Chained CPI- Your Pocket is Going to be Picked Again

Interrupting My Series on the Economics of Abortion-
You’re About to Get Shafted Again by Chained-CPI Via Stealth Tax Increases

While working on the next installment of my series on the economic impact of abortion, I was prompted to address the truth about chained-CPI by a Republican in my Twitter timeline. He mentioned he “likes” the concept, but I sense that like many who have not seriously looked at the facts and data surrounding chained-CPI, his opinion is based on sound bites rather than real analysis. To provide a little background, this individual is young, and I assume is either a GenXr or a Millennial. Understandably, both of these generations have everything to complain about when it comes to the situation that exists in the Social Security scheme. We all do. It’s been a shell game since first cooked up by Keynesian economist, Alvin Hansen back in the 1930s.  Enter the latest proposal by the Republicans and Democrats to “fix the system”—chained-CPI.

There are many Democrats screaming against chained-CPI, (which would naturally make a conservative wonder if they’re against the proposal it must be good) as faithful conservatives we are compelled to ask our own questions rather than relying on partisan hype from either side of the aisle. Let’s tear it down and look behind the curtain independently.

First of all, to believe bare-bones CPI is truthfully reported requires one to suspend all disbelief. It is not a true reflection of real inflation in anything but an alternate universe. I believe most of my readers are well aware of this already, so I won’t bother to provide the historically shady actions of previous administrations (both parties) to “adjust” CPI to paint a rosy picture of the economy on their individual watches.  For those wanting to review the history, please visit economist, John Williams’ data on the historical adjustments to CPI Below is the current chart from Shadow Stats for an accurate view of real CPI-U. Chained-CPI comes out of the gate at the onset with a fictional base on which the government bureaucrats will make adjustments:


Chained-CPI is even worse than the fable of CPI-U
Re-weighting Bias

To begin, it’s important to remember that calculations of inflation have consistently lowered inflation figures rather reflect any increases. This does not benefit you, it benefits the government and the Federal Reserve and the perpetual lies they spew.

Chained-CPI will use geometric mean rather than arithmetic mean.  In financial mathematics, computation using geometric mean is less than arithmetic mean if all numbers are equal. Therefore, chained-CPI will understate real inflation data based on this theorem alone.

CPI is re-weighted by looking back in time, not current and not forward. This leaves open the opportunity to re-weight CPI by favoring those items that will give the appearance of lower inflation— naturally to favor the actors in the Beltway.

Tastes Great, Less Calories?

Politicians pushing chained-CPI would like you to believe it’s a palatable solution for cutting costs. The pro-chained-CPI argument relies on the premise it will save money based on a more accurately reflected rate of inflation, and therefore save Social Security with little effect on anyone but those who are dependent on benefits. They rarely mention this also includes a cut in veteran’s benefits– those amongst us who deserve our loyal support for having laid there lives on the line for us. We have come to expect Democrats to push cutting benefits and programs for veterans, but the curtain is pulled back where Republicans stand as well on this topic if they support switching to chained-CPI as far as I’m concerned.

Republicans would also like us all to believe that they are against tax increases. This is a stalwart principle of conservatism. Yet, if a tax is stealthy they often rely on the probability the conservative base won’t be savvy enough to catch them raising taxes. Let’s look at the tax increases under chained-CPI. Keep in mind current tax code adjusts tax brackets via CPI-U, and this will be switched to chained-CPI should this proposal pass. What does this mean for you? Tax brackets will be adjusted less frequently, and if your income rises you’ll be pushed into a higher tax bracket.


Most leftists would point out in the chart above that millionaires are getting away with a small increase, which is true. They’re already being punished by the highest possible tax bracket under current progressive tax policy! Bracket creep cannot change for the “more than a million” in income unless Congress cooks up a higher bracket.  But what of the middle-class? Both sides of the political spectrum beat their chests that they want a stronger middle-class, yet look at the chart and see who will be hit the hardest by chained-CPI—the middle class! As noted by the Cato Institute, “It would be an anti-growth tax increase because it would push families into higher tax brackets more quickly over time, subjecting them to higher marginal tax rates.” Further, the Joint Committee on Taxation in Congress reported that if individual income taxes were indexed to the Chained CPI starting in January 2013, by 2021, sixty-nine percent of the gains in revenue (the now common nomenclature for taxes) would come from taxpayers with incomes below $100K. They will raise taxes via tax brackets that will provide an automatic increase forever!

The Hoax That is Chained-CPI

The basic premise of chained-CPI relies on the notion that inflation comes down as people switch to lower priced items while normally purchased items increase in price, therefore it’s a more accurate and timely measure of inflation. The entire concept becomes twisted right then and there. Of course people will switch to lower priced items as INFLATION increases! They have no choice, unlike the Federal Government, to cut corners and stay within a budget! If ground beef becomes too expensive, people switch to chicken. If chicken becomes too expensive I guess they’ll switch to cat food. This is how chained-CPI is recalculated! Forget current monetary policy is killing purchasing power. Forget real wages have not increased since the 1970s. Let’s breakdown this policy:

  • Inflation increases under current monetary policy and consumers tighten their belts and buy cheaper goods to take care of their needs
  • Chained-CPI is calculated based on YOU tightening your belt to substitute for higher priced goods and stay within a budget
  • Because you tighten your belt to stay within your household budget the government will now increase taxes across the board, AND cut benefits to seniors, the disabled and veterans.
  • The vicious cycle continues to reduce your living standard because higher taxes and cuts to benefits will once again force ALL consumers to buy even lower priced items or simply go without altogether. The Chained-CPI will once again be lowered due to your prudent fiscal behavior!
  • Seniors and savers who are already being punished by zero interest rate policy take yet another hit to income. This, by far, is the most heinous part of chained-CPI and adds insult to the ongoing injury by the Federal Reserve.

This is not a partisan issue- this is insanity wrought on all of us! This will not fix Social Security, as I will show with further installments on the economics of abortion. The pyramid that supports Social Security has been horribly reduced by killing 56 million babies over the past forty years. Replacing that loss in our population will not be solved by more fiscal “tricks.”  Perhaps Crazy Joe Biden wasn’t too far off when he made his infamous “chains” claim during the 2012 election. Both parties are planning to keep us in economic chains with Chained-CPI whether it’s a cut in benefits or a hike in your taxes!

Repeat after me:  There is nothing conservative or free-market about raising taxes.

Count the Cost

The Economic Realities of Abortion:  Running From This Social Issue is Financial Folly

We cannot overstate the moral cost of abortion on society, yet information about negative economic impact along with opportunity cost is rarely brought to bear as a one-two punch in the challenge to end it. Economic discussions generally focus on the dollar amount required to obtain the procedure, false claims regarding the cost savings to society due to lower crime rates and potential increases in entitlement spending. Upon closer inspection, many of these inchoate arguments bare false witness. Additionally, they are reckless to ignore slower growth in population due to legal abortion, therefore slower growth in aggregate demand—particularly with an aging population combined with a birth rate that is not keeping up with necessary replacement numbers for continued growth. Fertility rates are now at their lowest since the 1920s.


While elected officials in Washington D.C. wring their hands arguing over raising or cutting taxes as a way to solve the economic woes of the United States, absent is a discussion regarding the economic impact of abortion-on-demand, including the potential for increasing and maintaining economic growth, thereby expanding the tax base, rather than increasing tax rates on an ever-shrinking share of income earners. Remarkably, many on the left in favor of protecting abortion rights will provide statistics that promote illegal immigration as a way to increase the tax base, while hypocritically ignoring the millions of infants who have not been born since Roe v. Wade. Some estimates put the loss of downstream tax revenue in the trillions due to abortion. Currently, there are roughly eleven million illegal immigrants in the United States versus fifty-four million babies destroyed by abortion. While a concern for increasing the population for economic reasons is valid and necessary, the illegal immigrant population by shear numbers is fully eclipsed by the number of aborted children. There would be little to no need to import more citizens for a labor pool or an increase in economic activity if not for abortion wiping out nearly 30% of our current population since legalization. Illegal immigrants have only made up 3.35% of those population losses.

For their part, Pro-Life politicians additionally fail to frame their position as a socioeconomic travesty, much less spend time to dispel common economic fabrications surrounding abortion. If proponents of Pro-Life would only take the time to think outside of the box they might view abortion as the dual issue that it truly is—both social and economic— and argue both sides of this coin. Instead of going to the trouble, the elites within the party structure are now attempting to abandon the topic altogether rather than formulating an academic response to challengers. In a subsequent blog post I will be discussing comprehensive data on the actual  price tag in lost GDP and taxes from from abortion since the early 1960s.

Dispelling the Myths Part I: Abortion and Crime Rates

Current estimates on the economic cost of crime in the U.S. are roughly $17.3 billion per year. One of the tenets of the economic arguments made in favor of abortion is an axiomatic claim that abortion has decreased the crime rate, thereby saving money for society in general. The oft quoted study making this argument is the Donohue-Levitt hypothesis. In his book Freakonomics, Levitt claimed, “abortion was one of the greatest crime-lowering factors in American history.” However in 2005, two economists from the Federal Reserve of Boston, Foote and Goetz, unearthed a computer error resulting in false data mining supporting Levitt’s claim. Upon properly calculating crime rates over the same period of time, Foote and Goetz found there was no effect on crime rates resulting from legalized abortion by using crime per capita rather than arrest totals—Levitt’s methodology.

Additionally, dispelling the notion that abortion cuts down on the amount of children who might otherwise be born into disadvantaged homes, (thereby decreasing the numbers of those who might have a higher propensity for committing crimes later in life) is a study by Akerlof, Yellen and Katz in 1996. Their study, as well as current datasets, indicate out-of-wedlock births have actually increased since Roe v. Wade, including 41% born into poverty.  Elevated rates of abortion continue, yet out-of-wedlock births are also on the rise.  How then has abortion truly reduced the potential of future criminals from the most at-risk demographic?

unwedThe misinformation doesn’t end there. In a study conducted by Yale University by John R. Lott, Jr. and John E. Whitley they state, “We find evidence that legalizing abortion increased murder rates by around about 0.5 to 7 percent.” 

The statistics on child abuse also expose the illogical argument that it’s better to murder a baby prior to birth rather than bringing an unwanted child into the world that might be abused— a most heinous crime on the innocent amongst us. Upon investigation, Canadian psychiatrist Philip Ney wrote, “It appeared that the rate of child abuse did not decrease with freely available abortions. In fact, the opposite was true.  In a 2005  Dr. Priscilla Coleman, professor of Human Development and Family Studies at Bowling Green University, conducted a study on the possible relationship with perinatal loss (voluntary or involuntary) and subsequent child abuse within a family.  Her results found a 99% risk increase for child abuse if the mother experienced this loss regardless of whether it was due to miscarriage or abortion. Not only has abortion not lived up to the hype advocates pitch on decreasing child abuse, it may be a marker for increasing the number of victims who befall the tragedy. This does not only come with a high physical and psychological cost for these young victims, but also carries a hefty economic price tag. At an estimated minimum cost of $124 billion per year due to child abuse, the exponential increase of these crimes since 1974 has been anything but an abortion “cost saver,” much less lowered the incidence of child abuse. However, this does not play well to the crowd of Pro-Choice advocates and their argument that abortion reduces crime, particularly crimes against children.  The real crime is the continuation of misleading data promoted by Pro-Choice advocates.


For in-depth reading:

Adjusting the Rationale

Stop discussing social issues?  Not so fast

Long before the general election took place in 2012, there was a great divide among various factions within the conservative and libertarian movements regarding several social issues— namely abortion and illegal immigration.  While many in both camps are pro-life, complaints flourished that social issues should not be part of political discourse- unless it is to return power to the state level to decide, or stay out of individual choice altogether. Accusations abounded that the election was lost because the candidate(s) did not focus solely on the economy.  However, the party that did win did its best to not focus on the economy, but to focus heavily on social hot button issues – namely reproductive rights and immigration. If Democrats won on social issues and not economic issues, why would the losing party think it can oust the statists in future elections by eliminating social issues from the debate? Results proved otherwise.

Most importantly, how can both pro-life conservatives and fiscal-only conservatives/libertarians bridge their inner divide and provide a reasoned argument that satisfies both groups in principle and win elections?  I believe it can be done using negative economic implications of both abortion and immigration policies that deny population expansion, particularly in a world where global birth rates and other economic demographics are beginning to make headlines.

Where did both sides go wrong?

Several conservative pro-life candidates completely jumped the shark with comments that the leftist media predictably exploited with asperity.  In the end, both candidates lost their races and weakened conservative influence in Congress.  Relying strictly on the moral issue of protecting the unborn has not proven to be a winning case.  Neither pro-life supporters or fiscal conservatives were served well by the lack of fiscally cogent arguments in favor of protecting the unborn— yet detrimental economic data due to abortion exists.  Pro-life supporters can and should avail themselves to every possible data point in the effort to end abortion, and push pro-life politicians to do the same.

Another source of  concern, and thorn in the side for the GOP, was exit poll data revealing a high proportion of Hispanic voters favoring the Democrat ticket. Currently there is heated debate regarding immigration, and this time most pro-life proponents are failing to discuss or be made aware of the negative economic impact of not growing our population via higher immigration, and  instead focus mainly on deportation and/or closing and protecting the border.* Protecting the border is an extremely important argument to secure our sovereignty, and we have a government unwilling to enforce current immigration law. These are points that cannot be argued. However, is this truly an immigration problem or an entitlement problem? Would conservatives be better served by highlighting the point that immigration can either be a boon or a bust based on our current runaway entitlement programs?

The Church, in Her wisdom, has been consistent in teaching both respect for human life at conception and respect for the human person as an immigrant. As it turns out, both teachings are not only morally principled,  but economically sound.

Arguably, for many citizens the issue of protecting human life is one of a deeply-held moral conviction. There is no need to expound on the fiscal impact of abortion to convince us otherwise. But what of those who believe in limited government where religious-based morals have no place in governance, i.e., both social liberals who are fiscal conservatives only, as well as those on the left of the spectrum who believe it’s purely a woman’s right to chose?  Can we, as both fiscal and social conservatives, re-frame the dialogue and add another dimension to our argument for protecting the unborn? I believe we can. And what of those on the left who have misled with arguments favoring abortion that rely on unfounded over-population and climatic scares, or poor evidence that abortion has lessened crime rates? Can we change their minds? It’s up to us. I believe it’s imperative. I believe it’s time we expose the fiscal lies that have promoted abortion and anti-immigration arguments.  My intentions are to do so in subsequent posts on this blog.

  • One sixth of our population has been destroyed since Roe  v. Wade.
  • TFR (total fertility rate) for stable population in the U.S. — 2.1
  • Current TFR in the U.S. — 1.9

Real-Time Abortion Counter for U.S. and Worldwide

* Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer on Border Control, National Security and Homeland Security

Obama’s War on Our Children – Part II

The Education Front

In 100 years we have gone from teaching Latin and Greek in high school to teaching Remedial English in college ―Joseph Sobran

Volumes could be written on the topic of failed federal government intervention on our education system, but the most current statistics propagated under Obama’s watch must remain the focus of all concerned citizens as we head for the ballot box on November 6. The fact that any federal handprint can be found on our educational system goes against the grain of basic conservative principles, whether it is rooted in either Republican or Democrat legislation. For that reason, total blame cannot be placed solely on Democrats for some of the negative developments over the past decade, because at the root of some of the current deficiencies is No Child Left Behind, (NCLB) foisted upon us during the Bush Administration. Nevertheless, this does not let Obama off-the-hook. Obama’s “Race to the Top” (RttT) policy was touted as a way to give more power back to states and schools and improve student learning. Yet, under his administration the federal government has further tightened the vise of central control over education and increased spending exponentially—including $100BN from the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

Students are not taught how to think, but what to think.

Many primary level educators lament that the policies from both NCLB and Race to the Top force them to “teach to the test,” and this comes at great cost to our children in lost time that could be spent toward a holistic approach that improves critical thinking skills and broadens their base of knowledge. Teachers spend an inordinate amount of the school year to prep students (“drill and kill”) to take a single test during the term. In an article in March 2012, Sarahlynne Davis, MEd, described curriculum requirements for a school she was teaching at that was under warning from the state due to NCLB rules. Clearly, the directive was to make sure students passed the test rather than truly gaining skills and knowledge.

  • Focus on the tested vocabulary”
  • “Teach them how to respond to the question”
  • “Teach them what to do if they don’t know the answer

Weighted priorities on “how to pass the test” are emphasized and teachers must toe the line or risk unemployment, and schools risk funding or complete closure. This is akin to many SAT coaching services; where tricks and strategies are taught, but there is no real meat on the bone for the student. While nearly no one can disagree that we need accountability in teaching and administrative staffs, no lasting up trend has resulted from enforcing these testing policies.  Additionally, researchers from sixteen universities in the Chicago area in criticism of Race to the Top wrote, “student test scores have not been found to be a strong predictor of the quality of teaching as measured by other instruments or approaches.” They went on to say, “Assessments designed to evaluate student learning are not necessarily valid for measuring teacher effectiveness or student learning growth.” The charts below are avouchment, revealing a flat result trend since 1992—with or without NCLB and RttT. Red markers on the charts delineate when both programs were enacted.

How are older students faring?  SAT scores in 2012 were the worst reported in forty years. Reading scores were 486 out of a possible 800, and writing scores dropped nine points to 488. Contrast these results with those of home-schooled children who score 30 to 37 percentile points higher in all subjects compared to public school students according to independent evaluations conducted by HSLDA. Additionally, ethnicity, which is often used as a ruse by Democrats to explain poor test scores in public schools, had no negative impact on test scores for home-schooled children. Yet, in many states, and most recently Florida, the trend is to lower achievement expectations by implementing race-based student achievement goals. This is a morally hazardous development, but is on par with a declaration made by Obama’s Department of Education that puts districts on notice: if there are too many white students in Advanced Placement classes they could be subject to civil rights enforcement. In August 2012, a Berkley High School with outstanding scores in AP national exams actually considered dropping those courses because not enough minority students were attending the labs. This should be considered outrageous by any estimation, but this is the central theme of central planning—lower standards, punish success and reward failure.

Global Competitiveness Impact

Not only do these failed programs have long-lasting consequences on our students, but continue to affect the ranking of the United States in global competitiveness, and ultimately our GDP. In the most recent assessment presented by the World Economic Forum, it was noted that in ranking, using their twelve pillars of competitiveness, the U.S. has fallen considerably over the past year on Obama’s watch.

The United States spends more per capita than any other country in the world on education, with a budget of nearly $800 billion in 2012 alone. What does Obama propose? More spending, which is clearly not the solution. Federal spending per pupil has doubled since the 1970s, adjusted for inflation. Expenditures per pupil for 2012 are projected to be $11,467. Student/teacher ratio is 15:1, the lowest ratio in twelve years. What do we have to show for this spending? Dismal results and an increase to the national debt. Extensive Research by economists Eric A. Hanushek and Ludgar Woessman concluded “Simply providing more resources gives, according to the available evidence, little assurance that student performance will improve significantly.” However, effective reforms with moderately strong knowledge improvement will improve GDP considerably. Neither NCLB nor RttT have proven to be effective, yet clamoring for more spending and resources continues unabated.

School Vouchers – The Anti-dirigiste Solution

From the U.S. Counsel of Catholic Bishops,  2012 Voting Guide:

“Parents—the first and most important educators—have a fundamental right to choose the education best suited to the needs of their children, including public, private, and religious schools.”

Race to the Top has been supportive of charter schools, but the Obama Administration shows no signs of supporting an education voucher system for U.S. students. Research shows charter schools overall do not lead to achievement, but the Left continues socialistic a priori with the concept in order to continue their grip of central planning, while at the same time creating a chimera of choice. This is clearly shortchanging those students who do not have the financial means to attend a school of their choice, much less compete with private or home-schooled children. The case for vouchers was made recently by the World Innovation Summit for Education, citing measurable success in Chile, Columbia and Netherlands. Under a voucher system competition is increased to innovate and attract students, while at the same time raising efficiency and lowering costs. Opponents often cite the potential for negative outcomes due to segregation, but ignore evidence-based real world results. These objections come at a cost in both real dollars and global competitiveness to our entire society as opponents continue to cling to failed initiatives. The Left is in favor of housing vouchers and vouchers for food via SNAP, but when it comes to school vouchers they’re suddenly in opposition to the concept. Polling conducted by The Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice resulted in a 61% favorable rating by moms for K-12 vouchers and a mere 28% in opposition. Clearly, the central planners in Washington, D.C are ignoring the majority of those who would like to have this choice for their children.

Abolish the Department of Education and Return to Opportunity

Expenditures per pupil have increased nearly 80% since the inception of the Department of Education

Our nation needs to return to Goldwater’s call for an “opportunity society,” promoting equal opportunity—not the Left’s notion of equal outcomes. This approach was supported by President Reagan who also wanted to dismantle the unconstitutional Department of Education created by Jimmy Carter, and return control of education back to state, local and parental level. Ending the DOE would allow local education money to stay local and directed, rather than sent off to a bloated government bureau. Additionally, school vouchers would cut additional costs and return us to an “opportunity society” where students of all ages can flourish and achieve their dreams, unhindered by federal curriculum and testing standards that have proven to be a failure time and again. Consequently, these reforms would end punishing disadvantaged children attending schools that rely most heavily on federal government spending and are forced to succumb to centralized curriculum coercion.

Multiple studies cite parental involvement as a profound positive effect on the success of a student. It’s time to give all parents a free market based choice for their children and allow them to be involved right at the onset of the educational process via a voucher system. The responsibility belongs to us on November 6 to end the “race to the bottom” our nation’s education system is headed for under Obama’s central planning failures.

For further in-depth reading:

(Note- I am including a brief glance at the education system in Finland, and while I do not endorse their socialistic policies, there are several applicable reforms that could greatly benefit American students. Finland consistently ranks in the top international education rankings after making sweeping reforms in the 1970s, including a move away from centralized control and back to local control.)


Obama’s War on Our Children – Part I

Saint Nicholas of Myra
Patron Saint of Children

Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth. Psalm 127:3-4

Rather than review Obama’s unconscionable position on abortion and infanticide, which we must completely reject as faithful Catholics and Christians, Part I will address the misnomer that is the Left’s “War on Women,” and present some of the startling economic statistics concerning our children under the oppression of Barack Obama’s economic policies.

Sidestepping the Real War

Shortly after the Obama Administration made clear to the Catholic Church they were not going to make any exceptions to the contraceptive mandate, included in The Affordable Healthcare Act, they immediately began to regularly ballyhoo a fictitious “War on Women,”—an obvious attempt to solidify the female voting base and off-set losses from the Catholic voting base. By waging this “war,” those on the Left have communicated to women that they are one-dimensional and only the sum of their reproductive body parts, unable to provide for themselves without the chronic need for government intervention in their private lives.  This campaign stunt has dishonored decades of effort and achievement by women to become independent and individually responsible for their personal decisions, but what is worse is the camouflage it has provided for the real underlying economic dénouement of Obama’s policies toward women, and most importantly our children. What is hiding behind this agitprop meme is the true war—the insidious economic war on our children.  Those on the Left continue to ignore the plight of children and young adults unless it is to overreach their hand in what our they are learning in school, allowing the mishandling of them at airports or leveraging control over the food they consume. While the benefits of good eating habits are important, you will never hear Michelle Obama mention statistical reality under the lack of leadership from her husband—one out of four children in America now rely on food stamps and would go hungry without that support. Obama’s supporters fail to acknowledge more children than ever are living in poverty, limited by educational choices, unable to find jobs during their high school years and post-college, as well as burdened with an overwhelming amount of student debt when they graduate. This is the real battle zone. Obama’s statist policies are failing our children miserably on the most basic levels, as well as threatening their ability to achieve the American Dream. Robert J. Samuelson writing on the affluence of American society said, “For millions of younger Americans—say, those 40 and under—living better than their parents is a pipe dream. They won’t.”

Children in Poverty

Recent census data states that 22% of American children now live in poverty. The rates are even higher when breaking down the statistics for ethnic groups. For black children the rate is 38% and for Hispanic children that rate is 35%. But it gets even worse. Twenty percent of children living in poverty are living in extreme poverty with incomes of $2 per day per person in the household, not including food stamps. This statistic sounds like something that would be reported from a third-world country, but it’s not. This is happening right here in America. By the end of school year 2011, The Department of Education reported one million students were homeless, an elephantine 33% jump between 2007-2011. Social worker and homeless advocate, Beth McCullough, interviewed in the Huffington Post said, “The face of homelessness is changing.” More specifically, it’s getting younger.” The typical “fix” from the socialists is more redistribution to solve this crisis, which is exactly the wrong solution, and nothing more than a piece of duct tape on a bursting dam. An economy based on low and non-progressive tax rates as well as additional non-constraining economic growth policies are the best and permanent solution in helping these children out of their dire situations. Obama prefers to cling to policies that only serve to worsen the problem and not solve it at the root cause, failing the most vulnerable in our society.

Youth Unemployment

While most of the attention on unemployment in the U.S. focuses on the general population as a whole, little attention or discussion exists with regard to the problem of youth unemployment for millions of teens and young adults, many of whom need the money to help out at home or offset the steeply rising cost of college tuition. The current rate of unemployment for ages 16-19 is 23.9%, with those between 16-24 years of age experiencing unemployment at 17.1%. The most recent data for 2012 showed an uptick of youth jobs lost of 836,000 between April and July alone. Yet Hilda Solis, Obama’s Secretary of Labor, extracted only select seasonally positive data points out of the most recent report and declared a victory in this distressing labor environment for our children. Competing for entry-level jobs with older college graduates leaves few opportunities for our youth because of a lack of real job growth solutions coming out of the Obama Administration in addressing our economic woes, including a lack of comprehensive illegal immigration reform. While Obama often pushes the notion that everyone should go to college upon graduation, a recent survey conducted by Northeastern University reports only 50% of recent graduates are able to find a job. The report goes on to say 53.6 percent of bachelor’s degree-holders under the age of 25 last year were jobless—the highest rate in eleven years. In an effort to influence the voting youth bloc to his side of the court, Obama led the cry to freeze current student loan interest rates, yet a recent national survey conducted by Generation Opportunity reported 64% would prefer full-time jobs over lower interest rates on student loans. This should come as no surprise to anyone, except possibly our out-of-touch negligent Chief Executive on Pennsylvania Avenue. Low interest rates on student loans mean nothing if there is no income to repay the debt to begin with.

Student Loan Debt

Make no mistake about it; student loans are now a highly risky bubble, not to mention a monkey on the banks of our young people when they’re just starting out in life. Rapidly rising tuition rates and one trillion dollars of student loan debt are another front in the war on our children. In 2005, the banking lobby enjoyed a huge win with the passing of a law that does not allow student loans in a bankruptcy both public and private. The Democrats then doubled down in 2010 by including a provision in the Affordable Care Act for the federal government, via the Department of Education, to have sole control over student loan access. In essence this has exacerbated the problem of more and more students taking out loans they can’t afford to repay, removed student loan competition from the private sector and provided full rein for colleges to increase tuition with impunity. Once again, we have the potential of a taxpayer bailout should this bubble burst, and once again losses will be socialized on the back of the taxpayer. Until a free-market solution is applied in the student loan business we can expect even more inflationary pressures on the cost of higher education and the debt will continue to climb. Forcing banks to deal with student loans in a bankruptcy would force them to curb their lending practices and schools would be forced to find ways to lower tuition rates in a free-market fashion. Removing a glut of available funds via the federal government would also serve to contain the problem. This is not rocket science and would extract the moral hazard potential. The only answer the Obama Administration has offered is to hold rates on these loans at artificially low levels to prevent the levy from bursting, but he does not seek a true free-market solution in doing so. This is nothing more than a way to protect the banks, i.e., crony capitalism, and the huge federal debt mountain he continues to expand, but fails to lower the cost of education for our children or lighten their debt load upon graduation.

In addressing British society in 2010, Pope Benedict XVI said, “Just as “every economic decision has a moral consequence”, so too in the political field, the ethical dimension of policy has far-reaching consequences that no government can afford to ignore.” (Caritas in Veritate) What is Obama’s answer? In his speech at the Democrat convention he said, “The path we offer may be harder, but it leads to a better place, and I’m asking you to choose that future.” In contrast, John F. Kennedy said, “Let us not seek the Republican answer or the Democratic answer, but the right answer. Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past. Let us accept our own responsibility for the future.” As faithful conservatives and responsible citizens, it’s time we reject statist policies that avoid responsibility, and rescue our children off of Obama’s “path” of hardship that threatens their future. Blessed Mother Teresa said, “When a poor person dies of hunger, it has not happened because God did not take care of him or her. It has happened because neither you nor I wanted to give that person what he or she needed.” Our children need our help on November 6. They are struggling under President Obama’s economic policies and it’s up to us to remedy that situation for them at the ballot box.

For further in-depth reading:

The Immorality of Obama’s “Fair Share”

Excessive intervention by the state can threaten personal freedom and initiative”  (The Catechism of the Catholic Church 1883)

I actually believe in redistribution.”  Obama – October 19, 1998

Saint Vincent de Paul
Patron Saint of Charities

The recent Census data reports 46.2 million Americans are now living in poverty- the highest rate since 1983.  Comments from the Secretary of Commerce on the report were at best indifferent and only focused on the year over year changes, which remained flat.  The poverty rate in 2007 was 11.7 percent, and under the Obama Administration has risen to 15.0 percent.  Nearly four years of Keynesian economics under the leadership of the Obama Administration have delivered nothing short of an astonishing growth of poverty in America. While the housing bubble and banking crisis of 2008 certainly launched the country into a recession, the recovery that should have normally arrived based on past post-recession data has been MIA. Yet, supporters of Obama claim that because the rate did not change year over year his policies must be working, and we should continue on this path of economic destruction. This is arrogance of the worst sort and comes at a high price to the poor amongst us.

For many Americans, material circumstances have not only failed to improve, they have become far worse. Couple this with an historic drop in fundraising for charitable organizations (down 17.6% or $52B) due to the continuation of the worst recorded economic recovery in history under President Obama’s economic misguidance, and the picture becomes even more grim for many of our fellow citizens. In Pope Benedict XVI’s first encyclical, Deus Caritas Est (God Is Love), 2006, he affirmed, “For the Church, charity is not a kind of welfare activity which could equally well be left to others, but is a part of her nature, an indispensable expression of her very being.”  Yet government welfare, viz. left to others, is exactly what the Obama Administration has exponentially expanded, while at the same time decreased the ability for many Americans to give to charitable groups and stay faithful to Pope Benedict’s encyclical.

President Obama continues to cling to failed policies, leaving the rest of America in a boat, adrift with one oar. As recently as the October 3, 2012 presidential debates, Obama continues to be lacking any new proposals to correct the direction of the economy. Instead, he continues to pretend that if only government would confiscate more personal income via higher taxes on the “one percent,” spend more of our tax dollars on failed green energy programs and hire more math and science teachers the economy would suddenly be healed of malaise and deterioration.  Furthermore, both Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi and Senator Steny Hoyer have publicly lauded food stamps and welfare as a way of stimulating the economy, while the failure of this scheme has aggrandized the situation and put more citizens than ever in the ranks of those needing government handouts. This is inexcusable.

When does their mythical “stimulus” actually grow the economy and decrease those in need of government aid?  These paladins of redistribution have no answer because it is based on an unproven multiplier algorithm created by Keynesian economist, Marc Zandi. Void of any conservative economic remedies, Obama’s main economic theme remains an habitual call for “fair share,” which is merely a euphemism for redistribution. Americans, and particularly the poor and needy among us, cannot afford four more years of excessive government intervention and redistribution, as championed by Democrats.  As faithful Catholics we are taught, “The Church has rejected the totalitarian and atheistic ideologies associated in modern times with “communism” or “socialism.  (CCC 2425)  Redistribution is a key element of socialism that we are called to reject. “Forward,” is Obama’s battle cry for the continued march to deepen the embrace.

Those not in poverty or running businesses can no longer bear the burden of a socialistic income confiscation scheme that is not only increasing the poverty rolls, but fully defies the moral conscience aspect of charitable giving.  No matter how well-intentioned, government coercion is immoral as well as an economic disaster.  Glancing at current poverty statistics reveals the dismal results of Obama’s “belief in redistribution,” and flies in the face of Pope Leo XIII’s  Rerum Novarum disapprobation of socialism. Thus far, the only thing Obama has managed to redistribute is more poverty.

As Catholics, we cannot ignore the facts, cast a vote to endorse Obama and still stay true to a spirit of real charity that we area called to adminster. We must take our responsibility of faithful citizenship and apply it to a true free market capitalist solution that fosters growth and private charity, and  does not advance the immoral expansion of socialism.  Our goal as faithful conservatives is to lift the poor and needy out of their circumstances, not to sit by and watch them increase in number and keep them downtrodden.  President Obama must be a one-term president or we risk not only the loss of religious liberty and the protection of human life, but a fiscal cliff that will quickly devolve into a societal cliff we cannot afford to fall from. We owe the poor and needy and ourselves a better solution.  St. Vincent de Paul said, “The poor are your masters. You are the servant.”  One of the ways we can serve them well is to seek those who can lead them out of poverty, not keep them in it.  Our choice on November 6 is abundantly clear.

  • America’s official poverty rate in 2011 was 15.0 percent, with 46.2 million people in poverty
  • The current poverty rate in 2011 for children under age 18 was 21.9 percent. One in four children now live in poverty
  • The poverty rate under the Obama Administration has increased three out of  four years during his time in office
  • The poverty rate for young adults age 25-34 measured only by their income is 43.7%
  • More than one in seven Americans now rely on food stamps
  • Six million Americans receiving food stamps report they have no other income, up 50% in the past two years

Further in-depth reading:

The Five Non-Negotiables For Catholic Voters

Saint Brigid of Ireland
Patron Saint of Babies

Catholics are called to a moral obligation as citizens of society to participate by exercising their voting rights. “It is the duty of citizens to contribute along with the civil authorities to the good of society in a spirit of truth, justice, solidarity, and freedom.” (cf. CCC 2239.) The casting of a ballot can accomplish an adherence to that obligation.  However, we are often overloaded with so many political issues before choosing a candidate that the task to decipher how to cast our votes can become formidable.  While we may differ on issues regarding the economy, foreign policy, education and tax issues, as Catholics we can narrow down our choices based on Church teachings, Encyclicals of the Pope and the Catechism. In a letter addressed to U.S. Catholic Bishops in 2004,  Pope Benedict XVI (then Cardinal Ratzinger,) had this to say:

“Not all moral issues have the same moral weight as abortion and euthanasia. For example, if a Catholic were to be at odds with the Holy Father on the -application of capital punishment or on the decision to wage war, he would not for that reason be considered unworthy to present himself to receive Holy Communion. While the Church exhorts civil authorities to seek peace, not war, and to exercise discretion and mercy in imposing punishment on criminals, it may still be permissible to take up arms to repel an aggressor or to have recourse to capital punishment. There may be a legitimate diversity of opinion even among Catholics about waging war and applying the death penalty, but not however with regard to abortion and euthanasia.”

While there may not be a “perfect” candidate with regard to policy adhering strictly to the list of Five Non-negotiables, the following chart should assist you in narrowing down which candidate most heavily weighs in favor of the largest number of items on the list.

The Five Non-Negotiables and where candidates Obama and Romney stand  (click image to enlarge)  The tally reads loud and clear. Obama must go.

Ronald Reagan on Adoption and Abortion

For in-depth reading:

Worthiness to Receive Holy Communion – General Principles by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger – 2012 Presidential Election

Obama’s Carefully Crafted Cloning Contradiction

Voter’s Guide for Serious Catholics

Catechism of the Catholic Church, Part 3, Section 2, Chapter 2, V. THE AUTHORITIES IN CIVIL SOCIETY

Five Non-Negotiable Issues