How Much is Obamacare Going To Cost Us, Anyway?

healthcareusaIt is a tribute to President Obama and his allies that we are entering 2015 without a clear idea of how much Obamacare will cost us.

It was the President after all who said as a presidential candidate in 2007 that “I will sign a universal health care bill into law by the end of my first term as president that will cover every American and cut the cost of a typical family’s premium by up to $2,500 a year,”  and continued to make promises of cost reduction even while his Obamacare adviser Jonathan Gruber was warning him and others that almost everyone who didn’t have employer-sponsored or public insurance would be hit with a 41 percent increase. It was the President and his allies who also skillfully manipulated the CBO scoring of the Affordable Care Act to – as Gruber puts it – “get credible savings on cost control that the Congressional Budget Office would recognize and score as savings in this law.” So with the White House putting its full weight  towards pushing a lie, then perhaps we can be forgiven for finding the “how much is it gonna cost us?” question so confusing.

But we got a reminder this week that not is it going to cost us, it is cost us a lot. In The New York Times Dr. Ezekiel Emmanuel suggested  skipping the ‘worthless annual exam’ as a way to cut health costs. Why this is significant is that Dr. Emmanuel is yet another “Obamacare architect,”  which had promised that “As part of the health care reform law, all insurance plans are required to cover preventive care at no cost. It saves lives and it saves money. It’s a lot cheaper to prevent an illness than to treat one.”

This is what I call a Newlywed Transition – during the courting it’s a regular table at Spago, now that the honeymoon is over we’re lucky to get DiGornio’s.

Former AACONS radio guest Avik Roy says that, “The average U.S. county saw a rate increase of 49%” in individual market premiums.  That’s not the $2500 decrease we were told to expect.

However, the greater sticker shock comes from another AACONS radio guest, University of Chicago professor Casey B. Mulligan who wrote compellingly in his new book Side Effects: The Economic Consequences of the Health Reform that “I predict that that the ACA’s impacts – that is, the difference between the economy with the ACA and a hypothetical and otherwise similar economy without the ACA – will include 3 percent less employment, 3 percent fewer aggregate work hours, 2 percent less GDP, and 2 percent less labor income.”

Let’s focus on the “2 percent less GDP” part.  This is staggering. To put this into perspective, Newt Gingrich once argued that “1 percent increase in our economic growth rate would shrink the federal deficit by $640 billion over the next seven years, would increase federal tax revenues by $716 billion without a tax increase, and that each and every adult citizen would earn $9,600 more than they would in the current growth projection.”  If this is so, and one percent in economic growth equates to about $100 billion in tax revenue a year, it may follow that a 2 percent decrease in economic growth would equate to a decrease in tax revenue of about $200 billion a year.

Like two fighting eagles, unemployment and low GDP will find themselves entangled by the talons and locked together in a downward spiral. Low GDP growth begets high unemployment, and high unemployment depress GDP growth.  And together they both decrease the amount of money in tax revenue our government takes in and increases the amount it must pay out (in unemployment insurance, EBT, Medicaid, etc., for example). This at a time when we are already facing a budget debt of over $18 trillion dollars, that is increasing almost $2 million dollars a minute.

As Professor Mulligan’s book reminds, in economics and business,  disincentives matters.  We can also be reminded of this by sports teams.  Look at the number of awful teams, such as the NY Knicks or LA Lakers, who are disincentivized from winning. Why struggle to finish the season with a mediocre record, putting Kobe or Carmelo out there for 30 minutes a game night after night, when one can coast through the season and perhaps have a shot at drafting the next Wilt Chamberlain?

Similarly,  businesses are disincentivized by Obamacare into hiring fewer full-time workers since they must pay the fee of having to provide health insurance for at least 95% of their employees if they hire 50 or more full-time workers. Workers are disincentivized from working full-time because they will be ineligible for Obamacare subsidies if they work full-time.  Professor Mulligan gave an example in which a part-timer working 29 hours per week with a gross salary of $37,700 will actually have a greater net salary (after taxes, expenses, and subsidies) than a full-time  worker with a gross salary of $52,000 a year.

Again, disincentives matter. And the disincentives Obamacare puts on our economy are overwhelming.


Posted in Economy/Fiscal Issues, Healthcare, Progressivism, Small/Limited Government, Taxes | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Blood On Their Hands

According to a recent Gallup poll “the percentage of Americans naming ‘race relations’ or ‘racism’ as the most important problem in the U.S. has climbed dramatically to 13%”.

This is the highest figure Gallup has recorded on this question since 1992, when the nation was responding to the Rodney King verdict that originally acquitted four police officers on charges of the use of excessive force and assault with a deadly weapon, despite a widely circulated videotape of police officers using excessive force and assaulting Mr. King with deadly weapons.

Interestingly, this December 2014 poll spike, from 1% in November 2014, is the result of another  court verdict and videotape. This one involves the lack of indictment of police officer Daniel Pantaleo for his actions in the death of Eric Garner and a widely circulated videotape of Officer Panteleo using a controversial hold on Mr. Garner that lead to his death.

Also interesting is that while the 1992 spike happened at the beginning of the administration of Bill Clinton, who some called ‘the first Black president’, this recent spike is occurring during the middle of the second term of Barack Obama, the actual Black president. One would think such spikes would have occurred during the administrations of Clinton’s and Obama’s successors. George H.W. Bush after all was widely accused to exploiting racism to get elected because of the Willie Horton ads by the NAACP, and George W. Bush was widely accused of being racist during his election by the NAACP for not signing into law hate-crime legislation during his tenure as Texas governor. Yet American concern about race relations remained low during both Bush administrations.

There are interesting differences as well. While President Clinton had as little to do with the beating of Rodney King as President Obama did with the killing of Eric Garner, Obama is not as divorced from responsibility of the resulting uptick in perception of racial tension.

President Obama’s administration has been marked by an agenda that seemed deliberately designed to increase racial tensions almost exactly from the start. One of the first official actions of the Obama administration was to refuse to prosecute the New Black Panther members who stood at a Philadelphia polling station with billy clubs to attempt to intimidate voters into voting for Barack Obama. Given this administrations’ accusation of voter intimidation against those who would require voters show a valid ID, Obama’s refusal to charge the weapon-wielding Panthers with voter intimidation struck many — especially non-Blacks — as discriminatory.

This perception of a pro-Black Obama Department of Justice was bolstered by the book Injustice: Exposing the Racial Agenda of the Obama Justice Department by former DOJ attorney J. Christian Adams which accused Eric Holder of refusing to prosecute civil rights cases in which the violators of civil rights were African American.  Our interview with Adams can be found by clicking here.

President Obama further exacerbated racial tensions by assuming the Cambridge police officer for ‘behaving stupidly’ in temporarily arresting Professor Henry Louis Gates, after Gates’ breaking into what turned out to be his own home.  Obama’s comment, that “there’s a long history in this country of African Americans and Latinos being stopped by law enforcement disproportionately” may have been true, but given that the police were only responding to a neighbor’s call, and that Gates likely would not have been arrested at all if Gates did not insult one of the officer’s mother, insulting the police was unnecessarily provocative.

Later, when some reacted (overreacted?) angrily to Obama’s comment following the Trayvon Martin case that ‘if I had a son, he would look like Trayvon,’ the perception that there were “Two Americas” with one being Blacks as a special protected class was palpable, and racial resentment was an undeniable problem.

Although it did not cause the Gallup poll spike the Gardner case did, the Martin case may be remembered as more significant catalyst for racial tensions during the Obama administration. To some, Martin was an unarmed and innocent teenager, who was accosted and eventually shot by an overzealous and racist neighborhood watchman.  To these, Martin became a symbol of Black persecution. To others, Martin was a typical Black thug, casing homes while on his way somewhere to get high, who thought nothing of bashing a stranger’s head against cement for following him. To these, Martin became a symbol of Black prosecution.

Whatever the truth of the case may be, there was a clear line drawn, as some protested Martin’s killer George Zimmerman’s acquittal, while others lined up for Zimmerman’s autograph at gun shows.

A similar pattern followed after the Michael Brown shooting.  Despite the unlikelihood that someone would charge a gun that was firing at him, especially if only to avoid being arrested on a minor robbery charge; and the conflicting testimony of witnesses – some of whom testified that Brown had his hands up in surrender, while one bipolar witness with a history of racism was allowed to testify to the grand jury that Brown was charging at the office “like a football player” even though the prosecutor knew beforehand that she was “clearly not telling the truth” and not even present at the time of the shooting — the case was not deemed worthy of trial

The rising anger by the Black community and against the Black community also became especially evident on the Internet during this period. Progressive sites became filled with exaggerated stories of police brutality against Blacks (so that their audience could complain against police racism) while Conservative sites decided it was conservative to post almost daily examples of Black ‘thuggery’ (so that their commentators could ‘wish they would go back to Africa with the rest of the gorillas’).  These websites got lots of hits, but it is easy to see how they helped inflame racial tension as well.

Obama’s most visible response to the recent racial tensions has been to make Al Sharpton his unofficial Secretary of Race Relations. Poor choice. Sharpton’s entire career – from the Brawley hoax (which led to the suicide of an innocent cop), to the Freddie Fashion Mart protest (which led to the death of eight), and to the Crown Heights riots (which led to the stabbing death of a rabbinical student) -  has shown “Rev. Al” to be less a Man of God than an Angel of Death. Sharpton did not earn his pay from bringing the races together – as Obama surely recognizes.  That Obama has reportedly met with Sharpton 84 times and has given him such status calls into question who sincerely Obama wishes to bring the races together as well.

As an African American, I have known what it is like to be a victim of racism. I have had Whites call me “n****r,” had employers deny me jobs because of my skin color, and have been stopped by police and security guards for ‘looking suspicious.’ I once even had a landlord try to evict me from an apartment because a neighbor complained about a Black person living in the neighborhood.

Yet I do not complain about my racial experiences because I always remembered my father telling me that when he was growing up he was not allowed to eat at the Woolworth’s where he was employed — not where he would be visible to the White only customers, at least — and how he and most other Blacks had to step off the sidewalk when a White man was coming. Or of my grandfather’s experiences, which involved facing burning crosses, lynchings, and knowing men and women who were born into slavery.

My assumption based on my experience then, is that the country was largely coming together.  After all, our president was Black. And the teens I see making far too much noise at the local library where I used to go to read free stuff all seem to think as little about race than they do about me having enough peace and quiet to concentrate.

Yet only days ago two minority police officers who were assigned to protect minorities from other minorities in a largely minority community were assassinated by a deranged Black gunman, inspired perhaps by chants of “What do we want? Dead cops!” from Garner protestors and a mayor telling audiences how he had to warn his biracial son to fear the police.


Posted in Cultural, Current events/topics, DNC/Democrats, Media & Media Bias, Progressivism, Race/Racism/Race Relations, racism, Social Media | Tagged , , , , , | 9 Comments

Integrity in Voting

I co-founded African-American Conservatives six years ago, because I was angry about something: the direction our country was going in. My husband and I would have many animated dinner table discussions with our children; yet I realized there had to be a better way to model my dissent – thus the idea for AACONS was born.

I revisited that line of thinking recently when I witnessed what I perceived to be yet another injustice. After seeing my dear friend Allen West robbed of his election in Florida two years ago, and, in the last Presidential election, seeing ACORN bus voters in, committing numerous acts of voter fraud by using the rolls of dead, fictitious characters; and poll workers voting multiple times, I got angry, wondering just what happened to our just and fair system of voting with integrity.

So what happened to raise my ire? It had to do with voting for sure. An office that would tip the scales of justice and have far reaching impact long after the last ballot was cast? Hardly.

As a mother, one of the hardest things to do is sit by when you feel your child has been wronged. The kid may or may not care at all, but there is something about a parent’s heart that feels keenly about things like this, and so the spirit that drove me to co-found AACONS, is driving me to right this wrong in the correct way, and not by retaliating in the way “the other side did” just because I can. And trust me, “the wrong way” would be easier and quicker, but I am not that kind of person. I would know and God would know – and besides, who wants to win that way, by fraud and deception?

If you’ve seen me at all lately on social media, you know that my son’s blog is up for the Best Student Blog Award. Now the rules on the front page clearly state that you can only vote once per finalist per category. My son’s blog fairly garnered votes in this way. Several times his blog was in the number one position. One can look at the likes and see the names and see maybe one duplicate. However, each time he went ahead, the blog that was previously in the number one spot would catch up and go ahead, but when one looked closely, one would (and still can) see duplicate after duplicate name. Then the tactic switched to Google accounts (gmail accounts are notoriously easy to obtain).

But the kicker was when we actually went to the blog in question and saw two posts in which the student blogger asked people to vote multiple times, in clear violation of the rules. Not only that, but in one of the posts, the student enumerated how to do so step by step, even giving directions on how to clear your browser cookies, etc. This was done in clear violation of the rule stating one vote per finalist per category!

We asked Edublogs several times if the names would be vetted before a winner was declared this week, and we were told twice they didn’t “have the resources to police” every vote that came in, and even given tacit permission for us to do the same. Today they gave me their final answer that they acknowledge my “frustration and disappointment” and agree that it’s an “unfortunate” situation, however, they don’t plan to do anything further, such as disqualify anyone actively soliciting multiple votes in violation of the rules. I don’t know whether it’s just a ruse to get more traffic for their site, consumers for, all of the above or none of the above. But, because of what I have seen in the political world, and because of what I believe about integrity in voting – little contests like a blog contest to big contests like the leader of the most powerful country in the known world – I am using “the might of right,” the power of the pen, in an attempt to correct this injustice.

What happened to our just and fair system of voting with integrity?

It’s illustrative of why voter ID is so crucial. We need identification to bank, to fly, to drive, to work, to do almost anything in this country, except to vote. At the site where the blog voting takes place, there is a mechanism in place, supposedly, to prevent this, as it says at the bottom of the home page. Yet, when confronted with “ballot stuffing” a blind eye is turned. Don’t bother writing to them about it, Dear Angry Conservative – one) it will get you nowhere; two) I don’t want to ruin things for my child who is fighting on with the only tool at his disposal: his integrity.

Now, maybe to you I’m a mom who is carrying things too far. And, sure, to some, I’m sure I come off that way. I see myself as the mother of a child with a chronic health condition who has written about it in an attempt to help other children. I am a mother who has sacrificed years of sleep to stay up with that child doing blood sugar checks in the middle of the night when he was younger, staying up for hours until we could get his blood sugar up or down, because he had an autoimmune illness that attacked his pancreas and left him with Type 1 diabetes (different from Type 2 in that he did nothing to “get” it, it was genetic and an autoimmune response). I am a mother who has had to poke and stick her child, or watch her child poke and stick himself with needles to deliver life-saving insulin, time and time again, bearing it all with equanimity, even when I know it had to hurt. And, I am a mom, so incredibly proud of the young man who has participated in a number of clinical trials to “pay it forward” and help himself and others like him receive the technological advances that will make living with this condition easier. I’ve seen him mentor friends (and strangers through various diabetes support groups, etc.) through their own diagnoses. He also, through this blog, interviewed an athlete with Type 1, and others in the medical field; blogged about his transition from a regular insulin pump to a Continuous Glucose Monitoring System (CGMS); and blogged about just being a kid living life while managing this condition. So, yes, I am “just” the very proud mother of a wonderful Christian boy who is homeschooled, goes to college part time, interns for an educational software company, plays guitar in a rock band, and, is a loving son, and big brother to his siblings.

So, even though this is a very small, inconsequential voting matter, I’m going to implore you to vote. One, because I believe in principle and integrity and I’m tired of seeing elections taken from the people who play by the rules. No, this isn’t the same as Allen West, nor do I compare the two. But, I’m tired of the good guys taking it laying down and letting the rule-breakers win…again! Two, yes, it is my child. The kid I love. The one I have watched suffer with this chronic condition. The one I have seen grow despite it, or because of it, only God knows.

My son competed hard and competed fairly. He had a number of companies, support organizations and other diabetes groups write articles and mention him on their Facebook pages and Twitter handles. Groups like Medtronic Diabetes, Quality Health, CarbDM, and Christian Homeschool Moms. Our parenting e-mail support list Brave Buddies rallied around him, as did our homeschooling e-mail loop and our church family.

I want there to be absolutely no hanging chads! I want it to be utterly clear who the winner is in this contest. I want there to be a groundswell of support. A tsunami of votes. Single votes. A win with integrity. The might of right. Don’t leave ugly comments for the minor child who would “game the system.” Don’t stoop. Just thwart her objective and declare a clear winner. The one who ran with integrity: my son. His blog is Nikkobetes, and I’d appreciate your vote before 11:59pm ET/8:59p PT tonight December 15, 2014, when the contest ends.

To vote (and please, vote only once!), click the thumb under his blog, currently in 2nd place. You will be asked to sign in with your social media credentials. Once you do so, you will be routed back to the voting page. Click the thumb again, and it will change color and thank you for voting.

Instead of looting, I’m choosing to protest the only way I know how — with the power of the pen. When I am dissatisfied, I model my dissent through legal means of using my platform, just as I did when I co-founded African-American Conservatives. I believe in the power of the vote with integrity. ACORN can bus their people in or have their rolls of the dead vote. Students may cheat and rob the fun from a contest wherein children work hard all year. But votes matter, integrity matters, and soon, they will be grown ups and this will all matter so much more. The lessons must begin now.

UPDATE: Voting is now closed. Thanks to you, my son came very close, garnering 290 votes to the 297 the other student had on the books (many of them duplicates). After writing this post, I had another response from Edublogs, from Sue Waters the Support Manager, basically stating much of the same: reiterating my “frustation and disappointment” there was nothing more to be done unless in future they had panels of judges, which would not be feasible. Still no one has been able to directly answer any of my numerous queries as to why a student caught blatantly trying to game the system would not be immediately disqualified, and this note was no exception. My question was yet again ignored. If anyone would like to (politely) offer Edublogs their constructive feedback about this injustice, they may do so by utilizing the form found here. Thank you all for your tremendous outpouring of support!



Posted in Corruption, Elections, VoterID | 44 Comments

The Morality of Torture

Recently, Senator John McCain — a politician I respect and whose presidential ambitions I supported in 2008, 2000, and even 2004 — spoke passionately on the Senator floor on the topic of torture. It was a speech prompted by the Senate Intelligence Committee’s release of a report regarding the CIA’s interrogation of post-9/11 terror suspects, (which, in turn, was prompted by, I suspect, the Democrats losing the Senate, and a desire to bury the House testimony of Jonathan Gruber).

Senator McCain argued “Our enemies act without conscience. We must not … It is essential to our success in this war that we ask those who fight it for us to remember at all times that they are defending a sacred ideal of how nations should be governed and conduct their relations with others — even our enemies.”

Senator Ted Cruz — also a politician I respect, and whose presidential ambitions I intend to support in 2016 — echoed McCain’s view: “Torture is wrong, unambiguously, period, the end.”

But is torture “a stain on our nation’s honor,” as McCain’s says, or “wrong, unambiguously,” as says Cruz? I argue that in very limited circumstances torture is not only not ‘unambiguously wrong,’ but may be the most moral of possible options. In fact, I contend that it may be, in some situations, immoral not to torture.

“Torture defenders” often imagine what’s normally referred to as a Ticking Time Bomb scenario, based on the hypothetical along the lines that we have captured a terrorist who knew the location of a nuclear bomb that is set to detonate in 24 hours. According to a Pew poll, 71% of respondents approve the use of torture in at least rare circumstances and this scenario certainly qualifies. (Interestingly, former law professor and AACONS radio guest, Alan Dershowitz, in fact, argues that these sorts of cases are acceptable but “this should be a decision made at the highest level possible”).

But for some, like Professor Henry Shue, even the prevention of catastrophe is not enough to justify torture: “Some of us may, or may not, as a result of our refusal to tolerate secret torture bureaucracies and their gulags, die in some other catastrophe, but civilized principles will survive for members of future generations, who may be grateful for our sacrifice so that they could lead decent lives.”

And the United Nations is even more clearer in rejecting the Ticking Time Bomb scenario. In its Convention Against Torture, it declared “no exceptional circumstances, whatsoever, whether a state of war or a threat of war, internal political instability or any other public emergency, may be invoked as a justification of torture.”

For torture to be moral, however, it should be emphasized that it must be a last resort option inflicted with the least amount of severity possible. Most importantly, it must be for the greater good.

But when faced with the capture of a suspect who may have knowledge to prevent great harm, one generally has three options. The first option – the most common and clearly the most ideal – is normal interrogation techniques; such as building a rapport, using questioning and threats, lie detectors maybe, and so on. This method takes time however, and I wonder how effective it is with a detainee whose resistance is hardened by faith or fanaticism. The second would be to surrender the possibility of extracting the information, either resigning oneself to the consequences of this or perhaps hoping that there will be no consequence. Or one can use enhanced interrogation techniques (“torture”).

Assuming the rare circumstance that the first option is not a workable option — maybe because of time constraints or some other reason — which of the other two remaining options would most likely result in the least amount of harm? And, is that option, because it results in the least harm, not then the most moral?

For torture to be moral, however, it should be emphasized that it must be a last resort option inflicted with the least amount of severity possible. Most importantly, it must be for the greater good. Torture for the sadistic pleasure of the torturer — much like the torture Senator McCain endured — is of course evil and distinguishable from the sort of torture I would support under desperate conditions.

Some would raise the point that the Ticking Time Bomb scenario is so far-fetched that it does not deserve consideration. “It’s never happened. It probably never will.” says The Atlantic.  Professor Shue wrote a paper entitled, “Torture in Dreamland: Disposing of the Ticking Bomb” to roll his eyes at the scenario. But Ticking Time Bomb scenarios do occur more often than these critics realize, even if they do not involve hidden nukes threatening million of lives.

One frequent guest on our AACONS radio show is former Representative Lt. Col. Allen West. While serving in Iraq, West was faced with a Ticking Time Bomb scenario. He had an Iraqi detainee who had information about an impending ambush on his unit. West was then faced with the scenario described earlier. He had to choose between hoping that normal interrogation techniques would work before he and his men were killed; forgoing the information and accept as inevitable the death of his men; hoping that the ambushers would change their minds; or using enhanced interrogation.

West decided to fire a pistol near the head of the detainee. The Army decided this was torture, fined West, and forced him to resign or face of very serious charges. West resigned. But today, he and his men are still alive. West made the moral choice.


Posted in Current events/topics, War | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Planned Parenthood Says #BlackLivesMatter

On Tuesday night’s African American Conservatives’ radio show, our #MarieRants segment was a doozy. I took on Planned Parenthood’s co-opting of the #BlackLivesMatter meme post-Ferguson in an epic smackdown of the largest threat to unborn Black lives.

Posted in Abortion, Activism, Activism/Advocacy, Attacks from the Left, Cultural, Current events/topics, Race/Racism/Race Relations, racism | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Feet To The Fire

senatecontrolNow that Republicans have achieved what Conservatives have waited six long drought-filled years for, will they capitalize on this golden opportunity, or will they squander it and make it business as usual in Washington?

The President himself alluded to the fact that this election was a referendum on his policies. The American people resoundingly concurred, with a number of polls showing dissatisfaction with the direction the country is going in. Thus, those unhappy voted with their feet. This begs the question: now what?

Several politicians stumping this cycle have stated a number of ideas as to what this new GOP majority might accomplish as their initial priority. Many have called for the repeal of Obamacare, and/or defunding or replacing it. Others have mentioned economic reforms. Some have mentioned educational reforms regarding school choice and reversing Common Core. There are some who would like to do away with the complexity of our tax code. Still others have discussed initiating investigations and/or charges related to a number of scandals plaguing this administration: Benghazi, the IRS targeting, Fast and Furious, to name a few.

One thing is certain: though some of the American people may have voted GOP in a fit of pique because they are fed up with the status quo, Republicans have an opportunity here to educate the populace as to how conservative policies and free market principles benefit us all.

Though the time frame is short, and there is still a Democrat in the highest office that must still be worked with, Republicans can make some inroads. Additionally, they can prevent additional policy failures by this administration. They can block ultra-liberal appointments during the confirmation process. They can defund unpopular bills and programs to mitigate fiscal damage for unpopular programs. The most important thing they can do, however, is gain the trust of the American people for 2016. They must be accountable; they must be honorable and not “career politicians;” they must not seem to be “out for revenge,” since we know most Americans hate attack campaign ads (effective though they may be); and they must be transparent, something this administration promised, yet did not deliver. Additionally, they cannot be involved in the same sorts of administrative “hanky panky” that this administration has been. We must set the stage for the next election cycle while mitigating the damage done by this administration.

These are tall orders in a short time frame. However, given the fact that the GOP was bolstered by unlikely voters (more on that next time), and that there is an infusion of diverse new lawmakers on the scene, this is the beginning of a new era for the Republican party. People will be watching from Day One, and they won’t tolerate missteps, as fair or unfair as that may be. The GOP has had to sit back for six years. Surely, in that time, they’ve developed some sort of game plan. If not, they’ve got two months to come up with a cohesive one now. America, and especially Conservatives who have been waiting for this opportunity, will be holding this new majority’s feet to the fire.


Posted in Current events/topics, DNC/Democrats, Elections, GOP/RNC, Government | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

Why Is Income Inequality So Important?

No economic issue means as much to the Left as income equality. As President Obama said in the 2012 State of the Union address, “No challenge is more urgent. No debate is more important. We can either settle for a country where a shrinking number of people do really well, while a growing number of Americans barely get by, or we can restore an economy where everyone gets a fair shot, and everyone does their fair share, and everyone plays by the same set of rules.” 

Other issues, such as unemployment, the deficit, revenue collection, or even economic growth, are of relatively minor import to the Left. In 2008, for example, when a moderator asked Senator Obama about his support for raising the capital gains tax, pointing out that “history shows that when you drop the capital gains tax, the revenues go up,” Obama shrugged: “Well, that might happen, or it might not.” It was more important, said Obama, to raise the capital gains tax “for purposes of fairness.”

Robert Reich, one of the Left’s favorite economists, has made such a reputation attacking income inequality that he is now earning $242,000 to teach a single class at the University of California, Berkley – a taxpayer funded school that could cost close to $30,000 a year for in-state students and over $50,000 a year for students who are out-of-state. 

Many others are making a lot of money, or advancing politically, by complaining about income inequality as well. Bookshelves are filled with books decrying it, including the now-maligned best-seller “Capital in the Twenty-First Century” by economist Thomas Piketty, which makes the hysterical claim that the growing gap between the rich and the poor is a threat to democracy. This is a notion with which Hillary Clinton, our presumptive 45th president, says she agrees.  (Of course, Hillary, if she is to be our next president, has to agree with such claims, or she will not win her party’s nomination over her two most likely challengers, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.)

According to this week’s Census Bureau report, income inequality has increased 4.9% since 1993.  This is the result of the rich getting richer. According to the CBO, after-tax income between 1979 and 2007 for the 275% for the top 1% of households. And as if to rub it in,  the number of global billionaires have increased 7% this year, up 155 to a record 2,325.

According to this week’s Census Bureau report, income inequality has increased 4.9% since 1993.  This is the result of the rich getting richer. According to the CBO, after-tax income between 1979 and 2007 for the 275% for the top 1% of households. And as if to rub it in,  the number of global billionaires have increased 7% this year, up 155 to a record 2,325.

I was not one of these new billionaires, unfortunately.

The same CBO report also shows that the income for the bottom 20% (holla!) also grew, by 18%. In fact, income for all quintiles grew during this period. Furthermore, it is interesting to note that while the top 1% really began pulling away from the rest of us beginning in the mid to late 70s, the US poverty rate has remained flat during this period, pegged at about 14-15%, as it has for nearly 50 years now.

Globally, in fact, according to the World Bank, “The number of people living on less than $1.25 per day has decreased dramatically in the past three decades, from half the citizens in the developing world in 1981 to 21 percent in 2010, despite a 59 percent increase in the developing world population.” Much of this progress has been made in Africa and Latin America, the two regions with the highest income inequality in the world. The World Bank reports that  “the extreme poverty rate fell 10 percentage points in [Sub-Saharan Africa] between 1999 and 2010 and is now at 48 percent—an impressive 17 percent decline in one decade. In [Latin America and the Caribbean], after remaining stable at approximately 12 percent for the last two decades of the 20th century, extreme poverty was cut in half between 1999 and 2010 and is now at 6 percent.”

This is not to argue that poverty here or internationally is acceptable, but rather to suggest that a proper focus on poverty reduction would center on job creation primarily by way of economic growth. Although as I referenced earlier President Obama sees inequality, “fairness,” as more worthy of his attention than growth, it is primarily with growth that we would create the jobs to lift the poor out of poverty. In the US (according to this White House, ironically) the rough rule of thumb is that 1% of GDP growth equals 1 million jobs created. 

The focus should not be on income inequality and its specious link to poverty. What link is there, after all, of the deleterious effect of income inequality on the poor if inequality hasn’t increased US poverty levels, and in the global regions where income inequality is at its greatest, poverty is actually being reduced?


Posted in Current events/topics, DNC/Democrats, Economy/Fiscal Issues, Progressivism | Tagged , , , , | 5 Comments

9/11: We Remember

Terrorist AttackLike all Americans alive on that fateful day in 2001, we woke up this morning full of the images of that day — images that will forever be in our hearts and minds. Today will forever be a day of remembrance. Let us never forget.


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The Irony of the #FightFor15

15hrI remember how difficult it is to work in the fast food industry. One of the toughest jobs I’ve had was when I had to work an overnight shift at a McDonalds, where I was greeted at each shift with an abusive boss, rude co-workers, and a demanding workload that increased regularly, along with the pressure to accomplish more in less time, essentially so that my employers could justify giving me fewer hours. All for barely $200 a week.  

So with my memories of sitting in my car in a McDonalds parking lot, dreading the time when I would have to clock in, it is easy for me to sympathize with those fast food workers I saw on strike today.  Most will go on to bigger and better things in their financial lives, either at the fast food places they are currently working or elsewhere, of course, but many will not.  And not many, in fact very few, will benefit from these “#FightFor15” strikes.

Wages for salaried employees are generally the product of the size of the labor pool available to do a particularly job. This is not Nobel-prize winning economics. This is Barnes & Noble economics. If I’m selling widgets, and widget-building requires rare talents and skills, and competent widget-workers are few, I would pay my widget-builders much more than I would if good widget-workers were a dime a dozen.  

This very simple formulation gets skewered occasionally but basically that’s how it works. So it should follow that those who wish to increase the wages of a certain set of workers would want to do so by decreasing the size of that labor pool, thus making each worker remaining in that pool a rarer, and thereby more valuable, commodity.

That is how it has worked in North Dakota. Thanks in part to an unemployment rate as low as 1.5% in some areas, the labor pool available for fast food employees is so small that employees began getting paid $15 an hour at least three years ago, plus many have received signing bonuses. This is all without the benefit of strikes or a government mandate.  

One would think that those who pontificate endlessly about employee wages would want to replicate North Dakota’s success, and they would, if they truly cared about employee wages. Unfortunately this does not seem to be the case. 

Those on the Right oppose higher wages, at least the higher wages that don’t result from economic growth. Lower pay for low-skilled worker means more profit for their employers, more hiring by employers, and lower priced goods for the consumer. It is for this reason that so many support guest workers – to prevent the sort of labor shortages that would otherwise necessitate wage increases. As the famed libertarian Bryan Caplan, economics professor at George Mason University, admits, under the open border system he proposes “low-skilled wages are indeed likely to fall.”


If there aren’t enough native-born or legal immigrant Americans willing to make widgets for $10 an hour, then instead of increasing the pay to a more attractive rate, simply expand the labor pool with illegal immigrants/guest workers.  

Unfortunately,  low-skilled workers searching for employment may find their unemployment extended by the increased competition from illegal immigrants, resulting in situations as one sees in NJ, which has a 6.6% unemployment rate with illegals accounting for nearly 9% of the labor force, or California, which has a 7.4% unemployment rate with illegals accounting for 10% of the labor force.

Once the SEIU succeeds in unionizing fast food workers, their membership numbers will grow from 1.7m to 5.6m, and a proportional growth in dues would supersize the amount of money the SEIU collects to $922M a year.


To me it seems obvious that the ease at which native-born and legal immigrant Americans could find work would be greater, and the likelihood that they could find higher wages would be greater if 10% of jobs were not being held by illegals.

Those on the Left do support higher wages for the low-skilled worker. Unfortunately they also support policies that increases unemployment. Liberals typically support both open border immigration which increases the size of the labor pool and policies that raise of cost of hiring;  such as Obamacare and a higher minimum wage. 


This makes the lower-skilled worker not just less valuable to the employer but more expensive to the employer as well.  Much like consumers who typically spend are less willing to buy a good when its price is raised, employers typically are less willing to hire when the cost of hiring is increased.

Furthermore, this increase in wages dampens hiring because many employers, especially employers in the fast food industry, have a limited capability to raise prices.  Recent stories indicate that many McDonalds franchise owners are suffering from increased rent (12% of store sales), remodeling costs, higher fees for training and software, and declining same store sales.  Raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour would compound their troubles: 

The higher labor costs would initially force fast-food restaurants to raise their prices by 15 percent, which would drive down sales by 14 percent. This would force restaurants to raise prices again, pushing sales down further. In equilibrium the average fast-food restaurant would have to raise prices 38 percent. Prices would rise roughly twice as much as the initial increase in labor costs.Total sales and hours worked would both fall by 36 percent. Fast-food restaurant owners would also have to accept a 77 percent reduction in profits in order to stay in business—leaving them with an average profit of just $6,100 a year per store. Otherwise they would have to raise prices to an extent that would drive away their customer base. James Sherk, Heritage Foundation 

Increased unemployment and the increased price for goods are a small matter for Progressives relative to the benefits to them of their end goal: increased unionization.  Once the SEIU succeeds in unionizing fast food workers, their membership numbers will grow from 1.7m to 5.6m, and a proportional growth in dues would supersize the amount of money the SEIU collects to $922M a year. Imagine the degree of influence on policy and elections this will give the SEIU, especially during the immigration-amnesty debate,  which they will give them the opportunity to add this nation’s 10 to 20 million illegals to their roles.


According to various sources, nationwide, approximately 15% of people employed by fast food restaurants are illegals, a number much greater in states with greater concentrations of illegals. It is ironic then that fast food workers are striking for higher wages. These strikes are driven by an union that is promoting the amnesty that has prevented so many of these workers from achieving the higher wages that they seek.


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Should People of Color Support Palestine?

As always, as goeth the Progressives, so goes the African American leadership.

It is not unusual these days to find some prominent African American academic, politician, or pundit condemning Israel for her recent actions against Hamas in Gaza.

CNN commentator and Morehouse professor Marc Lamont Hill decries the strategic advantage Israel’s Iron Dome (which is a defensive system used to shoot down rockets fired by Hamas into israeli terrority) gives her, saying “It allows Israel to essentially assault and siege Gaza without any retribution or response on the other side. So again, to some extent, they are not just funding defense, they are funding an offensive war and ultimately an occupation. That for me, is the problem.” Princeton Professor Cornel West gives as one of the reasons he believes President Obama is a “war criminal” is “because he facilitates the killing of innocent Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank”. MSNBC host Joy Reid who recently compared deaths in Gaza to “one hundred 9/11s”, also argued recently that Democrats should not support Israel because “people of color, minorities” support the Palestinians.

This is not surprising. The “African American intelligensia” is as ever in lockstep with the Progressive movement, and Progressives have opposed Israel for nearly 50 years.

As Joshua Maravchik writes in his book “Making David Into Goliath: How The World Turned Against Israel”:

“Israel would never again enjoy the degree of sympathy it experienced in 1967. The simplest reason was that Israel would never again seem so endangered. The devastating prowess demonstrated by Israel’s fighting forces gave it an aura of invulnerability…No longer did Israel enjoy the public relations gift of opponents who were collaborators of Hitler and Goebbels. Now they faced the comrades of such chic, romanticized figures as Ho Chi Minh and Che Guevara. Not only did David become Goliath, but on the other side the frog had become a prince.”

Prior to 1967’s Progressive abandonment of Israel, the African American leadership expressed great support for her.  This is not to say that there was never friction between the two groups – such things are common when two or more groups are crowded into the same ghettos – but expressions of Jewish racism and Black anti-Semitism aside, there would many examples of a great kinship between the two, and support for Israel often seem as strong on the Black side as it was on the Jewish side.

In 1948 for example the NAACP, which was founded with the help of Jews, stated “The valiant struggle of the people of Israel for independence serves an inspiration to all persecuted people throughout the world. We hail the establishment of the new State of Israel and welcome it in the family of nations.” Dr. Martin Luther King showed his support for Israel when he stated unequivocally that ”Peace for Israel means security, and we must stand with all our might to protect its right to exist, its territorial integrity. I see Israel as one of the great outposts of democracy in the world, and a marvelous example of what can be done, how desert land can be transformed into an oasis of brotherhood and democracy. Peace for Israel means security and that security must be a reality.”

Israel in defending themselves defend all of us. No American, no Christian, and especially no African American, should lose sight of this. 

W.E.B. DuBois much earlier linked – as many Black leaders did during his time – Zionism with Pan Africanism.  In 1950 he is quoted as saying in a speech before the Jewish People’s Fraternal Order that “The Negro people have an obligation to support the fight for a free Israel as the Jewish people have an obligation to support the fight for a free Africa.” Malcolm X and Marcus Garvey said similar things as well.

Yet  post 1967 African Americans followed the Progressives in expressing contempt for Israel. In his famous book 1993 “Race Matters”, Professor Cornel West mentioned “the inhumane policies of Begin and Shamir” and the “Israeli denigration of Palestinians”.  He also condemned “the military status of Israel in the Middle East (especially in its enforcement of the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza).”

This characterization of Israel as an occupier, or, as some call it, a colonizer, continues to resonate today, especially in the Black community, and is eagerly fomented by the Palestinians. One such Palestinian, Ali Jarbawi of Birzeit University, wrote in the New York Times that “The Israeli occupation of Palestine is one of the only remaining settler-colonial occupations in the world today.”

And since Israel is a colonial power, many argue, then it is incumbent upon Blacks to reject it. Kristian Davis Bailey, research assistant at Stanford University’s the MLK Institute, says this in an interview with Dr. Hill: “Israel is a colonial project, and as Black people we have a tradition and a right and an obligation to oppose colonial projects.”  Dr. Hill eagerly agreed.

Yet if Israel is a colonial power, it is certainly not a very good one. No good colonial power would be so willing to allow the people it is colonizing to live in peace as a separate and sovereign nation, as Israel has demonstrated its willingness to do time and time again. Palestine, not Israel, has rejected a two state solution, something I doubt any other “colony” has ever done. Imagine if King George III had told the American colonies “Hey, you guys can be free, if you want, you know, as long as you promise not to bomb London and kill British citizens.”

Israel’s depiction as a racist state, a depiction that has created so much animus towards it from the Black community, is also common, and opponents of Israel attempt to justify this claim by pointing to its controversial Law of Return, which gives any Jew the right to be an Israeli citizen without undergoing the naturalization process non-Jews must undergo.

Professor Alan Dershowitz of Harvard puts this depiction of Israel and its law of return in context in his book The Case for Israel:

The most primitive apartheid against non-Muslims is still openly practiced in some Arab countries. Moreover, Jordan has a law of return that explicitly denies citizenship to all Jews, even those who lived there for generations. Its laws provide that citizenship is open ‘to any person who was not Jewish’ and who meet certain other criteria. Saudi Arabia similarly bases eligibility or religious affiliation. Germany long had a law of return, as do China and many other countries. Yet only Israel which as citizens of virtually every religion, ethnicity, race, and national origin, is characterized by its enemies as racist or apartheid.

Perhaps the most prevalent, though largely unspoken, argument from Black Progressives as to why African Americans should reject Israel in favor of the Palestinians is one alluded to earlier here by Joy Reid, that Palestinians, like us, are “people of color”, therefore their should be an alliance between us and them.

However, although there may be little evidence that Palestinians are racist against Blacks, indeed some reports indicate that there are 10,000 Arab Africans in Gaza,  there are other forms of prejudice beyond racial prejudice.  There is also religious prejudice.

Being a person of color did not spare Meriam Ibrahim, the Sudanese woman , from being imprisoned and sentenced to death for being Christian. Even more recently ISIS, an Islamist terrorist group much like Hamas in Palestine and people of color, captured Iraqi’s largest Christian town, sending those Christian people of color who managed to survive that fall fleeing for their lives. Boko Harem, people of color, famously kidnapped 300 or so school girls who were also of color, and recent reports indicate that Boko Harem is now forcing those girls to become suicide bombers.

African Americans are overwhelmingly Christian, and in Palestine, being Christian makes one vulnerable to many forms of discrimination. Michael Curtis, Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Political Science at Rutgers University, writes “In the voluminous commentaries on the Middle East today very little attention has been given to the sad fate of Christians in the Arab and Muslim countries. Even less attention has been paid to the contrast between the treatment of Christians in Israel and their treatment in Arab countries. In Israel Christians have religious freedom and their numbers have increased. In Arab countries the religious freedom of Christians is restricted and their number has been reduced because of harassment, fear, and persecution..” According to Dr. Curtis, Christians in Palestine “have been intimidated and maltreated; money has been extorted, land and property confiscated, and Christian women have been abused, raped, abducted and been subjected to forced marriages.”

Even this treatment of Christian seems mild in comparison to the persecution of Christians by the Sunni Islamist groups that is rapidly emerging throughout the Middle East and Africa, groups many say with whom Hamas – the group the Palestinians have elected to govern them – have aligned themselves.  (The Palestinian mourning of the death of Osama bin Laden and celebration of the 9/11 attacks do nothing to assuage this belief).

Included in this list of groups are the Taliban, ISIS, Boko Haram, and al Qaeda. These groups may call for the death of Jews most loudly, but they few can doubt that they see the death or subjugation of Christians and others as a necessary part of building their global caliphate as well.

Marcus Garvey is quoted as saying, “if Hitler hates the Jews, he also hates Blacks.”  it can also be said that those who hates the Jews also hates Christians. We saw this throughout world history, including the Holocaust, during which some put the number of Christians killed by the Nazis at 3 million. And those who hate Christians, also hate African Americans Christians. As a Yakidi spokeswoman passionately cried a few days ago that her people “are being butchered under the banner of ‘There Is No God But Allah’”, and no one unwilling to live under such a banner will be spared simply because he or she is Black.

Israel in defending themselves defend all of us. No American, no Christian, and especially no African American, should lose sight of this.



Posted in Activism, Attacks from the Left, Cultural, Current events/topics, DNC/Democrats, Media & Media Bias, Progressivism, Race/Racism/Race Relations | Tagged , , , , , | 5 Comments