What Dropping Unemployment Doesn’t Tell Us

FEE – At next week’s FOMC meeting, the state of the labor market will play a key role in policy deliberations. But there’s a lot more going on underneath top line unemployment numbers that make them a bad tool for monetary policy decision-making.

Deep recessions are normally followed by a stronger than average recovery, not a weak one.

The May employment report is a conundrum. Employment growth and the unemployment rate sent opposing signals about labor market conditions – much like they have been doing throughout the recovery. The economy added 138,000 jobs last month, with the three-month average only at 121,000 jobs, suggesting labor market weakness.

By contrast, the unemployment rate fell to 4.3 percent – the lowest reading in 16 years. Additionally, job openings are near an all-time high. And voluntary quit rates are up. These data all suggest tight labor market conditions.

We Should Be Rebounding Faster Click here to read more.

Welfare Reform: Work Requirements for Food Stamps

Background: First created in the late 1930s as the Food Stamp Program, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is a federal aid program that provides food-purchasing assistance for low-income families and individuals. SNAP is the second largest mean-tested welfare program in the U.S., providing more than 45 million individuals with food-assistance at a cost of $83.1 billion in fiscal year (FY) 2014 alone.

Problem: Welfare programs, including food stamps, should be temporary, limited in size and scope, and assist those truly in need. But over the past two decades the program has grown out-of-control, both in cost and in the number of individuals receiving benefits. The number of food stamp recipients has increased from around 17 million in 2000 to more than 45 million in 2015, all while costs have risen from $20.7 billion to more than $83 billion during that same time frame.

The goal of any welfare program should be to increase self-sufficiency by helping individuals find a job, provide for their family, and escape the cycle of poverty. As President Ronald Reagan so elegantly put it:

“Welfare needs a purpose: to provide for the needy, of course, but more than that, to salvage these, our fellow citizens, to make them self-sustaining and, as quickly as possible, independent of welfare. We should measure welfare’s success by how many people leave welfare, not by how many are added.”

If we accept how President Reagan defines welfare success, the food stamp program has clearly failed. Perhaps most concerning is the number of able-bodied Americans without children who are now hooked on the program. Robert Rector, Senior Research Fellow in Domestic Policy Studies in the Institute for Family, Community, and Opportunity at the Heritage Foundation, and Rachel Sheffield highlight this concern in their 2016 paper Setting Priorities for Welfare Reform:

“In recent years, the most rapidly growing group of food stamp recipients has been able-bodied adults without dependents. ABAWDs are adults between the ages of 18 and 49 who are not disabled and who have no children to support. In 2014, nearly five million ABAWDs received food stamps each month; few are employed. ABAWDs who receive food stamps should be required to work, prepare for work, or look for work in exchange for receiving benefits.”

Solution: In 1996, President Clinton signed the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act, which became popularly known as “welfare reform,” into law. The legislation transformed the Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) into Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), a program intended to provide temporary financial assistance to low-income families while encouraging work and self-sufficiency.

Most significantly, the 1996 welfare reform included mandatory federal work requirements, stipulating that welfare recipients must be engaged in work or some type of work activity in order to receive TANF benefits. These reforms were popular and successful as welfare caseloads dropped “by over 50 percent, employment of the least-skilled single mothers surged, and the poverty rates of black children and single-parent families dropped rapidly to historic lows.”

Legislative Solution: Congress should build on the success of the 1996 welfare reform by applying similar principles involving work requirements to SNAP. At a minimum, Congress should enact work requirements for ABAWDs as a condition to receive food stamp benefits. Rep. Garret Graves’ (R-LA) recently introduced Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Reform Act of 2017 (H.R. 2996) that would do just that.

This legislation would help reduce poverty and government dependency, increase self-sufficiency, and restore families by strengthening the effective and popular work requirements. An overwhelming 90 percent of Americans agree that able-bodied adults receiving means-tested welfare assistance should be required to work or prepare for work. This reform was included in both President Trump’s FY2018 budget request as well as the House GOP’s FY2017 budget, and it has been implemented in Maine, Kansas, and Alabama with great success.

Call to Action: Heritage Action has endorsed the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Reform Act of 2017 and urges Sentinels to contact their members of Congress and ask them to co-sponsor the bill. If passed and signed into law, this legislation would encourage millions of Americans to get back to work, help end the cycle of poverty for individuals dependent on government assistance, and save taxpayers billions of dollars.

Trump-Pence Week 22: Cynics & Critics

Make America Great Again

If we set aside the cynics and the critics we have an incredible opportunity to do extraordinary things for our country in the years ahead. History is written by the dreamers, not the doubters.

President Trump is embracing a new spirit of innovation that will make life better for all Americans.

We have made amazing progress in Making America Great Again and we’re just getting started.

Read about the President’s week below

Bound Together By Common Values

Supporters gathered in Cedar Rapids, Iowa this week to hear from President Trump. Everyone in that arena was bound together by common values we all have: we love our country, obey its laws, honor its traditions, and care for our families and communities. All we want in return is a government that shows us the same respect and loyalty. Our country is getting stronger and President Trump promises to keep Making America Great Again with your help at record setting speed.

Make America Great Again

Making American Agriculture Great Again

American farmers and ranchers are the best at what they do. Given a level playing field, they can compete anywhere. Unfortunately, up until now, our farmers and ranchers have been let down and left behind because of our terrible trade deals. President Trump is cracking down on foreign trading abuses, making it easier to produce and grow in America. He is also supporting this effort by eliminating job-killing regulations, and training our great American workers. President Trump visited Kirkwood Community College in Iowa, to demonstrate how important it is to support schools like Kirkwood, that help train young Americans in cutting-edge technologies that will make American agriculture greater and more productive than ever before.

Make America Great Again

Fighting For Manufacturers

American manufacturers are the beating heart of our national life and always will be. Manufacturers make America and they make America great. Vice President Pence met with the National Association of Manufacturers and made it clear that they have the White House’s unwavering support. Thanks to the President’s leadership, American manufacturing is roaring once again. More than 12 million Americans work at manufacturers in all 50 states. The overwhelming majority of manufacturers are small businesses, and they contribute more than $2 trillion to our economy. Since day one of this administration, President Donald Trump has been fighting for manufacturers and the men and women who work on your factory floors, and he’ll keep fighting every day to lead an American manufacturing renaissance.

Make America Great Again

Deepest Condolences To The Warmbier Family

President Trump and the First Lady offer their deepest condolences to the family of Otto Warmbier on his untimely passing. There is nothing more tragic for a parent than to lose a child in the prime of life. Our thoughts and prayers are with Otto’s family and friends, and all who loved him. Otto’s fate deepens President Trump’s determination to prevent such tragedies from befalling innocent people at the hands of regimes that do not respect the rule of law or basic human decency. The United States once again condemns the brutality of the North Korean regime as we mourn its latest victim.

Make America Great Again

Sweeping Transformation In Government Technology

President Trump was joined by an incredible group of leaders who are on the cutting edge of innovation, including many CEOs from the world’s most successful businesses. His goal is to lead a sweeping transformation of the federal government’s technology that will deliver dramatically better services for citizens and stronger protection from cyberattacks. The President is embracing big change, bold thinking, and outsider perspectives to transform government and make it the way it should be, and at far less cost.

Make America Great Again

President Trump can’t thank his supporters enough for working with him to make our country stronger.

We’ve got a lot of work to do, but with President Donald Trump in the White House, we will make America prosperous again, we will make America safe again, and we will Make America Great Again.

Thank you for your continued support,

Team Trump-Pence

Sen. Chad Barefoot Newsletter

Below is a high level summary and an in-depth look at the state budget for the upcoming biennium which was approved by the General Assembly this week. The section highlights are broken down by appropriation area, i.e. Education, Health and Human Services, Taxes and Economic Development, Agriculture, etc. The purpose of this special newsletter is to give you a breakdown of the major budget changes that our state will use to operate for the next two years.

I always appreciate your feedback, so feel free to reply.

—Sen. Chad Barefoot

A bipartisan General Assembly passed a roughly $23 billion state budget this week that will help dramatically increase teacher pay and improve public education outcomes, rebuild communities devastated by Hurricane Matthew and provide major tax relief to strengthen the middle class and North Carolina’s economy.

Under Republican legislative leadership, the state has seen hundreds of millions of dollars in budget surpluses – and billions in savings reserves – through tax relief and balanced budgeting that helped spur economic growth. Under previous leadership, North Carolina faced teacher pay cuts and furloughs, as well as historic budget deficits, despite Democrats raising sales tax rates in 2003, 2005, 2007 and 2009.

The 2017 compromise budget increases spending by three percent over last year’s budget and focuses that increase in key areas, like providing nearly $700 million more for public education

As a co-chairman of the Senate Education Appropriations Committee, I worked with Sen. David Curtis (R-Lincoln) and Sen. Michael Lee (R-New Hanover), as well as the co-chairs of the House Education Appropriations Committee, to craft a budget that brings the state’s total public education budget to $13.53 billion, including over $9 billion for K-12.

Senate Budget Highlights

In Education –

· Keeps the plan to dramatically increase average teacher pay from last year’s budget, investing more than $100 million in the first year alone. This is in addition to the substantial teacher pay raises legislators passed in 2014, 2015, and 2016.

· Includes a new plan to let highly-qualified new teachers begin at a higher pay grade on the salary schedule, providing financial incentive to those who accept positions in low-performing schools, are licensed in special education or STEM classes, or meet other criteria.

· Provides $35 million to substantially increase principal and assistant principal pay, including funds for performance bonuses for principals.

· Includes $10 million in additional compensation for community college employees.

· Provides a bonus for teachers with 25 or more years of experience in each year of the biennium.

· Includes roughly $25 million to expand a performance-based bonus program to top-performing 4th and 5th grade reading teachers and 4th-8th grade math teachers, based on EVAAS growth scores.

· Allocates $10 million over two years for a bonus program for veteran teachers with more than 25 years of experience.

· Fully funds K-12, community college and public university enrollment growth.

· Allocates funds for grants to economically struggling, rural counties to assist with critical public school building needs.

· Invests an additional $11 million in textbooks and digital resources and increases funding for children with disabilities.

· Restores funding for the Governor’s School.

· Restores funding to Eastern North Carolina STEM.

· Expands the teacher assistant tuition reimbursement program to 14 additional counties, which provides tuition reimbursement for up to 5 TAs per district to pursue a college degree leading to teacher licensure.

· Supports the new N.C. Teaching Fellows Program through the N.C. Education Endowment Fund.

· Reimburses graduates of a North Carolina educator preparation program for the administrative cost of obtaining a teaching license. The current fee is $70.

· Establishes the Future Teachers of North Carolina program to encourage high school students to consider teaching as a career.

· Expands the North Carolina New Teacher Support Program to include more beginning teachers.

· Protects the Read to Achieve, Teach for America, and Communities in Schools programs from being cut by the Department of Public Instruction to fund bureaucracy.

· Provides additional assistance to community colleges for workforce training programs.

· Provides for the transfer of the ApprenticeshipNC program from the Department of Commerce to the NC Community College System and increases funding for the program.

· Honors the commitment to fully fund the N.C. Promise Program, which guarantees in-state undergraduate students at three schools across the state pay just $500 per semester for tuition.

· Includes over $18 million in new funding for medical education, including funding increases to the UNC School of Medicine and to the school’s Asheville campus.

· Provides additional stabilization funds to Elizabeth City State University to help get the school on solid financial ground.

· Directs $1.5 million to the Cheatham-White Scholarship Program, which will provide state matching funds for up to 20 scholarships at both North Carolina

· Provides funds to support already-established doctoral programs at NC A&T University. These funds will support new faculty and graduate student services for the doctoral programs, including computer science, various engineering fields, energy and environmental systems, education, and rehabilitation counseling.

· Allows senior citizens to audit courses at the University of North Carolina or North Carolina Community Colleges for free, provided that they have permission from the instructor and there is space available in the course.

· Establishes the Personal Education Savings Account (ESA) Program for children with disabilities. Eligible students will receive up to$9,000 for use by the student’s parents on expenses such as: tuition and fees at a nonpublic school; textbooks; tutoring; fees for exams; educational therapies; educational technology and transportation. Eligible students with certain severe disabilities may combine an ESA award with the existing Children with Disabilities Scholarship.

In Salaries and Benefits –

· Provides a $1,000 salary increase to state employees.

· Offers experienced-based step increases to teachers, State Highway Patrol troopers, clerks and magistrates.

· Provides $10 million in the biennium toward hard-to-hire positions across state government, such as health care technicians and nurses.

In Health and Human Services –

· Provides more than $27 million over two years to add 3,525 new pre-K slots – eliminating 75% of the waitlist for at-risk children.

· Upgrades the Controlled Substance Reporting System that will use advanced analytics to detect and fight prescription drug abuse.

· Allocates $15 million over two years to community health centers, rural health centers, free clinics and other health services providers in rural and underserved areas that assist the uninsured.

· Invests $18 million to improve North Carolina’s child welfare program, including new training and prevention programs, and nearly $4 million to improve accountability and oversight of the system.

· Earmarks close to $3 million to provide support for additional foster children in the system.

· Continues preparing for the transition to Medicaid reform by allocating $75 million over two years to grow the Medicaid Transformation Reserve.

· Includes more than $12 million for 400 new innovation waiver slots for people with intellectual and other related developmental disabilities that are at risk for institutional care.

· Designates $10 million for opioid and substance abuse treatment statewide.

· Allocates $19 million from the sale of the Dorothea Dix property to fund behavioral health beds.

In Justice and Public Safety –

· Strengthens laws against human trafficking and funds signage to increase awareness of the warning signs of trafficking.

· Funds needed additional positions in the state court system, including new deputy clerks of court and assistant district attorneys.

· Provides more than $4 million for law enforcement training for North Carolina officers.

In Taxes and Economic Development –

· Reduces the tax burden on North Carolina families and small businesses by cutting the personal income tax rate from 5.499 to 5.25 percent in 2019, and by increasing the amount of income that is exempt from state income tax.

· Lowers the corporate income tax rate from 3 percent to 2.5 percent in 2019, continuing the business tax reforms that have helped create more than half a million new jobs since Republicans took control of the state legislature in 2011.

· Simplifies and reduces the franchise tax on small businesses by cutting what is effectively a statewide property tax on small businesses and creating a flat $200 tax on the first $1 million of a business’s net worth.

· Provides over $4 million to support tourism advertising as well as domestic and international advertising to promote economic development.

· Allocates close to $4 million for revitalization grants in towns and cities across the state.

In Agriculture and the Environment –

· Increases funding for the Clean Water Management Trust Fund, the Tobacco Trust Fund and the Agricultural Development and Farmland Preservation Trust Fund.

· Expands support for the aquaculture industry and provides additional funding for dredging to ensure valuable economic activity at the North Carolina coast can continue.

· Allocates over $750,000 to expand international marketing of North Carolina agricultural products.

· Provides funding for engineers to improve dam safety and review emergency action plans to help prevent catastrophic flooding.

· Sets aside $2.3 million to purchase a new firefighting aircraft in the wake of devastating wildfires in Western North Carolina.

· Provides $250,000 to the Department of Agriculture to continue fighting against federal overreach in the form of the new Waters of the United States definition after the Cooper Administration withdrew from the federal lawsuit challenging this unprecedented land grab.

In Transportation –

· Increases funding for the Strategic Transportation Investments Program (STIP) by $320 million over two years, which will allow 100 new highway projects to be added over a ten-year period.

· Includes $241 million to improve structurally deficient bridges across the state, adds $143 million to improve the condition and safety of existing roads, increases contract resurfacing by $20 million and increases funding for pavement preservation by $30 million, extending the life of thousands of miles of roads.

· Invests $100 million to fund immediate need construction projects across the state that improve mobility and safety, reduce congestion and spur economic development.

· Includes $208 million over two years for a Roadside Environmental Fund dedicated to ensuring the safety and beautification of the state’s highways.

· Modernizes the state’s transportation network by providing additional funding to airports across the state for infrastructure improvements, and to the State Ports Authority for infrastructure and dredging needs.

Elsewhere –

· Brings the rainy day fund to $1.838 billion, or 8.2 percent of last year’s budget – the largest dollar amount and percentage in state history.

· Adds $125 million to make needed repairs and renovations to state and university facilities.

· Helps preserve North Carolina’s military operations by allocating $2 million for the next Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC).

· Continues the commitment to improving government transparency by funding a website that makes every state agency, county, and local school district budget available for citizens to view online.

· Aims to make government operations more efficient by investing in a fully-consolidated statewide Enterprise Resource Planning system.

· Helps the office of the State Auditor conduct more specialized audits and allocates funding to assist the state Department of Revenue in identifying and preventing tax fraud.

Senator Chad Barefoot represents District 18 containing Franklin County and portions of Eastern and Southern Wake County. Senator Barefoot is a Chairman of the Education Appropriations and Education Policy Committees and also serves on the Appropriations/Base Budget, Finance, and Rules and Operations of the Senate Committees.

From The Office of NC Senator Chad Barefoot
NC Senate * 300 N. Salisbury Street, Room 406 * Raleigh, NC 27603-5925 *
919-715-3036 * chad.barefoot@NCLEG.NET

Solar Bill (HB 589) Lobbyists Information Sheet

Civitas – The below is from lobbyists working to pass the solar bill,  House Bill 589 (Competitive Energy Solutions for NC). They sent this handy little “fact sheet” on  the bill to me, and apparently legislators. It passed the house and is parked in the Rules Committee in the NC Senate. After the budget passes expect to see movement on the bill so I wanted to get this information out and ask for your help.

I am asking for everyone to read the below information and weigh in on any area you want to comment on or have particular information concerning. I know there are a lot of smart people out there who know a lot about this issue. You can respond in the comment section or if you wish to do so privately, send an email to francis.deluca-at-nccivitas.org.

The bold numbers next to “What lobbyists Say is Myth” paragraphs is for reference in your replies.

As I said in one of my first posts on this bill “the skids have been greased.” If there is no significant opposition to this bill, it will pass. The number of lobbyist working on this bill employed by Duke Energy and the Solar companies is overwhelming. You can search for them yourself here.

Click here to read more.

Lincoln Unvarnished: Maryland, My Maryland! ‘The Despot’s Heel Is on Thy Shore.’

Tribune Papers – By Mike Scruggs – Following the bombardment and surrender of Fort Sumter at Charleston to Confederate forces on April 9, 1861, Lincoln ordered the Governors of the remaining Union states to call up their state militias and supply an army of 75,000 to invade and subdue the seven Southern states that had seceded. While this was received enthusiastically in many northern states, the Border States viewed this order as a tyranny they would not follow. As Union sentiment in the Border States evaporated, Virginia, Tennessee, North Carolina, and Arkansas seceded, and secession efforts were underway in Missouri and Kentucky.

Governor J. W. Ellis of North Carolina declared that North Carolina would “be no party to this wicked violation of the laws of the country and this war upon the liberties of a free people.” Governor Beriah Magoffin of Kentucky responded to Lincoln: “I say emphatically Kentucky will furnish no troops for the wicked purpose of subduing her sister Southern states.” Missouri Governor Claiborne Jackson responded harshly to Lincoln: “Your requisition is illegal, unconstitutional, revolutionary, inhuman, [and] diabolical, and cannot be complied with.” The order was likewise not well received in Maryland.

Although the Southern states wished to secede peacefully and had indicated no aggressive intentions against the Northern capitol, one of the first steps of the Lincoln Administration was to secure the capitol in Washington. In order to get to Washington, the mustered Union regiments had to come through Baltimore. As the railroad did not go through the city of Baltimore, they had to disembark from their troop trains north of the city and proceed by wagon, horse, and foot through the city, and then embark by train again on the other side. Unfortunately, on April 19th, the 6th Massachusetts chose to march through the city fully armed and in military formation. They were jeered by unsympathetic crowds of bystanders. Furthering the misfortune, the troops fired on the crowds killing twelve people. Fire then began to be returned from the crowd, and four soldiers were killed. These twelve civilians and four Union soldiers, whose blood flecked the streets of Baltimore, were the first battle deaths of a war that would take the lives of 620,000 Union and Confederate soldiers and an estimated 50,000 Southern civilians.

Click here to read more.

To read more history see Politically Correct History: Making Slavery the Cause of the Un-Civil War-Part 1 of 2 and Part 2 of 2: Politically Correct History Abolitionist Terrorism and Legislative Tyranny Remembered as Virtue

Secession from the United States was accepted in eleven states (and failed in two others). The seceding states joined together to form the Confederate States of America (CSA). The eleven states of the Confederate States of America (CSA), in order of secession, were: South Carolina (seceded December 20, 1860), Mississippi (seceded January 9, 1861), Florida (seceded January 10, 1861), Alabama (seceded January 11, 1861), Georgia (seceded January 19, 1861), Louisiana (seceded January 26, 1861), Texas (seceded February 1, 1861), Virginia (seceded April 17, 1861), Arkansas (seceded May 6, 1861), North Carolina (seceded May 20, 1861), and Tennessee (seceded June 8, 1861). – Wikipedia – Secession

The American Civil War also known as “War of Northern Aggression” started on April 12, 1861 with the Battle of Fort Sumter. Note: South Carolina seceded December 20, 1860 four months before the start of the war.

From The Declaration of Independence “That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government,…”

Week 21: Love Of Country

Make America Great Again

We all agree that we are blessed to be Americans, that our children deserve to grow up in a nation of safety and peace, and that we are strongest when we are unified, working together for the common good. We remain united as we work together for a safer America.

We may have our differences, but we do well, in times like these, to remember that everyone who serves in our nation’s capital is here because, above all, they love our country. We pray for Congressman Scalise, his family, and all those affected by this week’s inexplicable assault to democracy.

 
Praying For A Swift Recovery

Many lives would have been lost if not for the heroic actions of the two Capitol Police officers who took down the gunman despite sustaining gunshot wounds during a brutal assault. President Trump is grateful for their heroism and praying for the swift recovery of all victims.

Make America Great Again

Ensuring Our Veterans Receive The Care They Deserve

A bill to improve the Department of Veteran Affairs has passed Congress and will now go to President Trump to sign into law. President Trump is committed to ensuring our veterans have access to the care, services, and benefits they have earned. To achieve this goal, it is critical that employees of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) are held to the highest performance standards, and that they are accountable when those standards are not met. With the Department of Veteran Affairs Accountability and Whistleblower Act accountability, at the VA will be enhanced and the department will be provided tools that it needs to improve the care our veterans receive.

Make America Great Again

Honoring The Symbol That Reminds Us We Are One Nation Under God

On Flag Day, we honor the symbol that reminds us that we are one Nation under God, united in our pursuit of liberty and justice for all. On June 14th, we celebrated and recognized this day in 1777 when the Continental Congress formally adopted the Stars and Stripes as the official flag of the Republic. “I am blessed to have shared my birthday with the Star Spangled Banner and the U.S. Army for 71 years now. Again, on Flag Day, I am deeply grateful to live under the red, white, and blue, and all for which it stands,” said President Trump.

Make America Great Again

Making America Great Again

President Trump held his first full Cabinet meeting since being elected this week. In the meeting, President Trump discussed healthcare reform, tax reform, infrastructure legislation, defeating ISIS and much more with his team. “When I ran, it was ‘Make America Great Again,’ and that’s what we’re doing. Believe me,” the president said. “We’re doing it and we’re doing it at a much faster pace than anyone thought.”

Make America Great Again

Earn While You Learn

During the campaign, President Trump talked about the importance of vocational training. That’s why this week, President Trump has signed an executive order to expand apprenticeships and vocational training to help all Americans find a rewarding career, earn a great living, and support themselves and their families. Teaching young people skills, crafts, and trades are vital to our economy and our success as a country. America must not only teach, but celebrate the skilled laborers that produce and maintain the world’s greatest machines, buildings, products and infrastructure.

Make America Great Again

Fighting For Freedom

President Trump took a trip to Florida to announce a new policy on Cuba that will undo Obama’s one-sided deal as President and will begin strictly enforcing US law. The new policy will not lift sanctions on the Cuban regime until all political prisoners are free, freedoms of assembly and expression are respected, all political parties are legalized, and free and internationally supervised elections are scheduled. President Trump’s action bypasses the military and the government to help the Cuban people themselves form businesses and pursue much better lives.

Make America Great Again

Congressman Scalise – America is praying for you and all of the victims of this terrible shooting.

Please take a moment today to cherish those you love, and always remember those who serve and keep us safe.

Thank you for your continued support,

Team Trump-Pence

Junking Judicial Activism

The New American – As President Trump’s executive order suspending the highly controversial (and highly dangerous) refugee program continues to work its way through the labyrinth of federal courts from one coast to the other, the question at the forefront of nearly every conversation about the subject is, “Is the executive order constitutional?” There is a principle, though, that says if you start by asking the wrong question, you are bound to end up with the wrong answer. The real question that needs to be answered before it affects this and other issues (as it has been doing for over 200 years) is, “Do federal courts (in general) and the Supreme Court (in specific) have the sole authority to interpret the Constitution and decide what is and is not constitutional?”

Case in point: ObamaCare. By overlooking the fundamental question and allowing the erroneous assumption that the Supreme Court is the final arbiter of what the Constitution means, the American people wound up with the wrong answer: that the misnamed and deliberately misguided Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is constitutional. It is important to remember that the federal courts — Supreme and inferior — are part of the federal government; to accept the idea that they alone have the authority to interpret the Constitution is to allow the federal government of the United States unilateral authority to decide the boundaries of its own authority. Nothing could be further from the mind of the Founding Fathers, as we will see from their own writings later in this article.

The misbegotten notion that the Supreme Court — and by extension the inferior federal courts — has the unquestionable authority to interpret the Constitution (and thereby decide what is and is not constitutional) does not come from the Constitution itself, but from a decision made by — you guessed it — the Supreme Court. This gift from the court to itself dates back to the early days of the Republic. In 1803, while deciding the case Marbury v. Madison, the Supreme Court did not limit itself to deciding merely the case before it, but also whether or not the law in the case — Sec. 13 of the Judiciary Act of 1789 — was constitutional.

Click here to read more.

Support the No Regulation Without Representation Act, H.R. 2887

FreedomWorks – On behalf of our activist community, I urge you to contact your representative and urge him or her to cosponsor the No Regulation Without Representation Act, H.R. 2887, introduced by Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.). The bill would codify a 1992 Supreme Court decision preventing cross-border taxation when a business does not have a physical location in which the consumer resides.

In the 1992 case Quill Corp. v. North Dakota, North Dakota led a state suit against the Quill Corporation to pay for a sales tax on goods that the company shipped into the state. At the time, Quill had no employees or any physical presence in the North Dakota, but the state argued that since the company made sales in that state, it should have to pay a use tax.

The Supreme Court sided with Quill and decided that since it had no physical presence in that state, it did not have to be subject to that tax. The decision in the case has protected Internet-based commerce, prevented revenue-hungry states from taxing sales from out-of-state businesses or merchants.

The No Regulation Without Representation Act would codify Quill into law, setting up the guidelines for what would count as having a physical presence in the state and that only those institutions could be taxed. Out of state sellers could not be taxed. This would be a win for small businesses that sell goods and services outside of their current state and prevent a rise in prices.

The No Regulation Without Representation Act would help small businesses, protect employers, and prevent a future tax increase on these goods. For this reason, I urge you to contact your representative and ask him or her to cosponsor the No Regulation Without Representation Act, H.R. 2887.

Sincerely,

Adam Brandon, President, FreedomWorks

Repeal Certificate of Need so patients have better access to health care

Carolina Journal – Patients deserve better access to both life-saving and life-preserving health-care treatments. Which means physicians, hospitals, and other health care facilities should be able to invest in their communities to address unmet patient demand for critical services such as kidney dialysis units, cost-effective surgery, neonatal intensive care units, nursing homes, and much, much, more. Unfortunately, providers in North Carolina and 35 other states can’t embark on any plans to expand patient care unless the state has determined for itself that there is a “need.” And even if the state does grant a certificate of need (CON) to a winning applicant, competitors can step in to delay any capital projects from moving forward.

Wednesday’s op-ed in the Wall Street Journal explains:

In Cartersville, Ga., two highly regarded obstetricians, Hugo Ribot and Malcolm Barfield, hoped to add a second room to their one-room surgery center. But the plan hit a snag. They needed to obtain a “certificate of need” from Georgia’s Department of Community Health. Three large hospitals in the area — which provide similar services at far higher cost — blocked their application. Dr. Ribot and Dr. Barfield are now suing the state for restraint of trade.

Click here to read more.

Cooper’s selective constitutionalism in redistricting fight

Carolina Journal – Before Gov. Roy Cooper and his surrogates accuse the N.C. General Assembly of “thumbing its nose at the North Carolina Constitution and the U.S. Supreme Court,” the governor might want to reflect on his own actions in connection with legislative electoral redistricting.

The best place to start involves a question: What is the North Carolina governor’s constitutional role in the redistricting process? The answer: None.

Sure, Cooper has a right to comment on redistricting. He can criticize the General Assembly as much as he wants. With the bully pulpit of the state’s top elected executive office, his comments and criticism are bound to attract attention.

But, as governor, Cooper plays zero role in creating North Carolina’s election maps for the General Assembly or Congress. Neither the constitution nor state law calls on him to draw maps, to order others to draw maps, or to review maps once they’re completed. In fact, laws spelling out legislative and congressional election maps face a clear exemption from the governor’s review. You can find that exemption in Article II, Section 22 of the state constitution.

Unlike other recent disputes pitting the Democrat Cooper against the Republican-led legislature, disagreement about election districts has no direct impact on the governor’s ability to exercise executive authority. Legislative districts help determine the composition of the legislative branch alone.

Click here to read more.

Now more then ever we need elected officials with a backbone.

The Anti-American Left will demand that our officials take OUR Rights away. What makes people think that the insane and criminal will obey laws? Gun control is NOT about the insane and criminal, its about control of all the people. We the people must make sure they keep to their Oath Of Office.

U.S. Congressional Oath of Office:

I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter: So help me God.

North Carolina – Oath or affirmation to support Constitutions; all officers to take:

Every member of the General Assembly and every person elected or appointed to hold any office of trust or profit in the State shall, before taking office or entering upon the execution of the office, take and subscribe to the following oath:

“I, ___________, do solemnly and sincerely swear that I will support the Constitution of the United States; that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to the State of North Carolina, and to the constitutional powers and authorities which are or may be established for the government thereof; and that I will endeavor to support, maintain and defend the Constitution of said State, not inconsistent with the Constitution of the United States, to the best of my knowledge and ability; so help me God.”

Your Right to Arms

Article VI of the U.S. Constitution

This Constitution, and the laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof; and all treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land; and the judges in every state shall be bound thereby, anything in the Constitution or laws of any State to the contrary notwithstanding. … Read more…

From Senator Thom Tillis

My office has successfully closed more than 8,500 cases for North Carolinians who were having issues with the federal government. Nearly half of our cases have involved veterans facing bureaucratic hurdles at the VA, which my staff worked tirelessly to resolve. My office has also assisted North Carolinians with a wide range of other federal agencies, including the Social Security Administration, the IRS, the Department of Health and Human Services, and the Citizenship and Immigration Services, among others.

Click here to read more.

A FreedomWorks Rally to Support Congressman Mark Meadows 6/15/2017 11:00 am

Patriot-

There is a very important event taking place near you!

One of the best ways to show your support and have your voice heard is by attending an in-person event! FreedomWorks is hosting a Rally in your area! Will you support President Trump and his leadership by showing up? Will you stand up against the radical leftists and their allies in the mainstream media? They love amplifying events put on by progressives, and love downplaying our events. Every person that attends one of our events is helping us get the word out about the issues most important to us. This is also a great way to connect with like-minded patriots and get plugged into activities happening locally. Please RSVP below to let the organizer know you will be attending.

Will you show up? Remember, when we show up, we win!

A FreedomWorks Rally to Support Congressman Mark Meadows
6/15/2017 11:00 am
2530 Chimney Rock Rd Hendersonville, NC 28792-9181
Rep. Mark Meadows
Republican NC-11

Special Guests: FreedomWorks President, Adam Brandon, as well as Stephen Moore, a world respected economist who has been economic adviser for Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, Distinguished Visiting Fellow, Project for Economic Growth for the conservative Heritage Foundation, author of many New York Times best-selling books, senior economics analyst for CNN, former president of the Club for Growth and member of the Wall Street Journal editorial board, who also serves as senior economic contributor for FreedomWorks.

11:00AM: A FreedomWorks Complimentary Lunch and Sign Making
Where: The Golden Corral, 2535 Chimney Rock Road, Hendersonville, NC 28792

12:30PM – 2:30PM: Rally on Grove Street adjacent to the Court House and Congressman Meadows’ Office
Where: 200 North Grove Street, Hendersonville, NC 28792

Contact: fremont@tarheelteaparty.org with questions

Thank you for showing up!

In liberty,

Tea Party Patriots National Support Team

P.S. Whenever you attend an event in person, take pictures! (Simply text your pictures to 388873 with some caption text and we will receive it!)

Food for Thought: Import Restrictions Make It Harder to Rock

FEE : As I sit here waiting for my new guitar to arrive from Canada (an Eastwood replica of the Teisco TG-64), delayed by four to six weeks due to import restrictions on rosewood, it’s hard not to wonder at the sheer illogic of many of America’s trade laws. It’s not that they don’t sound reasonable on paper, but in practice, trade barriers present a nightmare of bureaucracy that harms consumers and businesses alike, while doing very little to actually accomplish their stated goals.

If you want to carry a guitar made of protected wood across national borders, you need to obtain 3 permits.

The rules in question fall under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), a lengthy treaty designed to protect certain plant and animal products that may be in danger of destruction. Sounds like a noble goal, sure, but the impact on industries and individuals is far more cumbersome than you might imagine.

As I’m being personally inconvenienced at present, let’s talk about the treaty’s impact on the guitar industry.

Click here to read more.

U.S. Taxpayers Fund Takeover of Colombia by Marxist Terrorists

The New American – Thanks to Congress and the Obama administration, American taxpayers are expected to pour millions of dollars into a ruthless Marxist terrorist group known as the FARC (shown), the Spanish acronym for the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia. Among other crimes, the Castro-backed terror group has slaughtered and tortured hundreds of thousands of civilians, pumped unfathomable amounts of cocaine into the United States, kidnapped and raped children, and much more. If establishment forces in Washington, D.C., and Bogota get their way, however, U.S. taxpayers will help finance not only the FARC itself, but the communist takeover of Colombia as well.

Under Obama, whose political career literally began in the home of a Castro-backed terrorist, U.S. taxpayers were put on the hook for almost half of a billion dollars to Colombia last year. Much of that money was supposed to be used to pursue the fraudulent “peace” deal that will literally put mass-murdering FARC terrorists in Congress — without serving a single day in jail for their 50 years of mass murder and war crimes. Obama promised even more cash, and the GOP Congress approved it. However, the establishment-backed “peace” deal was so outrageous that, even after 50 years of facing FARC terror and barbarism, and despite massive amounts of tax-funded propaganda supporting the dangerous scheme, Colombians went to the polls and rejected it.

Stung by the loss, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos, who brokered the “deal” with help from the mass-murdering communist dictatorship in Cuba, decided to force it on Colombians against their will anyway. Less than 20 percent of Colombians approve of Santos, who lied to get into power and whose campaign was funded by a corrupt communist network currently facing serious pressure across Latin America. To push his scheme even after the people voted no, Santos made a few minor changes and rammed it through Congress instead, claiming the only way to have peace was to give the terrorists everything they demanded.

Click here to read more.

FreedomWorks asks for your help repealing “ObamaCare”.

Your help is urgently needed! Senator Richard Burr is just not “walking the walk” when it comes to getting rid of Obamacare. As a matter of fact, he is not even “talking the talk”! We need to try to change that!

Senators Burr is saying that our health care travesty cannot be remedied this legislative session. Let’s let him know that Republicans campaigned on getting rid of Obamacare right away and that we expect him to do just that. Please give the Senator a quick call and tell him so.

Senator Richard Burr: (202)224-3154

As always, thank you for all you do. Working together, we are truly making a difference!

FreedomWorks

North Carolina’s apprenticeship program offers big potential at small cost

Carolina Journal – A bill was introduced in the state legislature to shift control of the state’s apprenticeship program from the Department of Commerce to the community college system. The goal is to streamline the program and make it more aligned with some of the colleges’ workforce development initiatives.

The program, “ApprenticeshipNC,” has been receiving more attention lately, as lawmakers pivot to vocational training programs as a way to boost the education and earning potential of recent high school graduates. The program helps provide students with more postsecondary options and gives them an effective, low-cost alternative to the traditional college pathway.

NC’s apprenticeship program is relatively straightforward. Students indicate their interest in the program and desired career path, and ApprenticeshipNC matches them with a suitable company. Together, along with a local community college, the student and company arrange a class and work schedule. The company generally covers the cost of schooling and pays the apprentice a wage. It lasts one to four years, depending on arrangements the apprentice and company decide. Apprentices can work to become, for instance, machinists and electricians, all while gaining experience with regional and even national companies.

Click here to read more.

I ask why not start VOCATIONAL training in 7th grade?

A fix for the US School System. By Fremont V Brown III

The present US education system does very little to prepare the students for the real world. At the end of 12th grade very few have any true skills to get a job. Plus many college degrees are useless as they are too general and the first two-years are usually a repeat of high school. Many students cannot get jobs that justify the cost of college.

I think the following would go along way to fix the system. First thru sixth grade the teachers must teach the students the BASICS like math, speaking, spelling, reading and writing. Teach math without calculators. Teach the student what type questions to ask themselves to reason out the answers for themselves. Teach US history with solid knowledge of the Constitution and Bill of Rights, plus world history and geography are a must.

Starting in 7th grade the courses change to three hours a day for courses to prepare the student for college. One hour a day for a course called LIFE. This course would teach the student EVERYTHING they need to know once they begin life after 12th grade. Like cooking, washing the clothes, balance the checkbook, understanding the interest rates on loans, how to do a budget and stick to it, etc. Then four hours of vocation/trade skills. These courses would teach skills to be a plumber, carpenter, chef, landscaper, auto mechanic, dental tech, nursing, etc. The courses would also include management, purchasing, accounting and all of the skills needed to run a business. At the end of the courses the instructors would or would not issue a certificate that guarantees the employer that the student can do the job without supervision and correctly. The student could in many cases finish school with three to six skills. I am pretty sure the drop out rate would be much lower then it is now. And the students would be more prepared to start life on their own.