I know you must be as tired as I hearing politicians in Washington DC and pundits in the media refer to the Midwestern states as “flyover” country – that part of our remarkable republic that matters very little when it comes to national elections – after all we are all so “vanilla” and unimportant! Maybe the last presidential election will help to put a damper on that tired notion.
We have all heard about the problem veterans have in getting adequate health care. It was certainly the grist of the last presidential election. West Point graduate General Shinseki, himself a disabled Vietnam veteran, failed in his efforts to reform the problem during President Obama’s first term, and Bob McDonald, another West Point graduate, former chairman of Proctor and Gamble, turned out to be equally ineffective during Obama’s 2nd term. Knowledge of the military seemed to be far less important than the ability to wade through the bureaucratic morass of the Veterans Administration and arcane rules governing hiring and firing of federal employees. President Trump has appointed David Shulkin, an Obama VA Under Secretary, and himself a psychiatrist, as the new Veterans Administrator. Under his leadership some changes are apparently underway, but we have heard that promise before. What he is actually able to accomplish is yet to be seen.
Since the budget process is heating up, I want to re-emphasize one way to reduce unnecessary spending. As you know, the date until which you have to work to make a profit after all taxes are paid is now April 24th, one day earlier than last year. At that point, the money you earn is mostly yours, not the government’s. Americans pay $3.3 trillion in federal taxes each year and $1.6 trillion in state and local taxes, or just shy of $5 trillion dollars each year.
We hear of abuses in how that money is spent every year; some of the projects sound downright silly. That abuse spreads across many agencies, but let me look at one area that gets very little scrutiny, because most Americans, and to be sure most reporters, know nothing about it—that is foreign aid.
North Korea is testing nuclear weapons and threatening to destroy the USA. U.S. forces are once again being killed in Afghanistan. Innocents of every faith are being murdered by ISIS butchers in Syria. Terrorists are running down innocents with trucks and attacking them with long knives in several countries. Children are being blown up while exiting concerts. This country is smothering under a national debt that President Obama and his Democratic friends like Joe Donnelly allowed to double over 8 years. Russia is once again trying to assert itself as an aggressive world power. Obamacare is hemorrhaging billions of dollars and healthcare insurers are disappearing faster than snowmen on an August day, and Iran is rejoicing in all the unaccounted bribe money that democrat President Obama gave them in totally unaccountable and probably illegal Euros, Rials, and Greenbacks, as part of a deal that Senator Joe Donnelly voted for after pledging 2 days earlier he would vote against. And what is Joe’s main concern?
If any recent event screams for an outsider, a small businessman, to be sent to Washington to support President Trump’s agenda, the recent budget extension passed by the House does just that. They could have worked something out.
Why did you vote Republican in the general election? You wanted to stop funding for Planned Parenthood; you wanted to lower taxes; you wanted to stop excessive Washington spending; you wanted to repeal Obamacare; you wanted to increase military spending; and you wanted to build a wall. I’m with you.
At a recent Lincoln Day event in Jasper County, one of my advisers had an interesting experience. One, I am sure, well-intentioned young attendee asked him why Republicans were not more in favor of higher education. When he pressed him for what he meant, he cited that New York had just passed a bill authorizing free college education for any New York resident making an annual income of $100,000.00 or less. The young attendee thought that might be a good platform plank to attract young people to the Republican side.
Where does your money go? Tax reform is in the news. Tax Freedom Day has come and gone. You know the date until which you have to work to make a profit after all taxes are paid. This year that day was April 24th, one day earlier than last year. Now the money you earn is mostly yours, not the government’s. Americans pay $3.3 trillion in federal taxes each year and $1.6 trillion in state and local taxes, or just shy of $5 trillion dollars each year.
After I published my first thoughts regarding tax reforms, I received a couple comments disappointed that I had only discussed benefits to business. It seemed to some to neglect the individual. I began there because I would like to put an exclamation point on the President's persistent mantra of jobs, jobs, jobs!!! Corporate tax reform is just the first step to achieving that growth and opening the door to more business investment in the USA, not just in the more lenient countries such as Ireland. We start by encouraging money to return to us.
When the President talks about Tax Reform, what exactly should President Trump have in mind? If I were already your United States Senator, I would press the Administration to include a tax cut on businesses that want to move money back into the United States. Currently, American businesses have their hands tied when it comes to competing internationally. Among those countries known as the Group of Seven (Canada, USA, Germany, Japan, France, UK, Italy), only the USA taxes their business transactions outside the country twice.
United States Senator John McCain calls the obnoxious leader of that failed dictatorshipthe "crazy fat kid running North Korea."