Do you support the creation of a European Army?

In November 2018 German chancellor Angela Merkel and President Emmanuel Macron of France announced that they would support the creation of a European army. Ms. Merkel said that the EU should rely less on the U.S. for military support and that “Europeans should take our fate more into our own hands if we want to survive as a European community.” Ms. Merkley said the army would not oppose NATO. President Marcon said the army is needed to protect the EU against China, Russia and the United States. Proponents argue that the EU lacks a united defence force to handle sudden conflicts outside of NATO. Opponents question how the army would fund itself since many EU countries spend less than 2% of their GDP on defence.

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Should France remain in NATO?

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization is an intergovernmental military alliance based on the North Atlantic Treaty which was signed on April 4th, 1949. It is a political and military alliance of member countries from Europe and North America that agree to provide military and economic security for each other. NATO makes all of its decisions by consensus and every member country, no matter how large or small, has an equal say.

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Should every 18 year old citizen be required to provide at least one year of military service?

Military Service is currently not required in France. Military service was required from 1798 – 2001. In 1798 Napoleon required military service for the Grande Armee. The modern form of universal national service was introduced in France in 1905 when conscripts had to serve two years in the armed forces. The modern form of universal national service was introduced in France in 1905 when conscripts had to serve two years in the armed forces. This increased to three years in World War I but was progressively reduced to 10 months and millions of young men were called up down the years.

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Should France support the Kurds in establishing their own territory?

In 2016 fighting broke out between Turkish armed forces and the Kurdish YPG militia in northern Syria. President Hollande blamed Turkey for using military force against the Kurds instead of fighting ISIS. France has historically backed the Kurds against Turkey since 150,000 immigrants migrated into France in the 1970s.

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Should France accept refugees from Syria?

In 2015, President François committed to accept 30,00 refugees from Syria. An estimated 3 Million refugees have migrated from Syria since the summer of 2015. Those in favor of accepting refugees believe that France has a duty to join its allies and accept at least 30,000 refugees. Opponents argue that France should stay out of this crisis and accepting refugees from the Middle East leads to a risk of letting terrorists into the country.

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Should the government increase or decrease foreign aid spending?

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Was France’s colonization of Algeria a crime against humanity?

In the May 3, 2017 Presidential debate Marine Le Pen accused Emmanuel Marcon of propagating hatred by calling France’s colonization of Algeria “a crime against humanity.” Marcon made the comment to a newspaper during a visit to Algiers in February 2017. In recent years France has taken steps to smooth relations with Algeria. 1.5m people were killed during the Algerian war of independence which ended in 1962. French government officials have acknowledge France’s poor treatment of Algerians during the war but have stopped short of apologizing.

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Should the number of countries in the European Union be reduced to 15?

Proponents of reducing the number of countries argue that the EU has grown too large. This leaves it ill-equipped to deal economic disasters like the recent crisis in Greece. Opponents of reducing the number of EU countries argue that the EU helped generate economic growth among countries who were poor before they joined the EU.

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Should intelligence agencies be merged to create a central EU agency?

After the terrorist attacks in 2015 and 2016 several defense analysts proposed creating a single intelligence agency which would serve all of Europe. Proponents argue that it would streamline intelligence amongst member countries and prevent future terrorist attacks. Opponents, including Britain, argue that it would harm civil liberties since it would force countries to share intelligence material with all 28 members of the EU.

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Should France support the Syrian governments military offensive against ISIS?

The Syrian Civil war began in the spring of 2011 after nationwide protests against the government of President Bashar al-Assad resulted in armed conflict. After rebels seized control of several major cities, ISIS forces moved in and took over control of many regions of northern Syria. The government of Assad responded by carrying out airstrikes resulting in over 70,000 civilian deaths. France has been critical of Assad’s response to the war and in 2016 proposed a U.N. Security Council resolution to sanction Syria for the use of chemical weapons.

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Should the EU evolve into the United States of Europe?

The United States of Europe is a speculative European Federation that unifies Europe as a single sovereign federation of states. The hypothetical unification would create a government similar to that of the United States of America. In the scenario each European county would become a state governed by a single federal government. Proponents, including the Belgian author Guy Verhofstadt, argue that such a federation would help stabilize the EU economy and save defense costs by consolidating each country’s military into one force which would serve all of Europe. Opponents argue that European voters would never approve the proposal since the popularity of the EU is at historic lows.

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Should the U.K. and Northern Ireland remain in the EU’s customs area after Brexit?

The UK and Northern Ireland are scheduled to leave the EU on March 29, 2019. Under a transition agreement all trade and economic relations between the UK and the EU will remain the same until the end of 2022. In 2018 members of parliament and Prime Minister Theresa May proposed a “backstop” which would allow the UK and Northern Ireland to remain inside the EU’s single market for goods and farm products. Proponents argue that keeping the UK in the EU’s customers area will boost the economy by streamlining trade and tourism. Opponents, including anti-EU lawmakers, argue that the backstop would lock the UK inside the EU’s customs area permanently and prevent it from signing trade deals on its own.

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Should the UK be allowed to access European Markets once they leave the EU?

The EU single market removes all regulations and trade barriers amongst the 28 member countries of the European Union. The goal of the single market is to stimulate competition and trade, improve efficiency, raise the quality of goods and reduce prices. After the UK voted to leave the EU in 2016 the issue was raised as to how businesses in the UK would participate in the market. Several member countries proposed charging the UK a fee to participate. Norway currently pays a fee to participate and analysts estimate that charging the UK a similar fee would amount to $4 - $5 billion a year.

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Should France maintain diplomatic relations with Russia?

In January 2017 Russian President Vladimir Putin and French President Hollande had a phone call where they discussed peacemaking efforts in Ukraine and Syria. The call occurred after a Russia and Turkey declared a ceasefire at the end of 2016. Relations between France and Russia had been hostile over France displeasure with Russia’s involvement in Syria and the Ukraine.

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Should the government attempt to influence foreign elections?

Foreign electoral interventions are attempts by governments, covertly or overtly, to influence elections in another country. A 2016 study by Dov H. Levin concluded that the country intervening in most foreign elections was the United States with 81 interventions, followed by Russia (including the former Soviet Union) with 36 interventions from 1946 to 2000. In July 2018 U.S. Representative Ro Khanna introduced an amendment that would have prevented U.S. intelligence agencies from receiving funding that could be used to interfere in the elections of foreign governments. The amendment would ban U.S. agencies from “hacking foreign political parties; engaging in the hacking or manipulation of foreign electoral systems; or sponsoring or promoting media outside the United States that favors one candidate or party over another.” Proponents of election interference helps keep hostile leaders and political parties out of power. Opponents argue that the amendment would send a message to other foreign countries that the U.S. does not interfere in election and set a global gold standard for preventing election interference. Opponents argue that election interference helps keep hostile leaders and political parties out of power.

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Should the European Commission be dismantled?

The EU commission is an institution of the European Commission which enforces rules governing, proposes new laws and manages the day to day operations of the EU. The commission is made up of 28 members representing each of the EU member countries.

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Should France increase or decrease military spending?

In 2015, President Hollande announced that he would increase France’s defence budget by €4 Billion by 2020. Among the larger European economies, France and the United Kingdom are the only significant spenders on defense. The two countries account for 40% of EU defense spending. They each spend more than 2 percent of GDP, while most other EU countries spend less than 1.5 percent of GDP. Proponents of more spending believe that the increase is necessary to combat extremist threats after the Paris jihadist attacks. Opponents argue that the the funds should be used for domestic programs or tax cuts instead.

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Should France conduct military strikes against North Korea in order to destroy their long-range missile and nuclear weapons capabilities?

In January of 2016, North Korea announced that it detonated its first hydrogen bomb. CBS News reported that the U.S. intelligence community is skeptical that North Korea used a thermonuclear device. The blast was in single-digit kilotons, and a thermonuclear device is measured in megatons. North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-un, has been more ambitious than his father in the pursuit of long-range missiles and nuclear weapons, even in the face of warnings from China. Proponents of military strikes argue that North Korea crossed a line with its latest test and must be stopped at all costs. Opponents argue that North Korea repeatedly lies about its missile capabilities and that the we should let other countries in the region, such as China and South Korea, address this issue.

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Should cities be allowed to offer private companies economic incentives to relocate?

In November 2018 the online e-commerce company Amazon announced it would be building a second headquarters in New York City and Arlington, VA. The announcement came a year after the company announced it would accept proposals from any North American city who wanted to host the headquarters. Amazon said the company could invest over $5 billion and the offices would create up to 50,000 high paying jobs. More than 200 cities applied and offered Amazon millions of dollars in economic incentives and tax breaks. For the New York City headquarters the city and state governments gave Amazon $2.8 billion in tax credits and construction grants. For the Arlington, VA headquarters the city and state governments gave Amazon $500 million in tax breaks. Opponents argue that governments should spend the tax revenue on public projects instead and that the federal government should pass laws banning tax incentives. The European Union has strict laws which prevent member cities from bidding against each other with state aid (tax incentives) in an effort to lure private companies. Proponents argue that the jobs and tax revenue created by the companies eventually offset the cost of any awarded incentives.

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Should researchers be allowed to use animals in testing the safety of drugs, vaccines, medical devices, and cosmetics?

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Should the government implement alternate circulation during a sharp pollution increase?

In an effort to curb car pollution in city centers the French Government passed laws which regulated an “alternate traffic system.” Only drivers with odd license plates will be able to circulate in Paris and 22 other regions. Authorities hope the traffic control measures will help ease congestion and reduce carbon emissions.

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Should disposable products (such as plastic cups, plates, and cutlery) that contain less than 50% of biodegradable material be banned?

In 2016, France became the first country to ban the sale of plastic disposable products that contain less than 50% of biodegradable material and in 2017, India passed a law banning all plastic disposable plastic products.

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Do you support the use of genetically engineered crops and foods?

Genetically modified food or crops are plants that have been modified using genetic engineering techniques. Examples of GMO’s include adding genes to certain crops to make them immune to insects or environmental conditions. In 2015, France joined 16 other European countries and used new EU rules to ban the cultivation of genetically modified crops. Opponents of a GMO ban argue that it is killing the crop biotech sector causing France to fall behind international competitors in agricultural innovation. Proponents of the ban argue that the risks related from GMO foods have not been properly tested.

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Should the government increase environmental regulations on businesses to reduce carbon emissions?

Global warming, or climate change, is an increase in the earth's atmospheric temperature since the late nineteenth century. In politics, the debate over global warming is centered on whether this increase in temperature is due to greenhouse gas emissions or is the result of a natural pattern in the earth's temperature. France accounts for only 1% of global greenhouse gas emissions and ranks among the industrial countries with the lowest greenhouse gas emissions in terms of both emissions per capita and emissions per GDP unit.

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Do you support the use of hydraulic fracking to extract oil and natural gas resources?

Fracking is the process of extracting oil or natural gas from shale rock. Water, sand and chemicals are injected into the rock at high pressure which fractures the rock and allows the oil or gas to flow out to a well. The French government banned fracking in 2011. While fracking has significantly boosted oil production, there are environmental concerns that the process is contaminating groundwater. Critics of fracking say it pollutes underground water supplies with chemicals, releases methane gas into the atmosphere, and can cause seismic activity. Proponents of fracking say it will drop oil and gas prices in Spain and lead to energy independence.

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Should convicted criminals have the right to vote?

Felony disenfranchisement is the exclusion from voting of people otherwise eligible to vote due to conviction of a criminal offense, usually restricted to the more serious class of crimes deemed felonies. Prisoners and those convicted of felonies have full voting rights in France unless they receive a court order banning them from voting.

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Should drug traffickers receive the death penalty?

Since 1999, the executions of drug smugglers have become more common in Indonesia, Iran, China and Pakistan. In March 2018, U.S. President Donald Trump proposed executing drug traffickers to fight his country’s opioid epidemic. 32 countries impose the death penalty for drug smuggling. Seven of these countries (China, Indonesia, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Vietnam, Malaysia and Singapore) routinely execute drug offenders. Asia and the Middle East’s tough approach contrasts with many Western countries who have legalized cannabis in recent years (selling cannabis in Saudi Arabia is punished by beheading).

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Should the government hire private companies to run prisons?

Private prisons are incarceration centers that are run by a for-profit company instead of a government agency. The companies that operate private prisons are paid a per-diem or monthly rate for each prisoner they keep in their facilities. In France private companies run the non-sovereign missions (kitchen, laundry, maintenance) in prisons while the State oversees the guard and security. Opponents of private prisons argue that incarceration is a social responsibility and that entrusting it to for-profit companies is inhumane. Proponents argue that prisons run by private companies are consistently more cost effective than those run by government agencies.

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Should non-violent prisoners be released from jail in order to reduce overcrowding?

French prisons have reached an average rate of occupancy of 116.6%. Overcrowding is mainly present in short-stay prisons, where they hold both sentenced people and people awaiting trial. France’s prisons rank third in Europe for overcrowding according to the International Centre for Prison Studies, with official figures showing there are 68,253 people incarcerated but places for only 58,587. France unveiled plans on Thursday to build 33 new jails and renovate older ones in a bid to ease chronic overcrowding that justice officials say breeds conditions for Islamist radicalisation of prisoners.

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Should police departments be allowed to use military grade equipment?

Militarization of police refers to the use of military equipment and tactics by law enforcement officers. This includes the use of armored vehicles, assault rifles, flashbang grenades, sniper rifles, and SWAT teams. Proponents argue that this equipment increases officers’ safety and enables them to better protect the public and other first responders. Opponents argue that police forces which received military equipment were more likely to have violent encounters with the public.

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Should funding for local police departments be redirected to social and community based programs?

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Should article 49.3 be removed from the Constitution?

Article 49 of the French constitution details the relationships of power between the Prime Minister and Parliament. Clause 3 of this article (49.3) gives the government the power to pass a measure without a vote from parliament. The article allows the government to compel the majority if reluctant to adopt a text, and also to accelerate the legislative process, and in particular to end any obstruction from the opposition. The article has been used fewer than 90 times since its inception in 1958. In 2016 the government used the article to pass a labor reform bill which made it easier for employers to prolong the 35-hour working week, cheaper to lay off staff, and easier to overpower unions.

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Should it be illegal to burn the French flag?

Flag desecration is any act that is carried out with the intention of damaging or destroying a national flag in public. This is commonly done in an effort to make a political statement against a nation or its policies. Some nations have acts that ban flag desecration while others have laws that protect the right to destroy a flag as a part of free speech. Some of these laws distinguish between a national flag and those of other countries.

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Should the current number of civil servants be increased or decreased?

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Should foreigners be banned from funding mosques in France?

In 2016 Prime Minister Manuel Valls said he would consider a temporary ban on the foreign financing of mosques, urging a “new model” for relations with Islam after a spate of jihadi attacks. Proponents argue that it would help prevent foreign entities from funding radical mosques in France and prevent terrorism. Opponents argue that the proposal is illegal under French laws which separate Church and State.

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Are you in favor of decriminalizing drug use?

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Should the government regulate social media sites, as a means to prevent fake news and misinformation?

In January 2018 Germany passed the NetzDG law which required platforms like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to take down perceived illegal content within 24 hours or seven days, depending on the charge, or risk a fine of €50 million ($60 million) fines. In July 2018 representatives from Facebook, Google and Twitter denied to the U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary committee that they censor content for political reasons. During the hearing Republican members of Congress criticized the social media companies for politically motivated practices in removing some content, a charge the companies rejected. In April 2018 the European Union issued a series of proposals that would crack down on “online misinformation and fake news.” In June 2018 President Emmanuel Macron of France proposed a law which would give French authorities the power to immediately halt “the publication of information deemed to be false ahead of elections.”

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Should there be term limits for members of Parliament?

A term limit is a law which limits the length of time a person may serve in an elected office. In 2008 the French government passed a constitution reform which limited the office of the Prime Minister to two consecutive five-year terms. Members of the National Assembly must be re-elected every five years.

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Should social media companies ban political advertising?

In October 2019 Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey announced that his social media company would ban all political advertising. He stated that political messages on the platform should reach users through the recommendation of other users – not through paid reach. Proponents argue that social media companies don’t have the tools to stop the spread of false information since their advertising platforms aren’t moderated by human beings. Opponents argue that the ban will disenfranchise candidates and campaigns who rely on social media for grassroots organizing and fundraising.

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Should teachers be allowed to carry guns at school?

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Should the government pass laws which protect whistleblowers?

In December 2016 the French National Assembly passed the Sapin II regime which is a series of laws aimed at combating corruption. The law included a whistleblower protection clause which requires companies with more than 50 employees to establish a framework which protects whistleblowers from retaliation and grants them anonymity. The law does not protect or incentivize whistleblowing by implicated parties and the whistleblower must have firsthand knowledge of the facts.

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Should internet service providers be allowed to speed up access to popular websites (that pay higher rates) at the expense of slowing down access to less popular websites (that pay lower rates)?

Net neutrality is the principle that internet service providers should treat all data on the internet equally.

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Should the government be able to monitor phone calls and emails?

After the Paris attacks in November 2015 the government passed a law which allowed it to monitor phone calls and emails of people suspected of connections to terrorism without the authorization of a judge.  The law also requires Internet service providers to install "black boxes" that are designed to vacuum up and analyze metadata on the Web-browsing and general Internet use habits of millions of people using the Web and to make that data available to intelligence agencies.

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Should the government make cuts to public spending in order to reduce the national debt?

President François Holland recently proposed a 2016 budget which cut public spending and introduced a three-year program to grant more than €40 billion in tax breaks to businesses. Critics argue that the caps on spending will hurting the economy and President Holland’s proposed tax breaks are unfairly skewed toward businesses at the expense of households. Proponents argue that the proposals will stimulate the French economy which has an unemployment level of 10% and a growth rate of less than 1%.

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Should France raise or lower the tax rate for corporations?

France currently levies a 34.4% tax on all businesses. The average corporate tax rate worldwide is 22.6%. Opponents of argue that raising the rate will discourage foreign investment and hurt the economy. Proponents argue that the profits corporations generate should be taxed just like citizen's taxes.

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Should the government raise the national minimum wage?

The minimum wage in France is €9.61 per hour per hour for workers who are over 18 years of age and have at least 6 months of training. France has the third highest minimum wage in the EU behind the UK (€10.20) and the Luxembourg (€11.10). France was the first European country to pass a minimum wage law in 1950. In 2013, President François Hollande raised the minimum wage twice even as Germany and other North European countries called for wage restraint in an effort to decrease debt. Mr. Hollande’s wage increases angered both the left, who argued that the wages were not raised enough and the right who argued that the increase would hurt employers.

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Should there be fewer or more restrictions on current welfare benefits?

In 2011 the level of public spending on the welfare state by the British Government accounted for £113.1 billion, or 16% of government. By 2020 welfare spending will rise to 1/3rd of all spending making it the largest expense followed by housing benefit, council tax benefit, benefits to the unemployed, and benefits to people with low incomes.

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Should the government break up Amazon, Facebook and Google?

In 2019 the European Union and U.S. Democratic Presidential Candidate Elizabeth Warren issued proposals that would regulate Facebook, Google and Amazon. Senator Warren proposed that the U.S. government should designate tech companies who have global revenue of over $25 billion as “platform utilities" and break them up into smaller companies. Senator Warren argues that the companies have “bulldozed competition, used our private information for profit, and tilted the playing field against everyone else.” Lawmakers in the European Union proposed a set of rules which include a blacklist of unfair trading practices, requirements that companies set up an internal system to handle complaints and allow businesses to group together to sue platforms. Opponents argue that these companies have benefited consumers by providing free online tools and bring more competition into commerce. Opponents also point out that history has shown that dominance in technology is a revolving door and that many companies (including IBM in the 1980’s) have cycled through it with little to no help from the government.

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Should the Work Law be repealed?

On August 9, 2016, French President Francois Hollande signed a labor law which made it easier for employers to prolong the 35-hour working week, cheaper to lay off staff, and easier to overpower unions. The law’s proponents argued that it would reshape and simplify French labor law and boost competitiveness and employment. The law favors collective bargaining at the level of individual companies, in contrast with previous legislation that granted more decision power to industry-wide agreements.

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Should the government provide tax incentives to private companies to keep jobs within the country?

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Should bankers’ bonuses be capped at 100% of their pay?

In 2014, the EU passed legislation that capped bankers' bonuses at 100% of their pay or 200% with shareholder approval. Proponents of the cap say that it will reduce incentives for bankers to take excessive risk similar to what led to the 2008 financial crisis. Opponents say that any cap on bankers' pay will push up non-bonus pay and cause bank's costs to rise.

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Do you support the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP)?

The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) is a proposed trade agreement between the European Union and the United States, with the aim of promoting trade and multilateral economic growth. The agreement is opposed by unions, charities, NGOs, and environmentalists in Europe who criticize the agreement for reducing regulations on food safety and environmental legislation.

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Should the government acquire equity stakes in companies it bails out during a recession?

A state-owned enterprise is a business enterprise where the government or state has significant control through full, majority, or significant minority ownership. During the 2020 Coronavirus outbreak Larry Kudlow, the White House’s top economic advisor, said the Trump administration would consider asking for an equity stake in corporations that needed taxpayer aid. “One of the ideas is, if we provide assistance, we might take an equity position,” Kudlow said Wednesday at the White House, adding that the 2008 bailout of [the automaker General Motors] had been a good deal for the federal government. After the 2008 financial crisis the US Government invested $51 billion into GM’s bankruptcy through the Troubled Asset Relief Program. In 2013 the Government sold its stake in GM for $39 billion. The Center for Automotive Research found that the bailout saved 1.2 million jobs and preserved 34.9 billion in tax revenue. Proponents argue that US taxpayers deserve a return on their investments if private companies need capital. Opponents argue that governments should never own shares of private companies.

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