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Volume XVIII Number 12 - August 9, 2019     RSS Feed   

A Periodic Newsletter for Committed Texas Conservatives

In This Issue

More Mass Shootings, Not Good For Our Country But Blaming Trump Is Another Example Of Politicizing Murder With Lies

News Tells Half The Story On Dayton And El Paso, Here Are The Facts

The Last Word On Beto, Finally

Harris County Radical Misdemeanor "Free" Bond System Claims First Life

Perspective: Medicare for All By Ken Veit, Guest Columnist

Modern Monetary Theory: The Miracle Elixir for Big Government By Neland D. Nobel, Contributing Editor

We Are All Racists Now By Bruce Bialosky, Contributing Editor

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Thoughts This Fortnight

More Mass Shootings, Not Good For Our Country
But Blaming Trump Is Another Example Of Politicizing Murder With Lies

Let's be clear, the Democrats, the left and the left-wing mainstream media blame President Trump again as they do on anything wrong with America.

So based on the attacks, one would assume that we had no mass shootings before Trump, but the media just doesn't tell the truth.

Does anyone believe that getting rid of Trump solves the issues this country faces? President Obama had 32 mass shootings and eight years to end them and did not, nor did he solve the runaway murder rates in Baltimore or Chicago. You didn't hear the major media blame him.

If we really want to deal with our problem, we need to end the political gamesmanship and have serious discussions.

President Trump's comments were appropriate calling for unity: "Open wounds cannot heal if we are divided ... Now is the time to set destructive partisanship aside and find the courage to answer hatred with unity, devotion and love ... We will ensure that those who were attacked will have not died in vain." The President also urged every American to work for a culture "that celebrates the inherent worth and dignity of every human life."

Let's stop the name-calling and work together.

News Tells Half The Story On Dayton And El Paso,
Here Are The Facts

The major media covers only part of the stories, covering up Islamic and leftist shooters and playing up radical right acts only.

For example, when a Bernie Sanders supporter with a hit list of Republicans went on a shooting rampage intending to kill as many Republicans as possible at a softball game, the media did its best to downplay any suggestion that his attack was politically motivated.

This weekend, the media said that the El Paso shooter was a racist who hated Hispanic immigrants. That was certainly a big part of his crazy manifesto. But there was so much more:

  1. He expressed an animus toward both political parties and corporate America.

  2. He was a proponent of population control.

  3. He expressed alarm at climate change, farming and oil drilling.

  4. He worried about the impact of automation on American workers.

What about the Dayton killer and why we heard so little about him?

  1. He was a registered Democrat, an ardent socialist and a supporter of Elizabeth Warren.

  2. He had a history of supporting Antifa. He called the man who was killed when he attempted to firebomb the Washington state ICE facility a "martyr," and retweeted comments mocking Antifa's vicious attack on journalist Andy Ngo.

You know why this was not reported, it didn't fit with the anti-Trump anti-conservative narrative the major media are selling all of us.

The Last Word On Beto, Finally

Talk about politicizing murder; please review Beto's comments about the El Paso tragedy. He calls President Trump a racist, blames white supremacists violence on him, all in a futile attempt to resurrect his failing campaign for President.

Beto shows no class at all when addressing the media, this clueless candidate said, "What do you think? You know the shit he's been saying ... He's been calling Mexican immigrants rapists and criminals. I don't know, like, members of the press, what the F-k?"

If this is what political discourse has become in today's America, we are in serious trouble. How can we have an intelligent debate on issues when we are subjected to name-calling and obscenities? Beto can't disappear soon enough.

Harris County Radical Misdemeanor
"Free" Bond System Claims First Life

The first death since the Rodney Ellis led Harris County Commissioner's Court (without Commissioners Radack or Cagle) passed a radical PR bond program, which among other things, releases dangerous people into our community. Read the sad story highlights below and you will understand how they have overreached. Thanks to KHOU-11!

"The Pasadena police chief is partly blaming the misuse of PR bonds in the Harris County court system for the brutal death of a pregnant woman. Investigators said 22-year-old Alex Guajardo was out on bond for two separate crimes when he stabbed his pregnant wife, 20-year-old Kaitlyn Guajardo, 20 times Saturday."

"A PR bond, or Personal Recognizance bond, is a bond that doesn't cost money and allows a person to be released from jail just on their promise that they'll show up to court later.

"Chief Josh Brueggar said Alex was out on not one, but two PR bonds. The first bond was for a DWI back in May and the second one was for allegedly assaulting his wife just days before he murdered her.

"Folks are entitled to bond, I completely recognize that and I understand that, but again, repeat offenses and then to give someone a PR bond. I have a dead citizen in my city now and it bothers me, said Chief Brueggar."

Perspective: Medicare for All
By Ken Veit, Guest Columnist

This week we will hear a great deal from the Democratic hopefuls regarding "Medicare for all". This is one of those expressions that sounds so seductive. Anyone who wants to have their health insurance through Medicare would get it, regardless of age. No need to deal with those greedy insurance companies. The millions of elderly people now getting benefits through Medicare are happy with it. Why not let younger people have it too? No one would have to take it. Those who are happy with their current plan could keep it. (Where have we heard that before?)

What would be involved?

Working people now pay roughly 3% of their income to Medicare up to age 65 when they become eligible to receive benefits. As with any insurance scheme the idea is you pay from now till 65 and get benefits from 65 till death. However, if you start receiving benefits right away, that would mean you could expect to receive more in benefits between now and when you turn 65. Therefore, you would presumably have to pay more while working. I doubt that anyone will be excited about that. Getting more, Yes; paying more, No!

Furthermore, it is not disputed that the 3% being paid now is woefully inadequate to support the benefits being paid to the elderly. Piling on benefits before retirement without paying more will only make things worse, no matter how healthy the younger participants are. So of course they will have to pay more.

And what about those younger people who "opt in", but are not working? How much will they pay? Will their benefits just be subsidized by the Government, meaning they will get free health insurance paid for by the rest of us? Bernie says it is a "right", meaning you can have without paying, even if you are not here legally. It is a human right.

Will working people currently covered by their employer's plan switch to the Medicare for All program? Only if the premiums are cheaper than they are currently paying under their group plan. That will only happen if their cost under Medicare for All is inadequate to sustain the benefits. If that is the case, Medicare will go broke faster than it will under the current scheme.

So of course they will have to pay more to join MFA. If they don't want to, they can keep their current plan, or just go uninsured. How long would that last?

How will employers react to Medicare for all? The answer is simple. They will compare how much they are paying to provide group health insurance now with whatever Medicare for All is charging. If Medicare for All is less, they will decide to just give their employees a raise to cover the MFA premiums and get out of the business of providing health insurance. That will dump more people into Medicare at inadequate premiums.

Then there is the question of what benefits will be included under MFA. Under Obamacare, certain benefits are mandated, like obstetric benefits, contraceptive benefits, and abortions. Will those be covered under MFA? They are not covered under the current Medicare program, for the obvious reason that the elderly don't need those benefits. How can our beneficent Government mandate them as "essential" for younger people under one program, but not another? There will be pressure to include them, further increasing the outlays and the need for higher premiums (i.e., taxes).

My guess is that when Bernie, Elizabeth, Uncle Joe, and the rest of the Democratic hopefuls promise Medicare for All, what they mean is that anyone can join and get the best of all worlds in benefits for the same inadequate price people have been paying all along, subsidized by the Government where necessary.

Bernie argues glibly that the Government can use its huge power to negotiate drug prices with the pharmaceutical prices, and this will drive costs down so that everything will work out just fine. That is a great idea, but it wouldn't begin to cover the huge added costs of an expanded Medicare system. And of course there is a big difference between proposing something and getting it though Congress. The pharmaceutical industry's phalanxes of lobbyists would kill any call for drug price controls as precipitating an end to R&D for new drugs and new cures.

The problem with "progressive" programs is that they are always well intentioned towards those in need, but fail to understand the total economic ramifications of what they propose. A perfect example is rent control.

My parents lived in an apartment in NYC that was under rent control laws for over 20 years. It was a Godsend for them when my father had a stroke and became permanently disabled. However, the landlord of their building experienced rising costs and flat expenses over an extended number of years. The result was predictable. He did only the maintenance that was absolutely required After a few years, the building and the neighborhood became a crime-ridden slum. Eventually, sanity was restored and rent controls repealed. The neighborhood has since experienced a dramatic recrudescence.

Recently, however, Mayor De Blasio has managed to reinstate rent controls in the City. Progressives hailed the move as a victory for the poor. The next thing that happened was that the Blackstone Group, owner of Stuyvesant Town, the venerable apartment complex of 11,000 units, announced that it was suspending all non-mandatory renovations for the foreseeable future. Progressives always seem shocked that those who invest their capital are not satisfied to lose money just to fulfill the welfare schemes of the politicians.

I was recently in Canada where they have health coverage for everyone and all doctors work at Government-mandated fees. There is a large shortage of doctors in Canada, as many have moved to the U.S. where they are free from governmental interference. England has long had a national health plan for many decades. Their system is underfunded also, so most people have private coverage on top of the government program in order to bypass the inadequate service provided.

Nevertheless, this is a hot item again in the U.S. The rallying cry of Progressives is that other countries have it, so why can't we? It depends on what the definition of "it" is There are no free lunches. The real issues are how much and who pays? Any meaningful change will mean some group gets to pay more or earn less. It is mathematically impossible to cover more people at less cost. MFA does have winners, but also losers, and the losers can be counted on to fight to the death. If you have a strong opinion, just make sure you know which group you are in. It is like the old saying about poker. If you don't know who the sucker in the game is, it is you!

Ken Veit is an actuary and retired president of an international insurance company.

Modern Monetary Theory:
The Miracle Elixir for Big Government

By Neland D. Nobel, Contributing Editor

What is Modern Monetary Theory and why should you care?

Modern Monetary Theory has recently become an internet sensation and leaders of the movement have become close advisors to key Democratic candidates for President. But it would be hard to call it an economic school of thought as there are no well-known centers on par with Keynesians at Harvard or Monetarists at the University of Chicago. There are not even solid peer reviewed academic books or journals on the subject but rather a series of lectures on YouTube produced by an enclave of acolytes of Warren Mosler, a former bond trader and industrialist. Most seemed to have grown up at the University of Missouri, not your typical Ivy League outpost.

Nevertheless, MMT as it is called for short, is becoming an influence on the way policy makers think. In part this is because conventional schools of thought have been unable to explain why the extreme monetary experimentation, we have seen with Zero interest rates and Quantitative Easing, did not create conventional CPI inflation.

Additionally, many sovereign nations are running debt to GDP ratios that heretofore were thought to flirt with national bankruptcy. Economists are having difficulty explaining what is going on and MMT as it is called, helps fill the void.

The aforementioned monetary experiments of Zero rates and FED balance sheet expansion has continued well past the 2008 crisis. It seems that stimulus is becoming permanent feature of the economic landscape, new highs in the stock market and decent economic growth notwithstanding.

Justice cannot be done to MMT in such a short essay, but here are some essential ideas that the theory seems to be generating. Remember too that economic theories do not always make it out of the meat grinder of politics in the form they entered. Keynesianism is a good example.

For example, Keynes argued that government spending should be used to counteract downturns in the economy. Spend heavily during recession, but move to surplus during prosperity. In this way, government could be used as a counterbalance to the business cycle, and avoid the boom and bust cycle that seems to plague capitalism.

Without arguing the merits of his theory, notice that in its actual political application, fiscal stimulus and chronic deficits accelerated from the mid-1960s, and deficit spending was applied during recessions, expansions, and anything else in between. Intervention meant for emergencies only instead became standard policy.

Republicans and Democrats have both institutionalized deficit spending. The National Debt doubled under Bush II, and doubled again under Obama. Under President Trump, deficits continue to mount rapidly. Notice the recent agreement between Trump and the Democrats to avoid a fight over the debt ceiling did nothing to reduce spending and additions to the deficit.

The Republican Party, supposedly the party of balanced budgets, waste elimination, and fiscal rectitude, has grown largely solvent. Meanwhile Democrats have a laundry list of new expensive programs.

Indeed, Professor Stephanie Kelton, an MMT advocate and advisor to Democrats in Congress, and both Presidential candidates Sanders and Warren, suggests that if bailouts can be used to save the big banks, why not money for a Green New Deal? Why not indeed? No one on either side of the isle really has serious plans to deal with the deficit.

MMT can be a bit confusing to study. Much of their argument is based on accounting functions and how banks interact and bond trading desks interact with the FED, creating reserves, facilitating more monetary creation in the loan process, and removing money from the system. It is less of an economic theory and more of an explanation of how our monetary system really works, as opposed to the explanations we got in college. In this regard, they have some constructive things to say.

Outside of their accounting arguments, MMT argues that no government that pays its bills in its own currency can go bankrupt. Thus, the economy is not at all like a household or corporation. Government can simply create the money it needs. Taxation is not really necessary to fund government, rather it can be used to control inflation.

They contend that government spends money it creates first, and collects money through taxes later. They think taxes collected, takes money out of circulation. They contend that when there is "slack" in the economy, inflation will not be a problem. If inflation becomes a problem, government can cut spending and raise taxes. Therefore, there really are no limits to how big the deficit can get. Government can never go broke in a purely fiat money system so there is no reason government cannot grow a lot bigger and debt with it.

Notice the emphasis is on what is called fiscal policy (taxes and spending determined by Congress) as opposed to monetary policy, which is more a function of the Federal Reserve. Under their way of thinking, monetary policy is not that important. The FED becomes a division of the Treasury Department in function if not in name. Monetary management goes to the Congress, and thus becomes overtly political.

Almost all MMT advocates have been politically on the Left. Mosler has been a Democrat and also run as an independent. Kelton as mentioned before, has been a key advisor to leading Democrats. Their theories are popular among Democrats because it basically says this: Don't worry about the deficits. That is old fashioned and wrong-headed thinking. The Government can't go bankrupt and if inflation becomes a problem, we have tools to deal with it. Go ahead and spend. The fears we have had about inflation and deficits are like being afraid of Sasquatch.

Some suggest Japan is a working example of MMT in action. If so, the record there is hardly glorious. They still have not recovered from the 1989 crash.

The US is not Japan. We are not a high savings nation that is self-financing but instead rely heavily on external financing. What will holders of dollar denominated bonds think will happen to the value of their investments if we continue to spend in deficit the way we are?

Private investors allocate capital based on interest rate signals, and have been gorging themselves on debt. And while MMT is surely right that government can create the money it needs to service debt, the same cannot be said for the private sector. The private sector debt excesses can indeed go bankrupt, that is, unless MMT advocates further propose the government backstop every debtor.

MMT advocates assure us they will know when inflation is getting bad because consumer prices will rise and "slack" would disappear in the economy. Their gauges thus would be the CPI and what is usually called capacity utilization, how much of the nation's farm and factories are being employed. The CPI is "hedonically adjusted" for quality changes and can be misleading. It also excludes many capital assets, such as the price of stocks and bonds.

MMT advocates say they are aware of inflation and assure us that they would not let it get out of control. They would pull back spending and raise taxes. They will be diligent at following their gauges. Why we should believe them while others have failed is an interesting question.

One reason the FED was made independent, is that they could supposedly take the punchbowl away before the party got completely out of hand. We know full well the FED itself is influenced by politics and is not as independent as one might think. But with fiscal policy dominant in the world of MMT, it puts monetary policy judgments directly in the hands of Congress. There is not even the attempt to keep it out of politics.

Almost all of the godfathers of the movement have come from the Left side of the political spectrum, ranging from the chartalists through Keynes, to the Progressive advocates today. Are these the people who are going to say no the radical Progressives and their spending plans?

And what about the dollar? How can the US government borrow heavily abroad, and maintain the advantages of providing the world's reserve currency, if bondholders begin to think unlimited money and credit will be created? You can't force foreign creditors to buy our bonds and you can't force them to hold onto them. The same can be said for domestic investors.

As for individuals, here is the deal you are offered. If you started to get roasted by inflation, they will solve the problem by substantially raising your taxes. Either way, you lose a good portion of your wealth. How is that for a lousy set of choices?

In the broad sense, no constraint on spending means unconstrained government. It is actually healthy for our political system to fight over money, and for citizens to feel the pain of high taxes when they demand too much from government. It helps the nation settle what are priorities, what government can do and should not do, and helps educate the public to the reality that resources are finite.

Those who push for unrestrained spending and by extension, unrestrained government need to be careful. There is no assurance that the vast sums they want to print and borrow will be used for the ends they seek and that "their people" will always be in power. The history of many revolutions is that those that turn loose the power of the unrestrained state often become its victims.

MMT has its assets and its liabilities. But in the real world of politics, what it really provides is an intellectual justification to grow government and deficits at an increasing rate. Will Republicans ever offer a principled and effective opposition?

Neland D. Nobel is an Arizona based free market economist and a contributing editor for TCR.

We Are All Racists Now
By Bruce Bialosky, Contributing Editor

My friend, Dennis Prager, likes to say everything the Left touches they destroy. Whether that is true or not, when they grasp onto perfectly good words, they destroy them. For example, they destroyed the name Liberal so much that it was abandoned by them and leaving the remaining Liberals in a lurch as to defining themselves. The term has been reclaimed by Conservatives who assert they are classic Liberals. The Left then started calling themselves Progressives destroying that word. The only thing progressive about them is that they want to progressively restrict your rights and progressively take more of your money for their favored causes. Now they have destroyed the meaning of racist.

It certainly seemed we had spent about sixty years or so doing everything we could to not only eradicate racially biased policies from our governments, but to normalize the attitudes of individuals from different races toward each other. It certainly seemed like we did a wonderful job of socializing this akin to how we made it socially unacceptable to smoke cigarettes. We had treated anti-Black attitudes analogous to making people with racial bias feel like smokers standing in an alley to feed their habit. That does not mean we cured everyone of racial animus, but we have moved the ball not only down the field, but we were pretty much at the three-yard line ready to score.

Except for the fact the Democrats found the only way they could win elections is to try and convince the public that Republicans only cared about White men. It is their position, if you are Black, Hispanic, Gay, Female or Asian and vote Republican, you not only are wrongheaded, but you are a traitor to your group.

Two presidential candidates have joined the chorus to further the false racism charges. Senator Harris attacked Vice-President Biden. She charged a man of being a racist who has spent over 50 years helping to normalize race relations for not fully backing a policy (school busing) that was supported by 4% of Whites and 9% of Blacks. He is a target because he is a White man.

Then there is Senator Booker who said, "It's not enough to say you're not racist, you need to attack racism." This is a Black man who is the child of two IBM executives, grew up in an affluent community, graduated with two degrees from Stanford University, was a Rhodes scholar attending Oxford University, became Mayor of Newark and then a U.S. Senator. He should be holding himself out as a prime example of how we have advanced in race relations instead he is setting new standards for people seeking to not be called a racist.

And now he set another new standard saying Trump is "worse than a racist." He went on: "The reality is this is a guy who is worse than a racist. He is actually using racist tropes and racial language for political gain." Senator, that standard defines about half of your party and most of the Mainstream Media and particularly you.

The race-baiters in chief? Unquestionably the Squad. Of course, they embraced the new terminology for a race. Like the way Leftists magically changed Global Warming to Climate Change, now they want us to embrace the terminology a person or persons of color. What exactly does that mean? We used to have Whites, Blacks, Asians and maybe someone who is Native American. There is scientific debate whether there are three to five races (two being minor populations). But if you want to wield a bludgeon against someone in order to call them racist, just make up your race as you go along.

People have referred to Jews as a race. Not true. It is a religion and embraces anyone from any "race" that follows the principles of the religion. People refer to Mexicans as if it were a race. It is a country. Mexico is made up of between 56% and 78% European (Caucasian) ancestry. To my recollection, every leader (president) in recent memory was White. Yet people are accused of racism against Mexicans.

The four women in the Squad refer to themselves as women of color. You just don't get to call yourself that without being such. Obviously Pressley is Black and Omar coming from Somali is Black, but the other two? Ocasio-Cortez has two Puerto Ricans parents. It appears between 64% to 75.8% of Puerto Ricans are of European decent. Just having a surname that is Hispanic does not make you a minority. Congresswoman Tlaib is Palestinian by heritage and they are classified as Caucasians from all the analysis I could find. So, is she a minority or is it just she is of Palestinian heritage and wants to claim she is a minority? A Jew coming from the same area would not be classified as anything other than a White unless Ethiopian.

All these people are claiming some kind of racial minority status to insulate themselves from anyone who might want to criticize their ideas. If you critique what they say or do you are a racist. All of this has served to damage the word as a tool to define someone. Just like they throw around "white supremacist." By randomly charging people with being a white supremacist, the few that act out in America become difficult to judge because no one can discern who is and who is not.

That is also why the Squad defamed Speaker Pelosi as a racist, devaluing any charge of racism they make. That is why Ocasio-Cortez's now former chief of staff branded almost all the Democrat caucus as racists. Chakrabarti sent out a tweet comparing centrist Democrats to "new Southern Democrats" and stated "certainly seem hell bent to do to black and brown people today what the old Southern Democrats did in the 40s."

Here are some pointers for all these people:

1. Read a book by Thomas Sowell. He has written more than thirty. He experienced actual racism. He will provide some enlightenment on the issue of race.

2. Read a book by Walter Williams. He too is an economist like Sowell and he has written 10 books. He also experienced real racism. He can share a lot of knowledge. As he recently wrote "Black Americans who are octogenarians, or nearly so, need to explain what true racism is, not to correct white liberals but to inform young black people."

3. In your office, put on continuous loop the MLK I Have a Dream speech. Particularly the part where he says, "I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character." It seems you are ignorant of that because you don't live by it. That phrase is what we believe. That is what we have lived the last 56 years since those words were spoken. That is our mantra, a color blind country.

The current situation is so galling for these reasons. While we are working toward this color-blind society, these people were plotting to cause this disruption for crass political purposes. For their own power which they yearn for so determinedly. It does not matter that people would suffer or the country would be disrupted. What matters is raw political power.

Ask a simple question: If you run the cities and school systems for more than half a century and they are floundering burdened with high murder rates and high illegal drug usage who are the real racists? Think about it Democrats.

Would it be a surprise if I am called a racist for writing this? No. That is what they do; call people names when they cannot make effective arguments. That will not deter me, and I am certain it will neither deter the people who read this column in our quest for a color-blind America.

We can achieve that goal because we are all racists now.

Bruce Bialosky is the founder of the Republican Jewish Coalition of California and a former Presidential appointee. You can follow Bruce on Twitter @brucebialosky.

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About Your Editor

Gary Polland is a long-time conservative and Republican spokesman, fund-raiser, and leader who completed three terms as the Harris County Republican Chairman. During his three terms, Gary was described as the most successful county Chairman in America by Human Events - The National Conservative Weekly. He is in his twenty-second year of editing a newsletter dealing with key conservative and Republican issues. The last eighteen years he has edited Texas Conservative Review. As a public service for the last 16 years, Gary has published election guides for the GOP primary, general elections and city elections, all with the purpose of assisting conservative candidates. Gary is also in his 18th year of co-hosting Red, White and Blue on Houston Public Media TV 8 PBS Houston, longest running political talk show in Texas history. Gary serves on the Board of Directors of American Values, a national pro-family, pro-faith, conservative organization supporting the unity of the American people around the vision of our founding fathers and dedicated to reminding the public of the conservative principles fundamental to the survival of our nation. Gary is a practicing attorney and strategic consultant. He can be reached at (713) 621-6335.

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