Treasury Secretary Jack Lew: U.S. corporations must be “punished” with new penalties and restrictions

More American jobs and the products that make your life better are under attack by those in Washington who do not seek a solution, but merely want to mask the failures of our horrific income tax code.

Currently, America’s corporations pay 39.1% in income taxes – the highest tax rate of 33 industrialized countries!

To stay alive under this punitive tax structure, American businesses first moved their profits to foreign countries. Now they are moving their headquarter operations.

And how is Washington responding? Incredibly, instead of addressing the real problem – the income tax code – Treasury Secretary Jack Lew has stated these corporations must be “punished” with new penalties and restrictions!

Wasn’t it Albert Einstein who said insanity is “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”?

It’s time for our nation’s tax insanity to end. Our country does not need more punishing economic policy.

Corporations leaving vs FairTax

What we need – what we must demand – is for the FairTax® legislation to be given an immediate vote in Congress.

AFFT needs your immediate support with your most generous donation. We must send a strong and unified message to Washington that the American people want a strong and robust economy.

Our nation needs the millions of jobs that will result from corporations flooding into our country once the FairTax is enacted. The FairTax legislation will make America the “go-to” place for investing and growing a business.

Please join me in standing FairTax strong.

Send your gift today:

Let’s tell Washington that America defines economic patriotism as the FairTax Plan. 

Conflicting Court Rulings May Have Big Implications for Employer Mandate

Within a few hours of each other, two federal appeals courts issued conflicting rulings on Obamacare. The final outcome could have major implications for employers.

The legal question of involves whether the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act allows people to receive subsidies for health plans purchased on federally-run exchanges—covering 34 states and the District of Columbia–or only through state-run exchanges. In a 2-1 decision, the DC Circuit ruled in Halbig v. Burwell that under the law, only those buying through state-run exchanges are eligible.

Judge Griffith wrote in the court’s split opinion:

The fact is that the legislative record provides little indication one way or the other of congressional intent, but the statutory text does. Section 36B plainly makes subsidies available only on Exchanges established by states. And in the absence of any contrary indications, that text is conclusive evidence of Congress’s intent.

Judge Randolph concurred:

[A]n Exchange established by the federal government cannot possibly be “an Exchange established by the State.” To hold otherwise would be to engage in distortion, not interpretation. Only further legislation could accomplish the expansion the government seeks.

A few hours later, in King v. Burwell the 4th Circuit unanimously upheld those same subsidies:

For reasons explained below, we find that the applicable statutory language is ambiguous and subject to multiple interpretations. Applying deference to the IRS’s determination, however, we uphold the rule as a permissible exercise of the agency’s discretion.

Why is it important to know who is eligible for a health plan subsidy? As the DC court’s Judge Edwards explains in his dissent, it triggers the employer mandate, [emphasis mine]:

Specifically, the ACA penalizes any large employer who fails to offer its full-time employees suitable coverage if one or more of those employees “enroll[s] . . . in a qualified health plan with respect to which an applicable tax credit . . . is allowed or paid with respect to the employee.” (linking another penalty on employers to employees’ receipt of tax credits). Thus, even more than with the individual mandate, the employer mandate’s penalties hinge on the availability of credits. If credits were unavailable in states with federal Exchanges, employers there would face no penalties for failing to offer coverage. The IRS Rule has the opposite effect: by allowing credits in such states, it exposes employers there to penalties and thereby gives the employer mandate broader reach.

No subsidies, no employer mandate penalties.

Michael Cannon, the Cato Institute health policy expert, estimates that if the Halbig ruling stands, more than 250,000 firms would not be subject to the employer mandate.

There is no immediate change to the law, since the courts are a long way from settling the subsidies question. There will be appeals, other courts may weigh in with additional rulings, and since two circuit courts issued conflicting rulings, the Supreme Court may hear the case. Also, Congress could pass a bill to clarify the law. Not likely in the current political environment but possible.

What we do know is that the employer mandate imposes complex reporting costs and isn’t necessary. At the same time it gives employers the perverse incentive of either not hiring workers or hiring part-time workers instead of full-time ones. Obamacare is a law packed with problems that needs to be fixed in order to have a health care system that has high quality, expanded access, and lower costs.

Follow Sean Hackbarth on Twitter at @seanhackbarth and the U.S. Chamber at @uschamber.

EDITORS NOTE: The featured image is of President Obama signing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (A.K.A. “Obamacare”) in 2010. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg.

Former Congressman Allen West: “America At Its Best”

Former Congressman and retired U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel Allen West’s full “America At Its Best” speech from the Western Conservative Summit in Denver, Colorado.


Cliches of Progressivism: Rich People Have an Obligation to Give Back by Lawrence W. Reed

For a society that has fed, clothed, housed, cared for, informed, entertained, and otherwise enriched more people at higher levels than any in the history of the planet, there sure is a lot of groundless guilt in America.

Manifestations of that guilt abound. The example that peeves me the most is the one we often hear from well-meaning philanthropists who adorn their charitable giving with this little chestnut: “I want to give something back.” It always sounds as though they’re apologizing for having been successful.

Translated, that statement means something like this: “I’ve accumulated some wealth over the years. Never mind how I did it, I just feel guilty for having done it. There’s something wrong with my having more than somebody else, but don’t ask me to explain how or why because it’s just a fuzzy, uneasy feeling on my part. Because I have something, I feel obligated to have less of it. It makes me feel good to give it away because doing so expunges me of the sin of having it in the first place. Now I’m a good guy, am I not?”

It was apparent to me how deeply ingrained this mindset has become when I visited the gravesite of John D. Rockefeller at Lakeview Cemetery in Cleveland a couple years ago. The wording on a nearby plaque commemorating the life of this remarkable entrepreneur implied that giving much of his fortune away was as worthy an achievement as building the great international enterprise, Standard Oil, that produced it in the first place. The history books most kids learn from these days go a step further. They routinely criticize people like Rockefeller for the wealth they created and for the profit motive, or self-interest, that played a part in their creating it, while lauding them for relieving themselves of the money.

More than once, philanthropists have bestowed contributions on my organization and explained they were “giving something back.” They meant that by giving to us, they were paying some debt to society at large. It turns out that, with few exceptions, these philanthropists really had not done anything wrong.

They made money in their lives, to be sure, but they didn’t steal it. They took risks they didn’t have to. They invested their own funds, or what they first borrowed and later paid back with interest. They created jobs, paid market wages to willing workers, and thereby generated livelihoods for thousands of families. They invented things that didn’t exist before, some of which saved lives and made us healthier. They manufactured products and provided services, for which they asked and received market prices.

They had willing and eager customers who came back for more again and again. They had stockholders to whom they had to offer favorable returns. They also had competitors and had to stay on top of things or lose out to them. They didn’t use force to get where they got; they relied on free exchange and voluntary contract. They paid their bills and debts in full. And every year they donated some of their profits to lots of community charities that no law required them to support. Not a one of them that I know ever did any jail time for anything.

So how is it that anybody can add all that up and still feel guilty? I suspect that if they are genuinely guilty of anything, it’s allowing themselves to be intimidated by the losers and the envious of the world, the people who are in the redistribution business either because they don’t know how to create anything or because they simply choose the easy way out. They just take what they want or hire politicians to take it for them.

Or like a few in the clergy who think that wealth is not made but simply “collected,” the redistributionists lay a guilt trip on people until they disgorge their lucre—notwithstanding the Tenth Commandment against coveting. Certainly, people of faith have an obligation to support their church, mosque, or synagogue, but that’s another matter and not at issue here.

A person who breaches a contract owes something, but it’s to the specific party on the other side of the deal. Steal someone else’s property and you owe it to the person you stole it from, not society, to give it back. Those obligations are real and they stem from a voluntary agreement in the first instance or from an immoral act of theft in the second. This business of “giving something back” simply because you earned it amounts to manufacturing mystical obligations where none exist. It turns the whole concept of “debt” on its head. To give it “back” means it wasn’t yours in the first place, but the creation of wealth through private initiative and voluntary exchange does not involve the expropriation of anyone’s rightful property.

How can it possibly be otherwise? By what rational measure does a successful person in a free market, who has made good on all his debts and obligations in the traditional sense, owe something further to a nebulous entity called “society”? If Entrepreneur X earns $1 billion and Entrepreneur Y earns $2 billion, would it make sense to say that Y should “give back” twice as much as X? And if so, who should decide to whom he owes it? Clearly, the whole notion of “giving something back” just because you have it is built on intellectual quicksand.

Successful people who earn their wealth through free and peaceful exchange may choose to give some of it away, but they’d be no less moral and no less debt-free if they gave away nothing. It cheapens the powerful charitable impulse that all but a few people possess to suggest that charity is equivalent to debt service or that it should be motivated by any degree of guilt or self-flagellation.

A partial list of those who honestly do have an obligation to give something back would include bank robbers, shoplifters, scam artists, deadbeats, and politicians who “bring home the bacon.” They have good reason to feel guilt, because they’re guilty.

But if you are an exemplar of the free and entrepreneurial society, one who has truly earned and husbanded what you have and one who has done nothing to injure the lives, property, or rights of others, you are a different breed altogether. When you give, you should do so because of the personal satisfaction you derive from supporting worthy causes, not because you need to salve a guilty conscience.

Lawrence W. Reed
Foundation for Economic Education


  • The innocent-sounding phrase, “I want to give back,” far too often implies guilt for having been productive or successful.
  • If you earned your wealth through free and voluntary exchange, don’t let others get away with making you feel guilty just because you have it.
  • The people who really should “give it back” are those to whom it doesn’t belong or who took it from others in the first place.
  • For further information, see:

“On Giving Back” by George C. Leef:

“Give Up on Giving Back?” by Sandy Ikeda:

“Giving Back” by Steven Horwitz:

20130918_larryreedauthorABOUT LAWRENCE W. REED

Lawrence W. (“Larry”) Reed became president of FEE in 2008 after serving as chairman of its board of trustees in the 1990s and both writing and speaking for FEE since the late 1970s. Prior to becoming FEE’s president, he served for 20 years as president of the Mackinac Center for Public Policy in Midland, Michigan. He also taught economics full-time from 1977 to 1984 at Northwood University in Michigan and chaired its department of economics from 1982 to 1984.

EDITORS NOTE: Versions of this essay have previously appeared in FEE’s journal, The Freeman, under the title, “Who Owes What to Whom?”

The Foundation for Economic Education (FEE) is proud to partner with Young America’s Foundation (YAF) to produce “Clichés of Progressivism,” a series of insightful commentaries covering topics of free enterprise, income inequality, and limited government.

Our society is inundated with half-truths and misconceptions about the economy in general and free enterprise in particular. The “Clichés of Progressivism” series is meant to equip students with the arguments necessary to inform debate and correct the record where bias and errors abound.

The antecedents to this collection are two classic FEE publications that YAF helped distribute in the past: Clichés of Politics, published in 1994, and the more influential Clichés of Socialism, which made its first appearance in 1962. Indeed, this new collection will contain a number of essays from those two earlier works, updated for the present day where necessary. Other entries first appeared in some version in FEE’s journal, The Freeman. Still others are brand new, never having appeared in print anywhere. They will be published weekly on the websites of both YAF and FEE: and until the series runs its course. A book will then be released in 2015 featuring the best of the essays, and will be widely distributed in schools and on college campuses.

See the index of the published chapters here.

The IRS Is Not Out Of Control

Jay Sekulow, Chief Counsel of the American Center for Law and Justice, provided an interesting perspective on last week’s House Oversight hearing on the IRS targeting scandal.

During the hearing, emails were presented showing that after seeing a draft copy of an IRS Inspector General report on the political targeting of non-profits, Lois Lerner told her co-workers to be “cautious” in their email communications because “Congress might be watching.” She also asked the IRS IT department if the department’s internal chat system was searchable.

Lerner’s IT colleague, Maria Hooke, responded, “No, the IRS does not routinely save chat communications – unless employees intentionally take steps to preserve their conversations.  These chat communications are not saved – and this is critical – despite the fact that “the functionality exists within the software.”

And how did Lerner respond?  “Perfect.”

I am reminded of something Lord Acton once said, “Everything secret degenerates, even the administration of justice; nothing is safe that does not show how it can bear discussion and publicity.”

Or, as Jay Sekulow opined, “Some have said the IRS was out of control.  I’d say the opposite.  It was very much in control – doing exactly what it was intended to do with relative impunity, including setting up its own IT resources not to preserve records but to cover its tracks.”

The online dictionary defines conspiracy as “an evil, unlawful, treacherous, or surreptitious plan formulated in secret by two or more persons; plot, a combination of persons for a secret, unlawful, or evil purpose, an agreement by two or more persons to commit a crime, fraud, or other wrongful act.”

American citizens live in constant fear of the IRS wrecking havoc on their lives, seizing their assets and throwing them in prison – and all with impunity. Yet evidence now shows that Lois Lerner and certain colleagues at the IRS clearly conspired to punish select politically conservative individuals and non-profits; actions that are a clear violation of federal law.

If this were an isolated incident one could make the case that Lerner and her cohorts could have been given appropriate reprimands and the IRS resumed normal business operations. But this is not an isolated case. Political targeting and retaliation by the IRS has been standard operating procedure since the agency’s inception. It is part of the organizational and operational DNA.

The Lerner case demands a special prosecutor. And America demands that the IRS be given a national pink slip.

The FairTax® stands ready to fully replace the current income tax code. And it is the only tax replacement plan before Congress that gives the IRS their walking papers.

If you agree, please send a note to your local newspaper and ask the editor to endorse the FairTax.

If you are on Facebook, share this picture and tell your friends why you support the FairTax Plan.

My name is FairTax

Tell them that under the FairTax they will never have to dreadApril 15 again, because their days of filing tax returns will be over. Most importantly, be sure and let them know the FairTax disbands, defunds and eliminates the IRS.

To learn more take a quick look at the FairTax, flat tax and income tax comparison chart. Share this chart with your family and friends.

An•es•the•tize: Deprive Of Feeling Or Awareness

“Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” – Albert Einstein

Have you ever thought about winning a Powerball lottery? You know one of those multi-state ticket frenzies where the winning payout is so big your head explodes with visions of Tuscan villas, private jets and caviar-topped crostini’s. These mega lottery games get even the most cynical of individuals whipped into a frenzy thinking they might beat the staggering odds to win the pot of gold.

During House Oversight hearings, it was revealed that during the past five years, the federal government paid out “$100 billion in improper payments every year thanks to a combination of fraud, clerical errors and insufficient IRS enforcement.”

$500 billion over five years!

You would think this news would have also generated a frenzy in the minds of the American people. After all, it was their hard earned tax dollars that were wasted! Sadly, most people didn’t know the hearing existed. If they were aware, they may have heard through a major news outlet that it was simply a partisan witch-hunt.

And what was the response of IRS Commission Koskinen? “This is an important issue to the IRS”. Wow, thanks Commissioner.

America sleeps better at night knowing this is an important issue to the IRS. We are truly comforted knowing that the IRS will give the loss of $500 billion in taxpayer funds the same serious attention that has been given the IRS political targeting of non-profits and individuals, the destruction of Lois Lerner (and other IRS employee’s) emails and instant messaging, and their disciplinary action of an IRS employee who grotesquely violated the federal Hatch Act to campaign on IRS call center phones for a partisan political candidate.

What we have here is a lot of kabuki dancing, a heaping pile of photo ops and a generous portion of canned ham talking points by members of Congress seeking 10 minutes of air-time for their next newsletter or social media post.

What we don’t have is real, substantive action except by two federal judges who have just ordered the IRS to fess up, under oath, about what happened to Lerner’s emails and hard drive.

If you want real substantive change then please look closely at the 2014 candidates who want to represent you. If they say the support the FairTax, do they stand proud and can they defend it?

If not, ask them why. If they have not made their position on tax reform known press the issue. This candidate may well determine the future of HR 25, the FairTax Act, which is before Congress right now.

HR 25 is the only tax replacement plan before Congress that defunds, disbands and eliminates the IRS. 

It is also the only tax reform plan that transfers power from Congress to the people.

The American people are beat down, seemingly anesthetized. When they are told that our government wasted $500 billion of their hard earned money, they don’t even blink. Something is terribly wrong when this becomes the people’s reaction.

If you elect representatives who perpetuate the continued use of the income tax code as a political and financial weapon, then you have just become part of the problem.

Vow today that you will stand strong for the FairTax. Run, don’t walk to candidate meetings. Make your voice heard. Make time for Congressional town halls. Ask critical questions and listen to Candidate answers. Canned ham responses are a sign of disrespect to you as a constituent.

Don’t allow yourself to become any further sedated, any further complacent. America needs you. The FairTax needs you.

As Ronald Reagan once said, “You and I have a rendezvous with destiny. We will preserve for our children this, the last best hope of man on earth, or we will sentence them to take the first step into a thousand years of darkness. If we fail, at least let our children and our children’s children say of us we justified our brief moment here. We did all that could be done.”

When Zero’s Too High: Time preference versus central bankers by Douglas French

Central banking has taken interest rate reduction to its absurd conclusion. If observers thought the European Central Bank (ECB) had run out of room by holding its deposit rate at zero, Mario Draghi proved he is creative, cutting the ECB’s deposit rate to minus 0.10 percent, making it the first major central bank to institute a negative rate.

Can a central-bank edict force present goods to no longer have a premium over future goods?

Armed with high-powered math and models dancing in their heads, modern central bankers believe they are only limited by their imaginations. In a 2009 article for The New York Times, Harvard economist and former adviser to President George W. Bush N. Gregory Mankiw wrote, “Early mathematicians thought that the idea of negative numbers was absurd. Today, these numbers are commonplace.”

While this sounds clever, Ludwig von Mises undid Mankiw’s analogy long ago. “If he were not to prefer satisfaction in a nearer period of the future to that in a remote period,” Mises wrote of the individual, “he would never consume and enjoy.”

Carl Menger explained that it is “deeply imbedded in human nature” to have present desires satisfied over future desires. And long before Menger, A. R. J. Turgot wrote of the premium of present money over future money, “Is not this difference well known, and is not the commonplace proverb, ‘a bird in the hand is better than two in the bush,’ a simple expression of this notoriety?”

Central bankers can set a certain interest rate, but human nature cannot be eased away, quantitatively or otherwise. But the godfather of all central bankers, John Maynard Keynes, ignored time preference and focused on liquidity preference. He believed it was investments that yielded returns, and wrote, “Why should anyone outside a lunatic asylum wish to use money as a store of wealth?”

If liquidity preference determined the rate of interest, rates would be lowest during a recovery, and at the peak of booms, with confidence high, everyone would be seeking to trade their liquidity for investments in things. “But it is precisely in a recovery and at the peak of a boom that short-term interest rates are highest,” Henry Hazlitt explained.

Keynes believed that those who held cash for the speculative motive were wicked and central bankers must stop this evil. However, as Hazlitt explained in The Failure of the “New Economics,” holding cash balances “is usually most indulged in after a boom has cracked. The best way to prevent it is not to have a Monetary Authority so manipulate things as to force the purchase of investments or of goods, but to prevent an inflationary boom in the first place.”

Keynesian central bankers leave time out of their calculus. While they think they are lending money, they are really lending time. Borrowers purchase the use of time. Hazlitt reminds us that the old word for interest was usury, “etymologically more descriptive than its modern substitute.”

And as Mises explained above, time can’t have a negative value, which is what a negative interest rate implies.

Borrowers pay interest in order to buy present assets. Most importantly, this ratio is outside the reach of the monetary authorities. It is determined subjectively by the actions of millions of market participants.

Deep down, Mankiw must recognize this, writing, “The problem with negative interest rates, however, is quickly apparent: nobody would lend on those terms. Rather than giving your money to a borrower who promises a negative return, it would be better to stick the cash in your mattress. Because holding money promises a return of exactly zero, lenders cannot offer less.”

But still, he approvingly cites German economist Silvio Gesell’s argument for a tax on holding money, an idea Keynes himself approved of.

Keynesian central bankers are now central planners maintaining the unshakable belief that low interest rates put people back to work and solve every economic woe. “But in reality,” writes Robert Murphy, “interest rates coordinate production and consumption decisions over time. They do a lot more than simply regulate how much people spend in the present.”

Murphy points out that low rates stimulate some sectors more than others. Lower rates generally boost housing and car sales, for instance, while not doing much for consumer goods.

More than half a decade of zero interest rates has not lifted anyone from poverty or created any jobs—it has simply caused more malinvestment. It is impossible for the monetary authorities to dictate the proper interest rate, because interest rates determined by command and control bear no relation to the collective time preference of economic actors. The result of central bank intervention can only be distortions and chaos.

Draghi and Mankiw don’t seem to understand what interest is or how the rate of interest is determined. While it’s bad when academics promote their thought experiments, the foolish turns tragic when policymakers use the power of government to act on these experiments.


Douglas E. French is senior editor of the Laissez Faire Club and the author of Early Speculative Bubbles and Increases in the Supply of Money, written under the direction of Murray Rothbard at UNLV, and The Failure of Common Knowledge, which takes on many common economic fallacies.

EDITORS NOTE: The featured image is courtesy of FEE and Shutterstock.

Who decides the top foreign aid recipients?

Viewing government documents showing a comparison of the top fifteen countries that received aid in 2002 and 2012 got me to wondering how a country gets on the coveted top fifteen handout list? After looking at the comparison between the two decades recipients I ended up with an uneasy feeling and let me explain as it is quite simple.


For a larger view click on the chart.

In 2002 the top 15 countries consisted of those you would expect to be receiving aid like Israel, Egypt, Pakistan and Afghanistan. In 2012 those same four are on the top fifteen list but there was a major shift in the majority of the fifteen from 2002 to 2012.

In 2002 there was not one sub-Saharan country that was in the top fifteen recipients in the world. In 2012 that changed dramatically as eight of the top fifteen recipients were located in sub-Saharan Africa.

Kenya, home of Obama’s father, received $652 Million in aid in 2012 topped only by Tanzania with $752 Million. The other six countries rounding out the majority of eight in order of aid are Nigeria, Ethiopia, Mozambique, South Africa, South Sudan and Uganda totaling $4,619,000,000.00 in aid.

It is worth noting Kenya, Sudan, Uganda and Nigeria are ranked among the most corrupt governments in the world so it is only fitting the Obama administration would single them out for the most aid.

See the Congressional Research Office report Foreign Aid: An Introduction to U.S. Programs and Policy.

RELATED ARTICLE: “Foreign Aid” is Really Merely U.S. Crony Capitalism Enslaving the Poor via Taxpayer Money

In 1776 American Colonists Told the British “To Pound Sand” — Happy 4th of July!

Today America celebrates her 238th birthday. On July 4, 1776, the Second Continental Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence whose 56 signers were not professional politicians but ordinary citizens of the day.

Yes, these were simple people including farmers, business owners, lawyers, ministers and physicians and what today we would call grassroots leaders.

People like you and me. The youngest was 26 and the oldest was 70.

Imagine 56 citizens crafting a document as profound as the Declaration without the benefit of the Internet, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or a host of political hacks churning out canned ham political spin.

Declaration of IndependenceFor 238 years, historians have analyzed the lives, motivations and contributions of these 56 patriots.

Notwithstanding their incredible vision and articulation, what has always captivated me most about their achievement was how they overcame what must have been overwhelming fear in the face of adversity. Their unflinching belief against taxation without representation seemingly provided the needed fortitude to confidently confront the Crown and its worldwide empire.

Today we find ourselves once again confronting a ruling class that imposes taxation without representation through the federal income tax code. Included in this system is an IRS enforcement arm that, as in 1776, strikes fear in the heart of every American citizen.

In 1776, the colonists had to make a choice. Continue status quo or tell the British to pound sand. Their courageous decision quite literally changed the course of history.

In 2014, American citizens again have to make a choice. They can allow the continued proliferation of a tax code that has now surpassed 74,000 pages and is rapidly eating away the very economic fiber of this nation. Or, they can tell the ruling class “pound sand” and engage in the campaign to enact H.R. 25, “The FairTax Act of 2013”.

H.R. 25 is in essence, the citizen’s Declaration of Taxation Independence.

It is the only tax replacement plan before Congress that sets forth a fair, simple and transparent form of taxation driven by the citizenry and not by the ruling class of Washington.

By its very nature, the FairTax embodies the principles envisioned and codified in the original Declaration of Independence. Declaration signer and Founding Father Benjamin Franklin said, “The ordaining of laws in favor of one part of the nation, to the prejudice and oppression of another, is certainly the most erroneous and mistaken policy.”

The FairTax Plan rights the wrongs of the income tax code by providing a tax code that treats every citizen the same – no exemptions, no loopholes for anyone – no prejudice or oppression.

William Burroughs stated this eloquently on the Facebook page yesterday when he said, “The only way to finance government in a free society is by the voluntary choice of taxpayers, and no better way to enact it than by a sales tax. End the income tax, a free people do not have to scurry around proving to bureaucrats how they earned their money.”

If you are not actively supporting the FairTax, we invite you to become a part of what is arguably, the largest grassroots tax reform movement in America. Take one minute to send a message to your Representative and become a part of the greatest tax revolution of our lifetime.

And on this July 4, Happy Birthday America!

RELATED STORY: Found in rare copy of Ben Franklin-owned newspaper, first news coverage of the Declaration of Independence

Tax Flight

When federal and state taxes are accounted for, The United States has the highest corporate tax rate in the world. When it comes to the top marginal rates—including state taxes—of individual earners, many Americans are seeing more than half their income simply taken away. It’s no surprise, then, that some of the most productive citizens are leaving for more hospitable climes.

This behavior is called jurisdictional tax arbitrage. At a certain point, if you want to grow your business or keep the fruits of your enterprise, it makes sense to take advantage of more favorable taxation rates in other countries. In other words: Leave.

Some call this “unpatriotic.” Others attempt to characterize it as some evil superclass that wants to game complex global rules out of sheer greed.

Canadian pundit-turned-politician Chrystia Freeland writes:

What is more relevant to our times, though, is that the rich of today are also different from the rich of yesterday. Our light-speed, globally connected economy has led to the rise of a new super-elite that consists, to a notable degree, of first- and second-generation wealth. Its members are hardworking, highly educated, jet-setting meritocrats who feel they are the deserving winners of a tough, worldwide economic competition—and many of them, as a result, have an ambivalent attitude toward those of us who didn’t succeed so spectacularly. Perhaps most noteworthy, they are becoming a transglobal community of peers who have more in common with one another than with their countrymen back home. Whether they maintain primary residences in New York or Hong Kong, Moscow or Mumbai, today’s super-rich are increasingly a nation unto themselves.

It’s not immediately clear from the foregoing passage whether we’re supposed to love or hate this new “super-elite.” But for the social democratic author of Plutocrats, this nation-unto-itself is just crying out for annexation by a voracious steroid-State that depends on transfers for its very existence.

Quicker than you can say “Koch Brothers,” the left has painted a picture not of entrepreneurs and investors who are trying to protect capital from predatory politicians and bureaucrats, but of a wealthyUebermenschen who have purchased the political process. And it is the grain of truth in this latter description that stokes the fires of redistributionist populism.

It is up to us to reframe such views and to disentangle the makers from the takers—the crony capitalists from the value creators. For if we do not, we will find that those who make the world a better place through principled entrepreneurship will simply take themselves away to Panama or Hong Kong. What will be left behind are precisely the sort of people who are willing to purchase the political process to ensure that rents flow into their coffers. Actually, this is not prediction. This is happening already. The question is, when will this brain-cum-capital drain complete itself?

The United States is no longer a home where value creators are welcome. They are viewed as geese with golden eggs to be slain for a laundry list of progressive ends. And progressive populism, with all its talk of one-percenters and “inequality,” will continue to drive good people to take flight. Worse, progressive populism drives the justification for global tax collectors to jet off in hot pursuit.

It’s a good thing entrepreneurs still have a place to go. If it were less costly to pick up and go, more of us might follow. In a global economy, at least valuable capital is protected from the parasitic political classes for a little while longer. After all, many of those who are taking their money and running are still stewards of capital, meaning it can still be deployed for the creation of goods and services. If Leviathan can get its tentacles on that capital, it will be lost in the belly of the transfer State—feeding the addictions of welfare queens, corporate cronies, and the military-industrial complex.

In honor of those one-percenters who have gotten the hell out of dodge, let us raise a glass and a stogie. Here’s hoping there is still sanctuary in the Caymans for turtles and tycoons.

The July/August issue of the Freeman is now live!

EDITORS NOTE: The featured image is courtesy of FEE and Shutterstock.

What Economic Recovery?

You have to know that the Obama administration has run out of excuses for destroying the U.S. economy when it starts to blame it on the weather.

According to the Commerce Department, the economy based on its Gross domestic product–the value of its goods and services–fell at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 2.9% in the first quarter of this year. That was the largest recorded drop since the end of World War II in 1945!

The June 20th edition of The Wall Street Journal’s article, “Economy Shrank Rapidly in First Quarter” led off by reporting that “Weather disruptions at home and weak demand abroad caused a contraction in the U.S. economy in the first quarter, renewing doubts about the strength of the nation’s five-year-old recovery.”

unemployment graph

For a larger view click on the graph.

What recovery? When the economy stays in the basement for five years you are looking at an on-going stagnation based on too much government interference with growth, the decline of the nation’s middle class, the lack of new start-up businesses, and the reluctance or inability of consumers to spend money, if they have any to spend.

In May, writing on his blog, Economic Collapse, Michael Synder pointed to “27 Hugh Red Flags for the U.S. Economy” noting, for example, that according to government numbers, “everyone is unemployed in 20 percent of all American families.” The other indicators include:

  • Sales for construction equipment were down 13% in April and have been down for 17 months in a row.
  • During the first quarter of 2014, profits at the office supplies giant, Staples, fell by 43.5%
  • Foot traffic at Wal-Mart stores fell by 1.4% during the first quarter of 2014.
  • It is being projected that Sears will soon close hundreds more stores and may go out of business altogether.
  • Existing home sales have fallen for seven of the last eight months and seem to repeating a pattern witnessed back in 2007 prior to the last financial crash.
  • The home ownership rate in the U.S. has dropped to the lowest level in 19 years.

You do not have to be an economist to understand that President Obama’s economic policies are flat-out failures that include a “stimulus” that wasted billions of taxpayer dollars without stimulating the economy, nor that having a $17 trillion debt means anything other than a nation teetering on a massive economic collapse.

In May, CNSnews reported that “A record 92,594,000 Americans were not in the labor force in April as the labor force participation rate matched a 36-year low of 62.8 percent, according to data released today by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.”

This is not my definition of a “recession” although we are told that it ended in 2009. This is a “depression” for millions of Americans. The labor force participation rate has gone from 63.5% to 63.3%, the lowest since 1979, but the Obama administration keeps telling us that it is “improving.”

Consumer spending is down. Exports are down. Employment is barely increasing. The only thing that is up is inflation.

Edward C. Prescott, a 2004 Nobel Laureate in Economics and Lee E. Ohanian, a professor of economics UCLA, writing in the June 26 edition of The Wall Street Journal, noted that the declining GDP rate was “the worst productivity statistic since 1990. And productivity since 2005 has declined by more than 8% relative to its long-run trend. This means that business output is nearly $1 trillion less today than what it would be had productivity continued to grow at its average rate of about 2.5% per year.”

“Lagging productivity growth is an enormous problem because virtually all of the increase in Americans’ standard of living is made possible by rising worker productivity.”

The Obama administration would have you believe that the economic decline in the first quarter was due to a harsh winter. They will be blaming it on a hot summer come autumn.

This is an administration whose main theme these days is the threat of “climate change”, but it has nothing to do with the climate and everything to do with vast government spending and borrowing, an explosion of regulations that have slowed or stopped the creation of new businesses, a “war on coal” that is forcing a decline in the production of electricity, and a widespread perception that the President is the worst to have held office since the nation began.

There is no recovery. There is a return to the factors that led to the 2008 financial crisis. Government entities Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac that bought up all the sub-prime mortgage loans and packaged them as assets are still in business. Credit card companies are reaching out to sub-prime users, signing them up. Nobody seems to learn anything from the past, even if it is the recent past.

If the control of the U.S. Senate cannot be wrested away from a Democratic Party led by Harry Reid and a GOP increase in the U.S. House that was led by Nancy Pelosi until the 2010 elections cannot be achieved in the forthcoming November elections, the President’s continued attack on the economy—which includes a massive increase in illegal immigration—the nation’s economy will remain tenuous.

© Alan Caruba, 2014


Millennials Unemployment Report: 15.2% of Workers 18-29 Out of Work – ‘More Jobs’ Needed

The Long-Term Unemployment Crisis Is as Bad as Ever

Okaloosa County, FL Tourist Development Council: A Progressive Slush fund

Does your county or parish or borough have a TDC or Tourist Development Council?

The Okaloosa County Tourist Development Council (TDC) collects money in the form of a bed tax which is nothing more than another “progressive slush fund.” A redistribution hub for wealth taken from folks who stay at hotels. Its yet another tax burden on the local hotels, and another layer of regulation and control placed upon the hospitality services industry.

The time has come for the Okaloosa County Florida Commissioners to shut down and disband the TDC, which practices crony capitalism, and redistributes wealth. If you want to increase tourism then abolish the bed tax. Repealing the bed tax will make hotel rooms in Okaloosa County more competitive. Why does eliminating the the bed tax and with it the TDC make for good public policy? Well lets look at the 2013 audit of the Okaloosa County TDC. Here is what the audit found:


Finding No. 1: The Board of County Commissioners (BCC) did not establish annual budgets for expenditures from restricted resources at the level the resources were restricted, or project budgets for each advertising project and marketing campaign, to ensure that available resources were not overspent.

Finding No. 2: The Tourist Development Council (TDC) and TDC subcommittees performed duties that were not of an advisory nature, contrary to law.

Finding No. 3: The TDC did not continuously review all expenditures of tourist development taxes, contrary to law.

Finding No. 4: The County purchased goods and services from companies or organizations that were affiliated with members of the BCC, TDC, or a TDC subcommittee, contrary to law.

Finding No. 5: The BCC had not adopted a fraud response plan, and the County did not perform periodic fraud risk assessments or establish action plans to implement and monitor fraud controls.

Finding No. 6: The County did not perform and document periodic control risk assessments over the activities of collecting, accounting for, and disbursing restricted resources to identify and respond to identified control risks.

Finding No. 7: The County did not consistently follow prescribed policies and procedures relating to the competitive procurement of goods and services, including the selection of two advertising and marketing firms.

Finding No. 8: The County negotiated and entered into contracts that did not contain adequate provisions to effectively protect the County’s interests.

Finding No. 9: The County did not perform an adequate review or pre-audit of invoices submitted by two advertising and marketing firms, including a comparison of payment requests to the provisions of contracts. As a result, the County paid two advertising and marketing firms $12.1 million without obtaining adequate documentation supporting the goods or services received, including payments of several invoices that incorrectly or inadequately described the actual goods or services purchased.

Finding No. 10: The County did not ensure that goods or services acquired through two advertising and marketing firms were competitively procured.

Finding No. 11: The County paid for certain goods and services in advance of their receipt, including certain goods and services acquired through two advertising and marketing firms, contrary to law and the State Constitution. Some services for which the County paid in advance were not subsequently provided.

Finding No. 12: The County did not consistently follow prescribed policies and procedures relating to the approval of purchases, including purchases made through two advertising and marketing firms.

Finding No. 13: The County did not consistently follow prescribed policies and procedures relating to the use of purchasing cards (p-cards), document the receipt of goods and services purchased with p-cards that were not immediately provided to the purchaser, or document the public purpose served by the p-card expenditures.


Finding No. 14: The County needed to enhance its policies and procedures to ensure that travel expenditures were preapproved and adequately documented.


Finding No. 15: The BCC had not adopted written policies and procedures relating to special events grants, and the County did not document that the special events grants were used for allowable purposes or were effective in increasing tourism and the use of lodging facilities.

Finding No. 16: The BCC had not adopted written policies and procedures relating to sponsorships of organizations or events. In addition, the County did not consistently document the purpose for which the sponsorships were provided, that the sponsorships were used for allowable purposes, or that the sponsorships were effective in achieving the purposes for which they were provided.

Finding No. 17: The County paid $2.5 million from tourist development taxes for life-guarding, beach patrol, and beach shuttle services that were not expressly authorized by law.

Finding No. 18: The County paid $117,994 for various goods and services from British Petroleum (BP) grant funds that were, in the past, paid from tourist development taxes, contrary to grant provisions.

Finding No. 19: As part of the Emerald Coast Money Debit Card Program, the County used $207,730 of BP grant funds for purposes that County records did not evidence were allowed by grant provisions.

Finding No. 20: The County overcharged BP $27,063 in connection with medical support services provided, and County records did not adequately support the allow-ability of $385,185 in reimbursements received from BP.


Finding No. 21: The County had not established adequate controls over the use of fuel cards.


Finding No. 22: The County incorrectly classified and recorded certain expenditures in the accounting records, contrary to guidance provided by the Florida Department of Financial Services.


Finding No. 23: The BCC had not adopted written policies and procedures, and the County had not established adequate controls, over the authorization and processing of electronic funds transfers.


Finding No. 24: The County had not established adequate controls over employee access privileges to data and information technology resources.


Finding No. 25: The County did not record minutes of a TDC and TDC subcommittee meeting, contrary to law. In addition, the minutes of the remaining meetings were not signed or otherwise designated to indicate the minutes were the official minutes approved by the TDC or TDC subcommittees. Who was running this redistribution of wealth slush fund when these problems were identified?


A review or test of 45 purchases, totaling $1.2 million and funded from tourist development taxes or BP grant funds, disclosed 3 purchases (6.7 percent), totaling $53,730, that were not approved by one or more required employees, contrary to County purchasing policies and procedures. These payments included a $49,500 payment for production services at beach concerts, a $2,430 payment for promotional golf caps, and an $1,800 payment for two tables of ten people at a dinner and silent auction for a charitable organization.

What we have is a government controlled slush fund used to redistribute the taxpayers hard earned cash. The above listed 25 reasons should be enough to abolish the TDC, which was created in 1986.

I moved to Florida in 1982 and I learned all I needed to know about Florida from friends and by word of mouth. I did not need a TDC to bring me to Florida.

Its time to disband the TDC, abolish the bed tax and get rid of these incredulous burden’s of paper work and wealth redistribution. Lets turn Florida into an example of lower taxes, less government and ever more growth. As for the TDC, it needs to take a long walk off a short turtle protected pier.


On June 25, 2014, I spent an hour on the phone with our client and Medicare to get Medicare to correct its erroneous records about our client.  The client is from Valparaiso, Indiana.  We spoke to three Medicare representatives at three offices.

The client is a victim of the Obamacare law (a.k.a. “Affordable Care Act”).  Her employer cancelled the group health insurance plan for all the employees.  This forced them to obtain insurance through other Obamacare approved insurance plans.  Our client had another option.  The client worked past age 65.  So, she could go on Medicare and obtain a Medicare supplement insurance policy with a rather low monthly premium.

She (and all her co-workers) lost her employer’s group health plan coverage on February 28, 2014.  Her Medicare and Medicare supplement coverage started March 1, 2014.

But, when the client and I phoned Medicare on June 25, it had not yet updated the records.  Medicare records still showed that our client was on an employer provided group health insurance plan.  Medicare had not changed our client’s records for about four months.  During that time, the doctors who gave her service were not being paid anything by Medicare and Medicare was not forwarding claims information to the client’s Medicare supplement insurance company.  This tardiness by Medicare was a problem even before Obamacare.

During the Obamacare law debates, I repeatedly warned in my articles that there are problems with both Medicare and the Veterans Administration (VA) health systems.  I knew that because for years I had helped senior citizens who had problems with both of those federal health care systems.  I warned that if a national health care system was modeled on Medicare or the VA, then ALL AMERICANS WOULD START HAVING THE SAME KINDS OF PROBLEMS THAT SENIOR CITIZENS HAVE BEEN EXPERIENCING FOR YEARS UNDER MEDICARE AND THE VA.

Since then, Obamacare became law.  Now, we have learned that the VA was letting senior veterans DIE rather than give them medical service, that VA officials were keeping “off-record” books about the veterans who were not getting medical attention in order for some high level VA officials to claim and get bonuses that they did not deserve for good management.  Also, Medicare still does not have a system for quick changes to records so that medical claims are processed correctly for senior citizens who just start Medicare.

I told you so!  One of the reasons that the Obamacare law is bad is because it just increases and spreads problems that were already in the Medicare and VA health care systems.

If Obamacare remains the law, I expect that in the future the Obamacare law will be amended to allow the federal government to order seniors to die to save the federal government money rather than just recommend that seniors die as is the current law.

EDITORS NOTE: Note: Woodrow Wilcox is the senior medical bill case worker at a major insurance agency in northwest Indiana.  Wilcox has helped senior clients of that agency save over one million by correcting medical bill errors that were caused by mistakes in the Medicare system.  He wrote the book SOLVING MEDICARE PROBLEM$ ( to teach others how to help senior citizens with Medicare related medical bill problems.  To educate the public, Wilcox recently launched the website

© 2014 Woodrow Wilcox

Government Is Always the Answer, Even if Government Was the Problem by Lawrence W. Reed

When the housing bubble burst in 2008 and brought much of the economy down with it, the more thoughtful analysts explained that government was hardly an innocent bystander. Its housing agencies, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, played the roles of Bonnie and Clyde. Congress and the White House drove the getaway car (by endlessly pushing laws and rules to foist bad loans on the country in the name of home ownership) and the Federal Reserve filled the gas tank with cheap money.

Of course, the government learned its lesson and won’t do that sort of thing again, right? Hardly. It’s been doubling down since 2008—bailing out bad guys and pumping out the fuel that’s kept interest rates at rock bottom.

Don’t expect Washington to fix the fundamentals when its time horizon ends with the next election. In the perverse world of politics, problems don’t get solved as much as they get perpetuated. If you play it right, that’s how you keep your job. Look busy, talk tough, demagogue the issue, score rhetorical points, but don’t fix anything.

And remember: Government is always the answer, even if government was the problem in the first place.

What government did for housing pre-2008 is essentially what it’s been doing in the student loan market for years as well. Moreover, it’s about to go from bad to worse because the Obama administration is not exactly in a Mr. Fix-It mode.

Earlier this month, the President signed another imperial decree (excuse me, executive order is the more polite term), this time to extend to about five million student borrowers the ability to cap their loan payments to 10 percent of their incomes above $18,000. For example, if a college graduate makes $48,000 in his first year out of school, he can opt to limit his student loan payments to 10 percent of $30,000 (the difference between $18,000 and $48,000), which is $3,000. That amounts to a maximum loan payment of $250 per month.

In a statement on June 10, the President added, “We then have additional programs so that if you go into one of the helping professions—public service, law enforcement, social work, teaching—then over time that debt could actually be forgiven.”

In Obamaspeak, the “helping professions” are government jobs. They are not to be confused with the “non-helping professions” in the private sector—you know, all those tens of millions of jobs that don’t help people, one of which you probably hold. If you’re in a “helping profession,” any remaining balance on your loan will be forgiven in 10 years; if you’re a non-helper, you have to wait another 10 years for forgiveness. I kid you not.

(This extension of the loan payment cap applies to those who took out loans prior to 2008. It already encompasses those who have secured loans in more recent years.)

The White House observes, “Over the past three decades, the average tuition at a public four-year college has more than tripled, while a typical family’s income has barely budged.” True enough. But federal student loans, at over $100 billion this year alone, are already more than double the amount of a decade ago. The Wall Street Journal reports, “The average Class of 2014 graduate with student-loan debt has to pay back some $33,000…. Even after adjusting for inflation that’s nearly double the amount borrowers had to pay back 20 years ago.”

The evidence is indisputable that college costs even after inflation have soared, as has the debt that students are incurring to pay them. So to deal with this problem, we have to increase subsidies to borrow the money? That sounds a lot like what we heard a while ago about housing: “Everybody should have a house. Let’s drive interest rates down and make it easier to get a mortgage.”

Oops. We know how that worked out, don’t we? When asked how much the recent Obama executive order on student loans could end up costing taxpayers, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan displayed the same callous indifference to long-run consequences that characterized the housing craze. He said with a long, straight face, “We’ll figure that out at the back end.” I think the French put it more elegantly: “Après moi, le deluge.

While politicians throw more and more of other people’s money at colleges and universities, Americans are catching on to the scams in higher education—the excessive bureaucracy, the mushrooming of dubious and politically correct courses, and the like. In The Chronicle of Higher Education last year, Kevin Carey of the New America Foundation noted that there’s been a substantial reduction since 1975 in tenure-track and full-time instructors at the same time as the ranks of college administrators have grown. Furthermore, he wrote, “anecdotes of universities’ building elaborate recreational facilities featuring things like lazy rivers (these having replaced climbing walls as emblems of excess) are commonplace, as are money-losing sports programs, aggressive building programs, and other expenditures that belie any sense of financial restraint.”

In the June 22 Chicago Tribune, editorialist Steve Chapman pointed out that “thinking that more federal aid will make college affordable is like believing that a dog can catch its tail if it goes faster … The more the government does, the less reason students have to demand cost control, and the higher tuition will climb.”

Why be careful with your money if the feds will subsidize your customers so they can pay you?

President Obama says he is “working with college presidents” to better contain costs, but what do you suppose “working with” them really means? Talking? Holding conferences? Issuing press releases? Does Obama know any more about the cost of running a college than he does about costs within his own healthcare program?

Even so, Chapman argues, “Some perspective is in order. Though some students acquire huge debts, two-thirds graduate owing $10,000 or less, and only 2 percent owe more than $50,000. Not all of the latter need to worry. A newly minted doctor, lawyer or MBA from a good school can expect an income more than adequate to meet the need.” The class of 2014 is deeper in debt than any of its predecessors, to be sure, but let’s not forget that the average college graduate still earns considerably more than the average non-graduate.

The real reason behind the Obama initiative is most likely crass vote-buying. It’s the old welfare state trick again—target a constituency, offer them money and make them think they’ve got a right to it, then parade as their savior as you vilify those who oppose your generosity. “If you’re a big oil company, they’ll go to bat for you. If you’re a student, good luck,” Obama said on June 9 while speaking of those who might raise questions about his plan. This stuff works with some people (maybe a lot of them), so the politicians assume they can be bought and paid for with other people’s money. He’s appealing to those who refuse to think beyond themselves, who don’t contemplate things like the long term or the rights and property of other people.

So let’s put all this together. We have here what Oliver Hardy might call “another fine mess” that Washington has gotten us into. Let me count the ways:

  1. The federal government decided it wanted to help college students so it stuck its nose in the student loan business. Its subsidies encourage higher college costs and greater student debt.
  2. Students voluntarily took on debt because, especially at subsidized rates, they thought it was a good deal. Now we have a debt problem and the President wants to ease it by transferring even more student debt onto the shoulders of taxpayers. This is the same President whose policies are preventing the kind of robust economic growth that would make debt easier to repay.
  3. Students who choose not to go to college tend to earn less than those who do, but they are also taxpayers. So the Obama plan essentially means that sooner or later, the taxes of those non-college graduates will help pay the debts of the higher-income earning graduates.
  4. Though student debt is already a mountainous $1.2 trillion, the generous Obama giveaway means that incurring debt will now be even more attractive. So expect that figure to rise much higher.
  5. Nobody in Washington, even the secretary of education, has a clue about what the costs of this latest transfer scheme will be.

What could possibly go wrong?

It didn’t have to be this way. Alternatives to bad government policies do exist, even if Washington isn’t listening. (See herehere, and here). But there’s an aspect of this manufactured “crisis” that needs to be understood right out of the gate, or no genuine solution is likely: There is no right to a college education.

Human rights are not duties imposed on others. (Your right to freedom of speech, for instance, doesn’t impose anything on anyone else). Human rights are not mere “wants” that require other people to give you something. (Your right to speak doesn’t mean you can force anyone to give you a megaphone or a platform). Human rights are universal, meaning that you can exercise them without depriving anyone else of any of their rights.

How does this apply to college? You have every right to seek a college education and to contract with others to provide it to you freely—but you have no right to compel anyone to give you one or to pay for it. You cannot enslave another person because you want a college degree. This is one of the fundamentals that must be acknowledged or just about any counterproductive federal program will only grow, no matter the cost or adverse consequences.

When government is the problem, more of it is not likely to be a helpful solution. That applies to the student loan issue just as much as it does to anything else.

20130918_larryreedauthorABOUT LAWRENCE W. REED

Lawrence W. (“Larry”) Reed became president of FEE in 2008 after serving as chairman of its board of trustees in the 1990s and both writing and speaking for FEE since the late 1970s. Prior to becoming FEE’s president, he served for 20 years as president of the Mackinac Center for Public Policy in Midland, Michigan. He also taught economics full-time from 1977 to 1984 at Northwood University in Michigan and chaired its department of economics from 1982 to 1984.

EDITORS NOTE: This commentary was published by on June 24, 2014.

A Heartbreaking Unspoken Consequence of Obama

Decades of socialist/progressive indoctrination in our schools, media and culture, plus six years of Obama, has yielded a devastating unspoken consequence. It is the loss of who we use to be as Americans.

In his 1961 Inaugural Address, President John F. Kennedy said, “My fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.” Democrats have perverted Kennedy’s inspiring challenge. Their dispiriting goal is to have as many Americans as possible controlled by and dependent on government, even for life itself, which is at the root of Obamacare.

I mourn the loss of the independent self-reliant mindset which made our parents great; and the pride and dignity it generated within them. Welfare (government assistance) was a last resort and for the truly needy.

Today, far too many Americans see no shame in living on government assistance or scamming the system. The Left’s campaign led by the Obama Administration to instill an entitlement mindset in many has proven successful. The Administration even campaigned targeting minorities, discouraging their instinct to be self-reliant. Even worse, the Administration portrays getting on welfare as the honorable thing to do. Dear Lord, what kind of nation are we becoming?

An unprecedented 47 million Americans are on food stamps which is riddled with fraud. The Obama Administration has added over 10,000 new oppressive job-killing regulations. Consequently, 90 million are unemployed and on unemployment which is also riddled with fraud. Here’s another first for America, over 11 million are receiving disability benefits; riddled with fraud. Clearly, many believe working is for suckers when the government is handing out freebies.

In his War on Achievers, Obama used his bully pulpit to deflate business owners by saying, “If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that.” Obama and his operatives use compassionate sounding terms such as “social justice” and “income inequality” to justify the government confiscating the earnings of achievers and redistributing it to non-achievers to win their votes. Despicable.

My heart aches for my America when character, excellence and hard work were rewarded, celebrated and respected.

At 9 or 10 years old, I worked part-time for my neighbor Mr Buddy Roy. I pulled the copper out of old motors for him to sell. I still remember the pride I felt making my own money.

In the early 1950s, blacks were allowed to take the entrance test for the Baltimore City Fire Dept. My dad applied and mom helped. My parents sought opportunity not handouts. Talk about a strong black woman, though compassionate and loving, mom could be a tough no nonsense person.

I remember my parents sitting at the kitchen table, a glass turned upside down between them with mom tapping on the glass with a spoon. She was simulating the different bell sounds which alerted the firefighters to various situations. She would yell at my dad, “No, that’s wrong, stupid! Listen and get it right!” Thanks to my drill sergeant mom, dad was among a hand full of blacks who became Baltimore City’s first black firefighters.

Being a pioneer is never easy. Dad endured humiliating work conditions and blatant racism. Still, dad relished the opportunity. Thanks to his Christian faith, dad won admiration and respect by fighting racism and hate with excellence. He won “Firefighter of the Year” two times.

That mindset of putting ones best foot forward and striving for loftier standards is what I fear we are rapidly losing as Americans. Apparently, character is no longer expected in our leaders. President Obama is caught repeatedly lying to the American people and the response is ho-hum, let’s move on.

The trend is to celebrate deadbeats, entitlement junkies, haters of achievers and assorted low life. For example. The Democrats and mainstream media loved the Occupy Wall Street mobs. People were assaulted and even raped at their angry mob gatherings. Severely infected with an entitlement mindset, Occupiers dumped feces in a public building demanding the government redistribute wealth to them.

Meanwhile, the Left continues their shameful relentless demonizing and slandering the Tea Party with unfounded allegations of racism. The Obama Administration has plotted to criminalize free speech (the Tea Party). Folks, we are talking decent hard-working Americans who are simply pushing back against Obama’s shock and awe assault on our freedoms, liberty and culture.

Tax cheat Democrat Rep. Charlie Rangel compared the Tea Party to Hamas terrorists. Either Mr Rangel is a loudmouth clueless idiot or a despicable evil human being. Leftists like Rangel who throw unfounded irresponsible “hate” grenades at millions of Americans should be called on it. Inciting racial division is extremely serious.

Amidst the unbelievably long list of scandals, crimes and misdemeanors of the Obama regime, the damage that this evil man and his minions have done to the internal make-up of many Americans is extremely disturbing and heartbreaking.

Please view me performing my song, “We Are Americans” which I wrote to remind us of who we use to be and I believe a majority still are as Americans. I have faith that the liberal’s, socialist’s and progressive’s toxic disease of entitlement thinking has not reached critical mass.

My fellow Americans, we are exceptional, a chosen people. We are Americans!