Dan Mitchell: Biden’s Student Loan Scheme: The Party of the Rich Redistributes Money Upwards


Biden’s Student Loan Scheme: The Party of the Rich Redistributes Money Upwards

As a general rule, some of the worst people are attracted to the wold of politics.

As such, we should never be surprised when politicians push bad policy.

But there are bad ideas…and there are really bad ideas.

At the risk of understatement, Biden’s proposed scheme to “forgive” a big chunk of student debt is spectacularly misguided.

The challenge is identifying why it’s wrong. There are so many possible answers.

Let’s review some of the ways this is bad for the United States (you get to make your choice in a poll at the end of the column).

  • Redistributes from poor to rich
  • Subsidizes irresponsibility and penalizes responsibility
  • Abuse of power
  • More red ink
  • Higher tuition price
  • Awful precedent

To help determine which answer is best, let’s review some recent analysis.

National Review editorialized on the topic. Here are some of the highlights.

Biden’s student-loan plan will cost about $2,000 per taxpayer. …Biden is effectively telling all the people who didn’t go to college, those who went to college but didn’t borrow money, and those who went to college and already paid off their loans that they are suckers. …Federal student loans are already issued on very favorable terms. …The order caps those eligible for loan forgiveness at $125,000 in individual income, which is approximately double the median household income and hardly excludes anyone. …the president has…abused emergency powers to pursue a reckless and senseless policy.

In her Washington Post column, Megan McArdle savages the president’s giveaway.

…the Biden administration announced that it would forgive up to $10,000 in student loan debt (up to $20,000 for Pell Grant recipients)… How many ways can a single policy be bad? This one could cost the federal government somewhere between $400 billion and $600 billion, completely unpaid for.Its legality is at best an abuse of the law to address the “national emergency” of upcoming midterm elections. …an extremely regressive policy, heaping benefits on the most affluent demographics, while leaving everyone else to pay the cost through some combination of higher taxes, lower benefits, or higher inflation and interest rates. Worst of all: What do Democrats do for an encore? …This first action will beget demands for a second and a third. …like trying to quit smoking by switching to unfiltered cigarettes.

Honest folks on the left are equally upset about Biden’s reverse redistribution.

President Obama’s former top economic aide, Jason Furman, didn’t mince his words.

And the editors at the left-of-center Washington Post were equally scathing.

The unemployment rate for people with bachelor’s degrees and higher is just 2 percent. It’s hard to make the case that college graduates are…facing an unprecedented crisis.…canceling student loan debt is regressive. It takes money from the broader tax base, mostly made up of workers who did not go to college, to subsidize the education debt of people with valuable degrees. …Mr. Biden’s plan is also expensive — and likely inflationary. …Mr. Biden’s student loan decision will…provide a windfall for those who don’t need it — with American taxpayers footing the bill.

From a libertarian perspective, Elizabeth Nolan Brown of Reason denounced Biden’s scheme.

Biden’s basis for saying that the executive branch has the right to simply declare student loans forgiven is both egregious in its own right and troubling for the future of executive power plays. …The program amounts to a massive subsidy for middle-class Americans,as opposed to benefiting the most economically downtrodden or financially strapped. …the program “consumes resources that could be better used helping those who did not, for whatever reason, have a chance to attend college,” as economist Larry Summers put it …there are many people for whom avoiding student loan debt or paying it off promptly meant making all sorts of sacrifices. Biden’s loan forgiveness program says to them that this thrift, practicality, etc. may have been for nought.

By the way, Larry Summers was Bill Clinton’s Treasury Secretary and also head of Obama’s National Economic Council, so hardly a libertarian fellow traveler.

Here’s more of his analysis.

Returning to libertarian commentary, Brad Polumbo of the Foundation for Economic Education adds his two cents.

…forcing taxpayers to pay down the roughly $1.5 trillion in government-held student debt is not a “progressive” policy by any stretch. …just one in three American adults over age 25 actually has a bachelor’s degree. …college graduates typically make 85 percent more than those with only a high school diploma and earn roughly $1 million more over a lifetime. So any government policy that forces taxpayers to pay off loans held by a relatively well-off slice of society is actually regressive… Economists Sylvain Catherine and Constantine Yannelis crunched the numbers to conclude that full student debt cancellation would be a “highly regressive policy” and award $192 billion to the top 20 percent of income earners, yet just $29 billion to the bottom 20 percent. …other research from left-leaning institutions like the Urban Institute has reached the same conclusion. So, we’re left with the simple fact that one of the Democratic Party’s top agenda items is a taxpayer-financed handout to the wealthy.

Charles Cooke of National Review also is not impressed.

Congress has passed no rules that allow down-on-their-luck presidents to throw money at people for political gain. As of yet, Congress has given no instruction that if the president’s friends might like a little more cash, he can raid the Treasury to give it to them. Certainly, Congress has set up a loan program. But the deal there is rather simple, all told: First you borrow, and then you pay back what you borrowed.There is no mention of “forgiveness” days or of “help” or of rolling Chekhovian jubilees, and by pretending otherwise, President Biden is making a mockery of his oath to uphold the Constitution. …This isn’t a reform. It’s not even pretending to be reform. It’s a contemptuous, abusive, unbelievably expensive shot in the dark… Joe Biden and his party prefer college students to you, and they think that those students ought to be rewarded for that by being handed enormous gobs of your money. Electricians, store managers, deli workers, landscapers, waitresses, mechanics, entrepreneurs? Screw ’em.

Robby Soave of Reason also is disgusted.

Biden’s debt forgiveness plan will do nothing—absolutely nothing—to fundamentally change the incentive system that created the doom spiral in the first place. Degree-seekers will continue to borrow large amounts of money to buy useless educations; indeed, they might feel even more encouraged to do so now that this precedent has been set. Meanwhile, colleges and universities will have even less incentive to lower costs. …Forgiving student loan debt exacerbates this problem since it encourages more reckless borrowing. …It is a slap in the face to everyone who either paid down their college debt or made different educational choices to avoid accruing it. …Biden…simply engaged in a vast transfer of wealth, taking hard-earned money from those who did not fall prey to the federal government’s scam and awarding it to those who did.

So what’s the bottom line?

One obvious takeaway is that the party of the richhas provided another giveaway to their rich constituents. Think of it as the bailout version of the state-and-local tax deduction.

But I think this message might be the real moral of the story.

P.S. At the risk of influencing the poll, Biden’s student loan bailout will give colleges and universities the leeway to further increase tuition, but you need bad monetary policy to get a sustained increase in the overall price level.

P.P.S. Cast your vote.

Fury as Biden cancels $10K in student debt: Resurfaced video shows dad ask Elizabeth Warren ‘am I going to get my money back?’ after he paid for his daughter’s education while his friends spent lavishly and dug themselves in debt

A recently resurfaced video shows a frustrated father raging at Elizabeth Warren over the politician’s loan forgiveness aspirations during an event in 2020 after he paid his daughter’s way through school but was told he would not be entitled to a refund.

The heated confrontation transpired in Iowa during Warren’s ill-fated run for president, which saw her vow to cancel student loan debt up to $50,000 for roughly 42 million borrowers if elected.

In the clip, the furious dad rips into Warren over the prospective policy, citing how he worked two jobs to pay for his daughter’s education, while those who did not take such measures would serve to benefit from the progressive’s prospective policy.

Now, however, despite the Massachusetts senator’s failure to garner a presidential nomination, that father’s fears have become a reality – with Joe Bidenannouncing Wednesday he will forgive debt of up to $10,000, making good on a promise made during his own campaign.

The unidentified man in the clip, much like other conservatives wary of loan forgiveness policies, argues that plans to cancel student loan debt would offer an unfair financial disadvantage to those who paid their own college tuition – or those who had already paid off their debt.

Inversely, detractors argue, such plans would also unjustly benefit those who took out astronomical loans so they can spend lavishly during their college years – when they should remain in desperate debt.

The fed-up father offers these sentiments to Warren in the contentious clip, which was widely shared back when the incident occurred. It is now making a second run at going viral, as Biden revealed his long-anticipated decision on the issue, after loan payments had been paused since the early days of the pandemic.

Recently resurfaced video shows a frustrated father raging at Elizabeth Warren over the politician’s loan forgiveness aspirations during a political event in Grimes, Iowa, 2020, after he paid his daughter’s way through school but was told he would not be entitled to a refund
The heated confrontation transpired in Iowa during Warren’s ill-fated run for president, which saw her vow to cancel student loan debt up to $50,000 for roughly 42 million if elected
The video’s reemergence comes as Joe Biden announced Wednesday that he will forgive debt of up to $10,000, making good on a promise made during his own presidential  campaign

‘I just want to ask one question,’ the man says in the clip approaching Warren after a speech to explain his situation. ‘My daughter is getting out of school. I’ve saved all my money. She doesn’t have any student loans.’

He then flat out asks the Democrat: ‘Am I going to get my money back?’

Warren, who was filmed listening to the unidentified man’s qualms patiently as a crowd flocked around them, responds, sounding almost astounded by the man’s question: ‘Of course not.’

The father proceeds to fly into a rage and starts to tear into the politician.

‘So you’re going to pay for people who didn’t save any money, and those of us who did the right thing get screwed?’ he exclaims, his voice raising and growing intense.

He went on: ‘My buddy had fun, bought a car, went on vacation.

‘I saved my money. He made more than I did. I worked a double shift working to get extra money.’

The policy will see up to 42 million people granted some sort of forgiveness – with the White House also noting that another 20 million borrowers earning less than $75,000 could potentially see their debt completely wiped out

At this point in the footage, Warren says something inaudible to the man, who in turn accuses the senator of laughing and making light of his situation.

‘You’re laughing at me,’ he tells the then-presidential candidate.

Warren, in turn, retorts: ‘No, I’m not.’

‘Yeah, that’s exactly what you’re doing,’ the dad quips back. ‘We did the right thing and we got screwed.’

The senator then shakes the man’s hand before he angrily storms off.

‘I appreciate your time,’ Warren can be heard telling the furious father, as she continued to meet with others at the rally.

Less than two months later, Warren would bow out of the presidential race in favor of Biden, 79, who also campaigned, but not as aggressively, on promises of forgiving student debt.

On Wednesday, roughly two-and-half years after loans were put on pause due to the pandemic, Biden announced on social media that he would again extend the lull until January – while also announcing that he would forgive $10,000 for those making less than $125,000.

He tweeted: ‘In keeping with my campaign promise, my Administration is announcing a plan to give working and middle-class families breathing room as they prepare to resume federal student loan payments in January 2023.’

President Joe Biden announced his student loan forgiveness plans via Twitter on Wednesday – including $10,000-$20,000 in loan relief for individuals making less than $125,000

The policy will see up to 42 million people granted some sort of forgiveness – with the White House also noting that another 20 million borrowers earning less than $75,000 could potentially see their debt completely wiped out.

Biden also asserted that this extension – the fifth the US has ordered – will be the last time repayment is extended in relation to the coronavirus health emergency.

When asked about the announcement Wednesday, a White House spokesperson said that Biden ‘will have more to say’ on the guidance by the end of the month.

The spokesmen added: ‘As a reminder, no one with a federally held loan has had to pay a single dime in student loans since President Biden took office, and this administration has already canceled about $32 billion in debt for more than 1.6 million Americans – more than any administration in history.’

Biden’s rep did not specify what exactly the president was to announce but said that address will be delivered next Wednesday, August 31.

The cancellation plan has so far proved quite popular with Democrats, including Warren and other big names like AOC (Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez), as well as the country’s younger citizens and groups, including the NAACP.

The cancellation plan has so far proved quite popular with Democrats, including Warren and other big names like AOC (Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez), as well as the country’s younger citizens and and groups including the NAACP, who have asked the president raise the amount to up to $50,000

Many have suggested that Biden – who prior to his campaign run was against the concept but had a change of heart during the election season – should forgive as much as $50,000 per borrower.

Conservatives, in particular, have raised concerns over the guidance, saying that the White House itself would personally benefit from the program, due to the fact that the president’s staffers have a collective student debt of roughly $4.7 million.

Biden has yet to comment on that controversy.

The cancellation, meanwhile, will cost taxpayers a pretty penny, and will likely undermine nearly all of the planned savings from the recently passed Inflation Reduction Act.

The $10,000 per person debt slashing, according to the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, will cost taxpayers about $250 billion.

The plan will also see students awarded the scholarship-like Pell Grant, federal aid awarded to those in dire financial situations that does not need to be paid, given $20,000 in forgiveness.

The White House also insists that none of those in the county within the top 5 percent of earners – a group that has an income threshold of roughly $250,000 – will receive no student loan forgiveness.

A slew of conservatives spoke out about the guidance following Biden’s highly anticipated announcement, which came on the day the pandemic-era pause was set to expire.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell slammed the relief announcement as ‘unfair’ and a ‘slap in the face’ for families that worked years to save money to pay for college and said the forgiveness will only add to the country’s economic woes.

Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton said he will introduce an alternative to the program in the form of a bill he says will ‘save taxpayers billions’ by holding colleges accountable for massive debts as well as lowering tuition rates and supporting more non-college career paths.

‘There is no such thing as student loan forgiveness—this is a bailout, paid for by the large majority of Americans who never went to college or who responsibly paid off their debts,’ said the GOP senator. ‘Even worse, President Biden’s plan ignores the true culprit: bloated, self-serving colleges.’

Former Vice President Mike Pence called the relief ‘another unsustainable and reckless policy from the Biden Administration.’

‘Canceling debt will cost taxpayers hundreds of billions of dollars and only incentivize colleges to raise tuition even more! Unacceptable.’

As of Wednesday, more than 40 million people in the US hold a combined $1.7 trillion in federal student loans.

Flashback: Nancy Pelosi Said President Lacks Authority to ‘Forgive’ Student Debt

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi gestures as she speaks during a news conference at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., March 3, 2022. (Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)

In July of 2021, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said President Joe Biden does not have the executive authority to issue “debt forgiveness,” arguing that such action would be illegal and that it has “to be an act of Congress.”

“People think that the President of the United States has the power for debt forgiveness. He does not.  He can postpone. He can delay. But he does not have that power. That has to be an act of Congress,” Pelosi said July 28 at a press conference.

“The President can’t do it. So that’s not even a discussion. Not everybody realizes that. But the President can only postpone, delay, but not forgive,” she added.

She also mentioned how voters would be mad about student loan “forgiveness,”appearing to question whether such a policy would be “fair.”

Pelosi mentioned a scenario where “your child just decided they want to – at this time, not want to go to college, but you’re paying taxes to forgive somebody else’s obligations.”

The Department of Education agreed with Pelosi, arguing in a 2021 memo that the executive branch “does not have the statutory authority to cancel, compromise, discharge, or forgive, on a blanket or mass basis, principal balances of student loans, and/or to materially modify the repayment amounts or terms thereof.”

Despite Pelosi’s remarks, Biden issued an order Wednesday “forgiving” up to $10,000 in federal student debt for individuals making under $125,000 annually and households making under $250,000, as well as relieving $20,000 in debt for Pell grant recipients. His decision marks the biggest loan “cancellation” program in history, and comes months before the midterms.

Asked Tuesday about reports that the announcement would be forthcoming, Pelosi appeared to welcome the news, though she acknowledged that it was unclear where Biden derived the authority for it.

“Well, we’re excited about the president, because we didn’t know what — what authority the president had to do this. And now clearly, it seems he has the authority to do this: $10,000 for those … making under $125,000 a year.”

Pelosi’s office did not immediately respond to an inquiry from National Review, asking if she still stood by those comments.

Republican lawmakers blasted Biden in a host of statements Wednesday, arguing that the “scheme” benefits the upper class, and transfers the cost to taxpayers.

How Government Hurts Poor People

As an economist, I can immediately think of several ways that big government is bad news for poor people.

But that’s only a partial list. Today, let’s peruse a report from a few weeks ago in the New York Times.

Authored by Robin Kaiser-Schatzlein, it shows how poor people are routinely victimized by greedy and grasping government in Alabama.

In states like Alabama, almost every interaction a person has with the criminal justice system comes with a financial cost. If you’re assigned to a pretrial program to reduce your sentence, each class attended incurs a fee. If you’re on probation, you’ll pay a fee to take your mandatory urine test.If you appear in drug court, you will face more fees, sometimes dozens of times a year. Often, you don’t even have to break the law; you’ll pay fees to pull a public record or apply for a permit. For poor people, this system is a trap… I asked almost everyone I met — gas station attendants, Starbucks baristas and grocery store clerks of all races — if they knew anyone who had been affected by court fines and fees. Many told me stories of family and friends who had. Some had themselves.

The story includes several anecdotes about people who get nailed by endless fees and charges.

Here’s just one example.

Niaya Williams…began driving hours each day back and forth from her job at McDonald’s and his day care. …she started getting ticketed quite frequently. She remembers that one day, she got her first set of tickets for, among other things, not stopping long enough at a stop sign. … ticket for not having a license, a ticket about switched tags that she didn’t fully understand and a ticket because the officer said Mercury was buckled incorrectly. She recalled being given at least three tickets every time she was pulled over. …She was…arrested because of just traffic infractions and missed court dates, Mrs. Williams said. She was, in essence, guilty of little else than being too poor to pay off her fines.

Echoing what I wrote back in 2015, the author notes that this is not a problem unique to Alabama.

States found fines and fees to be an expedient source of revenue, operating under the radar as what some scholars call nontax taxes.  …A 2019 Governing magazine study of cities, towns and counties with significant revenue from fees and fines showed that nearly 600 jurisdictions relied on fines and forfeitures for more than 10 percent of their revenue and 80 relied on fines and forfeitures for over half their revenue. …“Fees are not about public safety,” said Lauren-Brooke Eisen of the Brennan Center for Justice. “They’re about raising revenue.”

Unfortunately, there is a big logical flaw in the story.

Ms. Kaiser-Schatzlein wants readers to think that Alabama is pillaging poor people because of low taxes and small government.

Alabama has one of the cruelest tax systems in the country. Taxes on most property, for example, are exceptionally low. …millions of others in the state live in the wreckage of a system starved of funding: The state has chronically underfunded schools, bad public transit, a dearth of well-paying jobs, little affordable child care and a diminishing health care system. …Most places have a simple and effective method for quickly ameliorating these problems: They raise property or income taxes. But Alabama often refuses to do so or makes it exceptionally difficult, dooming many to living standards unthinkable for a country as rich as the United States.

Too bad she didn’t do any research on this part of her story.

She could have looked at the latest edition of the Tax Foundation’s State Business Tax Climate Index and learned that Alabama actually has one of the nation’s greediest tax systems.

And if Ms. Kaiser-Schatzlein had spent a few minutes looking at data from the Census Bureau, she would have learned that Alabama is hardly a beacon of limited government.

I crunched the numbers two years ago and found that spending by state and local governments in Alabama was way above average when measured as a share of state income. And it was about average when measured on a per-capita basis.

I’ll conclude by observing that there are many states that have very low tax burdens and relatively low levels of government spending, way below Alabama. Including other southern states such as Florida and Texas, not just places like South Dakota and New Hampshire.

If such policies are a recipe for hurting the poor, why are so many Americans of all income levels migrating to those places?







Tucker Carlson: There’s a reason the public’s confidence in the FBI has plummeted

Tucker Carlson breaks down the Whitmer kidnapping plot and its alleged ties to the FBI

By all accounts, Attorney General Merrick Garland was shocked to hear criticism of the raid on Mar-a-Lago last week. It turns out that Garland lives in such a tiny, airless world of left-wing activists and sycophants that it had never occurred to him that anyone might object to siccing the FBI on Joe Biden’s political opponents.

When woke Twitter and The New York Times are your only sources of news, police state politics seems perfectly normal. Trump is bad. Find a reason to arrest him. That’s how they think. So, if you watched Garland carefully at his press conference other day, you may have noticed that he appeared highly annoyed by the idea of having to stoop to explain himself to mere citizens. But he found a solution. Being a liberal, Merrick Garland’s first instinct was to seize the role of victim because when you’re a victim, you’ve already won the argument. You don’t have to explain yourself. You don’t have to change your behavior. You are, by definition, the good guy. The victim always is. Being oppressed means never having to say you’re sorry.


So, as Garland explained at the press conference, the FBI was in fact the real victim here. Mean old Fox News was asking unfair questions and that’s just wrong. So, the real problem isn’t that America’s most powerful law enforcement agency is dangerously politicized and corrupt. No, the real problem here is the people have dared to complain about it, and they must stop immediately or else they are domestic terrorists.

As Garland put it, with what seemed like genuine outrage, I will not stand silently by as the integrity of the FBI is unfairly attacked. Well, of course, media organizations loved it. There’s nothing they revere more than a victim. Victims are holy. So, they immediately took Garland side. “They’re being mean to the FBI. Stop it, guys. That’s not allowed.” But if you take three steps back and think about it for a second, Garland’s position, which effectively is “You’re not allowed to criticize me. I’m the attorney general of the United States” is pretty weird.

Attorney General Merrick Garland speaks to announce a team to conduct a critical incident review of the shooting in Uvalde, Texas, during a media availability at the Department of Justice , Wednesday, June 8, 2022, in Washington. 

Attorney General Merrick Garland speaks to announce a team to conduct a critical incident review of the shooting in Uvalde, Texas, during a media availability at the Department of Justice , Wednesday, June 8, 2022, in Washington.  (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

In fact, it is an inversion of the traditional relationship between the U.S. government and the population that supposedly serves. According to Merrick Garland, the onus is on American citizens to respect the FBI. “Obey, it’s your duty.” But of course, that’s not true. In a democracy, the onus is on the FBI to earn the respect of Americans. They work for you, remember? And lately they have not been doing a very good job and people know that they haven’t been.

The public’s confidence in the FBI has plummeted by double digits in just the last few years and unfortunately, there’s a reason for that and it’s a huge problem. We need the FBI. You can’t just defund federal law enforcement. There are a lot of federal laws, most of them are silly, some of them are not silly at all. They’re very serious and they must be enforced. So, we have to have an FBI and it has to be an FBI we can trust and we can’t trust it until its behavior merits trust, until it’s honest, and to the extent it can be transparent, consistent in the way it enforces the law.

We have to have a federal law enforcement agency like that. We can’t just make it go away and hope for the best, but we’re nowhere near that point because the people who are supposed to be overseeing the FBI have ignored egregious examples of corruption over many years, but they’re getting very hard to ignore because they’re just so obvious now and it’s not just the raid on Mar-a-Lago. Consider the Gretchen Whitmer kidnapping case. You may remember that story. It’s from the fall of 2020. You may even have followed it a little bit and heard how it ended. So, what seemed like a terrorism plot was, in fact, a setup by the government to make a group of ordinary people in Michigan look like terrifying right-wing extremists, those violent White nationalists Joe Biden is always mumbling about.

Well, turns out there aren’t enough of those people in real life. They’re pretty rare, actually. It’s not a very racist country, despite what they tell you. So, the Justice Department had to go create some and they did and that’s not just our opinion. That was the finding of a federal jury in Michigan. So, it’s a shocking story, really, but the details of that story are even worse than that. They are beyond belief and we’ll tell you what they are in just a minute, but first to set the scene, here is Gretchen Whitmer, herself, governor of Michigan, announcing that she was the intended target of a terrorism plot. This is from October 8, 2020.

GOV. GRETCHEN WHITMER: Earlier today, Attorney General Dana Nessel was joined by officials from the Department of Justice and the FBI to announce state and federal charges against 13 members of two militia groups who were preparing to kidnap and possibly kill me. If you break the law or conspire to commit heinous acts of violence against anyone, we will find you. We will hold you accountable and we will bring you to justice.  

“We’ll bring you to justice. I’m so important that militia groups have organized to take me out.” What a self-aggrandizing description, but the last thing she said, “we’ll bring you to justice,” well, they actually tried to do that. They had a trial and then a retrial and thanks to that, we have testimony and cross-examination that reveals what actually happened, how the FBI engineered this plot.

Now, most of the media were paying zero attention to this. Julie Kelly of American Greatness has actually covered it. We’re grateful to her for what she’s found. Here’s the outline. In early 2020, a 35-year-old Army veteran called Dan Chappel (nicknamed Big Dan) was working as a contractor for the U.S. Postal Service. He drove delivery trucks. He was Scrolling Facebook one night and Chappel says he found a pro-Second Amendment group called “Wolverine Watchmen.” He says he just happened upon it. So, Chappel testified that he was concerned by the group’s criticism of law enforcement. So, he went to a police officer, a friend of his, and asked for advice. None of the messages within the group violated any law, but somehow, within a week, Chappel wound up connected to the FBI, to several FBI agents, including a special agent called Jayson Chambers.


Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer addresses the press before signing the final piece of a $76 billion state budget into law, Wednesday, July 20, 2022 in Detroit.

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer addresses the press before signing the final piece of a $76 billion state budget into law, Wednesday, July 20, 2022 in Detroit. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

Now, we learned through testimony in the trial this week why Chambers was interested in the case. It turns out that Chambers, in violation of FBI policy, was running a side hustle. He just incorporated a security firm called Exe-Intel, and he saw his work on the Whitmer case as a way to promote his own business. We know that because throughout 2020, someone affiliated with his business, their Twitter account, repeatedly tweeted nonpublic information about the kidnapping case that Dan Chappel was building for the FBI.

So, it’s not surprising, given the built-in incentives here, which were against policy once again, that Chambers appeared to do everything he could to make sure the investigation went according to plan. Now, no investigation can go according to plan because there shouldn’t be a plan. An investigation is the process of finding out what happened. An investigation is not the process of orchestrating things to happen, but that’s exactly what this became.

In all, the FBI with chambers is the handler paid Chappel (Big Dan) more than $60,000 in the course of just a few months. Today,Chappel testified that he made more money working for the FBI in seven months that he did working for the United States Postal Service over the course of an entire year.

So, there’s a lot of money moving from the FBI, the Federal Treasury, to this informant. So, the FBI told Chappel that in exchange for all of that money, he needed to start assembling a group of right-wing extremists for the FBI to prosecute. They made the whole thing up, and he did that with the FBI’s help. Within a few weeks, the FBI created a new Facebook group called “Patriot Three Percenters.” This is why you should be careful of Facebook, by the way.” Oh, it’s just a screw-up. It looks interesting.”


Okay. So, Chappel and several members of that group then attended a protest at the Michigan State Capitol. “Look at you, bringing people together,” the FBI handler texted Chappel. Now throughout that protest, which didn’t look a whole lot different from the January 6 protest, Chappel kept in touch, close touch, with federal agents. He informed the feds that a 37-year-old man called Adam Fox was at the state capitol during the protest. Adam Fox has got to be one of the least powerful people in our society. He lived alone with his two dogs in the basement of a vacuum repair shop. Why? Because he had no money whatsoever.

In fact, he had so little money that in order to get running water, to brush his teeth or use the bathroom, he had to go to a nearby Mexican restaurant and use their men’s room. So, Chappel began texting this diabolical mastermind, Fox, hundreds of times. But Fox seemed inherently moderate, actually. He wrote things like this, “Our goal is to restore the constitutional republic.”

Fox also said, “In our hearts and minds, we are not domestic terrorists.” Oh, sounds very dangerous. So, based on those text messages, the FBI gave Chappel more instructions. They provided Chappel with several $5,000 limit credit cards, and they told him to give those credit cards to Fox and tell them to spend it on guns and ammunition. So, Fox, despite the fact he had no money at all, had used the men’s room in a Mexican restaurant to brush his teeth, refused. On five separate occasions, he refused to take the credit cards to buy guns and ammunition. Then (what a terrorist) then in July of 2020, Chappel suggested that Fox and others fire rounds into the governor’s mansion, as well as at her cottage, but the alleged plotters, including Adam Fox, again refused. They didn’t want to hurt the governor.

Ultimately, in August of 2020, the group started to splinter. Chappel and other informants were instructed to keep the group together. “No, keep it together. Keep the threat real.” So, they introduced another undercover agent, [who] pretended to be an explosives expert. He showed the group a video of a bomb that blew up a vehicle to prove he knew what he was doing. Where did that video come from?

Well, it was made by the FBI. Is this shaking your confidence a little bit? These details are real, by the way. They came out at trial. Then the bureau recruited a convicted felon and a long time FBI informant called Stephen Robeson to introduce a new idea to Fox as well as to Barry Croft. This time the idea was to kidnap Gretchen Whitmer. Robeson, with the FBI’s money, organized several events including a national militia conference in Ohio, training in Wisconsin and a meeting in Delaware, FBI orchestrating all of this.

On July 18, 2020, at one such militia meeting, again organized by the FBI when they took a right-wing extremists. In this case, they created them. So, at this militia meeting, an alleged plotter, are called Ty Garbin rejected out of hand the idea of kidnapping Gretchen Whitmer. Didn’t want to do it. “No, I don’t think so. Kidnap the governor? No, we’re not crazy. We just want a constitutional republic.” Okay. Then the topic came up again in August and then another defendant called Daniel Harris was equally adamant. “No snatch and grab,” he said, “I swear to f-ing God.”

So, clearly they said it emphatically out loud explicitly these were people were not interested in kidnapping Gretchen Whitmer, the governor of Michigan, but the FBI kept pushing.

The FBI informants drove the defendants to Gretchen Whitmer’s home. Then they suggested killing the governor of Virginia, also a Democrat. On September 5, 2020, FBI Special Agent Jayson Chambers texted Chappel, “Mission is to kill the governor specifically.” What country is this? To pressure one of the defendants, a man called Barry Croft , into doing that, one FBI agent admitted this week that a female informant slept in the same hotel room as Croft. It was a honey trap. FBI agents also testified this week that they regularly got high with Adam Fox. They smoked weed with Adam Fox. They said he was so high, in fact, he was high in all of his meetings with them. Again, that’s against FBI policy. You can’t just give drugs to people and hope they do something bad.

Well, after all of this failed to produce a kidnapping plot, it fell on yet another FBI agent called Richard Trask to build the criminal case against the defendants. Now, that same year, Trask, who is now been convicted of beating his wife, called Donald Trump a piece of excrement on social media. Really? Yeah. Just nonpartisan federal bureaucrats, public servants doing their job. Now, incredibly, after all of this, the person in charge of the field office overseeing the Whitmer investigation in 2020, a man called Steven D’antuono , was promoted, not fired, promoted to lead the DC field office in late 2020. Are you connecting the dots here?

In other words, the guy who made sure that FBI informants were active during a rally in the Michigan State House in 2020 as part of this concocted plot. That same guy went on to become the guy who oversaw the investigation into—wait for it—January 6, the election justice protest they’re calling an insurrection. But just remember, don’t ask whether the FBI used informants to entrap anyone on January 6. No, you can’t do that or else you’re an insurrectionist yourself. Nor are you allowed to ask why Steven’s agents were involved in the raid on Mar-a-Lago, even though that’s in Florida, and he’s in Washington. As it turns out, questions like this are hate speech. Watch.

MIKA BRZEZINSKI: All the buzz on the Internet and all over the airwaves. It does, it does have an impact.  

JOE SCARBOROUGH: Well, I mean, you saw buzz. Well, there’s an awful lot of hate speech coming from pro-Trump media outlets just attacking the nation’s premier law enforcement agency simply because Donald Trump is being investigated.

Oh, it’s hate speech. Now, if there’s one thing we know about hate speech is that it’s not protected by the First Amendment. You’ve read that part of the Constitution which says you can say whatever you want as long as MSNBC doesn’t designate your words hate speech. So, when they call any criticism of the FBI, that would be Joe Biden’s personal Defense Force, they call that hate speech, what they’re really saying is you’re committing a crime and see where this is going, but the truth is, there are still questions about the FBI’s behavior on and around January 6 and given what happened in Michigan, where we know beyond question that the FBI tried to create an act of terror. It’s fair to ask, “What exactly did happen on January 6?”

And why is the FBI still hiding footage critically of the person who planted a pipe bomb outside the DNC on January 6 while Kamala Harris was apparently inside, something that she lied about for months? What exactly is going on here? We’re, of course, not alleging anything. We don’t know the answer, but we know for a fact, given the FBI’s behavior and we report this with great sadness over the last several years, it is worth getting to the bottom of this. In fact, we have to if we’re going to restore confidence in federal law enforcement. No one is asking these questions really apart from Revolver News and here’s what they’ve come up with. Watch this.

NARRATOR: Camera one shows the pipe bomber walking up to the DNC grounds at roughly 7:42 p.m.. He sits on bench one, then he gets up and walks off screen. According to the FBI, he walks the length of the DNC building and 10 minutes later he comes back to the same bench area and sits on bench two. There at 7:52 p.m., camera two captures the pipe bomber sitting on bench two and we are told, planting the pipe bomb by the side of the bench next to the bush. We are told the pipe bomber plants the pipe bomb there, but we can’t see it. Camera two is occluded by a giant bush that blocks the scene. The pipe bomber even looks at camera two head on for some reason. It’s very frustrating because we can’t see the moment the pipe bomber plants the pipe bomb, but the FBI can. That’s because the whole scene should be captured on camera one as well, and much more clearly than camera two. Camera one has a clear shot of both benches. If the FBI released the full tape from camera one, we could see the pipe bomber planting the bomb. 

Okay. So, what exactly happened outside the DNC on January 6, and why is no one asking that question, and why has the Department of Justice not told us? We’ve heard everything they want us to know about January 6. Why not more about this?

Open letter to President Obama (Part 644)

(Emailed to White House on 6-10-13.)

President Obama c/o The White House 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President,

I know that you receive 20,000 letters a day and that you actually read 10 of them every day. I really do respect you for trying to get a pulse on what is going on out here.

The federal government debt is growing so much that it is endangering us because if things keep going like they are now we will not have any money left for the national defense because we are so far in debt as a nation. We have been spending so much on our welfare state through food stamps and other programs that I am worrying that many of our citizens are becoming more dependent on government and in many cases they are losing their incentive to work hard because of the welfare trap the government has put in place. Other nations in Europe have gone down this road and we see what mess this has gotten them in. People really are losing their faith in big government and they want more liberty back. It seems to me we have to get back to the founding  principles that made our country great.  We also need to realize that a big government will encourage waste and corruption. The recent scandals in our government have proved my point. In fact, the jokes you made at Ohio State about possibly auditing them are not so funny now that reality shows how the IRS was acting more like a monster out of control. Also raising taxes on the job creators is a very bad idea too. The Laffer Curve clearly demonstrates that when the tax rates are raised many individuals will move their investments to places where they will not get taxed as much.



We can fix the IRS problem by going to the flat tax and lowering the size of government.

Did President Obama and his team of Chicago cronies deliberately target the Tea Party in hopes of thwarting free speech and political participation?

Was this part of a campaign to win the 2012 election by suppressing Republican votes?

Perhaps, but I’ve warned that it’s never a good idea to assume top-down conspiracies when corruption, incompetence, politics, ideology, greed, and self-interest are better explanations for what happens in Washington.

Writing for the Washington Examiner, Tim Carney has a much more sober and realistic explanation of what happened at the IRS.

If you take a group of Democrats who are also unionized government employees, and put them in charge of policing political speech, it doesn’t matter how professional and well-intentioned they are. The result will be much like the debacle in the Cincinnati office of the IRS. …there’s no reason to even posit evil intent by the IRS officials who formulated, approved or executed the inappropriate guidelines for picking groups to scrutinize most closely. …The public servants figuring out which groups qualified for 501(c)4 “social welfare” non-profit status were mostly Democrats surrounded by mostly Democrats. …In the 2012 election, every donation traceable to this office went to President Obama or liberal Sen. Sherrod Brown. This is an environment where even those trying to be fair could develop a disproportionate distrust of the Tea Party. One IRS worker — a member of NTEU and contributor to its PAC, which gives 96 percent of its money to Democratic candidates — explained it this way: “The reason NTEU mostly supports Democratic candidates for office is because Democratic candidates are mostly more supportive of civil servants/government employees.”

Tim concludes with a wise observation.

As long as we have a civil service workforce that leans Left, and as long as we have an income tax system that requires the IRS to police political speech, conservative groups can always expect special IRS scrutiny.

And my colleague Doug Bandow, in an article for the American Spectator, adds his sage analysis.

The real issue is the expansive, expensive bureaucratic state and its inherent threat to any system of limited government, rule of law, and individual liberty. …the broader the government’s authority, the greater its need for revenue, the wider its enforcement power, the more expansive the bureaucracy’s discretion, the increasingly important the battle for political control, and the more bitter the partisan fight, the more likely government officials will abuse their positions, violate rules, laws, and Constitution, and sacrifice people’s liberties. The blame falls squarely on Congress, not the IRS.

I actually think he is letting the IRS off the hook too easily.

But Doug’s overall point obviously is true.

…the denizens of Capitol Hill also have created a tax code marked by outrageous complexity, special interest electioneering, and systematic social engineering. Legislators have intentionally created avenues for tax avoidance to win votes, and then complained about widespread tax avoidance to win votes.

So what’s the answer?

The most obvious response to the scandal — beyond punishing anyone who violated the law — is tax reform. Implement a flat tax and you’d still have an IRS, but the income tax would be less complex, there would be fewer “preferences” for the agency to police, and rates would be lower, leaving taxpayers with less incentive for aggressive tax avoidance. …Failing to address the broader underlying factors also would merely set the stage for a repeat performance in some form a few years hence. …More fundamentally, government, and especially the national government, should do less. Efficient social engineering may be slightly better than inefficient social engineering, but no social engineering would be far better.

Amen. Let’s rip out the internal revenue code and replace it with a simple and fair flat tax.

But here’s the challenge. We know the solution, but it will be almost impossible to implement good policy unless we figure out some way to restrain the spending side of the fiscal ledger.


At the risk of over-simplifying, we will never get tax reform unless we figure out how to implement entitlement reform.

Here’s another Foden cartoon, which I like because it has the same theme asthis Jerry Holbert cartoon, showing big government as a destructive and malicious force.

IRS Cartoon 5


Thank you so much for your time. I know how valuable it is. I also appreciate the fine family that you have and your commitment as a father and a husband.


Everette Hatcher III, 13900 Cottontail Lane, Alexander, AR 72002, ph 501-920-5733, lowcostsqueegees@yahoo.com

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By Everette Hatcher III | Posted in Taxes | Edit | Comments (0)
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