Hillary Clinton’s ‘New College Compact’ Raises An Important Question: Did She Ever Take Econ 101?

Editor’s note: This article first appeared at Forbes.com.

Today’s version of “a chicken in every pot” is Hillary Clinton’s proposed plan to “make college affordable and available to every American.” This is political catnip, pure and simple. And it is a more delusory form of catnip than Herbert Hoover’s “chicken”; for while everybody needs enough to eat, not everybody needs to go to college.

There is today an oversupply of college degrees. A Federal Reserve study found that half of recent graduates were working in jobs that didn’t require a college degree or not employed at all. For Mrs. Clinton to propose spending $350 billion to subsidize college attendance will exacerbate rather than reduce the glut of college-educated Americans. To propose such wastefulness when federal debt already exceeds $18 trillion is fiscally irresponsible and a slap at American taxpayers. It will also increase the number of graduates experiencing disillusionment when they realize the lack of market demand for their degrees.

The increasingly overt socialistic nature of Mrs. Clinton’s campaign theme is glaringly evident in her “New College Compact.” She laments: “For too long, families have been left to bear the burden of crushing costs” of a college education. Heaven forbid that Americans be expected to pay for what they consume! (A quick “thank you” here to those whose generosity funds academic scholarships to highly qualified and motivated students from poor backgrounds.) Who does Mrs. Clinton think should pay if not the consumer? Her plan explicitly specifies that the federal and state governments (i.e., the taxpayer) should foot the bill at public universities and colleges.

Along with state financing, Hillary Clinton advocates increased state control. She thinks that government should micro-manage post-secondary institutions by telling colleges where they must spend their money (less on administrative expenses), commanding colleges to accept junior college credits (regardless of the four-year colleges’ own academic standards), and deciding when to waive accreditation standards.

Clinton’s disfavor of the private sector is obvious: She expresses sympathy for students with “an expensive degree from a for-profit institution,” only to find that a degree doesn’t lead to a job. Why single out graduates of for-profit colleges and universities when the same disappointment befalls many graduates of not-for-profit institutions, too? And why should students who agree to work for government receive earlier cancellation of their debts than private-sector workers? That’s a double-whammy on the taxpayer, whose taxes first would subsidize the student’s education and then pay the student’s salary after college. And why is it necessary for government to make sure that community colleges offer more “two-year degrees and certificate programs that are valued by employers”? Why can’t private educational entrepreneurs survey the marketplace to discern what degrees and certificates are valued and then profit by providing them?

As for the horrendous problem of college debt blunting the lives of millions of younger Americans, Clinton doesn’t acknowledge that the federal loan program is responsible. If she were not so ideologically averse to the private sector, she might see privatization of the college loan market as the solution. First, though, bankruptcy laws should be revised to include college debt. It is anomalous and unjust to allow mature adults with decades of business experience to erase their debts via bankruptcy if they make a miscalculation, but to deny such mercy and financial relief to young, inexperienced adults. If private lenders issued college loans, and they knew that bankruptcy was an option for young borrowers, then those lenders would calculate that risk. They wouldn’t lend tens of thousands of dollars to students floundering for five or six years or students taking courses that have little value to the job marketplace, and so the glut of over-educated/under-employed young people would shrink.

There is one aspect of Clinton’s higher education plan that makes some ethical, if not economic, sense. Ethically speaking, it seems unfair for the Fed to have engineered low borrowing costs for Uncle Sam while at the same time not sharing some of its windfall by refinancing student debt at lower rates. (Many students are still paying off loans at seven, eight, or nine percent.)

Economically speaking, though, Hillary Clinton has no business promising that the federal government “won’t profit off student loans.” While “profit” apparently is a dirty word to Clinton, any loan program should generate enough interest income to pay for the salaries, offices, etc., of those administering the loan. If the federal college loan program doesn’t cover its own costs, then, once again, the long-suffering taxpayer gets stuck with those costs. The economically rational approach is to let the private sector figure out what an economically viable loan market for college education looks like. Economic losses to our society would decline by billions if privatization of student loans supplanted the socialistic status quo.

The New College Compact proposed by Hillary Clinton is economically wasteful central planning, all wrapped up in the beguiling garb of Santa Claus politics. Caveat emptor. Let the buyer (in this case, the American taxpayer and voter) beware. There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch.

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by WesternJournalism.com.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth

Our Dismal Economic Stagnation … Diagnosing The Slowest Recovery Since The Great Depression

The Bureau of Economic Analysis has reported that in the first quarter of this year, the U.S. economy declined at a 0.7 percent annual rate. Although growth may be higher for the rest of the year, this is another reminder of how slowly the economy has grown during more than five years of economic recovery from the recession of 2008-09. The rate of economic growth for the 23 quarters since the second quarter of 2009 is the slowest for any economic recovery since the Great Depression. These results are not due to bad luck; they are due to bad policy—particularly the Federal Reserve’s enormous expansion of the monetary base and the near doubling of the federal government’s debt since the end of 2007, both of which have been supported by the Obama administration.

In response to the financial crisis of 2008, the Federal Reserve used newly created money to purchase hundreds of billions of dollars of mortgage-backed securities and government debt. Because much of the newly created credit was used to buy the bad loans that were the cause of the financial crisis, less money was available to invest in productive capital, which would have contributed to job creation. The resulting low interest rates also made it easier for the government to borrow and spend on boondoggles such as “cash for clunkers” and to expand programs like unemployment compensation and food stamps. Instead of creating jobs, extended unemployment compensation and increased eligibility for food stamps made it easier for unemployed workers to turn down job opportunities.

Keynesian economists like Paul Krugman argue that the recovery would have been stronger if the government had provided more economic stimulus spending. In their view, more government spending was needed to increase demand for goods and services and create more jobs, which in turn would have had a multiplier effect on the output of the economy. They ignore the fact that someone has to pay for the additional government spending; and as a result, fewer resources are available for private-sector firms to invest and create jobs.

Recessions can eliminate the excesses caused by a credit-fueled economic boom. Without bailouts, firms that borrowed heavily to invest in unprofitable projects would be forced to liquidate those investments. Declining demand during recessions leads to falling prices, which give incentives for consumers to buy more of the goods and services they want, thus leading to the creation of new jobs. Economic stimulus spending and Federal Reserve monetary expansion prevented prices from falling and capital from being reallocated to produce the goods that consumers wanted. The Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) funneled government money to firms that took too much risk and should have gone bankrupt while the Federal Reserve used newly created money to rescue banks from the consequences of reckless lending.

The policies that caused the financial crisis and the bailouts and unprecedented monetary expansion that followed were chosen by the Federal Reserve, the Bush administration, and the Congress to benefit politically powerful interest groups that included financial services firms and wealthy investors. Barack Obama had an opportunity to repudiate these policies when he took office. Instead, he not only supported them but also expanded them. In addition, he reappointed Ben Bernanke as chairman of the Federal Reserve Board of Governors in 2010, in spite of the irresponsible policy choices he presided over during the financial crisis.

Bernanke’s policies emphasized helping banks, particularly the large money center banks, whose balance sheets were loaded with bad mortgages and other toxic assets. By keeping interest rates close to zero, monetary policy under Bernanke made it much more difficult for ordinary Americans to save for retirement. This policy did, however, enable large banks’ profits to soar so they could offset their losses during the financial crisis.

Although his first campaign was all about change, President Obama, as much or more than his predecessors, supported bailouts, subsidies, and regulation that rewarded politically powerful businesses and created obstacles for responsible entrepreneurs. These included the practice of allowing small businesses to bear the full consequences of their losses, while firms the government deems too big to fail won special benefits if they were mismanaged. To this fiscal folly he added health care reform, which was designed in such a way as to enhance the profits of large insurance companies while its mandates discourage job creation.

The slow recovery since 2009 is the consequence of Federal Reserve monetary policy and a series of ill-conceived policies by the federal government, most of which began before Barack Obama took office. By endorsing and in some cases expanding these policies, President Obama must bear some of the blame for the results. Instead of correcting the bad policies that caused the crisis, he used the crisis as an excuse to expand the government’s control over the economy, further hampering the ability of businesses and entrepreneurs to create jobs and restore economic prosperity.

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by WesternJournalism.com.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth

Will Seizure Of Russian Assets Hasten Dollar Decline?

While much of the world focused last week on whether or not the Federal Reserve was going to raise interest rates, or whether the Greek debt crisis would bring Europe to a crisis, the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague awarded a $50 billion judgment to shareholders of the former oil company Yukos in their case against the Russian government. The governments of Belgium and France moved immediately to freeze Russian state assets in their countries, naturally provoking the anger of the Russian government.

The timing of these actions is quite curious, coming as the Greek crisis in the EU seems to be reaching a tipping point and Greece, having perhaps abandoned the possibility of rapprochement with Europe, has been making overtures to Russia to help bail it out of its mess. And with the IMF’s recent statement pledging its full and unconditional support to Ukraine, it has become even more clear that the IMF and other major multilateral institutions are not blindly technical organizations, but rather are totally subservient lackeys to the foreign policy agenda emanating from Washington. Toe the D.C. party line and the internationalists will bail you out regardless of how badly you mess up, but if you even think about talking to Russia you will face serious consequences.

The United States government is desperately trying to cling to the notion of a unipolar world, with the United States at its center dictating foreign affairs and monetary policy while its client states dutifully carry out instructions. But the world order is not unipolar, and the existence of Russia and China is a stark reminder of that. For decades, the United States has benefited as the creator and defender of the world’s reserve currency, the dollar. This has enabled Americans to live beyond their means as foreign goods are imported to the U.S. while increasingly-worthless dollars are sent abroad. But is it any wonder after 70-plus years of a depreciating dollar that the rest of the world is rebelling against this massive transfer of wealth?

The Europeans tried to form their own competitor to the dollar, and the resulting euro is collapsing around them as you read this. But the European Union was never considered much of a threat by the United States, existing as it does within Washington’s orbit. Russia and China, on the other hand, pose a far more credible threat to the dollar, as they have both the means and the motivation to form a gold-backed alternative monetary system to compete against the dollar. That is what the U.S. government fears, and that is why President Obama and his Western allies are risking a cataclysmic war by goading Russia with these politically-motivated asset seizures. Having run out of carrots, the U.S. is resorting to the stick.

The U.S. government knows that Russia will not blithely accept Washington’s dictates, yet it still reacts like a petulant child flying into a tantrum whenever Russia dares to exert its sovereignty. The existence of a country that won’t kowtow to Washington’s demands is an unforgivable sin, to be punished with economic sanctions, attempting to freeze Russia out of world financial markets; veiled threats to strip Russia’s hosting of the 2018 World Cup; and now the seizure of Russian state assets.

Thus far the Russian response has been incredibly restrained, but that may not last forever. Continued economic pressure from the West may very well necessitate a Sino-Russian monetary arrangement that will eventually dethrone the dollar. The end result of this needless bullying by the United States will hasten the one thing Washington fears the most: a world monetary system in which the U.S. has no say and the dollar is relegated to playing second fiddle.

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by WesternJournalism.com.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth

Democrats And GOP Rebels Save The Day On Obamatrade

After the Republican-controlled Senate foolishly passed the so-called “Obamatrade” bill, the House leadership (John Boehner, Steve Scalise, Paul Ryan, et al.) worked their tails off to pass the bill. But a majority of Democrats and liberty-minded Republicans (small in number) rallied in opposition to the bill and voted it down. HOORAY! In this case, it was mostly Democrats who saved the day!

I have been saying for years that people who think the Republican establishment is a friend to liberty are extremely naïve. On issues regarding so-called “free trade” (it’s NOT free trade; it’s globalism masquerading as free trade), the Warfare State, deficit spending, globalism, and civil liberties, the Republican Party in Washington, D.C., is FAR WORSE than the Democrat Party. In general terms, the Democrat Party is worse on issues that deal with gun control, welfare, abortion, gay marriage, and extremist environmentalist policies. As one should easily be able to see, there is no “lesser of two evils” between these two parties. Each party is a greater evil, depending on the issue. And taken as a whole, both parties in Washington, D.C., are selling our liberties down the river.

But this so-called Obamatrade bill is a nightmare. If you thought NAFTA and GATT are bad (and they are), Obamatrade (TPP) is far worse. Even worse is that congressional leaders will not allow the public to know what’s in the bill. Heck, most of the congressmen and senators who are voting on the bill don’t know what’s in it.

Matt Drudge paraphrases Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin) angrily growling at reporters: “You will read it after we pass it.” What a pompous, arrogant blockhead Mr. Ryan is. Obviously, he has been in Congress too long.

One of the senators who did read the bill is Senator Jeff Sessions (R-Alabama). And he is doing his best to warn the American people about just how horrific this bill really is. Breitbart.com recently interviewed one of Senator Sessions’ staff leaders regarding the impact of passing TPP.

“Stephen Miller, one of the staff leaders for Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Alabama), joined Breitbart News Sunday and was asked by Breitbart’s Executive Chairman and host, Stephen K. Bannon: ‘Isn’t the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) really a global governance deal, rather than a trade agreement? Is this a way to get the United States into a Pacific Union, as Senator Sessions lays out, that is very much like the European Union?’

“‘That’s exactly what is happening here,’ said Miller. ‘The Pacific Union that Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) refers to is the new transnational governance body that would be created by the Transpacific Partnership.’

“‘What this means,’ explained Miller, ‘is the house and the senate together would be authorizing the president to enter the United States into a new trans-national union.’

“The Union would consist at first of twelve countries, but additional countries could join and be added over time. ‘It could issue regulations about labor policy, about immigration policy, about environmental policies, and many other areas impacting American life, American jobs, and American wages.’

“Also appearing on the program, which airs on Sirius XM, Patriot Radio, channel 125, was Lord Christopher Monckton. Monckton, who served as a policy advisor for former UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, argues that a Trans Pacific Union would bear a significant resemblance to the European Union, which Monckton insists is a serious detriment to democracy and leads to dictatorship.”

“As a result, Miller added, ‘the president can enter into an unlimited number of large sweeping international agreements. And, congress can’t filibuster them, at any point, for the next six full years.’

“Monckton retorted, ‘We’ve used this word before on this program–dictatorship. This is dictatorship.’”

See the report here:

TPP Enters USA Into A ‘New Trans-National Union’

The Obamatrade bill was proffered in two roll call votes. According to the rules established by House leaders, BOTH bills had to pass in order for “fast track” trade authority to be granted to President Obama. Boehner did this because he knew it would fail in one vote, as it was widely opposed by both Republican freedomists (a small group but enough to help defeat the bill) and liberal Democrats (liberals are not wrong on every issue). He was hoping he could muster enough support from both groups by separating the votes. His plan backfired. The first bill failed by a wide margin; so even though the second bill passed (barely), it was a moot point. The way to find the Republican rebels (America-first constitutionalists) is to look at the ones who voted against Obamatrade on BOTH votes. Here are those 37 brave Republican House members:

Justin Amash (MI); Dave Brat (VA); James Bridenstine (OK); Mo Brooks (AL); Ken Buck (CO); Michael Burgess (TX); Curt Clawson (FL); Doug Collins (GA); Chris Collins (NY); Paul Cook (CA); Jeff Duncan (SC); John J. Duncan (TN); Morgan Griffith (VA); Andy Harris (MD); Duncan Hunter (CA); Lynn Jenkins (KS); Walter Jones (NC); Jim Jordan (OH); David Joyce (OH); Raul Labrador (ID); Frank LoBiondo (NJ); Richard Nugent (FL); Gary Palmer (AL); Steve Pearce (NM); Scott Perry (PA); Bruce Poliquin (ME); Bill Posey (FL); Dana Rohrabacher (CA); Keith Rothfus (PA); Steve Russell (OK); Chris Smith (NJ); Daniel Webster (FL); Lynn Westmoreland (GA); Rob Wittman (VA); Ted Yoho (FL); Don Young (AK); Lee Zeldon (NY).

If you live in the district of one of these congressmen, you can be very proud of your representative.

And for those GOP House members who voted “Nay” on either vote, there is retribution from the Republican leadership. NationalJournal.com has this part of the story:

“House Republican leaders are cracking down on rebellious members after a near-disaster on a trade vote last week.

“Reps. Cynthia Lummis, Steve Pearce, and Trent Franks have been removed from the whip team after they sided with GOP rebels to vote against a rule governing debate on a trade bill, according to sources close to the team.”

“But House Majority Whip Steve Scalise had said earlier in the year that he would not tolerate members voting against rules and has already removed two other members [Jeff Duncan and Ron DeSantis] close to the conservative movement.”

See the report here:

Three Booted From GOP Whip Team As Leaders Crack Down

As for House Democrats, they held together in their opposition to TPP even when President Barack Obama personally went to Capitol Hill and lobbied them to support it. Nancy Pelosi (D-California) must be given credit on this issue, as she held fast in her opposition to TPP and encouraged Democrats to stand together in opposing it–which they did.

What is it about Democrat presidents who campaign against these so-called “free trade” deals when they are candidates and then become full-fledged supporters of the deals after being elected? Bill Clinton did the exact same thing. It just further demonstrates what I’ve been saying all along: at the highest levels of government, party affiliation, party platforms, and promises to party grassroots mean NOTHING. Powerbrokers are calling the shots; and the President (no matter the party) is too often but a pawn of these Machiavellians.

And if there is any issue that these international elites who are dominating Washington politics are doggedly determined to bring into being, it is the breakdown of national economic borders and the establishment of a global financial system.

Of course, one cannot have a global financial system without enacting a global political and military system to control and manage it. And, that, folks, is what all of these wars in the Middle East are about. It has NOTHING to do with the “war on terror.” It is all about establishing global government. The global elite are merely manipulating the West vs. Muslim façade to bring down those governments in the Middle East (Iran and Syria) that refuse to submit to the Federal Reserve’s international banking system and bring the oil-rich region of the Middle East completely under the Fed’s control.

Consider this: Saudi Arabia beheads far more people than ISIS. In fact, Saudi Arabia is one country that is indeed governed by strict Sharia Law. Yet, the United States considers the Saudis our dear friends and allies. And Christians seem totally oblivious to Saudi Arabia’s barbarism and intolerance. When is the last time you heard any pastor or Christian calling for war against Saudi Arabia?

Furthermore, independent news agencies are reporting that the United States is actually ASSISTING ISIS militarily.

Please take the time to read this report:

Anti-ISIS Coalition Forces Are The Target: US Warplanes Strike Iraqi Army Position, US Delivers Weapons To Terrorists

Folks, please turn off FOX News long enough to do some independent research. America is not at war with ISIS. America’s CIA created ISIS and continues to assist it. The U.S. government is using ISIS to attack its real target: the leaders of Iran and Syria who staunchly stand in the way of the U.S./Saudi Arabia/Israel machinations to centralize the banking systems of the Middle East. That is what the wars in the Middle East are truly about.

At this writing (Tuesday, June 16), GOP leaders and President Obama are collaborating on how to bring “fast track” trade authority back to the House floor for passage. But for now, it was House Democrats and that small number of Republican rebels who saved the day on Obamatrade.

P.S. Let me remind readers that we have just produced an hour-long DVD wherein Attorney Tim Baldwin lectures (complete with instructional slides) on the topic: “Police Contact: How To Respond.”

Tim explains your rights and the law regarding police contacts in a variety of circumstances, such as traffic stops, etc. He explains the rights and protections you have under the Constitution. He presents a constitutional, legal analysis of what you should and shouldn’t do when brought into contact with a police officer, sheriff’s deputy, or highway patrolman.

Tim is a former felony prosecutor and is now a criminal defense attorney. He has seen both sides of the criminal justice system and is imminently qualified to discuss this subject. He knows that for an attorney to best protect his or her clients, his clients need to know how to protect themselves before and during the investigative and arrest procedures.

Police officers are SERVANTS of the People and are as obligated to obey the Constitution as are each of us. Knowing these rights and protections will give you much CONFIDENCE when you are pulled over by a police officer.

Let me hasten to say that I am ALWAYS respectful to a police officer. And so should we always be. We must respect his position. But mostly, we must respect the law that he, the police officer, is sworn to uphold. But how can we respect the law if we don’t even know and understand the law? How can officers improve their law-enforcement practice unless citizens know when police are following the law? How is the legal system benefited if police can trample citizens’ constitutional rights with the consent of the people? Tim’s DVD will help tremendously in this regard.

In light of the climate that we all live in today, I cannot emphasize enough how important it is that we become familiar with our constitutional rights and responsibilities. If enough of the American people would learn these constitutional principles, they could stem the growing tide of unconstitutional conduct by our public servants, including, and especially, by those in law enforcement.

Here is where you can order the DVD, “Police Contact: How To Respond,” by Attorney Tim Baldwin.

Police Contact: How To Respond

© Chuck Baldwin

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The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by WesternJournalism.com.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth

Soros Pushes U.S. Bailouts, Weapons For Ukraine

If you look at the track record of the interventionists, you might think they would pause before taking on more projects. Each of their past projects has ended in disaster; yet still they press on. Last week, the website Zero Hedge posted a report about hacked emails between billionaire George Soros and Ukrainian President Poroshenko.

Soros is very close to the Ukrainian president, who was put in power after a U.S.-backed coup deposed the elected leader of Ukraine last year. In the email correspondence, Soros tells the Ukrainian leadership that the U.S. should provide Ukraine “with same level of sophistication in defense weapons to match the level of opposing force.” In other words, despite the February ceasefire, Soros is pushing behind the scenes to make sure Ukraine receives top-of-the-line lethal weapons from the United States. Of course, it will be up to us to pay the bill because Ukraine is broke.

But Soros seems to have the money part covered as well. In an email to Ukrainian leaders, he wrote that Ukraine’s “first priority must be to regain control of financial markets.” Soros told Poroshenko that the IMF would need to come through with a $15 billion package, which he was confident would lead the Fed to also come through with more money. He wrote: “the Federal Reserve could be asked to extend a $15 billion three months swap arrangement with the National Bank of Ukraine. That would reassure the markets and avoid a panic.”

How would the Fed be convinced to do that? Soros assured Poroshenko: “I am ready to call Jack Lew of the U.S. Treasury to sound him out about the swap agreement.”

So George Soros will use his influence in the U.S. government to put the American people on the hook for a bankrupt Ukraine — forcing us to pay for weapons, more military training, and Ukraine’s crippling debt.

Who is thrilled with Soros’ drawing the U.S. government into more intervention in the region? The military-industrial complex for one is happy at the prospect of big weapons “sales” to Ukraine. The bankers are thrilled. Washington power-brokers are thrilled. There is something in this for everyone who is politically well-connected. The only losers are the people who will be forced to pay for it: the American taxpayers.

No one seems to ask why we are involved in Ukraine at all. Is it really any of our business if the east wants to break away from the west? Is it a vital U.S. interest which flag the people wish to hang in Donetsk?

One thing we should be sure of is that Ukraine’s debt will not be paid. As in other bailouts, much of it will be transferred to the U.S. taxpayer through the IMF and the Federal Reserve. All of this is only possible because of the perception that the dollar is still the world’s reserve currency. But this too is coming to an end. U.S. military and financial interventionism worldwide are only speeding up the process.

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by WesternJournalism.com.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth