Tags: States | Rebel | Against | EPA | Treasury Sets Revenue Record But Deficit Remains | Homeschooling Rises 62 Percent | 74 Percent of Americans Dissatisfied With U.S. Direction

States Rebel Against EPA; Treasury Sets Revenue Record But Deficit Remains; Homeschooling Rises 62 Percent

By    |   Sunday, 24 May 2015 01:56 PM

Insider Report

Headlines (Scroll down for complete stories):
1. States Rebel Against EPA's Clean Power Plan
2. Treasury Sets Record for Revenue — Deficit Remains
3. Poll: 74 Percent of Americans Dissatisfied With U.S. Direction
4. U.S. Gas Exports Threaten Russia's Dominance in Europe
5. Holocaust Center Protests Pension Payments to War Criminals
6. Homeschooling Rises 62 Percent in a Decade


1. States Rebel Against EPA's Clean Power Plan

State Officials have gone on the offensive against the Environmental Protection Agency's Clean Power Plan (CPP) limiting carbon-dioxide emissions at existing fossil-fuel-fired power plants.

The CPP would establish state-by-state carbon emissions rate reduction targets.

Gov. Mary Fallin, R-Okla., in late April issued an executive order arguing that the EPA "has exceeded its authority under the Clean Air Act," the 1970 federal law requiring the EPA to take steps to reduce air pollution that harms the public's health, from which the EPA claims authority for the CPP.

Fallin also prohibits the state's Department of Environmental Quality from participating with the development of plans to implement CPP regulations.

And she said that if the CPP is adopted this summer, she "will not submit" a State Implementation Plan (SIP) intended to ensure full compliance with the federal mandate, Thomas K. Lindsay disclosed in an article for realclearpolicy.com.

Nine days after Fallin issued the executive order, Texas' Republican Gov. Greg Abbott met with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Texas Sens. John Cornyn and Ted Cruz to discuss what Abbott predicted would be "grave consequences for the State of Texas" if the CPP is enforced.

Abbott's press advisory said the CPP "will certainly result in higher energy prices for Texans, killing jobs and stagnating Texas' unprecedented economic growth."

The Texas House of Representatives is considering a bill that would require the state, like Oklahoma, to deny the EPA's request that it submit a SIP for the federal mandate.

Texas and Oklahoma are not alone, observes Lindsay, director of the Centers for Tenth Amendment Action and Higher Education at the Texas Public Policy Foundation. He cited one survey disclosing that there are now 32 states "in which elected officials have expressed firm opposition" to the CPP.

Several U.S. senators have proposed legislation to combat the CPP. Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., head of the Senate Environmental and Public Works Committee's Clean Air and Nuclear Safety Subcommittee, and six other senators introduced the Affordable Reliable Energy Now Act (ARENA).

The bill would extend the CPP's compliance deadlines pending review by federal courts, and bar any state from being forced to implement a SIP or a Federal Implementation Plan if the state's governor concludes that doing so would harm the state's economy.

ARENA would also prohibit the EPA from withholding federal highway funds from states that are found to not be in compliance with the CPP.

FOOTNOTE: According to The Atlantic, the EPA itself admits that the CPP's effect against the threat of climate change will be so small, reducing warming by 0.016 degrees Fahrenheit over the next century, that it will be impossible to measure.

Editor's Note:


2. Treasury Sets Record for Revenue — Deficit Remains

Federal tax revenues hit an all-time record of $1.891 trillion in the first seven months of the fiscal year, but the federal government still ran a deficit of $262.7 billion, according to the latest Monthly Treasury Statement.

Each month the Treasury Department publishes the government's "total receipts," including revenue from individual income taxes, corporate income taxes, social insurance and retirement taxes including Social Security and Medicare taxes, unemployment insurance taxes, excise taxes, estate and gift taxes, customs duties, and "miscellaneous receipts."

The report shows figures for the most recent month, and for the current fiscal year to date.

In constant 2015 dollars, the $1.891 trillion collected from October through April was $171.3 billion more than the record $1.72 trillion collected in the first seven months of fiscal 2014.

After 2014, the third highest federal tax intake in the first seven months occurred in fiscal 2007, when the government collected $1.703 trillion in 2015 dollars.

Despite the record revenue collection this fiscal year, the government spent about $2.174 trillion and left the deficit of approximately $262.7 billion.

The government actually ran a surplus of $157 billion for the month of April, when most Americans file their income tax returns and many send in money to compensate for an underpayment.

For the first seven months of fiscal 2015, the largest share of revenue came from individual income taxes, $929 billion.

The largest outlay was for the Department of Health and Human Services, which administers Medicare and Medicaid — $585 billion, followed by the Social Security Administration ($543 billion) and the Department of Defense ($330 billion).

Interest on Treasury Debt Securities amounted to $192 billion over the seven months, and is projected to cost $431.5 billion for the full fiscal year — more than the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Education, Energy, Homeland Security, Interior and Labor combined.

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3. Poll: 74 Percent of Americans Dissatisfied With U.S. Direction

Just one-quarter of Americans now say they are satisfied with the "way things are going" in the nation, down from 32 percent in January and February, and the rest are dissatisfied, a new poll reveals.

Satisfaction ranged between 20 percent and 27 percent in 2014 before rising to 32 percent at the beginning of this year, only to drop to 26 percent in May, according to the Gallup poll.

The historical average dating back to 1979 is 36 percent.

A majority of Gallup poll respondents were satisfied with the nation's direction between 1998 and mid-2002, reaching a record high of 71 percent in February 1999 with Bill Clinton in the White House.

But satisfaction levels plunged during the George W. Bush administration and reached a record low of 7 percent in October 2008 as the economy tanked and the stock market plummeted.

Satisfaction rose to 36 percent in President Obama's first term, but it has not returned to that level since then, bottoming out at 11 percent at one point during his presidency.

Asked to cite the problems that they consider "most important" for the country, "dissatisfaction with government" was named by the largest percentage of respondents, 14 percent.

That mirrors the results of another recent poll, by Rasmussen Reports, which found that just 10 percent of Americans rate Congress' overall performance as excellent or good, while 59 percent say it is poor.

In the Gallup survey, the economy was the second most-cited problem, at 12 percent, followed by unemployment at 10 percent.

Other problems cited include race relations and racism (8 percent), immigration/illegal aliens (6 percent), a decline in moral, religious and family ethics (6 percent), healthcare (5 percent), and terrorism (5 percent).

The gap between rich and poor, national security, and education each got 4 percent.

Gallup observed that dissatisfaction with government, the economy, and unemployment "remain at the forefront of Americans' concerns, and may be driving Americans' high level of dissatisfaction with the nation's direction."

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4. U.S. Gas Exports Threaten Russia's Dominance in Europe

The United States is poised to begin exporting huge amounts of liquefied natural gas produced from shale fracking, posing a significant threat to Russia's dominance in the European gas market.

"We anticipate becoming big players, and I think we'll have a big impact," said U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz. "We're going to influence the whole LNG market."

Moniz said four LNG export terminals are under construction and the first exports may be shipped overseas as early as this year.

Industry insiders believe American exports could enable the U.S. to overtake Russia as the world's biggest supplier of natural gas of all kinds, The Telegraph reported.

Energy exports to Europe enable Russia to exert enormous economic and political influence there, with some countries nearly totally dependent on Russian energy exports.

Poland gets 88 percent of its total energy imports from Russia, Finland gets 76 percent, Sweden 54 percent, and Germany 46 percent, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Russian energy exports account for 90 percent of all energy imports in Hungary, 85 percent in Lithuania and Bulgaria, 71 percent in Latvia, and 64 percent in the Czech Republic. In Slovakia, the figure is 100 percent.

Russian President Vladimir Putin warned at an economic summit last year that U.S. shale gas exports would have serious implications for Russia.

"Any future American cargoes would further erode [Russian energy giant] Gazprom's pricing power in Europe, and erode the Kremlin's political leverage," The Telegraph observed, adding that due to improved drilling technology, U.S. drillers can produce a third more natural gas today with 280 rigs than they did in 2009 with 1,200 rigs.

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5. Holocaust Center Protests Pension Payments to War Criminals

The Simon Wiesenthal Center has sent a letter of protest to the government of Croatia over pension payments the country is said to be making to veterans of the Ustasha military force responsible for the mass murder of Jews and others during World War II.

Ustasha was a fascist, ultranationalist organization that the Nazis appointed to rule parts of Axis-occupied Yugoslavia as the Independent State of Croatia beginning in 1941. It was considered a puppet state of Germany.

In a letter sent on Tuesday to Croatian Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic, Dr. Efraim Zuroff, a Nazi hunter who heads the Wiesenthal Center's Jerusalem office, harshly criticized the disbursement of pensions to Ustasha veterans, the Jerusalem Post reported.

Ustasha, also known as Ustase, was fiercely anti-Semitic and was responsible for the murder of over half a million Serbs and the majority of the country's Jews.

Out of 40,000 Jews in the independent state of Croatia, 20,000 were murdered by the Ustasha and another 10,000 were deported by the group to Auschwitz.

Some victims of Ustasha were mutilated, beheaded, or hacked to death, and many died in Croatian concentration camps.

"In view of the horrendous war crimes committed in the [Independent State of Croatia] by the Ustasha, we believe that such a policy is inherently mistaken, contrary to the principles of the Republic of Croatia and a horrific insult to the victims of the Ustasha, their families and all Croatians with a sense of morality and integrity,” Zuroff wrote regarding the pensions.

"We therefore urge you to take the appropriate measures to change this policy as quickly as possible and spare Croatia the shame of rewarding those who were among the worst and most cruel perpetrators of World War II crimes with special rewards for their cruelty and moral blindness."

In reply to a request for comment, a spokesman for the Foreign Ministry of Croatia told the Post: "We cannot comment on the letter since it is not received yet, but Ustasha war criminals were not granted any special benefits."

Editor's Note:


6. Homeschooling Rises 62 Percent in a Decade

The number of American children ages five through 17 who are homeschooled rose from just over 1.09 million in 2003 to 1.77 million in 2012, an increase of 61.8 percent over the 10-year period.

Figures released by the Department of Education this month in its Digest of Education Statistics, the most recent available, show that 3.4 percent of the nation's 51.6 million students in that age group were homeschooled in 2012.

And homeschooling is likely to continue to rise due to many parents' opposition to Washington-backed Common Core, the national education standard.

A rise in homeschooling "has become a trend across the nation over the past couple of years," Glyn Wright, executive director of the Eagle Forum, told Fox News.

In 2012, homeschooling was most prevalent in two-parent households where one parent worked and the other did not. In these households, 5.3 percent of the students, 618,000 children, were homeschooled.

In two-parent families where both worked, just 1.3 percent of students were homeschooled. In single-parent families where the one parent worked, 0.7 percent of students were homeschooled. And in households in which no parent worked, 1.8 percent of students were homeschooled.

The DOE report indicates that 1.6 percent of students whose parents had a high school diploma or less were homeschooled in 2012, as were 2.4 percent of students whose parents had a college degree.

Somewhat surprisingly, the percentage of students who were homeschooled rose with the number of children in a family — 1.6 percent of students in a single-child household were homeschooled, while 2.9 percent of those in a family with three or more children were homeschooled.

In 2012, 3.3 percent of white children were homeschooled, as were 0.6 percent of Hispanics, while the DOE said that regarding the number of black or Asian students homeschooled, "reporting standards not met (too few cases for a reliable estimate)."

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Insider ReportHeadlines (Scroll down for complete stories):1. States Rebel Against EPA's Clean Power Plan 2. Treasury Sets Record for Revenue - Deficit Remains 3. Poll: 74 Percent of Americans Dissatisfied With U.S. Direction 4. U.S. Gas Exports Threaten Russia's Dominance...
States, Rebel, Against, EPA, Treasury Sets Revenue Record But Deficit Remains, Homeschooling Rises 62 Percent, 74 Percent of Americans Dissatisfied With U.S. Direction, U.S. Gas Exports Threaten Russias Dominance in Europe, Holocaust Center Protests Pension Payments to War Criminals
Sunday, 24 May 2015 01:56 PM
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