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Mr. President, tell the “Big Six” to meet with the Freedom Caucus on tax reform



There are times for closed-door meetings. Crafting tax reform, a key portion of the Trump agenda, does not qualify as one of those times. If the President wants to pass meaningful tax reform in his first term (and potentially before the midterm elections), he should force the “Big Six” to meet with the Freedom Caucus and conservative members of Senate. Otherwise, tax reform will quickly shift from being a slam-dunk piece of legislation into a major failure for the administration and GOP Congress.

For complete transparency, I don’t trust the Big Six: Paul Ryan, Kevin Brady, Mitch McConnell, Orrin Hatch, Steven Mnuchin, and Gary Cohn. They are all major promoters of big-government policies. Putting tax reform in their hands is like asking fast-food restaurant managers to craft a healthy diet plan. Tax reform needs wholesome fruits and vegetables. The Big Six love serving Big Macs and milkshakes.

For even more transparency, I’m a Federalist which means I don’t fully trust any members of the Democratic-Republican establishment in DC, but at least the House Freedom Caucus and a handful of Senators have demonstrated a willingness to embrace fiscal responsibility. Until my party has people in office, we’re going to have to rely on Mark Meadows, Mike Lee, and their conservative cohorts.

True tax reform requires rethinking the revenue system itself. The federal government relies too heavily on taxes to fund their pet projects. Thankfully, the solution is to build a surplus by doing two things: encouraging economic growth through tax cuts across the board and dramatically reducing the budget. The first portion should be a no-brainer, though talks of expanding revenues through other measures should concern us. Regardless of how they skew the ways dollars change hands, invariably it will be Americans who pay. Tariffs, BATs, VATs… they all find ways to pull money from American businesses and/or taxpayers.

It’s the second portion of meaningful tax reform that makes me most worried about the Big Six. Reducing costs and eliminating waste are actions that run contrary to everything these six men have demonstrated in their careers. Sure, they’ve all talked about cutting costs during election time or in board meetings, but they’ve never actually done it.

For tax reform to be both meaningful and successful, the President needs fiscal conservatives to have a seat at the table. This joint effort between the White House, Congress, and the Senate is an exercise in futility if these six men are the only ones involved. They will only do what’s necessary to keep their jobs, not what is required to fix the fragile financial situation the nation and its people currently faces  For the Big Six, keeping their jobs means passing something, anything, so the President can sign it before the 2018 or 2020 election. That should terrify every American because it means their incentive has nothing to do with “meaningful” or “successful.” The reason they’ve been so hesitant to even meet with the Freedom Caucus is because they realize their plan doesn’t represent fiscal responsibility. It will include tax cuts designed for votes rather than the impact on the economy. When votes are on the line, you cut from the biggest base – middle class America – and make it up by increasing taxes on businesses and the wealthy.

To most, this probably doesn’t seem like a bad idea. Unfortunately, the benefits of tax cuts for the middle class will be insignificant compared to the economic carnage associated with the rest of their “reforms.” Increased tax burdens on businesses mean loss of jobs, cuts in productivity, and increases in prices. That’s just scratching the surface on the problems associated with those types of “reforms.”

Everything we’ve heard so far from these six men can be pieced together to demonstrate a populist and in some cases leftist plan that will only be meaningful for votes, not fixing the economy or saving money for Americans. We need eyeballs on the legislation and voices in the room while it’s being crafted. Today, those voices belong to the Freedom Caucus and Senate conservatives.

Put them in the room, Mr. President. You’re the legendary businessman. You should recognize the need for tax reform and budget cuts that will bring us to a better economic place. If you leave it up to the Big Six, the result will not be what you want.

Then again, maybe that’s exactly what the President wants.

Christian, husband, father. EIC, NOQ Report. Co-Founder, the Federalist Party. Just a normal guy who will no longer sit around while the country heads in the wrong direction.

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The Money Pit: California’s not-so-high-speed rail



Have you heard this story, a couple finds a million dollar distress sale mansion on the market for a mere $200,000? Some upgrades are needed, but overall it’s a bargain. What ensues is comedic brilliance as the owners find out the house is barely standing. They pour more and more money into the house in the classic Tom Hank’s comedy “The Money Pit.”

Just like this movie, the California High-Speed Rail has become our Money Pit, but unlike the movie, this is no laughing matter.

In 2008, California voters approved Proposition 1A, a $9.95 billion bond to partially fund an 800-mile high-speed electric train traveling up to 220 mph. The goal would be that the state would fund a third, one-third by the federal government, and the last third via private investment. Total cost was estimated at $35 billion.

What has transpired since 2008? No more federal funding and no private funding. From 800-miles we went to 520 miles, as a cost savings measure. From 220 mph we are at 110 mph in large sections of the rail, to save money of course, and a possible completion date of 2020, is now estimated to be completed by 2033.

With all these cost-saving measures you would assume the cost would come down. Unfortunately, for California taxpayers, this money pit keeps getting worse.

The price tag for all these cost-saving measures brought to you by the California High-Speed Rail Authority and the California Legislature is currently estimated at $77.3 billion. But wait you want more savings and fiscal responsibility, too bad, because this $77.3 billion estimate may ultimately cost California taxpayers $98.1 billion. My prediction is it will be even higher.

At this point, it might be cheaper and faster to build a Death Star instead. Not to mention more useful.

This is not what the voters were promised. We did not approve a not-so-high-speed train with a price tag most likely ten times the initial projected cost to California taxpayers.

This boondoggle of a money pit must be stopped. Those billions can be used to help repair our roads, highways, bridges, dams, water reservoirs, and critical infrastructure.

If elected to be California’s next State Controller and Chief Financial Officer, I will look at all legal means to cut funding to this project. In my opinion, if we bought one thing and are getting something else, then the authorization to fund this project has not been authorized by the people, and thus the Controller may have the legal authority to stop payment until the project complies with Proposition 1A.

I hope, I won’t have to do this, and the Legislature does its job and kills this project. This shouldn’t be a partisan issue. We made a promise to taxpayers to be good stewards of their trust and money. Let’s restore that trust and do the right thing, and let’s put an end to this money pit.

Konstantinos Roditis is a candidate for California State Controller. You can learn more about his campaign at, and you can follow him on Twitter & Facebook.

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Trump tariffs another in-name-only moment for the in-name-only president



As a man who likes the title but not the responsibilities of the office, Donald Trump has proven himself to be America’s President In-Name-Only. From the primaries to today the New York Liberal with an “R” after his name has demonstrated a lack of any core convictions as he makes policy decisions based on the need to feed his narcissistic personality.

One of the consequences of Trump’s lack of character is the frequency in which he’s forced to take action based on the rhetoric he continues to feed his dwindling base. Even though most of the promises he makes are nothing more than the politically convenient ramblings of a man who has no intention of keeping them—he bragged in a TV interview that he could change into whatever he needs to be—Trump’s never-ending need for the praise and adulation of his followers has forced him to at least give the appearance that he will keep his word.

This has given birth to a host of in-name-only legislative efforts by Mr. Trump. Some of his biggest hits on the in-name-only charts deal with two of his major campaign promises: rescinding DACA and withdrawing the US from the Paris Climate Accord.

When Trump issued his executive order rescinding DACA, he immediately teamed up with Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi to create an amnesty program for DREAMers. At the same time, he made a promise to reinstate DACA after six months if necessary.

In addition to statements from the White House that he never intended to rescind DACA, Trump has advocated amnesty for nearly two-million illegals (a number that was originally around 800,000). By the way, the deadline has come and gone, and DACA still exists.

When Trump announced in June that the US was withdrawing from the Paris Climate Accord, he immediately committed to re-entering it under better terms. In addition to statements from members of the White House team that Trump would work on getting the US back in, Trump stated in a January TV interview with Piers Morgan that the US is ready to re-enter the Paris deal.

“The president said he is open to finding those conditions where we can remain engaged with others on what we all agree is still a challenging issue.” – Rex Tillerson on CBS’s Face the Nation

“He left the door open to re-entering at some later time if there can be a better deal for the United States.” H.R. McMaster on ABC’s This Week

Following Trump’s recent trade-war announcement that he was adding across-the-board tariffs to steel and aluminum imports, he proudly crowed that he was keeping a campaign promise on trade. Yet, when faced with an avalanche of blowback for the obviously anti-free-market policy, Trump turned this into another in-name-only moment.

On the day of the announcement, Trump immediately granted exclusions to the tariffs for Mexico and Canada—two of America’s biggest providers of imported steel—despite repeated statements from the White House indicating otherwise.

“We have made clear these will be across-the-board tariffs with no exclusions. The problem with exclusions is that they are a slippery slope. Once you start, where do you stop?” — White House, March 2 (Wall Street Journal)

“There will be no country exclusions.” — Pete Navarro, President Trump’s radical trade adviser, March 4 (CNN’s State of the Union)

“I have no reason to think he is going to change.” — Wilbur Ross, President Trump’s protectionist commerce secretary, March 4 (NBC’s Meet the Press)

As a believer in free trade, I’m ecstatic that Trump at least partially broke his promise, but it serves as the latest evidence that Trump is nothing more than an in-name-only president willing to take make-believe actions to make it appear he’s keeping his make-believe promises.

Originally posted on The Strident Conservative.

David Leach is the owner of The Strident Conservative. His daily radio commentary is nationally syndicated with Salem Radio Network and can be heard on stations across America.

Follow the Strident Conservative on Twitter and Facebook. Subscribe to receive podcasts of radio commentaries: iTunes | Stitcher | Tune In | RSS

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In Lieu of what is Right – An Interview with Dr. Ken Wright



One of the most vapid and reliably anti-Constitutionalist members of Congress is known to anyone who takes to Twitter, Ted Lieu, of the California 33rd Congressional District, suddenly has a staunch conservative to square off against. I got to sit down for about an hour over the phone with Dr. Ken Wright, who was one of the most interesting interviews I’ve done this year (and after Erin Cruz, Austin Petersen, Shane Hazel, and Hunter Hill, that is saying something).

Dr. Wright is a renowned pediatric ophthalmologist who is invited to teach all over the world. For that reason (sorry doc) I thought he might have the demeanor of a college professor. Analytical without a lot of passion. I was right about the analytical part. I was dead wrong about the lack of passion. This is a man who in no way needs to run for Congress, but instead sees it as a public service that he is willing to take on to make the world better for his family and for all of ours as well. It’s probably worth noting that one of the most respected and freedom-oriented members of the Senate, Dr. Rand Paul, is also an ophthalmologist. I also have an acquaintance here in my home town who is a Constitutionalist and an ophthalmologist. There seems to be a pattern here.

I found Dr. Wright to be authentic, passionate about Constitutional freedoms, and a man who will not be bullied by anyone. He supports much of what President Trump is trying to do, however I have no trouble believing he would stand up to the President should he go off the rails. The people of the California 33rd would do well to put a man of such integrity into office, and with him get rid of one of the most staunchly anti-freedom members of the US House of Representatives, Ted Lieu.

BW: What specific experience and education make you feel makes you the most qualified to be a Congressman?

KW: With the present state of our representatives I think as long as you have a pulse you could do a better job. They’re bought. The special interest lobbyists are running the show. Any good, ethical citizen could do a better job and do what is right for the people.

**I needed to take a moment to stop laughing at this answer. It was funny because it’s true.**

I’m a pediatric ophthalmologist. I know people all over the world since I travel for teaching in my field. I was awarded a service medal from the President of Panama after Noriega was ousted due to the work I was doing there. I’m a doctor, and doctors use data and facts to make decisions. We don’t put a Band-Aid on an infection and expect it to go away. Dems in inner cities have made people dependent for more than 50 years with no way out and they end up in gangs or living on welfare. Let’s get factories into the inner-cities. Let’s get them jobs instead of food stamps and a few bucks. I want to actually solve problems instead of creating a never-ending cycle of dependency.

BW: What specific issues will be your main focus if elected?

KW: Immigration is a huge problem right now. President Trump gave Congress the job to put together a real plan for DACA and they’ve done nothing. We need a clear policy regarding immigration. To my mind we need to secure the border. Without that we have open borders. We need a wall for at least part of the southern border. It worked in Israel. Then you can think about what to do with 13 million illegals.

Whether they were invited by the government or not, many illegals came here because we wanted people to come here; we wanted them to do certain jobs like pick crops or be a housekeeper, and it would be wrong to send them all home after so many years. That said, criminals with so much as a DUI have to go. This is my problem with sanctuary cities; they allow criminal illegals to roam free and harm our citizens. This is not a Democrat or Republican problem, but rather an American problem.

The largely law abiding that we choose to let stay can get in line behind everyone else and perhaps pay some fines and do some service, but they shouldn’t be able to get to the head of the line like so many Democrats want, and they certainly shouldn’t be given blanket amnesty.

Healthcare is a big issue, mostly because the Democrats have made it that way with Obamacare. Despite what the Democrats say, there were never bodies lying in the street before Obamacare. No one is turned away from any emergency room. Everyone can get care. Not everyone needs health insurance. If you’re a 20 year old on your first job and in good health, perhaps you don’t need to spend money on health insurance, and it’s wrong for the government to force you to subsidize health insurance for others. We need to repeal McCarron-Ferguson Act which exempts insurance companies from most federal regulation including anti-trust laws. That would allow real free-market competition back.

BW: What failures do you feel have been made on the part of Ted Lieu?

**Note: I asked Dr. Wright to please try to keep this to a top 5 list… I know I could write an article just on this question**

KW: When the Syrian war was really going on he wanted to bring 200K refugees from Iraq and Syria and voted against the SAFE Act. That’s dangerous for America.

He doesn’t protect America first. He wants open borders. He’s for sanctuary cities. He votes against Kate’s Law every time it comes up. He has sponsored legislation for no-money bail, saying bail is unfair to the poor, yet judges can take that into consideration. He wants to take the discretion away from the judges.

He’s a hypocrite. On his web site the number one issue he talks about is climate change. And yet, when he was a state senator he accepted $13K from real estate developers who wanted to build a new stadium, and then he co-sponsors a bill to exempt the real estate developers from environmental regulations. He’s a career politician and has never had a real job in his life. I’ve had a real job. I’ve run a business and put people to work.

BW:  What political challenges do you face and how do you plan to overcome them?

Well, District 33 is only 24% Republicans, which has discouraged the GOP and the GOP wasn’t even going to run someone in 2016. However, there’s almost 30% here with no party preference. I was able to take 37% in 2016 and I didn’t have a real organization. I have a whole organization this time and I think winning this district is doable.

BW: With the current debate over gun-control, what are your thoughts?

KW: Well this isn’t an easy issue. I think we all, or at least most, agree a civilian doesn’t need to own a surface-to-air missile. At the same time, the 2nd Amendment isn’t about hunting, it’s about being able to resist a tyrannical government. We need to find a balance. I think for certain weapons perhaps some form of mental evaluation might be in order. The problem is the Democrats always want to take it too far. Instead of making things simple and wanting to implement legislation that might actually save lives they are intent on disarming the population.

BW: There has been a lot of debate over President Trump’s tariffs. How do you feel about them.

KW: Great question. Would you agree that it is equally wrong for one to hire someone to commit murder as it is to commit murder yourself?

BW: Sure.

KW: Well by the same token, if it’s wrong for us to use slave labor to make our products, it’s equally wrong for us to allow China and other countries to use slave labor without any kind of penalty. The Chinese have a miles long factory where people were crammed into tiny rooms to live and work. It was so miserable that people were jumping to their deaths. Know what the Chinese government did? They put up nets outside the building so that people couldn’t even kill themselves to get away. It’s that miserable and yet we are profiting from it in the form of cheaper goods. You’ll notice that the President isn’t imposing these tariffs on Europe or Canada or other nations that play by the rule of civilized behavior.

BW: I’m personally very much against tariffs, but I have to admit that I never thought about it that way.

KW: Most people don’t.

BW: I ask this of all California candidates since your state pretty much has been the leader on this issue: What about legalization of Marijuana?

The half-life of marijuana is 3-4 days. If you smoke 2 or 3 times a week then the half life becomes about 2-3 weeks. Alcohol is metabolized much faster. I think it should be available but through a pharmacy, and not in smoking form. Physicians were encouraged to give more opioids for pain management and they found it to be profitable. This has led toward a lax attitude toward drugs. Marijuana should be available to those who need it, but we can’t be so careless with how it’s used.

BW: What do you want the people of the California 33rd to know about you?

KW: Both Republicans and Democrats need to realize that we are Americans first. Vote for someone who has the moral fiber to do what is right. Don’t vote for someone just because they might be at your end of the ideological spectrum.

You can learn more about Dr. Ken Wright by clicking here.


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