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Former Secretary of State and Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton once praised the benefits of free trade, including the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). She also pushed for opening the borders to commerce from Mexico and Canada when her husband was running for office in 1992 and touting the North American Free Trade Agreement.

That was then and things are different now. Clinton is backing away from her support of TPP as a way to curry favor with her party, which has become much more anti-trade in recent years. Trade would be a point of contrast for most Republican presidential candidates in past years. But that was then and things are different now.

In both parties, trade has become a four-letter word and weighing in against it is now commonplace on the campaign trail, as Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders have demonstrated.

But some voices are speaking out in support of free trade, arguing it is critical to the national security of the nation.

In an open letter, eight former secretaries of defense and ten retired four-star generals are urging Congress to pass TPP.

The bipartisan group contends the TPP will strengthen alliances with regional powers such as Japan and Singapore and warn that a failure to ratify the agreement will result in a loss of credibility and let others, most likely China, set the rules for engagement in Asia.

David Bahnsen lends his support to the benefits to international commerce in a recent column in Forbes, arguing that closing borders would hurt the middle class more than any free trade deal.

“In fact, to shed American advancements with free trade would create the biggest enemy for middle class America we have ever seen – mass economic stagnation. Our highly globalized economy now benefits from intensely specialized supply chains, and to throw a wrench into that process will hurt two demographics the most: (1) American workers, and (2) American consumers (yes, they are often the same),” he writes.

Australia Looks To International Education To Boost Economy
In an effort to recoup some of the losses coming from the decline of the mining boom, the Australian government recently outlined a plan to boost the appeal of its universities and education institutions to foreign students.

“This will lead to greater engagement, greater business and diplomatic activity,” Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop said.

“Science, research initiatives, and it really is a very exciting strategy to build on the strength of Australia’s international education system,” added Bishop during a press conference announcing the strategy.

International education is the country’s third-largest export industry after iron ore and coal, according to The Australian.

Boosting Family Income Helps Children Succeed In School
In the U.S., education policy and spending has long focused on school readiness to ensure children from low-income families can succeed in school. However, a new study from Russ Whitehurst, an adviser to former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, reveals that putting money in low-income parents’ pockets has a bigger effect on child achievement than pre-K and early learning programs.

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