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Infinitesimal cuts to govt spending more GOP politics of distraction for November

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As I wrote yesterday concerning the renewed interest by Trump and the GOP in congressional term limits, they are pulling out all the stops to save the party as the Blue Tsunami creeps ever closer to the November shores.

Having all but abandoned their one-and-only success of the past 18 months—tax cuts—in an attempt to ward off Trump’s impeachment, Republicans have turned their attention to their ace-in-the-hole every election year—conservatives.

Sadly, this strategy has had some limited success as groups like the House Freedom Caucus have been promoting a new brand of conservatives, Trump conservatives, or as I like to call them Trumpservatives. Despite this development, it remains unclear if the GOP will succeed in fooling enough of the base they have abandoned to prevent their annihilation in November.

Leaving no conservative stone unturned, and with an unlimited willingness to lie to cover up their trail of broken promises tears, Donald Trump and Rep. Kevin McCarthy, the man slated to replace Paul Ryan as House Speaker—or minority leader after November—are shouting from the rooftops that they are ready to get serious about cutting spending.

Under a seldom-used law known as the 1974 Impoundment Act, the same Republican lying liars who created the impending financial Armageddon following their budget surrender to the Democrats are proposing a whopping . . . wait for it . . . $15 billion cut in previously approved spending. This equates to less than one-half of one percent of government spending this year.

See? They really are serious about the budget.

Besides the fact that this budget gimmick known as “rescission” has only resulted in a meager $25 billion in spending cuts since the Impoundment Act’s inception, big-ticket items like military spending, entitlements, and interest on the debt can’t or won’t be touched. In fact, the proposed cuts aren’t even coming from the recent spending bill Trump and the GOP “reluctantly” passed. If approved, the cuts will come from untapped accounts in past budgets.

Just as we witnessed with Ted Cruz’s re-election stunt proposing to make the recently passed tax cuts permanent—they expire in 2025 for individuals—and the recent failed attempt to pass a balanced budget amendment in the House, this spending cuts proposal is nothing more than the classic politics of distraction used by the GOP every election year when they need the votes they have neither earned nor deserve.


Originally posted on The Strident Conservative.

 

David Leach is the owner of The Strident Conservative. His daily radio commentary is distributed by the Salem Radio Network and is heard on stations across America.

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Immigration

Little if any progress as partial government shutdown looms

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Little if any progress as partial government shutdown looms

WASHINGTON (AP) — The fight over President Donald Trump’s $5 billion wall funds has deepened, threatening a partial government shutdown in a standoff that has become increasingly common in Washington.

It wasn’t always like this, with Congress and the White House at a crisis over government funding. The House and Senate used to pass annual appropriation bills, and the president signed them into law. But in recent years the shutdown scenario has become so routine that it raises the question: Have shutdowns as a negotiating tool lost their punch?

Monday brought few signs of progress. A partial shutdown that could occur at midnight Friday risks disrupting government operations and leaving hundreds of thousands of federal employees furloughed or working without pay over the holiday season. Costs would be likely in the billions of dollars.

Trump was meeting with his team and getting regular updates, said White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders. Trump was also tweeting Monday to keep up the pressure.

Exiting a Senate Republican leadership meeting late Monday, Sen. John Thune of South Dakota said, “It looks like it probably is going to have to build for a few days here before there’s a solution.”

The president is insisting on $5 billion for the wall along the southern border with Mexico, but he does not have the votes from the Republican-led Congress to support it. Democrats are offering to continue funding at current levels, $1.3 billion, not for the wall but for fencing and other border security.

It’s unclear how many House Republicans, with just a few weeks left in the majority before relinquishing power to House Democrats, will even show up midweek for possible votes. Speaker Paul Ryan’s office had no update. Many Republicans say it’s up to Trump and Democrats to cut a deal.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Trump talk most days, but the senator’s spokesman would not confirm if they spoke Monday about a plan. McConnell opened the chamber hoping for a “bipartisan collaborative spirit” that would enable Congress to finish its work.

“We need to make a substantial investment in the integrity of our border,” McConnell said. “And we need to close out the year’s appropriation process.”

Meanwhile more than 800,000 government workers are preparing for the uncertainty ahead.

The dispute could affect nine of 15 Cabinet-level departments and dozens of agencies, including the departments of Homeland Security, Transportation, Interior, Agriculture, State and Justice, as well as national parks and forests.

About half the workers would be forced to continue working without immediate pay. Others would be sent home. Congress often approves their pay retroactively, even if they were ordered to stay home.

“Our members are asking how they are supposed to pay for rent, food, and gas if they are required to work without a paycheck,” said a statement from J. David Cox, Sr., president of the American Federation of Government Employees, the large federal worker union. “The holiday season makes these inquiries especially heart-wrenching.”

Many agencies, including the Pentagon and the departments of Veterans Affairs and Health and Human Services, are already funded for the year and will continue to operate as usual, regardless of whether Congress and the president reach agreement this week.

Congress already approved funding this year for about 75 percent of the government’s discretionary account for the budget year that began Oct. 1.

The U.S. Postal Service, busy delivering packages for the holiday season, wouldn’t be affected by any government shutdown because it’s an independent agency.

Trump said last week he would be “proud” to have a shutdown to get Congress to approve a $5 billion down payment to fulfill his campaign promise to build a border wall.

During his 2016 presidential campaign, Trump promised that Mexico would pay for the wall. Mexico has refused.

Democratic leaders Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi, in a meeting last week at the White House, suggested keeping funding at its current level, $1.3 billion, for improved fencing. Trump had neither accepted nor rejected the Democrats’ offer, telling them he would take a look.

Schumer said Monday he had yet to hear from Trump. Speaking on the Senate floor, Schumer warned that “going along with the Trump shutdown is a futile act” because House Democrats would quickly approve government funding in January.

“President Trump still doesn’t have a plan to keep the government open,” Schumer said Monday. “No treat or temper tantrum will get the president his wall.”

One option for lawmakers would be to provide stopgap funding for a few weeks, until the new Congress convenes Jan. 3, when Pelosi is poised to become House speaker.

Wyoming Sen. John Barrasso, who is in line to become the No. 3 Republican in the Senate, suggested a stopgap bill could be one way to resolve the issue or a longer-term bill that includes money for border security.

GOP leaders, though, were frustrated as the clock ticked away. Leaving the weekly leadership meeting, Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., said any planning was a “very closely held thing. That’s why we should never let this happen. We should pass the bills the way we’re supposed to pass them.”

___

Associated Press writer Laurie Kellman in Washington contributed to this report.

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Economy

Trump blaming Federal Reserve for recession created by his trade war

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Trump blaming Federal Reserve for recession created by his trade war

Wall Street had another very bad day yesterday. How bad? Well, the S&P 500 fell to its lowest level of the year, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average lost over 500 points, bringing its two-day losses to more than 1,000 points after a bad day last Friday.

Actually, yesterday’s very bad day is only a snapshot of what is officially a very bad month for Wall Street and a very bad year for the S&P 500. The Dow and S&P 500 are on track for their worst December since the Great Depression in 1931, down approximately 7% so far for the month. And the S&P 500 is down over 4% for the year.

Meanwhile, the Federal Reserve is holding its last policy meeting of the year and will likely be announcing an increase in interest rates tomorrow due to economic uncertainty surrounding Trump’s trade war and a shaky global financial market.

So, it should come as no surprise that Trump spent time on Twitter yesterday spreading fake news about the imaginary success of his economic policies while simultaneously criticizing the Feds for tomorrow’s likely interest rate increase.

Trump’s attack on the Feds is not new. When the stock market’s 2018 gains were wiped out in October, Trump blamed Fed Chairman Jerome Powell, calling the man he appointed to the job “the biggest threat” to his success. He also issued a warning at that time that he might fire Powell.

I should note here that shortly after the 2016 election and before Powell was appointed, Federal Reserve officials were very concerned about Trump’s economic policies and how they would likely lead to inflation and higher interest rates. Maybe, instead of blaming the Feds for being right, Trump could admit he was wrong and end the trade war.

Yeah, like that’ll ever happen.

Trump’s “no inflation” claim is a complete fabrication; inflation has been steadily rising since Trump’s inauguration when it was around 1%.

The reality is that his trade war has been a primary driver of inflation and has grown to become the true “biggest threat” to the US economy. This threat so real that a majority of 134 business leaders recently surveyed — including executives from companies like Ford, Verizon, and Morgan Stanley — expect a recession to hit by the end of 2018. That’s two weeks, folks.

Meanwhile, Trump can’t really be bothered with the economy right now. He’s too busy tweeting threats against Saturday Night Live because they tell mean jokes about him.

Originally posted on StridentConservative.com.

 


David Leach is the owner of The Strident Conservative. His daily radio commentary is distributed by the Salem Radio Network and is 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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Democrats

New rule needed: Old Ideas have to work BEFORE they can be tried again

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New rule needed Old Ideas have to work BEFORE they can be tried again

If the Unaffordable Care Act [Obamacare] didn’t work properly, why replace it with more of the same?

It’s a pattern replicated far too many times. There is a small expansion of government based on a ‘new’ idea that inevitably fails to work as promised. This is replaced with an even bigger expansion of government to solve the issues of the original program. When this also fails to work, an even bigger government expansion fails even more spectacularly. Each time the ‘new’ idea repeatedly fails making the situation far worse.

Instead determining what actually can work, the same mistakes are made over and over with the futile expectation of different results. If an idea is flawed, the results will always be the same no matter it’s size or overreach.

Old ideas have to be shown to work BEFORE they can be tried again

There is a perfectly easy way to avoid repeated failure. Look at what works and reject what doesn’t. If the basic idea of a law or government program is a known failure, why bother trying it again? Ever-expanding government programs of failure only lead to ever-expanding failure.

Consider just a couple of examples of this pattern:

  • Government controlled healthcare systems.
  • Government controls on Liberty [i.e. ‘Gun confiscation’]
  • Ever increasing taxation that has led to ever diminishing tax revenue.
  • And the Great, Great, Great, Granddaddy of them all: Socialism [Collectivism]

Government controlled healthcare

In the case of the Unaffordable Care Act [‘ACA’ or ‘Obamacare’] there would be no need for a new overarching system if it were functional. But it’s promises never materialised, so the Left is now clamouring for something even worse. With it now being ruled unconstitutional, the whole concept of government control of health care has been called into question. We should always take into consideration other ideas that actually work instead of heading down the same dead-end road.

The Left’s ideas on healthcare have been a series of ever-increasing failures of ever-increasing over reach by the government. They never admit to failure, they just keep on clamouring for more without any word on funding

For example, Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D., Minn.) agreed with the contention that the Democrats should now push for an even bigger expansion of government control over everyone’s life with “universal health care”. Medicare and Medicaid failed to solve the problem, so the Unaffordable Care Act was layered on top. That is also failing, so the ‘solution’ offered by the nation’s Left is even more control of Government control of healthcare. Never mind that we cannot afford the $42 trillion price tag for a new government monstrosity over the next decade, never mind that it violates the basic precepts of the Constitution. History and logic tells us that it cannot work, so is there is no point in trying it all over again.

New Ideas based in Liberty

There is no point in going in the same direction, repeating the same failure with the same ancient ideas. However, as JD Rucker pointed out, we need to support positive ideas instead just acting in opposition. In that context, these are some examples of alternatives to healthcare under the control of the government.

Direct care or Concierge Medicine

This is a system where patients pay a retainer fee to a physician for personalised care. The retainer fee lets the medical professional work with a smaller number of patients so they can have far easier access with lower co-pays. This type of practice would be combined with catastrophic care for emergencies.

For most people this sounds far better than impersonal service and high deductibles of a government-run system with far lower costs. The individual would be the priority rather than the collective. A much better system than one that combines the customer care of the DMV, the empathetic demeanour of the IRS and the cost efficiency of the Postal service.

Other plans to fix the mess of government-run health care

Then there are alternative ideas such as those in a recent Heritage foundation report that outlined some of their ideas to to replace Obamacare. The main point here is to return to plans that put choice in the hands of individuals.

The takeaway

Thus we have two contrasting visions of how things should work (or not in the case the ancient ideas of the Left). The nation’s Socialist Left wants to pile on a new overarching government plan due to the failure of the existing overarching government plan. We can’t afford the cost in Liberty and dollars of the old plan, nor can we even begin to afford the cost in Liberty and dollars of the ‘new’ plan. History tells us that the ‘new’ version of the same old ideas will fail to work as promised. This will cause the need for the Left to have another go at the problem that will also fail to work.

The Left can talk all they want about fighting for people, but the results of their ancient ideas speak for themselves. Only needs to cite the horrific conditions of Venezuelan healthcare to see how much they ‘care’ about people. We of the Pro-Liberty, Conservative Right have the advantage of ideas grounded in Liberty that have been proven to work. These can reverse the trend toward freedom crushing government systems that do not work no matter how expansive or expensive.

The choice is clear, keep on going in a direction will see everyone paying dearly in dollars and Liberty for a ‘new’ government program that won’t work. Or trying a new approach with fresh ideas that actually work and maintain our freedom.

 

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