Category: Larry Alton

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President Trump and America's Diet


A president’s diet might seem like a small, personal, and rather inconsequential detail, but it says a lot about his focus on health, nutrition, and overall well-being.  Unfortunately, America’s demise of healthy diets directly parallels the decline in nutritious diets by our presidents.

Check out this list of presidents’ favorite foods by Fresh n’ Lean, and you’ll notice that tastes have changed over the years.  Early presidents craved things like tomatoes and eggs, crackers and water, cheese, omelets, apples, and the occasional macaroon.  Fast-forward to the last few presidents, and the menu includes items like waffles, Jelly Bellies, hot dogs, cheeseburgers, and extra well done steak.

A favorite indulgence may not be indicative of a bad diet, but the current president’s diet, as a whole, is a little worrisome. 

While President Trump’s diet has reportedly improved some over the last year – as a result of his well publicized physical and health check-up earlier this year – much has been written about his food preferences and eating habits.  Those close to Trump say his diet consists of fast food and high-calorie meals.  It’s even been said that his major food groups include McDonald’s, KFC, pizza, and Diet Coke.

According to Corey Lewandowski, Trump’s former campaign manager who wrote the book Let Trump Be Trump, the president would often go 14 to 16 hours without eating, followed by a McDonald’s dinner of two Big Macs, two Filet-O-Fish sandwiches, and a chocolate milkshake.  For those tracking at home, that’s a sudden intake of 2,430 calories.

Lewandowski also says Trump frequently skips breakfast and doesn’t eat the bread on his sandwiches.  Steak – his favorite food – is ordered extra-well done with a side of ketchup.  And though he doesn’t drink stimulants like tea, coffee, or alcohol, he guzzles down a dozen Diet Cokes per day.

As in most ways, Trump is an outlier as a president.  Recent former presidents like Barack Obama, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush, Ronald Reagan, and Jimmy Carter all had, on the whole, relatively healthy diets.  Even though a diet is a highly personal thing, there’s a case to be made that the president must lead by example in this area, as in others.

Getting Americans to Eat Healthier

The issue of getting Americans to eat healthier certainly doesn’t hinge on President Trump, but he can play a catalytic role in improving this aspect of America’s health.

Here are a few thoughts and ideas on the topic:

  1. Let the First Lady Take Charge

Unless something drastic changes in Trump’s diet, he probably isn’t the best person to have a direct voice in improving the diet and nutrition of Americans.  It would be difficult for others to take him seriously.  But there is someone close to the president who could: Melania Trump, the FLOTUS.

While Melania is purposeful about keeping her personal life private, we do know she’s extremely health-conscious.  She tries to eat seven pieces of fruit per day, which offer a complete set of vitamins and minerals for her hair and skin.  She also opts for nutrient-filled smoothies and fiber-rich oatmeal, along with targeted supplements to keep her healthy and vibrant.  When she does indulge, Melania goes for a piece of dark chocolate or a scoop of ice cream.

Taking a page out of former FLOTUS Michelle Obama’s playbook, Melania could get involved in her husband’s public health policies and encourage healthy eating, proper dieting, and even responsible fitness regimens.

  1. Continue Making School Lunches Healthier

According to the Hechinger Report, kids from low-income families living along the Mississippi Delta are genuinely excited about the healthy food options they get at school – such as apples and carrots – since they don’t get them at home.

For some students, the only healthy whole grains, fruits, and vegetables they get come from supplement food programs like school meals.  Keeping these meals healthy will give students the opportunity to receive proper nutrition and set a foundation for healthier cravings in the future.

  1. Incentivize Healthy Eating

For an entire year, officials in one county of Massachusetts ran a study where they gave certain food stamp-users 30 cents back for every dollar they spent on fruits and vegetables.  When compared to families who weren’t part of the program, the rewarded families reportedly ate one quarter cup more of fruits and vegetables per day.  They also spent $1.19 more on produce each month – a modest yet noticeable increase.

Is this a sign that the proper incentives could persuade individuals – particularly those in low-income brackets – to eat healthier?

Health journalist Francie Diep believes, “Policymakers could amplify the effects of reward programs with disincentives against buying unhealthy foods.  A mathematical model has shown that disallowing food stamps to be used to buy sugary drinks would reduce rates of diabetes and heart disease.”

  1. Make Health Diets a Real Priority

It’s one thing for a president to say he supports a healthy diet and proper nutrition.  It’s something else entirely for that same president to make these actual priorities.  When you look at the numbers and understand the consequences, it becomes easier to see the significance.

“It’s hard to fathom how much our country actually spends on health care: currently US$3.2 trillion per year, or nearly 1 in 5 dollars in the entire U.S. economy,” writes Dariush Mozaffarian, professor of nutrition at Tufts University.  “That’s almost $1,000 each month for every man, woman and child in the country, exceeding most people’s budgets for food, gas, housing or other common necessities.”

It doesn’t stop there.  Diet-related conditions account for a number of health expenditures and lead to more than $125 billion in lost productivity and other indirect costs.

“At the same time, health care costs cripple the productivity and profits of American businesses,” Mozafarrian continues.  “From small to large companies, crushing health care expenditures are a major obstacle to growth and success.  Warren Buffet recently called rising medical costs the ‘tapeworm of American economic competitiveness.’  Our food system is feeding the tapeworm.”

Putting It All Together

When you look at the current state of diet and nutrition in America, it’s clear that Americans don’t have equal access to healthy, affordable food.  Children, especially, are at risk of having improper diets.  Despite the fact that people are told to eat fruits and vegetables, the government programs subsidize processed food ingredients.

In addition to eating healthier, President Trump needs to make this a national policy priority and focus on setting a better precedent for the American people.

Presidents are known for a lot – but healthy eating usually isn’t on their list of positive accomplishments.  Despite the fact that President 45 doesn’t have a particularly clean diet, nutrition needs to become a bigger part of his health policies moving forward.

Presidents, Diets, and the Need for a Better Precedent

A president’s diet might seem like a small, personal, and rather inconsequential detail, but it says a lot about his focus on health, nutrition, and overall well-being.  Unfortunately, America’s demise of healthy diets directly parallels the decline in nutritious diets by our presidents.

Check out this list of presidents’ favorite foods by Fresh n’ Lean, and you’ll notice that tastes have changed over the years.  Early presidents craved things like tomatoes and eggs, crackers and water, cheese, omelets, apples, and the occasional macaroon.  Fast-forward to the last few presidents, and the menu includes items like waffles, Jelly Bellies, hot dogs, cheeseburgers, and extra well done steak.

A favorite indulgence may not be indicative of a bad diet, but the current president’s diet, as a whole, is a little worrisome. 

While President Trump’s diet has reportedly improved some over the last year – as a result of his well publicized physical and health check-up earlier this year – much has been written about his food preferences and eating habits.  Those close to Trump say his diet consists of fast food and high-calorie meals.  It’s even been said that his major food groups include McDonald’s, KFC, pizza, and Diet Coke.

According to Corey Lewandowski, Trump’s former campaign manager who wrote the book Let Trump Be Trump, the president would often go 14 to 16 hours without eating, followed by a McDonald’s dinner of two Big Macs, two Filet-O-Fish sandwiches, and a chocolate milkshake.  For those tracking at home, that’s a sudden intake of 2,430 calories.

Lewandowski also says Trump frequently skips breakfast and doesn’t eat the bread on his sandwiches.  Steak – his favorite food – is ordered extra-well done with a side of ketchup.  And though he doesn’t drink stimulants like tea, coffee, or alcohol, he guzzles down a dozen Diet Cokes per day.

As in most ways, Trump is an outlier as a president.  Recent former presidents like Barack Obama, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush, Ronald Reagan, and Jimmy Carter all had, on the whole, relatively healthy diets.  Even though a diet is a highly personal thing, there’s a case to be made that the president must lead by example in this area, as in others.

Getting Americans to Eat Healthier

The issue of getting Americans to eat healthier certainly doesn’t hinge on President Trump, but he can play a catalytic role in improving this aspect of America’s health.

Here are a few thoughts and ideas on the topic:

  1. Let the First Lady Take Charge

Unless something drastic changes in Trump’s diet, he probably isn’t the best person to have a direct voice in improving the diet and nutrition of Americans.  It would be difficult for others to take him seriously.  But there is someone close to the president who could: Melania Trump, the FLOTUS.

While Melania is purposeful about keeping her personal life private, we do know she’s extremely health-conscious.  She tries to eat seven pieces of fruit per day, which offer a complete set of vitamins and minerals for her hair and skin.  She also opts for nutrient-filled smoothies and fiber-rich oatmeal, along with targeted supplements to keep her healthy and vibrant.  When she does indulge, Melania goes for a piece of dark chocolate or a scoop of ice cream.

Taking a page out of former FLOTUS Michelle Obama’s playbook, Melania could get involved in her husband’s public health policies and encourage healthy eating, proper dieting, and even responsible fitness regimens.

  1. Continue Making School Lunches Healthier

According to the Hechinger Report, kids from low-income families living along the Mississippi Delta are genuinely excited about the healthy food options they get at school – such as apples and carrots – since they don’t get them at home.

For some students, the only healthy whole grains, fruits, and vegetables they get come from supplement food programs like school meals.  Keeping these meals healthy will give students the opportunity to receive proper nutrition and set a foundation for healthier cravings in the future.

  1. Incentivize Healthy Eating

For an entire year, officials in one county of Massachusetts ran a study where they gave certain food stamp-users 30 cents back for every dollar they spent on fruits and vegetables.  When compared to families who weren’t part of the program, the rewarded families reportedly ate one quarter cup more of fruits and vegetables per day.  They also spent $1.19 more on produce each month – a modest yet noticeable increase.

Is this a sign that the proper incentives could persuade individuals – particularly those in low-income brackets – to eat healthier?

Health journalist Francie Diep believes, “Policymakers could amplify the effects of reward programs with disincentives against buying unhealthy foods.  A mathematical model has shown that disallowing food stamps to be used to buy sugary drinks would reduce rates of diabetes and heart disease.”

  1. Make Health Diets a Real Priority

It’s one thing for a president to say he supports a healthy diet and proper nutrition.  It’s something else entirely for that same president to make these actual priorities.  When you look at the numbers and understand the consequences, it becomes easier to see the significance.

“It’s hard to fathom how much our country actually spends on health care: currently US$3.2 trillion per year, or nearly 1 in 5 dollars in the entire U.S. economy,” writes Dariush Mozaffarian, professor of nutrition at Tufts University.  “That’s almost $1,000 each month for every man, woman and child in the country, exceeding most people’s budgets for food, gas, housing or other common necessities.”

It doesn’t stop there.  Diet-related conditions account for a number of health expenditures and lead to more than $125 billion in lost productivity and other indirect costs.

“At the same time, health care costs cripple the productivity and profits of American businesses,” Mozafarrian continues.  “From small to large companies, crushing health care expenditures are a major obstacle to growth and success.  Warren Buffet recently called rising medical costs the ‘tapeworm of American economic competitiveness.’  Our food system is feeding the tapeworm.”

Putting It All Together

When you look at the current state of diet and nutrition in America, it’s clear that Americans don’t have equal access to healthy, affordable food.  Children, especially, are at risk of having improper diets.  Despite the fact that people are told to eat fruits and vegetables, the government programs subsidize processed food ingredients.

In addition to eating healthier, President Trump needs to make this a national policy priority and focus on setting a better precedent for the American people.



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Can a Red Wave Actually Happen?


The midterms are right around the corner and political pundits everywhere are sounding off about the most likely outcomes. And despite the feeling that Democrats are about to regain majorities, there’s plenty of reason to believe that Republicans can maintain their stronghold.

Here’s What the Democrats Need to Do

It’s hard to believe that we’re already nearing the halfway point of President Donald Trump’s first term in the White House. But November 6 is quickly approaching, which means it’s once again election season.

While midterm elections rarely get the hype and turnout that presidential elections do, they’re arguably just as important — this year especially. If the Republicans can keep control, President Trump will be able to keep up the momentum he’s gradually built over the last 18-plus months. But if the Democrats regain majorities in either the House or the Senate, the tides would begin to change.

In the Senate, the Republicans currently hold a 51 to 49 lead. There are 35 seats up for grabs this year, of which 26 are held by Democrats. Considering that they need to gain two seats in order to take control, the Democrats face an uphill battle. They’ll essentially need a clean sweep — plus two additional seats.

The problem for the Democrats is that they have to defend ten seats in states that Trump won in 2016. On top of that, there aren’t very many opportunities to take seats from Republicans.

The best chance the left has of regaining some control in Washington is to reclaim the House. They need to flip 24 seats here, which is neither unprecedented nor uncommon.

“There have been swings of 24 seats or more in half of the midterm elections since 1994,” Jasmine C. Lee writes for the New York Times. “The last time Democrats took the House with that kind of swing was the 2006 midterm election, when they picked up 32 seats. In 2010, as the Tea Party movement against President Obama’s policies shifted the political landscape, Republicans took control of the House by flipping 64 seats. They have held the chamber ever since.”

All 435 House seats are up for grabs this year, with more than 10 percent of them considered highly competitive (tossups or slight leans towards one party).

Most pundits are predicting the Republicans hold on to their narrow lead in the Senate, while the Democrats regain control in the House — albeit by a slight margin. So the idea of a red wave or blue wave doesn’t seem all that likely. However, as history has shown, it’s never smart to postulate the impossible. And while the blue version is certainly more probable, don’t count out a fiery red wave.

A Red Wave is Still Possible… And Here’s Why

Just as the Democrats need a lot to go right to facilitate a blue wave, the Republicans need a perfect storm of sorts. While some are more likely than others, here are a few of the reasons why a red wave is possible.

  1. The Economy Continues to Thrive

The left can scream about Russia until they lose their voices, but most Americans frankly don’t care. The majority see it as much ado about nothing. (A recent poll of Americans on both sides of the political fence reveals that Russia’s alleged involvement in the recent election isn’t even one of the eight issues Americans care most about. Even the broad issue of ethics and morality is viewed as more important.)

Americans care about concrete issues — ones that impact their daily lives in tangible ways. And what’s more tangible than the state of the economy?

Trump’s economy continues to thrive, which has been catalytic in his growing approval rating. As economist Chuck Jones explains, GDP growth is up, the S&P 500 is soaring, unemployment rates are at record lows, millions of jobs are being added, hourly wages are up, and people are happy. Voters who are on the fence won’t want to rock the boat — which bodes well for Republicans.

  1. Republicans Have Mastered Grassroots Campaigning

Trump won the 2016 election as a result of grassroots campaigning. Sure, he was backed by millions of dollars, but it wasn’t the money that earned him the victory — it was the way in which his campaign swept through the nation and moved individual people to become part of a larger collective.

While Democrats spend a lot of time campaigning based on identity politics, their policies and campaigns are ironically very individualistic and divisive. Republicans, on the other hand, have grasped the significance of taking a collective focus and using words like “we” and “us,” rather than “me” or “them.”

If Republicans are to win big in November, it’ll be the direct result of strategic grassroots campaigning. Simple things like printing and distributing flyers or hosting community events all count. They cut through the BS that oozes from campaign commercials and involve the very people who control the outcomes — the voters.

  1. The Democrats Have No Platform

When you look at Republicans, it’s pretty clear what they’re fighting for right now. They want safer borders, a stronger Department of Defense, and true freedom of speech. When you look at Democrats, it isn’t clear what they want.

Can you name an issue that the Democrats are running on without using Trump’s name? All they care about is Trump this and Trump that. They have no platform to stand on. They’ve become so hardened against the right that they’ve actually begun to turn on themselves. The left seems to have lost all reason, with key party leaders going so far as to say that America was never great to begin with.

In the words of Fox News host Tucker Carlson, “Trump has totally corroded their own standards.”

No matter what year it is or who controls Washington, it’s hard to win a midterm without a solid platform.

Only Time Will Tell

Again, it isn’t very likely that a blue wave or red wave will sweep the nation in November. It’s far more probable that the Republicans will hold the Senate and the Democrats will put up a fight for the House. But, if a red wave does happen, you can bet the three factors outlined here will come into play.

The midterms are right around the corner and political pundits everywhere are sounding off about the most likely outcomes. And despite the feeling that Democrats are about to regain majorities, there’s plenty of reason to believe that Republicans can maintain their stronghold.

Here’s What the Democrats Need to Do

It’s hard to believe that we’re already nearing the halfway point of President Donald Trump’s first term in the White House. But November 6 is quickly approaching, which means it’s once again election season.

While midterm elections rarely get the hype and turnout that presidential elections do, they’re arguably just as important — this year especially. If the Republicans can keep control, President Trump will be able to keep up the momentum he’s gradually built over the last 18-plus months. But if the Democrats regain majorities in either the House or the Senate, the tides would begin to change.

In the Senate, the Republicans currently hold a 51 to 49 lead. There are 35 seats up for grabs this year, of which 26 are held by Democrats. Considering that they need to gain two seats in order to take control, the Democrats face an uphill battle. They’ll essentially need a clean sweep — plus two additional seats.

The problem for the Democrats is that they have to defend ten seats in states that Trump won in 2016. On top of that, there aren’t very many opportunities to take seats from Republicans.

The best chance the left has of regaining some control in Washington is to reclaim the House. They need to flip 24 seats here, which is neither unprecedented nor uncommon.

“There have been swings of 24 seats or more in half of the midterm elections since 1994,” Jasmine C. Lee writes for the New York Times. “The last time Democrats took the House with that kind of swing was the 2006 midterm election, when they picked up 32 seats. In 2010, as the Tea Party movement against President Obama’s policies shifted the political landscape, Republicans took control of the House by flipping 64 seats. They have held the chamber ever since.”

All 435 House seats are up for grabs this year, with more than 10 percent of them considered highly competitive (tossups or slight leans towards one party).

Most pundits are predicting the Republicans hold on to their narrow lead in the Senate, while the Democrats regain control in the House — albeit by a slight margin. So the idea of a red wave or blue wave doesn’t seem all that likely. However, as history has shown, it’s never smart to postulate the impossible. And while the blue version is certainly more probable, don’t count out a fiery red wave.

A Red Wave is Still Possible… And Here’s Why

Just as the Democrats need a lot to go right to facilitate a blue wave, the Republicans need a perfect storm of sorts. While some are more likely than others, here are a few of the reasons why a red wave is possible.

  1. The Economy Continues to Thrive

The left can scream about Russia until they lose their voices, but most Americans frankly don’t care. The majority see it as much ado about nothing. (A recent poll of Americans on both sides of the political fence reveals that Russia’s alleged involvement in the recent election isn’t even one of the eight issues Americans care most about. Even the broad issue of ethics and morality is viewed as more important.)

Americans care about concrete issues — ones that impact their daily lives in tangible ways. And what’s more tangible than the state of the economy?

Trump’s economy continues to thrive, which has been catalytic in his growing approval rating. As economist Chuck Jones explains, GDP growth is up, the S&P 500 is soaring, unemployment rates are at record lows, millions of jobs are being added, hourly wages are up, and people are happy. Voters who are on the fence won’t want to rock the boat — which bodes well for Republicans.

  1. Republicans Have Mastered Grassroots Campaigning

Trump won the 2016 election as a result of grassroots campaigning. Sure, he was backed by millions of dollars, but it wasn’t the money that earned him the victory — it was the way in which his campaign swept through the nation and moved individual people to become part of a larger collective.

While Democrats spend a lot of time campaigning based on identity politics, their policies and campaigns are ironically very individualistic and divisive. Republicans, on the other hand, have grasped the significance of taking a collective focus and using words like “we” and “us,” rather than “me” or “them.”

If Republicans are to win big in November, it’ll be the direct result of strategic grassroots campaigning. Simple things like printing and distributing flyers or hosting community events all count. They cut through the BS that oozes from campaign commercials and involve the very people who control the outcomes — the voters.

  1. The Democrats Have No Platform

When you look at Republicans, it’s pretty clear what they’re fighting for right now. They want safer borders, a stronger Department of Defense, and true freedom of speech. When you look at Democrats, it isn’t clear what they want.

Can you name an issue that the Democrats are running on without using Trump’s name? All they care about is Trump this and Trump that. They have no platform to stand on. They’ve become so hardened against the right that they’ve actually begun to turn on themselves. The left seems to have lost all reason, with key party leaders going so far as to say that America was never great to begin with.

In the words of Fox News host Tucker Carlson, “Trump has totally corroded their own standards.”

No matter what year it is or who controls Washington, it’s hard to win a midterm without a solid platform.

Only Time Will Tell

Again, it isn’t very likely that a blue wave or red wave will sweep the nation in November. It’s far more probable that the Republicans will hold the Senate and the Democrats will put up a fight for the House. But, if a red wave does happen, you can bet the three factors outlined here will come into play.



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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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