Loma Verde, California is building a $24 million recreation center with a pool. Forest Lakes, Minnesota is getting a $1.5 million golf clubhouse, while San Antonio is purchasing a $15 million theme park.
These may seem frivolous when rampant inflation is threatening, but never mind, they’re all “free,” a synonym for “paid for by the feds.”
America is awash in cash. Hundreds of other communities are enjoying similar goodies. States in no fiscal difficulty whatsoever have been given billions in budget boosts.
Checks for thousands of dollars have gone to citizens not even claiming to be in need. Millions of Americans receive enough government cash that they can now avoid the inconvenience and degradation of work.
These are the outcomes of President Biden’s $1.9 trillion-dollar American Rescue Plan, although the link to COVID may seem obscure to some. But the bigger point is that our governing culture today sees government spending as a positive good, which may be prompted by any excuse or none at all.
This is a continuation of the age-old argument over the role of government. For those who see government as a benign force that can efficiently, by use of its taxing power, address the common welfare and assure equitable outcomes, every dollar transferred from private to public hands is a positive.
Moreover, Big Government clearly increases the power and prestige of government officials. It creates beneficiaries highly likely to vote for those politicians who “cared” enough to send Other Peoples’ Money their way.
Vastly expanded government has also affected the attitudes of Americans toward the role of government in their lives. To an extent unthinkable to earlier generations, Americans now assume the federal government will take responsibility for such matters as healthcare, education, childcare, and aging parents.
The founders of our Constitution would not be pleased. Their original intent was to create a more just and independent society than the autocracies which had plagued mankind for millennia. Regrettably, Americans have blandly looked on while much of their birthright has been stolen.
Much of the recent confiscation of our nation‘s economic output has come under the pretext of COVID spending. But remember that the COVID financial crisis was a self-inflicted wound. The lockdowns were unprecedented and proved ineffective as a pandemic response strategy, but they precipitated a huge expansion of government power.
America has so far spent $6.4 trillion in COVID relief bills. The $1.9 trillion in the 2021 American Rescue Plan alone was enough to buy every COVID vaccine, ventilator, and hospital in existence. But much of the money went to beyond-obvious pork and to support Democratic political constituencies.
New York, among others, is reportedly sitting on $12.7 billion in unneeded COVID funds that they hope will revert to “unassigned” dollars. The money was pushed out so carelessly that the Labor Department IG estimates $163 billion of the $872 billion in COVID unemployment funds were dissipated in fraud.
The consequences of all this unnecessary spending are predictable and enormous. In 2009, then-President Obama warned against continuing deficits when the debt had doubled from $5 trillion to $10 trillion under his predecessor.
It was $20 trillion by the time he left office, stands at $30 trillion today, and will reach $45 trillion by 2032 according to Biden’s own budget projections.
But trifles like stifling debt and lack of need can’t suppress the political urge to spend. With COVID receding and no extraordinary expenses pending, Joe Biden’s new budget proposal rings in at $5.8 trillion, fully 31% higher than in 2019.
Federal revenues rose 18% in 2021, then 26% this year, but it’s not enough. Biden‘s $2 trillion projected deficit means the debt will have climbed $7 trillion in just the last three years. Multi-trillion-dollar deficits have effectively been normalized.
It could be worse. We narrowly escaped passage of the $3.5 trillion Build Back Better boondoggle. Yet now Biden has the gall to demand $30 billion more for COVID expenses when at least $500 billion from the last COVID relief bill is still unspent.
The mindless, immoral imperative to spend more knows no bounds. Time is running out to reverse course. When will we come to our senses?
Biden’s bungling of the Iranian nuclear negotiations may well go down as the most consequential error in the history of statecraft. He has granted concession after concession to coax Iran into doing what they want to anyway, which is to revive the nuclear treaty (JCPOA) under which they would eventually acquire full nuclear capability.
The foolishness of equipping Iran’s ruling mullahs with nuclear arms is nearly beyond comprehension. These are fanatically religious Muslims, not like the Iranian people or the friendly neighbors most Americans meet. Their heartfelt belief is that life’s only purpose is submission to Allah, and he has already dialed in his directions.
The entire world must eventually become a Muslim caliphate. Take your time but use any and all means necessary to achieve successful jihad, including converting or killing all those under your control, lying when needed, and actively undermining host nations. Weapons of mass destruction would be the ultimate implement.
Yet the JCPOA negotiated with Iran by the Obama administration was full of concessions and loopholes. Iran was theoretically banned from enriching uranium to weapons grade, but enforcement was lax, inspections had to be announced beforehand, and sanctions for violations were ignored.
Worse, the agreement included a 10-year sunset after which all limits were off. The Obama administration was so eager to accommodate (remember the $1.9 billion cash on pallets shipped secretly to seal the deal?) they essentially created a framework assuring Iran’s future nuclear capability.
Fortunately, the JCPOA was never ratified by the Senate, so Trump was able to cancel it, which he did. Progress in nuclear development was slowed. Tough economic sanctions were imposed for violations, crippling Iran’s economy.
By the conclusion of Trump’s tenure, the Iranian people were growing restive and were protesting. Iran’s oppression against both America and their regional neighbors was stymied for lack of funding.
But Biden and his handlers could only see the hand of Trump in the success and therefore it had to be reversed. Now Biden is frantically conceding away, preparing to sign an agreement even worse than Obama’s infamously one-sided pact.
Biden’s proposed deal would intentionally weaken the enforcement structure needed to prevent Iran’s nuclear program development. Their illegal infrastructure housing the program would be effectively ignored.
Biden would also lift the economic sanctions in place, giving Iran $100 billion sorely needed to reboot its terrorism program. Propping up Iran’s economy is a huge favor to the ruling autocrats, too.
Almost unbelievably, Biden is assuring that Russia is also a beneficiary of the deal. Yes, that Russia, the one the whole free world is trying to weaken and punish to end their brutal, unprovoked assault on Ukraine.
Biden effectively put Russia in charge of the negotiations, where they serve as go-between, since the Iranians refuse to negotiate directly with us. In turn, Russia is demanding that Russian – Iranian trade be exempted from the sanctions imposed in response to the Ukraine invasion. Russia will effectively have a “sanctions-aversion hub” so its atrocities can continue.
Further, Biden is apparently offering an “inherent guarantee,” providing that if there is a claimed breach of the agreement by future administrations, Iran can resume full-scale development of their military nuclear capability. One way or the other, Joe will ensure their nukes.
Finally, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps is the agent for Iran’s long running proxy war which has included hundreds of terrorist attacks on military bases, civilians, and ships at sea and killed hundreds of Americans. Biden‘s brainstorm is to rescind the IRGC terrorist designation, limiting the rights of victims, including the right to sue for damages.
Over 1,000 American Gold star families have written Biden urging him not to further empower the terrorists who killed their family members. No response has been received.
For all these concessions, Biden has received nearly nothing. Instead, Iran keeps “moving the goalposts,” testing the limits of his gullibility. Observers are reportedly astonished at the Iranians’ improbable success.
Our leadership’s weakness, incoherence, and appeasement are leading us into an extremely dangerous position. An unhinged, fanatical regional power that chants “Death to America” will soon have nuclear capability and empowered allies.
I don’t know about you, but the first time I heard the slogan “Black Lives Matter” I thought it was, well…curious. Whoever said otherwise these days? Wasn’t that obvious?
I soon discovered the depths of my naïveté. The tip-off was realizing that “All Lives Matter” was not a more inclusive iteration of the same concept, but its opposite—racist fighting words. People were vilified and fired for saying them.
It turned out that BLM was a “social justice” organization focused primarily on “intervening in violence inflicted on black communities by the state and vigilantes,” i.e. police.
But this wasn’t your typical well-intentioned social advocacy group. Its founders were Marxist activists. BLM’s goals included not only stirring racial violence, but destruction of the nuclear family and eliminating capitalism.
BLM started as a loose confederation of underfunded organizers. But their fortunes changed after George Floyd’s death in 2020. Suddenly, radical racism became a lucrative business. Over $90 million came pouring in, even though BLM did no solicitation and was not even IRS qualified to receive it.
BLM became wildly popular. Its tenets became influential in crafting Democratic party policy. Corporate executives, ever vigilant to burnish their woke credentials, praised it and donated lavishly. Sports teams stitched BLM onto their uniforms.
BLM initially parked the money with sister organizations who had IRS certification. After BLM’s nonprofit status was established, $66.5 million was immediately transferred into its account.
Here’s where the story gets murky. BLM cofounder Patrisse Cullors issued an “impact report” in February 2021, claiming operating expenses of $8.4 million and $21.7 million in grants to local affiliates, but no further detail was provided. The rest of the funding was unaccounted for. Moreover, BLM has yet to file their IRS annual report required last November.
Meanwhile, Cullors resigned last May amid reports that, absent any other known sources of income, she had purchased millions of dollars in prime real estate. The two activists she appointed to assume the helm of BLM declined the offer.
The worm had turned. Charity Watch described BLM as a “ghost ship full of treasure with no captain, no crew no and no clear direction.” Other philanthropy watchdogs also withdrew their endorsements.
Washington and California ordered BLM to cease fundraising and Amazon kicked BLM off its charity platform. Antagonizing California, Washington, and Amazon had to be unprecedented for a radical leftist outfit!
The BLM scam, wasting the funds, was actually a good thing. According to the website Candid, nonprofits devoted to “racial equity” raised $25 billion total post-George Floyd. Yet the “accomplishments” of these groups have been demonstrably harmful to blacks.
Their main policy goal was to “defund the police,” the prime cause of the everyday genocide purportedly inflicted on young black men. That didn’t turn out well.
In 2019, 7,777 Blacks were murdered, 53% of all homicide victims. After the “defund the police” movement succeeded in jurisdictions across the country, 9,941 blacks were murdered the next year, indicating 2,000 lives were lost due to a failed ideology.
Blacks are repeatedly informed that thousands of unarmed black victims are killed by police each year, but the numbers tell a different story. As Heather Mac Donald points out, in 2019, the year 7,777 blacks were killed, police accidentally shot a total of nine unarmed blacks, one for each of the 800 murder victims. Decimating and denigrating the thin blue line was a tragic mistake, especially for Blacks themselves.
BLM can’t be reformed because it is based on the concept that there is social good in driving the races apart, since one is inherently predisposed to oppressing the other. Media and academic elites, playing upon the historical realities of black victimhood and white guilt, insist racism is deeply ingrained in American culture, the core influence in our history.
Americans must decide. Do we concede the future of permanent tribalism advanced by BLM, the 1619 Project, and Critical Race Theory?
Or do we still believe in the vision of Frederick Douglass, Abraham Lincoln, and MLK that Americans can achieve another historic first. We can establish a multi-racial society where race really doesn’t matter and we all share the Dream of living united as Americans.
Let’s face it. America botched its response to the COVID pandemic.
Traditionally, as in the Spanish flu and polio pandemics, authorities have recommended common sense public health measures and protected the vulnerable. This time, they ordered sweeping lockdowns of the economy and closed schools, churches, and businesses.
The results were economic devastation, educational stagnation, greater income inequality, and loss of civic life.
Sweden, even though it has a reputation for a more collectivist mindset than our “land of the free” got it right. Their health officials adopted a live-and-let-live strategy, mostly rejecting lockdowns and letting normal life go on.
Initially, health outcomes suffered some, partly because Swedes neglected to adequately protect their nursing homes. But today, probably because of herd immunity, Sweden’s death rate is just over 1614 per million, compared to 2335 in Britain and 2836 in the US.
Even better, Sweden avoided the multiple consequences Americans now face. GDP growth is projected to be 5% larger than pre-pandemic, and they don’t face a mountain of future debt. Since schools stayed open without face masks, there were no lost years of education and test scores are up.
Unfortunately, America’s response to the self-inflicted wounds caused by our COVID panic caused yet more harm. When confronted with the results of their mismanagement, America’s governing leftists reverted to their universal solution for all ills: spend more money.
So last March, President Biden triumphantly announced “help is here” as he signed the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan. We were assured that the truly massive spending would help defeat the pandemic, reopen schools, and revitalize the economy, creating at least 4 million additional jobs.
We now know the bill was a colossal failure. We didn’t get more jobs, but we did get ominous inflation even though Biden had insisted that “no serious economist” predicted inflation as a result of the spending surge.
The inflation was totally predictable. At least 1.8 million people declined to reenter the workforce when the $300 per week unemployment benefit supplement was extended. That’s understandable since one study indicated that in 19 states, a family of four with two “unemployed” adults could receive $100,000 in total government benefits.
Meanwhile, trillions more were pumped into the economy. This excess demand, combined with fewer goods and services being produced, was the perfect recipe for inflation, which “serious economists” now acknowledge is probably here to stay.
Why did the plan have no effect on COVID? Answer: it didn’t really try. PolitiFact concluded only 10% of the bill addressed COVID health impacts and 1% went to advancing vaccines, the most effective way to impact serious disease.
Instead, the ever-vigilant spenders saw their chance to enact a wish list and took it. Their dreams that came true included $20 million for “preservation of Native American languages,” raising Obamacare subsidies, and a massive expansion of the child tax credit.
Since the feds are sitting on so much surplus funding (sarcasm alert), $350 billion went to state and local governments to help them weather the pandemic. But even when the bill was being considered, it was already clear that state-local tax revenues were growing, and their budget crisis never materialized. It was simply an excuse for feds to shovel out money, mostly to their friends in Democrat states.
Public schools were also showered with $120 billion to help them reopen safely. But the funds came with no requirements attached. By the end of FYI 2022, only $40 billion will have been spent, leaving education administrators with an $80 billion slush fund. Thanks, COVID.
So, another $1.9 trillion accumulates onto our debt load, and we have precious little to show for it. We have fewer jobs than were predicted in the “baseline” without the bill, and there was minimal or no effect on the course of the pandemic.
Lesson learned? Nah. Biden preposterously proposes spending yet more on Build Back Better, an even larger collection of handouts, as an inflation cure. Yet our debt is not only higher than ever ($30 trillion) but rising interest rates now will make our debt service more expensive and hasten the Day of Reckoning.
When Joe Biden assumed the presidency one year ago, America had finally achieved energy independence. Iran was in chaos, fearing that its nuclear ambitions had been dashed. A year later, it’s America’s interests that have been dashed.
Biden campaigned on a pledge to rejoin the Iran nuclear accord and work on its weaknesses later. He seemed to believe that reinstituting deference and tacit assurances of eventual nuclear power status to Shiite Muslims would win concessions from the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism. It didn’t work out.
Monitoring for compliance allowed under the treaty was notably lax. Still, at the end of 2020, the United Nations watchdog agency was investigating Iran for cheating on nuclear materials and production with a pending referral to the UN Security Council. Economic sanctions under the treaty had produced an economic crisis with mass protests throughout the country. Iran was reeling.
Biden came to the rescue. Instead of cracking down on Iran’s noncompliance with the treaty, he pressured America’s allies to pull back a censure resolution, sending a clear message to Iran that the US no longer minded that they were hiding nuclear sites and materials, in violation of the treaty and global nonproliferation agreements.
Iran immediately began investigating the new limits of America’s tolerance. The regime refused UN access to nuclear sites and increased uranium enrichment to 60%, far beyond the level required for peaceful nuclear power production.
Meanwhile, Iranians stepped up their violence in the region, including drone and rocket attacks on American forces. Biden not only refused to respond militarily to the terrorist attacks, but he ended support for a Saudi-led campaign against the Iran-backed Houthis and removed America’s defense missiles from Saudi Arabia.
As Iran accelerated its nuclear program and regional military aggression, Biden inexplicably helped avoid a financial crisis too. He suspended sanctions, giving Iran accessibility to frozen funds and to Chinese oil imports.
Iran is up and running. We better hope that the mullah are just kidding with their “Death to America” chants.
Biden’s response to America’s energy needs has been similarly woke and pathetic. At the conclusion of the Trump presidency, America had achieved energy independence for the first time in 50 years.
Trump encouraged the shale oil and gas revolution. He lifted restrictions on drilling, especially in remote areas. He permitted vitally needed pipelines. He blocked extreme environmental regulations that intentionally reduced our gas and oil supplies. As a result, America had surplus fuel supplies and no longer had to import oil from Arabs, Russians, Iranians, or Mexicans.
Biden promptly, inexplicably (simple Trump hatred?) reversed all the Trump policies when in office. We’re importing again. The economic cost of losing our energy independence is about $50 billion annually.
Now Biden has to grovel, unsuccessfully, with OPEC to increase production. Once again, we have to be mindful of our energy needs when dealing with foreign actors.
Moreover, even if you believe only massive carbon reduction mandates can keep the planet from burning, none of this affects climate change. The Biden reforms don’t affect which fuels we consume, only whether we buy them from our own producers or overseas, where power plants are often more polluting than ours.
America’s worst enemy could hardly have inflicted more damage than has our own president. In thrall to a tiny faction of far-left ideologues, Biden has suffered multiple other failures, too, including immigration, inflation, urban crime, and school closures.
Unfortunately, here’s where it gets partisan and divisive. The solemn duty of the Republican party is to remove this person and his ilk from office before they do more irreversible harm to the republic. That duty includes nominating the quality candidates most likely to win elections, which may not always be the ones most popular with Republicans.
In 2020, Trump lost an election to an exceptionally weak candidate who hardly campaigned and who was uninspiring even to his own supporters. Considering historical precedent and his record in office, Trump deserved to win in a landslide.
Instead he lost. Hard as it may be to accept, many voters wanted somebody, anybody who “wasn’t Trump.”
In service to their country and posterity, Republicans need to be more strategic, starting now. It’s important.