Because They Ignore The Constitution, Democrats Are Divorced From Reality

President-oathThe modern Democrat party has been captured by people who propose ideas and make promises based on the assumption that the President has unlimited power and authority to implement any idea.  And it absolutely does not matter if said idea is or is not authorized by the Constitution.  They simply don’t care.

For illustration we picked just one of several examples from First Lady Michelle Obama’s speech.  But first a brief review of Article II of the US Constitution, establishing the Presidency and granting to the President certain limited powers and obligations.

  • Commander in Chief of the US Military
  • With the Advice and Consent of the Senate the President has the power to:

a) make treaties, provided that two thirds of Senators concur;

b) Appoint Principle officers of executive branch departments such as Secretary of State and Secretary of Defense, Ambassadors, Federal Court Judges, and Supreme Court Justices;

  • The power to appoint people to such lower level offices as Congress creates without the advise and consent of the Senate;
  • The power to veto legislation passed by Congress.  But Congress can override a Presidential veto with two-thirds vote of both houses.  The Constitution does not give the President the power to enact laws.
  • The power to grant reprieves and pardons for offenses against the United States
  • The obligation to “take care” that laws enacted by Congress “be faithfully executed.”  In other words, the President oversees the management of the departments of government to ensure that laws enacted by Congress are implemented and obeyed.

Obviously, the last obligation is enormous, especially in the modern era after Congress has created scores of departments and agencies that were never authorized by the Constitution, to redistribute income and to regulate nearly every facet of American life.

The Constitution does not delegate any other powers or responsibilities to the President and most of the powers the executive branch does wield through the panoply of departments and agencies were never authorized by the Constitution.  The founders sought to LIMIT the scope of federal government power to just a few specific functions in order to leave the states and the people free to conduct their own lives without federal intervention.  With that in mind consider the following excerpt from First Lady Michelle Obama’s speech to the Democratic Convention:

little-Michelle-ObamaMake no mistake about it, this November, when we get to the polls, this is what we are deciding. Not Democrat or Republican, not left or right. In this election, and every election, it is about who will have the power to shape our children for the next four or eight years of their lives. In this election, there is only one person who I trust with that responsibility, only one person who I believe is truly qualified to be president of the United States, and that is our friend Hillary Clinton.

Keep in mind that these remarks were not the “off the cuff” adlibs Mr. Trump is famous for.  The First Lady read her speech from the teleprompter.  It was painstakingly prepared with the help of the most skilled speech writers the Democrats can can find.  Every word was considered and reconsidered by the White House, the Democrat Party and the Clinton Campaign. 

So, we have to conclude that Mrs. Obama, Mrs. Clinton and the party elites believe, and want us to believe and accept, this assertion that it is the job of a President to “shape our children for the next four or eight years of their lives.”  Your children, your neighbor’s children, other children in your extended family, approximately 60 million children and teenagers are each the personal responsibility of the President. 

And by the way, The President is also Commander of 1.4 million men and women who make up the US Military, and another 1.4 million civilian employees of the government!

Obviously, investing “the power to shape our children” in one person is utterly preposterous.  Of course the authors of the Constitution never considered such an outrageous idea because it’s simply impossible to implement.  But the Democrats want you to believe it’s somehow plausible for the President to shape your children and all the other 60 million children in America.  And, that is a primary reason the First Lady gave you, at a dramatic moment in her speech, to thunderous applause from the assembled delegates, to elect Mrs. Clinton!  See, she knows children, or likes children, or cares about children or something.

For more than a century the Progressive movement, represented by the Democratic Party has systematically violated the Constitution by adding unauthorized powers and functions to the federal government.  Most are attempts to implement the core progressive principle that elite experts, armed with governmental power to tax and regulate by force, can make us better. 

When in control of Congress progressives have created scores of department and agencies that are patently Unconstitutional because they have within themselves all the powers the founders deliberately dispersed among the three, separate branches of Government:

  1. Legislative,
  2. Executive,
  3. Judicial.

Most government expansion is sold to the public with blatantly emotional appeals.  Some of those appeals seem to make a bit of sense.  But most are, like Mrs. Obama’s notion that a President could, even if he or she wanted to, “shape our children” utter nonsense.

Force Mrs. Clinton to Defend Progressive Doctrine

The monthly jobs report was published July 8.  The unemployment rate ticked up from 4.7% to 4.9%.  So, the media and the President’s spokesmen celebrated an above average increase in jobs after two months of far below average results.  But as usual they did not acknowledge the deception in that unemployment rate due to the consistent, unprecedented decline in workforce participation, as millions of jobless men and women are reclassified from “unemployed” to “not in the labor force” because they’ve become discouraged and don’t actively look for employment every week.

Emanuel-DoctrineThe Obama Administration began with a roar in January 2009.  The nation was in the depths of a severe recession and the President’s top advisor, Ram Emmanuel famously issued a call for action

For over seven years we’ve endured the results of the this President’s audacious experiment, testing the Progressive theory that the federal government can generate prosperity by spending mountains of borrowed money on priorities of the governing elite.

The results are in. The chart below tracks the unprecedented increase in government debt and the resulting decline in the labor force participation rate.

Obama Misery Graph


The gradual decline in the unemployment rate since it peaked at 10% in 2009 coincides with a an unprecedented decline in the labor force participation rate as shown in the chart.

  • The Labor Force is the sum of all persons who have jobs plus all who are officially classified as “unemployed.”
  • The labor force participation rate is the percentage of the total civilian, working age population that is counted as in the labor force.
  • The unemployment rate is the percentage of the labor force that is jobless and actively seeking employment.  It’s computed by dividing the number of unemployed by the the total labor force.

Since the unemployment rate began to fall from it’s peak in October 2009 over six million  jobless people have been reclassified from “unemployed” to “out of the labor force.”  Excluding people from the labor force this way artificially lowers the unemployment rate.  If they were still counted as in the labor force and unemployed, the June Unemployment rate would have been 8.2%

If the labor force participation rate were the same now as it was at the beginning of the recession in 2008 the June Unemployment Rate would have been 9.8%

What has the Obama Administration purchased with this unprecedented increase in debt which will burden us for generations? Nobody seems to be able to tell us.

In every speech Mrs. Clinton calls for spending even more borrowed money on the same old list of priorities including infrastructure,  (remember Obama’s promise that his huge increase in spending would fund “shovel ready” projects?) inefficient alternative energy schemes that can never replace fossil fuels, and expanded education bureaucracies.

The Republican campaign must drive home the point that Obama-Clinton economic theories are already in effect and have utterly, miserably failed.

Civilian Shooting Victim Tells Her Incredible Story

“They had no regard for their own lives. They surrounded me and my son”

July 4th: Day of The Declaration of Independence

“And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.”

July 4, 1776:

Visionary men published radical ideas that altered the course of history.

The Declaration of Independence

We humbly suggest that part of every American family’s July 4th celebration should be rereading and reflecting on the great truths of The Declaration of Independence.  We individual, patriotic citizens must make sure all American children are exposed to this greatest of all political documents. We can no longer depend on government schools.

This revolutionary document established the “self-evident” truths that we are all created equal and that our rights are “endowed” by or are received directly from God, our creator.  The only legitimate purpose of government is to protect, not to dispense or withhold those preexisting, God-endowed rights.


The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America

When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Continued

Astounding history from Ronald Reagan’s Second Inaugural Address:

Two of our Founding Fathers, a Boston lawyer named Adams and a Virginia planter named Jefferson, members of that remarkable group who met in Independence Hall and dared to think they could start the world over again, left us an important lesson.

They had become political rivals in the Presidential election of 1800. Then years later, when bothreagan-atpodium.jpg were retired, and age had softened their anger, they began to speak to each other again through letters. A bond was reestablished between those two who had helped create this government of ours.

In 1826, the 50th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, they both died. They died on the same day, within a few hours of each other, and that day was the Fourth of July.

In one of those letters exchanged in the sunset of their lives, Jefferson wrote: “It carries me back to the times when, beset with difficulties and dangers, we were fellow laborers in the same cause, struggling for what is most valuable to man, his right to self-government. Laboring always at the same oar, with some wave ever ahead threatening to overwhelm us, and yet passing harmless … we rode through the storm with heart and hand.”

Media Ignore Devastating Jobs Report

What if there was a shocking employment statistic but nobody paid any attention?

Measured by the norms in place in 2008 the May Unemployment Rate would have been 9.8%, not the 4.7% reported by the Administration.

The Commerce Department published a depressing monthly jobs report on June 3. Public and private sector employers combined created a pitiful 38,000 jobs during the month of May, less than one-fifth of May’s one-month increase in the working age population.Arc of-participation-june-2016

But the media are obsessed with Donald Trump who showed no interest in the report.  Instead he captivated the “news” for a week by deploying the prestige of the Republican Presidential Campaign in pursuit of a small-minded, personal grudge against a judge who’s presiding over a lawsuit in which he’s a defendant.  Thus the media had little air time for the jobs report’s most discouraging finding, further decline in Labor Force Participation.

The White House, relieved that the expected withering, election year criticism from the Republican campaign wasn’t heard, issued a subdued announcement that emphasized the unemployment rate, which had ticked down to 4.7% from 5% in April.

But it turns out the gradually declining unemployment rate of the Obama era is misleading.  This is the first time since monthly job reports began, eight decades ago, that a falling unemployment rate is bad news. Why? Because it results not from jobless people finding employment but rather from jobless people being reclassified from “unemployed” to “out of the labor force.”

Obama-Era-LFPR-VS-UERAs This chart shows, the gradual decline in the unemployment rate since it peaked at 10% in 2009 coincides with a an unprecedented decline in the labor force participation rate.

  • The Labor Force is the sum of all persons who have jobs plus all who are officially classified as “unemployed.”
  • The labor force participation rate is the percentage of the total civilian, working age population that is counted as in the labor force.
  • The unemployment rate is the percentage of the labor force that is jobless and actively seeking employment.  It’s computed by dividing the number of unemployed by the the total labor force.

Since the unemployment rate began to fall from it’s peak in October 2009 over six million  jobless people have been reclassified from “unemployed” to “out of the labor force.”  In just the month of May another 458,000 jobless men and women were reclassified as “out of the labor force.”

Excluding people from the labor force this way artificially lowers the unemployment rate.  If they were still counted as in the labor force and unemployed, the May Unemployment rate would have been 8.2%

If the labor force participation rate were the same now as it was at the beginning of the recession in 2008 the May Unemployment Rate would have been 9.8%

Thus, the decline in the unemployment rate throughout the Obama era has been due almost entirely to reclassifying jobless workers from “unemployed” to “not in the labor force.”

Reagan-era-LFPR-vs-UERThe next chart shows the first 80 months of recovery after the recession President Reagan inherited in 1981.  While the political-media establishment relentlessly reminds us of their opinion that President Obama inherited the worst recession ever, the data tell a different story.

The unemployment rate spiked higher in 1982 than it did in 2009.  In the early eighties mortgage interest rates soared to above 15% compared to about 5%  during the 2008-09 recession and 3.5% today.  One of the causes of the 1981-82 recession was a monetary crisis that drove inflation as high as 15% compared to around 1% during the past 8 years.

But the recovery from the 1980s recession was spectacularly successful because Reagan’s policies of cutting taxes and reducing the regulatory burden on investors and businesses released the economy to grow and create more jobs.  The result was a much more rapid reduction in the unemployment rate coinciding with a dramatic increase in the labor force participation rate.

It turns out that in every previous post-recession recovery the labor force participation rate was flat or increased.  The current era is the first time participation has declined during a recovery.  Thus, the current era is the first time a declining unemployment rate is not an indicator of a better economy.

At the basic, philosophical level, Ronald Reagan believed in economic liberty while Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton believe in the progressive dream of a powerful government directing and controlling the economy from Washington.  The practical results of these conflicting beliefs are clear and have been demonstrated over and over. Yet, the progressive Left doggedly pursues it’s continuous government expansion project, always promising that more control will make us more prosperous.

Media Ignore a Devastating Economic Report

Donald Trump needs a united Republican Party if he hopes to win in November.  He could start the unification process by citing these recent economic data and proposing proven free market economic policies.

America’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grew at a  pathetic 0.5% in the first quarter 2016. 

2015-16-step-downSerious candidates for President usually express frustration with media personalities who ignore their ideas and dwell instead on “horse race” questions, like what does the candidate intend to do about his/her low rating in a recent poll of married, suburban Hispanic women over fifty in New Jersey?

Donald Trump on the other hand, loves horse race questions.  The media give Trump more air time than all the other candidates combined because almost all he talks about is the horse race.  In speeches and interviews he rambles on and on about polls, the size of the crowds at his stadium events.

Because of media obsession horse race distractions, a devastating economic report came and went at the end of April with virtually no notice. Neither Democrat Candidate expressed any concern or offered any ideas about what government could do to help restore normal GDP growth. Their “economic” policies consist of extravagant promises to the various, aggrieved identity groups the Obama campaign engendered and nurtured, combined with loathing of business owners and investors.

Genuine, free market GOP candidates could make a powerful case against Democrat’s progressive economics simply by citing the results expressed in the charts below.  Unfortunately, the media will allow no time for such discussions which they brush away as “too down in the weeds.”

This chart compares the 28 quarters of the Obama era post-recession recovery with the first 28 quarters of every previous recovery since the government began issuing quarterly GDP reports.  In each case measurement begins with the first quarter of positive GDP growth after a recession.  Obviously, the Obama “recovery” ranks tenth out of ten. GDP-through-2016-Q1

Mrs. Clinton claims that President Obama “lifted us out of recession” with his massive, “stimulus” program of deficit spending.  But the next chart debunks her claim.  Every previous recession has ended with little or no government intervention.  The chart below shows the spending increase or decrease during the first two years of each of the recessions that preceded the recoveries in the chart above.spending-increase-each-recession2

We included the second chart because the President, the Democrats and the media promised us back in 2009 that a massive spike in deficit spending would buy a “robust recovery” and put America back to work.  The President promised his so-called stimulus would “immediately jumpstart job creation and long term growth.”  The media and progressive economists were unanimous: A monster program of government borrowing and spending would result in prosperity. The stimulus package was enacted on the 23d day of his Presidency. 

Seven years later we’re still waiting for the promised jumpstart.  But American taxpayers will be paying the interest on Obama’s debt for generations.  His reckless experiment has so far generated an alarming $6.2 trillion in deficits in seven years.  U.S. Government Debt held by the public is 135% greater than it was seven years ago.

The American economy, while the most resilient in human history, struggles under the weight of decades of accumulated government intervention in the form of excessive regulation, taxation, and bureaucratic mandates, the most recent being Obamacare and the massive, Dodd-Frank financial regulation law.  These government intrusions into the private sector, and the generally anti-business, anti-investment attitude of the Obama Administration discourages and deters entrepreneurs and investors, resulting in dramatically fewer business start-ups and expansions and, of course, fewer of the jobs they create.

The manifest, easily understood failure of Obama’s textbook, big government ideas presents an historic opportunity for a Republican Presidential candidate, not only to win the election but to do so with a genuine mandate for reduction of federal taxes, regulation and intervention in the economy.

Unfortunately, the presumptive GOP nominee has ignored this opportunity and chosen instead to form a cult of personality around himself.  His “make America great again” without any policy details, is the mirror image of Obama’s meaningless “Hope and Change,” a blank screen upon which voters with varied and diverse views project their own thoughts and ideas.  Thus, at his raucous, Obama style, stadium events, each of the cheering fans believes he/she is among thousands of like-minded disciples, even though the person in the next seat may have very different views. 

Like Obama’s true believers, Trump’s fans will be disappointed if he becomes president and the promised millions of jobs don’t “come back from China” and it turns out that Trump’s idea of a “great” America is, simply, America with him as President.

Student Honors Heroes on Memorial Day

My phenomenal granddaughter, Belle, will receive her University degree, graduating Summa Cum Laude next month.  When she was in eighth grade her class visited Washington D.C.  She wrote about her impressions of the Iwo Jima Memorial.

iwojimamemarlington.JPGThe Iwo Jima Memorial has a very unique style. It is designed so that when you are driving around the monument it looks like the Marines are raising the American flag.

Around the top of the memorial are battles the Americans have fought. The earliest battle is the Revolutionary War, dating from 1775 to 1785. The most recent is Korea,  fought in 1950.

From a distance the memorial looks very small, but when you get up close to it the statue is bigger than you can imagine.

Iwo Jima is a memorial that is dedicated to all Marines who died in American history. War is a very devastating thing and it’s hard to understand that our country has to drop bombs on places so that we can keep peace.

back-of-iwojimamemorial.jpgzThere is a seal on the memorial that reads, “Uncommon valor was a common virtue,” which means Always Faithful. This is so true of the Marines, actually true of all military services, because they are always faithful to their country and to their countrymen and they give everything to keep us safe and keep our freedom strong.

This memorial is very interesting to look at and I really enjoyed it. We actually went to the memorial as it was beginning to get dark. While looking at the memorial with the sun going down behind it the sky began getting a bluish purple tint that was very pretty.

closeup-iwo-jima.jpgI think that this memorial shows all the love and dedication these soldiers have for their country and their people. It helps us realize that our country would be completely different without them.

I really can’t imagine how the world would be if soldiers never had the courage to go and fight for our country. I admire the strength and persistence that they continue to fight with even now .


Tax Trumpery: Two Faces of The Donald

Would President Trump support tax cuts or tax hikes?  Nobody knows, not even the candidate, himself.

trumpery-definition-smallSecond in our Trumpery Series.  The first is here.

Last week, Donald Trump appeared with his family on the Today Show where he responded to questions from members of the studio audience as well as from hosts Matt Lauer and Savanna Guthrie. One of the questions was about taxes:

SAVANNA GUTHRIE: Do you believe in raising taxes on the wealthy?

DONALD TRUMP: I do. I do. Including myself. I do.

Trump-vs-current-tax-brackets2But this statement directly contradicts Trump’s own tax reform plan.  Our table to the right compares current IRS tax rates on high incomes with new lower rates proposed several months ago by Mr. Donald J Trump!  His lower tax rates are still here, on his campaign website.

Astoundingly, a video of the Today Show question and answer transcribed above is also on Trump’s campaign website, here!

At Liberty Works we support tax cuts for high income taxpayers because, as the pie chart below shows, most of them are the owners of the small and medium sized businesses that create most of the new jobs in America. They expand their businesses and start new businesses by reinvesting after tax profits.  Taxing away their profits simply diminishes the seed corn of economic growth.

For nearly a century Democrats have encouraged voters to indulge the ugly and self-destructive emotions of rage and resentment against “the wealthy.”  Denouncing high income Americans has been a core Democrat Party campaign strategy.  When they won elections Democrats harmed the economy and the non-rich by using government power to express these futile emotions through the tax code.

business-ownersSo it’s discouraging to hear the “Republican front runner” join the Democrats in calling for tax hikes on the wealthy.  It’s also alarming because he appeared on TV contradicting the tax plan published on his own website!

What are we to conclude from this? Is Mr. Trump openly, blatantly pandering with different messages to different groups of voters at the same time? Does he even know what’s on his website?  Does he remember calling for reductions in tax rates?  Did someone else place a “tax plan” on his website that he didn’t even bother to read?  

And why haven’t the media called for clarification?

Regarding the candidacy of Donald Trump we are reminded of when then House Speaker Nancy Pelosi famously announced that Congress would have to pass the Obamacare legislation so that she, members of the House and Senate, and the voters could discover what was in it.  Likewise we would have to elect Donald Trump to the White House to find out what his real policy ideas and beliefs are.  Let’s not.

Insipid Trumpery (1)

trumpery-dictionaryFirst in a series. 

The word trumpery, with similar definitions, appears in every English language dictionary.

Trumpery, as practiced by Donald Trump, includes meandering, unfocused babble, frenzied repetition of  meaningless phrases and misinformation, all expressed with pompous self-admiration. Consider this exchange with Chris Matthews on MSNBC:

MATTHEWS:  OK.  You said last night on CNN you’re not going to stick to this pledge to back the [Republican] nominee.  Is that — are you sticking to that?

TRUMP:  I have not been treated properly.  People understand.  They haven’t stuck to the pledge.  I don’t want an endorsement from somebody that doesn’t feel like, oh, I love Trump.  If he wins, he’s going to be the guy.  I don’t want that endorsement, I’m not looking for that endorsement.

So when they ask me about Cruz and the endorsement, I said, no, no.  Just put — no pressure on Cruz, tell him he doesn’t have to endorse me.  Please don’t endorse me. It doesn’t matter.  The endorsements don’t mean very much.  You know, I have great endorsements, I have some phenomenal endorsements.

Wait! Trump was asked if he would decline to back someone else as nominee.  His response was that he didn’t want an endorsement from someone who doesn’t love him, or, from Ted Cruz.  AND by the way, he has “phenomenal endorsements” – but endorsements don’t mean much.

Here’s an excerpt from the April 3d Face the Nation with Host, John Dickerson.

DICKERSON: When people looked at your answer on abortion, on proliferation, they got the sense you were just winging it on foreign policy — on policy issues.

TRUMP: I’m not winging it.

DICKERSON: Have you been studying up?

TRUMP: I have. I have.

DICKERSON: You met with your foreign policy team in your hotel in Washington.  What did you ask them?

TRUMP: More than anything else, I discussed nuclear.

Wait!  The question was,  “what did you ask them”? Of course Trump doesn’t ask or listen. He talks. If he really did meet with a so-called foreign policy team, whoever that is, he did the talking.  Trump continued:

TRUMP: To me, the single biggest problem that this world has — and we will knock out ISIS fast and we will do a lot of things — but the single biggest problem that the world has is nuclear. I think, if somebody gets nuclear weapons, that is a disaster.

By what standard does Trump find nuclear “the single biggest problem”?  He didn’t say because he doesn’t ponder such abstract questions.  Nuclear weapons were used only once, 71 years ago.  Since then, millions have been killed or maimed by missiles, chemical weapons, bullets and bombs.

What did he mean by “if somebody gets nuclear”?  As Trump himself has said, several nations already have nuclear capability, including North Korea, a Communist dictatorship run by a lunatic.  In a later interview he contradicted himself by calling for even more nations to develop nuclear capability.

Of course, Trump doesn’t know who “somebody” is.  He  simply verbalizes his fleeting thoughts and emotions, in real time, the instant he experiences them.  Then the media replay those thoughts dozens of times, as if they had more meaning or validity than random grunts from the guy on the third stool down at the corner bar.

DICKERSON: Did they [the purported foreign policy team] say anything to you that you have been saying and said, you probably shouldn’t say that?

TRUMP: Not at all. In fact, many of them — and I will give you full list of the people that were there, and the list is being added on, and we have many people that are top people that want to come on board.  Many of them were surprised at my knowledge, and they were surprised at the feel that I had for it. I have a feel. I have… I will tell you what the feel is.

Remember the original question that opened this back and forth? It was, “have you been winging it?”  Trump’s claim to be speaking from “a feel” is, of course the same thing as winging it.  It’s bluffing.  It’s expressing uninformed opinions because he gets away with uninformed opinions.  Trump continued:

TRUMP: The feel is, I was asked about NATO. Now, as an entrepreneur, I have never been really asked too much about NATO. NATO is not exactly — when I’m doing deals or building buildings in Washington or New York or wherever I may be building them, but the question was asked about NATO

Knowing a little bit about NATO at the time — this was a couple of weeks ago — I said, in my opinion, NATO is obsolete. It’s many, many decades old, like now 68 years, but it’s many, many decades old. And NATO is too expensive, because we can’t afford this anymore.

This response is another indication that he has indeed been winging it. When he disparaged NATO in the CNN interview he was speaking as a candidate for President, not a deal-maker/building-builder. Yet in the ninth month of his campaign he still lacks informed opinions.  He still spoke from lack of knowledge, as if the interview was a construction site bull session, and his ignorant ideas would not be flashed around the world and thus would not matter.  With little or no thought Mr. Trump alarmed twenty seven allied nations by summarily dismissing NATO as “obsolete” because it’s old and “expensive.”

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization or NATO is a seven decades old, mutual defense treaty organization with 28 member nations, including the United States.  Why doesn’t Trump think it’s a good thing that the NATO alliance has survived seven tumultuous decades, through eight Democrat and eight Republican Administrations, and political turmoil in the other member nations?  Would he likewise dismiss our much older treaty relationships with, say England, Australia and Canada? Trump continued his response to the question about his foreign policy team:

It turned out I was right on every single subject… And people were surprised at the instinct that I had, because it turns out that we are spending too much money on NATO, and it turns out, very importantly, that it is obsolete. NATO is not talking about terrorism.

Trump’s claim that after he became informed it “turned out” he was right is further confirmation that initially he was winging it.  And who made the determination that he was right? Donald Trump, of course! Certainly nobody from the alleged foreign policy team has come forward to confirm that he’s “right” about anything.  What’s tough about foreign policy is the “right” answer is usually elusive.  Most often there is no objectively “right” assessment or course of action.

What about terrorism?  In this interview he said “NATO is not talking about terrorism.” In other interviews he said “NATO doesn’t cover terrorism.”  But this simply isn’t true. NATO forces are currently deployed in counter-terrorism operations in several places, including Afghanistan, The Horn of Africa and The Mediterranean Sea.

What about the cost of NATO? In a radio interview with host Charlie Sykes Trump bellowed:

We pay so much disproportionately more for NATO. We are getting ripped off by every country in NATO, where they pay virtually nothing, most of them. And we’re paying the majority of the costs.

NATO has a relatively small infrastructure, including its administrative and command headquarters staff that is funded by direct cash contributions from member nations.  In 2016 it’s projected to cost about $2.4 billion.  The portion of the total that each member nation contributes is equal to its national income relative to the total national income of all members.  With the largest national income America contributes 22%.  In 2016 this will be $519 Million or slightly less than one percent of our total 2016 Defense Department budget of $585 Billion.

In addition to cash contributions, each member nation pledges to spend proportionate amounts on its own military.  Only America spends in excess of its pledge every year.  Many of the other nations have fallen short in some years.  A few have fallen short every year.  This is, of course, a problem.  But it isn’t that America is being “ripped off.”  Again, we’re spending on our own military, which we would do anyway.  And Trump has never alleged that we spend too much on the military!  Just today, at a rally in New York he repeated his standard promise:

We are going to rebuild our military.  It’s totally depleted, we’re going to rebuild our military it’s going to be bigger and better than ever before!

Trump’s promised military rebuild would cost far more than our NATO pledge.  So he has offered absolutely nothing to support his allegations that NATO is obsolete, that all the other countries “pay virtually nothing” and that America is being “ripped off.”

Yes, NATO has faults that should be addressed.  But Donald Trump has given no effort to learn what the real problems are and no effort to figure out how to solve them.  Instead, he has spewed witless trumpery that risks damaging the NATO alliance for no benefit.

Urgent Campaign Issues (1)

First in a series

The Presidential Campaign has been long on personal insults and promises of loony fantasies that will never happen but short on debate of real issues that will be critically important over the next eight years. 

The rich can not be taxed enough to pay for Mrs. Clinton’s promised programs and benefits.  Forced Deportation of 12 million men women and children is simply beyond the logistical and administrative capacity of the federal government. It won’t happen.  We’ll never see the government become the healthcare provider to every citizen, even though Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders have both said they can make it happen.

Thus, we the people must demand that candidates focus on urgent matters that will have to be addressed over the next four to eight years, whether or not they wish to talk about them.

Let’s start with what is one of the most urgent problems. 

debt-chart-2015The recent growth in US government debt is obviously unsustainable.  There is no reasonable scenario under which this debt is ever paid off.  Interest on the debt is a major and rising federal expense, crowding out other priorities. 

Nobody can predict when the world’s investors will begin to balk at loaning even more to our reckless politicians.  But when the inevitable shift from investor confidence to no confidence in the US government comes, it will be sudden and without warning.  That’s how markets work.

Government borrowing isn’t always bad. But it should occur only in emergency or crisis situations, not as a routine policy that never stops.

We the people must demand that candidates propose serious, doable plans to transform annual budget deficits into annual surpluses.

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