5.) Equality Act Passes House, But Republicans Hold the Line
Yes, it’s Trans Week in Washington! House Democrats went all-in on their radical agenda on Thursday by voting to pass the laughably-named “Equality” Act. As I wrote last week, there are some real problems with this bill — women would effectively be erased from civil rights law, religious freedom would go out the window, and parental rights would be challenged like never before. But it is important to note that, while the bill still passed, it did so with far less of a mandate.
In 2019, the House passed the Equality Act 236-173, with eight Republicans voting in favor. Yesterday, the House passed the bill just 224-206, with only three Republicans voting in favor. Reps. Elise Stefanik (R-New York), Mario Diaz-Balart (R-Florida), and Jeff Van Drew (R-New Jersey) all switched their votes from 2019. I don’t think very many people expected that.
Yes, the bill passed, but with a tough Senate fight ahead, and with a Republican caucus more united than ever in opposition, it’s hard to look at this as anything other than a loss for the Democrats. Maybe that’s why their floor speeches were so mind-bogglingly insane.
4.) Biden’s Pick for HHS Post Supports Sex Changes for Kids
On Thursday, the Senate HELP Committee held a hearing for Dr. Rachel Levine, President Biden’s nominee for Assistant Secretary for Health at HHS. My organization has called on the Senate to oppose Dr. Levine’s nomination for a number of reasons. I wrote about this at The National Pulse this week:
Most alarmingly, Dr. Levine has advocated for sex changes for pre-pubertal people, otherwise known as “children.” A professor of Pediatrics and Psychiatry at the Penn State College of Medicine, Levine has given lectures in various settings since at least 2012 on how to perform sex changes and gender conversion therapy on children…
For prepubertal children,” Levine said in a 2017 speech at Franklin & Marshall College, “they might present in different ways. They might present at school in the gender they were identified at birth, or they might present as the other gender, or they might be more gender-fluid.” Levine has described children as young as five or six as “knowing” which gender they wanted to be.
Once, however, the child reaches the “young adolescent” stage, Dr. Levine recommends puberty blockers, a practice which Dr. Levine apparently followed at Penn State Hershey Medical Center as Chief of the Division of Adolescent Medicine and Eating Disorders. In speeches, Levine describes prescribing puberty blockers and cross-gender hormone injections to children who expressed anxiety about the natural process of puberty…
The current protocols for gender-dysphoric youth, Levine stated in a 2017 speech, outline a two-step process: the prescription of puberty-blockers during the first stages of puberty, and then, after continued counselling, the introduction of cross-gender hormones between the ages of 14 and 16. Then, around age 18, the patient may undergo surgery. But, as Levine noted, there are sometimes exceptions. In certain instances, Levine has said, surgical procedures may be performed on patients under the age of 18.
Levine, however, has noted that doctors may discard the protocol and significantly “accelerate” the process when dealing with “street kids,” who do not come into clinics with their parents, and who may be tempted to buy hormones off the street. In such cases, Levine said, doctors may skip the blockers altogether and go straight to cross-gender hormones, presumably at ages even younger than the 14-16 range described above.
As Assistant Secretary for Health, Dr. Levine would have total oversight over adolescent health programs. Pretty scary to think about. And apparently Senator Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) agreed, because he tore Dr. Levine a new one on Thursday at the hearing:
Levine’s robotic non-answer told the whole story. “Transgender medicine is a very complex and nuanced field.” The answer is yes. Dr. Levine supports sex changes for kids, and, in Dr. Levine’s role as Assistant Secretary for Health, would continue to advocate for these “treatments” and procedures.
Sen. Paul got a little too close to the truth, which made Sen. Patty Murray (D-Washington) SUPER MAD:
— American Principles 🇺🇸 (@approject) February 25, 2021
Ultimately, it’s not just Dr. Rachel Levine who supports sex changes for kids. It’s the entire Democratic Party. God help us.
3.) Families Are Corporations, My Friend
I was honored to participate in a family policy symposium over at American Compass this week. I encourage you to read all seven pro-family proposals, which I thought were very insightful and thought-provoking.
My proposal is one we’ve talked about in the past at American Principles Project: why not tax families like corporations?
The benefits to incorporating are fairly obvious: corporations are taxed on their net income, and they enjoy a lower tax rate. Families, on the other hand, pay taxes on their revenue. And while families enjoy a few miscellaneous deductions and credits, they largely miss out on the good stuff. Corporations get to deduct nearly all capital expenditures; families receive no direct tax benefit for feeding their kids, purchasing clothes, buying a minivan, filling that minivan with unleaded, homeschooling or other education expenses, fixing a furnace, upgrading technology, or even moving to a safer neighborhood. If a corporation can demonstrate a net loss on the year, even due to its own aggressive spending habits, it doesn’t pay taxes. If a family loses money, the tax code doesn’t care.
I think some folks might ask an obvious question — okay, but why now? The answer is our fertility crisis, which got even worse last year due to the pandemic:
The U.S. has already reached an all-time-low fertility rate of 1.71 births per woman, and Brookings estimates that there will be a “baby bust” in 2021 of at least 300,000 fewer American births. The long-term effects of such a decline in human capital would be far-reaching. Shrinking populations don’t often lend themselves to growing economies.
Financial pressures are one of the main, addressable sources of the crisis. As American Compass’s recent Home Building Survey showed, half of parenting-age adults want more children than they currently have. And for all but the most well-off, these parents cite the inability to afford more children as the primary reason for this deficit.
I hope you’ll give it a read. This is certainly a pie-in-the-sky proposal — hard to imagine it passing Congress any time soon, whereas something like the Rubio-Lee child tax credit plan is very passable. But I think it’s extremely important that we start thinking differently about how (and to what degree) we tax families.
2.) Justice for Raheem!
On Wednesday, Twitter suspended conservative journalist Raheem Kassam. The reason is not clear. According to Kassam, Twitter won’t even reply to him to explain why he was suspended. I e-mailed Twitter’s press shop yesterday to ask about the suspension and received no response.
This isn’t particularly surprising. Given his reach and his influence, Kassam is an enormous thorn in the side of Big Tech. Twitter had already banned his news site, The National Pulse, and Big Tech has gone to incredible lengths to deplatform War Room, the popular show Raheem co-hosts with Steve Bannon.
Important to note: Amazon banned Ethics & Public Policy Center President Ryan Anderson’s book on transgenderism this week as well. Great to see folks standing up for Anderson — even U.S. Senators! — but it isn’t enough.
At what point do Republicans and conservatives recognize that this isn’t going to stop? That none of us are safe? It’s no longer a question of if you will be deplatformed. If you have a voice, and you traffic in wrongthink, Big Tech will silence you. The fact that we still haven’t organized a proper opposition to this soft totalitarianism is appalling political malpractice.
1.) Gamestop Goes Pop One More Time!
Gamestop (GME) bottomed out last week at $38.50 after its historic run-up to $380 — a 90 percent drop. But WallStreetBets wasn’t done. Amazingly, on Wednesday, GME again took off, jumping from around $50 at 2:30PM EST to $117 at the close at 4:00PM EST, and even hitting $200 at one point during after hours trading. As of this writing, GME is still trading above $120. Are we in for another short squeeze? Can’t wait to see what happens!
TWEET OF THE WEEK:
No $2,000 but someone put a flag outside her office and someone else put a sign out there and now Mr Potato is just Potato and Oreo is tweeting the right stuff even though they hide food inflation by making packages smaller.
— Mike Cernovich (@Cernovich) February 25, 2021
The trolls on neoliberalism are just fantastic right now.