About Me

In writing the "About Me" portion of this blog I thought about the purpose of the blog - namely, preventing the growth of Socialism & stopping the Death Of Democracy in the American Republic & returning her to the "liberty to abundance" stage of our history. One word descriptions of people's philosophies or purposes are quite often inadequate. I feel that I am "liberal" meaning that I am broad minded, independent, generous, hospitable, & magnanimous. Under these terms "liberal" is a perfectly good word that has been corrupted over the years to mean the person is a left-winger or as Mark Levin more accurately wrote in his book "Liberty & Tyranny" a "statist" - someone looking for government or state control of society. I am certainly not that & have dedicated the blog to fighting this. I believe that I find what I am when I consider whether or not I am a "conservative" & specifically when I ask what is it that I am trying to conserve? It is the libertarian principles that America was founded upon & originally followed. That is the Return To Excellence that this blog is named for & is all about.

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Merry Christmas & Happy 2018 From The Trump White House

Shortly after Thanksgiving First Lady Melania Trump unveiled this year's Christmas decorations @ the White House saying "The President, Barron, & I are very excited for our first Christmas in the White House."
The 2017 theme is Time Honored Traditions as shown in the White House Christmas booklet, which features Barron leading guests on a tour of the White House.  See below.
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The Trumps returned to another tradition in that the White House Christmas Card actually says Merry Christmas.  See below.
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The photo below shows Melania standing in the Grand Foyer as she tours the Christmas decorations in the White House.
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Below Melania hugs children in the East Room during her tour of the decorations.  One boy asks "Are you the first lady?!" as he embraced her.  "She seriously looks like an angel," another child said.
Click here to see a video that will take you through all the 2017 decorations @ the White House.
Merry Christmas & Happy 2018.
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Sunday, December 17, 2017

The Twelve Days Of Christmas Explained

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Thanks to a frequent contributor to RTE for sending this year's Christmas message.  It provides meaning to the words of the Christmas carol known to us all – The Twelve Days Of Christmas – who have ever wondered what leaping lords, French hens, & swimming swans are all about & especially why each stanza always returned to the partridge in a pear tree.
The subject carol was developed in Medieval & Tudor England & takes us from the day after Christmas, the first of the Twelve Days of Christmas, to the Epiphany on January 6th, the Twelfth Night, which concludes the Twelve Days of Christmas.
The two turtle doves were the Old & New Testaments. 

The three French hens stood for faith, hope, & love. 

The four calling birds were the four gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, & John. 

The five golden rings represented the first five books of the Old Testament, which describe man's fall into sin & the great love of God in sending a Savior. 

The six geese a-laying stood for the six days of creation. 

Seven swans a-swimming represented the sevenfold gifts of the Holy Spirit-----Prophesy, Serving, Teaching, Exhortation, Contribution, Leadership, & Mercy. 

The eight maids a-milking were the eight beatitudes. 

Nine ladies dancing were the nine fruits of the Holy Spirit-----Charity, Joy, Peace, Patience [Forbearance], Goodness [Kindness], Mildness, Fidelity, Modesty, Continency [Chastity]. 

The ten lords a-leaping were the Ten Commandments. 

The eleven pipers piping stood for the eleven faithful Apostles. 

The twelve drummers drumming symbolized the twelve points of belief in The Apostles' Creed. 
And, oh yes:
The partridge in a pear tree (i.e., the cross) is Jesus Christ.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Rockefeller Center Christmas Store Quiz

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Thanks to a fellow blogger for sending me the following riddle last fall that I saved & adapted into the following Christmas store quiz.
Please provide your logic if you decide to answer the quiz. 
I will post all correct answers or alternatively will send the solution privately to anyone who requests it if no one figures it out.
Rockefeller Center Christmas Store Quiz
A man steals a $100 bill from a store in the above pictorial.  He then returns to the store, unrecognized, & buys $70 worth of goods using the stolen $100 bill, & gets $30 change.  How much money did the store lose?
1) Frederic Bastiat – That Which Is Seen, & That Which Is Not Seen – Chapter 1 
2) Henry Hazlitt – Economics In One Lesson – Chapter 1 entitled The Broken Window
PS - The best Christmas present I can give this readership is to suggest studying the above two references which provide the foundation for not only understanding the above riddle but also most other economic issues people encounter in life.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Comparing The Current Income Tax Legislation To Supply Side Economic Principles

"There is a still further factor that makes it improbable that the wealth created by government spending will fully compensate for the wealth destroyed by the taxes imposed to pay for that spending."  - Henry Hazlitt, Economics In One Lesson – page 37 from the Chapter entitled Taxes Discourage Production.  Hazlitt's statement is the bedrock economic position separating statists from libertarians.
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This post scrutinizes the economic effects brought about by the federal income tax system of the U.S. for the past 104 years to determine which fiscal & monetary policy mix produced the most prosperity & economic growth & how close the current tax reform legislation being developed (currently in  a House – Senate conference committee) comes to meeting this criteria.
The federal income tax system was enacted in 1913 & ever since there has never been another main source of general revenue seriously considered by the American people or their elected representatives to replace it - including the FairTax.
Although 104 years seems like a long time to learn the optimum policy mix there were many events, like world wars, that interrupted normal times & competing economic theories that needed time to play out to see what worked & what didn't.
The income tax, ratified by the 16th Amendment in 1913, was originally conceived as a flat tax with a single rate of 4% but it quickly changed to a graduated tax of 1% to 7% with the income tax brackets determined by the ability to pay.  Before the decade was out the top income tax rate had been raised from 7% to over 75%.
Starting in 1923 President Coolidge instituted a policy of drastic reductions in income tax rates that stimulated productive investment by corporations & wealthy individuals  that benefited the entire society by raising incomes & living standards.  President Coolidge was the only president to ever follow all of what became known today as supply-side economic principles:  1) the reduction of the size of government, including regulations, & its claims on earned income, 2) a lower marginal tax rate for the highest income earners, & 3) sound-money policies.   Silent Cal reduced the top 73% income tax rate to 25% by 1925, reduced the national debt, & balanced the budget – a budget that actually was smaller when he left office than when he took office.  Federal spending was 3% of GDP in 1928 – it is 22% today.  Trace the green line shown in the 1920s horizontally across to the present day in the above graphic & you will see that the top income tax rate has never been lower than when President Coolidge was president.  Coolidge's time in office was for the most part a time of economic prosperity, known as the Roaring Twenties – a triumphant period that established our modern way of life.
The Great Depression of the 1930s & 1940s followed - brought about principally by the enactment of the Smoot-Hawley Traffic Act of 1930 & the retaliatory actions of country after country.  By 1933, nearly half of America's banks had failed, & unemployment was approaching 15 million people, or 30 percent of the workforce.  FDR's policy mix was for higher taxes & loose money – he devalued the dollar compared to gold & exacerbated the condition by raising the top income tax rate to 63% in 1932, to 79% in 1936, & to over 90% during WW II.  The Fed made mistakes @ the start of the Depression by failing to increase the money supply to fight price deflation.  Worse, FDR hated business – the opposite of Coolidge's basic belief that "the chief business of the American people is business" later shortened to "the business of America is business."  The premise of FDR's New Deal of government programs & spending was that the crisis was permanent – known as secular stagnation during BO's time in office.
So by the end of WW II Americans had become use to government programs although they still liked their freedom – the two are not compatible in the long run.
The 1950s proved that the American economy was quite capable of producing 4+% economic growth rates even under terrible policy mixes; however the problem was that from 1949 to 1961 there were four recessions – twelve years of boom & bust that hurt many people during the busts.  The Eisenhower policy (Republican's in general in the 1950s) was that you needed high tax rates to close the deficit in order for the economy to grow, & that government spending (Keynesian economics) – mostly spending on defense & transportation – was the best way to forestall recessions; hence, a 91% top income tax rate in the 1950s which no one paid because of deductions known as tax loopholes.  (Today commentators like Sean Hannity like to take their top income tax rate of 39.6% & add the 3.8% ObamaCare investment tax, payroll taxes, property taxes, sales taxes, & state & local income taxes & say they are paying well over 60% of their incomes in taxes.  If Sean had worked in the 1950s & started @ 91%, instead of 39.6%, & added all of the additional taxes of the day he would be over 100% so we know no one was paying the 91% rate in the 1950s.)
President Kennedy was the second supply side economics president, after Calvin Coolidge, who knew cuts to the highest income tax rates would produce economic gains.  Click here to hear JFK explain the way the world works in a nationally broadcast speech on August 13, 1962.  JFK proposed a supply side tax rate cut of 30% for the top (91% down to 65%) & bottom (20% to 14%) rates with a little less for the other brackets.  JFK supported a strong dollar linked to gold & proposed elimination or reduction of some two dozen exemptions (i.e., loopholes) to taxable income like the home mortgage interest deduction & the charitable deduction – sound familiar over 50 years later?
The final bill known as the Revenue Act of 1964 had a top individual rate of 70%, a reduction of the corporate tax rate from 52% to 48% with larger cuts for small businesses, & the reforms (loopholes & deductions) that JFK wanted were small meaning that the top individual rate was really lower than 70% for many people because the loopholes still existed.
JFK had to fight the instincts of the times though – from 1948 to 1964 federal spending had increased 2.5 fold while the population increased only one third during this 16 year period.  During JFK's first two years in office government spending increased, as recommended by Paul Samuelson & JFK's Council of Economic Advisers headed by Walter Heller & CEA member James Tobin, but from 1964 to 1965, when the first phase of the tax rate reductions took place, federal spending decreased for the first time since 1955 & the last time until 2010. The economic growth that resulted from the federal tax rate reduction caused state & local revenues to increase by 40% from 1963 to 1969.
The following graph shows the increases in federal tax revenue that followed JFK's tax rate cuts that were phased in over two years following his assassination in November 1963: most of the rate reductions would come in 1964 with the reminder coming in 1965.
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And unemployment fell precipitously as a result of JFK's supply side tax rate cuts – see graph below:
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But the Kennedy tax rate reductions were followed by the two presidents that BO has called the most liberal in the country's history – Johnson & Nixon.
Spending was starting to ramp up with both Johnson's Great Society program & the Viet Nam war.  Then LBJ instituted a 10% tax surcharge in June 1968 that in essence pushed the income tax rates lowered under JFK back up 10%.  Inflation started to pick up 1% each year & reached 6% in 1969, as the Fed ended the strong dollar policy under Kennedy by lowering real interest rates thereby destroying all of JFK's growth policies.
Nixon's idea of tax incentives was exemptions, credits, deductions, & write-offs – all of which will put money in people's pockets but will not change their incentives for growth like 
marginal rate cuts would, which are the real growth drivers in an income tax system.  Nixon kept the Johnson tax surcharge & added a new tax of his own, raised the capital gains tax from 25% to 35%, & instituted the alternative minimum tax (AMT), another supplemental income tax required in addition to baseline income tax that was put in place in 1970 because 155 high income earners escaped paying any federal tax the year before – today tens of millions of people are subjected to the AMT, which is not planned to be eliminated by the current Senate tax bill in the conference committee.
A double dip recession was experienced in 1969 – 1970 with 12% inflation through the two years of recession while 2.5 million people became unemployed by 1971 – these people depleted their savings as inflation ravaged upward.  Economic growth for Nixon's first twenty one months was cumulatively 0.36%.
On Sunday night August 15, 1971 (I was in Ocean City, Maryland watching on TV) Nixon announced that he was completely ending the dollar's link to gold, was freezing wages & prices for 90 days, & was imposing an import surtax of 10%.
Nixon authorized the creation of both the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) & the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA).
As the 1970s ended people were far too familiar with terms like inflation, stagflation, misery index, & government regulatory agencies.  I knew several businessmen who thought "America has topped."  From 1973 to 1982 there were three recessions, four years of negative growth, & only 2.3% average annual growth.
President Reagan had earned a college degree majoring in economics in 1932 so his formative years of study were spent around the time of Coolidge's supply side economics achievements – & Reagan did not forget the lesson.
By August of Reagan's first year in office Congress had passed the Economic Recovery Tax Act (ERTA) in which income tax rates were reduced 5% on October 1, 1981, 10% on July 1, 1982, & 10% on July 1, 1983 with the tax brackets indexed for inflation starting in 1985 – this brought relief from the insidious stealth tax of bracket creep meaning that people would not automatically see their income tax burden increase as they received raises or promotions that pushed them into higher tax brackets as had happened for decades with the 25 income tax brackets strategically placed every few thousand dollars higher to maximize bracket creep revenue for the government.  Note: the income tax bills in the House & Senate conference committee could change the indexing method from CPI indexing to chained CPI indexing which will accelerate people's incomes moving to higher brackets thereby @ least partially undoing the Reagan indexing.
In 1985 Democrats led by Dan Rostenkowski, Dick Gephardt, & Bill Bradley introduced a bill that would reduce income tax rates even more than ERTA did – the Tax Reform Act of 1986, with a top rate of 28%.  The bill passed the Senate 97 to 3 with Ted Kennedy, Joe Biden, Paul Sarbanes, Chris Dodd, Al Gore Jr., & John Kerry all voting for it – my how things have changed.  What is it that has changed?
Once Reagan's income tax rate reductions went into effect economic growth went up 5.3% in the first quarter of 1983 followed by five consecutive quarters of over 7% growth finishing out the decade of the 1980s @ 4% growth per year.  Employment & wages both increased throughout the decade & stagflation was swept into the ash heap of history.
This Reagan policy prosperity continued, even through GHW Bush's tax increase & recession of 1990 & the Clinton tax increase of 1993 & the attempt by his wife to implement HillaryCare.  Gingrich led the Republicans to take the House & Senate in 1994 & Clinton moderated his approach – something BO never did.  Gingrich led the effort to cut the capital gains tax rate from 28% to 20%, which Clinton signed into law.  Spending was also brought under control & Clinton declared "the era of big government is over." 
This Gingrich prosperity lasted from 1994 to 2001 when GW Bush, working with loose money from the Fed, started programs of exemptions & tax credits (like the Child Tax Credit increase from $500 to $1,000) that added income but not growth.  What small tax rate reductions to the marginal tax brackets that were made under Bush were all originally scheduled to expire in 2010 so there was no permanency or real growth to be had.  The top marginal rate was raised back to the pre-Bush era rate of 39.6% in 2012.  BO followed Bush & RTE has well documented over the years that not one of BO's policies can be identified that would improve an economy.  In fact they were purposely designed to hurt the economy as BO famously told Joe the Plumber a few days before the 2008 presidential election – BO was interested in fairness not maximizing government revenue.
The above walk through of the history of the American economy under a 104 year old income tax system shows that the periods of the 1920s, second half of the 1960s, & most of the 1980s until 2001 were by far the most prosperous times that generated the most non-inflationary recession-proof economic growth of 4% or greater.  These were periods when an economic policy mix of strong stable dollars, tax rate cuts especially on the highest brackets, & reductions of the size of government, including regulations, & its claims on earned incomes were in place to a large degree – in short, these were periods that followed supply side economic principles.  Coolidge, in the 1920s, followed all of these principles & Gingrich did too in the 1990s to a lesser but still high degree.  Kennedy & Reagan both had to fight the propensity of Congress to spend as they championed supply side economic principles.
So as the House & Senate tax reform (tax cut) conference committee tries to reconcile differences between the two competing bills passed by each Chamber the past few days consider for yourself how many of the supply side economic principles detailed above are being applied - or ignored for that matter also.  You can gage for yourself the effectiveness of whatever plan is developed vis-à-vis the principles of supply side economics described herein & make your investment & employment decisions accordingly. 
But all of this pertains to an income tax system that is inherently against the American founding principles in that it makes a claim on the property of its citizens, namely their incomes & hence their liberty.  After all, point #2 of Marx's Communist Manifesto is a heavy progressive or graduated income tax.  An example of violated property rights is found in the repatriated profits clauses of both the House & Senate bills being reconciled in that overseas liquid profits accumulated under current law will be taxed whether these assets are repatriated or not – which amounts to confiscation by the government.  Only an income tax system can violate your liberty & property rights like this.
Professor Williams, one of my lifelong mentors, has said that any tax system will work economically if federal spending is held to 16% of GDP.  This is a corollary of Henry Hazlitt's quote @ the very top of this post but of course pertains only to funding the government.  It does not take into account the loss of liberty inherent with any tax system that is not "uniform throughout the United States" or is not in "Proportion to the Census or Enumeration" specified in the Constitution.
But there is a problem with trying to move away from an income tax system as the main source of revenue for the American economy that is shown in the tables below – namely, 97.3% of the income taxes are paid by 40% of taxpayers (top two quintiles) & another 40% are in the negative income tax category (bottom two quintiles):
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The breakdown of the 65-million Americans in households in the top quintile is as follows:
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The problem with trying to break away from an income tax system & replace it with the FairTax, for instance, becomes obvious when you study the above tables – not enough Americans pay any income tax or not enough income tax that breaking away from the income tax system is of interest to them.  People in the bottom two quintiles not only do not pay any income tax they actually receive money back from the Treasury & the next 35% of income tax payers do not pay enough income tax that any of this is of interest to them @ all.
The poor economic understanding of the majority of citizens in the bottom 75% of households shown in the first table above extends to them not grasping the idea that economic growth is the key to their future prosperity & better way of life – & that the tax policies of the country play an important part in achieving economic growth.
"This is what economic growth is: abundance coincident with fulfillment & happiness, all of us becoming flush with the good fruits of our ingenuity, more prosperous, more satisfied in our work & in our leisure, in our lives here on earth.  Clearly economic growth is not worthy only because of its material benefits.  It is a sign that humanity is functioning @ its highest level.  Growth means that we are being good stewards of, & are applying the limitless abilities of the human mind to, the earth's resources.  It means that we are equipping ourselves to be good neighbors, since as the economic pie gets bigger, so can everyone's piece of it." – See page 3 of reference below.
In summary, three quarters of the citizenry don't pay enough that the income tax system worries them @ all – but it should worry them & for more reasons than one.
Reference: Kudlow & Domitrovic – JFK & The Reagan Revolution

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Government Disaster Relief Policies Encourage Moral Hazards

"When these natural disasters strike, whether it is a tornado, an earthquake, a wildfire, or a Superstorm, it should be treated as a national disaster and not left to state and local officials to deal with alone.  When our fellow Americans need help, we all must step up.  That's why I have repeatedly pledged to do all in my power as Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee to ensure that the suffering people of Puerto Rico, Texas, Louisiana, Florida and the U.S. Virgin Islands get all the federal support to which they are entitled for their short-term relief and long-term recovery." – Congressman Frelinghuysen – October 27, 2017 
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Both the Atlantic hurricane season & the Eastern Pacific Ocean hurricane season end this coming Thursday, November 30.  Hurricanes Harvey & Irma are the first two entries on the above graphic for the 2010s decade.
The problem with the above quote & graphic is not the natural disasters that resulted from the hurricanes tabulated in the graphic but rather is the man-made disasters resulting from the false promise of the Frelinghuysen quote that the federal government is the answer to every (misnamed) national disaster problem people might have – a statist position & movement that has brainwashed & misled the American people away from liberty, self reliance, & common sense for decades. 
A case in point is John Stossel's famous account that he brazenly broadcast to the nation regarding his ripping off tax payers when the first floor of his four bedroom beach house was destroyed by a northeastern storm.  Actually it was not just Stossel that ripped us off but thousands of people who owned properties that had repeatedly been flooded & who had seen their properties restored by taxpayers each time their property was damaged. 
Stossel broadcast on national TV "If the ocean took my house, Uncle Sam would pay to replace it under the National Flood Insurance Program.  Since private insurers weren't dumb enough to sell cheap insurance to people who built on the edges of oceans or rivers, Congress decided the government should step in & do it.  So if the ocean ate what I built, I could rebuild & rebuild again & again -- there was no limit to the number of claims on the same property in the same location -- up to a maximum of $250,000 per house per flood (in Stossel's case – see graphic below for million dollar plus properties).  And you taxpayers would pay for it."
Insurance issued by the National Flood Insurance Program is dirt cheap – a few hundred dollars per year.  This in turn Stossel says "encourages more people to build on the edges of rivers & oceans" & in flood plains.  Stossel adds "subsidized insurance goes to movie stars in Malibu, to rich people in Kennebunkport (where the Bush family has its vacation compound), to rich people in Hyannis (where the Kennedy family has its), & to all sorts of people like me (Stossel) who ought to be paying our own way."
To prove Stossel's point please look @ the graphic below.  The map portion of the graphic shows that 87% of the U.S. properties with repetitive losses are in the Northeast states, the Gulf Coast states, & Virginia & the Carolinas.  The remaining 13% is spread throughout the country.  Taxpayers pay for these repetitive losses as indicated on the bottom two graphs below.  The lower left side graph shows that 14.8% of all property payouts were for $1-million of more.  The lower right side graph shows that there were 4, 5, 6, & even 7 payouts per each property on a combined 10,815 properties.
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With regard to the flooding of Harris County, Texas & its county seat Houston – property development has been so large & rapid that there is not only no enforcement of zoning regulations there are virtually no zoning regulations @ all.  Between 1992 & 2010 nearly 25,000 acres of natural wetland infrastructure was wiped out amounting to almost 70% of the wetlands in Harris County.  Source Texas A&M University.  (This would be criminal in New Jersey.)
Texas A&M University Professor John Jacob says "Almost all of the flooding in Houston is the result of poor development decisions" & Rice University Professor Jim Blackburn adds "If Houston does not change, it will not survive from an economic standpoint."  Developers paved over tracts of prairie land that once acted as a sponge for flood waters.
There are currently extensive projects in Harris County to raise thousands of houses on pillars to new desired Flood Protection Elevations (FPE) using Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) money.  Of course this has involved government bureaucratic red tape delays & some houses have been flooded again while the approval process played out.
Some homeowners who want to stay in the Houston area & had the foresight to recognize the potential flood danger elevated their houses using their own money.  Flood levels did not reach the first floor of these houses which stayed dry during the trillions of gallons of water that Hurricane Harvey dumped on Harris County.  But even if your house stays dry, someone wanting to remain in the area certainly has to take into account the disruption & hassle of their surroundings being flooded.  But @ least they are paying for what they want themselves without duping the federal government & taxpayers into providing financial protection in what is clearly a moral hazard – i.e., an individual who is willing to take risks because they know they will not have to bear the cost of their action.
The five year anniversary of Superstorm Sandy devastating houses on the NJ & NY shorelines just passed last month – over 365,000 houses in NJ were damaged.  Click here, @ the 2:38 mark, to hear NJ Governor Chris Christie, who worked through the losses of Sandy, explain why an affected locale should not rely on the federal government for disaster assistance.  Christie explains that the federal government bureaucracy is so hard to deal with that local elected officials have to "stay on top of the federal government every minute of every day" in order to get some help & concludes that people affected by natural disasters should not "solely depend on the government – (they should) look to non-profits, look to friends & family."
After every disaster there are people who come from all over – everywhere - who want to help distressed people.  Some of these people are professional storm followers who work to rebuild & clean up affected areas.  Add them to friends, family, neighbors helping neighbors, police, firefighters, the national guard under the control of the governor not president, & non-profits & you have an army of people who act quickly, not saddled with the federal government red tape as described by Christie in the above video.  There are 4 non-profits per thousand people in both NJ & Texas which works out to 42,111 non-profits in NJ & 106,770 in Texas.  Source – National Council of Nonprofits.
In addition philanthropic & charity giving is another worthwhile & helpful endeavor.  See September 6 written statement below of President Trump & First Lady Melania donating $1-million to twelve nonprofits whose excellent disaster relief work they witnessed first hand during their visit to Houston after Hurricane Harvey made landfall.
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Federal government responses to natural disasters are another in a long list that need a mindset change.  The meaning of the general Welfare portion of the Spending Clause of the Constitution has been completely changed from its original understanding in that "general" originally meant applicable to the whole country not particular parts like Houston after a hurricane or special interests like John Stossel's vacation home ruined by a northeastern storm.  "The salient point is that its (the general Welfare portion of the Spending Clause) implications are negative, not positive – a limitation of power, not a grant of power." – The Heritage Guide To The Constitution, page 43.
"The First Congress refused to make a loan to a glass manufacturer after several Members expressed the view that such an appropriation would be unconstitutional, & the Fourth Congress did not believe it had the power to provide relief to the citizens of Savannah, Georgia, after a devastating fire destroyed the entire city." Ibid. Page 93
President James Monroe, my favorite president, vetoed spending bills he thought unconstitutional because the bills overreached Congress's power by trying to spend on local or state benefits – not the general or national welfare of the entire country.
President Monroe's two terms in office were known as the Era Of Good Feelings & he won reelection to his second term receiving all but one electoral vote & that was because that single elector thought that George Washington should be the only president ever unanimously elected.  People worked in their communities to solve their own problems & elected officials like James Monroe were appreciated because they were strong leaders who followed the Constitution & whose very being epitomized strength & respect for America.
Chicago was rebuilt after its fire, as was Galveston after its hurricane, & San Francisco after its earthquake, all without a dollar of government money.  The philanthropy & charity of the American people, coupled with the free market capitalistic system that has made America the envy of the world restored those cities.
Instead of this type of self-reliant individual responsibility today, we have people moving into hurricane alleys in trailers with the mistaken notion that government will take care of them when disaster strikes.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Thanksgiving Proclamation In The Year Of Independence Of The United States The One Hundred & Twenty Eighth

Below is TR's Proclamation 508 – Thanksgiving Day, 1903. 
The words of our 26th President in the Proclamation below are not the normal words we hear today – the mention of liberty is no longer common place; in fact it has virtually vanished from the political lingo of our leaders & citizens don't mind because they have mistakenly come to take liberty for granted in 21st century America.
And the idea that we may not be worthy of the blessings we have received flies in the face of people like Joe Biden & Hillary Clinton telling crowds of people they are the salt of the earth - for merely being here.
By the President of the United States of America
A Proclamation

The season is at hand when according to the custom of our people it falls upon the President to appoint a day of praise and thanksgiving to God.

During the last year the Lord has dealt bountifully with us, giving us peace at home and abroad and the chance for our citizens to work for their welfare unhindered by war, famine or plague. It behooves us not only to rejoice greatly because of what has been given us, but to accept it with a solemn sense of responsibility, realizing that under Heaven it rests with us ourselves to show that we are worthy to use aright what has thus been entrusted to our care. In no other place and at no other time has the experiment of government of the people, by the people, for the people, been tried on so vast a scale as here in our own country in the opening years of the 20th Century. Failure would not only be a dreadful thing for us, but a dreadful thing for all mankind, because it would mean loss of hope for all who believe in the power and the righteousness of liberty. Therefore, in thanking God for the mercies extended to us in the past, we beseech Him that He may not withhold them in the future, and that our hearts may be roused to war steadfastly for good and against all the forces of evil, public and private. We pray for strength, and light, so that in the coming years we may with cleanliness, fearlessness, and wisdom, do our allotted work on the earth in such manner as to show that we are not altogether unworthy of the blessings we have received.

Now, Therefore, I, Theodore Roosevelt, President of the United States, do hereby designate as a day of general thanksgiving Thursday, the twenty-sixth of the coming November, and do recommend that throughout the land the people cease from their wonted occupations, and in their several homes and places of worship render thanks unto Almighty God for his manifold mercies.

In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed.

Done at the city of Washington this 31st day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand nine hundred and three and of the Independence of the United States the one hundred and twenty-eighth.


By the President:


Secretary of State.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Senator Tom Cotton's Constitution Day Celebration Speech

Tom Cotton official Senate photo.jpg 
Thanks to Hillsdale College President Larry Arnn for sending the October issue of Imprimis, a publication of Hillsdale College with over 3,700,000 readers per month – this edition of Imprimis is adapted from a speech given by Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton (photo above) on September 18 in Washington, D.C., @ Hillsdale's Eight Annual Constitution Day Celebration. 
Student's of the Constitution are well aware that this past September 17 marked the 230th anniversary when the Constitution was unanimously passed by all the states represented @ the Constitutional Convention thereby starting the ratification process that made the Constitution the supreme law of the land – one of the greatest gifts God ever gave to man.
The speaker @ the above mentioned Hillsdale College event, Tom Cotton, was elected by the voters of Arkansas to the U.S. Senate in 2014 where he serves on the Senate Banking Committee, the Senate Intelligence Committee, & the Senate Armed Services Committee.  In 2005 Cotton enlisted in the U.S. Army but did not pursue a commission as an officer @ the rank of Captain in the Judge Advocate General's Corps of the U.S. Army that someone of his education would normally aspire to; instead he pursued a route with his recruiter that guaranteed his enrollment in Officer Candidate School after which as an Army officer he deployed to Iraq with the 101st Airborne & to Afghanistan with a Provincial Reconstruction Team.  His military decorations include the Bronze Star Medal, Combat Infantry Badge, & Ranger Tab.
In short, Senator Cotton is a good guy as the following excerpts from his Constitution Day Celebration speech indicate: 
1.  Citizenship is the most cherished thing our nation can bestow. Our governing class ought to treat it as something special. We ought to put the interests of our citizens first and welcome those foreigners best prepared to handle the duties of citizenship and contribute positively to our country.
2.  The word naturalization implies a process by which foreigners can renounce their former allegiances and become citizens of the United States. They can cast off what accident and force have thrust upon them—race, class, ethnicity—and take on, by reflection and choice, a new title: American.
3.  Government now takes nearly half of every dollar we earn and bosses us around in every aspect of life, yet can't deliver basic services well. Our working class—the "forgotten man," to use the phrase favored by Ronald Reagan and FDR—has seen its wages stagnate, while the four richest counties in America are inside the Washington Beltway.
4.   For years, all Democrats and many Republicans have agreed on the outline of what's commonly called "comprehensive immigration reform," which is Washington code for amnesty, mass immigration, and open borders in perpetuity.
This approach was embodied most recently in the so-called Gang of Eight bill in 2013. It passed the Senate, but thankfully we killed it in the House (where Cotton served for one two- year term), which I consider among my chief accomplishments in Congress so far. Two members of the Gang of Eight ran for my party's nomination for president last year. Neither won a single statewide primary. Donald Trump denounced the bill, and he won the nomination.
Likewise, Hillary Clinton campaigned not just for mass immigration, but also on a policy of no deportations of anyone, ever, who is illegally present in our country. She also accused her opponent of racism and xenophobia. Yet Donald Trump beat her by winning states that no Republican had won since the 1980s.
5.  While we wish our fellow man well, it's only our fellow citizens to whom we have a duty and whose rights our government was created to protect. And among the highest obligations we owe to each other is to ensure that every working American can lead a dignified life. If you look across our history, I'd argue that's always been the purpose of our immigration system: to create conditions in which normal, hard-working Americans can thrive.
Look no further than what James Madison said on the floor of the House of Representatives in 1790, when the very first Congress was debating our very first naturalization law. He said, "It is no doubt very desirable that we should hold out as many inducements as possible for the worthy part of mankind to come and settle amongst us, and throw their fortunes into a common lot with ours."  "The worthy part," not the entire world. Madison continued, "But why is this desirable? Not merely to swell the catalogue of people. No, sir, it is to increase the wealth and strength of the community."
"To increase the wealth and strength of the community." That's quite a contrast to today's elite consensus. Our immigration system shouldn't exist to serve the interests of foreigners or wealthy Americans. No, it ought to benefit working Americans and serve the national interest—that's the purpose of immigration and the theme of the story of American immigration.
6.  The economy we're living in today is in no small part a result of the 1965 Act, which opened the door to mass immigration of unskilled and low-skilled workers, primarily through unlimited family chain migration. And that's not an economy anyone should be satisfied with.
Today, we have about a million immigrants per year. That's like adding the population of Montana every year—or the population of Arkansas every three years. But only one in 15—one in 15 of those millions of immigrants—comes here for employment-based reasons. The vast majority come here simply because they happen to be related to someone already here. That's why, for example, we have more Somalia-born residents than Australia-born residents, even though Australia is nearly twice the size of Somalia and Australians are better prepared, as a general matter, to integrate and assimilate into the American way of life.
In sum, over 36 million immigrants, or 94 percent of the total, have come to America over the last 50 years for reasons having nothing to do with employment. And that's to say nothing of the over 24 million illegal immigrants who have come here. Put them together and you have 60 million immigrants, legal and illegal, who did not come to this country because of a job offer or because of their skills. That's like adding almost the entire population of the United Kingdom. And this is still leaving aside the millions of temporary guest workers who we import every year into our country.
7.  Unlike many open-border zealots, I don't believe the law of supply and demand is magically repealed for the labor markets. That means that our immigration system has been depressing wages for people who work with their hands and on their feet. Wages for Americans with high school diplomas are down two percent since the late 1970s. For Americans who didn't finish high school, they're down by a staggering 17 percent. Although immigration has a minimal effect overall on the wages of Americans, it has a severe negative effect on low-skilled workers, minorities, and even recent immigrants.
Is automation to blame in part? Sure. Globalized trade? Yes, of course. But there's no denying that a steady supply of cheap, unskilled labor has hurt working-class wages as well. Among those three factors, immigration policy is the one that we can control most easily for the benefit of American workers. Yet we've done the opposite.
I know the response of open-border enthusiasts: they plead that we need a steady supply of cheap unskilled labor because there are "jobs that no American will do." But that just isn't so. There is no job Americans won't do. In fact, there's no industry in America in which the majority of workers are not natural-born Americans—not landscapers, not construction workers, not ski instructors, not lifeguards, not resort workers, not childcare workers—not a single job that over-educated elites associate with immigrants. The simple fact is, if the wage is decent and the employer obeys the law, Americans will do any job. And for tough, dangerous, and physically demanding jobs, maybe working folks do deserve a bit of a raise.
8.  But the harmful impact on blue-collar workers isn't the only problem with the current system. Because we give two-thirds of our green cards to relatives of people here, there are huge backlogs in the system. This forces highly talented immigrants to wait in line for years behind applicants whose only claim to naturalization is a random family connection to someone who happened to get here years ago. We therefore lose out on the very best talent coming into our country—the ultra-high-skilled immigrants who can come to America, stand on their own two feet, pay taxes, and through their entrepreneurial spirit and innovation create more and higher-paying jobs for our citizens.
To put it simply, we have an immigration system that is badly failing Madison's test of increasing the wealth and strength of the community. It might work to the advantage of a favored few, but not for the common good, and especially not the good of working-class Americans.
This is why I've introduced legislation to fix our naturalization system. It's called the RAISE Act: Reforming American Immigration for a Strong Economy.
The RAISE Act will correct the flaws in the 1965 Act by reorienting our immigration system towards foreigners who have the most to contribute to our country. It would create a skills-based points system similar to Canada's and Australia's. Here's how it would work. When people apply to immigrate, they'd be given an easy-to-calculate score, on a scale of 0 to 100, based on their education, age, job salary, investment ability, English-language skills, and any extraordinary achievements. Then, twice a year, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services would invite the top scorers to complete their applications, and it would invite enough high-scoring applicants to fill the current 140,000 annual employment-based green-card slots.
We'd still admit spouses and unmarried minor children of citizens and legal permanent residents. But we'd end the preferences for most extended and adult family members—no more unlimited chain migration. We'd also eliminate the so-called diversity visa lottery, which hands out green cards randomly without regard to skills or family connections, and which is plagued by fraud. We'd remove per-country caps on immigration, too, so that high-skilled applicants aren't shut out of the process simply because of their country of origin. And finally, we'd cap the number of refugees offered permanent residency to 50,000 per year, in line with the recent average for the Bush era and most of the Obama era—and still quite generous.
Add it all up and our annual immigrant pool would be younger, higher-skilled, and ready to contribute to our economy without using welfare, as more than half of immigrant households do today. No longer would we distribute green cards essentially based on random chance. Nor would we import millions of unskilled workers to take jobs from blue-collar Americans and undercut their wages. And over a ten-year period, our annual immigration levels would decrease by half, gradually returning to historical norms.