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- Regulation & Deregulation
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- Acton Institute
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Recent Policy Studies
EducationBy Association of American Educators, Association of American EducatorsReport, 06/11/2010
Although it purports to serve teachers and meet their professional needs, the NEA does not use its resources exclusively to help educators meet their number one goal of helping children learn. It lacks the focus to fulfill its mission of “a great public school for every student.” Individual teachers pay hundreds and even thousands of dollars year after year in NEA dues. These dues are used in activities that many members find offensive and infuriating. This booklet outlines the NEA’s history, how it spends its money, how it works to control teachers and politicians, and what you can do about it.
Natural Resources, Energy, Environment, & ScienceBy Derek Monson, Sutherland InstitutePolicy Report, 06/10/2010
Modern environmental thought has become an enemy of Utahns’ freedom and, ironically, the environment. Though this school of thought sprang from a rational reflection on the ecological impacts of human activities, it has since abandoned these philosophical underpinnings for an oppressive radical ideology. The result is a worldview espousing policies designed to undermine traditional values, environmental practices, and institutions, and which still fail to protect Mother Nature.
WelfareBy Bryce Christensen, William Duncan, Sutherland InstitutePolicy Report, 06/10/2010
Explaining her support for aggressive measures to collect child support, one activist from Utah has declared, “We can – and we must – take the financial reward out of desertions.” Such a view is understandable, even laudable. But is it not also time to take the financial reward out of marital faithlessness?
EducationBy Derek Monson, Sutherland InstitutePolicy Report, 06/10/2010
The potential upside of online learning for Utah children and the state’s public education system is significant. Several public policy tools can help these benefits to materialize and are worth lawmakers’ consideration.
EducationBy Daniel Witte, Sutherland InstitutePolicy Report, 06/10/2010
Policymakers must become aware that educational innovation and reform actually occurs at three different levels. Permanent, meaningful reform in the pedagogical realm (what and how to instruct) and in the organizational realm (operations, culture, human resources, and general-resource use within the educational institution) almost always depends upon prerequisite change in the civic realm (including the legally-defined structures by which political and economic decisions are made and by which constituent families have representational input).
EducationBy Matthew C. Piccolo, Sutherland InstitutePolicy Report, 06/10/2010
As Congress works to reauthorize NCLB, Utahns have a vitally important decision to make; a decision that will impact our schools and students for years to come: Will we choose to free ourselves from federal burdens and limitations that impede our educational progress, or like a person with Battered Spouse Syndrome, will we return to our abusive “partner” time and again in order to maintain a false sense of financial security?
Budget & TaxationBy John Tillman, J. Scott Moody, Wendy P. Warcholik, Illinois Policy InstituteReport, 06/10/2010
By embracing the Pension Funding & Fairness Act, Illinois will be able to control spending excesses, budget responsibly, and fully fund the annual required pension payment. Overall, this plan will help the government honor its commitments while also honoring its responsibility to the taxpayers—all while launching a new period of growth and government accountability in Illinois.
Budget & TaxationBy Illinois Policy Institute, Illinois Policy InstitutePolicy Brief, 06/10/2010
Rather than giving special benefits to a few specific tourist attractions, Illinois needs to consider new avenues for attracting tourists, such as decreasing the cost of visiting Illinois by lowering taxes.
Bargaining for Better Schools: An Introduction to Collective Bargaining in Illinois Public EducationBy Collin Hitt, Sonya Jones, Illinois Policy InstituteReport, 06/10/2010
The most important policy adopted by any school or school district is its contract with its teachers. This guide helps new and aspiring school board members in Illinois with collective bargaining.
Regulation & DeregulationBy Kate Piercy, Illinois Policy InstituteReport, 06/10/2010
Implementing regulatory reforms in the areas of workers’ compensation, minimum wage, and state licensing and fees would create a more favorable business climate in Illinois, attracting more businesses, more jobs, and more state revenue to our state.
Budget & TaxationBy Illinois Policy Institute, Illinois Policy InstituteSpotlight on Spending, 06/10/2010
Historically, public employees have faced a trade-off: lower wages than the private sector in exchange for job security and generous benefits. That trade-off, however, has been disappearing.
EducationBy John LaPlante, Kansas Policy InstituteEducation Report, 06/10/2010
Volume 4 examines whether Kansas schools are providing an education that gives students the opportunity to gain substantial skills needed for citizenship, further education and functioning in today’s job market. It also offers proposals to improve the current education delivery process, explores alternatives to the current funding methodology and examines existing and alternative methods of measuring student (and school) performance.
Transportation/InfrastructureBy Randal O'Toole, Georgia Public Policy FoundationIssue Analysis, 06/10/2010
Public transit is often portrayed as a low-cost, energy-efficient alternative to auto driving. In fact, transit is much more costly than driving, and requires huge subsidies to attract any riders at all. Moreover, transit systems in the vast majority of American cities use more energy and emit more greenhouse gases than the average car. For every dollar collected in fares from transit riders, the average transit system in America requires more than $2 from taxpayers for operating subsidies plus more than $1 for capital improvements and maintenance. So it is not surprising that transit systems in Georgia require large subsidies. What may be surprising is that most are far less environmentally friendly than a typical sports utility vehicle.
Health CareBy John R. Graham, Pacific Research InstituteHealth Policy Prescriptions, 06/10/2010
The Medicare Part B system cannot be fixed: It would be far better for the federal government simply to pull the plug on the entire mechanism and convert Medicare Part B to a system of vouchers, which would limit taxpayers’ liability. In return for this hard budget, the government would allow physicians to charge whatever fees they and their patients agreed upon.
Information TechnologyBy Dennis L. Weisman, Free State FoundationPerspectives from FSF Scholars, 06/10/2010
The Federal Communications Commission has yet to release its Notice seeking comment on its proposed “third way” to impose net neutrality regulation on broadband Internet service providers since the federal appeals court in April called into question its attempts to do so through the exercise of ancillary jurisdiction. All we have to go on thus far are relatively brief statements by FCC Chairman Genachowski and General Counsel Schlick. Hence, out of necessity this discussion raises more questions than it answers. That said, getting the questions right is more than half the battle.
Information TechnologyBy Seth L. Cooper, Free State FoundationPerspectives from FSF Scholars, 06/10/2010
In the early 1990s Saturday Night Live’s Dana Carvey elicited plenty of laughter for his portrayal of President George Bush #41, including the former President’s hesitation in saying the word “recession” in the face of an economic downturn. While we now find ourselves facing a newer recession, one of the bright spots of our economy has been the dynamic wireless marketplace. Data contained in the FCC’s recently released fourteenth annual wireless competition report points to continuing wireless innovation and competition.
Transportation/InfrastructureBy David Stokes, Josh Smith, Show-Me InstituteCase Study, 06/10/2010
In today’s terms, the Saint Louis water division can be described as a municipal utility that provides high-quality water at an affordable price to the people of Saint Louis. From another perspective, however, it is also a valuable asset that could be auctioned to a private water utility, generating an enormous amount of money for the city and its taxpayers. Simply put, the city’s water division is worth hundreds of millions of dollars. Unless the city can demonstrate that private operation of the water supply would result in both lower overall water quality and higher real costs (after adjusting for the current subsidies that are common with municipal utilities), the city should strongly consider the financial opportunities of selling its water treatment and distribution systems.
Budget & TaxationBy Robert Carroll, Tax FoundationSpecial Report, 06/10/2010
The U.S. made considerable progress in addressing the problems with the double tax on corporate profits in 2003 when the dividends tax rate was lowered to 15 percent. The double tax on corporate profits discourages productive capital formation, encourages debt finance, discourages investment in the corporate sector, and discourages dividend payouts.
Budget & TaxationBy Jake Haulk, Allegheny Institute for Public PolicyPolicy Brief, 06/10/2010
Here we go again. Port Authority (PAT) is facing yet another financial crisis. This time they can blame it on the failure of the Feds to approve tolling I-80. So now they are looking at a $50 million hole in their budget.
Economic GrowthBy Jake Haulk, Allegheny Institute for Public PolicyPolicy Brief, 06/10/2010
The decades’ long anemic growth of Pennsylvania’s economy has been well documented. Consistently over many years, the state has posted job gains ranking among the bottom five or ten states. That should come as no surprise given the business climate and regulatory environment special interests have saddled the Commonwealth with. Let’s look at three of the worst of the legislative and policy measures inhibiting Pennsylvania’s growth.
The Constitution/Civil LibertiesBy Stephen Halbrook, Independent InstituteArticle, 06/10/2010
The stage is set for the Court to resolve in 2010 whether the Second Amendment is incorporated into the Fourteenth Amendment, either through its Due Process Clause or Privileges or Immunities Clause, so as to protect from State infringement the right of the people to keep and bear arms. The common understanding during Reconstruction was that the Fourteenth Amendment did protect the right from violation by the States.
Health CareBy Patrick Basham, Washington Legal FoundationLegal Backgrounder, 06/10/2010
The movement to implement a “fat tax” can be traced all the way back to a 1994 New York Times Op-Ed by Yale University’s Kelly Brownell. Professor Brownell has continued his advocacy for such taxes, both alone and along with now-former New York City health commissioner Thomas Frieden. Other activists, such as Center for Science in the Public Interest’s (CSPI) Michael Jacobson, have over time joined their crusade. These advocates and other sin tax proponents have urged Congress to fund government health care services with a fat tax, an effort which proved unsuccessful. However, states and cities in search of new sources of revenue, and eager to be seen as “doing something” to oppose obesity, have now stepped into the fray. Twenty state and local legislatures are reportedly pursuing taxes on soft drinks. Before the nation’s food police begin fantasizing about a thinner population, coupled with sizeable new streams of government revenue, a closer look at five key problems with soft drink taxes is warranted.
PhilanthropyBy Jeffrey Cain, Washington Legal FoundationLegal Backgrounder, 06/10/2010
From the proposed decrease in the charitable tax deduction to greater government intrusion into the operation of private foundations, there are numerous ways in which philanthropic freedom is now in jeopardy. In particular, five ideas and trends threaten to undermine America's status as the most generous country in the world.
Health CareBy Lauren K. Hall, Independent InstituteThe Independent Review, 06/10/2010
As currently practiced, bioethics is largely irrelevant to those who are affected by new biomedical technology. The bioethics community could recover from this crisis by applying classical-liberal precepts about human nature and absolute power to crucial issues such as patient autonomy, physician responsibility, and human dignity.
Natural Resources, Energy, Environment, & ScienceBy Todd Wynn, Eric Lowe, Cascade Policy InstituteReport, 06/10/2010
Forcing Oregonians to purchase an energy source with so many associated costs is unwise. At best, wind power simply replaces a clean, reliable and affordable source of energy: hydroelectricity. At worst, it invites increased price volatility, increased rates and the prospect of more greenhouse gas-emitting facilities. Ultimately, mandating increased wind generation leads to financial burdens on businesses and individuals across the state that ought to be considered carefully. Legislators should not attempt to choose “winners” in emerging energy technologies, nor should they force costly energy sources upon ratepayers. Instead, utilities should allow ratepayers to pay the full cost of renewable energy voluntarily and to expand renewable energy according to consumer demand.
Information TechnologyBy Jeffrey D. Neuburger, Natalie Newman, Washington Legal FoundationContemporary Legal Note, 06/10/2010
Newly effective regulations promulgated under Massachusetts’ recent data security law, Mass. Gen. Law ch. 93H, have raised the bar for data security compliance. Even companies that were compliant with applicable law prior to the enactment of the Regulations are obligated to review where they stand in light of these new requirements. Furthermore, companies outside of Massachusetts cannot ignore the Regulations–their effect is national and international in scope, as they apply to all companies–wherever located–using personal data of Massachusetts residents.
Economic and Political ThoughtBy Scott A. Boykin, Independent InstituteThe Independent Review, 06/10/2010
For more than two centuries, liberal constitutionalists have championed the separation of powers as a means of constraining self-interested political activity that erodes personal freedom. Although F. A. Hayek values the separation of powers, he contends that it cannot safeguard individual liberty unless the prevailing culture, a product of spontaneous order, favors limited government.
The Medicare Technology Crunch: Procedures, Technologies and Medicines Covered by Private Insurers Aren’t Necessarily Covered by MedicareBy Matt Patterson, National Center for Public Policy ResearchNational Policy Analysis, 06/10/2010
According to a 2008 American Medical Association health insurer report card, Medicare denies 6.85 percent of its claims, and therefore has the dubious distinction of turning down patients more than any private insurer. Which makes one wonder: If our entire health care system becomes something like Medicare in the wake of ObamaCare’s passage, where will we go if and when the government refuses to pay for an advanced medical device or treatment that we may need or want? And where will the Canadians go?
Natural Resources, Energy, Environment, & ScienceBy Tom Borelli, National Center for Public Policy ResearchNational Policy Analysis, 06/10/2010
Next week, the Senate will determine whether it sides with “we the people” or if in the name of environmental protection our elected representatives support a drastic expansion of government that will trample our liberties for no measurable environmental benefit.
National SecurityBy Daniel Goure, Lexington InstituteReport, 06/10/2010
Faced with the need to control the costs and improve the performance of its logistics and sustainment system, the Department of Defense has pursued a deliberate strategy of integrating better the private and public, or organic, defense industrial bases. The centerpiece of this strategy is the creation of public-private partnerships (PPPs) and the implementation of an approach to logistics and sustainment known as performance-based logistics (PBL). By capitalizing on the comparative advantages of the public and private halves of the defense industrial base, the defense department can support the warfighter while reducing the costs for maintenance and sustainment, and improving the availability of weapons systems they need.
EducationBy Lori Drummer, Don Soifer, Lexington InstituteResearch Study, 06/10/2010
Cavernous achievement gaps between Latino children in the United States and their white peers have not only persisted through the past decade, but have barely shown any signs of improving. For the two in five Latino eighth graders who score "below basic" on standardized tests, the odds against earning a high school diploma are steep. And if present trends hold, only 11 out of every 100 Latino kindergartners in the United States will complete a bachelor's degree.
Regulation & DeregulationBy Eli Lehrer, Heartland InstitutePolicy Study, 06/10/2010
Three particularly important trends characterized insurance regulation in the United States in 2009: a broad embrace of market-based solutions, increased moves toward federal regulation of the insurance industry, and greater questions about the power and influence of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners. As befits America’s complex, fragmented system of insurance regulation, the trends were hardly even: in some places, insurance markets became freer, while in others, they became less free.
Health CareBy Roger Stark, Washington Policy CenterPolicy Note, 06/10/2010
Businesses and employment in Washington state will suffer as a result of the national health care law. Employers of all sizes will experience a greater regulatory burden, more government-mandated paper work, fewer choices in health plans for their employees, and no mechanism to control costs. These provisions will have a severe negative impact on employment.
Economic GrowthBy Guy Sorman, Manhattan InstituteCity Journal, 06/10/2010
California’s innovative high-tech firms keep creating wealth, but will bad state policies drive them out?
Crime, Justice & the LawBy Brian Walsh, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 06/10/2010
Congress often crafts criminal legislation that is “misguided, unnecessary, and even harmful.” It is far too easy for a Member of Congress to score political points by casting himself as “tough on crime,” even when the conduct being criminalized and penalized is not inherently wrongful and poses no clear danger to anyone. Counteracting this pressure is a non-partisan issue. Together, The Heritage Foundation and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) released a major study last month with several concrete proposals for reform.
Economic GrowthBy Rea Hederman Jr., James Sherk, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 06/10/2010
The May employment report shows that the labor market remains weak: Private sector employers added just 41,000 net new jobs. Total job creation was higher only because the Census Bureau hired 431,000 new temporary workers. Unemployment fell because 322,000 workers left the labor force and the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) no longer counts them as unemployed, not because more Americans found new work.
Foreign Policy/International AffairsBy Nile Gardiner, James Phillips, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 06/10/2010
The defeat of terrorist organizations and the dictatorships that back them is in the fundamental national interest of the United States. Washington must send a clear message that it will have no part in the U.N. investigation and will oppose any attempt by the U.N. to undermine Israel’s sovereignty and its right to defend itself. The Obama Administration should also reconsider its wrongheaded decision to join the highly flawed Human Rights Council and look to establish a credible alternative human rights body outside of the U.N. system.
Crime, Justice & the LawBy Darpana Sheth, The Heritage FoundationLegal Memorandum, 06/10/2010
The Supreme Court’s recent rulings in Twombly and Iqbal are a welcome clarification of Conley v. Gibson’s central premise: in order to survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint must be both specific enough to provide fair notice of the claims and the grounds on which it rests and legally sufficient to state a claim under the governing substantive law. Overturning these decisions (and decades of precedent) and amending the Federal Rules to entitle plaintiffs to discovery as a matter of right would literally mean that “[n]o case would be subject to dismissal based on the conclusory nature of a complaint.” There is no question that such amendments would lead to an exponential increase in frivolous and abusive litigation at great cost to the parties, the federal courts, and the American taxpayer, and interfere with the ability of government officials to protect the national security of the United States.
Economic GrowthBy James Sherk, The Heritage FoundationBackgrounder, 06/10/2010
The unemployment rate has nearly doubled since the recession began. Congress should understand that increased layoffs are not the main reason unemployment has risen; layoffs were worse in the 2001 recession. The main factor increasing unemployment has been businesses cutting back on investment and entrepreneurs starting fewer companies. Consequently, they have created fewer jobs.
Economic GrowthBy Dane Stangler, Robert Litan, American Enterprise InstituteThe American, 06/10/2010
Robert Reich and others think the latest crop of America’s entrepreneurs is teeming with the out-of-work and desperate. We’re not so sure.
Budget & TaxationBy Andrew G. Biggs, American Enterprise InstituteThe American, 06/10/2010
Once all promised benefits are included, government employees at all levels—local, state, and federal—receive significantly greater total compensation than private-sector workers.
Foreign Policy/International Affairs
Action Needed on Chávez, Democracy, and Trade: Secretary of State Clinton Visits Latin America AgainBy Ray Walser, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 06/09/2010
Diplomats close to Clinton argue that she has a strong interest in the Americas. She can prove this by delivering a forceful message in support of a more secure and democratic hemisphere free from an updated version of Cuban communism, more united in the fight against drug trafficking and narco-terrorism, and opposed to dangerous inroads by terror-sponsoring nations such as Iran and Syria.
Foreign Policy/International AffairsBy Dean Cheng, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 06/09/2010
Military-to-military relations between the People's Republic of China and the United States remain at a low point despite efforts by the Obama Administration to “reset” Beijing–Washington relations. It also suggests that the Chinese view military-to-military talks and other U.S. interests as somehow irrelevant to their own. Taking back some of the concessions the Chinese have pocketed over the years would be a good way of rebalancing the relationship to U.S. advantage.
National SecurityBy The Heritage Foundation, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 06/09/2010
There have been at least three attempted terrorist attacks on U.S. soil in the last year and a half: the November 5, 2009, shooting at Fort Hood, Texas; the attempted Christmas Day airline bombing over Detroit; and the failed car bombing in Times Square in New York City. All three were perpetrated by men with ties to al-Qaeda and radical Islam. But despite a clear desire by terrorists to wage war against Americans, the Obama Administration insists on treating the terrorist threat as a law enforcement matter only. It scrubs official statements of words such as Islam, jihad, and terrorism. This is not just a semantic difference: It directly affects the attitudes of Americans—and military and civilian leaders—toward the threats the nation faces. Below are several recent Heritage Foundation reports on the true nature of the enemy America faces, along with recommendations for aligning policies with this reality.
National SecurityBy Mackenzie Eaglen, The Heritage FoundationBackgrounder, 06/09/2010
Five times in the past century, the U.S. has fought a major war and then promptly disarmed, with damaging and avoidable consequences. Congress should not repeat the same mistake yet again. Instead, Congress should dare to take a longer perspective by justifying robust defense spending to voters in terms of the national security and economic benefits produced by a sound defense investment and modernization strategy.
National SecurityBy Claude G. Berube, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 06/09/2010
Accounting for 60 percent of discretionary funds, national security is the most at-risk slice of federal spending. Within the national security budget, spending for the Navy (including Marine Corps funding) is the most likely to suffer major cuts—even though it comprises only 25 percent of the overall Department of Defense (DOD) budget. Although Article I, Section 8, of the United States Constitution outlines that Congress is required to “provide and maintain a Navy,” current funding levels do not reflect this mission.
Safety, Liberty, and Islamist Terrorism: American and European Approaches to Domestic CounterterrorismBy Gary J. Schmitt, American Enterprise InstituteBook, 06/09/2010
Gary J. Schmitt leads a group of security and intelligence experts in analyzing the domestic counterterrorism regimes of the United Kingdom, France, Spain, Germany, and the United States.
Natural Resources, Energy, Environment, & ScienceBy Vaclav Smil, American Enterprise InstituteBook, 06/09/2010
When will the world run out of oil? Should nuclear energy be adopted on a larger scale? Are ethanol and wind power viable sources of energy for the future? Vaclav Smil advises the public to be wary of exaggerated claims and impossible promises. The global energy transition will be prolonged and expensive—and hinges on the development of an extensive new infrastructure. Traditional energy sources and established energy conversions are persistent and adaptable enough to see the world through that transition. Energy Myths and Realities brings a scientific perspective to an issue often dominated by groundless assertions, unfounded claims, and uncritical thinking. Before we can create sound energy policies for the future, we must renounce the popular myths that cloud our judgment and impede true progress.
ImmigrationBy Pia M. Orrenius, Madeline Zavodny, American Enterprise InstituteBook, 06/09/2010
A selective immigration policy focused on high-skilled, high-demand workers will allow the United States to compete in an increasingly global economy while protecting the interests of American citizens and benefitting taxpayers.
Economic GrowthBy Andreas Bergh, Magnus Henrekson, American Enterprise InstituteBook, 06/09/2010
As economists and policymakers strive to understand the causes of the global financial crisis, pinpointing the relationship between government size and economic growth is crucial.
Health CareBy Jeffrey R. Brown, American Enterprise InstituteBook, 06/09/2010
Do public insurance programs improve social welfare? Or does government intervention risk moral hazard and result in inefficient programs that would be better handled by the private sector?
Regulation & DeregulationBy Gary E. Marchant, Guy A. Cardineau, Thomas P. Redick , American Enterprise InstituteBook, 06/09/2010
Are consumers entitled to full disclosure about what is in their food? The authors contend that mandatory GM labeling laws actually harm consumers by pushing GM foods off the market.
Monetary Policy/Financial RegulationBy Andrew P. Morriss, American Enterprise InstituteBook, 06/09/2010
Fears of criminal activity have prompted many governments to restrict competition from offshore financial centers, but over-regulating OFC activity presents a serious risk of destabilizing the global financial system.
Natural Resources, Energy, Environment, & ScienceBy Nicolas Loris, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 06/09/2010
The American Power Act is a significant tax on energy that would reduce Americans’ income, destroy jobs, and greatly shrink the economy. No amount of protections or rebates would save consumers from skyrocketing energy costs. And worst of all, there would be little environmental benefit to show for it.