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Socialist or Fascist

Stuff We Wish We Wrote - Homepage - July 12, 2016, 6:52 AM
It bothers me a little when conservatives call Barack Obama a "socialist." He certainly is an enemy of the free market, and wants politicians and bureaucrats to…

British Study Points to ‘Consensus’ : E-cigarettes Help Smokers Quit

Somewhat Reasonable - July 11, 2016, 4:15 PM

Thirteen public health organizations, including Public Health England, Cancer Research UK and the Royal College of Physicians issued a brief in July titled “E-cigarettes: a developing public health consensus.”

The statement addresses the drops in England’s adult-smoking rates, evidence that indicates teen and youth use of e-cigarettes and vaporized nicotine products (VNPs) “is almost exclusively confined to those young people who have already smoked,” and that evidence related to e-cigarettes “suggest that the health risks posed by e-cigarettes are relatively small by comparison but [the organizations] must continue to study the long-term effects.”

The statement comes after a wave of evidence that shows that e-cigarettes and VNPs are continuously aiding tobacco cigarette smokers in quitting and providing a form of harm reduction.

Earlier in May, a survey  asked 300 e-cigarette users “to identify the reason they use electronic cigarettes.” 62 percent of respondents used e-cigarettes “to quit or abstain from smoking cigarettes.” The statement issued by the English health organizations acknowledged impact of such devises as “more than 10 times as many people” use e-cigarettes and VNPs over “local stop smoking services.”

Public Health England found in 2015 that e-cigarettes and VNPs are “95 percent less harmful than cigarettes and should be promoted as a tobacco-cessation method.” A June British Medical Journal study found “strong evidence in favor of the view e-cigarettes and vaporized nicotine products (VNPs) can be effective tobacco-harm-reduction products.”

Unlike the United States, these English groups are sharing “a commitment to provide up-to-date information on the emerging evidence of e-cigarettes.” Unfortunately, the Food and Drug Administration chose earlier this year to regulate e-cigarettes and VNPs as tobacco products, despite the fact that neither product contains any tobacco. That move is expected to cost millions of dollars in order to be compliant.

The statement issued by these public health groups is just the latest evidence the supports the health benefits associated with e-cigarettes and VNPs and the United States should take note. A 2015 study estimated that e-cigarettes used for smoking cessation and tobacco harm reduction could save Medicaid $48 billion in a single year. The FDA and policy makers need to be paying attention to such studies and emerging evidence as it rolls out new regulations for potentially life-saving products.

Categories: On the Blog

Share Your Netflix Password, Commit a Federal Crime?

Stuff We Wish We Wrote - Homepage - July 11, 2016, 3:19 PM
What America really needs is move over-criminalization of the innocuous, or at least that’s what the 9th Circuit seems to think. Though this is nothing new, the…

Heartland Daily Podcast – Reed Hopper: 8-0 Victory Over the Obama Admin and the Clean Water Act

Somewhat Reasonable - July 11, 2016, 2:03 PM

In today’s edition of The Heartland Daily Podcast, Reed Hopper, Attorney with the Pacific Legal Foundation joins Managing Editor of Environment & Climate News H. Sterling Burnett to talk about the 8-0 Victory Over the Obama Administration and the Clean Water Act.

Hopper discusses the victory over the Obama administration in the Supreme Court, vindicating peoples’ right to challenge clean water act/wetlands determinations made by the EPA/Army Corp, in court rather than going through the administrative process of applying for permits and waiting for agency determinations.

[Please subscribe to the Heartland Daily Podcast for free at this link.]

Categories: On the Blog

Free College, Dude

Education - In The News - July 11, 2016, 11:21 AM
July 5, 2016, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks in Washington. Photo: Associated Press Some of our friends console themselves over Donald…

El Niño, La Niña and Natural Gas

Somewhat Reasonable - July 11, 2016, 10:51 AM

Death Valley, California, is known as “the hottest place on earth.” But, if you hear the news that the “Hottest Place on Earth Has Record-Breaking Hot June”—when “temperatures exceeded average June temperatures by about 6 °F”—it might be easy to ascribe the heat to alarmist claims of climate change. While Southern California was experiencing power outages due to a heat wave, Death Valley hit 126 °F—though the previous June high was 129 °F on June 30, 2013, and Death Valley holds the highest officially recorded temperature on the planet: 134 °F on July 10, 1913.

Yes, it is a hot summer for most of the U.S.—but that was predicted by WeatherBELL’s Joe Bastardi who, on Ground Hog Day, referenced El Niño and said: “we may have the hottest summer since 2012.” Dr. Roy Spencer, Principal Research Scientist at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, explains: “it is usually the second calendar year of an El Niño event that is the warmest.” The current El Niño event made 2015 “the 3rd warmest year in the satellite record”—records, which have been kept for 38 years (all three of the hottest years were during an El Niño event). The 2015-16 El Niño is one of the strongest on record.

El Niño is a natural weather pattern first discovered centuries ago by Peruvian fisherman who noticed that the ocean would often warm late in the year. They called the phenomenon El Niño, after the Christ Child. “Modern researchers,” according to Bloomberg, “came to realize its importance to global weather in the 1960s, when they recognized the link between warm surface water and corresponding atmospheric changes.”

El Niño usually means warmer or milder winters and cooler summers in the U.S.—which has been bad for producers of America’s natural gas, as less has been needed for heating and air conditioning. Describing the winter of 2015-16, one account said: “warm, wet or even ‘what winter?’” This past winter’s milder temperatures coincided with abundant output from shale formations, that continued to grow through last winter, and, as reported by Natural Gas Intelligence (NGI): “collapsed natural gas prices to the lowest levels since 1999.” As a result, wholesale electricity prices also tumbled.

The trend away from coal for power generation has previously helped natural gas producers, as the increased production easily met strengthening demand. However, that demand has slowed as, according to NGI: “most U.S. regions that could switch out of coal on economic terms have already done so.”

While the warmer winter and oversupply condition coincided to drive natural gas prices to their lowest levels in almost 17 years, weather and supply are now driving them back up.

El Niño patterns are usually followed by what is called La Niña—which happens as the ocean temperatures cool. La Niña generally takes place three months, or as much as twelve months, after an El Niño cycle. A report from CNBC, back in January, projected that this year’s El Niño would “fade by May-July”—which is what we are seeing and that is causing the hotter, drier summer. The Browning World Climate Bulletin says: “The factors that cooled so much of North America in April and May are retreating and the hot marine air masses will surge inland.” Likewise, NGI States: “The El Niño event that led to record North American winter temperatures has made way for the transition to La Niña, which usually results in hotter-than-normal summer temperatures.”

Addressing these weather patterns, Bloomberg cites Kevin Trenberth, distinguished senior scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado, as saying: “The cycles occur every two or three years on average and help regulate the temperature of the Earth, as the equatorial Pacific absorbs the heat of the sun during the El Niño and then releases it into the atmosphere. That can create a La Niña: a ‘recharge state’ when ‘the whole Earth is cooler than it was before this started.’”

While experts differ on the exact timing, most expect La Niña to form as early as July or as late as December—or even January. Trenberth explains: “La Niña is more like a strong case of ‘normal.’ If a region is typically dry, it could become arid in a La Niña. If it’s usually wet, there may be floods.” Which translates to a colder, and more volatile, than average winter—though predictions are for drier and warmer in the southwest U.S. Reports indicate that a strong La Niña could push more polar vortexes down into the U.S. and typically a strong El Niño, as we’ve just experienced, is followed by a strong La Niña.

On June 29, the Financial Times announced: “US natural gas prices have leapt 30 per cent this month as hot weather boost demand for air-conditioning and slowing supplies point to a gradually tightening market.” It adds: “After years with prices in the doldrums, US gas output has also begun to level off.”

The hot summer, according to Bastardi, will continue with widespread warmth through the fall—with the Northeast and Midwest possibly hitting 90 °F into October. Then, going from one extreme to the other, when winter hits, it is expected to be, as previously addressed, colder-than-normal across the Northwest, Upper Midwest, and Northeast.

These conditions create higher cooling and heating demand for natural gas. And that, coinciding with reduced supply, will give a boost to U.S. natural gas prices—rebalancing the market and bringing price recovery.

For investors, Bloomberg states: “Seeing as North American Winters are expecting to be stronger with La Niña, SocGen [Societe Generale Corporate & Investment Banking] recommends investing in natural gas.” The Price Group’s Phil Flynn, seen daily on the Fox Business Network, concurs. He told me that in the rush to convert electricity generation to natural gas, we are now in a place, unlike the winter of 2014, where there are not enough coal-fueled power plants to fill the demand gap. The idea was that with global warming, winters would remain mild, but with the naturally occurring La Niña cycle, and the projected cold winter, we are facing high demand at a time when natural gas production is “getting ready to fall off a cliff.” With reduced supply and pipeline constraints, natural gas may not be able to meet all of the demand. He is encouraging his clients into natural gas.

For consumers this may mean that, because wholesale electricity prices strongly correlate to natural gas prices, power supply costs could be impacted—resulting in higher utility bills. Because of low natural gas prices, homeowners have not felt the full hit of higher cost renewables—but that could be changing as we head into a La Niña winter.

The author of Energy Freedom, Marita Noon serves as the executive director for Energy Makes America Great Inc., and the companion educational organization, the Citizens’ Alliance for Responsible Energy (CARE). She hosts a weekly radio program: America’s Voice for Energy—which expands on the content of her weekly column. Follow her @EnergyRabbit.

Categories: On the Blog

How Is the Federal Government Affecting Your Child’s Education?

Blog - Education - July 11, 2016, 10:09 AM

From standards to tests to bathroom usage, the federal government has placed mandate after mandate on the education of your children. This has been happening for decades, and there’s no end in sight.

The organization United States Parents Involved in Education (USPIE) wants your help to highlight what is happening to your children in your community. Have you or your child been affected by government intrusion into education? What about a neighbor or friend? USPIE wants to hear your stories! USPIE is asking you to create a three-minute video telling your story about the harm government has caused to your child’s education. The best videos will used on the USPIE website and may be published on online in other national media outlets.. The rules for the contest are here. The deadline is Friday, July 22, so get your camera rolling and share your story.

USPIE is made up of leaders from the Stop Fed Ed movement. Its mission is to restore “local control of education by eradicating federal intrusion.” If you are interested in learning more about the Stop Fed Ed movement, then visit uspie.org. You can find your state representative at http://www.uspie.org/state-chapters.html.

The Heartland Institute will host a USPIE event at our offices in Arlington Heights, Illinois on Wednesday, October 12. Details for the event will be coming soon.

How Is the Federal Government Affecting Your Child’s Education?

Somewhat Reasonable - July 11, 2016, 10:09 AM

From standards to tests to bathroom usage, the federal government has placed mandate after mandate on the education of your children. This has been happening for decades, and there’s no end in sight.

The organization United States Parents Involved in Education (USPIE) wants your help to highlight what is happening to your children in your community. Have you or your child been affected by government intrusion into education? What about a neighbor or friend? USPIE wants to hear your stories! USPIE is asking you to create a three-minute video telling your story about the harm government has caused to your child’s education. The best videos will used on the USPIE website and may be published on online in other national media outlets.. The rules for the contest are here. The deadline is Friday, July 22, so get your camera rolling and share your story.

USPIE is made up of leaders from the Stop Fed Ed movement. Its mission is to restore “local control of education by eradicating federal intrusion.” If you are interested in learning more about the Stop Fed Ed movement, then visit uspie.org. You can find your state representative at http://www.uspie.org/state-chapters.html.

The Heartland Institute will host a USPIE event at our offices in Arlington Heights, Illinois on Wednesday, October 12. Details for the event will be coming soon.

Categories: On the Blog

Think organic food is better for you, animals, and the planet? Think again

Stuff We Wish We Wrote - Homepage - July 10, 2016, 4:37 PM
W hat we eat is seen as more important than ever. And everywhere we are urged to go organic: we are told it is more nutritious, it improves animal welfare and…

Eternal Vigilance, The Price of Liberty

Somewhat Reasonable - July 10, 2016, 9:33 AM

By Nancy Thorner and Bonnie O’Neil – 

Yesterday the 4th of July was celebrated nationwide with picnics, parades, and firework displays.  Of great concern is that too many within America’s younger generation have no idea what is actually being celebrated on Independence Day.  Somewhat redeeming is the result of a 2016 American Enterprise Institute (AEI) opinion study.  Fifty-six percent of those polled said they were very proud to be American citizens, which actually put our country more than midway down in the “highest response” category.  Even so, over half of American citizens love our country and are not reluctant to say so. 

Most Americans understand the importance of liberty, but not all can explain what it actually means. 

Abraham Lincoln explained liberty in the following way:

“We all declare for liberty; but in using the same word we do not all mean the same thing. With some the word liberty may mean for each man to do as he pleases with himself, and the product of his labor; while with others, the same word may mean for some men to do as they please with other men, and the product of other men’s labor. Here are two, not only different, but incompatible things, called by the same name – liberty. And it follows that each of the things is, by the respective parties, called by two different and incompatible names – liberty and tyranny.”

The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln edited by Roy P. Basler, Volume VII, “Address at Sanitary Fair, Baltimore, Maryland” (April 18, 1864), p. 301-302.

The Ten Cannots

An outspoken political conservative, Rev. Boetcker, is perhaps best remembered for his authorship of a pamphlet entitled The Ten Cannots, which was originally published in 1916 and sometimes falsely attributed to Abraham Lincoln.  The pamphlet emphasizes freedom and responsibility of the individual himself.  Sadly, some of these “cannots” have become standard progressive thinking which is being promoted by the liberal Democratic Party, which are listed below for your consideration:

1.  You cannot bring about prosperity by discouraging thrift.  

2.  You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong.  

3.  You cannot help the wage earner by pulling down the wage payer.  

4.  You cannot encourage the brotherhood of man by encouraging class hatred.  

5. You cannot help the poor by destroying the rich.  

6.  You cannot keep out of trouble by spending more than you earn.  

7. You cannot build character and courage by taking away man’s initiative and independence.  

8.  You cannot help men permanently by doing for them what they could and should do for themselves.

“Socialism” no longer a dirty word

Fast forward to the current 2016 presidential campaign where throngs of young people cheered loudly for avowed 74-year old Bernie Sanders, a self-described Socialist, running for president of the United States as a Democrat.  This man once proudly defended Communist dictatorships across the world.  

In America, for the first time in nearly a century, socialism is not a dirty word or a shunned label, but instead is treated as a benign economic system that is more equitable and fair than capitalism.  This is particularly the thinking of voters under 30.   A Pew poll from June 2015 shows a staggering 69 percent of voters under 30 who express a willingness to vote for a Socialist for president of the United States, well before Sanders’ electoral successes in the early Democratic primaries. 

It is interesting that America’s senior citizens understand Socialism to be associated with Communism, such as that which they experienced with the Soviet Union and the Cold War.   What created this gap in thinking?  For seniors their opinion is based on having lived through the threat of the Cold War and its final end, which was the result of the Soviet Union collapsing for a myriad of reasons, largely associated with its failed form of government.  

What has caused the Millennials in our country to have a different opinion of Socialism?  The cause is largely due to the failure of our nation’s education system.  School books, professors, teachers, etc. no longer accurately define the superiority of America’s governing system nor provide the horror that results from once great countries who fell into Socialist and/or Communist style governments.

How close is this nation to discarding the wisdom of our Founding Fathers and instead embracing the lure of Socialism?  The massive crowds promoting Bernie Sanders should be a warning signal. That both Sanders and Clinton lean so far to the Left should send chills rather than thrills even up Chris Mathews’ leg. 

Communism Contrasted by the Virtues and Strengths of a Free Society 

In order to stop the creeping socialism in America, one must first understand the evils and deficiencies of communism and contrast them with the virtues and strengths of a free society provide by our forefathers and propelled America into greatness.  Four comparisons are noted:

SHOULD EDUCATION BE CENTRALLY CONTROLLED?

What Americans believe: 

Education is best controlled when it is in the hands of local boards, responsive to the wishes of the parents and the community.  The goal of education is to produce an intelligent, moral, and self-reliant citizenship.   Education must be free from propaganda and must prepare the student to exercise his proper share of control over his government.

What Communists believe:

Education must be controlled by the Central government.  Individual will be indoctrinated to follow, without question, the dictates of the Socialist state.  The thought content of all studies must be filtered through specific basic requirements. Individualism is the enemy of the people, therefore the student must be regimented and taught to accept all decisions of government regarding his place in the State and economy.

FREEDOM OF THOUGHT — NATIONAL SAFEGUARD OR DANGER?

What Americans believe:

To be strong and enduring, a nation must be composed of citizens who are free to think for themselves.   In no other way can people fully utilize their imagination, resourcefulness and capacity for progress.   The freedom to explore new ideas is one of the most basic of freedoms.  When filtered through a sound code of morality the good ideas are separated from the bad, not immediately perhaps, but in time to prevent serious damage.  

What Communists believe:

To be strong and enduring a nation must be controlled by intellectuals who instruct the people in thinking in accordance with government policies.  Free thought leads to dangerous conclusions not in keeping with Communist doctrine, while controlled thought builds national unity.

IS LOVE OF FAMILY, FRIENDS, AND GOD “OLD FASHIONED”?

What Americans Believe: 

That in our way of life there are many things, many blessings that have no base in materialism — love of home, love of family, patriotism, loyalty to friends, and devotion to God.  These are all integral parts of American heritage and give satisfaction and happiness.

What Communists Believe:

That everything is material — if you can’t see it, it doesn’t exist.  The government must teach the people that love of home, and family, and loyalty to friends are secondary to anything which furthers the progress of Communism.  The people must discard God.  Materialism is the “be all” and “end all” of Communist endeavor.

JUSTICE — THE LAWS OF MANY OR OF A FEW? 

What Americans Believe:

That the accepted standards of justice are the laws which have been formulated through hundreds of years of man’s struggle to find a reliable code.  They find expression in the law of the land and in our great heritage of common law.   These laws are clearly promulgated.  Justices in our system are sworn to live up to this law and not to impose their own arbitrary standards of judgment. Thus, we are a government ruled by established laws and not a government of men.  

Communists believe: 

That the proper and final test of right and wrong is “does it serve the ultimate Communist purpose?  If it does, it is good; if it does not, it is bad.  With this cornerstone of justice, if any law exists that interferes with the goal, it is conveniently by-passed. Arbitrary decisions by superiors overrule the law.  Rule of man satisfies the Communist need, not rule of law. 

Are Americans in the process of losing their nation little by little?   You be the judge.  Sadly, many Americans make their decision based on whatever media source they use, which often is far from fair or balanced.  Many vote for a candidate based solely on their ethnicity, color, or campaign promises they rarely keep.  

It is far safer to evaluate candidates on facts, such as what they have already accomplished verses their failures.  Also, the specific Party to which they are affiliated holds a big key as to how they will govern, who they will pick for their administration, and which justices they will nominate for the Superior Court.  

America’s form of government allows the people to pick their leaders;  the question is will they use this precious gift to discern the best person, one who will absolutely honor our Constitution and system of laws

[Originally published at Illinois Review]

NOTE: This article is dedicated by the authors to the memory of Elizabeth Clark of Lake Forest, IL, who died Saturday, July 2.  Elizabeth was 98 years old and most of those 98 years were dedicated to encouraging patriotism. She loved America, its rich heritage and amazing opportunities which allowed prosperity and a good life for its citizens. She saw and experienced much in her long lifetime, both good and bad, which provided her with the unique advantage of knowing which changes are probably advantageous and which ones will most likely end badly. She did her best to share this information and her thoughts with all who would listen. 

Categories: On the Blog

America’s FCC-FTC Privacy Divide

Somewhat Reasonable - July 09, 2016, 1:00 AM

[Note: This was submitted to the FCC for Reply Comments on the Title II Privacy NPRM]

The FCC’s Open Internet order and proposed Title II privacy rules divided what was unified.

For privacy, it broke what was working. Confused what was clear. Complicated what was simple. Unprotected what they sought to protect. Created more costs than benefits.

Since the Internet’s beginning the FTC has had privacy authority over information services.

For the decade since the FCC classified cable, wireless, and DSL broadband as an information service, and for the entire smartphone era where consumers became familiar with online privacy issues and regulation, the FTC was the sole unified regulator for protecting American consumers’ privacy.

In a 2014 filing to the FCC, the FTC explained why the FTC was better positioned to protect consumer privacy and data security than the FCC, because the FTC had national direct statutory authority to protect all consumers under: Section 5 — that proscribes “deceptive” or “unfair” business practices; the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA); and the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, (COPPA).

In November 2014, the FTC and FCC entered a Memorandum of Understanding MOUto avoid duplicative, redundant, or inconsistent oversight” of common carriers.

In the FTC’s May 2016 comments to the FCC on the proposed CPNI privacy rules, the FTC criticized the FCC’s approach as “not optimal” to the extent it “would impose a number of specific requirements on the provision of BIAS services that would not generally apply to other services that collect and use significant amounts of consumer data.”

FTC Commissioner Ohlhausen’s comments to the FCC went further in spotlighting: “The FTC has built its privacy program on the long-established legal principles of unfairness and deception. This framework focuses on the sensitivity of consumer data and particular promises made about data collection and use, rather than on what type of entity collects or uses that data. By contrast, the FCC’s three-tiered “implied consent / opt-out / opt-in” framework focuses on whether the holder of the data is a BIAS provider, an affiliate, or a third party. It does not account for the sensitivity of the consumer data involved. … The FTC approach reflects the fact that consumer privacy preferences differ greatly depending on the type of data and its use.  … If a [FCC] regulation imposes defaults that do not match consumer preferences, it imposes costs on consumers without improving consumer outcomes.”

In a nutshell, the FTC’s public analysis displays a substantial FTC-FCC privacy divide for American consumers. The FTC approach focuses on what consumers care about concerning privacy while the FCC’s approach ignores what consumers care about privacy.

The FCC-FTC privacy divide is much worse than just that.

Before the FCC reclassified broadband as a telephone utility, and before it did not forbear from asserting telephone privacy jurisdiction temporarily until the FCC could devise operative privacy rules, American broadband consumers for the last 16 months have not had any operative federal privacy protection regulation.

That purposeful indefensible lapse in consumer privacy protection suggests that the FCC cares much more about increasing their regulatory authority than protecting American consumers’ privacy and data security.

Before there was no clamor that the FCC had more comprehensive or better privacy authority than the FTC because the FCC’s authority is demonstrably narrower and less effective than the FTC’s in that it can’t protect consumers’ private network information from commercial exploitation on the Internet, it can only decide that a broadband ISP cannot use it for advertising without a consumer’s explicit permission.

Before a consumer did not have to know the practically unknowable, which is what the FCC now expects a consumer to understand – i.e. which of their Internet bits from which type of device, offered by which type of entity, in which direction, are protected or not protected by the FCC now, and in which manner?

Simply, there is no clear way for the FCC to explain to the average consumer how they are better off with the FCC doing selectively, narrowly, and complexly what the FTC did comprehensively and simply before.

In sum, the FCC did not think this through.

The FCC also did not do a cost-benefit analysis as the President’s 2011 Executive Order 13563 required. The FCC was supposed to use “the least burdensome tools for achieving regulatory ends,” and to “adopt a regulation only upon a reasoned determination that its benefits justify its costs.”

If the FCC simply followed the President’s 2011 Executive Order as required, the FCC and the American consumer would not be in the lose-lose position of creating lots more costs, confusion and complexity than before, without material and effective offsetting benefits for American consumers’ privacy.

Sadly, the American consumer looks to be worse off now, than if the FCC did not assert partial jurisdiction over consumer privacy at all.

[Originally published at the Precursor Blog]

Categories: On the Blog

Thanks, FBI: We Real Worlders Find Elite World Inordinately Annoying. Again

Somewhat Reasonable - July 08, 2016, 2:48 PM

How about that FBI no-indictment announcement yesterday? Makes perfect sense to you, I bet.

Ok – I don’t bet that. At all.

What does make sense to us Real Worlders – is seeing yet another Elite get yet another Get-Out-of-Reality-Free card. It is all growing quite tiresome.

We Real Worlders are tired of the Elites’ limitless condescension – combined with incessant wrong-ness.

We’re tired of Elites who are clearly in possession of far less common sense (but many, many more degrees) – mandating ever more portions of our lives.

We’re tired of Elites committing multiple felonies and skating away un-indicted – while we get a ticket nigh every single time we park five minutes longer than the meter for which we paid allows.

A majority of the British people just told the European Union (EU) Elites to get out.

A majority of Americans who participated in the presidential primary totally rejected the Elites – voting for outsiders Donald Trump (in runaway record numbers) and Bernie Sanders.

Don’t think there is Trump-Sanders Elite disgust overlap?

Bernie Sanders Supporters Are Outraged over the FBI’s Decision on Hillary Clinton’s Emails

Sanders Supporters Melt Down over FBI’s Clinton Decision

A large part of the problem is the Elites’ self-created cocoons. In which all sorts of things happen (and don’t happen, eh Hillary Clinton?) that bear no resemblance to anything that goes on in the Real World.

In which academic discussions occur in a Reality-free-vacuum – with no concept of how terribly their ideas will damage the Real World. Which would only be annoying – if these babble-fests were cordoned off to the fevered swamps of college campus faculty lounges. The problem is – the Elites are increasingly trying to turn this nonsense into government policy.

To wit: The protection of intellectual property (patents, copyrights, trademarks, etc). In Elite World, intellectual property is bizarrely considered less than physical property – and deserving of far less protection. And by many – none whatsoever.

As often happens in Elite World, the Constitution is completely ignored. Behold the Copyright Clause:

To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries.

Meanwhile, the Elites write books like “Against Intellectual Property” and “Against Intellectual Monopoly.” They write essays like “Intellectual Property Rights Gone Wild” and “Intellectual Property Is Theft.” In which they say incredibly silly, anti-Constitutional things like:

Property is the exclusive right to use this boat, this paper, this trap, these speakers, this computer, this plastic, or this aluminum.

Monopoly is the exclusive right to use any boat to trade with India, to use any paper to make playing cards in 17th century England, to use any trap to catch beavers in North America, to use any speakers to play “Happy Birthday,” to use any computer to deliver a podcast or download “Happy Birthday,” to use any plastic and aluminum to build a certain kind of washing machine….

Since it is an exclusive right to use any means in a certain way, intellectual “property” is not property at all, but monopoly. Intellectual “property” is therefore a misnomer, euphemistically used by state-privileged monopolists to drape their monopolies in the mantle of property.

But Real Worlders aren’t warping the word “property” – the Elites are warping the word “monopoly.”

The Constitution mandates the “securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries.” It is not exclusive use of ANY patent, trademark or copyright – it is exclusive use of the patent, trademark or copyright that they themselves create.

According to the above author’s weird IP analogy, my buying a car would allow me to drive any car I see. When in fact it only allows me to drive the car I purchased – and to retain monopolistic control over who else is allowed to drive it. For instance, I can lease my car to someone in exchange for payment.

Just as I can lease my patent to someone in exchange for payment. My (patented/trademarked/copyrighted) idea is like my car – it’s mine. The Constitution and common sense dictate that what’s mine is mine – and not wide open to theft by everyone else on the planet.

You know who agrees with me? The Real World. Even some Real Worlders who exist inside Elite World bubbles – but manage to remain un-addled thereby.

Protect Your Intellectual Rights, Budding Entrepreneurs Told

Americans Must Channel the Founders and Protect Artists’ Property Rights

5 Ways Intellectual Property Will Be Critical To Your Career: “(I)intellectual property (IP) – patents, copyrights, trademarks, and trade secrets – …is now the key engine of opportunity for almost any successful career in the future.”

If IP is important to your job(s) – and it is – it is important to jobs, period. Which means it is important to any hope for a growing economy.

There is great and growing evidence that most Elites care only about government growth – which is antithetical to economic growth. So they don’t mind stomping out IP – and thus the economy.

We Real Worlders understand this. Which is why we’re in the process of rejecting the Elites.

Here’s hoping we do so as rapidly as possible.

[Originally published at RedState]

Categories: On the Blog

Heartland Weekly – Heartland’s Jay Lehr on Making America Healthy Again with Exercise and … Global Warming!

Blog - Education - July 08, 2016, 2:47 PM

If you don’t visit Somewhat Reasonable and the Heartlander digital magazine every day, you’re missing out on some of the best news and commentary on liberty and free markets you can find. But worry not, freedom lovers! The Heartland Weekly Email is here for you every Friday with a highlight show. Subscribe to the email today, and read this week’s edition below.

Help Heartland Celebrate #OurAmerica Throughout July The Heartland Institute has joined other nonprofit groups this July to bring our country together to emphasize what makes America fundamentally good and what distinguishes it from other nations. The goal of this new #OurAmerica coalition is to reenergize and provide hope for mainstream Americans who are demoralized by the erosion of American liberty and the constant assault on our core principles. Visit Heartland’s web page dedicated to this project, where you’ll find memes, videos, resources, and more! To celebrate American exceptionalism, use the hashtag #OurAmerica on your social media accounts to help express your pride and hope for the country’s future. LEARN MORE

The States’ Duty to Defend Against Federal Excess Rob Natelson, Heartland Policy Brief As more states approve applications for an Article V convention, opponents of constitutional reform continue to object to any potential changes to the all-important document. But as constitutional scholar Rob Natelson writes in this new Heartland Policy Brief, James Madison and other Founders “emphasized state officials’ obligation to interpose in a constitutional manner when the people are threatened by federal overreaching.”   READ MORE

Early Bird Rates Now Available for Heartland’s 32nd Anniversary Benefit Dinner  On Thursday, September 15, The Heartland Institute will celebrate its 32nd anniversary with a reception and dinner at The Cotillion, a fine banquet hall in Palatine, Illinois. Our keynote speaker will be political satirist and author P.J. O’Rourke, who will deliver an incisive and funny address about the 2016 election and the state of politics and culture in America today. Early bird rates end July 31 and seats will fill up fast, so don’t hesitate to buy your tickets today! READ MORE

Featured Podcast: Jay Lehr: Make America Healthy Again with Exercise and … Global Warming! For the past three decades, the media and culture has fed Americans the narrative the use of fossil fuels will lead to global warming and wreak havoc on future generations. But, in reality, we should be more concerned about potential global cooling. Heartland Science Director Jay Lehr joins The Heartland Daily Podcast to discuss the health benefits of moderate warming, as well as highlighting the fundamental problems with our “sick” care system.  LISTEN TO MORE

Visit Heartland’s #OurAmerica page to find other memes to share and
ideas on how to promote our shared values

Coming Next Week: Property Rights in 21st-Century America On Wednesday, July 20, authors Timothy and Christina Sandefur will be at The Heartland Institute’s Andrew Breitbart Freedom Center in Arlington Heights, Illinois to talk about their book Property Rights in 21st-Century America. On Wednesday, July 27, Eric O’Keefe – who successfully fought back against the infamous “John Doe” investigations in Wisconsin – will be here to talk about how the power of the state can be used to silence patriotic Americans. You won’t want to miss either of these important presentations! We hope to see you here in Arlington Heights, but if you are unable to attend in person, the events will be live-streamed and archived on Heartland’s YouTube page. SEE UPCOMING EVENTS HERE

What Happens If the Social Costs of Carbon Goes Negative? H. Sterling Burnett, Climate Change Weekly Two new climate studies have delivered a critical blow to global warming alarmism. Estimates driven by old computer models projected an increase of 1.2°C in global temperature if carbon-dioxide levels double. However, new research relying on available empirical data shows the climate’s sensitivity to higher amounts of carbon dioxide is much lower than previously thought – as low as 0.02°C if carbon-dioxide levels double. With these modest temperature projections, perhaps the Chicken Little tendencies of climate alarmists will subside. READ MORE

ACT: Common Core Does Not Prepare Students for College Jenni White, The Heartlander According to findings published by the American College Testing (ACT) National Curriculum Survey, Common Core State Standards fail to prepare students for college. According to the ACT survey, released in June, only 16 percent of college educators say incoming students are prepared for post-secondary coursework. “The college instructors are having to grapple with students who are not fully prepared for college writing,” said Mary Byrne, a former college professor and a member of the Missouri Coalition Against Common Core. READ MORE

Video: Heartland Event Featuring Cedric Keith – A Discussion About Libertarian Ecology On July 7, environmental activist Cedric C. Keith came to The Heartland Institute’s Andrew Breitbart Freedom Center in Arlington Heights, Illinois to discuss his new book The Dying Fish: A Sojourn to the Source. At this interesting event, Keith spoke about his incredible 4,000-mile walk through the wilds of the Appalachian Trail to help preserve a supposedly endangered species: the brook trout. If you were unable to attend or watch the live-stream, you can see the whole presentation on our YouTube page. WATCH IT HERE

Bonus Podcast: In The Tank (ep45): Texas Public Policy Foundation, Article V, Privatization, and the Fourth of July John and Donny continue their exploration of think tanks across the country in Episode #45 of the In The Tank Podcast. Jess Fields, Article V project coordinator at the Texas Public Policy Foundation, joins the show to discuss the importance of independence and give updates on the Article V movement. Also featured in the podcast is a study by the Cato Institute about privatization and a discussion about the most patriotic states.  LISTEN TO MORE

Help Us Stop Wikipedia’s Lies! Joseph L. Bast, Somewhat Reasonable Many people rely on our profile on Wikipedia to provide an objective description of our mission, programs, and accomplishments. Alas, the profile they find there is a fake, filled with lies and libel about our funding, tactics, and the positions we take on controversial issues. Wikipedia refuses to make the changes we request. It even deletes and reverses all the changes made by others who know the profile is unreliable. We need your help! READ MORE

Invest in the Future of Freedom! Are you considering 2016 gifts to your favorite charities? We hope The Heartland Institute is on your list. Preserving and expanding individual freedom is the surest way to advance many good and noble objectives, from feeding and clothing the poor to encouraging excellence and great achievement. Making charitable gifts to nonprofit organizations dedicated to individual freedom is the most highly leveraged investment a philanthropist can make. Click here to make a contribution online, or mail your gift to The Heartland Institute, One South Wacker Drive, Suite 2740, Chicago, IL 60606. To request a FREE wills guide or to get more information to plan your future please visit My Gift Legacy http://legacy.heartland.org/ or contact Gwen Carver at 312/377-4000 or by email at gcarver@heartland.org.  

Heartland Weekly – Heartland’s Jay Lehr on Making America Healthy Again with Exercise and … Global Warming!

Somewhat Reasonable - July 08, 2016, 2:47 PM

If you don’t visit Somewhat Reasonable and the Heartlander digital magazine every day, you’re missing out on some of the best news and commentary on liberty and free markets you can find. But worry not, freedom lovers! The Heartland Weekly Email is here for you every Friday with a highlight show. Subscribe to the email today, and read this week’s edition below.

Help Heartland Celebrate #OurAmerica Throughout July The Heartland Institute has joined other nonprofit groups this July to bring our country together to emphasize what makes America fundamentally good and what distinguishes it from other nations. The goal of this new #OurAmerica coalition is to reenergize and provide hope for mainstream Americans who are demoralized by the erosion of American liberty and the constant assault on our core principles. Visit Heartland’s web page dedicated to this project, where you’ll find memes, videos, resources, and more! To celebrate American exceptionalism, use the hashtag #OurAmerica on your social media accounts to help express your pride and hope for the country’s future. LEARN MORE

The States’ Duty to Defend Against Federal Excess Rob Natelson, Heartland Policy Brief As more states approve applications for an Article V convention, opponents of constitutional reform continue to object to any potential changes to the all-important document. But as constitutional scholar Rob Natelson writes in this new Heartland Policy Brief, James Madison and other Founders “emphasized state officials’ obligation to interpose in a constitutional manner when the people are threatened by federal overreaching.”   READ MORE

Early Bird Rates Now Available for Heartland’s 32nd Anniversary Benefit Dinner  On Thursday, September 15, The Heartland Institute will celebrate its 32nd anniversary with a reception and dinner at The Cotillion, a fine banquet hall in Palatine, Illinois. Our keynote speaker will be political satirist and author P.J. O’Rourke, who will deliver an incisive and funny address about the 2016 election and the state of politics and culture in America today. Early bird rates end July 31 and seats will fill up fast, so don’t hesitate to buy your tickets today! READ MORE

Featured Podcast: Jay Lehr: Make America Healthy Again with Exercise and … Global Warming! For the past three decades, the media and culture has fed Americans the narrative the use of fossil fuels will lead to global warming and wreak havoc on future generations. But, in reality, we should be more concerned about potential global cooling. Heartland Science Director Jay Lehr joins The Heartland Daily Podcast to discuss the health benefits of moderate warming, as well as highlighting the fundamental problems with our “sick” care system.  LISTEN TO MORE

Visit Heartland’s #OurAmerica page to find other memes to share and
ideas on how to promote our shared values

Coming Next Week: Property Rights in 21st-Century America On Wednesday, July 20, authors Timothy and Christina Sandefur will be at The Heartland Institute’s Andrew Breitbart Freedom Center in Arlington Heights, Illinois to talk about their book Property Rights in 21st-Century America. On Wednesday, July 27, Eric O’Keefe – who successfully fought back against the infamous “John Doe” investigations in Wisconsin – will be here to talk about how the power of the state can be used to silence patriotic Americans. You won’t want to miss either of these important presentations! We hope to see you here in Arlington Heights, but if you are unable to attend in person, the events will be live-streamed and archived on Heartland’s YouTube page. SEE UPCOMING EVENTS HERE

What Happens If the Social Costs of Carbon Goes Negative? H. Sterling Burnett, Climate Change Weekly Two new climate studies have delivered a critical blow to global warming alarmism. Estimates driven by old computer models projected an increase of 1.2°C in global temperature if carbon-dioxide levels double. However, new research relying on available empirical data shows the climate’s sensitivity to higher amounts of carbon dioxide is much lower than previously thought – as low as 0.02°C if carbon-dioxide levels double. With these modest temperature projections, perhaps the Chicken Little tendencies of climate alarmists will subside. READ MORE

ACT: Common Core Does Not Prepare Students for College Jenni White, The Heartlander According to findings published by the American College Testing (ACT) National Curriculum Survey, Common Core State Standards fail to prepare students for college. According to the ACT survey, released in June, only 16 percent of college educators say incoming students are prepared for post-secondary coursework. “The college instructors are having to grapple with students who are not fully prepared for college writing,” said Mary Byrne, a former college professor and a member of the Missouri Coalition Against Common Core. READ MORE

Video: Heartland Event Featuring Cedric Keith – A Discussion About Libertarian Ecology On July 7, environmental activist Cedric C. Keith came to The Heartland Institute’s Andrew Breitbart Freedom Center in Arlington Heights, Illinois to discuss his new book The Dying Fish: A Sojourn to the Source. At this interesting event, Keith spoke about his incredible 4,000-mile walk through the wilds of the Appalachian Trail to help preserve a supposedly endangered species: the brook trout. If you were unable to attend or watch the live-stream, you can see the whole presentation on our YouTube page. WATCH IT HERE

Bonus Podcast: In The Tank (ep45): Texas Public Policy Foundation, Article V, Privatization, and the Fourth of July John and Donny continue their exploration of think tanks across the country in Episode #45 of the In The Tank Podcast. Jess Fields, Article V project coordinator at the Texas Public Policy Foundation, joins the show to discuss the importance of independence and give updates on the Article V movement. Also featured in the podcast is a study by the Cato Institute about privatization and a discussion about the most patriotic states.  LISTEN TO MORE

Help Us Stop Wikipedia’s Lies! Joseph L. Bast, Somewhat Reasonable Many people rely on our profile on Wikipedia to provide an objective description of our mission, programs, and accomplishments. Alas, the profile they find there is a fake, filled with lies and libel about our funding, tactics, and the positions we take on controversial issues. Wikipedia refuses to make the changes we request. It even deletes and reverses all the changes made by others who know the profile is unreliable. We need your help! READ MORE

Invest in the Future of Freedom! Are you considering 2016 gifts to your favorite charities? We hope The Heartland Institute is on your list. Preserving and expanding individual freedom is the surest way to advance many good and noble objectives, from feeding and clothing the poor to encouraging excellence and great achievement. Making charitable gifts to nonprofit organizations dedicated to individual freedom is the most highly leveraged investment a philanthropist can make. Click here to make a contribution online, or mail your gift to The Heartland Institute, One South Wacker Drive, Suite 2740, Chicago, IL 60606. To request a FREE wills guide or to get more information to plan your future please visit My Gift Legacy http://legacy.heartland.org/ or contact Gwen Carver at 312/377-4000 or by email at gcarver@heartland.org.  

Categories: On the Blog

In The Tank Podcast (ep46): #OurAmerica, Monopolies and Antitrust, and Sin Taxes

Somewhat Reasonable - July 08, 2016, 10:30 AM

John and Donny are joined by Heartland Director of Communications Jim Lakely in episode #46 of the In The Tank Podcast. This weekly podcast features (as always) interviews, debates, and roundtable discussions that explore the work of think tanks across the country. The show is available for download as part of the Heartland Daily Podcast every Friday. Today’s podcast features work from the Heartland Institute, the Center for American Progress, and the Commonwealth Foundation.

Better Know a Think Tank

In today’s edition of Better Know a Think Tank, John and Donny speak with Jim Lakely about the Heartland Institute’s announcement that we are joining a coalition in a month-long campaign in July to celebrate American exceptionalism. Jim discusses why the #OurAmerica campaign is important, which other organizations are involved, and why patriotism is downtrending.

Featured Work of the Week

In this Featured Work of the Week segment, Donny, John and Jim respond to a report from the Center for American Progress. The report, titled “Reviving Antitrust: Why Our Economy Needs a Progressive Competition Policy,” makes a case for expanding the use of antitrust to limit mergers and increase competition. Donny, John and Jim comment on what they liked about the report, and more importantly, what the report got wrong.

In the World of Think Tankery

In this week’s “think tankery” segment, Donny, John and Jim talk about an article from the Commonwealth Foundation titled “Sin-sylvania?” The article talks about how Pennsylvania takes in more tax revenue from “sin taxes.” A supplementary article titled “Three Reasons to Avoid Tobacco Taxes” explains why “sin taxes” should be avoided.

Events

I hope you’ll listen in, subscribe, and leave a review for our podcast on iTunes. We welcome your feedback in our new show’s inbox at InTheTankPodcast@gmail.com or follow us on twitter @InTheTankPod.

[Please subscribe to the Heartland Daily Podcast for free at this link.]

heartland daily podcast, hdpodcast, podcast, in the tank, itt, donald kendal, donny kendal, john nothdurft, public policy, center for american progress, respond, cap, commonwealth foundation, sin taxes, monopolies, pa, antitrust,

Categories: On the Blog

Dallas: Today is not the day for politics

Stuff We Wish We Wrote - Homepage - July 08, 2016, 10:16 AM
Politics must take a back seat this morning as we face the horror of five dead police officers, 11 total shot, 6 injured, after a Black Lives Matters peaceful…

Parents, Declare Your Education Independence

Blog - Education - July 08, 2016, 9:41 AM

On July 4, 1776, American colonists declared their independence from a distant monarchy in Great Britain that had passed mandate after mandate without input from the people over which it ruled. Today, lawmakers and bureaucrats in Washington, DC and state capitals across the country pass mandates local schools hundreds or even thousands of miles away must obey or else face severe budget cuts.

These mandates are often detrimental for those looking to attain a quality education, such as assigning students to schools by their ZIP code, demanding students take feckless tests, and counting the number of hours students sit in their seats as a gauge of academic performance. Others are downright absurd, such as dictating what bathrooms and locker rooms students must use and restricting the width of doors. These mandates are a one-size-fits-all approach, bereft of any meaningful input from parents.

Now is the time for parents to declare education independence for their children.

The Supreme Court has ruled on multiple occasions parents have the right to direct the education of their children, including in Meyer v. State of Nebraska (1923) and Pierce v. Society of Sisters (1925). The court ruled in Meyer a state could not prohibit the teaching of children in a language other than English — based on 14th Amendment protections — and the Court determined such requirements violate the rights of teachers and parents “to control the education of their own.”

In Pierce, which arose after Oregon mandated students attend the local public school where they reside, the Supreme Court ruled, “Under the doctrine of Meyer v. Nebraska … [W]e think it entirely plain that the Act of 1922 unreasonably interferes with the liberty of parents and guardians to direct the upbringing and education of children under their control. … The child is not the mere creature of the state; those who nurture him and direct his destiny have the right, coupled with the high duty, to recognize and prepare him for additional obligations.”

It is clear from these rulings and the history of our great nation parents have more power than they realize or exercise over how their children are educated. Parents have allowed state and federal bureaucrats to wield far too much control over their children.

Of course, the education bureaucrats will claim only they know what a child should learn and how he or she should learn it. They will also claim mandates are necessary and even good. They hope parents will just believe their talking points and willingly give up their rights. Many parents have trusted these false narratives and handed their children over to a system that is failing to provide many children with a quality education.

The 240th anniversary of a disaffected populace that broke free from an unaccountable bureaucracy is a time to remember the tenets of that original declaration: self-evident truths, equality, and unalienable rights. Governments are implemented by the people and for the people, and when they no longer obey the people, they are to be altered or replaced.

It is self-evident our federal and state elected officials and education departments have usurped unalienable parental rights, especially parents’ right to control the education of their children.

Parents, it is time to declare your education independence and to reassert your right to direct fully the education of your children, who have an unalienable right to seek the education that best fits their needs — regardless of income or ZIP code. Education freedom is the key to unlocking your children’s future, granting them access to a better life, liberty, and enabling them to succeed in their pursuit of happiness.

[Originally published at the Daily Caller]

Parents, Declare Your Education Independence

Somewhat Reasonable - July 08, 2016, 9:41 AM

On July 4, 1776, American colonists declared their independence from a distant monarchy in Great Britain that had passed mandate after mandate without input from the people over which it ruled. Today, lawmakers and bureaucrats in Washington, DC and state capitals across the country pass mandates local schools hundreds or even thousands of miles away must obey or else face severe budget cuts.

These mandates are often detrimental for those looking to attain a quality education, such as assigning students to schools by their ZIP code, demanding students take feckless tests, and counting the number of hours students sit in their seats as a gauge of academic performance. Others are downright absurd, such as dictating what bathrooms and locker rooms students must use and restricting the width of doors. These mandates are a one-size-fits-all approach, bereft of any meaningful input from parents.

Now is the time for parents to declare education independence for their children.

The Supreme Court has ruled on multiple occasions parents have the right to direct the education of their children, including in Meyer v. State of Nebraska (1923) and Pierce v. Society of Sisters (1925). The court ruled in Meyer a state could not prohibit the teaching of children in a language other than English — based on 14th Amendment protections — and the Court determined such requirements violate the rights of teachers and parents “to control the education of their own.”

In Pierce, which arose after Oregon mandated students attend the local public school where they reside, the Supreme Court ruled, “Under the doctrine of Meyer v. Nebraska … [W]e think it entirely plain that the Act of 1922 unreasonably interferes with the liberty of parents and guardians to direct the upbringing and education of children under their control. … The child is not the mere creature of the state; those who nurture him and direct his destiny have the right, coupled with the high duty, to recognize and prepare him for additional obligations.”

It is clear from these rulings and the history of our great nation parents have more power than they realize or exercise over how their children are educated. Parents have allowed state and federal bureaucrats to wield far too much control over their children.

Of course, the education bureaucrats will claim only they know what a child should learn and how he or she should learn it. They will also claim mandates are necessary and even good. They hope parents will just believe their talking points and willingly give up their rights. Many parents have trusted these false narratives and handed their children over to a system that is failing to provide many children with a quality education.

The 240th anniversary of a disaffected populace that broke free from an unaccountable bureaucracy is a time to remember the tenets of that original declaration: self-evident truths, equality, and unalienable rights. Governments are implemented by the people and for the people, and when they no longer obey the people, they are to be altered or replaced.

It is self-evident our federal and state elected officials and education departments have usurped unalienable parental rights, especially parents’ right to control the education of their children.

Parents, it is time to declare your education independence and to reassert your right to direct fully the education of your children, who have an unalienable right to seek the education that best fits their needs — regardless of income or ZIP code. Education freedom is the key to unlocking your children’s future, granting them access to a better life, liberty, and enabling them to succeed in their pursuit of happiness.

[Originally published at the Daily Caller]

Categories: On the Blog

Heartland Daily Podcast – Kyle Maichle: A Debate About the Need for an Article V Convention

Somewhat Reasonable - July 07, 2016, 2:45 PM

In today’s edition of The Heartland Daily Podcast, we listen in as Heartland Project Manager for Constitutional Reform, Kyle Maichle, joins the Steel on Steel radio show to talk about a potential Article V Convention.

Maichle is joined by Richard Fry, general counsel for the Patriot Coalition. Maichle and Fry debate on whether we need an Article V Convention.

[Please subscribe to the Heartland Daily Podcast for free at this link.]

Categories: On the Blog

Giving Every American $10,000 Could Solve the Minimum Wage Debate

Somewhat Reasonable - July 07, 2016, 2:22 PM

Whether raising the minimum wage would alleviate poverty or not has caused the public to argue intensely on either side of the issue, but what if the minimum wage debate isn’t the right one to have when addressing poverty?

According to a study conducted by the Congressional Budget Office, raising the national minimum wage to $10.10 per hour would bring 900,000 people out of poverty. As with everything in economics, there is a cost. The same study also finds it would cause a net loss of 500,000 jobs.

Some argue these job losses are a trade-off that must be made for the greater good, but how much “good” would be accomplished? How much would a minimum wage increase to $10.10 help families below the poverty line? The answer is not much. The Congressional Budget Office reports that “families whose income will be below the poverty threshold in 2016 under current law will have an average income of $10,700, CBO projects. The agency estimates that the $10.10 option would raise their average real income by about $300, or 2.8 percent,” up to $11,000.

In addition to the loss of jobs, the price of many goods would increase to allow employers to compensate for the minimum wage increase.

Fred Donnelly, the President of California Composites, which makes commercial plane parts, moved his company’s headquarters to Texas this year. When asked about the move he said, “This is the last thing I want to do, but I don’t see that I have a choice,” referring to the $15 minimum wage hike California passed. Is the solution to increase the minimum wage or something completely different?

One way to make the minimum wage debate obsolete would be to provide an unconditional basic income to every American in lieu of raising the minimum wage. Before conservatives dismiss the idea as some sort of back door to socialism, it would be wise to consider it was advanced by Milton Friedman, one of the modern conservative movement’s highly respected thinkers. He stated in his book, Capitalism and Freedom, “A negative income tax provides comprehensive reform which would do more efficiently and humanely what our present welfare system does so inefficiently and inhumanely.” Experts tend to equate the negative income tax to an unconditional basic income, UBI.

A UBI is not just a decades-old idea; it’s one that has been gaining significant attention in recent years. Libertarian political scientist Charles Murray published “In Our Hands” in 2006, which details what he believes to be an effective way to carry out a basic income plan. In June, Switzerland became the first country to vote on a basic income referendum. Although voters opposed the measure, it did bring widespread attention to the idea.

Under Murray’s plan, every American citizen 21 years of age and older would receive $10,000 of disposable income per year. There are, however, two main stipulations to his plan: The first one is that an unconditional basic income (UBI), would be funded by terminating “all other transfer payments and the bureaucracies that oversee them” as Murray put it in a recent Wall Street Journal article explaining his philosophy. This would eliminate the more than 80 welfare programs such as social security, food stamps, Medicaid, etc. Corporate welfare and farming subsidies would also need to be eliminated. Under Murray’s plan, those programs must be completely repealed before the first dollar on an UBI is spent – so they cannot be resurrected and “added” to an UBI at a later date.

According to Murray, with these measures in place, “as of 2014, the annual cost of a UBI would have been about $200 billion cheaper than the current system. By 2020, it would be nearly a trillion dollars cheaper.”

One of the points of opposition against a UBI is that it would diminish incentives to work. Ultimately, how an individual responds to this plan is up to them, but the way this specific UBI is set up would make work too valuable for most to stop. Earned income up to $30,000 would not result in any loss on the $10,000 due to taxes. Between $30,000 and $60,000 of income, the grant is taxable. At an income of $60,000, recipients would still keep $6,500 of the grant, and so would everyone in every other income level above that.

Since the grant is nontaxable up to a certain point and nontaxable after a certain point, every dollar a person earns outside of the grant is more money in their pocket. Stated another way, since there is a limit to how much a person can be taxed on the grant, the more a person works does not necessarily mean that they get to keep less of the grant. Of course, this will not incentivize everyone, but most will continue working once the grant is implemented.

Where does this leave the minimum wage debate? It becomes irrelevant. If a UBI of $10,000 were put into place, businesses could pay their employees the current minimum wage of their state, yet these employees would see their quality of life increase instantly. At the same time, there would be no adverse effects on these businesses, because the weight of being arbitrarily forced to increase their employee’s incomes disappears.

The United States might not be ready right now to start having a debate over an unconditional basic income. And no, it’s not going to solve all poverty problems, even if it’s adopted in its purest form. With that said, the UBI would allow businesses to operate freely and pay their employees a real market rate rather than an arbitrary amount set by government. While not perfect, this is an “out of the box” idea that could help alleviate poverty and make the minimum wage debate moot.

Victoria Hart (think@heartland.org) is an intern for the government relations department at The Heartland Institute.

Categories: On the Blog
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