Posts

Biden Plan Would Sabotage U.S. Economic Competitiveness in One Huge Way, Analysis Finds

That’s not ‘Building Back Better’—it’s shooting ourselves in the foot.  


President Biden has heralded his $4.5+ trillion spending proposals and accompanying tax hikes as an investment in “leading the world versus letting it pass us by.” Yet, paradoxically, a new analysis exposes one huge way Biden’s plans would make the US less competitive on the global stage.

Key to financing the spending plans is a proposed increase in the corporate tax rate from 21 percent to 26.5 percent. When factoring in state corporate taxes, the US’s average corporate tax rate would reach a whopping 30.9 percent. And according to a new Tax Foundation analysis, this punitive level of business taxation would be the third-highest corporate tax rate among developed countries, outstripped only by Colombia and Portugal.

CLICK HERE TO VIEW THE TAX FOUNDATION INFOGRAPHIC

Why is this a problem?

Well, the US would become a less attractive place for business investment, which is bad news for entrepreneurs, workers, and customers alike. Businesses would understandably be less likely to conduct business in the US when they could go to dozens of other developed countries with lower tax rates. As a result, our economic competitiveness would suffer.

“Returning to near the top of the OECD in corporate tax rates would… disincentivize investment and encourage firms to shift profits and locate elsewhere, resulting in fewer job opportunities for Americans and less tax revenue for the U.S. government,” the analysis explains.

Yikes.

Biden claims his tax-and-spend agenda is meant to reassert America’s dominance. But the costly tax hikes the president seeks would set our economic competitiveness back on the global stage. That’s not “Building Back Better”—it’s shooting ourselves in the foot.

COLUMN BY

Brad Polumbo

Brad Polumbo (@Brad_Polumbo) is a libertarian-conservative journalist and Policy Correspondent at the Foundation for Economic Education.

WATCHNew Biden Vax Mandate Doesn’t Make ANY Sense (Here’s Why)

EDITORS NOTE: This FEE column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved. Like this story? Click here to sign up for the FEE Daily and get free-market news and analysis like this from Policy Correspondent Brad Polumbo in your inbox every weekday.

Inflation Hits 30-Year High According to This Key Metric

It’s the biggest annual surge recorded since January 1991—roughly three decades ago.


Left-leaning media coverage has in recent weeks pushed the narrative that inflation is fading. But shocking new inflation numbers released today blow that media spin to smithereens.

The Labor Department just released the latest Personal Consumption Expenditures index (PCE), which is the Federal Reserve’s preferred metric for monitoring inflation. It shows a 4.3 percent rise in consumer prices from August 2020 to August 2021, with prices rising 0.4 percent last month alone. That’s the biggest annual surge recorded since January 1991—roughly three decades ago.

Even when factoring out volatile food and energy prices, the PCE still shows a 0.3 percent monthly rise in consumer prices and a 3.6 percent year-over-year increase. That’s the highest on that metric since May 1991!

This all may sound like abstract economic data, but it translates to a real erosion of everyday Americans’ living standards and purchasing power. As economist and FEE fellow Peter Jacobsen has previously explained, rising inflation means “the average consumer making the same salary this year has taken a pay cut when you consider what their paycheck can actually buy.”

Even the Federal Reserve is starting to acknowledge, much belatedly, that these persistent levels of inflation are not just a “temporary” problem.

“It’s also frustrating to see the bottlenecks and supply chain problems not getting better — in fact at the margins apparently getting a little bit worse,” Fed Chair Jerome Powell said earlier this week. “We see that continuing into next year probably, and holding up inflation longer than we had thought.”

“It’s very difficult to say how big those effects will be in the meantime or how long they will last,” he added.

Of course, Powell and his colleagues at the Federal Reserve have every incentive to downplay the inflation problem hurting Americans. After all, it is, in part, driven by the Fed’s own policy decisions.

As Jacobsen noted when the concerning inflation metrics first arose in May 2021, the Fed has created trillions of new dollars out of thin air during the pandemic to date. The natural consequence of this money-supply expansion, he explains, is that “If more dollars chase the exact same goods, prices will rise.”

But even the Fed’s preferred inflation metric, the PCE, is now recording the highest levels of consumer price increases measured in 30 years. This problem is becoming impossible for even the most obstinate observers to deny. And until policymakers change course, American families will continue to pay the price.

COLUMN BY

Brad Polumbo

Brad Polumbo (@Brad_Polumbo) is a libertarian-conservative journalist and Policy Correspondent at the Foundation for Economic Education.


Like this story? Click here to sign up for the FEE Daily and get free-market news and analysis like this from Policy Correspondent Brad Polumbo in your inbox every weekday.


EDITORS NOTE: This FEE column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

CARES Act Coronavirus Relief Went to CAIR, Bail Fund for Criminals

The text of the CARES Act states that it was implemented to “provide emergency assistance and health care response for individuals, families, and businesses affected by the 2020 coronavirus pandemic.”

As Jason Rantz documents, Washington illegally imposed a racial test on recipients. Federal aid should really be conditioned on non-discriminatory application.

…to qualify to the Washington Equity Relief Fund, a group of “reviewers” made sure the nonprofits were “led by and serving Black, Indigenous and people of color.”…

A group of over 100 peer reviewers discussed and scored applications before doling out funding, in collaboration with the Department of Commerce.

The reviewers were “prioritized” on the basis of their race. About 95% identified as a racial minority and 77% experienced poverty. Ironically, the Department of Commerce had the reviewers, who were excluding nonprofits run by white people due to perceived privilege, go through compulsory “anti-bias” training.

Consider all of this to essentially be funding for Democrat organizers and campaign operations at taxpayer expense. That’s the case with much of the “community” non-profit sector that’s funded by city, state and federal funds.

But it gets worse.

Collective Justice, part of the Public Defenders Association, is a partisan, social justice group. It actively lobbies light-on-crime policies and is now being propped up by federal tax dollars.

The nonprofit is currently asking supporters to back a Democrat-sponsored bill forcing courts to ignore the juvenile crimes of adult defendants in sentencing. It received $25,000 in federal tax dollars through the state.

Also receiving funds: the Council on Islamic American Relations of Washington (CAIR-WA). It frequently engages in partisan political activism and has fundraised locally for anti-Semitic congresswoman Ilhan Omar (D-MN).

The Bail Project Spokane received $50,000 from the fund. The nonprofit is part of the national group, which opposes cash bail. It has been responsible for paying the bail for criminals who commit high-profile crimes after release.

The more money the government spends, the worse things get. That’s a solid rule. And the coronavirus turned into a pretext for funding some of the worst of the worst. This is not how politicians sold the CARES Act, but it’s how Democrats implemented it.

COLUMN BY

RELATED ARTICLES:

Pakistan’s Khan Enraged That ‘West Associated Islam with Terrorism’

New Zealand PM accuses Australia of abdicating its responsibility by canceling citizenship of Muslima tied to ISIS

Gambia: Muslim cleric condemns ban on female on genital mutilation, ‘let’s follow the teachings of Islam’

Germany: Muslim known to police for years stabs man to death out of ‘hatred of homosexuals’

Malta: Man who converted to Christianity from Islam is living in terror after Muslim stabs him for apostasy

EDITORS NOTE: This Jihad Watch column is republished with permission. All rights reserved.

Overpopulation is an Environmental Red Herring

It is not too much of a stretch to suggest that 2020 has been an interesting year (in the sense of “May you live in interesting times”). Fires, plagues, floods, Presidential impeachment, global economic meltdown, lockdowns: this year has seen them all. And we’re only in September. Thank goodness there isn’t a major election coming up where some are predicting social breakdown in nearly every conceivable scenario or anything

It’s not quite dogs and cats living together in peace and harmony, but another sign that the end is nigh is that I find myself nodding along to an article of George Monbiot (greenie extraordinaire) in the Guardian. In it, Monbiot argues that blaming overpopulation for environmental concerns is a cop out, particularly for rich people in first world nations who get to lecture the third world on the need to have fewer children while they enjoy a lifestyle with a carbon footprint bigger than that of small central African nations.

As he states, the current population growth is overwhelmingly concentrated among the world’s poorest people. This means that a rising human population is only producing a tiny fraction of the extra resource use and greenhouse gas emissions due to consumption growth. Instead, we in the West should be turning our attention on our own behaviours (that latest iPhone, the plane trip to Davos to discuss climate change) rather than fretting about more Indian or African babies.

The example Monbiot gives of Dame Jane Goodall is a good one. She told the World Economic Forum in Davos that if only we had the same population as we did 500 years ago (500 million) then the current environmental issues would not be with us. The audience of course consisted of those with ecological footprints many thousand times greater than the global average. But the greater irony is that Goodall has previously appeared in British Airways advertising. If the world’s population was 500 million, and it was entirely composed of the average UK plane passenger, then our environmental impact would probably be greater than the 7.8 billion people alive today. When it comes to the environment, population size does not matter nearly as much as lifestyle.

Indeed, wishing that the world’s population was one-sixteenth its current size is the same as wishing for the moon and just as useless. Tut-tutting about more people being born over there saves us from having to worry about anything we are doing over here. It is environmental virtue-signalling.

Except when it leads to policy outcomes that are far worse than virtue-signalling. Population panic has led to barbaric, coercive population control measures in many countries throughout the world. And this is not an historical problem: UK foreign aid was helping to fund crude, dangerous and coercive sterilisation in India as recently as 2011, it was justified on the grounds that it was helping to “fight climate change”. (At the same time the UK aid was also pouring money into developing coal, gas and oil plants around the world…)

Of course, Monbiot could have been reading Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Si in which the Holy Father said that:

“To blame population growth instead of extreme and selective consumerism on the part of some, is one way of refusing to face the issues. It is an attempt to legitimize the present model of distribution, where a minority believes that it has the right to consume in a way which can never be universalized, since the planet could not even contain the waste products of such consumption.”

And both Monbiot and Pope Francis had perhaps been reading this very blog, since nearly a decade ago I wrote of the thinly-veiled condescending bigotry underlying much of the West’s panic about overpopulation. Perhaps now that the more people are coming around to the view that the world’s population will stop growing in a few decades, we will see less insistence on the kinds of arguments Monbiot is railing against.

This content is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International license.

COLUMN BY

Marcus Roberts

Marcus Roberts was two years out of law school when he decided that practising law was no longer for him. He therefore went back to university and did his LLM while tutoring. He now teaches contract and… .

RELATED ARTICLE: Grandma took her life yesterday. Her doctors helped her

EDITORS NOTE: This Mercator Net column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

Voter Fraud has Become a Staple of the Modern Democratic Party

As reported in the WSJ article “Heed Jimmy Carter on the Danger of Mail-In Voting,” a bi-2005 partisan commission co-chaired by former president Jimmy Carter determined that mail-in ballots are the greatest source of potential voter fraud.

Opposition to voter ID laws facilitates voter fraud. Despite feigned protests to the contrary, voter ID laws are not racist, nor do they suppress minority voting. How does requiring voters to present a photo ID suppress the ability of any adult citizen to vote? Government-issued photo IDs are easily obtainable by every legitimate voter in America, including those who don’t drive. Virtually every voting-age citizen already has photo identification, yet Democrats aggressively oppose laws that require presenting photo IDs to vote.

Partial list of things that require photo identification

  • Driving a vehicle
  • Airport check-in
  • Hotel check-in
  • Hospitals & outpatient testing
  • Doctors’ offices
  • Social Security office
  • Medicare/Medicaid
  • Pawn shop transactions
  • Federal, state & local courts
  • Military bases
  • Donating blood
  • Volunteering at charities
  • Professional applications
  • College applications
  • Job applications
  • Buying a house
  • Boarding a cruise ship
  • Boarding a train
  • Getting a license to hunt or fish
  • Buying cigarettes & alcohol
  • Opening a bank account
  • Applying for credit
  • Cashing a check
  • Getting a tattoo or body piercing
  • Getting a library card
    Visiting Congress

And here’s a list of things that don’t require photo ID (in many Democrat-run jurisdictions):

  • Voting

Democrat election official admits rampant absentee ballot fraud

As reported by The New York Post, Manhattan Board of Elections commissioner Alan Shulkin was caught on a Project Veritas undercover video slamming Mayor Bill de Blasio’s municipal ID program as contributing to “all kinds of fraud,” including voter fraud. Here’s more of what Commissioner Shulkin had to say:

  • “I think there’s a lot of voter fraud.”
  • “There’s thousands of absentee ballots and I don’t know where they came from.”
  • “In some neighborhoods they bus people around to vote, they take them from poll to poll.”
  • “De Blasio’s municipal IDs can be used for anything, including voting.”
  • “The city doesn’t vet people who get ID cards to see who they really are.”
  • “Anybody can go in there and say I am John Smith and I want an ID card.”

When Shulkin’s comments were made public, he was told by Democratic Party officials to hit the road.

NYC Democratic Election Commissioner, “They Bus People Around to Vote”

EXPOSED: Nationwide voter fraud operation funded by the DNC

As Bernie Sanders can attest, his 2016 run for the presidency was rigged out of existence by collusion between the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee, both of which were implicated in a nationwide voter fraud operation. Three weeks prior to the election, investigative journalist James O’Keefe’s Project Veritas released two videos of an undercover sting in which high-level Democrat operatives bragged about running a nationwide voter fraud operation financed by the DNC and the Clinton campaign:

● “We’ve been busing in people [illegal voters] for 50 years and we’re not going to stop now.”
●”[We know] this is illegal.”
● “I think backward from how they would prosecute us, and then try to build out a method to avoid [getting caught].”
● “We implement the plan across every Republican-held state.”
● “[Our operation] causes massive changes in state legislatures and Congress.”
● “Hillary knows what’s going on.”

One of the covert operatives caught in the Project Veritas sting is a longtime Democrat named Bob Creamer. Found guilty in 2005 of tax violations and bank fraud, Creamer has been a highly respected player in Democratic Party politics for more than 30 years. Official visitor logs show the convicted felon visited the Obama White House 342 times, including 47 personal meetings with President Obama, a fact that was buried by the mainstream media when O’Keefe’s explosive exposé was released less than a month before the election Hillary Clinton was heavily favored to win.

Voter fraud has become a staple of the modern Democratic Party

Democrats say voter fraud is a myth, and that voter ID laws are nothing more than a racist effort by Republicans to suppress minority voting. In fact, voter fraud is a pervasive, nationwide problem that’s given a wink and a nod at the highest levels of the Democratic Party.

In 2013, a Cincinnati Democrat activist named Melowese Richardson was convicted of multiple counts of voter fraud. When released early from a 5-year prison sentence, Richardson was hailed by Al Sharpton as a conquering hero at a “Welcome Home” party held in her honor by Ohio Democrats. That Sharpton publicly hailed Richardson as a hero shows that acceptance of voter fraud extends to the highest level of the Democratic Party. Invited to the Obama White House 61 times, Sharpton was (and still is) one of Barack Obama’s most trusted confidants on race, and his public honoring of a convicted voter fraud felon would not have occurred without the knowledge of President Obama.

In the early 1970s, the post-JFK Democratic Party adopted Saul Alinsky as its most revered political strategist. A Marxist community organizer in Chicago, Alinsky believed that socialists are so morally and intellectually superior that their ideas must prevail at all costs. That ends-justify-the-means-mentality is why Democrats are furiously demanding mail-in voting for the November elections.

©John Edison. All rights reserved.

BEHRENS: Green New Deal 2.0 Doesn’t Make Biden Look Any Less Radical

Meet the “new” Green New Deal…same as the old Green New Deal.

When House Democrats introduced their new climate plan it’s clear they did so not as a serious proposal, but to give cover to Joe Biden. Their problem? Not even their own members are buying it.

You might recall the first version of the Green New Deal met with disaster even among Democrats. Despite her prime role as a media darling, AOC has never had the ability to bring her Green New Deal to a vote in the House. Democrat leaders, including Speaker Pelosi, never signed on to it and the bill was so radioactive not a single member of the Senate voted in favor of it.

For all the attention the eco-radicals and the media garnished for the first Green New Deal, it seems like not a single leader in Washington was eager to actually vote for it. Of course they had good reason, they know it spells catastrophe.

Now Democrats are taking the lemon-with-a-new-coat-of-paint approach to their environmental policy by hoping you won’t notice their new “plan” is just as out of touch as the old one. The goal is clear: Democrats are betting this proposal will appear more reasonable than the original Green New Deal and Biden won’t look like an AOC climate puppet. However, it’s just as much a threat to America’s middle class families, or even worse.

Under the plan, every American will need to budget for a new electric vehicle in the years ahead. They will also need to prepare for skyrocketing electric bills that are the result of government restricting the open energy market. Families already struggling to make ends meet will have to grapple with electric bills increasing 17 percent and forced to pay thousands to come into compliance with the law. All this at the same time millions of their neighbors lose their job in energy producing states like Pennsylvania, Louisiana and New Mexico.

VIDEO: How Washington Wastes Your Tax Dollars on Art

Should your tax dollars be spent on art of Che Guevara? Watch this video to learn more about how Washington is funding “art” with your money.

COMMENTARY BY

Rick Scott is a U.S. senator from Florida. Twitter: .


The demand for socialism is on the rise from young Americans today. But is socialism even morally sound? Find out more now >>


EDITORS NOTE: This Daily Signal video is republished with permission. © All rights reserved.

The Irrational Hatred of Congressional Democrats Toward the POTUS and His Supporters [Video]

So now we still have leftist statists Gerrard Nadler, Chair of House Judiciary Committee and Adam Schiff Chair of House Intelligence Committee stating they will continue pursuing unnecessary investigations of every facet of President Trump’s life before he became President as well as the 2 years he has been President despite the Mueller Report. Both have stated their is plenty of “circumstantial” evidence that Trump colluded with the Russians and/or obstructed justice. What a total lie which proves the Democrats are consumed with HATE and more interested in trying to find something to impeach President Trump more than governing in the best interest of the United States. Not to mention the leftist New York Attorney General who is constantly and unfairly trying to dig up dirt on President Trump, his family and associates.

House Judiciary Committee Chair Jerrold Nadler epitomizes the irrational HATRED he, his leftist allies in Congress and the drive-by media have towards President Trump. Without any evidence produced by the Mueller investigation, Nadler stated “we are going to initiate investigations into abuses of power, corruption and obstruction of justice.” He will subpoena 60 former/current Trump officials and others including those with whom Trump had business dealings long before becoming President.

Adam Schiff, Chair of House Intelligence Committee is just as bad as Nadler planning more hearings on non-existent “Russian Collusion.” The 2 yr Mueller investigation costing taxpayers r $50M+ has produced no evidence. The whole investigation was based on false FISA warrants issued with bogus “dossier” information paid for by Hillary Clinton.

Trump supporters know this vitriol stems from his legitimate election which Nadler, Shiff and their ilk can’t accept.

Nadler and Schiff, like Mueller, are conducting “Witch Hunts” to create crimes that don’t exist. Nadler’s assertion that “our job is to protect the rule of law” demonstrates the height of hypocrisy and double standards after all the criminal activity conducted by Obama and his administration including “Fast & Furious”; Benghazi; IRS scandal; failure to follow Obamacare laws; Iran deal; whitewashed Clinton investigation, etc.

No POTUS before Trump has ever been falsely criticized 24X7 for his first two years much less maintained a 50% approval rating and delivered on every campaign promise. The left just don’t get it. They are lying themselves into another loss in 2020.

Remember these numbers.

  • 19 – the number of Clinton lawyers hired by Mueller to conduct this investigation based on fake, unlawful FISA warrants and made up dossier funded by Hillary Clinton
  • 40 – the number of FBI agents involved in the Mueller investigation
  • 2800 – the number of subpoenas issued by the Mueller investigation
  • 500 search warrants
  • 230 orders for communications records
  • 50 orders authorizing use of pen registers
  • 13 requests to foreign governments for evidence
  • 500 witnesses
  • 25 – million dollars – (as of September 30, 2018) the cost to the American taxpayer for nothing

The witch hunt continues under Schiff and Nadler because they have nothing else they care about. Americans and America be damned.

RELATED ARTICLES:

4 Ways Democrats Are Responding to Mueller Report

Graham Calls for New Special Counsel to Probe Justice Department

What the Mueller Report Revealed, and What’s Coming Next

Mueller Report Is a Damning Indictment of the Media

RELATED VIDEO: The Trump campaign released a video montage of Democrats’ reckless, false charges titled “Collusion Hoax!”

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.

‘Le Grand Guignol’ Comes to Town – Political Corruption

By Wallace Bruschweiler and William Palumbo

Grand_Guignol_poster

Promotional poster for a Grand Guignol performance. Courtesy of Wikipedia.com.

Over the last several years, the American people have witnessed one perplexing political shenanigan after another – a never-ending story.  Instead of standing up for principles, for democracy itself, our elected leaders routinely sell-out the same country to which they swore an oath to protect.

The most recent enormous sell-out was the passage of a budget that served only the government, not the country.  It began with the election of a new Speaker, whom many hoped would serve the country better than his predecessor.  Instead of a political savior, we got yet another total political loser.

Once in power, the Speaker raised the curtain on a most appalling political horror, a true grand guignol: a budget that funds a government which is already standing on financial quicksand, and that has an abysmal, out-proportion debt.  So much for “we won’t get fooled again.”

Indeed, many of the men and women whom we once considered true patriots have, in recent years, months, and weeks, shown that their own personal agenda and banks accounts take priority over the safeguarding and destiny of our nation.  Their treachery – their betrayal­ – of the American people is forcing a major geopolitical realignment.  Under rule of the current political establishment, the United States is a leading contender in whatever Oscar equivalent is awarded to banana republics.

How and why did all this happen?  Without access to personal records, such as bank accounts domestically and on an international level, including tax shelters, it is impossible to say with certainty.  But, if past is prologue, then bribery facilitated by a government-entrenched mafia is what greases this political machinery.

Welcome to Our Real World: Today’s Ugly Reality

It is not pleasant at all to think that a mafia-type government runs Washington, D.C.   Yet it exactly explains why, despite widespread disapproval of Barack Hussein Obama and Congress, both parties continue working shamelessly against the interests and well-being of the American electorate.

Take, for example, the so-called Iranian nuclear deal.  By legitimizing Iran, the world’s preeminent sponsor of terrorism, Obama has opened the Iranian markets (especially oil and natural gas) to the western world.  In the long run, this deal has the potential to generate trillions of dollars in international trade.  Companies represented by extremely well-financed and influential lobbyists see Iran as the mother-of-all potential markets.

Despite the overwhelming dangers that emanate from enriching a brutal regime with not-so-veiled nuclear ambitions and a proven worldwide terrorist network, the Republican-led Congress refused to try anything which would have effectively postponed and/or killed the deal.

Again, how and why could this have happened?  The answer is unfortunately obvious: money (and, in the case of the Iranian nuclear deal, close family connections between the negotiating members from both sides).

There are other examples that come to mind: a multi-trillion dollar “stimulus” package, a $700 billion dollar bank bailout, countless “green” energy loans that have ended in bankruptcy, etc.

How likely is it that some of this money has been used to line pockets for political favors on both sides of the aisle?  All of this was paid and financed by the people’s tax dollars.

“A government of the mafia, by the mafia, and for the mafia” – that seems to be today’s motto

Mafia is non-ideological: it does not embrace political ideals.  It cynically espouses ideals from time to time, but ultimately it will not uphold virtues that interfere with the strict pursuit of money and power.  So, when (not if) necessary, ideals and decency are conveniently forgotten.

The public at large calls this process “a bipartisan compromise.”  However, in reality, there is only one party.  It is a political animal which puts your God-given rights on the auction block, to be sold to the highest willing and able bidder.

It’s also indisputably true that politicians, on both sides of the aisle, are taking bribes.  Wherever power accumulates, corruption immediately follows. Widespread corruption is the defining trait of Washington’s establishment today.  There is no principled leader among them.

Politicians, like everyone else, have a price.

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.

Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-FL) Votes for the Boehner-Obama Budget Busting Deal

Florida District 16 U.S. Representative Vern Buchanan was one of 79 Republicans to vote for the Boehner-Obama budget busting deal. It is now the Buchanan-Boehner-Obama budget.

When Vern Buchanan first ran for Congress he vowed to reduce the federal budget deficits and called for a Constitutional balanced budget amendment. In a June 2015 press release Rep. Buchanan called balancing the budget “an urgent priority”. Buchanan stated:

[T]he United States can no longer afford to ignore its out-of-control spending problemWe’re going broke, it’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when, unless we change what we’re doing. We need a standard and I think that standard is a Constitutional Balanced Budget Amendment– Florida balances the budget every year, we make the tough choices…

It’s immoral what we’re passing on to our kids and grandkids. I have a granddaughter and a grandson on the way and I feel horrible about what’s taking place up here. “

[Emphasis added]

Given all of his rhetoric he still voted, in his own words “immorally” and against the best interests of his children grandchildren and ours, for Obama’s budget.

Melissa Quinn from the Daily Signal reports:

Despite overwhelming opposition from the majority of Republicans, the House of Representatives voted to pass a two-year budget deal today that raises spending caps by $80 billion and suspends the debt limit through March 2017.

The deal passed, 266-167, with support from moderate Republicans and all but one of the Democrats. Just 79 Republicans supported it, and all of those opposing the fiscal agreement were Republicans.

[Emphasis added]

To find out how your Congressman voted on this budget deal click here.

Stephen Moore, in his op-ed column titled “This Is the Worst Budget Deal GOP Has Negotiated Since George H.W. Bush Violated No New Taxes Pledge
writes:

Halloween is looking especially scary this year. On Monday, Republican leaders in Congress declared an unconditional fiscal surrender to President Barack Obama and the  left, negotiating a dangerous budget deal that eliminates all of the checks on Washington’s spend-and-borrow binge by breaking the budget caps, ending the sequester and raising the debt ceiling by over $1 trillion.

It’s the worst budget deal to be negotiated by the GOP since George H.W. Bush violated his no new taxes pledge in 1990 at Andrews Air Force Base.

The result of that capitulation was to make Bush a one-term president and to split the Republican party right down the middle. This deal has the same catastrophic potential.

Read more.

Citizens Against Government Waste reports:

Forty-six cents!  That’s how much of your individual income tax dollar the government squanders on wasteful spending programs.

donate

Another 31 cents goes to pay the $433 billion in annual interest on the national debt!

That leaves just 23 cents – or not quite one quarter of your tax dollar – to pay for the services that you expect from government!

 

RELATED VIDEO: Rep. Vern Buchanan on balancing the federal budget:

RELATED ARTICLES:

Lame Ducks, Lame Deal: The Boehner-Obama Budget Plan

Boehner-Obama Budget Deal Uses Same Accounting Gimmick as Obamacare

EDITORS NOTE: The featured image of John Boehner and President Obama is by Kevin Dietsch/UPI/Newscom.

Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-FL) Joins Democrats to Clear Path for Vote Reviving Export-Import Bank

Representative Vern Buchanan (R-FL District 16) was one of 62 Republicans to vote in favor of bringing to the House floor a bill funding the Export-Import Bank.

The Daily Signal reports:

The House of Representatives moved one step closer to bringing the Export-Import Bank back from the dead Monday after 62 Republicans teamed up with 184 House Democrats to force a vote to reauthorize the embattled agency.

Despite opposition from the vast majority of Republicans, the House passed a motion to discharge a bill reauthorizing Ex-Im from the Financial Services Committee, 246-177. (See how your member of Congress voted.)

The vote clears a path for the chamber to vote on the legislation sponsored by Rep. Stephen Fincher, R-Tenn. Under Fincher’s legislation, the 81-year-old bank would be reauthorized through 2019. Lawmakers are expected to vote on his bill tomorrow.

Read more.

Can you say bust the budget yet again?

Buchanan seems to say one thing and vote for the special interests.

Buchanan has repeatedly called for a Constitution balanced budget amendment but he has also consistently voted to raise the debt ceiling and keep wasteful spending programs – such as the Import-Export Bank – fully funded.

RELATED ARTICLES:

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

The Boehner-Obama Budget Deal Explained in One Chart

This [Budget] Deal Is Unacceptable. Congress Should Wait Until New Speaker Chosen

Find Out How Your Congressman Voted on Reauthorizing the Export-Import Bank

Freedom Caucus Members Will Stick With Daniel Webster in Today’s Speaker Vote

Federal Student Loans Make College More Expensive and Income Inequality Worse by George C. Leef

One day, Bill Bennett may be best remembered for saying (in 1987, while he was President Reagan’s education secretary) that government student aid was largely responsible for the fact that the cost of going to college kept rising. What is called the “Bennett Hypothesis” has been heavily debated ever since.

A recent report by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York lends support to the Bennett Hypothesis.

Authors David Lucca, Taylor Nadauld, and Karen Shen employed sophisticated statistical techniques to analyze the effects of the increasing availability of federal aid to undergraduates between 2008 and 2010. They conclude the institutions that were most exposed to the increases “experienced disproportionate tuition increases.”

By the authors’ calculation, there is about a 65 percent pass-through effect on federal student loans. In other words, for every $3 increase in such loans, colleges and universities raise tuition by $2.

It is very good to have a study by so unimpeachable a source as the New York Fed supporting the conclusion that quite a few others have reached over the years: Increasing student aid to make college “more affordable” is something of an impossibility. The more “generous” the government becomes with grants and loans, the more schools raise their rates.

Other studies have reached the same conclusion.

In his 2009 paper Financial Aid in Theory and Practice, Andrew Gillen showed that the Bennett Hypothesis was true, although more so at some institutions than others. In their 2012 study, Stephanie Riegg Cellini and Claudia Goldin found that for-profit schools unquestionably raised tuitions to capture increases in federal aid.

Such analyses are amply supported by personal observations about the way college officials look at federal aid. Peter Wood, president of the National Association of Scholars writes that when he was in the administration at Boston University:

The regnant phrase was “Don’t leave money sitting on the table.” The metaphoric table in question was the one on which the government had laid out a sumptuous banquet of increases of financial aid. Our job was to figure out how to consume as much of it as possible in tuition increases.

Similarly, Robert Iosue, former president of York College, writes in his book College Tuition: Four Decades of Financial Deception (co-authored with Frank Mussano), “Common sense dictates a connection between government largess to the buyer and higher prices from the seller. For me it began in 1974 when grants and loans were given to students based on the cost of college. Higher cost: more aid from our government.”

It has always been difficult to defend the position that federal student aid has nothing to do with the steady increase in the cost of attending college; the publication of this study makes it much more so.

Despite their conclusion that financial aid increases costs, the authors of the New York Fed report suggest that aid is beneficial on the whole. They wrote, “[T]o the extent that greater access to credit increases access to postsecondary education, student aid programs may help to lower wage inequality by boosting the supply of skilled workers.” Now, while that is not a finding of the paper, it aligns with one of the justifications commonly given for policies meant to “expand access” to college — that it ameliorates the presumed problem of growing income inequality.

In this speech in 2008, for example, former Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke said, “the best way to improve economic opportunity and reduce inequality is to increase the educational attainment and skills of American workers.”

That argument is grounded in basic economics: if college-educated workers are paid a lot and workers without college education are paid much less, then by increasing the supply of the former, we will lower their “price” and thereby reduce the earnings differential between the two groups.

That sounds plausible and egalitarians embrace the idea. In a recent paper published in the Cambridge journal Social Philosophy and Policy, however, Daniel Bennett and Richard Vedder argue that, after decades of government policy to “expand access,” we have reached the point where doing so now exacerbates income inequality.

“It has become an article of faith that higher education is a major vehicle for promoting a path to the middle class and income equality in America,” the authors write. The trouble, they argue, is that while policies to promote college enrollment had a tendency to do that in the past, we passed the point of diminishing returns.

Key to the Bennett/Vedder analysis is that fundamental economic concept — diminishing returns. As someone buys or enjoys more and more of something, the benefit from each marginal unit eventually starts to fall. That applies to education as well as other goods and services. It applies to individuals, since there is some point beyond which the benefit from additional time spent on education isn’t worth what it costs.

It also applies at the societal level. At first, Bennett and Vedder observe, the students drawn into college by government aid were overwhelmingly very able and ambitious. They benefited greatly from their postsecondary education. Society not only became more prosperous due to the heightened productivity of those individuals, but, the authors show, more equal. Measured by Gini coefficients, income became less dispersed in the early decades of federal policies to promote higher education.

But what was apparently a beneficial policy at first is producing increasingly bad results today. Not only is federal student aid making college more costly, it now leads to a growing income gap. “Additional increases in [college] attainment,” Bennett and Vedder write, “are associated with more income inequality.”

Why?

The reason is that subsidizing college has led to a glut of people holding college credentials. As a result, we have seen a huge displacement in the labor market — college-educated workers displacing those without degrees. I have often called that the “credentialitis”problem; workers who have the ability to do a job can’t get past the screening by educational credentials that is now widespread.

Consequently, the latter group — the working poor — now faces increasing difficulty finding jobs in fields that used to be open to them.

Federal student aid programs were expected to have nothing but good economic and social consequences for America. Instead, however, they are simultaneously making higher education more costly (that is, soaking up more of our limited resources) and, owing to credentialitis, making the distribution of income more unequal.

Of course, the politicians who started us on this path meant well. Most of those who keep pushing us further down the college for everyone path probably believe that they’re pursuing greater equality and productivity. The truth of the matter, as studies like the two I have discussed here show, is that continuing to push the “college access” agenda is making America worse off.

This post first appeared at the Pope Center.

George C. Leef

George Leef is the former book review editor of The Freeman. He is director of research at the John W. Pope Center for Higher Education Policy.

Why are refugee resettlement contracting agencies not being audited?

Dan Cadman, a fellow at the Center for Immigration Studies with 30 years of service at INS/ICE, asks a question I’ve asked and many are asking around the country:  Why are the federal resettlement contractors, which gobble-up millions of federal dollars every year, not being financially audited? 

Taxpayers of America have a right to know just exactly how the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, for instance, is spending our money.

Years ago I was told by a senior State Department official that financial audits of contractors just aren’t done.  They are only audited with program audits I was told—you know, like that easy to manipulate accounting about how many refugees in their care got jobs.  Things like that.

bob_carey_large_photo_1

Dan Cadman, fellow at the Center for Immigration Studies.

According to Cadman, it is already the law that the contractors must be fiscally audited.  Any pro-bono lawyers out there?

Here is Cadman today at the Center for Immigration Studies (hat tip: Richard at Blue Ridge Forum):

The Department of Justice Office of Inspector General (DOJ OIG) has issued a report on its audit of two grants funded by DOJ’s Office on Violence Against Women (OVW) and Office of Victims of Crime (OVC) to a Georgia entity called Tapestri, Inc., which describes its mission as “end[ing] violence and oppression in refugee and immigrant communities”, according to the report.

Though required by law, audits of immigrant and refugee-related grants are rare.

He goes on to describe that particular audit finding, then this:

OMB Circular A-133, and its accompanying yearly compliance supplements, lay out specific requirements for fiscal audits of grantees and contractors receiving federal funds across the array of cabinet departments and agencies, such as the Office of Refugee Resettlement within the Department of Health and Human Services, whose Refugee and Entrant program is governed by CFDA 93.566 for the 2015 compliance supplement.

[….]

This is the third time of late that I’ve spoken to financial issues relating to awards granted to various organizations for sheltering and protection programs of refugees, alien entrants, and sundry migrants (including unaccompanied minors and families who have crossed the border illegally). These programs that receive huge amounts of taxpayer funding (see here and here) — and by huge, I mean billions of dollars.

Yet, with the exception of the DOJ OIG, I find little evidence of audits being undertaken, despite the vast dollar amounts or the clearly articulated OMB requirements. Certainly they are not readily to be found on public websites of the various OIG offices, nor those of the offices of primary responsibility within Homeland Security or Health and Human Services.

How could this be? Why has OMB not chastised the remiss agencies? Why has the Government Accountability Office not singled them out? Is the public not entitled to know who is receiving hundreds of millions in federal dollars, and how they are being spent?

I hope this is useful information for our growing number of ‘Pockets of Resistance.’