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Recent Policy Studies
Foreign Policy/International AffairsBy Stephen Yates, Walter Lohman, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 02/19/2009
The new Administration should clearly communicate the kind of relationship it seeks from China, what it expects in return, and what it is prepared to deliver, both positive and negative.
Family, Culture & CommunityBy Robert L. Woodson, et al., The Heritage FoundationHeritage Lecture, 02/19/2009
Successful solutions to social breakdown are those that engage personal responsibility and mutual responsibility, not through government redistribution, but through relationships. That is why we should look first to the vast resources of the family, religious congregations, community groups, and other support networks to tackle social breakdown and cultivate the conditions in which these civil society institutions can flourish.
Foreign Policy/International AffairsBy Kareem Yasin, Norman M. Naimark, Hoover InstitutionHoover Digest, 02/19/2009
Last September, Cypriot leaders opened a new round of comprehensive talks aimed at reuniting the two communities of the long-divided island. Launching the first formal negotiations since a United Nations–brokered deal failed to win the support of Greek Cypriots in early 2004, local and international leaders expressed high hopes that the latest talks might yield a lasting solution acceptable not only to the island’s two main constituent communities but also to their mainland sponsors, Greece and Turkey.
Foreign Policy/International AffairsBy Mvemba Phezo Dizolele, Hoover InstitutionHoover Digest, 02/19/2009
Foreign policy analysts and historians will debate the merits of Bush’s foreign policy for the next several years; they will decide how much damage his administration has inflicted on America’s standing abroad and how much time and money will be required to restore it. The Africans themselves, however, will have a different debate. They found an unlikely but invaluable partner in Bush, who did much to rebuild Africa’s faith in the United States.
National SecurityBy John B. Dunlop, Hoover InstitutionHoover Digest, 02/19/2009
Last October, French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who had played a central role in bringing the five-day war in South Ossetia and Georgia to a halt, summed up his interpretation of what had triggered the war: “There was a military intervention by Georgian forces,” he remarked, “which was an error. The reaction of the Russian army was disproportionate to the Georgian military intervention.” Many in the West hold Sarkozy’s view, but it is seriously flawed.
Foreign Policy/International AffairsBy Amichai Magen, Hoover InstitutionHoover Digest, 02/19/2009
Hyperbolic statements about U.S. “imperialism” and European “impotence” over the global struggle for democracy are misconceived, needlessly polarizing, and pernicious to the fundamental interests of the free world. Against a background of mounting challenges to the fortunes of freedom— from radical Islam and a resurgent, authoritarian Russia to the more diffuse dangers of high food prices and financial crises that threaten to unravel vulnerable democracies—the two central pillars of Western democratic power must alter the terms of their conversation about democracy promotion. Rather than paint each other’s caricatures, Americans and Europeans need to ask themselves and each other: How can we do this better?
Foreign Policy/International AffairsBy Thomas H. Henriksen, Hoover InstitutionHoover Digest, 02/19/2009
Looking back on the two decades since the tumbling of the Berlin Wall, what have we learned? Can reflection prepare us for the future? A brief review will help clarify our thinking just in time for the start of a new presidential administration.
National SecurityBy Joshua Teitelbaum, Hoover InstitutionHoover Digest, 02/19/2009
During the past several years, Iranian leaders—most prominently President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad—have repeatedly called for the destruction of Israel and the Jewish people. Certain journalists and Iran experts interpret some of these statements to be simple expressions of dissatisfaction with the Israeli presence in the West Bank or eastern Jerusalem or with the current Israeli government and its policies. In reality, the intent behind Ahmadinejad’s language is clear. Ahmadinejad’s language constitutes a call for genocide, the destruction of the Jewish state and its residents.
Economic GrowthBy Todd Zywicki, Hoover InstitutionHoover Digest, 02/19/2009
Underlying the recent turmoil in the banking industry are the rising level of foreclosures and the apparent spread of the foreclosure contagion from the subprime to the prime market. Presidential candidates and economists alike have come forward with a variety of proposals to respond to the crisis, yet all share two underlying assumptions—first, that rising foreclosures can be explained by a single cause; second, that Washington can and should act to reduce the number of foreclosures. Both assertions are contestable, and in fact, acting aggressively to reduce foreclosures could be counterproductive and even worsen current economic problems.
Retirement/Social SecurityBy Eric Montarti, Jake Haulk, Allegheny Institute for Public PolicyAllegheny Institute Report, 02/19/2009
Given the huge differences in the financial situations among municipal pension plans in Pennsylvania and considering the gigantic problems in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, it is obvious why forging a broad based coalition to ask Harrisburg to consolidate plans and assume the responsibility for liabilities is difficult to achieve. Taxpayers across the state who are already facing possible tax hikes to fix looming problems with teacher and state employee pensions will be very upset at talk of more billions to repair the enormous problems the big cities have created for themselves. That is especially true in light of the prospect of state and national economic weakness that could last for another year or longer.
EducationBy Greg Forster, Friedman Foundation for Educational ChoiceSchool Choice Issues, 02/19/2009
This report collects the results of all available empirical studies on how vouchers affect academic achievement in public schools. Contrary to the widespread claim that vouchers hurt public schools, it finds that the empirical evidence consistently supports the conclusion that vouchers improve public schools. No empirical study has ever found that vouchers had a negative impact on public schools.
EducationBy Brian Gottlob, Friedman Foundation for Educational ChoiceSchool Choice Issues, 02/19/2009
Many states have enacted or are considering proposals to give tax credits for contributions that provide tuition scholarships for students in K-12 schools to attend the private or public schools of their choice. This study seeks to inform the public and policymakers about the implications for Montana if the state were to enact such a program. The study constructs a model to determine the likely contributions that will be received, the level of participation in the program among families and students of different income levels, and the overall fiscal impact of tax-credit scholarships on state government and local school districts.
EducationBy Benjamin DeGrow, Independence InstituteIssue Paper, 02/19/2009
The Douglas County Learning Center has completed its first year of licensing and endorsing teachers to help fill the instructional needs of the fast-growing, wealthy suburban school district south of Denver. As student population has increased, the district’s innovative leadership moved forward on a plan to alleviate teaching shortages in hard-to-fill areas and to expand the range of coursework available to secondary students.
Retirement/Social SecurityBy Michael Mannino, Independence InstituteIssue Paper, 02/19/2009
The debate about defined benefit pensions in K-12 education has focused on unfunded liabilities rather than appropriate levels of retirement compensation. Public K-12 employees typically retire at much younger ages with more replacement income and better inflation protection than private sector counterparts. School districts use contribution rates derived from uncertain assumptions about pension plan returns as substitutes for estimating realistic retirement compensation levels. The contribution rates ignore the considerable value of risk assumption that public employee pension plans provide to career employees. In addition, the large amounts of deferred retirement compensation have negative impacts on employee motivation and high, uncertain taxpayer costs.
EducationBy Andrew T. LeFevre, American Legislative Exchange CouncilReport, 02/19/2009
The American Legislative Exchange Council published its original Report Card on American Education: A State-by-State Analysis 15 years ago to “arm” its members “with comprehensive information about the performance and cost of public schools across the United States.” Since then, the report has changed and grown, but that vital mission continues with this latest edition comprising the most up-to-date measures of educational resources and achievement for our 50 states and the District of Columbia.
The Constitution/Civil LibertiesBy Lee A. Casey, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 02/18/2009
Statehood is now the clear preference of District of Columbia voting-rights advocates, but the proposal has never, heretofore, excited much support in Congress and would, in any case, also require a constitutional amendment.
Foreign Policy/International AffairsBy James M. Roberts, Ray Walser, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 02/18/2009
When Barack Obama takes the traditional first foreign trip as the new U.S. President to Ottawa on February 19, our northern neighbors will be watching closely-and somewhat nervously.
National SecurityBy Ted R. Bromund, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 02/18/2009
The danger facing the U.K. Ministry of Defence is clear: Either the troops in the field will have to go without necessary equipment paid for by UOR, or the MoD’s budget will have to be cut even more sharply in the coming years.
EducationBy Lindsey Burke, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 02/18/2009
A new evaluation of the DC Opportunity Scholarship Program highlights how the program is benefiting families, adding to the reasons why Congress and the Obama Administration should continue this successful program.
International Trade/FinanceBy James Roberts, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 02/18/2009
Congress, President Obama, and his new transportation secretary, Ray LaHood, should reject calls by protectionists to end the cross-border trucking program and, instead, take immediate steps to expand it and make it permanent.
National SecurityBy Bruce Klingner, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 02/18/2009
North Korea may be preparing to test-launch a long-range Taepo Dong-2 missile from its eastern coast. The U.S. must send a clear message to Pyongyang, America’s Asian allies, and the rest of the world that a nuclear North Korea will not be tolerated.
Crime, Justice & the LawBy Sidney A. Rosenzweig, Progress & Freedom FoundationProgress on Point, 02/18/2009
As the 111th Congress convenes, most eyes are focused on pressing economic matters. Once Congress resumes its broader legislative agenda, patent-reform efforts are likely to reappear, perhaps in a matter of weeks. In the last Congress, the House passed a patent reform bill, but the Senate counterpart did not make its way to the Senate floor. Both bills provided for reform of “venue” of patent cases, but such provisions largely have been overlooked by commentators. Congress’s proposals are meant to prevent plaintiffs from choosing advantageous fora in which to bring suit. But the proposals are vaguely written and contain substantial gaps that will ensure that some cases cannot be consolidated in any forum. Either bill will bring a tidal wave of venue-related disputes that will drown the federal courts. This report proposes a simpler revision of the venue statutes meant to accommodate most of Congress’s concerns while avoiding all gaps in coverage and most vagueness.
Information TechnologyBy Michael Palage, Progress & Freedom FoundationProgress on Point, 02/18/2009
Last October, ICANN released a proposed Draft Applicant Guidebook that would govern applications for new generic Top Level Domains (gTLDs) such as .BLOG, .NYC or .BMW. As ICANN itself declared, “New gTLDs will bring about the biggest change in the Internet since its inception nearly 40 years ago.” But ICANN’s proposed implementation of new gTLD application process sparked fierce and almost universal opposition from the global business community and a number of governments. ICANN is now expected to release its second Draft Applicant Guidebook before its upcoming regional meeting in Mexico City in early March. Much as NASA’s Launch Manager must make a final Go/No-Go decision before the launch of any mission, now is the time to examine the critical changes ICANN must make to the process for creating new gTLDs.
Information TechnologyBy Berin Szoka, Adam Thierer, Progress & Freedom FoundationProgress on Point, 02/18/2009
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has finally released its revised “Self-Regulatory Principles for Online Behavioral Advertising” (OBA) after proposing a draft of those principles back in December 2007. The FTC deserves credit for resisting calls to abandon self-regulation, and for its thoughtful consideration of the danger in stifling advertising—the economic engine that has supported a flowering of creative expression and innovation online content and services. But we continue to have our doubts about the FTC’s approach, however-well intentioned.
Natural Resources, Energy, Environment, & ScienceBy Amy Watson, Independent Women's ForumPolicy Brief, 02/18/2009
Throughout President Obama’s campaign, he vowed to pour money into renewable technology like solar and wind energy production; however, before making good on this campaign pledge, he should consider the disappointing history of such attempts at government investment in technology. Government often ends up subsidizing dubious technologies, and decisions on who receives subsidies are more likely to be driven by politics than by a serious assessment of the most promising producers.
Economic GrowthBy Peter Ferrara, Institute for Policy InnovationIPI Ideas, 02/18/2009
In his inauguration speech, President Barack Obama said, “The question we ask today is not whether our government is too big or too small, but whether it works—whether it helps families find jobs at a decent wage, care they can afford, a retirement that is dignified.” Or as Obama transition spokeswoman Stephanie Cutter said, the touchstone for the Obama administration is, “What will have the biggest and most immediate impact on creating private sector jobs and strengthening the middle class? We’re guided by what works, not by any ideology or special interests.” There is a proven idea that would work to ease the credit crunch for American businesses, provide fresh capital for investment and job creation, help to lead the recovery, and actually reduce rather than increase the overgrown deficit and federal debt.
Elections, Transparency, & AccountabilityBy B. D. McCullough, Ross McKitrick, Fraser InstituteStudies in Risk and Regulation, 02/18/2009
In recent years, there has been considerable attention paid to the question of whether financial statements and other data from corporations are adequately reviewed prior to release. An analogous question concerns the data and findings in academic papers which sometimes influence public sector decisions. Disclosure of data and code for the purpose of permitting independent replication in no way intrudes on or imperils academic freedom; instead, it should be seen as essential to good scientific practice, as well as a contribution to better public decision making.
Natural Resources, Energy, Environment, & ScienceBy Amy Kaleita, Pacific Research InstituteEnvironmental Notes, 02/18/2009
In his inaugural address, new President Barack Obama said he intended to “restore science to its rightful place” in government. Several days later, Obama again claimed a change in approach, saying, “Rigid ideology has overruled sound science. Special interests have overshadowed common sense. Rhetoric has not led to the hard work needed to achieve results.” Scientists across the country and around the world are hailing this focus as a bright new day in environmental policy. Certainly, sound policy must be informed by sound science but the new administration, unfortunately, is just as susceptible as any other to the influence of ideology and rhetoric.
Natural Resources, Energy, Environment, & ScienceBy David R. Henderson, National Center for Policy AnalysisBrief Analysis, 02/18/2009
If the government limits carbon emissions now through taxes or direct caps, it is taxing the poor today to benefit wealthier future generations. Perversely, such limits would also deprive future generations of the additional capital that would accumulate if the money were invested in the market instead of being used to combat climate change.
Economic and Political ThoughtBy Theodore Dalrymple, Manhattan InstituteCity Journal, 02/18/2009
In 1960, the sociologist Daniel Bell published The End of Ideology, in which he argued that ideology—understood in the sense of a coherent, single-minded philosophical outlook or system of abstractions intended as much as a lever to change society as a description to explain it—was dead, at least in the West, and in the United States in particular. A combination of democracy and mass prosperity had “solved” the political question that had agitated humanity since the time of Plato. There were to be no more grand and transformative, if woefully erroneous, ideas; all that remained was public administration, with, at most, squabbles over small details of policy. The new version of the old saw, mens sana in corpore sano, a sound mind in a sound body, was a capitalist economy in a liberal democratic polity. That was the lesson of history. As it turned out, of course, we did not have long to suffer existential boredom.
Natural Resources, Energy, Environment, & ScienceBy Edward L. Glaeser, Manhattan InstituteCity Journal, 02/18/2009
If you want to be good to the environment, stay away from it. Move to high-rise apartments surrounded by plenty of concrete. Americans who settle in leafy, low-density suburbs will leave a significantly deeper carbon footprint, it turns out, than Americans who live cheek by jowl in urban towers. And a second paradox follows from the first. When environmentalists resist new construction in their dense but environmentally friendly cities, they inadvertently ensure that it will take place somewhere else—somewhere with higher carbon emissions. Much local environmentalism, in short, is bad for the environment.
National SecurityBy Loren B. Thompson, Lexington InstituteIssue Brief, 02/18/2009
Sometime in the next dozen days, President Obama will make his first big decision about America’s future military capabilities. The fiscal 2009 defense authorization act requires the President to tell the Congress by March 1 whether the nation’s interest is best served by purchasing more F-22 fighters, or ceasing production. If he decides to end the program, contractor Lockheed Martin will begin laying off workers almost immediately, as will dozens of suppliers. The Air Force will have to make do with the 183 planes it has already ordered.
Budget & TaxationBy Michael Lowrey, John Locke FoundationPolitical Report, 02/18/2009
Counties and towns are critical levels of government in North Carolina, providing or administering many services while taking in billions of dollars of revenue. This is especially true as the state government has increasingly shifted more taxing authority to localities to make up for money kept by the state. While the importance of county and municipal government is great, obtaining comparative data is difficult. To help address this problem, By The Numbers provides information of how much local government costs in every city and county in North Carolina.
Foreign Policy/International AffairsBy Walter Lohman, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 02/17/2009
Indonesia is much more than a “Muslim country.” It is a developing democracy under assault from a determined Islamist minority.
Monetary Policy/Financial RegulationBy Andrew M. Grossman, The Heritage FoundationBackgrounder, 02/17/2009
Allowing judges to discharge mortgage debt in bankruptcy and rewrite repayment terms would put homeownership out of reach for many Americans, especially those of lesser means; deal a blow to banks and other lenders at a time when many are faltering, thereby undermining government efforts to increase stability in that sector; and prevent few foreclosures while harming those it is intended to protect.
Foreign Policy/International AffairsBy Bruce Klingner, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 02/17/2009
Coming only three weeks into the Obama Administration, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s Asia trip communicates that Asia matters to the United States and that Washington is committed to a predominant role in the region over the long-term.
Foreign Policy/International AffairsBy Derek Scissors, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 02/17/2009
There is new and important context to Secretary Clinton’s trip to Asia next week. New data make it clear that the huge imbalances in the U.S.-China economic relationship are likely to persist; they may even expand.
ImmigrationBy Diem Nguyen, Matt A. Mayer, James Jay Carafano, The Heritage FoundationBackgrounder, 02/17/2009
Immigration reform will require a sustained, incremental effort to secure the border, improvements in the legal worker programs, and support for economic development in Latin America. Internal enforcement is the only mechanism that can discourage illegal immigration and persuade future migrants and employers to use the available legal avenues. This will not be feasible without methodical enforcement that brings legitimacy back to U.S. immigration law.
Monetary Policy/Financial RegulationBy Richard A. Epstein, Hoover InstitutionHoover Digest, 02/17/2009
There is no getting around the fact that any discussion of the bailout chronicles American failures, not American successes. Our short-term breakdown is often expressed as one that pits Wall Street against Main Street. That is not quite right. The deeper issues are how do we identify the causes of the meltdown, and where do we go from here?
Natural Resources, Energy, Environment, & ScienceBy Angela Logomasini, Competitive Enterprise InstituteIssue Analysis, 02/17/2009
After years of promoting bottled water as an environmentally friendly, healthy alternative to tap water, environmental activists have turned against this product they once favored. Such an about-face alone should make everyone wary of the claims now being lobbed at bottled water. Like past contrived environmental panics, this one is just that—a contrived panic over nothing of substance. Plastic bottles used to transport various types of water are not going to make us sick, they are not a significant contributor to global warming, and they are highly energy efficient.
Monetary Policy/Financial RegulationBy Eli Lehrer, Competitive Enterprise InstituteOn Point, 02/17/2009
Expanding credit union business lending would yield economic stimulus at no cost to taxpayers. By freeing up capital for small businesses, it would send more money flowing through the economy and create jobs. The higher Congress raises the cap on credit union lending, the more capital it can unleash. Of course, credit union deregulation is but a small step to getting the American economy growing again. But given the current need for capital for businesses of all sizes, deregulation of credit union business lending can only prove beneficial.
EducationBy Nathan A. Benefield, Fred D. Baldwin, Commonwealth Foundation for Public Policy AlternativesCommentary, 02/17/2009
In his budget address, Governor Rendell called on lawmakers to form a commission to study the issue of consolidating school districts, and present recommendations. Governor Rendell seems to have forgotten that the General Assembly commissioned a study on school district consolidation a mere two years ago. This study concluded that school district consolidation would not be much of a cost saver.
Budget & TaxationBy David Cameron, Commonwealth Foundation for Public Policy AlternativesCommentary, 02/17/2009
In the debate over the federal “stimulus” plan, few are asking—and no proponent is answering—the important questions: Who will finance the debt? What are the opportunity costs for this financing? Can we afford to take on more national debts?
Budget & TaxationBy Elizabeth Bryan, Nathan A. Benefield, Commonwealth Foundation for Public Policy AlternativesPolicy Report, 02/17/2009
Harrisburg policymakers need to reprioritize spending and cut waste from state government to avoid a tax increase on working Pennsylvanians and job creators. In short, they need to put Pennsylvania government on a diet and back on the path to fiscal and economic health.
EducationBy Sutherland Institute, Sutherland InstitutePolicy Report, 02/17/2009
This is a snapshot comparing Sutherland's incentive-pay proposal and the current method of paying teachers.
EducationBy Sutherland Institute, Sutherland InstitutePolicy Report, 02/17/2009
The Utah High School Activities Association (UHSAA) is a legal and administrative enigma – it is a private organization with governmental powers. As a private entity, the UHSAA is obligated to serve its dues-paying member schools, and as a “state actor,” as the United States Supreme Court has defined such associations, it also has a duty to serve the people, particularly student-athletes and their families. Both the Utah State Legislature, through its Office of the Legislative Auditor General, and the Sutherland Institute have highlighted problems resulting from the UHSAA’s contradictory roles and have offered solutions to resolve them. This Sutherland analysis is one more attempt to bring understanding to an issue that generates unnecessary conflict for schools, parents, and student-athletes.
Elections, Transparency, & AccountabilityBy Sutherland Institute, Sutherland InstitutePolicy Report, 02/17/2009
Perhaps the most frequently expressed reason for doing nothing about ethics reform is the self-incriminating perception it might create – the thought that ethics reform is intended to address actual wrongdoing on the part of someone, somewhere. Many legislators seem to think that addressing ethics is tacit admission that they, especially legislative leaders, struggle personally with ethical problems – if they address it, they must be guilty of something. But in reality the opposite is true: real ethics reform can be accomplished only by honest legislators who seek to establish laws and regulations that promote good governance and full accountability in government at all levels.
Health CareBy Benjamin Zycher, Manhattan InstituteMedical Progress Report, 02/17/2009
This paper reports the available data on the characteristics of Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) and the progress they have made in enrolling Americans and drawing them away from traditional, comprehensive insurance plans. Authorized by federal law in 2003, HSAs are financial instruments linked to high-deductible health insurance plans (HDHPs). They allow households to set aside tax-free funds for routine medical expenses.
Monetary Policy/Financial RegulationBy David C. John, James L. Gattuso, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 02/13/2009
The Administration’s financial bailout strategy announced by Timothy Geithner, despite some positive elements, is filled with incomplete and unsound policy proposals financed by trillions of taxpayer dollars.
Foreign Policy/International AffairsBy James M. Roberts, Ray Walser, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 02/13/2009
Mexico is facing trouble on several fronts: drug violence, corruption, and economic turbulence.
Budget & TaxationBy Robert Carroll, et al., Tax FoundationWorking Paper, 02/13/2009
It is relatively easy to agree about some of the major problems plaguing the tax system, as well as the principles—simplicity, transparency, efficiency, and equity—that should drive reform. It is more difficult, however, to come up with specific policy proposals, particularly when bipartisan support is essential to a successful reform package. We believe that the approach and specific policies laid out here can serve as an excellent starting point for developing a comprehensive, bipartisan proposal that would vastly improve our tax system.
Budget & TaxationBy Robert Carroll, Mark Robyn, Tax FoundationFiscal Facts, 02/13/2009
As shown below, some taxpayers are set to receive a considerable tax cut from the stimulus. Most of the tax benefit comes from the new Making Work Pay Credit and the American Opportunity Tax Credit, which replaces and expands the existing Hope credit for certain higher education expenses. The stimulus also includes a higher AMT exemption (the so-called AMT patch). Note that the text of the final bill has not been officially released to the public, and as such these tables are subject to change. The numbers are based on the conference committee results as reported in the press and by Speaker Pelosi.
Economic GrowthBy Veronique de Rugy, Reason FoundationReason, 02/13/2009
If politicians actually want to do something cost-effective to solve our economic woes, here’s some advice: Stay away from spending increases and tax rebates. Instead, focus on real incentives to stimulate work and investment, such as cutting everyone’s marginal tax rates, slashing payroll taxes for employees and employers, and ending the corporate income tax (which is ultimately paid by consumers).
Natural Resources, Energy, Environment, & ScienceBy Public Interest Institute, Public Interest InstitutePolicy Study, 02/13/2009
In this peer review we have briefly examined the cost-benefit assumptions for some of the proposals that project significant net cost savings for the state in the ICCAC report. In each case we have found the analysis to be seriously flawed.
Monetary Policy/Financial Regulation
Modernizing Consumer Protection in the Financial Regulatory System: Strengthening Credit Card ProtectionsBy Todd Zywicki, Mercatus CenterCongressional Testimony, 02/13/2009
Credit cards have had transformative effects on the American economy. It has enabled the rise of the E-Commerce economy. It has provided significant benefits to consumers such as access to Automated Teller Machines (ATM), sources of credit, a transactional medium without the inconvenience of checks, and frequent flier miles, to name a few. However, the myriad uses of credit cards have spawned increases in complexity in credit card terms and concerns about confusion that may reduce consumer welfare. This testimony addresses the question about the problem that regulation seeks to correct, and whether the benefits of regulation will justify the costs.
Economic and Political ThoughtBy James Q. Wilson, Manhattan InstituteCity Journal, 02/13/2009
Genes shape, to varying degrees, almost every aspect of human behavior. The struggle by some activists to deny or downplay that fact is worrisome. The anti-gene claim is ultimately an ill-starred effort to preserve the myth that, since the environment can explain everything, political causes that attempt to alter the environment can bring about whatever their leaders desire. The truth is that though biology is not destiny, neither is it an easily changed path to utopia.
Economic and Political ThoughtBy Roger Scruton, Manhattan InstituteCity Journal, 02/13/2009
We should emphasize the very great virtues and achievements that we have built on our legacy of tolerance and show a willingness to criticize and amend all the vices to which it has also given undue space. We should resurrect Locke’s distinction between liberty and license and make it absolutely clear to our children that liberty is a form of order, not a license for anarchy and self-indulgence. We should cease to mock the things that mattered to our parents and grandparents, and we should be proud of what they achieved. This is not arrogance but a just recognition of our privileges.
WelfareBy Steven Malanga, Manhattan InstituteCity Journal, 02/13/2009
During the first few years of welfare reform, the rolls fell so quickly that many state welfare agencies, which administer welfare for the federal government, stopped feeling pressure to move their remaining welfare clients back into the workforce. But since 2005, states have further reformed their welfare programs to comply with a controversial reauthorization of the 1996 legislation that required states to move even more people to work. This next, crucial phase of welfare reform could put an end to traditional cash welfare assistance in all but the most extreme cases. That is, unless Democratic policymakers get in the way.