NEWSLETTER OF THE
AMERICAN FAMILY ASSOCIATION OF NY
Spring 2018 VOL. 25 NO. 1
Effects of Rising Interest Rates
Since the Federal Reserve lowered interest rates after the 2008-09 fiscal crisis, we’ve seen the lowest interest rates in decades. One result, of course, is that people with savings accounts have been getting the lowest returns in memory. This put some pressure on these folks, many of whom are retirees, and they had to adjust.
But now we are seeing the early stages of increasing interest rates. And one major consequence of this is rarely discussed–the impact on the “cost” of our national debt.
For every 1% increase in interest rates (e.g., from 2% to 3%), the impact on the cost to our government in paying this higher interest to those with government bonds (both US citizens and those in other countries) will increase by about $170 billion/year. That is based on the projected 2020 national debt owned by the public (here & other nations) of about $17 trillion. In 2009 when Pres. Obama took office, national debt owned by the public was about $7.3 trillion. By the end of 2016 this had grown to about $14 trillion. One of the key reasons the Federal Reserve lowered interest rates was to lower the “cost to the government” of paying this interest cost. The average interest rate over the past 30 years has been about 5%. As we move towards that rate again, the cost to the government will rise to over $800 billion/year. This is equal to half the amount paid by individuals in federal income taxes for 2017 of about $1.6 trillion. Imagine seeing half of our income taxes paid by individuals in the US going to pay the interest on our national debt. This will be a severe burden, and a cost actually higher than our total military budget of about $700 billion.
As we continue spending more than we take in revenue, and increase our national debt, we are clearly passing on a burden of unimaginable proportions to our children and grandchildren. But politicians want to be re-elected so they continue adding costly programs for key voting groups, that we can ill afford, dismissing the adverse consequences on future generations.
Increasing Awareness of Sexual Assaults on Women
In recent months our nation has been witnessing numerous news accounts of sexual attacks on women, often involving dozens of attacks on women by a single male assailant, many of them famous movie stars, producers or high level businessmen. In all honesty, we should not be surprised by this, considering the rise of pornography in our nation (e.g., Playboy magazine reached 1 million subscribers decades ago), and the enormous rise of sexual material now on tv and modern communications devices.
A recent report in LI Citizens for Community Values (LICCV) stated 70% of children ages 7 to 17 have accidentally encountered online obscenity, often through a web search while doing homework. Why are we allowing our children to have unlimited access to obscene and indecent material on their phones at any time? Porn is a filthy industry preying on the population for financial gain, with no qualms or accountability about the impact it has on individuals, families and society. LICCV is a good organization, headed by Bobby Lloyd, working to fight pornography. They need your support. (www.LICCV.org/631-608-3778)
More States With School Choice
Based on a recent report from the Heartland Institute (www.Heartland.org), a number of states are passing laws advancing parental choice in education. In Ohio, Gov. Kasich signed a bill increasing funding for its Cleveland voucher system; Illinois Gov. Rauner signed a bill creating the state’s first tax credit scholarship program; Wisconsin’s Gov. Walker raised the eligibility income level for low income families to get school choice funding and increasing the number of charter schools; Arizona Gov. Ducey expanded the state’s Education Savings Account program advancing school choice. All these governors were Republicans. Where are the Democrats on school choice? Why do they place PS Teacher Unions above the interests of our children and taxpayers, both of whom benefit with school choice?
Three key organizations opposing parental choice in education are the Democrat Party, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) and the NAACP, a national organization that has for years fought for basic rights of African-Americans. But the NAACP now opposes all forms of school choice, such as vouchers or tax credits, and also opposes Charter Schools. The Thurgood Marshall College Fund has been representing 47 historically black schools. The black President of this organization is John Taylor, who recently wrote, “If the NAACP continues to reject the educational opportunities school choice provides them, they risk becoming irrelevant—or worse—an enemy of the very people they claim to fight for.” (WSJ, 11/4/17) Years ago the NAACP did fine work fighting for the just interests of black Americans. But today and in recent years, the NAACP has become a tool of the Teacher Unions that want to keep their monopoly, and these unions control both the Democrats & the NAACP.
Another group opposing school choice is the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC). We have been asking the CHC for four months for their official position on school choice, which is greatly favored by most Hispanic parents. They refuse to answer probably because they also don’t want their Hispanic constituents to know they are putting the Teacher Unions above the interests of struggling Hispanic parents.
Impact of New Federal Tax Law
The new federal tax law increases the standard deduction to $24,000 for couples & $12,000 for individuals, and lowers tax rates for most people. But it also limits the deduction for property & state income taxes to $10,000, which for many New Yorkers will reduce their itemized deductions, and cause many to take standard deductions. Most Americans will see a reduction in their federal taxes.
Most New Yorkers are in the 6-7% state income tax bracket. Those living downstate pay very high property taxes & those in NYC pay city income taxes. Most NY residents will lose much of their previous federal tax deduction. The end result will likely be an increase in the number of NY residents seeking to move to states with lower property & income taxes. In recent years, NYS has seen a net migration of about 100,000 residents/year leaving NY above the number coming into NY.
The key problem facing NY is its excessive rate of taxation. The two key components of property taxes are education costs (60% of property taxes) and police costs (20% of property taxes). Most Long Island PS teachers now earn over $100,000/year, and most LI police earn over $150,000/year, (incl. OT). The number of applicants per open teacher position and open police position for years has been well over 100 applicants for every one position.
This suggests salaries are higher than the market requires, and the reason for this is the powerful position of our public employee unions (esp. our teacher unions). The problem is not our union leaders who are simply doing their jobs, but rather our state and local legislators who are failing to keep taxes at a reasonable level.
The best way to address NY’s excessive taxes is to lower our education costs by providing school choice for parents. This means giving parents a refundable tax credit or voucher, set well below the average cost per public school student, to enable parents to select any private or religious school accredited by NYS. Doing this would help low and middle income parents select a better school for their children, foster the moral values they want taught, and do this at a cost well below NY’s current cost per PS student, which is now over $20,000 per regular (non-Special Needs) student. Based on a study done for the NY Senate in 1991 (NY Times, 11/24/91), the savings with full school choice would have been $4 billion/yr. Today that would be over $8 billion/yr !!
Everyone wins with school choice—students, parents and taxpayers. Who opposes school choice? Our Teacher Unions &, of course, anti-religious bigots.
What’s especially sad is that the political opposition to school choice comes from the Democrats, who receive most of the votes of African-Americans & Hispanics, who want school choice even more than whites.
A black senator from Louisiana, Elbert Guillory, has recently issued a “Little Book of Liberal Lies”, wherein he states, “Black Americans vote over 90% Democrat, but our communities are just as poor as they’ve always been!….And liberals refuse to allow school vouchers while at the same time sending their kids to the best private schools…. Freedom is the idea that parents must be the decision makers in regards to their children’s education. ”
School choice is the best way to improve educational quality for low income students and save NY taxpayers billions of dollars. Lowering property taxes has never been as important as now with our new federal tax law.
Some Interesting Facts
—–NYC’s Jail Budget increased 44% in 10 years to $1.36 billion. But inmate population dropped to the lowest number in 34 years, (14,000 to 9,500). The cost/inmate increased 110% in 10 years from $67,600 to $143,000. (WSJ, 11/15/17)
—- A federal tax credit scholarship (school choice) is supported by 55% of Democrats, 69% of Independents & 80% of Republicans. (Beck Research, 2018)
—– 44 Million Americans today have college debt. Total: $1.4 Trillion !!
(Newsmax, Jan. 2018)
—-The number of abortions in US in 2014 decreased to lowest figure since 1973 (653,000). The highest year was 1990 (1,429,000). (Wikipedia/CDC est.)
—-Life expectancy in US has increased by 30 years since 1900! But, in 2015 & 2016, life expectancy declined in both years by 1 & 2 months—first time we’ve had two consecutive year declines since 1962/63. (Newsday,1/5/18)
—-Number of NYC school teachers, aides & other Dept. of Education workers arrested (3 yrs: 2014-2016) on charges ranging from rape & kidnapping to assault & shoplifting : over 5,000. (NY Post, 10/29/17)
A Look at Newsday
Newsday is a newspaper run by people who are mostly liberal & Democratic. One minor problem we’ve seen with Newsday is the manner in which it identifies individuals committing crimes locally & in NYS. Newsday will identify a criminal who commits a crime of theft or murder by the criminal’s sex, height, weight & age. But it will never identify the criminal’s race or ethnicity because it views that as “racially discriminatory”! Now the key purpose for Newsday to publicly describe a criminal is to help its readers identify and report such a criminal to the police. But doesn’t that mean it’s important to know if the 6 foot man, age 35 & 180 pounds is white, black, Asian or Hispanic? Wouldn’t that greatly help identify a likely person as the possible criminal? Is Newsday helping?
Another issue we have with Newsday is its liberal bias not merely in editorials (which is OK), but also in the Opinion articles it is willing to publish. For example, on the key issue of school choice, we presented a piece for publication discussing two of the three major arguments for school choice that were never, to the best of our knowledge, ever mentioned in any Opinion article in Newsday. These are two arguments for school choice based on the cost savings for taxpayers resulting from vouchers/tax credits provided at half the cost of PS education, and the second argument of giving parents the right to control the moral values being taught their kids on key issues such as abortion, sexual behavior and marriage. The third argument on educational quality with regard to how competition improves the quality of education for all students, both those in public as well as private schools, has been covered. We’ve asked Newsday repeatedly to please publish an article on this issue affecting all taxpayers and parents, but they continually refuse and now fail to even respond to our requests sent to their editors. Newsday—a big disappointment.
State Migration Numbers (2010-2017)
Which states have the largest number of Americans leaving other states and moving to their state? And which states have the largest number leaving their state?
Here are the figures for 2010 thru 2017:
States with most people moving in:
- Florida: +1,025,061
- Texas: + 944,018
- North Carolina: + 327,631
- Arizona: + 278,290
- Colorado: + 276,485
- South Carolina: + 264,781
States with most people leaving:
- New York: -1,022,071
- Illinois: -642,821
- California: -556,710
- New Jersey: -395,160
- Michigan: -225,302
- Pennsylvania: -214,426
Two key factors causing people to move to another state are property costs and the level of state income & property taxes. Now with the new federal tax law, the second factor, property & income taxes, has become even more important. Taxes could also affect property values as well—reducing the rate of increase or possibly even lowering values. The two major components of NY’s state budget are healthcare & education costs. The two key components of property taxes are education costs & police costs. The likelihood that our NY legislators will address these key tax issues is not good, especially considering the power of NY’s public employee unions and their political control of most legislators.
Gov. Cuomo Opposing School Choice & Pushing Pro-Abortion Expansion
Gov. Cuomo has included a radical expansion of late-term abortions in his recent NYS Executive Budget proposal. Cuomo’s new proposal legalizes infanticide when a baby is born alive during an attempted abortion. He also proposes eliminating a ban on late-term abortions, empowering non-doctors to do abortions, and remove protections against unwanted or coerced abortions. The NYS Assembly is strongly pro-abortion, as is the Governor. The only chance of stopping this pro-abortion move lies in our NYS Senate.
While he is strongly pro-choice on abortion, Gov. Cuomo is strongly anti-parental choice in education. Gov. Cuomo has recently vetoed legislation (S.6089) that would have averted cuts in state reimbursements to private and religious schools, which were based on changes in a 40 year old formula for determining these reimbursements. “Cuomo’s action will have a serious impact on our schools and on the tuition paying families who must absorb these cuts, even as PS funding soars to new record heights every year.” (James Cultrara, Dir. Of Ed for NYS Catholic Conference).
The consequences of this are that more private and religious schools will have to close, forcing public school costs to rise, and, therefore, causing property taxes to also rise. And since NY public school costs per student are twice those of our religious schools, the overall cost impact is large. And the bill Cuomo just vetoed had passed 63-0 in the NY Senate, and 133-6 in the Assembly !
Update Regarding AFA-NY’s Youtube Channel
Things are really changing technologically. We’ve been doing AFA TV programs for 24 years now, producing 320 TV programs for airing on public access TV in many areas of NYS. At its peak, we had access to about 5 million viewers. Over the years we had about 20 volunteers involved in filming these programs at a studio provided by Cablevision. And we’ve had about 200 guests on our programs as well. But things ARE changing. Fewer people are now viewing Public Access TV. And now we’re only airing in the Long Island area on Verizon and Cablevision.
To keep pace with the times, we’ve now established a Youtube Channel entitled “AFA New York“. We’ve only uploaded 6 videos so far and have a lot more to do. We hope to eventually place many of our 320 programs on the channel. This way viewers can visit our archives and see how conservative, Christian principles stand the test of time and are rarely proven wrong. Please visit our Youtube site by simply typing “AFA New York” in the Youtube search bar and you will be able to see our videos there. If you have any expertise working with Youtube channels or would like to volunteer to help with this initiative, please contact us.
NOTES & ASIDES
Pls. keep in your prayers (deceased) Jim Bergin, Phil & JoAnn Zolli and (ill) Joan Graham, Joan Farrell, Joe Pritchard, Frank Lindner, Luba Marino, Margaret Wade, Kristin Gomez, George Pandelakis, Barbara Brown, Dr. Ed Brennan, Bill Devlin, Maggie Hickey, Tara Sayani, Arnold Pilsner & Sal Guadagna ………
AFA-NY’S TV SCHEDULE
AMERICAN FAMILY ASSN. PRESENTS
Cablevision (Long Island)—- 8 pm MON, Ch. 115
Verizon (Long Island) ——– 8 PM MON , Ch. 40
Verizon (No. Hemp.) ———- 8 pm SAT , Ch. 37
CONTEMPORARY SOCIAL ISSUES
Verizon (Long Island) — 9 pm MON, Ch.40
Program info: www.afany.org (all 1 hr)
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