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Friday, August 16, 2019

Efforts to suppress freedom of speech truly threaten our future



Our Constitution guarantees many freedoms that are outlined in its first ten amendments, The Bill of Rights. 

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” So reads the First Amendment.

There is a reason these rights appear in the very first amendment: They are important and fundamental freedoms. And among those, the ability for the people to express their wants and desires, their approvals and disapprovals is fundamental to a free nation.

The First Amendment protects popular speech as well as unpopular speech, without prejudice. And it is unpopular speech that has the greater need for protection. Imagine living in a nation where only approved ideas may be discussed, with punishment for breaching the rules a likely result.

Such restrictions on the expression of ideas is a feature of monarchies, dictatorships and fascist regimes.

In sharp contrast, the USA was formed as a democratic republic with great individual liberty, where new and different, popular and unpopular ideas have been welcomed since its inception. 

By encouraging the expression of ideas by anyone at any time, there are discussions going on continually. Ideas that offer positive influences are adopted, while unworthy ones are rejected. The freedom to speak is an indispensable element in moving forward in the best possible way.

In the early years of the 21stCentury, that sensible process is under attack. What we see increasingly these days are efforts to suppress and suffocate ideas that are in conflict with some group or another, regardless of how small or large the group may be. 

Some of this is the ghastly social disease called “political correctness.” Some of it is censoring political ideas and speech, a clear and present danger to our future. This movement shuts down discussion and debate. It works to prevent even the exposure of contrary ideas to the light of day. The only ideas the ever-more socialist Left will allow are those of the group’s narrow dogma.

It is a testament to the failure of their ideas that the Left’s greatest fears are ideas that are different. Rather than leave their ideas to rise or fall on their own merit, they work overtime using dishonest tactics to make their ideas the only ones anyone hears or reads.

Some examples:

** Putting their finger firmly on the ideological scale, Twitter, Facebook and Google (among others) censor conservative posts. Recently, a group of Leftists protested in front of Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s Kentucky home, shouting profanities and threats. When McConnell had video of these threatening carryings-on posted on Twitter, his account was promptly suspended. It’s just unacceptable to show how the Left behaves.

** Texas Democrat Rep. Joaquin Castro publicized the names and businesses of Trump campaign contributors. “Sad to see so many San Antonians as 2019 maximum donors to Donald Trump,” he tweeted. Clearly assisting his followers in efforts to intimidate potential supporters/voters, he continued, “Their contributions are fueling a campaign of hate that labels Hispanic immigrants as ‘invaders.’”

Defending this sordid action, Castro said that he didn’t intend any harm, and that the information is public information. True, campaign donations are public information, if one chooses to search them out and knows where to look. But how many of Castro’s followers would have thought to do that, or gone to the trouble to look up the names of Trump donors, if he hadn’t saved them the trouble?

** Robert Francis O’Rourke (Beto) said this on MSNBC recently: “… the most important thing we can do right now, but also ensuring that beyond the president’s conduct and behavior and rhetoric we do a better job of regulating and enforcing hate speech and calls to violence on social media platforms.” The essence of his comment is to censor conservative speech, particularly Trump’s, which he characterized as “hate speech” and “calls to violence” based solely on his prejudiced opinion.

Isn’t it interesting how so many Democrats/Leftists, particularly those chasing the Democrat nomination for president, exercise their First Amendment rights to attack the First Amendment rights of their ideological and political adversaries? They do this under the guise of protecting America from “racists” and “white supremacists.”

The Leftists have raised the uncouth ability for name-calling to the top of their list in order to stifle free speech.

Silencing political and ideological opponents is a violation of one of the most important individual rights that our Constitution guarantees each of us. It is un-American. 

Tuesday, August 06, 2019

Democrats’ strategy for 2020: Free stuff, fear, and gun control




The process of nominating a candidate for president is always a spirited affair. And with 24 people (so far) seeking the Democrat nomination – including a former Vice President, current senators, current and former representatives, some governors and mayors, and a billionaire – who range from well-known to unknown, the stage is set for a lively campaign.

It can get rough, as candidates tear down their rivals and at the same time try build up their own image in the eyes of voters. This year’s nomination process is even wilder than the Republican effort in 2016 when 17 candidates vied for the nomination.

Front-runner and former Vice President Joe Biden has been harshly attacked by several opponents in the first rounds of debates, as they work to claw their way to a respectable level in the polls.

No one is safe in this environment, not even the Democrats’ much-loved former President Barack Obama. As Obama’s VP, Biden opened the door to criticism of Obama’s immigration and health care policies.

Liberal MSNBC host Joe Scarborough said the "trashing Barack Obama's legacy” was “insanity.” "We were sort of in a Never-never land last night in that debate. It was bizarre," he said. 

Free stuff is a favored ploy among the candidates, along with dire predictions. In a recent opinion column John Stossel presented the shopping lists and total costs of free stuff offered by several of the candidates.

The list of free stuff contains many items, including:
·         More money for Title I schools
·         Universal pre-K
·         More psychologists and social workers in schools
·         Free college and free community college
·         More money for teachers
·         Forgiving all or some student debt
·         Universal child care
·         “Medicare for All”
·         The “Green New Deal”
·         A government job for everyone
·         Increases in several government assistance areas

Stossel’s major focus was on which items each candidate proposed and how much those items will add to taxpayers total costs.

In comparing the biggest spenders to President Donald Trump’s spending plan, which Stossel said totals $267 billion, he concludes: “We can’t afford it! The federal government is already $22 trillion in debt – $150,000 per taxpayer.”

Stossel continued, “While Trump’s $267 billion is bad, the Democrats’ plans are worse.” He counted $297 billion proposed by Biden, $690 billion from Mayor Pete Buttigieg, $3.8 trillion from Senator Elizabeth Warren, $4 trillion from Senator Bernie Sanders and $4.3 trillion from Senator Kamala Harris. “That would double what the entire federal government spends now. Senator Harris ‘wins’ the free stuff contest.”

There is also a fear factor in campaign rhetoric, as candidates continue to predict global catastrophe if Americans do not make great sacrifices to save the world from climate change. The candidates predict we have only 10 years, or perhaps 12, to turn our lives upside-down in order to save humanity.

The recent hot spell gave a boost to the assumed urgency of this situation, and campaign rhetoric heated up correspondingly.

Contenders prefer various measures to bring a positive effect to the problem of carbon emissions. Biden wants a price on emission-producing materials and tariffs on foreign carbon products. Buttigieg, Gov. John Hickenlooper, Senators Kristen Gillibrand and Cory Booker prefer a tax, or carbon-price on certain products.

All candidates support the enormously expensive “Green New Deal” with all of its job-killing and severe lifestyle-changing requirements to transition to 100-percent clean energy in a decade. This despite the fact that the U.S. leads the world in carbon emission reduction, while other nations lag behind, are not reducing emissions at all, or are actually increasing emissions.

Democrats’ support for more and stricter gun control laws has been long and loud. Last weekend’s two horrible mass murder incidents in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio have added more urgency to the situation among gun control advocates.

Like the climate change issue, the gun control issue uses fear to attract support. Everyone abhors these senseless killings, and every candidate seeking the Democrat nomination preaches gun control as the solution.

Saturday’s El Paso shooting resulted in 20 deaths and injuries to nearly two-dozen others. The alleged shooter is also believed to have written a 4-page manifesto that provides insight into his motives.

Reason magazine described the manifesto: “The El Paso shooter’s alleged manifesto is racist, anti-corporate, anti-automation, and especially anti-immigrant, and it reflects a general hatred for many aspects of American society.”

It also urges any future mass murders to pick lightly guarded or unguarded target areas: “Remember: it is not cowardly to pick low hanging fruit. AKA Don’t attack heavily guarded areas to fulfill your super soldier COD (Call of Duty) fantasy.”

Any successful response to these horrific events must address soft targets where no defense against someone with evil intentions exists, and especially the mental condition and motivation of the people who carry out these acts.

Guns are inanimate objects. They are not evil; the people who misuse them are evil. Disarming or restricting law-abiding citizens’ gun purchases misses the point.

The most important word in the gun control discussion is “control,” a trait it shares with the climate change discussion. Control is a major aspect of socialism, which is openly advocated by several Democrat candidates.

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Let’s not change what makes us uncomfortable. Let’s learn from it!



Change this! Get rid of that! America has a new mania where people try to remove statues and monuments they don’t like, that make them uncomfortable, or that they believe are bad. If a statue or a monument upsets people, it must be erased from the American landscape where it has existed for years or decades. 

In the process of soothing these feelings of discomfort, features of American history, some of them very important, will forever be removed to the trash pile, painted over, or stored in a warehouse somewhere, and lost to the generations that follow. 

These things can help future Americans learn about their country so that they will be able to understand its full history and evolution, both the best and the worst.

Instead of the full story of what built America, what will be left to future generations to learn from is whatever the existing culture deems important at the time. 

Some important elements in the history of the United States of America will be removed through this politically correct cleansing of America’s history, for no better reason than to soothe the discontented.

Included in the list of things from America’s past that have been targeted for removal from public view are: The Jefferson Memorial; Mount Rushmore; Stone Mountain; two Chicago Parks; and monuments and statues across the nation.

While the subject of some monuments may be a person or persons who may now be unpopular, the monument or statue itself may be a special achievement. 

Likewise, the people who are remembered and honored by prominent statues were not universally bad. The recent dislike of Thomas Jefferson, for example, is because he owned slaves. In fact, slavery is the reason for so much of today’s efforts to remove many statues and monuments.

Slavery is now universally condemned in the U.S., as it should be. And it is a dark period in the nation’s history. But for decades during slavery in the south, no one living at that time was alive when slavery did not exist in the southern states. Slavery wasn’t right, but it was the way things were; it was a regular part of life in the southern U.S.

The Jefferson Memorial honors America’s third president, and a Founder of our republic. Although Jefferson inherited slaves from his father and kept them throughout his lifetime, he also publicly denounced slavery. The totality of his life and work was not just being a slave owner. His work was critical to the formation of the country in which so many now are able to condemn him for owning slaves.

Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence, which began the struggle for freedom from the binds of British dominance, he was a critical part of America’s formation, and he had served as the nation’s second vice president before being elected president.

Surely this man’s great contributions to the formation of the United States of America are enough to warrant his remaining a part of the story, and not being removed from our history.

It took some 400 workers from 1927 to 1941 to produce the majestic figures on the rock face in the Black Hills of South Dakota known as Mount Rushmore. Those four were Presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln. 

Rushmore is an amazing tribute to workmanship as well as a unique work of art. It depicts four of our most notable presidents, all of whom had their faults, as do we all. But they are forever a part of our history. 

The carving on Stone Mountain in Georgia has similar assets. It is the largest high relief sculpture in the world. The Confederate Memorial Carving depicts three figures of the Civil War, President Jefferson Davis and Generals Robert E. Lee and Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson. The carving is 400 feet above the ground, measures 90 by 190 feet, and is recessed 42 feet into the mountain.

Like Mount Rushmore it is a tribute to workmanship, is a work of art, and features people prominent in our history who are now being condemned. 

Chicago has parks named for George Washington and Andrew Jackson that are also targeted for change. Someone has suggested changing Jackson Park to honor either modern civil rights figure Jesse Jackson or singer Michael Jackson, and also renaming Washington Park. However, both Washington and Jackson contributed much to our Country, and deserve their rightful place in history.

And there are numerous monuments and statues in North Carolina, Virginia and in towns and cities all across the nation that also are targeted. Each of them represents some contribution to the rich history of what was and still is the greatest nation yet conceived.

People mostly aren’t looking at the big picture. Our country has made mistakes, as all countries do. Each of us can think of things we would prefer weren’t part of our history. But erasing history is foolish.

Future generations can only learn from our successes and our failures if they know what they are. The good and the bad together form our history, and nothing less than the whole story is acceptable to tell America’s story.

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

The future: a $15 an hour minimum wage and more 100 degree days?

The House of Representatives passed a bill recently that would increase the federal minimum wage from the current $7.25 an hour to $15 by 2025. Proponents call this a “living wage.” The House vote was 231-199 with 3 Republicans supporting it and 6 Democrats opposing it. 

It’s not breaking news that raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour is a divisive and hotly debated topic. What’s lacking is any sensible reason to do this, unless you consider vote buying as sensible.

Most minimum wage earners are younger and just entering the world of work. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that in 2018 only 2.1 percent of all hourly workers earned the minimum wage, or less. These workers tend to be under 25 years old and work in the food and hospitality industry.

The younger minimum wage workers generally do not require a “living wage,” as many still live with their parents or are college students, and few are the head of a household.

As with other work, some minimum wage workers are really good, some are okay, and some aren’t good at all. But a $15 minimum wage means that the best and worst employees in minimum wage jobs will earn the same $15 wage, which nets out at $31,200 a year for a 40-hour per week full-time job. 

As a matter of sound economics, government should not dictate minimum wages or any wages, other than for government workers. But should this become law, government will have increased the payroll expenses of virtually every business in the country.

While minimum wage workers will reap significant benefits from the increase, business owners will face mandated increases in payroll expenses. For a business to operate successfully it must have more income than expenses. This makes achieving that goal more difficult.

Every employee who was making more than the old minimum wage will get a raise to the new minimum. Those making above the minimum should also get their additional wages added to the new minimum, or they will not be happy.

Where will that money come from? Likely sources are higher product and service prices; reduced employee hours; fewer employees and perhaps more computers and robots. And, if these solutions are not sufficient to maintain profitability, businesses will close and jobs will be lost.

A July report from the Congressional Budget Office estimates that up to 3.7 million Americans would lose their jobs if the minimum wage were raised to $15 per hour by 2025.

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who claims to be an Independent, but is seeking the Democrat presidential nomination, claims the $7.25 minimum is “starvation wages.”

But – surprise, surprise – Bernie does not practice what he preaches. After his statements supporting a $15 minimum wage and raising the minimum above the “starvation” level, many of his campaign workers began complaining that he isn’t paying them at that level. 

It was reported that henceforth campaign workers will be paid at least $15 an hour, but some would have their hours reduced to keep wage expense down. 

Boom! Reality hit the Sanders campaign. But will Bernie learn the economics lesson, or continue to peddle the false narrative that every working person needs to make at least $15 an hour in order to stay alive?

However, because of all the harm this measure will do to the economy, the Republican-controlled Senate will almost certainly vote against the legislation, saving jobs.

In other news, a recent story in a South Carolina newspaper predicted that “by the middle of this century, the number of sweltering days in the Palmetto State is forecast to increase by more than 350 percent if little or nothing is done to stop man-made climate change,” and by “the end of the century, the increase could approach 600 percent.”

Global warming advocates will readily endorse this prediction, especially after last weekend’s very warm temperatures and heat indexes of 100 degrees or more. 

This discomforting prediction comes from a report by the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) showing that the United States is heating up rapidly due to climate changes, which these scientists attribute to human activities.
Increases in the number of days with extreme, dangerously hot weather can be expected to rise sharply in hundreds of cities across the country, the researchers say.
The UCS says it’s already too late to prevent all of the rising heat, but the country can slow down the trend with aggressive action to halt man-made global warming. The UCS did not propose that the nation adopt the wild and crazy Green New Deal, but conceivably might do so at some point.

If humans are causing this warming, can the United States really do enough to stop it? We have led the world in carbon emission reductions for years. Other nations, China and India, to name two, not only are not reducing carbon emissions, they are increasing them.

Why are Americans expected to sacrifice jobs, lifestyle and amenities to try to stop global warming? We must demand that the rest of the world, particularly China, India and the other culprits, catch up with our progress on emissions, and not punish ourselves.

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Public discourse on illegal immigration has become irrational

It is often said that the United States is “a country of immigrants,” meaning that it was immigration of good people from other countries that built America and made it the great nation that it became.

Centuries ago, people crossed the oceans to come to North America. The British colonies formed, and after some time dissatisfaction with the British Crown’s treatment led to the Revolutionary War and independence, and the United States of America was born.

People from many nations came here seeking a better life, and helped strengthen the new nation in many ways. That was a long time ago, and for several generations since that time the large majority of Americans are people who were born here, not who immigrated here. However, some still regard America as a nation of immigrants. 

Today, America is a nation of natural born citizens that accepts some immigrants.

America still values those good people who come here for a better life and to become loyal and productive Americans. And long ago a process was established whereby they may do so. 

Over recent decades, however, that process has developed weaknesses and has atrophied, creating the problems we face today from millions of people who have come here illegally. They have overwhelmed our system, and pose many problems and, yes, many dangers to the country and its citizens.

A boisterous faction of Americans believes that having a sensible and orderly process for vetting and admitting immigrants is cruel, even racist. In their eagerness to promote having no immigration process or rules, severe madness seems to have taken control of them.

Here are a few examples.

1. The “citizenship question” question: Two hundred years ago the U.S. began asking those filling out census forms if they were citizens. It is not unusual for census forms to have had that question included. 

President Donald Trump wants to put the question back on the census form for 2020. Oddly, there was strong opposition to that very sensible and long-standing idea. In fact, Trump’s enemies called him a dictator for wanting to ask that question.

2. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., responded to Trump’s order to deport certain illegals. There are approximately one million illegal aliens whose claim of asylum was denied, and who were ordered to leave the country, but haven’t. Pelosi said, "A violation of status is not a reason for deportation."

These illegals were contacted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement about scheduling an orderly removal, and have ignored all those efforts.

"When I saw that the president was going to have these raids — I mean it was so appalling; it's outside the circle of civilized human behavior to just be kicking down doors, splitting up families, and the rest of that, in addition to the injustices that are happening at the border," she said, later adding, “what's the point?" 

Unless those who have been ordered deported resist their legal removal, the removal process will not fit the wild description Pelosi’s over-active imagination dreamed up. Further, she has publicly urged illegal aliens to resist deportation. 

“This brutal action will terrorize children and tear families apart,” Pelosi said, completely ignoring that none of these people are supposed to be here in the first place, and refused to obey orders to leave the country.

Trump’s response: “If people who ignore court orders & stay in the U.S. illegally are not deported, we do not have rule of law … Democrats have become the party that puts illegal immigrants first!”

3. Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., said in a press conference regarding illegals being detained, "It's hard to be up here to tell this story as a mother and as an American." She said that these people were not in U.S. "custody" but in "our care." 

“First, no one is illegal,” Tlaib declared. “That term is derogatory now because it dehumanizes people,” she said, in a House Oversight committee hearing. “You can say any other forms of maybe ‘coming in without any regulations’ or so forth …” 

"We don't need new laws; we need morality. We need an administration that understands there are human rights violations happening.” She added, “And you know, this is a choice by the current administration, they are choosing to not allow asylum seekers to go through the legal process.” Oooops!

4. The notorious Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., recklessly compared holding facilities for detainees – which are compelled by the number of illegals in the country to contain thousands more detainees than they were designed to house – to the “concentration camps” of the Holocaust where millions of innocent Jews were tortured and murdered. 

Illegals being in the country doesn’t bother these and other Democrats; they really aren’t inconvenienced by this situation. They champion allowing millions of illegals to enter the country, and be well cared for. But they would never allow illegals to move into their neighborhoods or homes. 

Illegals definitely do cause problems for citizens, and the nation. Illegal immigration costs millions of tax dollars, for which we get minimal, if any, return, and some commit vicious crimes.

We must get illegal immigration under control.

Friday, July 12, 2019

The national debt is one big problem nobody’s doing anything about



The national debt currently is more than $22,000,000,000,000 – that’s 22 trillion dollars – and growing by the minute. No one in Washington seems very concerned about it. What’s worse is that this situation has existed for decades.

Data from the Office of Management and Budget shows that of the ten presidents who were in office when the debt grew the most, all but two were 1970 and after. In case you can’t call them to mind, they are, in order: Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, Barack Obama, and Donald Trump.

The four who ran the highest deficits, as reported by Kimberly Amadeo, writing in The Balance, are, from worst to least bad:
* Barack Obama, leading the pack with $6.785 trillion. 
* President George W. Bush is next, racking up $3.293 trillion.
* President Ronald Reagan added $1.412 trillion.
* President George H.W. Bush created a $1.03 trillion deficit in one term. 

However, Amedeo explains, blaming the president is too easy because other factors play a role. She listed the following:
1. The president has no control over the mandatory budget or its deficit. That includes Social Security and Medicare benefits. These are the two biggest expenses any president has. 
2. The Constitution gave Congress, not the president, the power to control spending. The president’s budget is just a starting point. Each house of Congress prepares a discretionary spending budget. They combine them into the final budget that the president reviews and signs. 
3. Each president inherits many of his predecessors' policies. For example, every president suffered from lower revenue.
4. Some presidents have to deal with catastrophic events. President Obama responded to the worst recession since the Great Depression. President Bush reacted to the 9/11 terrorist attacks and Hurricane Katrina. Their required responses came with economic price tags.

The point here is that every year since Nixon was elected president, except for four, there has been a budget deficit, and that is a serious problem that is not being addressed. The national debt is more than six times the annual federal revenues of recent years.

Justin Bogie, Senior Policy Analyst in Fiscal Affairs at The Heritage Foundation, addressed this problem in an article last month. “Despite the strong economy, the nation remains in a precarious and unsustainable budget position, just as it was last year,” he wrote. “Debt held by the public is set to rise to nearly one and a half times the size of the economy in the coming decades.”

Some want to blame the Trump tax cuts for causing the problem, or if not causing it, making it worse. Actually, despite the tax cuts, or as a result of the tax cuts, federal revenues have risen since 2017. 

The Congressional Budget Office shows that for 2017, before the tax cuts took effect, federal revenue totaled $3.316 trillion. After the tax cuts took effect revenue rose by $14 billion to $3.330 trillion in 2018, and the CBO projects revenue of nearly $200 billion more than 2017 at $3.511 trillion for 2019.

Federal tax collections were the highest in history in 2018 and 2019. So, the problem is not a revenue problem, because with sensible policies revenue can increase even beyond 2018 and 2019 levels. 

What we have is a problem of spending, further complicated by some slight of hand by Congress.

“Congress utilizes a wide variety of gimmicks and accounting tricks to hide the true costs of legislation,” Bogie writes in another Heritage article. “This allows Congress to spend more and more — evading fiscal discipline and adding billions of additional dollars to the federal debt each year.”

Such tricks include: Timing Shifts - shifting in what year revenues or expenses may be reported; using Disaster and Emergency Spending to circumvent budget caps; double counting Federal Trust Fund savings; not accounting for interest costs in Legislative Cost Estimates, and other such deceptions.

Obviously, closing these loopholes should be a first step in restoring fiscal sanity to the budget process. But closing and/or consolidating government agencies to remove duplication of services; eliminating wasteful policies and programs, as well as ending overreaching and underperforming government programs; and general belt-tightening, not unlike businesses utilize, to stay in business can make a substantial difference.

These are common sense steps. But they go by the wayside in our gargantuan government that is infected by self-interest and political motivations, things elected officials and bureaucrats often put ahead of what’s best for the country and the citizens whose taxes pay their salaries, and fund this malfeasance.

The Government Accountability Office’s “Annual Report” lists steps to reduce costs, reduce fragmentation, overlap, and duplication within federal agencies and programs. When followed, they produced positive change in the past.

And, The Heritage Foundation has produced a report titled “Blueprint for Balance,” that “presents a holistic vision for how to rein in out-of-control government spending, create a more accountable and effective budget process, and balance the budget in 10 years.”

The Heritage blueprint outlines how government can cut $10.8 trillion over 10 years, extend the tax cuts, and eliminate deficits by 2029. 

It’s time to focus on this problem.

Tuesday, July 02, 2019

To Democrat candidates, America really is the land of the free!




Most Americans understand that America’s reputation for freedom comes from its providing opportunities for all to do mostly as they please, with certain sensible restrictions, to pursue happiness and success at their own pace.

That philosophy worked well for more than 200 years, but lately has come under attack by the left as being inadequate to provide a free and easy life to people, including those among us who are not citizens, and even if they are here illegally.

Today, to the left, “the land of the free” means “the land of the free stuff.”

And, yes, there is evidence for that statement: The public statements made at the first two Democrat debates between hopefuls for the party’s nomination for president.

Human Events reports the following list of the free stuff the Democrat candidates have offered: Free College; Free Healthcare; Cancellation of Student Loan Debt; Reparations for African-Americans; Reparations for Same-Sex Couples; Free Childcare; Free Housing; Free Income; and Free Healthcare for Illegal Immigrants.

It would be a challenge to compile a list of things that are more contradictory to the American ideals of individual freedom and individual responsibility than this list.

Among other problems, such as the enormous cost of these gifts, this list produces government control of nearly every aspect of life, something liberals, socialists and communists all love with a passion.

After being driven to a war for their independence, and winning it, the colonies formed a government set forth in the U.S. Constitution that was unique and has proven itself very successful. It offered a huge degree of individual freedom, guaranteed many specific rights, and promised to all the ability to determine their own future and to work to succeed at it.

And today’s Democrats want to undo all or much of that good work, and become like so much of the rest of the world, turning over our individual sovereignty to the government in return for free stuff, and “one-size-fits-all” programs that never work the way they are advertised, if they work at all.

Let’s look at free healthcare, “Medicare for All,” as it is called.

The FY2020 federal budget calls for $3.65 trillion in revenue, but $4.75 trillion in spending, producing a deficit of $1.1 trillion. The projected cost of free healthcare is $32.6 trillion over 10 years, or $3.26 trillion a year. That takes nearly all of the revenue projected for FY2020.

And since “free stuff” isn’t free, that money must come from somewhere. Taxes will go up to pay for these vote-buying efforts. A lot. On everybody, not just the hated rich, the 1 percent. And restrictions on healthcare services and providers will inevitably follow, limiting freedom.

Other promises also require the government to take your money to fund them. “Education should be a right, not a privilege,” so said Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders. “We need a revolution in the way that the United States funds higher education.”

In his argument for free college, Sanders makes a somewhat valid point, saying that people need education beyond what the K-12 public schools provide. He notes that many years ago a high school education was enough to prepare people for many entry-level jobs. But that has changed. 

Automation has replaced many of those jobs, and feel-good – but foolish – objectives like a mandated $15/hour minimum wage, will hasten those jobs being replaced by machines that cost less, don’t take vacations, and don’t often get sick.

Sanders’ idea of an expensive college education for everyone is silly. Many good paying jobs go unfilled because potential workers are often in college getting a degree that won’t help them get a job, instead of in training programs that will prepare them to work. Making college free for all is not just unnecessary, but just plain dumb. It will benefit colleges far more than students. And will cost billions.

The target audience for these wild, socialistic ideas have given little if any thought to their likely repercussions. And it’s not easy to tell whether those promoting the free stuff are merely trying to attract voter support, or working toward eventual government control over every aspect of our lives, or both. 

Democrats/liberals want to offer freedom: freedom from personal responsibility; freedom from having to work to achieve your goals and support yourself; freedom to allow the government to tell you what you can and cannot do with your life, etc.

These promises will turn what is still largely a nation of self-sufficient people into a nation of people that are dependent upon government. That is not what America is all about.

It is better for each of us, and it is better for America, when people have to show that they have what it takes to make something of themselves and take care of themselves and their family. This system has worked extremely well since the nation’s founding nearly two and one-half centuries ago. 

It is an critical omen that so many actually like these ideas, which indicates that they don’t know or understand the wisdom of the country’s sensible traditions.

Those who champion these foolish ideas must never be elected president, or to any other national office. 

Saturday, June 29, 2019

Oh how do I hate thee, Donald Trump? Let me count the ways



Donald Trump is a different thing to different people. And exactly what he is depends entirely upon one’s general liking or disliking of him.

Since he had the gall to win the nomination over several mainstream Republican candidates, and then dared to defeat “she who must be elected” – it was her turn, you know – he has been persona non grata to everyone on the left, many in the center, and more than a few on the right.

He believes in saying what he thinks, and those comments usually aren’t polite. Of course, saying inflammatory things is a Trump trademark, and anyone who criticizes him must be prepared for a counter-attack, which is inevitably harsher than the original barb. Even a mild criticism brings a strong retort.

This penchant for strong responses contributed to the high level of dislike that even some of those who share political and ideological positions with him felt, and still feel.

Of the several things about him that people dislike, his caustic manner may top the list. As a result of this trait, much of the negative reactions are of a personal nature, rather than a substantive nature. Like-minded Republicans also dislike Trump for his manner.

They agree with him, for example, on lowering taxes so that Americans keep more of their earnings; doing away with economy-slowing regulations to promote job creation; wanting stronger border security to lessen the many negatives that accompany the way-too-high number of illegal aliens in the country; expecting our allies to assume more of the cost of their own national security, and other very sensible things. But they still don’t like him.

All of these individual dislikes add up to one major issue: Donald Trump is cut from a different mold; he is not like those of the Washington establishment. He doesn’t think like they do, talk like they do, or behave like they do. And that, it turns out, is his greatest sin: “He’s not one of us.”

When someone does things differently, others object. They don’t want to have to adapt to something different. That’s hard work. They like things as they are.

Imagine baseball as a game that consists, at all levels, only of right-handed players. Then along comes a left-handed pitcher. All the hitters have to adapt, and even the guy’s own catcher has to adapt. The motion on the mound is different. Curve balls curve a different way.

Chaos! Who wants to have to adapt to that? 

Outside observers say, “So what’s the big deal?” But to the insiders, the establishment, it doesn’t matter how good the guy is; how many strikeouts he collects; how few runs the opponents score. The players are focused only on the fact that he doesn’t fit into their way of doing things. 

Trump is that southpaw. He an outsider, an invader, and he has caused chaos. Therefore, he must be opposed. He cannot be allowed to succeed. Even the good that he does must be opposed, lest there be others like him that will follow him and destroy their happy home.

And the establishment of elected and hired hands – the swamp – has decided that he must be impeached, or otherwise removed from the office to which the American people elected him. “Nothing will stand in our way. Trump must be removed, at all costs!” is the new dictum.

The swamp, the “Get Trump” faction, includes elements of the American news media, including beat reporters, editors, news directors, producers, publishers and owners. 

Stories he just doesn’t like, or which actually fail the accuracy test, as many do, are labeled “fake news.” News outlets indulging in the aforementioned are criticized, such as “the failing New York Times.” He also refers to some outlets and personnel as “the enemy of the people.”

His frequent criticisms produced reactions from the media, such as that he is challenging the freedom of the press. That, of course, is a fundamental element of our nation guaranteed by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. And the charge is often accepted as truth without question, or even fact checking.

Media personalities are quick to raise this as an important and dangerous act previously unheard of in all of our history. They have, however, so far neglected much actual history that runs contrary to their narrative. This may be because they, themselves, do not know the truth of that allegation, or it may be because it is an inconvenient truth.

But best selling author Mark Levin, in chapter four of his fantastic new book “Unfreedom of the Press,” details actions by five former presidents that actually did attack press freedoms.

These attacks started way back with John Adams, and include presidents Abraham Lincoln, Woodrow Wilson, Franklin Roosevelt, and, yes, Barack Obama.

There is not room here to detail those activities, but Levin shows quite clearly that nothing Trump has done even approaches the attacks on press freedom imposed by those five. In fact, Trump’s criticisms are child’s play in comparison. 

The information is there for all to see, if any are interested in the truth. But many, perhaps most, won’t go to the trouble.

Friday, June 21, 2019

Vote buying is alive and well in Democrat campaign positions

If a campaign worker slips you a ten or a fifty as you head into a polling place, or promises you a week at the beach, that is a crime; election fraud.

Another way, a legal way, of encouraging folks to vote the right way is through campaign promises to deliver free stuff to people through government programs, if that candidate wins the election.

As it turns out, such techniques fit neatly into the goals of far-left Democrats who openly advocate socialist ideals. 

Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren wants to cancel the student debt of most of those who still owe money. She proposes cancelling up to $50,000 each for some 42 million former students. And then, make two- and four-year college tuition free.

Along with a cadre of other Democrat hopefuls, Warren supports Medicare for All. This would cancel out private health insurance and provide free healthcare to all U.S. residents, courtesy of the federal government, which would control prices, and everything else related to healthcare.

Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont wants to provide a living wage to everyone, regardless of whether they have any skills, or whether they have ever had a paying job before, by mandating that employers must pay all workers $15 an hour, or $31,200 in gross pay for a year of 40-hour workweeks. 

Free health care for all is, he believes, necessary, as is a tuition-free college education. And for those who have student debt, ol’ Bernie would cut their debt in half and slash interest rates on refinanced loans on what’s left to pay.

Other candidates – Cory Booker of New Jersey, Kamala Harris of California, and Kirsten Gillibrand of New York – have co-sponsored the Debt-Free College Act. 

And Harris has an even better idea:just give away cash. She proposes that families making less than $100,000 a year receive up to $6,000 a year ($500 a month), or individuals making less than $50,000 a year could get up to $3,000 a year ($250 a month).

Warren also wants to pay reparations to the descendants of slaves. Slavery has not existed in the U.S. since 1865, roughly five generations ago.

With a bevy of candidates who want to give out lots of free stuff, even cash, some also want to give away things to immigrants, legal and illegal alike, all paid for by higher taxes.

 

Democrats are notorious for their dangerous degree of compassion for immigrants in general. And the more free stuff we offer, the more appealing is the idea of coming to America, legally or not.

While the actual number of illegals in the country is debated, a conservative estimate is between 10 and 12 million, and by far the largest group comes from Mexico, about 55 percent of the illegal population.

The Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) estimated the cost of illegal immigration on the country in 2017 was $116 billion. That figure is likely higher this year than in 2017.

FAIR estimates that $59.8 billion goes to educate children of illegal immigrants, the vast majority of which is paid for from property taxes at the local and state level.

Another $18.5 billion goes to healthcare, according to Chris Conover of the American Enterprise Institute. It includes: “about $4.6 billion in health services paid for by federal taxes, $2.8 billion in health services financed by state and local taxpayers, and another $3 billion bankrolled through ‘cost-shifting,’ i.e. higher payments by insured patients to cover hospital uncompensated care losses, and roughly $1.5 billion in physician charity care.”

Some cities and states even allow illegals to vote in elections, which devalues the franchise and diminishes the voting power of United States citizens. So far, illegals are forbidden from voting in federal elections.

Under the best of circumstances, which is that these candidates actually believe these ideas will work as advertised, history and present-day reality show us that socialism and socialist ideas like these most often fail miserably. And the evidence is there for all who care to see it.

The increasingly socialistic left points with pride to various countries that have instituted government control over systems that are privately controlled in the U.S. The healthcare system in countries like Canada, Great Britain and the Scandinavian countries is often held up as an example.

These are not true socialist countries, of course. They just dabble in select aspects of socialism and charge the necessary sky-high taxes to fund them. For all the supposed wonders of government healthcare, however, Norway, Sweden, and Denmark, three of the most frequently cited countries, are moving toward private health insurance. 

America was designed to allow great freedom for its citizens with a small and restricted government that would guarantee individual freedom, not interfere with it. After all, the truth is that the bigger the government, the smaller the citizen. 

Our federal government has grown to dangerous proportions, and the idea of imposing socialist methods on the people will further destroy what was and is the most unique and successful government system ever conceived.

We should not forget Margaret Thatcher’s brilliant point: “The great problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people’s money.”