VOLUME 34, ISSUE 2
Distributed quarterly by mail and email, the Conservative Caucus of Delaware's newsletter contains relevant information and insights from noted leaders, authoritative stakeholders and like-minded members who demonstrate their passion for the truths we hold dear by putting pen to paper!
The Enemy - ISIL
By Robin Crossan
Who are these people? ISIL stands for Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. They are also known as ISIS for Islamic State of Iraq. Secretary of State John Kerry refers to them as “Daesh” which is an acronym derived from its Arabic name. Other such groups go by names like al-Qaeda, Al-Shabaab, Boko Haram, Hezbollah, and the Muslim Brotherhood, et cetera. Within Islam, two major divisions are the Sunni
Muslims and the Shi ite Muslims.
Sunnis comprise 90 percent of Muslims and follow the traditions of the first two generations of the Muslim community. The Shi ite Muslims comprise only 10 percent of Muslims and believe that the Muslim community should be headed by a designated descendant of Muhammad, the founder of Islam.
What do they want? The countries attacked by Islamists think they know why they are being attacked. The anti-war Left thinks it is because the West is imperialist, racist, or not responsive enough to Third World poverty. Those who want to fight back against the terrorists think the Islamists just hate our freedom, opportunities, and success. Both of these groups fail to see that the reasons the Islamists are attacking the West lies within Islam itself.
A training manual produced by the radical Islamist terror group al Qaeda shows the motivation of the Islamist-
“[An] Islamic government would never be established except by the bomb and rifle. Islam does not coincide or make a truce with unbelief, but rather confronts it. The confrontation that Islam calls for with these godless and apostate regimes, does not know Socratic debates, Platonic ideals nor Aristotelian diplomacy. But it knows the dialogue of bullets, the ideals of assassination, bombing, and destruction, and the diplomacy of the cannon and machine-gun. The young came to prepare themselves for Jihad [holy war], commanded by the majestic Allah’s order in the holy Koran.”
This terrorist motivation was summarized recently after the Brussels attack by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who said, “Terrorists have no resolvable grievances.”
Closing Gitmo will not stop the Islamist. More good jobs will not stop the Islamist. Appeasement will not stop the Islamist. Winning the hearts and minds of the terrorists will not stop the Islamist. The only thing that will stop the Islamist terrorists is overwhelming force. If the West lacks the will to fight fire with fire, the West will be history. The Islamists do not have a plan to win the hearts and minds of the West.
Their plan is to splatter hearts and minds all over the place until the survivors convert. Not all Muslims are terrorists, but all of these terrorists are Muslim. And what do they want? An Islamic government commanded by Allah’s holy Koran. They must be stopped and by the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ they will be. ■
College Debt Crushing the American Dream
By Sam Friedman
When I first began college in 2007, I was just obeying the old American mantra my parents believed in: Go to college, get a degree, find a good job, get married, have kids, and buy a home. Throw in an annual vacation to someplace nice and a good car. To millions of Americans, that’s the “American Dream.”
Well, the economy has changed, and it’s happened faster than anyone could have imagined. New technology, the rise of the gig economy (such as driving for Uber or freelancing) and automation taking jobs (just wait until presidential candidates rail against the machines taking our jobs), combined with inflation thanks to government over-spending, means the old concept of the dream is effectively over for all but a tiny few under the age of 40.
For many Millennials, of which I am one, we increasingly are less likely to marry or have a family, and few Millennials own their own home. In fact, many do not want a mortgage and many don’t even want a car, preferring to live in a big city and take public transportation or ride bicycles around town.
For the vast majority who did not join the military and earn benefits which include college tuition paid for, we are pushed to take out massive loans to finance our “dreams.” As college got more expensive, the federal government began providing more loans, and colleges, seeing piles of free money, began charging even more, which caused the government to hand out more loans, and the cycle repeated. Nearly 70 percent of bachelor’s degree recipients leave school with debt, according to the White House. The Federal Reserve Bank of New York issued a report for the end of the academic year on June 30, 2015, saying the amount graduates owed on delinquent student loans was nearly $1.2 trillion. An article in
Marketwatch quotes Mark Kantrowitz, the publisher of Edvisors.com (a website with information on college costs and financial aid), saying the class of 2015 has an average debt of $35,051, two thousand
dollars more than the class of 2014. Meanwhile, good-paying jobs are hard to come by, and grade inflation (perhaps for fear of hurting sensitive feelings) means college degrees are less valuable than they were 30-40 years ago. The federal government, by effectively nationalizing the student loan program in 2009, has given colleges no incentives to do anything but continue holding their gold cups to the federal spigot and take more and more to spend, then passing the bill to their customers—the students.
The government makes the situation worse by dealing with the delinquent payments in a passive-aggressive way. On the one hand, student loan debt is not eligible for discharging if one files personal bankruptcy, and the government aggressively hires collecting agencies to go after students who don’t pay. On the other hand, government waives unpaid student loan debt after 20 years, or 10 if you work for a non-profit or the federal government (another incentive to be a government employee!), and we’re not even up to Bernie Sanders’ “free college” appeal.
That means the taxpayers are left to pay for students who can’t make payments because their Uber or Starbucks job doesn’t pay enough. Right now, the total student loan deficit is one of the biggest bubbles that could soon collapse, along the lines of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. And taxpayers will be on the hook to “bail out” students unable to earn enough from their minimum-wage or lower-paying salaried jobs to pay debt off.
The solution is very simple, but it requires us to rethink what the “American Dream” is. First off, we should encourage students, who truly do not belong at college, to consider military service, the Peace Corps, or learning a trade. We should also promote these not as inferior options, but as reasonable and respectable choices for some people.
Second, we need to encourage more businesses to offer scholarships for talented and hard-working students they can hire after graduation. Limit government student loans to specific needs (veterans and those talented students who would truly not be able to attend college otherwise, for example). That means a temporary hardship for schools used to the money spigot, but in the long run they will run lean and effectively, keeping the cost of tuition down.
Finally, we need economic policies that encourage entrepreneurship and help small businesses grow. This will create new wealth and new jobs for everyone, even for college graduates looking to start a family and buy a home.While my “American Dream” may not be the same as my parents or grandparents, at least I will be able to have my own “American Dream” and be able to enjoy the quality of life I work for. ■