January 7, 2019

Government Shutdown Continues

Editor's note: We couldn’t be more proud of one of our teammates, Isaac Rose-Berman, who penned his first op-ed this week in USA Today: “How college students can bridge American divides: 'Study abroad' in Alabama or New York.” Please give it a read, and share far and wide!

“U.S. President Donald Trump pledged on Sunday not to bend in his demand for a wall along the southern border with Mexico but said the barrier could be made of steel instead of concrete as a potential compromise with Democrats who refuse to fund it…

“Democrats have declined to approve the $5.6 billion Trump wants to fulfill a 2016 campaign promise to curb illegal immigration. Led by new Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Democrats passed a bill in the House of Representatives last week to reopen the government without wall funding. Pelosi has called a border wall immoral.”

See past issues

From the Left

The left is urging the President to strike a deal with House Democrats, but is not hopeful it’ll happen anytime soon.

“Having spent more than four years — first as a candidate and then as president — whipping his core supporters into a frenzy over the idea of building a border wall, Mr. Trump finds himself in a political box of his own making.”
New York Times

“A recent poll by Reuters/Ipsos found that only a quarter of all Americans support the shutdown. Only 35 percent said they favored including money for the wall in a spending bill… About 800,000 federal employees, and the citizens who depend on them, are being hurt for an empty political stunt.”
New York Times

“Current White House aides acknowledge privately that a wall will not adequately address the record surge of immigrant families at the border — most of whom surrender to authorities in hopes of winning asylum protections… [But] with both sides entrenched, there has been little bipartisan urgency to examine the relatively narrow set of legal and administrative changes that could potentially make a difference in slowing illegal migration or improving conditions for families who arrive at the border.”
Washington Post

There's actually a bipartisan deal within reach -- something like the Dreamers-for-border-security proposal that failed narrowly in the Senate last February… people want a functioning legal immigration system, smarter security at ports of entry and along the border, and the opportunity for undocumented men and women who are already in the country and contributing to attain citizenship… The seeds of a solution are planted. Mr. President, it's time to make a deal.”

The government shutdown is already making us more insecure… there has been an increase in TSA employees calling in sick to work since the shutdown started… TSA agents who do show up to work [may be] stretched thin if they have to work extra shifts to account for colleagues who have to miss work, which means that the odds of detecting a threat may decrease. This is a clarion call to our enemies to take advantage of understaffing and to try to exploit any gaps in our security posture.”

Moreover, in a prolonged shutdown, “food stamps, housing assistance, and tax refunds are all at risk… some 38 million families who rely on SNAP could go entirely without assistance [in February]… rental assistance payments could cease… the people who stand to lose the most are America’s poorest families who rely on government assistance to get by.”
Rolling Stone

Finally, some note that “the world’s confidence in the U.S. government — and by extension, the U.S. economy — depends on seeing the American polity as basically functional

"In the Trump era, it’s becoming commonplace to assume that the economic fundamentals that make the U.S. attractive for investment will remain unaffected by our political dysfunction. That’s a mistake that confuses short-term predictions with the long-term institutional structures being damaged… a long-term shutdown will be costly — not today or tomorrow, but soon, and for the rest of our lives.”

From the Right

The right supports Trump and is accusing Democrats of hypocrisy.

From the Right

The right supports Trump and is accusing Democrats of hypocrisy.

“Triggered as always by Trump, and growing more dovish on immigration almost by the hour, Democrats are treating the notion of a wall as practically a human-rights abuse. President Barack Obama routinely droned people without generating as much high dudgeon as Trump does asking for $5 billion to better fortify our southern border…

“A wall or fencing is relatively mild as far as immigration enforcement goes. It doesn’t involve deporting anyone. It doesn’t separate families. It doesn’t prosecute and detain anyone. It doesn’t deny any illegal immigrant currently working in the United States a job. All it does is seek to avoid getting in a situation where these other things are necessary in the first place.”
National Review

“Democrats have no good reason to oppose the president’s border security plan. Just a few years ago, every Democrat in a Democrat-controlled Senate voted in support of $40 billion for border security, more agents at the border, and a border fence with Mexico doubled in size. Many Democrats, including Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., previously also voted for legislation to build hundreds of miles of border fencing…

“Moreover, in the places where a wall or fence has already been built, illegal immigration has dramatically decreased. In Yuma, Ariz., for instance, a wall built in 2005 cut illegal crossings by 95 percent over nine years. In Tucson, Ariz., illegal traffic fell 90 percent over 15 years. In El Paso, Tex., a barrier built in 1993 cut illegal traffic by 95 percent over 22 years. Walls work – and Democrats know it."
Fox News

“The federal government is expected to spend $4,400 billion in the 12 months up to October 1. The $4 billion dispute over extra wall funding comprises just one penny for every $10 in federal spending during 2019.”

“The fight over this measly $5 billion is yet another illustration of the country’s obsession with refighting the 2016 presidential election… Usually, when the two sides are fighting over meaningful differences in the federal budget, they can find some place in the middle, with the final figure based on whose votes are the most necessary. But this fight isn’t like that at all. The real question is, Who is going to suffer a symbolic defeat to restart the 25 percent of the government that is currently shuttered?”
National Review

Some posit that “Trump probably has more flexibility than Nancy Pelosi. The president can compromise somewhat on the wall — e.g, on the amount of money allocated for it and, relatedly, the form of the structure itself… Pelosi may be more constrained by the raucous members of her caucus. They may demand that she hold firm to her ‘hell no’ position… this should provide him with an important advantage in the upcoming public relations battle over the partial shutdown.”
Power Line Blog

Others suggest that “if Trump really wants his money for a border barrier, then an appropriate compromise should involve something Democrats have long demanded… A swap of a DACA statute in exchange for a paltry $5 billion in border funding would be a perfectly appropriate compromise for both parties.”
Washington Examiner

“NBC and MSNBC embraced Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts in the first debate of Democratic presidential candidates Wednesday night, treating her like the star of the show. The debate led off with Warren, who had a huge popularity advantage from the start… NBC anchor Savannah Guthrie started it off sounding more like Warren’s press secretary. ‘You have many plans – free college, free child care, government health care, cancelation of student debt, new taxes, new regulations, the breakup of major corporations,’ Guthrie said, before teeing up an economy question. Guthrie even used Warren’s plan to break up tech companies as the foundation for a question for Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey… the round-robin final comments also ended with Warren, as Maddow asked her for the ‘final, final statement.’ That let NBC bookend the entire debate with Warren and Warren.”
Dan Gainor, Fox News

President Trump should be happy. As much as Warren is articulate, obviously intelligent, and energetically supported by Democrats, she would also be far easier to defeat than Joe Biden… Considering Trump's economy, the president is well placed to defeat Warren.”
Tom Rogan, Washington Examiner

A libertarian's take

“Why did Modi pick this moment to do something so radical? Violence in Kashmir had been trending downwards for the last year, after all. The main reason, besides President Donald Trump's alarming offer to mediate a settlement, is that he wanted a distraction from India's mounting economic woes. India's GDP growth dropped from over 8 percent to 5.8 percent over the last year, and it is widely expected to dip further. Just as ominous has been the crash in consumer demand. India's usual problem has been an insufficient supply to meet its voracious appetite for vehicles, cell phones, and other similar goods. But sales figures for all consumer goods have posted a precipitous decline, slamming businesses that are dramatically scaling back investments.”
Shikha Dalmia, Reason

On the bright side...

Pet rabbit befriends chicken that was intended to be cooked.
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