A Flat Tax to Restore Prosperity

Op Ed by Chris Edwards

The economy is struggling, millions of people are unemployed, and family incomes are stagnant. Meanwhile, American businesses face rising competition in world markets, yet the federal government keeps heaping more piles of taxes and regulations on them. There are a lot of reforms needed in Washington, but scrapping the current tax code is high on the list. The federal income tax system is a disgrace. It's 71,000 pages of complex and anti-competitive rules riddled with special interest giveaways. Our high income tax rates penalize the most productive people in society and encourage businesses to move their investments abroad. These days, car companies can find lower tax rates in Canada and computer chip companies can find lower tax rates in China. That makes no economic sense. America desperately needs tax reform, and the best idea I've seen is a low-rate "flat tax" on individuals and businesses. The academics have  studied the flat tax, and it's been road-tested in more than two dozen countries. A flat tax would make the economy boom-not just as a short-term stimulus, but as a long term way to improve U.S. living standards.


 

What Is a Flat Tax?               

A flat tax generally means a tax on individuals with a single statutory rate. The flat tax concept also embodies the ideas that special tax preferences should be abolished and people should be treated equally. The ideal flat tax structure was introduced in the 1980s by Robert Hall and Alvin Rabushka of the Hoover Institution. The Hall-Rabushka flat tax was championed in the 1990s by House majority leader Dick Armey and presidential candidate Steve Forbes. The flat tax has three key features:

  • Single Flat Rate. The flat tax has a single rate above a large basic exemption. That would treat people equally, encourage productive activities, discourage tax avoidance, and spur domestic investment.


     

  • Elimination of Special Preferences. The flat tax eliminates tax provisions that create narrow advantages for certain people and industries. That would promote economic growth by allowing resources to flow to the highest-valued uses. It would also simplify the tax code and reduce political corruption.


     

  • Pro-Growth Treatment of Savings and Investment. A flat tax would tax each source of income just once. By contrast, under the current income tax, some income is not taxed and other income—such as income from savings


    and investment—is taxed multiple times.

Hall and Rabushka set the flat tax rate on individuals and business at 19 percent, while Forbes and Armey set it at 17 percent. The flat tax adopts Roth IRA treatment for all personal savings—wages would be taxed when earned, but all after-tax earnings that were saved would accumulate tax-free. Large and small businesses would file the same simple tax return and pay the same flat rate on a simple cash measure of earnings.

The flat tax is not just a simple version of the current income tax. It is a consumption-based tax system because it uniformly removes a layer of taxation from saving and investment. For businesses, it allows an immediate and full deduction for all new investments in factories and equipment, which would be a huge boon to the economy.

A flat tax would be much simpler than the current income tax. For families, vast amounts of paperwork for special deductions and credits would be eliminated. For businesses, the flat tax would end some of the most complex parts of the tax code, such as depreciation deductions.

A flat tax would dramatically reduce marginal tax rates. Despite what liberal politicians often say, reduced tax rates are critical to maximizing economic growth. Most other countries have learned this lesson. The U.S. corporate tax rate—including the average state rate—is 40 percent, and the last time it was cut was way back in 1986. But since that year, the average rate in the 30 major industrial nations has plunged from 47 percent to just 26 percent today.

The top personal income tax rate in the 30 industrial nations plunged from 52 percent in 1990 to 42 percent in 2009. With state taxes, the top U.S. rate is also about 42 percent today. However, the federal rate is expected to be hiked next year, so our total top rate will be about 47 percent—substantially higher than the average of our trading partners. It’s absurd that politicians are putting our economy into such an uncompetitive position—America ought to have the best tax system in the world, not one of the worst.

 

.


Flat Taxes around the World                

Hall and Rabushka set the flat tax rate on individuals and business at 19 percent, while Forbes and Armey set it at 17 percent. The flat tax adopts Roth IRA treatment for all personal savings—wages would be taxed when earned, but all after-tax earnings that were saved would accumulate tax-free. Large and small businesses would file the same simple tax return and pay the same flat rate on a simple cash measure of earnings.

The flat tax is not just a simple version of the current income tax. It is a consumption-based tax system because it uniformly removes a layer of taxation from saving and investment. For businesses, it allows an immediate and full deduction for all new investments in factories and equipment, which would be a huge boon to the economy.

A flat tax would be much simpler than the current income tax. For families, vast amounts of paperwork for special deductions and credits would be eliminated. For businesses, the flat tax would end some of the most complex parts of the tax code, such as depreciation deductions.

A flat tax would dramatically reduce marginal tax rates. Despite what liberal politicians often say, reduced tax rates are critical to maximizing economic growth. Most other countries have learned this lesson. The U.S. corporate tax rate—including the average state rate—is 40 percent, and the last time it was cut was way back in 1986. But since that year, the average rate in the 30 major industrial nations has plunged from 47 percent to just 26 percent today.

The top personal income tax rate in the 30 industrial nations plunged from 52 percent in 1990 to 42 percent in 2009. With state taxes, the top U.S. rate is also about 42 percent today. However, the federal rate is expected to be hiked next year, so our total top rate will be about 47 percent—substantially higher than the average of our trading partners. It’s absurd that politicians are putting our economy into such an uncompetitive position—America ought to have the best tax system in the world, not one of the worst.

Hong Kong, the Czech Republic and Slovakia, for example, do not tax capital gains. Slovakia applies just a single layer of taxation to corporate dividends at 19 percent, and Latvia exempts domestic dividends from individual taxation. In nearly all flat tax countries, the tax treatment of savings and investment is much superior to the treatment under the U.S. income tax.

 

The Past and Future of Flat Taxes                  

A lot of supposed experts used to argue that flat taxes were an interesting idea, but not practical in the real world. Hong Kong has had a flat tax since 1947, but that was considered to be a special case because of that jurisdiction’s colonial status. Jamaica has had a flat tax since 1986, but it was overlooked because it is a developing nation.

The ball really started rolling when the Baltic nations of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania adopted flat tax systems in the 1990s. Estonia had the break-through reform with the introduction of a 26 percent flat tax in 1994. Prime Minister Mart Laar was wondering how to rescue the floundering Estonian economy and recalled reading that economist Milton Friedman had advocated a flat tax. He introduced Estonia’s flat tax as part of his broad reform agenda.

Estonia’s dramatic tax reform made its Baltic neighbors, Latvia and Lithuania, take notice. Those countries quickly adopted their own flat taxes. While all three Baltic nations initially introduced flat taxes with fairly high rates, those rates have been cut over time.

The next step in the flat tax revolution was Russia; it adopted a 13 percent flat tax in 2001. Russia also cut its corporate tax rate. Decades of class warfare went out the window and equal tax treatment for all was introduced. Russia’s tax revenue began rising after the introduction of the flat tax as tax evasion fell and the economy boomed.

In 2004, Slovakia joined the flat tax club with a 19 percent tax that was quite close to the flat tax ideal. The flat tax in Slovakia has been a big success, and the country has attracted large inflows of foreign investment. Slovakia’s reform played a key role in the subsequent decisions to adopt flat taxes in Romania, Bulgaria and the Czech Republic.

The nations that emerged from communism’s collapse are leaders in the flat tax revolution. After enduring decades of socialist policies, they apparently have little sympathy for tax systems based on class warfare. They want equal treatment, and that is the goal of the flat tax.

Another selling point of the flat tax is that it has spurred much greater tax compliance in some countries where black markets and tax evasion had been major issues. Under a low-rate flat tax, there is much less incentive to hide income from the tax authorities.

While there are still skeptics, every nation but Iceland that has adopted a flat tax has kept it. A number of flat tax countries were hit hard by the global recession of recent years, but the pro-growth tax systems they have in place should help these countries rebound quickly. It’s possible that some countries will undo their flat tax reforms in the future, but the durability of flat taxes so far is a testament to how well they work in practice.

Looking ahead, the big question is whether the flat tax can cross from the former communist world into Western Europe and North America. These higher-income nations would gain all the same benefits from the flat tax—stronger economic growth, lower tax avoidance, and fewer headaches for families and businesses from tax code compliance.

Maybe Americans weren’t ready for the flat tax when Steve Forbes ran with the idea in his presidential campaigns. But now that people are living through the nightmares of big tax increases in 2011, a supersized federal government under Obama, and a terrible private job market, they might embrace the candidate who grabs the flat tax torch in 2012.


Chris Edwards is director of tax policy studies at the Cato Institute and manager of www.downsizinggovernment.org.

 



<< Return to the September 2010

Dr. Robert Epstein, senior research psychologist at the American Institute for Behavioral Research and Technology, joined the "Glenn Beck Radio Program" Monday to discuss what he says is "a relatively simple way to stop the coronavirus dead in its tracks" in a matter of weeks, saving countless lives and safely restarting our economy.

"It might sound impossible at first, but it's well within our capabilities, and it's far less costly and disruptive than what countries around the world are doing now," wrote Epstein in "The Epoch Times."

Find out more at HowToStopTheVirus.com.

Watch the video below to hear the details of Epstein's plan:

In response to the COVID-19 quarantine, BlazeTV is offering our BIGGEST discount ever! Get $30 off your subscription when you use promo code GLENN. Claim your special offer at https://get.blazetv.com/glenn/.

Want more from Glenn Beck?

To enjoy more of Glenn's masterful storytelling, thought-provoking analysis and uncanny ability to make sense of the chaos, subscribe to BlazeTV — the largest multi-platform network of voices who love America, defend the Constitution and live the American dream.

Glenn gives the latest coronavirus numbers, updating YOU on everything needed to know as Americans and officials monitor China's new COVID-19 virus:

Daily Stats as of 5:30 AM CT (from John's Hopkins)

  • Total Confirmed Cases Worldwide: 735,135 (up from 524,478 Friday)
  • Total Confirmed Deaths Worldwide: 34,807 (up from 24,369 Friday)
  • Total Confirmed Recovered Worldwide: 155,950 (up from 125,490 Friday)
  • 5% of Active Cases are considered serious (requiring hospitalization) Steady from 5% Yesterday, but down from 19% high back in February
  • Note that 11% of US Confirmed Cases require Hospitalization, roughly on par with Italy who is at 12% requiring hospitalization.
  • US has 142,746 Confirmed Cases and 2,489 Deaths, up from 85,749 cases and 1,304 deaths Friday
  • In the US, 20,220 citizens are officially hospitalized with COVID-19, another 6,402 with presumptive-positive cases (waiting test results)
  • The United States of America now leads the world in total confirmed cases, with 45,000 more cases than Italy (although Italy leads the world in Deaths with 10,799 officially dead)
  • US has 2,489 Dead vs 4,562 Recovered and 2,970 in Critical Condition
  • The US Currently has 135,695 Active Cases of COVID-19, with less than 0.5% of the total US population actually tested: 851,578 Tests Resulted in 16.5% Confirmed Positive Cases for COVID-19 (note US policy has been to test only patients with positive-symptoms or known exposure to confirmed-infected persons, resulting in high net-positive results vs other countries).
Trump Extends US "Shutdown" Through April 30th https://www.scmp.com/news/world/united-states-canada/article/3077485/coronavirus-trump-says-social-distancing-guidelines
  • The Trump Administration extends recommendations for extreme social distancing, closed schools and houses of worship, work-from-home, and severe travel restrictions through April 30th.
  • The move was based on a simple model: 100-200k deaths if we continued shut-down vs 2-3 Million deaths if we lifted the shutdown in early April.
  • "How do you decide it's ok to let millions of Americans die? You don't." He said during a Rose Garden press conference. "I won't do that."
  • The updated timeline comes as the US President Donald Trump says the death toll from the virus is likely to continue to climb for another two weeks, and estimates that recovery is likely by June 1.
  • Trump said his earlier plan to lift the restrictions by Easter, on April 12, was only "aspirational". "Nothing would be worse than declaring victory before the victory is won," Trump said.
  • Officials in the White House coronavirus task force, including Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Dr. Anthony Fauci and Dr. Deborah Birx, Deputy to Vice-President Mike Pence, have estimated that COVID-19 would kill as many as 2.2 million Americans if mitigation measures were not in place.
As COVID-19 Epidemic In New York Continues, 9-11 System Is Overwhelmed https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/28/nyregion/nyc-coronavirus-ems.html
  • 911 Emergency system in New York City & Tri-State Area is receiving over 7,000 calls per day, more than at any time since September 11th, 2001.
  • The System has broken 3 records this past week, with nearly 8,700 calls on Thursday.
  • Many calls are for people with high-fevers and flu-like symptoms including severe cough, chills and difficulty breathing.
  • "It's all a war zone," one of the paramedics said. "There is no way we can respond to this many emergency calls."
  • Because of the high-risk of COVID-19 infection, many life-saving procedures have been suspended, including CPR and artificial respiration.
  • By Friday, more than 206 emergency medical technicians from the NY Fire Department had tested positive for COVID-19. Another 750 NYPD officers have also tested positive, and more than 10% of New York's police force is currently offline due to infection or Quarantine due to suspected infection.
  • One Paramedic who chose not to be named estimated that over 20% of 9-11 calls are going unanswered. "I can see them on my screen, with no units responding," he said.
In Yet Another Scene Out of a Hollywood Disaster Movie, Field Hospital Is Being Set Up in Central Park https://news.yahoo.com/field-hospital-set-yorks-central-park-202813283.html
  • Residents posted pictures of make-shift field hospitals being set up in Central Park in Manhattan.
  • Dozens of people worked in a drizzle to erect the facility for an expected influx of COVID-19 patients at the epicenter of the US COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Samaritan's Purse, a US-based Christian global relief agency, is setting up the hospital on the park's East Meadow lawn, where workers in face masks unloaded a white tarp and other equipment on the grass.
  • "There are lots of cases here in New York and a lot of people that need help," said Elliott Tenpenny, a doctor and team leader for Samaritan's Purse COVID-19 Response Team.
  • "The hospitals all over the city are filling up and they need as much help as they can get. That's why we're here."
  • He said the charity was working with New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, the Federal Emergency Management Agency and Mount Sinai, with the aim of receiving patients within two days.
  • Unlike other temporary facilities going up in the New York region, this site will have the equipment and personnel necessary to handle COVID-19 patients. Tenpenny called it a "respiratory focused field hospital" which will have a capacity of 68 patients, and the doctors and nurses to treat them.
  • Samaritan's Purse has set up a similar temporary hospital in Cremona, Italy, the country with the highest COVID-19 death toll.
Your Papers Please! US State by State Travel Restrictions & Warnings Go Into Effect https://www.the-sun.com/news/604376/andrew-cuomo-new-york-coroanvirus-slams-donald-trump/One Week After Mexican Governor Claims Poor People Are Immune, Epidemic Evident in Mexico https://www.msn.com/en-us/finance/markets/hugs-kisses-dining-out-during-virus-raise-fear-in-mexico/ar-BB11SinY
  • "Mexico's response was late, wrong and slow, and many people are going to die," said Dr. Carlos del Rio, an infectious disease specialist at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. "There's no reason to believe the virus here should behave differently among this population. Cases are growing exponentially."
  • President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador of Mexico was still hugging and kissing constituents. As recently as eight days ago, he urged them to keep eating out at restaurants.
  • Stung by global criticism and disapproving national polls, the leftist populist widely known as AMLO began to shift in recent days.
  • Schools were closed on March 20; four days later, the country's 51 testing sites broadened their reach to include testing as many as 2,200 persons per day, mostly in Mexico City.
  • Finally, on Saturday, March 28th, the deputy health minister called on Mexicans to stay home, saying it was the "last opportunity" to slow down the virus, with more than 20,000 confirmed infected.
  • "It may be too late. Thousands may die," said Dr del Rio.
Hundreds of Thousands of Migrant Workers Suddenly Homeless https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/29/world/asia/coronavirus-india-migrants.html
  • In India, hundreds of thousands of day-laborers were suddenly homeless due to COVID-19 travel restrictions and work shut-downs.
  • Many day-laborers are used to being provided dorm-like beds while on the job, but with work-sites closed down and national transportation systems offline, parks and public spaces are suddenly filled with thousands of men sleeping on sidewalks and in open fields.
  • Soup kitchens in Delhi, the capital, have been overwhelmed. "We normally get a thousand people per day," said one worker. "Today more than 10,000 people lined up before we served our first bowl."
  • So far, more than a dozen migrant laborers have lost their lives in different parts of the country as they tried to return to their home, hospital officials said.
  • Thousands of migrants in Delhi, including whole families, packed their pots, pans and blankets into rucksacks, some balancing children on their shoulders as they walked along interstate highways.
  • Some planned to walk hundreds of miles. But as they reached the Delhi border, many were beaten back by the police under orders to now allow any crossings until further notice.
UN Global Food Supply Panel Warns of Pending Food Shortage https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2020/mar/26/coronavirus-measures-could-cause-global-food-shortage-un-warns
  • Protectionist measures by national governments during the coronavirus crisis could provoke food shortages around the world, the UN's food body has warned.
  • A shortage of field workers brought on by the virus crisis and a move towards protectionism – tariffs and export bans – mean problems could quickly appear in the coming weeks, Maximo Torero, Chief Economist of the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation said.
  • "The worst that can happen is that governments restrict the flow of food," he said. "All measures against free trade will be counterproductive. Now is not the time for restrictions or putting in place trade barriers. Now is the time to protect the flow of food around the world."
  • "We need to be careful not to break the food value chain and the logistics or we will be looking at problems with fresh vegetables and fruits soon," said Torero. "Fruit and vegetables are also very labor-intensive... if the labor force is threatened because people can't move then you have a problem."
  • Warnings from the UN come as the EU reportedly plans to provide transportation of more than 70,000 farmworkers from Eastern Europe to France, Belgium and Spain to help with planting season. https://thehill.com/policy/international/489783-united-nations-warns-of-global-food-shortage-caused-by-coronavirus
  • Warnings were less severe in the US, which relies less on global food production for domestic consumption. "There is plenty of food in the US system," said Sonny Perdue, US Secretary of Agriculture. "The US is a net exporter of food supplies, so we can just keep more of our food at home this year."
New Report Estimates US Economic Impact at $1 Trillion GDP Losses Per Month https://www.mckinsey.com/~/media/McKinsey/Business%20Functions/Risk/Our%20Insights/COVID%2019%20Implications%20for%20business/COVID%2019%20March%2025/COVID-19-Facts-and-Insights-March-25-v3.ashx
  • A study from consulting firm McKinsey & Company estimates the total GDP impact of COVID-19 could exceed $1 Trillion per month starting from March, 2020.
  • The study includes only economic losses in the Private sector and did not calculate the impact of Government-funded bailouts or spending, and future economic losses due to higher debt payments.
  • McKinsey estimates losses in the Oil/Gas sector to exceed 50% for 2020 compared to prior forecasts, and for US retail to suffer losses in excess of 25% compared to 2019.
  • "In a Word: Catastrophic," said lead author of the study. "We'll be digging out from this hole for years to come."
  • McKinsey's study noted its estimates did not include official economic figures for Q1, 2020, expected to be released by the US Government in the coming week.
  • Overall, McKinsey is estimating a broad U-shaped recovery starting in Q3, 2020, but said it was entirely dependent on how quickly US companies could return workers to productivity as well as the impact to the global demand for US goods & technology.
  • "We don't yet know how the World will recover from COVID-19 or how long it will take. There are more unknowns than there are knowns," the study concluded.
image.png



Government Quietly Prepares a Bank Rescue Plan - Just In Case https://www.politico.com/news/2020/03/27/congress-coronavirus-bank-rescue-152501

  • Just days after the FDIC issued a video urging Americans to not withdrawn cash from Banks, reports emerge that the US Senate and Treasury are working on separate plans to prevent banks from becoming unstable amid the COVID-19 Pandemic.
  • Plans range from limiting withdrawals for foreign investors and savers, as well as providing extra liquidity to banks to cover US Consumer withdrawals up to $10,000.
  • Washington's move to stand behind the banking industry underscores the aggressive efforts underway by officials throughout the government to prepare for the worst — including potential runs on deposits as the economic outlook darkens.
  • "The banks are in very good shape, but people are panicking anyway," said Karen Petrou, a managing partner at Federal Financial Analytics who advises bank executives on policy issues.
  • The Federal Reserve Insurance Corporation (FDIC) recently released a one-minute video encouraging people to keep their money in banks.
  • In the video, Chairman Jelena McWilliams emphasizes that hoarding cash in mattresses in 1933 "didn't pan out well for so many people." The video is intended to discourage a bank run.
  • "The last thing you should be doing is pulling your money out of the banks now, thinking that it's going to be safe for someplace else," she said in the video.
  • The FDIC has more than $2.05 billion in cash reserves, as well as a $100 billion credit line with the US Treasury to cover bank runs, according to a 2018 US Government audit.
  • US Consumers have more than $1.7 Trillion deposited at US Banks, not including home-equity loans or lines of credit.

On "GlennTV" this week, Glenn Beck exposed what is being done to our rights, our livelihood, and our nation -- all in the name of controlling the COVID-19 pandemic. Are we losing the America we love to the "Big Government virus"?

Former Obama adviser Rahm Emanuel famously said, "Never allow a crisis to go to waste," and the government has made those words their mantra. Progressive politicians, like New York City's Mayor Bill De Blasio, have already called this crisis a "case for nationalization!"

Once these "temporary government programs" are passed, usually in answer to a national emergency, there's no going back. In 2012, before he was president, Donald Trump tweeted economist Milton Friedman's prophetic quote: "Nothing is so permanent as a temporary government program."

Donald Trump was right. Case in point, we currently have 31 national emergencies still in effect that date back to former President Jimmy Carter.

The Pentagon's Cold War-era "Continuity of Government Commission" even covers health emergencies, thus allowing for federal troops to take the reins from elected civilians. Sound far-fetched? Read about it here.

According to Army doctrine publication (ADP) 3-28, distributed a July 2019, the military is authorized by the Pentagon to enforce domestic laws under "rare circumstances" – including health emergencies and natural disasters.

And then there's the issue of government surveillance ...

Below is a short clip from Glenn's Wednesday night special: "Big Government Virus: Never Let a Crisis Go to Waste". The full episode can be found exclusively on BlazeTV.com.

Use code GLENN to save $10 on one year of BlazeTV.

Want more from Glenn Beck?

To enjoy more of Glenn's masterful storytelling, thought-provoking analysis and uncanny ability to make sense of the chaos, subscribe to BlazeTV — the largest multi-platform network of voices who love America, defend the Constitution and live the American dream.

Glenn gives the latest coronavirus numbers, updating YOU on everything needed to know as Americans and officials monitor China's new COVID-19 virus:

Daily Stats as of 5:30 AM CT (from John's Hopkins)

  • Total Confirmed Cases Worldwide: 542,478 (up from 486,702 Yesterday)
  • Total Confirmed Deaths Worldwide: 24,369 (up from 22,022 Yesterday)
  • Total Confirmed Recovered Worldwide: 125,490 (up from 117,448 Yesterday)
  • 5% of Active Cases are considered serious (requiring hospitalization) UP from 4% Yesterday, but down from 19% in February
  • Note that 7% of US Confirmed Cases require Hospitalization
  • US has 85,749 Confirmed cases and 1,304 Deaths, up from 65,581 cases and 1,036 deaths yesterday
  • The United States of America now leads the world in total confirmed cases, with 4,409 more cases than China
  • US has 1,868 officially recovered, against 1,304 deaths

After Terrifying World Governments Into Committing Financial Suicide, UK Scientist Reduces His Death Forecast by 95% https://www.newscientist.com/article/2238578-uk-has-enough-intensive-care-units-for-coronavirus-expert-predicts/
  • The UK should now be able to cope with the spread of the COVID-19 virus, according to one of the leading epidemiologists advising the UK government.
  • Neil Ferguson at Imperial College London gave evidence yesterday to the UK's parliamentary select committee on science and technology.
  • He said that expected increases in National Health Service capacity and ongoing restrictions to people's movements make him "reasonably confident" the health service can cope when the predicted peak of the epidemic arrives in two or three weeks.
  • UK deaths from the disease are now unlikely to exceed 20,000, he said, and could be much lower.
  • His previous and dire prediction, from just 10 days ago, was that as many as 500,000 Brittons would likely die.
  • The need for intensive care beds will get very close to capacity in some areas, but won't be breached at a national level, said Ferguson.
  • The new projections are based on computer simulations of the virus spreading, which take into account the properties of the virus, the reduced transmission between people asked to stay at home and the capacity of hospitals, particularly intensive care units.
  • "We'll be paying for this year for decades to come," Ferguson said. "But if people follow the Government's guidelines, we'll be able to cope."
UK Prime Minister Positive https://news.sky.com/story/coronavirus-boris-johnson-tests-positive-for-covid-19-11964493
  • Boris Johnson, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, has confirmed he tested positive for COVID-19
  • "Over the last 24 hours I have developed mild symptoms and tested positive for coronavirus," he said via Twitter.
  • "I am now self-isolating, but I will continue to lead the government's response via video-conference as we fight this virus."
  • Mr. Johnson, whose partner Carrie Symonds is pregnant, will isolate for 2-weeks, a spokesperson confirmed.
  • "Together we will beat this. #StayHomeSaveLives."
"Poor People Are Immune" Claims Mexican Governor https://www.cnn.com/2020/03/26/americas/mexico-coronavirus-luis-miguel-barbosa-intl/index.html
  • The governor of the central Mexican state of Puebla told reporters Wednesday that poor people "are immune" from the coronavirus.
  • During his remarks, which broadcast live on YouTube and Facebook, Gov. Luis Miguel Barbosa posed a question, asking reporters which people were infected at the moment.
  • "The majority are wealthy people, you know," he said, answering his own question. "If you're rich you're at risk, but if you're poor, no, well us poor, we are immune."
  • There is no scientific evidence to suggest the virus affects people differently due to economic status. His remarks sparked an uproar on social media, with many questioning why a government official would spread information that has no basis in fact.
  • Barbosa noted that many of those who contracted the virus had recently traveled, suggesting a link between wealth and travel.
Trump: Maybe Don't Shake Hands Every Again https://ca.news.yahoo.com/trump-suggests-americans-shouldn-t-221802199.html
  • President Donald Trump suggested that Americans should consider giving up the tradition of greeting each other with a hand-shake -- forever.
  • Trump has set a goal of returning Americans back to work by Easter, despite the coronavirus outbreak, but he said at a White House news conference on Thursday that they shouldn't entirely abandon "social distancing" practices, especially shaking hands.
  • "Maybe people aren't going to be shaking hands anymore," Trump said, adding that he had discussed the practice with Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
  • "He was saying the regular flu would be cut down by quite a bit if we didn't do that - if we didn't shake hands," Trump said.
Even In A Pandemic, Fake Meat Won't Sell https://dailycaller.com/2020/03/26/coronavirus-food-shopping-vegan/
  • Vegan and plant-based can be seen in proportions that appear recently stocked at grocery stores across the US.
  • "Not even in a crisis will folks buy the plant-based hot dogs," Tweeted one observant citizen with a picture of the frozen food aisle baren except for tofu hot dogs.
  • "Let's face it, they taste like crap. I'd rather starve," said another via Twitter. "Not enough mustard in the world to cover-up that stuff."
  • Another user closed the book on the topic, "Two observations today from the grocery store. Plant-based fake-meats are not desired - and people need to smile more! Good day!"
Patriot Thomas Massie Defends Constitution, Gets Persecuted https://www.foxnews.com/politics/extreme-precautions-ordered-in-house-ahead-of-historic-vote-on-largest-stimulus-package-in-us-history
  • In no small feat of bravery, Massie stands alone against a tyranny born of fear.
  • Furious lawmakers voiced serious concerns on Capitol Hill late Thursday that a Republican House member could "go rogue" and possibly scuttle a vote on the $2 trillion coronavirus stimulus package.
  • Fox News is told there is deep worry on both sides of the aisle that Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Ky., could try to sidetrack House plans to quickly approve the coronavirus bill via a "voice vote" -- a verbal exercise in which those in favor shout yea, and those opposed holler nay. The loudest side would prevail.
  • "It's the Thomas Massie show," said one senior Republican source who asked to not be identified.
  • "He is going to do it," a senior Republican leadership source told Fox News, explaining that leadership had tried every type of arm twisting -- and it's not working.
  • The source said he was actively calling members and telling them to get on planes in the morning to come back to Washington so that a quorum of 216 members could be established if Massie were to demand one.
  • The source explained that Massie got a very forceful call from a member of the House Freedom Caucus urging him to allow the voice vote, but Massie won't budge.
  • The 880-page coronavirus stimulus package would amount to the largest economic relief bill in the history of the U.S. for individuals, large corporations, and small businesses -- and its unanimous passage in the Senate came despite grave concerns on both sides about whether it involved too much spending or not enough.
  • Massie did not respond to multiple requests for comment late Thursday. It was unclear exactly why he may want to delay the bill, which some lawmakers have said contains too much wasteful spending -- including $25 million for the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. and $10 million to fund US Salmon hatcheries in Alaska.