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April in Brief


What happened in the TFAS network during the month of April? In case you missed it (ICYMI), read on to learn how El Salvador is making a move toward free trade, about a Public Policy Fellow who is fighting for freedom, how TFAS is reaching more college students with economic education and more! Stay up to date on the latest TFAS news by subscribing to our weekly newsletter at TFAS.org/SignUp.

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TFAS VP Writes about Economic Hope for El Salvador

Steve Slattery connects with TFAS alumni in Santiago, Chile, in 2018, and learns how how they’re making a difference in their communities.

Steve Slattery, TFAS executive vice president, wrote for The Hill about his hopes for the people of El Salavador under the new administration of president-elect Nayib Bukele.

After hearing Bukele speak at The Heritage Foundation about his plan to bring El Salvador out of a socialistic haze, Slattery was inspired by the new leader’s message of hope, optimism and a move toward free trade with the international community.

Instead of looking for international aid, Bukele spoke about his want to foster business relationships that will revitalize industries in El Salvador, directly impacting the people of his country. Specifically, Bukele is looking to build a strong relationship with the U.S. based on business instead of immigration.

Bukele’s message probably comes as a shock to anyone who has been used to thinking of Central and South American countries as safe havens for socialist politics. But Latin America is changing rapidly, thanks in part to the younger generation.”

– Steve Slattery, TFAS Executive Vice President

Slattery writes that Bukele’s motto, “government does not foster creativity — people do,” is a lesson for other South American countries and a sign of the region turning toward liberty – freer markets, more private property rights and a greater rule of law. While it might surprise some that the country is taking this turn, Slattery said that he is not.

Slattery writes, “The Fund for American Studies has educated university students throughout Latin America. Interacting with these young people, I’ve noticed their strong desire to break away from their countries’ socialist and fascist histories; instead, they favor systems based on free markets, private property rights, and the rule of law. Many are motivated to stay close to home and improve their societies.”

Read more of Slattery’s op-ed at The Hill.

Alumna Testifies for Economic Freedoms

TFAS alumna Melanie Benit ’14, ’15, PPF ’18, testified before the New York City Council Committee on Consumer Affairs and Business Licensing in support of a bill that would lift restrictive caps on street vending permits. Benit said the current law not only keeps countless entrepreneurs from entering the market, but also hurts the vendor industry as a whole.

Melanie Benit, PPF ’18, talks with other 2018 Public Policy Fellows and alumna Lori Windham following a dinner and discussion at TFAS Headquarters in April.

“For years, [the Institute for Justice has] worked to lift the destructive caps on New York City’s vending permits,” Benit said. “All New Yorkers should get to experience the many economic, culinary and cultural benefits of the New York City vending industry.” Hear Benit’s full testimony on YouTube.

Benit fights for the freedoms of every-day Americans in her role as activism associate for the Institute for Justice (IJ), where she mobilizes grassroots activists from around the nation to defeat abuses of government power. Earlier in the month, Benit’s work with IJ helped eliminate homemade food restrictions, or “cottage food” laws, for West Virginians.

“This is a great change for West Virginia small businesses and for American small business generally,” said Benit. “Another state is realizing that over-regulation is harming everyday Americans and, by government loosening its grip, people are given the opportunity to try their hand at entrepreneurship.” Read more about the initiative in Forbes.

Benit is a two-time TFAS alumna and current TFAS Public Policy Fellow. She says her experience in the TFAS Public Policy Fellowship has allowed her “to meet a group of people with different backgrounds but equal passion to make the world a better, freer place.”

TFAS Brings Lessons on Entrepreneurship and Political Economy to College Campuses

Dr. Bradley presents Capital Semester student Tyler Kelleher ’19 with the Academic Excellence in Economics award.

Do terrorists operate under the same economic principles as the rest of the world? How do entrepreneurs fit into a free-market economy? These are the topics and questions TFAS Academic Director Dr. Anne Bradley has been addressing in the TFAS Campus Lecture Series.

The TFAS Campus Lecture Series is an effort funded through our Liberty + Leadership Campaign to reach more students with TFAS lessons and curriculum. The initiative brings TFAS faculty and guest speakers to campuses across the country to present engaging discussions on economics and policy. 

Exposing them to the economic toolkit will enable them to better process how they should think about important policy questions that will impact their lives and the lives of everyone in our country.”

– Dr. Anne Bradley, TFAS Academic Director

Dr. Bradley speaks to 250 college students at Texas Tech University about the “Economics of Terrorism.”

Recently, Dr. Bradley visited Clemson University to speak to student about the political economy of terrorism. By using al-Qaeda as a case study in modern terrorism from a rational choice, Dr. Bradley demonstrates how the economic way of thinking can provide a framework for analysis and how economic freedom can offer counterstrategies.

The Clemson event was co-sponsored by The Clemson Institute for the Study of Capitalism. Hear Dr. Bradley speak in person this summer during our 2019 Annual Conference in D.C.

Alumni Quick Links

  • Benjamin Dierker, PPF ’18, says the Supreme Court is not the final say on the Constitution in The Federalist.
  • Frederico Bartels, PPF ’18, writes for the Daily Signal about the need for a better budget process.
  • Naomi Schaefer Riley, Novak ’01, writes about “the real digital divide” for The Washington Post.
  • Laura Vanderkam ’99, Novak ’06, reviews “The Moment of Lift” by Melinda Gates for The Wall Street Journal.
  • Firas Maksad ’01 writes about attitudes of social and economic changes in Saudi Arabia for ForeignPolicy.com.

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