President-Elect Trump

Congratulations to President-elect Donald J. Trump.  His is not just a personal victory; it’s a victory for conservatives who are tired of a socialist agenda, it’s a victory for middle USA voters, and it’s a victory for freedom.  Hillary would have continued President Obama’s assault on the Bill of Rights and Soros’ globalist agenda.  Now we will have a president who will stand up for our sovereignty and put our citizens first.  We will have a president who wants to strengthen our weakened military, modernize our aging infrastructure, revitalize industry, and restore global respect to our nation.

I’ll admit I was skeptical at times, particularly when his poll numbers were climbing and then he’d say something that would rally the liberal media against him, but in the end Hillary’s own dishonesty and corruption defeated her.  After eight years of a liberal politician in the White House it will be good to give a businessman a chance at running the country.

The Electoral College system worked as it should too, giving those middle USA voters a voice that’s long been suppressed by high-population left-wing states.  California “values” aren’t everyone’s values and shouldn’t be forced on everyone.  Anyone who wants to live in California, aka Mexifornia, is free to do so.  Personally I don’t think of Che Guevera or Chairman Mao as heroes nor do I consider the former Soviet Union to be the ideal model for a state.

Those who say that Trump threatens civil rights are ignoring the fact that we have civil rights laws that a president can’t override.  No president can direct that women be paid less than men or that Blacks must sit at the back of the bus.  What he can do is rescind previous executive orders that did override existing laws and tell agencies like Immigration to do their jobs.  He and his Supreme Court appointees can also uphold the Bill of Rights, something that liberals see as an obstacle to their socialist agenda.  Maybe he could even end the leftist indoctrination in public schools that has young children frightened and holding protest signs that they don’t even understand.  Should we be training the next generation to accept serfdom?

Liberalism is socialism and socialism is total control of people and their property.

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The Iceberg

Thanks to technological advances like radar and satellite tracking, icebergs aren’t the bane of shipping that they once were, but we can still learn something from them.  Most of the mass of an iceberg is under water, which is why people refer to the “tip” of an iceberg.  Well, the national debt is like an iceberg in some ways.

We see a number, right now over 19 trillion dollars.  That number is so large that nothing in our everyday experience helps us to comprehend it.  It’s almost doubled in less than eight years under the progressive Obama administration and there’s no reason to think that Democrats would curb that growth.  That’s an annual increase of around 9%.  Are your CDs paying that?

What we don’t see is what lurks beneath that number; the impact on our economy and national security.  Like any other debt, the national debt isn’t free; the government must pay interest on that debt to the bondholders.  Interest rates have been at record lows for years but they won’t stay there forever.  As interest rates rise the government will have to pay higher interest on new debt as it’s issued.  This is one part of the debt iceberg we don’t see.  Debt interest is paid from tax revenues, so as the debt rises the government will either have less money to spend on national defense, social programs, and environmental protection or it will have to raise taxes.  A second part of the debt iceberg that’s largely hidden is that the debt eventually has to be repaid as the bonds mature.  This is a huge and growing mortgage on future generations.  Of course that debt can always be refinanced at a higher interest rate but we all know where that leads: bankruptcy.  The third, and least conspicuous hidden part of the debt iceberg is that trillions of dollars in US debt are held by foreign countries.  That gives these countries leverage to demand special treatment and even an economic weapon to use against us in case of a conflict.

Here’s something to think about.  The national debt is now over 105% of the US GDP.  That’s right, it’s higher than the total annual output of our nation.  Anyone who thinks this can go on forever must believe that money grows on trees.

Here’s what we need to bring this situation under control before the iceberg of debt sinks the ship of state:

  1. Responsible elected officials who recognize the problem and are actually willing to do something about it.  This means keeping spending within revenues and actively reducing outstanding debt.
  2. A plan to reduce the outstanding debt.  If we ever get real tax reform (not just more pages of rules) this should be part of it.  For example, under a flat tax we could have Flat+1, where the flat portion covered expenses, 1/2 of the extra 1% goes to debt reduction, and the other 1/2 of the extra 1% goes to upgrading our infrastructure (see “Infrastructure: Circulatory System of a Nation” for more on this issue).
  3. Limits on both the total amount of debt that can be held by foreign countries and the portion of that amount that can be held by any one country.  See “The More You Owe Me the More I Own You” for further discussion of limits on foreign debt.

 

Retroactive Laws: A New Assault on Private Property

A retroactive law is a law that criminalizes a past action that wasn’t a crime at the time.  Known as “ex post facto” laws, they are strictly and unambiguously prohibited by Article I, Section 9 (for Congress) and Section 10 (for states) of our Constitution.  They can be used to punish a person and/or to seize their property which is why such laws are banned.  Progressives, however, see the Constitution as an obstacle to their agenda.  I’ll look at one example of how they’re being used and then discuss the very slippery slope of ex post facto laws.

The state of California has passed some restrictive new gun laws.  One bans the manufacture and sale of high capacity magazines; the other (SB1446) prohibits possession of such magazines (hence requires confiscation) that were legally purchased in the past.  The constitutionality of the first law may be under debate everywhere but the second one is clearly unconstitutional.  It’s a retroactive ban, therefore it’s a ex post facto law.  Those who don’t submit to a mandatory “buyback” will be criminalized for what was a legal activity at the time of purchase.  The term “buyback” itself is a misnomer.  The government can’t buy back something it never owned.  If the government asserts ownership of all private property it’s a communist government.  Unless the government is paying full retail value for confiscated items it’s also theft.  Obviously confiscation of items obtained illegally or used for criminal purposes is a different matter that doesn’t involve ex post facto laws.

OK, you don’t care about the Second Amendment, but let’s look at just how slippery a slope ex post facto laws against private property could become.

The EPA has issued increasingly strict tailpipe emission and gas mileage requirements for cars and other light vehicles.  Tier I took affect in 1994, Tier 2 in 2004, and the Obama administration has approved even stricter mileage requirements in the future.  The standards that took effect in 1994 and 2004 effectively banned the future sale of new vehicles that didn’t meet those standards but they didn’t ban the ownership of older vehicles.  Suppose, however, that our progressive government, influenced by the socialist UN, decided to confiscate all vehicles that didn’t meet Tier 2 standards?  Of course they’d pay owners some token sum for surrendering their means of transportation but it would impose the greatest hardship on those who could least afford it.  Do they care?  NO!  Most politicians are rich.  As  I said once before, rich elitists will always live above the messes they cause for the masses.

You don’t think this could happen?  Don’t make me say “I told you so” again!  Over a year ago I predicted that we might someday see an environmental impact tax on meat.  Now the UN is actively recommending such a tax and Denmark is considering one.  Socialists are as relentless as ISIS when it comes to imposing their will on everyone.

The concept that private property that is obtained legally and not used for criminal purposes belongs to individuals, not the government, is fundamental to our freedom and our entire way of life.  Don’t let socialists incrementally deprive us of that freedom.

Hillary Tech: US STEM Students Don’t Matter

In her technology agenda (which you can read on her own web site) Hillary Clinton gives the nation’s technology moguls, hedge funds, and teacher’s unions everything they could want: billions of dollars for technology research, internet expansion, and computer science education.  Then she gives US graduate students in STEM subjects a big slap in the face.  She wants to give green cards to foreign STEM graduate students along with their diplomas.  That’s right, green cards!  These aren’t the non-immigrant H1B work visas that allow a foreign worker to work for one company; these cards grant permanent resident status with a path to citizenship.

So, how does this hurt US graduate students?  A permanent resident can apply for any job with any company, anywhere, any time.  That puts foreign graduates in direct competition for the best jobs with US graduates, and once in the job line they’ll probably get favorable treatment.  This competition is globalism at it’s worst.  It’s inherently unfair, one reason being that there’s no reciprocity with other countries.  A US student couldn’t get an MS in Computer Science in Canada, for example, and expect to be granted automatic residency.  The result will be that US students, already burdened with the heaviest debt, will be relegated to the lower paying, less challenging jobs.

How can anyone who wants to be president of the US suggest establishing a completely open global job market in the US?  Globalists like Soros must be cheering.  Hillary shouldn’t be elected, and if you’re a STEM student or have students in college you now have a good reason to not vote for her.  She’s working for Wall Street, not for you, regardless of what her signs say.

There is an alternative: the H1B visa program.  While I’m opposed to employers using the H1B visa system to replace experienced US professionals I recognize that this program has a legitimate purpose in allowing employers to fill necessary jobs that are unfilled by US citizens.  If the H1B visa regulations were strengthened to protect US citizens as I suggested in “Does STEM Matter Any More” we could balance the needs of technology employers with the right of US STEM graduates to be at the front of the employment lines.

 

A vote for Hillary is a vote against US students.

Does STEM Matter Any More?

As our progressive government and it’s subservient public school system try to steer students towards college degrees in STEM subjects the Democrats are simultaneously devaluing those degrees.  Did you see the article about STEM graduates working in Wal-Mart to pay off their huge student loans?  Want to know how this administration is undermining US citizens?  The answer is H1B visas.  Conceptually companies can only request H1B workers to do jobs for which no citizen is qualified.  Some companies are using foreign contractors to bypass the intent of the visa program.  Most recently, April 24th was the last work day for IT workers at Abbott Labs as they were replaced by contract workers, some of whom are here on H1B visas.  In some cases US workers have had to agree to train their foreign replacements and not sue the company in order to get their severance packages.  Talk about adding insult to injury.  Some companies just go the direct route.  Tech giant Intel has announced a 12,000 person layoff at the same time it has requested over 14,000 H1B visas.  Could that be a coincidence?  The whole H1B visa scam began in Silicon Valley, where cheaper foreign workers replaced US workers who were conveniently labeled “obsolete”.

So why is this happening?  One is the progressives’ obsession with globalization.  US workers must compete, even if unfairly, for US jobs.  India has an education industry created solely to teach students computer programming and minimal English so they can come to the US.  This is what I described in “Undocumented Foreign Aid”, i.e., the money these high paid workers send overseas.  Another is simply the ignorance of the public that’s more concerned with the latest reality TV show than their children’s’ futures. There’s even a bit of UN Agenda 21 as this is de facto wealth redistribution.

To protect US workers I propose the following modifications to the H1B visa program:

  1. No employer shall terminate or coerce a US employee into leaving in order to replace that worker with a foreign worker, either directly or through the use of a contractor.  If an employee is terminated the position must be filled by a US worker or left open for one year.  The position cannot be eliminated and recreated with a different title to bypass this rule
  2. No employer can require a terminated employee to sign any agreement that would protect the employer from a lawsuit if the ex-employee learned that the position had been filled by a foreign worker within one year.
  3. No terminated employee (unless terminated for cause such as theft) shall be denied any promised severance package for any reason whatsoever.

I have also proposed inversely indexing the H1B visa quota to STEM unemployment and raising the cost of H1B visa holders to US employers.

Next time President Obama says “every child should learn to code” ask him “why?”.

Update:  Billionaire Zuckerberg wants even more H1B visas to replace US workers and foreign companies taking US jobs.  He’s starting with $24 million to help train Africans in computer programming.  Since he can thank the US for being so rich why doesn’t he fund retraining for US IT workers who have been displaced by foreign workers?  Since they already know computers they shouldn’t have any problem learning the latest coding techniques, and they actually speak English.

Update 2:  Hillary Clinton’s “Tech Agenda”, her plan for US technology should she win the 2016 election, would be to “staple” green cards (permanent residency) to diplomas of foreign STEM students.  More foreigners in Silicon Valley, more citizens flipping burgers.

SCOTUS Focus

The unfortunate death of Justice Scalia has brought election year turmoil to the process of selecting a replacement.  Democrats demand prompt action while Republicans advocate for “wait until next year” even though they know they may not win.  The Constitution doesn’t specify a number of justices for the Court, which began with 6 and has had as many as 10, so this really isn’t a constitutional argument; it’s a political one.  The Supreme Court, with it’s authority to review laws for constitutionality, was supposed to serve as a somewhat independent check on overreaches of power by either the executive or legislative branches.  Instead it has become  a pawn of partisan conflict.

When a president appoints a justice solely to advance a party agenda, overturn previous rulings, or “legislate from the bench” the court becomes an arm of the executive branch with influence much longer than the president’s term of office.   That isn’t what the authors of the Constitution intended.  In it’s pursuit of collectivism the far left sees the Court as a means to nullify the individual rights granted by Bill of Rights.  The Court has no authority to amend the Constitution or repeal its amendments.  Justice Scalia understood that.  There’s a procedure for amending the Constitution that requires more than a court decision.

Freedom: it’s easy to lose and almost impossible to get back.

The Art of the Bad Deal

When Donald Trump spoke in New Hampshire he pointed out that when the US government negotiates deals, it loses.  He’s right.  The US concedes while getting nothing in return.  The Iran deal would give Iran relief from sanctions while providing no assurance that it won’t eventually develop nuclear weapons.  The climate deal with China allows it to continue polluting the atmosphere while the US must cut emissions immediately (see previous post on this subject).  The proposed deal to restore relations with Cuba gives Cuba access to trade and potentially a lucrative tourism boost while giving us nothing.  I’m not opposed to normalizing relations with Cuba.  After all, we normalized relations with Vietnam where 58,000 US troops died.  How many died in Cuba?  As a sign of good faith, however, we should at least get the repatriation of the violent US criminals, including a “cop killer”, that Cuba has been harboring for decades.  What about the TPP?  We don’t know because it’s a secret.  Any deal that could affect employment, our standard of living, our sovereignty, or our Constitutional rights shouldn’t be a secret.   What happened to transparency?

Mr. Trump’s second point, that we lose because we have inept negotiators, is incorrect.  We don’t lose because of incompetence, we lose by intent.  We lose because this administration wants us to lose.  Any loss that advances the progressive agenda, expands the power of the Federal government, or serves the UN agenda of dragging down developed western nations to make the world “fair” is a good loss.  Why else would a President who is sworn to uphold the Constitution agree to any treaty that could compromise our rights within our own borders?

Since we lose by intent there is no solution within the current administration.  It’s up to the voters to elect officials who are willing to uphold our sovereignty and “put America first” as the President once said.  Here’s a message for all you fair-minded progressives.  The USA didn’t become a great country because some socialist club like the UN bestowed that status upon us.  The USA became great because generation after generation worked for it, fought for it, and died to protect our freedom.  If you don’t like this country or can’t respect this heritage you’re free to leave.

2016 Update:  While TPP may be one of the president’s globalist objectives, some of his strongest supporters, environmentalists, are concerned that TPP could be used to subvert their Clean Power efforts.  It looks like TPP might be an even worse deal than we thought.