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, May 24, 2020

Grading Our Governors - Report Of A Study To Reopen America


This post presents the results of the study entitled Reopen America – Grading Our Governors conducted by the Committee to Unleash Prosperity led by Art Laffer, Steve Moore, Phil Kerpen, & John Fund.  The report of the study was released on May 4. 
 
The report grades the nation’s governors on how they responded to the threat of Covid-19 taking into account the severity of the virus in each state.  The study examined the lockdown orders, business closures, the degree of punitive actions on enforcing these measures, & most importantly the start dates for reopening commerce in each state. 
 
With regard to the degree of punitive actions Michigan Democrat Governor Gretchen Whitmer leads the dictatorial pact pursuing politics & power when she allows people to launch their rowboats but not the same boat if it has a motor on it or when she allowed people to buy lottery tickets, liquor, & candy but not paint or vegetable seed that was cordoned off in the same store.  Whitmer generously received a “D” in these gradings since she ultimately rescinded the boat & paint mandates & reopened manufacturing including the automotive industry.
 

The emphasis of the subject study is on reopening the economy safely, smartly, & judiciously so as to end the economic destruction & despair from the lockdowns.  If the current course is not changed millions more will be pushed into unemployment, poverty, & loss of businesses forever.  The more you think about it, & see what is happening, the clearer it becomes that so much of our world is interconnected economically.  But it is interconnected from a public health standpoint also – the economic damage & adversity of financial ruin & deprivation that has been thrust upon people has led to suicides, depression, stress, heart attacks, spousal & child abuse cases, drug overdoses, & alcohol abuse.  See graphic below of examples of interconnection of unemployment & social problems included in the subject study.


An especially egregious example of a governor who was graded “F” in the report is Democrat Tony Evers of Wisconsin – the state Supreme Court had to strike down Evers’ order that shut down daily life in Wisconsin ostensibly to limit the spread of the Wuhan coronavirus despite so much evidence to the contrary, the April 7 primary election being the latest example @ the time.  More than 400,000 state residents voted in person on April 7 & about 67 of those who voted or worked the polls tested positive for Covid 19 thereafter, although some of the infections may have been the result of other exposures the Wisconsin Department of Health indicated.  It was not indicated how many of those who tested positive had mild or moderate symptoms or no symptoms @ all.  But using the numbers indicated means 1 out of every 5,970 people who participated in the election tested positive for the virus – the type of statistic that Evers & the other Democrat state governors are ignoring in their attempt to ruin the country for what they perceive as political gain over Trump in November.
 
The subject study revealed wide variations from state to state.  Some states, like Arkansas & Nebraska, never issued stay @ home orders or very modest ones, while others like California & NJ issued penalties, fines, & jail time for breaking curfews & lockdowns.
 
After considering all of the variables mentioned above the following nine states & governors received grades of A:  Colorado (Polis), Florida (DeSantis), Georgia (Kemp), Iowa (Reynolds), Nebraska (Ricketts), Oklahoma (Stitt), South Dakota (Noem), Tennessee (Lee), & Wyoming (Gordon). 
 
The following four states & governors received grades of F: New Jersey (Murphy), Pennsylvania (Wolf), Virginia (Northam), & Wisconsin (Evers).  Washington DC (Mayor Bowser) also was graded F.
 
The map below provides the grades for all the states.


The table below shows the percentage of deaths as a share of population by state (& DC).


The subject report says “The governors with A & B grades are already moving to restore freedom & opportunity & trusting individuals to follow best practices or isolate themselves based on their own risk assessments.  The D & F grade governors continue to arbitrarily ban activities without respect to any sensible risk versus benefit calculation & are therefore taking the largest risk of all – the risk of catastrophic economic collapse.”
 
What a terrible time for the country that we cannot come together even when a pandemic disease, economic collapse, & extinguishment of our liberties have simultaneously come upon us.
 

Sunday, May 10, 2020

Government Response To Covid-19 Pertains To More Than Your Health

“. . . we are five days away from fundamentally transforming the United States of America.” – BO speaking in Missouri five days before the 2008 presidential election.  Judge for yourself how close the fundamental transformation that BO had in mind resembles the look of America in 2020.
 
***
 
During the first week in March the Wuhan coronavirus had gotten everyone’s attention & people started to self-quarantine &/or distance themselves from others, much like they do when they know someone has the flu or a bad cold.  About one third of the states shut down before there was any evidence of coronavirus disease (Covid-19) in their state.  By mid-March the governors of NY, NJ, & other hot spots had shut their states down. 
 
And people accepted this for several weeks.
 
But little by little people also started to ask questions – like why are perfectly healthy people still in quarantine weeks after the original 15 day shutdown period ended?  Quarantine is a process that restricts the movement of people who were exposed to a contagious disease, or were thought to possibly have been exposed, to see if they become sick.  Normally, a medical quarantine is a procedure limited to infectious people, not to whole populations.
 
The original goal of not letting Covid-19 overwhelm the country’s healthcare system looked to be achieved to people paying attention when there were excess ICU beds available all across America.  NYC, the hottest of the hot spots, sent ventilators to other states who were in need & the Navy hospital ship Comfort was never needed to anywhere near its full capacity for any healthcare reason after docking @ Pier 90 in Manhattan.  The U.S.N.S. Mercy docked in Los Angeles was similarly underutilized. 
 
Governments around the world relied on mathematical models that predicted the spread of the virus & led government actions regarding altering the course of the outbreak.  This effort was led by Neil Ferguson, a mathematical epidemiologist @ Imperial College London.  Dr. Ferguson specializes in the patterns of the spread of infectious diseases in humans & animals.
 
Ferguson plugged his assumptions into his model & in mid-March projected that the UK would experience over 500,000 deaths & that the U.S. would experience 2.2 million deaths – if either, or both countries took no action to stop the spread of the virus.
 
Well the action taken by the U.S. government – federal, state, & local as a result of Ferguson’s mathematical modeling – was to bring the American economy to its knees where it still resides.  Governors & mayors issued “Stay @ Home” orders mandating the shutting down of schools & businesses these officials did not deem essential.  This resulted in over 33 million people filing claims for unemployment insurance in the last seven weeks.  The first quarter 2020 GDP contracted @ a 4.8% annual rate even though only the last two weeks of the quarter were directly affected by the impact of the Wuhan coronavirus – & this is only the beginning of these kinds of numbers prompting many people to think the cure is worse than the disease.  A disease where 80% of cases tend to be mild or moderate or have no symptoms @ all.
 
In addition to the economic devastation described above there is the social side of the carnage that is taking its toll as the Stay @ Home orders are extended.  People are becoming lonely & depressed, Alcoholics Anonymous meetings are held only on the telephone, & suicide rates are increasing as are drug overdoses.  People previously scheduled for elective surgery like a mastectomy or a heart operation are becoming especially nervous as these procedures are put off indefinitely.  People cannot even make an appointment with their doctor for an office visit or annual physical in many cases.  CVS/Aetna has warned of an impending surge in non-virus medical problems based on the trends they see in their businesses.
 

The American Catholic Thinker provides the statistics for the following two tables. 


It is not like Covid-19 is the only illness taking lives.  Please consider the following table as of March 28:


Although cumulative worldwide Covid-19 deaths have increased from 28,240 on March 28 to 274,655 as of Friday please consider this number to the others on the above table & the fact that 150,000 people per day die on Earth.  Covid-19 is getting out-of proportion consideration in locking down our economy.
 
But western countries, including the U.S., relied on Ferguson’s Imperial College Of London models even though their projections had been inaccurate in 2009 when Ferguson’s projection of 65,000 deaths in the UK due to the swine flu was overstated by 64,543 people (i.e., 457 people died of the swine flu in the UK).
 
Before further analysis of the numbers it must be understood that the numbers themselves have serious questions.  The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, & Economic Security Act (CARES Act) provided the incentive for hospitals to collect an additional 20% on top of traditional Medicare rates for Covid-19 patients covered by Medicare during the pandemic emergency & to be reimbursed for treating uninsured patients with the disease @ the enhanced 20% Medicare rate.  The CARES Act created a $100 billion fund, a portion of which, will be used to reimburse healthcare providers for the uninsured – but it remains to be seen if this is enough money to cover the uninsured plus the purchase of medical supplies & the construction of temporary facilities.
 
In short, the reported number of deaths attributable to Covid-19 are overstated if only because of the incentive of the hospitals, who are losing money because of the deferments of elective surgery as described above, to code deaths to Covid-19 – such coding that triggers the additional revenue for the hospitals.
 
On February 5 the Carnival Cruise Line ship, the Diamond Princess, had 3,711 passengers & crew quarantined in Yokohama, Japan because the vessel had earlier on the cruise in January found one person with Covid-19.  The ship looked like an incubator growing microorganisms of the Wuhan coronavirus with the confined spaces, contact between travelers from many countries, & the number of elderly people on board (half the passengers were 69 to 73 years old & the other half were 62 to 69) - all ripe to contract Covid-19.  Half of the crew were between 36 & 43 & the other half were between 29 & 36.  By late February testing determined that 634 were infected but 328 of those infected had no symptoms.  Six people died but 83% of the 3711 total people in this floating petri dish were not infected & 92% were either not infected or had no symptoms of Covid-19.
 
The Diamond Princess data gave many analysts further reason to doubt Ferguson’s model of 2.2 million deaths in the U.S. if nothing was done to prevent the spread of the Wuhan coronavirus.
 
But there is plenty of evidence that the Wuhan coronavirus is more widespread & has been with us longer in the U.S. than we were led to believe. 
 
It was originally believed that the first Covid-19 death in the U.S. was on February 29, later revised to two deaths on February 26.  But Santa Clara County, California found, as a result of autopsies, that two people who died on February 6 & 17 also were infected with the Wuhan coronavirus.  None of the aforementioned people who died in the U.S. in February had any known travel histories that would have exposed them to the virus meaning they are presumed to have contracted the virus in their communities. 
 
The first death in the U.S. on February 6 is indicative that the virus was present in the U.S. @ least by mid-January meaning that before social distancing was practiced & stay @ home orders were issued hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of people had attended college & NBA basketball games, hockey games, the NFL playoffs, the Super Bowl, Super Bowl parties, Broadway plays, movies, & had gone to restaurants & work.  In short, there was plenty of time for people to have been exposed to the contagious virus before we knew what was happening.
 
In addition, the Grand Princess cruise ship that departed San Francisco on February 11 had passengers who contracted Covid-19 during the cruise.
 
Stanford University conducted an antibody study, led by Dr. Eran Bendavid, an infectious disease specialist & professor of medicine with Stanford Health Policy, to better understand how far the Wuhan coronavirus had spread in Santa Clara County.
 
Antibodies are proteins made by the body in response to an infection – no antibodies, no infection from the Wuhan coronavirus in this case.  Having antibodies in the blood is useful in determining how many people have already been infected.
 
The Stanford study showed the results of 3,330 people tested on April 3 & 4 @ three locations across Santa Clara County using the latest antibody tests available & found that 48,000 to 81,000 people in Santa Clara County may already have been infected by the Wuhan coronavirus - 50 to 85 times more than the number of official cases @ that date.  This study provided a snapshot of how many people in the county already had been infected but weren’t seriously sick & didn’t even realize they had previously contracted the disease.
 
Dr. T.J. Rodgers, ever the scientist, ran a study to find out if lockdowns work to fight the spread of Covid-19.  Rodgers’ work counted deaths per million population for a fixed 21-day period, measured from when the death rate first hit 1 per million (i.e., 3 deaths in Iowa & 19 in NY).
 
Rodgers’ work revealed that states that shut down early had vastly different results – Oregon had 20 deaths per million after 21 days of shutdown & NY had 360 meaning other variables like population density & subway use were more important than how early the states locked down.
 
These results led to the comparison of deaths in states that shut down early to deaths in Sweden that didn’t impose a mandatory national lockdown – although many Swedes went to work every day they then self-imposed stay @ home & social distancing practices on themselves – how much better than the American heavy handed authoritarian approach that jailed people for going to work. 
 
Swedish schools were not shut down.
 
By Rodgers’ measure Sweden had a lower death per million rate than the six American states that locked down in three days by his measure as indicated above – NY, NJ, MA, RI, CT, & MI – or LA that locked down in four days.  Astonishingly,  88% of Sweden’s deaths were people over 70 years old.  See graphic below that shows cumulative deaths in Sweden as of May 8.


Now the above graphic for Sweden is very similar to the corresponding one for the U.S. – see & compare below.


Makes me wonder if we have gone about this all wrong.  Why were children with virtually no risk from Covid-19 sheltered @ home @ the great cost of their education – while seniors were not properly protected – or @ least protected way too late?
 
And even worse.  If the above information is known by you & me why haven’t our medical experts recognized this & changed direction?  The following graphic indicates, that based on data from 100 hospitals involving 1,000 patients, two thirds of Covid-19 hospitalizations in NY state have been people who stayed home under lockdown orders supporting Dr. Rodgers study described above.  And yet the lockdown orders continue.


Based on all of the above information there is no reason that people under 60 years old cannot resume a normal life while those 60 & older, especially the elderly that are medically fragile with serious underlying health conditions, wait for a vaccine or other treatment to be developed – that is unless the people who imposed the government lockdown of the economy, & are working to keep it locked down, are using the ensuing collapse of America’s free enterprise system as the latest contrived poor excuse to defeat President Trump in the November election as they continuously try to fundamentally transform the United States of America.

Sunday, April 26, 2020

The Too High Cost Of The Government's Lockdown Solution To The Covid-19 Pandemic

The purpose of this post is to explain how the government’s shutdown response to the Covid-19 pandemic has separated us from the country’s founding principles & to highlight the cost & potential cost to us all.


“The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”  - The Tenth Amendment. 
 
With the exception of banning travel to the United States from places like Communist China, where the Wuhan coronavirus originated, the President has no power or authority under the Constitution for health issues including no involvement in the current Covid-19 pandemic.  The national government has limited & enumerated powers under the Constitution & no general authority over state governments.  In 1944 Congress extended its authority to regulate Commerce with foreign Nations to the Executive Branch under Section 361 of the Public Health Service Act by granting the Surgeon General the authority “to prevent the introduction, transmission, or spread of communicable diseases from foreign countries into the States or possessions” – hence, on January 31 Trump banned foreign nationals who had recently been in China from entering the U.S. when the prevalence of the Wuhan coronavirus was still being hidden & denied by Communist China.  Also, on March 11 Trump suspended travel to the U.S. for foreign nationals who had recently been in 26 European countries.
 
Our forefathers established a Republic based on a limited federal form of government whose only proper moral purpose is to preserve individual liberty including protecting man’s rights to his own life, his own liberty, & his own property while also protecting him from physical violence – all as described in the Constitution.  The national government’s functions do not include police powers – principally safety & health matters which are the responsibility of the states. 
 
But in accordance with the Tenth Amendment both the national government & state governments have been in violation of the Constitution in their pursuit of fighting the pandemic when they present guidelines or actually suspend, disregard, & ignore constitutional rights to liberty & property without due process of law, to freely exercise religion, to peacefully assemble, to fulfill contracts, to receive equal protection of the law, & to keep & bear arms – all violations to the Constitution that governments have done in locking down America under the semblance of flattening the Covid-19 curve so that the nation’s healthcare system would not be overwhelmed.
 
In short, the government suppressed 83% of our economy to ensure that we did not overwhelm the 17% represented by healthcare. 
 
 
*** 
 
Coronaviruses mostly infect bats, pigs, & small mammals, but they mutate easily & can jump from animals to humans & from one human to another.  Four coronavirus strains cause common colds – from which we know there is no cure as we all have had to let common colds run their course no matter how much chicken noodle soup we ate. 
 
The Wuhan coronavirus is officially called severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2, or SARS-CoV-2.  The disease it causes is Covid-19 with the “d” standing for disease & “19” standing for the year the disease emerged in Communist China – hence the identifying name Wuhan coronavirus.
 
The Wuhan coronavirus is believed to have originated in one or a combination of two ways: 1) the virus may have escaped from the Wuhan Institute of Virology or its associate the Wuhan National Biosafety Laboratory, or 2) the virus may have originated in one of Wuhan’s large wet animal & seafood markets.  See photos below – notice the masks.


Click here to see a video of the disgusting operation of sick wild animal slaughter for human consumption in Wuhan’s wet markets.   Upon looking @ the wet markets Paul McCartney said “Let’s face it, it is a little bit medieval eating bats.” 
 
***
 
“I cannot undertake to lay my finger on that article of the Constitution which granted a right to Congress of expending, on objects of benevolence, the money of their constituents.” - James Madison, Father of the Constitution, writing in 1794 regarding his intention that the federal government could only expend money for purposes specifically enumerated in the Constitution.
 
It is neither the purpose nor a right of Congress to “attend to what generosity & humanity require, but to what the Constitution & their duty require.” – Virginia Congressman William Branch Giles condemning a spending measure in 1796.  Giles also served as VA governor & VA senator for 11 years.
 
“We have the right as individuals, to give away as much of our own money as we please in charity; but as members of Congress we have no right to appropriate a dollar of the public money.” - Congressman Davy Crockett speaking on the house floor in 1827
 
“I cannot find any authority in the Constitution for public charity.”  To approve the measure “would be contrary to the letter & the spirit of the Constitution & subversive to the whole theory upon which the Union of these States is founded.” – President Franklin Pierce vetoing a popular measure in 1854.
 
“I can find no warrant for such an appropriation in the Constitution, & I do not believe that the power & duty of the General Government ought to be extended to the relief of individual suffering which is in no manner properly related to the public service or benefit.”  President Grover Cleveland vetoing a bill for relief charity – one of many vetoes during his two terms in office regarding bills that violated the Spending Claus of the Constitution in his opinion.
 
“If Congress can do whatever in their discretion can be done by money, & will promote the General Welfare, the Government is no longer a limited one, possessing enumerated powers, but an indefinite one, subject to particular exceptions.” – James Madison
 
“Congress has not unlimited powers to provide for the general welfare, but only those specifically enumerated.” - Thomas Jefferson’s letter to Albert Gallatin, Secretary of the Treasury 1801 to 1814.
 
“The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few & defined . . . to be exercised principally on external objects, as war, peace, negotiation, & foreign commerce.”  The Federalist No. 45: Madison
 
“Ours is the job of interpreting the Constitution.  And that document isn’t some inkblot on which litigants may project their hopes & dreams for a new & perfected tort law, but a carefully drafted text judges are charged with applying according to its original meaning.  If a party wishes to claim a constitutional right, it is incumbent on him to tell us where it lies, not assume or stipulate with the other side that it must be in there someplace.”  Neil Gorsuch, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, writing in a concurring opinion in a 2016 case.
 
***
 
Regarding the coronavirus hysteria in America that originated in Wuhan, Hubei province China, & with the above as background, you can see how disturbed I am about the federal government’s & several state governments’ assaults on our God given rights & liberties delineated in our glorious Constitution, including the unchecked unconstitutional spending plans to relieve economic hardships brought on by government’s ill-advised involvement concerning the spread of Covid-19 in America – economic hardships caused by these same governments imposing guidelines & mandates that not only are deliberately grinding commerce to a halt putting businesses out of business & people out of work but then telling the owners of these businesses that they must provide family leave & sick leave to discharged employees. 
 
America was founded on the principles of limited government, personal responsibility, & free enterprise.  Government @ every level has trampled on these founding principles in trying to look like they are helping fight the Covid-19 pandemic summarized as follows:
 
Limited Government:  The Covid-19 pandemic is the largest pandemic since the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918 in which the federal government was little involved & the DJIA not only never went appreciably lower during the pandemic it was appreciably higher a year & a half after the peak of the U.S. infection.  Although the index of factory employment dipped in 1918 it too was higher by 1920.  The Spanish flu infected more than a quarter of the world’s population & 675,000 Americans died – source the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC).  Although there was not as much social contact in the 1918 workplace as there is today few workers had sick leave & unemployment insurance didn’t exist.  Countries were preoccupied with World War I & governments had little formal roles in fighting infectious diseases – in fact progressive Democrat President Woodrow Wilson never publicly mentioned the Spanish flu epidemic.
 
Contrast the federal government’s correct hands off approach to the above described 1918 Spanish flu pandemic with today’s federal government initially issuing social distancing guidelines telling Americans to stay more than six feet apart, refrain from nonessential travel in airplanes, stop going out to dinner in restaurants, & avoid gatherings of more than ten people – like @ NBA games or church services.  These initial federal guidelines were followed shortly by “Stay @ Home” orders from governors & mayors mandating the shutting down of schools & businesses these officials did not deem essential – like gun stores, but liquor & marijuana stores that bring in large amounts of revenue to states were deemed essential.  Businesses previously deemed non-essential had been allowed to operate between 5 AM & 8 PM in some states such as NJ. 
 
Right out of the box, once the coronavirus was finally recognized as being in America, Congress did what it does best – on March 3 it threw $8.3 billion in emergency spending @ the problem to fund the development of a new vaccine, for health agencies & testing, & for small business loan subsidies – this step was taken as an emergency measure even though the coronavirus was generally known of since before Christmas & the first case has since been confirmed to have been in Wuhan, China on November 17 – eleven days before Thanksgiving.  Never mind that Swiss multinational healthcare company, Hoffmann-La Roche, has been working on a vaccine since mid-January, it was still an emergency to Congress & the health experts in the federal government in March. 
 
Congress followed by passing a second bill on March 18 that raised the stakes to $100 billion.  That bill provided free testing for Covid-19, tax credits for employers who offered paid sick leave, & increases to unemployment benefits & food assistance.
 
The third strike was the $2.2 trillion, 880 page Coronavirus Aid, Relief, & Economic Security Act (CARES Act), that no Member of Congress read, as usual, that not only addressed repairing the economic damage caused by the government itself in its attempt to fend off the threat of Covid-19, but that also exploited the Wuhan coronavirus fear as Pelosi held up the CARES legislation to try to include non-virus related items pertaining to the Green New Deal, sanctuary cities, & the Kennedy Center opera house.  Finally the CARES Act passed into law on March 27, including direct cash payments to households, bailouts for airlines & other industries, & loans & grants for small businesses.
 
But even worse, the CARES Act allocates $510 billion to support loans to large businesses with $56 billion going to the airlines & $454 billion given to the Federal Reserve to absorb losses the Fed incurs in their uncharted lending to finance private businesses, states, & cities – as opposed to its open market operations exclusively in U.S. treasury securities (& more recently expanded to include mortgage securities).  CARES authorizes the Fed to buy cities’ & states’ debt of up to two years, & to open loans to 76 borrowers, including the 50 states & DC, counties of @ least 2 million residents & cities of @ least 1 million.  You can expect this criteria to expand to smaller cities & counties.  It is also expected that the Fed will extend loans to small & midsize businesses & nonprofit hospitals & universities.   
 
If the Fed leverages this money 10 to 1 following fractional reserve banking principles like your favorite local bank does every day of the year then $4.54 trillion will be available for lending meaning the CARES Act really expands the money supply by $6,286 billion ($2.200 T + $4.086 T).  You can see that the CARES Act results in way too many dollars provided freely by the government chasing too few goods caused by the government locking down commerce – which will result in the reduction in purchasing power of our dollars known as inflation.
 
Before the ink was dry on the signing into law of the Cares Act there was talk of relief Bill #4 & even #5.  The half measure, Bill #3.5 for $486 billion that focused on small businesses & hospitals was signed into law on Friday.  This funding may last only days before it is exhausted.
 
In the last few weeks $2.7 trillion has been added to the national debt based on unanimous consent or voice vote in the Senate – not an actual recorded vote.  The House passed Bill #3.5 by a margin of 388 to 5.
 
By the above actions Congress has violated both the Commerce & Spending clauses of the Constitution.  Congress has the responsibility to sustain the spirit of commerce by encouraging & simplifying it, not to participate in spending plans that are not for the common defense, or other general, national, not local, or state benefit.
 
Your tax money is no object or consideration to Congress.  Students of economics know that this type of deficit spending described above will only result in a lower standard of living for future generations who inherit a less robust economy than they otherwise would have realized.  We have debt only in an accounting sense – not an economic sense.  The budget is always balanced: Spending = Tax receipts + Borrowing.  As the share of the total resources available that is taken by the government increases the economy becomes less & less robust.
 
Now I have recommended the elimination of the Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) for years but the tragic performance & lack of performance of this Department & specifically the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) & the National Institute of Allergy & Infectious Diseases – one of 27 institutes & centers that make up the National Institutes of Health (NIH) within HHS – have failed miserably regarding Covid-19.  Their recommendations, like social distancing, reminded me of Doc Adams in the Gunsmoke TV show, cast in the 1870s, waiting for the latest medical opinion to come from St. Louis to Dodge as he sat by helplessly as people suffered & died.  Actually this is worse because Doc Adams did not shut down the entire frontier. 
 
Don’t we all social distance when we know someone has the flu or cold & our fear of contagion makes us avoid sick people?  Isn’t this just common sense?
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    
None of the above big government actions follow the Constitution & specifically are in violation of many sections & paragraphs of the Constitution as indicated above.  It is important to understand that the Constitution only secures a limited number of rights & the Bill of Rights does not grant anyone rights – all of the rights mentioned in the Bill of Rights are designed as limits on government & today, with the physical restrictions & outrageous spending employed because of the Covid-19 pandemic, we have no limits on government authority so all we can hope is that when the pandemic passes that government gives us our freedoms back.  The question is will the government give back what it has taken away?  If we keep moving in this government dependent socialist direction it is a leap of faith we will not clear one day.
 
So with the above refresher background, the current federal guidelines & state orders described above are in violation of the Constitution of We the People of the United States as follows: 1) the prohibition of the free exercise of religion & assembly violates the First Amendment; 2) the picking of winners & losers, as in providing money to some industries, like the airlines, but not others in the rescue bills, violates the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment; 3) the impairing of the ability of people to fulfill contracts by forcing them to shelter in place is a violation of Article I, Section 10; 4) the threatening of seizure & jailing people, without a warrant or due process, for disregarding orders to not assemble is in violation of Amendments IV & XIV; 5) the deprivation of liberty & property without due process of law when ordered to shelter in place with no means of securing the necessities of life violates the Fifth & Fourteenth Amendments; & 6) the shutting down of gun stores to prevent the sale of firearms or ammunition is a violation of the Second Amendment.
 
Here’s what the above constitutional violations have specifically meant to people all over the country: 1) members of a church in Greenville, MS sitting in their cars with windows closed in the church parking lot listening to a church service on the radio, were asked to leave by police, & those who didn’t were each served with $500 tickets; 2) a paddle boarder alone on the ocean in Malibu was arrested; 3) San Clemente officials ordered the filling in of a skateboarding park with 37 tons of sand; 4) a man in Brighton, CO was handcuffed for playing ball with his wife & six year old daughter in an empty field; 5) the mayor of Louisville, KY prohibited drive-thru church services in which people never left their cars but did not prohibit a multitude of other non-religious drive-ins & drive-thrus like drive-thru liquor stores; 6) the Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer micromanaged her constitutional violations by proclaiming which products stores could sell – people could stand ten feet away from cordoned off paint & vegetable seeds they could not buy after buying lottery tickets, liquor, & candy; 7) Whitmer also OKed boat rides for a man & his dog in the lake to go fishing as long as the boat did not have a motor; 8) the newly elected KY governor sent state police out to record license plates of people attending mass church services on Easter Sunday so the people could be contacted & forced to self quarantine for two weeks; 9) Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot warned people they will be locked up for going to local parks – later violating her own stay @ home orders when she was caught getting her hair done saying she is in the public light & needs to look good (much like NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio being driven to his gym, while other gyms are closed).
 
But the most egregious example was NJ Governor Phil Murphy blatantly saying it was “above my pay grade” & that he “wasn’t thinking of the Bill Of Rights when he implemented these bans” to work, assemble, associate, & worship.  Early on, on March 16 I heard Governor Murphy say if this pandemic wasn’t as bad as forecast it was “on him” as if that meant anything tangible.
 
We are currently a long way from the limited government principles the country was founded on.
 
Personal Responsibility:   As presented above the government has provided a social safety net that gets larger every day even without the Covid-19 pandemic excuse to expand government’s reach.  In order to not need the government’s social safety net members of my generation did not consider themselves personally responsible until they had saved an amount equal to one years’ living expenses in a rainy day fund.  And a company would do the same managing its working capital & current assets to maintain the short term liquidity to cover projected liabilities for the next year (less employee wages because employees had covered that themselves).  Had this scenario happened nobody would be happy but everyone would be personally responsible & the three & a half spending binges described above would not be necessary.
 
Contrast this with 40% of the population saying they could not readily afford an unexpected expense of $400 – i.e., four in ten would have to either borrow, sell something, or not be able to pay if faced with a $400 emergency expense.  Source – Federal Reserve report dated May 2018 on well-being of U.S. households in 2017.  In addition the report found that one in five adults cannot cover their current month’s bills, & one in four skipped a medical treatment in the past year due to an inability to pay.
 
Putting the emergency expense situation in perspective for many readers – in the spring of 1970 today’s $400 emergency expense would equate to $58.74.
 
Now this Wuhan coronavirus may have suddenly been upon us but there is another financial catastrophe that has been known for years.  Namely, page two of your personalized Social Security statement, available to anyone online or by mail after age 60, reads “Your current benefits are based on current law.  Congress has made changes to the law in the past & can do so @ any time.  The law governing benefit amounts may change because, by 2035, the payroll taxes collected will be enough to pay only about 80% of scheduled benefits.”
 
I have never met one person @ my FairTax seminars or anyone who has participated in radio or TV programs I have been on, including elected representatives, who was aware of this warning that plainly says that Social Security benefits will be reduced by 20% in the not too distant future unless changes are made to the Social Security entitlement program.  The current loss of jobs & the closing of businesses only exacerbates the matter, shortening the time to society’s day of reckoning as the deceitfully named Social Security Trust Fund runs out of IOUs all the faster & the payroll taxes are not enough to pay scheduled benefits.
 
There is no personal responsibility in this regard @ all & the elected temporary politicians are just hoping that in their game of musical chairs they are not standing (i.e., out of office) when the music stops.
 
Free Enterprise:  At America’s founding there were only limited government & personal responsibility so the natural attraction of people was not to non-existent welfare programs but rather to free enterprise – or capitalism - an economic & political system in which a country's trade & industry are controlled by private owners for profit, rather than by the state. 
 
The indispensible foundation of a free society is individual rights & capitalism is the only system that can uphold & protect individual rights. 
 
The Constitution was conceived in liberty with the purpose of protecting our God-given individual rights to life & liberty from which flows the pursuit of happiness & property rights.
 
Ayn Rand put it this way – “If one wishes to advocate a free society - that is, capitalism - one must realize that its indispensable foundation is the principle of individual rights. If one wishes to uphold individual rights, one must realize that capitalism is the only system that can uphold & protect them.”
 
As America’s first Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton implemented his vision where the South’s products were sent to the North as raw materials for incorporation into final products thereby linking & maximizing the synergy of both regions on the country.  Hamilton’s idea was that the agrarian interests of the South would be advanced by the Northern manufacturers & that both would be equally productive.   
 
In making a realty of his vision, Hamilton, supported by Robert Morris & Albert Gallatin, became the founder of the nation’s financial system.  In essence he gave us capitalism – a word that did not yet exist in his time.  See graph below.

 
It is the free enterprise capitalistic system from which the nation’s unsurpassed wealth & standard of living are derived.
 
***
 
Now I am painfully aware of how far America has departed from my vision of its capabilities.  Instead of having a year, or better yet two years, of living expenses for a rainy day to weather a financial storm, 40% of Americans can’t afford a $58.74 emergency expense in 1970 dollars.  This lack of personal responsibility precludes a government dependent person from seeing the benefits of limited government & free enterprise.  It does not even consider the loss of liberty we are endangered with.
 
We descended to this point by government schools providing poor educations & then the hostile anti-American media telling the poorly educated people what the news is & they believe it with no critical thinking whatsoever.
 
And of course none of this poor education devotes any teaching to the meaning of the Constitution including the Originalist view that the Constitution should remain the same until it is properly changed by Amendment.  Georgetown Professor Randy Barnett recently explained to Mark Levin that the Constitution is not the law that governs us, it is the law that governs those who govern us.  These temporary politicians should not be able to change the meaning of the law that governs them without going through the Amendment process any more than you & I can change the laws that they make that govern us without going through the legislative process.
 
But our Constitution is not being amended for some other vision of the country – rather, it is being trashed right before our eyes.  NJ’s Governor Murphy is not the only elected representative whose pay grade is below understanding or considering the Constitution.  In addition to violating all the other sections of the Constitution delineated above Governors Cuomo (NY) & Newsome (CA) have also violated the Compact Clause (Article I, Section 10, Clause 3) when they entered into agreements with governors of their respective neighboring states to end the lockdowns previously ordered by these very same governors.
 
The money supply has expanded more in the past few weeks than any time other than right after the Revolutionary War.  Money has flowed like water & the disincentives to work like providing $600 per week extra unemployment compensation has resulted in people making more to stay home than to work.  States like California, New York, New Jersey, & Illinois are calling for federal bailouts that have nothing to do with Covid-19 & everything to do with mismanaged & underfunded state government pension plans.  And the claims that all this is being financed by near zero interest rates once again ignores the need of senior citizens to draw interest income meaning that seniors are subsidizing the government spending spree.
 
All of the financial costs listed throughout this post are very expensive – the government’s approach & response to the Covid-19 pandemic has ruined our economy & people’s lives for years to come.  But it is the loss of liberty resulting from the lockdown of the American society in response to the Covid-19 pandemic that is much too high – a price we can’t afford. 

Sunday, April 12, 2020

The Purpose Of Flattening The Covid-19 Curve

click on graphic to enlarge
 
The above bell shaped curve on the left is the one the federal government's medical experts have been talking about flattening ever since the Wuhan coronavirus started infecting Americans with Covid-19.  The central idea of flattening this curve is for the curve's peak to fall below the healthcare system's capacity as shown by the bell shaped curve on the right & the horizontal line directly above this curve's peak. 
 
In accordance with the government's medical expert's theory, the curve's peak, representing the maximum number of patients under treatment @ any one time, must fall below the healthcare system's capacity to handle these patients so that the healthcare system's capacity is not overwhelmed, meaning not just shortages & rationing of ICU beds & ventilators but also the medical personnel themselves – i.e., doctors & nurses.  The government's theory is that the longer the society practices social distancing through shutting down society, other than the parts of the economy deemed essential by government officials, with stay @ home orders the flatter the curve will be.  But this will only slow the spread of the virus - it will not stop it.  When the society is opened up again, no matter how slowly, the curve will start to rise again toward the healthcare system's capacity before the society & economy are shut down again with an ever increasing cost to both.  Until a vaccine or specific treatment for Covid-19 are developed &/or a large percentage of the population becomes immune to the infection this process will not end. 
 
Click here to hear Dr. David Price, a critical care pulmonologist (respiratory physician) currently caring exclusively for Covid-19 patients in NYC @ Weill Cornell Hospital share his experience in treating this disease.  In the last half of the video Dr. Price answers questions.  The video has had over 1.3 million views & was sent to me by a very dear friend.
 
Click here to watch the Surgeon General, Vice Admiral Jerome Adams, show how to make a face mask from simple home supplies.  Whether you believe in wearing a mask or not - wearing a mask makes it harder to touch your face with your hands which Dr. Price explained is especially important when you are out in public touching things that could be contaminated with the Wuhan coronavirus.  Hands to face is thought to be the principal way people contract Covid-19.
 
Next is a checklist from a typical local government regarding protecting yourself from the Wuhan coronavirus.
 
Checkmark Icon

How to protect yourself.

  • Wash hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds.
  • Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Clean and disinfect things you touch often.
  • Cough or sneeze into a tissue and put tissue in trash.
  • If possible, stay home when you feel sick.
My personal physician, & charter member subscriber to this blog, told me decades ago the 5 keys to good health are: 1) get a good night's sleep, 2) eat a nutritious diet, 3) get physical exercise, 4) get mental stimulation, & 5) avoid stress.
 
The above medical keys to good health are not far removed in principle from my mechanic's list for maintaining a car's trouble free service: regularly change the oil & air filter & lubricate where needed.
 
Over the last three to five weeks all of us have practiced @ least some of the above human points with virtually all of us following social distancing separations of being @ least 6 feet away from other human beings when out in public.  The government's theory is that social distancing buys us time so that the healthcare system's capacity is not exceeded – whether in the first wave of the spread of the Wuhan coronavirus or subsequent waves. 
 
The next post will analyze whether or not the cost of this purchase of time is too high.
 

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

The Passing Of Dr. Tom Coburn

This past Saturday Dr. Tom Coburn died @ the age of 72 from prostate cancer.  Senator Coburn was one of the most financially responsible Members of Congress ever to serve in Washington – most famously using common sense to question funding the bridge to nowhere from Ketchikan, Alaska to the Island of Gravina that led to a sweeping earmark ban in Congress.
 
Please click on Senator Tom Coburn's Farewell Address to see my tribute to Dr. Coburn when he retired from the Senate.
 

Monday, March 23, 2020

Biden Victory Speech Reveals Very Sad Candidate

The last post pointed out the risk to the Democrat party, & really to all of us, of putting all the eggs in the Joe Biden basket for president – the current favorite to win the 2020 presidential election on the basis of probability – simply by the numbers.
 
Specifically, the aforementioned post pointed out the danger to the Democrat party of socialist Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders exposing Biden's inattention & ceaseless gaffes last Sunday in their two-hour one-on-one debate.
 
Well, following the principle of the opposite, Biden didn't lose, he won the debate.
 
Biden had been well coached & prepared for the debate to address Bernie's stale & worn out points promoting socialism & attacking America – a country Sanders despises.  In Biden's favor there were not nine other Democrat debaters on stage interjecting disruptive comments to throw Biden off his prepared message so in fact the March 15 debate was easy for him to appear victorious.  And of course the moderators cooperated.  To appear the winner Biden only had to be prepared for a very small number of predictable points & not get flustered.  Bernie did not disappoint & just like he showed what a quitter he was against Hilary in 2016 he quit again when he told Biden, unprovoked, he would support him for president without any reciprocal endorsement from Biden.
 
So far so good for Biden – but his anticipated debate gaffe problem appeared two days after the debate following his victory speech in Delaware after winning the Florida & Illinois primaries on March 17.
 
Click here to witness something too sad for American politics.
 

Thursday, March 12, 2020

Democrat Presidential Nominee Could Depend On Sunday Debate

"Our campaign is not about beating Trump, it is about transforming this country." – Bernie Sanders speaking after he won the NH primary
 
a satirical image of President Lincoln using the words of Joe Biden misquoting the Declaration Of Independence
 
The 2020 Democrat primary election process has provided a vivid example of how a primary process should work.  After Super Tuesday nearly 14 million votes had been cast in 16 Democrat primaries & 3 caucuses.  What started as a very large Democrat field had boiled down to two candidates - Bernie Sanders & Joe Biden, who can best be represented by the above quotes in which Bernie clearly stated his core belief & Biden presented no ability to enunciate one.  Through Super Tuesday Biden had received 36% of all Democrat primary & caucus votes & Bernie had received 29%.
 
During the first three events in IO, NH, & NV the Democrat party electorate voted for their preferred candidate with no influence from previous state results– & it wasn't Biden. Buttigieg & Bernie came out on top with Biden an also ran who was given up as a laughing stock by broadcasters like Glenn Beck.
 
But Biden, never thinking he could do well in the first three contests, staked his presidential bid on the unconventional strategy of winning the fourth electoral contest in South Carolina – which he did win by 28 points.  SC was the first primary state Biden ever won – now in his third run for the presidency dating back to 1988 - & it came just in time.  But Biden was still down after winning SC & Bernie looked strong going forward.
 
There were only two days between Biden's SC victory & the Super Tuesday contests in 14 states – not much time for Biden to gain any momentum from the big SC win.  But mysteriously Buttigieg & Klobuchar dropped out of the race right before Super Tuesday, thereby never giving themselves a chance to win, & equally as surprising Warren stayed in the race – one way or the other all three benefited Biden on Super Tuesday & disadvantaged Bernie so that Biden exited Super Tuesday about 75 delegates in the lead after looking like Lazarus of Bethany only a very few days before – or like Truman right after the Chicago Daily Tribune announced the winner of the 1948 presidential election – see photo below.  Exit polls showed that late deciding voters went for Biden.
 
click on photo to enlarge
 
Now I say the primary process worked because the Democrat electorate saw plenty of these candidates & earlier dismissed the two black candidates, Kamala Harris & Cory Booker, & then later eliminated homosexual Buttigieg & females Klobuchar & Warren so that the main contenders are two white men both over 77 years old who will not take office for over ten months from now if they win in November.  Democrats also dismiss Tulsi Gabbard, a female who is still in the race, when they complain there is no female still in the race.  Going forward it will be hard for Democrats to seriously peddle diversity & identity politics to anyone who remembers how the Democrats eliminated their own black, homosexual, & female candidates & selected their presidential nominee from one of two old white men.
 
Originally Biden was thought to be the Democrat candidate with the best chance of beating Trump.  But Biden was exposed as almost senile during debates & speeches like the one highlighted above where he could not remember the most famous passage from the Declaration Of Independence – a document that President Lincoln revered.  As the other candidates, one by one, also showed their own particular weaknesses, Biden reemerged, @ least temporarily, as the one most likely to beat Trump – Biden won the Democrat primaries by large margins in NC & AL & 60% of late deciding votes in VA & OK, a state he never put a foot in.  For Biden, like Val in A Chorus Line, "life turned into an endless medley of 'gee it had to be you.'"
 
The problem for Democrats, & all of us if either Biden or Bernie wins in November, is that they are both terrible candidates & either of them will bring in big government socialism – Biden just hides it a little bit, a very little bit, better than Bernie does.
 
Bernie campaigns in a forceful, aggressive, assertive, & brash manner pushing socialistic tenets like 1) government control of healthcare that eliminates 150 million private healthcare insurance policies & requires doctors & hospitals to take a 40% cut in compensation thereby guaranteeing rationing of services & long wait times for patients to see a doctor, 2) forgiveness of all student loan debt & making college a taxpayer funded entitlement, 3) sanctuary cities, counties, & states, 4) illegal immigrants receiving free college tuition, free healthcare, full welfare benefits, citizenship, & full Social Security benefits paid for by American taxpayers, 5) a Green New Deal that bans fracking with crippling costs over the entire economy with no benefits, 6) not only a $15 per hour minimum wage but a government guaranteed job regardless of whether or not graduates can find private employment work after being provided free college, 7) housing for all including national rent control, 8) expanded Social Security, 9) free childcare & Pre-K for all, 10) medical debts eliminated, 11) a wealth tax, 12) high speed internet for all, & 13) tax increases for corporations & the rich to pay for all the programs, projected to total over $100 trillion over the next ten years, which eventually will trickle down to the middle class paying more than their fair share.
 
Since the start of the Democrat primary process Biden has lurched left, without principle, toward Bernie's socialist tenets & if he does not currently espouse each & every one of the above 13 points it is only a matter of time before he does. 
 
What became obvious between Saturday in SC & Super Tuesday is that the Democrat establishment is scared to death of Bernie @ the head of the ticket – or anywhere else for that matter.  Democrats think that Bernie cannot beat Trump & they have tried to square the circle hoping that Biden has the best chance to beat Trump & that is why blacks, suburban voters, & the elderly all supported Biden on Super Tuesday in winning 10 of the 14 contests.
 
The Democrat primary turnout has been very high for Biden & surprisingly lackluster for Bernie.  There has been a higher turnout in 2020 than in 2016 in 13 of the 14 Super Tuesday states – 36% higher in TX, 69% higher in VA, 14% higher in AL, & 46% higher in SC.
 
But make no mistake about it – the Democrat voters will enthusiastically back any candidate over Trump & this higher turnout for Biden in the primaries, plus another billion dollars of support from Bloomy, is a concern for Trump's reelection.  The only exception is if the Bernie Bros stay home or vote for Trump in protest for what they perceive as another election stolen from Bernie.
 
I believe Democrats would rather win back WI, PA, & MI in November if it came to a choice of winning these three states or losing CA, which of course they won't.
 
Biden widened his delegate lead to 150 (935 to 785 with delegates still to be counted in CA, UT, & CO where Bernie is ahead) after the March 10 Mini Super Tuesday primaries in six states (Biden won MI, MO, MS, ID, effectively tied in WA, & lost ND) but with the Democrat party rules calling for an apportionment of delegates based on the votes it could be a long time before either candidate reaches the required 1,990 of the total of 3,979 pledged delegates to be declared the winner.  Biden needs 49.9% of the outstanding delegates & Bernie needs 55.9% to secure a first ballot victory @ the convention in Milwaukee. 
 
The Democrat party bosses do not want Bernie – see his quote @ the very top of this post – they don't want a transformation of this country yet.  The question is will they still want Biden after his performance @ the one-on-one televised debate with Bernie on Sunday night - two days before primaries in OH, IL, AZ, & FL?
 

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Reissue - Trump's 2021 Fiscal Year Budget Priorities

This post is being reissued because it has been brought to my attention by subscribers that there were serious errors of transmittal by Google/Blogger with the original post made on February 29 that made for difficult reading.  This condition can be exacerbated for subscribers who use some hand held devices when posts include graphs, tables, & attachments.  I suggest that if @ any time your device does not produce pleasurable reading – in fact results in tedious reading - that you click on the website @ www.ReturnToExcellence.net & read the post directly online.

***

Early in BO’s administration Ann Coulter recommended the elimination of the Departments of Health & Human Services, Education, Commerce, Agriculture, HUD, Transportation, the EPA, the National Endowment of the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, & the progressive income tax & instituting a flat tax.  At the time, I seconded Ann’s recommendation except I recommended eliminating the progressive income tax & replacing it with the FairTax.
 
On February 10, 2020 President Trump released his budget for fiscal year 2021 (October 1 to September 30 2021) entitled A Budget For America’s Future – Fiscal Year 2021.
 
Trump’s budget calls for nominal GDP levels of $22.5 trillion to $36.6 trillion from 2020 to 2030 respectively, real GDP growth of 2.8% to 3.1% over the next ten years, a CPI inflation rate averaging 2.3%, ten year Treasury note rates of 2.0% in 2020 increasing to 3.2% in 2030, & the annual average civilian unemployment rate rising from 3.5% in 2020 to 4.0% in 2030.  See Table S-9, entitled Economic Assumptions below.


In 2020, the U.S. will spend $1.29 for every $1 that it will collect in revenue (Outlays = $4,790 billion / Receipts = $3,706 billion leaving a budget deficit of $1,083 billion ).  See Table S-1, entitled Budget Tools below.


Professor Friedman taught that money available for taxation is composed of direct taxes & borrowing & that the portion of the national debt that is paid every year is the interest payments on that debt.  Who could possibly think that if the budget deficit was magically wiped out that government spending would be reduced to equal revenue.  No, government spending would still equal the $4,790 billion listed in the table above for 2020.  A deficit is simply a form of hidden taxation financed either by printing money or by an invisible tax on all property as more money is taken from the future income of that property.
 
Increasing the debt is the easiest thing in the world for politicians to do because they know that interest payments are the least damaging expenditure of government.  Interest payments  are simply transfers from tax payers to bond holders that do not use up any resources – there is no labor that is unavailable for something else.  It is the opportunity cost of what could have been done with the money provided by bondholders that is the real cost & this is the most evil & cruelest part of debt financing – the part that is never seen or even imagined except by that one person in a million that Lenin did not want to meet.
 
With GDP growing a little over 2% per year the Congressional Budget Office reports that for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2019 revenue grew 4% & spending grew 8.25% meaning economic growth is generating additional tax revenue but the government is growing 4 times faster than the economy.  Now you don’t have to be long time subscriber Economics 501 to know this is not sustainable.  Do your own calculations using the CBO table below to derive the revenue-spending relationship for fiscal year 2019.


The above fiscal year 2021 Trump budget has proposed increases in outlays for defense & veterans but has also included lower nondefense spending & according to Forbes’ analysis calls for eliminating such fraudulent items as paying $10 billion Social Security benefits to dead people or benefits to the supposed six million people on Social Securities’ books who are 112 years old or older – for the record there are only 40 people in the whole world that are 112 & older.  Forbes also reports that Medicare & Medicaid overpaid recipients by $67 billion last year & that the IRS wrongly paid out $18.4 billion through the earned income tax credit program.
 
But all of the above mistaken payments are small in the overall scheme of things & in all likelihood neither these mistaken payments or the entitlement spending that causes the large budget deficits will be addressed by a Democrat House until after the November presidential election.  Since funding of the federal government is in place through the end of the fiscal year we should expect to once again go the Continuing Resolution government funding route starting on October 1 & lasting @ least until next winter when a new government convenes.
 
Sixty percent of federal spending goes toward paying Social Security, Medicare, & Medicaid – the three programs that constitute the cornerstone of America’s welfare state.  Ten percent of federal outlays goes toward paying interest on the national debt leaving 30% for discretionary spending like defense, food stamps, foreign aid, & the departments listed for elimination @ the top of this post.
 
Our elected representatives’ (i.e.,  temporary politicians) inhumanity & lack of regard, concern, or sympathy for people dependent on Social Security & Medicare has been on full display for decades – both programs are headed for substantial reduction in benefits in the not too distant future. 
 
Page 2 of the 2018 sample statement on the Social Security website clearly says that “by 2034, the payroll taxes collected will be enough to pay only about 77 percent of scheduled benefits.”  Of course the alternative to lowering benefits is to raise taxes.  Joe Sternberg wrote in the WSJ “one also has to ask why future generations of workers should be forced to pay higher proportions of the fruits of their labors to fund benefits for old timers who refused to raise their own taxes or to reform benefits.”
 
The problem with Medicare is that Medicare Part A is facing a funding shortfall that will require a 12% reduction in hospital benefits by 2029 & the cost of Parts B & D, which are 81% funded by general revenue from the Treasury, are growing too fast to be sustained.
 
If you are interested in solutions to the Social Security & Medicare problems click on the referenced posts listed below.
 
As we all know from previous budgets President Trump’s obvious interests are funding Defense & reducing the trade deficit through leveling the playing field in the global economy of international trade.  Students of international economics know there is no such thing as free or fair trade because virtually every country in the world uses tariffs, quotas, quota licenses, tariff rate quotas, export quotas, domestic content requirements, subsidies, export subsidies, dumping – sporadic, predatory, & persistent government procurement policies, & social regulations such as the average fuel economy standards of cars to protect their workers.  And of course the workers needing the most protection are the lowest skilled least educated people. 
 
Accordingly, as politicians try to buy votes to get re-elected or elected to higher office in 2020, President Trump works to put America first realizing there is no free & unfettered trade. Protectionist trade policies implemented to benefit the weak, in one form or another, reigns @ the expense of the American worker & consumer, & this is the state of affairs President Trump is trying to improve upon.
 
Referenced Posts: