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Mid-Day Digest

Feb. 11, 2020

THE FOUNDATION

“We must not let our rulers load us with perpetual debt.” —Thomas Jefferson (1816)

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IN TODAY’S DIGEST

FEATURED ANALYSIS

White House Budget Games

Lewis Morris

The White House released President Trump’s 2021 budget plan Monday — a $4.8 trillion behemoth that boosts defense, homeland security, and Veterans Affairs. Trump laid out a roadmap that includes $4.4 trillion in reductions to spending growth over the next decade that he claims will balance the budget by 2035. Remember: Whenever the media talks “cuts,” it’s almost always really reductions in scheduled growth.

Moreover, “Republicans and Democrats last year cut a spending deal that kicked appropriations decisions past the November election,” The Wall Street Journal editorial board notes, “so the White House budget for practical purposes is irrelevant this year. It provides a starting point for talks next year with a new Congress.”

The president’s plan reduces growth in foreign aid by 21%, the EPA by 26%, Housing and Urban Development by 15%, shrinks the budget and power of the Department of Education, and makes the Republicans’ 2017 tax cuts permanent. Certain entitlement programs like disability benefits and food stamps would also see reductions after the imposition of stricter work and eligibility rules.

The White House is laying out this strategy in an election year in hopes of demonstrating that Trump is serious about reining in federal spending. “It includes more deficit reduction — $4.6 trillion — than any president in history,” boasts acting Office of Management and Budget Director Russel Vought. The president campaigned in 2016 on the promise of reversing the trends of his predecessor, who presided over massive spending, including three years of $1 trillion-plus deficits. The national debt doubled, rising by $10 trillion during Barack Obama’s eight years.

Unfortunately, the truth is that Trump hasn’t done much better.

Deficits have steadily increased under Trump’s watch, reaching nearly $1 trillion in 2019. And while the 2021 budget seems to be going in the right direction in terms of curbing spending and reducing government bureaucracy, a $996 billion deficit is still projected for the coming fiscal year. As we said in rebutting Obama’s similar boasts about deficit reduction, it’s easy to reduce a deficit after you’ve blown it up so large.

It would be great to see Trump become more serious about cutting spending, since it appears that no one in the Swamp, and very few people outside it, seem to care. For decades, economists have predicted a financial reckoning over politicians’ inability to control spending. Social Security payments are starting to shrink, and the sheer size of the national debt is weighing on economic growth.

Trump’s plan is hardly bold in that it proposes to balance the budget in 15 years, which is to say never. Even assuming he’s reelected in 2020, that still means there will be at least two more presidents after Trump by the time we reach 2035. It’s ridiculous to think that they will hold his line on spending.

Another significant problem with Trump’s proposal is that it assumes 3% annual economic growth, a threshold we have met only once since George W. Bush’s administration. While the economy is moving at a strong pace now, and we have Trump’s pro-business policies to thank for it, we’re just not there yet.

All that said, the president must lead by example and this budget proposal is a step in the right direction. The time will soon come when significant changes need to be made to Social Security and Medicare, or those programs will become insolvent. Will Trump and Republicans be brave enough to make the tough calls needed to save these programs? History says no. Democrats have addicted Americans to Big Government through entitlements and promises of so-called “free” stuff. And many Republicans have gone along because they are under the mistaken assumption that this is the way to win votes.

Things can still change. Maybe once the country is staring down the barrel of fiscal disaster, we will be shocked enough to motivate our elected leaders to do the right thing. The trouble with this scenario is that people don’t like to make painful decisions, but the solutions only get more painful the longer we put it off.

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The Folly of Unilateral Political Disarmament

Harold Hutchison

Imagine that in 1980 the United States had decided to respond to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan by unilaterally retiring all U.S. strategic nuclear forces. Would we still be talking about the fall of the Berlin Wall, or would the world be a much worse place? Most Patriots know the answer to that obvious question.

Yet when it comes to political disagreements, which leftists take as a license to slander all Republicans — even moderates like John McCain and Mitt Romney — the folly of unilateral disarmament is much harder to shake. For some reason, in some quarters of the GOP, Donald Trump’s fighting back draws more criticism than the vile and disgusting smears leftists have used for decades.

People wonder why Trump won the Republican nomination and ultimately the presidency. One place a lot of them should look is the GOP establishment. For years, far too many Republican “leaders” failed to stand up for the Patriots slandered by the Left.

Opponents of gun control are routinely labeled child-killing domestic terrorists. Think we should secure the border? Phony charges of racism were on the way. Want to address a school-lunch program that isn’t working? Then you’re okay with “kids eating crap.” Want to reform entitlements like Medicare and Social Security so those will still exist for future generations? You’re going to push grandma off a cliff. In each case, the silence of establishment Republicans spoke volumes to American Patriots.

The thing is, these constant slanders didn’t start when Trump won, and they didn’t just affect votes in elections. These lies also gave “permission” for some to abuse power against grassroots conservatives. After all, if any Republican, whether moderate or conservative, is the next incarnation of Adolf Hitler, then stopping him is such a moral imperative that the rules don’t apply. Or it can justify threats or violence.

Yet the establishment didn’t seem to act. When the IRS targeted the Tea Party, where were McCain and Romney? The former Republican standard-bearers — all too quick to attack Trump — were silent about the abuse. It wasn’t just the IRS. When rogue prosecutors in Wisconsin used the state’s “John Doe” laws to target conservatives, establishment types did nothing. It fell to David French (then of National Review) and our Arnold Ahlert to shed light on these abuses. The grassroots groups were left on their own, and no action was taken.

Even now, as New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo abusively leverages financial regulations to force banks and insurance companies to boycott the NRA, there is very little, if anything, being said and much less done. Even when Cuomo brazenly declares his intention to bankrupt opponents of his anti-Second Amendment agenda, far too many establishment Republicans seem unable or unwilling to make an issue of this abuse.

The fact is, far too many establishment Republicans are still holding to what is, for all intents and purposes, the suicidal path of unilateral disarmament. Civility, like loyalty, only works when it’s a two-way street. Sometimes, leaders have to tell the harsh truth. Certainly, they have to have the backs of the people who not only vote for them but who send in small contributions, make phone calls, knock on doors, and register new voters.

If they don’t, then do they really deserve to lead?

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Buttigieg Is No Moderate

Thomas Gallatin

With his eventual win in the Iowa Democrat caucuses, former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg has suddenly risen to the top of the heap of Democrat presidential candidates heading into today’s primary in New Hampshire. And if his recent upsurge in the polls translates into votes, Buttigieg could find himself the clear frontrunner with a second victory. However, even a second-place finish in The Granite State would be enough to keep his upward momentum going as he battles Bernie Sanders.

Speaking of Sanders, the unrepentant and avowed socialist who can be credited with (or blamed for) dragging the Democrat Party to the extreme left, Buttigieg and most of the other Democrat candidates in the field have not only refused to challenge his socialist dogma but have promoted it, albeit with more politically careful language. As Joe Biden slumps in the polls, Buttigieg sees an opportunity to distance himself from Sanders by grabbing the “moderate” mantle. “With a president this divisive, we cannot risk dividing American’s future further [by] saying that you must be either for a revolution or you must be for the status quo,” Buttigieg pontificated. “Let’s make room for everybody in this movement.” Despite his “big tent” rhetoric, the fact of the matter is Buttigieg is far from moderate. His policy positions make that clear.

On abortion, Buttigieg is an absolutist and party purist. When asked recently if he thought there was room in the party for pro-life Democrats, he demurred, stating that the government should not dictate a woman’s right to choose. In other words, his answer was no.

As for Medicare for All, he once supported it but now rejects it in favor of his “Medicare for All Who Want It.” It’s a game of semantics with little policy difference, as his plan still includes a government takeover of Americans’ healthcare, just more incrementally.

On the Second Amendment, Buttigieg is seriously to the left. While he may have refused to back Beto O'Rourke’s “assault weapons” confiscation policy, he wants a national firearms registry. That’s the first step in attempting national firearm confiscation.

Economically, Buttigieg has called for raising taxes on the wealthy and the implementation of a carbon tax.

Buttigieg advocates for a massive expansion of immigration and paths to citizenship for illegal aliens currently living in the country.

In brief, while Buttigieg maybe a younger and more even-keeled candidate than Sanders, his policies are just as extreme left and dangerous to American Liberty and individual rights. What may be most troubling is that he displays an Obama-esque erudite manner that was so appealing to many Democrats. And he may just have a shot at the nomination.

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2020 Academy Awards — A Ratings Disaster

Mark Alexander

The data is in on Hollywood’s 2020 “Golden Calf” awards Sunday night. The self-congratulatory confab had the lowest viewership on record — a 20% decrease in total viewers and a 31% demographic drop from last year. Last year’s ad revenue dropped 14% from 2018, but the totals are not in on this year’s revenue. Suffice it to say, however, that The New York Times ran the most fitting ad, tying its faux “1619 Project” to the faux Hollywood nonsense.

That’s good news for America and bad news for the card-carrying members of the elitist glitterati.

And in a fine example of “art imitating life,” our favorite satire site, The Babylon Bee, last year ran this headline over a photo of a sea of black limousines and SUVs dropping their loads for the ego-fest: “Nation’s Wealthy, Privileged Gather To Lecture Nation On Evils Of Wealth, Privilege.” According to the Bee, “The wealthiest 0.00001% of the nation arrived at the exclusive, walled-off, high-security event in limos and luxury cars driven by servants in order to spend a few hours telling the nation’s poor and middle-class citizens how they need to throw off the yoke of oppression put on them by the wealthy elite.”

All in all, the Academy Awards gala was another exposition of hypocrisy and narcissism. It’s also a fitting example of words written long ago warning about idolatry and how those who worship false gods fall in love with them and fall to their knees to worship them.

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NYPD Blasts de Blasio Over War on Cops

Nate Jackson

An assailant was arrested Sunday in New York City after two separate attacks on police officers that law enforcement dubbed assassination attempts. “He was depressed at times because his son got shot in the street,” explained the perpetrator’s grandmother. But others blame anti-police rhetoric for motivating the assailant.

“Anyone who spews hatred at our officers is aiding and abetting this kind of atmosphere; it is not acceptable,” said Democrat Mayor Bill de Blasio. “You could protest for whatever you believe in, but you cannot vilely attack those who are here to protect us. It creates this kind of dynamic.”

We’re glad to hear de Blasio say so, but many — including numerous NYPD officers — blame de Blasio himself for falling in with the Democrat war on cops begun by Barack Obama and his ilk. The two officers in New York aren’t the first in that city or elsewhere to be attacked or murdered by anti-cop zealots inspired by leftists slandering police as racists.

A union representing New York’s police sergeants declared, “Mayor DeBlasio, the members of the NYPD are declaring war on you! We do not respect you, DO NOT visit us in hospitals. You sold the NYPD to the vile creatures, the 1% who hate cops but vote for you. NYPD cops have been assassinated because of you.”

Why the blame? De Blasio won office partly on promises to rein in policing in minority communities, and he has followed through with several measures. New Yorkers are starting to notice the resulting rise in crime. Blue lives matter, and until Democrats come around to that point of view, attacks on police will likely continue.

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Illegal Immigration Has Outsized Negative Impact on Smaller U.S. States

Thomas Gallatin

A newly released report from the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) has revealed that the cost of illegal immigration on taxpayers is felt in states far from the U.S. southern border, and specifically in some of the country’s least populated states. In fact, FAIR found that it costs 10 states with the fewest immigrants $454 million annually — or $4,000 to $6,500 per illegal alien.

As FAIR President Dan Stein explains, “In many ways, the influx of immigrants into less populous areas of the country has an even greater impact on long-time residents than it does in larger and more urban areas. These areas have neither the tax base, nor the economic and social infrastructure to accommodate the needs of the growing numbers of immigrants taking up residence.”

Alaska, Maine, Mississippi, Montana, New Hampshire, North Dakota, South Dakota, Vermont, West Virginia, and Wyoming are the 10 states in which FAIR determined that of the 415,000 foreign-born residents living in them, 88,000 were illegal aliens. On top of that, 35,000 were children born to illegal aliens.

“Many local officials tout immigration, including illegal immigration, as a remedy to economic stagnation,” Stein observed. “However, as this report reveals, the reality is precisely the opposite. Illegal immigration, in particular, drives down wages and inhibits job opportunities for legal residents, while bringing more low-skilled, low-wage workers to these states. In turn, this increases costs to state and local governments, and discourages investment by businesses seeking a skilled labor force and lower overhead.”

Immigration constitutes a massive financial burden to taxpayers. CNSNews reports, “Nationwide, the immigration nonprofit calculated that taxpayers spend $59.8 billion educating LEP (limited English proficiency) students in 2016, up from $51.2 billion in 2010.” Some schools in small communities have suddenly faced a dramatic uptick in the percentage of LEP students. For example, Lewiston, Maine, with a population of 40,000, has had its percent of LEP students rise from 5% to 30% in just five years.

As Stein concludes, “Americans, in every part of the nation, are being affected by antiquated and unenforced immigration policies, which is why it is at the top of the list of voter concerns heading into the 2020 elections.”

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NEWS EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

PRIMARY BEGINS: New Hampshire primary voting kicks off, with Bernie Sanders and Pete Buttigieg locked in fierce battle (Fox News)

“SYSTEMATICALLY VIOLATING THE RULE OF LAW”: Attorney General William Barr announces sweeping new sanctions, “significant escalation” against left-wing sanctuary cities (Fox News)

“GREAT NEWS TO REPORT”: Funding secured for 1,000 miles of border barrier, White House officials say (The Daily Caller)

CYBERWARFARE: DOJ charges four Chinese military officials in connection with infamous Equifax data breach (The Daily Wire)

CLEANING HOUSE: Bigger than Vindman: President Trump scrubs 70 Obama holdovers from National Security Council (Washington Examiner)

INEXCUSABLE: Six-year-old girl with Down’s syndrome points finger gun. School district notifies police. (The Daily Wire)

BACKFIRE: Virginia Democrats are very good for Virginia gun sales (Hot Air)

OUT OF TOUCH: While Nancy Pelosi asserts “January jobs report shows the rot at the heart of the Trump economy,” Americans say they feel the current economy is the best since the late 1990s (The Washington Post)

CORONAVIRUS UPDATE: China still mostly closed down as virus deaths pass 1,000 (AP)

POLICY: Trump budget cuts size of federal government, but bolder reforms needed (The Heritage Foundation)

POLICY: Obama promised a “middle class” economy; Trump delivered it (Issues & Insights)

HUMOR: Bernie Sanders confused by New Hampshire state motto “Live Free or Die” — “Both of those options sound horrible” (The Babylon Bee)

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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VIDEOS

BEST OF RIGHT OPINION

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

SHORT CUTS

Observations: “Abortion was another big topic at Friday’s debate. Joe Biden and others promised to appoint only pro-abortion judges. All the candidates support late-term abortions performed on innocent unborn babies, and yet they all opposed taking out Iranian terrorist Qassem Soleimani. Think about that!” —Gary Bauer

Stay tuned: “People ought to go to jail. I have seen some classified information I can’t go into, but I can say this: Hopefully [U.S. Attorney John] Durham names names. I think the attorney general is waiting to see what comes out of that. And then, hopefully, they go after those people and put them in jail.” —House Republican Whip Steve Scalise

Braying jenny: “I think this election isn’t just an economic check, which is what most of our debates are. It’s also a decency check on this president. It’s a patriotism check.” —Sen. Amy Klobuchar

A distinction without a difference: “I’m not advocating for the United States government to take over the healthcare system. What I am advocating for is an expansion of Medicare. … People will still go to the same doctor. They’ll go to the same hospital. We will substantially lower the cost of prescription drugs. Cost per person will go down. People will be paying less for health care. But it’s not a takeover.” —Sen. Bernie Sanders

Litmus test: “I think being pro-choice is an absolutely essential part of being a Democrat.” —Bernie Sanders

Village idiots: “We have made do with crumbs for so long and Bernie has said, ‘Hey, we’re starving in this country. We can’t subsist on these crumbs anymore. Why can’t we demand the whole pie?’” —millionaire actress Cynthia Nixon

Non compos mentis I: “‘The tree of liberty is watered with the blood of patriots’ [is] a great line. Well, guess what? The fact is if you’re going to take on the government you need an F-15 with Hellfire missiles. There is no way an AK-47 is going to take care of you if you’re worried about the government knocking down your door. And so, it’s bizarre. We never said you could own any weapon at all from the beginning. You can’t own a machine gun. You can’t own a bazooka. You can’t own an M1 tank, no matter how much money you have. … I now have over 58% of the NRA members acknowledging you can’t own an assault weapon.” —Joe Biden

Non compos mentis II: “We should eliminate and transition away from the use of plastics.” —Joe Biden

Trump Derangement Syndrome: “After all of President Trump’s mistruths at the State of the Union, the January jobs report shows the rot at the heart of the Trump economy.” —House Speaker Nancy Pelosi

And last… “AG Bill Barr is announcing sweeping new crackdowns on sanctuary policies. This is huge. America should be a sanctuary for American citizens, not illegal aliens.” —Charlie Kirk

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