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Editor/Founder: Bill Smith, Ph.D. [aka: OzarkGuru & 2010 AFP National Blogger of the Year]
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One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors. -- Plato (429-347 BC)

Friday, July 07, 2017

Tax Cuts Now

by Newt Gingrich: To pass a tax cut bill this year, Congressional Republicans should start outlining and explaining their plan for deep tax cuts now. Their survival in the 2018 elections will depend on it.

Republicans must ensure that they create a level of economic growth that stands in stark contrast to the weak Democratic economy of the past years (which has been the slowest economy in modern times). But if voters only hear about planned prosperity, the GOP message will fall flat.

Only substantial tax cuts will trigger the rapid job growth needed for Republican success in 2018. But time is running out and to pass tax cuts this year, action is needed now.

Consider what we have learned from the first six months of the effort to repeal Obamacare – an issue Republicans have been virtually unanimous on for seven years, and we still have no real replacement plan capable of passing the House and the Senate.

Republicans, in theory, have been discussing and thinking about this for seven years, yet their communications strategy has been so ineffective, confusing, and disorganized, that the Republican House version of the bill is now less popular than Obamacare – which is actively imploding.

So, the obvious lesson from the first six months of the President Trump-Congressional Republican system is that everything takes longer, is harder to legislate, and is even more difficult to communicate than anyone expected on January 20 at the Inaugural.

Despite this tough lesson, the senior leadership continues to talk and plan as though things will be dramatically easier for the Republican tax bill.

There is talk of describing a tax bill in September, holding hearings in October, and passing it in November.

That legislative schedule is a recipe for disaster. It leaves no room for error and assumes every Republican will blindly get on board. The odds are overwhelming that such a tax bill would not pass until the Spring of 2018, at the earliest, which is too late to impact economic growth and job creation before the mid-term elections.

Worse, it seems as though Republicans are inclined to take a complicated approach that has a lot of moving parts. This will result in various groups getting hit with tax increases, complicated deductions, and other so-called reforms.

This also sets the stage for a significant amount of opposition – including a tremendous effort by K Street lobbyists to ensure the protection of their clients.

The current Republican communications system has failed to explain and sell the repeal of Obamacare. Does anyone think they will have better luck explaining and selling a complicated tax bill?

If Republicans really want a tax cut bill signed into law in 2017, (the highest priority for those who wish to survive their next elections) they need to completely rethink the current schedule and the proposed complexity.

Here is an alternative, month-by-month, strategy that would have the greatest likelihood of succeeding.

By the end of July, Republicans should be able to easily describe the basics of a simple, but large tax cut bill. For example, it could include:
  • a 20 percent corporate tax rate;
  • a modest but real middle-class tax cut;
  • and a consistent system for businesses to regularly repatriate foreign earnings from overseas.
Combined, these policies should have a substantial job creation and economic growth impact, and I detail each of them in my new # 1 New York Times best seller, Understanding Trump.

Additionally, as I wrote last month, tax cuts should be paid for through spending reforms and with increased government revenue from assets and economic growth.

That’s right, tax cuts can increase federal revenue. The Joint Committee on Taxation and the Congressional Budget Office claimed in 1997 that cuts in the Republican-drafted Taxpayer Relief Act would add $27.9 billion to the deficit by 2000. However, we passed the law and brought in $346 billion in revenue – creating a $290 billion surplus by 2000.

So, if Republicans craft a simple, explainable, consensus tax bill – without throwing in controversial policies – they can set the stage for effective communications.

To kick off the public campaign, Republicans should then proclaim August "Job Creation and Economic Growth Month." They should coordinate with their delegations and hold town hall meetings about job creation and economic growth in their districts. The best way to build support for the Republican agenda is to organize grassroots efforts at home. Republicans should petition support from every group that would win with this bill.

The President, Vice President, and every cabinet member should also give at least three speeches in favor of the 2017 Job Creation and Economic Growth Act to maintain the national focus.

By September, Republicans should hold parallel hearings in the House and Senate. The first week of October should be spent moving the tax cut bill through the House. Then they should spend the next three weeks getting it passed in the Senate.

Finally, in November, the House and Senate should conference the bill and pass it by mid-month in time for a Thanksgiving week signing ceremony.

Any strategy that includes a longer timeline and a more complex bill will almost assuredly doom a 2017 tax cut. That will make the 2018 election very tough for the GOP.
----------------------
Newt Gingrich is a former Georgia Congressman and Speaker of the U.S. House. He co-authored and was the chief architect of the "Contract with America" and a major leader in the Republican victory in the 1994 congressional elections. He is noted speaker and writer. The above commentary was shared via Gingrich Productions.

Tags: Newt Gingrich, commentary, Tax Cut Now To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Outstanding in Their Field

. . . CNN is outstanding in their field of Fake News made fresh daily, but some say it’s something a bit less appealing.
Editorial Cartoon by AF "Tony" Branco

Tags: CNN, Outstanding in their Field, Fake News, fresh daily, less appealing, editorial cartoon, AF Branco To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Secretary Perry’s Plans for US Energy Dominance

by Fred Lucas: America is approaching energy independence, but still needs to remove obstacles, Energy Secretary Rick Perry says.

“We are very close to being energy independent,” Perry told The Daily Signal in a brief interview. “Regarding our ability to retrieve energy, we don’t need anybody. Transportation may be our biggest impediment.”

The United States is a net energy exporter, the former Texas governor noted, but an old law and the Obama administration’s preference for some energy industries over others prevented the nation from being as strong as necessary.

The 1920 Jones Act requires that vessels carrying fuel or other goods in U.S. waters between U.S. ports must be built, registered, owned, and crewed by American citizens.

Because it costs more to build and operate ships in the U.S. than in other countries, it can cost as much as three times more to ship oil from the Gulf of Mexico to New England states than it would cost to ship the same amount of oil from Florida to Europe, according to an analysis last month from the American Enterprise Institute.

The Obama administration’s preference for green industries such as solar and wind was not the “all of the above” strategy the Trump administration prefers, Perry told The Daily Signal on June 30:
The previous administration talked about energy independence, but they wouldn’t drill and transport. It was all talk. They had a clear message to industries such as fossil fuels and nuclear. We [in the Trump administration] are all of the above. We are not here to pick winners and losers. The market can pick winners and losers.President Donald Trump delivered an address June 29 at the Energy Department in which he declared the U.S. was on a path to “energy dominance.”

Trump announced a review of U.S. nuclear energy policy; construction of an oil pipeline to Mexico to increase energy exports; negotiations to sell more American natural gas to South Korea; Energy Department approval of two applications to export liquefied natural gas; and creation of an offshore oil and gas leasing program.

Perry vowed to expedite the exporting of liquefied natural gas. With hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, the U.S. has become the largest producer of liquefied natural gas in the world, according to the federal Energy Information Administration.

It has been up to the Energy Department to approve those exports based on whether they are in the national interest.

“If a company meets the rules and standards, we’ll say, ‘Here’s the permit,’” Perry said in the interview.

Speaking at the White House last week, the two-time Republican presidential candidate said he wanted to make nuclear energy “cool again.”

He told The Daily Signal the way to do that would be showing government isn’t hostile:
Somehow, it’s not been in the forefront of our energy portfolio, and our supply chain of future nuclear scientists [is] not being developed. We want to get them back, with the acknowledgement they will have the support of their government.That support won’t come through subsidies, as with green energy projects under President Barack Obama, but a priority for national laboratories to test new nuclear technology, Perry said.

Perry cited NuScale Power in Idaho, which is working on a “modular” nuclear reactor, a smaller factory-built model that eliminates many risks of installing and reduces construction costs. Some of the modular reactors could be used to power a single manufacturing facility.

Before Trump announced a review of the nation’s nuclear policy last week, media reports raised questions about whether the administration would support NuScale with tax dollars.

Overall, Trump’s fiscal 2018 budget proposal would cut the Energy Department’s nuclear energy office by 31 percent, affecting grants to research, including those that have gone to projects such as NuScale’s, The Washington Post reported.

Whether it’s “energy independence” or “energy dominance,” clearing regulatory hurdles for American energy will benefit national security, economy, and the environment, Perry said.

It also will create U.S. jobs and boost the economies of allies buying the affordable energy.

The man who was governor of Texas for 14 years rejects what he calls a “false narrative” that the U.S. can’t tap its natural resources while protecting the environment.

Texas led the nation in emission reductions during his time as governor, Perry said. Carbon emissions went down by 20 percent, sulfur dioxide emissions declined by 50 percent, and nitrogen oxide dropped by 60 percent.

“We will not have to rely on countries that may or may not like us,” Perry told The Daily Signal. “It also would be good for our allies who will know they don’t have to rely on Russian gas. For Poland and Ukraine, and for that matter the United Kingdom, it would be good to know you’re getting energy resources from an ally.”
----------------
Fred Lucas (@FredLucasWH) is the White House correspondent for The Daily Signal.

Tags: Energy Secretary, Rick Perry, Plans for US Energy Dominance, Fred Lucas, The Daily Signal To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

The Unintended Consequences of Obamacare?

Opium Plants
by Printus LeBlanc: The US is in the midst of a drug overdose epidemic, the principle killer drugs being opioid-based prescription drugs and heroin. The problem is so bad even, the liberal New York Times admits that drugs are killing more people than guns:, “Drug overdoses are now the leading cause of death among Americans under 50.” Not guns, not car accidents, but drug overdoses. How did we get here? What happened?

Has anyone in Congress heard of third order analysis/effects? During the consideration of Obamacare, both Congress, and the previous administration, clearly failed to conduct an analysis of possible effects. The intelligence community calls this third order analysis, or third order effects. No one did an analysis of what happens if millions of people suddenly get instant access to opioids, with the passage of Obamacare. What happens after some of those people get addicted? I don’t remember hearing those questions during the runup to Obamacare.

Like it or not, Obamacare, looks to have had an impact on the current crisis – and a dire impact indeed. The following analysis using publicly available data comparing the average opioid overdose death rates of states that took Medicaid with states that did not take Medicaid, reveals some disturbing patterns emerging.

Figure 1 illustrates that opioid overdose death rates were both higher and rose more steeply in states that took Medicaid funding. This pattern is particularly evident in the years following the signing of the law in 2010.
Figure 2 measures the difference between death rates in states that took Medicaid and those that did not- demonstrates an even more stunning development. For a decade, the difference between these two pairings was never higher than 1.6 opioid overdose deaths per 100,000 people. The difference reaches its lowest level of .73 in 2009, prior to the signing of the law. Following Obamacare’s enactment, the line begins a rapid ascent, rising to a difference of 3.96 in 2015. In that five-year period, which included the decision of several states to accept Medicaid expansion, the difference in opioid overdose death rates between the states accepting Medicaid and those that had not, increased by over 200 percent.
183,000 people in the last 16 years died due to opioid overdoses, as appalling as these numbers are, they do not tell the whole story.

Nearly 60 percent of those deaths occurred in the last four years as the epidemic accelerated post Medicaid expansion. To put that in perspective, if the rate continues to climb, it is expected over 400,000 people could lose their lives to the opioid epidemic, in the 16 years following the implementation of Obamacare. I don’t remember that being a selling point for the law.

The opioid epidemic has brought a lot of additional problems with it, aside from death. What happens to the children of those addicted to opioids?

Recent data has shown a substantial increase in children being taken from their parents for substance abuse problems. As Figure 3 illustrates, the number of children in the foster care system had been decreasing steadily the decade prior to Obamacare being signed into law.

Statistics available from Child Trends, a nonprofit research child development organization, show following the signing of the law, we see a decrease in the rate of decline. By 2012, there’s that magic year again, the trend reversed itself and for the first time in over a decade, the US had more children enter foster care than the year before.
There is no doubt as to why this is happening. The opioid epidemic. U.S. News and World Report blames the rise on the opioid crisis stating for the corresponding increase in the number of children in foster care, “data from the Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System report shows that from 2009 to 2014, parental drug abuse as a reason for removal rose from 22.1 percent in 2009, to 29.7 percent in 2014 — the largest increase of any factor causing removal.”

While correlation does not necessarily imply causation, it is difficult to ignore a pattern. Yes, everything must be considered, such as state economies, but remember, according to the last administration and the media, the economy was doing great. So, it must be something else. As Congress overhauls Obamacare and addresses the opioid epidemic in this country, it should look at the data and come to its own conclusions. When it does, it is likely to discover the hidden trail of devastation left by this law, resulting in the tragic deaths of tens of thousands and the dissolution of families across the nation. Because ultimately it isn’t about charts and graphs, the opioid epidemic is about real lives being lost and the ravages those losses leave behind.
----------------
Printus LeBlanc is a contributing reporter at Americans for Limited Government.

Tags: Unintended Consequences, Obamacare, Opiod epidemic, Americans for Limited Government, Printus LeBlanc To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

A Real Scandal, Obama's Modern Military, Other Headlines

A ballistic missile from a foreign
enemy would take 33 minutes
to reach the United States.
by Gary Bauer, Contributing Author:   A Real Scandal - Secretary of Defense James Mattis responded to North Korea's latest ICBM test by saying, "The military remains ready . . . to provide options if they are necessary." One of those options may include bolstering the THAAD missile defense system President Trump recently dispatched to South Korea.

While we are talking a good game, and there have been a couple of successful missile defense tests, the truth is that our ability to reliably stop a nuclear attack is still very uncertain, especially if there were multiple launches.

There are two reason why this is true. The most obvious reason is that it is not easy to hit a bullet with another bullet. But the more relevant reason is political.

When Ronald Reagan announced his idea for a space-based defense system to end the mad doctrine of "Mutually Assured Destruction," the left and its media allies denounced and mocked it as "Star Wars." Every year since, the left has done everything possible to delay or kill the program.

The left has opposed even the limited systems we currently have. For example, Obama demonstrated his promised "flexibility" to Vladimir Putin by canceling the deployment of a missile defense system to Eastern Europe in an effort to appease the Russians. (Yet the left accuses Trump of being "Putin's puppet.")

Here we are decades after Reagan left office -- with Iran and North Korea making major technological advances -- and we still don't have a reliable missile defense because of the left's resistance. It is no accident that the media never provides the American people with the truth -- that conservatives have pushed for a robust missile defense while Democrats have left us defenseless.

I think it is scandalous that one political party has stood in the way of a truly effective missile shield. I think that is a much bigger scandal than whether someone in Russia hacked John Podesta's emails or whether Donald Trump posted a funny video of himself wrestling "CNN" to the ground.

If the media were doing their job, the American people would know why we are in this fix, and that would be very bad for the left.

Obama's Modern Military - I have often remarked that when the left's ideology comes into conflict with reality, the left demands that reality give way. It's an amusing (and accurate) phrase, but it is stunning to actually see it in written policy. Thanks to Obama's modern military, we now have it in black and white.

The Federalist recently obtained a copy of the Army's latest training manual. Here's what it says about accommodating transgendered soldiers who have not yet had "gender reassignment" surgery:
"All Soldiers should be respectful of the privacy and modesty concerns of others. [Think showers.] However, transgender Soldiers are not required or expected to modify or adjust their behavior based on the fact that they do not 'match' other Soldiers."In other words, everyone else who does not have a problem with biological reality must "modify or adjust" their behavior to accommodate those who do have issues with reality. This is the left's agenda.

I am pleased to report that Secretary of Defense Mattis has issued an order delaying this policy for six months. Unfortunately, press reports indicate that the Army and Air Force had requested a two-year delay, but Pentagon leaders worried that "a longer delay would trigger criticism on Capitol Hill."

Other Headlines
  • June job growth exceeded expectations as more than 220,000 new jobs were created.
  • President Trump scored a win in court when the same left-wing judge who previously blocked his travel ban was forced to reject a new challenge after the Supreme Court overturned the judge's injunction.
  • 60% of voters support President Trump's travel ban against six jihadi-infested countries. Just 28% oppose it.
  • President Trump is expected to make the pro-life case for trying to save Charlie Gard's life with British Prime Minister Theresa May today.
  • Efforts by the Trump Administration have cut in half the number of "recalcitrant countries" refusing to accept deported illegal immigrants. The left often used this as an excuse to justify its weak approach to illegal immigration.
  • Trump's efforts to enforce our immigration laws are making a difference -- potential illegal immigrants are "staying put."
  • President Trump infuriated the left by refusing to continue Obama's tradition of declaring June "Gay Pride Month."
  • Food stamp usage, which hit record highs under Obama, is plummeting in states that have added work requirements.
  • The DNC's hacked server has still not been examined by investigators looking into alleged Russian hacking of the election. Special Counsel Mueller, call your office!
  • Planned Parenthood and the ACLU are opposing efforts to prevent abusive child marriages.
  • Progressives are cannibalizing themselves over single-payer socialized medicine.
  • I know I had a similar headline last week, but this one is too good to pass up: "Gorsuch Votes 100% Of The Time With Most Conservative Colleague." Thank you, President Trump! 
-------------------
Gary Bauer is a conservative family values advocate and serves as president of American Values and chairman of the Campaign for Working Families

Tags: Gary Bauer, Campaign for Working Families, A Real Scandal, Obama's Modern Military, Other Headlines, 33 Minutes To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

DOJ Begins Review of Sanctuary Jurisdiction Policies

by NumbersUSA: Attorney General Jeff Sessions and the Department of Justice began reviewing compliance letters this week received from 10 jurisdictions across the country that were put on notice by the Attorney General in May. The states and localities risk losing certain federal grants because of their policies that shield illegal aliens from federal law enforcement efforts.

The 10 cities were identified by an Inspector General's report last year, and in May, the DOJ ordered them to submit letters by the end of June explaining why their policies were not in violation of 8 U.S.C. 1373.

The 10 jurisdictions include:U
  • State of Connecticut
  • State of California
  • Orleans Parish (Louisiana)
  • New York City
  • Philadelphia
  • Cook County (Illinois)
  • City of Chicago
  • Miami-Dade County
  • Milwaukee, Wisc.
  • Clark County (Nevada)
"It is not enough to assert compliance, the jurisdictions must actually be in compliance," Attorney General Sessions said in a statement earlier this week. "Sanctuary cities put the lives and well-being of their residents at risk by shielding criminal illegal aliens from federal immigration authorities. These policies give sanctuary to criminals, not to law-abiding Americans. The Trump Administration is determined to keep every American neighborhood safe and that is why we have asked these cities to comply with federal law, specifically 8 U.S.C. 1373. The Department of Justice has now received letters from ten jurisdictions across the United States claiming that they are in compliance with what federal law requires of them, and we will examine these claims carefully.

Residents have a right to expect basic compliance with federal law from their local and state governments." The IG review, which was conducted while Barack Obama was in office, noted that the 10 jurisdictions were selected because they provide a mix of states, counties, and cities, and they accounted for 63% of the federal grants issued that could be at risk. The IG's office also examined the jurisdictions' specific policies regarding immigration enforcement and found that they were "inconsistent with the plain language of Section 1373 prohibiting a local government from restricting a local official from sending immigration status information to ICE." Last month, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 3003, the No Sanctuary for Criminals Act. The bill would clarify the federal definition of a sanctuary jurisdiction and add penalties into the federal code.
----------------
NumbersUSA is an Education & Research Foundation that provides a civil forum for Americans of all political and ethnic backgrounds to focus on a single issue, the numerical level of U.S. immigration.

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The Democrats’ Soviet Insane Asylum For Trump . . .

. . . The Left’s faithful devotion to socialist-style “psychiatric” disposal of political dissidents.
by Dr. Jamie Glazov: The former Soviet Union possessed many imaginative mechanisms to deal with the problem of enemies of the people who obstructed the path to socialist utopia -- now known as “social justice.” One of those mechanisms was the practice of confining individuals who were thinking the wrong thoughts to insane asylums. Indeed, if you caused any trouble for the commissars, a good inoculation of neuroleptics (powerful drugs used to “quiet” the symptoms of schizophrenia), forcibly administered through a tube in the nose, could do wonders in bringing your politically incorrect behavior to a halt.

Dissidents such as Natalya Gorbanevskaya, Pyotr Grigorenko, Vladimir Bukovsky, Alexander Esenin-Volpin and Joseph Brodsky were all among the brave freedom-fighters who bore the brunt of the Soviet practice of institutionalizing dissidents in mental hospitals and force-feeding them mind-shattering drugs. Gorbanevskaya was committed to a psychiatric hospital for attending the 1968 Red Square demonstration against the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia. Grigorenko suffered the same fate for criticizing the Khrushchev regime. Bukovsky was confined to a psychiatric hospital for “anti-Soviet agitation.” Brodksy was sent to mental hospitals for not writing the right kind of poetry; his treatments involved "tranquilizing" injections, sleep deprivation and forced freezing baths. Esenin-Volpin was institutionalized in the Leningrad Special Psychiatric Hospital for his anti-Soviet thoughts.

Today’s progressive Democrats are also faithfully journeying on an uplifting odyssey. Horrified by Trump’s opposition to Obama’s “fundamental transformations,” they have found their own neuroleptics in the form of the 25th Amendment and a bill seeking to impeach the president for being mentally unsound. Indeed, Trump has to be mentally deranged and unfit for office, because what other reason could possibly explain his frightening disagreement with the Left’s un-American creed of identity politics -- race and gender uber alles? What other factor could possibly be at play in his embrace of individual freedom and responsibility -- and in his rejection of group privileges and racial/gender hierarchies that, as David Horowitz has noted, can only be manifested after America’s Constitution is null and void?

Confronted by Trump’s shocking blasphemy against their anointed plan, several Democrats, led by Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), have now signed onto a bill that seeks to remove Trump by invoking 25th Amendment powers. The bill cites section 4 of the amendment, created in 1967 after JFK's assassination, that allows for an independent body to remove the president based on the determination that he has been mentally or physically incapacitated to carry out his duties. Raskin's initiative would activate a probe into whether Trump has been too far "incapacitated" to continue as president.

This effort is, actually, even sicker than the Soviet practice, since the amendment does not refer to psychiatric problems, but to actual incapacitation through assassination or stroke.

Raskin claims he is concerned that "something is seriously wrong" with Trump, citing a "sustained pattern of behavior" and several "errant and seemingly deranged tweets," which he believes are damaging to U.S. interests. But to anyone who hasn’t drunk the progressive Kool-Aid, it is obvious that Trump’s sustained pattern of behavior is not damaging U.S. interests. Instead, it is unhinging his political enemies and damaging the progressive assault on America’s social contract. Trump’s tweets do not warn, for example, that the future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam (an Obama meme) or that you can keep your doctor if you like him. They are singing the praises of America and calling out a corrupt media for its brazen lies and political partisanship.

The only reasonable observation in Raskin’s statements is that (to people like him): "it certainly doesn't feel like the ship is on an even course right now."

Consequently, the Democrats are now trying to steer the ship back into progressive waters. They are doing so by applying the lessons of the Soviet secret police -- in quashing those who disagree with them like Andrei Sakharov. Sakharov refused to toe the Soviet party line and be politically correct; therefore, like Trump, he was also obviously mentally ill. That’s why the Soviet authorities had to confine him in a closed ward of the Semashko Hospital in Gorky, where he was force-fed and given drugs to alter and enlighten his state of mind.

And now enter the new self-appointed social redeemers of our time: the progressive Democrats who are consumed with ferocious rage as they watch the horror show of an American president strengthening America and abandoning the enlightened course on which Obama’s ship sailed. There is no secret about what the true yearnings of the Raskin Gang are, but absent a totalitarian state to back them up, they are bound to fail.
---------------
Dr. Jamie Glazov is Frontpage Magazine's editor. He holds a Ph.D. in History with a specialty in Russian, U.S. and Canadian foreign policy. He is the author of the critically-acclaimed and best-selling, United in Hate: The Left’s Romance with Tyranny and Terror and the host of the web-TV show The Glazov Gang.

Tags: Jamie Glazov, The Democrats, Soviet Insane Asylum, For Trump, socialist-style, “psychiatric” disposal, political dissidents To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Democrats Will Be Tested As Menendez Finally Stands Trial

by Phil Kerpen, Contributing Author: On April 1, 2015 U.S. Senator Robert Menendez and codefendant Salomon Melgen were indicted on 22 felony counts of fraud, bribery, and related offenses. Now, finally, after over two years of Menendez serving as a member in good standing of the Senate Democratic Caucus while under indictment, the trial is set to begin. A last-ditch attempt for yet another delay was rejected by Judge William Walls and the trial date is September 6, 2017.

Menendez delayed the trial by more than two years by arguing that his efforts to intercede on behalf of Melgen with respect to visas for his girlfriends, a Medicare billing fraud investigation, and a Dominican port security contract were all official Senate actions that were protected by the Constitution’s speech and debate clause. That argument failed at the district court and on appeal to the Third Circuit; Menendez appealed to the Supreme Court but they declined to take it up.

In the meantime, Melgen has been convicted of 67 counts of Medicare fraud for a scheme that looted $105 million from taxpayers and faces 15 to 20 years in prison if his sentence is not reduced. Melgen allegedly bribed Menendez to scuttle an investigation into precisely this fraud scheme, one of the central allegations in the upcoming trial.

The media, which has largely ignored the whole sordid affair since the initial burst of coverage around the indictment, will soon be forced to confront the daily spectacle of a sitting U.S. senator standing trial. Democratic corruption will come under a microscope.

Menendez is innocent until proven guilty, but there is a strong likelihood that his upcoming trial will indeed prove his guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

Then what?

If Menendez is convicted but refuses to resign, the Senate Ethics Committee should act as quickly as possible to recommend expulsion, and if necessary the full Senate should vote on expulsion.

That course of action would be appropriate according to the standard set by the Democratic Senate Caucus itself as recently as 2008, when it issued a press release with the headline: “A Convicted Felon Is Not Going to Be Able to Serve in the United States Senate.”

“And as precedent shows us,” Democratic Leader Harry Reid said, a convicted felon senator “will face an ethics committee investigation and expulsion, regardless of his appeals process.”

“This is not a partisan issue,” Reid added.

He was talking about Ted Stevens, a Republican, and to the credit of Republicans they strongly agreed he should resign or be expelled.

But will Democrats change their tune if the felon senator is one of theirs? It’s hard to doubt that they will.

If the trial takes about a month, which is typical in such cases, a verdict could come by late September or early October. The Senate will be deep into appropriations, debt ceiling, tax reform, and possibly still health care. The gubernatorial election in New Jersey will be about a month away – with inauguration to follow in January. The temptation to stall will be irresistible to many ethically flexible Democrats.

Senate expulsion requires a two thirds vote. The last two times the Ethics Committee recommended expulsion were of Harrison A. Williams, Jr. (D-NJ) in 1982 and Robert W. Packwood (R-OR) in 1995 – and both resigned before an expulsion vote was taken by the full Senate.

If Democrats rally behind a convicted felon to allow him to continue to serve in their Senate caucus, they should be forced to do so in a floor vote. A failed expulsion vote would expose Senate Democrats as complicit in corruption, bribery, and the defrauding of taxpayers when it serves their political interests.
------------------
Phil Kerpen is president of American Commitment. Follow him at (@kerpen) and on Facebook. He is a contributing author at the ARRA News Service.

Tags: Phil Kerpen, American Commitment, Democrats, Will Be Tested, U.S. Senator, Robert Menendez, Finally Stands Trial To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Maestro . . .

. . . President Donald Trump is a maestro playing the media like a well tuned Stradivarius violin.
Editorial Cartoon by AF "Tony" Branco
--------------------
Tags: editorial cartoon, AF Branco, Maestro, President Trump, playing the media To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Living on Markwayne Logic

by Paul Jacob, Contributing Author: Just months ago, Congressman Markwayne Mullin (R-Okla.) made headlines by arrogantly — and falsely — telling constituents at a town hall: “You say you pay for me to do this. Bullcrap. I pay for myself. I paid enough taxes before I got there and continue to through my company to pay my own salary. This is a service. No one here pays me to go.”

Even though nearly everyone there pays taxes toward the $174,000 in annual congressional salary paid to and deposited by Congressman Mullin.

Times change. Back in 2012, a more humble Mullin ran for Congress and won pledging to limit his service to three terms, the term-limit Oklahomans had enacted by voter initiative.

Last year, Markwayne won that third term. Before his primary victory, he informed the Associated Press that he would keep his promise. But the day after winning, the congressman conspicuously left the door open by telling a radio audience he was praying about what to do.

This week, the congressman with two first names released an 11-minute fake news interview. In the video, Congressman Mullin and his wife chatter thoughtfully about his self-serving decision to break his word to stay in power. Even in a staged and scripted interview, “I’ve grown a lot” was the best argument Markwayne could muster.

“The last thing we want is to make people think we’re going back on our word,” a reality-resistant Mullin told the Tulsa World. “At the time, we were sincere. But where we’re at today is a different situation.”

“At the time,” he had no power. Today’s “different situation”? He has power — and aims to keep it. Honesty and honor be damned.

This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.
------------------
Paul Jacobs is author of Common Sense which provides daily commentary about the issues impacting America and about the citizens who are doing something about them. He is also President of the Liberty Initiative Fund (LIFe) as well as Citizens in Charge Foundation. Jacobs is a contributing author on the ARRA News Service.

Tags: Paul Jacob, Common Sense, Living on Markwayne Logic To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Living in a Bubble

by Kerby Anderson, Contributing Author: You have probably heard comments about certain people living in a bubble. They live in affluent communities cut off from some of the realities that most Americans face. Due to the research by Charles Murray, we can now identify where these bubble communities are located.

In his book, Coming Apart, he argued that a high-IQ, highly educated upper class was formed over the last half century that is disconnected from the culture of mainstream America. Charles Murray put a quiz in his book that PBS decided to post online. More than 47,000 people posted their scores along the zip codes where they lived when they were ten years old.

Charles Murray did an analysis of the quiz data along with other data. Even though this is not a true representative sample of America, it does provide some interesting conclusions. Overall it reinforces our general assumption that many of the leaders in politics, business, and the media grew up (and often still live) in bubble communities.

For example many of the bubbliest zip codes in America are located in New York or California. In New York City they are found in the Upper West Side and the Upper and Lower East Sides in Manhattan. They are also found in Brooklyn and suburbs of New York. California has lots of bubble zip codes in the San Francisco region, in the Silicon Valley, and in the Los Angeles region.

We also find lots of bubble zip codes in the Washington, D.C. area, especially in the suburban communities that house many of the politicians, bureaucrats, and other government officials that make policy decisions that affect our everyday lives.

I hope you share my concern that many of the people who have such a significant influence in our daily lives live in a world with a very thick cultural bubble that separates them from the lives of ordinary Americans. This is not a positive demographic trend.
--------------
Kerby Anderson is a radio talk show host heard on numerous stations via the Point of View Network endorsed by Dr. Bill Smith, Editor, ARRA News Service

Tags: Kerby Anderson, Viewpoints, Point of View, Living in a Bubble, Charles Murray, book, Coming Apart To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

President Trump’s Remarkable Warsaw Speech

by Matthew Continetti: President Trump delivered one of the most important speeches of his young presidency on Thursday. Billed as "Remarks to the people of Poland," the address was as clear a statement we've heard of Trump's nation-state populism.

This philosophy, which differs in emphasis and approach from that of other post-Cold War Republican presidents, is both enduring and undefined. Reaching as far back as Andrew Jackson, and carrying through, in different ways, William Jennings Bryan, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Spiro Agnew, Ronald Reagan, Ross Perot, Patrick Buchanan, James Webb, and Sarah Palin, the nation-state populist tradition has suffered from its lack of intellectuals, professors, and wordsmiths. But that is beginning to change.

The most important concept in nation-state populism is the people. These are citizens of the folk community, membership in which crosses ethnic, racial, and sectarian lines. Note, for example, Trump's reference to the Nazis' systematic murder of "millions of Poland's Jewish citizens, along with countless others, during that brutal occupation." Or as Trump put it, in a different context, in his Inaugural Address: "Whether we are black or brown or white, we all bleed the same red blood of patriots, we all enjoy the same glorious freedoms, and we all salute the same great American flag."

Together, the people constitute the nation. Borders define the nation's physical extent, but not its nature. Indeed, the nation may exist independent of statehood or political sovereignty. "While Poland could be invaded and occupied," Trump said, "and its borders even erased from the map, it could never be erased from history or from your hearts. In those dark days, you had lost your land but you never lost your pride." Nor is the nation always represented in the corridors of power. "Today, we are not merely transferring power from one administration to another," Trump said at the inaugural, "or from one party to another—but we are transferring power from Washington, D.C, and giving it back to you, the American people."

Poland and the United States are among the "free nations" that make up the "civilization" of "the West." And the West is unified, not only by "bonds of culture, faith, and tradition" and "history, culture, and memory," but also by shared values. These include "individual freedom and sovereignty," innovation, creativity, and exploration, meritocracy, "the rule of law," the "right to free speech and free expression," female empowerment, and "faith and family." And, "above all, we value the dignity of every human life, protect the rights of every person, and share the hope of every soul to live in freedom."

Western civilization faces threats. Foremost among them is the heir to Nazism and communism. The "oppressive ideology" of radical Islam, Trump said, "seeks to export terrorism and extremism all around the globe." There are also "powers that seek to test our will, undermine our confidence, and challenge our interests"—namely Russia but also, farther away, China and North Korea. Finally, there is "the steady creep of government bureaucracy that drains the vitality and wealth of the people" and overrides their sovereignty.

How to respond? Material wealth, martial glory, and technological achievement are all necessary to sustain a nation. But they are not sufficient. What matters more, Trump said, is national spirit. In fact, the word "spirit" occurs no fewer than seven times in the address. There are also several mentions of related ideas such as "confidence" and "will."

Trump cited Bishop Michael Kozal, who died in Dachau: "More horrifying than a defeat of arms is a collapse of the human spirit." A nation can endure economic recession, and even military occupation. What it cannot recover from is loss of pride. "As the Polish experience reminds us," Trump said, "the defense of the West ultimately rests not only on means but also on the will of its people to prevail and be successful and get what you have to have."

This lesson raises "the fundamental question of our time":

Do we have the confidence in our values to defend them at any cost? Do we have enough respect for our citizens to protect our borders? Do we have the desire and the courage to preserve our civilization in the face of those who would subvert and destroy it?What Trump is saying is that the future of the liberal democratic West depends on the non-liberal-democratic institutions from which we derive our values: family and faith. "We can have the largest economies and the most lethal weapons anywhere on Earth, but if we do not have strong families and strong values, then we will be weak and we will not survive." Nor will we survive if we neglect the non-liberal-democratic institutions that enforce liberal-democratic values: the military and police.

Trump doesn't just want victory over ISIS. What he is calling for is nothing less than a reinvigoration of national spirit, of confidence, of pride in America and her allies. "Our own fight for the West does not begin on the battlefield—it begins with our minds, our wills, and our souls."

These are more than remarks to the Poles. They describe a world of sovereign nation-states, governed by peoples proud of their histories and confident in their futures, united in common cause against the enemies of civilization, of freedom and human dignity. And Trump presents a challenge in the form of a question: Are we still made of that stuff that populated a continent, became an industrial powerhouse, went to the moon, and defeated the Kaiser and the Führer and the Emperor and the Politburo? I hope the answer is yes.
-------------------
Matthew Continetti is the Editor in Chief of the Washington Free Beacon.

Tags: NATO, Donald Trump, Warsaw Speech, remarkable, Matthew Continetti, Washington Free Beacon To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Patching It Up With Putin

by Patrick Buchanan: President Donald Trump flew off for his first meeting with Vladimir Putin — with instructions from our foreign policy elite that he get into the Russian president’s face over his hacking in the election of 2016.

Hopefully, Trump will ignore these people. For their record of failure is among the reasons Americans elected him to office.

What president, seeking to repair damaged relations with a rival superpower, would begin by reading from an indictment?

President Eisenhower did not begin his summit with Nikita Khrushchev by berating him for crushing the Hungarian freedom fighters in 1956 — a more grievous crime then hacking the emails of John Podesta.

President Kennedy did not let Russia’s emplacement of missiles in Cuba in 1962 prevent him from offering an olive branch to Moscow in his widely praised American University address of June 1963.

President Nixon, in first meeting Leonid Brezhnev, did not denounce him for extinguishing the Prague Spring. Were Trump to start his first summit with Putin by dressing him down, why meet with him at all?

Trump would do better to explore where we can work together, as in ending Syria’s civil war and averting a new war in Korea.

Moreover, when it comes to interference in the internal politics of other nations to bring about “regime change,” understandably, Putin might see himself as more sinned against than sinning.

Should Trump bring up the email hacking in 2016, Putin could ask him to explain U.S. support for the violent coup d’etat that overthrew a democratically elected pro-Russian government in Ukraine, a land with which Russia has been intimately associated for 1,000 years.

Consider the behavior of post-Cold War America, after Moscow gave up its empire, pulled all its troops out of Europe, let the USSR dissolve into 15 nations and held out a hand in friendship.

We gathered all the Warsaw Pact nations and three former Russian Federation republics into a NATO alliance targeted at Russia. We put troops, ships and bases into the Baltic on the doorstep of St. Petersburg. We bombed Russia’s old ally Serbia for 78 days, forcing it to surrender its birth province of Kosovo.

Among the failings of America’s post-Cold War foreign policy elites are hubris, arrogance and an utter absence of that greatest of gifts that the gods can give us — “to see ourselves as others see us.”

Can we not see why the Russian people, who saw us as friends in the 1990s, no longer do so, and why Putin, a Russia-First nationalist, has an 80 percent approval rating on the issue of standing up for his country?

Looking about the world today, do we really need any more crises or quarrels? Do we not have enough on our plate? As the Buddhist saying goes, “Do not dwell in the past … concentrate the mind on the present moment.”

Americans are rightly angry that Russia hacked the presidential election of 2016. But what was done cannot be undone. And Putin is not going to return Crimea to Kiev, the annexation of which was the most popular action of his long tenure as Russian president.

As D.C.’s immortal Mayor Marion Barry once said to constituents appalled by his latest episode of social misconduct: “Get over it!”

We have other fish to fry.

In Syria and Iraq, where the ISIS caliphate is in its death rattle, Russia and the U.S. both have a vital interest in avoiding any military collision, and in ending the war. This probably means the U.S. demand that Syrian President Assad be removed will have to be shelved.

Consider China. Asked by Trump to squeeze Pyongyang on its nuclear missile program, China increased trade with North Korea 37 percent in the first quarter. The Chinese are now telling us to stop sailing warships within 13 miles of its militarized islets and reefs in a South China Sea that they claim belongs to them, and demanding that we cancel our $1.4 billion arms sale to Taiwan.

Hong Kong’s 7 million people have been told their democratic rights, secured in Great Britain’s transfer of the island to China, are no longer guaranteed.

Now China is telling us to capitulate to North Korea’s demand for an end to U.S. military maneuvers with South Korea and to remove the THAAD missile system the U.S. has emplaced. And Beijing is imposing sanctions on South Korea for accepting the U.S. missile system.

Meanwhile, the dispute with North Korea is going critical.

If Kim Jong Un is as determined as he appears to be to build an ICBM with a nuclear warhead that can hit Seattle or San Francisco, we will soon be down to either accepting this or exercising a military option that could bring nuclear war.

Trump cannot allow this Beltway obsession with Putin to prevent us from closing, if we can, this breach. If we do not bring Russia back into the West, where do we think she will go?
--------------------
Patrick Buchanan is currently a conservative columnist, political analyst, chairman of The American Cause foundation and an editor of The American Conservative. He has been a senior advisor to three Presidents, a two-time candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, and was the presidential nominee of the Reform Party in 2000. He blogs at the Patrick J. Buchanan.

Tags: Patrick Buchanan, conservative, commentary, To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Meet the Polish Soldier Who Fought for Our Freedom . . .

. . . Trump Says West Must ‘Fight Like the Poles.

Polish postage stamp (1938):
Kościuszko with saber (left)Thomas Paine with
book (center)George Washington with U.S. flag
by Jarrett Stepman: “Together, let us all fight like the Poles—for family, for freedom, for country, and for God.”

Those were the words of President Donald Trump as he delivered a speech at Warsaw’s Krasinski Square in central Poland. Trump highlighted both the longstanding connection between the United States and Poland, as well as the enduring need for the West to stand strong in the face of tyranny.

In a clear reference to the menace of Islamist terrorism, Trump said: “Our own fight for the West does not begin on the battlefield—it begins with our minds, our wills, and our souls.”

Poland knows what it means to encounter a threat. It faced the twin evils of Nazism and communism during the 20th century, starting when Germany and the USSR invaded in 1939 and ending with the fall of the Iron Curtain in 1991.

These two monstrous ideologies were defeated by both force of arms and, more importantly, the force of ideas.

In some ways, Trump’s words echoed those of President Ronald Reagan — a beloved figure in Poland to this day — who was instrumental in advocating principles that would bring an end to Soviet rule throughout the Eastern bloc.

But the Cold War was not the first time Americans and Poles stood together in a global struggle for freedom.

One nearly forgotten hero of the American Revolution was a Polish military engineer who became world-renowned not just for his prowess on the battlefield, but his advocacy for the universal principles of liberty.

Revolutionary Hero
U.S. postage stamp (1933):
Kościuszko statue
Many Americans know about France’s contributions to the revolution, and the noble service Marquis de Lafayette rendered this country in its earliest days.

Yet Poland was also one of America’s earliest backers. Poland sent some of its venerated sons to our shores in our struggle for freedom, who brought some of their own ideas with them.

Casimir Pulaski, the noble Polish cavalryman who died from wounds sustained at the Battle of Savannah, still retains some amount of notoriety in the U.S. as the “Father of the American Cavalry.”

But another Polish hero was perhaps even more instrumental in securing military victory against the British—and certainly became more important in the global struggle for liberty.

Tadeusz Kosciuszko, whom Trump paid tribute to in his speech, fought alongside soldiers in the Continental Army and now has a statue standing in Washington, D.C.

Though a noble by birth, Kosciuszko believed strongly in the principles of the American Revolution. He had been trained as a military engineer, a rare skill in the American colonies, so he decided to use his talents to aid the revolutionary cause.

Though he had no contacts in America, Kosciuszko boldly crossed the Atlantic and approached Benjamin Franklin, asking for a commission in the Continental Army.

Franklin was amused by the fact that Kosciuszko had traveled all that way with no recommendations or connections, but he immediately identified the young Pole’s training as a military engineer as an asset to a nation mostly comprised of farmers.

Kosciuszko fought bravely under the command of Gen. Horatio Gates, and his skills proved instrumental in a number of battles. He designed fortifications that proved to be a key element to the American victory at the Battle of Saratoga—a critical turning point in the war.

But Kosciuszko’s most important contribution to the military effort came in designing the defenses around West Point, a vital installation that would become the premier U.S. school for the Army. The plan, which Kosciuszko toiled over for over two years, made the fortress near impregnable.

In fact, it was Kosciuszko’s well-laid plans that notorious traitor Benedict Arnold tried to undermine and hand over to the British before he was discovered.

Sadly, as historian Alex Storozynski noted in his biography of Kosciuszko:While the story of the infamous traitor Benedict Arnold is taught in schools across America, the prize he was trying to sell to the British, Kosciuszko’s handiwork of two and a half years in the Hudson Highlands, has been but a footnote in history books.A prominent statue of Kosciuszko stands at West Point today, yet he is rarely recognized by the general American public.

Standing Against Tyranny
Kosciuszko would go on to not only be a hero of the American Revolution, but a critical figure in the revolutionary fervor that gripped Europe.

Upon his return to Poland, he became a prominent backer of creating a constitution modeled on the recently ratified Constitution of the United States.

In fact, it was Poland that became the first European country to adopt a codified constitution in 1791.

Sadly, liberty was short-lived in Poland, as the country was soon conquered by Russia.

Kosciuszko’s uprising in opposition to Russian rule failed. But this did not dampen his belief that the idea of freedom was both true and good, and he remained a ferocious critic of tyranny in all forms—including serfdom and slavery — for the rest of his life. These ideas flowed from his faith in the natural, God-given rights that Thomas Jefferson described in the Declaration of Independence: “self-evident” truths that stand as a rebuke to tyrants everywhere.

The West endures because of the strength and principles of men like Kosciuszko and Reagan. It is not enough to merely be great in battle, or have powerful armies to command. The West survives because of the concept of human freedom that undergirds it.

In the face of relentless pressure from Islamists and others who wish to destroy our way of life, it is all-important that we don’t lose sight of our values. We must believe our cause is just, and we will undoubtedly have to fight — much like Kosciuszko.
-------------------------
Jarrett Stepman (@JarrettStepman) is an editor of The Daily Signal.

Tags: Casimir Pulaski, Polish Soldier, cavalryman, Who Fought for Our Freedom, Revolutionary War, Father of the American Cavalry, West Point To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Thursday, July 06, 2017

Read This Before You Ever Debate "Capitalism" Again

by Paul Mueller: Capitalism is a divisive and misunderstood term—exceeded in its misapprehension only, perhaps, by socialism. While support for socialism has had a resurgence owing to the last election, capitalism still hangs under the dark cloud of notoriety given to it by the coiner of the term, Karl Marx. Writing in the heat and filth of Britain’s industrial revolution, Marx observed massive changes in society—and massive suffering. He identified the catalyst of change as the bourgeoisie creating a capitalist system.

He strongly condemned the capitalists’ exploitation of workers (“wage slaves”). Workers produced the wealth of the capitalists, yet received a mere pittance for their labor. Marx was also critical of the greedy acquisitiveness fostered by capitalism among capitalists and among workers. For example, he said that though a “boundless greed after riches . . . is common to the capitalist and the miser…while the miser is merely a capitalist gone mad, the capitalist is a rational miser.” He added that “as capitalist, he is only capital personified. His soul is the soul of capital.” This is my personal favorite: “Capital is dead labour, that vampire-like, only lives by sucking living labour, and lives the more, the more labour it sucks.”

But technically, capitalism is only the private ownership of the means of production (factories, hospitals, businesses, schools, buildings, etc.).

That’s it.

Notice the simplicity of this definition. It says nothing about the role and scope of government or the nature of markets. The simplicity of this definition has given rise to several “modifier” capitalisms: anarcho-capitalism, compassionate capitalism, crony capitalism, and free market capitalism.

Anarcho-capitalism has a small but fervent following that includes Murray Rothbard, David Friedman, and Peter Leeson. They take the definition of capitalism at face value. If we have 100 percent private ownership of the means of production, we don’t need anything else, including formal government. The reason, though, is not that people are always nice or virtuous such that we don’t need the services of a government. Anarcho-capitalists simply believe that private companies can perform the services of government better than governments can. Most are not opposed to governance; they simply believe that private arrangements and innovations can best provide that governance. While much can and should be learned about private governance from the anarcho-capitalists, their philosophy will likely never be broadly accepted or implemented.

A more appealing (to many) form of capitalism is compassionate capitalism. There are left-leaning and right-leaning versions. One could argue that we saw this idea of capitalism espoused in the George W. Bush administration. Although there is no precise definition of this type of capitalism, the main idea is that, while its proponents like capitalism, they think it can lead to unpleasant excesses. They want to impose many moral and legal constraints on the operation of the capitalist system—constraints far beyond those enforced by Robert Nozick’s night watchman state that merely prevents force and fraud.

In a conservative vision of compassionate capitalism, governments and businesses can and should be allies in pursuing various social goods. In the Bush administration, those goals included the ownership society and a massive expansion of public funding of private charity—along with major education and healthcare expansions. And on the left, advocates of a compassionate capitalism grudgingly accept capitalism as necessary and useful. Some have been persuaded by the carnage of socialism and communism in the twentieth century in such places as the Soviet Union, Maoist China, North Korea, and Cuba. Others accept capitalism because they acknowledge that it produces huge amounts of wealth. But the goal of the left is to have capitalism while making it look as redistributive and socially conscious as possible.

Unfortunately for us, the outcome of both the public-private partnerships of the Bush administration and the social consciousness and corporate responsibility of the Clinton and Obama administrations has been what people are increasingly calling “crony capitalism.” Under crony capitalism, private owners of the means of production use the coercive power of government to advance their own interests. While we see high-profile cases of large corporations receiving government favors in the news, cronyism runs deep in our society through zoning and permit laws, occupational licensing, and numerous other barriers to free entry into the economy and free competition. These protective rules enrich incumbents at the expense of consumers and would-be competitors. But another effect of crony capitalism has been the increasing power of the Washington bureaucracy to direct economic activity—undermining capitalism itself.

Bringing the simple definition of capitalism into a debate is not enough. It is important to express the conditions under which one thinks capitalism should operate. I’ve briefly presented anarcho-capitalism, compassionate capitalism, and the resulting crony capitalism. Let me now describe the kind of capitalism I advocate: free market capitalism.

Championing private ownership of the means of production because it increases our wealth will not, by itself, appeal to many. The moral, ethical, and spiritual dimensions of capitalism should also be argued.

First is freedom. Free market capitalism means you should be free to pursue what you believe is good, whether that is building low-income housing, brewing beer in your barn, creating a business, or pursuing a profession. This freedom cannot exist in a vacuum. We need laws against fraud, harm, and abuse.

Second, free market capitalism fosters personal responsibility and human dignity. The power of truly free markets, as opposed to crony ones, is that there is a tremendous amount of discipline imposed by current, future, or even the possible threat of competition. Businesses were not able to exploit workers the way Marx feared because of competition for labor.

Thirdly, and perhaps most important in our day and age of social justice, free markets are eminently fair. Markets have improved our standards of living and made everyone wealthy by historical standards. Most of what social justice warriors object to is not wealth disparity as such but rather the massive differences in privilege and opportunity. What they object to, without knowing it, is all the ways in which crony capitalists, politicians, and bureaucrats have rigged the system in favor of the politically and economically connected—in favor of the status quo. The politicization of business should frighten opponents of collectivism and arbitrary political power.

Free market capitalism is not only the best way to break this system of privilege and cronyism. It is the only way.
---------------
Dr. Paul Mueller is an assistant professor of economics at The King’s College in Manhattan. His interests including studying financial markets, money & banking, and classical liberalism, especially the works of Adam Smith. The Intercollegiate Review (IR) published by Intercollegiate Studies Institute (ISI) which is dedicated to advancing the principles that make America free, virtuous, and prosperous. ISI shared this article with the editor of ARRA News Service.

Tags: Debate, "Capitalism" Again, Dr. Paul Mueller, free market capitalism, ISI, Intercollegiate Studies Institute, Intercollegiate Review To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

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  • 8/14/16 - 8/21/16
  • 8/21/16 - 8/28/16
  • 8/28/16 - 9/4/16
  • 9/4/16 - 9/11/16
  • 9/11/16 - 9/18/16
  • 9/18/16 - 9/25/16
  • 9/25/16 - 10/2/16
  • 10/2/16 - 10/9/16
  • 10/9/16 - 10/16/16
  • 10/16/16 - 10/23/16
  • 10/23/16 - 10/30/16
  • 10/30/16 - 11/6/16
  • 11/6/16 - 11/13/16
  • 11/13/16 - 11/20/16
  • 11/20/16 - 11/27/16
  • 11/27/16 - 12/4/16
  • 12/4/16 - 12/11/16
  • 12/11/16 - 12/18/16
  • 12/18/16 - 12/25/16
  • 12/25/16 - 1/1/17
  • 1/1/17 - 1/8/17
  • 1/8/17 - 1/15/17
  • 1/15/17 - 1/22/17
  • 1/22/17 - 1/29/17
  • 1/29/17 - 2/5/17
  • 2/5/17 - 2/12/17
  • 2/12/17 - 2/19/17
  • 2/19/17 - 2/26/17
  • 2/26/17 - 3/5/17
  • 3/5/17 - 3/12/17
  • 3/12/17 - 3/19/17
  • 3/19/17 - 3/26/17
  • 3/26/17 - 4/2/17
  • 4/2/17 - 4/9/17
  • 4/9/17 - 4/16/17
  • 4/16/17 - 4/23/17
  • 4/23/17 - 4/30/17
  • 4/30/17 - 5/7/17
  • 5/7/17 - 5/14/17
  • 5/14/17 - 5/21/17
  • 5/21/17 - 5/28/17
  • 5/28/17 - 6/4/17
  • 6/4/17 - 6/11/17
  • 6/11/17 - 6/18/17
  • 6/18/17 - 6/25/17
  • 6/25/17 - 7/2/17
  • 7/2/17 - 7/9/17
  • 7/9/17 - 7/16/17
  • 7/16/17 - 7/23/17
  • 7/23/17 - 7/30/17
  • 7/30/17 - 8/6/17
  • 8/6/17 - 8/13/17
  • 8/13/17 - 8/20/17
  • 8/20/17 - 8/27/17
  • 8/27/17 - 9/3/17
  • 9/3/17 - 9/10/17
  • 9/10/17 - 9/17/17
  • 9/17/17 - 9/24/17
  • 9/24/17 - 10/1/17
  • 10/1/17 - 10/8/17
  • 10/8/17 - 10/15/17
  • 10/15/17 - 10/22/17