Jimmy Carter Just Made A Major Health Announcement–‘It’s In The Hands Of God’ Now…

Former President Jimmy Carter made his first public remarks since he revealed to the world last week he had cancer. The 39th president said the situation is “in the hands of the God.”

“Recent liver surgery revealed that I have cancer that now is in other parts of my body,” Carter wrote in a previous statement. “I will be rearranging my schedule as necessary so I can undergo treatment by physicians at Emory Healthcare. A more complete public statement will be made when facts are known, possibly next week.”

Carter provided additional details Thursday morning at the Carter Center in Atlanta. He told reporters at a scheduled news conference he will begin radiation treatment Thursday afternoon for four spots of melanoma that were detected on his brain. When he first received the news earlier this month, Carter thought he only had a few weeks to live, but was “surprisingly at ease.”

“I’ve had a wonderful life,” Carter said. “I’ve had a wonderful life, thousands of friends. I’ve had an exciting and adventurous and gratifying existence. But now I feel that it’s in the hands of the God whom I worship.” The former Democratic president went on to say the spots were first discovered after undergoing surgery to remove a small mass in his liver earlier this month.

President Obama issued a statement of support as Carter undergoes treatment for melanoma. “Our thoughts and prayers are with Rosalynn and the entire Carter family as they face this challenge with the same grace and determination that they have shown so many times before,” read Obama’s statement. “Jimmy, you’re as resilient as they come, and along with the rest of America, we are rooting for you.” 

Several groups, regardless of party affiliation or political persuasion, also offered their well-wishes for the former president:

h/t: Mother Jones

Do you have a loved one battling cancer? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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

Jeb Bush Has To Provide Government Reform Details

Congratulations to Jeb Bush for promising as president to take on the Washington bureaucracy. But, as they say, the devil is in the details.

He has credibility. As Florida governor, Bush cut the state bureaucracy by 11 percent over his eight years. If he becomes president, he now proposes to freeze federal employment and then reduce it by 10 percent over the four year presidential term through attrition.

Bush qualifies this with a “three-out, one in” proviso allowing one new employee for every three slots cut.

This sounds good in today’s rapid news cycle, but the details reveal important qualifications. He relies primarily on retirements to meet his goal. What happens if they are not sufficient?

Attrition alone also allows the better employees to leave, creating imbalances.

Yes, most of the reduction should be by attrition; but some must be fired to target program functions that need to be cut or eliminated. During Ronald Reagan’s presidency when he reduced non-defense civilian employment by 100,000, 90 percent of separations were by attrition; but the other ten percent were aimed at bad programs to show he was serious about the whole effort.

Bush did say that program reform is critical and promised tax, regulatory and entitlement reforms — but will only detail them sometime in the future. He did specifically propose a line item veto, a balanced budget amendment, procurement reform, and baseline budgeting — all of which would be positive but have been languishing for years.

His proposal not to pay Congressmen who do not vote is simply silly and impossible to become law. And his plans to limit lobbying sound as good as they did from Barack Obama until someone reminds folks of the Constitutional right to petition the government.

The heart of his proposal is to reform the civil service, which he correctly recognizes is dysfunctional. But he misrepresents the source of the problem, saying that much of today’s bureaucracy “is a relic from the 1970s and the Carter administration,” which “didn’t have the taxpayers’ interest foremost in mind.”

Actually, Jimmy Carter’s one real accomplishment as president was the Civil Service Reform Act of 1978 which was implemented by the Ronald Reagan administration in 1981, and actually rationalized the performance appraisal system and introduced pay-for-performance for senior executives and managers.

Unfortunately, it was President George H.W. Bush who presided over the elimination of merit pay for managers and the downgrading of performance management. In the wake of 9/11, President George W. Bush attempted to reintroduce performance management at the Departments of Defense and Homeland Security; but these were stalled by the unions and their friends in Congress and were finally abandoned.

Gov. Bush promises to do better. He recognizes the feds are paid more than the private sector, they have much richer benefits, and the bad ones are rarely disciplined or removed.

He proposes “no more doling out raises across the board,” to reintroduce merit pay and financial rewards for good performance, and to remove nonproductive employees in “weeks rather than years.”

What is missing but essential is a focus on contractors who make up the great majority of those who do national government work but are not formal employees. As the public has lost confidence in bureaucratic expertise, it has proved impossible to increase the size even under Democratic presidents and Congresses.

As political scientist John J. Dilulio, Jr. shows in his book “Bring Back the Bureaucrats,” to run the present government even marginally well it would be necessary to add a million or more bureaucrats.

The federal government has increased its programs exponentially on the domestic side since Reagan, but it has roughly the same number of employees. How can that be?

The answer is private or lower-level government contractors do the work, about 8 to 1 for every national government employee.

In Florida, Bush did cut some 13,000 state jobs but mostly converted them into government contractors and increased the total overall. He cut taxes by $20 billion, but his budget authority increased from $49 to $71 billion–an incredible two-thirds growth. Debt increased from $15 to $23 billion and the debt service from $928 million to $1.7 billion per year.

State government actually increased dramatically during the Bush years.

It is refreshing to hear government management reform given such emphasis. It has not been front and center in a presidential election since President Jimmy Carter. But Carter used it as an alternative to reducing governmental functions. Hopefully, Gov. Bush will not

As an excellent new study by the CATO Institute’s Chris Edwards, “Why the Government Fails,” documents, the real problem is over-centralization; and the only real solution is to cut programs and send functions back to state, local and private institutions.

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

Jimmy Carter: ‘Jesus Would Approve Of Gay Marriage’ – But His Next Seven Words Say It All

Nonagenarian and former President Jimmy Carter weighed in on the divide between gay marriage advocates and conservative Christians in a recent HuffPost Live interview.

After informing host Marc Lamont Hill that he has not encountered any “serious conflicts” between his political and Christian beliefs, Carter noted that he has no problem with the issue of gay marriage and suspects Jesus Christ would agree with him.

“I think everybody should have a right to be married,” he said, “regardless of their sex.”

He went on to note that he would “draw a line” at the government being able to force a church to perform gay marriages against its leadership’s will.

“But those two partners should be able to go to the courthouse or to another church and get married,” he asserted. “That’s no problem.”

He went on to assert his belief that “Jesus would” support gay marriage, though he offered a very telling caveat.

“I don’t have any verse in Scripture,” he said, admitting he could not back up his stance.

Nevertheless, he doubled down.

“I believe that Jesus would approve of gay marriage,” he repeated, “but I’m not, that’s just my own personal belief.”

He also squared his particular brand of faith with his position on the similarly divisive issue of abortion.

“I have a hard time believing Jesus, for instance, would approve of abortion,” he said, though he thinks Christ would carve out an exception if a pregnancy “was because of rape or incest, or if the mother’s life was in danger.”

Does Jimmy Carter have a firm grasp on biblical principles? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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

WATCH: Obama, You Know You’re A Bad President When Jimmy Carter Calls You Out

For the second time in less than a year, former president Jimmy Carter was publicly critical of President Obama’s foreign policy, contending America’s “respect in the world is probably lower than it was six or seven years ago.”

Carter made the unflattering remarks while at the Aspen Institute last week.

Before touching on Obama, Carter was asked to give his opinion on Secretary of State John Kerry. “I think [John Kerry’s] one of the best secretaries of state we’ve ever had. I think he’s outstanding,” Carter said to cheers.

The former president was then asked about Obama’s successes on the world stage. “On the world stage, I think they’ve been minimal,” Carter answered. “I think he’s done some good things domestically, like the health programs and so forth, but on the world stage, just to be objective about it as I can, I can’t think of many nations in the world where we have a better relationship now than we did when he took over. If you look at Russia, if you look at England, if you look at China, if you look at Egypt, and so forth.”

“I’m not saying it’s his fault,” he continued, “but we have not improved our relationship with individual countries, and I would say that the United States’ influence and prestige and respect in the world is probably lower now than it was six or seven years ago.”

This is not the first time Carter has been critical of the Obama administration’s foreign policy. Speaking to the Ft. Worth Star Telegram in October, he called out Obama’s approach to fighting the Islamic State:

We waited too long. We let the Islamic State build up its money, capability and strength and weapons while it was still in Syria. Then when [ISIS] moved into Iraq, the Sunni Muslims didn’t object to their being there and about a third of the territory in Iraq was abandoned.

h/t: The Daily Caller

Do you agree with Jimmy Carter? Is your head spinning as a result? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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

What We Need From Our Next President

As the pool of aspiring presidential candidates grows by the day, one can’t help but hope that the electorate’s appetite for economic improvement under a term or two of a new president will likewise increase. After eight years of burgeoning government hegemony, diminution of personal liberty, and assault on the free enterprise system and middle class family incomes, the last thing we need is perpetuation of the stagnant and fiscally stifling policies of the Obama administration. Perhaps we should look back, as we look forward, determining the nation’s course under a new president.

The last time the U.S. floundered with such a moribund economy was when the misery index (inflation plus unemployment) spiked over 20 at the end of the Carter administration. With rather constrained inflation, and government underreporting of real unemployment (Department of Labor U6 is still over 10%), our misery index is nowhere near Carter’s abysmal economic mishandling. But the sluggish economy, declining median income, and negligible economic expansion are taking their toll not just on the middle class, but the whole country.

But looking back to 1980 and how a new president, with congressional help, was able to reverse the negative trends–as well as instill hope for the future–is an example that begs repeating. If we’re to have any hope for our children and grandchildren’s future, it’s an example that must be repeated!

Carter’s economic policies had perpetuated the inordinately high tax rates of the previous decade, limiting job growth and capital investment while generating less tax revenue due to the stagnant economy. Yet following the passage and implementation of the Economic Recovery Tax Act of 1982, unemployment dropped 45%; private domestic investment grew 77%, and economic growth averaged over 4.5% annually. The consumer price index, a measure of inflation, rose only 17% over the next ten years, far below the one-year peak of 13.5% the last year of the Carter term. Real income of every income bracket increased, while tax receipts doubled from 1980 to 1990, from $500 billion to over $1 trillion.

The Reagan administration deregulated many industries, reducing the cost of doing business significantly–including oil, making energy cheaper. A new U.S.-Canadian free trade agreement was inked, and savings and investment were encouraged by the creation of IRAs and 401(k) plans. A whole new investor class was created, as most Americans now had “skin in the game” of economic expansion. And they were richly rewarded, as the GDP increased by 77% and the Dow Jones Industrial Average more than doubled.

National debt continued to grow under Reagan, but that was more the culpability of a spendthrift congress headed by Speaker Tip O’Neil. Twice, Reagan sent balanced budget recommendations to Congress, both of which were carried to the capitol in an ambulance so Speaker O’Neil could declare them DOA (dead on arrival).

Spending on education, social services, and healthcare nearly doubled over eight years, while federal outlays on commerce, housing credits, and regional development were decreased by nearly 22%. The federal civilian workforce was reduced by 5% as well. The deficit, as a share of GDP, was cut more than in half, from 6.3% to 2.9% by the time Reagan left office. A vibrant, growing, and healthy economy made that possible, even with the spending increases.

National defense was a priority in the Reagan years, as exemplified by a near doubling of the annual military budget over his two terms. When told in a cabinet meeting that he couldn’t spend that much on the military, the president responded: “Look, I am the president of the United States, the commander-in-chief. My primary responsibility is the security of the United States. … If we don’t have security, we’ll have no need for social programs.”

The strengthened and expanded military validated Reagan’s defense mantra: peace through strength. Due to our significant military investment, the cold war never evolved to a hot one; and the Soviet state collapsed in part due to their inability to match our burgeoning military capabilities.

Researching the economic “report cards” of postwar presidents, Harvard economist Robert Barro claims, based on the raw data alone, that Reagan easily has the top scores. “Using the change each year in inflation, unemployment, interest rates, and growth in gross national product, Reagan ranks first. He engineered the largest reduction in the misery index in history—50 percent.”

This is not intended to heap adulation on a former president, but to illustrate what can happen nationally when tried and true principles are applied in governance. Rather than perpetuating the failed Obama doctrines intended to fundamentally transform America, a return to the economic principles that made the nation great will resurrect the indomitable free enterprise engine of America, unleashing our ability to work, produce, and compete, and hopefully get a handle on our out-of-control spending.

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