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Is Government Eroding America’s Work Ethic?

by Stephen Moore     •      NY Sun youth unemployment

What ever happened to the old-fashioned American work ethic? I ask this because Thursday’s Labor Department report for June found yet another 430,000 Americans of working age (16+) dropped out of the workforce.

Over the last year more only 1.3 million of Americans of working age have entered the workforce even as the population of this same demographic increased by more than 2.8 million. Just over 1 million of this group found jobs. That’s right—of the increase in working age population, less than 36 percent found employment! [Read more...]

Conservatives have every reason to be optimistic

Freedom and opportunity are on the horizon with a new crop of principled, capable and positive conservatives. 

by George Landrith   bright-future-optimism-optimistic

In the past few weeks and the next couple weeks, we will see most of the expected entrants into the GOP presidential sweepstakes make their plans official. The GOP bench is deep with a number of highly credible and well qualified potential nominees. Part of this deep bench is the result of the conservatives doing well in a majority of the non-presidential and state elections during President Barack Obama’s time in office. The GOP has gained 70 seats in Congress and 910 state legislators around the nation since Barack Obama took office.

If you’re a conservative, there is a lot more good news on the horizon. That deep bench of well-qualified and highly credible candidates is revealing itself in congressional elections around the nation. Speaking with campaign experts around the nation, one thing is clear — the GOP has a bumper crop of great conservative candidates.

I can’t write about each of them, but perhaps I can pick one that caught my eye and shows real promise. In Florida’s 18th Congressional District, an established name is retiring from the House of Representatives to pursue the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Sen. Marco Rubio. Rick Kozell has announced his candidacy for the open congressional seat in the Treasure Coast and Palm Beach area.

Here’s what I like about Rick Kozell — he’s an optimistic, principled conservative with a winning vision for the future. He reminds me of a young Ronald Reagan. The press will have a hard time casting him as the stereotypical angry conservative. Kozell is affable, young, smart, and articulate. His smile is natural and his energy and enthusiasm are obvious. [Read more...]

40 percent of unemployed have quit looking for jobs

by Jeff Cox     •     CNBC

unemploymentAt a time when 8.5 million Americans still don’t have jobs, some 40 percent have given up even looking.

The revelation, contained in a new survey Wednesday showing how much work needs to be done yet in the U.S. labor market, comes as the labor force participation rate remains mired near 37-year lows.

A tight jobs market, the skills gap between what employers want and what prospective employees have to offer, and a benefits program that, while curtailed from its recession level, still remains obliging have combined to keep workers on the sidelines, according to a Harris poll of 1,553 working-age Americans conducted for Express Employment Professionals. [Read more...]

There is no sugar-coating the weak economy

Regardless of the President’s claims, the economy is weak and the “recovery” is almost invisible to most Americans. 

Editorial Board   •   Washington Examiner

Sluggish EconomyDuring his 60 Minutes interview late last month, President Obama put an old and familiar rhetorical question to the voters: “Ronald Reagan used to ask the question, ‘Are you better off than you were four years ago?’…And the answer is, the country is definitely better off than we were when I came into office.”

Most members of the public do not share this view, according to this week’s Washington Post/ABC News poll. Only 22 percent surveyed agreed that they are “better off financially” than they were when Obama was inaugurated in January 2009 — including only 37 percent of Democratic partisans. This says a lot about how people feel, because six years ago, the nation was embroiled in the very financial crisis that Obama still cites to absolve himself from blame for America’s continued economic doldrums.

When pressed in the same interview, Obama had to concede that most Americans aren’t feeling the recovery he has been touting ever since the so-called “Recovery Summer” of 2010. That’s because for workers, there hasn’t been much of a recovery. [Read more...]

Economy Looking Sick … Again

Weak Economyby Megan McArdle

Last month, when the Bureau of Economic Analysis announced that gross domestic product had grown at a lead-footed rate of 0.1 percent in the first quarter, economic analysts could focus on two pillars of hope. The first was that the winter weather was unusually awful, and first-quarter growth probably reflected that. And the second? This was a very preliminary number, and it seemed reasonable to think that it might be revised upward.

The operative word is “seemed.” Now the BEA has provided its first revision, and things only get more dismal: The economy actually contracted in the first quarter instead of just lying down on the sofa and feeling all mopey and sad. Key areas of decline were exports, inventories and nonresidential fixed investment. In other words, whatever happened was happening on the business side. [Read more...]

January: a chilly month for jobs

joblessAfter the U.S. economy added only a disappointing 74,000 jobs in December, the worst month of job creation in three years, economists expected the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics on Friday to report substantial improvement in January.

Well, the 113,000 jobs added last month certainly represents an improvement from December. But such job growth is far from substantial. The consensus of economists surveyed by Bloomberg ahead of Friday’s report was 180,000 jobs.

Some blamed the weak jobs number on January’s frigid weather in much of the nation.

Polar vortex or not, January marked an unhappy milestone for the nation’s jobless – exactly six years since the economy reached the peak number of jobs, as Businessweek pointed out.

Some 8.7 million jobs were lost during the so-called Great Recession of 2007-09. And in January, some four and half years after recession ended and the Obama recovery began, the U.S. was still nearly 1 million jobs shy of where it was six years ago. [Read more...]

Weak Economy: For every new job, five have given up

Weak EconomyThe recent job report was disappointing on several different levels. The new jobs number was appalling. The number of new jobs, 74,000 doesn’t even keep up with population growth. In fact, if it were doubled, it would still be short of keeping pace with population growth. Simply stated, it means we are moving backwards.

But it gets worse — a shockingly large and growing group of Americans are chronically jobless and have evidently given up hope of finding a job because they are completely outside of the workforce. Another 347,000 Americans left the workforce. [Read more...]

What about jobs?

unemploymentThe country needs jobs, not more jobless benefits. Congress and the White House have completely lost sight of this.

One blessing of the holiday season is upon us: The prospect that members of Congress will actually stay away from Washington for a few weeks, leaving what’s left of our liberties and livelihoods alone until the new year.

Glory, hallelujah, amen.

Of course, lawmakers will be back at it soon. And we’re already seeing signs that they have no idea how to address the serious problems average, struggling Americans face every day. [Read more...]

Obama signals he’s given up on the economy

obamanomicsby Glenn Harlan Reynolds

Last week, President Obama gave a much-touted speech on “income inequality.” But while inequality is a valid concern, it’s not so clear that unequal incomes are the biggest problem America faces.

More troubling — as figures as distinct as Slate’s Matthew Yglesias and National Review’s Mark Steyn both noted — is the growing divide between an America where people have jobs, and an America where people live off of government benefits.

As Yglesias observed:

The Washington, D.C., metropolitan area has become an island of prosperity in an ailing country. But D.C. itself has an 8.9% unemployment rate even as it sits at the center of a metro-area unemployment rate of just 5.4%. For people who haven’t gone to college — the kind of people who live in the neighborhood where Obama was speaking — the unemployment rate is 20%. That’s a disaster. And while Obama talked about plenty of things that could help those unemployed families — subsidized health care, better schools for their kids — he didn’t really talk about anything that would get them jobs. The biggest applause line of the speech was about raising the minimum wage, which is great, but also doesn’t help you very much if your current wage is $0. [Read more...]

Economic Malpractice

obamanomicsIt’s amazing how little President Obama has learned about economics in his four and a half years in the White House. Growth, incentives, tax reform, tax increases, private investment, the middle class, a second great depression, the sequester—all these issues have one thing in common: Obama doesn’t understand their role in our economy.

Nor does he appear interested in finding out. Members of the now-defunct President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness have privately talked about Obama’s economic shallowness. After the 2010 election, he invited four conservative economists to the White House. When former Congressional Budget Office director Douglas Holtz-Eakin broached the subject of the economic cost of Obamacare, the president dismissed it as politics, not economics.

Obama seems oblivious to the feeble recovery his policies have produced since the recession bottomed out in June 2009. The jobless rate is 7.3 percent. But if the millions who’ve dropped out of the job market altogether since Obama took office in January 2009 were counted, the unemployment rate would be 10.8 percent. “In other words, the United States faces a permanently larger pool of jobless Americans,” says the American Enterprise Institute’s James Pethokoukis. [Read more...]

Killing the American Dream with the Minimum Wage

Minimum WagePolitical crusades for raising the minimum wage are back again. Advocates of minimum wage laws often give themselves credit for being more “compassionate” towards “the poor.” But they seldom bother to check what are the actual consequences of such laws.

One of the simplest and most fundamental economic principles is that people tend to buy more when the price is lower and less when the price is higher. Yet advocates of minimum wage laws seem to think that the government can raise the price of labor without reducing the amount of labor that will be hired. [Read more...]

The US job market is dead in the water and not getting better

US Jobs Graph


How do you know the August jobs report was pretty bad? When the best thing you can say is that it might have met Wall Street expectations if not for a temporary shutdown in the porn industry last month. (The motion picture and sound recording industry lost 22,000 jobs in August, according to the BLS.) Sure, the White House can argue, as economic adviser Jason Furman did right after the report’s release, that the “incoming economic data broadly suggest that the recovery continues to make progress.” But consider the following:

1. This was the jobs report that was supposed to reflect an economy kicking into higher gear. Goldman Sachs, for instance, was looking for 200,000 net new jobs. And whisper estimates were even higher. Instead, the economy added just 169,000 jobs vs. the 180,000 consensus forecast. [Read more...]

The ObamaCare bomb

ObamaCare Costs Pork

ObamaCare Costs Pork

The scheme is about to blow up the incentive to work

A mere three weeks remain before the Obamacare exchanges open for business. The likely result will be the closing doors on Main Street, as shopkeepers and entrepreneurs shut down, unable to make ends meet. It’s clear that the wounded economy can’t cope with the exploding costs ahead.

Ohio announced that premiums would rise in the individual market by an average of 88 percent next year. Premiums will rise 72 percent in Indiana, 125 percent in Wisconsin. Even California, with its relatively robust individual market, is bracing for increases of 66 percent.

The Obamacare train wreck bearing down on us is about far more than higher costs. [Read more...]

Worse than Carter

carterThe “labor force participation rate” hit a record low hit at 63.2 percent. This represents the percentage of Americans over the age of 16 who have jobs (even if it is part-time or just a temporary job), or are looking for a job. That is according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ job numbers released this past Friday.

So after Barack Obama has been in office for 4 and 1/2 years and spent trillions on stimulus, we have a record low number of Americans over the age of 16 who have any job at all or are even optimistic enough to be looking for a job. Almost 40% of the American population over the age of 16 is unemployed or so depressed that they’ve given up looking for work. That is not good news, despite Obama’s claims that we are heading in the right direction.

Jimmy Carter must be smiling because before last Friday, he held the record for the worst labor force participation rate. [Read more...]

Jobless rate is worse than you think

unemployment-numbersby Heidi Shierholz

On Labor Day, we celebrate the American worker. And more than four years since the Great Recession ended in June 2009, the unemployment rate is 7.4%, a big improvement from the high of 10% in the fall of 2009. Unfortunately, the rate is hugely misleading: Most of that improvement was for all the wrong reasons.

Remember, jobless workers are not counted as being part of the labor force unless they are actively looking for work, and the decline in the unemployment rate since its peak has mostly been the result of workers dropping out of — or not entering — the labor force.

According to Congressional Budget Office estimates, if the labor market were healthy, the labor force would number about 159.2 million. But the actual labor force numbers just 155.8 million. That means about 3.4 million “missing workers” are out there — jobless people who would be in the labor force if job opportunities were strong.

Given the weak labor market, they’re not actively looking for work and so aren’t counted. If those missing workers were actively looking, the unemployment rate would be 9.4%. [Read more...]