By Nancy Thorner and Bonnie O’Neil –

Is your child really being dumbed down as Illinois continues with full implementation of nationalized Common Core standards?

There is a growing controversy throughout America. Parents, teachers, state officials, and concerned citizens from most every state have become concerned about the new nationalized education system, known as Common Core. The professors who wrote the commentary “Common Core and Continued Prosperity” published in the O.C. Register (1-27), provided reasons for it being initiated and referred to specific expectations by its promoters, but then failed to adequately address opponents’ specific concerns.

The above commentary provided Bonnie O’Neil and me with the impetus to delve into the nature of Common Core which both California and Illinois have endorsed wholeheartedly. An Illinois Education Association (IEA) website explains Common Core Standards under the guise that the resources will provide a consistent, clear understanding of what students are expected to learn to ensure that all students achieve college and career readiness.

The public deserves to know why some states rejected it outright and why other states are now speaking out against it. New York is an example. Their schools incorporated Common Core and have since discovered a multitude of problems, including student test scores that plummeted 60%. According to teachers and parents, even the best and brightest students are discouraged, losing confidence, and no longer enjoy school. The New York State United Teachers Union recently announced they are rejecting Common Core and want to remove their State Education Chief, citing “a lack of confidence” in both.

Meanwhile Alaska, Kansas, and Utah have dropped out of SBAC (Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium) and Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Oklahoma, and Pennsylvania have dropped out of PARCC (Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers). Both consortiums will be rolling out national tests based on Common Core in the spring of 2015. Both have been using millions of federal tax dollars to promote the controversial testing and curriculum mandates of Common Core.

O’Neil and Thorner first became concerned about Common Core when they learned it was being initiated at a federal level, and fairly covertly at that. Who knew a small committee was working to change our entire education system? Who knew about it being sold to the states? Why did California, Illinois, and most other states agree to sign up for Common Core without any conclusive data proving its effectiveness? There are still parents in O’Neil’s county of Orange in California, as in Thorner’s county of Lake in Illinois, who have no idea their child’s education program has radically changed.

Promises and Possibilities are not the same as proof and to have unleashed an unproven education system on most every school in America is simply irresponsible. Shame on the State governors and legislators for agreeing to accept it sight unseen. Was it revealed to state officials that a group of educators on the accreditation committee saw enough wrong with Common Core to refuse signing on to it? Even more revealing is that two of those dissenters were so concerned, they became activists against Common Core, warning all who would listen about its innate problems.

While the Federal government did not force states to accept Common Core, they certainly sweetened the deal by offering federal funding and releasing states from their previous “No Child Left Behind” obligations. Possibly the multi-billion dollar advertising campaign for Common Core helped as well. If this new program was so good, why the need for “perks” and such an expensive advertising promotion?

It is important to emphasize how education is not the federal government’s role. Our Constitution gives states that responsibility for good reasons. The United States is large and varied, making a one-size-fits-all approach is difficult due to varying cultures and job opportunities that differ from state to state. Accepting Common Core Standards means a state must adhere to 85% of it, without any changes or additions. Most of us agree that local control is best and even essential, but Common Core limits what local school districts can now do.

O’Neil’s Orange County Board of Education, after much deliberating, signed a resolution outlining the concerns they have uncovered about Common Core. Some of California’s legislators are also expressing a desire to revisit Common Core, due to their lack of information as to whether this education system is right for California.

In Illinois Representative Dwight Kay (R-Glen Carbon) introduced House Resolution 543 in August of 2013 to urge the Illinois State Board of Education to delay the implementation of the Common Core State Standards by filing a common core delay resolution until a fiscal study is done. The resolution was co-sponsored by representatives Sanda Pihos (R-Glen Ellyn), Bill Mitchell (R-Decatur), Barbara Wheeler (R-Crystal Lake), and David Leitch (R-Peoria).

What should concern parents here in Illinois is a report by Ben Velderman of students coping with Common Core stress by hiding out in bathrooms and nurse’s offices. Sources have told Velderman that “young students are finding Common Core math problems so confusing — and the amount of class time devoted to working on them so overwhelming — that they’re looking for ways to escape the classroom just to get a mental break. One elementary school teacher who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said:

Educators are under so much pressure to prepare students for the upcoming Common core-aligned standardized tests in math and reading — known as the PARCC exam, debuting in 2015 — that they’re ramping up math and reading instruction and eliminating a number of other activities from the school day.

Nobody has answered the question of what happens if this experimental, untested program proves to be a failure? Will a generation of school children be so negatively impacted, that they may never recover? What is the back-up plan? We don’t believe there is one! It reminds us of the experimental Fuzzy Math and Whole language programs in schools in the late 70’s. They proved to be failures and disappeared, but not before damaging many students who suffered under them.

Authors of the Orange Register’s commentary, Professors Duncan and Murman, as referenced in paragraph one, stated how America’s education system has fallen behind other countries, and Common Core is the solution to regain our standing. But if that is true, how can one explain our educational system produced a nation of people who have invented, created, and out-performed every other country in the World? Maybe we should look for other reasons to explain the decline in student test scores?

Consider the fault may not lie in our education system, but instead in our declining culture. Parent often rightly believe lower student test scores arelinked to the difficulty of firing non-performing teachers and/or administrators, due to union contracts. Instead of firing, which tenure makes almost impossible, inept teachers are often transferred to specific schools where parents are not as vocal about their ineffectiveness. These parents are summarily convinced that the quality of a classroom teacher matters more than the system to help students succeed.

Educators blame lower test scores on the changing culture, and they offer examples which seem credible. Test scores indicate 80 percent of white students taking the SAT completed the core curriculum, as did 73 percent of Asian students. However, only 69 percent of Latino and 65 percent of black students were able to do so. Students with English as their second language will struggle no matter which teacher or education program they have. Homes with little or no parental support hinder a child’s success.

Dan Proft, in an article posted at IllinoisOpportunity.org — The Death of Work and Education in Illinois — recently related this dismal story about education in Illinois:

66 is the percentage of Illinois 4th graders who do not read at 4th grade level, according to the 2013 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) tests. 61% of 4th graders cannot do 4th grade level math either, according to those same NAEP tests . . . K-12 education is not producing defensible results. And remember, spending on K-12 education in Illinois has increased three-fold in the past two decades (in real terms).

This experimental educational system will cost California taxpayers over $1.8 Billion dollars. The estimated cost for Illinois to adopt Common Core standards is $799 million. With the federal grant money received to implement Common Core, Illinois’ share of the funding amounts to $733 million in a state already experiencing acute financial difficulty. Why are we implementing a costly, unproven program, when we have not made a stronger effort to resolve the most obvious problems first?

Our children are too valuable and our country too vulnerable to be forced into accepting a national education program, based largely on hope and promises and with absolutely no guarantee of proven success!

As many states are finding out, Common Core standards will not succeed in promoting critical thinking, competency, or the marketable jobs skills so necessary in students to meet the challenges and succeed as adults in life.

Thursday, January 30, 2014 at 04:30 PM | Permalink

John Tillman, CEO of The Illinois Policy Institute, welcomed economist Don Boudreaux to Chicago on Thursday, January 23, as the first speaker of its Liberty Speakers Series scheduled for the first half of 2014. Visit illinoispolicy.org/events to see the full lineup of speakers and how to RSVP.

Tillman heard Boudreaux speak 10 years ago at an event in Canada, at which time Boudreaux made a powerful impression on Tillman when speaking about liberty. It was this encounter after 10 years had elapsed that prompted Tillman to invite Don Boudreaux to speak on this topic: “What’s in a wage? Why income doesn’t tell the whole story.”

Introduced by John Tillman, Boudreaux is a senior fellow at the Mercatus Center and a professor of economics and former economics department chairman at George Mason University. He holds the Martha and Nelson Getchell Chair for the Study of Free Market Capitalism at the Mercatus. His specialization is globalization and trade, law and economics and antitrust economics.

Mr. Boudreaux writes the blog Cafe Hayek (cafehayek.com) with Russell Roberts and pens a regular column on economics for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Out of Boudreaux’s blog posts at Cafe Havek evolved his 2012 book: Hypocrits & Half-Wits: A Daily Dose of Sanity from Café Hayek. Boudreaux has appeared numerous times on John Stossel’s Fox show to discuss a range of economic issues.

Don Boudreaux in public has criticized Noble Laureate Economist Paul Krugman, stating that Krugman frequently ‘commits elementary errors’ when discussing economics. Boudreaux is recognized as a libertarian.

Following the impressive introductory remarks by John Tillman, Mr. Boudreaux discussed how the quantities and qualities of what ordinary Americans consume are closer to rich Americans than they were in past decades, further explaining what that phenomena means for real inequality in America today. Boudreaux’s premise: America’s middle class has not stagnated economically since the 1970’s.

Mr. Boudreaux disagrees with President Obama’s intent to make income inequality into a political issue, believing as the president does that income inequality has declined in America with the rich benefiting the most. But given that an item’s performance is far superior to the 70’s product and at a lesser cost, quality of life has improved for the poor and middle class since the ’70’s.

Four years ago Robert Reich, Clinton’s Labor Secretary, made this not uncommon statement that dovetails with President Obama’s embrace of income inequality that calls for wealth redistribution.

After three decades of flat wages during which almost all the gains of growth have gone to the very top, the middle class no longer has the buying power to keep the economy going.

Using a Chicago connection, Don Boudreaux through a slide presentation displayed pages randomly chosen from a 1975 Sears catalog showing an item relative to cost and the number of hours needed to purchase that item in terms of 1975 work hours, followed by a comparable item and its cost to purchase relative to work hours needed in 2014. (Note: Mr. Boudreaux purchased the 1975 Sears catalog off Amazon for $.05 cents, but bemoaned how overnight shipping of the catalog set him back $40 plus dollars.)

Items chosen randomly by Boudreaux for comparing work hours needed to purchase an item in 1975 in contrast to a similar item purchased in 2013:

Exercise Machine: 15.8 work hours to buy in 1975 at $74.95. 5.4 work hours to purchase a finer and more streamlined exercise machine in 2013.

Four drawer metal filing cabinet: 44 work hours to buy in 1975 at $207.95. Only one fourth of the time (11 hours) needed in 2013.

Microwave Oven: 93 work hours to buy in 1975 at $440. A similar size would require 4 hours of work time in 2013.

Color TV: 158.6 hours or nearly a month of work hours in 1975 at $749.95 for the best TV available, but with no remote and only 4 channels. 17.1 hours of work time in 2013, remotes are now standard and there are an array of channels and other perks built into the set.

Notable is that no item was more expensive today to purchase than it was in 1975, even adjusted for inflation.

Not only do the middle class live better today, but the poor — using the criteria of whether a household has a dishwasher, central air conditioner, colored TV, a stove, and a refrigeration to assess judgment — likewise do. Mr. Boudreaux found that in comparing All households in 1971, Poor Households in 1984, and Poor households in 2005, that poor households in 2005 had more of the 6 criteria items than all households did in 1971.

Mr. Boudreaux did admit that the Consumer Price Index average wage when adjusted for inflation has remained about the same for non-supervisory wages since at least 1964, the first year the BLS started its record keeping.

Boudreaux then proceeded to present three reasons why measurement of wages doesn’t necessarily support a narrative of middle-class stagnation or a lone basis on which to judge the living standards of the American people.

1. Consider the improvement in product quality and variety available today at less cost.

2. Consider the rise over the past few decades in the portion of worker pay taken as (nontaxable) fringe benefits.

3. Consider how over the past three decades the average wage has been held down but the great increase of women and immigrants into the workforce. While lesser-skilled workers entering the workforce in any given year were paid wages lower than the average, the measured statistic of “average hourly wage” has remained unchanged or stagnant over the years, even though real wages of actual flesh-and-blood workers employed in any given year rose. In the same article, The Myth of a Stagnant Middle Class, published in the Wall Street Journal on January 23, 2013, Don Boudreaux wrote:

According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, spending by households on many of life’s “basics” — food at home, automobiles, clothing and footwear, household furnishing and equipment, and housing and utilities — fell from 53% of disposable income in 1950 to 44% in 1970 to 32% today.

Why do people perceive themselves to be worse off, when what ordinary Americans consume is closer to that of rich Americans (consider the same electronic products used by both), and that it’s unlikely that an average American would trade his wages and benefits in 2013 for the same real wages with lower fringe benefits, higher prices, a limited selection, and inferior products to those available in the 19450s or 1970’s?

According to Don Boudreaux: Many of the improvement made in products are so small that they are masked in the largeness of numbers. Consider the bag of celery which in 70’s didn’t have a top that could be resealed for freshness. Then too, what we hear influences thinking. Being told that stagnation is present by our politicians and through the media, people just accept and believe. It matters not that facts to counter such thinking are staring them in the face.

In closing Mr. Boudreaux noted his second Chicago connection, the just announced decision to shutter the Sears store in the Loop, after which John Tillman presented Don Boudreaux with a pen to honor his participation in the Illinois Policy Institute Liberty Speaker Series for 2014. Tillman joked how Boudreaux would have to present three lectures to earn the pen.

John Tillman, as CEO of the Illinois Policy Institute, expressed excitement about 2014, (illinoispolicy.org/about-us/) calling it a pivotal year. Believing as Tillman does that free enterprise is the greatest force for good, this force can work to help lift up the poor and the disadvantaged.

Tillman described his positive outlook for Illinois in terms of the fall of the Berlin Wall in September, 1988. It was the general consensus that the wall would never come down; however, things were already in motion to make it happen prior to the fall of the wall.

To paraphrase Tillman, there are similar undercurrents present in Illinois. Even Speaker Mike Madigan is sensing that change. Republicans must seize the moral high ground in making the argument about the far reaching tentacles of liberty. Tillman asked for our help to possibly make Illinois the biggest story in this November’s election.

On January 16, I attended a luncheon event at The Heartland Institute featuring author C. Douglas Love and his book, Logic: The Truth About Blacks and the Republican Party, And Why They Need To Work Together To Improve The Party, The Black Community, And the Country. [Watch the video below.] The subject piqued my curiosity in a big way.

The invitation about C. Douglas Love spoke of him as “an amateur polymath and avid reader with a keen interest in politics.” Describing himself as a conservative, Love said he strives to be a champion of the truth. He believes that both political parties do the country a disservice in their rhetoric.

Raised in Gary, Indiana, Love now lives in Chicago with his wife where he runsa political site and an organization — Think or Die — whose purpose is to galvanize conservatives and educate people on the conservative principles and the dangers of an overreaching government.

Given Love’s credentials and the intriguing and promising title of his book, I was all ears about what Mr. Love had to say as a black Republican and author. For it seems logical to believe that blacks, even though voting Democrat 95% to 5% in the last election cycle, might be receptive to the Republican message if Republicans knew how to reach blacks and didn’t tend to write off the black community.

This led me to consider the following question: Why then are Republican pundits and those in House leadership positions currently convinced that a larger slice of the Hispanic vote is essential to winning elections, and that working with the Senate to pass immigration reform (amnesty) will produce the means to win future elections? It seems evident that Republicans have no inkling that amnesty is not popular outside the beltway. In the hinterland of America, securing the border before all else is top priority. Granting amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants is illogical, to say the least, and is not popular with the base of the Republican Party, given the millions of Americans unable to find jobs or who are underemployed

History does tell us that blacks and Republicans once had a strong relationship. From the creation of the Republican Party in 1856 to the election of Franklin Roosevelt, blacks voted exclusively for Republicans — for it was Lincoln as the first president to be elected under the Republican mantel who freed the slaves. As Love explains, while black allegiance started to shift during Roosevelt’s presidency with his “New Deal” programs, it was with the election of President Lyndon Johnson and his anti-poverty legislation that blacks went from voting exclusively for Republicans to voting exclusively for Democrats.

Love noted how the biggest shift of black allegiance from Republican to Democrat possibly took place when Barry Goldwater came on the scene with his book “The Conscience of a Conservative” in 1960. Goldwater’s book rubbed black people the wrong way, Love said. With the Barry Goldwater/LBJ presidential match-up four years later in 1964, blacks eagerly embraced Johnson and later on his War on Poverty.

Mr. Love’s remarks zeroed in on what many blacks believe about the Republican Party and the correlation those beliefs have on the way they vote. Love also had advice for Republicans in reaching out to black Americans for their votes.

Writing the book was not a sudden epiphany for Mr. Love. Like many black conservatives, Love said he started out as a Democrat. His transformation toward conservatism evolved over time. Love said blacks vote heavily Democratic because that’s the way their parents or family voted in the past. It is also more than likely, he said, that nasty remarks about Republicans are passed around within the black community that tend to forever poison the well for Republican candidates.

In explaining the nature of his book, Love noted how Logic differed in two essential ways from those written by other authors who have written about blacks and the GOP:

1. Logic’s goal is to abandon the use of labels and instead listen to what all have to say before forming opinions. (Arriving at personal conclusions is why Mr. Love chose Logic as the title of his book.)

2. Logic doesn’t address many issues, as its object isn’t directed at explicitly creating black Republicans. The use of logic, however, should result in a self-discovery (an awakening) by blacks to show that their former misconceptions are faulty and that being a Republican makes sense.

Love said he recalls often the experience of listening to people talk about the “angry responses” between John McCain and Obama in the 2008 election. The same tone of anger was heard four years later in the retorts exchanged between Mitt Romney and Barack Obama in the 2012 match up, which prompted Love to ask: “Why can’t people just disagree instead of calling each other names?”

Since those disagreeing most with Obama were Republicans, Love said, it came to be accepted as truth in the black community that all Republicans “must be racists” because they didn’t endorse Obama for president. Even after six years as president, it is pathetic that Obama is still using racism to explain why support for him and his programs aren’t more popular.

According to Mr. Love, this perceived racism toward Republicans among blacks developed at the time Barack Obama became the first back candidate to vie for the presidency. With the entrance of Obama on the national scene, many blacks at last took an interest in politics, with this one drawback: Any knowledge they gained was based solely on Obama’s candidacy and his subsequent election.

Overnight, Love said, blacks became experts on Obama — never questioning Obama’s policies or actions because they lacked prior political experiences to draw upon in order to evaluate or compare stated policies. Romney’s policies in 2012 would have been better economically for blacks, but lacking any background on which to base their votes, blacks voted for Obama’s wrong policies which sounded better to them, but which didn’t work.

Using logic, Mr. Love explained how to dispel the common notion in the black community that blacks can’t possibly be racists — as power and control must be present for racism to occur. Love asked: Is it really possible or logical to conclude that only Republicans can be racist and that Democrats are blameless? Is racism perceived to be present when a white candidate is selected over a less qualified black candidate? Or what if a more qualified black candidate is selected over a white candidate?

Other black misconceptions about whites, according to Love:

1. All white people are rich Republicans, which refutes logic as the wealthiest people in Congress are Democrats. Consider also that movie stars are wealthy and most often vote Democrat.

2. All whites love war and Bush was a war monger, when about an equal number of wars were started under presidents of both parties.

3. All whites are right-wing zealots, which comes into play because many blacks are one-issue voters (same as in many other ethnic groups). If a Democrat legislator is in sync with the views of a voters on a key issue — be it for gay rights, abortion, or immigration — voters must support that legislator. Yet not all Republicans are anti-gay, pro-life or for amnesty.

And what about the stigma placed upon black conservatives by other black Americans? As blacks are expected to vote Democrat or they are “off the plantation,” black conservatives are accordingly racist. Not so says Mr. Love who didn’t grow up wealthy — but neither did Dr. Ben Carson who was targeted by the IRS in 2013 after daring to criticize Obama and his policies at the National Prayer Breakfast.

In the Q&A after his presentation, Love was asked: Will Republicans ever again be able to capture a goodly portion of the black vote? Love suggested that 30 percent of the black vote is about all Republicans could hope for in future elections. Even so, he asked, why do Republicans write off a good proportions of the voting population? While Democrats can count on Jews, women, and Hispanics for support, they continue to take the black vote for granted because of its huge ready made majority. Is this indifference by Democrats an opportunity for Republicans among black voters?

Love said that it is not enough for Republicans to just show up in black neighborhoods once every four years. They are seen as opportunists. Republicans need to court the black vote, Love said, because blacks live in mega cities like Atlanta, Chicago, and Los Angeles. This is where the votes are. Blacks need the Republican Party, because Republican polices are better for blacks in the long run.

But Love asked: How does one break the chain of dependency that blacks have come to expect from Democratic politicians? Logic comes to the rescue. Has the leadership in your black community serve you well? What about the promises that were made over the years? Have they been kept? Are you better off since President Obama became president?

A brief discussion of Adam Smith’s book, The Invisible Hand, brought to a close the Heartland event. An black attendee noted how the “personal self-interest” of many black voters always comes into play. The result of voting for this “self-interest,” he said, has helped create the worst pathologies we see now in many black communities: poverty, unemployment, and crime.

Politicians would do well to remember: Good intent has consequences which should be based on results, not on interests.

I highly recommend you read Mr. Love’s book, Logic.

[END NOTE: I had one point of contention with Love, which riled me as a conservative Republican. It occurred when Love spoke about not being a fan of name-calling — specifically the use of the term RINOS (Republicans in Name Only) by conservative Republican and Tea Party members. As stated by Mr. Love: “Democrats don’t call Democrats DINOS,” so why does the Tea Party ostracize “RINOs”? For conservatives like me and other Tea Party members, the good of the party does not rest with establishment Republicans in leadership positions. They are trying to silence conservatives and the Tea Party so they can continue to compromise with Democrats with an agenda that is Democrat-lite — bigger government and more massive spending.

— Nancy Thorner

Nancy Thorner writes for Illinois Review.

It was House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-23 District, CA) who left the “cat out of the bag” as to how the House will deal with immigration reform, when according to an interview McCarthy gave to eyewitness News in Bakersfield, CA on Wednesday, January 22, “Republican leaders are calling for the first time to give legal status to millions of undocumented immigrants living in the United States,” signaling that amnesty will be part of the House Republican “piecemeal” immigration strategy. McCarthy’s district just happens to include a huge Hispanic population. Hispanics now equal the number of whites in California.

A clue to what John Boehner really had in mind was when in December of last year Boehner hired an adviser who had helped Sen. John McCain push comprehensive immigration, Rebecca Tallent, a well-known expert in the field of immigration.

What is the piecemeal deal now being considered by top House Republicans? It is a set of principles and standard by which the GOP can proceed on the path to full-scale reform. At an upcoming House Republican Conference annual retreat beginning on January 29th to discuss their legislative agenda, immigration reform will undoubtedly be front and center in the lead up to the endorsement of piecemeal immigration reform by House Republicans.

The two shiny objects in the Republican piecemeal approach to immigration which seem to glitter with so much promise in the eyes of Republican Party Leadership and many establishment members are twofold, the Dream Act and amnesty for agricultural workers.

1. Dream (or KIDS) Act: The stand-alone House version of this bill has not yet been unveiled, but the Gang of 8’s DREAM plank would legalize between 2-3 million individuals currently in the country illegally. Once legalized, they could then sponsor family member–those abroad and those who are currently in the country illegally–resulting in a “chain migration” that could triple the number of amnesty recipients.

Although this act might initially sound like the compassionate thing as it represents a law for children, but under the Senate bill there is no age requirement in applying for amnesty as long as the child has a high school diploma and was under the age of 16 when they entered unlawfully. Given the president broad use of executive power, he has board discretion to waive various requirements of a bill by giving special exemptions for hardship or public interest.

Consider also that each new citizen would be eligible for a host of mean-tested welfare program as a cost that might well amount to billions each year. The House version might vary, but most likely it will contain the same framework.

2. Agriculture Jobs Amnesty: H.R. 1773 (The “Agricultural Guest Worker Act”) would grant amnesty to all current illegal agricultural workers and welcomes 500,000 new workers each year (permitting the Secretary of Agriculture full discretion to raise the cap to accommodate a number of elusive considerations). Not unlike the DREAM Act, H.R. 1773 creates a new center of gravity from which chain legalization and government subsidies will follow.

Are House establishment Republican about to put hood-winked again by their naivete in believing that any piecemeal approach to immigration would survive once their proposed bills did go to conference with the Senate’s version produced by the Gang of Eight (S. 744).

Remember the recent Ryan/Murray budget proposal and its final conference product.

Consider what Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) had to say on August 7, 2013:

We would prefer a big comprehensive bill but any way the House can get there is okay by us. If they pass individual, smaller bills they will get agglomerated.

Why would President Obama support a piecemeal approach to immigration reform? President Obama. according to The Wall Street Journal, said he would be willing to accept a series of immigration bills instead of a single piece of comprehensive legislation that overhauls immigration policy, so long as the outcome would be the same as the Senate’s Gang of Eight bill.

Statement such as the above should raise the antenna of House Republicans. They have for Senator Jeff Sessions (R-Alabama), who in voting “no” on the Senate bill believes that the Republican-controlled House should be dubious and remain on alert. Sessions’ statement of warning:

It’s not step-by-step if the individual bills are combined into a comprehensive proposal in a backroom negotiation and delivered to the president’s desk.

Instead, the House must insist that enforcement is accomplished before advancing any other immigration bills.

It would be wise for members of Congress when attending their annual retreat on January 29th to vocally oppose any plan to unveil and pass piecemeal immigration bills during this Congress, for in the conformation process such bills could be capitulated and even ignored by President Obama.

Ignoring the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and big Republican donors who are in favor or amnesty and who are pushing the House to rally to their cause is a big order for establishment Republicans to fulfill. Are they really up to the challenge given their propensity to be liked and with policies that are Democrat-lite in nature?

Michell Malkin makes the case why Republican legislators should not be wooed by what is literally a wolf in sheep’s clothing — the U.S. Chamber of Commerce — in her article of January 24, The U.S. Chamber of Commerce vs. America.

When businesses get in the government handout line, it’s not a “public-private partnership.” It’s corporate welfare. Venture socialism. Whatever you call it, it stinks as much under Democrat administrations as it does under Republican ones.

Always beware of Washington business-boosters wearing false free-market facades.

Malkin goes on to explain in her article, among many troubling facts about the U.S. Chamber of Commerce:

1. How the chamber is one of the staunchest promoters of mass illegal immigration, and joined with the AFL-CIO and American Civil Liberties Union to oppose immigration enforcement measures.

2. How the chamber opposed E-verify and sued Arizona over its employer sanctions law.

3. How the chamber supported a pro-ObamaCare, pro-TARP, pro-stimulus, pro-amnesty Democrat in Arizona over his free-market GOP challenger.

The two shiny objects are destined to become tarnished objects to sully the Republican Party brand and cause irreparable damage, if the House Republican Party leadership insists on following through – egged on by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and wealthy Republican donors – with its doomed piecemeal approach to illegal immigration.

Get active and call your Illinois U.S. representative. If Republican, there are six Illinois Republican U.S. congressmen. Tell them not to support the piecemeal amnesty strategy that the Republican establishment hopes to have approved at next week’s Republican House annual retreat.

It’s better to do nothing than to go to conference with the Senate and find that the final outcome would be essentially the same as the Senate’s Gang of Eight bill.

Part 1: Republicans pin their hopes on elusive shiny objects http://illinoisreview.typepad.com/illinoisreview/2014/01/thorner-republicans-pin-their-hopes-on-elusive-shiny-objects.html#more

Sunday, January 26, 2014 at 04:00 PM | Permalink

It was shortly after the reelection of Barack Obama as President that Majority Leader Eric Cantor came across a poll indicating that had Republicans received 5% more of the Hispanic vote, Mitt Romney would have been the victor. To this day, Cantor regards amnesty as the key to a winning Republican strategy.

It took longer for the Speaker of the House, John Boehner, to similarly view amnesty as a God-send for the Republican Party. Boehner did vow in 2013 that he would never enter into House conference negotiations with the Senate in the aftermath of its passage of the “Gang-of-8” amnesty bill (S.744).

Was Boehner sincere when he vowed not to participate in Senate conference negotiations regarding amnesty? Only Boehner can answer that question. It’s highly unlikely that Boehner’s answer would please those of his Republican base for whom any discussion of immigration reform is contingent upon border security being addressed before and above all else.

It is more than likely that Boehner and those in House leadership positions, persuaded by U.S. Chamber of Commerce president Tom Donohue to push for immigration reform with a path to citizenship, sold out to crony capitalism. For as Donohue said in his recent speech on the state of American business, “We’re determined to make 2014 the year that immigration reform is finally enacted.” The Chamber of Commerce lobby will work with churches, community organizations, law enforcement groups and others to make sure the Republican-led House approves immigration reform.

Last year the U.S Chamber of Commerce spent more than $50 million on their lobbying efforts. The Chamber plans to surpass its $52.7 million lobbying efforts of last year as it ramps up its efforts on amnesty, Common Core, and the destruction of the Tea Party. Most of the Chamber’s money was spent on what Donohue calls the “top legislative priority for the business community”– amnesty for illegal immigrants. Tom Donohue even had the audacity to claim that this nation needs more workers!

As Donohue proclaimed:

“We need to provide a path out of the shadows for the 11 million undocumented immigrants who live in the United States today. As we have this debate, let’s not forget who we are, or what this nation was built upon — the dreams and hard work of those who came here seeking a better life.”

Undocumented usually means illegal. This nation was not build on illegal immigrants who were able to sneak across the borders or who overstayed their visas. At least 11 million have broken the law to be here. Do they now deserve to be placed on a fast track above the 4.4 million individuals already waiting in line, some for years, to become United States citizens? It is neither fair, nor can this nation afford to do so, given that the object of the Chamber in representing the business community is to maintain a supply to cheap labor. Furthermore, granting amnesty would set a precedent that would only encourage others to enter or stay in the U.S.illegally in hope of the same reward of citizenship

There has been an increase in border apprehensions by Border Patrol in FY 2012 and 2013, following six years of decline, which indicates a higher number of attempted illegal border crossings. This has been brought about by the relaxing of the of immigration policy by the Obama administration. The promise of amnesty has likewise spurred the flow of illegals especially over the southern border, for once in the United States there is a good chance that amnesty will be theirs (Out of 420,789 border apprehensions in fiscal 2013, 414,397 of them — or 98.48% — happened along the Southwest border.).

What about Unemployment in Illinois? Illinois ranked 48th in monthly state rankings at 8.7% for November 2013 when seasonally adjusted. Unemployment is actually much higher in Illinois when taking into consideration those individuals who have dropped out of the labor force because they can’t find work. These individuals do not factor into the unemployment rates in any state.

According to Pew’s State and Consumer Initiatives, Illinois’ job market will not improve in 2015. Predicted is that Illinois will rank dead last in the nation with an estimated job growth rate of 0.98%, amounting to a paltry 56,996 jobs added

A question that demands serious consideration here in Illinois is whether immigration reform (amnesty) is going to improve the dismal job situation?

Part two will conveys warnings as to what is afoot in the U.S. House under the leadership of John Boehner, why House legislators must be alerted not to vote for what would amount to a piecemeal approach to immigration reform by the House leadership, and the influence of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and its push for amnesty as a politically entrenched synod of special interests which represents big business of the Beltway, not the business of mainstream America.

Saturday, January 25, 2014 at 04:07 PM | Permalink

Technorati Tags: Illinois Review

Dismantling the Regulatory State is a Good Place to Start:
Part 2: Fasten Your Seat belts for Another Unbridled Year of Rules and Regulations

Turning to 2014, how will the year stack up for issuing federal rules and regulation sans Congressional involvement? Fasten your seat belts, for federal agencies are off to a running start! It will be a bumpy ride. Expect contentious fights ahead over many new rules stemming from ObamaCare, Dodd-Frank, Immigration, EPA regulations, Energy, Climate Change, and a host of other issues.

In the first three days of 2014 there were 141 new regulations issued by federal agencies. Of the 141 issued 119 are “rulemaking,” meaning they establish a new rule; twenty-three are “non-rulemaking,” meaning the regulation does not establish a new rule. It is no surprise that the largest group of regulations have to do with energy and environmental issues and were issued by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Noted here are two of the new EPA regulations set forth during the first three days of 2014:On Friday, January 3rd, the EPA published its final carbon capture regulation rule that is meant to remove potential obstacles in the implementation of carbon capture and sequestration (CSS) technology. These standards are viewed by many as a “war on coal” as carbon capture is costly and unproven

Also on Friday, January 3rd, the EPA proposed new standards for harmful emissions from new woodstoves and heaters. These standards would not take effect until 2015 and would only apply to wood heaters made after that. The claim is made that this rule would significantly reduce the pollution linked to heart attacks, strokes and asthma. The Hill, in its December 29, 2013 report, listed the ten biggest regulatory fights expected to take place in 2014:

1. Emissions standards for existing power plants. Obama has given the EPA until June to propose regulations limiting carbon emissions from existing power plants, the centerpiece of Obama’s climate change plan.

2. Regulations coming to e-cigarettes, cigars. The FDA is working on a regulation that could extend current rules to e-cigarettes, which produce vapor instead of smoke.

3. ObamaCare’s birth control mandate heads to court. The High Court is expected to hear arguments in the spring, agreeing as it did last November to hear a challenge to the Affordable Care Act’s so-called birth-control mandate.

4. Turbulence over plan to allow phones on planes. The FCC (Federal Communications Commission) voted in mid-December, 2013, to consider lifting the longstanding ban on in-flight cell phone use. The prospect of loud conversations has sparked fierce opposition. While cell phone use is acceptable for FCC Chairman, Tom Wheeler, as it means fear about interference is no longer an issue, Transportation Secretary, Anthony Foxx, could step in to prohibit in-flight calls by imposing a new regulation.

5. EPA to assert power over streams and ponds. The EPA has started the process of declaring that it has the power to regulate streams, brooks, and small ponds, as it seeks to clear up uncertainly about its powers under the Clean Water Act. This followed a Supreme Court ruling last year which cast doubt on the extent of the EPA’s authority

6. Smog rule on the way. Obama dealt a blow to environmental activists in 2011 when he killed an EPA attempt to issue new standards on ozone, said to be the main contributor of smog. Obama proclaimed at the time that regulatory burdens could hurt the still-struggling economy, and how new rules were not necessary since the EPA was scheduled to review smog standards in 2013. Significant strides are predicted in 2014..

7. SEC to force executives to disclose pay. This is one of hundreds of regulations under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform law that has not yet been implemented as a way to tighten the government’s reins on the financial sector. This is a potentially contentious regulation for companies who do not wish to disclose the gap in pay between their chief executives and average employees. Predicted is that its fate may ultimately by decided in Courts.

8. Calorie count coming to restaurant menus. This is one of the lesser-known provisions of the Affordable Care Act. The provision also includes snacks sold in vending machines.

9. Delays to rearview camera rule under attack. The Department of Transportation is already two years late on a regulation requiring all cars to have rearview cameras or similar technology.

10. OSHA to rekindle combustible dust debate. Although OSHA began work on a rule to regulate combustible dust in 2009, spring is the target date for proposing a new resolution. Businesses complain of the cost involved.

Are you one of many Americans who fails to connect the dots between government spending and how more government affects your life? Must likely you were shocked at the 3,659 rules and regulations issued in 2013, never realizing that the cost of big government affects the broader economy by way of fewer jobs, less income, and more expensive products and services. Regulatory costs in 2013 amounted to $14,678 per family.

Mentioned by Thorner were two Rules and Regulations issued by the EPA in the first three days of 2014. Although the EPA might only cost taxpayers about $8 billion in operational costs, the regulations put forth by the agency cost the economy untold hundreds of billions of dollars per year. Regulations by the EPA were up 44% in Obama’s first term. Other active rule-producing agencies are the Departments of the Treasury, Commerce, the Interior, Agriculture, and Transportation.

For your information, check out the Competitive Enterprise Institute report titled, Ten Thousand Commandments, which details the size, scope and cost of the federal regulatory behemoth, all 3,659 of them. cei.org/studies/ten-thousand-commandments-2013

As stated by Daniel Horowitz in The Hidden Tax of the Regulatory State:

Every Republican consultant is now giving advice on how to revive the languishing GOP. Some are pushing amnesty, others are pushing gay marriage, and still others are trying to resurrect compassionate conservatism. But we all know that the best strategy is one that effectively communicates to the American people how big government diminishes their quality of life. The regulatory state is a great place to start.

Dismantling the Regulatory State is a Good Place to Start: Part 1: Obama outshines Presidential peers: 3,659 Rules and Regulations during 2013

http://illinoisreview.typepad.com/illinoisreview/2014/01/thorner-dismantling-the-regulatory-state-is…

January 18, 2014

By Nancy Thorner and Bonnie O’Neil –

A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves money from the public treasury. From that moment on the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most money from the public treasury, with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy — which is always followed by a dictatorship.

How close is America to the tipping point in which we lose our republic? Our country certainly has declined morally and financially in the last few decades. Some are saying we are financially and morally bankrupt and even when the rule of law is applied, it is not always fair or honest.

Trust as defined by the dictionary means:

“Reliance on the integrity, strength, ability, surety, etc., of a person or thing; confidence.”

Yes, that sums it up well! The very word — trust — evokes strong emotions within us, as it is an essential ingredient in all our relationships: our marriages, our children and friends. It is also essential in our businesses relationships, our doctors, and even in the very products we buy. When that trust is broken, it is often devastating and exceedingly difficult to regain. It can cause irreparable damage.

Why then do we so easily overlook an elected official who deceives and lies to be elected? When they are elected and vote for laws we reject, and thus betray our trust, where is the public outrage? And most puzzling of all, why are they reelected?

Might it be that too many Americans are low information voters? Have we become a nation whose knowledge is largely limited to media sound-bites and newspaper headlines? Not knowing much about the candidates and their voting records or reputations, they often use their local newspaper’s recommendations for their ballot. How could they possibly know what the editors stand for, let alone the candidates or ballot propositions. It must be every citizen’s responsibility to discover if a candidates kept his/her promises and background.

Insight into this disconnect between voters and their legislators has a direct tie to Congressional approval statistics. For 2012 it was 15% and in 2013 it was 14%, the lowest in Gallup history. Apparently everyone blames the poor performance of congress on representatives from all the other states, falsely thinking their official performed according to his campaign promises. Until we hold our own representatives accountable, this trend will continue.

A case might be made that it is difficult to keep track of every public official’s political track record. Fair enough, but how about using the President of the United States as an example? Has he kept his promises; has he told the truth? While running for reelection in 2011 and speaking at fundraising events, President Barack Obama took credit for enacting a majority of his agenda during his then nearly three years in office. He claimed to have fulfilled 60 percent of them. But even by the most lenient standards, his percent of fulfilling promises was at best just 30 percent. Even more important, the promises he did not keep were the ones he emphasized most and which helped elect him.

Candidate Obama promised transparency and a new culture of cooperation in Washington D.C., one in which he would reach across the aisle to Republicans. He called it a climate of cooperation. But once the dust had settled from the election, and seeing that his party had gained a majority in both houses, Obama no longer needed to consider the opinions of Republicans. He not only ignored Republicans, he ignored the majority of citizens as he worked with a select group of his party members to craft the Stimulus Bill, which did not go for the purposes he promised, and the controversial Affordable Care Act, which is proving disastrous. The negotiations for both laws were conducted in a manner far from Obama’s campaign promises. Republicans were ignored in the crafting of the Affordable Care Act; it did not receive a single Republican vote.

Obama quickly broke his campaign promise of transparency. He promised to post all bills online 5 days before he would sign them. That did not happen! Thus, Nancy Pelosi’s famous comment, “We have to pass the healthcare bill to know what is in it,” was painfully accurate.

President Obama is now half way through his second term. At one time Obama indicated that the separation of powers are the key to our republic. Yet several days ago Obama announced that he would assume lawmaking powers via a pen to executive orders and a phone to call supporters for help. That brazen, authoritarian, and dangerous threat was an insult to his oath to uphold our constitution. The very reason for a republic and separation of powers is so that one person or one of the ruling bodies cannot dominate. It is a safeguard. We should be concerned when a president misuses and abuses his “executive order” privilege.

What is taking place in the oval office by this president is disturbing. When a president begins to overreach his authority, Congress should be front and center condemning it. To date nobody in his party has spoken out against this threat. The media has not clamored to their computers to expose this dangerous threat. Partisan politics is unhealthy when it reaches this point. It is times like this that the public must speak up and demand action.

Another issue of concern at present is the unprecedented removal of those in command of the military and their replacements by the Obama administration. Military careers have been abruptly ended with forced retirements. The obvious question we all should be asking is, why? Some have suggested It would be frightening if done to silence critics of the administration or to purge those who refuse to carry out what they consider illegal and/or immoral acts somewhere down the road. Others are just concerned it compromises our safety to reduce experienced, dedicated military personnel when we live in an uncertain and violent world.

Admittedly there are some honest, hardworking elected officials, but evidence indicates there are many who deceive voters to win elections and then govern in a manner far from what they promised. That will continue as long as the public remains uninterested and/or too busy to pay attention and hold them accountable. We all need to remember their campaign promises and closely examine their actions. Encourage those who do keep promises and support their reelection, but work to remove and replace those who disappoint.

Together we can make a positive difference if we make voting decisions based on what legislators do, not what they say they will do. Hope for our future will not be found in one person, even if he or she is the President. America’s fate will be determined by “we the people” at the grassroots level. That is a privilege that has made America the envy of the World.

We are the masters of our own destiny. We hold the fate of this nation in our hands. Will you take the challenge given by Benjamin Franklin centuries ago? Will you help protect our republic by voting wisely?

Bonnie O’Neil is the co-author of this post.
“[AUTHORS’ NOTE: This is but a prelude to a series of articles written by Nancy Thorner and Bonnie O’Neil in an effort to alert voters as to the importance of knowing the candidates and what they stand for. For only in doing so will this nation survive the assault that has been leveled upon it since our Founding Fathers gave us what is a remarkable document in our Constitution to serve as a signpost for this nation, a nation that grew and prospered under that amazing document. However, we should also remember the words of Benjamin Franklin as he left the hall after negotiating the Constitution in Philadelphia. Asked by a member of the gathered crowd what the authors had decided, Franklin replied “We have given you a republic, if you can keep it”. What prompted that remark? The authors and signers of the Constitution knew the potential danger of a Republic is the people. Our Country’s success or failure lies in the hands of voters, whose responsibility is to investigate and elect representatives who are patriots; men and women who are willing to jealously guard the constitution, and who will continually put country over personal gain.”

— Nancy Thorner

Nancy Thorner writes for Illinois Review.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Erick Erickson of Red State wrote that “Republicans are laying the groundwork to abandon their opposition to Obamacare,” citing the Business Roundtable, which has a great relationship with Republican leaders, as now listing Obamacare as an entitlement worth preserving?

This is extremely serious. Not only are Republicans now agreeable with immigration reform (code word for amnesty), but now they are ready to sanction the continuation of Obamacare thanks to business groups like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce who are influencing Republicans in leadership positions. What do Republicans stand for anymore; that is, those in power who call the shots and decide what is best for the American people?

I heard a very disturbing account on Mark Levin’s show (WLS-AM 890) last night (1/15) about the Omnibus bill passed by the House yesterday. Levin indicated that he had received the following information from a very reliable source in the House: After after having received immense pressure from President Obama not to mess with 1) the conscience clause in the Omnibus bill and 2) a new law that would greatly hamper action by Tea Party groups, Republicans caved in and passed the Bill because not to do as Obama had demanded would have shut down the government.

Republicans, in essence, allowed Obama to kick them around like the bully he is! House Republicans were also fine with the sequester being eliminated but left in the provision that denies pensions to veterans, which could amount to a reduction of retirement benefits by 20% over the lifetime of veterans.

Is it any wonder why I am ashamed of Mitch McConnell, Lamar Alexander, Eric Cantor, John Boehner and others in the leadership of the Republican Party? We conservatives are being literally screwed by the Republican leadership who are listening to voices other than the grassroots to decide policy and who are in the process of targeting conservative candidates who dare to challenge them in primary elections.

As crazy as this might sound, it might be time for a third party to rescue this nation from both the Democrat and the Republican parties. Both parties like big government and massive spending which is leading this nation down the path to financial ruin.

Thursday, January 16, 2014 at 10:15 AM | Permalink

Thorner: Dismantling the Regulatory State is a Good Place to Start

Part 1: Obama outshines Presidential peers: 3,659 Rules and Regulations during 2013

Every Presidential administration issues rules and regulations, but President Obama and his administration head the pack of Presidential peers in the use of regulations to legislate directly, skipping the legislative process by stretching the rules and regulations issued beyond the letter of the law upon which they were meant to be founded.

According to the annual analysis by the “Competitive Enterprise Institute,” in 2013 the Obama administration issued 3,659 rules and regulations through its various agencies when only 65 Public Laws were passed by Congress and signed by President Obama. That averages out to 56 rules and regulations for every law passed by Congress.

But consider the absurdity of a Los Angeles Times article which lamented that Congress was ineffective because it only passed a few laws in 2013, 65 to be exact. Were laws ever meant to be easy to pass?

The 65 pubic laws passed in 2013 can be viewed HERE.

According to an article written by Sterling Burnett for the Daily Caller, we have an “Imperial Presidency” who rules through regulations. This concept dovetails with a stated commitment made more than once by President Obama in which he spoke of his unwillingness to wait for Congress to act.

The 3,659 rules and regulations issued in 2013 offer irrefutable credence to President Obama’s determination to disallow the people’s representatives to have their say on climate climate change, illegal immigration, etc., as Obama dwells on his legacy while ignoring the Constitutional separation of powers.

It is because Congress abdicated its assigned role of legislating, preferring instead to delegate that task to executive agencies, that Obama is now the recipient of what Congress has allowed to happen since the beginning of the Progressive era in the late 19th and early 20th Century. In the interim, Congress has not had the fortitude to hold Obama or any other president accountable for his power grabs, which have greatly increased in numbers over the years to the amazing figure of 3,659 rules and regulations issued last year by Obama and his administrative agencies. The Courts have likewise been participating in the power grab.

One Executive Order issued in 2013 by President Obama, the Dream Act, has resulted in a new wave of illegal immigrants who subsequently have been allowed to jump the immigration queue to please the open borders lobby. 24,668 unaccompanied minors from Honduras, Guatemala, El Savador, and Mexico crossed the southern border in 2013. In this nation illegally, they were placed in the care of a federal de facto baby-sitting service because no parents were around to care for them. Parents have no qualms about sending their young people to the U.S. if it’s easier to residency illegally than legally.

Today, Monday, January 13, the boundaries of executive power will be tested when the Supreme Court considers whether President Obama violated the Constitution during his first term through his use of executive power. According to an article by Kevin Bogardus an Ben Goad on Sunday, January 12, oral argument will center on a trio of recess appointments to the National Labor Relations Board that were deemed unconstitutional by lower courts. To opponents of Obama’s run away regulatory power, the fight against the labor board (NLRB) is seen as a broader effort to stymie the Obama administration’s rules and regulations.

Part 2 will give a peek into the predicted rules and regulations Obama and his administration plan to enact, sans Congressional involvement, in 2014. Fasten your seat belts!

Monday, January 13, 2014 at 12:16 PM | Permalink

It was on January 8, 1964, marking a half century several days ago, that President Lyndon B. Johnson presented his State of the Union Annual Message to Congress in which he outlined his “Great Society” program (a $20 trillion taxpayer-funded war on poverty) with its astounding number of proposals to enrich the life of man for the purpose of creating a world that is meant for all men to ultimately have.

Listed under “Opportunity for All” in Johnson’s Annual Message to Congress was the following statement: “- to the poor and the unfortunate, through doubling the war against poverty this year.”

A year later Daniel P. Moynihan, as Assistant Secretary of Labor during the first part of the Johnson administration, devoted all his time trying to formulate national policy for what would become the “War on Poverty” — the unofficial name for Johnson’s Great Society program.

During Moynihan’s address at the Urban Institute in 1966 (in his report titled, “The Negro Family: The Case for National Action”), Moynihan reeled off the dire statistics about the plight of the Negro family.

Concerns (illnesses) Moynihan touted in 1966:

About a quarter of Negro families are headed by women. The divorce rate is about 2-1/2 times what it is [compared with whites], the number of fatherless children keeps growing. And all these things keep getting worse, not better, over recent years.

By the 90’s much reflection was being done over Johnson’s Great Society programs of the 60’s. What had happened? Not surprising is that different conclusions were reached at the time about how effective Johnson’s War on Poverty had been.

Michael Fumento expressed this concern in his article, “Is the Great Society to Blame?,” published in the Investor’s Business Daily, June 19, 1992, a concern that has become even more troubling in today’s atmosphere in the Obama administration.

Some may say, ‘Who cares?’ Let’s stop laying blame and start implementing solutions.” Yet, if government is to be part of the solution, some wonder if it isn’t necessary to first ask if it hasn’t been part of the problem.

On the blame side, Bush administration spokesman Marlin Fitzwater blamed the Great Society programs for ignoring “the relationship between people’s pride in their community and having a job.”

President George H. Bush noted how what was intended to be a “compassionate safety net,” not only consumed $3 trillion in 25 years, but also trapped many in an endless cycle of poverty that didn’t reward individual initiative.

The other side predictably argued that the programs were never given a chance to work [in fact, they never worked in the first place].

In Fumento’s 1992 article are statistics that are in keeping with Moynihan’s expressed reason for the poverty he observed in 1966: the single-parent family:

In 1980, there were 6.2 million families headed by single women, making up 19.4% of all families with children. By 1990, that number had risen to 84 million families, or 24.2% of the total. Blacks were hit especially hard.

At the beginning of World War II, the illegitimate birth rate among black Americans was slightly less than 19%. Beginning in the late 1960s the trend rapidly accelerated, reaching 49% in 1975 and 65% in 1989.

Empirical studies back in the 90’s, as they do today, have borne out the theory that welfare checks are behind much of the disintegration of the family. Statistics from the 90’s:

The University of Washington showed that an increase of roughly $200 a month in welfare benefits per family correlated with a 150% increase in the illegitimate birth rate among teens.

David Elwood of Harvard University found that of the 3.8 million families currently on AFDC (Aid to Families with Dependent Children), well over half will remain dependent or more than 10 years, many others for 15 years or longer.

Now it is 2014, fifty years after President Johnson’s January 8, 1964, State of the Union address at which he announced an ambitious government undertaking to eradicate poverty, and is this nation any closer to winning the War on Poverty?

This concern remained important enough for President Obama to highlight it in his February 19, 2013, State of the Union Address.

We got single moms out here. They’re heroic what they’re doing. We’re so proud of them. But at the same time, I wish I’d had a father who was around and involved.”

According to Robert Rector, a specialist on welfare and poverty at The Heritage Foundation, the war on poverty has been a failure when measured by the overall amount of money spent ($20.7 trillion) and how poverty rates haven’t changed significantly since Johnson gave his address back in 1964. Not withstanding, during the Obama administration the poverty level has reached a 50-year high. Rector went on the say that President Obama’s anti-poverty effort “are basically to give more people more free stuff.” That’s exactly the opposite of Johnson’s goal which was “to make people prosperous and self-sufficient.”

According to Rector, too many government anti-poverty programs still discourage marriage. Statistics show how more than four in 10 children are born to unmarried parents. That’s 41 percent of all children. When the war on poverty started, about 6 percent of children were born outside of marriage.

As benefits swelled, welfare came to serve as a substitute for a breadwinner husband at home through the marginalization of the men who had headed those families heretofore. Inconceivable is that a record 47 million Americans receive food stamps. This is about 13 million more than when Obama took office.

In commemoration of the fifty years and the $20 trillion spent since President Johnson used his State of the Union address on January 8, 1964, to declare his unconditional war on poverty in America, the Wall Street Journal on January 7 published an opinion piece by Robert Rector: “How the War on Poverty Was Lost.”

What an unmitigated disaster. We never learn, no matter how bad the outcome. What do we do? We double down and believe more welfare will be better.

About all we have accomplished in the last 50 years of this lost cause is to spend $20 Trillion (that is with a T and a very large sum of money); destroy the nuclear family idea (most tragically, blacks were the victim); moved out-of-wedlock birth from around 6% to over 41% (again mostly imposed on blacks); destroyed any semblance of work ethic among those in poverty; and created a welfare society no economy can afford or sustain.

Imagine if just half of the $20 trillion, $10 trillion were devoted to investment in infrastructure, or left in the hands of the private sector, how robust our economy would be?

Finally, while not part of the article, imagine how strong this country would be if we had a public education system that functioned as it should, to educate, not just teach our children, how strong this country and economy would be.

Based on the weight of many Americans, and in particular, those classified at the poverty levels, we have at least ended hunger.

Friday, January 10, 2014 at 07:32 AM | Permalink

Technorati Tags: Great Society, Illinois Review, Lyndon B. Johnson, Nancy Thorner, War on Poverty

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