The Unseen Cost of Government Largesse

The U.S. government recently hit its $31.5 trillion debt limit after years of careening baseline spending on entitlements combined with emergency COVID-19 spending in the last few years to produce record-busting deficits. The new Republican majority in the House of Representatives, elected largely on economic concerns like inflation and runaway spending, now faces an obstinate Senate and White House. A showdown appears likely as does the ritual brow-beating of all those who object to simply raising the debt limit “without conditions,” as President Biden demands.

To those who will inevitably cry, “Don’t use the debt ceiling as a negotiating tool!” over the coming weeks and months, it should be pointed out that it is the only tool that has been even remotely effective at taming Congress’s appetite for spending. In the same way that an intervention is only possible when a drug addict is in crisis, debt limit negotiations are the only context in which Uncle Sam has accepted even modest constraints on government spending in recent decades.

Conservatives and libertarians rightly decry the rapidly-expanding national debt as an embarrassment, a threat to the nation, a root cause of inflation (as the Federal Reserve must expand its balance sheet to purchase the Treasuries that finance these huge deficits, as happened most clearly in the pandemic’s peak), and a promise of higher future taxes. While all these are accurate observations, one effect of massive government spending and deficits is often overlooked in the standard conservative critique: the forgone private investment of capital and therefore forgone economic growth, often termed the “crowding out effect.”

The basic idea is that there exists a total sum of money, or financial capital, that individual and institutional investors are willing to loan out or invest. Most economists call this the “loanable funds market.” The supply of loans, as with any supply curve, slopes upward and to the right. In other words, as the interest rate (the price of a loan) rises, more people will be eager to supply loans. In contrast, the demand for loanable funds slopes, like a normal demand curve, downward and to the right. That is, as the interest rate goes down, more people are interested in borrowing money. Just think of any normal supply-demand graph, but with the good in question being a loan rather than a physical good or a service, and the vertical axis labeled “interest rate” rather than “price,” as in other markets.

The demand for loanable funds is a function of how much capital investment businesses need (which is itself a function of how profitable those capital investments are), what quantity of money consumers need for purchases like homes and new vehicles, and how much money the government needs to borrow. In a game where the total supply of loanable funds per year is set, say at $5 trillion, every $1 trillion the government runs up in deficits is $1 trillion less available for private investment in the innovations that improve quality of life, bring us new medicines, and create new jobs.

Increased government deficits shift the demand for loanable funds to the right. As any student of elementary economics knows, this increases the price, or in this case, the nominal interest rate. Many private sector projects that make sense at 4 percent interest are no longer acted upon if the government runs such a large deficit that the interest rate must increase to 7 percent for investors to shell out the cash necessary to finance that deficit. Increasing the supply of loanable funds through monetary expansion, as happened in the COVID pandemic with breathtaking speed, can temporarily hide this effect. However, this spurs inflation that reduces real returns and hampers economic growth (the stock market’s dismal returns since runaway inflation started in late 2021 is one example of this result).

In contrast to the Keynesian “money multiplier” theory, which insists that government spending stimulates the economy by circulating money via transfer payments that otherwise would have remained in savings and uncirculated, savings in nearly all developed countries are not locked away gathering moths and rust, but invested. Of every dollar put in the bank, more than 90 percent is invested in loans for commercial enterprises, in home loans, and in bonds, and this doesn’t account for the fact that a larger and larger share of surplus savings in the United States are not in the traditional banking system, but in brokerage accounts, 401(k)s, and elsewhere.

Government spending does not multiply the economic power of money, it diminishes it. If the opposite were true, Cuba, North Korea, and Venezuela would be among the wealthiest nations on the planet, since nearly all economic activity is facilitated through government spending in those nations. That they are not, but that nations with relatively free markets such as the United States, Singapore, the United Kingdom, and Japan punch above their weight economically suggests that private investment in the innovations and technologies of tomorrow everywhere and always beats government transfer payments in facilitating economic growth.

Every dollar the government must borrow is a dollar not available for private businesses or individuals to borrow, and that reduces future economic growth and job creation. With America’s debt now hovering near 125 percent of GDP (before netting for debt held by government entities) and deficits topping $1 trillion yearly as far as the eye can see, we can no longer ignore this drag on the American economy.

AUTHOR

Nathan J. Richendollar

Nathan Richendollar is a summa cum laude economics and politics graduate of Washington and Lee University in Lexington, VA. He lives in Southwest Missouri and works in the financial sector.

RELATED ARTICLE: Why Do Wages Rise? Not Because of Minimum Wage Laws, New Data Show

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

The IRS has Taxpayers Subsidize the ‘Iran Lobby’

And the double standard on pro-Israel and pro-Iran groups.


During the freedom protests in Iran, #NIACLobbies4Mullahs trended on Twitter.

It’s not the first time that Iranian refugees, dissidents and activists have denounced the National Iranian American Council (NIAC) and accused it of acting as the ‘Iran Lobby’. But the over 300,000 tweets demonstrated the forceful opposition of Iranians to the regime and to the ‘Iran Lobby’. So did the marchers in Washington D.C. chanting, “NIAC is not our voice!”

“Iranians expect @TheJusticeDept to look into this hashtag: #NIACLobbies4Mullahs,” Arash Sobhani, a prominent Iranian-American musician and dissident, tweeted.

A Justice Department investigation of NIAC for violations of the Foreign Agent Registration Act (FARA) is long overdue and has been urged by Senator Tom Cotton and other legislators.

But the pro-Iran group has also maintained a tax-exempt status with the IRS for over 20 years and that’s all the more remarkable considering the very different treatment of pro-Israel groups.

The New York Times has spent over a decade urging the IRS to investigate pro-Israel non-profits. In 2021, antisemitic congressmembers, including Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rep. Rashida Tlaib, and Rep. Andre Carson, who met with Louis Farrakhan, signed a letter urging the Biden administration to crack down on the tax-exempt status of pro-Israel groups.

Treasury Secretary Yellen “must act to enforce US law and end these organizations 501(c)(3) status,” Rep. Tlaib tweeted.

If the Biden administration uses the IRS to go after pro-Israel groups, it will be following up on the work of the Obama administration which launched an unprecedented effort to shut down pro-Israel groups who were critical of its foreign policy including its empowerment of Iran.

In 2009, Z Street founder Lori Lowenthal Marcus applied for tax exempt status for the pro-Israel group. When the IRS refused to move forward, she was told that it “has to give special scrutiny to organizations connected to Israel.”

NIAC was never given this special level of scrutiny. Nor was the American Iranian Council, whose founder had run for the presidency of Iran and at whose events Biden had appeared.

In 2009, Eli Lake, then of the Washington Timeswarned that communications between NIAC founder Trita Paris and Iran’s UN ambassador “offer evidence that the group has operated as an undeclared lobby and may be guilty of violating tax laws, the Foreign Agents Registration Act and lobbying disclosure laws.”

IFMAT, an Iranian dissident site, alleged that, “according to NIAC’s own documents released during the lawsuit, the organization used to ‘defraud IRS [and] did not report lobbying.’”

The IRS however appeared to show little interest in NIAC and instead went after pro-Israel groups. While pro-Israel groups were asked to “explain their religious beliefs about the Land of Israel”, there’s no sign that NIAC has been asked to explain Shiite religious beliefs about Iran.

Before founding NIAC, Trita Parsi had created, “Iranians for International Cooperation” which admitted that it existed to “safeguard Iran’s and Iranian interests”. The same IRS, which had asked of a pro-Israel group, “does your organization support the existence of the land of Israel?” did not seem especially interested in whether NIAC supported an Islamic terror state.

Parsi then moved on to the American Iranian Council before founding NIAC allegedly in coordination with Hamyaran which had been created by the Iranian government.

The IRS however decided to go after pro-Israel groups instead. Five of these groups were audited at the same time even as revelations about NIAC were emerging. “Israel is one of many Middle Eastern countries that have a ‘higher risk of terrorism,’” an IRS manager argued.

Israel had a higher risk of terrorism because Iran was targeting it with a terror campaign. But instead of scrutinizing the terrorists, the IRS decided that the victims of Islamic terrorism were the ones who really needed investigating.

In 2018, the case by Z Street was finally settled after eight years of litigation.

Lori Lowenthal Marcus told Front Page Magazine that, “One of the excuses given to Z Street by an IRS official was that the IRS had to make sure we were not ‘engaged in terrorism’ because we mentioned ‘terror’ in our mission statement. The part of Z Street’s mission that mentioned terror? ‘We will not engage with, negotiate with or appease terrorists.’ Yet Z Street’s application for 501(c)(3) status was sidelined for seven years while Z Street litigated the IRS’s unconstitutional application of Viewpoint Discrimination against us.”

The IRS demonstrated that when it came to Z Street and other pro-Israel groups, it was willing and able to scrutinize, investigate and harass them. It has demonstrated the same thing with conservative groups. It is not however willing to apply that same standard to the ‘Iran Lobby’.

And the reasons may be obvious.

NIAC Action, its sister PAC, endorsed Biden and declared, “our long, national nightmare is almost over. AP has called the race for Joe Biden.”

Jamal Abdi, the executive director of NIAC Action, was one of Biden’s bundlers and claimed that its members had dominated phone banks and donated $385,000 to Biden.

NIAC Action had gushed that, “our long, national nightmare is almost over. AP has called the race for Joe Biden”.

“It’s an obscene joke that NIAC was given and retains the U.S. government’s permission to provide its donors with the ability to write off their tax donations to the Islamic Republic of Iran’s U.S. cheerleading squad, NIAC,” Marcus, the founder of Z Street, told Front Page Magazine.

In Iran, protesters are putting their lives on the line for freedom. And some of them are calling for a long overdue investigation of the ‘Iran Lobby’ and its influence over American politics.

NIAC Action’s recent endorsements include Rep. Katie Porter, who now aspires to the Senate, Rep. Ro Khanna, who is seen as the successor for the Bernie Sanders camp and a possible presidential candidate, and antisemitic figures like Rep. Ilhan Omar and Rep. Rashida Tlaib.

After over two decades of neglect by the IRS, NIAC has gained unprecedented influence.

NIAC’s nonprofit status is evidence of a glaring double standard by the IRS and a national security crisis.

AUTHOR

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

The Corporate Cancel Club: How 1,000+ Companies Stack Up on Anti-Conservative Bias

If you’ve been in the conservative movement long enough, getting canceled is almost inevitable. At some point, your beliefs about faith, the climate, marriage, abortion, or transgenderism will put you crosswise with America’s woke CEOs, and a notice will arrive in your inbox: You’ve been dropped. For some, that’s a badge of honor. For others, it’s a monumental headache. Either way, finding a vendor who won’t take their radical politics out on clients has never been harder. Fortunately for today’s counter-culturists, there’s help.

For everyone who’s felt like choosing a business partner, merchant, or bank is like walking through a minefield blind, the 1792 Exchange is about to make life easier. The group’s new database, released Tuesday, scores more than 1,000 companies on how likely they are to cut ties with consumers over their beliefs. In their Spotlight Report: Corporate Bias Ratings, each business is graded on the low, medium, or high likelihood that conservatives will be canceled, denied service, or pressured to compromise based on their “political and religious views.”

It should be a powerful weapon in the hands of conservatives and faith-based groups, who’ve not only started doing battle with corporate activism on the state and shareholder levels but who are also desperately in need of safe, neutral spaces in today’s marketplace. “We want Americans to understand where they are truly free to conduct business,” the exchange’s president and movement veteran Paul Fitzpatrick said in a statement. This project, he explained, is the “result of countless hours investigating ‘woke’ corporate bias against religious expression, freedom of speech, and free enterprise.”

Fitzpatrick insists the goal is two-fold. First, “to help Americans understand the risks present with certain corporations and give them a voice when they encounter this type of discrimination.” But just as importantly (and maybe more so), the desired outcome is “for the ‘high risk’ companies, especially public ones, to take notice, change their behavior, and serve all customers — regardless of ideology.”

Finding these Fortune 500 pressure points has become a more urgent priority for conservatives, who finally found a champion in corporate giant-killers like Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R) and Georgia Governor Brian Kemp (R). Now, what was once a lonely crusade for a handful of activists has turned into a full-blown grassroots effort to force Big Business to abandon its hyper-politicized agenda.

For longtime targets of the Left, like Family Research Council, the 1792 Exchange’s report came as welcome news. In the last couple of years, FRC has been dropped or had its contracts revoked by MobileCause (September 2020), Soundcloud (Fall 2020), Sprout Social (Fall 2020), Buffer (September 2021), and ContentCal (October 2021) — all either implicitly or explicitly for holding biblical views. Now, as more companies lean into radical ESG (Environmental, Social, Governance) investing, faith-based organizations are even more at risk.

“When corporations are politicized,” Fitzpatrick told The Washington Stand, “it harms shareholders, America’s retirement savings, makes energy and food more expensive and more scarce, and makes our nation less safe. We want to help U.S. corporations be more profitable and push back against activists trying to leverage them. To do so, they must treat their customers, employees, vendors, and communities with respect.”

Progressives have tried to capture the last conservative institution — corporations — to “change our culture and economy in ways they couldn’t achieve through Congress or the courts,” Fitzpatrick insisted. But those scales may finally be tipping, thanks to a Republican Party no longer willing to fund the Left’s war on their values. This latest development puts businesses’ virtue signalers on notice: Americans won’t rest until all viewpoints have a seat at the table.

Until then, “we want to equip you to protect yourself,” Fitzpatrick says, “whether you’re running a small business, nonprofit, or your family.”

AUTHOR

Suzanne Bowdey

Suzanne Bowdey serves as editorial director and senior writer at The Washington Stand.

EDITORS NOTE: This Washington Stand column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved. The Washington Stand is Family Research Council’s outlet for news and commentary from a biblical worldview. The Washington Stand is based in Washington, D.C. and is published by FRC, whose mission is to advance faith, family, and freedom in public policy and the culture from a biblical worldview. We invite you to stand with us by partnering with FRC.

Insider Trading Bill Returns To Congress Under New Title ‘PELOSI Act’

Preventing Elected Leaders from Owning Securities and Investments (PELOSI) Act. Brilliant.

Pelosi got obscenely wealthy trading on  insider government intel. She’s not the only one.

Sen. Hawley’s Insider Trading Bill Returns To Congress Under New Title ‘PELOSI Act’

By Brandon Drey • Daily Wire • Jan 24, 2023 •

U.S. Senator Josh Hawley (R-MO) reintroduced his 2022 insider trading bill Tuesday that would ban lawmakers and their spouses from holding and trading individual stocks and force political figures to return profits to American citizens under a new title dubbed the “PELOSI Act.”

The Preventing Elected Leaders from Owning Securities and Investments (PELOSI) Act comes just over a year after Hawley introduced the original bill, in which he accuses politicians of somehow outperforming the stock market every year they hold office.

This time around, the senator’s updated version takes a jab at California Rep. Nancy Pelosi, who many Republican lawmakers had slammed after her husband, Paul Pelosi, sold up to $5 million worth of shares in Nvidia, a California company that produces semiconductors, just before the House voted on a bill surrounding the domestic chip manufacturing industry.

“For too long, politicians in Washington have taken advantage of the economic system they write the rules for, turning profits for themselves at the expense of the American people,” Hawley said in a news release.

In addition to prohibiting members of Congress from taking advantage of the market and wielding their power and privilege over American citizens, The PELOSI Act would also ban said politicians from holding diversified mutual funds, exchange-traded funds, or exempt U.S. Treasury bonds.

Six months upon assuming office, the bill would require new congressional members to divest or place prohibited holdings in a blind trust — to remain there while they are serving the American people.

Spouses of American politicians in Congress would also have to forfeit any investment profits back to the American people through the U.S. Treasury…

Keep reading.

AUTHOR

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EDITORS NOTE: This Geller Report is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

Biden Administration Sues Google Over Allegedly Anticompetitive Ad Practices

The Biden administration’s Department of Justice (DOJ) filed a lawsuit Tuesday against Google, alleging that the tech titan’s dominance in digital advertising was the result of anticompetitive practices.

Eight states — Virginia, California, Colorado, Connecticut, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island and Tennessee — joined the DOJ in the lawsuit, alleging that Google utilized a “simple but effective” plan to successfully establish “durable, industry-wide dominance.” First, Google would buy out “actual or potential” competitors, and secondly, it would simultaneously use its position of dominance to disrupt competitors and ensure that publishers and advertisers used Google products, the complaint alleges.

Google is beset with “pervasive conflicts of interest,” the complaint further alleges. Google owns the technology to offer advertisements space, tools to make better ads and an ad exchange to match publishers with advertisers, and the combination of these powers enables Google to inflate the barrier to entry in digital advertising to “artificially high levels.”

One unnamed Google advertising executive reportedly asked if there was a “deeper issue with us owning the platform, the exchange and a huge network?” according to the complaint. “The analogy would be if Goldman or Citibank owned the [New York Stock Exchange].”

Google said that the lawsuit was “flawed,” and repeated arguments made in an ongoing lawsuit by Texas attorney general Ken Paxton, in a statement to the Daily Caller News Foundation

“Today’s lawsuit from the DOJ attempts to pick winners and losers in the highly competitive advertising technology sector,” a Google spokesperson told the DCNF. “It largely duplicates an unfounded lawsuit by the Texas Attorney General, much of which was recently dismissed by a federal court. DOJ is doubling down on a flawed argument that would slow innovation, raise advertising fees, and make it harder for thousands of small businesses and publishers to grow”

The move comes just days after Google cut 12,000 employees as a cost-saving measure in anticipation of a difficult economic year. Like other Big Tech firms, ad revenue fell for Google in 2022, leading its video-sharing and streaming platform YouTube to post its first decline in revenue in the third quarter of last year since Google began publicly tracking the stat in 2020.

The DOJ did not immediately respond to a DCNF request for comment.

This story has been updated with comment from Google.

AUTHOR

JOHN HUGH DEMASTRI

Contributor.

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EDITORS NOTE: This Daily Caller column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved. All content created by the Daily Caller News Foundation, an independent and nonpartisan newswire service, is available without charge to any legitimate news publisher that can provide a large audience. All republished articles must include our logo, our reporter’s byline and their DCNF affiliation. For any questions about our guidelines or partnering with us, please contact licensing@dailycallernewsfoundation.org.

New House Majority Attempts Debt-Defying Feat

Will Rogers used to joke, “Alexander Hamilton started the Treasury Department with nothing — and sometimes I think that’s the closest we’ve been to breaking even.”

Not many people saw the humor in that Thursday when the U.S. bumped its head on the debt ceiling, setting the stage for a titanic showdown over America’s spending. While Uncle Sam has maxed out his credit cards for years, the government has never owed anything close to $31 trillion — a failure the new conservative House majority has zero intention of repeating.

If anyone doubts whether the GOP means business, one look at the speaker’s race ought to tell the skeptics all they need to know. The group forged by five days of adversity over Nancy Pelosi’s successor is a hardened and united front now, determined to declare war on the reckless habits that got our country into this mess. Many believe one of the biggest victories the conservative holdouts won was the promise not to raise the debt ceiling until serious budget reforms are made.

Not surprisingly, Democrats are demanding that Congress raise the borrowing limit — no strings attached. Joe Biden, who called Republicans “fiscally demented” for trying to steer America away from the cliff, is insisting that conservatives who want new spending limits can pound sand. Of course, his refusal to negotiate with the GOP is rich considering that he’s added more to the national debt ($3.8 trillion) in two years than our country did in 61 years (1929-1990).

Biden’s pigheadedness is putting the two parties on a collision course for a knock-down, drag-out fight — the likes of which Washington hasn’t seen since 2011 and 1995 when other House majorities tried to put Congress on the spending straight and narrow. Meanwhile, the prospects of Congress coming to blows over America’s ballooning debt is making the media downright hysterical. The New York Times wrung its hands, writing that “breaching the debt limit would lead to a first-ever default for the United States, creating financial chaos in the global economy.” Other Chicken Littles panicked that Republicans will pull the plug on Social Security and Medicare.

The reality is, America has never defaulted on its loans (despite coming dangerously close under Barack Obama). Even now, the House GOP is working on an emergency plan to keep the government afloat while the two sides hammer out an agreement. Conservatives have said that non-Defense spending will be first on the chopping block, but that doesn’t mean, as Rep. Andy Harris (R-Md.) joked with me on “Washington Watch,” that “nasty Republicans are going to push grandma off a cliff.” “We’re going to start with non-Medicare, non-Social Security spending,” he insisted. But frankly, Harris said, we should ultimately have “a bipartisan agreement on how to control all our federal spending.”

And yet the media would have you believe that any Republican who wants to leverage the moment to help America sober up after decades of a spending binge is reckless. “Crazy even,” National Review’s Veronique De Rugy writes. The fact of the matter is, our fiscal house is a disaster “and Congress is to blame for it. … These people are upset about the symptom of the disease, not the disease itself.”

Ironically, these same media outlets didn’t seem the slightest bit concerned when it was Biden and Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) opposing multiple debt ceiling hikes. Back in 2006 and 2004, the two men could’ve been mistaken for Ronald Reagan, saying such things as “This massive accumulation of debt … was the result of willful and reckless disregard for the warnings that were given and for the fundamentals of economic management.” That was then-Senator Joe Biden before voting against increasing the debt limit. Schumer was so against the idea that he ran ads about it.

Apparently, the press is messaging this debate the same way they did the speaker’s race: demanding Republicans stop whining and fall in line. Conservatives who didn’t earlier this month, who made demands of their next leader in exchange for their support, were “terrorists.” Today, when Republicans ask for everyone to come to the table, Democratic Sen. Brian Schatz (Hawaii) lashes out, “There is no table.”

In other words, Congress should just roll over and rubber-stamp more borrowing to fund the Left’s agenda. If that’s the House’s perfunctory duty, as the critics say, why even vote? Or, could it be that this is a neglected accountability tool for lawmakers to keep spending in check?

I know some Americans will yawn at the country’s predicament. We’ve become numb to the big numbers. Living within our means seems to be an ideal long lost in this age of excess and instant gratification. But as everyone eventually learns, borrowing of this magnitude is ultimately unsustainable — and it’s immoral for us to leave it to our children and grandchildren to pay Washington’s piper. This is a fight that needs to be had, and we need to have it now.

When Ronald Reagan took office, the government’s debt was $650 billion. By 2010, it had skyrocketed to $10 trillion. Now, we’re approaching three times that number. And it’s not because Republicans have been spending angels, and Democrats have been devils. Both parties have been irresponsible. But we can’t keep swimming in red ink as a country and hope to survive. We have to address it.

Some of the ideas floating through the conservative caucus are completely reasonable solutions like “no budget, no pay,” which withhold lawmakers’ pay when they don’t pass budgets. For years, they’ve been kicking the can of appropriations down the road, which has resulted in gigantic, unread, multi-trillion-dollar boondoggles like we saw in the December omnibus. No more, House conservatives said in the speaker’s fight. It’s time to send these 13 budgets through regular order — holding hearings, conducting mark-ups, and giving members time to digest and amend the bills.

In return for a debt ceiling increase, Republicans will almost certainly demand across-the-board cuts and savings. There are calls to balance the budget in 10 years and scale back on glutted entitlements.

“The bottom line is we can’t just keep raising the debt ceiling year after year and just whistling past the graveyard on this,” Harris warned. “[O]ur debt exceeds our entire output of our economy. We are beyond the point where Greece was about 10 years ago when they essentially went bankrupt, so it’s completely unreasonable for the president to not want to negotiate some spending control.”

He compared it to a teenager maxing out his credit cards and telling his parents, “Look, just raise my limit. Don’t talk to me about controlling my spending.” “It’s crazy,” Harris shook his head. “We will discuss it, and the president will have to negotiate … because the debt ceiling is not going to be increased by the House without some spending control.”

At the end of the day, the new majority may not be able to take the credit cards away, but they can put a serious dent in Congress’s allowance. True leadership means “the bucks stop here.” It’s time for Republicans to take charge — and not the plastic kind!

AUTHOR

Tony Perkins

Tony Perkins is president of Family Research Council and executive editor of The Washington Stand.

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EDITORS NOTE: This The Washington Stand column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved. The Washington Stand is Family Research Council’s outlet for news and commentary from a biblical worldview. The Washington Stand is based in Washington, D.C. and is published by FRC, whose mission is to advance faith, family, and freedom in public policy and the culture from a biblical worldview. We invite you to stand with us by partnering with FRC.

VIDEO: Billions of Dollars for Lost Wages During Pandemic Went to Improper Payments

Billions of taxpayer dollars for the COVID-19 Lost Wages Assistance program went to improper payments that the Federal Emergency Management Agency failed to control.

Open the Books founder Adam Andrzejewski joined The National Desk’s Jan Jeffcoat Friday morning to discuss the money.

“The president, by August of 2020, authorized FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, to provide extra unemployment payments to people who had real needs,” he said. “It was up to $44 billion worth of extra payments. And eventually, very quickly, within 11 days, about $37 billion was allocated from the Federal Emergency Management System into the state’s unemployment aid system to provide additional dollars … There was $3.7 billion basically stolen from the program on these improper payments.”

It’s yet another case of economic fallout from pandemic-related programs.

Andrzejewski says it comes down to a “lack of control” that led to so much cash getting into the hands of the wrong people.

“Through the Department of Homeland Security, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, they piggyback off the state unemployment aid programs. And those add a complete lack of accounting control and fraud,” he said. “This is the greatest public fraud in the history of the country that came out of our unemployment state programs … Congress had allocated $800 billion to the Unemployment Aid Program, again to serve people who had real needs. And now we know that up to half of it, $400 billion, was stolen by criminals, cons artists and crime syndicates around the world.”

Andrzejewski says it’s a prime issue for the new Republican majority in the House to investigate within their fraud committees.

RELATED: Map: Congressional Earmarks in 2023

EDITORS NOTE: This Open The Books expose is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

Orwellian Spy Tools Alert: The ‘Convenience’ Is a Trap

Big Data, Transhumanism and Why the Singularity May Be Faked.


STORY AT-A-GLANCE

  • Silicon Valley is essentially fused with the national security state. Silicon Valley is now also entering into joint ventures with medical companies, and many of these ventures are financed by groups like In-Q-Tel, which is the CIA’s venture capital arm
  • There’s a concerted effort to frame transhumanism — which is really the new eugenics — as health care. Joint ventures involving Big Tech, Big Pharma and the security state typically focus on products and services that normalize and further the transhumanist agenda
  • Food and agriculture are also being tossed into the mix. The U.S. government has launched a “Food is Medicine” program, which is yet another way for the government to seize control of the population. Food as medicine will be used to get you into their control system, and keep you there
  • In 2023 and 2024, watch for the rollout of central bank digital currencies (CBDCs). It’s crucial that as many people as possible refuse the system during the initial voluntary phase. Once it becomes mandatory, it cannot be stopped and all freedoms will be lost
  • If the singularity cannot be achieved, technocrats may end up faking it, because if they can blame eugenics, depopulation and other unethical decisions on artificial intelligence running the government, they can do whatever they want, with no repercussions

I recently interviewed investigative journalist Whitney Webb about her two-volume book series, “One Nation Under Blackmail.” She’s been on tour, promoting the books in dozens of interviews.

Here, we discuss some of her experiences since the release of her books, and delve deeper into the disturbing merger of the intelligence state, Silicon Valley and medicine, and how transhumanism — eugenics rebranded — is being rolled out under the guise of health care.

We also talk about censorship and other tactics used to mold public perception, and how artificial intelligence may be overhyped to give technocrats and eugenicists carte blanche to do whatever they want without having any accountability.

The Encroaching Surveillance State

Her book tour brought her back to the U.S. for the first time in eight years. When asked about her first impressions after being gone for such a long time, she expresses surprise at how willing Americans have become to embrace spy tools like Ring cameras on their front doors.

“This is actually troubling,” she says, “because a lot of those tech companies, Google included, are contractors for the military and for intelligence. I think it would be naive to assume they don’t have backdoor access to those devices, knowing when you’re home and when you’re not and all of that.

I think it’s interesting, the willingness of so many people, so many households, to invite that type of technology into their homes. I didn’t see inside people’s homes much, but a lot of people, as I understand it, have things like Amazon’s Alexa. Numerous stories have come out that they’re recording you without your consent, even though they say they’re not.

But people still continue to use the product, and I really wish people would wise up about inviting that type of technology into your house. So much of what we’re being sold today is being marketed as convenience, but really a lot of it is really just the building blocks for the infrastructure of a very dangerous and Orwellian system of control.”

How the Transhumanist System Is Being Pushed Forward

As a former contributor to Mint Print Press News, which provides a lot of great coverage on the encroaching surveillance state, Webb knows a thing or two about Orwellian systems of control. Much of her work there focused on the intersection of intelligence agencies and Silicon Valley.

“Even after I left and started to do my own thing, I maintained a lot of that focus,” she says. “I guess a theme of my work would be the structure of power and how it really works. If you’re looking at Silicon Valley today, it’s very clear that it’s essentially fused with the national security state …

One thing we’ve seen happen, specifically during the COVID era, is that Big Pharma is now getting in this mix. There’s a lot of merging happening between Big Pharma and Silicon Valley. You’re seeing this with a lot of joint ventures into the health care space of Silicon Valley companies. A lot of it’s through wearables and these efforts to normalize technology like CRISPR or nanotechnology injectables.

You’re seeing them all come together, and a lot of these joint ventures or companies in this particular space that’s spanning big pharma in Silicon Valley tend to have a lot of funding from groups like In-Q-Tel, which is the CIA’s venture capital arm.

I think we’re seeing, in the effort to push through this technocratic transhumanist system, a lot more overlap between the power structure of the national security state in Silicon Valley with Big Pharma. And that’s very, very bad. I don’t know how else to put that.

It’s awful. I think more people should be paying a lot more attention to that specifically … [There’s] an effort to frame transhumanism — which is really the new eugenics — as health care, and that’s what a lot of this is about.”

The Coming Food Coup

Food and agriculture are also being tossed into the mix. In early December 2022, I wrote about how John Rockefeller eliminated food from medicine 112 years ago and how, now, The Rockefeller Foundation is working with the White House to bring nutrition back in. While it sounds like a great idea, the real purpose is the same now as it was a century ago. It’s all about controlling the population. As noted by Webb:

“If these people take over the food supply, they’ll be framing it as a return to ‘food is medicine,’ but it’s not. Well, it’s not exactly food as medicine as people would think of it when someone like you talks about that concept …

This idea, for example, of putting vaccines in your food, like in tomatoes. Eating one of these GMO tomatoes is the equivalent of taking a vaccine and stuff like that … It’s taking this age-old adage and twisting it to fit their purposes. Food as medicine is only convenient to them when it’s not something that actually heals you, but [rather] something that keeps you in this new system they’re creating.”

Predictions for 2023

As we record this in late November 2022, we seem to be in a bit of a lull, in terms of tyrannical overreaches. It’s a bit like being in the eye of a hurricane. You know the storm will be upon you yet, again, it’s only a matter of time. The question is, what comes next?

“I think there’s a couple things to watch really closely in the next year,” Webb says. “One is how this World Health Organization Pandemic Treaty, which tries to [supersede] the Constitution, not just of the U.S. but pretty much every country that signs it.

That’s definitely something to pay close attention to, because if that does get passed, I think it’s likely we’ll see an effort to repeat a lot of what we saw during COVID 19 from these particular groups. And if it’s not signed, I think they’re going to wait …

They’re waiting to get that type of new authority so they don’t have to deal with so much dissent, whether it’s from nation states or from particular domestic populations that have had enough and are unlikely to believe all of this a second time.

I think they’re really counting on having that WHO super-national authority in order to go forward with the biosecurity agenda, in terms of a repeat of what we saw in recent years.

The other thing I think is really important is the central bank digital currency (CBDC) agenda. Almost every country in the world at this point — there are exceptions, but I think it’s a majority — have some sort of CBDC pilot program going on right now. In the U.S., they’ve even announced they’re doing pilots of [CBDCs] with commercial banks like JP Morgan and some of the big financial giants of Wall Street.

I would say that either 2023 or 2024 is likely to be the year of the CBDC. In countries where they’ve already launched a CBDC, or have a very advanced pilot program, it’s framed first as voluntary, and then of course, once enough people start using it, it becomes the only form of legal tender in use. At least that’s the end game for CBDCs in any particular country.”

Programmable CBDCs Mean Someone Else Controls Your Money

As explained by Webb, CBDCs are programmable money. The Central Bank will decide when, where and on what you’re allowed to spend your money. You also cannot save when and however much you want, because some of the CBDCs have expiration dates. Use it or lose it. You don’t get to decide when you spend your money, the state does.

CBDCs can also be programmed to only work for certain types of items, including certain types of food. If your health records indicate you have a health problem, your CBDCs can be programmed such that you cannot buy foods deemed unhealthy for you. Purchases can also be blocked based on your carbon footprint score, and they can be blocked based on geofencing parameters.

“If they declare a lockdown, for example, and you’re not allowed to go five miles beyond your home, your money won’t work five miles beyond your home. That’s basically why CBDCs are attractive to the powers that be. But they’re going to frame it as voluntary first, before it moves into involuntary.

We’re going to see it pop up in a lot more countries over the next two years. And obviously, that is the phase to mass reject CBDCs in any way you can … I’ll go back to COVID for a second to explain where I’m trying to go here.

I understand and have empathy for people that didn’t want to lose their jobs and were worried about being thrown into a position of poverty, so they took the vaccine because of the mandates. But the more steps you take down that path of, ‘It’s convenient,’ the harder it will be to go on the alternative path later on.

For people that were in that situation with COVID 19, that should have been a huge wake up call to start doing something different and think about how to get off that path …

… if you went down that path, and then go down the CBDC path just because it’s more convenient for now, there’s going to come a point where, if you make enough compromises, it’s going to be almost impossible, if not entirely impossible, to redirect and go towards a different outcome.

These are things that are very important for people to pay attention to right now, in terms of developments, and plan how to keep your family independent of these types of systems and resilient in the face of all the shocks to the system that we already see coming.”

The Poor Will Be Squeezed First

As noted by Webb, those who will feel the squeeze of tyranny first are the poor and lower-middle class. We’re already seeing how they’re planning to encourage mass adoption of CBDCs through various assistance programs such as food stamps.

As food and energy prices continue to soar, more and more people will qualify for government assistance and be forced into those systems. Webb also suspects that any future stimulus checks, if there are additional long-term lockdowns, may be paid out only in CBDCs.

“It’s a very insidious plan,” Webb says. “They’re trying to reduce the standard of living of people, and then in order for them to maintain their standard of living, they’re forcing them to adopt a control system disguised as a monetary system …

They’re going to frame it as voluntary before it becomes involuntary. That stage where it’s voluntary is when it’s critical for people to act [and reject it] … I don’t think we can prevent them from implementing it, but you can prevent yourself, your family and your community from adopting that system, and use a parallel economic system [instead].”

While some have speculated that decentralized digital currencies such as Bitcoin might work as a parallel economic system, the problem with that idea is that government could easily make it illegal. They’ve already promised to implement new regulations of that space.

The safest alternatives are those that government cannot regulate or make illegal (at least not easily). This includes trading and bartering of goods and services, without any type of currency, with the exception perhaps of physical gold and silver.

“So, so we have to think about these sorts of things when countering the CBDC agenda,” Webb says. “That voluntary stage is the time to make those plans so you don’t get swept up when it moves from voluntary to involuntary, which they are definitely going to do, or attempt to do.

But it will only be successful if there’s mass adoption. The more people who opt out and do some sort of parallel system for their economic activity at the neighborhood or community level, the less successful that agenda will be.”

People Are Waking Up to the Social Media Manipulation

While it seems we’re headed into a dystopian future that cannot be avoided, and with no clear means of escape, Webb feels there is still reason to be optimistic. Importantly, more people than ever before are now getting wise to the globalists’ agenda, and are hungry for explanations about what’s really going on.

People who want the truth are more likely to search for it, and are ready to take it in. They’re less likely to stick their head in the sand and write everything off as a baseless conspiracy theory.

“I think a lot of people on a visceral level know something is really wrong. And I think that’s why there are so many efforts to censor that type of information. I also think there is a major investment by the state in efforts to make us think we are a minority when we are not.

More than anything else, what social media is used for by the powers that be is to make us think certain ideas are more popular than they really are. [Take] the bot situation on Twitter … a lot of those bots serve to promote ideas that many people don’t necessarily have, or make certain figures or ideas look more popular than they are …

When you combine that with the censorship, removing ideas that otherwise would be popular with real authentic accounts … you’re manipulating people’s perception of how the rest of the country feels … A lot of what’s going on right now on social media is to completely change how we perceive a particular situation or agenda, in the hopes that change in perception will cause a change in behavior.

If you’re censoring an idea, you’re trying to take it out of the public mind and have it just not be part of the discourse anymore. That obviously causes a change in perception, because you’re only having one idea, or a very small spectrum of opinion about a particular idea, out there.

That’s all people are going to engage with if you censor all the other takes. The idea is to completely wipe out dissent so that everyone has a rather homogenous perception of events, people, ideas and agendas, and then from there, behavior will be molded to the benefit of these particular powers.”

Is Elon Musk Pulling the Wool Over Our Eyes?

When it comes to Twitter, with Elon Musk now at the helm many are hoping it will become a bastion of free-speech. Webb, however, is skeptical. She suspects Musk is promoting free speech and reinstating banned accounts because he wants to turn Twitter into a U.S. version of WeChat, an “everything app” that’s connected to digital ID, CBDCs and the social credit system. The more users he has, the more people will be lured into the digital prison system.

“We’re in this paradigm shift, where we’re going from an oil-based economy to a data-based economy. Data is the new oil, and whoever owns the ‘everything app’ in this new system is going to be the king of the castle of the new economy. They’re going to be the Rockefellers of the data age,” she says.

“There’s nothing good about that. I think what we’re seeing right now is an effort to coax people back Twitter, and there might be some benefits to that. But ultimately, what Elon Musk is interested in is the data and getting more people on Twitter than before, with the goal of turning it into WeChat, which is a segue to this ‘everything app.’

And it’s worth pointing out that the company behind WeChat, Tencent, is one of the most active advisors to Tesla and a major shareholder in Tesla. There is a relationship there.”

Artificial Intelligence and the Rise of ‘Smart Dictatorship’

Webb and I also discuss the growing role of artificial intelligence (AI), and the role of social media in feeding AI with data for programs relating to pandemic outbreak detection and pre-crime. But while AI and its successor, artificial general intelligence (AGI), has impressive capabilities, Webb believes there’s a lot of false hype, and that this hype will be used to shield human powerbrokers from accountability.

“A lot has been said about the role of AI in our lives once it reaches a particular point referred to as the singularity, which is where AI intelligence allegedly outpaces human intelligence so extensively and so rapidly that it’ll basically take over. If you ask me, based on everything I’ve seen, I don’t think the singularity is actually possible. Or if it is possible, I think it’s very far away.

But if you are the people behind … this agenda — people like Eric Schmidt and Henry Kissinger who just put out their ‘New Age of AI’ book, which has a lot about AI and its role in government, basically having AI become the government — all you really need to do is convince people … that the singularity is here and … that it’s so far superior to human intelligence that we should outsource all our decision-making to it.

Then, there’s a Wizard of Oz type guy … behind the curtain who makes the decisions. If you look at what Schmidt and Kissinger and these guys say about AI and government, they say it’s going to be so far above our intelligence that there’s no way for the AI to explain its decision-making. It’ll just be ‘The computer says this.’

And if you’re basically organized crime, running the government, which I would argue is the situation today, and you don’t want to have to explain the reasons for your policy because it’s a horrible reason that no one would agree with, what a great curtain, what a great facade to have for your smart dictatorship.

They just have to say that it was the AI’s decision. They have plausible deniability about everything, don’t they? And a lot of the stuff they say in that context is very unsettling. Stuff like, AI may decide to sacrifice hundreds of thousands, if not millions of their own population to win.

If the goal given is winning, then AI is willing to make all sorts of sacrifices that humans wouldn’t make. But if you look at people like Kissinger and Eric Schmidt, they’d be very happy to kill a bunch of people and then blame it on AI for the decision.

They don’t care about killing millions of people. They care about expanding their money and power infinitely. How do you have plausible deniability about that and get away with mass murder, eugenics programs and population control? You say ‘There’s this new super intelligence thing that’s going to take over government because it’s so superior. It’s going to churn out policies and we’re just going to follow them.’

It’s the new god basically. It’s superior to us and it can’t explain how it got to this conclusion because it thinks so differently from us. So, we just have to follow what it says, but we’re not responsible for what it says at the same time …

People like Ray Kurzweil said the singularity was going to happen a long time ago and it didn’t happen. And if you look at programs like Welcome Leap … where they’re trying to map baby brains and child brains by forcing kids to use very invasive, biometric technology … because they think that will create the singularity — that, to me, says they are grasping at straws.

They have no way of producing something equivalent to the human brain. They can mimic stuff very successfully with AI and they have done so, but in terms of creating consciousness? These are the most unconscious people on the entire planet trying to recreate consciousness in their image. Good luck … I think they’re going to try and fake it.

And, here’s the other thing. This whole inevitability of AI narrative is a major marketing narrative necessary to get transhumanist technologies widely adopted … The super intelligent singularity stuff is most likely a PSYOP to get you into the transhumanist box that you’re not going to get out of. Once you get a brain chip, there’s no going back.”

What You Can Do to Prepare

Clearly, we all face enormous challenges in the years ahead, regardless of where we live, as this is a global takeover. So, what can you do to prepare? Here are some of Webb’s recommendations:

  • Build community and local parallel economies.
  • Build your knowledgebase on how to grow and raise food, even if you’re not in a position to grow food right now. There are many free videos online that you can peruse. Ideally, download them so you can watch them offline, even if the internet goes down. Books on homesteading and basic survival skills are also a valuable investment. “Back to Basics: A Complete Guide to Traditional Skills” is one option. As a general rule going forward, you’ll want hard copies or copies on external hard drives of any information that you want to have access to in the future, as the internet is becoming increasingly scrubbed of important information. If using an external hard drive, make sure you store it in a faraday bag to protect the information from electromagnetic weapons.
  • Stock up on backup supplies such as food and energy generators. Also have a plan for how to secure potable water. Since the economy is collapsing and inflation skyrocketing, your money is not doing you much good in the bank. You’re losing purchasing power with each passing month, and a bank bail-in could wipe you out completely. So, if you need survival items, buying them now might be one of the better investment strategies out there.
  • Do everything you can to avoid entering the CBDC system when it rolls out.
  • Go back to using more cash if you don’t do that already. Also, consider cutting back on your online usage, social media in particular. “If things get really bad and the war on domestic terror gets underway and there’s all this profiling going on, I would stay as far away from the online world as you can,” Webb says.

More Information

In closing, Webb is now investigating the FTX scandal. Could we end up seeing a Volume 3 in her “One Nation Under Blackmail” series? Perhaps, but she’s not making any promises. She’s also working on an investigative series with Ian Davis about the United Nations sustainable development goals, showing point by point “the agenda under the hood.”

To stay abreast of Webb’s work, sign up for her newsletter at Unlimited Hangout. There you will also get the best price for her two-volume series “One Nation Under Blackmail.” I couldn’t recommend her site more strongly. She’s a world-class investigator, and is willing to take deep dives into crucial topics few others dare to touch.

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

The Smoke Grinder Government: How Gridlock Can Be Good

Back in the ’80s, I used to watch a quirky PBS show with my dad on woodworking called “The Woodwright’s Shop.” In one episode, host Roy Underhill introduced an old wooden folk toy called a “smoke grinder,” or “do-nothing-machine.” It consisted of a block of wood with dovetails cut into the top, with a handle attached that would spin along the grooves in an elliptical pattern. Just for fun, my dad built one, and it did exactly what its name implied: nothing.

Like the wooden toy before it, the 118th Congress all but threatens to be a smoke grinder government. The 2022 midterm elections missed the anticipated “red wave,” but, the GOP did gain control of the House of Representatives, ending two years of Democrat control of all three branches of government. And with control of the people’s house, comes the return of a term all-too-familiar to the nation’s capital: gridlock. Any controversial legislation passed by a Republican-majority House likely won’t make it past the Senate’s Democratic majority, much less have any chances of being signed by a Democrat president. Likewise, any controversial Democrat-led legislation will go nowhere. Forget being off to the races, major change in Washington won’t leave the treadmill for the next two years.

But what if this was a good thing? Don’t get me wrong, dysfunction — especially in the essential functions of government — is rarely helpful. But what if instead of dysfunction, the gridlock imposed by a two-party system was a function for good? As the conservative magazine National Review launched, its founder, William F. Buckley, Jr. famously wrote that its mission was to, “stand athwart history, yelling Stop.” Indeed, it is good to bring traffic to a halt when the bridge up ahead is out. Motion doesn’t necessarily drive morality. And for governments, there are quite often times when their inaction serves their people better than action. At the very least, an inactive government can be far less expensive to the people who fund it.

But bringing government to a halt is not the only thing that happens in a gridlock situation. The Republican majority in the House of Representatives has wasted no time introducing legislation that is doomed to fail. For example, the House just passed the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Act, which requires legal protection for babies born alive during an abortion, by a vote of 220-210. The bill will go nowhere in a Democrat majority Senate. And even if somehow it miraculously broke through a Senate filibuster and made it to the desk of the pro-abortion President Biden, there’s little mystery as to what he would do with it. All this raises the question, why bother?

For starters, 210 elected representatives of the people are now publicly on record as voting against providing life-saving protection to newborns. The significance of this one vote cannot be understated. It underscores for the nation just how polarized America is on this issue. What once may have masqueraded as middle ground has given way to a giant sink hole. The curtain on an issue once framed by abortion supporters in terms of a woman’s “choice” has been pulled back to reveal its ugly fruits, and those fruits are oozing with the fermented rot of evil.

In his letter to the Ephesian church, Paul wrote, “Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them” (Ephesians 5:11). This is a must for Christ’s church, and it wouldn’t hurt for Congress to follow this directive as well. The right thing to do isn’t the right thing because it’s effective. The right thing to do is the right thing because it is right. Daniel’s service in Babylon didn’t revolutionize pagan Babylonian society, but it did preserve a legacy of doing the right thing in the eyes of the Lord.

After all is said and done in the 118th “smoke grinder” Congress, we may not get the fruit we desire. Much of the fruit may be ugly, stunted, and underdeveloped. But we can help the fruit that we end up with to grow in the long run. If wrongs can be thwarted, let them be thwarted. And if right can be attempted, let it be attempted. And if darkness can be exposed, let it be exposed and allow that exposure to someday break the smoke grinder and deliver the unity we need.

AUTHOR

Jared Bridges

Jared Bridges is editor-in-chief of The Washington Stand.

EDITORS NOTE: This The Washington Stand column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved. The Washington Stand is Family Research Council’s outlet for news and commentary from a biblical worldview. The Washington Stand is based in Washington, D.C. and is published by FRC, whose mission is to advance faith, family, and freedom in public policy and the culture from a biblical worldview. We invite you to stand with us by partnering with FRC.

World Economic Forum: UN Chief Urges Ignoring Voters

There it is. Them against us.

World Economic Forum: UN chief urges ignoring voters

By: American Military News, January 19, 2023:

The top leader of the United Nations urged politicians to make unpopular decisions that may benefit their people in the long run after making a “special address” at the World Economic Forum meeting in Davos, Switzerland on Wednesday.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres criticized politicians around the world for caring more about “polls, future elections, [and] political power struggles” than “effectively solving problems.” He called for them to ignore polls reflecting their people’s will and instead do what they think is best for the long-term future.
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“Politicians need to understand — and sometimes we are faced with these kinds of challenges — it is better to take today decisions that will eventually be not popular, but that will be essential to be able to shape the public opinion itself,” Guterres said.

He made the remark about 20 minutes and 15 seconds into the presentation, which is viewable on the WEF website. It was preceded by a 15 minute “special address” where he said the battle against climate change “is being lost” and the people of the world must “end our self-defeating war on nature.”

He was responding to a question from WEF President Børge Brende, who asked why leaders don’t follow the “common sense” that dictates they must work now to stem off a future “climate disaster.”

Guterres, a former prime minister of Portugal, went on to speak from his own experience.
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“When I was following the polls, I would have problems in the short term,” he said. “When I was able to show leadership and … take the decisions that were necessary to ensure the future of my country at the time, that in the end would pay.

“My appeal to decision makers in the public and private sector is: Don’t look about what’s going to happen to you tomorrow. Look into what’s going to happen to all of us in the future.”

More than 2,700 world leaders, including 11 members of Congress, are spending this week at the Davos meeting, where they’re discussing ways to manage the global system. This year’s event involves speeches and panel discussions on issues like recession fears, the Ukraine war and climate change.

Keep reading.

AUTHOR

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EDITORS NOTE: This Geller Report is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

Woke Corporations: Game On

 ‘Go Woke, Go Broke’, the saying goes.  Today’s news brings the story the Texas Attorney General stopped Citigroup from underwriting municipal bond offerings in the state after finding Citigroup discriminated against the firearms sector.  This follows recent actions by states against BlackRock for skewing its investments in favor of left-wing political priorities like climate change and racial justice.  One example of that is Florida pulling $2 billion in state pension assets from BlackRock last month.  Then there’s the case of Bed, Bath & Beyond which had to close 150 stores and is looking at bankruptcy after going Woke and taking Mike Lindell’s MyPillow products off its shelves.  Conservatives stopped shopping there – me included – and bought from Mike Lindell directly, instead.

What kind of business model is it to alienate half the country?  Not smart.

Bed, Bath & Beyond should be a cautionary tale to companies more recently going Woke.  Casual shoemaker Crocs sponsors child drag shows with child performers.  I object.  Drag shows are adult entertainment.  Mars issued all-female M&M bags featuring lesbian couple and ‘fat-positive’ candies.  What on earth for?  Yes, I always get my politics from the candy aisle, don’t you?  General Motors funds a transgender organization that puts books promoting transgenderism in kindergarten and elementary school classrooms.  JPMorgan Chase closed the account of a religious freedom group and demanded a list of the group’s donors to reinstate the account, all the while denying these steps were being taken because of the organization’s beliefs.  Former Kansas Republican Governor Sam Brownback, the founder of the group, said he is hearing the same thing from other groups and is calling on state attorneys general to investigate.

Good.  How can you get a business license to serve the public, then turn around and refuse to serve half the public?   Why is that allowed?

Other people are fighting back against the corporate tyrants.  Social media users unleashed a firestorm of criticism against makeup retailer Ulta for inviting a biological male transgender to discuss “all things girlhood” on its podcast.  “’Girlhood’ isn’t something you can buy from Ulta,” one post read.  “A beauty brand gaslighting the customers,” another said.  “Never shopping at ulta again,” went a third.

Heads up, Crocs.  A conservative group in Chattanooga circulated a petition demanding an end to drag shows for kids.  A nature center in Knoxville, a civic center in Jackson, and a restaurant & bar in Chattanooga all canceled their events.

Red Balloon, a conservative-leaning job board has employers sign a pledge not to discriminate against workers’ personal beliefs in the workplace.  Over 2,000 employers have signed so far.  Red Balloon also advises workers on how to assert their free speech rights, opt out of training that violates their beliefs, and organize co-workers to fight retaliation.

If you’re a CEO and thinking about taking your company Woke, don’t expect any sympathy when it blows up in your face.  Kroger stopped carrying MyPillow and pulled pro-American products from its shelves.  The company ran into flak from regulators when it announced a proposed merger with Albertson’s.  Senator Tom Cotton told Kroger’s Woke CEO in a congressional hearing, “if they silence conservatives and center right voters across the country, if they discriminate against them in their company, they probably shouldn’t come and ask Republican Senators to carry the water for them whenever their Democratic friends want to regulate them or block their mergers…. I’m sorry that’s happening to you.  Best of luck.”

Best of luck, Bed, Bath & Beyond.  Best of luck, Kroger and Crocs.  And BlackRock and Citigroup.  We don’t need you.  We have alternatives.  Just remember that.

©Christopher Wright. All rights reserved.

Visit The Daily Skirmish and Watch Eagle Headline News – 7:30am ET Weekdays

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Project Veritas released a second video today exposing Teaching Lab’s questionable activities and objectives.

Dr. Quintin Bostic, who works there as a Content Manager, revealed he struggles with his organization’s business practices. He even referred to it as a “scam lab.”

Here are some of the highlights from today’s video:

  • Dr. Quintin Bostic, Content Manager, The Teaching Lab: “It [Teaching Lab] is like a scam lab.”
  • Dr. Bostic: “My boss [Teaching Lab CEO Sarah Johnson] is a freaking psychopath…She’s running a non-profit but it’s for profit.”
  • Dr. Bostic: “I have people on my team who have never taught before but know sales…literally [they say] like, ‘I hate kids.’ I’m like, ‘Don’t say that in front of a partner, just keep it to yourself.’”

You can watch the full video HERE.

Dr. Bostic also told the Veritas journalist about a conversation he had with Teaching Lab’s CEO.

“I said, ‘So, hypothetically these people [Gates Foundation] are funding you to build a program. Once the grant is over, you take the program, and you sell it to people – for money,’” Dr. Bostic said.

“I was like, ‘Is that legal?’ She [Teaching Lab CEO Sarah Johnson] was like, ‘It has nothing to do with me.’ She said, ‘The grant ended, we fulfilled the grant.’ And I’m like, ‘But we’re selling a product of the grant,’” he said.

“She’s like, ‘It’s not my problem.’ And I’m like, ‘Wow.’ She’s like, ‘It’s non-profit work. People do it all the time.’ I’m like, ‘Sarah, is that legal?’”


*CLICK HERE TO TWEET THE VIDEO*


EDITORS NOTE: This Project Veritas video exposé is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

Tentacles of Government Healthcare Extending Their Reach

Government healthcare programs are getting bigger, and we are not better off for it.  Things are trending in the wrong direction.

First, we have recent news nearly 100 million Americans – one in three – are now on Medicaid.  Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion for childless able-bodied adults transformed Medicaid from a poverty program into a middle-class entitlement.  Build it and they will come.  In my own state of Virginia, for example, Democrats promised Medicaid expansion enrollment would never exceed 400,000.  It now stands at more than 700,000 – 75 percent over worst-case projections.  In other states, enrollment was double or even quadruple estimates – 110 percent beyond estimates overall.  Another reason Medicaid rolls have ballooned is the COVID emergency that never ends.  The federal government told states ‘we’ll throw a bunch of money at you for Medicaid during the pandemic but, oh, by the way, you can’t take anybody off your rolls, even if they become ineligible.’  Joe Biden just extended the COVID emergency declaration to April, so this state of affairs will persist at least a while longer, leaving an estimated 20 million ineligible people on the rolls.  You are paying for them.

Second, U.S. government healthcare is also getting bigger because Obamacare subsidies got super-sized some months ago.  The jumbo subsidies have lured more people to sign up for Obamacare, understandably.  More on that on another day.

Third, the so-called Obamacare ‘family glitch’ was addressed, making five million more Americans on employer-based coverage eligible for Obamacare.

The growth of government-run healthcare shows up in the smaller share consumers actually pay out of pocket for healthcare expenses.  Between private insurance and government healthcare programs, people directly pay in aggregate only 10 percent of the cost of the medical services they consume.  It’s 90 percent a third-party payer system, now, which is too bad, because being insulated from true costs incentivizes consumers to over-consume, distorting the market.  Another distortion is the growth in the number of administrators – all the people needed to administer third-party payments and deal with red tape – which far exceeds the growth in the number of physicians.

These inefficiencies are only the start of why all of this is the wrong direction.  Hate to break it to you but, contrary to what Democrats would have you believe, government-run healthcare is not all it’s cracked up to be.

The growth in government healthcare imposes enormous costs.  Annual Medicaid spending increased by $198 billion during the pandemic, about as much Medicaid spending grew from 2012 to 2019.  Jumbo Obamacare subsidies were initially estimated to cost $22 billion for two years, but the figure is actually $50 billion.

Medicare dragged its feet on providing drug coverage even though private insurers had long since discovered such coverage, in general, gives more bang for the buck than doctor or hospital therapies.  Among other problems with Medicare include paying for small expenses while leaving seniors exposed to catastrophic costs, and sticking it to seniors with high drug costs while subsidizing those with low drug costs.

People who believe in government healthcare like it was a religion or something should look at the latest sins of the VA.

A VA hospital in Florida denied treatment to a veteran dying of heart failure because first responders could not verify his military service, in violation of federal law.  The VA hospital in Spokane injured 148 veterans when its computer system failed to deliver 11,000 orders for specialty care, lab work, and other services and, further, failed to alert staff the orders had been lost.  Despite all the publicity about long wait times at VA hospitals, the problem is growing worse after initially improving.  An Inspector General report found $4 billion in employee or contractor embezzlement, kickbacks, theft, and other wrongdoing.  There were 104 arrests and 500 administrative actions taken to address these problems in just the first half of 2022 alone.  One kickback scheme involved 17 doctors, two executives, and millions of dollars in penalties.

Unfortunately, too many people still love government healthcare and it’s poised to get even bigger under a left-wing theory called ‘social determinants of health’.  More on that tomorrow.

©Christopher Wright. All rights reserved.

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Carter introduces Fair Tax Act

Rep. Earl L. “Buddy” Carter (R-GA) today introduced H.R. 25, the Fair Tax Act, to replace the current tax code with a national consumption tax known as the Fair Tax.

“Cosponsoring this Georgia-made legislation was my first act as a Member of Congress and is, fittingly, the first bill I am introducing in the 118th Congress,” said Rep. Buddy Carter.

“Instead of adding 87,000 new agents to weaponize the IRS against small business owners and middle America, this bill will eliminate the need for the department entirely by simplifying the tax code with provisions that work for the American people and encourage growth and innovation. Armed, unelected bureaucrats should not have more power over your paycheck than you do.”

Joining Rep. Carter as original cosponsors are Reps. Andrew Clyde (R-GA), Jeff Duncan (R-SC), Kat Cammack (R-FL), Scott Perry (R-PA), Bob Good (R-VA), Thomas Massie (R-KY), Ralph Norman (R-SC), Bill Posey (R-FL), Gary Palmer (R-AL), Jim Banks (R-IN), and Barry Loudermilk (R-GA).

©Congressman Buddy Carter. All rights reserved.

Congress’s 4,155-Page Omnibus Bill Is a Symbol of American Decadence

An eight-ream bill is no sign of legislative nobility.


On December 20th a handful of Republican senators shuffled before an audience of reporters prepared to issue fiery polemics on the year-end omnibus bill which sat, heavy and ponderous in all its eight-ream absurdity on a wheeled cart before the five-senator assemblage.

“DANGER: $1.7 trillion of hazardous debt” read one of the mock-hazard signs decking the cart. Kentucky Senator Rand Paul declared the bill an “abomination,” while Utah Senator Mike Lee skewered the unseemly pressures to freeze it into law by proclaiming the process “legislative barbarism.”

Every year it happens with textbook repetition: Washington politicians procrastinate in releasing a colossal expense prospectus for the following year which unfailingly runs thousands of pages, requests billions of dollars, and is granted mere hours of scrutiny before being thrust to a congressional vote. The process is riddled with partisan intimidations and shrewd slandering. Democratic politicians trot out folksy pleas about supporting struggling Americans, to which, naturally, passing the bill is postured to achieve. Most Republicans cave to its smothering inevitability; a minority bitterly protest.

The omnibus bill earns its name from its practice of absorbing a collection of smaller bills into one vote. You might be tempted to call this government efficiency, but think again. In reality, it’s the gateway of legislative sloppiness and profligacy. And you might be tempted to believe Washington’s Christmas tradition is paternal benevolence for the common man but this too is a smokescreen. If our political overlords actually cared for our future in the manner of responsible stewards they would not bankrupt the nation. They would not smuggle dozens of silly congressional pet projects into our legislative initiatives. They would not make a mockery of the political process by demanding decisions on bills scarcely proffered hours of review. They would not egregiously spend money we did not have. They would not thoughtlessly shovel funds to any hungry bureaucratic mouth in the country. They would not insult American taxpayers by destroying our currency, snowballing our debt, and wrapping it all in a veneer of charity and Progress. Grim and apocalyptic though this indictment may be, it is nevertheless the bitter truth.

As Americans, we have become numb to the money-gobbling maneuvers of the bureaucratic machine. We hardly flinch at billion-dollar price tags, not because we do not cognitively register such a number as large but because we feel detached from its significance. We do not feel connected to its consequences. We don’t even feel particularly sure about what the spending figures should be, so bewildered by the dizzying complexity of contemporary American politics are we. We put our fingers to the glass and watch but we cannot seem to stretch our fingers out and really touch the harrowing reality of a $1.7 trillion bill or a $31 trillion in national debt. Such numbers fail to disquiet our consciences. Why?

Here are a few potential reasons.

  1. Nobody talks about fiscal conservatism anymore. Republicans love to rhapsodize about this fixture of their intellectual tradition but few are those who actually extend this principle from token rhetoric to the necessary scolding and refashioning efforts of current regimes. No matter whether they claim democratic or republican status, administrations do a sordid job of expenditure restraint. This equivalence between the parties is sobering indeed, indicating that the majority of republicans do not know how to defend small-government and balanced budgets with any authentic confidence. You might hear “fiscal conservatism” sprinkled throughout the campaign trail for its old-fashioned appeal and knack for attracting votes, but it is no longer practiced by those in Washington. Longtime champion of fiscal restraint Sen. Rand Paul has made entreaties for years that are drowned out by the opportunism and apathy swarming the Capitol.
  2. Nobody is sure why fiscal conservatism even matters: Government money has been lamentably scrubbed of morality. It bears no qualms about tempering its quantity or maintaining its quality due to an ethical contract with the people. Money has no scruples attached to it anymore. The modern conscience conceives of it as a hollow instrument; a neutral tool to get from A to B. But what is money really made of? Where does it get its value? In what ways can it be a wonderful thing and in what ways can it equally be a dangerous thing? Few care to mull these questions.
  3. Nobody quite feels the consequences of reckless spending yet: Because we raise debt ceilings with impunity and have thrown that old burden of balancing budgets out the window, we stay disconnected from the ramifications of fiscal hedonism. It is hard enough for politicians to make difficult choices that affect life beyond their term limits, because where’s the motivation in that? And so, money becomes this distant, untouchable relic that no one wants to poke at.

And so, not only have we lost a certain emotional reaction to government spending (i.e. an instinctual discernment of when it hits a threshold of moral questionability) but we have also lost an intellectual grasp of it (i.e. an understanding of why extravagance cannot persist in perpetuity.) All of this adds up to a mass desensitization that leaves us dangerously acclimated to an environment that pretends money is a plaything and not actually the beating heart a civilization.

Here are some of the ways in which this unlucky acclimatization has occurred:

  1. Money added is rarely scaled back: In government, addition is the path of least resistance. Subtraction has poor incentives, can be politically painful, and sounds mean and parsimonious to us Americans who see government as our rightful purse strings and sympathetic caretaker.
  2. Added bureaucracy is rarely reviewed or pruned: More money inevitably feeds more bureaucratic cubicles. Bureaucracy is a curious animal: one that has a considerable appetite for more money and workers and administrative projects, but one that also has a deadening effect and leaves decay in its wake. In this way, bureaucracy has always bizarrely appeared to me as a life/death personification. If one thing is for sure, it will seek to justify its existence and once breathed form by taxpayer dollars, will lunge for more funds to legitimize its continuance.
  3. Law becomes more complex and disorienting: As sentences rain from keyboards and paper churns from the printer and more thousand-page legal monstrosities are produced, we end up building on a (new-ish) toxic American tradition of unintelligible, byzantine law. The less lucid and graspable the law is to the public, the less accountable government becomes—and the more fuzzy the political vision of the masses grows. After all, do we even know what laws were passed in the year-end omnibus bill? More worryingly still, do our politicians even know? Is this state of affairs normal? Would we call it a natural progression? I would warn against this particular temptation: the temptation to believe that increasing complexity is a sign of sophisticated progress, of governmental fine-tuning. It is not. It tangles with its serpentine requests and chokes with its punishing demands. And it throws a veneer of precision and compassion (owing to its seeming charity) over it all. As a general rule of thumb, when edicts becomes more profuse and complex and fail to remain concise and coherent to the public, they are unequivocally not serving the masses. (They are probably serving the elites.)

Post-Empire Flavor

What does one see when they gaze upon a 4,155-page bill? A symbol of American decadence. A pile of legal jargon so exhaustive its efforts look undeniably frantic. This utter excess inspires notions of blind mania. What are we doing and why? Is there any principle behind governmental motion? Are there any scraps of real thought or prudence? Or is the impetus merely zombie-like bureaucratic appetite? No matter how comprehensive and caring we would like our present government to appear, the rot cannot be fully concealed. An eight-ream bill is no sign of legislative nobility. It is an insult to the common people. It makes for a ridiculous picture of thoughtless excess. It just looks stupid at first glance. This intuitive, gut-level reaction is important. It’s the embarrassing truth of our attempts at managerial sophistry laid bare. It’s worth mentioning that empire decline is marked by an apathetic watering-down of principle, by money deterioration, and by administrative overextension. Checkcheckcheck.

The larger government grows, the more money it absorbs; sure. But the less functional it becomes too. It ossifies, and its vibrant principles start to decay under the dead weight.

Once a certain threshold in size is reached (and who’s to say exactly where that is) organization lapses into oppression. Vibrancy lapses into atrophy. And decent functionality lapses into chaotic disarray. The lesson?

Overreach and you snuff out life. Congress’ proud 4,155-page creation is a post-empire emblem if there ever was one. Do not be fooled by the legislation’s size: it represents a floundering American system, not a vibrant one.

AUTHOR

Lauren Reiff

Lauren is a writer of economics, psychology, and lots in between. To read more of her work, follow her on Medium.

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