June 14, 2020
What We’re Standing For
Economic growth 🏭💪
Last week, economists predicted apocalyptic jobs numbers with eight million-plus jobs lost. Instead, the economy bucked predictions and added 2.5 million jobs.
But, the American economy is nowhere close to being out of the woods. We are now officially in a recession, ending the record-setting 128-month economic expansion that began in June 2009. The damage from three months of lockdown, followed by riots and looting in America’s cities, won’t go away in a few weeks. As the economy continues to reopen, there are important steps the country needs to take – and avoid.
What should we do to encourage more good news? For starters, Congress should fix the problems in the hastily-passed stimulus bills. Last week President Trump signed into law a bill that fixes the Paycheck Protection Program by giving businesses more flexibility in how they spend their Small Business Administration loans. This is an important first step. Now, Congress needs to fix the overly generous unemployment benefits, expiring in July, that pay more than the average salary in some cases, encouraging the workforce to stay home and keeping small businesses closed.
Congress should also continue the administration’s good work to permanently eliminate many job-killing regulations that were cut during the pandemic. The federal registry is chock full of thousands of regulations that are nothing more than obstacles to economic growth. Good riddance.
What should we NOT do? Let us make this as simple as possible: DON’T. SPEND. MORE. MONEY.
Congress has already passed $3.6 trillion worth of relief bills, and nearly $2 trillion of that amount has yet to be spent. Yet, Nancy Pelosi is still agitating for her $3 trillion HEROES Act, and Republicans have been right to resist.
Our take: Just a few months ago, American unemployment was at its lowest level in 50 years at 3.5%. All Americans benefited, with black and Hispanic unemployment rates hitting record lows. Then came the COVID-19 shutdown, putting nearly 40 million Americans out of work and decimating the lifeblood of the American economy – small businesses. At least 3.3 million small businesses have closed their doors as a result, and new economic data shows minority business owners have suffered the most. Unemployment in the black community has tripled in just three months. For the sake of all Americans, few things are more important than bringing back a booming economy.
→ Read more: CBO shows Democrats’ plan to extend unemployment benefits would hinder economic comeback (Washington Examiner)
→ Read more: Black business owners’ ranks collapse by 41% in U.S. lockdowns (Bloomberg)
A free Taiwan 🇹🇼
For too long, politicians have been cautious in supporting Taiwan, wary of irking the “hidden dragon” – the Chinese Communist Party. Now, China’s growing aggression means it’s time to act: Taiwan’s friends need to stand up for a democracy that has flourished in the shadow of Chinese communism.
Why do we need to be on alert? While the world has been distracted by COVID-19, China is seizing the moment to crack down on Hong Kong, passing a national security law that directly threatens Hong Kong’s basic freedoms and civil rights. We shouldn’t be surprised if China sets its eyes on Taiwan next. While Taiwan has been governed independently since 1949, the communist regime continues to view the island democracy as an “inalienable part” of “one China.”
What has China done so far? China routinely pressures companies and organizations to recognize Taiwan as part of China and throws tantrums at the slightest hint of favor towards Taiwan. China’s communist regime continues to block Taiwan’s membership in the World Health Organization and has repeatedly meddled in Taiwan’s elections, trying to boost the pro-China opposition party over the democratically-elected ruling party. Just this week, the Taiwanese air force chased off multiple Chinese People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) fighters that entered Taiwan’s airspace.
What can the U.S. do to help? Taiwan has long been on the outside of the international community. The United States has a defense agreement with Taiwan and we sell them military equipment to defend themselves from Chinese aggression. But there is much more we can do to support the free people of Taiwan. Remember Taiwan’s efforts to warn the world about COVID’s dangers as China continued to lie.
The time has come to shift the U.S. relationship with Taiwan in a meaningful way – militarily, economically, and diplomatically. There is broad, bipartisan support for Taiwan in Congress, which should take bold action to support America’s interests – and our friend, Taiwan.
→ Read more: As China takes over Hong Kong, don’t forget to protect Taiwan (Washington Examiner)
→ Read more: Rep. Mike Gallagher: It’s Time to Stand with Taiwan (National Review)
→ Read more: Should the US move to strengthen ties with Taiwan? (The Hill)
A strong America
A new congressional task force supports what we’ve long argued at Stand For America: Defending our country requires standing up to our adversaries – namely China, Iran, and Russia.
The Republican Study Committee (RSC) report, “Strengthening America & Countering Global Threats” includes more than 130 strong policy recommendations for Congress, with a focus on the growing threat that China’s communist government poses to the United States. Here are a few:
→ Stopping the Chinese Communist Party from stealing American intellectual property and sanctioning Chinese companies and officials that do
→ Holding China accountable for violating Hong Kong’s freedom and its continued abuses of the Uighur minority
→ Helping Taiwan regain its observer status at the WHO
→ Confronting China’s military threat by working with our allies in the region, especially Japan and India
The report also recommends that the United States reform its foreign aid practices. While aid can be a useful diplomatic tool, we should not reward countries that routinely oppose U.S. interests with millions of dollars. Amb. Haley fought for this issue at the United Nations, arguing that any money we give abroad should align with American interests at home.
→ Read more: Read the full RSC report (report)
→ Read more: Amb. Nikki Haley: American foreign aid should only go to our friends (Fox News)
what we’re standing against
Defunding the police
You might have seen the hashtag #defundthepolice circulating on social media, but this radical proposal isn’t just on the fringes of Twitter. This week a majority of the Minneapolis city council members pledged to disband the police and the city council president said she aspired to a “police-free society.” New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti pledged to cut police funding in response to demands from the far-left.
Why is it a terrible idea? Yes, reforms are important, but there is evidence showing that increased law enforcement presence reduces crime. Conversely, evidence shows when law enforcement pulls back instead of improving policing, crime increases.
What happened in the past when police presence was reduced? In 2015, police community contacts in Chicago dropped 90% following the murder of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald by a police officer. What happened? Shootings went up 87% compared with the same period in 2014. In the same year, Baltimore police interaction dropped to zero after Freddie Gray died in police custody. What happened? The 2015 per capita murder rate was the highest in the city’s history.
Our take: Bad actors need to be held responsible, and states and cities should enact reforms. Camden, NJ – once among the deadliest cities in America – has had marked success in making the city safer for both its residents and police officers, with homicides falling 62% between 2012-2019 and violent crime falling by nearly half from its 2011 peak. How did Camden do it? By increasing the police force by more than 60% – from 250 to 411 officers – renegotiating union contracts, and by focusing on building better relations between law enforcement officers and the citizens they protect.
Law enforcement is there to help all of America’s families and communities. Calling for reforms is important, but demonizing the police does nothing to keep our communities safe. Quite the opposite.
→ Read more: Defund police, watch crime return (Wall Street Journal)
→ Read more: The media urge to explain away ‘defund the police’ (National Review)
→ Read more: America, we are leaving (lawofficer.com)
what we’re smiling about
Throughout the lockdown, teachers have been forced to think creatively – not just about how to teach their students over Zoom, but also how to show them they care. And boy have they delivered. A Pennsylvania teacher drove up in a Rita’s water ice truck and gave away free water ice treats to her fourth graders and their families. A teacher in the Netherlands missed her students so much, she knit 23 miniature dolls to represent them. And this Florida teacher used simple homemade signs to show his love. Let’s hear it for all the teachers who go the extra mile. 👏🎉