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Time to turn Detroit into America’s first Zombie Apocalypse/Jihad Land theme park?

Detroit, Michigan has theme park potential! Zombie Apocalypse Land and Jihad Land. A chance for Democrats to strengthen their ties to Islam and increase tax revenues all in one theme park?

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Michigan: Muslim grocer pleads guilty to food stamp fraud, agrees to pay back $1.8M

Our Political Class: 114th Congress

I have a theory that ties in with John Boehner’s third election as Speaker of the House on Tuesday.

Could it be that the newly elected congressmen and women are greeted by one of the members who has been there long enough to be the chairperson of one of the many committees of the House and quickly informed that they now belong to a very exclusive group in which they can, with relative safety, ignore the voters who just elected them?

In the House there were 58 freshman members and in the Senate, there were 13, some of whom were formerly members of the House. In total, the opening session of Congress welcomed 246 Republicans and 188 Democrats.

Those contesting for the job of Speaker in addition to Boehner were Reps. Ted Yoho and Daniel Webster of Florida and Louie Gohmert of Texas. The Democrats nominated Rep. Nancy Pelosi. Four Democrats did not vote for her. Meanwhile Webster received 12 votes, Gohmert earned three, and Yoho won 2. Of the 408 votes cast, Boehner won 216.

My other theory is that enough members of the House had concluded that Boehner had done as good a job as possible under the circumstances and saw no reason to turn the job of Speaker over to someone who might rock the boat. His opposition came mostly from the strongly conservative bloc in the House.

What we likely have in the 114th Congress is a very pragmatic leadership who are not likely to do anything dramatic regarding immigration, energy, or any of the other issues about which conservatives want action. In both the House and the Senate, they know what they are up against. They will put forward legislation, but all it will do is demonstrate what we already know about Obama.

In his first speech on the floor of the Senate, Mitch McConnell (KY-R), the Majority Leader, said “Bipartisan compromise may not come easily for the President. The President’s supporters are pressing for militancy these days, not compromise.” Those supporters are the Far Left. I doubt that he or John Boehner met with the President that much over the past six years.

The Founding Fathers created a republic in which the business of legislating was intended to move slowly, subject to debate and the need for compromise. Obama has made it clear he has no intention to work with Congress, especially now that it is controlled by the GOP. So gridlock will continue and conservatives will stay angry.

Regarding my theory that our political class doesn’t really worry that much about what the voters want, do you recall the omnibus budget that was passed in the last hours of the previous Congress? That was 2,000-plus pages crammed full of things we are not likely to ever learn about until well after the money is spent. Does that suggest that the members of Congress think it wiser to keep us in the dark? Yes.

AA - Boehner and ObamaThink of it another way, Over the course of the last six years with Obama as President, the House passed some fifty resolutions calling for the repeal of ObamaCare. Were we supposed to take that seriously? Are we going to see legislation repealing, for instance, Obamacare’s medical device tax? Maybe. I will be very interested to see any legislation aimed at undermining ObamaCare because I believe the 114th Congress would prefer to wait for the courts to do that for them.

Boehner knew early on that Obama was a President who had little regard for Congress or, for that matter, the Constitution.

Despite a major rejection of the Democratic Party and Obama’s policies in the 2013 midterm elections, Obama has been acting as if the Party won those elections and they had confirmed his agenda. He has let it be known he has no intention of negotiating, preferring to use his veto power, unilateral executive orders, and to get what he wants via various federal agency regulations.

One of the most important functions of the 114th Congress will be oversight of departments and agencies. Has anyone heard from the Justice Department’s Lois Lerner lately? Any word about the Benghazi tragedy?

Little wonder that, after being elected to his third term as Speaker, Boehner said “All I ask is that we disagree without being disagreeable.” There are 435 members in the House of Representatives and Boehner is responsible primarily for its Republican members. If there are Democrats who are willing to cross the aisle, he will welcome their votes. As in the Senate, they will be needed on occasion.

Regarding the passage of legislation, Boehner said “It’s the real work. It’s a grind. The battle of ideas never ends and frankly never should. We Americans never quit,” adding “Let’s once and for all prove the skeptics wrong.”

It is worth keeping in mind, as Karl Rove reminded us in a Jan 7 commentary, “Every Republican senator and virtually every congressman challenged as insufficiently conservative won their primaries.” The voters have spoken.

As unhappy as many conservatives are with Boehner and those they call RINOs (Republicans in Name Only), Boehner did not sound like a man expressing great joy at having been reelected to what appears to be a very difficult job. That this is his third term suggests that his colleagues in the House have a measure of respect for him that his critics do not.

The House and Senate used to be exclusively an old white man’s club. Now the Speaker and the Senate Majority Leader are looking at an extraordinarily diverse membership.

The same day Boehner was reelected Speaker the Congressional Black Caucus hosted a swearing-in ceremony to welcome new and returning members of the House and Senate. There were 46 of them.

Rep. Mia Love (R-Utah) will make history as the first black Republican woman in Congress. She and the others represent the largest Black Republican class in Congress since the Reconstruction era. Makes you wonder what those blacks rioting in the streets are so angry about? More than 125 blacks have been elected to Congress over the past forty years, including of course, Barack Obama.

The 114th Congress has been hailed by The Hill as the “Most diverse Congress in history to take power.” There are a record number of female lawmakers at 104, alongside 420 men. Hispanic lawmakers will number 33 with 30 in the House and Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) in the Senate. There are 12 Asian-Americans and Oklahoma has contributed two Native-Americans.

The Hill reports that “A vast majority of lawmakers identify as Christian, either Protestant or Catholic, along with 16 Mormons.” There are 28 Jews, two Buddhists, two Muslims, and one Hindu.

Think you’d like to have John Boehner’s job or Mitch McConnell’s? To all that diversity add political points of view that range from Far Left to Far Right.

Let me return to my original theory. In the House, though they must face election every two years, I suspect they quickly conclude that there is no satisfying the voters so they might as well vote as they wish. In the Senate where they face election every six years, that goes double or triple.

These are professional politicians. Of the new Congress, ten have been governors, 32 were mayors, and 251 served in state legislatures. It’s a job they have chosen and, frankly, I am glad it is them, not me.

© Alan Caruba, 2015

The Oprah-ization of America

“Feelings, nothing more than feelings. Trying to forget my feelings of love…” Okay folks, I’ll stop singing.

Is it just me or have you noticed that feelings now trump common sense and rational reasoned thinking in America today? Feelings have become more important than national security, our economy, the lives of our troops and even public health when you observe the politically correct way our government is dealing with this Ebola thing. It is insane.

I am not blaming Oprah, but I saw this trend towards everything-being-about-feelings beginning decades ago when the Oprah Winfrey show became the hottest thing on national daytime TV. Has our culture become too feminized?

Before I continue, allow me to admit an embarrassing personal quirk. When I am passionately talking about an issue, I sometimes struggle to hold back tears. Encountering honorable things such as love, courage and goodness also tend to cause me to well up. Every time this happens during a radio or TV interview, I feel humiliated. I ask myself, “Lloyd Marcus what in the world is wrong with you?”

My mom was a very compassionate and emotional person. As her first born, I wonder if I inherited something from her. I rationalize my quirk with the knowledge that Jesus wept for his people. So, I am in good company.

Having said that, I am appalled by the emotion-driven touchy-feely brain-dead metro-sexual idiocy that is running the show in America today. Apparently, somehow I missed the national memo banning testosterone and common sense.

Dad taught my three younger brothers and me to take pride in being men; always try to do the right thing, stand up for what you believe, nobody owes you anything, protect and respect women. Dad instructed, “When you take a girl out on a date it is your responsibility to return her home safely.” That is being a real man.

In our new wimpy America, manhood is no loner celebrated. Respecting women now includes asking a girl’s permission before kissing her. Folks, biology dictates that most women like confidence in their men. Wimpy liberal dudes and hardcore radical feminists do not go nuts and misinterpret my point. I am NOT saying that women like overly aggressive jerks.

All I am saying is that I would not have witnessed the same swooning reaction from my mom to the movie scene in which Burt Lancaster kissed Deborah Kerr on the beach had Lancaster asked permission before kissing her.

America’s obsession with taking a kinder, gentler, careful not to offend or hurt anyone’s feelings approach to everything is out of control.

A few examples…

Guilt feelings over America’s sin of slavery have lead author and Ebola expert David Quammen to suggest that we risk Ebola getting into our country rather than blocking flights from Liberia. So this fool cavalierly advocates putting millions of Americans at risk of contracting Ebola as payback for slavery. This is insanity, folks.

As a child, I remember my grandmother was sent away (quarantined) for over a year because she had tuberculosis. Should my family have raised a stupid emotion driven stink saying there they go again, locking way (enslaving) a black woman? Quarantining my grandmother was the right thing to do; common sense.

Then, there is the disturbing way feelings has been allowed to reign supreme in Ferguson. Cops were instructed, do not come across too aggressive and let the angry looters wreak havoc freely for a night or two. Despite the police super sensitive nuanced response, Ferguson is still a war zone.

Allow me to propose a radical and controversial concept. How about the Ferguson police locking up everyone who breaks the law? I am concerned that feelings, rather than the facts, may factor in the fate of officer Wilson who shot Michael Brown.

A Democrat Missouri state senator said if officer Wilson is not indicted, then the current rioting “will seem like a picnic”. Isn’t such a threat outrageously irresponsible and inflammatory coming from a public official? Oh I forgot, the senator is black and Democrat, so he gets a pass. Never-mind.

Generals are frustrated that we are fighting ISIS with one arm tied behind our back because our Commander-in-Chief feels it would be unfair and mean to unleash the full power of the U.S. Military in defeating our enemies. Such half measures ultimately lead to higher numbers of U.S. troops dying. Its all about feelings folks.

In keeping with the Obama administration’s pattern of using every governmental agency at its disposal to overrule the Constitution, punish its enemies and bully Americans, the FCC is considering a petition to ban the name “Redskins” from being used over the airwaves. Can you believe that folks? Remarkably, Democrats believe being sensitive to the feelings of those who are obsessed with political correctness is worthy of killing the First Amendment.

Everywhere you turn, Constitutional rights, the law and freedom of speech are being overruled by a hypersensitivity to hurting someone’s feelings. Liberals tell us that public expressions of patriotism and wearing a t-shirt displaying an American flag to a California school on Cinco de Mayo is mean because it hurts the feelings of illegals. Don’t you just want to yell, “This is my country! Get over it!”

I know what you are thinking. What about your feelings as a hardworking, law abiding, flag waving, tax paying, play by the rules U.S. citizen? As far as Obama, Hollywood, the MSM and assorted other liberals are concerned, your feelings do not count. Period.

“Feelings, woo-o-o feelings…woo-o-o feelings, again in my arms.”

Raise the Minimum Wage? A Socratic Dialogue by Lawrence W. Reed

The ancient sage Socrates, a giant in the foundation of Western philosophy, was known for a teaching style by which he aggressively questioned his students. He employed his Socratic method as a way to stimulate logical, analytical thought in place of emotive or superficial pronouncement. Rather than lecture or pontificate, he would essentially interrogate. The result was to force his Greek pupils to see the full implications of their conclusions or to realize that what they had accepted as solid was nothing more than the intellectual equivalent of crumbled feta.

In his January 28 State of the Union speech, President Obama called upon the U.S. Congress to enact a hike in the hourly minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10. (The dime may have been added because a nice round number without a decimal would sound unscientific.) Economists have long argued that raising thecost of labor, especially for small and start-up businesses, reduces the demand for labor (as with anything else). But Congress may do it anyway—with the usual, oversized measure of self-righteous breast-beating about helping workers. Maybe what members of Congress need is not another lecture on the minimum wage from an economist, but rather an old-fashioned Socratic inquisition. If the old man himself were with us, here’s how I imagine one such dialogue might go:

Socrates: So you want to raise the minimum wage. Why?

Congressman: Because as President Obama says, minimum wage workers haven’t had a raise in five years.

Socrates: Can you name one single worker who was making $7.25 five years ago who is still making $7.25 today? And if you can’t, then please tell me what caused their wage to rise if Congress didn’t do it. Come on, can you name just one?

Congressman: I don’t happen to have a name on me, but they must be out there somewhere.

Socrates: Well, we’ve just been through a deep recession because successive administrations from both parties, plus you lawmakers and your friends at the Fed, created a massive bubble and jawboned banks to extend easy credit. The bust forced many businesses to cut back or close. Now we have the weakest recovery in decades as ever-higher taxes, regulations, and Obamacare stifle growth. No wonder people are hurting! Do you take any responsibility for that, or do you just issue decrees that salve your guilty conscience?

Congressman: That’s water over the dam. I’m looking to the future.

Socrates: But how can you see even six months into a murky future when you refuse to look into the much clearer and more recent past? You guys think the world starts when a problem arises, as if you’re incapable of analyzing the problem’s origin. Maybe that’s why you rarely solve a problem; you just set everybody up to repeat it. If you really look to the future, then why didn’t you see this situation coming?

Congressman: Look, in any event, $7.25 just isn’t enough for anybody to live on. Workers must have more to meet their basic needs.

Socrates: An employer doesn’t have anything to pay an employee except what he first gets from paying customers. I wonder, whose “needs” do you consider when you decide to buy or not to buy: the workers’ or your own? Have you ever offered to pay more than the asking price just to help out the guy who made the product? And if customers like you won’t do that, where do you expect the employer to get the money?

Congressman: That’s not a fair question. My intent here is purely to help.

Socrates: Sounds to me like the answer is “no,” but let’s move on. Why do you assume your intentions mean more to a worker than those of his employer? It’s the employer who’s taking the risk to offer him a job, not you. You’re only making speeches about it. Don’t you see a little hypocrisy here—you, who are personally offering no one a job, self-righteously criticizing others who are actually creating jobs and paying wages even if they’re not all at a wage you like?

Congressman: Employers are interested only in profits.

Socrates: Are you saying employees are not? Are they more interested in working for companies that lose money, and if so, then why don’t they all line up for government jobs?

Congressman: Well, we lose money here in government every year and there are plenty of people who are happy to work for us.

Socrates: You have a printing press. You also have a legal monopoly on force. When you borrow in the capital markets, you shove yourself to the head of the line at everybody else’s expense. Are you saying these are good things and that we’d be better off if the private sector could do these things too? Try to keep up with me here.

Congressman: I repeat, employers are interested only in profits. People before profits, I say! I even have a bumper sticker on my car that says that.

Socrates: So are you saying that employers would be better people if, instead of seeking profits, they tried to break even or run at a loss? How does that add value to the economy or encourage risk-takers to start a business in the first place?

Congressman: You’re trying to belittle me but I went to a state university. All of my sociology, political science and gender studies professors told us that raising the minimum wage is good.

Socrates: Were any of those tenured, insulated, and government-funded pontificators actual job-creating, payroll tax-paying entrepreneurs themselves, ever?

Congressman: That’s beside the point.

Socrates(Sigh.) Figures.

Congressman: Look, $10.10 isn’t much. I think you must be mean-spirited and greedy if you don’t want people to be paid at least $10.10.

Socrates: Yeah, like you guys in government check your personal ambitions at the door when you take office. I’d like to know how you arrived at that number. Was it some sophisticated equation, divine revelation or toss of the dice? Why didn’t you choose $20.00, which is not only a nice round number but also a lot more generous?

Congressman: Well, $20.00 would be too high, for sure. Too much of a jump at once.

Socrates: It sounds like you think the cost of labor might indeed affect the demand for it. Good! That’s progress. You’re not as oblivious about market forces as I thought. What I want to know is why you apparently don’t think higher labor costs matter when you raise the minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10. Do you think everyone, regardless of skill level or experience, is automatically worth what Congress decrees? Do you believe in magic, too? How about tooth fairies?

Congressman: Now hold on a minute. I’m for the worker here.

Socrates: Then why on earth would you favor a law that says if a worker can’t find a job that pays at least $10.10 per hour, he’s not allowed to work?

Congressman: I’m not saying he can’t work! I’m saying he can’t be paid less than $10.10!

Socrates: I thought we were making progress, but perhaps not. Can you tell me, if your scheme becomes law, what happens to a worker whose labor is worth only, say, $8.10 because of his low skills, lack of education, scant experience, or a low demand for the work itself? Will employers happily employ him anyway and take a $2.00 loss for every hour he’s on the job?

Congressman: Businesses need workers and $2.00 isn’t much, so common sense and decency would suggest that of course they would.

Socrates: So employers who employ people are too greedy to pay $10.10 unless they’re ordered to, but then when Congress acts, they suddenly become generous enough to hire people at a loss. Who was your logic instructor?

Congressman: Can we hurry this up? I’ve got other plans for other people I have to think about.

Socrates: I give up. You congressmen are incorrigible. You’re the only people on whom my teaching method has no discernible impact.

Congressman: You ask too many questions.

At this point, in utter frustration, Socrates drinks the hemlock. The congressman votes to price many of the nation’s most vulnerable employees out of work and gets reelected.

Whoever warned us to beware of Greeks bearing gifts apparently never met a congressman.

larry reed new thumbABOUT 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: The featured image is courtesy of FEE and Shutterstock.

The Minimum Wage Poison Pill

As we approach the 2014 General Election, with president Barack Obama set to occupy the White House for two more years, the stakes are higher than ever. As usual, Democrats across the country focus on phony issues, such as a Republican “War on Women,” the widening income gap between the rich and the non-rich, and bogus claims of being champions of the middle class.

In terms of domestic policy, they express support for the “middle class,” while doing everything in their power to turn America into a two-class society: the very rich… whose wealth they only wish to plunder… and the very poor, who, in return for an endless array of government handouts, will be expected to do nothing more than to pull the Democrat lever on Election Day.

In foreign affairs, they express outrage over the gruesome crimes of radical Islam… such as the recent beheading of an Oklahoma City woman by a radical Muslim co-worker… yet they oppose any and all effort at what they see as “racial profiling.” They find moral equivalency between the anti-Christian genocide of radical Islam throughout the Middle East, and the bombing of a Birmingham, Alabama abortion clinic in years past.

They express support for high quality public education, but the teachers unions… who own a controlling interest in the Democrat Party… dictate that Democrats oppose any and all voucher proposals, causing the greatest damage to the hopes of minority parents who want to see their children receive a quality education. They ignore the fact that throwing more money at public schools does nothing to increase the quality of a public school education. Instead, at the behest of the teachers unions, they demand that class sizes be reduced, that new school buildings be constructed, and that teacher salaries be increased… all the while regaling their low-information voter base with the cynical lie that Republicans want to “cut benefits to kids.”

They express a desire for the budget discipline of the 1990s… a direct result of Ronald Reagan’s “trickle down” economic policies and the election of a Republican Congress… and they support the notion of cutting the deficit in half, while supporting every new spending scheme hatched by liberal social planners. (In their 2000 platform, they announced that Democrats would entirely eliminate the public debt by the year 2012. Clearly, they had not heard of Barack Obama.)

While expressing a desire to curb the influence of lobbyists, they attempt to convince low-information voters that Republican administrations are dominated by lobbyists for business interests. Yet, no previous administration has been as heavily staffed and influenced by special interests as is the Obama administration. And while they express strong support for an electoral system that is “accessible, auditable, and accurate,” they insist that every attempt to curb vote fraud is nothing more than a Republican scheme to oppress the black vote.

On the healthcare front, they express a desire to provide healthcare insurance for 30-40 million uninsured, to improve the access to and quality of healthcare for all Americans, to substantially reduce the cost of healthcare for everyone, and to do it all without increasing the number of doctors, nurses, and hospitals. Like president Barack Obama, they see no contradictions in any of this. These are obviously people who would promise, with a straight face, that they could stuff 10 lb. of (excrement) into a 5 lb. Bag. All we need to do to make these magical things happen is to elect more Democrats to public office.

Democrats want to use the tax code to discourage the outflow of jobs overseas. Yet they have no problem with the fact that the United States has the highest corporate tax rate of any developed nation. They express a desire to cut taxes for every working family, including those who pay no federal or state income tax, but they exclude tax relief for the “millionaires” who are expected to provide good-paying jobs for the poor and the middle class.

And finally, while fast food workers go on strike demanding a $15.00 per hour minimum wage, a 107 percent increase, Democrats prescribe a poison pill for the U.S. economy with a proposed increase in the federal minimum wage standard from $7.25 cents per hour to $10.10 per hour a 39.3 percent increase. In doing so, they scoff at studies which show that, for each 10 percent increase in the minimum wage, 1-2 percent of jobs in the nation simply go away. For unskilled entry-lever workers, each 10 percent increase in the minimum wage results in a decrease of 4-5 percent in the number of entry-level jobs available… the jobs most often held by teens, the poor, and the unskilled.

According to a recent report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a majority of those who worked at minimum wage jobs in 2013 were 24 years old, or younger, while only 0.8 percent, less than one in a hundred, of those 24 years old, or older, work for a minimum wage.

Minimum wage increases are major job-killers. According to a 2014 report by the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, an increase in the minimum wage from the current $7.25 per hour to $10.10 per hour would reduce the total number of jobs available by approximately 500,000. For the most part, these are the jobs currently held by all those fast food workers who fill the streets, demanding a $15 per hour minimum wage. And if those who clamor for a $15 per hour minimum wage are anxious to learn what happens to a job market with a minimum wage of that magnitude, they won’t have to wait long. In early June 2014, the Seattle city council voted to increase the minimum wage in that city to $15 per hour, the highest in the nation.

A report by the National Restaurant Association (NRA) tells us that, of every dollar of revenue coming into restaurant cash registers, approximately 33 percent goes to salaries and wages. The remainder of that dollar of revenue goes to cover the cost of food and beverages, other costs of doing business, and a small net profit for the owner. According to NRA statistics, the profit margin of restaurants varies, depending on the size of the average check per patron. Those with average checks under $15 per person… e.g., McDonalds, Burger King, Taco Bell, etc… produce average profit margins of 3 percent, while those with checks of $15 to $24.99… e.g., The Olive Garden, Red Lobster, The Cheesecake Factory, etc… produce profit margins of roughly 3.5 percent, the highest in the industry.

According to a recent report by Gingrich Productions, a good measure of the impact of minimum wage laws can be found in the European experience. Among those countries with no minimum wage… Austria, Germany, Sweden, and Switzerland… the median unemployment rate is just 5.2 percent, while the median jobless rate stands at 11.1 percent in countries with minimum wage laws… more than twice that of those without minimum wage laws.

But there is a much larger issue than the question of whether we should have a statutory minimum wage of $10.10 or $15 per hour… an issue that Barack Obama and congressional Democrats are not anxious to talk about. I refer to the question that more and more minimum wage workers are asking themselves, which is, “Why should I work 40 hours a week at $10.10 per hour, when I can earn more by staying at home and living off the public dole?”

A 2013 Cato Institute study tells us that, in 33 states and the District of Columbia, welfare benefits pay more than the current $7.25 per hour, while in 13 states, welfare benefits pay more than $15 per hour. In Hawaii, for example, the pre-tax “salary” of stay-at-home welfare recipients is $60,590 per year, or $29.13 per hour when compared to a 40-hour work week, while in Washington, DC, the hourly rate for just staying at home is $24.43 per hour. At the lower end of the spectrum among states where sloth is more lucrative than honest toil, the hourly rate for stay-at-home welfare recipients in South Carolina is $10.53 per hour… 43 cents more than the $10.10 minimum wage proposed by Democrtats.

So what do we do to fix the problem?

Instead of catering cynically to the poorest of the poor as a political constituency, as Democrats do, we should be asking exactly how an individual in this, the land of opportunity and economic freedom, can still be working at a minimum wage job when he/she is 24 years old, or older. That circumstance can only be explained by pointing out that a great many people simply make very bad choices in their lives.

But Democrats are clearly more interested in purchasing a “nanny state” constituency than they are in doing what is necessary to really help people lift themselves out of poverty. As one writer, Charles M. Blow, has said, “Much of what happens in Washington occurs at the intersection of political advantage and earnest intentions.”

What is clear is that we cannot perpetuate a system in which it is more lucrative to take a welfare check than it is to earn an honest living. In order to throw off the bonds of that insanity our options are only two. First, one might ask, why not raise the minimum wage to $25 or $30 per hour so that those who work can earn more than those who don’t, or won’t? The answer is, a $25 or $30 minimum wage would literally wreck whatever is left of our fragile economy and price us completely out of world markets.

The one remaining option is to do what we did in the mid-90s when a Republican-controlled Congress forced a Democrat president, Bill Clinton, to sign what was called “welfare-to-work” legislation, requiring those on public assistance to also find honest employment. The country experienced real economic growth, balanced budgets, and a pay-down in the national debt.

The choice is ours. What was done in the 1990s can be done again. But in order to do that we must first have a president who understands at least a “smidgen” about the intricacies of the U.S. economy. That means that our first priority must be to rid ourselves of Barack Obama, sending him back to his Kenyan roots where he can actually learn a thing or two about micro-economics.

RELATED ARTICLES:

Wages and the Free Market, Part 1 — Dispelling labor market myths with theory and data

Wages and the Free Market, Part 2 — Innovation Is the Lifeblood of a Healthy Economy

Raise the Minimum Wage? A Socratic Dialogue

Sen. McConnell: DISCLOSE Act is “Crude Intimidation Tactic”

Some in the Senate seem to think that there’s too much free speech in our politics and want to silence their opponents. For the third time in four years, Senate Democrats have trotted out a version of their Democracy Is Strengthened by Casting Light on Spending in Elections (DISCLOSE) Act. The bill may be couched in soothing, good government terms, but it would be a hard punch to free speech.

Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has relentlessly opposed efforts to limit political speech and in the Washington Examiner defends the First Amendment from this latest assault [emphasis mine]:

As a longtime First Amendment hawk, I have sought to raise the alarm in real time on these multiplying assaults on the First Amendment, from a proposed executive order that would have required applicants for government contracts to disclose their political leanings before they could get a contract, to the significant, targeted harassment of conservative groups that we now know to have taken place at the IRS.

In my view, it is absolutely essential for the integrity of our politics and the health of our democracy that we not grow complacent in the face of these increasingly brazen attacks on free speech — that we recognize them when we see them and call them out for what they are in plain English.

That was my goal this week in publicly testifying against the Democrats’ latest effort to stifle speech. Despite the many other urgent crises we face at the moment, I thought it important to make my way to a hearing of the Senate Rules Committee and speak out against Washington Democrats’ latest iteration of the so-called Disclose Act, because silence on this issue is not an option.

The Disclose Act has become something of a preoccupation for Washington Democrats. Its stated purpose is the forced disclosure of donors to political causes, but the truth is, it’s little more than a crude intimidation tactic masquerading as good government.

Attempts at forced disclosure were used in the past to squelch free speech, as McConnell explains:

Back in the 1950s, the state of Alabama tried to get its hands on the donor list of the NAACP. The Supreme Court correctly ruled against forced disclosure then because it knew that if people had reason to fear that their names and reputations would be attacked because of the causes they support, then they would be far less likely to support them. They knew disclosure would have a chilling effect on free association and free speech.

Bruce Josten, U.S. Chamber Executive Vice President for Government Affairs made similar points in a letter to Senators Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Pat Roberts (R-KS) on the Senate Rules Committee. The clear purpose of the bill, Josten wrote, “is to upend irretrievably core First Amendment political speech protections” by “chilling the political speech of the business community and others engaged in the political process.” At the same time it is “blatantly political and ultimately unconstitutional legislation that detracts from much more significant efforts to solve challenges confronting America.”

U.S. Chamber President and CEO Tom Donohue put it succinctly last year, “If you don’t like what someone is saying, argue with them (but do it politely). Don’t try to silence them.” First Amendment defenders like Senator McConnell understand how important that principle is for our country.

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

EDITORS NOTE: The featured photo of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is by photographer: Pete Marovich/Bloomberg.

The Immigration Crisis, National Socialism and Mark Zuckerberg’s Property Rights

The crisis on the Mexican border is worsening by the hour. In his latest FIREWALL titled “Where do you live, Mark Zuckerberg?”, Bill Whittle hammers home three devastating points regarding the dangerous legal precedents, the morally gray areas, and the hypocritical pose of unearned moral superiority on the part of those proposing amnesty and open borders.

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EDITORS NOTE: The featured photo is courtesy of The Guardian.

Ronald Reagan was the TEA Party!

Newly re-elected Governor Chris Christie (R-NJ) on CNN’s Jake Tapper show stated, “I’m a conservative. I’ve governed as a conservative in this state, and I think that’s led to some people disagreeing with me in our state, because it’s generally a left-of-center, blue state.”

But is Christie truly a conservative?

Republicans, like Christie, often quote Ronald Reagan when speaking about conservatism. In September 2011 Christie spoke at the Reagan Library, his topic was “Real American Exceptionalism“. Christie focused on Ronald Reagan’s stand against striking air traffic controllers in 1981. Christie said, “The air traffic controllers, in violation of their contracts, went on strike.  President Reagan ordered them back to work, making clear that those who refused would be fired. In the end, thousands refused, and thousands were fired. I cite this incident not as a parable of labor relations but as a parable of principle. Ronald Reagan was a man who said what he meant and meant what he said. Those who thought he was bluffing were sadly mistaken.  Reagan’s demand was not an empty political play; it was leadership, pure and simple.”

“We tend to still understand foreign policy as something designed by officials in the State Department and carried out by ambassadors and others overseas. And to some extent it is. But one of the most powerful forms of foreign policy is the example we set. This is where it is instructive to harken back to Ronald Reagan and the PATCO affair. President Reagan’s willingness to articulate a determined stand and then carry it out at home sent the signal that the occupant of the Oval Office was someone who could be predicted to stand by his friends and stand up to his adversaries. If President Reagan would do that at home, leaders around the world realized that he would do it abroad as well.  Principle would not stop at the water’s edge,” noted Christie.

Reagan’s policies were based upon in what has become known as his “three legged stool”. Some call them the “Three Pillars of Conservatism”.

Kevin Price from Renew America writes, “If you know of Ronald Reagan, you are likely to be aware of his ‘three legged stool.’ Reagan developed a success formula to build winning coalitions that was as simple as it was brilliant. A sample of that simplicity and one of the hallmarks of Reagan’s policies was his ‘three legged stool.’ Reagan’s policies were built on three ideas; free enterprise, strong defense, and pro-family social policies. He chose these three because they, of course, reflected his own values, but he also realized that each of these ideas have enormous appeal on their own.”

Reagan was a man of principle, true conservatives are as well. Compromise on matters of principle is foreign to conservatives. Conservatives intuitively know that compromise on principles is the art of losing slowly.

J. Matt Barber from Christian News Today in his column “The Complete Conservative” writes, “I recently attended the Ronald Reagan Centennial Celebration hosted by the Republican Party of Virginia. It was co-sponsored by, among others, the Ronald Reagan Institute for Conservative Leadership. Michael Reagan, the oldest child of the man widely considered our greatest modern president, was the keynote speaker. Mr. Reagan said something that I think concisely sums up the core values shared by the ragtag millions who comprise the Tea Party movement. ‘People often ask me if Ronald Reagan would have supported the Tea Party,” he said. ‘Ronald Reagan was the Tea Party’.”

Speculation about who is the frontrunner for in the 2016 presidential Republican primaries has begun. The media always frames the Republican selection process as a need to run as a conservative in order to win the primary but run as a moderate in order to win the White House. That strategy was unsuccessful for both John McCain and Mitt Romney.

Price wrote, “Today, the common cry from economic conservatives is that they are the only ones with a message that matters to the voting public. After 40 years of Roe vs. Wade, we have two generations who only know a country with abortion on demand, they argue. Secondly, many conservatives have grown suspicious of ‘the military’ leg. They believe that just as the government has gotten suspicious in its domestic spending, it has also lost its bearings when it comes to defense and has found itself being internationalists with muscle. Essentially, ‘the three legged stool’ is being replaced by a pogo stick. A single area of interest and concern — the economy, being the springboard for political success.”

Price concludes, “The reality is the ‘three legged stool’ tripled the reasons why one would vote Republican. If the GOP provides the only means to protect traditional families, Christian conservatives will support it, regardless of the other legs of the stool. I think the same can be [said] of the other parts of a coalition that made the Republican Party very successful. If the stool is dead, the fortunes of the party may be also.”

Has the GOP adopted a “pogo stick” as the only path for political success? If so, losses as far as the eye can see may occur, as they did in Virginia, a state that could have elected the conservative Ken Cuccinelli.

Barry Goldwater wrote, “I would remind you that extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice! And let me remind you also that moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue!”

It not the economy stupid, its the three legged stool!

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