Mid-Day Digest

Apr. 9, 2019

THE FOUNDATION

“In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” —Benjamin Franklin (1789)

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IN TODAY’S EDITION

IN BRIEF

Lower Tax Bills Also Yield Lower Refunds

“Lower refunds don’t mean Americans paid more taxes — quite the opposite,” says CBS News. “Most workers paid less in taxes last year and saw higher take-home pay week in and week out. But for many Americans, a slightly higher paycheck doesn’t quite have the same visibility as a single $3,000 check in March or April.”

That “visibility” — the satisfying payoff of receiving a big check — is exactly why CBS headlined its story “Tax refunds so far this year are down by $6 billion from 2018.”

CBS did accurately report the numbers, but if all you read is the headline, or if you didn’t make it past the first three paragraphs, you were grossly misled.

With the tax-filing deadline just days away, Americans will start to see many more stories like this. It’s been a theme since the IRS began accepting returns this year, as the Leftmedia spins bigger paychecks as a bad thing.

Far too many Americans treat their tax refunds as a forced savings account for big purchases. CBS notes that “while the average refund, at $2,873, is only $20 less than it was last year, about 1.6 million fewer people are getting refunds.” That means a dip in retail sales for items like appliances or furniture.

Of course, just sticking your money in a low-yield savings account at the bank will earn a far better return than an interest-free loan to the federal government. Yet that’s the insidious nature of withholding from paychecks — people tend to overlook it. When the government has first dibs on your hard-earned money, it changes your behavior. And getting the withholding to match your actual tax obligation is really tough, so why bother? Just wait for the refund.

As our own Louis DeBroux concluded in February, “While the GOP/Trump tax cuts (which not a single Democrat voted for) have been a massive jumpstart to the economy, neither Trump nor Republicans can depend on a hostile press to really admit the truth. They’ll have to take this good news directly to the American people.”

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Leftist Gov’t Officials Discriminate Against Chick-fil-A

Chick-fil-A combines making great chicken sandwiches with top-notch, friendly service, and as a result it has become one of America’s favorite fast-food restaurants. But unlike its competition, Chick-fil-A is closed every Sunday, and this is due to the traditional Christian values of founder S. Truett Cathy — values shared by his son and current CEO Dan Cathy. And like many privately owned companies, Cathy has given money to organizations and causes that he supports, including Christian and pro-family organizations. This is America, after all, where the First Amendment protects the freedom of speech and thought.

However, Cathy’s First Amendment rights are being threatened by leftist government officials who reject his support of traditional Christian values. In San Antonio, City Councilman Robert Trevino banned Chick-fil-A from the local airport, and New York State Assemblyman Sean Ryan (D) announced that Buffalo’s airport would be prohibited from operating a Chick-fil-A in its food court. The justification for these bans?

Well, as National Review’s Rich Lowry writes, “The left-wing outfit ThinkProgress issued a report cited widely in the press and among Chick-fil-A opponents accusing the company’s foundation of ‘anti-equality’ giving. By which it means it donated to the Salvation Army and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (and a small Christian home for troubled young men in Vidalia, Ga.).”

Using absurd doublespeak, Trevino rationalized his decision to ban Chick-fil-A by claiming, “Everyone should feel welcome when they walk through our airport.” Well, except Christians selling chicken sandwiches. Ryan was at least more to the point with his excuse, arguing, “The views of Chick-fil-A do not represent our state or the Western New York community.” When did the Left abandon its loudly proclaimed support for tolerance?

The fact of the matter is that Chick-fil-A has never run afoul of antidiscrimination laws. The fast-food company has received no allegations of discrimination against either homosexual customers or homosexual employees. In fact, it has regularly been recognized as one of the best fast-food restaurants to work for.

Thankfully, both of these cases are being looked into. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has initiated an investigation into the actions of the San Antonio city council, and New York’s Civil Liberties Union has condemned Buffalo’s decision, which should lead to a lawsuit. These intolerant actions by leftist thought police are antithetical to the Constitution and must be met head-on.

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ON OUR WEBSITE TODAY

BEST OF RIGHT OPINION

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

TOP NEWS EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

  • JUDICIAL ACTIVISM ON IMMIGRATION: “A U.S. judge decided Monday to block the Trump administration’s policy of returning asylum seekers to Mexico as they wait for an immigration court to hear their cases, but the ruling is on hold for several days. Judge Richard Seeborg in San Francisco granted a request on behalf of 11 asylum seekers from Central America and legal advocacy groups to halt the practice while their lawsuit moves forward, but he held off on enforcing his decision until Friday to give the government a chance to ask an appeals court for a review.” (Associated Press)
  • SECRET SERVICE RESHUFFLING: “President Trump is removing U.S. Secret Service Director Randolph ‘Tex’ Alles from his position. … The Secret Service recently came under scrutiny for its handling of an incident in which a Chinese national was allowed to enter President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club. The woman, who alternately claimed to be there to swim and attend an event for Chinese-American business leaders, was eventually determined to be carrying two Chinese passports and a device containing malware.” (The Hill)
  • UNLAWFUL APPOINTMENTS: The Washington Examiner points out, “President Trump announced … that Kevin McAleenan will be taking over as acting secretary of the Department of Homeland Security following the resignation of Kirstjen Nielsen on Sunday. There’s one problem with this: It’s illegal. Federal law explicitly excludes the application of the Federal Vacancies Reform Act to this situation.” By law, the secretary role should be filled by current Under Secretary of Homeland Security for Management Claire Grady unless her employment were to be terminated. Barack Obama also had a penchant for exploiting interim appointments, and any president who takes advantage of them should be rebuked.
  • DEMOCRAT 2020 UPDATE: “California Rep. Eric Swalwell is the latest Democrat to jump into the race for president. … Swalwell is the 18th Democrat to join the race for the party’s 2020 presidential nomination. One of the key issues the California Democrat, 38, is highlighting is one important to young voters in particular: gun safety [i.e., gun control]. … Swalwell has also taken on the National Rifle Association, proposing an assault-weapons ban.” (NPR)
  • REPARATIONS POLITICAL THEATER: “Sen. Cory Booker on Monday introduced a bill that would study the possibility of reparations for descendants of slaves, embracing a push that recently has caught the interest of fellow 2020 Democratic presidential candidates. … The measure is a Senate companion to a bill introduced in the House of Representatives in January by Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas, which if passed into law would set up a commission to study the impact of slavery and continued discrimination against black Americans and make recommendations on reparation proposals for the descendants of slaves.” (Fox News)
  • TROUBLE IN JIHADISTAN: “Three U.S. service members were killed by an improvised explosive device Monday near Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan. … The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack through the group’s spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid. The insurgent group claimed the attack was conducted by a suicide vehicle-borne IED. … There have been four other U.S. troop deaths in Afghanistan so far this year. Those deaths occurred during combat operations in more remote Afghan provinces.” (Military Times)
  • ISLAMIC DOMESTIC TERRORISM THWARTED: “Federal authorities have charged a Maryland man they believe was plotting to ram a stolen truck into pedestrians at the National Harbor waterfront development in Maryland, just outside the nation’s capital, the Justice Department announced Monday. Rondell Henry, 28, of Germantown, Maryland, has been charged with interstate transportation of a stolen vehicle, but in court documents authorities allege a much more sinister intention. According to authorities, Henry claimed to law enforcement that he was inspired by the Islamic State when he stole a U-Haul van looking to use it as a weapon.” (ABC News)
  • VINDICTIVENESS OVER KAVANAUGH: “A woman was arrested on Friday after authorities discovered she sent a threatening letter to Sen. Susan Collins’s (R-ME) home in October. The letter, which was sent to Collins’s husband, Thomas Daffron, was reportedly laced with ricin. … Because it was mailed in October, one can only conclude the suspect was [responding] to Collins’s vote in favor of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.” (National Review)
  • HUMOR: Protesters claim victory after blocking customers from Chick-fil-A for entire Sunday (The Babylon Bee)
  • POLICY: Retiring the USS Harry S. Truman is a terrible idea (National Review)
  • POLICY: Why the Left is desperate to sabotage Trump’s health-care plans (The Heritage Foundation)

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

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OPINION IN BRIEF

Rich Lowry: “As everyone has always known, Biden is prone to weird and wildly overfamiliar interactions with women, which are extensively on the record and have been the subject of jocular commentary over the years. The #MeToo era has put his grabby style in a different light, and now he’s had to tweet out a video saying he gets it. Biden’s conduct is obviously different and less blameworthy than the men caught up in #MeToo: It’s not furtive, but out in the open; not sexual, but affectionate. He doesn’t stand accused of cruelly manipulating anyone or creating a hostile workplace. No, his fundamental offense is not realizing that some people might not be as into Joe Biden as Joe Biden is into Joe Biden. He has an ego, not a libido, problem. … To use Biden’s own term, he believes his own malarkey. He really thinks that he’s the most charming man in the room and a master at human interaction. In his view, he’s doing everyone a favor by giving them a warm bath of Biden.”

SHORT CUTS

For the record: “I voted for 44 twice. … Not once in 8 years was I given any support regarding Africa or the Black Agenda, but 45 invites me to the WH to celebrate the #FirstStepAct.” —actor Isaiah Washington

A blind squirrel finds a nut: “I worry sometimes as we think about how to deal with the immigration issue we think that any moves towards assimilation of newcomers to the existing culture is somehow betrayal or a denial of people’s heritage or what have you. The truth of the matter is that if you’re going to have a coherent, cohesive society then everybody has to have some agreed upon rules, and there’s gonna have to be some accommodations that everybody makes, and that includes the people who are newcomers.” —Barack Obama

Friendly fire: “One of the things I do worry about sometimes among progressives in the United States … is a certain kind of rigidity where we say, ‘Uh, I’m sorry, this is how it’s going to be,’ and then we start sometimes creating what’s called a ‘circular firing squad,’ where you start shooting at your allies because one of them has strayed from purity on the issues. And when that happens, typically the overall effort and movement weakens.” —Barack Obama

Friendly fire II: “While there are people who have a large number of Twitter followers, what’s important is that we have large numbers of votes on the floor of the House.” —House Speaker Nancy Pelosi

The BIG Lie: “This is not the national security crisis that the president continues to describe. There is a humanitarian crisis, but it’s created by President Donald Trump. When you go back to the threats even during the midterms, the president was suggesting that there was an immediate national security crisis and he sent troops to the border just to try to distract the American people with the gains that we were going to see in the midterms.” —Rep. Ben Ray Lujan

Alpha Jackass: “I might expect someone to describe another human being as an infestation in the Third Reich. I would not expect it in the United States of America.” —Beto O'Rourke

And last… “Any pseudo-Christian who quotes ‘JUDGE NOT LEST YE BE JUDGED’ as a ‘don’t judge my stupid choices’ card is no better than the moral relativist who mocks his faith entirely.” —Steven Crowder

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Nate Jackson, Managing Editor
Mark Alexander, Publisher

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