Mid-Day Digest

Apr. 3, 2020

THE FOUNDATION

“If we can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people, under the pretence of taking care of them, they must become happy.” —Thomas Jefferson (1802)

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IN TODAY’S DIGEST

FEATURED ANALYSIS

America’s Epidemic of Economic Misery

Nate Jackson

Remember the heady days of … February 2020? The United States had experienced an unprecedented 113 straight months of job growth, culminating with a strong three-month average of creating 243,000 jobs per month and a headline unemployment rate of 3.5%. In fact, businesses were giving raises left and right and reporting that their biggest problem was finding qualified workers to fill open positions.

Now that seems like a lifetime ago.

While it’s incredibly fortunate that our economy was as strong as it was, the coronavirus pandemic has hit hard.

On Thursday, reported jobless claims obliterated last week’s record-shattering numbers: Another 6.6 million Americans filed for unemployment, meaning 10 million are out of work in just two weeks. That’s 10 times the previous two-week record. As Hot Air’s Ed Morrissey observed, “It took months to add up jobless claims to eight figures in the Great Recession, and the problem is that we might still have a month or so to go before we can start reopening the economy.”

Today’s jobs report is bleak. The Labor Department says payrolls fell by 701,000 jobs, while headline unemployment rose almost a full point to 4.4%. The discrepancy is because of the way jobs reports are compiled. Effectively, anyone paid halfway through the month is counted as “employed” in the month’s report — even if they lost their job later in the month. Thus, when massive layoffs and furloughs happened after that mid-month payroll, those millions of Americans weren’t counted as unemployed for March numbers. The March data itself was corrupted by coronavirus. The Labor Department explained, “The household survey is generally collected through in-person and telephone interviews, but personal interviews were suspended during the collection period for the safety of interviewers and respondents.”

The numeric bloodbath will come in April’s report.

Morrissey, however, also offers a reason for optimism: “This is a result of a deliberate shuttering of a strong economy. This is not a structural failure, as in 2008-9, which means that we have more hope of a quick bounceback when things return to normal. The longer it takes to get there, though, the more damage that will be done and will be tougher to overcome.”

That is why we desperately need an exit strategy from the current shutdown protocols.

On a disturbing note, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and one of the leading experts on the White House Coronavirus Task Force, called 10 million job losses “inconvenient.” He insisted of the economic shutdown that “we just have to do it,” while saying “I just don’t understand why” every single state hasn’t yet issued stay-at-home orders. (Five states have no orders of any kind, and another seven have more localized guidance.)

Remember that Dr. Fauci is an academician/physician and government-agency head (since 1984) — which is to say his views, while very informed from the medical perspective, are not tempered by other realities, like the economic implications for American workers and their families. Even with that in mind, his remarks were remarkably out of touch with the concerns of millions of Americans who have to put food on the table. We certainly understand the importance of efforts to mitigate the viral spread. Our team is working from home and sheltering in place. But we also are acutely aware of how this affects our families and neighbors. Beltway jobs like Dr. Fauci’s are going to be just fine. The rest of America? That remains to be seen.

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The Pelosi/Schumer 2020 Pandemic Inquisition

Mark Alexander

You know, in February, when I wrote “Democrats Hang 2020 Hopes on Pandemic Recession,” I thought they would at least wait a couple months for the body count to mount. I know that sounds crass, but that is just how calloused House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) are.

I noted then how Pelosi claimed, “Lives are at stake. This is not a time for name-calling or playing politics.” And yet, in the same breath, they both started politicizing the pandemic, claiming that Donald Trump’s response was “too little too late.”

As I outlined in the pandemic response chronology included with our CV19 resource page, in January Pelosi and Schumer were sucking up all the Beltway political air with their faux impeachment charade.

As I wrote in “CV19 Made in China,” Xi Jinping and his communist Chinese government concealed the epidemic in their own country. Consequently, CV19 is now having a devastating impact on the U.S. and the rest of the world. That impact is both in terms of human toll and the economic toll, with no exit strategy in sight.

Regarding the Pelosi/Schumer plan to politicize the pandemic, starting with their reckless effort to foment fear when President Trump was endeavoring to calm the nation, I also noted in February, “Make no mistake, Pelosi and Schumer are speculating on the bet that the coronavirus flu will have significant consequences in the U.S., so they can blame Trump in their crass and disgraceful effort to use the coming death and sickness as political fodder.”

To that end, yesterday, Pelosi, who loudly criticized Trump’s China travel restrictions to protect the nation in January, announced her plans for a “bipartisan commission” (seriously, she said that) to investigate the Trump administration’s CV19 Task Force failures. Pelosi insisted the committee was necessary because “we want to make sure there are not exploiters out there.”

In other words, it’s another political charade, but this one is shamelessly designed to exploit the misery of America by blaming Trump in order to take him down in the November election.

Pelosi announced she would appoint House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-SC) to head her House inquisition. That’s right, the same Clyburn who declared two weeks ago that the $2 trillion pandemic funding package was a “tremendous opportunity to restructure things to fit our vision.” I can assure you Clyburn will be using Pelosi’s committee to restructure things to fit their political agenda.

Chuck Schumer set the disgraceful tone for their political smear campaign with an open letter claiming a “federal leadership void [is leaving] America with an ugly spectacle in which States and cities are literally fending for themselves.” Schumer framed what is to come, writing, “Regrettably, our national response is far behind where it should be.”

In essence, Schumer and Pelosi would like to blame-shift any 20/20 hindsight failures on their part, or that of Demo governors, to the federal government. But just this week, Gavin Newsom, the most liberal governor of the most liberal state, again praised the Trump administration’s response.

Trump responded in his press conference yesterday: “I want to remind everyone here in our nation’s capital, especially in Congress, that this is not the time for politics. Endless, partisan investigations have already done extraordinary damage to our country in recent years.”

In a letter responding to Schumer, Trump appropriately ripped into him: “If you spent less time on your ridiculous impeachment hoax, which went haplessly on forever and ended up going nowhere, and instead focused on helping the people of New York, then New York would not have been so completely unprepared for the ‘invisible enemy.’ … You should have had New York much better prepared than you did, and as Dr. Fauci and Dr. Birx said yesterday, New York was very late in its fight against the virus. Fortunately, we have been working with your state and city governments, Governor Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill DeBlasio, to get the job done. You have been missing in action, except when it comes to the ‘press.’ While you have stated you don’t like Andrew Cuomo, you ought to start working alongside him for the good of all New Yorkers.”

Schumer responded, “President Trump, stop the pettiness,” but pettiness has become the modus operandi of Schumer and Pelosi.

Politicizing the illness and deaths of Americans in the midst of a pandemic crisis, not to mention the epidemic of economic misery the nation is suffering as a result of the pandemic, is an inexcusable offense to all Americans.

If ever there was a justification for the reinstitution of public stockades, if not public gallows, the Pelosi/Schumer traitorous tag team is just that.

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Arresting Pastors in the Age of Coronavirus

Brian Mark Weber

State governments are releasing prisoners while federal judges are deeming abortion clinics an “essential service.” Residents are warned of large fines and imprisonment for leaving their homes. Meanwhile, church pastors are being arrested for holding religious services.

Amid the Wuhan coronavirus hysteria, many of our fellow citizens are today kicking their constitutional rights to the curb in deference to the Great American Lockdown.

Is this what our Founding Fathers risked their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor for?

Of all the state’s encroachments on our freedom, perhaps the most disturbing of all is the prohibition against religious services.

Sure, we get it. The coronavirus poses a serious threat. And its chances of spreading increase when large groups gather in small places. But hundreds of people crowd into supermarkets (and liquor stores) on a daily basis. If the virus is that deadly (it isn’t unless you’re elderly or have other health issues), why not limit the number of customers or have the National Guard hand out boxes of food at the front door?

Yes, food is essential. But for many of us, so is the spiritual nourishment we receive when we gather together in a house of worship. No, a webcast can’t replicate the experience. For our own good, we need that connection with one another. Even the president has warned of the toll on our nation’s mental health if these unprecedented restrictions are prolonged.

In some places, bold church leaders continue to ignore lockdown orders by holding services. Some of them are being arrested. And New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is threatening to permanently shutter churches and synagogues if they don’t comply.

The Daily Wire’s Matt Walsh laments, “We have entered a point in our history where governors, mayors, and local county boards, can come up with any rule they like, outlaw whatever behavior they don’t like, and enforce their edicts at gun point.”

Clearly, we don’t want thousands of people crammed tightly together, but many smaller churches had been enforcing social distancing, cleansing facilities, and telling the ill and the elderly to stay home. Indeed, it’s probably safer at Sunday service than at Walmart. Even so, President Trump is advising churches to temporarily stop their services or greatly restrict their capacity.

Adam Carrington at the Washington Examiner shares a similar view. He asserts that governments are protecting “the health and safety of individuals” and that “government exists to address these kinds of threats.”

But do such measures open the door to tyranny? Does the Constitution take a back seat during a national crisis, even when that crisis has been stoked and sensationalized by the mainstream media?

Some of our state political leaders have resorted to language that is wholly un-American — language that threatens to fine or imprison those who don’t bow to the power of the state. This sets a terrible tone. We’re still free to grab a case of beer at the liquor store and buy a year’s supply of toilet paper at Walmart, but don’t dare think of toting that family Bible to Sunday services.

It’s for your own good. It’s the new normal. And it’s a threat to our Liberty.

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They Reported What?

For more than 23 years, we’ve been battling the mainstream media’s stranglehold on public opinion. And with today’s news coverage so focused on panic and sensationalism, our commitment to wade through it all to find you the actual news is now more important than ever. We hope our team’s coverage of the current COVID-19 crisis has helped you find clarity and comfort amid the chaos.

As you know, we don’t accept advertising. Nor are we bound by its influence. We rely 100% on supporters like you to keep lit this vital beacon of Liberty. Yesterday we launched our annual Patriots’ Day Campaign to meet our funding requirements into the summer. This is a trying moment in our nation’s history — but if you’re able to help, please click here to help fund us with a secure online donation. Thank you for your support! —Christy S. Chesterton, Director of Advancement

Clearing the Regulatory Docket

Michael Swartz

In the three-plus years since President Trump took office, his administration has taken a well-deserved blowtorch to the Federal Register. In his first few weeks he ordered a two-to-one reduction in regulations through executive action. And, to his credit, the president has actually over-delivered on his pledge, racking up an even more impressive ratio of reduction.

This removal of red tape has held the Trump administration and his Coronavirus Task Force in good stead as they deal with an unanticipated and all-consuming crisis. In a situation calling for nimble and innovative thinking, private-sector Americans have delivered everything from a five-minute test for COVID-19 to increased production of desperately needed medical supplies from the Big Three automakers. Even big-league jerseys are being repurposed as masks and gowns.

The bottleneck, however, has been found in the regulatory state: namely, the lack of good information on the number of cases and the nature of its geographical spread, as cities such as New York, Seattle, and New Orleans have become hotspots while other areas remain relatively virus-free, and as bordering states enact widely varying barriers to movement.

A close second in terms of regulatory frustration is the time and effort necessary for vital testing and the Centers for Disease Control’s role in this costly delay.

On the plus side, of course, is the Trump administration’s out-of-the-box thinking and general openness to trying unique things.

In considering the post-Wuhan world, particularly through an economic lens, perhaps we are learning a lesson in how to get more accomplished despite imposed handicaps. In the interest of accomplishing a goal not unlike putting a man on the moon or winning a two-front war, we have cleared the decks of a lot of economic deadwood as surely as we ramped up our emphasis on science during the 1960s and put a willing workforce of women in the factories as their husbands and brothers beat back the enemy in both Europe and the Pacific.

In the coming months, we should consider how to improve our health as a nation. Our healthcare system was caught flat-footed in large part because of onerous regulations that providers work hard to avoid and that don’t benefit patients. Savings here can be plowed back into improving the lot of front-line medical workers, who’ve done extraordinary work under great duress.

Meanwhile, we could continue to shrink the regulatory state. Ryan Young of the Competitive Enterprise Institute suggests a standing commission, similar to the one that handled military-base closures a couple of decades back, that looks at a portion of the behemoth each year on a rolling 10-year schedule. Another idea is decentralization. For example, last year portions of the Department of Agriculture were relocated more centrally, to Kansas City. With so many federal workers toiling from home thanks to COVID-induced stay-at-home orders, we’re testing the limits of decentralization in real time, thanks to technologies that makes social distancing somewhat more bearable.

Perhaps here we can borrow a philosophy from the Left and use it for real good rather than merely to grow the size of government. Perhaps this truly is a crisis we can’t afford to let go to waste.

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Is This Really the Right Time for a Massive Infrastructure Bill?

Thomas Gallatin

In a clear effort to strike while the China Virus crisis iron is still hot, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi pushed for a fourth stimulus package on Wednesday, this one ostensibly aimed at shoring up the nation’s aging infrastructure. “We need to invest in our infrastructure to address some of the critical impacts and vulnerabilities in America that have been laid bare by the coronavirus,” Pelosi asserted. Aside from infrastructure, part of Pelosi’s stimulus is reintroducing state and local tax deductions, or, to put it simply, a tax break for the wealthy in tax-heavy blue states.

But Pelosi is not the only one calling for infrastructure legislation. President Donald Trump has been calling for one for a while, and he again took up the call on Tuesday. “With interest rates for the United States being at ZERO, this is the time for our decades long awaited Infrastructure Bill,” he declared. “It should be VERY BIG & BOLD, Two Trillion Dollars, and be focused solely on jobs and rebuilding the once great infrastructure of our Country! Phase 4.”

Democrats are clearly on board with passing more legislation as Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer commented: “So I think the odds are high there will be a COVID-4.” However, Republicans sounded a more cautious tone, wanting to pump the brakes on this spending train. “I think we’ll have to wait and see,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell stated regarding a fourth bill. “Remember, this [third] bill was only signed into law last Friday. So it’s only been law for about four days. And the speaker is already talking about another bill.”

Furthermore, we don’t know exactly when the country will be able to get back to work anyway, so why rush through more costly legislation? This is legislation that really couldn’t go into serious effect until the rolling shutdowns are lifted. Congress has plenty of time to hammer out such a massive infrastructure package with more care.

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Don’t Miss This Analysis

Consider this epic exchange between California Gov. Gavin Newsom and CNN’s Jake Tapper over whether to blame President Donald Trump or admit he did some things well.

Roger Helle offers his thoughts on keeping fear in perspective.

NEWS EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Jordan Candler

Above the Fold

  • Underscoring the need for an exit strategy: Payrolls plunge 701,000 in (the first half of) March, the first jobs decline since 2010 (CNBC)

  • What could possible go wrong? Rep. James Clyburn, who touted coronavirus as “tremendous” political opportunity, to take helm of pandemic oversight committee (The Washington Free Beacon)

  • “We knew exactly where to fight this new virus”: University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine unveils potential COVID-19 vaccine (WJAC)

Business & Economy

  • American Spirit: Fifty companies join the war on coronavirus (Washington Examiner)

  • Feast or famine: The lucky few winners and the many losers of the coronavirus business lockdown (Washington Examiner)

  • Two academic brothers have a plan for putting the country back to work in just weeks (Washington Examiner)

Government & Politics

  • Trump deservedly blasts Schumer over “incorrect sound bites” on coronavirus (The Hill)

  • Will Joe Biden forget and show up in July anyway? DNC postpones convention until August, despite Chairman Tom Perez quashing the idea a few weeks ago (Axios)

National Security

  • “An affront to victims of terrorism everywhere”: Pakistani court overturns conviction in death of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl (Fox News)

  • Be vigilant: Attackers can use Zoom to steal users’ Windows credentials with no warning (Ars Technica)

  • Coronavirus Task Force freezes foreign aid after troubling discoveries (The Daily Wire)

Heartland

  • Federal judge cites “protecting the public health” in decision to rubber-stamp gun-store shutdowns in Ventura County, California (The Washington Free Beacon)

  • Meanwhile, three governors face lawsuits over closures of gun stores and gun ranges (Washington Examiner)

  • Tennessee governor issues stay-at-home order (The Hill)

  • Georgia to be put under shelter-in-place order (The Daily Caller)

  • Virus pandemic raises specter of civil unrest, which explains record gun sales (Washington Examiner)

  • Pandemic notwithstanding, judge won’t postpone Wisconsin election but extends absentee deadline (AP)

  • Baltimore broadsides civil liberties by approving surveillance planes to “reduce violence” (ABC News)

Closing Arguments

  • Policy: Washington’s misguided pivot to infrastructure (The Week)

  • Policy: A future of work that complements family life (Institute for Family Studies)

  • Humor: POLL: Most people unimpressed with their 30-day free trial of communism (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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VIDEOS

Video: Democrats Inject Race Into the Chinese Virus — Media hysteria is one thing; now the Democrats have dog-piled on top of it with the one subject that most people are afraid to touch.

Video: The World Health Organization Has Been a Disaster — Ben Shapiro slams China and the WHO on their response to the coronavirus.

BEST OF RIGHT OPINION

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

SHORT CUTS

Insight: “A people who mean to be free must be prepared to meet danger in person, and not rely upon the fallacious protection of armies.” —Edmund Randolph (1753-1813)

Upright: “Washington is spending like never before in the national fight against the coronavirus pandemic. Deficit hawks are as hard to find as toilet paper — even in the supposedly debt-averse GOP. … Few experts would … counter the idea that the nation needs a big upgrade — though maybe not $2 trillion worth — to its roads and bridge, as well as better digital infrastructure. Just not now, OK?” —James Pethokoukis

Observations: “Governments right now are not deciding whether to do nothing or do something. Rather, they are confronting choices about which restrictions should be imposed, where they make sense, and how long they should be maintained. In this context, a simple binary choice between ‘intervention’ and ‘no intervention’ is highly misleading.” —Jacob Sullum

Economic ambiguity: “The Paycheck Protection Program pays businesses to maintain their labor demand, while Pandemic Unemployment Assistance pays workers to reduce their labor supply. How the two programs will interact is unclear.” —Samuel Hammond

For the record: “While most Americans under coronavirus lockdown are worrying about their jobs, their groceries, and their local doctors and nurses, congressional Democrats have other priorities. To wit, pin blame on the Trump Administration before the November election.” —The Wall Street Journal

Never let a crisis go to waste: “Absolutely we see this as an opportunity to reshape the way we do business and how we govern.” —Gov. Gavin Newsom

Epic lack of self-awareness: “Where there’s money there’s also frequently mischief. We want to make sure there are not exploiters out there.” —Inspector Clouseau Nancy Pelosi

Braying jackass: “I hope when the time for accountability comes, we can all remember that it didn’t have to be like this. Other countries responded to this pandemic with competence and they avoided the worst. Now, we’re bracing for an unimaginable tragedy and as we speak, the president is leaving besieged states and hospitals to fend for themselves, putting lives at risk.” —Seth Meyers

And last… “The question isn’t whether government has power. Government is power. The question is how and when to apply that power. And what we’ve seen is that government sucks at everything, even the most basic things it is supposed to do well.” —Ben Shapiro

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TODAY’S MEME

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

TODAY’S CARTOON

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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.

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