud. This is the way Socialist mafia proceeds, as Socialist ideology itself represents a gigantic fraud, a well-decorated and wrapped in false promises fraud. Socialism takes—Capitalism creates. Just look at the “Green New Deal” –a colossal fraud aimed at stopping the social mobility of Trump’s capitalism, which has already shown the remarkable ability of a free market economy to resurrect this nation from Obama’s Socialism. Do you remember Andropov’s design? I believe Soros is behind the Deal, sponsoring the fraud. To grasp it you have to read my writings to know why and when Stalin invented Political Correctness to fight opposition. The Dems are doing just that, using PC, lying and deceiving you to subvert American capitalist economic system today…  

Andropov’s plan is working well and Americans are more open to socialism than ever before in our nation’s history. That would seem to indicate that Sanders and Ocasio-Cortez are the future of the Democratic Party. Trump’s attitude may not please moderate voters, but his approach to the issues is a lot closer to the mainstream of America than anyone presenting a real threat to him in 2020. As the Democrat Party morphs into the party of “Abolish ICE,” “open the borders,” “give away healthcare,” “give away college,” and “guarantee everyone a green job,” they are going to find themselves well outside the political mainstream. And there’s no doubt that this is an accurate view of where the “promises” primaries are headed. The Democrat Party is obsessed and possessed by identity politics—the main Stalinist formula to divide and conquer. Just watch the Dems’ candidates for 2020, a constellation of ignorance intertwined with arrogance and fraud to deceive you–A very dangerous combination!!!

It is an ironical situation in America today: the Party, a major national leader, which has been soft on Socialism/Communism for four decades, allowing criminals to infiltrate all aspects of America’s society, destroying and betraying our values system, is running the House today and proclaiming itself a “guard of national security.” What a shame and fiasco! They are like the phony victim and provocateur Jussie Smollett—they are totally responsible for all enormous destruction of the American system produced from within during the last 3-4 decades! They have to be exposed like he has been! By the way, Nigeria is a country being run by the KGB the way Venezuela was for the last 3-4 decades… Both are KGB’s scams. Today, Soviet Fascism is going on all around us, by hoaxes, from Tawana Brawley to Jussie Smollett to stage and inflame the race issue to damage our society…Our Intel is still sleeping and the coup against President Trump is going on…

Many people asking why Smollett did that. I have my answer to racial crime committed: It is politically motivated act, a criminal plot, which manufactured a hoax by staging and inflaming racism in America to blame President Trump! This is a case that intertwined politics, law, culture, and ideological agenda to get rid of Trump’s presidency. In my opinion, there are more bad actors in this crime outside the action or one of the three is a political operative with the idea. The action and method are well planned with all elements of Soviet Fascism: lies, fraud, deception and identity politics. Someone within the Law Enforcement in Chicago had a whiff of the ideology and appointed 24 investigators to the case. Bravo to him or her! Now the country will grasp the variety of methods and tricks used by Soviet Fascism fighting Trump and our capitalist economic system for the last decades…  

Yes, the Dems and ignorant Republicans are responsible for all devastating events our nation has experienced for the last decades and until they are out of power the following disasters events will continue: Mass shooting, shooting in the schools, an open season on the police officers, the crime on the Southern border, new Caravans will be formed the way the European Muslim invasion was executed by the KGB. Two hundred-year war of Socialism against Capitalism had been brought to America’s soil by two American Manchurian Presidents and the ideological battle will be resolved here, on the American soil, if we want to survive…

The leaders like Trojan Horses, Bernie and AOC, an energetic kindergarten girl with a diploma in economy will pop up to deceive and defraud you. They are acting and speaking in unison, as if trained by the same KGB’s school. It is not a coincidence that 16 Governors are against Trump’s national emergency. In fact, the national emergency was supposed to be declared after Clinton’s presidency in the first day George W. Bush took the office to prevent the attack on 9/11—our embassy in Moscow was warned… But Bush’s intelligence saw a soul in Putin’s eyes. What a shame!

Considering two American Manchurian Presidents, plus the examples I have presented in my writings, you can evaluate for yourself the depth of the KGB infiltration on the American soil. For many years, I am writing about the main problem of the world–the ideology of Soviet Fascism–a logical continuation of the ideology of Socialism/Communism. Don’t be surprised by Rep. Ilhan Omar and her Anti-Semitic statement—Anti-Semitism is an integral part of Soviet Fascism. Islamism and Socialism are fighting together against Western civilization, by Andropov’s Globalism and open borders. Our Congress has a lot of Socialists, now they have several Islamists working together for the Dems. Don’t be surprised by the terrorist activities in Omar’s district. This is the problem of a modern pluralistic America and the world today—The KGB never sleeps…

My column was close to be completed when a cascade of bombshells in the air stopped my writing. I needed to digest and analyze the news. It took me several days to grasp the general tendency of the events. As I understood the agenda, Putin’s KGB had prepared for the massive ultimate battle to get rid of dully elected President Trump. The upcoming 2020 election will be that last battle to defeat him. I see the KGB’s actual attempt to coordinate and weaponized all fronts of the war against capitalism to this upcoming election. It will be done through the Democrat Party, its DNC, and all 2020 candidates for the presidency, (some of them are sponsored by the KGB), plus an army of political operatives, socialist mafia, and activists-propagandists. Watch money coming from abroad and from billionaires like a KGB agent–George Soros…

In addition to this, I united under the name of the “Axis of Evil” the entire lingering global threat that America and Americans face from transnational gangs, drug cartels, Islamism, socialist mafia, and international terrorist organizations. If you read my books and columns, you know that all thugs mentioned above are acting with KGB’s teaching under the Russian umbrella.  Meanwhile, don’t underestimate AOC and Bernie, both are vocal, speaking in unison as students of the same KGB’s school, and both very efficient propagandists of Soviet Socialism, I renamed Soviet Fascism. Watch how the media amplifies their voices, making them the hero-leaders of the American future, advertising both. The Republican leadership has two immediate tasks:

  1. To learn the ideology of Soviet Fascism and disseminate the knowledge among the American public.
  2. To present to the public the work of Tom G. Palmer: The Morality of Capitalism.

Those two sources will expose the Dems’ Socialist mafia for what it really is and help Republicans to win the 2020 election.

My fellow Americans! God gave us this last chance to save our county—President Donald J. Trump! Don’t allow Dems’ Socialism to take over the American Republic. Fight the ideology of Soviet Fascism and save the legacy of our Founding Fathers and the American Republic!

Knowledge is Power! Good Luck my beloved America the Beautiful!

To be continued www.simonapipko1.com or at www.drrichswier.com/author/spipko/.

EDITORS NOTE: The featured photo is by Javardh on Unsplash.

“Restaurant Recession” Hits NYC Following $15 Minimum Wage

This will be a rough year for full-service NYC restaurants as they try to navigate a future with significant economic headwinds and significantly higher labor costs from the city’s $15 an hour minimum wage.

An article in the New York Eater (“Restaurateurs Are Scrambling to Cut Service and Raise Prices After Minimum Wage Hike“) highlights some of the suffering New York City’s full-service restaurants are experiencing following the December 31, 2018 hike in the city’s minimum wage to $15 an hour, which is 15.4% higher than the $13 minimum wage a year earlier and 36.4% higher than the $11 an hour two years ago. For example, Rosa Mexicana operates four restaurants in Manhattan and estimates the $15 mandated wage will increase their labor costs by $600,000 this year. Here’s a slice:

Now, across the city, restaurant owners and operators are reworking their budgets and operations to come up with those extra funds. Some restaurants, like Rosa Mexicano, are changing scheduling. Other restaurateurs are cutting hours and staffers, raising menu prices, and otherwise nixing costs wherever they can.

And though the new regulations are intended to benefit employees, some restaurateurs and staffers say that take home pay ends up being less due to fewer hours — or that employees face more work because there are fewer staffers per shift. “The bottom line is, we have to reduce the number of hours we spend,” says Chris Westcott, Rosa Mexicano’s president and CEO. “And unfortunately that means that, in many cases, employees are earning less even though they’re making more.”

In a survey conducted by New York City Hospitality Alliance late last year, about 75% of the more than 300 respondents operating full-service restaurants reported they’ll reduce employee hours this year because of the new wage increases, while 47% said they’ll eliminate jobs in 2019.

Note also that the survey also reported that “76.50% of respondents report reducing employee hours and 36.30% eliminated jobs in 2018 in response to mandated wage increases.” Those staff reductions are showing up in the NYC full-service restaurant employee series from the BLS, see chart above. December 2018 restaurant jobs were down by almost 3,000 (and by 1.64%) from the previous December, and the 2.5% annual decline in March 2018 was the worst annual decline since the sharp collapse in restaurant jobs following 9/11 in 2001.

As the chart shows, it usually takes an economic recession to cause year-over-year job losses at NYC’s full-service restaurants, so it’s likely that this is a “restaurant recession” tied to the annual series of minimum wage hikes that brought the city’s minimum wage to $15 an hour at the end of last year. And the NYC restaurant recession is happening even as the national economy hums along in the 117th month of the second-longest economic expansion in history and just short of the 120-month record expansion from March 1991 to March 2001.

Here’s more of the article:

“There’s a lot of concern and anxiety happening within the city’s restaurant industry,” says Andrew Rigie, executive director of the restaurant advocacy group. Most restaurant owners want to pay employees more, he says, but are challenged by “the financial realities of running a restaurant in New York City.” Merelyn Bucio, a server at a restaurant in Soho that she declined to name, says her hours were cut and her workload increased when wage rates rose. Server assistants and bussers now work fewer shifts, so she and other servers take on side work like polishing silverware and glasses. “We have large sections, and there are large groups, so it’s more difficult,” she says. “You need your server assistant in order to give guests a better experience.”

At Lalito, a small restaurant in Chinatown, they used to roster two servers on the floor, but post wage increases, there’s only one, who is armed with a handheld POS (point of sale) system, according to co-owner Mateusz Lilpop. Having fewer people working was the only way for him to reduce costs, he says. Since the hike, labor costs at Lalito have risen about 10 percent — from 30 to 35 percent to 40 to 45 percent of sales, he says.

These changes get passed onto the diner, some restaurateurs argue. Service can suffer due to fewer people on the floor, or more and more restaurateurs will explore the fast-casual format over full-service ones. Some restaurants are also raising prices for customers. According to the NYC Hospitality Alliance’s survey, close to 90 percent of respondents expect to raise menu prices this year. Lalito’s menu prices have increased by 10 to 15 percent. Lilpop says, and it’s not just the cost of paying his staff driving prices up — it’s a ripple effect from New York-based food purveyors’ own labor cost increases.

“If you have a farmer that has employees that are picking fruit, he has to increase his labor costs, which means he has to increase his fruit prices,” Lilpop says. “I have to buy that fruit from him at a higher rate, and it goes down the chain.”

A few economic lessons here.

  1. A reduction in restaurant staffing that results in a decline in customer service (e.g., longer wait times, less attentive wait staff, etc.) is equivalent to a price increase for customers.
  2. The increases in the city minimum wage to $15 an hour, in addition to directly increasing labor costs for restaurants, also affects the labor costs of companies that supply food, liquor, restaurant supplies, menus, etc. and causes a ripple effect of indirect higher operational costs throughout the entire restaurant supply chain as described above.
  3. Even for workers who keep their jobs, a higher minimum wage per hour doesn’t necessarily translate into higher weekly earnings, if the reduction in hours is greater than the increase in hourly wages. For example, 40 hours per week at $13 an hour generates higher weekly pre-tax earnings ($520) than 33 hours per week at the higher $15 an hour ($495).

Prediction: This will be a rough year for full-service NYC restaurants as they try to navigate a future with significant economic headwinds and significantly higher labor costs from the city’s $15 an hour minimum wage.

This article was reprinted from the American Enterprise Institute.

COLUMN BY

Mark J. Perry

Mark J. Perry

Mark J. Perry is a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and a professor of economics and finance at the University of Michigan’s Flint campus.

EDITORS NOTE: This FEE column with images is republished with permission. Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons | CC BY 2.0

Is AOC a Clear & Present Danger to America?

There is little doubt that the Democrat Party is now being run by the likes of Ocasio-Cortez a Socialist along with a large number of the moderates in the Democrat Party. She along with Bernie Sanders have a huge following among young millennials who call themselves Democrat Socialists.

Unfortunately for America Ocasio-Cortez, Sanders and their followers are economic illiterates.

Read the analysis in the opinion piece below that appeared in the Washington Post . By following her advice the loss to New York was estimated by the Governor to be $27 Billion. The actual loss is far far greater.  So far each of the Democrats running for President have embraced the absurd Green New Deal created by this economic illiterate. No one can doubt New York Democrats have already marched off the cliff under the tutelage of Ocasio-Cortez and her followers.

America will be in serious trouble if it follows the advice of Ocasio-Cortez and her entourage. It is not an exaggeration to say this economic illiterate and her followers could destroy America.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is an economic illiterate — and that’s a danger to America

By Marc A. Thiessen

The left complains that conservatives are “obsessing” over Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Well, there is a reason for that: Ocasio-Cortez is driving the agenda of today’s Democratic Party — and her economic illiteracy is dangerous.

Case in point: Last week, Ocasio-Cortez celebrated the tanking of a deal negotiated by her fellow Democrats in which Amazon promised to build a new headquarters in Long Island City, New York, right next to her congressional district. Amazon’s departure cost the city between 25,000 and 40,000 new jobs. Forget the tech workers whom Amazon would have employed. Gone are all the unionized construction jobs to build the headquarters, as well as thousands of jobs created by all the small businesses — restaurants, bodegas, dry cleaners and food carts — that were preparing to open or expand to serve Amazon employees. They are devastated by Amazon’s withdrawal. (Amazon’s founder and chief executive, Jeffrey P. Bezos, also owns The Post.)

READ MORE.

RELATED ARTICLES:

AOC Raises Ethics Concerns, May Have Used PAC Money To Pay Her Boyfriend

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez – The Democrats Frankenstein

EDITORS NOTE: The featured image is by TheDigitalArtist on Pixabay Pixabay.

New Jersey Lawmakers Are Trying to Tax the Rain

This gives new life to the saying, “when it rains, it pours.”

Sometimes life mimics fiction. And sometimes life is so much stranger than fiction you have to double check the headlines to ensure they aren’t satire. The latest double take comes from New Jersey, where, under the guise of environmentalism, local legislators have passed a new tax on—wait for it— the rain.

Governments are known for a lack of creativity and an uncanny ability to think only inside the box. However, when it comes to getting creative with inventing new forms of taxation, they never disappoint. Chicago, for example, recently implemented a “PlayStation” tax on its residents as part of the city’s previously existing “amusement tax,” which, just as it sounds, taxes individuals on almost all forms of entertainment.

California, on the other hand, recently tried to get away with unprecedented levels of extortion when it tried to tax residents for their drinking water and text messages. The water tax is still on the table, but luckily, the Golden State did not succumb to the new ridiculous texting tax. New Jersey, though, might not be so lucky.

To be perfectly clear, while the new tax is being referred to as the “rain tax,” it doesn’t actually tax the rain itself, but that doesn’t make the context of the legislation any less absurd.

Bill S-1073 seeks to penalize businesses and homeowners whose property contains paved surfaces, like a driveway or a parking lot. When it rains, the rain acts as a medium, transporting any pollutants it picks up from paved surfaces, like brine and rock salt, and then depositing it into sewers and drains. And since the pollutants are thought to have originated from paved surfaces, the state has determined that property owners are responsible for any negative environmental impacts that result therein and should be penalized accordingly.

The legislation itself does not actually allow the state to collect any taxes, however. Instead, it allows each of its 565 different municipalities to create their own stormwater utility systems to minimize the runoff problem. Each locality will then charge each homeowner and business based on what the bill calls “a fair and equitable approximation” of how much runoff is generated from their property.

The legislation states:

Under the bill, a county, municipality, or authority (local unit) that establishes a stormwater utility is authorized to charge and collect reasonable fees and other charges to recover the stormwater utility’s costs for stormwater management.

As is the trend these days, supporters are praising the bill as a heroic move to protect the environment, though there is no real evidence that any significant harm is being done. Yet, legislators would have you believe there is a crisis at hand.

Senate President Steve Sweeney tried to convey the seriousness of the problem, saying, “With all the salt we’ve had on roads recently, that’s all running into the sewer systems, so you don’t ignore the problems because they don’t go away.” However, this winter has actually been mild for the state, with fewer snow falls than usual, meaning there has not been any sudden influx of rock salt pouring into the sewer systems this season.

A local writer, E.W. Boyle, highlighted the true idiocy of this proposed tax, writing:

Now, since our roads have been treated during winter storm events for over 80 years, with no apparent environmental impact, one wonders what took them so long to notice that there is salt runoff into creeks, streams and estuary rivers during subsequent rain events. No, rather what they noticed was the potential for yet another tax levy.

Boyle hits the nail on the head, and he is not alone in his opposition to the new tax. Republican state senator Tom Kean Jr. also criticized this proposal for the burden it places on New Jersey residents. Since each municipality is in charge of setting its own rules regarding the collection of this tax with very little oversight from any other governing entity, it is ripe for potential abuse. Keane said, “We all want to protect our environment. We all want to preserve it for future generations, but this is a weighted tax.” He continued, “The citizens of New Jersey…really [have] no way to defend themselves against tax increases at local levels.”

Since the bill gives local governments carte blanche to set the rates and collect the revenue, it makes it harder for residents to voice their concern if they believe they are being asked to pay too much. Keane later added:

…you shouldn’t create unfair authorities with uneven taxing practices…You’re creating a new layer of government that will not be regulated. The concern is uneven enforcement.

While uneven enforcement is certainly a concern, it is not the only problem the new rain tax inflicts on New Jersey residents. The legislation also comes with a hefty price tag that property owners will be responsible for footing.

New Jersey is currently one of the most heavily taxed states in the country. And yet, it is going to burden its residents even further with the passing of this bill. According to the EPA, it will cost the state of New Jersey $15.6 billion to upgrade its storm drain system. However, the cost to Garden State taxpayers could end up being significantly higher.

New Jersey’s Office of Legislative Services, which usually determines the fiscal impact of state policies, could not shed any light on what this might actually cost residents. Since each local municipality is in charge of setting its own rates for each property owner, there is really no way of estimating the projected costs at this time. And given the nature of government, it is highly probable that taxpayers will end up paying more than their “fair” share of the burden.

Chris Sturm, a supporter of the bill and a water policy “expert” at the nonprofit organization New Jersey Future, attempted to downplay the impact this will have on homeowners. Sturm commented, “This will be negligible for the vast majority of homeowners. This is for properties that have large impervious surfaces.” While no one, including state officials, is sure of the fiscal impact this will have on residents, there is something else quite disturbing about his statement.

These properties with “large impervious surfaces” are places of business. They are the very institutions responsible for creating jobs, wealth, and prosperity within the state. And yet, rather than celebrating these titans of industry for their contributions, state lawmakers are attempting to impose onerous taxes on them. This is yet another example of governments using their taxing powers to turn private businesses into their personal coffers.

To make matters worse, any individual or business who does not pay their “rain tax” will be charged interest and have a tax lien imposed on them by the state, the very same type of action taken against those who fail to pay their property taxes.

New Jersey is, unfortunately, not the first state to attempt to inflict this type of tax on its residents. In 2012, Maryland instituted its own version of the rain tax, but it was not received well by the taxpayers. In 2014, Republican Governor Larry Hogan altered the law and allowed nine counties and the city of Baltimore to opt out of the state’s rain tax, so long as each municipality promised to address the Chesapeake Bay runoff issue on their own.

Hogan commented, “Passing a state law that forces counties to raise taxes on their citizens against their will is not the best way to address the issue.”

New Jersey does not feel the same way.

New Jersey legislators have done their constituents a great disservice by passing this bill. And now, the legislation is currently sitting on the desk of Governor Phil Murphy. It is expected that it will be signed any day now. This gives new life to the saying, “when it rains, it pours.”

COLUMN BY

Brittany Hunter

Brittany Hunter

Brittany is a senior writer for the Foundation for Economic Education. Additionally, she is a co-host of Beltway Banthas, a podcast that combines Star Wars and politics. Brittany believes that the most effective way to promote individual liberty and free-market economics is by telling timely stories that highlight timeless principles.

RELATED ARTICLES:

Ponzi Schemes and Socialism Rely on the Same Economic Snake Oil

Why Subsidizing Idleness Is a Losing Strategy for Everyone

How Cuba’s Infant Mortality Rank Fell from 13th to 49th in the World

EDITORS NOTE: This FEE column with images is republished with permission. The feature image by Pexels on Pixabay.

In America Today, We Plunder and Call It Good

Frederic Bastiat, a French economist and member of the French National Assembly, lived from 1801 to 1850. He had great admiration for our country, except for our two faults—slavery and tariffs.

He said: “Look at the United States. There is no country in the world where the law is kept more within its proper domain: the protection of every person’s liberty and property.”

If Bastiat were alive today, he would not have that same level of admiration. The U.S. has become what he fought against for most of his short life.

Bastiat observed that “when plunder becomes a way of life for a group of men in a society, over the course of time they create for themselves a legal system that authorizes it and a moral code that glorifies it.”

You might ask, “What did Bastiat mean by ‘plunder’?”

Plunder is when someone forcibly takes the property of another. That’s private plunder. What he truly railed against was legalized plunder, and he told us how to identify it.

He said: “See if the law takes from some persons what belongs to them, and gives it to other persons to whom it does not belong. See if the law benefits one citizen at the expense of another by doing what the citizen himself cannot do without committing a crime.”

That could describe today’s American laws. We enthusiastically demand that the Congress forcibly use one American to serve the purposes of another American.

You say: “Williams, that’s insulting. It’s no less than saying that we Americans support a form of slavery!”

What then should we call it when two-thirds to three-quarters of a $4 trillion-plus federal budget can be described as Congress taking the property of one American and giving it to another to whom it does not belong?

Where do you think Congress gets the billions upon billions of dollars for business and farmer handouts?

What about the billions handed out for Medicare, Medicaid, food stamps, housing allowances, and thousands of other handouts?

There’s no Santa Claus or tooth fairy giving Congress the money, and members of Congress are not spending their own money. The only way Congress can give one American $1 is to first take it from another American.

What if I privately took the property of one American to give to another American to help him out? I’m guessing and hoping you’d call it theft and seek to jail me. When Congress does the same thing, it’s still theft. The only difference is that it’s legalized theft.

However, legality alone does not establish morality. Slavery was legal; was it moral? Nazi, Stalinist, and Maoist purges were legal, but were they moral?

Some argue that Congress gets its authority to bypass its enumerated powers from the general welfare clause. There are a host of proofs that the Framers had no such intention.

James Madison, the “Father of the Constitution,” wrote, “If Congress can do whatever in their discretion can be done by money, and will promote the general welfare, the government is no longer a limited one possessing enumerated powers, but an indefinite one.”

Thomas Jefferson wrote, “Our tenet ever was … that Congress had not unlimited powers to provide for the general welfare, but were restrained to those specifically enumerated.”

Rep. William Drayton of South Carolina asked in 1828, “If Congress can determine what constitutes the general welfare and can appropriate money for its advancement, where is the limitation to carrying into execution whatever can be effected by money?”

What about our nation’s future?

Alexis de Tocqueville is said to have predicted, “The American republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public’s money.”

We long ago began ignoring Bastiat’s warning when the federal government was just a tiny fraction of gross domestic product—3 percent, as opposed to today’s 20 percent: “If you don’t take care, what begins by being an exception tends to become general, to multiply itself, and to develop into a veritable system.”

Moral Americans are increasingly confronted with Bastiat’s dilemma: “When law and morality contradict each other, the citizen has the cruel alternative of either losing his moral sense or losing his respect for the law.”

COPYRIGHT 2019 CREATORS.COM

COMMENTARY BY

Portrait of Walter E. Williams

Walter E. Williams

Walter E. Williams is a columnist for The Daily Signal and a professor of economics at George Mason University. Twitter: @WE_Williams.

The Daily Signal depends on the support of readers like you. Donate now

EDITORS NOTE: This Daily Caller column with images is republished with permission. The featured image is by Pixabay.

The Green New Deal Mirrors Mao’s Great Leap Forward

The Mises Institute’s William L. Anderson published an article titled “AOC and the Green Great Leap Forward.” Anderson wrote:

When Baby Boomers were in college a half-century ago, many saw Mao as their political hero, a man with great vision who had the political will to do what was necessary to advance the fortunes of his own people. That he was a murderous tyrant who presided over mass death that exceeded even the killings of World War II was irrelevant or even ignored.

Today, we are told by her adoring press that Alexandria Occasio-Cortez is the New Visionary, a person who is far-seeing and knows what we have to do in order to survive the coming consequences of climate change. That her grand vision is little more than a mass-depopulation scheme is ignored, and we ignore it at our peril.

I believe that Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is a clear and present danger to our Constitutional Republican form of government.

The Great Leap Forward

It is important to understand history in order to realize how dangerous the Green New Deal is. Let’s look at the last time this type of massive government reorganization of society happened. It was tried in China under Mao Zedong. According to the Encyclopedia Britannica:

Overall, the radicalization of policy that led to the Great Leap Forward can be traced back to the anti-rightist campaign of 1957 and a major meeting of China’s leaders at the resort city of Qingdao in October of that year. 

In the Encyclopedia Britannica’s study of the Great Leap Forward found:

[I]n Chinese history, the campaign undertaken by the Chinese communists between 1958 and early 1960 to organize its vast population, especially in large-scale rural communes, to meet China’s industrial and agricultural problems. The Chinese hoped to develop labour-intensive methods of industrialization, which would emphasize manpower rather than machines and capital expenditure. Thereby, it was hoped, the country could bypass the slow, more typical process of industrialization through gradual accumulation of capital and purchase of heavy machinery. The Great Leap Forward approach was epitomized by the development of small backyard steel furnaces in every village and urban neighbourhood, which were intended to accelerate the industrialization process.

[ … ]

After intense debate, it was decided that agriculture and industry could be developed at the same time by changing people’s working habits and relying on labour rather than machine-centred industrial processes. An experimental commune was established in the north-central province of Henan early in 1958, and the system soon spread throughout the country.

Under the commune system, agricultural and political decisions were decentralized, and ideological purity rather than expertise was emphasized. 

What were the outcomes of the Great Leap Forward?

Encyclopedia Britannica’s study of the Great Leap Forward found:

The program was implemented with such haste by overzealous cadres that implements were often melted to make steel in the backyard furnaces, and many farm animals were slaughtered by discontented peasants. These errors in implementation were made worse by a series of natural disasters and the withdrawal of Soviet support. The inefficiency of the communes and the large-scale diversion of farm labour into small-scale industry disrupted China’s agriculture seriously, and three consecutive years of natural calamities added to what quickly turned into a national disaster; in all, about 20 million people were estimated to have died of starvation between 1959 and 1962.

This breakdown of the Chinese economy caused the government to begin to repeal the Great Leap Forward program by early 1960. 

In an article titled “AOC’s Green New Deal Is a U.S. Version of Mao’s Disastrous Great Leap Forward” the Foundation for Economic Education’s Dr. William Anderson, a Professor of Economics at Frostburg State University, wrote:

In what its supporters have claimed is “visionary,” congressional media darling Alexandria Occasio-Cortez (AOC) has released her short-awaited Green New Deal, and she has called for nothing short of the destruction of life as we have known it:

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said she has no qualms about acknowledging a so-called “Green New Deal” will mean unprecedented governmental intrusion into the private sector. Appearing on NPR, she was asked if she’s prepared to tell Americans outright that her plans involve “massive government intervention.”

We cannot predict what would be the outcome if the Green New Deal Resolution was fully implemented. What we can say is it would require a massive government takeover of all means of production with the stated goal of “saving the planet.”

As George Santayana wrote, ” “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it”

RELATED ARTICLES:

Trump on Venezuela: ‘The days of socialism are numbered’

New directions in national policy, 1958–61

Great Leap Forward

AOC’s Green New Deal Is a U.S. Version of Mao’s Disastrous Great Leap Forward

EDITORS NOTE: The featured photo is by Alfonso Castro on Unsplash.

Panera Bread’s Socialism Experiment in Ends in Failure

The last vestige of Panera Bread’s pay-what-you-want Utopian business model will succumb to reality on February 15th.

In 2010, Panara Cares launched as a “non-profit” experiment that allowed patrons to pay whatever amount they felt for meals. Not surprisingly, all five of the locations were unable to sustain operations as, according to Panera founder Ron Shaich, “people ultimately came to the locations for a handout.”

Shaich once defended the the Panera Cares concept saying, “In many ways, this whole experiment is ultimately a test of humanity.”

However, the “donations” at the original Panera Cares location in Portland, Oregon only covered 60 to 70 percent of the total operating costs. Either “humanity” doesn’t appreciate the costs associated with running a restaurant, or people just happen to view a “free lunch” for exactly what it is.

Indeed, when the St. Louis Panera Cares location closed in 2018, Shaich admitted, “The nature of the economics did not make sense.”

The decision to close the last Panera Cares store in Boston, Massachusetts was made by Panera’s new owner, the JAB Holding Company, which is also the parent company of Peet’s Coffee (3 – Neutral), and Krispy Kreme (3 -Neutral). JAB also holds a majority ownership stake in Keurig Dr. Pepper (3 – Neutral).

Help us continue highlighting how corporations support the left’s agenda by becoming a 2ndVote Member today!

RELATED ARTICLES:

Socialism Has Already Hurt America

Panera’s Utopian “Pay What You Can Afford” Experiment Meets a Predictable End

EDITORS NOTE: This 2ndVote column with images is republished with permission. The featured image is by Shutterstock.

The Future is Now: Bitcoin Acceptance is Growing

Over the last couple of years, many folks have been lured to the cryptocurrency space expecting to hold or trade their way to riches. Despite the 2018 downtrend in markets, those who bought in pre-summer 2017 are likely still looking at some healthy profits.

Bitcoin wasn’t just created for speculation though. The clue is in the name – digital currency. That said, the process of turning some of your gains into usable money can be arduous. You first must bring your funds out of cold storage, get them to a Bitcoin exchange that allows fiat withdrawals, register your bank details, and wait for the withdrawal. It’s all a bit convoluted. Fortunately, you often don’t have to worry about any of that (or the harsh withdrawal and exchange fees that usually accompany it).

Just about any purchase you could possibly make can already be completed entirely using Bitcoin. From web services to outdoor gear, online entertainment to real estate, the future is already here. Hell, you can even buy that famous cup of coffee that many Bitcoin protesters are always banging on about. Let’s look at some of the options in more detail.

Online Purchases

There are loads of ways to spend your Bitcoin in a strictly online capacity. Any firm that supports credit or debit card transactions can technically accept the digital currency. It’s actually a lot simpler than making a legacy systems payment too. Just scan a QR code or copy a string of digits into your wallet and hit send. You don’t have to worry about personal data being stolen by hackers from the site either!

Here are some of the main online retailers accepting Bitcoin as a payment for goods and services:

  • Overstock.com – this online retailer sells mostly homewares, along with toys, sporting goods, jewellery, clothes, and gadgets. Their prices are pretty good too!
  • Shopify stores – merchants operating their own stores on e-commerce platform Shopify can opt to accept Bitcoin if they choose so. You’ll find an eclectic bunch of goods offered for the virtual currency there.
  • Subscription services – some massive names accept Bitcoin to pay for the subscriptions they offer. These include Microsoft, 4Chan, Reddit, Bloomberg, WordPress.com, NameCheap, and Chicago Sun-Times.
  • Travel services – when booking your next flight or hotel, check out some of these options to spend your Bitcoin in getting you from A to B. You can even get somewhere to rest up when you arrive: Expedia, airBaltic, AirTreks, and CheapAir.com. If you really want to splash the cash on the most exotic trip possible, head over to Virgin Galactic and check out their Bitcoin offerings.

Real-World Purchases

Real-world purchases with Bitcoin are a little trickier than their online counterparts, for now. That’s because when you want to have a quick bite to eat or even to pay for a home in person, you’re limited by your geographical location. Since many retailers haven’t begun to accept Bitcoin yet, finding one might be more trouble than it’s worth!

  • Real-estate – if you did really well from Bitcoin’s meteoric rise over the last five years, you could buy property with the virtual currency. All budgets are catered for too. There was the famous example of the massive Moscow mansion selling for Bitcoin. Meanwhile, at the other end of the spectrum, a man from Grimsby, UK, offered to sell his modest, terrace house for crypto last year. The US has also joined the trend, and if you are looking to buy a lake house in the state of Minnesota, you can pay for it with Bitcoin at some real estate agencies.
  • Bars, restaurants, and coffee shops – this one is a little bit location-dependent. However, if you live or are visiting one of the destinations on the growing list of Bitcoin-friendly cities, you’ll have loads of options to spend your gains. Berlin, Reykjavik, and Ljubljana are amongst the top spots for live Bitcoin purchases. The likes of KFC Canada have even had cryptocurrency promotions in the past. However, these were for a limited period only.
  • Entertainment – if you’re out in Vegas at a loose end, you can even pay for a spot of late-night activities using Bitcoin in the flesh. A strip club in Las Vegas has seen the advantages of a pseudonymous payment system early, and some of their exotic dancers come adorned with QR codes, so you can tip them directly using Bitcoin.
  • Charity – the Twin Cities, which are Minneapolis and Saint Paul, have long embraced cryptocurrencies with Bitcoin ATMs popping up regularly across the area. But, it’s not the only space the community is seeking to disrupt. Recently, Minnesota’s charity organizations have started accepting Bitcoin donations. The relevant authorities believe this will not only contribute to the public good, but also help boost mass adoption of cryptocurrencies. 

Mixing the Virtual and the Physical

Finally, if the store you wanted to shop at doesn’t directly accept Bitcoin, that doesn’t mean you can’t use it. Several gift card services have sprung up in the last couple of years. You pay for the card in Bitcoin (or another supported cryptocurrency) and you receive the voucher to your email. You can then use the code from the card online or print the voucher off and take it down to the store to do your shopping in an old-school style.

The following services are more than happy to sell you a gift card in exchange for some Bitcoin: GiftOff, eGifter, and Gyft. These vendors offer gift cards for some massive companies including but certainly not limited to:

  • Decathlon
  • Tesco
  • Pizza Express
  • Nike
  • Amazon
  • Adidas
  • Domino’s
  • Dunkin’ Donuts
  • Macy’s

It’s even possible to use a peer-to-peer marketplace and sell your Bitcoin to someone directly in exchange for a gift voucher. You’ll be amazed at the price increase you can charge too. We’ve seen a trader offering Bitmain vouchers in exchange for Bitcoin with a 75% markup!

The list of places you can spend your Bitcoin continues to grow each week. With options to suit just about every taste, it can be quite difficult not to abandon your strategy and just blow a hefty chunk on a two-man kayak canoe, those Nike sneakers you’ve been pining after, or even a luxury apartment.

EDITORS NOTE: The featured image is by Pixabay.

Don’t Believe the Fake News. Tax Cuts for Everyday Americans Are Real.

The left-leaning media would have you believe that the 2017 tax cuts were nothing of the sort. Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., recently tweeted that average refunds are down, calling the president’s tax cut a “middle-class tax hike.”

This is simply the latest episode in a long-running campaign to demagogue tax cuts that let the vast majority of Americans keep more of their hard-earned money.

Some of the biggest cuts are actually being enjoyed by the lowest-income Americans. A typical family of four got a $2,917 tax cut this year.

So what’s the complaint about?

In an early sample of tax returns, the IRS has reported that average refunds are down $170 from last year and that they hadn’t changed much from 2017, the year before.

But this is not relevant, for two reasons.

First, the sample of tax returns cited by the IRS is very small, and some analysts expect refunds will actually go up this year.

But second, and more importantly, tax refunds have nothing to do with the size of anyone’s tax cut. A refund is what you get back if you’ve paid too much in taxes throughout the year. Your tax cut is the drop in total taxes you owed to Uncle Sam last year. The two are not connected.

Employers across the country already gave us our tax cuts by withholding less money from our paychecks every pay period. Americans saw a bump to their paychecks in February 2018.

Of course, withholding is never perfectly accurate, so your refund or tax payment at the end of the year is simply a last-minute adjustment. But that refund does not cancel out the overall bump in take-home pay due to the tax cut.

Do you remember when House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called the tax cuts “monumental, brazen theft,” or when former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers predicted the tax cuts would kill 10,000 people every year? This most recent round of hysteria is just more of the same.

Last year, The Heritage Foundation calculated what Americans across the country can expect from the tax cuts. The average household can expect about $26,000 more in take-home pay over the next 10 years thanks to the tax reform.

Americans benefit twice from the tax cuts—first, by paying less in taxes, and a second time from higher wages generated by a faster-growing economy.

At the end of 2018, workers saw some of the largest wage gains in over 10 years, and unemployment rates remain historically low. Over the next 10 years, because of 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.

The average American household can expect to pay about $1,400 less in taxes in 2018. But depending on where you live and how many kids you have, the numbers can look different.

In communities that had high tax bills last year, such as Palo Alto, California’s district (CA-18) represented in the House by Anna Eshoo, or one of New York City’s Manhattan districts (NY-12) represented by Carolyn Maloney, the average tax cut could be as much as $3,000.

Lower-income communities, such as areas near Phoenix, Arizona (AZ-7), represented in the House by Ruben Gallego, as well as Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (PA-2), will see much larger cuts in their tax bills. In these communities, tax reform brought an average income tax cut of 18 percent or more.

And the tax cuts are especially good news for parents. A married couple filing jointly with two children will see their tax bills fall by $2,917.

In the coming years, the tax cuts will continue to raise wages, increase investment, and expand economic opportunities. They will also continue through 2025. 

Don’t let the misinformation about refunds throw you off. Middle-class and lower-income Americans are the biggest beneficiaries from the tax cuts.

COMMENTARY BY

Portrait of Adam Michel

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: @adamnmichel.

The Daily Signal depends on the support of readers like you. Donate now

EDITORS NOTE: This Daily Signal column with images is republished with permission. The featured image is by Pixabay.

Breakdown: The World Is Measurably Better Since January 2017

The largely unreported and to some ironic reality of the past two years is that the world overall is a better, safer, more prosperous place since the swearing in of Donald Trump as President of the United States in 2016. Better than it was under Barack Obama and better than it was under George W. Bush.

Despite the nonstop onslaught of negative reporting on Trump — 90 percent according to the Media Research Center (there’s been 10 percent positive?) — and the breathless reporting on the government shutdown, the latest Robert Mueller leak or arrest, the Kavanaugh hearing fiasco, fake news such as BuzzFeed’s flat wrong non-story on Trump telling Michael Cohen to lie, the disgusting anti-Christian bigotry associated with the MAG-hat Covington Catholic High School students and so on ad infinitum — Trump’s approval ratings remain right in the range they were when he took office, and ticking upward.

That suggests that the relentlessly anti-Trump, Democratic partisan media is washed out by what his actual policies have so clearly accomplished.

But it also suggests that a lot of Americans — probably more than are reflected in polls, and at least some who support Trump — simply do not feel safe saying to anyone that they realize how much better off the country and the world are. It wasn’t supposed to happen. But the media not reporting something does not mean it didn’t happen.

So here are some of the major areas where the world is demonstrably better off since January 2016:

→ First, the economy, duh! 304,000 jobs in January, blowing out all of the predictions. Manufacturing has burst back in the U.S. when President Obama said those jobs would never return. (Man, that guy was wrong a lot.) GDP growth 50 percent higher than it had been under Obama, even though the recovery is now long in the tooth. This has led to a growing consensus among non-political economists that what has driven the economic renaissance has been tax cuts, massive deregulation, stronger trade policy, tax breaks to lure back offshore capital, and a dramatic rise in oil and natural gas production.

→ The entire federal court system will be far more conservative and constitutional for a generation as Trump’s judicial nominees have been uniformly originalists and conservative…and young. This means that there should be fewer overtly political rulings in which the law and constitution are bent to judges’ political views like a reed in the wind, and more solid rules for governing and living.

→ The dishonest and duplicitous media has been unmasked for the partisans they are. This was unintended, of course, but Americans are better off knowing this (something I have known for many, many years as a former member of the mainstream media.) The media’s vicious partisanship has been widely self-exposed for Americans to see, although many members of the media themselves seem to remain in denial. The vast majority of Americans do not.

→ China’s systemic cheating on trade agreements and thieving of intellectual properties has been called out and responded to forcefully. Since Trump’s inauguration, an accepted consensus has emerged that China’s actions pose a commercial threat to world trade, to its geographic neighbors and to the security of the United States. Ultimately, we will end up with better, more fair trade that will absolutely benefit American companies and workers, but also will benefit most of the rest of the world, which will be more empowered to demand better, more fair agreements for their companies and workers.

→ Pulling out of the terrorist-enabling Iran nuclear agreement did not result in the end of the world, In fact, the world basically yawned past the regular hyperbolic media coverage. Further, most of the sanctions have been reinstated, including by our European friends, when the media Democrats assured us they could not be. Iran is feeling the pinch. Leashing up the murderous Mullah’s financially makes the world that much safer.

→Similarly, when the U.S. walked away from the essentially worthless, symbolic Paris Climate Accords, the world did not warm and seas did not rise. Actually, the U.S. continues to be a leader in reduction of carbon emissions, largely through the voluntary, innovative private sector.

→ The U.S. showed its promise-keeping resolve for the first time when Trump directed the U.S. embassy in Israel to be moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem — just like Obama, Bush and Bill Clinton had promised to do before him, but never did. The hyperventilating over lighting the Middle East tinderbox never materialized. The normal amount of Muslim terrorism and Israeli military response ensued afterwards as before.

→ Black Americans are enjoying an employment resurgence like that not seen since before the disastrous implementing of the Great Society. While overall U.S. unemployment hit a 50-year low in Trump’s second year, joblessness among black Americans has set a modern record as well. Black employment has risen about 1.3 million under Trump to hit a record 19.3 million in October. Now this clearly started before Trump, but that it accelerated this long into a recovery is fairly remarkable.

→ Russian aggression against Ukraine and other small neighbors has been held in check as the U.S. has sent arms and supplies to the Ukraine and stiffened the response to Russian belligerence. The tough talk had already been backed by missile attacks against Russian mercenaries in Syria and Russian-backed Syrian allies. Using the big stick once or twice means carrying it around becomes a deterrent — not a joke as with the previous president. The crossing of any red line is obviously not going to be acceptable and Russia knows that.

→ Trump’s forceful efforts to denuclearize North Korea resulted in a one-one-one summit with President Kim, and second one coming up. It started with tough talk, followed by the movement of U.S. naval and air power off the coast. It’s ended so far with the self-destruction of some of North Korea’s nuclear facilities and no more of the missile tests that had become common under Obama.

→ Most of our European allies in NATO have been weak and sometimes duplicitous on defense, refusing to live up to their promise on minimal military expenditures to help defend themselves from Russia. Trump again talked tough. Considering he had pulled out of the Paris climate accords and the Iran agreement, European leaders worry he could follow through on NATO threats. They have accordingly increased their defense spending by a combined $100 billion now so far — strengthening free countries against tyranny.

→ ISIS decapitated.

There are plenty more. But this hits the highlights. By all the evidence, it is unarguable, even by the Orange Man Bad crowd, that the world is better off now than two years ago.

EDITORS NOTE: This The Revolutionary Act column is republished with permission. The featured image is by Pixabay.