Money Can’t Buy You Health

Preview:  So how would government-funded primary care have prevented the diseases my patients have had? Heart failure? (Statin drugs probably make it worse.) Heart attacks? (When the patient has one, it is too late to prevent it.) Stroke? (Preventive aspirin is now criticized because of the bleeding it may cause.) Osteoarthritis? (We have great joint replacements but are much better at blocking access to surgery than at curing the arthritis.) Gall bladder disease, cancer, pneumonia, blood clots, thyroid disease, cataracts, arrhythmias such as atrial fibrillation, herniated disks, asthma, endocarditis from drug abuse, on and on. If we put all the doctors to work pretending to keep people healthy, who would treat disease and injury?

Healing the sick is what medicine is about. The politicians who promise to “fix healthcare” can only destroy medicine—while bankrupting the country.


“Healthcare” is supposed to be the big election issue, and politicians promise to give people universal and equal “healthcare,” or prevent the bad guys from taking it away.

Everyone of course wants to be healthy, and a $3 trillion industry wants to keep the money flowing.

So, I have a confession to make as a doctor: I don’t think I have ever kept anybody healthy. If someone comes to me asking for “health maintenance,” I don’t have a shot of “health” to give, or a prescription for “health” to be filled at your neighborhood Walgreens, CVS, or Rite-Aid.

And as a patient, I can’t recall any ways in which doctors kept me healthy, although they did save my life by taking out my appendix, and they treated some illnesses and injuries. I am very grateful to them, and whatever I paid them seemed reasonable and well worth it.

To my mind, a healthy person is one who does not have to see a “healthcare provider” regularly or take medicine every day, and who can go to work, take care of family, and generally lead an active life.

We hear endless complaints about how we spend too much money treating sickness instead of preventing it. If only we had the government take all the money, plus trillions more, and “invest” it in health, we wouldn’t have to spend so much, and everyone would be healthier—so they say.

This was the rationale for the National Health Service in Britain. Once the NHS took care of the backlog of untreated illnesses, much of the need for it would melt away. This did not happen. Expenditures kept rising and were never enough. The backlogs and waiting lists grew. Ambulances circle emergency departments, and patients are crammed into hallways and storage rooms.

Suppose you go for your government-funded, “value-based” health maintenance visit. Details of your once-private life will be entered into a very expensive electronic health record. (For most people, it will be their own data, but occasionally someone else’s will be cut-and-pasted in, causing endless trouble.) You will be checked for diabetes or pre-diabetes, hypertension or pre-hypertension, tobacco use, cholesterol, in many cases gun ownership, body mass index, and other government-mandated items. You will get educated about the evils of tobacco (in case you have been on Mars and hadn’t heard). You’ll be lectured about obesity if your BMI is too high. You’ll very likely get a prescription to lower your blood pressure or cholesterol, and you may get vaccinated for something.

Your provider will likely get a bonus for checking all the right boxes and for “keeping you healthy,” and will get penalized if your “numbers” don’t improve or you get sick. Since I don’t think others are any better than I am at creating health, there is a huge incentive to “manage the case mix” to discourage unhealthy or noncompliant patients from joining the practice.

People on drugs for blood pressure or cholesterol may feel worse rather than better, but are supposed to be less likely to have a heart attack or stroke decades later. Studies with huge numbers of patients, who may be very different from you, have shown a decrease in such events with treatment. So far, a decrease in expenditures has not been shown, in view of the cost of all the drugs and side effects.

Of course, as an internist I treat high blood pressure and diabetes, but I consider this to be disease management. Would better diet prevent these things? Possibly, but what diet? I recommended low-fat diets for years. This government-approved advice is now questioned.

So how would government-funded primary care have prevented the diseases my patients have had? Heart failure? (Statin drugs probably make it worse.) Heart attacks? (When the patient has one, it is too late to prevent it.) Stroke? (Preventive aspirin is now criticized because of the bleeding it may cause.) Osteoarthritis? (We have great joint replacements but are much better at blocking access to surgery than at curing the arthritis.) Gall bladder disease, cancer, pneumonia, blood clots, thyroid disease, cataracts, arrhythmias such as atrial fibrillation, herniated disks, asthma, endocarditis from drug abuse, on and on. If we put all the doctors to work pretending to keep people healthy, who would treat disease and injury?

Healing the sick is what medicine is about. The politicians who promise to “fix healthcare” can only destroy medicine—while bankrupting the country.

Before the Income Tax, our Nation was Supported by Tariffs

The prohibiting duties we lay on all articles of foreign manufacture which prudence indeed requires us to establish at home, with the patriotic determination of every good citizen to use no foreign article which can be made within ourselves, without regard to difference of price, secures us against a relapse into foreign dependency. Thomas Jefferson, in an 1815 letter to John-Baptiste Say, a French economist

A free people … should promote such manufactories as tend to render them independent on others for essentials, particularly military supplies.  President George Washington

Under free trade, the trader is the master and the producer the slave. Protection is but the law of nature, the law of self-preservation, of self-development, of securing the highest and best destiny of the race of man. Free trade destroys the dignity and independence of American labor… It will take away from the people of this country who work for a living— and the majority of them live by the sweat of their faces— it will take from them heart and home and hope. It will be self-destruction. President William McKinley


I wish we still had tariffs on all imports.  Why?  Because tariffs are what kept America’s manufacturing alive, our people with decent jobs, our ability to purchase quality goods produced by American owned companies, and because those tariffs once supported the entire cost of running our country. For 126 years, until 1913, there was no federal income tax and we kept all of the monies we earned.  Today’s communist progressive taxation is a far cry from what our founders envisioned for America’s citizens.

Following World War II, America began switching from a policy of protection, to a policy of “free trade,” which used international trade deals as a means of diplomacy and alliance-building, slowly eroding and ultimately destroying America’s status as the world’s dominant manufacturing power.

The idea that America’s economic tradition has been economic liberty, laissez faire, and wide-open cowboy capitalism, which would naturally include free trade… is simply not real history. The reality is that all four presidents on Mount Rushmore were protectionists. Protectionism was, in fact, the real American way.

Trump’s populist pro-tariff advisors Bannon and Navarro opposed the globalists in Trump’s administration, including economic adviser Gary Cohn, and Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) member, Army Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, then Trump’s national security adviser.

Gary Cohn resigned when the President called for broad import tariffs on steel and aluminum, anathema to establishment free-trade Democrats and Republicans.  McMaster was fired and replaced by former UN Ambassador, John Bolton.

The 1913 Income Tax

This tax dominates the revenue scheme of the federal government today.  It is totally unconstitutional.  Prior to ratification of the 16th Amendment (income tax) in February 1913, the federal government managed its few constitutional responsibilities without an income tax, except during the Civil War period. During peacetime, it did so largely or even entirely on import taxes called “tariffs.”

Congress ran the fed government on tariffs alone because fed responsibilities did not include welfare programs, agricultural subsidies, Social Security or Medicare/Medicaid.  Before the Northern War of Aggression, the need for tariff revenue to finance the federal government generally kept the tariffs at reasonable levels. During wartime throughout early American history, the Founding Fathers were able to raise additional revenue employing a different method of direct taxation authorized by the U.S. Constitution prior to the 16th Amendment. These alternative taxing methods gave the young American nation embarrassing peacetime budget surpluses that several times came close to paying off the national debt.

President Andrew Jackson boasted in his veto of the Maysville Road Bill in 1830 that God had blessed the nation with no taxes (except tariffs on imports) and no national debt.  “Old Hickory” presided over a nation where Congress had abolished all federal internal taxes, and no citizen saw a tax collector of the United States unless that citizen was in the business of importing foreign goods.  (And now, the $20-dollar bill sporting the visage of Tennessee’s beloved President Andrew Jackson will be replaced with the picture of abolitionist, Harriet Tubman.)

While American consumers were occasionally manipulated by outrageously high protective tariffs, inside the United States a massive free market emerged over which the U.S. government had almost no influence.

By way of contrast, the advent of the income tax prompted some congressmen to note that this tax was designed not principally for revenue, the U.S. government had always had plenty of money from tariffs, but to manipulate the American people and their choices in the market.

This has been the legacy of the income tax. While the income tax has produced the type of revenue that has made a massive transfer of wealth from the productive to the unproductive, the incentives, through thousands of deductions and tax credits have manipulated the American people into choices that they wouldn’t have otherwise made in a free market. These manipulations, whether in favor of “green energy” research, “cash for clunker” automobile purchases, or tobacco crop subsidies, have been chosen according to the prevailing virtue in Washington.

Prior to 1913, Americans were responsible for themselves and independent enough to know that their future depended not on the government, but solely on themselves.

Selling Out American Manufacturing

In 1992, ads in local newspapers encouraged businesses to transfer their manufacturing to Honduras, El Salvador, the Caribbean Basin International Development Zone, of the Dominican Republic and Haiti.  These were International Free Trade Zones and Port Industrial Free Zones. This included Mexico.

Instead of paying living wages in the United States, corporations were urged to move to countries where wages were $.33 to $.56 per hour.  In 1991, a U.S. government agency actually directed apparel firms in the Southeast to be approached and sold on the idea of going offshore where the labor was cheaper.  There is a Puerto Rican and Asian connection as well.  Hundreds of companies moved their plants out of our country, and this was 27 years ago.

I remember a friend of mine who worked for Levi Strauss jeans at a terrific middle-class salary being told to train the Mexican workers how to do their jobs knowing the company was moving manufacturing to Mexico.  The Mexicans were given free living accommodations in our country, they were free from our income taxes, and they took over the jobs our American citizens had for a lot less money and manufacturing was ultimately moved to Mexico.

Check out the 1992 article from the Pennsylvania Crier.  It will shock you.  Then go to the original Pennsylvania Crier home page and click on “Downloads.”  The information in this website documents history with far more than anything you’ll find in today’s school books.  It is invaluable!

Our country’s manufacturing was purposely sold to third world countries to the detriment of our own people.  When NAFTA was first promoted, the calls to our Congressional reps were ten to one against it, but our globalist enemies sold us out and voted for it.

Unfortunately, Trump’s Trade Representative, CFR member Robert Lighthizer has sold us out and fooled our President into thinking the USMCA is a better deal than NAFTA.  It is not! And Trump does not have conservative advisers who will read Lighthizer’s USMCA and tell him the truth.  Numerous articles have been written regarding the contents and the loss of our sovereignty.  Publius Huldah wrote that it not only violates our U.S. Constitution, but it also sets up global government.  And my friend, J.W. Bryan, has written numerous articles exposing the dangers within the USMCA.

Trump’s Tariffs on Chinese Imports

Last September 2018, President Trump announced tariffs on “roughly $200 billion of imports from China.” These tariffs are on top of the ones imposed during the summer on $50 billion of products from that country.

Mr. Trump has consistently believed that Beijing needed America far more than America needed China, largely because China is the country running large trade surpluses. In 2017, China’s merchandise trade surplus against the United States hit a record $375.6 billion. As Trump knows, trade-surplus countries get mauled in “trade wars.” Therefore, Beijing, not Washington, is the party that needs to talk to reduce tension.

After extensive trade talks with China ended without an agreement on May 10, 2019, President Trump raised the tariffs on another $200 billion in Chinese imports from 10% to 25%. China retaliated three days later, announcing new tariffs on $60 billion of American exports.

Asia expert, Gordon Chang is urging the president to remain strong on tariffs, telling Fox Business’ Lou Dobbs Opens a New Window. the only way to prevent Chinese theft and trade imbalance is for the U.S. to raise tariffs Opens a New Window. and implement continued pressure on the Chinese.  Chang told Dobbs, “We have seen so many trade negotiations between previous presidents and the Chinese. They have all failed. The Chinese have violated every single agreement. This is really important for us. This is where we either stand or we fail, and the only thing that’s going to get us there is President Trump.”

Of course, there are free-trade Republicans like Senator Ted Cruz who claim these actions will hurt the farmers and people of Texas.  Cruz previously supported giving fast track authority on trade to President Obama.  But our President already said the government would be subsidizing the farmers’ losses during this “fair” trade battle with China.

The Mexican Border and Trade

Personally, I’d like to see the border closed completely.  The trade trucks can stand in line at the border and be thoroughly inspected to allow them into the states.  But the border should be closed.  All border ports of entry should also be closed.  We are being flooded with illegal immigrants pleading asylum, being loosed in America and never showing up for their court appearances.  If anyone believes there are only 12 to 30 million illegals in this country, they are not paying attention.  The count is over 60 million or more and growing daily.

We do not have enough border patrol agents, ICE agents, fences or walls built as high as the Vatican, or congressional laws to protect American citizens from the influx and costs of these lawbreakers.  There are many Islamist terrorists amongst them who daily illegally cross into America.

President Trump threatened tariffs on Mexico being raised every single month until something was done by Mexico to stop them.  According to the State Department, Mexico agreed to dispatch 6,000 national guardsmen at the border with Guatemala to block migrants from reaching the United States and expand a Trump administration program that holds thousands of asylum-seekers in Mexico during U.S. immigration processing.  Over 90 percent of those released into America never appear in court and are free to remain in America.

If Mexico’s actions “do not have the expected results,” additional measures could be taken within 90 days, and the two countries will continue to discuss add-on steps during that period.  This includes tariffs on Mexican goods coming into our country increasing every month until this influx of illegal aliens is quelled.  Link  Without our President and without these tariff threats, there would have been no deal.

In 1916, President Woodrow Wilson put more than 100,000 National Guard troops on the Mexican border.  The military buildup followed an early-morning raid at the garrison town of Columbus, New Mexico. Ten soldiers and eight civilians were killed when the Mexican revolutionary leader General Francisco “Pancho” Villa attacked with almost 500 men.

It’s time for America to put thousands upon thousands of National Guard troops on our border again, and armed with equipment to prevent the surge of illegals from entering our country.  And yes, there is new military equipment that repels invaders called the Active Denial Systems Non-Lethal Weapon and turns them back without hurting them.  This needs to be manned and used on the entire southern border.

Conclusion

Pat Buchanan was absolutely on target when he stated, “Once a nation has put its foot onto the slippery slope of global free trade, the process is inexorable, the end inevitable: death of the nation-state.”

Tariffs are the answer.  The only way our nation can regain control of trade that benefits American citizens is through tariffs.  Neither China nor Mexico will cave to our demands unless they suffer the consequences of American tariffs.

If we subsidize our farmers and those who lose during this battle, a battle that we continue to fight over a period of five years or more, manufacturing would again start up in America, first with small businesses, and then it would spread.  Our nation would again be one of productivity, surplus, and financial growth for her citizens.

To right the wrongs can be painful for a short time, but in the long run will revive and restore our country.

PODCAST: Carbon Tax Scam, Politics of Virginia Beach Shooting and Benghazi Stand Down Exposed!

GUESTS

Jordan McGillis is a Policy Analyst at the Institute for Energy Research. In his role, McGillis writes on energy policy and contributes to IER’s communications initiatives.
McGillis graduated with a B.A. from the University of South Florida and an M.A. from Seton Hall University, both in International Affairs. Areas of focus: Federal Lands (permitting, drilling rights,ect.), Carbon Tax & Climate Change, Free Market Theory.

TOPIC..Carbon Tax Scam!

Alan Gottlieb is a strong advocate of defense. A nuclear engineering graduate of the University of Tennessee, publisher of Gun Week, chairman of the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, Founder of the Second Amendment Foundation, and serves on the Board of Directors of the American Conservative Union.

TOPIC…Virginia Governor Pushes Gun Control After Virginia Beach Shooting!

Maj. Gen. Paul Vallely, West Point Graduate, Founder of “Stand up America” and former Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations under President Reagan and retired as Deputy Commanding General for the US Army Pacific. Now a guest military analyst for TV and radio and co-author of the book “Endgame: The Blueprint for Victory in the War on Terror”.

TOPIC…Exposed!! Benghazi Stand Down!

Here Are The Republicans In Congress Standing With Trump Over Mexico Tariff Threat

A number of Republicans in the Senate are standing with President Donald Trump over his threat to apply tariffs to Mexico on Tuesday after several party members spoke out against it.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Tuesday that “there is not much support in my conference for tariffs” and he is hoping that the tariffs are not implemented. Other Senators also decided to speak out against Trump’s threat.

Utah Republican Sen. Mitt Romney said he will not support applying a tariff to Mexico, saying he “would not be inclined to vote [for] a tariff against a friend,” Politico reported Tuesday.

Oklahoma Sen. James Lankford reportedly also criticized Trump’s threat, saying the White House “is trying to use tariffs to solve every problem but HIV and climate change.”

However, a number of Republicans are in favor of applying tariffs to Mexico, such as Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, who said in a tweet Wednesday:

I don’t generally like tariffs either. But what alternative do my GOP colleagues have to get #Mexico to secure its southern border, use the Isthmus of Tehuantepec to screen northbound rail cars & vehicles & act on intel we proved on human traffickers?

Republican North Carolina Sen. Thom Tillis also defended Trump’s move, saying “I think it’s more likely the tariffs go on,” and that it would be “foolish” for Republicans to try to block the presidents move, in an appearance Tuesday on Fox News.

“I don’t think they’ll do that. If they do, it’s foolish. There is nothing more important than borders,” he continued.

Another senator who has supported Trump’s proposal to apply tariffs to Mexico, is Alabama Republican Sen. Richard Shelby. He told reporters on Capitol Hill Monday he is “not a tariff man,” but that he thinks “if it leads to a better trade agreement, I can understand his strategy.” Shelby also said, “well, if it doesn’t work you are right where you are. Probably have nothing to lose.”

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy defended Trump, according to the president, who tweeted a quote attributed to McCarthy.

RELATED ARTICLES:

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Another Obama-Era Official: Yes, There’s a Serious Crisis at the Southern Border

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Here Are The Seven House Republicans Who Voted For Amnesty Bill

EDITORS NOTE: This Daily Caller column is republished with permission. All rights reserved.

THE BIG LIE: The future is in Battery Electric Vehicles

I have a subscription to California based Motor Trend magazine. Motor Trend editors and writers are pushing the idea that the future is in Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs). This is a big lie.

Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs)

Let’s take a look at who is driving the BEVs market. According to a Wikipedia chart:

  • China has 2.243.8 million BEVs.
  • Europe is second with 1.346 million BEVs.
  • The United States is third with 1.126 million BEVs, half of them in California with 523,000 BEVs.

According to Wikipedia:

The popularity of electric vehicles has been expanding rapidly due to government subsidies, their increased range and lower battery costs, and environmental sensitivity. (Emphasis added)

According to the Drive Clean California website the Tesla Model 3 Electric BEV can garner a $2,500 subsidy (the federal subsidy of $7,500 has expired). Let’s look at what it costs to own a Tesla Model 3 Electric BEV.

According to the Tesla Model 3 website you can order a base price Model 3 at a cost of $39,900. “After potential savings” (i.e. government subsidies) are taken into account the Model 3 will cost $31,850. This is for the base level Model 3 with a range of 240 miles. If you order the “long range” Model 3 BEV (310 miles) the cost is $49,900 with an “after potential savings” price of $41,850.

According to Kelley Blue Book the estimated average transaction price for light vehicles in the United States was $37,577 in December 2018.

EVAdoption.com reports:

The mean Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of the 17 BEVs is $58,719 and the median price is $37,510. These average prices drop pretty significantly when excluding the Tesla models to a mean of $46,092 and median of $31,838. This compares to the the average sales price of $31,790 in 2016 and the $35,000 average selling prices of vehicles in the US as of January 2017 (latest and data I could find). [Emphasis added]

BEVs are expensive.

The Environmental Sensitivity Lie

A December 2nd, 2012 CBS News column titled “Carbon dioxide emissions rise to 2.4 million pounds per second” noted:

The amount of heat-trapping pollution the world spewed rose again last year by 3 percent. So scientists say it’s now unlikely that global warming can be limited to a couple of degrees, which is an international goal.

The overwhelming majority of the increase was from China, the world’s biggest carbon dioxide polluter. Of the planet’s top 10 polluters, the United States and Germany were the only countries that reduced their carbon dioxide emissions.

Frightening right? Not so fast.

According to the CO2.MyClimate.org calculator if you drive a car fueled by petrol 100 KM (62 miles) you will emit a CO2 amount of 0.007 t. According to a NC State University study:

A tree can absorb as much as 48 pounds of carbon dioxide per year and can sequester 1 ton of carbon dioxide by the time it reaches 40 years old.

The world is home to over three trillion trees—with almost half of them living in tropical or subtropical forests. There are roughly 400 trees for every human being. Therefore, the earth’s trees alone will, via osmosis, absorb 144 trillion pounds of CO2 annually.

According to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), the world’s volcanoes, both on land and undersea, generate about 200 million tons of carbon dioxide (CO2annually, while our automotive and industrial activities cause some 24 billion tons of CO2 emissions every year worldwide.

Therefore, if we subtract 24.2 billion tons from 144 trillion we get 143.758 trillion tons that humans, animals and plants must produce just to keep the trees green. Think about that.

The CBS News LiveScience article “Nature still sucking up considerable carbon dioxide – CBS News reported:

While humans are emitting large amounts of greenhouse gases, particularly carbon dioxide, into the atmosphere, the planet sucks some of it back up.

A new study indicates that natural, carbon-removing processes, have not yet reached capacity, in spite of humans’ increasing emissions over recent decades.

The oceans can absorb carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere, as can trees and other vegetation.

Read more.

QUESTION: Is buying a BEV worth the price in order to be environmentally sensitive? 

ANSWER: NO!

If you want to keep the planet green we all must increase our CO2 emissions, not decrease them. Why? Because with the increase in agriculture globally we are losing trees.

Also:

  • The earth will not end in 12 years.
  • The Green New Deal is a joke according to it’s creator U.S. Rep. Ocasio-Cortez.

Enjoy your fossil fuel powered car or SUV. The planet is doing just fine.

RELATED ARTICLE: THREAT OR PROMISE? E-AUTO BOOM COULD COST INDUSTRY JOBS – Fewer workers will likely be needed in EV era

RELATED VIDEO: The Green New Deal and Agenda 21.

EXPLAINED: Why Democrats Are Generationally Blind To The Spectacular Failure of Socialism

“The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people’s money.” – Margaret Thatcher

In full deference to the Iron Lady, that’s not the only problem. That is a functional reality of socialism’s practical doom. But at its core, socialism is a violation of elemental human nature that desires to build, innovate, expand and improve life — the same nature that drives parents to be always working towards a better future for their children.

Socialism denies that elemental nature and so not only dooms itself to eventual self-destruction, but creates enormous misery en route. This has been demonstrated in every country where it has been substantially put in place, from the Soviet Union to Cuba to Vietnam to Cambodia to Angola to Venezuela.

Yet for many — from college campuses to Reddit fever swamps to now much of the Democratic Party’s leadership — socialism still holds a dreamy-eyed allure. They passionately to angrily believe the world would be dramatically better if socialism supplanted capitalism. This defies not only human nature, but also all historical experience. And yet it persists at amazing and growing levels.

The reason: Democrats don’t work on an operational assumption of immutable human nature, or even increasingly in the reality of science. They operate in an arena that combines emotional Utopianism (socialism) with just flat emotional make-believe (there are 112 genders.)

Communism, the maturity of socialism, officially rejects God, because the supreme deity is the State. It is hard to against the idea that the leadership of the Democratic Party gives some lip-service to God and church, but philosophically has jettisoned anything remotely tethered to the Christianity of the Bible. Kill God and then create a new “reality” based in what feels good.

This is a continual trend on the philosophical left.

So let’s start with defining socialism, no small task really because part of the current Democratic/media task is to redefine socialism as having nothing to do with every social failure that has existed in history — which is every attempt at socialism in history.

“Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy, its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery.” — Winston Churchill

Socialist ideology defined

Wikipedia has a fair if somewhat dry definition of socialism, summarized as being a range of economic and social systems characterized by social ownership and control of every aspect of production. Social ownership includes public, collective, or cooperative ownership.

Means of production is the key. The means of production is essentially anything that is not human that is part of an economy. In socialism, the means of producing everything are in the hands of the “everyone.” There are no individual property rights, there is no individual ownership. Everything is owned by the collective, the hive, an economic Star Trek Borg 100 percent antithetical to the founders and the Constitution.

Socialism grew out of pre-Marxist ideologies that saw the inherent problems with feudalism. But it’s popularity exploded with Karl Marx and others as the industrial revolution took hold in the 1800s and abuses of the low-end labor pool grew exponentially at the same time wealth did. Socialism was a response to that by upending the entire system.

People power. But not person power.

Merriam-Webster defines socialism as “any of various economic and political theories advocating collective or governmental ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods.” Google defines socialism as “a political and economic theory of social organization that advocates that the means of production, distribution, and exchange should be owned or regulated by the community as a whole.”

“Democracy and socialism have nothing in common but one word, equality. But notice the difference: while democracy seeks equality in liberty, socialism seeks equality in restraint and servitude.” Alexis de Tocqueville

What it looks like in reality

The Russian Revolution of 1917 led to the largest experiment in socialism. The doey-eyed utopianism of Trotsky led to the authoritarianism of Lenin which led to the brutal tyranny of Stalin and the soul-crushing Communist Soviet Union.

That story is pretty well known but also a well-worn path for every socialist experiment, albeit it was on maybe the largest scale.

Cuba was the people’s revolution heralding in a communistic state that was ruled with an iron fist by Fidel Castro, just as Stalin, Khrushchev and the rest did in the Soviet Union. That was a thriving little island economically, but it was not hugely free and it was not a democracy. The income disparities and relative poverty in large swaths fueled Castro’s form of socialism and people followed him.

Venezuela is the most recent example. Due to its oil wealth, Venezuela had the highest per capita GDP in South America in 2005. It had not been well run and was fairly corrupt and incompetent at the government level. But it was still the best and richest in South America — a continent known for corruption and incompetence in government.

In 2005, President Hugo Chavez took the country in a deep socialist direction. He began nationalizing industries such as oil companies and the media — natural steps for socialism — and started transferring large sums to the poor. The results are truly epic. Venezuela now has a totally collapsed economy with starvation and the lack of basic infrastructure becoming more common. A failure on an amazing level.

In an explanation of Venezuela’s collapse, Bloomberg noted: “The last years of Chavez — he died of cancer in 2013 — and the first under his handpicked successor Nicolas Maduro have been a time of unparalleled fiscal profligacy.”

But that is always the case in socialism. Massive government debt driven by a declining economy — a common side effect of socialism — and huge welfare spending generated hyper-inflation has made the country the poorest in South America. In eight years it went from the richest to the poorest by pivoting sharply to socialism.

“Socialism only works in two places: Heaven where they don’t need it and hell where they already have it.” Ronald Reagan

Capitalism’s inequality “problem”

Capitalism is duty-bound to create inequality in wealth. Some people are just great at making money. Some are great at making things. Some are clever and some are lucky (think Mark Zuckerberg.) Those generally do very well in capitalism. Many others are simply hard workers and they often do well, though in more of a middle class sort of way — which in America is beyond kingly from just 150 years ago.

Other people are bad at making money and worse at money management. Others are not clever and some are unlucky. Some are just lazy. These all do relatively poorly in capitalism.

Relatively.

The question is whether inequalities are bad if all or most boats are being lifted, just some lifted higher than others. In the United States, the poorest 10 percent of people are better off than the richest 10 percent in any third world or developing nation. But Forbes points out an Economist chart that shows that America’s poor are better off than most of Europe’s poor, including better off than in far more socialist countries such as the Netherlands, Germany, France, Great Britain and Italy.

This is worth noting because those are considered social democratic nations by the likes of Sen. Bernie Sanders and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. But they are actually capitalistic countries with free markets, but a heavy overlay of social welfare programs.

While they are often heralded as examples for America to follow, it seems like the trade-off of inequality is worth it for the rising quality of life of the poor — unless envy trumps quality of life, which is what socialist-espousing politicians play on. It’s why class warfare must precede socialism, as it did with Karl Marx, Vladimir Lenin, Mao Zedong and Fidel Castro, so it does with many in the Democratic Party.

China is the largest socialist/communist country and struggled with universal poverty for decades after its revolution. But as it instituted capitalism’s free market reforms beginning in the 1980s — while retaining its authoritarianism, and socialist structure in name anyway — China’s economy began booming and is now second only to the United States. Capitalism did that. But it also created the inevitable inequalities.

Vietnam became socialist/communist after the Vietnam War. The country was already a disaster from the long war, but socialism provided no means for pulling it out. In recent years, the leadership has instituted more capitalist-based market reforms, a la China. That has begun creating more wealth for the country, but it is mostly flowing into a few hands — starting with those most connected to government leadership.

So capitalism works everywhere to generate more wealth. But it will always be unequal. Socialism equalizes, but does so by making everyone but those in charge poorer.

“Socialism in general has a record of failure so blatant that only an intellectual could ignore or evade it.” Thomas Sowell

What it might look like in America

What happened in Venezuela is instructive, because it is similar to Cuba and even the Soviet Union, although every situation will have its unique dynamics.

In a vision of what the first steps toward socialism would look like in the United States, Democrats are running variously on platforms of free government-run single-payer healthcare, free college, expanded Social Security and more. Of course, the beginning, as a bad as that would be for the American middle class, is never the ending with socialism.

To pay for it — and this is where Thatcher is just so right — Democrats would dramatically increase taxes by trillions of dollars. In fact, they frequently speak of tax increases alone to pay for all of the nationalized healthcare. That’s just taking other people’s money on a more massive scale, and would due to the math require a giant middle class tax increase.

These proposals were only a small step toward full-blown Utopian socialism. A totally predictable outcome would be that the high taxes would start slowing the economy, necessitating more tax increases, which would further slow the economy. You see the spiral.

The tax increases would never keep up with the expenses being run up in national healthcare, free college, expanded Social Security and the host of further steps that would ultimately be taken. The United States would not be immune to the immutable laws of economics and human nature. Eventually, we would succumb — as has every other nation.

Socialism is a siren song to the idealistic, the frustrated and the naive. But it is a fool’s errand. It requires ignoring known reality and supplanting it with a make-believe Utopianism — which is the precise groundwork being laid by the 2019 Democratic Party in line with leftists for the past 150 years. Presumably, if right-thinking Americans prevail again in this battle, it will erupt again in 30 years or so.

Socialism’s end is the proverbial pack of wolves and a sheep deciding what’s for dinner. There is a new sheep member each dinner until there are no more sheep, and the remaining wolves starve.

And you have Venezuela. Or Cuba. Or Vietnam. Or the Soviet Union.

(This is a vastly updated version of an article was first published at The Revolutionary Act on May 15, 2017)

EDITORS NOTE: This Revolutionary Act column is republished with permission.

In Fact, Neither France Nor The U.S. Belong To Illegal Aliens

It appears that illegal aliens in France (known as “les sans-papiers,” which translates to “the ones without papers”) have begun imitating the tactics used by illegal aliens in the United States.

A few days ago, roughly 500 sans-papiers invaded Paris’ Charles de Gaulle Airport to protest France’s immigration policies. According to the New York Post, “The migrants reportedly refused to let passengers board [outgoing flights]until their demands were met….” They also insisted that Air France immediately cease, “any financial, material, logistical or political participation in deportations.”

That’s become pretty standard stuff in immigration protests. However, it was the demonstrators’ slogans that should give pause to the citizens of the developed West, whose countries are being overrun. As they were surrounded by riot police, the sans-papierschanted, “France does not belong to the French! Everyone has a right to be here!”

That’s a shocking claim. At present, the world is organized around a system of independent nations described as “sovereign.” Sovereignty, is the notion that people may form political bonds and govern themselves any way they choose. It acknowledges that there is a philosophical wall around nations. Within that border, the nation-state is the highest political and legal authority. And no single nation has the authority to dictate how another conducts its internal affairs.  As such, France does, in fact, belong to the French, just as the United States belongs to Americans.

As an element of sovereignty, nations have the unfettered right to determine who may enter their territory. The Supreme Court of the United States summarized this very neatly in Ekiu v. United States saying, “It is an accepted maxim of international law that every sovereign nation has the power, as inherent in sovereignty, and essential to self-preservation, to forbid the entrance of foreigners within its dominions, or to admit them only in such cases and upon such conditions as it may see fit to prescribe.”

In plain English, that means any time outside forces are permitted to dictate who a particular nation must allow within its borders, that nation is no longer in control of its own political destiny. And it must always be wary of its sovereignty being slowly eroded by uncontrolled mass migration – and the political shifts that inevitably accompany rapid demographic change.

Europe’s “Syrian Refugee” crisis and America’s southern border crisis continue to drag on. Therefore both France and the U.S. should be asking themselves just how long they are willing to tolerate foreign trespassers who feel entitled to make unreasonable demands and dictate how immigration laws should be enforced. A failure to answer that question may very well lead to a loss of meaningful sovereignty and the dissolution of both France and the United States as we currently know them.

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EDITORS NOTE: This FAIR column is republished with permission.

UPDATE: Trump Signs Memo To Curb Welfare Use By Non-Citizens

UPDATE: President Signs Memo Enforcing the Legal Responsibilities of Immigrant Sponsors

President Donald Trump is expected to sign a memorandum Thursday enforcing restrictions on welfare benefits for non-citizens, The Daily Caller has learned.

The memo directs government agencies to enforce legislation signed by President Bill Clinton in 1996 that requires sponsors of immigrants to the U.S. to reimburse the government for any welfare benefits received by the person they are sponsoring.

Immigrant sponsors will be informed by agencies that they are required to pay back the money, and that they will be sent to collections if they fail to do so. Agencies will have 90 days to update their guidance and will report back to the president on their progress in 180 days.

Sponsor repayment of welfare benefits was enacted under the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996, but has remained largely unenforced. The bill was sponsored by Democratic Sens. Patrick Leahy and Patty Murray.

“This executive action will dramatically curb ‘welfare tourism’ and protect U.S. benefits for U.S. families,” a senior administration official told The Daily Caller. “It will also ensure that immigrant sponsors cannot continue the practice of bringing in large numbers of welfare-dependent immigrants: because they will be financially liable.”

The memo also requires enforcement of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996, which asks government agencies to consider the sponsor’s income when determining whether or not a non-citizen is eligible for welfare benefits. Because the agency would be bundling the sponsor’s and immigrant’s income, some immigrants may no longer meet the eligibility criteria.

That act was cosponsored by then-Sen. Joe  Biden and Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden.

The administration says enforcing these two laws will help protect welfare benefits for American citizens. According to a poll conducted by America First Policies, 73 percent of Americans support the idea that immigrants to the U.S. should be able to support themselves financially.

“This is shifting the burden away from the taxpayer and asking people to be self-sufficient,” a senior administration official told the Caller. “We have our own citizens who are struggling.”

The White House says, citing a 2015 study from the Center for Immigration Studies, that 58 percent of households headed by a non-citizen use at least one welfare program.

President Donald Trump’s proposed immigration plan, presented to the American people last week, follows a similar theme. The plan, which revamps the legal immigration system, would give priority to immigrants who earn higher wages and are financially independent.

While the new immigration plan is unlikely to succeed in the Democrat-controlled Congress, the administration has been taking other executive actions to claim smaller victories on immigration reform.

“This is part of a larger effort to do what it can on it’s own,” the official said of the administration’s actions.

Attorney General Bill Barr decided in April that asylum seekers who reach the “credible fear” threshold are no longer eligible to be released on bond, meaning they could be held indefinitely while awaiting court proceedings. The move sought to curb a method that some illegal immigrants use to gain entry to the U.S. despite not having legitimate asylum claims.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is also supporting measures to make sure that illegal immigrants are not able to take advantage of public housing benefits. Current law prevents illegal immigrants from using public housing benefits, but they have been able to skirt the rules by living with American citizens who receive housing subsidies.

HUD will begin evicting families who allow illegal immigrants to live with them in government-subsidized housing.

Shortly after those two actions were revealed, the president signed a memorandum recommending sanctions on countries that have a high rate of visa overstays. The administration will place travel restrictions on countries whose residents overstay their visas in the U.S. by a rate of 10 percent or higher.

“This is part of the Trump Administration’s comprehensive approach to combating illegal immigration,” a senior administration official said at the time.

COLUMN BY

Amber Athey

Follow Amber on Twitter

RELATED ARTICLE: Attorney General Bill Barr Cracks Down On Catch-And-Release For Asylum Seekers

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

Cracks in the Dome?

The huge investments made in defensive systems are slowly emerging as an exorbitant and costly failure—or at best a very partial and temporary success. The time has come to rethink Israel’s strategic paradigm.

…the ability to defeat the enemy means taking the offensive. Standing on the defensive indicates insufficient strength; attacking, a superabundance of strength Sun Tzu, “The Art of War”, circa 400 BC.

Earlier this week (5/21/2019), both Israel and Hamas denied reports that they had reached an agreement on a six-month cease fire. Irrespective of any credence one wishes to ascribe the denial, it underscored just how fragile the current lull in hostilities is and how easily they could re-ignite.

Although it has been barely two weeks since the violence in the South subsided, public recollection of what transpired has faded rapidly—with the intervening Independence Day celebrations and the Eurovision hullaballoo helping to dull collective memory.

A brief—but necessary—reminder

This is unfortunate—and disturbing.

For it is vital to recall that the latest round of fighting between Israel and the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip raised troubling questions as to the soundness of the strategic rationale underpinning Israel’s missile defense system—particularly the much vaunted “Iron Dome”.

Indeed, even before the heavy barrages that rained down on Israel in early May, doubts began to emerge as to the efficacy of the system, when projectiles launched from Gaza penetrated, un-intercepted, deep into Israel, hitting residences in the city of Beer Sheva and in Mishmeret, a village North of Tel Aviv—and two others landed close to Tel Aviv itself, fortunately causing no damage.

According to Israeli military sources, during the last flare-up, 690 rockets and mortars were fired toward Israeli targets from Gaza by Hamas and Islamic Jihad. About 90 failed to make it across the border. Of those that did, 240 were intercepted by the Iron Dome system, which assesses whether a rocket is likely to strike open ground or needs to be intercepted. The system reportedly had 87% accuracy on attempted interceptions, with 35 rockets striking urban areas. In the barrage, four Israelis were killed and over 200 were treated in Israeli hospitals.

Depressingly, there appears to be wide consensus among pundits that another, probably broader and more intense, round of fighting is merely a matter of time.

Significantly, the number of Israeli civilians killed in the two-day conflict was almost identical to that incurred during 2014’s Operation Protective Edge, which lasted nearly two months, when the Gaza-based terror organizations launched more than 4,500 missiles, rockets, and mortar shells at Israeli civilian population centers.

Has the “Iron Dome” become the “Iron Sieve”?

One of the reasons advanced for the Iron Dome’s ostensibly diminished capacity was the intensity of the barrages fired at Israel concentrated within a short time period. Seemingly affirming that this was a purposeful tactic, a spokesman for Hamas’s Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades proclaimed: “The Qassam Brigades, thanks to God, succeeded in overcoming the so-called Iron Dome by adopting the tactic of firing dozens of missiles in one single burst.

These results prompted expressions of skepticism—even unfounded derision—as to the true ability of the Iron Dome system to effectively protect Israel’s civilian population—even prompting once source to claim—somewhat unfairly—“It’s not Iron Dome. It’s Iron Sieve.”

Of course, such censure may be excessively harsh. After all, the Iron Dome is an extraordinary technological achievement, which has in the past greatly reduced loss of life and physical damage that otherwise may have been inflicted on Israel.

Nonetheless, in light of its somewhat spotty performance of late, there certainly appears to be a strong case for critical reexamination of the strategic rationale underlying the use of the Iron Dome.

Indeed, it far from unreasonable to assert that the Iron Dome has, in effect,  provided protection for Gazans no less—arguably more—than for Israelis. After all, if the bulk of the on-target rocket barrages had not been intercepted, and had inflicted largescale damage on its cities and casualties among its civilians, Israel would have been compelled to retaliate with massive punitive measures to silence the fire. Inevitably, this would have caused extensive destruction and loss of life in the Gaza Strip—far beyond that which Israel was able to permit itself to inflict with its civilian population relatively protected.

Flawed strategic rationale

Indeed, the adoption of this kind of strategic passivity was confirmed—and endorsed—in a recent paper published by the Institute for National Security Studies (INSS), entitled Long-Range Rocket Fire on Israel’s Depth: Lessons for Homefront Defense, authored by Meir Elran and Carmit Padan, who write approvingly:

The State of Israel has so far invested significant sums in passive defense and complementary technologies, with the lion’s share going to the “Gaza envelope.” The main lesson is that existing plans for improving public and private shelters should be implemented in other parts of Israel, as a fatal strike on the civilian space would generate pressure on any Israeli government and reduce its leeway in the face of Hamas … fire.”

But in the context of the conflict between Israel and the Palestinian-Arabs, there is a grave strategic flaw in this kind of reasoning.

For it is precisely because the Iron Dome and “passive defense” have given the Israeli government “leeway in the face of Hamas fire”, that the fire has continued.

Thus, paradoxically, because much of their projectiles have indeed been intercepted, the terror organizations have been left intact, enabling them to continue launching further attacks whenever they see fit—typically either when they feel strong enough to do so, or too weak not to.

Defensive vs Offensive

The perverse situation is the result of the Iron Dome (and other missile defense systems) being perceived as solely defensive. Indeed, it is precisely this defense oriented strategy that has led to hostilities with Gaza continuing—with no end in sight.

The defining difference between defensive and offensive strategies is twofold:

(a) The element of surprise: The first is that relying heavily on defensive measures denies the defender the element of surprise in that, almost by definition, one cannot launch a surprise defense—in the sense that one can only defend against an attack once launched—often by surprise. So while it is possible that defense systems may comprise elements unexpected by the attacker, typically they can only be deployed against an ongoing attack.

(b) The damage inflicted: The second is that defensive measures cannot inflict greater losses than the resources any prospective aggressor is prepared to commit to an assault on his adversary. In the case of the Iron Dome, the maximum damage that can be inflicted is the destruction of the incoming missile, which the aggressor expected to lose anyway. Accordingly, missile defense systems, including the Iron Dome, cannot deter attacks by threatening to wreak unacceptable costs on the attacker and thus dissuade him from any further aggression.

The combination of these two elements—the one allowing Hamas and its terror affiliates to choose the time and scope of any attack; the other, allowing Hamas et al. to determine the limits of the damage wrought on them—provide in large measure the reason why the hostilities in Gaza persist.

Change of strategy imperative

 The pattern of violence in Gaza is almost monotonously repetitive. Time and again, the Gazan terrorists have developed some offensive tactic to assault Israel. In response, Israel devised some countermeasure to contend with it. However, all these counter measures were designed to thwart the attacks, rather than prevent them being launched in the first place.

Thus, suicide attacks resulted in a security fence and secured crossings; which led to the development of enhanced rocket and missile capabilities; which lead to the development of the multimillion dollar Iron Dome; which led to the burrowing of an array of underground attack tunnels; which lead to the construction of a billion dollar subterranean barrier; which led to the use of incendiary kites and balloons that, last summer, reduced much of the rural South adjacent to the Gaza border, to blackened charcoal—and look likely to do so again in the coming months.

Indeed, Israel’s decade long policy of ceasing fire whenever the other side ceases fire has allowed Hamas, and its terror affiliates, to launch repeated rounds of aggression, determining not only when they are launched and when they end, but also largely controlling the cost incurred for such aggression –ensuring it remains within the range of the “acceptable”.

Significantly, after each round of fighting, despite the damage inflicted by the IDF, the Gazan-based terror groups have typically emerged with vastly enhanced military capabilities and political standing.

Soon drones with biological/chemical payload?

This is clearly a recipe for unending and escalating violence — and must be abandoned before it culminates in inevitable tragedy.

After all, the Gazan-based terror groups have shown consistently that they can transform everyday children’s playthings, such as kites, into instruments of extensive destruction, and forced Israel to develop hugely expensive defenses (such as Iron-Dome interceptors) to deal will risibly cheap weapons of attack (such as mortar shells).

Indeed, it is hardly beyond the limits of plausibility that Israel might soon have to face incoming missiles with multiple warheads, which disperse just before being intercepted, greatly challenging its missile defense capabilities. Or the development of some kind of anti-aircraft capabilities that could restrict — or at least hamper — Israel’s present unlimited freedom of action over the skies of Gaza.

Or worse, will Israel have to contend with the specter of a swarm of drones, possibly armed with biological or chemical payloads, directed at nearby Israeli communities — rendering the billion dollar anti-tunnel barrier entirely moot? For those who might dismiss this as implausible scaremongering– see here, and here.

Indeed, adhering to a purely defensive/reactive strategy will virtually ensure that some kind of offensive measure will be developed to make it ineffective—at least partially.

The offensive imperative: Arabs in Gaza or Jews in Negev

Clearly then, there will be no end to the recurring rounds of violence and the escalating enhancement of the enemies’ aggressive capabilities unless Israel undertakes a dramatic change in strategy. Accordingly, instead of focusing on thwarting attacks and limited reprisals for them, Israel must strive to eliminate the ability to launch them.

Rather than ‏employ systems such as the Iron Dome as a purely defensive measure, it should be incorporated as an auxiliary in offensive action –i.e. by minimizing danger and damage to the civilian sector while a large offensive is launched in order to take—and hold—the areas from which attacks were launched—preventing them from being used for future attacks.

This is the only sustainable long-term strategic rationale for a defense system which comprises launching very costly interceptor missiles at very cheap incoming ones.

The compelling imperative for this modus operandi, is of course, reinforced by the prospect of a coordinated attack by Hamas et al. from the South and Hezbollah—with its even more formidable arsenal—in the North.

Clearly, the prospect of Israel retaking and holding the Gaza Strip raises the perennially irksome question of what is to be done regarding the Arab population of Gaza.

As I’ve pointed out on numerous previous occasions, in addressing this question Israel must face up to—and internalize–the unpalatable, but inevitable, reality that, in the long run, there will either be Arabs in Gaza or Jews in the Negev. Eventually, however, there will not be both.

Perhaps the greatest Zionist challenge

Accordingly, then, to prevent the Jewish population being denuded by unabated Arab aggression—whether overhead missiles targeting kindergartens or underground tunnels targeting border communities; whether incendiary balloons or explosive kites or anti-tank rockets on cars buses and trains—the only policy is the evacuation of the Gazan population to third-party countries by means of a large scale initiative of incentivized emigration.

Although the details of such an initiative are clearly well beyond the scope of this essay, I have, elaborated on them frequently in the past –see here.

Marshaling the ideological commitment, the political legitimacy and international acceptance for such an initiative is perhaps one of the greatest challenges for Zionism today.

Heritage Foundation Blueprint Would Balance Budget While Cutting Taxes, Stressing Defense

Balancing the budget while reducing taxes and prioritizing national defense are the main goals in a blueprint for smarter government spending released Monday by The Heritage Foundation.

The think tank’s new “Blueprint for Balance” “lays out an agenda both for our long-term governing vision [and] what our conservative policy priorities [are] that we want lawmakers to champion,” Romina Boccia, director of Heritage’s Grover M. Hermann Center for the Federal Budget, said during a roundtable with reporters to introduce the plan.

“Overall,” Boccia said, the blueprint specifies “what Republicans especially should be pushing for in the spending bills in order to realize conservative policy priorities and reduce spending in accordance with our values.”

The Budget Control Act, passed in 2011, sought to curb government spending and control the growth of government programs, capping discretionary spending at $1.07 trillion for fiscal year 2018.

Justin Bogie, a senior policy analyst in fiscal affairs at Heritage, wrote in a recent commentary that congressional Democrats are looking to raise the Budget Control Act’s caps on discretionary spending by at least $357 billion over 2020 and 2021.

Heritage’s “Blueprint for Balance,” if implemented, would reduce spending by $10.8 trillion over 10 years and eliminate budget deficits by 2029, as well as permanently extend the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 and reduce taxes by $800 billion.

During a second event in which Heritage presented its blueprint to congressional staff, Rep. Jim Banks, R-Ind., drew comparisons between the document and a budget released May 1 by the Republican Study Committee.

“We get a large task force and members with unique perspectives in a room and hash out differences and avoid some of the land mines that might cause some members not to vote for it,” Banks said of arriving at the Republican Study Committee budget.

“And that’s why I think our budget proposal this year is as strong as ever and very important for all of you to pay attention to because it has that broad support and it still balances [in] six years.”

However, neither the RSC budget nor the Heritage proposal has much of a hope of making it onto the House floor for a vote, given the Democrat majority led by Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.

“While we wanted to avoid our budget proposal being aspirational per se, we aren’t naive enough to [think] that Nancy Pelosi [is] going to put the RSC budget on the floor,” Banks said.

Government funding runs out Sept. 30, the end of fiscal 2019.

The Hill reported earlier this month that lawmakers suggested another government shutdown could occur if Democrats and Republicans can’t agree on funding, including a $19 billion disaster aid bill passed May 10 by House Democrats that is opposed by the Trump administration.

The Heritage plan, which would balance the budget within 10 years, would expand the Republican tax reform plan signed into law by President Donald Trump on Dec. 22, 2017.

Specifically, it would end 29 tax subsidies and make permanent both the individual tax cuts and the ability of businesses to fully expense investments in equipment.

“This is something that wasn’t included in the president’s budget but is a really important piece of extending the entire Tax Cuts and Jobs Act going forward,” Adam Michel, senior policy analyst at Heritage’s Hermann Center for the Federal Budget, said during the roundtable.

“And if we can pay down our debt and start balancing the budget, there are real economic dividends beyond all of the other benefits of getting the government out of our lives in various different ways,” Michel said.

Bogie said similarities between the RSC and Heritage budgets include permanently extending the 2017 tax cuts; providing another $850 billion in tax relief; prioritizing defense spending; and significantly reducing nondefense discretionary programs that fall outside the government’s constitutional responsibilities.

“Both budgets undertake comprehensive entitlement reform,” Bogie said in an email to The Daily Signal. “One of the most important aspects is that both budgets balance in 10 years and significantly reduce debt as a share of GDP.”

COLUMN BY

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.

CLICK HERE TO READ THE “BLUEPRINT FOR BALANCE.”

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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: This Daily Signal column is republished with permission.

VIDEO: Steve Bannon on the US-China Trade War

This is a GREAT interview and shows what Trump is really trying to do.

Steve Bannon on CNBC.

RELATED VIDEO: Steve Bannon: China was not prepared to have Trump in office

House Democrats Are Shortchanging the Military

House appropriators have now released their budget top lines for every government agency, and their number for the Department of Defense shows they acknowledge the defense budget needs an increase.

But that increase still isn’t enough, as it falls short of the president’s budget request and of what the military needs to continue its rebuild.

The numbers released by Democrats, who control the House of Representatives, shows $622 billion for the base defense discretionary budget. That would be a 2.3% increase over the 2019 enacted budget.

It’s a good initial step that highlights a bipartisan understanding on the need to properly fund our national defense and make sure that our military has the necessary tools to engage in the great power competition outlined by the National Defense Strategy.

It is directionally correct, but Congress and the nation need to be more ambitious.

Former Defense Secretary James Mattis and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Joseph Dunford, have expressed multiple times that the Department of Defense requires between 3% and 5% real growth in the coming years in order to keep pace with the current threats facing our nation.

Meanwhile, the president’s budget request asks Congress for an increase of 4.8%. The president’s budget could still improve, but his defense budget top line is more in line with the challenges that our military faces.

As the Heritage Foundation’s 2019 Index of U.S. Military Strength shows, the military has seen improvement in its readiness, capacity, and capabilities because of the extra resources dedicated to it over the past two budget cycles.

Nonetheless, these gains need to be consolidated over time with continuous investments and improvement. The current emphasis on readiness recovery is especially fragile, because we’re dealing with human beings that need constant practice to keep their skills updated and sharp.

Furthermore, many of the investments in new platforms will take years to come to fruition.

For instance, an aircraft carrier contracted in January 2019 has a delivery date of March 2028. Or take the controversial F-15X. The Air Force wants to purchase eight of them in 2020, and the first two have a delivery date of June 2022. Even the Army is aiming to reach its readiness goals by 2022 and then focus on actualizing its modernization efforts.

These efforts will take time and persistent attention.

The military will not be fully ready in a couple of years and then everyone can go to Florida to relax on the beach. It requires a long-term vision and perspective.

One only needs to look at China, our pacing military threat, to get a better understanding of the time horizon of the challenge. The goal of the Chinese Communist Party is to have a modern military force capable of operating jointly in every domain of warfare by 2049. Talk about a long game.

If the United States wants to be able to counter Chinese ambitions, it needs to make sure we’re doing today what will help make us ready in the future.

That starts with recognizing the need to properly fund our military—and to do it.

COMMENTARY BY

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: .


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: This Daily Signal column is republished with permission.

New York Times May Have Broken Law by Publishing Trump’s Tax Returns

The New York Times no doubt considers it quite a coup to have obtained and published President Donald Trump’s tax return information from 1985 to 1994. But doing so violated Trump’s right under federal law to the confidentiality of his tax returns.

The Times—which reported that Trump’s businesses lost $1.17 billion during the 10-year period—has no more right to Trump’s tax returns than it has to mine or those of any of you reading these words.

Confidentiality, as the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals held in 1991 in U.S. v. Richey, is essential to “maintaining a workable tax system.”

Taxpayer privacy is “fundamental to a tax system that relies on self-reporting” since it protects “sensitive or otherwise personal information,” said then-Judge (now Supreme Court Justice) Ruth Bader Ginsburg in 1986 in another case when she served on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.

Federal law—26 U.S.C. §7213(a)(1)—makes it a felony for any federal employee to disclose tax returns or “return information.” Infractions are punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine as high as $250,000 under the Alternative Fines Act (18 U.S.C. §3571).

Regardless of the accuracy or inaccuracy of The New York Times story, tax returns themselves, as well as tax return information such as these IRS transcripts (which are a summary of the tax returns), are protected from disclosure by federal law. And this provision applies to private individuals as well as government employees, a fact that should be considered by the New York Times’ source.

According to the newspaper, it did not actually obtain Trump’s tax returns but “printouts from his official Internal Revenue Service tax transcripts, with the figures from his federal tax form, the 1040, from someone who had legal access to them.”

The Times quotes a lawyer for the president, Charles J. Harder, as saying that the tax information in the story is “demonstrably false” and that IRS transcripts, particularly from the days before electronic filing, are “notoriously inaccurate.” However, that claim is disputed by a former IRS employee now at the liberal Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center.

The president tweeted Wednesday in response to the Times story: “Real estate developers in the 1980’s & 1990’s, more than 30 years ago, were entitled to massive write offs and depreciation which would, if one was actively building, show losses and tax losses in almost all cases. Much was non monetary. Sometimes considered ‘tax shelter,’ … you would get it by building, or even buying. You always wanted to show losses for tax purposes….almost all real estate developers did – and often re-negotiate with banks, it was sport. Additionally, the very old information put out is a highly inaccurate Fake News hit job!

Regardless of the accuracy or inaccuracy of The New York Times story, tax returns themselves, as well as tax return information such as these IRS transcripts (which are a summary of the tax returns), are protected from disclosure by federal law. If the newspaper obtained this information from an employee of the IRS, that employee will be in big trouble if he or she is identified.

Could the editors and reporters at The New York Times be prosecuted for publishing this information?

Section (a)(3) of the law makes it a felony for any person who receives an illegally disclosed tax return or return information to publish that return or that information. But it’s unknown if the bar on publication by a media organization could survive a First Amendment challenge.

What we do know is that in previous incidents, the government did not attempt to prosecute the publisher of tax return information. In 2014, the IRS agreed to pay the National Organization for Marriage $50,000 to settle a lawsuit after an IRS clerk illegally disclosed the organization’s tax return.

The clerk gave the tax return to Matthew Meisel, a former employee of Bain & Company, who gave it to the Human Rights Campaign (a political opponent of the National Organization for Marriage). The tax return was then posted on the Human Rights Campaign website and published by The Huffington Post.

Although the IRS paid to settle the lawsuit, none of the individuals or organizations involved in the illegal disclosure and publication were prosecuted.

If such a prosecution were attempted, there is no doubt that a First Amendment challenge would be filed.

The courts would then have to answer an important question: Are the interests of the government in an effective tax system and that of citizens in maintaining the confidentiality of their financial information outweighed by the First Amendment right of the press, and by and the public’s interest in obtaining financial information on elected officials?

In the midst of this illegal disclosure to The New York Times, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin announced Monday that he would not comply with a demand by House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal, D-Mass., to provide the committee with copies of tax returns filed by Trump and eight of his companies for the last six years.

Mnuchin sent a letter to Neal telling him that “the Supreme Court has held that the Constitution requires that congressional information demands must reasonably serve a legitimate legislative purpose.”

The treasury secretary is correct. Numerous court decisions hold that legislative investigations must have a legitimate legislative purpose. Mnuchin says that Neal’s request “lacks” such a legitimate purpose.

The court decisions supporting Mnuchin’s decision include the 1957 decision in Watkins v. U.S., in which the Supreme Court told the House Un-American Activities Committee that “there is no congressional power to expose for the sake of exposure” the “private affairs of individuals.”

Neal has claimed that the legislative purpose of getting the Trump tax returns is to examine how the IRS audits presidents. But as Trump’s legal counsel has pointed out, Neal didn’t ask for the tax returns of any other presidents and hasn’t asked any questions of any kind about IRS policy and procedures for such audits.

Mnuchin tells Neal in his letter that he is willing to provide the congressman with complete information on “how the IRS conducts mandatory examinations of Presidents, as provided by the Internal Revenue Manual.”

If examining how the IRS audits presidents is really Neal’s legislative purpose—as opposed to simply wanting to expose anything embarrassing the committee finds in Trump’s tax returns—IRS information on its policies and procedures would be the only information the House committee would need.

So the Treasury Department has put House Democrats in check for now. It will probably be up to the courts to see who achieves checkmate when it comes to the Trump tax returns.

Now the interests of protecting the privacy of taxpayers warrants the opening of a government investigation to find the leaker who provided the Trump tax information to The New York Times.

The IRS and the Justice Department should investigate how this disclosure happened, find out who did it, and prosecute anyone who violated the law.

COMMENTARY BY

Hans von Spakovsky

Hans von Spakovsky is an authority on a wide range of issues—including civil rights, civil justice, the First Amendment, immigration, the rule of law and government reform—as a senior legal fellow in The Heritage Foundation’s Edwin Meese III Center for Legal and Judicial Studies and manager of the think tank’s Election Law Reform Initiative. Read his 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: This Daily Signal column is republished with permission.

Your Tax Dollars Flowing to Islamist Groups Like the Muslim American Society [Video]

If you missed the news about the Philadelphia controversy over the Muslim American Society program that featured young children reading aloud about killing Jews and Christians [below], here is one recent report about the on-going investigation.

In the wake of that shocking performance we learn, thanks to the Middle East Forum (via Creeping Sharia) hat tip: Michael, that the Muslim American Society is one of many Islamist-influenced organizations receiving government grants.

New Research Uncovers $41 Million of U.S.-Taxpayer-Subsidized Islamism

Research by the Middle East Forum has found that since 2007, federal government agencies have handed over $47 million to 61 Islamic institutions in the forms of 411 various grants and contracts.

On the face of it, this need not be of any particular concern. The government has long relied on contractors and charities from all faiths to implement its programs.

Alarmingly, however, radical Islamic movements completely control 36% of the Muslim institutions that received government monies, taking 42% of the total funding. A further 36% of the grantees, which received 44% of the funds, operate under varying degrees of radical influence. A mere 14% of identified government funds given to Muslim organizations were directed toward institutions free of Islamist influence.

In total, if the government’s own data is accurate, at least $41 million was given to institutions either controlled or under the partial influence of the Muslim Brotherhood, Jamaat-e-Islami (a violent South Asian Islamist movement), Salafis, Deobandis (a hardline South Asian Sunni sect from which the Taliban was created) and the Iranian regime, among others.

Some of the largest amounts involve grants to aid charities. Long favored by Islamist movements as a means to spread ideology through welfare, charities also provide extremists with plentiful funding and the occasional accompanying credibility of government partnership.

Continue reading here to see all of the groups getting gifts from you, via the US Treasury!

It is the same old maddening s***!  Just like all of the so-called religious charities busy changing America by changing the people and doing it with our money!

We have Donald Trump in the White House! Is this kind of funding ever going to end?

This post is filed in my ‘Charity fraud’ category.

RELATED ARTICLES: 

City of Minneapolis to Pay Family of Australian Woman Killed by Somali Cop $20 Million

Iowa: Somali Halal Store Owner Says Allegations of Food Stamp Fraud a “Misunderstanding”

Colorado: Building Owner Must Pay Muslim Father/Son $675,000 in Discrimination Case

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

Elizabeth Warren’s Debt ‘Cancellation’ Plan Would Make College More Expensive, Not Less

Elizabeth Warren wants free college for every American. But what the Massachusetts senator doesn’t seem to realize is just how much more costly college would get if her “free” proposal passed.

Shortly after Valentine’s Day in 1987, Education Secretary William J. Bennett wrote a now-famous op-ed in The New York Times titled “Our Greedy Colleges.” In it, he suggested that “increases in financial aid in recent years have enabled colleges and universities blithely to raise their tuitions, confident that federal loan subsidies would help cushion the increase.”

This observation became known as the “Bennett Hypothesis.” As the years go by, it seems more apt to call it the Bennett truism.

In the last 20 years, the federal government’s total spending on student loans has skyrocketed, from $24.8 billion in the 1995-96 school year to $93 billion in 2017-18.

At the same time, the price of college tuition has soared. Between 1998 and the present, tuition at four-year institutions has roughly doubled, and at private four-year colleges tuition has gone up 58%.

The price increase is even more dramatic looking at the last 40 years. Since 1980, the cost of attending a four-year public university has increased 287%—an uptick rate surpassed only by increases in the cost of medical care.

Enter Warren.

On Monday, she published a proposal that includes the following:

  • Students with household incomes below $100,000 would have the first $50,000 of their student loan debt canceled.
  • For every additional $3 of income over $100,000, the amount of loan forgiveness offered would be cut by $1.
  • Borrowers from families earning more than $250,000 annually would receive zero debt cancellation.

On the whole, as Robert VerBruggen has pointed out, her proposal would cancel all loans for about 75% of borrowers and provide partial cancellation for 95% of borrowers.

This debt cancellation portion of the plan would cost taxpayers $640 billion, as Warren pointed out herself.

And that’s just the retroactive part of the proposal.

The plan would also provide “universal free college,” allowing students to attend a two- or four-year college “without paying a dime in tuition or fees,” as she says. The total tab? $1.25 trillion over just the next decade.

Warren suggests her “free” college and debt cancellation plan would be financed (again) by an “ultra-millionaire tax,” singling out the 75,000 families in America she estimates to have more than $50 million in assets.

This is a group she has already identified to finance her “free” childcare plan. Things are getting expensive in a hurry.

Her latest proposal is problematic for a host of reasons, not least of which is the exorbitant cost to taxpayers. But it would also fail to achieve the goal of greater equality in access to education. A similar proposal for “free” college was already tried in England, and it ended up benefiting the wealthy rather than the needy.

But beyond these failures, Warren’s proposal would likely expedite the rise in college tuition. It comes down to simply math: When colleges know the federal government is financing “free” tuition in perpetuity, they’ll have all the more reason to raise tuition and fees, which taxpayers will then absorb.

In fact, a growing body of literature has already shown that federal subsidies have this tendency to push tuition prices higher.

In one study, researchers Grey Gordon and Aaron Hedlund found that raising subsidized loan limits led to a 102% increase in tuition from 1987 to 2010. Absent that additional federal money, the authors estimate tuition would have only gone up by 16% on net.

Another study by David O. Lucca, Taylor Nadauld, and Karen Shen of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York found additional evidence of the Bennett Hypothesis at play. The authors found that credit expansion (increasing subsidized federal student loans) leads to a tuition increase of 60 cents for every additional dollar of subsidized federal loans. Their conclusion bluntly states:

… a credit expansion will raise tuition paid by all students and not only by those at the federal loan caps because of pecuniary demand externalities. Such pricing externalities are often conjectured in the context of the effects of expanded subprime borrowing on housing prices leading up to the financial crisis, and our study can be seen as complementary evidence in the student loan market.

As Carlo Salerno of CampusLogic points out, students choose to take on college loan debt, and are not assigned that debt. So loan forgiveness “unfairly rewards the person who borrows to get a Ferrari over the one who got a Kia.”

That inequity is underscored by the numbers. As Salerno calculated, a wealthy student who borrowed $100,000 a few years ago and has been delinquent on repayment would get more forgiveness than the low-income student who responsibly worked to pay down $40,000 in debt over the past 20 years and only has $10,000 remaining, which would be forgiven.

Some would clearly benefit from this scheme, but it would penalize students who choose to work while in college to minimize their debt, those who pursue an apprenticeship over an expensive degree, and those who take out debt, but live modestly post-graduation in order to fully pay back what they owe.

Moreover, as the Urban Institute found (in an analysis unrelated to the Warren plan), “the top 25% of American households by income hold nearly half of all student debt—and the bottom 25% holds just a tenth of it. Canceling all student loans would deliver $5 to rich Americans for every $1 given to poorer families.”

Proposals to make college “free” or to forgive vast amounts of student loan debt reward one entity more than any other: the universities.

Subsidizing the already-dysfunctional student loan system is not the solution. If we want to get serious about addressing the student loan issue, we must pursue structural changes to accreditation, along with innovation in financing through options like income share agreements. Making sure colleges have some “skin in the game” also holds promise.

But above all, Washington should get out of the student loan business. The federal government currently originates and services 90% of all student aid, leaving taxpayers greatly exposed when defaults occur or when loan forgiveness becomes more generous.

Getting the feds out of the student loan business would go a long way toward finally addressing the root causes of soaring tuition.

COMMENTARY BY

Lindsey Burke

Lindsey M. Burke researches and writes on federal and state education issues as the Will Skillman fellow in education policy at The Heritage Foundation. Read her research. Twitter: .

RELATED ARTICLE: Elizabeth Warren’s College Plan Is a Bailout for the Elite


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: This Daily Signal column is republished with permission.