Do Not Lard Up the FTAs

The benefits of the free trade agreements with Colombia, Panama and South Korea are clear, and Congress must resist the temptation to lard up these job-creating agreements with an ineffective and costly welfare program.

In today’s political and economic climate, Congress should embrace policies that create viable jobs without government largess and deficit spending.  The free trade agreements would do just that by opening new opportunities for American businesses, which have already missed out on tens of billions of dollars in exports.

Despite the widespread belief that the agreements would create jobs and make America more competitive in the global economy, the agreements remain stalled.  However, Congress must resist the temptation to grease the skids for passage by funding the failed Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) program.  As the scholars at The Heritage Foundation discovered, the billion-dollar program is “ineffective in raising the wages of participants.”

President Obama’s decision to hold job-creation hostage is reprehensible.  Congress should reject his cynical ploy and consider the FTAs and TAA separately, allowing each to stand on their own merits, or – in the case of TAA – lack thereof.



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The GOP Primary Can Wait

In the next few weeks, the Republican presidential field will continue to take shape with Gov. Mitch Daniels and Gov. Haley Barbour expected to announce whether they will compete. There’s a lot of talk around the country – especially among conservatives – about who will be the savior of the Republican Party as the presidential candidate in 2012. All of that talk is premature.

It’s premature based on three premises. First, presidential primaries are, overwhelmingly, about scoring political points rather than confronting difficult challenges. Second, across the nation and in Washington, DC, conservatives are in big ways challenging the establishment and attempting to confront difficult challenges. Finally, conservatives will win the 2012 election only by proving they are trying to tackle our nation’s problems, not by clever political tricks.

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After Action Report on our After Action Report [out of date]

Over the last few weeks, we have received feedback – both positive and negative – from the Hill over our Spending After Action Report on H.R. 1. This was a great product that provided a lot of useful information on the willingness of various members of Congress to go above and beyond the minimum acceptable standard – voting for H.R. 1 and the $61 billion in cuts in it – and further cut spending. The strength of the product is confirmed by the overwhelmingly positive feedback we have gotten from the over 700,000 members of The Heritage Foundation, from the media, from our coalition allies, and from many on Capitol Hill.

The reason the information in the After Action Report is valuable is it gives people the opportunity to collect data on what a member of Congress believes beyond the information that is signaled by his being a part of the Republican Party or Democrat Party.

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Toward April 8

Two years after an historic election, Americans asked for a refund. Unfortunately, the dramatic reversal we witnessed in November merely presented the opportunity for a refund. It was the first victory in a long war for the heart and soul of both our country and the Republican Party.

During the first two years of his presidency, Barack Obama spent more than the first four years of the Reagan administration. It took from our nation’s founding until 1991 to rack up as much cumulative debt as we have in the last two years. Americans expect these newly elected Members of Congress, and those that rode the powerful conservative wave into positions of enormous power, to begin issuing their refund.

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