Only Economic Growth Will Save the United States of America

Gordon Gekko missed the mark with his famous Wall Street monologue about American capitalism. It is not greed but economic growth that is, for lack of a better word, good. Growth is right. Growth works. Growth clarifies, cuts through, and captures the essence of the evolutionary spirit. Growth has marked the upward surge of mankind. And growth—you mark my words—will save that malfunctioning corporation called the USA.

This is probably pretty obvious to most Americans. Strong economic growth means more jobs and higher wages. Just take a look at the current expansion. It has only been moderate as goes the pace of growth, but it has been sustained. And month after month of a growing economy has brought down the unemployment rate to its lowest level since 1969, even as real wages continue to grow for all income levels. That’s especially true for working-class Americans. The 3.5 percent unemployment rate for Americans with only a high school diploma is the lowest since 2000. Indeed, despite all the debate about income inequality, earnings have been growing faster for those at the bottom than at the top.

U.S. President-elect Donald Trump tours a Carrier factory with Vice President-elect Mike Pence in Indianapolis, Indiana, U.S., December 1, 2016. Reuters/Mike Segar

Or look at it this way: In their research paper “Productivity and Pay: Is the link broken?” Harvard’s Anna Stansbury and Lawrence Summers find that higher productivity growth is associated with higher average and median compensation growth. The economists show that if productivity growth had been as fast from 1973 to 2016 as it was from 1949 to 1973—about twice as high—median and mean compensation would have been around 41 percent higher.

Yet a growing number of policymakers and pundits on the left and right are questioning the primacy of growth as the key objective of national economic policy. Democrats and progressives are focused on new policies to redistribute wealth, such as Medicare for all, a federal jobs guarantee, or a universal basic income. Meanwhile, Republicans and conservatives, grappling with a president who questions the value of free trade and immigration, have grown publicly skeptical of market capitalism. “The free market has been sorting it out for a while, and America has been losing,” said Vice President Mike Pence. And they have become skeptical of the core goal of increasing economic growth.

Leading the charge among the wonks is Oren Cass, a Manhattan Institute scholar and former policy director for the 2012 Mitt Romney presidential campaign. In his new book, The Once and Future Worker, Cass writes that although “economic growth and rising material living standards are laudable goals … they by no means guarantee the health of a labor market that will meet society’s long-term needs.”

The criticisms of growth skeptics range from the ahistorical to the utopian. Of course, a fast-rising tide of economic growth does not guarantee all boats will rise at the same pace or at a pace that society deems sufficient. “Guarantee,” after all, is a strong word. Depending on the strength one attributes to it, it’s possible nothing can “guarantee” the outcome that some growth critics want: all winners, no losers, no trade-offs, no disruption. But if by guarantee we don’t mean “ensure with ironclad certainty” but only “approximate more closely than any available alternative,” economic growth remains society’s best bet. Indeed, this very urge to undervalue growth’s benefits is the surest sign that growth in America has become a victim of its own success.

G.K. Chesterton famously noted how modern types of reformers see institutions or practices and think, “I don’t see the use of this; let us clear it away.” To which the wise reply, “If you don’t see the use of it, I certainly won’t let you clear it away.” Institutions and policies that endure decade after decade often serve a useful purpose even if that purpose isn’t immediately apparent, and we should be cautious before shrugging them off as unimportant. Our growth-oriented economic policy is a perfect example. It brings tremendous benefits, yet we now risk taking it for granted.

And what an odd time to question the benefits. The Obama administration was much derided for its apparently self-serving claim, made in the 2013 Economic Report of the President, “that in the 21st Century, real GDP growth in the United States is likely to be permanently slower than it was in earlier eras.” But it was a perfectly reasonable baseline forecast that continues to reflect the economic consensus from Wall Street to Washington. For instance: The Federal Reserve’s long-term, real GDP forecast stands at 1.8 percent, about half the average pace from 1947 to the start of the Great Recession. And even that reduced pace of growth seems a tad too optimistic for JP Morgan, which pegs the economy’s long-term growth potential at 1.5 percent.

There are good reasons why the experts seem so gloomy. The most important—and, perhaps, most inescapable—is demographics. The aging of the labor force, lower birth rates, and a slowing rate of immigration suggest a slowdown in the growth of the American labor force to around 0.5 percent annually going forward—as compared with roughly 2 percent in the 1960s and 1970s. The U.S. economy expanded at a 4.1 percent annual pace during the ’60s—a decade that today’s nationalist populists look back on with great nostalgia. But growth would have been less than 3 percent if the labor force had been growing as slowly back then as it is currently.

The other big obstacle to faster growth is weak productivity, which downshifted just before the Great Recession and has yet to rebound. For the American economy to grow as fast in the future as it has overall since World War II, output per worker will need to rise sharply. Indeed, that is a big goal of the 2017 Republican-pushed corporate tax cuts. They are supposed to increase business investment and eventually productivity growth. But there are no signs either is happening yet, much to the dismay of many conservative economists. The only other hope lies beyond Washington’s tinkering: The private sector continues to innovate. Maybe Silicon Valley will eventually come to the rescue, as innovation in areas such as artificial intelligence and robotics eventually spreads throughout the non-tech economy. The history of radical technological advances, such as electrification, suggest that it can take some time before businesses figure out how to effectively employ them.

It can be easy to dismiss all this talk of growth rates as the abstract muttering of economists far removed from the everyday concerns of the average American. As a corrective, George Mason economist Tyler Cowen poses a useful thought experiment in his latest book, Stubborn Attachments. Imagine we redo U.S. history, he says, “but assume the country’s economy had grown one percentage point less each year between 1870 and 1990. In that scenario, the United States of 1990 would be no richer than the Mexico of 1990.”

Michael Strain, my colleague at the American Enterprise Institute, makes a similar point when he writes:

Imagine the world in the year 1900. There was no air travel, no antibiotics, no iPhone, no Amazon Prime, no modern high school and no air conditioning. … Anyone who played down growth a century ago wouldn’t have known they were arguing against any of these things, because none of these growth-enabled features of modern life had been invented yet. But they would have been putting the existence of all these at risk by stifling, even marginally, the economic engine that allowed for their creation.

Sustained and solid growth is what makes these advances possible and is what separates the median American today from the median residents of the world’s developing economies. Sacrificing a tenth of a percentage point here and two-tenths there to, say, protect favored industries from foreign competition or levy punitive taxes on obscenely rich entrepreneurs may seem like a worthwhile tradeoff in the moment. But because of how growth compounds over time, in the long-term such trade-offs aren’t just unappealing but inexplicable. As the Nobel Laureate in economics Robert Lucas wrote, “Once one starts to think about [exponential growth], it is hard to think about anything else.” Marginally slowing down economic growth to achieve other policy goals might cause little harm to us, but it seems both less fair and less wise when the welfare of ensuing generations are accounted for. In Strain’s words, “What in the world of tomorrow doesn’t yet exist? We need growth in order to find the answer, both for ourselves, and for posterity.”

It is strange that intellectuals are dismissing the importance of economic growth at just the point when it is becoming harder to generate—and doubly weird after a long stretch of sluggish growth that has almost certainly played a role in the surge of populist politicians such as President Trump. And these populist leaders are pushing the sorts of policies that make a future of slow growth even more likely.

Trump looks back to the immediate decades after World War Two as the golden age of the American economy. His presidential campaign, for instance, made a point of promising the return of mass employment in the industrial-age industries of steel and coal. Cass, too, has pointed to those decades as an alternate model of economic growth. As he said during a recent think-tank event:

The period of time when productivity growth was really booming most in the American economy was a time when tax rates were much higher, immigration rates were much lower, there was virtually no international trade by the standards of the 1920s or today, and there was a much smaller or non-existent safety net. The idea that what we currently call the pro-growth agenda is actually what has aligned with high growth isn’t true.

That is a wrong-headed interpretation of economic history. While it is true that the so-called golden age era is known for fast economic and productivity growth, economists generally do not credit the lack of trade or immigration. Rather, notes the Congressional Budget Office in a review of research literature on the subject, “the golden age may be more accurately interpreted as the full final exploitation of an earlier burst of innovations through electrification, suburbanization, completion and increasing exploitation of the highway system, and production of consumer appliances.” In other words, huge technological advances in the 1920s and 1930s reaped benefits for decades.

Unfortunately, those productivity gains, along with American industrial superiority over its war-ravaged competitors, have created a myth about the postwar American economy—a myth that populists continue to spread. Yet Fortress America entered the 1970s ill-prepared for the inevitable global competition as the rest of the world’s advanced economies finally recovered.

Both Trump and Cass, therefore, have it backward. It wasn’t too much globalization and economic openness that undermined large swaths of the manufacturing economy, but too little. As Adrian Wooldridge of The Economist and former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan write in Capitalism in America:

The 1970s was the decade when Americans finally had to grapple with the fact that it was losing its leadership in an ever widening range of industries. Though the best American companies such as General Electric and Pfizer powered ahead, a striking number treaded water. They had succeeded during the long postwar boom not because they had any particular merit, but because Europe and Japan were still recovering from World War Two and they collapsed at the first sniff of competition.

The last thing the American economy needs today is a reduction in competitive intensity, whether achieved by shielding industries with tariffs or keeping out the immigrants that help grow the workforce and provide expertise to key industries, especially technology. Nearly half of our “unicorn companies,” another name for U.S. startups worth over $1 billion dollars, were founded by immigrants. Immigrant scientists and entrepreneurs play a disproportionate role in driving the tech progress necessary for sustained productivity growth. Forty percent of Fortune 500 companies have a first- or second-generation immigrant founder. Immigrants may compete with other Americans, but they also employ them.

The critics of a growth-above-all approach might grant that no other national policy is better at generating material prosperity. But, they say, life requires more than mere materialism. We crave community, beauty, and a certain degree of stability. It is this objection that Harvard’s Benjamin Friedman sought to address in his 2006 book, The Moral Consequences of Economic Growth. True, capitalism and the creative destruction that drive it can disrupt traditional cultures or degrade the environment. And from the Old Testament to the present, men have fretted over usury’s effects on one’s soul (today we might say finance’s effects on one’s morals). But growth doesn’t only erode individual and societal morality. Besides improving material conditions, growth improves moral ones, as well.

Friedman notes how sustained growth “shapes the social, political and, ultimately, the moral character of a people” and “more often than not fosters greater opportunity, tolerance of diversity, social mobility, commitment to fairness, and dedication to democracy.” Slow growth, on the other hand, leads to ugly consequences, especially if voters begin to feel it is inevitable. In times of stagnation, economic policy tilts toward dividing up a fixed pie rather than enlarging everyone’s share. It could mean a society that is less willing to entertain the benefits of international trade, more hostile toward immigration and immigrants, and more comfortable with regulating business.

In fact, “could” is putting it mildly. The tariffs, legislative efforts to reduce immigration, and frequent threats to regulate America’s most successful companies, such as Google and Amazon, already show some of the consequences of the sluggish recovery from the Great Recession—and this from what is supposed to be America’s pro-growth party.

Growth is, and remains, good. Growth is right, staving off a zero-sum politics defined more by group conflict than productive cooperation. Growth works, improving everyone’s standard of living, if not always equally, at least steadily. Growth clarifies, exposing business to competition, and prevents industrial calcification. Growth signifies the evolutionary and upward surge of mankind, evident in everything from modern medicine to interstellar space travel. And a policy geared toward increasing economic growth—pursued attentively and unapologetically—will save the United States of America. All other national economic strategies are but pale imitations.

This article was reprinted from the American Enterprise Institute.

COLUMN BY

James Pethokoukis

James Pethokoukis

James Pethokoukis is a columnist and blogger at the American Enterprise Institute. Previously, he was the Washington columnist for Reuters Breakingviews, the opinion and commentary wing of Thomson Reuters.

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EDITORS NOTE: This FEE column with images is republished with permission. Image credit: Pixabay.

George Bernard Shaw Was so Enamored with Socialism He Advocated Genocide to Advance It

For decades, Shaw was a staunch proponent of genocide, refusing to soften his views even after the full horror of the Nazi death camps was brought to light.

In an excerpt from her recently published book Why Women Have Better Sex Under Socialism, Kristen Ghodsee freely quotes from the works of the playwright and Fabian Socialist George Bernard Shaw to bolster her argument that capitalism is inherently sexist. The free market forces women to be reliant upon men, wrote Shaw, turning sex into a virtual bribe for financial security. Based on Shaw’s analysis, Ghodsee concludes that capitalism makes slaves out of women who, under socialism, would supposedly be happy and free.

To say the least, citing Shaw is an odd choice if one is advocating for greater freedom and independence. An apologist for the world’s most brutal and oppressive dictators, Shaw had a passionate hatred for liberty, writing,

Mussolini, Kemal, Pilsudski, Hitler and the rest can all depend on me to judge them by their ability to deliver the goods and not by … comfortable notions of freedom.

For Shaw, “the goods” could only be delivered if the people were bound in universal slavery to the state. This enslavement was necessary for the people’s welfare; most of the population were brutes who, when left to their own devices, could not fend for themselves and thus required the state to “reorganize” their lives for them.

In Shaw’s eyes, the pinnacle of civilization had been reached by the Soviet Union. During his 1931 “pilgrimage” to Stalin’s wonderland, Shaw was given a glimpse of what he referred to as a “land of hope.” He denied that the regime had imprisoned significant numbers of political dissidents, describing the gulags as popular vacation destinations. “From what I gather, they can stay there as long they like,” he said.

That’s not to say he was willfully ignorant of Stalin’s atrocities. Rather, he defended them. Blindly accepting Communist propaganda, Shaw argued that the dictator was forced to organize mass executions to keep the country safe from “exploiters and speculators.” Mass murders were also necessary to maintain a competent workforce. As Shaw wrote in 1933, the “unfortunate Commissar” must shoot his own workers “so that he might the more impressively ask the rest of the staff whether they yet grasped the fact that orders are meant to be executed.”

But killing the disobedient and inefficient was only the first step in building a better society. Shaw also advocated for a far-reaching eugenics program. “[I]f we desire a certain type of civilization and culture,” he wrote, “we must exterminate the sort of people who do not fit into it.” This included a whole range of “defectives.”

In a 1931 newsreel, he excitedly echoed Nazi sentiment, stating,

If you can’t justify your existence, if you’re not pulling your weight … then clearly, we cannot use the organizations of society for the purpose of keeping you alive, because your life does not benefit us and it can’t be of very much use to you.

But his murderous impulses didn’t stop there. A considerable number of people, Shaw argued in 1948, will never toe the line and are therefore no use to the rest of society. “[T]he ungovernables, the ferocious, the conscienceless, the idiots, the self-centered myops and morons, what of them?” he asked rhetorically. “Do not punish them. Kill, kill, kill, kill, kill them.”

Though many early 20th century intellectuals were enamored with eugenics, arguably none were as committed to the wholesale slaughter of millions as George Bernard Shaw. For decades, Shaw was a staunch proponent of genocide, refusing to soften his views even after the full horror of the Nazi death camps was brought to light. And yet, there are many leftists today who continue to look to Shaw for political wisdom.

Writing for The Irish Times, Fintan O’Toole declares “The world has never needed George Bernard Shaw more.” Employing a fittingly violent metaphor, O’Toole lauds the way in which Shaw trained his machine gun-like personality on the “pieties of Victorian imperial patriarchy.”

Like Kristen Ghodsee, O’Toole praises Shaw for his polemics against gender inequality and the “tyranny” of family life. No mention is made of his fondness for eugenics. Other writers have taken to Shaw’s defense, admitting he sometimes said distasteful things but ultimately brushing off his more extreme statements as mere “satire.” However, given that Shaw’s penchant for promoting totalitarianism carried on for decades, it’s difficult to believe there was anything “satirical” about it. His bloodthirsty political philosophy seems to be have been all too genuine.

Nonetheless, Shaw was also a steadfast critic of capitalism and “Victorian” social values. His fiery denunciations of wealth inequality and traditional sexual morality resonate well with modern progressives. For them, an individual’s adherence to socialist orthodoxy is enough to absolve him of almost any crime.

From the relatively quiet and “respectable” anti-semitism of Ilhan Omar to the brutal and homicidal radicalism of Che Guevara, socialists have not only been willing to ignore the bigots and authoritarians in their midst but have gone so far as to embrace them. And few have been more adored than that eccentric playwright and unapologetic Stalinist George Bernard Shaw.

COLUMN BY

Tyler  Curtis

Tyler Curtis

Tyler Curtis works as a lender at a community bank in Missouri. He also holds an undergraduate degree in Economics from the Missouri University of Science and Technology.

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EDITORS NOTE: This column by FEE with images is republished with permission.

Is Your Community One of 13 Recognized for its Welcome to New Americans?

When I wrote my post welcoming readers to my new blog, I told you I was writing to attempt to balance the news because you will be bombarded by stories over the next two years about how immigrants (New Americans is the preferred word) financially and culturally benefit your community.

Sure they may bring some benefits but also some problems and it is the problems that Open Borders pushers like the New American Economy (NAE) and Welcoming AmericaNEVER mention.

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The chief propagandists behind the New American Economy.  Does anyone think they have the best interests of average Americans at heart? Or is it all about cheap labor?

Someone has to do it—tell the rest of the story—and I’m hoping Frauds and Crooks will be a one-stop shop for cataloging stories about frauds and crimes that cost you and me both financially and from a security standpoint so that you can best decide where you stand on the issue of our time—migration.

We are in a tough battle because the Open Borders Left has joined with global giants to push more and more immigration down our throats.

david lubell with logo
Welcoming America Founder Lubell has a new position. He is working in Germany, Australia, New Zealand and the UK to help make them be more welcoming.

I saw a story this morning from Bowling Green, KY, a huge refugee resettlement site that I wrote about often at Refugee Resettlement Watch.

It’s about how the Chamber of Commerce and local government are working with NAE and their Gateways for Growth initiative to improve employment prospects for the “New Americans” living there.

You can read the story yourself, here.

Bowling Green is one of thirteen localities which have been awarded grants for 2019 to boost the immigrant population—to get them working and voting.

From NAE’s website:

Thirteen Communities Across the United States Make a Commitment to Welcome New Americans

Launched in December 2015, the Gateways for Growth Challenge is a competitive opportunity for local communities to receive direct technical assistance from New American Economy and Welcoming America to develop multi-sector plans for welcoming and integrating immigrants.

Here are the locations awarded grants for 2019:

Bowling Green, Kentucky
Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Charlotte, North Carolina
Flint, Michigan
Grand Rapids, Michigan
Lexington, Kentucky
Lowell, Massachusetts
Memphis, Tennessee
Northern Kentucky
Roanoke, Virginia
San Antonio, Texas
Toledo-Lucas County, Ohio
Wayne County, Michigan

Learn more here.

You know the grants themselves are really not that great, but they buy media because every location on this list will likely generate warm and fuzzy local media coverage just like the story at the Bowling Green Daily News.

Has Bowling Green already forgotten that it is the location where two Iraqi refugee terrorists were arrested only a few years ago?  Has that news been swept under the rug? Sure looks like it.

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Are you seeing news in a local paper or on local TV about one of the other twelve locations, if so, send me a link!

Update:  Thanks to Robin here is the puff-piece from Lexington, KY local news

EDITORS NOTE: This Frauds, Crooks and Criminals with images is republished with permission.

7 Reasons to Say Goodbye to Teachers Unions

I stand with teachers—not unions.

Every year, my school district hosts a beginning of the year meeting with every employee in the district. Amidst all the pomp are 15 minutes during which my school district provides a platform for the head of the local teachers union. He doesn’t say much, keeping it vague and general. He says the union works with the school board and other leaders to fight for both teachers and students.

He also spends time in the teachers’ lounge occasionally, handing out pamphlets. A note in defense of unions was left at a table in the lounge recently. It details accomplishments of unions past and the evils of corporations. This note and this speech are a nice review of a high school civics course, but they have one glaring flaw: they focus entirely on the past.

Contexts change. For instance, the necessity of stationed US troops in Germany has shifted since the Cold War. The same goes for unions at large as the US reaches historical levels of prosperity. We can appreciate the accomplishments of the past while still reconsidering the utility of unions in the present. There are of course defenses of unions within a modern context. That said, they are ultimately lacking. Here are seven reasons why we should support the dissolution of teachers unions in 2019.

Two years ago, while I was a first-year teacher, I mistakenly stumbled into a members-only meeting in my school’s library. Before being shooed away and denied a scone with coffee, I saw pamphlets in stacks next to the treats. One column was topped by a glowering Donald Trump over a dark red background like a Sith lord; the other had a smiling Hillary Clinton.

While teachers are stereotypically liberal, a survey done by Education Week found that 43 percent of educators define themselves as moderate, with a near equal number identifying as conservative or liberal. In 2016, 50 percent of teachers voted for Hillary Clinton and 29 percent for Donald Trump. Teachers are a moderate and politically diverse crowd.

That being said, in the past 28 years, teachers unions have given 96 percent of their funding to Democratic candidates. In the agenda from the National Education Association (NEA)’s most recent annual meeting, the business items include a commitment to:

  • Responding to the “heartless, racist, and discriminatory zero-tolerance [immigration] policies of the Trump administration”
  • Supporting Black Lives Matter
  • Opposing arming teachers in schools
  • The removal of Confederate leaders from school monuments
  • Posting a public list of individuals who have refused service to LGBTQ people
  • The postponement of the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh
  • The prohibition of private jails
  • Opposing charter schools and voucher programs
  • Describing and deconstructing “the systemic proliferation of a White supremacy culture and its constituent elements of White privilege and institutional racism”

Regardless of your views on all of these, there is a clear disparity between the agenda of the largest teachers union in the nation and the views of its teachers. Perhaps even more glaring, many of these issues have only a tangential relation to education, if that. While they speak of defending teachers, much of their energy is spent advocating for various, non-educational political initiatives.

Both Republicans and Democrats complain about money in politics. Both sides have their boogeyman: George Soros and the Koch Brothers. And yet, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, the NEA was the second largest contributor to political campaigns of any individual, corporation, or union in 2014. In 2016, the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) and NEA collectively gave $64 million in political contributions compared to only $11 million and $28 million by the Koch brothers and George Soros, respectively.

Unions fight for increased funding with the intent of raising teacher pay and purchasing better academic materials. Some research shows that it is beneficial. Other papers don’t. An analysis by Johns Hopkins finds a synthesis between the two, arguing that how school achievement is defined and how money is spent determine whether funding correlates with improvement. Until structural reforms are put in place to apply market pressure to the schools, any funding increase will be little more than waste.

At the first school I worked at, the book room had thousands of books, worth thousands of dollars, and I was one of the only teachers in our building who used them. My department had a supply closet filled with toys and gadgets no one used. There are curriculum teams and staff members collectively paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to create a curriculum that is either followed without fidelity or ignored entirely.

Per pupil spending, school achievement, and teacher pay give data to substantiate this claim. In current dollars, school spending has increased by roughly $3,000 per pupil since the early 1990s; yet teacher pay has declined or remained flat in most states, while student achievement on test scores has remained stagnant or even decreased in some states. Money is increasing, but it isn’t creating results.

More generally, teachers unions promote a strict pay scale that rewards any teacher for years taught—be they exceptional or mediocre or lousy—incentivizing longevity, not performance. They also make it nearly impossible to fire teachers, taking up to two years and $200,000 according to Stanford Professor Terry Moe. Social stances, funding, and strict pay scales just won’t do in the face of crumbling urban education.

Unions block the reforms that will structurally change a broken system and in return, promise increased funding, which will, in turn, be drained away by the broken system. Namely, they oppose school choice, merit-based pay, standardized tests, and the Praxis, an entrance exam for teachers.

School choice, while not a panacea, is one reform that has tremendous potential for improving schools. Research shows that the pressure this funding structure places on schools increases student performancesaves money, and improves students’ mental health.

Educational reform has been stymied. Across the board, Republicans have advanced comprehensive reforms from charter schools to more stringent teacher evaluations and merit-based pay. After a blue wave, many fear that the growth it has enacted may be at an end.

I allow my students to set some classroom rules to provide a sense of ownership. One student expressed that he didn’t want a star or candy simply for following directions. It’s condescending, he said, to praise a student for the minimum. That assumes you only expect the minimum.

In my role, I watch many teachers teach, and not everyone necessarily deserves a star. I have heard teachers tell their kids to ask fewer questions. I have seen teachers celebrate over pregnant students. I have heard teachers speak of students using language one would expect from the villain in a Scorsese movie. All the while, teachers denigrate any test that shows stagnant scores or an administrator who questions their efficacy.

The unions tell us that we, the teachers, deserve our jobs and better pay regardless of the success of our students, but in reality, we deserve more money and respect only if we do our job well. To suggest anything else is a disservice to the profession.

I was new to teaching and sat across from the school’s manager of our 403(b) plans. I asked if the school district would match my contribution. They don’t, because the district pays toward our pension. I rolled my eyes, and so did she.

Chad Aldeman, a former analyst at the Department of Education, explains the problem well. He says that “states are paying an average of 12 percent of each teacher’s salary just for debt costs. If states didn’t face these large debts, they could afford to give that money back to teachers in the form of higher salaries—an average of $6,801 for every public school teacher in America.”In education, teachers receive retirement benefits based on a formula, unable to invest any more than the predetermined amount.

Under a 401(k) plan, any employee could choose to be frugal and invest more, as well as receive more from their employer and thereby more from their retirement plan. In education, teachers receive retirement benefits based on a formula, unable to invest any more than the predetermined amount.

That $6,800 dollars could go to much better use. For those of us who choose to save, we would end up with a retirement portfolio that would outdo most teacher pensions. Others may counter that some do not have the disposable income to save for themselves, but even in this case, those teachers should be allowed to keep their money and spend it on whatever medical bill or child care they need.

Factory workers during the Industrial Revolution were expendable. They had no specialized skills or education with which they could bargain in a labor-flooded market. Conversely, teachers are a highly-skilled and educated workforce in a market where they are in short supply.

A friend of mine, one of the best teachers at our school, was falsely accused of hitting a student. Under convoluted district rules, the principal wanted to fire him. This teacher walked into the office with test scores, student testimonials, projects demonstrating mastery by some of our school’s most difficult students, and hallway video records that proved him innocent. We can bargain for ourselves.

As a rule, I try not to stand in opposition to things. It breeds resentment instead of changing minds and casts no vision for a way forward. I’m not against unions. I’m for teachers. For us to flourish financially and professionally, we need the freedom to bargain for ourselves, the respect that comes with accountability, and meaningful reform. Therefore, I stand with teachers—not unions.

COLUMN BY

Daniel Buck

Daniel Buck is an educator in an urban school in Wisconsin with a master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Wisconsin – Madison and an editor for the website Lone Conservative.

EDITORS NOTE: This column with images by FEE is republished with permission. Image credit: Max Pixel.

VIDEO: Who Are the Most Powerful People in America?

The genius of America is that it was set up as a representative government, but increasingly, Americans are ruled over by leaders who are unelected, and very powerful. Columbia Law Professor Philip Hamburger unmasks the people who are really ruling our lives.

EDITORS NOTE: This column with video is republished with permission. The featured photo is by Alex Iby on Unsplash.

Post Office Has Boom Year, Loses More Money Than Ever

Is it time to privatize the US Postal Service?


For the US government’s 2018 fiscal year, the US Postal Service reports that it successfully boosted its annual revenue by $1 billion over the previous year to $70.7 billion, marking a boom year for its mail and package delivery services. Unfortunately, it also spent about $3.9 billion more to provide those services than it took in during the year, a $1.2 billion increase over the loss it recorded in its 2017 fiscal year.

If that doesn’t sound like a success, that’s because it isn’t, which is why the editors of Investor’s Business Daily are calling for the nation’s postal service to be privatized:

By its own admission, the post office is doomed. Buried deep in its 10-k government filing is this bleak statement: “Existing laws and regulations limit our ability to introduce new products or services, enter new markets, generate new revenue streams or manage our cost structure,” it said. Imagine a private company telling its investors that.

This can’t go on. Privatization is the only viable option. The White House last summer proposed to do just that, by either selling off the post office or bringing in private managers to run it. At least a profitable postal company that can sell its shares to investors, manage costs, hire and fire workers, and expand and close lines of business would have a chance. Today’s US Postal Service doesn’t.

How bad is it? The IBD‘s editors cited reporting by Reason‘s Eric Boehm to justify its call:

Far from being an aberration, fiscal year 2018, which ended on September 30, is a sign of things to come. Without changes to how it operates, the USPS will continue to post losses at “an accelerating rate,” Postmaster General Megan Brennan tells Government Executive.

“Simply put, we cannot generate revenue or cut enough costs to pay our bills,” she says.

What’s really stunning is that the USPS managed to lose so much money in a year when income from shipping packages jumped by 10 percent and overall revenue increased by 1.5 percent. That wasn’t enough to make up for an increase of $896 million in personnel costs.

What’s driving that increase in personnel costs at the post office? The same factor that’s driven dozens of cities and counties into bankruptcy proceedings when they can no longer count on being able to tax their way into the black: the pension and health benefits it provides to each of its retired government employees.

Could US taxpayers be protected from having to pay the full cost of the financial failure of the US Postal Service? Reason‘s Eric Bloem considers an interesting possibility:

As Reason has been arguing for literally 50 years, the postal service should be privatized and subjected to competition.

There’s a chance that might actually finally happen. A White House report released in June that highlighted the possible privatization of government services included two options for reforming the USPS. One idea would have private managers take over running the USPS with the government maintaining oversight responsibility. The second proposal would have the post office sold in its entirety.

A sale would likely require changes and restructuring to first net a profit, and would probably require the federal government to absorb the current debts. Still, it could net a windfall to help pay off the service’s massive liabilities—the Cornell economist Richard Geddes has found that a USPS IPO could raise $40 billion.

Just imagine how much the US government’s financial situation might improve if it returned its $1.2 trillion student loan portfolio back to the private sector.

This article was reprinted from the Independent Institute.

COLUMN BY

VIDEO: Rubio Promotes ‘Dignified Work,’ Decries Universal Basic Income

“America’s not an economy, it’s a nation of peoples and families and communities, and our economy works for the people, not the people for the economy,” Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., said as keynote speaker of the Antipoverty Forum hosted by The Heritage Foundation on Thursday.

The foundation’s annual forum invites policy experts and practitioners to collaborate on how to best advance conservative antipoverty solutions in welfare, health care, education, and civil society.

“The best antipoverty program is a job,” Rubio said, beginning his speech with a quote from former President Ronald Reagan. “Good jobs are jobs that connect the work [Americans] do, not just to a paycheck, but to the dignity that comes with a productive life.”

Instead of focusing on economics when discussing poverty, we should focus on those instances where “dignified work no longer allows working families the ability to provide that kind of stability in their homes or their communities,” Rubio said.

Rubio spoke of his own family’s rise from poverty to prosperity when they left communist Cuba, “trapped by the circumstances of their birth,” for capitalist America, where “through hard work and perseverance anyone … could get ahead.”

Rubio said this version of the American dream wasn’t about his family’s work ethic or the economy, but a defining feature of American life, “dignified work,” which he called a source of stability in a society.

Rubio suggested a number of possible policy proposals to reinvigorate the dignity of the millions of “missing men”—described by The Atlantic as prime-age men who are able-bodied but unemployed and not currently seeking employment—back into the labor force.

He suggested reforming the earned income tax credit to more clearly reward each hour of work, and antipoverty programs like the federal disability insurance entitlement and food stamps to mandate, rather than just encourage, work.

Rubio also said we need to also expand opportunities for working-class students, which means accrediting vocational degree programs rather than reforming student loans to support traditional four-year degree programs.

The Florida Republican pushed back against two proposals the left promotes as solutions to solve poverty, but undermine the dignity of work: a universal basic income and a federal jobs guarantee.

If the federal government were to institute a universal basic income, Rubio explained, all American citizens would receive a check regardless if they worked or not. A federal jobs guarantee would mean that the federal government would ensure all American citizens seeking employment get a government job for which they would be compensated with a $15 minimum wage, with full benefits.

These approaches, in the senator’s view, only double down on the flaw of paying low-income workers to be “unproductive.”

>>> Watch the full Antipoverty Forum event:

COLUMN BY

Troy Worden

Troy Worden is a member of the Young Leaders Program at The Heritage Foundation.


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


EDITORS NOTE: This column with video and images is republished with permission. Photo: Erin Granzow for The Heritage Foundation.

A Glimpse Into a World Without Men

Ah, to have an all-female workplace, full of sugar and spice and everything nice and absent #MeToo turpitude and transgressions. Are you in, ladies? Well, before signing on that dotted line, you may want to consider the experiences of the sugar-and-spice girls at Sweden’s new Gender Equality Authority.

Yes, that sounds like what’s birthed when Orwell’s 1984 meets The Cannibal Women in the Avocado Jungle of Death (Bill Maher’s most memorable movie), but it wasn’t mainly men being consumed in this bureaucracy. As Sweden’s FriaTider reports (auto-translated and corrected for grammar):

The New Gender Equality Authority has a leadership consisting of 100 percent women. Ten months after its inception, an internal report now reveals a work environment so bad that 70 percent of its employees are distressed enough to be at risk of ill health, reports Ekot.

The internal survey, Ekot also noted, shows in addition that a majority of the employees of the Gender Equality Authority suffer from sleep problems and “risk fatigue”.

Among other things, the women-dominated workplace is characterized by bullying and harassment, according to the survey.

If this surprises you, perhaps you derived your conception of the sexes from a women’s-studies class (maybe the one known as modern American culture). Whether it was Aristotle’s observation that women are more likely “to scold and to strike,” Rudyard Kipling’s verse about how “the female of the species is more deadly than the male” or statistics on bullying, it has long been known that the sugar-and-spice bit reflects marketing and male flattery, not reality.

As Forbes wrote in 2012 on inter-employee harassment, “Women make much nastier office bullies than men, says psychologist Dr. Gary Namie, co-founder of the [Workplace Bullying] Institute.” This behavior is “particularly vicious among working women,” informs Forbes, and ranges “from playing favourites to badmouthing colleagues” to undermining other women’s careers (and men’s, too).

Unsurprisingly, Forbes attributed this to conditioning (read: it’s our Patriarchal™ society’s fault), writing that girls “are taught to be critical about each other from adolescence.” How this is taught or where it’s taught I have no idea, but that’s their story and they’re stickin’ to it. It’s just good the Female Criticism 101 classes don’t also instruct on how to criticize men, otherwise there could actually be nagging wives in the world. (Unless they’d just skip right to the physical, as some studies show that women are more likely to initiate both domestic and teen-dating violence.)

Those adolescent girls must be quick learners, though, because experts and studies (two troubling phenomena, no doubt, but, hey, even a blind squirrel and a broken clock, ya’ know?) inform that bullying among girls is notably worse than among boys. Just consider the left-wing Guardian, which outlines the problems and practices of these teen Gorgons and then closes with the question: Do these realities “make the ‘normal’ bullying of, generally, low-level violence as used by boys seem strangely comforting?”

Part of the explanation for this is that as poet William Congreve noted in 1697 (pre-“gender”-sensitivity training), Hell hath no “fury like a woman scorned.” His context was affairs of the heart, of course, but it extends further. While men have their characteristic sins (lust, for example), a female one is vindictiveness. I suspect this is partially, though not completely, because women are very emotion-oriented, are easily hurt and, most significantly, are emotion-retentive. Thus, a real or imagined slight cuts deeply and doesn’t just remain in a woman’s mind, but in her heart. It’s harder to forgive when negative feelings linger — demanding retribution.

The bottom line is that, as often portrayed art-imitating-life-style in film, two men can engage in fisticuffs and be buddies an hour later. Women? Not so much.

The psychological experts will tell us this is taught, too, but it’s even (and especially) apparent in children. When a little boy gets upset, he may have a tantrum and explode like a volcano yet 15 minutes later behave as if nothing happened. A girl is less likely to do this but more apt to simmer for long periods, not boiling over noticeably but not cooling to a calm, either. Consequently, rifts with friends are too often permanent.

Then there’s that, speaking generally, men are creatures of principle, women of preference. As I put it, treating this recently, “Years ago a female writer (whose name…escapes me) discussed the different ways boys and girls settle problems. She wrote that boys are natural-born deal makers; they’ll try to ensure fairness for everyone and then shake hands, saying ‘Deal? Deal.’ In contrast, girls will try to ensure an outcome everyone feels good about.”

“Witnessed here, even from young ages,” I continued, “is that boys instinctively reference principles, the objective; fairness is a principle. The girls, of course, are referencing feelings, the subjective.”

The point? “Fair fighting” or conflict resolution in the workplace or anywhere else requires adherence to principles; emotion won’t secure it (which is why catfights are, well, catfights). Philosopher C.S. Lewis touched on this in his book Mere Christianity when he asked: With whom would you rather deal if your dog bit the child next door, the man or woman of the house?

Lewis explained that when the man handles what could be called the family’s “foreign policy,” outsiders are more likely to get a fair shake; the woman’s extreme “family patriotism” often precludes this.

The latter is, of course, what can cause a woman to be wholly devoted to her children, even to the point of backing them when they do evil (serial killers’ mothers come to mind). For only principle instructs, “Your family is wrong, and you must say so”; emotion exclaims “My family right or wrong!”

Kipling touched on this as well, writing of man, “Where, at war with Life and Conscience, he uplifts his erring hands [t]o some God of Abstract Justice—which no woman understands.”

The strong, unyielding feminine emotion can provide the no-holds-barred love and devotion a child needs. But when this intense passion is turned to competition in the workplace or elsewhere, it’s just no-holds-barred. So I don’t know about spice, but maybe, as so many today claim, sugar really is a killer.

Contact Selwyn Duke, follow him on Twitter or log on to SelwynDuke.com.

EDITORS NOTE: The featured photo is by Angel Santos on Unsplash.

VIDEO: Illegal Immigration: It’s About Power

Historically, Democrats supported strong borders because they knew American workers could never compete with illegal immigrants. Now, they regularly support “open borders.” So why the drastic change? Tucker Carlson, host of Tucker Carlson Tonight, explains.

Click here to take a brief survey about this video.

EDITORS NOTE: This column with video and images is republished with permission.

BREAKING NEW VIDEO: Donnelly “Don’t tell that to people!”

Indiana: Project Veritas Action Fund has released new undercover video from the campaign of current U.S. Senator Joe Donnelly.

This new investigation features Senator Joe Donnelly’s wife, Jill Donnelly, and campaign workers trying to hide his support of organized labor. A campaign worker states, “he’s got like a 98% AFL-CIO voting record.”

  • Hiding his true stance on labor: “I wouldn’t say anything about unions . . . just say he’s for working families.”
  • Concealing his support for big unions: “He does” support unions, just “don’t say that to people”.
  • Donnelly has to play down his true liberal views: “especially in Indiana, just because like, it’s so conservative.”
  • Donnelly hurting from “No” vote on Kavanaugh: “I know for a fact he’s losing voters [be]cause of Kavanaugh… [be]cause he voted no.”

View the full video HERE.

Trump Proves To Be The Greatest Weapon For The American Worker

President Trump’s first and most enduring promise has been kept, and the American worker can rejoice.

A deal experts said was dead in the water materialized last weekend when Canada announced it had reached an agreement with the United States to replace the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). The deal came about as a frustrated Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called a late night meeting with his cabinet. Indeed, the materialization of an agreement serving to improve America’s trade position in North America would not have occurred were it not for the negotiating prowess and vision of President Donald Trump.

The workings of the trade deal date back to before President Trump’s election; actually from before he even started his campaign. For years, Trump voiced his frustration at the United States’ involvement in deals that were hurting the American worker. Calling them “bad deals,” Trump expressed his befuddlement at how politicians could agree to such catastrophic trade deals. NAFTA quickly became a centerpiece of Trump’s campaign for president and the object of his ridicule. But it should be remembered it was also a centerpiece of his speeches long before he came down the elevator.

Upon assuming power, President Trump wasted no time threatening the stability of NAFTA by announcing his intention to pull the United States out of it. Predictably, the naysayers took to the airwaves, arguing that NAFTA was a creator of jobs. Investor Dennis Gartman called such a move, “egregiously stupid,” and CNBC proudly published his opinion. Meanwhile at Forbes Magazine, Professor J. Bradford DeLong called the prospect of leaving NAFTA, “a disaster” while Stuart Anderson, the author of the article, mocked Trump by stating that visual aids were needed to teach the President why leaving NAFTA was a bad idea. Anderson held nothing back when he concluded, “Donald Trump does not know much about the trade agreement he has so frequently criticized.”

Undeterred, President Trump continued to place his disapproval of NAFTA at the center of public discourse. Recognizing his greater advantage over Mexico, he then pealed America’s southern neighbor into a separate agreement that did not include Canada calling it a “terrific agreement for everybody.”

With the Mexican trade deal solidified, Trump turned his attention to Canada, this time suggesting that he might leave Canada out of the deal if it did not negotiate.

Canada remained defiant. “We will only sign a new NAFTA that is good for Canada and good for the middle class,” said a spokesman for Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland. For Canada, there were a number of sticking points to a new deal. First the NAFTA dispute resolution process that protected the cultural exemptions was “fundamental.” This “exemption” protected Canadian artistic products, including media outlets. Understandably, Canadians feel threatened that American networks might buy Canadian media affiliates and essentially control their media coverage. Further, the abandonment of Canada’s tariffs on American dairy products was considered too great a threat to be acceptable.

But President Trump remained undeterred. He imposed an Oct. 1 deadline upon Canada, insisting that if it did not provide the text for a new trade deal to the United States Congress by that time he would move ahead with the deal with Mexico and exclude Canada.

Trudeau did the only thing he could and called for “common sense to prevail.” He appealed to Canada’s partners, including the European Union, to ramp up their pressure on the United States. But the reality was that Canada could ill afford to be kept out of a new North American trade agreement. The Canadian dollar was weakening, and the prospect of Canada continuing without a treaty seemed like a doomsday scenario for its economy; and for Trudeau’s impending reelection.

With negotiations seemingly hopelessly stalled as recently as late September, Canadian negotiators went to work. And by Sunday, Sept. 30, the two countries agreed to terms.

The new agreement, known as the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) is nothing short of revolutionary. Among other provisions, the USMCA curbs Canada’s high tariffs and low quotas on American dairy product; drops the percentage of a car needing to be manufactured in China that would still allow it to be considered “North American;” includes provisions that help NFL advertising; and forces Canada and Mexico to respect American drug patents for 10 years. And Canada gets to keep its cultural resolution process exemption.

In a very real sense, the trade deal vindicates President Trump — and the wisdom of the American worker supporting him. He identified a palpable problem in North American trade and placed his political capital on the line to see it terminated. As a result, Trump emerged much stronger, an important perception at a time when he is knee deep in trade negotiations with China. But more importantly, President Trump’s priority of protecting the American worker and improving the environment for American businesses prevailed.

There is also the glaring realization that these new agreements would have never come to fruition without President Trump. The events leading to Sunday’s breakthrough would never have been possible without Trump’s aggressive, even bombastic style. Most importantly, when President Trump said he would walk away from the deal, he was believable, forcing all players to look hard at the possibility of having no deal at all.

Say what you want about President Trump, but he has become America’s greatest weapon in international negotiations, much to the joy of the American worker.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in The Revolutionary Act. The featured photo is by Malte Wingen on Unsplash.

Building a better world for female entrepreneurs

While in New York for the 73rd Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), Advisor to the President Ivanka Trump took some time to focus on a message central to her work in the White House: economic empowerment for women across the globe.

“We know that investing in women is a priority in terms of our global security, in terms global prosperity, in terms of global peace. We also know that women around the world are one of the greatest under-tapped resources. When you invest in women, they invest back into their communities, they can invest back into their families, they invest in things that have a generational impact on their societies,” Ms. Trump said.

“At #UNGA 2018, I had the honor of joining @WorldBank @JimYongKim, @ConcordiaSummit + global leaders for impactful discussions on #WomensEconomicEmpowerment in furtherance of @POTUS’s National Security Strategy, as we strive for peace, prosperity & stability at home & abroad,” she tweeted.

Watch Ivanka Trump talk women’s economic empowerment at UNGA 2018:

EDITORS NOTE: The featured image of First Lady Melania Trump is courtesy of the White House.

Illegal alien population is twice as high as the oft reported 11 million

The Leftwing media and talking heads have been using a number of 11 million illegals in the U.S. for at least a decade, but commonsense told you it was higher.

In June thousands turned out in Washington D.C. [photo right] in support of those crossing our borders illegally thus encouraging even more illegal crossings.

immigration protest dcNow some ‘smart people’ at Yale and MIT actually crunched a few numbers and much to their chagrin (because they went in to the study assuming the number was lower than 11 million) are reporting it is a whopping 22 million!

(By the way, refugees that we bring to the US are legal aliens, but the hundreds of thousands coming across borders as asylum seekers—wannabe refugees—were, we presume, included in the 22 million because they are not legally here until they have been granted asylum!)

Here is Neil Munro writing at Breitbart:

The population of illegal migrants is roughly 22 million, or twice the establishment estimate of 11 million, say three professors from Yale University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

The shocking estimate will force establishment politicians and pro-migration advocates to recalculate the estimated impact of the huge illegal population on wages and salaries, on crime rates, welfare consumption, rental and real-estate prices, productivity rates, and the distribution of job-creating investment funds to coastal vs. heartland states.

trump wall thumbs up

Build the Wall!

The higher illegal population estimate helps explain why Americans’ wages and salaries have risen so little amid apparently record-low unemployment rates, and it also undercuts companies’ loud demands for yet more immigration of foreign workers, consumers, and renters.

The population estimate also raises the political and economic stakes of any amnesty legislation. In 2014, public opposition blocked the bipartisan, establishment, media-boosted Gang of Eight bill, which claimed to offer an amnesty to just 11 million migrants. Currently, advocates for a ‘Dream Act’ amnesty claim it will provide green cards to roughly 3 million sons and daughters of illegal immigrants.
The new estimate also bolsters President Donald Trump’s demand that reluctant GOP and hostile Democratic legislators fund a border wall.
[….]

The academics expected their techniques to show the population is smaller than the consensus estimate of 11.3 million. “Our original idea was just to do a sanity check on the existing number,” said Edward Kaplan, operations research professor at Yale. “Instead of a number which was smaller, we got a number that was 50 percent higher. That caused us to scratch our heads.”

These are the math geniuses, but isn’t it 100% more if 11 million is now 22 million?  (I’m math impaired, so let me know!).

Continue reading here.

Next we need to figure out how many are in each state!

RELATED ARTICLES: 

Twice as Many Illegal Aliens in US according to MIT

Stephen Miller wins again trumpets NBC News, outmaneuvered his elders in setting refugee cap

Fact sheet on asylum is very useful; largest number of ‘new’ Americans are Chinese

Look to Europe to fully comprehend why the US must build the wall

AG Jeff Sessions carrying out Trump immigration restriction agenda

EDITORS NOTE: The featured image is by Jon Tyson on Unsplash.

Minnesota’s Center of the American Experiment celebrates SCOTUS Janus v. AFSCME decision – Union outraged!

According to the State Policy Network:

June 27 [2018]—Today the US Supreme Court released a landmark decision in Janus v. American Federation of State, Country, and Municipal Employees, Council 31. The Court ruled in favor of plaintiff Mark Janus, a child support specialist who works for Health Care & Family Services, returning First Amendment rights to public sector workers. This means that five million public servants in 22 states no longer have to pay a government union as a condition of employment.

Specifically, the Court ruled that the “State’s extraction of agency fees from nonconsenting public sector employees violates the First Amendment,” overturning the Court’s earlier decision in Abood v. Detroit Board of Education.

The Court agreed with Mark Janus that public sector union speech is inherently political since “it covers critically important and public matters such as the State’s budget crisis, taxes, and collective bargaining issues related to education, child welfare, healthcare, and minority rights.”

The Court’s decision will impact how government unions extract fees from members—moving the system from opt-out to opt-in. The onus is now on the unions since public sector employees must now “affirmatively consent” to pay dues. Now, no government worker can be forced to check their First Amendments rights at the door in order to serve their communities.

On Constitution Day the Center of the American Experiment, a Minnesota think tank held, an event celebrating the Janus v. AFSCME decision.

 in a column titled “Celebrate Labor Day by Telling Your Friends About Employee Freedom Janus-Style. And Join Us on Constitution Day (Sept. 17)” wrote:

I cannot think of a better way to celebrate Labor Day this year than telling every public employee you know about the Janus case. After decades of forcing employees to subsidize the political speech and agenda of government unions as a condition of employment, the Supreme Court restored their First Amendment rights. The Court said that our government has to get the “affirmative consent” of public employees before union dues can be deducted from their paychecks.

[ … ]

We won at the U.S. Supreme Court on June 27, 2018 but our hard work has just begun.

Public employees do not know their rights, and they are being pressured by unions that do not want to lose their revenue and power. Unions have enjoyed, and still enjoy, a position of political privilege that was never envisioned by our constitutional system or representational democracy. Lawsuits have been filed and legislation is being drafted to enforce the Court’s ruling. We are up against Goliath but remember what happened to him.

The unions are angry and on going on the offensive against the Center and anyone else who dares to defy their monopolistic position. They are not accustomed to having to sell themselves to employees, to be customer friendly and frankly they are not very good at it!

PR Newswire reports:

More than 100 union members and their supporters converged on the Minneapolis Hilton to protest the [Center of the American Experiment] event and picket outside the hotel.

Minneapolis is a union town and Minnesota is a union state,” said Teamsters Local 320 Secretary-Treasurer Brian Aldes while addressing the crowd. “We’re here to keep it that way!”

The pickets were the length of a city block stretching from one end of the hotel to the other. Pickets were chanting: “Who are we? Union!” and “What’s disgusting? Union busting!”

Do unions support giving their members the right to chose how their union dues are spent? Apparently not.

About Center of the American Experiment

Center of the American Experiment is Minnesota’s leading public policy organization. The Center is more than a think tank. It not only researches and produces papers on Minnesota’s economy, education, health care, the family, employee freedom and state and local governance. It also crafts and proposes creative solutions that emphasize free enterprise, limited government, personal responsibility and government accountability.

American Experiment’s staff advances those solutions by drafting legislation, testifying before legislative committees, placing op-eds in newspapers and magazines across the State of Minnesota and nationally, appearing on radio and television news programs, holding town meetings, and lobbying. Further, American Experiment conducts grass roots advertising campaigns on radio and on the internet, which bring the key findings of the Center’s research papers to millions of Minnesotans. And the Center carries out investigative reporting, uncovering waste, abuse of power and ineptitude in Minnesota’s state and local governments, schools and unions.

For more than 25 years, Center of the American Experiment has been the most impactful and effective public policy organization in Minnesota. It leads the way in creating and advocating policies that make Minnesota a freer, more prosperous and better-governed state.

The Center is a civic and educational 501(c)(3) organization. Contributions are tax deductible.

This Ohio County Swung From Obama to Trump. Here’s What 8 Fair Attendees Think, 2 Years Later.

CANTON, Ohio—Attendees of the 169-year-old Stark County Fair in Ohio don’t come out to see politicians, and politics aren’t on the forefront of their minds, but a large portion of the folks here had strong opinions on both when asked.

The political climate of Stark County, known for its rural, farming areas and also home to the Pro Football Hall of Fame housed in Canton, has flipped in recent years.

In the 2008 presidential race, then-Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois won 51.59 percent of the vote in Stark County and his Republican opponent, Sen. John McCain of Arizona, won 46.14 percent. Obama won the county again in 2012 with 49.21 percent of the vote, inching past Republican nominee Mitt Romney, who had 48.74 percent.

But in 2016, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the Democrat nominee, received 38.68 percent of the vote, while Republican nominee Donald Trump received 55.85 percent.

Some cities in Stark County such as Alliance, Massillon, Canton Township, East Canton, Navarre, and Perry Township all went for Obama in 2008 and 2012.

These cities flipped to Trump in 2016 and support for the president was strong among the attendees roaming around the fairgrounds.

While harness racing, baking contests, and pavilion concerts were vastly more popular than any politician who stepped on the premises in Canton, the young and old who shared in their thoughts on the 45th president and their own political journeys had a lot to say.

Grounds at the Stark County Fair (Photo: Rachel del Guidice)

Harness racing at the Stark County Fair. (Photo: Rachel del Guidice)

Baking contest commences at the Stark County Fair. (Photo: Rachel del Guidice)

The pavilion concerts were a popular event among Stark County Fair participants. (Photo: Rachel del Guidice)

  1. ‘I’m a Conservative Democrat and a Liberal Republican’

Fred O. Davis (Photo: Rachel del Guidice)

Fred O. Davis, a Stark County resident who has been attending the fair for 70 years, considers himself to be out of the box politically.

“I’m a conservative Democrat and a liberal Republican,” Davis told The Daily Signal in an interview Tuesday at the Stark County Fair, saying that he gets his fair share of of pushback from folks who don’t understand his conservative-leaning views.

“The backlash I get from is liberal Democrats,” Davis said. “They think I’m crazy.”

His family, however, is starting to see his fascination with conservatism, Davis said.

My brother, he’s liberal … But he’s changing. He’s understanding. I said, ‘Well, Trump’s doing what he got elected for.’ And he is. He’s one of the very few presidents went in there and did what he said he was going to do.

Obama didn’t even like this country. And maybe he still doesn’t. I don’t know.

He said that he is frustrated by policies of Obama that have been continued in Trump’s administration.

“We got too many people on welfare,” Davis said. “If you want to go on welfare, and you’re willing to do some work, fine … but we don’t need it at the limits it’s at now, and that’s what Obamacare is.”

“And if Obama … had gotten all of these people on welfare he wanted, then they’d be dependent on, it’d be a communist country,” he added.

The 77-year-old said he thinks the county needs to return to more traditional and socially conservative values, including re-defining marriage as being between a man and a woman as well. He’s also concerned that rights for people who identify as LGBT are superseding other’s rights.

“Don’t get me wrong, they should be treated equally, but equally,” Davis said. “Not overly-equally.”

Davis said he is also frustrated with the media’s coverage of Trump, which almost prompted him to cancel his subscription to the local newspaper.

The “Canton Repository, I almost canceled it for some of the things in it,” he said. “It’s terrible the way they’re covering. They don’t even say the good things he does, they only say all the bad things he does. I mean, the bad things in their opinion.”

  1. ‘My Parents Were Strict Democrats. But Now I’m Republican.’

Ruth French (Photo: Rachel del Guidice)

Ruth French, who attends the fair every year with daughter Susan Kaw, said she switched her party from Democrat to Republican in 2008 because she couldn’t stand by how Obama was running the country.

“I positively did not approve of Obama, Mr. Obama,” French said, adding, “My parents were strict Democrats. But now I’m Republican.”

The 86-year-old Stark County resident said she is disheartened by the media’s treatment of Trump.

“I thoroughly support President Trump,” she said. “I believe that the news media needs to give us a break … I thank God that he is in control. That is the big thing in my life. God runs me.”

She also said she is frustrated by the coverage the media has given to recent school shootings.

“They build it up and build it [up]… all these shootings,” French said. “If they would not publicize it [and] show the people’s pictures that did it. Sympathize, grieve for those people that are shot or killed or however. But drop it. Don’t keep it in the public and get these young kids especially, ‘Oh, look, that looks cool. I’ll go do that, too.’”

Sometimes, French said, she will align with and support Democrats, but said she 100 percent stands behind Trump.

“My mother, like I said, was a strict Democrat, but she voted who she thought was a good party person … and I do the same, ’cause there’s Democrats I will vote for,” French said. “I definitely, I’m a Trump person.”

  1. ‘I Just Wish People Would Be a Little Bit Kinder to the President’

Susan Kaw (Photo: Rachel del Guidice)

French’s daughter, Susan Kaw, said she thinks the media’s coverage of Trump has been unfair.

“I just wish people would be a little bit kinder to the president, and support him a little bit, and give him a chance,” Kaw said. “He’s done a lot already, but help him out a little instead of fighting everything he does, and give him a little help and support.”

Kaw, who has been coming with her mom each year since grade school to walk the grounds while children are in school, said she wants to see Trump’s wall on the U.S.-Mexico border built.

“Sounds cliché, but I’d like to see the wall built,” Kaw said, adding:

I have no problem with immigrants if they come here legally, and do what they need to do, but all these ones … are coming in, and we’re supporting them. It has nothing to do with coming here to get better jobs. It has to do with coming here to get our welfare, and food, and medical, and ship a lot of the money back to Mexico. So, I’d like to see that done, and better immigration laws.

Kaw, who said she had a “a family full of Democrats and now we’re all Republicans,” is pleased with the Republicans’ tax reform plan, which went into effect Jan. 1.

“I think the tax reform has been good … it’s helped a lot of businesses and a lot of people have got more money in their paychecks, even if Nancy Pelosi says it’s crumbs,” Kaw said.

“It’s not,” she added. “It’s helping a lot of people out, from the bottom all the way to the top.”

  1. ‘Obama Created a Lot of Divisiveness in Our Country’

Brooke Karmie (Photo: Rachel del Guidice)

Brooke Karmie, a 22-year-old recent college graduate, says she’s seen an economic boom in her town due to Trump’s trade deals.

“I think everything he’s done economically has very noticeably changed our country for the better,” said Karmie, who spent some of her time working the Stark County Republicans’ booth.

“I’ve seen the benefits in my town. So, that’s the president changing local businesses. Especially here in Ohio, steel is coming back. We have a lot of people in the steel industry who are coming back to our state, which is benefiting our economy.”

Karmie, whose grandfather, Frederick Karmie, came to the United States from Syria and went through the immigration process legally, says she is passionate about immigration issues given her grandfather’s experience.

“I know we hear a lot about how it’s wrong of us not to welcome these immigrants,” Karmie said, adding:

But that’s not we’re doing. We are welcoming the immigrants. And Donald Trump is making sure that people have a way to come into our country legally. And making sure that the people who are coming here to be up to no good are not coming, so that the rest of us have opportunities where they’ve been taken from us in the past.

Karmie, who majored in government and foreign affairs at Walsh University in North Canton, Ohio, said she is passionate about legal immigration because she wants America to stay a secure place for citizens as well as immigrants.

“If we allow crime to come into our country, then there’s no safe haven for the immigrants who come the right way,” Karmie said. “So I really respect that he’s taking action on that. And then, just overall how he’s upholding all of his promises that he talked about in the campaign.”

Karmie said she hopes Trump will help mend the divide she says that Obama instigated.

“I think President Obama created a lot of divisiveness in our country with every single policy he enacted,” Karmie said. “So it’s something that’s very hard to undo, because of the way our media is. But I think that Donald Trump is fighting in the right direction against all that divisiveness.”

  1. Trump ‘Just Doesn’t Seem to Have the Working Family in His Thoughts’

Stevan Pickard (Photo: Rachel del Guidice)

Stevan Pickard, a union member, said he is skeptical of how Trump’s policies like tax reform will play out in the long run.

“We don’t know what is going to happen because of that—because the tax break, of course, that means less money from the government,” Pickard said. “So if that’s less money for the government, which funds do they cut? Do they cut children’s funds, … cut teacher’s funds, that’s what we are worried about is the effects later on.”

The Stark County resident also said he wishes the president wouldn’t use Twitter.

“He needs to stop his tweeting,” he said. “No two ways about it, I have talked to staunch Republicans and they say the same thing. To us, he just doesn’t seem to have the working family in his thoughts. That’s really [the] bottom line.”

  1. ‘No Matter What [Trump] Does or How Good Stuff Is, They Just Downplay It’

Scott Rinkes and his wife, Donna. (Photo: Rachel del Guidice)

Scott Rinkes, who took his 7-month-old grandson to the fair with his wife Donna, said he is encouraged by Trump’s trade and foreign policy.

“[We support] the fact that he’s keeping everybody in control and getting us better trade deals. The fact that he’s picking up the economy and the stock market,” Scott Rinkes said. “My 401k plan has increased by one-third.”

Rinkes said he is concerned, however, that the country’s lack of support for Trump will end up sparking widespread disagreement.

“It just makes you sick when the opposite side is pushing prejudice and fights and division,” Rinkes said. “This country is headed for a revolt. No matter what he does or how good stuff is, they just downplay it and try to divide us and turn us against him.”

The Stark County resident also said he is worried about how the media coverage of Trump could damage the president’s potential success.

“It’s just worse since Trump came out and called them out and got in a fight with them,” he said. “Now it’s who’s going to die first? Is he going to kill the news or is the news going to kill his political chances?”

  1. ‘Never Seen a President Cut Down So Badly by the Press in All My Life’

Becky Sheen (Photo: Rachel del Guidice)

Becky Sheen of Stark County told The Daily Signal that the media’s coverage of presidents has been the most hostile with Trump.

“The news people used to be so respectful. I don’t care who you’re with or who it was, or whether you voted or not. People would be respectful,” Sheen said. “Everybody in America would sit around their TV when the president’s on TV. Nowadays people don’t even know what he does. It’s sad. A sad state.”

While Sheen said she isn’t completely sold on the idea of a border wall with Mexico, she said “it’s a start.”

Sheen also said that she would like to see Obamacare ended.

“Get rid of Obamacare,” Sheen said. “I was never for that in the beginning and I’ve seen so much bad come of that.”

She added:

I work and have my insurance, but I’ve seen a lot of family members who can’t afford insurance, and they got that and it was crazy. They had to pay twice as much for everything to have anything. And then having to have insurance—yeah, you should. But there’s some people that, let’s face it, just can’t afford it. When insurance companies know you have to have it, they jack all the prices for it. Crazy.

She also said the the media’s coverage of Trump has not been fair.

“Oh my gosh, I’ve never seen a president cut down so badly by the press in all my life,” Sheen said, adding:

Every president has good and every president has bad, but it’s like I haven’t yet seen them tell the good. It’s like they’re just constantly looking for him to do bad, instead of trying to give some credit where credit is due. If he’s wrong and does wrong, I can understand that. But on the same sense, show the good, too, because there’s some out there.

  1. ‘My Dad, My Brother Are Both Republicans Now’

Nathan Moore (Photo: Rachel del Guidice)

Nathan Moore, a recent graduate of Perry High School in Massillon, Ohio, who was helping work Stark County Republicans’ booth at the fair, said ending Obamacare is a major issue for him.

“I know my grandpa, he’s always been a Democrat, but a whole lot of people lost their insurance and had to do that wait period until they get into Obamacare,” Moore said. “It just took entirely too long, and they’re a lot of money in debt.”

Moore also says he sees a distinct difference between how the media covered Obama and how they cover Trump.

“I think it’s been biased. I mean, you look at some of the coverage for Obama in his first term, and it was extremely like, ‘Hey, good for you, great,’” Moore said of the media coverage of Obama. “Nothing bad. Then Trump comes in, and it’s been kind of, ‘Hey, …he’s horrible, don’t listen to him.’”

The 18-year-old said he tried to communicate his conservative convictions by making light of politics and having serious discussions when appropriate.

It appears to be having some influence, as he said his dad and brother have switched their party from Democrat to Republican.

“If you’re like me and my family, we’re very sarcastic and we joke a lot,” Moore said. “So I would just say make a game out of it. Make jokes about it, if you can, just try to have a serious discussion about it every once in a while to make something happen. Ever since we started joking and talking about it and stuff, my dad, my brother are both Republicans now.”

COLUMN BY

Portrait of Rachel del Guidice

Rachel del Guidice

Rachel del Guidice is a reporter for The Daily Signal. She is a graduate of Franciscan University of Steubenville, Forge Leadership Network, and The Heritage Foundation’s Young Leaders Program. Send an email to Rachel. Twitter: @LRacheldG.


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EDITORS NOTE: The featured image is of Ruth French, 86. (Photo: Rachel del Guidice/The Daily Signal)