President Obama has been making the case for new trade deals, and he’s right to do so, Heritage expert Ted Bromund explains. But his argument for trade deals, based on a vision of American decline, is entirely wrongheaded.

For the first time, a U.S. president is making the case for trade agreements by arguing that we’re in decline …

There’s just enough sense in this idea to make it dangerous. It’s true that, as the rest of the world grows, the U.S. and European share of the pie will likely shrink. But if the president is right that China will someday be so powerful that it can write the global rules of trade on its own, a new U.S. trade agreement is a pitiful response …

The chances are that Obama is wrong. China’s economic growth is slowing, and even the United States at the peak of its relative strength — after 1945 — didn’t have the power to write the rules of trade on its own.

This vision runs the risk that future trade deals will restrict commerce and impose new burdens on free enterprise. But “new trade agreements that focus on imposing even more rules aren’t the answer,” Bromund argues. “They’re the problem. They’re also not free trade.”

New trade agreements should be about getting government out of the way and creating future opportunities.

Do you think America needs to loosen restrictions on free enterprise?

The Export-Impact Bank’s authorization expired at midnight last night. This is a big win for conservatives.

The 80-year-old federally-run bank used taxpayer dollars to loan funds to foreign companies so they could buy from well-connected American companies. The corrupt nature of the bank — it allowed the government to pick and choose winners and losers in the economy at taxpayer expense — is why Heritage has made the case for allowing the bank expire.

Eliminating Washington’s interference in this corner of the economy is something to applaud for anyone who believes in free enterprise, though the bank’s many lobbyists in Washington will insist that huge numbers of jobs are at stake.

Heritage expert Diane Katz explains how the bank’s end will actually impact the economy:

The industries that benefit from bank financing would continue to post robust sales in overseas markets. The only differences in a charter-less world would be beneficial: The burden on taxpayers of export subsidies would shrink—not expand as it has for years—and a lot fewer American businesses would be disadvantaged by the U.S. subsidies lavished on their foreign competitors.

What other government programs should be eliminated?

The recent terrorist attacks in Tunisia, Kuwait, and France have raised questions about what measures the U.S. is taking to protect its citizens.

There have been 70 publicly known terrorist plots against the U.S. since 9/11. And in June alone, there have been three foiled terrorist plots. The recent terrorist activity shows that law enforcement and intelligence officials need more tools to stop terrorists before they strike — and certainly not fewer, as some lawmakers have suggested.

Heritage expert David Inserra explains what security tools our government needs:

Legitimate government surveillance programs, for example, are a vital component of our national security and should be allowed to continue. Greater cyber-investigation capabilities in the higher-risk urban areas are also essential. With so much terrorism-related activity occurring on the Internet, local law enforcement should be able to monitor and track violent extremist activity on the Web when reasonable suspicion exists to do so.

The government has an obligation to follow the law and respect individual privacy and liberty. But within necessary limits, we should give our law enforcement and intelligence officials all the tools they need to prevent any future terrorist attacks on the U.S.

Do you think the government needs to do more to protect Americans from terrorist attacks?

Photo: Carlos Barria/Reuters/Newscom

 

It is no surprise that the arbitrary June 30 deadline set for concluding the Iran nuclear talks wasn’t met. Heritage expert Jim Phillips explains that the talks stalled in part because the Obama administration is more eager to make a nuclear agreement than Tehran seems to be.

Any deal would also undermine America’s stance against proliferation of nuclear weapons. “Giving ground on the policy of proliferation and making an exception for [Iran] would be going back on our allies we have asked not to have any,” Georgetown University’s Matthew Kroenig said in a panel discussion at Heritage.

The United States should adjourn the talks until Tehran is willing to make the necessary concessions to guard against possible nuclear proliferation.

Do you think that Obama’s administration is just giving in to Iran?

Heritage economist Salim Furth explains in the Wall Street Journal how Congress can help Puerto Rico without bailing out its government:

A federal bailout of Puerto Rico’s bondholders or its unfunded pension plans would reward bad governance and set a dangerous precedent. But Washington can give Puerto Rico a much-needed jobs boost by letting the commonwealth set its own minimum wage and giving it a permanent exemption from the Jones Act.

Do you think Congress should grant Puerto Rico more economic freedom?

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