Remind Everyone of their Tax Bill before Voting

A smattering of small government conservatives have long argued for moving Election Day to shortly after April 15. Maybe a day after, maybe a week – but if we could get people to vote with the memory of filing their taxes fresh in their minds, the theory goes, we would pick up a lot more votes as people place a more direct link between government programs and the money coming out of their pocket.

It’s an intriguing idea. Its also impossible.

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Children of Socialism

I am ashamed to admit it, but there was a time I was pretty far left-wing. My views might even have been described as socialist.

Absorbing what I saw on TV, I looked out to the world and saw big businesses that only cared about making more and more money, willing to ride over the the little guys if that’s what it took. I thought the government was the only organization that cared about ordinary people. Put those two ideas together and I arrived at the very definition of socialism: I believed the government should take over and run businesses for the betterment of everyday Americans.

Then I turned eight and I gave up such childish ideas.

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Trump is Wrong to Declare a National Emergency

Millions and millions of illegal immigrants have broken the law to come and stay in America without authorization. They strain our government services, fragment our communities, cheat those who obey the law and wait in line, and demonstrate disrespect for the United States at a base level. For all these reasons and more, we should build a wall on our southern border.

But declaring a national emergency to bypass Congress is not the way to do it. Trump’s plan is wrong for several reasons.

1) First and foremost, it is unconstitutional. Congress is the only branch authorized to appropriate taxpayer dollars. Congress has explicitly declined to appropriate funding for the wall. Are they wrong to do so? Of course. But the remedy for that is the next election. The president cannot do what he likes anytime Congress disagrees with him.

2) It will likely fail. Immediately following Trump’s declaration of a national emergency, lawsuits will be filed across the country. Trump’s own White House counsel called it a “high litigation risk.” That’s only if Congress doesn’t stop it first, which can be done with a simple majority vote. That vote could very well succeed.

Even if the Congressional vote fails, or Trump vetoes the resolution, courts will almost certainly put it on hold while the case is decided. That means not only is the wall not being built, but military construction that Trump delays or cancels to pay for the wall is stopped as well. Now we don’t get a wall, and our troops don’t get what they need. Lose-lose.

Don’t take my word for it.


No one would confuse Ann Coulter for a NeverTrumper or an immigration squish. There may be no one in this country more dedicated to building a wall. But she has been adamant that the national emergency is a ruse bound to fail.

3) Whether the gambit succeeds or fails, a precedent will be set. Nancy Pelosi has already raised the idea of a future Democrat president declaring gun violence a national emergency and taking action against Congress’s will. The Green New Deal, a fantasy proposal of socialist wish lists, was described as necessary to combat the national emergency of climate change. If we travel down this path, what is to stop the next Democrat in the White House from announcing climate change is too important an issue to leave to Congress, and it is his or her duty to fight the threat regardless of what Congress wants?

If your answer is that a wall is a real solution to a significant problem, and those other examples are not, you would be right, but that is not a legal argument. If the precedent is set, the precedent is set. There is no going back.

Sometimes democracy disappears seemingly overnight in a coup or revolution. Sometimes democracy is slowly chipped away at, when the people decide democracy is just too hard. Make no mistake about it: the president declaring a national emergency as a workaround Congress is a diminution of our democracy – the latest in a series of unconstitutional power grabs over the last decade. This does not mean a dictator is right around the corner. But if we keep slashing away at our democratic norms, he will be coming.

Nothing is worth weakening our democracy, certainly not another empty promise.



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The 5 Richest Counties in America Surround Washington DC

The US Census Bureau released its American Community Survey data, and once again a striking detail comes into focus. The five counties with the highest median income in all of America are all near Washington DC.

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Although it has come to be expected, this is still an astounding realization. Some of our major cities are built around lucrative industries. New York City is built around Wall Street and the financial sector, a multi-billion dollar industry. Hollywood is built around movies and entertainment, a multi-billion dollar industry. Silicon Valley is built around the technology boom, an unprecedented event that is creating billionaires left and right.

Washington DC is built around the Federal Government, a trillion dollar industry.

It seems like this is discussed each time the new survey inevitably puts several counties surrounding DC at the top of the list. But I think many people are drawing the slightly wrong conclusion from this data.

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Public Sector Unions are a Conspiracy Against the Public

It’s been a good week at the Supreme Court. It is disquieting that four justices believe it is constitutional for the government to force pro-life pregnancy centers to advocate for abortion, or that the president loses his executive authority if he said bad things on the campaign trail, but in the end California’s law mandating abortion support was overturned and the so called travel ban was upheld.

While both of those cases are interesting, today I want to discuss the last case to be decided this year: Janus v. AFSCME. When the sun rose on June 27, 2018, approximately half the States had laws forcing government employees to pay union dues even if they did not want to join a union. By the time the sun set, that was recognized as an unconstitutional act.

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Death Panels Are Real. Just ask the Parents of Alfie Evans.

When America debated Obamacare in 2009, Republicans raised the specter of what Sarah Palin called “death panels.” This was not a fantasy or an exaggeration designed to take normal policy and make Democrats look bad. It was in the bill.

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Blaming America First

On January 20th I returned to the National Mall for the second Women’s March. While still significant in size, it was a lot smaller than last year and I decided to spend some more time wandering around. In addition to the Women’s March, there were several smaller groups that latched on to the event. There was an Impeach Trump March, a small contingent of the Libertarian Party, a group from the previous day’s March for Life, a “social justice a cappella,” and something about Bolivia I couldn’t quite understand.

But the one group that really grabbed my attention was Code Pink.

Code Pink was founded in late 2002 primarily as an anti-war organization, but you could be forgiven for thinking it’s real purpose is to be anti-American.

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#america, #protest, #war

Is it Hypocritical to Cut Taxes and be Concerned about the Deficit?

Democrats have leveled several different charges at Republicans during the debate over tax reform. While it can be fun to mercilessly mock claims that tax cuts will kill people (yes, that’s a real argument), I will instead focus on a more persistent and reasonable objection.

Many liberals claim it is hypocritical to cut taxes while expressing concern over the growing national debt. They are wrong.

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#economy, #taxes

The Liberal Advantage

When it comes to political battles, conservatives are at a natural disadvantage. By the very essence of their ideologies, liberalism is far more active than conservatism. For almost every issue, liberalism easily passes the “we have to do something” test.

As proponents of a powerful and active government, liberal solutions are visible and easily traceable. To solve a problem they might propose a new government agency, a new government program, impose new government requirements, or bills to outlaw whatever is perceived to cause the problem. With any of these options, liberal politicians can easily go to their constituents and show a one-step link between the problem and proposed solution.
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#domestic-policy, #idelology

A Scandal-Free Administration?

Valerie Jarrett, a senior adviser to President Obama, claimed that Obama’s “administration hasn’t had a scandal and he hasn’t done something to embarrass himself.” Really?

  • It wasn’t all that long ago we discovered that several VA hospitals were creating fake documents to cover up the fact that the wait to see doctors was so long they were essentially denying care to veterans. This was a major scandal that Obama promised to correct, but has done little about since the headlines went away.
  • In 2013 it was discovered that the IRS had been targeting conservative organizations and denying them tax except status. This is not a made up story. Before he did nothing about it, Obama himself said he had “no patience with it. I will not tolerate it.” But no charges were filed or punishment met out. Lois Lerner, who was in charge of the department that targeted conservative groups, was put on paid leave before she eventually retired with full benefits.

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#obama, #scandal