How Do We Solve the Student Debt Crisis?

There are a few main culprits in regards to who or what is responsible for the abnormally high cost of a college education. Due to decades of government interference from the GI Bill to the federal student loan program, the federal government has artificially inflated demand, and has eliminated almost all downward pressure on the cost of tuition. Couple that with the ballooning cost of administrative bloat stemming from regulatory compliance, and what results is our current student debt disaster. 

Put simply, the goal is to reduce the cost of a higher education so that students never have to incur debt to pay their tuition. To do that, the federal government needs to roll back and eventually eliminate the federal student loan program, reduce k-12 interference via the Dept. of Education, and do it's part to reduce the administrative bloat they are in part responsible for. 

These policy changes are aimed at reducing the artificially high demand college's are experiencing today, and in doing so, reduce the overall cost. The aim, is to get back to a point where a student can work a summer/part time job to pay for their degree.

Another False Flag?

The link attached is from 2013. If you recall, President Obama had a long, dramatic walk down the halls of the White House to arrive at his podium, with all networks live broadcasting. He then proceeded to tell the American people that a redline had been crossed, and it was undoubtedly Assad who was responsible for the attacks, and even though he had the authority to attack by himself (he didn't), he was going to put the question to congress.

This situation was the perfect example of why our Founders and the Constitution they penned were so explicit as to which branch had the power to declare war. Human's are fallible. We are driven by emotion, and the process of discussing and debating an issue as drastic as invading or attacking a sovereign nation is vital, as such a decision must not be made lightly or with haste. When bombs drop, people die. Sometimes those bombs kill bad people, and sometimes they kill good people.

It's easy to see people from other countries as "other" or the enemy, but anyone who has travelled to another country will tell you that it doesn't matter where you're from, we are all the same. We all share the same desires, we have the same problems, the same routines, etc. We are all human, and the decision to take the lives of other human beings is one that should not be made in the heat of the moment or without a great deal of discourse.

The current situation in Syria seems to be following the same path as in 2013. Assad has been largely winning the war, he has the backing of Russia, and President Trump had recently mentioned wanting to pull the troops illegally stationed in Syria out. Assad had no reason or motivation to do the one thing that would warrant U.S. involvement. Does that mean he didn't do it? Not necessarily. But that's why an investigation, and a debate need take place in this instance.

The Constitution is clear. This is an issue that must be handled by congress. From what I can tell, this was yet another attempt by rebel forces to push the U.S. into further involving themselves into the conflict, however my mind is open to all possibilities.

https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2013/may/6/syrian-rebels-used-sarin-nerve-gas-not-assads-regi/

 

Guns and Violence: What Does the Data Say?

It seems everyone has an opinion on gun policy in America.  Everyday news casters, political pundits, and anyone with a social media account spout off empty platitudes and make policy suggestions, but how many of them have actually taken a deep look at the statistics?  From what I can tell, almost none of them.  

For instance, while guns are used in the majority of homicides in the U.S., rifles account for less than 400 homicides each year.  That's a paltry 2% of the homicides in our country, yet many on the political left want to ban the ownership of rifles.  In fact, rifles have only been used in 1/3 of mass shootings, while handguns make up the majority of both homicides and mass shooting events.  To cap it off, knives are used in about 1,600 homicides each year or approximately 4-5x more than rifles.  If you added up every casualty from every mass shooting since 1982, you would find that the sum only accounts for 1/2 of the number of individuals killed by knife every year.  So, while one may understand the sentiment behind wanting an "assault weapons ban", the fact is that there is no statistical data to support the ban.  

When one digs further into the data, they find that every country used as an exemplar of gun policy, due to the reduction in homicides, has had the same statistical trend as the United States.  Canada, Australia, Japan, etc. have all had the same decrease in homicides since the late 80's/early 90's as the U.S. has, despite the fact that the U.S. has reduced regulations on firearms.  

As I argue in the video, focusing on the tools used does nothing to combat the acts committed.  Just like with addiction, attacking the drug does little to curb the use of illicit substances.  In fact, it often exacerbates the issues.  Any psychologist or addiction specialist will tell you that you cannot treat addiction without treating the underlying cause (e.g. trauma, depression, etc).  The same is true with violence in our country.  We are ignoring the real cause of homicides/violent acts, just as we are with addiction.  
 

Civil Asset Forfeiture

Civil asset forfeiture is one of the most egregious violations of civil and constitutional rights in modern history.  Through this illegal policy, law enforcement agents, both state and federal, are able to steal your property under false pretenses, forcing you to go to court and prove that your property was obtained through legal means.  

This is a clear violation of both your 4th and 5th amendment rights, and is unabashedly immoral and illegal.  

As your congressman, I will introduce legislation to end the federal civil asset forfeiture program within my first year in office.  

Tariffs?

Does Trump have the authority to create tariffs on imported goods, and if so, should he?  

President Trump’s recent tariff proposal is both ill conceived and illegal.  Section 8 of the constitution gives the sole power to establish taxes, excises and duties to the legislative branch.  A tariff is a duty or tax that is applied to the consumers of that country, meaning Americans.  Before the creation of the income tax, the federal government actually used to fund itself primarily through tariffs, and actually pushed for the creation of the income tax in order to get rid of tariffs. 

But that’s not the point.  It is illegal for the president to apply taxes on the American people.  Its a very big power/responsibility, as it affects our economy and way of life.  The federal government claims it is legal through a law passed in 1962 called the Trade Expansion Act.  Sect 232 of this act gives the power to apply tariffs to the president, in events of national security (a favorite buzz word when violating the constitution).  Obviously, there is no justification for these tariffs and by the law used to invoke them, they are illegal.   However, the Trade Expansion Act is illegal in and of itself, as changes section 8 should require an amendment to the constitution.  This is yet another example fo your government operating as a rogue agency.  

Why are tariffs bad?  Well, they tend to simply raise the cost on Americans, while having no real effect on imports.  It lets American companies off the hook for having to compete with prices from other countries.  Meaning, it doesn’t curb the purchase of lower priced goods, as the American companies raise their prices in response to the tariff.  So, the cost of foreign and domestic products go up.  Sure, American companies make more money, but the cost of everything rises as a result, and the consumer pays more for things they are already having a hard time affording. 

Secondly, when applied to raw materials, everything that uses those materials are negatively impacted.  LG doesn’t have to pay tariffs on the steel/aluminum they use on their products, but Maytag will (because again, prices just jumped in America).  So, the cost of their machines, the parts in the machines, etc. will all increase, passing the increase off to the consumer in the price tag.  So, LG can advertise a lower price and out compete Maytag as a result.  We are trading steel jobs for manufacturing jobs, and there are a lot more manufacturing jobs out there. 

Overall, President Trump’s tariffs are illegal and are poorly thought out.  

 

Tariffs: Here We Go Again

Our Commander in Chief’s most recent tweets regarding tariffs sets a worrisome tone for our economic future.  While politicians will try to sell the public on the idea that tariffs protect American businesses, the reality is that tariffs mean higher prices for Americans and make businesses less competitive with foreign companies.  What’s worse, is that President Trump wishes to impose tariffs on raw goods, instead of on completed products.  This is an issue, because taxes on raw goods increase the cost of all products that use said raw goods, and with manufacturing jobs already at historic lows, it could spell doom for the employee base of many US companies.  

For instance, a 25% tax on steel and 10% tax on aluminum will increase the cost for manufacturers to produce their goods.  Whirlpool, will now see the price of their raw materials increase, and that price increase will be factored into the price of every refrigerator, washing machine and dishwasher they make, and because the tariff isn’t being applied to imported appliances, it will make Whirlpool less competitive in the market place vs. Samsung or LG.  This means a skinnier bottom line for whirlpool, and potentially a reduction in the employee base for this company.  

Steel and aluminum are used in almost every industry in the US.  Even if a company doesn’t create their products out of either material, the machines and tools used in the manufacturing process do, and tariffs mean the cost of retooling/upgrading will increase.   Overall, US companies will have to raise their prices, and doing so makes them less competitive against the foreign companies that have access to cheaper steel/aluminum, and can keep their prices low.  

At the end of the day, tariffs and trade wars are bad for your wallet and living standards.  As your congressman, I will defend our free market system and push for legislation blocking any tariffs created by President Trump.  

https://mises.org/wire/against-trumps-tariffs-0