Dems Plan Gerrymand For 2020

Dems Plan Gerrymand For 2020

By Lowman S. Henry

Emboldened by the success of their strategy to re-gerrymander Pennsylvania’s congressional districts, Democrats have set their sights on gaining control over the re-drawing of district lines that will occur upon completion of the 2020 census.

By way of review the Pennsylvania Supreme Court earlier this year ruled the district maps, approved back in 2011 in a bi-partisan and previously court-approved process, amounted to unconstitutional gerrymandering.  The decision was rendered by new justices who in 2015 unethically campaigned on issuing just such a ruling should they be elected to the bench.

The new Democrat justices then imposed new district lines by judicial fiat, in what many correctly saw as a violation of provisions in both the federal and state constitutions.  Since the Supreme Court is the final arbiter of what is constitutional, the only recourse would have been impeachment by the General Assembly.  Even as they watched the high court emasculate their legislative powers, lawmakers could only muster howls of protest while taking no substantial action.

At the end of the day the court ordered map – artfully gerrymandered in its own right – was implemented.  When the dust settled Democrats picked up four congressional seats contributing to a national wave of wins that saw Republicans lose majority control of the U.S. House of Representatives.

Having used unethical and extra-constitutional means to achieve that end, Governor Tom Wolf has launched yet another end run against the established process with an eye to controlling the 2021 redistricting.  He has empaneled a 15-member commission to supposedly “improve” the redistricting process.

Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati, who allowed the Supreme Court to get away with its last power grab, protested that Wolf has no power to set up such a commission, failed to consult with the General Assembly in selecting its members, and charged the commission fails to represent rural Pennsylvania.  Knowing the legislature is a lion that roars, but does not bite, Wolf proceeded with naming the commission.

Keeping in mind that words such as “fair districts,” “reform,” and “improving the process” are merely code for stacking the process in favor of Democrats, Wolf reeled off high sounded rhetoric while in fact naming a commission guaranteed to continue the hijacking of the 2021 redistricting.

He named as chairman of the commission the head of a Philadelphia-based organization posing as a “good government” group.  The League of Women voters, another Democrat front group has a seat at the table as does higher education and “urban affairs” representatives.  To balance partisan Democrats on the commission the governor appointed Charlie Dent, a former Republican congressman well-known for his Left-leading ideology.

In short, the commission is stacked with those whose mission is to overthrow the state constitution and ensure the illicit methodology implemented by partisan Democrats this year supplants the orderly process that for decades had passed court muster.

Exactly what is that process?  Congressional redistricting takes the form of a bill which must be approved by both houses of the General Assembly and then be signed into law by the governor.  To win legislative approval, the congressional redistricting bill must go through the same process as any other legislation:  it is drafted, there are hearings, there is a committee vote followed by a floor vote in each chamber.  Both houses must agree on an identical bill for it to be sent to the governor for signature.

In other words, the very same process by which any other law is enacted is how we do congressional redistricting.  For the governor and his partisan Left-wing allies to suggest that process is unfair is to suggest our entire system of government is unfair.

Here is what the governor is actually saying: Republicans control both houses of the General Assembly and are likely to remain in control through the 2021 redistricting.  That means the GOP will largely control the process, although the governor can wield his veto pen as an end game.

That is not good enough for Tom Wolf.  He wants to subvert having elected representatives use the legislative process and instead have the job done by an unelected commission which he would appoint.

Not only is that unconstitutional, but it undermines the very separation of powers foundation upon which our Republic is built.  This time, Senator Scarnati and his fellow legislative “leaders” need to do more than just talk – they need to stand up to Wolf and his power grab, because this time the very essence of our constitutional republic is at stake.

Lowman Henry is chairman and CEO of the Lincoln Institute and host of the weekly Lincoln Radio Journal

Dems Plan Gerrymand For 2020
Dems Plan Gerrymand For 2020

Cronyism Nearly Doubles Montco Courthouse Cost

Cronyism Nearly Doubles Montco Courthouse Cost

By Joe Gale

Cronyism Nearly Doubles Montco Courthouse Cost
Joe Gale

The proposed Montgomery County budget for 2019 includes an unacceptable increase in funding for the Courthouse Campus project in Norristown. This initiative was originally estimated to cost a sizable $281 million but has suddenly risen to a shocking $406 million. That is a jump of $125 million, or 44 percent, for a plan that is already the most expensive capital improvement project in County history.

To make matters worse, I have received letters from politicians including Senator Bob Casey, Governor Tom Wolf and State Representatives Matt Bradford and Mary Jo Daley, as well as notes from various labor and trade unions, pushing me to vote ‘Yes’ on the enactment of a Project Labor Agreement (“PLA”).

Doing so would mandate the use of union labor, thereby excluding 80 percent of otherwise qualified construction firms from participating in the bidding process.

Across the board, PLAs reduce competition and grow construction costs by an average of 20 percent. In this case, that means the Courthouse Campus project could balloon by an additional $80-100 million and reach a total expenditure of half a billion dollars!

Despite vast pressure from political insiders, I will not pander to lobbyists and special interest groups at the expense of Montgomery County taxpayers.

Therefore, I have asked my fellow County Commissioners for common-sense compromise to prevent the already bloated cost of the Courthouse Campus project from further spiraling out of control.

If my fellow Commissioners join me in rejecting a reckless PLA and agree to scale back the Courthouse Campus project to the initial cost of $281 million, I will vote in support of the proposed 2019 Budget to help give the residents, families and businesses of Montgomery County a bi-partisan victory.

Joe Gale is the Republican on the Montgomery County Board of Commissioners.

Cronyism Nearly Doubles Montco Courthouse Cost

Spending Curse Is Bipartisan In Pa.

Spending Curse Is Bipartisan In Pa.

By Leo Knepper

A common sentiment among our followers on social media is that Pennsylvania would be much better off if everyone just voted “red” or elected more Republicans. We can certainly appreciate the sentiment, but it ignores two critical facts from recent history. First, when the General Assembly increased their own pensions by 50 percent, and other government employees by 25 percent in 2001, it was a bipartisan effort. The Governor who signed the bill into law was a Republican, Tom Ridge. Second, when the proposal to increase Pennsylvania’s gasoline tax to the highest in the nation was floated in 2013, it was Republicans who were behind the wheel. Governor Corbett, along with Republican leadership in the House and Senate twisted the arms of other Republicans to make this regressive tax increase a reality.

Not every example of profligate spending has such widespread effects. Consider the $1 million price tag for renovations recently completed at the Capitol in Harrisburg. From an article in The Caucus (subscription required):

“The chief clerk of the Pennsylvania Senate has new office digs — at a cost of more than $1 million in taxpayer money, including $30,000 for draperies and a set of fancy $800 chairs. The spending on the office’s relocation from near the Capitol cafeteria to formerly vacant space on the first floor of the North Office Building included furnishings, renovations and consultants, records show…

“The spending included:

  • More than $30,000 on draperies from Decorating Den Interiors, a Harrisburg-based interior-design company. The cost of outfitting one room with draperies was more than $3,700.
  • $2,300 for a desk of “heritage oak on cherry.”
  • $6,000 for eight “exec swivel” chairs, or $750 per chair.
  • $10,000 for 34 other chairs, or about $294 apiece.”

Every budget season, taxpayers are told that spending has been “cut to the bone” and every year taxpayers are forced to pay an exorbitant cost for pet projects and non-essential programs. In 2017, the General Assembly was sitting on a $95 million slush fund. The money comes from over-allocating funds to themselves, and not returning the surplus to the general fund; making matters worse, the General Assembly’s accounts are not subject to independent audit. Instead, they select the auditing firm and pay them directly. While this is no guarantee of mismanagement, it does set up the possibility of a conflict of interest for the auditing firm.

Further compounding the problem, the General Assembly has no legal obligation to make the changes recommended by their auditor. Therefore, we see many of the same reforms suggested and then ignored year after year. The legislature’s unwillingness to reform its financial process is one of the reasons that CAP supports a limited state constitutional convention. If the legislature is incapable of correcting its own deficiencies, then it is up to taxpayers to impose those reforms ourselves.

Mr. Knepper is executive director of Citizens Alliance of Pennsylvania.

Spending Curse Is Bipartisan In Pa.

Spending Curse Is Bipartisan In Pa.

Redder Red, Bluer Blue In Pennsylvania

Redder Red, Bluer Blue In Pennsylvania

By Lowman S. Henry

On the surface it would appear the power dynamic in Pennsylvania state government changed little as a result of last week’s General Election. Governor Tom Wolf was re-elected and Republicans retained solid control of both the state House and the state Senate.

Back from where we started?

Not quite. The 2018 election cycle saw the continuation of two trends: the drift of Democrats into the arms of the socialist Left, and a Republican power shift from the Philadelphia suburbs to the more conservative central and western parts of the state.

Governor Tom Wolf has often (and for good reason) been labeled the most liberal governor in America. To the degree that lieutenant governors matter, the state’s new second banana will push him even further in that direction. Lt. Governor-elect John Fetterman is a Bernie Sanders-style socialist. He replaces the hapless Mike Stack, a Philadelphia pol more interested in the power dynamics of politics than ideology.

Wolf tilted to the far Left to win his first primary four years ago and clearly felt at home. He went on to propose tax hikes that exceeded those offered by governors in all 49 other states combined and has remained a staunch advocate for Left-wing policies ever since. Fetterman, and the avowed socialists who upended traditional Democrats in the primary to claim seats in the General Assembly, are certain to fortify his position.

As liberal policies made the city more and more unlivable Philadelphia Democrats fled to the suburbs. There they have continued voting into office candidates who espouse the very same policies that destroyed the city. As a result, the four counties surrounding Philadelphia which had for decades been the epicenter of Republican power in the state have trended Democrat.

If there was a “blue wave” this election year it crashed ashore in those counties. The numbers could change a bit as the official count progresses, but Republicans lost 13 state House seats and four state Senate seats in that region. It is rare for more than three or four incumbents to lose statewide in a given election cycle, so the GOP wipeout in southeastern Pennsylvania can rightly be described as a blue tidal wave.

Continuing the westward shift of the statewide GOP, Republicans partially offset their losses in the southeast by flipping three Democrat seats, one in Bucks County and two elsewhere in the state. Republicans held historically high majorities in both state legislative chambers. Thus the losses left them in solid control, but with margins closer to the historical average.

What the election did do was to shift the ideological center of both the House and Senate Republican caucuses away from southeastern liberalism into the mainstream conservatism that is popular in the balance of the state.

While legislative Democrats voted in lockstep with their leadership, Republican legislative leaders had the more difficult task of moving conservative policies advocated by their caucus majority, while trying to appease their southeastern members. The goal was to hold onto those southeastern seats; it didn’t work.

The end result is absent the need to protect its members from suburban Philadelphia because “well, they are no longer there” legislative Republicans are now free to stand firmly against the socialist policies Governor Tom Wolf and Democrats are sure to pursue.

This means Pennsylvania’s divided state government has become even more divided. The first battle will come in a matter of weeks when Governor Tom Wolf proposes his next state budget. It is sure to be chock full of tax hikes and new spending. Republicans effectively blocked the more radical elements of his agenda during the governor’s first term. A more conservative majority should be able to do so in the years ahead.

Thus have voters across Penn’s Woods put into effect all the elements needed for epic policy and budget battles which are likely to end in gridlock. Given the fact that most legislation that actually passes expands the dependency state at the expense of taxpayers, gridlock may be the best outcome.

Lowman S. Henry is chairman and CEO of the Lincoln Institute and host of the weekly Lincoln Radio Journal.

Redder Red, Bluer Blue In Pennsylvania

Redder Red, Bluer Blue In Pennsylvania

Birthright Citizenship Spawns Tourism

Birthright Citizenship Spawns Tourism

By Joe Guzzardi

Birthright Citizenship Spawns TourismIf President Trump’s promise to end birthright citizenship does nothing else, it will spark the long overdue debate about the constitutional legality of conferring citizenship to all children born on U.S. soil including those delivered by unlawfully present mothers.

Birthright citizenship, also referred to as jus soli or “right of the soil,” has been for decades the improper reading and implementation of the 14th Amendment. Under the jus soli interpretation, children born on American soil, even though their parents are foreign nationals, automatically become U.S. citizens. The opposing argument contends that jus sanguinis should prevail – blood rights that confer birth citizenship only to the children of citizens or lawfully present immigrants.

Facts must be separated from the fiction put forth by media and the pro-immigration lobby. Fact: birthright citizenship is a huge illegal immigration magnet. As a U.S. citizen, a child qualifies for affirmative benefits, free K-12 education, and more affordable in-state college tuition fees. When the child turns 21, he can petition other family members to join him, and thus begin the chain migration process that adds approximately four additional residents per each original immigrant.

From a population growth perspective alone, birthright citizenship is a major driver. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that at least 4.5 million U.S. citizen anchor babies under the age of 18 live in the U.S. CBO’s estimate excludes the millions of over-18 anchor babies or those living overseas with their deported foreign parents. At least another 600,000 citizen childrenwill be born in the U.S. within the next few years, according to CBO.

Fact: birthright citizenship has spawned the disgraceful birth tourism industry wherein wealthy Chinese, Koreans, Turks and others from overseas pay unscrupulous maternity hotel operators room and board while they await their citizen child’s birth.

There are criminal elements in birth tourism. Lying on a visa application – declaring that the visitor is coming to the U.S. as a tourist when her true purpose is to give birth – is a crime. Some of the hotel owners violate municipal building and zoning codes, as well as certain health regulations. Federal agents have launched several California investigations where birth tourism thrives, but their efforts have not deterred those eager to deliver a “U.S. citizen.”

Fact: Only two fully developed countries offer birthright citizenship, Canada and the U.S. Because of abuse and fraud, other advanced nations like Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, France, Germany, the UK, Vatican City and others abandoned automatic citizenship years ago. Those countries recognized birthright citizenship’s folly; the U.S. persists in the untenable practice.

Fiction: The federal government has no legal authority to end birthright citizenship. It appears to be the mainstream media’s near-unanimously held position that they cannot. In its headline story, The Washington Postdeclared that President Trump’s executive order, should he issue it, “would run afoul of the Constitution.” The Associated Press headline was “Trump Far Off Track on Birthright Citizenship,” and The Atlantic wrote, “Trump’s Plan to End Birthright Citizenship Takes Direct Aim at the Constitution.”

Fact: The Supreme Court has never ruled on birthright citizenship, and respected constitutional scholars have politely disagreed over the practice’s legitimacy. Writing in The New York Times, Chapman University Professor John Eastman noted that the Constitution doesn’t mandate birthright citizenship, and that Section 1 of the 14th Amendment disqualifies illegal immigrants’ children – that they must be “subject to the jurisdiction of…” meaning they cannot have allegiance to another nation. Professor Chapman’s detractors contend that the issue is an open and shut case. They demand “Constitutional originalism.” Those born in the U.S. are U.S. citizens, period. Birthright citizenship’s fate is of vital importance to every American and merits an eventual Supreme Court decision, not the controversial Executive Order President Trump proposed. Although it may be too much to expect in today’s political climate, the Supreme Court could finally resolve birthright citizenship’s legality.

Joe Guzzardi is a Progressives for Immigration Reform analyst who has written about immigration for more than three decades. Contact Joe at jguzzardi@pfirdc.org.

 

Hire American Doctors Please

Hire American Doctors Please

By Kevin Lynn

Outsourcing U.S. jobs to foreign markets followed by replacing local workers with foreign laborers has been the reality of the U.S. labor market for almost two decades.

Hire American Doctors PleaseManufacturing was the start of outsourcing, and then employers moved on to back-room corporate operations such as credit card processing and call centers for customer service. This was followed by importation of workers from around the world for jobs in accounting, tech – and all the STEM fields – and health care. Still, some will be surprised to learn that even physicians have been negatively impacted by the importation of foreign labor.

Each year, hundreds of American graduates of medical schools do not match to hospital residencies. Under the current medical system, doctors who do not complete a residency cannot practice as doctors. While these doctors can reapply in successive years for resident positions, the chances of matching to a residency diminish as more years pass.

After a tremendous commitment to education of at least 20 years – that’s 12 years of public school followed by eight years of higher education – that doctors are shut out of their profession is mind-boggling. These are doctors too who are likely to have incurred hundreds of thousands of dollars of debt to obtain their medical degree. After completing a residency, an average doctor’s salary (primary care physician – family medicine, internal medicine, pediatrics and psychiatry) is approximately $10,000 a month (higher for specialty fields), but without this salary, it’s impossible to service the huge debt load.

Even though they are highly educated, doctors cannot just readily choose another professional field. They have very specific training that doesn’t lend itself to other careers, and they may be seen as overqualified for many positions. As well, alternate careers may require more education, which a doctor already carrying perhaps half a million dollars in debt might be reluctant to grow further. Even if one were to go this route, for instance, to obtain teaching credentials, the typical teacher’s pay would be insufficient to cover the debt load – and live!

It’s a baffling situation, certainly given how much attention has been given to a reported doctor shortage in the United States that’s expected to get worse, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges, which estimates a physician shortfall of between 35,000 to 88,000 by 2025. If there’s such a shortage, it’s difficult to understand how this year 1,927 U.S. medical school seniors and previous U.S. medical school graduates did not matriculate into residency training, according to the National Resident Matching Program, a nonprofit organization which matches the preferences of medical students to U.S. residency positions.

Further perplexing in the face of U.S. citizen doctors going unemployed is that at the same time, for years, non-U.S. citizen international medical graduates have filled U.S. residencies. Roughly 12 percent of the 30,000 residency positions in a year are given to foreign doctors.

For 2014 to 2018, non-U.S. citizen students/graduates of international medical schools who were given residency averaged 3,763 each year. For the same period, the number of U.S. medical school seniors and previous U.S. medical school graduates who did not obtain a residency averaged 1,894 each year.

Based on the math above, simply prioritizing American citizens who’ve graduated from medical school would ensure they all are placed into residencies, while still leaving slots for foreign doctors.

Many American citizens committed to a grueling, competitive education, expending significant resources of time and money, in order to become physicians. The country too made an investment in these future doctors through years of public education and the extension of loans. To not prioritize U.S. citizen medical school graduates over foreign doctors is a huge malinvestment that makes no sense.

Kevin Lynn is the is the Executive Director for Progressives for Immigration Reform and the founder of Doctors without Jobs.

Hire American Doctors Please

Lou Barletta Makes Jobs Priority

Lou Barletta Makes Jobs Priority

By Joe Guzzardi

On Election Day, Pennsylvanians will face an important moment of truth in the race for U.S. Senate. Voters will choose between the ineffectual two-term Democratic incumbent Bob Casey or his Republican U.S. House of Representatives challenger, four-term Lou Barletta.

Lou Barletta Makes Jobs Priority
It’s about saving jobs for Lou

Campaigns for high office feature embellished achievements and lofty promises for what the candidates will accomplish for their constituents. Forget the bluster. Look instead at the congressional voting records of Casey and Barletta. They reveal everything that Pennsylvanians need to know, the bad for Casey; the good for Barletta.

Casey portrays himself as a defender of American workers. But his voting pattern consistently proves that Casey has no interest in American workers’ well-being, but instead prefers to replace hard-working Americans with overseas workers via various employment-based visas, and amnesties that would provide the recipients with employment authorization documents. Visa holders and amnestied immigrants can then enter the U.S. labor market and compete head-to-head in a tough job environment with American citizens.

This year, Casey voted in favor of two separate amendments – one introduced by Senators Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Susan Collins (R-ME), Mike Rounds (R-SD) and Angus King (I-ME), and the second by Senators John McCain (R-AZ) and Chris Coons (D-DE) – that would have granted amnesties to millions of illegally present immigrants.

In 2015, 2017 and again this year, Casey voted to increase the H-2B guest worker totals. The H-2B is a nonagriculture, temporary visa designed for seasonal employers and is used in landscaping, the leisure industry and other businesses for jobs that American teens and college students historically sought out to earn college tuition money.

On border and interior enforcement, Casey has a poor record. In 2015, during the unprecedented Central American border surge, Casey voted against an amendment that called for the expedited removal of Salvadoran, Guatemalan and Honduran aliens who are now, presumably, living in the U.S. interior and unlikely ever to go home. Casey also voted against fellow Pennsylvania Senator Pat Toomey’s bill to defund sanctuary cities, municipalities that refuse to cooperate with Immigration and Customs officials, and instead release convicted criminal aliens back into local communities.

Compare Casey’s disappointing record on subverting American workers, leaving America’s border and interior vulnerable, and endorsing the release of violent criminal aliens to Barletta’s.

During the current Congress, Barletta voted four times to mandate E-Verify, the federal program that ensures every new employee is legally authorized to work in the U.S. Barletta cosponsored four bills, and voted in favor of two other bills, that would have defunded sanctuary cities.

Moreover, Barletta cosponsored legislation that would reduce amnesties, control border surges, end asylum fraud and close loopholes in asylum claims. Asylum fraud is a grave concern to the U.S. Government Accountability Office. Importantly, after asylees win their case or 180 days pass without a decision, they automatically become work authorized.

As for which candidate is the tougher fighter, remember that in 2006, as Hazleton’s mayor, Barletta stood up to the ACLU and the Puerto Rican Legal Defense fund when they challenged his Illegal Immigration Relief Act that allowed the city to deny business permits to employers who hire illegal immigrants and gave the city authority to fine landlords up to $1,000 for renting to illegal immigrants.

A Federal District Court, and then a U.S. Appeals court, ruled against Barletta, shameless judicial activism run amok. Unfortunately, the Supreme Court did not take up the case, and Hazelton had to reimburse the ACLU $1.4 million, despite that aiding and abetting illegal immigrants – hiring and providing shelter to them – is a federal felony.

On Nov. 6, American voters will decide whether to reward obstructionist, expansionist, ultra-liberals like Casey with another undeserved six years or send pro-U.S. worker, pro-American values candidates like Barletta to the U.S. Senate. The nation’s future hangs in the balance.

Joe Guzzardi is a nationally syndicated, Pittsburgh-based columnist who has written about government for more than 30 years. Contact Joe at guzzjoe@yahoo.com.

 

 

Tom Wolf Immoral Approach To Poverty

Tom Wolf Immoral Approach To Poverty

By Lowman S. Henry

Tom Wolf Immoral Approach To Poverty
He really doesn’t care.

Among the flurry of bills passed at the end of the legislative session in October was one that established a pathway to prosperity for hundreds of thousands of Pennsylvanians. This opportunity to escape from the plantation of poverty has been shattered by Governor Tom Wolf who vetoed the bill out of fidelity to an immoral belief in perpetual government dependency.

At issue is a requirement for healthy, adult Medicaid recipients without children to find part-time work or participate in job training programs to continue receiving benefits. The goal is to help able-bodied, able-minded adults receive the job training and placement assistance they need to enter or re-enter the work force.

This policy has many benefits. First and foremost it restores financial independence to individuals and helps them gain control over their own lives. As Nathan Benefield of the Commonwealth Foundation explained “work is the most effective way to alleviate poverty.” Government programs, as evidenced by the failed decades-long “war on poverty,” trap people in perpetual dependency rather than foster financial freedom.

Other states, notably Kentucky, Indiana and Arkansas, have received approval from the federal government allowing them to implement Medicaid work requirements. The Commonwealth Foundation points out 17 states have adopted laws requiring able-bodied adults without dependents to work part-time or volunteer part-time to continue receiving food stamps. As a result, program participants in Kansas saw their incomes rise by 127 percent and in Maine food stamp recipients were able to exit the program after their incomes more than doubled.

This would be an especially opportune time for implementing work requirements. Due to the surging Trump economy employers are having a difficult time finding workers to fill available jobs. The Lincoln Institute’s recent Keystone Business Climate Survey found 49% of state businesses have open positions and 28% saying they are having significant difficulty finding qualified employees. So a Medicaid work/job training requirement would have the dual benefit of helping individuals prepare for and find work while supplying employers with workers to fill open positions.

Additionally, moving able-bodied adults into the workforce would then allow the commonwealth to target available resources to those most in need. The bill vetoed by Governor Wolf would actually have prioritized Medicaid funding for children, seniors and for individuals with disabilities. By reducing the number of people on Medicaid it also would have helped ensure adequate funding of the program for years to come.

Given the obvious benefits of this policy why did it end with a Governor Wolf veto? Part of it is politics: Democrats count on the votes of those dependent on social welfare programs. The party’s messaging this election year has been built on scare mongering over health care. The Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, has been an abysmal failure that has resulted in skyrocketing premiums, fewer insurance options, and reduced patient health care choices. Republican efforts to repeal Obamacare and replace it with a system that actually works has become fodder for endless demagoguery by Democrat candidates.

And then there is the continued adherence to a failed ideology by Tom Wolf and his fellow believers in the welfare state. As Arthur Books, President of the American Enterprise Institute so aptly put it in his book The Conservative Heart:

“They treat work as punishment, view struggling people as liabilities to manage, and focus on unequal distribution of incomes instead of unequal and insufficient opportunities. As a result, progressive politicians try to help the poor with government redistribution programs that frequently exacerbate the problem. These intrusions lower opportunity, reduce ability to create actual private sector work, leave more people dependent on the state, and effectively split the country into two Americas even more quickly.”

Brooks concludes: “They have made the poor worse off and that is immoral.”

And so it is.

Lowman S. Henry is Chairman CEO of the Lincoln Institute and host of the weekly Lincoln Radio Journal.

Tom Wolf Immoral Approach To Poverty

 

Trump Tariffs Are Bad For Economy

Trump Tariffs Are Bad For Economy

By Rocco J. Polidoro

An economics professor at Temple University in the late 1970s taught us that the Economy is relative to each person differently. He said if your neighbor is unemployed and struggling then that’s a Recession. But if you are unemployed and struggling then that’s a Depression. Trump supporters are over-looking his divisiveness and his polarization in our Country by focusing on just the Economy. They say the Economy is doing great, so they are all looking the other way. But is the Economy really doing great ? The stock market is doing well and its been doing well for almost the past 9 years. However if you are not invested in the stock market, are you doing well ? And yes the unemployment rate is low but if you are unemployed, retired or disabled, is that low rate helping you ?

Trump supporters think that the lower tax rates are helping every one. Economist estimate that the average worker is saving about $1200 a year under the new tax law. But here’s the rest of the story. According to a Bank of America economist, gas & oil prices are up about 30% this year. And that is eating up about 25% of those tax savings. The Trump tariff war is driving up costs on many products for Americans such as cars, motorcycles, washing machines and other appliances. And these product increases are eating up some of the tax savings too. An economist at Forbes said that with the deregulation of banking rules, interest rates on mortgages, car loans, equity loans and credit cards are rising and these increases will be eating up some of those tax savings.

And its no surprise that deregulations in the financial industry are driving up costs for Americans. The financial industry donated a lot of money to Trump and republican lawmakers, and we now have to pay for that. So when this year is finally over, some economist believe that we will probably be paying more in these added costs than what we were saving with the tax rate reductions.

Finally the US Bureau of Economic Analysis recently reported that the US trade deficit increased by another $22 Billion, a 7% increase in August alone. The Trump tariff war is actually making the trade deficit worse. And this will mean that American farmers and factory workers will see reductions in their productivity as time goes on. So when Trump supporters say that the Economy is doing well, its a smoke screen and not a complete picture of the whole Economy.

Mr. Polidoro is a resident of Springfield

Trump Tariffs Are Bad For Economy

Un-investable Would Have Been Result Of Wolf Policy

Un-investable Would Have Been Result Of Wolf Policy

By David N. Taylor

Even after two decades in Harrisburg, the cynicism of some politicians can still surprise me.

This afternoon, Governor Tom Wolf will hold a bill signing ceremony for Senate Bill 1056, now Act 72 of 2018. Even as we express our gratitude to Sen. Michelle Brooks (R-Mercer), Rep. Frank Ryan (R-Lebanon), and all of our legislative allies, Act 72 became necessary ONLY due to the actions of Governor Wolf and his Department of Revenue.

In the quiet of the Friday before Christmas, the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue published a policy change covering depreciation of capital investments, disallowing all depreciation on assets subject to 100 percent federal bonus depreciation. Furthermore, cost recovery of the asset would only be allowed at the time the asset would be sold or otherwise disposed of. For many manufacturers, this would never happen. Simply put, the tax policy changes enacted unilaterally by the Wolf Administration made Pennsylvania un-investable.

At the time, a Revenue spokesman wrote in an email that the new policy is needed to spare the General Fund from lower collections. Under the change, Pennsylvania businesses would have overpaid hundreds of millions in taxes, endured greater administrative burdens by having separate state and federal compliance records, and been an outlier among states with this new policy, forfeiting capital investments the federal changes were designed to encourage. Manufacturers, which are inherently capital-intensive, would have been particularly hard hit.

Even worse, the policy change issued by Governor Wolf’s Department of Revenue was made retroactive to the start of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Any business that was bringing home earnings from overseas, as the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act was designed to encourage, would never consider Pennsylvania as a place for investment and expansion under this rule. Because of this, we will never know how much business investment Pennsylvania missed out on from December 23, 2017 through the legislative fix signed on June 28, 2018.

Senator Brooks and Representative Ryan were both champions in their respective chambers to fix this harmful rule-making by Governor Wolf’s Department of Revenue. We thank them for their hard work in explaining this complex tax issue to their colleagues and implementing a legislative remedy. Governor Wolf, who was Ed Rendell’s Secretary of Revenue, deserves no credit for solving a problem he caused.

President & CEO of the Pennsylvania Manufacturers’ Association

 

Un-investable Would Have Been Result Of Wolf Policy

Un-investable