The Nation’s Top Two Problems per Gallup over the last 10 years

There are a lot of ways you can grade the 1st year of the Trump presidency USA today ran a piece giving him grades from A+ to F, but for my money the best way to see how the public grades this presidency is not a poll concerning this president’s approval but chart above showing Gallup’s polling of the nation’s top two problems over the least decade.

As you can see from these numbers over the last ten years the economy has been the #1 or #2 issue in the country every single year.

Not anymore.

According to Gallup after one year of Trump in the White House not only the Economy dropped to sixth (Jobs is 7th) but according to them you have to go back to 1999 to find a time when less people mentioned the economy as the country’s #1 problem.

And this is BEFORE the full effect of the Trump tax cuts that not a single democrat in either house voted for takes effect.

There are some people who think the GOP in general and Trump in particular are in trouble come November 2018.

After looking at those numbers I don’t.


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I’m pretty busy today working on the Trump Year one Lunch and Panel event in Leominster MA at noon today (you can still buy tickets here or at the door for $20 which includes an all you can eat buffet) so I don’t have a lot of time for a long piece on shutdowns, Tom Brady or even POTUS’ appearance at the March for Life.

Nevertheless I would like to take a few minutes before I get out of bed and have to be on overdrive for the next 12 hours to note that as President Trumps 2nd year begins and as everyone in media and government who predicted doom for Trump in both 2016 & 2017 continues to do so for him and the GOP in 2018 things continue to happen that favor the president.

ITEM: UNRWA funding cut in half, Terror supporters hardest hit.

As the leader of the Palestinian authority continues on anti-semitic rants (and is defended by the Sorus funded so called “Jewish” advocacy group J-Street as he does ) the US has decided to answer is the best way possible to show the old game of of pay and look the other way is done:

“There is a need to undertake a fundamental re-examination of UNRWA, both in the way it operates and the way it is funded,” the official said.

The US had frozen a $125 million grant to UNRWA earlier this month, amounting to one third of the US annual aid to the organization. Part of the grant was unfrozen Tuesday.

The move follows tweets by US President Donald Trump in which he questioned the wisdom of providing hundreds of millions of dollars in aid to the Palestinian Authority given their refusal to resume peace talks with Israel.

This is an amazing development.  Why it’s as if someone actually read the 1951 report back when UNRWA wasn’t a full employment scheme for cronies in and out of the middle east and and decided that ignoring this advice might not have been the best idea the US ever had.

Nobody but Trump would have dared do this.

ITEM: Common Core dies a Quiet Death.

Common Core has been a Tea Party issue since day one. GOP members have given lip service to reigning it in for years with little effect. On the Campaign Trail Donald Trump hit it hard but we heard little about it after he was elected but American Conservative has the transcript of Secretary Devos’ speech on the subject noting the failure of national standards both during the Bush years

President Bush, the “compassionate conservative,” and Senator Kennedy, the “liberal lion,” both worked together on the law. It said that schools had to meet ambitious goals… or else. Lawmakers mandated that 100 percent of students attain proficiency by 2014. This approach would keep schools accountable and ultimately graduate more and better-educated students, they believed.

Turns out, it didn’t. Indeed, as has been detailed today, NCLB did little to spark higher scores. Universal proficiency, touted at the law’s passage, was not achieved. As states and districts scrambled to avoid the law’s sanctions and maintain their federal funding, some resorted to focusing specifically on math and reading at the expense of other subjects. Others simply inflated scores or lowered standards.

And  Obama years

The Obama administration dangled billions of dollars through the “Race to the Top” competition, and the grant-making process not so subtly encouraged states to adopt the Common Core State Standards. With a price tag of nearly four and a half billion dollars, it was billed as the “largest-ever federal investment in school reform.” Later, the Department would give states a waiver from NCLB’s requirements so long as they adopted the Obama administration’s preferred policies — essentially making law while Congress negotiated the reauthorization of ESEA.

Unsurprisingly, nearly every state accepted Common Core standards and applied for hundreds of millions of dollars in “Race to the Top” funds. But despite this change, the United States’ PISA performance did not improve in reading and science, and it dropped in math from 2012 to 2015.

But the Donald Trump administration has had enough:

The trend line remains troubling today. According to the most recent National Assessment of Educational Progress data, two-thirds of American fourth graders still can’t read at the level they should. And since 2013, our 8th grade reading scores have declined.

At HotAir Jazz Shaw notes the speech both for what it critiques and what it suggests as alternatives, namely allowing teaches to TEACH and comments thus:

Wouldn’t it be ironic if we actually made some significant strides forward in fixing our largely broken education system during this term, but had it sneak through under the radar while everyone else was busy screaming at each other about whether or not the President’s cholesterol level is too high? This was one of the better speeches on education that’s been given in a long time. The question is how much DeVos will be able to hammer through without politics poisoning the entire process.

But in the meantime, as far as Common Core goes… it’s dead, Jim.

I’m thinking more and more that it’s less a question of irony of these thing happening under the radar than by designed but no matter how it happens chalk this up to another campaign promise kept and another conservative priority handled.

Item:  More “crumbs” for the workers

Lost among the debate on if the President’s Doctor is a hack or not or the critical issue of if back when he was just a Billionaire Businessman he bedded a porn star, it seems that Apple had decided that to bring a ton of that money they had parked overseas back home.

Apple “anticipates repatriation tax payments of approximately $38 billion as required by recent changes to the tax law. A payment of that size would likely be the largest of its kind ever made,” the company said.
Using the new 15.5 percent repatriation tax rate, the $38 billion tax payment disclosed by Apple means they are planning a $245 billion repatriation.

and it looks like their existing employees are getting a cut of this too:

Apple Inc. (AAPL) is giving many employees a bonus of $2,500 worth of restricted stock units, rounding out a series of investment announcements made on Wednesday.

The iPhone maker will start to issue stock grants to most employees worldwide in the next few months, Bloomberg reported, citing sources close to the situation. Earlier on Wednesday, Apple said it would inject $350 billion into the U.S. economy over the next five years, as a result of the tax cut signed by President Donald Trump, to fund a new campus, data centers and 20,000 new jobs. Apple will also pay a $38 billion repatriation tax, bringing roughly $252 billion in cash back to the U.S.

Representatives from Apple didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

“We estimate about 100,000 employees will benefit, which implies a $250m liability that will vest likely in 2 years,” said Loup Ventures analyst Gene Munster.

I wonder if Nancy Pelosi will call this crumbs too Sarah Sanders sure thinks so.

Donald Trump reportedly isn’t all that popular in the tech left but I’ll wager the prospect of further bonus’ of this nature is and I suspect that this will be remembered come election day in 2018.

Combine all of these successes and more that I don’t have time to mention now with a Trump boom and the left shutting down government for the sake of illegal aliens and I think the trendlines for 2018 will continue to move in their new direction.


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Get your Tickets today!

You can still buy tickets for our President Trump a Year in Review and Looking Ahead event Jan 20th 2018 at the Tang Dynasty Restaurant in Leominster Ma. Click on the image to the left to get tickets via eventbrite.The event co-sponsored by the Worcester Tea Party comes with an All you can eat Chinese buffet served till 2:30 (drinks are on you) and will include an all star panel (moderated by DaTechGuy) including

Chip Faulkner of Citizens for Limited Taxiation
Dianna Ploss from the Boston Chapter of Act for America
Christopher Maider from the Meat and Potatoes Radio show
Mike LaChance from the Legal Insurrection blog

Tickets are available at the door or you can get them here.  Come on down and join us for a great meal and a great discussion.

The last thing mainstream media wants you to know is the country is doing very well economically. Stock prices are up. Lower tax rates means 164 major companies and rising have given back to their employees in the form of raises and bonuses. Jobless claims just hit a 45-year low.

Wait, you didn’t hear about that last item? That’s because mainstream media is virtually silent. They’re too busy talking about the President’s Tweets to spend any time reporting actual news.

U.S. Jobless Claims Plunge to Lowest Weekly Tally Since 1973

U.S. filings for unemployment benefits plummeted to the lowest level in almost 45 years in a sign the job market will tighten further in 2018, Labor Department figures showed Thursday.

The most important factor during elections is the economy. More specifically, people vote based upon how well or poorly they and their families are doing financially. Unfortunately, mainstream media knows it’s not as simple as people checking their bank statements and counting their blessings. They can still be manipulated into believing they’re not doing as well as they really are or that the nation is on the verge of fiscal collapse based upon actions by the GOP and/or the President.

As a Federalist, I can say these things knowing I’m not spinning it in favor of the GOP. I’m not a Republican fanboy, but when things are going well based upon actions they are the Democrats take, it’s okay to give kudos. My allegiance is to the nation and the truth.

In this election year, the Democrats will utilize their puppets in the media to try to make as many people as possible believe things are really bad. It doesn’t matter that the economy is looking great. Perception trumps reality and mainstream media wants to change as many people’s perceptions as possible. We have to fight against that. Share news like this with as many people as you can. They need to know the truth to fight against the bias mainstream media tries to slap on them.

Jobs are coming back. Wages are going up. Taxes are going down. Consumer spending is at a pre-2007 level. The economy is looking poised to have a strong continuation in 2018 from the progress made in 2017. There are still many things that can derail it quickly, but the biggest risk is born from a hatred of Donald Trump and the Republican Party.

Mainstream media knows a very important reality, as I detailed in my 2018 predictions. Perceptions play an important role in the strength or weakness of the economy. When the general sentiment among Americans is strong, the economy is strong as a result. When people are fearful, certain economic indicators stumble from the concern. That has been the nature of the economy for a few decades since mass media made news travel quickly and broadly. It’s a nature that works through or against self-fulfilling prophecies.

The other reality that mainstream media understands is most Americans make voting decision based upon personal prosperity. In the voting booth, they aren’t as concerned about Israel’s embassy, net neutrality, or obnoxious Tweets as they are the rest of the year. Their biggest concern is which candidate or party is going to make things better, easier, or both for the voter and their family.

Jimmy Carter didn’t just lose to Ronald Reagan. He lost to the poor economic conditions that ravaged the nation through his term. Bill Clinton didn’t beat Bob Dole just because the Republican was boring while the Democrat played the saxophone. He beat Dole because the economy was doing very well at the time.

It’s easier to see during presidential election years, but it’s still prevalent in midterm elections. We vote based upon how much is in our wallets.

Some may be balking right about now. If you’re reading this, you’re probably the exception. In fact, you’ve probably rarely if ever voted for a Democrat since this is a conservative blog with a generally conservative audience. Those on the ideological left and right don’t look at fiscal indicators. Then again, many of us don’t look at anything other than the letter next to the name of the candidate. We’re not the people who decide elections. The swing voters are, and they’re the ones who vote with their wallets. They’re also the target audience for mainstream media when it comes to swaying elections.

We can expect the media to continue their attacks on President Trump. It’s almost as natural for them as covering up for President Obama. The difference is in how they spin everything that happens with the economy. We’re already seeing this in the way they’re spinning reactions from corporate America to the tax cuts. As dozens of major companies started instantly giving extra money to their employees following passage of the tax cuts, mainstream media tried desperately to under-report the moves, or worse, to call them tricks by Trump-loving corporate America.

It’s only going to get more aggressive from here. In 2018, you will be hard-pressed to find any major and positive economic news on mainstream media outside of Fox News and WSJ that isn’t spun to somehow be a negative. When bad economic news comes along, the problem will be magnified and the message will be amplified.

This midterm election is vindication for the media… at least that’s what they hope. They can either prove they still have sway over elections or they will be proven powerless. The easiest way they can cheat their way into power is with Democratic victories. The easiest way for Democrats to win is for the media to declare doom and gloom over the economy. How the economy responds will be based upon whether or not people believe what they hear from the media or what they see in their bank accounts. Unfortunately, many will ignore the obvious for the sake of the left’s incessant narrative.

Major Pintz: These are today’s recruits, sir. Not much to pick from I’m afraid.
Col Klink: Well, as they say, beggars can’t be choosers. I’ll take them.
Major Pintz: Get these men uniforms, Sergeant, and have them report to me at once.
Sgt: Jawohl, Herr Major.
Col Klink: We are certainly scraping the bottom of the barrel these days.

Hogan’s Heroes The Swing Shift 1967

Over at Stacy McCain’s site there is yet another story of yet another one of the people I refer to as “Stacy’s Women” that is the various disturbed people that he regularly writes about:

OK, I’ll explain what and who inspired this rant. Rachel Sather graduated last year from CUNY-Hunter College. And she is crazy:

I’m very open about living with Borderline Personality Disorder. It’s a lot more common than people assume, with 1.6% of the general population living with BPD, most of whom are women. . . .
Between the psychotic episodes, addicting coping mechanisms, and the seemingly endless mental fog that comes with BPD, its incredibly difficult sometimes to maintain a healthy life. . . .
Thanks to social networks like Tumblr, there’s a whole network of bloggers that share their experiences with BPD. . . . The fact that I have learned more about my illness from Tumblr than someone with a Masters in psychology made me realize that not enough people were talking about it.

Great. You’re having “psychotic episodes” and “endless mental fog,” but you’ve got a college diploma and lots of friends on Tumblr. 

Now as a rule my only really interest in such people is that I pray daily for “Stacy’s Women” as a group on the 4th Glorious Mystery (and ask my late mother, mother in law & aunts to pray for them too) but it hit me today that while they may or may not be grateful for those prayers there is one person that Stacy’s women should be thanking their lucky stars for.

That person is President Donald Trump.

This might seem completely counter intuitive, after all President Donald Trump symbolizes all that they hate, but consider one of the facts of life.

In this modern world if you are looking for employment beyond something that involves the question “Would you like to upsize your combo meal?” you have to get past an HR department.

Now if you’ve graduated from a good college it’s very likely that your resume might be one of those flagged by a HR as one to check out.  But once your name is out of the pile, then comes the google search:

“Hello, world, I’m a queer who has psychotic episodes!” Is that how you want to introduce yourself to every stranger with an Internet connection? Are there actually people who could read that self-description without thinking, “Wow, better stay away from that weirdo”? And what about the ex-boyfriend with whom she had the “overall terrible experience”? Does he realize that Ms. Sather’s interest in him was “psychological attachment” symptomatic of her mental illness?

Y’know, some people had problems with sex before the Internet existed. They either solved their problems or they didn’t, but few of them advertised their problems to the entire world because (a) they didn’t have the means to do so, and (b) they weren’t completely crazy.

Now I can’t speak for HR departments everywhere but if you choose to advertise a bunch of personal problems, it’s not all that likely that HR and the manager looking to hire will be just dying to have you in for a chat.

And I haven’t even gotten started on the political stuff that screams to the corporate world that you are a lawsuit just waiting to happen.

However thanks to President Donald Trump Stacy’s Women have an ally that has the capacity to lessen if not cancel out all those legit worries. The Trump Economy!

In an economy with unemployment under 5% the labor market is tight. In an economy with unemployment under 5% AND growing at 3% or better that market is tighter.

Now picture an economy with unemployment under 5% that growing at 3% or better further stimulated by a corporate tax rate dropped by 40% to spur business growth and a drop in personal tax rates meaning that the average person has extra money to spend.  Like this:

CBS reported that Christmas sales reached $598 million this year, up $33 million over last year, for a 5.8% gain.

That is the biggest gain in Christmas sales in a dozen years.

And that’s not even considering what the ebbing of the flow of illegal immigrants does to said market.

In a labor pool where Kurt Schlichter’s “normals” are already snatched up everybody else gets a 2nd look.  Hey with a labor pool thin enough a college grad, even one with borderline personality disorder who has occasional psychotic episodes, not only avoids the circular file but might suddenly become a catch

It’s Donald Trump, not their liberal professors who will made this possible and every single one of these people who find themselves with a good job instead of manning a drive up window owe him a debt of gratitude that he will never collect.

The best way to descrive the effect of the tax cut bill that just passed will have on our already improving economy is to think of it as the difference between Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger and New England Patriots Quarterback Tom Brady.

By any standard Ben Roethlisberger is a great quarterback. His stats are impressive. He has thrown for over 4000 yards five times, has thrown 25 or more touchdowns a season seven times, had seasons with a QB rating over 100 three times, thrown less than 10 interceptions a season 4 times. Counting this season He has led the Steelers to ten playoff appearances, seven division titles and two Super Bowls both wins.

Any competent list of elite NFL quarterbacks over the last decade includes him and in different era a credible case could be made for listing him as said era’s top Quarterback.

But unfortunately for Big Ben this isn’t another era. It’s the Tom Brady era and as excellent as Roethlisberger’s stats are they pale before Brady’s. Tom has thrown for 4000 or more yards 9 times (over 5000 in 2011) He has thrown 25 or more touchdowns 13 times (including 50 in 2007) , ha seasons with a QB rating over 100 6 times (three seasons over 110), thrown less than 10 interceptions a season 7 times (only 2 last year)

And of course counting this season Tom Brady has led the Patriots to the Division every single year (15 seasons years) but one (2002) and has taken his team to the Superbowl seven times winning five.

Or to put it another way. While Ben Roethlisberger is a great quarterback, a Hall of Fame Quarterback, a quarterback any team would be proud to have, he is not even in the same league as Tom Brady who is the greatest and most successful Quarterback to ever play the game.

What does that have to do with the Trump Tax plan? Just this.

The Obama Economy was, put simply a disaster:

The latest numbers mean that Obama’s economic forecasters missed their growth targets every year that he was in office. And, once again, economists who had been promising that strong growth was just around the corner — most recently because of a relatively strong third quarter — had to eat crow.

It also means that GDP growth has not exceeded 3% for 11 straight years. . . .

And despite th predictions of naysayers and experts galore:

Jason Furman, who chaired the Council of Economic Advisers under President Barack Obama, told reporters earlier this year that the chances of reaching 3 percent growth over a decade were about 1 in 25 — which is what many political experts said was Trump’s chance of winning the election. Another Obama economist, Alan Krueger, called the 3 percent growth forecast “extremely rosy.”

Larry Summers, a top economic adviser to Obama, questioned the “standards of integrity” of the Trump economic team’s forecast for 3 percent (or more) growth. “I do not see how any examination of U.S. history could possibly support the Trump forecast as a reasonable expectation,” he wrote in The Washington Post.

It took Donald Trump less than one year to change this achieving the 3% economic growth that others have said was not possible

President Donald Trump’s goal of 3 percent growth has been realized in two of the three quarters since he took office, and economists say the trend can keep going for at least another quarter and possibly longer.

Third-quarter GDP grew by 3 percent, well above the 2.5 percent expected by economists surveyed by Thomson Reuters and below the 2.8 percent in the CNBC/Moody’s Rapid Update. The third-quarter number comes on top of 3.1 percent growth in the second quarter, making for the best back-to-back quarters since 2014 and ending a long streak of sluggish 2 percent growth.

To put it one way. Trump’s first year Economic numbers are something to be proud of, particularly compared to Obama’s. Clearly above average and heading in the right direction. They are the Ben Roethlisberger of economic stats.

Now take that above average economy and add to it a tax plan that cuts corporate tax rates from 35% to 21% while cutting taxes on a resurgent middle class a package that produced this reactions from Germans:

“The tax competition will have a new dimension,” said Christoph Spengel, chairman of the corporate tax department at the University of Mannheim. Mr. Spengel, who is also a research associate at the Center for European Economic Research, and a group of tax experts at the university have done a detailed comparison of the two countries’ tax systems and published a report under the heading, “Germany loses out in US tax reform.”

Clemens Fuest, who heads the Ifo economic think tank, also said he believed German business would suffer. “Investments and jobs will migrate to the US,” he said.

Once the full effect of this tax bill hits we will go from a Roethlisberger economy to a Brady economy and leave that solid 3% growth in the dust.

Get ready folks, golden days are ahead.

The evidence has been documented numerous times that cutting taxes improves the economy in ways that replace “lost” revenues for the federal government. In other words, reduced tax burdens spark economic growth with over time yield a revenue-neutral stance. This is the part about the proposed GOP tax cuts that I like.

There are two big problems with it, though. We haven’t seen nearly the level of cuts necessary to balance the budget or attack the unfathomable debt problem the nation faces. It’s time to slash and burn in DC; we need to eliminated entire programs like Obamacare, agencies like the EPA, and even departments such as the Department of Education.

The second problems is that this isn’t really a tax “reform.” They’re calling it “reform” because it’s a powerful word that makes people feel good, but this is still the same progressive tax system that’s been failing miserably for decades. As Daniel Horowitz at Conservative Review notes, there’s no right way to fix the progressive tax.

I’ve been exploring everything from a fair tax to a flat tax to a neutral tax. All have merits. All have flaws. Now is not the time to go over them or other plans in detail, but one thing is certain. We need to implement REAL reform if we’re going to make a true impact on how the national government operates. The system is broken and smarter people than me need to get together and explore the options.

Back to cuts. Standard operating procedure in Washington DC is to bifurcate taxing and spending. They try to convince us that they’re two different conversations that should be handled independently. This is illogical and an insult to our collective intelligence. If you’re deciding what car to buy, you don’t pick a car and do the math on the monthly payments later. If you’re income fluctuates, you don’t buy things based upon the best case scenario. This is personal economics 101, yet the federal government wants us to believe this logical thinking doesn’t apply to them.

Why do they bifurcate? It’s all a smokescreen. I’m not a conspiracy theorist who believes everything the government does has nefarious undertones, but this is very clear to anyone paying attention. They don’t want to talk about taxing and spending at the same time because it means revealing the truth about both. It’s easier for them to say, “we need this much revenue regardless of expenses” while simultaneously saying, “we need to spend this much regardless of revenues.”

To tackle tax reform before tackling spending isn’t just putting the cart before the horse. It’s detaching the cart from the horse and then questioning why it won’t move. We need to address them simultaneously. If that’s too complicated for DC, then they need to tackle spending first. Instead, we’re hearing about trillion dollar infrastructure plans that may no longer receive private funding relief, an expensive border wall that Mexico apparently isn’t going to pay for, and Obamacare “repeal” bills that don’t significantly reduce DC’s financial role. No, block grants don’t change the fact that DC still has to collect the money first.

If DC really wants to boost the economy, they need to start by cutting spending and regulations. The latter seems to be in motion; kudos to the President for keeping that promise. The former isn’t even close to happening. It needs to happen quickly. Otherwise, Republicans are the same big spenders as the Democrats, just focused on different issues.

You might have missed these two stories in all the Trump Tweet stuff but you might want to remind yourself what we’re fighting against before you jump off the wagon.

Cause:

Seattle’s minimum-wage law is boosting wages for a range of low-paid workers, but the law is causing those workers as a group to lose hours, and it’s also costing jobs, according to the latest study on the measure passed by the City Council in 2014.

The report, by members of the University of Washington team studying the law’s impacts for the city of Seattle, is being published Monday as a working paper by a nonprofit think tank, the National Bureau of Economic Research.

That law raises Seattle’s minimum wage gradually until it reaches $15 for all by 2021.

Well in the face of that bad news Seattle decided that there could be only one effect

When a University of Washington study came out this week showing Seattle’s minimum wage has cost 5,000 jobs and is hurting low income workers, city leaders attacked the messenger –- a team of respected economists at Washington’s premiere public university.

The researchers, led by Jacob Vigdor, were hired by the city in 2014 to study the effects of Seattle’s $15 wage experiment. The contract called for five years of research. City officials stopped funding the UW team when they didn’t like the results.

“The moment we saw it was based on flawed methodology and was going to be unreliable, the Vigdor study no longer speaks for City Hall,” said Seattle City Councilwoman Kshama Sawant. 

So they’ve decided to fund a new study, meet the boss professor Michael Reich:

Reich is currently co-chair of the Institute for Research on Labor and Employment. Before earning his PhD in economics from Harvard, Reich was a founding member of the Union for Radical Political Economics (URPE), a group seeking a “human-centered radical alternative to capitalism,” according to its website.

Reich has authored several studies on the effects of raising the minimum wage. They all concluded that increasing the minimum wage only helps low-skilled workers.

And I’m sure that Professor Reich will dutifully produces numbers that the leftists in Seattle will find acceptable but will not actually change the reality on the ground…

…unexpectedly.

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Olimometer 2.52

If you are not in the position to kick in we are happy to get your prayers.

I really like credit cards. Every card in my wallet has purposes based upon rewards, limits, and due dates. The dollar bills in my wallet are probably the same bills I’ve had in there for weeks because I use cards for everything. Controlling expenditures and making certain my family is covered when life events pop up make credit cards an important tool in my fiscal planning.

The reason I don’t run into trouble with credit cards is that I never buy anything I couldn’t comfortably buy with money in the bank and I always pay in full before the statement is released. In the last decade, I could probably count on two hands (maybe one) the number of times I paid interest on a credit card balance. This is how credit cards are supposed to be used, in my humble opinion.

Where millions of Americans get into trouble from time to time is when they overextend themselves with their credit cards. Some look at their available credit as available cash to spend. Others calculate their monthly bills based upon the minimum payments on their cards and can’t wait until they pay the balances down to a point where they can spend on them again. Many lack disciple. Others lack knowledge. This is why otherwise responsible people around the country end up filing bankruptcy or some other form of debt relief.

Americans who are in trouble with credit card debt are each microcosms of the fiscal status of the United States federal government. Washington DC has been paying off credit cards with other credit cards, transferring balances when it doesn’t make sense, and manufacturing more credit cards because their old ones are maxed out. The interest alone on our $20 trillion debt is more than many countries’ GDPs. This is untenable and unsustainable.

When an individual gets into major credit trouble, the first thing they should do is stop spending on anything that’s not absolutely necessary. While I’m not a proponent of literally cutting up credit cards, it’s important for those with debt issues to pretend like there’s no money that can be spent on anything other than essentials while they do everything they can to pay down their balances.

We’re well past the time for the U.S. government to take the same approach. They need to tighten the belt in a big way and take the necessary actions to embrace fiscal responsibility for the first time in decades.

There’s a challenge with this. One of the reasons not mentioned above that some people get into deep credit card debt is addiction. There are those who are simply addicted to spending, shopping, buying, whatever. Even when they know they’re drowning in debt, they continue to make it harder to swim by continuing to spend. This is the problem with both major parties right now. They have this belief that if they go down the fiscally responsible route and start slashing the budget, they’re going to lose elections as a result. They feel they need to essentially buy votes by continuing to fund programs that are unnecessary. They believe they’ll gain votes by spending more of our tax dollars on departments, agencies, programs, and subsidies that get people pumped up because they’re the direct benefactors. A cruel but accurate way of presenting the current mentality of most DC politicians is that they think we’re all too stupid to understand the mess they’re building and we’re so simple that if they give us things, we’ll vote for them.

Ted Cruz demonstrated that this isn’t necessarily the case when he won the Iowa Republican Caucus. Most pundits thought he was dead in the water when he said he intended to pull the ethanol subsidies that helped many farmers in Iowa. Donald Trump and just about every other candidate doubled down on keeping the funds flowing in abundance, but Cruz said no. What did everyone other than Cruz get wrong about Iowa? They all thought the only way to get votes was to buy them. Iowans demonstrated that many Americans aren’t as simple-minded as politicians often think.

Unfortunately, that lesson will be marked down as an anomaly by the two major parties. The Democrats will push even further to the left in an effort to bring real socialism and even communist principles of government control over everything. The Republicans will continue to redefine “conservatism” by telling us it’s okay to spend more as long as the expenditures are justified. Of course, justification is easy for the GOP to manufacturer on pretty much any topic. That’s why they don’t have to blink when they attempt to replace Obamacare with Trumpcare. It’s why they can proudly accept Chuck Schumer’s and Donald Trump’s trillion-dollar infrastructure dreams. It’s why they scream loudly when they cut some budget from the EPA while hiding the asterisk in small print at the bottom that admits the money “saved” is simply being redirected to fund other programs.

I don’t recommend for individuals with credit card debt to literally cut up their credit cards because the scale is usually manageable and bankruptcy is an option when the scale is too large. However, I definitely recommend cutting up as many of the U.S. government’s credit cards as possible. They have too many and have demonstrated a complete inability to control themselves. It’s an addiction. They’re beyond the ability to even make the minimum payments which is why we’ve needed “stimulus” packages for the last two Presidents and we may see another one from the current President in the not-too-distant future.

Republicans are right in one regard. It’s time to redefine conservatism, just not the way many of them are hoping. Steve Deace over at Conservative Review brought some points to light in his article earlier this week titled “Needed: A new conservatism.” One of the things he touched on was the Federalist Party, of which I am a part. Here’s what he said:

A wise man once said something about the foolishness of pouring new wine into old wineskins. After all, this country is a living example that once paradigms embrace corruption, independence from the corruption must be declared, whether it is the Pilgrims fleeing corruption on the Mayflower or the Founding Fathers loading their muskets to stand up to it. Therefore, as students of history, if we’re going to spend years changing the paradigm, choose the strategy history says has the best chance of success — something new. Besides, wasn’t the Republican Party itself originally founded by those who fled the corruption within its predecessor, the Whig Party? This is the rationale behind the effort to launch the Federalist Party.

With the GOP in full control in DC, one of two things needs to happen. Either they get their act together and start reining in the power, bureaucracy, and out-of-control budgets that have been growing incessantly for decades or they need to admit they’re no longer a party that embraces smaller government. Unless things turn around very quickly, the latter is the only viable possibility. We know they won’t admit it, but the real question is whether or not conservatives are going to call them out on it or continue to fall for the same tired sales pitch.

The 21st century isn’t turning out so well for millenials.  They are making less than their parents did at their age.  Home ownership, one of the key markers of financial success, is down for their age group.  And, apparently, in general they are unhappier and more narcissistic.  It’s declined to the point you can now see how poorly you compare to other countries (although I can’t vouch for the data).

But hey, we got that going for us!

Why is this?  Most blame the recession.  But plenty of millenials have done well, despite a recession.

Me when I realized this while writing this article

My current job gives me some insight.  I work with junior Sailors on a daily basis, most in their early twenties.  As their commander, I get to interview them and get a peek into their lives.  I also keep copious notes, and as an engineer, I look for trends.

I see one big, ugly trend: most Millenials come from broken homes. 

Almost 85% of my Sailors come from divorced parents.  These are people from across America, from every state in the union.  I was astounded by this.  In many cases, at least one parent (mom or dad) is completely out of the picture.

These broken homes don’t produce broken people.  My Sailors are hard working Americans, and they arrive with a very deep love of their country and wanting to do right.  In many cases though, their broken home hinders them.

How I feel sometimes

I take for granted that my parents cared about my education and well being.  While they didn’t pay for college (thank you Uncle Sam!), they did set me up pretty well, and helped me cover emergencies until I got on my feet.  My parents taught me about debt and savings.  I didn’t have a credit card until I was in college, and even then, I paid it off every month (and still do!).

Many of my Sailors don’t have this.  Too often they go to boot camp with very little in their pocket.  Many arrive with little to no furniture.  Plenty come in with credit card debt.  Luckily, we have free classes on financial management, and most turn themselves around.  For the average person though, these free classes don’t exist.

Broken homes break down other assumptions.  Driver’s license?  How to dress for an interview?  How to speak without using obscenities?  How to shake hands properly?  Speaking in public?  These basic skills can’t be assumed anymore.  Anyone who has worked with millenials would agree.

Although I enjoy watching my Sailors grow and develop these skills, I worry that in other parts of society, these skills are not being developed.  Yes, we should continue to work on our economy, but perhaps we’ve forgotten what a big influence good family life is on success.


Obviously I’m in the Navy.  In case it’s not obvious, this post only represents my views.  It doesn’t represent the views of the Department of Defense, Department of the Navy, or any other federal agency.  But you’re smart, so you already knew that…

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