Mid-Day Digest

Feb. 1, 2019

THE FOUNDATION

“Were we directed from Washington when to sow, and when to reap, we should soon want bread.” —Thomas Jefferson (1821)

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IN TODAY’S EDITION

IN BRIEF

Turns Out the Shutdown Didn’t Kill the Economy

Nate Jackson

Thanks to the 35-day partial government shutdown, many economists were warning that the January jobs report would be, as The New York Times put it, “a mess.” Bloomberg’s prediction survey expected just 165,000 jobs created.

Well, so much for predictions.

“Job growth in January shattered expectations, with nonfarm payrolls surging by 304,000, the Labor Department reported Friday,” reports CNBC. Now, it wasn’t all great news. CNBC also notes, “December’s big initially reported gain of 312,000 was knocked all the way down to 222,000, while November’s rose from 176,000 to 196,000.” The headline unemployment rate ticked higher to 4%, and the fuller measure of unemployment rose to 8.1% from 7.6%, the result of layoffs due to the shutdown and also more people entering the workforce to find jobs. But one interesting note: Employment by the federal government actually rose by 1,000.

Well, so much for the shutdown.

A couple of observations: First, despite the massive entanglement of the federal government in the economy, even five weeks of a partial shutdown didn’t do much to drag down job growth, even if there was somewhat of a negative economic impact. President Donald Trump’s administration has done important deregulatory work that stimulates growth by getting government out of the way. Second, as we wrote yesterday, it’s now tax-filing season. That will help millions of individuals, but it will also help small-business owners who file taxes as individuals. Those small businesses are the real drivers of job creation and wage increases (3.2% over the last year), and they will see some breathing room from lower taxes. So we’ll go out on a limb and suggest the experts might just be wrong in predicting weaker economic growth in 2019.

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Measles Outbreak Reveals Problem of Anti-Vaccination Trend

Thomas Gallatin

A measles outbreak in Washington state has led Gov. Jay Inslee to declare a state of emergency. Meanwhile, health officials in Georgia, Hawaii, Oregon, and New York have also confirmed cases of measles in their states. This follows major outbreaks in several states over the last few years. There are a growing number of cases of the highly contagious disease that just 18 years ago was declared by the Centers for Disease Control to have been eradicated from the U.S. So what has led to these new cases?

In Washington, the cause is clear: non-vaccinated individuals. This fact has shown a bright spotlight on an increasingly heated debate over the broader societal health risks posed by the growing anti-vaccination trend.

As we’ve said before, those who opt out of vaccines benefit from what’s known as herd immunity. In other words, as long as about 90% of people are vaccinated, the “more enlightened” few may choose to avoid doing so and suffer little consequence. But there is a mathematical limit to this gamble, and it’s often upper-class liberals who are rolling the dice. In the affected areas of Washington, vaccination rates are only about 75%.

Anti-vaxxers blame vaccinations for the supposed rise in rates of certain autoimmune disorders, but this belief is born out of a rejection or misunderstanding of mainstream medical practice due in part to debunked pseudo-scientific explanations. This skepticism is coupled with a strong antipathy toward corporations or a deep distrust of governmental authority, and there’s a growing belief among some Americans that vaccinations are more of a health problem than a solution.

While a majority of Americans may disagree with anti-vaxxers and see their views as dangerously foolish, the First Amendment protects their right to hold and express them. However, the real rub comes when one’s individual beliefs may have direct impact upon the physical health and well-being of society at large. The current outbreak of measles demonstrates this balance and raises the question: When does protecting public health supersede the freedom of the individual to live according to how they see fit? Or to put it another way, when does the government have the right or responsibility to compel individuals to conform to certain behavioral expectations irrespective of personally held beliefs? As 19th-century physician Oliver Wendell Holmes put it, “The right to swing my fist ends where the other man’s nose begins.” The choice to refuse vaccination — when rooted in vain conceit rather than medical reality — endangers others.

Frankly, given the devastating history of diseases like the measles and polio and the amazing medical breakthroughs that have (or had) virtually eradicated many of these diseases, profoundly improving the lives and health of all Americans living today, it is mind-boggling that this is even an issue up for debate.

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ON OUR WEBSITE TODAY

BEST OF RIGHT OPINION

For more of today’s columns, visit Right Opinion.

TOP HEADLINES

  • Trump administration officially suspending nuclear treaty with Russia (The Hill)
  • White House preps emergency wall plan while Congress negotiates (Politico)
  • Pelosi suggests Normandy fence for the border, but not a wall (Washington Examiner)
  • Largest-ever U.S. border seizure of fentanyl made in Arizona (Reuters)
  • Most 2020 Democrats back an abortion bill just like Virginia’s (National Review)
  • Ben Sasse reintroduces Abortion Survivors Act (The Daily Signal)
  • Weird: No Democrats in Congress seem to have heard Ralph Northam’s infanticide comments (Hot Air)
  • Cory Booker launches 2020 campaign for president (The Inquirer)
  • Trump may be about to flip the Ninth Circuit (The Resurgent)
  • Not humor: “A border wall is immoral,” says political party advocating for infanticide (The Babylon Bee)
  • Policy: Seven topics Trump should address in the State of the Union (The Daily Signal)
  • Policy: Sanders’s new estate tax plan is inherently immoral (Washington Examiner)

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

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TODAY’S MEME

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For more of today’s memes, visit the Memesters Union.

TODAY’S CARTOON

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For more of today’s cartoons, visit the Cartoons archive.

OPINION IN BRIEF

Jonah Goldberg: “If you don’t think late-term, post-viability abortions are morally troubling, you might want to ask yourself why we are only one of seven countries in the world that allow elective abortions after 20 weeks. It’s unclear how many countries allow abortion at 40 weeks, mid-delivery, but it’s possible that the U.S. and North Korea would be the only members of that club. … In almost every other sphere of debate where progressives claim the moral high ground, they are categorical. ‘If it saves just one life, it’s worth it,’ they say about gun control, health-care reform, police abuse, etc. Imagine if I were to argue that since lynchings are so rare, we don’t really need strict laws against lynching. Infanticide, like racism, murder and rape, is a moral category. It’s not less evil if it’s rare. It is rare — thank God — because we’ve agreed to treat it as evil. … In debates over the death penalty, there is one thing virtually everyone agrees upon: It’s profoundly wrong to execute the innocent. Our criminal justice system is rightly crammed with all manner of checks to minimize the risk of a terrible mistake. Well, a viable baby is surely innocent, too. And yet, among abortion rights maximalists, it is considered the morally sophisticated position to remove as many checks as possible from preventing infanticide. If you think it’s worth tolerating a certain number of baby killings to protect abortion rights, you should say so. But please don’t pretend the moral ground you’re standing on is very high.”

SHORT CUTS

Observations: “I don’t know which is worse, the left having lied for so many years about their intentions on social issues … or the reality that they don’t feel like they have to lie anymore.” —David Limbaugh

For the record: “Here you have videos of Democratic politicians making at least seemingly shocking statements on a controversial issue where their party is way on the wrong side of public opinion. … Yet somehow the same kind of mainstream (not left-wing) journalists and editors who were commissioning thinkpieces about white supremacy within an hour of the Covington video managed to control themselves, to resist tweeting the story, to hang back, to ask for context … and then finally to write news stories framed as stories about ‘conservative backlash.’” —Ross Douthat

Braying Jenny: “I’m sorry, I just don’t know what he said.” —Nancy Pelosi when asked about infanticide comments by Virginia’s Democrat governor

Pass the bill to find out what’s in it: “I made a mistake, and all I know to do is to admit it, tell the truth, and let the chips fall where they may. If you follow my newsletter or have written to me to ask about my votes, you know that I do my best to read and research every bill I vote on. But I did not read a bill I agreed to co-patron and that wasn’t smart or typical. I will work harder and be better for it.” —Virginia Del. Dawn Adams, whose indifference toward life inside the womb was reason enough to “unwittingly” support infanticide

Tone-deaf: “I was really surprised by the line of questioning that I got.” —Virginia Del. Kathy Tran, author of the Repeal Act

Non Compos Mentis: “Our children & grandchildren should grow up in a world where they can breathe the air & drink the water — and go outside without risking their lives in extreme temperatures. It’s time to protect our planet & pass a Green New Deal. #PolarVortex2019” —Elizabeth Warren (Since when were temperatures a linear measurement?)

And last… “Please stop killing undocumented infants who are trying to cross the border of the birth canal in hopes of a better life. Every undocumented infant deserves a chance at the American dream.” —Matt Walsh

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Semper Vigilans Fortis Paratus et Fidelis

Nate Jackson, Managing Editor
Mark Alexander, Publisher

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