Category: Larry Alton

Is Trump Serious about Returning to a Gold Standard?


While President Trump is known for saying things to control the news cycle and influence public perception, he has made numerous statements in the past about wanting to revert to the gold standard.  Is he serious – and is it even practical?

What Is the Gold Standard, Anyway?

While the allure of gold is strong today, it’s nothing new.  Gold has been used all throughout history and has often been the currency of choice for settled governments and even rural communities and nomads.  The earliest known use was in 643 B.C. in present-day Turkey.

Just as it has a rich history on the global landscape, gold is also intrinsically connected to American history.  After the discovery at Sutter’s Ranch in 1848, the precious metal inspired what is now known as the Gold Rush in California.  Not only did the Gold Rush help settle the western part of the country, but it also brought America onto the global stage.

As the world was becoming less fragmented and more unified – at least in the sense of commerce – industrialized countries were looking for ways to standardize transactions and create a “world market.”  In response, the gold standard was adopted.

From the perspective of a citizen, the gold standard meant that people no longer had to carry around gold bullion and coins to handle transactions.  It also meant that you could redeem any amount of paper money for its corresponding value in gold.

Congress created the Federal Reserve in 1913 as a way of stabilizing gold and currency values, but World War I soon came and threw a wrench into everything.  Countries started printing paper money in massive quantities in order to pay for the expenses they were incurring as part of the global conflict.  This led to hyperinflation.  And while most countries did return to a modified gold standard after the war, some flaws in the system had been exposed.

The stock market crash of 1929 and the ensuing Great Depression caused the price of gold to rise tremendously, which led people to exchange their dollars for gold and start hoarding the precious metal.  From 1933 all the way through the 1960s, a variety of agreements, acts, and fiscal policies from presidents like Roosevelt, Truman, and Eisenhower eventually led to such great problems that the gold standard came to an end.

“Starting in 1971, the USA refused to redeem its dollars in gold because excessive government debt and money printing had caused the price of gold in the free market to rise way above the fixed redemption price of gold,” explains Money Metals exchange.  “Since the dollar was backed by gold up to that point and had gained the status as the most important reserve currency, most other countries around the world had already abandoned their own gold standards and instead pegged their currencies to the dollar.”

While it was met with trepidation at the time, the end of the gold standard has actually paved the way for unbridled economic growth.  It also led to gold as a secondary investment mechanism, which becomes especially popular during times of recession.  But despite operating without the gold standard for nearly 50 years, there are always calls to return.  And because of statements he’s made in the past, many wonder if President 45 is the man to do it.

Is Trump Really Considering a Return?

When the U.S. government first legalized private ownership of gold again in 1975, Trump was one of the more aggressive investors in the country.  He bought in at around $185 an ounce and claims he eventually sold his stake at somewhere between $780 an ounce and $790 an ounce.

But that doesn’t mean that Trump is done with gold.  He still has quite an affinity for it – something clearly visible in his lavish lifestyle.  And when asked about his views on the gold standard in a 2016 interview, he told GQ, “Bringing back the gold standard would be very hard to do, but boy, would it be wonderful.  We’d have a standard on which to base our money.”

Trump is far from alone in his stance.  When you look at other supporters of a return to the gold standard, many of them were on the debate stages with him during the 2016 campaign cycle – including Ben Carson, Ted Cruz, and Mike Huckabee.

The American people, while mostly aligned on the topic, aren’t exactly opposed, either.  A 2015 Gallup poll shows that 39 percent of people approve of the gold standard, compared to just 15 percent who disapprove.  (Nearly half of all respondents were undecided.)

“The appeal of the gold standard rests with those consumers who are growing weary of a ballooning federal deficit levels and nearly $20 trillion in national debt,” Sean Williams writes for The Motley Fool.  “With the need to have gold on hand to exchange for dollars on an as-needed basis, the Federal Reserve’s ability to print money would be restrained, limiting the amount of debt that could be issued annually.  Some pundits believe that the gold standard could be America’s ticket to getting out of debt, or, at worst, balancing its federal budget.”

Is It Even Practical?

As with most economic issues, there are pros and cons associated with a return to the gold standard.  The benefit, as Williams touched on, is that it would rein in irresponsible spending by the Fed and possibly help the country get out of debt.

The biggest negative is that it would seriously constrain what the Fed can and can’t do.  (Many would say this is actually a positive.)  While it’s easy to disagree with what the Fed chooses to do at times, the ability to influence the economy through monetary policy is important.

In terms of practicality, moving to a gold standard is certainly possible.  Most countries keep the majority of their foreign reserves in gold already, and whatever the U.S. decides to do – since most currencies are currently backed by the dollar – would almost certainly be accommodated by other countries.

But practical and probable are two different things.

It would take a lot for the U.S. to move back to a gold standard, and with so many other issues on President Trump’s plate at the moment, it’s hard to imagine that this is the administration’s biggest priority.  But if anyone were to do it, it would probably be he.

While President Trump is known for saying things to control the news cycle and influence public perception, he has made numerous statements in the past about wanting to revert to the gold standard.  Is he serious – and is it even practical?

What Is the Gold Standard, Anyway?

While the allure of gold is strong today, it’s nothing new.  Gold has been used all throughout history and has often been the currency of choice for settled governments and even rural communities and nomads.  The earliest known use was in 643 B.C. in present-day Turkey.

Just as it has a rich history on the global landscape, gold is also intrinsically connected to American history.  After the discovery at Sutter’s Ranch in 1848, the precious metal inspired what is now known as the Gold Rush in California.  Not only did the Gold Rush help settle the western part of the country, but it also brought America onto the global stage.

As the world was becoming less fragmented and more unified – at least in the sense of commerce – industrialized countries were looking for ways to standardize transactions and create a “world market.”  In response, the gold standard was adopted.

From the perspective of a citizen, the gold standard meant that people no longer had to carry around gold bullion and coins to handle transactions.  It also meant that you could redeem any amount of paper money for its corresponding value in gold.

Congress created the Federal Reserve in 1913 as a way of stabilizing gold and currency values, but World War I soon came and threw a wrench into everything.  Countries started printing paper money in massive quantities in order to pay for the expenses they were incurring as part of the global conflict.  This led to hyperinflation.  And while most countries did return to a modified gold standard after the war, some flaws in the system had been exposed.

The stock market crash of 1929 and the ensuing Great Depression caused the price of gold to rise tremendously, which led people to exchange their dollars for gold and start hoarding the precious metal.  From 1933 all the way through the 1960s, a variety of agreements, acts, and fiscal policies from presidents like Roosevelt, Truman, and Eisenhower eventually led to such great problems that the gold standard came to an end.

“Starting in 1971, the USA refused to redeem its dollars in gold because excessive government debt and money printing had caused the price of gold in the free market to rise way above the fixed redemption price of gold,” explains Money Metals exchange.  “Since the dollar was backed by gold up to that point and had gained the status as the most important reserve currency, most other countries around the world had already abandoned their own gold standards and instead pegged their currencies to the dollar.”

While it was met with trepidation at the time, the end of the gold standard has actually paved the way for unbridled economic growth.  It also led to gold as a secondary investment mechanism, which becomes especially popular during times of recession.  But despite operating without the gold standard for nearly 50 years, there are always calls to return.  And because of statements he’s made in the past, many wonder if President 45 is the man to do it.

Is Trump Really Considering a Return?

When the U.S. government first legalized private ownership of gold again in 1975, Trump was one of the more aggressive investors in the country.  He bought in at around $185 an ounce and claims he eventually sold his stake at somewhere between $780 an ounce and $790 an ounce.

But that doesn’t mean that Trump is done with gold.  He still has quite an affinity for it – something clearly visible in his lavish lifestyle.  And when asked about his views on the gold standard in a 2016 interview, he told GQ, “Bringing back the gold standard would be very hard to do, but boy, would it be wonderful.  We’d have a standard on which to base our money.”

Trump is far from alone in his stance.  When you look at other supporters of a return to the gold standard, many of them were on the debate stages with him during the 2016 campaign cycle – including Ben Carson, Ted Cruz, and Mike Huckabee.

The American people, while mostly aligned on the topic, aren’t exactly opposed, either.  A 2015 Gallup poll shows that 39 percent of people approve of the gold standard, compared to just 15 percent who disapprove.  (Nearly half of all respondents were undecided.)

“The appeal of the gold standard rests with those consumers who are growing weary of a ballooning federal deficit levels and nearly $20 trillion in national debt,” Sean Williams writes for The Motley Fool.  “With the need to have gold on hand to exchange for dollars on an as-needed basis, the Federal Reserve’s ability to print money would be restrained, limiting the amount of debt that could be issued annually.  Some pundits believe that the gold standard could be America’s ticket to getting out of debt, or, at worst, balancing its federal budget.”

Is It Even Practical?

As with most economic issues, there are pros and cons associated with a return to the gold standard.  The benefit, as Williams touched on, is that it would rein in irresponsible spending by the Fed and possibly help the country get out of debt.

The biggest negative is that it would seriously constrain what the Fed can and can’t do.  (Many would say this is actually a positive.)  While it’s easy to disagree with what the Fed chooses to do at times, the ability to influence the economy through monetary policy is important.

In terms of practicality, moving to a gold standard is certainly possible.  Most countries keep the majority of their foreign reserves in gold already, and whatever the U.S. decides to do – since most currencies are currently backed by the dollar – would almost certainly be accommodated by other countries.

But practical and probable are two different things.

It would take a lot for the U.S. to move back to a gold standard, and with so many other issues on President Trump’s plate at the moment, it’s hard to imagine that this is the administration’s biggest priority.  But if anyone were to do it, it would probably be he.



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Capitalism Is Alive and Well


If you listen to the talking heads of the mainstream media, influential politicians like Senator Bernie Sanders, and left-wing publications and blogs, you’ll be led to believe that capitalism is nothing more than a greedy, immoral, inefficient system that uses citizens to fatten corporations and government leaders.  But when you step back, take a deep breath, and study the facts, it’s quite clear that capitalism will always be the answer.

Four Reasons Why Capitalism Works

It doesn’t matter the date or time – you’ll find outrageous claims of the decline of capitalism all throughout history.  During the recent recession, the Huffington Post published a piece titled “Capitalism Is Dead. Now What Do We Do?”  Just last year, the Independent Online ran a piece in which it claims that capitalism has made itself obsolete.  During the recent presidential election, otherwise respectable politicians tried to push the idea of socialism on Americans with straight faces.

While there’s always room in America for debate and the marketplace of ideas, it’s astonishing that people continue to question the effectiveness of capitalism when it has become the gold standard for successful government over the past few centuries.

In case you’ve become so inundated with the calls for socialism over the past decade that you’ve started to question your sanity, let’s have a bit of a refresher on why capitalism works and how it benefits the government, the marketplace, businesses, families, and individuals.

Here are specific reasons why capitalism is still alive and well.

1.  Capitalism Creates Freedom

At its very core, capitalism ensures freedom. How so? Well, put simply, it promotes choice. It gives every citizen the ability to choose what they buy, how much they pay, where they want to work, what they want to sell, etc.

With capitalism, you can decide to rent out your house as a stream of income and buy another one to live in. It’s your right.

With capitalism, you can get three different quotes from three different contractors when you want to install a new HVAC system in your home. It’s your right.

With capitalism, you can run a business and set your prices higher than the competition simply because you offer better service and more value.  It’s your right.

With statism, the opposite is true. Choices are limited and you must adhere to strict rules and regulations.

As business owner Matt Michel succinctly says, “The removal of simple choices reduces freedom. The removal of all choices is slavery. The direction of statism is towards slavery. The direction of capitalism is towards freedom. Capitalism is morally superior.”

2.  Capitalism Encourages Productivity

One of the beautiful things about capitalism is that it draws a clear line in the sand. If you want to be successful and financially independent, you have to work hard. If you have no interest in working hard and creating a future for yourself, you don’t have to work. In this sense, capitalism encourages productivity on an individual basis.

Whereas a statist or socialist society gives people little reason to exert energy and make sacrifices, capitalism provides people with motivation to add value to society. If you want to see your wages grow, you work hard and impress your employer. If you don’t want to have an employer, you launch your own business and pave your own way. If you want to become a lawyer, you go to law school, get the degree, and prove your worth in the job marketplace.

Do some individuals face more barriers than others based on things like skin color, gender, and economic background? Certainly – but that doesn’t mean the entire system is flawed.

3.  Capitalism Leads to Happiness

All said and done, every person in the world wants one thing: happiness. And while it’s possible to find happiness in just about any situation, data shows that people in countries where capitalism is alive and well tend to be happier than those in socialist/statist societies.

A few years ago, the University of Leicester produced what they called the first ever “world map of happiness.” As the report stated, “There is a belief that capitalism leads to unhappy people. However, when people are asked if they are happy with their lives, people in countries with good healthcare, a higher GDP per capita, and access to education were much more likely to report being happy.”

If you don’t believe the University of Leicester’s world map of happiness, just think about it in terms of common sense. When people have the freedom to make choices – rather than being told what they can do, where they can shop, where they can work, how much they can earn, and how much they can spend on products and services – they tend to be much more satisfied with their day-to-day lives and future outlook. The result is happiness.

4.  Capitalism Promotes Environmentalism 

If you want to make a socialist’s head spin, tell them that capitalism actually does a better job of protecting the environment and promoting sustainability. For an example, just look at “The Tragedy of the Commons” by Garrett Hardin.

In his piece, Hardin looks at a 1974 satellite photo of earth in which a shot of northern Africa showed an irregular dark patch, roughly 390 square miles in area. When researchers looked at this area from the ground, they realized that it was a vibrant piece of property with lush grass. Outside of the land, which was fenced in, the ground had been decimated and there was very little evidence of any plant life.

What was the explanation for this? The fenced-in area was private land that was subdivided into five different portions. Because the owners of the land had incentive to take care of it, the property thrived. Outside the fenced in area was public land in which nomads could herd their cattle. But because there was no incentive to care for the pasture, the land quickly deteriorated.

This is just one example, but it’s a powerful one. When people own land, they take care of it. When everyone owns land, nobody is incentivized to steward it.

Let the System Work for You

If you’re lazy, unmotivated, and jealous of others’ success, capitalism probably won’t work for you. But the fact that it doesn’t work for you, doesn’t mean the system, as a whole, is broken. The fact of the matter is that ambitious people who are willing to work hard and create value will continue to thrive in a capitalistic society. No level of noise from attention-seeking politicians, reporters, and high school economics teachers will change this fact.

If you listen to the talking heads of the mainstream media, influential politicians like Senator Bernie Sanders, and left-wing publications and blogs, you’ll be led to believe that capitalism is nothing more than a greedy, immoral, inefficient system that uses citizens to fatten corporations and government leaders.  But when you step back, take a deep breath, and study the facts, it’s quite clear that capitalism will always be the answer.

Four Reasons Why Capitalism Works

It doesn’t matter the date or time – you’ll find outrageous claims of the decline of capitalism all throughout history.  During the recent recession, the Huffington Post published a piece titled “Capitalism Is Dead. Now What Do We Do?”  Just last year, the Independent Online ran a piece in which it claims that capitalism has made itself obsolete.  During the recent presidential election, otherwise respectable politicians tried to push the idea of socialism on Americans with straight faces.

While there’s always room in America for debate and the marketplace of ideas, it’s astonishing that people continue to question the effectiveness of capitalism when it has become the gold standard for successful government over the past few centuries.

In case you’ve become so inundated with the calls for socialism over the past decade that you’ve started to question your sanity, let’s have a bit of a refresher on why capitalism works and how it benefits the government, the marketplace, businesses, families, and individuals.

Here are specific reasons why capitalism is still alive and well.

1.  Capitalism Creates Freedom

At its very core, capitalism ensures freedom. How so? Well, put simply, it promotes choice. It gives every citizen the ability to choose what they buy, how much they pay, where they want to work, what they want to sell, etc.

With capitalism, you can decide to rent out your house as a stream of income and buy another one to live in. It’s your right.

With capitalism, you can get three different quotes from three different contractors when you want to install a new HVAC system in your home. It’s your right.

With capitalism, you can run a business and set your prices higher than the competition simply because you offer better service and more value.  It’s your right.

With statism, the opposite is true. Choices are limited and you must adhere to strict rules and regulations.

As business owner Matt Michel succinctly says, “The removal of simple choices reduces freedom. The removal of all choices is slavery. The direction of statism is towards slavery. The direction of capitalism is towards freedom. Capitalism is morally superior.”

2.  Capitalism Encourages Productivity

One of the beautiful things about capitalism is that it draws a clear line in the sand. If you want to be successful and financially independent, you have to work hard. If you have no interest in working hard and creating a future for yourself, you don’t have to work. In this sense, capitalism encourages productivity on an individual basis.

Whereas a statist or socialist society gives people little reason to exert energy and make sacrifices, capitalism provides people with motivation to add value to society. If you want to see your wages grow, you work hard and impress your employer. If you don’t want to have an employer, you launch your own business and pave your own way. If you want to become a lawyer, you go to law school, get the degree, and prove your worth in the job marketplace.

Do some individuals face more barriers than others based on things like skin color, gender, and economic background? Certainly – but that doesn’t mean the entire system is flawed.

3.  Capitalism Leads to Happiness

All said and done, every person in the world wants one thing: happiness. And while it’s possible to find happiness in just about any situation, data shows that people in countries where capitalism is alive and well tend to be happier than those in socialist/statist societies.

A few years ago, the University of Leicester produced what they called the first ever “world map of happiness.” As the report stated, “There is a belief that capitalism leads to unhappy people. However, when people are asked if they are happy with their lives, people in countries with good healthcare, a higher GDP per capita, and access to education were much more likely to report being happy.”

If you don’t believe the University of Leicester’s world map of happiness, just think about it in terms of common sense. When people have the freedom to make choices – rather than being told what they can do, where they can shop, where they can work, how much they can earn, and how much they can spend on products and services – they tend to be much more satisfied with their day-to-day lives and future outlook. The result is happiness.

4.  Capitalism Promotes Environmentalism 

If you want to make a socialist’s head spin, tell them that capitalism actually does a better job of protecting the environment and promoting sustainability. For an example, just look at “The Tragedy of the Commons” by Garrett Hardin.

In his piece, Hardin looks at a 1974 satellite photo of earth in which a shot of northern Africa showed an irregular dark patch, roughly 390 square miles in area. When researchers looked at this area from the ground, they realized that it was a vibrant piece of property with lush grass. Outside of the land, which was fenced in, the ground had been decimated and there was very little evidence of any plant life.

What was the explanation for this? The fenced-in area was private land that was subdivided into five different portions. Because the owners of the land had incentive to take care of it, the property thrived. Outside the fenced in area was public land in which nomads could herd their cattle. But because there was no incentive to care for the pasture, the land quickly deteriorated.

This is just one example, but it’s a powerful one. When people own land, they take care of it. When everyone owns land, nobody is incentivized to steward it.

Let the System Work for You

If you’re lazy, unmotivated, and jealous of others’ success, capitalism probably won’t work for you. But the fact that it doesn’t work for you, doesn’t mean the system, as a whole, is broken. The fact of the matter is that ambitious people who are willing to work hard and create value will continue to thrive in a capitalistic society. No level of noise from attention-seeking politicians, reporters, and high school economics teachers will change this fact.



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Trump Can Win More by Tweeting Less


When we look back on elections decades from now, 2008 and 2012 will certainly be known as the years where social media first became a force to be reckoned with.  Barack Obama’s successful 2008 campaign was largely built on his ability to connect with young voters via Facebook.  And in 2012, all major candidates across both parties heavily relied on social media to execute key parts of their campaigns.

But, despite these early case studies, 2016 will be the year politicians and historians study with great intrigue.

Of particular interest will be this question: how did candidate Donald Trump leverage Twitter to reach the masses?

Now, as we enter 2018 — the second year of President Trump’s first term — the question many supporters and detractors are wondering is, will the POTUS ever stop tweeting?

Is Twitter Helping or Hurting Trump, the President?

There’s no question that Trump’s affinity for Twitter had a positive impact on his ability to win the election in 2016. Not only did he use it as an avenue for cutting through the media attention he received from mainstream news sources, which was overwhelmingly negative and biased, but he also used it to control the conversation.

During the election, a single Trump tweet could send the 24-hour news cycle into a tailspin. Trump and his team knew this, which allowed them to essentially control the news cycle for most of the election. It was a hugely successful tactic and, to be honest, is something he still uses today when he wants to deflect attention.

As clever as Trump has been with Twitter, it’s also pretty easy to see the other side of things. Because Trump’s tweets are usually quite direct and harsh, they have a way of alienating certain groups of American citizens (as well as digging an even deeper trench between his administration and the opposition).

In this sense, Twitter is no longer his greatest ally. In terms of bringing the country together and creating some semblance of unity, the social media platform is now hurting Trump and his credibility. 

The second year of a presidential term is always important. It’s the first year that an administration really has a chance to take a breath and put into action some of the agenda items they’ve been considering. And if the Trump administration wants to continue winning — and, don’t let anyone fool you, there have been plenty of wins to date — it might be time to shift gears.

Media personality Laura Ingraham put it best in December when she said, “Perhaps the time has come to put aside a few of the Twitter battles. I like the tweets, but not all of them. And now it’s time to humanize the agenda you’ve been fighting for.”

Ingraham went on to talk about the fact that predecessors like Bill Clinton and Barack Obama were great at showing emotion, but often lacked in the “action” department. Trump is really good at taking action, but could become the first president in many years to be both empathetic and decisive.

“I like seeing you out among the people. I like seeing you with children, the elderly, factory workers, volunteers,” Ingraham continued. “You can be really charming, and you can be really warm in person and it’s time to let more Americans see that.”

Issues Trump Can Evoke Empathy With

Laying off the harsh Twitter rhetoric is the first step, but Trump needs to fill this void with something. There are obviously plenty of opportunities for this administration to connect with the American people, but Trump would do well to engage on issues that cut the heart of who people are and the issues they’re experiencing on a day-in, day-out basis.

Here are two key issues he could start with:

1. America’s Addiction Crisis

The very first thing Trump should begin with is America’s biggest public health issue: substance abuse.

As Drug Treatment Finders explains, “There are millions of people who suffer from substance addiction and mental health disorders every year; and sadly, because of social stigma, a lot of those people refuse to seek treatment, continue to live with their disorders and destroy every aspect of their lives.”

What better way for people to feel less stigmatized than by seeing key leaders in this country discuss their struggles in terms that are relatable? While most people aren’t aware of this, Trump has actually seen some of the ill effects of abuse and addiction up close and personal.

In 1981, Fred Trump, President Trump’s older brother, died at the age of 43 after a long bout with alcoholism. While he doesn’t talk about it much, he calls it “the saddest part in what I’ve been through.”

To this day, Trump has never had a drink of alcohol, or even so much as puffed a cigarette. He credits his brother Fred with this, who frequently told him, “Don’t drink. Don’t drink.”

In the midst of the opioid crisis and rampant alcohol abuse, this is an issue that Trump could use to humanize himself and connect with the American people.

2. Student Loan Debt Crisis

If there’s another topic that people on both sides of the party line are interested in solving, it’s the student loan debt crisis. Republicans and Democrats alike are tired of the way universities and colleges are scalping students and want to come up with a better solution. What better way for Trump to appease a broad spectrum of voters than by finally putting together a proposal that works?

The exact execution is obviously a political mess, but having frank conversations on the topic — something presidents have shied away from in the past — would help him empathize his cause.

Less Twitter, More Empathy

President Trump’s affinity for Twitter means we probably won’t see him go cold turkey, but there’s certainly a case to be made for cutting out the one-liners and instead focusing on how he can be more relatable with the American people.

Trump has been highly effective to date. But can he be effective and empathetic? Now that would be a historic combination.

When we look back on elections decades from now, 2008 and 2012 will certainly be known as the years where social media first became a force to be reckoned with.  Barack Obama’s successful 2008 campaign was largely built on his ability to connect with young voters via Facebook.  And in 2012, all major candidates across both parties heavily relied on social media to execute key parts of their campaigns.

But, despite these early case studies, 2016 will be the year politicians and historians study with great intrigue.

Of particular interest will be this question: how did candidate Donald Trump leverage Twitter to reach the masses?

Now, as we enter 2018 — the second year of President Trump’s first term — the question many supporters and detractors are wondering is, will the POTUS ever stop tweeting?

Is Twitter Helping or Hurting Trump, the President?

There’s no question that Trump’s affinity for Twitter had a positive impact on his ability to win the election in 2016. Not only did he use it as an avenue for cutting through the media attention he received from mainstream news sources, which was overwhelmingly negative and biased, but he also used it to control the conversation.

During the election, a single Trump tweet could send the 24-hour news cycle into a tailspin. Trump and his team knew this, which allowed them to essentially control the news cycle for most of the election. It was a hugely successful tactic and, to be honest, is something he still uses today when he wants to deflect attention.

As clever as Trump has been with Twitter, it’s also pretty easy to see the other side of things. Because Trump’s tweets are usually quite direct and harsh, they have a way of alienating certain groups of American citizens (as well as digging an even deeper trench between his administration and the opposition).

In this sense, Twitter is no longer his greatest ally. In terms of bringing the country together and creating some semblance of unity, the social media platform is now hurting Trump and his credibility. 

The second year of a presidential term is always important. It’s the first year that an administration really has a chance to take a breath and put into action some of the agenda items they’ve been considering. And if the Trump administration wants to continue winning — and, don’t let anyone fool you, there have been plenty of wins to date — it might be time to shift gears.

Media personality Laura Ingraham put it best in December when she said, “Perhaps the time has come to put aside a few of the Twitter battles. I like the tweets, but not all of them. And now it’s time to humanize the agenda you’ve been fighting for.”

Ingraham went on to talk about the fact that predecessors like Bill Clinton and Barack Obama were great at showing emotion, but often lacked in the “action” department. Trump is really good at taking action, but could become the first president in many years to be both empathetic and decisive.

“I like seeing you out among the people. I like seeing you with children, the elderly, factory workers, volunteers,” Ingraham continued. “You can be really charming, and you can be really warm in person and it’s time to let more Americans see that.”

Issues Trump Can Evoke Empathy With

Laying off the harsh Twitter rhetoric is the first step, but Trump needs to fill this void with something. There are obviously plenty of opportunities for this administration to connect with the American people, but Trump would do well to engage on issues that cut the heart of who people are and the issues they’re experiencing on a day-in, day-out basis.

Here are two key issues he could start with:

1. America’s Addiction Crisis

The very first thing Trump should begin with is America’s biggest public health issue: substance abuse.

As Drug Treatment Finders explains, “There are millions of people who suffer from substance addiction and mental health disorders every year; and sadly, because of social stigma, a lot of those people refuse to seek treatment, continue to live with their disorders and destroy every aspect of their lives.”

What better way for people to feel less stigmatized than by seeing key leaders in this country discuss their struggles in terms that are relatable? While most people aren’t aware of this, Trump has actually seen some of the ill effects of abuse and addiction up close and personal.

In 1981, Fred Trump, President Trump’s older brother, died at the age of 43 after a long bout with alcoholism. While he doesn’t talk about it much, he calls it “the saddest part in what I’ve been through.”

To this day, Trump has never had a drink of alcohol, or even so much as puffed a cigarette. He credits his brother Fred with this, who frequently told him, “Don’t drink. Don’t drink.”

In the midst of the opioid crisis and rampant alcohol abuse, this is an issue that Trump could use to humanize himself and connect with the American people.

2. Student Loan Debt Crisis

If there’s another topic that people on both sides of the party line are interested in solving, it’s the student loan debt crisis. Republicans and Democrats alike are tired of the way universities and colleges are scalping students and want to come up with a better solution. What better way for Trump to appease a broad spectrum of voters than by finally putting together a proposal that works?

The exact execution is obviously a political mess, but having frank conversations on the topic — something presidents have shied away from in the past — would help him empathize his cause.

Less Twitter, More Empathy

President Trump’s affinity for Twitter means we probably won’t see him go cold turkey, but there’s certainly a case to be made for cutting out the one-liners and instead focusing on how he can be more relatable with the American people.

Trump has been highly effective to date. But can he be effective and empathetic? Now that would be a historic combination.



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Lack of Sleep is the Latest Ammunition for Anti-Trumpers


Political pundits, celebrities, and liberal politicians are constantly looking for ways to explain what they call the president’s “erratic behavior,” when the reality is that they simply don’t agree with his policies and decisions. The latest blame tactic? Poor health and a lack of sleep.

White House Physician Rules Trump Healthy

As President Trump concludes his first full year in the Oval Office, media members on the left are trying to come to terms with the fact that he’s actually been quite productive and effective — something liberal publications like the Atlantic have even admitted. While “reporters” and “journalists” have spent the last year running down nonexistent Russian rabbit trails, Trump and his cabinet have rattled off a long list of accomplishments.

Some of the Trump administration’s early accomplishments include: near defeat of ISIL forces in the Middle East, plummeting rate of illegal border crossings, a successful Supreme Court nomination, multiple lifetime appointments in lower courts, massive deregulation across multiple industries, tax cuts for virtually every American, and a thriving economy with stock markets that hit new highs every few days.

Despite all the progress that’s being made — much of it bipartisan in nature — the media can’t bring itself to focus on the facts. Instead of reporting news, they’re trying their best to create news. Recently, they’ve decided that Trump is mentally and physically unfit to serve as commander in chief.

Apart from the absurd double standard — remember that this is the same media that was outraged when people questioned Hillary Clinton’s health during her campaign — there’s nothing to indicate the president is suffering from any sort of health crisis.

In order to quell these rumors and shift the focus back to real issues that matter to the American people, Trump recently agreed to have a full evaluation done by the official White House physician. While he’s considered slightly overweight and continues to take medication for high cholesterol (as he has for years), there were no red flags. He even volunteered to take a cognitive test and scored 30 out of 30.

“I’ve found no reason whatsoever to think the president has any issues whatsoever with his thought processes,” says Dr. Ronny L. Jackson, the White House physician who was originally appointed by former President Barrack Obama.

Despite Trump voluntarily taking a physical, insisting on taking a cognitive test that wasn’t necessary, and agreeing to discuss the results, the media still isn’t satisfied. They’ve reached for several new claims and unearthed some old ones. The most ridiculous is that the president doesn’t get enough sleep.

How Much Sleep Does a President Need?

On his campaign trail, President Trump made numerous references to his sleep habits — frequently claiming that he averages just four hours of sleep per night. But this isn’t something new. He’s reportedly done this for decades. It’s also not out of the ordinary for other politicians and former presidents.

Bill Clinton was known to get just five hours of sleep during his presidency. Barack Obama averaged right around six hours. Even the UK’s current Prime Minister Theresa May gets just six hours. So the idea that Trump’s four hours of sleep are an outlier is a stretch, at best. And the idea that his limited sleep schedule makes him cognitively unfit for the presidency is an unfounded and insane allegation.

Think, for a moment, if the opposite were true. What if Trump were sleeping 10 hours per night? Surely the media would be calling him lazy — saying he sleeps too much. That’s what today’s reporters do. They quickly flip the script so that it conveniently fits their agenda.

While Trump’s abbreviated sleep schedule could be based on his biological makeup and/or personality, it’s more than likely the result of the chronic stress he’s faced for years.

“There can be plenty of reasons why sleep is hard to come by, and stress is one of the most prevalent factors,” Sleepopolis explains. “When the mind is undergoing stress, it can create wandering thoughts that make it difficult to feel relaxed enough to fall asleep. Too much stimulation from smartphones, televisions, and computers before bed can trigger the mind to stay alert, making it more difficult to wind down at bedtime.”

This latter point is actually pretty interesting and relevant, considering that Trump does a lot of late night tweeting. Till Roenneberg, professor of chronobiology at the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich actually took the time to analyze 12,000 Trump tweets and made some hypothesis about how his social media behavior interacts with his sleeping. While the results are anything but scientific, he actually believes Trump gets more like six to six and a half hours of sleep per night.

Anti-Trumpers Always Looking for More

Whether it’s four hours, six hours, or eight hours, Trump’s sleep schedule doesn’t appear to be having any significant or prolonged effects on his cognitive functioning and decision making. Could he think more clearly by getting another hour or two of sleep per night? Perhaps — but former presidents like Clinton and Obama could have as well. (Not to mention Abraham Lincoln, who is widely considered to be one of the most productive individuals to ever hold the office.)

Essentially, this all boils down to a witch-hunt. It’s not a witch-hunt in some evil or egregious sense of the term, but it’s certainly annoying, childish, and unnecessary. The media is constantly looking for ways to discredit President Trump and will steep as low as possible to put chinks in his armor.

At first, they said he was running for president as a publicity stunt. Then, they tried to discredit him with allegations of racism and sexism. Once he got elected, months were spent on unfounded allegations of Russian interference. Most recently, it’s been the idea that he’s unstable and unhealthy. What’s next?

Political pundits, celebrities, and liberal politicians are constantly looking for ways to explain what they call the president’s “erratic behavior,” when the reality is that they simply don’t agree with his policies and decisions. The latest blame tactic? Poor health and a lack of sleep.

White House Physician Rules Trump Healthy

As President Trump concludes his first full year in the Oval Office, media members on the left are trying to come to terms with the fact that he’s actually been quite productive and effective — something liberal publications like the Atlantic have even admitted. While “reporters” and “journalists” have spent the last year running down nonexistent Russian rabbit trails, Trump and his cabinet have rattled off a long list of accomplishments.

Some of the Trump administration’s early accomplishments include: near defeat of ISIL forces in the Middle East, plummeting rate of illegal border crossings, a successful Supreme Court nomination, multiple lifetime appointments in lower courts, massive deregulation across multiple industries, tax cuts for virtually every American, and a thriving economy with stock markets that hit new highs every few days.

Despite all the progress that’s being made — much of it bipartisan in nature — the media can’t bring itself to focus on the facts. Instead of reporting news, they’re trying their best to create news. Recently, they’ve decided that Trump is mentally and physically unfit to serve as commander in chief.

Apart from the absurd double standard — remember that this is the same media that was outraged when people questioned Hillary Clinton’s health during her campaign — there’s nothing to indicate the president is suffering from any sort of health crisis.

In order to quell these rumors and shift the focus back to real issues that matter to the American people, Trump recently agreed to have a full evaluation done by the official White House physician. While he’s considered slightly overweight and continues to take medication for high cholesterol (as he has for years), there were no red flags. He even volunteered to take a cognitive test and scored 30 out of 30.

“I’ve found no reason whatsoever to think the president has any issues whatsoever with his thought processes,” says Dr. Ronny L. Jackson, the White House physician who was originally appointed by former President Barrack Obama.

Despite Trump voluntarily taking a physical, insisting on taking a cognitive test that wasn’t necessary, and agreeing to discuss the results, the media still isn’t satisfied. They’ve reached for several new claims and unearthed some old ones. The most ridiculous is that the president doesn’t get enough sleep.

How Much Sleep Does a President Need?

On his campaign trail, President Trump made numerous references to his sleep habits — frequently claiming that he averages just four hours of sleep per night. But this isn’t something new. He’s reportedly done this for decades. It’s also not out of the ordinary for other politicians and former presidents.

Bill Clinton was known to get just five hours of sleep during his presidency. Barack Obama averaged right around six hours. Even the UK’s current Prime Minister Theresa May gets just six hours. So the idea that Trump’s four hours of sleep are an outlier is a stretch, at best. And the idea that his limited sleep schedule makes him cognitively unfit for the presidency is an unfounded and insane allegation.

Think, for a moment, if the opposite were true. What if Trump were sleeping 10 hours per night? Surely the media would be calling him lazy — saying he sleeps too much. That’s what today’s reporters do. They quickly flip the script so that it conveniently fits their agenda.

While Trump’s abbreviated sleep schedule could be based on his biological makeup and/or personality, it’s more than likely the result of the chronic stress he’s faced for years.

“There can be plenty of reasons why sleep is hard to come by, and stress is one of the most prevalent factors,” Sleepopolis explains. “When the mind is undergoing stress, it can create wandering thoughts that make it difficult to feel relaxed enough to fall asleep. Too much stimulation from smartphones, televisions, and computers before bed can trigger the mind to stay alert, making it more difficult to wind down at bedtime.”

This latter point is actually pretty interesting and relevant, considering that Trump does a lot of late night tweeting. Till Roenneberg, professor of chronobiology at the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich actually took the time to analyze 12,000 Trump tweets and made some hypothesis about how his social media behavior interacts with his sleeping. While the results are anything but scientific, he actually believes Trump gets more like six to six and a half hours of sleep per night.

Anti-Trumpers Always Looking for More

Whether it’s four hours, six hours, or eight hours, Trump’s sleep schedule doesn’t appear to be having any significant or prolonged effects on his cognitive functioning and decision making. Could he think more clearly by getting another hour or two of sleep per night? Perhaps — but former presidents like Clinton and Obama could have as well. (Not to mention Abraham Lincoln, who is widely considered to be one of the most productive individuals to ever hold the office.)

Essentially, this all boils down to a witch-hunt. It’s not a witch-hunt in some evil or egregious sense of the term, but it’s certainly annoying, childish, and unnecessary. The media is constantly looking for ways to discredit President Trump and will steep as low as possible to put chinks in his armor.

At first, they said he was running for president as a publicity stunt. Then, they tried to discredit him with allegations of racism and sexism. Once he got elected, months were spent on unfounded allegations of Russian interference. Most recently, it’s been the idea that he’s unstable and unhealthy. What’s next?



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How Is Trump's War on Drugs Going?


While President Donald Trump and his cabinet are consistently winning on the issues they care about, it’s going to take a lot of time and patience to clean up most of the mess Barack Obama left in his wake. One such issue is the war on drugs — something that was virtually nonexistent during the previous presidency.

At the end of the Obama presidency, statistics and reports showed that drug-induced deaths were on the rise, as was the use of drugs among American youth. As David W. Murray of the Weekly Standard suggested in December 2016, this is anything but coincidental.

“Simply put, it appears inescapable that the two sets of findings are related,” Murray notes, “in that the flood of commercial, high-potency marijuana unleashed by legalization in the states has served as a ‘gateway’ to the opioid problem, both by priming greater drug use by those who initiate with heavy, developmentally early marijuana use, and further by empowering the illicit drug market controlled by criminal cartels.”

While the left would argue differently — and there’s certainly a case to be made for their opinion — Obama was extremely lax on drugs and drug abuse. Not only did the decriminalization of marijuana in many states happen under his watch, but Obama was very vocal on treating drug addiction “as a public-health issue, the same way we do with cigarettes or alcohol.”

While Obama was certainly correct in his belief that you can’t arrest and incarcerate addiction out of people, he used this as an excuse for basically turning away from the problem and leaving people to their own devices.

The war on drugs that Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, and George W. Bush enacted during their presidencies admittedly had few long-term effects, but Obama’s was equally as disastrous. Not only are we in the midst of the most serious opioid crisis the country has ever seen, but much of the country’s law enforcement departments were essentially told to “stand down” for eight years.

The question is, can President Trump do anything about it? Or is it too late?

How Trump Can Wage an Effective War on Drugs

While the Obama administration purposefully avoided any use of the phrase “war on drugs,” the Trump administration — and particularly Attorney General Jeff Sessions — is embracing it. They want to be tough on drugs, whilst recognizing that many aspects of drug addiction are, as Obama rightfully noted, a public health concern.

Here are a few specific things the Trump administration can do to get a grasp on this issue:

1. Close the Gap Between Reality and Perception

One of the biggest issues we have in this country is that people have this perception of drug addicts as people who are homeless and rough around the edges. While there are certainly addicts who fit this description, many are much harder to spot.

“The criminalization of drugs and drug users has led our social imagination to conjure a vision of the addict as a hollow-eyed fiend overwhelmed by drug-lust,” former heroin addict Elizabeth Brico writes. “Today’s archetypal ‘heroin junkie’ mirrors the absurdity of the pot-crazed teens from the Reefer Madness era, except that the idea of addiction sufferers as criminals is now so embedded into our culture that even those of us with addictions have stopped questioning it.”

It’s important that we, as a society, close the gap between reality and perception. The sooner we start to realize that many victims of the opioid crisis look just like the rest of us, the sooner we’ll be able to take the issue seriously and bring solutions into communities where drug abuse is lurking behind closed doors. The Trump administration should create strategy within this context.

2. Greater Focus on Therapy and Treatment

One of the biggest issues with the previous war on drugs – as well as the avoidance of the issue by the previous administration — is that there hasn’t been enough focus on actually treating the underlying causes of addiction. While medication is often necessary to wean someone off a drug addiction, it’s rarely the best or most effective method.

“Regular, directed, and supportive therapeutic intervention with a professional who is an expert in the treatment of addiction, as well as the treatment of any co-occurring disorders, is essential,” American Addiction Centers explains. “It is not enough to simply want to see great change. Rather, a significant time investment that helps to promote a steady shift in perspectives and behaviors that influence cravings and other triggers is needed.”

The more the Trump administration can focus on therapy and treatment, the more sustainable the results will be.

3. Gain Control of the Border

While it’s still a hot button issue between the left and right, building a wall along the southern border — something the Trump administration still firmly supports — would play a critically important role in reducing the trafficking of illicit drugs across the border. While drug dealers would still find ways to sneak some drugs across, it would greatly curb supply and increase prices. This would hopefully provide an opportunity for more drug education at a young age (prior to exposure).

4. Legalization of Marijuana

We’ve seen a huge shift in the number of people who are in support of the legalization of marijuana over the past decade. But what’s most shocking is that it’s not just those on the left. According to a recent Gallup poll, 51 percent of Republicans support legalization. (That figure is up from 42 percent the previous year, and just 20 percent in 2004.)

This shift means that Trump now has the support of his base — at least a majority of it — to pursue legalization. Considering that this is something he’s most likely okay with personally and ideologically (remember, he’s actually very liberal on many social issues), it wouldn’t be too much of a stretch.

Legalization of marijuana would inject billions of dollars into the American economy over the next few years. A large portion of the tax generated from the legal sale of marijuana could then be used to fund therapy and treatment for those afflicted by opioid addiction.

Can the War on Drugs be Victorious?

It’s foolish to think that the war on drugs can be successfully waged in a single presidency. It’s going to take decades for a solution to be successfully implemented. However, what past presidents have done hasn’t worked. Whether it was the GOP’s aggressive stance in the 1980s and 1990s, or Obama’s lax approach of the previous eight years, the Trump administration must try something new.

While President Donald Trump and his cabinet are consistently winning on the issues they care about, it’s going to take a lot of time and patience to clean up most of the mess Barack Obama left in his wake. One such issue is the war on drugs — something that was virtually nonexistent during the previous presidency.

At the end of the Obama presidency, statistics and reports showed that drug-induced deaths were on the rise, as was the use of drugs among American youth. As David W. Murray of the Weekly Standard suggested in December 2016, this is anything but coincidental.

“Simply put, it appears inescapable that the two sets of findings are related,” Murray notes, “in that the flood of commercial, high-potency marijuana unleashed by legalization in the states has served as a ‘gateway’ to the opioid problem, both by priming greater drug use by those who initiate with heavy, developmentally early marijuana use, and further by empowering the illicit drug market controlled by criminal cartels.”

While the left would argue differently — and there’s certainly a case to be made for their opinion — Obama was extremely lax on drugs and drug abuse. Not only did the decriminalization of marijuana in many states happen under his watch, but Obama was very vocal on treating drug addiction “as a public-health issue, the same way we do with cigarettes or alcohol.”

While Obama was certainly correct in his belief that you can’t arrest and incarcerate addiction out of people, he used this as an excuse for basically turning away from the problem and leaving people to their own devices.

The war on drugs that Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, and George W. Bush enacted during their presidencies admittedly had few long-term effects, but Obama’s was equally as disastrous. Not only are we in the midst of the most serious opioid crisis the country has ever seen, but much of the country’s law enforcement departments were essentially told to “stand down” for eight years.

The question is, can President Trump do anything about it? Or is it too late?

How Trump Can Wage an Effective War on Drugs

While the Obama administration purposefully avoided any use of the phrase “war on drugs,” the Trump administration — and particularly Attorney General Jeff Sessions — is embracing it. They want to be tough on drugs, whilst recognizing that many aspects of drug addiction are, as Obama rightfully noted, a public health concern.

Here are a few specific things the Trump administration can do to get a grasp on this issue:

1. Close the Gap Between Reality and Perception

One of the biggest issues we have in this country is that people have this perception of drug addicts as people who are homeless and rough around the edges. While there are certainly addicts who fit this description, many are much harder to spot.

“The criminalization of drugs and drug users has led our social imagination to conjure a vision of the addict as a hollow-eyed fiend overwhelmed by drug-lust,” former heroin addict Elizabeth Brico writes. “Today’s archetypal ‘heroin junkie’ mirrors the absurdity of the pot-crazed teens from the Reefer Madness era, except that the idea of addiction sufferers as criminals is now so embedded into our culture that even those of us with addictions have stopped questioning it.”

It’s important that we, as a society, close the gap between reality and perception. The sooner we start to realize that many victims of the opioid crisis look just like the rest of us, the sooner we’ll be able to take the issue seriously and bring solutions into communities where drug abuse is lurking behind closed doors. The Trump administration should create strategy within this context.

2. Greater Focus on Therapy and Treatment

One of the biggest issues with the previous war on drugs – as well as the avoidance of the issue by the previous administration — is that there hasn’t been enough focus on actually treating the underlying causes of addiction. While medication is often necessary to wean someone off a drug addiction, it’s rarely the best or most effective method.

“Regular, directed, and supportive therapeutic intervention with a professional who is an expert in the treatment of addiction, as well as the treatment of any co-occurring disorders, is essential,” American Addiction Centers explains. “It is not enough to simply want to see great change. Rather, a significant time investment that helps to promote a steady shift in perspectives and behaviors that influence cravings and other triggers is needed.”

The more the Trump administration can focus on therapy and treatment, the more sustainable the results will be.

3. Gain Control of the Border

While it’s still a hot button issue between the left and right, building a wall along the southern border — something the Trump administration still firmly supports — would play a critically important role in reducing the trafficking of illicit drugs across the border. While drug dealers would still find ways to sneak some drugs across, it would greatly curb supply and increase prices. This would hopefully provide an opportunity for more drug education at a young age (prior to exposure).

4. Legalization of Marijuana

We’ve seen a huge shift in the number of people who are in support of the legalization of marijuana over the past decade. But what’s most shocking is that it’s not just those on the left. According to a recent Gallup poll, 51 percent of Republicans support legalization. (That figure is up from 42 percent the previous year, and just 20 percent in 2004.)

This shift means that Trump now has the support of his base — at least a majority of it — to pursue legalization. Considering that this is something he’s most likely okay with personally and ideologically (remember, he’s actually very liberal on many social issues), it wouldn’t be too much of a stretch.

Legalization of marijuana would inject billions of dollars into the American economy over the next few years. A large portion of the tax generated from the legal sale of marijuana could then be used to fund therapy and treatment for those afflicted by opioid addiction.

Can the War on Drugs be Victorious?

It’s foolish to think that the war on drugs can be successfully waged in a single presidency. It’s going to take decades for a solution to be successfully implemented. However, what past presidents have done hasn’t worked. Whether it was the GOP’s aggressive stance in the 1980s and 1990s, or Obama’s lax approach of the previous eight years, the Trump administration must try something new.



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GOP Tax Bill Will Actually Help Small-Business America


It’s cool to hate Trump.  It’s cool to hate the GOP.  In fact, these days it’s pretty cool to hate America.  The mainstream media have given birth to these ideas, and they continue to hammer them home, no matter the cost.

Most recently, it’s the new GOP tax plan (which is actually two separate yet similar proposals in the House and Senate) that’s caught the attention of the liberal media.  Reporters, left-wing pundits, and Democratic politicians have plucked little pieces of the plan out and examined them in isolation – thus losing context – and made outrageous claims.  Read a handful of articles from the left, and you’d think the country were coming to an end.

While the plan is far from perfect – something many people on both sides of the party line have publicly spoken out about – the extreme animosity is a little puzzling.  Yes, big businesses and wealthy individuals get some pretty nice breaks, but so do the rest of us.

Most confusing of all, perhaps, is the idea that the GOP tax bill is going to hurt America’s middle class and harm small business-owners.  If you step out of the echo chamber the media firestorm has created and actually read through some of the bill, you’ll realize that it’s highly beneficial to small businesses.

GOP Tax Bill: Helping Small Business-Owners Everywhere

Meet entrepreneur Mary Schiavoni.  She’s a pediatric speech pathologist and the founder of a series of treatment tools known as “Chewy Tubes,” as well as a line of baby teethers, made in the United States.

In a recent piece for the Washington Examiner, Schiavoni expressed her bewilderment that nobody is really talking about the 20-percent small business deduction that’s included in Congress’s new plan.  For a business that earns $200,000 annually, that means that $40,000 is totally tax-free.  For businesses that are currently burdened by taxes, this is a huge relief.

“I currently employ five people,” Schiavoni explains.  “This tax cut would allow me to provide bonuses for current employees, hire more employees, expand my workspace, and purchase inventory.”

“To prevent this provision from being a tool of wealthy small businesses, like investment and accounting firms, it is … available [only] to those making less than $315,000 a year.  The overwhelming majority of small businesses earn below this threshold, meaning [that] the overwhelming majority would benefit” Schiavoni rightly states.  “For small business[-]owners who are responsible for nearly two[] thirds of new job growth in this country, that’s a big win.”

The Senate’s tax bill is even more generous, proposing a 23-percent deduction.  Again, the benefit for small business is clear.

“The ability to protect nearly one[] quarter of my business income from taxes will give me the ability to expand my drive-in movie theater operations, hire more employees, and give my existing employees raises,” explains Susan Kochevar, CEO of 88 Drive-In Theatre.  In fact, she believes that this massive deduction would level the playing field and allow her to compete with larger cinemas that can afford skilled accountants who are paid to find tax code loopholes.

Once again, this tax deduction is limited.  In the case of the Senate’s proposed bill, only small businesses earning $500,000 or less have the right to claim the 23-percent deduction.

“That’s why I’m confused about the media characterization of the bill as a gift to the wealthy at the expense of the middle class,” Kochevar says.  “As this small[] business provision demonstrates, this narrative is backwards.”

When small businesses have the freedom to reinvest in themselves, they’re also going to reinvest in the economy as a whole.  A small business-owner who is doing well financially is much more likely to take out a personal loan to perform a home renovation, as he’s confident in his ability to pay it back.  A small business-owner who is more profitable in his business dealings will have a few thousand dollars more in his pocket each year to take a vacation and inject money into other cities and states.  A small business employee who gets a bonus as the result of the deduction is more likely to buy a couple of extra Christmas presents for his kids, which helps other small businesses.

It’s a cycle that feeds itself.  The left fails to see this.  All the leftists see is “corporate greed.”

Helping Big Business Help Small Business

Will the proposed GOP tax bill help big businesses?  Absolutely – there’s no questioning this fact.  But why is it such a bad thing to give American companies tax breaks?  What few on the left realize is that giving big companies a boost actually helps the rest of us, small businesses included.

“My most profitable clients are big companies,” small business-owner Gene Marks admits.  “Many of my small clients rely on corporate customers for their growth and income.  Big companies hire small businesses to do all sorts of things – from construction to maintenance to landscaping to computer repairs to providing temporary workers.  Big companies also employ people who – when times are good and their salaries are increasing – go home and buy pizzas, hire landscapers, shop for clothes[,] and shower the small businesses in their community with the fruits of their disposable corporate incomes.”

It’s Up to Businesses to Respond

If you actually read the proposed tax bills and do your research, independent of the biased influence that the mainstream media push in their glorified echo chamber, you’ll clearly see that they’re good for business.  Big business, small business – everyone benefits.

When you look at the top-line numbers, it’s easy to say greedy big businesses are the winners and small businesses are the losers, but that’s simply not true.  The top-line figures don’t matter.  You have to look at it practically and proportionally.  If you view the tax plan through these lenses, it’s clear who the real winners are.

In the end, it’s up to businesses to respond.  When they get these tax breaks, are they going to hoard their money?  Or will they use it to increase wages, spark innovation, and stimulate the economy?  Lawmakers are doing their job – it’ll be up to business-owners to pull their weight after the bill is passed.

It’s cool to hate Trump.  It’s cool to hate the GOP.  In fact, these days it’s pretty cool to hate America.  The mainstream media have given birth to these ideas, and they continue to hammer them home, no matter the cost.

Most recently, it’s the new GOP tax plan (which is actually two separate yet similar proposals in the House and Senate) that’s caught the attention of the liberal media.  Reporters, left-wing pundits, and Democratic politicians have plucked little pieces of the plan out and examined them in isolation – thus losing context – and made outrageous claims.  Read a handful of articles from the left, and you’d think the country were coming to an end.

While the plan is far from perfect – something many people on both sides of the party line have publicly spoken out about – the extreme animosity is a little puzzling.  Yes, big businesses and wealthy individuals get some pretty nice breaks, but so do the rest of us.

Most confusing of all, perhaps, is the idea that the GOP tax bill is going to hurt America’s middle class and harm small business-owners.  If you step out of the echo chamber the media firestorm has created and actually read through some of the bill, you’ll realize that it’s highly beneficial to small businesses.

GOP Tax Bill: Helping Small Business-Owners Everywhere

Meet entrepreneur Mary Schiavoni.  She’s a pediatric speech pathologist and the founder of a series of treatment tools known as “Chewy Tubes,” as well as a line of baby teethers, made in the United States.

In a recent piece for the Washington Examiner, Schiavoni expressed her bewilderment that nobody is really talking about the 20-percent small business deduction that’s included in Congress’s new plan.  For a business that earns $200,000 annually, that means that $40,000 is totally tax-free.  For businesses that are currently burdened by taxes, this is a huge relief.

“I currently employ five people,” Schiavoni explains.  “This tax cut would allow me to provide bonuses for current employees, hire more employees, expand my workspace, and purchase inventory.”

“To prevent this provision from being a tool of wealthy small businesses, like investment and accounting firms, it is … available [only] to those making less than $315,000 a year.  The overwhelming majority of small businesses earn below this threshold, meaning [that] the overwhelming majority would benefit” Schiavoni rightly states.  “For small business[-]owners who are responsible for nearly two[] thirds of new job growth in this country, that’s a big win.”

The Senate’s tax bill is even more generous, proposing a 23-percent deduction.  Again, the benefit for small business is clear.

“The ability to protect nearly one[] quarter of my business income from taxes will give me the ability to expand my drive-in movie theater operations, hire more employees, and give my existing employees raises,” explains Susan Kochevar, CEO of 88 Drive-In Theatre.  In fact, she believes that this massive deduction would level the playing field and allow her to compete with larger cinemas that can afford skilled accountants who are paid to find tax code loopholes.

Once again, this tax deduction is limited.  In the case of the Senate’s proposed bill, only small businesses earning $500,000 or less have the right to claim the 23-percent deduction.

“That’s why I’m confused about the media characterization of the bill as a gift to the wealthy at the expense of the middle class,” Kochevar says.  “As this small[] business provision demonstrates, this narrative is backwards.”

When small businesses have the freedom to reinvest in themselves, they’re also going to reinvest in the economy as a whole.  A small business-owner who is doing well financially is much more likely to take out a personal loan to perform a home renovation, as he’s confident in his ability to pay it back.  A small business-owner who is more profitable in his business dealings will have a few thousand dollars more in his pocket each year to take a vacation and inject money into other cities and states.  A small business employee who gets a bonus as the result of the deduction is more likely to buy a couple of extra Christmas presents for his kids, which helps other small businesses.

It’s a cycle that feeds itself.  The left fails to see this.  All the leftists see is “corporate greed.”

Helping Big Business Help Small Business

Will the proposed GOP tax bill help big businesses?  Absolutely – there’s no questioning this fact.  But why is it such a bad thing to give American companies tax breaks?  What few on the left realize is that giving big companies a boost actually helps the rest of us, small businesses included.

“My most profitable clients are big companies,” small business-owner Gene Marks admits.  “Many of my small clients rely on corporate customers for their growth and income.  Big companies hire small businesses to do all sorts of things – from construction to maintenance to landscaping to computer repairs to providing temporary workers.  Big companies also employ people who – when times are good and their salaries are increasing – go home and buy pizzas, hire landscapers, shop for clothes[,] and shower the small businesses in their community with the fruits of their disposable corporate incomes.”

It’s Up to Businesses to Respond

If you actually read the proposed tax bills and do your research, independent of the biased influence that the mainstream media push in their glorified echo chamber, you’ll clearly see that they’re good for business.  Big business, small business – everyone benefits.

When you look at the top-line numbers, it’s easy to say greedy big businesses are the winners and small businesses are the losers, but that’s simply not true.  The top-line figures don’t matter.  You have to look at it practically and proportionally.  If you view the tax plan through these lenses, it’s clear who the real winners are.

In the end, it’s up to businesses to respond.  When they get these tax breaks, are they going to hoard their money?  Or will they use it to increase wages, spark innovation, and stimulate the economy?  Lawmakers are doing their job – it’ll be up to business-owners to pull their weight after the bill is passed.



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The Trump Administration Is Making Progress on Veteran Affairs


Whether you’re on the right, left, or squarely in the middle, we can all agree that veterans aren’t treated nearly as well as they should be in this country. In fact, they’re blatantly disrespected in many ways. But how is President Trump, who made lots of campaign promises to veterans, doing on this issue after roughly a year in office?

Where Trump Found Things

When Barack Obama entered office in 2009, he found the veterans of this country in the middle of a decades-long plight, which he promised to fix many times during his campaign for the presidency.

“Caring for those who serve — and for their families — is a fundamental responsibility of the Commander-in-Chief,” Obama said in a 2007 campaign speech. “It is not a separate cost. It is a cost of war. It is something I’ve fought for as a member of the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs. And it is something I will fight for as President of the United States.”

Perhaps Obama did fight, but he certainly didn’t get any results. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is in worse shape than it’s ever been. Scandals, abuse of funds, and a toxic workplace culture are just a few of the issues plaguing the VA, and they all seemed to be exacerbated under the Obama administration.

Even something as seemingly simple as trying to locate and receive military documents that are needed in order to apply for things like VA mortgages, retirement benefits, and employment is nearly impossible to do on your own. Most veterans end up using a service like DD214 Direct to streamline the process.

This isn’t an article about Obama’s failures — of which there are plenty — but it’s important to understand where things stood when Trump entered office. Not to give the Trump administration excuses, but rather to show why the VA was such a big priority during the campaigning season and continues to be today.

Is Trump Making Headway?

With so much in disarray, President Trump had his work cut out for him entering office. However, he promised to make the VA a focal point, so it’s fair game to hold him accountable and see how he’s doing. And if you cut through all of the media noise and BS, you’ll see that he’s actually making some headway. Here are just a few examples of small wins and steady steps in the right direction:

  • With so much corruption in the VA, Trump signed into law legislation that paves the way for the firing of employees who engage in misconduct. It also helps protect the whistleblowers. In what Trump once called “the most corrupt agency in the United States,” these new standards have already led to the firing of a whopping 1,163 employees and suspension of an additional 387 (as of early November).
  • In May, the White House proposed a 6 percent increase to the VA budget, which included an increase of $13 billion for the “choice” program that allows veterans to opt for private healthcare coverage.
  • One of Trump’s campaign promises was a private hotline to the White House to field complaints 24/7. While it’s been a bumpy road, the administration has followed through on this promise with a soft launch.
  • In August, Trump signed legislation to give veterans an additional $3 billion for educational assistance over the next decade. Forever GI, which is actually a combination of more than a dozen different bills, allows spouses and children of service members killed on duty to qualify for scholarships (or have tuition reimbursed.

This isn’t to say Trump has fixed the VA. He hasn’t even solved some of its biggest problems yet. What his slow, steady progress does show is that he’s making the VA a priority.

There’s a long way to go. Privatization of the VA is probably the only permanent solution to the longstanding plight of veterans in the U.S., but that’s an enormous battle that would likely require a two-term presidency. If the VA is ultimately fixed, it’ll be thanks to big changes like this. But if you want to know where a president should start, just look at what Trump is doing right now. You start with small wins, build trust, and then execute more sweeping reforms.

It’s Too Early to Judge

Why is it that the Left is so quick to judge the Trump presidency as a failure when he’s completed, at a very minimum, just 25 percent of his term? Who says he has to live up to every promise within the first year? What would we have said about Obama, Clinton, and Carter if they had only been given a year to enact their policies?

History will ultimately determine whether the Trump presidency was a success or failure. It’s impossible to do so in the moment (especially when it’s only a fraction of the way complete). However, as we begin to see what sort of leadership style Trump has adopted as president, it’s clear that he’s not nearly as impulsive as most thought he would be. Sure, the tweets are still questionable (at best), but his actual decision-making is rather poised.

On the topic of veterans affairs, Trump hasn’t lived up to every promise he made during the campaign, but he has at least three years left. He has, however, made progress in some key areas and laid promising foundations in others. While the media will continue to bash him for breathing, the reality is that he’s already done more to benefit veterans than Obama accomplished in eight years.

Whether you’re on the right, left, or squarely in the middle, we can all agree that veterans aren’t treated nearly as well as they should be in this country. In fact, they’re blatantly disrespected in many ways. But how is President Trump, who made lots of campaign promises to veterans, doing on this issue after roughly a year in office?

Where Trump Found Things

When Barack Obama entered office in 2009, he found the veterans of this country in the middle of a decades-long plight, which he promised to fix many times during his campaign for the presidency.

“Caring for those who serve — and for their families — is a fundamental responsibility of the Commander-in-Chief,” Obama said in a 2007 campaign speech. “It is not a separate cost. It is a cost of war. It is something I’ve fought for as a member of the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs. And it is something I will fight for as President of the United States.”

Perhaps Obama did fight, but he certainly didn’t get any results. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is in worse shape than it’s ever been. Scandals, abuse of funds, and a toxic workplace culture are just a few of the issues plaguing the VA, and they all seemed to be exacerbated under the Obama administration.

Even something as seemingly simple as trying to locate and receive military documents that are needed in order to apply for things like VA mortgages, retirement benefits, and employment is nearly impossible to do on your own. Most veterans end up using a service like DD214 Direct to streamline the process.

This isn’t an article about Obama’s failures — of which there are plenty — but it’s important to understand where things stood when Trump entered office. Not to give the Trump administration excuses, but rather to show why the VA was such a big priority during the campaigning season and continues to be today.

Is Trump Making Headway?

With so much in disarray, President Trump had his work cut out for him entering office. However, he promised to make the VA a focal point, so it’s fair game to hold him accountable and see how he’s doing. And if you cut through all of the media noise and BS, you’ll see that he’s actually making some headway. Here are just a few examples of small wins and steady steps in the right direction:

  • With so much corruption in the VA, Trump signed into law legislation that paves the way for the firing of employees who engage in misconduct. It also helps protect the whistleblowers. In what Trump once called “the most corrupt agency in the United States,” these new standards have already led to the firing of a whopping 1,163 employees and suspension of an additional 387 (as of early November).
  • In May, the White House proposed a 6 percent increase to the VA budget, which included an increase of $13 billion for the “choice” program that allows veterans to opt for private healthcare coverage.
  • One of Trump’s campaign promises was a private hotline to the White House to field complaints 24/7. While it’s been a bumpy road, the administration has followed through on this promise with a soft launch.
  • In August, Trump signed legislation to give veterans an additional $3 billion for educational assistance over the next decade. Forever GI, which is actually a combination of more than a dozen different bills, allows spouses and children of service members killed on duty to qualify for scholarships (or have tuition reimbursed.

This isn’t to say Trump has fixed the VA. He hasn’t even solved some of its biggest problems yet. What his slow, steady progress does show is that he’s making the VA a priority.

There’s a long way to go. Privatization of the VA is probably the only permanent solution to the longstanding plight of veterans in the U.S., but that’s an enormous battle that would likely require a two-term presidency. If the VA is ultimately fixed, it’ll be thanks to big changes like this. But if you want to know where a president should start, just look at what Trump is doing right now. You start with small wins, build trust, and then execute more sweeping reforms.

It’s Too Early to Judge

Why is it that the Left is so quick to judge the Trump presidency as a failure when he’s completed, at a very minimum, just 25 percent of his term? Who says he has to live up to every promise within the first year? What would we have said about Obama, Clinton, and Carter if they had only been given a year to enact their policies?

History will ultimately determine whether the Trump presidency was a success or failure. It’s impossible to do so in the moment (especially when it’s only a fraction of the way complete). However, as we begin to see what sort of leadership style Trump has adopted as president, it’s clear that he’s not nearly as impulsive as most thought he would be. Sure, the tweets are still questionable (at best), but his actual decision-making is rather poised.

On the topic of veterans affairs, Trump hasn’t lived up to every promise he made during the campaign, but he has at least three years left. He has, however, made progress in some key areas and laid promising foundations in others. While the media will continue to bash him for breathing, the reality is that he’s already done more to benefit veterans than Obama accomplished in eight years.



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Is Trump's Tax Reform Trickle-Down Economics Part Two?


Trump’s latest suggested tax reforms would provide massive benefits to the ultra-wealthy and major business owners of the country, while providing modest benefits to middle-class and lower-class taxpayers. The philosophy behind the plan is a variation of “trickle-down” economics, which predicts that benefits for major businesses would increase hiring and economic growth, but is this a real variation of the original trickle-down economics plan that was the hallmark of Reagan’s presidency? And either way, can this work to bring economic growth to the nation?

Trump’s New Tax Reform

Trump’s new tax plan isn’t yet a complete piece of legislation, but the basics are already outlined. The most noticeable part of the plan is an intention to radically slash corporate taxes in several different forms, including a complete exemption of income earned overseas. Additionally, the plan would shrink the complexities of current individual tax rates to three to four major brackets (there are currently seven), and would expand both the standard tax deduction and child tax credits for all individuals in the United States.

The plan bears much similarity to the “Better Way” tax proposal, which was introduced in 2016 by House Republicans. Though its stated intention was to increase spending power of the middle class, the benefits of families making between $50,000 and $75,000 would amount to an increase of about 0.5 percent, or $270 per year. Plus, by 2025, about 99.6 percent of the plan’s benefits would be distributed to the top 1 percent of earners, with the intended effect being a “trickle down” of benefits, with more job opportunities, entrepreneurship opportunities, and economic growth for everyone.

There’s still much to be debated and decided. House Republicans are currently drafting a piece of tax legislation that draws on both the Better Way proposal and Trump’s recommended tax changes. The current draft of the legislation outlines tax brackets of 12, 25, and 35 percent, with a standard deduction nearly doubling to $24,000. The corporate tax rate would also be lowered from 35 percent to 20 percent, and the alternative minimum tax, which increases taxes for some upper-class individuals, would also be repealed.

Chances of Getting Passed

So will this new tax legislation be passed? It’s hard to say, since so many things still need to be decided. Individual tax bracket thresholds still need to be worked out, and it’s uncertain how much interest deductibility will be limited or whether there will be a fourth bracket for people making more than $410,000 a year. With the majority of Republicans trying to make the plan feasible and back it, there’s a good chance it could be passed, but almost all Democrats will likely attempt to obstruct the bill from becoming law.

The Merits of Trickle-Down Economics

There are some merits to trickle-down economics. To provide more opportunities to individuals struggling with debts and limited income, direct benefits aren’t always the best solution. Short-term fixes, like declaring bankruptcy or providing government handouts can temporarily relieve the problem, but it doesn’t necessarily create more jobs.

The original variation of trickle-down economics came from the Reagan administration back in the 1980s. The top tax rate was slashed significantly, from 70 percent to 28 percent, and the plan allowed for far more business deductions. During Reagan’s two terms as president, 16 million jobs were created, and most of the years of his presidency were marked with economic growth, including a whopping 7.3 percent increase in 1984.

However, it’s not clear that these tax cuts were directly responsible for job creation and economic growth; some argue that Reagan’s increased defense spending may have contributed, and by the end of his presidency, the national debt had skyrocketed. Conversely, Clinton’s presidency came with an increase in corporate taxes, and ended up creating even more jobs.

Still, there’s some limited evidence that trickle-down economics can work, if it’s coupled with a reasonable government spending plan, and a mechanism to control inflation.

Why Trump’s Plan Falls Short

Assume, for a moment, that trickle-down economics is the best way to grow the economy. Trump’s plan still falls short of that goal for a few main reasons:

  • The middle class is almost totally neglected. Trickle-down economics should favor business owners and job creators, but it also needs to give some support to the middle class. Trump’s plan almost completely neglects these American taxpayers.
  • Shareholders aren’t necessarily job creators. Corporate shareholders tend to benefit tremendously from this increased profitability, but shareholders tend to be ultra-wealthy, and aren’t necessarily job creators.
  • There’s no supplementary plan. Trump’s policy isn’t accompanied by a radical decrease in government spending, nor is there a supplementary plan to deal with inflation and unrestricted economic growth.

Trump’s plan isn’t the worst tax model that’s ever been considered, but it isn’t the powerful job creator or economic driver that it’s heralded to be. It may serve as a first draft for something better, but for now, Trump’s trickle-down economic policies are too unpredictable and too undefined to stand on their own. 

Trump’s latest suggested tax reforms would provide massive benefits to the ultra-wealthy and major business owners of the country, while providing modest benefits to middle-class and lower-class taxpayers. The philosophy behind the plan is a variation of “trickle-down” economics, which predicts that benefits for major businesses would increase hiring and economic growth, but is this a real variation of the original trickle-down economics plan that was the hallmark of Reagan’s presidency? And either way, can this work to bring economic growth to the nation?

Trump’s New Tax Reform

Trump’s new tax plan isn’t yet a complete piece of legislation, but the basics are already outlined. The most noticeable part of the plan is an intention to radically slash corporate taxes in several different forms, including a complete exemption of income earned overseas. Additionally, the plan would shrink the complexities of current individual tax rates to three to four major brackets (there are currently seven), and would expand both the standard tax deduction and child tax credits for all individuals in the United States.

The plan bears much similarity to the “Better Way” tax proposal, which was introduced in 2016 by House Republicans. Though its stated intention was to increase spending power of the middle class, the benefits of families making between $50,000 and $75,000 would amount to an increase of about 0.5 percent, or $270 per year. Plus, by 2025, about 99.6 percent of the plan’s benefits would be distributed to the top 1 percent of earners, with the intended effect being a “trickle down” of benefits, with more job opportunities, entrepreneurship opportunities, and economic growth for everyone.

There’s still much to be debated and decided. House Republicans are currently drafting a piece of tax legislation that draws on both the Better Way proposal and Trump’s recommended tax changes. The current draft of the legislation outlines tax brackets of 12, 25, and 35 percent, with a standard deduction nearly doubling to $24,000. The corporate tax rate would also be lowered from 35 percent to 20 percent, and the alternative minimum tax, which increases taxes for some upper-class individuals, would also be repealed.

Chances of Getting Passed

So will this new tax legislation be passed? It’s hard to say, since so many things still need to be decided. Individual tax bracket thresholds still need to be worked out, and it’s uncertain how much interest deductibility will be limited or whether there will be a fourth bracket for people making more than $410,000 a year. With the majority of Republicans trying to make the plan feasible and back it, there’s a good chance it could be passed, but almost all Democrats will likely attempt to obstruct the bill from becoming law.

The Merits of Trickle-Down Economics

There are some merits to trickle-down economics. To provide more opportunities to individuals struggling with debts and limited income, direct benefits aren’t always the best solution. Short-term fixes, like declaring bankruptcy or providing government handouts can temporarily relieve the problem, but it doesn’t necessarily create more jobs.

The original variation of trickle-down economics came from the Reagan administration back in the 1980s. The top tax rate was slashed significantly, from 70 percent to 28 percent, and the plan allowed for far more business deductions. During Reagan’s two terms as president, 16 million jobs were created, and most of the years of his presidency were marked with economic growth, including a whopping 7.3 percent increase in 1984.

However, it’s not clear that these tax cuts were directly responsible for job creation and economic growth; some argue that Reagan’s increased defense spending may have contributed, and by the end of his presidency, the national debt had skyrocketed. Conversely, Clinton’s presidency came with an increase in corporate taxes, and ended up creating even more jobs.

Still, there’s some limited evidence that trickle-down economics can work, if it’s coupled with a reasonable government spending plan, and a mechanism to control inflation.

Why Trump’s Plan Falls Short

Assume, for a moment, that trickle-down economics is the best way to grow the economy. Trump’s plan still falls short of that goal for a few main reasons:

  • The middle class is almost totally neglected. Trickle-down economics should favor business owners and job creators, but it also needs to give some support to the middle class. Trump’s plan almost completely neglects these American taxpayers.
  • Shareholders aren’t necessarily job creators. Corporate shareholders tend to benefit tremendously from this increased profitability, but shareholders tend to be ultra-wealthy, and aren’t necessarily job creators.
  • There’s no supplementary plan. Trump’s policy isn’t accompanied by a radical decrease in government spending, nor is there a supplementary plan to deal with inflation and unrestricted economic growth.

Trump’s plan isn’t the worst tax model that’s ever been considered, but it isn’t the powerful job creator or economic driver that it’s heralded to be. It may serve as a first draft for something better, but for now, Trump’s trickle-down economic policies are too unpredictable and too undefined to stand on their own. 



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A Single-Payer System Won't Work. Period.


Every few years, the media gets low on ammo and decides they’re going to make a collective push to talk about bringing a single-payer healthcare system to the United States. And every few years, people who understand economics and business have to point out to them that it won’t work. This is one of those times.

What is Single-Payer Healthcare, Anyway?

When a term gets used so frequently for so long, it’s easy for there to be some misunderstanding. While the idea of single-payer healthcare gets thrown around a lot, would you be surprised that many people don’t even understand what it is? This results in confusion, misguided statements, and clouded judgment. So let’s clear this little issue up before systematically pulverizing the idea into a million pieces.

Single-payer national healthcare — or “Medicare for all,” as Senator Bernie Sanders calls it — is a system in which a single public organization or government entity finances healthcare for the entire population of a country, while the delivery of the care remains in private hands.

Quickly pause for a second and just think about that. Under a single-payer system, the government — a convoluted, bureaucratic, slow-as-molasses, doesn’t-understand-how-to-spend-money organization of bickering career-politicians — is tasked with financing healthcare for all. Okay… moving on.

Under a single-payer system, every American would have all “medically necessary” services and costs covered. This would include doctor visits, hospital stays, emergency room visits, preventative care, cancer treatment, dental, vision, and prescription drugs.

The money to support medical expenses of American citizens would be funded by implementing what proponents call a modest tax on the public. There would be no deductibles or premiums and almost every household would save money.

Proponents are also quick to point out that patients would be able to retain their doctors and choose which medical facilities to use. (If you’re scratching your head and thinking you remember a former president telling you the same thing, you aren’t crazy.)

Single-payer healthcare is not the same as Obamacare, which many on the left seem to be confused about. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) expanded coverage by requiring people to buy private insurance policies that were partially subsidized by government payments and an expansion of Medicaid. However, there are still millions of uninsured people, tens of millions of underinsured people, and millions more paying steep premiums, deductibles, and out of pocket expenses.

If you thought ObamaCare was a radical move, a single-payer model would flip the entire healthcare system on its head and change everything.

Here’s Why a Single-Payer System Could Never Work

The left tries to play emotional politics when it comes to healthcare. They tell you that you’re hateful if you don’t believe in the morality of a single-payer system where everyone’s health problems are covered. But what they won’t admit is that we live in a world of constraints, where things like money and resources are very tangible and finite.

Would it be great if everyone’s healthcare needs were automatically fulfilled without a penny ever changing hands? Absolutely! It would also be nice if money grew on trees and Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory was a place you could take the kids on a rainy Saturday afternoon.

Here’s why a single-payer system will never work.

1. Enormous Tax Burden

Let’s start by debunking the idea that a single-payer system could be funded by a modest tax on the one percent. According to Urban Institute, a nonpartisan group that looked at Senator Sanders’ proposed health plan, a single-payer system would raise government spending by $32 trillion over a decade. As the Washington Post recently pointed out, this number was so massive that even a socialist like Sanders couldn’t reasonably begin to talk about the plan with concrete numbers.

Even for California, where a single-payer initiative recently passed the State Senate, the cost would be $400 billion annually. It doesn’t matter how you slice it, a modest tax wouldn’t begin to make a dent into the total cost.

2. Lack of Motivation in Medical profession

Motivation is what keeps businesses growing. It’s why innovation is a natural byproduct of capitalism. When the sky is the limit and your earning potential is unlimited, you’re much more likely to work hard. The issue with a single-payer system is that it would destroy motivation in the medical profession. This is something we’ve already had a taste of thanks to ObamaCare.

“As a frame of reference, for every dollar that a private plan would pay, Medicare typically pays 80 cents and an ACA plan will pay 60 cents,” Boost Health Insurance notes. “To add fuel to the fire, many patients with a new plan through the marketplace tend to be sicker and they take up more time from the physician. Not only are they making less money on the new patient population, but they are spending more time with them during the consult.”

As a result, the ACA has caused many doctors to turn patients away and only accept those who allow them to keep the lights on. Can you imagine what a radical single-payer system would do? Every ounce of energy and motivation that remains in the industry would be zapped up.

3. Long Wait Times

Proponents like to point to Canada when discussing why a single-payer system would work here in the U.S. And while, yes, the system technically functions, it’s a total mess. The biggest problem is the wait time.

According to a survey by the Fraser Institute, the median wait time for “medically necessary” treatments and procedures was 20 weeks in 2016. That’s five months! In New Brunswick, the wait time is just shy of 39 weeks. Can you imagine? No wonder so many Canadians come across the border for healthcare.

While medical services aren’t exactly on-demand in the U.S. right now, they’re certainly much faster than a single-payer system.

4. Government Control

Finally, the biggest strike against a single-payer system is that it would give the government full and total control. While the claim from the left is that doctors would still retain autonomy, that’s not entirely true. The government would have a say over what’s considered a “medically necessary” service, meaning they could choose to fund or not fund certain types of procedures, medication, etc. And that’s an incredibly sobering thought.

Stop Fantasizing and Be Realistic

The problem with politics these days is that it’s all sensational. Politicians like Bernie Sanders throw out these whacky ideas, get millions of people to rally around them, and then fail to mention that they’re impractical. A single-payer system may sound great when blasted from a stage with music playing in the background, but it’s nothing more than interesting banter. (For the record, President Trump and politicians on the right are equally guilty of grandstanding and playing to the emotions of the crowd.)

It’s time to stop fantasizing about some sort of single-payer healthcare system. Could it technically be implemented? Sure, anything is possible. But when you look at the negatives and drawbacks, it’s crystal clear that a single-payer system would fundamentally destroy this country in more ways than one.

Can we finally stop with this talk of a single-payer system?

Every few years, the media gets low on ammo and decides they’re going to make a collective push to talk about bringing a single-payer healthcare system to the United States. And every few years, people who understand economics and business have to point out to them that it won’t work. This is one of those times.

What is Single-Payer Healthcare, Anyway?

When a term gets used so frequently for so long, it’s easy for there to be some misunderstanding. While the idea of single-payer healthcare gets thrown around a lot, would you be surprised that many people don’t even understand what it is? This results in confusion, misguided statements, and clouded judgment. So let’s clear this little issue up before systematically pulverizing the idea into a million pieces.

Single-payer national healthcare — or “Medicare for all,” as Senator Bernie Sanders calls it — is a system in which a single public organization or government entity finances healthcare for the entire population of a country, while the delivery of the care remains in private hands.

Quickly pause for a second and just think about that. Under a single-payer system, the government — a convoluted, bureaucratic, slow-as-molasses, doesn’t-understand-how-to-spend-money organization of bickering career-politicians — is tasked with financing healthcare for all. Okay… moving on.

Under a single-payer system, every American would have all “medically necessary” services and costs covered. This would include doctor visits, hospital stays, emergency room visits, preventative care, cancer treatment, dental, vision, and prescription drugs.

The money to support medical expenses of American citizens would be funded by implementing what proponents call a modest tax on the public. There would be no deductibles or premiums and almost every household would save money.

Proponents are also quick to point out that patients would be able to retain their doctors and choose which medical facilities to use. (If you’re scratching your head and thinking you remember a former president telling you the same thing, you aren’t crazy.)

Single-payer healthcare is not the same as Obamacare, which many on the left seem to be confused about. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) expanded coverage by requiring people to buy private insurance policies that were partially subsidized by government payments and an expansion of Medicaid. However, there are still millions of uninsured people, tens of millions of underinsured people, and millions more paying steep premiums, deductibles, and out of pocket expenses.

If you thought ObamaCare was a radical move, a single-payer model would flip the entire healthcare system on its head and change everything.

Here’s Why a Single-Payer System Could Never Work

The left tries to play emotional politics when it comes to healthcare. They tell you that you’re hateful if you don’t believe in the morality of a single-payer system where everyone’s health problems are covered. But what they won’t admit is that we live in a world of constraints, where things like money and resources are very tangible and finite.

Would it be great if everyone’s healthcare needs were automatically fulfilled without a penny ever changing hands? Absolutely! It would also be nice if money grew on trees and Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory was a place you could take the kids on a rainy Saturday afternoon.

Here’s why a single-payer system will never work.

1. Enormous Tax Burden

Let’s start by debunking the idea that a single-payer system could be funded by a modest tax on the one percent. According to Urban Institute, a nonpartisan group that looked at Senator Sanders’ proposed health plan, a single-payer system would raise government spending by $32 trillion over a decade. As the Washington Post recently pointed out, this number was so massive that even a socialist like Sanders couldn’t reasonably begin to talk about the plan with concrete numbers.

Even for California, where a single-payer initiative recently passed the State Senate, the cost would be $400 billion annually. It doesn’t matter how you slice it, a modest tax wouldn’t begin to make a dent into the total cost.

2. Lack of Motivation in Medical profession

Motivation is what keeps businesses growing. It’s why innovation is a natural byproduct of capitalism. When the sky is the limit and your earning potential is unlimited, you’re much more likely to work hard. The issue with a single-payer system is that it would destroy motivation in the medical profession. This is something we’ve already had a taste of thanks to ObamaCare.

“As a frame of reference, for every dollar that a private plan would pay, Medicare typically pays 80 cents and an ACA plan will pay 60 cents,” Boost Health Insurance notes. “To add fuel to the fire, many patients with a new plan through the marketplace tend to be sicker and they take up more time from the physician. Not only are they making less money on the new patient population, but they are spending more time with them during the consult.”

As a result, the ACA has caused many doctors to turn patients away and only accept those who allow them to keep the lights on. Can you imagine what a radical single-payer system would do? Every ounce of energy and motivation that remains in the industry would be zapped up.

3. Long Wait Times

Proponents like to point to Canada when discussing why a single-payer system would work here in the U.S. And while, yes, the system technically functions, it’s a total mess. The biggest problem is the wait time.

According to a survey by the Fraser Institute, the median wait time for “medically necessary” treatments and procedures was 20 weeks in 2016. That’s five months! In New Brunswick, the wait time is just shy of 39 weeks. Can you imagine? No wonder so many Canadians come across the border for healthcare.

While medical services aren’t exactly on-demand in the U.S. right now, they’re certainly much faster than a single-payer system.

4. Government Control

Finally, the biggest strike against a single-payer system is that it would give the government full and total control. While the claim from the left is that doctors would still retain autonomy, that’s not entirely true. The government would have a say over what’s considered a “medically necessary” service, meaning they could choose to fund or not fund certain types of procedures, medication, etc. And that’s an incredibly sobering thought.

Stop Fantasizing and Be Realistic

The problem with politics these days is that it’s all sensational. Politicians like Bernie Sanders throw out these whacky ideas, get millions of people to rally around them, and then fail to mention that they’re impractical. A single-payer system may sound great when blasted from a stage with music playing in the background, but it’s nothing more than interesting banter. (For the record, President Trump and politicians on the right are equally guilty of grandstanding and playing to the emotions of the crowd.)

It’s time to stop fantasizing about some sort of single-payer healthcare system. Could it technically be implemented? Sure, anything is possible. But when you look at the negatives and drawbacks, it’s crystal clear that a single-payer system would fundamentally destroy this country in more ways than one.

Can we finally stop with this talk of a single-payer system?



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Is Space Exploration a Bipartisan Issue Trump Can Seize?


When Barack Obama shut down much of NASA’s Space Shuttle funding eight years ago, many were disappointed. After all, his predecessor George W. Bush had worked hard to create a program that would put humans back on the moon by 2020. And while nobody could have guessed it at the time, Obama’s actions could open a door for President Trump to gain bipartisan support for a revitalized program.

Trump Renews Focus on Space Exploration

This past March, right in the middle of his “First 100 Days,” Trump sat down in the Oval Office and met with some of NASA’s biggest figures to talk about a mini victory. The president had just signed a bill that authorized giving the agency a current year budget boost to $19.5 billion and restoring the focus on manned space flights.

Trump was happy, cutting jokes with his White House visitors, and even charming the members of the press who were there taking pictures and rapidly recording sound bites. It was a rare moment of togetherness. The slimy journalists weren’t asking leading questions in hopes of grabbing an infamous Trump sound bite and spinning it out of context for a front-page piece. The president appeared relaxed and happy to be entertaining. The NASA guests all had ear-to-ear smiles, probably thinking more about the future than the present.

This scene might have just been another day in what could be four to eight years’ worth of meetings with various groups in the Oval Office, but there’s also the potential that it could prove to be one of President Trump’s defining moments.

The American Fascination With Space

People have a fascination with space. Little kids want to grow up to be astronauts. People are fascinated by the idea of naming a star after someone. Hollywood’s space-inspired flicks always seize the public’s attention. Rich or poor, white or black, lefty or righty… people of every background are enthralled by the idea that there are other planets floating around in the galaxy — some of them perhaps being able to sustain life.

While space exploration may not be as pressing an issue as the national debt, immigration, ISIS, healthcare, tax reform, and all of the other topics at the center of America attention right now, it’s unique in one very important way: it’s something everyone can get behind.

There isn’t much to complain about when it comes to funding space exploration. Nobody wants to be the one person in the room that says he doesn’t care about exploring the universe and discovering new life-forms. It’s an exciting issue — one that may be directly tied to politics, but doesn’t have to be overtly politicized every single day.

Obama caused ripples when he pulled the plug on NASA’s manned space flights and instead refocused the agency’s energy on research and development of robotics. Even though it saved money — something most conservatives would generally be happy with — it was a slap in the face to many.

Republicans and Democrats alike questioned the move and wondered if it was the right thing to do. Famous astronauts like Neil Armstrong, James Lovell, and Eugene Cernan even penned a letter at the time saying the U.S. was becoming a “second or even third-rate” spacefaring nation.

Some have even suggested that Obama ruined NASA space exploration forever. But that’s not entirely accurate. What Obama’s poor choices have done is open the door for Trump to come in and get some quick wins within the first few months of his presidency.

Trump Can Build Some Safe Equity

“Space policy has given Trump an opportunity to deploy his signature sweeping praise with little risk of backlash,” writes Marina Koren of the Atlantic. “Missions take years to develop and execute, usually outlasting presidents and absolving them of any accountability. The space program has historically enjoyed bipartisan support in Washington, so it’s usually a safe bet for any politician.”

As Koren notes, the majority of the public views NASA in a positive light. It’s not some “bureaucratic mess inside the government, but the inspiration machine for future generations.” By breathing life back into space exploration programs, Trump can tell people that he’s ready to go where no country, person, or space program has ever gone before.

These are positive sound bites that are virtually impossible for the media to twist. They drive up ratings, put America first in a manner that even the globalists on the left can agree is good, and give the new president a stake he can put in the ground and say, “See, progress is possible even in a partisan environment.”

As John Logsdon, a professor emeritus at George Washington University, told Koren in her piece, “If the president’s lips move and he says positive things about the space program, that’s good for the space program. I’m not sure Ronald Reagan knew a lot about the space program, but he said the right words.”

The Trump Administration’s current budget will give NASA a chance to be successful with space exploration in the near future. Now, what NASA does with that money is an entirely different story. The good news for Trump is that it’s nearly impossible for him to come out looking bad. 

When Barack Obama shut down much of NASA’s Space Shuttle funding eight years ago, many were disappointed. After all, his predecessor George W. Bush had worked hard to create a program that would put humans back on the moon by 2020. And while nobody could have guessed it at the time, Obama’s actions could open a door for President Trump to gain bipartisan support for a revitalized program.

Trump Renews Focus on Space Exploration

This past March, right in the middle of his “First 100 Days,” Trump sat down in the Oval Office and met with some of NASA’s biggest figures to talk about a mini victory. The president had just signed a bill that authorized giving the agency a current year budget boost to $19.5 billion and restoring the focus on manned space flights.

Trump was happy, cutting jokes with his White House visitors, and even charming the members of the press who were there taking pictures and rapidly recording sound bites. It was a rare moment of togetherness. The slimy journalists weren’t asking leading questions in hopes of grabbing an infamous Trump sound bite and spinning it out of context for a front-page piece. The president appeared relaxed and happy to be entertaining. The NASA guests all had ear-to-ear smiles, probably thinking more about the future than the present.

This scene might have just been another day in what could be four to eight years’ worth of meetings with various groups in the Oval Office, but there’s also the potential that it could prove to be one of President Trump’s defining moments.

The American Fascination With Space

People have a fascination with space. Little kids want to grow up to be astronauts. People are fascinated by the idea of naming a star after someone. Hollywood’s space-inspired flicks always seize the public’s attention. Rich or poor, white or black, lefty or righty… people of every background are enthralled by the idea that there are other planets floating around in the galaxy — some of them perhaps being able to sustain life.

While space exploration may not be as pressing an issue as the national debt, immigration, ISIS, healthcare, tax reform, and all of the other topics at the center of America attention right now, it’s unique in one very important way: it’s something everyone can get behind.

There isn’t much to complain about when it comes to funding space exploration. Nobody wants to be the one person in the room that says he doesn’t care about exploring the universe and discovering new life-forms. It’s an exciting issue — one that may be directly tied to politics, but doesn’t have to be overtly politicized every single day.

Obama caused ripples when he pulled the plug on NASA’s manned space flights and instead refocused the agency’s energy on research and development of robotics. Even though it saved money — something most conservatives would generally be happy with — it was a slap in the face to many.

Republicans and Democrats alike questioned the move and wondered if it was the right thing to do. Famous astronauts like Neil Armstrong, James Lovell, and Eugene Cernan even penned a letter at the time saying the U.S. was becoming a “second or even third-rate” spacefaring nation.

Some have even suggested that Obama ruined NASA space exploration forever. But that’s not entirely accurate. What Obama’s poor choices have done is open the door for Trump to come in and get some quick wins within the first few months of his presidency.

Trump Can Build Some Safe Equity

“Space policy has given Trump an opportunity to deploy his signature sweeping praise with little risk of backlash,” writes Marina Koren of the Atlantic. “Missions take years to develop and execute, usually outlasting presidents and absolving them of any accountability. The space program has historically enjoyed bipartisan support in Washington, so it’s usually a safe bet for any politician.”

As Koren notes, the majority of the public views NASA in a positive light. It’s not some “bureaucratic mess inside the government, but the inspiration machine for future generations.” By breathing life back into space exploration programs, Trump can tell people that he’s ready to go where no country, person, or space program has ever gone before.

These are positive sound bites that are virtually impossible for the media to twist. They drive up ratings, put America first in a manner that even the globalists on the left can agree is good, and give the new president a stake he can put in the ground and say, “See, progress is possible even in a partisan environment.”

As John Logsdon, a professor emeritus at George Washington University, told Koren in her piece, “If the president’s lips move and he says positive things about the space program, that’s good for the space program. I’m not sure Ronald Reagan knew a lot about the space program, but he said the right words.”

The Trump Administration’s current budget will give NASA a chance to be successful with space exploration in the near future. Now, what NASA does with that money is an entirely different story. The good news for Trump is that it’s nearly impossible for him to come out looking bad. 



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