Obama’s True Legacy

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Men Not at Work

The Church and Combatting Joblessness

By Eric Metaxas

Demographers and economists say American men are facing an epidemic of epic proportions: joblessness.

We’ve all seen the signs on highways and other construction sites around the country: “Men at Work.” Well, in case you hadn’t noticed, those signs are increasingly out of date—and not because they’re politically incorrect. The fact is, more and more men not only aren’t at work, they’re not even trying to find a job.

Princeton economist Alan Krueger counts 7 million men in America between the prime working ages of 25 and 54 completely out of the workforce, supported by someone else. That’s 11.4 percent of men in that demographic, about triple the share of men out of the workforce in the 1950s.

Besides the loss of a paycheck, these 7 million men report all kinds of problems: 40 percent say they experience pain that keeps them from working. A third say they cannot climb stairs or have some other disability. And get this—44 percent say they take daily painkillers—and two-thirds of those say they’re on prescription meds. Further, Krueger says, that they “experience notably low levels of emotional well-being throughout their days and … they derive relatively little meaning from their daily activities.”

Demographer Nicholas Eberstadt says in his new book “Men Without Work,” “We might say those many millions of men without work constitute a sort of invisible army, ghost soldiers lost in an overlooked, modern-day depression.”

How should we respond? Well, for those who are able and for whatever reason choose not to work, a biblical worldview teaches us that work is good. God gave men and women work to do in the Garden before the Fall. Work allows us to take care of God’s creation and bring glory to Him as His stewards. Work is not optional for those able to do work, and that’s most of us. There are to be no shirkers in the Lord’s kingdom. As Paul said, “If a man will not work, neither let him eat.”

As for those who want to work but cannot find a job, this demographic disaster for men is a challenge to the Church to rediscover its calling to help its neighbors—both Christian and non-Christian—find work that brings dignity and pays the bills. The great evangelist John Wesley, for example, not only preached the Gospel in the fields and among common working people, such as coal miners, he urged the new believers to take their work seriously and support all kinds of social reforms through it. Remember his famous maxim to “gain all you can, save all you can, and give all you can”? It’s still true!

Today, there are limitless ways that our churches can bless the neighbors in our communities who struggle with unemployment and its effects. One, in eastern Wisconsin, is called Project Joseph, a joint effort of U.S. Senator Ron Johnson, his staff, and an inner-city congregation called the Greater Praise Church of God in Christ. Near a Milwaukee neighborhood in which 62 percent of men have been incarcerated at some point, Project Joseph teaches job interviewing and punctuality skills to prospective employees. According to World magazine, the first class had 14 vetted applicants. Kohler, the first participating company, offered all 14 a job. Thirteen accepted offers and began work at Kohler last October. The program is now in its 10th session. Pastor Jerome Smith says, “God has used the Joseph Project to bring together blacks, whites, Hispanics, even Indians.”

There are many other examples of churches working with business and government to get people back to work. Find out what’s being done in your community—and then find a way to support it.

While there may not be as many “Men at Work” signs out there as there used to be, the signs of God’s kingdom at work are visible for anyone willing to look.

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Remember the Debt?

Governor Rauner Speaks Out

TUESDAY, MAY 17, 2016

RAUNER: DEAR STATE EMPLOYEES, THE TRUTH IS ILLINOIS IS BROKE

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SPRINGFIELD – Governor Bruce Rauner penned the following public letter to the state’s employees, explaining his reasoning for vetoing HB 580 Monday:

OPEN LETTER TO STATE EMPLOYEES:

For too many years, Illinoisans have been misled. Each of you in state government has been misled. Taxpayers who fund government have been misled. Recipients of public services, including our most vulnerable residents, have also been misled. The consequences are before us, and they are dire.

I ran for office to right these wrongs. I believe that solving our state’s crisis requires a simple first step – for someone to tell the truth. So here it is.

The truth is that Illinois is broke. Our taxpayers, who pay the highest property taxes in the nation, are maxed out and local governments continue to raise property taxes.

Expanding the size of government faster than middle-class paychecks are growing is a failing strategy. That is why I have no choice but to veto AFSCME’s arbitration bill, HB580.

It’s not because I don’t want to see you earn a better living today. I do. I veto HB580 because I want to protect the pension system that you are counting on for your retirement.

If I signed this bill, I would be subjecting all taxpayers to another $3 billion in higher taxes. That makes no sense when too many jobs have been leaving Illinois, and those hardworking Illinoisans that remain see their incomes falling.

We can make Illinois a state where our employees receive the pension benefits they were promised, where our budget is truly balanced through strong economic growth rather than destructive tax hikes, and where our state workers are not forced to work in decaying buildings with technology that is older than my children and furniture that is older than me.

I pledged on my first day in office to build a partnership with state employees, and that is exactly what we have done. Our 1970s computers are being replaced with next generation technology. With the General Assembly’s help, I pledged to put the Thompson Center up for sale and move employees to more modern space. We pushed for more flexible scheduling and ended Rod Blagojevich’s corrupt hiring system.

When Attorney General Madigan sought to shut off pay, Comptroller Munger and I defeated that misguided attack on state employees. And I have called on the General Assembly to honor Governor Quinn’s failed promise of wage increases from 2011. We must respect our commitments and not make new commitments that we cannot afford.

We also sought employees’ ideas for improvements and savings, prompting us to send out the first-ever state employee survey. The results were eye-opening.

You told me that promotions and compensation are not based on merit. You told me that agencies don’t reward creativity and innovation. I want to reward hard work and ingenuity. Unfortunately, union leadership is blocking many of these common sense ideas – ideas that you want. Rest assured, I heard your desire for these reforms loud and clear.

So my administration took action. We launched a truly meaningful merit pay program. We started a gainsharing program that will reward state employees for helping save taxpayers’ money. We implemented a “rapid results” system that removes obstacles to employee innovation and allows employees to personally change processes that impede good customer service.

But as I have noted, with a truly historic budget deficit and skyrocketing debt, our taxpayers cannot afford the added spending pressure of huge wage and health insurance increases. That is why I must veto HB580, ensuring that the legal process agreed to with AFSCME leaders and currently underway before the Labor Board, is allowed to proceed and fairly resolve any outstanding issues.

But I make this pledge: The State will honor its promises to you. We will continue to listen and build a workplace that values and rewards hard work, innovation, and creativity, all in a welcoming work environment. We will keep fighting to get you paid in full and on time. And we will continue to stand for fiscal discipline so that you and your families can again know you are, finally, being told the truth.

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Illinois is broke because it has the most corrupt Democrat government, and has had it for the longest time. State politicians work diligently to get re-elected. Most consider their offices as a profession that belongs to them. Many pass their posts to their children to keep the family business running. They cleverly manipulate State workers with perks and money to insure they help to get them re-elected year after year. Illinois is as close to being a socialist state as one can get. We are an example to the rest of the country. Look at us and ask, do I want to be a tax-slave working to line the pockets of the faithful dominions of elites who are running our state?

GJP

Cheap Tomatoes

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We Need Fewer of These

Cheap Tomatoes
(Or why Donald Trump is leading the pack … if this doesn’t get your attention, you better check your pulse!)

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and More of These

900 teachers got laid off from the Los Angeles Unified School District. They are $650,000 over their annual budget. The following comments by an English teacher help to explain one area that looms large over California’s educational crisis. I hope each person receiving this mail will read it carefully, all the way to the end. It is sad what is happening to our great country, all because our politicians are afraid they will miss out on a vote. What a travesty!

This has got to be passed along to as many as possible, or we will all go down the drain because a few don’t care.

This English teacher has phrased it the best I’ve seen yet and it should make everyone think, be you Democrat, Republican or Independent.

From a California school teacher…..

As you listen to the news about the student protests over illegal immigration, there are some things that you should be aware of: I am in charge of the English-as-a-second-language department at a large southern California high school which is designated a Title-1 school, meaning that its students average in the lower socio-economic and income levels.

Most of the schools you are hearing about are South Gate High, Bell Gardens, Huntington Park, etc., where their students are protesting – these are also Title-1 schools.

Title-1 schools are on the free-breakfast and free-lunch program. When I say free breakfast, I’m not talking about a glass of milk and a roll … But a full breakfast and cereal bar with fruits and juices that would make the Marriott proud. The waste of this food is monumental, with trays and trays of it being dumped in the trash uneaten. (Our tax dollars at work!)

I estimate that well over 50% of these students are obese or at least moderately overweight. About 75% or more have cell phones. The school also provides day care centers for the unwed teenage pregnant girls (some as young as 13) so they can attend class without the inconvenience of having to arrange for babysitters or having family watch their kids. (More of our tax dollars at work!)

I was ordered to spend $700,000 on my department, or risk losing funding for the upcoming year even though there was little need for anything. My budget was already substantial, but I ended up buying new computers for the Computer Learning Center, half of which, one month later, were carved with graffiti by the appreciative students who obviously feel humbled and grateful to have a free education in America. (More and more of our tax dollars at work!)

I have had to intervene several times for young substitute teachers whose classes consist of many illegal immigrant students here in the country less than 3 months, who raised so much hell with the female teachers, calling them putas (whores ) and throwing things, that the teachers were in tears.

Free medical care, free education, free food, free day care, etc., etc., etc. Is it any wonder they feel entitled not only to be in this country, but also to demand rights, privileges and entitlements?

To those who want to point out how much these illegal immigrants contribute to our society, because they happen to like their gardener and/or housekeeper, and they like to pay less for tomatoes, I say: Spend some time in the real world of illegal immigration and see the true costs.

Higher insurance, medical facilities closing, higher medical costs, more crime, lower standards of education in our schools, overcrowding, new diseases, etc., etc., etc. For me, I’ll pay more for tomatoes.

Americans, we need to wake up. The guest worker program will be a disaster because we won’t have the guts to enforce it. Does anyone in their right mind really think they will voluntarily leave and return?

It does, however, have everything to do with culture: A third-world culture that does not value education, that accepts children getting pregnant and dropping out of school by age 15, and that refuses to assimilate, plus an American culture that has become so weak and worried about “political correctness,” that we don’t have the will to do anything about it.

If this makes your blood boil, as it did mine, forward this to everyone you know including your Congressman and Senators.

Cheap labor? Isn’t that what the whole immigration issue is about?

Business doesn’t want to pay a decent wage.

Consumers don’t want expensive produce.

Government will tell you ‘Americans don’t want the jobs.’

But the bottom line is cheap labor. The phrase “cheap labor” is a myth, a farce, and a lie. There is no such thing as “cheap labor.”

Take, for example, an illegal alien with a wife and five children. He takes a job for $5.00 or $6.00/hour. At that wage, with six dependents, he pays no income tax, yet at the end of the year, if he files an income tax return, he gets an “earned income credit” of up to $3,200, free.

Also….

1 He qualifies for Section-8 housing and subsidized rent;

2 He qualifies for food stamps;

3 He qualifies for free (no deductible, no co-pay) health care;

4 His children get free breakfasts and lunches at school;

6 He requires bilingual teachers and books;

7 He qualifies for relief from high energy bills;

8 If they are, or become aged, blind or disabled, they qualify for SSI;

9 Once qualified for SSI they can qualify for Medicare (All of this at taxpayer’s {our} expense);

10 He doesn’t worry about car insurance, life insurance, or homeowners insurance;

11 Taxpayers provide Spanish language signs, bulletins and printed material;

12 He and his family receive the equivalent of $20.00 to $30.00/hour in benefits;

13 Working Americans are lucky to have $5.00 or $6.00/hour left after paying their bills and his;

14 The American taxpayers also pays for increased crime, graffiti and trash clean-up.

Cheap labor? Yeah right! Wake up people! These are the questions we should be addressing to the Presidential candidates for either party. And when they lie to us and don’t do as they say, we should replace them at once!

Who’s on First

Who ever wrote this piece is brilliant. I have always wondered why politicians are so enamored with the unemployment rate. After reading this bit I figure it is because a lower number is easier to defend than a higher number. In my books the real number is the percentage of people out of work. After all, they were working before the economy crashed so why give up counting them?

ABSOLUTELY BRILLIANT!

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COSTELLO: I want to talk about the unemployment rate in America.

ABBOTT: Good Subject. Terrible Times. It’s 5.6%.

COSTELLO: That many people are out of work?

ABBOTT: No, that’s 23%.

COSTELLO: You just said 5.6%.

ABBOTT: 5.6% Unemployed.

COSTELLO: Right 5.6% out of work.

ABBOTT: No, that’s 23%.

COSTELLO: Okay, so it’s 23% unemployed.

ABBOTT: No, that’s 5.6%.

COSTELLO: WAIT A MINUTE. Is it 5.6% or 23%?

ABBOTT: 5.6% are unemployed. 23% are out of work.

COSTELLO: If you are out of work you are unemployed.

ABBOTT: No, Obama said you can’t count the “Out of Work” as the unemployed. You have to look for work to be unemployed.

COSTELLO: BUT THEY ARE OUT OF WORK!!!

ABBOTT: No, you miss his point.

COSTELLO: What point?

ABBOTT: Someone who doesn’t look for work can’t be counted with those who look for work. It wouldn’t be fair.

COSTELLO: To whom?

ABBOTT: The unemployed.

COSTELLO: But ALL of them are out of work.

ABBOTT: No, the unemployed are actively looking for work. Those who are out of work gave up looking and if you give up, you are no longer in the ranks of the unemployed.

COSTELLO: So if you’re off the unemployment roles that would count as less unemployment?

ABBOTT: Unemployment would go down. Absolutely!

COSTELLO: The unemployment just goes down because you don’t look for work?

ABBOTT: Absolutely it goes down. That’s how it gets to 5.6%. Otherwise it would be 23%.COSTELLO: Wait, I got a question for you. That means there are two ways to bring down the unemployment number?

ABBOTT: Two ways is correct.

COSTELLO: Unemployment can go down if someone gets a job?

ABBOTT: Correct.

COSTELLO: And unemployment can also go down if you stop looking for a job?

ABBOTT: Bingo.

COSTELLO: So there are two ways to bring unemployment down, and the easier of the two is to have people stop looking for work.

ABBOTT: Now you’re thinking like a Democrat.

COSTELLO: I don’t even know what the hell I just said!

ABBOTT: Now you’re thinking like Hillary..

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