Sanctuary Cities and Federal Funding

San Francisco asked a federal judge Wednesday to block President Trump’s order threatening to strip federal funds from so-called sanctuary cities that bar police from enforcing immigration laws.

This suit has a good chance of succeeding.  In 1987’s South Dakota v Dole, the Supreme Court ruled (in a dispute over the State’s minimum drinking age and Federal highway funds transfers to the State) that the Federal government cannot withhold already agreed Federal funds from a State in order to coerce State acquiescence with Federal wishes.  Funds can be withheld to “persuade,” but the withheld funds must be related to the question at hand rather than a blanket withholding, and the amount withheld cannot be coercive in its size, but only persuasive.  Without naming a threshold for the amount, the Court held that the 5% withholding imposed by the Federal government was not coercive.

Another “Drop Dead” Moment for New York City?

That was The New York Daily News‘ cynical characterization of President Gerald Ford’s refusal to waste taxpayer money on the city’s profligate irresponsibility with its own budget and spending habits.  Is Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) exposing New York City to another round of badly needed tough love from the Federal government?

One New York City Council member wants to expand a summer jobs program for youth.
Another is seeking millions to push the city’s bike-share program deeper into poor neighborhoods.
And another wants to increase funding to legal services for immigrants and adult literacy programs.
Such is budget season at City Hall, where the budget is expected to grow substantially for the fourth year in a row, to some $84.67 billion, up from about $70 billion for fiscal year 2014….

Funding Sanctuary Cities

White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus on Federal funds—your tax money—for “sanctuary” cities:

[I]f you defy the laws of this country, you shouldn’t receive federal tax payer dollars from the people of this country…in some cases, you have folks that have committed crimes…and in every other jurisdiction, they say “OK, you’ve committed a crime. You now have to leave the country.”

What the man said.

Federal Education Fail

Reason enough to gut, if not dismantle altogether, the Department of Education is this bit of waste [emphasis in the original].  I disagree, though, that there was no effect.  Those $7 billion clearly had an effect of Arne Duncan’s cronies and those of his staffers in the upper reaches of the DoE.

Despite its gargantuan price tag, [School Improvement Grant program] SIG generated no academic gains for the students it was meant to help. Failing schools that received multi-year grants from the program to “turn around” ended up with results no better than similar schools that received zero dollars from the program. To be clear: billions spent had no effect.

Lies of the Democrats

Among other things that President Donald Trump did last Monday was sign an Executive Order preventing federal money from being provided to international NGOs that perform abortions or provide information about them and also preventing federal money from going to groups that lobby to legalize abortion or promote it as a family planning method.  Here’s what House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi had to say on the matter (David Smith, author of The Guardian piece at the link, who labeled Pelosi the Senate Minority Leader, might want to consult with Senator Chuck Schumer (D, NY).  He might also want to consult with House Speaker Paul Ryan, about whom Smith offered speculation concerning why Ryan didn’t bring the TPP treaty up for a vote, another bit of ignorance later in his piece):

Tax Cuts and Deficits

The Wall Street Journal had a piece earlier in the week that focused on Republicans’ dismay over President-Elect Donald Trump’s tax cut plans, his infrastructure spending plans, and the deficits that would seem to result from the two.

However.

Once again, the pundit takes tax cuts (and individual spending items) in isolation. Of course, he knows better: broad spending cuts must accompany tax cuts—and isolated spending items—even dynamically, in order to achieve budget surpluses and so reductions in our debt.

The last two times Republicans reclaimed the White House from Democrats—in 1981 and 2001—they also successfully pushed for large tax cuts. Deficits nonetheless rose during their administrations.

Energy Subsidies

Here’s how they stand, via Watts Up With Thatenergysubsidies

I’m happy with eliminating energy subsidies.  Let’s get rid of all of them.

Discretionary Spending

Much is made of the limits imposed on the Federal government’s discretionary spending by such “mandatory” spending items as Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, and interest on the national debt.  Indeed, after mandatory items—these three major items and a few others—discretionary spending amounts to only 33% of total Federal spending as of 2015.

Hostage Takers

As Florida state and local officials scramble to contain a Zika virus outbreak in Miami Beach—a serious threat to the region’s $24 billion-a-year tourism industry—congressional lawmakers from both parties continue to be locked in battle over a billion dollars in vital funding that experts say is needed to keep the virus from breaking out across America.

This is a misleading opening paragraph in the Fox News article.  Congress isn’t deadlocked.  The House already has passed a Zika funding bill.  Democrats in the Senate are blocking the bill over wholly unrelated matters: Planned Parenthood funding, which the Zika bill cuts off, and birth control funding in bankrupt Puerto Rico, which the Zika bill provides.

Tony Blair Misunderstands

Great Britain’s Ex-Prime Minister Tony Blair has sensed danger from the Brits’ vote to leave the European Union.

Blair said in a Friday column in The Daily Telegraph that the future of the United Kingdom is at stake as the country faces negotiations on the terms of leaving the European Union.

Of course there’s danger—there always is when a change as large as this is embarked on.  But Great Britain didn’t get to be as great as it was and still is by being timid.  This move is a great opportunity for the nation, much more so than it is a risk, however real that risk is.