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Recent Policy Studies
Health CareBy Pearl Hahn, Grassroot Institute of HawaiiGreen Paper, 06/12/2009
In 1974, Hawaii became the first state to mandate employer-provided insurance through the Prepaid Health Care Act (PHCA). PHCA’s impact is multi-faceted, increasing health care cost and thereby affecting employment trends and cost of living. PHCA has far-reaching damaging effects and is failing to sustain the state’s low uninsured rate.
Budget & TaxationBy Jim Stergios, Steve Poftak, Pioneer Institute for Public Policy ResearchPolicy Brief, 06/12/2009
Massachusetts state leaders have lamented that the fiscal crisis forced the Legislature to raise taxes and make cuts to core services. That response ignores reality: Many common-sense actions that could reap hundreds of millions of dollars in savings remain unexplored. As we navigate a time of great economic peril, the Massachusetts Legislature must change the way our government does business.
Elections, Transparency, & AccountabilityBy Len Lazarick, Free State FoundationPerspectives from FSF Scholars, 06/12/2009
Taxpayers would like to believe that their money is being spent well and wisely—but for the most part, they believe it is not. That is why programs like CitiStat and StateStat that measure how efficient and effective government programs are have such appeal to elected officials and taxpayers alike. But most ordinary taxpayers wouldn’t know what to make of StateStat. As a tool for citizens to figure out how their government is performing, StateStat falls way short. The unanalyzed data dumps don’t come close to providing real accountability.
Information TechnologyBy Seth Cooper, Free State FoundationPerspectives from FSF Scholars, 06/12/2009
The Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) record to date on forbearance suggests it has not embraced the forbearance authority that it so earnestly sought to acquire prior to the Telecom Act of 1996. The fact that Congress conferred forbearance authority on the FCC through the Telecom Act and tied it to a shot clock suggests Congress wanted the FCC to actively remove outdated regulations that no longer necessary as a result of competition. Unless and until the law is changed, the FCC should stop treating the forbearance provision more like a loophole to be closed rather than a legislative command to be carried out.
Economic and Political ThoughtBy Fred Siegel, Manhattan InstituteCity Journal, 06/12/2009
These antidemocratic and elitist assumptions of the early Modern Liberal movement were nowhere better illustrated than in the extraordinary career of a Briton, H. G. Wells. Wells is best remembered today as the author of such late-nineteenth-century socio-scientific fantasies as The Time Machine, The War of the Worlds, and The Invisible Man. But he was much more than that. His political writing achieved extraordinary influence in America, not just through his defense of liberal freedoms such as free speech but through his hostility to population growth, capitalism, and democracy itself.
Health CareBy Robert E. Moffit, Stuart M. Butler, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 06/12/2009
Senator Kennedy’s health care proposal, the Affordable Health Choices Act, understandably at this early stage in the bill process, is an “opening bid” that instead reflects a certain political philosophy and the aspirations of certain constituencies. But Senator Kennedy also seeks serious and lasting reform of the nation’s health care system. For that to happen, the wise next step would be to redraft the legislation in a way that commands broad bipartisan support. That means seeking alternative ways of achieving the goals of those provisions in the current bill that jeopardize a final agreement and will encounter strong opposition from most Americans.
Foreign Policy/International AffairsBy James Phillips, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 06/12/2009
The intense competition between presidential candidates has enhanced Ayatollah Khamenei’s role as the ultimate arbiter of policymaking. If Ahmadinejad loses the election, it could give the Supreme Leader more room to maneuver on the nuclear issue. But if he wins, Khamenei will find it harder to alter Iran’s collision course with the United States on that issue. Either way, it is the decisions of Iran’s Supreme Leader, not Iranian voters, that count in determining Tehran’s foreign policy.
National SecurityBy Steven P. Bucci, The Heritage FoundationHeritage Lecture, 06/12/2009
The West has a huge number of intelligence and law enforcement assets dedicated to stopping the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction but does not have the same type of watchdog systems in place to prevent cyber enablement. Unless we get cyber crime under control, it will mutate into a national security issue with potentially catastrophic ramifications. Terrorism enabled by cyber criminals is our most likely major cyber threat.
EducationBy Eric Hanushek , Alfred Lindseth, Hoover InstitutionBook, 06/11/2009
Public school funding has quadrupled during the past few decades, spurred by court rulings requiring states to increase such funding. Yet American students rank below average when compared to other developed countries, even though the United States significantly outspends them. Clearly something needs to be done to improve the quality of education.
EducationBy Carrie L. Lukas, Independent Women's ForumPolicy Brief, 06/11/2009
The President has suggested that greater federal government support for early childhood education is an important component of improving educational opportunities in the United States and would be an investment in our human capital. Yet there is little evidence to support the case for greater federal involvement in preschool. The care and education of children, particularly children as young as three and four, should the responsibility of parents, not Uncle Sam.
Natural Resources, Energy, Environment, & ScienceBy Ben Lieberman, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 06/11/2009
A big part of the solution to America’s energy challenges involves making better use of the resources available beneath American soil and territorial waters. The American Energy Act seeks to undo many of the mistakes in our current domestic energy policy and allow the free market to provide more of the energy America needs.
EducationBy Scott Oki, Washington Policy CenterBook, 06/11/2009
It is no secret that K-12 public education in the United States is in crisis. Schools are plagued by poor student achievement, low graduation rates, entrenched unions, demoralized teachers and disaffected parents, when by rights U.S. schools should be the finest in the world. The troubles of the nation’s schools have caught the attention of software innovator and philanthropist Scott Oki. In this thought-provoking new book, Oki describes the ills facing public schools and coolly applies the same frank, no-nonsense analysis which made him one of the most successful top executives at Microsoft and a recognized leader in the technology world.
Crime, Justice & the LawBy Nicole V. Crain, et al., Pacific Research InstituteStudies, 06/11/2009
At one level, payouts for tort liability represent income transfers that redistribute wealth from one group to another. The size of these transfers by the tort-liability system determines the liability costs for providing goods and services. Some of the costs are legitimate, but many costs are excessive because of lawsuit abuse. These liability costs have large consequences for the real economy and a healthy society.
National SecurityBy Mackenzie Eaglen, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 06/11/2009
Congress should provide additional modernization funds to the U.S. Air Force in the fiscal year 2010 defense authorization and appropriations bills to purchase more F-22s, begin research and development on the next-generation bomber program, and acquire more aircraft to address the looming fighter gap’s dramatic impact on the Air National Guard. Giving the Air Force adequate resources will demonstrate Congress’ commitment to the Air Force and acknowledge its critical role as both an enabler and facilitator of American military power and a strong national defense.
Natural Resources, Energy, Environment, & ScienceBy Jack Spencer, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 06/11/2009
The American Energy Act, introduced today by House Republicans, puts forth a pro-market agenda that allows nuclear energy to compete based on its merits, such as being affordable, domestic, and emissions-free.
Natural Resources, Energy, Environment, & ScienceBy Nicolas Loris, Ben Lieberman, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 06/11/2009
In order to get the Waxman-Markey cap-and-trade bill through the House Energy and Commerce Committee, members promised generous handouts for various industries and special interests. President Obama’s budget proposal suggested a 100 percent auction of the emission allowances, forcing companies to bid on the right to emit. Businesses, knowing very well this would impose a severe cost on their bottom line, sent their lobbyists to Washington to protect them. And it worked. About 85 percent of the allowances have been promised for free.
Budget & TaxationBy Stephen J. Entin, American Family Business FoundationReport, 06/10/2009
The federal unified estate and gift tax — known as the federal transfer tax, or “death tax” — is stifling the economy. In fact, they probably do the most damage to output and income per dollar of revenue raised of all the taxes in the U.S. tax system. The economy, the pre-tax and post-tax incomes of workers, savers, and investors, and federal, state, and local revenue would all be higher if the estate and gift taxes were eliminated.
LaborBy Terry Neese, Michelle Heinen, Daniel Wityk, National Center for Policy AnalysisBrief Analysis, 06/10/2009
Expanding the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 will have unintended consequences that will hurt, not help, working families. Working women will be particularly affected. Rather than relying on costly mandates like the FMLA, the government should consider policies that increase workplace flexibility.
Foreign Policy/International AffairsBy Loren B. Thompson, Lexington InstituteIssue Brief, 06/10/2009
The Japanese have been reliable security partners of America for half a century, and they have a clear defensive need for the best fighter available. Not only can they afford the cost of modifying the F-22’s sensitive technology to make it transferable, but once it is delivered they can carry more of the security burden in an important region (the U.S. deployed a dozen F-22s to Okinawa in May). The burden for both countries would be eased if they were flying similar fighters, and let’s face it: America could use the export earnings. So why not sell Japan the 50 or so fighters they say they need?
National SecurityBy Daniel Goure, Lexington InstituteIssue Brief, 06/10/2009
The recent outbreaks of swine flu arrived on our shores without warning. Fortunately, this biohazard proved less threatening than first thought. But what would have happened if this had been an extremely virulent form of influenza as happened in 1918? Or, if the catastrophe was a biological weapon deployed by a terrorist? Without accurate and timely warning, an effective response is virtually impossible.
Foreign Policy/International AffairsBy Brett D. Schaefer, Steven Groves, The Heritage FoundationBackgrounder, 06/10/2009
The Durban II conference is a testament to a fundamental problem of U.N. conferences and other U.N. efforts to advance human rights. The experience of Durban II should lead the Obama Administration to revaluate its default position of supporting and participating in U.N. conferences and bodies, such as the U.N. Human Rights Council, and not lend undeserved legitimacy to their often destructive efforts.
Information TechnologyBy Christina Forsberg, Jerry Ellig, Mercatus CenterPublic Interest Comment, 06/10/2009
The Recovery Act requires the Federal Communications Commission to produce a national broadband plan. The commission must craft a plan that promotes consumer welfare and identifies the most efficient and effective ways to accomplish broadband policy goals.
EducationBy Greg Forster, Christian D’Andrea, Friedman Foundation for Educational ChoiceSchool Choice Issues, 06/10/2009
School competition makes a huge difference to student outcomes in education excellence. Schools in the private sector, unlike public schools, must provide a good education or else lose students.
Health CareBy Michael Tanner, Chris Edwards, Cato InstituteTax & Budget Bulletin, 06/10/2009
Expanding government health care will likely involve huge tax increases on the middle class. There has also been talk of using revenues from a cap-and-trade global warming plan to fund health care. Obama’s budget included an $80 billion per year revenue increase for cap-and-trade, and economists calculate that the relative burden of such a plan would be far greater on lower-income than higher-income families. As Americans consider the current health care debate in Congress, they should remember the words of humorist P.J. O’Rourke: “If you think health care is expensive now—just wait until it’s free.”
Natural Resources, Energy, Environment, & ScienceBy Jack Spencer, Nicolas Loris, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 06/10/2009
Despite early promise, the nuclear industry proved unsustainable largely due to government intervention. Now the U.S. has the opportunity to restart its nuclear industry. However, the industry’s future should be in the hands of the private sector—not government bureaucrats.
Natural Resources, Energy, Environment, & ScienceBy Kenneth P. Green, American Enterprise InstituteTestimony, 06/10/2009
The President’s memoranda on Transparency and Open Government, and Scientific Integrity are a good step, but only a single step in improving the way that our government makes use of scientific information at all levels of the decision-making process. Creating openness and transparency in the scientific elements of the decision-making process is important, but that same level of openness, transparency, and consultation should infuse every element of the public policy development process.
Natural Resources, Energy, Environment, & ScienceBy David Kreutzer, et al., The Heritage FoundationCenter for Data Analysis Report, 06/10/2009
Recently, Dr. Laurie T. Johnson of the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) critiqued The Heritage Foundation’s analysis of the Waxman- Markey bill (H.R. 2454, American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009). The egregious errors that she commits in her critique cry out for correction. The Heritage study presents a fair and increasingly corroborated analysis of the likely costs and benefits. It is up to policymakers and the public to decide if the benefits are worth the costs.
Foreign Policy/International AffairsBy Sally McNamara, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 06/09/2009
This weekend’s EU-wide elections for the 736-seat European Parliament generated the lowest turnout in the legislative body’s 30-year electoral history. Less than 43 percent of approximately 375 million eligible voters went to the polls.
Foreign Policy/International AffairsBy James M. Roberts, Edwar Enrique Escalante, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 06/09/2009
The U.S. and Peruvian governments should not underestimate the problems posed by the re-emergence of Shining Path.
Massachusetts Miracle or Massachusetts Miserable: What the Failure of the “Massachusetts Model” Tells Us about Health Care ReformBy Michael D. Tanner, Cato InstituteBriefing Paper, 06/09/2009
Three years of experience with the Massachusetts model of health care shows that giving the government greater control over our health care system will have grave consequences for taxpayers, providers, and health care consumers. That is the true lesson of the Massachusetts model.
Budget & TaxationBy Brian M. Riedl, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 06/09/2009
The United States finds itself at a crossroads. Lawmakers can push spending—and taxes—to $32,000 per household, thereby burying families, businesses, and the economy in a painful European-style economic hole, or they can make the difficult but necessary decisions to return the size of government to its 1980s and 1990s level. The House Republicans get credit for beginning a necessary and overdue conversation about spending restraint. They should go further to offer meaningful cuts.
Health CareBy Jeffrey H. Anderson, Pacific Research InstituteReport, 06/09/2009
As Americans contemplate a significant expansion of government’s role in health care, in the form of the Medicare-like “public option” proposed by President Obama, we must consider how successful Medicare has been at controlling costs in relation to privately purchased health care. Those who wish to expand government-run health care don’t wish to reveal that the per-patient costs of government-run health care have increased far more than the per-patient costs of privately purchased health care — and that this is true even when viewing government costs in a charitable light.
Monetary Policy/Financial RegulationBy Tim Congdon, Manhattan InstituteCity Journal, 06/09/2009
Britain’s politicians have proceeded to make the international financial crisis immeasurably worse. Leading parliamentarians and commentators claim that the banks have gone bust and that it might be time to nationalize the entire banking system. This amounts to asserting that $400 billion has somehow vanished into a financial black hole. Based on legal precedent, if the British government wants to nationalize the banking system, it would have to pay shareholders about $400 billion.
Monetary Policy/Financial RegulationBy David C. John, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 06/09/2009
Congress may be about to create a new financial regulator without fully understanding exactly what problem it is supposed to solve or how the new regulator is supposed to accomplish its mission.
Transportation/InfrastructureBy Wendell Cox, Ronald D. Utt, The Heritage FoundationBackgrounder, 06/09/2009
The federal cost of supporting rail and transit passengers is excessively high and that investing in roads would be a cost-effective solution that would accommodate the needs of most commuters and travelers.
Foreign Policy/International AffairsBy Freedom House, Freedom HouseReport, 06/08/2009
An international system grounded in human rights and the rule of law is far more desirable than the opaque and capricious alternative being actively pursued by many of the authoritarian regimes worldwide. It is therefore in the democracies’ interest to safeguard and promote the very qualities that set them apart from the authoritarians. But democracy faces a dark future if such attempts to eviscerate the term itself go unchallenged.
Natural Resources, Energy, Environment, & ScienceBy David Kreutzer, Nicolas Loris, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 06/08/2009
The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) analysis of the economic impact of the Waxman-Markey climate change bill relies on a variety of bias assumptions. The EPA’s conclusion that Americans will be better shielded from the pain of capping carbon by this draft legislation is fantasy. Two major independent model analyses of Waxman-Markey have already confirmed this reality.
EducationBy Vicki E. Murray, American Legislative Exchange CouncilReport, 06/08/2009
The scrutiny American higher education is now confronting is not only more intense than in previous eras, it is also much more public. Although Americans still dream of reaching the university halls and stepping foot on the collegiate greens, unless issues with higher education are addressed, how long will that sentiment remain? Lawmakers should be asking specific questions of higher education institutions in their states, along with online resources to help get the complete answers they need.
Health CareBy Andrew G. Biggs, American Enterprise InstituteThe American, 06/08/2009
The Obama administration has staked its health care package on its ability to cut health costs. But the Congressional Budget Office, the official scorekeeper for any health reform proposed in Congress, has stated none of the reforms proposed by the administration is likely to significantly cut health care costs. In fact, according to CBO, these reforms could even increase costs.
Information TechnologyBy Barbara Esbin, Progress & Freedom FoundationProgress Snapshot, 06/08/2009
Telecommunications policy debates tend to become polarized, with a false choice presented between regulation versus de-regulation. The real issue is determining when and how much regulation is actually necessary to protect consumers and preserve competition. Regulation inevitably imposes costs and generates unintended and often unhappy consequences. If a proposed form of regulatory intervention is not likely to work better than reliance on competition, albeit even “imperfect” competition, then Americans are better off without it.
Health CareBy John E. Calfee, American Enterprise InstituteThe American, 06/08/2009
Congress is poised to pass one of the worst public health laws ever conceived. There is no getting around the awfulness of HR 1256, which was passed by the House last month and is now being debated before the full Senate. The topic is Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulation of tobacco. HR 1256 would create a new FDA division, supported by industry user fees, which would exercise sweeping control over the introduction, manufacturing, and marketing of all tobacco products.
Information TechnologyBy Berin Szoka & Adam Thierer, Progress & Freedom FoundationProgress on Point, 06/08/2009
The 1998 Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act already mandates certain online privacy protections for children fewer than 13 years of age, but many advocate expanding online privacy protections for both adolescents and adults. Efforts continue at both the federal and state levels to institute new regulations, such as age verification mandates, aimed at ensuring the safety of children online. There is an inherent tension between these objectives: Attempts to achieve perfectly “safe” online environments will likely require the surrender of some privacy and speech rights, including the right to speak anonymously.
Regulation & DeregulationBy Elsie Echeverri-Carroll, Sofía G. Ayala , Hoover InstitutionPolicy Review, 06/08/2009
In 2004, the costs of federal regulation reached $1.1 trillion for all groups in society—including businesses, consumers, and state governments. U.S. businesses should not simply wait for the federal government to build the necessary databases and studies that will support such initiatives. Rather, they should emulate the experience of European countries by conducting their own surveys and studies on the effect of major regulations on the competitiveness of businesses and strengthen the organization that will produce these data. The link between regulatory costs and industrial competitiveness deserves serious attention, especially through the building of new data sources and the surveying of U.S. businesses on the effects of major regulations.
National SecurityBy Mackenzie Eaglen, The Heritage FoundationSpecial Report, 06/08/2009
A citizen who volunteers to become a member of the armed forces deserves the best equipment to succeed. The contract that exists between the volunteer service member and the U.S. government must strike a proper balance between meeting the financial and career needs of the troops while also equipping them with what they need to fulfill their missions.
Information TechnologyBy Berin Szoka, Progress & Freedom FoundationProgress Snapshot, 06/08/2009
Google’s Ad Preference Manager, with its persistent opt-out plug-in, offers precisely the kind of robust opt-out that privacy advocates have always demanded. Google deserves a rousing “Amen!” from privacy advocates. Google’s new “Interest Based Advertising” program represents the company’s first foray into what is generally called “Online Behavioral Advertising.”
EducationBy Collin Hitt, Illinois Policy InstituteEducation Brief, 06/08/2009
More students in Chicago should be able to attend charter schools that produce superior results.
Budget & TaxationBy Lise Bang-Jensen, Empire Center for New York State PolicyPublic Payroll Watch, 06/08/2009
Despite a crushing recession and a $45 billion drop in the state pension fund, Albany’s 2009 legislative hopper includes dozens of proposals to enhance the retirement benefits of New York State and local government employees.
Information TechnologyBy Michael Palage, Progress & Freedom FoundationProgress Snapshot, 06/08/2009
The global business community and a number of national governments have expressed significant concerns about Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers’ (ICANN) proposal for processing large numbers of applications for new Top Level Domains such as .BLOG, .NYC or .WEB. The community has been especially concerned about the economic reports used by ICANN to justify its decisions as to whether, and how, to implement applications for new Top Level Domains.
Economic GrowthBy Claire Berlinski, Hoover InstitutionPolicy Review, 06/08/2009
While we do not know how large the dark figure of corruption is, it seems reasonable to suppose that it is massive. Our efforts thus far to calculate it, however, have been wholly inadequate.
Foreign Policy/International AffairsBy Ray Walser, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 06/08/2009
The OAS is moving from being a community of democracies to becoming a contentious association of states. Political neutrality, a horror of interventionism, and varying degrees of anti-Americanism make it possible for the ALBA members to effectively neutralize the OAS on key political issues. The Administration argues that lifting the ban on Cuba will strengthen the OAS. This point is subject to debate. The addition of a contentious, totalitarian Cuba will inevitably weaken the institution. A few will stick to demands for democratic change, while others—perhaps a majority of members—will give Cuba a free pass if it wants it.
Economic GrowthBy Diana Furchtgott-Roth, et al., Hudson InstituteHudson Institute Economic Report, 06/08/2009
The economy is worsening at a slower rate—but recovery is not yet in sight.
Economic GrowthBy Ryan A. Compton, et al., Mercatus CenterWorking Paper, 06/08/2009
Whatever gains may come from fighting wars, economic growth is not among them.
Family, Culture & CommunityBy Carla T. Main, Hoover InstitutionPolicy Review, 06/08/2009
Given the stakes, America should not throw in the towel on the 21 laws until we have actually enforced them as they were meant to be enforced—though it will require a clear dedication of political will.
Foreign Policy/International AffairsBy Henry Sokolski, Hoover InstitutionPolicy Review, 06/08/2009
If current trends continue, in a decade or less, the United Kingdom could find its nuclear forces eclipsed not only by those of Pakistan, but of Israel and India as well. Shortly thereafter, France could share the same fate. China is also likely to increase its deployed numbers, quietly, during the coming years. Meanwhile, over 25 states have announced their desire to build a large nuclear reactor—a key aspect of most previous nuclear weapons programs— before 2030.