United States of Awesome Podcast

A Look at the Federal Budget
by Daniel V. McClain

The debate over the federal budget is always melodramatic, but the polarized political climate has charged the subtext to Oscar worthy proportions.  We can’t really ignore all of that, but we can see what the proposed federal budget really tells us in context of all the spirited antics.

Over the last 8 years the economy grew at about 2%.  The federal budget projections account for getting our economy to average 3% GDP by 2020.  Some would argue that is ambitious, but what I find interesting is that the budget assumes unemployment will average about what it is today (4.5%).  That is not so ambitious.  The Trump administration and Congress have been active in efforts to create jobs so for lack of speculation I will call it a conservative estimate.

The budget calls for a total budget of $4.1 trillion in spending and plans on receiving $3.65 trillion in receipts, leaving us with a deficit of about $440 billion dollars.  This would be the highest budget of all time, yet it would be an improvement in deficit spending over recent years.

The immediate impact will be a substantial increase in defense spending to the tune of $54 billion.  It will fund large increases in personnel, updating vehicles and equipment, and modernizing weapons systems.  This would bring our Department of Defense discretionary budget to $643 billion dollars in 2018.

Other areas receiving budget increases are the National Nuclear Security Administration, Department of Homeland Security, and the Department of Veterans Affairs.  All other Major Agencies are taking cuts.    The Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of State will lose the most total funding at $12.7 and $11.5 billion respectively.  The Environmental Protection Agency will lose a mere $2.6 billion, but will be the biggest overall percentage cut at 31.4% of its total budget.  However,  the budget for all major government agencies, despite the hefty Department of Defense budget increase, will decrease overall by $14.6 billion dollars.

The projected discretionary budget looks to increase defense spending modestly going forward, while continuing to decrease non-defense discretionary spending substantially.  This will result in a net decrease in discretionary spending of $100 billion dollars a year starting in 2022.

So, the key to understanding how our country loses so much money and runs up debt is our mandatory budget spending.  Social Security is now 25% of the federal budget or $1 trillion a year in mandatory spending and it will continue growing with population unless it is reformed.  The same can be said for Medicare ($582B), Medicaid ($404B), and other mandatory programs($570B).  Our overall mandatory spending will go from $2.5 trillion in 2018 to $3.5 trillion in 2025.

However, this isn’t the whole story.  Social Security isn’t necessarily the bad guy in a budget sense as it brings in about 90% of what it costs via payroll taxes.  Medicare receipts only total about 46% of its budget.  But Medicaid pulls $404 billion right out of the treasury.  Fixing the healthcare system including Medicare and Medicaid would go a long way toward fixing our budget and national debt.

Other factors in the budget include the repeal and replacement of Obamacare, the passage of tax cuts, and the President’s infrastructure plan.   The budget provides estimates on the cost of such measures but they bear little overall impact.  It projects $250 billion in savings over time by the repeal and replacement of Obamacare, but will cost $50 billion over the next two years.  Also, included is $5 billion in infrastructure spending for FY18 and a total of $1 trillion over the next 10 years.

I would be remiss if I didn’t briefly mention how this is all paid for.  Taxes.  Individual income taxes are half of all total receipts or $1.8 trillion.  We already covered Social Security and Medicare which cover $1.16 trillion or 30% of receipts.  Bringing home the rest of the federal coffers are corporate income taxes totaling  $355 billion(8%), excise taxes $101 billion (2.5%), taxes of bank deposits $70 billion, estate taxes $24B, customs duties $40B, unemployment insurance $50B, and miscellaneous other taxes and fees filling in the rest.

Tax cuts are key to growing the economy with a supply side agenda, and the debate rages on over whether we will take in enough taxes to pay for the debt.  If it does work the debate over supply side economics will probably start to turn in its favor.

The thing to remember about all of this is that, yes, the government plans on cutting the percentage of money it taxes you, but the government still plans on collecting more money overall and spending it.  They just plan on having so much more money they can “afford” to spend it.  This is more in line with Reaganomics and not the more conservative approach of reducing government spending to pay off the national debt.

Bias in the Liberal Media and Their Relationship with the Public

By Graham Withrow

The advent of technology, multiple platforms of media, and countless sources of information, caused the world to enter the Information Age. With the beginning of this age, numerous news organizations emerged. Print media started to decline in popularity as internet media outlets and television news channels rose to take their place. There was once a time where the media cared about the basic ideals of Journalism, objectivity and truth-telling. However, as the years went by, the media began to align itself with the liberal ideology of the Democratic Party.

When you turn on the television and flip through the various liberal-minded news channels like MSNBC, CNN, ABC, and even print/digital media like the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Huffington Post, you will find a polarized opinion and bias against Conservatism. Our currently elected president, Donald J. Trump, is at the epicenter of the negative “reporting” by those same news organizations. The media continues to mercilessly attack Donald Trump, his family, and everyone associated with him, whether directly or indirectly, as they have ever since he announced he was running for the highest office in the United States. During the campaign season, the media went on a crusade against him. They slandered his name, his reputation, launched various personal attacks against him and his team, belittled him, and falsely reported he was losing to Hillary Clinton. They labeled him everything they could think of: racist, bigot, misogynist, Nazi, liar, demented, treasonous, and so much more.

However, on November 8th, 2016, Donald Trump was democratically elected as the forty-fifth President of the United States. However, the attacks and false reporting of the liberal media intensified. The media, as well as other members of the left-wing political party, created a narrative about Russian interference in the election. The message they produced was that candidate Trump colluded with Vladimir Putin, the current President of the Russian Federation, to steal the election from Hillary Clinton.

The narrative the media created has been going on for months, with no evidence being brought to the American public, but yet the Liberal media, and the left-wing politicians continue to spread this ludicrous story, going as far as to say President Trump committed treason and should be impeached. The media refuse to acknowledge our President’s victories during his first one hundred days in office. They did not show fair reporting on his Supreme Court nominee Justice Neil Gorsuch, they refused to talk about the numerous bills he signed into law, they credited his predecessor, President Barack Obama, with the hundreds of new jobs that were created by President Trump, and they fought against him on the travel bans with the help of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and various liberal-minded federal judges of the ninth circuit court of appeals. Furthermore, they choose to favorably report about the so called, “Resistance”, that formed in response to Trump’s election victory to undermine his administration and aims to utterly destroy his presidency.

In the various news channels on television, there are those who display such hatred against the President. News anchors like Rachel Maddow from MSNBC, George Stephanopoulos from ABC, and Anderson Cooper from CNN show their contempt of President Trump, refusing to talk about his accomplishments and not even addressing various issues he has resolved. All they care about is furthering the liberal agenda, which seeks to destroy conservative ideologies and promote neo-liberal morality in society.

Late night television is no safe haven for Republicans either. Late night talk show hosts, Jimmy Fallon, Jimmy Kimmel, Stephen Colbert, John Oliver, Bill Maher, Trevor Noah, James Corden, and Seth Myers use their show as a weapon against President Trump and as a platform to further push the liberal agenda down the throats of the Americans. Recently, Stephen Colbert, the host of the Late Show with Stephen Colbert, stooped to a new low when he made an obscene, sexual innuendo against Trump, implying that he participates in oral sex. As a result, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is reviewing the actions of the Late Show host as well as the numerous complaints brought against him. However, in an act of defiance and pure hatred, Stephen Colbert stated “I don’t regret that… [Trump]  I believe, can take care of himself. I have jokes; he has the launch codes. So, it’s a fair fight." What he fails to realize is that what he said about Trump could be considered hate speech, which is not protected under the United States Constitution. Soon after his stunt, the hashtag #FireColbert became the number one trending topic on Twitter, but many democrats, both politicians and regular voters, came to his aid proving that the left has no sense of morality, decency, and dignity.

The mainstream media has a direct responsibility in the creation of the Anti-Fascists, or ANTIFA as they are commonly known. The ANTIFA is a radical liberal group that claims it is fighting against the “Totalitarian Regime” Of President Trump and his fascist policies.  However, when you look at their actions, you see a completely different picture. During the May Day marches and protests on May 1st, 2017, the ANTIFA staged massive riots. They destroyed property, including cars, and small business stores. They set various vehicles and buildings on fire and even threw bottle rockets, rocks, Molotov cocktails, and so much more at the police. The ANTIFA, in my opinion, resembles the “Black Power” movement of Malcolm X, a civil rights activist. His movement drastically differed from Martin Luther King’s movement, by promoting violence to spread their ideological endeavors “by any means necessary” instead of Doctor King’s “civil disobedience” which focused on non-violence. This brazen group of thugs claims they are in the best interest of the people, but when does the “best interest of the people” include vandalism, looting, and fear-mongering? Let me answer that: It does not. It only makes ANTIFA and the far left villains in the eyes of the rest of the population. It amazes me that a party that pushes for non-violence and peace would condone an anarchist movement and refuse to address the terrible acts they commit on their news channels.

Freedom of the press is one of the many freedoms we have in the United States; however, the press loves to diminish the freedom of speech. The democrats love free speech when it aligns with their political views and propaganda, but shun the free speech of conservative speakers. For example, UC Berkeley, a far left university in the State of California, is one university that prides itself on being a strong supporter of free speech, however, when it comes to conservative speakers like Ann Coulter and Milo Yiannopoulos, they refuse to allow them to speak. Students at UC Berkeley riot and protest against speakers that do not share their political opinions, ultimately leaving the university no choice but to cancel the event, however, they do have a choice. The university could establish perimeters around the location of the speaking event, call security to guard the building, request the local police to intervene if necessary, and so much more.  But, they refuse to do that because it does not match their ideology. To no surprise, the mainstream media refuses to address this war on free speech; instead, they redirect the attention back on the fake Russia scandal.

Every day I go on Twitter to read what is happening in the world of politics. It disgusts me to see all the negativity against our President’s administration. Various hashtags like #IfYouVoteForTrumpcare are being used to instill hate and division within the American public. Every tweet from President Trump has hundreds of personal attacks and attacks against his presidency. What does the media say about this? Absolutely nothing. They do not even mention the various tweets that are against Trump, instead, they focus more on the Russian investigation and the continuous push of their liberal agenda.

In the words of Sean Hannity, a Fox News anchor, “Journalism is dead”. I happen to believe this, as well as countless other Americans. The liberal bias against the Republicans, and more specifically, against President Trump is appalling. You rarely find any criticism against the Democrats in the media (outside of FoxNews); in fact, they praise calls for impeachment and divisive actions. If a Republican lashes out against the mainstream media, they are vilified and labeled everything under the sun. But if Democrats attack Republicans, it is alright. The unbelievable amount of hypocrisy and the massive double standard in the news is utterly amazing. Citizens need to be able to identify which is fake news and which is real news, genuine report - if there even is such a thing anymore. These are dark days in the United States, hopefully, this nation will not succumb to the anarchy and chaos the liberal biased media is pushing.

The Future of the Democratic Party, With a Brief History.

By Daniel V. McClain

The party of Andrew Jackson has changed several times over the years.  The Democratic Party began as the party of the common man, committed to eliminating property and tax requirements for voting, pushing for popular election of judges, fighting for national security from hostile tribes, and opposition to banking monopolies...

Public Education:  Coercion or Choice

By Daniel V. McClain

If even the possibility of a better education for yourself or your child existed wouldn't you be inclined to at least explore those opportunities?