Thursday, May 31, 2018

Lessons from Europe on Welfare, Dependency, and Self-Reliance

May 30, 2018 by Dan Mitchell @ International Liberty
 
America has a major dependency problem. In recent decades, there’s been a significant increase in the number of working-age adults relying on handouts.

This is bad news for poor people and bad news for taxpayers.

But it’s also bad news for the nation since it reflects an erosion of societal capital.

For all intents and purposes, people are being paid not to be productive.

Guided by the spirit of Calvin Coolidge, we need to reform the welfare state.

Professor Dorfman of the University of Georgia, in a column for Forbes, pinpoints the core problem.
The first failure of government welfare programs is to favor help with current consumption while placing almost no emphasis on job training or anything else that might allow today’s poor people to become self-sufficient in the future. …It is the classic story of giving a man a fish or teaching him how to fish. Government welfare programs hand out lots of fish, but never seem to teach people how to fish for themselves. The problem is not a lack of job training programs, but rather the fact that the job training programs fail to help people. In a study for ProPublica, Amy Goldstein documents that people who lost their jobs and participated in a federal job training program were less likely to be employed afterward than those who lost their jobs and did not receive any job training. That is, the job training made people worse off instead of better. …Right now, the government cannot teach anyone how to find a fish, let alone catch one.
And Peter Cove opines on the issue for the Wall Street Journal.
…the labor-force participation rate for men 25 to 54 is lower now than it was at the end of the Great Depression. The welfare state is largely to blame. More than a fifth of American men of prime working age are on Medicaid. According to the Census Bureau, nearly three-fifths of nonworking men receive federal disability benefits. The good news is that the 1996 welfare reform taught us how to reduce government dependency and get idle Americans back to work. …Within 10 years of the 1996 reform, the number of Americans in the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program fell 60%.
Interestingly, European nations seem to be more interested in fixing the problem, perhaps because they’ve reached the point where reform is a fiscal necessity.

Let’s look at what happened when the Dutch tightened benefit rules.

A fascinating new study from economists in California and the Netherlands sheds light on how welfare dependency is passed from one generation to the next – and how to save children from lives of idleness.
A snowball effect across generations could arise if welfare dependency is transmitted from parents to their children, with potentially serious consequences for the future economic situation of children. …there is little evidence on whether this relationship is causal. Testing for the existence of a behavioural response, where children become benefit recipients because their parents were, is difficult… Our work overcomes these identification challenges by exploiting a 1993 reform in the Dutch Disability Insurance (DI) programme… The 1993 reform tightened DI eligibility for existing and future claimants, but exempted older cohorts currently on DI (age 45+) from the new rules. This reform generates quasi-experimental variation in DI use… Intuitively, the idea is to compare the children of parents who are just over 45 years of age to children whose parents are just under 45. .
Here’s the methodology of their research.
The first step is to understand the impact of the 1993 reform on parents. Figure 1 shows that parents who were just under the age 45 cut-off, and therefore subject to the harsher DI rules, are 5.5 percentage points more likely to exit DI by the year 1999 compared to parents just over the age 45 cut-off. These treated parents saw a 1,300 euro drop in payments on average. …the reform changed other outcomes as well. There is a strong rebound in labour earnings.
This chart from their research captures the discontinuity.

Here are the main results.
The second step is to see how children’s DI use changed based on whether the reform affected their parents. We measure a child’s cumulative use of DI as of 2014, by which time they are 37 years old on average. Figure 2 reveals a noticeable jump in child DI participation at the parental age cut-off of 45. There is an economically significant 1.1 percentage point drop for children if their parent was exposed to the reform, which translates into an 11% effect relative to the mean child participation rate of 10%. …welfare cultures, defined as a causal intergenerational link, exist.
This second chart illustrates the positive impact.


But here’s the most important part of the research.

Reducing access to redistribution to parents is a good way of boosting income and education for children.
…we examine whether a child’s taxable earnings and participation in other social support programmes change. Cumulative earnings up to 2014 rise by approximately €7,200 euros, or a little less than 2%, for children of parents subject to the less generous DI rules. In contrast, we find no detectable change in cumulative unemployment insurance receipt, general assistance (i.e. traditional cash welfare), or other miscellaneous safety net programs. Looking at a child’s educational attainment, there is intriguing evidence for anticipatory investments. When a parent is subject to the reform which tightened DI benefits, their child invests in 0.12 extra years of education relative to an overall mean of 11.5 years. …these findings provide suggestive evidence that children of treated parents plan for a future with less reliance on DI in part by investing in their labour market skills.
And it’s also worth noting that taxpayers benefit when welfare eligibility is restricted.
These strong intergenerational links between parents and children have sizable fiscal consequences for the government’s long term budget. Cumulative DI payments to children of the targeted parents are 16% lower. This is a substantial additional saving for the government’s budget, especially since there is no evidence that children substitute these reductions in DI income for additional income from other social assistance programmes. Furthermore, there is a fiscal gain resulting from the increased taxes these children pay due to their increased labour market earnings. Overall, we calculate that through the year 2013, children account for 21% of the net fiscal savings of the 1993 Dutch reform in present discounted value terms. This share is projected to increase to 40% over time.
Ryan Streeter of American Enterprise Institute explains that other European nations also are reforming.
Welfare reformers might draw some lessons from unlikely places, such as Scandinavia. While progressives like to uphold Nordic democratic socialism as a model for America, the Scandinavian welfare systems are arguably more pro-work than ours… For instance, to deal with declining labor force participation, Denmark eliminated permanent disability benefits for people under 40 and refashioned its system to make employment central. Sweden reformed its welfare system to focus on rapid transitions from unemployment to work. Their program lowers jobless assistance the longer one is on welfare. The Nordic model is more focused on eliminating reasons not to work such as caregiving or lack of proper training than providing income replacement. Similarly, the British government combined six welfare programs with varying requirements into a single “universal credit.” The benefit is based on a sliding scale and decreases as a recipient’s earnings increase, replacing several differing formulas for phasing out of welfare programs with one. An evaluation of the new program, which encourages work, found that 86 percent of claimants were trying to increase their work hours and 77 percent were trying to earn more, compared to 38 percent and 55 percent, respectively, under the previous system. …Scandinavia and Britain learned a while ago that successful welfare reform is not just about how much money a country spends on people who earn too little. It’s really about how to help them find and keep a good job. It’s time for America to catch up.
Amen.

For what it’s worth, I think we’ll be most likely to get good results if we get Washington out of the redistribution business.

In effect, block grant all means-tested programs to the states and then phase out the federal funding. That would give states the ability to experiment and they could learn from each other about the best way of helping the truly needy while minimizing incentives for idleness.

P.S. This WIzard-of-Id parody is a very good explanation of why handouts discourage productive work.

Barr Busted: Thank You ABC/Disney!

By Rich Kozlovich

Roseanne Barr described "Barack Obama political guru Valerie Jarrett as a cross between the Muslim Brotherhood and the Planet of the Apes" and got fired for it.

On May 30, 2018 Scott McKay posted an article entitled, A Pox On Both Your Houses stating:
Nobody should be too angry that Roseanne Barr got fired on Monday — but that doesn’t change the fact ABC/Disney is an atrocious company. Plus, various and sundry other items of note. on’t be too shocked at this, but Roseanne Barr said something intolerable and got her highly-rated ABC sitcom canceled before its second season could go into production. The decision to dump her show came within mere hours after the statement.
As for her Muslim Brotherhood connections he stated:
Jarrett’s Muslim Brotherhood connections are less a matter of perception; Judicial Watch revealed it had uncovered documentation to that effect in 2015.
But to compare her to apes is clearly racist, irrational and stunningly stupid. 

But remember - this is Roseanne Barr!

Remember when she grabbed her crotch and then spit on the ground after butchering the National Anthem at a ball game?

Her response to the boos? 
"I'm sorry that I didn't sing so good, but I'd like to hear him [the President] sing it." Barr also said she would do it all again, "but I'd do it for a hipper crowd. If this is the worst thing they've ever heard, then their lives have been pretty easy."
Remember when she publically claimed she was sexually molested as a child, but one of the other children claimed that was all false. Twenty years later here's her recantation. 
While appearing on The Oprah Winfrey Show nearly 20 years later, however, Roseanne said she regretted those accusations. "I think it's the worst thing I've ever done," she said, per Access. "It's the biggest mistake that I've ever made." 
"Calling it incest?" Oprah asked. "Or going public?" 
"Well, both of those things," the comedian replied. "I was in a very unhappy relationship. I was prescribed numerous psychiatric drugs, incredible mixtures of psychiatric drugs to deal with the fact that I had — and still in some ways have and always will have — some mental illness. And [with] the drugs and the combination of drugs that I was given — which were some strong, strong drugs — I totally lost touch with reality in a big, big way."
So because this lunatic was unhappy and on drugs she could only find solace in vilifying her parents in a way that can't be retracted no matter what is said thereafter?

Why would anyone be shocked or surprised at anything this woman says or does?  She has never had an intimate relationship with reality.  And she bounces back and forth like a tennis ball between sane and insane.

 Here are a couple of Rosanne Barr quotes and who I really think she is:
  • "I hate every human being on earth. I feel that everyone is beneath me, and I feel they should all worship me. That's what I told my kids:"
  • "Legalize hemp and allow women to grow it and make food, clothing and housing for pennies from it and legalize marijuana too. Let women integrate their divided consciousness with a natural herb instead of doctor’s pills that kill the liver."
The author went on to say:
It isn’t like Roseanne Barr wasn’t a rickety wagon to begin with. She’s categorically insane and has been for quite some time. What’s more, Roseanne Barr is anything but the middle class conservative icon the promoters of her show’s reboot billed her as in advance of its return to ABC’s lineup of shows this spring. She’s every bit the leftist the rest of Hollywood is; she’s just trashier and less pretentious. That the characters on the show were Trump supporters doesn’t mean much; if anything that fact gave license to the show’s producers to use them as figures of ridicule. Barr has made a career out of portraying herself that way; why Trump supporters would appreciate being identified with one of the least desirable, most lowbrow acts on television is something your author never could understand.
I couldn't agree more.  I didn't see any of this production, and had no intention of watching any future shows, and I'm not bleeding all over myself for Roseanne Barr.  I've always found her contemptible and she's done nothing in her personal or professional life that made me want to change my mind. 

McKay goes on to lay out some sound thoughts:
So good riddance to Roseanne Barr and let’s not expend much energy in making a martyr of her in our current culture war.
The real issue here isn't Rosanne Barr, although I doubt she would have been fired if she's said something as obnoxious and stupid about Condolezza Rice, who was treated by leftist media treated in a most disgusting way without anyone being fired.  The real issue is ABC/Disney.  They've gone so far to the left if they were sitting at a table with Bernie Sanders he would have to look to the left to see them.  That's who everyone should be paying attention to, not the firing of Rosanne Barr.

As for Barr - it was just a matter of time before she reverted back to her normal insane self.  Her firing just saved conservatives from a lot of embarrassing future moments. 

In this every conservative in the nation can thank ABC/Disney!

Staggering DOJ study: 83 percent of prisoners re-arrested within 9 years of release

Daniel Horowitz May 29, 2018

"The liberal approach of coddling criminals didn't work and never will. Nothing in our Constitution gives dangerous criminals a right to prey on innocent, law-abiding people."~Ronald Reagan, Feb. 18, 1984

The cool kids in Washington promoting the Michael Dukakis crime agenda have a clever way of enticing conservatives to support the Soros anarchist agenda. Well, conservatives, don't you want to save money and actually enhance public safety with less recidivism? How dumb of us not to know that all along, the far Left was really right about crime and that somehow the miraculous drop in crime in the 90s following tougher sentencing laws was just a figment of our imagination.

Common sense and learned human experiences never fail to deliver the truth. Last Wednesday, the DOJ released an updated study from the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) showing that 83 percent of prisoners released by states under jailbreak programs similar to what the bipartisan cabal is promoting in Washington were re-arrested within nine years of their release. So much for the recidivism argument for early release programs. Unfortunately, the House was in such a rush to pass this bill even without a CBO score that the DOJ report didn't come out until a day later.

The same people commit the crimes...........To Read More....


They're ALL Racist: NYT Writer, CNN Commentator Use Roseanne Fallout To Smear Trump

Voters Matt Vespa May 30, 2018

Folks, let’s be honest about a couple of things. One, how is the cancellation of a television show a presidential-level subject of conversation? Second, but now that it is; does watching Roseanne make me a bigot?

The 2018 reboot of the show that garnered critical acclaim for its portrayal of a struggling working class family in the Rust Belt of America got off to solid ratings.

It had been renewed for a second season—and liberal America was again perplexed. How could this happen? How could a sitcom about people we consider inferior in everyday do well? Who cares about them? And that’s the point: the Left’s hatred for anyone who isn’t like them goes beyond politics—they genuinely hate Middle America.

That pent up rage is now spilling all over the airwaves after star Roseanne Barr tweeted horrible and racist remarks aimed at former Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett. The show was cancelled within hours. So, there is definitely a bit of schadenfreude going on here—a “see, you people really are terrible” lecture from the most insufferable, condescending bastions of the country. A tortuous analysis of how country bumpkins, not MS-13, are the cancer of America.

That is your everyday liberal..........To Read More.....

Take Three Guesses Who Starbucks Chairman Blames For ‘Racist Behavior’ in His Stores

You’ll only need one.

By


On Tuesday, Starbucks decided they were going to prove their “wokeness” by shutting down 8,000 stores for several hours to give “racial bias training” to all of its employees. This, of course, is their response to several controversial incidents that have happened at stores around the country. Howard Schultz, chief chairman of Starbucks, recently sat down with CNN and pointed the finger for these incidents at President Donald Trump, saying that his rhetoric and behavior has given people a license to act in racist ways.

Is anyone really surprised by this? ............To Read More....

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Cartoon of the Day!


New York Times fake news BUSTED


Two of my favorite pundits – Mollie Hemingway (of The Federalist) and John Hinderaker (of Powerline) – have absolutely nailed the New York Times for genuinely fake news it published. Naturally, the phony quote it made up is aimed at denigrating President Trump – in the current instance, his historic moves to solve the North Korea nuke problem that his predecessors failed to address effectively. The possibility that President Trump might succeed is frightening to those in the media and politics who have declared him a joke before he was elected and a disaster ever since. They desperately need for there to be no success for America and the world in eliminating the threat of a North Korean nuclear arsenal. Stunningly, even after being busted for its made up story, the Gray Lady has doubled down. Hemingway caught the journalistic malpractice first:............ Read more

The Lady is a Hag

By Rich Kozlovich



(Editor's Note:  The thinking at the NYT is irrational, misanthropic, morally defective and mentally deranged.  Just like the groups they support.   

I originally posted this on November 12, 2011, but in light of the article, NY Times Slanders Victims of Texas Attack, I decided to repost this blast from the past with some updates, on April 5, 2015. 

Now we have this piece New York Times fake news BUSTED, so I've decided to re-publish this again, but no updates on their economic status this time as I've not the time to follow up on that.  Besides, that will take care if itself eventually.  Unfortunately not soon enough.  RK)

On November 11, 2012 John Ransom wrote an article entitled; The New York Times Gets Life Support, saying that; “the common stock of the New York Times (NYSE: NYT) plunged from $10.87 last week to a close of $8.19 on Friday after the liberal mouthpiece announced that its 3rd quarter net income dropped 85 percent. While analysts are blaming soft advertising revenues, I think something more ominous is happening at America’s national, bleeding-heart newspaper. For sure, advertising revenues are dropping nationally as economic conditions have deteriorated over the last two quarters.”

He continued saying; “But still advertising revenues for the NYT are plunging in industries where we have been told by no less an authority than –gasp!- the New York Times: “Hurray! The recovery is finally on its way!” However, the economy isn’t the problem at the "Old Gray Lady”, who claims to publish “all the news fit to print"! Apparently that is as long as it fits their leftist agenda. They have an agenda? Really?

Mark this down. I predict the day will come when the New York Times will cease publication.

Newspapers and magazines all over the country have failed their readers, as a result many have ceased physical publication, and either disappeared, or have gone to the internet - as Newsweek is doing soon. The internet has given society the means to find out what's true and what's spin, and now we know they've not told us the truth on virtually every issue of signifigence.  They have deliberately misrepresented the facts or obfuscate the facts with emotional arguments and logical fallacies - and emotion will outweigh logic every time. Fantasy is far more attractive than reality, that’s why works of fiction are so popular.

But in the information business fiction is called by a different name; it’s called “lying”.  And most of what passes for news can be construed as lies of omission.

The media, as a whole, are filled with leftists and the left has never had a close relationship with the truth. The left is more than willing to change itself into an angel of light if that is what works to get them power. Whatever is popular is what it is they believe – just so long as it suits their goal for attaining power.

The Progressive Movement in United States was socialism American style. When Woodrow Wilson was President of the U.S. the binding force for the Progressive Movement in America was - believe it or not - religion. European socialism was atheistic in nature and that just wouldn’t float in America, so it became the Progressive Movement with the rationale that socialism was the practical application of Christian ethic. It was later called Liberalism and by that time the true socialists within the movement was able to kick the religionists to the curb because they didn’t need them any longer. After WWII the binding force for Liberalism was psychology. If you disagreed with them you were insane.

Do these media types have any idea what it is they are promoting? I wonder, but let’s us assume they really do know what leftism really means. If that is true then we have to assume many of them must be insane. If they don't know what they are promoting that means they are stupid, and I don't believe that - deliberately self-delusional perhaps, but not stupid. To think they are stupid is to underestimate them. Their efforts to thwart the truth makes it obvious that they must know the truth.

Strong language? Yes, but I would like for everyone to think about this. Outside of the small elite running socialist societies - who really benefits from a nation that either embraced socialism or had it imposed on them? It certainly isn’t humanity as a whole!  We have, starting with the French Revolution, almost 225 years of history to prove that dystopia is the handmaiden of socialist thinking and policies.

 How could they possibly not know that?

Let’s do some history on the media and the number one socialist dictator in the world….Fidel Castro. At the death of CBS news guru Don Hewitt Humberto Fontova wrote an article calling him a Castro Enabler because of “his media advance-work helping install a Stalinist regime in Cuba”.

He went on to say that; “Hewitt of CBS still seemed proud of his work as a Castro media auxiliary. During that interim, over 20,000 Cubans were murdered by firing squad and beaten or starved to death in forced labor camps. Another 70-80 thousand were ripped apart by sharks or drowned in the Florida straits (attempting to flee a nation that previously took in more immigrants per-capita than the U.S.” (Please follow the link to see the truth about Hewitt’s deliberate chicanery over the interview with Elian’s father by Dan Rather. If you had doubts that there is such a thing as leftist corruption amongst “journalists” this would certainly dispel them.)

What does that have to do with the New York Times you may ask? This is merely demonstrating how badly infested the main stream media is with leftist thinking, and has been for decades.

Fontova went on to say that New York Times reporter Herbert Matthews “made Fidel Castro an international pop star on the front page of the world's most important newspaper.” “The February 1957 NYT's headline article proclaimed that, "Fidel Castro has strong ideas of liberty, democracy, social justice, the need to restore Cuba's Constitution....this amounts to a new deal for Cuba, radical, democratic and therefore anti-Communist."

That was a lie and they all knew it.

But it shouldn’t surprise anyone the NYT would lie about socialist dictators. Walter Duranty,  is in my opinion, the epitome of infamy when it comes to journalistic corruption in favor of leftism.

So, who was Walter Duranty?

In this article by Roger Simon; “Announcing the Winners of the Inaugural Walter Duranty Prize", (a prize for journalistic mendacity) they state that Duranty deliberately “whitewashed the repressive evil deeds of the Soviet Union”…. most prominently in the case of the Ukrainian Holodomor: the forced starvation of between 1.2 and 12 million ethnic Ukrainians, depending on whose estimates you believe. In other words, a lot of people. Duranty called that genocide “an exaggeration and malignant propaganda”. This appeared in” newspaper of record”, the New York Times. British author Malcolm Muggeridge called Duranty: “The greatest liar I have met in fifty years of journalism.” Duranty also made sure that the Soviets knew that the New York Times would vet all reports about the Soviet Union before it appeared in the NYT; effectively making that newspaper a U.S. branch of Pravda, for a time anyway.” Duranty won the Pulitzer Prize for his mendacity - a prize that the NYT refuses to return, and the prize committee refuses to revoke - in spite of the now known truth of his lies and his actions.

Simon notes that polls have shown that sixty percent of the general public has little trust in the media. He wonders who are the other forty percent? Good question since it is clear that the media supports a movement that has murdered over one hundred million people, kept them starved, disease ridden, down trodden, abused and tyrannized since the terrible beginning of that movement, The French Revolution. What kind of person would have confidence in them?

For the media, who beat their chests publically, self-righteously and unendingly proclaiming they support the downtrodden, to support leftist thinking is unconscionable. Big media is at the center of the informaiton universe.  They have to know the truth which means they must be insane, otherwise how could they possibly support such thinking? And now society begins to understand.

The people have been lied to by these powerful entities and it’s clear those who really want the truth will not forget or forgive.

As for the “Old Gray Lady”! I keep hearing seemingly conservative commentators who feel saddened the Times is dying. I think perhaps leftist insanity is an infectious disease in journalism, or perhaps they don't have the courage to be a rock in the current.

Heterodoxy isn't for the faint of heart!

No one can be characterized as a lady who, for all of these decades, has been guilty of promoting such a vile cancerous philosophy as socialism.

She's not a lady, she's a hag.

When the “Old Gray Hag” disappears that will be a day for rejoicing. Not only for ourselves and our children and grandchildren, but also for the 100 million poor suffering people who were slaughtered by the socialist monsters of the 20th century.

Monsters they supported!

Liberal Judge Re-Writes Constitution, Tells Trump How To Tweet

By Warner Todd Huston May 29, 2018

Last week a federal judge made the absurd ruling that President Donald Trump was constitutionally barred from blocking people on Twitter. So, yet another liberal judge is re-writing the constitution to suit the liberal agenda.

The Bill Clinton-appointed District Judge Naomi Buchwald ruled that the “interactive space” where Americans interact with Trump (that would be his Twitter account) is a “designated public forum” and therefore is covered by the First Amendment. A left-wing group called the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University filed a lawsuit on behalf of seven Americans who had been blocked by the president.

U.S. District Judge Naomi Buchwald in New York rejected the administration’s arguments that the president, in blocking the users, was simply exercising the right a private individual might have, to choose “not to engage” with the individuals who brought the lawsuit.

The audience for a reply on Trump’s account isn’t just Trump, she ruled, rejecting the administration’s argument. It’s the entire audience of millions who were deprived of the ability to read the replies the plaintiffs in the case posted. “In sum,” she wrote, “we conclude that the blocking of the individual plaintiffs as a result of the political views they have expressed is impermissible under the First Amendment.” ..........To Read More.....


My Take - Transparency in government has become a major public issue, and should be. First we have 'secret science' from EPA being used to promote regulations that have no basis in science. How convenient is that? Then we have all this stuff about the FBI, CIA, NSA and the entire Obama administration coming out that has to make everyone concerned about what's actually going on in the federal government. However - it's not a conspiracy - try and keep that straight!  Unless of course it's vast right wing conspiracy, then it's ok to call anything being done by conservatives a conspiracy. 

 But this isn't a transparency issue, nor is it a conspiracy, not even a right wing one. This is nothing more than an incompetent federal jurist (not an uncommon problem by the way) embracing leftism and twisting the clear wording and understanding of the Constitution to attack a President they hate (not an uncommone problem by the way).  

Not dislike - hate - and in the minds of the left any action that can undermine him is acceptable no matter how outrageous, illegal, or downright stupid it may be. 

Another excellent example of why a 28th Amendment needs to be passed. 

Spending and Tax Limits in (the Country of) Georgia

May 29, 2018 by Dan Mitchell @ International Liberty
I wrote two days ago about how the country of Georgia has achieved impressive economic performance thanks to major reforms to reduce the size and scope of government.


Indeed, Georgia jumped from #56 to #8 in Economic Freedom of the World between 2004 and 2015, a remarkable climb.

Today, I want to focus on what the country has achieved with regard to fiscal policy.

In part, this is an opportunity to highlight that Georgia is one of many nations to adopt a flat tax. Georgia’s 20 percent flat tax not only has a single rate, but also doesn’t have destructive forms of double taxation like a death tax or capital gains tax (it also has an Estonian-style corporate tax).

But my main goal is to draw attention to the fiscal rules in Georgia. Both the nation’s Constitution and its Organic Law have provisions that are designed to limit the growth of government.

First, let’s look at Article 94 of the Georgian Constitution, which states that no new taxes are allowed unless approved by a vote of the people.

(Editor's Note: You may wish to go to the original article  @ International Liberty to see this more clearly.  RK)


The Organic Law also has good provisions on taxation, most notably a prohibition on using a referendum to adopt a discriminatory “progressive” tax (too bad we don’t have such a provision in America!).

Here’s the part that I really like. There’s an aggregate spending cap. The government’s budget can’t consume more than 30 percent of economic output.

It also includes European Union-style “Maastricht” limits on deficits and debt, though I’ll simply observe that those rules are irrelevant if there’s a limit on overall spending.

In any event, the burden of spending in Georgia does comply with the spending cap, according to IMF data. Though I’ll be curious to see what happens if there’s ever a serious recession. If that happens, GDP falls, which could make it politically difficult to obey the cap.

Which is why I prefer the Swiss approach of simply allowing government to grow by a small amount every year. That seems more politically sustainable. But I’m happy with anything to fulfills my Golden Rule.
 

Cartoon of the Day


The Three Stooges of Spygate

Brennan, Comey, and Clapper have been caught in a big fat wringer.

George Neumayr May 29, 2018

Bret Baier, in his April interview with Jim Comey on Fox News, asked him if he had seen John Brennan and Jim Clapper together since his firing. “No, no,” Comey replied at first, then said, “Actually, I had dinner with the two of them together with our spouses.” Baier asked him if they discussed “Trump cases” on the triple date. “No, we did not,” he answered.

Add that to Comey’s voluminous record of whoppers. The idea that the three stooges of Spygate, whose red-hot antipathy for Trump is nothing if not all-consuming, went out to dinner without discussing the investigation of him strains all credulity. No doubt one of their anxieties at the dinner was: When will the American public find out about the spy we sent to infiltrate the Trump campaign’s ranks? ............

So what did Obama know and when did he know it? Brennan could give the precise date; he was personally briefing Obama on “Russian interference,” Brennan’s euphemism for his paranoid hunch that Putin’s agents had recruited Trump campaign officials. All the hush-hush dynamics around Brennan’s “taskforce” make no sense if he and White House officials were just sitting around discussing Facebook ads. No, what made it an “exceptionally, exceptionally sensitive issue,” in Brennan’s words, was that they were spying on an opposing party’s presidential campaign............. 

“Political language,” Orwell said, “is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.” ...........To Read More.....

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Cartoon of the Day

Political Cartoons by Michael Ramirez

Betty Crocker: Pro-GMO and Proud of It

 
There's a lot of money to be made in kowtowing to the latest dietary fads and unsubstantiated health scares. As a result, organic products -- which are sold to people based on the myths that they are safer, healthier, and tastier than conventional products -- are now a nearly $50-billion-industry in the U.S.

Other companies have noticed and jumped aboard the bandwagon. If there is money to be made, they are eager to throw science under the bus in order to prey on a scientifically illiterate populace. The proliferation of ridiculous labels -- from "non-GMO" salt to "gluten-free" water -- serves as a case-in-point. They believe the average person is ignorant enough to fall for that sort of nonsense... and they're right.

Consider Panera Bread, a company that shamelessly launched a full-frontal assault on chemistry. Last year, they ran an ad bragging that their food didn't contain scary sounding chemicals, taking a page straight out of the Food Babe's playbook. Then, they boasted that their food didn't contain artificial preservatives, apparently unaware that food waste -- something that preservatives help prevent -- is a gigantic problem that needs to be solved*.

Or consider all the money that can be made by accusing and suing food companies over perfectly safe products. An entire industry has been built around California's Proposition 65, a gold mine for unethical activists and lawyers. The latest travesty forces manufacturers to place cancer warning labels on coffee.

Given the thoroughly unscientific and litigious milieu in which we live, companies find themselves scrambling to appease the uneducated Twitter mob and apologizing for being in business. That's why it's such a breath of fresh air when a company stands up to the hysteria.

Betty Crocker: Pro-GMO and Proud of It

In response to a critic who was unhappy that one of its labels said, "partially produced with genetic engineering," Betty Crocker responded:

 
Fantastic response! A full-throated endorsement of biotechnology is a beautiful thing.
May Betty Crocker live long and prosper. And may companies like Panera Bread learn that honesty is a far better marketing strategy than deceitful fearmongering.

*Note: As it so happens, karma struck. Panera had to issue a recall over possible Listeria contamination.

Caruba's Corner: It's Not Just Brian Williams

By Alan Caruba Monday, February 9, 2015 @ Warning Signs



“When reporters forfeit their credibility by making up stories, sources, or quotes, we are right to mock them. When their violations are significant or repeated, they should be fired,” says Charles Lipson, a professor of political science at the University of Chicago. “Demanding honest reporting has nothing to do with the reporter’s politics, personality, or personal life. It is about professional standards and our reasonable expectations.”

Writing at Real Clear Politics.com, Prof. Lipson concluded by saying, “It’s essential for our news organizations, and it matters for our democracy.”

Are we seeing a trend here? Dan Rather at CBS and now Brian Williams at NBC? Well, two news anchors are not a trend, but biased and bad reporting is. It’s not new, but it does seem to be gathering momentum and nowhere has it been more apparent than the millions of words written and spoken about “global warming” and now “climate change.”

It would be easy and convenient to lay the blame on America’s Liar-in-Chief, President Barack Obama, but the “global warming” hoax began well before he came on the scene. It was the invention of the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) dating back to its creation in 1988 when it was established by the UN Environment Program and the World Meteorological Organization.

The IPCC came to world attention with the creation of the Kyoto Protocol, an international treaty that committed the nations that signed it to reduce “greenhouse gas emissions” based on the premise that global warming—a dramatic increase—was real and that it was man-made. The Protocol was adopted in Kyoto, Japan, on December 11, 1997. The United States Senate rejected it and our neighbor, Canada, later withdrew from it. Both China and India were exempted, free to continue building numerous coal-fired plants to generate the energy they need for development.

Today, though, the President is an unrelenting voice about the dangers of “climate change” which he and John Kerry, our Secretary of State, have rated the “greatest threat” to the world. Obama’s national security strategy document was released just a day before he equated the history of Christianity with the barbarism of today’s Islamic State.

The national security document included terrorism to which it devoted one out of its 29 pages.  Essentially Obama sees all the problems of the world, real and imagined, as challenges that require “strategic patience and persistence.” This is his way of justifying doing nothing or as little as possible.

Still, according to Obama, the climate is such a threat, his new budget would allocate $4 billion to the Environmental Protection Agency for a new “Clean Power State Incentive Fund” to bribe more states to close even more power plants around the nation. He wants to increase the EPA’s overall budget by 6% to $8.6 billion. The Republican Congress is not likely to allocate such funding.

As for the environment, there have been so many lies put forth by the government and by a panoply of environmental organizations of every description, buoyed by legions of “scientists” and academics lining their pockets with billions in grants, that it is understandable that many Americans still think that “global warming” is real despite the fact that the Earth is now 19 years into a well-documented cooling cycle.
 
Not only are all the children in our schools still being taught utter garbage about it, but none who have graduated in recent years ever lived a day during the non-existent “global warming.”

On February 7, Christopher Booker, writing in The Telegraph, a British daily newspaper, wrote an article, “The fiddling with temperature data is the biggest science scandal ever.”  You are not likely to find any comparable reporting in a U.S. daily newspaper.

Citing research comparing the official temperature graphs from three weather stations in Paraguay against what had originally been reported by them, it turned out that their cooling trend had been reversed by the U.S. government’s Global Historical Climate Network and then amplified by “two of the main official surface records, the Goddard Institute for Space Studies (Giss) and the National Climate Data Center.” 

Why should we be surprised that the national media continues to report on “global warming” when our government has been engaged in the deliberate distortion of the actual data? It is, however, the same national media that has provided virtually no investigative journalism to reveal what has been going on for decades.

What fate befalls Brian Williams is a mere blip on the screen of events. At this writing, I cannot see how NBC could ever keep him as the managing editor and news anchor.

What matters regarding much of the product of the mainstream media is the continuing torrent of “news” about “global warming” and “climate change”; the former is a complete hoax and the latter a factor of life on planet Earth over which humans have no control, nor contribute to in any fashion.

© Alan Caruba, 2015


Editor's Note: My friend Alan Caruba passed on June 15, 2015. Alan's work is insightful, logical, factual, and has a timeless about it. Alan had given me blanket permission to publish his work when he was alive. I had intended to archive many of his articles, but like most of us, I got caught up in life. Well, that effort is long overdue, so every week I intend to publish one or more of of his old articles from Warning Signs starting from the last one published as a tribute to my friend, Alan Caruba. Please enjoy Caruba's Corner!

Another Edition of Anti-Communism Humor

May 28, 2018 by Dan Mitchell @ International Liberty
 
I expressed my disapproval yesterday about the pro-Stalin propaganda in Gori, Georgia.
Yes, I realize he’s the most noteworthy person to be born in that town, but that’s hardly a reason to acknowledge – much less celebrate – the life of a totalitarian butcher.

In response, I thought about writing a column documenting Stalin’s awful crimes against humanity, but perhaps mockery is a more appropriate response.
So let’s start with this news report from the Onion.
…a group of Johns Hopkins University researchers released a report Tuesday indicating that the late Soviet Union leader Joseph Stalin was only one great purge away from creating a communist utopia. “Our research demonstrates that if Stalin had shipped a mere 100,000 more people to Siberia, the whole communist experiment would have worked out perfectly,” said historian and report co-author Franklin Morrison, adding that all of the USSR’s corruption, hunger, and disease would have disappeared overnight if Stalin had simply been able to let a few million more Ukrainians starve to death. “It’s a shame, because in 1953 the Soviet Union was really on the precipice of becoming a perpetual workers’ paradise devoid of all poverty and want. Unfortunately, Stalin passed away before he could round up just one last group of intellectuals and make them dig their own mass graves.”
Sadly, some leftist academic probably believe this satire.  They need a copy of this book.

Of course, some statists (like these dopes) will trot out their usual excuse that “real communism hasn’t been tried.”

Speaking of dopes, I wrote last month about the loathsome decision by the President of the European Commission to honor Karl Marx. Well, it appears he’s also going to authorize having Marx on the currency.

But the sensible folks at the European Central Bank intervened and insisted on an appropriate denomination........To Read More.....






 

Democrats cheat Democrats

She Persisted: Chelsea Clinton calls for anti-American protests abroad to Get Trump

Democrats Can’t Control Their Extremism

The party car has no brakes.

May 29, 2018Daniel Greenfield

On May 10th, Tom Steyer was shouted down at his own town hall for pointing out that President Trump hasn’t actually killed millions of people. Steyer was in Cedar Rapids on the road with his Need to Impeach tour. The billionaire had come to Iowa to boost his political standing by going further to the extreme than the Democrat leadership. Rep. Pelosi, Rep. Schiff and other top Dems had been warning against impeachment messaging. Steyer embraced it.

But hating Trump, like every other leftist extreme viewpoint, has no actual stopping point. A woman in the audience asked, “What's the difference between him and Hitler?” "Hitler ended up killing millions and millions of people," the leftist billionaire noted in his reply. "Mr. Trump has shown a disregard for our law... but he hasn’t killed millions of people." And the audience swiftly shouted him down for stating the obvious.........Bernie’s socialism was controversial in the ’16 primaries. In ’18, most of his ideas have been embraced by his prospective ’20 rivals. His people are rising within the DNC........The lack of boundaries is liberating. But everyone has boundaries. Even the guy with a Need to Impeach tour. He just has no way to set them anymore. Or point out that Trump isn’t literally Hitler....................

If the Democrats succeed in reversing the results of the 2016 election by engineering a coup through the DOJ and the media, elections will cease to matter. And that will eliminate any final check on the left’s political extremism. That is what the investigations tearing apart America are really about............ Democrats are going as crazy nationally, as they did in California...........The Democrat car, environmentally correct, painted bright red and full of the exact right number of minority drivers, is racing for the cliff. It has no brakes and no one in the cars wants to use them anyway............To Read More....

My Take - There are no boundaries to the left, and if it takes violence to impose their leftist visions then that will be their final boundary.  At some point all of this is going to erupt into violence and if they win we become Venezuela.  If they lose they become prisoners.  So, which do you prefer? 

The Leftist College Student Handbook

Britain moves from Orwell to Kafka, imprisoning Tommy Robinson and gagging media reports

Is Britain lost to the ranks of free nations? The land that bequeathed the world the Magna Carta and the "mother of parliaments" is indulging in totalitarianism with its handling of Tommy Robinson, a famous political activist agitating about the threat of radical Islam and attempting to report on the trial of a Muslim "grooming gang" that allegedly preyed on young English girls, forcing them into prostitution. I wrote about the fragmentary reports of his arrest in Leeds two days ago for the alleged crimes of "breach of the peace and incitement." ............... In the space of the next few hours, a judge tried, convicted, and sentenced him to 13 months in jail – and also issued a gag order, demanding a total news blackout on the case in the British news media. Robinson, whose real name is Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, was immediately taken to Hull Prison. Most media outlets were remarkably compliant................ Yesterday, according to the U.K.'s Evening Standard, hundreds of protesters gathered outside Downing Street, the residence of the prime minister, chanting Robinson's name.  Twitter also allowed reports on the demonstration to remain up:...........Read more

Video: Geert Wilders' Stands in Solidarity with Tommy Robinson

"We will not accept this. Never."
 

The Racism Liberals Don't Recognize -- Their Own

Bernard Goldberg May 29th, 2018

Commentators, almost always from the right, have documented liberal media bias for many years now. And the response by the perpetrators of this bias has been both constant and predictable: Circle the wagons and blame the accusers.

Accuse us of bias for seeing their bias. The bias we've been talking and writing about is usually about partisan politics and hot social issues like abortion. But there's one kind of liberal media bias that hasn't gotten much attention. It's a bias that liberals both in and out of the media often attach to conservatives, but almost never to themselves.

It's racial bias. My friend Lee Habeeb, a conservative radio executive who appears on cable TV from time to time, has written a piece in Newsweek about how too many journalists have played down -- and often downright ignored -- the murder of young black men in places like Chicago. "In Chicago, it's Parkland every week," Habeeb writes about a city that had more than 1,400 homicides in 2016 and 2017. And in just the first week of May 2018, 84 people were shot -- nine of them wound up dead..........Habeeb believes that liberal journalists don't like the storyline. "Journalists and activists can't blame the deaths on assault style weapons like the AR-15. Or the National Rifle Association." It's true. Black on black murder doesn't fit the liberal journalists' template ......... To Read More.....

How to Fail Today's Starbucks Racial Sensitivity Training

May 29, 2018 By Colin Flaherty

Nobody puts MSNBC in the corner – especially when it comes to exposing the relentless white racism and black victimization that are the staple of the wagging jaws at the flagship of racial delusion.

So when a couple of black people a few weeks ago wanted to use the restroom at a Starbucks in Philadelphia without buying anything, and they refused three requests from employees to leave and three more requests from the cops to do the same, Starbucks took the only action open to it: give the black people lots of free stuff, then hold a racial sensitivity training session for 177,000 employees of Starbucks. That is happening today: every Starbucks in America is closed.

This may be the biggest, but it is hardly the first seminar in America where white people have to learn more about their evil racist ways. Over the last several years, more than 100,000 teachers have gone through the same kind of training to learn how much white people suck..........

Chicago was forced to pay $22.5 million for its role in a group of black people tossing a young white woman out of a tall building.  A Harvard sociologist told the judge and jury that anytime a white person is in a black neighborhood, he can expect to experience Routine Activity Theory – i.e., black people routinely visit violence on white people.  The judge made it part of his ruling..............Read more

Report: ‘Star’ Players Consider Sitting Out if Kaepernick and Reid Not Signed

28 May 2018

Activist and Intercept columnist Shaun King, claims that he’s spoken to “several NFL stars” who have told him that they’re “considering sitting out the season until the de facto ban on Eric Reid and Colin Kaepernick is removed.” The report also claimed that the star players intended to “get 25% of the players to sit out with them.”.............Should players choose to sit out it would almost have to be “star players” who do so, for the simple reason that they’re the only ones who could afford to do it. NFL teams can fine players up to $40,000 a day for missing camp, according to Pro Football Talk. Not to mention what the players might lose in endorsement money while protesting a policy that has a 53% approval rating...........To Read More....

My Take - Wow!  Now that's a gift the NFL can't ignore - if they have the guts!  This is a great opportunity to let the players know they're hired help.  It's not their job to decide who gets signed, or what NFL policy should or shouldn't be.  As hired help it's their job to salute and say "yes sir", and then do the job assigned to them or be fired. 

Most of these professional athletes have made huge amounts of money playing a kids game and when they're done playing - most of them will be broke within five years.   Here's my suggestion - If they sit out - they're fired!  Permanently!  If they'd fired Kaepernick in the beginning this wouldn't be a problem today.  Another fine lesson on why a policy of appeasement always fails. 

Monday, May 28, 2018

Quote of the Day

When civil rights shifted from punishing mandatory segregation to punishing the lack of integration, it ceased to be a movement pursuing freedom and instead became a totalitarian movement........The religion of racism isn’t unique to America. But there is something special about it in this country. It stinks of the soured beliefs of liberal religious denominations, their loss of faith in God and man, and their growing conviction that salvation lies only in men wielding the unlimited power of their governments.............. - Daniel Greenfield

Band of Brothers

Image result for band of brothers pictures
 



Cartoon Roundup From Robin Siskel


Peter Zeihan on Geopolitics


VISIT THE ARCHIVES TO RE-READ AND SHARE
This Is How the World Ends, Part V
 
 
See Part IPart II, Part III, and Part IV.
 

The United States has never made foreign policy by committee.
 
The Constitution grants the executive broad authority and autonomy to collect information, come to conclusions, chart out strategies and implement foreign and military policy. Congress technically has oversight, but the legislative branch lost interest in and surrendered meaningful control over foreign policy over a decade ago. Within the executive branch there are no meaningful checks on the president's powers, with all senior executive staff serving at the President's pleasure (or, if you prefer, whim).
 
Trump has been pruning his executive staff quite rigorously in recent months, and the foreign affairs team is no exception.
 
Think back to the 2016 campaign. In the early months there were 18 people vying for the Republican nomination. Everyone assumed Trump's campaign was a marketing scheme, so Trump got 18th pick for advisors. This landed him with disasters-in-waiting such as Michael Flynn.
 
Upon actually becoming president, a number of individuals from more established interests either saw an opportunity to shape a man who was obviously a neophyte and/or felt it was their duty to the country to try and advise the freshman president. This gave rise to what I've called the "Axis of Adults." These are the men who wanted to make sure the country didn't go off the rails.
 
The chair of the National Republican Committee – Rince Priebus – became Chief of Staff in an attempt to inject some Republican orthodoxy. Marine General HR McMaster became National Security Advisor with the intent of speaking truth to power. ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson took over the State Department to share the insights of corporate America. Gary Cohn climbed aboard to explain the ins-and-outs of Wall Street.
 
All sought to actively shape President Trump's views. All are now gone.
 
Another pair already have one foot out the door. Priebus' replacement as Chief of Staff – General John Kelly – felt the best thing he could do to help the president was ensure accurate information delivery. That meant, among other things, taking away the president's phone so he wouldn't ingest bad information... and so Trump now plans his life without much consulting his chief of staff. General James Mattis – the Defense Secretary – now seems to be the only person allowed in the room with an interest in accuracy, context and consequences. It makes him a bit of a downer in adrenaline-fueled TrumpWorld, and I'd be shocked if he wasn't excused by year's end as well.
 
Bottom line: All the chaos and disruption of the past 15 months has been the result of a Donald Trump who has been actively held back. Now the world gets to see what a Trump unleashed – an America unleashed – can do.
 
The pace of… everything is about to pick up considerably. Between the end of the WTO and the dawning exploitation of secondary sanctions, the US is getting the free use of its other hand - its natural economic power. The Trump administration is testing America’s strength just as other major powers are hitting structural barriers, not least of which are demographic. The Americans are now only one of the few peoples that are repopulating, within a generation the average American will be younger than the average Brazilian (the Americans are already younger than the average German or Chinese). At the same time the collection of people who have repeatedly talked the president out of some of his more disruptive policies are now either gone or sufficiently discredited in the president's eyes that they might as well be.
 
It isn't so much that any individual actions taken by the Trump administration will or won't work. It isn't so much that there is or isn't a grand, multi-faceted plan in the White House. It isn't even that the president does or doesn't understand the context or consequences of his policies. And it certainly isn't that this is not what I would do if I were king for a day.
 
It is that global population patterns are dependent upon global manufactures trade to generate income, and global agricultural trade to pay for food from abroad. It is that the global transport that enables such sectors to work requires a global order.
 
It is that since World War II the United States has sustained the only true global order that our world has ever known.
 
It is that not only is the United States no longer holding the global order together, it is actively breaking it down and there is no power or coalition of powers that can even theoretically take its place. It is that a world without America is a world in which other countries – whether out of desperation or opportunity – feel forced to protect their own interests. And most are wildly out of practice, wildly vulnerable, or – in most cases – both. It's that America’s only significant geopolitical competitors – Europe and China – have become irrevocably addicted to that order just in time for it to end.
 
And perhaps most worryingly, it is that the Americans’ abdicating global leadership isn't the same thing as the Americans’ abdicating global power, or global reach.
 
It is that the party is over.