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Recent Policy Studies
Health CareBy Thomas P. Miller, Christopher J. Conover, American Enterprise InstituteWorking Paper, 01/27/2010
Proponents of a public health insurance plan, including President Obama, claim it is needed to stimulate competition. This paper challenges that claim from a national, state and local perspective. The evidence shows that at the national level the health insurance market generally is highly competitive for the 61 percent of privately insured Americans who now purchase their coverage through large groups.
Economic and Political ThoughtBy James W. Ceaser, American Enterprise InstitutePaper, 01/27/2010
Under the guidance of Tocqueville’s thought, the range of questions considered relevant for political inquiry extends well beyond that treated in ordinary political analysis today. With so enormous an array of subject matter to be covered, the Tocqueville on China project has sought more to propose a syllabus of study than to provide a definitive set of answers at this point. The syllabus poses great challenges at the same time that it opens up enormous opportunities. It calls to mind one of Lao-Tzu’s best-known proverbs: a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.
Budget & TaxationBy John H. Makin, American Enterprise InstituteEconomic Outlook, 01/27/2010
Last year projections, especially a three-year string of actual and projected deficits over a trillion dollars from 2009 through 2011, excited widespread comment and hand wringing about runaway deficits and their allegedly damaging effects in the form of lower growth, higher inflation, and higher interest rates. Come November’s midterm congressional elections it will offer voters an opportunity to render a judgment on the desirability of policies pursued over the past two years. If a large number of incumbent representatives and senators are voted out, part of the implicit mandate for the new Congress would be to undertake constructive measures to slow the growth of federal debt.
Natural Resources, Energy, Environment, & ScienceBy Commonwealth Foundation, Commonwealth Foundation for Public Policy AlternativesPolicy Brief, 01/27/2010
The release of embarrassingly candid emails from the Climate Research Unit of the University of East Anglia has intensified, if not vindicated, suspicions that scientific misconduct has played a significant role in fueling alarmism over supposed catastrophic manmade global warming. Penn State University (PSU) is to be commended for recognizing that Climategate is a serious matter and that an investigation into Michael Mann’s conduct is warranted, the investigation constitutes a conflict of interest for the university. Mann’s climate work brings enough visibility, prestige, and revenue to PSU to legitimately call into question the university’s ability to do a thorough and unbiased investigation.
Regulation & DeregulationBy Marc Levin, Texas Public Policy FoundationPolicy Perspective, 01/27/2010
In recent years, Texas has strengthened alternatives to incarceration for adults and juveniles, achieving significant reductions in crime while avoiding more than $2 billion in taxpayer costs that would have been incurred had Texas simply constructed more than 17,000 prison beds that a 2007 projection indicated would be needed. Similarly, juvenile crime has markedly declined at the same time Texas has reduced the number of youths in state institutions by 52.9 percent. By building on these successes in a challenging budget environment, policymakers can continue delivering improved results for public safety and taxpayers.
Crime, Justice & the LawBy Bill Peacock, Texas Public Policy FoundationPolicy Perspective, 01/27/2010
Markets may not guarantee the lowest possible prices, but they do guarantee the best possible prices based on a customer’s preference. Customers often prefer reliability, customer service, lack of volatility, and brands over the lowest possible price. Yet today, it appears that Texas consumers are getting all of those things and low prices as well. Only the government is keeping prices from getting even lower, proving to critics that reform does not bring on higher costs.
Natural Resources, Energy, Environment, & ScienceBy David W. Kreutzer, et al. , The Heritage FoundationBackgrounder, 01/27/2010
Barbara Boxer and John Kerry are pushing their climate-change legislation in the Senate. Like the Waxman-Markey bill, passed by the House last year, Boxer-Kerry is a cap-and-trade bill. Why is that bad? Because severely restricting greenhouse gas emission places an enormous burden on American families—higher gasoline prices, higher heating costs, higher energy taxes, higher unemployment. The Heritage Foundation’s team of economic and climate-change experts details the extraordinary costs that will fall on businesses and families across the country should this legislation become law.
Budget & TaxationBy Brian M. Riedl, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 01/27/2010
The new CBO 10-year budget baseline provides a sobering picture of unsustainable deficits.
Economic and Political ThoughtBy Robin Harris, The Heritage FoundationSpecial Report, 01/27/2010
Pursuing an authentically Anglo-Saxon route to decline offers no benefits to the United States. What works in one of our countries has been shown to work in the other. But what fails in one country also fails in the other, and in crucial respects Britain is now failing. The country’s palpable decline from its prosperity and security of just two decades ago constitutes an awful but, if intelligently observed, timely and useful warning to America.
Foreign Policy/International AffairsBy Ray Walser, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 01/27/2010
The U.S. should take the critical first steps toward improving conditions not only in Honduras but—to Chávez’s chagrin—throughout Latin America.
Health CareBy John R. Graham, Pacific Research InstituteHealth Policy Prescriptions, 01/26/2010
The Senate bill would motivate states to invest more resources in recruiting higher-income residents into Medicaid, rather than traditionally eligible beneficiaries, including the blind and disabled; and increase the risk of fraud, waste, and corruption. The Senate bill also gives richer states a bigger Medicaid bailout than lower income ones. New Hampshire, Maryland, and Connecticut get the biggest handouts, while Mississippi, West Virginia, and Arkansas are short-changed. The federal government should eliminate entirely the current funding formula in favor of block grants to states.
EducationBy Dan Lips, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 01/26/2010
Race to the Top, like No Child Left Behind, is likely to provide disappointing results and problematic consequences.
Foreign Policy/International AffairsBy Brett D. Schaefer, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 01/26/2010
Over the past few years, data promoted by the U.N. to justify various initiatives have been shown to be inaccurate or deliberately exaggerated.
National SecurityBy James Jay Carafano, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 01/26/2010
The President’s State of the Union address should offer solid and concrete commitments to defend the U.S., protect this nation’s liberties, and promote American prosperity.
National SecurityBy Diem Nguyen, Jena Baker McNeill, The Heritage FoundationBackgrounder, 01/26/2010
Despite Congress’s mandate in 2007 that the Department of Homeland Security track all foreign visitors biometrically by June 2009, DHS missed the deadline, and biometric exit, as opposed to the current biographic approach, has proved costly without adding much additional security. Following is a plan on how Congress can break the stalemate—and provide useful data and security for Americans as well as the many visitors who come to the U.S. every year.
Foreign Policy/International AffairsBy Sally McNamara, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 01/26/2010
The London Conference must present clear opportunities to advance the future of Afghanistan and rally diplomatic support for General McChrystal’s counterinsurgency strategy.
Natural Resources, Energy, Environment, & ScienceBy Todd Myers, Brandon Houskeeper, Washington Policy CenterPolicy Note, 01/26/2010
As legislators and the Governor grapple with the economic problems facing Washington State, this is a good time to reassess our environmental priorities to ensure we are really protecting the environment while promoting jobs and prosperity. Washington Policy Center’s 2010 Recommendations for Effective Environmental Stewardship offers proven and innovative ways to help the environment by creating personal incentives to reduce greenhouse gases and harnessing the knowledge of millions of Washington residents to take steps toward sustainability.
EducationBy Justin Owen, Beacon Center of TennesseePolicy Brief, 01/26/2010
As lawmakers grapple with reforming teacher performance evaluations and tenure, as well as restructuring the higher education funding mechanism, they should strongly consider the long-range impact that their decisions will have on the entire education system. Solving the issue with diligence would benefit the state much more than a temporary fix designed to receive onetime federal money.
Monetary Policy/Financial RegulationBy Carson Young, Anthony Randazzo, Reason FoundationPolicy Study, 01/26/2010
In March 2008, Bear Stearns, one of the largest investment banks and securities trading firms in the world, rapidly fell apart. The firm could no longer raise private capital to fund its day-to-day activities and, with billions of dollars in liabilities, faced bankruptcy. Fearing a collapse of the investment bank would set off a chain of financial institution bankruptcies, the Federal Reserve partnered with JP Morgan Chase to provide a $29.5 billion bailout for Bear Stearns. While there were many signals in the market before this event, the downfall of Bear Stearns marked the beginning of the oncoming financial crisis that would shake the financial system worldwide and result in a global recession.
Economic GrowthBy Daniel M. Rothschild, Emily Washington, Mercatus CenterWorking Paper, 01/26/2010
The authors examine the effects of the Federal Government’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), more commonly called the “stimulus package”. In part intended to help states confront looming budget shortfalls, the ARRA has done little to address the underlying causes, and has created perverse incentives that prevent the states from being fiscally responsible. At least 41 states and the District of Columbia have reduced public services, and 30 states have raised taxes. As of this writing, at least 42 states still face unresolved budget shortfalls.
Budget & TaxationBy Eileen Norcross, Emily Washington, Mercatus CenterWorking Paper, 01/26/2010
The duration and depth of the current recession reveals the risks associated with the federal-state unemployment insurance programs. Unemployment insurance programs in the states have been approaching insolvency for more than a decade, putting pressure on states to raise payroll taxes, cut benefits, or seek federal loans. None of these options are desirable during a recession, when individuals need the benefits most and states can least afford to increase taxes. The best solution to providing unemployed workers with income security is to give workers autonomy over savings dedicated to covering unemployment.
Budget & TaxationBy Jerry Brito, Mercatus CenterPolicy Summary, 01/26/2010
Spending is at an all time high, and cutting it is nearly impossible because every federal program has a constituency that lobbies hard to keep it alive. Our nation faced a similar situation of record deficits after the Cold War. At that time, the obvious target was to close down surplus military bases. However, because Congress had the authority and responsibility of closing these bases, each Member of Congress wanted their district to be exempt from any closure. It wasn’t until the Base Realignment and Closure Commission was created that underutilized military bases were closed successfully, saving the federal government billions annually. A similar approach can be applied to examining federal programs and eliminating inefficiencies, cutting overall spending.
LaborBy Ivan Osorio, Capital Research CenterLabor Watch, 01/25/2010
SEIU president Andrew Stern has made controversial attempts to restructure organized labor in the image of the SEIU, which has provoked conflicts with other union leaders. The only predictable thing about Andrew Stern is his ability to shake things up. His story is still unfolding.
Natural Resources, Energy, Environment, & ScienceBy Brandon Pizzola, Capital Research CenterOrganization Trends, 01/25/2010
Free Market Environmentalism was once considered an oxymoron. But during the 1990s the concept was seriously and successfully applied to practical environmental problems. As a result, some green activists now recognize that innovative market-based strategies can solve problems from conservation to pollution. Supporters of free market environmentalism have organized themselves into a movement to offer policy answers that more government programs and regulations can’t adequately address.
EducationBy Charles Chieppo, Pioneer Institute for Public Policy ResearchPolicy Brief, 01/25/2010
Southern New England School of Law interest in offering itself to the UMass is clear. It appears to be no less than a matter of life and death for the embattled law school. The benefits that would accrue to the citizens of Massachusetts are far less obvious. At the very least, the Commonwealth’s taxpayers should be made aware of the costs that would likely be associated with turning SNESL into the University of Massachusetts Law School before a final decision is made.
Economic GrowthBy Derek Scissors, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 01/25/2010
Regardless of the data reported by the PRC, the Chinese economy is headed for a rough patch, this time domestic in origin.
Crime, Justice & the LawBy Martin Kwedar, Washington Legal FoundationLegal Backgrounder, 01/25/2010
The trio of honest services fraud cases to be decided by the Supreme Court this term – U.S. v. Black, U.S. v. Skilling and U.S. v. Weyhrauch – have the potential to effect a major change in criminal enforcement policy at the Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice (“the Division”). Regardless of how the Supreme Court rules, its opinion is bound to offer the business community more certainty on what it means to commit an honest services violation. The Antitrust Division could further aid the business community by providing clear guidance on its enforcement intentions. In the absence of such guidance, businesses must strengthen their own compliance efforts to minimize opportunities to run afoul of the honest services fraud statute when marketing to customers, suppliers and other business partners.
Regulation & DeregulationBy Sean P. Wajert, James M. Beck, Vincent A. Gallo, Washington Legal FoundationLegal Backgrounder, 01/25/2010
Food and Drug Administration regulated entities can expect an increase in the volume of regulatory letters now that Agency’s Office of Chief Counsel will no longer review regulatory letters which do not present “significant legal issues.” The likelihood that these letters will be legally deficient is also greater. Because even the mere issuance of a non-final, technically not binding, regulatory letter can have significant legal consequences, including civil litigation under state law, recipients of such letters will need to be increasingly active in protecting their rights. Once a regulatory letter has been issued, the entity receiving the letter should keep in mind that FDA counsel may have never reviewed it. Thus, legal defenses to the letters, including those based on the First Amendment, should be considered.
Health CareBy Mark A. Behrens, Cary Silverman, Washington Legal FoundationLegal Opinion Letter, 01/25/2010
In one of 2009’s most significant state court rulings, the Alabama Supreme Court reversed verdicts against three prescription drug makers totaling over a quarter billion dollars. The Alabama Supreme Court ruled 8-1 that the defendant companies did not defraud the state. The court’s decision in AstraZeneca LP v. State of Alabama, is “exemplary of litigation currently pending in state and federal courts” involving allegations that the nationwide pricing policies of pharmaceutical manufacturers caused states to overpay for Medicaid recipients’ prescription drugs. AstraZeneca creates a significant hurdle for the state in related cases, such as a nearly $80 million judgment being appealed by generic drug manufacturer Sandoz, Inc. The reasoning of the Alabama Supreme Court also indicates that there will be significant proof problems for other states, particularly with respect to proving reasonable reliance.
EducationBy Steve Anderson, Oklahoma Council of Public AffairsCurrent Perspective, 01/25/2010
It’s clear that government officials owe Oklahoma’s taxpayers more sunshine and transparency than they’re currently getting. The state’s most powerful labor union, the Oklahoma Education Association, says we spend $7,615 per pupil in Oklahoma. The union gets this number from the National Center for Education Statistics. But I have conducted a comprehensive examination of public education spending in Oklahoma for the 2007-08 school year (the latest year for which actual data are available), and I estimate the real number is $10,257 per pupil. My study was designed to measure every cost involved in funding and operating the public education system. Instead of arbitrarily selecting or excluding a cost, I used common-sense guidelines with an independent referee-the Governmental Accounting Standards Board.
Foreign Policy/International AffairsBy Frederick W. Kagan, American Enterprise InstituteTestimony, 01/25/2010
The U.S. government must design and implement a new model for dealing with the real and likely danger in Yemen, and fast. The problem is much greater than improving the capabilities of Yemen’s military, and FID doctrine does not extend to reforming the host nation’s government and state apparatus. The U.S. government will have to design and implement a new model for accomplishing this important mission, and fast.
Monetary Policy/Financial RegulationBy Jeffrey Friedman, Wladimir Kraus, American Enterprise InstituteRegulation Outlook, 01/25/2010
There is little evidence that deregulation or banks’ compensation practices caused the financial crisis. What did seem to cause it were capital regulations imposed on banks across the world. These regulations explain why bankers who are commonly seen as having recklessly bought risky mortgage-backed bonds in order to boost earnings—and bonuses—actually bought the least-risky, least-lucrative bonds available: those that were guaranteed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac or were rated AAA. These securities were decisively favored by capital regulations, raising the question of whether regulation actually increases systemic risk. By definition, regulations aim to homogenize the otherwise heterogeneous behavior of competing enterprises. Since one set of regulations has the force of law, it homogenizes the entire economy in that jurisdiction. But regulators are fallible, and if their ideas turn out to be wrong—as they appear to have been in the case of capital regulations—the entire system is put at risk.
Foreign Policy/International AffairsBy Roger F. Noriega, American Enterprise InstituteLatin American Outlook, 01/25/2010
The Obama administration must be prepared to respond to growing instability in Venezuela, improve relations with Brazil during a presidential transition, strengthen ties with Colombia, and provide more robust anti-drug assistance to Mexico. A first step toward developing effective U.S. policy in the region is to analyze the threat Venezuela’s Hugo Chávez poses to the United States and respond with all available resources. They should seek to strengthen ties with Brazil and Colombia and to better assist Mexico’s campaign against deadly drug cartels.
Health CareBy John E. Calfee, American Enterprise InstituteHealth Policy Outlook, 01/25/2010
Instead of taking the time to create common-sense legislation to address shortcomings in the U.S. health care system, Congress proceeded under the mistaken assumption that any bill to fundamentally reform the health care system is better than no bill at all. An attempt to change all aspects of the health care system at once has led to complex legislation that is difficult to understand or measure effectively. Although it is thought any bill is better than no bill, the introduction of such legislation would result in more harm to the American consumer than anything.
EducationBy Marcus A. Winters, Manhattan InstituteCity Journal, 01/22/2010
States’ low standards have spurred a bipartisan campaign to create worthwhile national ones. Conservative groups like the Fordham Foundation have pushed for national standards for years; more recently, President Obama and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, as well as local leaders like New York City schools chancellor Joel Klein, have embraced the idea. But the road to national standards would be extremely tough to navigate politically. A more feasible approach would give all states an incentive to set objectively high standards themselves, and the looming reauthorization of the federal No Child Left Behind act gives us a perfect opportunity to do it.
Health CareBy Robert A. Book, Kathryn Nix , The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 01/22/2010
The Senate health care bill opens the door to the complete elimination of people’s ability to choose private health plans.
Economic GrowthBy Steve Forbes, Elizabeth Ames, Random HouseBook, 01/22/2010
Capitalism is the world’s greatest economic success story. It is the most effective way to provide for the needs of people and foster the democratic and moral values of a free society. Yet the worst recession in decades has widely—and understandably—shaken people’s faith in our system. Even before the current crisis, capitalism received a “bad rap” from a culture ambivalent about free markets and wealth creation. This crisis of confidence is preventing a full recognition of how we got into the mess we’re in today—and why capitalism continues to be the best route to prosperity.
The Constitution/Civil LibertiesBy Seth L. Cooper, Free State FoundationPerspectives from FSF Scholars, 01/22/2010
The fact that a federal agency offers a regulatory labyrinth by which a citizen—corporate or otherwise—could escape speech restriction enforcement and associated penalties confers no legitimacy on the exercise of such power where the underlying restrictions chill speech. For this reason, adoption of an ambiguous set of net neutrality regulations that would require several rounds of FCC rulings to flesh out their meaning is problematic because, in the meantime, speech is chilled by the ominous presence of such regulations and potential sanctions. Citizens United v. FEC may not be the pivot point, at least in the near-term, for any forthcoming court ruling on the constitutionality of modern communications regulation such as media ownership, cable subscriber caps, or network neutrality. But the Court’s ruling should provide some persuasive reinforcement for already existing arguments about the potential unconstitutionality of many types of regulatory mandates applicable to communications companies.
Transportation/InfrastructureBy Joseph M. Giglio, Hudson InstituteBook, 01/22/2010
The financial meltdown of 2008 has saddled us with an economic crisis that’s changed our world in some drastic and significant ways since Professor Giglio’s three previous books on transportation were published beginning in 2005. In this new book, Professor Giglio argues that our thinking about transforming transportation in America must evolve to reflect these changes. To help us understand why, his book begins by reviewing how the current economic crisis came about and what impact it’s likely to have on critical aspects of life in America, especially transportation. He provides clear, detailed explanations of the Great Financial Meltdown of 2008, the whys and wherefores of subjects like Oil Price Volatility, the Crazy World of Financial Derivatives, and the Housing and Mortgage Mess, plus the down-and-dirty realities of Markets in the 21st Century. Finally, he explores some of the things we’ll have to do to Make It Big in the much-changed world of the 21st Century, like transforming our transportation systems into Serious Economic Growth Generators. And he does all this in a clear, reader-friendly style that avoids the eye-glazing abstractions of standard academic prose so typical of most books on these subjects. This makes the book an enjoyable, page-turning read for busy people.
LaborBy James Sherk, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 01/22/2010
For the first time in American history most union members work for the government.
EducationBy David B. Muhlhausen, Dan Lips , The Heritage FoundationBackgrounder, 01/22/2010
Recently released results from the Head Start Impact Study indicate that the benefits of participating in Head Start almost completely disappear by first grade. While other studies have previously assessed Head Start’s effectiveness, this is the only study that used a rigorous experimental design. Given this strongly negative evaluation, Congress should reconsider spending more than $9 billion per year on a program that produces few positive lasting effects. Furthermore, instead of creating yet another new federal preschool program at a cost of $8 billion, Congress and the Obama Administration should focus on terminating, consolidating, and reforming existing preschool and child care programs to better serve children’s needs and to improve efficiency for taxpayers.
Budget & TaxationBy Curtis S. Dubay, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 01/22/2010
A value-added tax would not reduce the budget deficit but actually increase it.
National SecurityBy Owen B. Graham, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 01/22/2010
As the START successor negotiations continue, the U.S. needs a different strategy.
Health CareBy Robert E. Moffit, Kathryn Nix , The Heritage FoundationBackgrounder, 01/22/2010
The U.S. Senate’s much-discussed Christmas Eve vote on health care reform has not received the attention it deserves on certain crucial details concerning the replacement of the so—called “public option” with a new federal contracting authority. In fact, the Yuletide bill is nothing more than a reincarnation of the same old government–run health care that has become increasingly unpopular with the American public. There is one new aspect: This newest version provides the U.S. Office of Personnel Management with new and expanded powers.
Monetary Policy/Financial RegulationBy David C. John, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 01/22/2010
Obama’s “bank responsibility fee” would inevitably cause more problems than it solves.
Health CareBy Amy M. Lischko, Anand Gopalsami, Pioneer Institute for Public Policy ResearchWhite Paper, 01/22/2010
Pioneer Institute developed a four-score card metric system by which to asses the health care legislation instituted by the state of Massachusetts. The following article is part one in a four part series. The authors addressed the aspects of legislation dealing with access to healthcare and concluded that although there does seem to be a “significant decrease in the number of individuals without health insurance,” there is not enough “current detailed data” by which to draw a conclusive decision. The authors give this scorecard a B but with the stipulation that there is a lot of “clarifying data” missing.
Monetary Policy/Financial RegulationBy J. W. Verret, Katelyn Christ , Mercatus CenterWorking Paper, 01/22/2010
As part of a broad legislative effort to regulate hedge funds, Congress has introduced a bill that would require hedge funds to register with the SEC and comply with new record keeping and disclosure requirements. A much more effective method of regulating hedge funds would be to institute a strategy which effectively encourages markets to self-police by instituting financial regulatory policies that support self-regulation of hedge funds.
Economic and Political ThoughtBy David Kirby, David Boaz, Cato InstitutePolicy Study, 01/21/2010
We find that 14 percent of American voters can be classified as libertarian. Few of the voters we describe as libertarian identify themselves as such. But the Ron Paul campaign and the burgeoning opposition to President Obama’s big-government agenda suggest that small-government voters may be easier to organize than they have been in the past.
Economic GrowthBy Nicholas Eberstadt , American Enterprise InstituteBook, 01/21/2010
The Korean peninsula during the Cold War provided a cruel but historically unparalleled real-world “experiment” in the relationship between polity and material advance: an ethnically and culturally homogenous nation was, in 1945, suddenly divided by an arbitrary boundary line and then subjected to two radically different and adversarial political economies for successive decades on end. Assessing the competition between the North and South Korean economies from partition to the end of the Soviet era, Nicholas Eberstadt argues that the storyline is not quite as simple as the now-prevailing narrative suggests (that centrally-planned economies are doomed to fail against market-oriented alternatives). Rather, he suggests, the race for material progress was just that: a race, the results of which were far from preordained at the outset.
National SecurityBy Ray Walser, The Heritage FoundationBackgrounder, 01/21/2010
The U.S. officially designates four countries as state sponsors of terrorism—Iran, Syria, Cuba, and Sudan. It is high time to add Venezuela to the list. Far from being merely a populist showman and bully, Hugo Chávez is a reckless leader who collaborates with Colombian narcoterrorists and Islamist terrorists, pals around with brutal Iranian dictator Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, is a virulent anti-Semite, and is guided by a relentless anti-Americanism in everything he does. President Obama does not see Venezuela as a threat to U.S. national security. This view is not optimistic—it is dangerous.
Foreign Policy/International AffairsBy Bruce Klingner, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 01/21/2010
The Obama Administration must remain resolute on the need to implement the U.S.-Japan force realignment agreement.
Natural Resources, Energy, Environment, & ScienceBy Nicolas D. Loris, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 01/21/2010
Congress should amend the Clean Air Act in order to prevent the EPA from bankrupting the nation.
Budget & TaxationBy Christina Forsberg, Stefanie Haeffele-Balch, Maurice McTigue, Mercatus CenterWorking Paper, 01/21/2010
There has been a rising academic debate on the sustainability of deficit spending and accumulated debt in governments across the globe. This correlates with a growing concern that excessive government deficits and accumulated debt will lead to unstable financial environments and a devalued quality of life for future generations. Varying economies with varying fiscal behavior have increased incentives to work toward more responsible fiscal behavior through reining in deficit spending and debt accumulation. We conclude that countries achieving “Success!” tend to either (1) have a history of stability and transparency or (2) have faced some crisis which motivated fiscal stability and other government reform. This research has illuminated the fact that countries which are making reforms in accounting and reevaluating the roles of government (to respond to a national crisis or to earn a competitive edge) have been able to achieve and sustain fiscal stability.
Economic GrowthBy Paul Dragos Aligica, Johan van der Walt, Mercatus CenterWorking Paper, 01/21/2010
As publication after publication, and organization after organization, are rushing to embrace the ‘entrepreneurship approach’ it is important to take into account not only the warning signals along the way but also the experience of previous episodes when one approach or another was embraced as ‘The Solution’ only to be discarded and forgotten as soon as it became obvious that the unrealistic expectations set up initially were disappointed. In other words, one will observe that this rhetorical escalation is not unique to this strategy and is part of a larger phenomenon in a field where new ideas that are offered as ‘The Solution’ come and go, often making a negligible impact.
Economic GrowthBy Robert H. Nelson, Independent InstituteBook, 01/21/2010
“Economics and environmentalism are types of modern religions.” So says author Robert H. Nelson in this analysis of the roots of economics and environmentalism and their mutually antagonistic relations in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Questions about the proper relationship between human beings and nature have led to the growth of these public theologies, or secular religions, even while both avoid mentioning their derivation from Western Judeo-Christian sources. So while environmentalists regard human actions to warm the climate, expand human populations, and increase economic growth as immoral challenges to the natural order, economists seek to put all of nature to maximum use for the production of more goods and services and other human benefits.