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Writing in The Washington Examiner (March 8, 2018), Millennial Policy Center Fellow Robert Hasler and President Jimmy Sengenberger discuss the harm of the Dodd-Frank financial “reform” law to Millennials and explore some remedies proposed by a bipartisan crop in the U.S. Senate:

Passed to “solve” the problems undergirding the financial crisis of 2008, the Dodd-Frank law has dealt a crushing blow to Americans of all stripes in its overzealous regulatory war on the banks and other financial institutions. Millennials especially have been caught in the crossfire. Fortunately, there is hope for relief.

The Senate voted to proceed on a bill Tuesday that aims at freeing most community lenders from the burdensome regulations of Dodd-Frank. But you wouldn’t know that by listening to Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., or her progressive cohort.

In an email to her supporters Warren warned that “the bank lobbyists are getting ready to pop champagne and light their cigars.” Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, has criticized the reform on Twitter, saying it will cost taxpayers and reminding us all that “Americans shouldn’t have to pay for favors to Wall Street, foreign megabanks, and their lobbyists.” Brown also accused Wall Street of having “collective amnesia” about how awful the financial crisis was for the American people.

These sorts of statements are nothing more than partisan posturing because, in this especially divided era of partisan politics, the bill has both Republican and Democratic supporters. Sixteen Democrats and one independent voted “yea” to proceed on the reform bill, signaling a broad understanding that Dodd-Frank’s “one-size-fits-all” policies are hurting the American people and crippling future generations.

As we argue in our recent paper at the Millennial Policy Center, Dodd-Frank mostly addresses concerns pre-dating the financial crisis and does very little to tackle the underlying causes of the meltdown. Rather than confess that their bad government policies actually caused the financial crisis, politicians passed Dodd-Frank to point the finger at all private financial institutions and implement incredible regulations on both Wall Street and Main Street. As the evidence shows, this type of “one-size-fits-all” policy disproportionately hurts smaller community lenders. In fact, by 2016, there were 1,500 fewer community banks with assets below $1 billion in existence than prior to Dodd-Frank.

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“The regulatory war being waged by Dodd-Frank on American financial institutions is clearly egregious in its collateral impact on the average American. Fortunately, the American people will be better protected if Congress approves legislation like S.2155.”MPC Fellow Robert Hasler and President Jimmy Sengenberger

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Writing in The Federalist (March 9, 2018), Millennial Policy Center President Jimmy Sengenberger discusses the Trump tariffs, explaining that, while some Trump diehards think the president’s tariffs are a strategic masterstroke in negotiation, the harm they will do belies that idea:

“It’s a negotiating tactic!” my Facebook friend proclaimed after the Trump steel and aluminum tariffs were announced. “This is what businessmen do!” The “wimps” in the GOP, he said, cannot “understand a guy who plays hardball.”

It’s one thing to play hardball, and President Trump is certainly good at that. It’s another thing when the collateral damage impacts real Americans, and “negotiation tactics” become actual policy, rooted in inconsistent justifications for that policy. Trump is excellent on a variety of economic issues, especially taxes and regulations, but make no mistake: Tariffs hurt consumers and workers far more than they help.

The consumer impact is obvious. Higher input costs for steel and aluminum will mean higher prices for those products that use the raw metals. Republicans chided House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi for her “crumbs” comment regarding the benefits of the new tax law. Yet some, including Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, are now making a similar argument about tariffs.

For workers, job losses likely will result from the steel and aluminum tariffs. President George W. Bush inflicted a tariff on steel imports in 2002 to “protect” American jobs. That year, there were 187,000 people employed by the steel industry in America. Yet, as the Consuming Industries Trade Action Coalition Foundation found, 197,000 net jobs were lost in 2002 in industries that use steel: more than the total number of steel workers. The lost jobs equated to roughly $4 billion in lost wages from February to November of 2002.

Economists Joseph Francois and Laura Baughman predict a similar result from the new tariffs, with a forecast of a net loss of almost 146,000 American jobs.

Furthermore, the American steel industry is not in “bad shape,” as the president posits. As the Brookings Institution points out, “the American iron and steel industry has had a very modest export growth as measured by shares of total U.S. exports.” They demonstrate that productivity has gone up, not down, as imports have incentivized more efficient manufacturing processes and stronger business practices.

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“The bar for global tariffs must be extremely high. And if it’s going to be a serious negotiation tactic in the world of international trade, the American approach must be consistent, transparent and oriented toward specific goals. Unfortunately, the Trump tariff tactic seems to be none of these.”MPC President Jimmy Sengenberger

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Writing in Colorado Politics (March 7, 2018), Millennial Policy Center Research Assistant Jacob Dubbert discusses three key ideas for President Donald Trump’s efforts to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement, also known as NAFTA:

“NAFTA is the worst trade deal maybe ever signed anywhere,” candidate Donald Trump proclaimed, “but certainly ever signed in this country.” That was during the first presidential debate. Later, then-candidate Trump tweeted, “I will renegotiate NAFTA. If I can’t make a great deal, we’re going to tear it up.”

Now, over one year into his presidency, Trump is fulfilling his promise to negotiate a new North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) for the American people. The stated goal is to reinvigorate American manufacturing and to create more jobs. The persistent trade deficit the U.S. has with Canada and Mexico, he argues, is “proof” that the U.S. is getting shafted by other countries. To fix this, NAFTA needs to be renegotiated to reflect a fairer deal for America and to balance the trade deficit. Yet the way Trump is going about the renegotiation is misguided.

Despite the focus on the persistent U.S. trade deficit, it’s not really an issue. The U.S. has low savings rates and consumes more than it produces, thereby importing more than it exports. This is okay because we receive vital foreign investment to fund the trade deficit and expand our economy.

Even more, using NAFTA to level the playing field with protectionist measures such as tariffs will do little to solve the problem. The bilateral trade deficit with Mexico could be improved, but this will only change the composition of the global trade deficit, not its size. Ultimately, tariffs will only serve to hinder efficiency and increase the price of important inputs for businesses, decreasing overall trade flows in the region and leading to higher prices for consumers.

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NAFTA tremendously benefits the U.S. by improving access to foreign markets and promoting competition for the benefit of Amercian consumers…Let’s just hope Trump begins to notice and charts the right course. MPC Research Assistant Jacob Dubbert
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Writing in The Federalist, Millennial Policy Center Fellow Max McGuire breaks down President Trump’s proposed bump fire stock ban. He explains how a bump stock works – it does not change the mechanics of the rifle in any way, shape, or form, and it does not turn a semi-automatic rifle into a machine gun – and the legal questions surrounding its banning by executive fiat:

“Gun owners know firearm laws. We must. The slightest slip-up can result in serious consequences. This is why gun owners’ eyes roll when firearm ignoramuses talk about gun policy. It doesn’t take long to tell whether a gun control bill was written by someone who understands firearm laws and regulations.

One of the most basic rules that law-abiding gun owners must follow is “don’t turn your gun into a machine gun.” The consequences for breaking this rule are serious.

To help make sure innocent people don’t accidentally become felons, a “machine gun” has a very simple definition: when you pull the trigger, more than one bullet is fired. If you cannot make your gun fire multiple bullets with a single trigger pull, then you don’t have a machine gun.

When I read President Donald Trump’s memo to Attorney General Jeff Sessions, my eyes rolled before I even made it past the memo’s subject line: “Application of the Definition of Machinegun to ‘Bump Fire’ Stocks and Other Similar Devices”

The real eye-rolling really kicked in a little further down the page: “Today, I am directing the Department of Justice to dedicate all available resources to complete the review of the comments received, and, as expeditiously as possible, to propose for notice and comment a rule banning all devices that turn legal weapons into machineguns.”

That is already illegal. It is illegal for anyone without the proper permits and licenses to modify their semi-automatic weapon to fire multiple bullets with a single trigger pull.”

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“I own multiple bump stocks. One of them I 3D printed myself, just to prove that modern technology makes banning them pointless. I did not manufacture a machine gun. I manufactured a stock that moves freely along a rifle’s buffer tube.”Max McGuire, Fellow

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Writing in The Washington Times (Feb. 19, 2018), Millennial Policy Center Advisory Council Member Dr. Ed Feulner, founder and former president of The Heritage Foundation, discussed the trouble with trade tariffs and modernizing NAFTA:

“The stronger economy we’re enjoying now is no accident. Lower taxes, more jobs and fewer regulations are creating a much-needed boost. So why do we still have one foot on the brake?

I’m referring to trade. Protectionist measures act as a drag on our progress. Indeed, they threaten to undo much of it.

Consider the tariffs and quotas that the Trump administration recently slapped on imports of solar cells and modules, large residential washers, and washer parts. The price? As researcher Tori Whiting notes in a Daily Signal article, we get fewer jobs (roughly 23,000 American jobs this year, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association), higher prices for U.S. consumers, and retaliation from America’s trading partners.

Five of those partners — China, Taiwan, Singapore, South Korea and the European Union — have filed complaints with the World Trade Organization over these tariffs. This begins the long process of determining if the U.S. is violating Section 201 of the 1974 Trade Act. If the answer is yes, these countries can begin putting retaliatory restrictions on our exports to them. That’s hardly a recipe for economic growth here in the U.S.

Or look at the steep tariffs the administration has levied on Canadian softwood lumber imported into the U.S. American lumber companies might cheer this, but how does it affect U.S. consumers? These tariffs “reach deep into new homebuyers’ pockets, causing them to settle for smaller homes, or ones with fewer amenities,” writes researcher Patrick Tyrell. “Some families opt to buy older homes, rather than new homes, hurting home construction jobs. Others drop out of the market altogether.”

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“Nobody wins a trade war. We help ourselves and each other when we stand foursquare for freedom. It’s time to trash the tariffs and update the “rules of the road” for all concerned.”Dr. Ed Feulner, MPC Advisory Council Member

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Think tank President Jimmy Sengenberger expresses support for Trump Administration move to evaluate ‘undue hardship,’ touts ‘first step toward meaningful bankruptcy protection’

Denver, Colo., February 21 – Millennial Policy Center President and CEO Jimmy Sengenberger released the following statement today regarding the Trump Administration decision to publish a request for information regarding potential expansion of bankruptcy protection for student loan borrowers:

“In 1976, Congress virtually eliminated the ability for student loan borrowers to discharge their loans in bankruptcy, offering up an ‘undue hardship’ requirement that has been virtually impossible to meet. This has also made it easier for students to get loans and thereby contributed to the skyrocketing cost of higher ed.

“At that time it was a risk for the lender – but that is no longer the case, and qualifying for federal loans is perhaps even easier than actually getting accepted to an institution. Joined with fundamental reforms to the current student loan system, it is crucial that existing borrowers and new borrowers alike be able to discharge their loans in bankruptcy, just like most other types of loans, after at least 5 years of repayment.

“The Trump Administration is making the right decision to help define ‘undue hardship’ and examine ways to make it more feasible to discharge student loans in bankruptcy. This is the first step toward meaningful bankruptcy protection, and Congress should take up this same mantle as smart public policy. Restoring bankruptcy protection for student loan borrowers will offer relief to deeply-indebted individuals who are ‘overcome by the Walking Debt’ and simultaneously restore risk to the lender, encouraging smarter decisions all around.”

Sengenberger’s statement follows the January release of MPC’s Restoring Higher Education in America policy paper covering higher education costs and student loan debt, as well as a February video specifically on discharging student loans in bankruptcy entitled The WALKING DEBT.

The Millennial Policy Center seeks to offer practical, principled solutions to our nation’s policy challenges, with an emphasis on reaching out to and representing the Millennial Generation (born 1981-1998). Learn more about the Center’s Higher Education Reform Initiative.

For more information visit www.MillennialPolicyCenter.org.

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“The Trump Administration is making the right decision to help define ‘undue hardship’ and examine ways to make it more feasible to discharge student loans in bankruptcy. This is the first step toward meaningful bankruptcy protection, and Congress should take up this same mantle as smart public policy.”Jimmy Sengenberger, MPC President and CEO

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Think tank adds Dr. Feulner, the founder and former president of The Heritage Foundation, as 7th member of board of advisors

Denver, Colo., February 16 – Today the Millennial Policy Center announced the inclusion of Dr. Ed Feulner, Ph.D., the founder and former president of The Heritage Foundation, as the newest member of its Advisory Council.

“Every generation stands on the shoulders of those who went before them, and every generation must be approached in ways that are appropriate and up-to-date,” Dr. Feulner said in a quote. “As we talk about freedom, rule of law and equality of opportunity, we have to do that to the younger generation in ways that they understand. That’s where the Millennial Policy Center excels, and deserves our support.”

MPC President and CEO Jimmy Sengenberger welcomed the news with enthusiasm.

“Dr. Feulner’s exceptional leadership in the policy space is extensive, well-known and highly-regarded,” said Sengenberger. “His guidance of The Heritage Foundation over many years has led it to be arguably the most influential think tank in America. I am thrilled and honored to count Dr. Feulner among those on the Millennial Policy Center’s esteemed Advisory Council.”

The MPC Advisory Council also includes the following:
Hon. John Andrews, former Colorado Senate President and the past founder and/or director of 5 think tanks, including the Independence Institute and the Centennial Institute
Mr. Michael Barone, Resident Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and Senior Political Analyst at The Washington Examiner
Mr. Jon Caldara, President of the Colorado-based Independence Institute
Mr. Jeff Hunt, Director of the Colorado-based Centennial Institute
Dr. Jim Riley, Ph.D., Retired Professor of Politics at Regis University
Hon. Bob Schaffer, former Congressman and former Colorado Board of Education President

“As with all things, we recognize that the success of the Millennial Policy Center can only be achieved with the advice and counsel of experienced thought-leaders like Dr. Feulner, Sen. Andrews and Mr. Barone,” said Sengenberger. “I am appreciative of the Advisory Council we have put together, and I look forward to what the future has in store for MPC, aided by their ongoing support.”

The Millennial Policy Center seeks to offer practical, principled solutions to our nation’s policy challenges, with an emphasis on reaching out to and representing the Millennial Generation (born 1981-1998).

For more information visit www.MillennialPolicyCenter.org.

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“As we talk about freedom, rule of law and equality of opportunity, we have to do that to the younger generation in ways that they understand. That’s where the Millennial Policy Center excels, and deserves our support.”Dr. Ed Feulner, Advisory Council Member

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Brief is the public policy program’s third in 2018, defends the constitutionally-protected right to sell firearms

Denver, Colo., February 12 – The Millennial Policy Center (“MPC”) on Friday filed its third amicus curiae brief to date, this one with the Supreme Court of the United States (“SCOTUS”) in the case of Teixeira v. County of Alameda. Attorney Joseph G.S. Greenlee, a Fellow in Constitutional Studies and Firearms Policy at the Center, coauthored the brief primarily with David Kopel of the Independence Institute. The Cato Institute, Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership and the Independence Institute joined MPC in filing the brief.

The Case and MPC’s Argument
The brief was filed with SCOTUS in support of a petition for certiorari that was filed by the plaintiffs in Teixeira v. County of Alameda. The case presents a challenge to zoning regulations that effectively prohibit any new gun store from opening in an entire jurisdiction. A Ninth Circuit panel held that the prohibition violates the Second Amendment, but the en banc Ninth Circuit reversed that decision, holding that the Second Amendment does not protect the right to sell arms.

“Our brief focuses on the historical understanding of the right to keep and bear arms – which is where any court’s Second Amendment analysis must begin,” said Greenlee. “We explain that arms commerce has been protected since the first English settlement in America in 1606, and that roughly a century-and-a-half later, the Revolutionary War began when the British attempted to cutoff arms commerce in America. When Britain believed victory was in reach, it devised a plan to permanently prohibit arms and arms commerce in America. And after America won the war, the people ratified the Second Amendment to ensure that British-style infringements on the right to keep and bear arms could never be repeated.”

Why did MPC file another gun rights amicus brief?
“The Millennial Policy Center is devoted to policy work that protects the rights and interests of young Americans,” stated MPC President and CEO Jimmy Sengenberger. “The constitutional right to keep and bear arms is one of those fundamental rights to be cherished and supported. Whether it is in the realm of gun rights, higher education costs or other constitutional liberties and policy issues, we will consistently engage in discourse on these critical issues of the day.”

The MPC’s “friend of the court” brief follows one filed with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals case of Virginia Duncan, et. al., v. Xavier Becerra and another with the Colorado Court of Appeals in the matter of Rocky Mountain Gun Owners, et. al., v. John W. Hickenlooper.

“We are yet again proud of the work Joseph Greenlee has done, and we are pleased to have collaborated again with Dave Kopel and the Independence Institute and, this time, with the prolific Cato Institute and Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership,” said Sengenberger. Read the entire amicus curiae brief here.

The Millennial Policy Center
The Millennial Policy Center seeks to offer practical, principled solutions to our nation’s policy challenges, with an emphasis on reaching out to and representing the Millennial Generation (born 1981-1998).

For more information visit www.MillennialPolicyCenter.org.

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“Our brief focuses on the historical understanding of the right to keep and bear arms – which is where any court’s Second Amendment analysis must begin.. We explain that arms commerce has been protected since the first English settlement in America in 1606, and that roughly a century-and-a-half later, the Revolutionary War began when the British attempted to cutoff arms commerce in America…”Joseph Greenlee, Esq., Attorney and MPC Fellow

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Writing in The Daily Caller, Millennial Policy Center Foreign Affairs Fellow Ulysses Kamrani shares the story of a young Iranian woman, Vida Movahed, stood tall in the face of Tehran tyranny – by standing against mandatory hijab laws and facing severe consequences:

“In the middle of a busy December day in Tehran, Vida Movahed, a then-unknown young woman, bravely climbed on top of an electric utility box on the crowded Enghelab (Revolution) Street to take a stance against Iran’s compulsory hijab laws that force women to cover their hair and dress modestly. In a now-viral demonstration, the young woman tied her white headscarf on top of a stick and calmly started waving it like a flag.

Pictures of a small young woman bravely defying the Islamic regime’s 40 years of compulsory hijab laws quickly became a symbol of resistance and widely surfaced on various social media platforms, inspiring dozens of Iranian women all around the country to follow her example.

With such extraordinary courage to stand tall in the face of a brutal theocracy against all the odds and her style of protest, the young women walked in the footsteps of Iranian legends, resurrecting millennia-old epics.

It does not do justice to say Vida “risked” legal consequences, for to risk there must exist some degree of possibility or probability. In a country where the police regularly arrest and drag women into police vans for exposing a few extra strands of hair, legal consequences to Vida’s action are not just “probable” but rather an absolute certainty. By bare-headedly standing on a five feet tall stand on one of the Tehran’s busiest streets, and waving her scarf on top of a stick during the broad daylight, Vida did not risk the consequences–she embraced them.”

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“With such extraordinary courage to stand tall in the face of a brutal theocracy against all the odds and her style of protest, the young women walked in the footsteps of Iranian legends, resurrecting millennia-old epics.”MPC Fellow Ulysses Kamrani

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Brief is the public policy program’s second in one month, challenges Colorado’s 15-round magazine ban in case of RMGO, et. al., v. John W. Hickenlooper

Denver, Colo., January 22 – The Millennial Policy Center (“MPC”) on Monday filed its second amici curiae brief to date, this one with the Colorado Court of Appeals in the case of Rocky Mountain Gun Owners, et. al., v. John W. Hickenlooper. Attorney Joseph G.S. Greenlee, a Fellow in Constitutional Studies and Firearms Policy at the Center, filed the brief on behalf of MPC as well as the Second Amendment Foundation.

The Case and MPC’s Argument
The case centers on a Colorado law that bans magazines capable of holding more than 15 rounds of ammunition. In the brief, MPC argues that this ban violates Colorado’s state constitutional right to keep and bear arms. The document focuses on the text of the right – which was the strongest right to arms provision in any state constitution at the time Colorado’s Constitution was ratified in 1876 – and what the right meant to Colorado’s Founders in the nineteenth century.

“We specifically detail how the experiences of Colorado’s Founders inspired them to include such an extraordinarily broad right in the Constitution,” said Greenlee. “We also explain that repeating arms capable of firing more than 15 rounds predate Colorado’s Constitution by nearly three centuries, that detachable magazines predate the Constitution as well, and that semi-automatic firearms were introduced in the nineteenth century; yet no arms were prohibited in nineteenth-century Colorado. The existence of these arms, and the lack of restrictions on them in the founding era, demonstrate that such arms were protected by the constitutional right as it was originally understood.”

Why did MPC file another gun rights amicus brief?
“The Millennial Policy Center is focused on representing the interests of young Americans, heirs to the nation’s future. We are also based in Denver, Colorado, and have a special interest in the protection of rights under the Colorado Constitution,” stated MPC President and CEO Jimmy Sengenberger. “Given these factors, we have an acute desire to help preserve and protect the constitutionally-protected right to keep and bear arms, both at the state and federal levels.

The “friend of the court” brief comes exactly two weeks after MPC filed its first, which was submitted in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals case of Virginia Duncan, et. al., v. Xavier Becerra and concerned the 10-round magazine ban in California.

“Joseph Greenlee has hit it out of the park once again with this brief,” said Sengenberger. Read the entire amici curiae brief here.

The Millennial Policy Center seeks to offer practical, principled solutions to our nation’s policy challenges, with an emphasis on reaching out to and representing the Millennial Generation (born 1981-1998).

For more information visit www.MillennialPolicyCenter.org.

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“The existence of these arms, and the lack of restrictions on them in the founding era, demonstrate that such arms were protected by the constitutional right as it was originally understood.”Joseph Greenlee, Esq., Attorney and MPC Fellow

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