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‘Put Socialism on Trial,’ Larry Kudlow Urges

Larry Kudlow, director of the president’s National Economic Council, called Thursday for putting socialism “on trial”—and convicting it. 

“I want you, and everybody in this room and your friends and your neighbors, I want you to put socialism on trial, that’s what I’m asking,” Kudlow said, speaking at the Conservative Political Action Conference just outside Washington.

“I don’t want us to stand idly by,” he told the CPAC audience. “I don’t want to let this stuff fester. I want it challenged. I want it debated. I want it rebutted. I want to convict socialism.” 

The top economic adviser to President Donald Trump noted the emergence of support for socialism among young voters and among Democrats in Congress. 

He singled out the so-called Green New Deal, a proposal backed by congressional Democrats in the form of a resolution sponsored by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, D-N.Y., and Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass. 

The Democrats’ plan would move the country away from fossil fuels while implementing a raft of liberal initiatives. 

Kudlow called the proposal “central planning on a grand scale.” 

“The Green New Deal would literally destroy the economy. Literally,” Kudlow said. “It would knock out energy, transportation, airlines, jobs, business. We’d probably lose 10 to 15 percent of our GDP. That’s remarkable. But that’s what our opponents and critics are saying.” 

Kudlow added: “About $75 trillion is the total cost of the Green New Deal and its associated policies.”

He called for Americans to be armed with facts. 

“Tax the rich. Tax wealth. Wealthy, successful people don’t pay their fair share,” Kudlow said, echoing the left’s arguments. 

“The top 1 percent of income earners pay about 40 percent of taxes,” he said, ticking off some facts. “The top 10 percent pays nearly 70 percent. The bottom 50 percent pays 3 percent. So, who pays the taxes? Successful people.”

“So don’t let this ‘tax fairness’ debate go by,” Kudlow urged his audience. “Use the numbers.”

CPAC, the largest annual national gathering of conservative activists, runs through Saturday at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in National Harbor, Maryland, just outside Washington.

COLUMN BY

Portrait of Fred Lucas

Fred Lucas

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

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EDITORS NOTE: This Daily Signal column with images is republished with permission. The featured image of Karl Marx is by Wikimedia Commons.

Bloomberg for President?

Amid reports that the FBI is close to recommending that the Department of Justice (DOJ) prosecute Hillary Clinton for mishandling classified materials, and that FBI Director James Comey and other agency personnel investigating Clinton may resign if the DOJ refuses to do so, sources close to Michael Bloomberg say the billionaire former mayor of New York City may run for president if Clinton appears unable to win the Democratic Party’s nomination.

CBS New York reports, “[t]hey say Bloomberg would strongly consider running if the general election looked like it would be a contest between Democrat Bernie Sanders and Republicans Donald Trump or Ted Cruz.” Bloomberg, who has let on that he would be willing to spend 1 billion dollars on a campaign, is expected to make his decision by March. Four states are holding their presidential primaries and caucuses in February, and another 14 will do so on Super Tuesday, March 1st.

Appearing unfazed by her troubles, Clinton insists “nothing that I did was wrong” and said of the Bloomberg news, “the way I read what he said was if I didn’t get the nomination, he might consider it. Well, I’m going to relieve him of that and get the nomination, so he doesn’t have to.”

Unfortunately, from Clinton’s perspective, that may be a fairly big “if.” Polls show her being trounced by Sen. Bernie Sanders in New Hampshire and also losing Iowa, where the country’s first presidential primaries and caucuses will be held, and that her national figures are dropping. Other polls show that more Americans view her unfavorably than favorably.

Fox News reports, “[t]he FBI investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of private email as secretary of state has expanded to look at whether the possible ‘intersection’ of Clinton Foundation work and State Department business may have violated public corruption laws.” Fox followed up on the story on Tuesday, saying, “The security investigation is now part and parcel with the criminal [public corruption] investigation.”

Bloomberg must theorize that he could appeal to voters on the basis of his success as a businessman and his time as the mayor of the nation’s most populous city. But he faces a difficult “if” of his own. Clinton been casting herself as the most anti-gun presidential candidate in American history, a distinction Bloomberg would certainly want to challenge if he threw his hat into the ring. Also, and perhaps for the same reason, a Morning Consult poll released this week found Bloomberg at 13% in a hypothetical three-way race against Donald Trump and Clinton, 11% when the Republican candidate is Sen. Ted Cruz, and down to 10% when the Republican is Sen. Marco Rubio.

Bloomberg might be able to bump those numbers up among Democrats a bit, if he promised to pardon Clinton on the first day of his presidency. That would not only endear him to Clinton’s most fanatical supporters, it would wipe the slate clean, at least legally-speaking, for someone who shares his deep antipathy for guns. With public opinion trending steadily against gun control, a President Bloomberg couldn’t afford to have one of his strongest anti-gun allies in court or in prison.

VIDEO: Gun Control Debate in the Sunshine State

Christian Ziegler, the Republican Party of Sarasota State Committeeman was on the Alan ABC Channel 7 to debate President Obama’s Executive Order on gun control. Ziegler was on the Alan Cohn Show. Cohn is anchor and managing editor of ABC 7 News at 7:00 p.m

In an email Ziegler wrote:

I appeared on WWSB ABC 7 tonight to debate Ed James III, Democrat for FL House, about President Obama’s Executive Order on Gun Control.

Click here to watch the debate and then, if you have any thoughts about this issue, please reply back to this email [Inform@christiangop.com] and share them with me.

-Christian Ziegler
State Committeeman, Sarasota County

Here is the video of the Alan Cohn Show debate:

RELATED ARTICLE: The Facts Behind 4 of Obama’s Claims About Guns

Collectivism in SW Florida

Ayn Rand wrote a short nineteen page paper asking: What is the basic issue facing the world today? Rand, in her paper makes the case that, “The basic issue in the world today is between two principles: Individualism and Collectivism.” Rand defines these two principles as follows:

  • Individualism – Each man exists by his own right and for his own sake, not for the sake of the group.
  • Collectivism – Each man exists only by the permission of the group and for the sake of the group.

The idea of collectivism is alive and well not just in Washington, D.C. but also in SW Florida. Specifically, in the Englewood Water District, which has decided to forsake the individual and vote in favor of the collective. Government at every level has a propensity to expand, and with that expansion it takes power from the poor in the name of the “greater good”.

According to the Englewood Water District website:

A small group of members from the Englewood Chamber of Commerce formed a “water committee” in 1955 to look into the water “situation.” During the next 4 years they had the perseverance, determination, and dedication to make the Englewood Water District a reality. They fought the odds, and the obstacles, because they saw the need to develop a high-quality, clean water system that would provide for the present and future Englewood. As they moved forward in their efforts, they learned the water and sanitary system could be owned and managed by the people of Englewood and not an outside source. They realized not only would residents’ health conditions be jeopardized without a water and sanitary system, but also the Lemon Bay environment. [Emphasis added]

So what is it that this “water committee” is proposing that has residents of the V9C District of Englewood, FL and others so agitated? The Englewood Water District has decided that for the “greater good” a group of citizens living in the V9C District of Englewood who currently use septic tanks must now pay (read imposed tax) to hook up to the city sewer system, whether they want to or not. Data shows there is no threat to the existing water quality or health conditions of those living in Englewood.

The bottom line: The 314 families living in Englewood’s V9C District are being forced to do something that they do not want to do, nor need to do.

Kathy Bolam, member of the Board of the South Venice Civic Association and the Governmental Affairs Committee, at a Sarasota Board of County Commission meeting testified:

Government was formed by the people to protect our rights and defend us from enemies whether foreign or domestic. That’s why we are asking your voice to be added to ours, because Englewood Water District in a bill passed by the Florida legislature in 2004, called their Enabling Act took away all property rights from the people living in the V9C district. The people in this district never were told about this bill, didn’t get the chance to read it or respond. As a result the EWD board of Supervisors feel empowered to expand their sewer program whether there is a public health or environmental need and whether the people want it or can afford it.

The results of their program will result in several families losing their homes. The area is mostly made up of retirees on fixed incomes and working single mothers, and small families. Those who cannot make the full payment when invoiced of $8,666.94 will then have $834.99 added to their property tax bill for 15 years. If they do not pay those taxes, the tax lien will be sold, and they will lose their home. One lady’s current tax bill is less than $500.00 and she stated that after paying her mortgage, etc. she has barely enough money to eat. Instead of decreasing the amount of homeless people, this action by EWD will increase it. U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren said in a speech on Jan 7, 2015 quote “Since 1980, guess how much of the growth in income the 90% got? Nothing. None. Zero. In fact, it’s worse than that. The average family not in the top 10% makes less money than a generation ago.” Close quote. People just cannot afford to pay for something, they don’t need and don’t want just because a government body assumes they have the authority and power.

According to the Florida Constitution at Article 1 Section 1, it states that “All political power is inherent in the people.” Therefore, the voice of the people supercedes the goals of the EWD Board of Supervisors. Therefore, we ask you to send a fax, e-mail to that Board requesting that they be true to their Oath of the U.S. Constitution and the Florida Constitution and not violate the “voice of the people.”

According to Bolam, “Jerry Paul who was the local state representative for this area will be at the meeting talking about funding. He was the state representative in 2004 and was responsible for the Enabling Act.  He currently is a lobbyist (Capitol Energy Florida) for EWD and for Key Agency (EWD co-chair Mr. Fogo is financially connected to Key Agency). EWD renewed their insurance coverage with Key Agency.”

The Englewood Water District is moving forward and a final vote on taking the property of these families will occur on Thursday, June 4th, 2015 at 8:00 a.m. Citizens may call the Englewood Water District at 941-474-3217 to voice their opinions on this issue or attend the meeting at 201 Selma Ave, Englewood, FL.

Do Corporations Run the Market? Do companies control consumers?

One this day in 1985, the Coca-Cola Company introduced “New Coke” to replace its flagship soft drink Coca-Cola. Their executives were so sure that they knew what consumers wanted, they pulled the old formula from the shelves entirely.

The new product — or, rather, the new product combined with the loss of the old familiar one — generated so much negative response that the company put “Classic Coke” back on the market less than 3 months later.

As Vox notes, however, the company hadn’t been stupid or reckless. Coke had been losing market share to the sweeter-tasting Pepsi for years, and they needed to shake things up.

They conducted countless hours of consumer research, performing over 200,000 blind taste tests between Classic Coke, New Coke, and Pepsi — and New Coke swept the field.

Moreover, in their judgment, Coke had to be replaced with a better product — the company couldn’t simply add an additional flavor:

It didn’t have a choice — Coke needed to retain market share for a single drink.

Fountain sales made up a formidable two-thirds of Coke’s market. . . . Many of the contracts depended on Coke being the top-ranked cola. And if market share for Coca-Cola fell, the company might lose even more ground to Pepsi. If Coke had planned to run New Coke and original Coke side by side, it would have risked splitting its market share and alienating valuable fountain clients.

The smartest guys in the room all knew what the market needed. They pulled the trigger on New Coke, lost millions of dollars, and became a punchline for decades.

A line from Ludwig von Mises’s Human Action is informative: “The entrepreneur in his entrepreneurial capacity is always subject to the full supremacy of the consumers.”

In Bureaucracy, Mises elaborated:

The capitalists … are instrumental in the conduct of economic affairs. They are at the helm and steer the ship. But they are not free to shape its course. They are not supreme, they are steersmen only, bound to obey unconditionally the captain’s orders. The captain is the consumer. . . .

The real bosses are the consumers. They, by their buying and by their abstention from buying, decide who should own the capital and run the plants. They determine what should be produced and in what quantity and quality.

It was a lesson that Coke learned the hard way. In free markets, even the biggest, most entrenched corporations must follow the orders of the consumers. Icebergs await those who flout their preferences.

Anything Peaceful

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Bill Gates and Localizing Common Core and Standardized Testing by Paul DiPerna

“Innovations that are guided by smallholder farmers, adapted to local circumstances, and sustainable for the economy and environment will be necessary to ensure food security in the future.” – Bill Gates

The Andrew Carnegie of our time—and as a native of Pittsburgh, I say that respectfully—may want to consider how that same approach can augment education reform. In 2014, the “de facto organizer” of the contentious Common Core State Standards Initiative is now a witness with the rest of us to the mounting challenges to that grand framework—and they’re emerging from local sources.

Indeed, in recent months, outcries have inspired Indiana, Arizona, South Carolina, Oklahoma, and Louisiana to depart (to varying degrees) from the Common Core, committing to “homegrown” state-based standards and/or tests. As the Hechinger Report and Education Week reported, of the original 45 states that signed up for one of the two big assessment regimes tied to Common Core, 36 states as of now are still participating.

Is that 20 percent drop in state participation the start of a larger reactionary theme to standards, testing, and accountability in education?

To find out, we asked a nationally representative sample of the general population (“American Adults”)—in the latest installment of the Friedman Foundation’s “Schooling in America Survey”—their attitudes and opinions about:

  • developing and implementing academic standards;
  • Common Core (with and without context);
  • standardized testing;
  • who (respondents believe) are accountable to tests; and who (respondents say) should be accountable to tests.

Just as Bill Gates has recognized in agriculture, our findings indicate that local ownership—exemplified by parental input/action and teachers’ roles —also matters enormously in education:

When it comes to developing and implementing academic standards, Americans believe teachers and school district officials should take the lead. Respondents suggest it may be preferable for parents to play a larger role in development rather than implementation. Government officials at the state and federal levels should take a backseat in both.



Interviews suggest a mixed message about the Common Core State Standards. 
Without any context, Americans say they oppose Common Core. However, when providing some context, support increases substantially while the opposition remains about the same.

  • Certain demographic groups set themselves apart either in their support of or opposition to Common Core. Groups most inclined to be supportive with the highest positive margins are: Midwest region (56 percent favor | +21 points), urbanites (60 percent favor | +26 points), Democrats (58 percent favor | +26 points), and African Americans (57 percent favor | +22 points).
  • The views on Common Core are more negative among school parents (44 percent favor | -5 points) and middle-income earners (43 percent favor | -5 points).

There is no mixed message about the most intense reactions to the Common Core items in the survey. Respondents who hold hardened views on Common Core are mostly likely to be negative rather than positive—with or without context.

  • The intensity (defined as the difference between “strongly favor” and “strongly oppose” responses) is negative against Common Core. Without any context and on first impression, 24 percent say they “strongly oppose” versus 11 percent who say they “strongly favor” (-13 points). Even with context, 25 percent say they “strongly oppose” versus 16 percent who say they “strongly favor” (-9 points). The intensity improves with further information but it still is considerably negative.
  • Intensities are more heavily negative than positive for most groups. Just four observed demographics have a positive intensity (and it is relatively mild): urbanites (+6 points), Democrats (+4 points), African Americans (+6 points), and Latinos (+3 points).
  • Intensity against Common Core is strongest among school parents (-21 points), small-town residents (-16 points), rural residents (-18 points), Republicans (-17 points), and middle-income earners (-17 points).

A plurality of Americans (36 percent) said the amount of time spent on standardized testing is “too high,” compared with 24 percent who said “too low.”
Q22.jpg

  • Nearly half of high-income earners believe there is too much testing in America’s schools (49 percent too high vs. 15 percent too low). This group registers the highest level of resistance among observed demographics.
  • The groups inclined to say there is not enough standardized testing are low-income earners (24 percent too high vs. 31 percent too low), African Americans (21 percent too high vs. 34 percent too low), and Latinos (28 percent too high vs. 35 percent too low).
  • The most ambivalent groups on standardized testing are westerners (31 percent too high vs. 28 percent too low), urbanites (31 percent too high vs. 28 percent too low), and young adults (31 percent too high vs. 29 percent too low).

More than two out of five Americans (42 percent) believed students spend at least 16 days or more of the school year—roughly 10 percent of the year—on standardized testing activities.

Q21.jpg

  • This response—16 or more school days—is even higher among school parents (51 percent), middle-age Americans (50 percent), and high-income earners (53 percent).


The average American believes teachers are being held most accountable to test results today, more so than other school officials, and far surpassing the proportion who believe students are held accountable to tests.

Q23-Split-A.jpg
Americans appear to support some degree of test-based accountability and believe the focus should be on teachers, students, and school district officials.

Q23-Split-B.jpg

Common Core and standardized testing will remain flashpoints for policy debates in K-12 education. For now, when weighing the most adamant views on testing and Common Core, Americans are resistant and likely to be negative. Interestingly, the parents of school-age children appear to be the most negative toward Common Core and resistant to the current level of standardized testing.

Politicians, especially local ones, tend to respond to the most vocal constituents and grassroots groups. The implications of our polling suggest that Common Core—and standardized testing to a lesser degree—will continue to face loud local and state-level opposition for months to come.

We’ll find out this November and in early 2015, once legislatures convene, whether such upheavals threaten the future of standards-based reform.

It seems Bill Gates and his foundation are taking it seriously, as evidenced by their suggested moratorium on “high-stakes decisions based on tests aligned with the new (Common Core) standards.” Perhaps that signals Gates’ belief in the power and influence of local forces isn’t limited to farming. Regardless, our survey can provide some additional food for thought.

For more on what Americans think about other education-related topics, including how Common Core would affect their electoral considerations, read the full “2014 Schooling in America Survey: Perspectives on School Choice, Common Core, and Standardized Testing.”

ABOUT PAUL DIPERNA

Paul DiPerna is Research Director for the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice. He joined the Foundation in September 2006. Paul’s research interests include surveys and polling on K-12 education and school choice policies. He has developed and issued more than 20 state polls and other survey projects over the last four years. His other responsibilities include directing and managing all research projects commissioned by the foundation.