President Obama's budget for the 2015 fiscal year contains lots of populist proposals like more generous tax credits for the working poor, initiatives for education from preschool through college, for roads and other public works, and for research and manufacturing centers. Obama intends to pay for them with taxes, mostly on the rich, which would bring in more than $1 trillion over 10 years. But not all of that would go to government programs — much is, in fact, slated for deficit reduction.
Yet with the deficit declining at the fastest rate since World War II, I — and many others will probably agree — wonder why raising taxes is really necessary at this stage. With interest rates on government borrowing remaining near record lows, the market continues to offer the federal government very cheap money to invest in infrastructure, education, basic research, and measures to reduce economic inequality. That spending can be paid for later, when unemployment is lower, growth higher, and the economy in a stronger position to withstand tax rises.
Faster deficit reduction may be political wisdom — with a large majority of Americans considering deficit reduction a high priority — but it is not economic wisdom when millions of Americans remain out of work, and while economic growth remains relatively timid. It's especially unnecessary for a major superpower like the United States, whose currency and government debt securities are highly prized in global markets as "safe assets."
The media "has missed the whole point on immigration" and distorts his remarks to create confusion about immigration policy, Republican Donald Trump said Saturday afternoon while speaking in Iowa.
Trump's comments moved away from the softer tone he adopted in recent days, proposing a tracking system for visa recipients as well as the swift removal of "criminal, illegal immigrants" — phrasing which leaves unclear whether he is again proposing mass deportation of 11 million people.
In an interview published Saturday, Trump's running mate, Mike Pence, argued the candidate's variation on this issue is "a classic CEO process" of developing an effective plan with a diversity of input. "At the end of the day, when [Trump] articulates a position, it’s going to be very much consistent with the priorities that he's laid forth and that have really resonated with millions of Americans," Pence said.
Since I wouldn't want to "take phrases and statements, chop them up, take them out of context," as Trump accused the media of doing on Saturday, here is a link to watch his entire speech. Bonnie Kristian
Democrat Hillary Clinton spent Saturday morning at an FBI office near her home in New York receiving her first classified briefing as a nominee for president.
The two-hour meeting came about a week and a half after Republican Donald Trump received a similar intelligence update, attended by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn. The briefings are conducted by staff of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and held in special rooms called Sensitive Compartmented Information Facilities.
Though such meetings have been used to prepare nominees for a smooth transition into office for more than half a century, opponents of both candidates this election cycle have questioned their respective fitness to receive such valuable information. Clinton's critics pointed to her private email server scandal as evidence that she cannot be trusted with classified documents, while Trump's detractors suggested he is too loose-lipped to handle sensitive data. Bonnie Kristian
If you have clear skies just after sunset on Saturday, August 27, look west to see Venus and Jupiter so close on the horizon they almost appear to merge into a single light.
This rare astronomical event is called an "appulse," which is when two celestial bodies appear from Earth's vantage point to approach each other as closely as possible — in this case, with less than one degree between the two planets.
— Mueller Planetarium (@UNLPlanetarium) August 27, 2016
Venus and Jupiter will not come this close again for nearly five decades — the next comparable conjunction will appear in 2065 — and Saturday's light show will be bright enough to view with the naked eye, weather permitting. Bonnie Kristian
Donald Trump took to Twitter Saturday morning to boast that African-American voters will support him come Election Day — and had he stopped there, it would have been just another example of Trump's awkward minority outreach efforts.
Instead, however, he cited the fatal shooting of Nykea Aldridge, cousin of Chicago Bulls shooting guard Dwyane Wade. The mother of four was killed by stray gunfire Friday, and Trump — while misspelling Wade's first name — said her death is one reason black Americans will give him their votes.
Dwayne Wade's cousin was just shot and killed walking her baby in Chicago. Just what I have been saying. African-Americans will VOTE TRUMP!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 27, 2016
Trump was roundly criticized for his tweet after it went live. Actor Don Cheadle tweeted, "You are truly a POS," while The Washington Post's Philip Bump nailed the post's inappropriate tone: "It comes off not as a thoughtful statement of concern for a tragedy that needs to be fixed and more as an attempt to leverage a murder into a campaign slogan." Bonnie Kristian
At least 17 Kyrgyz migrant workers were killed and four more injured Saturday when a printing warehouse in Moscow, Russia, caught fire. The blaze was put out after two hours.
The fire was caused by a broken lamp on the first floor, said Ilya Denisov, chief of Moscow's emergency services, and then spread upstairs through an elevator shaft. The victims are all believed to be young women who were trapped while putting on their work uniforms.
"Most of them were in Moscow to earn money," said Abdygani Shakirov, who works at a local Kyrgyz community organization. "They were in the dressing room and were unable to get out. The smoke had blocked the exit." Bonnie Kristian
If you're ever stranded on a desert island, writing "SOS" in giant letters in the sand actually can help — or, at least, it helped a pair of boaters rescued by the U.S. Coast Guard from an uninhabited island in Micronesia on Friday.
— The Independent (@Independent) August 27, 2016
The pair began their journey on Wednesday, August 17, and were expected to arrive at their destination one day later. Instead, they landed on the empty island near the Chuuk Lagoon on Friday, August 19, and survived on limited supplies for a week until the SOS was noticed by a U.S. Navy plane. Before the SOS was spotted, rescuers searched some 17,000 square miles without success. Bonnie Kristian
The United States and Russia are close to reaching agreement on national ceasefire in Syria, Secretary of State John Kerry said Friday, but have yet to sign a deal. Following talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Geneva, Kerry said there are still "a few narrow issues to be resolved" before a lasting accord can be reached.
"We don't want to have a deal for the sake of the deal," he explained. "We want to have something done that is effective and that works for the people of Syria, that makes the region more stable and secure, and that brings us to the table here in Geneva to find a political solution."