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1Sep/14Off

Why the Abortion Rate Is Declining

Over the most recent decade for which data are available (2001–2011), the overall U.S. abortion rate, calculated as the annual number of abortions per 1,000 women of childbearing age (15 to 44), has dropped, continuing a trend that first appeared in 1980. The decline has been steeper since 1990, with a brief plateau in the middle of the past decade. The 2011 rate for the nation is the lowest since 1973.

>>> The 2014 Index of Culture and Opportunity

Discussions of U.S. abortion trends must always be accompanied by caveats. The United States has an incomplete national abortion reporting system and what is published by government agencies is subject to wide variation regarding both content and time frames. The most comprehensive report, from the Guttmacher Institute, is not issued each year; is voluntary, like the national surveillance reports issued annually by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control; and is subject to omissions that, the authors acknowledge, make estimates necessary. Several U.S. jurisdictions with particularly permissive abortion laws, including California, Maryland, and New Hampshire, gather little or no official information.

Nonetheless, the overall direction of U.S. abortion practice is clear. A closer look at individual states that have consistent data confirms this trend. Between 2001 and 2011, the U.S. abortion rate, based on Guttmacher Institute data, declined by 19.1 percent from 20.9 abortions per 1,000 women ages 15 to 44, to 16.9 per 1,000, the lowest rate since 1973 when it was 16.3. Of the jurisdictions (including the District of Columbia) whose abortion facilities reported data to Guttmacher between 1999 and 2011, a total of 45 reported reductions in their abortion rates, while only five states— Connecticut, Maine, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia—reported increases. Overall, 33 states have abortion rates below the national average; 11 are consistently above the national norm, including California and New York.

ABORTIONS PER 1,000 WOMEN AGES 15–44

SR-culture-index-2014-abortion-747

Explanations for the long-term decline in U.S. abortions involve both impressionistic and medico-legal factors, each of which may be making a contribution. Michael New (2014) has shown that abortion laws like parental notification, Medicaid funding restrictions, and properly designed informed consent all reduce the incidence of abortion. At the same time, the Guttmacher Institute notes a recent increase in the use of long-lasting or fixed forms of family planning (e.g., intrauterine devices and injectables that have lower failure rates than alternative methods that are more subject to user error).

Perhaps more importantly, six of the 10 most recent Gallup polls (between May 2009 and May 2014) that examine the question have demonstrated that a majority of respondents self-identify as pro-life. That increase may be both cause and effect of parental decisions to respond to unexpected pregnancies by carrying the child to term. James Taranto of The Wall Street Journal has described this as the “Roe Effect”—the shift in the belief characteristics of a population where birth rates, while declining overall, show strong divergence between parents indisposed to abortion and parents for whom it is an acceptable response.

Nonetheless, the U.S. abortion rate continues to rank near the highest quartile among Western nations. Our laws are among the globe’s most permissive, and the continuation of a positive three-decade trend cannot be presumed.

This essay is from The Heritage Foundation’s 2014 Index of Culture and Opportunity.

The post Why the Abortion Rate Is Declining appeared first on Daily Signal.

1Sep/14Off

How Cities and Counties Can Free Workers from Bullying Unions

Under the National Labor Relations Act, states may pass right-to-work (RTW) laws. In jurisdictions without these laws, unions can force workers to pay dues (although they cannot force them to actually join the union). Almost half of all states have passed worker-friendly RTW laws to protect workers from union coercion.

What about the employees in the 26 states with no right-to-work law? Are they out of luck? Not quite.

In a new Heritage paper we conclude that cities and counties in non-right-to-work states have the authority to pass their own RTW ordinances. Many local city councils could protect the freedom of their workers by passing RTW ordinances. This would also attract employers since many businesses will not consider locating in places without a RTW law.

Unfortunately, many local government officials have simply assumed they cannot pass RTW laws. Labor law is complex, and many local officials instinctively avoid rocking the boat. Federal law overrides or “preempts” conflicting state or local laws, so local officials are often unduly afraid of lawsuit. And Section 14(b) of the National Labor Relations Act expressly authorizes states and territories to pass RTW while saying nothing about local governments. So many local government leaders assume Congress has prevented them from passing Right-to-Work.

But a closer look at the Congressional record shows Congress passed § 14(b) simply to make it clear the National Labor Relations Act does not override RTW laws. Back then only states had passed RTW laws so Congress only expressly authorized them. But §14(b) does not mean Congress prohibited local RTW laws. It might mean Congress decided not to regulate them at all. And it seems the U.S. Supreme Court has taken this view:

“[A] section, which later became 14 (b), appeared in the House bill – a provision described in the House Report as making clear and unambiguous the purpose of Congress not to preempt the field. That purpose was restated by the House Conference Report in explaining 14(b). Senator Taft in the Senate debates stated that 14 (b) was to continue the policy of the Wagner Act and avoid federal interference with state laws in this field.”

In our federal system, courts interpreting federal law apply a presumption against preemption “unless that was the clear and manifest purpose of Congress.” And, in context, it would seem strange to interpret a provision meant to support state RTW laws as clearly prohibiting local ones.

Of course many cities and counties have no authority to regulate unions, no matter what federal law allows. Local governments have only the powers the state gives them. If a state does not permit its counties to pass labor regulations then they can’t pass right-to-work laws.

However, many non-RTW states—like Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Kentucky—have “charter” or “home rule” localities. Such cities and counties can pass any law the state legislature has not said they cannot, including right-to-work laws. Further, regular counties can usually vote to become charter counties.

If you’re a local activist and you think you can’t influence national politics, and you even think you can’t influence state politics, one thing you can do is read up on RTW. Your local government might be able to improve your community in this area of the law, and you might be able to help out.

The post How Cities and Counties Can Free Workers from Bullying Unions appeared first on Daily Signal.

1Sep/14Off

Why ‘Holly Hobby Lobby’ Changed Her Mind About Owning Guns

Holly Fisher, a mom of three from West Virginia, never thought she would be a gun owner. But when her husband joined the military in 2006, that all changed.

Now, almost 10 years later, Fisher calls herself an avid supporter of the Second Amendment.

She has attracted some fierce critics for posting photos of herself holding legal firearms, including a pink handgun. She is unapologetic.

“My husband fought for those rights,” she told The Daily Signal.

>>>Tolerant Left? ‘Holly Hobby Lobby’ Vulgarly Attacked on Twitter

This summer, after using Twitter to showcase her pro-life position and support for the Supreme Court’s June 30 Hobby Lobby decision, Fisher became notorious for her outspoken conservative views, garnering almost 50,000 followers and the nickname “Holly Hobby Lobby.”

Her husband, David Fisher, a veteran of the war in Afghanistan, served with the Army’s 4-23 Infantry Division.

A native of Charleston, W. Va., Holly grew up  attending the same church as her future husband.

The couple got married in 2006, when David was in basic training. Later that year, he was deployed to Washington state. They packed up their lives to move across the country.

At first, Holly was “absolutely” against keeping a pistol in the house, she told The Daily Signal during an exclusive interview while in Washington last week to speak at the Bloggers Briefing at The Heritage Foundation.

“I thought we were going to accidently shoot ourselves,” she said.

But after living on the West Coast with no family or friends, Holly agreed to go to the range with her husband. She was 22.

Holly recalled:

I hesitated for several minutes before pulling the trigger the first time, but after I did, I learned more and more, and started realizing guns aren’t scary.

What changed her mind, she said, was learning how to safely store and use a gun.

“Education is key,” David said.

“A vehicle is a dangerous tool if you don’t know how to use it properly.”

>>> What ‘Holly Hobby Lobby’ Has Learned, and Her Next Move

Today, Holly and David own firearms ranging from handguns to semi-automatic rifles.

“My favorites are the AR-15 and the .40-calibre handgun,” Holly said.

David bought the couple a safe that requires their thumbprints to open.

“That’s the only way you can get into our guns,” Holly said. “With our thumbprints.”

Although some of her online detractors tell Holly it’s irresponsible to own guns when the Fishers have small children, she said the firearms gave her the peace of mind and protection she needed while her husband was serving in Afghanistan.

Jenna (8/10/11), Norah (8/14/13), and Ruston (9/15/09)

The Fisher kids: Jenna (8/10/11), Norah (8/14/13), and Ruston (9/15/09)

“I think it’s irresponsible to not have guns in your house when you have kids. because it is your job to protect your kids,” she said, adding:

I hope the need never arises for me to use my gun on an intruder or someone trying to harm my family, but I’m prepared, I’m ready and I know how to do it.

The post Why ‘Holly Hobby Lobby’ Changed Her Mind About Owning Guns appeared first on Daily Signal.

1Sep/14Off

Taxpayers Shouldn’t Have to Support Leftist Foreign Policy Centers at Universities

The foreign crises that have challenged the Obama Administration this summer are not the result of a happenstance outbreak of global chaos, but of bad policy choices. From the Middle East to our own border to the Eurasian steppe, President Obama’s “lead from behind” chickens—his wanton abandonment of America’s leadership role—have come home to roost.

Obama, alas, is not alone in spurning American influence and power, or traditional support for world actors like Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who identify with American values. Standing behind him is an entire philosophical and theoretical framework, born in academia,that guides his actions. In other words, as American Enterprise Institute’s Michael Rubin wrote in Commentary regarding one of the crises, Obama,

“embraced poli­cies widely supported by the academics and diplo­mats never mind that those policies completely mis­understand the realities of international relations. … The culture that has led Obama to fail completely in his assessment of Vladimir Putin isn’t going to end in 2016, when Obama exits the White House.”

Given that the academic problem is pervasive and that Rubin’s right that the culture will not end in 2017, we must look for systematic solutions. One modest but easy step is to cut off funding for Title VI of the Higher Education Act, which subsidizes area studies centers at universities throughout the country. This Heritage has decided to call for, and our rational can be found here.

>>> First Look: Mike Gonzalez’s ‘A Race for the Future: How Conservatives Can Break the Liberal Monopoly on Hispanic Americans’

Title VI is but one way that the tax payer subsidizes academic nuttiness. A much greater source for funding and support comes through the government-guaranteed loan program and through the accreditation system.

The area studies centers themselves are just one part of the problems at the academy, of course. The study of international affairs in general is steeped in an antipathy to American power that has become uber-influential with Obama, the president most beholden to the ideologies of the faculty lounge since Woodrow Wilson.

Sometimes this “blame America first” mentality displays such un-self-awareness that it can border on self-parody, as when Harvard lecturer Samantha Power in 2003 called for “instituting a policy of mea culpa” which would,

“enhance our credibility by showing that American decision-makers do not endorse the sins of their predecessors. When Willie Brandt went down on one knee in the Warsaw ghetto, his ges­ture was gratifying to World War II survivors.”

It’s less funny when you consider, however, that this is exactly the thinking that led six years later to Obama’s maiden “apology tour,” or that as recompense for her abject comparison of America’s actions to Nazi crimes, Power now represents our country as ambassador to the United Nations.

Cutting off funding to the 125 or so area studies at universities across the country won’t solve all this, to be sure, but the centers are themselves particularly egregious. For starters, they were set up in the 1950s and continue to be funded explicitly to meet “national needs.” For a while that worked, but consensus on what constituted national interest broke down in the 1960s.

Since then, the centers have progressively been taken over by what is known as “the left-over left.” The worst offenders have been the Middle East Centers, which in the 1970s came under the baleful influence of Columbia University professor Edward Said. As Martin Kramer wrote in Ivory Towers in 2002, Said “has crippled Middle Eastern studies to this day.”

Dissent from the reigning ideology was systematically stamped out. The discipline became systematically anti-Israel and so embarrassed about asking the right questions as to become blind to the threats we face as a society.

Together with Latin American centers and those from other areas, the centers became the entry points for ideologies inimical to our national interest, while failing to carry out the main task of academic work: truth discovery.

The cost of these centers to the U.S. tax payer is less than $100 million a year– almost a rounding error, we are aware. But federal funding has a powerful multiplier effect, as the universities then use government’s imprimatur to raise private money.

Ending Title VI will not fix the international fix we’re in at the moment. That will take time. But it’s an important first step.

The post Taxpayers Shouldn’t Have to Support Leftist Foreign Policy Centers at Universities appeared first on Daily Signal.

1Sep/14Off

State Supreme Court to Decide if Washington Will Allow Charter Schools

Washington state’s Supreme Court will determine whether charter schools will be allowed in the state. A hearing is scheduled in October.

The charter school law, approved by Washington state voters in 2012, allows for about 40 charter schools to open during the next five years. This fall, the private school First Place will be the first to serve students as a charter school. It already serves families in extreme poverty by offering  counseling, housing, advocacy and access to other resources.

If First Place can operate as a charter school, it could serve more students. A coalition of plaintiffs has sued the state of Washington, hoping to disallow schools such as First Place.

Seven other charter schools have been authorized and are expected to open in the fall 2015. All eight schools are geared toward underserved students who struggle in traditional schools, said Lisa Mcfarlane, spokesperson for Washington Charter Schools Association. The state’s charter law gives priority to schools serving at-risk students, she said.

In 2013, a coalition including the Washington Education Association, the League of Women Voters, El Centro de la Raza, the Washington Association of School Administrators and a few individuals sued the state in an attempt to overturn the charter-school law.

“We welcome that review,” Mcfarlane said, “because we’re confident the law will pass constitutional muster.” A trial court decision in Decemberupheld the substance of the law, knocking out one provision pertaining to construction funding, though none of the prospective charter school administrators had planned to use the construction funding.

Attorneys for the plaintiffs did not return calls for comment.
Read More on Watchdog.org.

The post State Supreme Court to Decide if Washington Will Allow Charter Schools appeared first on Daily Signal.

1Sep/14Off

Iowa Not Sure How Many People Got Extra Unemployment Benefits by Accident

DES MOINES, Iowa — Bureaucrats at Iowa Workforce Development admit they don’t know how many people were paid extra unemployment benefits in March, nor can they say whether any of the overpayments were handed back to the state.

Exactly 85 people contacted the agency to report receiving extra unemployment benefits, so IWD officials claim the computer problem that caused it to issue those benefits resulted in overpaying exactly 85 people.

But testifying under oath before the Iowa State Senate Government Oversight Committee recently, IWD Unemployment Insurance Division Administrator Michael Wilkinson and Regional Operations Manager David Eklund reluctantly conceded the agency doesn’t actually know how many people received extra benefits.

A computer problem prevented IWD from updating its list of qualified unemployment benefit recipients for the week ending March 8, so the agency used the previous week’s list instead, even though that meant benefits might be paid to people who didn’t request them.

An email written by Eklund, and obtained by the committee through an open records request, laid out the agency’s solution to the overpayment problem: Wait to see if anyone voluntarily returned the payments. “We can gladly accept their offer to return the benefits, with a ‘thank you,’” Eklund wrote in the email dated March 13. But Eklund admitted he didn’t know how many of the 85 people who contacted IWD actually returned the extra benefit.

“We didn’t force anyone to pay it back,” Eklund said.

“If an individual honestly asked me, ‘Do I have to pay this back,’ I was equally honest and told them they were not required,” Eklund explained.

“My fear, in essence, was that we would be penalizing the honest and rewarding the dishonest who did not come forward,” Eklund told the committee. “And to my own personal compass of fairness, that did not seem right.”

“I don’t even know what to think of what he said,” Sen. Janet Petersen, D-Des Moines, said. “I was surprised by that. Clearly it’s not the best way to administer the unemployment program.” Still, Wilkinson assured the committee it was legal. “The actions that we took were within the Iowa code, precedents and administrative rules,” Wilkinson said.

Petersen said the committee will to press IWD to provide more information. “Basically what we’ve found out today is that we don’t know how many people received an overpayment. And I believe IWD is trying to keep it that way.”

Read more at Watchdog.org.

The post Iowa Not Sure How Many People Got Extra Unemployment Benefits by Accident appeared first on Daily Signal.

1Sep/14Off

5 Charts That Explain Millennial Voters

The Cold War ended long ago, and according to one survey, it’s time for politicians to leave Cold War-era terms such as “big government,” “socialism” and “capitalism” behind. The reason: Such words mean little to the millennial generation, who came of age during the Great Recession.

The 18- to 29-year-old demographic played a crucial role in the 2008 and 2012 elections. These millennials were instrumental in electing Barack Obama to the presidency not once, but twice. In 2008, Obama won 66 percent of voting millennials; in 2012, he captured 67 percent.

Emily Ekins, polling director for Reason Foundation, says that had those ages 18 to 29 not voted in 2012, Republican nominee Mitt Romney would be in the White House.

Polling firms, marketers and politicians continue to have put millennials under the microscope to determine their political leanings and what drives them to the polls.

A recent survey by Reason-Rupe found that many millennials don’t understand the words “big government,” “socialism” and “capitalism” — language that emerged after World War II and during the Cold War. Generation Y, Ekins says, simply doesn’t extract much meaning from such terms.

Ekins discussed the importance to communicators of the findings of Reason-Rupe’s Spring 2014 Millennial Survey during last week’s Bloggers Briefing  at The Heritage Foundation.

Check out some key results of the poll in the five charts below:

1. Millennials say “capitalism” is a better economic system than “socialism” by only a small margin. However, when asked if they believe a free market economy is better than a government-managed one, the margin widens substantially.

(Chart: Reason-Rupe 2014 Millennial Survey)

(Chart: Reason-Rupe Spring 2014 Millennial Survey)

2. Millennials don’t quite know what “socialism” means.

Socialism Definition-1

3. Millennials say they prefer a “larger government” that provides more services. They don’t tend to think of “big government” leading to higher taxes and heavier regulation. Once the possibility of higher taxes to support a larger government is mentioned, though, millennials’ support shifts. 

(Chart: Reason-Rupe 2014 Millennial Survey)

(Chart: Reason-Rupe Spring 2014 Millennial Survey)

4. Under the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, the cost of health insurance increases for young people to subsidize the cost of health insurance for the elderly and less affluent. Millennials covered under their parents’ plans — they can remain so until 26 under Obamacare — support others helping pay to insure the uninsured. However, those paying for their own plans disagree.

Healthcare Chart

(Chart: Reason-Rupe Spring 2014 Millennial Survey)

5. Millennials are fiscal centrists and social liberals, Ekins says. On fiscal issues, millennials see themselves as closer to Republicans such as New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie than to President Obama, and are centrists. However, millennials rate themselves closer to liberal Democrats such as Obama on social issues.

(Chart: Reason-Rupe 2014 Millennial Survey)

(Chart: Reason-Rupe Spring 2014 Millennial Survey)

The post 5 Charts That Explain Millennial Voters appeared first on Daily Signal.

1Sep/14Off

Hispanic is the New Black

hispanicFor those who are loyal listeners to my radio show you know that am never afraid of taking on any issue. This administration and the entire Democratic Party have realized something most Black Liberals have not and that is that Black Democrats are no longer needed in order to maintain their grip on power. The Democratic Party of 2014 has unofficially forfeited their position as the slave owners of Black Democrats.

You see, unlike Republicans who are apparently terrible at electoral math the Democratic Party is not. They understand the importance of flooding the country and specifically every single swing state with new Hispanic voters. Heck, most of the states are no longer swing states anyway.

So, while the Republicans in Washington, who think Amnesty is going to get them more Hispanic voters, continue to push for National and political suicide; the Democratic Party and their leftist mouthpieces in the media continue to tell the lie that the Republican Party is anti-Hispanic.

Why wouldn’t the left continue this narrative? After all, Hispanics now nearly make up half the total population and with “Operation Illegal Dump” their numbers are only going to get larger. This is why Black voters who have been staunchly loyal to the Democratic Party for over 60 years and who helped the first Black President in U.S. history get elected now feel bewildered and betrayed.

Black liberals are now starting to realize what Conservative politicians have been trying to tell them for decades; that the Democratic Party does not have their back, won’t help them get a job, won’t help them pay their mortgage, and won’t put gas in their tanks.

Black Democrats are furious with the Obama Administration because they realize now that he is a lying, thieving, opportunistic politician who happens to be Black. They feel as though they have been ridden hard and put away wet without so much as a hug or a kiss and they don’t like the feeling. They are finding out the hard way that Obama and the Democrats want to win at all costs and that they are willing to throw Black liberals under the bus, or worse drag them behind it.

But Black liberals who feel left out, forgotten, and betrayed by the Democratic Party have a real alternative. If Black liberals want a chance at a better life with more opportunity and freedom then they need to vote for Republicans this November. How quickly Black liberals have forgotten that it was the Republican Party that was founded on an anti-slavery platform. It was the Republican Party that fought to not only free Blacks from slavery but also to have them count as American citizens.

The Republican Party and Black American voters need to align together in order to defeat this new Democratic Party alliance. If the Democratic Party loses even 20% of the Black vote and the seven million plus Conservatives who sat home because they chose the losing strategy of purity and protest instead of the winning strategy of strength in numbers, then we stand a decent chance to compete politically for years to come.

31Aug/14Off

Ride sharing and government (Cartoon)

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31Aug/14Off

Obama Does Have A Strategy, And It’s Awful

On Thursday, President Obama told the world he didn’t yet have a strategy for dealing with the Islamic Front in Syria. Although it’s never good to let an army who beheads your citizens and is hell-bent on your destruction know you don’t know how to deal with them – yet, or otherwise – Josh Earnest, the president’s press secretary “clarified” his comments the next day. We do have a plan, it turns out. And the plan is awful.

Derek Hunter

Before we dive into the new statements, let’s take a look back at some older ones.

Back in January, when talking about terrorism, President Obama told the New Yorker magazine, “The analogy we use around here sometimes, and I think is accurate, is if a jayvee team puts on Lakers uniforms that doesn’t make them Kobe Bryant. I think there is a distinction between the capacity and reach of a bin Laden and a network that is actively planning major terrorist plots against the homeland versus jihadists who are engaged in various local power struggles and disputes, often sectarian.”

The terrorist group making the biggest waves at the time was ISIS. Was the president referring to ISIS as part of a “jayvee team?” It went relatively unnoticed by the mainstream media then. But in the eight months since, ISIS has become the little jayvee team that could. It has taken over a landmass the size of Indiana – and growing. It has killed tens of thousands, displaced millions and amassed a fortune to fund its continued terror campaign.

But our posture toward this outfit has not changed.

When ISIS beheaded American journalists James Foley and posted the video on the Internet, the media remembered the quote and asked about it. Earnest went on to claim the president wasn’t talking about ISIS, just other groups, and that the White House always has taken the ISIS threat seriously.

That claim, on its face, would be insignificant, perhaps even believable, were it not for the president’s statement Thursday. If, as the White House now insists, it always has taken the threat seriously, how can it have no strategy for dealing with ISIS in Syria, or anywhere, 8 months later?

Perhaps the political advisors in the White House have yet to calculate how to use this threat to influence the November elections or to at the very least blame Congress for it. But we already know the president has a phone – right next to his pen – and that the Pentagon has phones, too. If he has taken the threat of ISIS seriously for eight months, why has he not used his phone to call the Pentagon and ask the military to formulate some possible strategies for any number of scenarios?

It’s clear the White House has not been interested in the threat posed by ISIS, either abroad or here in the homeland, or else we wouldn’t still be without a plan.

Which brings us to the “clarification” on Friday.

Josh Earnest, appearing on Morning Joe, said, “We don’t have plans in place right now for what we want to do and what we could do militarily in Syria. But when it comes to confronting ISIL, the president has made very clear we do have a comprehensive strategy for confronting that threat that is posed by ISIL. That begins with supporting Iraq’s political leaders as they form the kind of inclusive government that can unite the country to confront the threat that their country faces right now.”

First, there they go again using ISIL—Islamic State in the Levant—as opposed to ISIS, the Islamic State in Syria. This is to sow confusion and distract from the administration’s record in dealing with this crisis.

Second, so our strategy is dependent upon Iraqi Shia, Sunni and Kurds coming together, putting aside centuries of hatred, forming a drum circle and singing “Kumbaya”? Hmmm … why didn’t we think of that before? Wait, we did.

Earnest wasn’t done. “It includes beefing up our support to Iraqi and Kurdish security forces in the form of training and equipment to help them take the fight to ISIL on the ground in their country.” This makes sense, but it would have made more sense before ISIS was the fully armed, disciplined and funded outfit it is now.

Earnest then added that the president has dispatched Secretary of State John Kerry to the area to “engage” with the region’s leaders but wasn’t clear on the goal of that engagement beyond engagement for its own sake.

Plus, he threw in that we’re bombing them in Iraq at least, so there’s that.

See, we do have a strategy. It’s a muddled, rudderless, leaderless strategy with no clear directives or goals. But really, is that such a surprise?

Derek Hunter is Washington, DC based writer, radio host and political strategist. You can also stalk his thoughts 140 characters at a time on Twitter.

Also see,

America: The Ostrich Years

31Aug/14Off

ALS Money Bucket (Cartoon)

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31Aug/14Off

Paul Ryan Has Answer for Ferguson

Economist Milton Friedman said “The economic race should not be arranged so everyone arrives at the finish line at the same time but so that everyone starts at the starting line at the same time.”

starparker.jpg

Those on the left and the right have always contended whether economic outcomes for any given set of individuals is the business of government. But few, on the left or right, dispute that government should work to assure that every American starts the game under fair conditions.

It’s the latter point, fairness at the beginning of the game, that defines the motivation behind Republican Congressman Paul Ryan’s vast and sweeping new set of ideas for taking on poverty in our nation.

According to the Census Bureau, there are almost 50 million Americans living under the poverty line.

Since President Johnson’s “War on Poverty” half century ago, government has spent $15 trillion dollars fighting poverty. The federal government now spends $800 billion per year on means-tested anti-poverty programs.

Yet, we see no change. The incidence of poverty has remained constantly at around 15 percent of the population. And the racial component has been constant, with black poverty rates consistently at three times the rate of white poverty.

Paul Ryan’s important contribution here is to show that not only are these vast government anti-poverty programs not working, but also they themselves contribute to the persistence of the problem.

Because these programs are means-tested – they’re tied to how much money you earn – they perversely discourage work and advancement because earning more means losing a huge array of benefits.

Beyond creating a universe of disincentives to work and advancement, many of these individual programs create their own unique perversities.

HUD housing vouchers, for instance, simply subsidize slumlords and build ghettos because they can’t be used freely anywhere, but only with landlords authorized by HUD.

The end of it all is we wind up with entrenched areas of poverty, which foster crime, drugs, unemployment, frustrated youth, and then, inevitably, tragic incidents like we just witnessed in Ferguson, Missouri.

The left yells racism and calls for more government, more money, even though this is most often the source of the problem, not the solution.

If we are going to spend the money, says Congressman Ryan, let’s try to do it in a way that will lead people out of poverty, rather than perpetuate it.

Ryan is proposing experimental programs – Opportunity Grants – that consolidates 11 distinct government anti-poverty programs into one cash grant to states, allowing states flexibility to propose new and creative ways to use these funds.

I am currently working with state legislators in Oklahoma, led by Senator Rob Standridge, to show how government assistance for the poor can encourage, rather than discourage, work, marriage and family, education, and savings.

Low-income families with children would get matching grants from the state up to an annual income of $30,000. So as a married couple earns more, government grants kick in – up to $30,000. For every year the couple stays married, $2500 is deposited in a household retirement account, $2500 in a housing down payment account, and $5000 in an education savings account. A monthly housing grant of $500 is provided while household income is under $50,000.

Ten hours of monthly volunteer service at a community non-profit would create eligibility for prizes at monthly raffles.

Beyond this, minimum wage laws that discourage employment should be addressed, as well as taxes and regulations that discourage opening businesses in low-income neighborhoods.

Low wage workers and America’s poor need freedom to labor, not laws that penalize businesses that come to their communities or laws that keep them from moving to the second or third rung of the economic ladder. They need freedom from policies that keep their kids trapped in government subsidized, union controlled schools, and government housing policies that keep them trapped in ghettos.

Star Parker is founder and president of CURE, the Center for Urban Renewal and Education, a 501c3 think tank which explores and promotes market based public policy to fight poverty, as well as author of the newly revised Uncle Sam’s Plantation: How Big Government Enslaves America’s Poor and What We Can do About It.

Also See,

We Don’t Have to Have More Fergusons

31Aug/14Off

Saudi Leader Certain Terrorists Will Reach Europe & U.S. in 1-3 Months if Not Stopped

Saudi Arabia may be home to some of the most militant Islamists in the world, but even its king is scared of the terrorists. When a state that strict Islamic is afraid, this is a sign that Islamic terrorism has reached international warlike levels.

 

ISIS

 

From an article in Weasel Zippers,

The king of Saudi Arabia has warned that terrorist groups will attack Europe and the United States unless they are faced with collective “power and speed” from the international community.

King Abdullah’s comments come as the Islamic State group has seized wide swaths of land across Syria and Iraq.

While not mentioning any terrorist groups by name, Abdullah said that he is “certain that after a month they will reach Europe and, after another month, America.”

Let’s hope Obama finally takes this seriously and stops taking trips to the Hamptons and golfing excursions, ignoring the dramatically escalating terrorism. Otherwise, we can expect another 9-11.

31Aug/14Off

Media Ignores Tea Party’s Help Rebuilding Riot-Racked Businesses in Ferguson

flrstnaveIt’s a good thing most people today are no longer dependent on the so-called mainstream media for their news, because its coverage continues to be selective in order to make the left look good and the right look bad, including overlooking bad things by the left and good things by the right. So it comes as no surprise that there has been almost zero mention of the Tea Party’s efforts to help out the poor businesses that were destroyed in the Ferguson rioting.

Weasel Zippers reports, “The St. Louis Tea Party is organizing a “BUYcott” of businesses along the now-infamous Florissant Avenue where some of the worst looting took place.”

The BUYcott takes place this weekend, continuing through Labor Day tomorrow. Anyone living near the area is urged to help out these mostly black businesses, since the liberal-dominated media will never dare encourage others to help these black business owners – because it might make the Tea Party look good.

31Aug/14Off

Texas Gov. Rick Perry Tweets Ugly Image, Deletes It, Then Says It Was “Unauthorized”

LGF contributor @Gus_802 has a saved copy of the ugly tweet posted by Texas Gov. Rick Perry's account tonight:

Screenshot of the now deleted Tweet from Gov. Rick Perry. pic.twitter.com/HuZA0ij9BN

-- Gus (@Gus_802) September 1, 2014

But, uh, Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg had nothing to do with his ...

31Aug/14Off

Jihadists From Nigeria Behead Christians and take Over Catholic Church, Christian Houses

bkhrnRadical Islamist terrorism is rapidly spreading all over the world, not just limited to the Middle East. Nigeria is now undergoing the latest onslaught of cruelty.

According to the director of Catholic Social Communications in charge of the Maiduguri Diocese, Rev. Fr. Gideon Obasogie,

Christians in the town are really in a terrible situation; a moment of great persecution. Christian men are caught and beheaded, while Christian women are forced to become Muslims and are taken as wives to the terrorists.

The houses of Christians that have fled are now occupied by the terrorists; their cars are used by the terrorists. Some Muslims around identify Christian homes to be occupied and the Christians hiding were also exposed and they were killed.

Strict Sharia Laws have been promulgated, as observed by a woman who luckily escaped the dead zone.

Boko Haram is the al Qaeda related terrorist organization based in Nigeria responsible for this latest wave of mass executions. Just like ISIS and Hamas, its boldness has increased in recent years due to a lackadaisical attitude by the Obama administration toward terrorism. Obama’s wishy-washy, indecisive attitude shows no signs of changing. We can expect more Christians – as well as Jews and moderate Muslims – to be executed all around the world until a Republican willing to stand up to terrorism replaces him in office.