Something is missing from the front-and-center of the presidential campaign. The American economy has long been stagnant. We are growing at maybe half the historic trend line and far beneath that of the robust growth of Reagan and Clinton.
Anemic 2% growth may not seem like a big deal. It is. A 1% - 2% annual shortfall may seem trivial. It’s not. Compounded over 15 years that means that the American economy, and each of our paychecks and net worth, is around a third lower than it should be. Most everyone outside the “1%” feels this hole in our pocketbooks.
This stagnation has implications for the federal deficit, for the solvency of Social Security and Medicare, and for our ability to afford a robust defense. Most of all it means that the vast majority of voters are struggling economically. The growth gap occurred under both Republican president George W. Bush, and Democratic president Barack Obama. It is unseemly forcandidates to criticize Party Elders, which may in part explain their diffidence. But it’s so.
A feckless Fed torpedoed the economy under both Presidents Bush and Obama. As TheWashington Post’s Ylan Q. Mui noted in Why nobody believes the Federal Reserve’s forecaststhe Fed has gotten 50 out of 50 of its last economic forecasts badly wrong. If the National Weather Service had a track record that bad heads already would have rolled. The Fed enjoys a strange impunity.
Reagan and Clinton’s robust job growth occurred under the Volcker-Greenspan “Great Moderation.” That policy was abandoned around the year 2000 thrusting America into a miserable “boom-and-bust” cycle.
The sign on President Truman’s desk, “The Buck Stops Here,” in a very literal sense applies. Still, the buck — Federal Reserve Notes — starts at the Fed. The candidates’ tax plans also are relevant to economic growth. But monetary policy is paramount.
The candidates have been strangely quiet about it, possibly not wishing to impugn their Party Elders. Still, voters can dig down and find where they stand. We should.
Donald Trump has presented a disturbing criticism of Fed Chair Janet Yellen for not raising interest rates, observing in the next breath that doing so would plunge America into a “recession-slash-depression.”
Gov. Christie has called for an audit of the Fed as have Sens. Rubio, Cruz, and Paul. Gov Christie has attributed partial blame to the Fed for the widening gulf between the rich and poor and blasted it for keeping interest rates at zero.
Gov. Bush has been almost mute on this topic.
Sen. Ted Cruz and, less directly, Sen. Rand Paul have called for a restoration of the gold standard (a policy also commended, in passing, by Trump and Carson). This controversial policy correlates closely with some of the best economic growth in American history, including America’s post-war economic boom era.
As James Carville wrote, “It’s the economy, stupid!” Voters, in deciding for whom to vote, would do well to look at the candidates’ positions on the Federal Reserve. The buck starts there.
By: House Majority Leader Richard Hinch (R-Merrimack)
In a recent op-ed, Governor Hassan laid out her reasons for calling a special session of the legislature to deal with the state’s ongoing opioid epidemic, which is directly affecting so many New Hampshire families. Addressing this crisis has been and will continue to be a top priority for the legislature.
A week prior to the Governor's special session request, House and Senate leaders held a press conference where they presented an array of legislation that would be taken up in an expedited manner when the regular session convenes in January. These proposals aim to bolster the state’s response to the crisis, and include funding for more regional drug courts, improving access to long term recovery services, increasing penalties for fentanyl, and improving the state’s efforts in prevention and interdiction. With broad consensus in the legislature that addressing the opioid epidemic is our top priority, there was no disagreement that a bill could reach the governor's desk in a matter of weeks, not months, as she claims.
The governor’s recent level of concern is a remarkable change of course from what we experienced this past summer, where millions of dollars in new funding for treatment and enforcement were delayed for 10 weeks by the governor’s veto of the legislature’s budget. While the governor was busy vilifying Republicans for changes to New Hampshire’s business tax code, much needed funding was delayed to the very things she is hoping to support today.
In the legislature’s budget, funding for drug and alcohol treatment and recovery programs was increased by 75% from the previous budget. The substantial growth in dollars budgeted for these types of services was a steadfast commitment by the legislature to help our state respond to the crisis. We had hoped the budget would become law as soon as possible, but the governor’s veto stopped this new wave of dollars from reaching our overwhelmed addiction treatment and behavioral health service providers.
Included in these funds was a doubling of the budget for theGovernor’s Commission on Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention, Treatment, and Recovery. Because of the delay caused by the budget veto, the Commission could not set or approve their budget until October 23rd. Had the governor let the budget become law in June, her own Commission could have approved their budget in July or August, and the additional dollars could have been utilized months ago, rather than just now reaching programs and service providers.
Also included in the legislature’s budget were funds earmarked for additional personnel in the State Police crime lab. The crime lab is facing an enormous backlog of work as a result of increased drug related crime requiring substance analysis. The legislature listened to the concerns of the Department of Safety and stepped up by fulfilling their request for additional dollars. Due to the governor’s budget veto, these dollars are just now reaching the Department of Safety, and recent reports suggest that postings for new job openings are only now happening this week.
These are just two examples of a failure by Governor Hassan to recognize the important steps forward we were able to make in 2015, and a failure to recognize that her actions impeded the ability of her own executive branch of government to have the resources they need to do an effective job.
Governor Hassan’s change of course suggests that she believes it is now more politically expedient to devote time and resources to the issue than it was in June or July. Rather than focus on the pragmatic policy implications of the legislature’s budget, the governor chose to focus on politically driven talking points provided to her by staff and consultants whose business it is to manufacture disagreement.
During the 2015 legislativesession we were proud to not only put forward a statewide spending plan with an emphasis on supporting programs to aid in the state’s efforts to address this crisis, but we also passed legislation that gave first responders greater access to Narcan, passed a Good Samaritan law to protect those who report drug related emergencies, and increased funding for more community based mental health services.
We don’t disagree with the governor that more needs to be done. But, in recent weeks, we’ve seen what a rushed process void of stakeholder input can produce, when the Board of Medicine rejected most of the Governor’s proposed rule changes to prescribing practices. We want to avoid similar situations as we move forward.
The governor would like us to believe that a special session of the legislature is the solution to New Hampshire’s drug crisis when, in fact, it is a deflection of her responsibility as governor. The solution won’t merely be a set of bills that come before the House and Senate. It requires a leader capable of managing the executive branch of government to effectively deploy the resources the legislature has appropriated, and the ability to seek results instead of headlines. Up to this point, we have not seen these qualities manifested by the governor.
The legislature will continue to act in a proactive manner as we have demonstrated throughout this year, and are willing and able to work in a bipartisan, coordinated manner to pass the best legislation we can with the resources we have available. It is up to the executive branch to manage delivery of funds and services, and in turn produce measurable results.
1) The Death Penalty: Do Innocents Matter? A Review of All Innocence Issues
MURDERERS MUCH PREFER LIFE OVER EXECUTION
99.7% of murderers tell us "Give me life, not execution"
3) The "Innocence" Frauds
250% error rate in "confessions"
End Purple State Stalemate
Combined, Trump, Sanders and Carson now outpoll their establishment rivals, lopsidedly in New Hampshire. We are at the leading edge of a national political revolt, driven less by ideological litmus testing, far more an expression of open disgust for the Washington insider class who give lip service to average Americans and enrich and aggrandize themselves by selling power and economic privilege to the high bidder.
Into the weeds with a blatant case in point …
… which is the Group Purchasing Organization (GPO) safe harbor exemption, an obscure one-paragraph law written by medical industry lobbyists and snuck into a 1987 Medicare/Medicaid reform bill. The six dominant GPOs are middlemen, supplying most of the $300 billion in generic drugs and medical equipment and supplies used by U.S. hospitals.
The GPO safe harbor is unique in federal law, permitting GPOs to pay kickbacks to hospitals and hospital executives in return for sole-source contracts. This legalized banana republic corruption warps traditional free market incentives that give us continuously improving products and services at lower cost.
Combined with lax anti-trust enforcement, legalized GPO kickbacks have sharply suppressed competition, manufacturing capacity, and innovation in the generic drug and medical equipment and supply industries. Additionally, American healthcare costs are increased by at least $30 billion annually, $17 billion of this paid by taxpayers. Doctors are stuck with periodic shortages and price spikes for commodity anesthetics, antibiotics and even bagged sterile saline. Patients are subjected to unnecessary risk.
For fifteen years, doctors, healthcare entrepreneurs, muckraking journalists and a handful of Senators (Grassley, Coburn, Kohl and Leahy) have fruitlessly pressed Congress to end this corrupt, crony capitalist market distortion by simply repealing the GPO kickback safe harbor law.
Why no action by Congress? Leadership barons in bothparties get millions in campaign contributions from GPOs, hospitals, manufacturer cartels and their lobbyists. The Democrats’ lead handmaiden and recipient of GPO campaign money is Chuck Schumer, who went ballistic during a 2006 Senate hearing because GPO kickbacks were even being discussed in public.
What to do?
Repealing the GPO kickback safe harbor is but one of thousands of discrete and widely supportable reforms that would end crony capital corruption and restore government of, by, and for the people. But Congressional party barons use their hammerlock over procedure to block reform bills like these on behalf of their donors.
One simple solution is to break procedural gridlock by allowing every member of Congress to do what every member of the New Hampshire legislature can do: bring bills to the House or Senate floor for a straight up or down vote.
Under U.S. Senate rules and custom, only Senate majority leader McConnell can offer a motion to proceed to floor debate on a bill. I propose a change to Senate rules allowing a simple majority of 51 Senators to agree to allow floor debate and a vote on specific, single-subject bills. Under this special rule, debate time limits would be agreed to by sponsors in advance, only germane amendments permitted, and the right to filibuster retained. Specific, broadly-supported legislation could come directly and promptly to the Senate floor for open debate.
Subject to heightened public attention on open floor debate, wavering Senators would break from Chuck Schumer’s grip and be embarrassed into voting for a stand-alone bill to repeal the GPO kickback safe harbor.
As in the New Hampshire legislature, this procedural change would not grind Congress to a halt. It would force debate and votes on more issues. Senators would spend more time on our nation’s backlog of pressing and unresolved issues. They would stop spending half their time groveling for money from the crony capitalists who have corrupted Washington and stifled the general prosperity that would otherwise flow from free market competition.
Every citizen in our first in the nation primary state should be asking the candidates what they will do to break Washington gridlock and end crony capitalist corruption.
I’ll be speaking tomorrow in Rochester
How an Article V convention to propose constitutional amendments can save America from national bankruptcy and political corruption
Rochester 9-12 Group
Monday the 14th, 6:30 pm
Church of Christ, 336 Salmon Falls Road, East Rochester
Drug War Rethink Long Overdue
By GEORGE LANDRITH
Before the United States was a country, even before it declared its independence, the United States maintained a letter delivery service. In fact, the very first “long distance” route went between no other than Williamsburg, Va., and Portsmouth. Though the makeup of the service, which employs 600,000 workers nationwide, including almost 3,100 in New Hampshire, has changed greatly between then and now, its core function has remained the same – to provide a letter mail delivery service to every American, no matter where they live, at a reasonable rate.
Yet due to constantly evolving technologies and lack of effective leadership from the U.S. Postal Service, the quasi-government agency continues to stray far from that function. While this ultimately hurts all Americans, it especially threatens states with large rural populations, such as New Hampshire.
Today, we have other means to share information. But rural America lags behind more urban areas in internet use, which only makes the USPS that much more important in many areas of the country.
“Federal law requires the Postal Service to provide ‘a maximum degree of effective and regular postal services’ to rural areas and small towns,” the Washington Post reports.
Unfortunately, the U.S. Postal Service seems to be increasing service and product offerings in metropolitan centers like San Francisco, Washington, D.C., and New York, while they are shutting down mail processing facilities and decreasing service in other areas.
This past January, the U.S. Postal Service announced its intention to close 82 mail processing facilities across the country, reducing post office hours, and increasing delivery times. From this proposal, the areas that would be hurt most by these closures are small towns and rural areas. “Some of the nation’s poorest communities, many of them with spotty broadband Internet coverage, stand to suffer most,” the Post analysis found in 2012 when closures were only rumored.
Because of these closures, mail sometimes travels 90 miles out of the way before it reaches its intended recipient on the other side of town. Many have questioned the strategy to close the processing facilities in light of the resulting decline in service standards, which have steadily deteriorated over the last three years. “The postmaster general doesn’t have a clue about what’s going on in rural America, and it shows,” Democratic Sen. Jon Tester of the very rural state of Montana recently said.
Examples are the elimination of overnight delivery for local first class mail that would arrive the very next day and the lagging delivery times for first class mail. According to the USPS, first class mail, which is supposed to reach its recipient within 3-5 days, failed to meet that standard for over one-third of all mail delivered in the first seven weeks of 2015.
While service is languishing throughout most of the country, urban areas are seeing a bump in services from the USPS. Recently they expanded a service called Metro Post to other cities even though it earned $1 for every $10 invested – a 90 percent financial loss. Add this to other new ventures like grocery delivery – now expanding in New York City – as well as a potential move into banking services, and it’s clear that the trend has been to cut back on standard mail service, which everyone relies on, in order to move into other business ventures in big city markets.
All told, customers may not be getting what they pay for. Considering the stamp price increases, we can’t help but wonder if we are subsidizing their ill-fated experiments.
While the USPS will fail to elicit attention from the 2016 Presidential field, the issue is still important. The tentacles of the USPS touches too many corners of this nation to ignore its problems. Now is the time for the USPS to refocus its mission and remember its rural customers.
(George Landrith is the president of Frontiers of Freedom, a think tank in Fairfax, Va.)
By David Holt
A new poll shows what’ll be at the top of New Hampshirites’ minds when they hit the voting booths next year to elect a new commander-in-chief – energy production.
A survey administered recently by Consumer Energy Alliance shows that more than 80 percent of voters in New Hampshire said that candidates’ energy policy would be a key decision point on who they vote for in next year’s presidential election. This resonated not only with Republicans but also with Democrats and the much-coveted Independents.
It’s hard to come any closer to showing cross-party unity on an issue than that.
This probably comes as a surprise for very few. Energy policies significantly impact the pocketbooks of residents in New Hampshire. All consumers, regardless of party affiliation, want to ensure stable and low prices for all forms of energy, and the energy sector continues to be the most significant pillar of the strengthening economy.
What is likely surprising for many is where voters in New Hampshire suggest energy policy will be crucial: the U.S. waters in the Arctic, a resources-rich region thousands of miles away. Support for offshore energy development in the Arctic Circle dwarfed its opposition by substantial double-digit percentage points.
What voters want to know – and what each candidate will have to answer – is how each candidate, if elected, will utilize the U.S. Arctic to expand the nation’s record-setting energy renaissance, which has resurrected the national and state economy by mass-producing jobs and helping make the U.S. a worldwide energy leader.
While several polls show that an overwhelming majority of Alaskans support energy development in the Arctic, the region remains a hot-button issue because of its beautiful geography and immense untapped oil and gas potential.
The U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management estimates that the Alaska Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) has about 27 billion barrels of oil and 132 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. That’s enough to fuel every domestic flight for over 120 years and heat every American home for more than 30 years. Furthermore, the Chukchi Sea, off Alaska’s northwest coast, offers more resources than any other undeveloped U.S. energy basin. In fact, experts believe it may be one of the largest untapped oil and gas sources in the world.
The National Petroleum Council (NPC), an advisory council to the U.S. Department of Energy, says that the development of these resources would not only create more jobs nationwide but also generate billions in additional revenue while keeping domestic energy production high and consumer costs and imports low. These resources would also help pull Alaska out of its multibillion-dollar budget shortfall and extend the longevity of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System (TAPS), a major energy artery for the lower 48 states and the energy-guzzling West Coast that continues to be hampered by declining throughput.
These polls and analyses illustrate how New Hampshirites support a common sense energy policy that includes Arctic offshore energy exploration. Most Alaskans, whose state is funded almost entirely by the petroleum industry, strongly echo these sentiments.
Now the White House – which just gave conditional approval to drill in the Arctic this summer – might be following the trend.
“When it can be done safely and appropriately, U.S. production of oil and natural gas is important,” said President Obama. “I would rather us – with all the safeguards and standards that we have – be producing our oil and gas, rather than importing it, which is bad for our people, but is also potentially purchased from places that have much lower environmental standards than we do.”
We at Consumer Energy Alliance could not agree more. With overwhelming public support by New Hampshire for offshore development in the U.S. Arctic and the importance of the region to our energy and economic security, we hope the Administration implements President Obama’s vision by taking the steps necessary for U.S. Arctic development to commence – and that the next President follows suit.
While the legislature has been enjoying a well-deserved summer recess, legislative leadership, along with the governor and her staff have begun a series of meetings for the purpose of crafting a plan that would allow us to move forward in dealing with those parts of the budget on which we disagree. While the Continuing Resolution is in place until December, it was important to have initiated these discussions.
In a recent letter to the governor, I reminded her that we have confirmed, through the Legislative Budget Assistant, that the budget she vetoed is a balanced spending plan, addressing many of the concerns that she had brought to the legislature.
There are a number of different paths that we could have taken in order to resolve the detrimental effects placed upon the people of New Hampshire when Governor Hassan exercised her veto authority.
As a direct result of her action, we very well could witness a spike in property taxes, depending upon how and when the Department of Revenue Administration sets local property taxes, the inability of the state to address the opioid epidemic, as well as any undue pressure felt by the state’s health and human services providers.
House Finance Chair Neal Kurk (r-Weare) has pointed out a number of important points that clearly shows how ill advised the governor’s veto was.
The budget appropriates $11.352 billion in total funds for the next biennium, an increase of 5% from the current biennium.
Dedicated funds were not “raided” in the process.
The community college system would have been fully funded allowing them to freeze tuition for the next biennium; USNH would have seen an increase in funds.
Health and Human Services would have received higher funding in this budget than in any previous one--$4.449 billion, up 8% from the current budget. Additionally, funding would have been restored for elderly services, including meals on wheels, services for veterans, the developmentally disabled, and the mentally ill, with the latter at levels meeting the requirements of a legal settlement.
The nearly 40,000 people served by the expanded Medicaid program will continue to receive their 100% federally funded health coverage through December 31, 2016, as provided for in current law.
Funding for substance abuse prevention and treatment would have been increased by 49.5%, to $42.3 million.
A 5% rate increase would have been granted to providers of long-term care in the community.
Transportation department services would have been funded at $1.172 billion, an increase of 8% in the current budget.
The Department of Safety would have seen a 9% increase in its budget, largely through the substitution of general funds for highway funds.
The Fish and Game fund would have received a $1.2 million infusion from the general fund.
I outlined many more examples in my letter to the governor.
There are 160 democratic state representatives and 10 democratic state senators who very much want to address the needs of our citizens, as do members of the majority party. This was clearly illustrated when most of minority party supported the continuing resolution. That vote was necessary to address the governor’s veto threat so that the people of New Hampshire would not suffer through a shutdown of state government.
As I wrote to the governor, “The cleanest and clearest path forward for you would be to politically free all 170 colleagues from across the aisle, allowing them to vote their conscience on veto day.” We remain confident that the many issues listed in my letter are mutual concerns to us all. In fact, if it were not for the governor’s veto, we would have a state budget in place today.
I have called upon the governor to provide us with her thoughts as to the best way to address this issue. None of Gov. Hassan’s concerns are of such a critical nature that they could not be addressed in the next legislative session.
The governor’s argument over the 21 million dollar business tax cut issue pales in the face of the systemic stresses placed on our service providers, the neediest in our society, and the employees of New Hampshire when she chose to veto the budget. It has proved to be the most harmful of the three choices that were presented to her, i.e. sign, veto, or let the budget become law without signature.
It is incumbent upon us as leaders to evaluate the impact of the decisions we make, apply what we have learned from the results of those decisions, and consider a new course of action. I encourage the governor to consider the current circumstances and the impact of not having a 2016-17 FY plan that addresses the many important concerns for the functioning of our state. I call upon her to free the 170 democratic legislators, allowing them to vote to follow the clearest and quickest path for a sound, pragmatic solution, which would be to override her veto of the budget.
Gary Hart on Endemic Political Money Corruption
Why is this presidential campaign a contest of styles and personalities and not policy? Why is the leading Democratic candidate campaigning on her cookie recipes rather than her position of the Trans Pacific Partnership? Why is no Republican giving us straight talk on climate science? Why does the corporate lobbyist think-tank commentariat so viciously marginalizes any candidate who opposes amnesty for illegals, the national security state or military pork?
To be a leading candidate is to be muzzled and directed by today’s big-dollar political money system that has subverted the national interest and corrupted Washington to the bone.
Former US Senator Gary Hart lays it out forcefully in his newly published Time.com essay. Below are snips:
Thanks for listening,
This is the 2nd installment of a weekly web series on the NH Primary. This 2 minute video gives you an overview of the back-to-back campaign events of Clinton and Bush.
In my run for US Senate, I engaged in a lonely effort to persuade fellow Republicans to acknowledge fossil fuel combustion as the primary cause of global warming and the need for policy change to mitigate existential harm to humans and the environment. Many told me that these views cost me the election.
I can’t recall a single instance where debating science changed minds, so I wheeled out otherwise respected authorities like the Department of Defense, the CEO of ExxonMobil, and the National Academy of Science, all echoing my case. None seemed to persuade.
Now comes Pope Francis, who makes the case that earth and all its living things are God’s gift to humans who are entrusted with their care and that fossil fuel combustion is destroying creation and harming the world’s poor. The Pope is getting the same reaction from most Republican leaders, discredit the authority: he should stick to matters of the spirit, and limiting fossil fuel use will deny food, healthcare and progress to the world’s poor. Pushing back at the Pope, Jeb Bush told voters at a Derry, New Hampshire town hall that "I don't get my economic policy from my bishops or my cardinals or my pope."
However, Republican policy preferences, including Jeb’s as Florida Governor, are unabashedly guided by faith on the social issues like abortion, assisted suicide and same sex marriage – and this distinction is key – where powerful economic interest groups have little stake in the outcome. Three weeks ago, Bush was the only Presidential candidate to address a closed-door, invitation-only event sponsored by owners and executives of six coal mining companies. The coal industry spent $11 million in the 2014 election cycle, with just 4 percent of that going to Democrats.
It’s time to get honest about this: the expression of faith in politics is filtered by big-dollar special interest campaign money. Republican campaigns are funded by fossil fuel interests who want the right to keep polluting. Democratic campaigns funded by unions who want to trap poor children in failing, monopoly schools.
The needed debate over global warming is not whether the Pope should talk about climate science and creation care. The debate between small government conservatives and big government liberals must be over high-impact solution options. President Obama’s approach through EPA carbon regulation is massively complex and therefore thoroughly subject to regulatory capture by the interest groups that run Washington and buy most election outcomes.
Unlike the Pope who leans left on tax-enforced wealth redistribution, I have great confidence that technology and American innovators can and will find robust solutions that will largely displace fossil fuels as the globe’s primary energy source within not more than two generations. Domestic policy can accelerate this innovation (and no, Governor Hassan, not with a gambling casino).
The US leads the world in medical technology and biomedicine, enjoying the resulting high-paying domestic jobs and strong net exports. We’ve achieved this as a direct result of $30 billion annual funding for pre-commercial health science research, sustained over the past decade and largely distributed via competitive grants by the National Institutes of Health. Despite this success and strong political support for protecting our science and technology lead, the US has fallen to #11 in global R&D per capita.
Heresy for small-government conservatives, but the $2 billion per year the federal government has spent over the past decade on basic energy research is too little to ensure continued American leadership. My pitch: add $10 billion per year in sustained national support for pre-commercial energy R&D.
I do not mean more Solyndras, taxpayer guarantees for nuclear plant construction, oil and gas subsidies, or corn ethanol supply mandates. Phasing out existing federal energy subsidies like these can pay for about half of a $10 billion R&D bump. Government should stop picking commercial winners and losers because crony capitalism distorts, corrupts and freezes marketplace dynamics which otherwise accelerate knowledge and technology commercialization and drives out cost. Taxpayer-backed energy R&D should focus on blue-sky work in materials science, nano-chemistry, quantum physics, solar PV, energy storage, batteries, offshore wind platforms, and thorium fuel cycle reactors, for example.
Commercialized clean-energy technologies are already booming without subsides. Unsubsidized energy efficiency and utility scale wind and solar PV (in that order) are already cheaper than or competitive with combined cycle natural gas as electricity sources.
Once energy storage becomes less costly than natural gas, market forces will cause displacement of fossil fuels as primary heat, electricity, and transportation energy sources worldwide. Dictators and terrorists will be defunded, energy price shocks will be history, excessively resource dependent nations economically democratized, and global warming curbed.
Rather than impoverishing third-world nations via increased dependency on fossil fuels imported from dictators and terrorists (as most Republican presidential candidates inferentially advocate) let’s heed the Pope by using accelerated innovation and free-market commercialization to bring low-cost clean energy to the world’s poor and to humanity and all creation.
Thanks for listening,
Every day, hundreds of thousands of New Hampshire residents rise out of bed and compete for jobs and wages. NHetwork (NH.gov) reports that NH has 650,000 (non-agricultural) workers. They also report that over 100,000 of them (about 16%) commute into Massachusetts and other New England states to work. Experts estimate that employers employ about 200,000 aliens unlawfully to work in New England. The 100,000 NH workers seeking work outside of NH must compete every day to find jobs against cheating employers that unlawfully employ those 200,000 aliens.
Even honest employers compete against these cheating employers. Cheaters win low bids for contracts in construction, janitorial services, restaurant services, landscaping, hotel maid services, and etc. Mostly, these low bids reflect illegally deflated wages and prices. Nationally, honest employers seeking to employ over 11 million United States citizens must compete against those actually employing the 11 million unlawfully here. Honest employers and workers struggle every day against this illegally infected market place. This infection results from the continued failures of elected leaders to solve the 11 million illegal immigration problem.
While employees compete, elected politicians bicker and battle over procedure, not substance. For example, the Comprehensive Reform bill passed by the US Senate in 2013 died in the US House without even a vote. The biggest hold up: What to do with the 11 million here. All other parts, e.g., border security, e-verify, seasonal employees, STEM visas, and etc., have substantial bipartisan agreement. Yet, political positioning stokes the fires of hatred that fuels division for politicians. This division costs us money. It results in dishonest employers getting work, reduced tax revenue to state and federal budgets, increased tax expenditure on border and other enforcement efforts, and stagnant wages and zero to no profits for NH’s competing workers and honest employers. Hence the following IDEA.
The IDEA: 1st Secure Our Borders, Permanently:
To protect honest businesses, a market-based solution (“MBS” 1) helps. First, imprison high profile cheating employers to end the current hiring pipeline. Second, let honest employers (market participants) sue dishonest employers that cheat to compete. Honest employers will obtain a court judgment of $50,000 per illegal worker as liquidated damages (50% as a finder’s fee, 50% to our US Treasury). Cheaters will lose their incentive to employ workers illegally, and they will lose their capital to honest employers and taxpayers. Taxpayers will save billions on taxpayer financed enforcement efforts by encouraging privately financed enforcement.
The IDEA employs whistleblower concepts used for over a hundred and fifty years beginning with qui tam (Google it) civil actions. Qui tam suits allow private citizens to sue cheaters who steal from the US government; such citizen suits began after the Civil War to stop supply-vendor (uniforms, munitions, equipment, food service, etc.) cheating. Today, qui tam plaintiffs earn millions suing to help recover billions more for the government. Recently in Massachusetts, this approach has helped honest businesses against cheaters engaged in worker compensation premium evasion (See MGL c 152, Section 25C (11)). Just the threat of a civil lawsuit reduced within five years of enactment the number of employers who cheat to compete. Consider also NH Rev. Stat. 167:61-b (NH’s False Claims Act), which allows private civil
lawsuits against the dishonest. This private enforcement IDEA is old, but the time for its application to immigration has come. A cheater’s fear of a lawsuit stops border penetration by eliminating the employment pipeline incentive permanently. Spending billions of tax dollars on border wall building will not stop penetration. Drone and other tech surveillance, maintenance, and paid guards, and etc., provide contracts for political contributors (Halliburton, Black Water security, and etc.) but will not stop penetration. Penetration will persist via the oceans, Canada, the Great Lakes, air, and overstayed tourists, work & student visas. This IDEA empowers employers to clean up their own industry by suing cheating employers to end the employment pipeline, the purpose of illegal penetration.
2nd Get In Back of the Line & Show Me The Money
Simultaneously, charge the four million lawfully waiting in line $10,000 each and walk them in, first. Use that $40 billion to pay down the debt or finance infrastructure jobs (bridges, schools, etc.) to create thousands of jobs. Afterward, place the 11 million illegally here behind those lawfully here. Then, charge those illegally here $30,000 each, as liquidated damages, for a work visa. They can pay over 10 years via IRS weekly payroll deductions ($3,000 per year – about $57/week). Their employers, family, and bank loans will help them pay, too. That pulls in an additional $330 billion to pay down the debt, the deficit or create millions of infrastructure jobs. As an additional penalty and to compromise, deny them citizenship for 20 years or allow citizenship in normal time, but after all is paid. We exempt the elderly, the very young, & seriously disabled; felons we deport. The IDEA is not visa selling; taxpayers have spent billions on illegal immigration. We want our money back! Now, immigrants can help fix five problems:
1) Illegal immigration; 2) A final & permanent solution to secure borders; 3) The US debt or budget deficit; & 4) Deteriorating infrastructure; & 5) Job creation.
Do the math: Add that $370 billion ($40B + $330B) visa charge to the tax gain of about $30 billion a year those now legalized workers will pay as taxes. Plus, add the $30 billion saved in enforcement efforts each year (assume only one year), and that near half-trillion dollars ($40B + $330B + $30B + $30B) helps pay down much of our deficit or debt or investment in infrastructure and jobs (which produces yet more tax revenue).
Better still, those illegally here get behind those now waiting in line who get in first. Further, the undocumented pay to stay and/or wait 20 years for citizenship. Most criminal acts result in only fines. By using the pay raises that they will likely earn from their new “legal” status they can afford the $57/week fine. Further still, employers get a sufficient and much needed workforce for the next decade’s boom years now underway (because of energy, fracking, raising wages in China, & etc.). Moreover, honest workers no longer compete every day against dishonest employers who hire those unlawfully here. Moreover still, taxpayers substantially reduce their debt, i.e., a windfall or create about 6 million infrastructure jobs, or a bit of both.
Guest Workers: Guess Who Benefits
Some want a Guest Worker program. This is a bad idea for workers, but a great idea for employers. Given Maslov’s “Hierarchy of Needs,” those illegally here will take a Guest Worker program over nothing. “Guests,” however, would work subservient to employers who will sponsor a worker’s visa. American citizens would compete with “Guests.”
Picture yourself applying for job against a group of “Guests”. Guess who an employer would prefer? “Guests” who ask for a raise will risk termination and loss of sponsorship, i.e., deportation. Guests who sue for overtime pay, age or other discrimination or sex harassment will find difficult obtaining new employer-sponsors. Sure it would be retaliation, but not many Guests would sue. Guests must leave after a term or two in the program (probably 5 years with a 5-year roll over, if the employer agrees).
Guests provide employers with a compliant young workforce and a revolving door that rotates out older workers who must leave. Employers will rotate their “human resource” stock and capitalize on lower wages and working conditions endured by “Guests.” Guests know too well the employer’s power over their visas. Employers benefit when American citizens compete against co-worker “Guests.” Most New Hampshire workers know their bosses’ power, too. Guest programs also work well for those few unscrupulous business owners or supervisors who will ‘scan the crop’ for good-looking, stronger, and otherwise compliant immigrants to work in their stables. Envision the lawsuits at best or despicable acts at worse endured by “Guests.” New sources revealed recent sexual exploitation by some Australian employers holding visas.2
Further, Guests send money home. They do not spend it here in our malls and main street stores. Guests realize that they must leave. Accordingly, they must invest at home, not here. Moreover, Guests will not help our entrepreneurs who sell homes, condominiums, new furniture, and our property owners who seek to rent out apartments. Guests would jam many into single apartments to save money for their return home life. Guests will not save in our banks, spend in our restaurants or other retail outlets. They will save for the day the must leave. Accordingly, billions of dollars will leave our shores. A guest program helps employers and the Guests’ home countries. But, such a program will hinder US workers, US retailers, realtors, other merchants, and our economy.
Moreover still, in all countries where guest programs existed, including the US under the “bracero program” from 1942 to 1964, guests brought in family, friends, and neighbors. This resulted in the millions who overstayed “guest” status, e.g., the very people Ronald Reagan legalized in his 1986 amnesty law. Finally, Guests use social services, as they pay taxes (though low wage taxes). Currently, taxpayers pay low-wage workers tens of billions in subsidies for rent, food stamps, and etc.3 Accordingly, a Guest Program would deplete tax services, burden taxpayers, and compromise -not enhance, border security.4
Deport Now! Currently, some seek to harness American anger by shouting self-deportation or mass deportation. Only 20% of Americans support this unlikely solution.5 They shout ebola, terrorism, and criminal conduct of a few to induce fear and divide NH’s voters. NH will host the 2016 presidential primary candidates. Some will voice illegal immigration hate messages for votes.
Decades before this scare mongering & voter “persuasion” or mind-manipulation, many in New Hampshire’s construction industry called for deportation.
For 30 years (a construction workers' career span), politicians failed to deport the millions who came in under Bush I (after Reagan's 1986 amnesty, which lacked border control and pushed wages lower for a generation by more illegal penetration). Politicians failed to deport the next few million who entered under Clinton. When more millions penetrated our borders under Bush II, their number catapulted to 13 million. He failed to deport them even with Republican majorities in both chambers, though he tried reform, too. Many left under Obama, but eleven million remain. Now, many more seek entry as we embark on an historic economic revival spurred by fracking and energy exporting, rising China wages, added to emerging market countries who now have hundreds of millions of consumers. Meanwhile, both Parties failed an entire generation. What makes anyone think that mass deportation will result, especially before any one reading this is dead. That is why almost 75% of Americans want simple legalization, not necessarily citizenship.6 Legalization eliminates illegally deflated competition for a new generation.
For decades, dishonest employers have been employing millions illegally. Aliens are not taking our jobs; they have held these jobs for a generation. A generations-old problem and nothing new has developed, except pitting immigrants against American citizens to push a wedge between voters. During the past 20 years, ¾ of a worker’s career span and five presidential campaigns, politicians have played with the hearts and minds of voters. Politicians have no IDEA and do not need an IDEA; the current system works only for them, not us. Some seek a piecemeal approach. That works only if the hard piece, i.e., what to do with the 11 million, results first. Failure to address that piece has held up all other pieces.
Back Taxes Though politically sweet, insisting on back taxes misses the point. Too many of the individuals here illegally know the real dollars they earned during the past 30 years. Many of us know how much we earned only when we look at our weekly year-to-date total and our w-2 from our employers come January of the next year. If truth be told, too many could not afford to pay the taxes, assuming only $5,000 per year is owed. Five thousand times ten years, puts (without IRS interest, punishing penalties, and etc.) most individuals in debt for life and more.
Some will owe hundreds of thousands of dollars, never being able to pay. Too many will lie. Lying is a deportable offense; back to square one. So, too many will not come forward. This issue will divide us and will help keep the status quo. Too many politicians will exploit this one boiling issue for your vote; but, that is not in your best interest. Back taxes forces too many to consume less, heavily burdened by tax debt. Business and entrepreneurs should want these folks spending in stores, not giving money to the IRS. How much of those back taxes will you really see in your neighborhood, in New Hampshire? Meanwhile, you will see and experience the effect that workers illegally employed will have on your daily ability to earn better wages, business profits, for you, your children, recent college graduates, and your neighbors too. A one- time $30,000 liquidated damages helps you more, though this clearly remains a tough, blood- heating and enormous stumbling block. Level-headed, clear-thinking individuals require cooler blood to run through rivers that nourish their brains.
So: Why Now? Why NH? Eleven million have been working here illegally for a generation, 200,000 in New England alone effecting 100,000 NH employees who commute and others who do not. Legalized, individuals spur economic growth for businesses looking to sell condos, houses, furniture, vacations, restaurant meals, show tickets, automobiles, cell phones, and clothing sold in our local shops and malls. Businesses need better paid workers who become consumers who can spend in local stores. New Hampshire’s workforce should not have to fight over who will work for the lowest wages based on illegal tactics of cheaters. Too many earning low or illegally deflated wages hurt our economy. Further, taxpayers subsidize low wage employees with food stamps, fuel assistance, and other welfare. We pay Walmart’s employees over $6,000,000,000 in welfare each year (yes, billion)). Low wages do not put consumers into our local shops that line the main streets of Berlin, Laconia, Concord, Keene, Manchester and Nashua -businesses that yearn for consumer spending. Time has long passed to take worker illegal status out of the employment equation. Those lawfully here must compete every day against New England’s 200,000 illegally employed.
Toward that end, New Hampshire voters remain front and center. Television and other personalities appear on NH streets for our 2016 primary vote. This IDEA can receive national attention, if NH voters demand action now. Senator Kelly Ayotte will host many national and international celebrities and leaders in her quest for re-election and in their quest to elect a President. She enjoys vice-presidential front place consideration for 2016. (Paul Ryan ran for Wisconsin’s US House seat while running as Mitt Romney’s VP.) Regardless, New Hampshire voters and voices can influence our Nation’s immigration policy that will surely effect each of our daily work lives.
In the 2016 race, immigration looms large. Let candidates know your IDEA that will pass. In the battle to pass immigration reform in the US House & Senate, adopt this IDEA.
1 You can learn more MBSs at Cato Institute: http://www.cato.org/cato-journal/winter-2012, a think tank financed by conservatives and Libertarians. There, you will discover that immigrants who actually do become citizens (only 46% of the 1986-Reagan amnesty became citizens) vote both Republican and Democrat. A win-win!
2 http://thediplomat.com/2015/05/labor-exploitation-revealed-in-australias-food-industry/ 3 http://www.minnpost.com/politics-policy/2014/03/how-taxpayers-subsidize-low-wage-workers; $7 Billion for fast food workers alone. See also, http://www.forbes.com/sites/clareoconnor/2014/04/15/report-walmart- workers-cost-taxpayers-6-2-billion-in-public-assistance $6.2 Billion for Walmart alone. 4 See “The Mirage of Mexican Guest Workers,” Foreign Affairs Mag. Nov/Dec. 2001. 5 See http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/on-immigration-the-gop-is-out-of-touch-with-the-rest-of- america/2015/02/25/8e40d966-bd1b-11e4-b274-e5209a3bc9a9_story.html Washington Post, Feb. 25, 2015, Editorial Board OpEd. 6Id., see also: http://publicreligion.org/site/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/PRRI-AVA-Immigration-Policy-D1.pdf
Governor Hassan Vetoes Article V Delegate Limitation Bill
Opposes Restraining a Corrupt, Unaccountable Washington
Governor Hassan today vetoed HB-148, a bill specifying how New Hampshire delegates would be selected to an increasingly likely and first-ever Article V convention to propose amendments to the US Constitution. HB-148 would also have confirmed historical precedent that delegate actions are limited to the subject matter contained in any legislative resolution applying for an amending convention.
The Governor’s veto message is stuffed with purposeful misinformation, apparently to conceal her opposition to the single greatest power granted by the Constitution to the states, the power now needing exercise to restrain our corrupt and unaccountable Washington government.
I have personally worked during my campaign last year for US Senate and, this year, in New Hampshire and in several other states around the country in support of all three of the leading efforts to launch an Article V convention of states.
Thanks for listening,
Time for an Effective National Security Strategy
Beltway establishment hawks – who lost the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, squandered $100 billion on Afghanistan reconstruction (only 10% of which can even be accounted for), created a failed-state terror haven in Libya by toppling Muammar Gaddafi, and in 2012-2013 armed and funded the “moderate” Islamic insurgents who morphed into ISIS – now want us to forget their serial strategic blunders and drag us into yet another Middle East ground war.
The national security debate has degraded into more versus less intervention, with the more camp pinning the blame for the rise of ISIS on President Obama’s failure to reach a status of forces agreement to keep post-surge US troops in Iraq.
Now, we know the real reason for the rise of ISIS, and it’s not because we failed to intervene. Judicial Watch just published a previously secret August 2012 Pentagon report almost precisely predicting that US support for insurgent anti-Assad Sunni factions would lead to unification of those factions and to the creation of an “Islamic state … in Iraq and Syria.” The Keystone hawks persisted well into 2013 in spite of this verbatim warning from the Pentagon in 2012:
“This creates the ideal atmosphere for AQI (Al Qaeda in Iraq) to return to its old pockets in Mosul and Ramadi, and will provide a renewed momentum under the presumption of unifying the jihad among Sunni Iraq and Syria, and the rest of the Sunnis in the Arab world against what it considers one enemy … ISI (Islamic State in Iraq) could also declare an Islamic state through its Union with other terrorist organizations in Iraq and Syria, which will create grave danger in regards to unifying Iraq and the protection of its territory.”
Desperately lacking from the national security debate is a coherent, long-range strategy to protect America from Islamic terror. Nation building has failed. Regime change has increased instability in every case. Whack-a-mole bombing campaigns simply drive jihadi insurgents into temporary hibernation or into other failed states, like the one we created in Libya. This haphazard interventionism has loaded our children with a trillion dollars in debt and sacrificed the lives and broken the bodies and minds of tens of thousands of our immensely brave and professional soldiers.
Toward an Effective Strategy
Surgery, not nation building. Whether as lone wolfs or organized in jihadi-controlled regions, Islamic radicals around the world will continue to plot harm to Americans. In failed state or enemy territory and using drones and Special Forces, our military (not the CIA) should neutralize individuals directly responsible for killing or seriously harming any American citizen. Every such operation should be promptly followed by an after-action evaluation by a special Congressional committee named for that purpose. A declaration of war with appropriate parameters must first be adopted by Congress, and the Constitutional rights of any involved American citizen must be protected.
Don’t get sucked into the Sunni-Shia proxy war. There are no good guys for us to save. Let the proxies spill each other’s blood, not ours. Wealthy Middle East nations such as Turkey, Iran and Saudi Arabia which have substantial air and ground forces are in the best position to contain their internal security threats. Caveat: Iran must not be allowed to have nuclear weapons, and Israel must not be prevented from defending itself.
Autonomous sectarian regions. Abandon the myth of a unified Iraq and allow Iraq and Syria to disintegrate into autonomous Shia, Sunni and Kurd sectarian regions. A UN safe haven will be needed at least transitionally for regional refugees. The US can play a substantial humanitarian role here.
Demand that Saudis stop funding terror. In the near term, the US must end our tacit agreement with Saudi Arabia that it act as the world’s primary buffer against oil price/supply shocks while Saudi royals act as the world’s leading funders for the radical Wahhabi ideology and global terror network. In return for this funding and for imposition of Sharia law (the Saudis do more beheadings than ISIS), the Islamic radicals wink at the princes’ debauchery and their $100 million London apartments and refrain from attacks on Saudi soil.
Cut pork to fund defense priorities. Our most expensive weapons program, the F-35 fighter bomber, is unable to reliably fly in desert conditions and, because of its heavy, single-engine design, was defeated in simulations by Chinese fighters. Congress continues to spend ($120 million this year) on the Abrams tank program that the Army has repeatedly stated it does not need. Congress has allowed the Defense Department budget to remain un-auditable since 1990. Before spending more money, fiscal conservatives should require a full DOD audit so that we know where the money we are already spending is going. Fund needed defense spending from cuts to pork, not by breaking healthcare and pay promises to our soldiers.
Replace fossil fuels. Beltway hawks thought that, by strengthening ISIS, they could weaken Russia and take down Syrian President and Russian ally, Bashar al-Assad. Russia now has Europe by the short ones because Europe imports 17 trillion ft3 of natural gas per year (65% of net EU-28 consumption), its top source being Russia. Qatar has the world’s third largest proven gas reserves and could replace EU dependency on Russian gas given sufficient transmission pipeline capacity through Western Syria and Turkey. The US and Qatar have long sought this pipeline route blocked by Assad for reasons made obvious by the chart below.
Better than continuing our blowback-prone proxy war to take out Assad, let’s permanently end free-world dependency on fossil energy from Russia and the Middle East.
The US leads the world in medical technology and biomedicine, enjoying the resulting high-paying domestic jobs and strong net exports. We’ve achieved this as a direct result of $30 billion annual funding for pre-commercial health science research, sustained over the past decade and largely distributed via competitive grants by the National Institutes of Health. Despite this success and strong political support for protecting our science and technology lead, the US has fallen to #11 in global R&D per capita.
Heresy for small-government conservatives, but the $2 billion per year the federal government has spent over the past decade on basic energy research is too little. My pitch: add $10 billion per year in sustained national support for pre-commercial energy R&D.
I do not mean more Solyndras, taxpayer guarantees for nuclear plant construction, oil and gas subsidies, or corn ethanol supply mandates. Phasing out existing federal energy subsidies like these can pay for about half of a $10 billion R&D bump. Government should stop picking commercial winners and losers because crony capitalism distorts, corrupts and freezes marketplace dynamics which otherwise accelerate knowledge and technology commercialization and drives out cost. Taxpayer-backed energy R&D should focus on blue-sky work in materials science, nano-chemistry, energy storage, batteries, solar PV technology, offshore wind platforms, and thorium fuel cycle reactors, for example.
Commercialized energy technologies are already booming without subsides. Unsubsidized energy efficiency and utility scale wind and solar PV (in that order) are already cheaper than or competitive with combined cycle natural gas as electricity sources.
|Policy change can still help with commercialized energy sources. The US can sharply reduce the cost of residential solar PV by slashing regulatory complexity. Residential solar entrepreneur Barry Cinnamon blogs that US bureaucracy and paperwork about double the cost of US domestic rooftop solar compared with Germany.
“Amazingly, it boils down to the difference between a one page incentive application in Germany for the installation of a standardized system that does not even require an inspection...compared to hundreds of pages of permits, applications and agreements coupled with multiple inspections and jurisdictional requirements that are required in the U.S.”
Once energy storage becomes less costly than natural gas, market forces will cause displacement of fossil fuels as primary heat, electricity, and transportation energy sources worldwide within two or three decades. Dictators and terrorists will be defunded, energy price shocks will be history, excessively resource dependent nations economically democratized, and global warming curbed.
The Presidential Primaries
Sadly, this post contains more detail than the announced national security/foreign policy planks of the candidates because detail invites attack. Candidates with whom I’ve talked at length admit to me that, as yet, they have no strategy to offer. Others are getting by just fine on poll-driven rhetorical generalities. The lack of competing and well-articulated national security strategies is restricting debate, forcing voters to run blind, and delaying formation of the national consensus always needed for sustained public support of any strategy.
Primary voters, for the good of our nation, please demand more detail from the candidates.