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Media Editors / Mar. 21, 2019

Thursday Top News Executive Summary

New Zealand gun ban, blue states crushed, Border Patrol overwhelmed, tariffs, Federal Reserve, and more.

  • Fox News reports that “Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says New Zealand is immediately banning assault rifles, high-capacity magazines and ‘military style semi-automatic rifles’ like the weapons used in last Friday’s attacks on two Christchurch mosques. Ardern announced the ban Thursday and said it would be followed by legislation to be introduced next month.” This is what happens in a nation with no Second Amendment.

  • Meanwhile, Ars Technica says that “New Zealand authorities have begun prosecuting people for sharing copies of last week’s … shooting in Christchurch and for posting hate speech in the wake of the attack.” While such behavior shouldn’t be condoned, this is what happens in a nation with no First Amendment.

  • “Blue states are getting crushed by red states, and it’s a big source of embarrassment for the liberals because they don’t have a very good explanation for that,” according to economist Stephen Moore, coauthor of “Rich States, Poor States: ALEC-Laffer State Economic Competitiveness Index.” As The Daily Signal explains, “The latest report ranks Utah at No. 1 in economic outlook for the 11th year in a row. New York landed at the bottom of the list at No. 50.” The corollary? “Every day in America, [Moore] said, 1,000 people flee states with high tax rates and migrate to states with lower tax rates.”

  • A new report in the New York Post piles on additional evidence: “41 percent of city dwellers … say they can’t cope with New York’s high cost of living, according to a Quinnipiac poll published Wednesday. Separately, 41 percent fear they’ll be ‘forced’ to pull up stakes and seek greener pastures where the economic climate is more welcoming.”

  • Overwhelmed: “U.S. Customs and Border Patrol on Tuesday released 50 migrants recently detained at the border near Mcallen, Texas due to a lack of space in the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention centers they would otherwise be sent to while awaiting their asylum hearings,” according to National Review, which also says “the migrants released Tuesday represent just the first wave of a group of hundreds whom they will be forced to release in the coming days due to a lack of resources.” As one CBP official put it, “It is a crisis. It’s not a self-proclaimed crisis.”

  • According to an analysis by Heritage Foundation economist Tori Whiting, “In 2018, the Council of Economic Advisers reports, $14.4 billion in revenue was collected from goods subject to new tariffs. Put another way, the Trump administration increased taxes on Americans by $14.4 billion last year. Tariffs typically benefit a small group of people, leaving these costs to be dispersed across the economy.” Trump unquestionably has good intentions, but tariffs inevitably hamper the U.S. economy.

  • The central bank has made some relatively major changes to its agenda. According to CNBC, “The Federal Reserve decided Wednesday to hold interest rates steady and indicated that no more hikes will be coming this year,” which represents “a sharp dovish turn from policy projections just three months earlier.” Additionally, “The move came along with reduced expectations in GDP growth and inflation and a bump higher in the unemployment rate outlook. For a central bank not so long ago intent on normalizing policy from its financial crisis-era accommodation levels, the developments at this week’s meeting represent a striking change in direction.”

  • “In the first significant check on the Trump administration’s ‘energy-first’ agenda, a US judge has temporarily halted hundreds of drilling projects for failing to take climate change into account,” The Guardian breathlessly reports. Upon deeper reflection, though, the ruling may be more fragrance than substance. The moratorium applies to just 300,000 acres of public land in Wyoming (a relative pittance), and the Bureau of Land Management is simply being required to produce another environmental analysis. That seems like a far cry from knocking “the entire oil & gas drilling program … off the rails,” as one environmentalist declared.

  • The Leftmedia is looking for anything it can get to cudgel Trump’s EPA. According to The Washington Free Beacon, “The number of Freedom of Information Act requests the Environmental Protection Agency received from mainstream outlets … spiked immediately after Republican President Donald Trump took office.” The New York Times has already bombarded Trump’s EPA with 100 FOIA solicitations. Obama’s EPA was hit with just 13 of them between 2013 and 2016. The Washington Post solicited Obama’s EPA just once from 2013-2016, which jumps to 43 under Trump. The same goes for Politico, The Hill, CNN, BuzzFeed, and ABC News, and others. This is a search-and-destroy campaign borne out of policy disagreements with the EPA’s current overhead.

  • Good news: “Kentucky governor Matt Bevin on Tuesday signed a bill that bans abortions chosen on the basis of an unborn child’s sex, race, or disability. … Physicians must now certify in writing that the patient did not request the abortion for a reason related to the baby’s sex, race, or disabilities. Flouting the new law puts doctors at risk of losing their medical license or being prosecuted for a felony, although the mother of the unborn child would not be targeted.” (National Review)

  • Humor: Candidates propose changes to fix a flaw in the Constitution that allows Republicans to be elected (The Babylon Bee)

  • Policy: Packing the Supreme Court would have harmful ramifications, but why, exactly? Pepperdine University professor Gary M. Galles provides a comprehensive explanation at the Foundation for Economic Education.

  • Policy: National Review’s Alexandra DeSanctis reveals why “The Lee-Ernst Paid-Leave Plan Would Be a Win for Working Families.”

For more of today’s editors’ choice headlines, visit In Our Sights.

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