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Welfare Reform Re-Visited

E-Newsletter No. 45 _______ September 2017

Fair warning to all readers who might have “Democratic Socialism” tendencies… Continue reading at your own risk. On our website, we have added a new Conversation Piece entitled Welfare Reform Re-Visited

http://www.f2ppr.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/Welfare-Reform-Revisited.pdf

In this Conversation Piece, we provide our thoughts on how to repeal and replace the federal government’s counter-productive welfare programs. Our country needs to face a sobering fact – – our federal government has lost its “War on Poverty”. History and events have proven that LBJ’s Great Society welfare programs have been an abject failure. We have spent over $22 trillion on welfare programs since the 1960s, and the percentage of people who live in poverty has remained virtually unchanged.

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, while expecting to achieve a different result. We need to fundamentally transform welfare (which is simply the delivery of goods and services to citizens who need assistance). With this Conversation Piece, our Editorial Board is launching our own war on the War on Poverty. The welfare programs sponsored by our federal government cannot solve the problem of poverty (contrary to how these programs have been “marketed” to the public in the past). Instead, these welfare programs have only served to foster a growing sense of entitlement among our country’s citizens and have increased the level of dependency on the federal government.

Our Editorial Board’s alternative is to promote the concept of Personal Responsibility, rather than Socialism. An individual who is in poverty should look to assistance from civil society for the solution to their problem(s), rather than a government program. History has proven without a doubt that the federal government’s programs cannot accomplish the objective of reducing poverty.
LBJ’s Great Society programs were a drastic over-reach by the federal government. The federal government was not established by the States to deliver welfare to individual citizens. It was set up to protect our country’s citizens’ lives and liberties, and our ability to pursue happiness. The General Welfare clause in the Constitution refers to policies and programs that promote the General Welfare of the country as a whole, and does not refer to providing welfare benefits to individual citizens.

Having said that… Compassionate citizens of all political persuasions recognize that some individuals are going to need some assistance during some period of time in their life. The poor have always lived among us, and this has been true going all the way back to pre-biblical times. As we noted in The 2020 Initiative, the real solution to the problem of poverty is to help the poor become “unpoor”. However, one of the first steps that needs to happen is for each individual to develop a game plan to take Personal Responsibility for their own life. A sense of Personal Responsibility (instead of a sense of “vicitimization”) combined with the assistance available from civil society (families, supported by local community groups, charities, and social service agencies) is the only means by which a person will become unpoor. For those on the Left who are brave enough, please launch the link to the Conversation Piece entitled Welfare Reform Re-Visited.

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As many of us recall, on October 30, 2015, legislation was passed to suspend the federal government’s debt limit to March 2017. Since then, the Treasury department has employed “extraordinary measures” to continue meeting federal obligations without issuing new debt, and the amount of the federal government’s debt has been stalled at approximately $19.97 trillion since July. However, these extraordinary measures will become depleted some time later this month. Unfortunately, the incremental costs that have been incurred for these extraordinary measures total approximately $2.5 billion. Although this is a “big number”, this amount is “miniscule” when you consider the fact that the annual deficit for this year is going to be around $600 billion.

US Debt Clock – – August 1st – $61,344 per citizen / September 1st – $61,330

Personal Responsibility – Your Savings for Your Retirement Years

E-Newsletter No. 44 ______August 2017

It has been a few months since we last discussed Social Security, so our Editorial Board thought that this would be a good month to re-visit this issue. We do this for three reasons.

Our elected representatives will soon be returning to Washington DC from their August break, to vote on increasing the federal government’s so-called “debt limit” (which has become a farce that is increasingly irrelevant and meaningless).

They will also be trying to put the finishing touches on our federal government’s fiscal 2018 budget for the year that begins on October 1st. All of the projections show that this budget will not “balance”, and therefore over the course of the upcoming year, there will continue to be an increase in the total debt of the federal government.

But most importantly, we want to point out the fact that very few of our elected representatives are brave enough to address the issue of entitlement reform. They do not want to come forward with a solution to this problem, because they are worried about what effect this would have on their next re-election. Currently, approximately 70% of the federal government’s spending is on automatic pilot for “mandatory” spending…. Mandatory?? How did we ever get into this mess? The answer is very simple – – Many years ago “progressive” politicians (including FDR) decided that retirement funds should become the responsibility of the federal government (instead of being a Personal Responsibility). And then in the 1960s, another career politician (LBJ) along with other Socialists of the Left added Medicare, Medicaid and various welfare programs to the list.

In The 2020 Initiative, our Editorial Board puts forward our thoughts on how Social Security can be transformed over a multi-year transition period into a means-tested welfare benefit. As we have noted previously, there is no money in the Social Security “Trust” (which is another misleading federal government charade). But even though we believe it is immoral for the federal government to continue to steal funds from future generations to make Social Security payments to other people, we are “somewhat OK” with the idea of a means-tested welfare benefit for an elderly retired citizen who is in need of financial assistance. We acknowledge the possibility that due to an individual’s facts and circumstances, they might not have been able to personally save enough funds that would have allowed them to cover their own needs over the course of their retirement years. In that type of situation, our first choice would normally be to have civil society (families, supported by Not For Profit charities and other local social services agencies) provide this kind of assistance to such an individual, but maybe it’s OK for the federal government to provide for such a means-tested welfare benefit.

Having said that…. Our country’s citizens need to begin to acknowledge that even this kind of means-tested welfare benefit is not a proper role of the federal government. And unfortunately, the payments that are currently being made under this program do not make any sense – – the vast majority of these “unfunded pension benefits” are being paid to retirees who are probably already financially secure, and only minimal monthly amounts are being paid to retirees who probably need to receive a Social Security benefit (see the July 2015 letter to Senator Bernie Sanders on our Foundation’s website).

In its current form, this government program is unsustainable. As the program’s Trustees have reported for the past several years, “Lawmakers should address the projected trust fund shortfalls in a timely way in order to phase in necessary changes gradually and give workers and beneficiaries time to adjust to them.” Congress, are you listening? We are extremely disappointed that we hear this “standard” wording in the Trustees’ report year after year after year. Maybe (soon?) our elected officials will finally take the steps that are needed to fundamentally transform this failing government program. Our proposed transition plan would not change any benefits to retirees who are currently receiving Social Security payments. It would also allow current workers to get their personal contributions back out of the Social Security program, plus interest. But after that, the federal government would no longer be able to coercively tax future generations for unfunded promises that were made in the past. Unless these fundamental changes occur (soon), it is going to be extremely difficult for future generations to save for their own retirement years.

US Debt Clock – – July 1st – $61,368 per citizen / August 1st – $61,344

Personal Responsibility – Food and Housing

E-Newsletter No. 43 ______ July 2017

In our newsletters the past few months, we have tried to promote the concept that education and healthcare are personal responsibilities. However, the Socialists of the Left want to change our citizens’ mindset by re-labeling these aspects of daily life as being new “rights” that give rise to new “entitlements”. This is simply part of the Left’s “progressive” agenda to increase the size and scope of the federal government. Unfortunately, if the Socialists are successful in regards to education and healthcare, the same thinking can then be applied to the concept of an “entitlement” to food and housing. And after that…. Who knows?

Compassionate conservatives recognize the fact that food and housing are “needs”. Conservatives agree that there is no reason why a citizen in our country of plenty should go hungry or homeless, and also acknowledge that some of our country’s citizens require assistance to have their needs met. Where Conservatives and Socialists disagree is in regards to the methods to make this happen. The Socialists believe in the coercive powers of the federal government, which they try to sell to the public as being “federal government benevolence”. The federal government was not set up to be benevolent. (See Thomas Paine’s Common Sense comments about government). Conservatives believe in personal responsibility and families and Not For Profit charities – this is a far better method of taking care of our citizens’ needs, rather than relying on yet another inefficient, counter-productive government program.

Our Editorial Board believes that the waste, inefficiency, and corruption of the federal government prevents it from effectively accomplishing any of its stated welfare goals. In The 2020 Initiative, our Editorial Board proposes a fundamental change to the US tax code for personal income taxes, whereby a charitable contribution to a Not For Profit charity will result in a tax credit against an individual’s / family’s federal income tax obligation that would otherwise be paid into the swamp. The federal government needs to be starved of these funds, so that it no longer intrudes into the marketplace for education, healthcare, food, housing, or any other aspect of daily life. Its focus should be on the federal government’s responsibilities that are specifically listed in the US Constitution.

In The 2020 Initiative, we recommend that four independent national Not For Profit “clearing-house” charities be established for food, housing, healthcare and education. The sole purpose of these national charities would be to collect funds from citizens, and then (based on stringent, objective criteria that quantifies each state’s needs) disburse that charity’s funds to the applicable state-level charitable organization in each state.

As we will discuss in our upcoming Conversation Piece on Welfare Reform Re-Visited, the real solution to the issue of poverty is to help those less fortunate become “unpoor”. The Socialists’ “default solution” to any issue is to have the federal government simply provide cash to people who need assistance. But this approach only serves to increase the sense of entitlement among our country’s citizens, and increases the recipient’s dependency on the federal government, while only marginally and temporarily helping the recipient become “somewhat less poor”. The better solution is to provide financial support to local community-based social services agencies (local job training programs, food banks, habitat for humanity groups, public health clinics, etc.) so that civil society can help citizens assume personal responsibility for their own lives, lift themselves out of poverty, and become unpoor.

US Debt Clock – – June 1st – $61,297 per citizen / July 1st – $61,368

Healthcare Re-Visited

E-Newsletter No. 42_______June 2017

On our website, we have an October 2013 Conversation Piece entitled Medicare and Universal Health Care Coverage. One of the main planks of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign was to repeal and replace the (Un)Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare), which has proven to be a disastrous over-reach by the federal government into our country’s healthcare system. Unfortunately, the House of Representatives bundled the repeal initiative with the replacement initiative (which should have been dealt with separately in a second step). Fortunately, a second, better version of the American Health Care Act was passed by the House, and is now in the process of being re-written by the Senate. Hopefully, the final version of this legislation will serve to eliminate the fundamental flaws of Obamacare.

On our website, we have posted a new Conversation Piece entitled Healthcare Re-Visited

http://www.f2ppr.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/Healthcare-ReVisited.pdf

In this posting, we distinguish between two separate issues – – “healthcare” (which is a personal responsibility) and acquiring a health insurance policy (which is also a personal responsibility). Unfortunately, the Socialists of the Left continue to link these two issues together in their ongoing attempts to further expand the size and scope of the federal government. By proclaiming that healthcare is a “right”, they attempt to make the case that people should no longer be responsible for their own healthcare, because healthcare should be administered by the federal government.

We also provide a little history on employer group health insurance plans, and we discuss the similarities and difference between health insurance and other types of insurance, like auto insurance. We also put forward our recommendations on how each of our country’s citizens can acquire a health insurance policy that meets their own individual needs, and we address the issues regarding what can be done on behalf of those citizens who need financial assistance to acquire a health insurance policy.

US Debt Clock – – May 1st – $61,220 per citizen / June 1st – $61,297

Education – Part Three

E-Newsletter No. 41 ______ May 2017

As we discussed in last month’s newsletter, our biggest complaint about the federal government’s over-reach into the realm of local K-12 education has been the abysmal return on the massive increase in federal spending, coupled with the simultaneous decrease in measurable results. We attribute most of this decline to the federal government’s top-down regulations and its attempts to enforce a politically correct curriculum, instead of letting parents, the local community, and their schools focus on the fundamentals of education that need to be provided to elementary and high school students. To paraphrase Carly Fiorina’s presidential campaign slogan, “We need to take our local schools back from the federal government.”

Having said that…. The federal government’s detrimental effects on post-secondary education has been even worse. As we have noted elsewhere on our website, one of the worst unintended consequences of federal government spending is the price distortion it causes in the marketplace. We see this effect in healthcare, in housing, and in the cost of post-secondary education.

The crisis in outstanding student loan debt was created by the federal government, and the magnitude of this problem has increased ever since the government first expanded its role under President Bill Clinton in 1993. Since then, college costs have risen by 190 percent, far surpassing the overall rate of inflation. As the federal government took over student lending, the conditions for getting a loan were eased and were no longer linked to financial need. This has enabled all colleges (public and private) to raise tuition at will, knowing that students can get loans to cover the rising costs.

The student loan crisis has ballooned since 2003, when outstanding student loans totaled $240 billion. Total student loan debt now stands at $1.4 trillion (more than 85% guaranteed by the government), which is more than the amount of outstanding vehicle loans and credit card obligations, and is second only to mortgages. (And we all witnessed the detrimental effects of the federal government’s role in the housing industry).

The progressive movement’s solution is to make a public college education “free”. But what will that do to the competition between public versus private colleges? (OK, that was a rhetorical question). The other solution is to “forgive” outstanding loan balances (in other words, make past student loans “free”). But is that fair to those responsible individuals who have actually paid off their student loans?

A first step towards solving the student loan problem is to eliminate all federal government student loan programs, and return the issuance of student loans to the private sector. Only then will the marketplace for post-secondary education begin to hold tuition costs in check. We also need to re-think the cost versus benefit of a college education. Is a four-year college degree really the right answer for every student? There are many different trades / occupations that do not require a degree, and there are labor shortages for these positions. (We plan to address the cost/benefit analysis of welfare versus work in a later newsletter).

The skills gap in our country is substantial, which is partly due to the poor results of the K-12 education system. In a recent survey, 45% of small business owners reported that they were unable to find qualified job applicants, including construction workers, truck drivers, automotive technicians, etc. Skills-training partnerships between business leaders and local high schools, colleges and community-based organizations, along with apprenticeships and internships, would help job candidates obtain the necessary skills.

Technology changes and other evolutions within the business world will continue to create a situation where workers need to be trained and retrained throughout their careers. Post-secondary education now represents a lifetime commitment to additional ongoing training. Public-private partnerships (funded by civil society) will be critical to improving the prosperity of all American workers.

One other issue of note – – Our Editorial Board’s biggest complaint about the liberal / progressive movement’s assault on our post-secondary education system can be summed up by this quote from Vladimir Lenin – Give me four years to teach the children and the seed I have sown will never be uprooted. Many of us recall the Free Speech Movement during the mid-1960s on the campus of the University of California, Berkeley. Now, Berkeley’s administration is advocating “Free Speech Zones”, which is an “Orwellian” term used to describe an approach whereby certain public speakers are literally put out of sight in a safe zone, in order to protect the rest of the student population from potentially “politically incorrect” points of view. My, oh my, how the world has “progressed” over the past several decades.

US Debt Clock – – April 1st – $61,149 per citizen / May 1st – $61,220

Education – Part Two

E-Newsletter No. 40 ______ April 2017

In last month’s newsletter, we began a discussion about the unintended consequences of the federal government’s involvement in Education – – massive increases in spending, coupled with declining results. These unintended results are occurring at both the elementary / high school level and the post-secondary level. Although the problem of declining results is similar, the discussion of the various issues and how best to move forward need to be addressed separately.

Elementary / high school education is a purely local issue. The students, the parents, and the teachers are all local. In most regards (other than questions about finances and funding) K-12 education isn’t even a state-level issue. Our Editorial Board believes that the federal government has virtually no role to play in local education issues. As we noted last month, the federal government’s initial foray into the realm of public education was probably OK, because it was limited to collecting and disseminating “best practices” information to the States. Unfortunately, starting with the Head Start program in 1965, and followed by innumerable programs since then, the federal government began increasing its influence at the local level by providing funds to local school districts to advance these federal programs. By “purchasing” this influence, local schools are, in effect, held hostage by these federal dollars.

The federal government should no longer attempt to micromanage the delivery of K-12 education. Unfortunately, for many decades, progressive theories and the resulting federal programs have served to undermine traditional K-12 education, and education bureaucrats have taken control away from the local community. Parents, local school boards, and the teachers in the classrooms, need to come together to reverse this trend and put student-focused innovation ahead of top-down regulation. The answer to improving results at your local school is parental involvement and local control. We also need to re-direct moneys away from the federal government, and have it flow directly to Parent-Teacher Associations and other local nonprofit organizations that have been established to support local education. As we recommend in The 2020 Initiative, this can be accomplished by making changes to the federal income tax code, whereby taxpayers would receive a direct tax credit (rather than a deduction against income) for contributions made to organizations that have been established to support local education.

Our Editorial Board has a great deal of respect and appreciation for public school teachers, who play a vital role in the development of young adults. Unfortunately, we cannot say the same thing about the various teachers’ unions, who appear to be solely focused on the wants of the union, rather than the needs of our country’s students. Not surprisingly, teachers’ unions are passionate opponents of school choice, charter schools and vouchers.

We would like nothing more than to have all of our public schools succeed and return to the high levels of quality outcomes that were achieved in the past. But if a particular school is failing its mission, we support a parent’s right to enroll their child in a high-quality alternative. Ultimately, it is a matter of parental involvement to decide the best alternative for their child. School choice simply means having the freedom to choose between the local public school, a charter school, a private school, homeschooling, or some other alternative. We must be able to provide students in failing schools the opportunity to find a better alternative. School vouchers should be available to any student who resides in a district that is deemed to be failing.

There is also a growing sense that our public schools have been “dumbed down”, and children who attend failing schools are no longer being adequately educated in the skills that will enable them to be productive individuals once they graduate from high school. Our public schools need to re-focus on teaching the fundamentals of reading, writing, arithmetic, and science. Unfortunately, when a school loses its focus on these basic skills, and begins to devote time to teaching a “politically correct curriculum”, it steals time away from more important subjects, such as history and the US Constitution.
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We close this month’s newsletter with the following news update (because this didn’t get a lot of press coverage this past month). On March 16th, the country’s debt limit was reset to reflect the additional borrowings that have occurred since the debt limit was suspended in November 2015. We have now re-entered that phase whereby the Treasury Department must now manage our country’s debt through “extraordinary measures”. The Congressional Budget Office projects that if the new debt limit remains unchanged, those measures will probably be exhausted (and the Treasury will run out of cash) sometime in the fall of 2017. The following is a link to a concise 4-page report from the CBO about what this all means – https://www.cbo.gov/publication/52465

US Debt Clock – – March 1st – $61,557 per citizen / April 1st – $61,149 Do not get overly excited or overjoyed by this momentary decrease. Our country’s long term financial problems have not yet been fixed.

Personal Responsibility – Education

E-Newsletter No. 39 ______ March 2017

In last month’s newsletter, we talked about some of the unintended consequences that arise when the federal government attempts to fulfill a role that is not listed in the Constitution. This month’s newsletter deals with the question of what role the federal government should play in regards to Education. Many of us are familiar with the following quote, which is oftentimes attributed to the 12th century rabbi Moses ben Maimon – – Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.

We don’t think that anyone would dispute the fact that one of the most important factors that helps to determine a person’s success in life is a good education. Most of us would agree that the primary initial responsibility for an individual’s education resides with his/her parents. But ultimately, the responsibility for daily, ongoing, lifetime education resides solely with the individual. Access to the best schools in the world and/or massive amounts of federal government money will not change the fact that education is a personal responsibility.

So, what is the proper role for the federal government? Interestingly, the issue / topic of education is nowhere to be found in the US Constitution. But having said that, our Editorial Board believes the federal government’s initial foray into the realm of public education in 1867 was probably appropriate. The original Office of Education was a minor bureau within the Department of the Interior, and was created to collect information on schools and teaching that would help the States establish effective school systems. We believe that this approach was properly aligned with the Constitution’s intent to promote the General Welfare (of the country as a whole). Unfortunately (similar to other examples of federal government over-reach) supporters of the progressive agenda deemed that this level of involvement was not adequate and the federal government should help “manage” education, rather than merely serve as a conduit of “best practices” information to the States and to local schools.

Ultimately, President Jimmy Carter, with the backing of the National Education Association, was successful in establishing a cabinet level Department of Education in 1979. What has followed since then is not surprising, but is truly troubling. The first budget for the Department provided for 3,000 federal government employees and an annual budget of $12 billion. In President Obama’s final budget for fiscal 2017, he proposed a Department budget for 5,000 federal employees and a budget of $69 billion. In addition, the 2017 budget also proposed $140 billion of new “mandatory” spending over the upcoming 10-year period, over and above the annual “discretionary” budget.

But the biggest disappointment is that the measurable results of our country’s education system has gone in the opposite direction. Since the 1960s and the LBJ era, our country’s education standing in the world has continued to fall. We have gone from a country that was able to put a man on the moon, to one where our country currently ranks in the middle of the pack (or worse).

So, what went wrong? It’s obviously not due to a lack of money. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) is an organization of 34 countries whose purpose is to promote trade and economic growth. In an OECD study, it was noted that the United States spent $11,700 per full-time-equivalent student on elementary/high school education, which was 31 percent higher than the OECD average. At the postsecondary level, the US spent $26,600 per FTE student, which was 79 percent higher than the OECD average.

A similar study by the USC Rossier School of Education compared our country’s education spending and performance versus eleven other countries. Our country is the clear leader in annual spending, but ranks 9th in Science performance and 10th in Math.

A more comprehensive study, the Third International Mathematics and Science Study, showed similar dismal results. At the 4th Grade Level, among 26 countries, the US ranked 12th in Math and 3rd in Science. However, at the 8th Grade Level, among 41 countries, the US rankings slipped to 28th in Math and 17th in Science. And continuing the trend, by the end of high school, among 21 countries in the study, the US ranked 19th in Math and 16th in Science.

Next month – What can we do about it?

US Debt Clock – – February 1st – $61,547 per citizen / March 1st – $61,557

Personal Responsibility – Part Two

E-Newsletter No. 38______February 2017

In the document on our Foundation’s website entitled The 2020 Initiative, we recommend that changes be made to the federal income tax code for personal income taxes, whereby individuals who make charitable contributions would receive a credit against their federal income tax obligation (rather than merely get an itemized deduction against their taxable income, which marginally reduces the amount of taxes they pay to the IRS). This will allow the taxpayer to self-direct a portion of their tax obligation to the organizations of their choice, and take these funds out of the hands of the federal government.

The primary reason for this recommendation is to reduce the size and scope of the federal government. As we have noted on our website, Article 1 Section 8 of the Constitution lists the very important (and very limited) responsibilities of the federal government. Unfortunately, over the course of the past century, our federal government has lost its focus in regards to its core responsibilities and has introduced innumerable “non-Constitutional” programs that attempt to either socially engineer the country’s citizens or “solve” a person’s problems (which the government will never be able to accomplish). And unfortunately, many of these “progressive” programs have created significant negative unintended consequences.

Some of the worst unintended consequences include creating a sense of entitlement among a large portion of our country’s citizens, which has led to increasing amounts of taxes and skyrocketing unsustainable federal debt that is being pushed onto future generations. But one of the worst consequences has been creating a sense of dependency on the federal government (for food, housing, medical care, “free” education, etc., etc.) at the expense of encouraging individuals to assume personal responsibility for their own needs and wants.

And another unintended consequence is the long history of economic distortions that these programs have caused within the marketplace. Federal money has been the source of “much-higher-than-inflation” increases in the cost of education and healthcare. Federal money and innumerable federal housing programs have also served to distort the housing market and contributed to the housing bubble that led to the Great Recession. Once the federal government has been transformed (whereby it only receives enough funds to carry out its very important, limited responsibilities) it should no longer attempt to manage any other activity beyond its stated responsibilities (please refer to the Tenth Amendment), and the negative consequences listed above will begin to subside.

The other primary reason for these recommended changes is to shift funds from the federal government and redirect those funds to “civil society”, which consists of a variety of effective and innovative Not For Profit charitable organizations. Given the choice between continuing to send their money to the Washington cartel versus a favored charity, people will send their money directly to those organizations they want to support. Another benefit is that these charities will need to compete for these contributions, which will encourage them to operate more efficiently and show more effective outcomes, or bear the consequence of a decrease in the funds they receive from the public. These free market principles are applicable to each of the types of operations mentioned above, including Education, which is the topic of next month’s newsletter.

US Debt Clock – – January 1st – $61,326 per citizen / February 1st – $61,547

Personal Responsibility – Part One

E-Newsletter No. 37______January 2017

On our website, we have a Conversation Piece entitled “Why Mitt Romney’s Comments About the 47% Were Not Correct”. Please note that we do not disagree with the fact / statistic cited by Mr. Romney – – 47% of our country’s citizens do not pay federal income taxes. However, we do take exception to the idea that we live in a country where 47% of our fellow citizens feel that they are “victims”. We continue to believe that the vast majority of Americans agree we live in a truly exceptional country – a land of opportunity.

We also take exception to the implication that because the 47% do not pay federal income taxes, these citizens are somehow deadbeats. The truth is that virtually every person who participates in our country’s economy (as an employee, or as a self-employed person) pays taxes to the federal government on the income that they earn. However, it is unfortunate that these tax payers are forced to redistribute a portion of their income to other recipients via Social Security and Medicare payroll taxes. And it is unfortunate that even with all of these payroll taxes and employer contributions, the deficits for these two “Democratic Socialism” programs contributed approximately $500 billion to the total $587 billion deficit last year.

And it’s unfortunate that when you include Medicaid, welfare programs, and interest on the country’s debt, the total of this “mandatory” spending now represents about 70% of the nearly $4 trillion the federal government spends each year. And this leaves just a fraction of the federal government’s tax revenues available for national defense and the other responsibilities of the government listed in the Constitution.

So, how have we allowed our federal government to get us into this predicament? As Ben Franklin warned, ”When the people find that they can vote themselves money, that will herald the end of the republic.” Mr. Romney’s solution to these problems (and the purpose of our Foundation) is to promote the concept of taking personal responsibility for your own life. Unfortunately, the Democratic Socialists would tend to disagree.

Many of us are familiar with one of Aesop’s Fables about the (irresponsible) Grasshopper and the responsible, industrious Ant. Unfortunately, our federal government (via its many “non-Constitutional” social welfare programs) has fostered a sense of entitlement among a large portion of our country’s citizens. But nowhere in the Constitution does it state that the federal government has a responsibility to provide for the essentials of everyday life (or a cash “pension” during your retirement years).

US Debt Clock – – December 1st – $61,262 per citizen / January 1st – $61,326

And Now The Difficult Work Begins

E-Newsletter No. 36 _____ December 2016

On November 8th, the American electorate declared “It is time to drain the swamp”. Now that the elections are behind us, in the words of President-elect Trump, “… it is time for America to bind the wounds of division… and for us to come together as one united people.”

Our Editorial Board believes that three main themes played out during the November elections. First and foremost, our country’s citizens made a definitive statement that a top priority is to eliminate corruption and cronyism in our nation’s capital. It was time to bring in an outsider, because in the eyes of many, the Washington cartel’s career politicians had established an elite political class that is at odds with our country’s “regular” citizens, who said “Enough is enough”. One of the most important planks in President-elect Trump’s “Contract With the American Voter” is a pledge to move forward with a Constitutional Amendment to impose term limits on all members of Congress. By passing and implementing such an amendment, our elected representatives will be free to make decisions that are the right ones for our country as a whole, rather than worry about how an extremely difficult decision might affect their long-term political career.

The election was also an initial step in the right direction of restoring the Founders’ concept of Limited Government. We need to have our elected officials respect the Constitution they are sworn to preserve, protect and defend. Over the past eight years, there has been a growing sense that our citizens’ rights were slowly being dwindled away. There was also a sense that maybe the government’s “experts” weren’t always right. Maybe we shouldn’t have been trying to “fundamentally transform” the country or “socially engineer” the country’s citizens, or show favoritism to this or that special interest group. Maybe the country’s Commander in Chief shouldn’t have been legislating using a phone and a pen. Maybe the Supreme Court shouldn’t have been legislating either. Maybe the executive branch should have been enforcing the laws that are on the books, rather than picking and choosing which laws should be enforced. Maybe we were being taxed too much and weren’t seeing an adequate return on our investment in the federal government and its many new programs and regulations. Maybe we didn’t want to pay for “free” college for everyone. Maybe the federal government was just getting too big, intrusive, and out of touch.

And one of the most important outcomes of the election is that the long and steady march of the Left’s “progressive” agenda has been momentarily halted. Unfortunately, the Left’s agenda remains intact. All you need to do is re-read the excerpts of The 2016 Democratic Party Platform (on our Foundation’s website) for a listing of the Left’s priorities. One of the most alarming aspects of the 2016 election cycle was the emergence of the “Democratic Socialism” ideology advocated by Senator Bernie Sanders. Keep in mind that the “progressive” agenda dates back to early 1900’s. It has had its many (failed) successes over the years, starting with the various Socialism programs put forward by FDR. The size of the federal government then took another giant leap forward during the 1960’s with LBJ’s “Great Society” programs. And most recently, Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton attempted to move our country further to the Left. Although Senator Sanders was successful in moving the Democratic Party further to the Left, We The People were successful in blocking the further advance of Socialism in America.

Having said all that… The bulk of the hard work still remains. We need to have our federal government re-focus on its core responsibilities that are laid out in the US Constitution, and we need to fundamentally transform (and shrink) the federal government, and follow the wisdom of the Tenth Amendment in the Bill of Rights – The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people. Entitlement programs need to be reformed. We need to stop stealing from our children and grandkids. We need to eliminate deficit spending and start re-paying the country’s cumulative debt. Obamacare needs to be repealed and replaced. We need to get the federal government out of the welfare business, and instead support Not For Profit organizations (The People’s solutions) that will be much more effective in eliminating poverty in America. We need to re-affirm the concepts of self-reliance and personal responsibility, and that All Lives Matter. And our federal government needs to re-focus its efforts on advancing the following agenda – Opportunity for All, Favoritism to None.

US Debt Clock – – November 1st – $60,976 per citizen / December 1st – $61,262