Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Greek Debt Default Mirrors America's Future? : $18+ Trillion in Debt

Another socialist state finds itself headed for default  - why should we in America believe it can't happen here at some point in time given we are headed in the same direction? And worse, it may be sooner then later.

Our national debt growing a better then $3 billion per hour might tell a story about our future?

Do Not Underestimate the Implications of a Greek Default
Source: Desmond Lachman, "Economic Crisis: The Global Impact of a Greek Default," American Enterprise Institute, June 25, 2015.

June 29, 2015

Recent economic and political developments in Greece suggest that it is only matter of time before that country both defaults on its large public debt and imposes capital controls. Those developments could very well pave the way for Greece's exit from the Euro within the next twelve months. Were that to occur, one must expect that Greece's economic and political crisis will deepen, which could lead to that country becoming a failed state.

The implications of a Greek default for the United States are not to be underestimated. Over time, a Greek exit could impose considerable economic and geopolitical costs on the United States:
  • A strong dollar appreciation could constitute a significant headwind to the U.S. economic recovery and could exert significant downward pressure on U.S. headline inflation.
  • Any eventual spread of the Eurozone debt crisis to other countries in the European periphery, like Italy, Portugal, and Spain, could roil global financial markets and dent European household and investor confidence. This would be bound to impact the US economic recovery considering how integrated is the global financial system and how important the European economy is to U.S. trade.
  • Should a Greek exit lead both to a souring of European Greek relations and to the further erosion of Greek political stability, one could see a failed Greek state increasingly coming into the Russian orbit. Already the Syriza government is actively engaged with Moscow about the construction of a Russian gas-pipeline through Greece despite the U.S. Administration's objections. 

National Debt Grows : Congress Still Fails to Deliver

Apparently our government doesn't care what happens to the country as long as they can get reelected to continue the scam that they are actually being responsible. Just what have our legislators done to balance the budget in the last 6 years?

I wonder at what point in time the realization will come to them that the fun times are over, and it's time to take their elected job seriously. But I do realize the chances are very slim or none that our representatives in congress will do anything that might jeopardize their election chances by making decision that will cause stress to some voters that they rely on for support.

After all it's about the money and the power to control others. All other things must wait. That our country is in a death spiral is of no consequence. Others will have to fix that at some later date when we have more time.

What Can We Expect From a Growing National Debt?
 Source: Craig Eyermann, "The Consequences of a Large and Growing National Debt," Independent Institute, June 25, 2015.

June 29, 2015

What are the consequences of a large and growing national debt? Believe it or not, the Congressional Budget Office directly addressed that question in its 2015 Long-Term Budget Outlook. How long the nation could sustain such growth in federal debt is impossible to predict with any confidence. At some point, investors would begin to doubt the government's willingness or ability to meet its debt obligations, requiring it to pay much higher interest costs in order to continue borrowing money.

Even before a crisis occurred, the high and rising debt that CBO projects in the extended baseline would have macroeconomic effects with significant negative consequences for both the economy and the federal budget:

The large amount of federal borrowing would draw money away from private investment in productive capital over the long term, because the portion of people's savings used to buy government securities would not be available to finance private investment. Federal spending on interest payments would rise, thus requiring the government to raise taxes, reduce spending for benefits and services, or both to achieve any targets that it might choose for budget deficits and debt.

The large amount of debt would restrict policymakers' ability to use tax and spending policies to respond to unexpected challenges, such as economic downturns or financial crises. As a result, those challenges would tend to have larger negative effects on the economy and on people's well-being than they would otherwise.

Through the first quarter of 2015, the U.S. national debt stood at more than $18 trillion while the nation's GDP stood at some $17 trillion, which works out to be a national-debt-to-income ratio of 103 percent.

Illinois to Push for "Low Carbon Standard" : Customer Loses Again

What's new here? That the federal or state government is demanding to take control of energy resources in Illinois, forcing other companies to conform or die is just more of the same, government picking winners and losers. This is progressive socialism, nothing new here.

The carbon scam causing gas house gases to harm the planet, climate change or global warming, is and always has been a fraud from the beginning of the Obama administration. That one company is favored to control all others in this case is text book ideology for socialism. Free market forces can not have a hand in deciding outcomes for prosperity. Only government can decide winners and losers.

Little wonder out country is in decline.

The Exelon Bailout
Source: Matthew Glans, "Research & Commentary: The Exelon Bailout," Heritage Foundation, June 26, 2015.

June 29, 2015

Over the past year, the Exelon Corporation, which owns ComEd, the largest provider of electricity in Illinois, has been pushing state legislators to create a "low carbon portfolio standard" (LCPS). LCPS would mandate electric utilities purchase low-carbon energy credits to match 70 percent of the electricity used in their distribution systems from qualified sources, including solar, wind, hydro, nuclear, tidal, wave and clean coal. This bill would benefit Exelon, but not those who use electric power.
  • Crain's Chicago Business noted the mandate would charge ratepayers $300 million annually, while making it both technologically and financially difficult for other wind and solar bidders to compete. Illinois currently has a renewable portfolio standard (RPS) mandating 25 percent of power distribution be composed of renewable energy (not including nuclear) by 2025. The new mandate would include nuclear energy as a qualifying power source. 
  • Under the new mandate, utilities falling short of the 70 percent mark would be required to buy credits to bridge the difference. Price increases would also be capped at 2.015 percent per year compared to 2009 rates. 
The ideal policy approach for Illinois would be to repeal the RPS altogether. Short of that, the state could take smaller steps to help make its electricity less expensive and more competitive.
  • Illinois should broaden the RPS standard to include all next-generation energy technologies, including nuclear, combined cycle natural gas, and geothermal. This is part of what Exelon wants - to include nuclear power in the renewable standard - but does not give the company a subsidy at the expense of other power sources, such as coal.
  • The state should make the program more flexible by adjusting the targets and deadlines to reflect the real potential for renewable energy in Illinois and available technology. Finally, the state should make the program voluntary. These reforms would allow utilities and consumers to adapt to new technologies. 
The proposed mandate would benefit one energy company at the expense of others. The government should not decide winners and losers in any market.

Great Recession Not Over : Jobs & Earning Weak

What seems to be lost in the avalanche of unemployment figurers is the number of jobs lost permanently, it's in the millions, never to be seen again. And with the U6 unemployment rate at more then 10%, the workers that have quit looking for work along with those that are still looking, the out look for the future job market is bleak, especially good paying jobs.

No matter what the government says about the number of jobs they have created since the supposed end of the recession in 2009, and given the millions of people that are still underemployed and unemployed, the recession is still not over.

Is it an ideological failure by the Obama administration to understand the free market and how it works, or is the low recovery rate of the economy actually by design?

The Great Recession Still has Adverse Consequences
Source: Henry S. Farber, "Job Loss in the Great Recession and Its Aftermath: U.S. Evidence from the Displaced Workers Survey," National Bureau of Economic Research, May 2015.

June 29, 2015

The Great Recession is associated with a dramatic weakening of the labor market from which it only recovered very slowly. The unemployment rate remained stubbornly high for several years, and durations of unemployment continue to be unprecedentedly long.

The weakening of the labor market in the Great Recession was associated with tremendous job destruction and costly adjustment for those whose jobs were lost. The estimates of the costs of job loss based on the Displaced Workers Surveys (DWS) show that displacement imposes a significant economic burden on job losers.

The first part of these costs are in the form of difficulty in finding new employment and difficulty in finding full-time employment. This component of costs was particularly severe for workers losing jobs in the Great Recession, when only 50 percent of job losers reported being employed at the next DWS survey date. Almost 25 percent of those job losers who did find jobs were employed full time. Even among losers of full-time jobs between 2007 and 2009, only about 52 percent were employed in January 2010 and only 80 percent of those were reemployed in a full-time job.

Thus, only about 35-40 percent of those in the DWS who reported losing a job from 2007-2009 period were employed full-time in January 2010. The adverse employment experience of job losers continued beyond the Great Recession.

The second part of the cost of job loss concerns post-displacement earnings on new jobs relative to earnings on the lost job. The study shows substantial weekly earnings declines for reemployed job losers, the earnings losses were not especially large by historical standards in the Great Recession or its aftermath.

Justice As A Means to An End : High Court Loses Credibility

If one takes just a few moments to take a closer look the Supreme Court members and how they might see their job a justices deciding Constitutional questions, it becomes clear they are just part of the new norm of putting their personal feelings ahead of the law.

It appears it's more important for justice to be decided in the 'bigger picture' rather then within the parameters of the law as written. Unfortunately this flawed action that judges seem to taking now across the country begs credibility of the justice system itself.

The question that now remains and is stressful, if we can't depend on the Supreme Court to be unbiased, what is the alternative for justice, where does one turn for protection under the law?

Justice Roberts Saves Flawed Obamacare
Source: Devon Herrick, "Justice Roberts Veers Left: Saves Obamacare Despite Its Flaws," Town Hall, June 27, 2015.

June 29, 2015

On June 25, the Supreme Court upheld health insurance subsidies in states that rely on the federal exchange. The 6-to-3 majority opinion was written by Chief Justice John Roberts. A National Journal headline proclaimed "John Roberts Saves Obamacare, Again," explaining "It's also the second time in three years Roberts has helped pull Obamacare back from the brink of disaster."

The outcome did not surprise those who have followed Chief Justice Roberts' recent voting record. In 2012, John Roberts sided with the majority ruling that the individual mandate, forcing people to buy insurance, was not justified under the Commerce Clause. However, conservatives were shocked that the Chief Justice voted with the liberal wing of the Court, ruling the individual mandate was indeed constitutional, because it is essentially a tax penalty, says NCPA senior fellow Devon Herrick. This followed the well-established precedent that the federal government has the power to tax socially-undesirable behaviors to discourage them.

Roberts made an unfortunate left turn back in 2012 and he has been careening to the left ever since. This past session he agreed less with his fellow Republican-appointed justices than with the Democratic-appointed justices.

The SCOTUS blog tracks justices' voting records, comparing their legal opinions with those of other Supreme Court justices. With the October 2014 term just ending, John Roberts' voting record has more in common with the liberal members of the Supreme Court than with the conservative wing.

Justice Roberts agreed in full or in part with Justice Breyer 85 percent of the time, Justices Ginsburg and Sotomayor 81 percent of the time and Justice Kagan 75 percent of the time. Compare this to Roberts' agreement with the conservative members. He agreed with Scalia 81 percent of the time, Kennedy and Alito 72 percent of the time and with Justice Thomas 61 percent. 

These data do not include the King v. Burwell decision, so his record is actually a little worse than it appears here.

Social Security Disability Broke In 2016 : Fraud

As noted here previously, SSDI is being used as an unemployment revenue instrument to replace the compensation they lost as the maximum number of weeks for conversional unemployment expired. It has been noted millions of SSDI recipients have been shown to be scamming the system by claiming their inability to work.

Worse, judges in the justice system are compliant in ruling in favor of even obvious cases where the individual does not have a good case for disability. Also, the Social Security organization makes little effort to actively make changes to solve this problem of fraud.

It's the natural way of things today, it's just to much work and effort to do the right thing. To get along, it's just easier to go along. That the system is imploding on it's self is bad but those that are in charge know beyond a doubt, the taxpayer will bail them out as they always do. The only problem with this strategy is now that that it's not just the government is broke, the taxpayer is about bleed dry.

What then? No money left to scam? What happens to the system? Does anyone care?

 Not All Disabilities are Alike
Source: Pam Villarreal, "Not All Disabilities Are Alike: Implementing a Rating System for SSDI," National Center for Policy Analysis, June 9, 2015.

June 9, 2015

Despite today's workplace accommodations for the disabled, improved diagnoses and treatments, and less physically demanding jobs, the number of individuals receiving disability payments has increased dramatically over previous decades.  Prior to 1990, the annual percentage of workers receiving benefits grew about half a percent per year.

Since 1990, the percentage of workers receiving Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits has grown an average of 4.8 percent annually.  As a result, the Disability Trust Fund, which is funded by 1.8 percentage points of the payroll tax (split evenly between workers and employers), is expected to be depleted by the end of 2016. As of December 2013:
  • There were 10.2 million individual disabled workers, disabled widowers or disabled adult children receiving Social Security Disability.
  • Disabled beneficiaries ages 18 to 64 were 4.8 percent of the total nonsenior adult population.
  • The average beneficiary age was 53 years and the average monthly benefit was $1,146.
Unfortunately, despite these numbers, there is little political will for a complete overhaul of SSDI.  Policymakers have proposed just a few reforms, mainly focused on efforts to combat fraud.  But more could be done regarding how beneficiaries are paid and how to provide better work incentives:
  • Restructure the all-or-nothing payment system to reflect varying degrees of disability, as does the Veterans' Disability system.  A lower level of benefit payments could be awarded to individuals who have a higher probability of improvement.
  • Eliminate the "Ticket to Work" program and lift the maximum monthly income limit for work. The current SSDI system offers a voluntary "Ticket to Work" program in which beneficiaries can work for up to three years without losing their disability benefits.
  • However, the program had little effect on beneficiaries returning to work. In exchange for a reduction in payments due to rating disability by degree, the monthly maximum limit on labor income ($1,090 in 2015) that disqualifies a beneficiary from receiving disability benefits could be eliminated.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Educational Opportunities Found in Innovation : Free Markets Win

Innovation - the mothers milk for prosperity, especially in education where all future chances for prosperity begin. Public education has been the catalysts for innovation in that public education has proven to be a failure to educate.

Conservative Solution for Expanding Education Opportunity
Source: John Bailey, An Education Agenda for 2016: Conservative Solutions for Expanding Opportunity, American Enterprise Institute, June 2015

June 26, 2015

In the 2013-2014 school year, more than 2.7 million students were enrolled in more than 6,400 charter schools across the country. More than 308,000 students used a voucher or tuition tax-credit scholarship to finance their private school education.

Federal policy is several steps removed from where instruction actually occurs and can only support states in creating the conditions to transform education. Policy should reflect three principles:

Support Comprehensive Models of Learning. Nowhere is this more needed than in education, where the Institute for Education Sciences invests only $300 million annually in research — less than 1 percent of the National Institutes of Health's $30 billion research budget. This work should also extend to funding the rigorous but expensive evaluations that many startups and nonprofits simply cannot afford.

Creating Room for Innovation. Leveraging the power of technology in education requires removing regulatory barriers. All digital learning providers should have an equal opportunity to participate in grant and policy programs, regardless of whether they are nonprofit, for profit, or the emerging B corps.

Leveraging New Funding Model. Federal funds need to be able to accommodate the broader education landscape enabled by the broadening choice movement in education. In 2015, 20 states had school choice programs, 42 had charter school laws and 26 had statewide virtual schools. This reform, often referred to as Course Access, is attractive because it offers a more granular form of choice while also offering an equity element.

Policymakers have the chance to tap into the dynamism of innovators and the rich diversity of educational options emerging over the Internet, offered by a growing number of public and private entrepreneurs.

State Budgets In Trouble : Raising Taxes Wins?

One thing you can always depend on when it comes to spending tax dollars or not spending tax dollars, spending will always win. With the supposed bottomless pit of revenue from taxes, the politician will enviably opt to take more taxes to cover political ambitions rather then risk losing a voter that depends on getting more services rather then less services.

After all what is more important then serving the needs of the voters? Right?

States' Budget Woes Could Raise Taxes
Source: Eric Rosenbaum, "States' Budget Squeeze Could Mean Higher Taxes for You," The Fiscal Times, June 23, 2015.

June 26, 2015

State finances across the United States have been described as stable but slow growing. Six years into the post-recession economic recovery, that statement may be accurate, but the full truth may be more troubling.
  • More states have been unable to complete budgets so far this year than is typical, and the situation points to long-term spending problems — from K-12 education to Medicaid and infrastructure — that will persist.
  • Overall, state reserve funds are at 7 percent of spending, but there are 15 states with less than 5 percent in reserve funds for fiscal 2016.
  • Social benefit (Medicaid), consumption (public employees) and investment spending by the states has experienced a sea change, falling 18 percent since the start of the recession, with net investment down by more than 55 percent, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis. 
  • States that have high reliance on personal income taxes, particularly reliance on taxes on non-wage income (stock gains), are also facing fiscal challenges. (California and Colorado for example).
  • U.S. Census Bureau data shows that spending by state and local government on construction fell by $50 billion at annual rates (16.4 percent) between the fourth quarters of 2007 and 2014.
The Government Accountability Office (GOA) projects the peak in state tax receipts — 2007 — will not occur again until 2058. The GAO estimates that during the 50-year period, states would have to reduce state and local government spending by 18 percent or increase tax revenue by a similar amount — or some combination of the two — to close the fiscal gap.

Married Man Lies to Wife : Where Have you Been? (Humor)

Take a break and laugh a little bit as our country's leaders leaves little for us to laugh about.
A married man was having an affair with his secretary.
One day they went to her place and made love all afternoon.
Exhausted, they fell asleep and woke up at 8 PM.  The man
hurriedly dressed and told his lover to take his shoes outside
and rub them in the grass and dirt.  He put on his shoes and
drove home.
“Where have you been?” his wife demanded.
“I can’t lie to you,” he replied, “I’m having an affair with my
secretary.  We had sex all afternoon!”

 She looked down at his shoes and said: “You lying bastard!
You’ve been playing golf!”

Socialism's Ideology Attacks Productivity : You Owe It To Them!

This story of socialism's ideology is a little old, as it has been around for awhile, but non the less it rings a bell for the reality of what's happening everyday in our country, and how it has and is having a disastrous effect on our economy and our way of life.
Don't be fooled by the progressives socialist's agenda, taking from the productive to give to the unproductive, never ever is a solution for prosperity. This only works for the tyranny of the few that run the show. And so far it is working perfectly for the few. Worse, 10's of millions of voters believe it is the right thing to do, that is until they find themselves in the enviable bread line.
Gruber is right. Even then they will have no clue how or why they are there.
An economics professor at a local college made a statement that he had never failed a single student before, but had recently failed an entire class. That class had insisted that socialism worked well since no one would be poor and no one would be rich, thus providing a great equalizer.

The professor then said, "OK, we will have an experiment in this class on the Socialist plan".... All grades will be averaged and everyone will receive the same grade so no one will fail and no one will receive an A.... (substituting grades for dollars - something closer to home and more readily understood by all).

After the first test, the grades were averaged and everyone got a B. The students who studied hard were upset and the students who studied little were happy. As the second test rolled around, the students who studied little had studied even less and the ones who studied hard decided they wanted a free ride too so they likewise studied little.

The second test average was a D! No one was happy.
When the 3rd test rolled around, the average was an F.  
As the tests proceeded, the scores never increased as bickering, blame and name-calling all resulted in hard feelings and no one was motivated to study for the benefit of anyone else.

To their great surprise, ALL FAILED and the professor told them that socialism would also ultimately fail because when the reward (and risk) is great, the effort to succeed is great, but when government takes all the reward away, no one will work really hard to succeed.

Welfare Subsides A Way of Life : There's Always More?

I don't know if these revelations are fact, but it's the process of dissolving our culture into a morass of 'takers' that I know is a fact, and not because they are attacking our country, they are doing what they do because it is the smart thing to do.
And in the face of overwhelming evidence our everyday life's system for prosperity or just survival is headed into a nosedive of such magnitude the mind can't comprehend it, so it is apparent it's just easier to turn away then having to face such a reality.

Ever wonder why people check their smart phones 100 times a day? Real life is just to scary.
In truth, if the truth be known and wide spread, we are enforcing the rule that demands they, the takers, take advantage of our system of relief and which begs the question of us all, are we, as a nation of supposedly rational people, gone completely insane.
(The author is unknown and the facts uncontested, but the message is clear to anyone that has broken thumbs, common sense has left the building)
At one time we were not taxed on our income, property, clothes, medical items
including drugs, gas, and it goes on and on. Just think our former citizens of this
great country rebelled because of a tax on their tea.
What in the world has happened to us? How did we reach such a state of affairs?
Just ask the big bankers all over the world. I think they just might have the answer.
From A Florida Doctor
I live and work in a state.....which is now, completely overrun with illegal's.
They make more money having kids than we earn working full-time.
Today I had a 25-year old with 8 kids - that's right 8, all illegal anchor babies
and she had the nicest nails, cell phone, hand bag, clothing, etc. She makes about
$1,500 monthly for each; you do the math. (Thats $12,000 - plus what she
personally gets for own "benefits" !!)
I used to say, "We are the dumbest nation on earth," Now I must say and sadly
WE are the dumbest people on earth (that includes ME) for we elected the idiot
ideologues who have passed the bills that allow this. Sorry, but we need a
If the immigrant is over 65, they can apply for SSI and Medicaid and get more than
a woman on Social Security, who worked from 1944 until 2004. She is only getting
$791 per month because she was born in 1924 and there's a 'catch 22' (notch) for
It is interesting that the federal government provides a single refugee with a
monthly allowance of $1,890 . Each can also obtain an additional $580 in social
assistance, for a total of $2,470 a month . (Seeing RED yet ????)
This compares to a "legal American Citizen single pensioner ",who after contributing
to the growth and development of America for 40 to 50 years, can only receive a
monthly maximum of $1,012 in old age pension and Guaranteed Income
Supplement. ( Seeing more RED? )

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Supreme Court Loses Crediblity : Is It Law or Politics?

Was the decision by the supreme court On ObamaCare activisms? Judge Roberts said on his decent for the gay marriage ruling questioned, 'how could we have decided like we have, "who do we think we are"'.

Good question. But why would Roberts think deciding on ObamaCare by 'feelings for the system' rather then the actual rule of law justiciacation for his vote to sustaim the Affordably Care Act? Can he have it both ways as a judge, especially for our Constitution?

Demanded Tolerance is Tyranny : Obedience by Force is Criminal

Rarely do those that demand obedience from others observe the same obedience. It's only about  the power to control others by force if necessary, including death for those that refuse to obey.

What these few paragraphs depict, whether they are actually have been said by a broadcaster or not, make sense concerning tolerance for the beliefs and faiths of others, and if one's freedom to chose is denied because of that faith, it called tyranny.

To ignore tyranny in any form is to accept the consequences of that tyranny, and that is a willingness to be subsidized and marginalized.

(Author Unknown)
An NHL Hall of Fame broadcaster speaking in Ontario said:

 "I am truly perplexed that so many of my friends are against another mosque being built in Toronto.  I think it should be the goal of every Canadian to be tolerant regardless of their religious beliefs.  Thus the mosque should be allowed, in an effort to promote tolerance."
 "That is why I also propose that two nightclubs be opened next door to the mosque; thereby promoting tolerance from within the mosque.  We could call one of the clubs, which would be gay, "The Turban Cowboy," and the other, a topless bar, would be called "You Mecca Me Hot."

 "Next door should be a butcher shop that specializes in pork, and adjacent to that an open-pit barbecue pork restaurant, called “Iraq of Ribs."
 “Across the street there could be a lingerie store called "Victoria Keeps Nothing Secret," with sexy mannequins in the window modeling the goods", and on the other side a liquor store called "Morehammered."
 "All of this would encourage Muslims to demonstrate the tolerance they demand of us.”

Friday, June 26, 2015

Eminent Domain Seizures Problematic : Oversite Needed

Eminent domain seizures of property under the 5th amendment of the Constitution is troubling at best and criminal at worst. These proposal from the Heritage are a good start but this is in need of a lot of oversight.

The two most basis tenants of the our Constitution is individual freedom to chose and the other is ownership of property. Both are effected by eminent domain seizures.

Local politicians are always looking for ways to gather more revenue and pad their own beds with cash, and what better way to do that is to take what some else has and then use it to benefit themslevss and like mind individuals. This should be made very hard to do even if it is for the betterment of the public at large.

Congress Should Protect Property Owners
Source: Daren Bakst, "A Decade After Kelo: Time for Congress to Protect American Property Owners," Heritage Foundation, June 22, 2015.

June 24, 2015

On June 23, 2005, the United States Supreme Court held in Kelo v. City of New London that the government could seize private property and transfer it to another private party for economic development. This type of taking was deemed to be for a "public use" and allowed under the Fifth Amendment of the United States Constitution.
Thanks to Kelo:
  • If a city claims a certain privately owned property would generate additional tax revenue, create more jobs, or even simply make the city more attractive if owned by another private party, that city can use the power of eminent domain to seize the property.
  • Private-property ownership has become a precarious proposition, subject to the economic development whims of the government.
What should Congress do? They could address economic development and closely related takings. There are many ways legislation can address these takings, but there are some important considerations that Congress should remember:
  • Creating a burden of proof. Since there may be multiple reasons for taking property, the government should ideally prove that it would have seized the property even if there were no economic development benefit.
  • Addressing Blight Abuse. Any legislation should expressly address the abuse of blight laws. "Blight" should not be so broadly defined to cover almost anything. Only property that itself is blighted should be allowed to be taken; non-blighted properties should not be seized on the grounds that they are located in an alleged blighted area.
  • Private Right of Action. Private property owners should be able to challenge takings under any new law in court.
It is easy to see why there is such wide support for addressing Kelo. This support, in conjunction with the 10th anniversary of the infamous case, should give Congress a real chance to enact protections for property owners. The American dream of owning a home should no longer be threatened by the nightmare of eminent domain abuse.

Welfare Solved : Earned Income Tax Credit?

Can the welfare nightmare, that is gripping our country now, be solved by a policy change alone? I don't think so, but it would be a good place to start. It will take some heavy lifting by politicians developing programs that will convince people to believe working is better for them physically and mentally, a very tough slug but worth the effort.

It comes down to convincing the unemployed to go back to work, where ever they can, and it won't result in a loss of income. As it stands now, there aren't many jobs available that pay more then what the welfare recipient gets in federal and local subsides. So why work?

More Work, Less Welfare
Source: Andy Puzder, "More work, less welfare" , The Hill, June 22, 2015.

June 24, 2015

Despite claims that the economy has come roaring back, Gross Domestic Product growth remains anemic. The number of people receiving Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, or food stamps, alone has doubled since 2008, to 74.7 million; in troubled cities like Baltimore, more than one-third of the residents receive them. Called the "welfare cliff" by policy wonks, this growing trend is little more than people responding to incentives.

For example, eligibility for food stamps ends when annual income exceeds 130 percent of the poverty line, or a little more than $15,000 a year, for an individual. When the minimum wage increases above this level, as it has recently in many cities and states, employees reduce their hours to keep their benefits. As a result, people forgo opportunity for safety.

There is a solution that fulfills society's obligation to help the poor without reducing opportunity: the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). The EITC supplements incomes of the working poor through the tax code. As their income increases, their government supplements declines. The decline is never so steep that it results in a decline in total income.

The IRS recently estimated that nearly 28 million Americans received more than $66 billion in EITC payments in 2013, lifting an estimated 6.5 million people out of poverty, including 3.3 million children. While programs that provide food, housing and medical benefits are certainly important, the EITC is more effective in helping people rise out of poverty.

These existing programs should be rolled into an expanded EITC The only way to truly reduce poverty and finally get the economy going again for working-class Americans is to create greater opportunity for the economically disadvantaged.

Economic Growth @ 4%? : It's A Matter of Policy

Of course 4% growth is possible if not more, all it will take is the people of this country believing it can be done and then voting out the source of economic failure, the progressive socialist democrats. History tells the tale of economic failure and democrats are always in the forefront of that failure.

Okay, I know the Clinton era was prosperous to begin with but that was only because of Reagan policies that he set in motions and Bubba squandered in his last four years. Remembers the .Com mess? It was a scam. Everyone getting rich on thin air. That bubble was the poster child for democrat policy, 'take the money and run'.

The real motto for the progressive democrats is, "pull up the rope, I'm aboard".

When times are good, take as much as you until things go bad as they always eventually do, and then the Republicans take over to fix the problem they are attacked by the democrats as uncaring, moral less and greedy.

Worse, it always works to get democrats reelected, and then the decline starts all over again. Does this prove Gruber is right?

Is Four Percent Economic Growth Out of the Question?
Source: Glenn Hubbard and Kevin Warsh, "How the U.S. Can Return to 4% Growth," Wall Street Journal, June 21, 2015.

June 24, 2015

Economic growth in real terms is averaging a meager 2.2 percent annual rate in the 23 quarters since the recession's trough in June 2009. The consensus forecast of about 1 percent growth for the first half of this year offers little solace.

A clarion call for faster economic growth - even four percent, as presidential candidate Jeb Bush recently said - is a worthy and viable aspiration. The economy has achieved it before. The average growth rate was four percent or higher 17 times in the rolling four-year periods since 1950. It can reach that goal again.

The recession was officially over in mid-2009, and toward the end of that year the economy showed signs of recovery. A massive fiscal spending stimulus had been signed into law. The Federal Reserve was embarking on an unprecedented monetary accommodation. Leading economists and forecasters predicted the economy would respond to this policy elixir with a great surge in performance but growth has been about one-half of the Fed's projections.

The economy can grow at significantly higher rates than the prevailing pessimism.
  • What is needed for more rapid growth is a long-term commitment to policies that significantly increase U.S. economic potential.
  • Short-term policies such as temporary tax and spending changes that have characterized recent years should be set aside in favor of longer-term tax reform and removal of other barriers to economic growth.
This means policies that bring more people into the workforce. It means encouraging real capital investment to drive higher levels of productivity growth. It means resetting long-run expectations of potential for every individual, household and business.

Charter Schools Set Standards for Success

Why is it that when the free market is employed, success follows. Yet many communities seem to be stuck in a rut of past histories and failed ideologies to move to programs that have demonstrated success.

Charter schools have shown success but still many among us have a hard time moving away from the past into the new light of innovational programs for education that work. Change is always difficult of course, but given the failure rate of the public school system, it would seem a good way to bring both the public and private school systems into the 21st century through competition, that is, the free market of ideas.

Charter School States Setting Education Standard
Source: Kaytlyn Clancy, "Research & Commentary: States Without Charter Schools Are Falling Behind," Heartland, June 19, 2015.

June 24, 2015

Many states limit the number of charter schools allowed or authorized to open in a certain year. Such caps are unnecessary, as the number of charter schools should be permitted to increase and decrease with demand. Charter schools must set high standards in order to attract parents to enroll their children, and they will close if they fail to meet those expectations. Traditional public schools, by contrast, are largely able to stay open no matter how poor their students' academic achievements may be.

Regulations on the expansion of charter schools are preventing the supply from meeting demand, resulting in lotteries and long waiting lists. More than one million children are on waiting lists across the country in hopes of enrolling in a charter school.
  • The states without charter schools are largely rural. Charter schools are often seen as being beneficial only to urban areas with low-income families and dense populations. But those states should reconsider, given that nearly all states without charter schools rank in the bottom half of the state education rankings prepared by the American Legislative Exchange Council.
  • School choice creates competition among schools, which drives academic success. In 2015, the Center for Research on Education Outcomes (CREDO) conducted a study of urban charter schools and found students gained an additional 40 days of learning in math and 28 days in reading compared to their counterparts in traditional public schools. 
Laws hampering the innovation and expansion of charter schools restrict parents' ability to enroll their children in schools that best suit their educational needs. Legislators should strive to remove funding barriers for charter schools and other education alternatives, allow unlimited expansion of qualified charter schools with no cap and ensure a blanket waiver so schools have full control of their operations and remain independent of state school boards.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Education of Very Young Critical for Progressives : Moth & And the Flame

Just what we need is more inference from the progressive socialists in education, especially among the very young. This is by design and should be seen as part of Mr Obama's "fundamentally change" to America and our way of life. The progressives believe if they can change the minds of the very young it will be much easier to direct the adult in the future.

History can show how this technique has been employed in the past and had catastrophic results. Remember what happened in Germany that started the second world war? If you say it can't happen here, then you have to been living under a rock.

Congress Should Not Reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act
 Source: Lindsey Burke, "Reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act: No Place for Expanded Preschool and Childcare Subsidies," Heritage Foundation, June 22, 2015.

June 23, 2015

President Obama has proposed spending $75 billion over the next decade to establish a new federally funded preschool program to serve all four-year-old children. Some Members of Congress have also expressed interest in new federal preschool programs and spending and have turned to the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), currently known as No Child Left Behind (NCLB), as the vehicle through which such an expansion might occur.

ESEA has been slated for reauthorization since 2007, and in April 2015, the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee advanced out of committee a proposal to rewrite the law.

As a proposed reauthorization of ESEA works its way through Congress, policymakers should resist any efforts to expand the allowable uses of funds to include preschool, to create a new preschool program within federal law, or to establish an entirely new title in the law.

On the preschool and childcare question specifically, federal policymakers should:
  • Support APLUS-style options. The Academic Partnerships Lead Us to Success (APLUS) provision would allow states to completely opt out of programs that fall under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, and direct dollars toward any lawful education purpose under state law.
  • Allow states to make their Head Start dollars portable, while handing financing for the program back to the states over 10 years.
  • Streamline the labyrinth of existing federal preschool programs.  Instead of creating a new program or subsidy in ESEA, federal policymakers should consider ways to make existing options work better for families through consolidation and elimination of duplicative programs.
An expansion of preschool subsidies or programs as part of a reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act would further entangle Washington in the education and care of the youngest Americans.

EPA Regulations for Trucks : Cost, $200 Billion

The insanity of the EPA is so destructive and complete it staggers the mind trying to comprehend the reasoning of these people who willingly and knowing create regulations and laws, arbitrarily, to crush the economy and prosperity for citizens all under the guise of saving the environment.

Truly, the EPA is one of the greatest threats to our country and its future prosperity other then the White House itself. But then the EPA takes it's orders from the White House.

New Heavy-Duty Truck Efficiency Regulations to Cost $200 Billion
Source: Sam Batkins, "Heavy-Duty Truck Efficiency: Part II," American Action Forum, June 22, 2015. 

June 23, 2015

The Environmental Protection Agency's second round of heavy-duty truck efficiency standards could cost more than $30 billion. For perspective, the first iteration imposed costs of $8.1 billion. Partnered with the Department of Transportation (DOT), EPA issued its latest round of greenhouse gas (GHG) standards, aiming to cut close to one billion metric tons of GHGs. The combined proposed rule consumed 1,329 pages, with a 971-page Regulatory Impact Analysis (RIA).
  • Total Costs will be $17.6 billion to $30.8 billion ($1.3 billion annualized).
  • Total Benefits include $203 billion to $276 billion ($11.5 billion annualized).
  • Estimated paperwork hours will exceed 67,000.
With more than $30 billion in long-term projected costs, the administration anticipates a majority of these costs will be passed on to consumers. Not surprisingly, the proposal is projected to trigger the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act because it will result in more than $100 million (adjusted for inflation) in annual burdens on states and private entities.

All of the costs appear to be on private entities and not on state and local governments. The administration will doubtless tout the benefits of the proposal, but at its core, it's a $30 billion rule that will raise prices and affect employment. Once published, it will put the nation on track for more than $200 billion in regulatory costs. That's a lot of distortion.

ObamaCare Ruling Coming : Everyone Ready?

To suggest Mr Obama will willingly change his signature legislation to make it work is nonsense - it was never designed to work well and benefit everyone. It was designed to force the population in ever smaller groups people where they will have no choice but to submit to government control of their heath care.

Gruber told us the truth.

Mr Obama lied about the costs and the quality of care and how it would be administrated. What other reason can there be for Mr Obama's Health care program other then for absolute control? Single payer?

The courts ruling will be very telling in that everyone will have to make plans for major changes if  ObamaCare is found wanting and will be replaced or becomes the law of the land.

Shrink Obamacare's Costs by Removing Rule Driving up Young People's Premiums
Source: John R. Graham, "Shrink Obamacare's Costs by Removing Rule Driving up Young People's Premiums," National Center for Policy Analysis, June 22, 2015.

June 23, 2015

The decision on King v. Burwell will determine whether tax credits being paid in 34 states without their own exchanges are legal. If the Supreme Court makes the administration follow the letter of the law, billions of dollars of federal tax credits will continue to flow to 16 states, but not the rest. This will result in a political crisis giving Congress and President Obama the opportunity to fix Obamacare, says NCPA senior fellow John R. Graham.

Here is one suggestion: Remove Obamacare's rule forbidding accurate premiums by age. The difference in rates between young adults and older ones can be no greater than three to one. The actuarial consensus is that average health spending for 63-year-olds is five times that of 22-year-olds.

Last October, HealthPocket, an online insurance broker, measured the increase in premiums for every age group in 2014 versus the pre-Obamacare individual market and concluded they increased by double digits for every age group.
  • The increase for 63-year-olds was 37.5 percent for women and 22.7 percent for men.
  • The increase for 23-year-olds was 44.9 percent for women and 78.2 percent for men.
  • Scholars at the Heritage Foundation concluded Obamacare's age rating restrictions increase premiums for younger adults by about one-third.
Obamacare disguises these true premiums by offering health insurers tax credits to reduce the net premium people pay, thus fooling many into thinking premiums have gone down.

If the age rating restrictions were lifted, the premium for the second-lowest cost silver plan could easily be expected to drop to $270, a reduction of $66. The tax credit would drop by the same amount, $66, which amounts to a drop of over one-third from $191. Aggregated over the entire Obamacare population, this would dramatically reduce Obamacare's claim on taxpayers.

Gov to Bypass Legislators on Wages : NY's Cuomo Is The Best

The question that remains is why do it if only bad things will happen to the general public? What benefit will the Governor get if he arbitrarily raises wages and destroy jobs? Other states are making similar moves and some have already seen the results and they are all bad.

Where is the logic and common sense here? Even if the face of historical results, politicians opt to go forward. Is the tyranny of the few or just the one?

Governor Cuomo to Bypass State Legislature on Wages
Source: Diana Furchtgott-Roth, "Cuomo's Fishy Fast Food Wage Board," Economic Policies for the 21st Century, June 4, 2015.

June 8, 2015

Governor Cuomo, who has never faced a serious election, has engaged in the unserious business of bypassing the state legislature to do what few others in America can do - single handedly set wages.

The Wage Board recently held a public hearing in Buffalo; results have yet to be published.
In March 2013, Governor Cuomo signed a bill passed by the state legislature that raised the minimum wage to $8.00 in 2014, $8.75 in 2015 and $9.00 at the end of 2015.

Under New York State law, the recommendations of the Wage Board take effect without going through the state legislature. So if Governor Cuomo's Wage Board decides wages at fast food establishments should be $15 an hour, those wages will rise without a vote from the elected representatives - who have already declined to raise wages any further.

The Wage Board is composed of three people who supposedly represent labor, business and the public. All three are on record as supporting an increase in wages for employees of fast food establishments and so the recommendations of the Wage Board, due later this summer, are entirely predictable. The state labor commissioner, Mario Musolino, has determined that low wages are only unfair when they are being paid to fast food workers.

The entirely predictable recommendations of the Wage Board will mean consumers of fast food will face fewer restaurants and higher prices. Some workers will lose their jobs. Countless other unknown workers, especially teens starting out in the workforce, who might have had jobs at those restaurants, will no longer have that opportunity.

Super Rich Run for Cover : Free Countries Are Best

Interesting how the free world is condemned by progressives of all strips, and yet here they are looking to invest in places that are safe from the burdens they have instituted in their own countries due to socialism and communist ideology.

Do you wonder why Mr Obama loves these people? It's the best of both worlds, while he destroys the biggest free nation in the world by instituting his socialist ideology, he friends send their billions here to support that very ideology they are trying to escape.

Residential Investments from the Super-Rich Raise Home Prices
Source: Kim Hjelmgaard, "Where the world's super-rich send residential prices soaring," USA Today, June 1, 2015.

June 2, 2015

A handful of elite cities around the world have increasingly become magnets for residential investments from super-rich foreigners looking for safe places to park their fortunes. They invested approximately $25 billion in cross-border residential real estate in 2014. Living in the world's most desirable cities has long been associated with exorbitant housing prices for a multitude of reasons, ranging from high infrastructure costs to demand that far outstrips the supply. Yet this vast injection of wealth is increasingly contributing to soaring home prices in places as far as London, Vancouver, Miami, New York, Panama City, Istanbul and Sydney.

It has also distorted home prices in some city centers beyond the reach of all but the world's wealthiest individuals at a time when 330 million urban households worldwide live in substandard housing.

For millions of middle-class — and even upper-middle-class families —urban life in these cities is out of the question. In the past year, residential property prices in prime locations favored by foreign investors rose sharply - 19 percent in New York, 15 percent in Bali and Istanbul, 13 percent in Dublin and 11 percent in Sydney. From 2008 to 2012, average house prices in Hong Kong rose more than 117 percent. The average property in London costs $750,000, a one-year jump of 19 percent.

Chinese investors pumped nearly $6 billion into the residential housing market in Australia in 2013. In an attempt to stem the flow of Chinese money pouring into hot spots such as Sydney and Melbourne, Australia recently announced restrictions on non-resident foreign nationals who want to purchase homes in the country. As capital and people increasingly traverse the globe, residential property markets are caught up in the maelstrom.

Republicans Fall Short on Moral Integrity : ObamaCare for Others, Not Us?

I wonder where moral integrity begins and self serving ends? It appears that the latter is a problem with the impending decision from the Supreme Court on ObamaCare's real meaning, that is enforcing it according to how it was actually written.

The duplicity is amazing, especially for Republicans that are good with the benefits of the bill but stand tall pounding their collective chests when the cameras are rolling condemning ObamaCare as being illegal. Who are these people?

Here is another question for the Republicans, why aren't they on the floor of congress demanding that the special 'cutout', congress escaping the burden and costs of ObamaCare for them and their collective staffs be eliminated?

Where's the outrage among the Republicans?

Many Congressional Republicans Opposing Obamacare Have a Conflict of Interest
Source: John R. Graham, "Many Congressional Republicans Opposing Obamacare Have a Conflict of Interest," National Center for Policy Analysis. June 8, 2015.

June 10, 2015

Congress may soon have the opportunity to amend the Affordable Care Act (ACA), says NCPA senior fellow John R. Graham.   The grounds would be a Supreme Court decision in King v. Burwell, a case, which seeks to make the Obama Administration enforce the ACA as written.

The main point in question in King v. Burwell is the administration's paying tax credits to health insurers offering ACA plans in 34 states with federally facilitated exchanges. As a result of these tax credits, people who buy health insurance on exchanges pay premiums much lower than they otherwise would. If the plaintiffs prevail, these tax credits will stop and premiums will go up.

Congressional Republicans have promised an offer, which will be acceptable to the president while mitigating the worst effects of Obamacare. However, they have not rallied around a unified response.
One reason may be that many Representatives and Senators are benefitting from another illegal payment of public monies the administration is using to prop up Obamacare. When the ACA was being debated, one sticking point was that politicians were proposing to impose an unpopular health insurance "reform" on vulnerable citizens while leaving their own generous health benefits untouched. Members of Congress and their staff have long been covered by the same health plan unionized federal public servants enjoy.

This obstacle was overcome by putting a clause in the ACA requiring congressional politicians and their staff to pay for Obamacare health plans.

Obviously, Congress cannot stand up to illegal Obamacare payments as long as it benefits from its own illegal ACA payments.

Until congressional Republicans reject the illegal Obamacare exemption with which the administration has privileged them, it is difficult to see how they can commit to cleaning up other messes in the Affordable Care Act.

Veterans Death In Wisconsin : Feds Stonewall - Sen. Baldwin Skates Free?

I wonder why Sen. Tammy Baldwin ( democrat of Wisconsin) has been allowed to skate on this matter? She knew this was going on for months and even tried to cover it up after the last death of a veteran. Yet, Baldwin's complicity in this death goes uninvestigated after the initial reporting several months ago. I also wonder if the VA deaths surrounding Baldwin is much like Hillary Clinton's involvement in the Benghazi murders, or the death of Vincent Foster, and Ted Kennedy's complicity with the death of  Jo Kopechne, a female Kennedy aid, on the bridge in Chappaquiddick?  Is it just coincidence that they are all democrats and they all go free?

After Deaths of Veterans, Federal Agencies Stonewall Probe of ‘Candy Man’ Doctor
Sharyl Attkisson /    

 A congressional investigation into a “Candy Land” physician who allegedly “doped up” and “zombified” veterans has uncovered disturbing new details.
The probe has faced stonewalling and hostility from federal agencies, according to the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs.

In January 2015, reports surfaced that the then-chief of staff, Dr. David Houlihan, at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Tomah, Wis., had been nicknamed “Candy Man” by vets and employees for allegedly dispensing drugs like candy.
Marine Corps veteran Jason Simcakoski died of “mixed drug toxicity” at the facility on Aug. 30, 2014, with more than a dozen drugs in his system. Within days, veteran Thomas Baer died of neglect after waiting hours to be seen at the facility’s urgent care center.
Among other findings, an interim report issued today by the Republican majority staff of the committee found that problems at the Tomah VA Medical Center were long known inside the facility and the federal government. Chairman Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., is leading the inquiry.

The report says vets and employees referred to Houlihan as the “Candy Man” as far back as 2004, that the facility was possibly at risk of losing its federal approval to dispense controlled substances due to its questionable prescribing practices, and that the federal Drug Enforcement Administration conducted at least three inquiries into drug diversion there.
Yet federal agencies are refusing to fully cooperate with the congressional probe, according to today’s report. It says the Drug Enforcement Administration has refused to provide full information about its investigations, and the Justice Department has not turned over information about its reviews of public corruption and drug diversion allegations.

Adding to the obstruction, according to the congressional report, is the Veterans Affairs Office of Inspector General (VA OIG) which has “declined to cooperate voluntarily with the committee’s oversight.” The committee subpoenaed Deputy Inspector General Richard J. Griffin for information on April 29. “To date, the VA OIG continues to obstruct the Committee’s investigation by withholding vital information about its inspection of the Tomah VAMC, and has indicated that it no longer intends to produce any additional documentation pursuant to the subpoena,” says the report.
However, the committee has received a great deal of information from other sources, including dozens of whistleblowers. One of them, who is not named in the report, says veterans began calling Houlihan the “Candy Man” in 2004.

“When Dr. Houlihan came in, he started to prescribe meds very freely to the veterans” and was “being so free with [prescribing] ‘benzos’ [benzodiazepines],” said the whistleblower.
Houlihan’s practices were well known, the report finds. A letter provided to the committee shows the local union of American Federation of Government Employees raised concerns about the “Candy Man” in 2009. The letter described how many vets were being “prescribed large quantities of narcotics.” It also cited an example of Houlihan writing a prescription for 1,000-plus narcotic tablets for a 30-day supply.

The letter states: “There have been several unexplained deaths at this Medical Center. In 2008, there were three suicides of veterans while sitting in parked vehicles on the Medical Center grounds. These patients were counseled by Psychiatrist/Chief of Staff Dr. David Houlihan.”

In January, the state of Wisconsin announced it had opened an investigation into Houlihan. In March, he was placed on administrative leave after an internal, preliminary review found “unsafe clinical practices” at the Center which resulted in “patient harm.” Houlihan has reportedly told reporters he’s been instructed not to comment during reviews of his management and prescription practices.

Under public pressure in January, the inspector general released the results of its own investigation into the facility, which it had previously kept confidential. It concluded Houlihan was in the top 10 most prolific prescribers of opiates of more than 3,000 in a multi-state region. The inspector general noted “potentially serious concerns” but did not fault Houlihan because the amounts prescribed did not “constitute proof of wrongdoing.”

Houlihan’s lawyer, Frank Doherty, has told reporters that he is confident any additional investigations will conclude there was no wrongdoing on his client’s part.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

GOP Leadership Attacking Descent In the Ranks

All's not well among the Republicans and Conservatives - either toe the line or be crushed - is this just the politics of the changing of the guard? I don't see this as ending well for either side. especially now as we are headed toward a national election that will spell the difference for our countries survival as a free nation.

GOP Leadership Threatens Other Conservative Subcommittee Chairman as Punishment for Trade Vote
Melissa Quinn /

Conservative lawmakers serving as subcommittee chairmen are finding themselves on the receiving end of retribution from House leadership for defying party leaders.

Last week, 34 Republicans broke from their party in voting against a routine procedural rule that would have advanced Trade Promotion Authority. Since then, GOP leadership has come down hard on those members, removing some from the leadership team and threatening others with losing subcommittee chairmanships.

This show of force from leadership has angered conservative lawmakers and members of the House Freedom Caucus, who are speaking out against the “culture of punishment and fear” that’s emerged during John Boehner’s tenure as speaker.

“Conservatives are frustrated that they are being punished for voting their conscience after countless efforts to work openly with leadership were stonewalled,” a conservative staffer in the House told The Daily Signal.
Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., was removed from his role as chairman of the Government Operations subcommittee. As The Daily Signal previously reported, Rep. Jason Chaffetz, chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, approached Meadows last week and presented him with two options: resign as chairman or be booted from the role.
Meadows, though, isn’t the only subcommittee chairman to be approached by committee heads following their vote against the procedural vote.
A second Republican staffer told The Daily Signal at least one other conservative member has met with the chairman of the member’s full committee, where the topic of the procedural vote came up. The meeting, though, did not result in the loss of the chairmanship.

Mark Meadows to Fight GOP House Leadership: ‘Sometimes You Have to Make Changes to the Coach’

The staffer said members are concerned with leadership’s process, a sentiment Meadows echoed, and feel they shouldn’t “be forced to vote with leadership and against their constituents.”
A spokesman for Boehner did not return The Daily Signal’s request for comment.
In the wake of the procedural vote on Trade Promotion Authority, Reps. Trent Franks of Arizona, Cynthia Lummis of Wyoming and Steve Pearce of New Mexico were removed from the GOP whip team. The members each defied House Republican leadership in voting against the deal.

Pearce told The Daily Signal he had a “moral problem” with leadership asking him to support moving the trade legislation forward.
 Congressman Speaks Out Against GOP Leadership on Being Punished for Trade Vote

Since his ouster, Meadows, a member of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, has been publicly speaking out against GOP leaders’ tactics.

“There is no honor in bowing to a bully,” he said. “There is only honor in fighting a good fight—win or lose. This is not a fight I will back down from.”

Separately, members of the House Freedom Caucus—a conservative group with between 30 and 40 lawmakers in its ranks—will meet tonight to discuss how to respond to leadership’s retribution. There has been talk among members of blocking legislation backed by the party leaders, which would keep it from advancing through the House.

Over the last few years, 11 Republicans have been punished for bucking party leadership.
During the 113th Congress, Reps. Justin Amash of Michigan, Tim Huelskamp of Kansas, David Schweikert of Arizona and Walter Jones of North Carolina were kicked off their committees after they didn’t vote for Boehner to be speaker.

This year, Reps. Daniel Webster and Richard Nugent, both of Florida, were removed from the powerful Rules Committee after voting for other members during the speaker election in January.
Additionally, Rep. Rod Blum of Iowa, who also didn’t vote for Boehner, was denied a spot on the National Republican Congressional Committee’s fundraising initiative for vulnerable House members. His seat is considered competitive.

Education Is Just the Money? : More Is Not Better

School boards have always found it easier to just throw more money at a problem rather then actually having to solve the vexing situation were students fail to be educated. This seems simple enough to understand that somewhere there is failure to deliver.

But if there is a bright side to the failure of school boards, it's the solution that has become the nemesis of public education and that is Charter Schools, private schools and the Voucher system. When all else fails, it's the free market that is saving the day.

More Spending Does Not Improve Education
Source: CJ Szafir and Marktin Luekin, "More Spending Doesn't Lead To Improved Student Learning," Forbes, May 8, 2015.

June 22, 2015

Have we hit a wall where more spending on traditional public schools will not lead to improved student learning? Applying commonly-accepted statistical tools to the state of Wisconsin, results show this may be the case. Like the United States, Wisconsin has spent more on public schools but has not gotten more for this investment.
  • In the United States, since 1966, per-student spending in constant dollars on public education has increased by 300 percent.
  • In 2011, the United States spent $11,841 for every student enrolled in traditional primary and secondary public schools. This amount is 5th highest among all countries in the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and $2,973 per pupil higher than the OECD average.
Yet, despite these expenditures, the United States has failed to create a world-class education system. Among OECD countries:
  • The United States ranks 27th in math, 17th in reading, and 20th in science. Less than one-third of all U.S. students are proficient in math and reading.
  • The United States also struggles to educate poor children. More than half of the OECD countries had higher portions of resilient children, poor children who manage to perform in the top quartile of students in OECD countries, than the United States.
For years, many policymakers declare victory after instinctively throwing money at the traditional public school system, with little evaluation as to whether children are actually learning.


FCC Regulates & Allocates Broadband Resources : Just More Politics?

What nonsense - the FCC has no intention of doing anything that will benefit the larger usage for the broadband industry. The FCC is like all other agencies that are operated out of the White House, it's about the control of outcomes, and to do this it's necessary to allocate available resources as needed to ensure the desired out comes are reached.

Little wonder then why the government consumes the lions share of broadband resources. And the FCC's Internet Neutrality is a good thing? Whose idea was this?

The FCC Should Not Micromanage the Broadband Industry
Source: Tom Giovanetti, "More Spectrum Needed to Avoid Wireless Traffic Jams," Institute for Policy Innovation, June 19, 2015.

June 22, 2015

Just as roads, highways and bridges are critical infrastructure for the transportation economy, spectrum is critical infrastructure for the communications economy. Roads and bridges are expensive to build, but at least you can always build more of them. With spectrum, however, the supply is limited by physics.  Innovation has allowed us to find more efficient ways to use available spectrum, but at the end of the day, spectrum is a finite resource and must be used efficiently.

Today the supply of spectrum is being artificially constrained. In some cases, this is just a matter of spectrum that has been licensed, or awarded, to companies that are making less efficient use of their spectrum.
  • Spectrum is being hoarded and wasted, particularly by government agencies. Spectrum availability is becoming a critical issue because of how much of our economic activity and productivity is moving to mobile devices. A recent Brattle Group study estimates that more than $400 billion in economic activity and over 1.3 million jobs are generated directly by use of this licensed spectrum. 
  • There is also unlicensed spectrum — the spectrum you use in your home or office for a Wi-Fi network, for instance. Unlicensed spectrum is also growing in importance, and because equally important uses lend themselves to both licensed and unlicensed spectrum, we need more of both.
It is crucial, therefore, that policy makers make it a priority to free up as much spectrum as possible, as soon as possible, to ensure we do not start experiencing the equivalent of traffic jams in the wireless space.

Releasing spectrum needs to be a priority, and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is behind on its promised pace of spectrum reallocation. If the FCC would reallocate more of its time and resources to releasing spectrum and less of it to micromanaging the broadband industry, that would be a win-win for the U.S. economy.