Mid-Day Digest

May 13, 2020

THE FOUNDATION

“The principle of spending money to be paid by posterity, under the name of funding, is but swindling futurity on a large scale.” —Thomas Jefferson (1816)

Comment | Share

IN TODAY’S DIGEST

FEATURED ANALYSIS

Pelosi’s Dreamy Debt Bomb

Thomas Gallatin

On Tuesday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi released her proposed legislation for a fourth China Virus stimulus package — ironically titled the HEROES Act. The 1,800-page bill is anything but heroic, as it’s built of little more than a leftist spending wish list, topping out with a price tag of $3 trillion. Combined with the three previous COVID-19 stimulus packages and the regular budget, Pelosi’s bill would see government spending this year alone hit a whopping $10 trillion.

However, the $3 trillion price tag may be the least offensive aspect of Pelosi’s bill. As noted, it consists of funneling massive government funding to a litany of leftist pet projects like student-loan bailouts, relief for poorly run states that were already heavily in debt prior to the pandemic, a $25 billion bailout for the U.S. Postal Service, and millions for House members to buy laptops for working remotely — to name but a few.

Pelosi’s bill also calls for three more monthly installments of $1,200 relief checks for individuals and for extending the $600 in added federal unemployment bonuses through January 2021. As we have noted before, these unemployment bonuses effectively slow an economic recovery. The money removes financial incentives for unemployed Americans to get back to work, which means that in many instances they are receiving more money while on unemployment than when they were working.

Predictably, the bill contains one of Pelosi’s old demands: a tax break for wealthy Americans living in tax-heavy Democrat-run states. The legislation would “temporarily” lift the SALT cap for the next two years, allowing wealthy Americans to deduct state taxes from their federal returns. As The Daily Signal observes, “Before the 2017 reforms, high-tax states such as California, Connecticut, and New York were subsidized by other federal taxpayers across the country. In the case of high-income California taxpayers, the federal state and local tax deduction reduced their overall state tax bill by 40%.”

Notably, Pelosi’s massive bill does not include the payroll tax cut President Donald Trump favors or the COVID-19 liability protection for businesses that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) insisted be in any new relief package.

Demonstrating that Pelosi’s bill is far from a serious proposal — amounting to little other than a pie-in-the-sky leftist pipe dream — were the sentiments expressed by several House Democrats. Even they admit that it “feels like little more than an effort to appease the most liberal members of the caucus.”

Finally, Senate Leader Mitch McConnell quickly shot down any notion that Pelosi’s bill would see its way to the Senate floor. He pointedly argued, “What you’ve seen in the House [from] Nancy is not something designed to deal with reality, but designed to deal with aspirations. This is not a time for aspirational legislation, this is a time for practical response to the coronavirus pandemic.”

Comment | Share

Locked Down Blue States Demand Another Bailout

Louis DeBroux

House Democrats have released their latest Wuhan virus relief bill, a gargantuan goodie bag of “free” money and far-Left political priorities.

Clocking in at a cool $3 trillion — roughly double what the federal government has already spent on coronavirus relief — the Democrats’ bill gives another $1 trillion bailout to state and local governments. The House bill stands little chance of passing the GOP-controlled Senate. McConnell has already rejected any “blue-state bailout,” stating, “We do want to help [states] with expenses that are directly related to the coronavirus outbreak. But we’re not interested in helping them fix age-old problems that they haven’t had the courage to fix in the past.”

McConnell is referring to the immense pressure from Democrat-led “blue” states that, through decades of reckless fiscal policy, now face economic collapse. Obviously, politicians in those states see the coronavirus pandemic as an opportunity to escape the consequences of their irresponsibility.

To be sure, this pandemic has caused significant pain to state and local governments. Pressured to institute lockdowns and “shelter at home” orders, economic activity plummeted, starving them of the tax revenue that funds agencies and programs. Then came a second body blow — increased demand on unemployment and welfare programs at a time when revenue is drying up.

With the viral “curve” now sufficiently flattened, the prolonged shutdown of states is unnecessarily worsening the economic situation.

States like New York, California, New Jersey, and Illinois — all largely run by Democrats for decades — have what one might call an economic “preexisting condition.” Illinois has requested a $36 billion federal bailout, with $10 billion going to shore up the government-employee pension fund that has teetered at the edge of collapse for years. The state wants another $9.6 billion in direct aid for cities and $15 billion in “unrestricted assistance,” meaning the state can spend it however it likes. Only $1 billion is earmarked for healthcare for the poor.

New York, New Jersey, and California also face massive deficits due to decades of irresponsible Democrat spending and vote-buying. California’s unfunded liabilities are a staggering $1.5 trillion, with CalPERS and CalSTRS (public employee/teacher pension funds) alone accounting for a nearly $200B deficit compared to promised payouts. These government-employee benefits range from 30%-100% higher than those of the private-sector employees who fund them through their taxes.

President Trump was absolutely right when he demanded to know, “Why should the people and taxpayers of America be bailing out poorly run states … and cities, in all cases Democrat run and managed, when most of the other states are not looking for bailout help?”

Indeed, these populous Democrat states brag about how much richer they are than the lowly red states in the South and Midwest. So why are New York and California now demanding a bailout from farmers in Georgia or ranchers in Kansas?

This is especially true when Democrat leaders openly flout their irresponsibility. Congressman Jerry Nadler (D-NY) flippantly declares, “I’m not concerned, frankly, about borrowing money by the trillions.”

And therein lies the problem. Democrats have escalated spending for decades, and far too many Republicans have paid lip service to fiscal restraint while voting for endless continuing resolutions (no one passes budgets anymore) and periodic “stimulus” bills.

State and local governments face an immediate $500 billion revenue shortfall due to the coronavirus pandemic, but the long-term unfunded liabilities are a mind-boggling $5 trillion, on top of a $25 trillion national debt. In financial crises like we now face, the options are to raise taxes on a shrinking number of working Americans (further depressing economic activity), or make drastic reductions in government services, creating a different set of problems, as government employees are laid off, growing the ranks of the unemployed.

What is certain is that a federal bailout will not fix the financial crises in states that have acted irresponsibly for decades, and adding a sea of red ink to an existing ocean of red ink will only compound the problem exponentially.

There is no resolution to this crisis that doesn’t involve pain and sacrifice, but the level of pain can be managed and mitigated by sound fiscal policy and by not rewarding bad behavior. Unfortunately, rewarding bad behavior is the essence of modern politics. For as socialist George Bernard Shaw smugly noted, “A government that robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend upon the support of Paul.”

Comment | Share

Fauci’s Fears

Thomas Gallatin

Dr. Anthony Fauci testified before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pension Committee on Tuesday, though he did so remotely from his home as he is self-quarantining after possible exposure to the China Virus. In a prepared statement, Fauci warned that states opening too soon from lockdown restrictions risked initiating more outbreaks that would “result in needless suffering and death.” Mark Alexander has advised that President Donald Trump and Republican governors must appropriately warn Americans about the risks of reopening. So, while much of what Fauci had to say was appropriately measured — “When you pull back on mitigation, you will see some cases appear” — the words “needless suffering and death” play right into the Democrats’ political goal, which is to keep as much of the country from reopening for as long as possible no matter the damage to the economy.

Frustratingly but predictably, neither Fauci nor any senators questioning him voiced any serious concern for protecting Americans’ civil rights. The closest anyone came was Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), a doctor and recovering COVID-19 patient himself, who voiced his opposition to Fauci’s hesitancy for reopening schools in the fall. “As much as I respect you, Dr. Fauci, I don’t think you’re the end all,” Paul pointedly noted. “We’ll be making a big mistake if we don’t open schools in the fall.”

“The history of this when we look back will be of wrong prediction after wrong prediction after wrong prediction,” Paul added. “I think we ought to have a little bit of humility in our belief that we know what’s best for the economy.”

Fauci noted that there are at least eight candidates for a COVID-19 vaccine that are currently in clinical development and he was optimistic that there was a chance a vaccine could be ready by the late fall or winter, should testing trials prove successful. That’s great news, but millions of jobless Americans can’t wait for a vaccine.

Again, Fauci’s prognostication of “needless suffering and death” should states reopen too soon will be what the mainstream media and Democrats trumpet in justifying their continued demand that Americans be prevented from living life. What of the millions of Americans suffering under lockdown measures that have cost them their livelihoods or taxed their mental health? Moreover, these lockdowns have often infringed on constitutionally protected rights — rights that all too many politicians believe they can unilaterally trample in the name of safety. Meanwhile, congressional Democrats are angling to push socialism on the country by making everyone a ward of the state. What about protecting our Liberty?

As for Fauci, the main thing to remember is that he has been a Beltway bureaucrat since 1984. That means for the last 36 years, he hasn’t lived in the real world with the rest of us. He’s voicing his medical opinion, and that’s all well and good. But he’s not the “end all,” as Paul noted, when it comes to what’s best in the big picture. “I don’t give advice about economic things,” Fauci said. “I don’t give advice about anything other than public health.” So noted. Now let’s move toward reopening in the wisest way possible.

Comment | Share

Chinese Counter Allegations

Nate Jackson

The Chinese communist government has been lying about and covering up its own actions regarding the coronavirus pandemic from the get-go. It has corrupted the World Health Organization to do its bidding. And it’s once again issuing counter allegations.

Among Beijing’s early lies was that the virus originated with the American military, rather than the far likelier possibility of the P4 lab in Wuhan.

The latest is a new document from the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) titled, “Reality Check of US Allegations Against China on COVID-19.” The CCP insists, “Some US politicians and media outlets have been fabricating preposterous allegations and lies of one kind or another in order to shift the blame to China for their inadequate response to COVID-19.” Thus, the party lists two dozen allegations against China, each accompanied by a “Reality Check” of distortion and blame-casting.

One of those “reality checks” is about that Wuhan lab. The CCP asserts, “Reality Check: The Wuhan National Biosafety Laboratory in the WIV is a government cooperation program between China and France. The Institute does not have the capability to design or synthesize a new coronavirus, and there is no evidence of pathogen leaks or staff infections in the Institute.”

Few are alleging that the lab “designed or synthesized” the virus, but that the lab was studying and perhaps manipulating the virus and accidentally released it. Yet China won’t allow anyone but its own government to investigate the lab, meaning the fox is looking into who raided the henhouse.

In what could be related news, the White House announced Tuesday that trade negotiations with China will not resume anytime soon.

Comment | Share

Biden’s Flip-Flops Might Explain Hiding His Files

Lewis Morris

For many voters, the biggest attraction to Joe Biden as a presidential candidate is that he is not Donald Trump. Trump is a polarizing figure, due in large part to his inability to govern his own mouth. His Twitter feed and his public statements have created controversy and stirred political fights that could have been avoided. But Trump does have the country’s best interests at heart, which can’t be said of the other side.

Where does Joe Biden stand on the important issues facing the country in the 2020 election? After looking over a life in politics that includes 36 years in the U.S. Senate and eight years as vice president, it can be confidently said that Biden stands … everywhere.

Biden’s papers, which were donated years ago to his alma mater, the University of Delaware, would give a great indication of the decisions he made as an elected official and how he arrived at those decisions. It might even shed some light on how he would act as president. But despite promises to share those papers two years after Biden left public office, they remain locked away from public view. If Biden and the university had kept their word, we could have read these papers last year. It’s highly unlikely we will see anything before the election.

We think it’s specifically because Biden’s papers reveal so much that they’re being kept from the public. His explanation for keeping them secret is because revealing his vice presidential records of meetings with world figures like Vladimir Putin could be used against him during the campaign and disrupt his policies as president. How outlandish to suggest that anything having to do with Putin would play into a presidential race. Oh, wait…

Naturally, the mainstream media hasn’t bothered to push him to release his papers, even in the wake of Tara Reade’s allegations.

We don’t need Biden’s papers to understand the man, though. His career isn’t hard to follow, and when one looks at where Biden has stood on major issues, it will be plain to see that Joe Biden is little more than a political opportunist.

Biden has recently had to explain away his vote in support of the 1994 Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act. This was a comprehensive bipartisan bill that played a major role in reducing crime in America, which has only started to uptick in recent years because of Democrats rolling back the laws. So, while Biden was proud of his support in 1994, in 2020 he calls it a mistake.

Biden also rejects his prior steadfast support for the Hyde Amendment to prevent government funding of abortions. Now he’s all about full funding for abortion on demand.

He’s also squishy on foreign policy. As the Number Two in the Obama administration, it’s fair to link Barack Obama’s myriad failures as a head of state with Biden. The administration’s buckling to Russia and its feckless engagement with the Middle East made a mess of the geopolitical stage that Trump now must clean up. But it’s interesting to note that on one of the few things that Obama did right — killing Osama bin Laden — Biden came down on the wrong side of the decision. On the eve of giving the order to get bin Laden in May 2011, Obama asked Biden one more time about his opinion on what to do. Biden told the president not to go through with the operation. Nevertheless, Obama gave the order to move the next morning.

More recently there’s Biden’s statement at the dawn of the #MeToo movement during the Brett Kavanaugh Supreme Court confirmation hearings that all female accusers should be presumed to be telling the truth. And let’s not forget that Biden was the trigger man for the attempt to bring down conservative Clarence Thomas when he was nominated to the Supreme Court in 1991.

Biden is not a good candidate for president. His personal foibles notwithstanding, Biden’s career has been all about building an audience by telling people what they want to hear. If he stuck to his principles, that would be one thing, but Joe Biden doesn’t seem to have any principles.

Comment | Share

More Great Analysis

Willie Richardson explains why we should put Mind Over Melanin.

NEWS EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Jordan Candler

Above the Fold

  • According to ABC News reporter Alex Mallin, “A senior DOJ official [said] ‘we do not intend to release the [unmasking] list’ that [Director of National Intelligence Richard] Grenell brought over to the building last week.” National Review adds, “A source told Fox News that the DOJ is ‘confused’ why the releasing of the list is under their jurisdiction. ‘Given that [the Office of the Director of National Intelligence] is the owner of that information, if they want to release it they can do it, that’s their call,’ the official said.”

Government & Politics

  • White House confirms Trump won’t reopen trade negotiations with China (The Daily Caller)

  • Communist Party of China sends out deceptive missive on American coronavirus “lies” (The Daily Caller)

  • Like Katie Hill, her district goes both ways: GOP poised to retake Katie Hill’s California seat, as Trump-backed candidate wins big in Wisconsin (Fox News)

Culture & Heartland

  • Governors Ron DeSantis (FL) and Brian Kemp (GA) see low death rates in states despite media hate (Washington Examiner)

  • Los Angeles County could keep stay-at-home orders in place well into summer (Los Angeles Times)

World

  • UK surpasses Italy with most coronavirus deaths in Europe (Washington Examiner)

  • Brutal attack on mothers and newborns prompts Afghanistan to resume offensive operations against Taliban (The Washington Post)

Other Notables

  • In court filing, FBI accidentally reveals name of Saudi official suspected of directing support for 9/11 hijackers (Yahoo News)

  • U.S. judge puts Justice Department’s move to drop charges against Michael Flynn on hold pending outside groups’ counterarguments (The Washington Post)

  • Apple considering massive shift of iPhone production from China to India (9to5mac.com)

  • Working from home: Average productivity loss of remote work is just 1% (ZDNet)

Closing Arguments

  • Policy: Who gets bailed out next? Congress gets ready to pick some more lucky winners (National Review)

  • Policy: For America, there is no obvious path out of the red (E21)

  • Humor: BREAKING: Coronavirus has died after infecting Chuck Norris at age 77 (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.

Comment | Share

VIDEOS

Video: Politicians Lied About the Lockdowns — Liz Wheeler reviews our politicians’ bewildering decrees and their ignoring what science actually says.

Video: Judge Forbids Lawyers From Describing Trans Athletes as ‘Male’ — The judge should be recused for missing the whole point of the lawsuit, Matt Walsh argues.

John Stossel Video: The Evil Rich? — Most rich people became prosperous by creating wealth.

BEST OF RIGHT OPINION

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

SHORT CUTS

Insight: “Dignify and glorify common labor. It is at the bottom of life that we must begin, not at the top.” —Booker T. Washington (1856-1915)

Upright: “We are all going to die. This doesn’t mean that we should be suicidal or nihilistic, quite the opposite. It is all the more reason to live our lives with joy and vigor and courage because we will only be here for a short time. We may be able to momentarily extend our stay by hiding under our beds indefinitely, but then what kind of life would that be? Eventually we have to confront the risks, accept them, take whatever reasonable precautions we’re comfortable with, and get back to living again.” —Matt Walsh

That’s saying a lot: “[The Russian-collusion narrative pursuit] was the worst journalistic fiasco of now my more than 50 some years in journalism. It was a disaster.” —Brit Hume

For the record: “We already have more compelling evidence that the Obama administration engaged in misconduct than we ever did for opening the Russian-collusion investigation.” —David Harsanyi

Braying jackass, Part I: “I do think it would be extremely patriotic of Donald to say, ‘I’m in over my head, and I don’t want to be president anymore.’ It’d be so patriotic that I’d hug him, and then I’d go back to Mar-a-Lago and have a meal with him and feel good about him because it would be such an easy thing to do.” —Howard Stern

Braying jackass, Part II: “The oddity in all of this is the people Trump despises most love him the most. The people who are voting for Trump, for the most part … he wouldn’t even let them in a f—ing hotel. He’d be disgusted by them. Go to Mar-a-Lago. See if there’s any people who look like you. I’m talking to you in the audience.” —Howard Stern

And last… “‘Flattening the curve’ turned into communism real quick.” —Caleb Hull

Comment | Share

TODAY’S MEME

Share

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

TODAY’S CARTOON

Share

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

Don’t miss out while "Social Distancing."
Stay in the know with The Patriot Post — America’s News Digest.