It’s a tale as old as time… where will our next trillion come from to feed our hungry coffers? We jest, but only a little: Negotiations on raising the debt limit are ongoing, marking, ahem, dozens of times this has happened under both Democrats and Republicans. Neither party has been able to summon the wherewithal to sacrifice political clout for the good of the long-term economy. Take healthcare spending: Democrats promote top-down, regulatory spending, while Republicans support consumer-based choice and competition. Fine – but costs haven’t been fixed, efficiencies have not been produced, and Medicare has an $80 trillion shortfall over 30 years. Who do we think is going to bail us out? China and Japan hold a measly $2 trillion of our debt and they are selling it; the Fed holds just $5 trillion and they’re trying to downshift. Are we really going to rely on American banks and savers and mutual funds to lend Washington $100 trillion over the next 30 years at low interest rates? It is not even a possible scenario. Our guest predicts that we are on a path that ends in a 15% value-added tax and a payroll tax rising close to 22% – yes, exactly like Europe.

Brian Riedl is a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, focusing on budget, tax, and economic policy. Previously, he worked for six years as chief economist to Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) and as staff director of the Senate Finance Subcommittee on Fiscal Responsibility and Economic Growth. From 2001-2011 Riedl served as the Heritage Foundation’s lead research fellow on federal budget and spending policy. He also served as a director of budget and spending policy for Marco Rubio’s presidential campaign and was the lead architect of the ten-year deficit-reduction plan for Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign.

This Thursday, the COVID-era immigration policy Title 42 will expire. Initiated by the Trump administration, it allowed for the expulsion of migrants at the border under a public health directive. It lifts as numbers of encounters at the border continue to skyrocket – instances grew from 646,822 in 2020 to 2,766 in 2022, and have already surpassed 1.544 million this year. These are staggering and historic numbers. Border Patrol cannot handle the sheer quantity, processing centers are overrun and inefficient, legitimate asylum seekers and migrants are being delayed access for years while the US government attempts to handle the illegal entries. Title 42 was not meant to be a sustained solution, but its expiration – without a replacement policy in place – means that this summer will see a humanitarian tragedy at the US southern border. Notably, polls show that the American public is not very divided on this question; by and large, Americans support and encourage legal immigration, and condemn the chaos – the humanitarian disaster, financial confusion, and resource misallocation – that is the result of loose and unserious border policy. And yet, Administration after Administration, Congress after Congress, drags its feet and leaves policy stopgaps to the courts.

Andrew Selee is the President of the Migration Policy Institute (MPI), a global nonpartisan institution that seeks to improve immigration and integration policies. He also chairs MPI Europe’s Administrative Council. Prior to MPI, Dr. Selee spent 17 years at the Woodrow Wilson Center where he founded the Center’s Mexico Institute, and served as the Center’s VP for Programs and Executive VP. He has also worked on staff in the US Congress, served on the Board of Directors of the YMCA, and is a columnist for Mexico’s largest newspaper El Universal. His most recent book is Vanishing Frontiers: The Forces Driving Mexico and the United States Together.

Not only is DEI hiring creating bureaucracy bloat in higher education country-wide, it is beginning to fundamentally alter our institutions. One place where the erosion of excellence is already apparent? Our legal institutions – just last year, 12 Federal Judges boycotted hiring clerks from Yale Law School (some of the crème de la crème of legal education) due to the aspiring lawyers’ inability to practice good faith, unbiased law. And no wonder: The Federalist Society at Stanford Law School hosted Judge Kyle Duncan of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals – he was shouted down by a group of students. Our guest Ilya Shapiro was nearly fired for tweeting about Biden’s Supreme Court nominations. We are, as a nation, beginning to forget… this is a representative democracy. We are not governed by a mob. Free speech is a foundational tenet of the Constitution that defines this country and its institutions. College sophomoric groupthink on social issues is one thing; but the next generation of Supreme Court prosecutors already radicalized enough that they are being barred by current sitting judges? That’s quite another problem.

Ilya Shapiro is a senior fellow and director of constitutional studies at the Manhattan Institute. Previously he was executive director and senior lecturer at the Georgetown Center for the Constitution, and before that a vice president of the Cato Institute, director of Cato’s Robert A. Levy Center for Constitutional Studies, and publisher of the Cato Supreme Court Review. Shapiro is the author of Supreme Disorder: Judicial Nominations and the Politics of America’s Highest Court.

The Ukrainians are running out of munitions and the war is predicted to endure past 2023; China is debuting new missiles that have the ability to penetrate US defenses; Egypt Is toying with supporting Russia in attacking Ukraine; ISIS is evolving. These are just a handful of the revelations from the viral Discord leaks, a set of US intelligence documents leaked on the gaming platform Discord and other sites by 21-year-old Jack Teixeira of the Massachusetts Air National Guard. Ways to interpret the fallout are manifold, but lessons learned all point back to US responsibility: that Ukraine will face empty bins is a self-fulfilling prophecy that the US can remedy through a revitalization of its defense industrial base. That Taiwan is at enhanced risk of invasion by China every day is only tempered by US willingness to build up Taiwan’s defense and develop a strategic counter-aggression framework. Content aside, that a 21-year-old kid was able to photograph and share US top secret information, and continue sharing it for 8 months – well, it is not a leap to underscore the importance of tightening US intelligence security measures to prevent this from ever happening again.

Marc Polymeropoulos is a nonresident senior fellow in the Forward Defense practice of the Atlantic Council’s Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security. Polymeropoulos worked for twenty-six years at the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) before retiring in July 2019 at the Senior Intelligence Service level. He was one of the CIA’s most highly decorated operations officers. He is the author of Clarity in Crisis: Leadership Lessons from the CIA.

The priorities that have traditionally shaped American national character – patriotism, religious faith, family, community involvement – are no longer as important to most Americans. The Wall Street Journal reported this trend in a viral poll, but the sentiment is believable even without the stark statistics. This poll was conducted in 1989, 2019, and now in 2023, and the only value to go up in importance? Money. Our guest explains that there is necessary context for the reported numbers due to methodology, but the overall trend is undeniable: we are becoming an increasingly selfish country. And what is to blame? Perhaps it is the echo chamber of social media, the decline of serious education, or anti-Western propaganda from our adversaries beginning to define our own national message. In any case, the country is unhealthy. But entirely fixable, and worth fixing.

Patrick Ruffini is a pollster and co-founder of Echelon Insights, a polling and analytics firm. Ruffini began his career working for President George W. Bush, including roles at the Republican National Committee, his re-election campaign, and in his Administration. From 2005 to 2006, he was the lead digital strategist for the RNC. He is the Author of Party of the People: Inside the Multiracial Populist Coalition Remaking the GOP (coming November 2023).

The conflict in Ukraine has revealed what conventional war looks like in this day and age. It has also made clear just how extensively the US defense industrial base has atrophied in the post-Cold War era. We are struggling to keep pace with arming Ukraine, even when drawing from stockpiles that have not been replenished since Reagan’s buildup in the 1980s. We are failing to put in place today contracts that will produce critical munitions by 2026 and beyond, but the reality is that the entire system is so broken (from the supply chain, to research vs. procurement imbalances, to budget hurdles) that American leadership in future great power conflict is a question mark, not a given. What does this mean looking ahead? Our guest ran over a half dozen war games to simulate what a US conflict with China over Taiwan would look like; he discovered that we will run out of some of our most advanced precision weapons in less than a week. This should be a wake-up call – why are we seeing sobering lessons from Ukraine but failing to learn them?

Seth G. Jones is senior vice president, Harold Brown Chair, director of the International Security Program, and director of the Transnational Threats Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). Prior to joining CSIS, Dr. Jones was the director of the International Security and Defense Policy Center at the RAND Corporation. He also served as representative for the commander, U.S. Special Operations Command, to the assistant secretary of defense for special operations. Before that, he was a plans officer and adviser to the commanding general, U.S. Special Operations Forces, in Afghanistan (Combined Forces Special Operations Component Command–Afghanistan).

It’s spring break, and your kids might have more time on their hands… so we are revisiting one of our best and increasingly relevant episodes.

Over a third of Americans spend hours every day on an app that directly feeds their data to the Chinese government. TikTok, owned by Chinese parent company Bytedance, is constantly collecting reams of data on its users, from GPS to keystrokes to outer-app monitoring, and even encrypted data that might be useful someday. But aren’t these D.C. elite problems — worrying only for those who plan to work in intelligence or government someday? Nope. The implications of China’s TikTok-enabled reach touch almost every American. Personal privacy aside, our national security is at immediate risk. The Chinese Communist Party exerts a measure of control over more than one-third of Americans. Are we going to continue to cede our sovereignty to Xi Jinping? Or will the U.S. Government shut down TikTok once and for all?

The wheel, the printing press, the steam engine, and… ChatGPT? A Luddite you may be, but there is no escaping the world’s newest technological revolution: personal artificial intelligence. It is easy to list the net-negatives of another tech medium designed to further decrease the already dwindling human-to-human interactions in our life – the atomization of society is bad, children growing up on screens is bad, the erosion of individual judgment and critical thinking is bad. Not to mention the evanescence of jobs and the mechanization of learning. But is it all bad? Like any technological advance, there are both beneficial and dangerous applications. And as our guest notes, the danger of misuse does not reside in 1’s and 0’s, but in the user, the human. Are the forces of good more productive and innovative than evil? Or will we fall prey to our own innovation?

These questions and more with Tyler Cowen. Dr. Cowen is a professor at George Mason University, where he holds the Holbert L. Harris chair in the economics department. He hosts the economics blog Marginal Revolution, and maintains the website Marginal Revolution University, a venture in online education. He is the co-author of Talent: How to Identify Energizers, Winners, and Creatives Around the World.

The 2024 presidential nominee field is starting to take shape, with headlines pointing to a Biden-Trump replay. But are those really the only likely options? Actually, no. Two-thirds of polled Republicans want someone other than Trump, but who can continue Trump’s policies. This means energy independence, a conservative court, cutting taxes, hawkish China policy, a strong military—all led by someone authentic, personal, and who can lead the country for eight strong years. One possibility is DeSantis, who has rallied support for his conservative domestic policy but is hedging on foreign and defense policy. There are other good options as well, but the GOP base is still afraid of offending Trump’s base, a stumbling block going up against a fairly robust Democratic bench. Make no mistake: this is an inflection point for the Republican party. Will it regress to the pre-Pearl Harbor, GOP, or Democratic-Ted Kennedy isolationism? Or will someone take up the Reagan mantle, and govern as the leader of the free world, in such a way that China, Russia, and other aggressors take notice?

These questions and more with Karl Rove. Rove is the former Senior Advisor to George W. Bush, and former Chief of Staff. He is a Fox News contributor and a columnist for the Wall Street Journal. He is the author of Courage and Consequence: My Life as a Conservative in the Fight.

Before Friday, Silicon Valley Bank was the sixteenth largest bank in America. Now it bears the standard of being the second largest bank failure in US history, only upstaged by the 2008 financial crisis. As the initial shock – both to the market and to news headlines – is wearing off, some things are clear: SVB was badly run, had mismanaged its asset investments, and as a truly silicon valley-centric bank, had an un-diversified portfolio tied to tech start-ups, crypto, and its California clientele. But the real catalyst? A long year of the Biden administration’s failure to combat inflation caused the Fed to hike interest rates, resulting in a major loss of asset value for the bonds SVB owned. Now, the Fed, FDIC, and Treasury Department have decided to protect depositors – but not shareholders – beyond the standard $250,000 insured cap for deposits. In short, the average taxpayer is bailing out the Silicon Valley elite.

Michael Strain is the Director of Economic Policy Studies at the American Enterprise Institute. Dr. Strain is also the author of The American Dream Is Not Dead: (But Populism Could Kill It).

More than three years later, we are still investigating the origins of the deadliest pandemic in recent history. The DOE and FBI have given credence to the explanation that the virus originated in a Chinese government lab in Wuhan – so why don’t lab leak theorists feel vindicated? Because, as our guest alleges, this is just the beginning. China owes the US reparations; Biden owes the American people a focused investigation and explanation; Dr. Tony Fauci and Francis Collins owe more than an apology for their scandalous cover-up. This is a democracy, and the truth will come out eventually – but a deeper truth has already seen the light: our public health institutions have been corrupted, as has our media.

Josh Rogin is a columnist for the Washington Post and a political analyst with CNN. He is also the author of Chaos Under Heaven: Trump, Xi, and the Battle for the Twenty-First Century. Previously, Josh covered foreign policy and national security for Bloomberg View, Newsweek, The Daily Beast, Foreign Policy magazine, Congressional Quarterly, Federal Computer Week magazine, and Japan’s Asahi Shimbun.

Canada’s euthanasia protocol – not merely doctor assisted suicide, but specifically euthanasia – is among the most expansive in the world. The euthanasia program, called Medical Assistance in Dying (MAiD) was enacted in 2016 and was, at its inception, already broad: in 2021 it accounted for 3.3% of all deaths in Canada, which is over 27 people per day, and eligibility included not just those with foreseeable death but also those with disabilities – like hearing loss. Now, Parliament is gearing up to expand the eligibility further, to include those with mental illness and even minors. For context, this makes Canada more accepting to euthanasia than the German public in 1933 under the Nazi regime. Not to mention, the deeper insidious motivation for an increasing number of MAiD cases in Canada: a social welfare network so threadbare that Canadian citizens would rather die than face abject poverty on top of a shambolic healthcare system. To coin a phrase, what the hell is going on?

Alexander Raikin is a freelance writer. He writes about medical ethics, and specifically about the Canadian medical system. He’s written on Canada’s euthanasia laws for National Review, New Atlantis, the Free Beacon, and others.

This week marks the first anniversary of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The anniversary comes on the heels of the Chinese spy balloon debacle. Think these are unrelated issues? Not so – as General Jack Keane explains in this masterclass of logical statesmanship and responsible deterrence, victory in Ukraine is not only in America’s interest and in the interest of the security of Europe, it is also crucial to deterring China from acts of aggression. From China buying Russian oil, to now hinting at supplying them with lethal weapons, these two American adversaries are increasingly interconnected. President Biden made a commendable trip to Kyiv to commemorate the anniversary of the war, a significant demonstration of America’s continued support in the conflict. But hard power is also necessary to win in Ukraine, and yes, even retake territory formerly lost to Russian annexation. Jack Keane explains, in detail, what is required to make this possible.

General Jack Keane is a retired 4-star general, former Vice Chief of Staff of the US Army, the chairman of the Institute for the Study of War, and a Fox News Senior Strategic Analyst.

Parents are increasingly losing ownership of the right to their child’s education. Americans saw the effects from widespread school closures over Covid (nearly two decades of educational progress wiped out), and continue to see educational systems that promote partisan agendas, all leaving parents little recourse to choose where and how their child is educated. Not to mention, the Nation’s Report Card statistics released for 2022, which showed record low reading and math scores, with minority and lower-economic students faring the worst. What are parents to do, especially those who cannot afford to send their children to private, parochial, or otherwise quality places for education? Governor Kim Reynolds of Iowa recently passed one of the most sweeping school choice laws in the country to answer this very question. Her school choice bill gives every student in the state of Iowa an educational savings account of approximately $7,600 in per-pupil funding to facilitate placement in private schools. And no, it does not take resources away from public schools – it actually saves them money. No, this does not degrade the public school education quality, but rather fosters the competition we know to be necessary to help any establishment realize potential. And most importantly, it gives educational choice back to the parents of these students.

Governor Kim Reynolds is the 43rd governor of Iowa, with the distinction of being the first woman elected to the state’s highest office. Previously, she was a Clark County treasurer before she was elected to the Iowa Senate. She was the running mate and lieutenant governor to Terry Branstad.

The Biden Administration has been “too little too late” in countering Russia, and is increasingly playing by the same rules with the Chinese Communist Party. The latest national security spectacle played out over a full week before the White House ordered the shoot down of the Chinese spy balloon that floated from the tip of Alaska all the way through the coast of the Carolinas. The questions surrounding this event are numerous: what was NORAD doing while it watched this slow-moving CCP target drift into American airspace? If this has happened in the past, as the White House maintains, why don’t we have a standard operating procedure to deal with it? But beyond this incident, it is the implications of the U.S. reaction that truly matter – if it takes a civilian standing in a field in Montana to point out a security threat to prompt the White House to action, we have a problem. If we don’t get serious, fast, about China, we’re adding to the problems we already face with the CCP. And if we continue to hedge on defense spending, and see Chinese incursions and major wars as isolated crises, the nation will pay a much heavier price down the road.

Representative Mike Gallagher (WI-08) is the new Chairman of the Select Committee on Strategic Competition between the United States and the Chinese Communist Party. He is also on the House Armed Services Committee, the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, and the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. He has served in the House since 2017. Before that, he served for seven years on active duty in the U.S. Marine Corps, including two deployments in Iraq. He also served as the lead Republican staffer for the Middle East and Counterterrorism on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Next month will mark a year since the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine has continued. The Russian military has proven to be disorganized and surprisingly inept, President Zelensky by contrast has shown incredible resolve and organization, and the West is by and large committed to a Ukrainian victory. So why is that victory, nearly a year later, still so uncertain? The Biden Administration continues to pursue correct policy, but far too slowly – Washington’s “drip drip drip” approach to aid has left Ukraine approaching something more akin to stalemate than advancement as we reach mid-winter. A pervasive hesitancy to provoke Putin is still holding the West hostage, and plays directly to Russia’s advantage. We have passed the point of immediate and swift defeat, and the war is unlikely to end anytime soon and perhaps not even fully in Ukraine’s favor. Time is not on Ukraine’s side, but the West is not prepared for that reality.

Yaroslav Trofimov discusses his WSJ piece, The War in Ukraine Will Be Long, Is the West Ready? Trofimov is the Chief Foreign Affairs correspondent of the Wall Street Journal. He covered the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan in 2021 and has been working out of Ukraine since January 2022. He previously served as Rome, Middle East, and Singapore-based Asia correspondent, as bureau chief in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and as Dubai-based columnist on the greater Middle East. He is the author of two books, Faith at War and Siege of Mecca.

The race for Speaker of the House underscored the 2022 midterm narrative: the Republican Party is increasingly divided, and unable to consolidate power long enough to effect positive change. Now Speaker Kevin McCarthy was held hostage by a powerful “Knucklehead Caucus” (our guest’s moniker for the Never Kevinites) until its leader Matt Gaetz simply “ran out of things to ask for.” Some of these same dissenters have now been promoted to top committees in the House, the results of McCarthy’s Faustian pact to claim the speakership. Who are the Knuckleheads? Are they all knuckleheads? And how did this isolationist group of extremist budget hawks group climb atop the GOP pile? Among the reasons — lack of strong leadership in the party, a lack of national security leadership in the White House, an end to substantive national debate in favor of social media hot takes, and more. And all of it is worrisome for the trajectory of the GOP, and America, going forward.

Hugh Hewitt is a nationally syndicated radio talk show host with the Salem Radio Network. He is the Former Director of the United States Office of Personnel Management. He has been a correspondent at Fox, and was the former president of the Richard Nixon Foundation. He is also a columnist at the Washington Post.

This is the third incident of document-gate in as many election cycles: Hillary Clinton with her “home brew” internet server, Trump with Mar-a-Lago, and now Biden with classified documents stored in his Washington D.C. think tank and his (locked!) garage. It is, to use Biden’s own characterization of Trump’s document scandal, “irresponsible,” to an almost ridiculous degree. And Biden’s claim that he did not know how the national secrets ended up in his home are the very opposite of comforting. Like probes of presidencies past, Biden’s scandal raises a slew of suspicions: why did the public only learn about this now, when the documents were discovered before the midterm elections? Is the newly appointed Special Counsel a piece of political fiction to slake public thirst for justice, when in reality the Attorney General answers to the president all along? Will Congress step up and provide the oversight as the Constitution intended?

These questions and more with Andy McCarthy. McCarthy is a senior fellow at National Review Institute. He served as an Assistant United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and led the 1995 terrorism prosecution against Sheikh Omar Abdel-Rahman. He is also the author of Ball of Collusion: The Plot to Rig an Election and Destroy a Presidency.

The 118th Congress has arrived, and after 15 grueling voting sessions, we finally have a Speaker of the House: Kevin McCarthy. This is the first time an election for speaker went to multiple ballots since 1923, and that is not the only element of the history-making chaos. To secure the gavel, McCarthy agreed to lower the number of members needed to begin a vote of “no confidence” from 5 to 1, and agreed to cap the levels of discretionary spending at FY22 levels; he has promised a slew of new subcommittees; agreed to re-organize appropriations; and the list goes on, to the point where Matt Gaetz, McCarthy’s nemesis in the Speaker race, “ran out of stuff to ask for.” As the drama unfolds, we find ourselves asking exactly What the Hell is Going On… who are these self-described “rebels” in Congress, really? What does this mean for defense spending and Ukraine, and balancing the budget in general?

These questions and more with our guest Chad Pergram. Chad is a Senior Congressional Correspondent at Fox News. He has won an Edward R. Murrow Award and is a two-time recipient of the Joan Barone Award. Prior to Fox he was a Senate producer for C-SPAN, producer and anchor for NPR, and a reporter for the Capitol News Connection.

What the hell happened in 2022? Joe Biden is midway through his presidency, and he has delivered both good and bad policy. The bad may outweigh the good … record inflation, growing divisions among Americans, skyrocketing gas prices, an unconstitutional grab for trillions to forgive student loans, and the list continues. But his presidency has not been without accomplishments either, from the invitation of Finland and Sweden to join NATO, to declaring U.S. policy to defend Taiwan, to handling China’s semiconductor industry. What made both lists? Ukraine: his rallying of allies to save Ukraine, but often too little, too late.

In this week’s New Year’s episode, Marc and Dany discuss Marc’s Washington Post lists on the top ten best and worst things the president did this year.