Sunday, September 29, 2019

Wealth Tax--Unworkable and Unconstitutional

The centerpiece of Elizabeth Warren's plan to remake America is a wealth tax that she says would help fund her proposals for free child care, elimination of student debt, the Green New Deal and Medicare for All. Mind you, the $2.75 trillion she estimates it would generate in a decade would fund only a fraction of what her spending proposals would cost.

Warren is proposing a 2% annual wealth tax on households with a net worth of over $50 million. The tax would increase to 3% for households with net worths over $1 billion.

Not to be outdone, Bernie Sanders recently proposed his own wealth tax that is even more extreme. His tax would start taxing wealthy couples at $32 million (singles at $16 million) at 1% annually and would top out with an 8% tax on fortunes over $8 billion. He estimates it would raise more than $4 trillion over 10 years.

Both candidates defend the proposals as a way in which income inequality can be reduced.

Sanders claims that his plan would cut the wealth of billionaires in America by half over 15 years.

I don't doubt it. Start applying a 5% (minimum rate on $1 billion) to 8% tax for 10 years and do the math.

CNBC estimates that Jeff Bezos would have to pay $9 billion a year in wealth taxes under the Sanders plan. It kind of makes you wonder whether Bezos should suggest to The Washington Post (which he owns) that they might want to take it a little easier on Donald Trump.

Of course, the people that will pay the tax can also do math. The odds are that they are pretty good at it considering the financial success they have had. That is why it is likely that they will take actions to insure that the government will never collect the amount of revenue that Warren and Sanders estimate it will.

This is not theory. Sanders and Warren like to point to Europe as a model for policy success. Many European countries have tried wealth taxes. Most have abandoned them. They did not raise the money they thought they would. These taxes resulted in capital leaving the country. These taxes have also proven to be very difficult to administer.

Unworkable

In 1990, 12 European countries had some form of wealth tax. Today there are only three--Norway, Spain and Switzerland.

France instituted a wealth tax in 2000. It eventually led to the exodus of 42,000 millionaires from the country and French President Macron eliminated it last year.

What is ironic is that Warren turned to two French economists to design her proposal. Really?

I can say with some experience, having practiced as both a tax attorney and CPA, that this proposal would be a nightmare to administer and is tailor-made for manipulation and gaming of the system. It would also undoubtedly result in massive unintended consequences. Whenever the rich are targeted the result is that the little guy usually takes the biggest hit.

Net worth is easy to calculate when you are adding up cash and stock and bonds that are publicly traded. However, it is not so easy when you are trying to value real estate, closely-held businesses, yachts and art. The fact is that much of the wealth of the super-rich is held in illiquid assets which are not easily valued. Annual appraisals would be required and those valuations are very subjective. It would be an administrative and bureaucratic nightmare.

A wealth tax would require a massive increase in funding for the Internal Revenue Service. Those subject to the tax would need to hire legions of tax advisors, appraisers and consultants in order to comply with the law. We would undoubtedly quickly find that the tax is as unworkable in the United States as it has been in Europe.

Never mind that all of this wealth would have also already been subject to the income tax. It will ultimately also be subject to the estate tax. The government will literally get these people coming and going.

Unconstitutional

The bigger problem facing a wealth tax in the United States is that it most certainly is unconstitutional with any fair reading of the Constitution.

Sanders and Warren claim that legal scholars see no problem with the constitutionality of a wealth tax.

Let's look at the Constitution and you be the judge.

Congress clearly has the power to tax. This general power is stipulated in Section 8 of the Constitution.

SECTION 8. Clause 1. The Congress shall have Power to lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States.

However, the Constitution establishes separate rules for direct taxes (taxes that are directly assessed on individuals, e.g. income, property, etc) and indirect taxes (taxes levied on transactions, e.g. tariffs, duties, sales, etc.)

Indirect taxes are allowable but the rate must be uniform across the entire country. For example, a national sales tax would be constitutional as an indirect tax but the same rate would have to apply in every state. You could not have one rate in California and another in Delaware.

Direct taxes must be apportioned among the states based on population  to be in accordance with the Constitution. This means that for a direct tax to be allowable any revenue raised has to be equal on a capitation or head count basis on a state by state basis. This clearly is inimical to income, wealth or property taxes at the national level.

SECTION 2. Clause 3. Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers.

What this means is that you can have direct taxes but they have to raise the same amount of money on a per person basis across the union. For example, California has 40 million people. Let's assume that a 5% wealth tax would bring in $40 billion. That works out to $1,000 per person. Delaware has 1 million people. Due to the fact that there are not as many wealthy people in Delaware a 5% tax only works out to $500 per person. The wealth tax would have to be 10% for Delaware residents in order to bring the per capita levy to $1,000.

The so-called Apportionment Clause above (Section 2. Clause 3) is why the 16th Amendment was required in order to allow the federal government to institute the federal income tax in 1913.

Article XVI. The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration. 

Notice that the 16th Amendment only provides the power to Congress to avoid the Apportionment Clause in order to lay and collect taxes on income. It says nothing about wealth or property.

You might wonder how the estate tax could be constitutional in that it effectively is a tax on the wealth of the decedent. Isn't that a direct tax? The estate tax is not actually considered to be a tax on the property of the estate, but rather an excise tax on the privilege of transferring property at death. The triggering event is the death of the testator. The current statute imposes a tax on the transfer of a decedent's taxable estate. It is therefore considered an indirect tax not a direct tax.

There is no doubt that the strict limitation on direct taxes was exactly what the Founders intended.

They were very worried about the conflicts and factions that would arise between rich and poor and the unequal division of property in a society.

These are direct quotes from Federalist Papers #10.

The most common and durable source of factions has been the various and unequal distribution of property. Those who hold and those who are without property have ever formed distinct interests in society. 

Where did they see the most danger of a majority in trampling the rights of a minority? Taxation.

The apportionment of taxes on the various descriptions of property is an act which seems to require the most exact impartiality; yet there is, perhaps, no legislative act in which greater opportunity and temptation are given to a predominant party to trample on the rules of justice. Every shilling with which they overburden the inferior number, is a shilling saved to their own pockets. 

That is why the Constitution has the restrictions it has on direct taxes like the proposed wealth tax of Sanders and Warren. The Founders were not fans of the redistribution of wealth or property. They actually called the equal division of property "wicked and improper."

Was their intent clear enough? In my opinion, it could not be much clearer.

Unjust

Here is how Warren summarizes her Ultra Millionaire tax plan on her campaign website.

"... this small tax on roughly 75,000 households will bring in $2.75 trillion in revenue over a ten-year period."

Small tax? It might be a small percent but it raises an enormous amount of money.

75,000 households compared to 330 million people in the United States?

Talk about trampling on a small minority and the rules of justice.

Would the Supreme Court rule that a wealth tax is constitutional considering the clear language and unambiguous intent of the Founders?

Anything can happen when all you have to do is get five justices on your side.

We have seen it time and time again.

That is why the Supreme Court is so important to Democrats.

The Democrats know that without the Supreme Court "making law" they have little hope in realizing their progressive ideals. They have generally failed in establishing any of their agenda through Constitutional means. Most everything they care about in the last 50 years did not come from legislation or constitutional amendment but by the opinions of five Supreme Court justices. Look no further than abortion and gay marriage as prime examples. Or the affirmation of the constitutionality of Obamacare.

Similarly, Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders are ultimately looking to the Supreme Court to give them a wealth tax.

That is why liberals live and die with each breath that Ruth Bader Ginsburg takes.

Our Founders would simply be aghast with what the Democrats are proposing.

It is tempting to think that 75,000 households are going to pay the freight for the rest of us.

Don't be deceived or deluded.

It is unworkable. It is unconstitutional. It is unjust. It is unAmerican

In fact, it might ultimately result in the undoing of the Unites States of America.

Think about your vote in 2020 very, very carefully.

Thursday, September 26, 2019

When Beliefs and Facts Collide

Article II. Clause 4 of the United States Constitution states...

The President, Vice President and all Civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.

The Constitution gives the House of Representatives the sole power to impeach an official (by majority vote), and it makes the Senate the sole court for impeachment trials (2/3 vote needed to remove someone from office).

Impeachment was intended by the Founders to be an extraordinary measure when there was some abuse of office or violation of public trust.

How extraordinary and rare is it that the House or Senate might consider impeachment?

Since 1787, there have been less than 20 instances in which articles of impeachment have actually been approved by the House. Just eight times---all involving federal judges---have the officials been convicted and removed from office by the Senate. Notice these were all federal appointees. None were elected.

I provide this as context to evaluate the actions of the Democrats as it relates to Donald Trump.

NewsList.co has compiled a chronological list of 89 things that Democrats have said that Donald Trump should be impeached for since he became President.

The first was within two weeks of Trump assuming office.

Below is the list just since the Mueller report was released and the hopes the Democrats had for it to be the ticket for Trump's impeachment were dashed. There are 36 instances alone in the last five months in which a Democrat suggested Trump should be impeached for something or other.

Go here for the complete list of 89.





Forget all of this nonsense.

The reality is, insofar as Democrats are concerned, the primary "high crimes and misdemeanor" that Trump has been involved with was getting elected. That is the reality. There is nothing else driving this.

The fervor in which the Democrats are now beating the drum for impeachment seems to suggest that they must not be very confident that they can defeat him next year.

Why else put the country through the circus of impeachment, the chaos it creates and the conflicts it will inflame, when we are just one year away from a national election anyway?

It makes absolutely no sense for our nation when there are so many other things that we need to be working on.

Of course, there is not much sense in anything the Democrats have done since Trump was elected.

Why it that?

The book "When Prophecy Fails" helps explain it.





The book is the real life story of a small religious cult in the 1950's who believed they had received a prophetic message that the world was going to end just before dawn on December 21, 1954.

The group believed that they were going to be spared by aliens in a UFO which would come to take them away the night before.

The core group was so committed to their belief that they had quit their jobs and had given away all of their possessions to prepare for their departure on the UFO. Some had even left their spouses.

They all gathered in a room the night all of this was to occur, and as midnight came and went, the group sat in stunned silence as the clock ticked away toward dawn and there was no apocalypse and no aliens with flying saucers showing up to spirit them away.

You can only imagine how they felt. They were "all in" and their beliefs had been proven 100% false. Their world was literally turned upside down.

You would think they would admit they were wrong and move on with reality.

However, many of the members doubled down. They refused to admit they were wrong. Instead, they rationalized that their efforts had actually saved the earth from destruction.

This is a classic example of what behavioral psychologists call cognitive dissonance.

This is the state a person finds themselves in when a strongly held belief is contradicted by newly discovered facts. This conflict of beliefs and facts puts the person in a state of extreme discomfort. To reduce the discomfort the person has to reduce the dissonance or conflict.

The easiest way to do this is to hold to your beliefs irrespective of the facts. Altering your beliefs, after you have invested so much in maintaining them, is very difficult. This usually means we rationalize our beliefs and behaviors, rather than accept reality, as we don't want to admit to others (and most importantly, ourselves) that we were wrong.

When faced with this conflict we usually go into hyperdrive to try to enlist others in social support for out belief. We really do double down on our belief refusing to accept reality.

This was readily apparent with the UFO religious cult who eschewed all publicity requests before the event but reversed their distaste for publicity on the afternoon of December 21, 1954. They started calling newspapers to spread the message far and wide that their actions had saved the world. They desperately wanted to proselytize others to their beliefs for social support and to lessen the pain of disconfirmation.

Does any of this sound familiar?

To me, it sounds exactly how Democrats have acted since Donald Trump was elected.

They strongly believed that Hillary Clinton would win the 2016 election.

They could not conceive that the American people could elect Donald Trump.

The fact of Trump's victory rocked their world and shocked their systems to the core.

Rather than accept the facts, they set about to rationalize that Trump's victory was fraudulent. It was due to Russian collusion. It was the result of ignorant deplorables. It was because of voter suppression. It could not have occurred without the antiquated electoral college. How many rationalizations have we heard from Democrats as to why Trump won and Hillary lost?

Trump was illegitimate and he had to be removed from office by any means possible. Calls for an investigation into his impeachment have been incessant almost from the day he took office.

The Democrats have spent nearly three years trying to convince people of their beliefs. They have been joined by the mainstream media which shares the same beliefs. It is a never ending echo chamber. They simply cannot accept reality as it is so far removed from what they believe to be true. They are incapable of rational thinking.

This is the only way I know how to explain what the Democrats and media are doing.

It makes no sense to any rational thinker who looks at reality and facts.

By the way, the Rasmussen poll had Trump at a 53% approval rate on September 24 right before the most recent Democrat and media impeachment assault on Trump began. On the same day of Obama's first term, his approval rate was just 44%.

These are facts that just don't square with the beliefs of Democrats. How can this be? It is simply not possible for Trump to have a higher approval rating than Obama.




This is not to say that some Trump supporters are not guilty of the same cognitive dissonance. There are those who think that Trump can do no wrong. They think he orchestrates and plans every step he takes as if he is in a 4-D chess game. Of course, he never makes a bad move and he is always three steps ahead of everyone else.

Will the Democrats ever change?

I am not optimistic.

People who have spent this much time and effort defending and rationalizing their beliefs are not likely to suddenly change their minds irrespective of the facts. They just rationalize their beliefs even more.

It usually takes undeniable disconfirmatory evidence to occur and to be recognized by an individual holding the belief to finally give in and admit they were wrong. However, this is unlikely to occur as long as others in their social circle continue to believe. Isolated believers eventually give in. Those with social support stick with their beliefs over facts.

With the mainstream media fully anti-Trump, and millions of people on Twitter and social media willing to provide social support, it is difficult to conceive of the Democrats becoming rational human beings.

A Trump re-election may be the disconfirmatory evidence that is necessary for Democrats to admit they were wrong. Then again, it might just initiate a new cycle of cognitive dissonance and another four year similar to the last three.

The worst thing that could happen would be to see Trump defeated. This would suggest to Democrats that they were right all along and would undoubtedly result in aggressive action to implement an overreaching socialist progressive agenda fueled by arrogance. I can almost guarantee that would be a grave misjudgment about the mood of the public. The end result would be a disaster for the nation dwarfing anything we are seeing now.

The bottom line is this.

When beliefs and facts collide, it is the beliefs that almost always survive.

I write this blog to give you the facts. I know many of you pass it on to others who may have conflicting beliefs. My hope is that the facts might make a difference to some people out there. However, I know that for many the facts I write about are irrelevant. They believe what they believe and no amount of facts are going to change their mind.

Guard against being that person.

When facts collide with beliefs, it is time to reassess your beliefs.

It is a lesson the Democrats seem incapable of learning.

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

The Greatest Fraud of All Time

The greatest fraud of all time is playing out around us every day.

All of of the Democrat presidential candidates are participating in it.

Most every other Democrat politician is as well.

The mainstream media helps to sustain the narrative.

Our educators are complicit in it.

That is why we have scores of young people saying they are "terrified" about their future because of climate change.

We now have a 16-year from Sweden appearing before the United Nations telling world leaders they have "stolen her dreams and her childhood" because they have not done more to combat climate change. She claims that the world "is now in the early stages of mass extinction".


16 year-old Greta Thunberg lectures world leaders at the United Nations


Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Pete Buttigieg have even gone so far as to call for actions comparable to what was undertaken to fight World War II to combat climate change.

As I have written before, I find it most interesting that despite what they say, what they do suggests that they cannot possibly believe this blather.

If they really believed that we are heading to mass extinction they should be protesting in China rather than in the United States, France, Sweden or the U.K.

China is emitting almost double the amount of carbon emissions that the United States is.

China uses half of all the coal consumed in the world, which is considered to be the biggest contributor to carbon emissions.

China has half of all of the coal-fired electric generation plants in the world and has been on a furious pace to build new capacity over the last 20 years.

It is currently increasing that capacity by another 15% over the next few years.




China today has 5 times the coal generating capacity as the United States.

The United States has also shut down 43% of its coal generating capacity in the last seven years.

There are no plans to build another coal-fired plant in the United States despite the fact that the United States sits on top of the largest reserves of coal in the world.





Since 2000, China has increased its carbon emissions by 208%. The United States and Europe have actually reduced carbon emissions since that time.




Of course, if you are to believe that climate change is being caused by man then you also have to believe that increased carbon emissions are causing the planet to warm.

This is what the climate alarmists tell us day after day.

The problem is that there is no actual proof that this is the case. Carbon emissions are much, much higher today than they were 100, 75, 50 or 20 years ago. If carbon emissions were the critical factor in global warming you would expect that temperatures would be much higher today than in the past.




The fact is that they are not.

However, this is where the fraud comes in.

There is a concentrated effort to make you believe that temperatures are rising even when that is not true when you look at real climate history.

As an example, here is summary of the graphs in the  most recent National Climate Assessment that went out to policy makers and journalists. It shows that temperatures are rising, wild fires are increasing, sea levels are rising and Arctic Sea ice is decreasing.





Tony Heller of RealClimateScience.com recently did a video by taking the data and charts in the National Climate Assessment to show how massive the fraud that is being perpetrated on us is.

The key point that Heller makes is that for each of the data points the National Climate Assessment uses, different starting points are used in order to make it appear that climate change is real and it is being caused by man. The starting point of their graphs is always chosen to make the case they want to make while ignoring the actual long-term history.

For example, the graph showing increasing temperatures measured by heat waves begins in 1960. This makes it look like we are seeing unprecedented heat in the United States.




However, Heller points out that they are hiding the period before 1960 where we had much warmer temperatures than we do today.

Heller shows what is being hidden by overlaying the above graph over a chart that shows the entire heat wave magnitude index back to 1900 (see chart below).

It is as if the period before 1960 did not exist in the National Climate Assessment. Is this the way science is supposed to work?

Do you see why they started their graph at 1960? It was a low point for heat waves.

The chart would look a lot different if it started in 1936.



Compare the heat wave activity in the United States to carbon emissions in the graph above between the years 1900-1960. We had much hotter weather in that period than today with only a fraction of the carbon emissions

Heller points out similar manipulations with all of the data in the Climate Assessment.

Their chart showing forest fire activity begins in 1983.

The chart showing Arctic ice extent begins in 1979.

The chart sea level changes begins in 1920.

It would be one thing if there was no data before those dates. However, that is not the case. They are cherry-picking the data to support their conclusion rather than looking at the actual climate science data.

I don't know how you can call it anything but fraud.

I highly recommend that you view the entire video. It is an eye-opener if you want some real perspective on the climate change debate. It is well worth the 12 minutes of your time.

Click here if the embedded video does not open with your browser.


I am not a climatologist or meteorologist. However, I consider myself a practical thinker who makes decisions by looking at facts. I have also learned that it is always important to look beyond the "facts". How are the facts packaged and what is the motivation of the messenger?

I also know that energy drives economic output. It is not a coincidence that the growth in global GDP almost exactly tracks the growth in energy usage.



Therefore, we better be darn sure that before we give up our coal, oil, natural gas and nuclear energy sources that we really need to KNOW the facts rather than think them, believe them or wish them to be true.

If not, we could be putting our lifestyle, our livelihood and our very lives at risk for nothing more than a high-stakes con game.

I am always open to new facts. However, no one should be ignoring facts and historical records that are in existence that might suggest a theory or viewpoint may be wrong. When those facts are purposely hidden to convince others that the "science is settled" it can only be considered an act of fraud.

Sunday, September 22, 2019

Those Evil, Vile Men

"Heterosexuality is just not working."

That is the statement from a recent opinion piece on the NBC News website by Marcie Bianco.

Bianco adds this.

Men need heterosexuality to maintain their societal dominance over women. Women, on the other hand, are increasingly realizing not only that they don’t need heterosexuality, but that it also is often the bedrock of their global oppression.

I can't believe I missed the "societal domination" thing after all these years on earth as a man.

I thought that men embraced heterosexuality as it was the natural order of things. It is also why men love women. It is why for thousands of years men have protected women, married them and had children with them.

Heterosexuality is the bedrock of global oppression?

I thought heterosexuality was the bedrock of human civilization. After all, if heterosexuality goes how long will it be before civilization ceases?

I give it about one generation.

By the way, if men are maintaining societal domination over women in the United States they are doing a really terrible job of it.

Women live longer than men.

Almost 60% of the students in college today are women.

Boys account for 70% of the D's and F's given at schools in the United States.

Women now make almost half of the middle management jobs in America.

There are more women than men enrolled in medical school today.

There are more women that men enrolled in law schools today.

73% of management positions in Human Resources  (who manage hiring, compensation, benefits and training) for American companies are women.

Young men are twice as likely to live with their parents as young women of the same age are.

Males are incarcerated in prisons at a rate over 10 times that of females.

When you look at the stats, while some women might not want men around for heterosexual reasons, you would think they would want men around for the simple fact that women look so much better in comparison to men.


Tom Cruise with Nicole Kidman
Credit: NY Daily News

Exhibit A.


Nicole Kidman with Harvey Weinstein
Credit: Rachel Murray, Getty Images

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Highs and Lows

Have you noticed that the Democrats running for President almost never mention the economy?

They talk a lot about how they are going to give this group or that group more money.

They may talk about economic injustice.

They don't make any claims about how they are going to make the economy better or create more jobs.

If they do talk about creating jobs it is only to replace the jobs they will destroy in the coal, oil and gas sectors of the economy that they want to outlaw.

If you look at the numbers underlying the economy you will understand why the Democrats are avoiding the subject.

Here are some numbers from the latest Bureau of Labor Statistics report.

The overall unemployment rate is 3.7%.

The unemployment rate for women is 3.3%.

The unemployment rate for African Americans is 5.5%.

The unemployment rate for Hispanics is 4.2%.

The unemployment rates for African Americans and Hispanics are the lowest in history.




This graph shows the trend of the overall unemployment rate over the last three years.




The strong economy is also causing hourly earnings to rise. Over the last 12 months nominal average hourly earnings rose 3.2%. This marks the 13th straight month that year over year wage gains exceeded 3%. Prior to 2018, hourly wage gains had not reached 3% since 2009.


If the Democrats do talk about the economy they often argue that President Trump just inherited a great economy from Obama.

However, if we went back to the summer of 2016, when Obama was President, the CBO was projecting that there would be about 147 million employed by 2019.

This chart shows what has actually occurred compared to what was projected in 2016.





An additional 4.5 million jobs have been created under Donald Trump than were projected three years ago.

In total, almost 8 million more people are employed today than they were three years ago.

This has resulted in the number of Americans on food stamps falling by 6.3 million since President Trump took office.

Do you want to know why the Democrats and many in the mainstream media so desperately want to see the United States enter a recession?

Look at the numbers and graphs above.

Their hatred of Donald Trump is so strong that they actually want to see Americans suffer in the pursuit of their agenda.

How low can you go?

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Educated or Indoctrinated?

Climate change activists are encouraging school students globally to walk out of schools this Friday "to demand an end to the age of fossil fuels."

This is the explanation of the rationale for the strike from the website of the organizers, www.fridaysforfuture.org, as to why they want students to strike.




Why study for a future which may not be there?

Why spend a lot of effort to become educated when our governments are not listening to the educated?

If all this is not bad enough the New York City's public schools are allowing their 1.1 million students to skip classes without penalty in order to participate.

Mayor Bill DeBlasio actually sent out a tweet that the schools would be sharing guidance on how the students could participate.




If you want Exhibit A on how we have come to have so many young people believe in "the science of climate change" this is it.

I often talk to parents who tell me how hard it is to get through to their children on various political issues because of "what they learned in school." There is no issue that this is more particularly true right now than climate change.

Are students today being educated or indoctrinated?

A big reason that students are so naive and gullible about so many political issues today is because the subject of History is no longer emphasized in the classroom.

Students have no context to assess anything.

As a result, young people are assessing everything within the total sum of their 10-20 years on earth.

It is a very, very, very small sample size.

Even when you are 70 or 80 years old climate history is a very, very small sample size. Every person on earth today does not have personal experience regarding the climate of the earth over any reasonable period of time to draw a rational conclusion about whether the planet is warming or cooling.

I follow Tony Heller's blog, RealClimateScience, in order to get real context on the climate change debate. Heller spends a lot of time looking at past temperature and climate records in order to provide some perspective on the climate change debate.

We continually hear from climate alarmists that we are experiencing climate extremes the likes of which we have never seen. Of course, building off of this narrative, every heat wave, cold wave, hurricane, tornado, forest fire or flood is evidence of that fact. What is missing is any historical context.

For example, Heller recently published two graphs tracking extreme heat (days over 100F degrees and nights under 0F degrees) at all climatology network stations in the United States over the last 100 years.

The fact is that temperatures are actually getting less extreme.


Credit: RealClimateScience.com


Credit: RealClimateScience.com



If you want extreme, look at the year 1936.

5% of all days were above 100F.  5% of all nights were below 0F!

Look at some of the high temperatures that were experienced in Seymour, Indiana in August, 1936.

Seymour, Indiana had 20 consecutive days in which the thermometer reached 100F or higher.


Credit: RealClimateScience.com


In July, 1936, Zumbrota, Minnesota had 13 consecutive days over 100F.


Credit: RealClimateScience.com



On September 15, 1939 students did not attend school in Benton Harbor, Michigan. They were not striking because of the climate. It was over 100F there.





Can you imagine the hysteria that would follow and the calls for IMMEDIATE government action if anything close to this occurred today?

Of course, the use of fossil fuels and carbon emissions were mere fractions then of what they are today.





Heller has a graph that compares average maximum temperatures to CO2 levels for the last 100 years.

Temperatures have actually fallen as CO2 levels have risen.




The strike organizers are exhorting the students with this call for action.




Our house is on fire?

What would they have said about our climate in the 1930's?

We demand climate justice for everyone?

I thought the climate was already the same for everyone?

What kind of justice do they want? San Diego weather for everyone on every day? Florida climate for Minnesota in January? Wisconsin weather for Texas in August?

If you have a student who wants to strike on Friday you might want to send them this blog post and tell them to study a little history and do a little research on their own before walking out of school demanding "climate justice".

Sunday, September 15, 2019

Twitter Tales

We now live in a soundbite world and a 280 character universe.

That is a big reason why so many know so little today.

They never get the full story. They are never given the context to understand an issue.

This has become particularly true in politics.

Donald Trump is famous for his Twitter trolls and tirades.

The Democrats running for President are on Twitter as well explaining how they are going to make everything right with the world.

Let's look at a few recent tweets from the Democrat candidates and put what they are selling in a little more context.

Just remember, however, that for millions and millions of voters (many of them young) the tweet or Facebook post is the only story they ever get.

Let's start with Bernie Sanders.




Bernie appears to suggest that the doctors, nurses and the hospitals that provide the care for childbirths are going to work for free in the future.

The cost of childbirth is clearly not going to go away under Medicare for All. It is just a question of who is going to pay for it.

As I have written before, Bernie keeps telling people that Medicare for All will be free. The fact is that current Medicare is anything but free. It takes an enormous amount of taxes to fund the program and it still requires monthly premiums, deductibles, coinsurance and private supplemental insurance to pay the bills. It will not be free.

Another fact that Bernie does not mention is that 43% of all births in the United States are paid for by Medicaid. Medicaid pays for 66% of all African American and 60% of all Hispanic births. I guess the cost of these births is already $0 with his way of thinking. Of course, the American taxpayer is paying the bill.

Here is Andrew Yang promoting his proposal to give every American adult a "Freedom Dividend" of $1,000 per month.




I give Yang credit for being creative but let's consider the math.

Yang speaks of 320 million shareholders but the fact is that less than half of those 320 million shareholders are working. The latest Bureau of Labor Statistics data indicates that there are 157 million people employed (full and part-time) with only 129 million of those being in the private sector.

You also have to consider the fact that there are 141 million taxpayers in the country but 97% of the taxes are coming from the top half.  That means that about 20% of the population produces the revenues that pay for the bills that many of the remaining 80% are enjoying.

As I have also written before, 71% of all current federal spending is comprised of payments to individuals (Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, foot stamps, housing subsidies, child care subsidies, etc). That is $3 trillion out of a $4.3 trillion budget.

Is that not already a pretty substantial dividend?

Elizabeth Warren weighs in with a tweet about her plan to increase Social Security benefits by $200 per month for every beneficiary.




Never mind that the Social Security system cannot meets its current obligations as it is.

Of course, Warren has a plan for this. This is Warren's new campaign logo.




What's her plan for most everything she wants to do?

Tax the rich. Give stuff away to others.

Warren not only wants to remove the FICA wage cap, she wants to raise income taxes and institute a wealth tax as well to pay for forgiving student loans, free childcare, increased teacher pay, Medicare for All and a Green New Deal. Along the way she wants to also ban all future oil exploration and natural gas fracking.

My belief is that Warren's Social Security gambit is actually meant to distract and mislead Seniors in order to keep them from focusing on her proposal to eliminate the requirement that corporate executives and fund managers act as fiduciaries for their shareholders and investors.

Large corporation and investment funds would need to be re-chartered and they would need to consider numerous "stakeholders" rather than just those who put their capital at risk for the enterprise.

Who would be most detrimentally affected by Warren's proposal? Older Americans who have worked and saved over a lifetime and who have their life savings invested in stocks.

Former Senator Phil Gramm and Mike Solon took aim at Warren in a Wall Street Journal op-ed right before she came out with her Social Security bonus. Coincidence?

Her “Accountable Capitalism Act” would wipe out the single greatest legal protection retirees currently enjoy—the requirement that corporate executives and fund managers act as fiduciaries on investors’ behalf. To prevent union bosses, money managers or politicians from raiding pension funds, the 1974 Employee Retirement Income Security Act requires that a fiduciary shall manage a plan “solely in the interest of the participants and beneficiaries . . . for the exclusive purpose of providing benefits to participants and their beneficiaries.” The Securities and Exchange Commission imposes similar requirements on investment advisers, and state laws impose fiduciary responsibility on state-chartered corporations.
Sen. Warren would blow up these fiduciary-duty protections by rewriting the charter for every corporation with gross receipts of more than $1 billion. Every corporation, proprietorship, partnership and limited-liability company of that size would be forced to enroll as a federal corporation under a new set of rules. Under this new Warren charter, companies currently dedicated to their shareholders’ interest would be reordered to serve the interests of numerous new “stakeholders,” including “the workforce,” “the community,” “customers,” “the local and global environment” and “community and societal factors.”

If you have ever read Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged this should all sound very familiar.




Rand, a Russian emigre, wrote the book in 1957. The book is set in a future USA whose economy is collapsing as the most productive people in society slowly check out rather than deal with increased taxation, regulation and the general overreach of government. Everyone is told that they must work and produce for the "good of all". Of course, only the government decides what is good and what is fair.
 
Elizabeth Warren sounds like she wants to create a nation that is eerily similar to what Ayn Rand wrote about.

What does that nation look like? It is one where a majority of voters no longer believe in personal initiative, freedom, accountability, creativity, rational self-interest and individual incentive as the foundations of success for either themselves or their country.

It will be a dark place (not only due to the fact that Warren wants to ban coal, fracking and new oil exploration) because, as Gramm and Solon point out, "socialism always destroys wealth; it doesn't redistribute it".

Sen. Warren would roll back the economic Enlightenment that gave us private property and economic freedom, and plunge us back into the communal world of the Dark Ages. Like the village, guild, church and crown of yore, government-empowered special interests would once again be allowed to extort labor and thrift. When capital is no longer protected as private property and is instead redefined as a communal asset, prosperity and freedom will be the greatest casualties.

Note the common theme in the three tweets above. All are offering something for FREE.

Nothing is free, most particularly freedom.  I hope you and all your loved ones understand that.

280 character tweets can never tell the tale. What you are seeing from the Democrats above are nothing but fiction and fables. Americans need to understand the full story about what is being sold to them.

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Mind Over Body?

A school needs parental permission in order for a student to go on a field trip.

It needs parental permission to participate on a school sports team.

It needs parental permission to participate in the school band.

A school needs parental permission to allow the school nurse to administer an aspirin to a student.




None of that helped Jay Keck and his wife who recently wrote an opinion piece in USA Today about how his local public school undermined their efforts to help their daughter who at 14 years of age suddenly decided she was a boy.

The story is shocking but is yet another sign about how far off the rails many things have gotten in this country.

In April 2016, my then 14-year-old daughter became convinced that she was my son. In my attempt to help her, her public school undermined me every step of the way.

Throughout my daughter’s childhood, there were no signs that she wanted to be a boy. She loved stuffed animals, Pocahontas and wearing colorful bathing suits. I can’t recall a single interest that seemed unusually masculine, or any evidence that she was uncomfortable as a girl.

The only difficulty she had was forming and maintaining friendships. We later learned why: She was on the autism spectrum. She was very functional and did well in school, helped by her Individualized Education Program (IEP), a common practice for public school students who need special education.

At her high school, my daughter was approached by a girl who had recently come out at school as transgender. Shortly after meeting her, my daughter declared that she, too, was a boy trapped in a girl’s body and picked out a new masculine name.

Their daughter did not tell her parents that she had decided she was a boy. The school knew, affirmed the new identity despite knowing of her mental health challenges, and started calling her by her new name and the new pronoun. They started having her use a gender neutral restroom. The school never reached out to the parents with any of this information.

When the parents found out what their daughter was doing they were shocked and set up a meeting to explore ways to help their daughter.

In an IEP meeting just after she told us about being a boy, I told the school that our wishes are to call her by her legal name at all times. The social worker present at the meeting stated that we have that right to make that request, so I assumed school staff would follow our directive. I followed up that meeting with an email, but later learned that my request was ignored and school staff continued to refer to her by the male name.

We met with the school district’s assistant superintendent, who told us the hands of school personnel are tied and that they had to follow the law. But there was no law, only the Obama administration’s “Dear Colleagues” letter of May 2016 that said schools need to officially affirm transgender students. Just three months later, in August 2016, a federal judge in Texas blocked the guidelines from being enforced. And in February 2017, the Trump administration rescinded the Obama-era guidelines, leaving it to the states to set their own policies.

I also learned that the ACLU has sent threatening letters to schools stating that it is against the law to disclose a student’s gender identity, even to their parents. But this letter appears to misunderstand federal law. The federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act requires that schools allow parents to “inspect and review” their child’s education records as long as the child is under 18.

The Keck's daughter was evaluated by a psychologist approved by the school who agreed with the parents that her sudden transgender identity was driven by her underlying mental health conditions. However, he would only share this opinion "off the record" because he was concerned about the backlash he would receive from the school and others.

In my attempts over the past several years to get help for my daughter, what I have learned has shocked me.

The National Education Association has partnered with the Human Rights Campaign and other groups to produce materials advocating automatic affirmation of identities, name changes and pronouns, regardless of parents’ concerns. In 18 states and the District of Columbia, including in my home state of Illinois, there are “conversion therapy” bans, which prevent therapists from questioning a child’s gender identity. No wonder my daughter’s therapist would only speak to me off the record.

You have to ask what is going on?

Have parents no rights in these situations?

Why are schools pushing a political agenda rather than following the science of biology?

In 1979, Dr. Paul McHugh, the psychiatrist-in-chief at Johns Hopkins put a stop to all gender reassignment surgeries at the hospital based on his findings that almost all transgender issues involved mental illness. Many elite medical centers followed suit.

However, over the last 10 years much has changed. Science has been ignored because of politics. 45 gender clinics have opened across the country catering solely to children with transgender issues. Are we to believe that this has all resulted from genetic errors? Are we to believe all of these transgender issues just suddenly materialized out of thin air over the last decade?

McHugh still believes transgenderism is a mental disorder 40 years later even though he is now attacked regularly by the LGBT community. His own hospital has reversed course due to the political environment and is once again doing gender reassignment surgeries.




The science has not changed. However, the politics has. We see it in cases like that of the Kecks.

We see it in the statistics that Ryan Anderson of the Heritage Foundation cites in his commentary last year titled "The Sex-Change Revolution Is Based On Ideology, Not Science".

80% to 95% of children with gender dysphoria will come to embrace and affirm their bodily sex.

41% who identify as transgender will attempt suicide at some point in their lives.

People who have sex transition surgery are 19 times more likely than average to die from suicide.

Tied to all of this is an interesting case that will be argued in the U.S. Supreme Court  in the near future over whether "gender identity" is a protected class for purposes of employment discrimination like a person's sex or race is.

The law mentions only a person's sex. However, the EEOC under the Obama administration expanded the definition  to include a person's gender identity.

At issue in the case is a man who wanted to dress as a woman in his position at a funeral home, even though there was an employment policy that required all employees to dress in sex-specific ways.

What I find most interesting about the case is that an amicus (friend of the court) brief has been filed by nine people who were once transgender but have now reverted to affirming their birth sex.

They argue that there is no such thing as gender fluidity or transgenderism. It is a mental, not a physical condition. They ought to know. They have lived it and come to realize it was a fantasy.

Almost every single person in the brief said they stopped being transgender with the help of therapy. It didn’t just help them heal, but also revealed that deeper emotional traumas were often the cause of their gender dysphoria and the reason they chose transgenderism in the first place. All of the people claim that those who proposed or helped them transition often (unknowingly) created more pain.

They conclude their brief by arguing that forcing employers to affirm the denial of nature and requiring them to reinforce the mental illness of a employer cannot be required by the law when it is likely to cause more harm than good.

The same can be said about our schools.

The former transgender people who filed the amicus brief used examples in their filing of other dsyphorias (mental illness dealing with dissatisfaction or unease with one's body) to show just how far off the rails all of this is.

Would we allow a school or employer to encourage someone with anorexia to be on a low-calorie diet or to have their stomach stapled?

Would we allow someone with xenomelia (the feeling that one or more limbs do not belong) to be encouraged to have an amputation?

Like so many liberal and progressive ideas, this is another that one that shows that in our eagerness to do "good" we are doing far more "harm" to the people who need "help".

It is truly sad.

The story of the Jay Keck family shows just how sad it really is.

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

What Will The Democrats Not Take Away From You?

Everyone should know by now that the Democrats have a particular affinity for taking tax money from you. If Democrats are in power you can almost be assured of a tax increase.

Yes, they always claim that they only want to make the rich pay their "fair" share.

However, there is  no way that the Democrats can fund all of their ambitious spending programs without a lot of taxes. I foresee a large, broad-based tax that everyone would have to pay if the Democrats gain control in 2020.

This is what is done in Europe to fund its welfare state. It would undoubtedly be required in the United States as well. Anyone who tells you differently is simply not telling the truth.

What is remarkable to me about this Presidential election cycle is the openness in which the Democrats are telling everyone all of the other things they want to take from you beyond your money.

All of it was on full display at last week's CNN Townhall on climate change in which almost every candidate endorsed the idea of some form of a Green New Deal.

For starters, the Green New Deal proposed by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez would upgrade or replace every building, factory, apartment and home with state of the art energy efficiency. At a minimum, this would require that every furnace, air conditioner and hot water heater would have to be replaced. It is unclear what that state of the art technology would be since I am not sure it exists right now. It is also unclear where all the tradesmen would come from to do all this work. Most of all, it is unclear where the money comes from to pay for all of this.

Keep in mind that this all has to be done within the next ten years because the Democrats state that the world as we know it is going to end in 11 years due to climate change.

The Green New Deal also proposes to repair and upgrade all U.S. infrastructure. This alone is estimated in the original Green New Deal document to cost a minimum of $4.6 trillion. It is the only item in the proposal that had any cost estimate attached.

Of course, merely replacing, repairing or upgrading is not going to be enough according to the Democrats. We have to start eliminating things that make our lives easier and more fulfilling.

We can only survive if we also start taking stuff away from you for the good of the planet.

Never mind that no one has ever done this in the history of mankind. Did we ban horses who were fouling the streets of major cities in the late 1800's because we wanted to replace them with cars? Did we ban whale oil when we wanted electricity to power our lights? These things happened naturally without government coercion. It is called human innovation.

Elizabeth Warren states that she wants to force every American to surrender fossil fuels and nuclear energy in 20 years. For context, this would mean that 89% of current energy sources would be outlawed. Can you remember 9/11/01? That was 18 years ago. Where is all of this new energy that powers our lives and our economy going to come from?




William Jacobson described the town hall this way on LegalInsurrection.com. He has videotape excerpts to document the craziness.




Here is a list that I have compiled based on what one or more of the candidates have suggested must be eliminated in order to stop climate change from occurring.

Plastic straws

Plastic bags

Meat

Incandescent light bulbs

Internal combustion engines

Gasoline-powered cars

Airplanes

Oil

Coal

Natural Gas exploration through fracking

Nuclear power

Children (population control is a necessity especially in third world countries).

Climate change is not the only reason the Democrats have to take away things from you.

A great number of Democrats are also in favor of taking guns away as well as the ammunition that goes in guns.

What I also found interesting is that while CNN put on the climate change town hall in which Democrat candidates were blaming meat, airplanes and big business for climate change it was running commercials for a steak restaurant, two travel-related companies and a large investment management company that invests in large cap stocks.




The Democrats are also not much in favor of school choice or the freedom to choose your own health care plan. They would like to take those choices away from you.

There are even some out there that want to take away all of your red hats.



That could be a problem for me.




I don't know about you but the world the Democrats seem to want us to live in sounds a lot like the world people lived in 200 years ago.

I am sorry. I am not interested.

I wrote this six years ago when Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (D-FL and DNC Chairman) said that unless climate change was addressed, it would only be a "few short years" before her Miami area congressional district was under water.


Only in a liberal mind does it make sense to...

shut down your most cost-effective energy generating source,

shut-off your most abundant energy resource,

raise electricity costs on all Americans,

and risk losing hundreds of thousand of jobs in the process.

In an attempt to solve a problem...

that we are not even sure we have,

and if we do, we are not sure we can do anything about it,

because of natural or external forces that we cannot control, 


that may overwhelm anything we do anyway,

that ultimately works to the advantage of your biggest trade partner,

that will undoubtedly result in more job losses for Americans over the longer term.


Here we are a few years later. Is Miami under water? Six years later we even have a former President, who continually lectured us about climate change, about to purchase a multi-million dollar home three feet above sea level on an island in the Atlantic Ocean.

Nothing has changed except the liberals have gotten even crazier and we have a President who is actually trying to do something about the advantages we have given away to our biggest trading partner.

What will the Democrats not try to take away from you?

Monday, September 9, 2019

Crazy and Improper

Every day I think that the Democrats must have reached their limit on crazy ideas.

However, another day passes and it just gets crazier.

As I have written before, one of the favorite targets of the Democrats is the electoral college. It just frustrates them to no end that they have to convince voters in states beyond California and New York to support their agenda in order to be elected President.

A majority of the Democrats in the Presidential field are on record as favoring the abolition of the electoral college. This includes Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Cory Booker, Beto O'Rourke, Pete Buttigieg and Julian Castro. Predictably, Kamala Harris has straddled the issue as has Amy Klobuchar. No one seems to know where Joe Biden is on the issue. That is also no surprise.

The Left's criticism of the electoral college reached new levels of craziness recently when Chris Hayes argued on MSNBC that the electoral college would be unconstitutional if it was not in the Constitution.

Yes, you would read that right. This is the direct quote from his show.




"The weirdest thing about the Electoral College is the fact that if it wasn't specifically in the Constitution for the presidency, it would be unconstitutional."

No doubt that is the same way the Democrats feel about the right to free speech, religion and the right to bear arms.

Why did those darn Founders have to be so specific? 

Of course, there was one right the Founders were naive about and must have thought they did not have to be so specific about----"the right to life".

They must have assumed that no one would ever question that most basic right. How wrong they were.

Bernie Sanders was also at it last week in declaring that (beyond forgiving all student loan debt) he also wants to abolish all existing medical debt.

Sen. Bernie Sanders announced late Friday that he plans to eliminate billions in medical debt, hinting at a proposal the 2020 presidential Democratic candidate's campaign has yet to release in full. 
The plan, which the Sanders campaign says would cancel $81 billion in existing past-due medical debt and make changes to the 2005 bankruptcy bill, is not expected to be released in its entirety for another month.

You have to ask what is next? What else can we forgive? Mortgages, credit card or auto loan debt?

 Of course, as always, left unsaid is who is going to pay for all of this?

Seeing all of this craziness I could not help but think again about our Founders and what their reaction would be to all of this.

Trust me, they would not be calling it crazy.

They would be calling it "Wicked" and "Improper".

How do I know?

The Federalist Papers were written to explain the theories, rationale and reasoning behind the Constitution.

What is truly amazing in reading the Federalist Papers is how well our Founders understood human nature and the efforts they took to provide safeguards in the Constitution against human fallibilities and foibles.

One of the bedrock principles underlying the drafting of the U.S. Constitution was to do everything possible to safeguard the union against possible domestic division and rebellion.

The Founders understood that opposing political factions were the greatest potential threat to any government and that in many governments the only redress was violence.  They wanted to insure that factions could not wield power that would be dangerous to either the rights of other citizens or the common good.

They also knew that there was little they could do to prevent factions from occurring.  That could only be done by limiting liberties or insuring every citizen has the same opinions, feelings and the same interests. Neither was acceptable to the Founders.

They had no interest in preventing the causes, which is what Communist and Totalitarian governments do. They focused on controlling the effects of factions. Thus, they constructed a republican governmental framework with an ultimate goal of securing both the public good and private rights against the dangers of an oppressive majority faction. Everything in the Constitution was built on this foundational principle.

This is one of the reasons we have an electoral college. It is also why the Constitution originally did not provide for the direct election of Senators. Our Founders were wary of a pure democracy which could trample the rights of minorities.

James Madison in Federalist Paper #10 also enumerated those things that were most likely to result in the development of dangerous factions that government (and the people) should be protected against.

Madison called them "Improper or Wicked Projects". It could not be much clearer what the Founders thought of these potential risks and the need to avoid them at all costs because of the danger they posed to the nation at large.

What were some of these these Improper or Wicked Projects?

1. A rage for paper money (exactly what the Federal Reserve did with Quantitative Easing and is being done again around the world with low (and negative interest rates) engineered by Central Bankers.

Notice that Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and many Democrats now are also arguing that we can just print all the money that is needed for the Green New Deal or other proposals they favor.


2. A rage for the abolition of debts (what was done to the detriment of secured creditors of automakers in favor of the unions under the Obama administration)

Notice that Bernie Sanders and many Democrats think student loans should be forgiven. Sanders now wants to do the same with medical debts.


3. A rage for an equal division of property (the foundational principle of socialism that includes redistribution of wealth from rich to poor).

Notice that many Democrats support a 70% top income tax rate and increase in the estate tax. Warren has proposed a wealth tax as well.

These are the actual words in Federalist #10 regarding those improper and wicked projects and why the Founders designed the republican government they did rather than a pure democracy.

The influence of factious leaders may kindle a flame within their particular States, but will be unable to spread a general conflagration through the other States. A religious sect may degenerate into a political faction in a part of the Confederacy; but the variety of sects dispersed over the entire face of it must secure the national councils against any danger from that source. A rage for paper money, for an abolition of debts, for an equal division of property, or for any other improper or wicked project, will be less apt to pervade the whole body of the Union than a particular member of it; in the same proportion as such a malady is more likely to taint a particular county or district, than an entire State.

There is no mistaking what the Founders would think about these crazy ideas.

In fact, their words are stronger than mine. Consider the words they used.

RAGE.

WICKED.

IMPROPER.

Is that specific enough to know exactly what the people who wrote the Constitution would think about what the Democrats are selling?

Notice as well that the Founders fully understood we could have some factious leaders and crazy ideas in particular states (California? New York?). They also understood that we might see religious sects degenerate into a political faction in some places (Ilhan Omar in Minnesota? Rashida Tlaib in Michigan?). However, the electoral college and the republican form or government was designed to insure that these factions could not control the whole.

Is it any wonder that the Democrats seek to diminish the Founders and denigrate the Constitution every chance they get?

The Founders had their number before they even existed.