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Recent Policy Studies
Budget & TaxationBy Robert Carroll, Tax FoundationFiscal Facts, 10/21/2008
Recent research on President Bush’s tax relief in 2001 and 2003 has found that the lower tax rates induced taxpayers to report more taxable income. In particular, the reduction in the top two tax rates induced taxpayers to report more taxable income—an increase in the size of the tax base—to such an extent that this positive behavioral response likely offset roughly 25 percent to 40 percent of the static revenue loss of lowering the top two tax rates. This research illustrates that, while the lower tax rates have not paid for themselves, they do provide important economic benefits and can expand the tax base to such an extent that they cost the federal government substantially less revenue than the casual observer might think. Moreover, this research may provide valuable insights into the harmful effects of high tax rates as the Presidential candidates’ tax plans are evaluated.
Budget & TaxationBy Scott A. Hodge, Tax FoundationReport, 10/21/2008
Progressively higher income tax rates – “taxing the rich” – cause many productive people to work less and retire earlier, draining the economy and destroying jobs. These stair-step tax rates also bump married couples into higher tax brackets, take an unfairly large chunk out of a one-time spike in income, and increase tax evasion. It has been said that democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for dinner, and many sages have warned that the majority in a democracy may oppress the minority. We have seen this scenario play out in tax policy many times. Some of the most foolish taxes have been enacted by the many on the few. This was true of the income tax in 1913, it was true of the Alternative Minimum Tax in 1969, and it will be true of the tax increases that Congress is proposing right now.
Budget & TaxationBy Curtis S. Dubay, Tax FoundationReport, 10/21/2008
Since 1937, the Tax Foundation has produced and published reliable information on government finances at the state, local and federal levels. In the wake of the housing boom/bubble, property taxes have dominated the tax debate within most state legislatures across the nation. Demand for lower property taxes has often cascaded into tax hikes elsewhere. Of course, each one of these changes affects a state’s competitive position in its region and, ultimately, its national standing as a place to live and do business. This is the fifth edition of the handbook, designed to give taxpayers and their lawmakers a simple guide to see how their state ranks on 41 different measures such as individual and corporate income tax rates, excise taxes, tax burdens and state spending.
EducationBy Robert B. Aguirre, Jessica R. Sanchez, Brooke Dollens Terry, Texas Public Policy FoundationReport, 10/21/2008
A detailed analysis of the Horizon school choice program, operated over a 10-year period from 1998 until 2008 with more than 4,000 students enrolled, shows this program to be an exceptionally successful education reform program and a model for future reform efforts. In an era of high dropout rates, low-performing schools and an unprepared workforce, the Horizon program demonstrated how giving parents the right to match their children with the best public or private school for those children can dramatically improve both the futures of students and the community. Allowing parents to make choices about schools, based on parents’ unique knowledge of the needs of their children, helped both the 10 percent of students who chose to leave public schools and the 90 percent of students who chose to stay in the public school system.
Budget & TaxationBy Joseph Henchman, Tax FoundationFiscal Facts, 10/20/2008
This November 4, North Dakota residents will vote on Measure 2, an initiative that lowers individual income tax rates by 50 percent across-the-board, and corporate income tax rates by 15 percent. North Dakota has a strong history of restraining taxes with the initiative process. Voters must bear in mind interstate and international competition for capital as they consider Measure 2. Tweaking their state’s tax code through the ballot box is nothing new for North Dakotans. Compared to their neighbor to the south, with zero percent rates on corporate income and personal income, Measure 2 looks modest. The state government can probably handle the reduction in revenue, and alternatives proposed by Measure 2 critics fall short of what is needed to improve North Dakota’s economic performance now and for the future.
Budget & TaxationBy Gerald Prante, Tax FoundationReport, 10/20/2008
Through their advertisements and in their first two debates, Senator Barack Obama and Senator John McCain have bickered over two tax policies most frequently: Senator McCain’s health care tax credit and the impact of Senator Obama’s tax plan on small businesses. Unfortunately, on both issues, neither campaign has been telling the American people the whole truth. Senator McCain proposes a new refundable health tax credit for each tax return – $2,500 for singles, $5,000 for a couple. To pay for part of this major tax cut, he proposes that the current tax exclusion for employer-provided health insurance be repealed. For 2009 and many years to come, the new credit would be more valuable to most taxpayers than the current exclusion, which for the typical taxpayer is now worth about $1,800. The Obama campaign has been running advertisements that are far from honest, and the McCain campaign rarely tells voters the whole truth either.
Budget & TaxationBy Gerald Prante, Tax FoundationTax & Budget Bulletin, 10/20/2008
Since Senator McCain went first in the debate, we begin with an analysis of his misleading and less-than-perfect comments. Early in the debate, John McCain once again voiced his concern over the rising national debt and claimed that he could balance the budget in his first four years in office. But given that his tax policies contain major tax cuts that will not pay for themselves. We definitely know that neither Obama nor McCain is going to balance the budget in the first year or two of his administration. Throughout the debate, Senator Obama repeatedly showed an unfortunate ignorance of one of the fundamental principles of taxation: all taxes are paid by people. On multiple occasions, Obama claimed that businesses or corporations “can afford” to pay higher taxes. This statement is just ridiculous. Companies have no “ability to pay” taxes. People pay the taxes.
Economic GrowthBy Adrian T. Moore, Mike Flynn, Reason FoundationReport, 10/20/2008
It is election season and that means Californians once again face a daunting package of ballot questions on difficult public policy issues. This year’s initiatives cover a wide range of topics including transportation, gay marriage, criminal justice, hospital construction, the treatment of farm animals and much more. As has been the case in years past, the ballot measures are not always as straightforward as they first appear. Some are premised on questionable assumptions and value judgments. Others, despite admirable motivations, would nevertheless lead to unintended or unforeseeable adverse consequences. Some of these initiatives would empower the government to restrict individual freedom and choice in the name of uncertain benefits. And several would further burden California taxpayers by dramatically expanding the size and scope of state government, most notably by borrowing heavily against the future through bonds.
Elections, Transparency, & AccountabilityBy George Passantino, Reason FoundationReport, 10/20/2008
California voters will evaluate Proposition 11 this fall, which seeks to replace the existing process of redrawing political boundaries for congressional, senatorial, assembly and State Board of Equalization offices. At the heart of this initiative is a growing perception that the current process for drawing these maps is rife with conflict of interest—particularly when legislators draw the very districts they will represent, allowing them to select their constituency. As long as political boundaries are subjectively drawn in the redistricting process, there will always be the potential for abuse—whether the boundaries are drawn by the legislature or a seemingly independent entity. Still, the concept of an independent commission to draw boundaries for state lawmakers is likely to reduce the odds of abuse and holds the promise of increasing competitive pressures for elected office. This could result in a more dynamic and responsive government.
Budget & TaxationBy Adam B. Summers, Anthony Randazzo, Reason FoundationReport, 10/20/2008
California has many infrastructure needs, but the four bond measures on the November ballot are unaffordable and unnecessary. If approved, the measures—Propositions 1A, 3, 10, and 12—would authorize a total of over $16.8 billion in general obligation bonds. The state’s borrowing is simply not sustainable without significant increases in taxes or reductions in service levels. With a state debt limit, voters could still approve bonds, but they could not authorize an unlimited amount of debt. More precisely, they could authorize more than the limit, but the state would be prevented from incurring debt over the limit until its financial position improved to the point to where it could afford to pay for the bonds while respecting the debt limit. The limit would thus serve as a final check against fiscal irresponsibility.
Crime, Justice & the Law
The Nonviolent Offender Rehabilitation Act: Prison Overcrowding, Parole and Sentencing Reform (Proposition 5)By Skaidra Smith-Heisters, Reason FoundationReport, 10/20/2008
California’s prisons are overburdened because state policies have created an endless cycle of incarceration that does little to promote public safety. State institutions are at double their capacity, resulting in such poor performance that portions of the state’s criminal justice system are now run by federal mandate. The threat of federal takeover of more of the state’s failing prison system is real and significant. Proposition 5, the Nonviolent Offender Rehabilitation Act, will be decided by voters in the November 4, 2008 General Election. The proposition contains within it some of the important reform measures that numerous advisory committees have for years urged the state to implement. These reforms would help to break the state’s appallingly high prison recidivism rate by bringing California’s parole terms and sanctions for parole violation more in line with other states’, which have managed incarcerated populations more effectively.
Natural Resources, Energy, Environment, & ScienceBy Skaidra Smith-Heisters, Reason FoundationReport, 10/20/2008
California has just set out on a highly ambitious mission, a decades-long effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to the equivalent of 1990 levels by 2020, and 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050. Two propositions on the California General Election ballot for November 4 exemplify the kind of bold thinking that makes the state an environmental and economic leader: Proposition 7, which would raise state standards for renewable energy procurement, and Proposition 10, which would authorize bonds to finance a variety of alternative energy research and development. Unfortunately, the two propositions fail to transcend the legislative shortsightedness that has burdened California with high budget deficits and poor economic performance in recent years.
Information TechnologyBy Adam Thierer, Progress & Freedom FoundationSpecial Report, 10/20/2008
What effect does media exposure have on our children? That question has generated heated debates from one generation to the next. Inevitably, these social and cultural debates become political debates. Indeed, each of the media technologies or outlets mentioned above was either regulated or threatened with regulation at some point in its history. And the cycle continues. For example, during recent sessions of Congress, countless hearings were held and bills introduced on a wide variety of media and content-related issues. Many of the policymakers and groups supporting these efforts argue that parents are essentially powerless to stop the flow of objectionable media content in their homes. Therefore, in the name of protecting children, many of them believe that government regulation is necessary. However, there may be other constructive ways of dealing with this problem before resorting to government censorship. Increased information and parental empowerment could change matters for the better.
Budget & TaxationBy Jeffrey J. Pompe, James R. Rinehart, Independent InstituteReport, 10/20/2008
Living in coastal areas entails the risk of property damage from catastrophic storms, such as hurricanes and northeasters. In recent years, costs associated with such storm damage, which disproportionately affect property owners living near the coast, have risen precipitously. In reaction, property owners have successfully applied pressure on lawmakers to intervene on their behalf. Unfortunately, government policies have been counterproductive, shifting costs to taxpayers at large and actually encouraging growth in such hazardous areas. Although “ill winds” will continue to bedevil coastal residents, governments should not contribute to the damage from natural disasters. Instead, they should play a secondary role in dealing with the problem, allowing the market to nudge individuals in the right direction, which includes building sturdier buildings and moving farther from the coast (in response to higher insurance premiums and increased building costs).
Information TechnologyBy Randolph May, Steven Wildman, Robert McDowell, Free State FoundationTranscript, 10/20/2008
Media content is now delivered over a variety of platforms and in ways that did not exist back when the three major networks dominated content delivery 20 years ago. We now have cable systems, satellites, fiber optic platforms, mobile phones, and the internet. But in many ways, the new content delivery platforms and the new teachings are still saddled with legacy regulations. Even if they’re not, there are proposals to saddle these new teachings and new delivery platforms with legacy regulations, ones that were first put in place 20 or 30 years ago. Many of these legacy regulations applied to today’s content delivery mechanisms are either unconstitutional or at least raise serious constitutional concerns in terms of their infringement on First Amendment rights.
Health CareBy John R. Graham, Pacific Research InstituteHealth Policy Prescriptions, 10/17/2008
The freshly passed Wellstone-Domenici Mental Health Parity Act, which was loaded onto Congress’ bailout bill for Wall Street, demonstrates why government should not be allowed to determine health benefits. While Wellstone-Domenici alone is not very expensive and may be redundant for many large groups, it adds to an already sky-high pile of health benefits which the government orders but individuals must pay. By forcing the design of mental health and substance-abuse benefits into a straightjacket, the government interferes with the ability of providers, patients, and payers to best navigate this complex area of health care.
EducationBy Lance T. Izumi, Pacific Research InstituteCapital Ideas, 10/17/2008
Sweden is the world leader when it comes to parental choice in education. Up until 1991 local governments operated almost all Swedish schools. That changed with the passage of a revolutionary law that allowed parents to send their children to any school, government-run or private independent, with public funding following the child. So, if Mr. and Mrs. Andersson choose to send their daughter Margareta to the new friskolor, the private independent school down the street, the local government provides funding to the friskolor to pay for Margareta’s education costs at a rate roughly equivalent to what municipal schools receive. All parents, regardless of their income level, can choose the type of school that best suits their children and have the funding follow them. The Swedish law has spawned a huge expansion in the number of private independent schools, including those run by Internationella Engelska Skolan.
Natural Resources, Energy, Environment, & ScienceBy Amanda Berg, National Center for Policy AnalysisBrief Analysis, 10/17/2008
In May 2007, the U.S. Supreme Court decided that greenhouse gases meet the definition of an air pollutant in the Clean Air Act. The Environmental Protection Agency responded in 2008 by issuing an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that explains how the Clean Air Act applies to regulating emissions of greenhouse gases thought to contribute to global warming. The notice will likely be followed by regulations to reduce emissions. Unfortunately, such regulations would significantly increase energy prices, but would not affect the global level of greenhouse gases.
Natural Resources, Energy, Environment, & ScienceBy Peter W. Huber, Manhattan InstituteReport, 10/17/2008
Electricity—not oil—is the heart of the U.S. energy economy. Power plants consume as much raw energy as oil delivers to all our cars, trucks, planes, homes, factories, offices, and chemical plants. Because big power plants operate very efficiently, they also deliver much more useful power than car engines and small furnaces. Electricity is comparatively cheap, we have abundant supplies and reliable access to the fuels we use to generate it, and the development of wind, solar, and other renewables will only expand our homegrown options. Our capital-intensive, technology-rich electrical infrastructure also keeps getting smarter and more efficient. With electricity, America controls its own destiny.
PhilanthropyBy Cecilia Marshner, Capital Research CenterCompassion and Culture, 10/17/2008
Nestled deep in the rolling vineyards, jagged cliffs, and ruins of the Rhineland, rests a haven of peace and hope for women in need. Kloster Heisterbach (Convent Heisterbach) is well off the beaten path. The former Cistercian Abbey from the 13th century was destroyed by Napoleon in the 19th century but in modern times it draws hundreds of tourists yearly. Few of the tourists are aware that within the convent walls is a modern shelter for women of all ages: It is known as Haus Heisterbach. In a building once belonging to the abbey, Haus Heisterbach operates as a separate society. Formerly an assisted living home in the midst of a modest population of Augustinian nuns, it has become a shelter for the new life that floods out of its doors. Haus Heisterbach is a self-proclaimed “help and information center for pregnant and single-parenting women.”
LaborBy Stefan Gleason, Capital Research CenterLabor Watch, 10/17/2008
The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that employees not protected by Right to Work laws still have the right to refrain from formal union membership. Union officials may charge nonmembers for union activities such as collective bargaining that relate to their jobs. However, unions cannot force them to pay for non-bargaining activities like union politics and lobbying. On October 6, National Right to Work Foundation attorneys will make their fourteenth trip to the Supreme Court for oral arguments in Daniel Locke v. Edward Karass. The Court will determine where and how to draw the line: It will set criteria for determining whether an employee can be forced to fund Big Labor’s lawsuit machine.
Natural Resources, Energy, Environment, & ScienceBy Joseph A. D’Agostino, Capital Research CenterOrganization Trends, 10/17/2008
Groups like the non-profit Environmental Media Association (EMA) are urging Hollywood producers and screenwriters to insert discreet environmentalist messages into popular movies and TV shows. It’s called ‘eco-messaging’—soft-core ideological product placement—and it’s Hollywood’s latest marketing tool to drive home the left’s global warming agenda. It’s not by accident that films and television have environmentalist storylines. Los Angeles-based EMA and other eco-messaging outfits work with the entertainment industry, identifying the issues it should cover and the positions it should take. EMA representatives offer suggestions on story content and hover over script revisions. Says Oscar and Emmy winner Al Gore of EMA, “I greatly admire the work of this organization. No group has had a larger impact on the thinking Americans bring to the environment, on the way we, as a nation, converse with the problems that beset the environment.”
Monetary Policy/Financial RegulationBy Fred Lucas, Capital Research CenterFoundation Watch, 10/17/2008
In recent years the powerhouse bank Goldman Sachs has supplied Treasury secretaries to both Republican and Democratic administrations. A Goldman veteran serves as President Bush’s chief of staff, while one runs the New York Stock Exchange and another lives in the New Jersey governor’s mansion. Its politics skew left, and as the company’s competitors on Wall Street go belly up, Goldman, a friend of Big Government, remains profitable and its influence grows.
EducationBy Justin P. Hauke, Friedman Foundation for Educational ChoiceSchool Choice Issues, 10/17/2008
There is a divide in Maryland’s schools. Although the state’s high school graduation rate is above the national average, its urban school districts have suffered from years of decline. Some key findings of this study include: 1) Each year’s class of dropouts will cost Maryland taxpayers $42 million every year. 2) About 27,000 Maryland students in the class of 2007 failed to graduate from high school. Independent estimates suggest that the state’s overall graduation rate is about 76 percent but urban graduation rates are well below 50 percent. 3) On average, Maryland’s 393,200 working-age dropouts earn nearly $10,000 less a year than the state’s high school graduates, reducing overall state income by nearly $4 billion a year. Maryland dropouts can expect to earn $150,000 less in their lifetimes than high school graduates.
EducationBy Kirabo Jackson, Hoover InstitutionReport, 10/17/2008
The Advanced Placement Incentive Program (APIP) is a novel initiative that includes cash incentives for both teachers and students for each passing score earned on an Advanced Placement exam. In Texas, through APIP, the interests of schools, teachers, and students were aligned. Guidance counselors had the impetus to advertise and inform students of the benefits of the Advanced Placement (AP) program, teachers had the incentive to increase AP course enrollment, and students possessed greater motivation to take the courses and exams. The result was a change in the educational culture in a select group of Texas high schools, which in turn led to improved student outcomes.
EducationBy Douglas Besharov, Craig Ramey , Education NextEducation Next, 10/17/2008
Up to now, the early childhood education movement has focused on expanding school-based pre-K programs, with the ultimate goal of “universal pre-K.” According to the National Institute for Early Education Research, in 2006 states spent $3.3 billion on pre-K programs, up from $970 million in 1992. As much as 90 percent of these funds go to public schools, with the remainder going to selected center-based child-care providers. It is difficult to see why all pre-K programs—nationwide—should be entrusted to a public system fraught with so many serious shortcomings, especially in the low-income communities most in need of effective early education programs.
EducationBy Martin R. West, Ludger Woessmann, Hoover InstitutionReport, 10/17/2008
Our findings from an international study of 29 countries speak quite clearly. Competition from private schools improves student achievement, and appears to do so for public school as well as private school students. And it produces these benefits while decreasing the total resources devoted to education, as measured by cumulative educational spending per pupil. Under competitive pressures from private schools, the productivity of the school system measured as the ratio between output and input increases by even more than is suggested by looking at educational outcomes alone. Ironically, although Catholics historically placed less emphasis on education than did adherents of many other religions, their resistance to state-run schooling in many countries helped create institutional configurations that continue to spur student achievement.
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.