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Elizabeth Warren’s go-to line is that the American economy is rigged against the little guy. She’s actually right. Big government, high tax rates and a complicated tax code give the rich too many undeserved advantages. This op-ed, written by Rep. Ron Estes, (R-KS), asks some pointed questions that Sen. Warren and Sen. Sanders probably don’t want to answer.

For instance, I’m fairly certain Sen. Warren wouldn’t want to reply when Rep. Estes said “Today’s code is riddled with special interest giveaways that are essentially tax earmarks or “spending” in the tax code, to quote Martin Feldstein, the chief economic adviser to former President Ronald Reagan. Tax earmarks are tax increases on everyone who doesn’t receive the benefit. They keep rates artificially high for everyone to favor the few. Do Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren believe families should be paying higher rates so that officially recognized Eskimo whaling captains – one beneficiary in today’s code – can pay less?”

Sen. Warren and Sen. Sanders have advocated for higher tax rates but they’ve never advocated for cleaning up the tax code. Cleaning up the tax code is important because, the words of “Apple CEO Tim Cook, said on 60 Minutes in 2015, ‘This is a tax code … that was made for the industrial age, not the digital age. It’s backwards. It’s awful for America. It should have been fixed many years ago. It’s past time to get it done.'”

Rep. Estes said that there’s another important reason for updating the tax code:

In 2016, Americans spent $409 billion simply complying with the IRS code, according to the Tax Foundation.

What a waste of money. That’s money that should’ve been spent on creating jobs. Instead, it was spent on Big Government. Many of these carve-outs were put in place by lobbyists who advocate for the corporations that hired them. Small businesses don’t have the advocates that big corporations have.

Sen. Warren and Sen. Sanders love big government. That means their policies lead directly to the policies and conditions that they complain about. Their policies also lead to income inequality. Policymakers should implement tax reform. While that’s happening, reporters should report the progress that’s getting made. Once the bill is signed, though, the MSM should question Democrats about their tax policies. They should specifically ask Sen. Sanders and Sen. Warren why they favor policies that increase income inequality while slowing economic growth in the middle class. They should ask Sen. Schumer why he hasn’t told Democrats to jump on board with tax simplification.

Those are things that might happen in a dream world. Unfortunately, the MSM won’t ask those questions because they agree with Sen. Warren and Sen. Sanders. The MSM, aka the Agenda Media, will work tirelessly to protect Democrats. Anyone that thinks the MSM is fair-minded and that they seek the truth isn’t thinking straight. The MSM is mostly corrupt and shouldn’t be trusted.

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This article adds additional insight into dramatically raising the minimum wage. One of the eye-popping statistics found in this article is that “Last year, New York passed legislation that will raise the minimum wage to $15 by 2018 for almost all businesses in the Big Apple. Schnipper’s Quality Kitchen, a New York burger chain, is already making tough cuts to compensate for this added expense, as The Post reported last week. As Schnipper’s labor costs increase, the burger joint has reduced its workforce by 10 percent. It’s also cut hours for its existing staff and increased prices on the menu.”

This isn’t surprising. It’s predictable. What’s disappointing is that the activists that “promised our poorest workers a living wage. But early evidence suggests that, however well-intentioned, the movement has actually resulted in lower wages and less opportunity.”

That isn’t all. The article also cites the fact that “the minimum wage rose to $12 in New York City for fast-food workers. Since then, job growth has been a sleepy 2 percent, the Employment Policies Institute reported this month.”

The fact that dramatic minimum wage increases are a significant part of the Democrats’ economic plan (especially Bernie Sanders’, Elizabeth Warren’s and Hillary’s plans) should frighten voters. Usually, it’s talked about under the heading of income inequality, which is another way of saying stagnant economic growth. The visceral hatred towards employers in Bernie Sanders’ and Elizabeth Warren’s message is the opposite of Ronald Reagan’s economic message.

Reagan rightly said that you can’t love jobs and hate the employers. Dramatically increasing the minimum wage is the equivalent of hating employers. Those facts are indisputable.

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It’s time to tell Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and the rest of the Democratic “Resistance” movement that their economic policies don’t work. It’s time they took a class I’d call “Economics for Dummies.”

The first principle of Economics for dummies is that companies making big profits spread that wealth around in the form of pay raises, promotions and expanding their companies. By comparison, companies operating in a stagnant economy, like what we had during the last administration, tend to be tight-fisted with their money.

Punishing companies with high taxes and excessive regulations doesn’t eliminate wealth creation. Instead, it incentivizes companies to hoard or hide their wealth. That leads directly to less upward mobility for those lower on the organization chart.

Until socialists like Sanders and Warren stop pushing their economic ‘gospel’, Democrats will keep underperforming in elections, including 2018.

In this article, DFL State Party Chair Ken Martin says that “Democrats will focus more on policy as they try to hold Lewis to just one term. ‘It certainly will be a huge target for national Democrats and, of course, for us here at the DFL. It’s still on paper a 50-50 district.'”

That’s a point of contention. Technically speaking, CD-2 should be a 50-50 district in normal times, it isn’t a 50-50 district operationally because the Democratic Party has gone nuts. The DFL isn’t a centrist party anymore. They’ve abandoned blue collar workers and farmers. They’ve gravitated toward top-down-government-knows-best policies like Obamacare. They’re trying to kill the fossil fuel industry. Angie Craig raised lots of money. She ran an aggressive campaign. What happened is that she wasn’t a good fit for the district.

In CD-2, the DFL’s standard-bearer, Angie Craig, promised to expand Obamacare. As a result, she lost after leading going into the final month.

Once Rep. Lewis starts voting for welcome reforms and the results start coming in, he’ll be in a stronger position for re-election. Now that Lewis has gotten sworn in, he’s rolling up his sleeves and getting to work. There’s no reason to think he won’t represent the district well.

That should make Ken Martin plenty sad.

Salena Zito’s article turns the spotlight on the MSM, aka the Agenda Media, to highlight why the media got this election badly wrong. Early in the article, Salena wrote about the NY Times, saying “Take The New York Times’ public editor’s laudable call for more diversity in the newsroom. ‘The executive editor, Dean Baquet, is African-American,’ Liz Spayd wrote. ‘The other editors on his masthead are white. The staff with the most diversity? The news assistants, who mostly do administrative jobs and get paid the least.'”

Then she made the important recommendation (I’d argue it’s essential) that reporters “need more people who come from a blue-collar background, who perhaps didn’t go to Brown and can be found in a pew on Sunday on a fairly regular basis.”

Yesterday, I wrote this post to highlight the absurdity of E.J. Dionne’s column. He’s totally certain that a Trump administration will be a disaster with a silver lining for Democrats. Last night, on the Kelly File, Nomiki Konst ‘debated’ Marc Thiessen and Guy Benson about whether Democrats were learning the lesson of this election. Konst insisted that it was all drive about the economy.

While there’s no doubt lots of people voted for Donald Trump because they think a billionaire might know a thing or 2 about reviving this pathetic recovery, it’s more than that. Mr. Trump promises to clean up the VA scandal, build a wall on the US-Mexican border, simplify the federal tax system and rein in the out-of-control EPA. In other words, he promised to make their lives better.

Voters didn’t just reject Mrs. Clinton’s message. In battleground state after battleground state, they essentially said ‘are you out of your flipping mind? We’ve suffered through 8 years of this crap and we’re tired of it.’ But I digress.

Benson and Thiessen both talked about how the Democratic Party is incapable of talking to people of faith or blue collar workers. It’s clear that they haven’t learned their lesson because the people who are the 2 ‘finalists’ for DNC chair, Keith Ellison and Thomas Perez, are incapable of connecting with those voters.

Paul Krugman thinks the Trump economic policies will tank. Thomas Friedman thinks that the Obama administration is the best friend Israel has ever had. Other inside-the-Beltway columnists missed the fact that miners and farmers are fed up with the EPA’s regulatory overreach.

It isn’t surprising why some of the biggest punchlines in Mr. Trump’s stump speeches were criticisms of the corrupt media. That was a galvanizing message. It’s what tied the blue collar workers together with the millionaires who built their companies from the ground up.

The journalist who didn’t miss what was happening this election was Salena Zito. This video illustrates why Salena got it right:

This weekend, I spoke with Ed Morrissey. Admittedly, neither of us predicted Trump winning. We both, however, gave Trump a shot at winning going into Election Night. When I told Ed that the common denominator for both of us is that we both listened to Salena Zito, he quickly agreed. We didn’t know that he’d win Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin but we knew that Trump’s message resonated with those economically disenfranchised voters.

If newsrooms don’t start sending their reporters out into the real world, if they don’t put a high priority on building a newsroom with cultural diversity, they’ll continue missing the big stories.

Finally, it’s time to thank Salena for her fantastic reporting. If she doesn’t win a slew of awards for her political reporting, it’ll prove that political editors are clueless.

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Now that Resolution 54 has been defeated and labor leaders are experiencing a mini-Kumbaya moment, it’s time to examine what the Iron Range won yesterday. I’ll return to that in a bit but it’s important to set this up properly.

Rick Nolan apparently gave a speech that set the mood for the vote, saying “Nobody loves the environment more than the Rangers. I don’t want to see the party take a stance against mining or agriculture or manufacturing.”

What’s important to notice about Saturday, though, is that that was a show vote. In yesterday’s setting, Democrats from rural Minnesota had a voice. All parts of the state had a voice. That dynamic changes dramatically in January. Does anyone seriously think that the Sierra Club will suddenly stop demagoguing “sulfide mining”? Will the MCEA stop filing lawsuits aimed at killing PolyMet? Will Minnesota’s Public Utilities Commission stop meddling in pipeline construction projects?

The answer to each of those questions is an emphatic ‘NO!’

Most importantly, it isn’t likely that Gov. Dayton’s administration will grant PolyMet the permits it needs so PolyMet can start growing the Iron Range’s economy. The final analysis of Saturday’s vote is this: while Environmental Caucus Chair Veda Kanitz and her supporters claim to have extended an olive branch to the Iron Range yesterday, it isn’t likely that environmental activist organizations like the Sierra Club, Nature Conservancy, MCEA and Conservation Minnesota will suddenly start fighting fair.

These organizations aren’t mainstream organizations. They’ve got an anti-mining, anti-fossil fuel agenda. It’s worth noting that the DFL, as a political party, still supports shifting to renewable energy. Renewable energy won’t sustain mining operations.

Notice whose names are missing in this paragraph:

While tabling the resolution gained momentum, an impassioned Congressman Rick Nolan, DFL-Crosby, roused the crowd in the auditorium with a plea to truly unite by not taking a stance against the issue. Nolan was speaking on behalf of Sen. Amy Klobuchar, Sen. Al Franken and Congressman Tim Walz.

Missing from that paragraph are Mark Dayton and Tina Flint-Smith. Their silence is deafening.

The Iron Range won a minor skirmish yesterday. The thrill of that victory will soon fade. Organizations like the Sierra Club, Nature Conservancy, MCEA and Conservation Minnesota are in this for the long haul. Celebrate now because the battle is just starting.

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Minutes ago, President-Elect Donald Trump announced that he’s nominating Dr. Ben Carson to be his HUD (Housing and Urban Development) Secretary.

In his statement, President-Elect Trump said “I am thrilled to nominate Dr. Ben Carson as our next Secretary of the US Department of Housing and Urban Development. Ben Carson has a brilliant mind and is passionate about strengthening communities and families within those communities. We have talked at length about my urban renewal agenda and our message of economic revival, very much including our inner cities. Ben shares my optimism about the future of our country and is part of ensuring that this is a Presidency representing all Americans. He is a tough competitor and never gives up.”

Dr. Carson’s story is an inspirational story. In this article, Carson talked about growing up in Detroit, saying “Both of my older cousins died on the streets where I lived. I thought that was my destiny. But my mother didn’t. She changed all of that. She saved my brother and me from being killed on those streets with nothing but a library card.”

Dr. Carson will be an important part of President-Elect Trump’s outreach to African-American communities. I expect he’ll play an important part in revitalizing major urban centers economically. In the past, HUD secretaries have been bit players, with Jack Kemp being the exception. Further, I expect Democratic special interest groups to criticize him because he represents a different type of thinking. In the end, though, I expect him to win confirmation with overwhelming bipartisan support.

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It’s indisputable that 2 of the 3 biggest losers this election were Hillary Clinton and Nancy Pelosi. The DNC picked Mrs. Clinton essentially before their primaries or debates, mostly because they fell in love with her name ID and her fundraising ability. They also picked her out of fear of the Clintons’ retribution.

After another stinging defeat, House Democrats picked Nancy Pelosi to be their leader. Einstein’s cliché said that the definition of insanity was doing the same thing again and again but expecting different results. Based on that definition, 134 House Democrats are insane. Salena Zito didn’t mince words in her latest column, saying “One-hundred and thirty-four House Democrats collectively lost their minds last week. That is how many of Nancy Pelosi’s colleagues it took to vote her back into power despite having lost her third consecutive chance at winning back the majority from the Republicans.”

Mrs. Pelosi is referred to as “a prodigious fundraiser.” Apparently, Democrats think that fundraising still win elections. Apparently, Democrats haven’t figured it out that fundraising isn’t the only thing that’s important to campaigns. Mrs. Clinton outspent Donald Trump in Florida by an obscene amount of money. She lost the state by 125,000 votes.

There’s a connection between Mrs. Clinton’s and Mrs. Pelosi’s fundraising abilities and their unflinching support for the environmental activists’ agenda. While it doesn’t make that connection, Holman Jenkins’ article highlights the futility of President Obama’s agenda:

Mr. Obama came in saying fossil fuels were running out and prices were destined to rise, and instead got the fracking revolution, whose related employment boost was arguably a factor in his re-election victories in Pennsylvania and Ohio. Yet he couldn’t stop looking this gift horse in the mouth.

Unshrewdly, in the name of satisfying his climate-change constituents, he needlessly launched a regulatory war against coal as cheap natural gas was already doing the job for him. Result: Democrats became the enemy in coal country.

He pandered to his green friends on the Keystone XL pipeline. Result: Mr. Trump is inheriting a rebound in natural gas fracking and an associated infrastructure boom that is just now heating up again in time for an incoming administration to get credit.

Then-candidate Obama insisted that he’d push a cap and trade plan that would make electricity prices “necessarily skyrocket”:

Eight years later, Mrs. Clinton openly said that she was going to put lots of coal companies out of business:

At this point, I’m not certain that Democrats displayed insanity in being loyal to the environmental activists in their party. It’s possible they just displayed stupidity. Either way, Democrats won’t connect with the Heartland anytime soon if they don’t disappoint the environmental activists from time to time.

Democrats might lose some of their fundraising ability. Then again, it’s also possible that they might gain an appealing message to campaign on.

This article should get everyone’s blood boiling. In it, Mother Jones activists highlight how the Sierra Club is sabotaging families and businesses.

Specifically, Debbie Sease, the senior lobbying and advocacy director at the Sierra Club, told Mother Jones that “her organization’s strategy lies in playing defense by filing legal challenges, galvanizing the public, and using the marketplace. If a coal field is going to be developed, for example, activists can make it as expensive as possible to comply with existing regulations and force the developer to deal with a public backlash, she says. Additional tools environmentalists can use include citizen lawsuits, grassroots organizing, and ballot measures at the state and local level focusing on everything from renewable energy standards to green transportation initiatives.”

First, it’s worth questioning the Sierra Club’s belief that there will be a backlash after President-Elect Trump’s decisive victories in Pennsylvania, Ohio and Michigan. While there’s no doubt that the rent-a-protesters will protest coal mining projects, that doesn’t qualify as a grassroots anti-coal movement. That’s just the left’s predictable astroturf paid protest agenda.

Next, notice that the Sierra Club’s tactics include destroying good-paying middle class jobs. The Sierra Club was once thought of as a mainstream environmental organization. They clearly aren’t mainstream anymore. They’ve become radicalized.

Then there’s this:

Still, there are some things Trump can do to help kick-start coal production. Earlier this year, Obama put a moratorium on new coal leases on federal lands. Trump could easily reverse this rule through executive action, said Goldston at the NRDC press conference.

Even if environmentalists are ultimately able to block some of Trump’s plans, they will still be faced with a larger problem. Obama’s climate policies were only a good start—they didn’t get us anywhere close to averting catastrophic warming. As Sease pointed out, the accelerating pace of climate change means that the planet can’t afford four years of inaction. “Time is not our friend here,” she said.

I’m perfectly willing to let free markets determine whether coal makes a comeback, though I’m hoping it does. It’s worth highlighting the fact that the Sierra Club opposes natural gas because of fracking.

The point is that environmental activists have an anti-middle class agenda. The Sierra Club and other radical environmental organizations won’t hesitate to use litigation to kill the mining industry. It’s time conservatives wake up to the fact that these environmental activists are waging war against the middle class.

Ed Morrissey’s latest column about the “fake news” phenomena offers 2 points worthy of further exploration. In the final paragraph of Morrissey’s column, he writes “That contempt from elites in media and politics may or may not have produced the electoral results seen two weeks ago, but it certainly explains the shock that has resulted from it. That contempt is also reflected in the push to shut down commentary and pressure Facebook into editing their social media network to allow only those sources deemed acceptable by those in power, politically and culturally.”

Predictably, Democrat elitists are in denial. In this instance, the simplest explanation for why so many blue collar voters chose Trump is because the Democratic Party has abandoned them for years. This administration has sided with environmental activists rather than the miners, pipefitters and heavy equipment operators on major projects every time. The Keystone XL Pipeline is just one example of that. The Dakota Access Pipeline is another.

This is a classic case of ‘what have you done for me lately Syndrome’. If Democrats don’t figure out a way to satisfy both environmental activists and miners, they’ll lose miners and construction workers for a generation. It’s that simple.

In his opening paragraph, Morrissey wrote “Rather than acknowledge the obvious and prosaic answer — that voters in swing states chose change rather than the status quo — analysts have sought a Unified Theory of Donald Trump’s Success. Trump couldn’t possibly have won fair and square, the assumption goes, so all that’s left is to identify whatever went wrong and banish it so this never happens again.”

Other explanations are equally valid. First, Hillary Clinton was a terrible candidate who ignored the most animated group of swing voters in this election. Mrs. Clinton didn’t just ignore Michigan and Wisconsin. She ignored voters in rural areas who demanded that they be heard. The other legitimate explanation for her defeat is simple: explosive ACA health insurance premiums caused people to demand a change from the status quo.

The Democratic Party is at a crossroads. They can continue to ignore blue collar workers and drive them into the GOP. If they don’t want that, then they’ll have to show that they aren’t anti-mining. Democrats can pretend that the ACA is a fine piece of legislation. That’s what Chuck Schumer did last Sunday. If that’s their strategy, they should prepare to not be taken seriously.

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