The million dollar question for EVERY American

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If you have followed any of my work, you will know I am an Irishman who has a lifelong dream of becoming an American citizen and I have been trying to find a legal route for over 14 years. There are so many reasons why I want to become an American. I love your nation, the principles it was built on, your people, your sports, your food, and your Constitution. I could spend all day talking to you about the reasons why I love America and why my heart and soul yearns for America.

There is only one reason why becoming an American would not be fun. It really is the million dollar problem which affects everyone but sadly nobody is interested in addressing it. Let's imagine for one moment I found a legal way stateside tomorrow and automatically became a citizen. What would happen?

U.S. Federal Debt

I would attend a nationalization ceremony where I would take the pledge of allegiance, start the process of gaining an America passport, and have the right and honor of calling myself an American citizen. The very second it was official; my share of the US federal debt would be at least $65,775. This is the amount every US citizen would have to pay to clear the debt in full.

I say "at least" because that figure does not give a complete picture. Is it a fair or realistic scenario to expect everyone in society to pay that figure? Could you expect young babies to pay it? People in school? Unemployed people? Older generations?

You can debate the merits of each group but I believe the more accurate number is $177,284 – this is the amount every taxpayer would need to pay to clear the debt in full. However, this is also not a complete figure.

Unfunded Liabilities

America has made promises to people which are called unfunded liabilities – these include items like social security and Medicare. If you include paying those liabilities in full along with clearing the debt, the amount explodes to $943,786 for every taxpayer. However, my share of the debt does not stop there.

I love all of America, but my heart and soul live in Texas. If I was lucky enough to legally move to America and secure work in Texas I would also be responsible for my share of the debt in Texas which is currently $10,548 per Texan.

However, sometimes dreams don't come true and I might have to move to another state to find work. Wyoming currently has the lowest debt per citizen of $3,061 and New York has the highest of $17,832. So depending on where I live my share of your debt could be anywhere between $946,841 and $961,627.

Debt History

These figures are accurate on writing (Sunday 14th October 2018) but they rely on the condition that DC and local governments stopped ALL borrowing. There is something important to remember at the state level – 35 out of the 50 US states are adding to their debts on a daily basis. So how likely is it that your government has stopped borrowing money? You can answer that but let me ask you a couple of questions first:

  • When was the last time you heard anyone highlight the debt being unsustainable?
  • The GOP love to promote themselves as the fiscally responsible party. They currently hold all three branches of government, yet when was the last time you heard anyone mention a balanced budget amendment?
  • Do you know any politician in DC who is willing to shut down the government to stop spending?
  • Does anyone in DC have any creditability to speak about these issues?

I ask the last question, because over the last decade, BOTH sides have highlighted the debt as a problem, have proceeded to get power and make the situation worse. Do you remember how the debt grew under the George Bush administration and the attacks from the Democrats? The debt grew from around $5.7 trillion in 2001 to $9.6 trillion in 2009. Democrats said the war in Iraq was growing the debt to unsustainable levels, and Barack Obama even called it unpatriotic in the 2008 election. What happened next?

The debt during the eight years Barack Obama was President went from $9.6 trillion to $19.5 trillion. The eight years of the Obama administration saw more debt added than the prior 200+ years combined. Those years also accounted for the largest increases of federal debt by ANY nation in the history of the world. Here is the list:

2009 - America - $1.4 Trillion

2010 - America - $1.3 Trillion

2011 - America - $1.3 Trillion

Does anything strike you about those years? Those are the years the tea party started in America, the years when Conservatives and talk radio came together and held rallies saying the government was too big, how those levels of debt were unsustainable and how America needed a change in leadership.

America had the big tea party wave election regaining the House in 2010, the GOP regained the Senate in 2014 and Trump became President in 2016. The GOP now has control of all three branches of government so things are good now… Right? WRONG.

The fiscal year in DC ends on the 30th of September every year. For the fiscal year, 2017/2018 America added over $1.2 trillion to the national debt. This is the fourth largest increase in federal debt in human history.

The Future

These increases currently have your debt standing at $21.6 trillion. According to the CBO (which always under-estimates figures), they forecast the U.S. debt will grow by $12.6 trillion over the next ten years and on the current path America will have a debt of $33.8 trillion by 2028. I have said trillion a lot in this article, so allow me to type the number out just so you can see what it could look like in 2028 - $33,800,000,000,000 – WOW…. that's a LOT of zeros.

Remember that for every trillion dollars added to the debt, each taxpayer share will go up by around $8,000.

Who is talking about it? Where are the Democrats? Where is Barack Obama to call it unpatriotic? Where are the GOP and Tea Party? I wonder if this happened under a Democratic Congress or a Democratic President, would the GOP be as quiet? Is it possible that for many in DC and the media that politics is just a game to get power? Is it possible people on both sides never mean anything they actually say to win elections?

Conclusion & Warning

America, you are currently being destroyed from within as DC and the media on all sides have successfully put you into opposing camps and pitted you against each other. You can see this in your culture where both sides love to tell you how the other is the real problem with America today. Democrats love to hate on Donald Trump and Republicans by calling them every name under the sun including racist, sexist, homophobic bigots. Republicans love to hate Democrats and the media by calling them socialists and fake news.

When things are about sides, it is incredibly easy and highly likely that principles will be forgotten and cast aside. It becomes the battle between the lesser of two evils. But what happens when BOTH sides suck on an issue? How is that issue ever going to be fixed or highlighted? In this scenario, the only losers are the American people and future generations. This is one issue which should make EVERY American angry because they are borrowing in your name, and in the names of future generations.

The simple fact is if tomorrow I became an American citizen I would owe around a million dollars to the government as a taxpayer over a number of years. Would I move if I ever got the opportunity? YES. Your country is still amazing but if you don't address the problems, one day that will change. Ask yourself some questions about the million dollars:

  • Can you afford to pay your share?
  • Could you even afford to pay that over your lifetime?
  • Do you know anyone who could?

Ronald Reagan was once famously asked about how to reduce the size of the government – his response was the same way you keep your virtue. Learn to say no. If America does not learn this lesson and soon, your people and future generations will pay a heavy price by losing any freedoms and opportunities you have.

Jonathon is currently raising funds for Mercury One by offering tee shirts and hoodies with positive messages on them.

Jonathon also hosts a weekly one hour show exclusive to the Blaze Radio Network called Freedom's Disciple where he highlights the IDEA of America, promotes the eternal principles of freedom & and shares his passion of America's Founding documents. Please check out his show for FREE here.

On Wednesday's TV show, Glenn Beck sat down with radio show host, author, political commentator, and film critic, Michael Medved.

Michael had an interesting prediction for the 2020 election outcome: a brokered convention by the DNC will usher in former First Lady Michelle Obama to run against President Donald Trump.

Watch the video below to hear why he's making this surprising forecast:

Use code BECK to save $10 on one year of BlazeTV.

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On Thursday's "Glenn Beck Radio Program," BlazeTV's White House correspondent Jon Miller described the current situation in Virginia after Gov. Ralph Northam (D) declared a state of emergency and banned people carrying guns at Capitol Square just days before a pro-Second-Amendment rally scheduled on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Jon told Glenn that Gov. Northam and the Virginia Legislature are "trying to deprive the people of their Second Amendment rights" but the citizens of Virginia are "rising up" to defend their constitutional rights.

"I do think this is the flashpoint," Jon said. "They [Virginia lawmakers] are saying, 'You cannot exercise your rights ... and instead of trying to de-escalate the situation, we are putting pressure. We're trying to escalate it and we're trying to enrage the citizenry even more'."

Glenn noted how Gov. Northam initially blamed the threat of violence from Antifa for his decision to ban weapons but quickly changed his narrative to blame "white supremacists" to vilify the people who are standing up for the Second Amendment and the Constitution.

"What he's doing is, he's making all all the law-abiding citizens of Virginia into white supremacists," Glenn said.

"Sadly, that's exactly right," Jon replied. "And I think he knows exactly what he's doing."

Watch the video to catch more of the conversation below:

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Ryan: Trump Louisiana Finale

Photo by Jim Dale

Part One. Part Two. Part Three.

At the end of Trump rallies, I would throw on my Carhartt jacket, sneak out of the press area, then blend in with everyone as they left, filing out through swinging doors.

Often, someone held the door open for me. Just 30 minutes earlier, the same person had most likely had most likely hissed at me for being a journalist. And now they were Sunday smiles and "Oh, yes, thank you, sir" like some redneck concierge.

People flooded out of the arena with the stupidity of a fire drill mishap, desperate to survive.

The air smacked you as soon as you crossed the threshold, back into Louisiana. And the lawn was a wasteland of camping chairs and coolers and shopping bags and to-go containers and soda cans and articles of clothing and even a few tents.

In Monroe, in the dark, the Trump supporters bobbled over mounds of waste like elephants trying to tiptoe. And the trash was as neutral to them as concrete or grass. They plodded over it because it, an object, had somehow gotten in their way.

It did not matter that they were responsible for this wreckage.Out in the sharp-edged moonlight, rally-goers hooted and yapped and boogied and danced, and the bbq food truck was all smoke and paper plates.

They were even more pumped than they had been before the rally, like 6,000 eight year olds who'd been chugging Mountain Dew for hours. Which made Donald Trump the father, the trooper, God of the Underworld, Mr. Elite, Sheriff on high horse, the AR-15 sticker of the family.

Ritualistic mayhem, all at once. And, there in Louisiana, Trump's supporters had gotten a taste of it. They were all so happy. It bordered on rage.

Still, I could not imagine their view of America. Worse, after a day of strange hostilities, I did not care.

My highest priority, my job as a reporter, was to care. To understand them and the world that they inhabit. But I did not give a damn and I never wanted to come back.

Worst of all, I would be back. In less than a week.

Was this how dogs felt on the 4th of July? Hunched in a corner while everyone else gets drunk and launches wailing light into the sky? configurations of blue and red and white.

It was 10:00 p.m. and we'd been traveling since 11:00 a.m., and we still had 5 hours to go and all I wanted was a home, my home, any home, just not here, in the cold sweat of this nowhere. Grey-mangled sky. No evidence of planes or satellites or any proof of modern-day. Just century-old bridges that trains shuffled over one clack at a time.

And casinos, all spangles and neon like the 1960s in Las Vegas. Kitchy and dumb, too tacky for lighthearted gambling. And only in the nicer cities, like Shreveport, which is not nice at all.

And swamp. Black water that rarely shimmered. Inhabited by gadflies and leeches and not one single fish that was pretty.

Full of alligators, and other killing types. The storks gnawing on frogs, the vultures never hungry. The coyotes with nobody to stop them and so much land to themselves. The roaches in the wild, like tiny wildebeests.

Then, the occasional deer carcass on the side of the road, eyes splayed as if distracted, tongue out, relaxed but empty. The diseased willows like skeletons in hairnets. The owls that never quit staring. A million facets of wilderness that would outlive us all.

Because Nature has poise. It thrives and is original.

Because silence is impossible. Even in an anechoic chamber, perfectly soundproofed, you can hear your own heartbeat, steady as a drum. A never-ending war.

I put "Headache" by Grouper on repeat as we glided west. We were deadlocked to asphalt, rubber over tarface.

And I thought about lines from a Rita Dove poem titled "I have been a stranger in a strange land"

He was off cataloging the universe, probably,
pretending he could organize
what was clearly someone else's chaos.

Wasn't that exactly what I was doing? Looking for an impossible answer, examining every single accident, eager for meaning? telling myself, "If it happens and matters the next year, in America, I want to be there, or to know what it means. I owe it to whoever cares to listen."

Humans are collectors and I had gone overboard.

Because maybe this wasn't even my home. These landmarks, what did they mean? Was I obvious here? When I smiled, did I trick them into believing that I felt some vague sense of approval? Or did my expressions betray me?

Out in all that garbage-streaked emptiness — despite the occasional burst of passing halogen — I couldn't tell if everything we encountered was haunted or just old, derelict, broken, useless. One never-ending landfill.

Around those parts, they'd made everything into junk. Homes. Roads. Glass. Nature. Life itself, they made into junk.

I cringed as we passed yet another deer carcass mounded on the side of the road.

As written in Job 35:11,

Who teaches us more than the beasts of the earth and makes us wiser than the birds in the sky?

Nobody. Look at nature and you feel something powerful. Look at an animal, in all of its untamable majesty, and you capture a deep love, all swept up in the power of creation. But, here, all I saw were poor creatures who people had slammed into and kept driving. Driving to where? For what reason? What exactly was so important that they left a trail of dead animals behind them?

So I crossed myself dolorously and said an "Our Father" and recited a stanza from Charles Bukowski's "The Laughing Heart"

you can't beat death but
you can beat death in life, sometimes.
and the more often you learn to do it,
the more light there will be.

Out here, nothing but darkness. Needing some light, by God. Give me something better than a Moon that hides like an underfed coward.

Jade told me about some of the more traumatic things she'd seen while working at the State Fair.

"Bro, they pull roaches out of the iced lemonade jugs and act like nothing happened."

"All right but what about the corn dogs?"

"You do not want to know, little bro."

She looked around in the quiet. "Back in the day, the Louisiana Congress refused to raise the drinking age from 18 to 21," she said. "They didn't want to lose all that drunk gambler money. So the federal government cut off funding to highways."

We glided through moon-pale landscape for an hour before I realized what she had meant. That there weren't any light poles or billboards along the road. Nothing to guide us or distract us. Just us, alone. And it felt like outer space had collapsed, swallowed us like jellybeans.

Like two teenagers playing a prank on the universe.

In the cozy Subaru Crosstrek, in the old wild night, brimming with the uncertainty of life and the nonchalance of failure, we paraded ourselves back to Dallas. Alive in the river silence that follows us everywhere.

New installments come Mondays and Thursdays. Next, the Iowa caucuses. Check out my Twitter. Email me at kryan@blazemedia.com

The Iowa primary is just around the corner, and concerns of election interference from the last presidential election still loom. Back in 2016, The Associated Press found that a majority of U.S. elections systems still use Windows 7 as an operating system, making them highly susceptible to bugs and errors. And last year, a Mississippi voter tried multiple times to vote for the candidate of his choice, but the system continuously switched his vote to the other candidate. It's pretty clear: America's voting systems desperately need an update.

That's where blockchain voting comes in.

Blockchain voting is a record-keeping system that's 100% verifiable and nearly impossible to hack. Blockchain, the newest innovation in cybersecurity, is set to grow into a $20 billion industry by 2025. Its genius is in its decentralized nature, distributing information throughout a network of computers, requiring would-be hackers to infiltrate a much larger system. Infiltrating multiple access points spread across many computers requires a significant amount of computing power, which often costs more than hackers expect to get in return.

Blockchain voting wouldn't allow for many weak spots. For instance, Voatz, arguably the leading mobile voting platform, requires a person to take a picture of their government-issued ID and a picture of themselves before voting (a feature, of course, not present in vote-by-mail, where the only form of identity verification is a handwritten signature, which is easily forgeable). Voters select their choices and hit submit. They then receive an immediate receipt of their choices via email, another security feature not present in vote-by-mail, or even in-person voting. And because the system operates on blockchain technology, it's nearly impossible to tamper with.

Votes are then tabulated, and the election results are published, providing a paper trail, which is a top priority for elections security experts.

The benefits of blockchain voting can't be dismissed. Folks can cast their vote from the comfort of their homes, offices, etc., vastly increasing the number of people who can participate in the electoral process. Two to three-hour lines at polling places, which often deter voters, would become significantly diminished.

Even outside of the voting increase, the upsides are manifold. Thanks to the photo identification requirements, voter fraud—whether real or merely suspected—would be eliminated. The environment would win, too, since we'd no longer be wasting paper on mail-in ballots. Moreover, the financial burden on election offices would be alleviated, because there's decreased staff time spent on the election, saving the taxpayer money.

From Oregon to West Virginia, elections offices have already implemented blockchain voting, and the results have been highly positive. For example, the city of Denver utilized mobile voting for overseas voters in their 2019 municipal elections. The system was secure and free of technical errors, and participants reported that it was very user-friendly. Utah County used the same system for their 2019 primary and general elections. An independent audit revealed that every vote that was cast on the app was counted and counted correctly. These successful test cases are laying the groundwork for even larger expansions of the program in 2020.

With this vital switch, our elections become significantly more secure, accurate, and efficient. But right now, our election infrastructure is a sitting duck for manipulation. Our current lack of election integrity undermines the results of both local and national elections, fans the flames of partisanship, and zaps voter confidence in the democratic system. While there's never a silver bullet or quick fix to those kinds of things, blockchain voting would push us much closer to a solution than anything else.

Chris Harelson is the Executive Director at Prosperity Council and a Young Voices contributor.