The million dollar question for EVERY American

Pepi Stojanovski/Unsplash

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.

This compromise is an abomination

Zach Gibson/Getty Images

Three decades ago, "The Art of the Deal" made Donald Trump a household name. A lot has happened since then. But you can trace many of Trump's actions back to that book.

Art of the Deal:

In the end, you're measured not by how much you undertake but by what you finally accomplish.

People laughed when he announced that he was running for President. And I mean that literally. Remember the 2011 White House Correspondents' Dinner when Obama roasted Trump, viciously, mocking the very idea that Trump could ever be President. Now, he's President.

You can't con people, at least not for long. You can create excitement, you can do wonderful promotion and get all kinds of press, and you can throw in a little hyperbole. But if you don't deliver the goods, people will eventually catch on.

This empire-building is a mark of Trump.

RELATED: 'Arrogant fool' Jim Acosta exposed MSM's dishonest border agenda — again.

The most recent example is the border wall. Yesterday, congress reached a compromise on funding for the border wall. Weeks of tense back-and-forth built up to that moment. At times, it seemed like neither side would budge. Trump stuck to his guns, the government shut down, Trump refused to budge, then, miraculously, the lights came back on again. The result was a compromise. Or at least that's how it appeared.

But really, Trump got what he wanted -- exactly what he wanted. He used the techniques he wrote about in The Art of the Deal:

My style of deal-making is quite simple and straightforward. I aim very high, and then I just keep pushing and pushing and pushing to get what I'm after.

From the start, he demanded $5.7 billion for construction of a border wall. It was a months' long tug-of-war that eventually resulted in yesterday's legislation, which would dedicate $1.4 billion. It would appear that that was what he was after all along. Moments before the vote, he did some last-minute pushing. A national emergency declaration, and suddenly the number is $8 billion.

Art of the Deal:

People think I'm a gambler. I've never gambled in my life. To me, a gambler is someone who plays slot machines. I prefer to own slot machines. It's a very good business being the house.

In a rare show of bipartisanship, Senate passed the legislation 83-16, and the House followed with 300-128. Today, Trump will sign the bill.

It's not even fair to call that a deal, really. A deal is what happens when you go to a car dealership, fully ready to buy a car, and the salesman says the right things. What Trump did is more like a car dealer selling an entire row of cars to someone who doesn't even have a licence. When Trump started, Democrats wouldn't even consider a wall, let alone pay for it.

Art of the Deal:

The final key to the way I promote is bravado. I play to people's fantasies. People may not always think big themselves, but they can still get very excited by those who do. That's why a little hyperbole never hurts. People want to believe that something is the biggest and the greatest and the most spectacular. I call it truthful hyperbole. It's an innocent form of exaggeration—and a very effective form of promotion.

He started the wall on a chant, "Build the wall!" until he got what he wanted. He maneuvered like Don Draper, selling people something that they didn't even know they wanted, and convincing them that it is exactly what they've always needed.

As the nation soaks in the victory of the recent passing of the historic First Step Act, there are Congressmen who haven't stopped working to solve additional problems with the criminal justice system. Because while the Act was impactful, leading to the well-deserved early release of many incarcerated individuals, it didn't go far enough. That's why four Congressmen have joined forces to reintroduce the Justice Safety Valve Act—legislation that would grant judges judicial discretion when determining appropriate sentencing.

There's a real need for this legislation since it's no secret that lawmakers don't always get it right. They may pass laws with good intentions, but unintended consequences often prevail. For example, there was a time when the nation believed the best way to penalize lawbreakers was to be tough on crime, leading to sweeping mandatory minimum sentencing laws implemented both nationally and statewide.

RELATED: If Trump can support criminal justice reform, so can everyone else

Only in recent years have governments learned that these sentences aren't good policy for the defendant or even the public. Mandatory minimum sentences are often overly harsh, don't act as a public deterrent for crime, and are extremely costly to taxpayers. These laws tie judges' hands, preventing them from using their knowledge and understanding of the law to make case relevant decisions.

Because legislation surrounding criminal law is often very touchy and difficult to change (especially on the federal level, where bills can take multiple years to pass) mandatory minimum sentences are far from being done away with—despite the data-driven discoveries of their downfalls. But in order to solve the problems inherent within all of the different laws imposing sentencing lengths, Congress needs to pass the Justice Safety Valve Act now. Ensuring its passing would allow judges to use discretion while sentencing, rather than forcing them to continue issuing indiscriminate sentences no matter the unique facts of the case.

Rather than take years to go back and try to fix every single mandatory minimum law that has been federally passed, moving this single piece of legislation forward is the best way to ensure judges can apply their judgment in every appropriate case.

When someone is facing numerous charges from a single incident, mandatory minimum sentencing laws stack atop one another, resulting in an extremely lengthy sentence that may not be just. Such high sentences may even be violations of an individual's eighth amendment rights, what with the imposition of cruel and unusual punishment. It's exactly what happened with Weldon Angelos.

In Salt Lake City in 2002, Weldon sold half a pound of marijuana to federal agents on two separate occasions. Unbeknownst to Weldon, the police had targeted him because they suspected he was a part of a gang and trafficking operation. They were oh-so-wrong. Weldon had never sold marijuana before and only did this time because he was pressured by the agents to find marijuana for them. He figured a couple lowkey sales could help out his family's financial situation. But Weldon was caught and sentenced to a mandatory 55 years in prison. This massive sentence is clearly unjust for a first time, non-violent crime, and even the Judge, Paul Cassell, agreed. Judge Cassell did everything he could to reduce the sentence, but, due to federal law, it wasn't much.

The nation is facing an over-criminalization problem that costs taxpayers millions and amounts to the foolish eradication of individual liberties.

In cases like Weldon's, a safety valve for discretionary power is much needed. Judges need the ability to issue sentences below the mandatory minimums, depending on mitigating factors such as mental health, provocation, or physical illness. That's what this new bill would allow for. Critics may argue that this gives judges too much power, but under the bill, judges must first make a finding on why it's necessary to sentence below the mandatory minimum. Then, they must write a clear statement explaining their decision.

Judges are unlikely to risk their careers to allow dangerous criminals an early release. If something happens after an offender is released early, the political pressure is back on the judge who issued the shorter sentence—and no one wants that kind of negative attention. In order to avoid risky situations like this, they'd use their discretion very cautiously, upholding the oath they took to promote justice in every case.

The nation is facing an overcriminalization problem that costs taxpayers millions and amounts to the foolish eradication of individual liberties. Mandatory minimums have exacerbated this problem, and it's time for that to stop. Congresswomen and men have the opportunity to help solve this looming problem by passing the Justice Safety Valve Act to untie the hands of judges and restore justice in individual sentences.

Molly Davis is a policy analyst at Libertas Institute, a free market think tank in Utah. She's a writer for Young Voices, and her work has previously appeared in The Hill, TownHall.com, and The Washington Examiner.

New gadget for couples in 'the mood' lets a button do the talking

Photo by Matt Nelson on Unsplash

Just in time for Valentine's Day, there's a new romantic gadget for couples that is sure to make sparks fly. For those with their minds in the gutter, I'm not talking about those kinds of gadgets. I'm talking about a brilliant new device for the home called "LoveSync."

This is real — it's a simple pair of buttons for busy, modern couples who have plenty of time for social media and Netflix, but can't quite squeeze in time to talk about their... uh... special relationship.

Here's how it works. Each partner has their own individual LoveSync button. Whenever the mood strikes one partner, all they have to do is press their own button. That sets their button aglow for a certain period of time. If, during that time window, their partner also presses their own button, then both buttons light up in a swirling green pattern to signal that love has "synced"...and it's go time.

According to the makers of LoveSync, this device will "Take the Luck out of Getting Lucky." It brings a whole new meaning to "pushing each other's buttons." It's an ideal gift to tell your significant other "I care," without actually having to care, or talk about icky things like feelings.

If you find your significant other is already on the couch binge-watching The Bachelor, no problem! You can conveniently slink back to your button and hold it in for four seconds to cancel the desire. No harm, no foul! Live to fight another day.

Have fun explaining those buttons to inquiring children.

No word yet on whether LoveSync can also order wine, light candles or play Barry White. Maybe that's in the works for LoveSync 2.0.

Of course, LoveSync does have some pitfalls. Cats and toddlers love a good button. That'll be a fun conversation — "Honey, who keeps canceling my mood submissions?" And have fun explaining those buttons to inquiring children. "Yeah, kids, that button just controls the lawn sprinklers. No big deal."

If you've been dialing it in for years on Valentine's Day with flowers and those crappy boxes of chocolate, now you can literally dial it in. With a button.

Good luck with that.