“To cherish and stimulate the activity of the human mind, by multiplying the objects of enterprise, is not among the least considerable of the expedients, by which the wealth of a nation may be promoted.” —Alexander Hamilton (1791)
IN TODAY’S DIGEST
- Stellar Jobs Report Feeds Economic Optimism
- Working Women a Mixed Blessing
- Acquitted Trump Hits Back
- Is America Kicking Its Opioid Habit?
- EITC Is Just Another Wealth-Redistribution Program
- Vive La Résistance!
- Daily Features: News Executive Summary, Videos, Best of Right Opinion, Short Cuts, Memes, and Cartoons.
“Jobs are booming, incomes are soaring, poverty is plummeting, crime is falling, confidence is surging, and our country is thriving and highly respected again,” President Donald Trump declared in his State of the Union Address. “Our economy is the best it has ever been.”
That last bit of typical Trumpian hyperbole may have provoked Trump-deranged Leftmedia “fact checks,” but most Americans are indeed brimming with optimism. Given that the recession of 2008 was a crisis of confidence, the confidence Trump exudes and the American people feel portends good things to come.
How optimistic are we? Gallup’s poll on personal finances finds two key things: “59% in U.S. say they are now better off financially than last year,” and “74% say they will be better off financially in a year.” That latter number is the highest in Gallup history.
That confidence is well-founded, reports The Wall Street Journal’s James Freeman: “The good news for job seekers … is that recession is nowhere in sight. … Demand for labor is so strong that the significant constraint on economic growth is a lack of workers.”
And speaking of workers, the January jobs report was excellent. “An unseasonably mild January helped power the U.S. jobs market to more gains, with nonfarm payrolls rising 225,000 for the month, well above Wall Street estimates,” CNBC reports. “The unemployment rate ticked higher to 3.6%, but for the right reason as the labor force participation rate increased 0.2 percentage points to 63.4%.” Wages have been rising 3% or more for 18 straight months.
So, while we can apparently give some credit to global warming for the “unseasonably mild January,” the real reason for the continued economic growth is the Trump administration’s policies of low taxes and deregulation.
The current consumer and business confidence levels notwithstanding, don’t underestimate the Democrats’ desire to foment recession fears between now and the November election.
As Mark Alexander declared this week, “While President Trump made clear Tuesday that the State of the Union is strong, the success of this administration deeply concerns Democrat Party leaders Rep. Nancy Pelosi and Sen. Charles Schumer — because Trump administration success on behalf of the American people threatens the Pelosi/Schumer political dynasty.”
Two years ago in his column, “Will Democrats Get the Pre-Election Recession They Want?” Alexander noted, “Democrats are willing to trample grassroots Americans — the ‘Forgotten Man,’ including many of their own constituents — in their relentless pursuit of power… These partisans loathe blue-collar Trump supporters.”
Nevertheless, the great optimism with which Trump concluded his SOTU is still on the ballot in November.
Brian Mark Weber
During this week’s State of the Union Address, President Donald Trump touted a particular statistic that we thought worth exploring: “The unemployment rate for women reached the lowest level in almost 70 years. And, last year, women filled 72% of all new jobs added.”
That’s great news for women seeking work (although one wouldn’t know it by watching the stone-faced, white-clad, Trump-hating Democrat women in attendance). But, not surprisingly, many women would rather be at home with their kids.
“Nearly 60 percent of Americans — and a majority of both registered Republicans and registered Democrats — believe that children are better off with one parent at home than they would be in a day-care arrangement,” John Hirschauer writes at National Review. He adds, “Beyond the practical effects of day-care on children, many parents — even those already in the workforce — would prefer to be home with their children” if they had the choice and if they could afford it. A 2015 Gallup poll backs up this claim.
Of course, this flies in the face of the notion that American mothers are being held captive in their own homes; that they’re itching to hand off their kids to babysitters or day-care centers in order to enter the workforce. And yet it seems Democrats would rather see them out there earning a paycheck instead of at home with their children.
Democrats are pushing for federally funded childcare instead of creating tax incentives that would enable mothers to stay at home during their children’s formative years and pay the bills. They want government to foot the daycare bill as an incentive for Mom to get back to work as quickly as possible. Stay-at-home moms, meanwhile, would be on their own.
Generally, the idea of women at work is viewed by liberals and conservatives as a sign of a modern, egalitarian society. Republicans, after all, cheered the president’s mention of the high employment numbers for women. But there’s one factor that makes the issue more complex: nature.
The Washington Examiner’s Suzanne Venker writes, “We envision ourselves progressive when it comes to women and work, but women are still (and always will be) the sex that gets pregnant.”
This doesn’t mean that women can’t or shouldn’t work. Women are now the majority of the workforce, and they’re performing admirably. But something is missing. Many childless, career-driven women feel unfulfilled by a career alone. Meanwhile, the negative effects of a society with large numbers of unemployed men are only recently being understood.
“Men have an innate desire to protect and to provide for their families,” Venker adds, “but most women (unless they’re single mothers) work for different reasons: for autonomy, for extra income, or because they believe that without work, they aren’t valuable. (Not true, but you can thank feminists for that.) Whatever the reason, it’s not because they have a desire to support a husband.”
The issue of working mothers will be wrestled with for years to come, but one thing is already clear: Simply providing them with government subsidies won’t address the range of societal issues that affect the quality of their lives and the lives of their families.
The Senate acquitted President Donald Trump of both of the House Democrats’ impeachment charges on Wednesday. Thus, Thursday was Trump’s first opportunity to offer his thoughts on the trial and he didn’t hold back. Beginning at the annual National Prayer Breakfast and continuing through to a White House event held at noon, Trump unloaded on those who have engaged in an unending effort to do everything in their power to resist and remove him from office.
As is often the case with Trump, decorum and etiquette fail to restrain him from expressing his thoughts and feelings. This aspect of Trump’s personality can be both refreshing and grating at the same time. It produces easy fodder for his critics to attack him while also endearing him to supporters who relate to his message, and yesterday was a prime example.
At the prayer breakfast, an event intended as an apolitical occasion where members from both parties come together, Trump, after some brief introductory remarks, began to open up. “As everybody knows, my family, our great country, and your president have been put through a terrible ordeal by some very dishonest and corrupt people,” he said. “They have done everything possible to destroy us and, by so doing, very badly hurt our nation. They know what they are doing is wrong, but they put themselves far ahead of our great country.”
Trump also alluded to both Sen. Mitt Romney and Speaker Nancy Pelosi in his criticism, stating, “I don’t like people who use their faith as justification for doing what they know is wrong. Nor do I like people who say ‘I pray for you’ when they know that is not so.”
However, near the end of his comments, Trump struck a slightly more conciliatory tone: “To the people in this room, for the love that they show, not on religion but many religions: They’re brave, they’re brilliant, they’re fighters. They like people, and sometimes they hate people. I’m sorry. I apologize. I’m trying to learn. It’s not easy. When they impeach you for nothing, then you’re supposed to like them? It’s not easy, folks. I do my best.”
During his remarks at the White House, Trump laid the blame for both impeachment and Robert Mueller’s probe at the feet of the anti-Trump deep state and Democrat resistance. “We’ve been going through this now for over three years,” he noted. “It was evil. It was corrupt. It was dirty cops. It was leakers and liars. And it should never ever happen to another president ever.” Trump specifically highlighted the actions of former FBI Director James Comey: “It was a disgrace. Had I not fired James Comey — who was a disaster, by the way — it’s possible I wouldn’t even be standing here right now. We caught them in the act — dirty cops, bad people. If this happened to President Obama, a lot of people would’ve been in jail for a long time already — many, many years.”
No question Trump is and will always be a fighter.
As President Donald Trump noted in his State of the Union Address, there’s good news on the public-health front. The increase in deaths traced to the overdose of drugs has finally come to a halt in all but five states. Consequently, life expectancy edged up for the first time in three years.
Overall, the toll declined 4.1% from 2017 to 2018, the latest year for which statistics are available. Excepting California, Delaware, Missouri, New Jersey, and South Carolina, the nation saw declines in mortality of up to 27%, with Alaska and Ohio leading the way.
Unlike the stereotypical image of a junkie slumped over on an urban street corner, the opioid epidemic has hit hardest in rural states and areas, especially among working-class whites. Oftentimes the root cause of this scourge was a nagging injury or malady for which doctors prescribed opioid-based painkillers once thought to be non-addictive. But once that prescription ran out and the practice of “doctor shopping” became the subject of a government crackdown, those afflicted turned to the illegal — but readily available — substitute of heroin. This not only led to the surge in opioid-related deaths; the increase in demand led to the practice of black-market sellers cutting those drugs with inexpensive fentanyl for a more potent high.
In 2018, President Trump vowed to stop the “scourge of drug additions” with a three-pronged approach: addressing the supply end with a crackdown on illegal sales, enhanced recovery programs, and revamping prescription policies while simultaneously encouraging development of less addictive painkillers. One advantage he had, however, was the sheer number of state and local programs — at times involving federal or state grants — being put in place to address the issue. This allowed researchers to determine how positive those results were and determine their scalability — a necessary component given the estimated two million Americans who are addicted to painkillers.
To be sure, some treatment options are more controversial than others. Few of us are eager to see a recovery center in our neighborhood, and needle-exchange programs spark significant outcry from those who argue that taxpayers shouldn’t be funding the enablement of this destructive habit. But each success story brings a recovering addict back to the status of productive citizen, which makes that investment worthwhile.
As President Trump vowed on Tuesday, “We will not quit until we have beaten the opioid epidemic once and for all.”
At this point, it’s another success story for the Trump administration, but one not without its critics. As The Wall Street Journal’s editorial board wrote, “Liberals prescribe more government health care as an opioid antidote, and on Wednesday many said the Trump Administration’s health-care policies have worsened the epidemic, evidence notwithstanding.”
Perhaps it’s not the one-size-fits-all solution they desire, or maybe it’s just sour grapes from the failure of ObamaCare to address the problem. But the Left’s unwillingness to acknowledge this progress led the Journal to conclude, “Antipathy to Mr. Trump is as addictive as any drug.”
A recent study conducted by Princeton economist Henrik Kleven determined that the federal Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) has for the most part failed to deliver what’s been promised since its creation by Congress back in 1975. The theory behind the EITC was that it would encourage greater workforce participation by offering tax incentives to those who would otherwise refuse to take a low-paying job.
Since the EITC’s creation, the threshold for eligibility has been expanded several times, to the point where one in five households now claim the credit. Moreover, as The Wall Street Journal explains, “Government payments exceed cash welfare by six times.” In other words, it’s become a massive wealth-redistribution program.
The Journal further notes, “Complicated rules on eligibility and credit size have encouraged fraud. According to the IRS, a quarter of the $69 billion in EITC payments last year were ‘improper.’ Yet politicians from both parties continue to pump it as a labor inducement [despite] scant evidence it boosts employment.”
Kleven’s research debunks one of the biggest political justifications for the program: the claim that the EITC was responsible for sparking greater labor participation and employment among single-mother households in the early and mid 1990s. He points to the economic expansion and increased employment numbers at the time as the actual cause behind the jump in single working mothers. “Overall and contrary to consensus, the case for sizable extensive margin effects of the EITC is fragile,” Kleven concludes. Translation: Cleverly constructed welfare payments don’t drive people back to work.
Color us shocked — shocked — that another leftist scheme for income redistribution has failed.
Grassroots perspective by Roger Helle
Once again leftists proved they will not allow President Donald Trump credit for anything accomplished in the past three years. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi made her party proud with her defiance during the State of the Union Address Tuesday night. She could not boycott the speech like other members of her party. But, at the end of Trump’s speech, she tore up the people’s official copy of the speech in a way that could be seen all across the country.
Bernie Sanders was also a no-show. He’s still trying to find out if he won in Iowa or not! Rep. Al Green of Texas — who stated Trump had to be impeached because, if not, he might be elected again — was a no-show. So was Rep. Steve (Col. Sanders) Cohen, whose major accomplishment was bringing a bucket of chicken to Congress. Maxine Waters, who doesn’t even live in her district in Los Angles and has been hollering “IMPEACH 45, IMPEACH 45, IMPEACH 45” since Trump was elected, bailed, as did her sidekick, Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez. Rashida Tlaib, foul-mouthed representative from Michigan, made a big deal of walking out. I could list the rest of the resisters, but you wouldn’t recognize them because they haven’t done anything except resist.
And did anyone notice they were gone?
I can remember when both sides of the political aisle worked together to accomplish the goals that made America the envy of the world. And politics stopped at water’s edge. We may have disagreed with each other, but we were united against our enemies. Like family, we may argue with our siblings, but if someone outside the family starts messing with them, watch out!
But no longer; the party is now everything. It’s no longer about what’s good for America, but what’s good for their party — or worse, their own power. As President Abraham Lincoln said, echoing the words of Jesus, “A house divided against itself cannot stand.”
Such childish behavior on the part of elected officials who represent the world’s only superpower is sad indeed. If Republicans had behaved this way when Barack Obama was president, they would have been held accountable for their behavior, and rightly so.
For over three years now we have heard nothing but hate and seething anger. No amount of accomplishments will be recognized. Resist, sabotage, deflect, and blame-shift — that’s all we see and hear. A decorated Army staff sergeant reunited with his family… so what! A single mom getting a scholarship to get her child out of a failing public schools… boo! I could go on and on, but you get the picture.
I want to encourage you to really think about who you vote for to represent you in Congress. The choice you make may be the difference in whether we still live in a Republic with the freedoms outlined in our Constitution, or in a socialist tyranny where your freedoms are whatever your leftist overlords say they are. This is not hype. They are telling us at literally every political rally and debate across the country. It’s not going to be pretty! But it is not inevitable.
Something to think about?
AL-QAIDA IN THE CROSSHAIRS: U.S. kills another top terrorist, days after his group claimed responsibility for Pensacola attack (CNSNews)
DECORUM FOR THEE BUT NOT FOR ME: Democrat House minions rejects GOP resolution condemning Pelosi for ripping up Trump’s speech (The Hill)
INTOLERANCE: Pelosi omits Christians as she lists religious persecutions around the world (The Daily Signal)
WELL … BYE: Joe Walsh ends race to unseat “dictator” Trump: “He can’t be stopped” (National Review)
BURISMA UPDATE: Senate gets “highly sensitive” Hunter Biden records after letter to money-laundering unit in Treasury Department (The Daily Wire)
ON THE NSC CHOPPING BLOCK? Trump administration looking to take action against Alexander Vindman (The Daily Wire)
AMAZING THE DIFFERENCE A HANDS-OFF REGIME MAKES: New high of 90% of Americans satisfied with personal life; Republicans, married adults are among the most satisfied (Gallup)
POLICY: What year did healthcare become a “right”? (Hint: never) (Mises Institute)
POLICY: The IRS should go ahead with privacy reform (National Review)
HUMOR: DNC offers startup $500 million to develop pencil that can accurately record election results (The Onion)
For more of today’s editors’ choice headlines, visit In Our Sights.
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- Video: Mitt Romney Votes to Convict. Why? — Instead of converting voters, as Romney was trying to do, he galvanized them, argues Anthony Brian Logan.
- Video: What Democrats Refused to Clap for at SOTU — Millions of news jobs, record-low unemployment, welfare reductions … none of it the Left finds commendable.
- Video: Ben Shapiro Shreds Democrats Over Awful Week — Between Iowa, impeachment, and childish antics, Democrats have spoiled their 2020 chances.
For more of today’s columns, visit Right Opinion.
Insight: “For most Americans the Constitution had become a hazy document, cited like the Bible on ceremonial occasions but forgotten in the daily transactions of life."—Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr. (1917-2007)
The buck stops… "Enough is enough. In light of the problems that have emerged in the implementation of the delegate selection plan and in order to assure public confidence in the results, I am calling on the Iowa Democratic Party to immediately begin a recanvass.” —DNC Chairman Tom Perez
Friendly fire I: “It’s just a matter of time before [Tom Perez is] going to go.” —Rep. Bennie Thompson
Friendly fire II: “We’re a party in chaos.” —Rep. Marcia Fudge
Pot calling the kettle black: “[Trump] looked to me like he was a little bit sedated.” —House Speaker Nancy Pelosi
Braying jenny: “I tore up a manifesto of mistruths. … It was necessary to get the attention of the American people, to say this is not true. … And I don’t need any lessons from anybody, especially the president of the United States, about dignity.” —Nancy Pelosi
Grand delusions I: “There’s a giant asterisk next to the president’s acquittal.” —Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer
Grand delusions II: “He wasn’t acquitted. It was a rigged trial. You don’t get acquitted when you don’t even get to call witnesses or relevant witnesses or have the documents because the president stonewalled all efforts on the part of the House to get the information they requested. So there you go. It was a rigged trial. He can run around saying he was acquitted, but you don’t get acquitted in a rigged trial.” —Sen. Mazie Hirono
Moral relativism: “Different people will interpret their own moral lights, and for that matter, interpret Scripture differently. But we live in a country where it is extremely important that no one person have to be subjected to some other person’s interpretation of their own religion.” —Pete Buttigieg
Non compos mentis: “In many ways Donald Trump is a socialist himself. He’s a socialist who believes in massive help to large corporations and the rich.” —Sen. Bernie Sanders
The BIG Lie: “Today’s structures of sin include repeated tax cuts for the richest people, often justified in the name of investment and development.” —Pope Francis
And last… “Trump economy adds 225,000 jobs, exceeding expectations by almost 50%, which can only mean one thing: new impeachment articles.” —Twitter satirist @hale_razor
For more of today’s memes, visit the Memesters Union.
For more of today’s cartoons, visit the Cartoons archive.
Join us in prayer for our Patriots in uniform and their families — Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen — standing in harm’s way, and for our nation’s First Responders. We also ask prayer for your Patriot team, that our mission would seed and encourage the Spirit of Liberty in the hearts and minds of our countrymen.
Semper Vigilans Fortis Paratus et Fidelis