Have nothing to do with the [evil] things that people do, things that belong to the darkness. Instead, bring them out to the light... [For] when all things are brought out into the light, then their true nature is clearly revealed...

-Ephesians 5:11-13

Tag Archives: Entitlements

Disincentives Cut Food Stamp Use

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, July 24, 2017: 

The latest report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) over SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) reveals a sharp drop in participation in the program, touching lows not seen since before 2010. In 2016, 44 million Americans and immigrants (legal and illegal) took advantage of taxpayers’ largess, costing $71 billion. In 2010, there were 47 million receiving SNAP benefits, costing taxpayers closer to $80 billion.

The program, which began in 1969, has virtually exploded, from just two million that year (costing taxpayers a paltry $250 million) to a peak of 47.6 million in 2013, which cost taxpayers $79.9 billion.

Part of the decline is fueled by illegal immigrants fearing deportation if

Keep Reading…

Food Stamp Dependency Dropping

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Monday, July 24, 2017:

English: Logo of the .

In its report released last week the USDA reported that SNAP – the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, the old food stamp program – is shrinking, a little. In 2016, 44 million Americans and immigrants (legal and illegal) took advantage of taxpayers’ largess, costing them $71 billion. In 2010, there were 47 million receiving SNAP benefits costing taxpayers closer to $80 billion.

The program, which began in 1969, has virtually exploded, from just 2.9 million beneficiaries that year (costing taxpayers a paltry $250 million) to a peak of 47.6 million in 2013, which cost taxpayers $79.9 billion.

Part of the shrinkage is due to

Keep Reading…

Puerto Rico’s Vote for Statehood Means Nothing

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, June 12, 2017:

Despite 97 percent of Puerto Ricans voting for statehood in Sunday’s plebescite, the chances of adding the island as the country’s 51st state are between slim and none.

The island’s voters had three choices on Sunday’s ballot: Stay as a U.S. territory, move ahead with statehood, or seek full independence as a sovereign nation. This is the fifth vote on the issue since 1967, with the first three failing to gain a majority vote for statehood. That majority is required for the U.S. Congress to consider it. The fourth vote was marred by some 500,000 voters boycotting it to protest the ballot allegedly being rigged in favor of statehood.

The chances this time aren’t any better.

Keep Reading…

Trump’s Regulatory Executive Order: One In, Two Out

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, January 30, 2017:

Official Portrait of President Ronald Reagan

White House officials described President Donald Trump’s Executive Order for “Reducing Government Regulations and Controlling Regulatory Cost” as Trump’s “one in, two out” plan: For every regulation promulgated by a federal agency, that agency must “identify” two existing regulations to be targeted for extinction.

The order also sets a cap of $0 for the cost of new regulations, with the only exceptions being military and national security regulations. The president said when signing the order,

Keep Reading…

Obama Goes on Offense, Wants to Spend Even More

This first appeared at The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Monday, February 2, 2015:

English: Obama speaks at American University.

Taking a page not only out of the Super Bowl on Sunday, but also out of the statistical study proving that offense is more effective in winning than defense, Obama is offering a grievously offensive and logically indefensible budget for 2016 today (Monday, 2/2/15). His proposal is morally offensive in that he proposes to take money earned by some and give it to others. It is logically flawed in that it will increase deficits each year for the next ten years, adding yet another $6 trillion to the $18 trillion already extant (up from the $10 trillion when he took office in 2008). It will limit job growth, stifle innovation, keep tax lawyers and accountants busy into eternity, and do nothing for his favorite target: the beleaguered middle class.

None of that matters. It’s all for show and to keep the Republicans on the defensive by couching his proposal in terms that only progressives could love:

Keep Reading…

Obama Budget Proposal Designed to “Challenge” Republican Congress

This article first appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, February 2, 2015:

On the day after Super Bowl Sunday, President Obama, knowing that an offensive strategy most likely wins the game while a purely defensive strategy guarantees losing it, is challenging the new Republican-controlled Congress with his offensive 2016 budget proposal starting October 1. He is daring them to play defense without appearing to favor the ultra-rich, so-called trust-fund babies, and corporations parking billions in earnings abroad to avoid high rates of corporate taxation here.

Besides, in a preview of this strategy on Saturday during his radio address, the president said he thinks

Keep Reading…

The New Third Rail: Cutting Government Spending

This article was first published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Monday, July 14, 2014:

 

Historical government spending in the United S...

Historical government spending in the United States from 1902 to 2010

Back in February the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimated that the deficit for the 2014 fiscal year would be $514 billion, or about 3 percent of the total economic output of the country. Since this was a nearly 27 percent drop from last year, the implication is that all is well, nothing to see here, move along please. After all, the perception has been that the White House has been spending money faster than at any time in history, running up deficits and the national debt to staggering levels. Half a trillion? Is that all? Pocket change!

Greg Valliere, the chief political strategist for the Potomac Research Group, said at the time that this guaranteed that there would be no pressure for any sort of entitlement reform this year. Jack Lew, Obama’s Treasury Secretary, said the numbers bought some time: “We have a little time to deal with the long term.”

Last week both the White House and the CBO revised downward even further the expected deficit, with Obama taking full credit for the result:

Keep Reading…

The Modern German Economic Model is a Myth – revised and updated

Dessau, a small and steadily shrinking town in the German state of Saxony-Anhalt in what used to be East Germany, is doing the best it can. Ten years after the fall of the Berlin Wall the anticipated “miracle” enjoyed by West Germany following World War II failed to materialize for Dessau and so it is in the process of demolishing some 10,000 empty homes and

Keep Reading…

The Modern German Economic Model is a Myth

Dessau, a small and steadily shrinking town in the German state of Saxony-Anhalt in what used to be East Germany, is doing the best it can. Ten years after the fall of the Berlin Wall the anticipated “miracle” enjoyed by West Germany following World War II failed to materialize for Dessau and so it is in the process of

Keep Reading…

The Gloomy Report from the CBO is Too Optimistic

On its face the latest report from the Congressional Budget Office is gloomy enough, but careful sifting through it reveals

Keep Reading…

An informed Canadian’s perspective on our Great Recession

Once in a while it takes a foreign perspective – a view from abroad (or at least across the border) – to explain how things happened. Pierre Poilievre is a Canadian politician who spoke to his colleagues about what happened in the US and how to avoid doing the same thing there.

First

Keep Reading…

She sees the speck but can’t see the plank.

Diana Furchtgott-Roth is a fellow at the Hudson Institute, a Washington think-tank funded by the likes of Monsanto, Archer Daniels Midland, ConAgra Foods, DuPont and Fannie Mae. So I take her to be sympathetic to

Keep Reading…

Memo to GOP: No Debt Ceiling Increase Without Spending Cuts

Dancing On The Debt Ceiling by Brianna C George

Dancing On The Debt Ceiling by Brianna C George (Photo credit: brianna.george)

The Conservative Action Project, chaired by former Attorney General Edwin Meese, sent a “Memo for the Movement” to House GOP leaders meeting in Williamsburg, urging them not to raise the debt ceiling unless cuts in government spending were included. More than 100 conservative leaders signed the memo, including Chris Chocola, President of the Club for Growth, Penny Nance, President of Concerned Women for America, and Tim Phillips, President of Americans for Prosperity.

It took just 518 days for deficit spending to reach the debt ceiling which was raised in the summer of 2011 midst acrimony and disagreement. That debt ceiling crisis was triggered in May, 2011, when the House voted down a “clean” debt ceiling bill – one without conditions – by a vote of 318 to 97. The Republicans wanted to use the debt ceiling issue as leverage to get the Obama administration to agree to spending cuts on entitlements (and no increases in taxes) to begin to close the deficit and to address the long-term issue of the country’s accelerating national debt. After two months of wrangling, a last-minute deal was reached and the

Keep Reading…

Fiscal Cliff Funny Numbers: Taxpayers Pay More Yet Deficits Rise

Uncle Sam is Broke

Uncle Sam is Broke (Photo credit: Infrogmation)

Now that the House of Representatives has virtually rubber-stamped the Senate bill to avoid going over the fiscal cliff – the so-called American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 (ATRA) – which President Obama is expected to sign shortly, commentators have been working feverishly to determine exactly what is in the 157-page bill that no one had time to read before being rushed to completion at the very last minute.

The analysis by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) measured the impact of ATRA against its baseline assumption that the congress would do nothing and let all the pieces and parts of the fiscal cliff occur automatically. In that baseline, annual government deficits would have been cut in half, from $1.1 trillion to about $640 trillion. But under the new law, the national debt will increase by

Keep Reading…

Don’t Tax Me; Don’t Tax Thee; Tax That Fellow Behind the Tree!

Tax

Tax (Photo credit: Tax Credits)

So said Russell Long, the Senator from Louisiana who served 39 years and whom the Wall Street Journal once called “the fourth branch of government,” so great was his influence. He got it right. The citizens are so dependent upon their government goodies that the entire discussion in Washington over the fiscal cliff is about increasing taxes and not cutting spending. The writer at Marketwatch.com got it exactly right:

As lawmakers negotiate to avoid the so-called fiscal cliff, the combination of tax increases and spending cuts that are due to take place on Jan.1, 2013, the silence on spending cuts is deafening. (my emphasis)

Some Republicans have tried, by outlining various cuts in spending that would bring the budget back to 2008 levels. But no one is listening:

House Republicans, both in the budget committee and in the Republican Study Committee, have outlined potential cuts that will bring spending back down to 2008 pre-recession levels. However, all Washington negotiators can do is talk about raising taxes, or not, and how much revenue can come from limiting deductions on one hand and economic growth on the other.

She says that Washington considers spending cuts as “poisonous.” We’ve heard this before. Cuts to Social Security was considered for years to be the third rail in politics: touch it and you die. George Bush trotted out a plan to modify Social Security with private accounts. Remember them? Didn’t think so. Down the memory hole.

Biden can’t believe the Republicans even want to

Keep Reading…

Dependence on Government Continues to Grow

Sheople Man

Sheeple (Photo credit: AZRainman)

The Heritage Foundation just published its latest report on its “Index of Dependence on Government” and it doesn’t look good: Romney was right, there are more riders in the boat than pullers at the oars:

The Index of Dependence on Government, which measures dependence on government  programs for housing, food, income, student aid, or other assistance, has risen dramatically since 2007.

If you click on the link above you’ll see their graph. It’s exponential. Not only is it rising, it’s rising at an increasingly rapid rate. As Herb Stein says, if something can’t continue, it will stop.

Here is a restatement of the graph from Heritage:

 The updated Index reveals:

  • Government dependency jumped 3.28 percent in 2011, with the largest increases in higher education loans and grants and in retirement spending.
  • This is the fourth year in a row that the Index has risen, rising 31.73 percent in that time.
  • At the same time, nearly half of the U.S. population (48.47 percent) does not pay any federal income taxes.

This is why the welfare state is so destructive. It removes personal responsibility from individuals who then become more like

Keep Reading…

Taxmageddon Only Part of the Problem

Explosion

Explosion (Photo credit: Freidwall)

The Heritage Foundation went to the trouble of calculating exactly what will happen to the tax liabilities of taxpayers if Taxmageddon stays in place after the first of the year. Accordingly to Amy Payne, “Taxmageddon” is the

horrifying combination of expiring pro-growth tax policies from 2001 and 2003, the end of the once-temporary payroll tax cut, and just a few of Obamacare’s 18 new tax hikes…

Taxmageddon will be the largest tax increase EVER to hit Americans. It’s nearly $500 billion in one year, starting January 1. That’s two months away.

Here is Heritage’s breakdown of Taxmageddon’s impact on Americans:

  • Families with an average income of $70,662: tax increase of $4,138
  • Baby boomers with an average income of $95,099: tax increase of   $4,223
  • Low-income workers with an average income of $24,757: tax increase of $1,207
  • Millennials with an average income of $23,917: tax increase of $1,099
  • Retirees with an average income of $42,553: tax increase of $857

But even this fails to measure the real impact of Taxmageddon starting January 1. It’s that most of the tax increases will be borne by s

Keep Reading…

The Entitlement Society: Caviar with Chains

Cropped screenshot of Charlton Heston from the...

Cropped screenshot of Charlton Heston from the trailer for the film The Ten Commandments. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Pastor Chuck Baldwin nails it: the entitlement society destroys morality. We are enjoying the fruits of the Stockholm Syndrome which is where the prisoners fall in love with their captors.

As a preacher, Baldwin can’t resist the temptation to reach into Scriptures to tell us that we’ve been here before:

There is an Old Testament story that parallels with what is going on in America today. The story is found in Numbers chapter 11. God had delivered His people from great bondage. They witnessed His mighty hand of power and deliverance in defeating their oppressors and leading them toward a land of promise and liberty. He even dropped “angels’ food” (called manna) from Heaven to sustain them.

But after being delivered from bondage, they began to yearn for a return to Egypt. In verse 5 of that chapter, the people are recorded as complaining, “We remember the fish, which we did eat in Egypt freely; the cucumbers, and the melons, and the leeks, and the onions, and the garlick.” (KJV)

Return us to slavery! At least then we have security and predictability and someone else providing for us. This eliminates our need to

Keep Reading…

Hyperinflation in Iran – is US Next?

Iranian rial

Iranian rial (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Once again I am indebted to Gary North for an article to his members only for an insightful discussion of the hyperinflation going on in Iran. Indirectly, he paints the picture for what will inevitably happen here.

For the record, I pay him $9.95 a month for his daily insights, and I’m glad to do it. I think it’s the bargain of the year. He has thousands of subscribers, so it works well for him too. I recommend that you consider signing up as well. How he writes four insightful articles every day is beyond my comprehension.

Back to Iran: North quotes Steve Hanke at Cato (you can get his article for free!):

Since the U.S. and E.U. first enacted sanctions against Iran, in 2010, the value of the Iranian rial (IRR) has plummeted, imposing untold misery on the Iranian people. When a currency collapses, you can be certain that other economic metrics are moving in a negative direction, too. Indeed, using new data from Iran’s foreign-exchange black market, I estimate that Iran’s monthly inflation rate has reached 69.6%. With a monthly inflation rate this high (over 50%), Iran is undoubtedly experiencing hyperinflation.

The Iranian government is destroying the currency and hence the economy. And from there, the government itself. North thinks if the Israelis wait long enough, they won’t have to

Keep Reading…

National Review Doesn’t Speak For Me

Arthur C. Brooks – Why the Stimulus Failed

Ask most Americans about the big-spending government policies of the last few years, and they will tell you the programs have failed. In a February 2012 poll from the nonpartisan Pew Research Center, 66 percent of Americans said the federal government is having a negative impact on the way things are going in this country (versus 22 percent who say the impact is positive). A majority disapproves of the president’s 2009 stimulus, and according to a 2010 CNN poll, about three-quarters of Americans believe the money was mostly wasted.

National Review Covers Jan-Jun 2008

National Review Covers Jan-Jun 2008 (Photo credit: AlaskanLibrarian)

This, I agree with. I’m glad to see, according to the polls at least, that more and more Americans also agree: government stimuli didn’t stimulate.

What I disagree with is Brooks’ contention buried later on in the article about conservatives (I generally consider myself one, if defined properly) and safety nets:

Conservatives today understand the importance of a reliable safety net for the truly indigent and the necessity of dealing with certain market failures.

Further, there is universal support on the political right for opportunity-equalizing government policies, such as publicly funded education (ideally, administered for the benefit of children as opposed to rent-seeking bureaucrats and teachers’ unions).

Wow! I didn’t realize that I believed in and supported all these things! But this is National Review, the supposedly “conservative” voice of reason in today’s world.

The most reliable safety net in the world is…are you ready…the family. That’s why socialists the world over consider the family as the enemy of the state: everyone must be dependent on the state or else their socialist plans fail.

And “universal support” for “publicly funded education?” All I see is that the more that is spent by governments on such education is lower scores and more acceptance of big government on the part of the kids.

So somewhere along the way I got off the bus on “conservatism,” at least the style supported by National Review.

Many of the articles on Light from the Right first appeared on either The New American or the McAlvany Intelligence Advisor.