Tag Archives: State of the Union

Trump’s State of the Union speech: “Americans are dreamers, too”

Trump's State of the Union pitted America against Democrats
Trump’s State of the Union pitted America against Democrats

I can’t recommend that you go back and watch the speech, because it was so very long. Too long. However, the guys over at the Daily Wire liked the speech a lot, and they gave it high grades. Why? Because Trump put forward conservative principles with examples in a way that linked conservative virtues to America. However, the Democrats sat through almost all of it with stone faces, sitting on their hands.

The best summary I found so far was up at the Daily Caller.

Excerpt:

President Donald Trump delivered a largely conciliatory speech during his State of the Union address Tuesday.

[…]The major policy proposals put forth to Congress were calls for a new infrastructure investment package and the acceptance of a new proposal to reform the U.S. immigration system. “Every Federal dollar should be leveraged by partnering with State and local governments and, where appropriate, tapping into private sector investment — to permanently fix the infrastructure deficit,” the president said of infrastructure.

Trump’s immigration package offers a pathway to citizenship for 1.8 million illegal immigrants brought to the U.S. as children in exchange for full funding for wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, eliminating chain migration and an end to the diversity visa lottery program.

The president frequently pointed out guests of the First Lady throughout the speech including U.S. soldiers recognized for valor in combat, firefighters from California, ICE agents, parents who lost their children to MS-13 gang violence, and a North Korea defector.

And here is the detail on one case I liked from the Daily Caller:

President Donald Trump celebrated Staff Sgt. Justin Peck for his role in saving the life of his fellow soldier who was wounded clearing deadly traps form buildings in the former ISIS stronghold of Raqqa, Syria.

“Near Raqqa last November Justin and his comrade, Chief Petty Officer Kenton Stacy, were on a mission to clear buildings that ISIS had rigged with explosives so that civilians could return to that city hopefully soon and hopefully safely,” Trump said. “Clearing the second floor of vital hospital, Kenton Stacy was severely wounded by an explosion. Immediately, Justin bounded into the booby-trapped and unbelievably dangerous and unsafe building and found Kenton, but in very, very bad shape.”

Trump went on to describe the incredible medical care administered by Peck, who rose stoically to his feet amid overwhelming applause from the audience.

“He applied pressure to the wound and inserted a tube to reopen an airway, he then performed CPR for twenty straight minutes during the ground transport and maintained artificial respiration through two and a half hours and through emergency surgery,” Trump said. “Kenton Stacy would have died if it were not for Justin’s selfless love for his fellow warrior. Tonight Kenton is recovering in Texas, Raqqa is liberated and Justin is wearing his new bronze star with a V for valor.”

U.S. backed coalition forces cleared ISIS militants from Raqqa in October after four years of occupation. The terrorist group has been eradicated from roughly 98 percent of the territory they held at the height of their power.

Here’s the clip for that one:

This is good because Democrats think that our armed forces need to be disarmed and pulled out of wars against our enemies. That is why Obama pulled out of Afghanistan and Iraq, and cut funding for the military. He thought they were doing harm, and wanted them to stop doing harm. Obama’s allies in the mainstream media go out of their way to paint the US armed forces in a bad light – remember how many months they talked about Abu Ghraib and waterboarding? But Trump counters the Democrats with an example of people in the Armed Forces doing great things. And since Trump is the one speaking, praise for the military is naturally linked with Trump’s Republican party. Republicans believe in the military, and here is an example of why we do. And Democrats sat on their hands and kept silent.

There were lots of examples that helped everyone to understand why Republicans take the positions they do.

Here’s an example – why are Republicans for border security?

And another – why are Republicans opposed to North Korea?

And another – why do Republicans cut taxes for the middle class?

And another – why do Republicans think America is better than some other countries?

When a Republican president points out examples of things Republicans like, other people start to understand that Republicans are not the horrible devils that Democrats make them out to be. When the Democrats refused to clap for goodness, it helps people to think “maybe I’m not a Democrat after all”.

This went on and on throughout the speech. The Democrats were silent for tax cuts. The Democrats were silent for hard working Americans. The Democrats were silent for small business owners. The Democrats were silent for lower black unemployment. The Democrats were silent when the national anthem was praised. The Democrats were silent when the flag was celebrated. What came across over and over again was that what is good for America is bad for Democrats, and vice versa.

It was a great speech, and it moved the ball forward as far as the place of conservatism in the culture.

Obama proposes new tax on stay-at-home moms in SOTU speech

Brad Wilcox writes in the Wall Street Journal about the new tax on stay-at-home mothers that Obama proposed in his State of the Union speech.

He writes:

Guess which kind of family was left out in the cold by President Obama as he unveiled his plan to help middle-class families in his State of the Union address? The traditional two-parent family with a single breadwinner.

The president pitched his plan as part of an agenda in which “everyone gets their fair shot, everyone does their fair share, and everyone plays by the same set of rules” in part by “lowering the taxes of working families and putting thousands of dollars back into their pockets each year.” But by design or omission, his plan does virtually nothing for married families with a parent at home, usually the mother.

The president’s plan would triple the existing child-care tax credit to $3,000 for two-earner families with children under 5 and a combined income of less than $120,000, and it would establish a new $500 credit for families in which both spouses work. The plan would provide tax relief—which would no doubt help with the cost of child care, commuting, etc.—to middle-class families with both parents in the workforce. But families who choose to have a parent at home would see none of this tax relief.

Terry Jeffries explains in CNS News why Obama would want to penalize stay-at-home moms.

He writes:

The perversely logical corollary to Obama’s desire to structure the tax code to the disadvantage of stay-at-home mothers is his desire to use tax dollars to replace working fathers with the government itself.

As this column has noted before, in each of the last six years on record — 2008 through 2013 — at least 40 percent of the babies born in the United States were born to unmarried mothers. By contrast, in 1940, only 3.8 percent of the babies were born to unmarried mothers.

According to the Department of Health and Human Services’ annual report on “Welfare Indicators and Risk Factors” it is a fact that “historically a high proportion of welfare recipients first became parents outside of marriage.”

In 2013, according to the Census Bureau, there were 105,862,000 full-time year-round workers in the United States — including 16,685,000 full-time government workers. These full-time workers were outnumbered by the 109,631,000 whom the Census Bureau says were getting benefits from means-tested federal programs — n.b. welfare — as of the fourth quarter of 2012.

Every American family that pays its own way — and takes care of its own children whether with one or two incomes — must subsidize the 109,631,000 on welfare.

Perhaps if we started rolling back the welfare state — and reduced the burden of government on all families that rely on themselves and not the government — more mothers would choose to stay home even if that meant Obama and his ideological heirs would discriminate against them in the tax code.

So if you make it impossible for a woman to stay home, then she goes to work. If she goes to work, she pays taxes to the government. The government turns around and distributes that money to people who will vote for them in exchange for the money – like single mothers on welfare. The more money they make, the more money they have to buy votes with. And they get the votes of all the child care workers, too – because if mothers stayed home, they wouldn’t have jobs. Only the parents and the children suffer, as the children get torn away from their parents to be raised by strangers. Often, child care workers are unionized, and work based on government specifications. Parents lose the ability to care for their own children and watch over them, teaching them their beliefs and values. Instead, the values of these strangers are given to them. Instead of a mother’s love, they get fed and handled by strangers.

I guess we shouldn’t be surprised that the party that aborts unborn children treats born children like this. It amazes me that people who claim to be pro-marriage and pro-family keep voting for politicians who want to raise taxes, forces women to leave their children in the hands of strangers in order to make ends meet.

Iowa senator Joni Ernst responds to Obama’s State of the Union speech

Iowa senator Joni Ernst
Iowa senator Joni Ernst

Here’s the video of the speech:

Transcript from The Weekly Standard.

Good evening.

I’m Joni Ernst. As a mother, a soldier, and a newly elected senator from the great State of Iowa, I am proud to speak with you tonight.

A few moments ago, we heard the President lay out his vision for the year to come. Even if we may not always agree, it’s important to hear different points of view in this great country. We appreciate the President sharing his.

Tonight though, rather than respond to a speech, I’d like to talk about your priorities. I’d like to have a conversation about the new Republican Congress you just elected, and how we plan to make Washington focus on your concerns again.

We heard the message you sent in November — loud and clear. And now we’re getting to work to change the direction Washington has been taking our country.

The new Republican Congress also understands how difficult these past six years have been. For many of us, the sting of the economy and the frustration with Washington’s dysfunction, weren’t things we had to read about. We felt them every day.

We felt them in Red Oak — the little town in southwestern Iowa where I grew up, and am still proud to call home today.

As a young girl, I plowed the fields of our family farm. I worked construction with my dad. To save for college, I worked the morning biscuit line at Hardees.

We were raised to live simply, not to waste. It was a lesson my mother taught me every rainy morning.

You see, growing up, I had only one good pair of shoes. So on rainy school days, my mom would slip plastic bread bags over them to keep them dry.

But I was never embarrassed. Because the school bus would be filled with rows and rows of young Iowans with bread bags slipped over their feet.

Our parents may not have had much, but they worked hard for what they did have.

These days though, many families feel like they’re working harder and harder, with less and less to show for it.

Not just in Red Oak, but across the country.

We see our neighbors agonize over stagnant wages and lost jobs. We see the hurt caused by canceled healthcare plans and higher monthly insurance bills. We see too many moms and dads put their own dreams on hold while growing more fearful about the kind of future they’ll be able to leave to their children.

Americans have been hurting, but when we demanded solutions, too often Washington responded with the same stale mindset that led to failed policies like Obamacare. It’s a mindset that gave us political talking points, not serious solutions.

That’s why the new Republican majority you elected started by reforming Congress to make it function again. And now, we’re working hard to pass the kind of serious job-creation ideas you deserve.

One you’ve probably heard about is the Keystone jobs bill. President Obama has been delaying this bipartisan infrastructure project for years, even though many members of his party, unions, and a strong majority of Americans support it. The President’s own State Department has said Keystone’s construction could support thousands of jobs and pump billions into our economy, and do it with minimal environmental impact.

We worked with Democrats to pass this bill through the House. We’re doing the same now in the Senate.

President Obama will soon have a decision to make: will he sign the bill, or block good American jobs?

There’s a lot we can achieve if we work together.

Let’s tear down trade barriers in places like Europe and the Pacific. Let’s sell more of what we make and grow in America over there so we can boost manufacturing, wages, and jobs right here, at home.

Let’s simplify America’s outdated and loophole-ridden tax code. Republicans think tax filing should be easier for you, not just the well-connected. So let’s iron out loopholes to lower rates — and create jobs, not pay for more government spending.

The President has already expressed some support for these kinds of ideas. We’re calling on him now to cooperate to pass them.

You’ll see a lot of serious work in this new Congress.

Some of it will occur where I stand tonight, in the Armed Services Committee room. This is where I’ll join committee colleagues — Republicans and Democrats — to discuss ways to support our exceptional military and its mission. This is where we’ll debate strategies to confront terrorism and the threats posed by Al Qaeda, ISIL, and those radicalized by them.

We know threats like these can’t just be wished away. We’ve been reminded of terrorism’s reach both at home and abroad; most recently in France and Nigeria, but also in places like Canada and Australia. Our hearts go out to all the innocent victims of terrorism and their loved ones. We can only imagine the depth of their grief.

For two decades, I’ve proudly worn our nation’s uniform: today, as a Lt. Colonel in the Iowa Army National Guard. While deployed overseas with some of America’s finest men and women, I’ve seen just how dangerous these kinds of threats can be.

The forces of violence and oppression don’t care about the innocent. We need a comprehensive plan to defeat them.

We must also honor America’s veterans. These men and women have sacrificed so much in defense of our freedoms, and our way of life. They deserve nothing less than the benefits they were promised and a quality of care we can be all be proud of.

These are important issues the new Congress plans to address.

We’ll also keep fighting to repeal and replace a health care law that’s hurt so many hardworking families.

We’ll work to correct executive overreach.

We’ll propose ideas that aim to cut wasteful spending and balance the budget — with meaningful reforms, not higher taxes like the President has proposed.

We’ll advance solutions to prevent the kind of cyberattacks we’ve seen recently.

We’ll work to confront Iran’s nuclear ambitions.

And we’ll defend life, because protecting our most vulnerable is an important measure of any society.

Congress is back to work on your behalf, ready to make Washington focus on your concerns again.

We know America faces big challenges. But history has shown there’s nothing our nation, and our people, can’t accomplish.

Just look at my parents and grandparents.

They had very little to call their own except the sweat on their brow and the dirt on their hands. But they worked, they sacrificed, and they dreamed big dreams for their children and grandchildren.

And because they did, an ordinary Iowan like me has had some truly extraordinary opportunities because they showed me that you don’t need to come from wealth or privilege to make a difference. You just need the freedom to dream big, and a whole lot of hard work.

The new Republican Congress you elected is working to make Washington understand that too. And with a little cooperation from the President, we can get Washington working again.

Thank you for allowing me to speak with you tonight.

May God bless this great country of ours, the brave Americans serving in uniform on our behalf, and you, the hardworking men and women who make the United States of America the greatest nation the world has ever known.

You can find out more about Joni Ernst in this article from Yahoo News.

New study by HHS: Head Start early childhood education programs don’t work

This story is from last month, but I wanted to post about a government study that evaluated the government’s own Head Start early childhood education programs.

Fox News reports on the study.

Excerpt:

Head Start is an $8 billion per year federal preschool program, designed to improve the kindergarten readiness of low-income children. Since its inception in1965, taxpayers have spent more than $180 billion on the program.

But HHS’ latest Head Start Impact Study found taxpayers aren’t getting a good return on this “investment.”  According to the congressionally-mandated report, Head Start has little to no impact on cognitive, social-emotional, health, or parenting practices of its participants. In fact, on a few measures, access to the program actually produced negative effects.

The HHS’ scientifically-rigorous study tracked 5,000 children who were randomly assigned to either a group receiving Head Start services or a group that did not participate in Head Start. It followed their progression from ages three or four through the end of third grade.  The third-grade evaluation is a continuation to HHS’ first-grade study, which followed children through the end of first grade.

The first-grade evaluation found that any benefits the children may have accrued while in the Head Start program had dissipated by the time they reached first grade.

The study also revealed that Head Start failed to improve the literacy, math and language skills of the four year-old cohort and had a negative impact on the teacher-assessed math ability of the three-year-old cohort.

More here from the Heritage Foundation:

In a newly released paper, Heritage’s Lindsey Burke and David Muhlhausen discuss the findings, summarized as follows:

  • Cognitive development. Of 11 measures of cognitive ability—including reading, language, and math ability—access to Head Start made no difference for either three- or four-year-old students on any outcomes.
  • Social-emotional development. Of 19 measures of social-emotional development—such as aggression, hyperactive behavior, and conduct problems—for the three-year-old cohort, access to Head Start was connected to a slight benefit in “social skills and positive approaches to learning,” as reported by parents, but it had no impact on any of the other outcomes. For four-year-olds, Head Start was associated with a small decrease in aggressive behavior but also appeared to be significantly linked to harmful impacts, including higher teacher reports of “an unfavorable impact on the incidence of children’s emotional symptoms,” as well as poorer peer relations.
  • Child health outcomes. Of five measures of health outcomes, Head Start made no difference for either group, including no impact on “receipt of dental care, health insurance coverage, and overall child health status being excellent or good.”
  • Parenting outcomes. Of the 10 measures of parental outcomes, Head Start appeared to have only one benefit for each group. Parents of the three-year-old cohort reported higher levels of authoritative parenting, and parents of the four-year-old cohort reported spending more time with their children.

After five decades, Head Start continues to default on its aim to boost school readiness. In addition to the program’s overall ineffectiveness, there are government reports of fraud in the program. Yet Head Start continues to receive billions of taxpayer dollars every year. Since Head Start began, more than $180 billion taxpayer dollars have been spent to fund it—and Congress is currently contemplating allocating millions of extra dollars to the program through the supplemental aid package for Hurricane Sandy victims.

The article also points out how the HHS sat on the report for 4 years – they finished their data collection in 2008. I found it interesting that Obama wants to spend MORE money on these programs, even though they don’t work.

Are women paid less than men because of discrimination?

Hans Bader from the Competitive Enterprise Institute explains.

Excerpt: (links removed)

As The Washington Post‘s Glenn Kessler notes, government data shows women work fewer hours than men, which explains much of the apparent pay gap: “since women in general work fewer hours than men in a year, the statistics used by the White House may be less reliable for examining the key focus of the legislation — wage discrimination.” I discuss some other unfounded claims made in support of the Paycheck Fairness Act at this link.

As Steve Tobak noted at CBS News,

Men are far more likely to choose careers that are more dangerous, so they naturally pay more. Top 10 most dangerous jobs (from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics): Fishers, loggers, aircraft pilots, farmers and ranchers, roofers, iron and steel workers, refuse and recyclable material collectors, industrial machinery installation and repair, truck drivers, construction laborers. They’re all male-dominated jobs. . .Men are far more likely to take work in uncomfortable, isolated and undesirable locations that pay more. Men work longer hours than women do. The average fulltime working man works six hours per week or 15 percent longer than the average fulltime working woman.

According to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, 92 percent of all workers who die on the job are men, even though only a bare majority of all workers are men. These examples are at odds with the assumption of many supporters of the Paycheck Fairness Act and the Ledbetter Act that pay disparities are simply the result of gender bias or sexism.

The Society for Human Resource Management contends the Paycheck Fairness Act “would effectively prohibit employers from using many legitimate factors to compensate their employees, including professional experience, education, training, employer need, local labor market rates, hazard pay, shift differentials and the profitability of the organization.”

A popular article by Carrie Lukas in the Wall Street Journal agrees.

Excerpt:

The Department of Labor’s Time Use survey shows that full-time working women spend an average of 8.01 hours per day on the job, compared to 8.75 hours for full-time working men. One would expect that someone who works 9% more would also earn more. This one fact alone accounts for more than a third of the wage gap.

[…]Recent studies have shown that the wage gap shrinks—or even reverses—when relevant factors are taken into account and comparisons are made between men and women in similar circumstances. In a 2010 study of single, childless urban workers between the ages of 22 and 30, the research firm Reach Advisors found that women earned an average of 8% more than their male counterparts. Given that women are outpacing men in educational attainment, and that our economy is increasingly geared toward knowledge-based jobs, it makes sense that women’s earnings are going up compared to men’s.

Moreover, if there is a pay gap, it certainly is not in our major cities, as the leftist New York Times explains.

Excerpt:

Young women in New York and several of the nation’s other largest cities who work full time have forged ahead of men in wages, according to an analysis of recent census data.

The shift has occurred in New York since 2000 and even earlier in Los Angeles, Dallas and a few other cities.

Economists consider it striking because the wage gap between men and women nationally has narrowed more slowly and has even widened in recent years among one part of that group: college-educated women in their 20s. But in New York, young college-educated women’s wages as a percentage of men’s rose slightly between 2000 and 2005.

The analysis was prepared by Andrew A. Beveridge, a demographer at Queens College, who first reported his findings in Gotham Gazette, published online by the Citizens Union Foundation. It shows that women of all educational levels from 21 to 30 living in New York City and working full time made 117 percent of men’s wages, and even more in Dallas, 120 percent. Nationwide, that group of women made much less: 89 percent of the average full-time pay for men.

Just why young women at all educational levels in New York and other big cities have fared better than their peers elsewhere is a matter of some debate. But a major reason, experts say, is that women have been graduating from college in larger numbers than men, and that many of those women seem to be gravitating toward major urban areas.

Here is Carrie Lukas again, writing in National Review, about the real pay gap.

She cites the radically left-wing Time magazine:

…according to a new analysis of 2,000 communities by a market research company, in 147 out of 150 of the biggest cities in the U.S., the median full-time salaries of young women are 8% higher than those of the guys in their peer group. In two cities, Atlanta and Memphis, those women are making about 20% more. This squares with earlier research from Queens College, New York, that had suggested that this was happening in major metropolises. But the new study suggests that the gap is bigger than previously thought, with young women in New York City, Los Angeles and San Diego making 17%, 12% and 15% more than their male peers, respectively. And it also holds true even in reasonably small areas like the Raleigh-Durham region and Charlotte in North Carolina (both 14% more), and Jacksonville, Fla. (6%).

And then Carrie says this:

As this new research shows, it’s women’s (and men’s) attributes and career choices that determine earnings. Yet there’s something troubling about Time‘s tone, which suggests that we should all be celebrating the idea of women dominating the workplace. To the extent that this trend is driven by men losing jobs and remaining out of work, and young men failing to attain the skills needed to meaningfully contribute to the economy, this is not good news at all.

Of course, we all want women to have the opportunity to compete and succeed in whatever profession they choose. But we want the same to be true for men. Furthermore, given that some women still wish to stay home or reduce their workload in order to spend time raising children, women’s higher earnings may actually be a symptom of hardship: More women are having to work more since the men in their lives can’t provide for the family alone or because they are providing for themselves.

Hmmmn, if men can’t find good jobs, then their wives can’t stay home with children, and the government gets to raise them. Why would Obama want that instead of stay-at-home moms?

When Obama talks about “pay equity” and the “wage gap”, he is trying to solve a problem that doesn’t exist. The only thing that he will achieve is to discourage even more men from marrying. If you agree with Obama’s delusions, don’t complain when men refuse to get married. Men marry when they can afford to marry, and when they get respect for being the primary breadwinner. Take away the provider role, and you take away men’s willingness to marry. That’s the way men work in reality.