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Paving the road to 2020, Congress will need to steer the course and avoid potholes in 2019.
February 6, 2019
Expectations were high that President Donald J. Trump would highlight a renewed bipartisan effort to rebuild America’s infrastructure in last night’s State of the Union address. In the end, infrastructure warranted a full one sentence in his otherwise very long speech. It was not surprising that President Trump resurrected his call for a massive infrastructure investment program, but perhaps his shockingly cursory reference is an indication that he knows how challenging it will still be to answer his call in 2019. The same devilish details divide Democrats and Republicans when it comes to deciding what infrastructure to fund and how to pay for it. But ignoring the issue is not an option. The poor state of U.S. infrastructure is a drag on growth, productivity, and competitiveness and risks the safety of U.S. citizens crossing structurally deficient bridges or drinking unsafe water.
Amid deliberations over President Trump’s first budget, debate has intensified over how to improve the nation’s infrastructure, as analysts say U.S. transportation, water, and other systems face major shortfalls.
Last updated January 12, 2018
The $18 trillion U.S. economy relies on a vast network of infrastructure from roads and bridges to freight rail and ports to electrical grids and internet provision. But the systems currently in place were built decades ago, and economists say that delays and rising maintenance costs are holding economic performance back. Civil engineers raise safety concerns as well, warning that many bridges are structurally deficient and that antiquated drinking water and wastewater systems pose risks to public health. Meanwhile, Americans’ international peers enjoy more efficient and reliable services, and their public investment in infrastructure is on average nearly double that of the United States.
An Open Letter from Some DSA MenbersIn 2019, the United States Congress will seat a powerful tribune of working people, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Her recent primary election win was a historic victory for our movement: Ocasio-Cortez is an open democratic socialist, and ran as such with the active support of the New York City DSA Local Chapter. Since she won in a Congressional district where the Democratic Party nominee is a prohibitive favorite, she is headed to almost certain victory in the general election this November. We celebrate this advance in our struggle.
The election victory of this woman of color, running as an open democratic socialist, has created a thunderbolt of excitement on the left with 5,000 new members joining DSA in the three weeks following Ocasio-Cortez’ victory.
That Ocasio-Cortez will give voice to the voiceless inside the halls of Congress was reason enough for many foes of the Left to launch attacks on her, from the ranks of Trumpists on the far Right to neo-liberals threatened by the growing presence of democratic socialists. And as Ocasio-Cortez is a Puerto Rican woman of color, these attacks have often had racist and misogynist overtones.
CONGRESSWOMAN ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ
STAND ON THESE POLITICAL ISSUES
Should the U.S. raise taxes on the rich?
ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ VOTERS Yes
Should there be more restrictions on the current process of purchasing a gun?
ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ VOTERS Yes
Should the government raise the federal minimum wage?
PARTY INFLUENCE Yes
Should the U.S. raise or lower the tax rate for corporations?
PARTY’S SUPPORT BASE Raise
Should the government make cuts to public spending in order to reduce the national debt?
ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ VOTERS No
Should there be fewer or more restrictions on current welfare benefits?
PARTY INFLUENCE More
Should the government use economic stimulus to aid the country during times of recession?
PARTY INFLUENCE Yes
Do you support the legalization of same sex marriage?
PARTY INFLUENCE Yes
What is your stance on abortion?
ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ VOTERS Pro-choice
THE DSA endorsed Ocasio-Cortez in late April. She had been running for the Democratic nomination to represent District 14, covering parts of Queens and the Bronx, in the U.S. House of Representatives since the previous May, and approached NYC-DSA for its endorsement. As of now, there are over 30,000 Democratic Socialists of America.
She regularly provides variations of her belief that “in a modern, moral, and wealthy society, no person in America should be too poor to live,” as she said on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, and has said, “to me, what socialism means is to guarantee everyone a basic level of dignity,” according to NYC-DSA.
Mark Penn is managing director of the Stagwell Group. He was chief strategist on Bill Clinton’s 1996 presidential campaign, Clinton’s 2000 Senate campaign,Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign. Follow him on Twitter @mark_penn
In the 1960’s, Chinese Communist Party leader Mao Zedong came to feel that the current party leadership in China, as in the Soviet Union, was moving too far in a revisionist direction, with an emphasis on expertise rather than on ideological purity. Mao called on the nation’s youth to purge the “impure” elements of Chinese society and revive the revolutionary spirit that had led to victory in the civil war 20 decades earlier and the formation of the People’s Republic of China. Mao’s own position in government had weakened after the failure of his “Great Leap Forward” (1958-60) and the economic crisis that followed. Mao gathered a group of radicals, including his wife Jiang Qing and defense minister Lin Biao, to help him attack current party leadership and reassert his authority. The Cultural Revolution continued in various phases until Mao’s death in 1976, and its tormented and violent legacy would resonate in Chinese politics and society for decades to come. Mr. Penn’s analysis of THE NEW GREEN DEAL makes the point that:
To: House and Senate members
From: [Your Name]
The latest climate report from the UN says we have only 12 years to transform our economy to preserve the stable climate human civilization has depended on for millennia.
The Green New Deal is a 10-year plan to mobilize every aspect of American society toward 100% clean and renewable energy, guarantee a good job to all members of our society ready to be part of this transformation, and create economic prosperity for all.
81% of Americans support the Green New Deal. It’s time for our political leaders to find the courage to stand up to the oil and gas CEOs and lobbyists who bankroll both parties, and back a Green New Deal.
House and Senate leaders, please support Sen. Markey and Rep. Ocasio-Cortez’s resolution for a Green New Deal.
OCASIO-CORTEZ: “If we want the United States to continue to be a global leader then that means we have to lead on the solution of this issue. And I think that it is completely wrong to point fingers at other developing nations and to say, well, China’s doing this and India’s doing that and Russia is doing this, when we can just choose to lead and we don’t have to hold ourselves to a lower bar.”
INSKEEP: You’re talking about things that obviously would cost a lot of money. I know you’d rather think of it as an investment rather than a cost, but it is just certainly a lot of money. You don’t specify where it’s going to come from, other than saying it will all pay for itself.
OCASIO-CORTEZ: Yeah. I think the first thing that we need to do is kind of break the mistaken idea that taxes pay for a hundred percent of government expenditure. It’s just not how government expenditure works. We can recoup costs, but oftentimes you look at, for example, the GOP tax cut, which I think was an irresponsible use of government expenditure. But government projects are often financed by a combination of taxes, deficit spending and other kinds of investments – you know, bonds and so on.
The greatest threat facing the United States today doesn’t come from China, Iran, or even Russia; it’s the growing number of Americans who believe Karl Marx’s socialism provides the best strategy for making our communities safer, healthier, and more prosperous. But the most significant danger posed by socialism isn’t that its implementation would lead to greater poverty and fewer property rights, it’s that socialism would create numerous moral problems, including the limits it would place on individual liberty and religious freedom.
In Socialism Is Evil: The Moral Case Against Marx’s Radical Dream, conservative columnist and think tank research fellow Justin Haskins examines the moral perils of Marx’s socialism and explains why if socialism were to be imposed in its fullest form, it wouldn’t just damage people’s freedoms, it would obliterate them. Haskins argues it would be dangerous to attempt to create Marx’s utopian socialist world, and even more importantly, that such an attempt would be so highly immoral that it could reasonably be called “evil.”
In Socialism Is Evil, Haskins makes the moral case against socialism and also describes in detail what socialists believe, the differences between socialism and communism, why Marx’s socialism will never be completely adopted, and why even the more moderate European-style socialism, called “democratic socialism” by some, is highly immoral and anti-American.
Many socialists are kind, generous people with good intentions, but sometimes, good intentions can create devastating results. Socialism Is Evil briefly tackles some of the most important moral controversies surrounding Marx’s socialism, providing supporters of individual liberty with the tools they need to stop the rise of socialism in its tracks.
Mr. Haskin’s analysis of Socialism and THE GREEN NEW DEAL.
DEMOCRATS: ‘GREEN NEW DEAL’ IS A CRAZY NEW DEAL THAT WOULD BE A DISASTER FOR US ALL
Justin Haskins is the executive editor and a research fellow at The Heartland Institute and the editor-in-chief of StoppingSocialism.com. He’s the author of “Socialism Is Evil: The Moral Case Against Marx’s Radical Dream.” Follow him on Twitter @JustinTHaskins.
The Green New Deal nonbinding congressional resolution unveiled by Democratic lawmakers Thursday calls for economically destructive and environmentally toxic extremist policies.
The radical and impractical plan could suck trillions of dollars out of our economy, raise costs of much of what we buy, wipe out millions of jobs and plunge our country into a recession or perhaps even a depression.
The direct threat to our national security and economic security comes from the Green New Deal itself.
Eliminating virtually all fossil fuels from U.S. electricity generation within 10 years. That would destroy at least 3.4 million jobs in the oil, natural gas and coal industries.
It also calls for building high-speed rail and eliminating as many gasoline-powered vehicles “as is technologically feasible.”
Renewable energy sources like wind and solar power are two to five times more expensive than existing conventional energy sources like natural gas. Solar energy requires 40 to 50 percent more land than natural gas facilities. Wind energy production takes up 90 to 100 percent more land.
If manufacturers and all industries are forced to go “green,” the cost of producing products in the United States will increase so substantially that it would be virtually impossible for American companies to beat their global competitors.
450,000 manufacturing jobs have been added across our nation under the Trump administration, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This manufacturing renaissance could have never happened if the Green New Deal was in place, and these job gains would be reversed in the job-killing radical plan became law.
Substantially more steel and rare earth minerals would need to be manufactured and mined, causing massive environmental damage.
Mandating “sustainable” farming and land-use practices, gives tremendous power to the federal government to manage U.S. farms and ranches – immensely increasing the costs of producing the food we eat.
“Upgrading all existing buildings in the United States and building new buildings to achieve maximal energy efficiency, water efficiency, safety, affordability, comfort, and durability, including through electrification,” costing trillions of dollars more.
The Green New Deal would not reduce global carbon dioxide emissions. Countries like China and India are increasing their carbon dioxide emissions by so much that they will, based on current projections, more than offset any carbon dioxide emissions cuts made in America.
The Green New Deal resolution would provide “resources, training, and high-quality education, including higher education, to all people of the United States, with a focus on frontline and vulnerable communities.”Translation: implementing the Green New Deal will likely include a universal free-college provision that could costs trillions of dollars over the next couple of decades.
The Green New Deal also promises “universal access to healthy food,” “economic security” for all Americans, universal health care, and a jobs guarantee that would provide employment to anyone who wants it “with a family-sustaining wage, adequate family and medical leave, paid vacations, and retirement security.”Translation: funding all these government giveaways would require massive tax increases – and not just on the wealthiest Americans, because there are not enough of them to pay for all these enormously expensive programs. And even with gigantic tax increases, soaring federal deficits would still be likely under the Green New Deal.
Martin Luther King Jr. born
On January 15, 1929, Martin Luther King Jr. is born in Atlanta, Georgia, the son of a Baptist minister. King received a doctorate degree in theology and in 1955 helped organized the first major protest of the African-American civil rights movement: the successful Montgomery Bus Boycott. Influenced by Mohandas Gandhi, he advocated civil disobedience and nonviolent resistance to segregation in the South. The peaceful protests he led throughout the American South were often met with violence, but King and his followers persisted, and the movement gained momentum.
A powerful orator, King appealed to Christian and American ideals and won growing support from the federal government and Northern whites. In 1963, Bayard Rustin and A. Philip Randolph led the massive March on Washingtonfor Jobs and Freedom; the event’s grand finale was King’s famous “I Have a Dream” address. Two hundred and fifty thousand people gathered outside the Lincoln Memorial to hear the stirring speech. In 1964, the civil rights movement achieved two of its greatest successes: the ratification of the 24th Amendment, which abolished the poll tax, and the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibited racial discrimination in employment and education and outlawed racial segregation in public facilities. Later that year, King became the youngest person to win the Nobel Peace Prize. In the late 1960s, King openly criticized U.S. involvement in Vietnam and turned his efforts to winning economic rights for poor Americans. He was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee, on April 4, 1968.
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Contingency Planning Memorandum No. 33
In addition to a sharp economic downturn, Venezuela faces a humanitarian crisis. The United States can do little to prevent a downward spiral, but it should take measures to mitigate the political, economic, and humanitarian consequences of a potential mass emigration.
February 15, 2018
Venezuela is in an economic free fall. As a result of government-led mismanagement and corruption, the currency value is plummeting, prices are hyperinflated, and gross domestic product (GDP) has fallen by over a third in the last five years. In an economy that produces little except oil, the government has cut imports by over 75 percent, choosing to use its hard currency to service the roughly $140 billion in debt and other obligations.
These economic choices have led to a humanitarian crisis.
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ONE VOICE IN TRANSPORTATION TREATISE
“I respect you and together we will strengthen confidence within performance of our commitments to job specific protocols each and every day.
“I respect you and expect you to respect me. Together we work under the conditions and rules of personal respect.
“I respect you and at this time together we will be more productive for ourselves and the communities we enjoy.”
“I respect you and expect us to peacefully assure that the Citizens of Tulsa and our one world community have ‘equitable rights to personal expression.’”
“I respect you and together we should accept all human obligations to ‘self-constitution’ in a ‘sound economy.’”
“I respect you and together we ‘practice self-government in a ‘spirit of mercy’ ending in ‘universal benevolence.’”