JLF’s Coletti tax/budget/spending analysis featured in today’s Heritage Foundation’s Insider

The Heritage Foundation features Coletti’s analysis of why the federal budget proposed by President Trump, which looks alot like NC’s reforms, could lead to the economic growth we’ve seen right here.  In other words, responsible fiscal budgeting and spending works.  Look at NC.  Scroll to the second highlighted feature:

The Daily Signal
October 14, 2017
Iran has not been complying with the nuclear deal, which makes President Trump’s move to decertify the deal the right one. North Carolina’s tax reform seems to be working and it looks a lot like the GOP proposal for the country. President Trump’s ending of insurer subsidies is a win for constitutional government. Look out, education-industrial complex: Online courses are getting even better. People don’t like being told what to drink … or paying higher taxes.

The nuclear deal with Iran should be decertified because Iran isn’t complying. President Trump announced today that he was decertifying the Iran nuclear deal. That, as James Phillips writes, is the right move:

“Iran has not ‘transparently, verifiably and fully’ implemented the letter of the [Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA)]. It has been caught cheating at the margins on centrifuge development, heavy water restrictions, technology procurement, and export controls. Tehran exceeded the JCPOA’s restrictions on research on advanced centrifuges, and last year sought to acquire illicit carbon fiber material, a key component of advanced centrifuges. It twice violated the 130-metric-ton cap on heavy water. It also shipped excess supplies of heavy water to Oman and retained ownership of it, rather than selling or disposing of it, as originally required under the JCPOA, before the Obama Administration secretly and unwisely agreed to exempt Iranian heavy water held overseas.

“Tehran also sought to acquire illicit materials outside the mandatory procurement channel set up by the JCPOA. It was caught red-handed trying to purchase nuclear technology and restricted ballistic-missile technology from German companies.

“Perhaps the biggest obstacle to certifying that Iran is fully and verifiably implementing the JCPOA and related agreements is that Tehran has publicly rejected inspections of its military bases. This has prevented the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) from verifying Iranian compliance with prohibitions against nuclear-weapons-related work. To make matters worse, the IAEA has refrained from pushing the issue because it does not want to give the Trump Administration an ‘excuse’ for jettisoning the JCPOA.” [Internal citations omitted.] [The Heritage Foundation]

 

Federal tax reform could end up looking like the reforms that are helping North Carolina’s economy grow. Joseph Coletti writes:

“Even as major questions and specific details still have to be worked out, theRepublican tax plan may sound familiar. It moves toward simplification, just as North Carolina’s successful tax reform of 2013 did, with fewer and lower rates, a larger ‘zero-tax bracket’ through the standard deduction, and fewer exemptions and deductions.

“Of course, spending restraint made the tax reform in North Carolina possible, and the same kind of restraint would be needed in Washington. The Senate’s budget resolution claims $5 trillion in deficit reduction over the next 10 years to make room for the $1.5 trillion tax cut, but nobody is going to confuse the federal government and North Carolina on long-term budget solvency. […]

“It is still early to assess the full impact of North Carolina’s reforms, but there are some indications that tax reform and spending restraint have provided an economic boost for the state. Median household income in North Carolina grew faster than all but three other states in 2016. Adjusted for inflation, it is the highest since the previous peak in 1995 and is closer to the national average than any time since 2000.” [John Locke Foundation]

 

Somebody noticed that we have a constitution. President Trump announced this week that he was ending the subsidies that the Obama administration had been providing to health insurance companies. The subsidies ostensibly had been provided to fulfill an Obamacare provision to reimburse insurers for losses they incurred from reducing copayments and deductibles for low-income consumers (also required by the law). Trump, as David French writes, is just doing what the Constitution requires:

“Unlike other provisions of Obamacare covering other forms of subsidies (for example, Section 1401, which funded subsidies that helped cover insurance premiums), the law didn’t specifically appropriate any money to fund these payments.

“This isn’t a small thing. In fact, it implicates the core constitutional structure of our government. Article I, Section 9, of the Constitution unambiguously declares that ‘no Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by law.’ The most relevant federal appropriations statute states quite clearly that ‘a law may be construed to make an appropriation out of the Treasury . . . only if the law specifically states that an appropriation is made.’

“In fact, there is unmistakeable evidence that President Obama knew that his administration needed a specific appropriation to fund Section 1402 subsidies — he asked Congress for the money. Congress said no. It didn’t appropriate a single dime. So Obama did what he did best: He ‘penned and phoned’ the subsidies into existence. He directly violated the Constitution by spending the money anyway.” [National Review]

 

Bringing students together to disrupt the classroom. Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCS) are getting better at retaining students, making them even more of a threat to the bricks-and-mortar university. They are accomplishing this, writes Thomas Lindsay, by “encouraging greater student interactions through live sessions, online discussion boards, peer review assessment, and social media communication.”

“One school that has successfully implemented these reforms is St. George’s University (SGU), which offered its first MOOC in 2013, a course titled ‘One Health, One Medicine,’ which is an eight-week examination of the history of medicine, emerging infectious diseases, food safety, and international health issues.

“The 2013 offering was delivered on a standard online platform. Beginning with its 2014 version of One Health, One Medicine, St. George’s now delivers the course on its own platform: SGUx. To address the isolation that comes with the wide geographical coverage made possible by the internet, the school arranged the course schedule to meet at different times and days. This helped bridge the divide among its 3000 students, from more than 45 countries, enrolled in the course. It also added student engagement tools and applications, such as an interactive blog domain for discussion questions, interactive case study reviews, peer review student seminar presentations, live virtual office hours and presentation, communication through social media, and a comprehensive examination for course credit.

“These measures have had a demonstrably positive effect. With each succeeding year, the One Health, One Medicine MOOC achieved a higher percentage of student retention than previously. Students submitted interactive blogs weekly on each module, and then commented on and evaluated each other’s posts. Students also learned from each other through peer evaluations of each other’s seminar presentations. The SGUx platform enhanced its chat tools, linking it to social media outlets and thereby fostering rapid communications among its students. Additional incentives to complete the MOOC include St. George’s offer of a course credit to those students who finish the class as well as a comprehensive, proctored examination.

“The increased interactions—both among students, and between them and their instructors—produced a retention rate of 58.5 percent from 2014 to 2016, as opposed to an 11.1 percent rate in 2013, which constitutes more than a fivefold increase.” [Forbes]

 

People don’t like being told what to drink … or paying higher taxes. Chris Lentino on the repeal of Cook County sweetened beverage tax:

“Shortly after its implementation, one poll commissioned by the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association found nearly 87 percent of Cook County residents disapproved of the tax, and in the same poll 80 percent said they believed the tax was being done strictly for money and not for public health. Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle later admited that the county’s sweetened beverage tax was always about increasing revenue. […]

“Taxpayer anger has extended beyond the soda tax debate. Constituents are expressing their displeasure with politicians who enacted and supported the tax by reportedly refusing to sign circulating petitions to simply place incumbents on the ballot in 2018, according to Crain’s Chicago Business.

“The fall of the sweetened beverage tax serves as a prime example of political activism at the grassroots level. Elected officials felt the anger of taxpayers. And Cook County commissioners were forced to flip their votes in an attempt to avoid electoral defeat.” [Illinois Policy Institute]

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Becki Gray / Senior Vice President

Becki Gray is Senior Vice President of the John Locke Foundation. She provides information, consultation, and publications to elected officials, government staff and other dec...

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