The United Federation of Teachers, lead by Michael Mulgrew, has decided to go against the NYPD by sponsoring and joining forces with Al Sharpton’s anti-police rally to be scheduled for this Saturday August 23 in Staten Island. And UFT members are voicing their outrage on social media.
The UFT represents over 200,000 members of the City’s public school teachers are now one of the four sponsors of this planned protest, which includes NAACP and SEIU.
This prompt action to sponsor this protest shows how unions are siding with the wrong issues and causes. It just goes to show you that union leaders don’t respect or care about what their members think. Mulgrew didn’t even consult with UFT members or schedule a vote to take the pulse of membership before signing on board with Sharpton’s agenda, which is attacking other unionized public employees. Many teachers have taken to social media to rail against the UFT leadership for joining this protest. On the Facebook UFT page, dozens, if not hundreds, of angry comments from teachers indicates how furious some are with their Union for wasting their dues and aligning with a protest that does not involve education or students.
UFT members are apparently angry with their President for getting their Union involved in a no-win situation. Many support the NYPD and have friends and family on the job. Others don’t want to turn on another union. Still others feel that association with Rev. Al and this protest is distasteful and that marching on the Verrazano Bridge will disrupt commuters traveling to and from Staten Island while losing transportation funds.
Whom union members decide to line up with is their business. However, this rally is blaming unionized police officers as a whole for the death of Eric Garner, even though the investigation into the matter is still ongoing.
Pat Lynch, president of the PBA, which has 35,000 members, stated Mulgrew and the UFT has declared a “war on members of another municipal union”. Continuing on, Lynch said, “How would [Mulgrew] like it if police officers lined up with the activists who oppose his efforts to shield bad teachers and undermine effective charter schools.”
Lynch is totally right to be angry with the UFT for joining forces with the likes of Rev. Al Sharpton. City workers should be supporting each other. They should not support an event created by a buffoon and a race-baiter that causes trouble with the NYPD. He’s also right that all this nonsense comes at the expense of children, who will see the message that it’s OK to disrespect authority. I’m sure moms and dads everywhere are thrilled with that.
Mulgrew should be worrying more about high dropout rates, overcrowding schools, gangs and bad teachers failing our students in education. Instead, choosing to partake in an event without letting union member decides if this was a good call to join that diminishes his union in the eyes of many. If Mulgrew wanted to join the rally individually, go right ahead! It’s a free country, do whatever you want. But don’t involve your union members, many of whom respect the NYPD, who are also friends and family members. Pitting union against union is distasteful and shows lack of leadership. It is a disgrace to support this rally that has nothing to do with education or teachers.
If Mulgrew doesn’t respect his members and withdraw its sponsorship and apologize to the NYPD, then union members should oust him. To support and back Rev. Al Sharpton, an opportunist who is only out for himself, is plain stupid. Would Rev. Al ever support a UFT rally or called for better education for minorities? Doubt it, unless there’s something in it for Rev. Al.
Another sign of progressivism run amok in NYC. Anyone other than me miss Rudy Giuliani yet?
Back on June 1 we posted our first ever book review, Economics in One Lesson, promising that book reviews would be fairly regular. It only took two and a half months to get to our second review, and since The Conscience of a Conservative is only 130 or so pages, we’re averaging about a 1.4 pages per day. A little shameful, but take our word that you can make it through The Conscience of a Conservative in one sitting, barely enough time drain a margarita.
If for no other reason, read The Conscience of a Conservative because it is the founding document of modern Republicanism. When Barry Goldwater published the book in 1960, the Republican Party had drifted into little more than being Democratic Party-lite. Goldwater, who’d be the Republican Party’s candidate against LBJ in 1964, provided dissent to the party line from the conservative Right, in much the same way as the liberal Left would spend the 1960s transforming the Democratic Party. Goldwater’s 1964 campaign was the birth of modern conservatism, and when Reagan won in 1980, George Will remarked that it took 16 years to count the votes, and Goldwater won.
Goldwater’s first task in The Conscience of a Conservative was to establish a thinking man’s conservatism, challenging, in George Will’s words, the “perception that conservatism was an intellectually sterile and morally crass persuasion.”
The first lines of his first chapter read, “I have been much concerned that so many people today with Conservative instincts feel compelled to apologize for them.” Goldwater defined “conservatism” as “the art of achieving the maximum amount of freedom for individuals that is consistent with the maintenance of social order.” Acting in opposition to conservatism was the government’s tendency to “thwart man’s liberties.” Fortunately, the Founders had established sacrosanct protections, “a system of restraints on the natural tendency of government to expand in the direction of absolutism,” in the form of the Constitution.
Goldwater’s concern, his “conscience” was that the restraints on government encroachment into individual liberties had fallen by the wayside, and he pointed to a series of problems, some more pressing in his day than now, like the Soviet menace. Some points are a trifle uncomfortable. Goldwater, writing only a few years after Brown v. Board of Education struggles with the Court’s substitution of its own ideas from those who wrote the Constitution, and contends that each state should be free to have educate its citizens in its own way. His attack on Brown would be unwise today, but his defense of state’s rights – “the chief bulwark against encroachment by Big Government” in Goldwater’s words – rings true today.
In The Conscience of a Conservative, Goldwater presents us with a speech from a hypothetical political candidate, and it makes for a compelling note on which to close.
I have little interest in streamlining government or making it more efficient, for I mean to reduce its size. I do not undertake to promote welfare, for I propose to extend freedom. My aim is not to pass laws, but to repeal them. It is not to inaugurate new programs, but to cancel old ones that do violence to the Constitution or that have failed in their purpose, or that impose on the people an unwarranted financial burden. I will not attempt to discover whether legislation is needed before I have first determined whether it is constitutionally permissible. And if I am attacked for neglecting my constituent’s interests, I shall reply that I was informed that their main interest is liberty, and that in that cause I am doing the very best I can.
Ronald Reagan famously said, “No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we’ll ever see on this earth!” Wait for it now, because there is a sentence coming that is going to be particularly hard to read…ready…here it comes…3, 2, 1….
Ronald Reagan may have been wrong.
With all the foreign policy debacles tearing the world, and with the papers busily covering President Obama lecturing the customers at Canter’s Deli in Los Angeles on the intricacies of a jump shot, you may have missed it but Congress is on the brink of eliminating the Export-Import Bank.
You may not have heard of it, but the Export Import Bank – or “Ex-Im” for those government wonks trying to seem cool – provides taxpayer backed loans, loan guarantees, and export credit insurance. Started in the 1930s, Ex-Im’s charter comes up for renewal in September.
A couple of examples might help explain what Ex-Im does. Say you want to sell widgets to a company in Bangladesh, but the Bangladeshi corporation needs credit to make the purchase. Ex-Im guarantees the credit, and you sell your widgets, and if the Bangladeshi corporation doesn’t pay you back. In another example, you want to sell towels to a retailer in Poland. Ex-Im loans the Polish company the money, which the Polish company then uses to buy your towels. Foreign companies and US based exporters in the Ex-Im’s good graces love Ex-Im because it makes their borrowing costs cheap.
All this sounds lovely, until you think it through. Take Delta as an example. Delta buys planes from Boeing, but because it is a domestic corporation, it doesn’t qualify for Ex-Im funding. But Emirates Air, based overseas, does qualify. This makes it less expensive for Emirates Air to buy planes that Delta, and thus Emirates Air starts with a competitive advantage to an American company, all courtesy of the American taxpayer!
Critics of the Ex-Im point out that 97% of its credit guarantees go to super-huge companies, like Caterpillar, GE, and Dow Chemical. 66% of its credit guarantees go to just one company…Boeing. Of Ex-Im loans, 75% go to purchasers from these same super-huge companies. Critics contend that these large companies’ needs can be met by private lending.
Proponents of Ex-IM (many of whom point to a pickle company: Jenny’s Pickles) counter that some 3,400 small businesses also take advantage of Ex-Im programs, many of whom would be unable to gain financing for reasons unrelated to creditworthiness (it can be tricky to engage in overseas credit transactions). They contend failure to renew Ex-Im’s charter could leave U.S. companies at a competitive disadvantage, because many foreign governments have similar programs. Most importantly, they argue that Ex-Im operates at a profit, and returned $1.2 billion in profit to the Department of the Treasury last year.
Normally, the Ex-Im sails through the reauthorization process, despite the vocal remonstrations of some conservatives, but in recent years it has faced troubles. In 2012, Jeb Hensarling, Chair of the House Financial Services Committee (which oversees Ex-Im), opposed reauthorization, but House Majority Leader Eric Cantor stepped in and organized a deal to reauthorize it. While Hensarling is still Chair of the HFSC, but Cantor is gone, having lost a primary fight to an opponent of the exact type of crony capitalism that Ex-Im represents.
New majority leader Kevin McCarthy has announced he won’t support reauthorization, and John Boehner has signaled that he’ll not stand in Hensarling’s way. Barring any drastic change, come September, Ex-Im’s charter is likely not going to be reauthorized, at least not in its present form. For a few years, Ex-Im would service its existing loans, until they expire. Then it too will disappear, and Reagan will have been proven wrong.
We’ve been watching the coverage surrounding the downing of Flight 17, with 23 American among the 295 casualties, and were reminded of another incident from 1983, when a Soviet jet shot down a Korean Airlines jet. Here’s how President Reagan reacted:
We’ll let you draw your own contrasts with our current Commander-in-Chief.
Over the past few days, the New York Young Republicans have received numerous calls for comments after a post written by William Palumbo, entitled “The United States of Gaymeria [sic]” appeared on the NYYRC blog.
The post has since been removed, and Mr. Palumbo resigned his position with the NYYRC on July 1.
Never more so than now, the NYYRC leadership wishes to remind everyone that at the bottom of every blog post on our site, after the title is clicked the blog includes the following:
DISCLAIMER: This post and the contents thereof are the views of only the author identified immediately above and do not necessarily represent the views of the New York Young Republican Club (the “NYYRC”), its officers or its members. The NYYRC expressly disclaims responsibility for the contents thereof and by its charter documents may not, and does not, endorse any candidate for any office, except in a general election.
The Young Republican’s blog is proud to announce new posts on book reviews. Lord willing and the Creek don’t rise, the posts shall be fairly regular, insightful, and proof positive to our liberal friends that we can in fact read.
There are lots of things to learn for which one lesson constitutes a positive hazard. For instance, I took only one driving lesson before driving the family suburban through the local In-N-Out drive-thru, and put quite a big dent in the back of a 1967 Mustang. This experience taught me two more lessons, (1) putting a suburban in neutral does not prevent the suburban from moving forward on its own volition, and (2) women do not find it endearing to be hit on by the person who left their suburban in neutral and had it ram into the back of their father’s antique automobile.
This then is why Henry Hazlitt’s Economics in One Lesson is so valuable, because it is confined solely to one particularly easy two-part lesson. As Hazlitt eloquently puts it, “the art of economics consists in looking not merely at the immediate but at the longer effects of any act or policy; it consists in tracing the consequences of that policy not merely for one group for all groups.”
Brilliantly easy right? Hazlitt suggests looking at both long term and short term consequences, and examining an economic policy’s effect on everyone. I took my nearly a full semester of economics during college at a certain party school (for anonymities sake, I’ll refer to it by its initials, A.S.U.), and if I can get this, you can get this.
But just in case you can’t (or went to the University of Alabama), Hazlitt gives us example after example, starting with what’s called the Broken Window Parable. Hazlitt puts before us a shopkeeper and a boy playing baseball. The boy accidently breaks the shopkeeper’s window, and the shopkeeper pays $250 to the handyman to get it fixed. The handyman is $250 richer, the shopkeeper $250 poorer.
But what about the tailor? The tailor is the invisible third party, the forgotten man, that Hazlitt asks us to consider, for had the glass not been broken, the shopkeeper would have bought a $250 sweater from the tailor. Not only is the shopkeeper poorer by one sweater, so is the economy as a whole, because in the long term that sweater never gets made.
With Hazlitt’s basic premise in mind, let’s try the scenario with a few other examples. Let’s start with “shovel ready projects.” For our shovel ready project, we’ll choose a new bridge, which we’ll grandly christen the “Bridge to Narnia.” Now, our liberal friends get very excited, because building the Bridge to Narnia provides employment. “We’ve created 500 jobs,” they say, glee on their happy liberal faces. Folderol.
Being smart conservatives who have taken Hazlitt’s lesson to heart, we know that all government expenditures, including our bridge, must eventually be paid for through taxation. And to pay the salaries of our 500 new Narnia workers and other costs of construction, the government must raise $10,000,000 in taxes from the people. These taxes are money that people could have spent on other things, that would have flown into the economy. Thus, no new jobs have been created, jobs have merely been diverted from one economic activity to another, the bridge represents, in Hazlitt’s words ‘unbuilt homes, unmade cars and washing machines, the unmade dresses and coast, perhaps the ungrown and unsold foodstuffs.” Thus, for every public project job, a private job is never created, for every public work, a private work is never created. Of course, some bridges are necessary – Hazlitt is only concerned with bridges for the sake of providing employment.
And so to with the litany of other economic fallacies, ranging from rent control to unions to minimum wage laws. Some of Hazlitt’s work is a little outdated – we don’t talk much about tariffs – but much of it still retains its power more than five decades after it was written. Take this chestnut:
[g]overnment-guaranteed home mortgages, especially when a negligible down payment or no down payment whatever is required, inevitably mean more bad loans than otherwise. They force the general taxpayer (ed. the forgotten man), to subsidize the bad risks and defray the losses. They encourage people to ‘buy’ houses that they cannot really afford. They tend eventually to bring about an oversupply of houses as compared with other things. They temporarily overstimulate building, raise the cost of building for everybody (more forgotten men)..and may mislead the building industry into an eventually costly overexpansion…
The above is merely the barest introduction to Hazlitt, and there are few other books that can be read in so short a time with so much profit. Think of Hazlitt as training that will enable you to always have a ready answer at hand to any liberal economic fallacy.
 In the interest of full disclosure, I did not go to Appalachian State University, but to the other A.S.U. I’m sure that unlike my alma mater, Appalachian State is a fine academic institution that was not featured on Girls Gone Wild.
 Truth be told, Hazlitt didn’t come up with this, but a French economist named Frédéric Bastiat first wrote about it in his 1850 essay Ce qu’on voit et ce qu’on ne voit pas.
 Understanding of course that shovel ready projects are projects that may or may not actually be shovel ready.
Since being sworn in as our 109th Mayor of New York City, Warren Wilhelm Bill de Blasio and his administration has decided to overturn many of former Mayor Mike Bloomberg’s decisions that have helped New York City prosper.
De Blasio’s latest plan of attack focuses on charter schools. The Mayor has decided to block the opening of nine charter schools from the 45 schools that were set to open this Fall. Out of the nine blocked, three are Success Academy schools, run by former City Councilwoman Eva Moskowitz.
The Mayor refuses to show any signs of compromise, and argues that co-location of charter schools was a rush decision made by the previous administration. With no contingency plans for the co-location reversal, these schools are now left to fend themselves.
As a result of the Mayor’s political posturing, over 700 kids – mostly minority students from low-income families – are now forced to return to failed neighborhood schools they have tried to escape.
Charter school operations are provided with government space and are run by non-profit organizations that continue to flourish year after year with now over 183 schools in New York City serving 70,000 children. Charter schools are the best public city schools with success rates of over 60% passing the English exams and 80% passing the math exam, both far beyond the city averages.
During his mayoral campaign in 2013, de Blasio was a huge critic of charter schools,making it clear that he will impose a moratorium on co-locations and charge charter schools rent. He also specifically targeted Moskowitz’s charter schools must no longer be “ tolerated, enabled, [and] supported” by the city. After taking office, he announced a plan to cut $210 million over the next five years for classroom space and redirect them to add 7,000 new pre-kindergarten seats.
Obamacare is a nightmare at home, but don’t worry, it is just as bad overseas for President Obama. News from the past several weeks has consistently shown that the foreign policy of the current administration is leaving the U.S. in a weakened position – and heading to a more dangerous future. Despite Team Obama crowing about a new way forward in Iran, President Hassan Rouhani was quick to point out that the Geneva deal recognized Tehran’s “right” to maintain an enrichment program and that “this right is clearly stated in the text of the agreement” that Iran’s “enrichment activities will continue as before.”
This is not monkey business – the Iranians are working to develop the technology necessary for launching missiles that would be capable of delivering a nuclear warhead to anywhere in the world. That is a powerful tool in the hands of the new Iranian President, a man who claimed that Israel is an “old wound” that needed to be “removed” from the Middle East. But, just like the debates surrounding the debt ceiling, we have kicked the can down the road. The 6-month deal gives Iran a clear timeline to hit the pause button, clean up the mess, and wait us out. All the while we will have paid them to do so through the easing of sanctions. Obama’s deal has allowed Iran to keep its ability to enrich uranium and, ultimately, to create a nuclear weapon. Perhaps the administration’s negotiators did not realize that they were giving so much away. Channeling their inner Pelosi, they actually had to agree on this deal before they could know what was in it. That seems like the most likely scenario as a spat between White House representatives and the Iranian government on differing interpretations of the agreement spewed forth just days after it passed. This is not surprising as it falls right in line with the Obama administration’s “leading from behind” foreign policy.
Unfortunately, it is not just this Democratic administration that seems to act before it thinks. We have several cases where past administrations cleared the path for dangerous enemies to acquire the world’s most destructive weapons. The Guardian recently reported that the International Atomic Energy Agency has observed activity at one of North Korea’s nuclear sites consistent with restarting a reactor. The agency observed this behavior by studying satellite images of the complex, a complex which The Guardian states “is capable of producing plutonium for bombs.” But, the agency has no access to the site despite a 1994 agreement negotiated by Bill Clinton, where – you guessed it – the North Koreans agreed to freeze its nuclear program in exchange for money. That money was then siphoned off to fund their continued, clandestine nuclear program that resulted in their first nuclear test in 2006. Experts believe that North Korea already has enough nuclear material to build 10 bombs. Prior to Clinton, Jimmy Carter wondered how to act in the face of Soviet aggression, while the Indian subcontinent was arming itself to the teeth. So, his solution was to do nothing. Pakistan refused to join Carter’s non-proliferation program, and the prolonged discussions around their intentions bought time for that unstable state to ultimately develop its own bomb. We are two for two with Carter and Clinton, and, unfortunately, Obama looks to be making it three for three.
What can you do? A couple of days ago, Democrats decided not to pursue a bipartisan amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act that would have enacted stronger sanctions on Iran. That effort was being led by Republican Senator Robert Kirk of Illinois and Democrat Senator Robert Mendez of New Jersey. Please contact Senator Mendez’s office and let him know that you agree with his statement on Iran’s nuclear ambitions and that he should not buckle to pressure from the White House or from Foggy Bottom on pursuing these important and necessary sanctions. Below is a template that you can use to submit your comment:
“The Iranian government is a dangerous regime and a state supporter of terrorism. Do not kick the can down the road. President Obama’s deal gives Iran a clear timeline to hit the pause button, clean up the mess, and wait us out. Do you really believe that they will not clandestinely pursue the bomb?
I agree with your statement of November 21 on Iranian sanctions. Please do not buckle to pressure from the White House or from Foggy Bottom – our security is at risk and we need your leadership.”
Let’s not make this three for three.
The Obamacare rollout is a disaster – is anyone really surprised – but, what are next steps? Dismantling this calamity is not going to be easy and we have already seen the acrimony that has bubbled up just within the Republican Party as we debate strategies for repealing and replacing the ACA. There is no Black Arrow in our quiver that will pierce Smaug’s scales. Instead, the ultimate solution will require many small victories, both through legislation and at the ballot box, to slay this destructive beast.
However, there is one obvious place for the process to start: the Vitter Amendment. When Obamacare passed, requirements were included in the new law that would move members of Congress and their staff to the insurance exchanges – the same exchanges being set-up for the rest of the nation. The Office of Personnel Management (OPM), however, issued new regulations this summer that allowed members of Congress and their staff to keep the employer subsidies that they currently enjoy under the Federal Employee Health Benefits Program, which amount to nearly 75% of the cost of their premiums. Individual Americans enrolling in the exchanges would, of course, not have similar subsidies available to them.
Senator David Vitter of Louisiana is now pushing bills through the Senate that rectify this incongruity. His bills require that members of Congress and their staff live by the same rules as every other American who is being forced to join the insurance exchanges. It is a simple idea that is easily digestible for voters and one that appeals across political philosophies: fairness. In addition to being a solid first step in the fight against Obamacare, it is also an idea that is ready for voters to move on now. You can help spread the word and show your support for the bill by signing the petition at LiveByYourLaws.com. We have a long way to go, but this idea can help align our message and motivate the voting public as we begin our journey to repeal Obamacare.
“And those of us who manage the public’s dollars will be held to account, to spend wisely, reform bad habits, and do our business in the light of day, because only then can we restore the vital trust between a people and their government.”
That was President Barack Obama on January 20, 2009 during his first inaugural address. So many Americans believed him at the time, right? He was the transformational figure that was going to fundamentally change America forever. He was bringing change that we could believe in. He was the one that we’ve been waiting for after all.
But, the campaigner-in-chief, who excelled at making bold promises about the way things could be, never took the time to understand the full ramifications of what he was promising. Forget the details; we have the House. Don’t worry about the implementation; we have the Senate. We have to ram it through. Now.
Think about the passage of Obamacare and its implementation, and then read Obama’s quote again. It is stunning how far from his own promises this President has operated. His elixir-like rhetoric hypnotized a larger portion of America into believing it could all be better if we just closed our eyes and hoped as hard as we could. If only we trusted him, his administration, and his party they would fix what ailed us.
He asked for our trust and then told us not to worry because it was different this time. Washington would operate in the light of day and be held to account. Barack Obama has been anything but accountable, but the Obamacare mess and his reaction to the rollout have taken his credibility to new lows.
“If you like your health insurance you will be able to keep your health insurance. Period.”
But that doesn’t ring true, now, does it? Fox News Insider has the number of Americans who have lost their health insurance at 4.2 million and counting. Forbes says 4.8 million. A November 12th New York Times article entitled “Obama in Bind Trying to Keep Health Law Vow” makes no attempt to tally the number. Our trust is broken, right there in the light of day. You would think the President would do the right thing and apologize.
“I am sorry that they are finding themselves in this situation based on assurances they got from me.”
Yup, that’s right, he is sorry that 4.whatever million Americans are “finding themselves in this situation.” That’s accountability. That’s doing business in the light of day. Now that’s restoring trust.