Category: Government

CIVICS – The Role of the Three Branches of Government- by Ben Sasse, Senator from Nebraska

This should be played in every classroom, every year. Ben Sasse, Republican Senator from Nebraska, explains. Watch now.

A wonderful lesson on how our 3 branches of government are supposed to work and the failure of our Legislative Branch to do their job, therefore ceding more authority to the Executive and Judicial.

The Origin of Identity Politics –

Speakeasy Ideas Tom Krannawitter explains in this 10 minute YouTube video, the Origin of Identity Politics.

Thomas Krannawitter, Ph.D.

Description: Cutting edge, progressive social scientists a hundred years ago rejected the idea that all human beings possess the same, equal natural rights to their own person, property, and individual freedom. Instead, progressive academics borrowed from 19th Century European philosophy and held that different groups and races of people evolve at different rates, and therefore have different kinds of rights at different points in evolutionary time, depending on the political “capacity” they had demonstrated. This is the basis of what we call “identity politics” today, the view that different groups of people deserve different kinds of rights. It is the opposite of the idea that equal laws should offer equal protection for equal rights. That is why all free people should reject all laws that divide citizens into groups and offer certain perks and benefits to some at the expense of others. ~Thomas Krannawitter, Ph.D.

Civics – Funding Government

Discretionary spending

Discretionary spending is debated through the annual budget and appropriations process and funds programs such as education, veterans, infrastructure and defense. Discretionary programs equal only 27% of all federal dollars allocated each year when Congress sets the funding priorities. In 2016, close to 16% of the federal budget went to fund the National Defense, so other discretionary spending was only approximately 11% of the$3.85 trillion budget.

Congressman Thomas Massie, from Kentucky, on Government Shutdowns

How does a small faction of Congress take government spending hostage and demand legislation unrelated to the funding bill?

Is this how the funding process is supposed to work?

How do we avoid this in the future?

Why is it important to pass separate appropriation bills for the various portions of the government?

Congressman Thomas Massie answers those questions and more in this short video! (Created, January 22, 2018)

*Congressional Budget Act is 12 separate appropriation bills to determine how to budget the DISCRETIONARY spending from the federal budget.
*Omnibus is one vote on all of them at once, AKA Continuing Resolution (CR)

Automatic Spending

The rest of the federal budget is ‘automatic spending’, meaning deducted from the federal budget through scheduled payments because the government is legally required to do so. Federal “automatic” payments in 2016 constituted approximately 73% of the budget.

Some examples of “automatic” spending are:

Social Security
Obamacare (Affordable Care Act)
Income security programs (e.g. SNAP, TANF, Earned Income Tax Credit)
Interest on the national debt

In the chart below, you’ll see the percentage of the budget broken down by each government program that is deemed ‘automatic’.

~ from the Entitlements brief on the Policy Circle website

Amendment #73 – Douglas County Likely Most Affected

Education Funding at the expense of the few.

Curious which counties will likely be hit the hardest if amendment 73 passes? #1 Douglas, #2 Elbert, #3 Broomfield, #4 Eagle and #5 Pitkin. Here’s a chart from showing Household Income greater than $100k by County as a percent of their total population.

Education Funding at the expense of the few.

The additional Colorado tax brackets added under amendment 73 are not annually adjusted for inflation. This means that over time, more and more taxpayers will pay this tax.

This Initiative, would become Colorado’s version of the former federal alternative minimum tax (or AMT) trap.

Amendment 73 is full of unintended consequences. Fixing the residential assessment rate for education will come at the expense of fire, library, irrigation and water districts; just to name a few.

Amendment 73 undermines the state’s limits on government spending.

By permanently exempting education – the largest program in the state budget – from the state’s voter approved spending caps, 73 is a backdoor scheme to allow big-spending politicians to cost-shift and spend unlimited amounts of tax money on other programs.

Small businesses will be hit hard under Amendment 73. From the Common Sense Policy Roundtable Report.

Under Amendment 73, Colorado’s corporate income tax rate would jump from 43rd to 31st.
From the Fiscal Policy Center:

“If Amendment 73 passes, Colorado will no longer have equal state income tax rates for all. Instead, it will have a progressive state income tax with a top marginal rate of 8.25 percent, the 9th highest in the country. Corporate tax rates will increase from 4.63 percent to 6 percent.

Amendment 73 effectively ends protections against continuous increases in residential property taxes. It increases the state residential property tax assessment rate for school districts. Commercial property will enjoy reduced rates.

Amendment 73 requires spending on “early childhood” through grade 12 education that is limited only by the additional taxes collected.

Amendment 73 reduces legislative oversight by locking increased spending into the state constitution.

There is no guarantee that more spending will increase educational opportunities for existing students.

Amendment 73. A 29.6% increase for incomes $200-300k. A 51.2% increase for incomes between $300 and $500k!!!!