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Recent Policy Studies
Health CareBy John R. Graham, Pacific Research InstituteHealth Policy Prescriptions, 06/30/2008
Outside the Administration, few politicians are serious about addressing the impending bankruptcy of Medicare, and some are even hastening it along. While the President has been unable to execute fundamental reforms to Medicare, he has taken marginal, but substantive, steps to improve the incentives and “bend the curve” of rising costs. One promising reform is an income-based means test for Part B and Part D benefits; but the premium is likely not the right place to apply the test, whereas applying the means test to the deductible would have a positive impact on both patients’ and suppliers’ behavior.
EducationBy Sarah Lohmann, Lexington InstituteIssue Brief, 06/30/2008
In response to a 2007 report revealing rampant problems, a U.S. district judge ruled last month that 100 Chicago public school principals must complete depositions about their schools’ bilingual programs. That process is now moving forward, but the underlying cause of the problem has little to do with individual schools or educators themselves. The real troublemaker is an Illinois bilingual education law that stands in the way of progress for 200,000 English learners statewide. Illinois’ bilingual education law is an extreme measure that harms the very children it purports to help. Meanwhile, there’s a proven way to help children quickly learn the language they need to succeed academically and in the workplace: Provide them with instruction mainly in English in the earliest grades, while speaking to them in their native language only to provide explanations for difficult lessons.
National SecurityBy Daniel Goure, Lexington InstituteIssue Brief, 06/30/2008
When defense spending is cut, even well managed programs can find themselves short of funds, often resulting in reductions to planned buys, lengthened acquisition timelines and, ironically, higher overall costs. Congress’s habit in recent years of failing to pass defense budgets in a timely manner has further exacerbated the problem by forcing the Department of Defense to take money from some programs, often very successful ones, in order to pay higher priority bills. The next Administration needs to break with the historic, dysfunctional “binge and purge” cycle in defense spending. In light of all the other financial crises that are sure to confront the new president, he would be wise to take the issue of future defense budgets off the table by establishing a stable basis for funding.
Natural Resources, Energy, Environment, & ScienceBy Chris Israel , Institute for Policy InnovationIPI Ideas, 06/30/2008
A tremendous amount of research and investment is being directed at the search for technological breakthroughs to provide cleaner, more efficient, cheaper and more abundant sources of energy. There will be a huge demand for the wide diffusion of this innovation in years to come. There are elements necessary in a global approach that prioritize real world impact, but also respect intellectual property and the innovation process.
Foreign Policy/International AffairsBy Hillel Frisch, Efraim Inbar , Hudson InstituteBook, 06/30/2008
The intellectual and policy debate on the nature of the radical Islam phenomenon and how to respond to it dominates popular discourse today. One challenge is to understand the Islamic challenge in broad comparative and historical terms. Also important are specific regional issues and recognizing patterns of uniformity and variation in radical Islam across a wide swath of terrain. Possible responses to the Islamic challenge need to be addressed.
Natural Resources, Energy, Environment, & ScienceBy Terry L. Anderson, Laura E. Huggins , Hoover InstitutionBook, 06/30/2008
Combating the tendency to equate being green with environmental red tape requires rethinking the role of markets in providing environmental quality. Free market environmentalism can do this by first recognizing that, in the words of conservationist Aldo Leopold, “conservation will ultimately boil down to rewarding the private landowner who conserves the public interest.” Such incentives are already leading to environmental improvements and ultimately show that whether the issue is management of public lands, water or air quality, or even global warming, free market environmentalism can provide an alternative to command-and-control regulation.
National SecurityBy Ray Walser, The Heritage FoundationBackgrounder, 06/30/2008
The United States faces a continued security challenge in the Western Hemisphere from terrorism, political violence, and organized crime. Establishing effective security in the Hemisphere and keeping allies committed to the fight against terrorism and crime will require the U.S. to exercise continued vigilance, improve interagency cooperation, and commit a steady stream of resources.
Foreign Policy/International AffairsBy Charles Wolf , Hoover InstitutionBook, 06/30/2008
The pattern of policy issues to expect in the twenty-first century include a variety and complexity of themes that spill over the standard boundaries of political, economic, and military affairs.
Foreign Policy/International AffairsBy Paul R. Gregory , Hoover InstitutionBook, 06/30/2008
The opening of the once-secret Soviet state and party archives in the early 1990s proved to be an event of exceptional significance. When Western scholars broke down the official wall of secrecy that had stood for decades, they gained access to intriguing new knowledge they had previously only had been able to speculate about.
Foreign Policy/International AffairsBy Cheng Li, Hoover InstitutionChina Leadership Monitor, 06/30/2008
Recent uprisings across Tibetan regions of China as well as purported terror plots planned by Uighur separatists seeking independence for Xinjiang have highlighted the challenges that the Chinese Communist Party faces in governing a Han-dominant but multiethnic China. How China handles the “nationalities question” will be a crucial determinant of social stability going forward. Chinese top leaders have long recognized the value to the Party of having ethnic minority cadres among the Party-state elites, both for propaganda purposes as well as to inspire minority peoples to view the system as containing opportunities for their own advancement. Yet the Party has also maintained a firm grip on power in the ethnic minority-dominant political units by appointing ethnic Hans to the most important positions. An understanding of the changing role of ethnic minorities in Chinese politics is essential for comprehending the dynamics of China’s rapidly transforming political landscape.
Foreign Policy/International AffairsBy Alice Miller, Hoover InstitutionChina Leadership Monitor, 06/30/2008
In the six months since the 17th Party Congress, Xi Jinping’s public appearances indicate that he has been given the task of day-to-day supervision of the Party apparatus. This role will allow him to expand and consolidate his personal relationships up and down the Party hierarchy, a critical opportunity in his preparation to succeed Hu Jintao as Party leader in 2012. In particular, as Hu Jintao did in his decade of preparation prior to becoming top Party leader in 2002, Xi presides over the Party Secretariat. Traditionally, the Secretariat has served the Party’s top policy coordinating body, supervising implementation of decisions made by the Party Politburo and its Standing Committee. For reasons that are not entirely clear, Xi’s Secretariat has been significantly trimmed to focus solely on the Party apparatus, and has apparently relinquished its longstanding role in coordinating decisions in several major sectors of substantive policy.
Foreign Policy/International AffairsBy Joseph Fewsmith, Hoover InstitutionChina Leadership Monitor, 06/30/2008
Often the pressures that generate political reforms—and the limits to those reforms—are best viewed at the local level. The Maliu Township, a poor township in Chongqing Municipality that rose to at least local fame by adopting the so-called “Eight-Step Work Method,” introduced popular participation in decision making and oversight. But as the local political economy changed—specifically as the impact of the abolition of the agricultural taxes has been felt—it has been difficult to sustain this innovation.
Foreign Policy/International AffairsBy James Mulvenon, Hoover InstitutionChina Leadership Monitor, 06/30/2008
On May 12, 2008, China was rocked by a 7.9 earthquake, epicentered just north of Chengdu in Sichuan Province. In terms of domestic perceptions, the PLA’s massive response to the earthquake reinforced its popularity among the Chinese people. The earthquake relief effort provided opportunities for China to deepen its military-to-military relations with other countries, including the United States. Overall, the Chinese military’s relative openness and the swift response of U.S. forces to the disaster have created a positive atmosphere for Sino-U.S. military-to-military relations writ large, which hopefully the two sides will be able to build upon in the future.
Foreign Policy/International AffairsBy Barry Naughton, Hoover InstitutionChina Leadership Monitor, 06/30/2008
Inflation has once again become a serious problem in China. While the government’s quick and effective response to the Wenchuan earthquake reassured Chinese citizens and helped consolidate support for the government and the current administration, inflation presents the opposite image of the regime. In China, inflation causes political failure. It contributes to a subjective feeling of instability and may also lead to erosion in living standards for some segments of society. Historically, inflation in China is strongly associated with a government that is losing control and with the prospect of social disorder. To fight inflation, the government has three potential weapons: tighter monetary and fiscal policy; RMB appreciation; and price controls. Facing enormous economic uncertainty and unprecedented natural disasters, the government has vacillated among these three approaches. There is no immediate prospect of breaking out of this triangular trap.
Foreign Policy/International AffairsBy Alan D. Romberg , Hoover InstitutionChina Leadership Monitor, 06/30/2008
The drubbing administered to the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) by the Kuomintang (KMT) in the January Legislative Yuan (LY) election was replicated—and even exceeded—by the landslide victory scored by KMT presidential candidate Ma Ying-jeou on 22 March. In addition, the referenda calling for application to the UN—most importantly the highly controversial DPP version calling for “new membership” under the name “Taiwan”—also went down to a resounding defeat as almost two-thirds of Taiwan voters declined to participate. While Taiwan’s ultimate success in obtaining greater international space will be largely in Beijing’s hands, it seems logical for the United States to seize the opportunity presented by what one trusts will be the improving atmosphere in cross-Strait relations to work with both sides—as well as with others—to find vehicles for Taiwan to participate more broadly in the international community under arrangements that do not broach the sovereignty issue.
Natural Resources, Energy, Environment, & ScienceBy Joseph Bast, Heartland InstituteHeartlander, 06/30/2008
“Energy independence” has long been the rallying cry for many environmental and anti-war activists who seek to wean businesses and consumers in the U.S. from reliance on imported fossil fuels. The recent record-high gasoline prices have tempted consumer advocates and rank-and-file folks to join the cause. But can energy independence be achieved, and if so at what expense? Since some progress toward self-sufficiency could make our energy supplies more secure, policymakers should focus on removing public policies that restrict the development of domestic energy supplies, including nuclear power and domestic fossil fuel reserves.
Retirement/Social SecurityBy Stuart M. Butler, The Heritage FoundationBackgrounder, 06/27/2008
Three former CBO directors and other budget analysts from across the political spectrum have urged a fundamental restructuring of Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security to avert an economic crisis and to avoid placing an unacceptable burden on future generations. The CBO says that if no action is taken to address this and deficits soar to expected levels, “the economy will eventually suffer serious damage.” The CBO’s letter on the tax increases needed to pay for future projected entitlement spending is another dire warning to Congress that it should deal quickly with the unsustainable promises associated with the major entitlement programs.
Foreign Policy/International AffairsBy The Honorable Condoleezza Rice, The Heritage FoundationLecture, 06/27/2008
The rise of Asia is a profound geopolitical trend that is reshaping our world today, and the United States is in a stronger position in Asia than at any other time.
Foreign Policy/International AffairsBy Bruce Klingner, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 06/26/2008
Pyongyang’s June 26 delivery of a data declaration regarding its nuclear weapons programs and the anticipated destruction of the cooling tower at the Yongbyon nuclear reactor represent commendable progress towards North Korean denuclearization. However, serious questions remain as to whether North Korea will fully dismantle its nuclear weapons and programs.
Economic GrowthBy Steve H. Hanke, Cato InstituteDevelopment Policy Analysis, 06/26/2008
Hyperinflation is destroying Zimbabwe’s economy, pushing more of its inhabitants into poverty, and forcing millions to emigrate. Central banking is the only monetary system that has ever created hyperinflation and instability in Zimbabwe. Prior to central banking, Zimbabwe had a rich monetary experience in which a free banking system and a currency board system performed well. It is time for Zimbabwe to adopt one of these proven monetary systems and discard its failed experiment with central banking.
Budget & TaxationBy Rea S. Hederman, Patrick Tyrrell, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 06/26/2008
Presidential hopeful Senator Barack Obama (D–Ill.) has unveiled his economic plan of raising taxes on the successful. His plan would boost the top marginal rate to well over 55 percent—before the inclusion of state and local taxes—resulting in many individuals seeing their marginal tax rate double. The consequences of this policy would be a return to the bad old days of tax avoidance, with taxpayers disguising personal income as business income or capital gains and the migration of capital from the United States to abroad.
LaborBy Diana Furchtgott-Roth , Hudson InstituteTestimony, 06/26/2008
Skilled workers are important for global competitiveness. We live in an open, global economy, and we compete against other countries to offer the best environment for investment and for firm location. We want firms to locate and expand in the United States, creating jobs here rather than going offshore. In order to do that, we need to provide a ready supply of labor and keep the smartest entrepreneurs and workers here. When our workers lose their jobs, we need to help them find new ones as effectively as possible. The challenge is to facilitate the movement of workers from some sectors to others. The need for skilled workers makes it all the more imperative that we modernize our workforce training programs and make them as efficient as possible.
Information TechnologyBy Randolph J. May, Free State FoundationTestimony, 06/26/2008
In the twelve years since passage of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, the communications landscape has changed dramatically as a result of vastly increased facilities-based competition. This increase in competition – for example, with mobile phones becoming nearly ubiquitous and cable companies already providing digital voice service to over 16 million customers—is due in large part to technological developments enabled by the transition from analog to digital technologies. It is also due in part to the removal or reduction of some legacy regulations. The upshot is that the existing universal regime needs serious reform if telecommunications services are going to be provided in the most cost-effective and economical manner so that overall consumer welfare is enhanced. Policymakers should have in mind the distinction between availability and use.
Regulation & DeregulationBy Matt A. Mayer, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 06/26/2008
Congress’s involvement in insurance in the hurricane-prone South distorts the markets and forces us all to subsidize the risk of those who choose to live there.
Health CareBy Sally Satel, American Enterprise InstituteTestimony, 06/26/2008
Reducing health differentials between racial and ethnic groups depends on improved access to care, quality of care, and—most relevant to today’s hearing—patients’ capacity for self-care. The latter depends upon strengthening their engagement in treatment, a strategy that applies to all underserved and low-income groups irrespective of race and ethnicity. It is important to recognize that one of the most powerful determinants of good health is high-quality education. A decent education can instill in children the belief that they can shape their futures, as well as the desire and ability to take an active part in fostering their own good health.
Monetary Policy/Financial RegulationBy Peter J. Wallison, American Enterprise InstituteLecture, 06/26/2008
After the bailout of Bear Stearns, the question remains, will this lead to increased government regulation of the financial sector, including hedge funds? Increased regulation is unnecessary-regulation has repeatedly failed to produce stability-and that technology, globalization, and the growing size of the private sector would render most government controls ineffective. Furthermore, the private sector, through market discipline and various risk management devices, can regulate risk more effectively and efficiently than the government.
LaborBy Steven J. Davis, John C. Haltiwanger, R. Jason Faberman, Ian Rucker, American Enterprise InstituteBook Chapter, 06/26/2008
The Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) is an innovative data program that delivers national, regional and industry estimates for the monthly flow of hires and separations, and for the stock of unfilled job openings. JOLTS data are a valuable resource for understanding labor market dynamics and for evaluating theories of unemployment and worker turnover. They also present measurement issues that are not well understood or fully appreciated. A key point is that the JOLTS sample overweights relatively stable establishments with low rates of hires and separations, and underweights establishments with rapid growth or contraction. The unrepresentative nature of the JOLTS sample with respect to the cross-sectional density of employment growth rates matters because hires, quits, layoffs and job openings vary greatly with establishment growth rates in the cross section. As a result, the current JOLTS program produces downwardly biased estimates for worker flows and job openings.
Monetary Policy/Financial RegulationBy John H. Makin, American Enterprise InstituteEconomic Outlook, 06/26/2008
The Fed is in a bind, pulled toward easier monetary policy by a weak economy and fragile credit markets, while simultaneously needing to resist higher inflation. The Fed’s dilemma—facing a combination of weaker growth and higher inflation—reflects the uncomfortable fact that the Fed remains the central bank not only for the United States, but for the economies in the Middle East and Asia whose currencies are pegged to the dollar. The transmission of the Fed’s easy money policy to China and emerging markets where currencies are pegged to the dollar has contributed to the Fed’s substantial dilemma with respect to monetary policy as it applies to the United States. The best outcome would be for emerging market countries to allow their currencies to float upward in order to cushion them from the capital inflows tied to undervalued currency levels while simultaneously allowing energy prices to rise in order to moderate consumption.
Monetary Policy/Financial RegulationBy Charles W. Calomiris, American Enterprise InstitutePaper, 06/26/2008
Although the Fed’s advocacy on various matters may appear somewhat contradictory, or at least, philosophically heterodox, the Fed has behaved in a manner that is remarkably predictable, once one takes account of the political arena in which both regulatory and monetary policy are made. A proper understanding of the Fed’s advocacy algorithm provides support for the longstanding arguments in favor of removing the Fed from its position as a bank regulator, a change that would align the U.S. with the rest of the financially developed world. During the 1980s and 1990s, the Fed’s regulatory advocacy on balance did more good than harm; but looking forward, that is not likely to be the case. Even from the narrow perspective of preserving monetary policy autonomy it may be worthwhile to let the Fed withdraw from its regulatory distractions and specialize in its primary activity, setting monetary policy to preserve price stability and enhance growth.
Economic GrowthBy Brett D. Schaefer, Ben Lieberman, Brian M. Riedl, The Heritage FoundationBackgrounder, 06/26/2008
Measures to deal with the food crisis should include eliminating the artificial demand created by ethanol and other biofuel mandates, making food assistance more effective and efficient, eliminating agricultural trade barriers and subsidies worldwide, loosening restrictions on exploiting U.S. oil and gas reserves, and encouraging the development of genetically modified crops that are better suited to Africa and other famine-prone regions.
Foreign Policy/International AffairsBy Thomas M. Woods, Brett D. Schaefer, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 06/26/2008
The news emanating this past weekend from Zimbabwe opposition candidate and first round presidential election winner Morgan Tsvangirai of the Movement for Democratic Change party was forced to pull out of the June 27 presidential run-off—is distressing. Tsvangirai’s decision to withdraw from the election is the direct result of a three-month campaign of violence and intimidation perpetrated by President Robert Mugabe and his supporters in the ruling Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front. Mugabe’s actions illustrate that a peaceful resolution of the situation in Zimbabwe is impossible. Outside intervention is required. The United States and the United Kingdom should help lead the international community to take decisive action through the UNSC.
Foreign Policy/International AffairsBy John J. Tkacik, Jr., The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 06/26/2008
Those who thought that the devastating Sichuan earthquake of May 12 brought out the best in the Chinese government should think again. Six weeks after the quake, it has become obvious that the local government’s incompetence and venality was responsible for the collapse of schools while other buildings stood. But now that foreign reporters are covering the deaths of school children and the subsequent angry protests of their parents, Beijing’s Central Propaganda Department has reverted to its dictum that the only news fit to print is pro-regime news.
Natural Resources, Energy, Environment, & ScienceBy Ben Lieberman, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 06/26/2008
There are many energy bills currently pending before Congress, and they fall into two general categories: those that seek to increase domestic energy supplies and those that seek scapegoats and diversions instead. Last week, the President gave a speech in favor of the former, spelling out four useful ideas for expanding American energy. The President has rightly signaled his support for any and all of the pro-energy measures and his opposition to the anti-energy ones. Congress should take advantage of this opportunity and enact some useful steps in the fight against high oil and gasoline prices.
Information TechnologyBy Thomas D. Sydnor II, Progress & Freedom FoundationProgress Snapshot, 06/26/2008
Today, many courts are adjudicating copyright-infringement claims against consumers who used file-sharing programs like KaZaA to “share” copyrighted music and movies with thousands of strangers. These courts have been struggling with the question of whether the unauthorized “sharing” of a work infringes the rights of its copyright owner—in others words, whether U.S. law provides copyright owners with a so-called “making-available” right. Recently, the Court hearing Capitol Records, Inc. v. Thomas posed a question about when appellate decisions are binding precedents for lower courts. The answer to this question appears to show that—at least in the federal district and circuit courts—the making-available debate ended seven years ago.
Information TechnologyBy Jerry Brito, Mercatus CenterPublic Interest Comment, 06/26/2008
Last year, the FCC attempted to create a national public safety broadband network. The winning bidder of that commercial license was then expected to form a public-private partnership with the public safety nonprofit to deploy a national network that could be shared by both first responders and commercial users. Unfortunately, there was no successful bidder in the auction. The FCC now seeks comments on how it can revamp its plan to achieve a national network. The ideal solution would be to first negotiate the Agreement in detail, and then auction the license. If the Commission is willing to make an investment of time and attention in the matter, it might be possible to do just that through a negotiated rulemaking.
Government-Monopoly Health Care in California: Legislative Analyst Concludes That Taxes Must Be Hiked One-Third More Than AnticipatedBy John R. Graham, Pacific Research InstituteCapital Ideas, 06/26/2008
California’s non-partisan Legislative Analyst has weighed in on the costs of government-monopoly health care. Backers of such systems are rushing to the barricades, but the revelations serve as welcome enlightenment for all Californians. Last year, Governor Schwarzenegger, former Assembly Speaker Fabian Nuñez, and an unlikely alliance of business and union leaders floated an ill-conceived proposal that would have compelled every Californian either to buy a high-priced private health insurance policy or submit to a government program like Medi-Cal. Senator Sheila Kuehl’s SB 840 pretty much fell off the radar screen, even though it takes a simpler approach. Instead of mandating private coverage, it simply abolishes all private health plans and forces every Californian into a government-monopoly, Canadian-style, “single-payer” bureaucracy.
Budget & TaxationBy J.D. Foster, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 06/26/2008
The House of Representatives is trying once again to disguise their tax increasing proclivities under a cloak of faux fiscal discipline. The vehicle for this deception is the extension of the AMT patch. The patch should be extended for 2009 and for 2010. There is a strong, bipartisan consensus that allowing the patch to expire would cause a massive and unfair tax hike on millions of Americans. But falsely raising the flag of fiscal discipline as an excuse to raise taxes is wrong. The Senate and the President should stand firm against this ploy and remain firmly opposed to raising taxes.
Budget & TaxationBy Alison Acosta Fraser, The Heritage FoundationTestimony, 06/25/2008
Entitlement spending on Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security is a tsunami heading toward our budgetary and economic shores. Experts across the ideological spectrum agree that entitlements threaten the nation’s priorities. The Cooper-Wolf bill provides a rational solution to this political quagmire. It creates a bipartisan commission with a mandate to address the “unsustainable imbalance” between federal commitments and revenues while increasing national savings and making the budget process give greater emphasis to long-term fiscal issues.
National SecurityBy James Jay Carafano, The Heritage FoundationTestimony, 06/25/2008
The current paradigm of “protecting” infrastructure is unrealistic. We should shift our focus to that of resiliency. Resiliency is the right strategy for the United States and its allies in facing the dangers of the 21st century. Congress and the Administration can promote this approach both within American communities and across all free nations by means of the initiatives mentioned in my testimony. These initiatives offer a more reasonable and cost-effective means for ensuring the continuity of services and processes, but all for building a more resilient civil society, one prepared to face the future with confidence and surety.
Economic and Political ThoughtBy Robert A. Sirico, The Heritage FoundationLecture, 06/25/2008
Human freedom is insufficient in itself to provide a good and prosperous life for people. It is not its own safeguard. Rather, it requires institutions to protect it and to ensure it and to extend it. We must make the re-building of the free society once more a moral adventure.
ImmigrationBy James Jay Carafano, The Heritage FoundationTestimony, 06/25/2008
It should be acknowledged at the outset that there is clearly a need for effective searches and inspections at US ports of entry. Effective security at the points of entry and exit is essential not only to keeping dangerous things and people out of the United States, but also to protecting the border crossing cites—key nodes in the networks that connect America to the world of global commerce. This security has to be provided while facilitating the free flow of goods, people, services, and ideas that are the lifeblood of the American economy and a key competitive advantage for the United States in the worldwide marketplace.
National SecurityBy James Jay Carafano, The Heritage FoundationBackgrounder, 06/25/2008
To make it easier for the U.S. government, state and local jurisdictions, and America’s allies to adopt strategies of resiliency, Congress and the Administration should establish improved public–private risk-management models. These ought to have reasonable roles for government and industry, encourage bilateral cooperation on liability issues, develop national and international forums to increase collaboration, and promote the development of resilient public infrastructure.
Foreign Policy/International AffairsBy Ray Walser, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 06/24/2008
On June 19, 2008, over dinner in Brussels, the European Union’s foreign ministers agreed to lift sanctions against Cuba. This decision closes an uncharacteristically confrontational chapter in EU-Cuban relations that began after the March 2003 Cuban crackdown on dissent that resulted in the arrest of 75 pro-democracy advocates, the cream of Cuba’s nascent civil society. Although it appeared the U.S. and its European allies shared similar views regarding the repressive nature of Cuban communism, the EU’s decision to terminate its sanctions against Cuba demonstrates otherwise. Despite the crumbling of European resolve, the United States must maintain its principled stand, both in word and deed, against the oppressive Cuban regime.
The Truth About Drug Innovation: Thirty-Five Summary Case Histories on Private Sector Contributions to Pharmaceutical ScienceBy Benjamin Zycher, Joseph A. DiMasi, Christopher-Paul Milne, Manhattan InstituteMedical Progress Report, 06/24/2008
For the discovery and/or development of all or virtually all of 32 important drug classes, the scientific contributions of the private sector were crucial; and the same is true for three drugs—Taxol, Epogen, and Gleevec—that have received widespread attention. All or almost all the drugs discussed below would not have been developed—or, at best, would have been delayed significantly—in the absence of private-sector scientific discoveries.
ImmigrationBy Paul T. Mero, Sutherland InstituteEssay, 06/24/2008
The contentious debate over illegal immigration has tested the authenticity of conservative thought, specifically in Utah. A comprehensive approach to legal immigration, not simply an “enforcement-first” approach to illegal immigration, is what is needed. Utah’s federal representatives should be expected to put their full weight of office behind immigration reform. It is at the federal level that border security should be addressed, where immigrant-worker programs should be enhanced, and where federal waivers should be approved allowing states such as Utah to accomplish the harder work of constructive assimilation. Authentic conservatism will strive to uplift struggling neighbors and make good people better. It will seek solutions to their problems that promote civil society and prevent further expansion of needless government intrusions into all of our lives.
Budget & Taxation
Transparency in Government: Understanding Why Utah’s New Transparency Law Facilitates Good GovernmentBy Derek Monson, Sutherland InstitutePolicy Report, 06/24/2008
Utah recently enacted a bill that will create a state-administered website, where all government-financial information will be transparent and freely accessible to the public. While the bill received broad support, there was sharp opposition from some who argued that increased financial-transparency is an unnecessary expansion of government influence. However, a brief examination of the principles underlying transparency policies and the effects of transparency in practice reveal that transparency strengthens representative government and liberty. It also increases government accountability and efficiency. As such, increased financial transparency is needed at all levels of government.
Foreign Policy/International AffairsBy Sally McNamara, Baker Spring, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 06/24/2008
On both sides of the Atlantic, there remain significant obstacles to deploying a U.S. missile defense system in Europe. But President Bush is right that the need for missile defense in Europe is both real and urgent. The number of nuclear weapons states is increasing, as is the number of states with ballistic missiles. The United States has rightly decided that it must not leave itself vulnerable to any weapons system or state and that comprehensive missile defense, including Europe, will significantly enhance mutual national security. However, the window of opportunity is slowly closing, and incredible political capital and leadership are required if Washington and Warsaw are going to reach a deal before the end of the summer.
Regulation & DeregulationBy Joseph P. McMenamin, Washington Legal FoundationContemporary Legal Note, 06/24/2008
Pharmas will undoubtedly expand their Internet activities, to the benefit not only of themselves, but also of health care professionals and the patients they serve. In doing so, however, they should continually bear in mind the legal issues implicated by use of this rapidly evolving technology, so that its benefits can be fully realized. At minimum, this will require attention to developing case law, regulations, and statutes. Companies may also want to consider whether to seek to influence the law, so that the price they pay for the benefits of Internet communications does not become unacceptably high.
Crime, Justice & the LawBy Peter L. Gray, J. Benjamin Winburn, Washington Legal FoundationLegal Backgrounder, 06/24/2008
Absent the type of smoking gun documents that won the day for plaintiffs in the tobacco recoupment cases, it likely will be an uphill battle convincing a jury that power producers should be held liable for damage associated with climate change. Leaving aside whatever parallels plaintiffs may seek to draw between the actions of power companies and those of tobacco companies, a vast gulf separates the relative attributes of energy and tobacco. Quite simply, energy is essential to our way of life. Thus, the success of state recoupment actions against tobacco companies should not be regarded as predictive of climate change tort suits against power companies.
Regulation & DeregulationBy Jeffrey N. Gibbs, Washington Legal FoundationLegal Backgrounder, 06/24/2008
FDA plays a vital role in protecting the public health. It is an agency facing demands that are growing far faster than resources. The agency needs more money and more personnel. But giving FDA more money and people will not be sufficient. FDA also needs to use its resources wisely and effectively. Congress regularly gives FDA more work to do. FDA should not on its own initiative seek to expand jurisdiction to laboratory developed tests, pharmacy compounding, and other activities where it lacks clear congressional authorization. As Commissioner von Eschenbach has noted, FDA must “reprioritize with existing resources.” Rather than trying to regulate services that are at best peripheral to FDA’s responsibilities, FDA should focus on doing a better job in discharging its core responsibilities.
Crime, Justice & the LawBy Joe G. Hollingsworth, Katharine R. Latimer, Washington Legal FoundationMonograph, 06/24/2008
Toxic tort litigation involves allegations that a purportedly toxic substance invaded plaintiffs’ bodies or contaminated their property, causing injury. Toxic tort liability claims arise from exposure to a variety of substances, including consumer products, pharmaceuticals, raw materials used in manufacturing, waste products, and radiation or radioactive materials. Exposures can occur in the environment, in the home, or in occupational settings. Although the legal bases for toxic tort liability, as well as the available damages and defenses, vary by jurisdiction, defendants should expect plaintiffs to utilize many or all of the possible theories to allow maximum flexibility for litigation strategy. The theories of liability will continue to evolve as plaintiff attorneys seek to expand existing theories and pursue new avenues of liability.
Elections, Transparency, & AccountabilityBy Daren Bakst, John Locke FoundationSpotlight, 06/24/2008
The North Carolina legislature is considering imposing a moratorium on involuntary (forced) annexation through June 30, 2009. The House Finance Committee recently overwhelmingly approved the measure by a bipartisan vote of 25-4. Ultimately, both the House and Senate will have to agree that a moratorium is necessary.
Crime, Justice & the LawBy Wesley R. Payne, Jennifer L. Wojciechowski, Washington Legal FoundationLegal Opinion Letter, 06/24/2008
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, in Broussard v. State Farm Fire & Casualty Co., realizing that whether the damage to a particular building was caused by wind or water is a factual determination, found that a jury, and not the judge, must make the determination regarding causation. Although the catastrophe left in the wake of Hurricane Katrina is horrific, the substantial damage does not automatically permit coverage or punitive damages under insurance policies. Insureds must still carry their burden of proving that the damage is within the risk covered by the policy. When causation is a close call, such as in Broussard, an insurer should not be de facto exposed to punitives. Rather, when there is a reasonable, arguable basis for the denial and the insurer has not conducted a grossly negligent investigation or engaged in abhorrent behavior in drafting the policy, a punitive damage award will not be upheld.