Leaning into a bad idea
Just last week, in explaining why socialism never – let me repeat that in all-caps: NEVER – works, I cited Ronald Reagan’s dictum that if you want less of something, tax it; and if you want more of something, subsidize it.
I’m not surprised to learn that California’s far-left Senator Kamala Harris never learned from Reagan’s wisdom, since she is proposing a federal tax credit to “reimburse” Americans for up to 30% of their rent payments. She even tweeted to ask what her followers would spend that money on.
As usual, Ben Shapiro quickly cut to the chase, explaining to her that they would be spending it on rent, because her proposal amounts to the federal government subsidizing rent increases, which would lead inevitably to…higher rents. It’s the same faulty logic that’s led to federal subsidies for colleges causing tuition to skyrocket far beyond the level of inflation.
At the link, more details, including Ben’s prediction of what Harris and fellow liberals would do to combat the skyrocketing rents they’d cause, and how that would lead to more of the housing shortages they’re trying to prevent, creating a vicious circle, just like back in her home state. It’s leftist policies like these that have led to so many people moving out of California. Too bad Kamala Harris is one of them, and she’s taken those policies to Washington. If she thinks these policies work great in California, please, voters, let her go home to California and enjoy them. I hear you can get a great deal on a U-Haul headed that direction.
"Medicare for all" UPDATE
I realized yesterday that in writing about the cost of everyone’s favorite crazy socialist uncle Bernie Sanders’, “Medicare For All” idea, I made a typo. I wrote that Bernie estimated that it would cost $14 trillion over two years, when I meant to write “ten years.”
Well, no sooner did I start correcting it than another story appeared that made me realize how little it mattered. This more detailed analysis by the Mercatus Center at George Mason University estimates that it would cost $32.6 trillion over the first ten years, and that’s a conservative estimate. By 2031, it would be eating up 12.7% of America’s GDP and require not only an exponential expansion of government but more than double our current taxes. Sanders claimed the report’s findings are biased and inaccurate, unlike the numbers being bandied about by the 76-year-old socialist who’s never held a successful job outside of government. His leftist supporters say that’s still slightly less than we would pay for health care anyway – of course, that's the cost people would pay for quality health care over which they have choice.
I’m not going to waste any pixels writing about which is more likely to be accurate, 14 trillion (enough dollars so that a jet flying at the speed of sound and reeling out a string of dollar bills behind it would have to fly for 196 years to expel it all) or 32.6 trillion (in miles, that's about the distance required to fly from the Earth to Uranus and back nearly 9-1/2 times.) That’s because there’s not a chance in a trillion that either of these estimates is remotely accurate. The estimated cost of any government program – particularly one based on creating a new right to “free stuff” for everyone – always turns out to be absurdly short of reality. When Medicare begin in 1966, experts assured us that by 1990, it would cost only $12 billion, adjusted for inflation. The actual cost in 1990: $107 billion. Medicare spending in 2016 reached $672.1 billion.
So if we’re being told now that “Medicare for All” will cost anywhere from $14 trillion to $32.6 trillion over 10 years, you can bet that the actual number will probably be one that only mathematicians know how to pronounce. It might be enough dollar bills to stretch to Uranus and back a trillion times. When it comes down to it, all these numbers are just being pulled out of Uranus. There’s only thing that can be said with absolute certainty about the cost of these massive new government giveaway proposals: we can’t afford them.
Time to clarify
Over 100 members of Congress have signed an amicus brief urging the Supreme Court to take up the case of the Peace Cross Memorial in Bladenburg, Maryland. The monument was erected by the community in 1925 to honor the 49 fallen local veterans of World War I. It stood as a cherished local landmark for 90 years, until an atheist group, the American Humanist Association (who I think need some more lessons in humanity) convinced a federal judge to order it removed on grounds that a monument with a religious symbol such as the cross on public land violates the Constitution.
The brief argues to the SCOTUS that this was a gross distortion of the Establishment Clause, and that a monument to the dead with a cross is simply a tradition, and having one on public land doesn’t constitute a government endorsement of Christianity as the state religion. Otherwise, we’d have to remove every cross or Star of David from all the tombstones at Arlington National Cemetery, which will probably be their next crusade. And they’ll want to grab their jackhammers if they learn that the cornerstone of the Memorial Amphitheater laid there in 1915 contains copies of the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence and the Bible.
This is sadly typical of the confusing, infuriating and politicized decisions about displays of religious symbols in the public square that have been handed down by lower courts and that have wreaked havoc on historic monuments and been allowed to fester because the SCOTUS has never issued a ruling clarifying the issue. This seems like a good time for such a clarification, now that we have a majority of Justices who understand that what matters is not their personal politics or who whines the loudest, but the intent of the Founders as expressed in the Constitution.
Personally, I doubt the Founders, who believed in freedom from government interference in the free exercise of religion so strongly that they went to war over it and put it in the very First Amendment, meant for that Amendment to be cited as grounds to ban crosses that memorialize US military heroes or Christmas trees in city parks or schools holding Easter egg hunts. If the atheists really believe the Founders would have backed them on this, then they need to stop claiming they don't take leaps of faith.
A long list of threats and violence
Over the weekend, there was a lot of talk in the media about New York Times publisher A.G. Sulzberger warning President Trump that his criticism of the media might stir up anger against reporters and expose them to violent attacks. I think we should all hope and pray that no harm comes to reporters, or anyone else for their political views. But somehow, the media always frame this story as Trump having started this by “lowering the tone” of discourse and using violent rhetoric.
They never mention that media coverage of Trump is over 90% negative, no matter how successful his policies are, or that the hyperbolic rhetoric hardly started with Trump (I wrote just last week about both a book and a movie that came out in the early 2000s based on imagining the assassination of George W. Bush – long before there was Trump Derangement Syndrome on the left, there was Bush Derangement Syndrome.) And while reporters are terribly concerned about harsh rhetoric possibly turning unstable people against them, they seem to have forgotten the many threats and assaults that unhinged leftists, fired up by violent rhetoric from the media, Hollywood and political screwballs like Maxine Waters, have aimed at Trump, his staff and Republicans in general – all the way up to an attempted massacre at a charity baseball practice that nearly killed Rep. Steve Scalise.
Well, a hat tip to Jim Hoft at Gateway Pundit for reminding us that Breitbart News compiled a fairly comprehensive list of threats, violent rhetoric, calls for violence and outright physical assaults by leftists against Republicans. It’s enlightening (and somewhat mind-boggling) to scan this list, which adds up to 538 acts of violence and intimidation against Trump supporters (and that’s just as of July 5th), and realize how unhinged these people are. I would take Mr. Sulzberger’s pleas to President Trump more seriously if I saw the New York Times print such a list and denounce this barbaric behavior with as much disdain as they usually display toward Breitbart News.
Left v Very Left in Washington
In Washington State’s 9th Congressional district that includes parts of Seattle, another millennial, Sarah Smith, is following the lead of “Democratic” Socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in launching a primary challenge against 11-term Democratic incumbent Adam Smith. It’s another showdown for the soul of the Democratic Party, with Sarah Smith pushing the progressive, pro-socialist agenda of single-payer government health care, free college tuition for all and refusing corporate donations. Meanwhile, Adam Smith represents the mainstream, absolutely-not-socialist Democratic establishment by promoting single-payer government health care and free college tuition for all (he’s actually introduced bills to create both), but also taking about $325,000 from corporate PACs.
So now we know how to tell the difference between the young socialist radicals and the mainstream establishment Democrats in Congress: by the amount of corporate donations they accept and their first names.
Enlightening article about why conservatives are called “the right” and liberals “the left.” It traces back to 18th century France. Although I kind of like the Biblical explanation, or my personal theory: in a free marketplace of ideas, the good ones are determined to be right, and the rest are left.
Obama Library update
We might not need an Obama Presidential Library because the official reason for the delay in groundbreaking is a far more appropriate monument to the Obama era. After all, Obama is much more famous for regulations that prevented shovel-ready jobs from getting started than for sharing any documents with the public.
It’s getting really complicated.
How are we supposed to follow all the twists and turns of the “Trump/Russia” investigation when even the lead attorney for President Trump can’t keep it all straight for us? On Monday, Rudy Giuliani was definitely a “ramblin’ man,” and it drove the pundits crazy. In an on-air call Monday to the FOX News show “Outnumbered” to clarify some earlier comments, he said he understood the confusion. “Believe me, it’s going to get even more confusing when these other tapes start coming out. But eventually, when you put them all together, it’s going to mean the President did nothing wrong.”
It doesn’t help when most of the mainstream media jump on his every word and take every opportunity to willfully misunderstand him. For Giuliani to make the point, as he did Monday, that collusion isn’t a crime does NOT mean that Trump might have actually “colluded.” “It’s a very, very familiar lawyer’s argument,” he said on the phone. “My client didn’t do it, and even if he did it, it’s not a crime.
Look, I’m not even a lawyer, yet I understand that in speaking of collusion not being a crime, Giuliani is referring to the illegitimate origins of the investigation –- the FBI probe headed by Peter Strzok and, by extension, the special counsel appointed by Rod Rosenstein. A special counsel is supposed to be appointed only when there is evidence of a CRIME. That could turn out to be very important if Mueller tries to subpoena Trump and force him to testify, because in order to avoid that situation (perilous even for an innocent person), Giuliani would have to challenge the subpoena in court, and it would likely go before the Supreme Court.
During the phone conversation, Giuliani referred to this, saying that “maybe one of the reasons we reemphasize the point about the legitimacy of the investigation is we want to show maybe [Trump] shouldn’t be testifying at an investigation that has no legitimacy.”
Collusion isn’t even a legal term; sadly, in the context of this investigation, it’s been used by some commentators interchangeably with the real legal term “conspiracy,” which is a crime. Andrew C. McCarthy wrote a column recently in which he discussed the difference. (Just scroll past the first few paragraphs to get to that.)
With polls increasingly showing disenchantment with the Mueller probe and the desire for it to wrap up soon –- before the midterms if you’re a Republican, after the midterms if you’re a Democrat –- there’s been a resurgence of debate over whether or not the President should sit down for questions. Since the emergence, finally, of the still-heavily-redacted FISA applications for warrants to spy on Trump campaign associates, the legitimacy of the investigation is even more suspect, and that doubt gives Giuliani even more reason to deny Mueller his perjury trap. But ultimately, as Giuliani points out, it’s the President’s decision. I ask you to join the chorus of those who say, “NO, NO, NO, MR. PRESIDENT! DON’T FALL FOR IT!”
Given all that, if Giuliani was trying to uncomplicate the discussion on Monday, he may have done the opposite. Instead of one meeting that had anything to do with the chance of obtaining “dirt” on Hillary from people who were Russian (again, no crime), there are now allegedly three, though Giuliani said two of them never happened. But, again, by noting that Trump wasn’t present for meetings that he flat-out said didn’t occur, Giuliani had people scratching their heads.
Here’s a relatively straightforward account of the different meetings that are said to have taken place and Giuliani’s comments regarding each one. And, yes, this is definitely getting more complicated, but together we’ll just try to make sense out of it and do our part to keep watch over our embattled system of justice.