Cartoon by Robert Ariail

War on the Rocks: "... global terrorist attacks rose dramatically after 2004: There were just over 1,000 in 2004, but almost 17,000 in 2014. The numbers from 2015 and 2016 (not shown) have remained remarkably high, but below the 2014 peak. The upward pattern holds even when removing attacks in Iraq and Afghanistan.

It is tempting to surmise from the strong trend upwards in Figure 1 that terrorism is on the rise and that the threat is expanding worldwide. The absolute numbers are, after all, higher in the past few years than they were a decade ago. However, this is only part of the story. More than 70 percent of the attacks in the past 10 years transpired in just two regions, both of which have seen extensive insurgency and civil conflict during that time: North Africa/Middle East and South-Central Asia.

It is no secret that most terrorism transpires in the context of insurgency, but to equate the two phenomena is misleading and inaccurate >>>

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Trump tax plan would grow US debt by $1.4 trillion

Washington Post: An overwhelming majority of academic economists say in a new survey that the Republican tax proposals would cause America's debt to grow by one critical measure.

Thirty-seven of 38 experts surveyed by the University of Chicago's Initiative on Global Markets agreed that the GOP tax bills in Congress would cause U.S. debt to increase "substantially" faster than the economy.

Only one economist — Stanford's Liran Einav — said that he was “uncertain” if the bills would exacerbate America's debt-to-GDP ratio. But after the survey's release, Einav said his response had been a mistake, and that he actually agrees with the economists who expect the debt ratio to soar. (Four other economists in the IGM panel didn't answer the question one way or the other.)

“I did it too fast and didn't read the question properly,” Einav said in an email.

(The survey results mirror an episode in May, in which 35 of 37 economists concluded the tax cuts would not pay for themselves in terms of their impact on the federal budget. The two who disagreed later said they misread the question and had meant to answer with the majority.)

The growing expert consensus that the bills would balloon the deficit — even in the absence of a Congressional Budget Office report — has real implications for the bills' chances of becoming law.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell needs 50 votes to move a pending GOP tax plan through the Senate, giving him little room for defections as his party controls only 52 of the chamber's 100 seats. And several Republicans have said their support for any tax measure will be influenced by its long-term impacts on the national debt. Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) has vowed not to vote for a bill that adds “one penny” to the deficit. Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) has similarly expressed concern over the bill's impact on the deficit, and President Trump said on Twitter on Sunday night that Flake is a “no.”

Republicans contend their tax plans will spark enough economic growth to offset the lower tax rates they plan to charge corporations and some businesses and individuals, but that claim is widely contested as well.

The nonpartisan Tax Policy Center said in an analysis released this week that, even after accounting for economic growth, the bill the House passed last week would grow the debt by $1.3 trillion over a decade. An analysis by the Penn-Wharton Budget Model, which accounts for the effects of growth, found the Senate bill would increase the national debt by between $1.4 trillion and $1.6 trillion >>>