A trove of information seized during the 2011 raid on Osama Bin Laden’s compound was declassified yesterday.  In total, 266 English-language books, U.S. government documents, and think tank reports were found in Bin Laden’s Pakistan hideaway. And among the documents recovered was a report from Heritage Foundation expert Jim Phillips.

Phillips’ report, “The Evolving Al-Qaeda Threat,” is a testimony he gave in 2006 before the House Armed Services Committee’s subcommittee on terrorism.

The key to defeating Al Qaeda, Phillips argued, is to discredit and defeat its ideology — not just to target Al Qaeda leaders.  So a two-pronged approach is necessary to truly defeat the terrorist network: we must confront them not only on the battlefield but in the ideological war of ideas.

“The revelation made me feel queasy and surreal,” Phillips said of this uninvited notoriety:

Queasy because I was shocked at how much attention Bin Laden evidently paid to think tank analyses and Washington debates on counterterrorism strategy.  I hope that anything I wrote did not help him.  Also surreal, because I have been reading his writings and video transcripts since before 9/11 and it is odd to think that he also was reading mine.

In a way, the discovery of Phillips’ report among Bin Laden’s reading materials is a testament to the power of ideas. Heritage works to ensure that our analyses, grounded in the principles of the American founding, have as broad an audience as possible, whether we’re making the case for economic reform or for defeating Al-Qaeda.

In his testimony, Phillips quoted conservative thinker Richard Weaver’s dictum that “Ideas have consequences” and explained how Muslims must be convinced that Bin Laden’s ideas have bad consequences, not just for the United States or non-Muslims, but for Muslims themselves.

Los Angeles’ city council voted this week to increase the city’s minimum hourly wage to $15 by 2020, up from $9 today. Heritage labor economist James Sherk explained the consequences of such a drastic hike in a report last fall:

Union activists want to raise the minimum wage in the fast-food industry to $15 an hour. However, fast-food restaurants operate on very small profit margins; they could only afford such wages by raising prices—significantly. Higher prices would, in turn, drive customers away, forcing even larger price increases to cover costs. Ultimately, the average fast-food restaurant would have to raise prices by nearly two-fifths. This would cause sales to drop by more than one-third, and profits to fall by more than three-quarters. Absent the widespread adoption of labor-saving technology, the union-led “Fight for 15” would make fast food much more expensive for Americans.

Do you think the government should set minimum wages like this? Tell us in the comments.

Well-connected businesses bolstered by the Export Import Bank “don’t need the help, but they’ll take all the favors they can get,” Heritage President Jim DeMint writes in Investor’s Business Daily. It’s time for the bank to go:

There are mounting reasons to shut down the Ex-Im Bank, and fewer to keep it open. This government bank helps only a small fraction of U.S. businesses; it gives big corporate beneficiaries an unfair advantage; it’s rife with fraud and unethical behavior; and it assists unfriendly foreign governments and businesses they control.

Congress has to decide whether to reauthorize the Ex-Im in June. Americans want a healthy economy and an efficient, accountable government, not one that doles out favors to a select few wealthy people, corporations or foreign governments and corporations working against U.S. interests overseas.

We should expect our government to create opportunities for everyone, and give favoritism to none.

Do you think Congress should allow the Export-Import Bank to expire?

Photo: NTSB/UPI/Newscom

Some left-leaning politicians are exploiting last week’s Amtrak derailment tragedy to push for more government spending. Heritage experts Paul Winfree and Michael Sargent write on the FoxNews.com that this solution is not only distasteful but also doesn’t address the key problem:

The partisan finger-pointing came well before the investigation into the accident could produce any answers—including the revelation that the train went into a sharp curve at more than twice the designated speed limit. In addition, the Republican funding bill they were disparaging does not cut allocations to safety programs for the National Transportation Safety Board or the Federal Railroad Administration. Yet when federal funding is at stake, ideology happily tramples facts in its race to exploit human tragedy.

You can read Winfree and Sargent’s full analysis here.

Do you think spending more money on Amtrak is the right answer? Tell us in the comments.

How much are regulations costing the U.S. economy? Don’t ask the federal government. Heritage expert Norbert Michel explains in Forbes:

Believe it or not, the federal government doesn’t officially track regulatory costs as it does with things like taxes and spending.

But executive branch agencies that promulgate “major rules”—defined as those expected to cost the economy $100 million or more annually—provide some cost estimates for the rules they issue. These agencies estimated that their major rules from 2014 will cost the economy approximately $80 billion per year.

Heritage experts explored this and other regulatory issues in-depth in a new report, Red Tape Rising.

Which costly regulations would you reform? 

« Older Entries