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On corn dogs and continuing resolutions

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Confession: I was a fat kid.

You don’t need to know how fat, but it was enough that my mom had to establish strict limits on how much of any given food I could eat per meal, and I couldn’t surpass that amount without her express permission.

My family well remembers one such occasion when I was maybe seven years old where I got a little, shall we say, excessive.

I had maxed out for the day on my allotted two corn dogs — my favorite food at the time — but I was still hungry. My mom wasn’t home, so I asked my dad if I could have two more corn dogs.

He approved and I had two more, but I still wasn’t satisfied, so I asked my dad again if I could have two more corn dogs, which he authorized, and so on.

All told, I ended up consuming eight jumbo corn dogs in one meal. And I felt fantastic.

In fairness to my dad, given that each of my requests couldn’t have come more than five minutes apart (I tend to inhale my food), he probably thought I was referring to the same two additional corn dogs each of the three times I petitioned his consent.

Moreover, when my mom found out, there wasn’t much that could be done; I had clearly overeaten, but I hadn’t technically disobeyed procedure.

Believe it or not, congressional budgeting is a lot like an overweight seven-year-old downing corn dogs.

Periodically, despite gouging the American people trillions of dollars already, Congress runs out of money, maxing out on its corn dog limit, as it were. Congress is then faced with two options: 1) a continuing resolution, wherein the legislature passes an appropriations bill and thereby authorizes government funding at the same levels as previously established by that year’s budget until either a specified date or a regular appropriations bill is passed; or 2) a government shutdown until appropriations can be passed.

Since October, when the 2018 fiscal year began, we have seen four continuing resolutions from Congress, two of which materialized only after a government shutdown — the most recent one occurring early Friday morning for approximately eight hours.

This means that Congress has eaten its two corn dogs and gone back to ask for two more corn dogs four times in the last four months. They have now consumed ten corn dogs, which is even more than a certain hefty seven-year-old.

The latest continuing resolution, which put an end to Friday’s blink-and-you’ll-miss-it shutdown, outlines two years of spending and absolutely blows out the deficit to the tune of $1.2 trillion. And while it’s true that the continuing resolution only extends to March 23 in order to allow for time to iron out all the details, the legislature has bypassed any threat of government shutdown or continuing resolution in the near future.

You see, the traditional two options listed above — a resolution or a shutdown — only trigger due to the debt ceiling, which prohibits spending past a certain point without specific authorization from Congress, who holds the power of the purse. But what would happen if that limit didn’t exist? The government could spend whatever it wanted with or without a budget, with or without a deficit, and with or without any accountability to the American people. Essentially, it means Congress can write itself a blank check.

Unsurprisingly, Congress has vied for this third option, suspending the debt limit until March 2019 in order to free up legislators to focus on reelection in 2018 and avoid the negative publicity of a government shutdown. To avoid a shutdown, Congress has made itself too big to fail.

And that means that no matter which issues arise, be it DACA, welfare, military, education, or healthcare, Congress will undoubtedly take advantage of its liberty to spend-up the wazoo.

Where there is no accountability, there is no progress. After all, once you grant the obese seven-year-old inexhaustible access to unlimited Foster Farms jumbo corn dogs, he’s not getting any skinnier.

Richie Angel is a Co-Editor in Chief of The New Guards. Follow him and The New Guards on Twitter, and check out The New Guards on Facebook.

Economy

Tariffs just cost 1 million US jobs as Jack Ma backs out of promise to Trump

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Tariffs just cost 1 million US jobs as Jack Ma backs out of promise to Trump

Before President Trump was inaugurated, Alibaba’s head Jack Ma made headlines by promising the President-elect he would bring one million jobs to America in the next five years. President Trump ballyhooed the announcement as a sign that his mere presence was enough to put more Americans to work.

With new tariffs imposed this week on China, Ma is backing out of his promise.

Jack Ma: Alibaba is no longer planning to create 1 million US jobs

https://www.cnbc.com/2018/09/19/jack-ma-alibaba-is-no-longer-planning-to-create-1-million-us-jobs.html“The promise was made on the premise of friendly US-China partnership and rational trade relations,” Ma told Chinese news site Xinhua on Wednesday. “That premise no longer exists today, so our promise cannot be fulfilled.”

Ma, who recently announced that he will step down as Alibaba chairman within a year, added that the company would “not stop working hard to contribute to the healthy development of China-US trade.”

My Take

Using tariffs in the modern world will never generate the same results they did in the middle of last century. The negatives greatly outweigh the positives even if you take out the foreign relations challenges they create. When you add in bad blood forcing defensive decisions, you get what we’re seeing today.

A million potential American jobs just evaporated.

On top of the strain on foreign relations, there’s the question of who ends up paying for tariffs. No, it’s not the foreign companies who pay. It’s the consumers, in most cases American citizens and businesses, who end up paying higher prices to compensate for the artificial costs of tariffs.

The only valid, albeit unnecessary use of tariffs by the United States is as a deterrent for certain industries to import materials rather than using domestic alternatives. For example, sugar tariffs are intended to make food companies use American sugar in their products. It doesn’t create more jobs, but it does protect some. Moreover, it keeps the production flow from relying on foreign materials. I’m not defending this as a “good” use of tariffs or domestic subsidies, but it’s at least understandable.

We have to remember who were are and the time we’re in. America is a consumer nation. There will always be a trade deficit with everyone because we need their products and they need our money. That’s why a healthy free trade relationship is beneficial to both sides. Tariffs disrupt the synergy.

There are definitely protectionist measures that can and should be taken in certain circumstances to prevent as many jobs as possible from leaving the country, but those measures are targeted. They should be beneficial rather than detrimental; it’s better to financially encourage companies to hire American than to punish the ones that don’t.

Few in the media will publicize this huge story because both sides are having trouble reconciling a Republican administration that pushes the leftist concept of tariffs. Senator Bernie Sanders and President Trump agree on trade, so the media will be silent through the confusion.

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Economy

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and the other $38 trillion

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Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and the other 38 trillion

By now, a good number of voters have seen this video where CNN’s Jake Tapper attempts to press Congressional candidate Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez about how she intends to pay for the generous government handouts that spearhead her platform. Perhaps more people need to see it as it’s a glaring display of fiscal ignorance.

It’s a question that needs to continue to be asked, not just of Ocasio-Cortez but of all the socialists out there running for office or promoting the untenable economic plan. Unfortunately, we haven’t actually seen a plan. We hear the promises of all the freebies we’ll get. We hear the claim that they can pay for it by taking money from the rich. Yet, we still haven’t seen anything close to the mathematics behind it or the plan to make it a reality.

This slice of an interview is a microcosm of the socialists’ biggest problem. They’re able to account for a minuscule portion of the price tag attached to their grand plans but they invariably divert and redirect any time they’re pressed on the most basic of questions: how are you going to pay for it. In this case, Ocasio-Cortez has to strain every penny from every rich person they can find in America to pay a mere 5% of what she’s promising.

Somehow, this isn’t reaching enough people. They love what they hear when they’re told they get free stuff, but they immediately plug their ears and block off the reasoning portion of their brain when details are discussed. There’s no such thing as free and despite claims the rich people can give their “fair share” to pay for it all, it simply can’t add up.

$40 trillion is a lot of money even spread over a decade. It’s more than we’re expected to take in over the next decade in total tax revenue. That means if we didn’t spend a penny on things such as defense, education, housing, community, running the government itself, or anything else other than the socialists’ agenda, we still wouldn’t have enough to pay for it all. We would need to more than double our current tax revenues.

No, that cannot be done by bleeding the rich no matter how fuzzy the socialists make their math.

Political news hounds are aware of the $38 trillion problem Ocasio-Cortez and other socialists have, but the masses in America have no idea. It’s up to all of us to spread the word and make them aware no matter how deeply they bury their heads in the sand.

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Economy

Huge minimum wage increase in Venezuela forces businesses to fire employees or shut down

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Huge minimum wage increase in Venezuela forces businesses to fire employees or shut down

Socialism rears its ugly head once again in the failed nation of Venezuela. As the country’s leaders attempt to slow their free fall to oblivion, businesses and their employees are being forced to make tough decisions.

The 3000% increase in minimum wage, announced last month by President Nicolas Maduro, went into effect this week. As a result, the economic woes for the citizens of the nation have spiked once again.

Venezuela Raises Minimum Wage 3,000% and Lots of Workers Get Fired

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-09-14/after-getting-3-000-wage-hike-workers-are-fired-in-venezuelaStarting this week, 7 million employees are guaranteed 1,800 bolivars a month — worth about $20 at the black-market rate. President Nicolas Maduro intended the mandate as political boost, but it’s having the opposite effect as companies, already hit by Venezuela’s epic economic contraction, tell workers they can’t afford to keep them.

While there have been many similar moves in the past, never has one been so disruptive, arriving amid hyperinflation, depression and devaluation. Some employers are restructuring costs, rejiggering pay scales and negotiating settlements with workers. Others are simply dismissing people. Much of the action happens secretively as companies try to avoid punishment by the government, which has been jailing those it believes are flouting the rules.

My Take

The failures of socialism are an easy target. If you’re reading this, chances are strong you already recognize how disastrous socialism is for any economy, even one access to more oil than any other.

Not even America could withstand the detrimental effects for long.

In lieu of attacking the easy target, it’s time we start looking for solutions. Venezuela must throw in the towel. They’re way beyond the need for aid and they can’t pay back loans. At this point, someone needs to step in and take over. This is, of course, unlikely as the socialist regime has no intentions of ever relinquishing power. They’ll allow their people to starve on the streets before they give up power.

Is a coup the only solution? Is it even possible without outside help? Where would outside help come from if it did? Can the United Nations do anything? How about the United States, China, Russia, or the EU? All have problems of their own and while the oil is an interesting enticement, nobody would risk making a deal in a country with such disarray.

Perhaps the only solution is to wait for the suffering of the people to become so pronounced they have no choice but to organize and take their country back by force. Unfortunately, this is not the type of event that is likely to yield positive results. What could they do if they were somehow able to win?

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