Category: Opinion

Going forward

The Obama experiment in uber-progressivism has constricted labor participation, doubled our national debt, postponed our entitlement crisis, degraded sovereignty, damaged race relations and emboldened our enemies.

For the GOP, the primary season witnessed all stripes of conservatives offering up varying (mostly) conservative strategies for what ails us. Yet, the people chose the anti-PC, anti-establishment billionaire who spoke to the country’s struggling, angry working class.

On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton has doubled down on identity politics, higher taxes, greater regulation, sanctuary cities, climate protocols, an ever-increasing minimum wage and further disengagement from world hot spots.

Now, alas, Labor Day has come and gone — and the final campaign push has begun. All of which calls for a sober list of items that move the country away from collectivism and toward a post-progressive future.

The Democrats’ domestic agenda (minimum wage, living wage, gender-pay equity, protectionism, CEO pay cap, etc…) is directly from the Occupy playbook. We know two things about such economic populism: (1) It sounds real good when you say it real fast; and (2) It contains lousy prescriptions for economic growth. A reminder: Progressives believe market economics to be a “zero sum” game. That is, some become poor because others become rich, and vice versa.

In response, the GOP must return to its Reagan-Kemp “opportunity society” roots that stresses lifting all boats — not simply the ones government-sponsored crony capitalists choose to rescue. Real growth cures many ills — especially the specter of 26-year-olds living in their parents’ basements.

Our brief 1990s infatuation with the flat tax should remind us that comprehensive reform will be a hazardous duty. That love affair ended unceremoniously when middle America figured out its favorite preferences were on the chopping block. Home mortgage deduction? But my wife is a realtor. Charitable deduction? But we have so many wonderful non-profits in our state! Accelerated depreciation? But how do we rebuild American manufacturing? It took a true believing, two-term, popular president and plenty of bipartisan support to pass comprehensive reform in 1986 — but only after almost a decade of policy debate.

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Nevertheless, longterm prosperity will be boosted by fewer brackets, fewer preferences, a capital gains rate that rewards capital formation — and the drastic lowering of the world’s highest corporate income tax.

“W” tried (and failed) to use his post-9/11 credibility to pass private Social Security accounts. A few years later, Paul Ryan offered a bipartisan Medicare reform that became the focus of Democratic attack ads around the country. Today, the mere mention of entitlement reform sends progressives into fits of class warfare frenzy.

Nevertheless, the numbers are staggering. A soon to be $20 trillion federal debt. Mandatory spending that eats up 70 percent of federal outlays. And out-of-control Medicaid spending that drives unsustainable state budget deficits.

Can a responsible reform package be non-suicidal? Answer: Maybe, especially if this “Trumpian” era means voters are willing to listen to uncomfortable facts and substantive fixes. A start would be a new, phased-in retirement age of 70. Means testing of Medicare and Social Security benefits would attract bi-partisan support. And so would allowing beneficiaries who work beyond retirement age to keep more after-tax income as long as they do not claim benefits.

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He insisted that he was not making a reference to the Holocaust.

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We now know why President Bush 41 allowed Saddam Hussein to survive at the end of Desert Storm. In the Middle East, it seems the removal of even murderous thugs can lead to unforeseen, violent results.

But it is not America’s ill-fated exercise in Iraqi regime change that alone has further destabilized a persistently unstable region. A failed “Arab Spring”, unrelenting Shia-Sunni conflicts, and the emergence of a brutal Islamic “caliphate” guarantees continued instability.

Aligned against this dangerous environment has been an Obama administration intent on (1) inaction; or (2) negligible action. Here, an anti-war president’s favorite narrative is never far removed from the national debate: “America either retreats — disengages — leaves — signs weak agreements THERE WILL BE WAR.” Vladimir Putin, Bashar Assad and Sayyed Ali Khamene are happy to leverage this Obama doctrine.

The GOP must stress the importance of negotiating from positions of strength rather than consistently rewarding those who seek to humiliate us. Recall Churchill’s admonition from an earlier, equally dangerous era: “An appeaser is one who feeds the crocodile hoping it will eat him last.”

What to do? We must establish a Syrian no-fly zone, offer arms and intel support to Syrian moderates, relentlessly bomb the Islamic State (there has been some recent progress) and re-energize our alliance with our Sunni allies. Two further planks: No more public commitments wherein the U.S. military telegraphs its intent to leave the battleground on a specific timetable. And no more embarrassing attempts at moral equivalency; America is not perfect, but our little experiment in pluralism and freedom is really exceptional (Barack Obama’s protestations to the contrary notwithstanding).

Fortunately, a number of the statute’s most problematic provisions will be easy to fix, including repeal of the hated medical device tax, the employer mandate and the individual mandate, as well as a new and not so improved conscience clause (the well- established policy that religious institutions are not required to provide health services that violate their religious convictions that the Supreme Court has now ordered modified). Also beyond repair are Obamacare’s co-opts, a majority of which are bankrupt. Similarly, the high deductible, pricey, one-size-fits-all exchange options are proving to be unattractive and will surely follow the same failed path — more quickly if Congress continues to cut off taxpayer subsidies.

A rewritten statute will increase competition and consumer choice. A market oriented approach would bless interstate underwriting and the growth of individually owned medical savings accounts.

Regarding Medicaid, those states that have expanded their rolls in order to gain access to additional federal matching dollars should be allowed the option to “devolve” — a paradigm that would empower more efficient state health departments to call the shots for a program originally targeted to poor women with children.

Open borders, driver’s license privileges, voting privileges, in-state college tuition, welfare benefits and sanctuary cities have generated divisive debate over the last two decades.

Conservatives demand sovereignty, assimilation and the rule of law. Progressives, not so much. Indeed, progressive politicians at all levels continue to defend a dangerous ad hoc respect for the law — and a seeming disregard for border security.

A majority of Americans want border enforcement and a legal process that welcomes all who desire to assimilate, learn English, follow the law, respect pluralism and religious freedom and love their new country.

A bill that incorporates these features will close an ugly chapter in an otherwise wonderful story of a wildly successful immigrant nation.

A bipartisan drive toward affordable housing goals was the fundamental driver of the mortgage-induced recession — a fact of life wholly irrelevant to the community organizer in the White House. It was equally irrelevant to the drafters of Dodd-Frank. Their focus was corporate greed and “Too Big To Fail” Wall Street investment banks (the same ones the federal government begged for help during the crisis) that sold toxic mortgage packages to the world, consequences be damned.

Today, a variety of economic repercussions are apparent: Higher bank fees, less liquidity, tighter credit and a blizzard of paperwork. Fewer small banks and increased federal control over the lending marketplace is not a prescription for economic recovery, or growth.

The administration’s recent attempts to revisit weaker underwriting standards while maintaining taxpayer guarantees against losses should be repealed on the new president’s first day. “All good intentions” does not a housing policy make; it is not “compassionate” to give people mortgages they cannot afford.

The “Great Society” underclass is now 50 years, 80 federal agencies, and 23 trillion dollars down the road — without much to brag about. The unemployment rate for the bottom 20 percent is over 20 percent, and labor participation is at its lowest point since the Carter administration. Seems it is indeed impossible to fight a successful “war” from the corner of 17th and K Street, N.W.

From the jump, the Democrats have championed big, centralized government agencies — and have stuck to the program despite decades of demonstrable dysfunction. Alas, big government proponents never seem to grasp that more regulation means more dependence.

Everyone has their own ideas, but surely program consolidation (Paul Ryan has done good work here) and the devolving of authority (read: Money) back to the states is a common sense starting point. Governors and local officials know best what works in their local communities.

Other worthy elements are increasing the “Earned Income Tax Credit,” radical school choice (yes, I mean vouchers where schools are serial failures), and radical property tax reform (the first step towards attracting private employers back to the city). More involved fathers (see below) is a mandatory addition.

The recently concluded world climate change talks in Paris saw the president volunteer an American CO2 emissions target (26 to 28 percent from 2005 levels) and a compliance year (2025) to the “historic agreement” before declaring victory and jetting off in his fossil fuel guzzling super jet.

Media reports of the agreement tended to either minimize or ignore the randomness of the (reduction) targets, the myriad admission sources covered by the goals and the issue of how any president (lacking legal authority) could force said sources into compliance.

A Republican alternative would include wind, solar, and bio-fuels — where generated economically and rationally (i.e., without crony capitalism-inspired taxpayer money) AND a continuing push for a natural gas revolution that has done much to push America toward real energy independence.

It’s 50 years since Daniel Patrick Moynihan warned that the African American family was in rapid decline. Alas, Moynihan’s analysis was the last five decades have witnessed a similar decline in the white and brown family structure. And both of these unsettling developments come with an unsurprising common denominator: More children raised without fathers than ever before.

The results are irrefutable. Children in father-absent homes are:

Four times more likely to be poor;

At dramatically greater risk of drug and alcohol abuse;

More than twice as likely to commit suicide; and

Show higher levels of aggressive behavior than children born to married mothers.

A half century of analysis reveals what most of us would otherwise suspect: Federal welfare programs contribute to the rise of single parent homes. But this problem is not merely the result of failed policy measures. It is cultural as well.

All of us know of single parents who have worked hard and achieved remarkable results in raising their children. America appropriately applauds such efforts. Yet it is not disrespectful to remind America that more often than not such family structures constitute a direct ticket to poverty — and broken children. The best way out of poverty is a two income household.

Barack Hussein Obama’s judicial appointments daily inflict damage in ways seldom noticeable or understood by the average citizen. Accordingly, they infuse leftist construction on the most divisive issues of the day: Voter photo identification — affirmative action — immigration enforcement — religious freedom — gun rights — mandatory union fees — and school choice to name a few.

This daily carnage pales in comparison to what a new Democratic president could do with a likely three new Supreme Court appointments. For context, check out the voting records of Justices Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor. Then get to work organizing your precinct. The stakes have never been higher.

Gov. Robert Ehrlich is a Washington Examiner columnist, partner at King & Spalding and author of three books, including the recently released Turning Point. He was governor of Maryland from 2003 – 2007.

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Byron York: In surge, Trump retakes advantage on economic issues

In a new Fox News survey, 51 percent of likely voters say Donald Trump would do a better job handling the economy than Hillary Clinton, while 44 percent say Clinton would do better.

It’s an issue on which Trump led Clinton for many months. But in the late summer, when Trump’s campaign was troubled and his economic message was drowned out by serial controversies, Clinton’s economic rating climbed until in one Fox poll, taken in late August, the two were tied on the economy, 48 percent to 48 percent.

In CNN polling, Trump fell behind Clinton on the economy over the summer but has now retaken the lead on the issue.

Trump’s renewed advantage on the economy suggests his focus on issues and a more disciplined campaign style are paying off for him.

And not just issues — economic issues. A new Bloomberg poll of Ohio showed just how critical economic issues are for voters with less than two months to go before Election Day. Bloomberg pollsters read a list of nine issues to likely voters — immigration, healthcare, climate change, the threat from the Islamic State, taxes, a decline in real income for American workers, unemployment and jobs, trade and other. Unemployment and jobs was at the top of the list, with 36 percent, followed by income decline at 17 percent. (Healthcare was also at 17 percent.) If one added together the economy-related issues — jobs, income, taxes, and trade — the total came to 64 percent. That dwarfed concerns about any other topic, including terrorism.

Bloomberg also found economic attitudes in Ohio lining up for Trump. For example, pollsters asked specifically about NAFTA and other trade agreements: “Do you think trade deals such as NAFTA do more to increase Ohio exports to add jobs, or more to entice Ohio companies to move and to decrease jobs?” Just 20 percent of likely voters said NAFTA has increased jobs in the state, while 57 percent said it decreased jobs. (Twenty-three percent didn’t know.) That 57 percent is a very big number for Donald Trump.

Trump attempted to press his advantage with a speech Thursday at the New York Economic Club. It began with a paean to traditional American economic strength likely to resonate in the Rust Belt — “It used to be cars were made in Flint and you couldn’t drink the water in Mexico. Now, the cars are made in Mexico and you can’t drink the water in Flint” — and featured a special emphasis on orthodox Republican positions on economic growth. It was a point not lost on growth-oriented conservative commentators. “Donald Trump made his best case yet for his presidential candidacy Thursday,” wrote Fox Business’ Charles Gasparino, a frequent Trump critic.

As Trump highlighted the economy, his opponents focused other topics intended to push the media conversation away from Trump’s strength. They had some success. For example, the Washington Post conducted an interview with Trump on Wednesday, and in its write-up posted Thursday night covered the following: birtherism; Trump’s wife’s immigration history; polls and the possibility Clinton’s “deplorables” attack may have backfired; the alt-right; Trump’s appeals to African-American voters; more birtherism; rumors that Trump might start a TV network if he loses; Roger Ailes; debate preparation; Anderson Cooper; Vladimir Putin; Trump’s health; Clinton’s health.

It wasn’t a list of topics likely to move many votes in Ohio, if the Bloomberg pollsters are correct. Whether Trump can, through it all, stay focused on the economy and other issues that do move votes will likely determine whether he has a chance to win in November or not.

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How Obama's legacy could be tarnished by Hillary's scandals

Last Oct. 15, I raised this “iconic” Watergate-themed question in a piece headlined: “What Does Obama Know about the Clinton E-mail and Foundation Scandals, and When Did He Know It?”

Subsequently, over the last year, as more Clinton corruption and scandals have come to light, Obama remains largely untouched, floating above the fray.

How is it that Obama has not been connected to or tarnished by Clinton’s various scandals?

Why doesn’t Obama bear any blame for his Justice Department’s controversial decision not to indict his former Secretary of State?

Was Obama blind to the millions of foreign government donations pouring into the Clinton Foundation that violated the ethics agreement Clinton signed upon agreeing to serve as his secretary of state?

Why isn’t Obama a central figure in all the email and foundation scandals when President Obama was Clinton’s direct supervisor in the most important cabinet seat?

Was Obama a Clinton enabler?

Since Obama enthusiastically endorsed Clinton, expects her to continue his “legacy,” and now begins battleground state campaigning to prop up her sagging campaign, why is Obama immune from the stink of her scandal?

In normal political scandal contagion, Obama would be infected because the big boss usually takes the fall, accepts responsibility for the actions of his underlings and/or is personally blamed for not minding the store.

Inflation perks up in August, to 1.1 percent annually

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Instead, Obama resembles a new industrial grade Teflon enjoying a historically impressive late-term job approval rating of 50.9 percent. Meanwhile, both Clinton and Trump’s unfavorable ratings have landed in the dumpster, tied at around 60 percent.

Now, eight weeks before Election Day, is Obama going to get a complete pass from the media and voters while he acts as Clinton’s most influential campaign surrogate largely at taxpayer expense?

It sure looks that way, even as it becomes clear that his Justice Department had grounds to prosecute Hillary for destroying government records and jeopardizing national security. Moreover, Obama’s Treasury Department deliberately chose not to unleash the IRS on the Clinton Foundation even though other charities, both large and small have been audited, fined, or forced to close for far less wrongdoing.

However, there is still a small chance that Clinton’s scandals will significantly tarnish Obama’s legacy. This chance stems from the consequences of a great unresolved mystery that I raised in my October 2015 piece:

“There is hard evidence that as early as 2009 the Obama administration knew about Mrs. Clinton’s use of a private e-mail server. Obama did not pull the plug. Surely, the president’s intelligence advisers warned him that an unsecured home-based server posed a national-security risk.”

Pelosi: Trump following GOP's lead on birtherism

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When asked if the GOP is following Trump’s lead, she said, “No, I think he’s following theirs.”

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Here is a related question that I always found troubling:

Since President Obama NEVER received an email from a Clinton “” address during the four years that Hillary Clinton served as his Secretary of State, did Obama ever raise concerns with his White House staff about Clinton’s use of a private email server?

Now, layer that question upon a State Department briefing that took place on January 29, 2016. Spokesman John Kirby announced that the State Department would not release 18 emails found on Secretary Clinton’s private server that were exchanged between President Obama and Clinton while she was Secretary of State.

Kirby added that “in accordance with the Presidential Records Act they will ultimately be released.” Apparently, none of the emails were classified, if Kirby is to be believed.

But, according to the transcript, several reporters were incredulous upon hearing that only 18 emails were found. Here is a sample from the transcript:

QUESTION: Does that mean that they only emailed each other 18 times for the four years that she was his Secretary of State?

MR KIRBY: I can’t speak to —

QUESTION: That’s 48 months. I mean, is that – have you gone through all of them and she only communicated with the President 18 times by email?

MR KIRBY: Of the 55,000 pages of traffic that were handed over by former Secretary Clinton to us to go through for release through FOIA, we have found these 18.

QUESTION: And no —

MR KIRBY: And I do not expect that there will be more.

QUESTION: Well, that’s – does that strike you as being a bit unusual? I mean, my boss – I have 18 emails an hour with her sometimes.

MR KIRBY: Well, but —

Warning: Now is when I look through a lens of pure speculation based on an impending news event.

Any day now Wikileaks is expected to release “significant” emails” from Mrs. Clinton’s tenure as Secretary of State, the Clinton Foundation, and the Clinton campaign. More interesting, are reports that Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has possession of Clinton’s 30,000 deleted emails.

If true, is it reasonable to surmise that more emails exchanged between Clinton and President Obama are likely to surface? Perhaps even some with classified material?

That will be a “game-changing” moment. Not only will Obama be implicated directly into the web of Clinton’s scandals but the President himself could be accused of national security violations. Then, all bets are off about what could be revealed, unraveled, or if there are any hints of secret deals between the Clintons and Obama.

Surely then, Obama’s presidential legacy would be permanently tarnished, and his endorsement of Clinton considered suspect.

Meanwhile, Obama chugs along untouched, flying high with a 50 percent job approval — at least for now.

Myra Adams is a media producer and political writer. She was on the 2004 Bush campaign’s creative team and the 2008 McCain campaign’s ad council. Follow her on Twitter @MyraKAdams. Contact Myra at Thinking of submitting an op-ed to the Washington Examiner? Be sure to read our guidelines on submissions.

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Trump to Clinton: I am rubber, you are glue

Welcome to the “I am rubber, you are glue” election. The schoolyard taunt “Whatever you say bounces off me and sticks to you” has now become a campaign tactic.

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton have both begun to turn some of their opponents’ sharpest attacks against them. Consider for example Trump’s reaction to Clinton’s basket full of “deplorables” comment.

“She called these Americans every name in the book — racist, sexist, xenophobic, Islamophobic. She said they were not even American,” he said in defense of his voters in North Carolina. “She was attacking millions of moms and dads who love their children and want a better future for all Americans.”

In Baltimore, Trump went in for the kill shot. “You can’t lead this nation if you have such a low opinion for its citizens,” he said.

Sound familiar? It’s very similar to a line Clinton frequently uses against Trump. “If he doesn’t even respect all Americans,” she asks, “how can he serve all Americans?”

When Clinton poses that question, she is suggesting that Trump is a racist or at least indifferent to minority concerns. She cites everything from alleged racial discrimination at his properties to his “birther” crusade against President Obama to his current position on immigration. But Trump replies, in effect, “I am rubber and you are glue.”

“She is a bigot,” Trump told CNN last month, referring to his Democratic opponent. “Her policies are bigoted because she knows they are not going to work.”

During a speech in Mississippi, Trump laid it out in more detail. “Hillary Clinton is a bigot who sees people of color only as votes, not as human beings worthy of a better future!” he thundered. “She’s going to do nothing for African Americans. She’s going to do nothing for the Hispanics. She’s only going to take care of herself, her husband, her consultants, her donors – these are the people she cares about.”

Now Trump is even accusing of running a policy-free campaign — precisely the criticism so often lobbed at him.

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Trump frequently criticizes the network for lending too much favorable coverage to his Democratic opponent.

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Trump said earlier this week that Clinton is “running a hate-filled and negative campaign with no policy, no solutions, no new ideas.” This has been the standard refrain against the Republican nominee since the primaries.

The Associated Press ran a fact check of Trump’s claim with a headline that snarkily asked, “Seriously?” But to paraphrase Marco Rubio, the Republican nominee knows exactly what he is doing.

Trump has always sought to muddy the waters on his biggest controversies. He often succeeds, leading Clinton supporters to complain about false equivalence. The businessman also bet that many voters would tune into the general election campaign in earnest only after Labor Day.

Whether Trump is right on these points remains to be seen. But the Clinton campaign is responding with a rubber, glue counterattack of its own.

Clinton has clearly taken a beating in the polls over the coziness between her family foundation and the State Department while she was secretary of state. Her image has also been harmed by perceptions she is not transparent. All of these are favorite Trump lines of attack. He has accused the Clintons of using the State Department as their “own personal hedgefund.”

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Bill Clinton has been defending the Clinton Foundation by contrasting it with Trump’s foundation. “Unlike him, we actually say who gives us money and what we spend it on, and disclose our tax returns and things like that,” the former president said.

This turns around three attacks Trump usually levels against the Clintons: that they lack transparency; that their charitable work is a pay-to-play “criminal enterprise;” that they are hypocrites when it comes to helping people.

“At the end of the day, I think the focus on transparency belongs much more on the Trump side of the ledger, particularly given all the questions on his finances, his charitable giving, how he’s handled the foundation,” said former Barack Obama campaign manager David Plouffe. “Really big issues there, and I hope the Clinton campaign spends a lot of attention on that in the closing weeks, and in the media.”

Plouffe was one of the first Hillary surrogates to turn another one of Trump’s anti-Clinton lines of attack against him: he’s suggested there’s a problem with the Republican nominee’s health — specifically that he’s fat.

“He’s 70,” Plouffe said. “He’s the heaviest president — candidate — we’ve had since William Taft. There’s legitimate issues.”

The debates should be entertaining.

5 reporters who agree with Clinton's 'basket of deplorables'

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Vote conservatives — GOP Congress is in sight

It has been a wild presidential election so far, and most readers are probably relieved that there are only eight more weeks to go.

But the happy prospect of getting to Nov. 9, must not in any way overshadow the supreme importance of voting on Nov. 8. This is a hugely important election for conservatives, not least those who do not feel represented by either of the two main parties’ candidates.

It is urgent that everyone vote, for there are many important choices to be made in addition to the one at the top of the ballot. This is equally true whether you’re in the “Never Trump” camp or, on the contrary, are delighted that he’s the Republican nominee and think his likeness will one day be chiseled into Mount Rushmore.

The House of Representatives and the Senate are both on the line. If the only conservatives who cast ballots on Election Day are those die-hards who vote in the midterms, Democrats could gain as many as 90 House seats. That won’t happen, of course, but a result even remotely like that would be a disaster.

If Hillary Clinton wins and Democrats regain control of both chambers of Congress, they will be able to start shoving the next bad idea, the next Obamacare, down everyone’s throats. Your nation will be less prosperous, and your principled reasons for staying home and refusing to vote won’t matter.

If Donald Trump wins with or without your vote, it is unlikely that the Democrats will win the Senate. But, however, it would be better to make every effort to prevent such an outcome rather than leaving it to chance. Trump is a dealmaker, and if Democrats take the Senate, his inclination will be to make deals with them. His announcement on child care policy (some of which is good) could, in such circumstances, end up being an opening bid in a process that leads to mandatory paid leave.

The logic for conservatives who are determined not to vote for Trump is, therefore, that they have even more reason to vote for down-ballot candidates who would halt bad policy in its tracks toward the statute book.

Meanwhile, if you like Trump and want him to avoid compromises by which Democrats dilute his policies, on immigration for example, the same applies.

The good news, especially this week, with the release of several new polls, is that continued Republican control of Congress seems very much on the cards. This is despite great odds and a very difficult 2016 Senate map.

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The new polls suggest that the odds of Republicans keeping the Senate have increased from slim to fair. GOP incumbents are suddenly holding up better than expected in critical races in Iowa, Arizona, Missouri, Florida and Ohio in particular. And the Republican nominee in Nevada, a state where Trump is doing unusually well, holds a slim but consistent lead.

If the above results all come out in Republican senators’ favor, Democrats would need to win five out of the remaining six close contests, in Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire and North Carolina.

In short, a path is emerging for a Republican Congress in 2017, whoever gets to the White House. As much strife and division as this year’s crazy presidential season has created within the Republican tent, the shared goal of keeping GOP majorities on Capitol Hill is now within sight, if not yet securely within reach. It’s something that every good-faith conservative should decide to achieve on Nov. 8.

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Washington's monopoly policy

Hidden amidst all the sanctimonious verbal attacks and political over-promises to save people from Big Pharma’s greedy clutches is a simple but painful truth, confirmed by the Epipen debacle. Though Washington decries Mylan’s monopoly power and price gouging, it is Washington that created and protects Mylan’s monopoly.

Epinephrine (Epi) is our naturally occurring “Fight or Flight” hormone, intended to protect us in high stress situations. One of its manifold effects is to open the airways so more air can get in and out. This allows us to run away from an enemy (flight) or win a conflict we can’t avoid (fight.) In patients with asthma and in those with allergies that suddenly close down the air tubes, called anaphylaxis, the immediate administration of Epi can be the difference between life and death.

Meridian Medical Technologies introduced the first autoinjectors of Epi for public use in 1997. Mylan acquired the patent for EpiPen in 2007, becoming the sole seller and marketer of this life-saving medication. In 2007, a two-pack of EpiPen autoinjectors was priced at less than $100. Today, Mylan charges $600, and gets it … or people must do without.

Epinephrine as a synthetic medication has been around since 1904. Therefore, it should be available in generic forms and subject to competitive market forces. It is Mylan’s specific autoinjector technology, originally developed by the military, which they can sell exclusively because it is under patent protection. Mylan does not have a monopoly on the sale of the medicine epinephrine (adrenaline). Rather, they have a monopoly on the EpiPen autoinjection device, which is mechanically different from the various other autoinjectors available to the public such as for insulin.

Over the same period that Mylan increased the price of EpiPen 500 percent (2007-2016), the annual compensation of Mylan CEO, Heather Bresch, rose 670 percent.

Such increases in price and CEO paychecks meet anyone’s definition of price gouging and exorbitant compensation. Isn’t Mylan effectively holding asthmatics and people with allergies hostage to their corporate greed? One would think this is illegal. However, this extortion is perfectly legal.

Mylan has a government-created and government-protected monopoly, one that is maintained by “the federal government’s own regulatory scheme,” a scheme that actually encouraged “a billion-dollar market [to be] cornered by one supplier.”

Adamis, Sanofi, and Teva are three pharmaceutical companies that want to compete with Mylan. They are prevented from entering the market by the federal government, specifically the FDA, which has repeatedly denied them approval to sell.

Another barrier to entry of market competitors is the fact that “the FDA maintains no clear and consistent principles for generic drug-delivery devices like auto injectors or asthma inhalers.” How can anyone comply with the rules if there are no rules and the rules that do exist keep changing?

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The government has another way of protecting Mylan’s monopoly: cost. The average price for a company to get FDA approval is $2.56 billion (in 2013 dollars.) This cost of acquiring regulatory approval is, of course, reflected in the prices we must pay for drugs.

Federal patent laws add another barrier to potential competitors. Companies like Mylan can protect their monopoly position through extending nearly expired patents with very minor changes to existing products.

The Obama administration mandated that public schools must purchase EpiPens. With Mylan already having more than 90 percent market share for Epi, Washington actively facilitates Mylan’s market dominance and control.

Like any good monopoly, Mylan can use its market control to gouge the public. This is not the fault of the free market—it is the fault of a federally controlled, “non-free” market.

If there were a free market, competitors would “keep Mylan honest.” In a free market, Mylan could not simply dictate the price of a two-pack of EpiPen at $600 because market competition would create a bidding war that would drop the price closer to the cost of producing each one, which is certainly less than $20. This competition would create a situation where no one would buy Mylan’s product at $600 if they could an effective alternative for, say, $25.

Clinton rejoins the trail in crucial North Carolina

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Condemnations of Mylan by Washington politicos are self-serving. The politicians want to distract the public from the government’s complicity, through the FDA, in Mylan’s price gouging.

Ironically, protection of commercial monopolies is actually not Washington’s primary purpose. Nonetheless, monopoly is a predictable (and repeatedly predicted) consequence of the feds’ real strategic goal: control. Most federal laws and executive orders, with their subsequent “necessary” rules and regulations, expand federal control and extend federal reach.

There are numerous examples of Washington’s disdain for the free market in the Beltway’s quest for control. Obamacare is a paradigm. As a result of Obama’s namesake law, Washington mandates (controls) insurance benefits; dictates (controls) payment schedules; and even tells us (controls) what we must spend our money on: government-approved health insurance.

Hypocrisy is thick on the ground. Washington’s authoritarianism gives Mylan a monopoly. Mylan uses its control of the market to gouge the public. What does the architect of Obamacare, Dr. Ezekiel Emmanuel, recommend to protect us from pharmaceutical monopolies and their market control? Tighter control of the market in the form of government monopoly, called price controls!

Every good psychiatrist will tell you the first steps to cure are recognizing that there is a problem and accepting that you have it. If Americans want to regain the liberties penned by our Founding Fathers, we must start by recognizing why we lost them: A progressive federal drive to concentrate power in the hands of Washington, D.C.

“Dr. Deane” Waldman, MD MBA, is the Director of the Center for Health Care Policy at the Texas Public Policy Foundation, a non-profit, free-market research institute based in Austin. He is the author of The Cancer in the American Healthcare System and may be reached at Vance Ginn, PhD, is an Economist in the Center for Fiscal Policy at the Texas Public Policy Foundation and may be reached Thinking of submitting an op-ed to the Washington Examiner? Be sure to read our guidelines on submissions.

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Hillary Clinton's support of Palestinian terrorism

On March 8, 2016, America lost one of its best and brightest. Taylor Force, a graduate of West Point and a soldier who served two tours of duty in the Middle East, was viciously stabbed and murdered by an Islamic Jihadist.

Force wasn’t killed in Iraq or Afghanistan. Rather, he was knifed to death while strolling with his grad school colleagues from Vanderbilt University along a quaint beachfront boulevard in Jaffa, Israel, just outside of Tel Aviv. Force was in Israel to tour the country and to learn more about Israel’s remarkable start-up economy.

Taylor Force’s killer, Bashar Masalha, was a member of Hamas, a group acknowledged by the United States and many other nations to be a terrorist organization. Force was the latest among numerous Americans (including Hallel Ariel, Tuvia Weinstein, Eitan Henkin, Richard Lakin and Ezra Schwartz over the past 12 months), and thousands of Israelis, murdered by Hamas members and other jihadists – all precious innocent lives tragically ended by these barbaric and hateful groups. Before being shot and killed by Israeli police, Masalha’s rampage also resulted in the stabbing of 11 other civilians, including a pregnant woman.

When Taylor Force was killed, Vice President Biden was just a few miles away meeting with Prime Minister Netanyahu. Biden condemned the killing and called upon Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas to do the same. Abbas refused, consistent with his often-repeated remarks that “we welcome every drop of blood spilled … with the help of Allah, every martyr will be in heaven and every wounded will get his reward.”

Meanwhile, Bashar Masalha was given a hero’s burial. A large poster of the killer (labeled a “shaheed” (martyr)) was created with pictures of the Temple Mount and Yasser Arafat in the background, and Koranic verses scattered throughout. The poster was plastered all over his neighborhood of Kalandya and other cities under the governance of the Palestinian Authority.

The Palestinian Authority went all out in its praise of Masalha. On PA television, a reporter gushed that “Martyr Bashar Masalha , 22, ascended to Heaven in Jaffa on March 8, 2016.” The official PA newspaper, Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, reported that “Masalha died as a Martyr … after carrying out a stabbing operation in Jaffa, in which he killed an American tourist.”

But Masalha’s support from the Palestinian Authority wasn’t just emotional. His family became entitled to money, and lots of it. Everyone knows that Palestinians reward terrorists and their families. But most people assume that such aid is clandestine, unable to imagine that such assistance could be part of an official government policy. The truth is shocking.

Since 2004, the Palestinian Authority has enacted public laws, increasing in scope and generosity from year to year, providing an elaborate compensation structure to terrorists and their families. The more heinous the terrorist activity, the more money they and their families are entitled to.

Here’s how it works. Every imprisoned Palestinian terrorist, regardless of affiliation (i.e. Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Fatah, etc.), is assigned a military rank. A terrorist sentenced to, say, 5-6 years is a lieutenant, 15-20 years a colonel, and 25-30 years a major general. While the terrorist is in prison, he receives a salary commensurate with his rank. And, once he is released from prison, he is entitled to an “employment priority,” which essentially guarantees that his income will be maintained regardless of whether there’s actually a job for him to perform.

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Now, what happens if the terrorist is killed during the course of his crime? Under those circumstances, he is no longer eligible for a prison stipend. Instead, his family receives relief from the “Institution for the Care of Martyrs’ Families.” Under this system, the “shaheed” is assigned a rank based upon the prison term he would have received had he been captured. Again, the more barbaric the crime, the higher the rank. Based upon that rank, the institution commits to pay the terrorist’s family a monthly stipend in perpetuity.

So, make no mistake about it, the Palestinian Authority encourages, glorifies and compensates ruthless terrorists and their families, including the murderer of Taylor Force.

Now, where does this money come from to reward Palestinian killers? The answer, shockingly, is the United States of America. Let me say this more directly: The United States is funding a monthly reward to the family of Bashar Masalha and countless other cold-blooded murderers.

Before assigning blame for this outrage, let me first make clear that rewarding terrorists is absolutely against the law in the United States. It is a federal crime to provide financing in support of terrorism. In the Palestinian Anti-Terrorism Act of 2006, Congress not only prohibited US aid to terrorists, but even went so far as to prevent funding of NGO’s that “honor” people who commit terrorist acts. Critically, Congress also enacted 22 USC 2656f, a little known law that requires the Secretary of State to provide an annual report to Congress on terrorist activity in various regions, including Israel and the West Bank.

This annual report from the Secretary of State is critical to our foreign aid program. While the State Department and the President may control foreign policy, Congress controls the funding. As we saw recently when Congress sought to curtail a portion of aid to the PA in the face widespread violence, Congress is more than willing to withhold funds from the PA that are used to support terrorists, and, undoubtedly, would have withheld funds in circumstances where the State Department did not vouch for the PA.

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From 2009 through 2012, the report to Congress was the responsibility of Secretary Clinton. In every one of her reports, and in subsequent reports containing almost identical language, Mahmoud Abbas – the one who “welcomes every drop of blood spilled” — was presented as a statesman and a peacemaker rather than the arch-terrorist we know him to be. Here’s an example of what Mrs. Clinton said in her 2011 report: “PA President Mahmoud Abbas consistently reiterated [his] commitment to nonviolence.” Again, you will find a statement to this effect and more reckless misstatements in every one of Secretary Clinton’s vital reports.

Even worse than Clinton’s false and misleading statement about Abbas was her glaring omission with regard to the elaborate PA funding apparatus in support of terrorists and their families. It’s not like she didn’t know about it – the mechanism was adopted as a public law by the PA and has been on the books since 2004!

And so, year after year, Hillary Clinton and John Kerry misrepresented to Congress that the Palestinian Authority was pro-peace and anti-terrorism, and thus entitled to upwards of $400 million annually in American aid, which they knew was being used to reward cold-blooded killers.

Shouldn’t some criticism be reserved for President Bush and Secretary Rice as well? After all, it was on their watch in 2004 when the PA first began its formal aid program for terrorists. I think some criticism is fair, but one needs to remember that it was in 2004 that Abbas finally replaced Yasser Arafat – a violent and venal leader whom no one trusted. Abbas took office with a public renouncement of violence and entered into several rounds of negotiations with Prime Ministers Sharon and Olmert. So one can understand why the Bush administration might have cut him some slack. But by 2009 when Hillary Clinton took office, the bloom was plainly off Abbas’ rose. All negotiations had failed, Abbas proved to be as corrupt as his predecessor and his “commitment” to abandon violence was a distant memory. When Secretary Clinton issued her reports to Congress, her characterizations of Abbas and the PA plainly were false.

In the recent months, people have argued whether Hillary Clinton provided “pay to play” access to state sponsors of terrorism was responsible for the death of Americans in Benghazi, or whether her reckless security practices resulted in the disclosure, and ultimate execution by Iran, of a pro-Western intelligence agent. While those propositions are debated, there can be no doubt that her misconduct in misleading Congress directly resulted in American financial aid to Palestinian terrorists and their families, including the murderer of Taylor Force. She plainly cannot be trusted to protect us from the ongoing terrorist threat to our homeland and our allies.

David Friedman advises Donald Trump on US-Israel relations. Thinking of submitting an op-ed to the Washington Examiner? Be sure to read our guidelines on submissions.

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We Press On

Decency and goodness hasn’t had a win in many years.  Instead, hatred and evilness has prevailed.  A certain darkness has settled over and occupied the land.  Where there was once a feeling of hopefulness and another opportunity; it has been replaced by fear and anxiety of what our future holds. 
But still, wdecencye press on.  We lost our battle with Democrats in 2008 and 2012.  We lost our battle against Obamacare, Planned Parenthood, Lois Lerner and the IRS, Fast and Furious, Benghazi, Hillary’s emailgate and well…everything.  In each case evil won and people have needlessly suffered and or died. 
Christians and many innocents have died at the hands of radical Islamic terrorists, Veterans have died because of the corruption at the Veterans Administration, hundreds of thousands of babies have been killed by abortion and most recently, cops have been killed due to racial hatred and strife. 
We haven’t been able to shake it.  We haven’t been able to right the ship for many, many years now.  Evil has permeated every corner of our existence.  Good people are dying while those who aren’t redeemable seem to have protection from the devil himself.  We move on. 
We continue to move through this hell we’ve faced because sitting down in hell is not an option for the righteous.  There is another side where brighter days await and God will have his glory and final say.  Nothing lasts forever…not even darkness and evil.  A return to decency and goodness is right around the corner.  Of this, I am sure.
honest journalism

Politicians Lie. Major Media Helps them. Dig for Truth.

In 2016, race is a false flag.  Race is a dog-whistle used by Democrats running for office and who need Black voters to turn out and vote Democrat again.  Race is not even about economics so much anymore.  Barack Obama had eight years to create a better economy not just for Blacks but for everyone but he and the Democrats didn’t want to. 
They wanted to force Obamacare on everyone and it doesn’t work.  They wanted to push gay marriage, ban flags and monuments anhonest journalismd continue to dumb down our populace in public schools teaching a Common Core curriculum.  A curriculum that lies about our history, promotes other nations and complains about how awful ours is. 
Obama and Democrats have opened the prisons and released thousands of felons.  Obama and Democrats have refused to secure our borders and let illegals pour in from all over the world.  Obama and Democrats have released terrorists from Guantanamo who have gone back and joined the fight with ISIS, Al Qaeda and other terrorists organizations. 
Obama and Democrats have used police shootings (most of them justified) to have the full force of the US Justice Department come down on some small police department and force them to comply with federal laws instead of state and local laws.  Obama said from the beginning that he wanted a national police force.  This is how he set about nationalizing community police departments…by turning a tragedy into an excuse for a government takeover. 
And it’s not just Democrats.  It’s weak and feckless Republicans as well.  When Harry Reid was Senate majority leader, he implemented the ‘nuclear option’ that prevented Republicans from filibustering a bad law.  Republican, Mitch McConnell has been the Senate Majority leader now since 2014.  He could have used the nuclear option to repeal some of these bad laws.  He didn’t. 
Republicans have grown used to hiding in the shadows and doing their dirt in the dark without scrutiny from their working constituents back home.  Until 2008, most of this Conservative constituency voted and then went on with their lives.  When CNN or another liberal media outlet said something bad about a Republican, we being the decent people we are would fire them. 
Over the years, they learned to keep their mouths shut, the money flowing and the good times rolling…for themselves.  Even after 2008 when we woke up and started screaming, they ignored us.  Like a dumbed-down liberal population voted for Barack Obama, a dumbed-down republican populace has made Donald Trump our nominee because they believe him even though a simple Google search will tell anyone who looks all they need to know about Trump. 
There are no simple solutions to what will ‘fix’ our nation other than for people to swim against a powerful tide and become determined to dig in and make themselves smarter and more committed to change.  Real change isn’t going to come from one person at the top.  Real change will only happen when we’re smart enough and committed enough to be smart enough to vote for the right people and then hold them accountable.  Honestly, I don’t see that happening any time soon.

Boobs and Asses

Watching the news these days is like watching a boobs and booty twerking contest.  Fox News is shaking and twerking their boobs atwerkingnd asses for Trump and every other network is shaking and twerking their boobs and asses for Hillary. 
The liberal left has a lot more boobs and asses reporters shaking and twerking to look at.  With more asses and boobs twerking on the tv stage…the boobs and asses who are judging the contest are going to go with Hillary. 
Conservatives wanted contestants wearing clothes and with people we could take home to meet our family.  Everyone else wanted to see a twerking contest between Fox News and all the boobs and asses on the liberal left.