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Recent Policy Studies
Economic and Political ThoughtBy Matthew Spalding, Intercollegiate Studies InstituteBook, 11/10/2009
In the midst of frenzied efforts to remake our nation—of endless government initiatives involved in virtually every aspect of our daily lives—Americans are increasingly concerned: How did we get so far off track? And how can we get America back on course? This book explains and brings to life ten core principles that define us as a nation and inspire us as a people—liberty and equality, natural rights and the consent of the governed, private property and religious freedom, the rule of law and constitutionalism, all culminating in self-government at home and independence in the world.
Foreign Policy/International AffairsBy Brett D. Schaefer, Steven Groves, The Heritage FoundationBackgrounder, 11/10/2009
The record of the U.N. Commission on Human Rights was a disgrace. Three years ago, the commission was replaced by the Human Rights Council, and its record has been equally dismal. The Obama Administration sought a seat at the council in an attempt to reform the council from within. Evidence from the first council sessions with the U.S. as a member demonstrates that the Obama Administration has failed to improve the human rights body. "Defamation of religions" resolutions continue to threaten free speech around the world. Brutal regimes continue to influence council deliberations. Israel remains unfairly targeted.
Foreign Policy/International AffairsBy Ariel Cohen, The Heritage FoundationBackgrounder, 11/10/2009
Russia still considers the United States its “principal adversary.” Russia also relies on its nuclear weapons to compensate for its inferiority in conventional weapons relative to the U.S., NATO, and China. Russian political and military leaders are still captives of czarist and Soviet geopolitical thinking and military traditions. U.S. policymakers need to understand this background and Russia’s Soviet-style negotiating tactics when negotiating realistic and verifiable arms control agreements with Russia. The Obama Administration’s wishful thinking and unilateral concessions will not prevent a new arms race.
Crime, Justice & the LawBy Marc A. Levin, Texas Public Policy FoundationPolicy Brief, 11/10/2009
The rationale for veterans’ courts is based on the combat-related stress, financial instability, and other difficulties adjusting to life that confront many soldiers returning home from Iraq and Afghanistan. A 2008 RAND Corporation study found that about one-fifth of all Iraq and Afghanistan veterans—or about 300,000 of the more than 1.6 million U.S. troops in the two wars—reported symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder or major depression. While most of these veterans are law-abiding, these problems contribute to criminal behavior among a substantial number of veterans.
Information TechnologyBy Barbara Esbin, Progress & Freedom FoundationProgress Snapshot, 11/10/2009
The FCC is a creature of Congress. It has no “common law” ability to make law (or act in a legislative capacity), save for those powers expressly delegated to it by Congress in the Communications Act. There is no express delegation of regulatory authority over the Internet or Internet services in the Act. Unfortunately, the FCC has made clear its view that it may regulate the network management practices of broadband Internet service providers under its implied or “ancillary jurisdiction.”
Natural Resources, Energy, Environment, & ScienceBy Thomas Tanton, Pacific Research InstitutePRI Study, 11/10/2009
Using data from the U.S. Department of Energy and the Energy Information Administration, this report outlines the types of fuel most used in the U.S.—where they come from, the risks involved, and the potential for alternative technologies. Contrary to common belief, new technology has greatly reduced the environmental risk of oil extraction, and renewable energies such as solar and wind will not increase our energy security. There is a plethora of unexplored options for securing energy in America through domestic sources, but misled confidence in renewable technologies and increased efficiency are hampering common-sense energy policy.
Monetary Policy/Financial RegulationBy Russell Roberts, Mercatus CenterTestimony, 11/10/2009
The problem with executive compensation is that executives have not been subject to the profit and loss consequences of the free-market system. Profits encourage risk-taking, and the losses encourage prudence. If the government resists bailouts and allows these incentives to become fully operational, better outcomes will result as large institutions will no longer be reliant on tax payer funds.
LaborBy James Sherk, Ryan O'Donnell, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 11/10/2009
President Obama campaigned on a platform of transparency and opposing special interest lobbyists. However, his Department of Labor has violated both of those principles by revoking the improvements in union financial transparency that Secretary Chao implemented. Union members deserve to know how their dues are spent because it protects them from corruption and allows them to hold their union accountable for bad decisions. Congress should act to protect workers if the President will not.
Crime, Justice & the LawBy J.W. Verret, Washington Legal FoundationLegal Backgrounder, 11/10/2009
Each year, two million corporations and limited liability companies are established throughout the U.S. The process by which these entities are created has traditionally been governed under state law. On June 18, 2009, the Senate Homeland Security Committee considered a bill titled the “Incorporation Transparency and Law Enforcement Assistance Act.” Critics of the bill claim that it will not fulfill its goals of preventing money laundering or terrorist financing, but it will instead impose significant costs and unwarranted hurdles on the 5,000 legitimate businesses formed in the United States every day.
Crime, Justice & the LawBy Carlos F. Gonzalez, Regan Kruse, Washington Legal FoundationLegal Backgrounder, 11/10/2009
Congress made money laundering a federal crime in 1986. Last year the Supreme Court’s decision in United State v. Santos, which attempted to clarify the scope of the federal money laundering statute, has since generated much confusion among the lower courts and has faced criticism for making money laundering crimes more difficult to prosecute. To close the loophole that Santos allegedly created for defendants, Congress amended the money laundering statute in May 2009.
Crime, Justice & the LawBy Damon R. Leichty, Eric R. Thomason, Washington Legal FoundationWorking Paper, 11/10/2009
The growth of litigation financing in recent years has been extraordinary. What began as a small-scale entrepreneurial movement has now developed into transnational entities financing corporate lawsuits and managing hedge funds. From Las Vegas to London, the movement has burgeoned largely unchecked. That cannot continue.
Family, Culture & CommunityBy Katherine Bradley, Chuck Donovan, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 11/10/2009
With a flurry of activity surrounding the agenda coming from the White House and Congress, it is easy to overlook the smaller pieces of legislation that would have a big impact on American families and society. Taken as a whole, the people and communities these policies claim to assist would rely less on strong neighborhood, faith-based, and private networks for support and more on costly and highly regulated federal projects, weakening the same virtues of civil society they purport to nurture.
International Trade/FinanceBy Derek Scissors, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 11/09/2009
More open Taiwanese trade and investment with China fits the principles of American foreign policy. Diversification of economic efforts will result in a more vigorous Taiwan. And a more economically dynamic, secure Taiwan is good for peace, stability, and prosperity in the region. The U.S. should assist Taiwan in this effort, starting with U.S.-Taiwan trade and investment. A U.S.-Taiwan free trade agreement, for instance, would provide a powerful example for other potential partners.
LaborBy James Sherk, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 11/09/2009
President Obama has nominated Erroll Southers to serve as Administrator of the Transportation Security Administration, which employs the airline security screeners charged with preventing terrorists from boarding American airplanes. As the head of the TSA, Southers would decide whether the organization collectively bargains over security procedures. Collective bargaining—currently forbidden for the TSA—would put American lives at risk by preventing the TSA from responding rapidly to new intelligence and by replacing merit promotions with seniority schedules. Southers has refused to state whether he would change TSA policy on collective bargaining.
Budget & TaxationBy William W. Beach, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 11/09/2009
What should Congress do with the federal estate tax, also known as the death tax? Some members want to permanently “fix” the death tax by reducing the top rate to 35 percent, which some pro-death tax policymakers suggest is a rate wealthy taxpayers could “afford.” However, this would be the wrong move for Congress to make. Instead, policymakers should do what their voters want them to do, as revealed in poll after poll: They should repeal this tax and kill it, once and forever.
Budget & TaxationBy Barry W. Poulson, Independence InstituteIssue Paper, 11/09/2009
The Public Employees Retirement System (PERA) in Colorado is experiencing a funding crisis. The recent collapse of financial markets has resulted in a significant decrease in the value of the PERA portfolio. But the funding crisis in PERA is not just the result of problems in financial markets. The problems in this defined benefit pension plan have emerged over several decades, and are symptomatic of the poor incentive structure guiding the governance of many defined benefit public pension plans. The financial market turmoil has exacerbated these problems, but PERA is facing a long-run deterioration in its funding status.
Health CareBy Daniel J. Mitchell, Cato InstituteTax & Budget Bulletin, 11/09/2009
Enacting a $1 trillion entitlement program would greatly increase the burden of government spending. In addition, promises of lower deficits are a triumph of hope over experience. Government forecasters have a very poor track record of predicting costs. More realistic assumptions suggest that health legislation could easily push up 10-year deficits by $600 billion.
Health CareBy Aaron Yelowitz, Cato InstituteBriefing Paper, 11/09/2009
One of the most interesting questions about the health care overhaul now moving through Congress is how it would affect young adults. The legislation would force most or all Americans to purchase health insurance and would impose price controls on health insurance that would limit insurers’ ability to offer lower premiums to low-risk enrollees. Those provisions would drive premiums down for 55-year-olds but would drive them up for 25-year-olds—who are then implicitly subsidizing older adults. In fact, many young people could see their premiums as much as double under ObamaCare.
Health CareBy Arthur B. Laffer, Donna Arduin, Wayne H. Winegarden, Virginia Institute for Public PolicyReport, 11/09/2009
President Obama’s principles to drastically alter U.S. health care policy—a public health insurance exchange, mandated minimum coverage, mandated coverage of preexisting conditions, required purchase of health insurance—do not address the fundamental driving forces behind rising health care costs. Conversely, by empowering patients and doctors to manage health care decisions, a patient-centered health care reform would directly address the distortions weakening our current health care system and would simultaneously control costs, increase health outcomes, and improve the overall efficiency of the health care system.
Health CareBy Bryan E. Dowd, American Enterprise InstituteOn the Issues, 11/09/2009
Congressional mismanagement of Medicare is a bipartisan project in which Democrats and Republicans set aside the rancor of party politics and ideological differences and work hand in hand to run the program into the ground. Despite legislation mandating that Congress make cuts in Medicare’s physician payments if costs grow too rapidly, Congress has ignored or circumvented the rule every year except in 2002. The sustainable growth rate legislation should be replaced with sensible policies to reduce unnecessary spending and improve incentives for better health care.
Natural Resources, Energy, Environment, & ScienceBy Lee Lane, American Enterprise InstituteTestimony, 11/09/2009
Because of the institutional barriers to effective global climate-change agreements, climate policy should be diversified beyond those measures that seek only steep reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. Solar radiation management, a form of geoengineering that aims to offset global warming via a slight reduction in the amount of solar energy absorbed by the Earth, deserves consideration as part of a potential climate policy portfolio.
EducationBy Frederick M. Hess, American Enterprise InstitutePapers and Studies, 11/09/2009
America’s education system needs far-reaching innovation. It is archaic and broken, a relic of a time when high school graduates could expect to live prosperous lives, when steel and auto factories formed the backbone of the American economy, and when laptop computers and the Internet were the preserve of science fiction writers. And while the challenges are many—inflexible regulations, excessive bureaucracy, a dearth of fresh thinking—the bottom line is that most education institutions simply lack the tools, incentives, and opportunities to reinvent themselves in profoundly more effective ways.
Health CareBy Robert B. Helms, American Enterprise InstituteHealth Policy Outlook, 11/09/2009
Current health reform legislation under consideration in Congress fails to adequately address fundamental flaws in the Medicaid program. Medicaid provides health care for the poorest and most severely disabled members of our society, and improving its quality should be a top priority. Instead of making simple reforms to the way federal funds are distributed for Medicaid, current health care legislation only seeks to expand the program despite the fact that the present growth of federal expenditures on Medicaid is not sustainable.
Health CareBy Robert A. Book, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 11/09/2009
One of the most-discussed issues in the health care reform debate is whether to include a government-run, “public option” health plan. But both sides seem to be ignoring a much larger issue: Regardless of whether a public option is included, the reforms under consideration in Congress would impose such rigid control on private health plans that it amounts to a government-run health care system—even if the insurance companies remain technically under private ownership.
Information TechnologyBy Seth L. Cooper, Free State FoundationPerspectives from FSF Scholars, 11/09/2009
The Berkman Report is a misguided plea for drastically expanded government regulation of broadband networks in the United States. It urges a force-fit of the generally highly regulatory broadband regimes employed by several foreign social democracies on the American broadband marketplace. It also relies on a falsely optimistic picture of the ability of government regulators to direct investment on a nationwide basis for the deployment and operation of advanced technologies. These glaring weaknesses undermine the Report’s usefulness to American policymakers.
The Constitution/Civil LibertiesBy Timothy Sandefur, LibertyLiberty, 11/09/2009
There is an increasingly common phenomenon in America: the abuse of permitting powers by local governments that want to force property owners to give up their rights—to money, to land, or to the ballot—in exchange for permission to use their own property as they wish. Indeed, many if not most judges and law professors today view property rights as no right at all, but rather as a permission given by the state to those citizens it deems worthy.
Foreign Policy/International AffairsBy Bruce Klingner, The Heritage FoundationBackgrounder, 11/09/2009
The U.S. relationship with Japan has just become more complicated. The recent election victory of the Democratic Party of Japan has resulted in more resistance to a truly shared U.S.-Japanese mission. Refusing to provide troops to aid the coalition in Afghanistan, and generally uninterested in actively engaging in overseas security missions, the risk-averse DPJ is pulling back from its responsibilities in the U.S.-Japan alliance, as well as internationally. This leaves the U.S. in the position of responding to an ally who demands an equal role yet resists assuming equal responsibilities.
Health CareBy Rea S. Hederman, Guinevere Nell, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 11/09/2009
The House legislation to enact Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-CA) health care plan relies on a large surtax to pay for it. The surtax is 5.4 percent on personal income of single filers with over $500,000 and joint filers with over $1 million in modified adjusted income. This surtax hammers successful small business owners who file as individuals and will gradually encompass all American taxpayers, much like the dreaded Alternative Minimum Tax does.
National SecurityBy Ted R. Bromund, Lisa Curtis, The Heritage FoundationBackgrounder, 11/09/2009
The Pakistan-Britain terror connection poses a serious threat to Great Britain and its allies, including the United States. Breaking the personnel, financial, and ideological links will require fighting terrorism on three fronts: Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Britain. In Afghanistan, the U.S., the U.K., and their allies need to continue to fight the Taliban and al-Qaeda. They should also hold Pakistan accountable for its failure to act decisively against terrorism. In Britain, the government needs to enforce the tightened immigration and asylum practices, refuse to cooperate with radical Islamism, and promote citizenship and economic opportunity to help immigrants assimilate into British society.
LaborBy Rea S. Hederman, James Sherk, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 11/09/2009
On November 6, the Bureau of Labor Statistics announced that the unemployment rate had soared from 9.8 percent to 10.2 percent in October. Jobs losses in October—190,000—were higher than expected. As job losses mount, the monthly jobs report continues to demonstrate both the failure of the stimulus bill and the hollowness of the Administration’s claim that it created or saved 640,000 jobs. Congress and the Administration should encourage private-sector investment and entrepreneurship instead of attempting to plan a recovery from Washington.
Health CareBy Center for Health Policy, Center for Data Analysis, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 11/09/2009
Congress should take a step-by-step approach to fix what is clearly broken in the health care sector of the economy. However, the new House bill is clearly just more of the same. Higher taxes and increased government intervention will not improve health care, and increasing enrollment in costly and troubled government programs will only add to the rising costs of care.
Family, Culture & CommunityBy Meghan Keane, Capital Research CenterOrganization Trends, 11/09/2009
For decades the National Endowment for the Arts has been caught up in controversy over its mission and its grantees. But this year, for the first time, artists themselves are questioning whether they are being used by the agency to foster a political agenda.
EducationBy RiShawn Biddle, Capital Research CenterFoundation Watch, 11/09/2009
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has become the most prominent advocate for changing how children are educated in America’s public schools. Its school reform agenda, the zeal of co-founders Bill and Melinda Gates, and a willingness to abandon ineffective strategies, has helped make the Gates Foundation a major foe of the teacher unions. But the Gates Foundation must take care to avoid the pitfalls that have befallen earlier generations of school reformers.
Health CareBy Gerald Prante, Tax FoundationFiscal Facts, 11/09/2009
The two health care reform bills introduced by Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senator Max Baucus would impose a financial penalty on individuals if they do not buy health insurance, although the House penalty is higher. In both plans, employers would have to pay a penalty to either the government or to new “health exchanges” if they do not provide a government-approved health insurance plan to employees, and once again, the penalty is larger in the House bill. This report compares and contrasts these and other differences in the two bills.
Economic GrowthBy Jacob Sullum, Reason FoundationReason, 11/09/2009
Obama administration officials say the $787 billion stimulus package is all about putting Americans back to work. When questioned about whether this is an efficient way to do that, they claim all the work needs to be done anyway. Conversely, when asked whether all the projects are really worth the money spent on them, they cite jobs "created or saved" as a backup justification.
The Misuse of Economic History: Flawed Analogies with Japan’s “Liquidity Trap and the Great DepressionBy Alan Reynolds, Cato InstituteCato Journal, 11/09/2009
Economists frequently use historical anecdotes to justify theories they prefer and policies they advocate. Unfortunately, policy-motivated history often depends on "stylized" facts and hazy metaphors—such as bubbles bursting, central banks pushing on strings, and budget deficits jump-starting the economy.
Economic and Political ThoughtBy William A. Niskanen, Cato InstituteCato Journal, 11/09/2009
The United States and many other countries are now experiencing the first major financial crisis in over 75 years, a condition that too many people have been quick to blame on an outbreak of greed that they claim is characteristic of capitalism. Blaming a financial crisis on greed, however, is like blaming airplane crashes on gravity.
International Trade/FinanceBy Miaojie Yu, Cato InstituteCato Journal, 11/09/2009
In the 2004 U.S. elections, the dispute on trade policy was one of the important issues between the Democrats and the Republicans. The Democratic Party emphasized that the U.S. government should link multinational trade agreements to labor and environmental issues. Conversely, the Republican Party advocated free trade and pledged to make the expansion of trade a consistent priority. This dispute over trade policy raises an interesting question: Does a party’s tariff platform affect its electoral outcome?
Health CareBy John L. Ligon, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 11/09/2009
Recently unveiled health care reform legislation known as the "Pelosi plan" would impose new costs on small businesses. This legislation would create an employer penalty system that would apply to small firms—even those with 25 or fewer workers. Businesses expanding total annual payroll to $500,000 would face a $10,000 marginal penalty; this penalty rises to $19,200 for small firms expanding total wages to $750,000. This additional cost would create a strong disincentive for small firms to increase compensation or hire additional employees.
Health CareBy Greg D'Angelo, Robert E. Moffit, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 11/09/2009
President Obama has said that he is open to new and different ideas to reform health care and has properly said that no political party has a monopoly on wisdom or good ideas. Congressman Tom Price (R-GA) has offered a clear, conservative alternative to the health care bill proposed by Democrats in the House. The Price bill would achieve significant, positive health system change without expanding the size of the federal government or raising taxes as the Democratic leadership’s bills do. It should play a more prominent role in the health care discussion.
Crime, Justice & the LawBy David B. Muhlhausen, The Heritage FoundationTestimony, 11/09/2009
Policymakers on the national, state, and local levels need to be concerned about prisoner reentry. Nevertheless, policymakers should acknowledge the crucial role that incarceration has played in the nation’s drop in crime and the continued comparatively low crime rates. Reentry programs need to be rigorously evaluated to determine their effectiveness at reducing recidivism. Congress needs to do more to ensure that the reentry programs it funds are rigorously evaluated.
Health CareBy James Sherk, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 11/09/2009
Unions will make any health care reform that includes a government-run “public plan” more expensive than the CBO estimates. A public plan would turn health care workers into quasi-public employees, making them more likely to unionize. More unionized health care workers would translate into tens of billions of dollars in higher health care costs. These costs would either raise the cost of health insurance premiums or increase the deficit.
Economic GrowthBy John F. Cogan, Tobias Cwik, John B. Taylor, Volker Wieland, Hoover InstitutionDefining Ideas, 11/09/2009
Earlier this year, Obama administration economists estimated the impact of the recently enacted $787 billion economic stimulus bill on GDP and employment in the U.S. Using an "old Keynesian" economic model and making highly questionable monetary policy assumptions, these economists estimate that the stimulus package will raise GDP by 3.6 percent and increase employment by 3.6 million jobs. But a new Keynesian approach, which is taught in most graduate economic programs in the U.S. and abroad, reveals starkly different estimates.
Monetary Policy/Financial RegulationBy Dave Mason, The Heritage FoundationBackgrounder, 11/05/2009
In response to the recent financial crisis, the Obama Administration and the Federal Reserve Board are capping executive salaries and bonuses and imposing a host of new regulations and mandates—all in the name of reducing risk. If the rule of unintended consequences applies anywhere, it applies here. Government pay rules have been tried before and have consistently increased the very salaries and special bonuses they intended to curb. This report explains why the Federal Reserve’s newest proposal will fail like all the rest.
EducationBy Lindsey Burke, The Heritage FoundationBackgrounder, 11/05/2009
What does school choice mean for American’s daily lives? It means that more and more parents are able to send their children to safer, better schools. It means that students need not remain trapped in failing and dangerous schools—though too many students still are. Congress, as well as state and local policymakers, must enact policies that give all American children the opportunity to learn and achieve. This report details the latest school-choice facts and figures for the 2009-2010 school year.
Budget & TaxationBy William Voegeli, Manhattan InstituteCity Journal, 11/05/2009
For California’s governmental-industrial complex, a new liberal administration and Congress in Washington offer plausible hope for a happy Hollywood ending. Federal aid will replace the dollars that California’s taxpayers, fed up with the state’s lousy benefits and high taxes, refuse to provide. Under the coming bailout, the new 49ers—Americans in the other 49 states, that is—will be extended the privilege of paying California’s taxes. At least they won’t have to put up with its public services.
Budget & TaxationBy Ronald D. Utt, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 11/05/2009
Senator Isakson (R-GA) has proposed that the $8,000 housing tax credit be extended until June 2010 and that eligibility be expanded to include households with incomes of up to $300,000 and those who already own a home. The Joint Tax Committee estimates that this tax credit extension will cost taxpayers almost $17 billion over the next five years. At a time when so many are suffering from an unemployment rate nearing 10 percent, and with the federal budget deficit over the next 10 years projected to total $13 trillion, this new tax credit proposal seems extravagant even by federal standards.
National SecurityBy Jena Baker McNeill, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 11/04/2009
Keeping Americans free, safe, and prosperous must be at the forefront of legislative initiatives aimed at reducing America’s chemical vulnerabilities. Stifling innovation and economic expansion through excessive regulatory schemes will not make Americans safer. What will accomplish this task is putting forward commonsense, market-oriented security policies that allow the private sector to find ideal solutions that are cost-efficient and reduce the incentives for terrorism.
Health CareBy Dennis G. Smith, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 11/04/2009
Medicaid is designed to be a partnership between the states and the federal government. But under the health bill introduced last week by Speaker Pelosi, the ability of states to run their programs to reflect state variations and preferences would be substantially diminished. Policy decisions would be removed from the elected representatives at the state level and placed in the hands of the federal bureaucracy.
National SecurityBy Baker Spring, James Phillips, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 11/04/2009
The Obama Administration should develop a long-range strategy for protecting and defending the U.S. and its allies and establish a robust framework of augmented deterrence to mitigate the threat posed by a nuclear Iran. Strategic planning that assumes a nuclear-armed Iran, even if Iran does not have such weapons at this time, is necessary to develop policies that could help diminish Iran’s appetite for nuclear weapons. Such a strategy serves to protect and defend the United States and its allies from possible future threats as well.
National SecurityBy Mackenzie Eaglen, Eric Sayers, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 11/04/2009
The bipartisan expansion of the independent panel to review the 2010 QDR is an encouraging development in a budget year marked by a number of questionable high-level programmatic decisions. Whatever the outcome of the QDR, the panel will raise the level of national security debate and provide new metrics for weighing strategic, modernization, and force structure decisions.
Health CareBy Rea S. Hederman, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 11/04/2009
The new House health care bill has not been improved over the last few months. It still contains painful tax increases that will affect more and more Americans every year. Because the surtax applies to adjusted gross income, the effective marginal tax rates of successful business owners will skyrocket. The surtax, combined with the expiration of the Bush tax cuts, will result in some individuals having their effective tax rate increase by one-third. These tax increases will slow America’s recovery from the current recession.
Natural Resources, Energy, Environment, & ScienceBy Patrick J. Michaels, Paul C. Knappenberger, Cato InstituteCato Journal, 11/04/2009
The Environmental Protection Agency’s Proposed Endangerment exemplifies the systematic errors that accumulate at the interface between science and policy when policymakers rely upon previously assembled “compendia” of science. It is particularly dangerous, in the area of global warming, when an entity takes this approach rather than conducting a new assessment of the scientific literature, which the EPA has admittedly done. Moreover, the “foundation documents” used are clearly not peer reviewed in any fashion similar to the peer review process for normal scientific publication. Further, the cross-breeding between the authors and reviewers of these reports is appallingly large.
Budget & TaxationBy Michael J. New, Cato InstituteCato Journal, 11/04/2009
Overall, tax reductions might well be good politics or good policy. However, the evidence presented in this study indicates that revenue reductions, by themselves, are not an effective mechanism for limiting expenditure growth. In addition, the evidence suggests that lower levels of federal revenue may actually lead to greater increases in federal spending. These results indicate that empirical evidence does not support the theory of "starve the beast." As such, individuals seeking to effectively limit the growth of government should give serious consideration to alternative strategies.
Budget & TaxationBy Andrew T. Young, Cato InstituteCato Journal, 11/04/2009
What is the intertemporal relationship between U.S. federal government expenditures and revenues? Do variations in revenues cause variations in expenditures (tax-spend) or is causation the other way round (spend-tax)? Alternatively, is causation bidirectional or nonexistent? Understanding the “revenue-expenditure nexus” has important implications for the political economy of fiscal policies.
Natural Resources, Energy, Environment, & ScienceBy Jack Spencer, Nicolas Loris, The Heritage FoundationBackgrounder, 11/04/2009
America needs a clean, safe, and sustainable energy source. Nuclear power could be part of the solution—with the right set of free-market reforms. Congress, the nuclear industry, and many Americans agree that reform of U.S. nuclear policies is necessary, but cannot agree on what those reforms should look like. The nuclear provision in the Senate’s new Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act is a nice nod to nuclear power, but leaves the waters muddied. This report provides some clarity.
Health CareBy Greg D'Angelo, The Heritage FoundationBackgrounder, 11/04/2009
Congress will soon vote on massive health care legislation—and on the amount of power the federal government will have over the entire U.S. health care sector. Many economists, politicians, and American citizens want to know: How many people could lose their current health insurance and end up on the so-called public option, a new government-run health plan? The numbers being tossed around are as dizzying as the array of health care bills. This report details five estimates—and what they mean for millions of Americans.
Foreign Policy/International AffairsBy Ariel Cohen, The Heritage FoundationBackgrounder, 11/04/2009
Russia’s revenues from oil and natural gas are enabling its aggressive and often anti-Western foreign policy. Russia’s falling economic performance has toned down Russia’s rhetoric, but has not drastically changed Russia’s foreign policy narrative, which remains decidedly anti-status quo and implicitly anti-American. The U.S. needs to devise incentives for steps that facilitate Russia’s integration into global markets, but deny benefits if Russia continues to pursue anti-American policies or refuses to enact the needed changes.
Economic and Political ThoughtBy Jason Kuznicki, Cato InstituteCato Journal, 11/04/2009
Economics tells us that racial discrimination is expensive. Yet social psychology suggests that humans nonetheless tend to mistrust those whom they identify as outsiders. As a result, governments can exacerbate this mistrust and thereby encourage costly discrimination by creating or maintaining official race-based definitions of outgroups and differential outcomes based on race.
Economic GrowthBy Michael Mitsopoulos, Theodore Pelagidis, Cato InstituteCato Journal, 11/04/2009
This article begins with a brief description of the Greek economy. It identifies both the causes of the recent strong growth performance and the reasons why, despite that performance, the competitiveness of the Greek economy remains so low—namely, extensive and low-quality regulation of markets, high administrative costs, a business environment that is not favorable, and weak institutions and widespread corruption.
Economic GrowthBy David B. Skarbek, Peter T. Leeson, Cato InstituteCato Journal, 11/04/2009
Solving the economic problem determines whether a country’s economy develops. It is strange, then, that professional economists have had trouble distinguishing the positive relationship between inputs and outputs from solving the economic problem when it comes to evaluating foreign aid. This article makes such a distinction, and in doing so clarifies what aid can and cannot do.
Economic GrowthBy Andrei Shleifer, Cato InstituteCato Journal, 11/04/2009
Peter Bauer is perhaps best known as a persistent and articulate critic of foreign aid. At least since 1972, he saw it as not only failing to speed up, but actually hurting economic development. He defined foreign aid as "a transfer of resources from the taxpayer of a donor country to the government of a recipient country." Needless to say, this did not endear him to the aid establishment, though reality has shown his arguments to be correct.
Elections, Transparency, & AccountabilityBy Joshua Muravchik, Encounter BooksBook, 11/04/2009
Before September 11, 2001, Americans did not think much about freedom or democracy in the Middle East. Now, as we are entangled in conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Mid-East’s political and social quandaries lie at the very core of our foreign policy objectives. And yet, after years of blood and fortune spent on the democratization of the Middle East, the most identifiable personalities in the region are notorious terrorists, backwards autocrats, and fanatical preachers. As this book demonstrates, there are in fact also heroic democrats and liberals in these lands of anti-democratic fanaticism, and the fight they are fighting is also our fight.
The Constitution/Civil LibertiesBy Alan Gottlieb, Dave Workman, Second Amendment FoundationBook, 11/04/2009
This book reveals the history of the gun prohibition movement, a politically-motivated elitist effort built on myths, distortions and lies. The insidious gun ban movement is full of self-appointed "progressive" social engineers and Utopian idealists. Read how these gun banners—who use incremental disarmament of American citizens through legislation, litigation and cultural bigotry—have become a serious threat to liberty and personal safety.
Health CareBy J.D. Foster, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 11/04/2009
The U.S. dollar is falling steadily against the Euro and many other major currencies. If this trend continues, the repercussions for the U.S. economy would be significant: higher inflation, higher interest rates, and a lower standard of living. It could also lead to the rapid dethroning of the dollar as the world’s primary reserve currency. Perhaps most worrisome, the slide in the dollar risks becoming a rout that could trigger another global financial crisis.
Information TechnologyBy Berin Szoka, Mark Adams, Howard Beales, et al., Progress & Freedom FoundationProgress on Point, 11/04/2009
For the last ten years the online advertising industry has been operating under a system of self-regulation. In February the FTC released much awaited voluntary guidelines for the industry. When those guidelines came out Commissioner Lebowitz declared rather ominously that the day of reckoning was approaching if the industry did not clean up its act. In response, the online ad industry released a new set of regulatory principles to increase protection for consumers. Despite this, legislation authorizing regulation in this field is currently pending on the Hill.
Foreign Policy/International AffairsBy Ray Walser, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 11/04/2009
Although hungry for a foreign policy win, the Obama Administration has not shown strong hemispheric leadership regarding Honduras. The October accord requires implementation by the Hondurans, good behavior by Zelaya, and a quick infusion of international support for the elections. It requires further hands-on U.S. diplomacy—not pre-June 28 complacency—to make sure Zelaya does not derail the electoral process and steal Honduras from under the eyes of the Obama Administration.
Budget & TaxationBy Gerald Prante, Tax FoundationFiscal Facts, 11/04/2009
Newly released Census data highlight the different spending priorities of state and local governments. By presenting the data here as percentages of total spending, we reveal government priorities whether their combined state and local budgets are comparatively large or small. Spending is shown for nine specific functional categories.
Natural Resources, Energy, Environment, & ScienceBy The Heritage Foundation, The Heritage FoundationFact Sheet, 11/04/2009
In 1997 the U.S. Senate unanimously passed the Byrd-Hagel Resolution which warned President Clinton not to enter into any global warming treaty that leaves out developing nations or hurts the American economy. This is still U.S. policy today and should serve as the overarching guidelines for the December global warming conference in Copenhagen.