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An Inconvenient tax: picking people’s pockets in Dallas, Texas

Posted on January 25, 2015. Filed under: Blogroll, Business, Economics, Government, Government Spending, Law, Liberty, People, Philosophy, Politics, Taxes, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

An Inconvenient tax: picking people’s pockets

By Raymond Thomas Pronk

Warning, when you check out, be on the lookout for pickpockets.

The latest green movement cause du jour is the banning or taxing of disposable plastic and paper bags. These laws or city ordinances are designed to nudge or coerce customers to bring their own reusable tote bag when they shop for groceries and other merchandise.

A number of United States cities including Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, San Francisco, Portland, Seattle, Boulder, Austin and now unfortunately Dallas have either banned or taxed disposable plastic and/or paper bags or so-called “single-use carryout bags.” According to the Earth Policy Institute, over 20 million people are currently covered by 132 city and county plastic bag bans or fee ordinances in the U.S.

For decades most American and European businesses have provided their customers bags, at no additional charge, to carryout and transport their purchase. In the 1980s businesses began to give their customers a choice of paper or plastic.

On March 26, 2014, the Dallas City Council passed an 8 to 6 City Ordinance No. 29307. It requires business establishments that provide their customers “single-use carryout bags” to register with the city annually each location providing these bags and charge their customers an “environment fee” of 5 cents per bag to promote a “culture of clean” and “to protect the natural environment, the economy and the health of its residences.”

Give me a break. It is a new tax to raise millions in new tax revenue for the City of Dallas. Who are the elected Dallas-8 council member watermelons (green on the outside, red on the inside) that ordained this tax on the people and businesses of Dallas? The names of the Dallas-8 are Tennell Atkins, Carolyn R. Davis, Scott Griggs, Adam Medrano, Dwaine R. Caraway, Sandy Greyson, Philip T. Kingston, and Mayor Mike Rawlings.

The Dallas-8 are led by council member Caraway, who wanted to completely ban plastic and paper single-use carryout bags. Instead they decided to shake down Dallas businesses and their customers with a new highly regressive tax. Caraway refuses to call it a tax and claims the new ordinance which went in effect on January 1 is “a ban with a fee, such as other cities are doing across the United States.”

The eight-page ordinance includes the definition and standards that reusable carryout bags must satisfy: “A reusable carryout bag must meet the minimum reuse testing standard of 100 reuses carrying 16 pound.” Reusable bags may be made of cloth, washable fabric, durable materials, recyclable plastic with a minimum thickness of 4.0 mil or recyclable paper that contains a minimum of 40 percent recycled content.

All of the above reusable bags must have handles with the exception of small bags with a height of less than 14 inches and a width of less than 8 inches.

Business establishments can either provide or sell reusable carryout bags to its customer or to any person.

The city ordinance exempts some bags from the single-use carryout definition including:

Plastic bags used for produce, meats, nuts, grains and other bulk items inside grocery or other retail stores,
Single-use plastic bags used by restaurants to take away prepared food only where necessary to prevent moisture damage from soups, sauces, gravies or dressings,
Recyclable paper bags used by restaurants to take away prepared food,
Recyclable paper bags from pharmacies or veterinarians for prescription drugs,
Laundry, dry cleaning or garment bags,
Biodegradable door-hanger and newspaper bags, and
Bags for trash, yard debris and pet waste.
The Dallas 5 cent paper and plastic bag tax or environment fee applies only to single-use carryout bags defined as bags not meeting the requirements of a reusable bag.

Businesses that violate the ordinance can be fined up to a maximum of $500 per day.

Lee Califf, executive director of the American Progressive Bag Alliance, a bag manufacturing group, said “This legislation applies to a product that is less than 0.5 percent of municipal waste in the United States and typically less than 1 percent of litter in studies conducted across the country;” “Placing a fee on a product with such a minuscule contribution to the waste and litter streams will not help the environment: but it will cost Dallas consumers millions more per year on their grocery bills, while hurting small business and threatening the livelihoods of the 4,500 Texans who work in the plastic bag and recycling industry.”

Stop the shakedown of Dallas businesses and their customers. Repeal the inconvenient tax on paper and plastic disposable bags by voting out of office the Dallas-8 city council members who voted for this tax, Dwaine Caraway. Support your Texas state representatives in passing a new law that would prohibit cities such as Dallas and Austin from banning or taxing paper and plastic carryout bags.

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The Ultimate Resource: Human Beings

Posted on January 26, 2014. Filed under: Business, Economics, Government, Government Spending, Law, Liberty, People, Philosophy, Politics, U.S. Constitution, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Ultimate Resource: Human Beings

“Multitudes of people, necessity, and liberty, have begotten commerce in Holland.”

~David Hume (1711-1776) “Of the Rise and Progress of the Arts and Sciences” (113).

The thesis of this argumentative essay is sustainable development requires the growth of the human population to promote division of labor or labor specialization, the expansion of the market and individual economic and political liberty with limited government intervention into the economy. Many of the advocates in the sustainable development movement are environmental activists, socialists and collectivists who argue for the opposite, namely limiting the growth of the human population because they believe natural resources are scarce. These advocates argue for government intervention into the economy and use the precautionary principle as a tool to stop economic development they consider harmful to future generations.

Humans throughout time have struggled to survive and obtain scarce resources such as food, water and energy. Only in the last 400 years have most humans been able to gradually rise above a subsistence level of existence and increase both their numbers and standard of living. In the sweep of time humans have progressed from the age of hunting and gathering to the age of farming and shepherding to finally the age of commerce.

Regarding the first two ages, Jared Diamond in his book Guns, Germs and Steel wrote: “Around 7 million years ago, all humans on Earth fed themselves exclusively by hunting wild animals and gathering wild plants. It was only with the last 11,000 years that some people turned to what is food production: that is, domesticating wild animals and plants and eating the resulting livestock and crop” (86).

Food production resulted in food surpluses that enabled the human population to grow in numbers and specialize in their activities. Diamond described the consequences of this development: “In short, plant and animal domestication meant much more food and hence denser human populations. The resulting food surplus, and (in some areas) the animal-based means of transporting those surpluses, were a prerequisite for the development of settled, politically centralized, social stratified, economically complex, technologically innovative societies” (92).

Diamond identifies four sets of factors that he argues constitute the “big environmental differences that can be quantified objectively and are not subject to dispute” (408).  The fourth set of factors is a large area or population. Diamond describes this important set as follows:  “A large area or population means more potential inventors, more competing societies, more innovation available to adopt – more pressure to adopt and retain innovation because societies failing to so will tend to be eliminated by competing societies” (407).

Adam Smith in his book The Wealth of Nations published in 1776 wrote: “The greatest improvement in the productive powers of labor, and the greater part of the skill, dexterity, and judgment which it is anywhere directed or applied, seem to have been the effects of the division of labor” (3).

For a nation to increase its wealth and develop economically required a large and growing population to enable a division of labor or labor specialization. According to Smith the division of labor’s increase in work and production resulted from several factors:

This great increase in quantity of work, which, in consequence of the division of labor, the same number of people are capable of performing, is owing to three different circumstances: first, to the increase dexterity in every particular workman; secondly, to the saving of the time which is commonly lost in passing from one species to another; and lastly to the invention of a great number of machines which facilitate and abridge labor, and enable one man to do the work of many. (7)

Individuals exchanging goods and services encourage the division of labor which is limited by the extent of the market (Smith 13-21). For Smith an individual’s freedom, security and work ethic are of critical importance:

The natural effort of every individual to better his own condition, when suffered to exert itself with freedom and security, is so powerful, that it is alone, and without any assistance, not only capable of carrying on the society to wealth and prosperity, but of surmounting a hundred impertinent obstructions with which the folly of human laws too often encumbers its operations (508).

The writers and philosophers of the 18th century Enlightenment shared Smith’s optimism in economic progress. One such optimistic thinker was Marie-Jean-Antonine Nicholas Caritate (1743-94), known as Marquis de Condorcet. He predicted that in the next 200 years there would be a substantial increase in world population and life expectancy resulting from greater productivity in agriculture and manufacturing, improvements in food and housing, and advances in medical technology that would diminish disease and illness (Skousen 70).

Condorcet also anticipated Malthus by allowing that there could be a scenario where “the increase in the number of men surpassing their means of subsistence” could result in “either a continual diminishing of happiness, or, at least, a kind of oscillation between good and evil.” Condorcet predicted a smaller family size when individuals “will know that, if they have a duty not to give them existence but to give them happiness” (Sen 213-214).

The Reverend Thomas Robert Malthus (1766-1834) was an English economist and demographer who agreed with Condorcet’s analysis but disagreed with his views concerning declining fertility rates. Malthus formulated a simple theory that food production grows slower than the growth in population. In the long-run food production will lose the race to population growth and as a result people will starve and die (Skousen 71-91; Lomburg 60).

Malthus’ pessimistic doomsday theory was first published in 1798 as an essay under a pseudonym and then updated in his book, An Essay on the Principle of Population, in five subsequent editions through 1826. Malthus’ first law of nature is that population tends to grow geometrically (1, 2, 4, 8, 16, 32 …). His second law of nature is food production tends to increase arithmetically (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 …) (Skousen 71-72; Kahn).

Malthus’ first law of nature was empirically wrong because population did not grow geometrically. The world population did, however, grow from about 1 billion in 1800 to more than 7 billion today. The causes of this growth are chiefly a sharp decline in infant mortality and an increase in life expectancy due to rising standards of living, improvements in hygiene, sanitation and health care and advances in medicine (Skousen 76-78).

Malthus second law of nature regarding food production is simply false for both plants and animals are far more fertile than humans. Malthus argued that there was not enough fertile land or natural resources to sustain life (Skousen 81-82).

Malthus’ preventive checks on population growth included delaying marriage, birth control and celibacy. Positive checks on population growth included war, disease, epidemics, plagues, pestilence and famines (Buchholz 49-50).

For Malthus famine was the last resource that haunts humans everywhere and always:

Famine seems to be the last, the most dreadful resource of nature. The power of population is so superior to the power of the earth to produce subsistence for man that premature death must in some shape or other visit the human race. The vices of mankind are active and able ministers of depopulation. They are the precursors in the great army of destruction; and they often finish the dreadful work themselves. But should they fail in this war of extermination, sickly seasons, epidemics, pestilence and plague advance in terrific array, and sweep off their thousands and ten thousands. Should success be still incomplete; gigantic, inevitable famine stalks in the rear, and with one mighty blow, levels the population with the food of the world. (Malthus 139-140)

What Malthus clearly missed and Condorcet did not is affluence or high standards of living is an effective way to limit population growth in the long-run. The world’s population is determined by the combined effects of fertility and mortality rates. The world’s population continues to rise because of generational lags between fertility and mortality changes and population changes (Huber 142).  When Malthus first wrote his essay in 1798 the world population was about 1 billion. A hundred years later in 1900, the world population had grown to 1.6 billion. By 1950 the world population had increased to 2.5 billion. By 2000 the world’s population had increased to 6.5 billion. Today the world’s population exceeds 7 billion people. According to the United Nations’ long-term projections the world’s population will be somewhere between 7.5 billion and 9.5 billion in 2050. However, population is projected to start shrinking to about 6 million in 2100 and 4.3 billion in 2150 (Huber 148).

In the 215 years since Malthus first published his essay, the west has grown steadily wealthier as free market capitalism expanded globally. Both fertility and mortality rates dropped resulting in fewer children and a longer life expectancy (Huber 141). The economic wellbeing of a country’s population depends upon raising per capita living standards through the expansion of economic activity measured by total aggregate production and consumption. This, in turn depends upon the rate of growth of the population (Friedman 391-392).

Rapid population growth rates are almost entirely a problem for developing countries. “The forty-two countries where per capita income is below $2,000 – nearly a billion people – average population growth is 2.2 percent per annum. Their average fertility is 4.9 births per woman” (Friedman 392).

Rapid population growth rates in emerging countries such as China and India are less of a problem. “In the thirty-eight countries with per capita income in the $2,000 to $5,000 range, population growth averages 1.4 percent per annum, and the average fertility rate is 3.” (Friedman 392)

Rapid population growth rates are not a problem for developed countries in Europe, North America and Asia. “Among the thirty countries with the world’s highest incomes, the average population growth net of immigration is just .3 percent per annum. The average fertility rate is 1.7 births per woman, well below the population replacement rate (Friedman 392). In the United States over the last 200 years, the fertility rate has dropped from about 8 children per woman to 2” (Huber 147).

The last 100 years has by far seen the largest improvement in life expectancy of the world’s population. In 1900 the estimated world life expectancy was just 30 years. By 1950 people lived for an average of 46.5 years. By 1998 the life expectancy increased to 67 years. The world population’s life expectancy had more than doubled in just 100 years. This improvement in life expectancy was largely due to a significant decline in infant mortality in both developing and industrialized countries by more than 50 percent. Less people died at an early age and more people die of old age (Lomborg 50-59).

The declining infant mortality rates and increasing life expectancy were due to rising standards of living that provided better food, clothing and housing and higher disease resistance. Better water supplies, sewers, public hygiene and quarantine measures also suppressed the spread of infections. Higher living standards, better hygiene and advances in medicine also defeated infectious diseases (Lomborg 55-56).

Malthus’ pessimistic doomsday vision has nothing to do with reality when it comes to food production and daily intake of calories per capita in developed and developing countries. Since 1961 the world’s food production has more than doubled and in the developing countries has more than tripled. Calorie intake globally has increased by more than 24 percent and in the developing countries has increased by 38 percent (Lomborg 60-61).

What caused this significant improvement in food production and consumption? The Green Revolution was the cause. A number of technologies including high-yield crops, irrigation and controlled water supply, fertilizers, pesticides and farm management skills produced more food during the Green Revolution that began in the 1940s and continues into the present. Norman Borlaug is the “father of the Green Revolution.” His vision was to get more food out of each and every hectare of land. Borlaug focused on developing high-yield varieties of cereal crops including wheat, corn (maize) and rice that are resistant to disease and drought, germinate earlier and grow faster (Borlaug; Briney; Fogel 54; Hazell 1-3; Lomborg, 62-64; Courter).

Despite the growth of the world’s population to over 7 billion, the Green Revolution’s dramatic increase in world food production has continued the long-term trend of lower food prices. Food prices in 2000 cost less than a third of their prices in 1957 (Lomborg 62).

The United Nations General Assembly established and chartered the World Commission on Environment and Development in 1983. Gro Harlem Brundtland, three-term prime minister of Norway, former environment minister and first vice-president of the Socialist International, was chosen to chair the commission (Friedman 390).

The Brundtland Commission’s report published in 1987 introduced the concept of “sustainable development” and the need for intergenerational equity and continuity by meeting “the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs” (Friedman 391; World Commission on Environment and Development 8). The Brundtland Commission called for both reduced population growth and changes in the life-styles of the more affluent. The report stated:

Sustainable global development requires those that are more affluent adopt life-styles within the planet’s ecological means – in the use of energy, for example. Further, rapidly growing populations can increase the pressure of resources and slow any rise in living standards; thus sustainable development can only be pursued if population size and growth are in harmony with the changing productive systems of the ecosystem. (World Commission on Environment and Development 8-9)

Environmentalist Paul Hawken writing about the “movement for equity and environmental sustainability” (13) provides a more expanded definition of sustainable development:

Sustainable development encompasses economic and social development. It takes full account of the environmental and social consequences of economic activity and is based on the use of resources that can be replaced or renewed, meeting the needs and improving the quality of life of current generations without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own environmental, social, and economic needs (288).

Where did this movement come from? According to Hawken, “The movement has three basic roots: environmental activism, social justice initiatives and indigenous culture’s resistance to globalization, all of which have become intertwined” (12). One tool of this movement is the precautionary principle used to stop economic development, globalization of the market and technological innovation, considered harmful to sustainable development. Hawken defines the precautionary principles as follows: “The principle of taking pre-emptive action to forestall long-term environmental damage despite scientific uncertainty of such damage occurring. Where the potential damage is severe and irreversible, as in the case of climate change, a lack of scientific proof is insufficient reason to justify inaction to prevent such damage occurring” (266).

Hawken summarizes the detailed analysis and final verdict of “The Millennium Ecosystem Assessment Report” on the planet’s carry capacity: “the earth is wearing out and will soon become exhausted, incapable of supporting life as we know it” (173). If you believe in this movement, the planet is on the brink of disaster (173).

Humans and the planet need a second opinion. The skeptical environmentalist Bjorn Lomborg reached a different conclusion regarding the real state of the world. Humans have never been healthier and living longer with more food to eat, higher incomes, more leisure time, and on average are better educated. “Things are not everywhere good, but they are better than they used to be” (87).

Is this progress sustainable? Can the progress humans have made be maintained and improved? Lomborg answers in the affirmative. He concludes his exhaustive analysis as follows:

Our consumption of the essential resources such as food, forests, water, raw material and energy seem to have such characteristics that it will leave the coming generations not with fewer options, but rather with ever more options. Our future society will probably be able to produce much more food per capita, while not threatening the forests – or perhaps even allowing us to allocate more space and money to reforest the Earth to achieve higher living standards. (159)

Economic growth provides both material and moral benefits. The material benefits of a rising standard of living include less infantile mortality, malnutrition, hunger and disease, a healthier life and greater life expectancy (Friedman 3). In his book the The Moral Consequences of Economic Growth, Benjamin Friedman argues that economic growth provides moral benefits: “Economic growth – meaning a rising standard of living for the clear majority of citizens – more often than not fosters greater opportunity, tolerance of diversity, social mobility, commitment to fairness, and dedication to democracy. Ever since the Enlightenment, Western thinking has regarded each of these tendencies positively, and in explicitly moral terms” (4).

Peace and prosperity require individual political and economic liberty. Individuals require incentives to work hard and take risks free from government coercion and intervention. This requires a framework where there is respect for the rule of law, private property, fair and sensitive rules in the market and economic liberty (Simon 11).

The United Nations’ Brundtland Commission wanted to control population growth for they view low standards of living as being caused by excessive fertility rates and limited resources. Many economists disagree that the long-term problem is population growth and scarcity of resources. For example Julian Simon concludes:

On balance the long-run effects are positive. The mechanism works as follows. Population growth and increase in income expand demand, forcing up prices of natural resources. The increased prices trigger the search for new supplies. Eventually new sources and substitutes are found. These new discoveries leave humanity better off than if the shortages have not occurred. (579)

The economics of population and resources demonstrates that the world’s long-run problem is not too many people or too few resources, but the lack of political and economic freedom (Simon 11). Powerful evidence comes from pairs of countries that had the same culture and history and much the same standard of living when they split apart after World War II – Communist China and Taiwan, East and West Germany, and North and South Korea.  In each case the centrally planned Communist country began with less population “pressure,” as measured by density per square kilometer, than did the market-directed economy. And the Communist and non-Communist countries started with much the same birth rates. But the market-directed economies performed much better economically than the centrally planned economies (Simon 11).

The cure for hunger and poverty comes from the individual and their desire to improve their condition. However, the path to prosperity can be a long and difficult one.  In his book, The Wealth and Poverty of Nations: Why Some are So Rich and Some So Poor, David Landes eloquently expresses the need for a strong work ethic:

The people who live to work are a small and fortunate elite. But it is an elite open to newcomers, self-selected, the kind of people who accentuate the positive. In this world, the optimists have it, not because they are always right, but because they are positive, and that is the way of achievement, correction, improvement and success. Educated, eyes-open optimism pays: pessimism can only offer empty consolation of being right. (523-524)

Unlike the pessimist Malthus who believed famine was the last resource of nature, the optimists believe the ultimate resource are human beings.

 

Works Cited

Borlaug, Norman E. “The Green Revolution: Peace and Humanity.” The Atlantic online. n.d. n.pag.Web. 10 Dec. 2013. <http://www.theatlantic.com/past/docs/issues/97jan/borlaug/speech.htm&gt;.

Briney, Amanda, “Green Revolution: History and Overview of the Green Revolution.” About.com. 23 Oct. 2008. n. pag. Web. 10 Dec. 2013. <http://geography.about.com/od/globalproblemsandissues/a/greenrevolution.htm&gt;.

Buchholz, Todd G. New Ideas from Dead Economists: An Introduction to Modern Economic Thought. 2nd rev. ed. London: Penguin, 2007. Print.

Courter, Gay. “Freedom from Famine: The Norman Borlaug Story” YouTube. CactusBumm. 10 Oct. 2013. Web. 10 Dec. 2013. <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IjeqOnsZp6w&gt;.

Diamond, Jared. Guns, Germs and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, Inc., 1997. Print.

Friedman, Benjamin M. The Moral Consequences of Economic Growth. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2005. Print.

Hawken, Paul. Blessed Unrest: How the Largest Movement in the World Came into Being and Why No One Saw It Coming. New York: Viking-Penguin, 2007. Print.

Hazell, Peter B.R. “Green Revolution: Curse or Blessing.” International Food Policy Research Institute. 2002. 1-3. Web. 10 Dec. 2013. <http://www.ifpri.org/sites/default/files/pubs/pubs/ib/ib11.pdf&gt;.

Huber, Peter. Hard Green: Saving the Environment from the Environmentalists, a Conservative Manifesto. New York: Basic Books, 1999. Print.

Hume, David. Essays: Moral, Political and Literary. Indianapolis: Liberty Classics, 1985. Print.

Kahn, Salman. “Thomas Malthus and Population Growth.”  YouTube. Khan Academy, 28 Dec. 2012. Web. 10 Dec., 2013. < http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r1ywppAJ1xs&gt;.

Landes, David S. The Wealth and Poverty of Nations: Why Some are So Rich and Some So Poor. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, Inc., 1998. Print.

Lomborg, Bjorn. The Skeptical Environmentalist: Measuring the Real State of the World. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001. Print.

Malthus, Thomas R. An Essay on the Principle of Population, 1st ed. London: Macmillan reprint, 1909. Print.

Sen, Amartya. Development As Freedom. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1999. Print.

Simon, Julian L. The Ultimate Resource 2. New York: Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1996. Print.

Skousen, Mark. The Making of Modern Economics: The Lives and Ideas of the Great Thinkers, 2nd ed. Armonk, New York: M.E. Sharpe, Inc., 2009. Print.

Smith, Adam. An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, The Modern Library Edition, New York: Random House, Inc., 1937. Print.

World Commission on Environment and Development. Our Common Future. New York: Oxford University Press, 1987. Print.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Obamacare: trick, treat or tax?

Posted on November 13, 2013. Filed under: Business, Congress, Economics, Fiscal Policy, Government, Government Spending, Health Care, Health Care Insurance, Law, Liberty, Macroeconomis, Microeconomics, People, Philosophy, Politics, Taxes, U.S. Constitution | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Obamacare: trick, treat or tax?

By Raymond Thomas Pronk

halloween-haunted-house-pumpkin-lights-free-hd

Credit: http://www.wallcg.com

If you think Halloween is scary, you should see the HealthCare.gov website. It is frightening.

When Barack Obama was running for president in 2008, he made a firm pledge to the American people.

“If you who make less than a quarter of a million dollars per year which includes 98 percent of small business owners, you will not see your taxes increase one single dime under my plan — not your payroll taxes, not your income taxes, not your capital gains taxes, nothing. It is time to give the middle class a break. That is what I will do as president of the United States,” Obama said. This was captured in a YouTube video titled “Not a Dime in Tax Increase for Those Earning Less than $250,000.”

Once he was elected, Obama made another promise to the American people.

Obama said, “No matter how we reform healthcare, we will make this promise to the American people; if you like your doctor, you will be able to keep your doctor, period. If you like your healthcare plan, you will be able to keep your healthcare plan, period. No one will take it away, no matter what. My view is that healthcare reform should be guided by a simple principle, fix what is broken and build on what works.” This statement was captured in a YouTube video titled “Obama to AMA keep your doctor and insurance we will build economy.”

On March 23, 2010, Obama signed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, commonly referred to as Obamacare. Before Obamacare was enacted into law, Obama was interviewed by ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos. He asked the president, “You were against the individual mandate during the campaign. Under this mandate the government is forcing people to spend money and fining you if you don’t. How is that not a tax?”

Obama said, “…For us to say that you have to take responsibility to get health insurance is absolutely not a tax increase. What it is saying is that we are not going to have other people carrying your burdens for you.”

Stephanopoulos responded, “I do not think I am making it up. Merriam-Webster’s dictionary, tax, a charge usually of money imposed on persons or property for public purposes.”

Obama replied, “George, the fact you looked it up Merriam’s dictionary, that a definition of tax increase,   indicates to me that you are stretching it right now.” The entire exchange was captured in the YouTube video titled “Obamacare : FLASHBACK President Obama said Individual Mandate Is Not a Tax (Sept 20, 2009).”

When Obamacare was enacted, 26 states, along with several individuals and others challenged the constitutionality of Obamacare in the courts. They argued that the law was a violation of the Constitution’s Commerce Clause, which gives the federal government the power to regulate commerce between the states. The Supreme Court ruled that the law could not be upheld under the Commerce Clause. This was the primary argument of the government in arguing for the constitutionality of the law. Chief Justice Roberts, writing for the majority said, “The federal government does not have the power to order people to buy health insurance.”

However, the Supreme Court did accept the government’s tax argument that the individual mandate represented a tax on individuals who choose not the buy health insurance. The Court said, “going without insurance” is “just another thing the government taxes, like buying gasoline or earning income.”

Americans are not required to buy health insurance under the individual mandate, according to the Supreme Court in its ruling. However, if you elect not to buy one of Obamacare’s individual metal (bronze, silver, gold or platinum) plans through a state or federal health insurance exchange, you may be subject to a tax penalty or fine by the Internal Revenue Service.

For 2014, the fine is the greater of 1 percent of income or $95 per adult and $47.50 per child up to $285 per family. For 2015 the fine is the greater of 2 percent of income or $325 per adult and $162.50 per child up to $975 per family. For 2016 the fine is the greater of 2.5 percent of income or $695 per adult and $347.50 per child up to $2,085.

Millions of Americans are now finding out from their insurance companies that as a direct result of the passage of Obamacare, they can no longer keep their existing individual plans or doctors. Instead, they have the choice of either purchasing one of the Obamacare metal health insurance plans with much higher premiums and deductibles or pay the IRS fine.

Thanks to Obama the American people believed their taxes would not rise and they could keep their existing health insurance plans and doctors. Obamacare is not a treat, but a trick or tax.

Raymond Thomas Pronk presents the Pronk Pops Show on KDUX web radio from 4-5 p.m. Monday thru Thursday and from 3-5 p.m. Friday and authors the companion blog http://www.pronkpops.wordpress.com.

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Obama’s SAD Deal

Posted on November 13, 2013. Filed under: Banking, Business, Congress, Credit, Economics, Fiscal Policy, Government, Government Spending, Health Care, Health Care Insurance, Law, Liberty, Macroeconomis, Microeconomics, Monetary Policy, People, Philosophy, Politics, Tax Policy, U.S. Constitution, War | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Obama’s SAD Deal

By Raymond Thomas Pronk

sad-face

Presidents like to make deals with the American people that supposedly will fix things.

Theodore Roosevelt had his Square Deal, Franklin D. Roosevelt had his New Deal, Harry Truman had his Fair Deal, and President Barack Obama has his SAD (Spending Addiction Disorder) deal.

The most recent developments in Obama’s SAD deal are the federal government will be completely open for business and funded through Jan. 15, 2014 under yet another continuing resolution passed on Wednesday by Congress and signed by the president. The gross national debt ceiling was suspended until Feb. 7, 2014. By then the national debt will be approaching $17.5 trillion and will exceed the entire gross domestic product for 2013 estimated to be about $16 trillion.

In other words the SAD deal means more government spending and taxes, more massive budgetary deficits, more government debt and more money and credit creation by the Federal Reserve System to finance the SAD habit.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) announced on Wednesday that they had reached an agreement to open the government until Jan. 15, 2014 and extend the debt ceiling through Feb. 7, 2014.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) said, “The deal that has been cut provides no relief to the millions of Americans who are hurting because of Obamacare. The deal that has been cut provides no relief to all the young people coming out of school who can’t find a job because of Obamacare. It provides no relief to all the single parents who have been forced into part-time work, struggling to feed their kids on 29 hours a week.”

Unfortunately, the SAD deal will continue the annual massive budgetary deficits that over the last five years have averaged more than $1.2 trillion per year and will increase the burden of debt on existing and future generations of the American people. Under Obama’s SAD deal the gross national debt has been increased over $6 trillion to fund the fiscal year deficits from 2009 through 2013. The White House has optimistically estimated that the fiscal year deficit for 2014 will be only $750 billion!

The SAD deal has resulted in the worse post-World War II economic recovery with unemployment rates exceeding 7 percent for the 56 months of the Obama’s presidency. Tens of millions of Americans are searching for a permanent full-time job.

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) at the Republican conference meeting on Oct. 16 said, “We all agree Obamacare is an abomination. We all agree taxes are too high. We all agree spending is too high. We all agree Washington is getting in the way of job growth. We all agree we have a real debt crisis that will cripple future generations. We all agree on these fundamental conservative principles.”

The American people agree that the Washington ruling elite of both the Democrat and Republican parties are simply incapable of controlling their SAD habit.

Cruz is right. The ruling elite are not listening to the American people.

The American people want federal spending and taxes to be cut, a balanced budget, the national debt paid off and Obamacare repealed. The American people can no longer afford to pay for Obama’s SAD deal.

Raymond Thomas Pronk presents the Pronk Pops Show on KDUX web radio from 4-5 p.m. Monday thru Thursday and from 3-5 p.m. Friday and authors the companion blog http://www.pronkpops.wordpress.com.

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Political junkies overdose

Posted on November 13, 2013. Filed under: Banking, Business, Congress, Credit, Economics, Fiscal Policy, Government, Government Spending, Health Care, Health Care Insurance, Law, Liberty, Macroeconomis, Microeconomics, Monetary Policy, People, Philosophy, Politics, Tax Policy, U.S. Constitution, War, Weapons | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Political junkies overdose

By Raymond Thomas Pronk

us_debt_ceiling_cartoon

The ruling elite in Washington, both Democrats and Republicans, are addicts with a bad habit.

The ruling elite share many of the common addictions of the American people to alcohol, cigarettes, drugs, food, gambling, games, pornography, television, sex and surfing the Web.

Yet the ruling elite have a unique habit that the American people can no longer pay for or support. The name of this habit is SAD — Spending Addiction Disorder.

The primary symptoms of SAD are massive annual federal government budget deficits, raising the national debt ceiling and blaming others for their addiction problem.

Like most habits that turn into addictions, the ruling elite can no longer control themselves. They are hooked on spending other people’s money.

How bad is the SAD habit? For the past five fiscal years the federal government forced the American people to support their habit by collecting more than $12 trillion in taxes. However, the ruling elite’s habit is much worse. Besides the $12 trillion in taxes, the federal government spent in excess of $6 trillion by running annual budget deficits averaging more than $1.2 trillion per year.

This required the ruling elite to order the Department of the Treasury to issue more new Treasury debt securities in the form of Treasury bills, notes and bonds to finance these deficits that exceeded $6 trillion. As a result the total gross national debt now exceeds $17 trillion.

To put these amounts in perspective, the total U.S. real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for 2013 is estimated to be about $16 trillion.

President Barack Obama and Congress fear the American people will finally wake up and demand they kick their SAD habit and live within the means of the American people. This would require real cuts in the fiscal year 2014 federal budget spending with the aim of balancing the budget within three or four years.

The ruling elite SAD junkies are lashing out and demonizing American taxpayers who support their habit by calling them anarchists, arsonists, extremists, hostage-takers, kidnappers, terrorists or worse, Tea Party Republicans.

Obama held a press conference on Oct. 8 and warned that if the national debt ceiling is not raised by Oct. 17, the U.S. could default on its national debt and put the U.S. into another recession. Political junkies with the SAD habit have been known to lie in order to get another fix for their habit. On average the American people are currently paying the ruling elite about $225 billion each month in taxes which would more than cover the $35 billion monthly interest paid on Treasury debt, according to the Monthly Treasury Statement (MTS) report. The last thing the U.S. government will do is default on the national debt by not paying the interest when due.

Mandatory spending makes up about 66 percent of all government spending and is required to be paid under existing authorization laws. Currently the federal government collects enough taxes to pay for mandatory spending including interest on the national debt, entitlements (Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid), and income support programs (unemployment compensation, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program [SNAP], Supplemental Income for the blind and disabled, earned income and child tax credits).

Discretionary spending makes up about 33 percent of government spending and includes spending for all federal departments, agencies and programs. Discretionary spending must be authorized each fiscal year and funded through appropriation bills.

The reason the political junkies with the SAD habit are panicking is they need to raise the national debt ceiling imposed by Congress by an additional $1 trillion above the existing national debt of $17 trillion to pay for discretionary spending for fiscal year 2014.  In order to get another debt raising fix, Congress must raise the debt ceiling once again.

Cutting federal government spending to balance the budget over a period of three or four years is never an option for the ruling elite junkies hooked with SAD. More and more government spending and taxes is the default solution for SAD political junkies.

The time has come for the American people to put the political junkies hooked on SAD in a rehab job in the private sector. The American people need to elect representatives, senators and a president that are fiscally responsible stewards of the general welfare and insist that all federal government budgets be balanced.

Raymond Thomas Pronk presents the Pronk Pops Show on KDUX web radio from 4-5 p.m. Monday thru Thursday and from 3-5 p.m. Friday and authors the companion blog http://www.pronkpops.wordpress.com.

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Count down to government shut down

Posted on November 13, 2013. Filed under: Banking, Business, Credit, Economics, Fiscal Policy, Government Spending, Health Care, Law, Liberty, Monetary Policy, People, Philosophy, Politics, Tax Policy, U.S. Constitution, War | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Count down to government shut down

By Raymond Thomas Pronk

Senate_Must_Act

House votes to fund federal government but defund Obamacare                Credit: http://www.ktvu.com

The nonessential parts of the federal government may be shut down on Oct. 1 until Congress passes either a fiscal year 2014 budget appropriations bill or a continuing resolution.

Fiscal year 2014 begins Oct. 1 and ends Sept. 30, 2014. Since the Democrats want to increase government spending and taxes and the Republicans want to decrease government spending and taxes, neither party will agree to a budget appropriations bill.

Instead of a stalemate, Congress could pass a joint continuing resolution that appropriates funds for government departments, agencies and programs at current, expanded or reduced levels until a formal appropriations bill is signed into law or until the resolution expires. A continuing resolution would have to be passed by both the House and Senate and then signed into law by the president.

The House passed a continuing resolution on Sept. 20 that would fund the federal government at current levels for the first 11 weeks of the fiscal year 2014 and keep the federal government open. If this continuing resolution is not passed by the Senate, some nonessential parts of the federal government would need to be shut down.

The House resolution had two amendments. The first would strip out funding for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, more commonly referred to as Obamacare and thereby stop its implementation. The second would direct how federal government spending is prioritized in the event the Treasury hits the borrowing debt ceiling limit in the near future.

The 230-189 vote was mainly along party lines with 228 Republicans and two Democrats voting in favor and 188 Democrats and one Republican voting against the continuing resolution.

Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-Ohio) held a victory rally after the resolution passed and remarked, “The American people don’t want the government shut down, and they don’t want Obamacare. The House has listened to the American people. Now it’s time for the United States Senate to listen to them as well.”

House Majority Leader, Eric Cantor put several Democratic Senators, who are up for re-election in Nov. of 2014, on the spot. Cantor called out Sens. Mark Begich of Alaska, Mark Pryor of Arkansas, Mary Landrieu of Louisiana and Kay Hagan of North Carolina. Cantor said, “It’s up to Senate Democrats to follow House Republicans and show some responsibility.”

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) said on Sept. 19, “I will do everything and anything possible to defund Obamacare.” Cruz promised to filibuster any attempt to strip out the language of the House continuing resolution that defunds Obamacare. A filibuster is the use of irregular or obstructive tactics by a Senator to prevent the adoption of a measure.

Cruz began his filibuster by saying: “I rise today in opposition to Obamacare. I rise today in an effort to speak for 26 million Texans and for 300 million Americans. All across this country Americans are suffering because of Obamacare. Obamacare isn’t working and yet fundamentally there are politicians in this body who are not listening to the people. They are not listening to the concerns of their constituents. They are not listening to the jobs lost, the people forced into part-time jobs, the people losing their health insurance, the people who are struggling. A great many Texans, a great many Americans feel that they do not have a voice. So I hope to play some very small part in helping to provide that voice for them. …I  intend to speak in opposition to Obamacare. I intend to speak in support of defunding Obamacare, until I am unable to stand.”

Cruz delivered on his promise by standing and speaking for more than 21 hours on Sept. 23-24.

According to a Sept. 15 NBC/WSJ poll, 44 percent of respondents call Obamacare a bad idea and 31 percent believe it’s a good idea.

In a national survey of 1,000 likely voters conducted on Sept. 14-15 by Rasmussen Reports, 51 percent favor a government shutdown until Congress cuts health care funding. The Rasmussen survey also found that “58 percent favor a federal budget that cuts spending, while 16 percent prefer one that increases spending. Twenty-one percent support a budget that keeps spending levels about the same.”

According to Rasmussen, “74 percent of Republican and 62 percent of unaffiliated voters would rather have a shutdown until the two sides can agree on what spending to cut,” while “63 percent of Democrats agree with the president and would prefer to avoid a shutdown by authorizing spending at existing levels.”

“Republicans are simply postponing for a few days the inevitable choice they must face: pass a clean bill to fund the government, or force a shutdown. I have said it before but it seems to bear repeating: the Senate will not pass any bill that defunds or delays Obamacare,” said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada).

The Democrats are determined to fund Obamacare, shut down the government on Oct.1 and blame it on Republicans.

Raymond Thomas Pronk presents the Pronk Pops Show on KDUX web radio from 4-5 p.m. Monday thru Thursday and from 3-5 p.m. Friday and authors the companion blog http://www.pronkpops.wordpress.com.

 

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King Obama Decrees Subsidies to Congress and Staff for Obamacare: The Ruling Class vs. The American People

Posted on November 13, 2013. Filed under: Business, Economics, Fiscal Policy, Government Spending, Health Care, Law, Liberty, Macroeconomis, Microeconomics, People, Philosophy, Politics | Tags: , , , , , |

King Obama Decrees Subsidies to Congress and Staff for Obamacare: The Ruling Class vs. The American People
By Raymond Thomas Pronk

United States Capitol Building

United States Capitol Building, Capitol Hill, Washington D.C.       Credit: blog.timesunion.com

Only the ruling class in Washington, both Democrats and some Republicans, not believe in the proverb, “What’s sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.”

The The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act signed into law by President Barack Obama on March 23, 2010 and commonly known as Obamacare, requires members of Congress and their staffs (currently about 11,000 people) to purchase their health insurance plans through new states-based markets known as insurance exchanges.

Senator Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa) originally proposed this requirement as an amendment to the Obamacare bill, said at the time he wanted “members of Congress and Congressional staff to get their employer-based health insurance through the same exchanges as our constituents.”

Senator Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada) revised the Grassley amendment when the Obamacare bill was rushed to a vote on Christmas eve December 2009. The resulting 2,500 page bill failed to include legislature language that would continue premium contributions for members of Congress and their staffs that the federal government makes for its employees and requires them to purchase Obamacare mandated plans through the exchanges.

Currently members of Congress and their staffs obtaine their health insurance plans through the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHBP) that covers more than eight million people including government employees and their families, provides dozen of competing plans and is the nation’s largest employer-sponsored health insurance program. This will soon end as the state insurance exchanges begin operation on Oct.1.

Individuals without qualified health insurance coverage through their employers or covered by Medicare or Medicaid are required by law to purchase health insurance coverage by January 1, 2014 and may qualify for federal subsidies. Low-income individuals and families above 100% and up to 400% of the federal poverty level will receive federal subsidies on a sliding scale if they choose to purchase insurance via an exchange. For 2013 the federal poverty guideline level for an individual is $11,390 and for a family of four is $23, 550 (see Annual Update of the HHS Poverty Guidelines, https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2013/01/24/2013-01422/annual-update-of-the-hhs-poverty-guidelines)

Starting in 2014 Members of Congress and their staffs by law must purchase their health insurance through the exchanges and no longer through FEHBP. United States senators and representatives have earned $174,000 per year starting in 2009. The Speaker of the House and the House Majority and Minority Leaders earn $223,500.Senate majority and minority leaders earn $193,000 as do other House leadership. Members of Congress and their highly paid staff would not be eligible for any subsidies under Obamacare.

Reid has made it very clear that “There are not now, have never been, nor will there be any discussions about exempting members of Congress from Affordable Care Act provisions that apply to any employees of any other public or private employer offering health care.”

However, those who work for Congressional committees and leadership offices, such as  Senate Majority leader Reid’s office, are apparently exempt from requirement to obtain their health insurance coverage through the exchanges and can continue to obtain their subsided health insurance plans through the FEHBP.

Obama’s Office of Personnel Management (OPM) on Aug. 7 issued regulations that members of Congress and their staffs will continue to receive premium contribution subsidies based on the FEHBP’s defined-contribution formula that covers about 75 percent of the cost of the average health insurance plan or about $5,000 for an individual and $11,000 for a family for fiscal year 2014 that begins Oct.1, 2013.

“These proposed regulations implement the administrative aspects of switching Members of Congress and congressional staff to their new insurance plans – the same plans available to millions of Americans through the new Exchanges,”  said OPM Director of Planning and Policy Jon Foley.

The OPM claims that a legal loophole in the Obamacare law, the phrase “notwithstanding any other provision of law”, is legal justification and authority for continuing Member of Congress and staff keeping their employee subsidies. This proposed regulation simply ignores  the fact the Obamacare law “prohibits an employer from providing a qualified health plan through an Exchange as a benefit under its cafeteria plan.”

Furthermore, most Congressional staff employees will most likely remain under FEHBP and not be forced into the mandated health insurance exchanges because the term “official office” of a Member of Congress does not have an existing statutory definition under Obamacare.

The ruling class in Washington, both Democrats and Republicans, will continue to be subsized by the American taxpayer. While more than 30 million individuals and small businesses will be forced to purchase health insurance plans that do not want and many cannot  afford.

Now that Obama has also delayed implementation of the Obamacare employer mandate for those with 50 or more employees until Jan.1. 2015, 56 percent of American voters favor delaying for a year the individual mandate as well with only 26 percent opposed according to the July 13, 2013 Rassmusen Reports. While American voters oppose the individual mandate by a 2 to 1 margin, most voters favor the employer mandate for businesses with 50 or more employees by 59 percent in favor and 34 percent oppose, according to Rassmusen Reports.

The House of Representative controlled by the Republicans has passed legislation to repeal Obamacare in its entirety 40 times. The Democratic controlled Senate has blocked such legislation from becoming law. However, tea-party Senators lead Mike Lee (R-Ut.), Ted Cruz (R-Tx.), Rand Paul (R-Ky), Marco Rubio (R-Fla) and James Inhofe (R-Okla.) and eight other Senators and 60 House Republicans have signed a letter urging the Republican leadership to defund Obama by passing a continuing resolution that would fund the federal government for fiscal year 2014 in its entiretly except for Obamacare.

The only way this tea party initiative can succeed is for the American people to rise up against the ruling class in Washington. Senator Cruz said, “The most important Constitutional check that Congress has on an overreaching President is the Power of the purse. If Republicans stand together, we can actually succeed in defunding it.”

During the August Congressional recess the tea party Senators and Representatives will be mobilizing the support of the American people to defund Obamacare.

Raymond Thomas Pronk presents the Pronk Pops Show on KDUX web radio from 4-5 p.m. Monday thru Thursday and from 3-5 p.m. Friday and authors the companion blog http://www.pronkpops.wordpress.com.

 

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Planned Parenthood’s Inconvenient Truth

Posted on March 21, 2012. Filed under: Business, Columns, Economics, Government, Government Spending, Health Care, Philosophy, Politics | Tags: , , , , , , |

Credit: http://newsone.com/nation/newsonestaff4/wisconsin-cuts-planned-parenthood/

 

Planned Parenthood has a deep dark secret—an inconvenient truth.

The American Birth Control League (ABCL) was founded in 1921 by Margret Sanger (1879-1966). ABCL together with other groups became the Planned Parenthood Federation of America in 1942.

Sanger was a progressive proponent of population control and eugenics. Eugenics is a racist ideology and pseudoscience that believes the human race can be improved by encouraging the reproduction of the “fit” (positive eugenics) and discouraging the reproduction of the “unfit” with genetic defects or undesirable traits (negative eugenics).

The essence of the eugenics movement was control by an enlightened elite over the masses in determining who was fit and who was unfit.  Sanger was insistent that contraception not be called family planning but birth control. Sanger said, “birth control is nothing more or less than the facilitation of the process of weeding out the unfit, of preventing the birth of defectives or of those who will become defective.” A popular slogan of the eugenics movement was “Quality not quantity.”

A master race could be created by controlling who had children and who did not. This could be achieved by birth control through the use of condoms, contraceptives, sterilization and segregation. When birth control fails, abortion could be used to stop the birth of “unfit” babies.

In 1939 Sanger initiated the Negro Project with the goal of slowing and reversing the growth of the black population in America. Planned Parenthood cannot deny the inconvenient truth that its founder was a eugenicist.

“Margaret Sanger’s Eugenic Legacy: The Control of Female Fertility” by Angela Franks provides a detailed history and analysis of Sanger’s eugenic ideology. Edwin Black’s “The War against the Weak: Eugenics and America’s Campaign to Create a Master Race” chronicles the history of the eugenics movement and its funding by the Carnegie, Harriman and Rockefeller fortunes.

Three excellent documentaries that can be viewed on YouTube are “Maafa 21: Black Genocide in 21st Century America,” “How Planned Parenthood Works” and “Racism: A History.”

Planned Parenthood has been successful in achieving Sanger’s Negro Project goals. More than 54 million babies have been aborted since the 1973 Supreme Court Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion in the United States according to numberofabortions.com website. The two leading sources of information about abortions are the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Guttmacher Institute, once part of Planned Parenthood.

Since 1973 more than 15 million black, 10 million Hispanic and 20 million white babies have been aborted.  Across America Planned Parenthood clinics have aborted more than 6 million babies since 1973. Planned Parenthood’s primary target market has always been the poor, especially blacks and Hispanics. Minority babies are disproportionately targets for abortion.

 

 

Credit: http://www.abort73.com/abortion/abortion_and_race/

 

Killing babies for profit is big business and Planned Parenthood is the industry leader. Planned Parenthood markets its abortion services to both federal and state governments. Like any big business, its executives lobby and make campaign contributions to progressive politicians of both political parties who support their eugenics population control agenda.

Every abortion or baby killed saves the federal government and state governments thousands of dollars annually in education, health care and welfare expenditures for poor black, Hispanic and white babies who did not make it out of their mother’s womb alive.

Today abortion is no longer rare but commonplace. Abortion is a public private partnership. Abortion is not an equal opportunity killer. Abortion is death by government—genocide.

[Raymond Thomas Pronk is host of the Pronk Pops Show on KDUX web radio from 3-5 p.m. Wednesdays and author of the companion blog http://www.pronkpops.wordpress.com]

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Republican Party Presidential Candidates Race to Win 1,144 Delegates–Updated Delegate Count–Videos

Posted on January 12, 2012. Filed under: Business, Economics, Fiscal Policy, Government Spending, Macroeconomis, Microeconomics, Monetary Policy, Philosophy, Tax Policy | Tags: , , , , , , |

Revised, Updated and Expanded January 22, 2012

Ron Paul: Getting More Delegates Is ‘The Name Of The Game’

How Are Delegates Counted in 2012’s Republican Primaries?

How America Votes – RNC changes rules – Talk of Brokered Convention!

How to Get Ron Paul Elected: Infowars Nightly News

Blue Reps — an End To War, a Revival of Liberty

Republican top-tier Presidential candidates, Mitt Romney and Ron Paul

Credit: http://inlandpolitics.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/Mitt-Romney+Ron-Paul.jpg

GOP Presidential candidates, Mitt Romney, Ron Paul, Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum

Credit: http://img.ibtimes.com/www/data/images/full/2011/12/09/202865-mitt-romney-ron-paul-newt-gingrich.jpg

Republican Party presidential candidates race to win 1,144 delegates

Are the Republican Party presidential candidates running a 440-yard dash or a 26-mile marathon?

The finish line is the Republican National Convention scheduled to meet in Tampa, Fla. starting on Aug. 27 for the purpose of nominating the party’s 2012 presidential candidate and adopting the party platform. The Republican Party has a total of 2,286 delegates with 1,144 votes (50 percent plus 1) needed to win the party’s presidential nomination. The first candidate to receive 1,144 delegate votes becomes the party’s presidential nominee, who then selects a vice-presidential candidate as their running mate. The convention delegates must approve this selection by giving the vice-president candidate 1,144 votes.

The Republican candidates for the nomination are former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, Texas Rep. Ron Paul, former Speaker of the House, Newt Gingrich and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum.

Four of the Republican candidates have already dropped out of the race race. Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman and Texas Gov. Rick Perry suspended their campaign before the South Carolina primary. Huntsman endorsed Romney and Perry endorsed Gingrich. Bachmann suspended her campaign after the Iowa caucus. Cain suspended his campaign prior to the Iowa caucus.

By March 7, the day after Super Tuesday, the field should be narrowed to at most two or three candidates.

Both Romney and Paul have the money, organization and message required to make it a two-man marathon race for the 1,144 delegates needed to win the party presidential nomination. Most, if not all, of the remaining candidates are expected to drop out of the race by then.

Each state receives a number of delegates based on the following rules:

  1. Each state Congressional district gets three delegates.
  2. Each state gets 10 at-large delegates or five delegates per senator.
  3. Each state gets three party leader delegates for the state party chairman, state national committeeman and national committeewoman.
  4. Each state gets bonus delegates for each elected Republican senator, governor, legislative chamber with a majority and for electing 50 percent or more of the House congressional delegation.
  5. President bonus delegates: States casting a majority of their 2008 electoral votes for the Republican candidate receive 4.5 + 0.60 × the Jurisdiction’s Total 2012 electoral vote in bonus delegates.

For example, Texas receives 34 bonus delegates as follow:

  • 2008 presidential election (28): 4.5 + (0.6 × 38 [2012 electoral votes]) = 27.3
  • Governor (1): Rick Perry (re-elected 2010)
  • U.S. Senate delegation (2): Kay Bailey Hutchison (re-elected 2006); John Cornyn (re-elected 2008)
  • U.S. House delegation (1): January 2009: House 20 of 32; January 2011: House 23 of 32
  • Republican control of state legislature
  • One chamber (1): January 2009: House 76 of 150
  • All chambers (1): January 2009: House 76 of 150, Senate 19 of 31

Texas has a total of 155 delegates consisting of 108 district delegates (36 congressional districts times three), 10 at large delegates, three party leader delegates and 34 bonus delegates.

Voters may register to vote in the April 3 Texas primaries by going to the Texas Secretary of State website: http://www.sos.state.tx.us/elections/voter/reqvr.shtml.

Each state’s Republican Party decides whether they will use either a primary or caucus to determine the number of candidates’ delegates, whether this event will be open to all registered voters or closed to only Republican registered voters and whether it is winner-take-all delegates or a proportional allocation of the delegates based upon the number of votes cast for each candidate.

In primary states registered voters select the candidate they want to be the party’s presidential nominee by secret ballot. Voters select from registered candidates on the ballot or can write in a name. In closed primaries, only registered voters of the Republican Party can vote in primary elections. In open primaries, registered voters can vote in the primary of either party but can vote in only one primary. Most primary states have closed primaries.

Also, most primary states have the presidential candidates’ names on the ballot. A few states have the name of the delegates that are committed to a candidate as well as the name of any uncommitted delegates on the ballot. In some states the delegates are pledged or bound to a candidate. In other states the delegates are unpledged and can vote for any candidate.

In caucus states, registered voters of the party attend a meeting to select candidate delegates. At the start of a caucus meeting, voters divide into groups for each candidate, as well as a group for undecided voters. Then spokesmen for each candidate give brief speeches in support of their candidates in order to try to persuade other voters to join their candidate’s groups. At the end of the meeting, votes are counted by party organizers for each candidate group to determine how many delegates to the county convention the candidate has won. The delegates selected can be either pledged delegates bound to a candidate or unpledged or uncommitted delegates.

In both primary and caucus states, the Republican state party chooses either a “winner-take-all” or a proportional method to determine how many delegates are awarded to each candidate. In a winner-take-all state, the candidate that receives the most votes in the primary or caucus receives all of the state’s delegates to the national convention. In states that use the proportional method, candidates above a certain threshold of votes cast receive a proportion of the convention delegates based on the number votes cast for a candidate to the total number of votes cast.

Texas is an open primary state because it does not have voter registration by political party. A registered voter can vote in either a Republican Party primary or a Democratic Party primary, but can vote in only one primary. A voter becomes a Republican by voting in either a Republican primary or Republican primary run-off. Voters who did not vote in a Republican primary may vote in a Republican primary run-off.

Presidential candidates are allocated national convention delegates in direct proportion to the statewide popular vote they receive in the Texas Republican primary originally scheduled for Mar. 6 but now changed to April 3. Each of Texas’ 36 congressional districts gets three delegates for a total of 108 delegates. The 44 at-large and bonus delegates are selected by a nominating committee at the convention, three delegate spots are reserved for Texas’ National Committeeman, National Committeewoman and State Chairman.

Who is winning the Republican Party Presidential candidate race for 1,144 delegates as of January 21, 2012?

The estimated total delegate count in the race for 1,144 delegates needed to win the nomination is summarized in the table below:

Republican Party U.S. Presidential 2012

Estimated Delegate Count By Candidate and State

State

Gingrich

Romney

Paul

Santorum

Perry

Totals

Iowa

4

6

6

6

3

25

New Hampshire

0

9

3

0

0

12

South Carolina

23

2

0

0

0

25

Totals

27

17

9

6

3

62

Source: The Green Papers, 2012 Presidential Primaries, Caucuses and Conventions. www.thegreenpapers.com

These preliminary estimates will change as candidates drop out of the race and actual delegates are selected at state party conventions.

The estimated popular vote count is set forth in the table below:

Republican Party U.S. Presidential 2012

Estimated Popular Vote By Candidate and State

State

Gingrich

Romney

Paul

Santorum

Perry

Totals*

Iowa

16,163

29,805

26,036

29,839

12,557

121,479

New Hampshire

23,421

97,591

56,872

23,405

1,764

248,448

South Carolina

243,153

167,280

77,993

102,057

2,491

601,166

Total Popular Vote*

282,737

294,676

160,901

155,301

16,812

971,729

Popular Vote Percentage

29.09%

30.32%

16.55%

15.98%

1.73%

100.00%

Source: The Green Papers, 2012 Presidential Primaries, Caucuses and Conventions. www.thegreenpapers.com

*Total popular votes cast for all candidates including others not listed in the table.

On Jan. 21 the voters of South Carolina voted in the second open primary state where the candidate with the most votes statewide receives 11 delegates and the winner in each congressional district receives two delegates. Gingrich won statewide and received 11 delegates and won six congressional districts for additional 12 delegates for a total of 23 delegates. Romney won one congressional district and received two delegates.

Results for South Carolina Republican Primary

U.S. Presidential Jan. 21, 2012

Candidate

Popular Vote

Percentage

Delegates*

Newton Leroy “Newt” Gingrich

243,153

40.45%

23

Willard “Mitt” Romney

167,280

27.83%

2

.Richard J. “Rick” Santorum

102,057

16.89%

0

Ronald E. “Ron” Paul

77,993

12.97%

0

Hermain Cain

23,405

9.42%

0

James Richard “Rick” Perry

2,491

0.41%

0

Jon M. Huntsman, Jr.

1,161

0.14%

0

Michele M. Bachmann

494

0.08

0

Totals

601,166

100.00%

25

Source: The Green Papers, 2012 Presidential Primaries, Caucuses and Conventions. http://www.thegreenpapers.com/P12/SC-R#0121

*South Carolina would have had a total of 50 delegates consisting of 21 congressional district delegates, 10 at-large delegates, 3 party leader delegates and 16 bonus delegates. However, the state rescheduled the state primary to Jan. 22 and under the Rules of the Republican Party forfeited 50 percent of its delegates. Also, the three state party leader delegates attend the national convention as guests.

On Jan. 10 the voters of New Hampshire voted in the first state primary where the states 12 delegates were bound proportionally to presidential contenders based on the primary vote statewide.

Results for New Hampshire Republican Primary

U.S. Presidential Jan. 10, 2012

Candidate

Popular Vote

Percentage

Delegates*

Willard “Mitt” Romney

97,591

39.28%

9

Ronald E. “Ron” Paul

56,872

22.89%

3

Jon M. Huntsman, Jr.

41,964

16.89%

0

Newton Leroy “Newt” Gingrich

23,421

9.43%

0

Richard J. “Rick” Santorum

23,405

9.42%

0

James Richard “Rick” Perry

1,764

.71%

0

Michele M. Bachmann

350

.14%

0

Available

3

Totals

248,448

100.00%

15

Source: The Green Papers, 2012 Presidential Primaries, Caucuses and Conventions. http://www.thegreenpapers.com/P12/NH-R

*New Hampshire would have had a total of 23 delegates consisting of 6 district delegates, 10 at-large delegates, 3 party leader delegates and 4 bonus delegates. However, the state rescheduled the state primary to Jan. 10 and under the Rules of the Republican Party forfeited 50 percent of its delegates. Also, the three state party leader delegates attend the national convention as non-voting delegates.

On Jan. 3 the voters of Iowa met in 1,774 precinct caucuses to vote for their choice for the Republican presidential candidate by electing delegates to their county conventions. The 99 county conventions then select delegates to the Iowa Congressional District Convention and the State Convention on June 12. This convention determines the delegates to the Republican National Convention. In 2012 Iowa will send 28 delegates to the nominating convention including 10 base at-large, 12 for the four congressional districts (three per district), three party and three bonus. However, unlike other states where delegates are usually bound for the first vote, Iowa delegates are soft-pledged or not bound to vote for a particular candidate.

Results for Iowa Republican Caucus

U.S. Presidential Jan. 03, 2012

Candidate

Popular Vote

Percentage

Delegates*

Richard J. “Rick” Santorum

29,839

24.56%

6

Willard “Mitt” Romney

29,805

24.54%

6

Ronald E. “Ron” Paul

26,036

21.43%

6

Newton Leroy “Newt” Gingrich

16,163

13.31%

4

Richard J. “Rick” Perry

12,557

10.34%

3

Michele M. Bachmann

6,046

4.98%

0

Jon M. Huntsman, Jr.

739

0.61%

0

Available

3

Totals

121,479

100.000%

28

Source: The Green Papers, 2012 Presidential Primaries, Caucuses and Conventions.http://www.thegreenpapers.com/P12/IA-R#0103

*Iowa has a total of 28 delegates consisting of 12 district delegates, 10 at-large delegates, 3 party leader delegates and 3 bonus delegates. The 25 non party leader delegates were allocated to the candidates with more than 5 percent of the popular vote. This is an estimate that will change by the time of the state convention meets.

This first closed primary is in Florida on Tuesday, Jan. 31 for 50 delegates with the statewide winner being awarded all the delegates. Florida forfeited 50 percent of their delegates to the national convention for violating Republican Party rules by changing the timing of their primaries.

Register to vote and then go vote in the Texas primary on April 3.

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Ron Paul’s economic plan for restoring America to peace and prosperity

Posted on October 20, 2011. Filed under: Banking, Business, Columns, Credit, Economics, Fiscal Policy, Government, Government Spending, Macroeconomis, Microeconomics, Monetary Policy, Philosophy, Tax Policy | Tags: , , , |

My choice for president is Ron Paul. Why? The American people are asking three important questions of all the candidates.  Can I trust this candidate? Was the candidate right on the economic issues in the past? Does the candidate know what needs to be done to get America growing and working again? For Paul the American people find the answers to these questions to be yes.

I greatly respect the character, honesty and integrity of Paul. As an economist and former financial advisor, I am equally impressed that Paul not only predicted the recent financial crisis, he understood its’ causes. In an article entitled Predictions, dated April 26, 2002, Paul said, “In the next decade the American people will become poorer and less free, while they become more dependent on the government for economic security.” He knows what needs to be done to lead the U.S. economy back to high rates of economic growth and employment–reduce the size and scope of the federal government.

 

Source: Budget of the United States Government, Fiscal Year 2011, Historical Table 1.2

In just three years, President Barack Obama and the Democratic Party-controlled House and Senate ran up massive budgetary deficits and debt totaling more than $4 trillion. TheUnited Statesis broke. The American people are searching for a fiscally responsible president that will balance the government’s budget and establish the necessary economic conditions for the creation of more than 30 million full-time jobs.

Federal government spending outlays are largely for warfare and welfare entitlements. This spending encourages businesses and individuals to become dependent upon the government for contracts and handouts. From less than 3 percent of the Gross Domestic Product prior to 1930, federal government spending outlays have increased in percentage terms by more than eight-fold to more than 24 percent of GDP.

On Oct.17 in Las Vegas, the day before the Republican debates, presidential candidate Ron Paul unveiled his economic “Plan to Restore America to peace and prosperity by limiting the size and scope of the federal government. Paul would stop foreign wars and bring the troops home from Afghanistan and Iraq, eliminate all foreign aid,  reduce the federal government’s budget by $1 trillion in the first year, abolish all corporate subsidies, reduce the federal labor force by 10 percent and permanently close the Departments of Commerce, Education, Energy, Interior, and Housing and Urban Development. For most of the remaining departments, their budget outlays would be frozen.  The federal budget would be balanced in three years in fiscal year 2015.

Paul would also shut down the Transportation Security Agency (TSA), currently part of the Department of Homeland Security, both of which were created after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The airlines would have the responsibility for security and screening passengers that are boarding their aircraft.

In the tax policy area, Paul would extend the Bush tax rate cuts, eliminate estate taxes, allowU.S.companies operating abroad to repatriate their capital without additional taxation and reduce the highest corporate tax rate in the world from 35 percent to a more competitive 15 percent. Paul wants to reform the existing income tax code by going to a much simpler and fairer tax system. He would eliminate the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

In the past, Paul has indicated his support for the FairTax. This tax reform proposal would eliminate the IRS and replace all federal income taxes including the corporate, personal, payroll (Social Security and Medicare), capital gains, alternative minimum, gift and estate taxes with one broad based national retail sales consumption tax on the sale of all new goods and services. The FairTax has a progressive tax refund feature called a prebate. Every month, each American citizen including children would receive from the federal government a prebate to pay for the upcoming month’s sales tax on life’s necessities such as food and clothing.

If the personal income tax is eliminated, how does Paul’s plan pay for the federal government? A 15 percent corporate income tax and payroll taxes would simply not bring in enough revenues to pay for an even down-sized federal government.

Recently, Paul indicated that he is against Herman Cain’s 9-9-9 tax reform plan, particularly the proposed new national sales tax. Under Cain’s plan, the existing income and payroll taxes would be eliminated and replaced with a flat 9 percent business income tax, a flat 9 percent personal income tax, and a 9 percent national sales tax. Cain argues that his proposal is a bridge to the eventual passage of the FairTax.

Is Paul still in favor of the FairTax? If the answer is no, then how would Paul’s plan pay for government spending or outlays exceeding corporate income and payroll tax revenue or receipts? Paul’s plan does not answer this question. I hope Paul again reiterates his support of the FairTax. Paul could come out with a modified FairTax proposal, call it FairTax Less, where the actual FairTax tax rate declines each year as government becomes smaller and the budget is balanced.

Those already receiving Social Security, Medicare and veteran entitlements or approaching qualification for these programs will not be affected.The plan honors the promises the federal government has made to seniors and veterans. However, Paul provides those younger than 25 with the option to leave these programs. This is a very popular option with the young, as well as many Americans that would also like this option.

Paul calls for a full audit of the Federal Reserve System, the U.S. central bank. However, his proposal does not call for ending the Fed. The proposal does support legislation that would permit competing currencies to stabilize inflation and strengthen the purchasing power of the dollar.

Like most of the other Republican candidates for president, Paul would immediately repeal both the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, better known as Obama Care, and the Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, which would add several more regulatory agencies and hundreds of regulatory rules.

Small and medium-size businesses and community banks have pointed to these two new laws as creating massive business uncertainty and higher business costs that will be paid for by the consumer. Businesses are not growing and creating enough jobs each month to reduce the unemployment rate below 9 percent. Today, more than 25 million Americans are searching for a full-time job.

Paul would also repeal the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, which was passed in 2002. The law is considered by many as a very costly intrusion into corporate management. Sarbanes-Oxley has not prevented fraud but has dramatically reduced the number of new public companies created and putU.S.companies at a competitive cost disadvantage with foreign companies.

The Plan to Restore America does differentiate Paul from the other Republican presidential candidates for having a very specific plan to cut government spending and balance the budget. The Republican Party establishment candidates, Mitt Romney and Rick Perry, will be hard pressed to come up with a comparable plan.

Instead, they and their cheerleaders in the party establishment and media will first ignore the economic plan, and then attack it. Yet, the fiscal year 2012 Republican House Budget has an estimated deficit of about $1 trillion and will not balance until the late 2030s. Both the Republican Party and Obama’s Democratic Party proposed budgets for fiscal year 2012 which are fiscally irresponsible, with estimated deficits of $1 trillion to $1.2 trillion.

The Tea Party will cheer Paul’s plan and most likely vote for him. Many Democrats, Republicans and independents who are searching for a job and a fiscally responsible president will vote for him. Paul now needs to break into the national polls with the same impressive numbers he has received in many straw polls he has won across the nation. Once this happens, he will be the front-runner.

Paul has money, organization, message, momentum, and ambition or MOMMA. The only open question is, does he have enough of each to win the nomination. I think he does. By mid-March the only candidates in serious contention for the presidential nomination will be the Republican establishment candidate, Mitt Romney and the Republican constitutional candidate, Ron Paul.

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