TRUMP SHOULD SEEK A PAYROLL TAX CUT — HERE’S WHY

By RICK MANNING

To cut the payroll tax, or not to cut the payroll tax? That is the question facing President Trump.

The president said Tuesday he was considering asking Congress to cut the payroll tax for individuals, but then on Wednesday told reporters that “I am not looking at a tax cut now,” adding that “we don’t need it because we have a strong economy.”

News reports said earlier that White House officials were examining the possibility of tax cuts to keep the consumer spending spree in our economy strong in the face of fears that an economic slowdown could lead to a recession and hurt the president’s reelection chances next year.

TRUMP SAYS PAYROLL TAX CUT ON THE TABLE, REJECTS RECESSION WARNINGS

There are good arguments both for and against cutting the payroll tax, which funds the Social Security program. Individuals and employers each pay 6.2 percent of an employee’s earnings up to $132,900 in income this year. Self-employed people pay the full 12.4 percent. The earnings ceiling typically rises each year to keep pace with inflation.

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While it’s impossible to repeal the business cycle, I’m in favor of cutting the payroll tax temporarily to keep our economy from unnecessarily slowing and most importantly to give our nation’s leader a strong hand in negotiations aimed at ending currency manipulation, which is a major threat to our economy over the long haul.

In 2010 the Obama administration cut the individual payroll tax from 6.2 percent to 4.2 percent in response to the Great Recession to boost consumer spending and stimulate the economy. The temporary cut ended in 2013.

With the median annual household income now above $60,000, a 2 percent cut would be work out to at least $1,200 a year – amounting to an additional $100 in the average working family’s after-tax payday each month.

Some advocates of tax cuts argue that it’s always a good time to let people keep more of the money they’ve earned. With the median annual household income now above $60,000, a 2 percent cut would be work out to at least $1,200 a year – amounting to an additional $100 in the average working family’s after-tax payday each month.

Obviously, the payroll tax cut only benefits those who pay Social Security taxes, so those who are retired and not working, unemployed or exempt from the payroll tax will not receive the benefit.

So why would anyone oppose putting more money into the pockets of about three-quarters of American families?

One answer might be the approximately $150 billion in lost revenue to the federal government that a one-year payroll tax holiday would likely create.

The ugly truth is that our nation’s national debt is like a hungry wolf crouched in the shadows waiting to consume its prey.

We know almost as certainly as the sun will rise that Congress will not cut spending to offset the fiscal impact of a payroll tax cut on our nation’s budget deficit. So a temporary payroll tax cut simply means that we will once again put another charge on the tab of our children, grandchildren and generations yet unborn.

In 2018 alone, overall interest payments on the nation’s $22 trillion debt amounted to $522 billion, with the net interest that was paid to debt purchasers like China, Japan, banks, pension funds and others totaling $325 billion.

To put $325 billion into perspective, even with historically low interest rates, the Office of Management and Budget reports that America paid more on interest payments on the debt to outside entities in one year than we spend on the Departments of Commerce, Education, Energy, Homeland Security, Housing and Urban Development, Justice, Labor and State combined.

And in this Congress as well as the last one, a bipartisan consensus developed that our nation could continue to spend almost $1 trillion more than it received in revenue without consequences.

The problem is that – as Greece discovered earlier this decade – eventually the chickens come home to roost and interest rates go up. What was once an interest payment of about 10 percent of the nation’s revenues and 12 percent of expenditures spirals out of control, forcing lawmakers to choose between two bad alternatives: repay borrowed funds or make draconian cuts in government spending, while raising taxes precipitously.

Or the result could be what happened in Japan: with negative interest rates on government debt, more than 200 percent debt to Gross Domestic Product, almost no growth for two decades, and stagnation and deflation.

So why do I believe President Trump and Congress should nevertheless cut the payroll tax temporarily?

The answer lies in the real reason why our economy still has failed to grow at a robust rate even with tax cuts and regulatory relief: China and other countries’ currency manipulation, which always makes that nation’s products and services less expensive than America’s.

A payroll tax cut would likely increase the deficit by between 10 and 15 percent in 2020. However, it would also have the effect of strengthening our nation’s economy vis-à-vis the rest of the world, giving whoever is president in 2021 a strong hand in negotiating trade deals that are in our national interest, while our trade partners are facing significant economic pressures in their homelands.

Currency manipulation allows China to devalue the yuan to offset the impacts of U.S. business tax cuts, tariffs and regulatory relief, while keeping the prices of goods made in China stable here in America.

While this is a good thing for consumers in the short-term, it is horrible for the U.S. in the long haul because it puts American exporters and domestic manufacturers at a competitive disadvantage. Maximizing the opportunity to solve this much more significant problem makes the decision to support the payroll tax cut a no-brainer, in spite of the short-term deficit costs.

Ending China’s currency manipulation, as well as that nation’s intellectual property theft, is the single most important public policy goal for our nation. Accomplishing this is the key to having any chance of restoring robust economic growth in America.

And only a president dealing with a strong economic hand will be able to win these game-changing concessions from China. To get such concessions, our president will need the ability negotiate a trade deal with China that ends that country’s pernicious effort to dominate the rest of the 21st century.

At the same time, our president will need to put more money into the pockets of Americans, which will help extend low unemployment and wage growth that we currently enjoy.

So my advice to President Trump is to ask Congress for a temporary payroll tax cut. The benefits outweigh the costs.

Richard Manning is president of Americans for Limited Government.  You can read more of his articles at www.dailytorch.com. 

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MIKE GHASSALI SUPPORTERS HOLD FUNDRAISER FOR HIM IN RASHIDA TLAIB MICHIGAN DISTRICT, THE NJ CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE READY TO DEBATE HER

By CANDY STALLWORTH

Divisive Michigan Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib is lucky that Montvale, New Jersey Mayor – and NJ District 5 congressional candidate – Mike Ghassali doesn’t live in her district. If she did, Tlaib would likely suffer a bruising loss in her 2020 re-election bid. And that’s because the two speak the same language, so to speak, but with completely different thought processes. Ghassali, a Syrian-born capitalist who came to America at 16 and legally worked his way to earning his U.S. citizenship is juxtaposed to the near-communist Tlaib, who harbors numerous radical ideas about how to re-shape America through illegal immigration. 

Ghassali’s views – those of a hardworking taxpayer who is ardently against unlawful immigration, socialism, re-distribution of wealth schemes, and racism – are substantially more in line with the masses of Americans. Tlaib’s agenda – one rooted in identity politics, a country without borders, and hateful, discriminatory rhetoric – is loathsome to the great majority of U.S. citizens. The two would have a wild debate, with Ghassali throwing one patriotic knockout punch after another. But such an event will not happen until Ghassali is elected to Congress by his home New Jersey District – at least not exactly.

Ghassali, though, is doing something in the very near future that is quite close to a direct debate with Tlaib. On September 3, friends and members of the Syriac Orthodox Church are holding a fundraising event for Ghassali right in Tlaib’s backyard – in Dearborn Heights, Michigan. Ghassali would welcome a debate with her, on her home turf, at any time while he is meeting with supporters in Michigan. 

Tlaib has issued numerous comments that most consider racially charged, as an effort to divide America. In speaking about other members of Congress, she snarled, “They forgot what country they represent.” This was in reference to her calls to boycott Israel. 

Tlaib, who is of Palestinian descent, has been quite vocal in condemning Israel via a one-sided, myopic argument. She alleged, “There is continued dehumanization and racist policies by the state of Israel that violate international human rights, but also violate my core values of who I am as an American. ‘Separate but equal’ doesn’t work. I know that my ancestors were killed, died, uprooted from their land. That’s something that no one even wants to acknowledge that had to happen to create the state of Israel.”

Ghassali’s commentary on the critical issue of the Israeli-Palestinian relationship is practical, thoughtful, and level-headed. He said, “I am for a peaceful resolution, ending the 71-year long standoff with compromise and diplomatic peace negotiations. I speak the language, know the culture and the players, and can use my background to help to resolve this issue.” 

Ghassali added, “I think Tlaib has an amazing opportunity to use her position to bring the two sides together, and use diplomacy rather than hurtful rhetoric.”

Unfortunately, Tlaib has chosen to utilize the latter approach (hurtful rhetoric). With Ghassali employing the former approach (diplomacy), this Middle East conflict has a greater chance of finally being resolved. Further, the current conflict in the U.S. – spearheaded by Tlaib and her fellow Squad Members – wherein racially charged politics is fueling separatism and divide in America, is most easily resolvable by the following: the 2020 congressional elections of men and women like Ghassali, who seek true equality for all – and the voter dismissal of Tlaib and her discriminatory, angry ilk. 

Candy Stallworth, an Empire State News staff writer, whipped her way through a doctoral education at the finest of American higher ed institutions, noting how unoriginal, inept, and annoying many of the schools’ professors were in their robotic attempts to maintain a politically correct narrative. BTW: she hates words like “narrative”, “optics”, and “gaffe.” Other than that, her turn-offs include non-masculine men, women who hate men, men who hate men, phonies, disloyal people, and overflowing garbage cans. She likes New England clam chowder better than Manhattan clam chowder, but prefers Manhattan to New England.

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MASSACRES IN EL PASO, DAYTON UNDERSCORE THAT POLITICAL VIOLENCE RIGHT OR LEFT IS NEVER THE ANSWER

By ROBERT ROMANO

After a bloody weekend that saw 29 killed in mass shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio, the nation must once again face and confront the scourge of political violence and terrorism that is becoming increasingly prevalent in our society on the extreme ends of the political spectrum, right and left.

An anti-immigrant manifesto that has been linked to the shooter in El Paso who supported President Donald Trump praised the Christchurch mosque shooting in New Zealand in March and the racist manifesto the shooter left behind there. The El Paso manifesto speaks against mass immigration and corporations, Democrats and Republicans that support it, supports automation of jobs to replace low-skilled immigrants and laments low fertility of whites, urban sprawl, destruction of the environment (it even speaks favorably of “The Lorax” by Dr. Seuss), a lack of recycling and in favor of universal health care and universal basic income. Similar themes recur in both manifestos, a mish-mash of political, economic and racial ideas from the right and left that tragically ended in violence.

The Dayton shooter on the other hand who was shot dead by police a self-proclaimed leftist and Satanist on his Twitter page who supported Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) who had previously spoke against mass shootings such as Parkland, and who on the anniversary of violence in Charlottlesville, Va. wrote, “Kill every fascist.” He had shared posts about “concentration camps” on the border and wrote, “Cut the fences down. Slice ICE tires. Throw bolt cutters over the fences.” He called the he Antifa firebomber who targeted an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) facility in Tacoma, Wash. a “martyr.”

The violence and the varied motivations for it demonstrate that violence is never the answer, and whether it comes from the right or left, we must stand united against it as a nation — before it is too late. We have a civil society and can safely debate the pros and cons of issues like immigration or declining fertility generally regardless of race without ever resorting to violence and murdering our perceived political opponents.

Now, some would hope to politicize these tragedies but they are wrong. We’re not going to stop having discussions about immigration or preserving the environment in light of it. Should we ban “The Lorax,” too? It’s silly.

In this column over these past years, I and my colleagues at Americans for Limited Government have repeatedly spoken out and denounced acts of political violence, right or left, regardless of their motives, and against rhetoric that actively promotes such violence, as all being antithetical to our civil society.

We have condemned radical and racist violence alike in Charlottesville, Va. that led to a murder, by the gunman that shot up the Republican Congressional baseball practicein 2017 who was shot dead on the scene, by the Utah man who sent ricin in the mailto President Donald Trump, military and intelligence officials, by the nut that sent pipe bombs to prominent Democrats and media organizations, by the anti-Semitic shooter who murdered 11 at the Pittsburgh synagogue and the left-wing firebomber in Tacoma, Wash. who was shot dead by police.

We have blasted dehumanizing rhetoric that falsely singles out Republicans or Trump supporters as Nazis, media that portrayed the assassination and decapitation of President Trump and rhetoric by U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) that wrongly compared the U.S. Border Patrol, ICE and federal law enforcement detaining illegal immigrants to Nazis running concentration camps that murdered millions in World War II.

I do think that as thought leaders we need to carefully consider our rhetoric and speak in unison whenever these attacks happen. So, for example, if you compare ICE and the Border Patrol to the Gestapo and compare apprehending illegal aliens to the Holocaust, and then a few weeks later somebody is blowing up and ICE facility or engaged in a mass shooting utilizing the same rhetoric, you should denounce it. Ocasio-Cortez never did. On Aug. 4, her Twitter page was full of justified denunciation of the attack’s motivations in El Paso as white supremacist, but not in Dayton by another Antifa attacker who shared her “concentration camps” comparison.

But aren’t white supremacy and violent revolutionary leftist ideology that views all of its political opponents as fascists and Nazis both wrong and worthy of condemnation?

Similarly, Democratic candidates for President today have yet to denounce the Dayton shooter’s pro-Antifa, radical leftism. It’s not that hard.

Allow me to be clear. I do not think Ocasio-Cortez condones political violence from the left or supports it — although she ought to clarify her position — but one of the barriers to stopping political violence today is a failure by leaders on both sides of the aisle to lock arms and deplore violence and radical ideology when it comes from their own side of the political spectrum.

When a supporter of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) shot up the Congressional baseball practice, Sanders immediately denounced it. Similarly, upon the attack in El Paso, President Trump declared, “I know that I stand with everyone in this Country to condemn today’s hateful act. There are no reasons or excuses that will ever justify killing innocent people.” That’s what real leaders do.

It is up to every one of us to preserve the civil society, our deliberative system of government. If you believe in America, do not call advocate violence against your political opponents.

We must stand united against political violence and political radicalism, regardless of its source. Extremists would like nothing more than for everyone to align into their “camps.” These factions will be the end of us.

Freedom from political violence is the only thing that keeps us from the dysfunctions and disorders that brought an end to the Roman Republic and every other great society that once existed.

So, let’s work on it together as one country, one nation. We can have civil disagreements and declare with one voice that we reject violence to advance political objectives. We unite on this question, or civil society fails. Let us all denounce this national sickness before it consumes us all.

Robert Romano is the Vice President of Public Policy at Americans for Limited Government.   You can read more of his articles at www.dailytorch.com. 

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BALTIMORE’S BLIGHT CANNOT MOVE OFF OF THE NATIONAL AGENDA

By RICK MANNING

And suddenly the squalor of Baltimore and our nation’s inner cities is off the news.  But the people who live in the deteriorating parts of our nation’s cities remain even as we collectively look to El Paso and Dayton and the news coverage changes to the comfortable and predictable blame game.

The CBS local affiliate In Chicago reported that this past weekend, seven were killed and another forty six were wounded in just an average weekend in the Windy City.  Baltimore, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C. are still beset by rat infestations with the homeless populations in California continuing to grow in spite of, or because of, government attempts to help the homeless. Just under 1,000 Americans die every week from opioid overdoses, and no one except their grieving families will notice. And yes, students in Baltimore will soon return to schools where few if any will gain proficiency in math.

Last week, Baltimore was in the news and the failure of liberal policies which have dominated our inner cities for the past fifty years was on full display.  Many in our nation were appalled at both the living conditions and the total collapse of public institutions within the poorest communities in “Charm City” which served as a proxy for other big cities around the nation.

Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson found himself in the spotlight as the leader in the effort to restore hope in American urban areas, but this week the attention shifts elsewhere.

It is incumbent that the President of the United States not allow our collective gaze to shift from the urban decay which has let Baltimore have a higher homicide rate than El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, three countries which America’s left have declared so dangerous that we need to open our borders out of compassion to those who wish to flee the violence.

The obvious question is where can the people of Baltimore or Chicago flee to escape their violence ridden neighborhoods?

During the Obama administration, the Justice Department seemingly travelled the country pushing consent decrees which effectively neutered police, ending the broken windows policies which were championed by former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani.  In Baltimore, the political class found the police guilty of abuse even as a jury of their peers did not in the Freddie Gray case, effectively ending what was an overly aggressive, crime interdiction program, and replacing it with a policy which has had the effect of disengaging the police from crime fighting except in the most dire circumstances.

Even the liberal Baltimore Sun recognizes the violent crime explosion writing in a September 25, 2018 piece, “The grim news was the latest reminder of the sustained cycle of violence that has gripped the city since 2015, when the annual number of homicides soared above 300 for three consecutive years after the unrest that followed Freddie Gray’s death from injuries suffered in police custody.”

While the City of Baltimore enjoys low unemployment at between 5 and 6 percent, and African-Americans enjoy some of the lowest unemployment rates in history, the sad truth is that increased economic opportunity alone is not solving the problems of a poor local education system, the despair of drug abuse and the street violence which it encourages, and government policies which create a cycle of dependency that have scourged our cities.

While the events of the past weekend are shocking, the real shock should remain that our own inner cities suffer from a despair and hopelessness wrought by policies which breed government dependency, and at the same time handcuff the police from enforcing the laws which allow civil society to work.

It is incumbent on the President to keep his administration focused upon working with local community leaders to find solutions to Baltimore and everything it represents while it is still fresh on our minds. Restoring hope in our cities is possible, but only if it remains a national priority.

 Rick Manning is the President of Americans for Limited Government.  You can read more of his articles at www.dailytorch.com. 

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TRUMP INCREASES PRESSURE ON CHINA FOR TRADE DEA WITH NEW 10 PERCENT TARIFF ON THE OTHER $300 BILLION OF GOODS WHILE CHINESE ECONOMY REELS

By ROBERT ROMANO

China has proven itself to be an unreliable trade partner in its negotiations, says President Donald Trump, and now he is levying another 10 percent tariff on $300 billion of Chinese goods that were untaxed.

This comes atop the 25 percent tariff on another $250 billion of goods that was hiked in May, which is expected to raise more than $50 billion in revenue this year to the U.S. Treasury.

Trump cited failure by Chinese President Xi Jinping to follow through on commitments he has made, stating on Twitter, “Our representatives have just returned from China where they had constructive talks having to do with a future Trade Deal. We thought we had a deal with China three months ago, but sadly, China decided to re-negotiate the deal prior to signing. More recently, China agreed to… buy agricultural product from the U.S. in large quantities, but did not do so. Additionally, my friend President Xi said that he would stop the sale of Fentanyl to the United States — this never happened, and many Americans continue to die!”

The President still held out hope that a deal could be reached, with the tariffs being a bit of additional incentive, writing, “Trade talks are continuing, and… during the talks the U.S. will start, on September 1st, putting a small additional Tariff of 10% on the remaining 300 Billion Dollars of goods and products coming from China into our Country. This does not include the 250 Billion Dollars already Tariffed at 25%… We look forward to continuing our positive dialogue with China on a comprehensive Trade Deal, and feel that the future between our two countries will be a very bright one!”

The breakdown of trade talks in May led directly to Trump putting the 25 percent tariff on $200 billion of goods — it had been at 10 percent — in addition to the 25 percent that had been levied on another $50 billion of goods.

The trade deal was said to have been in its final stages, but at the eleventh hour, Beijing changed the terms of the deal and promptly walked back prior concessions. According to a May 8 Reuters report, “In each of the seven chapters of the draft trade deal, China had deleted its commitments to change laws to resolve core complaints that caused the United States to launch a trade war: Theft of U.S. intellectual property and trade secrets; forced technology transfers; competition policy; access to financial services; and currency manipulation.”

Adding to the mix, the trade in goods deficit with China hit a record high in 2018 at $419.1 billion according to the U.S. Census Bureau. And that was with some of the tariffs in place.

Ostensibly, the only reason China had come to the table in the first place was President Trump’s threat of further tariffs and an attempt string along negotiators in the hopes of avoiding them. It appears to have been designed to test Trump, betting that perhaps he would not follow through on the tariffs.

Which, it’s hard to blame China for miscalculating. It’s used to just getting its way with the U.S. without consequence or blowback. Since China entered the World Trade Organization in 2001, U.S. manufacturing market share has dropped from 13.4 percent to 7.5 percent in 2017, according to World Bank data. China has risen from 5.3 percent to 16.6 percent in 2017, although their percent of global manufacturing market share has peaked in 2015 at 18.8 percent. During that time, the U.S. economy has not grown above 4 percent since 2000, and not above 3 percent since 2005 on an annual basis.

What they didn’t plan on was Trump. Now, there’s tariffs on $550 billion of goods. Either way, the decision to end the deal may have been so it could wait Trump out with 2020 right around the corner.  If Trump loses his bid for reelection, their problem is solved.

For Trump’s part, he seems to be betting China has more to lose in a trade war than the U.S. According to data by the U.S. Trade Representative. China’s $539.5 billion of goods exports to the U.S. comprised almost 4.1 percent of its $13.28 trillion Gross Domestic Product in 2018 and about 22.5 percent of its $2.4 trillion of goods exports. In contrast, American goods exports to China were $120.3 billion, comprising 0.58 percent of the 2018 annual GDP of $20.5 trillion, and comparatively 7.2 percent of its $1.66 trillion of goods exports.

And Trump may be right.

On June 17, “The Coming Collapse of China” author Gordon Chang on Fox Business reported to host Neil Cavuto, “China right now has an economy which is crumbling, could have been contracting last month. We saw that with bellwether car sales down 16.4 percent, the eleventh straight month of decline, the worst monthly decline eves. And imports were down 8.5 percent year on year, a real indication of declining domestic demand.”

Chang added, “This is an economy that is in severe trouble. They need the U.S. market desperately.”

So, maybe the tariffs are working. In this confrontation, Trump does not need a deal as much as China does, for he can inflict damage merely by encouraging manufacturers to move their business elsewhere, whether back to the U.S. or somewhere else. In “The Art of Deal,” Trump wrote, “Use your leverage.” That’s exactly what he’s doing — and it’s about time.

Robert Romano is the Vice President of Public Policy at Americans for Limited Government.  You can read more of his articles at www.dailytorch.com. 

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MIKE GHASSALI, AN AMERICAN DREAM STORY POISED TO BECOME A CONGRESSMAN

By CANDY STALLWORTH

New Jersey’s 5th Congressional District appears to many national political observers to be a Democrat lock at this point, given the massive war chest maintained by two-term incumbent Josh Gottheimer, who presents an image of being a moderate. Not far in the past, however, the district was a long-time Republican stronghold, with the seat being held by a very conservative congressman, Scott Garrett, for 14 years until he lost it in 2016 to Gottheimer.

In 2018, Gottheimer retained his seat, defeating his Republican challenger by getting 56% of the vote. Although the vote differential was somewhat sizable, the gap isn’t such that can’t be filled by a Republican with the right message and background. A fresh face with conservative bonafides and considerable, current political experience is the GOP’s best chance to take back this congressional seat, which covers all of Sussex and Warren counties, as well as a substantial portion of Bergen County and a part of Passaic county.

Enter Mike Ghassali, the Mayor of Montvale, New Jersey, which is at the northern tip of Bergen County, the state’s most affluent county; he announced his candidacy for the 5th Congressional District seat earlier this summer. Ghassali, a Christian born in Syria and who became an American citizen after legally immigrating to the U.S. at 16, has been both a successful entrepreneur and dynamic humanitarian. For the last several years, he has worked for the organization Feed the Children and, with a talented team, has raised hundreds of millions of dollars in gift-in-kind and in cash to help needy families and veterans across the country. Ghassali also is currently a contract language analyst with active security clearance (TS/SCI). The combination of these experiences nets Ghassali a powerful background that demonstrates substantial trust in his judgment (i.e., through the security clearance) and his ability to raise money (i.e., through his humanitarian efforts). These factors, alone, render him a formidable force to take on the fundraising machine and public relations master-broker Josh Gottheimer.

Ghassali’s other professional experiences make him an even more exciting choice for voters in New Jersey’s 5th Congressional District. He is an extremely accomplished, self-made man whose growth came not from inherited wealth or political relationships, but, simply, hard work. Ghassali worked at Unilever in Englewood Cliffs for 15 years, and then started his own supply chain solutions business to consult food companies on shipping best practices to reduce in-transit damages. His company, Damage Research Inc., was sold to GENCO Supply Chain Solutions, which was then acquired by FedEx.  It’s quite a success story for Ghassali that his systems and methodology are being used by Fortune 500 Companies today. Prior business experience included owning several hair salons, which he then sold at cost to his employees.

If all that isn’t enough, Ghassali became the mayor of his hometown, Montvale, after recognizing that a more business-minded and fiscally conservative route was best for the municipality. Ghassali, who is the president of the Pascack Valley Mayors Association, has been noted, statewide, as a mayor with a proven track record in reducing taxes, cutting unnecessary spending, and adding revenue to his community.

A poster boy for the true American Dream, Ghassali draws respect for his legal entry into the United States and thereafter for contributing so importantly to the economic development of his new, home nation, while simultaneously helping so many in need. His story is indeed an inspirational one. And such inspiration is what many voters yearn for, rather than the plastic politicians who, in such great numbers, disgrace the halls of Congress and government bodies throughout the United States. Ghassali’s bold and authentic conservative values are likely to be enticing to New Jersey’s 5th Congressional District, which has more registered Republicans than Democrats.

Ghassali, who has already received endorsements from numerous prominent New Jersey Republicans, is pro-life, and he is unwavering in this moral stance. Following are just some of his other positions – taken directly from his candidate website – on the matters that are most important to Americans and New Jerseyans:

Protecting the 2nd Amendment

As a responsible gun owner since 1990, he will fight to protect our 2nd Amendment rights, and our liberties.  Mike will oppose any legislation that takes away your right to protect yourself and your loved ones. He will fight to take away guns from criminals and those who want to use guns to cause harm to people.  He believes only responsible, mature and fully vetted people should be allowed to purchase guns.

Healthcare

Americans are struggling to keep up with today’s rising healthcare costs and Congress has failed to act after years of promises. A one-size-fits-all approach with increased government regulation is not the answer.  He believes that we and our doctors should be able to make our healthcare choices, not the insurance companies.

  • Oppose any efforts that would create a big government, Medicare for all system and instead supports a personalized, patient-centered approach that ensures competition, covers pre-existing conditions, and lowers the costs of healthcare premiums. 
  • Allow small-businesses to work together and buy insurance across state lines so they are not affected by costly state-mandated laws driving up premiums. 

Civil Rights and Equality

Mike believes that everyone should be treated equally no matter what their background, race, sexual orientation, color, religion, how they speak or how they look.  However, he does not support others forcing their way of life on him and his family, or forcing to agree with them and their way of life.  Government stops at our front door.

Standing for Strong America and Immigration Policy

There are people who hate our way of life and mean us harm.  There are countries who don’t follow the rules and work hard every day to acquire means to harm our great country and our allies.  Mike is for a strong, well trained and equipped military with the best technology and expertise available in the universe.  He will support all legislations that will help the men and women in uniform and without uniform who ensure our safety every minute of the day, stateside and around the globe. 

Stands for controlled borders and strong immigration policies.  Having open borders is a national security risk.  He is proud to always say that he and his family came through the front door, they knocked and this great country opened its doors with all the greatness that it has to offer.  FOLLOW THE PROCESS.  He strongly believes that we need to address the root causes.  Why are people coming here? largely because they don’t have work in their home countries.  He will work to implement commerce solutions in those countries and create jobs.  People don’t really want to leave their homeland unless they are at risk or don’t have jobs to be able to work at and support their families. Mike understand oppression and understands why people want to leave their countries, and he will work hard to implement long term solutions.  

The strength in these convictions, no doubt, will resonate with the majority of voters in Ghassali’s congressional district. His personal story, with its authentic American Dream cache, hard work reality, and motivating humanitarian efforts, will surely make him a standout and endearing candidate to the voters. Make no mistake, however, Josh Gottheimer is a powerful force to be reckoned with, and he will not be easy to unseat. Gottheimer, who has a voting record that, of course, is largely in line with the national Democrat platform, doesn’t always vote with all of his Democrat congressional colleagues. Still, he more often votes down party lines and many believe is farther left than portrayed – but he has a boatload of funds to perpetuate his centrist image. He also presents a likeable demeanor, and he has strong ties within the national Democratic party, which does not want to lose this seat. That said, Donald Trump is, well, Donald Trump. He won New Jersey’s 5th Congressional District in 2016, and there is no rational reason to believe that he won’t win it again in 2020. With a true conservative like Ghassali (and all of the inspiration that goes along with his candidacy) running alongside the very popular president, Ghassali is reasonably positioned to reclaim this congressional seat for the Republican Party.

Candy Stallworth, an Empire State News staff writer, whipped her way through a doctoral education at the finest of American higher ed institutions, noting how unoriginal, inept, and annoying many of the schools’ professors were in their robotic attempts to maintain a politically correct narrative. BTW: she hates words like “narrative”, “optics”, and “gaffe.” Other than that, her turn-offs include non-masculine men, women who hate men, men who hate men, phonies, disloyal people, and overflowing garbage cans. She likes New England clam chowder better than Manhattan clam chowder, but prefers Manhattan to New England.

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“THE DIXIE CHICKS” IN CONGRESS

By TEMPLE LI

Remember the controversy that the Dixie Chicks generated in 2003 and the subsequent end of their careers—perhaps the Congressional version should take heed.  The group had originally four members, then there were three—then there were none!  After being highly critical of the U.S. policies and President while performing overseas, everyday Americans reacted negatively to their anti-American sentiment, ultimately resulting in the end of their careers in entertainment.  Will this be the fate of Omar, Alexandria and trailing on their heels—Rashida and Ayanna— in 2020?

It is obvious that on the Congressional stage there is a hierarchy among the four, with Omar and Alexandria alternating in vying for the top role.  Right now, Omar seems to be getting the most attention and you wonder if the other diva’s nose is being “bent out of shape.”  Although Rashida tried hard to garner notice during their recent news conference, using words such as “pussy” to draw attention to herself, Trump has focused on Omar.  Ayanna’s racist remarks against blacks and “queers” who are not in communion with her received fleeting mention and attention.  Omar and Alexandria, however, are definitely being noticed by swing voters; 22% of whom were favorable to Alexandria, while Omar wins hands down with only 9% of these voters supporting her.

With all their criticism of Trump related to conspiracies and obstruction, do they think that people might wonder about their own possible collusion with drug cartels and child traffickers since they refused to vote with the rest of Congress for additional monies to fund border relief?  Has anyone checked their bank accounts recently?

Although Omar received an endorsement from the Human Rights Campaign representing the LGBTQ community during her 2018 candidacy for Congress, there is a precarious relationship between Somalians in her district, who frown upon LBGTQ lifestyles and white LBGTQ, who feel superior to their neighbors. In an August 3, 2017 article for THE GUARDIAN, Ryan Schuessler reported:  “One interviewee stood outside a popular gay bar in Minneapolis and saw gay white men call Somali taxi drivers “goatfuckers”. He has also been called “faggot” by straight Somalis outside the same bar. Another interviewee had a parent follow them around the house with Zamzam water – from a sacred well in Mecca – after being outed, and had also been accosted for wearing hijab at an LGBTQ event.”  Will she be able to continue to maintain a balancing act between these two communities and remain in office?

Alexandria faces her own problems in 2020.  She is not exactly the darling of the Democrat ruling class and they are more than likely planning to back a more moderate candidate for 2020.  Meanwhile, Republican, Scherie Murray, a Jamaican immigrant, announced that she will be launching a campaign to unseat Alexandria in 2020.  “There is a crisis in Queens, and it’s called AOC,” Murray told Fox News. “And instead of focusing on us, she’s focusing on being famous. Mainly rolling back progress and authoring the job-killing Green New Deal and killing the Amazon New York deal.”

In the 2020 race, these Congressional “chicks” might find that they have gone a “peep” too far!

Temple Li is the news editor for Empire State News, where she frequently authors her own editorials (just because she feels like it). She graduated at the top of her class at a mediocre college, infuriating her professors with her conservative wit and sultry charm. Empire State News allows Ms. Li to make a living, and to have a platform to tell people what she thinks. What could be better than that?

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TO END BORDER CRISIS, TRUMP ADMINISTRATION RESTRICTS ASYLUM CLAIMS FROM CENTRAL AMERICA

By ROBERT ROMANO

Under current immigration and asylum regulations, it was impossible to enforce the law on the southern border. The hundreds of thousands of Central Americans flooding the border the past several months gamed the system, betting that a compassionate America would let them in.

Afterward, the families were released into the U.S. pending hearings, but those that showed up did so only to the extent they might be granted asylum, and upon rejection were never heard from again. It’s mandatory catch-and-release. Because of the way the regulations were written.

As a result, the number of family units showing up on the border has been skyrocketing. In all of FY 2018, 161,113 family units were apprehended, and 58,660 unaccompanied children. Now family units are up to 427,881 in FY 2019, an increase of 165 percent and unaccompanied children is up 14 percent to 67,116, with three more months remaining in the fiscal year.

Now, to get a handle on the problem and to deter future migrant waves, the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Justice are using their powers under the law to provide for additional restrictions and have issued a new ruletelling asylum seekers they must first apply for asylum in the country they first transit through and be denied before they may qualify.

The new regulation states, “an alien who enters or attempts to enter the United States across the southern  border after failing to apply for protection in a third country outside the alien’s country of citizenship,  nationality, or last lawful  habitual residence through which the alien transited en route to the United States is ineligible for asylum.”

The move comes after the U.S.-Mexico Joint Declaration that was finalized after President Donald Trump threatened up to a 25 percent tariff on Mexican goods. Under the agreement the U.S. is expanding the Migrant Protection Protocols: “those crossing the U.S. Southern Border to seek asylum will be rapidly returned to Mexico where they may await the adjudication of their asylum claims… [And,] Mexico will authorize the entrance of all of those individuals for humanitarian reasons, in compliance with its international obligations, while they await the adjudication of their asylum claims.”

The new approach will hopefully begin to get the situation under control.

After briefly attempting to enforce the laws as written starting in April 2018, 2,648 children were separated from the families, according to a Congressional report, but by June 2018, President Donald Trump halted the effort, opting to keep families together pending hearings for illegal entry or asylum via Executive Order 13841.

The problem? Under a 2008 federal law against human trafficking and federal court rulings, unaccompanied children from Central America are given to the care of the Department of Health and Human Services, and eventually released, ideally to a relative residing in the U.S., within 20 days under federal court precedent.

As for the adults, there is no provision of law allowing them to stay, even if they arrived with children. If the adults apply for asylum or if the federal government elected to prosecute them, that complicates matters. Asylum cases typically take longer than 20 days to process. This is where in the process the family separations were attempted before that was abandoned. Now, under the executive order, the families are placed into housing pending the hearings.

In the past, this meant, according to a 2018 White House fact sheet, the government would “release the entire family unit into the U.S. interior. Once released into the U.S. interior, these family units frequently disappear into the country, failing to appear for their court hearings or comply with removal orders.”

That still appears to be happening today. Matthew Albence, then executive associate director for ICE (now acting director), told the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee in Sept. 2018 that 3 out of 10 illegal immigrant family units would cut off their ankle tracking bracelets shortly after being released from custody. But if the asylum is denied, per Albence, the families disappear. “They will comply up until the benefit of complying is not there,” said Albence.

In other words, it was a free for all. One can argue that the child separations policy was ill-conceived, but surely then so is the current system. Without detention until either asylum is granted or deportation commences, illegal immigrant family units are a significant flight risk. The moment they think the process won’t favor them, they disappear.

That is why, to prevent hundreds of thousands more from flooding the border, making a very dangerous journey, the new rules by DHS and DOJ are absolutely necessary. The prior rules presented a perverse incentive. President Trump was right. Unless and until the asylum laws are permanently fixed, this problem was not going to be fixed. In hindsight, granting automatic entry to children from Central America in 2008 was a very poor policy decision. It is absolutely being abused now.

But so far Congress has refused to do a thing about it, and so the Trump administration is doing everything within its powers under the law to act and bring a close to this crisis via regulation. Something’s got to give. If it seems like President Trump and his administration are the only ones trying to actually solve this problem, while of Congress exploit the crisis for political gain, you’d be right.

Robert Romano is the Vice President of Public Policy at Americans for Limited Government.  You can read more of his articles at www.dailytorch.com. 

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TRUMP ECONOMY KEEPS CHUGGING ALONG WITH 1.4 MILLION MORE JOB OPENINGS THAN JOBLESS

By ROBERT ROMANO

The Trump economy keeps chugging along with 1.4 million more job openings than jobless.

The latest Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) survey from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) shows approximately 7.3 million job openings in May, contrasting with 5.9 million unemployed, with more jobs available than there are people to fill them for the fifteenth month in a row.

A neat readout from BLS also gives you a snapshot of job openings by state, and when compared to unemployment rates by state, a pretty significant correlation emerges, where unsurprisingly states with the greatest job openings to unemployed ratios tend to have lower unemployment rates, an Americans for Limited Government analysis of BLS data shows.

North Dakota tops the list, with more than 2 job openings per 1 person unemployed. Iowa, Minnesota, Hawaii, Nebraska, Wisconsin, Missouri, South Dakota, Kansas and New Hampshire round out the top 10.

On the other side of the ledger, only 8 states have more unemployed than job openings, with Alaska topping the list at 1.6 persons unemployed for every job opening. States with more unemployed than job openings include Louisiana, Connecticut, California, Washington, Mississippi, West Virginia and Arizona.

So in many states, there are more opportunities than those looking for them, and in a few, there are not. There are some regional mismatches, where depending on where you live, job seekers might do well to look out of state.

The balance favors those seeking work, as well as those currently working. Now, employers need to compete for labor, and that has a positive impact on wages. The wage growth since 2017 is the best seen since the financial crisis, most recently at 2.8 percent growth in the first quarter of 2019.

Overall, that is good news, and one of the reasons why the Trump economy is experiencing some of the lowest unemployment numbers over the past 50 years. In that sense, the economy cannot grow fast enough to accommodate those untapped opportunities.

But at the same time, the job openings to unemployed gap could also show a need for more targeted training to help fill job openings more quickly. This is an area where the federal government already has vast reams of data that could be made available, to better determine areas of employment that are in dire need of more applicants.

Then there is the question of how tax dollars are allocated. For the cost and with the funds used for Pell grants and Department of Labor training programs, what if businesses could more cost-efficiently train job seekers via targeted tax credits? Businesses today say they spend more time looking for skilled labor than anything else. The skills gap — where too many people study unneeded majors in college — is a barrier to more growth and points to the need for reskilling and accommodations. And nobody knows better what types of workers are needed than America’s businesses.

Such an undertaking, spending dollars on job training instead of 4-year degrees, might be drastically cheaper, and could help those looking to enter the labor force the means to do so and help businesses find the skilled labor they are looking for. We can argue about whether those dollars ought to be provided in the first instance, but seeing as they are already provided, they might as well be allocated in the most efficient way possible.

The Trump administration should consider proposals to integrate the missions of the Departments of Labor and Education, and find better uses for existing funds that are supposed to be training the next generation of workers to fill the skills gap. The economy is itching to grow, but businesses cannot fully expand without more help from a skilled workforce.

Robert Romano is the Vice President of Public Policy at Americans for Limited Government.  You can read more of his articles at www.dailytorch.com. 

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IS THE DEPT. OF HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT ABOUT TO DOUBLE DOWN ON THE 2015 FEDERAL TAKEOVER OF LOCAL ZONING REGULATIONS?

By ROBERT ROMANO

The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is getting set to finalize a regulation modifying the 2015 rule from the Obama administration, Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing, that conditioned $3.3 billion of annual community development block grants on rezoning local municipalities along income and racial guidelines.

More than 1,200 cities and counties accept those block grants nationwide affecting populations of tens of millions of people. Suffice to say that the potential impact of the regulations would be vast if ever implemented. This was always a vast overreach, where the federal government could come in and tell communities what must be built and where.

And the current changes being considered may not be much better. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Ben Carson in an Aug. 13, 2018 interview with the Wall Street Journal said, “I would incentivize people who really would like to get a nice juicy government grant [to look at their zoning codes].” That’s exactly what the prior rule did.

Now, sources familiar with the final regulation currently being considered by the White House Office of Management and Budget suggest that it will still condition funds on making changes to local zoning, just with a different rationale, to reduce regulatory burdens that contribute to higher housing costs particularly in urban areas such as San Francisco.

The new rule would favor multifamily properties over single family dwelling, just like the Obama era regulation did.

While reducing regulations at the local level is certainly a laudable goal, it is also one that the federal government has no business attending to, let alone having bureaucrats in Washington, D.C. decide what amounts to one of the most important decisions that local governments make.

It’s also illegal. Under Division F, Title II of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2019, Section 232, Congress expressly forbid HUD from doing anything with local zoning and this regulation: “None of the funds made available by this Act may be used by the Department of Housing and Urban Development to direct a grantee to undertake specific changes to existing zoning laws as part of carrying out the final rule entitled ‘Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing’ … or the notice entitled ‘Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing Assessment Tool’…”

That identical provision, sponsored by Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) passed the Senate overwhelmingly 87 to 9 in 2016.

As a result, the terms of the Fair Housing Act have been changed by Congress in an affirmative act to say there shall be no more changes to local zoning by Washington, D.C. If HUD were to continue implementing the regulation as it is currently written, particularly to make changes to local zoning, it would not be acting in accordance with the law.

It’s not final yet, though, so there are alternatives for the federal government to consider. Instead, HUD could help the 1.1 million households living in public housing units the way Poland, Hungary, Slovakia and Romania did in the late 1980s when the Soviet Union was falling apart: by privatizing public housing and turning ownership directly over to the tenants.

By transferring public housing ownership directly to current tenants, they would be the direct beneficiaries by becoming the owners of billions of dollars of prime urban real estate, with the plan generating new income necessary to jumpstart the redevelopment of these neighborhoods.

In addition, HUD might consider transferring properties owned by Government Sponsored Enterprises Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and the Federal Housing Administration obtained via foreclosures to local housing authorities specifically to combat the homelessness crisis and for other fair housing needs.

All of these could help HUD fulfill its obligations under the Fair Housing Act without obliterating local governance and the decisions made about zoning. Fortunately, there is still time for OMB to engage in a course correction before the government overreach that began with the regulation in 2015 becomes cemented. Leaving the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rezoning regulation in place would be a big mistake for the Trump administration, and is one the nation will eventually come to regret.

Robert Romano is the Vice President of Public Policy at Americans for Limited Government.    You can read more of his articles at www.dailytorch.com. 

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