Military, schools should get back to basic mission

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Name a social cause and it’s likely to find its way into a taxpayer-funded entity.

From famed atheist Madalyn Murray O’Hair who successfully removed prayer from the classroom to today’s controversy over transgender bathrooms, public schools have provided a platform for those seeking to make social change.

Some of that change — integration, accommodation for disabilities and special education for example — are sorely needed. Others stretch popular consensus to the breaking point.

Students pay the price when the latest social issue overshadows their purpose for being in school — education and the process of learning.

Is it any wonder that charter and parochial schools, as well as homeschooling, are increasingly popular?

Many of the same arguments can be made for the military, in which too much energy is expended trying to meet social edicts that distract from the primary mission of protecting our country.

The military led the way on integration in the 1940s, but it also has been embroiled in issues such as President Clinton’s “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, to open acceptance of homosexuality and transgender issues.

The most notable case of the latter was Chelsea Manning, a former U.S. Army soldier court-martialed in July 2013 and sentenced to 35 years in prison after disclosing nearly 750,000 military and diplomatic documents to WikiLeaks while serving as an intelligence analyst in Iraq.

Born Bradley Edward Manning, she said she had a female gender identity since childhood and underwent hormone replacement therapy. President Obama, commuted her sentence to nearly seven years served before he left office.

Today’s announcement by President Trump that transgender personnel will no longer be accepted in the military is highly unlikely to end the issue, but there are more productive ways to establish national policy.

The military that protects our nation’s security, as well as the educational system that protects our country’s future, are too important to be disrupted by experimentation.

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  • Here's an idea to dove tail with this editorial:

    Hey Government: It's Time to Get Serious!

    Brian S. Wesbury, Chief Economist

    Robert Stein, Deputy Chief Economist

    Date: 7/17/2017

    At eight years, the current economic recovery is the third longest on record. Personal income, consumer spending, household assets, and net worth, are all at record highs. Stock markets are at record highs. Corporate profits are within striking distance of their all-time highs. Federal tax receipts are at record highs.

    So, how is it possible that the federal budget, along with some state and local budgets, still look like they're in the middle of a nasty recession?

    The answer: Government fiscal management is completely out of control. Politicians find time to fret about Amazon's purchase of Whole Foods and won't stop bashing banks, but they've lost their ability to deal with their own fiscal reality.

    The federal government is projected to run a nearly $700 billion deficit this year, and long-term forecasts suggest trillion dollar deficits as far as the eye can see. Illinois and the City of Chicago are running chronic deficits, while New Jersey and New York are fiscal basket cases.

    This makes the politicians of the 1990s look downright responsible. In 1999, after a 10-year recovery, these entities were all running surpluses. But even if this recovery lasts 12 years, deficits will persist. And what happens if there's another recession?

    Politicians have claimed intellectual support for their fiscal irresponsibility from John Maynard Keynes. He believed in deficit-spending to help cure the problems of weak consumer spending in a recession. As a result, the Panic of 2008 gave cover to grow government, and they did so in spectacular fashion. But that "emergency" spending then morphed into permanent overspending and chronic deficits.

    Tax rates are higher today than in 1999, and the economy is bigger, but governments have consistently outspent the ability of taxpayers to fund it.

    Even Keynes thought the government should roll back spending and get budget deficits under control in better economic times. But politicians are long past seeking his intellectual support. They love to lecture business-people about greedy human nature, yet can't turn that analysis on themselves.

    Businesses and entrepreneurs create new things and build wealth. Politicians redistribute that wealth. And while some of what government does can help the economy, like providing defense or supporting property rights, the U.S. government has expanded well beyond that point. Politicians have never been this reckless or fiscally irresponsible.

    Whenever we say this, people ask; "what would you cut from the budget?" And then, if you are actually brave enough to answer, you get attacked for "not caring."

    This needs to stop. Illinois is in a death spiral. Tax rate increases will chase more productive people out of the state, while ratchetting spending higher. And just like Detroit and Puerto Rico, the state will go bankrupt.

    The U.S. government is on this path, but, because it has the ability to fund itself with the best debt in the world, a true fiscal day of reckoning is still 15-20 years away.

    Government spending needs to be peeled back everywhere. It's no longer a case of picking and choosing. And until that happens, the fiscal irresponsibility of the government is the number one threat to not only America, but the world.

    No matter what politicians tell us, any pain caused by private sector greed will pale in comparison to the mayhem that collapsing governments can create. Just look at Venezuela or Greece! It's time to reset America's fiscal reality. And if that means debt ceiling brinksmanship, shutting down the government, or moving to a simple majority on spending decisions, so be it. It's time to get serious!

    This information contains forward-looking statements about various economic trends and strategies. You are cautioned that such forward-looking statements are subject to significant business, economic and competitive uncertainties and actual results could be materially different. There are no guarantees associated with any forecast and the opinions stated here are subject to change at any time and are the opinion of the individual strategist. Data comes from the following sources: Census Bureau, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Bureau of Economic Analysis, the Federal Reserve Board, and Haver Analytics. Data is taken from sources generally believed to be reliable but no guarantee is given to its accuracy.

    -- Posted by dameister on Wed, Jul 26, 2017, at 9:04 PM
  • Nebraska has the 16th highest income tax in the nation on a per capita basis. Higher than all the states around us. A recent study indicated that the states with the highest rates of people moving to them had no or very little state income tax....several had no income tax on social security. Yet Nebraska keeps talking about lowering property tax...which is high. Lowering income tax helps all those with an income. Lowering property tax on Ag land only helps those who own Ag land, and then transfers the money lost on collection of Ag land taxes to others to pay.

    -- Posted by dennis on Thu, Jul 27, 2017, at 8:16 AM
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