Arizona boasts such varied topography that one could literally get lost looking for someplace that isn’t a national park. The choices are infinite, whether you want to camp, hike, ski, or go rafting. However, if you want something a little more cosmopolitan—if you’re a foodie, for example—once you leave Maricopa County it is pretty much a desert out there. Winslow lies some 30 miles off Route 66. (Johnnie Laws/Shutterstock) That’s why you have to thank John Sharpe. The well-known chef, who ran such Southern California restaurants as Bistro 201 in Laguna Beach, decamped from the hustle and bustle of The OC and ended up in the small town of Winslow, taking over the Turquoise Room at the historic La Posada hotel. La Posada in Winslow, Ariz., which opened in 1930, was designed by renowned architect Mary Colter for its first owner, Fred Harvey. (Courtesy of Jim Farber) Entrance to La Posada. (Courtesy of the Turquoise Room) La Posada’s courtyard in bloom. (Courtesy of the Turquoise Room) Diners at the Turquoise Room. (Courtesy of the Turquoise Room) Since opening the Turquoise Room Restaurant and Martini Lounge in 2000, Sharpe was a James Beard finalist twice, which after a lifetime in the restaurant business he finds ironic. “I don’t even know how they found me,” he told me when I visited him at the Turquoise Room years ago on my first stay-over at the La Posada. One could hip-hop across the Phoenix metro, from Gilbert to Glendale from Mesa to Scottsdale, and not eat as well as you would at the Turquoise Room, where Sharpe introduced a contemporary Southwest cuisine using local and regional foods as much as possible. The first two nights I stayed at the La Posada Resort, the “week’s specials” on the Turquoise Room menu included Colorado elk medallions with black currant sauce and grilled churro (locally raised) lamb salad, which my wife chose. I went off the special with the grilled chicken breast with sweet corn tamale. Both were exceptional. On my most recent visit, I chose bison ribs while my wife went with lamb once again. But it’s not just the dinners that are tasty. I looked forward with equal anticipation to the breakfasts with its famous homemade muffins. The Killer Vegetable Platter at the Turquoise Room. (Courtesy of the Turquoise Room) I suppose when you drop out of Southern California and look for a special place to ply your trade as a chef, you probably can’t do much better than La Posada. Sharpe recently retired, but the cuisine he was responsible for establishing maintains. The storied hotel on the east-west rail lines of northern Arizona was the last famous railroad hotel to be built in North America. It opened in 1930. Designed by the great Southwest architect Mary Colter for the Fred Harvey Co., the beautiful and grand property missed the heyday of rail travel and suffered a financially troubled history. At one point it was slated to be torn down before being rescued by Allan Affeldt, who has worked hard to restore the hotel to its former grandeur. Sweet Corn Tamale at La Posada’s Turquoise Room. (Courtesy of the Turquoise Room) Despite its troubled history, the hotel has attracted the rich, famous, and powerful to its rooms—and still does. Famous diners have included Presidents Franklin Roosevelt and Harry Truman; aviators Charles Lindbergh and Amelia Earhart; Frank Sinatra; actors such as Douglas Fairbanks, John Wayne, and Diane Keaton; Albert Einstein; and artists and designers including Ed Ruscha and Tom Ford. A notable has stayed in almost every room. On my first visit, my room, No. 204, was once the temporary accommodation of Mary Pickford. On my most recent visit I stayed in the Paul Sorvino room, No. 121. Pecan and Pinyon Pie at the Turquoise Room. (Courtesy of the Turquoise Room) Four people who didn’t seem to stay at the La Posada while passing through Winslow were Glenn Frey, Don Henley, Bernie Leadon, and Randy Meisner. The names might be familiar to rock fans as the original lineup of the Eagles. In 1972 the band had their first big hit record, “Take It Easy,” with these famous lyrics: “Well, I’m standin’ on a corner / in Winslow, Arizona / Such a fine sight to see / it’s a girl, my lord, in a flat-bed Ford / slowin’ down to take a look at me.” You can still stand on a corner in Winslow. About a block from La Posada is one of the most photographed sites in Arizona, the statue of young man with a guitar before a post that reads “Standin’ on the corner.” Behind the statue is a big “Winslow, Arizona,” sign and parked on the street is a red flat-bed Ford. Some people say the statue is of Jackson Browne, who co-wrote the song with Glenn Frey, but who knows? In any case, it doesn’t stop the tourists from getting their picture taken while standin’ on a corner alongside it. I have to admit, I’ve taken that picture many times. It never gets old. When You Go From Phoenix, the easiest route is Interstate 17 north to Flagstaff, then I-40 east to Winslow. A more picturesque route is State Route 87, which runs through Payson to Winslow. La Posada: LaPosada.org The Turquoise Room Restaurant at La Posada: TheTurquoiseRoom.net. Steve Bergsman is a freelance writer. To read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at Creators.com. Copyright 2020 Creators.com
Interviews with dozens of Republicans and Democrats show which issues they care about most PHOENIX—The political landscape appears sharply divided in Arizona, one of the fastest growing states in the country. In interviews with nearly two dozen voters in Maricopa County, which holds more than 4 million residents, support for President Donald Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden appeared neck-and-neck. Arizona voters who lean blue told The Epoch Times their top issues include improving the pandemic response, more accessible health care, improving racial equality, combating climate change, and enacting police reform. Voters who lean red care most about border security, a strong economy, law and order, foreign policy, and a pro-life agenda. In 2016, Trump won the state’s 11 electoral votes by less than 100,000 votes. The latest state government data shows 1,389,960 registered Republican voters in Arizona and 1,293,074 registered Democrats. Arizona has an estimated population of more than 7 million people. A view of Phoenix from Camelback Mountain in Arizona on Oct. 17, 2020. (The Epoch Times) Some voters in Maricopa County, the state’s largest, pointed to Arizona’s long history of voting red as an indication that the political winds won’t stray too far this election, while others say the influx of Californians could turn it blue. In the 17 presidential elections between 1952 and 2016, only one Democratic candidate has won Arizona—Bill Clinton in 1996. Top Concerns Nestled in downtown Phoenix, a restaurant owner, who said she is still undecided, is researching how much each candidate supports small business. Rachel McAuley, owner of Zen Thai Cafe, said the candidates should be supportive of small businesses, especially those that are struggling and may not have good credit. Months ago, a number of local businesses were damaged during protests, and McAuley slept at her restaurant for several nights to protect it from rioters, noting that the police had their hands tied—an extra burden on top of the lockdown restrictions that had already guttered her business. “It’s just so tough right now. There’s just no security,” she told The Epoch Times. Jordyn Robinson (R) and her partner, Cody Hourihan, in downtown Phoenix on Oct. 16, 2020. (The Epoch Times) “I think Arizona is still Republican, but I’m not sure. I think a lot of people moved from California, so it might go a different way.” Californians are increasingly moving to Arizona for a raft of reasons, including the lower cost of living, an economic boom in Arizona, an expanding number of finance and tech positions, and its sunny climate and scenic sights. There are now companies dedicated solely to assisting Californians’ exodus from the state. Kenneth Silvia, who was shopping at the Downtown Phoenix Farmers Market, said his top priority is the economy. “Number two would be foreign affairs, number three would be COVID,” he told The Epoch Times. “We have to be America first—without the United States, the rest of the world fumbles,” he said, adding that “America-first” policies are pivotal, and he will vote for Trump. Silvia said he had no issue with the government’s pandemic response, noting that Trump shut down travel from China as early as he could. “He got criticized for it, but everyone who was criticizing him for not doing enough, were criticizing him for shutting things down,” he said. “You can’t have it both ways.” The president’s efforts in securing the America’s borders hasn’t gone unnoticed, Silvia said, adding that he supports the southern wall and legal immigration. The border wall between Arizona and Mexico is just a couple hours’ drive south from the farmers market. So far, more than 300 miles of new border wall have been constructed. A view of downtown Phoenix on Oct. 17. (The Epoch Times) Silvia said he sees a lot of enthusiasm for Trump in Arizona. On Oct. 12, thousands of Trump supporters took part in a car rally that reportedly stretched for about 30 miles. Many of the vehicles were adorned with giant American flags or “Trump 2020” flags. Of those who said they planned to vote for Biden, Trump’s pandemic response was repeatedly mentioned as being too slow and was usually was the first topic brought up. Many also criticized Trump’s character, saying he needed to show more empathy toward Americans. And many didn’t like the border wall. “I’m not crazy about Trump’s handling of the virus, I think he could have handled it better,” Amanda Opet told The Epoch Times. “He downplayed it, he admitted to downplaying it.” Opet, who was also at the farmers market, said that she especially hates that “masks have become a political thing” and that “other countries wear it without no problem, it’s literally a piece of fabric.” Like others, she said it was hard to tell which way the state was leaning politically. On border security, she said she doesn’t believe “everybody should be able to come in so easily.” At the same time, she said the immigration process takes too long in some cases, noting that it takes years to get citizenship. However, she said the presence of the border wall doesn’t bother her. A couple of voters also told The Epoch Times that they planned to sit out this election because they’re not a fan of either candidate. Red and Blue Multiple couples in downtown Phoenix were themselves on opposing sides of the political spectrum—a microcosm of sorts of the politically divided climate of the state. Jordyn Robinson said she believes Arizona has definitely become more liberal. “I think it’s going to be a blue state this year; we have had so many protests,” she told The Epoch Times. “In downtown, you have Arizona State University, all of these college kids who are getting active and protesting on social media—I think it’s really going to make a turn.” Her partner, Cody Hourihan, had different views. “I don’t think that will happen,” he said, referring to Robinson’s remarks. “I work in the service industry, so I speak to a lot of people and homeowners—the conservatives are still super strong out here.” Hourihan said he often has discussions with his partner, telling her that Biden is past his prime and should throw in the towel. Jeremy Ciaramella, lead pastor at the Phoenix International Christian Church at Arizona State University, in Phoenix on Oct. 16, 2020. (The Epoch Times) Customers await their food as they dine-in at the Horseshoe Cafe on May 1, 2020 in Wickenburg, Arizona. (Christian Petersen/Getty Images) “I think [if you’re] 45 years in politics, your doing something right, you need to stay there,” Robinson replied. On the actual voting process, the pair was also divided. Robinson said she’s voting by early ballot like she does every year. She said she’s more glad to do it this year due to the pandemic. Meanwhile, Hourihan said mail-in voting is potentially a “big problem,” saying that there’s “too much tampering that could be done there” and that potential computer hacking could be dealt with quicker than widespread mail fraud. The issue of voter fraud, which has gained more media attention in recent years, is a highly contentious issue that is largely divided along political-ideological lines. In the past few weeks, mail-in voting mishaps or ballot issues have been reported in a number of states. In another section of the city, Vander Heyden said that she is still undecided, while her husband is voting red. She told The Epoch Times they talk about which direction the state will swing every night at dinner and that they have friends who are both red and blue. Heyden said they often don’t vote the same way and that even among her friends, she is unsure exactly who is voting for whom. “I do a lot of searching before I make a decision,” she said. “The media isn’t telling you the truth. I read three newspapers, and somewhere in the middle is the truth.” Jeremy Ciaramella, the lead pastor at the Phoenix International Christian Church, which has a 45 percent African American membership, told The Epoch Times he has seen both sides of the political debate up close: “I’m hearing both sides very intensely.” “I’m hearing what is considered the left or liberal point of view very loudly,” he said. “Some have also come to me privately with a very conservative point of view and expressed a frustration with the backlash [toward] having a conservative point of view.” “I have a very blended congregation, and this community is also blended. We have to respect each other, understand you each have your own specific beliefs.” State polls paint a similar picture of a politically split Arizona. In one September Washington Post-ABC News poll, Trump was ahead of Biden among likely voters, 49 percent to 48 percent. In a more recent poll by CBS News, Biden leads Trump by 3 points with 50 to 47. But polls have been proven fickle, as 2016 clearly demonstrated.
Americans gathered for a parade along Interstate 17 in Arizona on Saturday to show support for President Donald Trump. “Some attendees told FOX 10 the caravan stretched for more than 30 miles near Peoria with thousands of cars bearing Make America Great Again flags and Trump signs,” the outlet said. The event was also dubbed a Back the Blue rally to
Pelosi: Democrats, White House Moving Closer to Stimulus Deal Pandemic-Fueled Worries Drive Spike in Gun Sales in California: Study Grassley: Congress ‘Can’t Wait’ on Pelosi, White House to Agree on Stimulus Package Tibetan Refugees on Indo-China Border Recall How Chinese Regime Pushed Them Out Grassroots Movement to Reject Chinese Communist Party Gains New Traction Amid Toughening US Stance Sen. Lindsey Graham Confronted at Airport by Women Calling Judge Barrett Racist
President Donald Trump’s supporters chanted “Superman!” on Monday as the president recalled his fight with the coronavirus at a rally in Arizona. The president recalled how he took an antibody treatment developed by Regeneron that helped him recover from the virus. “I woke up the next morning and I was like, I felt like Superman,” Trump said. “Get me out
President Donald Trump challenged the media for failing to report details of the new Hunter Biden stories published by the New York Post. “Your campaign strategy seems to be to call Biden a criminal, why is that?” Reuters reporter Jeff Mason asked President Trump at an airport in Arizona. “He’s a criminal, he got caught. Read his laptop, and you
President Donald Trump will hold a campaign rally in Tucson, Arizona, on Monday. Stay tuned to Breitbart News for live updates. All times Eastern. — 6:53 PM: Trump says Biden wants to “dismantle your police departments” and “dissolve your borders” and “confiscate your guns” and “ban American energy” and “terminate religious liberty.” Trump says they also want to “destroy your
President Donald Trump on Monday ridiculed former Vice President Joe Biden for vanishing from the campaign trail. The president responded to the news that Biden would not do any campaign events until the next presidential debate on Thursday. “You know he’s all shut down again, can you believe it? He’s going lid. You know what lid means. Lid means a
President Donald Trump campaigns in Arizona, reports of ‘ghost’ voters and ballot theft are raising eyebrows about the integrity of the election, and a top White House health advisor has his posts removed from Twitter after he wrote that masks aren’t effective in stopping virus spread.
President Donald Trump spoke out on Monday to blast the “dumb bastards” on CNN, specifically targeting host Chris Cuomo, who he once again referred to as “Fredo.” While speaking to an outdoor audience in Prescott, Arizona, Trump accused CNN of hyping up the coronavirus pandemic in an attempt to depress voting. “You turn on CNN, this is all they cover. COVID,
President Donald Trump and Democrat presidential candidate Joe Biden are statistically tied in Arizona, while the former vice president leads in Wisconsin, a YouGov/CBS News poll released Sunday revealed. The Arizona survey, taken October 13-16 among 1,064 registered voters, asked, “If the 2020 presidential election were being held today between Joe Biden, the Democrat, and Donald Trump, the Republican, who
Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) speaks to the media after the Republican policy luncheon on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., September 22, 2020. (Joshua Roberts/Reuters)The economics and politics of stimulus, taxes everywhere, the tech wars, the deficit, South Sudan, and more. Writing in this space this time seven days ago, I agreed with Mitch McConnell when he said that a coronavirus stimulus package was “unlikely in the next three weeks.” Despite comments yesterday from Treasury Secretary Mnuchin that President Trump will press Senate Republicans to accept a massive coronavirus relief package if a deal (probably of around $2 trillion) with Democrats emerges, my view on the likelihood of a deal has not changed. I don’t think McConnell’s has either. CBS: McConnell said last month that the idea a $2 trillion bill would be considered the a GOP-controlled Senate is “outlandish.” McConnell said that the Senate will vote on its own slimmed-down coronavirus relief proposal later this month. He told reporters in Kentucky on Thursday that “we’re in discussions with the secretary of the Treasury and the speaker about a higher amount,” but said “that’s not what I’m going to put on the floor.” When specifically asked if there could be a compromise within a $2 trillion range, McConnell said “I don’t think so.” “That’s where the administration’s willing to go. My members think what we laid out, a half a trillion dollars, highly targeted, is the best way to go,” McConnell said. I cannot help wondering whether McConnell has read the polls, decided that a Biden victory lies ahead, and is now maneuvering for a post-Trump world. If that is the case, my suspicion is that it will be more uncomfortable than he imagines. I cannot help thinking back to the prediction made by Ted Cruz (also noted in last week’s Capital Letter), which was that Republicans could see “a bloodbath of Watergate proportions” if voters were “angry and broke” when casting their ballots this year. In an editorial over on the home page this week, NR’s editors were not unsympathetic (in fact, the opposite) to the idea of a more carefully targeted relief package, but added: The federal debt remains a long-term concern, it shouldn’t foreclose economic assistance during an unprecedented public-health emergency. No less so because fiscal inaction would, according to Goldman Sachs Research, cut fourth-quarter economic growth in half, reducing long-run tax revenues and exacerbating the debt issue. The protracted economic damage of widespread business closures and high unemployment far outweighs the cost of additional spending, especially at a time of near-zero interest rates…. The COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting economic disruption are far from over. Washington should act like it. So far as economic disruption is concerned, the latest signals have been mixed. As I write (12:45 p.m.), the S&P is (very) slightly down on the week, but up 0.36 percent on the day, encouraged by a strong retail sales number, although, as The Wall Street Journal highlighted, this may have been a catch-up after a disappointing August: The Commerce Department on Friday reported that retail sales rose a seasonally adjusted 1.9% in September from a month earlier, easily besting economists’ expectations for a 0.7% gain. It was also a step up from August’s disappointing 0.6% gain. Among the standouts were department stores, which registered a seasonally adjusted 9.7% gain on the month, the category that includes sporting-goods stores, which rose 5.7%, and clothing stores, with an 11% gain. Department-store and sporting-goods-store sales fell in August, while clothing stores managed a gain. Over on Twitter, Mercatus’ David Beckworth noticed another encouraging data point. Household nominal income growth expectations have picked up sharply (something that might defuse some of that anger that Ted Cruz was worrying about), but then Cato’s George Selgin wondered what assumption (if any) these forecasts made about future stimulus (relief) measures. Good question. Less encouragingly (via The Wall Street Journal): U.S. industrial production fell in September, snapping four months of growth, in another sign of a slowing recovery. The Federal Reserve on Friday said its index of industrial production—a measure of output at factories, mines and utilities—fell a seasonally adjusted 0.6% in September, following an unrevised 0.4% rise in August. Output remains 7.1% below where it was in February, before the pandemic hit, the Fed said. The decline in industrial production shows “a concern that the industrial recovery appears to be stalling with output well below its pre pandemic level,” Andrew Hunter, senior U.S. economist at Capital Economics, wrote in a note to clients. Whatever happened to that “V”? Also from the Journal: The number of Americans filing new applications for unemployment benefits rose last week to the highest level since late August, with fresh layoffs adding to other signs the economic recovery is losing steam as the coronavirus pandemic continues. Claims increased to 898,000 last week, holding well above the pre-pandemic high point of 695,000, the Labor Department reported Thursday. After declining from a peak of near 7 million in March, weekly claims have clocked in between 800,000 and 900,000 for more than a month as companies readjust their head counts. Weekly figures can be volatile, but the four-week moving average for claims rose as well, to 866,250, a sign more workers are losing their jobs. “We’ve seen a number of large firms report layoffs, some of it because the pace of recovery is slower than maybe they had hoped for,” Ms. Bostjancic said. A Wall Street Journal survey found more than half of business and academic economists polled this month said they didn’t expect the labor market to regain all the jobs from the pandemic until 2023 or later. That is a slower timeline than economists predicted six months ago. Not for the first time, I fear for the sanity of some economists. An economy cannot just be switched off and then on just like that. As I’ve mentioned before, the shutdowns in March were, in more senses than one, like the tearing of a spider’s web. An economy, like a spider’s web, is made up of countless intricate connections: It was always going to take time to put right. A long time. The Journal: Multiple factors are converging to hinder the economic recovery. For one, states are lifting restrictions on business activity more slowly than in the early summer and as the rate of new coronavirus infections accelerates. Many types of in-person services—such as travel, live entertainment and indoor dining—are still closed or operating at limited capacity. Many consumers remain cautious about resuming their pre-pandemic spending habits. Economists say the pace of the jobs recovery now depends largely on whether businesses see demand for goods and services pick up. I suspect that something else is at play, something hinted at in the phrase “states are lifting restrictions on business activity more slowly than in the early summer.” Companies deciding whether to hire or invest, and consumers wondering whether to buy, have to contend not only with the fear of a resurgence of the coronavirus, but also the fear of a resurgence of an incompetent government reaction or, quite possibly, overreaction to it. Completing my gloomy reading of the Journal today was this: Emergency pandemic relief doubled the savings of unemployed Americans over the spring and summer, but most of that cushion was depleted by the end of August, new research shows. In a study released Friday, economists at the University of Chicago and JPMorgan Chase Institute looked at how economic-relief measures enacted this year, including an extra $600 a week in jobless benefits and one-time $1,200 payments to most households, affected the savings and spending of unemployed workers. They found that workers who had received benefits pulled back spending moderately in August, after the extra $600 benefit payments expired July 31. In the first month without the extra payments, they also spent about two-thirds of the savings accumulated during the previous four months… The findings may help explain why overall household spending in August was stronger than economists expected, despite a drop in incomes after unemployment checks shrank. They also point to a vulnerability for the U.S. economy in the months ahead: With savings dwindling and no further economic relief in sight, nearly 11 million jobless workers may curb spending even further or fall behind on debt or rent payments. What was that Ted Cruz said about “broke”? Forget everything I have just written. We opened the week on Capital Matters with Alexander William Salter arguing against, well, stimulus: In theory, fiscal policy — that is, spending by Congress designed to give the economy a shot in the arm — can achieve desirable macroeconomic goals, such as lowering unemployment. In practice, however, it rarely works. Effective fiscal policy, as economists say, should be ‘timely, targeted, and temporary.’ Unfortunately, we have no reason to expect any of these conditions to hold, given the dysfunction in both Congress and the White House. Economic indicators suggest businesses and households have weathered lockdowns, and GDP growth has picked up. The timeline of negotiations means that assistance would be delivered early next year, past the point of timeliness… There are two additional problems with fiscal stimulus. First, it usually reshuffles resources rather than putting idle ones to work. As Thomas Hogan, a researcher at the American Institute for Economic Research and former chief economist for the Senate Banking Committee, writes, “Targeted fiscal policies benefit particular groups of citizens, such as the relief programs for out-of-work Americans. But such policies require Congress to decide who receives funds and who does not, which is less efficient than distributing funds through monetary policy and the financial system.” Hogan concludes that “Fiscal policy is not effective at influencing aggregate demand. It is not an effective complement to monetary policy by the Fed.” Second, fiscal expansion makes our dire deficit situation even worse. The CBO projects a record $3.3 trillion deficit for 2020. Ineffective policy is bad enough. But ineffective and expensive policy is simply intolerable. And as for the Fed chairman calling for more fiscal stimulus, let’s just say that Salter is not impressed. On the other hand, on Friday Robert VerBruggen looked at the Chase data on the supplementary federal relief (the $600 top-up and so on) that I mentioned above and concluded: One takeaway is that it might not have been such a bad thing for Congress to pause the boost for a while, given how generous the boost was and how much was saved — though of course that doesn’t help people who lost their jobs after the expiration. The other, though, is that the accumulated savings are probably gone by now, and the economy is far from fully recovered, with an unemployment rate of about 8 percent in September. Congress really should get its act together and pass another, smaller round of stimulus to get us through this (hopefully) last stretch of turmoil. Hopefully . . . I returned to the topic of Sweden’s handling of COVID-19, noting forecasts that economically it may outperform its Nordic neighbors both this year and next. I also noted some research published in the British Medical Journal: Abstract Objective: To replicate and analyse the information available to UK policymakers when the lockdown decision was taken in March 2020 in the United Kingdom… The model predicted that school closures and isolation of younger people would increase the total number of deaths, albeit postponed to a second and subsequent waves. The findings of this study suggest that prompt interventions were shown to be highly effective at reducing peak demand for intensive care unit (ICU) beds but also prolong the epidemic, in some cases resulting in more deaths long term… Oh. As one of my colleagues observed this morning, it may well be that in ten or twenty years we won’t be studying COVID-19 so much as the response to it. Advertisement Advertisement Sadly, the late Charles Mackay, author of Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds (1841), will not be around to give us his thoughts, but I think it is fair to say that he would have been unimpressed — and unsurprised. Joseph Sullivan, our chart guy, checked out the Biden-Harris tax plan and: No one can doubt that Joe Biden plans to raise taxes on households earning over $400,000. The question is how the Biden-Harris tax plan, if implemented, would affect households earning less than $400,000. On cue, during last Wednesday’s debate, Senator Harris and Vice President Pence sparred over the subject. The answer? Most households would face a tax increase under the Biden-Harris tax plan. In fact, as the chart shows, unless your household income is less than $45,600, there is more than a 90 percent chance that the Biden-Harris plan, if enacted, will raise your taxes. In the exact middle of the household income distribution, over 95 percent of households can expect a tax increase if the Biden-Harris plan becomes law. Overall, 82.6 percent of American households can expect a tax increase. These estimates come from the Penn Wharton Budget Model at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business, not exactly a friend of President Trump’s economic agenda. Michael Strain wasn’t too enthusiastic about the Biden tax plans either: A top priority of the Biden White House would be to raise taxes on high-income Americans and corporations. This is wrong-headed. Hiking taxes while the economy is so weak would set the recovery back by leaving people with less income to spend. And a President Biden would only have so much political capital. His first priority should be to use that capital to advance the recovery by supporting the economy’s productive capacity. And even in a strong economy, the corporate tax rate should not be increased. And I looked at plans to increase taxes in Illinois: Rather surprisingly, Illinois’s state income tax is a flat tax, charged at 4.95 percent. That may change if a ballot measure for November proposed by the state’s Democratic governor, J. B. Pritzker (a billionaire from the Hyatt hotel dynasty), and backed by the Democratic legislature, is approved. The measure would replace the flat rate with a “progressive” structure topping out at 7.99 percent, the so-called “Fair Tax.” There will be a new lower rate of 4.75 percent, but observed the Wall Street Journal, “taxpayers in that range can expect savings barely enough for an order of deep-dish pizza.” Flat taxes are, in my view, a good thing . . . And then I turned my attention to Arizona: Arizona! California, to be expected, Illinois too, but Arizona? It’s a measure, perhaps, of that state’s changing politics that it may soon be seeing an increase in income tax — and not a small one. Writing before Twitter took what CEO Jack Dorsey later described as “unacceptable” and “wrong” actions with respect to the New York Post’s story on Hunter Biden, Iain Murray worried that Republicans were in danger of joining Democrats in getting it wrong on high-tech: Before the highly publicized release last week of a report on “Big Tech” by the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Antitrust, a draft minority response was leaked to Politico. It represents an attempt to square a circle — agreeing with the majority-staff report that Big Tech is an antitrust problem, but rejecting most of its big-government solutions. However, even that rebuttal concedes far too many points. Conservatives should be wary of letting their anger with Silicon Valley’s liberal leanings lead them to compromise on principle. To begin with, it is significant that ranking member Representative Jim Sensenbrenner did not author the draft response. Sensenbrenner said during the recent Big Tech hearings that he is unconvinced any changes to antitrust laws are necessary and that existing antitrust laws are sufficient to deal with any problems that regulators might find. He is right on this, and conservatives should do what conservatives are supposed to do best — follow tradition. Good advice, and whatever mess Twitter may have made, it still holds true. Twitter was forced to retreat within a day. Would that have occurred if government had either made the sort of “mistakes” that Twitter made or compelled Twitter to block the material in question? The question answers itself. Taking a step back Robert VerBruggen surveyed five lines of attack that big tech is facing: As Big Tech’s power grew, pushback became inevitable. And in recent weeks, no fewer than five different assaults on the industry’s largest players have burst into the news cycle. Three different legal campaigns are underway, legislators are proposing changes that would make such suits easier in the future, and a Supreme Court justice thinks the judiciary has given tech companies more leeway than current law requires. There are several philosophies as to how the government should treat these matters. Libertarians prefer a hands-off approach, relying on the market to discipline business. Populists left and right prefer more aggressive tactics, such as breaking up big companies so they don’t have the power to bully their competitors. Those in the middle, such as yours truly and some Republican politicians, balk at breakups but wouldn’t mind stronger rules to stop the worst anti-competitive practices. There’s no telling where we’ll end up. But all five of these efforts, in one way or another, aim to knock tech giants off their pedestals. In Thursday’s Capital Note I added a sixth assault — and one that is already well under way — from the EU. Confronted by the reality of its failure to create the most competitive and dynamic knowledge-based economy in the world™ by 2010 (a year, ironically, in which the consequences of another of the EU’s adventures in central planning — the euro — had become all too visible), those leading the EU and some of its member states turned their hands to something at which they were better suited — destruction, rather than creation. Specifically, they increasingly began turning their attention to ways in which they could hobble the high-tech giants that the U.S. kept producing. Most notoriously, they weaponized antitrust, a technique taken to absurd extremes by Margrethe Vestager, the EU’s competition chief, who argued that Ireland’s tax policy was too competitive (it was too favorable to Apple, you see). Even though the Irish government argued that it should not have the money, Vestager’s department attempted to insist that Dublin hit Apple with a retrospective tax bill of $15 billion. This, as I noted back in July, was too much even for the usually docile European Court of Justice. It ruled that the Commission had failed to prove that Apple had received illegal state aid from Ireland through favorable tax agreements. Meanwhile, in addition to serving a second term as the competition commissioner Vestager has a new role. She is the Executive Vice President of the European Commission for A Europe Fit for the Digital Age, a pompous title, but don’t laugh too hard. When it’s awarded to a protectionist, that doesn’t bode well for American tech companies. Although Silicon Valley is not covering itself in glory at the moment, those American politicians dreaming of tearing big tech apart should think long and hard about effectively aligning themselves with a European political class motivated not only by anti-American animus, but also by an unwillingness to accept why their failure to prepare the way for high tech champions was always doomed to fail in an EU in love with planning and hostile to free enterprise. On Friday Andrew Wilford took on claims that the tech giants are monopolies: In the wake of a recent House hearing on tech and antitrust, the Democratic majority released a report that called for a dramatic antitrust action against alleged tech monopolies. If this report focused on any other area of the economy, conservatives would be denouncing it as a dangerous and unwarranted intervention in the economy. But because many conservatives have grievances of their own against big tech companies, this dangerous proposal has largely flown under the radar. The idea that tech companies have a monopoly on their respective industries is at the core of the House report’s recommendations, but it’s not confined to House Democrats alone. More than half of Americans support breaking up tech companies that have “too much power,” despite generally positive opinions of individual tech companies. But the idea that tech companies have too much power generally comes from a misunderstanding of what their markets really are. After all, Facebook and Twitter are the major players when it comes to social media, but “social media” is not Facebook or Twitter’s market. Their markets are online advertising. “Social media” doesn’t make these companies money. What is profitable is the attention that they can command, which makes advertising on the platforms valuable. That means that Facebook and Twitter are competing online not just with other social-media companies, but also with news outlets, blogs, job-search sites — any content that commands eyeballs, whether online, print, or video. Only by using deceptive market definitions can one claim that companies such as Amazon and Apple have monopoly status. Jerry Bowyer wrote in support of a proposed rule from the Department of Labor: In September, the Department of Labor proposed a rule that seeks to reaffirm the principle that pension plans’ main focus should be the financial well-being of their beneficiaries, and asked for comments from interested parties. This rule aims to undo an Obama-era rule that was widely interpreted as compelling fiduciaries to vote proxies (see DOL quote below). The new rule would change that by focusing fiduciaries only on proxies that are materially relevant to the investment outcomes for those invested in the plans. James Glassman took aim at a recent executive order on drug pricing: In a pre-election frenzy, the Trump administration has issued a raft of executive orders on drug pricing. One is particularly dangerous: It would deter future development of live-saving medicines such as the treatments President Trump received for COVID-19. The order, issued on September 13, would set strict price controls on drugs for America’s 60 million Medicare beneficiaries. Pharmaceutical companies would be required to charge the lowest they charge to any other developed country. The White House has proposed similar policies before, but the new order is more expansive, affecting both Part B (drugs administered by physicians) and Part D (pharmacy prescriptions) — and it would push mandated prices even lower… There are better ways than price controls to cut out-of-pocket costs for seniors. By making it easier to bring generics to market, the White House has already increased competition and helped hold down prices. CVS Health, the largest pharmaceutical benefit manager, reported that for 2019, drug prices fell 0.1 percent and even prices of the most innovative specialty drugs rose just 1.6 percent. More can be done. What about a ceiling on out-of-pocket Part D Medicare expenditures? Or caps on monthly spending, as some states have already enacted? Or reform of the corrupt rebate system? Or an expansion of co-pay coupons to Medicare, where they’re now banned? These changes are relatively easy, and, contrary to index pricing, they improve Americans’ health rather than endangering it. Douglas Carr warned that the deficit bill is already being paid: “Who the hell cares about the budget” — Donald Trump. “Debt is money we owe to ourselves.” — Paul Krugman. “Future generations will pay the price for runaway national debt.” — Heritage Foundation. The president may be right that no one cares about the budget, but the ballooning federal deficit contributes to a ballooning trade deficit he has failed to close. The liberal economist is factually wrong; increasingly we owe the national debt to foreigners, but, more important, the deficit is coming out of the hides of U.S. manufacturing workers Krugman ostensibly supports. The conservative think tank is right that younger generations will pay for the deficit in the future, but they also are paying dearly for it now. The common presumption that the federal deficit doesn’t matter is entirely wrong. The deficit bill is being paid now in lower investment, slower growth, and vaporization of above-average middle-class jobs. But at least we are not (yet) South Sudan. As Steve Hanke makes clear, that’s just as well: In July 2011, South Sudan was carved out of the former Sudan. Since then, it has been engulfed in corruption and instability. Now, it is facing yet another severe currency crisis and economic collapse. Indeed, surging prices have forced shops across South Sudan to close their doors. In the face of skyrocketing prices, customers have gone on strike. The central bank’s most recent official inflation release, way back in April, put South Sudan’s annual inflation rate at 37.2 percent. But, since then, things have deteriorated. My measurement for South Sudan’s inflation employs purchasing power parity theory (PPP) and the use of high-frequency, foreign-exchange-rate data. This allows me to measure inflation rates for countries with elevated rates of inflation very accurately each and every day. Today, by my measure, South Sudan’s inflation rate is 54 percent per year. South Sudan could have easily avoided this punishing inflation. On the first day of South Sudan’s formal existence, renowned currency expert Warren Coats, my good friend and colleague at the Johns Hopkins Institute for Applied Economics, Global Health, and the Study of Business Enterprise, was in residence in Juba, South Sudan’s capital city. He was operating as a consultant to the Bank of South Sudan. At that time, Warren and I were both advocating for a South Sudanese currency board. This would have made the South Sudanese currency a clone of the U.S. dollar, which would have not only ensured currency stability, but would also have guaranteed low inflation. For those unaware of what currency boards are, don’t worry, Steve explains. And they are well worth learning about: For over 170 years, currency boards have had a perfect record. In total, there have been over 70 — none have failed. Even the North Russian currency board, which was designed by John Maynard Keynes in 1918 during the Russian Civil War, never faltered. It would have been no different in South Sudan. Indeed, Sudan had a currency board from 1957 to 1960, and it worked perfectly. North Russia, South Sudan: Two opportunities missed. Finally, we produced the Capital Note (our “daily” — well, Monday-Thursday, anyway). Apart from the EU’s sour grapes over American high tech, subjects covered included “stakeholder capitalism”, the renminbi, the economics of vending machines, Finland’s opposition to an EU industrial policy, lessons from the Spanish Flu, interest rates at four thousand year lows, the EU’s green new deal, Isaac Newton and the coinage, Edmond “comet” Halley as the father of life insurance, the volatility boost to bank profits, ESG (again), a defense of the financial media, why studying economics will make you rich, China bulls, the Washington Consensus, China’s COVID export surge (no, not that one) and the end of ‘risk-free’ assets. Advertisement To sign up for The Capital Letter, follow this link.
President Donald Trump keeps a slim lead over Liberal presidential candidate Joe Biden within battleground Arizona among likely voters, a Targoz Market Research/PollSmart study released Thursday found. The survey, fielded September twenty three to October 2 among one, 045 likely voters, showed Trump narrowly leading Biden in the Great Canyon State by
Imagine if President Trump, Vice President Pence, or pretty much any major figure in the Trump administration was supposed to show up at a campaign event anywhere in the United States. Depending on who it was, somewhere between a few hundreds to a few thousand people would show up, even if they knew the couldn’t attend the actual event. I’m not talking about a rally. Those are normally packed. But just an appearance by the President anywhere would draw a huge crowd even if only in hopes of an opportunity to wave at him passing by. But the same cannot be said about Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, as we learned this week in Yuma, Arizona. Nobody showed up. That’s not hyperbole. There weren’t hundreds or dozens or even a few supporters there. They had literally ZERO fans come out for their first official joint campaign event. The Biden campaign told NewsNow from Fox that they didn’t publicize the time or location of the event. But this was a bald-faced lie. All local news channels announced the event the day before, and it’s likely local newspapers did as well. The passion simply isn’t there. How do we reconcile this with the mainstream media narrative that Biden is beating President Trump in the polls. The answer is simple. We debunk the narrative because it’s false. What the vast majority of Americans do not realize is that polls are biased. All of them. They are almost never done with a properly diverse range of voters. The questions are invariably tilted in one direction or another. And perhaps the most important reason polls are skewed is because “shy” Trump voters have been shown to claim they’re voting for Biden. There’s a more nefarious reason the inflated narrative about Biden’s popularity is being promoted so heavily. As we all know, most in mainstream media want him to win. There are two psychological effects on voters based on polls. First, human nature makes many side with the winning team. They like to be associated with winners, so those on the fence may be compelled to support Biden without even realizing why. The second reason this narrative is being pushed is to suspend disbelief in Trump supporters. We look around. We talk to our friends and relatives. We see images like the one above and contrast it against images from Trump campaign visits. All signs point to a Trump victory, yet the polls tell us otherwise. This is meant to make us doubt our resolve and lose our passion to keep fighting. But this is also a mistake, the same one they made in 2016. For most patriots, we see this as a reason to harden our determination to bring victory to President Trump, the GOP, and America. There has never been a more important election in any of our lifetimes. Both sides feel this way and are putting everything into helping their ticket win. Conservatives recognize the dangers a Biden-Harris presidency represents, so we’re doing everything we can to spread the truth. Leftists deny their own prosperity before the COVID-19 lockdowns and refuse to see the progress we’ve made in recent months. They’ve allowed their Trump Derangement Syndrome to supersede logic while suppressing their doubts in the efficacy of a Biden-Harris administration. But suppressing doubts does not equate to enthusiasm. That’s why images and videos like these exist, and why nobody in mainstream media is willing to talk about it. Literally no one showed up. #BidenHarris2020 https://t.co/RGsVPkqxNU — David Dudenhoefer #ReplaceRashida Tlaib (@Dude4Liberty) October 11, 2020 Even knowing the truth, we cannot assume that everyone else knows it. We have to continue to press the issue on packing the courts, Russiagate, Hunter Biden’s crimes in Ukraine, Kamala Harris’ radical progressivism, and Joe Biden’s fading mental acuity. Mainstream media may be a joke to many of us, but their reach is still strong. Big Tech is fighting the truth as well, which is why stories like these must be shared far and wide. It is incumbent on patriots to keep fighting the good fight for President Trump on behalf of this nation. Everything political is at stake right now. We cannot let the left and mainstream media hide the truth. COVID-19 may take down an independent news outlet Nobody said running a media site would be easy. We could use some help keeping this site afloat. Colleagues have called me the worst fundraiser ever. My skills are squarely rooted on the journalistic side of running a news outlet. Paying the bills has never been my forte, but we’ve survived. We have ads on the site that help, but since the site’s inception this has been a labor of love that otherwise doesn’t bring in the level of revenue necessary to justify it. When I left a nice, corporate career in 2017, I did so knowing I wouldn’t make nearly as much money. But what we do at NOQ Report to deliver the truth and fight the progressive mainstream media narrative that has plagued this nation is too important for me to sacrifice it for the sake of wealth. We know we’ll never make a ton of money this way, and we’re okay with that. Things have become harder with the coronavirus lockdowns. Both ad money and donations that have kept us afloat for a while have dropped dramatically. We thought we could weather the storm, but the so-called “surge” or “2nd-wave” that mainstream media and Democrats are pushing has put our prospects in jeopardy. In short, we are now in desperate need of financial assistance. The best way NOQ Report readers can help is to donate. Our Giving Fuel page makes it easy to donate one-time or monthly. Alternatively, you can donate through PayPal as well. We need approximately $11,500 to stay afloat for the rest of 2020, but more would be wonderful and any amount that brings us closer to our goal is greatly appreciated. The second way to help is to become a partner. We’ve strongly considered seeking angel investors in the past but because we were paying the bills, it didn’t seem necessary. Now, we’re struggling to pay the bills. This shouldn’t be the case as our traffic the last year has been going up dramatically. June, 2018, we had 11,678 visitors. A year later in June, 2019, we were up to 116,194. In June, 2020, we had 614,192. We’re heading in the right direction and we believe we’re ready talk to patriotic investors who want to not only “get in on the action” but more importantly who want to help America hear the truth. Interested investors should contact me directly with the contact button above. Election year or not, coronavirus lockdowns or not, anarchic riots or not, the need for truthful journalism endures. But in these times, we need as many conservative media voices as possible. Please help keep NOQ Report going. American Conservative Movement Join fellow patriots as we form a grassroots movement to advance the cause of conservatism. The coronavirus crisis has prompted many, even some conservatives, to promote authoritarianism. It’s understandable to some extent now, but it must not be allowed to embed itself in American life. We currently have 8000+ patriots with us in a very short time. If you are interested, please join us to receive updates.
Mainstream media, Democrats, and anyone else living in fear of the coronavirus often say something to the rest of us that is meant to shame us. “Listen to the science,” they say, as if we’re neanderthals walking around mouth-breathing our way to extinction. But there’s a problem with their narrative. Sweden. If we are truly to listen to the science, then we cannot ignore the lesson that nobody else seems to be learning from the Swedish model for handling COVID-19. In essence, they did nothing different. Business as usual. Sure, they restricted large gatherings, but there were no face mask mandates, no businesses shut down, no schools closed. Instead, they fought the disease the way that it was always intended to be fought, with our God-given immune systems and common sense precautions. They didn’t do everything perfectly; Sweden’s death count spiked in mid-April because they left their elderly too exposed to the disease. COVID-19 has an exponentially more damaging effect on the elderly than it does on young people, including children. Especially children. Nevertheless, they have flattened their curve to almost nothing. There has been one COVID-19 related death in the last five days. One. And both their infections and deaths have been in a steady state of flattening since April, unlike literally every other nation in the world that experienced second and third waves. Their trend line has been consistently pointed downward for five months. We know that Sweden didn’t do it perfectly because of those high death numbers in April and into May. Granted, they’re still lower than New Jersey which has fewer people and some of the harshest coronavirus lockdown mandates in the world, but it’s clear Sweden’s lack of attention for the elderly is the reason they had such high deaths before. We know this because the number of COVID-19 deaths for people under the age of 40 in Sweden is a total of 29. Out of nearly 6,000 total deaths, around a half of a percentage point were people age 0-39. In the latest episode of NOQ Report, I dove into the numbers and did everything within my power to not get too angry about it. Following the bad news that we’re not really listening to science and perpetuating a lockdown based on politics alone, I had some good news. My interview with Josh Barnett, congressional candidate in AZ-07, yielded unexpected fruit as he described how he established a Private Membership Association to sidestep the lockdown for his gym. It’s a fascinating interview and may offer the roadmap for others to open up their businesses as well. Sweden didn’t do everything right, but the fact that they have essentially defeated the coronavirus by doing the exact opposite of the rest of the world demonstrates why the press won’t talk about them anymore. WE need to spread the word. COVID-19 may take down an independent news outlet Nobody said running a media site would be easy. We could use some help keeping this site afloat. Colleagues have called me the worst fundraiser ever. My skills are squarely rooted on the journalistic side of running a news outlet. Paying the bills has never been my forte, but we’ve survived. We have ads on the site that help, but since the site’s inception this has been a labor of love that otherwise doesn’t bring in the level of revenue necessary to justify it. When I left a nice, corporate career in 2017, I did so knowing I wouldn’t make nearly as much money. But what we do at NOQ Report to deliver the truth and fight the progressive mainstream media narrative that has plagued this nation is too important for me to sacrifice it for the sake of wealth. We know we’ll never make a ton of money this way, and we’re okay with that. Things have become harder with the coronavirus lockdowns. Both ad money and donations that have kept us afloat for a while have dropped dramatically. We thought we could weather the storm, but the so-called “surge” or “2nd-wave” that mainstream media and Democrats are pushing has put our prospects in jeopardy. In short, we are now in desperate need of financial assistance. The best way NOQ Report readers can help is to donate. Our Giving Fuel page makes it easy to donate one-time or monthly. Alternatively, you can donate through PayPal as well. We need approximately $11,500 to stay afloat for the rest of 2020, but more would be wonderful and any amount that brings us closer to our goal is greatly appreciated. The second way to help is to become a partner. We’ve strongly considered seeking angel investors in the past but because we were paying the bills, it didn’t seem necessary. Now, we’re struggling to pay the bills. This shouldn’t be the case as our traffic the last year has been going up dramatically. June, 2018, we had 11,678 visitors. A year later in June, 2019, we were up to 116,194. In June, 2020, we had 614,192. We’re heading in the right direction and we believe we’re ready talk to patriotic investors who want to not only “get in on the action” but more importantly who want to help America hear the truth. Interested investors should contact me directly with the contact button above. Election year or not, coronavirus lockdowns or not, anarchic riots or not, the need for truthful journalism endures. But in these times, we need as many conservative media voices as possible. Please help keep NOQ Report going. Check out the NEW NOQ Report Podcast. American Conservative Movement Join fellow patriots as we form a grassroots movement to advance the cause of conservatism. The coronavirus crisis has prompted many, even some conservatives, to promote authoritarianism. It’s understandable to some extent now, but it must not be allowed to embed itself in American life. We currently have 8000+ patriots with us in a very short time. If you are interested, please join us to receive updates.