An Open Letter to President Trump – From Someone Who Voted For Him

Donald Trump

Author: Michael Bove

Dear President Trump,

Congratulations are in order. After years of Democratic control, you led the Republican party in taking back control of the White House, the U.S. House of Representatives, and the U.S. Senate. Not only did Republicans regain control of the federal government, we control a majority of state governments as well.

On the economic front, consumer confidence has spiked since you won the election. Americans have a new-found confidence in our economy, which will almost certainly translate into economic growth as consumers begin spending again. You have also personally intervened to save thousands of American jobs, even before you were sworn into office. During your first few weeks in office, you have also slashed regulations and began work on a new tax code that will encourage economic growth and lower taxes for nearly every American. As a finance major and investor in the U.S. stock market, I must also thank you for winning since after your victory, the S&P 500 has climbed over 10% in just a few months. This has created billions of dollars in wealth for not only the top 1% but also for every american with a retirement account.

Regarding our justice system, you fulfilled a campaign promise of appointing a conservative justice to the Supreme Court. Judge Gorsuch’s confirmation has ended the issue of having an incomplete Supreme Court. I believe that Judge Gorsuch has demonstrated that he believes in following the Constitution instead of wrongfully re-writing it.

Just a few days ago you designated May 14-May 20 as “Police Week.” In additional to this, you shined a blue light on the White House in honor of Peace Officers Memorial Day (unlike President Obama). As the nephew and grandson of several police officers, I am thrilled to see that there is a President that will finally support and defend our police officers who have sacrificed so much to ensure that our communities stay safe.

Mr. President, you have done a number of really good things for this country so far. However, there are a number of things that you really need to work on and change.

Firstly, I want to comment on is your executive order that temporarily banned travel from several Middle East countries. Now while I agree with the idea of temporarily banning travel from terrorist hotspots, this executive order was rushed and not effective. I understand the idea of quickly wanting to protect the country but, in the end, not even our own airport security personnel knew how to implement your order. This caused mass chaos and eventually your executive order was even struck down by the courts who felt that your own administration did not demonstrate an adequate need for such action.

Now, to be fair, I understand that there is a difference between running a company and running a country. When you were the CEO of your company, you were only accountable to yourself and you got to make the rules without any oversight. But as President, there are other factions, such as the court system, that you will need to work with to ensure that your orders are successful and legal. Not everything can just go how you want it to and how you say you want it to, there are procedures that need to be followed.

I am immensely concerned with how you handled the firing of former FBI director James Comey. There is no question that you had every right to fire Mr. Comey, as The Liberty Bell has discussed in a previous blog post however, he and his staff were informed of the firing by seeing a news program on television. Regardless of how effective you believe he was at his job, I believe it is inappropriate and immature to fire someone in a way where they find out your decision from a television report. Although Trump issued Comey a “sick burn”, it was unorganized and demonstrates poor leadership.

While writing this article, it appears that your administration has become embroiled in yet another political misstep. According to several news outlets, “an anonymous source” reported that you revealed classified intelligence on ISIS to the Russian Ambassador. The information was said to be so heavily classified that some of our allies did not even have access to it but now the Russians, who aren’t exactly our best friends, do have access to it. What is even worse is that we do not even know the true scope of the incident. Your National Security Advisor, H.R. McMaster, made a statement saying that no classified information was revealed at the meeting but you, in a tweet, explained that you had “the absolute right to” reveal classified information to the Russians. Which is it? Did you reveal classified information or did you not?

Mr. President, it seems that your administration is in chaos and not even your top advisors know what is true and what is false. In order to move forward, I think the best course of action is to begin acting as a leader and stop sending vague tweets that can be misconstrued and make the American people question you and your administration. Your tweets, while necessary in communicating with your supporters during the campaign season, are now creating confusion and miscommunication. Also, it might be wise to consider cleaning house. Your advisors (Reince Priebus, Steve Bannon) seem to be wholly incapable of allowing you to make the transition from running a successful real estate empire and a successful presidential campaign into running a successful presidential administration. Furthermore, your Press Secretary (Sean Spicer) is unable to contain and dispel false reports and distortions coming from a variety of news outlets.

Overall, I would give you a solid B- on your administration so far. I hope that moving forward, you learn to take constructive criticism from not only the left but from your own supporters too. After all, it’s difficult to realize you’re not doing an A+ job if you are not taking these criticisms seriously in order to fix the issues at hand. You have done many good things but there are a number of significant areas that need improvement in order for you to run an administration that will “Make America Great Again.”

 

Sources:

https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2017/05/15/president-donald-j-trump-proclaims-may-15-2017-peace-officers-memorial

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2017/05/10/james-comey-fired-ousted-fbi-director-learned-was-fired-from-tv.html

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/trump-revealed-highly-classified-information-to-russian-foreign-minister-and-ambassador/2017/05/15/530c172a-3960-11e7-9e48-c4f199710b69_story.html?utm_term=.1af341cbae22

http://www.nbcnews.com/politics/white-house/national-security-adviser-mcmaster-trump-s-revelations-russians-wholly-appropriate-n760136

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The American Health Care Act: A Bitter (But Necessary) Pill to Swallow

Screen Shot 2017-05-10 at 2.46.32 AM

Author: Michael Bove

Just a few days ago, on May 4, 2017, House Republicans passed the American Health Care Act (AHCA). In the six days that have followed the passing of the AHCA, many on the political left have jumped into the debate and absolutely vilified the Republicans who passed the bill. The left has called those Republicans “heartless”, “inhumane”, and “evil” for their own misleading reasons, such as, the AHCA supposedly taking away coverage for individuals with pre-existing conditions. Despite the false information campaign led by the Democrats, the AHCA does not take away coverage for pre-existing conditions. Instead, protection for the coverage of pre-existing coverage is affirmed in the new bill. Rich Lowry, from the National Review, summarizes it best, “the legislation maintains a federal baseline of protection in such cases, and says only that states can apply for a waiver from it, provided that they abide by certain conditions meant to ensure that no one is left out in the cold”. If you actually read the bill, it becomes quite clear that the AHCA protects those who need help the most while also giving the states enough freedom to manage their own healthcare systems rather than the federal government.

To further understand why the left’s harsh accusations are wrong and why the AHCA is a step in the right direction, we need to first recognize what exists now. I’m referring to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare. In their quest to provide access to healthcare for everyone, the Democrats constructed a flawed entitlement program that has seriously damaged the country and is currently collapsing-in on itself. To provide healthcare for nearly every citizen in the country, sweeping changes were made in our healthcare system. In order to (attempt to) fund the ACA, an individual mandate and an employer mandate were created. The individual mandate imposed a fine on people who either were not insured or not adequately insured. On the other hand, the employer mandate forced businesses that employed 50 or more people to offer health insurance to all full-time employees or they would face a fine. These mandates force people to purchase a certain level of insurance. They were also barely constitutional (with the Supreme Court deciding the mandates could be interpreted as taxes) but even so, the freedom for citizens to choose their insurance plan is severely limited.

These two mandates have been devastating for many Americans and many small businesses. I am fortunate that my family owns and operates a small business but have been unfortunate to see and experience, first hand, the damage caused by Obamacare. Furthermore, because of my background in business, I’ve had the pleasure of meeting and speaking with scores of small business owners. They all say that the ACA has been one of the worst regulations to impact their businesses in years (and I come from New York State, so that’s saying a lot). Like many of individuals have experienced, those business owners lamented the fact that they, due to the implementation of the ACA, have had to pay significantly more for insurance that covers less than they had before. The architects of the ACA seem to be fine with this situation, but for millions of Americans, this is a substantial problem.

It is a combination of these factors, among others, which makes Obamacare such a colossal failure. Our government got bigger and bureaucrats (not doctors or health care professionals) were put in charge. Costs rose and the quality of coverage declined for millions of Americans. President Obama and the Democrats were so eager to give “free” healthcare to people that they created a monstrous government program that made American health care so much worse. The AHCA, although certainly not perfect, begins to undo the terrible features of the ACA. The new bill is a step in the right direction because it puts the consumer back in the driver seat in controlling the insurance that they will purchase. Insurers will now have to more strongly compete against other insurers and this competition will drive down prices in the market. Furthermore, the AHCA will erase the employer mandate and the individual mandate. As a result, this will ease the burden on consumers and hopefully, stimulate this severely lagging economy.

Now, those on the left will argue that the AHCA is a terrible bill because many Americans will lose health care coverage. They cite a report from the Congressional Budget Office which states, “the increase in the number of uninsured people relative to the number under current law would rise…to 24 million in 2026”. Certainly, it doesn’t seem like a good idea to pass a bill that will cause a large number of people to lose their healthcare coverage however, we need to continue reading the CBO report. The CBO report further states, “starting in 2020, the increase in average premiums from repealing the individual mandate penalties would be more than offset by the combination of several factors that would decrease those premiums…”. In other words, as the healthcare market readjusts to the new economic conditions, premiums would initially increase but then substantially decline. Further regulatory reforms in the healthcare industry, mentioned by the Trump administration, should continue to decrease healthcare premiums.

This idea of deregulation positively impacting consumers is not a new phenomenon. An article, “Why Computers Are Less Expensive Than Health Care” published by the Foundation for Economic Education sums up this idea quite nicely. The author, Devin Cooper, states, “tech enthusiasts and consumers have experienced higher quality products at a less expensive cost. Computer parts have gotten faster while prices have either fallen or remained about the same”. Anyone who has been alive for the past decade can see those changes. So why hasn’t the healthcare industry experienced similar declines or stabilization in prices? It all comes down to government interference. Cooper reflects on the differences in regulation of both the healthcare industry and the tech sector. He writes, “while the free market has been allowed to bring competition to the tech industry, government intervention in the health insurance markets have brought monopolies and heavy distortions to the market that no longer reflect real consumer demand”. These distortions that Cooper is referring to translate to more expensive coverage being of lower quality insurance. 

Obamacare is not only a terrible law, it is one of the biggest entitlement programs that the U.S has ever seen. This creates a dilemma for the Republicans who worked to repeal the bill as it is extremely difficult to take away an entitlement program once it is implemented in the system. Sure, by repealing Obamacare they are doing something that will benefit the nation in due time, but it will come at a cost of near-term political support. The AHCA isn’t perfect, but, it does work to fix some of the issues with our broken healthcare system and it strives to return power to the consumers. In the long run, the only way that we can have affordable, high quality health care in the U.S is to allow the innovation and power of the free market to transform the industry, not by allowing outdated and antiquated government offices to control it.

Sources:

https://www.healthcare.gov/fees/fee-for-not-being-covered/

https://www.cbo.gov/system/files/115th-congress-2017-2018/costestimate/americanhealthcareact.pdf

https://fee.org/articles/why-computers-are-less-expensive-than-health-care/

http://www.nationalreview.com/article/447430/ahca-pre-existing-conditions-big-lie-democrats-are-telling

Dropping the MOAB: A Great Decision or a Terrible Mistake?

Author: Michael Bove

On April 13th, 2017, the United States unleashed the GBU-43/B. Nicknamed the Mother of All Bombs (MOAB), the MOAB exploded with a force equivalent to 11 tons of TNT. The weapon was used against a tunnel system operated by ISIS militants.

Naturally, those on the left decried this action. Their primary complaints ranged from concerns that the new bomb would inspire more people to join the terrorist organization to the idea that the bomb was way too expensive. Another far less logical complaint was that “human beings were killed” in the attack. It almost makes me wonder whose side they are on when they are concerned about the well-being of foreign terrorists who want to kill us. Despite all this criticism, let me discuss a few reasons as to why I believe this strike was an incredibly effective attack and why criticism of this strike is unsubstantiated.

The first reason that those on the left criticize the MOAB bombing is that they believe it would only encourage an increase in recruitment for ISIS. I understand that line of reasoning but, it does not apply to this strike. In previous attacks, launched by the U.S. or our allies, there has been collateral damage that has killed civilians. It is in those instances that there was a rise in anti-American sentiments and an increase in recruitment for terrorist organizations. However, it’s been six days since this bombing and there still hasn’t been a single report of any civilian being killed in the blast. What we do know for sure is how many militants were killed. According to the Daily Mail, “[the MOAB] killed as many as 94 ISIS militants in Afghanistan.” Furthermore, Afghan officials confirmed that the operation killed 4 ISIS commanders. We also know that the U.S. military closely coordinated with the Afghan government. This coordination was a good move by our generals because it lends legitimacy to the operation and lessens the notion that the U.S. is simply interfering in another country’s affairs without consulting the native people. ISIS feeds off of the narrative that the U.S. is an imperialist force, but clearly, we were able to effectively work with the Afghan government in fighting this evil force.

Another criticism is that the bomb costs too much. It seems to me that their belief that the bomb was too expensive comes from misguided information. An incorrectly cited figure, used by opponents of dropping the MOAB, states that bomb costs a whopping $314 million. According to Business Insider, that figure has never been confirmed by the U.S. military and the actual cost of one MOAB is $170,000. The $170,000 figure was confirmed by a representative from the United States Air Force. Even if there is still criticism regarding the cost being too high, I’m curious as to how critics would evaluate the effectiveness of a military operation. Let’s do a little simple math: If we divide the total cost of one MOAB bomb by the number of militants killed, we get a cost of around $1,780 to kill one ISIS fighter. However, that simple calculation would not account for eliminating 4 top commanders of ISIS or the structural damage that their tunnel network sustained. Based on those factors, I would say that dropping the MOAB was well worth the cost. Let’s also remember that those bombs were manufactured in 2003 and not during Trump’s first one hundred days in office. They were paid for over a decade ago and to not use the bombs would be a waste.

A third idea, that is very important to mention, is that a bomb doesn’t need to solely damage military installations to be effective. Since the beginning of war, human psychology has been an important aspect to consider when planning military strategy. When the U.S. was in the closing days of World War II, we dropped two atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Days later, the Japanese Empire surrendered. Even after dropping those two bombs, Japan still had a number of industrial areas that were capable of continuing the war effort. So, why did they surrender?  It turns out that physical capability, on its own, does not win a war. Japan surrendered because dropping the atomic bombs broke the will of the people and the government to continue waging the war. I am not saying that dropping one MOAB will completely destroy ISIS, but we know that ISIS fighters are absolute cowards who tend to prey on innocent individuals who cannot defend themselves. This extraordinary display of American weaponry will make some militants think twice about remaining in the terrorist organization.

As a final point, we need to understand that ignoring ISIS in the Middle East is simply not an option. I regularly hear my friends on the left (and even some Libertarians on the right) continuously state that “it’s not our problem”. That sentiment is simply not true. ISIS is a real and substantial threat. Their operatives have killed American citizens on American soil in the past (San Bernardino Shooting, Orlando nightclub shooting, etc.) and they continue to have that goal. An analogy that can be compared to this situation is something important my dad used to tell me when he was a firefighter: when a house catches on fire in a residential neighborhood, even if that house is unsalvageable, the firefighters will arrive and work to extinguish the fire. They do that because they know the heat from the fire can cause the neighboring houses to also catch on fire and burn down. We do not live in a vacuum. We no longer live in a time where oceans and mountains are effective barriers at keeping our enemies out. The technology that exists today enables people to travel across the globe in mere hours and exchange information in nanoseconds. ISIS is a severe threat in the Middle East and if we don’t work tirelessly to defeat them and contain them while they are abroad, they may end up on our shores.

Sources:

http://www.businessinsider.com/how-much-does-moab-bomb-cost-mother-of-all-bombs-2017-4

http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/afghan-official-massive-us-bomb-dead-toll-rise-46813354

MOAB Photo: U.S. Department Of Defense

Time to Be Honest About the Wage Gap

Author: Michael Bove

Just a few days ago, I sat down at my desk and opened my laptop to Safari and landed on Google.com to finish some homework. As I was typing in the website on Google’s search something caught my eye at the bottom of the search bar. There was a small banner that read “Google supports equal pay #20PercentCounts.” I paused for a moment and decided to look into what issue Google was seeking to raise awareness about. Sure enough, it was the old, disproven notion that women make 20% less for the same job that men perform. In this age of information, where almost every American has some form of access to the internet, I am baffled by the fact that many on the political left continue to perpetuate this blatantly false idea.

For those who are unaware, the crux of their argument rests on a study which found that women make 20-25% less than their male counterparts. However, that study only compared the total earnings of men to the total earnings of women. It’s a simple calculation that leads to a completely misleading conclusion. This figure does not take into account the differences in education, position, hours worked per week, or a number of other key factors. As it turns out, women are statistically more likely to work in fields that pay less than the fields that men tend to work in.

A study conducted by the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce found that men outnumber women in 9 of the top 10 most remunerative college majors. Those majors are listed below:

  1.   Petroleum Engineering: 87% male
  2.   Pharmacy Pharmaceutical Sciences and Administration: 48% male
  3.   Mathematics and Computer Science: 67% male
  4.   Aerospace Engineering: 88% male
  5.   Chemical Engineering: 72% male
  6.   Electrical Engineering: 89% male
  7.   Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering: 97% male
  8.   Mechanical Engineering: 90% male
  9.   Metallurgical Engineering: 83% male
  10. Mining and Mineral Engineering: 90% male

Furthermore, women outnumber men in 9 of the 10 least remunerative college majors. Those majors are listed below:

  1.  Counseling Psychology: 74% female
  2.  Early Childhood Education: 97% female
  3.  Theology and Religious Vocations: 34% female
  4.  Human Services and Community Organization: 81% female
  5.  Social Work: 88% female
  6.  Drama and Theater Arts: 60% female
  7.   Studio Arts: 66% female
  8.   Communication Disorders Sciences and Services: 94% female
  9.   Visual and Performing Arts: 77% female
  10. Health and Medical Preparatory Programs: 55% female

The simple fact is that men and women tend to seek different types of jobs – men seek more higher paying jobs and women seek lower paying jobs. As a result, when only comparing the total earnings of men to the total earnings of women, there will be a significant difference.

Now, to be fair, when accounting for those differences (in position, hours worked, etc.) there is still a wage gap but it is significantly less than the 20-25% figure that is cited. A CNBC article, titled “Men still earn more than women with the same jobs”, states that,

“even when comparing the sexes with the same job title at the same company and using similar education and experience, the gender pay gap persists: Men earned 2.4 percent more than women on average.”

However, the article does go on to state that the wage gap has been shrinking in recent years.

To conclude, the wage gap is a real thing but it is rapidly decreasing and it is nowhere near as drastic as some would claim. When we, as a society, try to solve issues of injustice and inequity (particularly in matters concerning wages), we must also be honest and truthful when discussing these differences. But continuing to perpetuate the incredibly false narrative that women make about 75% of what men make for the same job is not helpful and not conducive to solving the problem of the wage gap.

 

Sources:

Google Screenshot: http://dailycaller.com/2017/04/04/google-celebrates-equal-pay-day-with-message-on-the-gender-wage-gap/

Information from Georgetown Study: http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/02/01/no-women-don-t-make-less-money-than-men.html

Actual Wage Gap Information: http://www.cnbc.com/2016/12/05/men-still-earn-more-than-women-with-the-same-jobs.html