The Press-Dispatch

November 24, 2021

The Press-Dispatch

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 20 of 32

My C-4 Wednesday, November 24, 2021 The Press-Dispatch OPINION Submit Letters to the Editor: Letters must be signed and received by noon on Mondays. Email: or bring in a hard copy: 820 E. Poplar Street, Petersburg In the days of the Plymouth Rock Pilgrims, survival was harsh. Amer- icans have it easy compared to their ancestors. It is difficult to imagine a time when there were no paved roads, cars, airplanes, supermar- kets, convenience stores, cars, in- door plumbing, iPhones, the Inter- net, social media, central heat, and more. By today's standards, even 50 years ago may seem primitive or part of the "pioneer days" of days gone by. My most vivid memory of the rigors of childhood survival was bringing in the coal, splitting wood for kin- dling to start a fire, or spading up the ground so dad could plant a gar- den (isn't it ironic that as soon as us kids left home dad purchased a gar- den tiller). Thankfully, we had "in- door plumbing" as I shudder to think of jotting out to the outhouse in win- ter when nature called! Most of us learned about Thanks- giving in grade school. Do you re- member tracing around your hand to make a turkey? The Plymouth colonists shared Thanksgiving with the Wampano- ag Indians in 1621. Without the aid of the local Indians, the Pilgrims would have undoubtably perished. Many people consider this feast the very first Thanksgiving celebration in America. Unfortunately, this cel- ebration is not "officially" the first in the Americas or any other place in the world. Historians believe the first "offi- cial" Thanksgiving among Europe- an settlers occurred in December 1619, by a group of British settlers led by Captain John Woodlief. Wood- lief and his British colonists gath- ered at Berkeley Plantation, Virgin- ia. At this site near the Charles River, they kneeled in prayer and pledged "Thanksgiving" to God for their healthy arrival after a long voyage across the Atlantic. For thousands of years, harvest meals or celebrations have been a Build Back Better will waste trillions As Democrats regroup to try to pass their $2 trillion Build Back Bet- ter Act, pressure grows for shining the light of fiscal responsibility on all this. Given President Joe Biden's crash- ing approval ratings, there is some hint that the American people smell a rat. One sign of the smell of that rat is the alarming escalation of the rate of inflation to where it hasn't been in over 30 years. Let's start with the announcement from the Treasury Department a week ago that the revenue measures built in to finance the $2 trillion in spending will not only not add to the nation's existing fiscal deficit but will reduce it. The headline from the Treasury department reads "Preliminary Es- timates Show Build Back Better Legislation Will Reduce Deficits." The document shows an estimate of $2.151 trillion in revenue rais- ing measures against $2 trillion in spending. However, the University of Penn- sylvania Wharton School of Business has its own model, overseen by a pro- fessor with extensive experience in the Congressional Budget Office and the Treasury Department. Ac- cording to the Wharton model, Build Back Better will add $500 billion to the federal deficit. Treasury says the Build Back Bet- ter cuts the deficit by $151 billion. Wharton says it increases it by $500 billion. Not exactly a trivial differ- ence. Who do we believe? The Congressional Budget Office will also weigh in. But it still leaves us with the question of who to be- lieve. It isn't about one place having bet- ter economists than the other. The problem is that it is impossible to make meaningful forecasts with such huge amounts of funds, all of which are highly politicized. Anyone who has ever run a busi- ness knows what I a.m. talking about. I run a small business with reve- nues of a few million dollars a year. Even at a few million dollars a year, it is a great challenge to do accurate projections. If it is hard at a few million, how about at $ 6.5 trillion, which is where the federal budget stands this year? The corporation with the largest revenue in the country is Walmart. It's about $560 billion, or about 10 percent of the federal budget. I a.m. sure if you ask any analyst in Walmart's budgeting department, they will tell you how hard it is to project. But aside from the amounts we're talking about, there is anoth- er huge difference between what is going on in any private business, at Walmart, and at the federal govern- ment. In private business, we are spend- ing our own funds. In a big corpora- tion like Walmart, they are spending their shareholders' funds. Every sin- gle individual spending and invest- ing these funds is held personally re- sponsible. If they are irresponsible, they get fired. But where is the personal respon- sibility for the trillions being spent by the federal government? The 100 Democrat progressives who are pushing so hard for this $2 trillion in spending have zero person- al responsibility to assure that these funds are spent in an effective and re- sponsible way. It is all politics. They dream up programs that sound so beautiful. But the realities of these programs submit to no responsible individual scrutiny. Americans work too hard for their income on which they are paying tax- es to have these funds expropriated by those who have political power but no personal responsibility. In addition, inflation is also a tax. When the government doesn't ex- plicitly take the funds through tax- es and prints the money to meet ob- ligations, this shows up as inflation, which then hits every working Amer- ican. In 1900, federal government non-defense spending amounted to 1.8 percent of our economy; in 1950, it was 10.4 percent; in 2000, it was 14.8 percent; and in 2021, it was 28.5 percent. Far too much of your money and Prove you're needed "Why does Louisiana have the right to stop me from doing what I love to do? " asks Ursula Newell-Da- vis in my new video. Newell-Davis has helped people. She's a social worker who's worked with kids with special needs for 20 years. She's really good at it. "She helped teach me how to talk to people," says Kamal, who never had friends before. His mother adds, "She explained to me things that I didn't understand about my kids." Newell-Davis helped many fami- lies like hers. Her clients are ecstat- ic about her work. Now she wants to help more kids by starting her own business fo- cusing on "respite" work. "Respite" means acting as backup to a primary caregiver. They fill in for a few hours or days to give a parent a break. "Someone that can go in and teach their child a different skill," New- ell-Davis says. She has a college degree, a mas- ter's degree and a social work li- cense. But Louisiana bureaucrats won't let her do respite work unless she can prove "there is a need for an additional HCBS provider in the geo- graphic location for which the appli- cation is submitted" and "the prob- ability of serious, adverse conse- quences to recipients' ability to ac- cess health care if the provider is not allowed to be licensed." What!? Why? "Louisiana wants to limit how ma- ny agencies they have to regulate," says Newell-Davis. "That makes it easy for the state." Easy for the state? Yes, that's the actual reason. Anastasia Boden of the Pacific Le- gal Foundation is helping Newell-Da- vis sue Louisiana, trying to get the law declared unconstitutional. "Louisiana gives you no clue about how to prove you're needed," says Boden. Even if they did, "That would be difficult for even the best entre- preneurs." I thought about my career and said, "I couldn't prove that I'm need- ed." "The only way to find out is to open up your doors and try! " replies Boden. But Newell-Davis isn't allowed to try. She gave regulators what they de- manded. She paid their $200 fee, rented office space and explained why her work is needed. She wrote many pages about rising youth crime and how respite care could help these kids. But Louisiana said that wasn't good enough." In fact, Louisiana turns down most applicants. This is crazy. Special needs kids need more help, not less. The government's excuse: "Reg- ulating is a resource-intensive pro- cess." Rejecting applicants helps "limit the burden on regulators." Streamlining the application pro- cess would be a better solution. "Imagine if government argued that it didn't have enough money to administer driver's license exams," says Boden. "That's just not a legiti- mate excuse." I tried to interview a regulator, but not one would answer our emails or calls. So, a Stossel T V producer went to Baton Rouge. As you see in my video, the gov- ernment's offices are quite nice. I wish they spent less on buildings and more on serving people. A security guard diligently called one health department person after another. It went to voicemail again and again. Too busy rejecting applications? Sleeping? Who knows? Later one sent us an email saying, "We'd be happy to work ... on provid- ing information." "Work on it? " Is providing informa- tion so hard? It must be. Weeks lat- er, they still haven't told us anything. Unfortunately, 39 states have sim- ilar laws. They're called "CON laws" because entrepreneurs must get "Certificates of Need" to open cer- tain businesses. They must prove they're needed. Some states demand it of moving companies, hospitals, ambulance services. People in Kentucky wait longer to get to a hospital because Kentucky's In the 1980 presidential cam- paign, the Republican challenger, Ronald Reagan, said, "A recession is when your neighbor loses his job. A depression is when you lose yours. And recovery is when Jimmy Carter loses his." The Gipper turned out to be correct. The gale-force winds of rising inflation had knocked work- ing-class people to the ground, with paychecks shrinking month after month. Reagan wound up winning a landslide victory, and Carter was bounced out of office. The middle class hates inflation. The New York Times recently sur- mised that the effects of inflation are mostly "psychological," and that peo- ple should appreciate that "the U.S. economy is doing well." Wrong. Peo- ple feel the impact of rising prices daily. It doesn't just make them feel poorer. They are poorer. President Joe Biden doesn't seem to get that, and if he doesn't get it soon, he may suffer the same fate of a ruined presidency that befell Carter. Biden has been touting wage gains for workers of 4 percent. During nor- mal times, that would be a very sol- id number. Except, for every one of the past six months, the consum- er price index has outpaced wage gains. Over the past year, inflation has been running at 6.2 percent, which means that the public's pur- chasing power is relentlessly shrink- ing even with 4 percent wage increases. Even more wor- risome, the govern- ment recently report- ed that the costs fac- ing businesses to pro- duce their goods and services, the producer price index, is up more than 8 percent from just a year ago. Such costs are soon and inevitably passed on to shoppers in the form of higher con- sumer prices. One of the prices we are all most sensitive to is the gas price at the pump. Gas is now $ 3.41 a gallon na- tionally, up $1.31 a gallon from last November. So don't be surprised if $5 a gallon isn't around the corner. Biden isn't just a victim of bad luck. His policies have detonated this inflation bomb. Remember, when Biden came into office, the first item he signed was a $1.9 trillion stimu- lus spending plan, which was com- pletely unnecessary because we al- ready had nearly $1 trillion of un- spent COVID-19 relief funds in the pipeline. These trillions of dollars of more money heaved into the econo- my fanned inflation. Then Biden declared war on Amer- ican oil, gas and coal. As a result, do- mestic oil production has fallen by roughly 2 million barrels a day from when Donald Trump was pres- ident. So, at $ 83 a barrel, this means we are losing about $165 million per day in national output and $50 billion a year. It has only given OPEC and the Sau- di oil sheikhs leverage to reduce production to raise prices, and there's nothing we can do about it. Biden has canceled the Keystone XL pipeline and now wants to shut down a major Midwestern pipeline that is already operative. The move will cause disruptions in electric power production for as many as 1 million people this winter when de- mand for home heating fuels is high- est. Utilities are even warning that families may be required to turn down their thermostats in the dead of winter. No one in the Biden administra- tion seems to have a clue of what to do. Energy Secretary Jennifer Gra- nholm laughed hysterically when asked what the United States's re- At this very moment, President Joe Biden and Congress are engaged in yet another round of budget gim- mickry with your wallet in mind. Though congressional rules are usually dismissed as "inside base- ball," many of them are designed to safeguard Americans from abuses of government. Biden has talked about his "Build Back Better" tax-and-spend bill as new, but let's be clear: There's noth- ing new about it. It's the same old wealth redistribution that he has been pushing all along. If fully implemented, the tax-and- spend bill would likely cost $4.6 tril- lion—roughly two and a half times his own reported estimate. Imagine touring a house listed around $400,000 with a realtor. It fits into your budget and would make an excellent home for your family. Then, after you have signed all the paperwork, the bank issues you a mortgage on a million-dollar home. That's precisely the bill of goods Biden is trying to sell the nation. The specific abuse here relates to reconciliation bills. Created as part of the congressional budget process, a reconciliation bill is meant to rec- oncile differences between the reali- ty of the federal government's finan- cial picture and the plan laid out in the budget. As a tool to bring the federal bud- get back on track, a reconciliation bill is allowed to bypass the Senate filibuster so that a simple majority in both the House and Senate can pass the bill. Among the rules governing what legislation can use this process, the bill and various parts of it cannot add to the national debt beyond certain limits. Additionally, the bill cannot add to the debt beyond the 10 -year federal budgetary window. So, if your goal is to enact perma- nent programs that would dramat- ically increase the size of the wel- fare state and the government's cli- mate-related micromanagement, reconciliation may not be for you. Without the reconciliation tool, the tax-and-spend bill would have to face a 60 -vote threshold in the Sen- ate. Again, this threshold is designed to make sure a narrow majority can- not, on a whim, radically change the whole country. Or, as Biden and congressional Democrats have been trying to do, you could use gimmicks to hide this wolf of a bill in the sheep's clothing of reconciliation. Anyone quickly scanning the bill is met with an odd parade of program expirations. Seemingly transforma- tional programs expire in just a few years. In fact, many of the bill's ex- tremely expensive welfare programs expire in just one year. The House and Senate Budget committees have identified 17 pro- grams that expire before the end of Race for the Cure By Star Parker Give Me a Break John Stossel Continued on page 5 Continued on page 5 Continued on page 5 Eye on the Economy By Stephen Moore Will Biden learn Carter's inflation lesson? Heritage Viewpoint By Richard Stern Points to Ponder By Rev. Curtis Bond The road to ruin is paved with gimmicks Thanksgiving to God Continued on page 5 Continued on page 5 Court THANKSGIVING

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of The Press-Dispatch - November 24, 2021