Public Education School Choice and Vouchers

Unfortunately, the Democrats in Congress (and some Republicans) are pitching a fit over Betsy DeVos’s nomination for Secretary of Education.  The crux of their arguments seem to be that vouchers will somehow “drain resources” from public schools (though Charter Schools are public schools) and thus “ruin public education.”  They also feel that government money should not be used for private, especially religious, education.  These arguments are, how should I put it… rubbish.

Continue reading “Public Education School Choice and Vouchers”

Betsy DeVos for Secretary of Education

https://goo.gl/5s9HSN

Jeff Sessions. Rex Tillerson. “Mad Dog” Mattis.  There are a lot of high-profile Senate confirmation hearings going on these next few weeks, and inevitably many Democrats will make up lies and propaganda in a vain attempt to block the confirmation of what I believe (for the most part) to be a world-class Cabinet.  I’d like to focus here on one of the nominees that many outside the education field are overlooking – Education Secretary nominee Betsy DeVos. Continue reading “Betsy DeVos for Secretary of Education”

An Open Letter to the Incoming Attorney General

Dear Senator Sessions:

First, I want to congratulate you on your selection as U.S. Attorney  General.  While I may disagree with some of your positions, I am glad that the United States will finally have an Attorney General who takes the law seriously, and champions equal justice under the law.
On November 8 and in years past, several states voted to legalize marijuana for recreational and/or medical use.  While I myself am not a user of this substance, I do have concerns that the Department of Justice will attempt to reverse the great strides our nation has made toward the ending of draconian laws and failed policies where drug use is concerned. Continue reading “An Open Letter to the Incoming Attorney General”

A Better Voting Method



Our election system has a major problem.  Many of us are tired of the two party system, yet we wind up voting for a major party because we feel that a Libertarian candidate can’t win, or we feel that a vote for A is “really” a vote for B.  We have, at least at statewide and federal elections a system of voting called “first past the post”, in other words whoever gets the most votes wins.  This voting system in and of itself has structural flaws.

Continue reading “A Better Voting Method”

Soak the rich? Or, How to Run the Country on $10 billion per day

I wrote this a while ago regarding Bernie Sanders, but it still applies to Crooked Hillary.
———–
Ok I’m seeing a lot of back and forth on this commentary, and I myself have been a bit reactionary with my comments as well.  Although I’m vehemently against Sen. Sanders’s economic policies, I can see why he has the appeal that he does.  I agree he’s a charismatic Washington outsider, he’s probably the most honest person in the race right now (though next to Clinton and Trump that’s not saying much).  I believe his heart is in the right place.  That said, it’s important to understand why his plans cannot possibly work.  The numbers just don’t add up.
Unfunded liabilities are the difference between the net present value of expected future government spending and the net present value of projected future tax revenue, particularly those associated with Social Security and Medicare.  At usdebtclock.org, federal unfunded liabilities are estimated at near $127 trillion, which is roughly $1.1 million per taxpayer and nearly double 2012’s total world output.  The United States Gross Domestic Product or GDP, is the measure of national income and output for a given country’s economy. In other words. The gross domestic product (GDP) is equal to the total expenditures for all final goods and services produced within the country in a stipulated period of time.  The US in 2016 has a GDP of about $16.77 trillion which according to the Congressional Budget Office will increase to about $28 trillion in this same 10 year period.  So the unfunded liabilities all by themselves are almost eight times the combined wealth for every person and business in the entire country.  To put another way, suppose your annual income is, say, $40,000 per year.  You have $320,000 of credit cards that are maxed out and you’re now out of work.  What do you think a bank will say when you go for another credit card or loan?  That is the exact situation we have.  You can talk about what’s “fair” or pull the heartstrings all you want, but the numbers don’t lie.  On top of all that, we have a $19 trillion dollar deficit to individuals and foreign nations, and Bernie Sanders is planning at least $18 trillion in new spending over a decade, according to a tally by The Wall Street Journal.  including $15 trillion for Health care, $1.2 trillion for Social Security, and $750 billion for “college affordability.” (Source: Gerald Friedman, UMass Amherst, Sanders Campaign, Social Security Administration):
The common refrain is “just make the rich pay their fair share.”  First, it’s morally not up to anyone to define what “rich” is, or dictate how much money people should be able to make or keep.  But even if we ignore that, it won’t work in the first place.  There are 3.8 million households in 2010 making $250,000 per year or more (roughly top 3-4%).  Suppose we were just to take every penny of their wealth above $250,000.  I don’t just mean a higher tax, I mean cap earnings at $250,000, everything else is forfeited to the government.  So what would happen if we tried to do that?  The mean salary of people in the top 3 percent is $402,476, so if we let them keep $250K, we’ll collect on average (402K-250K)=$152,000.  Multiply by 3.8 million households and we get $578 Billion.  Sounds impressive, but our budget in 2011 was $3.561 TRILLION!  So soaking everyone in the top 3% would generate about SIXTEEN PERCENT of ONE year’s budget, and that’s not even touching the federal deficit or the unfunded liabilities.
An Internet blogger named “Iowahawk” ran the numbers, and though this data is about five years old, the problem has if anything gotten worse.  If we took every cent of profit from each of the Fortune 500 companies, every cent of ad money spent on all 45 Super Bowls, the combined salaries of all players in the NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL, 100% of every penny earned over $250,000, end the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, kill off all billionaires and near billionaires and take all their money, and end all foreign aid, it would net us (in 2010) $3.561 Trillion.  Sounds impressive, but the 2011 Federal budget was $3.603 trillion, and even the total tax revenue was “only” $2.303 trillion.  That’s barely one quarter of our national debt.  Of course once we’ve done this, we’ve killed nearly every cent of capital in the U.S., destroyed all jobs and since people can’t keep anything above $250,000, nobody has any incentive anymore to star businesses, invent, or innovate.
I’ll make this real simple:  How do you expect any of this to actually work?
  1. Raise taxes on the rich.
  2. ???????
  3. We create more jobs and growth.
Anyone feel like filling in #2?  Seriously, the blindly devoted Bernie supporters out there talking about how Sanders is “obviously” the best person for the job.  Maybe in many ways he’s better than Clinton or Trump, but it’s easy to talk about new spending and social programs and spreading the wealth, if it’s someone else’s wealth you’re spreading around.
And on top of that, Sanders wants to add MORE social programs. EVEN IF YOU WERE TO LIQUIDATE OUR ENTIRE ECONOMY AND THE GOVERNMENT WERE TO SEIZE EVERY CENT FROM EVERYONE, that would not even pay for what we have now! What part of that do people not understand? You can talk about “fair” and “inequality” all you want, but fairness doesn’t put money in our banks, only private industry does that.

Why true conservatives should favor marijuana legalization


As a Libertarian, I will agree with the conservative movement on 90% of all issues.  I agree that we need a smaller government, lower taxes, more secure borders, strong stance against terrorism.  I also feel that the First & Second Amendments are under attack.  Christianity and gun laws are, in my opinion, being unfairly targeted.  Additionally I consider education to be an issue for the states and I will forever stand up against Common Core and top-down government interference into our lives.  However, I feel that if we’re going to be for liberty and individual freedom, there is no good reason why these freedoms should not extend to the bedroom and to the medicine cabinet.  This is why I support same-sex marriage and the legalization of marijuana.  I’m all for lower taxes and smaller government, but if we’re going to be for those principles, we have to go all the way with that thought – we cannot cherry pick which natural rights to uphold and wish to banish based on some code of morality.
I will attempt to lay out the case that favoring an end to drug prohibition is the right thing to do BECAUSE of Conservative principles, NOT in spite of them.  I not suggesting that we should abandon our principles in order to oppose drug prohibition.  Quite the opposite – I think that the principles that we were founded on, and the principles of conservatism that we fight for every day should in actuality COMPEL us to OPPOSE drug prohibition.  Supporting the legalization of marijuana, an end to the War On Drugs, abolishing of the DEA and repeal of the Controlled Substances Act is entirely consistent with conservative principles, and is something we should champion.  If a liberal opposed drug legalization, then while I wouldn’t agree with it, at least they’d be consistent, since the left likes top-down government regulation and nanny state laws.  We’re supposed to be better than that!
I feel that if you are for states’ rights, liberty and personal freedom, and are not willing to extend those rights to people who want to marry the one they love, and give patients the right to choose medical treatments  without Federal government interference, this is to me an inconsistent position.  It’s one thing to sit on the sideline.  There are many who, while they don’t support full legalization, do respect states’ rights and are at the very least willing to consider medical legalization.  That’s something that I can simply “agree to disagree” with.  But many conservative groups are openly attacking any type of legalization.  I find this to be a very disturbing stance.  What draws me and many Libertarians to the Conservative cause is our common goal for a free society, less government regulation and more personal freedom.  That’s something that Libertarians and Conservatives have in common.  Legalizing drugs is a natural progression for our principles if we follow them all the way through.  I want to be on the right side, I want to stand up to defeat Progressivism. But the reason many Libertarians like myself can’t get fully on board is, pardon my saying so, this stubborn and moral high-horse insistence on preserving antiquated and draconian laws that have no place in a free society. 

So with that said, I will outline what I feel are the biggest anti-marijuana arguments (and my rebuttals), and follow up with my own list of reasons (entirely from a conservative and constitutional point of view) why we should legalize.
ANTI-LEGALIZATION ARGUMENTS
#1: “Marijuana has no currently accepted medical use.”
Accepted by whom?  The government?  This is at best a vague statement.  It doesn’t say that the government or even physicians have to accept medical use (though many thousands of doctors do).  There are enough case studies to, if nothing else, show that there is plausibly a benefit.  How can we claim that marijuana has no medical benefit and should remain on Schedule I, while such scheduling prohibits exactly the type of research that is required to SHOW medical benefit in the first place?  Meanwhile other drugs like alcohol have even less benefit, yet these are widely available in every supermarket.  How is this logical? 
#2: “But it’s dangerous and addictive…”
Guns can be dangerous, alcohol can be dangerous and addictive, yet as conservatives we don’t bat an eye at them.  I am not anti-second Amendment or for alcohol prohibition.  Dangerous, addictive, potential for abuse – these are subjective terms.  Drinking a six-pack can be addictive.  Doing so and getting behind the wheel of a car is dangerous.  Alcohol is a drug.  It has no medical benefits, has a high potential for addiction and abuse, can be dangerous, and should be kept away from kids.  Yet it’s perfectly legal and (correctly) no one in their right mind would attack alcohol the way that our society attacks marijuana.  A pure double-standard.
#3: “But we need to keep it out of the hands of children…” 
I agree, but again, just like alcohol, we CAN do that without total prohibition.  In states where pot has been legalized, buying it is very much like buying liquor – you get carded to make sure you’re 21 before you’re allowed on the sales floor.  Yet children DO get hold of alcohol now.  How about we let parents handle this?  How about we have parents teaching their children about the facts of marijuana use, in the same way we teach them now about responsible gun use and being responsible with alcohol?  Yes marijuana SHOULD be kept away from children except under strict medical supervision.  It can impair thinking, slow the brain.  Driving with it is dangerous.  It is subject to abuse and can ruin people’s lives if done so.  All that is true about liquor as well, yet we tried banning alcohol in the 1920s.  How did that work out?  Have we as freedom-loving Americans learned NOTHING from prohibition?  I really thought it was the progressive left who wanted to leave parenting to top-down government agencies.  We’re supposed to be better than that!  It seems to me that this argument justifies banning a substance entirely just to keep it out of the hands of a few.  Liquor, guns, prescription drugs – we’ve all found ways to work with these, we have reasonable precautions in place to make sure that the wrong people don’t get hold of them.  None of these are guaranteed, but if we truly wanted a completely safe society, we’d have to ban alcohol, tobacco, caffeine, cars, airplanes, and any type of industry.  Sometimes you play the cost-benefit analysis and realize that we’re simply overreacting.   Of course recreational marijuana should be kept from children, I’m fully on board with that.  It can stunt mental growth and cause harm, and I don’t think that kids should get it unless it’s a last-resort medical treatment, but a blanket ban on a drug just so a segment of the population doesn’t get it?  That’s what the left says about the Second Amendment.  There are plenty of other things that we need to prevent kids from acquiring and we manage those just fine.  Of course they’re not perfect, but at what point to we put on our big-boy pants and realize that we just can’t protect the entire world from itself without taking away freedom?  If we’re so concerned with the example that we’re setting for our children, I would turn that around and say that what example is prohibition setting?  Kids are smart, they know that marijuana will not turn them into some zombie terrorist with one puff.  They see right through that.  All we’re teaching them is that we claim to stand for freedom… as long as we agree with those freedoms.  There’s no difference between that and the left wanting to quash free speech that THEY disagree with. 
#4: “Drugs lead to crime and dangerous drug trafficking and cartels.” 
This is in my opinion an illogical statement and a self-fulfilling prophecy.  The reason that drug cartels exist is BECAUSE it’s illegality creates a black market.  Drug trafficking exists BECAUSE of prohibition – we don’t have problem with bootlegging and moonshining anymore because since liquor is legal.  If a drug was legalized and/or decriminalized, the black market would dry up overnight because trafficking and smuggling would no longer be profitable.
PRO-LEGALIZATION ARGUMENTS
#1: It’s a Constitution and states’ rights issue.
At the very least, federal drug scheduling is, in my admittedly non-professional opinion, a violation of the Tenth Amendment.  There is simply nothing in the Constitution that gives the Federal government the authority to regulate non-violent personal habits.  The very existence of the Controlled Substances Act is a direct overreach of Federal authority.  Nowhere is this power enumerated to the Federal government in the U.S. Constitution.  At most, deciding whether to legalize or criminalize any substance should be on the state level. To quote Congressman Ron Paul, “According to the Constitution, legislation regarding drug use and abuse is a State level issue. The issue is not addressed specifically in the text of the U.S. Constitution, so it falls under the broad umbrella of powers that our Founders “left to the States and the people” in the 10th Amendment.”  Five of the top ten conservative U.S. Senators (according to the Conservative Review) rate C or B on the norml.org Congressional scorecard – while they may not personally be comfortable with legalization, they’re at the very least willing to consider medical use, decriminalization, or simply watching what happens in WA, AK, OR, and CO and letting the states decide for themselves.
#2: It’s a personal freedom issue
Our nation was founded on liberty and freedom and the right to pursue happiness.  Drug laws, just like education, are in my opinion the sole purview of the states under the Constitution’s Tenth Amendment.  We conservatives are supposed to value freedom, not take it away. I’m not a fan of cannabis, I will stipulate that it can do harm to people who consume it, but shouldn’t responsible adults be able to choose for themselves?  Why is it any of the government’s business what consenting adults put in their own body?  To me the argument should end right there. Staunch opponents claim that marijuana is somehow bad for society.  Can we be a tad more specific?   That sounds like high-horse moralism to me.  Yes it’s fine for us to have our beer and our guns but we have decided that you should be denied your own vices! I think we as a nation have had enough of “Reefer Madness.”  Again I would completely understand if conservatives in this country don’t actively advocate for drug legalization.  But when you openly attack it that is not something I can reconcile with my beliefs.  What happened to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”, that we have freedoms as long as we own up to the possible consequences.  The top down control that is the DEA scheduling laws, the nanny state intrusion of the government – this is stuff I would expect to hear from the Progressive left, not from patriots who claim to be for freedom!  Why do we oppose Obamacare?  Because (among other reasons) we don’t think that the government should have anything to do with medical decisions – yet when you oppose legalization on the grounds of harmful effects, you are saying just that – we can tell you not to take something because it’s bad for you.  Though I obviously can’t know this for sure, I would be willing to bet that the Founding Fathers would not have approved of laws like the Controlled Substances Act.  My #1 President of all time was Thomas Jefferson, and I can almost guarantee he is turning in his grave to see such a blatant overreach of centralized power.
#3: What exactly does “accepted medical use” mean anyway?
Shouldn’t parents have the right to choose a medical treatment for their children, done under close clinical supervision?  The tide is turning in America.  What are the FDA and DEA but large overpowering federal bureaucracies?  Why should we reduce or remove the IRS, the EPA, or the DOE, and tell Americans that they can have guns but they can’t marry who they want and consume what they want?  This is cherry-picking, wanting to preserve rights that you like, and quash rights for things you don’t like.  When I see conservative organizations advocate for drug scheduling, I see a desire for top-down government control, of nanny state regulation.  That is not what conservatism is about for me.
#4: True fiscal conservatism demands it.
We claim to be in favor of smaller government, and reduced spending.  We don’t like it when Federal bureaucracies overreach into the private lives of Americans.  What are the FDA and DEA but Federal bureaucracies?  How can we justify spending billions per year on a futile and unnecessary “war on drugs?” How can we claim to be fiscally conservative, yet fine with wasting billions per year chasing, arresting, prosecuting, and jailing otherwise law-abiding citizens for nothing more that possessing a natural plant?  To support the War on Drugs is to support top-down big government spending and control.  Again, this is an argument I’d expect to hear from the Progressive left, not patriots like us.

#5: Free-market capitalism

We claim to be in favor of a free market and job creation, yet we would stifle growth in an area where it’s been shown (ironically it can’t be scientifically proven only because studies can’t be done while on Schedule I) that this drug very possibly does have medical benefit for cancer patients, epileptics, depression and anxiety.  Marijuana is a billion-dollar market that creates jobs, revenue, and tax revenue.  In Colorado in 2015, license fees and taxes alone generated $135 million in public revenue.  Washington raised over $1 billion over the past four years.  $250 million per year.  Multiply that by 50 and you have $12.5 billion in tax revenue alone!  In 2010 alone, the U.S. Government spent $15 billion in drug enforcement.  That would be a net difference of $27.5 billion, and since the black market has dried up, I would argue that America would be SAFER (and richer) than before.

#6: The American people want it.
Americans, particularly younger voters, are getting sick and tired of the War on Drugs.  A 2015 Gallup Poll shows that 58% of Americans back legal marijuana use. This includes 71% of 18-34 year olds, and 65% of those 35-49.  These are not fringe groups – we’re getting tired of useless prohibition.  Opposing full legalization and decriminalization is like trying to hold back a boulder rolling downhill.  
Unelected federal bureaucrats in Washington deciding whether or not citizens can be “allowed” to choose what they put in their own body?  How much more draconian can you get?  This sounds like a leftist top-down government nanny-state point of view, not something coming from people who value liberty and freedom.

Issue #5: Secure our national borders


ISSUE #5: SECURING OUR BORDERS
Do you lock your doors at night? Why?  Because it’s your home and you want to protect your home and your family from those who would do you harm or steal your property.  Are you being racist or anti-social?   Of course not.  Donald Trump is not being Anti-Mexican, he is calling for securing our border in the same way that you would lock your house at night or when you leave, because you want to keep people out that shouldn’t be in there.  The left media wants to twist this into a racist argument. Democrats make arguments based on emotion and feelings, whereas Conservatives make policy based on facts, logic, and what’s truly best for the nation.  Of course Mexico is not sending rapists and murderers here, but unless we have a process for entering the country legally and people are following that process, there is a danger of criminals entering.  It took only NINETEEN people to bring down the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. The left media wants to twist this into a racist argument. Democrats make arguments based on emotion and feelings, whereas Conservatives make policy based on facts, logic, and what’s truly best for the nation.  We need to enforce our border security, the law doesn’t say that illegal immigration is okay just because you feel good about it.  The law is the law.  Just because you want something, even if that is a genuinely good thing, does not automatically make it a right.
People like Donald Trump who want to seal the border are racist.
This is the biggest falsehood placed upon people who feel that our illegal immigration system has gotten under control.  When someone says that we need to stop illegal immigration, there is something in the leftist brain that conveniently omits the word “illegal.”  This is called a straw man argument.  Leftists cannot seem to draw that distinction.  Legal immigration SHOULD be easier, but that is not the same thing as having open borders.
Now Presidential candidate Donald Trump is called a racist because of the following quote*:
You have people coming in, and I’m not just saying Mexicans, I’m talking about people that are from all over that are killers and rapists and they’re coming into this country.  When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists.
Note I’m not defending Trump here, but what he’s saying about immigration is correct.  He did say “not just saying Mexicans” What he’s saying is that if we just open the borders and not vet who’s entering our country, we do run the risks of people sneaking in who ARE criminals, who are rapists, who are terrorists, and who are smuggling illegal drugs.  Trump’s wording in these speeches is poor, but his ideas are correct.  Mexico has no such policy.  If a foreigner breaks into Mexico they get instantly deported or jailed.  Terrorists posing as refugees are going to take advantage of our generosity and political correctness and are putting our lives and safety at risk!
*NOTE: If you’re going to rag on someone for saying something you don’t like, then at least stop being lazy and actually look up the quote before getting your news from late night TV.
“But they’re already here”
So?  That’s how it works?  A 9-month pregnant woman comes across the river, drops off her baby and now POOF, that child is now the responsibility of the American taxpayer?  If someone commits a murder, then is the fact that they haven’t been arrested an excuse not to arrest them.  You cannot sneak in under the shadows, then after 5 years when you finally get caught, claim that you’ve been here for 5 years we now HAVE to accept you.  
What about DACA?  I mean after all it’s not the children’s fault.
If I rob a bank because you’re short of money, and then I give the money to you, is it then yours to keep?  You don’t get to keep the proceeds of a crime.  You don’t get to benefit from the criminal actions of others.  
But we can’t just deport 11 million people
For what crime do we simply give up trying to catch suspects just because we can’t catch everyone?  Murders happen every day.  Do you hear the police say, “Well we can’t catch them all, so we may as well not try to find this guy.” No!  Just because you can’t deport 11 million people immediately, does not mean we just give up on getting any of them.
Tearing families apart
Some of the leftist open border types try to play the pity card and accuse us of “breaking families apart.” Let’s go back to the bank robber example.  An out-of-work man robs a bank to get money for his family and people are seriously hurt.  Does the fact that he “did it for his family” make it ok?  Are you going to take this man away from his family just because he broke the law?  Hell yes!  If you cared about your family so much, then why didn’t you think about that before you broke the law?  It’s not our responsibility to excuse your actions just because you have a sick orphaned 7 year old with no arms.
They just want a better life.  We are a compassionate country.
Americans are a compassionate people.  That does not mean that the entire country has an obligation to accept everyone from every country just because they want to be here?
If you break into the country illegally, you are breaking the law.  You don’t deserve protection, amnesty, or a “level playing field.”  You deserve a one-way plane ticket back to where you came from.  I’m all for legal immigration. But you can’t come in here against the law and then blame US for putting you in the shadows.  I’m sick of this “feel-good, play on the heartstrings” policy, declaring someone racist because they want to defend their own border.  If someone comes into our country under false pretense then you are by definition a criminal and need to leave.  To all the people saying, “oh but those poor people they just want to make a better life.” So if someone broke into your home and stole your food because they’re out of money, does that make it okay for them to stay in your house, share a bed with your children because they have unilaterally declared sanctuary in your house?  No?  We do not have a history of open borders, and foreigners are not entitled to simply break in and stay here just because they want to.
We are selling the security of our nation away out of political correctness.  I’m sick and tired of Democrats playing the pity card, that it’s our business to take in everyone from a foreign country who comes here looking for handouts.  Democrats make arguments based on emotion and feelings, whereas Conservatives make policy based on facts, logic, and what’s truly best for the nation.  Mitt Romney lost in 2012 because he told us what we needed to hear, and Obama told us what we wanted to hear. 

Issue #4: Stop spending so much


ISSUE 4#: GET SPENDING UNDER CONTROL

If you listen to the Democrats, our financial problems are the fault of Republicans, Fox News, the Koch Brothers, George W. Bush and the Tea Party.  They make the argument that health care and education and health care is a right, hat the taxpayers have to pay for it, and all this can be solved if the rich “just pay a little more.”  For some reason, they feel that simply because some people have more money and wealth than others, that the have-nots have some right or entitlement to the money of the “super rich” simply because they have it. 

I. Morally: It’s wrong to assume that we’re simply entitled to other people’s money. Except for a rare exception of a large inheritance or powerball win, the millionaires and billionaires have earned that money because they have an in-demand or highly valued skill.  Who do Democrats think they think they are to decide who is allowed to keep their hard earned money and who isn’t?  Further, why do they think that they can simply dictate what “fair” is?  By global standards, most Americans are in the “global 1 percent.”  Do you have a TV with cable?  Do you have high speed Internet?  A computer?  A phone or two?  Suppose some government official came into your house one day, declared you “rich” and said that you had to give up your possessions for people in third world countries because “you don’t need those things.”  “Oh but that’s different, the super-rich don’t need all that money.”  $400,000 is roughly the 1% threshold and if you’re living in certain areas of the country, have 3 kids, 2 in college, and student loans, those expenses pile up pretty quick.  In addition, the rich don’t just “sit on” their money.  They put it to work, investing and creating more wealth (yes some of it for themselves, that’s not a crime), creating jobs, putting money in circulation.  Even if a person buys 2 more houses and a yacht, someone has to build these things, maintain them, repair them, clean them, if they buy a new limo someone has to maintain and drive it.  This is called job creation

II. Logistically: The notion that soaking the one percent will pay for our programs is a myth.  The far left apparently thinks that the wealthiest Americans have some money hoard somewhere and are just “greedy.” They use the “pity” card, making arguments based on pure emotion and completely devoid of logic.  You can’t just “attack the 1%” without having a snowball effect.  If you tax the corporations the more, regulate them more, jack up the minimum wage, they have less money to spend on expanding the business and hiring workers. 


 
BUDGET

This next section is boring but very important!   It’s easy to talk about spreading the wealth when it’s someone else’s wealth.  It’s easy to throw around terms like “rich” “fair share” and “one percent” but I want you to really have an understanding about how our budget really works, and why even if it was morally right to soak the rich, it just isn’t feasible or effective. 
Let’s start with a look at our annual budget: 2015 actual and estimates from 2016, 2017:

FY2017                                   FY15 act    FY16 est    FY17 est
TOTAL SPENDING             $3688        $3951        $4147
TOTAL REVENUE              $3249        $3335        $3643
Fed Deficit                              $-439        $-616         $-503

As we can see the Federal government over the past few years has spent roughly just under $4 trillion per year.  So we are overspending by roughly a half trillion per year.  Of course this dds up over time…  In FY2015 the United States had an accumulated debt of $18.1 trillion: $18,100,000,000,000.  Let that sink in for a moment.  That comes to $60,000 per citizen and $162,000 each for every single taxpayer.  Due to reckless government spending that number is estimated to be $19.4 trillion at the end of 2016.  Don’t take my word for it, you can find all this data at www.usdebtclock.org.

Of course it gets worse: We have estimated unfunded liabilities, in other words bills for social programs like Medicare and Social Security that we have absolutely no plan on how to pay back.  It’s like getting bills in the mail and not even bothering to set aside money to pay them.  FY2015 estimate is about $104 Trillion: $104,000,000,000,000.  To pay this off, every taxpayer would have to pony up $861,579, almost a million dollars… EACH! By 2027, when your grandchildren and great-grandchildren are born, this number could balloon to $127 TRILLION! (https://goo.gl/ZndTqF) 

I know that national debt and deficit and budget are considered boring terms and these are numbers we can’t conceive of, so let’s break down the 2015 budget numbers and express them pro-rated per U.S. Citizen (based on 2015 data):

Annual spending (i.e. household budget)         $-11,525
Annual revenue (i.e. annual income)                $10,153
Annual deficit  (i.e. over budget)                     $-1,372
Cumulative debt (e.g. credit card balance)       $-56,553
Unfunded liabilities (e.g. unpaid bills)             $-325,000

Can you imagine having an income of $10,153 per year, spending $1372 per year beyond your means and still have debt of almost $400,000?  Do you think any banker in their right mind would loan you more?  Yet Hillary Clinton wants to take out MORE loans and rack up MORE debt while continuing to spend like there’s no tomorrow.  I don’t care how worthy the cause – nothing is free.  Nothing.  Everything has a price. 


 SOAK THE RICH?

The Democrats would have you believe that the wealthy are not paying their “fair share” (whatever the heck “fair” means).  In actuality, the 1% as a group pay a bigger share of income taxes than their share of adjusted gross income (http://money.cnn.com/2014/04/04/pf/taxes/top-1-taxes/) As a group, the top 1% earned nearly 19% of all adjusted gross income reported in 2011 and paid 35% of all federal income taxes. Below is IRS data from 2013.  It shows the taxable income vs. tax paid for all income brackets.
https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-soi/13in12ms.xls

 Income bracket
Taxable income
Tax
paid
Effective
Rate
All returns, total
$1,562,956,295
$279,024,625
18%
$100,000 under $200,000
$243,010,087
$50,518,267
21%
$200,000 under $500,000
$118,451,146
$30,764,293
26%
$500,000 under $1,000,000
$44,422,264
$13,226,602
30%
$1,000,000 under $1,500,000
$19,389,608
$6,171,341
32%
$1,500,000 under $2,000,000
$11,240,669
$3,689,407
33%
$2,000,000 under $5,000,000
$28,645,134
$9,523,249
33%
$5,000,000 under $10,000,000
$16,606,647
$5,459,253
33%
$10,000,000 or more
$38,489,302
$12,080,894
31%



Income ($M)
% of income
% of tax
Under $100K
$1,042
67%
53%
$100K-$500K
$361
23%
29%
$500K-$1M
$44
3%
5%
$1M-$10M
$76
5%
9%
$10M+
$39
2%
4%
TOTAL
$1,562



So surely you can see that in the higher tax brackets the effective rate goes up.  We can also see that households above $100K earn 33% of the income yet pay 47% of the tax! 

The total net worth of all billionaires in 2015 was $2.2 trillion.* Even if you took every cent of all billionaires in excess of $250,000, it would (A) not cover the $3.9 trillion U.S. budget for one year, but (B) once you’ve done that, you’ve now sucked a substantial amount of capital from the entire U.S. economy, meaning there’s no one left to run the corporations, invest in American jobs, or pay those taxes you love to stiff them on.  According to money.cnn.com, the 1% as a group pay a bigger share of income taxes than their share of adjusted gross income. As a group, the top 1% earned nearly 19% of all adjusted gross income reported in 2011 and paid 35% of all federal income taxes.**  SOURCE


So let’s just completely liquidate all the evil Fortune 500 companies that the Occupy movement likes to pick on.  The total 2015 profits from the top 100 Fortune 500 companies is $682 Billion and the total adjusted gross income of every single taxpayer in excess of $250,000 is a “paltry” $1.464 Trillion. https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-soi/13in11si.xls

So even if you bankrupted all the billionaires and corporations you would end up with $2.146 Trillion, or about 55% of one year’s budget.  Of course now you’ve just put millions out of work, emptied the banks, and obliterated the tax base.  And that doesn’t even touch the unfunded liabilities mentioned earlier.  Gross domestic product (GDP) is the monetary value of all the finished goods and services produced within a country’s borders in a specific time period.  For the United States in 2016, the GDP is estimated to be about $16.8 trillion.  So we have more accumulated debt than the entire economic output of our entire country in 2016! 

The Committee for a Responsible Budget, using Congressional Budget Office (CBO) data, put together a price tag for Clinton’s campaign promises.  $1.6-$1.8 trillion more over the next 10 years (and have you ever known a government project to come in under budget?), so there’s still a shortfall, and even that is covered by… of course, more taxes.  The CRB also states on their web page, that Clinton’s plan “would  keep debt at post-war record-high and rapidly growing levels. Under Secretary Clinton’s proposals, debt held by the public would climb from 74 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) at the end of last year to 86 percent of GDP by 2026.”  SOURCE: http://www.crfb.org/papers/adding-secretary-clintons-campaign-proposals-so-far

CONSEQUENCES

Democrat politicians throw billions around like we throw dollar bills, they are mortgaging our future and sending our country into unpayable debt, to add bloated social programs that they have no business providing in the first place.  And yet they want to expand Social Security, expand Medicare, expand Obamacare, give more students “free” college, as if the bills will never come due.  It will someday and when that happens there’s not enough money in the entire world to pay it off.  Think about that please next time you shrug your shoulders at a new social program and say, “Sure, why not.”

Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher was known for saying, “The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people’s money.”  Democratic Socialism has been tried most recently in Venezuela.  Oil prices are plummeting, the currency is practically worthless, store shelves are empty, there are long lines for food, the government is imposing rolling blackouts and forcing citizens to work rural farms just so that the country has enough to eat.  Then the ultimate embarrassment:  They can’t print any more money because they can’t afford the paper and ink to do so!  As Joshua Yasmeh points out in “The Daily Wire” 6/29/16*: “Oil exports were the only thing keeping the country’s economy afloat as the government shut down all traces of successful private enterprise… Income inequality, the singular obsession of every socialist and democratic-socialist the world over, has become profoundly exacerbated as an unintended consequence of government economic engineering. The class hierarchy in Venezuela now mirrors that of a medieval feudal society.
Why did this happen?  Because of a government takeover of the economy: raising taxes, nationalizing industries (much like Obamacare is trying to do).  Most stores in the U.S. run an inventory system, keeping track of products, knowing how much is sold and when, and they use this information to know how much of a product to order and when.  When the government starts taking control of the economy, there is no way that one group can possibly determine what interest rate to charge, how much of a product should be available where, which industries to prop up and which to tamper down.  As a result, you have out of control inflation and people standing in long lines for basic goods. 
*SOURCE: http://www.dailywire.com/news/7066/socialist-paradise-venezuela-attacks-supermarkets-joshua-yasmeh

“Oh but that’s a third world country, it can never happen here!”  I’ll bet a lot of people were saying that on October 28, 1929 as well.  We are so sheltered having spent our entire lives in a first-world country.  Our nation is not somehow privileged.  Those are famous last words.  What they’re doing in Venezuela is exactly what the Socialist left is trying to do here.

Issue #3: Social Justice Warriors and the Culture of Political Correctness


ISSUE #3: POLITICAL CORRECTNESS
SOURCES:
Social justice is difficult to define (especially for the social justice warriors), mainly because it has exactly the meaning that progressives want it to have.  When we feel that there’s an inequity in society (fairly or unfairly), the government can force agendas that meet that narrative by ….
If I had to sum up in one sentence why Barack Obama was able to defeat Mitt Romney in 2012, my answer would be: “Romney told us what we needed to hear.  Obama told us what we wanted to hear.”
Liberals care nothing about science, logical, legal, nor economic arguments.  They make policy arguments based on emotion, and what they feel “should be.”  Conservatives, while certainly taking personal decency into account, realize that we cannot escape the facts.  Emotion is important but it does not take the place of fact.  Democrats are only interested in the so-called “appeal to pity.”  Civil rights movements in the 19th and 20th centuries (which by the way were supported way more by Republicans than Democrats) have ended slavery & segregation, given blacks and women the opportunity to vote, and have evened the playing field in that anyone from any race, gender, or background has the equal opportunity to succeed, provided they are willing to achieve the education, experience, or hard work necessary to achieve it.  Groups like Black Lives Matter would have you falsely believe that systematic racism still exists, and that if one experiences inequalities in income and success, it has to be due to some ethereal “privilege”, rather than our own choices, culture, and actions. 

On top of this, they talk a lot about rights.  By definition, rights cannot be given or taken away by any person or government.  If the government, a person, or company can give you something or give you permission to do something, then that’s called a privilege. If you want to keep what you earn, that is defined as “greed,” as if other people have the right to your stuff just because they associate it with “social justice” and declare it a “right
Most of us not going to go and insult people or call a black person the n-word.  Why?  First, I like to think that most Americans are decent and polite people, the last thing they want to do is offend someone unnecessarily.  How about instead of trying to “educate” people on intercultural communication and diversity, we just simply be good to others and simply obey the golden rule, that would be all we need.  Anyway, the second reason is that I understand that while we have freedom of speech, that doesn’t mean we can say anything without regard to the consequences.  If I insult you or say something that you find offensive or insensitive, you can choose how to react to it.  You could yell at me, end a friendship or relationship.  What you cannot do, however, is prevent me from speaking, or trying to outlaw speech simply because you find it offensive.  Case in point:  The Washington Redskins.  Now I happen to find the name greatly offensive.  I might suggest the Maryland Redskins might be more appropriate.  This came up in a discussion I had many years ago when I had replied that these are only words and that the people arguing against it (who weren’t even Native Americans themselves) were being too sensitive.  The reply was, “You’re Jewish, how would you feel if an NFL team was named the Brooklyn Rabbis?” I admit I used to think this was a semi-decent argument even though I would never say so.  Here’s how I should have approached this back then: “Well I don’t really know, I suppose I’d find it weird, I don’t think I’d be insulted.  But even if I was, then it’s my choice not to support or follow that team.”  I have a message for people who label anything they feel uncomfortable with has hate speech:  Tough! Guess what, it’s a rough world out there, and sometimes you are going to hear things that offend you.  That’s life! More and more people in our culture operate under the assumption that they have the right to not be offended. If I’m offended by something you say, do or wear, then that’s my right but we do not have the right to shut down and label others’ speech as “hate speech” just because you don’t like it.  If you feel triggered, that’s something YOU have to deal with, not the rest of us.  It’s not up to us to indulge your fairy-tale safe space puppy dog and unicorn version of reality. The fact that you feel “triggered” by anything and everything speaks to your own lack of self-worth and thin skin that you need anti-free-speech laws because you can’t come out your safe space long enough to face the real world.  When you graduate college, you will find that the world is a rough place.  While I take care not to hurt someone on purpose or unnecessarily and I don’t set out to offend anyone, I will not walk on eggshells so that you can put yourself in bubble wrap and prevent yourself from ever hearing anything that might make you even the least bit uncomfortable.  Life’s tough.  Deal with it.

Issue #1 Educate the public

ISSUE #1: EDUCATING AND INFORMING OURSELVES

I’m not going to get into a full-on critique of our education system at a state and local level, but as a professional in this field, I have to weigh in on the role of the Federal government in education: which is none at all.  We can talk about No Child Left Behind, Race to the Top, Common Core, or other programs that pretend they can improve our education system simply by more Federal regulation and throwing money at the problem.  The fact is that the Federal Department of Education is itself unconstitutional by its very existence.  If you’re going to label something unconstitutional, you’d better be able to back that up:

Amendment X: “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”  Simply put, the Tenth Amendment, in layman’s terms, states that if not mentioned in the U.S. Constitution, an authority automatically falls to the states.  Since public education is not mentioned anywhere in the U.S. Constitution or any of its twenty-seven amendments, it is officially a state issue, and only a state issue.
Yet although the Federal Government Constitutionally has no business interfering in state education, we have had several violations by the Federal Government.  They take tax money to the DOE, give pennies on the dollar back to the states where it came from, and to even get that, you need to follow the Federal government’s rules:  No Child Left Behind, Race to the Top and Common Core are unconstitutional on their very face.  Common Core is by the way NOT state-led as we’ve been led to believe.  It is designed by a panel of unelected bureaucrats hired by corporations that have a vested financial interest in over-testing our students.  The Federal government also uses DOE as a strong-arm tactic to impose their will on sovereign districts and states.  Evidently Barack Obama can dictate to state school boards that they must give in to invented social constructs regarding gender identity, or be labeled as discriminatory and not get their own tax money back. 

Education entails more than what happens inside the brick-and-mortar of a classroom, or online in the course’s Blackboard page.  It’s our duty as Americans to do the following every day:

  • Watch and listen to the news.  You’re not going to get the truth by ANY major media outlet.  Most mainstream media has a liberal bias, and even Fox News is not the reliable source it used to be.  We need to get the ideas from right, left, and middle.  Listen to Liberal (Young Turks, Huffington Post), Conservative (Conservative Review, Daily Wire, Daily Signal), AND Libertarian sources (PJTV, John Stossel) to get ALL the information.
  • Take a course or read a book to educate themselves on the Constitutional history of the United States and the Federalist Papers written by our Founding Fathers
  • Once and a while at least, make sure you write your President, Senators, Congressmen and State Legislators to voice your opinion if you differ with them on an issue, or want to express your support for upcoming legislation.

Although the Federal Government Constitutionally has no business interfering in state education, Barack Obama can apparently dictate to state school boards that they must give in to invented social constructs regarding gender identity, or be labeled as discriminatory and not get their own tax money back.The Federal Government uses their power to force-feed leftist policies like letting people use whatever bathroom they want, instituting anti-white racism in the form of social justice and white privilege. 

I believe the main problem, the reason that government is not listening to us is because they believe we’re not paying attention to them.  Therefore a politician feels free to  say and promise anything on the campaign trail in the hope that we won’t call them out on it.  In the current election, polls show that despite the fact that more Americans take Trump’s side of most issues, they still favor Clinton.  Although the vote is, not, and should not be denied to anyone, along with rights come responsibilities to educate ourselves about our history, Constitution, basic supply-side Economics, and make sure you do your research into candidates to go beyond the soundbites.  Elected officials are put into office by us, and they work for us.  So it’s our duty to give them reviews, scrutinize their work, and fire them when they don’t do their job.

I believe that most establishment politicians (both sides of the aisle) count on ignorance.  If we are unaware of the fact that taxing the wealthiest Americans even at 100% could not cover our national budget for one year (source: http://goo.gl/XBV3Ib), then we are more likely to buy into Bernie Sanders’ argument for free college and health care, because we believe him when he says that will work.  No matter who occupies the White House or Congress, a truly educated and well-informed public is our best “inoculation” against oppressive government, because if they know that we will hold their feet to the fire, one would be surprised how much they start looking out for our interests.  Getting the money out of politics?  A nice idea, but not practical in the short term.  But not even the wealthiest campaign contributor can undo a strong, well-informed public who knows not only who to pull the lever for, but why.  News and politics are not the “in” thing, and many people avoid it because it’s a potentially controversial topic.  But if we pay more attention to who’s winning “Survivor” than who’s winning the primaries, we can not make informed decisions about who to trust with our national interest, and also in a self-feeding loop, only makes us more vulnerable to political rhetoric, making us hate politics more, and pay less attention…  So the best way to get Congress and the President to do what we want, is the threat of losing what they really want – the vote.

Here’s my “homework assignment” to you all.  Please educate yourself.  Watch the news, not just Fox News or MSNBC but an eclectic spectrum of political thought. Read a book on the Constitution, our Founding Fathers, the basic laws of Economics and History.  Below are some places to start.  In this blog in the coming weeks and months, I will pass along more sources that I have found useful.  Read them and decide for yourself.

HOMEWORK ASSIGNMENT:

  • Hillsdale College is a college in Michigan that takes no Federal funds, and have a variety of FREE courses on Constitution, government, history and economics.  Do yourself a favor and sign up, I think it will open your eyes.
  • Politifact and Factcheck, just like Joe Friday, looks at “just the facts, ma’am” and sorts the truth from the lies of all nationally prominent politicians.  Does your President or Senator make a claim or statement that seems wrong to you?  Here’s a place to get an unbiased analysis of their statements.
  • Article V Convention of States seeks to call a convention to help take our states back from government overreach.  Even if you decide not to participate, there are many good reading resources on this page.