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Liberties in tension

Law | Emergency declarations test the limits of constitutional rights in the United States
by Sarah Erdős
Posted 4/06/20, 01:53 pm

As the United States continues to battle the coronavirus, Americans in 41 states are under orders to stay home. Every state and the federal government have declared an emergency, and enforcement efforts are escalating.

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Illustration by Krieg Barrie

Federal revenues up, federal spending up, federal debt up

By the Numbers
by The Editors
Posted 3/12/20, 04:26 pm


The U.S. federal debt as a percentage of GDP in 2019. It is the highest percentage since the federal debt was 119 percent of GDP in 1946, when the country was beginning to demobilize from fighting World War II. Fifty years ago, in 1969, the federal debt was 35 percent of GDP, and in 1989 it was 50 percent of GDP. By 2009, the debt had reached 83 percent of GDP, and it surpassed 100 percent of GDP for the first time since 1947 in 2014. In most years, federal revenues increased as the debt was building, but not by enough to catch up with federal spending.

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No split decisions

Politics | Every fiscal issue is social, and every social issue is fiscal
by Joel Belz
Posted 3/12/20, 03:37 pm

Are you a fiscal or a social conservative?

“Wait a minute!” you say. “That’s a fallacious question—on a couple of counts.” The distinction is superficial at best. At their worst, the terms may be phony and unhelpfully misleading.

For one thing, it’s possible for someone to land in both camps. For another thing, I know a handful of people who are credibly in both camps but would never call themselves “conservatives.”

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