Friday, September 9, 2016

41 Straight Years of Trade Deficits yet America Still Stands Strong

By Daniel J. Ikenson

Today the New York Times ran an op-ed by Clyde Prestowitz, one of the last generation’s most vocal trade policy Cassandras, who argues that the Trans-Pacific Partnership has no security or economic value to the United States, and would only exacerbate our trade deficits with the countries involved. Despite how things turned out, the same guy who warned in the early 1990s that Americans had best ingratiate themselves to their imminent Japanese overlords by learning to say “I surrender” in their native tongue doesn’t appear the slightest bit abashed about peddling more American defeatism to a new generation.

Donald Trump Has Put America’s Allies on the Hot Seat. Good.

By Doug Bandow

America collects allies like Americans collect Facebook friends. As a result, Washington defends more than a score of prosperous European states, several leading Asian nations and a gaggle of Middle Eastern regimes.
Yet most of the countries on the Pentagon dole appear to be perpetually unhappy, constantly demanding reassurance of Washington’s love. Their sense of entitlement exceeds that of the typical trust fund baby.

Aetna Has Revealed Obamacare’s Many Broken Promises

By Michael F. Cannon

 Image result for anti obamacare cartoons
This article appeared on TIME on August 25, 2016.
They’re dropping like flies.
The health-insurance giant Aetna has announced it will exit 11 of the 15 health-insurance exchanges where it sells Obamacare plans. Aetna’s announcement comes on the heels of news that UnitedHealthcare,Humana, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of New Mexico, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, and Texas’ Scott and White Health Plan, and 70% of Obamacare’s failed Co-Ops, and other insurers will exit many or all of the exchanges for which they had previously shown such enthusiasm.

How Gary Johnson Should Talk to Voters

By Ilya Shapiro

My fellow Americans, like most of you, I’m not satisfied with the presidential choice the so-called major parties have given us. The Republican Party, which is supposed to represent conservatives, has nominated someone who’s not conservative in any sense of that word. The Democratic Party, which is supposed to represent liberals, has nominated someone who opposes civil liberties and essentially repudiates the successful parts of her husband’s presidency.

Let a Third Candidate Join Clinton-Trump Debates

By Gene Healy

A month from now, the Commission on Presidential Debates will let us know which candidates get a golden ticket to that national forum.
Will America get to hear from anyone besides Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, the two most distrusted and reviled candidates in modern political history?
Two recent news reports stoked hopes that we might: Earlier this month, CNBC reported that the Commission “might consider giving an inch to a third-party candidate” like Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson. “It’s happening: The presidential debate commission is planning for three-way debates,” gushed.

The Economic Collapse In Venezuela Is So Bad That People Are Slaughtering And Eating Zoo Animals

Black Stallion - Public Domain
If you were hungry enough, would you kill and eat zoo animals?  To most of us such a notion sounds absolutely insane, but this is actually happening in Venezuela right now.  This is a country where people are standing in lines for up to 12 hours hoping that there will be food to buy that day, and where rioting and looting have become commonplace.  So even though the U.S. economy is in dreadful shape at this moment, we should be thankful for what we have, because at least we are not experiencing a full-blown economic collapse yet like Venezuela currently is.
Black stallions can be some of the most beautiful horses on the entire planet, but things are so desperate down in Venezuela this summer that everything looks like food to some people at this point.  What happened at the Caricuao Zoo on Sunday is so horrible that I actually debated whether or not to share it with you.  Desperate people do desperate things, and when people get hungry enough they will do things such as this

Violence Erupts In America’s Heartland As Milwaukee Becomes The Latest U.S. City To Burn

Milwaukee Riot - YouTube Screenshot
The city of Milwaukee, Wisconsin exploded in violence last night as the wave of chaos and civil unrest that is sweeping across America continues to intensify.  At this point, many of our largest cities have become powder kegs of anger and frustration, and a full-blown riot can be set off with a single bullet.  In this case, an armed suspect was shot and killed by Milwaukee police as he attempted to evade the police, and his death almost instantly set off pandemonium in the heart of the city.  America is being ripped apart, and much more violence is coming.  Decades of social decay and economic decline have fundamentally transformed many of our greatest cities, and tensions that have been simmering for a very long time are now being brought to a boil.  Sadly, it seems quite likely that we will see even more rage, hatred and divisiveness in the months ahead.
The sudden eruption of violence that we witnessed in Milwaukee last night was absolutely stunning.  Within just hours after the shooting of the armed suspect, fires were burning all over the city

As Predicted, Obamacare Is Absolutely Killing The Middle Class

Obamacare Frustration - Public Domain
The critics of Obamacare have been proven right.  The Obama administration promised that health insurance premiums would go down.  Instead, they have absolutely skyrocketed.  The Obama administration promised that Obamacare would not kill jobs.  Instead, firms are hiring fewer workers because of suffocating health care costs.  As you will see below, even the Federal Reserve is admitting this.  The Obama administration also promised that the big health insurance companies would love the new Obamacare plans and would eagerly compete with one another to win customers in the new health insurance marketplaces.  Instead, many of the big health insurance companies are now dropping Obamacare plans altogether.
We witnessed the latest stunning example of this phenomenon just a few days ago.  It turns out that Aetna has been losing hundreds of millions of dollars on plans sold through the health exchanges, and now they plan to pull out of the program almost entirely

Detroit Has Gone From Being The Greatest Manufacturing City In The World To A Global Joke

The Ruins Of Detroit - Photo by Csmcm
In 1960, the city of Detroit was the greatest manufacturing city that the world had ever seen.  Nearly two million people lived there, and it had the highest per capita income in the United States.  That may be hard to believe, because today it actually has one of the lowest per capita incomes of all of our major cities.  Over the decades more than a million people have left the city, and thousands of abandoned homes have been torn down.  But there are still tens of thousands of abandoned dwellings that remain standing, and some have sold for as little as one dollar in recent years.  Once Detroit was the envy of the entire planet, but now it has become a global joke and in other countries they love to do news stories about “the ruins of Detroit” to show how rapidly America is rotting and decaying.  Sadly, Detroit is far from alone, because there are other formerly great manufacturing cities that have declined just as fast as Detroit has.
Earlier today, I came across a video that contains footage that someone recently captured as they drove through the city of Detroit at night.  To say that the footage is disturbing would be a tremendous understatement

World War 3 Coming Soon? Tanks Roll Across The Border As Turkish Invasion Of Syria Begins

World War 3 Apocalypse - Public Domain
The invasion of Syria that so many people have been warning about is now happening.  On Wednesday, Turkish tanks rolled across the Syrian border, and they were accompanied by radical Islamic Syrian rebels that want to ultimately overthrow the Assad regime.  This invasion was conducted under the code name “Euphrates Shield”, and it was supported by airstrikes from A-10s and F-16s that are part of the U.S.-led coalition that has been conducting airstrikes against ISIS targets in the region.  The mainstream media in the United States has been very quiet about this escalation of the conflict in Syria, but things are much different in the rest of the world.  For example, a major Israeli news source announced the attack this way: “Turkey invades Syria“.  And without a doubt, that is precisely what is taking place.  The Syrian government denounced this move by Turkey as a “blatant breach to its sovereignty”, and the Russians are deeply alarmed.  The farther Turkish forces push into northern Syria, the more likely they will be to encounter Syrian or Russian forces, and one bad move could result in the outbreak of World War 3 in the Middle East.

America The Debt Pig: We Are A ‘Buy Now, Pay Later’ Society – And ‘Pay Later’ Is Rapidly Approaching

America The Pig - Public DomainIf you really wanted to live like a millionaire, you could start doing it right now.  All you have to do is to apply for as many credit cards as possible and then begin running up credit card balances like there is no tomorrow.  At this point, I know what most of you are probably thinking.  You are probably thinking that such a lifestyle would not last for long and that a day of reckoning would eventually come, and you would be exactly right.  In fact, anyone that has ever had a tremendous amount of credit card debt knows how painful that day of reckoning can be.  To mindlessly run up credit card debt is exceedingly reckless, but unfortunately that is precisely what we have been doing as a nation as a whole.  We are a “buy now, pay later” society, and our national day of reckoning is approaching very, very quickly.
Often we like to focus on our exploding national debt, but household debt is out of control too.  In fact, the total amount of household debt in the United States is now up to a whopping 12.3 trillion dolllars

Find Out How Many Jobs Your State Could Lose With a $15 Minimum Wage

Melissa Quinn /

Labor unions and fast-food workers have pushed for a $15 an hour minimum wage, protesting in cities nationwide. However, a new study found that a $15 an hour minimum wage could lead to hundreds of thousands of job losses. (Photo: 2016 Marilyn Humphries /Newscom)
Following legislation in New York and California raising their statewide minimum wages to $15 an hour, a new study has found that such statewide mandates would lead to hundreds of thousands of job losses.
According to a new study from The Heritage Foundation, proposals at the state and federal levels to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour would lead to job losses in nearly all states and the District of Columbia.

This Year, the Deficit Is Rising Faster Than Predicted

Michael Sargent / 

A Congressional Budget Office update shows that annual federal spending will top $6.2 trillion by 2026. (Photo: Aoc/ Zuma Press/Newscom)
Congress left town this August for an extended recess without passing a budget or any required spending bills, and spending has largely been ignored as a major issue in the presidential election. But just because the politicians and media are distracted doesn’t mean the nation’s most critical problems are going away.
Case in point: The Congressional Budget Office just released its updated budget projections, and the unrelenting deluge of spending, debt, and deficits continues to grow larger by the year.

3 Ways Obama’s New Overtime Rule Will Hurt Employees

Rachel Greszler / 

The overtime rule is unlikely to raise average wages as employers will reduce base pay or shift employees to hourly pay. (Photo: Jetta Productions Blend Images/Newscom)
In an alleged attempt to increase the income of certain salaried employees, the Obama administration issued a new overtime rule, set to take effect Dec. 1, that will almost certainly do more harm than good for the employees it seeks to help.
Currently, employers only have to pay the overtime time-and-a-half rate to salaried employees who make less than $23,660 per year (as well as some who make more but don’t have sufficiently advanced job duties). The new rule more than doubles the pay level subject to overtime to $47,476.
This effectively means that many salaried employees can’t be paid to get a job done, but must instead be paid based on their hours.

Under Obama’s New Enforcement Program, Fewer Illegal Immigrants Being Captured for Deportation

Josh Siegel /

During the first two months of fiscal year 2016, federal immigration agents did not take custody of more than 60 percent of individuals they had requested information on from local law enforcement. (Photo: Peggy Peattie/Zuma Press/Newscom)
Under a revamped Obama administration program intended to encourage greater cooperation from local law enforcement agencies in helping deport illegal immigrants who the government considers “a danger” to public safety, fewer people are being taken into custody for eventual removal from the country.
In November 2014, the administration introduced the Priority Enforcement Program (PEP), a less demanding version of a previous system that had been accused of violating immigrants’ civil rights, and did not differentiate between low-level and serious offenders.

Consumers in 17 States Face Double-Digit Rate Hikes Under Obamacare

Melissa Quinn /

In 19 states, consumers purchasing insurance for 2017 could see the cost of their premiums increase by at least 10 percent. (Photo: Anthony Behar/Sipa USA/Newscom)
Consumers in 19 states will see increases to their health insurance rates, most in the double digits, for 2017, according to publicly available data filed with state insurance regulators.
Since June, insurance companies have been submitting proposed rate requests to state departments of insurance for the 2017 plan year. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services also has to approve rates for insurers selling on Obamacare’s exchanges.

Left-Funded Rally Aims to Pressure Lawmakers to Welcome More Refugees

Kevin Mooney / 

These men pictured Aug. 20, 2016, are among about 300,000 Syrian refugees living in Istanbul, Turkey. One study found it costs 12 times more to resettle refugees here rather than their home region. (Photo: Raddad Jebarah /Zuma Press/Newscom)
Are you concerned about the plight of international refugees? Would you like to see the U.S. government take decisive, constructive action on behalf of displaced persons across the globe who have been forced to flee their homes?
If so, you’re invited to “stand up against the voices of intolerance” this Sunday in Washington, D.C., where you can join forces with other concerned Americans.

How Republicans in Congress Would Respond to Big-Spending Infrastructure Push

Josh Siegel /

Both presidential candidates have proposed billions of dollars in spending on new and improved roads and bridges. (Photo: Chris Urso/Zuma Press/Newscom)
Fresh after Congress and the White House scored the largest transportation spending package in a decade, both presidential candidates this year are proposing billions in funding to rebuild the nation’s infrastructure.
While both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump—and the parties they represent—agree the nation’s roads, bridges, airports, rail system, and ports are in need of repair, the new proposals invite familiar questions over how the spending would be paid for, and whether the federal government is the best provider to pay for it.

Companies Are Raising Wages Without a Government Mandate

Patrick Tyrrell / 

With companies raising wages on their own in response to market forces, it might be useful to rethink the current craze to raise the minimum wage. (Photo: Mckenna Ewen/ZUMA Press/Newscom)
According to recent reports, companies are giving wide swaths of their workforces raises without the government dictating it. Some of the companies that have done this in recent weeks include McDonald’s, Wal-Mart, Gap Inc., JPMorgan Chase & Co., and Starbucks.
Starbucks announced its workers would get at least a 5 percent raise this year. JPMorgan Chase is increasing the wages of its lowest-paid workers to $12 per hour.

House Freedom Caucus Flirts With Republican Study Committee Exodus

Philip Wegmann /

Members of the Freedom Caucus might be going their own way soon. (Photo: Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call/Newscom)
While away from Washington on August recess, House Freedom Caucus members are rethinking their relationship with the Republican Study Committee. Some are considering whether to call it quits and cancel their membership.
Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., confirmed the possibility of the breakup, telling The Daily Signal that as many as 20 members could allow their committee memberships to lapse.
“There’s no big policy disagreement or major falling out as much as there is just a logistical concern,” said Meadows, a founding member of the Freedom Caucus. “It’s just become a function of how much are you going to invest in one group or the other.”