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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 12, 2019

President Trump is Growing While Democrats are Shrinking

by Newt Gingrich: Poll numbers in recent days have shown a remarkable surge toward President Trump. In the most recent national poll by Emerson, he either ties or beats every Democrat except Vice President Biden among registered voters – and he only trails Biden by 6.

Given the 92 percent hostility of news media coverage toward Trump, I suspect there is an unspoken Trump vote that will not tell polls they support him. It is probably a big enough group of voters to mean that he is now tied with or leading Biden.

After two and a half years of being stuck around 40 percent for approval ratings– and occasionally trailing Democrats by double digits – what is happening?

I think there are five big factors leading to a dramatic shift from a shrinking Democratic Party toward a growing Trump presidency: economy, stature, patriotism, issue insanity, and progress on health issues. Let me expand on each one.

The economy is President Trump’s greatest achievement. The growing and strengthening economy is having a gravitational pull on every American except the anti-Trump hard left (for whom nothing matters but hating Trump). The lowest African American and Latino unemployment rates recorded in history are beginning to create approval for Trump in those communities that no Republican in modern times has been able to do. The rise in manufacturing jobs and salaries are becoming advantages for President Trump. Meanwhile, the Democrats are campaigning on the economy as though they were in another country. Faced with continuous job and wage growth, it is hard to make a compelling case against the Trump economy. This is the bedrock of everything else that is going on.

A stature gap is beginning to appear between an international leader and a group of arguing, petty politicians. Speaker Pelosi feuds with the insane wing of her caucus, while President Trump meets with the Emperor of Japan. Kamala Harris and Joe Biden feud over a decades-old forced busing debate, while President Trump meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese Communist Party General Secretary Xi Jinping. House Democrats cave to the Senate Republicans on border funding, while President Trump has a surprise visit to North Korea and a one-hour meeting with Kim Jong Un. As it happened in 1972 and 1984, a Republican president can build a stature gap that makes it incredibly hard for the Democratic nominee to be seriously considered as an international leader by anyone except hard core Democrats.

Patriotism is an issue on which the Democrats are rushing to give the president a huge advantage as well. The Democrats don’t seem to be able to help themselves. The theme of a weak America, a dangerous America, an inadequate America goes back to George McGovern in 1972. It was captured by Ambassador Jeanne Kirkpatrick (herself a former adviser to Vice President Hubert Humphrey and a Democrat). In 1984, she described the San Francisco Democrats as always blaming America first.

President Trump’s remarkable speech at Normandy on the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landing had no echo among Democrats. His even more remarkable speech in front of the Lincoln Memorial on the Fourth of July was opposed and ridiculed by Democrats. His powerful words drove some liberals to write that America was only OK. So, voters in 2020 can choose between Keeping America Great and feeling bad that America is only OK. This is a disastrous position for Democrats – which many are rushing toward.

Issue insanity is beginning to erode the Democrats. I went back to reread Theodore White’s magnificent Making of the President 1972 and fortunately picked up the 2010 reissue. It has a brilliant introduction by Cokie Roberts looking back a generation. The most powerful insight was a profound difference between 1972 and 2020. In 1972, McGovern was an outlier. He clearly represented the radical wing of the Democratic Party. It was relatively easy for most Democrats to say, “I am not him.” At the same time, President Nixon, scarred by losing in 1960 and 1962 and having won a very narrow election in 1968, kept Republican resources focused on his re-election and failed to help congressional Republicans. The result was the largest presidential popular vote percentage in modern history (60.7 percent) for the Republican president, while Republicans lost two Senate seats and only gained 12 house seats.

Today is dramatically worse for Democrats than in 1972. Instead of having one likable but wacky left-wing radical, every single candidate in the second debate raised his or her hand for positions that are simply unacceptable to most Americans. If McGovern could be separated out as “the radical” almost 50 years ago, look where we are today. Every plausible nominee has radical positions – and the House and Senate Democrats are voting for radical positions on issue after issue. Furthermore, President Trump has learned the cost of a left-wing Democratic Speaker and will be spending resources to help Kevin McCarthy of California become Speaker.

The crazier the Democrats get on tax-paid health care for illegal immigrants, abortion through the ninth month (and infanticide after) taking away every American’s health insurance, massive tax increases, talking about reparations as though it was a reasonable idea, etc. etc., the greater the gap is going to get. They will reap the general election whirlwind that they are laying the groundwork for in the primaries.

Health could become a strength of the Trump presidency. Day after day (the most recent being on kidney disease) the Trump administration is taking smart action to accelerate curing diseases, lower costs, return power to individuals, and generally improve our health system. While Medicare for All currently polls decently against the current system, it loses decisively as a goal when pitted against a system that builds on what’s working and fixes what’s not. After another year of steady activities and improvement — while avoiding self-inflicted wounds such as ending protections for people with pre-existing conditions or embracing left-wing price controls — President Trump and the Republicans will be running as the health improvement party and beating the Democrats on an issue they have owned since President Harry Truman proposed a national health system in 1949.

There are other factors helping President Trump, but these five, if they continue, will lead to a landslide victory in 2020. With that landslide, Republicans will gain seats in the Senate and regain control of the House.

The Left will continue to go nuts.
Newt Gingrich (@newtgingrich) 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. This commentary was shared via Gingrich Productions.

Tags: Newt Gingrich, commentary, national poll, President Trump, Growing, While Democrats, Shrinking To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Troop Bill Off Base for Trump, GOP

by Tony Perkins: These days, there aren't a lot of things Congress does on time. That's what makes the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) so unique. For 58 straight years -- no matter who's in power or what issues are being debated -- the NDAA always passed.

Of course, it hasn't always been easy. There've been a few close calls over the years -- including this one. Heading into this afternoon's vote, a lot people wondered if the record would fall on the Democrats' watch. It didn't. But the integrity of the bill certainly did.

Most years, just getting the military funded can be a battle. But in 2019, the toughest debate wasn't between the two parties -- it was inside the Democrats' own caucus. For Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), whose liberal wing is used to voting against the NDAA, the heaviest lift was with the party's radicals. Extremists like Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) and Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) were desperate to slash troops' resources and turn the measure into another exercise in social activism.

Unfortunately, with control of the House, Democrats did put their stamp on the bill -- turning a routine debate into a hyper-partisan process. "We think it's more progressive than anything before, but it still has to get better," Jayapal said. After slogging through hundreds of amendments, Team Pelosi put a version on the floor that's bound to make waves at the White House.

Apart from slashing $17 billion from the president's budget request, the House included language that raised red flags on everything from transgenderism and military standards to abortion and bioethics. Under a proposal offered -- and passed -- by Congresswoman Jackie Speier (D-Calif.), the military would be forced to create a new "family planning" program that, not surprisingly, is completely undefined. At best, our troops would probably be subjected to liberal messaging on abortion. At worst, taxpayers would be forced to actually cover abortifacient drugs. A national defense bill, Republicans argued, is no place for either.

As usual, Pelosi's party also took the opportunity to turn TRICARE into a free pill dispenser for controversial drugs like Plan B and ella, which can end a pregnancy. Although birth control was already a routine part of the military's health care plan, this would mark the first time a law would explicitly require forms of contraception that kill embryos. Republicans fought the measure -- arguing, like FRC, the Pentagon should be in the business of protecting people, including the unborn. Ultimately, though, they didn't have the votes to stop it.

Other Democrats rallied around language that would water down the physical standards for troops. Once again, it was Speier lobbying -- this time for "gender-neutral" performance measures. FRC, like many other conservatives, argued against the change. The last thing our military needs is to undermine our troops' readiness with more political correctness. Making matters worse, the amendment, which passed, defines "sex" to include "gender identity," an obvious swipe at the president's restrictions on recruits who identify as transgender.

That's especially interesting in light of the testimony of President Trump's pick for the Joint Chiefs of Staff. During Thursday's Senate Armed Services hearing, Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley calmly deflected missiles from liberal Senator Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), who challenged him on the administration's transgender policy. In my view, we're a standards-based military," Army Chief of Staff General Mark Milley told the Senate Armed Services Committee during his confirmation hearing. "We're concerned about the deployability and effectiveness of any of the service members."

Hirono, who -- like most extremists -- wants a military rooted in social justice and identity politics, pressed harder. Would Milley, if confirmed, carry through with the transgender policy? The general explained that he would. "If you meet the medical, the behavior health, the conduct standards and the physical standards, etc., then it's my view that you should be welcomed in and allowed," Milley replied. "I don't believe there's anything inherent in anyone's identity to prevent them from serving in the military." As President Trump has said, and Milley echoed yesterday, "It's about standards, not an identity."

For now, the House's idea of military defense will move forward -- setting the stage for a potentially explosive clash with the GOP Senate in conference and White House (which already threatened to veto the bill). As Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) pointed out, Pelosi should've taken a page from the Senate debate. "By an 86-8 vote, they came together... [voting for] a very bipartisan bill that focuses on making the right priorities for our national defense." The House version, he pans, "takes a very harsh [and] anti-defense approach." And still, he shook his head, "that's not enough for them." They're going even farther to "try to bring amendments to appease the radical Left, socialist base of Speaker Pelosi's wing."
Tony Perkins (@tperkins) is President of the Family Research Council . This article was on Tony Perkin's Washington Update and written with the aid of FRC senior writers.

Tags: Tony Perkins, Family Research Center, FRC, Family Research Council, Troop Bill, Off Base, for Trump, GOP To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

France Ignores UN Disability Committee, Euthanizes Paralyzed Man

Vincent Lambert
by Stefano Gennarini: Starting more than a week ago, and culminating on Wednesday with his death, French doctors decided deliberately to kill Vincent Lambert.

Following a road accident 11 years ago, Lambert had been paralyzed and lived in a state of minimal consciousness. He clung to life for nine days without food or water.

A ruling of the French Court of Cassation gave Lambert’s doctors the go-ahead to kill him last week. The high court and French government ignored a request of the UN committee on the rights of persons with disabilities to halt the starvation of Lambert last month, while his case was pending before the committee.

Lambert’s mother implored the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva to stop the French doctors last week. She broke down in tears to say that what was happening was an “assassination.”

“Vincent is not about to die; Vincent is not a vegetable. I’ve never seen a vegetable that turns its head when you call him,” Lambert’s mother pleaded in Geneva last week. She said she had photographic evidence that disproved the prevailing narrative in the French press that Lambert was a “vegetable.”

Lambert survived at least two other previous attempts to starve him. A lower court had stopped the starvation of Lambert last month, but the high court overturned the lower court in what critics consider a cynical procedural ruling.

Medical experts said his dogged survival showed Lambert’s will to live was strong. His parents said he cried when he first was told that doctors wanted to euthanize him.

Lambert’s parents carried out a multi-year legal battle to stop Lambert’s starvation. They said it was not medically necessary since he was not in pain. They insisted that he was conscious enough and that he communicated with them, even though he was unable to speak.

His wife Rachel Lambert, however, claimed Lambert did not want to live in his condition and that his was not a life worth living. She maintained that Lambert expressed this wish himself while he was still conscious.

The lawyers for Lambert’s casts doubt on his wife. They presented evidence that Rachel Lambert only recalled such conversations five years after Lambert’s accident, and only after talking with pro-euthanasia doctors. Moreover, out of all eight of Lambert’s siblings, only one recalls such a wish ever being expressed by Lambert himself, even though six of the siblings were fine with euthanizing Lambert. They also pointed out that Lambert did not leave any advanced directives, even though he was a nurse, and therefore familiar with advanced directives.

In 2015, the European Court of Human Rights gave French doctors the go-ahead to euthanize Lambert. French law does not allow euthanasia, so the French doctors have called the starvation of Lambert a suspension of disproportionate and harmful treatment instead.

Earlier this year, the UN committee on disabilities asked the French government to halt any protocols to starve Lambert until it had a chance to review his case.

The UN committee on the rights of persons with disabilities is charged with monitoring the compliance of states with the UN treaty on the rights of persons with disabilities. Because France is a party to the optional protocol of the UN disabilities treaty, the government of France is bound to seriously consider the views of the committee in cases such as Lambert’s.
Stefano Gennarini, J.D is the Vice President for Legal Studies at the Center for Family and Human Rights (C-Fam).

Tags: Stefano Gennarini, C-Fam, France, Ignores, UN Disability Committee, Euthanizes Paralyzed Man, Vincent Lambert To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Plan B, The Open Borders Pro-Illegal Left, The Green Menace, Good News

Gary Bauer
by Gary Bauer, Contributing Author: Plan B
Speaking in the White House Rose Garden yesterday, President Trump announced an end to the legal stalemate over the citizenship question and the census. Both the president and Attorney General Barr made strong arguments about the fundamental issue of distinguishing the difference between citizens and non-citizens.

Here's some of what President Trump said:

"There used to be a time when you could proudly declare, 'I am a citizen of the United States.' Now they're trying to erase the very existence of a very important word and a very important thing: citizenship. They're even coming after the Pledge of Allegiance in Minnesota. . .

"Today I'm here to say we are not backing down on our effort to determine the citizenship status of the United States population. . . We will defend the right of the American people to know the full facts about the population size of citizens and non-citizens in America. . . We must have a reliable count of how many citizens, non-citizens, and illegal aliens are in our country. . .

"Unfortunately, this effort was delayed by meritless litigation. As shocking as it may be, far-left Democrats in our country are determined to conceal the number of illegal aliens in our midst. . . This is part of a broader left-wing effort to erode the rights of the American citizen. And it's very unfair to our country."

In those words, I suspect we heard the basic theme of President Trump's reelection campaign. If "America First" means anything, it means love of country and putting our citizens first.

And that is in no way anti-immigrant. Presumably, immigrants coming here want to become citizens because they too love America. That's why they chose to come here, of all the nations in the world, after all. As Tucker Carlson so aptly put it, "Americans like immigrants, but immigrants have got to like us back."

Sadly, the left seems determined to eliminate the concept of citizenship and extend to illegal immigrants all the rights and benefits of citizenship.

We saw that recently in the Democrat presidential debate when some candidates argued for open borders and when all the candidates pledged to provide healthcare to illegal immigrants.

When it comes to the issue of citizenship and the census, the American people are solidly behind President Trump. Even 55% of Hispanics support the citizenship question. Yet Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer seem to think that all these Americans are "racists." That's how extreme today's left has become.

But thwarted by liberal Obama judges and whatever has infected Chief Justice John Roberts, the president was forced to go to Plan B.

Yesterday, he issued an executive order requiring every federal department to share whatever data they have with the Commerce Department so it can make the best estimate possible about the status of the U.S. population.

One final point: This president never gives up!

He forced the longest government shutdown in history to call attention to the Democrats' refusal to secure the border. He used executive authority to secure funding for the border wall. He repeatedly pushed Senate Republicans to change arcane rules to get his judges confirmed. And he is using his authority once again to ensure the best possible outcome in the census.

As President Trump continues to fight for America, CWF will continue to fight for him!

The Open Borders, Pro-Illegal Left
In the previous item I asserted that the progressive left is in favor of open borders and putting illegal immigrants first. Their anti-Americanism runs much deeper than that.

The left is attempting to deconstruct America by erasing our history, turning our heroes into villains, and teaching our children that America was evil from the beginning.

But a major component of "fundamentally transforming America" is to change the makeup of America by flooding the country with illegal immigrants who do not share our language or values. Not only will this massive influx break the back of the American taxpayer, but they will also be new recruits for progressive identity politics.

That's not hyperbole, my friends. The left is all in on open borders and allowing illegal immigrants to violate our laws. Here's proof.

Yesterday, Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Hillary Clinton provided advice to illegal immigrants about how they could thwart Homeland Security officials attempting to enforce court ordered deportations.

The left has already changed the country so much that it apparently feels free to defy our immigration courts.

The Green Menace
During the early days of the Cold War, many Americans were concerned about the "Red Menace" or the influence of communists. Today, we need to be concerned about the "Green Menace" or the influence of communists.

So much of the radical green agenda has little to do with protecting the environment. It's really about expanding the power of government and dictating how you can live your life. But don't take my word for it.

According to the Washington Post, Saikat Chakrabarti, chief of staff to Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, recently said this about the Green New Deal:

"The interesting thing about the Green New Deal is it wasn't originally a climate thing at all. . . Because we really think of it as a how-do-you-change-the-entire-economy thing."

This radical view is nothing new in the environmental movement. Several years ago, Naomi Klein was very candid about the goal of "serious environmentalists," when she said this:

"You can set up carbon markets, consumer markets, and just pretend, but if you want to get serious about climate change, really serious . . . then you need to be intervening strongly in the economy. . . You have to really seriously regulate corporations and invest in the public sector. . .

"These climate deniers aren't crazy -- their worldview is under threat. If you take climate change seriously, you do have to throw out the free-market playbook."

In other words, if you believe in free markets, your "worldview is under threat" from those who are "really serious" about the environmental movement.

Here's why we should be concerned about the left's radical green agenda: In addition to destroying the best economy the world has ever known, it could well be utterly meaningless. More studies are calling into the question the so-called "scientific consensus" on climate change and our culpability for causing it.

Good News
The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has once again upheld the Trump Administration's regulations preventing your hard-earned tax dollars from subsidizing abortion. Planned Parenthood is "devastated," which is understandable as it stands to lose about $60 million.

The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals shut down a frivolous attempt by left-wing politicians to harass the president over the emoluments clause. The idea that this president is financially profiting from being president is absurd.

He is donating his salary, plus any profits from foreign governments. Trump businesses have suffered from left-wing boycotts. Trump is doing the exact opposite of many politicians, like the Clintons and Joe Biden, who have amassed vast fortunes from their political careers.
Gary Bauer (@GaryLBauer)  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, Plan B, The Open Borders Pro-Illegal Left, The Green Menace, Good news 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 Tale Of Two Cities - Both Of Which Are London.

by Bruce Bawer: For the last couple of days, journalists and politicians all over London have been wringing their hands in despair over the disrespectful treatment accorded to a stellar Englishman. No, not Tommy Robinson. Kim Darroch. Sorry: Sir Kim Darroch. Yes, he’s a guy – Kim as in Kim Philby or Kim Jong Un, not Kim Novak. Since 2016, not that you or I would’ve known it, he’s been the UK Ambassador to the US. Before that he was Britain’s National Security Advisor, and before that he was his country’s Permanent Representative to the EU, an organization of which he is known to be exceedingly fond. In short, a career diplomat with predictable PC politics.

And the kind of faceless civil servant whom the public never notices until, as happened the other day, a scandal erupts around him. On July 5, the Mail on Sunday reported on leaked secret cables in which Darroch described the Trump White House as “dysfunctional,” “unpredictable,” “diplomatically clumsy and inept,” and torn by factional conflict, said that Trump himself had led a life “mired in scandal” and might well be indebted to “dodgy Russians,” and warned, after the President’s recent state visit to London, that Trump’s USA “is still the land of America First.”

On wonders: why keep some jerk on the payroll for this kind of stuff when you can get the same thing twenty-four hours a day on CNN or MSNBC? One also wonders: what kind of fatuity, or chutzpah, does it take for an envoy representing the worst prime minister and lamest government in modern British history to describe the most successful American president of our lifetimes as dysfunctional and inept? And one further wonders: did Darroch, while serving in Washington during the last days of the Obama administration, ever once express concern about Barack’s and Hillary’s numerous scandals and “dodgy” foreign connections?

One more thing: what’s wrong with “America First”? If Kim’s boss, Theresa May, had put Britain First, she wouldn’t have screwed up Brexit so royally. And hey, what about the fact that Obama went to the UK to warn Brits condescendingly that if they dared to quit the EU, he’d send them to the back of the trade queue, whereas Trump has taken every opportunity to sing the UK’s praises and promise a terrific post-Brexit trade deal? And what about the fact that Obama banished the Churchill bust from the Oval Office and Trump put it back?

No, this Sir Kim dude is plainly just one more elite schmuck who, out of sheer snobbery, despised Trump from the day he was elected president; one more toff for whom the Donald is just “not our sort,” i.e. not the sort whom the Queen would ever elevate to a knighthood. And of course the voters who put this vulgarian in office are, in the view of Sir Kim and his ilk, so much rabble, like the scum who cheer for Tommy Robinson.

Quite understandably, Trump responded to Sir Kim’s leaked cables by saying that he’d henceforth refuse to deal with the guy. His hand forced, Sir Kim thereupon submitted his resignation, effective whenever Theresa or Boris appoints a successor. This action has led British politicians of all parties and pretty much every member of Britain’s chattering classes to rush to Sir Kim’s defense and to emit such overwrought cries of lamentation over Sir Kim’s fate that you’d have thought he’d been run over by a jihadist-driven lorry on London Bridge. Except in this case they weren’t tiptoeing around the identity of the villain in the story – namely, Trump, whom Shadow Foreign Secretary Emily Thornberry described as “this dreadful president.” A BBC reporter maintained that cabinet members were “spitting tacks at [Darroch’s] departure,” with one minister saying “this is what happens when you have a stupid, spoiled child as president.”

The thrust of all the British establishment’s hyperbolic rhetoric about Sir Kim was that he’s such a venerable chap, such a distinguished public servant, such an estimable and peerless royal emissary, that the abominable treatment – i.e. public criticism – to which he’d been subjected was an impermissible affront to a man of his rank and splendor. He is, after all, a KCMG, a member of the Most Distinguished Order of Saint Michael and Saint George. Take that, Donald! How many fancy titles you got?

Observing the absurd spasms of pity and compassion for Sir Kim in the British media, one couldn’t help thinking that even as all this weeping and wailing was going on, Tommy Robinson was counting down the hours until his sentencing, on Thursday, for the high crime of standing near a courthouse with a camera and microphone and posing questions of child rapists. While the great and good were all over British TV gnashing their (bad) teeth and rending their (bespoke Savile Row) garments over poor Sir Kim, I didn’t see anybody on the tube who gave a toss about Tommy.

A friend of mine in New York, who is a prominent and highly regarded writer, contacted a bunch of UK editors on Wednesday in an attempt to place a pro-Tommy op-ed, which she thought one of them might agree to publish if only to project a façade of objectivity; but, as one of the editors told her, they had “no appetite for anything defending Tommy Robinson.”

As it happened, something called the Defend Media Freedom Conference was also underway in London on Wednesday, offering Rebel Media host Ezra Levant the opportunity to ask a representative of the Committee to Protect Journalists whether his organization had anything to say about Tommy’s case; the rep mumbled something about “contempt of court” (the specious charge leveled against Tommy) and said that Tommy’s fate was a matter “for the UK courts” to decide (an argument that the CPJ would never accept in regard to courts in Third World countries).

Anyway, at midday on Thursday, while all of Whitehall was still whining over poor Sir Kim, Tommy was sentenced to six months in prison, plus nine months of a previously suspended sentence, minus time served, and also minus a few extra weeks for reasons that were not immediately clear, at least to me – which means, reportedly, that he will probably serve about two months. If he survives.

Yet even as a crowd of mostly working-class Brits raised a hue and cry about Tommy’s punishment outside the Old Bailey, elsewhere in London – in the corridors of power, the elegant drawing rooms, and the most exclusive clubs – the toffs were still shedding tears about poor Sir Kim. How could one not be reminded of the Paris of the 1780s, in which the beau monde was blithely oblivious of the increasing restiveness of the sans-culottes? How did that one end up, again?
Bruce Bawer is a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center and the author of “While Europe Slept,” “Surrender” and "The Victims' Revolution" and "The Alhambra." "Islam," a collection of his essays on Islam, has just been published. His article was in published at FrontPage.Mag, a project of the David Horowitz Freedom Center.

Tags: Bruce Bawer, A Tale Of Two Cities,- Both Of Which Are London, FrontPage Mag To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Are Yanks and Brits Going Their Separate Ways?

by Patrick Buchanan: When Sir Kim Darroch’s secret cable to London was leaked to the Daily Mail, wherein he called the Trump administration “dysfunctional … unpredictable … faction-riven … diplomatically clumsy and inept,” the odds on his survival as U.K. ambassador plummeted.

When President Donald Trump’s tweeted retort called Darroch “wacky,” a “stupid guy” and “pompous fool” who had been “foisted on the US,” the countdown to the end began.

The fatal blow came when, in a debate with his rival for prime minister, Boris Johnson, who will likely replace Theresa May before the end of July, left Darroch twisting in the wind.

All in all, a bad week for the British Foreign Office when one of its principle diplomats is virtually declared persona non grata in country that is Great Britain’s foremost ally. All the goodwill from Trump’s state visit in June was torched in 72 hours.

Still, Darroch’s departure is far from the most egregious or grave episode of a leaked missive in U.S. diplomatic history.

In December 1897, Spanish ambassador Enrique Dupuy de Lome sent a letter to a friend in Cuba describing President William McKinley as “weak and catering to the rabble … a low politician who desires … to stand well with the jingos of his party.”

The De Lome letter fell into the hands of Cuban rebels who ensured that it was leaked to the U.S. Secretary of State. New York Journal owner William Randolph Hearst published the letter, Feb. 9, 1898, under the flaming headline: “Worst Insult to the United States in Its History.”

Americans were outraged, McKinley demanded an apology, the Spanish ambassador resigned. Coming six days before the battleship USS Maine blew up in Havana harbor, the De Lome letter helped to push America into a war with Spain that McKinley had not wanted.

On March 1, 1917, U.S. headlines erupted with news of a secret cable from German Foreign Minister Arthur Zimmermann to his minister in Mexico City. The minister was instructed to offer Mexico a return of “lost territories in Texas, New Mexico and Arizona,” should war break out with the United States and Mexico enter the war on the side of Germany.

British intelligence had intercepted the “Zimmermann telegram” and helpfully made it public. Americans were enraged. Six weeks later, we were at war with the Kaiser’s Germany.

Sir Kim’s cable, which caused his resignation, was not of that caliber. Yet the “special relationship” between the United States and Great Britain is no longer what it was during the 20th century.

Back in the 19th century, there was no special relationship, but almost a special hostility. The U.S. declared war on Great Britain in 1812, and the British arrived in 1814 to burn down the Capitol and the White House and all the major public buildings in the city.

Gen. Andrew Jackson settled accounts in New Orleans in 1815.

During the war of 1861-1865, the British tilted to the Confederacy and built the legendary raider CSS Alabama that wrought devastation on Union shipping before being sunk off Cherbourg in 1864.

We almost went to war with Britain in 1895, when Grover Cleveland and Secretary of State Richard Olney brashly intruded in a border dispute between British Guiana and Venezuela, and Lord Salisbury told us to butt out. “I rather hope that the fight will come soon,” yelped Theodore Roosevelt.

Cooler heads prevailed and Britain’s Arthur Balfour said the time would come when a statesman even greater than Monroe “will lay down the doctrine that between English-speaking peoples, war is impossible.”

So it came to be in the 20th century.

In 1917 and 1941, America came to the rescue of a Britain which had declared war, first on the Kaiser’s Germany, and then on Hitler’s. During 45 years of the Cold War, America had no stronger or more reliable ally.

But the world has changed in the post-Cold War era, and even more for Britain than for the United States.

Among London’s elites today, many see their future in the EU. U.S. trade with Britain is far less than U.S. trade with Canada, Mexico, China or Japan. Britain’s economy is a diminished share of the world economy. The British Empire upon which the sun never set, holding a fifth of the world’s territory and people, has been history for over half a century. The U.S. population is now five times that of Great Britain. And London is as much a Third World city as it is an English city.

Scores of thousands of Americans and Brits are no longer standing together on the Elbe river across from the Red Army, an army that no longer exists, as the Soviet Empire and the Soviet Union no longer exist.

Yet, in terms of language, culture, ethnicity, history, geography, America has no more natural ally across the sea. And the unfortunate circumstances of Sir Kim’s departure do not cancel out that American interest.
Patrick Buchanan (@PatrickBuchanan) is currently a blogger, conservative columnist, political analyst, chairman of The American Cause foundation and an editor of The American Conservative. He has been a senior adviser to three Presidents, a two-time candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, and was the presidential nominee of the Reform Party in 2000.

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Myths of Student-Loan Debt

by Robert VerBruggen: The system needs reform, but not all borrowers are victims.

There’s a difficult tension at the heart of the debate over how to fund higher education. People who go to college tend to become far richer than those who don’t, and thus it is a handout to the wealthy, or at least the disproportionately wealthy-to-be, to dedicate public money to this end. But there are many students who are qualified for college yet come from families that cannot afford to pay for it. Given this country’s lamentable obsession with the B.A., these kids’ access to the American dream depends heavily on their access to a university.

Our current system, as awful as it is in any number of ways, does far better by poor students than it usually gets credit for — though one might expect liberals to advocate, as always, greater aid for the truly struggling. What they are doing instead is surprising: Elizabeth Warren and other left-wing policy thinkers have offered sweeping proposals to give, under the guise of “student-debt relief,” hundreds of billions of dollars to disproportionately upper-middle-class adults who are done with college and usually did not borrow unreasonable amounts. Warren, for example, would forgive up to $50,000 in debt for every household making up to $100,000, and provide smaller amounts of relief for households earning up to $250,000. Bernie Sanders would do her one better, forgiving all student debt no matter how wealthy the person holding it is. Both candidates further aim to make public colleges “free” going forward, at the cost of hundreds of billions of dollars more over the next ten years.

These are terrible ideas, for what should be obvious reasons. And when it comes to fixing the way we fund higher ed, there are far better options.

It is important to start with a clear picture of how the current system works: who pays, and how much. While tuition prices have indeed spiraled upward in recent years, largely driven by the administrative costs imposed by an ever-growing campus bureaucracy, several features of that system should stop us from seeing everyone with student-loan debt as a victim.

Sticker shock is the natural reaction to the tens of thousands of dollars that many colleges demand for each year spent on campus. But most students don’t actually pay those prices. Essentially, colleges scrutinize the finances of their students’ parents and then charge each family the most they think they can get away with — this is called “financial aid” — and the sticker price is just the ceiling. Massive taxpayer support undergirds this structure: Public colleges get more revenue from governments than they do from tuition, and even private colleges benefit from federal Pell grants and innumerable tax breaks.

All this combined does make college fairly accessible. On average, according to the College Board, public four-year schools listed their tuition and fees (not including room and board) at $10,230 for the current school year, but students actually paid only $3,740; the comparable numbers for private schools are $35,830 and $14,610. Rich families pay much more than these averages, while poor families pay much less, and sticker prices have grown faster than actual prices have.

To be sure, some of the tuition rise does fall on people who can’t (immediately) afford it, which is reflected in the fact that students today borrow quite a bit more than their predecessors did. But the higher loan balances are mostly paid off through longer terms, not higher payments, with monthly payments staying reasonably steady as a percentage of borrowers’ household income over the years — and for the typical American household making student-loan payments, this is still less than 5 percent, at least according to the Federal Reserve’s Survey of Consumer Finances. (This is the best source of data on student-loan debt, and virtually all studies of the topic rely on it, but for technical reasons it does not do a great job of capturing the financial situations of many young adults, especially those living with their parents.) By the time they are in the 30–45 age range, according to a recent American Enterprise Institute analysis, college grads in general lose just about 1.4 percent of their income to student-loan payments; this is a considerable increase from a decade ago (when it was less than 1 percent), in part because college grads have become more likely to have postgraduate degrees as well, but it’s hardly a sob story.

Moreover, college graduates outearn high-school grads — to the tune of seven figures over a lifetime — and for decades have seen stronger wage growth as well. Thus it’s no shock that student debt is skewed toward the rich: The top quarter of households by income have nearly three times as much student debt as the bottom quarter, per the Urban Institute. Further, according to a 2014 Brookings Institution study, “between 1992 and 2010, the average household with student debt saw an increase of about $7,400 in annual income and $18,000 in total debt. In other words, the increase in earnings received over the course of 2.4 years would pay for the increase in debt incurred.” To be clear, high and rising wages for college grads are not an excuse for universities to fail to control their costs. But if college grads’ debts have hardly even nicked their income advantage over the less fortunate, there is little reason to feel especially sorry for them as a group and no reason to start chucking other people’s money at them.

Of course, there are extreme cases. Some students take out big loans for worthless degrees, some borrow for schooling they never finish, and some are outright defrauded. Further, unlike other debt, student loans are generally not dischargeable in bankruptcy. (This is a draconian solution to a legitimate problem: If you get a degree on credit and then drive straight from your graduation ceremony to bankruptcy court, there’s no repossessing the degree.) However, the problem of cripplingly high student debt has already been addressed — at taxpayer expense, and on terms that are overly generous.

Under reforms enacted during the Obama administration, the federal government effectively took over student lending, and it now originates about 90 percent of student loans. (Previously, the government guaranteed loans offered by private lenders, which was not much better from a limited-government standpoint.) There’s some dispute over whether these loans lose the government money or are slightly profitable — it depends which accounting method is used — but by all accounts the terms are more generous than what would be offered in a free, private market, making them a subsidy to college kids.

And students who struggle to pay back their loans have a variety of options. These include deferment or forbearance in times of hardship, having their debt forgiven in exchange for working in “public service” (meaning a government agency or certain nonprofits) while making payments for ten years, and entering “income-based repayment,” under which they pay 10 percent of their discretionary income for 20 years and then any remaining debt is forgiven. Low- and moderate-income borrowers with massive amounts of debt — most common among those who borrow to fund grad school, not two- or four-year degrees — can already wipe out far more than $50,000, as Jason Delisle of the American Enterprise Institute has noted.

Basically, borrowers tend to be wealthy, and non-wealthy borrowers drowning in debt already have options for getting rid of their burden. Thus it’s hardly surprising that forgiving even more debt can easily amount to a handout to the upper middle class. An analysis by the Brookings Institution found that Warren’s plan, despite phasing out benefits for the highest-earning households, would give two-thirds of its benefits to the top 40 percent of households by income.

The plan is especially baffling because it would be both cheaper and more progressive to target debt relief at the most sympathetic cases: former students who bought into the idea that everyone should go to college, took out reasonably sized loans, forked over plenty of their own money to the higher-ed industry, and ultimately proved unable to graduate. According to the industry’s own National Student Clearinghouse, more than 15 percent of exclusively full-time students at four-year public colleges don’t have a diploma — from their starting college or a different one — within six years. And results are much worse for part-time study, for-profit colleges, and two-year degrees: In each of these categories, most students don’t have degrees six years later.

Because so many Americans don’t finish the schooling they start, ending up with some debt but no credential, those who borrow low amounts are the most likely to default. Among those who left school in 2009, for example, nearly a third of those who’d taken out less than $5,000 defaulted by 2014, about twice the rate of those with six-figure debts, according to a study from the Council of Economic Advisers. To the extent these individuals are genuinely unable to pay their loans and lack options under the current system — which is far more beneficial to those with gigantic debts to dump on taxpayers — it would hardly be unreasonable to, say, let them discharge their debts in bankruptcy or even forgive some small debts outright, possibly at the expense of the schools that suckered them.

But that’s tinkering around the edges rather than addressing the system’s real, deep flaws. So let’s return to the paradox outlined at the beginning of this article: We want to make college accessible to everyone with the smarts and drive to graduate, but we don’t want to shovel taxpayer money at the folks in our society who need it the least, which is to say, well, college graduates. We also would like to control rising college costs. And by the way, we already spend so much taxpayer money on higher ed that we could instead give everyone graduating high school somewhere in the ballpark of $45,000 to put toward a long-term investment of his choice, whether that’s college or something else.

Hey, there’s an idea. But here’s a more practical one that’s already gaining some steam: Under an “income-share agreement” (ISA), a student agrees to pay a certain percentage of his income for a certain number of years, and in exchange the lender, sometimes the university itself, pays for his education. If the borrower winds up living in a van down by the river, he pays very little, and if he lands a six-figure salary the instant he graduates, the deal will probably be lucrative for the investor. In particularly bad years the loan is paused, which helps both the borrower (because he’s struggling and can’t afford to lose even a small percentage of his low income) and the lender (because these low-paying years are replaced with higher-paying ones later); and if a student really hits it big, he might hit the repayment cap (say, 2.5 times the amount of the loan) and be done paying early. Currently these agreements typically collect 3 to 15 percent of borrowers’ income for 5 to 15 years, though of course those numbers are malleable to account for different students’ situations.

This solves a lot of problems. Every student with an income-share agreement both has access to college and pays for his own education, regardless of how rich or poor his parents are. There is zero risk that a required payment will exceed even a small fraction of the borrower’s income. Rather than making the same payments continuously, the way most loans work, students gradually pay more as they advance in their careers. Lenders, whether colleges or private third parties, have a strong incentive to choose good students and make sure those students are studying things that will genuinely impart skills and raise their earning potential, because the lenders’ payday depends on the students’ success. In short, ISAs screen out students who won’t profit from college, provide access to those will, and fund higher education with money from the very people who benefit from it, during the years in which they are benefiting.

I’m a proud extremist: In my ideal world there would be no government funding for higher education, and every college would require every student to fund his education with an ISA rather than taking out traditional loans or winning a grant from the Mommy and Daddy Foundation. (Your love of non-remunerative fields and distaste for parental windfalls may vary.) The worst of American higher education — the money wasted on useless bureaucrats, lavish amenities, and pointless courses of study; the willingness to admit students who need to be retaught half of what they were supposed to learn in high school — would not survive long if every student needed full backing from an investor and also knew he was sacrificing his own future income for every bit of nonsense his school spent money on. Prices would fall dramatically, thanks to reduced waste and demand, though these ISAs would almost certainly have to last longer than the current ones do, to make up for the lack of public funding.

Over in the actual D.C. policy world, the proposals are far more polite. Representatives Mark Green (R., Tenn.) and Vicente Gonzalez (D., Texas) have a bill that would encourage ISAs by streamlining their legal technicalities and improving their treatment under income-tax law. Meanwhile, under a bill put forth by Senator Marco Rubio, students would pay a set “financing fee” (typically 25 percent) rather than interest for their federal loans; borrowers could reduce the fee by paying off their loans early, but the fee would not grow over time as interest does. To stop borrowers from just putting off their payments (so they could pay with future, inflated dollars), Rubio would automatically enroll them in income-based repayment; they would have to put at least 10 percent of their income in excess of $10,000 toward their loans until they paid off the principal and the financing fee. Like an ISA, this setup lets borrowers pay less when they make less and makes it impossible for loan obligations to exceed a reasonable fraction of one’s income, though it lacks many of ISAs’ other advantages. Those who prefer traditional loans could still go that route.

Ideally, an expansion of ISAs — or Rubio’s bill — would be just part of a more general higher-ed-reform platform. Briefly: We need to expand options such as apprenticeships for kids who aren’t cut out for college, and restrict Pell grants to students whose academic credentials make them likely to graduate from the schools they’re attending. As Steven Pearlstein of George Mason University has written, some degrees should take three years instead of four, and schools should operate year-round so that fewer resources go idle in the summer, serving more students in the process. States also need to put their foot down and insist that public schools summarily fire some bureaucrats — I’d start with half, for a nice round number, and see if anyone notices. (But again, I’m an extremist.)

We can make college cheaper, more efficient, and more accessible to those qualified to be there without taking boatloads of taxpayer cash and dumping it into the bank accounts of some of the most fortunate people the world has ever known. Why progressives, of all people, would choose that approach is a mystery.
Robert VerBruggen () is a deputy managing editor of National Review. H/T Bill Bergman at Truth In Accounting for promoting this article.

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Democrats: Prisoners of the Past on the Economy

Michael Barone
by Michael Barone: We are all, to some extent, prisoners of the past. Things that have already happened -- or that we remember as having happened -- constitute the world that we know. Anything else is a product of imagination.

But it can also be a pitfall for politicians, particularly for those seeking national visibility when they're running for president. It's jarring to see candidates ignore recent changes and describe a world that no longer exists, as when they were asked leadoff questions about the economy in the first two Democratic debates.

Night one: "It's doing great for a thinner and thinner slice at the top"; "The economy has got to work for everyone, and right now we know it isn't"; "We know that not everyone is sharing in this prosperity"; "This economy is not working for average Americans"; "There's plenty of money in this country. It's just in the wrong hands." So spoke Elizabeth Warren, Beto O'Rourke, Amy Klobuchar, Cory Booker and Bill de Blasio, respectively.

Night two: "(T)he bottom 60 percent have seen a raise since 1980"; "We have three people in this country owning more wealth than the bottom half of America"; "We do have enormous income inequality"; "This economy is not working for working people"; "Forty years of no economic growth for 90 percent of the American people." Those were Tim Ryan, Bernie Sanders, Joe Biden, Kamala Harris and Michael Bennet, respectively.

These are reasonably accurate descriptions of the macroeconomy in the years after the financial crash and recession of 2008, during the Obama presidency, and plausible descriptions of the eight years of George W. Bush's presidency.

Even in the buoyantly prosperous years of the 1980s and 1990s, incomes rose faster among the affluent and well-educated, while blue-collar wages tended to flatline. Economic inequality tended to increase according to various measures. Those trends continued in the 2000s and 2010s and were decried by Democratic politicians and Donald Trump.

Now there are signs that those trends are reversed. In percentage terms, wage gains seem to be increasing most for those at the bottom of the wage scale. Blue-collar incomes are apparently rising more rapidly than white-collar. Unemployment has dropped to levels not seen for 50 years, and unemployment among blacks and Hispanics seems to have dropped to the lowest levels since measurement began.

It's possible that these trends will turn out to be just momentary reversals of dominant long-term trends. It's also possible that these trends were not caused by any policies or actions of the Trump administration, and maybe even possible that, as some Democrats argue, the trends are a delayed result of Obama administration policies.

But the fact remains that candidate Trump promised an economy whose gains would go more to those less well off than they have in the recent past, to blue-collar workers in particular, and to blacks and Hispanics. And that's how the economy has performed in the 30 months he has been in office. Looks like he delivered.

Of course, Democrats don't want to admit that, and so, they fall back on congenial rhetorical tropes even after the tropes have gone stale. And maybe their outdated analyses didn't strike their debate audiences as dissonant with reality.

We Americans are fractured into political tribes these days, and it was mostly the Democratic tribe that tuned into MSNBC for the Democrats' debate. Polling shows that voters' assessment of economic trends is more highly correlated with partisan loyalty than economic performance.

But it won't be only Democrats watching once the party has a nominee and once general election campaigning starts. And that nominee may want to avoid the unpopular stands that most of today's two dozen candidates have endorsed -- ninth-month abortions, free college, open borders through decriminalization of illegal border crossing, free medical care for illegal immigrants, abolition of private health insurance.

Democrats remember the 1992 Bill Clinton mantra "It's the economy, stupid," and how Clinton won despite a macroeconomic upswing. So why not describe the economy as it used to be and as they'd like voters to see it, rather than as it actually is?

This has another benefit for Democratic partisans, who are increasingly upscale white college graduates who care most about cultural issues but who'd like to think their policies help the less fortunate.

Their party has already lost the blue-collar whites who were once its base, and erosion of its supermajorities from blue-collar blacks and majorities from blue-collar Hispanics could destroy its dreams of long-term majorities. So tell them they're suffering, even if they're not anymore. Hope they're prisoners of the past.
Michael Barone is a Senior Political Analyst for the Washington Examiner and a Resident Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, a Fox News Channel  and co-author of The Almanac of American Politics Shared by Rasmussen Reports.

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Heavyweights . . .

. . . Social media giants appear to have their thumbs on the scale of Right vs Left freedom of speech in hopes of tilting the balance in the Democrats favor this 2020 election.
Editorial Cartoon by AF "Tony" Branco

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FBI Uncovers Secret Gangs of Tattooed Los Angeles Deputies

by Nate Church: The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has launched a probe into multiple gangs hidden within the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

The Banditos, Spartans, Regulators, and Reapers are literal gangs that exist within the roughly 10,000 members of the Los Angeles law enforcement agency. The investigation was triggered by allegations of abuse by the Banditos in March.

Each member of the Banditos is tattooed with a skeleton wearing a sombrero, bandolier, and pistol. Allegations against them include using gang tactics to recruit young Latino deputies, and punishing those who reject their advances.

An unidentified source told the Los Angeles Times that FBI agents “have been trying to determine whether leaders of the Banditos require or encourage aspiring members to commit criminal acts, such as planting evidence or writing false incident reports, to secure membership in the group.”

Deputies David Silverio, Gregory Rodriguez and Rafael Munoz, and Sergeant Mike Hernandez were put on paid leave following the aforementioned allegations, but Sheriff Alex Villanueva has repeatedly minimized the danger. He labeled the gangs a mere “cultural norm,” and believes the problem has already been solved by past investigations.

This is far from the first time violent corruption has spilled out of the cracks in the department. Accusations over the last decade alone have included covering up police brutality, even breaking the bones of suspects in their custody in order to “earn their ink.” Villanueva has chalked that fault up to previous leadership, saying the gangs “ran roughshod” over past sheriffs.

Of course, both Sheriff Alex Villanueva and the FBI have refused to comment on the current investigation.
Nate Church writes for Brietbart News Network.

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Climate Politics Trap

by Kerby Anderson, Contributing Author: Now that we have had a few Democrat presidential debates, we know what a majority of candidates believe is their number one issue. That would be climate change. Some candidates say it will be the first issue they will tackle their first day in office. Others might put it in the top two or three.

It’s not hard to see why they put it so high on the agenda. A huge majority of primary voters say it is important to them. For example, one CNN poll found that 96 percent of Democrats say it’s important that these candidates support “taking aggressive action to slow the effect of climate change.” No doubt most of the candidates believe climate change is a problem, but they make it the highest priority when such an overwhelming percentage want action.

These candidates may discover that this could end up being a climate politics trap. Here’s the problem. Polls do show that Americans (especially Democrats) are worried about climate change. But other polls remind us that those same American aren’t ready to pay any significant amount for it.

Rich Lowry talked about the climate trap merely by reminding his readers of another poll by the Associated Press and the University of Chicago. They asked how much Americans were willing to pay to fight climate change. A majority (57%) said at least one dollar a month.

When we talked about this on my radio program, one of the guests reminded us of the reaction in France to the hikes in gas and diesel in order to reduce carbon emissions. That sparked the yellow-vest protests that reversed the policy.

Any significant attempt to deal with climate change will be costly to Americans immediately and result in little or no benefit in the far distant future. That’s a tough sell and why some candidates may fall into a climate politics trap.
Kerby Anderson (@kerbyanderson) is a radio talk show host heard on numerous stations via the Point of View Network (@PointofViewRTS) and is endorsed by Dr. Bill Smith, Editor, ARRA News Service.

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Transparent on Twitter?

by Paul Jacob, Contributing Author: I find Twitter distasteful, annoying, even stupid. I sometimes wonder why I should care about that particular “micro-blogging” platform.

But since it is a big deal to others, I struggle to understand.*

Joining me in the struggle are our two most famous political Twitterers, President Donald Trump and Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.).

The president lost in court the other day, with the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals telling him he must no longer block users on the social media platform.

Now AOC finds herself in a similar pickle. On Tuesday, a former Democratic New York Assemblyman filed a lawsuit in federal court against the popular freshman U.S. Representative for doing the same thing Trump had been doing: blocking users on Twitter based on their personal viewpoints.

The litigant surmises that AOC had blocked him “apparently because my critique of her tweets and policies have been too stinging.”


“Twitter is a public space,” insists this Democrat, Dov Hikind, “and all should have access to the government officials on it.”

This puts me in a pickle, too. I am all for government transparency — and I do think officials and representatives should not be completely insulated from the citizens they serve. But we don’t have a right to follow them into their bedrooms or bathrooms.

So, high-profile federal employees who in any way discuss public matters on social media should not be allowed to block Americans from seeing their posts. But take pity on the poor pols: they should be able to mute users, that is, keep others from cluttering up their social media experience.

Oddly, the lawsuit does not address this muting option.

This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.

* I even use it, occasionally.
Paul Jacob (@Common_Sense_PJ ) 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. Jacob is a contributing author on the ARRA News Service.

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Bring Back Bankruptcy For College Debt

Yale College
by Richard McCarty: For generations, the Republican Party has struggled with the youth vote and much time has been devoted to hand-wringing over this fact. One thing that does not help is when conservatives are unable to empathize with college graduates staggering under the weight of student debt. Some solely blame these students for their debt, ignoring the roles that other people and the government have played.

One way that conservatives might begin to make some appreciable progress with Millennials and now Generation Z would be to advocate for reforming bankruptcy laws to make it easier for students to discharge college debt — legal changes over the past few decades have made it very difficult to do so.

After all, why should college debt be treated any differently than credit card debt? In the past, credit card companies received substantial criticism for luring young people into applying for credit cards with high interest rates. But which is worse, giving students a high-interest credit card with a $500 limit or selling them on a four-to-six-year education at a third-rate school that costs $35,000 a year?

While making it easier to discharge college debt, other policy changes should be made as well. Of course, there should be limits on bankruptcy to discourage students from acting in bad faith; but when graduates cannot find decent jobs seven to ten years after leaving college, then maybe the college either made a mistake in admitting the students or failed to adequately educate them. Furthermore, college loans should be reprivatized, and colleges should be forced to share losses with lenders when a former student discharges debt.

By making these changes, colleges and lenders would be incentivized to change their behavior. Colleges would likely rein in unnecessary expenditures, offer fewer frivolous majors, and raise admissions standards. Lenders would likely take a greater interest in students’ academic backgrounds, college selections, and choices of college majors. Rather than wave as many students through the campus gates as possible, colleges and lenders would suddenly have a reason to make sure that students are a good fit for the school and are pursuing a degree that will likely enable them to repay their loans.

To be sure, students do deserve some responsibility for their poor choices, and even if college debts were dischargeable under bankruptcy law and lenders were privatized, they would be. The choice of what to study, whether they completed their degree program are all decisions that employers will hold them accountable for later when they apply for a job.

But there is plenty of blame to go around. Students do not make their unwise decisions in a vacuum. Too often, these students have been ill-advised by parents, grandparents, peers, teachers, guidance counselors, academic advisors, politicians, etc.

Beyond changes in government policies, society should change the way it treats young people.
  • Schools should stop assuming that virtually all students should go to college and pressuring them to do so. For example, when you talk to high schoolers, ask them about their plans for the future — not which college they plan to attend.
  • Students should be given time to make college and career decisions. If they are unsure of what they want to do, students should be encouraged to get a job, acquire some experience, figure out where their talents lie, and then, perhaps, further their education.
  • High school graduates who start their own businesses, take apprenticeships, or pursue vocational educations should be applauded too, not just those rushing off to college.
  • Employers should be more willing to consider non-college graduates for entry-level jobs. This is critical to changing the culture pushes young people into colleges. The unemployment rate for those with college degrees 25 years old or older in June was 2.1 percent, 3.0 percent for those with some college and 3.9 percent for those with no college. Yet many of the jobs being applied for do not require a college education.
College is a major decision for young people, and we should not be surprised when they sometimes make a mistake. Just as the law allows people to discharge credit card debt after foolish spending binges or business debt after a business fails, the law should allow graduates to discharge college debt if they are unable to find a decent job years after graduation. Advocating for such reform just might help conservatives win Millennial votes — and keep them from embracing the socialist promises of “free college.”
Richard McCarty is the Director of Research at Americans for Limited Government Foundation.

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Here Are 6 Ways a New Report Devastates the $15 Minimum Wage

by Rachel Greszler: Just in time for next week’s likely House vote on a federal $15 minimum wage, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office has come out with a caustic report on the consequences of the policy.

The report confirms what even liberal economists caution: A $15 minimum wage would “risk undesirable and unintended consequences” and lead to a survival-of-the-fittest labor market, where only the highest-skilled workers come out on top.

Democrats are under the illusion that the government can force employers to artificially increase wages with no adverse consequences for American workers. But that’s like saying the government could double families’ mortgage and rent payments without any consequence.

Here are six ways this new report exposes the minimum wage proposal as bad policy.

1. It would be a job-killer.
The Congressional Budget Office report estimated that a $15 minimum wage would lead to 1.3 million lost jobs by the year 2025, with job losses rising over time due to compounding negative impacts.

The exact number of job losses are highly uncertain, but the report says losses would most likely range between zero and 3.7 million, with a not-insignificant chance that losses could exceed 3.7 million.

A 2011 Heritage Foundation estimate was even bleaker. It estimated a $15 minimum wage would lead to 7 million lost jobs.

Some groups have tried to minimize this part of the picture, focusing instead on the 17 million workers who currently earn below $15 that would receive an income boost. But this simply means that for every 13 workers who would get a wage boost, one worker would lose their job entirely.

Considering that a lost job can mean a family loses its home, not to mention a host of other long-term consequences, that doesn’t seem like a trade-off worth making.

2. It would create a survival-of-the-fittest labor market.
The report makes clear that a $15 minimum wage would disproportionately harm workers with the least education and experience and those with disabilities because these workers would be the first to be let go—or to never be hired in the first place.

Under a $15 minimum wage, only workers who can produce at least $35,000 of value per year would be employable. That’s a high hurdle for anyone who lacks experience, doesn’t have an advanced education, can’t speak English, or has a disability.

The impact on the most marginalized workers would only be compounded over time because failure to gain entry-level experience makes it harder to get job opportunities and advance down the road.

After all, minimum wage jobs often provide less-advantaged teenagers the opportunity to earn money to attend college or vocational training that they otherwise couldn’t afford.

In multiple instances, the report noted that the consequences of a $15 minimum wage would rise over time. This confirms what economists David Neumark and Olena Nizalova concluded in their study of long-run minimum wage effects:

Evidence suggests that as individuals reach their late 20s, they earn less the longer they were exposed to a higher minimum wage at younger ages, and the adverse longer-run effects are stronger for blacks.3. It would expedite the pace of automation.
When workers become more expensive to employ, companies have a greater incentive to invest in machinery to eventually replace employees.

With a $15 minimum wage in addition to an Obamacare penalty for failing to provide workers with insurance, plus federally mandated taxes and benefits, the minimum cost of employing a full-time worker would exceed $38,000.

The Congressional Budget Office points out that some employers will respond to that higher cost by replacing low-income workers with machines.

This is already happening in counties like my own that have adopted a $15 minimum wage. My local McDonald’s recently installed four automated cashier machines to reduce the number of workers it needs.

4. It would drive up prices.
In the short run, a $15 minimum wage would reduce business incomes because employers would have to adjust and figure out how to respond to higher wage costs.

Inevitably, most employers affected by higher wages would raise their prices, which in turn would hurt all consumers. The Congressional Budget Office notes that “[o]ver time, as businesses increasingly pass their higher costs on to consumers, the losses in business income diminish and the losses in families’ real income grow.”

A 2017 Heritage Foundation report estimated that a $15 minimum wage would cause prices at fast food restaurants to rise between 24% and 38%.

5. It would shrink the economy, and shrink family incomes.
While many lower-wage workers would receive higher incomes from the $15 minimum wage, the job losses and reduced capital investment would lead to a smaller overall economy by 2025, with the size of the decline compounding over time.

A smaller economy would mean lower overall family incomes. As the report noted, a $15 minimum wage “would reduce total real (inflation-adjusted) family income in 2025 by $9 billion.”

6. It would drive up deficits, inflation, and interest rates.
Although not the focus of this particular report, the analysis did highlight the Congressional Budget Office’s previous findings of the impact of the $15 minimum wage on the federal budget.

In particular, the more recent report noted that a $15 minimum wage would increase the federal government’s costs for wages, goods, and services, which would lead to higher deficits—assuming lawmakers did not cut back on other spending.

Moreover, the report cautioned that “inflationary pressure created as a higher minimum wage was phased in could lead to higher interest rates, which could increase federal interest payments and have other budgetary effects.”

Everyone wants low-wage workers to have higher incomes and more opportunities. That’s why we already have over 90 welfare programs across the federal government, many of which were created with good intentions but are in desperate need of reform to remove barriers to helping recipients get work.

One example is the earned income tax credit, which increases the $7.25 minimum wage to about $10 for workers with children. This credit encourages low-income individuals to work because it targets low-wage workers with children and doesn’t push others into poverty.

(This program too is in need of substantial reform, but was specifically designed to encourage those in poverty to work, as work is one of the most important pathways out of poverty).

The most effective way to increase incomes and opportunities for all workers is a free market and strong economy. Over the past year—amid solid economic growth and record-low unemployment—the wages of the bottom 10% of workers increased at twice the rate of the top 10% of workers.

More pro-growth policies—like reducing regulatory burdens on small businesses and workers, free trade, and getting the government’s fiscal house in order—would provide widespread wage and job growth. The $15 minimum wage, despite its lofty promises, would only provide limited gains with significant job losses.
Rachel Greszler is a senior policy analyst in economics and entitlements at The Heritage Foundation and shared article on The Daily Signal.

Tags: Rachel Greszler, 6 Ways, New Report, Devastates the $15 Minimum Wage, 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!

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