Financial crisis? What crisis? Obama spending $2 billion to visit Mumbai

UPDATE:  These numberss, originally reported by an Indian news agency, are now being disputed by multiple media outlets. The correct numbers are unclear but will be updated once the information becomes available.

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GLENN: There's something else wrong. This New Delhi trip really, really bothers me. Not in the way that it's just costing $2 billion for ten days so he can see the Festival of Lights.

PAT: That part bothers me. I'm bothered by that.

GLENN: $2 billion so the president can go to New Delhi.

PAT: We know the president needs security and they're renting out the Taj Mahal hotel and if that's what you need to do for security, but why do it in the first place?

GLENN: Why does he have to go there?

PAT: Is there an international crisis? You can bring all of India to Washington for less than $2 billion.

STU: Gotomeeting.com is something I have heard of.

GLENN: Seriously why are we going? The only answer I get is that he wants to see the Festival of Lights. No, it's $2 billion. We have 34 warships. Have you seen this? I mean, we have the president of the United States riding around on a girl's bike with a pink helmet on and now in New Delhi, they have decided to remove all of the coconuts from the trees in case one falls from the tree and hits him in the head.

PAT: Can't he wear his pink helmet?

GLENN: Let him wear his pink helmet. I'm telling you, there's something wrong with this trip. I never seen have you ever seen the president ever seen the president go over for a vacation where you needed 34 warships?

STU: It's not really a vacation. He has to have some meetings scheduled or something.

GLENN: I'm sure he has meetings. What?

STU: They're a big trade partner.

GLENN: It sure is. What?

STU: I don't know the details of his schedule.

GLENN: $2 billion.

STU: That's a lot of money.

GLENN: Remember when a billion was a lot of money? $2 billion, 34 warships. We are sending. He's traveling with 3,000 people. I went on vacation in a town of 1,600. I could have taken two of the towns I went on vacation with in the mountains, two Driggs, Idaho and I could have taken them on a plane and gone to India and I could have done it for less than $2 billion.

STU: $2 billion, jeez, that's over a day of quantitative easing we could have for that. That's an entire day.

GLENN: Seriously? I want an answer. What are we going over for?

STU: Yeah, I don't know. And that's the

GLENN: Jeff is in the back and said it's our relationship. It's called the phone.

STU: Tweet them.

GLENN: There's no reason. Are you kidding me? When did we have a complete lack of common sense? Here when my first daughter was born, I was very poor and so were my parents, and when Mary was born, she had complications. She was born with cerebral palsy and she was having strokes and freaking out. Well, my folks could not afford I couldn't afford to send them to bring them down and they couldn't afford to close the Bakery, but they did. Why? Because their children were in crisis. Now it took them a long time to be able to make that back up. They did it because their children were in crisis. So Sometimes you spend $2 billion. This isn't one of those times.

STU: What's so important?

GLENN: What's so important that we're spending $2 billion and I will tell you something else, risking the president's life. This is not a safe part of the world. The reason why we have 34 warships there is because this is not a safe part of the world.

PAT: Anybody remember what happened in Mumbai two years ago with the terrorist?

GLENN: I would like a security expert to tell me the risk of the president's life. First of all, if you have to have 34 warships, is there anyone I know the Secret Service, I know the Secret Service, I know these people, there is no way the Secret Service is saying this is a cool trip. Will anyone verify with the secret Service? Is the Secret Service totally cool with this, are they? The protectors of the president, you can't tell me the secret service is saying, yeah, Mr. President this is no big deal. If they have 34 warships going and they're totally cool with it, if there is no threat to the president, can we scale back it the 34 warships? But I can tell you that they take their charge very seriously as does the military. There's no way they're going to go in some place with, A, too much stuff. I mean, you want to talk about I mean, this is P. Diddy with $2 billion. You want to talk about an entourage. That's something the entire world sees. There's no way, well I was going to say protocol in this office, they could be like hey, you know what tell them a joke how dumb Indians are and they're running slurpy stores. Yeah, from Joe Biden. This audience knows clearly how bad the protocol office is so maybe they don't notice. It will be cool. We'll roll in with 34 warships and people will think that's cool. They're taking coconuts down for us. I don't think so. The world will notice this and it's grotesque in its nature unless it's needed. I believe it's needed which brings us back to the original question, why are we going?

STU: They had a terror threat there very recently. We just had a bomb that was disarmed 17 minutes before it was supposed to explode. There's a lot of action out there.

PAT: May I bring up the most important issue, global warming. 34 warships. He is flying by helicopter Marine One from the city airport to the Indian Navy's Helibase and from there, he drives down in a Lincoln Continental, the presidential limousine.

GLENN: It's not a Continental, it's a Cadillac.

PAT: Two jets armed and a fleet of over 40 vehicles will be part of the convoy. Global warming.

GLENN: Hang on just a second. That's his convoy. Hang on just a second. 40 cars is his convoy. You don't get 3,000 guests into 40 cars.

PAT: That's true. They said around 800 rooms have been booked for the president and his entourage.

STU: You don't put 3,000 people in 800 rooms unless people are bunking up.

GLENN: What am I missing here?

STU: There's a huge global conference going on there, you would understand to some degree.

GLENN: No, if we were saying, we're going to launch the new world order in India, then maybe he has to attend.

STU: I know all the international groups, they have big conferences and you expect them to go. Really what is the big event? I'm sure he's got stuff planned over there. There's nothing on that scale.

GLENN: Security drills have been carried out at the hotel where the president will visit. Really, really? Have they? Have they changed the security procedures? They're doing drills. Let's good. Let's educate everybody. We've done the drills all right. Have they changed the itinerary from the other three times he was supposed to go? Have they changed it up at all? Have they done any of it? What did you say, Jeffy?

JEFFY: Of course they have, he's the president.

GLENN: Somebody in the press should ask. Somebody in the press should ask. They won't answer my questions. Somebody should ask. Why is the president of the United States spending $2 million going into this much risk.

STU: 2 billion.

GLENN: I'm sorry, $2 billion going to this much risk, why are we jeopardizing the safety of the president of the United States? And I see how much money we are spending. If he's not at risk, why are you spending it is? If he is at risk, why is he going? Why? The festival of Lights. The press is fine and comfortable with what the president says. He wants to experience the Festival of Lights. Let them eat cake.

The themes of healing and redemption appear throughout the Bible.

Our bodies are buried in brokenness, but they will be raised in glory. They are buried in weakness, but they will be raised in strength. — 1 Corinthians 15:43
It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners. — Mark 2:17.

So, for many Christians, it's no surprise to hear that people of faith live longer lives.

Heal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed; save me, and I shall be saved, for you are my praise. — Jeremiah 17:14.

But it is certainly lovely to hear, and a recent study by a doctoral student at Ohio State University is just one more example of empirical evidence confirming the healing benefits of faith and religious belief.

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Moreover, the study finds that religious belief can lengthen a person's life.

A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones. — Proverbs 17:22
Lord, your discipline is good, for it leads to life and health. You restore my health and allow me to live! — Isaiah 38:16

The study analyzed over 1,000 obituaries nationwide and found that people of faith lived longer than people who were not religious. Laura Wallace, lead author of the study, noted that "religious affiliation had nearly as strong an effect on longevity as gender does, which is a matter of years of life."

The study notes that, "people whose obits mentioned a religious affiliation lived an average of 5.64 years longer than those whose obits did not, which shrunk to 3.82 years after gender and marital status were considered."

And He called to Him His twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every disease and every affliction. — Matthew 10:1

"The researchers found that part of the reason for the boost in longevity came from the fact that many religiously affiliated people also volunteered and belonged to social organizations, which previous research has linked to living longer. The study provides persuasive evidence that there is a relationship between religious participation and how long a person lives," said Baldwin Way, co-author of the study and associate professor of psychology at Ohio State.

Prayer is good medicine, and faith is a good protector.

In addition, the study showed how the effects of religion on longevity might depend in part on the personality and average religiosity of the cities where people live, Way said.

Prayer is good medicine, and faith is a good protector.

And the power of the Lord was with him to heal. — Luke 5:17
Heal the sick in it and say to them, The kingdom of God has come near to you. — Luke 10:9

In early June, the Social Security and Medicare trustees released their annual report on the fiscal health of these programs, and the situation looks dire. Medicare is scheduled to run out of money in 2026 (three years sooner than anticipated), while Social Security is expected to run out in 2034. The rising national debt is only one of the well-known financial struggles the millennial generation faces. The burdens of student loan debt, high housing prices (thanks to zoning restrictions), stagnant wage growth, the rising cost of healthcare and lingering aftershocks of the Great Recession are among the biggest sources of economic anxiety millennials feel.

Progressive politicians have been very successful at courting the youth vote, partly because they actually promote policy ideas that address many of these concerns. As unrealistic or counterproductive as Senator Bernie Sanders' proposals for single-payer health care or a $15 an hour minimum wage might be, they feel in theory like they would provide the economic stability and prosperity millennials want.

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Republicans, on the other hand, have struggled to craft a message to address these concerns. Fiscal conservatives recognize, correctly, that the burden of the $20 trillion national debt and over $200 trillion in unfunded liabilities will fall on millennials. Some conservatives have even written books about that fact. But the need to reform entitlements hasn't exactly caught millennials' attention. Pollster Kristen Soltis Anderson, in her book The Selfie Vote, notes that millennials generally view protecting the safety net as more important than reducing the deficit.

Clearly, Republicans have a problem. They need to craft solutions that address the millennial generation's struggles, but they can't seem to sell entitlement reform, their biggest policy preference that addresses those problems. The Republican approach to wooing millennials on policy is failing because talking about stopping the debt from reaching an unsustainable level is long-term and abstract, and offers few immediate tangible benefits. A new approach to both pave the way for entitlement reform and give millennials an immediate financial boost is to first reform not entitlement spending, but the payroll tax: specifically, by partially (or wholly) replacing it with a value-added tax.

Under the current Social Security model, workers pay for the benefits of current retirees through the payroll tax. This system creates the illusion of a pension program, in which what you put in is what you get out, but in reality Social Security is a universal safety net program for the elderly paid for by taxes. The payroll tax falls on workers and is a tax on labor, while the value-added tax (VAT) is a tax on consumption imposed at every part of the production process. Assuming that this policy change is revenue-neutral, switching to a VAT will shift the responsibility for funding Social Security and Medicare away from workers, disproportionately poorer and younger, and onto everyone participating in the economy as a whole. Furthermore, uncoupling Social Security funding from payroll taxes would pave the way for fiscal reforms to transform the program from a universal benefit program to one geared specifically to eliminating old-age poverty, such as means-testing benefits for high-income beneficiaries, indexing benefits to prices rather than wages or changing the retirement age.

Switching from the payroll tax to the VAT would address both conservative and liberal tax policy preferences.

Switching from the payroll tax to the VAT would address both conservative and liberal tax policy preferences. As the Tax Policy Center notes, the change would actually make the tax system more progressive. The current payroll tax is regressive, meaning that people with lower incomes tend to pay a higher effective tax rate than people with higher incomes. On the other hand, the value-added tax is much closer to proportional than the payroll tax, meaning that each income group pays closer to the same effective tax rate.

For Republicans, such a change would fit conservative economic ideas about the long-run causes of economic growth. A value-added tax has a much broader base than the payroll tax, and therefore would allow for much lower marginal tax rates, and lower marginal tax rates mean smaller disincentives to economic activity. According to the Tax Foundation's analysis of a value-added tax, the VAT would be a more economically efficient revenue source than most other taxes currently in the tax code.

Not only would replacing part or all of the payroll tax provide an immediate benefit to millennial taxpayers, it would also open the door for the much-needed entitlement reforms that have been so politically elusive. Furthermore, it would make the tax code both more pro-growth and less regressive. In order to even begin to address the entitlement crisis, win millennial support and stimulate the economy in a fiscally responsible manner, Republicans must propose moving from the payroll tax to the VAT.

Alex Muresianu is a Young Voices Advocate. His writing has appeared in Townhall and The Federalist. He is a federal policy intern at the Tax Foundation. Opinions expressed here are his only and not the views of the Tax Foundation. He can be found on Twitter @ahardtospell.

Glenn was joined by Alanna Sarabia from "Good Morning Texas" at Mercury Studios on Thursday for an exclusive look at Mercury Museum's new "Rights & Responsibilities" exhibit. Open through Father's Day, the temporary museum features artifacts from pop culture, America's founding, World Ward II and more, focusing on the rights and responsibilities America's citizens.

Get tickets and more information here.

Watch as Glenn gives a sneak peek at some of the unique artifacts on display below.

History at the Mercury Museum

Alanna Sarabia interviews Glenn Beck for "Good Morning Texas" at Mercury Studios.

Several months ago, at the Miss Universe competition, two women took a selfie, then posted it on Instagram. The caption read, "Peace and love." As a result of that selfie, both women faced death threats, and one of the women, along with her entire family, had to flee her home country. The occasion was the 2017 Miss Universe competition, and the women were Miss Iraq and Miss Israel. Miss Iraq is no longer welcome in her own country. The government threatened to strip her of her crown. Of course, she was also badgered for wearing a bikini during the competition.

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In an interview, Miss Iraq, Sarah Idan, said:

When I posted the picture I didn't think for a second there would be blowback. I woke up to calls from my family and the Miss Iraq Organization going insane. The death threats I got online were so scary. The director of the Miss Iraq Organization called me and said they're getting heat from the ministry. He said I have to take the picture down or they will strip me of my title.

Yesterday, Miss Iraq, Sarah Idan, posted another selfie with Miss Israel, during a visit to Jerusalem.

In an interview, she said that:

I don't think Iraq and Israel are enemies; I think maybe the governments are enemies with each other. There's a lot of Iraqi people that don't have a problem with Israelis.

This is, of course, quite an understatement: Iraq, home to roughly 15,000 Palestinians, refuses to acknowledge Israel as a legitimate country, as it is technically at war with Israel. The adages says that a picture is worth a thousand words. What are we to do when many of those words are hateful or deadly? And how can we find the goodness in such bad situations?