Fed Likely to Raise Interest Rates, But at a Less Aggressive Rate

The Federal Reserve is likely to further slow its historically aggressive pace of interest rate hikes at its Wednesday meeting as inflation cools, but consumers will still feel the pinch of higher interest rates, according to economists who spoke with the Daily Caller News Foundation. The Fed is likely to hike interest rate hikes by just 0.25 percentage points after its Wednesday meeting, setting the range for its target federal-funds rate to between 4.5% and 4.75%, due to slowing inflation, The Wall Street Journal reported.

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GOP Lawmaker Floats Mechanism to Default Spending to Current Levels to Avert Debt Ceiling Crises

With the nation stuck at its $31.38 trillion debt limit and the Department of the Treasury imposing “extraordinary measures” to keep the government running, one GOP lawmaker is floating a new proposal to default federal spending to current levels to avert recurring standoffs over raising the debt ceiling.

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House Speaker Fight Foreshadows Larger Debt Ceiling Battle on the Horizon for Republicans

The gridlock that paralyzed House Republicans over the past week in their quest to elect a new Speaker could be a foretaste of more to come, with party moderates and conservatives set to tangle in the months to come over raising the debt ceiling and reining in reckless government spending.

Although newly elected Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy ultimately prevailed in his bid for the office over a small but determined band of House Freedom Caucus members, his slim GOP majority in the House will be vulnerable if and when conservatives rebel again down the road, as some are predicting, in an effort to reassert debt reduction as a top priority for the party.

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Big Banks Predict Significant Economic Downturn in 2023: POLL

Of the 23 major financial institutions that work directly with the Federal Reserve, 16 anticipate a recession within the next 12 months, with two anticipating one the year after, according to a survey published by The Wall Street Journal Monday.

These institutions, which range from Bank of America to UBS, note that Americans are spending their savings, banks are heightening lending standards and the housing market is in a decline, all classic warning signs that a recession is impending, the WSJ reported. All of this is being exacerbated, the banks say, by the Fed’s historically aggressive pace of interest rate hikes, designed to blunt stubbornly persistent inflation.

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Commentary: The $1.7 Trillion Omnibus Prioritizes Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Higher Education and STEM Spending

The national debt is growing, but Congress’ recent spending bill is a telltale sign that it has no intention of shrinking the deficit.

After receiving bipartisan support in the Senate, the House passed a 1.7 trillion spending bill on Dec 16, avoiding a government shutdown.

The bill allocates funding mostly to defense, including $45 billion to Ukraine, which will assist the country in its war effort against Russia.

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Commentary: It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year (for the Washington, D.C. Establishment)

It is Christmas season.  The decorations are hung or need to be. Gifts are being purchased. The Advent Week of peace is being celebrated. Parties are being thrown. And Americans wind down from a long, stressful year.

Unfortunately, while most Americans refocus, the rest of the world doesn’t stop, but in many cases looks at this time as an opportunity to exploit.

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Commentary: Don’t Give an Inch on the Debt Ceiling

The dust has barely settled from the contentious midterms, and the battle lines are already being drawn for the next legislative fight in Washington: the debt ceiling. With the nation at unprecedented levels of indebtedness, the choice in this fight is a stark one: a path toward stability or fiscal Armageddon.

If that sounds hyperbolic, consider the following facts about America’s finances.

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Economists: Buying a Home May Not Get Any Cheaper Even If the Economy Tanks

Despite expecting a recession and reduced inflation that would ordinarily put downward pressure on prices in 2023, a critical shortage of housing means prices are unlikely to change much, two economists told the Daily Caller News Foundation.

The median sales price for existing homes increased 6.6% in October compared to the same month in 2021, jumping to $379,100, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), primarily due to demand outstripping supply, according to both Nadia Evangelou, senior economist and director of real estate research at the NAR, and E.J. Antoni, economist at the Heritage Foundation. The inventory of unsold existing homes fell to 1.22 million in October, down 10,000 from September 2022, and less than the 1.39 million unsold existing homes in December 2019, according to the National Association of Realtors.

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Investors Flee the Housing Market in Troubling Sign for the Economy

Investors bought 30% fewer homes in the third quarter of 2022 compared to the same time period last year, as high borrowing costs pressured investors out of the housing market, according to real estate brokerage Redfin Tuesday.

Besides a brief plunge in the second quarter of 2020 in response to the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, the decline was the steepest since 2008, and surpassed the 27.4% overall decline in home purchases nationwide, Redfin reported. The pandemic ultimately boosted demand for homes in suburban areas, sending investors on buying spree as they raised rents in those areas, in some cases by double digits, The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday.

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Poll: Joe Biden Faces Strong Disapproval Among Majorities of Catholic Voters in Six Battleground States

A new EWTN News/RealClear Opinion Research survey published Tuesday found Joe Biden is facing strong disapproval from Catholic voters in six battleground states, with large majorities stating the economy is the most pressing issue in the 2022 midterm elections.

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Home Sales Plummet in Ominous Sign for Economy

Sales of existing homes fell in September for the eighth month in a row, as historically high mortgage rates pummel demand for homes, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) announced Thursday.

The 1.5% decline from August contributed to a 23.8% slide compared to September 2021, as the median existing-home sales price rose 8.4% from last September, from $355,100 to $384,800, the NAR reported. NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun said that high mortgage rates were contributing to reduced demand, particularly in “expensive regions of the country.”

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California’s Economy Hurting as Companies Flee in Droves

California officials are sounding the alarm after recent statistics showed that fewer corporate and start-up activity in the state was leading to a decline in tax revenue, according to a report by Bloomberg News.

This year, just nine companies based in the state had held initial public offerings (IPOs), which is when a company first lists shares for sale on the stock market – considered a milestone in its growth after strong activity and high valuation, the report revealed. In 2021, California – whose start-up ecosystem in ‘Silicon Valley’ is considered the most prodigious in the world – saw 81 companies conduct IPOs, making 2022 a year of a nine-fold decrease.

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Commentary: Neither White House nor Common Man Can Evade Recession Data

Newly released data from the Commerce Department show what some people have been saying for months: The nation is in recession.

Furthermore, the Biden administration’s cherry-picking of data has come back to bite it, with even its selected data points now being revised to indicate a recession. And while these numbers confirm the economy shrank in the first half of the year, the rest of this year holds little promise of recovery.

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Commentary: The Fed’s Interest Rate Hikes Have only Destroyed $398 Billion of the $6 Trillion It Printed

“Our expectation has been we would begin to see inflation come down, largely because of supply side healing.  We haven’t. We have seen some supply side healing but inflation has not really come down.”

That was Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell on Sept. 21, speaking to reporters following the central bank’s meeting where the Federal Funds Rate was once again increased 0.75 percent to its current range of 3 percent to 3.25 percent in a bid to combat sticky 8.3 percent consumer inflation the past year.

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Commentary: (Not) Sorry Democrats, Abortion Won’t Save You

The desperate attempts by the White House, congressional Democrats, and the corporate media to refocus voter attention on abortion rather than inflation are failing. Most reputable polls show that the electorate is far more concerned about mismanagement of the economy by President Biden and his collaborators in Congress than about threats to reproductive rights posed by “MAGA Republicans.” Contrary to Democratic hopes, November won’t be about abortion vs. inflation. The midterms will be a referendum on Biden’s performance, particularly as it affects inflation.

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New Poll Shows Americans Trust Republicans More than Democrats with the Economy

Voters overwhelmingly trust Republicans to manage the economy, a new poll ahead of this year’s midterm elections suggests, while also viewing the economy as the most important issue.

Roughly 52% of voters said that they trust Republicans to manage the economy, compared to 38% for Democrats, while only 1% of respondents said they agreed with the proposals of both parties to manage it, according to a poll conducted by the Times and Siena College, which measured the relative strength of both parties in advance of the election scheduled on Nov. 8. The economy has been the most important issue to voters heading into the polls; in a July edition of the same NYT/Siena poll, 20% called it the “most important problem facing the country today,” while roughly 76% said that it would be “extremely important” to them as they vote.

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Hispanic Americans Point to Crime, Immigration and the Economy as Key Concerns

Recent reports indicate a dramatic political shift for Hispanic Americans, citing a defection from the left toward the right. While some mainstream media accounts dispute the shift, other national surveys are missing the on-the-ground factors that illustrate why a sizeable portion of Latinos are moving right politically, and the fact that many polls suggest Hispanics are drifting from the Democratic party over economic issues.

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Revised GDP Numbers Show the Economy Shrinking

The Department Of Commerce revised the estimate of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) Thursday morning, finding similarly to July’s estimate that real GDP contracted in the second quarter of 2022.

The revised estimate for the second quarter finds that real GDP decreased annually at a rate of 0.6%, slightly less than the July 28 estimate of a 0.9% decrease, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis.

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U.S. Senate Passes Massive Tax and Spend Bill Targeting Carbon Emissions, Prescription Drug Costs, More

The U.S. Senate on Sunday passed a $740 billion new taxing and spending bill that seeks to combat climate change and allow the government to control the price of prescription medications, among other things.

No Republicans voted for the bill, named the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, in the divided 50-50 Senate, forcing Vice President Kamala Harris to break the tie. The measure must return to the House for a concurrence vote after senators passed several amendments Sunday. The House is expected to take the bill up again on Friday. If the House concurs, President Joe Biden has indicated he will sign it.

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Commentary: Federal Reserve’s False Assumptions Push the Economy into Recession

Federal Reserve

Based on its assumptions, the Federal Reserve is doing everything right by raising interest rates rapidly after years of easy money. It will certainly succeed in its goal of “cooling down” the economy.

Unfortunately, the Fed’s basic assumptions are wrong, and it has already begun reducing Americans’ standard of living, as indicated by this week’s Commerce Department report showing the nation’s gross domestic product fell for the second quarter in a row, meeting the common definition of a recession.

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Americans Taking Side Gigs to Make Ends Meet amid Soaring Costs

The Labor Department’s newly released jobs report for July appeared to be good news for the economy — at first glance.

A dig below the surface, however, reveals a different picture: Americans, strapped for cash by inflation, taking on second jobs as families have less money to spend.

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‘It’s An Absurd Argument’: Economists Take Apart One of Biden’s Favorite Talking Points

The Biden administration’s oft-touted talking point that employment has boomed under the administration is misleading and instead simply a natural recovery from pandemic losses, economists told the Daily Caller News Foundation.

Facing consecutive quarters of negative gross domestic product (GDP) growth, sky-high inflation and plummeting consumer sentiment, the Biden administration has routinely cited a low unemployment rate and strong on-paper jobs creation as positive results of President Joe Biden’s economic stewardship. But the notion that these figures represent booming job creation is misleading since the economy has merely rebounded by adding back jobs that were lost during the pandemic and has still yet to reach pre-pandemic levels, economists told the DCNF.

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Economist: 30 Percent Chance That U.S. Enters a Recession Within a Year’s Time

A Goldman Sachs economist says there is a 30% probability of the U.S. entering a recession within one year and 48% within two years. 

Goldman Sachs Chief U.S. economist David Mericle outlined the probability of a recession at an event Tuesday and said that the likelihood of a recession would decrease if the U.S. had not entered one within two years.

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Commentary: After 18 Months of Biden, We Have Yet to Hit Bottom

Next week will mark one and a half years since Joe Biden became president on Jan. 20, 2021. On July 20, every American should look within and ask: “Am I better off than I was 18 months ago?”

To Biden’s credit, the unemployment rate has fallen from 6.4% when he took office to 3.6% in June. Today’s figure is a notch higher than the 3.5% joblessness that Americans enjoyed in February 2020, thanks to President Donald Trump’s Republican tax cuts, deregulation, energy dominance, and other pro-growth initiatives.

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Commentary: The Biden Bust Could be Coming to a Neighborhood Near You Soon

For many readers, the above title will conjure up memories of the 2008 housing crash caused by the proliferation of subprime mortgages and the subsequent tsunami of defaults. But a better corollary for the coming Biden bust is the Carter crash that occurred three decades earlier. During the final two years of Carter’s term, sales of existing and new homes collapsed because the Fed was forced to raise interest rates sharply to get double-digit inflation under control. This, in turn, produced double-digit mortgage rates that priced millions of potential buyers out of the market.

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Commentary: States Can Help Conservatives Secure Even More Legal Victories

America is currently in the midst of a broader political realignment. The political Left, which once upon a time purported to stand for the forgotten “little guy” against the titans of Big Business, has in recent years decided that Big Business is actually an ally of convenience in its long Gramsci-an “march” through the institutions. Chris Rufo has perhaps demonstrated this trend better than anyone else.

And the political Right, whose once-instinctive neoliberal proclivities made it a convenient ally for Big Business, is currently rethinking its approach to political economy in general, as well as its specific relationship to culturally leftist multinational corporations. The most tangible recent expression of this rethinking has been Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis’ crippling punishment of The Walt Disney Company for its coming out on behalf of sexually grooming innocent children in the Sunshine State.

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Commentary: Vast Majority of Americans Disapprove Biden’s Handling of Economy

67 percent of Americans disapprove of President Joe Biden’s handling of the U.S. economy and 71 percent disapprove of his handling of inflation as gasoline prices continue hitting records at $5 a gallon, a recent Fox News poll taken mid-June found, even as Biden recently suggested a recession is not “inevitable”.

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Commentary: Recession Predictor 10-Year, 2-Year Treasuries Spread Inverts Once Again Amid Crushing Inflation

The spread between 10-year and 2-year treasuries, a reliable indicator of incoming recessions that has predicted almost every recession in modern economic history, inverted once again overnight Monday amid financial markets turmoil with interest rates rising rapidly, the dollar strengthening and equities markets crashing.

That is almost certainly terrible news for President Joe Biden and Congressional Democrats ahead of the 2022 Congressional midterms. The White House has attempted to highlight relatively low unemployment numbers as signs of a healthy economy, with President Biden on June 3 declaring the latest jobs numbers as “good news.”

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As Food Prices Soar with No End in Sight, Americans Change Habits

Americans are changing their shopping habits because of soaring food prices. And disruptions in the international farming community have some worried about the food supply heading into 2023.

The BMO Real Financial Progress Index, a quarterly survey from BMO and Ipsos, shows that 42% of surveyed adults “are changing how they shop for groceries,” including “opting for cheaper items, avoiding brand names and buying only the essentials.”

The report found “46% are either dining out less or consciously spending less when dining out.”

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‘A Source of Concern’: Jobs Growth Stalls, Unemployment Rises in May

The U.S. economy added 390,000 jobs in May while the unemployment rate was largely unchanged at 3.6%, according to Department of Labor data released Friday.

The number of unemployed people ticked up slightly to about 6 million, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) report. Economists projected 328,000 Americans would be added to payrolls prior to Friday’s report, The Wall Street Journal reported.

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Majority of Americans Say They Are ‘Falling Behind’ Rising Cost of Living

The majority of Americans feel they cannot keep up with the cost of living as inflation and the price of goods continue to rise, according to new polling data.

A poll from NBC News asked Americans, “Do you think that your family’s income is … going up faster than the cost of living, staying about even with the cost of living, or falling behind the cost of living?”

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Small Businesses Struggle to Survive in Biden’s Economy: Poll

Small business owners are increasingly pessimistic about U.S. economic conditions and overwhelmingly support an expansion of domestic fossil fuel infrastructure, the latest polling data showed.

Just 27% of small business owners agreed the economy was in “good” or “excellent” condition, according to a Job Creators Network Foundation poll released Friday and shared with The Daily Caller News Foundation. The figure represented the lowest rating of the current economic situation among small business owners since the group began the poll a year ago.

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‘Signs of Slowing’: Unemployment Remains Unchanged as Economists Predict Dim Future

Woman organizing table contents in restaurant

The U.S. economy added 428,000 jobs in April while the unemployment rate was unchanged at 3.6%, according to Department of Labor data released Friday.

The number of unemployed people remained even at about 5.9 million, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) report. Economists projected 400,000 Americans would be added to payrolls prior to Friday’s report, The Wall Street Journal reported.

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Commentary: A Biden Recession Is Virtually Guaranteed After 10-Year, 2-Year Treasuries Spread Inverts as Economy Overheats from Rampant Inflation

Joe Biden

The spread between 10-year treasuries and 2-year treasuries, a leading recession indicator whose inversions have predicted almost all of the U.S. economic recessions in modern history, on March 31 inverted for the first time since Sept. 2019.

When the 10-year, 2-year spread inverts, a recession tends to result on average 14 months afterward, sometimes sooner, sometimes later. The one time there was a head fake on the 10-year, 2-year was in the mid-1990s at a time when inflation was much lower Visit Site than it is now.

As an aside, potentially the Sept. 2019 inversion might have ended up being a premature indicator, too, but then Covid and global economic lockdowns in early 2020 went ahead and ensured a recession even if one was not due. On the other hand, at that point it had been 11 years since the prior recession and so the business cycle was going to end sooner or later.

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Biden’s Job Approval Plummets to New Low

Joe Biden

President Joe Biden’s job approval rating plummeted to a new low as concerns grew over the war in Ukraine and surging inflation, according to an NBC News poll released Sunday.

Only 40% of Americans surveyed approved of the job Biden has done through his first two years, marking the lowest rating since he took office, according to the poll. Just 16% of registered voters strongly approved of Biden’s job, and 71% of those surveyed said the country is “off on the wrong track.”

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Commentary: Blame Putin, Yes, But Also Blame Biden

As Ukraine coverage blankets the news nonstop, I keep asking myself: are we really so gullible as to be hoodwinked by an administration and political class covering for their massive failures at home and abroad by mustering up a frenzy of dangerously jingoistic militarism? Not only have they escalated the situation and brought us to the brink of World War III but they have also imposed—and will continue to impose—senseless costs on an American economy already grinding to a halt. 

I am not suggesting that any of Joe Biden’s major missteps, whether now or in the past, in any way excuse Russian President Vladimir Putin’s Ukraine invasion, which is in violation of international law and being conducted with reckless indifference to—indeed, the direct intent to inflict—civilian casualties. Although there is no question (details below) that Biden majorly provoked Putin, nothing Biden did stripped Putin of his agency in doing what he is now doing, much less did it demand he do it in the manner in which he is doing it.

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Commentary: All of Joe Biden’s Multitude of Failures Were Foreseeable in 2020

Every single one of senile president Joe Biden’s struggles was easily foreseeable.

It’s a bold statement, since many if not most of the issues that confront a new president can’t always be seen from a distance. If it can be said that elections are always about the future, it’s just as true to claim that the future would almost certainly be shaped by yet unseen events and circumstances that no politician could forthrightly discuss in the lead-up to his victory.

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Shrinking Food Supplies, Soaring Prices Could Trigger Global Unrest, Key GOP Lawmaker Warns

Rep. Austin Scott

With U.S. and world food prices set to soar due to inflation and supply shortages stemming from the Russian invasion of Ukraine, a key GOP lawmaker is asking the Pentagon to study the potential for conflict if the global food supply shrinks by 5%.

U.S. farmers will pay $300-$400 more per acre to grow crops this year due to inflation and costs associated with the war in Europe, Georgia Republican Rep. Austin Scott warned Monday on the Just the News TV show.

Shipping is another issue, as trade is throttled by war-related disruptions and tough economic sanctions against Russia.

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Farmers Hit Hard by Price Increases as Food Price Spike Looms

Man in white shirt and jeans planting seeds in the ground of a garden

Goods and services around the country are becoming increasingly more expensive, but farmers may be among the hardest hit as inflation, supply chain issues, and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine are expected to send food prices soaring even higher.

That impact is being felt by farmers around the country.

“The cost of fertilizer is up as much as 500% in some areas,” said Indiana Farm Bureau President Randy Kron. “It would be unbelievable if I hadn’t seen it for myself as I priced fertilizer for our farm in southern Indiana. Fertilizer is a global commodity and can be influenced by multiple market factors, including the situation in Ukraine, and all of these are helping to drive up costs.”

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Commentary: Under President Trump, We Really Had a Wonderful Life

In the film, “It’s a Wonderful Life,” George Bailey is able to see what the world would have been like had he never been born. Everything changes. George wasn’t there to save his younger brother from drowning. And, that in turn, meant that his brother wasn’t there to save the lives of hundreds of men on board a U.S. military troop ship. Everything has a domino effect.

Unfortunately, we get to have a similar experience. We see how one terrible leader imposing his disastrous policies on the American people has negatively impacted every American. We also witness how Joe Biden’s immature foreign policy has produced unrest and war.

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Commentary: The Green Immoralists

President Joe Biden, Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry participate in a virtual meeting of the Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate, Thursday, September 17, 2021, in the South Court Auditorium of the Eisenhower Executive Office Building at the White House. (Official White House Photo by Adam Schultz)

Thousands are dying from Russian missiles and bombs in the suburbs of Ukraine.

In response, the Biden Administration’s climate-change envoy, multimillionaire and private-jet owning John Kerry, laments that Russian president Vladimir Putin might no longer remain his partner in reducing global warming.

“You’re going to lose people’s focus,” Kerry frets. “You’re going to lose big-country attention because they will be diverted, and I think it could have a damaging impact”

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Ohio Employers Not Struggling as Much to Fill Jobs as Rest of Nation

While filling jobs continues to be a source of struggle for businesses across the nation, Ohio employers seem to be dealing with it better than most, according to a recently released study.

A WalletHub report compared all 50 states and the District of Columbia based on the rate of job openings for the latest month and the past 12 months.

“Lots of businesses are struggling to hire enough workers, which has sometimes led to delays in services and reduced business hours,” the report read. “In fact, the labor force participation rate has experienced the slowest recovery of any recession since World War II. Some businesses aren’t even able to keep the employees they already have – as Americans are quitting their jobs at record rates in what’s been dubbed the ‘Great Resignation.’ ”

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Commentary: The Biden Administration’s ERISA Work-Around

Rising inflation threatens the value of Americans’ retirement savings. Now the Biden administration is finalizing a rule to loosen safeguards under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (“ERISA”) that protect private retirement savings. The new rule, “Prudence and Loyalty in Selecting Plan Investments and Exercising Shareholder Rights,” stems from President Biden’s May 20, 2021, Executive Order on Climate-Related Financial Risk, which directed senior White House advisers to develop a strategy for financing the administration’s net-zero climate goals, including the use of private savings. 

Predictably, Wall Street is cheering the prospect of undoing ERISA safeguards. According to one analysis, 97% of comment letters support the proposal. But as I show in my RealClear Foundation report The Biden Administration’s ERISA Work-Around, it’s the remaining three percent that should give the Department of Labor (DOL) cause to rethink its deeply flawed approach.

Under ERISA, retirement savings must be invested for the exclusive purpose of providing retirement benefits. The May 2021 executive order illustrates the very danger that ERISA’s exclusive-purpose rule is designed to guard against. To achieve the goals set out in the order, DOL is instructed to “suspend, revise or rescind” two Trump-era rules designed to uphold ERISA’s exclusive-purpose rule.

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Commentary: Seven Major Failures of the Biden Presidency

Joe Biden

With President Joe Biden set to deliver his first State of the Union address on Tuesday night, it’s a good time to ask: How has Biden done as president and what is the actual state of our union?

According to the American people, things aren’t going great.

A CNN poll in early February asked Americans what they thought of Biden’s presidency and what he’s done right since entering office Jan. 20, 2021.

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New Jobless Claims Dip to 232,000

The number of Americans who filed new unemployment claims decreased to 232,000 in the week ending Feb. 19, the Labor Department announced Thursday.

The Labor Department’s figure showed a decrease of 17,000 compared to the week ending Feb. 12, when claims increased to 249,000. Economists surveyed by Dow Jones estimated that new claims reported Thursday would total 235,000.

Last week’s jobless claim figure marked the first increase after three straight weeks of decline as the Omicron coronavirus variant caused workers to call in sick and businesses to temporarily close.

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Commentary: The Gathering Storm in the West

Canada is now governed by absurdism, and it is symptomatic of an ailing Western elite.

Liberal Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau last week invoked martial law to arrest and financially destroy truckers on the charge that their largely peaceful protests are “dismantling the Canadian economy” that had already been dismantled for two years under some of the most draconian lockdowns in the world. The trucker “sect,” Trudeau added, is guilty of felonious “unacceptable views.” But his rhetoric still cannot square the circle of demonizing vital workers while conceding he cannot run his country without them. 

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Commentary: The IRS Can’t Get the Basics Right, So Don’t Add to Its Authority

All taxpayers are dealing with a disastrous filing season this year, with the IRS backed up on processing millions of returns and refunds from last year and communication from the agency nonexistent at best. But some taxpayers will have an added headache in the future as a result of an unnecessary new paperwork requirement that went into effect this year. Fortunately, however, legislation introduced by Sen. Bill Hagerty (R-TN) would address this issue by removing the burdensome new requirement.

Ever since IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig claimed last year that the “tax gap,” or the gap between what the IRS collects and what it believes it is owed, could be as large as $1 trillion, politicians and legislators have been scrambling to propose ways to collect all that missing revenue. That’s despite the fact that more sober analyses show that the $1 trillion figure is probably wildly exaggerated, that it is functionally impossible to wholly prevent tax evasion, and that a far greater concern is the IRS’s inability to handle its taxpayer service responsibilities.

But as far as proposals to collect all this supposed “extra revenue” go, most of the focus has rightly been on schemes to drastically increase the IRS’s enforcement budget and allow the IRS to snoop on taxpayers’ financial accounts. But another more targeted change has already gone into effect, and is already causing problems.

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Commentary: Gas-Price Change, Not ‘Climate Change,’ Is What Matters to Americans

There are few more easily observable measures of the cost of everyday living than the price of gasoline at the pump. As has been widely reported, gas prices in the United States recently hit a seven-year high. The striking thing, however, is not just how high gas prices have gotten, but how fast and far they have risen.

Based on statistics from the U.S. Energy Information Administration—the statistical arm of the Department of Energy—weekly average retail prices for regular unleaded gasoline in the United States increased 94 percent in less than two years. Average gas prices rose from $1.77 per gallon during the week ending April 27, 2020, to $3.44 per gallon during the week ending February 7, 2022—nearly doubling in the process.

That was the largest percentage increase in gas prices within a two-year window since October of 2005, more than 16 years ago. In the election of 2006, Republicans—then the party in power—lost 30 House and six Senate seats, thereby losing control of both chambers, before losing the presidency two years later.

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