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by John Stossel

Donald Trump once wanted to cut military spending. 

Before running for president, he said Congress' automatic "sequestration" cuts didn't go far enough, that they were "a very small percentage of the cuts that should be made." 

Then he ran for office and said he would "make our military so big, so powerful, so strong that nobody -- absolutely nobody -- is going to mess with us." He promised to provide 50,000 more soldiers, 74 ships and 87 more fighter jets. 

This week, he followed through. He proposed increasing military spending by $54 billion per year. 

Why did he change his mind?

Even libertarianish Republicans, like Sen. Rand Paul, call for increased spending at election time. It's assumed voters like hearing that. 

But maybe they don't. 

When Americans were asked, "If one additional tax dollar were raised in the U.S., where should that dollar go?" just 12 percent said the military, according to a new poll by the Charles Koch Institute and the Center for the National Interest. 

Asked if U.S. foreign policy over the last 15 years made Americans more or less safe, 51 percent said less. Only 11 percent said more safe. The polls were consistent over time. In October and December, the majority also said the last 15 years of American interventions made us less safe. 

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by Walter E. Williams

U.S. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said in a statement, "The president's decision to ask Betsy DeVos to run the Department of Education should offend every single American man, woman, and child who has benefitted from the public education system in this country." Expressing similar sentiments, Congressional Black Caucus Chairman Cedric Richmond said, "I expect that Mrs. DeVos will have an incredibly harmful impact on public education and on black communities nationwide." Those and many other criticisms of Department of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos could be dismissed as simply political posturing if we did not have an educational system that is mostly mediocre and is in advanced decay for most black students.

According to The Nation's Report Card, only 37 percent of 12th-graders were proficient in reading in 2015, and just 25 percent were proficient in math (https://www.nationsreportcard.gov). For black students, achievement levels were a disgrace. Nationally, 17 percent of black students scored proficient in reading, and 7 percent scored proficient in math. In some cities, such as Detroit, black academic proficiency is worse; among eighth-graders, only 4 percent were proficient in math, and only 7 percent were proficient in reading.

The nation's high-school graduation rate rose again in the 2014-15 school year, reaching a record high as more than 83 percent of students earned a diploma on time. Educators see this as some kind of achievement and congratulate themselves. The tragedy is that high-school graduation has little relevance to achievement.

In 2014-15, graduation rates at District of Columbia Public Schools, just as they did nationally, climbed to an all-time high. At H.D. Woodson High School, 76 percent of students graduated on time; however, just 1 percent met math standards on national standardized tests linked to the Common Core academic standards. Just 4 percent met the reading standards.

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More dirt is being turned at The Markets at Mesa Ridge in Fountain, Colorado. 

This time, for a new Jimmy John's subs. When completed, there will be a Jimmy John's, a Subways and a Jersey Mikes all within walking distance of each other, so everyone can get their sandwich on. 

For more information about Jimmy John's visit www.JimmyJohns.com.

 

 

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The El Paso County Clerk is pleased to announce that as of February 21, 2017, all El Paso County Motor Vehicle offices are offering drivers license services. 

For more information on El Paso County government visit www.ElPasoCo.com

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Submitted by Travis Boak, Denver, CO

As a young person working in the real estate businesses and a budding entrepreneur, I have had to work hard every day for my clients and my company. Working in real estate is not for everyone. Though I couldn’t see myself doing anything else, I find myself often keeping odd hours and staying late many nights to help the company. As a broker in Michigan, I was tested much the same way but my dedication to helping small businesses succeed has kept me going and brought me to Colorado. Over the past decade, many small independent businesses have been absorbed by large corporations or have simply closed their doors in the face of increasing taxes and regulations. Small businesses play a large role in communities in every state in the country. When local businesses leave the neighborhood, the little league baseball team needs a new sponsor, storefronts downtown close, and the overall feeling of community is diminished with every business forced to close.

My success so far working in real estate has hinged on one word: responsibility. In a small business, when an employee needs help, they are treated like family; when the energy costs increase, small businesses tighten their belts rather than penalizing employees; when my personal bills are due, I pay them. Main street businesses don’t have the luxury of expensive lawyers or lobbyists to seek bailouts for business decisions we make, good or bad. That is why it is so frustrating to see large corporations skirt their debt obligations by firing employees, and even cities and towns seek money that will ultimately come from taxpayers to hedge their bad business decisions. The case of the town of Lamar right here in our home state of Colorado is a perfect case in point.

 As every small business knows, if you use debt to expand your business, you must pay off that debt. For every dollar of debt personal or to finance part of a brokerage, I know I will pay that back plus interest, but the city of Lamar apparently does not hold itself to the same standards as a Colorado small business. A dozen years ago, Lamar joined with Holly, La Junta, Las Animas, Springfield and Trinidad, members of the Arkansas River Power Authority (ARPA) to fund an improved power plant fearing rising natural gas prices. To pay for the transition of the power plant from natural gas to coal, Lamar’s city council approved three rounds of bonds along with the five other cities totaling $155 million in new debt. This was a big risk, to be sure, but a risk ARPA members took on their own accord in the same way buying new equipment and hiring a new worker is a risk for our business.