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Convertible Congress

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Convertible Congress

What’s the point of a convertible?

It does nothing to improve the functionality of a car. If anything, it causes more grief because you have to worry about weather conditions, leaf-shedding trees, and presents from overhead birds. But is it worth it? In the words of Bob Hoskins, abso-floggin-lutely.

The father of my best friend since high school owns a beautiful convertible Porsche Boxster that we got to use occasionally back in the day. It was the most exhilarating driving experience imaginable. As far as I could tell, there were two reasons above all others why we wanted to use the Porsche any time we could: just to say we did, and to be seen by girls.

Convertibles are cool, affluent, and flashy. They’re a symbol of status. They have no function other than to exist.

The purpose of a convertible is to have one and for people to know you have one.

That’s fine if you’ve earned it and that’s how you choose to spend your hard-earned money. But what about those who attempt to maintain public status at the expense of others?

Our country is entering the age of a fully convertible Congress, in more ways than one. Trump’s Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin announced on Sunday that federal relief funds for Hurricane Harvey victims would be inextricably linked to a raise in the debt ceiling, allowing the federal government even more room for borrowing money to top off a $19 trillion national IOU. Trump appears to be in full support of this policy.

The Federalist Party responded on Wednesday by chiding Congress on Twitter, asking why they don’t just reset the ceiling at ∞.

According to reports, President Trump appears to be in league with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer in an effort to do just that. Speaker of the House Paul Ryan allegedly disagrees with politicizing a national crisis, but even he has praised Trump’s bipartisan outreach.

So up, up, up the debt ceiling goes, and a debt ceiling set to infinity is essentially like having no ceiling at all — a convertible Congress.

Now we have a similar question to the one we started with: what’s the point of raising the debt ceiling?

There are no financial benefits, just prolonged devastation. Because, as we know from Mordo, Doctor Strange’s friend who turns evil because he’s too committed to being good (it still doesn’t make sense), the bill comes due. Always.

But the bill doesn’t have to come due to this administration if they just kick the can down the road. Not nearly enough Americans will vote out excessive spenders (only budget slicers), so there are no consequences for making Congress convertible in a financial sense.

So while they’re in power, they’ll do their best to keep it and flaunt it. The purpose of power is to have it and for people to know you have it. And that’s the second meaning of a convertible Congress: one that will do anything to retain its power and status, just to say that it has it and to be seen and admired of the public.

In that sense, Congress has been shedding its top for a long, long time.

And are there any consequences? Hardly ever, because once a congressman has gone convertible, he takes meticulous care not to get caught in the rain — to the tune of a 97% incumbent reelection rate in 2017 despite a dismal 18% approval rating.

My dad once ran for Congress and met a certain convertible congressman who’d been representing his district for 23 years. My dad asked him how he’d survived all those elections, and the man said, “It’s very simple: do nothing. Keep your head down and never take a position on anything.” Unfortunately, he wasn’t kidding, nor was his strategy unique.

If we want Congress to put its top back up, we need to show our representatives that there are consequences for filling their tenure with flashy nothingness. One congressman at a time (preferably your own), start demanding better.

Be the rain that ruins their custom leather seats.

Be the tree that drops those awful sticky red things.

Be the bird.

Or better yet, repossess the car. Congress doesn’t deserve a joy ride in a stolen convertible.

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.

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Economy

Keystone XL stopped by judiciary using bureaucracy to promote lunacy

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Keystone XL stopped by judiciary using bureaucracy to promote lunacy

Activist judge Brian Morris in Montana may have just put the final nail in the Keystone XL pipeline project. He suspended construction of the pipeline pending another environmental review. Apparently, he didn’t like the conclusions of the first one he ordered, so he’s asking for a second opinion.

Montana Judge Puts Brakes On Keystone XL

https://oilprice.com/Latest-Energy-News/World-News/Montana-Judge-Puts-Brakes-On-Keystone-XL.htmlThe court has asked the government to review its assessment and revise it, taking into account the changes in the oil markets since 2014, the latest in climate change, and the presence of “cultural resources” along the route of the pipeline that was planned to carry heavy oil from Alberta to U.S. refineries. The 830,000 bpd pipeline will run from the Albertan oil sands through Montana and South Dakota, ending in Nebraska, where it would connect to the existing pipeline network that goes on to the Gulf Coast.

The court’s ruling comes a little more than a month after TransCanada said that construction of the pipeline could begin as soon as next year. The announcement followed an environmental impact review from the U.S. State Department, which concluded the pipeline’s impact on the environment would be “negligible to moderate.”

My Take

Even if the project can exhaust this activist judge’s attempts to stop it, there is growing tension on the Canadian side that is likely to table the deal indefinitely. For all intents and purposes, the Keystone XL pipeline is dead.

This is lunacy. We’re talking about the most modern and safe method of transporting heavy oil from the place it can’t be used to the place it can be used. Instead, we will remain reliant on Middle Eastern oil that comes without the unnecessary baggage snowflakes like Judge Morris impose on North America.

But that’s the mood of the day for the judiciary that continues to side with former President Obama to oppose current President Trump. Their power to maintain demonstrably dangerous policies and subvert progress is one of the main reasons we need judicial reform. These maverick judges can harm the nation at will and in cases such as this, they do.

Canada will be hesitant to cooperate on big projects like Pipeline XL because of our judiciary, and who can blame them? One man swimming in power can harm two nations with the stroke of his gavel. Sadly, he’ll sleep well believing he just saved an oil or two.

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Economy

As China opens up, Trump’s tariffs kick in

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As China opens up Trumps tariffs kick in

China’s imports and exports grew faster than anticipated in October despite harsh tariffs imposed by President Trump. It’s still too early to say the tariffs have not done much to harm China’s economy, but these early indicators do not bode well for the President’s plan.

For full disclosure, I’m against the tariffs. President Trump’s adoration for tariffs has shifted a majority in the GOP to favor “fair trade” over “free trade.” But in the modern world economic structure, the effects of tariffs do more damage to consumers and manufacturers reliant on imports. If this truly is just hardball negotiating tactics by the President that result in a swift agreement with China and others facing his tariffs, I’ll stand corrected. But if they continue for an extended period of time, they are a mistake that will harm American consumers and businesses much more than they help.

The original purpose for tariffs in previous eras was twofold. It was a source of revenue for the federal government, so significant that the founders felt it would be the primary source of revenue before income taxes were imposed. They were also intended to help domestic manufacturers and resource producers to be more competitive against a growing international economy.

China has been attempting to change their image as a closed economy for over a decade. They’ve been sending messages around the world that it’s safe and prudent to not only import from China but to open up export markets to China as well. They are modernizing their economy, but in doing so have made some critical mistakes that keep foreign investors skittish, most notably currency manipulation.

Will China start feeling the heat from the tariffs soon? If they do, it’s likely we’ll see a deal as they cannot afford instability in their huge but fragile economy. If they can suffer through the heat and refuse to make a deal, it’s a sign the tariffs aren’t working.

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Economy

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is getting better at doublespeak

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Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is getting better at doublespeak

Medicare-for-All is the highest form of socialism. Its premise is based around the idea that there’s enough money in the coffers of middle-class and above to make healthcare free for everyone else. The costs associated with such a plan are nearly equal to the current United States federal government revenue, which is why even leftists in the media are forced to ask how its proponents plan to pay for it.

Soon-to-be Congresswomen Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has been asked this question many times and her responses have ranged from comical to dangerously ignorant. Now, it seems that she’s found her groove. Her new tactic is to act confused by the question since the answer should be so obvious to everyone.

Ocasio-Cortez calls question about how to pay for Medicare for all ‘puzzling’

https://www.foxnews.com/politics/ocasio-cortez-calls-question-about-how-to-pay-for-medicare-for-all-puzzling“People often say, like, how are you going to pay for it and I find the question so puzzling because ‘How do you pay for something that’s more affordable? How do you pay for cheaper rent?’ You just pay for it,” she said. “We’re paying more now.”

According to recent studies, the program, first introduced by Sanders over the summer, would increase government health spending by $32.6 trillion over 10 years.

If you’re thinking this response must have come from some hidden camera footage by Project Veritas, you’ll be surprised to learn Ocasio-Cortez released it. Yes, she’s actually proud of her answer.

After thinking about it, I realized this really is the best answer she can give. She’s using doublespeak, drastic oversimplification, and improved confidence to say thing that are clearly untenable. But that’s okay because she says it with a smile and seems sincerely confused that anyone would be so naive as to question the numbers.

The problem is a large percentage of Americans won’t question the numbers at all because they won’t understand them. That’s the problem with socialism at this scale. The numbers are so unfathomable that most have a hard time realizing the scope of what’s being proposed.

Let’s break it down in simpler terms. In 2017, the United States brought in $3.32 trillion in federal revenue. It’s projected to go up a little every year. For simple numbers, let’s assume around $35 trillion in total federal revenue over the next decade (which still, for some reason, puts us at a major budget deficit). Compare that to the $32 trillion price tag projected for Medicare-for-All and (hopefully) it becomes easier to see how this plan is completely ludicrous.

Her pitch is essentially, “Don’t worry about it. Rich people and the infinite coffers of the government will pay for it.” Somehow graduating cum laude from BU with a degree in economics and international relations didn’t translate in the real world.

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