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Recent Policy Studies
Monetary Policy/Financial RegulationBy Andrew Lilico, Centre for Policy StudiesReport, 03/26/2009
The UK Government’s nationalization of most of the UK’s banking sector in the Autumn of 2008 (with the consent of the Opposition) marks the end of private capitalism. This is a disaster of the first order. Politicians appear not to understand what they have done. This paper sets out how we got here; what we should have done instead; and where we should go from here.
Foreign Policy/International AffairsBy Sally McNamara, The Heritage FoundationBackgrounder, 03/26/2009
NATO’s 60th anniversary summit will be a critical time for the transatlantic alliance, and it will likely shape the transatlantic relationship for the remainder of the Obama Administration. The war in Afghanistan is America’s top priority at the summit and it is vital that President Obama send the message that he intends to win in Afghanistan.
Budget & TaxationBy J.D. Foster, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 03/26/2009
President Obama’s budget outlines sweeping changes for federal tax policy. A few of these changes are good policy that ought to be accepted by Congress. However, the net effect of these radical tax policies would be devastating tax increases and a permanently weaker economy.
Natural Resources, Energy, Environment, & ScienceBy Nicolas Loris, Ben Lieberman, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 03/26/2009
President Obama recently released his budget blueprint, “The New Era of Responsibility,” which outlines his spending plans for Fiscal Year 2010 and beyond. Aside from providing general levels of federal spending, the blueprint foreshadows much of the President's policy agenda. The budgets for the Department of Energy (DOE), the Department of the Interior (DOI), and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reveal that the President has a costly and economically harmful vision for energy policy.
Monetary Policy/Financial RegulationBy James L. Gattuso, David C. John, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 03/26/2009
Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner yesterday released details on his proposal for removing toxic assets from the balance sheets of banks and other financial institutions. Substantively, however, while the plan does have positive elements, it is significantly flawed.
Health CareBy J.D. Foster, The Heritage FoundationBackgrounder, 03/26/2009
Medicare is a vital program for seniors, but is fundamentally unaffordable as it is currently structured because it faces an unfunded obligation of $85.6 trillion. Phasing out the subsidy for upper-income seniors is an obvious first step toward Medicare sustainability. Such a policy would reduce Medicare’s long-run excess costs by over $41 trillion.
Calling for G-20 Global Action for Economic Recovery: Obama Touches All the Bases but Fails to ScoreBy Terry Miller, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 03/26/2009
President Obama’s March 24 call for “bold, comprehensive, and coordinated action” by the G-20 revealed the President’s basic confusion about thePresident Obama’s March 24 call for “bold, comprehensive, and coordinated action” by the G-20 revealed the President’s basic confusion about the role of government in the economy. role of government in the economy.
Crime, Justice & the LawBy Andrew M. Grossman, The Heritage FoundationLegal Memorandum, 03/26/2009
Prosecutors continue to abuse the federal mail and wire fraud statutes to go after contractual violations, local-government patronage politics, minor regulatory violations, and other conduct that may not warrant civil lawsuits, let alone criminal prosecution. This puts all Americans at risk of criminal punishment for conduct that they have no reason to believe is unlawful.
Foreign Policy/International AffairsBy Ray Walser, James Roberts, Jena Baker McNeill, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 03/26/2009
This week, during her inaugural visit to Mexico, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton faces a tough but critical challenge: laying the early foundations for a solid, working relationship with America’s southern neighbor.
International Trade/FinanceBy James M. Roberts, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 03/26/2009
The Obama Administration should take immediate steps to restore funding to the pilot truck program, and then expand it and make it permanent.
The Constitution/Civil LibertiesBy The Heritage Foundation, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 03/26/2009
The Framers considered freedom from bills of attainder so important that it is one of only two individual liberties that the original Constitution protects from both federal and state intrusion.
The Constitution/Civil LibertiesBy James M. Roberts, Gonzalo Schwarz, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 03/26/2009
The new Bolivian constitution-written by President Evo Morales and approved by voters in late January-is an assault upon the universal ideals of individual and economic freedom.
Budget & TaxationBy Curtis S. Dubay, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 03/25/2009
President Obama famously said during the campaign that he thinks the economy works best when “we spread the wealth around.” He is wasting no time pursuing this redistributionist agenda, and he is using the tax code to do it.
Foreign Policy/International AffairsBy Lisa Curtis, Nicholas Hamisevicz, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 03/25/2009
The Sri Lankan army’s recent military success against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam is being diminished by international concern over the deteriorating human rights situation surrounding the fighting.
Foreign Policy/International AffairsBy Ted R. Bromund, J.D. Foster, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 03/25/2009
The G-20 should find common ground on defending free trade, opposing further unwise government spending, and reforms to the banking sector that are designed and implemented to achieve financial, not political, goals.
Foreign Policy/International AffairsBy Bruce Klingner, The Heritage FoundationBackgrounder, 03/25/2009
Despite public perceptions of a major U.S. policy shift toward North Korea, President Obama is continuing the Bush engagement strategy. The Six-Party Talks should not be the only venue for U.S.-North Korean engagement. A more comprehensive strategy would offer Pyongyang a path to greater economic and diplomatic benefits while continuing to insist on compliance, conditionality, reciprocity, and verification.
Family, Culture & CommunityBy Brian Brown, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 03/25/2009
Serve America is the Senate’s attempt to turn into reality President Obama’s campaign promises about public service. But in practice, the bill hearkens back to the old ideas of someone Congress should hesitate to mimic in a recession: Herbert Hoover.
Budget & TaxationBy Travis Greaves, Tax FoundationFiscal Facts, 03/25/2009
In the realm of real property taxation, the best-known tax is on residential property. Every U.S. homeowner knows that the local government will collect a small percentage of the property’s fair market value each year, ranging from much less than one percent up to more than three percent. Local governments levy a similar, often higher tax on stores, factories, warehouses and other common types of commercial property. State-level governments normally leave these types of real estate untaxed, focusing their property taxes mostly on cars and boats. As a result, local governments collect 95 percent of total property tax revenue. However, there are exceptions to state governments’ custom of leaving real estate taxation to local governments. Here we briefly survey the ways that state governments are taxing forest and timberland.
Budget & TaxationBy Brian Doherty, Reason FoundationReason, 03/25/2009
Stimulus sweeps the land like a plague, with the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act pushing a crushing juggernaut of $787 billion in enforced federal joy to help with state obligations ranging from welfare to unemployment to education to building guard rails on highways. While not exactly forming a substantial breakwater to these flooding waves of cash, a few conservative voices have at least drawn some attention by standing athwart the next decade’s federal debt, shouting, “Hey, maybe we’ll just take some of it.”
The Constitution/Civil LibertiesBy Steve Chapman, Reason FoundationReason, 03/25/2009
Congress is outraged. Really, really outraged. Unbelievably, incredibly outraged. And there are certainly grounds for anger. Not at the insurance company AIG, which paid bonuses that are seen as intolerable, but at Congress, which blithely declined to prohibit them but is now shocked to find AIG doing what it was allowed to do. The Democrats who control Capitol Hill want revenge, as do many Republicans. So the House voted by a 328-93 margin to impose a 90 percent tax on the payments. In doing so, members resolutely avoided a couple of inconvenient realities. The first is that the fault, if any, lies with the same people who are now angry. The second is that the tax conflicts with the clear intent of the Constitution.
Economic GrowthBy David Harsanyi, Reason FoundationReason, 03/25/2009
“Most men die of their remedies, not of their diseases,” a smart-alecky Frenchman once observed. At this point, many Americans might be pondering a similar thought: What’s worse, the recession or the prescription?
Crime, Justice & the LawBy Radley Balko, Reason FoundationReason, 03/25/2009
It takes an odd definition of justice to believe that state-paid scientists should only use their expertise to help win prosecutions. Unfortunately, that view seems to be the prevailing one.
Information TechnologyBy Michael Palage, Progress & Freedom FoundationProgress on Point, 03/25/2009
Significant concerns have been raised about ICANN’s proposal for processing large numbers of applications for new generic Top Level Domains (gTLDs) such as .BLOG. ICANN’s goal is to expand the domain name space and thus increase competition and innovation. But the global business community has expressed strong concern that, without greater protections for trademark holders, the effect of ICANN’s proposal would be not so much to expand the domain name space as to duplicate it by requiring large numbers of defensive registrations for every new gTLD created. It is Internet users who ultimately bear the dead-weight costs to business of such defensive registrations and who really suffer from increased domain name confusion and vulnerability to phishing scams.
Information TechnologyBy Barbara Esbin, Progress & Freedom FoundationProgress on Point, 03/25/2009
Some overseas providers, notably British Telecom, are undeniably enthusiastic about the purported benefits of functional separation. Yet, in the United States, flirtation with a functional separation regulatory model would require a sudden and extreme policy reversal that would render the telecommunications sector wholly unattractive to investors. Instead of going down that path, U.S. policy makers should keep their focus on the dual challenges of bringing broadband deployment to areas presently unserved by any provider and preserving and expanding existing levels of competition by removing remaining disincentives to investment and making more spectrum available to wireless broadband providers.
The False Connection Between Strong Patent Rights and Global Inequity: A Response to Professor StiglitzBy Sidney A. Rosenzweig, Progress & Freedom FoundationProgress on Point, 03/25/2009
This paper aims to present and refute key aspects of Stiglitz’s attack on the U.S. patent system. Contrary to Stiglitz’s repeated declarations, for example, strong patent rights are not responsible for a so-called knowledge gap between developed and undeveloped countries. Nor do such rights result in biopiracy that strips cultures of their traditional medicines. While some of Stiglitz’s alternatives to the patent system – such as prize funds aimed at eradicating tropical diseases – are welcome complements to current incentives, another – compulsory drug licensing – is based on false premises and ignores obvious effects on drug development.
Los Angeles’ Martin Luther King, Jr.-Harbor Hospital Shows the Cost of Government Monopoly Health CareBy John R. Graham, Pacific Research InstituteCapital Ideas, 03/25/2009
Earlier this month, state and local officials announced an agreement to re-open the Martin Luther King, Jr.-Harbor Hospital in the Watts neighborhood of Los Angeles in 2012. For four decades, Los Angeles’ most vulnerable, low-income patients suffered terribly because of the county’s management of this failed hospital, which finally closed all in-patient services in August, 2007.
Regulation & DeregulationBy John R. Graham, Pacific Research InstitutePRI Publication, 03/25/2009
A new research report by the Pacific Research Institute (PRI) reviews three decades of the Food and Drug Administration’s performance and concludes that the agency is overfunded, overstaffed, and denies hundreds of thousands of Americans timely access to new medicines.
Health CareBy Scott Atlas, National Center for Policy AnalysisBrief Analysis, 03/25/2009
Despite serious challenges, such as escalating costs and the uninsured, the U.S. health care system compares favorably to those in other developed countries.
Monetary Policy/Financial RegulationBy Robert McTeer, National Center for Policy AnalysisBrief Analysis, 03/25/2009
The most serious example of doing the right thing at the wrong time is overly strict adherence to mark-to-market accounting rules. Fortunately, there is historical and international precedent for suspending and reworking these rules. Congress and the SEC should consider doing so until the economy recovers.
Budget & TaxationBy Veronique de Rugy, Mercatus CenterWorking Paper, 03/25/2009
In this working paper, Dr. de Rugy presents the unprecidented budget of the new administration. President Obama's new era of fiscal responsibility includes running larger deficits in every of the next ten years than any of the Bush years and increasing federal spending in 2009 by at least 32 percent, spending $32,949.90 per household.
Regulation & DeregulationBy Steven Horwitz, Mercatus CenterWorking Paper, 03/25/2009
The underlying logic of the Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA) suggests that programs should be evaluated based on empirical evidence that they actually produce the intended outcomes. This study applies the same logic to GPRA itself, investigating empirically whether GPRA may have increased the availability and use of performance information in federal agencies. Better GPRA performance reporting is correlated with greater availability and use of several kinds of performance information by federal managers in the programs and operations they supervise. The results are statistically significant and relatively large. Correlations are especially significant for types of activities GPRA sought to encourage, such as output and outcome measures and use of performance information to allocate resources, set priorities, and develop measures and goals. These findings are consistent with the theory that GPRA has indeed prompted improvements in the availability and use of performance information in the federal government.
LaborBy Richard A. Epstein, Manhattan InstituteCivil Justice Forum, 03/25/2009
The National Labor Relations Act of 1935 marked a major departure from common law principles, which were modified but not rejected with the passage of the Taft-Hartley Act in 1947. Since that time, the legal regime governing labor relations has been relatively stable. Today, the looming presence of the Employee Free Choice Act of 2009 (EFCA) threatens to alter that balance radically. The EFCA seeks in a few short paragraphs to erect a labor regime whose untested provisions and coercive power will add countless business casualties to our already suffering economy.
Monetary Policy/Financial RegulationBy Nicole Gelinas, Manhattan InstituteCity Journal, 03/25/2009
A year ago last week, the United States government saved Bear Stearns from bankruptcy, enticing JPMorgan Chase to buy the insolvent company with government guarantees. Fed and Treasury officials—and almost everyone else—argued that the step was necessary to prevent a systemic financial meltdown. We got our systemic financial meltdown anyway. And smashing our core free-market principles to save failing financial firms got us something worse still: a poisonous mob mentality seeping into the American spirit. AIG, the immediate catalyst for the mob, isn’t even a company now. It’s a three-letter shorthand for everything that’s gone wrong in an arduous year of random bailout after random bailout.
Natural Resources, Energy, Environment, & ScienceBy Patrick J. Wright, Mackinac Center for Public PolicyViewpoint, 03/25/2009
George Santayana, a poet and philosopher, produced the often paraphrased quotation: “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” If correct, his aphorism foreshadows future troubles for Michigan due to its newly enacted renewable energy laws.
LaborBy Paul Kersey, Mackinac Center for Public PolicyViewpoint, 03/25/2009
It has been suggested more than once lately that Michigan’s problems would be less severe if other states had the sort of strong unions we have here. This is nothing more than wishful thinking that impedes real solutions. We cannot, and should not, expect other states — especially those not as hard hit by current economic conditions — to embrace unions at the expense of productivity and competitiveness.
Foreign Policy/International AffairsBy Phil Peters, Lexington InstituteReport, 03/25/2009
Costa Rica and El Salvador are re-establishing diplomatic relations with Cuba after breaking them, respectively, in 1961 and 1959. These moves close a chapter in Cold War history. Costa Rica and El Salvador are the last Latin American countries to resume ties with Cuba after the entire region, with the exception of Mexico, broke them when the socialist government came to power five decades ago.
LaborBy Carrie L. Lukas, Independent Women's ForumPolicy Brief, 03/25/2009
President Obama and Members of Congress have offered numerous proposals to create new federal regulations to require employers to provide workers with specific leave benefits. One such proposal, the Healthy Family Act, would mandate that employers must provide seven days of paid sick leave. Everyone understands the appeal of paid leave benefits, which is why most employers already offer paid leave to their employees. Yet these benefits entail real costs, and a government mandate would have several important unintended consequences for employees and the economy.
Budget & TaxationBy Barry W. Poulson, Independence InstituteIssue Backgrounder, 03/25/2009
This year the Colorado legislature is debating a bill, (SB228) that would eliminate the Arveschoug-Bird Amendment. That Amendment was enacted by the legislature in 1992, a few months before the voters of Colorado enacted the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights (TABOR) Amendment. Arveschoug-Bird caps the growth of general fund spending at 6 percent per year. With the 6 percent cap in place, surplus revenue above this limit is transferred into the Highway Users Trust Fund and to capital construction. Critics argue that the 6 percent cap constrains general fund expenditures for health care, human services, education, and other state programs. They argue that the 6 percent cap should be removed to allow legislators to reallocate that surplus revenue to these state programs.
LaborBy F. Vincent Vernuccio, Competitive Enterprise InstituteOn Point, 03/25/2009
Doing away with the secret ballot in labor organizing only is not only opportunistic, but hypocritical. Many of EFCA’s most ardent supporters—from members of Congress to the Secretary of Labor to unions themselves—have supported the secret ballot in the past and continue to do so in contexts other than union organizing elections. Laws such as the Labor-Management Relations and Disclosure Act and National Labor Relations Act would still require the secret ballot in other contexts, but not in the most important decision workers make vis-à-vis labor unions: whether to join in the first place.
LaborBy Ivan Osorio, Russ Brown, Competitive Enterprise InstituteOn Point, 03/25/2009
The so-called Employee Free Choice Act is anything but. By doing away with secret ballot elections in union organizing drives, it takes away employees’ free choice, further hurting American workers.
EducationBy Marya DeGrow, Independence InstituteIssue Paper, 03/25/2009
In the fall of 2008 there were 7,023 registered homeschool students. After 20 years, some organizations still desire to limit homeschool freedoms. The law needs consistent defense against those who would restrict parental rights.
Natural Resources, Energy, Environment, & ScienceBy Todd Wynn, Cascade Policy InstitutePolicy Study, 03/25/2009
Because cap-and-trade programs and other wide-ranging carbon emission reduction strategies rely heavily on offsets to reduce compliance costs, Cascade Policy Institute audited the leading offset provider in Oregon, the Climate Trust. This report takes a close look into the Climate Trust’s offset portfolio and shows that numerous problems undermine the quality and true effectiveness of the organization’s purpose.
Regulation & DeregulationBy Bill Peacock, Texas Public Policy FoundationPolicy Perspective, 03/24/2009
Over the past couple of years, the lack of consumers switching away from certain insurers with large market shares has been held up as a sign of the lack of competition in the Texas homeowners’ insurance market. Similar arguments have colored the debate in the electricity market. In both industries, these arguments have been used to justify significant and costly interventions in the marketplace in the name of consumer protection.
EducationBy Brooke Dollens Terry, Texas Public Policy FoundationPolicy Perspective, 03/24/2009
Although the concept of charter schools has been around since 1991, most Americans know very little about charter schools. A 2008 national poll conducted for Education Next and Harvard University found 41 percent of Americans were undecided on charters, neither supporting nor opposing the formation of charter schools. Another recent national poll by the Center for Education Reform found that only 20 percent of Americans can correctly identify a charter school as a public school. This paper draws from multiple sources to educate policymakers, the public, and the media about charter schools from a national perspective and a Texas perspective.
Crime, Justice & the LawBy Bill Peacock, Texas Public Policy FoundationPolicy Perspective, 03/24/2009
The practical problem with the Kelo decision is the weaknesses in Texas eminent domain law that it exposed. Before Kelo, the property rights of Texans were somewhat shielded from these inherent flaws in Texas law. Whatever the law might have said, there was no general understanding that the U.S. Constitution’s Public Use Clause allowed the government to take any property from any person for any public purpose and give it to someone else. There were limits in place. However, post-Kelo, everyone’s property was up for grabs.
Monetary Policy/Financial RegulationBy Jagadeesh Gokhale, Cato InstitutePolicy Analysis, 03/24/2009
This Policy Analysis explains the antecedents of the current global financial crisis and critically examines the reasoning behind the U.S. Treasury and Federal Reserve’s actions to prop up the financial sector. It argues that recovery from the financial crisis is likely to be slow with or without the government’s bailout actions.
Monetary Policy/Financial RegulationBy Peter J. Wallison, American Enterprise InstituteThe American, 03/24/2009
In response to public outrage about bonuses paid out by American International Group, Congress is now working feverishly on legislation that would penalize the workers at banks and other companies that have received funds from the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP). This must be one of the most disheartening episodes ever witnessed in Congress, not because the bonuses deserve support but because our representatives are structuring legislation that would punish almost everyone—the guilty and the innocent, the competent and the incompetent, those necessary to run the businesses that receive TARP funds, and those who may be superfluous—in a headlong rush to pander.
Monetary Policy/Financial RegulationBy Adam Paul, American Enterprise InstituteThe American, 03/24/2009
When President Barack Obama recently called for construction spending, he probably did not envision Web design. Yet the website financialstability.gov that Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner announced more than a month ago with the Financial Stability Plan (FSP) was launched with the banner “This site is coming soon”—and the banner remains (see screen shot below taken March 23, 2009). A former Federal Reserve official remarked after visiting the site looking for information, “Is this supposed to make me confident?” Geithner said in February, “The website will give Americans the transparency they deserve.” Although the site has been updated, it has been more a clearinghouse for white papers and Frequently Asked Questions than the promised home of transparency.
Monetary Policy/Financial RegulationBy Philip I. Levy, American Enterprise InstituteThe American, 03/24/2009
Back in September, after Lehman Brothers was allowed to fail, top U.S. financial officials acted as if they had seen a ghost. They ran from the specter of bankruptcy as fast as they could. They made the classic slasher-film mistake: They did not look to see what was lurking in the other direction, the wraith of public wrath. The public is outraged that American International Group (AIG) employees who helped deliver more than $150 billion of failure could receive at least $150 million in bonuses. This uproar threatens to undercut public support for salvaging the failing financial sector and is driving Congress to pass retributive measures of dubious constitutionality.
Natural Resources, Energy, Environment, & ScienceBy Kenneth P. Green, American Enterprise InstituteThe American, 03/24/2009
The Obama administration’s headlong rush to create a trading market for greenhouse gas control has stumbled at the very first step, over how one kicks off such a market. The administration would be wise to look before it leaps: mistakes made in the initial creation of an emission-trading market become increasingly difficult to repair as the participants quickly gain a vested interest in the status quo.
Foreign Policy/International AffairsBy Roger F. Noriega, American Enterprise InstituteThe American, 03/24/2009
One would like to think that the undemocratic way in which Hugo Chavez, Evo Morales, Daniel Ortega, and Rafael Correa have run their respective countries would have been a cautionary tale to our friends in El Salvador. Alas, last Sunday, voters in that Central American country—arguably the United States’ best friend in the hemisphere—chose as their president the front man of a communist rebel group whose members have killed U.S. servicemen, are allied with terrorist groups, and celebrated the 9/11attacks. It remains to be seen whether El Salvador’s new president, Mauricio Funes, keeps his pledge to govern moderately or is overwhelmed by the leftist extremists who really run his party.
EducationBy Steven F. Wilson, American Enterprise InstituteEducation Outlook, 03/24/2009
KIPP KEY Academy in Washington, D.C. North Star Academy in Newark. Roxbury Prep in Boston. Amistad Academy in New Haven. These, and perhaps two hundred other high-performing schools nationwide, are the bright lights of the charter school movement. Despite social and economic disadvantages, their students not only trounce their district peers on state tests but also top statewide averages and, in some cases, surpass students from surrounding affluent suburban districts. Among these “gap-closing” schools, one broad approach, frequently called “no excuses” schooling, appears to dominate. The Knowledge Is Power Program (KIPP) network of schools is the exemplar, but this approach is proliferating in other networks, including Achievement First and Uncommon Schools, and in stand-alone schools, many of which aspire to replicate themselves in coming years. But to narrow America’s shameful achievement gaps, we would need thousands more such schools. Is the “no excuses” approach sustainable, and can it be widely reproduced?
Health CareBy Roger Bate, American Enterprise InstituteThe American, 03/24/2009
Steadily weakening vaccination coverage in Britain and four other countries is undermining efforts to eradicate measles across Europe and increasing the threat to the United States. An unfounded fear that the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine is causing autism is making rising numbers of people sick.
Monetary Policy/Financial RegulationBy Jeffrey R. Brown, Andrew G. Biggs, American Enterprise InstituteThe American, 03/24/2009
Americans should by now understand the dangers that accompany the phrase “too big to fail.” It has been applied to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, to Wall Street firms and commercial banks, and to the Big Three automakers. Yet, while it is trite to say that those who do not learn from the past are doomed to repeat it, it is worrisome that some seem unable even to learn from the present. The new investment policy proposed by the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) is an example of such a failure to learn, and unless this policy is overruled by the Obama administration, the policy will impose more risk on taxpayers.
Economic GrowthBy Leon Aron, American Enterprise InstituteRussian Outlook, 03/24/2009
Although it contains millions of acres of some of the world’s most fertile soil and has implemented the world’s largest land privatization reform, Russia imports food in amounts that are inordinately high for a country of its size and per-capita GDP. The reliance on imported meat and poultry is especially large. Already under strain from rampant inflation, a very significant proportion of Russia’s population will find its access to food further diminished by deep depreciation of the ruble as well as such inevitable consequences of the crisis as unemployment and still higher inflation. While widespread hunger is not likely, the constraints on food consumption could add yet another perilous dimension to a political crisis that is bound to unfold alongside the economic one.
Economic GrowthBy Roger F. Noriega, American Enterprise InstituteLatin American Outlook, 03/24/2009
Although President Barack Obama has named foreign policy teams for the Middle East, Asia, South Asia, Iraq, and Afghanistan, he has yet to designate anyone to oversee diplomacy close to home in Latin America and the Caribbean. It is just a matter of time before “Latinamericanists” renew their complaints that the region’s problems are the result of U.S. indifference. The truth is, what Obama does to put the United States’ own house in order will benefit our neighbors more than anything he can do right now for the region. Perhaps more important, Latin Americans would do well to focus on unfinished business of their own to head off another “lost decade.”