Saturday, November 22, 2014

So, the problem isn't really about guns at all. Deep Denials, Missed Chances on Newtown Murderer Adam Lanza

Deep Denials, Missed Chances on Newtown Murderer Adam Lanza: This makes me sick. Nancy Lanza especially. She practically deserved to die for her gross negligence toward her son's psychiatric care.



At LAT, "New report on Newtown shooter: Parental denial, breakdowns, missed opportunities":

In February 2007, Yale clinicians identified in Adam Lanza what they believed were profound emotional disabilities and offered him treatment that could give him relief for the first time in his troubled life.



But Adam was angry and anxious, and he didn't want to go. His mother, Nancy Lanza, constantly placating her son, was inclined to pull away from the treatment, prompting a psychiatric nurse to reach out to his father, Peter Lanza, in an urgent email.



"I told Adam he has a biological disorder that can be helped with medication. I told him what the medicines are and why they can work. I told him he's living in a box right now and the box will only get smaller over time if he doesn't get some treatment."



Nancy Lanza rejected the Yale doctors' plan. Adam was 14.



Six years later, Adam, now an emaciated recluse and fixated with mass killers, murdered his mother and massacred 20 children and six educators before turning a gun on himself at the elementary school he once attended in the Sandy Hook section of Newtown.



A report released today by the Office of the Child Advocate pointed to the Yale episode as one of dozens of red flags, squandered opportunities, blatant family denial and disturbing failures by pediatricians, educators and mental health professionals to see a complete picture of Adam Lanza's "crippling" social and emotional disabilities.



While the report does not draw a line between the events in Adam Lanza's young life and the massacre, it points out repeated examples where the profound anxiety and rage simmering inside Lanza was not explored in favor of attempts to manage his symptoms.



For example, at the apex of Adam's increasing phobias and problems coping with middle school, he went to a pediatrician and was repeatedly prescribed a lotion to soothe hands rubbed raw by excessive washing and a laxative to ease constipation brought on by a dangerous loss of weight. Yet, the authors note that there was no effort during these visits to address the underlying causes. A visit to a hospital emergency room was cut short before there was a chance for clinicians to explore Adam's problems at greater depth and schedule him for long-term treatment because Nancy Lanza said that being at the hospital was making Adam anxious.



"This shooting could have been stopped at any point along the trajectory of (Adam Lanza's) life," said Scarlett Lewis, whose son Jesse was one of the first-graders killed in classrooms in the Sandy Hook School.



"Red flags were evident, yet procedures were not in place to effectively deal with the issues. This is a systemic concern," Lewis said.



Lewis has started a foundation in her son's honor called the Jesse Lewis Choose Love Foundation to create and promote social and emotional learning programs for school-aged children.
More.



Friday, November 21, 2014

BUILDING STRONG GENERATIONS, Building Strong Families

BUILDING STRONG GENERATIONS, Building Strong Families:

young
young
President Obama’s latest Executive Order on granting amnesty to millions of illegal aliens or whatever greasy, bureaucratic words are used to call it, is the same as telling every American that all Democrats and many Republicans are not interested in following the law. This is terrible news for liberty.

But we carry on. Those who love America must.

One of the reasons we find ourselves in this mess is, as Dennis Prager put it, “we have not passed on what it means to be an American to this generation. A society does not survive if it doesn’t have a reason to survive.” As with many things, Prager is right. So what is the most influential source of passing those values on to the next generation?

Strong families. Specifically, strong marriages. Most of us are aware of the problems married people have so I want to share with you a part of my life I hope will help strengthen your marriage and family, and thus America.

If you’re not married, still read on because if you want to be married it’s a good idea to consider these questions before you make this wonderful commitment.

Why do we marry? Honestly, I don’t know how many can answer that question. “She’s hot,” “He’s rich,” “It seemed like the thing to do,” “We love each other” or variations of these might serve as answers. I myself said the first and the last. But I never really thought of why we marry until I was well into it. In my view, we marry because we become better people together than if we were apart. This is why we should take great care in choosing our mate.

Let’s assume we picked the right person. What then? Marriage is great in so many ways, but it can be incredibly challenging. If you ever lived with friends and learned what putting two or more personalities in a house can do to your well being and sense of happiness, you know that being married is all that times ten.

So, you come home from the honeymoon and…wow, whom did i just say I’d live the rest of my life with? Disillusion is a part of the game, sometimes mild and sometimes wild. So what do you do?

About twelve years ago, the priest at our church pulled aside a couple he had known a very long time. He told them our church was very good at getting couples ready for marriage and nurturing couples who have been married beyond 10 years, but they were falling short at couples who have been married fewer than five years. So this priest asked the couple to form a group of six couples, eventually called “The First Fives” (meaning the first fives years of their lives together). Mrs. Cummings and I were blessed to be a part of this new group, and we’ve been together over twelve years.

For a strong marriage which in my view will strengthen America, this is my recommendation: Form a group of other couples who will support you in your marriage.

Note: If you’re the type who might turn your nose up because this group has religion at its core, keep this in mind (God, forgive me a moment): While our group is religious in nature, your group does not have to be. Simply knowing that the challenges you and your spouse go through are likely experienced by every other couple makes yours much easier to bear. Far beyond “misery loves company,” your group will help you and your spouse become stronger and closer.

While how long you’ve been married is not relevant, I recommend finding couples who’ve been married around the same number of years — with the exception of a leader couple if you have one. You can imagine how different the conversations will be if you’ve been married three years and are about to start a family compared to a another couple who are on their second marriage and no longer have children in the home.

Some rules to ensure success:

1. Meet monthly, and take turns hosting. Dinner is usually provided by the host couple

2. Take a weekend to go on a retreat once a year. Each couple should prepare a discussion of some kind

3. Group meetings consist of sharing both the good and bad, and large and small, of your lives. You can use books or open discussion

4. What happens or is talked about in the group STAYS IN THE GROUP. Success requires honesty, and honesty requires trust. Unlike Fight Club, with the exception of the issues you discuss with your group, talk about your group with others and encourage them to join you, or start one of their own

Being part of a couples group is no guarantee you will make it, no guarantee you won’t fight, and no guarantee you won’t get socked with life’s greatest challenges. While Mrs. Cummings and I are far from perfect, I cannot stress enough how much closer we are as a result of our group, and how strong our friendships are with the other couples. They and their children are all family to us, and we’re grateful to have them in our lives.

Strong marriage, strong children, strong America. Make it happen.

Image: http://myworldmyperception.blogspot.com/2011/10/pati-patni-aur-tu.html

image

Obama’s Orders: Politics, Not Compassion

Obama’s Orders: Politics, Not Compassion:

President Obama was at his rhetorical best Thursday night in making an eloquent case for his executive orders that allow five million illegal immigrants to avoid deportation. But his eloquence invoking compassion for immigrants was the worst kind of cynical game being used to justify an unprecedented presidential usurpation of power. Even if one accepted the arguments he employed on behalf of fixing our broken immigration system or being fair to illegals, it was all beside the point. The purpose of this exercise was to vastly expand the scope of presidential power while provoking a confrontation with Republicans. None of it had much to do with actually changing the system.



There are good reasons to support changes in the system. The status of the 11 million illegals in this country needs to be resolved in some rational manner. The president is right to state that mass deportations are both unlikely and undesirable. Even if they violated the law, many, it not most of the illegals are not bad people and some of their stories should inspire compassion from Americans.

But by acting unilaterally rather than returning to the hard work of crafting a bipartisan compromise on immigration with the new Republican majorities in Congress showed that Obama had other motives besides his supposed passion for the illegals.

The president’s argument remains that he is being forced to act because House Republicans refused to pass the bipartisan compromise bill passed by the Senate. This is a specious appeal for four reasons.

The first is that even if the Senate bill deserved support, it is the prerogative of the Congress to pass laws. The president may advocate, lobby, cajole, threaten or bargain with members to get his way. But if the executive branch fails to get the legislative branch to approve measures, it must accept the verdict and try again. Such a failure does not grant the president the right to usurp Congress.

Second, this is no emergency that required immediate action. Comparisons to the Emancipation Proclamation or wartime emergency measures are absurd. If it were a genuine emergency, Obama would have acted on it during his first two years in office when he had Democratic majorities in both Houses of Congress and could have gotten any measure he liked. He might also have issued these orders at any time since then but instead waited until he was safely re-elected and then for the midterms to be finished before acting.

Third, seen from the perspective of November 2014, it is clear the House was right not to pass the Senate bill. Though I did not think so at the time, the impulse to break up the measure and to pass border security legislation first and then and only then consider the future of the illegals already here was correct. Despite the president’s claims that the border is secure, last summer’s surge of illegals proved otherwise. Moreover, his boasts about the supposed decline in illegal immigration has little to do with the still shaky enforcement at the border and everything to do with the shaky economic recovery the president has presided over. Even worse, it is likely that today’s temporary amnesty — which may be reversed by the next president — will encourage another such surge. The same thing happened after President Reagan’s amnesty and that was not nearly so egregious as Obama’s and an attempt to clarify a law passed by Congress, not an end run around the Constitution.

Fourth, if, as he says, he wants a new bill, the only way to achieve any kind of reform would have been to work with the new Congress. Chances were admittedly slim for a new compromise but the president’s orders have now reduced it to zero. Hispanics and immigration reform advocates applauding these orders should think about the fact that with a stroke of a pen, Obama has made it impossible for any Republican, no matter how committed to fixing the system, to vote for a new bill in the next two years. That is a greater setback for that cause than anything done by House Republicans in the past two years.

And that leads us to the most important conclusion to be drawn from the president’s move. It must be understood that this is as much a tactical political move as it an attempt to build a legacy as some of the president’s defenders claim.

By issuing his orders now in the wake of the Democrats’ drubbing in the midterms, Obama is attempting to take back the initiative from a victorious GOP. Despite the pious rhetoric he used about bipartisanship, his goal here is to goad a rightly furious Republican caucus into overreacting and to recreate the government shutdown confrontation of 2013 that he rightly believes himself to have won. In doing so, he hopes, with the help of a partisan liberal media that is already happily defending his measures and lambasting conservative anger, to gain an advantage in the latest episode of the pointless partisan squabbling that he has helped to engender.

By going outside of the Constitutional order in this manner, the president has created a dangerous precedent that undermines both the rule of law and the concept of separation of powers. One may even agree with the substance of his ideas while also understanding that this is a radical action that puts more power in the hands of an already too-powerful executive branch

But the fact that Democrats are already seeking to depict this struggle as one between a compassionate president and Republicans who want “ethnic cleansing” illustrates that this merely politics, not principle at play. Those who hoped they were electing a Congress to get things done were not wrong to think the new majorities had an opportunity to legislate. But President Obama has made that impossible by firing the first shot in a political war intended to further polarize the nation. Nothing could be more cynical or less high-minded.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

The biggest reason for income inequality is single parenthood

The biggest reason for income inequality is single parenthood:

The fabric of our society is changing. In 1980, approximately 78 percent of families with children were headed by married parents. In 2012, married parents headed only 66 percent of families with children. In a new report, Bradford Wilcox and Robert Lerman explore the role of family structure with new data and analysis, and document how this retreat from marriage is not simply a social and cultural phenomenon. It has important economic implications for, amongst others, men’s labor force participation rates, children’s high school dropout rates and teen pregnancy rates. Since these factors are highly correlated with economic opportunity and the ability to move up the income ladder, this suggests that income inequality and economic mobility across generations are critically influenced by people’s decisions and attitudes towards marriage. Understanding the role of family structure is therefore key to understanding the big economic challenges of our time.

President Obama has declared income inequality to be the “defining challenge of our time.” Last week Janet Yellen, chair of the Federal Reserve Board, highlighted how the “distribution of wealth and income in the United States has been widening” for the last several decades. Data from the Congressional Budget Office shows that over the period 1979 to 2010, incomes for the top 1 percent of the population grew by more than 200 percent, while for those in the bottom and the middle, growth averaged just above 40 percent. There are many explanations for rising income inequality. An overview of these factors in a 2008 National Bureau of Economic Research Working paper finds some role for minimum wages, declines in unionization, globalization and skill-biased technological change. However, an emphasis on family structure as a contributor to inequality has traditionally been missing.

Recently, some papers have suggested that assortative mating has a role to play in household income inequality. Empirically, it has been found that the proportion of couples who share the same level of schooling has been growing over the past few decades. This has been accompanied by a rise in household income inequality. A paper by economists at the Federal Reserve Bank found that changing family structure accounted for 52 percent of the increase in the 50-10 ratio (50th percentile to 10th percentile) and 49 percent of the increase in the 95-5 ratio. Research by Harvard economists, Chetty et al. concludes that the single strongest correlate of upward economic mobility across geographic regions of America is the fraction of children living in single-parent families.

Shift from marriage has had important consequences for family incomes

Wilcox and Lerman document how the shift away from marriage and traditional family structures has had important consequences for family incomes, and has been correlated with rising family-income inequality and declines in men’s labor force participation rates. Using data from the Current Population Survey, the authors find that between 1980 and 2012, median family income rose 30 percent for married parent families, For unmarried parents, family incomes rose only 14 percent.

These differential patterns of changes in family income have exacerbated family-income inequality. Since unmarried parent families generally expand the ranks of low-income families, while high-income, high-education adults increasingly marry partners from similar socioeconomic backgrounds, inequality trends are worsened. Comparing the 90th percentile families to the 10th percentile families in 2012, the top 10 percent had incomes that were more than 11 times higher than the bottom 10 percent. However, if we restrict the sample to married families with children, the ratio drops to nearly 7, suggesting that within married families, income inequality is less stark. The authors estimate that approximately 32 percent of the growth in family-income inequality between 1979 and 2012 is associated with changes in family structure. Other research, studying the period 1968-2000, finds that the changing family structure, accounted for 11 percent of the rise widening of the income gap between the bottom and top deciles.

Another interesting observation relates to the trends in employment participation by men. The Wilcox-Lerman study finds that for married fathers, employment and participation rates have remained consistently higher than for married men with no children and unmarried men with no children. The authors speculate that between 1980 and 2008, about 51 percent of the decline in men’s employment rates can be associated with the retreat from marriage.

Persisting across generations

These findings are striking not only because they affect current levels of income and income inequality, but because these effects persist across generations. Changes in family structure have an impact on children born and raised in these households (Becker, Murray, Thomas and Sawhill). Data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1979 and 1997 indicate that the proportion of teenagers living with their biological or adoptive parents in an intact home fell from 74 percent in 1979 to 54 percent in 1997. Data from the Census Bureau shows that child poverty rates for children in single mother households were more than five times the rate for children in married-couple households.

Aside from the effects of single motherhood on child poverty rates, the authors find that growing up with both parents is associated with a 15 percentage point lower probability of children dropping out of high school without a diploma, relative to those who were raised by a single parent. These findings are consistent with other research by Mclanahan and Sandefur that argues that children who grow up in single parent families have lower educational attainment than those who grow up with both biological parents.

Further, growing up with both parents is associated with a 12 percentage point decline in women’s unmarried parenthood. This is particularly interesting since one important reason for the rise in single motherhood is teen pregnancies. Finally, growing up with both parents also makes it more likely that both men and women will enter into marriage themselves, relative to those who grew up in single parent households.

Why family structure plays a large role

There are many reasons that family structure plays a large role in the economic success of future generations. The literature on intergenerational mobility stresses that parents may influence children’s lifetime earnings through monetary and non-monetary investments, through facilitating better access to jobs and schools, and through genetic transmission of innate ability. However, the question still remains: why are married parents different? Is it better parenting or just higher incomes and better access to resources? Is it that people who marry just have different characteristics and abilities than people who don’t, and thus are more likely to be successful role models to begin with? Unfortunately, it is hard to tease out the causal effects of these different factors.

As I have written earlier, single parenting is a cultural phenomenon that is here to stay. While we can’t explain all the reasons behind the economic impact of single parenting, what we can talk about are policies that could address some of the reasons for and consequences of single motherhood. Isabel Sawhill writes in her book, sixty percent of all births to young, single women are unplanned. Therefore, informing women about their birth control choices and making these choices affordable and accessible is key. Work by Kearney and Levine shows that non-traditional sex education can be important in helping teenagers and unmarried women understand the consequences of getting pregnant at young ages. In my study focusing on mobility, Abby McCloskey and I discuss a host of policies to help break the cycle of poverty and poor mobility for single mothers, such as expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit and improving child care subsidies and making early investments in human capital.

Single parenting as a cultural phenomenon represents not just a change in the way we view and judge ourselves as a society. Growing evidence suggests that it has implications far beyond that. The better we understand it, the closer we will be to understanding the challenging economic issues of poverty, income inequality and social mobility.

Medicare Doles Out $45B in Improper Payments

Medicare Doles Out $45B in Improper Payments:

iStockphoto
By Brianna Ehley,The Fiscal Times

November 20, 2014
It’s not news that the federal government has a serious issue with improper payments. During each of the last five years, agencies have doled out more than $100 billion in erroneous payments from various major benefit programs. Even knowing this, the problem only seems to be getting worse.

The latest program to be flagged by federal auditors is Medicare’s Fee for Service –which has seen a steady uptick of improper payments over the last five years.

This year, the program’s error rate jumped to 12.7 percent, from 10.1 percent last year, according to a new report from the Department of Health and Human Services Inspector General.

Related: 5 Years of Over $100 Billion in Improper Payments

The auditors said that this year alone, Medicare’s Fee for Service program made about $45 billion in improper payments. That’s up significantly from $28.8 billion in 2011, when the error rate was 8.6 percent.

WHY THIS MATTERS
Improper payments are a consistent and expensive problem plaguing the federal government. Without figuring out how to curb the error rate for major benefit programs like Medicare and Medicaid, the government will continue losing billions of tax dollars a year.


Under Medicare’s Fee for Service model, doctors are paid for each treatment they provide to patients. The program covers Medicare (Part A) or “hospital insurance” as well as supplementary medical insurance (Part B), according to the Health and Human Services Department. The improper payments tend to happen when a hospital bills Medicare for something that is not covered under the program, or if they overbill Medicare.

Under the Improper Payment Information Act, Medicare was supposed to curb the program’s payment error rate to 8.3 percent. Instead, the error rate has gone up.

Auditors said the program violated the Improper Payment Information Act of 2002, which is regulated by the Office of Management and Budget. Still, it doesn’t appear that there’s much OMB can do to discipline the agency for failing to meet its mark.

And it’s not just Fee for Service. HHS also struggles with high error rates for other major programs as well including Medicaid and Foster Care.

Related: Feds Blow $100 Billion Annually on Incorrect Payments

“Two other programs, Medicaid and Foster Care, also reported error rates that increased from the error rates reported last year,” the IG said. In total, improper payments for seven HHS programs cost about $78 billion in 2014, up from $65.3 billion last year. That represents a 20 percent increase over one year, The Washington Examiner noted.

There is some good news, though. According to the IG, HHS ultimately recovered about 88 percent of the identified improper payments—up from 79 percent in 2012.  So, they’re making more mistakes, but fixing more too.

Top Reads from The Fiscal Times

Mona Charen: The President Lives in An Alternate Reality

Mona Charen: The President Lives in An Alternate Reality: "President Obama’s insistence upon using his Islamic name reflects his continuing belief that by denying Islamic extremism, he can promote peace. “ISIL’s actions represent no faith,” he said, “least of all the Muslim faith which Abdul-Rahman adopted as his own.”



"When someone converts at the point of a sword, in hopes of saving his life, is that “adopting the Muslim faith as his own”?



"Whom is Mr. Obama respecting by using the Islamic name — Kassig, or his executioners?"



(I think we all know the answer to that...)


Islamophilia

Islamophilia:

Why do Muslim extremists continue to behead people with impunity? Why do Palestinians continue to celebrate terrorist acts?

The answer is easier than you think.

They keep doing it because it works. When ISIS executed American aid worker Peter Kassig, President Obama took the occasion to show off his Islamophilia, his reverential respect for Islam.

Asked yesterday why Palestinians continue to engage in murderous acts of terror Prof. Alan Dershowitz explained that their actions have cowed much of the Western world… to the point where more and more Europeans and Americans favor giving Palestinians whatever they want.

When Palestinians attack Israel the American Secretary of State and other Western leaders conspicuously call for Israeli restraint.

When terrorism is rewarded, it is likely to continue.

Mona Charen has shown that Obama manifested his Islamophilia in his official statement about the recent murder of Peter Kassig.

First, the White House statement:

Today we offer our prayers and condolences to the parents and family of Abdul-Rahman Kassig, also known to us as Peter.  We cannot begin to imagine their anguish at this painful time.

Abdul-Rahman was taken from us in an act of pure evil by a terrorist group that the world rightly associates with inhumanity.  Like Jim Foley and Steven Sotloff before him, his life and deeds stand in stark contrast to everything that ISIL represents.  While ISIL revels in the slaughter of innocents, including Muslims, and is bent only on sowing death and destruction, Abdul-Rahman was a humanitarian who worked to save the lives of Syrians injured and dispossessed by the Syrian conflict.  While ISIL exploits the tragedy in Syria to advance their own selfish aims, Abdul-Rahman was so moved by the anguish and suffering of Syrian civilians that he traveled to Lebanon to work in a hospital treating refugees.  Later, he established an aid group, SERA, to provide assistance to Syrian refugees and displaced persons in Lebanon and Syria.  These were the selfless acts of an individual who cared deeply about the plight of the Syrian people.  

ISIL's actions represent no faith, least of all the Muslim faith which Abdul-Rahman adopted as his own.  Today we grieve together, yet we also recall that the indomitable spirit of goodness and perseverance that burned so brightly in Abdul-Rahman Kassig, and which binds humanity together, ultimately is the light that will prevail over the darkness of ISIL.

What’s wrong with this statement?

A great deal.

First, Charen points out, Peter Kassig converted to Islam when faced with a death threat. He did not voluntarily embrace the Muslim faith. When Obama insists on using Kassig’s Muslim name he is effectively affirming the legitimacy of the conversion.

She explains:

Peter Kassig converted to Islam and took the name Abdul-Rahman, but only in captivity. President Obama’s insistence upon using his Islamic name reflects his continuing belief that by denying Islamic extremism, he can promote peace….

When someone converts at the point of a sword, in hopes of saving his life, is that “adopting the Muslim faith as his own”? Whom is Mr. Obama respecting by using the Islamic name — Kassig, or his executioners?

Note well: Obama’s use of the Islamic name is a gesture of respect for Kassig’s executioners!

Even more appalling is Obama’s insistence that ISIL’s actions represent no faith, and certainly not the Muslim faith.

Who is he trying to fool?

Charen replies:

But Mr. Obama is still at pains to protect the good name of Islam. He condemns the barbarism of the Islamic State and other terrorists, but feels the need to quickly add that their crimes “represent no faith, least of all” Islam.

Throughout the Muslim world, extremism is in full bloom. Only a minority of Sunni extremists travel under the name al-Qaeda. Others are called al-Nusra (Syria) and AQIM (North Africa) and ISIS (Syria and Iraq) and Wahhabi (Saudi Arabia) and Boko Haram (Nigeria) and Abu Sayyaf (Philippines) and Taliban (Afghanistan and Pakistan) and Lashkar-e-Taiba (Pakistan) and al-Fatah (Palestinian territories) and Hamas (Gaza). The Shia extremists include the Islamic Republic of Iran, Hezbollah (Lebanon), and the Madhi Army of Iraq.

Why does Obama feel compelled to protect the good name of Islam? Surely, that good name and the reputation of people who profess the Muslim faith has been sullied by the actions of multiple Islamist terrorist groups.

If Muslims want to restore their good name they will need to destroy the terrorists in their midst.

Obama’s servile profession of respect for Islam denies reality and tells the terrorists that their actions have not compromised the reputation of Islam. Their actions seem to have terrorized him to the point where he can only show respect for the terrorists’ faith.

Islamophilia is the other face of Islamophobia… the latter meaning, fear of Islam.

Charen is right to say that Obama is in denial. She might have added that the Islamic State will continue to do what it does because its actions have caused world leaders to show greater and great respect for the religion it represents.

It isn’t just that ISIS and Palestinian terrorists have barely paid a price for the horrors they have unleashed on the world. They have been rewarded for it.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Trashing the republic to save his party with immigration ‘reform’

Trashing the republic to save his party with immigration ‘reform’: Washington Times, by Charles Hurt Posted By: KarenJ1- Wed, 19 13 2014 10:13:04 GMT Forget the smarmy political desperation of it. Forget the Third World despotic nature of it. Forget even the cynical, Machiavellian deceitfulness of it. Let’s just consider how President Obama threatens to slash to ribbons the very fabric of the world’s greatest free republic by unilaterally thwarting Congress to grant amnesty to untold numbers of illegal aliens who illegally crossed our borders and are presently residing here now. Illegally. Will it be a million? Four million? Will Fuehrer Obama grant amnesty to 7 million illegals?


The left’s legacy of lies

Family Security Matters: "Leftists have a legacy; they lie to get elected, they lie to enact their policies and they lie when those policies fail. "



'via Blog this'

Control Freaks

Control Freaks: John Stossel, RealClearPolitics

Control freaks want to run your life. They call themselves "public servants."
But whether student council president, environmental bureaucrat or member of Congress, most believe they know how to run your life better than you do.
I admit I was once guilty of this kind of thinking. As a young consumer reporter, I researched what doctors said was bad for us and what products might harm us. Then I demanded that the state pass rules to protect us from those things.
The concept of individual freedom was not yet on my radar screen. I apologize. I was ignorant and arrogant.
But at least I had no real...


Duplicity, Lies and the Liberal Way

Duplicity, Lies and the Liberal Way:

OMG where do I start?

Ok, let's just start at the beginning.  The liberal ideology is based on the philosophy that the government can take care of people.  Liberals think that the government is good at solving big problems.  They believe that so completely that they are OK with lying to get their policies passed.  They truly do believe that people are too stupid to take care of themselves, the government can do it better.  Somehow, progressive liberals have been able to call this ideology "helping people."

And, they have gotten away with it.

Conservatives, on the other had, believe in personal responsibility and freedom.  Conservatives believe that the government isn't very good at anything.  The government doesn't create anything, it just takes from some and gives to others.  Conservatives believe that people can take care of themselves better than the government can.  Liberals have successfully called this ideology selfish, stupid and racist.



Lies
We all know that Obama lied all over the country to get Obamacare passed.  Now, we all know that the architect of Obamacare went all over the place calling Americans "stupid" and laughing about getting the law passed.

But, do they hang their heads in shame and realize that the jig is up?  Nope.

Obama is doubling down on his liberal progressive agenda.  He is going to shove amnesty down our throats, make sure that we are stuck with Obamacare and kill the Keystone Pipeline.

Interestingly, he has been able to stonewall on legislation that he doesn't like for his entire presidency and successfully blame it all on George Bush or Republicans.

Legislation for the Keystone Pipeline is going to a vote on the senate floor.  The house passed legislation that would open the pipeline, but it has been sitting on Harry Reid's desk.

Why is it being brought up now?  To save Mary Landrieu's senate seat in Louisiana and for no other reason.

When Obama vetoes it, will he still be able to blame his policies on a so-called do-nothing" congress, the previous president and the opposing political party?

Americans are not stupid.  They have voted down liberal progressive policies.  We are tired of liberal lies and duplicity.

The jig is up.

Democrats Prove Worthlessness – Re-Elect Nancy Pelosi House Minority Leader

Democrats Prove Worthlessness – Re-Elect Nancy Pelosi House Minority Leader:

Since the election of President Barack Obama some six years ago the Democrat Party has been on a steady and precipitous decline, much of that thanks to the leadership skills of Nancy Pelosi and her Senate counterpart Harry Reid. Yet it seems that both Pelosi and Reid will continue to guide their Party for the foreseeable future.

Even though the Democrats have suffered crushing defeat after crushing defeat over the last few years, on Tuesday they chose to stay their course and reelected Representative Nancy Pelosi to serve as their leader in the House for another two years. At 74 years old, Pelosi has already led House Democrats for the last 12 years, and no doubt hopes that the next two will be better than the last six.







From Politico:



Pelosi was unopposed in the election and earned broad support from the Democratic Caucus despite grumbling from some lawmakers that Democrats needed a new message to excite voters after a devastating Election Day loss…



nancyclown
Pelosi was approved unanimously on a voice vote, with “no nays audible in the room,” the aide said.

Following her election, Pelosi spoke briefly, calling House Democrats the strongest team on the field.” Pelosi said Democrats need to rebuild consensus within their caucus - badly shaken by defeat they suffered on Nov. 4 - and renew their focus on “middle-class issues.”

The caucus also reelected the entire Democratic leadership team along with Rep. Steve Israel (D-N.Y.) as a top Pelosi lieutenant on policy and communications. Israel served as chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee for the last four years.

These decisions by the Democrat caucus prove that the Party has not learned the lessons of the Obama years. The nation may not be as conservative as it once was, but we are hardly the liberal nation that the Democrats like to pretend we are. The Democrats have led Congress to all time lows in Congressional approval, all while running the least productive Congress in history. From 2008 – 2010 President Obama was leading from the White House and the Democrat Party held a majority in the House, and a super-majority in the Senate… and yet the only thing they could accomplish was ramming a very unpopular Healthcare bill down our throats. (They couldn’t even pass a budget in those years!)

Today, Obamacare is MORE UNPOPULAR than ever, and so are the Democrats.

Yet, they chose to keep all of their failed leaders in place. I guess they’ve never heard the definition of insanity…

President Obama's Culpability For Tuesday's Synagogue Attack

President Obama's Culpability For Tuesday's Synagogue Attack: On Wednesday morning in Jerusalem life began to return to some semblance of normalcy. Worshipers returned to the Kehilat Bnai Torah synagogue, which was attacked the day before because as Akiva Pollack, a paramedic who was one of the first to the terror scene on Tuesday stressed it was important to return to normal. "When I see the synagogue full, I know they are the people who believe the synagogue will not close but will be strengthened. What we need to do is come back here and pray."



It's natural at times like this for thoughts to turn to how such a thing could happen. How people in a holy sanctuary wearing the tools of their faith, Tallis and Tefilin, trying to connect to God through the words and emotions of their prayers could be slaughtered. How an arm wrapped seven times between the wrist and the elbow by the strap of the Tefilin to serve as a "sign" and "remembrance" that God brought the Jews out of Egypt to the holy land they now prayed in, could be hacked off by such evil.



The day of the attack Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu justifiably blamed the incitement led by Palestinian President Abbas for the attack. But not all of the incitement comes from Abbas. Hatred is also generated by a EU that uses a hatred of Israel as a cover for the hatred of Jews they embraced seventy plus years ago.



Hatred is also incited by the administration of Barack Obama, whose public criticism of Israel and desire for an ethnically pure East Jerusalem, Judea, and Samaria is not only unprecedented for a President of the United States in its scope and cruelty, but it serves as nourishment for the Palestinian hatred of the Jews.



This President insists that East Jerusalem must be Judenrein ("clean of Jews". He not only rebukes Israel when it builds apartments in Jerusalem, but when Jews independently purchase homes in East Jerusalem.



Name one other people and one other place in the world where the Obama administration bans people from living. He insists for example, the Russian army leave the Ukraine but Russians are allowed to live anywhere they want.  If I was to sell my house with a "for sale" sign saying "no blacks," Obama's justice department would rightfully come after me. The only people in the world this president bans from living anywhere they want are the Jews. Allow me to say that again. The only people in the world this president bans from living anywhere they want are the Jews. 



Don't you think the Palestinians see that? That the government of the United States believes East Jerusalem, Judea, and Samaria should be Judenrein? Obama's anti-Semitic desire for ethnic cleansing feeds the terrorist's hatred. It promotes the Palestinian culture of incitement and hatred.



The terrorists who invaded the holy space and killed four men reaching out to their God, were suckled at the teat of President Obama's demand that areas of the world must be free of Jews almost as much as they were fed by the incitement of Fatah and the Palestinian Authority.







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A spiral of inanity

A spiral of inanity: (Scott Johnson)

President Obama is marinated in the left-wing hatred of Israel and, not surprisingly, he hates Israel (not just Prime Minister Netanyahu). He has no patience with Israel’s struggle for survival. He seeks to engineer Israel’s surrender to her enemies. His attitude toward Israel is perhaps a little more obvious than his attitude toward the United States. As with so many issues, however, Israel is a leading indicator.

Consider Obama’s statement on the revolting terrorist attack that took the lives of five men (including three American rabbis with dual citizenship) in Israel yesterday. Here it is, in its entirety.

Obama also gave slightly more extended remarks on the attack before a meeting of his team addressing the Ebola epidemic yesterday. Here are his remarks:

We know that two attackers senselessly and brutally attacked innocent worshippers in a synagogue during their morning prayers. Obviously, we condemn in the strongest terms these attacks. A number of people were wounded, and four people were killed, including three American citizens. So this is a tragedy for both nations, Israel as well as the United States. And our hearts go out to the families who obviously are undergoing enormous grief right now.

Secretary Kerry has spoken to Prime Minister Netanyahu. President Abbas has strongly condemned the attacks. Tragically, this is not the first loss of life that we have seen in recent months. Too many Israelis have died. Too many Palestinians have died. And at this difficult time, I think it’s important for both Palestinians and Israelis to try to work together to lower tensions and to reject violence.

The murderers for today’s outrageous acts [sic] represent the kind of extremism that threatens to bring all of the Middle East into the kind of spiral from which it’s very difficult to emerge. And we know how this violence can get worse over time. But we have to remind ourselves that the majority of Palestinians and Israelis overwhelmingly want peace and to be able to raise their families knowing they’re safe and secure. The United States wants to work with all parties involved to make that a reality, and to isolate the kind of extremists that are bringing about this terrible carnage.
Abbas of course incited the attacks, but never mind. As Obama calls out the “kind of extremism” that may lead to “the kind of spiral,” we find ourselves in a vortex of mindless clichés. Like Obama’s formal statement, Obama’s remarks are so placid, so evenhanded, so shot through with stupidity and falsehood, the wonder is that Obama could keep himself awake as he read them (video below).


Tuesday, November 18, 2014

MSNBC can’t find one Democrat who can explain how Obama’s amnesty plan is legal

MSNBC can’t find one Democrat who can explain how Obama’s amnesty plan is legal:

From The Right Scoop: When asking Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vermont) about the legal justification for part of Obama’s amnesty, Lawrence O’Donnell said last night on his show that he can’t find one single elected Democrat who can explain how Obama will be able to grant work permits to the illegal parents of children who are already American citizens. And indeed Welch couldn’t answer it either.

Watch:








Military Appalled at The Obama Administration’s ‘Willful Incompetence’

Lt. Col. Peters: Military Appalled at The Obama Administration’s ‘Willful Incompetence’:

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 photo LtColRalphPeters_zps89eafc28.jpg

“We’ve a president so arrogant, an administration so arrogant, they think they know how to run military tactical affairs; not just strategic, but tactical affairs, better than military professionals.

It looks as if President Obama’s disdain for the military is being reciprocated, in other words, he is reaping what he has sown.

Military officials are appalled at the “willful incompetence” of President Barack Obama’s administration and its interference in the campaign against the Islamic State (ISIS), said Lt. Col. Ralph Peters.
“We’ve a president so arrogant, an administration so arrogant, they think they know how to run military tactical affairs; not just strategic, but tactical affairs, better than military professionals.
“Everyone is appalled at the incompetence, the willful incompetence of this White House,” Peters, a retired Army Lt. Colonel, told Fox News’ “America’s Newsroom” on Monday.
Lt. Col. Peters isn’t alone in his assessment of the strained relationship between Obama and the military, either.

Peters said recent statements by Robert Gates and Leon Panetta, both former secretaries of defense and directors of the CIA, showed they were “angry” about the micromanagement of the White House in military affairs.
Speaking at the Reagan Library over the weekend, Gates claimed the White House was making military decisions based on politics.
“When a president wants highly centralized control in the White House at the degree of micromanagement that I’m describing, that’s not bureaucratic, that’s political,” Gates said Saturday.
Panetta, in his recent memoir,Worthy Fights“, wrote that he thought the White House was “eager to rid itself of Iraq,” and predicted the U.S. could be embroiled in a 30-year war in the Middle East because of Obama’s decisions.
It’s the ages old story of civilian authorities meddling into military tactics and strategies, which is sure to be a recipe for disaster. One only has to look back at Viet Nam to see the damage civilian micromanagement does to a military operation.

The problem went beyond the Obama administration, and included “lawyers approving targets, lawyers deployed with battalions,” Peters explained, adding that to win the war against the Islamic State, Obama must give the “strategic direction,” and then “let the people who know how to do it, do it.”
“I’ll tell you how you win it. You get the lawyers out of it. You get the politicians out of it. You tell our military, ‘Destroy Islamic State. And what happens in Iraq and Syria, stays in Iraq and Syria,'” he said. 
Read the full story here.

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Netanyahu: It's Time For The World To Condemn Terrorism

Netanyahu: It's Time For The World To Condemn Terrorism: At a Tuesday evening press conference responding to the terrorist attack at a Jerusalem Synagogue, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu angrily called on world leaders to end their mendacity regarding terrorist attacks against Jews.

 


Pope Francis: 'Children Have The Right To A Mother And Father'

Pope Francis: 'Children Have The Right To A Mother And Father':

MSNBC Shrill Is No Accident. It’s How Liberals Really Think.

MSNBC Shrill Is No Accident. It’s How Liberals Really Think.:

It’s been more than 50 years since William F. Buckley first complained, “Though liberals do a great deal of talking about hearing other points of view, it sometimes shocks them to learn that there are other points of view.”

Since then, things have only gotten worse. At the dawn of the Obama era, for example, Mark Schmitt, former editor of The American Prospect, wrote that the “conservative power structure” is so “dangerous” because it operates “almost entirely on bad faith,” thriving on “protest, complaint, [and] fear.” Just before the recent midterm elections The Daily Beast’s Michael Tomasky called the GOP “as intellectually dishonest and bankrupt and just plain old willfully stupid as a political party can possibly be,” one whose only agenda “is to slash regulations and taxes and let energy companies and megabanks and multinational corporations do whatever it is they wish to do.”

In other words, it is impossible not only for any reasonable person to be conservative, but even to take such idiotic, malignant ideas seriously. And neither Schmitt nor Tomasky is a particularly shrill partisan, compared to the polemicists at Salon.com, MSNBC or the New York Times editorial page. With such allies, it’s no wonder that Barack Obama’s wish for a new political unity that would transcend and heal the divisions between red states and blue states has come to nothing.

Liberal rhetoric emphasizes compassion, empathy and kindness—“Kindness covers all of my political beliefs,” President Obama has said—because these emotions need not and really cannot be theorized.
It’s tempting, but mistaken, for conservatives to think that the problem is as simple as liberals’ failure to observe the Golden Rule of democratic politics: take your adversaries as seriously as you want them to take you. That’s a good standard, of course, but it’s sound advice for everyone. American discourse would benefit if all disputants observed what economist Bryan Caplan calls the “ideological Turing test,” which requires characterizing a viewpoint you disagree with so discerningly and scrupulously that an adherent of that position finds your summary of it as clear and persuasive as any provided by a true believer.

Caplan’s test turns out to be not only a good general rule, but a good way to grasp one of liberalism’s defining features. It’s hard to understand liberals as they understand themselves because they insist there’s really nothing to understand. Liberal rhetoric emphasizes compassion, empathy and kindness—“Kindness covers all of my political beliefs,” President Obama has said—because these emotions need not and really cannot be theorized.

Even its philosophers reject the need for a theoretical framework. “The idea that liberal societies are bound together by philosophical beliefs seems to me to be ludicrous,” the left-of-center philosopher Richard Rorty contended. Philosophy “is not that important for politics.”



2011 tweets from Alec Baldwin (via The Blaze)


2011 tweets from Alec Baldwin (via The Blaze)
Liberalism, as liberals understand it, is not a philosophy, ideology, body of doctrines or a mode of interpreting political reality. It is, instead, nothing more than common sense and common decency applied to the work of governance.

It follows directly from this premise that opposition to the liberal project is necessarily senseless and indecent. Viewing themselves as simply nice people who want the world to be a nicer and nicer place, liberals regard conservatives as either mean people who want the world to be a mean place, or stupid people who can’t grasp that impeding liberalism means impeding the advance of niceness.

Convinced that no intelligent, decent person could take conservatism seriously, liberals believe it is not necessary or even possible, when engaging conservative ideas, to go beyond diagnosing the psychological, moral or mental defects that cause people to espouse them. Liberals claim to understand conservatives better than they understand themselves on the basis of seeing through the cynical self-interest of conservative leaders (and funders), and the fanaticism or stupid docility of conservative followers. The New Yorker’s Jane Mayer, scourge of the Koch brothers, went on Rachel Maddow’s MSNBC show in 2010 to deny that the Tea Party movement was “a spontaneous uprising that came from nowhere.” In fact, Maddow explained, many of those attending its demonstrations “were essentially instructed to rally against things like climate change by billionaire oil tycoons.”

Viewing themselves as simply nice people who want the world to be a nicer and nicer place, liberals regard conservatives as either mean people who want the world to be a mean place, or stupid people who can’t grasp that impeding liberalism means impeding the advance of niceness.
This condescension has always been part of the liberal outlook. In 1972, eight weeks after George McGovern suffered a historically massive defeat against Richard Nixon, film critic Pauline Kael told the professors at a Modern Language Association conference, “I know only one person who voted for Nixon. Where they are I don’t know. They’re outside my ken. But sometimes when I’m in a theater I can feel them.”

Conservatives will wait decades in the hope of a fair hearing from such adversaries. That time would be better spent urging Americans who haven’t made up their minds that the same traits that make liberals contemptuous of conservatism make them dangerous for America. Liberalism exists to solve problems, and liberals regard every source of dissatisfaction or discord as a problem, not an aspect of the human condition that we must always contend with but can never sanely hope to eradicate. In denouncing “Dirty Harry” as a “deeply immoral movie,” Pauline Kael explained in 1972 that crime is caused, not by evil, but by “deprivation, misery, psychopathology and social injustice.”

Yet the crime wave that made urban life intolerable from the early 1960s through the early 1990s has, somehow, receded dramatically, even though liberals are as agitated about deprivation and social injustice today as they were 40 years ago. Such reactionary ideas as more cops, more prisons and longer sentences—all based on the conservative belief that constraining human wickedness through stern disincentives is plausible, but solving it therapeutically through social work is deluded—has made the difference. Liberal disdain for the wary view of human nature, which is conservatism’s foundation, turns out to be of one piece with the “idealism” and “compassion” that culminates in governmental malpractice, rendering liberalism a threat to the American experiment in self-government.

The post MSNBC Shrill Is No Accident. It’s How Liberals Really Think. appeared first on Daily Signal.

How the War on Poverty Has Hurt American Marriage Rates

How the War on Poverty Has Hurt American Marriage Rates:

It is no accident that the collapse of marriage in America largely began with the War on Poverty and the proliferation of means-tested welfare programs that it fostered.

When the War on Poverty began, only a single welfare program—Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC)—assisted single parents.

Today, dozens of programs provide benefits to families with children, including the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) food program, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), food stamps, child nutrition programs, public housing and Section 8 housing, and Medicaid. Although married couples with children can also receive aid through these programs, the overwhelming majority of assistance to families with children goes to single-parent households.

>>> On Thursday, Nov. 20, Heritage Foundation will host the 2014 Antipoverty Forum in Washington, D.C., featuring speakers including Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., and Fox News’ Juan Williams. Details here.

The burgeoning welfare state has promoted single parenthood in two ways. First, means-tested welfare programs such as those described above financially enable single parenthood. It is difficult for single mothers with a high school degree or less to support children without the aid of another parent. Means-tested welfare programs substantially reduce this difficulty by providing extensive support to single parents. Welfare thereby reduces the financial need for marriage. Since the beginning of the War on Poverty, less-educated mothers have increasingly become married to the welfare state and to the U.S. taxpayer rather than to the fathers of their children.

As means-tested benefits expanded, welfare began to serve as a substitute for a husband in the home, and low-income marriage began to disappear. As husbands left the home, the need for more welfare to support single mothers increased. The War on Poverty created a destructive feedback loop: Welfare promoted the decline of marriage, which generated a need for more welfare.



marriagechart


A second major problem is that the means-tested welfare system actively penalizes low-income parents who do marry. All means-tested welfare programs are designed so that a family’s benefits are reduced as earnings rise. In practice, this means that, if a low-income single mother marries an employed father, her welfare benefits will generally be substantially reduced. The mother can maximize welfare by remaining unmarried and keeping the father’s income “off the books.”

For example, a single mother with two children who earns $15,000 per year would generally receive around $5,200 per year of food stamp benefits. However, if she marries a father with the same earnings level, her food stamps would be cut to zero. A single mother receiving benefits from Section 8 or public housing would receive a subsidy worth on average around $11,000 per year if she was not employed, but if she marries a man earning $20,000 per year, these benefits would be cut nearly in half. Both food stamps and housing programs provide very real financial incentives for couples to remain separate and unmarried.

Overall, the federal government operates over 80 means-tested welfare programs that provide cash, food, housing, medical care, and social services to poor and low-income individuals. Each program contains marriage penalties similar to those described above. Low-income families generally receive benefits from several programs at the same time. The marriage penalties from multiple programs when added together can provide substantial financial disincentives to marriage. For example, if a single mother who earns $20,000 per year marries a man who earns the same amount, the couple will typically lose about $12,000 a year in welfare benefits. In effect, the welfare system makes it economically irrational for most low-income couples to marry.

The anti-marriage aspect of the welfare state can be illustrated by comparing means-tested welfare with the federal income tax code. For example, under a progressive income tax system with only a single schedule of tax rates indiscriminately covering both single persons and married couples, nearly all individuals would experience an increase in taxes owed when they married and lower taxes if they remain separate or divorce. The current federal income tax system mitigates this anti-marriage effect by having separate tax schedules for singles and married couples.



marriage 2 chart


By contrast, the means-tested welfare system, in most cases, does not have a separate schedule for married couples. When a low-income mother and father marry, they will generally experience a sharp drop in benefits, and their joint income will fall. The anti-marriage penalty is often most severe among married couples where both parents are employed.

These anti-marriage penalties are harmful to mothers, fathers, children and society at large. Reform is needed. Yet with over 80 different means-tested aid programs, the U.S. welfare system is very complex. Eliminating all anti-marriage incentives in these programs overnight would be very expensive. However, policymakers can reduce welfare’s anti-marriage penalties incrementally. A good first step would be to reform the Earned Income Tax Credit to help mitigate marriage penalties. This is in contrast to proposals that would expand EITC for unwed fathers, which would actually increase marriage penalties.

Marriage is good for children, mothers and fathers, but marriage is disappearing in low-income communities. In part, this is due to the fact that the U.S. welfare system actively penalizes many low-income parents who do marry. The anti-marriage incentives built into the welfare state are indefensible. Policymakers should reduce welfare’s anti-marriage penalties.

This is adapted from “How Welfare Undermines Marriage and What to Do About It,” an issue brief released by The Heritage Foundation. 

The post How the War on Poverty Has Hurt American Marriage Rates appeared first on Daily Signal.

The Results Are In: The USDA’s Ability to Misspend Food Stamps Money Is Mind-Boggling

The Results Are In: The USDA’s Ability to Misspend Food Stamps Money Is Mind-Boggling:

For many people, misspending $2.4 billion dollars would be an incredible feat of financial mismanagement.

But that’s the amount of money that the USDA spent last year on improper payments for food stamps, according to a recent report done by the Office of the Inspector General (OIG).



Image Credit: USDA/OIG
Image Credit: USDA/OIG

This number has been on the rise in recent years, due, at least in part, to the fact that an average of one in every four Americans now receives some sort of assistance from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

Rising numbers prompted 2010’s Executive Order 13520, which was issued to address the problem of increasing improper payments.

In 2013, Beth Colbert of the Office of Management and Budget wrote a piece for their website claiming that the current administration had made significant strides to curb these improper payments:

‘When the President took office in 2009, payment error rates were on the rise.  In fiscal year (FY) 2009, the improper payment rate was 5.42 percent.

Since then, the Administration, working together with Congress, has significantly reduced improper payments by strengthening accountability and transparency through yearly reviews by agency inspectors general, and expanded audits for high priority programs.’
However, according to the above graphic, the administration’s rhetorical claims of transparency and accountability do not seem to be panning out as once hoped.

And despite all of its claims that the economy has recovered and seen tremendous growth, reliance on food stamps continues to increase, as does the amount of misspent funds.

The post The Results Are In: The USDA’s Ability to Misspend Food Stamps Money Is Mind-Boggling appeared first on Independent Journal Review.

Original enclosures:


Why Ending FEMA Will Improve Disaster Response

Why Ending FEMA Will Improve Disaster Response:

Chris Edwards

Under the U.S. Constitution, the powers delegated to the federal government are “few and defined,” as James Madison noted in Federalist 45, while the powers of the states “will extend to all the objects which, in the ordinary course of affairs, concern the lives, liberties, and properties of the people.”

That decentralized structure of government has served America well, but it has been rapidly eroding as Washington grabs ever more power over domestic policy. One troubling area of federal expansion is the preparation and response for natural disasters, such as hurricanes. The interventions of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and other federal agencies are increasingly displacing the activities of the states and private organizations.

In decades past, individuals, businesses, and charities took the lead on disasters. After the devastating San Francisco Earthquake of 1906, for example, the private response was huge. Aid poured in from across the country, with millionaires such as Andrew Carnegie making major contributions. Southern Pacific Railroad evacuated 200,000 people from the city at no charge. Home-products company Johnson and Johnson rushed in free supplies. Insurance companies paid out the vast majority of claims for the 90 percent of all property owners who had policies. The Red Cross and other charities also provided relief.

In recent decades, these sorts of private responses are being replaced by federal intervention. President Jimmy Carter created FEMA by executive order in 1979, and Congress created the current legal structure for disaster relief in the 1988 Stafford Act. The Act allows for federal intervention only if disasters are of “such severity and magnitude that effective response is beyond the capabilities of the state and the affected local governments.” But the government often violates that limit by intervening in emergencies that could be handled locally.

The number of federal disaster declarations — which authorize federal spending — has soared from an average of 29 a year in the 1980s to 139 a year so far in the 2010s. FEMA spending has grown from an average $0.7 billion a year in the 1980s to $13 billion a year in the 2010s. The huge and often wasteful federal spending after Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and Superstorm Sandy in 2012 could become the norm as politicians clamor for subsidies and ignore constitutional and statutory limits on federal power.

In a new Cato Institute study, I describe problems caused by growing federal intervention:

  • Federal aid reduces incentives for the states to fund their own disaster mitigation and relief. When efforts to increase federal power after Katrina were being considered, Florida governor Jeb Bush warned, “I can say with certainty that federalizing emergency response to catastrophic events would be a disaster as bad as Hurricane Katrina … if you federalize, all the innovation, creativity, and knowledge at the local level would subside.” Most first responders work for state and local governments, and the more federal tentacles that extend into their affairs, the less effective they will become.
  • Federal intervention generates red tape. The Government Accountability Office study found that the share of federal disaster aid dollars going toward paperwork has soared to 18 percent. Federal disaster rules and regulations have become so complicated that they can overwhelm officials during disasters, such as during Katrina when leaders were frozen by confusion and indecision.
  • Federal spending is often wasteful. The massive waste in post-Katrina spending was described by the New York Times as “one of the most extraordinary displays of scams, schemes and stupefying bureaucratic bungles in modern history.” The rush to push money out the door for aid and contracts led to billions of dollars in waste. FEMA spent $900 million, for example, on mobile homes that were mainly not used.
  • Federal officials can obstruct private relief efforts. During Katrina, FEMA either blocked or sidelined the relief efforts of private companies donating supplies, doctors volunteering their services, and transportation companies offering evacuation help. Federal officials tend to become power hungry, and their impulse is to control everything, rather than to allow diverse efforts to flourish.
These problems suggest that we would be better off without FEMA. The federal role in disasters should be limited to activities where it has unique capabilities. For example, the Coast Guard performs crucial search and rescue services, and the National Guard under state command provides law enforcement support during disasters. Other federal agencies are experts in pandemics and terrorism.

FEMA’s main activity is handing out cash after disasters, but states and private organizations can fill that role. The states can build up emergency reserve funds, and they can rely on help from other states during crises under existing multistate agreements.

When the federal government tries to do too much, it crowds out other efforts and usually bungles the job. That is true of FEMA, which does little, if anything, that the states could not do for themselves. Let’s heed Madison’s wisdom, and eliminate FEMA.

Chris Edwards is Cato’s director of tax-policy studies, and editor of www.DownsizingGovernment.org.