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Editorial: Spending, Not Tax Reduction, Fuels Deficits

A February 12th article in the Wall Street Journal reports -- correctly -- that the U.S. budget deficit grew by 25% in the first four months of fiscal year 2020. The deficit, of course, is the differential between the amount the federal government collects and the amount that it spends. Every year that the U.S. accumulates a deficit, our national debt -- which currently exceeds $23 trillion -- becomes larger and larger.

Many in the commentariat ascribe our runaway deficits to the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which reduced the corporate tax rate by 14 points and lowered individual tax rates. However, the article's fine print refutes that sentiment: "Federal outlays rose 10%, to $1.6 trillion, and federal tax receipts grew 6%, to $1.2 trillion—both record highs for the four-month period" (emphasis mine). Later on, the article notes that "corporate tax revenues, which have been rising since last summer, were up nearly 27%..."

So much for the doomsday projections th…
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Gallup: GOP in Best Position Since 2005

Gallup's poll of registered voters finds that 51% of Americans have a positive view of the Republican Party, the GOP's best performance since 2005. The Democrats are at 45%, a drop from their 48% favorability rating in Gallup's September poll.

According to Gallup, the newfound support for the Republican Party is manifesting itself in tangible voter shifts:

48% of Americans identifying as Republicans or leaning toward that party, compared with 44% Democratic identification or leaning. Recent Gallup polls had shown a fairly even partisan distribution, after the Democratic Party held advantages for much of 2019.
Republican President Donald Trump's approval rating is also enjoying a bump, with 49% of registered voters registering support and 50% declaring opposition. This is the president's best-ever performance in a Gallup poll.

On the economy, 63% of Americans approve of Trump's job performance, the highest number for any president since the immediate aftermath o…

President Trump's Approvals Return to Early 2017 Highs

President Donald Trump, charged by the U.S. House of Representatives with abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, is currently being tried in the U.S. Senate. No less, the "Teflon Don" is enjoying a noticeable approval-rating bump.

According to the RealClearPolitics polling average, the president's approval rating is 45.5%, with 51.7% disapproving. This is Trump's best result since February 5, 2017, a few weeks into his presidential term, and it is just six-tenths of a point shy of former President Barack Obama's approval rating on January 26, 2012: 46.1%. Obama went on to win reelection with a majority of the popular vote on Election Day 2012.

The FiveThirtyEight polling aggregation shares a similar story. Among likely or registered voters, the president's approval rating is 44.8%, with 51.8% disapproving. This is Trump's best result since March 2017.

Support for the president's economic policies has also surged. The RealClearPolitics average show…

FISA Court Rebukes FBI's Surveillance of Trump Official

During and after the 2016 presidential election, the FBI obtained several surveillance warrants against Carter Page, an official on the Trump campaign. As substantiation for these surveillance warrants, the FBI used a document produced by Christopher Steele with financing from the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee. The premises of this document, known as the "Steele dossier," have been disproven by the media and the investigative services.

Inspector General Michael Horowitz, who investigated the FBI's conduct in the surveillance matter, found significant cause for concern. He observed "at least 17 significant errors or omissions in the Carter Page FISA applications and many errors in the Woods Procedures" that regulate the FISA process, according to the Washington Examiner.

On Tuesday, the court that approved the Page surveillance warrants -- the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court -- pointedly chastised the FBI in an order publ…

Essay: America is a Beacon of Stability for a World in Crisis

In a recent New York Times editorial, Timothy Egan opined that America, a "bad-tempered country," is "a hot mess." Egan's sentiments are par for the course, but they miss the forest for the trees: Thanks to the Constitution endowed to us by our Founding Fathers, America is one of the few countries in today's world not engulfed by the flames of chaos.

Granted, the U.S. Congress is about to impeach President Donald Trump because he solicited politically-charged investigations from the Ukrainian government. However, the process actually demonstrates the efficacy of America's constitutional order, which has perpetuated a constancy of government unseen by any other civilization. In few other countries could one branch of government attempt to remove the head of another branch while maintaining a relatively cool, civil, and strangely-productive atmosphere. In nearly any other locale, coup-plotters would be sharpening their knives instead of wasting their time…

Chris Stucchio: Gender Doesn't Drive Hollywood Pay Gap

There was a firestorm of outrage in January 2018 when it was revealed that Mark Wahlberg was paid $1.5 million for reshooting his scenes in All the Money in the World while Michelle Williams was paid less than $1,000.1 Kevin Spacey originally starred in the film as well, but after sexual misconduct allegations were made public against him, he was removed from it and his scenes were reshot with Christopher Plummer in his place.2

Many people saw this as another example of the gender pay gap in Hollywood, and that became the angle that most media outlets focused on when discussing the story; however, a USA Today article by Andrea Mandell that was published on January 9, 2018, said the following: “The Washington Post first reported Wahlberg's reshoot fee, noting that the actor ‘along with manager Stephen Levinson and agency WME, have a reputation in Hollywood for driving a tough bargain.’”3

Mandell also had an article published in USA Today two days later saying that “Wahlberg had co-…

Michigan Senate Race Tightening

John James, the 2018 Republican candidate for U.S. Senate from Michigan, is running again this cycle. This time, he is up against little-known incumbent Democratic Senator Gary Peters.

James' entry into the race has caused the Cook Political Report to shift their rating of the Michigan Senate race from "Likely Democratic" to "Lean Democratic." They observe,

James was the GOP’s U.S. Senate nominee in 2018. He got very little attention last cycle, and yet managed to raise $12.7 million, and take 46 percent to 52 percent for Democratic U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow. According to GOP strategists, Peters begins the cycle in a considerably weaker position than Stabenow was last cycle.
From a numbers standpoint, James is crushing it. Cook notes, "If fundraising is any indication of how competitive a race will become, Democrats have to be a bit disheartened by the 3Q FEC reports. James outraised Peters, taking in nearly $3.1 million to $2.5 million."

Regarding the…