THE FOUNDATION"I am for doing good to the poor, but I differ in opinion of the means. I think the best way of doing good to the poor, is not making them easy in poverty, but leading or driving them out of it." --Benjamin Franklin, On the Price of Corn and Management of the Poor, 1766
TOP 5 RIGHT HOOKShis pen. Announcing refugee status is available for children will only worsen the crisis. But Obama knows that. More...
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Hillary Insists 'The Reset Worked'
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Obama Administration Watched as Terror GrewOnly now, with the Islamic State of Syria and the Levant's actions splashed across the headlines -- establishing a "caliphate" and targeting Iraq's native Christian population -- does the Obama administration respond. Army General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said at a security briefing America's military is "preparing a strategy ... [to] initially contain, eventually disrupt and finally defeat ISIL over time," a strategy that involves international diplomacy (and maybe some air strikes if things get bad). Yet the administration knew for months about the ISIL threat. Since November, the White House has been warned of the threat through intelligence reports and hearings -- yet it did nothing. When ISIL goons turn from fighting the armies of Iraq and Syria and attempt to attack the United States, it will be, in part, on this administration's waffling "watch."
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ObamaCare Architect Said Subsidies Apply Only to State ExchangesMIT economics professor Jonathan Gruber was instrumental in crafting ObamaCare. In fact, he was paid nearly $400,000 for consultation with the administration. So what did he have to say about subsidies for buying health insurance? In 2012, he said, "What's important to remember politically about this is if you're a state and you don't set up an exchange, that means your citizens don't get their tax credits -- but your citizens still pay the taxes that support this bill. So you're essentially saying [to] your citizens, 'You're going to pay all the taxes to help all the other states in the country.'" Translation: Subsidies are available only on state exchanges, not the federal one -- just as the DC Circuit Court ruled the law's text says. The administration still argues that they can give subsidies to everyone, regardless of what the law says. And now that Gruber is forced to defend the law, naturally he claims the exclusion of the federal exchange was "a typo." More...
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Presidential Motorcade Delays Woman in LaborBarack Obama made his way to LA for some fundraising this week. (What else would he be doing?) And as usual, his imperial visits have the effect of snarling traffic and being a general aggravation to us commoners. In fact, trending on Twitter in LA was the hashtag #ThanksObama. But what really turned heads was this story from Fox News: "A woman in labor reportedly was blocked from crossing the street to get to a Los Angeles hospital Wednesday because of President Obama's motorcade." She waited at least 30 minutes while the fundraiser in chief cruised by, though it does not appear she suffered true harm. Still, one has to think this sounds an awful lot like a War on Women. More...
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Paul Ryan Lays Out the 'Way Forward' on Poverty
The primary element of Ryan's plan calls for the creation of Opportunity Grants that would change how the government conducts fighting poverty. This brings together 11 existing streams of federal aid -- from food stamps to housing assistance -- into block grants that would allow states to tailor aid packages to the poor based on individual need. States would assign a caseworker to each person applying for aid, and together the caseworker and the individual would create a plan based on short- and long-term goals. These goals would form the basis of a contract in which the states would continue to supply aid so long as the person continued to live up to their end of the agreement -- whether it be finding or maintaining a job, pursuing an education or remaining drug-free.
Ryan proposes changes to the Earned Income Tax Credit. The EITC is one of the few proven ways the government has to reduce poverty and encourage work, and he wants to simplify the application process. In addition, he wants to make all childless adults over 21 eligible to apply. He suggests adding the EITC to each paycheck throughout the year, rather than distributing it as a one-time payment in each year's tax refund.
There are a number of fixes to education aid in the proposal, including converting Head Start funding into a block grant to allow states to experiment with different models for early education. A big part of the primary and secondary education component is the consolidation of multiple federal programs into flexible block grants to the states, which allows for more tailored solutions at the community level. The proposal also reforms the accreditation process to allow more institutions and specific courses to gain accreditation, thereby increasing the education options for students seeking federal aid.
Ryan addresses the problem of an exploding prison population and the negative effect incarceration has on upward mobility. He proposes allowing federal judges more flexibility in sentencing non-violent felons who would otherwise be subject to mandatory minimums, and he wants to tailor prison education and rehabilitation programs to those inmates most at risk for recidivism.
Ryan's plan, which you can read in detail here, is a thoughtful consideration how to address what is wrong with federal aid to the poor. As Ryan notes, "Fifteen percent of Americans live in poverty today -- over 46 million people." In that, he sees opportunity: "There's a vast amount of untapped potential in our country." Federal anti-poverty programs have done little to actually reduce poverty ever since Lyndon Johnson began the so-called War on Poverty 50 years ago. Ryan's plan calls for making aid more effective and more accountable, two goals with which Washington is not familiar.
To be sure, Democrats are already trying to shoot holes in Ryan's plan. Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), ranking Democrat on the House Budget Committee, says Ryan loves block grants because they are easier to cut. Van Hollen and other House Democrats also note Ryan has proposed cutting numerous federal programs and therefore cannot be taken seriously. Only a statist would consider cost cutting a negative trait.
The fact is, many of Ryan's proposals, like prison education and improved education funding, have already seen the light of day as individual legislative proposals that have drawn bipartisan support. Democrats don't like his plan because it would mean lifting people out of poverty and freeing them from their poverty plantations. Ryan is also a possible 2016 presidential candidate, which makes him a prime target.
Beyond all the policy nitty gritty, the key takeaway from Ryan's effort is that the GOP needs to do a better job of addressing poverty. Blue collar Americans need to hear that Liberty can work for them. As American Enterprise Institute fellow James Pethokoukis puts it, Ryan "sees low-income Americans as underutilized assets who need to be reintegrated into the work economy so they and America can reach full potential." This is done, as Benjamin Franklin once said, "not [by] making them easy in poverty, but leading or driving them out of it."
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Leftists Call for 'Economic Patriotism' Among Corporations
Barack Obama has echoed that theme, too. "I don't care if it's legal" to move your corporation overseas he declared. "It's wrong."
Finding a cheaper corporate tax rate isn't hard, because the U.S. has the highest one among the 32 developed countries that belong to the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development. Moreover, all but the U.S. have reduced their rate in the last two decades. With state corporate taxes included, American corporations can be taxed upwards of 40%, and that's one big reason why they're stashing more than $2 trillion in profits abroad.
Because of these punitive rates, more and more multinational companies are considering inversion, and nine, ranging from Chiquita Brands to drug maker AbbVie, have gone through with it this year. Meanwhile, companies such as the Walgreen drugstore chain are looking into merging with similar foreign entities in order to save on their tax bills. Since the practice began in earnest three decades ago, nearly 80 such inversions have taken place, and the pace is increasing as companies look to improve meager bottom lines in any way possible. A prospective ban may hasten the move by those corporations considering the idea.
Ever the campaigner eager to change the subject from his many failures, Obama told an audience at the Los Angeles Technical College that these companies are “technically renouncing their U.S. citizenship, they’re declaring their base someplace else even though most of their operations are here. You know, some people are calling these companies 'corporate deserters.'” Not him, of course, just "some people."
Instead of seeking to lower our nation's oppressive corporate tax rate, Democrats are pressing for a bill to curtail inversion by deeming companies that do over half their business in the United States as American for tax purposes regardless of where profits occur. While this effort will go nowhere in a divided Congress, it's a handy campaign issue guaranteed to be red meat to a Big Labor voter bloc that Democrats desperately need to motivate for the November election.
On the other hand, Republicans have a tried-and-true approach in mind. “Comprehensive tax reform would reduce deductions and lower tax rates for everyone,” said Michael Steel, a spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH). Rep. Dave Camp (R-MI), Chair of the House Ways and Means Committee, has proposed tax reform that includes a cut in the federal rate to 25% -- a rate that would put the United States much closer to the median rate globally. But as the 113th Congress winds down, this will be yet another issue left to a future Congress. In the meantime, corporate inversions are looking more attractive to the bean counters at some of our biggest corporations.
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TOP 5 RIGHT OPINION COLUMNS
- Charles Krauthammer: The Vacant Presidency
- Jonah Goldberg: UN a Club in Need of Higher Standards
- Michael Barone: Obama Democrats Lose Their Big Bet on Health Exchanges
- David Limbaugh: Obama's Utopian Statism Is Both Below and On the Radar
- Burt Prelutsky: Red Coats, Blue Coats & Turncoats
OPINION IN BRIEFAmerican author Albert Jay Nock (1870-1945): "It can not even be said that the State has ever shown any disposition to suppress crime, but only to safeguard its own monopoly of crime."
Political analyst Charles Krauthammer: "The president’s demeanor is worrying a lot of people. From the immigration crisis on the Mexican border to the Islamic State rising in Mesopotamia, Barack Obama seems totally detached. When he does interrupt his endless rounds of golf, fundraising and photo ops, it’s for some affectless, mechanical, almost forced public statement. ... Obama’s passivity stems from an idea. When Obama says Putin has placed himself on the wrong side of history in Ukraine, he actually believes it. He disdains realpolitik because he believes that, in the end, such primitive 19th-century notions as conquest are self-defeating. History sees to their defeat. ... [But h]istory doesn’t act autonomously. It needs agency. ... The world is aflame and our leader is on the 14th green."
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Columnist David Limbaugh: "[Barack Obama] does have strong reasons for wanting to fly under the radar when fundraising. As tone-deaf, insensitive and self-absorbed as he is, he is surely at least marginally aware that many Americans find his endless taxpayer-subsidized, partisan fundraising offensive when it proceeds apace amid multitudinous world crises and domestic scandals. There’s also the matter of his partisan tone, which he doubtlessly ratchets up to new levels of stridency when among fellow travelers in the top 1 percent as they join in condemning wealthy capitalists while exempting themselves -- because they care, as evidenced by their liberalism."
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Comedian Argus Hamilton: "President Obama spoke a fundraiser in L.A. Thursday and ripped Republicans who legally park their money overseas for lower taxes. They're not being unpatriotic at all. Republicans dream of America someday being the kind of country where they'd be proud to put their money."
Semper Vigilo, Fortis, Paratus et Fidelis!
Nate Jackson for The Patriot Post Editorial Team
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