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Recent Policy Studies
Information TechnologyBy Barbara Esbin, et al., Progress & Freedom FoundationProgress on Point, 01/07/2010
Would more regulation of wireless be necessary to increase innovation and investment, or would it be counter-productive? If necessary, then how can a regulator encourage innovation and investment in wireless? How does increased competition in the wireless market relate to innovation and investment? Would further consolidation impair or improve it? Is the answer more regulation, more competition, both or neither?
Crime, Justice & the LawBy Jordan Miller, Washington Legal FoundationLegal Backgrounder, 01/07/2010
At the drop of a hat, or in this case a gavel, professional sports as we know them may be in for a big change. That change could come courtesy of the U.S. Supreme Court, which on January 13 will hear oral arguments in American Needle, Inc. v. National Football League. This LEGAL BACKGROUNDER briefly discusses antitrust law in organized sports, the case of American Needle, Inc. v. National Football League, and the significant ramifications a decision favoring the NFL would have.
Natural Resources, Energy, Environment, & ScienceBy Alison Berry, PERC – The Property and Environment Research CenterPERC Case Studies, 01/07/2010
The most viable uses for biomass are in generating heat and electricity. These options are based on proven technologies, and offer advantages over fossil fuels, either through reduced costs or reduced emissions. Cellulosic ethanol might become economically viable through technological advances. But until cellulosic ethanol can be produced cheaply and on a large scale, its place is in the laboratory. Federal forest managers should position themselves to take advantage of new and emerging markets for biomass. Currently, most biomass utilization is from the private sector. Even fuels for schools projects like the one in Darby, which is surrounded by federal lands, get the majority of their biomass from private landowners who provide a reliable supply at a reasonable price. If federal agencies are given the freedom and incentives to step up to the plate, there is a big role for public lands in the biomass energy industry.
Budget & TaxationBy Mark Robyn, Tax FoundationFiscal Facts, 01/07/2010
Oklahoma State Sen. John Sparks (D-Norman) has introduced a bill to create a tax-free weekend for purchases of handguns, shotguns, and rifles, stating that the objective of the bill is “to defend our Second Amendment rights.” The Second Amendment needs neither a sale nor a holiday to commemorate it, and Oklahomans should not misuse tax policy for that purpose.
Budget & TaxationBy Scott A. Hodge, Tax FoundationFiscal Facts, 01/07/2010
Ohio lawmakers recently reached a last-minute deal to close the state’s $851 million budget shortfall by delaying a scheduled 4.2 percent income tax cut. As many lawmakers acknowledged, the deal was just a band-aid solution and avoids addressing the more structural issues facing the state’s finances. At the heart of Ohio’s fiscal problems is a tax system and business climate that has been driving people out of the state for more than 15 years, resulting in a shrinking economy and a smaller tax base. At the same time, state government spending grew unchecked, resulting in a heavier tax burden on the state’s remaining citizens. Ohio taxpayers now have one of the highest tax burdens in the nation. The key to reversing these trends and improving the long-term fiscal health of the state is a sensible reform of the state’s tax system.
Budget & TaxationBy Kail Padgitt, Joseph Henchman, Tax FoundationFiscal Facts, 01/07/2010
Oregon legislators approved more than $1 billion in tax increases for the 2009-11 fiscal period, not only to balance the budget but to expand it as well. In doing so, there was an effort to dump the majority of its new tax burden onto a small group of high-income Oregonians. If these individuals move out of state or choose to work less, both the state budget and the state economy will suffer.
Elections, Transparency, & AccountabilityBy Heath W. Fahle, Yankee Institute for Public PolicyReport, 01/07/2010
The Citizens’ Election Program was a well-intentioned reform that sought to remove corruptive influences while leveling the playing field among candidates. CEP has not achieved the latter goal and more research is required before a judgment can be made about the former. By implementing the reforms laid out in this study, Connecticut can continue to be a pioneer in creating a more equitable political environment for all participants.
Crime, Justice & the LawBy Marc A. Levin, Texas Public Policy FoundationPolicy Brief, 01/07/2010
As Texas counties seek cost-saving measures, it is an ideal time to reexamine juvenile detention and probation. Some 50,000 Texas children pass through detention every year. Dallas and Harris counties have proven that detention centers can be scaled back while protecting public safety.
Budget & TaxationBy J. Scott Moody, Wendy P. Warcholik, Rio Grande FoundationReport, 01/07/2010
New Mexico’s defined benefit retirement system is massively underfunded. Only three options are available to policy-makers to solve New Mexico’s pension and OPEB crisis: 1) Raise taxes to pay for the unfunded liability, 2) Cut other state government spending to pay for the unfunded liability or 3) Reduce pension and OPEB benefits to reduce the liability. Given the severe negative economic consequences of higher taxes, the best course of action is some combination of options 2 and 3.
EducationBy Deborah D. Thornton, Public Interest InstitutePolicy Study, 01/07/2010
The state with the highest student loan debt is our own Iowa, at $28,174 per student. This is second only to the District of Columbia at almost $29,800 and far above the low of $13,041 for Utah students. The cost of a college education and amount of debt required in trade for a degree are having significant impact on Iowa families at all levels. This policy study reviews some of the facts and issues.
EducationBy Ken Ardon, Pioneer Institute for Public Policy ResearchWhite Paper, 01/07/2010
The debate over charter school funding is often filled with misinformation or anecdotal evidence. The actual impact of charter schools on local districts is complex and is determined by the interaction of several formulas. Arguments over reimbursement rates and the state’s share of the cost of charter schools often leave out important factors. This paper explains the charter funding system and analyzes data on charter school funding to compare charter schools to the districts that send students to charters. Accurate data and a better understanding of the funding mechanism may clarify the debate over charter school funding and allow policymakers to better evaluate the arguments about the impact of charter schools.
EducationBy Cara Stillings Candal, Pioneer Institute for Public Policy ResearchWhite Paper, 01/07/2010
As with any important education reform, the story of charter schools is replete with subplots that speak to challenges and setbacks. Over time, charters have met with fierce and often successful opposition from those with an interest in maintaining the status quo in education. From many of these challenges and setbacks have come valuable lessons learned about charter schools and the dynamics of education reform in general.
EducationBy Cara Stillings Candal, Pioneer Institute for Public Policy ResearchPolicy Brief, 01/07/2010
The dialogue surrounding charter public schools in Massachusetts has been stalled for some time. Indeed, many of the criticisms offered by charter opponents today are the same ones offered when charter public schools were established in the state in 1993. These criticisms, especially with regard to charter public school funding and student achievement, have been proven false time and again.
The Federal Government’s Regulatory Burden on American Health Care Has Increased By More Than Half in a DecadeBy John R. Graham, Pacific Research InstituteHealth Policy Prescriptions, 01/07/2010
The net burden of health regulation in the United States reached $169.1 billion in 2002, or an average of $1,500 per family, according to professor Christopher J. Conover of Duke University. Annually, these regulations kill 4,000 more Americans than die from lack of health insurance: 22,000 versus 18,000.13 Interpolating from his analysis, about one-third of the regulatory burden comes from the states, and the rest from the federal government.
EducationBy James M. Hohman, Eric R. Imhoff, Mackinac Center for Public PolicyReport, 01/07/2010
With Michigan’s public school districts facing a decline in per-pupil funding, more districts are contracting out for at least one of the three major school support services — food, custodial and transportation — than ever before. This year’s survey of school districts found that 44.6 percent of all Michigan school districts contract out for at least one of these services, a 5.6 percent increase over 2008. This year, new contracts alone are expected to save $6.9 million.
Natural Resources, Energy, Environment, & ScienceBy Paul Bachman, James Madison InstituteBackgrounder, 01/07/2010
Cap-and-trade legislation is aimed at reducing the consumption of fossil fuels by increasing their prices and thus, in turn, the prices of energy and of all goods and services. A cap-and-trade proposal such as Waxman-Markey would therefore inflict large negative impacts on the economy of Florida. The state would experience significant declines in employment, wages, disposable income and investment upon implementation of the policy. Specifically, by 2050 there would be 570,000 fewer jobs in Florida, which would lead to a $1,600 per capita annual wage cut and $54 billion less in disposable income for Floridians.
PhilanthropyBy Matthew Vadum, James Madison InstitutePolicy Brief, 01/07/2010
The California-style attempt at interference with philanthropy has arrived in Florida. Indeed, it’s now fair to ask whether race and gender quotas for charitable foundations and nonprofits could be in the works for the Sunshine State. The answer is potentially “Yes.” At least that’s the plan of the Florida Minority Community Reinvestment Coalition.
Budget & TaxationBy Kristina Rasmussen, Illinois Policy InstituteTax & Budget Brief, 01/07/2010
Looking ahead, the total deficit for next year is estimated at $12.6 billion – again, partially made up from the rollover of unpaid debt from previous years. It didn’t have to be this way. Illinois could have taken concrete steps to cut costs this year, and it could have proactively introduced reforms to ensure that future budgets would stay under control. Here are 15 policy steps would have put Illinois’s budget on firmer footing.
EducationBy Brian J. Gottlob, Friedman Foundation for Educational ChoiceSchool Choice Issues, 01/07/2010
In recent decades, Georgia has prospered in an economy that increasingly valued education, despite having among the lowest rates of high school completion of any state in the nation. To do so Georgia has come to rely on the in-migration of well-educated individuals from other states. However, the economic prosperity has not benefited native Georgians to the same degree. The state and its citizens continue to bear the considerable costs associated with lower educational attainment among Georgia’s native born population. This study documents the public costs of high school dropouts in Georgia, and examines how policies that increase school choice, such as the recently-enacted tuition tax credit scholarship program will provide large public benefits by increasing public school graduation rates.
Information TechnologyBy Christopher S. Yoo, Free State FoundationPerspectives from FSF Scholars, 01/07/2010
The shift to a world in which every type of communications is available through every means of transmission will require reconceptualizing almost every aspect of the regulatory regime. In many jurisdictions, it will require reform of the basic structure of regulatory institutions. In all jurisdictions, it will pose significant challenges to the existing structures of economic, content, structural, and social regulation, as well for principles of free speech. That said, many believe that even bigger changes are visible on the horizon. Specifically, the impending migration of all video content to packet-based networks has the potential to force commentators and policymakers to reevaluate the basic architecture of the Internet itself.
Budget & TaxationBy Commonwealth Foundation for Public Policy Alternatives, Commonwealth Foundation for Public Policy AlternativesPolicy Points, 01/07/2010
There is a national movement to make government spending and finances accessible to taxpayers. Pennsylvania lags behind, but state lawmakers are moving toward greater transparency.
Regulation & DeregulationBy Elizabeth Bryna, Katrina Anderson, Commonwealth Foundation for Public Policy AlternativesPolicy Brief, 01/07/2010
In the late 1990s, Pennsylvania’s electricity rates were 15 percent above the national average, despite the abundance of low-cost coal generation in the Commonwealth. At that time, electricity was sold by a monopoly utility provider per designated region. Then federal regulations changed to allow electricity markets to develop. The state legislature responded with the Electricity Generation Customer Choice and Competition Act, signed in December 1996, promising lower prices and better service through consumer choice and generation competition. Fearful of price gouging and initial market fluctuations, legislators tweaked the bill to place rate caps on utilities, which are now expiring. These actions caused havoc in the market when the cost of materials–like coal and natural gas–increased, preventing competitors who could not beat artificially low rates from entering the marketplace. But as rate caps expire, all companies will begin to charge the market price of electricity.
Economic GrowthBy Mitch Pearlstein, et al., Center of the American ExperimentSymposium, 01/07/2010
An eclectic group of men and women were asked to consider questions like these (albeit not all at once): What might entice you about starting or expanding a business in a low-income neighborhood? What might scare you away? Generally speaking, do you see doing business in low-income communities as tougher than in more affluent communities? If so, why? Would tax breaks or other public subsidies increase your interest in doing business in depressed neighborhoods? If yes, what kinds of inducements? What role might the following play in your decision? Overall tax rates? Regulatory policies? The quality of nearby schools? The basic skills of residents? The availability of mass transit? Neighborhood safety? The costs of energy? The costs of insurance? Etc. What kinds of businesses do you see as especially apt (or inapt) fits for low-income neighborhoods? Manufacturing? Wholesale? Retail? Service? Restaurants? Backroom administrative? Etc.
Budget & TaxationBy Eric Fruits, Randall Pozdena, Cascade Policy InstituteReport, 01/07/2010
Whether the economic impacts contained herein are too high or too low by 10 percent or 50 percent is not as material as the fact that Oregon has chosen to embark on a policy that likely will suppress and repel economy activity in the state. The application of Measures 66 and 67 at a time when the economy is struggling to get on its feet portends aggravating economic conditions and delayed recovery.
Transportation/InfrastructureBy Randall Pozdena, Cascade Policy InstituteReport, 01/07/2010
The Portland region has overlooked fundamental problems in the methods by which we price and make investment decisions in roadway capacity. We do not use prices to efficiently allocate existing capacity, with the result that highway facilities are overused at certain times and investment decisions are distorted. In the absence of pricing, of course, all facilities suffer from overuse and create the illusion of need for more capacity.
Regulation & DeregulationBy Martin Eling, Robert W. Klein, Joan T. Schmit, Independent InstitutePolicy Report, 01/07/2010
In this paper we compare insurance regulatory frameworks in the United States and European Union, focusing primarily on solvency, but also considering product and price regulation, as well as other elements of consumer protection. This comparison highlights the use of more fluid and principles-based approaches in the EU as it is developing under Solvency II, while the U.S. continues to focus essentially on static, rules-based regulation. The discussion further notes evidence suggesting that the EU approach is more successful in promoting a financially solid insurance sector.
Economic GrowthBy Robert Higgs, Independent InstituteThe Independent Review, 01/07/2010
Most of the people who purport to possess expertise about the economy rely on a common set of presuppositions and modes of thinking. I call this pseudointellectual mishmash “vulgar Keynesianism.” It’s the same claptrap that has passed for economic wisdom in this country for more than fifty years and seems to have originated in the first edition of Paul Samuelson’s Economics (1948), the best-selling economics textbook of all time and the one from which a plurality of several generations of college students acquired whatever they knew about economic analysis. Long ago, this view seeped into educated discourse, writing in the news media, and politics, and established itself as an orthodoxy. Unfortunately, this way of thinking about the economy’s operation, in particular its overall fluctuations, is a tissue of errors of both commission and omission.
EducationBy Robert Holland, Lexington InstituteReport, 01/07/2010
Over the past 20 years, prominent voices, including the Bradley Commission and organizations of history scholars, have urged education policymakers to bolster American history instruction, particularly by increasing the level of content knowledge of those who teach K-12 history. A common recommendation is for teachers of history to be required to have majored in history in college. Yet, overwhelming evidence suggests that only a small minority of history teachers have majored in the subject, and some have taken little more than a few survey courses.
EducationBy Robert Zelnick, Hoover InstitutionHoover Digest, 01/07/2010
The American Bar Association council and its supporters are the latest in a long line of social activists in this country who are corrupting the problem-solving process of racial justice by mistaking symptoms for the disease and then treating the symptoms incompetently or worse. Virtually every qualified sociologist who has spent time examining centers of urban black life has come away talking about single parenthood, delinquent dads, the disappearance of community role models, failing schools, academic disengagement, the drug culture, and similar afflictions. It will take the mobilization of human resources in entire communities to fight these problems, as well as time, money, and candor. By contrast, the activist groups both inside and outside the ABA see the minority problem in terms of numbers and thus set their sights on those devices that inform us about numbers, much as someone distressed about cold winters might spend her time destroying thermometers.
Crime, Justice & the LawBy David Davenport, Hoover InstitutionHoover Digest, 01/07/2010
Ultimately, it seems that the dots of increasing international criminal court activity do, in fact, connect into a larger picture of global judicial activism, taking up larger political and military disputes as criminal court cases. Although the United States is one of the world’s major proponents of the rule of law, the Obama administration, which has expressed greater sympathy to international treaties and courts than its predecessors, would be wise to travel this path cautiously, recognizing that many of these courts would readily tie down Gulliver if given the opportunity.
EducationBy Herbert J. Walberg, Hoover InstitutionBook, 01/07/2010
For the last half century, higher spending and many modern reforms have failed to raise the achievement of students in the United States to the levels of other economically advanced countries. A possible explanation is that much current education theory is ill informed about scientific psychology, often drawing on fads and pop psychology, and contradicting well-evidenced behavioral insights. In Advancing Student Learning, Walberg draws on both psychological and economic research to describe how students actually learn and how family, classroom, and school practices can help them learn more effectively.
Foreign Policy/International AffairsBy Michael Auslin, American Enterprise InstituteAsian Outlook, 01/07/2010
The U.S.-Japan Treaty of Mutual Cooperation was signed in Washington, D.C., 50 years ago this month. Few alliances last half a century. The fact that this one has is a testament to its strength, but it is also the result of East Asia’s failure to develop stable political and security relationships in the decades after World War II. It also reflects Japan’s postwar political realities and the choices successive Japanese governments made to maintain the country’s largely pacifist global role. Yet, the pressures on the alliance today raise questions about how well it can adapt to changes inside Japan, the United States, and throughout Asia. If the alliance is to survive, how should it change to best serve the evolving national interests of Japan and the United States?
Economic GrowthBy Vaclav Smil, American Enterprise InstituteThe American, 01/07/2010
The lessons of Japan of 1989 and those of the United States of 1999 might be useful when judging the seemingly inexorable ascent of China in 2009: no economic trees grow to heaven.
Budget & TaxationBy Benjamin Barr, Goldwater InstitutePolicy Report, 01/07/2010
To protect taxpayers, the framers included a stringent debt limit of $350,000 in the Arizona Constitution. But to the state’s detriment, politicians have evaded the limit with creative debt-hiding schemes. Debt is often labeled a lease or given another name. Complicated financial agreements are also used to hide debt. And judges have failed to enforce the “debt limit” clause. Instead of protecting Arizona taxpayers from financial straits and upholding the constitution’s plain language, judges have interpreted the word “debt” in an absurdly narrow fashion when it comes to government. Politicians and judges need to return to the simple genius of the state constitution to ensure that taxpayers have the protection the constitution promises.
Natural Resources, Energy, Environment, & ScienceBy H. Sterling Burnett, James Franko, National Center for Policy AnalysisBrief Analysis, 01/07/2010
Demand for electricity is projected to increase 26 percent from 2007 to 2030, according to the U.S. Energy Information Agency (EIA). Nuclear energy remains one of the safest and most reliable forms of energy available. It also emits no greenhouse gases. Yet, the EIA projects a slight decrease in nuclear power use: from 19 percent of total electricity generation in 2007 to 18 percent in 2030. Nuclear power is reliable, sustainable and clean. Policymakers need to consider it as a long-term solution to America’s energy demands.
Economic and Political ThoughtBy Richard Wellings, ed., Adam Smith InstituteBook, 01/07/2010
Political leaders have clearly failed to grasp the benefits of allowing us to live our lives as we choose. By releasing our talents and creativity, liberty brings unprecedented wealth, and promises a bright future built on new ideas. It also gives us protection from the abuses that have come too often from over-powerful states. Yet the ignorance of our politicians is not unique. Universities may be teaching more students than ever before, but they rarely school them in liberty. Education is in fact dominated by ideas which promote an even bigger role for government. A Beginner’s Guide to Liberty is a small step towards correcting this bias. It is designed for educated people taking a first look at the arguments for liberty.
National SecurityBy Jena Baker McNeill, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 01/07/2010
The Secure Communities program is one example of how immigration enforcement should work.
Foreign Policy/International AffairsBy Brett D. Schaefer, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 01/07/2010
The debate over whether the United Nations will continue to overcharge American taxpayers is over—and the U.S. wound up on the losing end.
Economic GrowthBy Ronald D. Utt, The Heritage FoundationBackgrounder, 01/07/2010
President Obama’s third stimulus plan, presented as a “jobs plan,” relies heavily on government infrastructure spending, one of the least effective components of the previous stimulus plan, and is far less likely to stimulate the economy than it is to stimulate government expansion and the federal deficit, leading to higher taxes on Americans who will receive little in return.
Economic GrowthBy Brian M. Riedl, The Heritage FoundationBackgrounder, 01/07/2010
Despite decades of repeated failure, President Obama and Congress continue to promote the myth that government can spend its way out of recession. Heritage Foundation economic policy expert Brian Riedl dispels the stimulus myth, lays out the evidence that government spending does not end recessions—and presents the evidence for what does end recessions. Hint: It’s not another “stimulus package.”
Health CareBy Dennis G. Smith, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 01/07/2010
Congress’s health care bills would force more people to enroll in Medicaid—and the states would be left to pick up the tab.
National SecurityBy Charles Stimson, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 01/07/2010
The terror attack on Christmas Day requires the Obama Administration to take a sober look at its Yemeni terrorist transfer policies from Guantanamo.
Budget & TaxationBy Joseph Henchman, Tax FoundationFiscal Facts, 01/05/2010
When the recession ends, states need to have the right policies in place that will promote economic growth and maintain revenue stability. Relatively high taxes on high-income individuals, smokers, and out-of-state business transactions can make a state less attractive and create more volatility in an already uncertain economic climate.
EducationBy Mark Schneider, American Enterprise InstituteEducation Outlook, 01/05/2010
As any parent with a college-bound child knows, college tuitions are rising much faster than inflation. One way to control costs is to make parents better consumers by giving them better price and outcome information. But the true cost of a college education is hard to calculate because of complex and opaque pricing structures. Today, colleges are spending more on administrators than on faculty or students and using dubious practices to get more revenue from students. Have we reached a tipping point?
Monetary Policy/Financial RegulationBy Peter J. Wallison, American Enterprise InstituteFinancial Services Outlook, 01/05/2010
The Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act of 1999 (GLBA) is often and ignorantly blamed for “repealing” the Glass-Steagall Act—which it did not do—but its real purpose was to enable banking organizations to compete more effectively with other kinds of financial institutions and business models. For reasons that are not yet clear, the GLBA has not achieved its purpose; banks have continued to focus on traditional lending activity and are now more heavily committed to the real estate sector than they were in 1999. The continuation of this trend will result in more bank instability in the future. The answer is not more regulation, as the Obama administration would have it, but policies like the GLBA that make it possible for banking organizations to meet their competition by broadening the range of their financial activities.
International Trade/FinanceBy Claude Barfield, Philip I. Levy, American Enterprise InstituteInternational Economic Outlook, 01/05/2010
On his trip to Asia in November, President Barack Obama broke from his administration’s reticence on trade and spoke in favor of a Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP). The origins of this agreement are familiar only to trade cognoscenti, and on its face the agreement appears economically trivial. But if it is pursued skillfully, it has the potential to reconfigure Asian trade in a way that would be beneficial to the United States and to the region. If fully developed, it could meet a pressing need for the United States to engage our allies in the region more fully.
Foreign Policy/International AffairsBy Michael Rubin, American Enterprise InstituteMiddle Eastern Outlook, 01/05/2010
The Obama administration would like to move Syria into the camp of more moderate Arab states, but there is scant evidence that Syria is willing to give up its support for terrorist organizations. Like Iran, it remains a destabilizing and dangerous force in the region.
Foreign Policy/International AffairsBy Gary J. Schmitt, American Enterprise InstituteNational Security Outlook, 01/05/2010
Neither the Clinton nor Bush administrations took full advantage of the growing impetus among the states of the Asia-Pacific region to work through multilateral forums. The Obama administration appears to be following the same pattern. Today a hodgepodge of institutions and forums exists in Asia, but none of them addresses the strategic needs of the region. The United States needs to find ways to maximize its influence through new regionwide forums and institutional arrangements. A two-tiered multilateral approach could benefit the nations in the region and the United States.
Economic GrowthBy John H. Makin, American Enterprise InstituteEconomic Outlook, 01/05/2010
As we move from 2009 to 2010, we are not likely to see a continuation of the improving financial and economic trends that characterized the last three quarters of 2009. The intensity of the stimulus applied cannot be repeated. Recall that central banks pushed interest rates to zero and undertook massive liquidity injections into the banking system while governments simultaneously and aggressively boosted spending—pushing up deficits and debt. Yet it is far from clear whether many of the world’s economies can sustain growth without the massive stimulus or, in the case of China, avoid inflation without its withdrawal. Japan is slipping into a deflationary crisis, with interest rates set effectively at zero, a budget deficit at over 8 percent of GDP, and government debt heading for 200 percent of GDP. The need to modulate stimulative policies somehow during 2010 makes for a highly uncertain outlook. Policy errors are likely.
Budget & TaxationBy Chris Edwards, Cato InstituteTax & Budget Bulletin, 01/05/2010
State and local governments face large budget deficits as revenues have stagnated and spending has remained at high levels. To reduce deficits, large savings can be found in the generous compensation packages of the nation’s 20 million state and local workers.
Family, Culture & CommunityBy William Schambra, American Enterprise InstituteBradley Lecture, 01/05/2010
Most conservatives will not have heard Freddie Garcia’s name. And yet in his life and ministry he embodied conservative social policy at its best. His work did not rely on—indeed, it repudiated—massive government expenditures for the purchase of costly professional expertise. Rather, in the best tradition of Alexis de Toqueville’s science of association—of decentralized, voluntary community-building—he worked to construct small, tightly-knit, nurturing faith communities for those whose addictions and incarcerations had long since driven them from the arms of family and friends.
EducationBy Frederick M. Hess, ASCDBook, 01/05/2010
If you’ve ever felt frustrated by excessive paperwork, complicated school policies, and bureaucratic rules that keep your school from doing its best work, this book explains a different way to think about school administration. Author Frederick M. Hess introduces you to the concept of “greenfield schooling” and its potential to free-up schools to be more responsive to communities and kids. Pointing to examples of promising new models, the book explains how a break-the-mold approach to organizing and managing schools can strip away barriers that impede new ventures and creative problem solving; cultivate innovation from the ground up by unleashing the power of educational “entrepreneurship”; expand accountability measurements beyond high-stakes tests to incorporate more valuable outcomes; harness the power of new technologies to rethink learning environments and track teacher and student performance; and create teacher certification, hiring, and supervision policies that are conducive to success.
National SecurityBy James Talent, Mackenzie Eaglen, The Heritage FoundationBackgrounder, 01/05/2010
The Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR) process is broken. Instead of establishing a road map for defense programs for the next 20 years, previous QDRs have been too budget-driven, purposefully shortsighted, and politically motivated. Congress can salvage the QDR process through thoughtful revisions and by reinforcing the guiding principles and intent of the original legislation. Congress should take particular care to protect the QDR process from arbitrary budget pressures and to provide for a truly independent judgment of the final QDR report by an outside panel.
National SecurityBy James Jay Carafano, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 01/05/2010
More leadership from the White House is needed to advance a sensible security agenda. Here is short to-do list of measures that the Administration could move on.
Economic and Political ThoughtBy Michael Novak, The Heritage FoundationHeritage Lecture, 01/05/2010
For its proponents, “social justice” is usually undefined. Originally a Catholic term, first used about 1840 for a new kind of virtue (or habit) necessary for post-agrarian societies, the term has been bent by secular “progressive” thinkers to mean uniform state distribution of society’s advantages and disadvantages. Social justice is really the capacity to organize with others to accomplish ends that benefit the whole community. If people are to live free of state control, they must possess this new virtue of cooperation and association. This is one of the great skills of Americans and, ultimately, the best defense against statism.
National SecurityBy James Jay Carafano, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 01/05/2010
The failed Christmas Day attack made one thing clear: The Administration has to use the systems and programs implemented after 9/11 more effectively.
National SecurityBy Jena Baker McNeill, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 01/05/2010
The plot against Northwest Airlines Flight 253 will not be in the last terrorist plot against the United States.
Health CareBy Nina Owcharenko, Robert E. Moffit, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 01/05/2010
The giant House and Senate health care bills reflect a faith in federal government control over the financing and delivery of Americans’ health care.
Family, Culture & CommunityBy Katherine Bradley, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 01/05/2010
There are at least a dozen detrimental policies included in the omnibus spending bill recently signed into law by the President.
Transportation/InfrastructureBy Randal O’Toole, Cato InstituteBook, 01/05/2010
America is the most mobile society in history, but our transportation system is on the verge of collapse. Traffic congestion is today five times greater than it was 25 years ago, yet many transportation plans and projects are making it worse. As Randal O’Toole reveals in Gridlock, the prime causes of our ailing system are a government transportation planning philosophy whose primary goal is to diminish auto use—hence, personal mobility—in combination with federal budget incentives that perversely encourage transportation planners to increase congestion. As a result, the automobile which is accessible to almost every family in the nation and provides unparalleled access to better housing, low-cost consumer goods, a choice-driven affordable life, and freedom—is being deliberately forced off the transportation grid by the expensive “solution” of little-used high-speed trains and urban transit lines.
Foreign Policy/International AffairsBy Martin Sieff, Cato InstituteBook, 01/05/2010
Americans must wake up to the reality that they will have to deal with China and India as equals. Both need to be respected and understood on their own vast and complex terms. But the history of U.S. engagement with both nations is replete with examples of excessive hostility and demonizing on the one hand, and naive, uncritical romanticism on the other.
Budget & TaxationBy E.J. McMahon, Josh Barro, Empire Center for New York State PolicySpecial Report, 01/04/2010
Billions in temporary federal stimulus funds have only postponed the inevitable. After living beyond its means for many years, the Empire State faces a day of reckoning. Raising state taxes even higher will only stifle the economic recovery. Continuing reliance on stopgap measures to balance the budget will prolong the crisis—leading to even deeper, more intractable problems in the future. Simply passing costs on to local governments and school districts will compound the already severe burden of local taxes across New York. The solution is to permanently reduce the size and cost of both state and local government to a level New Yorkers can afford. That demands sweeping, fundamental and permanent changes in the way government does business—the kind of changes described in this report. It can be done. And if New York is to avoid a California-style collapse, it must be done.