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Recent Policy Studies
Crime, Justice & the LawBy Antony Klapper, Reed Smith, Washington Legal FoundationContemporary Legal Note, 10/16/2008
Law is infused with uncertainties. Black and white is rarely found. Gray predominates. The element of causation is no exception to this legal world of gray. While questions of causation are addressed daily in criminal cases, civil tort case and even contract cases, litigants, judges and juries are rarely afforded clear guidance on what this legal element means, let alone how it should be applied in a principled and consistent fashion. What do the expressions “proximate cause,” “substantial factor,” “contributing factor,” and “de minimis contribution” really mean? And do the definitions square with both scientific and legal principles? This Contemporary Legal Note offers some perspectives and six working principles that may render “causation” a less mysterious element to understand and apply.
Crime, Justice & the LawBy Robert D. Yeager, Washington Legal FoundationLegal Backgrounder, 10/16/2008
In April 2007, a unanimous U.S. Supreme Court landmark decision (KSR International Co. v Teleflex, Inc.) plunged a knife into patent collectors, because it had the practical and immediate effect of making patents significantly more difficult to obtain. Frustration with sinking allowance rates caused by faithful adherence by the United States Patent and Trademark Office to the relatively vague guidance of Graham and KSR will cause patent practitioners to shift into a new gear in employing declarations under Rule 132. When patents obtained with help of such declarations are litigated, defense trial counsel will expand their efforts to establish inequitable conduct. One approach that seems to be gaining favor with trial judges, who may be disillusioned by the disturbing specter of the Federal Circuit’s de novo treatment of their carefully crafted claim constructions, is to stay discovery on and delay jury resolution of the issues of validity and infringement in favor of an early bench trial on inequitable conduct.
Natural Resources, Energy, Environment, & ScienceBy Jeffrey B. Margulies, Washington Legal FoundationLegal Backgrounder, 10/16/2008
The State of California believes the federal government’s actions to address greenhouse gas emissions have been insufficient. In September 2006, then-Attorney General Bill Lockyer filed a lawsuit against six major auto manufacturers, alleging that their cars were responsible for causing global warming damages to the state. The district court was correct in dismissing the lawsuit. Attorney General Brown has appealed the order dismissing the complaint. He argues that the Ninth Circuit should allow the case to proceed. The Ninth Circuit should affirm the dismissal of this case, leaving the elected branches of government to decide whether, and how, to address climate change.
Natural Resources, Energy, Environment, & ScienceBy Kevin Haroff, Washington Legal FoundationLegal Opinion Letter, 10/16/2008
A greenhouse gas (GHG) fee program recently adopted by a local agency in the San Francisco Bay Area could be a preview of more expansive programs that may be adopted throughout California and elsewhere in the country. In May 2008, the Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD, or the “District”) overwhelmingly approved a new GHG fee schedule for all facilities with stationary sources that are subject to a BAAQMD permit requirement. Implementation of the BAAQMD fee program, together with the California Air Resources Board’s recognition of the fiscal implications of carbon fees, could signal a proliferation of similar programs throughout the United States. Along with the direct costs of paying new fees or taxes to multiple state and local governments, companies with GHG-emitting facilities could face substantial indirect costs of determining the amount of fees payable in different jurisdictions with potentially conflicting fee calculation procedures and carbon equivalency factors.
Health CareBy Roger Stark, Washington Policy CenterPolicy Brief, 10/16/2008
This study includes a review of six states, Washington, Oregon, Tennessee, Hawaii, Massachusetts, and Maine, that enacted government-managed health care reform plans, two states, Wisconsin and California, where such plans were proposed but failed to pass, and three states that have recently taken a different approach. These three states, Florida, Georgia and Indiana, have enacted reforms that move decision-making about health care to the individual, work with market forces, and create voluntary incentives that increase choice and expand access to health care coverage. State lawmakers who support individual-based reform have achieved positive results by not promising a utopian vision of universal access.
Elections, Transparency, & Accountability
Reducing Washington’s “Long Ballot” for Elections: Time to Restructure Statewide Elected Policy OfficesBy Jason Mercier, Washington Policy CenterPolicy Note, 10/16/2008
Currently Washingtonians elect nine separate statewide offices. Other than the nine elected positions, all other senior officials in the executive branch are appointed by the governor. Direct election of the Secretary of State, Superintendent of Public Instruction, Commissioner of Public Lands and Insurance Commissioner does not necessarily create greater public accountability, because most Washingtonians do not know the names of these officials. These positions should become cabinet-level appointments. If problems arise with public education, insurance regulation, or management of public lands, voters would know that the solution lies with the governor, who could change the top managers of these policy areas at any time. Reducing the number of statewide elected offices would shorten the length of the ballot and more importantly, focus public accountability in a way that people can understand and remember.
Economic and Political ThoughtBy Ronnee Schreiber, Oxford University PressBook, 10/16/2008
When we think of women’s activism in America, figures such as Gloria Steinem and Betty Friedan invariably come to mind—those liberal doyennes who have fought for years to chip away at patriarchy and achieve gender equality. But women’s interests are not synonymous with organizations like NOW anymore. As Ronnee Schreiber shows, the conservative ascendancy that began in the Reagan era has been accompanied by the emergence of a broad-based conservative women’s movement. And while firebrands like Ann Coulter and Phyllis Schlafly may be the public face of rightwing women’s activism, a handful of large and established women’s organizations have proven to be the most effective promoters of the conservative agenda. Righting Feminism shows that one of the key—albeit overlooked—developments in political activism since the 1980s has been the emergence of conservative women’s organizations.
Natural Resources, Energy, Environment, & ScienceBy Danny Smith, Capital Research CenterOrganization Trends, 10/16/2008
The debate over energy and environmental policy has taken a surprising turn. With gasoline hovering around $4 a gallon, environmental groups are on the defensive. Americans want lower gas prices but environmentalists want to use high fuel prices to force dramatic changes on society. Many greens continue to oppose all new energy production, but the major environmental groups have a new strategy. They think their allies in Congress can convince the public that more oil won’t lower gas prices.
PhilanthropyBy Matthew Sheffield, Noel Sheppard , Capital Research CenterFoundation Watch, 10/16/2008
If you think the media has a liberal bias today, wait until you see what the left has in store for America’s future. Extremist billionaires, “netroots” activists, and nonprofit pressure groups are creating a new media network. Through blog journalism, they aim to discredit the media outposts of the right while remaking the Internet in their own image. The institutional innovations of the conservative movement that attracted the admiration of left-wing donors like George Soros and political strategists like Rob Stein are starting to lose ground. That’s because the left is forging ahead online. It’s learned how to leverage the power of technology and smart marketing. The only question remains: Will the right realize what it’s up against before it’s too late?
PhilanthropyBy Marvin Olasky, Capital Research CenterCompassion and Culture, 10/16/2008
The prospect of increased charitable and business activities in Ethiopia suggests the need to emphasize compassion and hard work, not politics. Now, the ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front uses its television and radio monopoly, along with fraud, to win elections, with violence as a backup: Government forces killed close to 200 protesters and imprisoned thousands following the 2005 elections. The quality of mercy produces fewer strains. Concierges urge Americans visiting Ethiopia to taxi between the posh hotels: That advice suggests the existence of two Ethiopias, one of which diplomats, international organization executives, and tourists generally ignore. But those who follow the affluent agenda also miss the sacrifices some have made for the opportunity to save and change lives, such as Paul Lim’s “cleft clinic,” a CURE International program for children and adults with that deformity. Christian charities play an important role here.
Budget & TaxationBy J.D. Foster, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 10/15/2008
Senators John McCain (R-AZ) and Barack Obama (D-IL) have released tax plans indicating their priorities when one of them becomes President of the United States. These plans involve significant changes to the federal tax system. While numerous blanks and vagaries remain in both plans, much of their respective plans are now clearly laid out. As expressions of tax policy design, the two tax plans share the unfortunate attribute of adding to tax complexity. In other respects, the McCain proposal significantly advances good tax policy by emphasizing lower rates while the Obama plan raises tax rates. The Obama plan also suffers in its proliferation and expansion of refundable tax credits, further (and inappropriately) using the income tax system as an income support system.
Health CareBy Robert E. Moffit, Nina Owcharenko, The Heritage FoundationBackgrounder, 10/15/2008
Senator John McCain, the Republican presidential nominee, has proposed an ambitious health care reform agenda. His plan focuses on four key objectives: making health insurance innovative, portable, and affordable; ensuring care for high-risk patients; lowering health care costs; and confronting long-term care challenges. These goals are meaningful, and McCain’s policy measures would advance greater personal choice and control in the health care system. The McCain health plan tackles the fundamental problem in the current system: the tax treatment of health insurance. Equalizing the tax treatment and financing of health care is the first step in realigning the incentives in the system to provide consumers with better quality care at lower cost. His plan also works to expand coverage options for Americans by promoting competition in the insurance market and partnering with states to develop solutions for those who are hard to insure.
Budget & TaxationBy William W. Beach, Karen Campbell, Rea S. Hederman, Guinevere Nell, The Heritage FoundationCenter for Data Analysis Report, 10/15/2008
Either Republican Senator John McCain or Democratic Senator Barack Obama will have to make very important decisions on tax policy when he takes office in January 2009. First, the U.S. economy will be recovering from the financial crisis and is already predicted to grow less than its usual rate of 3.3 percent over the last 50 years. Second, President George W. Bush’s tax cuts will expire in 2011, and the President must decide how to extend or make permanent some of the tax cut provisions. Senator McCain will make the Bush tax cuts permanent, with the exception of the estate tax. McCain credited the Bush tax cuts with helping the economy recover after the 2001 recession. Senator Obama, on the other hand, will extend the Bush tax cuts only for those taxpayers who earn less than $250,000 a year—he has deemed the rest of the people “rich.”
Health CareBy Robert E. Moffit, Nina Owcharenko, The Heritage FoundationBackgrounder, 10/15/2008
Senator Barack Obama (D–IL), the Democratic presidential nominee, has unveiled an ambitious health care plan that is comprehensive in scope, sparse in detail, and limited in its cost estimates. The Senator insists that his proposal would save the typical American family $2,500 in medical costs. These savings are implausible, and the costs are unknown. The Senator’s proposals are organized around three stated objectives: offering affordable, comprehensive, and portable coverage; containing spiraling health care costs and improving quality of care; and promoting and strengthening prevention and public health. These key goals would appeal to most Americans, but the coercive means required to accomplish these goals will be far less attractive.
Budget & TaxationBy Brian M. Riedl, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 10/15/2008
Presidential candidates Barack Obama and John McCain have both promised to rein in the federal budget. Obama has pledged adherence to Pay-as-You-Go (PAYGO) rules mandating that any tax cuts and new entitlement expansions be fully offset. McCain has pledged to balance the budget by 2013. Neither candidate has sufficiently spelled out their plans for achieving such goals. Tax revenue models from the Heritage Foundation’s Center for Data Analysis confirm other independent analyses showing that Obama depends on nearly $1 trillion over 10 years in tax revenues from largely unspecified sources to meet his PAYGO target. His budget plan also lacks sufficient detail on proposed budget savings. Similarly, McCain’s balanced budget plans require reducing more than $600 billion from projected 2013 spending levels. He has not produced a blueprint detailing cuts of that magnitude.
Health CareBy John Spiers, Institute of Economic AffairsBook, 10/14/2008
Who Decides Who Decides? makes the case for ‘ordinary’ people to get the health and social care which the state has promised them for over 60 years but which has not been delivered. What is the case for choice? How can choice be made real for the individual? What impact can genuine, individually financially-empowered choice have on effective funding, purchasing, delivery, and outcomes? How can a genuine market grow and thrive? How can the quest for choice include the large numbers of the National Health Service (NHS) and social care staff on whom success depends? The book urges individual financial empowerment, through a life-long health savings account for all NHS and social services.
PhilanthropyBy Nicole Hoplin, Ron Robinson, Regnery PublishingBook, 10/14/2008
We all know about Barry Goldwater and Ronald Reagan, but who knows about Holmes Tuttle, Henry Regnery, and Antony Fisher? Yet it was devoted conservatives like Tuttle, Regnery, and dozens of others, who paved the way for leaders like Goldwater and Reagan by financing and helping to create a Conservative Movement of ideas and people. In Funding Fathers, authors Ron Robinson and Nicole Hoplin tell the untold, behind-the-scenes stories of the men and women who made the Conservative Movement the giant force it is today. In Funding Fathers, you’ll learn: how a chicken egg smuggler created one of the most influential economic institutes in the world; how three California businessmen propelled Ronald Reagan into America’s political consciousness; why Clarence Manion was the father of The Conscience of a Conservative Funding Fathers is essential reading for those who want to know the inside story of the conservative movement and learn about its largely unheralded heroes; and more.
National SecurityBy Daniel Goure, Lexington InstituteIssue Brief, 10/14/2008
To a casual observer, the drumbeat of negative news about naval shipbuilding must make it sound as though the entire fleet modernization program is in disarray. There is one shipbuilding program, however, that is not just meeting but exceeding all its objectives in terms of time and cost. This is the Virginia-class attack submarine. Although only four submarines have been built, the program is already delivering them eight months ahead of schedule while reducing costs by a half billion dollars per boat. The efforts to reduce costs have led to innovative design work that improved both the way the Virginia-class is being built and the capabilities of the finished product. This program has been so successful that starting in fiscal year 2011, the Navy can afford to build two submarines every year.
National SecurityBy Loren B. Thompson, Lexington InstituteIssue Brief, 10/14/2008
The Reagan Revolution has collapsed. Over the next eight years a resurgent Democratic Party will raise taxes, re-regulate the economy and rethink free trade. Judging from the size of the nation’s trade and budget deficits, these steps are overdue. But what about that other pillar of the Reagan agenda, national defense? Is it destined to suffer the same kind of decline seen under Carter and Clinton? Probably not, because both the Democrats and the times are different. In fact, there are at least five reasons why spending on weapons – as opposed to operations and personnel – might not decline at all. First, economic forces don’t drive defense spending. Second, spending on operations and personnel will moderate. Third, it takes a long time to change military spending priorities. Fourth, weapons programs will be fiercely defended. Fifth, weapons spending stimulates the economy.
Elections, Transparency, & AccountabilityBy John Samples, Cato InstitutePolicy Analysis, 10/14/2008
The National Popular Vote plan (NPV), introduced in more than 40 states, and adopted by four, proposes an interstate compact to bring about direct election of the president of the United States. The proposal eliminates states as electoral districts in presidential elections by creating a national electoral district for the presidential election, thereby advancing a national political identity for the United States. States with small populations and states that are competitive may benefit from the Electoral College. Few states clearly benefit from direct election of the president. NPV brings about this change without amending the Constitution, thereby undermining the legitimacy of presidential elections. It also weakens federalism by eliminating the role of the states in presidential contests. NPV nationalizes disputed outcomes and cannot offer any certainty that states will not withdraw from the compact when the results of an election become known.
Transportation/InfrastructureBy Randal O'Toole, Cato InstituteBriefing Paper, 10/14/2008
Rising gas prices and concerns about greenhouse gases have stimulated calls to build more rail transit lines in urban areas, increase subsidies to Amtrak, and construct a large-scale intercity high-speed rail system. These megaprojects will cost hundreds of billions of dollars, but they won’t save energy or significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Even if rail transport did save energy, spending more money on rail will get few people out of their cars. People who want to save energy should plan to buy more fuel-efficient cars and encourage cities to invest in traffic signal coordination, which can save far more energy at a tiny fraction of the cost of building new rail transport lines.
Health CareBy Michael F. Cannon, Cato InstituteBriefing Paper, 10/14/2008
Democratic presidential nominee Senator Barack Obama has proposed an ambitious plan to restructure America’s health care sector. Rather than engage in a detailed critique of Obama’s health care plan, many critics prefer to label it “socialized medicine.” Is that a fair description of the Obama plan and similar plans? Over the past year, prominent media outlets and respectable think tanks have investigated that question and come to a unanimous answer: no. Those investigations leave much to be desired. Indeed, they are little more than attempts to convince the public that policies generally considered socialist really aren’t. A reasonable definition of socialized medicine is possible. Socialized medicine exists to the extent that government controls medical resources and socializes the costs. By that definition, America’s health sector is already more than half socialized, and Obama’s health care plan would socialize medicine even further.
Budget & TaxationBy Jeffrey Hooke, Buckeye Institute for Public Policy SolutionsPolicy Brief, 10/14/2008
Ohio taxpayers would forfeit $1 billion by approving Issue 6. The Issue 6 referendum is a $1 billion “giveaway” to wealthy individuals and a small casino management firm. If the referendum passes, they become enriched overnight. This value is a “net value” for the license only, and it already incorporates the fact that $600 million is needed to construct the casino and related infrastructure. Upon passing of the referendum, the license holder could sell the license for a profit immediately, much like two license holders sold Pennsylvania slots licenses after casino-style gambling was legalized there in 2004. The State of Ohio could auction an identical casino license for $1 billion in cash. The proceeds may be used to finance government programs or to provide tax relief for Ohio families. Issue 6 backers’ claims of casino income, and, therefore, job creation and tax revenue, are exaggerated.
Economic GrowthBy James D. Agresti, Just Facts FoundationReport, 10/14/2008
There are numerous factors that impact the U.S. economy, but one has been singled out by economists, media titans and leading politicians as a pervasive underlying force: The public mindset. This key dynamic is significantly influenced by people and institutions that have the public’s ear. Perhaps the most concrete indicator of slanted economic reporting on a widespread level is the fact that public opinion polls show a major disconnect between perception and reality. A November 2005 poll found 43% of Americans believed the country was in a recession. Yet, the year leading up to this poll showed analogous GDP growth, unemployment and inflation to the year that led up to Clinton’s reelection in 1996.
Family, Culture & CommunityBy Steven L. Nock, Christopher J. Einolf, National Fatherhood InitiativeReport, 10/10/2008
This study, the first of its kind, provides an estimate of the taxpayer costs of father absence. More precisely, it estimates the annual expenditures made by the federal government to support father-absent homes. These federal expenditures include those made on thirteen means-tested antipoverty programs and child support enforcement, and the total expenditures add up to a startling $99.8 billion.
International Trade/FinanceBy Roger F. Noriega, American Enterprise InstitutePaper, 10/10/2008
The United States’ foreign policy and strategic interests in the Americas have been unchanged: it has sought economic and political stability through the promotion of trade and democracy; tended to its sometimes troubled border with Mexico; and sought to suppress the production and transit of illicit narcotics. Since the end of the Cold War (during which Soviet proxies sowed instability in the region), the promising strides made by democratic, free-market governments lulled U.S. policy makers who were distracted by events in post-Soviet-dominated Europe and an emerging Asia. U.S. engagement in the last decade has been “workmanlike,” with President George W. Bush showing innate interest in the Americas. But it took the provocations of Hugo Chávez to stir the public consciousness in a new appraisal of U.S. foreign policy and strategic interests in play in the Americas.
Information TechnologyBy Randolph May, Free State FoundationPerspectives from FSF Scholars, 10/10/2008
The financial services bailout threatens to give all deregulatory efforts a bad name. And it threatens to give those who reflexively favor more regulation, regardless of the marketplace circumstances, a new regulatory cudgel. If this reflexive approach is applied to today's communications marketplace, this would be most unfortunate.
Budget & TaxationBy Cecilia Januszkiewicz, Free State FoundationPerspectives from FSF Scholars, 10/10/2008
The current “affordability” process allows the committee to increase its original spending limit in a back room without any justification or opportunity for public discussion. This creates an environment where difficult legislative decisions about reducing spending are resolved by simply raising the spending limit.
Budget & TaxationBy Derek Monson, Sutherland InstituteStudies, 10/10/2008
Just this year, policies were enacted by Transparency in Government (SB 38, 2008) that will facilitate more open government in Utah. Guided by the Utah Transparency Advisory Board (UTAB) – a board charged with putting state financial information on a public website in an understandable format – implementation of the bill should lead to more financial transparency, which should hearten Utahns. Unfortunately, not all levels of government were included in the provisions of the bill.
International Trade/FinanceBy Claude Barfield, American Enterprise InstituteLecture, 10/10/2008
The European Union has its work cut out for it in building a coalition to combat the distortive impacts of raw material export restrictions. The balance of my presentation will consist of the following sections: (1) an explanation of why the most important strategy must be to convince exporting nations (particularly developing countries) that the unintended, negative consequences from the imposition of export restriction will often outweigh short-term gains: (2) why some suggested trade tools by developed countries, in turn, will result of negative, unintended consequences; and (3) a review of less disruptive trade tools that could be utilized.
Monetary Policy/Financial RegulationBy Vincent R. Reinhart, American Enterprise InstituteThe American, 10/10/2008
In the end, the financial rescue legislation was deeply flawed—but Congress was right to pass it. As a country, we have a relatively low savings rate. We rely on debt to fund our excesses. That makes us heavily dependent on money lenders. Those intermediaries use our best obligations, the mortgages on our homes, as collateral for complicated securities sold to entities with opaque balance sheets. As house prices have declined, some of our fellow citizens have walked away from their obligations, reducing the worth of mortgage-backed securities. Investors have recoiled in the face of elevated uncertainty, pushing the value of those securities well below the economic loss associated with elevated defaults. Having discouraged private sector capital infusions that would have solved the problem, the federal government must now fill the holes on financial balance sheets.
Foreign Policy/International AffairsBy Michael Auslin, American Enterprise InstituteOn the Issues, 10/10/2008
Japan’s new prime minister, Taro Aso, faces significant challenges in his first months in office. Forced to grapple with economic downturn and partisan political paralysis, Aso must quickly devise a realistic plan to reform Japan’s economy and justify its global role if he and his Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) are to survive. The LDP’s and Aso’s fates will be decided by the next general election for the lower house of the Diet, which may come as early as this month. Most observers believe the LDP will likely lose its absolute majority in the lower house to the Democratic Party of Japan, thus leading to the first complete opposition takeover of government since 1955.
Retirement/Social SecurityBy Andrew G. Biggs, American Enterprise InstituteReport, 10/10/2008
Senator Obama has a component of his tax plan—called “Making Work Pay“—that would introduce significant progressivity into the tax side of Social Security. His plan is designed to partially or fully compensate workers for the employee share of the Social Security payroll tax—6.2 percent of the 12.4 percent total tax. Workers would receive a refundable tax credit equal to 6.2 percent of wages up to $8,000, with a maximum credit of $500 per worker and $1,000 per couple. This is the source of the “tax cuts” Obama references for lower and middle income households. The Tax Policy Center assumes the credit phases out at 5 cents for each dollar of earnings above $75,000, meaning it declines to zero at $85,000. How does this change the effective Social Security payroll tax rate?
Transportation/InfrastructureBy Ronald D. Utt, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 10/10/2008
Among the many contentious issues in the federal highway program is the inherently unequal distribution of trust fund revenues to the states. Under current law, the federal fuel taxes paid into the trust fund by motorists and truckers are returned to the states by a mathematical formula that attempts to match the scope and usage of each state’s surface transportation system with payments received from the federal government. But as a consequence of flaws in the formula, many states (donors) consistently receive less than they pay in while others (donees) consistently receive more. This deficiency, in turn, exacerbates regional transportation problems because the shortchanged states are typically those with above average population growth whose transportation needs exceed that of the slower growing states.
Foreign Policy/International AffairsBy Bruce Klingner, The Heritage FoundationBackgrounder, 10/10/2008
Strong trilateral cooperation between Washington, Tokyo, and Seoul is critically important. These relationships are growing in importance in light of China’s increasing military capabilities, economic weight, and political influence. Periodic political or societal flare-ups that strain relations between Japan and South Korea must not be allowed to detract from steady long-term progress in strengthening the military partnership among the three countries. While the U.S.–Japanese security alliance is in a far better position to address the 21st century threat environment than it was five years ago, much work remains.
National SecurityBy James Jay Carafano, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 10/10/2008
The Department of Homeland Security is about to issue a rule implementing its “10 plus 2” security initiative. It is about time. This rule describes how importers will report 10 additional items of information on cargo shipped to the United States, while the carrier provides two more data sets. The information will significantly help the department identify suspicious cargo. Not only will “10 plus 2” greatly enhance identifying high-risk cargo, but it will largely alleviate the need to scan 100 percent of the cargo sent to the United States.
Foreign Policy/International AffairsBy John J. Tkacik, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 10/10/2008
After more than seven years of waiting, there is reason to celebrate the final approval of a $6.4 billion U.S. arms sale to Taiwan. Unfortunately, there is less to this package than meets the eye. Rather than addressing Taipei’s deteriorating military balance against China’s rapidly modernizing and expanding forces, these approvals provide gasps of new oxygen to Taiwan’s aging defenses, which were starved of air initially by domestic politics and then, for the last year, by Washington’s concern about Beijing’s ire.
Foreign Policy/International AffairsBy Sally McNamara, The Heritage FoundationBackgrounder, 10/10/2008
Since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, the West has rightly invested its time, energy, and resources into combating Islamist radicals and fighting asymmetric warfare. Russia’s immoral and illegitimate invasion of Georgia on August 7, 2008, however, demonstrated that the threat of traditional military confrontation has not disappeared. Europe must, therefore, rebuild its militaries to undertake operations in both security contexts, determining what threats they are likely to face and how best to approach them. Traditionally, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) has been the primary alliance architecture in which to discuss Europe’s security. European members of the NATO alliance, operating as sovereign and independent nations, will be better placed to serve transatlantic security interests within the Alliance, than as members of a supra-nationalized and anti-democratic institution (the European Union).
ImmigrationBy Jena Baker McNeill, Matt A. Mayer, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 10/10/2008
On September 27, Congress voted to fund E-Verify through March 2009. This is certainly a positive step for the program, but it has put the ball in the next Congress’s court to reauthorize and fund E-Verify into the future. It is also an opportunity to expand and improve on the program in conjunction with the new Administration.