The Way Congress Is Handling Health Care Shows Why They Only Have A 17 Percent Approval Rating

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The Senate health care bill was unveiled on Thursday, and it appears to be dead on arrival.  At least four conservative senators say that they can’t vote for the current version because it doesn’t go far enough, while several moderate Republicans are expressing concerns that it goes too far in repealing popular Obamacare provisions.  You can read the full text of the bill here.  Since Democrats are going to be united in voting against any bill that the Republicans put forward, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell can only lose two Republican votes if he wants something to pass.  I don’t know how that is going to be possible, and so in the end we may be stuck with Obamacare for the foreseeable future and that would be a total disaster.

It is astounding to me that Republicans don’t want to pass the exact same clean Obamacare repeal bill that they got to Obama’s desk in 2016.  If they got that same bill to Trump’s desk, he would sign it.  Instead of trying to do everything at once, just repeal Obamacare and then start working on various pieces of the health care system one at a time.

According to Real Clear Politics, Congress currently has an average approval rating of just 17.6 percent.  It is an institution that has failed the American people over and over again, and we are never going to move things in a positive direction in this country until we do something to clean up that cesspool of filth and corruption.

If we truly want to fix health care in this country, we need to rebuild the entire system from the ground up based on free market principles.  But of course the bill that was just unveiled in the Senate simply tries to patch up the system we already have, and that ultimately won’t work…

The bill is very similar to the version of the House bill that passed last month but with some key changes. The text released Thursday showed the Senate legislation would still make major changes to the nation’s health care system, repealing Obamacare’s individual mandate, drastically cutting back federal support of Medicaid, eliminating Obamacare’s taxes on the wealthy, insurers and others. The Senate plan however would keep Obamacare’s subsidies to help people pay for individual coverage.

One thing that is good about the Senate bill is that it would eliminate Medicaid reimbursements for Planned Parenthood for 12 months, but of course this is something that would need to be made permanent as soon as possible.

A more detailed list of major changes that the Senate bill makes was posted on Zero Hedge

  • Gives subsidies illegal immigrants if they are working in the United States
  • Subsidies based on 350% Federal Poverty Level, not 400%.
  • Gets rid of business and consumer mandates with no penalty
  • Qualified plans don’t need to provide abortion coverage unless it’s to save the life of the mother
  • Each state gets 15-10 Billion for uninsurables
  • Cadillac tax is gone
  • OTC med tax is gone
  • HSA penalty tax is 10%
  • Prescription tax is gone
  • Medical device tax is gone
  • Business owners can deduct part d expense again
  • Deductible medical expenses are back to 7.5% instead of 10% AGI
  • Tanning tax is gone (ironic)
  • Net investment tax is gone
  • HSA deductibility will be adjusted every year for COLA
  • Both spouses can now make catch-up contributions to a family HSA
  • 60 day limitation to setting up an HSA account when first getting the plan for purposes of a current claim
  • No coverage for abortion clinics
  • Repeal of cost-sharing subsidy
  • MLR set by states
  • Grants for states battling opiod addiction (like mine)
  • CHIP is reauthorized
  • $5,000 app fee to create small business association health pool
  • Psychiatric coverage is limited to institutionalized individuals only, and for stays up to 30 days but not to exceed 90 days
  • The Senate draft health-care bill doesn’t currently include a provision penalizing people who don’t maintain continuous coverage

Overall, the Senate bill would be a bit of an improvement over Obamacare.

But a slight improvement over a major disaster is still a disaster.

Shortly after the bill was unveiled, four conservative senators announced that they cannot vote for the bill the way that it stands now…

However, four conservative Republican senators —Rand Paul of Kentucky, Ted Cruz of Texas, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin and Mike Lee of Utah— said they “are not ready to vote for this bill” because it does not go far enough in repealing Obamacare. Separately, moderate GOP Sen. Dean Heller of Nevada said he has “serious concerns” about the bill’s impact on Medicaid patients.

“Currently, for a variety of reasons, we are not ready to vote for this bill, but we are open to negotiation and obtaining more information before it is brought to the floor,” Paul, Cruz, Johnson and Lee said in a joint statement. “There are provisions in this draft that represent an improvement to our current health care system, but it does not appear this draft as written will accomplish the most important promise that we made to Americans: to repeal Obamacare and lower their health care costs.”

On the other end of the spectrum, a couple of RINO (Republican in name only) senators are expected to object to the bill because it would reduce funding for Planned Parenthood

Engineer your own vehicles, military style

The Senate bill would cut Medicaid funds from organizations that provide abortions for one year. It does not mention Planned Parenthood by name, but the legislation is clearly targeting the organization, which Republican leaders have promised to defund.

Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, have both expressed concerns about any legislation that defunds Planned Parenthood. Murkowski said Thursday she was still reviewing the bill’s provisions.

President Trump says that the Senate bill is not a finished product and that it is open for negotiation.

But I don’t see how in the world anyone is going to be able to craft something that will be acceptable to at least 50 Republicans in the Senate.

Unfortunately, even if the Republicans pass a health care bill somehow it will not fix the giant mess that our system has become.

One step in the right direction would be to legalize the kind of national buying groups that Rand Paul has proposed

Imagine if the tens of millions of people who belong to Credit Unions, or organizations like the NRA or ACLU, could negotiate as a group for health insurance and drug prices!  Imagine the insurance executives and drug companies coming on bended knee to negotiate for the business of tens of millions of people!

I have proposed legalizing nationwide Association Health Plans.  My Senate Bill 222 does just that.  I have advised the President to act through his Secretary of Labor to review existing law and make it explicitly known that national associations can negotiate as one to bring down insurance prices.

And I would also like to see an expansion of direct primary care and other models that bypass the health insurance companies entirely.

The health insurance companies collectively make a profit of 15 billion dollars a year, and they are a big part of what is wrong with our current system.

There is so much that needs to be done to fix things, and both parties are failing the American people.

So let’s hope that we can remove a lot of these incumbents in 2018, because we definitely need some fresh thinking in Washington.

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We Are Getting Very Close To An Inverted Yield Curve – And If That Happens A Recession Is Essentially Guaranteed

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If something happens seven times in a row, do you think that there is a pretty good chance that it will happen the eighth time too?  Immediately prior to the last seven recessions, we have seen an inverted yield curve, and it looks like it is about to happen again for the very first time since the last financial crisis.  For those of you that are not familiar with this terminology, when we are talking about a yield curve we are typically talking about the spread between two-year and ten-year U.S. Treasury bond yields.  Normally, long-term rates are higher than short-term rates, but when investors get spooked about the economy this can reverse.  Just before every single recession since 1960 the yield curve has “inverted”, and now we are getting dangerously close to it happening again for the first time in a decade.

On Thursday, the spread between two-year and ten-year Treasuries dropped to just 79 basis points.  According to Business Insider, this is almost the tightest that the yield curve has been since 2007…

The spread between the yields on two-year and 10-year Treasurys fell to 79 basis points, or 0.79%, after Wednesday’s disappointing consumer-price and retail-sales data. The spread is currently within a few hundredths of a percentage point of being the tightest it has been since 2007.

Perhaps more notably, it is on a path to “inverting” — meaning it would cost more to borrow for the short term than the long term — for the first time since the months leading up to the financial crisis.

So why is an inverted yield curve such a big event?  Here is how CNBC recently explained it…

An inverted yield curve, which has correctly predicted the last seven recessions going back to the late 1960’s, occurs when short-term interest rates yield more than longer-term rates. Why is an inverted yield curve so crucial in determining the direction of markets and the economy? Because when bank assets (longer-duration loans) generate less income than bank liabilities (short-term deposits), the incentive to make new loans dries up along with the money supply. And when asset bubbles are starved of that monetary fuel they burst. The severity of the recession depends on the intensity of the asset bubbles in existence prior to the inversion.

What is truly alarming is that the Federal Reserve can see what is happening to the yield curve, and they can see all of the other indications that the economy is slowing down, but they decided to raise rates anyway.

Raising rates in a slowing economy is a recipe for disaster, but the Fed has gone beyond that and has declared that it intends to start unwinding the 4.5 trillion dollars of assets that have accumulated on the Fed’s balance sheet.

Janet Yellen is trying to tell us that this will be a smooth process, but many analysts are far from convinced.  For instance, just consider what Peter Boockvar recently told CNBC

“They desperately want this to be an easy, smooth, paint-drying type of process, but there’s no chance,” said Peter Boockvar, chief market analyst at The Lindsey Group. “The whole purpose of quantitative easing was to inflame the markets higher. Why shouldn’t the reverse happen when we do quantitative tightening?”

I hope that there are no political motivations behind the Fed’s moves.  During the Obama era, interest rates were pushed all the way to the floor and the financial system was flooded with new money by the Fed.  But now the Fed is completely reversing the process now that Donald Trump is in office.

When the inevitable stock market crash comes, Trump will get most of the blame, but it will actually be the Federal Reserve’s fault.  If the Fed had not injected trillions of dollars into the system, stocks would not have ever gotten this high.  And now that they are reversing the process that created the bubble, a whole lot of innocent people out there are going to get really hurt as stock prices come crashing down.

And if you thought that the last recession was bad for average American families, wait until you see what happens this time around.  As Kevin Muir has noted, it is utter madness for the Fed to hit the breaks in a rapidly slowing economy…

There are a million other little signs the US economy is rolling over, but that’s not important. What is important is the realization that until financial conditions back up, the Fed will not ease off the brake.

To top it all off, the Fed is not only braking, but they are also preparing the market for a balance sheet unwind. This is like QE in reverse.

It’s a perfect storm of negativity. An overly tight Fed that is determined to withdraw monetary stimulus even in the face of a declining economy.

Even if the Fed ultimately decides not to unwind their balance sheet very rapidly, rising rates will still significantly slow down economic activity.

Rising mortgage rates are going to hit the housing market hard, rising rates on auto loans are horrible news for an auto industry that is already having a horrendous year, and rising rates on credit cards will mean higher credit card payments for millions of American families.

And this comes at a time when indicator after indicator is already screaming that the next recession is dead ahead.

Today, an unelected, unaccountable central banking cartel has far more power over our economy than anyone else, and that includes President Trump and Congress.  The more manipulating they do, the bigger our economic booms and busts become, and this next bust is going to be a doozy.

There have been 18 distinct recessions or depressions since the Federal Reserve was created in 1913, and if we finally want to get off of this economic roller coaster for good we need to abolish the Federal Reserve.

As many of you may have heard, I am very strongly leaning toward running for Congress here in Idaho, and one of the key things that is going to set me apart from any other candidate is that I am very passionate about shutting down the Federal Reserve.  I recently detailed why it is imperative that we do this in an article entitled “The Federal Reserve Must Go”.  Central banks are designed to create government debt spirals, and the size of the U.S. national debt has gotten more than 5000 times larger since the Fed was initially established.

If we ever want to do something about our national debt, and if we ever want to get our economy back on track on a permanent basis, we have got to do something about the Federal Reserve.

Anyone that would suggest otherwise is just wasting your time.

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Democrats Are Hoping This Is Watergate – But In Reality Comey’s Testimony Turned Out To Be A Huge ‘Nothing Burger’

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Many were anticipating that #ComeyDay would be the most monumental congressional hearing in decades, but the truth is that it turned out to be quite a dud.  During two and a half hours of testimony in front of the Senate Intelligence Committee, former FBI Director James Comey didn’t tell us anything that we don’t already know.  Of course liberal news outlets such as CNN are breathlessly proclaiming that we are now “in Nixon territory”, but that isn’t accurate at all.  There is absolutely no evidence that President Trump committed any crime, and there is absolutely nothing that warrants impeachment.

And I am far from alone in that assessment.  For example, an analysis published by CNBC says that nothing in Comey’s testimony was “powerful enough to end the Trump presidency literally or figuratively”…

“Former FBI Director James Comey’s Senate testimony Thursday will indeed have a big political impact in Washington. It will foster more partisan bitterness and more bad feelings about our political process and news media. But none of his testimony rises to the level of anything legally powerful enough to end the Trump presidency literally or figuratively.

The bottom line is that Comey spent a few hours Thursday telling the Senate committee that he felt uncomfortable and even stunned by President Trump’s behavior. And he peppered that narrative with numerous damaging statements about the president’s behavior and character, including basically calling him a liar”

When Comey accused Trump of being a liar, that certainly made a lot of headlines, but unless you are under oath it is not a crime to lie.

Perhaps we should make it a crime for our politicians to lie, because if we did we would clean out the toilet that Washington D.C. has become rather quickly.  But as it stands, even if Trump is a low-down dirty liar as Comey is claiming, that would simply put Trump on the same level as most of the current members of Congress.

The much more important question is whether or not Trump committed obstruction of justice.  Fortunately for Trump, there is a very clear answer to that question.

First of all, we must remember that Trump was Comey’s boss.  As chief executive, Trump has constitutional power to direct the activities of his subordinates, and he is free to fire them whenever he chooses.  So, as Alan Dershowitz just pointed out on CNN, Trump cannot be impeached for simply exercising his constitutional authority…

Renowned Harvard professor and legal mind Alan Dershowitz sparked quite a reaction during a CNN segment on Wednesday night after he proclaimed that former FBI director James Comey’s prepared testimony indicates that President Donald Trump didn’t commit any crimes.

Dershowitz argued that Trump “could have told Comey, ‘You are commanded, directed to drop the investigation against [Gen. Michael] Flynn,’” but noted that he didn’t do so, according to Comey’s prepared testimony that was published on Wednesday.

The famed attorney also said Trump could have pardoned Flynn as well, but also chose not to do so. In the end, he concluded that there appears to be no criminal activity on the part of the president, particularly when it comes to obstruction of justice claims.

Traditionally, the FBI has operated in a highly independent manner, but there is nothing in the law that gives the FBI independent status.

If Congress wants to pass a law to remove the FBI from being under the president’s authority they can certainly do that, but as it stands what Trump did was fully within the law.

But even if Trump didn’t have the authority, there would still be no obstruction of justice.  The two most important federal statutes that cover obstruction of justice are 18 U.S.C. § 1503 and 18 U.S.C. § 1505.  In both cases, it would be exceedingly difficult for prosecutors to prove that Trump acted “corruptly” in this case.  Not only that, there was no “proceeding” that Trump was trying to influence.  For a more extended analysis, please see the article that I posted yesterday entitled “Even If Everything James Comey Is Claiming Is True, There Is Still No Evidence That Trump Is Guilty Of Any Crime”.

If Comey is being straight with us, and at this point his credibility is pretty much shot, but if he is being straight with us there is still nothing that is going to end Trump’s presidency.

What Trump did may have been “inappropriate”, but you don’t impeach a president for being “inappropriate”.

In the aftermath of Comey’s testimony, Trump’s attorney said that the president feels “completely and totally vindicated”

President Donald Trump’s private attorney, Marc Kasowitz, on Wednesday said his client felt “completely and totally vindicated” by James Comey’s prepared opening statement to the Senate Intelligence Committee.

Comey’s remarks, released Wednesday in advance of Thursday’s Senate hearing, confirmed previous statements by Trump that Comey had told him three times that he was not personally being investigated amid the FBI’s wide-ranging inquiry into Russian meddling in the election and the Trump campaign’s possible ties to Russia.

Personally, I hope that this whole “scandal” will go away now.  There never was anything to it in the first place, and the American people want a government that is going to focus on solving problems instead of focusing on investigations that were doomed to go absolutely nowhere from the start.

But even if this Comey angle doesn’t work out, the Democrats will just keep on trying.  In fact, the Huffington Post is already starting to promote the theory that Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement is an impeachable offense.

In the end, the Democrats are never going to give up until they find something that they can use against Trump.  What I am hearing is that they are going to make an all-out push to take back the House and the Senate in 2018, and if they can do that they plan to use their congressional majorities to get rid of Trump one way or another.

This is just another reason why the 2018 mid-term elections are going to be the most important mid-term elections in modern American history, because if the Democrats have their way Trump will never even make it to 2020.

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12 Signs The Economic Slowdown The Experts Have Been Warning About Is Now Here

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Since the election there has been this perception among the American public that the economy is improving, but that has not been the case at all.  U.S. GDP growth for the first quarter was just revised up to 1.2 percent, but that is even lower than the average growth of just 1.33 percent that we saw over the previous ten years.  But when you look even deeper into the numbers a much more alarming picture emerges.  Commercial and industrial loan growth is declining, auto loan defaults are rising, bankruptcies are absolutely surging and we are on pace to break the all-time record for most store closings in a single year in the United States by more than 20 percent.  All of these are points that I have covered before, but today I have 12 new facts to share with you.  The following are 12 signs that the economic slowdown that the experts have been warning about is now here…

#1 According to Challenger, the number of job cuts in May was 71 percent higher than it was in May 2016.

#2 We just witnessed the third worst drop in U.S. construction spending in the last six years.

#3 U.S. manufacturing PMI fell to an 8 month low in May.

#4 Financial stocks have lost all of their gains for the year, and some analysts are saying that this is “a terrible sign”.

#5 One new survey has found that 39 percent of all millionaires “plan to avoid investing in the coming month”.  That is the highest that figure has been since December 2013.

#6 Jobless claims just shot up to a five week high of 248,000.

#7 General Motors just reported another sales decline in May, and it is being reported that the company may be preparing for “more job cuts at its American factories”.

#8 After an initial bump after Donald Trump’s surprise election victory, U.S. consumer confidence is starting to fall.

#9 Since Memorial Day, Radio Shack has officially shut down more than 1,000 stores.

#10 Payless has just increased the number of stores that it plans to close to about 800.

#11 According to the Los Angeles Times, it is being projected that 25 percent of all shopping malls in the United States may close within the next five years.

#12 Over the past 12 months, the number of homeless people living in Los Angeles County has risen by a  staggering 23 percent.

And in case those numbers have not persuaded you that the U.S. economy is heading for rough times, I would encourage you to go check out my previous article entitled “11 Facts That Prove That The U.S. Economy In 2017 Is In Far Worse Shape Than It Was In 2016” for even more eye-popping statistics.

During a bubble, it can feel like the good times are just going to keep rolling forever.

Prepare for Obama's economy causing hyperinflation!

But that never actually happens in reality.

The truth is that we are in the terminal phase of the greatest debt bubble of all time, and the evidence is starting to mount that this debt bubble has just about run its course.  The following comes from Zero Hedge

A recurring theme on this website has been to periodically highlight the tremendous build up in US corporate debt, most recently in April when we showed that “Corporate Debt To EBITDA Hits All Time High.” The relentless debt build up is something which even the IMF recently noted, when in April it released a special report on financial stability, according to which 20% of US corporations were at risk of default should rates rise. It is also the topic of the latest piece by SocGen’s strategist Andrew Lapthorne who uses even more colorful adjectives to describe what has happened since the financial crisis, noting that “the debt build-up during this cycle has been incredible, particularly when compared to the stagnant progression of EBITDA.”

Lapthorne calculates that S&P1500 ex financial net debt has risen by almost $2 trillion in five years, a 150% increase, but this mild in comparison to the tripling of the debt pile in the Russell 2000 in six years. He also notes, as shown he previously, that as a result of this debt surge, interest payments cost the smallest 50% of stocks in the US fully 30% of their EBIT compared with just 10% of profits for the largest 10% and states that “clearly the sensitivity to higher interest rates is then going to be with this smallest 50%, while the dominance and financial strength of the largest 10% disguises this problem in the aggregate index measures.”

The same report noted that net debt growth in the U.S. is quickly headed toward negative territory, and the last time that happened was during the last recession.

We see similar things when we look at the 2nd largest economy on the entire planet.  According to Jim Rickards, China “has multiple bubbles, and they’re all getting ready to burst”…

China is in the greatest financial bubble in history. Yet, calling China a bubble does not do justice to the situation. This story has been touched on periodically over the last year.

China has multiple bubbles, and they’re all getting ready to burst. If you make the right moves now, you could be well positioned even as Chinese credit and currency crash and burn.

The first and most obvious bubble is credit. The combined Chinese government and corporate debt-to-equity ratio is over 300-to-1 after hidden liabilities, such as provincial guarantees and shadow banking system liabilities, are taken into account.

We just got the worst Chinese manufacturing number in about a year, and it looks like economic conditions over there are really starting to slow down as well.

Just like 2008, the coming crisis is going to be truly global in scope.

It is funny how our perspective colors our reality.  Just like in 2007, many are mocking those that are warning that a crisis is coming, but just like in 2009, after the crisis strikes many will be complaining that nobody warned them in advance about what was ahead.

And at this moment it may seem like we have all the time in the world to get prepared for the approaching storm, but once it is here people will be talking about how it seemed to hit us so quickly.

My hope is that many Americans will finally be fed up with our fundamentally flawed financial system once they realize that we are facing another horrendous economic crisis, and that in the aftermath they will finally be ready for the dramatic solutions that are necessary in order to permanently fix things.

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Free Money: Potential Presidential Candidate Mark Zuckerberg Suggests That All Americans Should Get A ‘Universal Basic Income’

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Should everyone in America receive a “basic income” directly from the federal government?  Considering the fact that we are already 20 trillion dollars in debt, such a concept may sound quite foolish to many of you, but this is an idea that is really starting to gain traction in leftist circles.  In fact, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg suggested that this was something that we should “explore” during the commencement speech that he just delivered at Harvard.  For quite a while it has been obvious that Zuckerberg is very strongly considering a run for the presidency in 2020, but up until just recently we haven’t had many clues about where he would stand on particular issues.  If he is serious about proposing a universal basic income for all Americans, that would make Zuckerberg very appealing to the far left voters that flocked to the Bernie Sanders campaign.

Yesterday, I discussed the fact that the number of Americans that are receiving money from the government each month has reached an all-time high, but Zuckerberg would take things much farther.  According to Zuckerberg, society would be far better off if everyone got an income from the government

“Every generation expands its definition of equality. Now it’s time for our generation to define a new social contract,” Zuckerberg said during his speech. “We should have a society that measures progress not by economic metrics like GDP but by how many of us have a role we find meaningful. We should explore ideas like universal basic income to make sure everyone has a cushion to try new ideas.”

Zuckerberg said that, because he knew he had a safety net if projects like Facebook had failed, he was confident enough to continue on without fear of failing. Others, he said, such as children who need to support households instead of poking away on computers learning how to code, don’t have the foundation Zuckerberg had. Universal basic income would provide that sort of cushion, Zuckerberg argued.

Such a proposal is going to look really good to a lot of people at first glance.

But who is going to pay for this?

Of course the truth is that the money for the people that are not working would come from taxing the people that are working.

I don’t think that Zuckerberg has really thought this through.  Are young people going to have an incentive to work if they can just stay home and watch movies and play video games all day while collecting their “universal basic incomes” from the government?

And why would anyone want to bust their rear ends working for a living when their incomes are just going to be taxed extremely heavily to pay for all the people that aren’t working?

We are already 20 trillion dollars in debt, but politicians on the left just want to keep giving even more free stuff to people.  During his presidential campaign, Bernie Sanders suggested that everyone in America “deserves a minimum standard of living” and that every citizen is “entitled” to universal health care, free college education and basic housing…

So long as you have Republicans in control of the House and the Senate, and so long as you have a Congress dominated by big money, I can guarantee you that the discussion about universal basic income is going to go nowhere in a hurry. But, if we can develop a strong grassroots movement which says that every man, woman and child in this country is entitled to a minimum standard of living — is entitled to health care, is entitled to education, is entitled to housing — then we can succeed. We are living in the richest country in the history of the world, yet we have the highest rate of childhood poverty of almost any major country and millions of people are struggling to put food on the table. It is my absolute conviction that everyone in this country deserves a minimum standard of living and we’ve got to go forward in the fight to make that happen.

In previous generations, very few people would have ever taken someone like Bernie Sanders seriously.

Prepare for Obama's economy causing hyperinflation!

But in our day and time socialism is really starting to catch on.  In fact, one survey found “that four out of every ten adults say they prefer socialism to capitalism”

The American Culture and Faith Institute recently conducted a survey of adults 18 and older. It shows not only how deeply divided Americans are on some issues but also how their view of the nation stands in many cases in stark contrast to our nation’s founding principles. Most Americans (58 percent) see themselves as politically moderate, while a quarter identify as conservative, and 17 percent as liberal. Those who were both socially and fiscally conservative, the group tracked by the ACFI in greatest detail, were 6 percent of the population.

But those differences don’t reveal the greatest divide and danger to America’s future. “The most alarming result, according to [George] Barna, was that four out of every ten adults say they prefer socialism to capitalism,” the ACFI noted in its commentary on the poll. “That is a large minority,” Barna said, “and it includes a majority of the liberals — who will be pushing for a completely different economic model to dominate our nation. That is the stuff of civil wars. It ought to set off alarm bells among more traditionally-oriented leaders across the nation.’” That 40 percent of Americans now prefer socialism to capitalism could spell major change to the policies advanced by legislators and political leaders and to the interpretations of judges ruling on the application of new and pre-existing laws.

And as I noted yesterday, Millennials are particularly attracted to socialism.  This could have dramatic implications for our society as older generations of Americans slowly die off.

Unfortunately, there is just one huge problem with socialism.

It doesn’t work.

If you want to see the end result of socialism, just move to Venezuela or North Korea for a while.

In socialist nations, there is very little incentive to work hard.  Instead, people tend to become very lazy and expect the government to provide everything that they need.

When people work hard and are productive, the overall wealth of a society goes up.  And when people sit around and wait for someone else to provide for them, the overall wealth of a society goes down.

Would Mark Zuckerberg have worked so hard to develop Facebook if he knew that the government would just come in and take most of the money away so that others could have a “universal basic income”?

Yes, we want to do all that we can to reduce poverty and to build a strong, vibrant middle class.

But socialism is not the answer and it never will be.

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West Coast Seismic Alert: 2 Alaskan Volcanoes Erupt As Earthquake Swarms At Mount St. Helens Raise Concerns

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Mount St. Helens, Mount Rainier and Mount Hood are all major volcanoes that lie along the infamous “Ring of Fire” that runs down the west coast of the United States, and all of the seismic activity that has been taking place in the region has many concerned about what may happen next.  Earlier this month, I wrote about how 45 earthquakes of magnitude 2.5 or greater hit Alaska in just one 24 hour period.  This week, it is volcanic activity that is raising concerns.  The earthquake swarms at Mount St. Helens are making headlines all over the globe, and on Tuesday two major volcanoes in Alaska suddenly erupted on the exact same day

An eruption at Bogoslof volcano – one of two to erupt in the Aleutian Islands Tuesday – is its first after more than two months of inactivity, causing ash to fall in a nearby community before drifting south over the Pacific Ocean.

The Alaska Volcano Observatory said Tuesday night’s eruption at the volcano about 60 miles west of Unalaska, which began just after 10:30 p.m. and lasted for 73 minutes, sent a plume to an altitude of 34,000 feet.

Overall, 39 volcanoes around the world are either erupting right now or have recently erupted according to Volcano Discovery.

Most of those active volcanoes are along the Ring of Fire.

Fortunately, the U.S. portion of the Ring of Fire has been less active than other areas in recent years.  But experts assure us that will eventually change because seismic tension continues to build.  One example of this is what is happening at Mount St. Helens right now.  According to scientists, the famous volcano is currently going through what is known as a “magma recharge”

Since mid-April, small earthquakes have been cropping up deep beneath Mount St Helens at ‘relatively high rates,’ bringing roughly one tremor every few hours.

In the last 30 days, scientists have located 55 seismic events in the vicinity, and say there may be well over 100 earthquakes linked to the swarm so far.

The activity falls in line with magma recharge thought to be underway since 2008.

Someday it will erupt again, and the geologists that monitor these things are watching the latest developments very carefully

“Mount St. Helens is at normal background levels of activity,” Liz Westby, a geologist with the U.S. Geological Survey–Cascades Volcano Observatory, told ABC News. “But a bit out of the ordinary are several small magnitude earthquake swarms in March to May 2016, November 2016 and April 16 to May 5, 2017. During the April 16 to May 5, 2017, swarm, we detected well over 100 earthquakes, all below a magnitude 1.3.”

Personally, I am much more concerned about Mount Rainier than I am about Mount St. Helens.  Since the last time it erupted in the late 19th century, hundreds of thousands of people have moved into the danger zone around the volcano, and a full-blown eruption now would eclipse any other natural disaster in recorded U.S. history.

Over the last 30 days, there has also been a good bit of seismic activity at Mount Rainier, and much of it has been centered right along the core of the volcano…

Mount Rainier is capable of unleashing a flow of super-heated mud that could literally cover much of the Seattle/Tacoma area.  If you think that I am exaggerating, please see the following excerpt from Wikipedia

Mount Rainier is currently listed as a Decade Volcano, or one of the 16 volcanoes with the greatest likelihood of causing great loss of life and property if eruptive activity resumes.[45] If Mt. Rainier were to erupt as powerfully as Mount St. Helens did in its May 18, 1980 eruption, the effect would be cumulatively greater, because of the far more massive amounts of glacial ice locked on the volcano compared to Mount St. Helens,[37] the vastly more heavily populated areas surrounding Rainier, and the simple fact that Mt Rainier is a much bigger volcano, almost twice the size of St. Helens.[46]Lahars from Rainier pose the most risk to life and property,[47] as many communities lie atop older lahar deposits. According to the United States Geological Survey (USGS), about 150,000 people live on top of old lahar deposits of Rainier.[7] Not only is there much ice atop the volcano, the volcano is also slowly being weakened by hydrothermal activity. According to Geoff Clayton, a geologist with a Washington State Geology firm, RH2 Engineering, a repeat of the Osceola mudflow would destroy Enumclaw, Orting, Kent, Auburn, Puyallup, Sumner and all of Renton.[36] Such a mudflow might also reach down the Duwamish estuary and destroy parts of downtown Seattle, and cause tsunamis in Puget Sound and Lake Washington.[48] Rainier is also capable of producing pyroclastic flows and expelling lava.[48]

I keep warning about the dangers of a future eruption of Mount Rainier, and this is something that is so heavy on my heart that I even included an eruption of the volcano in my novel entitled The Beginning Of The End.  If you live in the Seattle/Tacoma area, you need to have a plan for a very rapid evacuation in the event a major eruption suddenly takes place.

On the other side of the world, scientists are warning that a supervolcano near Naples, Italy is reaching a critical stage.  The following comes from Newsweek

One of the world’s most dangerous supervolcanoes appears to be closer to erupting than we once thought, scientists have warned. Campi Flegrei in southern Italy has been showing signs of reawakening over the past 67 years, and new research indicates the volcano has been building energy throughout this period, increasing the risk that it will erupt.

Campi Flegrei is a huge volcanic field that sits about 9 miles to the west of Naples, a city home to over a million people. It is made up of 24 craters and edifices, and appears as a large depression on the surface of the land.

The volcano last erupted in 1538 after almost a century of pressure building up. But though it lasted over a week, this was a comparably small one—40,000 years ago, it produced a “super-colossal” eruption. This is the second highest measure on the volcanic explosivity index, the first being “mega-colossal,” like those seen at the Yellowstone supervolcano in the U.S. thousands of years ago.

For years I have been documenting how the crust of our planet is becoming increasingly unstable, and at some point a major seismic event is going to dramatically change life in America overnight.

Let us hope that day is delayed for as long as possible, but as certainly as you are reading this article it is coming.

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Michael Snyder Is Calling For An Army Of Pro-Trump Activists To Run For Office All Over America

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It is really easy to sit back and complain about the direction of this country, but what America really needs at this hour are men and women that are willing to step into the fight to save our constitutional republic.  As I have said before, getting Donald Trump elected was the greatest miracle in U.S. political history, but he should not have to wage this battle alone.  Trump has very few friends in Congress at this point, and so it is absolutely critical that we get him some during the 2018 mid-term elections.  So I am calling for an army of pro-Trump activists to run for national, state and local offices all over America in 2018.  Donald Trump started this revolution, and now it is our job to continue it.

My father was in the U.S. Navy, and so sometimes I like to put things in military terms.  When an amphibious invasion is being conducted, it is the troops that hit the beach first that take the most fire.  To me, that is a perfect picture of what is happening to Donald Trump right now.  He has established a beachhead, and now the rest of us need to rush to shore to back him up.

If we are not willing to try, what is going to happen?  Our political system on the national, state and local levels will continue to be dominated by Democrats and “progressive Republicans”, and our once great nation will continue to fall apart all around us.

We need patriotic men and women to challenge every available seat in America in 2018.  Some of us will win and others will lose, but at least we will have given the American people a choice.

We are never going to have a true political revolution if we don’t at least try, and this election cycle represents a tremendous opportunity.  I really like how Rush Limbaugh made this point during one of his programs

Do you realize what a nothing burger the Democrat Party is? Do you realize the Democrat Party literally has nothing virtuous, positive, uplifting to run on? In all of this, the Democrat Party dares not ask people, “Hey, take a look at us. We got better ideas. Hey, take a look at us. We can fix this.” None of that. The only thing they’ve got is this insane, invisible, nonexistent, so-called connection between the Russians and our election. They have no ideas. They have no optimism. They have no leaders. They have no vision. They are ripe for being smoked for generations! This is the time to move in politically and wipe them out. …

Don’t misunderstand here, folks. I’m not saying the Democrats don’t pose a threat. I’m not… Look, two things here. The Democrats are in deep trouble, electorally. The Democrats are not running the left; the media is. And the media is clearly not inconsequential. Don’t misunderstand. I’m not saying that what’s happening here is obviously to everyone. I’m saying the Republican Party has a golden opportunity here to continue to hammer the nail into the coffin of the Democrat Party.

Our founders intended for us to have a constitutional republic with a limited central government, but the globalists have turned the federal government into an absolute monster.  We need to tame that monster and restore the constitutional republic that our founders originally designed.

The easy route would be to sit back and wait for someone else to do something.

But I have decided not to do that.

Earlier today, I announced on the Alex Jones Show that I am “strongly considering” running for Congress in 2018…

On Tuesday, U.S. Representative Raul Labrador announced that he will not seek another term because he plans to run for governor in Idaho.

Labrador represents the district in which my wife and I live, and when I heard this news I realized that this represents a truly unique opportunity.

Congressman Labrador has been doing a wonderful job, and if he had run again he would have won by a landslide.  But now that he is not running, there is no incumbent and the race is entirely wide open.

If I decide to run, and I am very strongly leaning in that direction, the key to the race will be to win the Republican primary.  Hillary Clinton got only 27.5 percent of the vote in Idaho last November, and Labrador won his last election by more than 120,000 votes.  So whoever wins the Republican primary will almost certainly win the general election.

Donald Trump has shown us that nothing is impossible in politics.  When he first declared his candidacy, liberal pundits literally laughed at him on the air because they thought his candidacy was such a joke.  But his bold message struck a chord with conservative voters all over the country, and now he is the president of the United States.

If he can do it, why can’t we?

If I run, I plan to continue the absolutely outstanding work that Congressman Labrador has been doing, and I plan to be a key ally for President Trump in Congress.  Right now Trump has very few friends in Congress, and that desperately needs to change.

In recent years, the House has lost some tremendous conservative voices.  I plan to continue the legacy of Ron Paul, Michele Bachmann and so many others that stood strong for conservative causes at a time when it was not always popular to do so.

But if I am going to do this, I am going to need lots of assistance.  If you have experience with campaigns on a state or local level, or if you just want to help out any way that you can, please feel free to drop me an email or contact me on Facebook.  I have never run for office before, and so I have a lot to learn, and I greatly value the advice and counsel of others.

Also, if there are other pro-Trump activists out there that plan on running in 2018, we should definitely connect.  If we all work to promote one another, we can create a giant groundswell of momentum which could sweep a whole bunch of pro-Trump activists into political positions all around the country.

For a long time I have been writing about the great problems that this nation is facing, and now I am trying to be part of the solution.

It has been said that life is like a coin.  You can spend it any way that you want, but you can only spend it once.

As for me and my house, we are going to spend our lives doing things that really matter.

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Global Collapse: Children Are Literally Starving To Death In Venezuela And Yemen

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Venezuela and Yemen were both once very prosperous nations, but now parents are literally watching their children starve to death as the economies of both nations continue to utterly collapse.  Just like so many here in the United States, most of those living in Venezuela and Yemen would have called you completely crazy if you would have warned them that this was going to happen five years ago.  In particular, Venezuela has more proven oil reserves than almost anyone else on the planet, and so to most of their citizens it was unimaginable that things could ever get this bad.  But it has happened, and the collapse that has already begun in parts of South America, Africa and the Middle East will soon spread elsewhere.

When I said that children are literally starving to death in Venezuela, I was not exaggerating one bit.  The following comes from the Wall Street Journal

Jean Pierre Planchart, a year old, has the drawn face of an old man and a cry that is little more than a whimper. His ribs show through his skin. He weighs just 11 pounds.

His mother, Maria Planchart, tried to feed him what she could find combing through the trash—scraps of chicken or potato. She finally took him to a hospital in Caracas, where she prays a rice-milk concoction keeps her son alive.

“I watched him sleep and sleep, getting weaker, all the time losing weight,” said Ms. Planchart, 34 years old. “I never thought I’d see Venezuela like this.”

What would you do if that was your child?

At one time Venezuela had the brightest outlook out of all the economies in South America, but now their economy has contracted by a total of 27 percent since 2013, imports of food have fallen 70 percent, and the IMF says that the inflation rate will hit a staggering 720 percent this year.

Tonight, in major cities all across Venezuela you will find thousands of people rummaging through garbage looking for food.  It has been reported that some citizens have even resorted to eating cats, dogs and pigeons because they are so desperate for something to eat.

According to one survey, among those that said that they lost weight last year, the average amount lost was a staggering 19 pounds.  In the United States that would be a good thing, but in a country like Venezuela that is an absolutely catastrophic number.

Meanwhile, thousands of children are starving to death in Yemen as well

Eyes half open and sunken deep into their sockets, little Jamila Ali Abdu already looked half dead for most of her 12-day stay at the Hodeidah clinic.

Too weak to resist the march of disease and hunger in her war-battered country, the child’s tiny frame was swathed in a bright green shroud and lowered by sobbing relatives into a dusty grave on Tuesday.

The primary cause of the crisis in Yemen is a nightmarish civil war that is not going to end any time soon.

And most Americans don’t realize this, but the U.S. military has contributed to the civil war by conducting airstrikes.  It is essentially a proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran, and both sides are absolutely determined to win.

So the suffering in Yemen is only going to intensify, and already a child under the age of five is dying every five minutes

The United Nations warns that a child under five in Yemen dies around every 10 minutes from preventable causes such as starvation, disease, poor sanitation or lack of medical care.

UN chief Antonio Guterres warned last week of “the starving and the crippling of an entire generation.”

Nearly 17 million of Yemen’s 28 million people are deemed “food insecure” by aid groups – and around SEVEN MILLION do not know where they will get their next meal.

Even though you may not believe it right now, what is happening in Venezuela and Yemen is going to happen in the United States someday as well.

So instead of using this time of relative stability for the U.S. economy to party, I would be using it to prepare.

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11 Reasons Why U.S. Economic Growth Is The Worst That It Has Been In 3 Years

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Those that were predicting that the U.S. economy would be flying high by now have been proven wrong.  U.S. GDP grew at the worst rate in three years during the first quarter of 2017, and many are wondering if this is the beginning of a major economic slowdown.  Of course when we are dealing with the official numbers that the federal government puts out, it is important to acknowledge that they are highly manipulated.  There are many that have correctly pointed out to me that if the numbers were not being doctored that they would show that we are still in a recession.  In fact, John Williams of shadowstats.com has shown that if honest numbers were being used that U.S. GDP growth would have been consistently negative going all the way back to 2005.  So I definitely don’t have any argument with those that claim that we are actually in a recession right now.  But even if we take the official numbers that the federal government puts out at face value, they are definitely very ugly

Economic growth slowed in the first quarter to its slowest pace in three years as sluggish consumer spending and business stockpiling offset solid business investment. Many economists write off the weak performance as a byproduct of temporary blips and expect healthy growth in 2017.

The nation’s gross domestic product — the value of all goods and services produced in the USA — increased at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 0.7%, the Commerce Department said Friday, below the tepid 2.1% pace clocked both in the fourth quarter and as an average throughout the nearly 8-year-old recovery. Economists expected a 1% increase in output, according to a Bloomberg survey.

Even if you want to assume that it is a legitimate number, 0.7 percent economic growth is essentially stall speed, and this follows a year when the U.S. economy grew at a rate of just 1.6 percent.

So why is this happening?

Of course the “experts” in the mainstream media are blaming all sorts of temporary factors

Economists blamed the weather. It was too warm this time around, rather than too cold, which is the usual explanation for Q1 debacles.

And they blamed the IRS refund checks that had been delayed due to last year’s spectacular identity theft problem. Everyone blamed everything on these delayed refund checks, including the auto industry and the restaurant industry. But by mid-February, a veritable tsunami of checks went out, and by the end of February, the IRS was pretty much caught up. So March should have been awash in consumer spending. But no. So we’ll patiently wait for that miracle to happen in second quarter.

They always want us to think that “boom times” for the U.S. economy are right around the corner, but those “boom times” have never materialized since the end of the last financial crisis.

Instead, we have had year after year of economic malaise and stagnation, and it looks like 2017 is going to continue that trend.  The following are 11 reasons why U.S. economic growth is the worst that it has been in 3 years…

#1 The weak economic growth in the first quarter was the continuation of a long-term trend.  Barack Obama was the only president in history not to have a single year when the U.S. economy grew by at least 3 percent, and this is now the fourth time in the last six quarters when economic growth has been less than 2 percent on an annualized basis.  So essentially this latest number signals that our long-term economic decline is continuing.

#2 Consumer spending drives the U.S. economy more than anything else, and at this point most U.S. consumers are tapped out.  In fact, CBS News has reported that three-fourths of all U.S. consumers have to “scramble to cover their living costs” each month.

#3 The job market appears to be slowing.  The U.S. economy only added about 98,000 jobs in March, and that was approximately half of what most analysts were expecting.

#4 The flow of credit appears to be slowing as well.  In fact, this is the first time since the last recession when there has been no growth for commercial and industrial lending for at least six months.

#5 Last month, U.S. factory output dropped at the fastest pace that we have witnessed in more than two years.

#6 We are in the midst of the worst “retail apocalypse” in U.S. history.  The number of retailers that has filed for bankruptcy has already surpassed the total for the entire year of 2016, and at the current rate we will smash the previous all-time record for store closings in a year by nearly 2,000.

#7 The auto industry is also experiencing a great deal of stress.  This has been the worst year for U.S. automakers since the last recession, and seven out of the eight largest fell short of their sales projections in March.

#8 Used vehicle prices are falling “dramatically”, and Morgan Stanley is now projecting that used vehicle prices “could crash by up to 50%” over the next several years.

#9 Commercial bankruptcies are rising at the fastest pace since the last recession.

#10 Consumer bankruptcies are rising at the fastest pace since the last recession.

#11 The student loan bubble is starting to burst.  It is being reported that 27 percent of all student loans are already in default, and some analysts expect that number to go much higher.

And of course some areas of the country are being harder hit than others.  The following comes from CNBC

Four states have not yet fully recovered from the Great Recession. As of the third quarter of last year, the latest data available, the economies of Louisiana, Wyoming, Connecticut and Alaska were still smaller than when the recession ended in June 2009.

Other states that have recovered have seen their economic recoveries stall out. Those include Minnesota, North Dakota, New Mexico, Oklahoma, South Dakota and West Virginia.

We should be thankful that we are not experiencing a full-blown economic meltdown just yet, but it is undeniable that our long-term economic decline continues to roll along.

And without a doubt the storm clouds are building on the horizon, and many believe that the next major economic downturn will begin in the not too distant future.

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Why Are So Many Millennials Living With Their Parents Instead Of Getting Married And Starting Their Own Families?

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Did you know that the percentage of 18 to 34-year-old Americans that are married and living with a spouse has dropped by more than half since 1975?  Back then, 57 percent of everyone in that age group “lived with a spouse”, but today that number has dropped to just 27 percent.  These numbers come from “the Changing Economics and Demographics of Young Adulthood” report that was just released by the U.S. Census Bureau.  Some are postulating that the reason for this dramatic cultural shift is a phenomenon known as “extended adolescence”, while others fear that large numbers of young men and/or young women are giving up on the concept of marriage altogether.

Instead of getting married and starting their own households, many young adults are deciding that living with Mom and Dad is the best approach.  In fact, this new Census Bureau report found that one out of every three 18 to 34-year-old Americans is currently living with their parents

According to the Changing Economics and Demographics of Young Adulthood report for 2016, one in three Americans ages 18 to 34 are living at home with their parents.

Coming in second place is living with a spouse (27 per cent), followed by other (i.e. living with a roommate or other relatives, 21 per cent), living with a boyfriend or girlfriend (12 per cent) and living alone (8 per cent).

Once the last recession ended, this trend was supposed to start reversing, but instead the number of young adults still living at home has just continued to increase.  This is going to have very serious implications for our looming retirement crisis, and that is something that I am going to write about later today on End Of The American Dream.

And a lot of these young adults are not being productive members of society at all.  In fact, this new report from the Census Bureau found that one out of every four 25 to 34-year-old Americans that are currently living at home do not have a job and they are not going to school either.

In other words, they need to get a life.  I really like how a recent CNBC editorial made this point…

One of the most memorable Saturday Night Live sketches ever was broadcast in 1986 when guest host William Shatner played himself appearing at fictional Star Trek convention. After fielding one childish question after another from costumed fans in their late 20s and 30s, Shatner loses his cool and shouts: “GET A LIFE, will you people? I mean, for crying out loud, it’s just a TV show! … Move out of your parents’ basements! Get your own apartments and GROW THE HELL UP!”

Thirty-one years later, it sure seems like all of America needs to heed that message. Here’s why: The Census Bureau now says that more 18-34 year-olds are living with their parents than with a spouse.

But a lot of young men these days do not even want to go down the traditional route of marriage, family, career, etc.

In fact, a lot of them are forsaking the concept of marriage together.  Author Suzanne Venker says that a lot of these men are blaming their lack of desire to get married on modern women

“When I ask them why, the answer is always the same: women aren’t women anymore.” Feminism, which teaches women to think of men as the enemy, has made women “angry” and “defensive, though often unknowingly.”

“Now the men have nowhere to go. It is precisely this dynamic – women good/men bad – that has destroyed the relationship between the sexes. Yet somehow, men are still to blame when love goes awry.”

“Men are tired,” Venker wrote. “Tired of being told there’s something fundamentally wrong with them. Tired of being told that if women aren’t happy, it’s men’s fault.”

On the flip side, a lot of women are extremely distressed that so few men seem to have the willingness to commit these days.  So many men just want to run around having sex with an endless series of women without ever putting a wedding ring on any of their fingers.

Of course many men figure that if they can get some of the best benefits of marriage (sex, companionship, etc.) without having to make a commitment then that is a pretty good deal for them.

Personally, I am a huge advocate of marriage, but the rest of society is moving in the exact opposite direction.  According to the Pew Research Center, 44 percent of 18 to 29-year-old Americans now believe that “marriage is becoming obsolete”.  And for a lot more numbers like this, please see my previous article entitled “43 Facts About Love, Sex, Dating And Marriage That Are Almost Too Crazy To Believe”.

But of course not all young adults that are living at home are doing it for the wrong reasons.  Thanks to our long-term economic decline, it is much more difficult for young people to find good paying jobs today than it was several decades ago.  The following comes from CNS News

“More young men are falling to the bottom of the income ladder,” says the Census Bureau study. “In 1975, only 25 percent of men, aged 25 to 34, had incomes of less than $30,000 per year. By 2016, that share rose to 41 percent of young men (incomes for both years are in 2015 dollars).”

I have absolutely no problem at all with young adults that are living at home temporarily for economic reasons.  These Millennials are simply victims of our failing economy, and thus we should not be so quick to judge them.

And many of these young people graduate from college already saddled with tremendous amounts of debt.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the cost of going to college has increased by an astounding 63 percent since 2006.  We assure our youngsters that they will get good paying jobs when they graduate that will enable them to pay off those student loans, but once they do finally graduate many of them are discovering that the good paying jobs that we promised them do not exist.

Today, Americans owe more than a trillion dollars on their student loans.  It has become a major national crisis, and it is financially crippling an entire generation.

So the next time you hear of a young adult that is still living at home, don’t be so quick to judge until you know the facts.

Yes, there are many that need a good kick in the pants to get them going in life, but there are also millions that are simply victims of our ongoing long-term economic collapse.

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