As the Federal Reserve holds a conference in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, Heritage President Jim DeMint asks if the Fed is even necessary:

Faith in the Fed is built on three arrogant conceits: that government can create wealth; that designated experts possess the perfect knowledge required to manipulate money for the common good, and that markets cannot sort themselves out without the coercive influence of technocrats.

But the Fed’s track record offers no evidence that the nation’s appointed gurus of monetary policy can either spur real economic growth or halt economic downturns.

Do you think the Federal Reserve needs reform? How would you reform it?

On September 17, we celebrate the birth of one of our most important national documents: the Constitution of the United States.

At the core of this 226-year-old document are the first principles our Founding Fathers envisioned: free enterprise, limited government, individual freedom, traditional American values, and a strong national defense. These are the same principles The Heritage Foundation promotes today.

Heritage will celebrate the Constitution’s anniversary with our sixth annual Preserve the Constitution Series, which kicks off on Tuesday, September 15. Presented by Heritage’s Edwin Meese Center for Legal and Judicial studies, this is a seven-part lecture series that culminates in the annual Joseph Story Distinguished Lecture, featuring Judge Carlos Bea. The lineup also includes former solicitor general Paul Clement, who will preview the upcoming Supreme Court term; Chapman University’s John Eastman, who will debate birthright citizenship and the Constitution; and many more.

Get information on the full series and how to attend.

And don’t forget to check out Heritage’s Guide to the Constitution, which provides a clause-by-clause analysis of the entire Constitution from top legal minds.

How will you celebrate Constitution Day?

Tensions between North and South Korea eased earlier this week.  North Korea will apologize for the deaths of two South Korean citizens, and South Korea will stop broadcasting anti-North Korean propaganda.

For the time being, the threat of a military clash on the peninsula has been avoided. “While the risk of an immediate inadvertent military clash has receded, the underlying causes remain in place and the tense status quo remains,” Heritage Foundation expert Bruce Klingner warns.

How did we get here? Klingner sums up the turmoil:

Seoul has reported that North Korea fired several artillery shells into South Korea triggering a South Korean military response by dozens of artillery rounds. The North Korean attack likely was directed at South Korean loudspeakers blaring anti-North Korean propaganda. Earlier this month, Pyongyang vowed “indiscriminate strikes” on South Korea unless Seoul halted the propaganda broadcasts along the DMZ.

North and South Korea have had rocky relations for the last fifty-plus years. This most recent cease-fire stopped a breakout of war, but there have been countless similar efforts over the decades that failed. The only way to maintain peace, Klingner reports, is “through the continued presence of strong and vigilant South Korean and U.S. military forces.”

Do you think the United States should retain a tough stance against North Korea?

Writing in TIME, Heritage President Jim DeMint says the rest of PBS should follow the lead of Sesame Street:

Big Bird, like the dodo, doesn’t fly. But he may now fair better than the ungainly fowl last seen in Mauritius in the 1600s. That’s because Big Bird has migrated to HBO, leaving behind the unchallenging environment of public broadcasting.

The dodo became extinct because it was flightless. It was flightless because, facing no predators or competitors for centuries on an isolated island in the Indian Ocean, it forgot how to fly. Once European explorers and their dogs showed up on Mauritius, the bird was hunted down mercilessly.

To avoid this fate, Sesame Workshop, which produces Big Bird and all of the Muppets on Sesame Street, struck a five-year deal that will make the children’s program available first on HBO, injecting an undisclosed amount of cash into Sesame Workshop. The episodes will still air on PBS several months later.

What do you think? Should taxpayers fund programs like Sesame Street?

Photo: Luke Macgregor/Reuters/Newscom

Japan wants to bring about a “New Industrial Revolution Driven by Robots,” and they country’s government is adopting policies to make that a reality.

Robots could conceivably automate almost everything from agricultural equipment to automobiles, disaster-relief services to pharmaceuticals industries. And for a country facing an aging and declining population, a robot revolution could be the answer to Japan’s demographic and labor challenges.

But how would this affect the world at large? Heritage Foundation expert Riley Walters explains in Japan Today:

Japanese robotics may succumb to the so-called Galapagos syndrome—the technological phenomenon in Japan whereby electronic devices for the domestic market thrive, while the foreign market is almost non-existent.

To avoid such an eventuality, the ministry is seeking adherence to international standards — such as those of the International Organization for Standards (ISO), an industry norms-setting body.

This ought to draw in high-end investment, allow international compliance, and expand Japanese robot exports to world markets that seemingly are becoming less reliant on them.

Aside from the potential future international agreements and entanglements, there are more immediate concerns for Japan. Robots won’t cure the demographic and labor problems Japan is facing now, Walters says, and there are other reforms that must take priority.

What do you think? Is Japan leading the way?

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