#1 True Free Trade?

Once you get past all the drama, during and after the meeting of world leaders, we get an interesting development.  President Trump, it seems, has always been a bigger supporter of protectionism than free trade.  However, his arguments at the G-7 summit seemed to throw this view of Trump out the window…

As he was leaving the summit earlier in the day, Mr. Trump said the G-7 should become a “tariff-free” zone but warned that other countries must first change their own trade polices and stop using the U.S. as “a piggy bank everyone is robbing.”

“I congratulate the leaders of other countries for so crazily being able to make these trade deals that were so good for their countries and so bad for the U.S.,” Mr. Trump said. “But those days are over.”

He also indicated his administration would continue to take a tough stance on trade policy as he called for “no tariffs, no barriers…and no subsidies.” Wall Street Journal

This is quite the development.  President Trump seems to be making an argument for more free trade, not less.  However, is there more than meets the eye?  Trade attorney & CATO Adjunct Scholar, Scott Lincicome, argues that this call for more free trade may actually be anything but…

The WTO’s “Doha Round” of global trade negotiations, meant to update and expand the body’s trade-liberalizing agreements, spent over a decade trying, and failing, to produce an agreement among Members to reduce their trade barriers and subsidies. Among the reasons for this stasis was an unwillingness of any WTO Member (including the United States) to expend the political capital necessary to lead the way—a classic “prisoners’ dilemma.” Reciprocity promises the same inaction in the future—thus why many U.S. politicians and industries advocating import protection argue so loudly for reciprocity! CATO

President Donald Trump has been complaining about free trade since the 1980’s.  However, many of his complaints were against the supposed unfairness of the trade agreements as the tariff levels where uneven from country to country.  There is no doubt that all free trade proponents would love to absolute free trade.  However, as Scott Lincicome argues above, 100% pure free trade is easier said than done.  Is Trump trying to truly bring about real free-trade or does he know that making this argument makes the possibility even more remote?  It is hard to tell.  It should be noted, however, that the current country drawing most of Trump’s ire right now has a lower average tariff than we do (US=2.79%, Canada=2.44%).  Just some food for thought.

Further Reading:

#2 Washington Prepares for Trump-Kim Summit

President Donald Trump & Kim Jong Un both arrived in Singapore over the weekend ahead of tonight’s historic summit…

Air Force One touched down with little fanfare at Paya Lebar Air Base in Singapore, landing a few hours after Kim arrived in the island state. Trump waved as he stepped off the presidential aircraft, briefly greeted Singaporean officials on the tarmac and quickly climbed into a limousine to head to his hotel for the evening.

Asked upon his arrival how he was feeling about the summit, Trump told reporters, “Very good.”

Trump and Kim are scheduled to meet face to face Tuesday morning at 9 (which is 9 p.m. Monday, Eastern Daylight Time), and they will see if they can forge some kind of agreement on North Korea’s nuclear program. Washington Post

Further Reading:

#3 Bye Bye Net Neutrality

Monday marks the official end of the U.S. government’s net neutrality rules, which had required broadband providers such as AT&T, Charter, Comcast and Verizon to treat all Web traffic equally. The repeal is part of a campaign by Ajit Pai, the Republican chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, to deregulate the telecom industry in a bid to boost its investments — particularly in rural areas.

“I think ultimately it’s going to mean better, faster, cheaper Internet access and more competition,” Pai said in an interview Washington Post

#1 Voter Fraud

A woman, who is being charged with voter fraud in Alamance County, is arguing that the state law that bans felons from voting is unconstitutional…

“We hope that the court recognizes the unconstitutionality of this law,” said John F. Carella, the lawyer representing Brown and four other Alamance voters.

The law prohibiting people who are on probation or parole after having been convicted of felonies falls disproportionally on African-Americans, Carella said in the court document, and has origins in the state’s history of voter suppression.

The law violates the state constitution and the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which grants all citizens equal protection under the law, Carella wrote. News & Observer

The 14th amendment, really?  I mean, really?  Usually, when you argue 14th amendment violations it usually involves some arbitrary or capricious application intending to target a particular group.  This application is usually independent of any action.  However, when someone becomes a felon it is because they did something that warranted a felony conviction. They had to be investigated, charged, and then convicted by a jury of their peers. We can have a debate about the criminal justice system and biases or prejudices that may or may not exist.  However, denying someone a right because of an action they partook is based on legal precedent.  This is how we can deny felons guns, it’s how we can involuntarily commit someone.  To argue that even if after a long arduous court proceeding the government still doesn’t have the right to treat those individuals differently we have some major, major changes coming to this country.

It will be very interesting to see how the left responds to this lawsuit.  Instinctively I think they would want to back it.  This, however, could create some very big headaches for their favorite issue, gun control.  Most of the gun control legislation they propose deals with restricting guns to people who have been charged with say domestic violation or people on a no-fly list.  In fact, their newest argument is against those exhibiting strange or bizarre behavior.  If the court were to rule that treating anyone different, regardless of their own action, is a violation of the 14th amendment how do any of these current or future laws stay on the books?  If you can’t block a felon from voting how do you block them from owning a gun?  Side note, you have a right to own a gun.  You have no right to vote…

Further Reading:

#2 Supreme Court Rules On Who Runs NC Schools

After a year-long battle, we finally have our answer about who runs North Carolina schools…or do we?

The state superintendent and State Board of Education are each claiming victory in Friday’s court ruling over their ongoing power struggle for control of the Department of Public Instruction and the $10 billion public school system.1

In a statement Friday, Superintendent of Public Instruction Mark Johnson said the North Carolina Supreme Court’s ruling “validates the common-sense proposition that the duly-elected Superintendent of Public Instruction should lead” the agency.

About an hour later, attorneys for the state board said they were pleased with the court’s decision WRAL

Can’t say I’m too surprised to see the State Supindepdnent and the State School Board disagreeing.  However, they are not really so much disagreeing as they are choosing to kind of ignore the parts of the ruling they didn’t like.  The state board was clearly not happening with the 2016 and Johnson would probably like to have more control than he does.  This ruling, however, is a pretty good compromise.  Hopefully, they can put their differences behind them and work for the betterment of our schools.  I have faith they can.

#3 Four Ways North Carolina Is A Below Average State for Jobs

WalletHub compared each of the 50 U.S. states on 29 criteria for “job-market strength, opportunity and a healthy economy.”

Overall, North Carolina ranked 42 out of 50. The states it outranked: only New Mexico, Alaska, Alabama, Pennsylvania, Louisiana, Kentucky, Mississippi and West Virginia. Wilmington Star News