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Trump Draining the Economic Swamp

If you go back in time and look at the footage of citizen Trump, you will find that Donald Trump has been on point from day one. From the Oprah interview to the NY supreme court as an expert witness during the S&L crisis and everything in between. As stated by Q, America needed to be resurrected. Our Constitutional Republic needed to be restored. Back in 2014, the plan was set and the rest is history. Trump has come aboard to restore the power to the people as intended by our founding documents. And so, along with many other areas being addressed, draining the economic swamp has now begun.

The global financial reset is underway, albeit mostly behind the scenes. The market meltdown may now have been delayed ensuring a Trump victory in 2020 as Trump now is controlling the Fed. Dangers and opportunities through this reset are evident and I will post on this over the months and short years ahead.

The existing controlled and rigged debt based economic and monetary model is being disassembled. You cannot MAGA without controlling your currency. Trump is now going for the jugular and he, (we), will win once again. Let the force be with you sir.

Now I get it, many say this cannot and will not happen and I for one completely disagree. We have been programmed to believe this. And I too, was in that camp, pre-Trump. Well, my friends it’s a new day dawning. The great awakening is upon us as is the light of God. We are winning and draining the economic swamp will soon be (perhaps within a couple of short years), another item to be filed here, in promises kept.

No Longer

The old model of which Trump and company has begun to seize control, will soon be taken out. No longer will there be a debt based monetary system. Sound money will be restored. No longer will the bankers fund both sides of endless manufactured wars, reaping the profits and the harvest. No longer will our constitution and bill of rights be shredded. No longer will we the people be controlled by debt, debt slaves. Face it. We are debt slaves. No longer will we be taxed on our income. No longer will a private for profit banking cartel control our currency as this is in fact a violation of our constitution. Yes, President Trump will lead us back to sound money. Gold may become the de facto currency, so watch gold (and silver) as Trump restores in due time , sound money and crushes the power of the central banks. No more digital fiat. Over the many months to come, the President will expose the Fed and the central bank debt based monetary system. Watch. You will see. This will take some years, but this too will soon come to light. Now it may be confusing along the way. There will be many mixed signals and signs day by day along the way. So stay truly informed. In order to do this you must change the channeland build an arsenal of truth news versus fake news. Americans are  starving for truth. Seek and ye shall find. This will restore your faith, hope and trust. This will help raise your tone level from apathy, anger, fear etc., to perhaps becoming an informed, empowered and engaged and active citizen. If nothing else, you will at least feel better.

In Closing

I will keep this post short and sweet as this is a subject that is rather complex as Trump takes on the Federal Reserve, IMF and the Central Banking Rothschild dynasty. I will be posting content along the way to play my part in keeping us informed. Put on your seat belts. Be prepared. And get some popcorn and enjoy the show! Visit these supportive and insightful links below. Stay the course. Trust the plan. Pray for and support our President.

Q Plan to Save the World

Q We are the Plan

Q From Dark to Light

Video: Global Reset I

Video: Global Reset II

Global Financial Reset

Weekly Address: Draining the Economic Swamp

EDITORS NOTE: This John Michael Chambers column with images is republished with permission.

The Concorde Coalition says it’s the Budget Stupid!

WASHINGTON, D.C. /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Sobering 30-year projections that the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released today underscore the need for the 2016 presidential and congressional candidates to provide voters with credible plans to put the federal budget on a more responsible course, according to The Concord Coalition.

cbo long term spending revenues

“If current laws remained generally unchanged, the United States would face steadily increasing federal budget deficits and debt over the next 30 years—reaching the highest level of debt relative to GDP ever experienced in this country” – Congressional Budget Office.

“Americans like to think we put a high priority on strengthening the country and looking out for the next generation, but the CBO’s latest long-term projections show once again that we are falling far short on both counts,” said Robert L. Bixby, Concord’s executive director. “Those who aspire to national leadership should take a good look at these projections and explain to the public how they intend to avoid the intense budget pressures and grave economic consequences toward which current policies are leading us.”

Bixby added:

“If candidates for federal office over the next few months ignore the CBO’s warnings of severe trouble ahead, whoever wins in November will not have a clear mandate for the reform measures needed to rein in the federal debt, strengthen the economy and protect our children’s future.”

The federal deficit has been dropping in recent years, creating a sense of complacency in Washington about the need for such reforms. Yet under current law the deficit is rising again this year and the debt will continually grow more quickly than the economy — a trend that is ultimately unsustainable.

Today’s CBO report looks out over the next three decades and projects even greater government debt and fiscal pressures after 2026.

The federal debt held by the public, which was only 39 percent of GDP at the end of Fiscal 2008, has climbed to 75 percent. That is already high by historical standards. The budget office projects that under current law, that debt would rise to 86 percent of GDP in 2026 and to 141 percent in 2046 — far exceeding the historical peak of 106 percent shortly after World War II.

As the CBO points out, such high levels of public debt would reduce national savings and income, increase interest costs that would put more pressure on the rest of the budget, limit the nation’s ability to respond to unforeseen problems and increase the likelihood of a fiscal crisis in which investors would demand extremely high interest rates on further loans to the government.

“The changes needed to bring about a sustainable fiscal policy are substantial and the costs of delay are profound, yet so far the 2016 presidential candidates have said nothing that comes close to addressing the challenges identified in CBO’s report,” Bixby said.

According to CBO, simply keeping the debt-to-GDP ratio from rising above its current level, would require spending cuts and/or tax increases totaling 1.7 percent of GDP in every year through 2046. That would amount to $330 billion in 2017.

Waiting until 2022 would require annual changes totaling 2.1 percent of GDP, and procrastinating until 2027 would require annual changes totaling 2.7 percent of GDP.

The choice about when to make policy decisions also has different generational impacts. As CBO says: “Reducing deficits sooner would probably require today’s older workers and retirees to sacrifice more and would benefit today’s younger workers and future generations. By contrast, reducing deficits later would require smaller sacrifices by older people and greater sacrifices by younger workers and future generations.”

An aging population and rising health care costs are key factors in the government’s growing financial problems. As more people retire, the government must spend more just to maintain current levels of service. Health care costs rise as more treatments become available and demand for them increases.

CBO says federal spending on Social Security, the government’s major health problems and other “mandatory” programs would rise from 13.2 percent of GDP today to nearly 16.9 percent in the decade starting in 2037.

The budget office also warns that interest payments on the federal debt are expected to rise rapidly as government borrowing continues and low interest rates return to normal levels. Net interest costs now amount to only 1.4 percent of GDP but that figure is expected to rise to 5.1 percent after 2037.

The CBO report shows other areas in the federal budget — even those that may prove critical to the nation’s future — being squeezed harder and harder in the coming years. CBO projects that over the next 30 years spending on national defense, infrastructure, research and development,  and everything else other than health care, Social Security and interest payments would drop to 5.2 percent of GDP, down from 6.5 percent today.

In addition to more thoughtful spending decisions in Washington, reasonable reforms in the federal tax system could help boost the economy and reduce federal borrowing.

“As in past years, CBO’s long-term projections are a valuable reminder that the federal budget is not on a sustainable course,” Bixby said. “Interest payments and a few spending programs, no matter how important, cannot be allowed to squeeze other national priorities out of existence. Voters this year would do well to look for candidates who understand this and are prepared to do something about it.”

ABOUT THE CONCORD COALITION

The Concord Coalition is a nationwide, non-partisan, grassroots organization advocating generationally responsible fiscal policy. The Concord Coalition was founded in 1992 by the late former Senator Paul Tsongas (D-Mass.), late former Senator Warren Rudman (R-N.H.), and former U.S. Secretary of Commerce Peter Peterson. Former Senator Sam Nunn (D-GA) serves as co-chair of the Concord Coalition.

RELATED ARTICLE: The 15th Obamacare Co-Op Has Collapsed. Here’s How Much Each Failed Co-Op Got in Taxpayer-Funded Loans.

Will America Ever Have A ‘Wise And Frugal Government’ Again

Sometimes it is said that a man cannot be trusted with the government of himself.  Can he then be trusted with the government of others?  Recent history has proven that to be very true.  No one of with any measure of moral conscience will deny the recent history of government being shepherded toward oblivion by proponents of evil.  ­I hate to bring it up, but the Obama administration is perhaps the premier example of a man that cannot be trusted and should not be have been granted the privilege of governing our republic.  But unfortunately therein lies another problem that must be addressed as we engage perhaps the most important election in our nation’s history.

As “We the People” prepare to choose who will lead our republic, perhaps we should take a closer look at ourselves and refine our vision of what kind of America do we want going forward.  To aid in our search let us consider what do we want to leave for our children.  History will answer that question loud and clear with the results of our decisions.  If we do not reconnect with the Christian based values that were the foundational building blocks of our America we shall witness the completion of the destructive mission of the progressive enemies from within our population ranks.  Let us as Americans with courage and confidence pursue our own federal and republican principles.

As part of his 1801 Inaugural address, President Thomas Jefferson stated: Enlightened by a benign religion, professed, indeed, and practiced in various forms, yet all of them inculcating honesty, truth, temperance, gratitude, and the love of man; acknowledging and adoring an overruling Providence, which by all its dispensations proves that it delights in the happiness of man here and his greater happiness hereafter.  With all these blessings, what more is necessary to make us a happy and prosperous people? (I couldn’t help but pause here and ask this question.  Have you noticed how the further Americans are indoctrinated against the principles and beliefs that made the United States the  envy of the world, she is actually both less happy and prosperous?)

Still one thing more, fellow citizens—a wise and frugal government, which shall restrain men from injuring one another, shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned…You should understand what I deem the essential principles of our government…. Equal and exact justice to all men, of, whatever state or persuasion, religious or political…the arraignment of all abuses at the bar of public reason; freedom of religion; freedom of the press, and freedom of a person under the protection of the habeas corpus and trial by jury impartially selected…

Unfortunately, our nation has succumbed to the lowest common denominator when it comes to morality, government function, individual liberties, as well as the economy and other relevant concerns.

If our republic is to reemerge as a beacon of light and liberty, to the teeming masses that would want to come to America legally to become Americans, our nation will first have to return to being the actual America that good and decent people around the world would want to be a part of.  Think about it, as our nation has become increasingly immoral, she has also degenerated from a land of liberty into a semi big government police state over every aspect of our lives.  In other words, the government takes over a people that don’t use self-control.

Without any effort, immorality replaces under utilized or untaught morality.  That is why the immoral from around the world are the majority of individuals now filing illegally into our nation with the permission of a corrupt government that appeases our enemies who want to come in and wreak havoc at taxpayer expense, just to add insult to injury.  That is why the Obama administration was ready to take Arizona to court and put a hurting on Texas for daring to protect the border with Mexico since the immoral federal government has gone loco.

Despite all of the negative developments over the past several decades that have culminated in the worst administration in our nation’s history and could potentially harm our nation beyond repair.  (After all, Obama did say he wanted to fundamentally change America.)  Obviously, his interpretation of changes could not have even been enacted before the turn of the century.  I believe that I have witnessed the real beginning of renewal in our country.  Many people of faith are finally becoming interested enough to learn about and care what happens to the United States of America.  Remember, it was an active, brave and intelligent church that was an integral part of the fight for independence and later against slavery.

Remembering the wise words of orator, author statesman, and abolitionist Frederick Douglas: The Declaration of Independence is the ringbolt to the chain of your nation’s destiny; so, indeed, I regard it.  The principles contained in that instrument are saving principles.  Stand by them on all occasions, in all places, against all foes, and whatever cost.  I wholeheartedly agree with Mr. Douglas.  America, if you are to be great again, you must first seek to be good, for it is then you shall make better decisions and take right actions that will recalibrate our destiny from utter disaster to undeniable recovery and greatness.

Have some fun at USA Spending.gov: $296 million went to Lutherans since Obama took office!

The other day I suggested that each and every one of you can be an investigative reporter, see that post by clicking here.

So here we are, a winter weekend, can’t do much outdoors, and maybe you aren’t into the Super Bowl, so how about having fun searching for how much of your hard earned tax dollars are going to charities—especially to ‘religious’ charities pretending to be doing the Lord’s work while spending your money!

USA Spending graphicI haven’t written about USA Spending.gov for awhile, so last night when a reader asked about a local Catholic Charity, I tried that government website again.  It is much improved because it now contains the sub-grants in addition to the amounts that are direct grants.  I think there was a grace period for grantees to get their information on sub-grants to USA Spending.gov, but they are there now.  (Here is a bit of information about how grantees need to be ready to provide sub-grant information.)

So back to the USA Spending.gov website I looked up the specific Catholic Charities my reader was interested in and was blown away when I saw the millions of dollars just one little local Catholic Charities was getting.

I then decided to just pick one of the nine federal refugee resettlement contractors (which have in the vicinity of 350 sub-grantees or sub-contractors), to see what the biggies were getting.  Here (below) is Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service which resettles refugees in your towns and cities and also agitates for amnesty for illegal aliens.

LIRS is lobbying (with your money!) as we speak for 100,000 Syrians to be admitted to the U.S. before Obama leaves office.

Prepare to be shocked!  Since August 2008, this one ‘religious’ non-profit received $296 MILLION dollars from you in 143 transactions with federal agencies.(And, I will bet you LIRS is not the wealthiest!)

Click here and see for yourself!  (Sorry the screenshot isn’t very clear!)

Screenshot (22)

I urge you all to try the website.  Unfortunately for PRO-Open Borders Catholic agencies, there are too many of them and they aren’t all in one place. So try your local Catholic Diocese first.  Then think of all the other non-profits that have their hands in your wallet and see how much and from where their grants are flowing.

They will all say they help the poor with your money, but I repeat, they are also lobbying for more (poor) migrants to be admitted to the US!  Our founding fathers must be rolling in their graves to see the federal treasury used in this way.

Then you must get the information you learn out to others beyond your circle. Maybe take your facts and write a letter to the editor. Ask to write an Op-ed for your local paper. Go on talk radio. Write a blog!  Send what you learn to your elected officials and ask why on earth they are giving your money to Open Borders Leftwing organizations masquerading as religious charities.

Come to think of it, where is the ACLU on the separation of church and state?

And, while you are there, be sure to see yesterday’s post about Marco Rubio and his fan boy Grover Norquist (or is it the other way around?).

RELATED ARTICLES:

Australian Immigration Minister proposing stricter standards for some Muslim refugees

Alabama governor gets on wrong side of CAIR with comments about refugees

Brazil Is the New Greece by Tyler Cowen

At 70% of GDP, public debt is worryingly large for a middle-income country and rising fast. Because of high interest rates, the cost of servicing it is a crushing 7% of GDP. The Central Bank cannot easily use monetary policy to fight inflation, currently 10.5%, as higher rates risk destabilising the public finances even more by adding to the interest bill. Brazil therefore has little choice but to raise taxes and cut spending.

Too often, at the popular level, there is a confusion between “austerity is bad” and “the consequences of running out of money are bad.”

Sophisticated analysts of fiscal policy do not make this mistake.

By the way, here is a long study of how Brazilian fiscal policy has been excessively pro-cyclical.

And how is Brazilian output doing you may wonder?

By the end of 2016 Brazil’s economy may be 8% smaller than it was in the first quarter of 2014, when it last saw growth; GDP per person could be down by a fifth since its peak in 2010, which is not as bad as the situation in Greece, but not far off.

Two ratings agencies have demoted Brazilian debt to junk status. Joaquim Levy, who was appointed as finance minister last January with a mandate to cut the deficit, quit in December.

Any country where it is hard to tell the difference between the inflation rate — which has edged into double digits — and the president’s approval rating — currently 12%, having dipped into single figures — has serious problems.

Don’t forget this:

Since the constitution’s enactment, federal outlays have nearly doubled to 18% of GDP; total public spending is over 40%. Some 90% of the federal budget is ring-fenced either by the constitution or by legislation.

Constitutionally protected pensions alone now swallow 11.6% of GDP, a higher proportion than in Japan, whose citizens are a great deal older. By 2014 the government was running a primary deficit (ie, before interest payments) of 32.5 billion reais ($13.9 billion).

Brazilian commodity prices have fallen 41% since their 2011 peak, so I say Ed Prescott has earned his Nobel Prize right there.

The first underlying article/op-ed also is from the Economist. Without intending any slight to their other recent issues, the January 2-8 issue is one of their best in a long time. (I am very pleased to have bought it in advance at the airport rather than waiting to get to my copy back at home.)

This post first appeared at Marginal Revolution.

Tyler CowenTyler Cowen

Tyler Cowen is an American economist, academic, and writer. He occupies the Holbert C. Harris Chair of economics, as a professor at George Mason University, and is co-author, with Alex Tabborak, of the popular economics blog Marginal Revolution.

11 Outrageous Failures in the GOP’s Trillion Dollar Bill by James Bovard

Republican congressional leaders are like a football coach who believes the secret to winning is to punt early and often. House Speaker Paul Ryan and others are claiming victory over the 2,000-plus page appropriations bill, but this is a “no boondoggle left behind” $1.1 trillion nightmare.

House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers’ press release claims that the omnibus bill “helps to stop waste and administrative overreach.” Instead, the bill ravages both paychecks and freedom. No wonder White House spokesman Josh Earnest gushed Wednesday: “We feel good about the outcome.”

Here’s the tip of the iceberg of the bill’s outrages:

  1. The bill fails to block President Obama from delivering up to $3 billion to the United Nations Green Climate Fund, a partial product of the Paris climate summit. Republicans initially planned to block such funding unless the Senate was permitted to vote on the U.N. climate treaty. But since the omnibus bill failed to prohibit such payments, Obama will soon deliver $500 million in U.S. tax money to the fund — despite the legendary record of U.N. programs for corruption worse than Chicago.
  2. The bill fails to block perhaps the Environmental Protection Agency’s greatest land grab — its “waters of the United States” decree that seizes federal jurisdiction over 20 million acres that are sometimes wet. The EPA’s wetland crackdowns have been trounced by numerous judges. Republicans faltered even though the Government Accountability Office reported Monday that EPA had engaged in illegal “covert propaganda” to promote this policy.
  3. It provides more than $3.7 billion for economic and military aid to Afghanistan, though an Agency for International Development study recently warned that some projects “actually had the perverse effect of increasing support for the Taliban.” Afghan relief continues to be a hopeless mess; the AID inspector general reported last week that the agency’s highly touted new monitoring system was used for less than 1% of grants and contracts.
  4. It fails to block the imminent proclamation of Food and Drug Administration regulations that could severely impact the sale of most of the cigars now marketed in the U.S., as well as ravaging the burgeoning e-cigarette industry (which experts say provides a healthier alternative to cigarettes).
  5. The omnibus bill failed to include a provision to end Operation Choke Point, a Justice Department-Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation’s crackdown that pressured banks to cancel the accounts of gun stores, coin dealers, payday lenders and other disfavored industries in what Rep. Sean Duffy, R-Wis., derided as “weaponizing government to meet their ideological beliefs.”
  6. The average federal worker is already paid more than $100,000 a year in total compensation, but the budget deal failed to block Obama from giving them a 1.3% raise — though many, if not most, taxpayers received zilch raise this year.
  7. The bill extends the earned income tax credit without reforming it — though the IRS estimates that up to 25% of all handouts under the law are fraudulent or otherwise improper.
  8. The omnibus bill dropped a House provision that would have required stronger evidence for federally proclaimed Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Earlier official guidelines have been widely discredited and are often blamed for contributing to the nation’s obesity crisis, but the same dubious evidence standard can be used in the future.
  9. The bill provides almost $27 billion for public housing and Section 8. That includes an almost half a billion dollar increase for subsidized rental vouchers, despite the long record of havoc in neighborhoods where recipients cluster. The omnibus bill also dropped provisions to curb the Department of Housing and Urban Development from bankrolling fair housing entrapment-like operations or enforcing new regulations to bludgeon localities with a lower percentage of minorities than the national averages.
  10. Some provisions of the bill seem harebrained even by Beltway standards. Republicans were justifiably outraged by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’ “Fast and Furious” operation, which authorized sending more than a thousand guns to Mexican drug cartels.
    Section 276 of the omnibus bill prohibits federal agents from providing guns to anyone he “knows or suspects … is an agent of a drug cartel, unless law enforcement personnel of the United States continuously monitor or control the firearm at all times.”
    So the G-man is supposed to keep his finger on the suspect’s trigger at all times, or what? Perhaps it would be too easy to cease giving weapons to drug dealers.
  11. Perhaps the most appalling part of the omnibus are the provisions that authorize tech and communication companies to secretly provide your personal data to federal agencies — no search warrant required.
    The American Civil Liberties Union warns that this information “can be used for criminal prosecutions unrelated to cyber security, including the targeting of whistle-blowers under the Espionage Act.”
    Rep. Justin Amash, R-Mich., rightly warns that a vote for the omnibus bill is a “vote to support unconstitutional surveillance on law-abiding Americans.”

While Congress made scant effort to protect average Americans from rampaging regulators, it hustled to include a provision requesting the Capitol Police to permit sledding on Capitol Hill. The “sled free or die” provision was a “bipartisan win,” according to the Washington Post. It is regrettable that there was little or no bipartisan interest in curbing federal power beyond spitting distance from the Capitol Dome.

House Freedom Caucus member Tim Huelskamp, R-Kan., summarized the GOP leadership’s wacky reasoning: “Give the Democrats what they want now so next time they won’t want as much.”

Republicans have been thunderously promising for decades to protect Americans against federal waste, fraud and abuse. At this rate, Republicans’ credibility gap will soon rival the $18 trillion federal debt.

Reprinted with permission from USA Today.

James Bovard

James Bovard

James Bovard is the author of ten books, includingPublic Policy Hooligan, Attention Deficit Democracy, and Lost Rights: The Destruction of American Liberty. Find him on Twitter @JimBovard.

Economists Steve Forbes, Larry Kudlow, Dr. Arthur B. Laffer, Steve Moore Launch the Committee to Unleash Prosperity

NEW YORK /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Economists Steve Forbes, Larry Kudlow, Dr. Arthur B. Laffer, and Steve Moore have launched the Committee to Unleash Prosperity. This group aims to end America’s growth slump and restore faith in the American Dream.

The Committee to Unleash Prosperity was founded to combat America’s “growth gap” by promoting an agenda that will revitalize America’s economy. In the past decade and a half, under both Republican and Democratic presidents, U.S. economic growth has diminished to roughly 2% annually—a significant decrease from its Post-World War II average of 3.5%.

This subpar growth rate has come at tremendous cost to American families, household incomes, employment opportunities, investment, and poverty levels. Above all, the lack of growth has led some to doubt the attainability of the American Dream and to wonder if our current economic climate is the new norm.

The Committee to Unleash Prosperity is working to change this. In pursuit of rapid growth, the Committee promotes the following six economic principles:

  1. A broad-based, low rate, flat tax
  2. Limited government spending
  3. Decreased regulation
  4. Sound money
  5. Free trade
  6. Rule of constitutional law

Thus far, the Committee has hosted several Presidential candidates to discuss their economic platforms including Governor Scott Walker, Governor Bobby Jindal, Governor John Kasich, Governor Mike Huckabee, Senator Ted Cruz, Senator Lindsey Graham, and Carly Fiorina. The Committee has invited other Republican and Democrat presidential candidates to attend future events.

Today, the Committee will host a luncheon with former Texas Governor Rick Perry to discuss how to restore economic growth and opportunity for all Americans. The event is sponsored by Margo and John Catsimatidis.

Prominent thought leaders have joined the four founders in their mission:

David L. Bahnsen
Richard Breeden
Travis H. Brown
Andrea Catsimatidis
John Catsimatidis, Sr.
John Catsimatidis, Jr.
Margo Catsimatidis
Veronique de Rugy
Steve Elieff
Dr. Edwin Feulner, Jr.
Harold Hamm
Kevin A. Hassett
Roger Hertog
James Kemp
Lewis E. Lehrman
Adele Malpass
David Malpass
Betsy McCaughey
Dan Mitchell
Georgette Mosbacher
David Mullins
Mary Ann Mullins
Deroy Murdock
Liz Peek
Alexandra V. Preate
Andrew F. Puzder
Avik Roy
Rex Sinquefield
David Webb

The Executive Director is political strategist Jon Decker. The Committee to Unleash Prosperity looks forward to promoting its optimistic vision for America’s economic future.

STEVE FORBES

Steve Forbes is Chairman and Editor-in-Chief of Forbes Media. In both 1996 and 2000, Mr. Forbes campaigned vigorously for the Republican nomination for the Presidency. Key to his platform were a flat tax, medical savings accounts, a new Social Security system for working Americans, parental choice of schools for their children, term limits, and a strong national defense.

LARRY KUDLOW

Larry Kudlow is CNBC’s Senior Contributor. He was previously host of CNBC’s primetime “The Kudlow Report.” He is also the host of “The Larry Kudlow Show,” which broadcasts each Saturday from 10:00 a.m.–1:00 p.m. on WABC Radio and is syndicated nationally by Cumulus Media.  Kudlow is the author of “American Abundance: The New Economic and Moral Prosperity,” published by Forbes in January 1998. He served on the transition committees for Reagan-Bush in 1980 and Bush-Cheney in 2000. During President Reagan’s first term, Kudlow was the associate director for economics and planning, Office of Management and Budget, Executive Office of the President, where he was engaged in the development of the administration’s economic and budget policy.  He was formerly chief economist and senior managing director of Bear Stearns & Company. Kudlow started his professional career at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York where he worked in open-market operations and bank supervision. He is co-authoring a forthcoming book about President John F. Kennedy’s tax cuts.

DR. ARTHUR B. LAFFER

Dr. Arthur B. Laffer is founder and chairman of Laffer Associates and was a member of President Reagan’s Economic Policy Advisory Board for both of his two terms. Dr. Laffer also advised Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher on fiscal policy in the U.K. during the 1980s. He has been a faculty member at the University of Chicago, University of Southern California, and Pepperdine University. Dr. Laffer received a B.A. in economics from Yale University in 1963. He received a MBA and a Ph.D. in economics from Stanford University in 1965 and 1972 respectively.

STEVE MOORE

Stephen Moore, who formerly wrote on the economy and public policy for The Wall Street Journal, is the Distinguished Visiting Fellow, Project for Economic Growth, at The Heritage Foundation.  Moore, who also was a member of The Journal’s editorial board, returned to Heritage in January 2014—about 25 years after his tenure as the leading conservative think tank’s Grover M. Hermann Fellow in Budgetary Affairs from 1984 to 1987. He was a senior economist under Dick Armey’s Joint Economic Committee, and he played a large role in the creation of the FairTax proposal.

MARGO AND JOHN CATSIMATIDIS

John Catsimatidis is the Chairman and CEO of the Red Apple Group, a Fortune 500 company with annual revenues in excess of $5 billion. The Red Apple Group is a diverse holding company comprised of an energy sector which includes oil refineries, bio-diesel plants, and extensive New York area storage facilities with a deep draft tanker facility on the eastern shore of Long Island.  The Red Group also carries a real estate portfolio valued at nearly $1 billion. In addition, Red Apple Group has an aviation component which leases corporate aircrafts as well as a major supermarket chain in New York City.  Margo Catsimatidis is the President of MCV Advertising and is heavily involved with philanthropy. One of Mrs. Catsimatidis’ primary charities is the Hellenic Times Scholarship Fund which has provided college scholarships for the past 25 years. Margo and John are parents of Andrea and John Jr., both graduates of NYU and now work alongside their parents in all facets of their businesses.  Margo and John are firm believers in giving back to the community and they have a large portfolio of charitable interests which have a common theme of assisting young people.

RELATED ARTICLE: The Path to Repeal Obamacare With Just 51 Votes

Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-FL 16) Busts the Budget — Votes for Amnesty and Obamacare

The Republican co-Chair of the Florida delegation is Congressman Vern Buchanan representing District 16. Buchanan’s campaign website states, “Washington’s irresponsible pattern of borrowing and spending has put our country on a road to bankruptcy.  Unbelievably, America borrows $188 million every hour.  This is simply unacceptable.”

In a December 6th email to constituents Buchanan wrote, “The national debt this week surpassed $18 trillion for the first time in our nation’s history. Since President Obama took office six years ago, the debt has ballooned by nearly $7.5 trillion. Washington’s addiction to spending is putting our nation on the path to bankruptcy.”

In a December 7th InstaPoll Buchanan asked constituents: What action do you think Congress should take to reduce the federal debt, which surpassed $18 trillion this week? Sixty-nine percent of those responding answered “reduce spending.

Buchanan wants a balanced budget amendment to reign in Congress, but in October 2013 Buchanan voted to raise the debt ceiling and now has given President Obama a victory. The victory is passing a bill that busts the budget, continues to fund pork projects, Obamnesty, Obamacare and will increase the national debt.

The Conservative Review reports:

“This 1700+ page, $1.1 trillion Omnibus spending bill granted President Obama full funding for 11 of 12 federal departments for the remainder of the fiscal year – without any congressional restrictions on his unilateral action on amnesty, Obamacare, and environmental regulations. Worse, this bill actually provided Obama with an additional $2.5 billion in funds to facilitate his executive amnesty. Most egregiously, this 1700-page bill was crafted as a backroom deal by lame duck senators who were rejected by the American public in the November election. Speaker Boehner placed the bill on the floor with only 48 hours to read all 1700 pages.” [Emphasis added]

The Conservative Review gives Buchanan an “F” rating on fiscal responsibility with a score of 53%.”

Did Congressman Buchanan read the bill or did he vote for it first to see what was in it?

Buchanan sits on the House Ways and Means Committee. Does he not understand what he did by voting for this omnibus spending bill? Is Buchanan exhibiting the very “irresponsible pattern of borrowing and spending” that he campaigned against?

Buchanan’s campaign website states, “As a businessman for 30 years, and past Chairman of the Florida Chamber of Commerce, I know what it means to balance a budget, meet a payroll, and exercise the fiscal discipline necessary to keep a business moving forward.” But Buchanan is no longer a businessman. He is a member of Congress. The only payroll he is now meeting is that of the federal bureaucrats in Washington, D.C., at the taxpayers expense.

Buchanan has not exercised “fiscal discipline”. The only thing he is moving forward is President Obama’s agenda. Is that why those in his district re-elected him? Is Buchanan “grubering” those who elected him?

Buchanan’s campaign website rightly states, “Government does not create jobs, small businesses like the thousands located in Southwest Florida create the jobs.” Buchanan has a jobs plan, but it does not help small businesses. Rather it is to provide jobs to even more Washington bureaucrats and Congressional staffers while his constituents pay higher taxes. Small businesses are harmed by Obamacare’s healthcare mandate, which kicks in in 2015. Florida continues to suffer because of omnibus spending bills like the one Buchanan and many of his fellow Republicans helped passed.

Perhaps it is time to hold the Vern Buchanan’s responsible for their irresponsibility! Buchanan ends emails to constituents with “tell me what you think.” Perhaps those who voted for him should?

Here’s a Couple Of Charts That Might Explain Why Congressmen Voted For The ‘CRomnibus’ Spending Bill from IJReview’s Kevin Boyd:

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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.

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.

ABOUT DOUGLAS FRENCH

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.

Former CIA Officer — Its the National Debt Stupid! Beware of the Bail-in!

“It is incumbent on every generation to pay its own debts as it goes. A principle which if acted on would save one-half the wars of the world.” – Thomas Jefferson, 3rd U.S. President

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Gary Berntsen

Decorated former Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) career officer who served in the Directorate of Operations between October 1982 and June 2005, Gary Berntsen was in Sarasota, Florida to talk about the greatest threat to the national security of the United States of America. Speaking at an event hosted by the Concerned Veterans for America, Berntsen said that the greatest national security threat to the U.S. is not the Russian incursion into Ukraine, the Chinese expansion into SE Asia, the threats from Middle Eastern terrorists, its the growing national debt.

Berntsen went on to say that the debt bubble is about to burst. It is when, not if, ordinary Americans will feel the impact of a weakened dollar and the failure of Congress to deal with the national debt and spending.

Berntsen quoted a number of recent books warning about the coming fiscal crisis, including The Death of Money: The Coming Collapse of the International Monetary System by James Rickards. Berntsen said that after reading Rickards book he understood how vulnerable Americans are to two fiscal bubbles – the dollar bubble and national debt bubble. Berntsen said that the pins that will burst these bubbles are: inflation and China stopping to buy U.S. Treasury Bonds.

Berntsen raised the specter of a new financial global paradigm called the “bail-in“. The Financial Times defines “bail-in” as, “[A] desire to make bondholders – who after all helped lend the money that allowed banks to lend imprudently – share the burden in future by making them forfeit part of their investment to “bail in” a bank before taxpayers are called up on to bail it out. In theory, this will force them to be more careful with their investments and protect the taxpayer from a re-run of the recent crisis.”

Berntsen noted that the bail-in paradigm was used in Cypress. In his article Bail-in vs. Bailout, David Kotok writes:

In the aftermath of the bungled Cyprus affair, we are now observing a major transition underway with regard to bank-deposit safety.

In the Eurozone and in Europe generally, the sacredness of an insured deposit was bludgeoned by the finance ministers in their botched attempt to impose a cost on insured deposits in Cyprus. The finance ministers were taken to task decisively by their political constituents. Imagine: it was the parliament of Cyprus that stood between the insured depositors in Eurozone banks and the outrageous attempt to breech the sacred promise that insurance entails.

One has to be thankful for the democratic political process that elects parliaments, even in Cyprus.

Now we are seeing a different form of attack on depositors. We are transitioning from a system of bank bailouts to “bail-ins.”

Read more.

Berntsen said that Alan Greenspan in his book The Map and the Territory: Risk, Human Nature and the Future of Forecasting alluded to the new paradigm of the bail-in. The bail-in is available to President Obama and Congress as it was included in H.R. 4173: Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. The Financial Times in the definition of bail-in uses the Example of Dodd-Frank stating, “The US has already put in place bail-in-like powers as part of the Dodd-Frank financial reform act passed last year [2010]. The law includes a resolution scheme that gives regulators the ability to impose losses on bondholders while ensuring the critical parts of the bank can keep running. Employees would be paid, the lights would stay on and derivatives contracts would not have to be instantly unwound, one of the areas that caused market confusion when Lehman Brothers collapsed in September 2008.” [Emphasis added]

The danger is clear and present. The media is not covering this existential threat. Rather the news outlets are more interested in any issue other than the one most important to Main Street America.

Time will tell and time is running short according to Berntsen.

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[youtube]http://youtu.be/QTSvz__if2s[/youtube]

Washington Shame Game: Dumb Things Politicians Say

The first edition of the game that tests viewer knowledge of shameful things officials say. How good is your knowledge of the shameful statements by elected officials?… test yourself here:

[youtube]http://youtu.be/3odYWZIv-4E[/youtube]

 

EDITORS NOTE: The edited featured image was originally taken by Anthony Easton. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

Military/Veterans Poll: 66% disapprove of Obama and 63% disapprove of Obamacare

The Tarrance Group released its veterans survey on key issues facing the nation. Below are key findings from the survey using a representative sample of N=834 Veterans and members of the military.  Interviews were conducted 3/8-16/14 using a mixed methodology of live telephone interviews and online interviews. The margin of error is +/- 3.5%.

  • Sixty-eight percent of veterans believe the country is off on the wrong track (vs. 21% say right direction), and by a margin of more than two to one, veterans disapprove of the way President Obama is handling his job (66% disapprove  vs. 29% approve).
  • Veterans also hold negative views toward President Obama’s healthcare law.  Over six in 10 (63%) of veterans disapprove of Obamacare (vs. 28% approve), and nearly half (46%) believe Obamacare will be worse than VA healthcare.
  • All surveyed—veterans and members of the military— believe the top issues facing Congress are dysfunction in Washington (23%), followed by government spending and debt (19%) and economy/jobs (17%). 
  • In addition to the concern over spending and the debt, nearly three-quarters of veterans and members of the military (73%) agree with former member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen’s statement that our national debt is “the greatest threat to our National Security.”
  • There is widespread awareness of the backlog of claims at the Department of Veterans Affairs (66% of veterans/members of the military have seen, read, or heard about the backlog), and nearly one- quarter (22%) report having experienced the backlog.  Of those who have experienced the backlog, 58% report currently having a backlogged claim. Those who have experienced the backlog report it lasting at least 7 months (60%), with 36% saying it lasted more than one year.

Below is a breakdown of sample military status and branch of service in the survey:

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RELATED STORY: When veterans become victims: Reform the VA now

Rubio: On Tax Day 2014

U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) on Tax Day 2014 notes, “Tax reform is critical. And it’s not just critical to take the hassle out of our lives. It’s critical for the economic future of our country. Our economy is stagnant. It’s not growing fast enough. It’s not creating enough jobs. And by the way, about 40% of the jobs that it is creating pays $16 an hour or less.”

Is reform of the tax code needed or a scraping of the entire income tax? Many are calling for either a flat tax or FairTax system.

To mark Tax Day 2014, Rubio sent out the below video addressing constituent concerns about the broken tax code system. Rubio points to the tax codes stifling effect on the economy as proof of the need for tax reform:

[youtube]http://youtu.be/RteG2ceXtk8[/youtube]

In the video, Rubio outlines various disconcerting facts about the increasingly complicated tax code and the unnecessary burdens it places on taxpayers:

  1. It takes 13 hours for the average taxpayer to file their taxes, including record keeping, planning, as well as filling out forms.
  2. Last year, Americans spent 6.1 billion hours and $168 billion complying with all their tax filing requirements.
  3. The tax code, rules and regulations now totals more than 73,000 pages, as opposed to 400 pages when it was created in 1913.
  4. Americans will pay $3 trillion in federal taxes and $1.5 trillion in state and local taxes this year.
  5. Americans must work 111 days this year to pay their federal, state and local taxes.

Rubio:

“One of the things holding back our economy is a broken tax code. We have a tax code, for example, that punishes companies for investing their profits back into their businesses, to hire more people, to give their workers raises, to expand their operations. We have a tax code that actually encourages our employers to take their business overseas. Those are some of the things we have to fix as well. So I agree with you wholeheartedly, and that’s why I hope this November we’ll have new leadership here in Washington that will move on this important item.”

RELATED STORY: Obama has Proposed 442 Tax Hikes Since Taking Office

Florida’s 303 public pension systems are unsustainable

Florida has the third highest number of public pension systems in the United States. According to the U.S. Census Bureau the states with the most public pension systems were Pennsylvania (1,425 systems), Illinois (457 systems) and Florida (303 systems).

The U.S. Census Bureau publishes The Annual Survey of Public Pensions: State- and Locally-Administered Defined Benefit Data, which is a census of all 222 state government pension systems and a sample of local government pension systems. The latest report was published in August 2013.

The six states with the largest amounts of total state and local cash and investment holdings in 2011 (the latest year data is available) were California ($600.0 billion), New York ($319.3 billion), Texas ($192.6 billion), Florida ($157.8 billion), Ohio ($152.4 billion) and Illinois ($127.7 billion) in total holdings and investments. Total holdings and investments in these states comprised just over half (51.2 percent) of total holdings and investments for the United States.

The Florida pension system is overseen by the State Board of Administration (SBA), which was created by the Florida Constitution and is governed by a three-member Board of Trustees (Trustees), comprised of the Governor as Chair, the Chief Financial Officer and the Attorney General.

The basic problem is there are fewer paying into public pensions with a growing number taking funds out of the systems. The report looks at active public pension members versus beneficiaries over time. The ratios of member to beneficiaries are: 1991 2.8 to 1, 2001 2.3 to 1 and 2011 1.7 to 1. Public pension systems are unsustainable.

For a larger view click on the chart.

The Florida Retirement System (FRS) carries the bulk of the public pension system load in the sunshine state. Cities, counties, school boards and public hospital employees pay into this system. According to the MyFRS website, “The FRS Pension Plan funding valuation takes place annually, available December 1st and was 86.9 percent funded, as of July 1, 2012. You can view a chart that compares the plan’s actuarial liabilities to the plan’s actuarial assets for the past five fiscal years. The annual benefit payments to FRS retirees and beneficiaries (shown in white on the chart) are a part of the overall plan liabilities. The market value of the total assets of the FRS Pension Plan is updated monthly.”

The Census Department reports the following public pension data for Florida (in thousands of dollars): Total contributions of $4,993,460, total employee contributions of $349,947, contributions from the state government $875,190, and from local government $3,768,323. Contributions from state and local government means from Florida taxpayers.

According to the report in 2011 Florida’s public pension systems payed out between $20,000 to $24,999 on average.

Defined benefit public pension programs are a growing financial burden for cities, counties, school boards and public hospitals. If one pension system fails Florida taxpayers will be left holding the bag.

RELATED: Florida’s public pensions still bleeding taxpayers