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The Most Unbalanced Budget in State History

 

The Most Unbalanced Budget in State History

Illinois Opportunity Project issued the following statement in response to Speaker Michael Madigan and House Democrats’ irresponsible budget that is unbalanced by $7.2 billion and forces a $1,000 tax hike on the average Illinois family.

 

“The budget that passed in the Illinois House yesterday is just the latest in Springfield’s long history of playing politics with our lives and livelihoods. Illinois families are hurting. We pay the highest property taxes in the nation. We face the highest unemployment rate in the nation. And every taxpayer is on the hook for $45,000 in state government debt. Rather than finding solutions to our problems, Mike Madigan and his party proposed increasing your taxes by $1,000. Rather than finding ways to improve services, they want you to bail out Chicago. Rather than reforming government they are taking more money from you to fund museums, lagoons, and tourism. We need new leadership in Springfield.

 

Families in Illinois have been hurt in a way they haven’t been hurt before. Our friends, relatives, and neighbors are fleeing Illinois for places where they can get a better quality of life at a lower cost. And this is why. People are frustrated with the political class. But, it is important we view government clearly. Far from being a “do nothing legislature,” state government raises and spends billions of dollars every year through intentional, lucid, coordinated and self-interested action.

 

Illinoisans are demanding change. They voted for Governor Rauner because they know Illinois needs a turnaround. Madigan sees this and is using sleight of hand to convince people that he isn’t the problem. Speaker Madigan and his veto-proof majority caucus will never stop working to sustain the bureaucracy and strategies they have devised – in broad daylight – to ensure that the means and devices of government remain firmly under their control. There is only one way to change the way Illinois state legislature operates: change out Illinois state legislators.”

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Source: Will County News

Fed Judge Blasts DOJ Lawyers for Lying in Court to Defend Obama Amnesty

Fed Judge Blasts DOJ Lawyers for Lying in Court to Defend Obama Amnesty

MAY 23, 2016

It’s been repeatedly proven that government officials lie regularly to cover up wrongdoing and now a scathing federal court order blasting the Department of Justice (DOJ) and its army of lawyers offers details seldom seen by the public. In fact, the judge in this case appears to go out of his way to write something for the masses, not just the parties involved in the litigation.

The case involves a lawsuit filed by 26 states against the federal government challenging President Obama’s immigration amnesty measures. It was originally filed in the Southern District of Texas and the judge hearing the case, Andrew S. Hanen, issued a 28-page order last week slamming DOJ attorneys representing the administration for intentionally lying to the court, thus violating a multitude of ethics and court rules. Among other things Hanen admonishes DOJ lawyers for lying by claiming in court that the president’s amnesty plan featuring three-year deferrals wasn’t being implemented when in fact it was for more than 100,000 illegal aliens. The measure is officially known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is the agency charged with implementing it.

In the order Hanen writes: “The Government admits that the lawyer making these statements knew at the time of this hearing that the DHS was already granting these three year extensions (which it also admits are only authorized by the 2014 DHS Directive) instead of the two-year renewals authorized in 2012. Not only did counsel fail to tell the Court that the DHS was already granting relief using the 2014 DHS Directive, she told the Court that nothing would happen with regard to revised DACA until mid-February of 2015.” The lashing continues. “Apparently, lawyers, somewhere in the halls of the Justice Department whose identities are unknown to this Court, decided unilaterally that the conduct of the DHS in granting three-year DACA renewals . . . was immaterial and irrelevant to this lawsuit and that the DOJ could therefore just ignore it. Then, for whatever reason, the Justice Department trial lawyers appearing in this Court chose not to tell the truth about this DHS activity. The first decision was certainly unsupportable, but the subsequent decision to hide it from the Court was unethical.”

Texas initiated the lawsuit in December 2014 challenging the president’s amnesty order and the other states eventually joined in. Judge Hanen ruled in favor of the states, essentially blocking the amnesty, and later discovered that the administration disregarded the order and government attorneys repeatedly lied about it in court. After Hanen’s reprimand became public, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said this: “Throughout this case, the administration has struggled to provide accurate, reliable information regarding the scope of the President’s plan or even when it would be implemented. From the start, our lawsuit has been about asserting that one person cannot unilaterally change the law, and part of that is ensuring everyone abides by the rule of law.

This kind of pubic scolding, especially from a federal court, is seldom seen while a president is still in office. The DOJ is supposed to defend the public’s best interest, not lie to cover up the president’s wrongdoing. An editorial in a mainstream newspaper points out that the misconduct unmasked by Judge Hanen should trouble Americans of all political persuasions. “Prosecutors often abuse their powers in run-of-the-mill cases,” the editorial states. “But this is a constitutional challenge with major consequences for the separation of powers, and the deceit must have required the participation and coordination of dozens of political appointees and career lawyers. That suggests a serious institutional failure, not mere rogue actors.” The piece refers to the DOJ’s systematic deception in court about the administration’s conduct an “ethics rot.”

Source: Will County News

Pro-Life Leader Emily Zender to Dan Proft: We’re Changing Minds Based on Science

On this episode of ATC, Dan Proft sits down with Emily Zender, Executive Director of Illinois Right to Life, who has emerged as one of the pro-life movement’s important young leaders.

Zender’s group focuses on millennials and educating them on the science of life.

Zender also notes a change in the pro-life, pro-choice debate in that the pro-choice side has withdrawn debate all together instead focusing on using their partners in the media and academia to stifle the pro-life viewpoint.

Zender also explains how the Planned Parenthood undercover videos have changed the policy landscape and the available mission field.

All of this and how abortion hurts women with Illinois Right to Life’s Emily Zender.

Source: Will County News

Imagine spending more than you make.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ekA66-0to20

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ekA66-0to20

Imagine spending more than you make.

Imagine spending more than you make for an entire year.

Imagine spending more than you make for 15 years in a row.

What would happen? Well, just look at the state of the state. Illinois lawmakers have failed to pass a single balanced budget since 2001. Panic reigns at the Statehouse as the Land of Lincoln drowns in debt, unable to pay its bills. Residents remain overtaxed and underserved.

On May 25, Democrats in the Illinois House of Representatives introduced and passed a state budget that’s out of balance by nearly $7 billion, according to the Illinois Office of Management and Budget’s analysis. They want to take $32 billion from residents, and spend $39 billion. The 500-page budget was introduced and passed in a single evening.

Clearly, something is wrong here. No state can pass fake budgets for more than a decade and expect things to turn out OK.

The Illinois General Assembly’s spending in any fiscal year “shall not exceed the funds estimated by the General Assembly to be available during that year, ” according to the Illinois Constitution.

So why isn’t anyone following the rules?

The answer is in plain sight. Illinois’ balanced-budget requirement is toothless. Since the requirement doesn’t explicitly prohibit borrowing and budgeting tricks, Illinois lawmakers have used both with abandon.

Former Gov. Pat Quinn borrowed $3.5 billion to fund the state’s pension systems to create the appearance of a balanced budget for fiscal year 2010. He did the same thing the next fiscal year, borrowing another $3.7 billion. In May 2011, lawmakers used an accounting gimmick to push more than $1 billion in unpaid bills to the next fiscal year.

As written, the state’s balanced-budget requirement all but encourages lawmakers to ignore unpaid bills, incur huge deficits and stick future generations with the tab.

Taxpayers end up shouldering massive tax hikes not to fund crucial services, but to pay for the irresponsible behavior of politicians.

Take the 2011 income-tax hike. It took nearly $32 billion in extra revenue from Illinoisans. That’s more than the state spends on education, health care, human services and public safety combined in a full fiscal year.

But that money didn’t go to gleaming classrooms, smoother roads or better public safety. Instead, about one-third of the money went to pay unpaid bills and pension debt. Lawmakers dumped the rest into the state’s pension systems, which have accountability problems all their own.

This process is not fair to the people of Illinois. They expect lawmakers to spend within their means, just as they do in their own households.

The solution to this problem is simple. Illinois must strengthen its balanced-budget requirement. A rule that mandates responsible stewardship would go a long way toward putting Illinois on a sane and sustainable path.

The research on this topic is unsurprisingly clear. States with rigorous balanced budget requirements are more likely to balance their budgets, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

House Joint Resolution Constitutional Amendment 47 contains many necessary protections for Illinois taxpayers. It not only requires that spending can’t exceed revenue, but also bans the use of debt, refinancing and fund sweeps to calculate that revenue.

In short, the proposed constitutional amendment prohibits gimmicks that have plagued the state for far too long. But it’s also as good as dead in House Speaker Mike Madigan’s Rules Committee.

If a constitutional amendment is too much for lawmakers to handle, a proposal from Gov. Bruce Rauner could at least give the state a chance to pass a responsible budget this year.

The governor proposed passing the Unbalanced Budget Response Act, which would temporarily give him the ability to shift funds and reduce spending to balance the state’s budget. Certain funds such as those devoted to schools, early childhood education and debt service would remain untouched.

Even Rauner doesn’t think that solution is ideal, but it’s a far better fix than continuing to indulge fantasyland spending.

Strict rules governing basic responsibilities of state lawmakers shouldn’t be necessary. But the extreme recklessness of the last 15 years shows Illinois politicians need more than a slap on the wrist.

They need handcuffs.


Austin Berg

Writer

Source: Will County News

Wall Street’s $88 Billion Handout

Wall Street’s $88 Billion Handout
stock-photo-portrait-of-serious-baby-boy-with-dollar-banknote-looking-at-camera-27667702 By Briton Ryle
Written Wednesday, May 25, 2016
And you thought the hundreds of billions in bailout money Wall Street got during the financial crisis was bad…

At least all that bailout money was paid back. And it didn’t come right out of your pocket in the first place.

But this $88 billion is different. It’s basically a handout. And it comes right out of your retirement savings and goes right into their pockets. Oh, and it’s not going to be paid back, either.

The easiest and most popular way to save for retirement is through an employer-sponsored 401(k) plan. You can have money taken out before taxes, and your employer probably matches a certain amount of your money that goes into the plan. From that standpoint, the match you get from your employer is basically free money.

But the company that manages your 401(k) plan is basically getting a bunch of free money, too. Because you pay fees to them to “manage” your account. At a 2% annual rate, we’re talking about an $88 billion handout to these 401(k) managers.

And the thing is, you don’t really have a choice. That’s why I say it’s a handout. These 401(k) management companies charge a fee when you enter the plan, they charge you for the funds you buy, they charge you if you sell too soon, and they charge an annual management fee. And for what?

They don’t put the funds in the plan together. The funds you’re offered are probably from American Funds or Fidelity or some other big mutual fund company.

And the 401(k) company doesn’t manage those funds, either. All it does is buy the funds you want through a broker and then send you a statement every once in a while. If anyone can explain to me how that’s worth $88 billion (or more) a year, well, I’m all ears.

It’s ridiculous that they make so much money off you and your retirement savings. The 401(k) system is completely broken. Even the man who invented the 401(k) says so. “Now this monster is out of control,” Ted Benna told SmartMoney.com. “I would blow up the system and restart with something totally different.”

The Monster is Out of Control

The fact that 401(k) plans will charge you as much as 2% for a mutual fund is crazy. Especially when you can buy a Vanguard fund for a fraction of a percent. But it’s even worse than that. Sometimes a fund that your 401(k) company offers is more expensive than it should be. You could buy the very same fund through your own broker for less.

That’s just nuts. And it’s also wrong.

401(k) companies are taking advantage of American retirement savers because they have nowhere else to go…

So I tell anyone who will listen that they should open their own Roth IRA account. A Roth Ira is the single most powerful retirement savings account that’s ever been created. Because everything you withdraw is tax-free. That’s right — you don’t pay any taxes on Roth IRA withdrawals. No capital gains taxes, no income taxes, nothing.

Tax-free withdrawals from a Roth IRA can be a windfall. Especially if you have a good while to invest before you retire. Because you could save 15% right off the bat by not having to pay capital gains taxes. And the income tax savings could be significant, too.

But there’s another reason I like Roth IRAs so much. It’s because you can buy individual stocks in a Roth IRA.

The only way you can beat the market is with individual stocks. Obviously, an index fund can’t do any better than the index it tracks. And after you pay the fees for such a fund to a 401(k) company, well, you’ll never beat any benchmark.

A lot of Wall Street types say that individual investors should not bank on individual stocks for the their retirement accounts. They think index funds are the way to go. And it’s because they don’t think the average investor is savvy enough to buy individual stocks for the long term.

They think you’ll screw it up, that you’ll sell the first time the market looks sketchy, or that you’ll buy risky stocks…

Basically, they don’t think the average investor really understands how to invest for the long term.

How to Invest for the Long Term

Let me let you on a little secret: It’s not that hard to invest for the long term. In fact, the formula is pretty simple: buy great companies that pay dividends, and you will be fine. Let dividend compounding and time do the work.

And you don’t need to own a ton of stocks to do well, either. A handful will usually do just fine.

So how do you go about finding great companies? They are all around. The thing to ask when looking at a company for investment is: where will this company be in 10 years? In 20 years?

Like, where will Disney (NYSE: DIS) be in 20 years? It’s a pretty good bet that in 20 years, Disney will be doing exactly what it is now: making great movies, running awesome theme parks, and bringing us live sporting events.

What about Bank of America (NYSE: BAC)? Will it be around in 20 years? Ummm, yes. Forget the “break up the banks” nonsense. That’s not happening. The U.S. population will grow and make more money, and much of that will be on deposit at BofA.

How about Starbucks (NASDAQ: SBUX)? Can you imagine Starbucks losing its appeal over the next 20 years? Not likely. Those kids you see at Starbucks all the time these days are customers for life.

What about Netflix (NASDAQ: NFLX)? I love Netflix, as a service and as a company. But I can’t tell you were it will be in 20 years. Maybe it will get bought out. Maybe the competition will drive it out of business. I don’t know. And I wouldn’t invest in Netflix for the long term.

Same goes for a company like Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA). No doubt Tesla’s founder is a genius. And no doubt that electric cars are the future. But Ford makes electric cars. So does GM, Nissan, BMW, etc. I can’t tell you that Tesla will be a market leader in 20 years. So I’d have to pass on that one, too.

Now, these are just a couple examples. But if you can answer the simple question about where a company will be in 20 years, then you probably have a pretty good company for investment. And if that company pays a dividend (as all those I just mentioned do), you will make money over time.

Here’s an idea: Do you have a company you’re looking at for a long-term investment? Do you want to talk about where a company you like will be in 20 years? Well, send in the ticker toAngel customer service, maybe add some commentary of your own, and we’ll hash it out, right here in Wealth Daily.

That sounds like fun, right?

Until next time,

brit''s sig

Source: Will County News