Mid-Day Digest

Dec. 23, 2019

THE FOUNDATION

“There exists in the economy and course of nature, an indissoluble union between virtue and happiness; between duty and advantage; between the genuine maxims of an honest and magnanimous policy, and the solid rewards of public prosperity and felicity.” —George Washington (1789)

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IN TODAY’S EDITION

FEATURED ANALYSIS

Ending the Decade in Great Shape

The last decade has ended much better than it began and, well, it’s not because of the government. It’s despite the government and its massive growth.

Let’s start with some cold, hard numbers.

When this decade began in 2010, America had just marked the largest budget deficit — $1.4 trillion — in our nation’s history. That deficit included the gigantic growth of the federal government to include the bank bailout and the so-called American Recovery Act that featured “stimulus” spending aimed for shovel-ready jobs that weren’t so shovel ready.

The year 2010 began with unemployment at 9.8%, after a double-digit peak of 10% in October 2009. Wages were hitting a low of 1.6% annual median growth in January 2010 after falling from 3.6% median growth in January 2009. Only 153,484,000 Americans were in the shrinking labor force at the beginning of 2010 compared to the more than 164.4 million working as of November 2019.

The beginning of the decade marked a financial wall with improvements confined by the reliance of taxpayer-funded capital and spending rather than the private sector. The free market was constrained by the growth of the government, contrary to sound economic principles. As the late economist Milton Friedman once put it, “The deeper the recession, the stronger the recovery.” That was true until 2009, which began the worst recovery since the Great Depression.

Until the Obama administration’s government-funded “recovery,” the 11 preceding post-Depression recessions were followed by recoveries of all jobs lost in an average of 27 months. Barack Obama’s recovery took 76 months — over six years — with GDP growth of no more than 2% declared to be the “new normal.”

Private-sector growth cannot compete with the unfair advantages of government-run sectors of the economy, and markets respond unfavorably to government intervention. Look no further than March 2010, when about 20% of America’s economy became governed by regulations for a uniform product that drove out-of-pocket spending higher for customers. The grossly misnamed “Affordable” Care Act (ObamaCare) has forced more people onto health-insurance rolls, but it has not reduced the costs of healthcare services. In fact, contrary to its name, the law has actually increased the amount patients pay on their own while having insurance.

Big Government doesn’t fix problems that involve cost, access, quality, or value. Instead, economic forces respond very favorably to the removal of barriers in markets. The last three years offer the proof that reducing taxes and regulations works.

Manufacturing jobs are growing faster than at any time over the last 30 years. Four million jobs have been created since November 2016. Unemployment for blacks and Hispanics is at historic lows. Annual GDP growth topped 3% for the first time in a decade. Median household income is at a record high and wages are growing at a healthy clip, particularly for those at the bottom.

The Donald Trump-led economy is humming along nicely.

But what about the rest of the world? Well, it’s improving, too.

As the Cato Institute’s Johan Norberg writes, “The World Bank reports that the world-wide rate of extreme poverty fell more than half, from 18.2% to 8.6%, between 2008 and 2018. Last year the World Data Lab calculated that for the first time, more than half the world’s population can be considered ‘middle class.’”

Due to increased access to fresh water, vaccines, and sanitation, the incidence of malaria in Africa has declined by almost 60% and deaths due to HIV/AIDS have been more than halved. Death rates from air pollution declined worldwide by nearly 20% as improvements in infrastructure and societal habits translate into better health.

It’s interesting that as individuals experience better economic conditions, they enjoy greater personal wealth, mobility, and access to services and products that offer more energy efficiency and higher capacity. That, in turn, shows that economic growth can mean using less and being a more sustainable global community.

Our smart phones now serve as a camera, calendar, clock, map, radio, flashlight, and even our primary source of news via “screen time” and video content — all in the palm of our hands. Gone are the computers that require an entire room. Gone are the heavy TVs and massive stereo systems complete with wires and speakers. Gone are our oversized atlas maps and our notebook-sized day planners.

Yes, 2010-2019 has been and continues to be a time of great political strife. Yet the reality is that this “First World Problem” that occupies the preponderance of our time and energies is cast upon the canvas of an American Day of opportunity and growth that will continue to grow — as long as our government is restrained and people are permitted to live in Liberty.

2020 … here we come!

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Christianity Today Regurgitates Dem Talking Points

It’s wrong for evangelical Christians to support President Donald Trump against the Democrats’ partisan impeachment charade. That’s the basic argument offered by Christianity Today editor-in-chief Mark Galli in an editorial published last Thursday. Galli asserts about impeachment, “The facts in this instance are unambiguous: The president attempted to use his political power to coerce a foreign leader to harass and discredit one of the president’s political opponents. That is not only a violation of the Constitution; more importantly, it is profoundly immoral.” Evidently, Galli has elected not only to accept the Democrats’ partisan conjecture and unsubstantiated talking points as a substitute for actual evidence and facts, but to make matters worse he has used the CT platform to moralize the Democrats’ anti-Trump message.

While admitting to the blatant partisan and fundamentally unjust manner in which the House Democrats conducted their impeachment case against Trump, Galli dubiously claims that the only moral choice for Christians is to support Trump’s removal from office. “That [Trump] should be removed, we believe, is not a matter of partisan loyalties but loyalty to the Creator and the Ten Commandments,” Galli writes.

So, uncritically accepting the Democrats’ many demonstrably false assertions against Trump (such as Adam Schiff’s made-up conversation of Trump’s phone call with the Ukrainian president) comports with the Ninth Commandment’s prohibition against bearing false witness against one’s neighbor?

Furthermore, the broad-brush insinuation that Christians who support Trump and reject the assertion that he deserves to be impeached and removed from office are doing so out of blind “partisan loyalties” ironically smacks of blind anti-Trump partisan animus.

The fundamental flaw in Galli’s thinking is conflating support for Trump’s presidency with justification for his entire “blackened moral record.” Galli asks, “Can [Christians] say with a straight face that abortion is a great evil that cannot be tolerated and, with the same straight face, say that the bent and broken character of our nation’s leader doesn’t really matter in the end?” But is that actually what Christians have been saying?

Family Research Council President Tony Perkins gave a cogent response that says otherwise: “Putting aside Galli’s holier-than-thou patronization, the underdeveloped political theology advanced here represents a failure to look at Trump’s record and the growing contrast between the two parties on life, family, and religious liberty. Although Galli recognizes Trump’s accomplishments in these areas, Galli goes on to say these positives do not compensate for Trump’s failings in other areas. And while President Trump is certainly not perfect, it is totally unfair to imply that support for Trump jeopardizes Christian witness to Christ when many Christians support the president because of his commitment to policies that are grounded in a biblical worldview. Not only is it unfair, but it betrays the prudence and measured judgment that Christians ought to be bringing to a broken world, and a political system which is not perfect but requires us to apply our faith in the best way we can.”

As Mark Alexander observes: “It is one thing to disagree with Trump’s style or policies, but quite another for editors of an evangelical Christian publication to advocate for a purely political ruse to remove a president.”

In the end, Galli’s screed comes off as just another textbook example of the “orange man bad” polemic. It is merely a repackaging of Barack Obama’s condescending “wrong side of history” trope, only aimed at Christians. And we should all expect better from the publication started by Billy Graham.

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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

SPENDING BILL SIGNED: President Trump signed into law Friday night a $1.4 trillion spending package that avoids a government shutdown, funds all federal agencies through September, provides up to 12 weeks of paid family leave for most federal employees and spends $1.375 billion on his border wall (The Washington Times)

“OFFENSIVELY QUESTIONED … SPIRITUAL INTEGRITY”: Nearly 200 evangelical leaders condemned Christianity Today editorial on Trump (Fox News)

DEFENDING RULE OF LAW: President Trump has installed 187 federal judges so far (Disrn)

FAKE NEWS: Bloomberg ad makes wildly misleading claim: 263 school shootings “since Trump took office” (The Daily Wire)

NO RACISM: Service academies find cadets were playing “circle game” and not making white-power hand gesture during Army-Navy game (National Review)

KINSHIP: Trump hosts Amish in historic Oval Office visit (The Washington Times)

KHASHOGGI TRIAL: Saudi Arabia sentences five to death for Jamal Khashoggi’s brutal murder (Associated Press)

“A MAJOR BLOW TO THE GANG’S LEADERSHIP”: Ninety-six MS-13 members arrested in New York in largest takedown of gang (U.S. News & World Report)

BLUE-STATE EXODUS: California population growth slowest since 1900 as residents leave, immigration decelerates (Los Angeles Times)

COMMUNISM RISING: Here’s how China became the world’s No. 2 economy and how it plans on being No. 1 (CNBC)

POLICY: Raising the smoking age is a drastic response to a nonexistent problem (Washington Examiner)

POLICY: Immigration will shift Electoral College in favor of Democrats, study finds (The Daily Signal)

HUMOR: Dems ban red plastic Solo cups because they “look too much like MAGA hats” (Genesius Times)

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

The Patriot Post is a certified ad-free news service, unlike third-party commercial news sites linked on this page, which may also require a paid subscription.

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OPINION IN BRIEF

Gary Bauer: “Christianity Today just endorsed a Democrat presidential candidate whose name we do not know yet. Whether that nominee is a class-warfare candidate like Sanders or Warren, who use envy to attack successful people, or Pete Buttigieg, who is committed to normalizing the homosexual political agenda, or whether it’s a resurrected Hillary Clinton, that candidate is CT’s choice in 2020. Any Democrat candidate will be totally committed to abortion on demand, to taxpayer subsidies of abortion, to the restriction of religious liberty, and very likely anti-Israel. In short, everything that the Creator of the Ten Commandments, as CT put it, would abhor. Here’s some breaking news for CT: No election involves a sinner running against a saint. All candidates are sinners. All the voters who vote for them have sinned. In the real world, most elections are a binary choice between fallen human beings who are willing to defend certain values and oppose other values.”

SHORT CUTS

Insight: “Goodness is the only investment that never fails.” —Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862)

Food for thought: “I think the only explanation for the sudden onset of cultural insanity and embrace of nonsense like gender identity is theological. See Romans 1:18-32. There are things unseen at work in the world.” —Erick Erickson

For the record: “Over 200 evangelical leaders have come out … against Christianity Today after their recent attack against Trump. Why isn’t CNN reporting on this as tirelessly as they did on the vicious hit job against our president? I guess it doesn’t fit their narrative.” —Charlie Kirk

Braying jackass: “Speaker Pelosi is doing exactly the right thing. She is focusing a spotlight on the need to have a fair trial in the United States Senate.” —Sen. Chris Van Hollen

A blind squirrel finds a nut: “As far as I’m concerned, [senators] can tell which way they’re leaning or how they feel in terms of the probability, but when it comes to saying, ‘I made up my mind [on impeachment], it’s all over,’ for goodness’ sakes, that is not what the Constitution envisioned.” —Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin

Alpha jackass I: “I’d like to see a bag of s—t right in [Trump’s] face.” —Robert De Niro

Alpha jackass II: “There’s not one thing about this person that has been redeeming. He’s a low life. He’s not a pig. Pigs have dignity. He has no dignity. He has nothing. He’s a disgrace to the human race.” —Robert De Niro

The BIG Lie: “The economy today is not substantially different from the economy before Trump took office.” —Washington Post columnist Catherine Rampell on CNN

And last… “Exaggerated, doomsday climate predictions create ‘climate deniers’ in the same way that progressive, identity politics creates more racists.” —Steven Crowder

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TODAY’S MEME

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TODAY’S CARTOON

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