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Weekly Newsletter

March 28, 2020

What We’re Standing For

Getting tough on China

The coronavirus epidemic shines a bright light on a major fault line in U.S. trade policy: We have relied on China for vital supplies and products for far too long.

Exhibit A: As hospitals beg for more medical masks, America is forced to face the economic reality that China produces about half of the world’s supply. But China has been reluctant to share.

At the same time, China is running a full-fledged propaganda campaign to paper over its dangerous role in the outbreak, withholding important information about the virus, silencing whistleblowers, and using social media to promote its “do-good” efforts.

The lesson: Free trade is good, but we need to use common sense. We can’t rely on hostile countries for vital products or components in our supply chain, like medical supplies, drugs, or essential materials for our national security.

Taking action: Last week, Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR) and Rep. Michael Gallagher (R-WI) introduced legislation to end U.S. dependency on China for pharmaceutical manufacturing. And the Trump administration has been working closely with the U.S. private sector – partnering with companies like Ford and HP – to ramp up production for vital supplies.

→ Read more: The U.S. needs China’s masks, as acrimony grows (New York Times )

→ Read more: How 3M plans to make more than a billion masks by end of year (Bloomberg Businessweek)

People stepping up

Private businesses and people all across the country have been stepping up to help others in need during this crisis.

Embroidery companiesfashion designers, and a veteran-owned shirt company are all switching gears to produce desperately needed masks… Volunteers are sewing masks… retired nurses and doctors are coming out of retirement to jump into the heat of the battle… distilleries are now producing hand sanitizer… and people (as young as 13!) with access to 3D printers are printing respirator valves and masks.

This is America at its best. When times are tough, our citizens rise to the occasion, meeting challenges with courage, generosity and determination. Let’s take a moment to appreciate the good in this world.


what we’re standing against


No, we’re not talking about breakfast bacon. We’re talking about wasteful spending that gets stuffed into emergency spending bills that have nothing to do with the crisis at hand.

Before the Senate passed its $2 trillion coronavirus aid package, Nancy Pelosi released her own version. Coming in at 1,432-pages, the liberal bill was chock full of absurd demands that had nothing to do with the current health or economic crisis, like a $25 billion bailout for USPS and $33 million for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. It also included non-emergency related liberal mandates like forcing airlines to offset carbon emissions, requiring companies and their boards to report on diversity in exchange for accepting loans, and forcing states to implement early voting.

Republicans were able to eliminate many of these items, but Pelosi managed to sneak in a few, including:

• $75 million for public broadcasting and radio
• $25 million for the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
• $75 million (down from $300 million) each for the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for Humanities

Our take: Every dollar spent on liberal pork is a dollar less spent on helping businesses and workers who desperately need a hand right now. It seems like Congress is incapable of passing a spending bill without slipping in pork and special favors for its friends.

This is how Washington has worked for years: backroom deals in the middle of the night, with taxpayers on the hook. This is why trust in Congress is so low. Hmm… Maybe term limits can help with that?

→ Read more: Nancy Pelosi’s 1,400-page coronavirus-relief boondoggle (National Review Online)

→ Read more: ‘Have we learned nothing?’ ( POLITICO Magazine)

Even higher deficits

Now that the coronavirus aid package has passed, it’s worth asking: Just how much is $2 trillion? A LOT. This is the largest stimulus bill in modern history. To put things in perspective, the entire U.S. budget for fiscal year 2020 was already $4.7 trillion. So $2 trillion is a 30% increase in the amount the federal government was supposed to spend this year. Or, to put it another way, $2 trillion is 10% of our annual gross domestic product.

America’s deficit and debt levels were already irresponsibly high considering we were enjoying a booming economy. While people certainly need help in this crisis, Congress will have to tackle America’s looming debt problem sooner rather than later.

How much is our current deficit? Prior to coronavirus, the U.S. budget deficit was set to hit $1 – $1.5 trillion this fiscal year. Now, estimates have risen to $1.7 – $2.1 trillion for this year and $1.5 – $2.5 trillion in 2021.

What about our national debt? Our debt is the cumulative amount of all our deficits year after year. It currently sits at a whopping $23.5 trillion and could surpass$25 trillion after we come through coronavirus.

Do deficits matter? This is a long and thorny policy debate, but in a nutshell: At some point, yes. Unlike state governments that rely on spending cuts or tax increases to plug budget holes, the federal government has the option of borrowing money or releasing additional dollars into the economy. But here’s the problem: Borrowed money needs to be paid back eventually when the lenders come knocking, and a flood of dollars will eventually cause inflation.

Either way, America will have to deal with its soaring debt someday soon. The faster the debt climbs, the sooner that day will come.

what we’re smiling about

Families are finding creative ways to come together during this social distancing period. One of our favorites is this dancing trio.