Saturday, April 23, 2022

Lies and basic nonsense is being spread by critics of the TN GOP SEC decisions to remove Ortagus and Starbuck and Lee.

Mark Rogers
By Mark Rogers, originally appearing on a Facebook post, 4-22-202-  Lots of lies and basic nonsense is being spread by critics of the TN GOP SEC decisions to remove Ortagus and Starbuck and Lee. 

1) The SEC is dominated by people who were MAGA when Trump was only grifting business associates. Sadly too few true old-school Rs left.

2) The requirement that candidates vote in 3 of 4 primaries was a far-right move when they couldn't get legislative support for closing primaries. Regardless of what some people are saying, it wasn't moderates who are responsible for removing Starbuck and Ortagus.

3) Having someone vouch for a candidate isn't a silver bullet. SEC members are free to reject a candidate if they don’t think the person has been active in the party. Neither Ortagus or Starbuck had done anything for local Republicans in any of the 6 counties before running for a seat in Congress. There was no conspiracy of moderates or rules violation by the SEC. 

Personally, I think Baxter Lee got hosed but Ortagus and Starbuck are as 'Middle Tennessee' as the topless bachelorettes projectile vomiting from a party bus on Broadway. It isn't the newness, it is the lack of any involvement before wanting to represent us.

Rod's Comment:  Mark Rogers has long been active in Republican Party politics and is an astute observer of political trends and events and Republican politics. 

I think his observations on the issue of the SEC's removal of Ortagus and Starbuck and Lee is correct. I disagree with the decision to remove these three candidates but it was not RINO's, thugs, insiders, moderates, or the swam who removed these three candidates from the ballot. 

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Thursday, April 21, 2022

Millennials are quickly coming to the conclusion that they may never be able to afford a home.

By Rod Williams, April 21, 2022- I spent my career as a housing counselor serving as Director of Housing Services for the Woodbine Community Organization and had the pleasure of helping hundreds of low to modest income people become homeowners.  It was rewarding work.  

The majority of those we helped were not in need of much help.  They were only low-income because they were young and starting their careers. They may have needed some advice on repairing their credit or building credit, they needed some education on mortgage programs and the home buying process, and some help with the downpayment.  Tennessee, like all states, has a program to help first-time homebuyers with downpayment assistance or with programs that reduce mortgage interest rates.  One can learn about these programs at this link

In addition to helping the first-time homeowner who only needed a little help, the agency I worked for helped hundreds of hardcore low-income people become homeowners.  Not all low-income people have the same challenges. There are low-income people with middle-class values who are only low-income because they are young or working jobs that don't pay much.  Then, there are those trapped in the cycle of poverty and the welfare system who have circumstances and values that make homeownership hard to achieve. 

To help these people was challenging and took a minimum of a solid year of monthly classes and numerous one-on-one counseling sessions.  For some, it took years before they were ready to buy a house. Almost all of these people would become the first in their families to ever own a home. Many came out of public housing.  For these people, it required that they change their values and habits. They had to change their way of thinking. Most of the people who joined what we called "homebuyers clubs," could not or would not make the changes necessary to become homeowners, but many did.  It was rewarding when you could see the light go off and habits start to change. 

There were various grants and mechanisms to help the hardcore poor but in the end, the client had to have an acceptable credit score, reportable income sufficient to finance the majority of the sale price of the home, and some savings. When these people got into a house, they were ready for homeownership. Sadly, hardcore low-income people will never be able to buy a home the way things are today. When I was a housing counselor, I could encourage the single mother on welfare living in public housing, that if she was willing to make hard changes and put in the effort, homeownership was possible.  Today, I could not hold out that hope. The dream of homeownership would have to remain a dream. Most of the people I served in this category of the hardcore generation poor were African Americans. Unfortunately, the rate of homeownership among African Americans is lower now than in 1994.  All of the talk about "equity," and social justice, and the building of resentment does nothing to lift people out of poverty. All of the pious talk about "affordable housing," will put very few poor people into a home.

Unfortunately, not only for the generationally hardcore poor, is homeownership likely to remain a dream, but it is more and more likely to remain a dream for many middle-class people also.  Recently my daughter and her husband became homeowners.  I was able to help them.  For many people without parents who are able to substantially help them, they will never be able to realize the dream of homeownership. That is a sad fact of life.

Home prices and interest rates continue to skyrocket with no end in sight putting homeownership out of the reach of many working people. 

An organization called Apartment List which does research on housing issues and tracks trends in home and rental prices recently conducted a survey of people and found that many Millennials told them they are quickly coming to the conclusion that they may never be able to afford a home, and most who do want to be homeowners don’t have any money saved for a down payment. 

Here are some key findings from that report:

  • According to the most recent Census data, the Millennial homeownership rate stands at 48.6 percent, more than 20 percentage points lower than the rate for Gen X and almost 30 percentage points lower than Baby Boomers.
  • Millennial homeownership lags even after adjusting for age. Among older Millennials who have hit age 40, 60 percent own homes. At that same point in life, 64 percent of Gen Xers, 68 percent of Baby Boomers and 73 percent of Silents owned homes.
  • With each passing year – and accelerated by the pandemic – an increasing share of Millennial renters say they will never own a home. 22 percent of Millennial renters view themselves as “always renters” in 2021, and preliminary data from 2022 shows that share increasing.
  • As Millennials age, affordability becomes increasingly important to their housing choices. Other factors in the “rent or buy” decision (e.g., lifestyle flexibility) have become less important to Millennials as they age.
  • Down payment savings rates remain shockingly low for Millennials who want to buy homes. In 2021, nearly two-thirds say they have no savings whatsoever, and only 16 percent have saved more than $10,000. The average savings of just over $12,000 represents just a 4 percent down payment on a median-priced condo today.

This is discouraging. Homeownership is good for society as well as the individual. For most people, if they never own a home they will never accumulate wealth. Crime rates, fertility rates, out-of-wedlock birth rates, and other measures of a society's well-being are reflective of homeownership rates.  It stands to reason that homeownership leads to generational improvements. The next generation will have a better standard of living than the previous.  Never owning a home will most likely lead to the next generation being less well off than the previous. While I can state no study to support this, I suspect that homeowners feel more invested in their communities than renters. I suspect they are more grounded.  I suspect they have less resentment toward society and are less inclined to support wealth redistribution schemes. I don't know this, but I suspect homeowners will generally be more conservative, or at least less radical than if they had remained renters. 

Several things need to happen to reverse this trend toward lower homeownership. Governments at all levels need to stop doing the things that cause housing to become less and less affordable. We need to tinker with the tax code to encourage savings and homeownership. We need to stop focusing on "equity" and programs that make people think they are victims and focus on programs that provide opportunities for economic advancement.

You can find the full report from Apartment List at this link.

For more of my views regarding the issue of affordable housing, see the following:

Antiquated Zoning Laws Are Worsening the Housing Crisis

The dream of homeownership is becoming more elusive by the day

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Wednesday, April 20, 2022


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Bastiat Society of Nashville event, April 21st: "Our Increasingly Politicized Fed" with Bryan Cutsinger.


Register Here

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More stupidity from Frank Nicely and Ortagus responds condemning his apparent anti-Semitism.

by Mark Moore, The New York Post, April 20, 2022 - ... “I don’t think Trump cares one way or the other,” Niceley told NBC News last month about the possibility of Ortagus being removed from the ballot. “I think Jared Kushner — he’s Jewish, she’s Jewish — I think Jared will be upset. Ivanka [Trump] will be upset. I don’t think Trump cares.” ....

“Anti-Semitism is the oldest and one of the most vile forms of hatred on this earth, and Senator Niceley should be ashamed of his repeated anti-Semitic rhetoric,” Ortagus tweeted Tuesday. “I am incredibly proud to call myself a part of the Jewish people.” (read it all)

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Robby Starbuck responds to being kicked off the ballot in this fund-raising email. He needs to take a deep breath and get a grip

by Rod Williams, April 20, 2022 - I just received the following email fundraiser from Robby Starbuck. 

While I disagree with the decision of the TNGOP to remove him from the ballot, I think it was not a "startling concession to corruption." Also, I probably know some of these seventeen people who made up the committee who voted to remove Starbuck from the ballot or know of them. People I know who serve in the GOP as county or state officials, are unpaid and voluntarily give of their time and often their finances to serve the Party and the community. "Establishment operatives," does not describe them. They are hardly "the swamp," and they are not "thugs."

Starbuck tries to wrap himself in the Donald Trump flag by calling himself an unapologetic Pro-Trump candidate. However, don't forget. He does not have Trump's endorsement. Trump has endorsed Ortagus. 

Also, while I disagree with the TNGOP in knocking Starbuck off the ballot, to compare Tennessee to Communist Cuba is over the top and just nonsense. 

I know Starbuck is disappointed and probably angry and anger and inflamed rhetoric sell well among a lot of Republicans these days, but Starbuck needs to take a deep breath and get a grip. The tone of this letter reinforces my opinion that Robby Starbuck should not be the GOP's 5th Congressional district candidate.

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TNGOP Disqualifies Morgan Ortagus, Robby Starbuck, and Baxter Lee from TN-5 GOP Ballot

by Aaron Gulbransen, Tennessee Star, April 19, 2022 - ... Morgan Ortagus, Robby Starbuck, and Baxter Lee are no longer candidates for the TN-5 GOP nomination after a vote by a select committee of the Tennessee Republican Party.

The select committee voted not to restore Robby Starbuck, Morgan Ortagus, who was endorsed by former President Donald Trump one week before she announced her candidacy,  and Baxter Lee to the ballot after they were previously removed because of verified challenges to their bona fide status.Starbuck had previously threatened a lawsuit if his status was challenged. It is currently unclear if he or any of the other disqualified candidates will pursue a legal challenge. The TNGOP’s ruling is on very strong legal ground and is protected by statute. (Read more)

Rod's Comment: I am disappointed. As Ms Ortagus said after the select committee made its decision,  "I believe that voters in Middle Tennessee should pick their representative – not establishment party insiders. (1)" 

If you think Starbuck and Ortagus are carpetbaggers, don't vote for them.  I am undecided as to whom I am going to vote for in the 5th Congressional district, so it is not as if I am disappointed because my preferred candidate got booted off the ballot. In fact, I am inclined not to vote for Ortagus, primarily because I do not want to see Trump-endorsed candidates elected. I want President Trump's power and influence to wane. Also, the fact that she can not even name the interstate that bisects the district she wants to serve makes me inclined not to support her candidacy.  I am also not inclined to support Starbuck and don't know enough about Baxter to have an opinion. 

If I shouldn't vote for Ortagus or Starbuck because they are new to the district, let their opponents make the argument and let me decide. If I should not vote for Baxter because in 2020 he voted in a Democrat presidential primary, then make that case in the campaign and let me decide.

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