May 20, 2021
ITEM #1: Why isn’t our nation’s economy thriving?
All the elements would seem to be in place for widescale growth and explosive job creation right now, as life begins to return to normal, lockdowns are starting to be relaxed, and conditions finally allow for a robust rebound from the economic funk caused by the shutdown of businesses and economic activity.
Yet it’s not happening.
In a piece published at RealClearPolitics, David Harsanyi takes a look at the first four months of Joe Biden’s presidency and comes away … unimpressed.
And while he’s critical of Biden on a number of fronts — the border crisis, foreign affairs, and more — his assessment of the President’s handling of economic issues stands out for its incisive analysis of why Biden is failing and our economy is still struggling.
"[T]here are some things that presidents do have the power to influence. The location of MLB's All-Star Game, for instance, is not Joe Biden's bailiwick. The economic recovery is. The COVID-19 downturn wasn't an organic event precipitated by unforeseeable underlying economic factors. It was an event created by state lockdowns, coupled with widespread consumer fear. So, with lockdowns easing and vaccines entering arms, a vibrant bounce-back should be a slam dunk for the president.
"Instead, Biden couldn't resist the opportunity to stuff expensive, technocratic, completely unrelated agenda items into his ‘rescue’ packages. And disincentivizing work and investments, threatening to raise taxes and energy prices and pumping trillions into the economy tend to dampen growth.
"Economists expected the country to add about 1 million jobs in April, but we came up 800,000 jobs short. March's gains were also revised down another 140,000. Leftist pundits and wonks, as is their wont when Democrats hold power, were 'perplexed' by the bad numbers. And Biden is simply in denial. 'There's been a lot of discussion since Friday's report that people are being paid to stay home rather than go to work,' the president explained. 'We don't see much evidence of that.'
"There are 7.5 million jobs available in the United States, but only 270,000 were filled. And Americans are getting $300-a-week bonus checks to stay home. As Bank of America economist Joseph Song noted, even those making $32,000 a year would get a raise by going on unemployment. That seems like evidence."
Instead of pursuing an agenda that would afford our economy the breathing room it needed to recover, Biden has instead insisted on snatching economic defeat from the jaws of victory. It’s a reminder — and, sadly, a painful one — that policies (and elections) matter.
ITEM #2: It turns out the Nevada Constitution means what it says.
The Las Vegas Review-Journal’s Bill Dentzer reports on the Nevada Supreme Court’s recent smackdown of legislative Democrats’ attempt to circumvent the Constitution’s two-thirds requirement for tax increases:
“Two critical revenue bills pushed through the 2019 Legislature by the Democratic majority failed to pass with the required two-thirds majority and are unconstitutional, a unanimous state Supreme Court ruled.
“The court’s decision, released Thursday, upholds a lower District Court ruling and is an unqualified victory for Republicans, who sued after the 2019 session over passage of two bills in the Senate by one vote less than the two-thirds majority. ...
“At the end of the 2019 session, Democrats pushed through extensions of an existing business tax and DMV license surcharge, generating an expected $105 million in revenue. ...
“Under a 1994 voter-backed change to the state constitution, bills that raise taxes require supermajorities in both houses to pass, but Democrats argued that the tax bills merely extended existing taxes and therefore were exempt from the requirement.
“The court disagreed, upholding a District Court ruling from September.”
As Chief Justice James Hardesty wrote for the court, “Because both bills create, generate, or increase public revenue such that the plain language of the supermajority provision applies, the district court correctly determined they were unconstitutionally passed in the Senate with less than a supermajority vote. The State’s arguments about how to interpret the supermajority provision are unconvincing.”
The constitutional language is indeed unambiguous, but that didn’t stop Nevada Democrats from ignoring it in their insatiable desire to get their hands on more of your hard-earned money. Good for the Supreme Court for striking this blow both for taxpayers and for the rule of law.
ITEM #3: Congratulations, California … you’ve made history!
From a Las Vegas Review-Journal editorial:
“Since becoming a state in 1850, California had never experienced a year-over-year population decline. New demographic numbers show that it has now.
“This month, state officials announced that its population fell by 182,000 people or a 0.46 percent decline in 2020. That dropped California’s population to under 39.5 million. ...
“For many, today’s California dreamin’ involves figuring out how to move somewhere else. Over the past decade, 6.1 million people left the state compared with 4.9 million people moving in. Births and immigration — including illegal immigration — helped the state offset those losses and create slow growth.”
Why the mass exodus? More from the Review-Journal:
“On the surface, this doesn’t make sense. California has a host of natural advantages that Nevada can only dream of. It has hundreds of miles of coastline that provide opportunities for shipping and recreation. The moderate weather is incredible. It has an abundance of natural resources, including vast farm lands, fishing and petroleum. ...
“This is why the state grew in population for more than 160 consecutive years. But counteracting all those advantages are years of far-left governance.
“California has some of the highest taxes in the country. Zoning and environmental regulations have dramatically spiked the cost of housing. Used needles, feces and homeless encampments are common sights in some large cities. Traffic is a nightmare while the state spends tens of billions of dollars on a black hole high-speed train from nowhere to nowhere. It’s a hard state to do business in, and many businesses have chosen to go elsewhere. Hanging over any short-term budget surpluses is the specter of its massive pension debt.”
The editors conclude with some words of advice for policymakers here in the Silver State: “A decreasing population is a warning sign. California’s political class doesn’t seem interested in changing course. Nevada’s leaders, however, should note what’s happening and not repeat our neighbor’s mistakes.”
ITEM #4: Uh-oh. Looks like a national teacher-union boss has been caught in some dishonest historic revisionism.
Fox News’ Kelly Laco has the details:
"American Federation of Teachers (AFT) president Randi Weingarten is facing criticism from parents and Republicans over a speech she gave in favor of fully reopening schools this fall.
"Weingarten, and teachers' unions generally, opposed returning to in-person learning for much of the pandemic. Weingarten's late rebranding as a proponent of reopening schools prompted a fresh round of criticism.
"'Conditions have changed. We can and we must reopen schools in the fall for in-person teaching, learning and support. And we must keep them open fully and safely five days a week,' Weingarten said in a speech Thursday.
“Rep. Virginia Foxx, R-N.C., told Fox News that Weingarten 'is attempting to rewrite history by framing her union as part of the solution.'
"'The truth is that students would have been in-person this spring semester if teachers unions had gotten out of the way and Biden had grown a much-needed spine to stand up to them. But instead, schools were kept closed which caused months of harm for students and families, particularly those who are low-income and have disabilities,' added Foxx, the top Republican on the House Education and Labor Committee.”
Sorry, Ms. Weingarten, but "conditions" haven't "changed." It's been obvious for a long time that there was zero justification for keeping our school closed. All that's "changed" is the left's cold political calculations regarding the issue.
ITEM #5: Another day, another act of deceit from the ostensibly objective “news” media.
The New York Post’s Yaron Steinbuch reports:
“The Associated Press is taking heat for claiming it had no idea Hamas militants operated at the news agency’s Gaza headquarters destroyed by an Israeli airstrike — as US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said Monday he “has seen no evidence” presented by Israel of the group’s presence in the building.
“'We have had no indication Hamas was in the building or active in the building,' AP president and CEO Gary Pruitt said in a statement. 'This is something we actively check to the best of our ability. We would never knowingly put our journalists at risk.'
"He said he was 'shocked and horrified that the Israeli military would target and destroy the building housing AP’s bureau and other news organizations in Gaza.'”
Just one problem …
"But a 2014 article in The Atlantic written by a journalist in the region described a history between the news agency and Hamas and critics took to social media to cast doubt on Pruitt’s assertion.
“'@AP didn’t know about sharing a building w/ Hamas for 15 years?!?' tweeted Gabe Hoffman, producer of the documentary 'An Open Secret.'
"Noah Pollack, a contributor to the Free Beacon, said in a tweet: 'Spoke to a well-placed friend in the IDF just now. The bombed AP office building contained multiple Hamas operations & offices including weapons manufacturing and military intelligence. The building also housed an Islamic Jihad office. And AP’s local reporters knew about it.'”
If the media can’t get their facts straight even in their own press releases, is it any wonder no one trusts the accuracy of their news coverage?
INSANITY IN AMERICA: Here’s one you won’t be able to read with a straight face.
Writing for Newsweek, Katherine Fung reports:
“Penn State University will stop using the titles 'freshman,' 'sophomore,' 'junior' and 'senior' in efforts to move away from ‘male-centric academic history’ and closer to a more inclusive educational environment.“
The story goes on to explain that the school’s Faculty Senate “approved a proposition seeking to remove gendered and binary terms from the school's course and program descriptions.” The vote was a whopping 125-13 in favor of the change.
The new recommendations include using “first-year,” “second-year,” and so on to replace the terms “freshman,” etc.
Here’s the explanation for the change:
"'The University, as with most all academic institutions world-wide, has grown out of a typically male-centered world,' the proposition states. ‘As such, many terms in our lexicon carry a strong, male-centric, binary character to them.
"'Terms such as freshmen are decidedly male-specific, while terms such as upperclassmen can be interpreted as both sexist and classist. Terms such as junior and senior are parallel to western male father-son naming conventions, and much of our written documentation uses he/she pronouns,' it continues.
"It suggests that students who are beyond their fourth year of schooling be referred to as 'advanced-standing' students as opposed to 'super-seniors,' which the proposition argues carries a slightly negative connotation for those taking longer than is typical to complete their programs."
Seriously … someone attempting to write a parody of the woke campus-snowflake generation would be hard-pressed to do any better than this.