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THIS WEEK'S ARTICLES
Clinton's Corporate Ties
Graham Bets on Military Résumé for 2016
Ohio Depicts Trade Deal's Complexity
France's Pain Helps Explain Islamic Extremism's Causes
Govs. Jindal, Christie, and Walker Face Fiscal Challenges at Home as They Eye 2016

Clinton's Corporate Ties
by: James V. Grimaldi and Rebecca Ballhaus
Feb 20, 2015
Click here to view the full article on WSJ.com

TOPICS: Presidential Election

SUMMARY: Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, a potential front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination, has had extensive involvement with corporate America, a concern of progressives in the Democratic Party. As secretary of state Clinton pushed American business interests, similar to others in that post, but her emphasis on economics was greater than any secretary of state since George Marshall, according to Matthew Goodman, who was an official in the State Department when Clinton served and now is at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a D.C. think tank. Clinton pushed projects of corporations such as Microsoft, GE, Exxon Mobil, Chevron, and Boeing around the world. These same corporations gave to the Clinton Global Initiative, now called the Bill, Hillary, and Chelsea Clinton Foundation, and to Clinton's non-profit women's charity, Vital Voices. There is no evidence that there was a quid-pro-quo or that anything illegal was done; however, the interconnections worry potential supporters. While Clinton was at the State Department the Clinton Foundation limited donations and had speaking engagements approved. If Clinton does run for president, the foundation said that it will consider whether to continue to receive donations from foreign governments. Progressives see a potential discontinuity between Clinton's involvement with these corporations and her populist themes, such as concern for income disparities, which she is likely to emphasize in a campaign.

CLASSROOM APPLICATION: James V. Grimaldi and Rebecca Ballhaus review a concern about the connections that Hillary Clinton has had to large corporations as secretary of state and with the Clinton foundation if she chooses to run for president. The class can first discuss the economic role of the secretary of state as a backer of U.S. corporate interests around the world. The involvement of the secretary of state with private firms is a concern for some while other see this as benefiting U.S. workers and stock holders. More worry is given in this case because of Hillary Clinton and her husband's involvement in a foundation, founded by Bill Clinton after he left the presidency, which was supported by many of these same corporations and foreign governments. This is an unusual ethical situation because cabinet secretaries have not run for the presidency. However, like other former cabinet members, Clinton has given well-compensated speeches. Does the class believe that involvement with corporations, including support for financial interests on Wall Street when Clinton was a senator from New York, which of course is the epicenter of the financial world, would make campaign issues, such as reducing economic inequality and support of an increase in the minimum wage less, less effective? If Clinton chooses to run, does the class believe that this involvement with corporations will be a problem given that the Republican candidate probably will have corporate connections as well?

QUESTIONS: 
1. (Introductory) Compare opposition from Democrats for the nomination on the basis of Hillary Clinton's corporation connections to opposition issues from Republicans should she be the Democratic nominee?

2. (Introductory) Despite the corporate contributions to the Clinton foundation, does Hillary Clinton benefit politically from the work that the foundation does around the world?

3. (Advanced) Could Hillary Clinton mute concerns about her involvement with corporations if she received the endorsement of Elizabeth Warren, seen as the leader of the progressive wing of the Democratic Party?

4. (Advanced) Thus far, Hillary Clinton has not announced whether she will run for president. Compare the benefits of declaring now versus the benefits of waiting until at least the summer.

Reviewed By: Edward Miller, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point

RELATED ARTICLES: 
Clinton Foundation Rethinking Foreign Donations
by Peter Nicholas
Feb 20, 2015
Page: A6

Clinton Foundation Defends Acceptance of Foreign Donations
by Peter Nicholas and Rebecca Balhaus
Feb 18, 2015
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Graham Bets on Military Résumé for 2016
by: Kristina Peterson
Feb 21, 2015
Click here to view the full article on WSJ.com
Click here to view the video on WSJ.com WSJ Video

TOPICS: Presidential Election, Republicans

SUMMARY: Unanticipated by most observers, Senator Lindsey Graham (D., S.C.) is exploring a run for the presidency. Unlike the probable other Republican candidates, many of whom are current or former governors, Graham has been involved in foreign and military affairs as an Air Force officer and as member of both the House and Senate Armed Services committees. Of the other potential candidates, only Senator Marco Rubio (R., Fla.) has focused on foreign policy. Graham, known as hardliner and supporter of a muscular military policy, has criticized President Barack Obama for concentrating too heavily on reaching a nuclear agreement with Iran without giving sufficient consideration to the growing influence of Iran in the Middle East. Graham has also been critical of Obama for not being forceful enough in fighting the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) and supports increased defense spending. If voters emphasize their concern about threats to the U.S., Graham could gain advantage over the other contenders. Graham would also benefit from the early Republican primary in his home state of South Carolina, where an NBC/Marist poll shows him having a slim lead.

CLASSROOM APPLICATION: Kristina Peterson writes about the potential entry of South Carolina's Lindsey Graham into the Republican Party's presidential race. With Graham having more knowledge and experience in foreign policy, the class can project whether foreign policy concerns will be a priority for the electorate, which would advantage Graham. Continuing reports of international concerns, especially the expanding influence of the Islamic State and fighting in Ukraine, could tilt the electorate away from governors, who have had little foreign policy experience. Polls showed that voters were closer to the Democratic Party on many domestic issues in 2004, but concern about national security led to the reelection of George W. Bush, who gained prominence on national security issues after the 9/11 attacks. With the economy improving, the electorate could again consider international issues as key in influencing their vote. Increasingly, respondents to polls have said they are willing to send U.S. troops to fight the Islamic State, which Graham has said is probably necessary. Students can assess whether it is too late for Graham to enter the race. Have too many big donors committed to another candidate? The class can also comment on the whether the region that a candidate comes from would give those from the South, such as Graham, an advantage, given that Republicans have their strongest base in the South. Could national security concerns and regional advantage focus the contest on Graham and Marco Rubio? Does the class believe that Graham is seriously contesting the election or mainly intends to try to influence the issues prominent in the race.

QUESTIONS: 
1. (Introductory) Senator John McCain (R., Az.) is a friend of Senator Lindsey Graham (R.,S.C.) and both have similar views. Do you see advantages that McCain had in capturing the Republican nomination would also be beneficial to a Graham candidacy?

2. (Introductory) How important has the South Carolina primary been to gaining the Republican Party nomination in recent years?

3. (Advanced) Do you see concerns about foreign policy by the electorate being cyclical, i.e. osculating between a more interventionist and more isolationist policies?

4. (Advanced) Why did the tea-party wing of the Republican Party try to defeat Senator Graham in 2014?

Reviewed By: Edward Miller, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point

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Sen. Lindsey Graham to 'Test the Waters' for 2016 Bid
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Ohio Depicts Trade Deal's Complexity
by: Siobhan Hughes
Feb 23, 2015
Click here to view the full article on WSJ.com

TOPICS: Trade, Trade Agreements

SUMMARY: The Obama administration's negotiation of additional trade deals, especially with Pacific Rim countries, and pursuing fast-track legislation in Congress, which while allowing lawmakers to give input into trade agreements requires a an up or down vote on trade pacts, are stirring opposition in Congress. Ohio, a manufacturing state with considerable agriculture, illustrates the complexity of trade consideration. Both Republican Rob Portman and Democrat Sherrod Brown, who represent Ohio in the Senate, previously split on supporting past trade deals with Portman in favor and Brown opposed. Today both are concerned that there is insufficient enforcement in the agreements and a lack of inclusion of penalties for currency manipulation, which the administration had been unwilling to incorporate in the pacts. With past trade deals Ohio has lost jobs in manufacturing to other nations producing cheaper goods but have benefited from the agreements in expanding the sale of agricultural products, especially soybeans.

CLASSROOM APPLICATION: Siobhan Hughes, focusing on Ohio, illustrates problems that lawmakers are having in agreeing to fast-tract legislation, which is formally called trade promotion authority (TPA). The class can first discuss the history of fast-tract, which was first authorized in 1975 and prevents Congress from amending and filibustering trade agreements. TPA expired in 2007 for new agreements. President Obama is seeking a renewal but this has been blocked in Congress. Several trade agreements, which President George Bush had signed, were approved by Congress during the Obama administration under TPA authority that had been grandfathered in. However, new agreements have had a problem, especially the Trans-Pacific Partnership, involving Pacific Rim nations, which President Obama said needs TPA authority to conclude the agreement. Students can examine a variety of objections by U.S. legislators to this agreement, which they said could impact a variety of U.S. laws and would not protect the U.S. against currency manipulation. The purposes of trade agreements can be listed and the benefits of reducing trade barriers. While this seems advantageous, students can discuss concerns, especially for U.S. manufacturing that is noted in Hughes article. With Republicans raising constitutional concerns about other president actions, especially on immigration, does the class believe that these objections would flow to fast-track authority?

QUESTIONS: 
1. (Introductory) Contrast Democratic and Republican objections to fast-track authority, being requested by President Obama.

2. (Introductory) Why is fast-track authority needed for trade agreements while treaties are considered differently?

3. (Advanced) One concern with these trade agreements is that they do not include provisions against currency manipulations. What are currency manipulations and how do they affect trade?

4. (Advanced) One of the largest trade pacts was North American Free Trade Agreement, negotiated in the Clinton administration. What have been conflicts over the benefits of NAFTA to the U.S.?

Reviewed By: Edward Miller, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point

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Treasury Official Says Keep Currency Measures Out of Trade Talks
by Ian Talley
Feb 19, 2015
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France's Pain Helps Explain Islamic Extremism's Causes
by: Gerald F. Seib
Feb 24, 2015
Click here to view the full article on WSJ.com

TOPICS: France, Terrorism

SUMMARY: To understand the development of individuals who choose to join terrorist movements, an examination of France, which has a long experience of dealing with the problem, could prove helpful. Bernard Cazeneuve, France' s interior minister, explained that many of those involved in the 1990s attacks in France were extremists coming out of the experience of fighting with Osama bin Laden's forces against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan. Once these individuals were caught and imprisoned, they radicalized younger Muslim inmates, who upon their release recruited others from slum neighborhoods in France. Mosques became a key venue in addition to prisons for developing terrorist fighters. For France the push for the secularization of the government in Algeria, which suppressed Muslims, and economic and social dissatisfaction are factors. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan further escalated Islamic radicalization, turning it against the United States. Thus radical Islamic terrorism is not new and cannot be attributed to a single cause.

CLASSROOM APPLICATION: Gerald F. Seib's Capital Journal delves into the causes of Islamic radicalization. Key to radicalization is the wars in Afghanistan with the Soviet invasion and French action in Algeria. The class can discuss both these. They can review why the Soviets entered Afghanistan and the role of the U.S. in this engagement, which turned out as supporting the side that the U.S. later fought. President Carter pulled back the weapons treaty with the Soviet Union, SALT II, from Senate consideration because of the Soviet invasion. Students can indicate why they believe that Osama bin Laden opposed the U.S., given that this was before the U.S. became involved in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. Could the U.S. support of Israel in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict be a factor? Further, the class can analyze some individuals' views of Islam and why it opposes "modernization." Driving forces include opposition to modernization, opposition to what radical see as western aggression, feeling that Islam is being suppressed or denigrated, and reaction to economic deprivation. Radical teaching and recruitment in prisons, some mosques, schools, and poor neighborhoods expand the number joining these movements. The Islamic State has particularly benefited because it is being viewed by some as a successful, being able to gain and hold territory. Given this, students can discuss methods to counter these influences and reduce their recruitment success. In this context, the class can debate the controversial tactic taken by the Obama administration in not referring to terrorists as Islamic in an effort to delegitimize them.

QUESTIONS: 
1. (Introductory) For France, the fight over Algeria resulted in some of the initial attacks by Islamic terrorists. Explain what the fight between France and Algeria radicals was over.

2. (Introductory) The Soviet invasion of Afghanistan is considered a key in the rise of terrorism. Why did the Soviet Union invade Afghanistan? What role did the U.S. play?

3. (Advanced) What about modernization is opposed by a number of the Islamic radicals? Do you believe they see this as a "holy war"?

4. (Advanced) To reduce terrorist recruitment, what approach is the U.S. attempting to follow?

Reviewed By: Edward Miller, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point

RELATED ARTICLES: 
Muslim Cleric Seeks to Curb Radical Islam
by Ahmed Al Omran and Tamer El-Ghobashy
Feb 24, 2015
Page: A8


Govs. Jindal, Christie, and Walker Face Fiscal Challenges at Home as They Eye 2016
by: Heather Haddon and Mark Peters
Feb 25, 2015
Click here to view the full article on WSJ.com
Click here to view the video on WSJ.com WSJ Video

TOPICS: Presidential Election, States

SUMMARY: Several governors are among the potential candidates for the Republican nomination for president. Typically governors showcase their state budgets, services, and economy in their run for the presidency. However, three governors, who are traveling across the country in an effort to build support for their candidacies, face major budget challenges at home. Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal has a $1.6 budget deficit impacted by falling tax revenue and declining oil prices. The state was given a negative outlook rating by Moody's Investors Service. Jindal continues to lay off state workers, which number 32,000 state employees since he took office in 2008. New Jersey under Governor Chris Christie has a major budget deficit, has been downgraded 8 times by credit agencies, and has failed to make required payments to the public pension and health benefits funds, where liabilities now add up to $37 billion. To make matters worse, a judge has ordered Christie to make a $3 billion payment to the pension fund. Wisconsin's Governor Walker also is dealing with budget deficits, including $233 million in the current fiscal year. Walker is accused of giving tax reductions to business firms, resulting in the tax shortfall. To reduce expenses for the fiscal year beginning in July, Walker has slashed the budget of the University of Wisconsin System by $300 million, which is 13% of their state funds from the current level. Walker continues to institute major changes in government that are on the agenda of very conservative groups. While these governors are facing significant fiscal challenges, potential Republican candidate former Governor Rick Perry of Texas points to his state's strong revenue and top credit rating.

CLASSROOM APPLICATION: Heather Haddon and Mark Peters examine the fiscal problems faced by potential Republican president candidates, Governors Jindal, Christie, and Walker, in their home states. Without a foreign policy record, these governors need to showcase what they have done in their own states. With each state being in significant deficit, the candidates may face problems. Given that the economy has improved and federal tax receipts are up, students can discuss why these states are having such fiscal problems. One reason is that their agenda includes reducing taxes to business firms on the assumption that tax reductions will attract businesses to their states. Research though has shown that state tax reductions have a very small impact on attracting and retaining firms and as in these cases cause shortfalls in state revenue. (see Wall Street Journal Article cited in related article section) Given this, students can suggest why these governors continue to pursue economic development with grants to business and tax incentives. Typically businesses do want a high level of government provided services, including schools and roads, among others. Could the consequence of the cuts required to meet deficits result in disincentives for businesses locating in their states? The class can look at jobs data in each of these states and compare their increase to those of the nation and their region's average.

QUESTIONS: 
1. (Introductory) It is often noted that the federal government runs a regular deficit but 49 states are required to balance their budget. Explain why you cannot compare the federal budget to state budgets on this dimension?

2. (Introductory) Governors Jindal, Christie, and Walker present their states on their campaign trails as strong fiscally. What impact do you believe these pronouncements have when the reality, as noted by Healthier Haddon and Mark Peters, is very different?

3. (Advanced) Louisiana and New Jersey have seen downgrades by rating agencies. What impact does that have on a state?

4. (Advanced) Governor Walker's slashing of the University of Wisconsin System budget and radical changes of public schools, environmental policy, parks, and public broadcasting, among others, have caused considerable vocal opposition in the state and led to demonstations in the state capital. Given that Walker could have predicted this response, why do you believe he recommended these changes in his budget at the time that he is running for the Republican nomination for president?

Reviewed By: Edward Miller, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point

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Tax-Subsidy Programs Fuel Budget Deficits
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