According to a new report, the US and its allies have killed more Afghan civilians in 2019 than the Taliban. Most of these US killings are the result of airstrikes. The Trump Administration is pushing negotiations between the US-backed Afghan government and the Taliban, no doubt recognizing that a US withdrawal has become an election issue...
Dear Mr. North,
I'm a student in your English 3 literature course in the Ron Paul Curriculum,
and the various works of literature (along with some encouragement from my brother) has really inspired me to read classic literature of my own accord and I've got the literature "bug" as my dad calls it.
I've been reading many different works by classic authors (right now I'm
reading Shakespeare and Moliere), my biggest project being the entirety of the Divine Comedy. I'm really enjoying educating and challenging myself by reading literature that a little while ago I would have vehemently avoided, and my dad suggested that I write an email to you asking if you had any practical and prudent book recommendations that would further expand my horizons.
I also want to say how thankful I am for your course and the whole of the Ron Paul Curriculum itself. I admit that a little while ago I was not very
interested and invested in my homeschooling education and thought everything was boring and, I hate to admit, useless. But something in me 'snapped' and now I'm really taking pride in doing my schoolwork and having the responsibility and discipline to keep at it, even if I'm feeling a little discouraged.
The way the courses are structured and the content of the courses themselves have been very beneficial to me in helping me develop my own way of thinking and analyzing and critiquing literature. Due to reading the various works in the English courses I've taken, I've developed a scrutinous eye and I no longer take everything I read or learn at face value.
I have very high hopes for my future and I have partly you to thank for that.
I'm planning on going to college sometime within the next two years and
becoming an architect, and I'm so glad that this curriculum prepares you for
college in a way that most high schools do not.
Anyhow, I hope knowing that you've inspired me and helped me build confidence in my academic abilities makes your day just a little bit brighter. And once again, I would greatly appreciate it if you have any literary recommendations for me that would further fuel my voracious appetite for knowledge.
Lani R., 16 years old
Be sure to visit RonPaulCurriculum.com
By Simon Black
Ten years ago, at the peak of the global financial crisis, the Board of Trustees which oversees Social Security in the United States issued a stark warning:
They projected that Social Security’s enormous trust funds would completely run out of money in 2039.
Naturally nobody paid attention. Back in 2009 the economy in shambles, so focusing on a future economic crisis that was more than three decades away was a low priority.
And for the past decade, the US government has continued to ignore its Social Security problem.
But it’s become much worse.
Ten years later, the Board of Trustees now projects that Social Security’s primary trust fund will run out money in 2034.
That’s five years earlier than they projected back in 2009. And it’s only 15 years away.
Now, 15 years might seem like a long time. But take a minute to grasp the magnitude of this problem:
According to the US government’s own estimates, Social Security and Medicare combined are underfunded by $100 TRILLION.
$100 trillion is literally more than FIVE TIMES the size of the entire US economy. And this giant fiscal chasm is actually growing.
The big problem for Social Security is that tax revenue is no longer enough.
Every worker who is legally employed in the United States currently pays roughly 15% of his/her wages each month to help fund Social Security and pay benefits to retirees.
But there are now so many people receiving Social Security benefits that all the payroll tax revenue is no longer enough.
Social Security also derives a portion of the income it needs to pay benefits from the investment returns on its $3 trillion worth of assets.
Problem is– Social Security is forbidden by law to invest in anything EXCEPT United States government bonds.
Most countries who have large Sovereign Wealth Funds or Pension Funds have the latitude to invest that capital in a variety of asset classes.
I personally know several national pension fund and sovereign wealth fund executives in Europe and Asia, and they typically buy a wide variety of assets– real estate, private equity, stocks, bonds, etc., with a target annualized return of between 6% to 8%.
(Norway’s sovereign wealth fund earned an average 7.6% between 2010 and 2017. And California’s state employee pension fund, CALPERS, earned 6.7% last year.)
But Social Security doesn’t have this investment freedom. Instead, Social Security is required BY LAW to invest in US government bonds, which yield less than 3%.
In fact Social Security’s investment return last year was 2.9%.
You’re probably starting to see the problem–
At the moment, Social Security is the #1 owner of US government debt, having spent years stockpiling $3 trillion of dollars worth of US Treasury bonds.
Month after month, as payroll tax revenues exceeded the total retirement benefits paid out, Social Security invested its surplus into government bonds.
But now that flow of money is about to reverse.
We know that Social Security’s payroll tax revenue is no longer sufficient to pay out benefits. There are simply too many retirees.
We also know that the 2.9% invest return is pitiful and not going to help at all.
This means that Social Security is about to start burning through the trust funds in order to meet its monthly benefit obligations.
The Board of Trustees has already acknowledged this fact. And they project the trust funds will be fully depleted in 15 years.
But it could likely come much sooner than that.
Before they can use the trust funds to cover their financial shortfall, Social Security will first have to convert its government bonds into cash.
Doing that will require that they either let the bonds mature (and demand the government to repay them in full). Or it will require them to dump tens of billions… hundreds of billions of dollars worth of bonds on the open market.
Either way, Uncle Sam loses its biggest lender. Instead of borrowing money from Social Security, the Treasury Department is going to have to pay Social Security back.
We’re talking $3 TRILLION. That’s not exactly pocket change. And it’s coming at a time when the US government is already losing more than $1 trillion per year.
The Congressional Budget Office already forecasts that the federal government will have to borrow $12.7 trillion in additional debt through the end of 2029.
Now, on top of that already-prodigious figure, the Treasury Department will have to find some sucker willing to lend an additional $3 trillion to repay Social Security… not to mention tens of trillions of dollars more down the road.
That’s extremely unlikely.
What’s far more likely is that the US government simply freezes the repayments to Social Security.
Maybe they pay back a trillion or two. But not the full amount. The rest of it would be frozen, which means that the trust funds would be effectively depleted MUCH earlier than expected.
Prudential, one of the largest financial institutions in the world, estimates that 86% of current retirees, 88% of baby boomers who are about to retire, and 71% of Gen-Xers, rely or expect to rely on Social Security when they retire.
But the Social Security trustees themselves tell us that the funds will run out of money in 15 years. And as I’ve just shown, it could happen a lot sooner than that.
So it’s clear that a LOT of people will have their lives turned upside down.
Look, maybe I’m totally wrong.
Maybe the Treasury Department does find a sucker to bail out Social Security. Maybe that sucker is us. Bank deposits, managed IRAs, etc. are all fair game for Uncle Sam. They could seize anything they want.
But even if I’m totally wrong, it certainly doesn’t hurt to have a Plan B… to take back control of your own retirement.
This article was originally published at Sovereign Man.
Launched in 2007 as a force for good in Africa to fight terrorism and improve the humanitarian situation, the US Africa Command (AFRICOM) has by all measure failed in its mission despite spending billions. According to a recent Pentagon study, terrorism is actually increasing where AFRICOM is operating. Isn't it time to end this boondoggle?
Get your tickets to the Ron Paul Institute Washington Conference, to be held on August 24th 2019 in Dulles VA: RonPaulInstitute.org/conference
By Ron Paul
During my presidential campaigns, well-meaning supporters would sometimes suggest I stop emphasizing opposition to overseas intervention and focus on fiscal issues. I disregarded the advice, not only because adopting a noninterventionist foreign policy is crucial to restoring constitutional government but because it is impossible to be both a budget hawk and a war hawk. This is shown by the constant failure of so-called fiscal conservatives in the Republican leadership to fulfill their promise to cut spending.
Military spending is the second largest category of spending in the federal budget, behind Social Security spending. The US military budget equals the combined budgets of the next seven biggest-spending countries. Yet, many Republicans who claim to want to reduce federal spending want to increase the military budget.
Many Republicans also prioritize protecting the military-industrial complex over reducing spending on welfare and entitlement programs. This makes them eager to agree to a deal giving Democrats almost all of their welfare wish list as long as Republicans get almost all of their warfare wish list. Many Republicans do not have a principled objection to the welfare state; they just think Democrats want to spend too much on welfare and not enough in warfare. Many Democrats find increasing warfare spending acceptable; they just think Republicans want to overspend on warfare and underspend on welfare.
We saw the process at work again last week when the House passed a two-year budget deal that increases spending by approximately 320 billion dollars per year and suspends the debt ceiling for two years. Republican leadership ignored all these problems and claimed victory because the bill increases warfare spending.
A majority of Republicans opposed the spending bill, even though it was supported by President Trump and the Republican leadership. Of course, many more Republicans would have voted for the bill if a “conservative” Republican still held the speaker’s gavel.
Republicans’ love affair with the military-industrial complex is not the only reason they are unwilling to reduce spending, and military contractors are not the only Republican constituency demanding spending increases. Many farmers vote for Republicans who promise to cut most domestic spending except for agricultural subsidies. Also, many Republican Congress members support corporate subsidies and bailouts. Still, anyone who observes the behavior of Republican leaders around budget time can see they have a primary priority of protecting the military-industrial complex.
Republican Congress members’ support for ever-higher levels of military spending is justified by their support for an interventionist foreign policy. Some in Congress claim to favor both an interventionist foreign policy and reductions in military spending, but these so-called cheap hawks cannot resist the demands for an increased budget since they support a hyper-interventionist foreign policy. They are unable to effectively respond when their fellow hawks accuse them of compromising national security by opposing “adequately” funding the Pentagon.
As long as Republican leadership supports an interventionist foreign policy, it will never support reducing warfare or welfare spending. Therefore, fiscal conservatives must join libertarians to restore a foreign policy of peace and free trade. Lobbyists for the big military contractors would find it more difficult to make their case for big spending if Congress limits the defense budget to what is needed to defend America instead of wasting trillions in supposed efforts to police and democratize the world.
Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden has repeatedly slammed President Trump over his ongoing diplomatic outreach to North Korea, claiming that the move just gives legitimacy to a dictator. He has been joined by several other Democratic candidates in this attack. Why are the Democrats trying to out-neocon even neocons like Pompeo when it comes to diplomacy versus war?
Despite the Internet, Americans remain trapped in the Republican/Democrat pit, arguing with one another about whatever the ridiculous outrage of the day happens to be. Meanwhile, as the latest budget proves, everyone is getting their pockets cleaned by the government. The Fed makes it all possible. Join us on today's Ron Paul Liberty Report!
By Liberty Report Staff
President Trump has threatened to "obliterate" parts of Iran if "anything American" is attacked by the country. This, combined with "all options on the table" clearly suggests the use of nuclear weapons. In an article in today's American Conservative, former US Marine and nuclear weapons inspector Scott Ritter shows how last year's US Nuclear Posture Review outlines scenarios that make this nightmare a possibility.
By Liberty Report Staff
Ron Paul speaks with World Alternative Media: