Category Archives: Entitlements

August 15, 2020

Duke University Economist Calls for $12 Trillion in Slavery Reparations

Duke University economist William Darity Jr. and his wife Kirsten Mullen have co-authored a report proposing $12 trillion in reparations for Americans whose ancestors were enslaved.

The plan, written for The Roosevelt Institute, calls for between $10 trillion and $12 trillion — approximately $800,000 per African-American household — to be paid.

“[The] US government—the culpable party—must pay the debt,” the report proclaims. “Ultimately, respect for black Americans as people and as citizens—and acknowledgment, redress, and closure for the history and financial hardship they have endured—requires monetary compensation.”

The proposal has been dismissed by conservative and libertarian-leaning experts, who say it would greatly hinder economic growth.

“Our national debt is already now up to around $26-27 trillion given the money we’re spending on Covid,” said Cato Institute fellow Michael Tanner. “And we’re losing more money because we’re not picking up the revenue because economic growth is so slow right now. This hardly seems the time to burden the economy with more debt, more taxes. Essentially what you want to do is stimulate economic growth for all our benefits.”

The economics aside, leading African-American political figures, including Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Ben Carson, have cast doubt over the feasibility of reparations.

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July 28, 2020

Fedcoin: A New Scheme for Tyranny and Poverty by Ron Paul

The government could use the ability to know how Americans are spending fedcoin to limit our ability to purchase goods and services disfavored by politicians and bureaucrats. Anyone who doubts this should recall the Obama administration’s Operation Choke Point. Operation Choke Point involved financial regulators “alerting” banks that dealing with certain businesses, such as gun stores, would put the banks at “reputational risk” and could subject them to greater regulation.

If some Congress members get their way, the Federal Reserve may soon be able to track many of your purchases in real time and share that information with government agencies. This is just one of the problems with the proposed “digital dollar” or “fedcoin.”

Fedcoin was initially included in the first coronavirus spending bill. While the proposal was dropped from the final version of the bill, there is still great interest in fedcoin on Capitol Hill. Some progressives have embraced fedcoin as a way to provide Americans with a “universal basic income.”

Both the Senate Banking Committee and the House Financial Services Committee held hearings on fedcoin in June. This is the first step toward making fedcoin a reality.

Fedcoin would not be an actual coin. Instead, it would be a special account created and maintained for each American by the Federal Reserve. Each month, Fed employees could tap a few keys on a computer and — bingo — each American would have dollars added to his Federal Reserve account. This is the 21st century equivalent of throwing money from helicopters.

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July 24, 2020

Ice Cube: Hollywood Owes ‘Reparations’ for ‘All the Damage They’ve Done to Black People’

Ice Cube, who has over one hundred soundtrack credits, 31 producer credits, and over 70 acting credits, called for “reparations” from Hollywood studios on Wednesday.

Hollywood studios such as MGM, Warner Bros., and Universal should fund “black studios” to compensate black people for “stealing our history and giving it to white people,” Ice Cube declared.

“All the studios who contributed in our narrative, in our pain, in our misrepresentation, in stealing our history and giving it to white people for over a 100 years, so I think these studios that we know and love should kick in to a studio that’s ran by black people with no outside influences, and whose movies and projects are owned by those black people,” the Ride Along and xXx: Return of Xander Cage star said.

“Those black artists, those black directors and writers, and people who put the projects together should own the projects, and any studios they can license — the projects, the movies, or the TV shows or whatever — or they don’t have to,” Ice Cube said in an interview with The Breakfast Club, a nationally broadcast morning radio show hosted by Charlamagne tha God, Angela Yee, and DJ Envy. “We can put them on our own streaming services. I just think it’s a form of reparations from the entertainment industry if they all had to invest a certain amount of money into the studio each year as payment for all the damage they’ve done to black people.”

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February 28, 2018

USDA: 35,891 Retailers Engaged in Food Stamp Fraud

The report, published in September 2017, looked at food stamp trafficking in 2012, 2013 and 2014, estimating that more than $1 billion in SNAP benefits were “trafficked” annually during that time period and that about 11.8 percent of the 303,522 retail stores authorized to accept SNAP benefits over the period were involved in trafficking.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has published a report estimating that 35,891 food retailers around the country engaged in food stamp fraud, illegally “trafficking” more than $1 billion in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits annually over the three-year period from 2012 through 2014.

“Retailer trafficking of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits occurs primarily when SNAP recipients sell their benefits for cash to food retailers, often at a discount,” the USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service said in a summary of the report.

“SNAP benefits are permitted for the purchase of eligible food items from authorized food retailers,” said the report. “The sale or exchange of SNAP benefits for anything other than food sold by an authorized SNAP retailer is illegal.”

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February 23, 2018

Why America Is Going Broke

Entitlements are driving deficits and debt. Absent reform, the problem will soon become a crisis.

The federal deficit is big and getting bigger. President Trump’s budget estimates a deficit of nearly $900 billion for 2018 and nearly $1 trillion (with total spending of $4.4 trillion) for 2019. Its balance sheet reveals that the public debt will reach $15.7 trillion by October. This works out to $48,081.61 for every man, woman and child in the U.S. That doesn’t count unfunded liabilities, reported by the Social Security and Medicare Trustees, that are four times the current public debt.

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January 17, 2018

The Corrupt Politics of Low-Income Housing

State officials gleefully line their own pockets at taxpayers’ expense.

The rent is too damn high—so each year Congress appropriates billions of dollars to address the nation’s collective housing needs. The programs vary from loans to tax credits to straight-up subsidies, but a common feature is that federal taxpayers pony up the dough and then a motley collection of state-level politicians, financing agencies, and housing authorities decide how it’s spent. Can you guess where things go wrong?

In theory, oversight is provided by bureaucrats in Washington tracking every dollar and by local leaders increasing their re-election prospects by providing housing assistance to their constituents as effectively as possible. In practice, the feds turn a blind eye to inefficient uses of the funds while local officials gleefully engage in politically advantageous graft.

Take California Treasurer John Chiang. By virtue of his position on the three-member California Tax Credit Allocation Committee, Chiang exercises enormous influence over who gets $94.9 million each year in federal tax credits intended for developers of low-income housing.

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January 2, 2018

NYT: Death of Social Democracy — Brussels, Davos Elite ‘Deluded’ Over Welfare Statism and Globalism

In a scathing condemnation of the attitudes of the “Davos elite”, the political editor for Germany’s Die Zeit newspaper has penned an article for the New York Times blasting the “two built-in contradictions” of social democracy.

Jochen Bittner, who writes once a month for the NYT, begins by dissecting the electoral irrelevance of Germany’s Social Democrat party, led by former European Parliament president Martin Schulz. He diagnoses social democracy’s decline by outlining two major “contradictions”.

Firstly, that you can broaden the domestic welfare state and its crony capitalist underpinning while shifting policy-making to larger, transnational institutions like the European Union. Secondly, that this same welfare state can exist in a world of “open borders” or open migration.

“Instead of at last addressing this contradiction, prominent Social Democrats appear intent on solving the dilemma of internationalism by making it bigger. Martin Schulz, the party’s leader, has just proposed a “United States of Europe” by 2025 — and to expel European Union member states that won’t join in his flight of fancy,” he writes of the first problem.

He notes of the second: “Ms. Merkel’s predecessor, the Social Democrat Gerhard Schröder, recognized this and pruned back Germany’s overgenerous welfare spending to make the economy more competitive. It was the right move, however unpopular, and the party wisely defends it today. But following these welfare restrictions, how can you convey to your electorate that you are opening the doors of your country to a million refugees and migrants who are entitled to welfare payments?”

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December 19, 2017

New migrants BANNED from welfare benefits including the dole, parental leave and carer’s allowances during their first three years in Australia

Migrants will have to wait longer for government help under a new policy. Treasurer Scott Morrison announced measures to ‘encourage self-sufficiency’. There will be a three year delay before migrants can receive Newstart. Delay will also apply to family tax benefits, parental leave, carer allowances.

Newly-arrived migrants will have to wait longer before receiving a range of welfare payments under a hardline new approach expected to save $1.3 billion.

It will be three years before migrants can receive Newstart or family tax benefits, paid parental leave or carer allowances.

The push to ‘encourage self-sufficiency’ among new migrants was one of the headline savings measures announced by Treasurer Scott Morrison in a mid-year budget outlook on Monday.

Social Services Minister Christian Porter suspects many people would be surprised to learn migrants could access some family and parental payments immediately after arriving in Australia.

‘Australians’ expectation of newly-arrived migrants is that they contribute socially and economically for a reasonable period before having access to our nation’s generous welfare system,’ Mr Porter said.

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December 13, 2017

Ghanian National Who Pleaded Guilty to Nearly $300,000 Worth of Food Stamp Fraud May Face Deportation

A Ghanian national who pleaded guilty Thursday to conducting nearly $300,000 worth of food stamp fraud may face deportation.

Prosecutors say that Esther Acquaye, 49, who owned Esther’s Fashion Paradise in Worcester, Massachusetts, allowed Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) recipients to trade their benefits for cash, paying them 50 cents for every SNAP dollar redeemed.

She then pocketed the full value of the SNAP benefits from the federal government.

Acquaye pleaded guilty to several charges, including aiding and abetting food stamp fraud, conspiracy, and trafficking counterfeit goods.

She is expected to be sentenced March 7 and faces prison time and the possibility of deportation because she is a Ghanian national in the U.S. on a green card.

There is no specific sentence that two parties agreed upon in the plea deal, but the federal government asked that Acquaye agree to three years of supervised release following her prison sentence and pay restitution, according to court documents.

Records show that federal investigators began looking into Esther’s Fashion Paradise after they noticed an unusual spike in SNAP benefit redemptions over the span of three months.

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November 27, 2017

Trump wants to end welfare as Bill Clinton knows it

Trump said in October that welfare was “becoming a very, very big subject, and people are taking advantage of the system.”

Overhauling welfare was one of the defining goals of Bill Clinton’s presidency, starting with a campaign promise to “end welfare as we know it,” continuing with a bitter policy fight and producing change that remains hotly debated 20 years later.

Now, President Donald Trump wants to put his stamp on the welfare system, apparently in favor of a more restrictive policy. He says “people are taking advantage of the system.”

Trump, who has been signaling interest in the issue for some time, said this past week that he wants to tackle the issue after the tax overhaul he is seeking by the end of the year. He said changes were “desperately needed in our country” and that his administration would soon offer plans.

For now, the president has not offered details. Spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said more specifics were likely early next year. But the groundwork has already begun at the White House and Trump has made his interest known to Republican lawmakers.

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