- Budget & Taxation
- Crime, Justice & the Law
- The Constitution
- Economic & Political Thought
- Economic Growth
- Elections, Transparency, & Accountability
- Family, Culture & Community
- Foreign Policy/ International Affairs
- Health Care
- Information Technology
- International Trade & Finance
- Monetary Policy/ Financial Regulation
- National Security
- Natural Resources, Energy, Environment, & Science
- Regulation & Deregulation
- Retirement/ Social Security
- Transportation & Infrastructure
- Acton Institute
- Adam Smith Institute
- Alabama Policy Institute
- Allegheny Institute
- Alliance for School Choice
- Alliance for Worker Freedom
- America’s Future Foundation
- American Council on Science and Health
- American Enterprise Institute
- American Institute for Full Employment
- American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC)
- Americans for Tax Reform
- Arkansas Policy Foundation
- Ashbrook Center for Public Affairs
- Atlas Economic Research Foundation
- Atlas Society
- Beacon Center of Tennessee
- Beacon Hill Institute
- Becket Fund
- Bluegrass Institute
- Buckeye Institute for Public Policy Solutions
- Business & Media Institute
- Calvert Institute
- Cascade Policy Institute
- Cato Institute
- Center for Consumer Freedom
- Center for College Affordability and Productivity
- Center for Equal Opportunity
- Center for Health Transformation
- Center for Immigration Studies
- Center for International Private Enterprise
- Center for Strategic and International Studies
- Center of the American Experiment
- Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation
- Citizens Against Government Waste
- Claremont Institute for the Study of Statesmanship and Political Philosophy
- Club For Growth
- Commonwealth Foundation
- Competitive Enterprise Institute
- Council for Affordable Health Insurance
- Empire Center for New York State Policy
- Ethan Allen Institute
- Evergreen Freedom Foundation
- Federalist Society
- Foreign Policy Research Institute
- Fraser Institute
- Foundation for Defense of Democracies
- Foundation for Educational Choice
- Foundation for Education Reform & Accountability
- Foundation for Research on Economics & the Environment
- Free Congress Foundation
- Free State Foundation
- Galen Institute
- Georgia Public Policy Foundation
- Goldwater Institute
- Grassroot Institute of Hawaii
- Great Plains Public Policy Institute
- Heartland Institute
- The Heritage Foundation
- Heritage Libertad
- Hoover Institution
- Hudson Institute
- Illinois Policy Institute
- IMANI Center for Policy & Education
- Independence Institute
- Independent Institute
- Institute for Health Freedom
- Institute for Energy Research
- Institute for Humane Studies
- Institute for Justice
- Institute for Market Economics
- Institute for Marriage and Public Policy
- Institute for Policy Innovation
- Institute for Research on the Economics of Taxation
- Institute of Economic Affairs
- Intercollegiate Studies Institute
- International Policy Network
- International Republican Institute
- James Madison Institute
- John Jay Institute for Faith, Society & Law
- John Locke Foundation
- Josiah Bartlett Center for Public Policy
- Kansas Policy Institute
- Landmark Legal Foundation
- Leadership Institute
- Lexington Institute
- Mackinac Center for Public Policy
- Maine Heritage Policy Center
- Manhattan Institute
- Maryland Public Policy Institute
- Mercatus Center
- Mississippi Center for Public Policy
- National Center for Policy Analysis
- National Center for Public Policy Research
- National Taxpayers Union
- Nevada Policy Research Institute
- North Dakota Policy Council
- Ocean State Policy Research Institute
- Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs
- Pacific Research Institute
- Palmetto Family Council
- PERC - The Property and Environment Research Center
- Philanthropy Roundtable
- Phoenix Center
- Pioneer Institute for Public Policy Research
- Progress & Freedom Foundation
- Property Rights Alliance
- Public Interest Institute
- Public Policy Foundation of West Virginia
- Reason Foundation
- Rio Grande Foundation
- Sam Adams Alliance
- Science and Public Policy Institute
- Show-Me Institute
- South Carolina Policy Council
- State Policy Network
- Sutherland Institute
- The Tax Foundation
- Texas Public Policy Foundation
- Thomas B. Fordham Foundation
- Thomas Jefferson Institute
- Virginia Institute for Public Policy
- Washington Legal Foundation
- Washington Policy Center
- Wisconsin Policy Research Institute
- Yankee Institute for Public Policy
- Young America’s Foundation
Recent Policy Studies
Economic and Political ThoughtBy Julia Shaw, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 07/01/2009
America's birthday is also that of Calvin Coolidge, the only President to be born on the Fourth of July. This is altogether fitting, as the man remembered as “Silent Cal” is one of the most eloquent voices for the great and enduring principles expressed in our Declaration of Independence.
International Trade/FinanceBy Daniella Markheim, The Heritage FoundationBackgrounder, 07/01/2009
Time is running out for the world’s leaders to strengthen the global trading system. In their July meeting, G-8 leaders should commit to eliminating trade barriers established in the aftermath of the financial crisis within the year, establish a global moratorium on new trade barriers and excessive use of trade remedies, and set a hard timeline and blueprint for concluding trade negotiations within the WTO.
Health CareBy Robert A. Book, Edmund F. Haislmaier, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 07/01/2009
Senators on the Finance Committee revealed that they are now considering imposing so-called “free rider” penalties on businesses whose workers receive coverage through Medicaid or take advantage of new subsidies to buy health insurance elsewhere. Such penalties would in practice act as an extremely regressive tax on the working poor, reducing their cash wages and in some cases eliminating their jobs altogether.
Information TechnologyBy Tyler Cowen, Penguin PressBook, 07/01/2009
As economist Tyler Cowen boldly shows in Create Your Own Economy, the way we think now is changing more rapidly than it has in a very long time. Not since the Industrial Revolution has a man-made creation—in this case, the World Wide Web—so greatly influenced the way our minds work and our human potential. Cowen argues brilliantly that we are breaking down cultural information into ever-smaller tidbits, ordering and reordering them in our minds (and our computers) to meet our own specific needs.
Health CareBy Robert E. Moffit, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 07/01/2009
The U.S. House of Representatives leadership recently unveiled a mammoth 852-page blueprint for overhauling Americans’ health care: the draft “Tri-Committee Health Reform Bill.” It is the product of three major House Committees with jurisdiction over health policy—Education and Labor, Energy and Commerce, and Ways and Means. If enacted, this comprehensive legislation would amount to federal control of the health care sector of the economy, with the implementation of far-reaching policies impacting doctors and patients in the public as well as the private sector.
Budget & TaxationBy David B. Smith, Institute of Economic AffairsInstitute Brief, 07/01/2009
The current recession may not just be the result of the banking crisis but also result from a supply withdrawal caused by profligate government spending. Supply withdrawals also cause financial crashes. This is because the real return on capital falls when productive potential slows. The markets then fall out of bed when they realize that this has happened. Britain’s current profligate fiscal policies are more likely to represent a progression to the more advanced and deadly stage of the disease—that is 1970s-style stagflation—than a cure.
EducationBy Cyril Taylor, Institute of Economic AffairsInstitute Brief, 07/01/2009
Britons will only be able to raise their aspirations and income levels in future generations if they have a high level of education and skills. We have made progress in raising standards in our schools. It is time to give our universities the freedom they require to thrive in what has become a global market in higher education. If they are given that freedom they will respond by raising their standards and also providing greater choice and diversity.
National SecurityBy Kim R. Holmes, et al., The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 07/01/2009
President Obama is cutting missile defense spending by over $1 billion. This makes no sense at the same time that North Korea is testing nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles to deliver them and when Iran may be just one year away from producing its first nuclear weapon. Washington’s reluctance to pursue missile defense makes little sense because Americans overwhelmingly support missile defense. The problem is that too many of us still think we already have all we need — we don’t.
Natural Resources, Energy, Environment, & ScienceBy Jerome Arnett, Jr, Competitive Enterprise InstituteWebMemo, 07/01/2009
The California Air Resources Board (CARB) promulgated new, stricter regulations for diesel truck emissions, last December, that significantly reduce the amount of fine particulate matter (PM 2.5) emissions allowed in the state. Diesel PM 2.5 is made up of fine particles of soot from diesel emissions that can be inhaled deeply into the lungs, and is often blamed for premature deaths. However, California’s new regulation will do nothing to improve public health, while costing millions.
Budget & TaxationBy Douglas Holtz-Eakin, Gordon Gray, The Heritage FoundationBackgrounder, 07/01/2009
Entitlement spending is projected to exceed 20 percent of GDP by 2060. Furthermore, the U.S. will be spending a crushing 22 percent of GDP to service the debt accumulated from five decades of debt-financed federal spending. While Medicare and Medicaid spending poses a greater fiscal threat, Social Security offers a relatively smaller challenge that can be addressed within the parameters of the program itself.
ImmigrationBy Jena Baker McNeill, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 06/30/2009
America’s farmers are in need of assistance—but amnesty is not the answer. Instead, Congress should enforce America’s immigration laws and develop a realistic, market-oriented, temporary-worker program to allow legal flows of workers that meet the needs of employers and employees. Proving genuine assistance to farmers and other agricultural sectors is important. And foreign workers have always been a pillar of the American economy.
International Trade/FinanceBy Desmond Lachman, American Enterprise InstituteThe American, 06/30/2009
Those skeptical about the U.S. dollar remaining the preeminent international reserve currency in the years to come are certainly right to point to the prospect of U.S. budget deficits in excess of $1 trillion a year for as far as the eye can see. They are also right to point to Congressional Budget Office estimates, which suggest that the Obama administration’s budget proposal will lead to a doubling in the U.S. public debt from 41 percent of GDP in 2008 to 82 percent of GDP in 2019. However, in supposing that the dollar will be eclipsed by the Chinese renminbi rather than by the euro, they are very likely to be picking the wrong horse.
EducationBy Andy Smarick, American Enterprise InstituteSpecial Report, 06/30/2009
At this point the enthusiastic predictions about the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act’s contributions to K-12 education reform should be approached with skepticism. The law’s provisions and their interpretation by the Department of Education erect significant barriers to reform. Moreover, additional conditions on the ground make those obstacles even higher. At this early date, it appears that we must adjust our expectations about the ARRA’s ability to generate the types of improvements our schools so urgently need.
Health CareBy Joseph Antos, American Enterprise InstituteWorking Paper, 06/30/2009
Barack Obama has taken on the task of major health reform and, unlike his predecessors, he might succeed—in the sense that Congress could pass broad legislation. However, given the views of Congressional leadership, it is less clear that legislative success would yield a sustainable health care system based on values shared by most Americans. The current health reform debate is the latest battle ground for the hearts and minds of the people. As we learned when that phrase was last popular, tactical victories in health reform will lead to strategic failures if the policy we pursue is fundamentally at odds with the core interests, behaviors, and beliefs of most of our fellow citizens.
Economic GrowthBy Dambisa Moyo, MacMillan BooksBook, 06/30/2009
In Dead Aid, Dambisa Moyo describes the state of postwar development policy in Africa today and unflinchingly confronts one of the greatest myths of our time: that billions of dollars in aid sent from wealthy countries to developing African nations has helped to reduce poverty and increase growth. In fact, poverty levels continue to escalate and growth rates have steadily declined—and millions continue to suffer.
Information TechnologyBy George S. Ford, Lawrence J. Spiwak, Phoenix Center for Advanced Legal and Economic Public Policy StudiesPolicy Papers, 06/30/2009
High capacity services are a multi-billion dollar industry, and these services provide dedicated high capacity connections for businesses, competitive network providers, and wireless service networks. Moreover, despite the current financial situation, entry, competition and investment into these services is still occurring—a fact that is a testament to the importance of these services. Additional rate regulation can stifle investment and stop competitive entry in its tracks.
Transportation/InfrastructureBy Randal O’Toole, Independence InstituteIssue Backgrounder, 06/30/2009
The Federal Railroad Administration’s high-speed rail plan will cost federal income tax payers $1,000 each—and most of them will never ride it. Colorado isn’t even a part of the plan, but a local proposal for high-speed rail will probably cost $9,000 for every Colorado resident—and most of them will probably never ride it either.
Health CareBy John C. Goodman, et al., National Center for Policy AnalysisTestimony, 06/30/2009
Although national health insurance has considerable support within the medical profession, the degree to which patient empowerment, individual choice, competition, and market incentives are being consciously and successfully used to solve health care problems is far more extensive than is commonly realized. In some respects, support for government regulation of health care financing and delivery has been based on a narrow construal of selected data, while all too often ignoring contrary data. The discussion of US health care reform would benefit greatly from a careful examination of the current successes and future potential of market-based reforms.
Elections, Transparency, & AccountabilityBy Lawrence S. Ebner, Washington Legal FoundationLegal Backgrounder, 06/30/2009
The nation’s trial lawyers claim that they are “heartened” (to use the American Association for Justice’s term) by President Obama’s preemption memorandum. But in reality, aside from burdening federal lawyers with the task of conducting a vague review of preemptive regulations, the memorandum should have little impact on existing or future federal preemption of state law. Indeed, any Administration that supports increased federal scrutiny of potentially hazardous products should support, rather than reflexively oppose, statutory or regulatory preemption that fosters, preserves, and protects the regulatory efforts and determinations of federal departments and agencies.
Economic GrowthBy Gerald W. Scully, National Center for Policy AnalysisPolicy Report, 06/30/2009
The estimated effect of the stimulus program on the current recession falls short of the assumptions made by the Obama administration. Experience also suggests that increased deficit spending combined with the Federal Reserve’s “pump priming” will lead eventually to price inflation and slower economic growth.
Economic and Political ThoughtBy Steven Horwitz, Mercatus CenterWorking Paper, 06/30/2009
The amount of illumination that the Austrian Business Cycle Theory can cast upon any particular historical happening varies directly with how nearly the specific circumstances of the time in question approach the idealized state of affairs assumed in constructing the various ideal types it incorporates. With this explanation, it then becomes clear that the Austrian Business Cycle Theory is not the only possible explanation of macroeconomic downturn but provides a possible account of specific historical episodes.
Foreign Policy/International AffairsBy Ray Walser, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 06/30/2009
While Honduran government institutions may have acted precipitously, the bottom line is that President Zelaya was fired for cause. However, the U.S. can ill afford to open the door to a counter-intervention by Hugo Chávez, one which would deliver Honduras into the Chávez brand of “democracy.”
National SecurityBy Baker Spring, The Heritage FoundationBackgrounder, 06/30/2009
On May 7, 2009, the Obama Administration announced its FY 2010 defense budget—which reduces missile defense spending by $1.62 billion. The programs that require funds include the Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD) interceptors and the Multiple Kill Vehicle (MKV). Congress must confront the Obama Administration over its opposition to placing missile defense interceptors where they can be most effective—in space.
Budget & TaxationBy Nicola Moore, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 06/29/2009
Now that Americans are all too familiar with the problems associated with economic slowdowns and trillion-dollar deficits, Congress ought to take the warnings issued in the Congressional Budget Office's "Long-Term Budget Outlook" seriously. Adding new entitlements, such as national health care, or ignoring the need to reform existing ones while claiming to care about fiscal responsibility will be disingenuous at best and economically debilitating at worst.
Monetary Policy/Financial RegulationBy Anthony Randazzo, Reason FoundationArticle, 06/29/2009
The days of gentle Fannie- and Freddie-like bailouts must be over. Ultimately, members of Congress must keep in mind that regulation, first and foremost, is supposed to provide a framework to foster competition. Companies and their operators must not be allowed to take risks with taxpayer money, and there must be some skin in the game for everyone.
National SecurityBy James Jay Carafano, The Heritage FoundationSpecial Report, 06/29/2009
The recent Graham–Talent Commission study, A World at Risk, argues that this is no time to be complacent about weapons of mass destruction. In the decades ahead, efforts to deal with these threats have to be a cornerstone of providing for the common defense.
Budget & TaxationBy Kail Padgitt, Tax FoundationFiscal Facts, 06/29/2009
The Maine legislature has attempted broad and far-reaching reform of their tax system. Ultimately the reform effort is a positive step forward. The Maine legislature should remain focused on creating a tax code that pushes for simplicity, neutrality and stability. Whether this marks the beginning of larger tide of beneficial tax reform or the high watermark is yet to be seen.
EducationBy Don Soifer, Lexington InstituteIssue Brief, 06/29/2009
When courts measure the quality of education programs strictly in terms of dollars spent, student and taxpayer are both imperiled. This is especially true for English Language Learners, probably the one group in American public education whose progress has been most insulated from meaningful accountability for academic results.
National SecurityBy Loren B. Thompson, Lexington InstituteIssue Brief, 06/29/2009
Nothing matters more in modern land warfare than quick and reliable communications. However, the U.S. Army has encountered chronic difficulties in fielding state-of-the-art communications equipment for its combat units. Efforts to develop an agile “software-defined” radio were held up by problems in engineering the software. A planned constellation of very capable communications satellites was canceled. And now, the one part of the Army's communications plan that seemed to be progressing smoothly is being threatened with big delays by Pentagon budget planners.
Budget & TaxationBy Gerald Prante, Patrick Fleenor, Tax FoundationSpecial Report, 06/29/2009
President Obama campaigned on a promise that he would pursue policies that promote a more even distribution of the economic pie. The extent of income redistribution embedded in the policies he has outlined in his first budget as president do indeed intend to move the United States in that direction. For fiscal year 2012, the first full fiscal year in which President Obama’s full policy agenda would be in effect, it is estimated that his policies would increase the amount of redistribution from those in the top five percent of the income spectrum to those outside the top five percent by $79 billion.
Building a Case for School Choice: Initial Results from a Survey of North Carolina’s Private SchoolsBy Terry Stoops, John Locke FoundationPolicy Report, 06/29/2009
The impressive growth of North Carolina’s private schools is no accident. They remain affordable, diverse educational institutions that strive to cultivate academic, spiritual, and personal excellence in all students. Regrettably, our elected leaders have chosen to deny poor and middle-class children the means to attend these institutions based upon an allegiance to an outdated, 19th century educational model specifically designed to limit choices and compel deference to state authority. As a state and as a nation, we can do better.
Crime, Justice & the LawBy Victor E. Schwartz, et al., American Legislative Exchange CouncilThe State Factor, 06/29/2009
The Wyeth v. Levine decision limits federally mandated preemption of state tort claims regarding pharmaceutical products that are subject to federal agency regulation. It leaves to state legislatures and courts the power to make sound public health and safety decisions for their citizens. The decision presents state legislators with an opportunity to adopt laws that facilitate judicial consideration of compliance with government regulations on the very point at issue in the litigation. These determinations balance the benefits and risks of the product or service to the population as a whole, not on the dynamics of highly emotionally charged individual lawsuits. ALEC’s model Regulatory Compliance Congruity with Liability Act provides state legislators with three options reflecting varying levels of deference to a manufacturer’s or service provider’s compliance with safety standards in determining liability. It is a step forward in achieving this goal.
Crime, Justice & the LawBy Michael Hough, Rebecca Hurley, American Legislative Exchange CouncilALEC Policy Forum, 06/29/2009
If necessary reforms in the criminal justice system are to occur, the public and legislators need to know how much money is being spent to bail criminals out of jail, and how many individuals are skipping their court appointed hearings and subsequently committing new crimes. With many states facing tight budgets and deficits in the years ahead, the question needs to be asked “Why do lawmakers continue to fund a government service that is being provided for free and better by the private sector?” States with PTR agencies should at a minimum adopt ALEC’s Citizen’s Right to Know Act. The information from this bill is needed so legislators can reform dangerous PTR agencies that are potentially increasing crime and releasing criminals at taxpayer’s expense.
Economic GrowthBy Leon Aron, American Enterprise InstituteRussian Outlook, 06/29/2009
To most outside observers, Russia's current predicament looks like yet another economic crisis, albeit one of a decidedly severe variety. Yet, this is far from the whole story. As seen by some of Russia's leading independent liberal experts and commentators, Russia is facing a systemic crisis, and the only way out of it lies in dismantling the defining political, economic, and social features of Putinism.
Economic GrowthBy Roger F. Noriega, American Enterprise InstituteLatin American Outlook, 06/29/2009
In Latin America, 2008-2009 will be recorded as a profound crisis that took the wind out of the sails of important regional economies, many of which had strung together years of significant growth. But the good news is that most of these nations have adhered to market solutions, rejected protectionism, controlled spending, contained inflation, and kept their economies open to more foreign trade and investment. The Western Hemisphere can only hope that Washington’s spendthrift policies will not stall a natural recovery in the U.S. economy or that the politics of protectionism will not prevent President Barack Obama from demonstrating some economic statesmanship, particularly on trade.
EducationBy Eric A. Hanushek, Alfred A. Lindseth, American Enterprise InstituteEducation Outlook, 06/29/2009
Since the late 1980s, state court judges in over twenty states have struck down school finance systems as not “adequate.” Pointing to evidence of unacceptable student achievement outcomes, advocates of court intervention argue that student outcomes can be improved with additional funding. Many courts have accepted this premise and have ordered legislatures to provide unprecedented increases in state appropriations for K-12 schools. Unfortunately, the track record of these judicial interventions suggests that increased funding without other more fundamental changes typically does not lead to improved student performance.
Monetary Policy/Financial RegulationBy John H. Makin, American Enterprise InstituteEconomic Outlook, 06/29/2009
The recent steps by the Federal Reserve to preempt deflation have—ironically and unexpectedly—prompted a surge in inflation fears both inside the United States and abroad, especially in China. Specifically, the Fed’s measures to go beyond the stimulus inherent in a zero percent federal funds rate by purchasing Treasury and mortgage securities has conjured visions of massive money printing to underwrite trillions of dollars of additional government borrowing at low interest rates. As markets have shown, if that were the Fed’s intention—which it decidedly is not—the effort would fail because excessive money printing would push up interest rates as inflation expectations rose.
Foreign Policy/International AffairsBy James Phillips, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 06/29/2009
The opposition movement that spontaneously rose up against Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has lost momentum in the aftermath of the regime's crackdown on popular protests over the disputed results of the presidential election. Faced with intensifying violence from the regime's security forces, the opposition has been forced to abandon mass rallies and is preparing for a protracted campaign of civil disobedience.
Foreign Policy/International AffairsBy James M. Roberts, Ray Walser, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 06/29/2009
Colombia is one of the oldest democracies in the world and has consistently been among the United State’s best friends in Latin America. President Obama should use his White House meeting with Colombian President Alvaro Uribe on June 29 to reinvigorate the U.S. relationship with Colombia by offering presidential backing for the U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement (FTA) as well as continued funding for Plan Colombia’s civilian and military programs.
Health CareBy Stuart M. Butler, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 06/29/2009
The Senate Finance Committee may apparently include a provision in its health coverage legislation that would allow a little-known advisory commission known as “MedPAC” to make changes in Medicare and other parts of the health system that would go into effect unless Congress explicitly objects. The aim is to achieve significant savings in the program to help finance coverage expansions for working families in a way that reduces the likelihood that future Congresses will renege on promised entitlement savings.
Economic GrowthBy Terry Anderson, et al., Hoover InstitutionBook, 06/26/2009
This a book about how a stable rule of law, secure property rights, and an open economy provide the foundation on which the administration can build more effective policies in the next 1,300 days. We should not abandon the principles that have served us so well throughout our history. We should not make decisions now, based on the political expediency of action, polling, and special interest pressures, that will have long-run ill effects—whether anticipated or not.
EducationBy John E. Chubb, Hoover InstitutionBook, 06/26/2009
John E. Chubb, writing on behalf of the Koret Task Force on K–12 Education, presents a convincing case that, despite the controversy it has ignited, the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) law is making a positive difference and should be renewed.
LaborBy F. Vincent Vernuccio, Competitive Enterprise InstituteOn Point, 06/26/2009
The Employee Free Choice Act’s compulsory interest arbitration provision would create a major departure from the traditional role of arbitration in the private sector. Perhaps its most fundamental problem is the fact that it would impose government-mandated contracts and remove the right of one party to negotiate if the other demands the government to intercede. No one is better suited to run a business than the owners and workers who have dedicated countless hours of their lives toward making it a success. Allowing a government-appointed arbitrator to create a binding contract would have devastating results not just for individual companies, but for the economy at large.
Elections, Transparency, & AccountabilityBy Dennis R. Schrader, The Heritage FoundationHeritage Lecture, 06/26/2009
The nation’s preparedness has come a long way in the past 20 years. The Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Emergency Management Agency have made progress, but there is significant unfinished business. The challenge is to find ways to continuously improve, to sustain the effort over the long haul, to better leverage federal resources to get major initiatives done, and to encourage states to build recovery plans that will put them in charge of a large-scale recovery.
Transportation/InfrastructureBy Randal O'Toole, Buckeye Institute for Public Policy SolutionsPolicy Report, 06/26/2009
Ohio should apply for its share of the $8 billion in stimulus money solely for incremental improvements to existing rail lines, including safer crossing gates and better signaling. It should not plan to purchase new locomotives and railcars for passenger service that will be both expensive to operate and harmful to the environment. The United States can do many things to cost-effectively improve transportation networks in ways that save energy, reduce accidents, and cut toxic and greenhouse gas emissions. High-speed rail is not one of those things.
Health CareBy Edmund F. Haislmaier, The Heritage FoundationBackgrounder, 06/26/2009
It is becoming increasingly clear that the congressional creation of a public health plan to “compete” with private health insurance plans is a roadblock to serious, bipartisan reform of the American health care system. Such a plan would likely result in the massive erosion of private health insurance options for individuals and families, restricting personal choice and competition.
Health CareBy Robert A. Book, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 06/26/2009
Medicare administrative costs per beneficiary have substantially exceeded those costs for the private sector, this despite the fact that, as critics note, private insurance is subject to many expenses not incurred by Medicare. Contrary to the claims of public plan advocates, moving millions of Americans from private insurance to a Medicare-like program will result in program administrative costs that are higher per person and higher, not lower, for the nation as a whole.
Foreign Policy/International AffairsBy Ariel Cohen, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 06/26/2009
On July 7, Presidents Barack Obama and Dmitry Medvedev will meet for their first full-fledged summit in Moscow. The two countries may have a window of opportunity to re-launch their relationship, which has been set back by Russia's intransigent positions and its litany of demands. While some in the U.S. believe that rhetoric alone can revitalize the deteriorating relationship between the two nations, only concrete steps by Russia—such as responding positively to the U.S. initiatives—will prove that the two sides are opening a new page.
Health CareBy Tevi Troy, The Heritage FoundationBackgrounder, 06/26/2009
The Congress has authorized the funding for Health Information Technology, and the Administration is responsible for implementing the program. In creating the rules of the road, the Department of Health and Human Services should be very careful to ensure that its approach does not freeze out future technologies, and that it allows for creative new approaches that have the potential to transform the way American doctors—possibly doctors around the world—practice medicine.
Budget & Taxation
Understanding the Stimulus: A Primer for Connecticut Citizens on the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009By Brian J. Gottlob, Yankee Institute for Public PolicyReport, 06/25/2009
Only with a careful tracking of employment changes in Connecticut’s labor market over the next few years, with particular attention to industries that benefit from stimulus funds, can Connecticut citizens and policymakers determine whether the benefits of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act will outweigh the longer-term costs of the package identified by the Congressional Budget Office and others.
Natural Resources, Energy, Environment, & ScienceBy Karen Campbell, David Kreutzer, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 06/25/2009
During the “stimulus” debate, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs lamented that “more companies [have] announced mass layoffs.” The Bureau of Labor Statistics defines mass layoffs as “where private sector nonfarm employers indicate that 50 or more workers were separated from their jobs for at least 31 days.” Under Waxman-Markey, on average each congressional district would experience the equivalent of more than 52 mass layoffs. Although losing several thousand jobs may not seem like a lot to some politicians who are stuck inside the beltway, the mass layoffs resulting from Waxman-Markey should make any politician—and hard working American—cringe.
Economic GrowthBy Dane Stangler, American Enterprise InstituteThe American, 06/25/2009
Given the shifting age distribution of the country, the continued decline of lifetime employment, the experience and tacit knowledge such employees carry with them, and the effects of the 2008–2009 recession on established sectors of the economy, we may be about to enter a highly entrepreneurial period.
Budget & TaxationBy Patrick Basham, John Luik, Washington Legal FoundationLegal Backgrounder, 06/25/2009
A democratic government with a fundamental commitment to respecting individual autonomy has no justification for something so unacceptably paternalistic as shaping a citizen’s food choices. No matter how one looks at the soft drinks tax, it is impossible to avoid the conclusion that this is an idea that is conceptually flawed, failed where it has been tried, and deeply foolish in its inattention to considerations of perverse consequences, fairness, and liberty.
Monetary Policy/Financial RegulationBy Emily Renwick, American Enterprise InstituteThe American, 06/25/2009
Many have argued AIG was an aberration, and that the insurance regulatory model is not broken. The next step should be to begin with a more modest set of reforms. Plans include creating a prudential regulator that collects a premium from insurance providers and has the ability to “unwind” insolvent firms. Such legislation, combined with an insurance information agency, could help combat regulatory overkill while improving information flow and minimizing moral hazard. Congress must act with prudence in ensuring a smart regulatory regime that prevents another AIG catastrophe, without inundating the system with superfluous regulations
Crime, Justice & the LawBy Lawrence S. Ebner, Washington Legal FoundationLegal Backgrounder, 06/25/2009
Supporters of vigorous environmental, health, and safety protection through increased federal government regulation can and should recognize that preemption of certain types of product liability claims fosters the role of the federal regulators on whom they rely. State-by-state (or jury-by-jury) regulation of product safety can seriously undermine the efforts of those federal regulators. If more focus were placed on regulatory realities, and less on ideologically or politically-tinged perceptions and myths, the result would be greater clarity on how federal preemption benefits regulators and consumers, as well as corporations confronted with product liability suits.
Budget & TaxationBy Mark A. Behrens, Christopher E. Appel, Washington Legal FoundationLegal Opinion Letter, 06/25/2009
If a federal reform of punitive damages encompassing four basic protections available to criminal defendants were adopted, then it may be fair and reasonable to discuss whether punitive damages payments should be deductible from taxable income. Until that time, however, the denial of a tax deduction for punitive damages payments would be premature and unsound, and negatively impact job creation and investment.
Health CareBy Arnold Kling, American Enterprise InstituteThe American, 06/25/2009
Market innovation in health insurance would mean increasing the consumer’s responsibility to pay for most medical services. The insurable event should not be the provision of a medical service. The insurable event should be that the consumer is confronted with an ailment that is going to require costly treatment. Health insurance should not involve frequent, small claims and high premiums. Instead of trying to create a household insurance market that reconstitutes the unsustainable features of employer-provided health insurance, there needs to be radical innovation in the very concept of health insurance.
Natural Resources, Energy, Environment, & ScienceBy David Kreutzer, et al., The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 06/25/2009
Last week, the Congressional Budget Office released their analysis of the Waxman-Markey climate change bill that had proponents of the bill claiming Americans could save the planet for just $175 per household. That was the figure CBO estimated cap and trade would cost households in 2020 alone. Both the CBO’s analysis and the subsequent legislation are troubled: The analysis grossly underestimates economic costs while the legislation will have virtually no impact on climate.
Elections, Transparency, & AccountabilityBy Mark R. Troy, Washington Legal FoundationCounsel's Advisory, 06/25/2009
The recently enacted Fraud Enforcement and Recovery Act of 2009 extends the False Claims Act to instances of misuse of federal funds even when no false claim is presented to the government. The FCA amendment—retroactive to actions pending on June 7, 2008—overturns cases which held that a subcontractor’s false statement to a prime contractor would not be actionable unless the subcontractor intended its statement to be relied upon by the government in paying a claim. Now, no direct link between the false claim or statement and the government’s payment decision is required.
Budget & TaxationBy Alex Brill, Aparna Mathur, American Enterprise InstituteThe American, 06/25/2009
When President Reagan announced a war on drugs, crack cocaine was public enemy number one. Now our government has a different kind of coke in sight—this time it’s “the real thing.” Congress should be concerned about obesity and its associated healthcare costs. But to narrow in on soda and juice, leaving fried chicken and pizza untouched, is to begin to weave a new and awkward maze of tax policies that create more confusion than healthy behavior.
Health CareBy Sally Satel, American Enterprise InstituteThe American, 06/25/2009
We need to leverage the public’s receptivity to the idea of rewarding kidney donors. The picture is bleaker than ever. In 2008, the number of living kidney donors was the lowest it has been since 2000. Even more striking, 2008 was the first year in the history of the waiting list, which began in 1988, when the number of deceased donors was lower than the preceding year. Presumably, the National Kidney Foundation knows this depressing news yet it announced recently that it is revving up implementation of “proven and tested strategies which can end the wait in ten years.”