In our Liberty Update this week, we highlight the latest illegal leak of thousands of supposedly confidential…
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ProPublica/IRS Leak: There's No Underlying "There" There

In our Liberty Update this week, we highlight the latest illegal leak of thousands of supposedly confidential Internal Revenue Service (IRS) taxpayer returns spanning over 15 years, confirming that the partisan and power-hungry IRS simply cannot be trusted to safeguard our sensitive records, let alone to begin collecting sensitive private information from nonprofit organizations on donors who contribute to them in violation of the First Amendment.

Getting to the substance of the ProPublica/IRS leaked documents themselves, former Senator Phil Gramm and U.S. Policy Metrics partner Mike Solon explain in The Wall Street Journal how there's nothing scandalous in the least in what they reveal:

ProPublica’s 'blockbuster' story showing that the wealthy 'pay income taxes that are only…[more]

June 18, 2021 • 04:40 PM

Liberty Update

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Troubling Signs Portend a Biden Economic Bust Print
By Timothy H. Lee
Thursday, June 10 2021
Accordingly, the U.S. economy isn’t just falling short of Biden Administration promises of monthly job growth that its spending plan would achieve, it’s falling below what would’ve occurred if they’d done nothing.

What’s wrong with this emerging picture?  

Just five months ago, Joe Biden inherited a turbocharging economy, months of record monthly job growth numbers and a vaccination program that was already conquering the Covid pandemic.  Biden himself was vaccinated before he took office.  

In the short period since his inauguration, however, Biden’s bumbling plan to spend, tax and regulate our economy to even higher speeds instead appears to be slowing it down.  It must perplex him that he could pour trillions of additional dollars into an accelerating economy and only manage to subdue it.  

Biden campaigned on the slogan “Build Back Better,” but a more accurate slogan might be “Budding Biden Bust.”  

That unsettling reality took clearer form this month when the Labor Department announced that payrolls fell well short of expectations for the second consecutive month.  As recently as March, the economy added 785,000 new jobs, but April came in nearly 1 million short of expectations at 278,000, followed by 559,000 in May, approximately 100,000 below expectations.  

With the U.S. population approaching widescale immunity and government lockdowns ending, we should instead be witnessing acceleration, not consecutive months of malaise.  

In equally troubling news, the labor force contracted by 53,000 in May, with the labor force participation rate falling to 61.6%.  

That simply shouldn’t be happening right now.  This week, the number of available jobs increased by 1 million to 9.3 million.  That number not only exceeds pre-pandemic numbers, it’s the highest number of job openings ever recorded.  

Meanwhile, the National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB) reported that half of all small businesses cannot fill job vacancies, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce found that 91% of surveyed companies report that the shortage of job applicants is slowing the economy in their areas.  

All of this constitutes a slowdown from just a few months ago, as Deutsche Bank chief U.S. economist Matthew Luzzetti notes:  

It is disappointing relative to where we were just a few months ago, where we were anticipating you could see a million-plus type prints over these coming months.  We have had to ratchet down our expectations about what job gains are likely to be going forward.  

So we’re experiencing a record number of job openings, and weekly unemployment claims continue to fall toward pre-pandemic levels, yet people simply aren’t taking jobs.  What gives?  

The Biden Administration and its apologists rationalize that potential workers remain concerned about contracting coronavirus, but that doesn’t withstand even passing scrutiny.  Any adult seeking vaccination has been able to get one for months now, and infections continue to plummet.  This week, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reported consecutive days without a single Covid death in California, the nation’s most populous state.  

The Biden Administration also falsely claims that he inherited an economy in a “tailspin,” attempting to portray these disappointing numbers as an improvement over what came before he arrived with his tax-spend-regulate agenda.  But the verifiable numbers refute that claim.  After contracting by 31.4% between April and June of last year, the U.S. economy grew by a record 33.4% in the third quarter of 2020, followed by 4.3% growth in the fourth quarter and 6.4% growth in the first quarter of this year, before any of Biden’s agenda took effect.  

Similarly, the U.S. economy added an average of 1.4 million jobs each month between May 2020 and Biden’s inauguration, but as highlighted above we’ve now entered a dramatic and disappointing slowdown.  

The simple fact is that Biden inherited a rapidly growing economy, not one in a “tailspin.”  

A better explanation for these early signs of economic malaise is the Biden-Pelosi-Schumer agenda itself, including an unnecessary $2 trillion “stimulus” bill even as the economy achieved escape velocity, and an additional $300 every week in unemployment benefits that meant many Americans receive more in unemployment than they’d earn by taking an available job.  

Just as damning are the Biden Administration’s own job projections while selling its wasteful spending plan, as American Enterprise Institute (AEI) economist Matt Weidinger explains:  

On February 1, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projected that even without further legislation an average of 521,000 jobs per month would be created between the fourth quarters of 2020 and 2021.  Those 6 million jobs would result from the continued recovery from the pandemic as well as the significant bipartisan stimulus enacted in December 2020.  White House economists on February 3 cited an analysis by Moody’s Analytics that projected the American Rescue Plan would create an additional “4 million jobs in 2021” compared with that “baseline without additional fiscal stimulus” described by CBO.  Viewed from February, that would have required the economy to produce over 900,000 jobs per month for the rest of this year.  But if the economy is not even creating the jobs forecast without the American Rescue Plan, it is nowhere near producing even the first of the additional four million jobs supporters suggested that legislation would create.  

Accordingly, the U.S. economy isn’t just falling short of Biden Administration promises of monthly job growth that its spending plan would achieve, it’s falling below what would’ve occurred if they’d done nothing.  

Meanwhile, the Biden-Pelosi-Schumer spending blowout is also producing disturbing early signs of inflation.  We’re now witnessing commodity price increases unseen in years, and consumer prices increased at an annualized rate of over 6% in the first four months of this year.  

It is frequently said that those who fail to learn from history are bound to repeat it.  Without a course correction soon, the Biden Administration appears in early danger of bringing back not only the unprecedented economic and jobs stagnation of the Obama years, but also the inflation of the Carter malaise.   

Quiz Question   
What was the highest year-over-year inflation rate since the consumer price index has been used to calculate it?
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Notable Quote   
 
"For the past year, liberals unleashed on the nation an avalanche of ideological nonsense, coupled with brutal pressure to conform. Those who bucked the party line found themselves canceled and unpersoned and had their opinions subjected to mockery and claims of delusion and 'anti-science' prejudices.Until now. Because the tide is turning. And sometimes the break from the party line comes from surprising…[more]
 
 
—Glenn Harlan Reynolds, InstaPundit.com Founder and Univ. of Tennessee Professor of Law
— Glenn Harlan Reynolds, InstaPundit.com Founder and Univ. of Tennessee Professor of Law
 
Liberty Poll   

Are your local schools currently facing open debate with parents regarding the introduction of radical leftist ideological positions into the curricula?