More than half of refugees in U.S. receive food stamps

Screenshot (620)

Click on the image to read the full report.

That is from a recent Center for Immigration Studies report by Jason Richwine who analyzed the most recent Office of Refugee Resettlement Annual Report to Congress.

More than half of the annual inflow of foreign refugees arriving in the United States are on food stamps, a government report reveals.

Since 2008, as Breitbart News reported, the U.S. has permanently resettled more than 1.7 million foreign nationals and refugees through a variety of humanitarian programs like the Special Immigrant Juveniles and the Nicaraguan Adjustment and Central American Relief Act. This is a foreign population larger than Philadelphia, Pennsylvania — a city with more than 1.5 million residents.

An annual report by the Office of Refugee Resettlement was analyzed by the Center for Immigration Studies’ Jason Richwine, in which the analyst revealed that about 56 percent of households headed by foreign refugees who arrived in the U.S. between 2011 and 2015 are using taxpayer-funded food stamps.

Nearly 30 percent of refugees received cash welfare of some sort, while 34 percent of refugees 18-years-old or older said they had no health insurance. Of the refugees who said they did have health insurance, about 50 percent said they were either on Medicaid or Refugee Medical Assistance, both of which are taxpayer-funded.

More here.

Frankly I suspect the numbers are much worse.

The sampling used by the Office of Refugee Resettlement is tiny and dependent on how many of the refugees they can find via phone calls and how many will even participate by answering questions if they are found.

A large number are not even participating in the survey because of language barriers.

We have told you about the Annual Reports for years. Here is just one post in 2013 where we reported that food stamp use was 70% in Obama’s first year in office—2009!

Even in spite of the possible under counting in the welfare use sections, the reports are treasure troves of information for those of you trying to better understand how the refugee program works and what it might be doing to your towns and cities.

One of the things you will see in the reports is information on how many other grants and goodies the contractors receive over and above their per refugee head payment.

The US is no doubt importing poverty, something that the designers of the original Refugee Act of 1980 promised would not happen.

And, if you are saying to yourselves that new immigrants aren’t supposed to be eligible for welfare, remember that prohibition does not apply to refugees!

Below is the table from the 2016 Annual Report:

Screenshot (621)

SNAP is of course food stamps. Note that nearly 20% receive Social Security disability benefits—yikes!

Screenshot (622)

Next after food stamps, taxpayers fund medical care for a very large percentage of refugees.

Just so you know we admitted 69,933 refugees to the US in FY2015 and for the whole accounting period above (FY11 through FY15) the total was 324,508 according to data at Wrapsnet.

Cutting numbers is a good start and we applaud the President, but the whole program must be reformed.

Do it now!

Contact the White House and tell the President what you think! See contact link in right hand sidebar here at RRW.

The Earliest Signing of the NDAA in 40 Years Is a Giant Step in Rebuilding the Military

With President Donald Trump’s signature Monday at Fort Drum, New York, the John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal 2019 will be the earliest a defense authorization bill has become law since 1978.

Forty years ago, the bill was 16 pages long and was called the “Department of Defense Appropriation Authorization Act, 1978.” This year’s NDAA is close to 800 pages. The early date is even more impressive considering that the last time that the NDAA was signed into law before the beginning of the fiscal year on Oct. 1 was in 1997.

The early passage of the 2019 NDAA represents a level of stability and predictability uncommon in the recent history of the Department of Defense, and it should be very helpful in the efforts to rebuild our military.

There are two important factors worth noting that contributed to the early timing of the 2019 NDAA: the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 and the shadow projected by the absence of Sen. John McCain, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

The Bipartisan Budget Act has its flaws and represented the capitulation of substantial budgetary controls for 2018 and 2019; nonetheless, it brought a much-needed defense budget increase for both years. The 2019 defense base budget was set at $647 billion, of which a little over $639 billion was under the auspices of the NDAA.

The increased and certain budgetary number removed the biggest point of contention that lawmakers usually have with the NDAA. It enabled both the House and Senate to start working from a common top line and all but eliminated the debates on how to balance defense with other priorities in the budget.

Since late December, McCain has been in Arizona dealing with the effects of the treatment for his brain cancer. In his absence, Sen. James Inhofe, the second-ranking Republican on the committee, has been performing the duties of Armed Services Committee chairman. Still, Inhofe has expressed multiple times that the NDAA and the work of the committee were shaped by McCain.

Naming the NDAA after the absent chairman is a fitting recognition for the senator’s influence and role played in many consecutive bills. It recognizes the importance of his work, not only on the 2019 version of the bill, but in the defense community in general.

Despite all the positive signs that the Fort Drum signing ceremony brings, it is important to highlight that it does not mark the end of the effort to rebuild the military.

It took the military many years to get in a state of deteriorated readiness described by The Heritage Foundation’s Index of U.S. Military Strength. By the same token, it will take time to rebuild it. It is not a two-year effort.

When Secretary of Defense James Mattis was discussing the rebuilding efforts, he mentioned the need for sustained and increased funding at least until 2023 to be able to fully rebuild military capabilities.

The defense budget will require more resources if we are to build out those capabilities to face the threats described by the national defense strategy.

The Budget Control Act caps that limit how much the country can invest in its defense will return in 2020 and 2021. If the country were to observe those caps, it would represent a decrease of $71 billion over the 2019 base budget.

That will require sustained engagement with Congress and the American people to explain and make the case for the defense budget and the military rebuild.

Despite the successes in 2018 and 2019, the American people cannot and should not think that the job is done. It will still take time and resources to rebuild the military that America requires.

COMMENTARY BY

Portrait of Frederico Bartels

Frederico Bartels is a policy analyst for defense budgeting at The Heritage Foundation’s Davis Institute for National Security and Foreign Policy. Twitter: .


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


EDITORS NOTE: The featured image is of President Donald Trump talking with U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Walter “Walt” Piatt, the commanding general of the Army’s 10th Mountain Division and Fort Drum, as the president observes a demonstration with U.S. Army 10th Mountain Division troops and helicopters at Fort Drum, New York, on Aug. 13. (Photo: Carlos Barria/Reuters/Newscom)

President Trump to De-fund Over 100 Chinese Communist Party ‘Confucius Institutes’ in America

Grace Gottschling an investigative reporter for Campus Reform writes in an article titled “Trump to sign Confucius Institute funding ban“,

President Trump is about to sign the new National Defense Authorization Act, which will prohibit funding to Chinese-run Confucius Institutes on American campuses.

Texas Senator Ted Cruz added the key amendment to “The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2019,” which also restricts funding to universities that host Confucius Institutes and requires them to provide a public record of any agreements or contracts they have with the program, which has deep ties to the Chinese Communist Party.

“The Confucius Institutes are the velvet glove around the iron fist of their campaigns on our campuses.”   

Earlier this week, the White House confirmed that Trump plans to sign the bill during a visit to Fort Drum, New York, according to Fox-28.

In March, the Central Intelligence Agency issued a classified report labeling the institutes as a threat, according to an unclassified page of the document obtained by The Washington Free Beacon.

“The [Chinese Communist Party] provides ‘strings-attached’ funding to academic institutions and think tanks to deter research that casts it in a negative light,” the unclassified portion of the report reads. “It has used this tactic to reward pro-China viewpoints and coerce Western academic publications and conferences to self-censor. The CCP often denies visas to academics who criticize the regime, encouraging many China scholars to preemptively self-censor so they can maintain access to the country on which their research depends.”

The National Association of Scholars (NAS) in an April 9, 2018 article titled “How Many Confucius Institutes Are in the United States?” by Rachelle Peterson reports:

Image Credit: Kreeder13 CC BY-SA 4.0

Updated July 18, 2018. This list, originally published in March 2018, will be updated periodically. If you know of additional Confucius Institutes that have opened or closed, please let us know at contact@nas.org

Since 2004, the Chinese government has sponsored Confucius Institutes on college and university campuses around the world. An agency of the Chinese Ministry of Education, called the Hanban, provides teachers, textbooks, and operating funds.

In April 2017, the National Association of Scholars released Outsourced to China: Confucius Institutes and Soft Power in American Higher Education, a comprehensive report on the way the Chinese government infiltrates American colleges and universities to enhance its own image. At that time, we counted 103 Confucius Institutes in the United States.

As of July 2018, NAS counts a total of 107 Confucius Institutes in the United States. We identify 100 Confucius Institutes at American colleges and universities. We also identify 1 Confucius Institute at a private educational organization, the China Institute, and 6 Confucius Institutes at K-12 public school districts.*

Our count differs from that of the Hanban, which lists 110 Confucius Institutes in the US. However, the Hanban includes two Confucius Institutes that have since closed: Pfeiffer University, the University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign, and the University of West Florida. It also includes one that never opened: Dickinson State University. Finally, the Hanban’s list omits two Confucius Institutes that opened in 2017: Baruch University and the University of North Carolina-Charlotte.

*Most K-12 schools that partner with the Hanban have “Confucius Classrooms,” of which there are about 500 in the United States. However, the Hanban does designate these six school districts as home to Confucius Institutes as part of a collaboration between the Hanban and the College Board.

Download the NAS chart of the current Confucius Institutes in the United States.

Download NAS chart of US-based Confucius Institutes that closed. 

EDITORS NOTE: Here are the Confucius Institutes in Florida.

University of South Florida
Qingdao
University FL President Judy Genshaft
cvisot@usf.edu
http://global.usf.edu/confucius/College/university

Miami Dade College
Jiangsu Normal
University FL President Eduardo J. Padrón
epadron@mdc.edu
http://www.mdc.edu/mdcglobal/ci/College/university

University of North Florida
Shaanxi Normal
University FL President John Delaney
tom.serwatka@unf.edu
http://www.unf.edu/confucius/College/university

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VIDEOS: Kelli Ward for U.S. Senate Battle Literally Heats Up Arizona

Were we insane waving signs on an Arizona street corner in 116 degree heat? No, we are patriots.

Hello America. Mary and I are in Arizona. Our Conservative Campaign Committee team was joined by local patriots to wave signs for Dr. Kelli Ward for U.S. Senate Arizona. We have more sign waves scheduled. This low-tech campaigning is important because enthusiastic supporters waving signs for Dr Ward reminds voters that an election is coming, inspires her voters and possibly sways voters who are on the fence. Particularly in primary elections, voter turnout is extremely important.

Folks, Dr Kelli Ward is one of us. She believes in lower taxes; fewer regulations; personal responsibility and following the Constitution. As a physician, Dr Ward witnessed firsthand the devastating impact of Obamacare on people’s lives. She wholeheartedly supports Trump’s efforts to repeal it.

Dr. Ward says we have people in Washington DC in both parties who are addicted to spending. This robs our kids. We must get spending under control. Amen sister.

She thinks Trump’s nominee for the Supreme Court, Judge Brett Kavanaugh is an excellent pick. Dr Ward says most important, Judge Kavanaugh says the Constitution says what it says and it does not say what it doesn’t say. Kavanaugh vows to apply the law as written.

Dr. Ward is a strong advocate of securing our border and building the wall. Dr Ward said the wall is,

“a symbol of a right and wrong way to come into the country”. It is also “a significant deterrent to the people who are trying to bring bad things into the country; the traffickers; the drug cartels who are bringing drugs and weapons and people across that border.”

Dr. Ward is a huge supporter of our military and veterans. Her husband served for 33 years. Dr Ward says as a physician, her health policy experience, her masters in public health, her time in private practice and medical education makes her uniquely positioned to be able to help our regular health-care system as well as the VA system that has been falling down on the job for way too long. “We’ve got to honor our promises to those men and women who signed on the line to protect our liberty and freedom.” Dr Kelli Ward

In a conversation with a family member who only watches fake news, I explained that Trump is not the bad guy in this issue of separating children from their parents. The bad guys are the parents who sacrifice their children to illegally enter America. Due to Chain Migration, a child getting on American soil eventually leads to the entire family invading America. These parents send their children alone on a nightmare journey to America, knowing they will be subjected to unspeakable horrors.

Dr. Ward said,

“Whenever I hear border control agents talking about 12 year old girls who their moms put on birth control because they know they’re gonna be raped as they come across their journey; four year olds with the only connection with their dad is a magic maker phone number written on their t-shirt or nine year old boys dying in the desert of heat exhaustion with no family around, it breaks my heart.”

Ten thousand of the twelve thousand children we have in custody came to this country without their parents. Dr Ward says it is a huge challenge to reconnect these children with their parents. She asked, “Where do we find these parents? Do we go and search in Mexico and Guatemala and El Salvador, in Honduras to look for those parents who sent their children across this border – put their kids in danger to come to this country illegally?” Dr. Ward says she is glad that HHS and DHS are stepping up, trying to put people back together.

Borrowing a line from the old TV show, To Tell The Truth, “Will the real candidate supportive of Trump’s agenda, please stand up.” Sit down Ms McSally, you are a fraud impostor.

Rock-solid conservative Dr Ward’s main opposition in the primary is Martha McSally. McSally is pretending to be for securing our borders and for Trump’s Make America Great Again agenda.

Conservative Campaign Committee team member national recording artist Diana Nagy is a strong advocate of our military. Team member Donald LaCombe’s son is serving in the military. During our 116 degree Arizona sign wave, Diana and Donald commented about the desert heat our troops endure in full gear to defend and protect our country.

Dr. Kelli Ward is great! So yes, our Conservative Campaign Committee team is enduring the crazy over 100 degree Arizona August heat, waving “Dr Kelli Ward” signs on street corners. We are also producing video and radio ads and more.

Patriots across America, you can help this conservative warrior through our Phone From Home program. CCC team member Miss LuLu coordinates this effort to mobilize conservatives from across the country to get engaged and get on the phone lines to help us turn out conservative Kelli Ward supporters. You can volunteer from the comfort of your own home by simply sending an email to: PhoneFromHome@ConservativeCampaign.org

Trump and America needs her in Washington, D.C. Please help Dr. Ward win the August 28th primary to represent Arizona in the November 6th election for U.S Senate.

My wife Mary and another CCC team member became a bit overheated. After taking a break in an air-conditioned car, both are doing just fine.

Things That Would Happen If You Fail to Pay Your Property Taxes

It’s one of the powers of the state or local government to impose real estate property taxes on the people living within its jurisdiction. Of course, taxes are necessary to finance the services that the local government provides to its citizens. Real estate property taxes enable the government to pay for services such as public education, utility, police, and fire services.

That’s the reason why your local government is serious in collecting taxes from property owners. In fact, most local governments don’t spare property tax shirkers. They put in place powerful collection tools and sanctions to make sure that homeowners paid their dues in owning a real estate property.

To avoid getting those sanctions from your local government, it’s crucial that you know the consequences if you fail to pay your property taxes. This blog article will be a huge help for that purpose. So take a read!

Your Property Taxes Will Incur Interest

Not paying your real estate property taxes on time will prompt the local taxing authority to levy interest on your tax account. Typically, the interest on overdue property taxes increases every month.

It’s also possible that local taxing authorities will charge monetary penalties on you. These penalties could mean an increase in the total balance that you have to pay to the local government.

A Tax Lien Will Be Placed on Your Property

In the case that you fall behind on the payment of your real estate property taxes, the local government can attach a lien on the property. If your property has a tax lien placed on it, the city or state you’re living in can’t allow you to sell or refinance your property until you’ve paid all your tax obligations.

Only the local government has the authority to sell the property tax liens. In fact, last year, the National Tax Lien Association (NTLA) said that almost a third of the $14 billion unpaid property taxes are sold as tax deed sales or tax lien certificate sales to private investors.

Tax deed sale means that the taxing authority puts the property on sale, and the buyer gets the property deed. In tax lien certificate sale, on the other hand, the government has the right to sell the tax lien, allowing the buyer to collect the debt with its interest and penalties.

However, in some jurisdictions, the taxing authority doesn’t sell your property outright. It just attaches a lien on the property and takes the title. Local property law then stipulates a procedure for the tax bureau to sell the home.

Placing tax lien on properties brings a considerable advantage to local governments because they quickly recover the money owed on the property.

What You Need to Do

House Lights Turned on

If ever you receive a notice of a tax sale because of overdue or unpaid property taxes, you should make sure that you call a lawyer as soon as possible. However, your options will depend on the city or state where you’re living.

For instance, there are tax authorities that enable a tax delinquent property owner to request for a decrease of the tax amount on grounds such as financial hardship. Of course, you need to prove that you’re indeed in that unfortunate situation.

Another option is to request that you pay the property tax you owe to the government in installments within a timeframe.

Takeaway

Paying your taxes is essential if you’re a property owner. Otherwise, the taxing authority can increase the interest of your overdue tax obligations or place a tax lien on your property. For you to avoid this situation, it’s crucial that you know about property taxes. You can read blog sites like SoCal Home Buyers to look for knowledge on this subject.

Trump Further Chips Away at Obamacare by Expanding Short-Term Health Plans

The Trump administration moved Wednesday to expand health insurance options and affordability for Americans, with a new rule allowing cheaper new and renewable health insurance plans that consumers can use for up to a year.

The Department of Health and Human Services, Labor Department, and Treasury Department released the final rule that allows consumers to buy “short-term, limited duration” health insurance plans that are not subject to the Obamacare requirements. Consumers can have the plans for up to a year, instead of three months under the new rule.

The average monthly premium for an individual with a short-term plan in the fourth quarter of 2016 was $124, compared to $393 for an unsubsidized plan in the Obamacare exchange, according to HHS.

“They can be as much as 50-80 percent lower cost than the Affordable Care Act exchange plans,” Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar told reporters Wednesday. “We believe this could provide relief for well over 1 million people.”

The new rule is largely a return to the existing rule before 2017, when Americans could keep the plans for almost a year, which changes as President Barack Obama was heading for the exit. To encourage more people to join the exchanges, Obama reduced short-term limited duration coverage to less than three months in an executive action just three weeks before leaving office.

The plans again cover an initial period of one year, as before Obama’s action. The difference is that the plans come with a renewable maximum period of no longer than three years.

Azar said he would like to see Congress repeal and replace Obamacare, but until then, he is going to work to expand more private choices for consumers. He said this would not undermine the Obamacare exchanges, where 87 percent of consumers are subsidized. But this does offer a choice for those who don’t qualify for subsidies, he said.

“If someone decides, ‘I’m paying too much for insurance I don’t value that gives me an inadequate benefit and I find what you allow to be offered here in the short-term, limited duration plans to be something that is more financially attractive and more attractive as a health benefit for me in terms of coverage,’ that type of voting with their feet, I would find quite meaningful,” Azar told The Daily Signal during the press conference Wednesday.

Azar also noted during the press conference the new rule requires more consumer notification of what the cheaper, short-term plans won’t cover.

“These may be a good choice for individuals, but they also may not be the right choice for everybody,” Azar said. “One of the things we are doing is requiring consumer protection notice on the plans. In fact, it’s a more robust notice than President Obama’s administration had on these very same plans to ensure the patient, the consumer, knows going in what they are getting and what they’re not getting through the plan.”

Beyond that, the plans will remain under state regulation, which can decide benefit or rate structure.

The low-cost, sometimes low-coverage, plans could be good for people transitioning from one job to another, students who anticipate a job but aren’t yet employed, independent contractors, and part-time workers, Azar said.

The administration has taken a strong step, but Congress should also act, said Marie Fishpaw, director of domestic policy studies at The Heritage Foundation.

“The Trump administration is right to provide more options to Americans who have suffered under Obamacare and, in many cases, been priced out of health coverage,” Fishpaw said in a statement. “States should have more authority to regulate short-term, limited duration health plans. Unwinding Obamacare’s damaging regulations is just the first step.”

President Donald Trump signed an executive order in October directing executive branch agencies to look for ways to increase choice and competition in the health care market.

A release of three recent reports by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services found enrollment in the Obamacare exchanges is only stable for subsidized consumers, but has declined by 20 percent for nonsubsidized consumers. Meanwhile, premiums increased by 21 percent.

“We continue to see a crisis of affordability in the individual insurance market, especially for those who don’t qualify for large subsidies,” CMS Administrator Seema Verma said in a written statement. “This final rule opens the door to new, more affordable coverage options for millions of middle-class Americans who have been priced out of ACA plans.”

COLUMN BY

Portrait of Fred Lucas

Fred Lucas

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


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


EDITORS NOTE: The featured image is of HHS Secretary Alex Azar. (Photo: Jonathan Ernst/Reuters/Newscom)

Wind and Solar Power are the Welfare Dependents of the Energy World

Every turbine and panel that goes up raises the cost of electricity for the community it (allegedly) serves.

Take a look at this hard-hitting editorial at CFACT.org that reveals the hypocrisy of the wind and solar crowd.

Failing the laugh test: Wind, solar power make subsidy accusations

The lavishly subsidized wind and solar power industries apparently don’t like other meth dealers – er, make that energy subsidy recipients – on their federal-pork street corner. The evidence? Wind and solar apologists are squealing with outrage that coal and nuclear power may finally get their own small piece of the action.

For important context, the wind and solar power industries each receive such enormous taxpayer subsidies that all other energy industries combined do not receive as much taxpayer pork as either wind or solar power alone. According to the U.S. Energy Information administration, the net subsidies for coal, oil, natural gas, and nuclear power combined amount to only 1/9th of the amount of federal renewable energy subsidies (see Table 3: https://www.eia.gov/analysis/requests/subsidy/pdf/subsidy.pdf).

Keeping wind and solar power’s dominance of the energy subsidy racket in mind, wind and solar apologists are making laughable objections to Energy Secretary Rick Perry’s proposal to provide credit – on energy security grounds – to power facilities that can produce electricity 24/7 and can store their fuel onsite. With coal and nuclear power fitting these energy security goals, and wind and solar power falling short, renewable power apologists claim energy security considerations amount to “subsidies” and “bailouts” for coal and nuclear power.

For example, University of Michigan professor Mark J. Perry argued Tuesday in the Washington Examiner that coal and nuclear power “are being pushed out of competitive electricity markets by an abundance of cheap natural gas and renewable energy.” He may be correct that low natural gas prices are giving coal and nuclear power a run for their money, but wind and solar power prices certainly don’t. It is precisely because wind and solar power are so expensive and unreliable that the wind and solar industries need lavish subsidies and renewable power mandates to force consumers to purchase their products.

Perry digs himself a deeper hole by calling energy security considerations a “bailout” and then arguing, “It is time to let natural gas and renewable power earn their fair share of the electricity market, unencumbered by government interference.”

“Unencumbered by government interference”?!! This is a renewable power apologist talking? Forgive us for spewing our coffee all over our keyboard as we read this.

Free-market economists can debate whether the federal government should assign preference to baseload power that is available 24/7 and is relatively immune to supply interruptions. But people championing wind and solar power are the last ones who can criticize coal and nuclear power finally being considered for a small portion of the renewable power industry’s federal energy subsidies.

Adam Putnam Lies about the FairTax — Putnam looks more and more like a Charlie Crist republican

Adam Putnam launched the below ad titled “23% More” on July 24th, 2018. The ad attacks his Florida gubernatorial opponent Congressman Ron DeSantis for his support of the FairTax.

NewsMax reports in an article titled “New Adam Putnam Ad Hits DeSantis on 23% Sales Tax Plan” that the ad states:

“What would a 23 percent sales tax do to Florida’s economy?” asks the ad now on YouTube, dubbing DeSantis as “D.C. DeSantis.”

“If Congressman DeSantis had his way, everything would cost 23 percent more — groceries, gas, home purchases.”

“Congressman DeSantis sponsored legislation to increase sales taxes by 23 percent, hurting families, destroying jobs, devastating tourism. Washington is full of bad ideas and phony politicians. Ron DeSantis and his huge tax increase fit right in,” the ad continues.

Read more.

The problem is Putnam is lying.

Libertarian radio host Neal Boortz, who co-wrote “The FairTax Book,” responded to Putnam’s ad with a tweet: “If you are having trouble understanding the FairTax, perhaps you ought to comment me. I wrote the book.” He followed up, “The Adam Putnam campaign is LYING THROUGH ITS TEETH … and they know it.”

What Putnam doesn’t tell you is that Floridians will benefit from the FairTax because it will eliminate all federal taxes (income, estate, payroll, gift and business). Florida has no state income tax, which is a reason many people relocate to the Sunshine State. Let’s look at the chart below showing the current income tax brackets and rates to understand why Putnam is lying.

You will notice that individuals making more than $38,000 will actually see a tax decrease. Also note that the FairTax gives those below the federal poverty level (FPL) a quarterly refund of estimated sales taxes paid under the FairTax.

Here is the a table of percentages of the FPL guidelines.

Size of
Family Unit
48 Contiguous
States and D.C.
Alaska Hawaii
1 $12,140 $15,180 $13,960
2 16,460 20,580 18,930
3 20,780 25,980 23,900
4 25,100 31,380 28,870
5 29,420 36,780 33,840
6 33,740 42,180 38,810
7 38,060 47,580 43,780
8 42,380 52,980 48,750
For each additional
person, add
 4,320  5,400  4,970

The FairTax also eliminates all small business and corporate federal taxes. This saves Florida’s individuals, small business and corporations money by neither having to file tax returns nor hiring tax lawyers and accountants. In its annual survey of Tax Return Preparation Fee Averages, the National Society of Accountants reports the following average fees its members charged to prepare 2014 tax returns: 1040 with state return with no itemized deductions: $159. 1040 with Schedule A (itemized deductions) and state return: $273.

Additionally, Congress will lose its power to use taxes to reward and punish individuals and companies. Congress and career politicians will lose their ability to weaponize the IRS.

When your factor in all of these items it appears that the title of “D.C.” belongs to Putnam, not DeSantis. Putnam wants Floridians to continue to pay federal income taxes. Sounds like Putnam is still part of the swamp.

When the FairTax is implemented Florida will truly become an Income Tax Free state.

RELATED ARTICLE: Misleading Putnam ad twists DeSantis stance on taxes – PolitiFact

Trump Administration Takes on Unions Over ‘Skimming’ Medicaid Funds

Sally Coomer of Seattle, who cares for her disabled adult daughter at home, doesn’t like the fact that union dues are deducted from the Medicaid payment she gets for her services under a Washington state policy.

“The money that is taken out in union dues, if it was not siphoned off, could be used to provide for more care,” Coomer told The Daily Signal about the Medicaid stipend given to home care providers.

“A lot of family members forgo careers to take care of family members and are working in situations where they are really financially struggling,” she said.

Washington is one of 11 states where the state governments work with public-sector unions to automatically deduct a portion of the Medicaid stipend and divert it to unions representing state employee unions.

The other states are California, Connecticut, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, Oregon, and Vermont, according to the State Policy Network, a conservative think tank that focuses on state issues.

Nine states take money from Medicaid home child care workers: Connecticut, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, and Washington.

However, the states face pushback from the Trump administration and, potentially, the courts in light of a recent Supreme Court ruling striking down mandatory payments to public employee unions by employees who don’t belong to the union.

The rule proposed by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services would eliminate states’ ability to divert part of Medicaid payments from providers to a third party.

Home caregivers are often relatives or close friends of a family, and they receive the Medicaid stipends for in-home care that varies based on hours required.

Caregivers may pay up to $1,000 per year in union dues, according to the State Policy Network, which says state governments are “dues-skimming” an estimated $200 million per year from home health providers and $50 million from child day care providers to give to unions.

Coomer’s daughter Becky, almost 28, has cerebral palsy and a disorder that causes seizures. She is blind and developmentally disabled.

Coomer, who has become an advocate for other families who don’t want to be forced to pay union dues, said many home care providers are not aware they have a choice in joining a union.

To qualify in Washington state, family members are required to go to an orientation run by the Service Employees International Union, which represents state government employees.

“At the orientation, they would tell people they are required to sign up,” Coomer said. “I don’t know what benefit we get from the dues. The only time I hear from the union is when they inundate me with a political agenda.”

The proposed new Medicaid regulation, announced July 10, is open for public comment.

The Social Security Act generally prohibits states from making payments for Medicaid services to anyone but the provider, according to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Exceptions include a court order for wage garnishments or child support.

However, in 2014, under the Obama administration, the CMS revised the regulation to provide for a new exception that primarily includes independent, in-home personal care workers, to allow a state to divert part of the Medicaid payment to third parties such as a union.

Under the Trump administration, the CMS determined that the Obama administration rule is not consistent with the statute. Under the proposed rule, providers still would be free to voluntarily join a union and pay union dues from their own pockets.

“The law provides that Medicaid providers must be paid directly and cannot have part of their payments diverted to third parties outside of a few very specific exceptions,” Tim Hill, acting director for the Center for Medicaid and CHIP Services, said in a public statement. “This proposed rule is intended to ensure that providers receive their complete payment, and any circumstances in which a state does divert part of a provider’s payment must be clearly allowed under the law.”

Organized labor opposes the proposed change.

The Service Employees International Union, or SEIU, framed the proposal as an effort to prevent home care workers from unionizing. It issued a statement from union member Melody Benjamin, an Illinois home care worker.

“Together, home care workers are making these poverty-wage jobs into a respected profession and we will not allow any special interest group or self-interested politicians to silence our voices or endanger the high quality care we provide,” Benjamin said in the statement.

In 2014, the Supreme Court ruled in Harris v. Quinn that in-home care providers cannot be forced to pay union dues to qualify for Medicaid funds. That didn’t prevent states from collecting dues, this time indirectly, before the money reaches the provider.

In states such as Oregon and California, providers have only a 10-day window to opt out of paying the dues, according to the State Policy Network.

The top beneficiaries of the Medicaid deductions across the country are the Service Employees International Union and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), the largest unions representing public-sector employees, said Max Nelsen, director of labor policy at the Freedom Foundation, a conservative group in Washington state.

“The Supreme Court ruling [in Harris v. Quinn] helped. Previously, home care providers could be classified as state employees,” Nelsen told The Daily Signal. “What they are doing now is short of requirements, but still coercive. Unions just rewrote the membership forms and SEIU playbook after Harris.”

Last month, the Supreme Court ruled in the case of Janus v. AFSCME Council 31 that public employees can’t be compelled to pay union dues or other fees. The high court ordered the U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals to reconsider its 2017 decision rejecting a case brought by in-home care workers seeking to recoup Medicaid dollars.

It’s likely the ruling could have a significant impact on the Medicaid issue, said Thomas Jipping, a senior legal fellow with The Heritage Foundation.

“Janus was an expansive decision,” Jipping told The Daily Signal. “The Supreme Court has already told the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit to reconsider its decision on the issue you raise.”

Mark Janus, an Illinois state worker, and other plaintiffs filed the case in light of the Harris ruling. While the Janus ruling would be helpful, it likely won’t have an immediate direct impact on the Medicaid rule change, Nelsen said.

“Janus had no direct impact on the unionization/dues collection practices for ‘partial-public employee’ home caregivers,” Nelsen said.

“There are some principles outlined in the Janus decision that may ultimately be helpful in reversing some union practices, but nothing that would categorically stop states from collecting union dues from caregivers’ Medicaid payments.”

COLUMN BY

Portrait of Fred Lucas

Fred Lucas

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


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


EDITORS NOTE: The featured image of union activists and supporters rally against the Supreme Court’s ruling in the Janus v. AFSCME case, in Foley Square in Lower Manhattan, June 27, 2018 in New York City is by Karla Ann Cote/NurPhoto/Sipa USA.

New Report Shows Every Congressional District Benefits From Tax Reform

What would you buy with $26,000? A new car? A year of college tuition? A down payment on a house?

This is not a hypothetical question. New research from The Heritage Foundation shows that the average American household can expect about $26,000 more in take-home pay over the next 10 years thanks to the tax reform that Congress passed last year.

But where can you find the “average” American? With Heritage’s new online tool, you can see how the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act will benefit the typical taxpayer in every congressional district. We’ve tailored our research to where you live. (Check it out here.)

The big takeaway? Wherever you live, typical taxpayers in every congressional district will see a tax cut in 2018.

You may have noticed this phenomenon already as your employer has started deducting less from your paycheck this year. The average American household can expect to pay about $1,400 less in taxes in 2018. But depending on where you live and how many kids you have, the numbers can look different.

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

Lower-income communities, such as areas near Phoenix, Arizona, (AZ-7) represented in the House by Ruben Gallego, as well as Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, (PA-2) represented by Dwight Evans, will see much larger percentage decreases in their tax bills. Tax reform benefited these communities by cutting their income taxes on average by 18 percent or more.

Moreover, Americans with children will benefit tremendously from the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. A married couple filing jointly with two children will see their tax bills fall by $2,917.

The tax cuts, however, will have much larger effects than just letting Americans keep more of their money. Since tax reform passed, more than 600 companies have announced more jobs, more bonuses, higher wages, charitable giving, and new investments in the U.S. Many of them explicitly cited the tax cuts as the reason for the bonuses and investments.

Businesses are in the midst of the longest-running trend of adding jobs to the U.S. economy in our history.

In the coming years, the tax cuts will continue to raise wages, increase investment, and expand economic opportunities. Americans will in fact benefit twice from the tax cuts—once from paying less in taxes, and again from higher pre-tax incomes.

But this future is not certain. Many of the tax cuts expire after 2025, and some in Congress are determined to repeal them well before then. If the tax cuts are made permanent, our estimates suggest take-home pay after 2025 would be about 1 percent higher, corresponding to $600 per year for someone making the median U.S. income.

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act is fundamentally important for Americans all across the country. It’s time to protect our paychecks and our financial well-being by telling Congress to make our tax cuts permanent.

COMMENTARY BY

Portrait of Adam Michel

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

Portrait of Parker Sheppard

Parker Sheppard focuses on dynamic economic modeling as a senior policy analyst in the Center for Data Analysis at The Heritage Foundation. Twitter: .

Portrait of Kevin Dayaratna

 

 

 

 

 

Kevin Dayaratna

Kevin D. Dayaratna specializes in tax, energy and health policy issues as senior statistician and research programmer in The Heritage Foundation’s Center for Data Analysis. Read his research. Twitter: .

RELATED ARTICLE: Podcast: Tax Reform Leads to More Cookies, Not Crumbs


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


EDITORS NOTE: The featured image is by mediaphotos/Getty Images.

Trump and Senators Offer Plans to Reorganize Bureaucracy, Drain the Swamp

President Donald Trump’s administration released a plan June 21 that, if enacted, would impose some order on the sprawling administrative state—something that is long overdue.

Decades of ceaseless expansion of the size and scope of the federal government have created a bloated and inefficient federal bureaucracy, replete with agencies and offices with overlapping functions.

The Rube Goldberg-esque structure of the federal bureaucracy is not only expensive, it thickens the web of government red tape, makes government services less efficient, and makes mission failure more likely by splintering simple jobs among diffuse agencies.

Trump’s plan would begin the long process of rearranging the overgrown federal bureaucracy by grafting together agencies that do similar work and pruning away offices that have outlived their usefulness.

More on the specifics of the reorganization plan can be found here.

However, while the president directs the executive branch, its structure is largely the product of Congress. Through the legislative process, it creates departments and agencies, establishes their responsibilities, and determines their funding.

While Congress sometimes delegates authority to the president to determine how staff and funds are deployed or even how an agency is organized, major shakeups require congressional action.

Details of the Reforming Government Act

That’s where legislation introduced June 27 by Sens. Ron Johnson,  R-Wis., and James Lankford, R-Okla., comes in.

Their bill, the Reforming Government Act of 2018, would give the president the power to draw up a broad plan for reorganization—the specifics of which could go far beyond what his administration has already proposed—to be considered under expedited parliamentary procedures in Congress.

If the legislation passes, the president could draft a plan to create, abolish, or move entire departments of the federal government (or sub-units thereof). Agencies that have overlapping functions—for example, the Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service and the Food and Drug Administration, which also inspects food—could be merged.

Government services spread across dozens of agencies could be consolidated into the most appropriate agency. Financial education programs, for example, are currently operating across 20 agencies, and job training programs are even more diffuse, spread across 40 agencies.

There are literally hundreds of similar examples of overlap, fragmentation, and duplication that a reorganization plan could address.

The only limitations the Johnson-Lankford bill imposes is that the president’s reorganization plan must be “efficiency-enhancing.” That means that any plan would reduce the number of government agencies and save money, while preventing the merging, abolishing, or moving of independent agencies, such as the Federal Trade Commission and Federal Election Commission.

Once the president formulates a reorganization plan, the proposal would go to Congress for fast-track consideration.

Like other bills, the plan would first go through committees in both the House and Senate. But unlike other bills, those committees would only have 75 days to read it and provide their recommendations to the Congress at large. Once the 75 days lapse, the reorganization plan would leave committees for the floor automatically—with or without the committees’ recommendations.

After moving to the floor of Congress, debate would be limited to 10 hours, and then members would cast an up-or-down vote on final passage of the resolution. At no point along the way would amendments be allowed. Essentially, once a president formulates a reorganization plan, Congress has two choices: Take it or leave it.

Why This Is the Right Approach

Johnson and Lankford are wise to want to empower the executive branch to develop a government reorganization plan, instead of asking Congress to take on such a heavy lift.

Incidentally, they are not the first legislators to suggest such an approach—Sens. Joseph Lieberman, I-Conn., and Mark Warner, D-Va., introduced a similar bill in 2012.

The president, along with his or her White House staff and political appointees in the departments are more deeply embedded in, intimately familiar with, and prepared to diagnose the ailments of the administrative state.

Past Congresses recognized the president’s comparative advantage in proposing and carrying out executive reorganizations, and from 1932 to 1984, the U.S. government enacted 93 separate executive reorganization plans. But, in 1984, Congress let this executive reorganization authority lapse.

Aside from expertise, there is another reason it might be better to leave reorganization largely in the hands of the president. Members of Congress—each of whom serves on a number of committees that oversee one or several departments—often have incentives to fight any reorganization plan that lessens their own influence.

While all members of Congress might agree that something must be done to pare back the sprawling federal bureaucracy in principle, each individual member of Congress is likely to adopt a NIMBY—“not in my backyard”—attitude to any concrete proposal that lessens the size and strength of the agencies under his or her committee’s or subcommittee’s jurisdiction.

The Promise of Reorganization

The Johnson-Lankford bill might be a popular way for members of Congress to meet their constituents’ demands to “drain the swamp.”

To be sure, this Congress has already done much to help the president cut back red tape. Using the Congressional Review Act, which allows Congress to strike down new federal regulations, it kept 16 costly Obama-era rules from going into effect. Prior to the 115th Congress, the Congressional Review Act had been used only once.

Reforming the structure of government is at least as pressing as checking its excesses. After all, the tangled, obscure, and almost impenetrable nature of the administrative state is what makes the swamp analogy such a popular description of Washington.

COMMENTARY BY

Portrait of John York

John W. York, Ph.D., is a policy analyst in the B. Kenneth Simon Center for Principles and Politics at The Heritage Foundation.

RELATED ARTICLE: Government Spends $3 Million to Study Heavy Drinking, Aggression at Nightclubs

Dear Readers:

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

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

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

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

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

ACTIVATE YOUR MEMBERSHIP TODAY

EDITORS NOTE: The featured image is of Sen. James Lankford, R-Okla. who has introduced legislation with Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., that would give President Donald Trump wide latitude to restructure executive agencies. (Photo: Jeff Malet Photography/Newscom)

Congressional Republicans Unite Behind Conservative Budget

The Republican Study Committee, a conservative caucus of 158 Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives, releases an annual budget called “A Framework for United Conservatism.”

Its aim is to unite conservatives in Congress behind a long-term fiscal plan.

This year’s Framework builds on the RSC’s fiscal year 2018 budget both of which embody conservative principles, sharing many similarities with Heritage’s Blueprint for Balance; 55 percent of Heritage’s proposals are fully included in the 2018 Framework.

The Heritage Blueprint serves as, in the words of Politico’s Sarah Ferris, “a conservative dream budget” for lawmakers who seek to balance the federal budget and put power back into the hands of the American people.

The 2018 RSC budget also takes significant steps towards curbing federal regulation and unleashing economic growth. Recognizing that the U.S. fiscal challenge cannot be effectively addressed without entitlement reform, RSC’s Framework puts forth recommendations to fix Medicare and Social Security.

RSC’s budget also makes significant progress in areas like agriculture, energy, welfare reform, health care, and retirement security.

Both the RSC’s Framework and Heritage’s Blueprint would eliminate or reform programs run by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The policy proposals endorsed by both organizations would help to end cronyism, reduce regulation, and promote competition.

One example is a recommendation to eliminate the federal sugar program, which serves as a hidden tax on consumers by raising sugar prices.

Both the Blueprint and the Framework also recommend eliminating the USDA’s Rural Business Cooperative Service, a program which, among other things, unfairly picks winners and losers in the energy sector.

On welfare reform, the Framework and the Blueprint include three major goals: promote work and marriage, pay for outcomes rather than services, and require transparency in welfare spending and benefits.

Restructuring welfare in such a way does two things. It ensures that those who need assistance receive benefits, and it promotes a culture of self-sufficiency.

The RSC budget also makes substantial progress on Medicaid reform.

One significant proposal supported by the RSC and Heritage experts would put the program on a budget. Four categories of enrollees—children and able-bodied adults, the disabled, low-income Medicare beneficiaries, and long-term beneficiaries—should be financed separately subject to an aggregate federal spending cap. Restructuring Medicaid in this way would increase transparency and accountability while also keeping the program on a stable fiscal path.

Moreover, disaggregation of Medicaid funding would help ensure that the program would be more tailored to the specific needs of each group, protecting especially the most vulnerable from seeing their Medicaid allotment being consumed by the Medicaid expansion population.

The RSC budget also incorporates proposals to fix Social Security and Medicare. Harmonizing the age of eligibility for both of those programs, a recommendation in both the Framework and the Blueprint, is a common sense reform that would be a good step toward slowing the growth of Medicare spending.

RSC similarly includes a recommendation to combine Medicare Parts A and B, which would integrate hospital and physician services while saving billions of dollars.

These recommendations, alongside others found in both the RSC budget and the Blueprint, would allow for more focused funding to those who need assistance the most and help to curb the growth of Medicare spending, a major contributor to the national debt.

In the realm of Social Security, the RSC fully endorses Texas Republican Rep. Sam Johnson’s Social Security Reform Act of 2016, which is designed to permanently save Social Security by targeting benefits to those most in need, among other reforms.

Heritage experts identified the policies in the Johnson plan as a reasonable, targeted, and fiscally responsible approach to begin reforming Social Security.

There are some policies not yet addressed by the RSC that would be helpful in reducing the size and scope of government.

The Framework shies away from serious consideration of three major overhauls of the U.S. Department of Veteran’s Affairs mentioned in the Blueprint: ending enrollment in VA medical care for veterans in priority groups 7 and 8, eliminating concurrent receipt of retirement pay and disability compensation, and narrowing eligibility for veterans disability by excluding disabilities unrelated to military duties.

These proposals would focus scarce dollars on veterans with the most severe disabilities and ensure better service to our veterans.

In the education sphere, the RSC ought to consider rescinding “gainful employment” regulations on for-profit higher education institutions, which would allow more flexibility for nontraditional students who seek to learn in vocational or other types of schools.

The RSC’s budget notably includes a significant number of proposals that, if implemented, would move in the right direction to protect individual liberty, enable economic growth, and lift some of the heavy weight of a bloated federal government off of the backs of American families.

Both chambers of Congress should seize 2018 to begin the critical and overdue process of reducing spending, rightsizing the federal bureaucracy, and realigning federal programs with those functions granted to Congress by the Constitution.

Republicans control the House and Senate –it’s on them to follow the law and pursue a joint budget resolution to trigger reconciliation this year. Heritage’s Blueprint and the RSC’s Framework pave the way.

COMMENTARY BY

Dody Eid is a member of the Young Leaders Program at The Heritage Foundation.

Portrait of Romina Boccia

Romina Boccia focuses on federal spending and the national debt as the deputy director of Thomas A. Roe Institute for Economic Policy Studies and the Grover M. Hermann fellow in federal budgetary affairs at The Heritage Foundation. Read her research. Twitter: .

Dear Readers:

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

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

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

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

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

ACTIVATE YOUR MEMBERSHIP TODAY

EDITORS NOTE: The featured image is by Mega/Newscom.

Trump Celebrates 6 Months of ‘New Jobs, Bigger Paychecks, and Keeping More of Your Hard-Earned Money’

President Donald Trump called the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act an “economic miracle” as he marked the reform package’s six-month anniversary during a White House event Friday.

“At last, our country finally has a tax system that is pro-job, pro-worker, pro-family, and pro-American,” Trump said.

The $1.5 trillion tax reform law cut the U.S. corporate tax rate from 35 percent, the highest in the world, to 21 percent, in line with other developed nations. It also lowered the top individual rate from 39.6 percent to 37 percent, eliminated brackets, and closed loopholes.

“It’s my great honor to welcome you back to the White House to celebrate six months of new jobs, bigger paychecks, and keeping more of your hard-earned money where it belongs: in your pocket or wherever else you want to spend it,” Trump said.

During his remarks, Trump recognized Heritage Foundation President Kay Coles James and others in the audience for helping push what so far has been his signature legislative achievement through Congress in late 2017.

Trump pointed out not a single Democrat voted for the reform. He also said deregulation might have had as much to do with growing the economy $7 trillion.

“The typical family of four earning $75,000 will see an income tax cut of more than $2,000, and in some cases much more, slashing their tax bill in half,” Trump said. “We cut taxes for businesses of all sizes to make this the best place on earth to start a business, to invest. We have billions and billions of additional revenue coming in.”

Trump asserted more than 100 utility companies cut prices as a result of the tax cut, “saving Americans $3 billion on their utility bills.”

Trump again noted unemployment claims are at a more than four-decade low, and again cited historic low unemployment rates for blacks and Hispanics, a frequent theme in his speeches.

He added women are about to join that historic category.

“Unemployment for women, if you listened to my speech two weeks ago, you would have heard me say it’s the lowest in 21 years,” Trump said. “Now I’m saying it’s the lowest in 65 years and soon will be the lowest in history.”

The economy appears to be doing very well, said Adam Michel, tax policy analyst with The Heritage Foundation, noting some of the same employment numbers as the president.

“Even more impressive is that in the first quarter of 2018, investment—the bedrock of economic growth—increased by more than 21 percent among companies in the Standard & Poor’s 500 stock index, compared with the same quarter in 2017,” Michel told The Daily Signal. “The good economic news only accounts for some small part of tax reform’s benefits, there is much more to come as businesses and individuals start to realize how the new law allows them to expand, hire, and invest even more.”

Trump also framed these changes as part of his larger reform agenda.

“Commonsense is being restored in Washington once again because hardworking Americans are in charge of their government once again. Washington tried to change us,” Trump said. “That’s not going to happen. Instead, we’re changing Washington and we are changing it quickly and for the better.”

COLUMN BY

Portrait of Fred Lucas

Fred Lucas

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

Dear Readers:

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

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

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

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

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

ACTIVATE YOUR MEMBERSHIP TODAY

EDITORS NOTE: The featured image is by Toya Sarno Jordan/CNP/Newscom.

From JFK to the Resistance: What has happened to the Democratic Party?

The July/August 2017 issue of The Atlantic had an article titled “What’s Wrong With the Democrats?” by Franklin Foer. Foer wrote:

Leaderless and loud, the Resistance has become the motive power of the Democratic Party. Presidential hopefuls already strive to anticipate its wishes. Elected officials have restructured their political calculus to avoid getting on its wrong side. The feistiness and agitation of the moment are propelling the party to a new place.

But where? The question unnerves Democrats, because the party has no scaffolding. All the dominant leaders of the last two generations—the Clintons, Barack Obama—have receded. Defeat discredited the party’s foundational strategy—or, at the very least, exposed it as a wishful description of a more distant future, rather than a clear plan for victory in the present. Resistance has given the Democrats the illusion of unity, but the reality is deeply conflicted. Two of the party’s largest concerns—race and class—reside in an increasing state of tension, a tension that will grow as the party turns toward the next presidential election.

To produce a governing majority, the party will need to survive an unsettling reckoning with itself. Donald Trump didn’t just prevail over the Democrats; he called into doubt their old truths. [Emphasis added]

The Democratic Party is eating its own. Watch this video about how a Hispanic socialist candidate won the Democrat primary in New York because she targeted her Democratic opponent was white.

As a young man I was a JFK Democrat. He was my American idol. It was the time of Camelot and at the peak of American economic, political and military power. JFK embodied a vision of the future that Americans embraced.

Allow me to point out a few examples of what JFK brought to the Democratic Party:

  • JFK was a Catholic. He held those beliefs and spoke about his beliefs. JFK stated, “For while this year it may be a Catholic against whom the finger of suspicion is pointed, in other years it has been, and may someday be again, a Jew— or a Quaker or a Unitarian or a Baptist. It was Virginia’s harassment of Baptist preachers, for example, that helped lead to Jefferson’s statute of religious freedom. Today I may be the victim, but tomorrow it may be you — until the whole fabric of our harmonious society is ripped at a time of great national peril.
  • JFK was a decorated Navy Combat Veteran. JFK Commanded PT109. He served proudly and loved the military. He created the U.S. Army Special Forces, which led to the creation of special operations forces such as the Navy SEAL program. JFK said, “Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty.” JFK supported compulsary military service and noted, “A young man who does not have what it takes to perform military service is not likely to have what it takes to make a living. Today’s military rejects include tomorrow’s hard-core unemployed.”
  • NASA and reaching for the stars. It was JFK who believed in American ingenuity and wanted to put a man on the moon. He and his policies did just that.
  • The National Rifle Association. JFK was a life member of the NRA. On March 20, 1961 JFK became a life member and in a letter to the NRA President Franklin L. Orth stated, “Through competitive matches and sports in coordination with the National Board for Promotion of Rifle Practice, the Association fills an important role in our national defense effort, and fosters in an active and meaningful fashion the spirit of the Minutemen.” BHO hates the NRA and all it stands for. BHO, his administration and Democrats have taken an adversarial position on the Second Amendment and the right to bear arms. JFK supported Second Amendment rights for Americans, saying in an April 1960 statement, “By calling attention to a well-regulated militia, the security of the nation and the right of each citizen to keep and bear arms, our founding forefathers recognized the essentially civilian nature of our economy. Although it is extremely unlikely that the fears of government tyranny, which gave rise to the Second Amendment, will ever be a major danger to our nation, the Amendment still remains a major declaration of our basic civilian-military relationships, in which every citizen must be ready to participate in the defense of his country. For that reason, I believe the Second Amendment will always be important.
  • JFK added the M16 (AR15) rifle into the U.S. military inventory. It was JFK who introduced the Armalite M16 (AR-15) rifle into the inventory of the U.S. Military. Under JFK, Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara ordered Secretary of the Army Cyrus Vance to test the M14 , the AR-15 and the AK-47 . The Army’s test report stated only the M14 was suitable for Army use, but Vance wondered about the impartiality of those conducting the tests. He ordered the Army Inspector General to investigate the testing methods used, who reported that the testers showed undue favor to the M14. McNamara ordered a halt to M14 production in January 1964. In November, the Army ordered 85,000 XM16E1s for experimental use, and the Air Force ordered another 19,000. Meanwhile the Army carried out another project, the Small Arms Weapons Systems (SAWS) , on general infantry firearm needs in the immediate future. They highly recommended the immediate adoption of the weapon, so much so that they started referring to it as the M16.
  • Immigration policy was much different under JFK. JFK in his book “A Nation of Immigrants” wrote, “The interaction of disparate cultures, the vehemence of the ideals that led the immigrants here, the opportunity offered by a new life, all gave America a flavor and a character that make it as unmistakable and as remarkable to people today as it was to Alexis de Tocqueville in the early part of the nineteenth century.” In his book JFK Kennedy outlines three main reasons why immigration to the U.S. took place: freedom from religious persecution, political oppression and economic hardship. While JFK believed in a generous, fair and flexible immigration policy he did not believe in open borders and no immigration policy.
  • On Federal taxation and balancing the budget. As JFK wrote on September 18, 1963, “A tax cut means higher family income and higher business profits and a balanced federal budget….As the national income grows, the federal government will ultimately end up with more revenues. Prosperity is the real way to balance our budget. By lowering tax rates, by increasing jobs and income, we can expand tax revenues and finally bring our budget into balance.” BHO has raised taxes, spent like no other president and increased the federal deficit to historic levels.
  • Communism and the Free World. As JFK stated in his 1961 inaugural address, “Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty. This much we pledge —- and more. To those old allies whose cultural and spiritual origins we share, we pledge the loyalty of faithful friends. United, there is little we cannot do in a host of cooperative ventures. Divided, there is little we can do—for we dare not meet a powerful challenge at odds and split asunder….We dare not tempt them with weakness. For only when our arms are sufficient beyond doubt can we be certain beyond doubt that they will never be employed.”
  • JFK and McCarthyism. Joseph Kennedy had befriended McCarthy because he found him to be a likable fellow Irish-Catholic who had all the right ideas on the domestic communist menace. These warm feelings were quickly transferred to the entire Kennedy family. JFK liked the fact that McCarthy went after the “elites” in the State Department whom JFK regarded with contempt. Even before McCarthy made accusations against the State Department of subversion, JFK had already aligned himself with the militant anti-communists who blamed the Truman State Department for the “loss” of China. So JFK declared on the House floor in January 1949, “The responsibility for the failure of our foreign policy in the Far East rests squarely with the White House and the Department of State.”

I could go on and discuss how JFK worked with Congress. How JFK embraced the Constitution. At his 1962 State of Union, JFK stated, “The Constitution makes us not rivals for power but partners for progress.”

Just like Foer, I ask, “What has happened to the Democratic Party?”

RELATED ARTICLE: SALON: Let’s abandon the Democrats: Stop blaming Fox News and stop hoping Elizabeth Warren will save us

It’s Time to Privatize the United States Postal Service

Brittany Hunter “The country would be wise to let the market take a shot at cleaning up government waste.” – Brittany Hunter


Last week, the Trump administration unveiled a proposal to privatize the United States Postal Service (USPS). The plan comes as part of a broader initiative to trim and reorganize the federal government. And given its track record of waste and inefficiency, the USPS is a great place to start cutting the fat.

“USPS’s current model is unsustainable. Major changes are needed in how the Postal Service is financed and the level of service Americans should expect from their universal service operator,” the White House’s new proposal reads. The plan goes on to say that the administration plans to “fix” the post office before beginning the process of privatization. “USPS privatization through an initial public offering (IPO) or sale to another entity would require the implementation of significant reforms prior to sale to show a possible path to profitability.”

In terms of “fixing” the post office before taking it out of the hands of the government, the Trump administration has proposed reassessing the USPS’s ties with labor unions. This would give the new owners of the post office more freedom to set wages and provide benefits that are economically realistic.

The document reads:

“Freeing USPS to more fully negotiate pay and benefits rather than prescribing participation in costly federal personnel benefit programs, and allowing it to follow private sector practices in compensation and labor relations, could further reduce costs.”

As it stands today, much of the financial mess the USPS has found itself in is because of the exorbitant benefits programs that come with collective bargaining. In fact, as it stands today, the USPS still owes over $100 billion to its retiree health benefits fund.

It should come as no surprise that the National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC) have joined the likes of Bernie Sanders in opposing privatization. Commenting on the matter the NALC President Fredric Rolando said:

“NALC has long been committed to working with all of the stakeholders and not one has floated the idea of privatization except private shippers, who would love nothing more than to see the Postal Service dismantled. Now that we know that this administration and its Task Force will make recommendations on reforms to achieve OMB’s privatization goals, NALC will work tirelessly with other stakeholders and Congress to oppose this faulty privatization plan every step of the way to preserve this public institution, which is based in the Constitution.”

To be sure, when Rolando speaks of other “stakeholders” he is speaking about the other labor unions who have a vested interest in seeing this perpetual cycle of inefficiency continue, so long as they continue cashing checks. In fact, Mark Dimondstein, the president of the American Postal Workers Union echoed this sentiment, calling the privatization proposal “draconian” and predicting that it “would end regular mail and package services at an affordable cost.”

But as it stands currently, costs are hardly affordable. In addition to the billions of taxpayer dollars used to fund the post office, “consumers” also have to pay to use the USPS services, which essentially means that post office patrons are actually paying twice.

But all this just speaks to the larger point that the post office has been an incompetent disaster for far too long. It is about time some sort of action was taken.

The Post Office Is A Mess

No one looks to the post office as a beacon of government competence. Actually, no one looks to the post office for any sense of efficiency at all. And while the United States Postal Service has frequently found itself at the butt of many jokes, the truth of the matter is that its incompetence is costing the American taxpayers billions of dollars each year.

For the last 11 years in a row, the post office has experienced financial losses. In 2012, it was revealed that the USPS had experienced a net loss of $15.9 billion dollars. In 2013, this number decreased to a still enormous $4.8 billion, followed by $5.3 billion in 2014. As far as fiscal year 2018 is concerned, the Postal Service has already reported a $1.3 billion dollar loss. If any private company had experienced net losses to the tune of several billions of dollars, they would quickly find themselves out of business. But the post office is a beast of a different color.

As the USPS is a government protected monopoly, it does not have to respond to market demand. And since the taxpayers are on the hook for funding the USPS regardless of its performance, there are almost no consequences for its ineptitude. In fact, in many cases, it has been rewarded for its incompetence by having more money thrown in its direction.

It might be easier for Americans to look the other way and ignore all the wasteful spending if the post office actually held some sort of relevance in our daily lives. But in the digital age, there is really no justification for extorting money from taxpayers in order to pay for an outdated service that most people do not need. All correspondence can now be done through email and online shopping has completely replaced the need to send off for physical retail catalogs. Most bills are also already sent through email, with many companies even offering discounts for going “paperless.”

While congressional approval is needed before any manner of privatization can occur, it has been met with opposition by both members of Congress and labor unions. Unfortunately, the term “privatize” scares many, who fear what might happen if the post office is put in the hands of “greedy capitalists.”

Luckily for the critics, the post office serves almost no purpose in our digital age, making these concerns virtually unfounded. Not to mention, considering the USPS’s reputation for inefficiency and waste, it would take a great deal of effort for the private sector to do a worse job than the government has done.

Experiments in Privatization

Bernie Sanders recently expressed his concerns over Trump’s plans for the post office, saying:

“If the goal of the Postal Service is to make as much money as possible, tens of millions of people, particularly low-income people and people in rural areas, will see a decline in or doing away with basic mail services.”

But those who, like Sanders, are wary of putting the post office in the hands of the private sector might be surprised to learn that many European countries began privatizing their postal systems years ago. And it didn’t end in a disaster. For example, when Germany privatized the Deutsche Post in 1995, it helped saved the country’s mail system.

In the wake of the Cold War and the fall of the Berlin Wall, Germany was ready for change. Much like the USPS, prior to privatization, the Deutsche Post was slow and costly. Eager to get this wasteful agency out of the state budget, Germany decided to experiment with privatization. While the process was rather long, privatizing the German post and giving it control over its own operations allowed it to function like an actual business.

Now able to make decisions without the input of state authorities, Deutsche Post was able to implement policies that saved vast amounts of money. Instead of hiring new couriers to replace those who had retired, the German post opted to leave the positions vacant. They also centralized routes to save money where they could. Coincidentally, this plan to centralize routes is also part of the proposal by Trump administration.

The only law that the German government placed on the Deutsche Post was to mandate that letters were to be delivered to all areas of the country, meaning no one could be excluded.

Sure, this one stipulation did give the government a little control over the post, but it was far preferable to the previous situation. Since it was now privately controlled, Deutsche Post was still able to make the important budget decisions that ultimately led to its eventual success. In fact, the German privatization model was so successful, it now runs the DHL shipping company. And while the German model provides a beacon to look to abroad, even the United States has had its own experiment in privatizing the mail.

In 1844, Lysander Spooner was frustrated by the increasing costs of the USPS. Recognizing that as a government monopoly, the post office was exempt from having to actually care about its consumers’ needs, Spooner founded The American Letter Mail Company. Charging less and providing better services than the USPS, Spooner’s venture became a direct competitor to the almighty state.

However, while the American Letter Mail Company did end up having several locations in cities like Baltimore, Philadelphia, and New York, the USPS was not impressed. Angered by Spooner’s success, the government made threats to railroad companies who preferred Spooner’s services. When the state fought back, the Circuit Court actually began to doubt that the government had any authority to monopolize the mail. While the Constitution does give the government the power to run the Postal Service, it does not explicitly bar other companies from competing with state-run services. However, the state sought legislative action against Spooner, reinforcing its monopoly.

Commenting on the advantage private enterprise has over government-run  services, Spooner wrote:

“Universal experience attests that government establishments cannot keep pace with private enterprise in matters of business — (and the transmission of letters is a mere matter of business.) Private enterprise has always the most active physical powers, and the most ingenious mental ones. It is constantly increasing its speed, and simplifying and cheapening its operations. But government functionaries, secure in the enjoyment of warm nests, large salaries, official honors and power, and presidential smiles — all of which they are sure of so long as they are the partisans of the President — feel few quickening impulses to labor, and are altogether too independent and dignified personages to move at the speed that commercial interests require. They take office to enjoy its honors and emoluments, not to get their living by the sweat of their brows.”

Governments love to think inside the box. In fact, they are almost incapable of operating in any other fashion. But this has led to major inefficiencies, which, in the case of the USPS, have become too expensive to ignore. While Congress would need to approve this plan before any measure of privatization can occur, our elected officials would be wise to look at the options the private sector has to offer. If we are truly seeking prosperity, rather than financial insolvency, then the country would be wise to let the market take a shot at cleaning up government waste.

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