Sept 18, 21 “Free College”
What an idea! First off if something is of no charge it has been proven beyond any doubt that people do not value it. There is no question many jobs today require education beyond secondary school. The question is how to fund.
Thankfully one of the best things about our system today is that education is not government provided, people can choose from multiple private and public offerings to meet their goals. Our current secondary, government education has failed the most needy of children as documented by the results based on testing. OK,OK let’s not teach to a test but lets’ be sure the kids with a high school diploma can perform to the expectations of an employer. Those results have been sliding for decades. If Congress does put a funding plan in place for further education, it WILL begin to governmentalize those who provide it, thus repeating a failing system that we see today in secondary education.
The alternative is to first take loans away from the Feds, put back in the private sector with controls, but give funds for deserving kids who may not qualify for a loan. Second, forgiving student debt provides an out and takes away responsibility from the person committing to a loan. Typical of the progressive attitude, create a problem then bail out those it affects. Student loan debt under Obama skyrocketed, graduations did not go up, now Biden wants to bail out those folks. College cost followed along, more money chasing slow increases in capacity. OF course the overwhelmingly progressive faculty are in support. Insane.
AEI has a a great article on the issue. https://www.aei.org/podcast/how-student-loans-became-a-national-catastrophe/?mkt_tok=NDc1LVBCUS05NzEAAAF_Y9MY06sCnU7EXt89hRisVU02wIrqTfvobftH5rJc9sLI2HsE0qjUoLtNA1Xvic9u0N4kwpZnp-MfzmvDzTbhflCm88w4JAMyjsPY9HMt-KA
Why can’t we look at the data before enacting a policy. This is like India, throw money away to get votes.
Sept 18, 21 Conservatism
Firing Line, with Margaret Hoover
I watched the original Firing Line hosted by Wm F Buckley, Jr. religously, subscribed to the National Review, and generally consider my self to be a conservative, leaning toward libertarian.
As Reagan said,” I didn’t leave the democrat party, it left me.” I feel the same today about the republican party. This week Margaret interviewed George Will. I recommend looking it up, a reasoned approach to civility in our disagreements, separation of powers, balanced budget, taking care of those in need and why our country has outperformed others, in most KPI’s.
Worth the 30 minutes. The show is on PBS. That in itself is interesting, Buckley always objected to taxpayer supported TV but acquiesced as he couldn’t get on TV through a commercial station.
Sept 17, 21 Tax the Rich? A Troll, Can we just get real about our financial predicament, Please!?
The Magic Slogan That Justifies Everything
Dear Weekend Jolter,
We should probably talk some more about the dress.
You know the one, of Chick-fil-A color scheme and in-your-face situational unawareness. This newsletter is referring, of course, to AOC’s outfit. (Apologies if you’re all dressed-out by now.)
To walk things back a skosh, AOC likely knows full well what she’s doing and is situationally quite aware. She must get the hypocrisy of flaunting the words “Tax the Rich” on her dress at this week’s $35,000-per-head Met Gala. It’s a troll. She went all in, for the sake of the message.
But that message does help crystallize the thinking behind the ungodly sums in Democrats’ spending bills, which is why we should talk about it.
“Tax the Rich” is hardly a new idea. Before 1981, it was the policy of the U.S. government. The thinking goes that if only we can do that again, at that level or higher, any amount of spending can be covered. So let it rip.
If the investments Washington contemplates were on the level of, say, a small war, perhaps that would be true. But they are decidedly not. The Tax Foundation, a couple years ago, looked at one AOC proposal to tax incomes over $10 million at 70 percent Over ten years, this wouldn’t close a single year’s deficit — even at pre-pandemic levels — and probably wouldn’t cover a single year’s interest payment on the debt, let alone a $3.5 trillion budget bill. Nevertheless, this past week, House Democrats released an extensive tax plan that generally adheres to that same slogan — complete with higher individual, capital-gains, and corporate tax rates. It’s estimated to raise over $2 trillion. It’s still not enough.
NR’s editorial succinctly addresses this shortfall:
House Democrats have put forward a worst-of-both-worlds tax proposal: punishing enough to do real damage to the U.S. economy and individual households, but not nearly enough to pay for the trillions upon trillions of dollars of new spending Joe Biden and his congressional allies have put into play.
What we’ve got here is a failure to elucidate. Politicians have convinced themselves, or maybe just their base (Kevin Williamson, for one, sees little evidence of sincerity here), that taxing the rich, while taking pains to spare the middle class, will pay for their promises. But it would in fact take middle-class tax hikes — fairly large ones — to pay for their agenda. They would need to go full Europe, as Rich Lowry explains:
This is where the Democrats are willing to talk the talk about a cradle-to-grave welfare state, but not walk the walk. There can be no European-style welfare state, at least not sustainably so, without European-style taxes.
The dirty secret about the Scandinavian countries that the Left constantly holds up as a model is that they aren’t afraid to tax the middle class. These alleged models of social justice tax more than we do and tax much more broadly, realizing that taxing the rich and corporations isn’t enough to fund extensive and generous social programs.
Jay Nordlinger puts it thusly: “If you want more revenue for the government — and we can debate that — you’re going to have to look to the multitudes: to the Great Middle. But no one wants to say that.” Brian Riedl does some math and comes to an alarming conclusion: “Using up all the ‘tax the rich’ options for the president’s new proposals would leave the wealthy unable to close the underlying — and unsustainable — $112 trillion in baseline deficits over the next 30 years, or finance progressive fantasies such as Medicare for All and the Green New Deal.”
NR’s editorial also notes that the proposal’s tax hikes on businesses would be felt by employees and customers alike, many of whom reside in that hallowed middle class.
Could the rich pay more? Sure, they could, and this writer would wholeheartedly support this as part of a comprehensive plan to balance the budget. [pauses to laugh hysterically, then regain composure] Anyway, David Harsanyi helps illuminate why this tactic yields diminishing returns, owing to the fact that the wealthy are covering a good deal of federal outlays already. And David gets at the nut of the problem, which incidentally is the premise of this newsletter:
The reality is that no politician is going to advocate raising middle-class income taxes, despite the ever-increasing cost of government. There is only the rich to tax. Consequently, it’s become easier to pass massive expansions of the state. Everyone expects someone else to foot the bill — either future generations or their wealthier neighbors.
Tax the Working Man doesn’t have the same visceral appeal. But Tax the Rich? That’s a slogan that keeps hope alive, and the money flowing. It suggests there’s a dollar match for every dollar of need out there. And conveniently for the sloganeers, the subtext once that imperative accompanies a massive spending proposal is that any opposition reflects a craven and mulish refusal to hit the plutocrats in their George Costanza wallets. So say it loud.
Green New Deal? Tax the Rich. Medicare for All? Tax the Rich. Canada’s got problems? You’d better believe, Tax the Rich.
It’s the slogan that justifies anything and everything. It is, without question, way better than Drill, Baby, Drill. No wonder AOC donned it. She’ll probably be invited back.
Sept 16, 21Gerrymandering
An editorial in the Journal caught my interest.
“Is Racial Gerrymandering Going Out of Style”
Many folks are now saying that “protected” congressional districts really are not in our country’s best interest, I agree. Plenty of folks have been elected with votes from a race different from theirs.
MLK Jr. famously said, “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”
Hopefully these folks will prevail and districts will look somewhat normal and candidates will have to appeal to a broad spectrum of people and interests. Having a congress where 85% of the districts are safe is not in our country’s best interest.
Sept 15, 21 Energy
In today’s WSJ were articles about the price of energy in Europe. In the last 20 years the price of energy has quintupled, that is gone up times 5, as an example, from $1 to $5 per unit of energy.
Why is that? Climate change as it is now called, Global Warming before the numbers didn’t support the warming part as predicted caused reactions that reduced the supply of traditional power and beefed up production of much higher cost power. Nuclear plants shut down after the Japanese tidal wave-in Germany and other places, tidal wave risk? No, “Green” parties and groups screaming an yelling about fossil fuels, a young woman who sailed across the Atlantic to make a vacuous speech at the UN, etc. Meanwhile the US has reduced carbon emissions in line with Europe without the same hysteria. China is now the largest emitter and no matter what they say or do could care less about the trend. India is number two. Both are increasing every year.
Science. We are supposed to believe the scientists, yet hypocrisy rules as usual. We haven’t figured out yet how to store energy from bird killing windmills, or lizard killing solar in the desert economically, maybe we will in the future, that would be nice. Hydro power is available but permitting more dams is out of the question, too much environmental damage and ruining wild and scenic rivers. Yet nuclear is still off limits. OK, let’s not build one near a tsunami zone, but France seems OK with generating 80% of its’ electricity with nuclear. Thus following the science isn’t really a basic go to, only when it is convenient.
As usual we see no negotiation from either side. Only pointing fingers and calling of names. Do we as a country all agree that our energy prices should double or triple from where they are now? They are up twice in the same period that Europe’s have gone up five times. That kind of increase puts a great burden on those who don’t have excess cash to spend on energy. Do we want to depend on Russia, or the Arab countries for fossil fuels versus being independent just to say we eliminated our own fossil fuel production?
We should continue policies that reduce our gross emissions over time, and as a percent of GDP. We should invest in research to increase the capacity of batteries for the home, transportation and grid support; fusion reactors; fuel cell technology; grid updating and efficiency; etc. But we must also ensure we do not impose another undue cost on our economy to meet the desires of the perfect world folks. Evolution, not revolution. Europe’s economy has grown 30-50% slower than ours over time.
Economic growth is the key tactic to reduce poverty, provide assistance to others in need, ensure our citizens see hope in the future.
Sept 14 21, “Can’t we just get along/”
September 14, 2021
“A republic, if you can keep it.” Ben Franklin on the day the Constitution passed.
Secretary of State Blinken testified yesterday to a House committee, a Senate committee today. I expect nothing of importance to be gained, one side will call him all kinds of names and excoriate him for his role in the pullout; the other will ignore gross malfeasance. It looks like Benghazi rising from the ashes. What a waste of time as nothing will change.
Our government is like two bull elephants butting heads over the right to mate with a female in rut. Both win at various times, but they still fight. Instead, they ought to cooperate with each other and both mate with the willing female.
Both sides have good ideas. One of the proposals in the $3.5 Trillion bill in the house is support for child care. This is a good idea. Women are now 47% of the workforce, up dramatically 70 years ago, thus child care is important. The new bill talks about subsidizing these expenses, phasing out any support for a family making 150% of the state median income ($51,734 in 2019 for Alabama). So, if your family made $77,601 or more, no subsidy. If you make $38,805 or less, you pay nothing. As usual, this is theoretically a good idea.
But, is there a work requirement? I can’t find one. If someone doesn’t want to work should the taxpayer subsidize child care for their children? This subsidy should not provide support for those who are able, but refuse to work. We have seen what happens when government benefits provide enough income for a person to not work, as of today there are 10,000,000 jobs available, some folks are not willing to work, yet.
Secondly, if a person stays home to care for their child, is that person eligible to be paid for child care? If another family member takes care of a relative’s child but is not an authorized “Child Care Facility”, will they get paid? Our systems today have become so bureaucratized and licensing requirements so burdensome no wonder it costs so much for formal child care. Is there any mention of these issues, of course not!
The proposal was not generated in a bi-partisan fashion since the intent is to raam it through via budget reconciliation. Both sides use this method to avoid negotiating and compromising, a terrible habit.
Back to my first point: One of the consequences of the “No Religion” movement is that people have forgotten that loving your neighbor is a requirement for peace on earth. It is OK to hate those who disagree with you about whatever, and this is endemic on both sides of the aisle. Our current president is just as dismissive of those who disagree with him and the previous one. Maybe not quite as nasty, but the results is the same. Both talked about “Unity” on inauguration day and then proceeded to trash the opposition, or their own party if someone disagreed. AOC, Maxine Waters, Pelosi, Schumer, etc. do this every day. So do the leaders of the other side. I support the problem solver caucus via No Labels.
Rodney King of LA riots fame said, “Why can’t we all just get along.” Yeah, why not!
Executive leaders who fail to enforce the law should be removed, or resign
What happened in DC on my 74th birthday is an abomination. Our current president is responsible in so many ways, in his thoughts, words, and deeds, by what he has done, and by what he has left undone. He has not loved all with his whole heart; he has not loved his neighbors as himself. He is a flawed individual who saw a group of citizens who had been ignored by both parties and offered up a path forward. He should resign and let Mike Pence finish out the term. But, he not the only one responsible!
So should all of those in Congress who from the day he was nominated to all the days after the election in 2015 conspired to destroy the president in various ways: using the FBI and other agencies to spy on him and those around him; putting forth a false narrative about collusion; pronounce they had seen hard evidence that justified impeachment; never made any, any effort to meet his administration halfway; need I go on? They should also resign.
So should all the governors and mayors who did nothing, or actually supported those who turned peaceful protests into violence, property destruction and injury.
So should the “journalists” on both sides who fed the hate rather than push for compromise and bi-partisanship. I think every time a talking head is not reporting news there should be a chyron stating, “This is my opinion, I am a progressive (conservative).” I do not want Facebook, et al. to be censoring content based on their “rules” with regard to political commentary.
All those who participated in those riots should also be charged, whether yesterday or over the past few years.
Our democracy needs disagreement and compromise. I send money each year to “No Labels” an organization that supports bi-partisanship in Congress. My letters to DC ask and hope for the same. Totalitarian tendencies exist on both sides of the aisle, we need leaders who will listen to outside their philosophical bubbles rather than toe the line of party leaders. They are few and far between.
I voted for Trump because I supported most of his policies. What he did resulted in higher wages for those whose pay had been flat, encouraged people to open businesses by reducing regulations, began to address the illegal actions of China on the business side, stood up to our allies who were not pulling their weight on defense, appointed judges who read the law and decided on the written law, not on their opinion of what it should be, and other actions. We had more freedom to pursue our own vision of happiness, I am mostly convinced our President elect will reverse all those policies, since he was VP when our former President put them in place. I do not support most of the Democrat policies which put more power in the hands of the government. I am one of those who “clings to my Bible and guns” as our former President said in 2007.
We are facing very significant external threats to our way of life; China, Russia, Iran and other generators of intolerance and terrorism. We can’t defend ourselves if we remain this divided.
The government has a role to play in our society, but as Lord Acton said, “Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely.”
2020 Election, Free but not Fair
With great reluctance I voted again for Trump. Yes I am a racist, xenophobe, war monger, privileged, upper middle class, despicable, etc. person.
What I am not is a person who thinks the elite politicians on both sides of the aisle have all the answers. They have led us to underestimate the threat of our foes, China-Russia-Iran-etc. for decades. They have refused to compromise thus allowing law to be ignored and power transferred to the Supreme Court and Executive branches. They have embraced globalism thus penalizing American industry. And more!
Trump properly identified the great deal of anger and disenchantment of many non traditional republicans while Hillary ignored those folks. Trump also through his many character and leadership faults failed to establish a secure base.
I am convinced a more powerful government, a divided Congress that refuses to compromise will undermine the experiment that started in 1776. Ben Franklin said it best, “..a republic madam, if you can keep it.” With all our faults our experiment has produced outcomes that raised more people to economic freedom than any other country of our size and amazing diversity.
We can become like other countries and become de facto wards of the state, giving up liberties and the opportunity to succeed and fail on our own merits. I am not a red dog republican, I have a lot of disagreements with what the establishment on my side of the aisle puts forth. But the alternative to embrace the progressive side is much worse for the well being of our citizens.
The election was free, no voter suppression. It was mostly unfair as the supposedly objective press core waged a four year war against Trump. The FBI was used to create false accusations proven false by a progressive leaning prosecutor. Trump is an easy guy to dislike, I don’t like him, or respect him much. Journalism has fallen to the range of used car salesperson, facts are ignored, opinion is pushed out as news. Sad! and dangerous for the future of our experiment in government.
Let’s remember the second part of the great commission, “Love you neighbor as yourself.”
Biden positions on immigration
Biden policies off his website, immigration
https://joebiden.com/immigration/. Plan for securing our values as a nation of immigrants.
Wow, now that is as vague a statement of policy that I have ever seen. This is lots of wishful thoughts with no real end point. I propose, “A plan to continue being the place where people who yearn to be free can come and contribute to the American experience.”
Barbara Jordan, the famous congressperson, was instrumental in our immigration policies that I think should be remembered by those who want no immigration, and to those want no limits, https://www.numbersusa.com/resource-article/barbara-jordans-vision-immigration-reform.
“Credibility in immigration policy can be summed up in one sentence: those who should get in, get in; those who should be kept out, are kept out; and those who should not be here will be required to leave.”
She talked about not flooding our country to the detriment of current citizens finding work, or suppressing wage growth through oversupply. Half of those without papers today, roughly 11,000,000, are allowed to stay through lack of action on their visas, or 5,000,000 people.
Those on the left think it is inhumane to keep people in detention centers while they await a court hearing. By not holding them we create an open door at our border; 90% of released entrants do not return for their hearing. Try going into Mexico or any other country like that!
So, Congress should set the number of immigrants we allow based on Rep. Jordan’s goal. The executive should enforce those limits. The courts should be resourced so that hearings are held quickly, thus no one is “caught and released.” People with expired visas that show no exit should be found and adjudicated. Only immediate families, not extended, should be let in. The progressives caterwaul about wages not rising yet they support massive immigration, supply and demand folks!
On to the Biden Harris proposals: The Obama administration separated families, just google it. Criminals in the US are separated from their families. Trump has been more aggressive, but it is a lie that this has not occurred before.
Biden focuses a lot on cargo coming into the country versus people, which is a diversion. Yes we should check cargo but that isn’t the issue, illegal immigrants are; they are trying to bait and switch.
Looking at research there is much on both sides of whether immigrants contribute, or deplete our financials. Biden only quotes that which supports his policy, believe me there is a equal amount disagreeing with his $2 trillion contribution.
The bill he talks about was a partisan bill like Obama care where conservative input was rebuked. Thus executive orders were used, thus Congress abdicated its’ power. I cannot figure out why the extremes of both sides do not understand they must compromise to retain the power they should have.
The first 100 Days: Trump has already stopped separating families. We let in some folks from Saudi Arabia in 2001 without proper vetting, big mistake, we must vet. If a country does not have enough information on a potential immigrant or visa request, we should not let them in.
We must be clear, because someone can’t find a job in their country they aren’t eligible for asylum. If they do qualify under strict guidelines and can be vetted, then let them in, I do not agree with arbitrary numbers.
Every one of my friends who have gone overseas for extended periods must prove they will not be a public burden. Saying immigrants can be a public burden is foolish and unfair to our citizens who need help.
DACA was terminated because Congress refused to negotiate; Trump doubled the number of people to be allowed in if Congress would fund some more wall and other request. Nancy put DACA in jeopardy.
TPS. DED. I would rather send money to adjacent countries to house people driven out by war, etc. There is no need to allow them in.
ICE and CPB: Another Democrat hit piece on law enforcement, rather than focusing on problems and fixing them.
I agree with integration, I wonder how the “Squad” feels about that. If you want to come to this country you should agree to become a part, not form your own little country within ours.
Regional meeting of Latin American countries: How many more times must nation building be brought up, it doesn’t work.
We are mostly immigrants and it is beautiful, and has been productive, and will continue to be. We must limit the number of people who we allow in and create filters to be sure they will be productive and engaged citizens who support our way of life, and not oversupply the labor markets thus reducing wage growth. This would require some compromise from both sides and a lessening of finger pointing and name calling. But, we must do so.