Tuesday, October 31, 2023

Unplug the Green Boondoggle

The Phyllis Schlafly Report
By John and Andy Schlafly

Many groups and countries are lining up for new handouts by Congress, now that it is functioning again with a new Speaker. Among those with their hats in their hands for billions of dollars is the green energy industry of windmills and battery-powered cars.

Fortunately, newly inducted House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) is fully supported by conservative lawmakers in the House who want separate votes on spending-neutral bills. First out of the gate is a $14.3 billion aid package to Israel that is funded by repealing part of Biden’s $80 billion IRS expansion.

On Monday, Biden’s Treasury Department announced that it will borrow the most ever for a fourth quarter: $776 billion. The multi-billion-dollar cost of the Leftist green agenda is not something we can afford to ignore anymore.

Ask Ford Motor Company. Since last Thursday afternoon, Ford’s stock has fallen by 14% in three business days on news of its losing a more-than-expected $1.33 billion in its electric vehicle (EV) unit for the third quarter, which translates into an average loss of $36,000 on every EV it sold.

Once a preeminent American corporation, Ford’s value has fallen to only $38 billion in market capitalization, and it cannot survive annual losses of $5 billion on EVs. A sharp increase in costs for raw materials needed by the batteries in EVs has cast doubt on if and when electric cars would ever be profitable to sell, despite mandates by Biden and California Gov. Gavin Newsom.

As found by a new study released by the Texas Public Policy Foundation, “the average EV accrues $48,698 in subsidies and $4,569 in extra charging and electricity costs over a 10-year period, for a total cost of $53,267.” When converted into an equivalent subsidy per gallon of gasoline, it’s as though the government paid an extra $16.12 per gallon for a conventional internal combustion engine vehicle.

Hertz took a hit in its latest earnings report due to unexpected losses from operating the largest EV fleet in the rental car industry. Hertz announced a pause in its acquisition of more EVs.

Another green energy money pit is the wasteful spending on wind power, as illustrated by the often-idle giant wind turbines visible from many highways. Despite decades of effort and billions of dollars in spending, wind power is still unable to pay for itself.

Record cold temperatures across the United States this Halloween include October snow showers in eight midwestern states. The 20 and 30-degree drops in temperature being felt from Dallas to the East Coast require affordable energy or else there will be another jolt to inflation.

In August 2000, General Electric was the most valuable company in the world, having a market capitalization of $601 billion. Today, as it loses $1 billion annually on its offshore wind farms that blight the ocean view for many Americans, the value of the company founded by Thomas Edison has fallen by more than 80%, to just $116 billion.

Wind turbines fail to produce power when it’s needed most, such as on very hot or very cold days, and their maintenance expenses are exorbitant. The inconsistent supply of energy from wind turbines causes spikes that harm the energy grid.

Rising interest rates have laid bare the billions of dollars in operating losses generated by the noisy and ugly windmills. Since low-interest loans are no longer available, green energy companies will be forced to seek billions more in subsidies from the federal government to offset mounting losses.

As the funding of the federal government expires on November 17, the liberal wastefulness of green energy will be one of many senseless entitlements seeking new handouts in the next fiscal year. “Government is too invested to let these companies go bust, and taxpayers will be charged for the repair job,” the Wall Street Journal warned last weekend.

The real federal deficit has doubled from $1 trillion (not just billion) to $2 trillion in merely one year, while Biden demands another $100 billion to spend on no-win foreign wars. House Speaker Johnson wisely separates a vote on emergency aid to Israel from a vote on the much larger spending package demanded by Zelensky in Ukraine with the support of Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) despite rising conservative opposition.

A financial collapse, typically unpredictable in its timing, becomes increasingly likely under the weight of this crushing debt. Ending subsidies for green energy and foreign wars is a great place to start to save our economy.

Due to inflation caused by the wasteful government spending, the interest costs alone on the mountain of debt run up by Biden will soon exceed our total spending on our national defense. With a new Speaker, conservatives in the House have a golden opportunity to realign our nation’s priorities.

John and Andy Schlafly are sons of Phyllis Schlafly (1924-2016) and lead the continuing Phyllis Schlafly Eagles organizations with writing and policy work.

These columns are also posted on PhyllisSchlafly.com, pseagles.com, and Townhall.com.

Tuesday, October 24, 2023

Disappearing Motherhood: Who’s to Blame?

The Phyllis Schlafly Report
By John and Andy Schlafly

A British tabloid carried a grim headline Monday announcing “America’s fertility crash,” over an article detailing the precipitous drop in the U.S. birth rate during the last 15 years. The decline was greatest in Utah, whose birth rate fell by more than a third despite the Beehive State’s reputation for large families.

Ignoring such a dire long-term trend that harms the health and happiness of the American people, our media have spent most of 2023 promoting entertainment aimed at single young women, starting with Barbie. That blockbuster movie featured an unmarried woman without children, with merely a cameo appearance by one pregnant character who is portrayed as an outcast.

The Barbie phenomenon is joined by the female pop star Taylor Swift, whose record-setting concert tour caused an unprecedented meltdown at Ticketmaster. Now the film version has broken the box office record for a concert movie, drawing mostly young women to theaters where they dance on chairs and sing off-key rather than merely watching.

Taylor Swift, herself childless and nearly 34 years old, was asked when she turned 30 whether she wants to have children. She curtly replied, “I don’t really think men are asked that question when they turn 30, so I’m not going to answer that now.”

A man’s fertility, of course, doesn’t begin falling at age 30. But every young woman should be warned how much more difficult it becomes to have children as she moves through her 30s.

Taylor Swift won’t need children to support her financially in her old age, due to her fortune. But the future of our country and the “Swifties,” as her followers are called, is less rosy in our increasingly childless society.

The percentage of women under 45 having children has fallen to barely half today. Childless young adults will eventually become an elderly population dependent on public support, but Social Security works only if there are enough young workers to fund the system on a continuing basis.

For the most part, Swifties have not been attending these concerts on dates with young men. An estimated 90% of these concert fans are women, an imbalance so severe that it has caused havoc with the availability of restrooms at performance venues.

Our nation already has a record number of women and men who are single in the 18-29 age group: 34% of women and 63% of men. Many of them have given up on seeking a relationship.

This isolation is not healthy for our society, or for young women. Single women are obese at a rate of 7-12% more than married women, and Taylor Swift had to remove a reference to “fat” in one of her music videos last year to appease her fans.

Meanwhile, the number of men who have no close friendships has increased five-fold in the last 30 years, to 15%. The hordes of young men and women who are unmarried today are having difficulty finding partners who share their political views, while Democrat politicians play gender-gap politics for their benefit.

Married women typically vote Republican as married men do. But single women vote overwhelmingly for the Democratic candidates, in part because Democrats spend billions of dollars advertising to them.

The percentage of 18- to 34-year-olds who are married today is less than half of what it was a generation ago. In liberal Seattle, it is predicted that soon the number of older teenagers and adults who have never been married will surpass the number of married residents there.

Educated women are deciding not to have children at all. About 25% of women nearing the end of their childbearing age who hold at least a master’s degree are childless.

The decline in the birth rate is something that President Trump and the Republican Congress addressed over Democrat opposition back in 2017, by instituting a $2,000 annual tax credit for each child under age 17. But this child tax credit has fallen in real value due to inflation, and a boost in it during Covid was not extended beyond 2021.

This child tax credit is paltry compared with the benefits that every newborn American contributes to our country over a lifetime. In addition to military service and other sacrifices, the average American will pay $500,000 in taxes over his life, so the child tax credit should be far higher than $2,000.

Other countries have changed their policies to encourage more childbearing. Communist China replaced its one-child policy with a two-child policy in 2016, and then ended its two-child policy in 2021 in favor of promoting having three children.

Poland’s conservative-leaning government was just ousted from power in part because it allowed Poland’s birth rate to decline to its lowest level since World War II. Our minuscule, inflation-depleted child tax credit should likewise become an election issue as our birth rate plummets.

John and Andy Schlafly are sons of Phyllis Schlafly (1924-2016) and lead the continuing Phyllis Schlafly Eagles organizations with writing and policy work.

These columns are also posted on PhyllisSchlafly.com, pseagles.com, and Townhall.com.

Tuesday, October 17, 2023

Gag Order Invites Reversal

The Phyllis Schlafly Report
By John and Andy Schlafly

Democrats’ goal of censoring Donald Trump was embraced by an Obama-appointed federal judge in D.C. on Monday. She then imposed a sweeping gag order demanded by the politicized prosecutor, Jack Smith, to muzzle Trump as he campaigns for president.

Her gag order censors Trump from criticizing Jack Smith and his partisan prosecutors, any of the court’s staff who might later be viewed as including the judge, and “any reasonably foreseeable witness or the substance of their testimony.” The prosecutors can seek to hold Trump in contempt for anything he says that might be interpreted as a violation.

In layman’s terms, the gag order prevents Trump from being Trump. And that is unconstitutional for any court to do to the front-runner for president during his reelection campaign.

Nothing prevents Biden, the Democrats, and the media from exploiting the gag order by relentlessly ranting against Trump on the same topics that he is now prevented from addressing. Ads can be run by rivals while Trump is wrongfully prohibited from rebutting them, because the gag order further censors all who act under Trump’s direction.

Late-night Leftist talk show host Jimmy Kimmel quipped that the gag order shuts down Trump’s ability to criticize even him, because Kimmel is a potential witness. After all, Kimmel joked, “I don’t know about you — I saw the whole thing happen.”

A gag order is a type of prior restraint, which in other contexts would be “presumptively invalid” under Supreme Court precedents. Trump immediately vowed to appeal, correctly pointing out that this gag order interferes with democracy.

Judge Tanya Chutkan repeats the mantra that Trump will not be treated any differently from any other defendant, but no other defendant is constantly and unfairly vilified by the liberal media as Trump is. Judge Chutkan does not censor any of Trump’s critics, yet unconstitutionally prohibits Trump from defending himself as he campaigns.

The delusional Deep State thinks it can imprison Trump for supposedly violating an unlawful restraint on his speech. The gag order immediately harms all Americans by interfering with Trump’s campaign while he appeals.

Judge Chutkan took an oath to uphold the Constitution, and that includes protecting the First Amendment rights of Trump and all Americans. The weaponization of the federal government against Trump and others is an issue in the presidential campaign, and all Americans have a First Amendment right to hear what Trump has to say about it.

An impartial presiding judge is essential to due process. Yet at Monday’s hearing the Obama-appointed judge praised the prosecutors of Trump as “public servants who are simply doing their jobs,” displaying her bias in favor of a team of prosecutors who were just admonished by a different federal judge in the Mar-a-Lago documents case.

Judge Chutkan should not continue to preside over Trump’s case while praising and defending his prosecutors. Jack Smith, the taxpayer-funded biased prosecutor who has wasted many millions on interfering with the political process, may dislike being criticized but the First Amendment requires allowing it.

Yet in court the judge spoke like a CNN political host, taking umbrage at the use of the word “censorship” by Trump’s attorney despite how that is what the gag order is. At one point she reportedly leaned back in her chair and shook her head while Trump’s attorney, John Lauro, was speaking.

When Lauro stated that “President Trump firmly believes that these proceedings are brought by a politically motivated prosecutor,” the judge demanded that Lauro “tone down his language,” as delightfully recounted by CNN. There was no jury present and thus no justification for muzzling an attorney as he argued for his client.

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene schooled the judge afterwards about the double standard imposed. Judge Chutkan “said the case isn’t about the court of public opinion, yet she allows the media to sit in her courtroom, the very people who craft public opinion through their headlines and stories,” Rep. Greene pointed out.

Courtrooms in D.C. have become pockets of tyranny where judges seem to care more about the media, as when Judge Royce Lamberth lashed out at Tucker Carlson in a hearing about one of the over-prosecuted January 6 cases.

Judge Chutkan infringes not only on Trump’s First Amendment right to speak out, but also on the First Amendment right of every American to hear Trump’s rebuttal of media reporting about his case. Judge Chutkan ignores the clear constitutional right of Americans to learn Trump’s responses to the media’s negative spin about this politically motivated prosecution.

Judge Chutkan declared at Monday’s hearing that “this trial will not yield to the election cycle, and we will not revisit the trial date.” With her impertinent comments, the judge has amply demonstrated why an appellate court should remove her from Trump’s case.

John and Andy Schlafly are sons of Phyllis Schlafly (1924-2016) and lead the continuing Phyllis Schlafly Eagles organizations with writing and policy work.

These columns are also posted on PhyllisSchlafly.com, pseagles.com, and Townhall.com.

Tuesday, October 10, 2023

Mexican Standoff in Texas Special Session

The Phyllis Schlafly Report
By John and Andy Schlafly

There is a Mexican standoff as Texas begins its third special legislative session, precariously close to its early primary next year. A Mexican standoff is a confrontation in which neither side has a winnable strategy, and neither side can retreat.

Education, immigration, a flourishing new community known as Colony Ridge northeast of Houston, and vaccine mandates by private entities are all on the agenda. Gov. Greg Abbott needs to rehabilitate his political reputation after he quietly supported the failed sham impeachment of Attorney General Ken Paxton.

Meanwhile, a federal appeals court heard oral argument last week on the Biden administration’s challenge to the 1,000 feet of orange buoys and barbed wire that Abbott had strung along the middle of the Rio Grande. The Democrat-majority appellate panel signaled that it would probably order Abbott to remove the buoys.

Migrants continue to flow illegally into Texas at many points along the Mexican border. Some lawmakers are casting blame on the fast-growing Colony Ridge community, where illegal residents lacking a valid Social Security number have reportedly been allowed to buy property with financing.
Yet these issues are not the biggest conflict in Texas right now. Instead, it is the fierce opposition by Texas teachers and rural Republicans to enacting a voucher program proposed by Gov. Abbott and an influential think tank, the Texas Public Policy Foundation.

A new voucher program this year in Iowa has resulted in applications exceeding projections, sparking concerns about its impact on rural areas. The Iowa law allows families to take $7,600 per student from public school funding to spend on an accredited private school.

Despite skepticism by many conservatives, Gov. Abbott has staked his political future on enacting his voucher plan. There are approaches other than leaving low-performing public schools, including Donald Trump’s proposal to allow parents to fire public school principals who tolerate poor outcomes or bad behavior.

Public school teachers are so opposed to giving parents vouchers to redeem at private schools that they are even willing to forgo the raises they had been demanding. Teachers oppose vouchers even though the Texas bill would not directly siphon funds from public schools, but instead would fund the vouchers out of general state revenues.

Senate Bill 1 (SB 1) was introduced on the first day of this special session, with state Sen. Brandon Creighton (R-Conroe) as its author. It would provide up to $8,000 in taxpayer-funded vouchers for families to pay private educational expenses, which could include tutoring, homeschooling, textbooks, transportation, and uniforms in addition to tuition.

Simultaneously SB 2 was introduced to provide billions of dollars in raises to Texas public school teachers. Boosted by revenue from higher oil prices and many Americans moving to the Lone Star State, Texas enjoys a surplus of $19 billion in its upcoming fiscal year.
Tapping that surplus, $5.2 billion in new funds would be allocated to public schools, mostly to increase teacher salaries. But Democrats are united against raising teacher pay if the tradeoff is vouchers in any form.

For example, the chairman of the Texas House Democratic Caucus, Rep. Trey Martinez Fischer (San Antonio), announced that his party’s position is “very clear: no vouchers and no deals.” Abbott vows to call a fourth special session if his voucher program does not pass.

But with illegal aliens overrunning Texas schools without the legislature doing anything meaningful about it, the contentious debate about vouchers seems like a distraction. Immigration is on the agenda but there is no leadership by Gov. Abbott or Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick for meaningful action.

With no way to vet migrants hailing from all over the world, terrorists like those who massacred innocent civilians in Israel could be slipping across our open border, waiting for an opportunity to strike Americans here. Abbott has spent $4.5 billion on Operation Lone Star, which was supposed to curtail illegal immigration but has failed to make a dent in it.

Gov. Abbott wasted five months and millions of dollars unsuccessfully trying to remove the Attorney General who has been the strongest in our country against illegal immigration, Ken Paxton. Abbott never defended Paxton against this witch-hunt, as Trump and many conservatives did.

In New Hampshire Monday night, Trump again read from “The Snake,” an allegory about the terrible consequences to a “tender-hearted woman” who invited a menacing creature into her home. Abbott and the Texas legislature should make stopping illegal immigration their top priority of this special session.

With his Attorney General sidelined for the last five months, Gov. Abbott allowed Biden’s lawsuit to halt expanding his border buoys beyond a mere 1,000 feet, when by now they should have extended the entire Texas-Mexico border, which is 1,254 miles. Texas should also be building additional walls to stem the tide of illegal migration, and cutting off their benefits.

John and Andy Schlafly are sons of Phyllis Schlafly (1924-2016) and lead the continuing Phyllis Schlafly Eagles organizations with writing and policy work.

These columns are also posted on PhyllisSchlafly.com, pseagles.com, and Townhall.com.

Tuesday, October 3, 2023

Unplug NATO’s War and Corrupt DC

The Phyllis Schlafly Report
By John and Andy Schlafly

The last-minute deal to keep the federal government open did nothing to rein in wasteful and corrupt federal spending, or avert the predicted recession. Rather than react with relief that the federal government continues on, with its misuse of prosecutorial power, the stock market declined after the Sept. 30th vote in Congress to keep the lights on.

The consumer confidence index dropped to a four-month low in September, while new home sales have fallen sharply by 8.7% as of August. Gas prices have skyrocketed, including an 80 cent increase in merely one month in California.

Yet President Biden seems oblivious to the hard times ahead in this impending recession. It is in his political interest not to say this “R” word, as this impedes his diminishing chances of being reelected.

A silver lining to the stopgap funding bill was how House Republicans blocked sending billions more to the NATO war in Ukraine. As good jobs disappear in our country, it is dismaying that some Senate leaders care more about continuing to fund bloodshed halfway around the world than taking care of our economy back home.

Fortunately, Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) has led the fight against forcing Americans to fund NATO’s war to expand its membership to include Ukraine. Congress has already sent $113 billion of hard-earned American taxpayer funds to Ukraine’s Volodymyr Zelensky without accountability of where it ultimately went.

Sen. J.D. Vance (R-OH), who has a large Ukrainian constituency, opposes pouring more American money into the war there. “Five years from now … you’re going to find a lot of people have gotten rich from this,” he said last month.

On Sunday, voters in Slovakia elected the party that promised to end military support for the regime in Ukraine. The election winners also vowed to oppose Ukraine joining NATO, which is what this war is about.

There is an upcoming election in Poland, which is prompting politicians there to promise an end to Poland’s involvement in this conflict. Last month the Polish prime minister announced, “We no longer transfer weapons to Ukraine because we are now arming Poland.”

Our own presidential election is a year away, and the pro-globalism Senate leadership thinks that voters will forget by then or fail to assert themselves against this looting by D.C. of America. But on Saturday the American people won on this issue of pouring billions more into this war in Ukraine.

Senate leadership tried to get Ukraine jammed into the CR and they just got bucked,” celebrated Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO), talking about the continuing resolution enacted on Saturday. Yet the next day President Biden announced that he expects more funding of this NATO war in Ukraine to pass in a separate vote, which no Republican Speaker of the House should schedule.

There’s going to have to be a major debate in this country” about continuing to fund this war, observed left-leaning Politico. This conflict has already killed or wounded a half-million soldiers and the practical effect of funding it is to keep Zelensky in power rather than give him an incentive to negotiate for peace.

CNN admitted over the summer that most Americans oppose Congress providing more funding for this war. Among Republicans, 71% oppose sending more money there.

Phyllis Schlafly correctly predicted in 1967 that President Lyndon B. Johnson could not be reelected if the Vietnam War continued through 1968. “Johnson’s political future depends on ending the war in some way,” she wrote 56 years ago in her book against the Deep State entitled Safe - Not Sorry.

That war did continue, and as now we were entangled in it without a full debate and formal declaration by Congress. Subsequently the otherwise invincible Johnson was humiliated in his own primary and forced to withdraw from the presidential race in order to be replaced as the Democrat nominee.

As the recession takes hold and deepens in the United States, Biden and Democrats will lose badly on Election Day next year if they continue to send money to fuel NATO’s agenda in Ukraine. They can avoid talking about the recession, but they cannot avoid voters’ wrath for advancing a pro-war globalist ideology rather than America First.

The average length of recessions after World War II has been 10 months, but the so-called Great Recession that swept Democrats into power in 2008 lasted 18 months while one in the early 1980s lasted 16 months. Ballots will be cast next year while Americans are unable to keep up with the spiraling inflation and interest rates.

Democrats talk of replacing Biden as their nominee because of his age, but an equally large problem for him is trying to defend his pro-war policies during a recession. Robbing Americans further to fund perpetual foreign violence during a recession is not a successful formula for Democrats to win an election.

John and Andy Schlafly are sons of Phyllis Schlafly (1924-2016) and lead the continuing Phyllis Schlafly Eagles organizations with writing and policy work.

These columns are also posted on PhyllisSchlafly.com, pseagles.com, and Townhall.com.