- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 25, 2018

Burgers, buffalo wings, brats, ribs, chili, shrimp, crab dip and bacon-loaded anything are staples in the nation’s traditional Super Bowl feast. It is a big deal. Americans will spend a hefty $15.3 million on their game day celebrations, according to the National Retail Federation — and there’s a proverbial Trump bump too. Spending is up by 8.5 percent since last year. Fans are expected to eat a billion chicken wings alone. Something else also could be on the menu in the future, however — and that is a brand new tax on meat.

“Hamburger addicts, barbecue junkies, and fried chicken fanatics may soon be asked to pay a surcharge for their obsessions with meat. Excise taxes on beef, pork, and chicken could be the next big thing in a state and local tax environment that’s already comfortable with ‘sin tax’ regimes aimed at cigarettes, alcoholic beverages, and gambling and is adapting quickly to special levies on sugar-sweetened beverages, greenhouse gases, and marijuana,” reports Bloomberg Government News, which notes that public health, environmental, and animal rights advocates are “bullish on tax schemes” that challenge meat production and consumption.

“We have never been closer to a meat tax,” Ashley Byrne, a People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals activist and organizer, told the news organization.

“We are calling on members of Congress to support a sin tax on meat. Why? A 10-cent tax on every pound of chicken, turkey, pig, cow, fish, and other animal flesh sold in grocery stores and restaurants could help reduce Americans’ skyrocketing annual health-care costs by encouraging people to eat less meat,” the animal rights group says in a mission statement.

“Americans hate new taxes,” observes Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform. “New taxes on a basic consumer product like meat is doubly unpopular and will end more political careers than your usual dumb tax idea.”

THE GOP’S SURPRISE EDGE IN 2018

Democrats assume they’ll conquer 2018 midterms since incumbent Republicans are retiring in 34 U.S. House districts. But wait. It’s complicated.

“About two-thirds of them are very heavily GOP districts,” writes National Review columnist Jim Geraghty, who sifted through the data in each districts to discover “just how red” some of them remain — such as Muncie, Indiana; Ohio’s 16th district and Tennessee’s second district.

“Some of these open seats are in some really, really Republican districts. Could Democrats win open House seats in the suburbs of Jacksonville, Indianapolis, Columbus, Tulsa, Knoxville, Dallas, the Shenandoah Valley, etc.? Sure, anything can happen. But I wouldn’t count on it, and it suggests the ‘generic ballot’ questions are even less useful than usual,” says Mr. Geraghty.

The GOP is likely to lose four seats, though: California’s 39th and 49th Districts, Florida’s 27th and Washington’s 8th — and there are another four toss-ups, according to his analysis.

“The other half of the story is that 15 House Democrats are retiring, and a handful are in districts where the GOP has a decent shot. In short, 25 out of the 34 seats where a GOP member of Congress is retiring in 2018 are in districts Trump won by 10 percent or more. Winning the House is going to be harder for Dems than conventional wisdom suggests,” Mr. Geraghty notes.

ANN NO FAN OF LINDSEY

Breitbart.com columnist Ann Coulter is curious. Why does Sen. Lindsey Graham appear to be the public point-man on immigration issues? She points out that the South Carolina Republican did not do so well in his 2016 bid for the White House.

“Who designated this most remote of back-benchers, thoroughly rejected by the American people, as the principal negotiator on Trump’s central campaign promise?” Ms. Coulter asks.

“To a rapturous media, Graham has been peddling the lie that President Trump blew up a beautiful bipartisan deal on immigration. It wasn’t ‘bipartisan,’ except in the sense of being ‘angrily rejected by the voters.’ It’s the same deal that has gone down in flames at least twice before. It’s the same deal that has already destroyed the careers of Sens. John McCain, Marco Rubio, Jeff Flake, Bob Corker, Kelly Ayotte, Mark Kirk and Gov. Jeb Bush,” Ms. Coulter says.

“Voters get lip service on ‘securing the border’ at the same time that Republicans are letting Graham negotiate amnesty. The complicit senators hide in their offices and practice looking shocked. No, Lindsey! That’s not what we wanted at all! Oh well, what are you going to do? Let’s just get those illegals their permanent residence cards and move on to more tax cuts for Wall Street,” the columnist concludes. “It’s said so often that it’s become a cliche: Elections have consequences. Just this once, couldn’t an election have a consequence?”

FOXIFIED

Once again, Fox News Channel trounced it rivals in the cable realm to remain the most watched network, according to Nielsen Media Research. As it has for 16 years, Fox News also bested MSNBC and CNN as well.

“Scandalous,” a new Fox documentary series, debuted last week at No. 1, as well. The second episode, which highlights former President Bill Clinton, showcases Arkansas state employee Paula Jones and features interviews with former Ohio Rep. Dennis Kucinich, former Clinton political adviser Dick Morris, Ms. Jones’ former attorney Joseph Cammarata and Wall Street Journal editorial page editor Paul Gigot. The program airs Sunday at 8 p.m. EST.

Meanwhile, Fox Business Network continued its dominance over CNBC with a 33 percent ratings advantage over its rival, according to Nielsen.

WEEKEND REAL ESTATE

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POLL DU JOUR

80 percent of Americans are satisfied with the overall quality of life in the nation, 63 percent say people can still get ahead by working hard.

52 percent are satisfied with influence of organized religion, 38 percent are satisfied with our system of government.

34 percent are satisfied with the size and power of major corporations, 34 percent approve of the size and power of the federal government.

32 percent are satisfied with the way wealth is distributed, 28 are satisfied with the “moral and ethical climate” of the nation.

Source: A Gallup poll of 1,024 U.S. adults conducted Jan. 2-7 and released Thursday.

Follow Jennifer Harper on Twitter @HarperBulletin

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