Mid-Day Digest

Apr. 15, 2019


“An unlimited power to tax involves, necessarily, a power to destroy; because there is a limit beyond which no institution and no property can bear taxation.” —John Marshall (1819)

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Breaking Down Taxes by the Numbers

Tax Day — or as we in our humble shop have long dubbed it, Income Redistribution Day — is upon us. In recognition of this dubious date, here’s a brief look at where the federal government spends well in excess of the $3 trillion in taxes it is expected to collect this year. Some 52% of the federal budget will be spent on the government’s four largest wealth-redistribution programs, better known as Medicare, Medicaid, ObamaCare, and Social Security. Another 16% will be spent on income-security programs, which include veterans’ benefits, food- and housing-assistance programs, retirement for federal employees, and disability programs. (An important note: There’s a huge distinction between money provided for veterans, or even citizens who’ve involuntarily contributed to what they’ve been told is a retirement system, and money given to people who choose not to work.) Combined, that’s more than is spent on national defense. Speaking of defense spending, one of the few federal expenditures actually enumerated in the Constitution will consume just 15% of the budget. Another 8% of the budget will go to pay the interest on the ever-growing $22 trillion national debt.

As for the biggest drivers of spending and debt, The Daily Signal reports, “Health entitlements — Medicare, Medicaid, Obamacare — and Social Security are the largest and fastest growing programs. Unless Congress fixes these four programs, they — and the ever-growing interest payments on the national debt — will consume every dollar of taxes paid by 2041. That leaves no money for anything else. Uncle Sam couldn’t spend a penny on defense, food assistance, highways, or education without driving the country further into debt.”

Essentially, 76% of the federal budget is spent on the government’s wealth-redistribution programs or their resulting debt. Unless spending changes fast, by 2024 the U.S. debt will swell to 93% of GDP. But this can’t be blamed on the Republicans’ pro-growth tax cuts, which will actually raise more annual revenue than the old rates. As we have long argued, the culprit is Washington’s massive spending problem.

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Hypocrites Decry Trump’s Sanctuary City Pitch

In the latest entry in the fascinating Leftmedia genre known as Anonymous Sources, The Washington Post stirred the pot on immigration again Friday. So let’s take a step back from the churn and evaluate what’s really going on here.

But first, briefly, the WaPo said its reporters reviewed emails between White House officials discussing twice in recent months the possibility of releasing illegal aliens in sanctuary cities. That story was quickly picked up by other media outlets. Officially, the White House dismissed the report, saying, “This was just a suggestion that was floated and rejected, which ended any further discussion.”

Nevertheless, it gave Nancy Pelosi (D-San Fran-Sanctuary City) the opportunity to blast her nemesis: “The extent of this administration’s cynicism and cruelty cannot be overstated. Using human beings — including little children — as pawns in their warped game to perpetuate fear and demonize immigrants is despicable.”

Of course, her statement applies far more to Democrat behavior than anything else. Moreover, is Pelosi upset that Trump is detaining illegal alien children, or that he’s releasing them?

Soon, however, Donald Trump responded that, yes, his administration is giving “strong considerations” to the idea. “The Radical Left always seems to have an Open Borders, Open Arms policy — so this should make them very happy!” Trump wrote. Nobody trolls the Left quite like Trump.

Trump also declared, “The USA has the absolute legal right to have apprehended illegal immigrants transferred to Sanctuary Cities. We hereby demand that they be taken care of at the highest level, especially by the State of California, which is well known for its poor management & high taxes!”

In any case, while much of the chattering class is debating whether Trump’s idea is even legal or how it makes any sense at all, we’ll save that debate for such a time that this is an actual plan. For now, the real question should be turned in the other direction.

Sanctuary cities flaunt, reject, and even actively oppose federal immigration law. It’s easy to imagine that when illegals are released, they often end up in sanctuary cities anyway. Trump has a point — Democrats should welcome this opportunity with open arms. Yet these hypocrites are hysterically screaming about even the suggestion that the federal government might make them put their money where their mouths are, so to speak. The truth is Democrats cynically exploit immigrants of both the legal and illegal variety so they can obtain political power. They also hope to remain insulated from the consequences of their terrible policies. All the Trump administration’s suggestion does is highlight Democrat hypocrisy.

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


  • TEMPORARY BORDER SANITY: “The U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of President Trump on Friday when it determined that the government can at least temporarily continue to send asylum-seekers back to Mexico. The asylum program was scheduled to be shut down at midnight under an order from District Judge Richard Seeborg, but the White House requested that the appeals court intervene. The 9th Circuit temporarily stayed the lower court’s ruling as the parties get ready to submit their arguments next week on the government’s request for a longer stay that would likely last months.” (The Hill)
  • BUTTIGIEG MAKES IT OFFICIALPete Buttigieg, the little-known Indiana mayor who has risen to prominence in the early stages of the 2020 Democratic presidential race, made his official campaign entrance Sunday by claiming the mantle of a youthful generation ready to reshape the country,” the Associated Press reports. “Some polls put him behind only Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who sought the party’s nomination in 2016, and former Vice President Joe Biden, who has not yet said he’s running.”
  • TRUMP’S IMPRESSIVE WAR CHEST: According to Fox News, “President Trump’s re-election campaign raised $30.3 million in the first quarter of this year, far pacing the leading fundraisers among the Democrats.” The average donation was $34.26, and 99% of all contributions consisted of $200 or less. “In all, the campaign had $40.8 million cash on hand, an unprecedented war chest for an incumbent president this early in the campaign. Trump’s fundraising ability was matched by the Republican National Committee, which brought in $45.8 million in the first quarter — its highest non-election year total.”
  • HOUSE DEMOCRATS’ NEW IRS ULTIMATUM: “House Democrats are giving the Trump administration a hard deadline of April 23 to turn over the president’s tax returns. … Legal experts have suggested that an outright denial of their request by [Treasury Secretary Steven] Mnuchin could be followed by subpoenas or a lawsuit in federal court. Mnuchin so far has only postponed responding to Democrats’ request and said he would confer with the Justice Department, but he has not yet rejected it.” (The Washington Post)
  • CULTURE OF DEATH GROWS: “New Jersey became the eighth state in the country to legalize assisted suicide on Friday. Democratic governor Phil Murphy signed legislation that will allow doctors to prescribe lethal doses of medicine to patients who have been diagnosed as terminally ill.” (The Washington Free Beacon)
  • NORTH KOREA TIMETABLE: Via The Hill: “North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has laid down an end-of-year marker for the United States to agree to terms for a nuclear deal while signaling he may agree to a third summit with President Trump. Kim said that he will wait ‘till the end of this year’ for the U.S. to decide to be more flexible in negotiations. … Kim called offers floated by the U.S. ‘absolutely impractical,’ arguing that the administration did ‘not really ready itself to sit with us face-to-face and settle the problem.’”
  • SICKENING OUTCOME: “The U.S. Justice Department won’t appeal a decision by a Detroit federal judge who threw out female genital mutilation charges against members of a Muslim sect. Solicitor General Noel Francisco calls it an ‘especially heinous practice.’ But in a letter to Congress, he says the law needs to be changed to be constitutional under U.S. Supreme Court precedent. Judge Bernard Friedman in November said the law was unconstitutional because Congress didn’t have power to regulate genital mutilation. … Dr. Jumana Nagarwala was accused of performing genital mutilation on nine girls at a suburban Detroit clinic.” (WXYZ Detroit)
  • HUMOR: Comey: “We did not spy — we just observed and reported secretly without the subject’s knowledge or consent” (The Babylon Bee)
  • POLICY: In one chart, how your taxes are spent (The Daily Signal)
  • POLICY: The fault lines behind the Trump-Moon summit (Hudson Institute)

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

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Hans von Spakovsky: “Democrats sharply attacked Attorney General William Barr for telling the truth when he acknowledged in Senate testimony Wednesday that federal law enforcement officers had spied on the Trump presidential campaign. … Barr has a responsibility to look into the spying, focusing on finding answers to two questions: First, did the FBI and the Justice Department have evidence to justify opening an investigation and counterintelligence operation looking at the Trump presidential campaign? And second, did those who authorized the spying meet the requirements of the FISA law to justify electronic surveillance? ‘Spying on a political campaign is a big deal,’ Barr told senators. It sure is. Everyone, regardless of their politics, should be ‘concerned about intelligence agencies and law enforcement agencies staying in their proper lane,’ Barr said. Dictatorships spy on political opponents, throwing them in jail or sometimes even executing them. In democracies, governments are not supposed to use their law enforcement powers and massive resources against political opponents. It is vital that we adhere to this distinction and not let Uncle Sam turn into Big Brother.”


The Gipper: “We don’t have a trillion-dollar debt because we haven’t taxed enough; we have a trillion-dollar debt because we spend too much.” —Ronald Reagan

For the record: “Tax Day is always bad because Americans are overtaxed. But this Tax Day, we can celebrate the fact that an overwhelming majority of people are being taxed less, thanks to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which Republicans passed in late 2017. No fewer than four out of every five taxpayers saw a reduction thanks to the law.” —Washington Examiner editorial board

Braying Jackass: “[President Trump is] trying to pit Americans against each other and make us less safe.” —Cory Booker on Trump’s pitch to dump illegals in sanctuary cities

Friendly fire: “[Ilhan Omar’s] statements were not only hurtful to me but extremely hurtful to everyone that was personally impacted by those terrorist attacks. No one should refer to what happened on 9/11, with terrorist attacks that killed thousands of Americans, as ‘something by some people.’ And that’s what was wrong with those statements.” —Democrat Rep. Ben Ray Lujan

Non compos mentis I: “I saw nothing wrong with the congresswoman’s speech.” —Rep. Bennie Thompson

Non compos mentis II: “I’ve had some problems with some of her other remarks, but not with that one.” —Rep. Jerry Nadler

Braying Jenny: “We must confront that our nation was founded by genocide and we maintain global power through neocolonialism.” —Rep. Ilhan Omar, August 2017

Alpha Jackass: “In 2018, right-wing extremists were behind almost ALL US domestic terrorist killings. Why don’t you go do something about that?” —Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to veteran Rep. Dan Crenshaw, who lost in eye defending this country from jihadis

Intraparty squabble: “That’s like five people.” —House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on AOC and her contingent’s influence within the Democrat Party

Delusions of grandeur: “Our children shouldn’t go to school worried they will have to run for their lives from an active shooter. We need leaders who will stand up to the NRA and fight to keep our kids safe from gun violence.” —Sen. Kamala Harris

And last… “Bernie Sanders defending getting rich from writing a book is just a reminder that, despite what people say, no one is actually against Capitalism.” —Frank J. Fleming

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



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

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Nate Jackson, Managing Editor
Mark Alexander, Publisher

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