Monday, January 30, 2017

Obama’s Mixed Legacy on Immigration


Immigration was the biggest policy issue in the 2016 presidential campaign, and President Obama’s actions during his eight years in office are what set the stage.
But Obama’s immigration legacy is a complex one. On the one hand, he is the harshest enforcer of immigration laws in American history, deporting more illegal immigrants than any previous administration. On the other hand, his executive actions have also helped shield from deportation some 750,000 unauthorized immigrants who were brought here as children.
What lessons can we draw from Obama’s mixed legacy on immigration?


Why President Trump’s Executive Order on Syrian Refugees Is Wrong


In environmental policy, the precautionary principle states that a new product, method, or proposal whose effects are disputed or unknown should not be introduced if it is harmful. The burden of proving that it is harmless falls on its backers—virtually guaranteeing that it won’t be produced. In contrast, a cost-benefit analysis that compares the probability of harm with the expected magnitude of the benefits is a better method.


Workers of the World Do Best in Free Markets

By Daniel J. Mitchell

It’s time to channel the wisdom of Frederic Bastiat. There are many well-meaning people who understandably want to help workers by protecting them from bad outcomes such as pay reductions, layoffs and discrimination.
My normal response is to remind them that the best thing for workers is a vibrant and growing economy. That’s the kind of environment that produces tight labor markets and more investment, both of which then lead to higher pay.


Trump’s Import Taxes Could Devastate US Economy


Give President-elect Trump credit for consistency. In his selections of Wilbur Ross as commerce secretary, Peter Navarro as chairman of the National Trade Council, and Robert Lighthizer as U.S. trade representative, Trump has empowered a protectionist triumvirate to deliver on his provocative campaign promises.
Among the various ahistorical ideas under consideration is an across-the-board tariff of 10 percent on all imports. Exactly what the intended purpose of such a tax would be remains unclear — To achieve trade balance by reducing imports? To dissuade U.S. companies from outsourcing? To encourage foreign companies to invest in the United States? To show the world who’s boss?
Insanity may be too mild a diagnosis.


The Case for Currency Substitution in Venezuela


Venezuela lopped off three zeros when it replaced its old currency in January 2008. The arrival of new banknotes on December 18 shows the government is committed to putting those zeros back on. The newest denomination, 500 bolívares, will soon be joined by 1,000, 2,000, 5,000, 10,000, and 20,000 bolívares notes. Higher denominations are supposed to help Venezuelans deal with rising prices. But it isn’t new notes that hard-working Venezuelans need; it’s a new money.


School Choice Means Accountability to Parents


We all want an education system that delivers a high-quality education to all children. Ensuring quality requires holding schools accountable for results, but that raises a crucial question: accountable to whom?
A few years ago, as the Arizona Legislature was considering expanding its pioneering education savings account (ESA) program, the mother of a child with special needs who benefited from an ESA listened in disbelief as critics described the program as “unaccountable.”


How to Make ‘America First’ Truly Great

By Doug Bandow

Only Donald Trump would attempt to rescue the phrase “America First” from its slightly discreditable heritage. Unfortunately, his sales job has been incomplete and unconvincing. Now, someone needs to rescue the same phrase from his crabbed, negative meaning.
The dominant foreign-policy vision animating left and right in recent years has been promiscuous intervention. While elites disagreed on tactics and targets, both major political parties shared a belief that Washington, DC should micromanage the world. God knows when a single sparrow falls to earth, Jesus declared, and so does Uncle Sam. United States presidents are apt to act if a company loses money, an election is stolen, a stock market collapses, a civil disturbance occurs, an aggression is launched, a threat is made, a weapon is tested, or an American value is disregarded.


The Tug of War on ISIS inside Donald Trump’s Head: Does He Escalate or Avoid What Is Likely to Be a Counterproductive War?


Now in office, it’s time for President Trump to deliver on his campaign promises. A critical one will be his promise to destroy the Islamic State. CNN recently reported that the Pentagon has already developed a set of options for Trump to review, purportedly including significantly increased American military forces and the deployment of thousands of ground troops.
The question is: What plan of attack is likely to appeal most to Trump? As the President evaluates the options, his operating style and his worldview will pull him in distinctly different directions.


Divining the Emerging Trump Doctrine


Donald Trump has now officially taken over the reins of American foreign policy, after having done so less officially (mostly via Twitter) during the transition. Prediction is a dangerous game, and, as many observers have noted, Trump’s comments on foreign policy have been anything but consistent thus far.
Even so, I think we can discern the broad outlines of an emerging Trump Doctrine. Three key themes, in particular, will shape Trump’s decision-making on foreign policy.
The most fundamental pillar of the doctrine is Trump’s “America First” nationalism. It is a rejection of the idea that the U.S. is obligated to worry about the rest of the world.


Trump’s Immigration Ban Is Illegal


President Trump signed an executive order on Friday that purports to bar for at least 90 days almost all permanent immigration from seven majority-Muslim countries, including Syria and Iraq, and asserts the power to extend the ban indefinitely.
But the order is illegal. More than 50 years ago, Congress outlawed such discrimination against immigrants based on national origin.


Sunday, January 29, 2017

How Arthur Laffer Would End Trade Warfare

The creator of the Laffer curve now wants a “curb” on currency manipulation. His three-question test for countries.

Economist Arthur Laffer was on Capitol Hill last week pitching the “Laffer Curb.” It’s a strategy aimed at preventing our trading partners from engaging in currency manipulation, which arguably has cost the U.S. many millions of jobs.
Laffer, 74, is best remembered for the “Laffer Curve,” which he scribbled on a napkin in 1974 to illustrate the negative effect of high tax rates on government revenues. If you hike taxes beyond a certain rate—a sweet spot, so to speak—then you end up collecting less revenue, he argued. President Gerald Ford was about to raise taxes at the time and Laffer, then 34, was trying to explain to Ford aides Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld that high taxes cause people to opt for leisure over labor. 

The Truth about the Trade Deficit

Jack Salmon

This election cycle the issue of the trade deficit has been a topic of great debate, with front-running candidates suggesting that the deficit is an example of how the U.S. is losing or being “ripped off’ economically. As of February this year, the balance in trade of goods and services stands at $47.1 billion. While this isn’t the largest trade deficit in recent years, some academics and politicians continue attempting to draw a relationship between the trade deficit and job losses.
According to the Economic Policy Institute, the trade deficit with the 11 Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) economies cost 1,057,200 manufacturing jobs in 2015. Overall, EPI claims that the trade deficit resulted in a total of 2 million job losses last year.


Saturday, January 28, 2017

Trump Reinstates Policy Protecting Taxpayer Dollars From International Abortion Activity

Melanie Israel /

President Donald Trump looks up while signing an executive order reinstating the Mexico City policy, Jan. 23, 2017. (Photo: Kevin Lamarque/Reuters/Newscom)
In one of his first official actions, President Donald Trump reinstated the life-affirming Mexico City policy, ensuring that American taxpayers do not fund international organizations that perform or promote abortion overseas.
The news comes just after the 44th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, which legalized abortion on demand across the country.


Congress Should Learn From Obama’s Last-Minute UN Spending Binge

Brett Schaefer / 

In September 2016, President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping approve of remarks by U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon during a joint ratification of the Paris climate change agreement in Hangzhou, China. (Photo: How Hwee Young/Reuters/Newscom)
During President Barack Obama’s final days in office, administration officials ran through over $700 million in a spending binge designed to fund U.N.-related priorities that lacked support in the Republican-controlled Congress and, likely, the incoming Trump administration.


How Government Planning Holds Back Our Greatest Potential

Anthony Esolen / 


Western civilization needs a renewal that must emerge from the private spheres of life. (Photo: iStock Photos)
Ride a train on a sunny day from New York to Philadelphia.
That is a little over a hundred miles, but along the rails you will see miles and miles of dilapidation and defacement—culverts scrawled with gangland graffiti and obscenities, the undersides of bridges heaped up with garbage, old fences rotting and falling apart, abandoned mills, disused stations, remains of telephone lines—all looking like something left over after wartime, except that in our case the war has been waged culturally, the damage done to family life and to the men who in other times might have kept such places from reverting to rot and filth.


The Tug of War on ISIS inside Donald Trump’s Head: Does He Escalate or Avoid What Is Likely to Be a Counterproductive War?



Now in office, it’s time for President Trump to deliver on his campaign promises. A critical one will be his promise to destroy the Islamic State. CNN recently reported that the Pentagon has already developed a set of options for Trump to review, purportedly including significantly increased American military forces and the deployment of thousands of ground troops.
The question is: What plan of attack is likely to appeal most to Trump? As the President evaluates the options, his operating style and his worldview will pull him in distinctly different directions.


Divining the Emerging Trump Doctrine



Donald Trump has now officially taken over the reins of American foreign policy, after having done so less officially (mostly via Twitter) during the transition. Prediction is a dangerous game, and, as many observers have noted, Trump’s comments on foreign policy have been anything but consistent thus far.
Even so, I think we can discern the broad outlines of an emerging Trump Doctrine. Three key themes, in particular, will shape Trump’s decision-making on foreign policy.


Trump’s Immigration Ban Is Illegal


President Trump signed an executive order on Friday that purports to bar for at least 90 days almost all permanent immigration from seven majority-Muslim countries, including Syria and Iraq, and asserts the power to extend the ban indefinitely.
But the order is illegal. More than 50 years ago, Congress outlawed such discrimination against immigrants based on national origin.
That decision came after a long and shameful history in this country of barring immigrants based on where they came from. Starting in the late 19th century, laws excluded all Chinese, almost all Japanese, then all Asians in the so-called Asiatic Barred Zone. Finally, in 1924, Congress created a comprehensive “national-origins system,” skewing immigration quotas to benefit Western Europeans and to exclude most Eastern Europeans, almost all Asians, and Africans.