Sunday, October 20, 2019

At Trump’s Minneapolis Rally, We Saw Fascism In the Streets

By John Hinderaker | Powerline

When President Trump conducted a fabulously successful rally at the Target Center in downtown Minneapolis on October 10th, the 20,000 who were lucky enough to get into the Target Center had a wonderful time; by all accounts it was one of Trump’s best rallies.

But outside the arena, things were quite different. Thousands of lawless, violent Democrats “protested” Trump’s appearance by committing assault, among other crimes. They battled police officers. They attacked Republicans leaving Target Center. They set bonfires and burned patriotic regalia. They carried the flag of the defunct Soviet Union.

They spat on peaceful Trump supporters. They assaulted an uncounted number of normal citizens leaving the Target Center. They struck a woman across the head with a piece of lumber. They waved a sign that said, “Blue Lives Don’t F@$king Matter.” The Minneapolis Chief of Police reported, “Objects containing liquid believed to be urine were hurled at some of my officers along with bottles and rocks. Police horses were also assaulted by protesters striking them with sticks.”

These leftists are identical to the Nazi Brownshirts of the 1930s. But make no mistake–they represent today’s Democratic Party. 

A sitting Democratic State Representative, Aisha Gomez (DFL-Minneapolis), was seen among the fascists, dressed in black like an Antifa hoodlum. 

And Minneapolis’s boy Mayor, Jacob Frey, who expressed regret that he could not legally prevent President Trump from visiting Minneapolis, and then tried to do it anyway, issued an order to the Minneapolis Police Department not to use chemical irritants on the mob of criminal Democrats. [UPDATE: We have a disagreement between Boy Mayor Frey and the mob: Frey denies issuing such an order, putting him at odds with fellow Democrat Gomez.] And not a single local Democrat has condemned the violence and disorder that took place that night.

Please go here and view the many videos and other tweets assembled by Katie Fulkerson of Center of the American Experiment, the Minnesota organization (run by me) that fights the fascism that we saw in the streets of Minneapolis last night. The facts are very, very bad for the Left and for the Democratic Party. We need to bring those facts to light before it is too late.

Saturday, October 19, 2019

State Department official told Congress he raised concerns about Hunter Biden's Ukraine dealings in 2015 but was ignored

The son of 2020 presidential hopeful Joe Biden breaks his silence before his father takes the debate stage in Ohio; reaction and analysis on 'The Five.'

State Department official focused on Ukraine policy told Congress this week he raised concerns about Hunter Biden’s role on the board of a Ukrainian natural gas firm in 2015, but was rebuffed by former Vice President Joe Biden’s staff which said the office was preoccupied with Beau Biden's cancer battle, Fox News has confirmed.

Deputy Assistant Secretary of State George Kent, who testified behind closed doors before committees spearheading the formal House impeachment inquiry, told congressional investigators that he had qualms about Hunter Biden’s role on the board of the Ukrainian energy company Burisma Holdings.

The Washington Post first reported details of Kent’s testimony on Friday, which included his concerns that the younger Biden’s role in the company could complicate U.S. diplomatic efforts with Ukrainian officials, and raised the issue of a possible conflict of interest. Kent also testified that he was worried that Hunter Biden’s position would make Ukrainian officials think he was a channel of influence to his father, who was vice president at the time.

A congressional source confirmed to Fox News on Friday that Kent testified that when he brought his concerns to the office of the vice president in 2016, his staff blew him off and ignored the issue involving the younger Biden's role at the firm. The Post first reported that the staff said they did not have the "bandwidth" to deal with the issue, as his other son, Beau Biden, was battling cancer. Beau Biden died in 2015.

Biden's campaign responded to this story on Friday by ripping into President Trump. "Donald Trump's unprecedently corrupt administration is melting down because of the scandal he touched-off by trying to get Ukraine to lie about Joe Biden--and as the vice president said yesterday, he should release his tax returns or shut up," a Biden campaign spokesperson told Fox News. "On Joe Biden's watch, the U.S. made eradicating corruption a centerpiece of our policies toward Ukraine including achieving the removal of an inept prosecutor who shielded wrongdoers from accountability."

Meanwhile, during his deposition on Tuesday, sources told Fox News that Kent spoke extensively about accusations of corruption linked to Burisma, noting it was a big problem as it relates to Ukraine.

Kent had repeatedly raised concerns with the Obama administration about the company, specifically providing an example in 2016, when he raised concerns with the Obama administration’s USAID about dropping a planned event with Burisma. Kent testified that the event involved children, and he did not feel comfortable with photos of children in conjunction with Burisma.

Sources also told Fox News that Kent told congressional investigators about the Obama administration’s efforts to remove Ukrainian prosecutor Viktor Shokin from his post. At the time, Shokin was investigating Mykola Zlochevsky, the former minister of ecology and natural resources of Ukraine ” also the founder of Burisma.

Shokin was fired in April 2016, and his case was closed by the prosecutor who replaced him, Yuriy Lutsenko. Biden once famously boasted on camera that when he was vice president and leading the Obama administration’s Ukraine policy he successfully pressured Ukraine to fire Shokin ” who was investigating Burisma Holdings while Hunter sat on the board.

Biden allies, though, maintain that his intervention prompting the firing of Shokin had nothing to do with his son, but was rather tied to corruption concerns.

However, Kent testified that while Shokin faced accusations of corruption, his replacement, Lutsenko, did too and that both ex-prosecutors were godfathers to former Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko’s children. However, according to sources, Kent said that while the United States pushed hard for Shokin to be fired, no one ever pushed for Lutsenko to be fired.

Shokin was widely accused of corruption on both sides of the Atlantic. Biden has said that the international community was supportive and pushing for his firing, but sources told Fox News that Kent testified that it was the United States who led that international effort to get him removed. Kent also noted, according to sources, that the international community was deferential to the U.S. on the topic.

Kent's testimony comes amid the House's formal impeachment inquiry, launched earlier this month by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., after revelations surrounding Trump's highly-controversial phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. The impeachment inquiry is being led by House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot Engel, and acting Oversight Committee Chair Carolyn Maloney--who filled the post after Rep. Elijah Cummings' death on Thursday.

The Ukraine controversy, which sparked the impeachment inquiry, began when a whistleblower reported that the president had pushed Zelensky to launch an investigation into the Biden family’s business dealings in Ukraine  ”specifically, why Biden pressured Poroshenko to fire Shokin, who was investigating Burisma Holdings, where Hunter was on the board. The president's request came after millions in U.S. military aid to Ukraine had been frozen, something critics have cited as evidence of a quid pro quo arrangement. The whistleblower's complaint stated their concerns that Trump was soliciting a foreign power to influence the 2020 presidential election.

The White House and the president's allies have denied any sort of quid pro quo, and the Biden's have maintained that they did "nothing wrong."

During Tuesday night's Democratic primary debate, Biden was asked about his son's role at Burisma, to which he stated: My son did nothing wrong. I did nothing wrong. I carried out the policy of the United States government, which was to root out corruption in Ukraine and that’s what we should be focusing on.

Earlier that day, Hunter Biden. during an interview with ABC’s Good Morning America, likewise defended his role, claiming he did nothing improper, though he did acknowledge it was "poor judgment" to have joined the company's board.

Brooke Singman is a Politics Reporter for Fox News. Follow her on Twitter at @brookefoxnews.


Judicial Watch is investigating if prominent conservative figures, journalists and persons with ties to President Donald Trump were unlawfully monitored by the State Department in Ukraine at the request of ousted U.S. Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch, an Obama appointee.

Yovanovitch testified “in secret” to the House impeachment inquiry against Trump on Friday, October 11, 2019. Her “secret” testimony was leaked to the New York Times during the hearing.

Judicial Watch has obtained information indicating Yovanovitch may have violated laws and government regulations by ordering subordinates to target certain U.S. persons using State Department resources. Yovanovitch reportedly ordered monitoring keyed to the following search terms: Biden, Giuliani, Soros and Yovanovitch.  

Judicial Watch has filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request with the State Department and will continue gathering facts from government sources.

Prior to being recalled as ambassador to Ukraine in the spring Yovanovitch reportedly created a list of individuals who were to be monitored via social media and other means.  

Ukraine embassy staff made the request to the Washington D.C. headquarters office of the department’s Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs.

After several days, Yovanovitch’s staff was informed that the request was illegal and the monitoring either ceased or was concealed via the State Department Global Engagement Center, which has looser restrictions on collecting information.

“This is not an obscure rule, everyone in public diplomacy or public affairs knows they can’t make lists and monitor U.S. citizens unless there is a major national security reason,” according to a senior State Department official. 

If the illicit operation occurred, it seems to indicate a clear political bias against the president and his supporters. Yovanovitch, a career diplomat who has also led American embassies in Kyrgyzstan and Armenia, was appointed ambassador to Ukraine by Obama in 2016. She was recalled by the State Department in May and remains a State Department employee in Washington D.C.

In the public records request to the State Department Judicial Watch asks for any and all records regarding, concerning, or related to the monitoring of any U.S.-based journalist, reporter, or media commentator by any employee or office of the Department of State between January 1, 2019 and the present.

That includes all records pertaining to the scope of the monitoring to be conducted and individuals subject to it as well as records documenting the information collected pursuant to the monitoring. 

FOIA request also asks for all records of communication between any official, employee or representative of the State Department and any other individual or entity.

The prominent conservative figures — journalists and persons with ties to President Donald Trump — allegedly unlawfully monitored by the State Department in Ukraine at the request of ousted U.S. Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch include:

Jack Posobiec
Donald Trump Jr.
Laura Ingraham
Sean Hannity
Michael McFaul (Obama’s ambassador to Russia)
Dan Bongino
Ryan Saavedra
Rudy Giuliani
Sebastian Gorka
John Solomon
Lou Dobbs
Pamella Geller
Sara Carter

Judicial Watch continues its investigation of these matters and will update its reporting as the situation unfolds.

Friday, October 18, 2019

CNN Field Ops Manager: It's Bullsh*t, We're Totally Left-Leaning But We Don't Admit It

By Timothy Meads | Townhall

Veritas should win a Pulitzer Prize for its #ExposeCNN investigation. All week long, they have been trickling out videos from their CNN staffer-turned-whistleblower, Cary Poarch

Poarch started at CNN in 2017 at what he thought was his dream job. He entered a Democrat, he even supported Bernie in 2016, but what he saw at the "most trusted name in news" made him squirm with unease. 

The dishonesty he saw kept him up at night. At some point in 2019, he had enough of the lies and turned to Project Veritas to help expose the network's bias against President Donald J. Trump and Republicans. 

Based on the clips, it is apparent that CNN President Jeff Zucker controls everything the network does

And everything the network does is designed to revolve around Trump and making our president look as bad as possible. 

Critics have argued that the guys on the clips were non-factors at the company. Leftists said these were low-level guys with no real authority. Well, that excuse has now gone out the window because as we learned Thursday, Poarch recorded true veterans of the business who have been there for decades. 

The latest videos show that anybody who has been at the network knows that it has shifted decidedly left and no longer reports the news. 

Here is CNN field ops manager Patrick Davis in his own words, thanks to Project Veritas. 

"Patrick Davis, CNN's manager of field ops, has been at the network for 25 years he longs for the good old days," O'Keefe says in the video. 

Based on Davis' opinion, the network's shift to the left is because of Zucker, and he is not happy about it. As we know from earlier coverage, Zucker dictates what CNN covers each day on a 9:00 am conference call. Davis says he doesn't even listen anymore because it's just a waste of time. 

"I haven't listened to a 9:00 am call in about 15 years," Davis said. "At this point, I'm just, it's all bullshit, it's all bullshit. I wish that wasn't the case." 

Davis goes onto complain that the network isn't reporting actual news, but focusing on ratings and left-wing media. 

"All they gotta do is take an anchor, and put him at the desk, and tell the news," Davis says. "But, we're so busy trying to get appointment viewership." 

He adds that what he wants them to do is, just "regular, day-in, day-out telling the news" adding that CNN is "not gonna compete with Fox News or MSNBC."

And then here's the whammy, confirming what we all know but that CNN refuses to say, "We don't, even though we're totally left-leaning, we're not, we don't wanna admit it." 

Now, you may say these are just two guys over drinks. The quotes are probably taken out of context. But Poarch now has another CNN employee on video saying that when Zucker took over, they stopped covering the news and turned to all Trump, all the time. 

Aida Jacobs is a technical supervisor at CNN. She too longed for the good ole' days before Zucker used the network to go after the president 24/7. 

"We (CNN) used to be -- it was kind of boring, it was very, and I'm not saying CNN was boring," Jacobs says. "But it was very like packages and it was really just straight news." 

"Just straight up news?" Poarch asks. 

"Yeah, there wasn't as much opinion and panel, and the same people. It was interviews. it was a lot of foreign leaders," Jacobs laments. 

But, something changed. Or someone rather, Jeff Zucker became in charge.

"When Zucker took over, it wasn't until Trump that we ended up being all Trump all the time," Jacobs says. 

This video is very long. We'll go down and find the nitty-gritty parts for you. But, there are hours and hours of this stuff, so be sure to keep an eye on Townhall covering the Expose CNN project. 

Here's the video in full: 

Thursday, October 17, 2019

An Open Letter to Sergey Brin

By Dennis Prager | Townhall

Source: AP Photo/Lee Jin-man, File

Dear Mr. Brin: Fifty years ago this week, when I was a 21-year-old college senior, I was in the Soviet Union, sent by the government of Israel to smuggle in Jewish religious items and smuggle out names of Jews who wanted to escape the Soviet Union and could then be issued a formal invitation to Israel.

I was chosen because I was a committed Jew and because I knew Hebrew and Russian. I was no hero, but the trip did entail risk. The Soviets did not appreciate people smuggling out names of Soviet citizens who sought to emigrate, information the Israeli government and activist groups in America used to advocate on their behalf.

My four weeks in the USSR were, of course, life-changing. This young American, lucky beyond belief to have spent his entire life in the freest country in the world, experienced what it was like to live in a totalitarian police state.

People feared merely being seen speaking with a Westerner, lest the KGB arrest and interrogate them. People arranged to meet me at a certain tree in a certain park and only spoke to me while walking to avoid eavesdroppers. I met with Jewish engineers, doctors and professors who could find no work because they were known to the government to be "otkazniki," or "refuseniks" -- Jews who had applied for exit visas to leave the Soviet Union and been refused permission. I'm sure you know of them from your parents.

I left the Soviet Union angry and grateful -- angry there are people who have the audacity to tell other people what they could and could not say, and grateful beyond measure to have been born in America, where no one could tell anyone what they could say. From that day to this, I have never taken freedom, especially freedom of speech, for granted.

Why I am writing to you about this?

Because, beyond my wildest dreams, two things are happening in America.
One is that for the first time in America's history, free speech is seriously threatened.

In 1977, when Nazis sought to march in Skokie, Illinois -- those terrible human beings chose Skokie because it was home to many Jewish Holocaust survivors -- virtually every liberal and conservative organization, including Jewish organizations, defended the Nazis' right to march. Because in America -- and only in America -- it was understood that even if the most loathsome speech was not protected, all speech was at risk.

That has changed.

Today, decent people -- people who abhor Nazism and every other form of evil, left or right; people like Jordan Peterson, Ben Shapiro and Ayaan Hirsi Ali -- are shouted down, threatened, disinvited or never invited to speak at America's universities.

The other thing that is happening is even more frightening. The company that you co-founded, Google, the greatest conduit of speech in world history, is also suppressing speech. I have asked myself over and over: How could the company founded by a man whose parents fled the Soviet Union do this?

It so boggles the mind that I have to hope you are simply not fully aware of what your company is doing.

So, in a nutshell, let me tell you what Google has done to one organization, Prager University (better known as PragerU). Every week, PragerU releases a five-minute video on virtually every subject outside of STEM (science, technology, engineering and math). Some of the finest minds in the world have presented these videos -- including professors from Harvard, Stanford and MIT; four Pulitzer Prize winners; three former prime ministers; liberals; conservatives; Democrats; Republicans (including never-Trumpers); gays; and, of course, many women and members of ethnic and racial minorities.

Yet YouTube, which Google owns, has placed hundreds of our videos on its restricted list. In addition to the inherent smear of being labeled "inappropriate for children," this means no family that filters out pornography and graphic violence, no school and no library can see those videos. Among those restricted videos is one during former Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper defends Israel. 

Had someone told me 50 years ago that a company led by the son of Soviet Jewish refuseniks would suppress a video by a world leader defending the Jewish state, I would have told them they were out of their mind. That's one reason I can only assume, or at least hope, that you are not fully aware of what your company is doing.

Or how about a video series I present on the Ten Commandments? YouTube is suppressing a number of those, too. When Sen. Ted Cruz asked a Google official why Google restricted one of my videos on the Ten Commandments, the official responded (it's on YouTube) that it was because the video "contains references to murder."

In fact, PragerU has repeatedly asked Google over the past several years why any of our videos are on the restricted list, and we have received either a runaround or silence. We have never received a substantive explanation. 

We have no desire to see government intervene in private business to protect free speech. But your company has availed itself of protections under law that shield it from liability for defamation, copyright infringement, etc. Your company's arrogance is such that a vast number of Americans -- liberals as well as conservatives -- are worried that the major conduit of speech in the Free World doesn't care about free speech.

Mr. Brin, along with millions of other Americans, I fought to bring your parents from a land with no freedom to the Land of the Free. None of us has ever asked for anything in return. It was our honor to work for liberty in general and for Soviet Jewry specifically.

What Americans most want from immigrants is that they help keep America free. I never had any doubt that those leaving the Soviet Union would fulfill that mission.

Until now.

Freedom of speech is the most fundamental of all freedoms. It's what your parents yearned for and bequeathed to you. Please don't help take it away from those who made it possible -- the people of America.

Sincerely yours,

Dennis Prager

Dennis Prager is a nationally syndicated radio talk-show host and columnist. His latest book, published by Regnery in April 2018, is "The Rational Bible," a commentary on the book of Exodus. His film, "No Safe Spaces," comes to theaters fall 2019. He is the founder of Prager University and may be contacted at

Elijah Cummings dead at 68

House Oversight and Reform Committee Chair Elijah Cummings, D-Md., leads a meeting to call for subpoenas on Capitol Hill in Washington on April 2, 2019. (AP)

Rep. Elijah Cummings, the powerful House Democrat who represented Baltimore for more than two decades and was a vocal critic of President Trump, died early Thursday after battling health problems, his office said in a statement.

Cummings, who was 68, died at Gilchrist Hospice Care, a Johns Hopkins affiliate. As chairman of the House Oversight and Reform Committee, he was one of the most powerful Democrats in Washington, and played a key role in the House Democrats' ongoing efforts to impeach Trump.

His office said in a brief statement that he died "due to complications concerning longstanding health challenges." Cummings had been in ill health the past few years, navigating the Capitol in a motorized cart and using a walker.

"He worked until his last breath because he believed our democracy was the highest and best expression of our collective humanity," his wife, Maya Rockeymoore Cummings, said Thursday.

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

WATCH: Allie Stuckey Stars In New Parody Ad for Democratic

By Allie Beth Stuckey

Allie sarcastically depicts a new campaign ad for the Democratic Party.



President Donald Trump and Melania Trump at the official launch of the Trump 2020 campaign at the Amway Center in Orlando, Florida. (Photo: MANDEL NGAN/GETTY)

Though President Donald Trump currently trails several leading Democratic candidates in early national polls, a research firm with a historically accurate model has him winning the 2020 election by a wide margin.

The Moody's model has predicted presidential elections with success since 1980 until its first miss in 2016. Like so many others, they predicted a Hillary Clinton win.

"In our post-mortem of the 2016 presidential election model, we determined that unexpected turnout patterns were one of the factors that contributed to the model's first incorrect election prediction," wrote Mark Zandi, Dan White and Bernard Yerbos of Moody's Analytics.

"The model did not account for the individual attributes of the candidates other than whether they belonged to the incumbent political party. In other words, it assumed Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton were generic candidates, which they were not," the research firm concluded.

Moody's uses three models to come up with its forecast; in each case, Trump gets at least 289 Electoral College votes.

The "pocketbook" measure focuses on three economic variables: the change in gas prices, the change in house prices, and changes in personal income. This is where Trump shines brightest, grabbing a whopping 351 electoral votes.

"If voters were to vote primarily on the basis of their pocketbooks, the president would steamroll the competition," the report said.

The "stock market" model relies on fewer economic variables than the pocketbook model and is the least favorable model for Trump, but it still currently predicts a victory for the president. Meanwhile, the "unemployment model" predicts a more comfortable win for Trump than the stock market model.

Moody's Analytics may have missed on the previous election but an economic analysis released in 2016 by the research firm forecasting Trump's presidency has largely come true.

"Broadly, Mr. Trump's economic proposals will result in a more isolated U.S. economy. Cross-border trade and immigration will be significantly diminished, and with less trade and immigration, foreign direct investment will also be reduced," Mark Zandi, Chris Lafakis, Dan White and Adam Ozimek wrote in the report.

The report also determined that Trump's plans would hit the middle class the hardest while high-income earners would benefit the most from his tax breaks, concluding with a simplified overview.

"Even allowing for some variability in the accuracy of the economic modeling and underlying assumptions that drive the analysis, four basic conclusions regarding the impact of Mr. Trump's economic proposals can be reached: 1) they will result in a less global U.S. economy; 2) they will lead to larger government deficits and more debt; 3) they will largely benefit very high-income households; and 4) they will result in a weaker U.S. economy, with fewer jobs and higher unemployment."

The authors of the report, however, warned that quantifying the real estate mogul's economic policies was "complicated by their lack of specificity."

Zandi, chief economist at Moody's Analytics, also acknowledged that sometimes numbers can't control the outcome.

"It could be that this election may be so out of bounds with history that the models just aren't going to work," said Zandi.

"It could turn out this thing runs on a dynamic you just can't model."



Sarah Sanders: Dems on debate stage knew Warren is frontrunner and Biden is 'finished'

2020 Democrats have finally realized Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., is now the party's frontrunner following Tuesday's debate, and has eclipsed Joe Biden in the race for the White House, said Sarah Sanders Wednesday on "Fox & Friends."

"The big loser... was Joe Biden," she said. "It was incredibly telling that all of the fire that was taken on stage was by Elizabeth Warren, and not Joe Biden -- indicating that even Democrats on that stage know that Biden is finished and that Warren is the new frontrunner."

Sanders claimed Warren's ascension is a net positive for Trump and said her new position as frontrunner will rebrand her as the face of the party, to the detriment of other Democrats.

"She is the new face of the Democrat party," Sanders said. "That is a great contrast for this president. And I think it sets him up very nicely for re-election in November."

Sanders also said the questioning at Tuesday's primary debate was "pathetic" and slanted, in an effort to drag down Trump and exonerate Biden.

"CNN accused President Trump in their questions, yet gave Biden a complete free pass," she said. "They gave him one question -- a very basic follow-up and moved on. I couldn't believe that they glossed over the corruption that we've seen exposed over the last several weeks, so quickly as they did last night.

"Nobody else on stage even thought to call Biden out," Sanders added. "I think they have already decided to write him off and they're focusing their fire on Elizabeth Warren."

Nick Givas is a reporter with Fox News. You can find him on Twitter at @NGivasDC.


Pelosi: No House vote on impeachment inquiry


Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Tuesday she will not stage a vote on the House floor to officially launch an impeachment inquiry into President Trump

The decision came after Democratic leaders, returning to Washington following a two-week recess, had reached out to members of their diverse caucus to gauge the party's support for such a vote.

After back-to-back meetings with party leaders and then the full caucus, Pelosi announced that no such vote would take place. Democratic aides emphasized, however, that the process remains fluid and that Pelosi may reverse course and stage such a vote at any point in the future.

"There's no requirement that we have a vote, and so at this time we will not be having a vote," Pelosi told reporters during a last-minute press briefing in the Capitol. 

The decision arrives as Trump and his Republican allies are amping up the pressure on Pelosi to hold a formal vote to begin the investigation — a move they believe would grant the GOP more power and influence in the process, including the ability to call and subpoena their own witnesses.

"The minority has been shut out of the process," Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas), the ranking member on the Foreign Affairs Committee, told reporters Tuesday. "It is being done in a ... classified briefing room behind closed doors when it should be in front of the American people so that all can see in a very transparent way the testimony of these witnesses."

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

The critics were wrong: Welfare reform has delivered for single moms

By Kay Hymowitz | New York Post

On Tuesday, September 10th, the Census Bureau released its report on the nation’s income, poverty and health-insurance coverage for 2018. News that the percentage of Americans with insurance took a troubling stumble — the largest since the passage of the Affordable Care Act in 2010 — was the angle that most interested front-page editors.

But one other tree in the Census forest of graphs and tables should have been an eye-catcher: Poverty in single-mother households sank to its lowest rate … ever. What’s more, the decline took place entirely among black and Hispanic single-mother families.

For those plugged in to debates about welfare reform and child poverty over the past 20-plus years, this is a “Wow!” moment. In 2018, median income for households headed by women with “no spouse present” increased by a robust 5.8%. The poverty rates for female-householder black families dropped 2.7 percentage points, while the rate for Hispanic families plunged 4 percentage points, to 31.1%, in 2018.

For blacks in female-householder families, the proportion with family incomes less than $25,000 decreased by 4.1 percentage points, while for Hispanics in female-householder families, the proportion dropped by 3 points.

More black and Hispanic women have jobs and are working more hours. “The rise in full-time, year-round work led to an increase in incomes and earnings at the household level,” the Census Bureau found.

Better yet, the growing number of hours worked by single mothers led to a decline in child poverty of 2.5 percentage points. That comes out to 649,000 fewer poor American children.

And while white and black child-poverty rates remained stable, the percentage of Hispanic kids living in poverty dropped 7.1 percentage points in one year.

A strong Trump-era labor market is one part of this story, but so is the 1996 welfare-reform law. Remember that the Clinton-period law overturned Aid to Families with Dependent Children, which had entitled poor single mothers to cash benefits. As a result, unemployment among the growing number of single mothers was high.

Essentially, welfare reform said no more free lunch, instituting work requirements and replacing open-ended AFDC with a time-limited grant to poor mothers (TANF, or Temporary Assistance to Needy Families).

The idea was to promote self-sufficiency among a group depending almost entirely on government funds instead of a job to feed and house their families; to integrate a subculture of isolated outsiders into the mainstream of clocking in and meeting obligations to colleagues and bosses; and to discipline what appeared to be disordered and neglectful households.

From today’s vantage point, it’s easy to forget that welfare reform led to a dramatic decrease in welfare rolls, more single mothers in the workplace and a decline in poverty rates among single-parent families.

As time passed, progress seemed to stall; both the public and policymakers lost interest. The Great Recession undid whatever advances had been made, and disillusion with the work-and-save Protestant ethic set in.

By the 2016 election, welfare reform was policy non grata; Hillary Clinton avoided it during her presidential run, though her husband had signed the bill during his own reelection campaign.

A new generation of voters, scarred by the Great Recession and perhaps by ill-informed teachers, was cynical.

These days, left-leaning younger Americans consider welfare reform a failure or even a disaster. It’s a sure thing that none of the Democratic presidential candidates will be flirting with welfare reform anytime soon.

If we lived in rational times, the new census numbers would at least challenge these convictions. It looks as if full-time, year-round work can reduce poverty and that, racism or no, poor minority women can improve their lives and the lives of their children through 9-to-5 labor.

Any “welfare-reform-is-a-failure” narrative should collapse under the weight of such demonstrated facts.

The new data confirm the hypothesis that work is a crucial factor to lifting people out of poverty.

Continued success depends on a healthy economy, because the poor suffer most during downturns. But we should all rejoice in the progress being made in uplifting these female-headed families.

Kay Hymowitz is a contributing editor of City Journal, from which this was adapted.