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.

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Trump's National Emergency Declaration Reveals The Need For Changes In Immigration & Asylum Laws

Background:  In fiscal year (FY) 2012 there were 2 groups of 100 or more people who arrived @ America's southwest border seeking asylum.  In FY 2018 there were 12 such groups & so far in the first five months of FY 2019 there have been 70 – these groups have come to be known as caravans of migrant families (adults & children) with as many as 12,000 people mostly from the Northern Triangle countries of Central America – Guatemala, Honduras, & El Salvador.  Source Graham Ledger.
 
Migrant families no longer try to evade Border Patrol agents after illegally crossing the border but rather have learned that if they turn themselves in after placing one foot on American soil & saying the word "asylum" they will be released into the U.S. in accordance with our asylum laws as they await a hearing in federal immigration court – current hearing backlog: more than 829,000 cases meaning a ruling can take years to be made.  As many as 94.1% of the migrants pretending to seek asylum know they don't qualify for asylum & their claims will be refused – see previous posts dated February 10 & 28 for details. 
 
Arrests of Central American families illegally entering America in the first five months of FY 2019 hit a record (136,150 people) exceeding the total number for all of FY 2018 (107,212 people).  And the flow of migrant families seeking to abuse our asylum laws is growing thereby overwhelming government facilities intended to hold single adults for a few hours @ a time.  In addition, the number of unaccompanied children caught @ the border so far this FY is 26,937 compared to 17,501 for the same period in FY 2018 – talk about separation of children from families.  Overall the Border Patrol has made 268,044 arrests from October through February compared to 136,209 for the same period in FY 2018.
 
U.S. Customs & Border Protection (USCBP) reports that 66,450 aliens were arrested as they tried to illegally enter the U.S. in February – the highest February total since 2008 & the highest monthly total since 2009.  In addition there were over 10,000 people deemed inadmissible @ ports of entry thereby bringing the total arrested or deemed inadmissible to more than 76,400 people in February.  See table below. 
 
click on table to enlarge
 
USCBP further reports that there were 40,000 family units – aliens travelling with children – who were either apprehended or turned back in February, a ten fold increase from two years ago.  See graphic below.
 
click on graphic to enlarge
 
Family units & unaccompanied children make up 62% of those arrested or deemed inadmissible @ the southwest border up from 27% in February 2017.  Families with children require special time consuming medical treatment & facilities that have been overwhelmed by fraudulent asylum seekers who are trying to game our immigration & asylum laws.
 
The above statistics describe the destructive violation of our sovereignty that President Trump has recognized as a crisis for which he has declared a national emergency - a movement of an exponential rate of growth in an endless direction toward America that migrants, drug smugglers, & gangs from all over the world have picked up on.
 
***
 
On December 11, 2018 President Trump met with soon-to-be House Speaker Nancy Pelosi & Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer in the Oval office to discuss government funding for the portion of the federal government not already funded in fiscal year 2019 & Trump's request for $5.7 billion to build a 234 miles long wall along the southwest border – the meeting was televised.  After no agreement was reached the government was partially shutdown @ 12:01 AM on December 22 in what was the longest government shutdown to date – 35 days.  See graphic below.
 
  click on graphic to enlarge
 
The number of federal employees affected by the partial government shutdown totaled 800,000 people broken down as shown on the following graphic.
 
click on image to enlarge
 
After 35 days of shutdown the President & Congress agreed to reopen the government on January 25 for three weeks to see if a deal could be reached regarding funding the border wall.  After Pelosi said she would not approve more than $1 for a border wall Congress passed an 1,159 page, $328 billion spending package, including $1.4 billion to build 55 miles of barrier along the southwest border, that will keep the federal government open until October 1 – there is no reason to believe anyone read the bill that also includes $22.5 billion for other border security measures including 800 new Customs & Border Patrol officers.  The bill passed the Senate 83 to 16 & a few hours later it passed the House 300 to 128
 
Even before he signed the bill on February 15 Trump declared a national emergency under the National Emergency Act of 1976, bypassing Congress to divert money from elsewhere in the government to build the proposed border wall – this totaled $8.1 billion.  See graphic below for breakdown of these redirected funds (includes the $1.4 billion approved by Congress).
 
click on graphic to enlarge
 
On February 26 the House passed a resolution, 245 to 182 with 13 Republicans supporting the resolution, that would terminate Trump's declaration of national emergency specifically objecting to the reallocation of $3.6 billion from Department of Defense (DOD) military construction projects shown in the above graphic.
 
On March 14 the Senate voted to support the House resolution 59 to 41 with twelve Republican senators voting with the Democrats (Alexander – TN, Blunt – MO, Collins – ME, Lee – UT, Moran – KS, Murkowski – AK, Paul – KY, Portman – OH, Romney – UT, Rubio – FL, Toomey – PA, & Wicker – MS). 
 
On March 15 Trump vetoed the congressional resolution that disapproved the national emergency declaration.  The House plans to hold a vote on March 26 to try to override the veto.
 
It shows the priorities of Democrats & those Republicans in Congress who fight against Trump's authority to declare a national emergency wherever he sees it, an authority that Congress gave to the President via statute in order to avoid as many hard decisions for themselves as possible.  Congress will fight the president on declaring a national emergency on our southwest border but will not change the immigration & asylum laws that are so obviously being abused & used as weapons against America.
 
But Congress may only have the power to block the military construction portion, $3.6 billion, of Trump's plan to fund the border wall.  Without the $3.6 billion Trump would still have $4.5 billon of the original $5.7 billion sought. 
 
Trump already has the authority to move $2.5 billion seized from drug interdiction programs operated by the DOD to projects that would interrupt drug smuggling corridors.  Transferring the $2.5 billion drug interdiction money to the Army Corps of Engineers would provide the money to build barriers along the southwest border where drug smuggling occurs.
 
The $600 million from the Treasury Forfeiture Fund represents money sized in drug arrests & banks that committed sanctions violations & other crimes.  The Treasury uses this fund  for "programs & activities aimed @ disrupting criminal enterprises."  Trump can transfer this $600 million to build the border wall by declaring it is for law enforcement purposes.
 
However, all of this misses the point of how to address an emergency.  The border wall is certainly necessary & can't be built soon enough to suit me but it is not the answer to an emergency.  The solution lies in Congress changing our immigration & asylum laws or @ least the portion of our asylum laws that are being abused thereby making fools of us.
 
No other country would let such abuses continue.  In fact European Union countries have acted to cut off immigration after what became known as the European migrant crisis in 2015 whereby, for example, Germany admitted over 1.4 million migrants.  Now Italy has taken emergency steps to stem the number of seaborne migrants to just 262 the first two months of 2019 down from 5,200 during the same period last year & over 13,000 in 2017.  There were 181,436 migrants that entered Italy's shores in 2016 & only 23,370 in 2018.  See graphic below.
 
click on graphic to enlarge
 
Italy has proven that immigration control can be done but it takes a will as shown in the above graphic – but that will is not there in the U.S. 116th Congress – & really hasn't been in decades. 
 
And you can take me literally on that.  Last week I watched former five term Colorado Congressman Tom Tancredo speak @ two town hall meetings broadcast on One America News Network – first in Cincinnati & second in Detroit - with a group of patriots dedicated to building as much of the border wall as possible with private money.  Many readers will remember that Congressman Tancredo's sole issue was border protection & fighting illegal immigration.  In both town hall meetings Tancredo explained that when he was in Congress he could not find one Republican let alone any Democrat who would join him in pursuing a realistic approach to border security.  In fact Tancredo said he was reprimanded on several occasions by Republican leader Tom Delay for even pursuing the issue.
 
So we are up against it as the elites of both parties shout by their actions for all of us to hear & know, but we are unable to hear refusing to listen, heed, or be persuaded, that they want illegal aliens to enter America for one reason or another.  These elites are protected by armed guards & walls so that any problems or crimes resulting from illegal aliens will not apply to them or their families – just to people like the late Kate Steinle or you & me @ random.
 
Now many of our elected representatives don't approve of the way Trump pursued the funding of the border wall – but certainly none can approve of what is actually going on @ the southwest border – click here to see 53 illegal aliens rush to America after cutting the fence in the Pacific Ocean & then only when caught claim asylum & here to see ten illegal aliens sneak across the southwest border in San Diego after smuggler uses young girls as decoys.  The people in these videos are not asylum seekers – they are fraudulent opportunists who are entering America uninvited ahead of people who have legally applied for citizenship & also ahead of people who have legally applied for refugee status or asylum.
 
You can side with the Democrats & the dozen Republicans in the Senate who voted against Trump's emergency declaration or with the Republicans who supported President Trump in looking for a way to protect America from an illegal immigration onslaught that shows no sign of abating & has been in the process of ruining America for decades.  But we should clearly recognize what is happening to our country regardless of whether or not Trump is constitutionally correct in declaring a national emergency or politically incorrect in so doing.
 
The number of illegal aliens entering America dropped in 2017 to new lows after it was perceived that Trump, in his first year in office, would clamp down on illegal immigration – similar to the results in Italy today as shown above.  It was only after the migrants learned they could reach their goal of entering America through the abuse of our asylum laws that the illegal immigration onslaught regained momentum.
 
It is clear that a few changes to the immigration & asylum laws would drastically change the destructive actions @ our southwest border thereby eliminating the emergency.  This could happen in the next five minutes if Congress wanted it to.  But since it doesn't happen we know that our elected representatives in power don't want it to. 
 
This is where you come in.
 

Sunday, March 10, 2019

Laura's Special Guest At CPAC

  Click on photo to enlarge
 
Laura Ingraham gave a very inspiring speech @ the recent CPAC conference – especially the encouraging final point.  Click here to hear the conclusion of Laura's speech in which she introduced a very special guest.
 

Thursday, February 28, 2019

The Absurdity Of The Claim Of Birthright Citizenship Of Children Of Illegal Immigrants

"All persons born or naturalized in the United States, & subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States & of the State wherein they reside." – Citizenship Clause  -Amendment XIV – Section 1 of the Constitution of the United States  
 
click on tweet to enlarge
 
Excerpt from Laura Ingraham radio interview of Ohio Governor & then presidential candidate John Kasich prior to the 2016 presidential election:
 
Laura:  This is Census Bureau numbers - There are 300,000 children who are born in the U.S. each year, neither parent an American citizen. What's your reaction to that?
 
Kasich:  Well, I mean, we have laws here that say that if you're born here in America you become a citizen.
 
Laura:  There's actually no law that says that.  There's no law that says that.
 
***
 
As students of the Constitution fully know there is no birthright citizenship clause in the Constitution whereby foreign pregnant women selfishly travel to America to deliberately give birth in America to a child who automatically becomes a U.S. citizen.  But there is a forty year abuse where the enemies of America, both foreign & domestic, have misused & purposely mistaught in schools the history & meaning of the 14th Amendment so that foreigners can latch on to every government benefit & program imaginable thereby making fools out of us all.  Kasich, a well known, leading, life long politician, demonstrates his woeful understanding of the Constitution in this regard by his statement in the above interview.
 
The 14th Amendment was designed to give citizenship to freed slaves – not people from foreign lands who plan to take advantage of America's generosity – this is the subject absurdity - that the children of illegal immigrants become citizens entitled to benefits as a direct result of their parents willfully, deliberately, & purposely breaking our laws.  Awarding citizenship to children of lawbreakers defies common sense & is insulting - the Constitution was never meant to be a suicide pact. 
 
What does the mother country that is the original home of the illegal immigrant parents say about this – does this mother country regard the children of these parents as citizens of that country?
 
Senator Jacob Howard worked closely with President Lincoln in writing the 13th Amendment which abolished slavery & served on the Joint Committee on Reconstruction & was the author of the key phrase "subject to the jurisdiction thereof" in the 14th Amendment.  Howard explained that this phrase was included in the 14th Amendment to exclude foreigners, aliens, & children of ambassadors or foreign ministers because these people did not have exclusive full political allegiance to the U.S. – something that is required for citizenship.
 
Accordingly, the 14th Amendment does not apply to foreigners who do not come under American jurisdiction – like foreign couples, neither of whom are American citizens, whose sole plan is to practice "birth tourism" – the insidious intent to give birth in the U.S. in order to fallaciously secure U.S. citizenship for a child who becomes an anchor baby, i.e., the ticket for all the child's family members, under chain migration, to move to the U.S. with benefits for all – well ahead of people who have thoroughly followed immigration laws.
 
click on image to enlarge
 
Professor John C. Eastman, Chapman University School Of Law, has written & taught on the fallacy of birthright citizenship for children of illegal immigrants.  Professor Eastman explains that the "subject to the jurisdiction thereof" clause of the 14th Amendment was modeled after a clause of the 1866 Civil Rights Act that was passed to enfranchise previously enslaved black Americans.  The act stated that "All persons born or naturalized in the United States, & not subject to any foreign power, excluding Indians not taxed, are hereby declared to be citizens of the United States."  Professor Eastman teaches that the 1866 Civil Rights Act & the 14th Amendment precludes birthright citizenship for children of temporary visitors or parents who are here illegally.
 
Case in point regarding children born to parents who are here illegally:  the photo below shows Maryury Elizabeth Serrano-Hernandez, a 19 year old, 9 month pregnant woman from Honduras, climbing the border fence in Tijuana, & less than 24 hours later, after setting foot on American soil, giving birth to a baby boy who is claimed to be as American as you are.  Trump plans to build a more secure wall than the one shown in the photo. 
 
click on photo to enlarge
 
As Laura Ingraham mentioned in the Kasich interview above there are 300,000 children born each year to parents who are either in the country illegally or traveled on visas to give birth (birth tourism) on U.S. soil – with neither parent being an American citizen in either case.  These children have been granted automatic citizenship.
 
There are currently 4.7 million anchor babies in the U.S. who are under the age of 18 plus millions more who are over 18.  About 7% of the total 4 million births in the U.S. were born to illegal immigrant parents in 2014.  The Pew organization has determined that there are also 725,000 children younger than 18 who were illegal immigrants themselves & lived with illegal immigrant parents.  These totals do not include U.S.-born children of illegal immigrants who do not live with their parents.  Estimates of total illegal immigrants living in the U.S. range from 11 million to 22 million.  Accordingly, this has been a southwest border crisis for decades that no one ever addressed.
 
During the last 30 years the rate of illegal immigrants coming to America has ranged from 304,000 in fiscal year (FY) 2017 to 1.6 million in FY 2000 (based on apprehensions @ the southwest border) – both numbers are huge when you realize the lower number equates to 832 apprehensions each day.  But the disturbing trend that President Trump identifies as an emergency is the exponential rate of growth of the number of migrants seeking asylum.  See graphic below from the WSJ that shows the number of asylum seekers @ U.S. ports of entry increased from 3,192 in FY 2012 to 24,377 in FY 2017 – a 660% increase.
 
click on graphic to enlarge
 
But the problem is much worse than shown on the above graphic which counts only asylum seekers @ ports of entry.  There was a total of 78,564 requests for asylum in FY 2016 up from 13,880 in FY 2012.  In FY 2017 there was 99,035 total requests for asylum including 62,609 from Guatemala, Honduras, & El Salvador – the three countries whose people make up the vast majority of the population of the caravans travelling across Mexico to America's southwest border.
 
But there is more to the numbers than meets the eye.  In years past the vast majority of those apprehended @ the border were Mexicans who were handed over to ICE & deported.  Currently over half of border apprehensions are Central American children or families.  Thanks to Congress writing a 2008 trafficking law Central American children cannot be immediately deported in accordance with the law because they are not from Mexico or Canada – our two contiguous neighbors.
 
U.S. Border Patrol Chief Carla Provost testified earlier this week to the House Judiciary Committee that these demographic changes have stretched her agency thin saying "Each day, nearly 25% of my agents are diverted away from our border security mission to care for, transport, & process family members & unaccompanied children.  We know that when agents are occupied, narcotic smugglers, criminal aliens, gang members, & others use the opportunity to violate our borders & our laws."
 
And violate our laws they do.  These migrants know the loopholes in the laws backward & forward.
 
Migrants travelling in caravan after caravan, 12,000 people @ a time, have learned that if they can put one foot on American soil & say the word "asylum" to a border guard they will begin the process in which they take advantage of our immigration laws that President Trump has called the worst in the world regarding having the best interest of their own citizens – namely us.
 
And maybe worst of all, as many as 94.1% of the migrants pretending to seek asylum know they don't qualify for asylum – see previous posts for details.  These people forcibly pushed through both the Honduras-Guatemala border & the Guatemala-Mexico border, overwhelmed Mexican police, stormed the San Ysidro Land Port Of Entry between San Diego & Tijuana throwing rocks @ U.S. border guards – while all the time defiantly waving flags of other countries.  
 
These migrants have learned to use our immigration laws & values as weapons against us & it will continue nonstop until Congress changes our immigration laws.  This is the invasion; this is the emergency; & a border wall, definitely needed in the overall scheme of things, that won't be erected for years if it started construction today, is not the answer to this emergency.  Something swifter – an act of Congress changing our immigration laws is required.
 
Asking for help from Congress is farfetched unless the citizenry understands the stakes for them.  Just look how fast Democrat positions on virtually every issue has moved in the socialist direction away from liberty in just the past very few years – Medicare for All, free college, guaranteed jobs, a Green New Deal that will fundamentally change your way of life, infanticide not just abortion, elimination of ICE, & on & on. 
 
With regard to the topic @ hand Democrat positions on birthright citizenship & the handling of illegal immigrants has changed also.  Click here to hear former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid explain that no sane country would allow birthright citizenship to children of lawbreakers; & here to hear Hillary Clinton explain that illegal immigrant children should be sent back to their home country.
 
These former positions of Ringside Reid & Hillary are precisely the same as President Trump's today.  How wonderful it would be if politicians would only do what was best for America - & letting everyone who wants to come to America, when they feel like it, for their own reasons, is not best for America.
 
Congress, your elected representatives in the federal government, could put an end to the birthright citizenship claim of children of illegal immigrants & all the other invasion abuses @ our southwest border & people overstaying visas through the Naturalization clause of the Constitution - Article I, Section 8, Clause 4 – under the power "To establish a uniform Rule of Naturalization." 
 
Congress is the only one constitutionally charged in this regard so they are the only ones who can really fix the immigration problem if current laws are being abused.  And don't be fooled into thinking a constitutional amendment is necessary because Section 5 of the 14th Amendment was tailor written to avoid this: "The Congress shall have the power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article" meaning that the birthright citizenship abuse detailed above can be stopped by congressional legislation as specified in the Constitution.
 
And the most practical point of all reveals the biggest absurdity: we should not be tricked into thinking that the birthright citizenship clause of the 14th Amendment, ratified on July 9, 1868, applies to illegal immigrants.  The 14th Amendment was written before anyone knew what an "illegal immigrant" was.
 

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Three Men - Five Hats Quiz

Thanks to PB, an "A" grade quiz taker who has a nearly perfect score answering all the quizzes over the years, for recently sending the subject quiz below.  Naturally I held my breath waiting for PB to let me know whether or not I was able to figure the riddle out.
 
I was quite relieved when I received the message "
Doug, Congratulations, you got it."
 
Please let me know how you work the problem.  I will post all correct answers or alternatively will send the solution privately to anyone who requests it if no one figures it out.
 
Three Men – Five Hats Quiz
 
Three men are captured by cannibals in the jungle. The cannibals decide to give the men one chance to escape with their lives. They bind the men to stakes in such a way that one man can see the backs of the other two, the middle man can see the back of the front man, and the front man cannot see anybody. The cannibals show the men five hats. Three of them are black; the other two are white. Then they blindfold the men and place one of the hats on each man's head, hiding the two remaining hats. After removing the blindfolds, the cannibals tell the men that if one of them can guess what color hat he's wearing, they can all go free. Time passes. Finally, the front man, who can't see anyone, correctly guesses the color of his hat. What color was the hat? How did he know?

 

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Part A - Democrats' Hatred Of Trump Goes Far Beyond Border Wall Fight

click on image to enlarge
 
The image above clearly shows just how preposterous our immigration laws are – these laws are the root cause of the southern border invasion of caravan after caravan of as many as 12,000 people @ a time who come from the Northern Triangle Countries of Central America – some looking for work, some hardened criminals & gang members, & many planning to exploit our 126 welfare programs whenever the temptation presents itself.  But none of it is the direct invitation of the U.S. government.
 
The invading migrants, & worse yet our elected representatives, both know the immigration laws are out of line to the point of being illogical.  These laws could, & should, be changed in the next five minutes.
 
Migrants have come to realize that if they can put one foot on American soil & learn to say the word "asylum" to a border guard they will begin the process in which they take advantage of our immigration laws that President Trump has called the worst in the world regarding having the best interest of their own citizens – namely us. 
 
Under the U.S. Catch & Release laws migrants who are caught are shortly thereafter released into the interior of the U.S. while they await a hearing to determine whether or not their application for asylum will be granted.  There are currently 800,000 asylum applications that are pending with many taking five years or more to decide which plays into the hands of migrants who are determined to get their way – namely, entrance into the U.S. & not necessarily legal entrance @ that
 
What we do know is that our compassionate nature is being taken advantage of - the migrants know they do not qualify for asylum but intend to get their way by blending into the country's interior never to be heard of again after they are released.  In 2017 the majority of migrants released into America never returned for their immigration court dates – there were 40,000 deportation orders issued in absentia; i.e., to immigrants who didn't show up for their hearing & accordingly they are illegally in the U.S. today.  In addition in fiscal year 2017 only one out of seventeen applications for asylum was granted – 119,114 asylum applications with only 6,988 grants of asylum.  See graphic from the WSJ below.
 
click on graphic to enlarge
 
Just look @ the above graphic to see how the number of asylum applications have increased while the number of grants of asylum has remained relatively flat @ barely a blip on the graphic - a sign that migrants have learned to game the immigration laws to take advantage of Catch & Release.
 
There were six times more applications for asylum in 2017 than in 2012 & the rate of rejection ranged from 85.5% in 2012 to 94.1% in 2017 meaning that the vast majority of migrants know they do not qualify for asylum – namely, that they had been persecuted or fear persecution due to race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group.  Those who are unable to prove that they qualify for asylum will not be allowed to stay in the U.S.  Congress incorporated the foregoing definition of asylum seeker into U.S. immigration law as part of the Refugee Act of 1980 under President Carter.
 
In short, the migrants know they don't qualify for asylum but obtain their goal of living in the U.S. when they disappear into the country never to be heard of again under the Catch & Release laws that President Trump has exposed as against America's interests & unfair to American citizens & those who have followed immigration laws in obtaining citizenship.  But some bleeding heart liberal politicians say these migrants should not be living in the shadows & promote a pathway to citizenship for them.
 
Since President Trump came onto the national political stage on June 16, 2015 he has advocated for a wall along our southern border.  Current Democrat resistance to such a barrier has been stunning when you consider that then-senators BO ("we simply cannot allow people to pour into the U.S. undetected, undocumented, unchecked"), HRC ("I voted when I was a Senator to build a barrier to try to prevent illegal immigrants from coming in"), & Schumer ("Illegal immigration is wrong, plain & simple") have all once before held the exact position as Trump - click here to see the Senate vote tally for the Secure Fence Act of 2006.  See table below for most up to date breakdown of the 705 miles of fencing installed under the Secure Fence Act of 2006.
 
 
click on table to enlarge
 
See Part B below for conclusion of this post.
 

Part B - Democrats' Hatred Of Trump Goes Far Beyond Border Wall Fight

Continuation of Part A above
 
The map below shows the location of fencing prior & post 2007.  The feeble argument being that the aforementioned three senators were for the red lines on the map because there were so many open miles for entry into the U.S. in 2006 – like there are not many now?  Why not finish the job then or most definitely now?  Poor excuse.
 
click on map to enlarge
 
Now there are differences in walls, fences, & barriers – but whatever you call it Trump wants to build a better one than shown in San Diego below.
 
click on photo to enlarge
 
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi did not support the Secure Fence Act of 2006 but she was on board supporting barriers with the Senate Gang of Eight legislation that passed the Senate in 2013 but never came to a House vote in the GOP controlled chamber.
 
Congress passed southern border barrier protection legislation, with Pelosi's support, for $1.6 billion in both 2017 & 2018 – 40 miles of replacement fencing in 2017 & 33 miles of levee wall & pedestrian fencing in the Rio Grande Valley in 2018.  The House also passed $1.3 billion a few weeks ago that is waiting for Senate approval.  It is stipulated in all this legislation that concrete was a material forbidden to be used in this work.
 
Trump is seeking congressional approval for $5.7 billion to build about 234 miles of physical barriers that would strategically fill in some of the unprotected open spaces shown in the above map & accordingly aid the border patrol's work.
 
Pelosi & Schumer have vowed to not fund the physical barrier that Trump campaigned on - this fight over such a small current budget amount, that partially shut the government down for 35 days, becomes even smaller when you take into account that the physical barrier will have a useful life of @ least twenty years.
 
Democrats have also disagreed with the recommendations of Customs & Border Protection (CBP) on where any wall should be placed.  Evidently this degree of detail is within Democrats pay grade.
 
In summary, Democrats have currently voted to maintain existing physical barriers & have previously supported new physical barriers – just not the new one that Trump & the CBP prefer.  Pelosi calls walls immoral but there have been no calls to tear down existing walls – so existing ones are not that immoral.
 
Worse yet, click here to see Tucker Carlson provide a list of walls that Democrats do not find immoral – these are the walls that protect them personally.
 
The total cost of illegal immigration is $113 billion a year @ the combined federal, state, & local levels – with $84 billion borne by state & local taxpayers (see map below).  Sixty three percent of households headed by a non-citizen used @ least one welfare program in 2014 – source Center For Immigration Studies.
 
The major welfare programs used include Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF), the Women, Infants, & Children (WIC) food program, free or subsidized school lunch & breakfast, food stamps (officially called the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or SNAP), Medicaid, public housing, & rent subsidies.
 
In short, we are being made fools of.  Democrats see Democrat voters in all the people in the caravans with the U.S. citizenry paying the price including the country giving up its sovereignty.
 
 
84-billion-year click on map to enlarge
 
I recently received a note from a very wise reader who told me "there is such hostility & hatred of Trump, it seems what happens to the U.S. is unimportant to Democrats & many Americans."
 
That is precisely what this post, the partial government shutdown, the border wall fight, & Democrats not knowing when to stand & cheer when they hear great news @ the State of the Union address is all about.  If it makes Trump look good Democrats are against it - & you.
 

Thursday, January 31, 2019

Part B1 - Trump Economic Policies & The Tax Cuts & Jobs Act Of 2017 - So Far So Good - Last In A Series Of Three

Last week Google was unable to post the entire post I intended so the last in the series of posts on the economy
is presented in three parts, A, B1, & B2. 
Part A pertaining to Reducing Regulation & Controlling Regulatory Costs was posted on RTE on January 23.  Parts B1 & B2, below, pertain to 1) Lowering Individual Income Tax Rates, 2) Lowering The Corporate Income Tax Rate, 3) Full Expensing, 4) Repatriating Earnings, & 5) Opportunity Zones.
 
 
Parts A, B1, & B2 taken together make up the entire post that should be considered the last in a series of three that covers the features of the Tax Cuts & Jobs Act of 2017 (TCJA) that blend in with the Trump administration's policies & practices that will enhance the productivity growth component of the overall economic growth equation thereby propelling continued economic growth in America forward.
 
The first two posts in the series (posted on January 6 & 13) respectively covered the importance of continued economic growth in America & the headwinds facing economic growth.
 
1.  Lowering Individual Income Tax Rates
 
The lowering of individual income tax rates has an obvious appeal to virtually every American taxpayer – there is nothing stopping anyone who feels they are not paying enough income tax to make their own donation to the Treasury.
 
But senior citizens, who are mandated to make Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs) from IRAs & 401(k)s, have come to realize one of the the main benefits from such tax deferred programs – namely, to make tax saving deposits when in a high marginal income tax bracket & withdrawals (RMDs) when in a lower marginal income tax bracket. 
 
As inclusion of RMDs in taxable income pushes Baby Boomers into ever higher income tax brackets year after year in retirement the lowering of individual income tax brackets by the new tax bill is a welcome feature for many senior citizens.
 
2.  Lowering The Corporate Income Tax Rate
 
Before the passage of the Tax Cuts & Jobs Act of 2017 the U.S. had the highest federal corporate income tax rate in the world @ 35% – add in state corporate income tax rates & the average was 38.9%, about 15 percentage points above the 34 countries that makeup the Organization for Economic Cooperation & Development (OECD) average of 23.8%, excluding the U.S. in the calculation, & 4.5 percentage points higher than the second highest country, France.
 
The TCJA reduced the federal corporate income tax to 21% thereby making the U.S. more competitive worldwide.  See graphic below.
 
click on graphic from WSJ to enlarge (includes federal & state corporate income tax rates)
 
Now being more competitive means many good things like companies can reduce their prices by subtracting the portion of eliminated corporate income taxes previously embedded in prices thereby providing the opportunity to increase market share.  The graphic below shows what companies planned to do with their tax-cut savings.
 
click on graphic to enlarge
 
Now all of the topics in the above graphic put more money in productive private hands than would have occurred if it had been turned over to the government in corporate income tax payments.  Henry Hazlitt, wrote on page 37 from a Chapter entitled Taxes Discourage Production of his magnificent book, Economics In One Lesson, "it (is) improbable the wealth created by government spending will fully compensate for the wealth destroyed by the taxes imposed to pay for that spending."  Professor Friedman complemented Hazlitt's principle when he taught that the government can only put money into the economy that it first takes out. 
 
Companies in the S&P 500 paid more money in dividends through November, $421 billion, than they paid in all of 2017 thereby putting more money in the hands of the owners of these companies including employee defined benefit pension funds, IRAs, & 401(k)s.  This increase in dividends goes hand in hand with the reduction of individual income tax rates under the new tax law to put more money in the hands of working people thereby increasing economic growth.
 
See Part B2 below for conclusion of this post.
 

Part B2 - Trump Economic Policies & The Tax Cuts & Jobs Act Of 2017 - So Far So Good - Last In A Series Of Three

Continuation from above post Part B1
 
3.  Full Expensing
 
In the Full Expensing provision of the TCJA the new tax law did away with depreciation schedules that specified how many years companies were required to take to write off capital expenses like new plants & equipment & replaced these schedules for the next five years with immediate deductions for the entire expense.  Some building expenses under the old law were written off over a period of decades, a few percent per year, where inflation could take a mighty toll over the life of an investment, meaning that the new tax law provides a tremendous cash flow advantage that businesses have called for & need in order to increase productivity enhancing investments.  Under BO's administration labor productivity lagged as new investment barely managed to offset depreciation.
 
4.  Repatriating Earnings
 
In the biggest pro-growth provision of the new tax law the TCJA allows the untaxed repatriation of profits earned outside the U.S. - because it was designed to incentivize companies to invest, hire, & produce more in the U.S.  
 
The Repatriation provision is the result of the new tax law changing the American tax system from a world-wide tax system where the U.S. assessed taxes regardless of where the income was derived to a territorial tax system that taxes only income earned within a country's borders.  Under the world-wide tax system companies held profits overseas to avoid the tentacles of the old 35% corporate income tax – in essence, after a one time tax on old earnings whether or not the money is repatriated, companies can bring home foreign profits untaxed by the U.S. thereby freeing cash flows on money previously thought of as trapped in foreign subsidiaries to avoid the U.S. tax. 
 
As of January 2018 there was an estimated $2.7 to $3.0 trillion of income (about half held in cash or other liquid assets – source Morgan Stanley) of 108 publicly traded companies that was parked overseas.  See graphic below from the WSJ that shows the increase in repatriations in the first two quarters of 2018 after the new tax law was passed – $294.9 billion in the first quarter, $183.7 billion in the second quarter, & $92.7 billion in the 3rd quarter (not shown on graphic) – or over $571 billion brought back to America from overseas in the first nine months of 2018 compared to only $128 billion in the first nine months of 2017. 
 
 click on graphic to enlarge
 
But as students of the FairTax know there is $30 trillion parked outside the U.S. that will have a strong propensity to be drawn to the U.S. for the exact opposite reason that it did under the former world wide tax system – the disobliging incentives caused by the former corporate income tax system which are substantially reduced under the new tax law.
 
The $30 trillion consists of money held in off shore financial centers, cross border financial centers comprised of many currencies whose estimated value in 2009 was $30 trillion – see graphics below.
 
click on graphics to enlarge
 
The incentive the new tax law provides is real stimulus to our economy, whether allowing untaxed repatriated corporate income to return to our country or attracting capital from other countries held in off shore financial centers, in that the money supply & interest rates will be affected by market forces that will work to let our economy naturally grow thereby providing a much better investment opportunity than places like the Cayman Islands & other off shore financial centers.
 
Although real U.S. capital expenditures were up an impressive $180 billion as of the third quarter of 2018 from the fourth quarter of 2017 it is important to not be impatient but rather wait about three years to see the results from the repatriated earnings clause of the new tax law.  But what we can say now is that it is only common sense that more business investment (& less government regulations) would increase economic growth through productivity increases thereby increasing the economy's capacity to produce goods & services that raise Americans' standard of living.
 
5.  Opportunity Zones
 
Entrepreneurs & investors have expressed keen interest in investing in the low-income areas specified, by each state, in the new tax law - Opportunity Zones.  The intent is to drive long term capital expenditures & the resultant job creation into some of America's most distressed communities.  Nearly 35 million Americans live in these opportunity zones – they have higher poverty & unemployment rates than the rest of the country.  In 2008 the Census Bureau found that 54 million people were living under 125% of the federal poverty level, & the number of "deep poverty" – defined as people whose incomes are less than 50% of the federal poverty level – was 17 million people.
 
Investors in such opportunity zone communities are offered tax advantages such as 1) being able to roll capital gains from an unrelated investment into a designated opportunity zone & defer those capital gains taxes until 2026 & then having those capital gains taxes further reduced if the opportunity zone investments are held long enough, & 2) avoiding taxes all together if the investments are held for @ least 10 years.
 
Investments in opportunity zones are especially attractive to real estate developers with unrealized capital gains.  Treasury has designated nearly 9,000 census tracts as opportunity zones spread across urban & rural areas & most of Puerto Rico.
 
Developers have been planning projects that would qualify for them to invest under the Opportunity Zones clause of the new tax law.  Examples – a Marriott hotel in Arizona, affordable housing in Los Angeles, & a 22-story office building & hotel in NYC's Washington Heights neighborhood.
 
The obvious benefit of the Opportunity Zone program is that it has the potential to revitalize economically distressed communities using private investments rather than taxpayer funds – a financial goal worthy of pursuit not only in this one specific worthwhile program but in beginning a mindset change away from one of government dependence to one favoring free market capitalism.
 
***
 
In summary, the last three posts have presented a series of key issues on the economy – the first showed the importance of continued economic growth for America, the second showed the headwinds facing economic growth in America, & Parts A & B of this post taken together showed how several features of the Tax Cuts & Jobs Act of 2017 along with several of the Trump administration's policies & practices provide a counterbalance to the referenced headwinds & give us a good chance for enhanced prosperity in the years to come.
 
President Trump's first budget from June 2017 did not call for 3% real economic growth until 2020 after estimates of 2.5% in 2018 & 2.8% in 2019. 
 
So far so good & then some.