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Economy

The GOP: The Party of Fiscal Conservatives?

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The GOP, led by President Trump, recently passed the most massive tax reform bill in decades. One of the biggest pieces of that bill dropped the corporate tax rate down to 21% from 35%, which had previously given the United States the largest corporate tax in the industrialized world. So cutting this tax and cutting individual taxes was a job well done for fiscal responsibility. It was a CRITICAL first step, but it was only a first step.

The second step was to cut the bloated federal budget. Last night’s budget deal not only failed to do this but in fact increased spending to the deficit levels of the Obama and Bush eras. Liberals claim this is due to the tax cuts, but Senator Rand Paul demonstrated clearly that this has to do entirely with the expensive high Congress gets from spending taxpayer money as well as placing an unconscionable burden on our children.

Republicans made a big to do about deficits and the debt while Barack Obama’s was in power, even coming up with the sequester during the latter half of the Obama Presidency. However, now that they control both houses of Congress and with Trump in the White House, they suddenly have no inclination to cut spending.

“When the Democrats are in power, Republicans appear to be the conservative party, But when Republicans are in power, it seems there is no conservative party. The hypocrisy hangs in the air and chokes anyone with a sense of decency or intellectual honesty,” said Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) who attempted to block the bill last night.

Others in the party also demonstrated their displeasure at the lack of leadership by the GOP on this issue. Missouri Senate Candidate Austin Petersen’s campaign released this statement:

“The spending deal approved late last night, and supported by both Missouri Senators McCaskill and Blunt, was an absolute travesty. The American people are already $20 trillion in debt, and the deficit for the current fiscal year is estimated to be an additional $1 trillion. This is just plain nuts! And it’s a great example of why Austin is in this Senate race: because like many Missourians, he’s sick and tired of sending politicians to Washington who, break their promises. The truth is we don’t just need another Republican elected to the United States Senate — we need a true constitutional and FISCAL conservative — someone who’s going to stick to their guns, stick to their principles, and most importantly, keep their promises. “

Konstantinos Roditis, Republican candidate for California State Controller said, “Hope of a budget with a modicum of fiscal responsibility from D.C. is laughable. The likelihood a fiscally responsible budget will see the light of day in D.C. is as likely as Trump winning California in a landslide in 2020. Here is a perfect example why I say, I’m a Conservative that happens to be a Republican, instead of a Republican that happens to be a Conservative.”

California GOP Senator candidate Erin Cruz had this to say… Those in the House and Senate work for the American people and should put forth a fiscally responsible budget, one which does not put an undue burden on the taxpayer and future generations. Heavy cuts should be made in the area of foreign aid, as well as pet deals congressional members tuck into these bills known as pork. The taxpayer is the boss and they want big change in government, namely reduction in size and scope of government as well as cuts to unnecessary spending. The budget passed is not reflective of what the American people voted into office. Actual change is coming, patriots like myself are standing up to the call to serve the people, there will be a big turn in how D.C. operates. Americans live by budgets and within their means, Congress should as well. Midterms can’t come soon enough for all Americans. Americans must push for a high turn out at the polls this year.

A disappointment for many conservatives is that standard-bearer Ted Cruz (R-TX) “reluctantly” voted for the spending bill, giving away any credibility he might have in the future on this issue. It should be noted that Cruz has filibustered spending in the past, famously reading to his children from the Senate floor.

In stark contrast, there was no surprise that the other Texas Senator, John Cornyn, was vocal about his annoyance with Rand Paul’s efforts to derail the budget process, saying this was an “emergency” while failing to make mention Congress hasn’t had a non-emergency spending effort in years.

It would be easy for some to lay the blame for all this on the self-proclaimed “king of debt,” President Trump. However, those who have actually read the Constitution know the power of the budget comes from Congress. Sure, Trump could lead a bit more on this issue, but at no point has Trump ever made over-spending a priority.

Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI), who is the former chairman of the House Budget Committee, seems most to blame. Of all people he should know how to cut spending, and yet has failed to do so.

The political fallout will likely be negligible. The average American, when asked, will say they are concerned about the debt, but often not enough to change their vote. And so both major parties keep passing this issue back and forth like a hot potato. The party that will be hurt by the debt is whoever is in power when the economy comes crashing down due to debt. Time will tell on that one.

A couple of months ago I wrote about how we can’t afford our sacred cows, including increased defense spending, and yet we’re increasing defense spending through the roof. You can refer back to it here.

The thing I can tell you for certain is we can’t keep doing what we’re doing. Spending on credit will eventually lead to default as more and more of our budget is eaten up by paying interest on our debt and it leases to Greek-style austerity. We need new leadership with ACTUAL fiscal conservatives.

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Economy

Nicolás Maduro, stop being obtuse

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Nicols Maduro stop being obtuse

By Friday, there will be 190 metric tons of aid ready at the border between Colombia and Venezuela ready to be delivered to a people who desperately need it. The only thing standing in the way is the ego and ineptitude of a failed leader who is more concerned about his own power than the lives of the people he supposedly serves.

Contested Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro has set up a military blockade to prevent the aid from reaching the people. His reason: the aid is just an excuse for the United States to invade Venezuela. This is ridiculous, and the United States plans to get the aid to the people one way or another.

Mark Green, the administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), is hoping Juan Guaido, who the United States recognizes as the leader of Venezuela, will be able to assert enough control over the situation to bypass or remove the blockade and allow the aid to reach the people.

“That really is up to Juan Guaido and his people and his team,” Green told Fox News. “We are working with them to try and pre-position that assistance and give them the tools to lead their people and provide hope.”

For the last couple of years, the collapse of Venezuela’s economy has been pointed to by fiscal conservatives in the United States as an example of how socialism fails, even for a country as well-off as oil-rich Venezuela once was. But we’re now well beyond calls to condemn socialism. It has obviously failed and it’s up to the international community to prevent a catastrophic humanitarian crisis in which masses of people could die.

Yes, the situation is rapidly deteriorating that badly.

Whether through Guaido or Maduro, this insane refusal to help the people must be averted immediately. It’s odd that starving Venezuelans must somehow bypass their own government’s idiotic pride in order to receive the aid that’s ready and waiting for them.

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How the United States goes about forcing the aid into the country is a delicate proposition. If they don’t want it, there’s nothing we can do to force them to take it. The question is, who is “them” in this equation? If the vast majority of the people would welcome the aid, as I suspect, then we must coordinate with the international community and Guaido to secure passage and distribution of the aid to where it’s needed the most.

Unfortunately, there’s not a ton of information hitting mainstream media about the situation on the other side of the border. Is it as bad as we think? If so, then something short of a U.S.-backed coup should be considered. We must continue to respect Venezuela’s sovereignty and just because we believe Guaido is the rightful leader doesn’t make it so. It’s up to the people of Venezuela to say they’re done with Maduro.

But if Maduro continues to control the military, it’s a moot point. There’s no recourse for the people or Guaido in the immediate future. They’ll have to continue to fight Maduro’s regime through information and revolt in order to sway the military to Guaido’s side. Outright civil war seems impossible at this point because Maduro’s forces are too strong. Waiting them out seems untenable as well because the people are dying today. They may not have time for a slow, steady revolution.

It comes down to someone convincing Maduro to stop being obtuse. We’re not invading Venezuela Aid that we would deliver is just as good if not better than what they can receive from Russia or other Maduro-friendly countries and it’s clearly more abundant; Maduro said Russia was sending 30 metric tons of aid “soon.”

Maduro has two choices: Maintain power and let his people die or give up power and help his people live. It’s insane that he seems to be leaning towards the former, but that’s the nature of despots.

 


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Democrats

Beto O’Rourke is throwing crazy ideas against the wall and some seem to be sticking

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Beto ORourke is throwing crazy ideas against the wall and some seem to be sticking

Ever since the 2018 midterm elections, I’ve considered Beto O’Rourke to be one of the biggest threats to President Trump in the 2020 election. The obvious counter to this notion is that he lost his race for Senate to Ted Cruz, but here’s the thing. He got close, much closer than anyone would have thought possible a year before, and he was able to raise more money than any Senate candidate in our nation’s history.

For a hyper-leftist Democrat to come within a few percentage points of victory in deep red Texas tells us this is someone who knows how to campaign, raise funds, and draw a crowd.

Lately, he’s been acting like a lost puppy trying to get back some of the attention he lost when others announced their candidacy. Before Senators Elizabeth Warren, Kirsten Gillibrand, Kamala Harris, Cory Booker, and Amy Klobuchar announced their candidacies, O’Rourke was being played up as the guy who could challenge Senator Bernie Sanders and former Vice President Joe Biden if they entered the race. Now that Sanders has, O’Rourke finds himself on the outside looking in.

I still consider O’Rourke to be one of the four candidates who should concern President Trump the most, but there’s a caveat I must add. If he continues to throw out ideas that make no sense, such as taking down the 700 miles of wall currently built along the southern border or offering amnesty to pretty much everyone already here illegally, he may fade quickly.

Then again, it may propel him to the top of the list.

It’s important for conservatives to never underestimate the leftward lurch that’s happening across America today. The combination of scholastic indoctrination, media propaganda, and a strange spirit of deception spreading across the nation have resulted in a growing American populace that is open to the untenable ideas of socialism, open borders, and expanded government control over our lives. This is why instead of counting O’Rourke as being down for the count, we should probably watch the responses and start taking him more seriously.

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There seems to a trend emerging. The crazier they get, the more they’re loved.

A decade ago, it would have been unfathomable for even half of the Democrats to embrace taking down portions of the border wall that are already built. It’s one thing to not want to spend money on more wall, but to spend money on taking down current walls is pure stupidity. And yet, there’s no rebuke from the left. No Democrats are saying, “stop this lunacy.” No Democrats are out there calling for common sense to prevail.

Instead, they’re saying, “Yes, that might work.”

Do not get caught up in the notion that socialism, open borders, and oppressive government could never happen in America. Three or four years ago, I might have thought that. Today, it seems more than possible. It must be stopped.

 


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Democrats

Conservatives railed against the NY-Amazon deal before Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez thwarted it

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Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is partially right about the Amazon deal

When New York Governor Andrew Cuomo wrote an op-ed in November defending the decision to offer Amazon $2.8 billion in incentives to build their second headquarters in Long Island City, there was an interesting condemnation you don’t often see.

“The extreme conservatives and the socialists both now vehemently oppose incentives for Amazon,” Cuomo wrote.

Of course, “extreme conservatives” and “socialists” are on the opposite ends of the political spectrum, so what was it about the deal that made it so unappealing on both sides of the fence? It comes down to the incentives that were being offered and the inherent “quick fix” mentality of politicians near the center of the ideological spectrum.

Where conservatives and socialists split on this issue is in how the money should have been used, but both extreme sides agree that using it as an incentive for a company like Amazon is simply lazy governance. Fiscal conservatives understand that in a city like New York City, there’s less of a need for big companies to come in and a much bigger need to plant small businesses throughout. Crowded cities that already have multi-billion dollar corporations get much less benefit from another multi-billion dollar corporation setting up shop than they would from a similar infusion of small businesses. From a fiscally conservative perspective, it’s better to use incentives to bring 250 companies that employ 100 people each than one company that employs 25,000.

Smaller cities without infrastructure or housing issues are the opposite. It makes sense to try to get an Amazon to become a central hub to attract other businesses. These smaller cities do not have to suffer through the same problems a city like NYC has to contend with when there’s such a massive infusion into an already-crowded housing market and an already-crumbling infrastructure.

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Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez skips a few steps when she says the money for Amazon could be used to fix other problems already facing New Yorkers, but technically speaking she’s correct. If New York utilized incentives to bring in smaller companies that would generate more tax dollars in the long run, her programs could be initiated as a result if properly earmarked. That’s not to say I agree with all of the programs she’s referring to and the money “saved” from the collapsing Amazon deal couldn’t be used directly for them, but combined with conservative fiscal principles and a focus on small businesses, her ideas are doable.

Conservatives balked when the deal was announced. Now, suddenly, many of the same conservatives are laughing at Ocasio-Cortez for being the catalyst that made the deal go away. This is disingenuous. We can debate with her the semantics of how the incentives should be used, but let’s not switch sides and call the deal a winner when we were universally calling it a loser three months ago.

As always, conservatives should stay consistent and not do as the leftists do by picking a side against a politician for the sake of that politician. Conservatives were complaining about the Amazon deal well before AOC became the face of the opposition.

 


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