Up is down!

Isn’t it remarkable how the media changed after November 8, 2016. What was “good” is now “bad.” What was “up” is now “down.”

The defeat of Hillary Clinton was even more consequential than many believe. It changed America in a way the rivals the defeat of the British at the Battle of Yorktown. The left blames Donald Trump for literally everything. They fail to realize that the great division of America occurred because of Barack Hussein Obama and the Democrat Party’s penchant for identity politics. They taught us to hate and now their surprised we hate them.

[Source: With the election of Trump, the world turned upside down, by Victor Davis Hanson]

Let’s spend a moment analyzing the “reversal of the spin of the Earth” after Donald Trump’s election. Trump is not only fighting Democrats. Plenty of Republicans’ reputations were sullied by his victory, as well. John McCain, Mitt Romney, John Kasich… names that only scratch the list of Republicans who fought the election of our current president.

So many “people-in-the-know” were discredited by his election that they hope to wend their way back by trying to disrupt every policy change Trump makes. [From the Davis Hanson article]

  • Creased-brow prophesies of doom for President Trump are about as credible as their past insistence that a “blue wall” would keep him out of the White House.
  • Media collusion with the Clinton campaign was endemic in the WikiLeaks email trove. The complicity blew up any lingering notion that establishment journalists are disinterested and principled.
  • “Journalists” now turn from eight years of obsequiousness to frenzied hostility toward the White House.
  • Executive orders are no longer inspired, but dangerous.
  • Senate filibusters are no longer subversive, but vital.
  • Bypassing Congress on treaties and overseas interventions and refusal to enforce existing laws is no longer presidential leadership but seditious.
  • Protests against a sitting president are no longer near treasonous, but patriotic.
  • Cruel invective against the president and his family is no longer racist, but inspired.
  • Media collusion with the president is no longer natural, but unprofessional and dishonest.

Do these people really believe that this is the way to win back the hearts and minds of Americans (like me) that they labeled as “clingers,” “deplorables” and “irredeemables.” Maybe they should look up these words in Merriam Webster’s Dictionary. It’s not likely these Americans (like me) are going to forget the Democrat Party’s disdain for their notions of patriotism.

We deplorables are watching (with glee) as the effects of the Democrat Party overreach is coming back to bite them in the ass. Harry Reid and Obama “weaponized” the Trump presidency by killing the Senate filibuster and employing presidential fiats by “pen-and-phone” executive orders.

If Trump succeeds in producing 4% GDP growth the Democrat party can put its collective head between its collective legs and kiss its… well, you know the rest!

Roy Filly

 

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“Progressive” taxation.

The Democrat Party is “all about progressivity of taxation.” Despite income tax “rates” that may be higher for top earners in some countries the US has the most progressive income tax system. That is because virtually every country with higher “rates” also has a Value Added Tax (VAT) which diminishes the “progressivity” of income taxation. You won’t see the Democrat Party supporting a VAT any time soon. (See footnote 1 for my proposed tax system.) There is very little more income tax that can be extracted from the top income tier of the country without doing serious damage to the economy.

[Source: Taxes Are Worse Than You Thought, by John Mauldin]

Few Americans have any idea about the history of “the income tax.” For example, for the first 137 years of our Nation, Americans kept every penny they earned. There was no “income tax.” The income tax was introduced in 1913. What was it like then:

  • There were only four pages in the original 1040 form, including two pages of worksheets – see footnote 2 – (my 2016 federal and state tax returns totaled 115 pages and I’m a retired citizen living on a pension and social security).

  • The idea of the first income tax was to “tax the rich.”

  • Individual federal income tax rates started at 1% in 1913

  • The maximum marginal income tax rate was only 7% on incomes above $500,000 (more than $12 million in today’s dollars).

  • The personal exemption in 1913 was $3,000 for individuals ($72,850 in today’s dollars) and $4,000 for married couples ($97,000 in today’s dollars).

  • The average income in 1913 was $750.

  • In 1912 the United States of America had schools, roads, colleges, an army, a navy… do I need to go on?

Currently:

  • American taxpayers and businesses spend 6.1 billion hours every year complying with the income tax code. (If we only go back in time just 1 billion hours the year would be 112, 140 BC. Six billion hours ago Neanderthals were the dominant humanoids on our planet.)

  • Americans will spend an estimated $10 billion for tax preparation services and $2 billion on tax-preparation software.

  • Net taxes (after netting out the money we get back in entitlements), shows that 60% of Americans either pay no income tax or, actually, get a net benefit, 30% pay their proportional (by headcount) share, and the top 10% pay for themselves and for the bottom 60%. No other OECD nation has anywhere near that much progressivity.

My friends, I am hoping that President Trump can keep his promise to alter this madness. He will have enemies trying to block him at every turn.

Roy Filly

Footnote 1:

The tax structure I would prefer would be based on a balanced budget amendment. Congress must levy sufficient taxes to pay for everything they wish to do during a given fiscal year. I believe a combination of the “fair” tax and the “flat” tax would be most appropriate. The “fair” tax is a consumption tax, and the “flat” tax is an income tax.

My ten guiding principles:

1. A balanced budget (as required by a Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution), unless we are at war. (Going to war requires an Act of Congress as stated in the Constitution and not a Presidential excursion permitted under the War Powers Act).

2. Everyone has “skin in the game” (i.e., everyone pays some taxes – see the single exception below).

3. Tax both income (employing a single tax rate – a Flat Tax) and spending (the FairTax Plan – although modified as appropriate because there will be two forms of taxation instead of only one). The “consumption tax,” I believe, is important to tax the “hidden economy” and income tax “dodgers.” I also propose that there be no income taxes on anyone whose earned income is below the poverty line. Also, if their earned income is below the poverty line they receive a refund for their “consumption” tax (i.e., those at the poverty line or below pay no federal taxes). The consumption tax can only be levied at the point of purchase. No Value Added Tax is permissible. There will be no issue about whether this tax proposal “explodes the budget deficit” or whether it “gives Congress free rein to increase expenditures.” The budget must balance.

4. All forms of Federal taxation are included under this single tax structure (i.e., no payroll taxes). Social security and Medicare taxes all fall under the term “taxes.” All “agency costs” must be considered in the federal budget. We will not add to our debt through federal agencies any longer. The American people will know what their government “costs” in my administration.

5. Reduce or eliminate taxes on saving and investing.

6. Reduce or eliminate corporate taxes.

7. No exemptions, no tax credits, no “nuttin,” as my sainted Mother would say. An exemption can be added but only by a super majority vote of both Houses of Congress, and of course, the budget must still balance.

8. Only the consumption tax can be raised if more money for new programs is necessary. The single income tax rate can never be raised or divided into “progressive” rates. This means that no politician can play one “constituency” against another. Every constituency will pay this tax. Thus every politician will face their electorate knowing they have increased everyone’s taxes.

9. Any increase in the consumption tax requires a super majority vote.

10. If these will not produce adequate revenue and no tax increase is deemed appropriate, then any deficit must be solved by reduced expenditures.

Footnote 2: Page 1 of 4 in the 1913 income tax form

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A most virulent advocate of limited immigration.

Let’s see if you can answer the following multiple choice question. Which one of the following groups strongly recommended highly restricted immigration policies:

a. The Republican Party

b. Neo-Nazis

c. Progressive Democrats of America

d. The Sierra Club

If you chose “d,” you are correct. I was unaware of the Sierra Club’s history of being virulently anti-immigrant. I suspect you are also.

[Source: Your Choice: A Green America, Or A Brown America, by Ann Coulter]

In a recent article, Ann Coulter outlines the history of the Sierra Club’s policies on immigration. To say that they were “against immigration” would be an understatement.

[From the Coulter article] In 1970, the club adopted a resolution complaining that the country’s growing population was polluting the “air, water and land” — to the point that “our very survival (is) threatened.” In 1978, the Sierra Club adopted a resolution urging Congress to “conduct a thorough examination of U.S. immigration laws,” noting that the United States, Canada and Australia were the only countries admitting “more than a handful of permanent immigrants.”

In 1980, the club dropped its promotion of birth control, in order to focus on immigration. “It is obvious,” the club said, “that the numbers of immigrants the United States accepts affects our population size and growth rate,” even more than “the number of children per family.” Again in 1989, the club’s Population Report expressly called for reducing the number of immigrants. In 1990, the club’s grassroots leaders voted overwhelmingly to launch a major national campaign on the immigration problem.

Hmm. Why is it that you (and I) are unaware of this history? It turns out that “altruism” can be subverted with CASH! Hedge fund billionaire David Gelbaum didn’t like the Sierra Club’s position on immigration. So, did he go to them with charts and graphs showing they were wrong? Not really. Instead he went with one small, simple piece of paper – a check for $100 million. However, the environmental group was required to never again oppose immigration, else it must return the “donation.”

The club said, “How dare you ask us to abandon our principles for money!” Oops, that’s not what happened. They said, “No problem,” and deposited that truly compelling “argument” on the “one small, simple piece of paper.”

So, if you didn’t get the correct answer on the multiple choice question it is because you haven’t heard that position from the “environmentalists” for 20 years or so.

Roy Filly

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Open borders.

Depending on how one counts Taiwan, there are either 196 or 195 sovereign nations on Planet Earth. When one looks at a map one sees lines around various parcels of the planet. Those little lines are typically defended by armies and navies.

Do any of those 196 (or 195) nations have truly open borders. The answer is a RESOUNDING “NO!” Why is that, ask you? And why not, ask the liberals?

It is interesting that liberals (progressives) are typically also statists. Yet they ask why we shouldn’t have open borders. The answer is simple enough. With open borders there would be no “State” for them to support as “statists.”

[Source: Are there countries with open borders where citizens can come and go freely, and visitors doing the same including working and settling down? Answer by John Burgess, Former US diplomat with experience primarily in the Middle East]

Among the powers of any sovereign state – and certainly one of its most important – is to determine who is a citizen of that state. While it is true that nations vary in their methodology, there are no countries that have fully open and free borders. None! 

This constitutes one of the very few things upon which every nation on Earth agrees!

Progressive/statist/altruists espouse open borders. But such a policy is inimical even to their distorted notions of “state.” Let’s say anyone can move into the United States and have the rights of citizenship – including voting. Progressive/statist/altruists look at the current milieu of illegal immigration and like what they see. Why? Because they believe these “immigrants” will support their socialist, redistributive goals.

The most basic concern of any nation is that some large country, with politics inimical to its own, could simply shift a large number of its population to the target state and take over its political process. The states are particularly concerned about those who seek to permanently immigrate and have devised complicated control measures.
It doesn’t take much imagination to think what would happen if, for example, China decided to send tens of millions of their citizens to the United States. The electoral process, as we have known it, would collapse.

The closest thing to “open borders” is the European Union (EU). Most countries in the EU have signed the Schengen Agreement. This agreement allows people living in countries which have signed the agreement to travel freely (without visas) to other countries that have signed the agreement. Thus, the EU can be thought of as one “country.” However, the EU requires visas for travelers from outside that region.

The circumstance in the EU is similar to Americans traveling state to state without visas.

Arguments for controlled borders and against open borders are as follows:

  1. Controlled borders encourage responsible policies in relation to population and birth rates for countries by preventing high population and high birth rate countries from disgorging their people onto other low population and low birth rate countries.
  2. Open borders can be a threat to security and public safety. The threats to security and public safety can sometimes last many decades after the initial immigration. The Mariel boatlift was a mass emigration of Cubans in 1980. Nearly 3000 of the refugees were classified as serious or violent criminals.
  3. Open borders can lead to infrastructure deficit in a country. This occurs when large scale migration occurs but the infrastructure to support that migration does not get built.
  4. As these “immigrants” often are the poorest they require social services that then deny these needed services for nation’s poor citizens.

Roy Filly

 

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Politics in cartoon form.

Want to have a great day? Close your eyes and think, “Obama is no longer the president and Hillary did not replace him!”

Kim Jong-un is out of his league.

Hello, ISIS!

Roy Filly

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Follow up to the unwed mother problem in our black American communities.

Altruism: a concern for the welfare of others.

Hell isn’t merely paved with good intentions, it is walled and roofed with them.

Aldous Huxley

The evil that is in the world almost always comes of ignorance, and good intentions may do as much harm as malevolence if they lack understanding.

Albert Camus

A key to the mentality of the left is that it judges itself by its best intentions and judges its opponents by their worst deeds.

David Horowitz

Ask any Democrat, “Why is black American poverty greater than white American poverty” and you will get a unanimous and resounding answer, RACISM!” No one doubts that there is an element of residual racism in our nation or any nation. But using this as an explanation of differences between black and white Americans is literally nonsensical and insulting to our current black citizens and those that came before them.

Last week I posted a Prager University video by Larry Elder entitled “Black fathers matter.” In it he presented a compelling case that our altruistic welfare state was, in fact, counter productive. It resulted in more rather than less poverty among black Americans.

The following statistic puts a hole in the Democrat Party explanation for poverty among black Americans – a hole big enough through which to drive a Caterpillar earthmover.

[Source: Worse than racists, by Walter E. Williams]

[From the Williams article] The poverty rate among blacks is about 30 percent. It’s seen as politically correct to blame today’s poverty on racial discrimination, but that’s nonsense. Why? The poverty rate among black intact husband-and-wife families has been in the single digits for more than two decades. Does one want to argue that racists discriminate against female-headed families but not husband-and-wife families?

These additional statistics document the remarkable accomplishments of black Americans and should reshape Democrat liberal/altruist thinking – but data never influences liberals.

[From the Williams article] As a group, black Americans have made the greatest gains — over some of the highest hurdles and in a very short span of time — of any racial group in mankind’s history. What’s the evidence? If one totaled up the earnings of black Americans and considered us as a separate nation with our own gross domestic product, we would rank among the 20 richest nations.

What is the most altruistic program that the left has undertaken? Don’t guess. I’m going to give you the answer. It is Linden Johnson’s Great Society – specifically the War on Poverty. The left points at “selfish” conservatives (I guess they mean me) and ask, “Would you let the poor, the elderly, and children starve in the streets?”  In no other arena has the altruist/progressive/statist had more success in redirecting American taxpayer money to address a “social” issue of great importance to them. The Johnson administration’s Great Society programs were heavily directed at helping “the poor.” The tab for that help is variously reported but is somewhere around $20 trillion. It is well to remember that our national debt is only $19 trillion. In other words, without the Great Society Programs for the poor, we would have NO NATIONAL DEBT and NO DEBT CRISIS. Even without the War on Poverty American taxpayers would still have given the “poor” somewhere between $1 and $4.5 trillion (that’s trillion with a “T”).

Statistics to think about when evaluating the “success” of liberal programs to “help” black Americans” (recall that the Great Society programs started in the mid 60s):

  • Between 1970 and today, the number of black elected officials skyrocketed from fewer than 1,500 to more than 9,000, but black poverty has remained roughly the same.
  • Between 1940 and 1960, when black political power was virtually nonexistent, the black poverty rate fell from 87 percent to 47 percent.
  • In 1950, 72 percent of all black men and 81 percent of black women had been married.
  • Every census from 1890 to 1950 showed that black labor force participation rates were higher than those of whites.
  • Prior to the 1960’s the unemployment rate for black 16 and 17-year olds was under 10 percent.
  • Before 1960, the number of teenage pregnancies had been decreasing; both poverty and dependency were declining, and black income was rising in both absolute and relative terms to white income.
  • In 1965, 76.4 percent of black children were born to married women.
  • Between 1960 and 1964, blacks were rising into professional and other high-level positions at a rate greater than the five years following passage of the Civil Rights Act.

The above data preceded the Civil Rights Act when Jim Crowe Laws were in full force in many states. What happened after the Great Society and the War on Poverty with all of its welfare programs were instituted? (And, of course, I am not justifying these racist laws, but just highlighting the ability of black Americans to succeed despite such draconian impediments. But one needs to explain why our black citizens lost ground after their repeal.) Here are some facts.

  • Since the 1960s the black labor force participation rates have been lower than whites and unemployment rates for black 16 and 17 year olds has never dropped below 20 percent.
  • By 1992, 54 percent-of all black children were living only with their mothers.
  • In the 1980s and 90s, an absolute majority of those black families with no husband present lived in poverty.
  • By the 2000s, 75% of blacks with a high-school degree or some college were not married.
  • In 2005, Black people accounted for 13% of the total U.S. population yet they were the victims of 49% of all the nation’s murders; and 93% of black murder victims were killed by other black people.
  • Currently, greater than 70% of black children are born to unmarried mothers.
  • Today, black males between the ages of 14 and 17 commit homicide at ten times the rate of white and Hispanic males of the same age combined.
  • In many urban areas, the black illegitimacy rate is well over 80 percent.

It will be an everlasting scar on the soul of our Nation that 500,000 black Africans were brought to the United States in slave ships. But that is a scar and not an ongoing festering wound. That group who endured so much pain can look down from heaven with great pride. They were the seed of the American black population; a population that now exceeds 39,000,000 free Americans. American blacks are more numerous than the populations of Uganda, Sudan, Ghana, Mozambique, Ivory Coast, Angola, Cameroon, Niger, Mali, Malawi, Zambia, Senegal, Zimbabwe, Chad, Guinea, Rwanda, South Sudan, Benin, Somalia, Burundi, Togo, Sierra Leone, the Central African Republic and the list goes on.

The average black American employed in a full-time job earns $32, 021 per year. Compared to black African nations in western Africa where any racial inequality would befall non-blacks we can look at the eight countries in the region that are members of the West Africa Economy and Monetary Union (Benin, Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Niger, Senegal and Togo). These nations share a common currency, a common central bank, a development bank, a regional stock exchange and a common banking regulator. The average yearly income in West Africa is $309.

Thus, a black American earns more than 100 times that of a black West African. Analyzed data from the U.S. National Vital Statistics System, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, shows that the life expectancy at birth for non-Hispanic black men has risen from 68.8 to 70.8 years and for non-Hispanic white men rose from 75.3 to 76.2 years. These new statistics lowered the differences in the average lifespans for the groups from 6.5 years to 5.4 years. Thus, black Americans are advancing more rapidly than white Americans in longevity. By contrast, the life expectancy for blacks in Africa is lower in every nation than for black Americans and as low as 46.5 years in Sierra Leone.

Liberal/progressive/statists score everything based upon the amount of money we are spending. Ergo, the candidate proposing more spending is correct. The candidate that attributes the failure of a project due to a lack of sufficient spending is correct. The candidate that decries cutting spending is correct. The candidate that would never cut a program that serves “poor” Americans is correct. The candidate that espouses spending more for central government planning and execution is correct. I challenge you to find a Democrat candidate that is an exception to these statements.

The data shows the wrong-mindedness of liberal thinking!

Roy Filly

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A brief history of “Buy American” and “America First.”

The president of the United Auto Workers union (UAW) declared that the “Buy American” movement is back. As well, he praised President Trump for criticizing outsourcing and reiterated his call for the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement – a Trump policy promise. Importantly, the UAW backs Democrats at the ballot box almost exclusively. (An internal study showed 59% of its members voted for Hillary Clinton, while only 33% voted for Trump.) This may change in 2020.

As I have stated many times, I believe in free trade. Mr. Trump has been pilloried by both Democrats and Republicans for being so “moronic” to suggest that free trade policies should be abandoned. My reading of his words is that “free trade” is only “free” when it is also “fair trade.” While I still favor “free trade,” I must admit to many times in the past score of years thinking “we just got screwed on that deal.”

In his inaugural address our President said he was instituting a new era of “America First” and today we are seeing a “Buy American” campaign beginning. These are not remotely “new” notions and Mr. Trump’s is far from the first American Presidential administration to push these policies.

[Sources: ‘America First’ Is Not a Threat but a Promise, by Michael Barone; Wikipedia on “Buy American“]

“America First” was the name of a bipartisan organization spearheaded (but not founded) by Charles Lindbergh, one of the most popular and heroic figures of that era. The group was opposed to US entry into World War II (the group disbanded after one year when Japan attacked Pearl Harbor). However, it was one of the largest anti-war organizations in US history with membership peaking at 800.000 and 450 chapters. It boasted some famous members: future president Gerald Ford and future U.S. Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart. Future President John F. Kennedy donated $100 along with a note saying, “What you are doing is vital.”

Similarly, “Buy American” was actually passed into law back in 1933 (the Buy American Act) and required the United States government to prefer U.S.-made products in its purchases. Fifty years later another law was passed called the Buy America Act (note the subtle name difference). This law required mass transportation projects funded in any part by the federal government to purchase US made products.

I am not taking a “pro” or “con” position on these issues. Personally, I’d like to see if they gain traction. In such matters I submit to the will of the American people – just as Democrats should submit to the will of the American people when they spoke on November 8, 2016.

Roy Filly

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Jokes of the day.

As Thomas Jefferson once advised us, “Honesty is the first chapter in the Book of Wisdom.”

During the previous very debilitating California drought (1986 – 1992) the government had an advertisement – it was actually reasonably funny. They told Californians to flush their toilets less often. The slogan was, “yellow is mellow, brown is down.” It is more applicable today!

Will the lame-stream media ever tumble to the real cover up?

How to “keep it legal.” Find a friendly judge!

Too perfect!

And one last one.

Roy Filly

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I fear for the future of our black American communities.

The statistics are unassailable. Not even President Obama disagreed. Liberal policies toward “the poor” sound altruistic. But, sadly, their effects are often exactly the opposite of what was intended. In the following video from Prager University this will be all too apparent.

The War on Poverty did not effect the poverty rate. It did however spend vast amounts of money (literally it spent more than the current national debt) and resulted in a cadre of Americans who may never find their way out of dependency.

And thanks to CAG for sending this to me.

Roy Filly

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Off by “just a smidge…”

You likely have heard that an audit of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) by the Inspector General found a few small errors totaling… be sure you are sitting down… $520 billion (yes that is with a “B”).

The blogosphere gave Dr. Carson credit. Snopes went nuts and documented that the audit started before his confirmation as if who to credit is more important than THE FACT THERE WAS A $520 BILLION ERROR! And, by the by, the error was NOT IN YOUR FAVOR! (I’m definitely beginning to believe the rumors that Snopes is a left-wing shill.)

The errors occurred over 2015 and 2016. The report was “ready” in November. You remember November. It was time to vote for the new president. Strange that the report WASN’T ISSUED OR LEAKED BEFORE THE ELECTION. I think the Russians were hiding it!

Snopes says the following: The total dollar figure noted in the report — roughly $520 billion — is undeniably a very large amount of money (equivalent to approximately 13% of the entire 2015 federal budget). But the OIG report explains that figure was the absolute value of all numeric corrections made to HUD financial records, meaning all numeric adjustments… were added to create that aggregate figure.

Snopes position seems to indicate that “it’s OK” that the Obama administration “accountants” made this unbelievable total of errors because the errors could be in either direction? They said: A simple analogy would be to consider a bookkeeper who mistakenly entered the same $1,000 payment into a ledger six times: the aggregate value of those mistakes would be $5,000, but that would not mean the hapless bookkeeper actually “found” and/or “lost” $5,000 in real funds.

Let’s do a little math. I will take Snopes at their word and use their example – the same $1,000 payment into a ledger six times. That means that for a $1000 error there were six erroneous entries in HUD’s books. That calculates to 3.12 TRILLION bad entries!!!!!!!!! Allow me to say that again – 3.12 TRILLION MISTAKES (520,000,000,000 divided by 1000 = 520,000,000 $1000 mistakes times 6 bad entries for the $1000 mistake).

A little more math fun: there are 31,557,600 seconds per year. That calculates to more than 100,000 journal entry errors per second. Did Susan Rice hire these accountants?

Snopes’ attempted explanation of why these massive errors “weren’t that bad” makes the word “ludicrous” sound like a compliment! Even if the accountants were using the Sunway TaihuLight super computer (world’s fastest computer) and programmed it specifically TO MAKE MISTAKES, they probably couldn’t make 100,000 errors per second!

Roy Filly

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