New Jersey governor Chris Christie has announced his endorsement of Donald Trump for President. Is he really so clueless? Perhaps he is just so annoyed because he lost to the real candidates that he is having a temper tantrum.
Charles Koch applauds Bernie Sander’s recognition of cronyism in government, and he is right. Cronyism has no place in our system. Koch makes a particular note about ethanol integrity — which he opposes in spite of ethanol mandates — against the likes of Harry Reid and others who try to denigrate the Kochs.
Koch’s article in the Washington Post is worthwhile to read in its entirety; it’s not pro-Bernie, but raises important and correct notes about the function of government as well as economics.
“As he campaigns for the Democratic nomination for president, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders (I) often sounds like he’s running as much against me as he is the other candidates. I have never met the senator, but I know from listening to him that we disagree on plenty when it comes to public policy.
Even so, I see benefits in searching for common ground and greater civility during this overly negative campaign season. That’s why, in spite of the fact that he often misrepresents where I stand on issues, the senator should know that we do agree on at least one — an issue that resonates with people who feel that hard work and making a contribution will no longer enable them to succeed.
The senator is upset with a political and economic system that is often rigged to help the privileged few at the expense of everyone else, particularly the least advantaged. He believes that we have a two-tiered society that increasingly dooms millions of our fellow citizens to lives of poverty and hopelessness. He thinks many corporations seek and benefit from corporate welfare while ordinary citizens are denied opportunities and a level playing field.
I agree with him.
Democrats and Republicans have too often favored policies and regulations that pick winners and losers. This helps perpetuate a cycle of control, dependency, cronyism and poverty in the United States. These are complicated issues, but it’s not enough to say that government alone is to blame. Large portions of the business community have actively pushed for these policies.
Consider the regulations, handouts, mandates, subsidies and other forms of largesse our elected officials dole out to the wealthy and well-connected. The tax code alone contains $1.5 trillion in exemptions and special-interest carve-outs. Anti-competitive regulations cost businesses an additional $1.9 trillion every year. Perversely, this regulatory burden falls hardest on small companies, innovators and the poor, while benefiting many large companies like ours. This unfairly benefits established firms and penalizes new entrants, contributing to a two-tiered society.
Whenever we allow government to pick winners and losers, we impede progress and move further away from a society of mutual benefit. This pits individuals and groups against each other and corrupts the business community, which inevitably becomes less focused on creating value for customers. That’s why Koch Industries opposes all forms of corporate welfare — even those that benefit us. (The government’s ethanol mandate is a good example. We oppose that mandate, even though we are the fifth-largest ethanol producer in the United States.)
It may surprise the senator to learn that our framework in deciding whether to support or oppose a policy is not determined by its effect on our bottom line (or by which party sponsors the legislation), but by whether it will make people’s lives better or worse.
With this in mind, the United States’ next president must be willing to rethink decades of misguided policies enacted by both parties that are creating a permanent underclass.
Our criminal justice system, which is in dire need of reform, is another issue where the senator shares some of my concerns. Families and entire communities are being ripped apart by laws that unjustly destroy the lives of low-level and nonviolent offenders.
Today, if you’re poor and get caught possessing and selling pot, you could end up in jail. Your conviction will hold you back from many opportunities in life. However, if you are well-connected and have ample financial resources, the rules change dramatically. Where is the justice in that?
Arbitrary restrictions limit the ability of ex-offenders to get housing, student or business loans, credit cards, a meaningful job or even to vote. Public policy must change if people are to have the chance to succeed after making amends for their transgressions. At Koch Industries we’re practicing our principles by “banning the box.” We have voluntarily removed the question about prior criminal convictions from our job application.
At this point you may be asking yourself, “Is Charles Koch feeling the Bern?”
I applaud the senator for giving a voice to many Americans struggling to get ahead in a system too often stacked in favor of the haves, but I disagree with his desire to expand the federal government’s control over people’s lives. This is what built so many barriers to opportunity in the first place.
Consider America’s War on Poverty. Since its launch under President Lyndon Johnson in 1964, we have spent roughly $22 trillion, yet our poverty rate remains at 14.8 percent. Instead of preventing, curing and relieving the causes and symptoms of poverty (the goals of the program when it began), too many communities have been torn apart and remain in peril while even more tax dollars pour into this broken system.
It is results, not intentions, that matter. History has proven that a bigger, more controlling, more complex and costlier federal government leaves the disadvantaged less likely to improve their lives.
When it comes to electing our next president, we should reward those candidates, Democrat or Republican, most committed to the principles of a free society. Those principles start with the right to live your life as you see fit as long as you don’t infringe on the ability of others to do the same. They include equality before the law, free speech and free markets and treating people with dignity, respect and tolerance. In a society governed by such principles, people succeed by helping others improve their lives.
I don’t expect to agree with every position a candidate holds, but all Americans deserve a president who, on balance, can demonstrate a commitment to a set of ideas and values that will lead to peace, civility and well-being rather than conflict, contempt and division. When such a candidate emerges, he or she will have my enthusiastic support.”
As we mourn the loss of the magnanimous Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, questions inevitably rise about the pending cases in the Supreme Court. Scotusblog has issued the following release:
“What happens to this Term’s close cases? (Updated)
The passing of Justice Scalia of course affects the cases now before the Court. Votes that the Justice cast in cases that have not been publicly decided are void. Of course, if Justice Scalia’s vote was not necessary to the outcome – for example, if he was in the dissent or if the majority included more than five Justices – then the case will still be decided, only by an eight-member Court.
If Justice Scalia was part of a five-Justice majority in a case – for example, the Friedrichs case, in which the Court was expected to limit mandatory union contributions – the Court is now divided four to four. In those cases, there is no majority for a decision and the lower court’s ruling stands, as if the Supreme Court had never heard the case. Because it is very unlikely that a replacement will be appointed this Term, we should expect to see a number of such cases in which the lower court’s decision is “affirmed by an equally divided Court.”
The most immediate and important implications involve that union case. A conservative ruling in that case is now unlikely to issue. Other significant cases in which the Court may now be divided include Evenwel v. Abbott (on the meaning of the “one person, one vote” guarantee), the cases challenging the accommodation for religious organizations under the Affordable Care Act’s contraceptive mandate, and the challenge to the Obama administration’s immigration policy.
The Court is also of course hearing a significant abortion case, involving multiple restrictions adopted by Texas. In my estimation, the Court was likely to strike those provisions down. If so, the Court would still rule – deciding the case with eight Justices.
Conversely, the Court was likely to limit affirmative action in public higher education in the Fisher case. But because only three of the liberal Justices are participating (Justice Kagan is recused), conservatives would retain a narrow majority.
There is also recent precedent for the Court to attempt to avoid issuing a number of equally divided rulings. In Chief Justice Roberts’s first Term, the Court in similar circumstances decided a number of significant cases by instead issuing relatively unimportant, often procedural decisions. It is unclear if the Justices will take the same approach in any of this Term’s major, closely divided cases.”
The unfortunate death of one of the greatest legal minds and constitutional scholars will certainly make the race to the White House, and even Congress, especially contentious. This country has lost a legacy.
I like CNSNews, because they provide straightforward number-crunching on fiscal minutia that is tedious yet important data. This week as we enter the 8th year of Obama’s term, they have calculated that federal debt has increased more than $70,000 per household during the 7 years Obama has held office thus far.
“The debt of the federal government increased by $8,314,529,850,339.07 in President Barack Obama’s first seven years in office, according to official data published by the U.S. Treasury.
That equals $70,612.91 in net federal borrowing for each of the 117,480,000 households that the Census Bureau estimates were in the United States as of September.
During President George W. Bush’s eight years in office, the federal debt increased by $4,899,100,310,608.44, according to the Treasury. That equaled $44,104.65 in net federal borrowing for each of the 111,079,000 households that, according to the Census Bureau, were in the country as of Jan. 20, 2009, the day that Bush left office and Obama assumed it.
In the fifteen years from the beginning of Bush’s first term to the end of Obama’s seventh year in office, the federal debt increased $13,213,630,160,947.51.
That $13,213,630,160,947.51 increase in the debt during the Bush-Obama years equals $112,219.57 for each of the 117,748,000 households that were in the country as of September.
When Bush took office on Jan. 20, 2001, the federal debt was 5,727,776,738,304.64. When Obama took office eight years later, on Jan. 20, 2009, the federal debt was 10,626,877,048,913.08.
As of Jan. 20, 2016, when Obama completed his seventh year in office, the federal debt was $18,941,406,899,252.15.
After nearly 8 years of listening to Obama talk incessantly about the need for the wealthy to “pay their fair share,” Hillary Clinton has picked up the mantle in her new tax proposal unveiled this week.
Clinton spoke about the need for “an additional 4 percent tax on people making more than $5 million per year, calling the tax a “fair share surcharge.” It is reminiscent of the failed “Buffet Rule” proposal put forth by Obama a few years back.
According to a Clinton staffer, “This surcharge is a direct way to ensure that effective rates rise for taxpayers who are avoiding paying their fair share, and that the richest Americans pay an effective rate higher than middle-class families.”
The tax proposal is calculated to bring in $150 billion on revenue over a ten-year span. Nowhere does it calculate the cost of implementing such a plan, additional paperwork, hours spent on compliance and enforcement, and so forth. As a revenue raiser, it amounts to $15 billion a year for the federal government, pocket change really — something that could be more easily attained by cutting the size and scope of many federal budgets.
It’s not really about revenue anyway. It’s more about pandering to a segment of voters, vilifying the high income earners and stirring up class warfare. It was the one message that resonated most with Obama supporters in 2012; he continuously and intentionally railed against “millionaires and billionaires”, and talked about “the wealthy paying their fair share” in order to create a divide and separate that particular fiscal population from the rest of “mainstream America”. Hillary is merely following the leftist playbook and recycling stale ideas as her candidacy flounders.