- Budget & Taxation
- Crime, Justice & the Law
- The Constitution
- Economic & Political Thought
- Economic Growth
- Elections, Transparency, & Accountability
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- Health Care
- Information Technology
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- 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
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- The Tax Foundation
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- Washington Policy Center
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- Yankee Institute for Public Policy
- Young America’s Foundation
Recent Policy Studies
Health CareBy Brett J. Skinner, Fraser InstituteBook, 12/21/2009
Canadian health policy is increasingly failing patients and taxpayers. Canadians spend a lot on health care relative to comparable countries. Yet our high relative level of spending does not buy Canadians as many health care resources as patients in other countries enjoy. Shortages of medical resources, as well as improper economic incentives within the Canadian health system have resulted in growing waits for access to publicly funded, medically necessary goods and services. The available evidence indicates that wait times are longer in Canada than in almost all other comparable countries. Not only has our high level of spending not produced better access to health care, government health spending has also been growing at rates that are faster than our ability to pay for it through public means alone. This has resulted in health care consuming ever greater shares of the revenue available to governments, leaving proportionally less available for other public responsibilities and obligations.
Economic and Political ThoughtBy Dwight R. Lee, Independent InstituteThe Independent Review, 12/21/2009
Businessmen interested in long-run survival are more honest in their professional dealings than are many other groups in society—not because they are more virtuous, but because they face more effective constraints. Their customers can usually detect and avoid deception more easily than can a politician’s constituents, a professor’s students, and a preacher’s congregants.
Monetary Policy/Financial RegulationBy Bruce Yandle, Independent InstituteThe Independent Review, 12/21/2009
Accounting standards, credit ratings, and credit-default swaps were created to help facilitate financial transactions by fostering trust. In the run-up to the credit-market freeze of 2008 those assurance mechanisms collapsed under the weight of political and regulatory pressures to aggressively expand homeownership and other policies.
Budget & TaxationBy Eric Montarti, Allegheny Institute for Public PolicyAllegheny Institute Report, 12/21/2009
Do cities and towns go bankrupt? When they do, what are the procedures for lifting the community out of its condition? This report attempts to answer these and other questions.
ImmigrationBy Vernon M. Briggs Jr., Center for Immigration StudiesBackgrounder, 12/21/2009
The purpose of this paper is not to rehash the 40-year saga of efforts to reform immigration in the United States. It is a woeful tale too frustrating to dwell upon. Rather, the goal is to identify those parameters that, if recognized in advance as being “givens,” could have allowed reform measures to proceed. But if there is continuing disagreement over these principles, it can be anticipated that discussion in the future will once more become bogged down over policy predicates and never get to the needed reform measures themselves. Likewise, if there really are such things as immigration principles for free societies, there should be some prospect that these lessons can be generalized to apply to other nations who are similarly free, industrialized, and open to immigration flows on a regulated basis. The principles identified below are all drawn from actual quotations from debates and the literature about immigration policy in the United States.
ImmigrationBy Steven A. Camarota, Jessica Vaughan, Center for Immigration StudiesBackgrounder, 12/21/2009
New government data indicate that immigrants have high rates of criminality, while older academic research found low rates. The overall picture of immigrants and crime remains confused due to a lack of good data and contrary information. However, the newer government data indicate that there are legitimate public safety reasons for local law enforcement to work with federal immigration authorities.
Elections, Transparency, & AccountabilityBy Christian Schneider, Wisconsin Policy Research InstituteReport, 12/21/2009
It is important to recognize how far off track state legislators have gotten with regard to the state’s fiscal priorities. In Wisconsin, career legislators have damaged state finances to the point that taxpayers may be bailing out the government for decades. The short-term strategies of using one-time money, raiding various disparate state funds, and borrowing to fill the general fund could possibly land a private-sector executive in prison. Yet for Wisconsin’s career legislators, such maneuvers are simply business as usual – as long as the “business” is focusing on reelection and avoiding difficult decisions. Limiting Assembly representatives and state senators to 12 years (six terms for the Assembly, three terms for the Senate) would allow for lively campaigns and political debate in areas of the state that don’t get to have those conversations as long as their incumbent legislators wear the protective mantle of incumbency.
Natural Resources, Energy, Environment, & ScienceBy David G. Tuerck, Paul Bachman, Sarah Glassman, Michael Head, Wisconsin Policy Research InstituteReport, 12/21/2009
The Governor’s Task Force on Global Warming suggests a goal of a 22 percent reduction in Wisconsin emissions below the 2005 levels by 2022. The attainment of this goal would cost the Wisconsin economy jobs, investment and income, especially if Wisconsin pursues them in the absence of a national policy. Moreover, the struggling paper manufacturing industry would be especially hurt by the policies since it is very energy intensive and is vulnerable to energy price increases.
Budget & Taxation
A Critical Element of Reform of Milwaukee Public Schools: The Escalating Cost of Retiree Health InsuranceBy Don Bezruki, Wisconsin Policy Research InstituteReport, 12/21/2009
The cost of health insurance for retirees has become a heavy burden for the Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS) budget and will worsen significantly in the next few years. MPS currently has a pay-as-you-go policy of funding retiree health insurance benefits, which will cost approximately $70 million in 2009 and grow to over $130.8 million, or 20 percent of payroll costs, by 2016. These costs are a major contributor to MPS’s fringe benefits rate of 68.7 percent, the highest among 33 peer institutions in the Midwest. The unfunded liability for these health care costs, i.e., the estimated costs of future health care insurance benefits for retirees that MPS has promised to pay but has not set aside money for, now stands at $2.6 billion, more than double the district’s entire annual operating budget. These costs will ultimately be borne by Milwaukee taxpayers, and, because of the state school funding formula, taxpayers statewide.
Economic and Political ThoughtBy Walker F. Todd, American Institute for Economic ResearchBook, 12/21/2009
The U.S. concept of property rights can be traced back to biblical times. It was developed further by the ancient Greeks and Romans, and first incorporated in the English Declaration of Rights in 1689. The process has been evolutionary—and as Kelo and Goldstein indicate, the evolution continues. The purpose of Todd’s book is to inform the public of the traditions that underlay the development of modern American property rights. At a time when the issue generates as much heat as light, such a reflective step back can be useful for all of us.
Family, Culture & CommunityBy Center for Neighborhood Enterprise, Center for Neighborhood EnterprisePamphlet, 12/21/2009
The Center for Neighborhood Enterprise’s Violence-Free Zone initiative, partnering with community-based organizations that implement it in each locale, has achieved significant success in more than 30 high-violence urban schools across the country. In Milwaukee, for instance, Baylor University researchers who studied the VFZ reported that violent incidents, disruptions, and suspensions were significantly reduced and GPA’s rose in six Milwaukee high schools that had the VFZ program, while the rest of the schools in the system lost ground or remained the same. The Violence-Free Zone not only is measurably effective in reducing violence, it is cost-effective. It produces savings to the community by decreasing police and other emergency calls to the schools, avoiding court and incarceration costs, and by promoting attendance and academic achievement. It makes it possible for teachers to teach, and prepares students to learn. Especially in difficult financial times, the Violence-Free Zone program is a sound investment that heals from within, saving taxpayer money as well as salvaging young lives
Budget & TaxationBy J. Scott Moody, Wendy P. Warcholik, Yankee Institute for Public PolicyReport, 12/21/2009
When Americans think they can find a better job and higher quality of life somewhere else, they move. Migration between the states is the ultimate expression of “voting with your feet.” Some states have growing populations due to in-migration, while others are losing residents to other states. Connecticut is one of the states that is losing population. This study looks at Connecticut migration trends and how peoples’ decisions to move out of and into the state affect tax revenue.
Economic and Political ThoughtBy Larry P. Arnn, Hillsdale CollegeImprimis, 12/21/2009
It has been close to 100 years now that the majority of people teaching in American colleges and universities have agreed with Woodrow Wilson, one of the founders of the Progressive movement and the first to write explicitly that the Declaration of Independence is obsolete, and that we need to liberate the Constitution from the Declaration’s restraints. This liberation leads to the idea of a “living Constitution,” characterized by constant change or progress. Absolute truth, to the extent that ordinary people still believe in it, obstructs change or progress. But if change or progress is the rule, who is to determine what version of change or progress is good? And the logical problem here—as any Hillsdale student could tell you—is that once you deny the existence of absolute truth, the definition of “good” becomes subjective and the only standard of behavior is what we want—”we,” in the political sense, meaning the government or bureaucracy.
National SecurityBy Victor Davis Hanson, Hillsdale CollegeImprimis, 12/21/2009
All of the usual checks on the tradition of Western warfare are magnified in our time. And I will end with this disturbing thought: We who created the Western way of war are very reluctant to resort to it due to post-modern cynicism, while those who didn’t create it are very eager to apply it due to pre-modern zealotry. And that’s a very lethal combination.
Foreign Policy/International AffairsBy John Bolton, Hillsdale CollegeImprimis, 12/21/2009
Our adversaries around the world are not standing idly by while we debate these domestic issues. Our current focus on health care is very important, but people like Kim Jong Il don’t care about it. We need a president who is going to provide us with leadership in international affairs—not one who believes that America should simply come home. And we need a president who believes that the best place to defend our interest is overseas rather than in the streets of America.
EducationBy Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice, Friedman Foundation for Educational ChoiceBooklet, 12/21/2009
Despite strong evidence that school choice works, opponents continue to fight against giving families the option to choose their schools. That’s why we publish “The ABCs of School Choice.” There continues to be a need for up-to-date and accurate information about the many school choice success stories taking place throughout the country. The Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice hopes that you find this guide an essential resource on school choice and that you will find it useful as you help us bring choice to more and more families.
Health CareBy The Heritage Foundation, The Heritage FoundationBackgrounder, 12/21/2009
The Senate health care bill would impose $406.2 billion in new taxes; cost $2.5 trillion over the first 10 years; stifle patient choice by transferring most decision-making authority to Washington; and produce the greatest concentration of political and economic power over a sector of the U.S. economy in our history. Americans want and need health reform, but the Senate bill is clearly not what they have in mind.
Monetary Policy/Financial RegulationBy David C. John, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 12/21/2009
Senator Dodd’s financial reform package is filled with poor policies and outright mistakes that should be quietly dropped.
Health CareBy Robert A. Book, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 12/21/2009
The Senate health care bill would encourage companies to engage in some new and repulsive forms of employment discrimination.
Foreign Policy/International AffairsBy John S. McCain, The Heritage FoundationHeritage Lecture, 12/21/2009
In the next 18 months, with a properly resourced counterinsurgency strategy, we can create conditions for the majority of insurgents to lay down their arms; train battle-tested Afghan Security Forces to lead the fight against a degraded enemy; isolate al-Qaeda and target their fighters more effectively; and help Afghan leaders build a nation that will never again serve as a base for attacks against America and our allies.
The Constitution/Civil LibertiesBy Laurence H. Tribe, Washington Legal FoundationLegal Backgrounder, 12/18/2009
A constitutional flu has taken hold in New England, and it threatens to spread throughout the country. New Hampshire, Maine, and Vermont have each recently enacted laws generally making it a crime to transfer entirely truthful information about prescriptions with the purpose of promoting prescription drugs. The point of these laws is neither to prevent misleading drug advertising or labeling nor to protect patient privacy – other rules prohibit deceptive or otherwise unfair promotional practices and keep patients’ identities confidential. Instead, these new laws are intended to prevent conversations between doctors and drug companies about the merits of different treatments – and are designed to do so by bottling up prescription-related information at its source in the pharmacies that fill the prescriptions. In other words, the state is blocking the transfer of information in order to make it harder for drug companies to locate the doctors who would be most interested in how (not by whom) the companies’ products have been used.
Crime, Justice & the Law
Honest Services Fraud and Antitrust: Will The Supreme Court Re-Write The Rules For “Competition Crimes”?By J. Brady Dugan, Mark J. Botti, Washington Legal FoundationLegal Backgrounder, 12/18/2009
A trio of honest services fraud cases to be decided by the Supreme Court this term have the potential to effect a major change in criminal enforcement policy at the Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice. The Division has increasingly used the honest services fraud statute to prosecute competition crimes involving bribes and kickbacks. While the Division has had success using this broadly-worded statute, it has not, to date, provided much guidance to the business community regarding the boundaries to which the statute extends. With these cases, the Supreme Court is poised, at last, to provide guidance to both prosecutors and the business community on what it means to violate the honest services fraud statute.
Crime, Justice & the LawBy David T. Blonder, Washington Legal FoundationLegal Opinion Letter, 12/18/2009
On September 22, 2009, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit held that a corporation has a personal privacy interest within the meaning of the Freedom of Information Act thereby overruling the FCC’s earlier denial of the right. This ruling appears to be an important and principled victory for corporate privacy rights. To encourage corporations to cooperate in government investigations, these statutory protections are necessary to prevent the potentially damaging disclosure of proprietary and sensitive information to third parties with sometimes unclear intentions. It is common practice in agency matters to give assurances that they will receive the full protection of their privacy under FOIA. Given the sometimes sensitive balance of interests that can occur between the government and corporations during a government investigation, the ruling restores and reaffirms the preexisting understanding of the exemption.
EducationBy Sven R. Larson, South Carolina Policy CouncilReport, 12/18/2009
South Carolina is in dire need of economic growth, especially in its rural communities. This study shows how, hypothetically, school choice would have increased the number of small businesses created by residents aged 16-25 in five counties in South Carolina. Our findings are based on the research of Russell Sobel and Kerry King, which shows that counties that offer school choice see a significantly higher rate of self-employment among young men and women. According to Sobel and King, voucher-based school choice can increase youth self-employment by as much as 25 percent. In this study we found that a similar program in the counties of Clarendon, Hampton, Lee, Marlboro and Williamsburg could have created 123 small businesses and 379 additional jobs.
LaborBy Justin Owen, Beacon Center of TennesseePolicy Brief, 12/18/2009
Congress should handily reject UPS’s efforts to hamstring its rival. Rather, UPS should seek to change the labor laws to which it is subject or adapt its business model to mitigate their negative impact. It should not succeed in obtaining legislation to harm FedEx and Tennessee purely for its own benefit.
Budget & Taxation
The Oncoming Tsunami of TennCare Costs: How Healthcare “Reform” Could Devastate Tennessee’s Budget for Years to ComeBy Justin Owen, Cole Garrett, Beacon Center of TennesseePolicy Brief, 12/18/2009
TennCare already places an unsustainable burden on the state’s taxpayers. The program continues to grow as thousands of new Tennesseans enroll every month, posing a significant budgetary problem even without the proposed increase in federal mandates. If Congress passes a healthcare bill that contains the Medicaid expansions, it could cost Tennessee taxpayers billions of dollars. Rather than continue to spend money on this government-run program, free market solutions should be implemented that reduce enrollees’ dependence on government and lower taxpayer liability.
Budget & Taxation
The Government “Gravy Train”: An Analysis of New Mexico’s Private versus Public Sector Employment and Compensation (Updated)By J. Scott Moody, Wendy P. Warcholik, Rio Grande FoundationReport, 12/18/2009
This updated study is the first in a three-part series that will examine the problem of New Mexico’s unfunded pension and retiree health care liabilities. As of June 30, 2008, the unfunded pension liability was $4,615,387,000 while the unfunded retiree health care liability was an additional $2,946,289,629—neither estimate includes the recent financial turmoil which has surely increased these reported liabilities. Overall, this study shows that the root cause of the unfunded liabilities is a bloated state and local government workforce and overly-generous benefits.
Health CareBy Amy Lischko, Pioneer Institute for Public Policy ResearchPolicy Brief, 12/18/2009
Policymakers are considering several options for national health reform, each of which includes some form of “insurance exchange.” These exchanges allow the uninsured, and employees of small to medium-sized businesses, to compare qualified health plans, purchase insurance and, if eligible, receive subsidies toward the cost of their plans. Two states, Massachusetts and Utah, have already established their own, independent insurance exchanges. Their experiences offer many valuable lessons for other states.
EducationBy Lance T. Izumi, Rachel S. Chaney, Evelyn B. Stacey, Pacific Research InstituteReport, 12/18/2009
In 2007, the Pacific Research Institute published the book Not as Good as You Think; Why the Middle Class Needs School Choice. That study found that in nearly 300 California public schools in middle-class and affluent neighborhoods more than half the students in at least one grade level failed to score at the proficient level in English or mathematics on the annual state examination. This update finds hundreds more schools where students fail to reach the proficiency mark.
Health CareBy John R. Graham, Pacific Research InstituteReport, 12/18/2009
Medicare Advantage, in which about one-quarter of Medicare beneficiaries are currently enrolled, is a program that subsidizes beneficiaries’ access to private health insurance. In a very narrow sense, Medicare Advantage plans cost more, per beneficiary, than the traditional government-run Medicare monopoly does, and this increases the total costs of Medicare by about $12 billion a year, or 2.3 percent. Traditional Medicare, however, imposes a “hidden tax” on privately insured Americans that amounts to $49 billion a year: four times the so-called extra costs of Medicare Advantage. This is because traditional Medicare operates under a Soviet-style price-fixing regime that does not pay providers their full costs, but most Medicare Advantage plans do not. Rather than imposing higher costs, Medicare Advantage actually exposes the hidden tax and transfers the burden from the privately insured to society in general.
EducationBy Terry Stoops, John Locke FoundationSpotlight, 12/18/2009
This report develops a system to evaluate school districts on how “parent friendly” they are — in other words, to determine to what extent North Carolina’s school districts provide children a sound, basic education in a stable and safe school environment that is responsive to the needs of children and the concerns of parents.
Elections, Transparency, & AccountabilityBy Joseph Coletti, John Locke FoundationReport, 12/18/2009
Governments have been seeking ways to adopt or advertise their efforts at open government, sunshine, and transparency. Recent history is rife, however, with examples of how they have failed – such as Gov. Mike Easley’s financial dealings and the hole in the state health plan. Open government helps build trust with taxpayers. Tools that improve openness with taxpayers have also helped government officials and managers better use their resources. Some state and local governments found ways to save money through improved transparency.
Elections, Transparency, & AccountabilityBy Joseph Coletti, John Locke FoundationReport, 12/18/2009
Open government is just as important in a modern republic as it was two centuries ago. Larger bureaucratic states threatened to overwhelm the ability of citizens and their representatives to keep track of government. Revelations of corrupt government officials, fraud in various programs, subsidies to chosen groups or companies, and laws written by lobbyists still surface. Fortunately, more tools are available every day to make more information available from more governments to more people. The John Locke Foundation is taking steps to help governments become more open. Our NCTransparency.com site helps taxpayers find government information online and gives grades for a quick check of how much is available for a state agency, local government, or school district. Our latest policy report on transparency provides three areas for improved transparency and some examples of what is already available. This guide has four sections: how to think about transparency; how to increase financial transparency; how to expand transparency to the process of governing; how to plan for transparency.
Natural Resources, Energy, Environment, & ScienceBy John Hill, Illinois Policy InstituteEnergy & Environment Brief, 12/18/2009
“Cap and trade” is a plan to limit the emission of “greenhouse gases,” particularly carbon dioxide (CO2), through a wide-ranging new government exchange program. Actually a massive tax hike in disguise, this new system would significantly increase costs for Illinois’s energy consumers while drastically hurting the state’s economy and job market. In exchange, Illinois residents would receive negligible environmental benefits.
Elections, Transparency, & AccountabilityBy Michael LaFaive, Collin Hitt, Illinois Policy InstituteReport, 12/18/2009
During these trying fiscal times, many school districts are attempting to find ways to become more efficient. Private firms are able to assist in this goal, while often improving the quality of certain services. For example, support service providers can offer more efficient busing or cafeteria services, and instructional service providers can offer their diverse talent sets as needed in areas such as tutoring or speech therapy. Contracting out (or “privatizing”) these services can help districts better serve students and taxpayers. Yet state lawmakers and entrenched interest groups often fight this simple, effective practice.
Health CareBy Don Racheter, Public Interest InstituteInstitute Brief, 12/18/2009
Having explained in Part One of this series why conservatives are not supportive of so-called “reforms” which rely on coercion, control, and central planning, let us turn to reforms that rely on choice, competition, and consumer-driven health-care policies which will actually moderate costs, increase coverage, and improve overall health care in America. As noted previously, what is needed is not more government intervention in markets, but getting previous government interventions removed or changed to allow markets to actually work so that those additional individuals who become covered have someplace to go to get care.
Health CareBy Don Racheter, Public Interest InstituteInstitute Brief, 12/18/2009
Is there a problem with health care in America today? Of course there is! Costs continue to escalate faster than other living costs, not everyone who wants insurance coverage can get it or get it at a price they can afford, and insurance plans – both private and public – often deny coverage when people need it the most. People’s frustrations over this situation have spawned an epic battle for the future of America between those who be¬lieve in coercion, control, and central planning, and those who favor choice, competition, and consumer-driven programs. The outcome of this battle will largely determine how much freedom we and our posterity possess in the years to come, for whoever controls health care can control almost all aspects of Americans’ lives.
EducationBy Timothy J. Gronberg, Dennis W. Jansen, Show-Me InstitutePolicy Study, 12/18/2009
It seems that charters provide students and parents with a choice of schools, and that charters have been successful at attracting students and at growing their enrollments. Once charters attract students, they seem to educate them with a quality roughly comparable to traditional public schools, in terms of improving student performance over time. Further, they appear to achieve these results with somewhat less funding per student than do traditional public schools, at least in most states. Finally, charters may exert a competitive impact on traditional public schools, although this impact is estimated to be small — and may be negative in some states. The modest estimated impacts of charter schools are consistent with what we might expect from the modest expansion of school choice that is generated by charter policies.
Information TechnologyBy Michael Palage, Progress & Freedom FoundationProgress on Point, 12/18/2009
The ICANN Board, at its October 2009 annual meeting in Seoul, passed a resolution directing staff to prepare an analysis regarding the feasibility of ICANN soliciting Expressions of Interests (EOIs) from prospective applicants for new Generic Top Level Domains (gTLDs). ICANN staff subsequently opened a public forum seeking input from the community on a number of questions. While this latest initiative should not distract ICANN from the remaining four overarching issues, if well executed, this EOI initiative could provide valuable insights into two of the four overarching issues: economics and root scaling. But if executed improperly, this EOI initiative will likely erode confidence in the new gTLD process and negatively impact ICANN’s evaluation in the upcoming reviews under ICANN’s new Affirmation of Commitments.
Information TechnologyBy Adam Thierer, Progress & Freedom FoundationProgress on Point, 12/18/2009
Reality tends to play out somewhat less dramatically than the script penned by the media worrywarts. It’s worth looking back at some of the more prominent examples of media merger hysteria in recent years to understand why such panic is unwarranted, and why a deal between Comcast and NBC Universal is unlikely to lead to the sort of problems that the pessimists suggest.
The Constitution/Civil LibertiesBy Robert Corn-Revere, Progress & Freedom FoundationProgress on Point, 12/18/2009
The Federal Communications Commission recently invited me to participate in a conversation about the Internet and the importance of free speech. In this essay, it is not my intention to provide a constitutional analysis of any particular proposal but to instead offer a few observations about the relationship between the First Amendment and regulatory policy, particularly in light of the historic constitutional treatment of new communications technologies. At the outset I want to make clear that the views I express are mine alone based on my experiences as a student of the First Amendment, as a practitioner in the field of constitutional law, and as a former FCC staff member.
Information TechnologyBy Adam Thierer, et al., Progress & Freedom FoundationProgress on Point, 12/18/2009
The purpose of today’s discussion, as our title suggests, is to take a look at the future of spectrum policy in America and, in particular, consider what the future holds for the broadcast spectrum and broadcast spectrum holders, as well as those in the mobile broadband sector who covet more spectrum. More specifically, we will be investigating whether the potential exists for a deal to be cut between some of these parties, such that broadcast spectrum might potentially be reallocated for some alternative uses—something that’s been a hot topic of discussion here in DC, as of late, after a certain FCC official, who just happens to be with us today, suggested that broadcasters may want to consider some sort of a cash-for-spectrum swap.
Information TechnologyBy Barbara Esbin, Progress & Freedom FoundationProgress on Point, 12/18/2009
Because disappointing one’s paying end user customers is unlikely to be a great business model over time, it seems unlikely that broadband ISPs are going to intentionally make a practice of slowing or blocking access to select websites.
Budget & TaxationBy Veronique de Rugy, Reason FoundationReason, 12/18/2009
With the federal deficit reaching $1.4 trillion and most state budgets deep in the red, policy makers are desperately searching for new sources of revenue that the tapped-out American public might support. They think they’ve found one at the corner store: a tax on carbonated beverages. Charging a few more cents for a soft drink, legislators claim, will not only refresh exhausted state and federal revenues; it will make us thinner.
Economic GrowthBy Gary Robbins, Aldona Robbins, Institute for Policy InnovationIssue Brief, 12/18/2009
Alarmed at mounting layoffs, investor fears and sagging consumer confidence, policy makers in Washington are working to put together a stimulus package that would get the economy going again. Using tax cuts to give a needed boost to the economy is a good idea. The trick is implementing policies that will deliver the biggest payoff at the lowest cost. This Issue Brief examines the proposals that are major contenders for a stimulus package along with their pros and cons. Based on our estimates of the economic payoff versus revenue cost, the report ranks the proposals as to which ones would provide the biggest boost to the U.S. economy.
Economic GrowthBy Russell Roberts, Mercatus CenterTestimony, 12/18/2009
Most people presume that there is something that can be done, something to get people back to work faster. That may not be possible. Government policy induced an unnatural expansion of the housing sector. We built way too many houses. That naturally drew a lot of people into construction. Fully 25 percent of the job losses have been in construction. The workers who no longer hold those jobs need to find other things to do. They will want to take time deciding what they should do instead. Unfortunately, it is natural that unemployment lingers.
Elections, Transparency, & AccountabilityBy Robert H. Nelson , Mercatus CenterWorking Paper, 12/18/2009
It would have been difficult to imagine as recently as 2007 that the workings of local housing markets would hold the key to the macroeconomic future of the nation. Yet, as we learned in 2008, problems with subprime mortgages, and in U.S. housing markets more generally, precipitated a major economic crisis with implications not only for the United States but all the world. The previous lack of scholarly interest in housing markets reflects a wider lack of interest in local government, land markets, and other local affairs. It is, arguably, America’s most important, least-studied area of major public policy concern. This paper seeks to shed light on the rapid growth of new levels of sublocal governance over the past four decades and explain the implications of these new structures for policy.
Natural Resources, Energy, Environment, & ScienceBy Max Schulz, Manhattan InstituteCity Journal, 12/18/2009
Typically, when a law is passed or a regulation proposed, its champions believe that the action will be beneficial to society. But that’s not the case when it comes to steps that the Obama administration took last week, when Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson issued an “endangerment” finding that greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide are harmful pollutants and therefore subject to EPA regulation under the Clean Air Act. Jackson issued the finding largely because the Obama team believes—or at least thinks that Congress believes—that EPA regulation of CO2 would be devastating to the economy.
Information TechnologyBy Grant Eskelsen, Adam Marcus, W. Kenneth Ferree, Progress & Freedom FoundationBook, 12/17/2009
The digital revolution has changed the way we make goods and provide services, transforming virtually every industry and creating whole new categories of products and businesses—all at breathtaking speed. Simply keeping track of what is happening, let alone comprehending it, often seems an overwhelming task. The Tenth Edition of The Digital Economy Fact Book provides a factual basis from which analysis of the digital economy can begin.
Health CareBy Pamela Villarreal, John C. Goodman, Joe Barnett, National Center for Policy AnalysisPolicy Backgrounder, 12/17/2009
In theory, the right to sue should ensure that injured patients receive compensation, and the adversarial justice system should ensure that only patients who are harmed by negligence receive compensation. However, the evidence suggests that the reality is far different. According to the Harvard Medical Practice Study, the vast majority of all instances of malpractice never lead to a lawsuit; of the suits that are filed, a significant number do not involve malpractice; and juries do not always make the right decisions.
Health CareBy Andrew J. Rettenmaier, Thomas R. Saving, National Center for Policy AnalysisBrief Analysis, 12/17/2009
A proposal to allow 55- to 64-year-olds to buy Medicare coverage is gaining traction in the Senate deliberations on health care reform. What will this mean for Medicare’s finances? How much will it cost to buy the coverage? How will this expansion affect the labor force participation of older Americans?
Elections, Transparency, & AccountabilityBy Leonard C. Gilroy, Anthony Randazzo, Adam B. Summers, Reason FoundationPolicy Brief, 12/17/2009
This policy brief is one of a series of papers intended to identify and analyze outsourcing opportunities covering a variety of city services for the city of San Diego. This brief takes a look at privatization opportunities for the city’s vehicle fleet maintenance and management services.
Elections, Transparency, & AccountabilityBy Leonard C. Gilroy, Adam B. Summers , Reason FoundationPolicy Brief, 12/17/2009
This policy brief is one of a series of papers intended to identify and analyze outsourcing opportunities covering a variety of city services for the City of San Diego. This brief takes a look at privatization opportunities for the city’s building maintenance and management services.
Elections, Transparency, & AccountabilityBy Leonard Gilroy, Adam Summers, Reason FoundationPolicy Summary, 12/17/2009
San Diego has been unable to put managed competition into practice due to objections by city employees’ labor unions, and implementation has effectively been stalled. Myriad examples of competition for government services in numerous service categories have shown that competition is a very effective strategy to reduce costs while maintaining or improving the quality of services. Given the city’s current budget straits, competition is needed now more than ever. While participation by city agencies in competitions for government services would be ideal, if city employees cannot agree upon a way in which to participate in this competition, the city may still be able to reap the benefits of competition by seeking competitive bids for services from the private sector alone.
Transportation/InfrastructureBy David T. Hartgen, Ravi K. Karanam, M. Gregory Fields, Reason FoundationPolicy Brief, 12/17/2009
Reason Foundation’s 18th Annual Highway Report tracks the performance of state-owned roads of the United States from 1984 to 2007, with some recent information (fatalities, bridge condition and travel) for 2008. Eleven indicators make up each state’s overall rating and cover highway expenditures, pavement and bridge condition, urban congestion, fatality rates and narrow lanes. The study is based on spending and performance data submitted to the federal government by the state highway agencies.
EducationBy Liv Finne, Washington Policy CenterPolicy Note, 12/17/2009
In recent years, state education leaders have strongly resisted making deep, systematic changes in the centralized model used for financing and managing Washington’s public schools. The Common School Manual contains over 2,000 pages of detailed rules and instructions which dictate all aspects of running a local school. Washington schools are heavily unionized, and public sector labor leaders have consistently opposed merit pay, flexible work rules, open hiring or permitting principals to control local budgets. To overcome these obstacles Washington education leaders should adopt reforms based on the Innovation School model that has proven so promising in Colorado. The Innovation Schools approach would allow local leaders to deliver high-quality educational services to children in a way that better matches local conditions and the learning needs of their communities.
Economic GrowthBy Jim Manzi, National AffairsNational Affairs, 12/17/2009
The United States is in a tough spot. As we dig ourselves out from a serious financial crisis and a deep recession, our very efforts to recover are exacerbating much more fundamental problems that our country has let fester for too long. Beyond our short-term worries, and behind many of today’s political debates, lurks the deeper challenge of coming to terms with America’s place in the global economic order.
Monetary Policy/Financial RegulationBy Nicole Gelinas, National AffairsNational Affairs, 12/17/2009
The catastrophe that struck America’s financial system in 2008 was not inevitable. Rather than a failure of markets, it was a failure by government to understand its proper role in markets — and the product of an unwise (and unnecessary) abandonment of a sensible system of rules and boundaries that had served American finance well for six decades.
Budget & TaxationBy Robert Stein, National AffairsNational Affairs, 12/17/2009
For more than two decades, free-market economists and policymakers have championed an agenda of comprehensive tax reform. Modeled on President Ronald Reagan’s 1981 tax cuts, their plans have sought to combine further cuts in marginal income-tax rates with relief for corporations and investors, along with a profound simplification of the entire federal tax code. But unlike Reagan’s immensely popular ¬initiative, the reformers’ campaign has gained little traction with the public — and has not been enacted even in times of Republican dominance in Washington. At the core of this failure has been a misreading of Reagan’s success. Too often, advocates of comprehensive tax reform have focused on the particular means of Reagan’s plan — the lowering of marginal income-tax rates — rather than on its more general ends: correcting economic distortions caused by government policy, lightening the tax burden on American families, and encouraging more work and investment.
EducationBy Chester E. Finn Jr, National AffairsNational Affairs, 12/17/2009
The education-reform debate as we have known it for a generation is creaking to a halt. No new way of thinking has emerged to displace those that have preoccupied reformers for a quarter-¬century — but the defining ideas of our current wave of reform (¬standards, testing, and choice), and the conceptual framework built around them, are clearly outliving their usefulness.
The Constitution/Civil LibertiesBy Bradley A. Smith, National AffairsNational Affairs, 12/17/2009
March 24, 2009, may go down as a turning point in the history of the campaign-finance reform debate in America. On that day, in the course of oral argument before the Supreme Court in the case of Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, United States deputy solicitor general Malcolm Stewart inadvertently revealed just how extreme our campaign-finance system has become.
Economic and Political ThoughtBy Eric Cohen, National AffairsNational Affairs, 12/17/2009
Neoconservatism was, as Kristol always described it, merely a “¬persuasion” that tried to “imagine the world as it might be,” but also to “live and work in the world as it was, trying to edge the latter ever so slightly toward the former, but experiencing no sour disillusionment at [our] ultimate lack of success.” Yet such a realistic view of politics and of the human condition, especially in America, did not mean living always with a sense of grim futility. Neoconservatism, Kristol said, was “the first variant of American conservatism in the past century that is in the ‘American grain.’ It is hopeful, not lugubrious; forward-¬looking, not nostalgic; and its general tone is cheerful, not grim or dyspeptic.” And while neoconservatism is surely a phenomenon of a particular time and place, the disposition toward reality that animates it is how wise and moderate men will always see the world — even in the most ¬immoderate of ages
EducationBy Chester E. Finn Jr., Frederick M. Hess, American Enterprise InstituteThe American, 12/17/2009
In Oliver Stone’s Wall Street, Gordon Gekko (Michael Douglas) infamously asserted that “Greed, for lack of a better word, is good.” In K-12 education, we submit, greed can be good, albeit ugly; but ensuring that children and taxpayers eke real benefits from the education market demands that consumers be at least as discerning as the suppliers are ardent. Today, that is too rarely the case.
Health CareBy John E. Calfee, American Enterprise InstituteThe American, 12/17/2009
The fractious 60-vote Senate majority of Democrats and Independents is rushing to pass a comprehensive healthcare overhaul bill that the House can then approve and send to the president. Important details remain to be established, as does the final analysis by the Congressional Budget Office. But the basics of the Democrats’ plan remain intact. It has long since become obvious that their healthcare overhaul will increase costs almost everywhere. The Democrats’ solution is to take some good features of some private healthcare plans and impose them across the board. Unfortunately, the evidence shows this approach will fail.
Economic GrowthBy Peter Bernholz, American Enterprise InstituteThe American, 12/17/2009
Will inflation evolve into a hyperinflation in the United States? I believe not. Though it is true that budget deficits with government expenditures covered by 40 percent or more through credits have historically led to hyperinflation, it has been stressed in Monetary Regimes and Inflation that it is not only the size of these credits but also their composition that is important. This is noted in the book thus: “It will be demonstrated by looking at 12 hyperinflations that they have all been caused by the financing of huge budget deficits through money creation” (p. 70 ). According to preliminary and rough estimates, not 40 percent but “only” about 13 percent of U.S. expenditures are presently financed this way. Inflation may rise more or less strongly during the next years, but there is presently no danger of a hyperinflation in the United States.
Elections, Transparency, & AccountabilityBy Roger F. Noriega , American Enterprise InstituteLatin American Outlook, 12/17/2009
Evo Morales, Bolivia’s first indigenous president, was reelected on December 6 and appears to have gained absolute control of both houses of the Bolivian Congress, which he will use to make fundamental changes and pave the way for his indefinite reelection. Many expect that his second term will be even more radical and ambitious than his first one. Cuban and Venezuelan dictators have provided economic, political, and military backing to the regime, cementing a leftist alliance. Morales’s efforts to subvert the country’s constitution will likely produce a failed state in the heart of cocaine country.
Natural Resources, Energy, Environment, & ScienceBy Kenneth P. Green, American Enterprise InstituteTestimony, 12/17/2009
On November 10, 2009, Kenneth P. Green was invited to testify before the Senate Committee on Finance about global warming. A summary of his testimony appears below. During the course of his testimony, Senator John Kerry (D-Mass.) asked Green a number of questions about the science of global warming. His responses are printed here.
National SecurityBy Jena Baker McNeill, Jessica Zuckerman, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 12/17/2009
Taking FEMA out of DHS would effectively undo much of the progress that has been accomplished since 9/11.
Foreign Policy/International Affairs
The Lisbon Treaty: Implications for Future Relations Between the European Union and the United StatesBy Sally McNamara, The Heritage FoundationTestimony, 12/17/2009
After eight years of popular rejection, political cajoling, and endless hand-wringing, the EU has finally ratified the Lisbon Treaty without a shred of democratic legitimacy or public support. It is a treaty that underscores the EU’s ambition to become a global power and challenge American leadership on the world stage.
Foreign Policy/International AffairsBy Bruce Klingner, The Heritage FoundationBackgrounder, 12/17/2009
Attempts by the new Japanese government to renegotiate terms of the Guam Agreement, which would realign U.S. military forces in Japan, have seriously strained U.S.-Japan relations, harming the bilateral military alliance. The situation has not yet become a crisis, but continued mishandling could make it one. Japan needs to implement the terms of the agreement. The U.S. and Japan need to work together to reduce the current tension level and refocus on addressing regional and global security challenges.
Foreign Policy/International AffairsBy Brett D. Schaefer, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 12/17/2009
The chance to reform the U.N. assessment system arises only once every three years: 2009 is one of those years, and the Obama Administration must not let this opportunity slip away.
Budget & TaxationBy James C. Capretta, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 12/17/2009
If Congress and the President choose to empower an independent commission to tackle this immense problem, they must give it the authority to do it right.
Natural Resources, Energy, Environment, & ScienceBy Jack Spencer, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 12/17/2009
The Senate is considering two bills meant to help small and modular nuclear reactor development. Unfortunately, they would have the opposite impact.
Budget & TaxationBy The Heritage Foundation, The Heritage FoundationFact Sheet, 12/17/2009
The recession and excessive spending have caused the debt held by the public to grow sharply to 56 percent of the economy, topping the historical average of 36 percent. To make matters worse, entitlement programs will double in size over the next few decades and cause the national debt to reach 320 percent of the economy.
Foreign Policy/International AffairsBy Brett D. Schaefer, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 12/17/2009
The U.S. should oppose the proposed U.N. budget increase and demand that larger contributors have greater influence over U.N. budgetary decisions.
International Trade/FinanceBy Daniella Markheim, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 12/17/2009
Congress should renew the two important trade programs set to expire at the end of this month: the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) and the Andean Trade Preference Act (ATPA).
Health CareBy James C. Capretta, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 12/17/2009
Key assumptions in CBO’s cost estimate of the Senate health care bill—especially the viability of the so-called “firewall”—will never hold up over time.
Economic GrowthBy Eric Cantor, The Heritage FoundationHeritage Lecture, 12/17/2009
Investors and job creators around the world have gravitated to the U.S. because America was a place where taxes and regulations fostered competitiveness, transparency, and accountability. The way to create jobs is therefore not through massive new government spending, new bureaucracies, or more debt, but rather by pursuing solutions that are based on time-honored principles proven to create jobs and, ultimately, economic prosperity in America.
International Trade/FinanceBy Daniella Markheim, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 12/17/2009
In order to reestablish America as a credible global partner for economic growth, the Obama Administration needs to embrace trade policy.
Transportation/InfrastructureBy Ronald D. Utt, The Heritage FoundationBackgrounder, 12/17/2009
The Surface Transportation Authorization Act (STAA), as currently written, would dramatically change federal transportation policy by shifting resources from cars to trolleys and buses; requiring a huge tax increase to fund these new commitments; centralizing transportation decisions in Washington; requiring a substantial increase in the numbers of state, local, and federal government employees; and discouraging the private sector from investing in surface transportation projects.
Budget & TaxationBy Brian M. Riedl, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 12/17/2009
Despite a recession and record $1.4 trillion budget deficit, Congress continues to accelerate runaway spending and pork.
Budget & TaxationBy David C. John, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 12/17/2009
Social Security’s deficits are likely to be permanent, and the only way out of this cash crunch is to fix the program.