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Recent Policy Studies
Natural Resources, Energy, Environment, & ScienceBy Jack Spencer, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 04/08/2009
If CO2 reduction is truly the objective, then maximizing America’s nuclear resources should be a top priority.
The Constitution/Civil LibertiesBy Randolph W. Pate, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 04/08/2009
The Obama Administration is moving rapidly to overturn federal “conscience clause” regulations protecting health care providers who object to performing procedures that violate their religious beliefs or moral convictions.
ImmigrationBy Jena Baker McNeill, Diem Nguyen, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 04/08/2009
Raising H-1B caps will provide businesses the professionals and skills they need to develop their business when ready.
Natural Resources, Energy, Environment, & ScienceBy Jack Spencer, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 04/08/2009
Secretary of Energy Steven Chu is forming a blue-ribbon commission to answer the question of what to do with America’s nuclear waste. Here are our recommendations for what the commission should do.
Foreign Policy/International AffairsBy Ariel Cohen, Owen Graham, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 04/08/2009
President Obama’s visit to Turkey highlights the importance Washington attaches to this country as a key regional player, a veteran NATO ally, and an influential Muslim state.
Regulation & DeregulationBy Stephen M. Bainbridge , Cato InstituteRegulation, 04/08/2009
Legislation that “fixes” a nonexistent problem by upsetting basic principles of federalism ought to be a nonstarter. Unfortunately, the executive compensation debate has become so thoroughly bollixed up with issues of class warfare and financial populism that rational arguments seem to fall on deaf ears.
Regulation & DeregulationBy Indur M. Goklany, Cato InstituteRegulation, 04/08/2009
In this article, I address the threshold question of whether future generations would in fact be worse off than we are if climate change is allowed to occur and is uncontrolled. I compare current and future welfare per capita after accounting for the costs of climate change. To do this, I will reduce estimates of future welfare per capita in the absence of climate change by estimates of the welfare losses from climate change. For those downward adjustments, I use the Stern Review’s estimates of the costs of climate change from market effects, non-market (i.e., public health and environmental) effects, and the risk of catastrophe, even though several researchers have characterized the Stern Review’s estimates as excessive. I show that through 2200, at least, future generations will be much better off than present ones even after accounting for the costs of climate change.
Economic GrowthBy Stan J. Liebowitz , Cato InstituteRegulation, 04/08/2009
When the prices of current editions of copyrighted and noncopyrighted former bestsellers are compared, there is no clear evidence that copyright increases the price of books, a finding that I believe is likely to surprise many people. When books are given equal weight in the statistical analysis, I find no evidence of a price increase. When books are weighted by quantity sold, copyright appears to increase the overall price by no more than a fairly small 15 percent.
Regulation & DeregulationBy David E. Harrington, Cato InstituteRegulation, 04/08/2009
Free markets are often much better at handling greed in socially desirable ways than government regulations. To demonstrate this, I examined the secondary market for Ohio State University football tickets.
Regulation & DeregulationBy Stuart Shapiro, Cato InstituteRegulation, 04/08/2009
President Obama has entered office with the clear intention of altering many policy choices of the previous administration. New policies on Iraq and health care will attract a great deal of public and media attention. Regulatory policies involving the Environmental Protection Agency and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration will also receive attention. However, President Obama’s decisions on whether to retain, modify, or eliminate the Bush administration’s many changes to the regulatory process will get little notice. This is unfortunate because those decisions will affect policy in a wide variety of areas, and they deserve careful consideration.
Regulation & DeregulationBy Jeffrey A. Miron, Elina Tetelbaum , Cato InstituteRegulation, 04/08/2009
Our recent research reexamines whether the 1984 act reduced traffic fatalities by pushing states to adopt a minimum legal drinking age of 21. As in earlier work, we compare traffic fatality rates in states before and after they changed their MLDA to 21. In contrast to earlier work, however, we look separately at the effect in states that adopted the higher drinking age on their own versus those pressured to do so by the 1984 law. This is a crucial comparison because the argument for federal imposition rests on the assumption that the act itself reduced fatalities, not just that an MLDA 21 reduced fatalities in some states.
LaborBy Richard A. Epstein, Cato InstituteRegulation, 04/08/2009
There is today no constitutional obstacle against the rejection of competitive labor markets for the structure administered under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). But the current NLRA carefully preserves the exit option to protect against union domination. The EFCA removes that critical protection, which makes it a constitutional pariah, even for those who accept the New Deal constitutional synthesis that sustained the original Wagner Act. Rights of association and property clearly must count for something.
Monetary Policy/Financial RegulationBy William Poole, Cato InstituteCato Journal, 04/08/2009
The way forward in this financial crisis is to enact tax law changes that will improve the long-run stability of the economy by reducing the incentive for leverage, and by encouraging a substitution of business investment for consumption. And on the monetary policy front, the Fed must be prepared to reduce policy accommodation as the recovery takes hold.
Monetary Policy/Financial RegulationBy Roger W. Garrison, Cato InstituteCato Journal, 04/08/2009
Legislative interventions that nullify market mechanisms for the sake of achieving social goals have perverse consequences. This is a lesson can be learned many times over whether well-meaning or ill meaning interventions are in play. The current crisis in the markets for housing and for mortgages is an especially dramatic illustration of such perversities. The solution to this circumscribed aspect of the economy wide crisis is as easy to set out as it would be difficult to implement, given the state of public opinion and the scope for political opportunism. First, government-backed guarantees for mortgage loans or for any other loans should be a thing of the past. They stunt the market’s ability to constrain the risk-taking behavior of both borrowers and lenders. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac should be permanently eliminated from the scene. Second, regulatory practices that override considerations of creditworthiness with other, supposedly more socially responsible criteria for making mortgage loans or any other loans should be no part of the housing industry’s future. In the end, the impersonal forces of the marketplace have a much more credible claim to being socially responsible than do the political forces that produce the override.
Monetary Policy/Financial RegulationBy Gerald P. O’Driscoll Jr., Cato InstituteCato Journal, 04/08/2009
We must not give in to the temptation to inflate our way out of the debt crises by depreciating the dollar and wiping out creditors wholesale. Yet there are disturbing signs that is direction in which policymakers are headed. If the Treasury and Fed do that, free markets will be euthanized.
Monetary Policy/Financial RegulationBy Kevin Dowd, Cato InstituteCato Journal, 04/08/2009
If anything is obvious about the current crisis, it is that the system of managed state intervention into the financial system has failed dismally: it is not “free”—that is, unregulated—markets that have failed, but the statist system within which financial markets and institutions have been forced to operate. This is not an academic issue or a case of ideological point scoring. It matters because we need to understand what went wrong if we are to get future reforms right. My own view is that the edifice of modern central banking cum financial regulation cum limited liability needs to be dismantled and 150 years of state intervention needs to be rolled back, but I have few illusions that this will happen. Be this as it may, my main message here is to take moral hazard seriously. Measures that rein in moral hazard are to be welcomed and will help to reduce excessive risk-taking; measures that create or exacerbate moral hazard (such as massive bailouts?) will lead to even more excessive risk-taking and should be avoided. In short, a key yardstick that should be applied to any proposed reform measure is simply this: Does it reduce moral hazard or does it increase it?
Monetary Policy/Financial RegulationBy Andrew A. Samwick, Cato InstituteCato Journal, 04/08/2009
The playing out of the subprime crisis has revealed a weakness in our public policy framework for dealing with institutional failure in financial markets that invites a continued expansion of government into areas that should be the domain of private citizens and institutions. In particular, policymakers have been unwilling to let financial institutions that made unwise decisions bear fully the negative consequences of those decisions. Procedures exist to provide liquidity to solvent but illiquid institutions, and other procedures exist to liquidate insolvent institutions. But as the subprime crisis emerged, the government failed to adhere to a consistent policy for dealing with troubled institutions, opening itself up to special pleading from many of these institutions at unnecessary cost to the taxpayer.
Monetary Policy/Financial RegulationBy Wolfgang Münchau, Cato InstituteCato Journal, 04/08/2009
Should we worry about moral hazard while the house is burning? The discussion about economic policy is full of biblical metaphors, the language of water and floods, and of fire extinction during crises. Metaphors, even when not mixed, are often obstacles to the clarity of thought. That is clearly the case with the metaphor of moral hazard in trying to understand the current financial crisis. Instead of focusing on moral hazard, I prefer to use the concept of policy sustainability to argue that sustainable monetary, fiscal, and regulatory policies are essential for lasting prosperity.
Monetary Policy/Financial RegulationBy Lawrence H. White, Cato InstituteCato Journal, 04/08/2009
The U.S. housing bubble and the fallout from its bursting are not the results of a laissez-faire monetary and financial system. They happened in an unanchored government fiat monetary system with a restricted financial system.
Monetary Policy/Financial RegulationBy Bert Ely, Cato InstituteCato Journal, 04/08/2009
Many commentators claim that financial deregulation since 1980 caused the U.S. housing crisis, leading to the global financial crisis. Yet, they fail to convincingly identify specific deregulatory actions that contributed to those crises. At the same time, numerous public-policy causes of the crisis, causes which still are in place, go unexamined. As President Obama and the new Congress begin to consider reform of the structure of the financial services industry, reform of the structure of the financial regulatory agencies, and reform of the manner in which financial intermediaries are regulated, one hopes that some consideration will be given to addressing the causes discussed in this article, however painful, politically and ideologically, that might be.
Monetary Policy/Financial RegulationBy Charles W. Calomiris, Cato InstituteCato Journal, 04/08/2009
This article reviews the major government policy distortions that gave rise to the subprime turmoil, and suggests robust policy reforms to deal with them (i.e., reforms that take into account the existence of those distortions and the political economy of regulation and supervision). The reforms proposed in this article would reduce the costs of distortions related to agency problems, too-big-to-fail problems, and government manipulation of housing credit markets.
Monetary Policy/Financial RegulationBy Jeffrey M. Lacker, Cato InstituteCato Journal, 04/08/2009
The current financial crisis undoubtedly will inspire a great deal of research in the years ahead, and it may take some time before anything like a professional consensus emerges on causes and consequences. After all, it took several decades to document the causes of the Great Depression, and recent research continues to provide new perspectives. Nonetheless, I believe the central questions that are likely to occupy researchers are plainly in view, and some tentative lessons have emerged already. And in any event, legislators are not likely to await the fruits of future scholarship. I will divide my discussion into two parts, reflecting two distinct time periods—the boom in housing and housing finance and the subsequent turmoil in financial markets—and then conclude with some thoughts about what lies ahead.
Monetary Policy/Financial RegulationBy Otmar Issing, Cato InstituteCato Journal, 04/08/2009
A monetary policy strategy that monitors closely monetary and credit developments as potential driving forces for consumer price inflation in the medium to long run has an important positive side effect: it may contribute at the same time to limiting the emergence of unsustainable developments in asset valuations. As long as money and credit remain broadly controlled the scope for financing unsustainable runs in asset prices should also remain limited.
Monetary Policy/Financial RegulationBy Donald L. Kohn, Cato InstituteCato Journal, 04/08/2009
I am not convinced that the events of the past few years and the current financial crisis demonstrate that central banks should switch to trying to check speculative activity through tighter monetary policy whenever they perceive a bubble forming. The recent experience may have made us a bit more confident about detecting bubbles, but it has not resolved the problem of doing so in a timely manner. Nor has it shown that small-to-modest policy actions will reliably and materially damp speculation. For these reasons, the case for extra action still remains questionable, despite our having learned that the aftermath of a bubble can be far more painful than we imagined.
Monetary Policy/Financial RegulationBy Allan H. Meltzer, Cato InstituteCato Journal, 04/08/2009
If we are to prevent future financial crises, a good place to start would be to (1) get a “lender of last resort” standard; (2) get the Congress to appropriate on the record the amount of money that they are going to use to subsidize housing; (3) improve the compensation system in the market; (4) get rid of some of the worst of the Basel Capital standards; and (5) close down Fannie and Freddie.
Monetary Policy/Financial RegulationBy Anna J. Schwartz, Cato InstituteCato Journal, 04/08/2009
At least three factors exercised significant influences on the emergence of the global financial crisis: expansive monetary policy, flawed financial innovations, and the collapse of trading.
Monetary Policy/Financial RegulationBy Jeffrey A. Miron, Cato InstituteCato Journal, 04/08/2009
In this article, I provide a preliminary assessment of the causes of the financial crisis and of the most dramatic aspect of the government’s response—the Treasury bailout of Wall Street banks. My overall conclusion is that, instead of bailing out banks, U.S. policymakers should have allowed the standard process of bankruptcy to operate.
PhilanthropyBy Neal B. Freeman, Hudson InstitutePaper, 04/08/2009
At the heart of every charitable contribution is the concept of trust—trust by the donor that the grantee will do what he has agreed to do. If that trust is allowed to erode, if the donor can no longer rely on the grantee’s assurance, then charitable contributions will decline and the civil society they sustain will decline along with them. If that were to happen—if the private, voluntary, civil society that Tocqueville first acclaimed, and that the Bradley Center still celebrates, were to wither away—America would abandon one of its defining national traits. Absent a vibrant civil society, only government would be left to fill the social vacuum and the America of tomorrow would come to look very much like the Europe of today.
Natural Resources, Energy, Environment, & ScienceBy Frank Conte, Beacon Hill InstituteReport, 04/08/2009
Specific proposals that several Western states, including California, would implement to comply with a proposed cap-and-trade carbon emissions control pact would destroy jobs and erode income, according to a report co-released by an economics institute.
Economic and Political ThoughtBy Steven Hayward, John M. Ashbrook Center for Public AffairsOn Principle, 04/06/2009
We should celebrate, rather than avert our gaze, from Lincoln’s skill at the backroom maneuver. Considering Lincoln’s ambition as a politician does not diminish his greatness of character or cause.
Economic and Political ThoughtBy Mackubin T. Owens, John M. Ashbrook Center for Public AffairsOn Principle, 04/06/2009
The American Founders created institutions that have enabled the United States to minimize the inevitable tension between the necessities of war and the requirements of free government. The resultant ability of the United States to wage war while still preserving liberty is unprecedented. To his credit, Lincoln understood and took advantage of these institutions during the time of greatest stress on the American polity. In doing so, he established the precedents that have guided his successors in their attempt to keep the United States both safe and free.
Economic and Political ThoughtBy Jeffrey Sikkenga, John M. Ashbrook Center for Public AffairsOn Principle, 04/06/2009
As he placed his hand on the leather-bound Lincoln Bible and took the oath of office, Barack Obama deliberately evoked the memory of his hero. Not surprisingly, many comparisons between the men have been made: two tall, gangly politicians from Illinois with a gift for words but with relatively little national political experience who, to the surprise of many, won their party’s nomination and the general election, and then assumed the presidency in what has been called amoment of crisis. But remarkably little has been said about perhaps the most important comparison between the two Chief Executives: their understanding of the Constitution of the United States, which both swore to “preserve, protect and defend.” On that vital issue, what does our 16th President have to teach our 44th?
Economic and Political ThoughtBy Lucas Morel, John M. Ashbrook Center for Public AffairsOn Principle, 04/06/2009
After his second inauguration, Lincoln wrote that he expected his address “to wear as well as—perhaps better than—anything I have produced; but I believe it is not immediately popular.” He explained: “Men are not flattered by being shown that there has been a difference of purpose between the Almighty and them. To deny it, however, in this case, is to deny that there is a God governing the world.” This difference of purpose between God and man, and its connection to slavery’s demise and self-government’s survival, stands as the centerpiece of the Second Inaugural Address, making it the most profound political statement in American history.
Economic and Political ThoughtBy Christopher C. Burkett, John M. Ashbrook Center for Public AffairsOn Principle, 04/06/2009
Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address was offered not only to enlighten Americans in Lincoln’s day, clarifying the just cause for which they fought, but to educate future generations of Americans as well. For this reason, Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address continues to be, and will likely always be, one of the greatest expressions of political principle in human history.
Economic and Political ThoughtBy Allen C. Guelzo, John M. Ashbrook Center for Public AffairsOn Principle, 04/06/2009
More than just emancipating slaves, Lincoln wanted the entire principle of slavery erased from the American escutcheon, and so in 1864, he called for a thirteenth amendment to the Constitution, which outlawed slavery everywhere in the United States. But this was only the final burial of the injustice. Its death sentence was the Emancipation Proclamation, and Lincoln confidently described it as “my greatest and most enduring contribution to the history of the war,” and “as affairs have turned, it is the central act of my administration, and the great event of the nineteenth century.”
Health CareBy Thomas P. Miller, American Enterprise InstituteThe American, 04/06/2009
The release by the Obama administration of its initial budget “outline” reinforced its strong commitment to step on the health spending accelerator, notwithstanding some rhetorical cover suggesting purported cost savings within its roadmap for universal coverage. Any selective application of the budgetary brakes would only maneuver around some tight political corners, because the overall goal is to re-allocate any “savings” to spend more and more, with Washington in the driver’s seat.
Monetary Policy/Financial RegulationBy John H. Makin, American Enterprise InstituteEconomic Outlook, 04/06/2009
On March 18, Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke intensified the important battle against global deflation with a commitment to expand the Fed’s balance sheet by an extra $1.15 trillion. With some luck and persistence, that step could boost growth by a percentage point or more and, even more important, substantially reduce the risk of deflation.
Would the Health Reform Prescriptions Offered by President Obama and Congressional Leaders Help Patients?By Thomas P. Miller, et al., American Enterprise InstitutePapers and Studies, 04/06/2009
There are serious problems of cost, value, and access throughout our health sector. It is vital to address these problems. But any health reform proposal to change what needs fixing also must preserve the freedom, innovation, and quality of American medical care that people value. We believe a better functioning, more competitive, and transparent marketplace would cover more people and deliver the higher-value care we seek. We are gravely concerned that several of the proposals offered by the President and the Congressional leadership would make matters worse, not better.
National SecurityBy Apoorva Shah, American Enterprise InstituteThe American, 04/06/2009
Iranian activity in Latin America is a significant and growing subversive threat. So why is America shunning its allies in the region?
Health CareBy Andrew G. Biggs, American Enterprise InstituteThe American, 04/06/2009
The fight for survival by the not-so-big three Detroit automakers, now effectively owned and managed by Washington, has made them unlikely proponents of government-controlled healthcare. Healthcare costs add more than $1,500 to the cost of each vehicle made by Detroit, it is said, putting them at a significant disadvantage relative to competitors in other nations where healthcare is provided by the government. If healthcare were provided by the federal government, some argue, automakers’ costs would decline, their cars would become more competitive, and their business fortunes would improve. It is an attractive argument. Unfortunately, it goes against how most economists think about how healthcare costs are truly paid.
National SecurityBy Bruce Klingner, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 04/06/2009
North Korea’s launch of a long-range Taepo Dong-2 missile is a direct challenge not just to the United States but to the international community’s resolve to confront threats to regional stability.
Health CareBy Robert A. Book, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 04/06/2009
The key issue in the emerging national health care debate is the role of the federal government: A concentration of government power over health care would have a profound impact on all Americans, especially members of the medical profession.
Budget & TaxationBy James Sherk, J.D. Foster, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 04/06/2009
March continued the string of dismal employment reports from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This is precisely the wrong time to burden the economy with higher taxes and additional wasteful government spending.
PhilanthropyBy Ryan Messmore, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 04/06/2009
Congress should resist President Obama’s proposal to reduce the tax deduction rate on charitable gifts from high-income earners.
EducationBy Vicki E. Murray, Pacific Research InstitutePRI Publication, 04/03/2009
In any given state, legislatures spend more on elementary and secondary education than any other major program, including healthcare, higher education, social services, and the criminal justice system. California is no exception. At $40 billion, K–12 education represents the largest share of the state general-fund budget. Yet few people comprehend how—or how much—funding public schools receive because of the complexity and murkiness of the California public-school finance system. To help remedy this lack of transparency, the Pacific Research Institute and Just for the Kids–California partnered to produce the California School Finance Center database.
EducationBy Rachel Chaney, Pacific Research InstituteCapital Ideas, 04/03/2009
If President Obama and Secretary Duncan really want to put children first, they should look to Sweden and include vouchers as part of their agenda. Teachers’ unions and others vested in the education status quo would oppose the idea. But if the only metric for a reform is whether or not it “works,” the new administration should look to Sweden for an idea that would empower parents and children to demand the education American children deserve no less than Swedish ones.
Budget & TaxationBy Tom Daxon, Oklahoma Council of Public AffairsPolicy Papers, 04/03/2009
The purpose of this study is to illustrate an alternative way state government could report its financial position and the costs of its operations. By coupling the approach outlined in this report with meaningful reporting on the value produced by government services, a valuable analytical tool will emerge. Better decisions about how to allocate our resources and whether to increase or decrease use of those resources should result.
Economic GrowthBy Johan van der Walt, Karol Boudreaux, Mercatus CenterPolicy Series, 04/03/2009
In this Country Brief, Enterprise Africa! lead researcher Karol Boudreaux and program associate Johan van der Walt focus on three domestic policy issues that they believe are important to expanding opportunities for South Africa’s poor: employment, education, and security. In addition, they also focus on three foreign policy issues that they believe are significant to leveraging South Africa’s unique position in international affairs: regional integration, good governance, and public and cultural diplomacy.
Monetary Policy/Financial RegulationBy Houman B. Shadab, Mercatus CenterWorking Paper, 04/03/2009
Reflecting that greater regulation and oversight over some aspects of the market for credit default swaps (CDS) seems necessary, recently the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) promulgated exemptions and the House Agricultural Committee introduced a bill to have CDS cleared by a central counterparty. In addition, the SEC took action to facilitate the trading of CDS on an exchange and the House bill additionally seeks to enable the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) to suspend trading in CDS to prevent the manipulation of certain public company bond prices. The policymakers’ stated motivations echoed widely expressed criticisms of the regulation, characteristics, and practices of the CDS market and focused on the risks of the instruments and the lack of public transparency over their utilization and execution. Yet as the analysis in this article suggests, failing to distinguish between CDS and the actual mortgage-related debt securities, entities, and practices at the root of the financial crisis may hold CDS guilty by association.
Economic and Political ThoughtBy André Glucksmann, Manhattan InstituteCity Journal, 04/03/2009
Postmodernism, which places itself “beyond good and evil,” beyond true and false, inhabits a cosmic bubble. It would be a good thing if fear of a universal crisis allowed us to burst the mental bubble of postmodernism—if it washed away the euphoria of our pious wishes and brought us once again to see straight. That may be no more than another pious wish.
Natural Resources, Energy, Environment, & ScienceBy Max Schulz, Manhattan InstituteCity Journal, 04/03/2009
Exactly 30 years ago this Saturday, a stuck cooling valve and faulty control-room instruments at Three Mile Island caused a partial meltdown of the core of one of the site’s two nuclear reactors. The accident didn’t kill or even harm anyone. Yet the U.S. nuclear industry continues to pay an enormous price three decades later. It’s time to acknowledge—and embrace—the realities of nuclear power. In an age of increasing worries about climate change, nuclear power is the only technology capable of generating the large volumes of power our economy requires while emitting no pollution or greenhouse gases. And it does so safely, contrary to the hysterical reports that have dogged the nuclear industry since the accident.
National SecurityBy Loren B. Thompson, Lexington InstituteIssue Brief, 04/03/2009
Despite Obama Administration rhetoric about openness in federal contracting, the new and improved tanker selection process has all the transparency of the FBI’s witness protection program. The performance requirements for the future tankers were blessed by the Pentagon’s Joint Requirements Oversight Council with almost no input from industry, and now the acquisition strategy is being crafted in much the same way. If you were planning to spend $100 billion over the next 30 years on a new aircraft fleet, wouldn't you want to check with the only two qualified suppliers to determine whether your terms and specifications were reasonable?
EducationBy Don Soifer, Lexington InstituteIssue Brief, 04/03/2009
President Obama has consistently described improving America’s education system as a central component of his strategy to increase long-term economic growth, beginning with a plan for federal early childhood education he calls “Zero to Five.” Proponents of a new, federal role in early childhood education have been quick to set high expectations for the benefits such proposals could offer, including how it would help other government programs.
Foreign Policy/International AffairsBy Brett D. Schaefer, The Heritage FoundationBackgrounder, 04/03/2009
President Barack Obama should think twice before lending the U.N. Human Rights Council the credibility that U.S. participation would provide. A wiser course of action would be to make U.S. participation contingent on an immediate review of the council and adoption of reforms that would make the council a more rigorous forum for examining human rights practices and holding violators accountable.
Natural Resources, Energy, Environment, & ScienceBy Nicolas Loris, Ben Lieberman, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 04/03/2009
The American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 offers nothing more than subsidies and mandates for unsuccessful, unproven energy sources coupled with taxes on reliable energy sources.
Budget & TaxationBy Brian Riedl, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 04/03/2009
The House Republican blueprint provides a strong contrast to President Obama’s plan to saddle Americans with historic tax increases, runaway spending, and a doubling of the national debt.
National SecurityBy Jena Baker McNeill, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 04/03/2009
Yesterday the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced the implementation of Secure Flight-a program to screen flight passenger data and flag possible terrorists before they board a commercial airplane. DHS should be commended for implementing such a smart security measure.
Foreign Policy/International AffairsBy Brett D. Schaefer, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 04/03/2009
The Obama Administration is wrong if it believes that the efforts of countries determined to undermine the aims of the U.N. Human Rights Council will be overcome by U.S. membership on the council.
Budget & Taxation
Economic Analysis of the House Republican Budget Alternative (H.R. 85): “Report on the Path to American Prosperity”By Karen A. Campbell, The Heritage FoundationWhite Paper, 04/03/2009
On April 1, 2009, Congressman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), the ranking Republican on the House Budget Committee, introduced the House Republican Budget Alternative to budget initiatives of the House Democrats and President Barack Obama.
Economic and Political ThoughtBy Harvey C. Mansfield, The Heritage FoundationHeritage Lecture, 04/03/2009
Conservatives must defend the liberal regime and its ruling middle class: what Aristotle might call the “interest of the regime.” The liberal form of government is limited government as opposed to big government. It is popular government because the government is chosen by the people, yet government is also withdrawn from the people so that the people can judge it in democratic elections.
International Trade/FinanceBy Derek Scissors, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 04/03/2009
The G-20 convenes again this week, once more generating high hopes that progress can be made in addressing the economic crisis. Observers have focused on the U.S. and the PRC as the world’s largest and most extensive economic relationship, a G-2.
National SecurityBy Mackenzie Eaglen, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 04/03/2009
The military cannot afford a “modernization depression”-yet that is exactly what is coming.
Foreign Policy/International AffairsBy Ted R. Bromund, The Heritage FoundationHeritage Lecture, 04/03/2009
In Winston Churchill’s vision, the U.S.-British relationship must and would endure because both are liberal, English-speaking democracies. If Britain is being Europeanized, the U.S. could stay closer to it by Europeanizing itself, but to adopt this vision would be a tremendous defeat for the assertive, liberal values that lay at the heart of Churchill’s vision and on which the Anglo-American alliance was founded.
Economic GrowthBy Anthony B. Kim, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 04/03/2009
President Obama and other leaders of the G-20 should be reminded that economic freedom is indispensable in amplifying and cascading the benefits of any plans that may come out of the summit.
LaborBy James Sherk, Ryan O'Donnell, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 04/03/2009
Snap elections preserve the secret ballot in name only because they compromise the election process: With only a few days to hear both sides of the issue, employees are deprived of the ability to make an informed choice.
Foreign Policy/International AffairsBy Nile Gardiner, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 04/03/2009
President Obama must project a clear vision for U.S. global leadership, one that is anchored firmly in the transatlantic alliance with Britain.
International Trade/FinanceBy Ted R. Bromund, Daniella Markheim, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 04/03/2009
The story that Europe is telling about the global financial crisis is untrue: The crisis is not simply the fault of the United States.
Foreign Policy/International AffairsBy Ariel Cohen, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 04/03/2009
The United States can explore Russia’s willingness to rethink its relationship with Iran, yet Washington should not bargain away its own interests or those of its allies.
Natural Resources, Energy, Environment, & ScienceBy Jack Spencer, Nick Loris, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 04/03/2009
This Saturday marks the 30th anniversary of the partial meltdown of the Three Mile Island nuclear reactor. This occasion is a good time to consider the advances in nuclear power safety since that time and discuss the misinformation about this incident.
International Trade/FinanceBy Daniella Markheim, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 04/03/2009
With the next G-20 summit only days away, President Obama and other world leaders are once again promising to oppose protectionism as a central tenet of their post-summit economic agenda. Unfortunately, these promises are unlikely to be backed with tangible policy action.
Economic and Political ThoughtBy Liam Julian, Hoover InstitutionPolicy Review, 04/02/2009
One evening inthe spring of 2007, Barack Obama, drooping off the Senate floor, paused for an interview with New York Times columnist David Brooks. In the midst of the interview, Brooks spontaneously severed his line of questioning about development aid and asked Obama, “Have you ever read Reinhold Niebuhr?” Obama perked up: “I love him,” he said. “He’s one of my favorite philosophers.” Divers writers have dissected and probed this assertion, seeking to explicate how Obama’s affinity for Niebuhr will or will not manifest itself in the new president’s governance. Too often, though, they have assumed that Obama’s statement provides extensive insight into his mental life. It does not. For detecting exactly what it is that Obama loves about Niebuhr is tricky, not only because Obama’s positions are inclined to blurriness but because Niebuhr’s thought is extensive and itself frequently less than forthright. One needs more than a scalpel and probe to figure out the connection between Obama and Niebuhr; indeed, one may need more tools just to get at the crux of Niebuhr alone.
Economic and Political ThoughtBy Mary Eberstadt, Hoover InstitutionPolicy Review, 04/02/2009
Today’s prevailing social consensus about pornography is practically identical to the social consensus about tobacco in 1963: i.e., it is characterized by widespread tolerance, tinged with resignation about the notion that things could ever be otherwise. After all, many people reason, pornography’s not going to go away any time soon. Serious people, including experts, either endorse its use or deny its harms or both. Also, it is widely seen as cool, especially among younger people, and this coveted social status further reduces the already low incentive for making a public issue of it. In addition, many people also say that consumers have a “right” to pornography — possibly even a constitutional right. No wonder so many are laissez-faire about this substance. Given the social and political circumstances arrayed in its favor, what would be the point of objecting?
National SecurityBy Loren B. Thompson, Lexington InstituteIssue Brief, 04/02/2009
The Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle has been getting some rough treatment in the media lately. Reporters and pundits say it is over budget, behind schedule and plagued by design defects. Now for the good news: most of the bad news is years out of date. The reason the program is running late is because problems were found in testing that needed to be fixed, and now they have been. Somehow, this success has been overlooked by many of the news outlets that pronounced EFV an acquisition disaster in recent years.
Health CareBy Carrie L. Lukas, Independent Women's ForumPolicy Brief, 04/02/2009
State forays into providing “universal” health insurance provide a helpful preview into what the public can expect from similar federal efforts. For example, the state of Hawaii recently created a program to provide free health insurance coverage for children. Lawmakers intended that this program help the uninsured population, but they found that an estimated 85 percent of those who enrolled had insurance previously. Recognizing the program’s inefficiency and concerned about its costs, lawmakers terminated the initiative just seven months after its launch. Federal lawmakers can learn an important lesson from Hawaii’s experience: expanding government health insurance programs will crowd out private insurance by encouraging many who are currently covered by private insurance to switch to the government program. This will affect all Americans, both through the high costs of the new program and the strain placed on the private marketplace.
EducationBy Allison Kasic, Independent Women's ForumPolicy Brief, 04/02/2009
Proportionality’s rigid standards have taken a toll on college athletics, resulting in widespread cuts to men’s programming. There is no reason to believe that results would be any different at the high school level. In fact, proportionality’s negative impacts are likely to be more pronounced, as many more students participate in high school athletics than collegiate athletics.
Economic and Political ThoughtBy Joseph R. Stromberg, Independent InstituteResearch Article, 04/02/2009
It is remarkable that the prospect of One Big Market—planetary, inescapable, open all hours—raises no questions for libertarians, who scorn the idea of One Big Cartel (communism) or One Big State (world government). This seems an interesting case of social blindness. If One Big Cartel is impossible or not worth the trouble its creation entails, why should One Big Market be different? And what if something very like One Big State is needed to build One Big Market? Yet libertarians allergic to the very word “society” can expatiate endlessly on unexplained “markets” and that reified entity, “the market.”