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Constitutional and Political Freedom

Nancy Pelosi’s Problems are Just Beginning

By Peter RoffNewsweek

You wouldn’t know it from the way she’s being covered in most of the Washington media but House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is a woman with a lot of problems. Instead of in-depth coverage of the ideological divisions in her caucus and the political challenges to her leadership, she gets stuff like this, from Politico:

“Using strategies she’s honed over decades, the speaker has managed to keep a sprawling freshman class in line — and on her side — despite breaking with them on issues ranging from impeachment to the ‘Green New Deal.’”

What Speakers John Boehner and Paul Ryan wouldn’t have done for that kind of coverage when they were in charge! When they were in charge, the dissenters drove the narrative. Now that the Queen Bee of Capitol Hill is back in charge, things have turned on their head.

The reason for this is simple according to Rich Galen, a former top communications aide to House Speaker Newt Gingrich and a well-respected commentator.

“The advantage – the GREAT advantage – that Pelosi has, which Newt nor any following GOP Speaker has had is the adoration of the national press corps. They REALLY want her to succeed. Nevertheless, Pelosi has some of the same issues to deal with that Newt did: Mainly a huge freshman class that think they invented Democracy,” Galen says.

He doesn’t think she’s lost control of her conference – not yet anyway – but the she’s not breaking records for party unity. She’s already lost the vote on two motions to recommit – a parliamentary device often used to slow the progress of legislation through the House – and continues to show signs of fatigue, something that has some speculating quietly and anonymously that the job may be too much for her.

That’s a reach. Even at 78 Pelosi still shows she has command of the political skills learned at her father’s knee – he was once mayor of Baltimore, Maryland – and from various members of the Burton family whose accomplishments in California Democratic politics are still considered legendary.

Still, Pelosi did herself no favors when late last week she suggested impeachment of President Donald Trump might be off the table. By suggesting it wasn’t worth the effort she gave the proverbial “finger” to Democratic donors and activists from coast to coast who worked so hard in 2018 to win back control of the U.S. House for the Democrats precisely for the purpose of driving Trump from office.

Some may say that it’s not such a big deal. The activist wing of the party is likely harder to mollify, even as Pelosi and others work to keep them in line. Consider what the reaction would have been among the GOP faithful if, after using the repeal of Obamacare as the whip hand to drive voters to the polls in 2010 to win back control of the House for John Boehner and the Republicans, the measure was never even brought to the floor for a vote.

“Impeaching Trump is probably the one substantive matter that is non-negotiable for House Democrats,” says Mike Franc, a former GOP congressional leadership staffer and now head of the Washington office of the Hoover Institution.

“Pelosi can get away with dismissing the New Green Deal (because it is purely aspirational and agenda-setting rather than substantive) but not this. My guess is that she suffers for this sin, mostly with the Democratic base.”

For Pelosi, now and moving forward, the tail is wagging the dog. She may be the political leader and the nation’s most important elected Democrat, but she has little to say, at least so far, about what the party’s agenda will be. She faces, Franc says, “a substantive revolution” in the way policy is made on Capitol Hill, akin to what happened after the Democratic landslide of 1974 and the 1994 Republican Contract with America.

The large class of Democratic freshmen, which includes Alexandria Ocasio-Cortes and her fellow traveling socialists, do not seem, Franc says, committed to a set of real and substantive policy changes so much as they are interested in “using their platforms as Members to advance a new and socialistic state of mind in traditional and social media.”

If that gives AOC and others control of the agenda, what does that mean for the suburban seats Democrats took from the GOP in 2018 because voters either thought the Republican agenda was too extreme or because they wanted to send a message to Trump?

Extremism on the left, which is what AOC and her fellow Green New Dealers are offering, is no better in these districts than extremism on the right. These moderate members could get lost in the undertow if Pelosi can’t stop the drift to the left, but she can’t stay in power if she does.

Nancy Pelosi has a lot of problems – and they’re just beginning to surface.


Shocked by Biased Journalism? Please.

By Lance Morrow • Wall Street Journal

The Democratic National Committee will regret its decision to bar Fox News from hosting any of its 2020 presidential primary debates. Just as the game begins, the committee has planted the idea that the Democrats mean to run a rigged election—not a happy thought to encourage in view of the way the party’s leaders fiddled with the process in 2016 to favor Hillary Clinton over Bernie Sanders.

The Democrats consider Fox a propaganda arm of the Trump administration, but they have their own propaganda arms. Most of the mainstream media manifest a deep affinity for progressive Democrats and their agenda. To exclude Fox smacks of Soviet one-party theatrics.

The journalists at CNN, MSNBC, the Washington Post and the New York Times and, broadly speaking, the elected officials and paid operatives of the Democratic Party—almost all of these people agree on the issues of the day: women’s rights, abortion, gay marriage and other LGBTQ issues, Black Lives Matter, gun control, immigration, the border wall, family separation at the U.S.-Mexican border, Russian collusion, Brett Kavanaugh’s fitness and so on. They agree, above all, in opposing and loathing Donald Trump.

MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” unfolds each weekday morning as a relentless, ritualized denunciation of Mr. Trump and all his works. With almost hilarious single-mindedness, the program’s repertory company addresses itself to the work of discrediting and—they hope—one day ousting the president.

It will be fatal to Democrats’ chances in 2020 to encourage the suspicion they won’t tolerate points of view that differ from progressive orthodoxy. Unbiased viewers know that Fox employs many credible journalists: Bret Baier, Martha McCallum and Chris Wallace, for example.

Anyway, Fox journalists asking the questions would only sharpen the debate and increase the candidates’ credibility. The ideologues at the DNC don’t grasp the virtue of competing ideas. Jacobins rarely do.

True, Sean Hannity whispers in Mr. Trump’s ear. That is probably a bad idea, but it has abundant historical precedent. The muckraking journalist Lincoln Steffens of McClure’s Magazine, author of “The Shame of the Cities,” met often with President Theodore Roosevelt to advise him on progressive policy.

Arthur Krock, Washington bureau chief and a columnist for the New York Times, was in the Kennedy family’s pocket for years. He wrote columns in the late 1930s pushing Joseph P. Kennedy, John F. Kennedy’s father, for president. The journalist had the sense to turn down the patriarch’s offer of a car one Christmas, considering the bribe too blatant. Krock used his influence on the Pulitzer board to engineer a 1957 prize for JFK’s “Profiles in Courage.”

Henry Luce, co-founder and editor in chief of Time Inc., regarded his magazines as the voices of the American superego. He liked to tell his countrymen what to think, and presidents how to act. Presidents feared Luce and his ability to teach and preach to tens of millions of American voters every week. Luce had an especially proprietary sense of President Dwight Eisenhower, whom his magazines backed in 1952. Intellectuals damned Luce and envied him his vast readership and almost unique influence upon the American popular mind. Phil Graham, publisher of the Washington Post, was an intimate adviser to Lyndon Johnson, notably at the 1960 Democratic convention, where LBJ sought the top spot on the ticket but settled for the second.

President Kennedy and Ben Bradlee, of Newsweek and later of the Washington Post, had a glamorous friendship that was close and, from a journalistic point of view, not quite ethical.

The DNC made a bad move. One or two of the declared Democratic candidates might distinguish themselves now by demanding that the committee reverse itself and invite Fox News—and its audience—back into the American electoral process.


Liberal Primary Voters Turn to Socialism

By Michael Tanner • National Review

Outside the media and political circles that follow her every move, few probably noticed or cared when Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez pronounced capitalism “irredeemable.” But what are we to make of the refusal of former Colorado governor John Hickenlooper — supposedly the moderate in the Democratic field — to admit that he was a capitalist? Speaking on MSNBC’s Morning Joe last week, Hickenlooper turned aside several direct questions about whether he was a capitalist before allowing that “some aspects” of capitalism, like small business, “probably work.” And what about the fact that 77-year-old avowed socialist Bernie Sanders is in a statistical tie for the Democratic nomination?

Perhaps that’s because Democratic primary voters have a surprisingly favorable view of socialism. According to the latest Harvard CAPS/Harris Poll, Democrats prefer capitalism to socialism by the slimmest 51–49 percent margin. That’s a long way from President Obama, who just four years ago pointed out that “the free market is the greatest generator of wealth in history — it has lifted millions out of poverty.”

Of course there is ample reason to be suspicious of the combination of cronyism and government intervention that has replaced free-market capitalism in recent years. But this new affection for socialism represents a profound misreading of economics, history, and the human condition.

For most of recorded history, humankind was horribly, desperately poor. Then, about 300 years ago, human wealth suddenly began to increase exponentially. The reason for this sudden and wonderful change was the advent of modern free-market capitalism. And while those at the top of the income ladder undoubtedly saw major gains, those who benefited the most from this increase in wealth were those at the bottom.

In her groundbreaking book Bourgeois Equality, Deirdre McCloskey points out that in the era before modern free-market capitalism, great civilizations, such as Periclean Greece or Song Dynasty China, sometimes saw a temporary doubling of national income per capita. Such gains were considered extraordinary. But compare that to the fact that since 1800, developed countries like Sweden or Japan have seen a 3,200 percent growth in per capita income. And with that growth came all sorts of associated benefits, including longer life expectancies, a better-educated citizenry, expanded civil and political rights, and reduced poverty. Studies measuring inequality over time against indexes of economic freedom (adjusted to exclude exogenous factors such as educational levels, climate, agricultural share of employment, and so forth) show a small but statistically significant reduction in inequality in countries with high economic-freedom scores.

What has been true worldwide has been true for the United States as well. Consider that by most measures nearly all Americans were poor at the start of the last century. Indeed, if we use a definition corresponding to today’s poverty measures, 60 to 80 percent of the U.S. population was poor at the start of the 20th century. Today, while some people undoubtedly continue to struggle, deep material poverty has been nearly eradicated.

It is free-market capitalism that is at the heart of this prosperity.

Nor is the debate about capitalism vs. socialism merely a question of economics. Strip away all the bells and whistles and there are only two ways to organize society: markets or command and control. Markets are fundamentally about choice and voluntary exchange. Command and control is about, well, command and control — that is, force. Advocates of socialism presume that this power will be exercised by wise philosopher-economist-kings who can magically determine precisely what wages should be, how much a product should sell for, and what consumers want (or should want). History shows that, instead, those powers are exercised by fallible human beings who not only get economic decisions wrong but cannot resist spreading their new power into non-economic areas of our lives.

Donald Trump, with his continuing calls for government intervention in the economy, is hardly the best person to make the case against Democrats and socialism. He is, in fact, emblematic of the cronyism that has come to taint capitalism in the minds of many. But his message may still find a receptive audience.

The same Harvard/Harris poll cited above showed voters overall preferring capitalism by a 65–35 percent margin. Voters outside the Democratic-primary base are far less enamored of socialism. Even many of those choosing socialism probably don’t really mean it, seeing “socialism” as simply shorthand for a more generous welfare state.

In particular, an anti-capitalist, pro-socialist message will be a very hard sell in the crucial suburbs that have begun swinging Democratic in the last few elections. Voters in those areas are repelled by Trump’s rhetoric and Republican social conservatism but remain capitalists.

There’s no doubt that Trump remains vulnerable, but so long as Democrats continue their lurch to the left, his reelection prospects will look up.


Greenpeace Founding Member: ‘The Whole Climate Crisis Is Not Only Fake News, It’s Fake Science’

By Tyler O’Neil • PJ Media

On Tuesday morning, Patrick Moore, a founding member of the environmentalist organization Greenpeace, slammed climate alarmists for promoting a fake emergency. President Donald Trump tweeted Moore’s remarks shortly after he made them.

“In fact, the whole climate crisis as they call it is not only fake news, it’s fake science. There is no climate crisis,” Moore, author of the book Confessions of a Greenpeace Drop-Out: The Making of a Sensible Environmentalist, told “Fox & Friends” Tuesday morning.

“There is weather and climate all around the world. And, in fact, carbon dioxide is the main building block of all life,” Moore said. “That’s where the carbon comes from in carbon-based life, which is all life on land and in the sea. And not only that, a little bit of warming would not be a bad thing for myself being a Canadian and the people in Russia wouldn’t mind a little couple of degrees warmer either.”

The Greenpeace founding member did not deny that climate change is real, but he insisted that it is not a crisis.

“Yes, of course, climate change is real. It’s been happening since the beginning of time. But it’s not dangerous and it’s not made by people,” Moore insisted.

What is climate change, if it’s not a man-made imminent crisis? “Climate change is a perfectly natural phenomenon and this modern warm period actually began about 300 years ago when Little Ice Age began to come to an end,” he explained. “There is nothing to be afraid of.”

As for the alarmists, “that’s all they are doing is instilling fear. Most of the scientists who are saying it’s a crisis are on perpetual government grants.”

Yet there is a fundamental contradiction between their claims, Moore insisted. “On one hand they say the science is settled and people like myself should just shut up because they know what’s right. On the other hand, they seem to keep studying it forever as if there is something new to find out. And those two things are completely contradictory,” he said.

The Greenpeace founding member even argued that “carbon dioxide is actually a benefit to the world.” He promoted the CO2 Coalition, which believes “that carbon dioxide is entirely beneficial to both the environment, to agriculture and forestry and to the climate of the Earth.”

If Patrick Moore believes in carbon dioxide as a benefit to the climate, how could he have helped found Greenpeace? He argued that it was the organization that changed from its original mission, not him.

“I was one of the founders doing a Ph.D. in the late ’60s, early ’70s in ecology. I was radicalized by the Cold War and the threat of all-out nuclear war and the emerging consciousness of the environment and we did a lot of good things,” he recalled. “We stopped nuclear testing in Alaska. We have stopped it in the South Pacific. We saved the whales. And we stopped a lot of toxic waste being put into the ocean. And the air.”

“But, by the mid-’80s we had gained a lot of notoriety and we were bringing in a lot of money and we were hijacked by the extreme Left who basically took Greenpeace from a science-based organization to an organization based on sensationalism, misinformation, and fear,” Moore insisted.

The Greenpeace founding member echoed an argument he made against the Green New Deal on “Tucker Carlson Tonight” Monday evening.

Moore said he opposed the climate plan proposed by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) “because it would be basically the end of civilization if 85 percent of the world’s and also 85 percent of the U.S.’s energy — in the form of coal, oil, and natural gas — were phased out over the next few years. Like, ten years. We do not have anything to replace them with.”

Nuclear reactors might be able to meet those needs, “but that isn’t going to happen because the greens are against nuclear, and they’re even against hydroelectric dams, which at least is renewable. But they don’t support that either, so basically, they are opposed to approximately 98.5 percent of all the electricity that we are using and nearly 100 percent of all the vehicle and transportation and ships and plans energy that we are using.”

Moore argued that the biggest problem with phasing out fossil fuels entirely would be mass starvation in the cities. Transporting food from farms to cities “requires large trucks, and there’s not going to be any electric tracks any time soon hauling 40 tons of food into the supermarkets where the people in the cities probably think it originates in the supermarket. But it does not.”

The Ocasio-Cortez ‘Green New Deal’ Is Even Shoddier and More Absurd Than You Thought
Without fossil fuels and the trucks that run on them, food could not travel from the farms to the center of New York or to Manhattan, where AOC is from,” he said. Without trucks, “the people there will begin to starve. … Half the population will die in a very short period of time.”

On “Fox & Friends,” Patrick Moore was even blunter. “The fact is you cannot do agriculture for eight billion people — produce the food for eight billion people — without fossil fuels as far as we know it. We don’t have an alternative, especially for transportation. Which is over 90 percent dependent on fossil fuels,” he said.

Burning fossil fuels may even have a positive impact on the environment, the Greenpeace founding member argued.

“The fact is 85 percent of the world’s energy is from fossil fuels. And the carbon dioxide being emitted from burning it was actually taken out of the atmosphere and the oceans millions of years ago and stored in sediments,” Moore said. “We are now releasing it back into the atmosphere where it can fertilize the life on Earth.”

“Carbon dioxide and water are the two main constituents of all life. Carbohydrates and, of course, fossil fuels are hydrocarbons just missing the oxygen. When you burn them, the oxygen is recombined with carbon to form the carbon dioxide. People need to learn more about the chemistry,” he quipped.

“This is fake science and driving a very dangerous movement on the energy front,” Moore repeated.

President Donald Trump tweeted about Moore’s interview, citing the “Fake Science” line in particular.

“Patrick Moore, co-founder of Greenpeace: ‘The whole climate crisis is not only Fake News, it’s Fake Science. There is no climate crisis, there’s weather and climate all around the world, and in fact carbon dioxide is the main building block of all life,'” Trump tweeted, adding “Wow!”

Greenpeace disputed the claim that Patrick Moore is a co-founder of the organization.

“Patrick Moore was not a co-founder of Greenpeace. He does not represent Greenpeace. He is a paid lobbyist, not an independent source. His statements about @AOC & the #GreenNewDeal have nothing to do with our positions.”

Moore was heavily involved in the early years of Greenpeace. While he did not help found the original organization, the “Don’t Make a Wave Committee,” he joined the crew of the vessel Phyllis Cormack, which later took on the name “Greenpeace.” The organization took its name from that vessel.

Patrick Moore is not listed among the founders of Greenpeace on the website, but he clearly had an early leading role in the organization.

In 2011, the Wall Street Journal dubbed Moore a “founding member” of the organization. PJ Media has adopted this description.


The Painful Circle of Anti-Semitism

By Ximena BarretoThe Western Journal

To many Jewish Americans, the term “anti-Semitism” is synonymous with the hard-right of American politics. This includes, but is not limited to, the likes of neo-Nazis, alt-right, KluKlux Klan/David Duke and others. Since WWII, the American Jewish experience has been defined by three core philosophical movements: fighting against Anti-Semitism, Zionism and classical liberalism, including the equal rights movement.

Interestingly, in most measurable ways, Jews have been extremely successful in all three of these areas. However, in the year 2019 or 5779 (depending on which calendar you use), 70 years after the Holocaust, Jews in America are as vulnerable to anti-Semitism as well political and religious violence as they have ever been. Continue reading


The Left’s New McCarthyism: Racism Has Been Weaponized

By Ximena BarretoThe Western Journal

At long last, have you no sense of decency?” With those words, and in full view of the American people, Senate Legal Counsel Joseph Nye Welch proceeded to expose the reckless destruction of Joe McCarthy and the era of McCarthyism.

As Wisconsin’s junior senator, Joseph McCarthy cynically and recklessly exploited legitimate Cold War concerns over possible communist influence and infiltration of our institutions as his own personal cudgel. Over time, McCarthy came to accuse anyone who opposed him and his aggressive tactics of being a communist sympathizer. In doing so, the test he applied to identify communist and “enemies of the state” was one that only he could properly undertake and administer. Before it was over, hundreds of budding careers were ruined, livelihoods lost and reputations destroyed. Continue reading


Nancy Pelosi’s Threat to Free Speech

By Rich Lowry • National Review

The same Democrats outraged by Donald Trump’s alleged offenses against the First Amendment passed, as their first priority, a speech-restricting bill opposed by the American Civil Liberties Union.

Trump shouldn’t call the media “the enemy of the people” or inveigh against Jeff Bezos for owning the Washington Post, but Nancy Pelosi’s H.R. 1, which passed the House last week, is the true affront to the Constitution.

The wide-ranging legislation purports to reform campaign finance with a series of vague, sweeping measures that will act to chill speech when they don’t actively regulate or squelch it. H.R. 1 is called the For the People Act but would be more aptly titled the Be Careful What You Say, It Might Be Illegal Act.

Progressives can’t abide the notion that people in this country get together to spend money on advocacy outside the purview of the government — in other words, freely promote their favored causes as befits a free people living in a free country.

H.R. 1 cracks the whip. As the Institute for Free Speech points out, the current campaign-finance rules limit expenditures that expressly advocate for the election or defeat of a candidate, or refer to a candidate in public advertising shortly before an election. The idea is to have clear rules so groups can promote their views without fear of running afoul of federal regulations.

H.R. 1 blows this regime up. It seeks to regulate any speech at any time that “promotes or supports the candidate, or attacks or opposes an opponent of the candidate,” a fuzzy standard that could catch up all manner of nonelectoral messages (e.g., “Trump’s tariffs are a mistake,” or “Support Trump’s wall”).

H.R. 1 also widens the definition of coordination between a group and a candidate to encompass almost any communication. It’d still be permissible to discuss a candidate’s position on an issue, so long as there is no talk “regarding the candidate’s or committee’s campaign advertising, message, strategy, policy, polling, allocation of resources, fundraising, or other campaign activities.”

Even if a group doesn’t coordinate with a candidate under this loose standard, it could still be deemed to have coordinated if it were founded by someone who goes on to become a candidate; relies on the professional services of someone who also did work for a candidate; or is run by someone who had conversations about a campaign with the relative of a candidate.

On top of all this, H.R. 1 goes after the privacy of donors to advocacy organizations. It mandates the disclosure of the names and addresses of donors giving more than $10,000 to groups that engage in “campaign-related disbursements.” Given our toxic political environment, this would potentially subject the donors to harassment and abuse, and they might not even be aware of or support the communications in question.

Supporters of H.R. 1 say it is necessary to rein in super PACs, the frightening-sounding organizations that aren’t as unregulated as everyone believes (the Federal Election Commission gets reports of their expenditures and contributions). But, as the Institute for Free Speech notes, the bill affects a much broader array of “trade associations, unions, business groups, and advocacy organizations, such as Planned Parenthood and the National Right to Life Committee.”

Love them or hate them, these groups are part of the warp and woof of American public life, and they shouldn’t have to think twice before engaging in acts of persuasion that enrich and enliven our democracy, not corrupt it.

The Supreme Court has long put an emphasis on bright lines in its campaign-finance jurisprudence exactly to avoid a chilling effect on advocacy. It has said that laws must be “both easily understood and objectively determinable.” The campaign-finance provisions of H.R. 1 are neither.

What H.R. 1 makes abundantly clear is that the foremost threat to the First Amendment are the people who believe that there is something untoward about unregulated political speech and seek to bring it under control.


The Reconstruction of Venezuela

By Dr. Miklos K. Radvanyi

Puzzled by the glaring differences between the well organized and prosperous neighboring new republic, the United States of America, and the chaos as well as the impoverishment of the just emerging states of Central and South America, Simon Bolivar remarked in his “Letter to a gentleman showing great interest in South America’s republican cause”, in 1815:

“As long as our compatriots do not acquire the talents and political virtues that have characterized our northern brothers, I greatly fear that our completely traditionalist systems, far from being favorable for us, will be our demise. Unfortunately, the requisite level of these characteristics seems to be far from us; and, to the contrary, we are dominated by the vices acquired under the direction of a nation like Spain, which has excelled only in cruelty, ambition, revenge and greed.”

In addition to being prophetic, Simon Bolivar’s words still point to the enduring political tragedy of Spanish- Hispanic America, namely that history have not just repeated itself in regular intervals throughout the 19th, the 20th, and in the first nineteen years of the 21st centuries across Central and South America, but that it has run in ruthless as well as inhuman circles around their curious colonial heritage.

Simon Bolivar was one of those personalities who played a crucial role in initiating and then leading the independence movements across the southern part of the American continent. Yet, in the independence struggles of Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia, Bolivar’s vision of a multitude of independent republics unified under a pan-American umbrella with a single strong ruler ultimately failed to materialize. Born into the Caracas aristocracy, who lived and studied for an extended period of time in Europe, he embraced the philosophy of the French Enlightenment, especially the views of Jean-Jacques Rousseau. Accordingly, Simon Bolivar subscribed to the idea of “general will”, and to the principle of the rule of the majority.

When he was elected the President of Venezuela on December 6, 1998, the late Hugo Chavez Frias turned Simon Bolivar’s vision to its head and established under the deceptive idea of “Bolivarian Revolution” an authoritarian form of government with a populist overtone. Moreover, influenced by Fidel Castro’s distributive socialism, he focused on using Venezuela’s considerable oil resources to buy up the good will of the poor. Finally, to oppress the upper and middle classes, Chavez integrated the military and the intelligence services into his authoritarian domestic rule.

Under the strange slogan of “Motherland, Socialism, or Death”, which he changed before his death to an even more macabre one “Motherland and Socialism. We will live, and we will come out victorious”, Chavez succeeded to transform Venezuela from a rich nation to a dirt poor country. In addition to running Venezuela to the ground, Chavez’s autocracy produced a Stalinist constitution, a subservient legislature, a supreme court completely beholden to his command, and a laughable electoral law. All this was neatly subsumed into the Marxist myth of class struggle. Everything that happened before Hugo Chavez, such as slavery, feudalism, colonialism, and capitalism, were necessary evils on the prescribed Marxist road to socialism, where the truly egalitarian society will be erected without poverty and backwardness. The blood sucking bourgeoisie and their equally despicable imperialist masters will be left on the ash heap of history. Naturally, these ideas of historical materialism called for a singular foreign policy direction, namely an unequivocal anti-USA strategy.

Continue reading


Medicare-for-All’s Bitter Pill

By Wesley J. Smith • National Review
bamacare failed. There is no denying it anymore. The supposed “signature achievement” of the 44th president isn’t just opposed by Republicans. The Affordable Care Act has now been jilted also by many Democrats, who, like so modern-day Lotharios, have abandoned their once-burning ardor for state insurance exchanges to pursue “single-payer” health care.

Some readers are yelling, “That was the plan all along!” Yes, but the stew is not fully cooked. I doubt President Obama and the Pelosi Congress of 2009 and 2010 planned for their party to move so radically this soon. Oh well. With burning hatred for everything Trump as the accelerant — and with polling popularity of Bernie Sanders’s “Medicare-for-all” legislation of last year serving as a justification — much of the Democratic party now unapologetically embraces outright socialized medicine.

The newly filed 120-page “Medicare for All Act of 2019,” authored by Pramila Jayapal (D, Wash.), already has 106 co-sponsors — nearly half of the Democratic caucus — and it seeks to yank America hard toward the port side of the political spectrum. The bill — which resembles Medicaid more than it does Medicare — would transform our entire health-care system into an iron-fisted centralized technocracy, with government bureaucrats and bioethicists controlling virtually every aspect of American health care from the delivery of medical treatment, to the payment of doctors, to even, perhaps, the building of hospitals. It would obliterate the health-insurance industry and legalize government seizure of pharmaceutical manufacturers’ patents if they refuse to yield to government drug-price controls.

Here are some of the plan’s most destructive features:

It Would Drown the Country in Red Ink: True to its title, the bill promises comprehensive and encompassing “free” health care for everyone, including primary care, hospital and outpatient services, dental coverage, vision, audiology, women’s reproductive health services, long-term care, prescription drugs, mental-health and substance-abuse treatment, laboratory and diagnostic services, ambulatory services, the list goes on and on. Last year’s version of the plan authored by Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) — which didn’t include coverage for dental and long-term care — was estimated to add $32 trillion to the budget over ten years. It is also not irrelevant that the current Medicare — which is far more limited — is scheduled to go broke in 2028.

Yes, There Would be Rationing: The bill creates a Physician Practice Review Board “to assure quality, cost effectiveness, and fair reimbursements for physician-delivered items and services.” The term “cost-effectiveness” is code for rationing, which the law acknowledges by prohibiting the use of assessment methods of determining “any value or cost-effectiveness that discriminate against people with disabilities.”

Private Payment for Covered Health Services Would Effectively Be Banned: The bill requires that all covered medical services be provided without any out-of-pocket cost to patients. The only fee to which a doctor, hospital, or other service provider would be entitled would be that paid by the government. Kiss the health-insurance industry goodbye.

Doctors and Hospitals Would Become Government Contractors: The state would not, strictly speaking, employ doctors directly. But doctors would be coerced into becoming government contractors by the requirement that they sign a “participation agreement” to be eligible to receive payments from the government. The participation agreement forces medical professionals and institutions to:

  • Accept the government fee as payment in full.
  • Allow the government to inspect their books for a variety of purposes and bury themselves in administrative duties, such as filing periodic reports.
  • Accept other provisions regulators may impose later — which, as we saw with Obamacare, could be onerous and intrusive and aimed as much at effecting social change as providing access to medical treatment.

Doctors who object to the provisions of a participation agreement would have little choice if they wanted to continue their careers, since they could be compensated for services only if they were deemed “qualified providers,” a status restricted to those who sign the agreement. (This is known in law as a “contract of adhesion,” meaning providers have no bargaining power or ability to negotiate terms.) If an individual provider’s agreement were revoked, he or she would be ineligible to be hired by a hospital or medical group, because their participation agreements require that they not employ any provider whose participation plan was “terminated for cause.”

Private-Pay Health Care Would Be Destroyed: What about doctors who wish to operate concierge practices, that is, accept cash directly from patients? Outside of the few non-covered fields such as cosmetic surgery, good luck! The doctor cannot have signed a participation agreement, since qualified providers “may not bill or enter into any private contract with any individual eligible for benefits under the Act for any item or service that is a benefit under this Act.” That means the doctor’s entire practice would have to be made up of people who opted not to be covered by the government, a very small pool of patients — the few very wealthy who could afford to foot their entire medical expenses out of their own pockets, and I suppose, “medical tourists” who travel to the U.S. for the purpose of obtaining treatment.

The Bill Seeks to Remove Profit in the Health-Care Sector: True to its socialist roots, the would eliminate profit in health care. Indeed, the bill states quite explicitly:

It is the sense of Congress that tens of millions of people in the United States do not receive healthcare services while billions of dollars that could be spent on providing health care are diverted to profit. There is a moral imperative to correct the massive deficiencies in our current health system and to eliminate profit from the provision of health care.

To enforce the “sense of Congress,” the bill forbids bureaucrats who determine the medical fees that will be paid to providers — which includes institutions as well as doctors and group practices — from taking into account the costs of “marketing” the “profit or net revenue of the provider, or increasing the profit or net revenue of the provider” or “incentive payments, bonuses, or other compensation based on patient utilization of items and services, or any financial measure applied with respect to the provider.” You think doctors have trouble receiving adequate compensation from Medicare and Medicaid now? Just you wait!

The Government Could Steal Pharmaceutical Patents: The bill requires the government to negotiate the price of medicines with drug companies. The bargaining power in that negotiation would — as with participation agreements — be all with the government. If a company refused to agree to the government’s price, the bill states, “The Secretary shall authorize the use of any patent,” by another company “for purposes of manufacturing such drug for sale under Medicare for All Program,” with compensation paid to the patent-owning company in an amount determined by the bureaucracy. How willing would pharmaceutical executives be to green-light the billions in investments required to develop new medicines knowing that the government could simply seize their patent and license another company to manufacture the drugs if they refused to sell it at a price the government demands?

Illegal Aliens Would Receive Free Health Care. Eligibility to receive benefits is not limited to citizens and aliens here legally. Rather, the bill reads: “Every individual who is a resident of the United States is entitled to benefits for health care services under this Act.” Illegal aliens living here are residents. Talk about a migration magnet. The only limitation on coverage for aliens is a provision that forbids eligibility to anyone traveling here “for the sole purpose of obtaining health care items and services provided under the program.” That’s much less than meets the eye. If an illegal alien traveled here to work, to escape violence, or to be with family, the exclusion clause would not apply. Further demonstrating the intent to cover those here illegally, enrollment in the program would be automatic “at the time of birth in the United States (or upon establishment of residence in the United States).” Residency could conceivably be established by a state driver’s license — now widely allowed illegal aliens — or even a utility bill. And get this: Unlike today’s Medicare identifier, the new Medicare Card would specifically not include a Social Security number, which many illegal aliens don’t possess.

Women Would Receive Free Abortion: Currently, the “Hyde Amendment” prohibits federal funding of abortion. That rare bit of culture-wars comity would be destroyed by the bill, which provides: “Any other provision of law in effect on the date of enactment of this Act restricting the use of Federal funds [i.e., Hyde] for any reproductive health service shall not apply to monies in the Trust Fund [the government entity that would be established to pay health-care costs].”

The Medicare for All Act of 2019 won’t become law while there is a Republican Senate and president. But the 107 co-sponsors in the House have put the country on notice. If the Democrats take over the government in 2021 as they — and some Never Trump Republicans — hope, by 2022, the United States health-care system will become a wholly controlled subsidiary of the United States government, bereft of liberty, increasingly sclerotic, managed by unelected bureaucrats churning out thousands of pages of onerous regulations, a centralized authoritarian mess from which the country’s health-care system would never recover.


WaPo Admits Inaccuracies in Its Reporting About Covington High School Students

By Jeffrey Cimmino • Washington Free Beacon

The Washington Post issued an editor’s note Thursday admitting inaccuracies in its initial reporting on a January incident involving Native American protesters, high school students from Covington, Ky., and a group known as Black Hebrew Israelites.

The note sweeps away the provocative details that turned the story into a phenomenon, including the accusation that Covington students prevented Native American activist Nathan Phillips from moving away.

“A Washington Post article first posted online on Jan. 19 reported on a Jan. 18 incident at the Lincoln Memorial,” the statement begins. “Subsequent reporting, a student’s statement and additional video allow for a more complete assessment of what occurred, either contradicting or failing to confirm accounts provided in that story — including that Native American activist Nathan Phillips was prevented by one student from moving on, that his group had been taunted by the students in the lead-up to the encounter, and that the students were trying to instigate a conflict.”

The editor’s note acknowledges that the high school student facing Phillips contradicted the latter’s account of the incident, and that “an investigation conducted for the Diocese of Covington and Covington Catholic High School found the students’ accounts consistent with videos.” The statement adds that the Post reported on these subsequent developments.

The student at the center of this imbroglio, high school junior Nick Sandmann, filed a $250 million defamation lawsuit against the Post, and his attorneys claim the newspaper led a “mob of bullies which attacked, vilified & threatened” him.

In January, film emerged of Sandmann and a group of Covington Catholic high school students, many of whom were wearing “Make America Great Again” hats, appearing to taunt Phillips, a Native American and veteran, near the Lincoln Memorial. Initial reactions on social media condemned the mostly white students for seeming to mock Phillips.

Phillips initially claimed he saw the students taunting indigenous peoples near the memorial and tried to walk towards the monument before being blocked, but later said he stepped into the crowd to defuse tensions between the students and a nearby group of extremists known as Black Hebrew Israelites. Video showed Phillips banging his drum inches from Sandmann’s face, and Phillips claimed to feel threatened and blocked by the student.

Sandmann countered Phillips’ account, saying he was confused when Phillips approached him and was trying to calm down a tense situation. Sandmann added the students were engaging in school cheers before Phillips approached, in response to expletive-laden taunts being hurled at them by the Black Hebrew Israelites. Video released later shows this to have been the case.

Additional video revealed the students did not chant “Build the wall” or “Trump 2020” as Phillips claimed, and showed the students did not surround Phillips—he walked into their midst.

The Diocese of Covington announced earlier this month that an independent investigation exonerated the students and showed they “did not instigate the incident that occurred at the Lincoln Memorial.”

“In truth, taking everything into account, our students were placed in a situation that was at once bizarre and even threatening,” Bishop Roger Foys said. “Their reaction to the situation was, given the circumstances, expected and one might even say laudatory.”


Why Are We Still Debating the ‘Merits’ of Socialism?

By Steven Greenhut • Reason

In the 1970s, my Dad flew from his home in Pennsylvania to a medical center in Houston to have a then-innovative bypass surgery that extended his life by more than three decades. At the same time, my wife’s family was sending bottles of aspirin to their relatives in the Polish socialist paradise. That dichotomy—Americans receiving cutting-edge medical care even as Eastern Europeans were lacking the rudimentary medicines—always stuck in my mind as I’ve written about political systems.

To understand socialism, one needn’t fixate on its most-horrifying elements—gulags, executions and endless repression. Think about the simple stuff.

After Boris Yeltsin joined the Soviet Politburo in 1989, he visited Johnson Space Center and stopped in a typical Texas grocery store. “When I saw those shelves crammed with hundreds, thousands of cans, cartons and goods of every possible sort, for the first time I felt quite frankly sick with despair for the Soviet people,” he later wrote. At the time, Russians waited in line for whatever crumbs the bureaucrats would sell them.

Why are pundits and politicians talking about socialism again, 28 years after the fall of the Soviet Union? Donald Trump’s vow that the United States would never become a socialist country got people talking. Good for him, even if he should stop praising and excusing North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un, who runs a communist dystopia often described as the “the world’s biggest open prison camp.”

The real reason for the renewed discussion, however, comes from politicians on the other side of the spectrum. It’s apparently hip to be a socialist now, even among contenders for the Democratic presidential nomination. A year before Yeltsin’s U.S. visit, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) took a strange trip to the Soviet Union. A video of the shirtless then-Burlington, Vt., mayor singing with his Soviet hosts as part of a sister-city event has gone viral. That was ages ago. What bothers me is what he—and others on the Democratic Left—have said more recently.

In an article headlined, “Sanders could face more scrutiny for socialist leanings,” The Washington Post referred to the 2016 primary debate between Sanders and Hillary Clinton. Sanders was asked by the moderator in Miami—a city filled with people who fled Cuban communism—about seemingly positive things he had said about Fidel Castro and Nicaragua’s socialist strongman Daniel Ortega. “The key issue here was whether the United States should go around overthrowing small Latin American countries,” Sanders said. That was a transparent dodge. One can oppose American military intervention without having a soft spot for dictators.

These days, some progressives describe themselves as “democratic socialists,” which makes the idea sound kinder and gentler. They aren’t thinking about crumbling buildings in Cuba, starving children in Venezuela and genocide in Cambodia, but might be envisioning a facsimile of Portland, Ore.,—a place with cool, fair-trade, vegan restaurants and hip bars, but without all that private ownership stuff. Yet socialistic policies could turn the nicest cities into wastelands.

Apparently, the leaders in those bad socialist places didn’t do socialism right. As a former Barack Obama national security adviser told the Post, “I think the challenge for Bernie is just going to be differentiating his brand of social democratic policies from the corrupt turn—and authoritarian turn—socialism took in parts of Latin America.”

A turn? Authoritarianism is the inevitable outcome—a feature of socialistic systems, not a bug, because those systems empower government at the expense of individuals.

On its website, the Democratic Socialists of America say they “believe that both the economy and society should be run democratically—to meet public needs, not to make profits for a few.” They don’t offer many specifics, but perhaps your tenants will vote on the rent until you decide to leave the apartment business. These “new” socialists seem as utopian as the old ones. DSA notes that, “a long-term goal of socialism is to eliminate all but the most enjoyable kinds of labor.” Until work is fun, though, someone must divvy up unpleasant tasks on a more equitable basis. You’ve been warned.

Despite air-conditioned homes, full bellies and consumer gadgets courtesy of capitalism, some Americans yearn for a socialist paradise. We can cross one off the list. In 2013, Salon published a piece about the Venezuelan leader’s “full-throated advocacy of socialism and redistributionism” titled, “Hugo Chavez’s Economic Miracle.”

Four years later (with a different strongman but same policies), the BBC described that miracle: “Despite being an oil-rich country, Venezuela is facing record levels of child malnutrition as it experiences severe shortages of food and an inflation rate of over 700 percent.”

Maybe Venezuelans didn’t do it right. Nor did the Russians, or anybody else. Or maybe socialism is a fundamentally flawed idea that always leads to misery by design. We shouldn’t need this discussion in 2019, given mounds of evidence and victims, but here we are again.


The Liberal Surrender on Anti-Semitism

By Johnathan S. Tobin • National Review

It turns out you can accuse Jews of controlling the world, buying Congress, and harboring dual loyalty to Israel and still be considered a heroine by much of the Democratic party. The reaction to the latest example of anti-Semitic invective from Representative Ilhan Omar (D., Minn.) is a teaching moment for anyone previously unsure about how the toxic mix of identity politics, intersectional ideology, and naked partisanship could lead to a major American political party deciding that hatemongering from one of its members wasn’t deserving even of a slap on the wrist.

A week’s worth of national discussion over Omar’s anti-Semitic remarks didn’t result in her condemnation by the House. To the contrary, the House majority revealed itself to be deeply divided on the question of how to handle blatant anti-Semitism. The “compromise” Democrats finally agreed upon was a resolution that not only lumped in the question of the moment — the effort by one member of Congress to delegitimize Jews and supporters of Israel — with a laundry list of other hatreds. And they failed to single out Omar for her actions.

The result is an odd echo of those who criticized the Black Lives Matter movement by claiming that “all lives mattered,” a stand that was harshly criticized at the time by most liberals and Democrats as insensitive to — if not evidence of — racial bigotry. It is a stance they appear to have no shame echoing when it comes to anti-Semitism.

Indeed, Omar has emerged from this incident not only unscathed but also confident that many in the House, and several Democratic presidential candidates, consider her the aggrieved party in the discussion. With so many Democrats agreeing that Omar had been unfairly singled out because of her race and religion, that leaves Jews, one of the most loyal constituencies of the Democratic party, pondering the speed with which they had been discarded.

Jews and supporters of Israel are not the only losers in this incident. House speaker Nancy Pelosi made it clear to Omar a month ago that expressions of anti-Semitism would not be tolerated and forced the congresswoman to issue a contrite apology claiming, as she had done after a previous anti-Semitic statement, that she was unaware of the hurtful nature of singling out Jews for demonization.

That this exercise was blatantly insincere was evident not only from the wording of the apology but also because of Omar’s open support of the BDS — boycott, divestment, sanctions — movement against Israel which routinely traffics in anti-Semitism. Far from seeking a more open conversation on the Middle East or the U.S.–Israel alliance, the goal of Omar and fellow BDS supporter Representative Rashida Tlaib (D., Mich.) is to isolate the one Jewish state on the planet.

But after Omar’s more recent statement in which she accused “Jewish colleagues” of seeking to discriminate against her and Tlaib because they were Muslims and asking Americans “to swear allegiance” to Israel, there will not be even an insincere apology. Instead, it was Pelosi who backed down after the vote, lamely claiming again that Omar didn’t mean to be anti-Semitic, as if the events of the last month that proved the contrary had never happened.

How is this possible?

Many on the left believe that as a woman of color, a Muslim, and an immigrant, Omar cannot, by definition, be a purveyor of hate and prejudice. One way that identity politics manifests is that those who are considered oppressed receive immunity to do things that those considered more privileged cannot do. Hence many Democrats, particularly members of the Congressional Black Caucus, sought to defend Omar rather than to disavow her.

Just as important is the way intersectional theory — which, taking its cues from critical-race theorist Kimberlé Crenshaw, seeks to connect the struggle of all allegedly oppressed peoples — serves to legitimate anti-Semitism. For many on the left, the Palestinian war to destroy Israel is falsely linked to the struggle for civil rights in the United States. Not only does that cause them to ignore the complicated truth about the conflict in the Middle East, it also justifies BDS campaigns and efforts to demonize those who support Israel.

Pelosi and other mainstream Democrats have long accused Republicans of trying to use their ardent support for Israel as a wedge issue and thereby damaging bipartisan support for the Jewish state. What they failed to realize is that much of their party no longer wants any part of that consensus. Three of the party’s leading presidential candidates — Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and Kamala Harris — all issued statements in support of Omar, even registering concern about her safety.

While Pelosi and other mainstream Democrats are hoping the House resolution will end the controversy, one suspects that it is only the beginning of the effort to chip away at support for Israel and to legitimate anti-Jewish tropes in the process. Omar is now armed with the knowledge that she has the support of a large portion of the Democratic party, and will likely continue to snipe away at both Jewish members of Congress and AIPAC. The line that used to exist between legitimate debate about the Middle East and anti-Semitic invective has been blurred by this incident. It may yet disappear if Democrats come to believe that there is no use trying to restrain radicals who now feel empowered to slander Israel’s supporters with impunity. The Left has served notice to Pelosi that they are in charge now, not her.

This may not hurt Democrats at the voting booths. But the idea that Jews have a secure home in the Democratic party has been exposed as an illusion. The Left hasn’t merely captured the Democratic party — it has transformed it.


Trump Should Take a Page from Reagan’s Playbook in North Korea Talks

By John Heubusch • The National Review

President Trump made headlines last week by walking out of his Hanoi summit meeting with North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un. The move came as a surprise, and many news outlets around the world have decried the summit. But Trump’s move recalled Ronald Reagan’s decision to walk out of an even higher-stakes summit, his 1986 Reykjavik meeting with Mikhail Gorbachev.

The two summits bear some similarities. Both were second rounds of negotiations with a foreign power to mitigate that power’s nuclear threat. Both presidents faced a Communist leader abroad and pressure for a deal back home. And both presidents made the right call in walking out to preserve their position of strength.

During the Reykjavik summit, Gorbachev pressed Reagan to scrap research on the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI). The initiative was a crucial point for Reagan. It served as the genesis of the effort that to this day provides some limited capability for the United States to protect itself from foreign ballistic-missile attack. The program had been allowed under previous treaties, and so Reagan refused Gorbachev’s demand, ending the summit. Afterward, Reagan explained his thinking to the American people: “I went to Reykjavik determined that everything was negotiable except two things: our freedom and our future.” SDI was an integral part of that future, so Reagan stood firm.

Similarly, Kim Jong-un pressed Trump to lessen sanctions on North Korea as a precondition for any denuclearization. The United Nations–implemented sanctions had been key to pushing North Korea to the negotiating table in the first place, and Trump rightly recognized that they were his key source of leverage. Without a firm, enforceable process in place for denuclearization, history proves there can be no assurance that North Korea will stay true to its word. Weakening or scrapping the sanctions before that process has begun would be an enormous misstep. So Trump walked.

The pre-Trump policy of continuous sanctions with no communication or negotiation is no longer an option, because Trump has given Kim legitimacy by opening negotiations in a way Reagan likely never would have. But times and circumstances have changed. Despite leaving the negotiating table, Trump has maintained a cordial tone toward Chairman Kim in the days since the summit. He is clearly interested in cultivating a relationship for the future. And in the coming months, Trump would do well to continue drawing from the Reagan playbook.

To that end, his most pressing order of business is making goals and possible outcomes clear to Kim. Reagan laid out his goals in lengthy correspondence with Gorbachev. His “zero option” meant the elimination of intermediate-range missiles in Europe. He also refused to concede “our freedom and our future,” which to him included SDI. Trump needs to make his goals just as clear to Kim: Our future safety is not on the table, and denuclearization is a nonnegotiable first step to easing relations between North Korea and the rest of the world. While Trump touts his negotiating skills, he must have clear aims and be extensively prepared before any further summits occur.

Second, Trump must play hardball. Reagan imposed tough sanctions on the U.S.S.R. and commenced a massive military buildup, both for national-defense purposes and to further pressure the Russian economy and government. The mounting financial and political strain contributed both to Gorbachev’s willingness to negotiate and to the Soviet Union’s eventual collapse. Trump should increase sanctions and work hard to bring China and Russia on board with them for the same reasons. If it causes Kim to negotiate toward denuclearization, great. If it causes the regime to collapse, even better.

Finally, Reagan was willing to return to the negotiating table, even if he’d previously walked away without a deal. After Reykjavik, he said “we prefer no agreement than to bring home a bad agreement to the United States.” That’s why he was able to negotiate directly with Gorbachev three times after the summit collapsed and still win significant concessions. Trump, his top negotiators, and our legislators should likewise remain open to future talks. As long as America maintains its position of strength and is willing to walk away from a bad deal, we are unlikely to lose.

Trump’s talks with Pyongyang present a historic opportunity, but they are not without risk. If the president can maintain a Reaganesque resolve and continue to apply maximum pressure on the Kim regime, he may still be able to ensure a more prosperous future for North Korea and improved security for the people of the United States.


How Does AOC Plan To Pay For Her $93 Trillion Green New Deal?

By Investor’s Business Daily

Environmentalism: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has declared herself “boss” of the “Green New Deal.” Maybe she can explain were the money will come from to pay its $93 trillion cost. Because taxing the rich won’t even scratch the surface.

At an event on Friday, Ocasio-Cortez complained about criticism of the Green New Deal — much of it coming from her own party — that it’s a pipe dream. Former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, for example, said that “there are things that are great goals, but are unrealistic.”

Ocasio-Cortez’s response: “Some people are like, ‘Oh, it’s unrealistic, oh it’s fake, oh it doesn’t address this little minute thing. And I’m like, ‘You try! You do it.’ ‘Cause you’re not. ‘Cause you’re not. So, until you do it, I’m the boss. How ’bout that?”

Try to do what? Come up with an equally unrealistic plan that would bankrupt the nation? Because that’s precisely what the Green New Deal would do.

Green New Deal’s Gargantuan Price Tag

A new analysis from the American Action Forum finds that the Green New Deal, as laid out by New York Rep. Ocasio-Cortez and Massachusetts Sen. Ed Markey, would cost up to $93 trillion in the first ten years.

Remember, the GND isn’t just about converting the entire U.S. energy supply to renewable energy in a decade and establishing a “zero emissions transportation system.”

The plan also includes things like “guaranteed” federal jobs, “universal health care,” and “food security.”

Beyond the bumper-sticker labels, the grandiose plan is vague on any of the details. Still, the AAF, which is headed up by former Congressional Budget Office Director Douglas Holtz-Eakin, was able to rough out the 10-year costs for each of the proposals.

A zero-carbon electricity grid would cost $5.4 trillion, the AAF calculates. A “zero-emissions transportation system,” an additional $1.3-$2.7 trillion. “Guaranteed green housing” will cost anywhere from $1.6 trillion to $4.2 trillion.

Despite the GND’s name, it’s the proposals that have nothing to do with climate change that cost the most. The price tag for a federal guaranteed jobs program could run as much as $44.6 trillion over the next decade. The “universal health care” plan? $36 trillion.

Cost Will Likely Be Higher

If anything, these are lowball estimates.

To calculate the cost of converting to 100% renewable energy, for example, the authors simply assume that no new transmission lines would be needed, and that much of the renewable energy would come from nuclear power. Neither is realistic.

The price tag for a nationwide high-speed rail system that could replace airplanes doesn’t factor in the massive cost overruns endemic to every other government infrastructure project — and which are wrecking California’s attempt to build its own bullet train.

The $36 trillion cost for “universal health care” is in line with other estimates for “Medicare for all.” And as we’ve noted in this space, those are lowball figures.

All told, the cost of the “green” part of the Green New Deal would run from $8.3 trillion to $12.3 trillion over the next 10 years, according to the AAF report. The rest of it would cost an additional $42.8 trillion to $80.6 trillion.

Let’s put this in perspective. At the low end, the GND would more than double the size of the federal government.

At the high end — roughly $9 trillion a year — even taking every single penny earned by tax filers with adjusted gross incomes over $50,000 would not be enough money to pay the costs.

Looked at another way, economists expect the entire U.S. gross domestic product over the next decade to total $266 trillion.

More Than A Third Of GDP

That means the Green New Deal would account for up to 35% of the nation’s economy from 2020 to 2029. That’s on top of existing federal government programs, which already consume more than 20% of GDP each year.

To call this “unrealistic” is the understatement of the year. It would be cataclysmic.

What’s most shocking about the Green New Deal, however, isn’t the unprecedented economic destruction it would cause. Nor is the fact that it will do nothing to prevent “climate change” from happening. Nor the fact that a 29-year-old socialist and her legions of followers think this would be neat.

What’s most shocking about the Green New Deal is that so many leading Democrats, many of whom very much hope one day to be president, are blindly embracing it.


California’s Rendezvous with Reality

By Victor Davis Hanson • The National Review

Californians brag that their state is the world’s fifth-largest economy. They talk as reverentially of Silicon Valley companies Apple, Facebook, and Google as the ancient Greeks did of their Olympian gods.

Hollywood and universities such as Caltech, Stanford, and Berkeley are cited as permanent proof of the intellectual, aesthetic, and technological dominance of West Coast culture.

Californians also see their progressive, one-party state as a neo-socialist model for a nation moving hard to the left.

But how long will they retain such confidence?

California’s 40 million residents depend on less than 1 percent of the state’s taxpayers to pay nearly half of the state income tax, which for California’s highest tier of earners tops out at the nation’s highest rate of 13.3 percent.

In other words, California cannot afford to lose even a few thousand of its wealthiest individual taxpayers. But a new federal tax law now caps deductions for state and local taxes at $10,000 — a radical change that promises to cost many high-earning taxpayers tens of thousands of dollars.

If even a few thousand of the state’s 1 percent flee to nearby no-tax states such as Nevada or Texas, California could face a devastating shortfall in annual income.

During the 2011-16 California drought, politicians and experts claimed that global warming had permanently altered the climate, and that snow and rain would become increasingly rare in California. As a result, long-planned low-elevation reservoirs, designed to store water during exceptionally wet years, were considered all but useless and thus were never built.

Then, in 2016 and 2017, California received record snow and rainfall — and the windfall of millions of acre-feet of runoff was mostly let out to sea. Nothing since has been learned.

California has again been experiencing rain and cold that could approach seasonal records. The state has been soaked by some 18 trillion gallons of rain in February alone. With still no effort to expand California’s water storage capacity, millions of acre-feet of runoff are once again cascading out to sea (and may be sorely missed next year).

The inability to build reservoirs is especially tragic given that the state’s high-speed rail project has gobbled up more than $5 billion in funds without a single foot of track laid. The total cost soared from an original $40 billion promise to a projected $77 billion. To his credit, newly elected governor Gavin Newsom, fearing a budget catastrophe, canceled the statewide project while allowing a few miles of the quarter-built Central Valley “track to nowhere” to be finished.

For years, high-speed rail has drained the state budget of transportation funds that might have easily updated nightmarish stretches of the Central Valley’s Highway 99, or ensured that the nearby ossified Amtrak line became a modern two-track line.

California politicians vie with each other to prove their open-borders bona fides in an effort to appeal to the estimated 27 percent of Californians who were not born in the United States.

But the health, educational, and legal costs associated with massive illegal immigration are squeezing the budget. About a third of the California budget goes to the state’s Medicare program, Medi-Cal. Half the state’s births are funded by Medi-Cal, and in nearly a third of those state-funded births, the mother is an undocumented immigrant.

California is facing a perfect storm of homelessness. Its labyrinth of zoning and building regulations discourages low-cost housing. Its generous welfare benefits, non-enforcement of vagrancy and public health laws, and moderate climate draw in the homeless. Nearly one-third of the nation’s welfare recipients live in the state, and nearly one in five live below the poverty line.

The result is that tens of thousands of people live on the streets and sidewalks of the state’s major cities, where primeval diseases such as typhus have reappeared.

California’s progressive government seems clueless how to deal with these issues, given that solutions such as low-cost housing and strict enforcement of health codes are seen as either too expensive or politically incorrect.

In sum, California has no margin for error.

Spiraling entitlements, unwieldy pension costs, money wasted on high-speed rail, inadequate water storage and delivery, and lax immigration policies were formerly tolerable only because about 150,000 Californians paid huge but federally deductible state income taxes.

No more. Californians may have once derided the state’s 1 percent as selfish rich people. Now, they are praying that these heavily burdened taxpayers stay put and are willing to pay far more than what they had paid before.

That is the only way California can continue to spend money on projects that have not led to safe roads, plentiful water, good schools, and safe streets.

A California reckoning is on the horizon, and it may not be pretty.