Losing the war on poverty

After trillions of spent dollars on our government’s supposed “War on Poverty”, what exactly does the United States have to show for it?  Millions still live in poverty (although the definition of “poverty” in the United States includes ownership of flat screen TVs, cable/satellite television service and high speed Internet) despite the enormous toll the war has had on the American people’s tax dollars.

Every year, the government spends more than a half-trillion dollars on programs designed to “end poverty”.  10s of trillions of dollars later, we find ourselves no better off than the year before.  Consider the following analysis by Michael Tanner of the Cato Institute, who wrote recently:

In 2012, the federal government spent $668 billion to fund 126 separate anti-poverty programs. State and local governments kicked in another $284 billion, bringing total anti-poverty spending to nearly $1 trillion. That amounts to $20,610 for every poor person in America, or $61,830 per poor family of three.

Spending on the major anti-poverty programs increased in 2013, pushing the total even higher.

Over, the last 50 years, the government spent more than $16 trillion to fight poverty.

Yet today, 15 percent of Americans still live in poverty. That’s scarcely better than the 19 percent living in poverty at the time of Johnson’s speech. Nearly 22 percent of children live in poverty today. In 1964, it was 23 percent.

How could we have spent so much and achieved so little?

The answer lies in government involvement.  Propping people up with government anti-poverty programs succeeds at keeping people in poverty with a consistent and dependable monthly check.  Consider this: what how motivation would you have to find a job if your unemployment benefits do not run out until 2015?

“Fewer than three percent of full-time workers are poor, compared to nearly 25 percent for those without a job. Even an entry level, minimum-wage job can be the first step on the road out of poverty,” Tanner wrote.

Will our government ever learn?  Better yet – will the American people make them learn?

Group responsible for FBI theft comes forward

FBI_Badge_&_gunThe New York Times published an article detailing the account of a group of antiwar dissidents more than 40 years ago and their plan to break into an FBI building in Pennsylvania.  Their plan was to uncover and publicize documents that directly prove FBI corruption.

Their plan worked.

The documents revealed the true motivations of FBI director J. Edgar Hoover at the time, who now has a building named in his honor.  Hoover’s intent was to scare those critical of the war effort, and “get the point across there is an F.B.I. agent behind every mailbox.”  How lovely.

The article details how meticulously the group planned the attack.  They spent months observing the office.  They memorized the schedules of residents in the area.  One of the group’s female members posed as a job hunter in search of opportunities at the FBI for women.  In truth, she was looking around inside the FBI building for apparent signs of a security system.

Read the entire article here: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/07/us/burglars-who-took-on-fbi-abandon-shadows.html

A new gov’t regulation every 2.5 hours

According to a report obtained by the National Review, government regulatory agencies produce another regulation, on average, every two hours – which, if the pace is kept through the end of 2013, puts the number of new regulations at more than 3,600.

“They have no incentives to even make sure that these regulations are needed, appropriately addressing a problem, or not causing more harm than good. The result is more and more regulations,” wrote the National Review.

According to the report obtained by the National Review:

  • Last week, 66 new final regulations were published in theFederal Register. There were 78 new final rules the previous week.
  • That’s the equivalent of a new regulation every two hours and 33 minutes.
  • All in all, 3,186 final rules have been published in the Federal Register this year.
  • If this keeps up, the total tally for 2013 will be 3,604 new final rules.
  • Last week, 1,689 new pages were added to the 2013 Federal Register, for a total of 68,313 pages.
  • At its current pace, the 2013 Federal Register will run 77,278 pages, which would be good for fifth all time. The current record is 81,405 pages, set in 2010.
  • Rules are called “economically significant” if they have costs of $100 million or more in a given year.  No such rules were published last week, keeping the total at 35 so far in 2013.
  • The total estimated compliance costs of this year’s economically significant regulations ranges from $6.42 billion to $11.82 billion.
  • So far, 289 final rules that meet the broader definition of “significant” have been published in 2013.
  • So far this year, 629 final rules affect small business; 86 of them are significant rules

Read the entire report.

TSA’s Pre-Check program convenient, or invasive?

Transportation Security AdministrationThe Transportation Security Agency has quietly rolled out the Pre-Check program that allows frequent travelers to voluntarily submit to a background check, interview and fingerprints in exchange for a much faster experience through TSA checkpoints in airports.  Is this program convenient for frequent travelers or something much more invasive?

Since 2011, the TSA has tested the program at 40 different airports.  It allows pre-screened travelers to proceed through TSA checkpoints without removing their shoes and belt.  Light jackets can be worn and computers / liquids can remain in carry-on luggage.

The program requires an $85 enrollment fee, but there is no guarantee that travelers will pass the background check and get approved – or be provided a reason if denied.  Worse, approved travelers are still not guaranteed to swiftly breeze through TSA checkpoints due to the agency’s random screening of pre-checked passengers and lengthening Pre-Check lines.  Approved passengers can be removed from the program at any time, without notice or reason.  However, their background information remains saved.

The FBI keeps fingerprint records on file for 75 years and are used in the investigation of crimes by local and federal law enforcement agencies.  Along with a background check and personal interview, financial information is also required before passengers are approved for the program, which is NOT protected under the Privacy Act of 1974.  As a result, travelers are not permitted to request a copy of the information that the TSA investigation keeps on them, which makes it nearly impossible for law-abiding travelers to ensure accuracy and protect against abuses of personal information.

Privacy rights activists are concerned over the information that average Americans are willingly giving up to the government.  “I would not apply for one of these trusted-traveler programs, which in the past have involved giving the government more information or authorizing it to get more information about me,” said Electronic Frontier Foundation attorney Lee Tien.

Even if you are lucky enough to get approved for the program, there is no guarantee that the “elite-line” will be any faster than the regular TSA checkpoint lines, or more organized.  “Most recently, I was flying Delta from LaGuardia and the TSA PreCheck line at the terminal looked like it was a mile long and not moving very fast at all while the normal and elite security lines were chugging along and a lot shorter,” remarked one traveler.  “The non-TSA agents manning the lines were not checking for TSA Precheck and frankly the whole situation was out of hand. Something is wrong with this picture. Or many somethings.”

After the TSA expanded the Pre-Check program to 60 airports earlier in the year, passengers nationwide have noticed a distinct lengthening of lines through the very Pre-Check areas that were designed to avoid long and frustrating wait periods that the unwashed traveler is subjected to.

Now, 97 airports participate in the program.

Politician supports forcible police inspection of homes

Selectman Barry GreenfieldCiting the state of Massachusetts’ law that requires all gun owners to store firearms in a safe manner out of the reach of children, Swampscott Selectman Barry Greenfield said he supports enabling local police officers to force their way into private homes of registered gun owners to inspect their firearm storage.

Currently, police are required to obtain a warrant and abide by the protections that all Americans are afforded under the 4th Amendment to the Constitution before entering private residences.  However, “We need the ability to enforce the state law,” said Selectman Greenfield.  Apparently, Greenfield does not believe local Swampscott residents are worthy of 4th Amendment protections.

According to this elected official, civil liberties no longer apply in his utopia in Massachusetts.  Gun owners are typically wary of calls for gun registrations because of politicians like Greenfield who believe their own draconian political ambitions trump the Constitution.

I refer all readers to the 4th amendment to the Constitution, which states that all people are protected from unreasonable searches and seizures and requires a warrant and probable cause before government officials can enter homes and seize property.  Clearly, this proposed policy would violate the 4th Amendment and leave residents wondering where their constitutional rights went.

Greenfield backed off his statements to BearingArms.com.

I’m simply asking the question of whether an existing law can be enforced. I’m not trying to add any laws. I asked our board of selectmen whether we could look into potential methods of enforcement. Can the police conduct a investigation with due notice, similar to a building permit inspection or a fire inspection when you want to sell your home? If not, fine.

Right, Mr. Greenfield.  What you meant to say is that freedom-loving Americans caught on to your suggestion that the 4th Amendment no longer apply in your fair town.

Too late.

I support the Moms Demand Action anti-gun group

Moms-Demand-Action-outnumber-empty-chairs-by-one-courtesy-cbsdenver.com_As a freedom-loving American citizen, one might expect me to hold a vehement disgust towards Moms Demand Action, an anti-gun group of women (mothers?) that use highly-publicized gun crime to advocate for civilian disarmament.

But the truth of the matter is something very different.  I love this group and I love to push their writings, but not only because I support their right to exist as a supporter of true freedom.  I enjoy getting the word out about Moms Demand Action because they illustrate better than I ever could what freedom-loving Americans are truly up against and how little many of these anti-gun outfits know about gun crime.

Look no further than the group’s own About page, which provides a list of six “solutions” to help address gun violence in the United States, all of them dependent entirely on more government regulation.  Not a single word about our lax mental health services in our country.  Nothing about our nation’s relatively weak jail sentences for gun crimes.  The group advocates nothing but more government: background checks, weapon bans and regulations.

The group’s collective ignorance regarding guns and gun safety is amazingly robust.  Their About page unknowingly recommends banning almost every gun in existence today (Solution 2: “Ban assault weapons and ammunition magazines that hold more than 10 rounds”).  Most guns can, especially with extended magazines.

Founder Shannon Watts coughed up an equally bewildering statement when she Tweeted that an assault weapon “enables humans to shoot 10 rounds in one minute“, effectively making an 1860′s rifle an assault weapon.  That’s cute.

Despite the group’s claim to support the 2nd amendment, MDA’s own founder told (again, unknowingly) millions on Twitter that she supports banning every weapon made in the last 200 years.  The bigger problem is she does not realize what she said because she knows so little about guns and gun crime.  She, like so many others who support sweeping gun-bans, does not possess the ability to intelligently define what an “assault weapon” actually is.

Worse, this group has directly opposed legal and law-abiding gun possession.  The group actively supports the denigration and dis-empowerment of women with a clumsy implication that women are not capable of defending themselves.  Further, many of their rallies are short on supporters, and for good reason.  What woman would willingly support a group that believes she is incapable of self defense, reliant only on government and laws for their protection?  This women’s-clan apparently believes that all women are helpless.

This group does not support the 2nd amendment – and, they do not realize it.

It should come as no surprise that the Sandy Hook-inspired group was originally called “One Million Moms For Gun Control“, because those terms truly represent what the group supports: gun control.  Founder Shannon Watts now uses the friendlier sounding “Moms Demand Action” name to elicit a more objective “violence prevention” overtone, but the change in the group’s name did not effect the group’s purpose.

I love this group of anti-gunners because they give a public voice to the ignorance that envelops the disarmament crowd.  Full of emotion and void of any real understanding of guns (ask an anti-gunner what a “barrel shroud” is), these groups provide more fodder for freedom-lovers than our hapless government ever could.

Visit Moms Demand Action, please: http://www.momsdemandaction.org.

Despite massive spending, underachievement prevails

r-SAN-FRANCISCO-MINIMUM-WAGE-HIKE-large570Did you know that the number of people on food stamps has grown over the past 13 years by nearly 30 million, which accounts for almost 20% of households receiving taxpayer-funded food subsidies?  At the same time, the federal government is spending more per household than ever before – in fact, a 152 percent increase since 1965.

Our middle class is shrinking – the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer, due in large part to insanely complex government rules and regulations that only those with resources can bypass.  In fact, the top 7% of households own 63% of the nation’s wealth.  During the so-called economy recovery, the other 93% of families lost wealth, putting into question the effectiveness of big spending government stimulus packages and who, in reality, the recovery truly helped.

ABC News reports that nearly 50 million people in the United States live in poverty, but yet, most Americans view our nation as the most prosperous in the world, fundamentally superior to our foreign counterparts despite our poor education system, insanely expensive healthcare industry and THE biggest government that we’ve ever had.

In fact, our healthcare system spends twice as much per person than any other developed nation in the world, a cost that accounts for more than 16% of our nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).  Our healthcare spending has increased at twice the rate of inflation, but yet our pharmaceuticals continue to kill and emergency rooms remain clogged with people using it as their primary care service.

A much-maligned segment of the population, the top 1% of income earners in the country have a greater net worth than the bottom 90% put together.  Perhaps this is due to nearly a quarter of all jobs in the United States that pay a wage of less than $10/hour.

Worse, spending in Washington continues to grow, more than it ever has despite record tax revenues.  Federal politicians managed to rack up $755 billion in deficits through the first eleven months of 2013′s fiscal year.  Spending during the same period amounted to a whopping $3.2 trillion.

Now, the government wants to take over healthcare.  Already the most expensive healthcare system in the entire world, the 10,500-page Obamacare monstrosity has authorized the government to spend even more money.  The new healthcare system’s broken Healthcare.gov web site cost the American taxpayer $634 million to build.  Obamacare has caused many insurance companies to cancel policies and create more expensive alternatives.  Premiums have risen and job hours have decreased to sub-30 hours to avoid Obamacare penalties.

The evidence of the big government effect is clear and overwhelming, and it is costing the American taxpayer trillions of dollars in reckless spending.  Both the Democrats and Republicans represent the cause of these problems, and our nation will never truly fix our ailing spending habits until we replace those responsible for it.