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Presidential Hubris: “Let Me Run the Country”

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The television news cycle and social media have been filled with comments and criticisms concerning the combative exchange of words between the current president and CNN reporter James Acosta during a recent White House press conference. What seemingly received little or no attention were the words that Donald Trump used in describing his role as the president of the United States during the drama of that press conference. Mr. Acosta wanted to know why the president viewed as an “invasion” the caravan of Central Americans moving through Mexico toward the U.S. border, rather than as simply a group of migrants on their way to the United States; and he wanted to know if this was not demonizing those people who were still hundreds of miles away from the United States. President Trump never directly answered the reporter’s question, other than to say that that was how he viewed it and it was a matter of differing opinions. Trump did say that ...

Privatizing Coercion

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Every day, roughly 10,000 baby boomers do the same thing: they retire. And when they retire, the first thing they generally do is apply for Social Security. There are actually two parts to Social Security (OASDI). The Old-Age and Survivors Insurance (OASI) program provides monthly benefits to retired workers, families of retired workers, and survivors of deceased workers. The Disability Insurance (DI) program provides monthly benefits to disabled workers and families of disabled workers. According to the latest annual report by the Social Security Board of Trustees (“The 2018 Annual Report of the Board of Trustees of the Federal Old-Age and Survivors Insurance and Federal Disability Insurance Trust Funds”), “Over the program’s 83-year history, it has collected roughly $20.9 trillion and paid out $18.0 trillion, leaving asset reserves of $2.9 trillion at the end of 2017 in its two trust funds.” In 2017, “51.5 million people received OASI benefits,” “10.4 million received DI benefits,” and “an estimated 174 million ...

A Badge of Shame: The Government’s War on America’s Military Veterans

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“For soldiers serving in Afghanistan and Iraq, coming home is more lethal than being in combat.” ― Brené Brown, research professor at the University of Houston Not all heroes wear the uniform of war. In the United States, however, we take particular pride in recognizing as heroes those who have served in the military. Yet while we honor our veterans with holidays, parades, discounts at retail stores and restaurants, and endless political rhetoric about their sacrifice and bravery, we do a pitiful job of respecting their freedoms and caring for their needs once out of uniform. Despite the fact that the U.S. boasts more than 20 million veterans who have served in World War II through the present day, the plight of veterans today is America’s badge of shame, with large numbers of veterans impoverished, unemployed, traumatized mentally and physically, struggling with depression, suicide, and marital stress, homeless, subjected to sub-par treatment at clinics and hospitals, and left to molder ...

Liberal Capitalism as the Ideology of Freedom and Moderation

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Nowadays, many along the political spectrum seem to agree that America increasingly has become a polarized society. Ideological and public policy discourse has been gravitating more toward the extremes: progressives and the Democratic Party with a more explicitly socialist rhetoric and proposed government agenda, and conservatives and Republicans who increasingly appear to be moving in the direction of populist, ...