Our Economy Is Getting Stronger. Will Congress Get in the Way?

The U.S. economy is trending upward. The number of jobless claims continues to plummet. This is no surprise, considering the benefits businesses and workers are seeing as a result of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act and the rollback of several harmful federal regulations.

Lower taxes means Americans get a pay raise. Take-home pay is increasing, and businesses are investing, giving out bonuses and expanding benefits.

This is great news.

But it leads the nation to a crossroads: Either these trends will yield tangible economic prosperity, or the federal government will get in its own way. It all depends on the policy decisions Congress makes.

Wall Street Data

For the third time in four weeks, an article from The Wall Street Journal stated, the number of Americans claiming new unemployment benefits fell. This signals “continued health in the labor market.”

Initial jobless claims are an indicator for the number of layoffs across the nation. They decreased by 1,000 to an adjusted 232,000 last week, the article said, which aligns with levels last seen in the 1970s. This is a good sign for the health of the U.S. labor market.

Another article from The Wall Street Journalpublished just a couple hours later, also pointed to positive signs but gave a warning, as well.

The Conference Board Leading Economic Index is indicating “robust economic growth throughout 2018,” said a director at the board. The index takes into consideration 10 different components including initial claims for jobless benefits, factory orders and the S&P 500’s price change.

“However,” he continued, labor market components made negative contributions in March and bear watching in the near future.”

The United States Could Be Its Own Worst Enemy

There are two policy areas that could determine the longevity of these good signs: immigration and tariffs. Both issues have the potential to be volatile as Washington, D.C., goes back and forth, leaving them, so far, unresolved.

Although immigration and the economy may be considered two separate issues, they are intertwined. As the economy grows, as indicators show it is, the demand for labor and greater productivity will increase. As businesses expand, they’ll need to start pulling Americans back into the labor force who stopped working and stopped looking for work over the past several years.  As markets expand, there will be new opportunities for creative and hard working minds to meet those needs.

Moreover, with a quickly aging workforce, and the number of U.S seniors set to double by 2050, our nation’s economic vitality will hinge on our ability to embrace these realities and adapt accordingly.

But, if U.S. immigration policy remains as it is right now — mired in uncertainty regarding DACA and other issues — industry demand for workers and entrepreneurs will not be met. Without a large, vibrant and productive workforce, economic growth will be stunted.

The current protectionist moves coming out of the White House, including tariffs and the retaliatory exchanges we’ve seen in their wake could present an even greater threat to economic growth.

“Trading partners often respond with tit-for-tat retaliatory measures that can quickly escalate into a full-blown trade war that could sharply constrict trade,” Freedom Partners Chamber of Commerce and Americans for Prosperity said in a statement submitted to the House Ways and Means Committee April 12. “In today’s global economy, the damage would be significant.”

An open market is a net win-win for everyone — consumers, companies, countries. Policies that put limitations on that freedom swings the pendulum toward a lose-lose situation. Tariffs will raise prices for American consumers and raise production costs for American businesses, killing jobs in more ways than one.

Wait and See?

Washington is teetering on the brink of enormously consequential decisions on both immigration and trade. Failing to maintain pro-growth, free-market policy in either of these areas would be devastating to the economy.

We need to keep our employers strong and competitive, with access to the labor and the consumers they need, to be competitive in a 21st century globalized economy.

As Congress debates these issues, we can either sit back and wait to see what it decides to do, or we can demand they do what’s best for our economy.

We believe that the economic growth in this promising, post-tax reform era can continue. But that can only happen if we allow innovation and entrepreneurship to flourish. The wrong policy decisions on immigration, trade and taxes could prevent us from achieving the American Dream.

Tell Congress to defend the American Dream, today.

 

For further information or to set up an interview with AFP Director of Policy Akash Chougule, please email Gabrielle Braud at [email protected]

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AFP Commends Chairman Hensarling for Commitment to Repealing Dodd-Frank’s Harmful Regulations Reform

Arlington, VA – Americans for Prosperity today expressed support for recent statements by House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) signaling his intention to move ahead on bipartisan legislation to reform Dodd-Frank, which would provide much-needed financial regulatory relief.

Americans for Prosperity Chief Government Affairs Officer Brent Gardner issued the following statement:

“Americans have suffered under the burdensome and onerous regulations of Dodd-Frank long enough, and we applaud Chairman Hensarling’s continued commitment to delivering much-needed relief to Main Streets across the country. We encourage Republicans and Democrats to come together and stand up for the hardworking Americans who have been the collateral damage of this misguided law. Removing these regulatory barriers will benefit consumers, revitalize small businesses, and provide another boost to an already growing economy.” 

Background: 

Chairman Hensarling recently stated that he was open to moving ahead with bipartisan legislation that would reduce the burden of Dodd-Frank while continuing to press to remove additional regulatory barriers through other pathways. The Senate voted 67-32 to approve the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief and Consumer Protection Act (S. 2155) on March 14, this legislation has earned the support of Americans for Prosperity and is pending action in the House of Representatives.

For further information or to set up an interview, please send an email to [email protected].

Americans for Prosperity (AFP) exists to recruit, educate, and mobilize citizens in support of the policies and goals of a free society at the local, state, and federal level, helping every American live their dream – especially the least fortunate. AFP has more than 3.2 million activists across the nation, a local infrastructure that includes 36 state chapters, and has received financial support from more than 100,000 Americans in all 50 states. For more information, visit www.AmericansForProsperity.org

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A Horse Stumbled Into A Pack Of Wolves And Did The Only Thing It Could To Survive

When I was a little boy, a Siberian husky attacked me. The dog was old, blind, and deaf. And I had fallen onto the dog while it slept. So its attack was not out of malice but out of shock. Nevertheless, I developed a fear of dogs for a very long time. And nothing would have scared me more than of being found in the middle of a pack of them, especially if they were hungry and eager to attack. Thankfully that never happened to me, but it did happen for this horse.

When a pack of hungry wolves hid among the wintry landscape, and a noble horse wandered into their midst, we could not help but cringe as we feared the worst for the animal.

As the horse began grazing on some exposed grass, the wolves started to come out of hiding and began to surround the horse. While the horse did not show worry about the imminent attack, the men watching from the outskirts were horrified.

The Italian wolves looked hungry. And the men watching were confident that the animal was going to become lunch. They dreaded the moment the attack would come as it would most surely injure the noble horse.

But when the moment of truth came, the wolves defied everyone’s expectations. Instead of charging the horse and attacking it as a pack, they stood still and gazed with curiosity upon the beautiful creature grazing in the pasture.

As the horse strutted up to another patch of grass, two wolves even backed away from it. Were they afraid of the horse? Instead of seizing the opportunity to get some lunch, the wolves appeared to be wary of the four-legged animal. It was like they thought it was there to attack them and not the other way around. They knew that the horse’s hooves could cause catastrophic damage with a direct kick. But the wolves could easily have taken down the horse if they all worked as a team.

As the video drew to a close, the horse courageously approached the leader of the pack – the alpha wolf. Instead of showing its teeth, the wolf betrayed its confusion.

Meanwhile, the horse kept its nose to the earth on the hunt for food. And as the tension got to be too great, the horse did something unexpected.

Then with the wolf pack around it, the horse lowered to the snowy ground and began to play in the white fluff like a puppy. It could not be more vulnerable than it was at this moment. The wolves only had to sink their teeth into the horse’s soft side.

But the horse’s playfulness astounded the wolves. They could not understand why the animal was playing and leaving itself so vulnerable. Perhaps they feared it was a trap.

After a few moments, the horse rose back to its feet. It shook the snow off its coat.

The wolves perked up their ears. And they seemed to realize that the horse was not a threat to their pack. Nor was it what they wanted for dinner.

In the end, nature decided that this was a moment to live and let live.

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Loyal Dog Is Shot While Saving Soldiers’ Lives. One Soldier’s Tribute Is Going Viral

When someone saves your life, you owe them. If it weren’t for them, you wouldn’t be on this green Earth living and breathing. And when a brave dog saved a group of soldiers, it was shot in the line of duty. And one soldier knew he had to honor that canine for its heroism on that fateful day. Because if it weren’t for what that dog did in the line of duty, this soldier and his comrades would not have made it through to tomorrow.

The unthinkable occurred in Afghanistan. The dog Layka, a Belgian Malinois, was part of the United States military’s crew of combat dogs that are used in military operations. She was trained to fight alongside American soldiers in the line of duty. She was bred to deal with high-stress situations and could solve complex problems. She was a miracle dog and was deployed to Afghanistan in May 2013. And that’s when she heard enemies opening fire on her companions.

The enemies ambushed the American troops. And as they aimed and fired upon the soldiers, Layka kept her head and followed orders. A soldier commanded the trained dog to approach a nearby building and scare away any attackers. Layka took on the suicide mission with courage. And she proved to be successful. She helped the soldiers retreat to a safer location where they could regroup and deal with the ambush.

But in the process, enemy troops shot Layka four times.

After the skirmish ended, soldiers rushed Layka to the military hospital so she could undergo surgery to remove the bullets and repair the damage to her internal organs.

Thankfully, the doctors could save the valuable dog’s life. But her life came at a price. They were forced to amputate her front leg. She would no longer be part of the military’s prestigious canine unit. But she would retire with honor.

Because Layka took fire for the soldiers, Sgt. Julian McDonald, her handler and trainer was flooded with guilt. But he attributed the dog’s heroism as what kept his team alive.

“I felt really bad because I was the one who put her inside of the building, and then at the same time happy that I did it because I was still alive and my buddies to my left and my right were still alive.”

If Layka hadn’t taken four bullets for the American troops and secured the building, they might not have made it out of the ambush alive.

Sgt. McDonald now admits that Layka was the reason he and the others survived.

“I owe this dog every moment that I have from here on out. I owe her everything.”

But in the process of saving the soldiers, Layka’s military career was over.

That’s why Sgt. McDonald returned the favor. He adopted Layka and took her home with his family. Now she lives in peace with one of the men she sacrificed for.

The military tried to stop McDonald from adopting Layka because they feared she was too aggressive. But he persevered, and now she lives with him and feels warmth and love every day.

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Trading “Just One Life” for Everyone’s Rights, GVRO

Opinion

Gun Violence Restraining Order
Gun Violence Restraining Order

Ft Collins, CO –-(Ammoland.com)- “… if it saves just one life”

In Colorado, the recently-introduced “Extreme Risk Protection Act” is currently being debated in Denver.

This legislation will empower any judge, on the flimsiest of pretexts, to order the indefinite forcible seizure of every one of an individual citizen’s guns, when the judge decides the citizen in question (having never even met him, and in the absence of any expert testimony) might represent a “significant risk to himself or others.”

The vagueness of the bill’s language (always a leftist trademark) is of great concern.

Anyone, even someone you don’t know and who lacks the slightest credentials to make judgments about your, nor anyone’s, mental health, can arbitrarily decide that you are “about to snap!”

His secret, uncorroborated, non-expert testimony before a judge (and it isn’t even sworn testimony, just his word), and your Second Amendments Rights are cancelled, maybe forever.

An innocent citizen, who has made no crime (nor has even been accused of a crime) has his legally-owned guns precipitously ripped from his hands, without warning, on the basis of secret, non-expert, unsworn “testimony” of a single individual.

Prior to your guns be forcibly seized, there is no opportunity for you to challenge “testimony” of the one making the complaint, nor even to know whom his is! Your guns are forcibly confiscated for at least six months, maybe longer at the whim of the judge. It’s all such an “emergency,” you know. There is no time for any pesky “due process.”

There is an ambiguously-worded “appeal-process,” after the fact, of course.

After thousands in legal fees, endless “appearances,” and interminable delays (six months at least), your guns may be returned, but not before you’ve somehow managed to “prove” you’re not crazy, however that is done.

At your own expense, you have to “appeal” to the court in order to get your guns back and your rights restored. When you don’t take the initiative to appeal, your guns are never returned.

In the interim, you’re completely defenseless. You cannot legally buy, nor borrow, a gun of any kind. When you’re subsequently murdered by a violent criminal against whom you cannot defend yourself, apparently that is of no concern. Yours is not the “just one life” they apparently care about.

And, there is no specification for where, nor by whom, your guns are stored. You never get to know. If they are ever returned to you, they may be ruinously marred, encrusted with rust, and essentially ruined. There is no provision for you to be compensated for damage.

This is a typical vaguely-worded, invariably leftist, anti-gun bill that is invariably stampeded through the legislative process (another leftist trademark), so that embarrassing questions are never asked, and no one ever reads inconvenient details.

Leftists hate details, almost as much as they hate armed citizens.

“There is no crueler tyranny than that which is perpetuated under the shield of law” ~ Charles de Montesquieu

/John

Defense Training International, Inc

About John Farnam & Defense Training International, Inc
As a defensive weapons and tactics instructor John Farnam will urge you, based on your own beliefs, to make up your mind in advance as to what you would do when faced with an imminent lethal threat. You should, of course, also decide what preparations you should make in advance if any. Defense Training International wants to make sure that their students fully understand the physical, legal, psychological, and societal consequences of their actions or in-actions.

It is our duty to make you aware of certain unpleasant physical realities intrinsic to the Planet Earth. Mr. Farnam is happy to be your counselor and advisor. Visit: www.defense-training.com

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Germany to get tougher on deportations after asylum center mob threatens police officers

A small group of police officers traveled to an asylum center in Ellwangen, Germany Monday to arrest a 23-year-old man from Togo. Authorities had determined the man would need to be sent back to Italy to apply for asylum there because it was the first EU nation he had set foot in. The man was located and handcuffed but when police tried to remove him from the asylum center a group which eventually grew to 150 other immigrants began threatening the officers. From the Independent:

According to local reports there was little prospect of backup as other police units would have taken several hours to arrive.

The large group of migrants reportedly surrounded the patrol cars and threatened the police. “They were so aggressive and threatened us more and more, so we had to leave the man behind and retreat to the gate [of the refugee facility],” one officer said, adding that there was some damage to the cars.

The migrants then sent a messenger to the police, bearing an ultimatum: that they had to remove the handcuffs from the Congolese national within two minutes, or that they would storm the gate.

The police decided to give the security guard at the refugee facility a key to release the man.

So they not only left their man behind, they left their cars and, finally, a key to the handcuffs. But having fled the center Monday night, hundreds of officers returned to the same asylum center Thursday and, this time arrested the man from Togo. From Deutsche Welle:

German police sought to re-establish their authority by force at a home for asylum-seekers in the small town of Ellwangen, in the southern state of Baden-Württemberg, after a large and extraordinary operation on Thursday morning.

A 23-year-old from Togo — whose deportation to Italy was prevented by a group of between 150 and 200 asylum-seekers in the early hours of Monday morning — was recaptured during the operation.

Twenty-seven asylum-seekers offered resistance during Thursday’s police action, which involved hundreds of armed officers. Some asylum-seekers were injured jumping out of windows…

“We will not allow any law-free zones to be established,” Bernhard Weber, vice president of the local police force, said at a press conference on Thursday morning.

It’s not just the local police who are upset over what happened. Monday’s incident created a “media conflagration” in Germany according to DW. In response, German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer promised to speed up deportations of those whose asylum claims had been rejected. From the Associated Press:

Interior Minister Horst Seehofer vowed he would do everything he could to clamp down on illegal immigration, speed up asylum procedures and deport rejected asylum-seekers as quickly as possible.

“What happened (in Ellwangen) was a slap in the face of the law-abiding population,” Seehofer — who is well-known for his law-and-order stance — told reporters in Berlin.

“The right to hospitality cannot be trampled on like that,” he added, promising that security authorities would “use all their force and determination” to prosecute those asylum-seekers who blocked police from executing the deportation Monday in Ellwangen.

Seehofer is a member of the ruling coalition with Chancellor Angela Merkel but he has been critical of her immigration policies before. Supposedly police had made arrests at this asylum center hundreds of times before without incident. But the Local reports that police are no investigating whether the mob action to prevent deportation witnessed Monday was part of a plan:

Police are also investigating evidence that the migrants at the centre had a concerted plan to prevent all deportations through collective action.

“Since there were serious statements from the migrants that if the police reappeared, they would not only defend themselves in a similar manner, they would also prepare by arming themselves,” officials during the operation sought to find “weapons and dangerous objects,” the police said on Thursday.

Whether weapons have been found in the refugee home has not been confirmed.

Even if the mob action wasn’t planned, this seems like a fairly dangerous precedent since there are asylum centers like this one place all around Germany.

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Giuliani puts the kibosh on Stormy ‘payoff’ claim, and throws Laura Ingraham for a loop

Rudy Giuliani dropped what many are calling a bombshell during an interview on Fox News Channel’s Hannity, saying that President Donald Trump paid back his personal attorney, Michael Cohen, the $130,000 paid to porn star Stormy Daniels.

And while Giuliani was adamant that the pay off didn’t involve campaign money, the revelation sent the left into a frenzy because Trump stated on April 6 that he was not aware of the payment — even Fox News’ Laura Ingraham, a former defense attorney, said “that’s a problem,” but is there a simple explanation that’s being missed?

In a panel discussion Wednesday night on FNC’s The Ingraham Angle, contributor Byron York suggested that Giuliani “may not have thought this whole thing through,” prompting an interesting reply from Ingraham.

“If you go on ‘Hannity,’ you better think it through,” she said. “I love Rudy, but they better have an explanation for that, that’s a problem.”

Giuliani told Hannity that the $130,000 payment was “perfectly legal.”

“That money was not campaign money, sorry,” he claimed. “I’m giving you a fact now that you don’t know. It’s not campaign money. No campaign finance violation.”

When Hannity asked if this was because the money was “funneled” through Cohen’s law firm, the former mayor said, “Funneled it through the law firm, and the President repaid him.”

But Giuliani would also say Trump “didn’t know the specifics” of the payment.

Rep. Andy Biggs, R-Ariz., a participant on Ingraham’s panel, had a ready explanation that proved to be much closer to the truth, based on a later clarification by Giuliani.

“I don’t think somebody with President Trump’s income level writes all of his checks, you know what I mean?” he told Ingraham. “It would not surprise me if he authorized a payment and it gets lost in the shuffle. I know that sounds crazy perhaps on a certain level but here’s a guy with a massive income and he’s dealing with a lot of things.”

In a later interview with the Washington Post, Giuliani insisted the disclosure was no gaffe, saying he discussed it with Trump beforehand.

With the anti-Trump forces whipped into a lather over the possibility that Trump has been caught in a lie, Giuliani added more context to his comment with Fox News’ John Roberts — which is being described as “damage control” by the media.

“Rudy Giuliani told me that while reimbursed Cohen for the $130k SD payment, POTUS didn’t know what the money was used for. Giuliani says Cohen merely told the President he had “expenses” for which POTUS reimbursed him,” Roberts tweeted.

The payment is being described in the media as a “loan” because Trump reimbursed Cohen and anti-Trump forces insist it is related to his campaign, which will ensure wall-to-wall coverage.

But there’s so much vagueness in Giuliani’s revelation. In the end, it’s more likely to serve as another rabbit hole the president’s detractors will go chasing down in their quest to destroy him.

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