CONGRESS SHOULD REJECT LAMAR ALEXANDER’S PLAN TO FEDERALIZE HEALTH DATA

By RICK MANNING

Terrible ideas come in all partisan packages and this seems to be particularly true when it comes to federalizing your health care.

One Republican, Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) who once vociferously opposed federalized health care plans like Obamacare, is now embracing a federal government role in health insurance markets as an offset to the Democrat’s Medicare for All push.

Lamar Alexander’s really bad idea stems from his quest to make Obamacare work better and be more affordable genre is called the All Payers Claims Database.

It is hard to imagine a more obtuse idea in this era where our federal government has been weaponized against our individual liberties, but here is how the United States Department of Health and Human Services’ Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality defines state All Payers Claims Databases:

“All-payer claims databases (APCDs) are large State databases that include medical claims, pharmacy claims, dental claims, and eligibility and provider files collected from private and public payers.

“APCD data are reported directly by insurers to States, usually as part of a State mandate.”

Eighteen states currently have implemented the APCD, and the federal government website cited above claims that one of the major advantages of this federalization of your health care information is that it is much more comprehensive including, “information on care for patients across care sites, rather than just hospitalizations and emergency department visits reported as part of discharge data systems maintained by most States through State governments or hospital associations. They also include large sample sizes, geographic representation, and capture of longitudinal information on a wide range of individual patients.”

What could go wrong when every person in America’s doctor visits, prescriptions, and health concerns are tracked in a federal database? Obamacare already required doctors to switch over to a computerized system to check boxes on your health care, with a patient portal for you to access whatever is in there, so this is a simple compelled click of the button away.

It is not hard to imagine the mischief hackers could do in opening up millions of health care files for public view.  Ever been tested for AIDS or contracted a Sexually Transmitted Disease, a few clicks from a clever hacker will reveal all.  Have you talked to a mental health counselor? Do you trust the results of that conversation to be on a federal government website?

With every prescription in capable federal government hands, you can be “confident” that your neighbors or kids won’t find out using the dark web that you used a prescription morning after abortion pill in the past?  After all, we never read about massive data breeches from federal government agencies like the Veteran’s Administration.

And don’t even think of being a Republican nominee for the Supreme Court, as the same kind people who used the IRS to abuse tea party activists and turned high school yearbooks and video store rental records into tools of political destruction, will crack a federal health care database faster than Cleveland Brown quarterback Baker Mayfield chugs a beer.

Of course we can “trust” the federal government with our personal health care information, after all those who turned the nation’s intelligence services into partisan operatives intent on bringing down a duly elected President, surely won’t abuse the information in this system for political purposes.

The last thing our nation needs at this time of unparalleled attack on individual privacy and rights is to federally weaponize our doctor’s visits.

And I’m not even going to go down the inevitable pathway of artificial intelligence bots that will crawl all over the data to determine the most cost effective means of treatment without regard for individual personal history and your doctor’s judgment.  You won’t even know it when your doctor changes your coagulant medication that they were directed to for cost purposes when they opened your chart from the helpful federal database monitor.  You just know that the medication that didn’t quite work right before is now the one you are filling at your local drug store.

Republicans used to agree that the federal government needs stay out of the details of health care leaving governance to the states.  But now, thanks to soon to retire erstwhile Senator Lamar Alexander, they are looking to leap into creating the largest invasion of health care privacy in history.

The Senate needs to just say no to Lamar Alexander’s federalization of your health care data, after all, what could go wrong besides everything.

 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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THERE WERE FEWER PEOPLE UNEMPLOYED IN AMERICA IN AUGUST 2019 THAN THERE WERE IN AUGUST 1975 WHEN WE WERE JUST SHY OF 69 MILLION FEWER PEOPLE IN THE ECONOMY

By RICK MANNING

I graduated from Norco High School in 1975. I am now eligible to collect Social Security. And there are fewer Americans unemployed today than the summer I graduated high school.

If this doesn’t shock you, then nothing will.  Economies can be measured by many things, the number of people who want a job but can’t find one is perhaps the most important political and human measure. To provide a shorter time frame, there are 4.2 million more Americans in the civilian labor force since January 2017, when Donald Trump became President, and there are 1.5 million fewer Americans who are unemployed today than then. Even as the labor participation rate (percentage of people 16 and older who are in the workforce) has risen from 62.9 percent to 63.2 percent.

A total 5.7 million more jobs have been created.

What we are witnessing is almost an economic miracle. More people are working today at 157.8 million than at any time in history. Fewer people are unemployed this August than in any August since 1974. The last time fewer Americans were unemployed during this month, the pet rock was a popular gift, the Godfather Part II and Blazing Saddles were the two most popular movies and the Vietnam War was still raging.

For all the economic doom and gloom Eeyores, try to find your inner Tigger, because America is working, wages continue to climb, and inflation remains low. And the economy is defying the gravitational expectations of the regular business cycle, largely because Americans are coming back into the workforce; and in spite of the constant negative Nancy news, they are positive about the future.

One final nail in the partisan pessimists down talking the economy coffin is the simple fact that the unemployment rate of 3.7 percent marks the fifteenth time in 18 months that the unemployment rate has been below 4 percent. The last time prior to this run that the unemployment rate was below 4 percent was in January of 1970, almost 50 years ago.

As proof, the much disliked Transportation Security Administration (TSA) with their intrusive blue gloves, reported that the nine busiest days in their history occurred this summer. Note to CNBC: People don’t decide to travel by plane when they believe that their incomes are in jeopardy. Instead they do the staycation which became so popular during the Obama era.

The simple fact is that Americans are not only working but they are making more money today than they have in the past. The household median income rose to a record $61,372 in 2017, as more Americans are benefitting from wage gains earned. The 2018 number will be reported in October, and given the on-going 3.2 percent year over year increases reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, it is obvious that 2018 and 2019 will have been even better years for American’s pocketbooks.

With all of the down talking of the economy by political and economic pundits, it is important for people to understand that what they are experiencing in the personal lives is what others are — this economy rocks. If you want a job, you can get a job, and you are getting paid more for the same work today than you were last year without inflation eating away all or more of your wage gains.

Yet, problems still remain. Opioid and other addictions continue to have a hollowing out effect on our workforce. As large as the labor force is, and it’s never been larger, there would be about 6.9 million more people aged 16-64 in the workforce today if the labor participation rate for that age group was the same today as it was in 1997. This addiction crisis is also fueling a homeless problem which HUD Secretary Ben Carson is striving to address.

Here’s the good news, that number used to be 9.7 million, meaning 2.8 million working age adults have reentered the labor force and have jobs, with 16-64-year-old labor participation rising from 72.7 percent in 2015 to 73.8 percent in 2018. The restored hope that this represents is the untold story of renewal that is hidden by a media animus toward Donald Trump that refuses to deliver good news.

But even in a time of unprecedented low unemployment rates, work still remains to be done to bring people who have been left behind, like those with disabilities, out of the shadows and into the workforce. The fact that almost 36 million Americans remain on food assistance programs shows that the economy has not yet lifted enough boats to self-sufficiency. The fact that 8.1 million fewer people are on food assistance than when President Trump took office shows that our nation is heading in the right direction.

America should be celebrating the Trump economic success story, and judging by the summer vacation travel reports, it appears that the people get it, even if the media doesn’t.

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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WISEGUYZ SHOW ONE OF MOST ENTERTAINING ON RADIO

By NICK CHRISTOPHERS

If you are looking for a fun and insightful radio show, you won’t need to look far. It is called the Wiseguyz Show, and no it’s not about the mob – but you never know who their guest might be.

It first aired in 2014 on DDVRadio and is also available on DDVRadio on Tunein, on Free DDVRadio App and streaming Live on The Wiseguyz Show Facebook Group page and syndicated on other multiple networks.  You may be reading this and saying, “Hey, wasn’t there another show with a similar name?” Yes, there was one co-hosted by the late John “ChaCha” Ciarcia which ended in 2009.  His show was broadcasted from his restaurant “Cha-Cha’s” in Little Italy. The developing cast of the Wiseguyz Show asked ChaCha for permission to run a spin-off of The Wiseguy Show. He was all for it and hence the birth of the show.

“Cha Cha supported us 100%.  He even called into the show from time to time to join in with us right up until his passing. He is our/my inspiration and a big part of my strive to carry this show to a greater level. Without his advice there wouldn’t even be a Wiseguyz Show. He will always be a part of our show in one way or another. He will always be remembered and honored throughout our existence. May God Rest his Soul. He was an amazing man, a true mentor and my NY Little Italy Zio. I Miss Him every day. This is why the name The Wiseguyz Show,” said Freddy the Fireman.

The show has a diverse cast of characters; Freddy The Fireman, Jumpin Gennaro, The Chicken Man of Alcatraz, Italian Singing Sensation Biagio, Mini Peter KISS of Mini KISS, Joe Cannoli, Mike The Magician, Rob The DJ, Bubble Gum Gangster Billy Gagootz, SandAntonio The Engineer, Annette The Talent Coordinator and Anthony The Photographer. There also those who lend a hand to the show like Actor Randy DeOrio, Boxer Bobby Czyz, Comedian Mad Dog Mike Jenkins, Jerry The Plumber, Nicky Whispers, and The Sicilian Sleeper.

The show focuses on current events as they at times put a comedic spin on those events. They are also actively involved in promoting benefits / charity events. The cast has offered their time to Hosting festivals, entertainment events and have done many Live Remote Show Specials. Since its inception there has been a string of celebrity guests on the show. Whether they are an A thru Z list guest the show does not discriminate.

So far, they have had the likes of Eric Estrada, Larry Wilcox, Jerry Mathers, Chuck Wepner, Big Ange, Lt Col Michael Waltz, Vinny Paz, Ray Mercer, Mic Foley, Judy Torres, Burt Young, Fasciation, Bobby Czyz, Mo Vaughn, Mike Marino, Tony Saragossa, Bernard Kerik, Greg Valentine, Lee Haney, Amanda Bearse, Rick Cerone, Taylor Dane, Billy Van Zant and more.

According to Freddy the Fireman they are soon to be taking the show to another level. He believes the show can serve as a key media source for mass information to the public. Also, as a conduit for those looking to promote themselves and for organizations looking to advertise their events on a large scale.

Their facebook group page has already reached 20,000+ solid members and still going. They are always gearing up to work on charity events like Autism, Cancer, Lupus, Anti-Bullying, Heritage, and Special Needs. 

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WHY THE POLLS ARE WRONG – THE CASE FOR WOMEN TO SUPPORT TRUMP

By TEMPLE LI

Are you afraid to admit you are a Republican?  Of course you are—particularly if you live in a state or work in an environment whose politics are blatantly Democrat or progressive.  A woman, who was employed in a health care organization in Vermont, reported that she was terrified to admit that she was Republican, let alone that she voted for Trump.  As a director of a medical facility, after the 2016 election, she had to stand by while people cried on her shoulder because “Hillary had lost.”  It did not occur to her coworkers and employees that she could be possibly anything other than Democrat.  She noted that the best day of her life was when she retired and announced at her retirement party that she was a Republican!

This is exactly why, not only the 2016 polls were wrong, but the 2020 ones are as well.  Trump is an iconoclastic figure; anathema to most women and it is difficult, if not impossible, for women in particular to bring themselves to admit that they will vote for Trump.  His prior attitude toward and treatment of women, his misguided tweets; his childish name calling and the myriad other actions attributed to the narcissism of this man are difficult, if not nearly impossible, for women to reconcile with a decision to vote for him.

It is irrelevant the educational level of a woman or where she lives as whether or not she will vote for Trump.  His coarseness and abrasiveness is equally as offensive to a high school graduate as it is to someone with a master’s degree; to a woman living in the suburbs or rural America. Yet, at his massive rallies, there are substantial numbers of women waving signs and chanting “lock her up,” or “send them back,” but these women, as their male counterparts, represent Trump’s base.   However, there is the quiet majority of women who do not attend these rallies or raise banners in his support and are grimacing at the thought that they will be going in 2020 to the polls and secretly voting for a man that makes them cringe.

And why is this? Because the alternatives, despite Trump’s assault to their sensibilities, are anti-American; anti-capitalist; and practice identity politics.  Should you be pro-life, there is not one candidate in the top of the crowd of Democrat candidates who supports some limitation on abortion and what happens to the fetus, if this human is accidentally born.  These same candidates decry the detention centers for illegal immigrants, while the homeless in cities throughout the country governed by progressives are rapidly increasing; living in unsanitary conditions on the streets; and riddled with disease, psychiatric and substance abuse problems.  They tout the “green new deal,” while they fly from state to state campaigning and decry millionaires and billionaires, while they own two or three houses, some of which are enclosed by fences to keep undesirables out.    They scream “socialism” as a solution to society’s problems which is merely big government paternalism controlling its citizens.  They want Medicare for all, which results in rationing of medical care, particularly for the poor.    They openly brag about breaking Federal law, smoking marijuana and “inhaling,”  while marijuana is just another way of numbing the brains of our country’s citizens, letting their rights and freedoms go “up in smoke.”   They blame Trump for the recent attack on the citizens of El Paso; while it is their rhetoric of open borders; decriminalization of illegal immigration and free healthcare for non-citizens at the expense of American taxpayers that are actually inciting the sick response to their proposals.

Although Trump appears to lack sensibility, his economic, social, defense and foreign policies do make sense and are working,   And it because of this, that those of you who cannot bring yourselves to publicly support Trump, will privately in the polling stations throughout the country, vote “yes” for his policies, if not for the man, in 2020.

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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TRUMP IS NOT WRONG ABOUT INTEREST RATES AND THE STRONG DOLLAR, BUT DOES THE FED HAVE ANY AMMUNITION TO DO ANYTHING ABOUT IT?

By ROBERT ROMANO

Treasury yields flashed warning signs again with intraday inversions of the 10-year and 2-year treasuries as President Donald Trump blasted the Federal Reserve once again for acting too slowly to lower interest rates.

“Germany sells 30 year bonds offering negative yields. Germany competes with the USA. Our Federal Reserve does not allow us to do what we must do. They put us at a disadvantage against our competition. Strong Dollar, No Inflation! They move like quicksand. Fight or go home!” Trump tweeted on Aug. 22.

Here, Trump is referring to overseas government bonds, such as Germany and Japan, that are both trading in negative territory at the moment. He has previously called for the central bank to lower its key interest rate 1 percentage point to a range of 1 percent to 1.25 percent. Although not quite negative, it would be getting close.

Trump is not wrong. Relative to other countries, interest rates in the U.S., as low as they currently are, are higher than those of trading partners. And the federal funds rate at 2 percent to 2.25 percent is well above the 10-year treasury and have been inverted since May and so has the 10-year, 3-month treasuries spread. In the meantime, the U.S. dollar versus the Chinese yuan and the euro remains quite strong, making exports to the U.S. much cheaper.

But even if it started aggressively cutting rates right now, can the Fed really do much about it? We were at near-zero percent on the federal funds rate and did trillions of dollars of quantitative easing during the Obama administration and yet, growth was still tepid as we lost market share to China. The Fed supposedly runs monetary policy but exchange rates is not something it appears to focus on. It probably should.

As for Trump’s comparison to Germany and Japan, negative rates are not a positive economic indicator. Just as high interest rates signal inflationary environments, negative rates occur in deflationary environments, with slow or no growth. If rates are about to go negative, then Trump is absolutely right, the dollar is too strong relative to other currencies.

Whether the Fed could weaken the dollar sufficiently with interest rates cuts and open market operations to cure overseas competitive devaluations is a really great question. But I don’t think so. I think that when it comes to the dollar being too strong, the Fed is basically out of ammunition. That’s something we need to work out via diplomacy and some sort of international monetary accord, perhaps as part of a trade agreement such as the one currently being negotiated with Beijing. I have suggested barring currency manipulators like China from treasuries markets as a potential penalty, but such a drastic move carries a lot of risk in terms of disrupting financial markets and would carry further repercussions in terms of U.S.-Chinese relations.

The conundrum is this: How do you weaken the dollar when it’s the world’s reserve currency and everyone piles it up like it’s gold, and what’s more, everyone has an incentive to do so because it makes their exports cheaper?

That said, I understand and appreciate the President’s frustration with the Fed. When it comes to economic conditions, arguably, because the Fed waited so long to hike rates from its near-zero percent levels after the financial crisis and Great Recession — the first hike did not come until Dec. 2015 and the full normalization not until after the 2020 elections beginning in Dec. 2016 — it has very little room to maneuver for the next recession.

If the Fed had hiked rates sooner, say starting in 2014 and 2015, it seems likely the recession would have already occurred. Were the rate hikes forestalled until after the 2016 election? Was it politically timed to help the incumbent party at the time? I think those are fair questions.

Either way, with so little room left to maneuver, we’re in zero-bound territory and we could be about to test negative interest rates in the next recession when it does come, and all of the perverse incentives they might create as borrowers including governments get paid interest to borrow at negative rates.

And in terms of rate cutting, the Fed waited until after its own rate had inverted with the 10-year treasury, finally moving rates down on July 31, but not by enough to cure the inversion. Now, whether those inversions could have been avoided is an interesting proposition. Hypothetically, it could have eased earlier this year.

In fact, Trump has been pointing to the relatively higher interest rates since Oct. 2018, when he told the Wall Street Journal, “I’m very unhappy with the Fed, because Obama had zero interest rates and I have almost normalized—and maybe normalized, depending on who you’re talking to—interest rates. You give me zero interest rates and you show me my numbers with zero interest rates.” Was the President ahead of the curve?

Leaving that aside, in theory, the Fed could cure its own interest rate inversion now by dropping its rate toward zero, but it’s worth noting that the Fed tends to ease as we get closer to recessions and that it cures its inversion as we enter the recession. It might want to see the 10-year, 2-year fully invert before it fully moves in that direction. Meaning, once the Fed cures its inversion, that may not be a really good signal.

So maybe the President should be careful what he wishes for. On the other hand, could doing the Fed ending its own inversion now help avert a recession? It’s easy to see why the President would be concerned.

Now, there is some talk that, somehow, interest rate inversions, which occur like clockwork prior to recessions, were themselves the cause and not merely a prediction of a recession, that they become some sort of self-fulfilling prophecy.  I don’t buy into that since every recession in recent history you can look at included some inversions as a flight to safety occurred, and business cycles being what they are, nothing lasts forever.

Either way, it is clear that we are nearing the end of the business cycle. Right now, the economy is strong, coming off its strongest growth since 2005 and a record low 3.7 percent unemployment rate. Once the 10-year, 2-year fully inverts, you might expect a recession about 16 months later on average, which might put it in Dec. 2020 if it were to happen right now, after the election, if that’s what you’re wondering about.

But it could be sooner. If so, a good question might be whether the central bank timed its own rate hiking after the 2016 election so that a recession would occur just as voters were headed to the polls in Nov. 2020. Were they out to get Trump? We’ll find out soon enough. Stay tuned.

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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WHY THE DEMS VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE IS SO IMPORTANT – DEMS LONG RANGE PLANS

By TEMPLE LI

THINK ABOUT IT!  Joe Biden is the most popular democrat candidate.  Democrats truly believe that he is the only hope for the Dems to beat Trump in 2020.  However, Joe continues to add insult to injury given his many gaffs so far and the list will continue to grow.  “We believe in truths vs. facts.”  “The poor are as smart as the whites.”  “When I was Vice President and walked with the Parkland students up the hill.” These are just a sample of what Republicans are wondering out loud is reflective of age-related dementia, while asserting that Dems are secretly worried about the same.   Biden’s team attempted to whitewash the particularly outrageous claim about Parkland by saying he confused it with the Sandy Hook shooting.  However, during the aftermath of Connecticut, there was nothing reported about Joe Biden walking with students up a hill.

And what about his policies which are out of touch with reality.  At a time when the U.S. faces its fiercest advisory, Joe’s initial remarks in a rally attempting to mock Trump about China were:  “China is going to eat our lunch? Come on, man…they can’t even figure out how to deal with the fact that they have this great division between the China Sea and the mountains in the east, I mean in the west.”

Particularly sad were Biden’s wife’s comments urging support of her husband at a campaign event  in Nashua, N.H.  “Your candidate might be better on, I don’t know, health care, than Joe is, but you’ve got to look at who’s going to win this election and maybe you have to swallow a little bit and say, ‘Okay, I personally like so and so better,’ but your bottom line has to be that we have to beat Trump.”  However, these remarks do embody the reason for Joe Biden to continue to run, and the Democrat machine just needs to keep him lucid enough during the primary and the subsequent presidential campaign to get him elected.   Granted he seems to be faltering early in the game, but the polls still show him as “numero uno” both over the other Dem hopefuls and Trump.

Dems are on a crusade and like the crusaders of old, they just won’t give up.  There is a strong possibility Joe Biden can squeak by and beat Trump, whose policies unquestionably are great for the country, but whose outrageous tweets and less-than-presidential demeanor put off key constituents needed for election, including white, educated, suburban women.  Unfortunately, Joe—and the Democrat leaders—know, that in the long-term he is not up to the task of running the country and that is why their vice presidential candidate matters!   Because Joe is prepared to fall on his sword (after his election as President), so the DNC’s real choice can take over.  It is important to watch who that selection will be to determine in which direction they really want to take this country!

Will it be angry Stacey Abrams, whose identity politics are polarizing; Elizabeth Warren, who will swing this country ever closer to a socialistic society or Amy Klobuchar, in line with Biden’s more moderate view?  Or someone else waiting in the shadows?

Guess we’ll just have to wait and see!

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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RUSSIA, RACIST, RECESSION: THE NEW FAKE NEWS R WORDS

By RICK MANNING

Magically and mystically, this minute the favorite “R” word of the Democrats has shifted from Russia to racist to recession in the blink of an eye — all falsehoods — as they desperately hope that the normal economic cycle turns prior to the Nov. 2020 presidential election.

While the media and indeed Americans for Limited Government’s own articles have spoken a lot about bond inversions, demographics and even overseas influencers on our economy, it is important that you know some facts that will make you feel better about the economic future.

Consumer spending continues to increase at a brisk pace with the Commerce Department’s Bureau of Economic Affairs reporting:

“The increase in personal income in June primarily reflected increases in wages and salaries, government social benefits to persons, and supplements to wages and salaries (table 3).

“The $21.4 billion increase in real PCE (personal consumption expenditures after inflation) in June primarily reflected a $19.5 billion increase in spending for nondurable goods and a $4.6 billion increase in spending for services, that was partially offset by a decline of $1.5 billion in spending for durable goods (table 7). Within nondurable goods, other nondurable goods (including pharmaceutical products) was the leading contributor to the increase. Within durable goods, motor vehicles and parts was the leading contributor to the decline. Detailed information on monthly real PCE spending can be found in Table 2.3.6U.

“Personal outlays increased $44.2 billion in June… Personal saving was $1.34 trillion in June and the personal saving rate, personal saving as a percentage of disposable personal income, was 8.1 percent…”

The job market continues to astound observers, remaining extremely strong with more people employed, making more money than ever before. What’s more wages grew at 2.7 percent in the latest reading in the second quarter according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That has benefits for those who make the least in an economic tide that is lifting all boats.

While the unemployment rate remains near record lows, inflation remains under control with prices only increasing by 1.8 percent over the past year according to the Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics.

This below Federal Reserve target inflation rate is significant as it is reported at a time when many high profile (meaning they get on television) economists are worrying that the tariffs imposed upon China would show up as price increases to the consumer.  They aren’t. In fact, the Producer Price Index for goods separate from energy for the past month was a paltry 0.1 percent.  Even in a rising wage environment, the upward pressure on the cost of goods and services remains negligible.

And of course, interest rates are going down.  This has the effect of both lowering the cost of borrowing, but also opening the door for homeowners to save hundreds of dollars on their mortgages by refinancing their homes, potentially pumping billions of dollars into the economy. It also has the effect of lowering the cost of borrowing for businesses looking to expand or purchase new machinery.

In July, 283,000 more Americans had jobs than in June reaching an all-time record for the number of people employed at 157,288,000 people, and after a short period where manufacturing job growth had stalled, July showed new vigor in hiring for those good wage manufacturing jobs.

But the most important indicator that the economy is healthy is the “help wanted” sign on the front door of businesses and incredibly, there continues to be more than 1 million help wanted signs hanging than there are Americans looking for work.

While some publications are reporting that more than third of economists expect a recession in the next year and a half, this means that about two-thirds of economists don’t expect a recession before the election. Any prognostication beyond 2020 is effectively meaningless. The “recession is coming, the recession is coming” narrative is likely to end up being nothing more than the Russia collusion lie that preceded it: Fake news.

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 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.

More from Opinion

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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