- Budget & Taxation
- Crime, Justice & the Law
- The Constitution
- Economic & Political Thought
- Economic Growth
- Elections, Transparency, & Accountability
- Family, Culture & Community
- Foreign Policy/ International Affairs
- Health Care
- Information Technology
- International Trade & Finance
- Monetary Policy/ Financial Regulation
- National Security
- Natural Resources, Energy, Environment, & Science
- Regulation & Deregulation
- Retirement/ Social Security
- Transportation & Infrastructure
- Acton Institute
- Adam Smith Institute
- Alabama Policy Institute
- Allegheny Institute
- Alliance for School Choice
- Alliance for Worker Freedom
- America’s Future Foundation
- American Council on Science and Health
- American Enterprise Institute
- American Institute for Full Employment
- American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC)
- Americans for Tax Reform
- Arkansas Policy Foundation
- Ashbrook Center for Public Affairs
- Atlas Economic Research Foundation
- Atlas Society
- Beacon Center of Tennessee
- Beacon Hill Institute
- Becket Fund
- Bluegrass Institute
- Buckeye Institute for Public Policy Solutions
- Business & Media Institute
- Calvert Institute
- Cascade Policy Institute
- Cato Institute
- Center for Consumer Freedom
- Center for College Affordability and Productivity
- Center for Equal Opportunity
- Center for Health Transformation
- Center for Immigration Studies
- Center for International Private Enterprise
- Center for Strategic and International Studies
- Center of the American Experiment
- Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation
- Citizens Against Government Waste
- Claremont Institute for the Study of Statesmanship and Political Philosophy
- Club For Growth
- Commonwealth Foundation
- Competitive Enterprise Institute
- Council for Affordable Health Insurance
- Empire Center for New York State Policy
- Ethan Allen Institute
- Evergreen Freedom Foundation
- Federalist Society
- Foreign Policy Research Institute
- Fraser Institute
- Foundation for Defense of Democracies
- Foundation for Educational Choice
- Foundation for Education Reform & Accountability
- Foundation for Research on Economics & the Environment
- Free Congress Foundation
- Free State Foundation
- Galen Institute
- Georgia Public Policy Foundation
- Goldwater Institute
- Grassroot Institute of Hawaii
- Great Plains Public Policy Institute
- Heartland Institute
- The Heritage Foundation
- Heritage Libertad
- Hoover Institution
- Hudson Institute
- Illinois Policy Institute
- IMANI Center for Policy & Education
- Independence Institute
- Independent Institute
- Institute for Health Freedom
- Institute for Energy Research
- Institute for Humane Studies
- Institute for Justice
- Institute for Market Economics
- Institute for Marriage and Public Policy
- Institute for Policy Innovation
- Institute for Research on the Economics of Taxation
- Institute of Economic Affairs
- Intercollegiate Studies Institute
- International Policy Network
- International Republican Institute
- James Madison Institute
- John Jay Institute for Faith, Society & Law
- John Locke Foundation
- Josiah Bartlett Center for Public Policy
- Kansas Policy Institute
- Landmark Legal Foundation
- Leadership Institute
- Lexington Institute
- Mackinac Center for Public Policy
- Maine Heritage Policy Center
- Manhattan Institute
- Maryland Public Policy Institute
- Mercatus Center
- Mississippi Center for Public Policy
- National Center for Policy Analysis
- National Center for Public Policy Research
- National Taxpayers Union
- Nevada Policy Research Institute
- North Dakota Policy Council
- Ocean State Policy Research Institute
- Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs
- Pacific Research Institute
- Palmetto Family Council
- PERC - The Property and Environment Research Center
- Philanthropy Roundtable
- Phoenix Center
- Pioneer Institute for Public Policy Research
- Progress & Freedom Foundation
- Property Rights Alliance
- Public Interest Institute
- Public Policy Foundation of West Virginia
- Reason Foundation
- Rio Grande Foundation
- Sam Adams Alliance
- Science and Public Policy Institute
- Show-Me Institute
- South Carolina Policy Council
- State Policy Network
- Sutherland Institute
- The Tax Foundation
- Texas Public Policy Foundation
- Thomas B. Fordham Foundation
- Thomas Jefferson Institute
- Virginia Institute for Public Policy
- Washington Legal Foundation
- Washington Policy Center
- Wisconsin Policy Research Institute
- Yankee Institute for Public Policy
- Young America’s Foundation
Recent Policy Studies
National SecurityBy Rebecca Grant, Lexington InstituteResearch Study, 02/06/2009
The F-22 is a key ingredient in ensuring the kind of conventional deterrence that leaves the US and its allies with access when they need it. It’s a capability that can make other nations think twice about their antics and ambitions. To cut it short with a truncated fleet unable to cover multiple theaters or sustain its service life would strike a blow to US military power for all joint forces.
Economic GrowthBy Ana Carcani Rold, Independent Women's ForumPolicy Papers, 02/06/2009
Any initiative on Microlending and Microfinance for women in the developing world should consider not only ways to broaden women's economic participation, but also these women’s transition from business to politics. While the developed world has enjoyed celebrating the achievement of women this past year, it still has a long way to go before celebrating the achievements of all women.
Economic GrowthBy Robert Higgs, Independent InstituteResearch Article, 02/06/2009
Many years after the Great Depression and World War II, controversy continues to swirl as scholars, pundits, and ordinary citizens look back at the watershed events of the 1930s and 1940s. Economists and economic historians have assessed the economy’s condition during these momentous years primarily with reference to the usual macroeconomic indicators, especially the real gross domestic product (GDP) and the rate of unemployment (U). For these analysts, the Great Depression is almost defined as the long period when real GDP remained well below its trend high employment capacity and the rate of unemployment stood persistently above its normal range. The war period, in contrast, stands out in the standard statistical series as a time when real GDP appeared to increase phenomenally and the rate of unemployment fell almost to zero. Interpretation of economic events in the light of such conventional measures has been complicated, however, by institutional peculiarities unique to these extraordinary times.
Natural Resources, Energy, Environment, & ScienceBy Peter J. Nelson, Center of the American ExperimentPolicy in Detail, 02/06/2009
Voter sensitivity to high energy prices, the current economic crisis, the difficulty of passing landmark legislation, a preference for cheaper CO2 abatement policies, resistance from states disproportionately harmed by emissions regulations, the history of grandfathering industry conduct, a commitment to energy independence, and a preference to subsidize the coal industry all represent political considerations deeply rooted in the fabric of America that cannot be written off because more Democrats are in power. These political considerations are by no means exhaustive. But, taken together, they represent a far more potent political force than simple party politics, and they point to a future with less costly CO2 regulations than many estimates assume.
WelfareBy Robert E. Rector, Katherine Bradley, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 02/06/2009
The welfare provisions in the Senate stimulus bill are very similar to those in the House bill. Both bills use the idea of economic stimulus as a Trojan horse to conceal massive, permanent increases in the U.S. welfare system. The goal of the bills is "spreading the wealth," not reviving the economy.
National SecurityBy Baker Spring, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 02/06/2009
According to press reports, President Obama has directed the U.S. to seek a future strategic arms control treaty with Russia that will reduce the U.S. nuclear stockpile to 1,000 weapons. Circumstances make it clear that the Administration has chosen this number arbitrarily.
Budget & TaxationBy Curtis S. Dubay, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 02/06/2009
The Senate recently tacked on two new income tax deductions as part of the stimulus bill in yet another attempt to help the ailing auto industry. This bad tax policy amounts to nothing more than a subsidy for American car buyers and a backdoor bailout for automakers and state and local governments.
Economic GrowthBy Ronald D. Utt, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 02/06/2009
Many in Congress have been arguing the need for more government spending to create new jobs to offset those lost and to jumpstart the economy, but a review of past such efforts reveals that the promise exceeds performance.
Foreign Policy/International AffairsBy Brett D. Schaefer, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 02/06/2009
The first step toward U.N. reform is clearing the way for experts from the Procurement Task Force to be hired by the OIOS.
Foreign Policy/International AffairsBy Ray Walser, The Heritage FoundationBackgrounder, 02/06/2009
Responding to challenges in the Western Hemisphere is vital to core U.S. interests. Many programs begun under Bush merit continuation. The Obama Administration should propose concrete, achievable programs to fight poverty, create jobs, and improve health and education in Latin America. It must also guard U.S. security against the drug trade, illegal migration, and terrorism.
Economic GrowthBy John H. Makin, American Enterprise InstituteEconomic Outlook, 02/05/2009
The global financial and economic crisis that emerged in August 2007 has entered a dismaying fourth phase. The January 17-18, 2009, weekend edition of the Financial Times, which has been a major chronicler of the crisis and its many aspects, laid out a frightening timeline of an accelerating and intensifying oscillatory cycle of crisis and failed policy response that started just fifteen months ago. Each phase begins with a shock and ends with a seemingly decisive policy measure meant to contain or “fix” the crisis. Each phase is shorter than the previous one and culminates in a much larger policy response. Throughout the crisis, the losses of financial institutions have steadily grown at an accelerating pace as the underlying conditions in the financial sector and, since September 2008, in the underlying global economy deteriorate more rapidly. Such a disturbing pattern must be truncated by a large, coordinated global policy response to arrest the accelerating erosion of the market capitalization of multinational banks and insurance companies that has resulted.
Monetary Policy/Financial RegulationBy John H. Makin, American Enterprise InstituteEconomic Outlook, 02/05/2009
The Fed has made history by actively initiating a battle against deflation through quantitative easing. Neither the Fed during the Great Depression of the 1930s nor the Bank of Japan after 2001 – having initiated such a battle – scored a clean, consistent victory over deflation. Let us hope the Fed truly makes history this time with a clear victory over deflation – and that its leaders realize that a period of inflation above the target level will be required for success should deflation gain a hold on the U.S. economy.
Health CareBy Scott Gottlieb, American Enterprise InstituteHealth Policy Outlook, 02/05/2009
Federal efforts to underwrite and promote research comparing different drugs and medical devices continue apace, even in the stimulus plan passed by the House of Representatives. These policies are aimed at furnishing government programs like Medicare with better data on the clinical and cost considerations that inform the agencies’ coverage decisions. At face value, it makes perfect sense that the government should want more information on the “comparative effectiveness” of the medical products it purchases. But like many other seductively simple ideas, enthusiasm for comparative effectiveness research (CER) outpaces its practical promise and obscures the downside of having governments take on these sorts of studies and the clinical considerations that go into them.
Economic GrowthBy Desmond Lachman, American Enterprise InstituteThe American, 02/05/2009
The Obama administration needs to make serious revisions to its fiscal stimulus package with a view to providing the economy with more immediate support. It also needs to offer the country a bold new economic vision that goes beyond Keynesian-style fiscal stimulus and that addresses the serious problems in the financial and housing sectors. Any delay in providing a comprehensive economic plan could quickly dissipate the benefit of the doubt that the markets and the public are giving the new administration, which will only deepen the present economic recession.
Economic GrowthBy David B. Muhlhausen, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 02/05/2009
Not only should Congress be concerned about the pretrial services funded by Byrne JAG grants, but these grants will do virtually nothing to stimulate the economy.
National SecurityBy James Phillips. Baker Spring, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 02/05/2009
Iran’s satellite launch is another wake-up call that underscores the urgency of building effective missile defenses and ratcheting up international pressure to halt Iran's nuclear weapons program.
Economic GrowthBy Ronald D. Utt, David C. John, J. D. Foster, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 02/05/2009
The Senate Republicans’ 4 percent housing stimulus and mortgage relief plan (proposed earlier by Chris Mayer and Glenn Hubbard of Columbia Business School) would be a costly initiative and a massive new government intervention in housing and finance markets that would yield few if any of the promised benefits.
Health CareBy Nina Owcharenko, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 02/05/2009
Liberals in Congress, under the guise of emergency economic stimulus legislation, are attempting to push forward their radical health care agenda.
ImmigrationBy Robert Rector, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 02/05/2009
If the Senate version of the stimulus bill becomes law, a great number of the workers employed in government construction programs will, in fact, be illegal immigrants.
Foreign Policy/International AffairsBy James Carafano, Henry Brands, The Heritage FoundationBackgrounder, 02/05/2009
A Global Freedom Coalition, a flexible association of free nations whose members have both the will and the means to defeat threats to their security, should be established. The U.S. should establish a Security for Freedom Fund that revamps the entire U.S. foreign military assistance program to face the wide range of security threats in the 21st century.
Economic GrowthBy Brian Riedl, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 02/05/2009
In response to pleading governors and mayors, the House stimulus bill contains a staggering $200 billion bailout for state and local governments that have spent themselves into deficit. It is a terrible proposal, on several counts.
Foreign Policy/International AffairsBy Michael Radu, Foreign Policy Research Institute02/04/2009
It may appear cynical or brutal to say that in some circumstances—the Gaza conflict now being an obvious one—more violence, if correctly targeted, means fewer real civilian victims and better long-term chances of calm, if not peace. If Israel and those who truly seek calm in the Middle East in the long-term are serious, they should support the total military defeat of Hamas, rather than spill tears over the loss of “civilians.” This is a lesson that can be applied to conflicts far away from the Middle East. However, the prospects of this happening are not good, and the result is likely to be more and more “civilians” such as infants sleeping in their cribs being killed from Kyber to Mullaitivu to Gaza. Lack of clarity and reason truly kills.
EducationBy David Horowitz, Encounter BooksBook, 02/04/2009
In dramatic commentary, Indoctrination U. unveils the intellectual corruption of American universities by faculty activists who have turned America’s classrooms into indoctrination centers for their political causes. It describes how academic radicals with little regard for professional standards or the pluralistic foundations of American society have created an ideological curriculum that it is as odds with the traditional purposes of a democratic education.
Family, Culture & CommunityBy David Blankenhorn, Encounter BooksBook, 02/04/2009
In their current demands, Blankenhorn points out, gay and lesbian leaders are not asking for marriage with an adjective in front of it, but marriage itself. So in that sense, what marriage is and why it matters is ultimately what this debate is all about. What exactly is this institution to which gay and lesbian activists are seeking access? Why do we have it in the first place? Where did it come from? What is it for? How is it changing? These are some of the hard questions The Future of Marriage confronts.
Foreign Policy/International AffairsBy Yuri Felshtinsky, Vladimir Pribylovsky, Encounter BooksBook, 02/04/2009
The twentieth century has entered history as an age of tyrants. Stalin, Hitler, Mussolini, Mao Zedong. In The Corporation, Yuri Felshtinsky exposes a new type of tyrant in Vladimir Putin. While dictators of the past have been self-motivated and self-appointed, Putin was handpicked for power by Russia’s newest ruling class, the Federal Security Service (FSB). As in the handover of executive power in any large corporation, it was the desire of the “shareholders” that Vladimir Putin would guarantee their rights in the new corporate republic.
Health CareBy NFIB Research Foundation, National Federation of Independent Business02/04/2009
Mandated employer-provided health insurance comes in three principal flavors: a pure mandate, requiring an employer to provide and pay a fixed percentage of an employee’s health insurance premium; a mandate requiring an employer to provide and pay a fixed percentage of payroll for employee health insurance (with some mechanism to transform unequal per capita premium payments into equal per capita policy benefits); and a mandate requiring an employer to provide employee health insurance or pay a tax, the so-called “pay-or-play” option. The three are essentially the same in their effects on employers and employees as are the arguments against them, allowing discussion of only the first as representative of three, given it is the simplest and cleanest.
Health CareBy Michael J. Chow, Bruce D. Phillips, National Federation of Independent BusinessNFIB Small Business Impact Studies, 02/04/2009
During the recent public debate on health care reform, employer mandates have reemerged as a frequently mentioned tool to help finance increased insurance coverage. Proponents of employer mandates argue that such policies will finance higher coverage rates. Opponents, however, caution that any gains in coverage will come at the price of lost employment and output, increased regulation, and additional business costs. Small businesses, which bear a disproportionate share of regulatory costs, would face steep challenges in the form of increased employer contributions and search and administrative costs.
Elections, Transparency, & AccountabilityBy Daniel R. Ballon, Pacific Research InstituteTech Policy Transmission, 02/04/2009
The Obama administration has demonstrated a strong commitment to technology and transparency. As one of his first acts in office, Obama released a memorandum declaring that “government should be transparent,” “government should be participatory,” and “government should be collaborative.” Despite these positive goals, the president’s initial strategy creates troubling conflicts that could decrease transparency, and blindly place all government information in the hands of a powerful special interest.
International Trade/FinanceBy Sallie James, Cato InstituteTrade Policy Analysis, 02/04/2009
It is clear that the United States has much to gain from a liberal world services trade. With much potential for growth of services exports, especially in rapidly growing developing countries, many U.S. firms are well placed to take advantage of the growing demand for services that appears, in some areas at least, to be leveling off at home. But equally there are areas of the U.S. economy that are in need of further liberalization and less government control, regardless of what other countries do to liberalize their markets.
Regulation & DeregulationBy Veronique de Rugy, Mercatus CenterTestimony, 02/04/2009
The term “midnight regulations” describes the last minute regulations promulgated at the end of presidential terms, especially during transitions to an administration of the opposite party. Although the problem is perennially highlighted in the press, few satisfactory solutions to the phenomenon have been proposed. We review previously tried solutions to the midnight regulation problem and propose a possible solution.
Monetary Policy/Financial RegulationBy Bruce Yandle, Mercatus CenterWorking Paper, 02/04/2009
One distinguishable feature of the current financial crisis from other crises is that global credit markets, including U.S. markets came to a near stop. This problem was not due to bank runs akin to the 1933 great depression or a lack of liquidity, as has been the case in other panics. The current crisis may likely be the only one that resulted from a sudden loss of trust. Although central bankers and governments can work to implement policies to resuscitate credit markets, a more arduous task is rekindling trust. Discussing how trust evolves in the formation of markets, this paper chronicles the elements and events that led to the financial collapse of 2007 - 2009.
National SecurityBy Loren B. Thompson, Lexington InstituteIssue Brief, 02/04/2009
When you only have one customer and that customer suddenly finds itself spending a trillion dollars more per year than it is taking in, prudence dictates you should start developing alternatives to your current business plan. That’s the position the U.S. defense industry finds itself in today. Big cuts in weapons spending won’t happen quickly, but at some point the combination of a deep economic recession, receding threats and Democratic Party control of the government is likely to produce a downturn in the defense business. Fortunately, the industry has many options for coping with declining demand.
Health CareBy Helen Evans, The Heritage FoundationBackgrounder, 02/04/2009
President Obama’s proposed Institute for Comparative Effectiveness would mean more government control of private medical decisions. It is clear from the British experience and other international examples that a comparative effectiveness strategy that relies on central planning and coercion would be counterproductive and would lead to cost constraints that could worsen patients’ medical conditions and damage the quality of their lives.
International Trade/FinanceBy Derek Scissors, The Heritage FoundationBackgrounder, 02/04/2009
China holds more than $1 trillion in American bonds. According to the new Heritage Foundation database on recent Chinese foreign non-bond investment, China has invested more than $15 billion in the U.S. in addition to bonds. China’s SAFE is the largest foreign investor in the U.S., but has refused to make its activities more transparent. An American priority should be to enhance transparency in SAFE’s spending.
LaborBy James Sherk, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 02/04/2009
Congress should allow companies to reward achievement and create incentives for successful employees by paying them more than their union contracts provide.
Budget & TaxationBy Karen Campbell, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 02/04/2009
An analysis of the “The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009” shows that it fails to deliver on the economic promises of its authors, does not help the economy recover, and – worst of all – decreases investment rather than stimulating reinvestment.
Budget & TaxationBy Karen A. Campbell, Guinevere Nell, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 02/04/2009
Although policymakers are currently discussing an $825 billion economic stimulus package, completely eliminating capital gains and dividend taxes would be a cheaper and more effective means of sparking economic renewal.
Economic GrowthBy Guinevere Nell, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 02/04/2009
The “American Option,” introduced by Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC), avoids the discredited Keynesian consumption-based stimulus and instead follows the tried and true method of cutting taxes on businesses.
Budget & TaxationBy Shanea J. Watkins, Guinevere Nell, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 02/04/2009
The stimulus plan scheduled for debate in the Senate should include an extension of the 2001 and 2003 tax reductions and a reduction of tax rates for individuals, small businesses, and corporations through 2013.
International Trade/FinanceBy Ted R. Bromund, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 02/04/2009
As a result of the stealth nationalization of its economy, large portions of Britain are now almost completely dependent upon government spending.
Economic GrowthBy William W. Beach, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 02/04/2009
Senator Jim DeMint’s economic stimulus plan – known as the “the American Option Act” – proposes to aggressively and immediately lower taxes on businesses and individuals.
Crime, Justice & the LawBy Steven Groves, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 02/04/2009
The Committee on the Judiciary should not ignore David Ogden’s opinions on the use of foreign laws in American jurisprudence.
The Constitution/Civil LibertiesBy Hans A. von Spakovsky, The Heritage FoundationLegal Memorandum, 02/04/2009
The carelessness of local election officials, the arbitrary and capricious decisions of the Minnesota Canvassing Board, and the strange decisions of the Minnesota Supreme Court likely have caused the state to violate the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, and the inappropriate departure from the state’s legislative structure may be a violation of the Elections Clause of Article I of the Constitution.
Crime, Justice & the LawBy Bruce P. Mandel, James N. Kline, Washington Legal FoundationLegal Backgrounder, 02/04/2009
Earlier in this decade, the Ohio Supreme Court was dubbed by one commentator as a “super-legislature on several major public policy issues in Ohio.” One of these major areas was reform of the state’s civil liability system, with the Court consistently overturning the state legislature’s tort reform laws. As two Cleveland attorneys deeply involved with tort issues in Ohio write, recent Supreme Court rulings reflect a new-found respect for the legislature’s authority, to the benefit of the state’s business climate.
Crime, Justice & the LawBy Arnold I. Friede, Stephen W. Bernstein, Washington Legal FoundationLegal Backgrounder, 02/04/2009
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit recently upheld as constitutional a state law which prohibits the sharing of prescription information with health care companies for the purpose of marketing. The court characterized the law as affecting “conduct”, rather than “speech”, and thus avoided the First Amendment issues advanced by the affected plaintiff. Attorneys Arnold Friede and Stephen Bernstein write that the court’s circumvention of the First Amendment threatens to shield from judicial review scores of government regulations that impact speech.
Regulation & DeregulationBy Mark Mansour, Washington Legal FoundationContemporary Legal Note, 02/04/2009
The prospects for a new era of global health and safety regulation have never been more promising than at the beginning of 2009. Food safety scares involving such staples as milk and peanut butter, as well as the emergence of new technologies, will compel governments to act and challenge industries to reevaluate their compliance efforts. Food and drug regulation specialist Mark Mansour surveys the regulatory landscape and urges all parties involved to work together towards a better integrated system of health and safety controls.
Foreign Policy/International AffairsBy Jaime Daremblum, Hudson InstitutePerspectives for the New Administration, 02/03/2009
Latin America has enjoyed a lengthy period of economic and political progress, which should be celebrated. Broadly speaking, the region is in relatively good shape. But there could be turbulent times ahead caused by an array of problems, including increasing drug-related violence in Mexico and Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez’s alliance with Iran. While Obama will probably devote most of his foreign policy attention to the Middle East and Asia, he won’t be able to ignore the many challenges in Latin America.
Foreign Policy/International AffairsBy Charles Horner, Hudson InstitutePerspectives for the New Administration, 02/03/2009
Old international problems remain in the world’s trouble spots. It’s the surrounding world which has changed. The divisions in Asia and Eurasia of the Cold War era are long gone. The new dynamic relations among East Asia, Central Asia, South and Southeast Asia, and West Asia will be the largest single influence on the shape of world politics. The United States will be hard-pressed to retain its influence over those relationships. As new actors from the East become more involved in politics to their West, the United States must adjust its strategic vision and its operational methods.
Foreign Policy/International AffairsBy Christopher Ford , Douglas J. Feith, Hudson InstitutePerspectives for the New Administration, 02/03/2009
“Better to jaw-jaw than to war-war,” Winston Churchill once quipped, showing that not even tough-minded war leaders prefer war to diplomacy in principle. But deciding when to negotiate with foreign adversaries, what to say to them, and when to resort to methods other than talk is not simple. In efforts to resolve international problems, every course of action—including straightforward, non-coercive diplomacy—has its pros and cons.
National SecurityBy Christopher Ford, Hudson InstitutePerspectives for the New Administration, 02/03/2009
The Obama Administration may face great pressure quickly to adopt all the policy prescriptions of arms control and disarmament community activists who imagine he will be the answer to all their prayers. It should resist this pressure, however and undertake its own bottom-up review of strategic and arms control policy. If taken seriously in light of Obama’s campaign promises, such a review would entail struggling with thorny significant challenges in the arena of disarmament policy. He should not be unwilling to question his most fundamental assumptions in this review.
Health CareBy Hanns Kuttner, Hudson InstitutePerspectives for the New Administration, 02/03/2009
President-elect Obama offered a concrete proposal to save the typical family $2,500 on medical expenditures. Measuring progress towards that goal requires statistics the federal government does not currently calculate. In addition to providing new measures, the federal government should help those who have health insurance through employers understand just how much that coverage costs.
Economic and Political ThoughtBy Herbert I. London, Hudson InstitutePerspectives for the New Administration, 02/03/2009
The next administration should develop a program that specifically deals with a defense of American principles and Western Civilization. This would involve educational curricula devoted to the founding of America and a National Humanities program devoted to a nationwide conversation on “what we should defend and why.”
Foreign Policy/International AffairsBy Hillel Fradkin, Hudson InstitutePerspectives for the New Administration, 02/03/2009
In Pakistan our clearest objective should be to give as much support as possible to the new government. In Iran, the new administration looks likely to make a renewed effort to negotiate nuclear issues. In the case these negotiations fail— and they probably will—the Obama administration will have to immediately undertake a wide-ranging review of new strategies to deal with a nuclear Iran.
Economic and Political ThoughtBy Hassan Mneimneh, Hudson InstitutePerspectives for the New Administration, 02/03/2009
The United States has already developed and gathered the resources and allies for the role that it ought to assume in the defining War of Ideas that the world is witnessing. What has been lacking so far, often for the absence of a thorough appreciation of the nature and scope of anti-Americanism, is the decisive will to deploy this potential. While fighting the alarmism that has afflicted some of the calls to action in the War of Ideas, it is hoped that the new administration will resist the temptation of complacency that has characterized some calls for the U.S. to abdicate its responsibilities in this conflict.
Foreign Policy/International AffairsBy Laurent Murawiec, Hudson InstitutePerspectives for the New Administration, 02/03/2009
An implosion of Pakistan, with its 170 million inhabitants and nuclear-tipped ballistic missiles, is a real possibility that would have dire consequences not only for Pakistan, but for Afghanistan as well. The United States must chart different possible outcomes emerging from this scenario, including contingency planning and several policy options.
Natural Resources, Energy, Environment, & ScienceBy Irwin Stelzer, Hudson InstitutePerspectives for the New Administration, 02/03/2009
No energy policy can deliver “energy independence.” What a sensible policy can do is reduce reliance on oil from unfriendly sources. This will require a carbon tax, with parallel refunds through the payroll-tax system. In one stroke that will discourage use of climate-damaging fuels, and create a level playing field on which all other fuels and conservation devices can compete. In the near term, even with such a tax, coal and natural gas will be the fuels on which we must rely.
Monetary Policy/Financial RegulationBy Irwin Stelzer, Hudson InstitutePerspectives for the New Administration, 02/03/2009
New regulations to correct the excesses that led to our current financial crisis must rely on getting the incentives right, rather than armies of regulators to enforce “good” behavior. Lenders must retain some of the risk associated with their lending, regulations to control excessive leverage and off-balance sheet lending must be put in place to make markets work better, executive compensation must be related to performance, all without scuttling the American dream of home ownership.
Foreign Policy/International AffairsBy Kenneth R. Weinstein, Hudson InstitutePerspectives for the New Administration, 02/03/2009
A strong U.S. foreign policy strategy that relies upon privileged bilateral relationships is now more important than ever. No more privileged relationship exists for maintaining stability in large tracts of the world, most notably the Asia-Pacific region, than that of the U.S.-Japan bilateral relationship. This significant and enduring alliance cannot afford to be neglected.
Foreign Policy/International AffairsBy S. Enders Wimbush, Hudson InstitutePerspectives for the New Administration, 02/03/2009
American public diplomacy and strategic communications have been failing since the end of the Cold War. We are neither promoting American values effectively nor winning the war of ideas. Public diplomacy and strategic communications are perversely under-funded. They will continue to fail until the new administration establishes and delivers funding at a level commensurate with these activities’ strategic importance.
National SecurityBy Christopher Ford, Hudson InstitutePerspectives for the New Administration, 02/03/2009
It is important to return to a sense of balance in the relationship between intelligence analysts and policymaking intelligence consumers. Both parties need to understand the complex parameters of this relationship, finding the right sort of constructive tension at appropriate points while still respecting the special strengths and institutional roles each side brings to the table. This lesson of Iraq will be an important one for President Obama and his national security team to learn if they wish to govern competently and effectively.
Regulation & DeregulationBy John C. Weicher, Hudson InstitutePerspectives for the New Administration, 02/03/2009
HUD has just completed a badly needed reform of the rules governing real estate settlements. The changes are consistent with President Obama’s campaign pledge to mandate accurate loan disclosure. He can minimize the risk of a future subprime mortgage mess and stimulate the housing market by letting the new rules stand.
Transportation/InfrastructureBy Diana Furchtgott-Roth, Hudson InstitutePerspectives for the New Administration, 02/03/2009
It’s difficult to generate short-run economic stimulus through infrastructure spending. In the past infrastructure spending has been guided by politics and influence peddling. If we’re going to spend billions on these projects, we must take a different route. Our priorities should be to repair existing infrastructure, leverage public-private partnerships, and aim for long-run employment and efficiency results, such as toll roads that reduce congestion.
National SecurityBy Seth Cropsey, Hudson InstitutePerspectives for the New Administration, 02/03/2009
The new administration should look carefully at the shift in U.S. military emphasis that is underway, and satisfy itself that we do not exchange an excess of conventional forces for an excess of irregular warfare capability. Changing the course of an institutional behemoth such as the Department of Defense is extremely difficult, but once accomplished is more likely to result in oversteer than the slight adjustment that was originally intended.
Foreign Policy/International Affairs
The Contest of Ideas with Radical Islam: The Centrality of the Idea of Religious Freedom and ToleranceBy Nina Shea, Hudson InstitutePerspectives for the New Administration, 02/03/2009
In past administrations, there has been a reluctance to acknowledge the importance of religion to the Muslim world and to engage with it on the issue of religion, including religious freedom. Whether in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Iraq, or other countries, religious persecution of those who do not follow prevailing orthodoxies has frequently been accepted or overlooked by the top levels of the State Department. Those Muslims who argue for religious freedom within an Islamic framework are often ignored, even excluded from U.S. government events at home. In sum, working to expand religious freedom and tolerance and to protect religious and ideological pluralism in the Muslim world is key in the contest of ideas. It will often be a difficult and delicate task, but it must no longer be deferred. American tools of soft power should be employed for this purpose.
Transportation/InfrastructureBy Michael Ennis, Washington Policy CenterPolicy Note, 02/03/2009
Implementing a policy that reduces Vehicle Miles Traveled without a full quantitative analysis of these financial impacts will undoubtedly lead to more problems, more unintended consequences and more government intervention into the lives of citizens.
EducationBy Frederick M. Hess, Michael J. Petrilli, Hoover InstitutionPolicy Review, 02/03/2009
The Bush administration’s assault on the racial achievement gap — the huge disparity in test scores between both white and Asian students and their black and Hispanic peers — through the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) earned plaudits from many on the left and right. Over time, however, this approach has alienated suburban parents, who worry that NCLB’s emphasis on low-achievers and low-level skills is harming their children and schools. In this way and others, partnering with the left on education reform has imposed real costs even as it has paid substantive dividends.
Retirement/Social SecurityBy Henry Olsen, Jon Flugstad, Hoover InstitutionPolicy Review, 02/03/2009
When politicians and policy wonks use the phrase “the looming entitlement crisis,” most listeners know exactly what that means: Social Security and Medicare. Spending on these programs is rampant, nearly $1 trillion in fiscal 2006, and is projected to grow exponentially over the coming decade. By 2082, due to the aging of baby boomers, rises in health-care expenses, and expected lower fertility rates, Social Security and Medicare are projected to cost nearly 18 percent of GDP — roughly what the entire federal government costs today. It is now common, if as yet unacted upon, wisdom in the Beltway that if the price of these programs is not reined in, Americans will have to suffer either substantial tax increases, unsustainable budget cuts, or both.
Economic and Political ThoughtBy Peter Berkowitz, Hoover InstitutionPolicy Review, 02/03/2009
After their dismal performance in election 2008, conservatives are taking stock. As they examine the causes that have driven them into the political wilderness and as they explore paths out, they should also take heart. After all, election 2008 shows that our constitutional order is working as designed. The Constitution presupposes a responsive electorate, and respond the electorate did to the vivid memory of a spendthrift and feckless Republican Congress; a stalwart but frequently ineffectual Republican president; and a Republican presidential candidate who — for all his mastery of foreign affairs, extensive Washington experience, and honorable public service — proved incapable of crafting a coherent and compelling message. Indeed, while sorting out their errors and considering their options, conservatives of all stripes would be well advised to concentrate their attention on the constitutional order and the principles that undergird it, because conserving them should be their paramount political priority.
Health CareBy Grace-Marie Turner, Galen InstituteStudies, 02/03/2009
The health care sector in the United States is unique among developed countries, and it is necessarily diverse to respond to the very different needs and demands of a country with 300 million people. It is a mix of public and private sector programs. But the health sector in the United States is often criticized, both at home and abroad, for the high number of people without insurance because we do not have a compulsory national system, as all other developed countries do.
Economic GrowthBy Daniel J. Mitchell, Cato InstituteTax & Budget Bulletin, 02/03/2009
Many factors influence economic performance. Monetary policy, trade policy, taxation, labor markets, property rights, and competitive markets all have some impact on an economy’s performance. But one of the key variables is government spending. Once government expands beyond the level of providing core public goods such as the rule of law, there tends to be an inverse relationship between the size of government and economic growth. This is why reducing the size and scope of government is one of the best ways to improve economic performance. Unfortunately, policy moved in the wrong direction during the Bush years, and proposals for so-called stimulus indicate a continuation of those failed policies during the Obama years.
Foreign Policy/International AffairsBy Ted Galen Carpenter, Cato InstitutePolicy Analysis, 02/03/2009
Because of its proximity to the huge U.S. market, Mexico will continue to be a cockpit for that drug-related violence. By its domestic commitment to prohibition, the United States is creating the risk that the drug cartels may become powerful enough to destabilize its southern neighbor. Their impact on Mexico’s government and society has already reached worrisome levels. Worst of all, the carnage associated with the black market trade in drugs does not respect national boundaries. The frightening violence now convulsing Mexico could become a routine feature of life in American communities, as the cartels begin to flex their muscles north of the border.
LaborBy Philip Klein, Capital Research CenterLabor Watch, 02/03/2009
Who is Hilda Solis, Barack Obama’s nominee to be the next Secretary of Labor? Organized labor is delighted because they know one thing for certain: She’s no Elaine Chao.
Natural Resources, Energy, Environment, & ScienceBy Joseph D’Agostino, Capital Research CenterOrganization Trends, 02/03/2009
Lobby groups representing corn growers and the U.S. ethanol industry want more subsidies for domestically produced ethanol and stiff tariffs against foreign ethanol, moves that hurt consumers, the environment, and the hungry masses of less developed countries. U.S. lawmakers give lip service to the ideal of energy independence and urge Americans to become less dependent on foreign oil, but they listen to powerful groups that aim to keep out cheap Brazilian ethanol. Does anyone care?
National SecurityBy Kevin Mooney, Capital Research CenterFoundation Watch, 02/03/2009
After 9/11 you would think that only the most radical environmental groups would dare attack the U.S. military as an enemy of the environment. But that’s exactly what green groups are doing. Defense officials are alarmed that they are using the courts to pursue goals that interfere with what America needs for a strong national defense. Worse, their demands often appear to be mere pretexts for legal mischief to hamstring the military. Green groups are sending out teams of lawyers and waves of demonstrators to block national defense programs. If they succeed, they will stop weapons testing, interfere with naval training exercises, compromise U.S. border security measures, and frustrate the development of a ballistic missile defense.
EducationBy Mary Kate Battle, Capital Research CenterCompassion and Culture, 02/03/2009
This past year thousands of students headed south for spring break – but not to lounge at the beach. Over 11,000 students from campuses across America took a pass on partying to serve others here and abroad. These students were participants in “alternative breaks,” an increasingly popular offering on college campuses.
Retirement/Social SecurityBy Andrew G. Biggs, American Enterprise InstituteThe American, 02/03/2009
When the Social Security Act was passed in 1935, the program embodied new ideas on the role of government and engendered significant opposition. Yet one point remained clear: Social Security was not “relief,” what is today termed “welfare.” This new program, explained President Franklin D. Roosevelt, was to be an earned right by American workers, not a handout. This aspect of the program, the Social Security Administration (SSA) says, is “one of the basic principles of the Social Security program and is largely responsible for its widespread public acceptance and support.” But some in Congress and the new Obama administration wish to make fundamental changes to how Social Security works, shifting it closer to a welfare program.
Economic GrowthBy Alex J. Pollock, American Enterprise InstituteThe American, 02/03/2009
What’s the difference between the “Bad Bank” now being so actively discussed as the next stage of political finance and the original description of the TARP plan (call it “TARP I”), namely issuing government debt to buy distressed financial assets? No difference. They both have the same two fundamental problems.
Crime, Justice & the LawBy Raymond T. Nimmer, Washington Legal FoundationLegal Opinion Letter, 02/03/2009
Widespread adoption of rules regarding security of personally identifiable information has been paralleled by a surge of class-action litigation against companies whose databases have been breached. They are a potential target beyond modern parallel. This setting potentially offers class action lawyers bountiful fuel. But courts and legislators should take a different path.