Mid-Day Digest

Jul. 22, 2019


“If Congress can do whatever in their discretion can be done by money, and will promote the General Welfare, the Government is no longer a limited one, possessing enumerated powers, but an indefinite one, subject to particular exceptions.” —James Madison (1792)

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Sanders Campaign Collides With Economic Reality

News leaked last week that staffers working for Sen. Bernie Sanders’s presidential campaign were frustrated and complaining about receiving “poverty wages.” The irony is rich: Sanders the millionaire socialist has long railed against corporations for paying “starvation wages” as he stumps for a $15 minimum wage, but he was exposed as a hypocritical political hack.

In response to the embarrassing news, Sanders insisted over the weekend that his staffers would now be paid the promised $15 minimum wage, though this announcement came with a significant caveat: staffers’ hours would be cut to pay for it. As Sanders campaign manager Faiz Shakir explained, “We look forward to continuing those discussions and obviously are disappointed that some individuals decided to damage the integrity of these efforts before they were concluded. As these discussions continue, we are limiting hours so no employee is receiving less than $15 for any hours worked.” Welcome to real-world economics. Yet Shakir and his boss threw those complaining staffers under the bus for the sin of naively believing that Sanders actually meant what he so loudly preaches.

Sanders himself expressed anger at his complaining staffers, stating, “It does bother me that people are going outside the process and going to the media. That is really not acceptable. It is really not what labor negotiations are about, and it’s improper.” Spoken like any good socialist dictator, “Your time is my time.”

Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-TX) quipped, “So does this fall under the category of hypocrisy, irony, or poetic justice? All three? Can’t make this stuff up.”

The Blaze’s Aaron Colen noted the obvious economic problems associated with artificially raising the minimum wage, stating, “This situation is an instructive example of the downside of more than doubling the minimum wage. Companies don’t just suddenly get more money to pay employees. They have to make tough decisions; usually either cutting hours, or worse, cutting staff.”

What will the greater impact of this be upon the rest of the Democrat primary field? Clearly, Sanders would love to force the rest of his opponents into spending their campaign cash to match his expensive virtue signal. Nevertheless, we fully expect Democrats will continue to ignore the Congressional Budget Office’s recent report warning that a $15 minimum wage would cost at least 1.3 million jobs, while at the same time raising the cost of living for millions more. Socialism is only for the true believers.

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Does Anyone Care About the National Debt?

“Nobody is a fiscal conservative anymore,” declared Rush Limbaugh last week. “All this talk about concern for the deficit and the budget has been bogus for as long as it’s been around.” Limbaugh wasn’t being literal, but he was making a point that has become painfully clear over the last 20 years: Neither party can be trusted to rein in federal spending.

Negotiations are ongoing between Congress and the White House over a two-year spending deal, but reports indicate that in exchange for raising or suspending the debt limit, everyone will spend more money. Yes, you read that correctly.

To be fair, negotiators for President Donald Trump pushed for minor cuts, but even that was too austere for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. She rejected cuts of $150 billion over 10 years, during which time the federal government is on track to spend $57 trillion. As Reason’s Eric Boehm notes, “In the context of a $50,000 annual household budget, that’s like cutting about $150 per year — the cost of a single lunch each month. That’s hardly enough to get the federal government out from under $22 trillion in debt.”

Oh, and by the way, The Daily Signal notes the bill for that debt “currently averages $67,000 for every single American.”

On the downside, Trump has essentially yawned as the annual federal deficit once again approaches $1 trillion. He has given vague instructions to aids about looking for big cuts in his second term, but what are the chances of those cuts coming to pass?

Why is the debt problem so intractable? Essentially, there are two reasons. First, the debt apocalypse so many have warned of has yet to materialize. We’ve argued that it’s gradual and then sudden, but few people pay it much mind until they feel the consequences. It’s like the fable about the slow-boiling frog.

Second, corruption in the Swamp is rampant. Political favors and graft for constituents in 435 congressional districts and all 50 states mean that someone is very invested in each part of the federal budget — especially the lobbyists who make sure it stays there. Cuts are only acceptable for the other guy’s priorities, which means those cuts never actually happen. Follow the money.

The House adjourns for a six-week recess Friday, while the Senate hangs around for another week. In any case, as long as Washington politicians — the president included — view the debt ceiling as a bigger problem than the debt itself, the American fiscal train will continue barreling ahead at full steam until it can’t anymore.

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


MUELLER SHAKEDOWN: “All eyes will be on special counsel Robert Mueller this week as he delivers his first public testimony since wrapping up his two-year investigation into 2016 Russian election meddling and the Trump campaign. Anticipation over Mueller’s Wednesday testimony comes as Congress is facing a jam-packed week as lawmakers wind down their work ahead of the August recess.” (The Hill)

ENFORCEMENT DELAY: “The Trump administration is giving taxpayer-funded family planning clinics more time to comply with its new rule that says they no longer can refer women for abortions. … A notice sent Saturday night to representatives of the clinics by the Department of Health and Human Services said the government ‘does not intend to bring enforcement actions’ against clinics that are making ‘good-faith efforts to comply.’ … The department had said last Monday that it would require immediate compliance.” (CBS News)

AND NOT A MOMENT TOO SOON: “Given the radical, left-wing Antifa group’s well-documented history of violence, Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-La.) introduced a resolution on July 18 that condemns Antifa’s ‘violent acts’ and calls for the designation of the group as a ‘domestic terrorist organization.’” (CNSNews.com)

HATE HOAX: “Georgia State Rep. and Minority Leader Erica Thomas (D) took to Twitter on Saturday, saying a white man called her ‘a lazy SOB’ and that she needed to go back to where she came from because she had too many items in the express lane at the local Publix. … ‘Her words stating on Twitter and her Facebook video saying I told she needs to go back to where she came from are untrue,’ [Eric Sparkes] said. ‘I’m Cuban. I’m not white.’ But here’s where things get even more interesting. Sparkes said he’s a Democrat and the only reason Thomas is doing this is for political gains.” (Townhall)

PUERTO RICO UNREST: “Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló announced Sunday he will not seek re-election but refused to resign, as corruption allegations have sparked widespread protests in San Juan,” according to Fox News. Meanwhile, CBS News reports, “Up to a million protesters are expected in the streets of Puerto Rico Monday to protest … Rosselló.”

POLITICAL THEATER: “The Trump administration disputed a claim by Iran’s state media on Monday that authorities in the Middle East country arrested 17 secret agents recruited by the Central Intelligence Agency to spy on its nuclear and military sites. Iran’s semi-official Fars news agency said some of them have been sentenced to death. It was not clear if all the alleged spies were Iranian nationals.” (USA Today)

EQUIFAX SETTLES: “Equifax has agreed to pay as much as $700 million to settle a series of state and federal investigations into a massive 2017 data breach that left more than 147 million Americans’ Social Security numbers, credit-card details and other sensitive information exposed.” (The Washington Post)

NEW ZEALAND GUN CONTROL: “Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern of New Zealand on Monday announced plans for sweeping new restrictions on gun ownership, the second such wave of changes since a deadly shooting at two mosques in Christchurch earlier this year. The changes, which include a mandatory gun registry and a ban on gun purchases by foreign visitors, will ‘enshrine in law that owning a firearm is a privilege’ rather than a right, Ms. Ardern said.” (The New York Times)

POLICY: Bernie Sanders just destroyed the case for a $15 minimum wage (Issues & Insights)

POLICY: Socialism 101: Myths and realities (The Daily Signal)

HUMOR: President Trump announces his support for reparations for socialism (IMAO)

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

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Gary Bauer: “While attempting to bully anyone who stands up to them, the Squad is also claiming to be victims. Among other things, they are blaming Trump and Pelosi for the death threats they are receiving. No one in public life deserves to receive death threats. But here’s some unfortunate breaking news: Everyone in public life gets death threats. When I was working in the Reagan White House, I got death threats. When I worked with James Dobson to defend the traditional family, the threats increased so much we had to hire 24-hour security to protect me and my family. Talk to Steve Scalise about death threats. He’s still recovering from the wounds he sustained when a progressive went to the Alexandria baseball field intent on killing as many Republicans as he could. Do these four not realize that calling our Border Patrol agents ‘fascists’ contributes to the threats they and their families receive? Why has no one in the mainstream media held the Squad accountable for their ‘concentration camp’ rhetoric and the Antifa attack on an ICE facility?When they say the president is a Nazi or a Russian agent, as the left has done for the past two years, are they clueless about how much those lies increase the risk to his physical safety? Yes, death threats are disgusting. But so too is the left’s double standard.”


The Gipper: “We did not seek the role of leadership that has been thrust upon us. But whether we like it or not, the events of our time demand America’s participation.” —Ronald Reagan

For the record: “I don’t believe the four Congresswomen are capable of loving our Country. They should apologize to America (and Israel) for the horrible (hateful) things they have said. They are destroying the Democrat Party, but are weak & insecure people who can never destroy our great Nation!” —President Donald Trump

Alpha Jackass: “[Trump’s] a lot more George Wallace than George Washington.” —Joe Biden

Alpha Jackass II: “The reality is [Trump] is a guy who is worse than a racist. He’s actually using racist tropes and racial language for political gain, trying to use this as a weapon to divide our nation against itself and this is somebody who is very similar to George Wallace.” —Sen. Cory Booker

Non Compos Mentis: “I know everybody always describes me as being rich. That is not how I see myself.” —billionaire Tom Steyer

Leftspeak: “The Apollo 11 mission patch: No American flag. No space hardware. No Astronaut names. In that regard, unique among space emblems. Affirmation that walking on the Moon was an achievement of the human species, to be shared by all.” —Neil deGrasse Tyson

And last… “[The] issue is not that [Ilhan] Omar is merely a Muslim. It is that she is an Islamist fellow traveler. Despite Washington’s best efforts, Americans grasp the difference between (a) Islam as a personal religious affiliation and (b) sharia supremacism as an anti-Western political ideology. They don’t see Omar as simply a Muslim. They see someone who is hard-wired to blame the United States for jihadist terrorism. They see someone who is steeped in anti-Semitism, and indistinguishable from her Muslim Brotherhood friends in hostility to Israel’s existence.” —Andrew McCarthy

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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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