Mid-Day Digest

Apr. 21, 2017

IN TODAY’S EDITION

  • A new book on Hillary’s failed presidential campaign reveals a lot of broken stuff.
  • The murder rate rose 8% in 2016, but that’s not the real story.
  • Tax Freedom Day is Sunday (nationwide), which is an opportunity to visit tax reform.
  • Daily Features: Top Headlines, Cartoons, Columnists and Short Cuts.

THE FOUNDATION

“The fundamental source of all your errors, sophisms and false reasonings is a total ignorance of the natural rights of mankind. Were you once to become acquainted with these, you could never entertain a thought, that all men are not, by nature, entitled to a parity of privileges.” —Alexander Hamilton (1775)

TOP RIGHT HOOKS

Hillary’s Shattered Campaign

The latest tell-all book on Hillary Clinton’s failed campaign, “Shattered: Inside Hillary Clinton’s Doomed Campaign,” hit bookstore shelves this week. The book, written by lefty reporters Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes, reveals the inner workings of what may be best described as a dysfunctional and disjointed campaign. Allen and Parnes, who penned a far more flattering book, “HRC,” in 2014, expose a number of early missteps that were never truly addressed and therefore doomed Clinton’s election hopes — or so the story goes. One wonders how Allen and Parnes would have described the Clinton campaign had she managed to attract a few more votes in Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin… But we digress.

The book is filled with juicy tales of infighting among leading staff and advisers, an amazing lack of clear communication, and the mind-boggling failure to build a comprehensive and cohesive campaign message. Why was Hillary running, other than because she thought it was her turn to be president? Moreover, like Mitt Romney in 2012, she assumed she had the race won, and thus didn’t do the work to actually win it.

What may be the book’s most valuable insight is its exposure of just how awful and petulant a leader Hillary is. In early 2016, for example, she became severely frustrated with her campaign manager, Robby Mook, over his continued second-guessing of her decisions. Instead of firing him or working to come to a clearer understanding of the role he played, she simply stopped speaking to him. And so, from the end of February 2016 to the election, Hillary never spoke directly to her campaign manager. That’s astounding.

While interesting insights and new revelations may be gleaned from the book, it still doesn’t change the fact that the Democrat Party nominated a miserable and deeply flawed candidate, and that Hillary lost because of Hillary. And America is better off because of it.

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Murder Rate Rises — But That’s Not the Whole Story

The nationwide murder rate rose 8% in 2016, according to a report by Matthew Friedman, Ames C. Grawert and James Cullen of the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law. That report is based on preliminary data from the FBI, which won’t be finally compiled until later this year. The number is bad, but maybe it isn’t as alarming as it sounds.

The report’s authors conclude: “Americans today are safer than they have been at almost any time in the past 25 years. Since 2014, some cities have seen increases in murder, causing increases in national rates of murder and violence. These spikes in urban violence are a serious cause for concern. But history shows these trends do not necessarily signal the start of a new nationwide crime wave, and even with these increases, crime and murder rates remain near historic lows. There is no evidence of a national crime wave.” Moreover, notwithstanding a small uptick in 2016, most of America has experienced a steady decline in crime since the early 1990s. “Today’s crime rate is less than half of what it was in 1991,” said the report. And if you’re not involved with gangs and/or drugs, your chances of being a victim of violent crime are substantially reduced.

We’d also note the huge increase in private gun ownership over the last 25 years. Coincidence?

The authors place primary blame for the increased murder rate on three cities. “Baltimore, Chicago and Houston together account for around half of the increase in murder in major cities between 2014 and 2016.” In fact, they add, thanks to a particularly bloody year, “Chicago alone was responsible for 43.7 percent of the rise in urban murders in 2016.” What do those cities have in common? Each is an urban poverty plantation that’s been run by generations of Democrats. Chicago and Baltimore in particular have been caught up in the Left’s war on cops, resulting in increased crime in those cities.

The bad news is that, while most gang violence in the last decade has occurred between gang members, that violence is now metastasizing into frequent assaults against citizens who have nothing to do with gangs. An 8% rise in murder, no matter how geographically limited, isn’t a good sign.

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Top Headlines

  • Study: Trump has eliminated $86B in regulations. (The Hill)

  • Trump demands border wall funds as part of spending bill. (The Washington Times)

  • Deported Dreamer lawyers vague on details. (Washington Examiner)

  • ISIS-claimed attack in Paris mars final days of campaigning ahead of Sunday’s election. (CNS News)

  • CIA, FBI launch manhunt for leaker who gave top-secret documents to WikiLeaks. (CBS News)

  • While Bill O'Reilly was crashing and burning, the stock of O'Reilly Automotive was soaring. (Washington Examiner)

  • Nobody works in one in five U.S. families. (The Washington Free Beacon)

  • EPA begins Trump’s process of cutting down size of government workforce. (Washington Examiner)

  • The insane punishment a school gave a teen over a water gun. (The Daily Signal)

  • Berkeley reverses decision to cancel speech by conservative pundit Ann Coulter. (The Washington Post)

  • Policy: Ignorance of U.S. tax policy fuels leftward sentiments. (The Daily Signal)

  • Policy: Earth Day and the divestment campaign against humanity. (American Enterprise Institute)

For more, visit Patriot Headline Report.

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FEATURED RIGHT ANALYSIS

On Sunday, Americans Will Be Free

By Michael Swartz

For many years the Tax Foundation has performed a fairly complex set of calculations to find a simple and sobering result: the calendar date that American taxpayers finally pay off their total annual toll to the government — that is, their individual local, state and federal tax bills as an aggregate. The lone spot of good news is that we’re close. On average, Americans will pay off that onerous debt on Sunday, April 23 — one day earlier than last year. Still, it’s hardly cause for celebration.

The results are even more telling when the data are distilled to a state level. Taxpayers fortunate enough to live in Mississippi were freed from their overall tax burden back on April 5 — a full 47 days sooner than those who live in the lowest-ranked state, Connecticut. Those of us in our humble shop in Tennessee could celebrate back on April 7, as we have the nation’s second-lightest burden. And if you happen to be reading this in Utah today, allow us to wish you a happy Tax Freedom Day.

All of this is a relatively light-hearted way of comparing the burdens we all pay. Given the government spends an average of $31,154 per household, it’s more sobering to realize just where that money will go. By far the largest individual portion ($12,141) goes to the combination of Social Security and Medicare. The second-largest amount goes to programs lumped together under the “anti-poverty” banner ($6,143), with defense coming in third ($4,696). Per-household defense spending, however, barely outstrips the $4,393 deficit added to the national debt on each household’s behalf.

Over the last three decades, the Tax Freedom date has fluctuated with the general mood of the government in power at the time. Tax cuts under Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush have moved the date forward on the calendar, with George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama increasing rates, thus lengthening the time needed to get to Tax Freedom Day.

Like some of his GOP predecessors, revising and simplifying the individual tax code was a point on Donald Trump’s agenda as well, but his main thrust was a desire to cut the highest corporate tax rate in the industrialized world. It’s a point that scores well with four supply-side economics gurus. Writing in The New York Times, Steve Forbes, Larry Kudlow, Art Laffer and Stephen Moore argue that Trump needs to score a tax victory this summer, and the best place to begin is to cut corporate tax rates and allow for immediate, full deduction of the cost of capital purchases. Add to that a modest repatriation fee on bringing foreign profits back to the United States, and the quartet believes these changes will help the economy. “The additional increase in real wages could be nearly 10 percent over the next decade, which would reverse 15 years of income stagnation for the working class in America,” they write. “And, if we are right that tax cuts will spur the economy, then the faster economic growth as a result of the bill will bring down the deficit.”

Somewhat more controversial about the approach that Forbes and his colleagues take is the idea that, as a sweetener to attract Democrat votes, a dedicated infrastructure fund should be created from the repatriated foreign profits. Regarded as a “good move politically,” if nothing else, it would kill two of Trump’s birds with one stone: corporate tax reform would be combined with investment in infrastructure.

In the short term, this free-market quartet concedes that tax cuts would enlarge the deficit, which was the case initially under both Reagan and Bush (43) when they reduced tax rates. But that would create a boon to the economy and lead to an increase in federal revenue, thus shrinking the deficit in years to come. This, of course, assumes that adults take charge of the purse strings and refrain from spending the new revenue before it comes in.

To bring this full circle, it’s worth going beyond the Tax Foundation’s report abstract to a chart that tracks Tax Freedom Day over time. A century ago, on the eve of World War I (and just after the passage of the Sixteenth Amendment) Tax Freedom Day occurred in late January. Although there’s been a little bit of relief since 2000, the year Tax Freedom Day fell on May 1 — “May Day” was perhaps appropriate, as this was during the last year of Comrade Clinton’s term of office — the fact that we spend well past a quarter of each year rendering unto Caesar should give everyone pause and make us question how we came to this point.

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MORE ANALYSIS FROM THE PATRIOT POST

BEST OF RIGHT OPINION

For more, visit Right Opinion.

OPINION IN BRIEF

Mona Charen: “Do you have march fatigue yet? The Left, apparently, does not, so we’re in for some street theater on Earth Day, April 22, with the so-called March for Science. It’s hard to think of a better way to undermine the public’s faith in science than to stage demonstrations in Washington, DC, and around the country modeled on the Women’s March on Washington that took place in January. The Women’s March was an anti-Donald Trump festival. Fine. I found it vulgar and demeaning to women, but it’s a free country. Science, however, to be respected, must be purely the search for truth. The organizers of this ‘March for Science’ — by acknowledging that their demonstration is modeled on the Women’s March — are contributing to the politicization of science, exactly what true upholders of science should be at pains to avoid.”

SHORT CUTS

Insight: “Congress will ever exercise their powers to levy as much money as the people can pay. They will not be restrained from direct taxes by the consideration that necessity does not require them.” —Melancton Smith (1744-1798)

Upright: “It’s becoming increasingly clear that the foremost object of modern feminism isn’t respecting and honoring the choices that real women make, but rather making sure that women make a certain kind of choice — to live with the same career- and action-dominant attitude that has prevailed in male culture for many thousands of years.” —David French

For the record: “Truth is, if we were to ever level the playing field with countries like Mexico and China, the average American worker would be making $3 an hour and spending their pittance on third-world health care and decrepit housing. Please, don’t level the playing field.” —David Harsanyi

Change? “I think the path of negotiations with North Korea has been a colossal failure now for more than 25 years. We believe that through discussions and negotiations among nations apart from North Korea that we may well be able to bring the kind of economic and diplomatic pressure that would result in North Korea finally abandoning its nuclear ambitions and its ballistic missile program.” —Mike Pence

Alpha Jackass: “How many yachts do billionaires need? How many cars do they need? Give us a break. You can’t have it all.” —Bernie Sanders, who owns three houses

Late-night humor: “Fox News announced that Bill O'Reilly has been fired, after his sexual harassment scandal. Experts say it is not likely that any self-respecting network will ever hire him — then CNN said, ‘Welcome aboard!’” —Jimmy Fallon

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Semper Vigilans Fortis Paratus et Fidelis
Managing Editor Nate Jackson

Join us in daily prayer for our Patriots in uniform — Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen — standing in harm’s way in defense of Liberty, and for their families.