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Recent Policy Studies
Health CareBy The Heritage Foundation, The Heritage FoundationFact Sheet, 07/31/2009
This fact sheet identifies the top 10 reasons Obamacare is wrong for America.
Health CareBy Robert E. Moffit, The Heritage FoundationBackgrounder, 07/30/2009
While the national health insurance exchange advocated by President Obama and congressional leaders is sometimes described as a nationwide pool of health insurance providers, its major function would be to provide a platform for a government-run public health plan. The result would be a massive erosion of private health insurance and consolidation of federal control of the financing and delivery of medical services.
Budget & TaxationBy James D. Agresti, Just Facts FoundationReport, 07/30/2009
For the first time in the history of the United States, the federal government has accumulated a deficit of more than a trillion dollars in a single year – and even worse, this figure is projected to nearly double before the year is out. This deficit adds to preexisting federal debts, liabilities, and unfunded obligations, which together, threaten to fiscally overwhelm the United States. What does this mean to you as a citizen and taxpayer? The facts are staggering.
Regulation & DeregulationBy Michael L. Marlow, Cato InstituteRegulation, 07/30/2009
Empirical investigation of the connection between spending guidelines and tobacco use is conducted to directly assess whether states that are closer to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines actually exhibit lower tobacco sales than states that do not. Analysis focuses on two related issues. One is the fundamental question of whether tobacco sales over 2000–2007 were influenced by spending on tobacco control. The other is the policy question of whether meeting CDC spending targets matters in efforts to reduce tobacco sales.
Health CareBy Illinois Policy Institute, Illinois Policy InstitutePolicy Points, 07/30/2009
The Kennedy-Dodd health care bill would create a federal health insurance plan, eventually driving out private insurers and leaving patients with fewer choices and lower quality of care. The bill would mandate employers to provide insurance for employees or pay an annual fine. This mandate, and a mandate requiring individuals to buy insurance, requires every insurance plan to match “government approved” standards.
Health CareBy John R. Lott Jr., Cato InstituteRegulation, 07/30/2009
While people often recognize that a Canadian-style government- run insurance system creates access problems and waiting lines, they contend the trade off is worthwhile in exchange for universal coverage. For most comparisons, Canadians are experiencing satisfaction levels much closer to that of America’s uninsured than they are to America’s insured. That suggests the drop in satisfaction for the insured under a U.S. health care reform initiative could be much greater than the increase in satisfaction for the newly insured Americans.
Health CareBy Philip G. Peters, Jr., Cato InstituteRegulation, 07/30/2009
The time has come to revisit the individualistic model of malpractice law. Modern medicine is far more complex than it was when that model was adopted. Today, health care is delivered by large teams of highly trained individuals in a complex web of interaction that demands coordination and oversight. The industry’s own experts on quality improvement have recognized this new order. It is time for the law to join them.
Economic GrowthBy Dan L Burk, Mark A Lemley, Cato InstituteRegulation, 07/30/2009
Given the crisis of confidence the patent system currently faces, it is not much of an exaggeration to say that the system must bend or break: a patent system that is not flexible enough to account for these industry differences is unlikely to survive, let alone accomplish its stated goals. The system has the flexibility to do both, but this will require the courts to recognize and use the policy levers they have been given.
Monetary Policy/Financial RegulationBy Vincent R. Reinhart, American Enterprise InstituteThe American, 07/30/2009
The consolidation of multiple agencies and the shift of power away from states to a single federal entity seem daunting. Even harder might be the necessary reduction in the variety of corporate charters and the pruning of the tax code and accounting rules. Indeed, this is an invitation to jurisdictional warfare, as each regulator jockeys for viability. But a more established set of rules for the resolution of large firms, simplification of regulations generally, and consolidation of supervision specifically should be the aspiration of this Congress.
Economic GrowthBy David Peyton, American Enterprise InstituteThe American, 07/30/2009
Many of the problems in the Amazon originate not from supposedly exploitative multinational corporations, but from a lack of economic opportunity and access to basic services such as health care and education. They will need to weigh the benefits of resource extraction and free trade against these other important considerations. These will be difficult and sometimes painful decisions, but ones that ultimately should be made by Peruvians in dialogue with one another. It is time for foreign-based nongovernmental organizations to step aside and let Peruvians decide for themselves.
EducationBy Douglas N. Harris, American Enterprise InstituteEducation Outlook, 07/30/2009
How we measure school performance matters — a lot. For those who oppose accountability, it provides an easy excuse to ignore it. It is time to take away that excuse by addressing the law’s real flaws and the legitimate concerns they raise, time to move beyond the horse and buggy approach and use more credible performance measures. We criticize schools often enough for being relics of the past. There is no need to make school accountability policies yet another bad example.
Health CareBy Carrie L. Lukas, Independent Women's ForumPolicy Brief, 07/30/2009
While many champions of single-payer systems point to Canada as a model for making health services available to all, Canada also exposes the downsides of government-run health care, which is rationing resulting in long wait times. In 2008, the average waiting time for surgical or another therapeutic treatment after receiving a referral from a general practitioner was about four months (more than 17 weeks). In addition, some Canadians are denied services that they feel are medically necessary.
Health CareBy Andrew J. Rettenmaier, Thomas R. Saving, National Center for Policy AnalysisBrief Analysis, 07/30/2009
Health care spending varies dramatically from region to region without producing commensurate variation in health outcomes. Indeed, higher health care spending per capita is not consistently associated with better health outcomes. The observed disconnect between health care spending and outcomes suggests that through a more efficient use of health resources, spending could be cut substantially.
Regulation & DeregulationBy Kevin M. McDonald, Cato InstituteRegulation, 07/30/2009
Reducing the costs, both in terms of lives and economics, should be the primary mission of transportation safety policy. In rare cases, recalls can save lives and reduce injuries. In many cases, recalls just generate additional costs with little or no benefit. It’s time for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to understand the costs and benefits associated with auto recalls.
National SecurityBy Loren B. Thompson, Lexington InstituteIssue Brief, 07/30/2009
The Air Force's own estimates show that if it replaced the E-8's decrepit engines with new ones, it could avoid about a million dollars a day in maintenance costs. In fact, the replacement program would pay for itself in eight years, and eventually save $10 billion, because the Joint Stars airframe is good for another 40 years. But without new engines, it will probably become unflyable in the next decade. So why hasn't the service coughed up the money to keep this key intelligence asset in the air? Maybe because soldiers don't have a seat at the table when airmen decide how to spend their money.
Regulation & DeregulationBy Dave Mason, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 07/30/2009
The Obama Administration appointed a “pay czar” to oversee compensation at firms receiving substantial government backing. Regrettably, the Administration did not stop with government-aided companies but proposed regulating private-sector pay.
Budget & TaxationBy Robert Carroll, Tax FoundationFiscal Facts, 07/30/2009
High tax rates carry economic consequences. They cause taxpayers to base decisions more on tax considerations and less on economic merit. They also can be expected to shrink the size of the tax base and raise less revenue than the casual observer might assume. Another important consideration is the substantial effect the higher tax rates will have on the entrepreneurial sector, whose business income tends to be subject primarily to the individual income tax.
Regulation & DeregulationBy Susan E. Dudley, Cato InstituteRegulation, 07/30/2009
There are inklings of concern over the increasing role of government in private markets, which may present an opportunity to encourage greater appreciation among voters and taxpayers of the benefits of economic freedom. We need to build a constituency for the kind of questions Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs asks and for transparent analysis of the likely consequences of regulations before they are issued.
Monetary Policy/Financial RegulationBy Jean Helwege, Cato InstituteRegulation, 07/30/2009
Regulators’ desire to maintain stable, liquid, and orderly markets is best satisfied by letting financial firms file for bankruptcy protection. The bankruptcy process allows for an orderly liquidation. Rather than stepping into cure a particular financial firm’s problems, possibly at the expense of other, more prudent financial competitors, policy should aim for more general assistance to the economy. The more general the aid, the less likely it is to cause distortions in the various financial sectors.
Health CareBy Edmund F. Haislmaier, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 07/29/2009
Some states are pursuing their own variations of consumer-centered health reform. What the state of Utah will soon offer is a working model of how states can design and implement a consumer-centered health insurance market that leverages existing resources with minimal regulation or disruption to existing arrangements.
Budget & TaxationBy David C. John, Matt A. Mayer, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 07/29/2009
The newly reintroduced Homeowners’ Defense Act is a dangerous step toward a federal government subsidy of property insurance coverage for natural disasters. The bill would also make it easier for individual states to create unrealistic disaster insurance programs—with under-priced property insurance policies—by creating a federal reinsurance fund to cover losses suffered by those programs. Attempts to place the risk of property losses due to natural disasters on the federal government are exceptionally bad policy and should be avoided.
Natural Resources, Energy, Environment, & ScienceBy Anthony Watts, Heartland InstituteReport, 07/29/2009
The United States’ temperature record is unreliable. And since the U.S. record is thought to be “the best in the world,” it follows that the global database is likely similarly compromised and unreliable.
Monetary Policy/Financial RegulationBy Lawrence J. White, Mercatus CenterReport, 07/29/2009
The Community Reinvestment Act is an anachronistic and protectionist effort to force artificially a local focus for finance in an increasingly competitive, increasingly electronic, and ever-widening realm of financial services. Further, ironically, the burdens of the CRA may well discourage banks from setting up new locations in low-income neighborhoods and thus providing local residents with better-priced alternatives to high-cost check-cashing and payday lending establishments. The CRA is not a good public policy tool for achieving the goals that it advocates.
Health CareBy Ronald Bailey, Reason FoundationReason, 07/29/2009
One would expect that competition would spark that virtuous cycle in which innovation progressively drives down costs, just as it has in so many other areas of commerce. Medical care would become ever more affordable and thus reduce the perceived need for government intervention on behalf of the poor. In the meantime, the government should dismantle its medical entitlement programs—Medicaid, SCHIP, and Medicare—and use those funds to provide vouchers to the poor who could then purchase health insurance and health care in the private market.
Budget & TaxationBy Micah Cohen, Kiran Sheffrin, Tax FoundationFiscal Facts, 07/29/2009
The creation of the rainy day fund, the extension of the sales tax to include services, and the reapportionment of the capital gains tax could be important additions in the total outlook for California’s revenue volatility woes. But more frequent commercial property reassessments, tax increase threshold reductions, and a carbon tax combined with a rebate could hinder the creation of a simple, neutral, stable, and transparent tax system.
Monetary Policy/Financial RegulationBy Alex J. Pollock, American Enterprise InstituteThe American, 07/29/2009
Financial cycles are natural and the future will have them, as the past has. They can be aggravated, as the inflation of our 21st-century bubble was, by actions of the government. Going forward, some sensible steps would provide moderation of financial overexpansions and consequent panics.
EducationBy Patrick J. McCloskey, Jay P. Greene, Manhattan InstituteCity Journal, 07/29/2009
Catholic schools have long offered disadvantaged and minority children an alternative to New York City’s dysfunctional public school system. Students at inner-city Catholic high schools, who are mostly minorities, achieve nearly 90 percent graduation rates, archdiocese records show. Publicly funded vouchers for poor students, which could be used to pay tuition at any accredited private school, secular or religious, would be the best way to fill the parochial schools’ 15,000 empty seats with floundering public school students.
Health CareBy Charles Kroncke, Ronald F. White, Independent InstituteThe Independent Review, 07/29/2009
Despite numerous federal interventions that have favored health care providers and insurers, the industry has yet to figure out how to overcome the problems of adverse selection, moral hazard, information asymmetry, and free-ridership. Did it ever make sense to create a health care system in which fourth-party employers purchase insurance for their first-party employees from third-party corporations, which in turn pay second-party providers for health care products and services?
Elections, Transparency, & AccountabilityBy Hans A. von Spakovsky, The Heritage FoundationLegal Memorandum, 07/28/2009
In recent elections, only 5 to 20 percent of eligible military voters cast absentee ballots that were counted. This shockingly low participation rate is as severe as any in our nation’s history, including that which resulted in the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 to strike down barriers to voting for black Americans.
Foreign Policy/International AffairsBy Sally McNamara, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 07/28/2009
When Anders Fogh Rasmussen formally takes over as NATO secretary general on August 1, he will have multiple agenda items competing for his attention, the most pressing of which will be to rally support for the alliance’s mission in Afghanistan.
Monetary Policy/Financial RegulationBy Mark A. Calabria, Cato InstituteTestimony, 07/28/2009
The current foreclosure relief efforts have largely been unsuccessful because they have misidentified the underlying causes of mortgage default. It is not exploding adjustable rate mortgages or predatory lending that drives the current wave of foreclosures, but negative equity driven by house prices declines coupled with adverse income shocks that are the main driver of defaults on primary residences. Defaults on speculative properties continue to represent a large share of foreclosures
Economic and Political ThoughtBy George Gilder, American Enterprise InstituteThe American, 07/28/2009
Like the Jews throughout history, Israel poses a test to the world. In particular, it is a test for any people that lusts for the fruits of capitalism without submitting to capitalism’s imperious moral code. Because capitalism, like the biblical faith from which it largely arises, remorselessly condemns to darkness and death those who resent the achievements of others.At the heart of anti-Semitism is resentment of Jewish achievement.
Budget & TaxationBy Veronique de Rugy, Reason FoundationReason, 07/28/2009
The combination of high rates and a competitive global marketplace makes the U.S. corporate tax system extremely punishing. Because of higher tax costs, U.S.-based firms are losing foreign market share, generating lower returns for American shareholders, and hiring fewer skilled workers back home in the United States. Under these conditions, it’s no surprise that American multinational companies that want to sell their goods abroad try to keep as much cash out of the U.S. as they legally can. It’s a matter of survival.
Health CareBy Greg Scandlen, National Center for Policy AnalysisBrief Analysis, 07/28/2009
What kind of health care reform requires working people to pay for coverage, but then deprives them of the ability to see a doctor? It is the kind that will generate an enormous backlash of outraged patients. Members of Congress need to think twice before embarking on the same journey as Massachusetts has for universal health care.
Economic GrowthBy Daniel Sacks, Mercatus CenterPolicy Comment, 07/28/2009
The food crisis in mid-2008 was symptomatic of a much greater problem in Africa. Africa’s ability to feed itself has been in decline for the past four decades. Government intervention and interference in agricultural markets prevented the growth of commercial agricultural sectors and decreased the ability of African farmers to improve their standards of living through agriculture. To combat hunger and to encourage economic development, African governments need to embark on reforms that allow farmers to use agriculture to improve their lives.
Economic GrowthBy Peter J. Boettke, Daniel J. Smith, Mercatus CenterWorking Paper, 07/28/2009
It is often in the aftermath of the worst calamities of nature and war that the power of human ingenuity and resilience is most clearly demonstrated. It is at the very time when public and private infrastructure and formal institutions are at their weakest following a public disaster that you would expect civil society to collapse. Yet, calamity after calamity has exhibited the resounding ability of private actors to coordinate recoveries from the most severe of crises.
Foreign Policy/International AffairsBy Ray Walser, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 07/28/2009
In the name of democracy for all, the U.S. needs to distance itself from the erratic, messianic Zelaya. It should move boldly to accept the workings of the Honduran constitution, insist on Zelaya's legal responsibility to answer the charges against him, and promote peace, dialogue, and a recovery of trust.
Crime, Justice & the LawBy Andrew M. Grossman, The Heritage FoundationLegal Memorandum, 07/28/2009
Today, enormously complex and demanding regulations are regularly paired with draconian criminal penalties for even minor deviations from the rules. Minor violations from time to time are all but inevitable because full compliance would be either impossible or impossibly expensive. Nearly every time, nobody notices or cares, but all it takes is one exception for the hammer of the law to strike.
Economic GrowthBy J.D. Foster, The Heritage FoundationBackgrounder, 07/27/2009
Bad policy ideas rarely go away forever. Circumstances change, memories fade, political fashions come and go. The current global experiments with Keynesian fiscal stimulus will fail as they have failed before. Unfortunately, the price of learning this lesson yet again is an unnecessarily prolonged recession, a weaker recovery, and millions more lost jobs--and, of course, the massive increases in public debt.
Natural Resources, Energy, Environment, & ScienceBy Karen Campbell, The Heritage FoundationBackgrounder, 07/27/2009
Far from being a complementary set of policies, as the Political Economy Research Institute study purports, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act combined with the enactment of the American Clean Energy and Security Act would have numerous off-setting economic effects. Independent macroeconomic analysis finds that losses far outweigh benefits. The Congressional Budget Office and even the Environmental Protection Agency find that these policies will raise costs on consumers.
National SecurityBy Kenneth L. Wainstein, The Heritage FoundationHeritage Lecture, 07/27/2009
The three counterterrorism authorities that are scheduled to sunset this year have proven to be invaluable in our counterterrorism efforts. They are subject to careful oversight, and they should be made permanent. Though sometimes cumbersome and often frustrating, oversight often makes the difference between passage and non-passage of national security legislation and is therefore a relatively small price to pay for an effective counterterrorism authority.
Health CareBy Michael F. Cannon , Cato InstitutePolicy Analysis, 07/27/2009
A full accounting shows that government programs cost more and deliver lower-quality care than private insurance. The central problem with proposals to create a new government program, however, is not that government is less efficient than private insurers, but that government can hide its inefficiencies and draw consumers away from private insurance, despite offering an inferior product.
Health CareBy Elizabeth Young, Texas Public Policy FoundationPolicy Brief, 07/27/2009
Healthcare is not a responsibility of the government. If government foots the bill, individuals will lose the incentive to engage in healthy lifestyles that would keep healthcare costs manageable for everyone. Most importantly, health care decisions should be personal, not made by any third-party group, even if they claim to have your best interests in mind. When others control health, they control both life and quality of life.
Natural Resources, Energy, Environment, & ScienceBy Jane C. Luxton, Washington Legal FoundationCritical Issues Bulletin, 07/27/2009
In two contradictory decisions announced within the space of ten days— both relating to the polar bear, climate change, and the Endangered Species Act—the Obama Administration has managed to anger parties across the political spectrum and create uncertainties about the implications of its actions and the resulting state of the law. However noteworthy such concurrence in views between the former and current Administrations may be, it is not a universal sentiment.
Foreign Policy/International AffairsBy Robert R. Reilly, The Heritage FoundationSpecial Report, 07/27/2009
The primary purpose of United States public diplomacy is to explain, promote, and defend American principles to audiences abroad. This objective goes well beyond the public affairs function of presenting and explaining specific policies of various Administrations. Policies and Administrations change; principles do not, so long as the United States remains true to itself.
Natural Resources, Energy, Environment, & ScienceBy Peter Glaser, Washington Legal FoundationLegal Backgrounder, 07/27/2009
Tort judgments against utilities will interfere with Environmental Protection Agency’s weighing of economic and environmental factors in determining the appropriate level of controls for these sources. Tort judgments would at least be duplicative of EPA standards, and could require sources to adopt a completely different set of control requirements. If Congress does not enact its own climate change program, and the Clean Air Act becomes the de facto mechanism for setting climate change policy, then EPA, acting under that statute, should be the sole regulator. Judges acting in tort lawsuits should not be able to impose a different layer of controls.
Budget & TaxationBy Brian M. Riedl, The Heritage FoundationSpecial Report, 07/27/2009
Spending and deficits are surging at a pace not seen since World War II. Washington will spend $33,932 per household in 2009—$8,000 per household more than last year. While much of this spending is a temporary result of the recession and financial crisis, President Obama’s 2010 budget would replace this temporary spending with permanent new programs.
Foreign Policy/International AffairsBy Ariel Cohen, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 07/27/2009
Last week, the White House dispatched Vice President Joe Biden to Ukraine and Georgia to assuage fears that America may be abandoning its allies in the post-Soviet space, as Washington continues to try to push the reset button with Moscow. Instead, fudged messages and more confusion prevailed. As Biden visited Kyiv and Tbilisi, the Obama Administration managed to dilute a key message--that Russia should respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of its neighbors.
Crime, Justice & the LawBy Kevin M. LaCroix, Washington Legal FoundationLegal Backgrounder, 07/27/2009
One recurring issue in securities litigation is the manner in which counsel seek out prospective clients in class actions. On April 1, 2009, Judge Jed Rakoff of the Southern District of New York addressed this topic in a hearing on two consolidated cases. Both cases involved alleged misrepresentation in the initial public sale of mortgage-backed securities. Out of the routine hearing arose, in the words of the judge, “shocking” revelations about the plaintiffs’ lawyers’ potential conflicts of interest which heretofore have been subject to little judicial scrutiny in securities fraud litigation.
Foreign Policy/International AffairsBy Roger F. Noriega, American Enterprise InstituteThe American, 07/27/2009
Hondurans may have to accept that outsiders are ignorant about their constitution and about how Zelaya forfeited his legitimacy. But outsiders have no right to ask Hondurans to play dumb. On the contrary, before the international community abets mob violence, political polarization, foreign bullying, and economic sanctions to force Zelaya back into power, Hondurans have a right to ask if the international community has the good will to do the right thing and the good sense to know what that is.
Economic GrowthBy John H. Makin, American Enterprise InstituteEconomic Outlook, 07/27/2009
China's aggressive attempts to maintain an 8 percent growth rate for an economy that is export-oriented in a world in which global trade volumes are collapsing carry substantial risks. It is already clear that China's ambitious production goals are outstripping the capacity of the domestic economy to absorb fully the output generated under those growth goals. Clearly, China's State Council, by overruling the central bank's wish to reign in rapid money growth, is prepared to risk higher inflation in order to keep China's economy on the 8 percent growth path laid out at the start of the year.
Crime, Justice & the LawBy Heather MacDonald, Manhattan InstituteCity Journal, 07/27/2009
The challenges of running jails exceed anything that the academic world—and most of us—can begin to understand. In addition to the huge problems of logistics and safety that jails present on their own, commissioners also face a well-organized inmates’ rights lobby that fights commonsense antiviolence measures.
Health CareBy Dennis G. Smith, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 07/27/2009
The health care proposals would worsen the bleak outlook on health care costs. Because the overall cost of health care is not being reduced, expansion of coverage--largely through new government programs--will require even more taxpayer subsidies.