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Recent Policy Studies
EducationBy Mark Schneider, American Enterprise InstituteThe American, 06/18/2010
Arne Duncan, the secretary of Education, has gone so far as to say that states are “lying” to parents and students about their performance. He’s right.
PhilanthropyBy Bradley Center, Hudson InstituteTranscript, 06/18/2010
“It is possible to do good. It really is possible to do good. Doing good isn’t even hard. It’s just doing a lot of good that is very hard. If your aims are modest, you can accomplish an awful lot. When your aims become elevated beyond a reasonable level, you not only don’t accomplish much, but can cause a great deal of damage.” These words, spoken by the late Irving Kristol to the annual meeting of the Council on Foundations in 1980, shaped his own giving as well. His generosity’s “modest aims” are embodied in several generations of young editors and writers who flourished under his personal instruction at the Public Interest, an influential journal of public affairs. At the same time, however, he arguably succeeded in the “very hard” task of doing “a lot of good.” For few individuals have influenced the flow of so many dollars to so many scholars, projects, and institutions, with such a profound impact on the course of American public policy.
National Battle Rages Over Jones Act Exemption in BP Oil Spill—and Hawaii’s Congressional Delegation Is in the FrayBy Malia Zimmerman, Grassroot Institute of HawaiiReport, 06/18/2010
A national battle is raging over whether foreign crews on foreign vessels with the latest technology will be permitted to help in the BP oil spill disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. Remarkably, President Barack Obama for the last 8 weeks has refused to issue a waiver from the Jones Act, a federal law also known as the Merchant Marine Act of 1920, which mandates that all goods shipped between U.S. ports be transported in U.S.-built, U.S. owned and U.S. manned ships.
The Constitution/Civil LibertiesBy David Rittgers, et al., Cato InstituteAmicus Brief, 06/18/2010
Virginia’s attorney general filed a lawsuit in federal court challenging the constitutionality of President Obama’s health care overhaul, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Virginia’s complaint alleges, in relevant part, that the PPACA’s requirement that every individual purchase health insurance or pay a fine—the “individual mandate”—is unconstitutional because Congress lacks the power to enact it. The Government filed a motion to dismiss, claiming that Virginia lacked standing to bring this suit but also that the Commerce Clause, the Necessary and Proper Clause, and Congress’ taxing power all justify the individual mandate. Virginia responded, in relevant part, that the Commerce Clause does not grant Congress unbridled authority to regulate inactivity and force every man, woman, and child to enter the marketplace or face a civil penalty. Cato, joined by the Competitive Enterprise Institute and Georgetown law professor (and Cato senior fellow) Randy Barnett, filed a memorandum in the district court supporting Virginia’s position and explaining that neither of the Government’s fallback positions legitimizes the individual mandate either. We point out that the Necessary and Proper Clause is not an independent source of congressional power, but enables Congress to exercise its enumerated powers. Similarly, the taxing power does not authorize the individual mandate because the non-compliance penalty is a civil fine—and it would be unconstitutional even if it were a tax because it is neither apportioned (if a direct tax) nor uniform (if an excise tax). Moreover, Congress cannot use the taxing power as a backdoor means of regulating an activity unless such regulation is authorized elsewhere in the Constitution.
Natural Resources, Energy, Environment, & ScienceBy Nicolas Loris, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 06/18/2010
Senator Lugar’s energy bill offers a short sigh of relief in that it does not include cap and trade, and the energy standard is far less restricting than in previous congressional proposals. But the relief stops there. The bill does not offer a sound alternative to cap and trade or renewable electricity standards but instead will prompt more unnecessary government intervention in the energy economy—and with it, a loss of liberty.
Budget & TaxationBy The Heritage Foundation, The Heritage FoundationFact Sheet, 06/18/2010
Congress has been mismanaging taxpayer dollars for decades. Can Washington really be trusted to use new revenues to close the deficit gap, or would they just spend the money on new programs?
Transportation/InfrastructureBy Wendell Cox, The Heritage FoundationSpecial Report, 06/17/2010
Many of the claims and assertions that U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood makes on behalf of the transit industry are inconsistent with the data and studies produced by many agencies of the federal government, including his own Department of Transportation. Secretary LaHood has based his policy largely on the work of lobbyists, rather than on the work of analysts and statisticians who work in the DOT, and has largely ignored the extensive work by the U.S. Government Accountability Office, Congressional Research Service, Congressional Budget Office, United States Bureau of the Census, and U.S.-based academics and independent research organizations. Virtually none of Secretary LaHood’s claims can withstand scrutiny. Unless realistic expectations based on objective and reliable information replace the ideological and undeliverable goal of trying to divert travel away from cars to transit, the nation could find itself spending hundreds of billions more dollars without accomplishing anything but further congesting its urban areas, increasing unemployment, and retarding productivity.
The Constitution/Civil LibertiesBy Damon W. Root, Reason FoundationReason, 06/17/2010
It’s hard to imagine a greater victory for the conservative legal movement than the Supreme Court’s 2008 decision in District of Columbia v. Heller, which overturned D.C.’s ban on handguns. Not only did the Court definitively settle the long-contested question of whether the Second Amendment secures an individual right to keep and bear arms, but it did so using the language of “originalism”—the school of thought, long championed by conservatives, that says the Constitution should be read according to its original public meaning. It was therefore surprising when a leading conservative jurist, Judge J. Harvey Wilkinson III of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit, denounced the ruling as a shameful piece of judicial activism. It was a classic conservative complaint, except that Wilkinson’s targets sat on the right side of the bench.
Budget & TaxationBy Kevin A. Hassett, Alan D. Viard, American Enterprise InstituteTax Policy Outlook, 06/17/2010
Congress is considering a proposal to increase the tax on the carried interest received by managers of private equity funds, hedge funds, and other firms. Many of the arguments made for this proposal are based on misconceptions about carried interest and its tax treatment. It would be unwise to adopt this tax increase on investment when there is no compelling case that it would lead to a more efficient allocation of capital.
A Drought of Reason and Investigation: An Examination and Critique of the Center for Immigration Studies’ “A Drought of Summer Jobs”By Alex Nowrasteh, Competitive Enterprise InstituteWebMemo, 06/17/2010
The Center for Immigration Studies produces a wide body of work intended to convince policy makers and the American public of the necessity of curtailing immigration, both legal and illegal. Their reports criticize immigration along cultural, economic, and political lines. On the economic front, their recent report, “A Drought of Summer Jobs: Immigration and the Long-Term Decline in Employment Among U.S.-Born Teenagers,” concludes that low-skilled immigrants force native-born teenagers out of the labor market. This claim is not supported by the facts. Fundamentally, the report is plagued by sloppy research, data misrepresentations, and a poor grasp of the scholarly literature on immigration and its effects on the labor market.
Ideas Having Sex: How Prosperity and Innovation Exceeded the Expectations of John Stuart Mill and Adam SmithBy Matt Ridley, Reason FoundationReason, 06/17/2010
The phrase diminishing returns is such a cliché that few people give it much thought. Picking out the pecans from a bowl of salted nuts gives diminishing returns: The pieces of pecan in the bowl get rarer and smaller. The fingers keep finding almonds, hazelnuts, cashews, or even—God forbid—Brazil nuts. Gradually the bowl, like a moribund gold mine, ceases to yield decent returns of pecan. Now imagine a bowl of nuts that has the opposite character. The more pecans you take, the larger and more numerous they grow. That is the human experience for the last 100,000 years. The global nut bowl has yielded ever more pecans.
Foreign Policy/International AffairsBy Leon Aron, American Enterprise InstituteRussian Outlook, 06/17/2010
Although Russia appears to have weathered the worst of the global economic downturn, protests that have swept the country in the past few months point to a growing dissatisfaction with the Kremlin’s policies. The demonstrations have been remarkable in the span of their geography and demographics, the diversity of the issues they raised, the organizers’ savvy in the use of the Internet for communication and mobilization, and the multiplicity of their political affiliations and ad hoc political alliances. The protests have also been unprecedented in the sharpness of their criticism of the government and—for the first time on such a scale and with such vehemence—of the until-now “teflon” Vladimir Putin. Extremely diverse and fluid, Russia’s “new protesters” have yet to prove their staying power. Yet, as the only viable political challenge to the Putin-Medvedev Kremlin, they bear careful watching.
Foreign Policy/International AffairsBy Yoani Sánchez, Cato InstituteDevelopment Policy Analysis, 06/17/2010
Fidel Castro’s socialist revolution promised to satisfy the basic needs of the Cuban people, but the price demanded was the surrender of freedoms. The unthinking enthusiasm that greeted the beginning of the revolution helped pave the way for the disappearance of civil, political, and economic rights within a short period of time. Instead of a brighter future, misery in Cuba is widespread and the individual is vilified.
Foreign Policy/International AffairsBy Ariel Cohen, The Heritage FoundationBackgrounder, 06/17/2010
The United States needs to elevate the Arctic to a higher geopolitical priority and fully commit to implementing the Arctic Region Policy. The Arctic Interagency Policy Committee should have full responsibility for Arctic policy coordination, although it should not allow environmental and climate change issues to dominate the agenda. To advance U.S. sovereign territorial rights in the High North, the area inside the Arctic Circle, Congress should allocate funding to acquire additional icebreakers and to increase the number of Coast Guard forward operating locations on the North Slope and in western Alaska.
Natural Resources, Energy, Environment, & ScienceBy Katrina M. Currie, Elizabeth B. Stelle, Commonwealth Foundation for Public Policy AlternativesPolicy Brief, 06/17/2010
Dozens of drilling companies are investing in Pennsylvania and boosting the economy by creating high-paying and permanent jobs. A Penn State University study estimated that activity from Marcellus Shale, the largest unconventional natural gas reservoir in America, generated more than 44,000 jobs in 2009. Those who need jobs the most are being put to work, as much of the drilling activity is occurring in rural, economically depressed areas of Pennsylvania. Unfortunately, all of these positive developments could be eroded if proposals to impose additional taxes and regulations are imposed by Harrisburg. Those who would hinder the Marcellus Shale development are misinforming legislators and the public about the drilling process and the state’s environmental safeguards.
Crime, Justice & the Law
Punk’d: GAO Celebrates the “Positive Economic Effects” of Counterfeiting and Other Criminal RacketeeringBy Thomas D. Sydnor, Progress & Freedom FoundationProgress on Point, 06/16/2010
The Government Accountability Office (GAO) released Observations on Efforts to Quantify the Economic Effects of Counterfeit and Pirated Goods (2010). In this Observations Report, anonymous “experts” who viewed economic crimes as “mainly redistributions” convinced some GAO staff that “any positive effects of counterfeiting and piracy on the economy should be considered, as well as the negative effects.” Deliberate counterfeiting and piracy are violations of federal civil rights, federal crimes, and predicate acts of “racketeering” under the Racketeer-Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO). The Observation Report thus celebrated the “positive economic effects” of criminal racketeering.
WelfareBy Elizabeth Stelle, Commonwealth Foundation for Public Policy AlternativesTestimony, 06/16/2010
Welfare advocates justify spending increases by emphasizing that they’re necessary to provide for Pennsylvania’s vulnerable residents, including children, older adults, and the disabled. However, we must consider the efficiency and the outcomes of such programs. If resources are being squandered on those who don’t need them and are defrauding the system, both welfare recipients and taxpayers would benefit from such reforms as replacing Medicaid’s fee-for-service set-up with an exchange that lets recipients shop for coverage and allowing Medicaid credits to be used for premium assistance
Foreign Policy/International AffairsBy Sally McNamara, James Phillips, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 06/16/2010
The main obstacle to peace in the Middle East is not Israel but Hamas. The EU and U.S. should remain sensitive to Israeli security concerns and stand alongside Jerusalem in facing down the terrorist threat posed by Hamas. A lasting peace between Israeli and the Palestinians is possible only after Hamas has been defeated and its harsh ideology is discredited. If the EU is serious about improving the welfare of Palestinians, it should help them liberate themselves from Hamas’s brutal rule.
Economic GrowthBy Nathan Benefield, Katrina Currie, Commonwealth Foundation for Public Policy AlternativesTestimony, 06/16/2010
The motivation for creating green jobs is well intentioned, but not based in sound economics. Rather than create jobs, policies to encourage alternative energies merely shift jobs from one industry to another. A focus on green jobs discourages overall economic growth by redistributing private sector wealth to uncompetitive and unsustainable energy providers. Higher electricity prices hurt small businesses, resulting in fewer jobs. Heavily subsidizing “green” energy sources while simultaneously mandating their use is a prescription for economic decline rather than prosperity.
Budget & TaxationBy Commonwealth Foundation, Commonwealth Foundation for Public Policy AlternativesPolicy Points, 06/16/2010
Pennsylvania’s unemployment system is bankrupt, and can only return to solvency by enacting true reforms that address cost-drivers and eligibility, without making it more expensive for employers to hire workers. This is the sixth in a series of fact sheets on the Pennsylvania state budget.
Budget & TaxationBy Commonwealth Foundation, Commonwealth Foundation for Public Policy AlternativesPolicy Points, 06/16/2010
The Pennsylvania excise tax on smokeless tobacco is not about health. It is about politicians' desire for more revenue. Pennsylvania faces a projected general fund shortfall of at least $1.1 billion. Governor Rendell proposed a $29 billion budget for Fiscal Year 2010-11 that increases business taxes, imposes new taxes on natural gas and tobacco products, and expands the sales tax to include many goods and services currently exempt. This is the sixth in a series of fact sheets on the Pennsylvania state budget.
EducationBy Frederick Hess, Education NextEducation Next, 06/16/2010
In Education Unbound, Frederick Hess, director of education policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute and Education Next editor, argues for new education service-delivery organizations that, free from the constricting norms and rules of traditional providers, focus single-mindedly on executing their model. The challenge for reformers is to recognize that enabling such providers is not just a matter of promoting “school choice,” but also of freeing up the sector to a wealth of different approaches and cultivating conditions in which problem solvers can succeed and grow. Hess argues in the selection below that funding is the fuel required for innovators to thrive.
Natural Resources, Energy, Environment, & ScienceBy Donald R. Leal, PERC – The Property and Environment Research CenterPERC Reports, 06/16/2010
Two decades ago Donald Leal and Terry Anderson wrote “Homesteading the Oceans,” which appeared in the first edition of Free Market Environmentalism. They concluded the chapter by writing, “Establishing property rights to the ocean commons will not be easy, but like the frontier West, we can expect increasing efforts at definition and enforcement. Individual Transferable Quota (ITQ) systems offer a step toward facilitating property rights solutions.” Twenty years later there is good news and bad news.
Family, Culture & CommunityBy Robert Rector, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 06/16/2010
To reduce poverty in America, policymakers should enact policies that encourage people to form and maintain healthy marriage and delay childbearing until they are married and economically stable. Marriage is highly beneficial to children, adults, and society. It needs to be encouraged and strengthened, not ignored and undermined.
Crime, Justice & the LawBy Robert Alt, Hans von Spakovsky, The Heritage FoundationLegal Memorandum, 06/16/2010
By ascribing the “activist” label to conservative judges, liberals appear to be attempting to damage the public image of the Supreme Court and specific justices. These attacks are also clearly an attempt to propagate a moral equivalency with liberal judges who are, in actuality, activists. It is unfair to the justices on the Court who participated in these decisions and is a cynical and derisive tactic that injures the public’s faith and confidence in the judicial system.
Natural Resources, Energy, Environment, & ScienceBy Nicolas Loris, et al., The Heritage FoundationSpecial Report, 06/16/2010
The gulf oil spill presents an unprecedented economic and environmental challenge for the United States. Rather than continue to fret over the political fallout, the Administration and Congress should focus on how best to speed up the current response and recovery. There is no justification for enacting policies that will have both near- and long-term economic consequences and do very little, if anything, to address the issue at hand. Without fully understanding what caused the spill, the government is in no position to legislate answers that will most likely do more harm than good.
EducationBy Lindsey Burke, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 06/16/2010
Continuing to raise taxes and rely on more federal funds is an unsustainable plan for fixing state budget shortfalls and improving education. States along with the federal government have room to cut spending without jeopardizing teacher jobs or compensation. Instead of seeking another federal bailout from Washington, states should ensure that current funding is being efficiently spent on schools’ essential educational needs.
EducationBy Dan Lips, Matthew Ladner, Goldwater InstitutePolicy Report, 06/16/2010
Arizona had a breakthrough in 2010 that could end years of frustration about the state’s relatively low academic achievement. The Arizona Legislature this year adopted new reforms for K-12 public education that combine accountability, transparency and parental choice. Lawmakers modeled these changes on innovations first launched in Florida that have raised the average reading test scores for that state’s fourth-grade students by two entire grade levels over the past decade. The Goldwater Institute’s 2008 policy report, “Demography Defeated: Florida’s K-12 Reforms and their Lessons for the Nation,” noted that Florida’s strategy has led to the biggest improvements for students who traditionally struggle the most to learn—minority and low-income children.
Transportation/InfrastructureBy Wendell Cox, Ronald Utt, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 06/15/2010
Making transit sustainable will not be easy. Transit must move from maximizing to minimizing expenditures per passenger. To do this, it needs to be subject to competition, and capital expenditures should be chosen that maximize passengers. A good place to start is a rewrite of the federal laws that discourage or prohibit communities from relying on the competitive forces to improve their foundering transit systems and federal rules that no longer allow wasteful rail systems where other alternatives would carry more passengers for less.
Foreign Policy/International AffairsBy Jamsheed K. Choksy, Hudson InstituteArticles, 06/15/2010
On June 12, 2009, the day of the Islamic Republic of Iran’s tenth presidential elections since the 1979 revolution, it seemed for many in Iran and around the world that democracy had finally triumphed over theocracy. By apparently voting to oust President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad—the incumbent who had the backing of clerical hardliners in the regime, including Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei—the Iranian people demonstrated that the theocratic regime had lost its tyrannical grip on their aspirations. Yet the mullahs and their allies in the government bureaucracy had other plans. To prevent the most important popularly-elected political office in Iran from slipping beyond their control, the regime decided to engineer what Khamenei infamously described as an “electoral miracle.” So, after a hard-fought election with the largest turnout of voters in Iranian history, Ahmadinejad was allegedly re-elected to a second term.
Health CareBy Scott Gottlieb, American Enterprise InstituteThe American, 06/15/2010
Conventional wisdom says that U.S. pharmaceutical companies made out well under the Obama health plan by bargaining with the White House. In reality, all they did was invite the same kinds of price regulation taking root in Europe.
Natural Resources, Energy, Environment, & ScienceBy Kenneth P. Green, Steven F. Hayward, American Enterprise InstituteEnergy and Environment Outlook, 06/15/2010
The Deepwater Horizon, a mobile, semisubmersible deep-sea oil-drilling rig leased by British Petroleum, was completing a newly drilled well forty-one miles off the Louisiana coastline in the Gulf of Mexico when it exploded and sank, killing eleven oil-rig workers, injuring seventeen, and triggering the largest offshore oil spill in U.S. territory in American history. It will likely be one of the top ten in world history if it is not stopped soon. The spill is clearly an ecological disaster, but overreaction to it could cause more environmental and economic harm than good. It should be viewed in perspective historically and environmentally, and policymakers should wait to make changes until the full effects of the spill can be understood.
Economic GrowthBy Diana Furchtgott-Roth, Irwin Stelzer, John Weicher, Hudson InstituteReport, 06/15/2010
More bad news for the economy. Retail sales unexpectedly decreased across the board by 1.2% in May, the first decline in retail sales since September 2009. Although both imports and exports decreased in April, the decline in exports was greater than the fall in imports, resulting in an increase in the trade deficit. Total exports fell 0.7% to $148.8 billion in April, while total imports decreased 0.4% to $189.1 billion. The trade deficit increased 0.6% to $40.3 billion in April from $40.0 billion in March. Initial jobless claims decreased 3,000 to 456,000 during the week ending June 5, from a revised 459,000 the week before. However, the four-week moving average of initial jobless claims, a more accurate measure, increased to 463,000 from 460,500 the week before.
Economic GrowthBy South Carolina Policy Council, South Carolina Policy CouncilFact Sheet, 06/15/2010
One of the final pieces of legislation that may pass the General Assembly this year is an omnibus economic development bill that provides an array of targeted credits and subsidies aimed at stimulating South Carolina’s ailing economy. Recipients of the credits range from alternative energy producers to start-ups to waste-grease biodiesel producers. In effect, new and unproven industries are getting the nod over established, independent businesses left to pick up the tab.
Foreign Policy/International AffairsBy Abbas Milani, Hoover InstitutionBook, 06/15/2010
The founder of the Iranian regime, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, used the Qoranic moniker of the Great Satan to refer to America-as much a show of intimidated awe as of embittered animosity at what he imagined was America’s mythic omnipotence. In The Myth of the Great Satan, Iran expert Abbas Milani offers a critical review of the history of America’s relations with Iran and shows how little of the two countries’ long and complicated relationship is reflected in the foundational axioms of the “Great Satan” myth. Milani shows how, like all enduring myths, this one has some tangible roots in reality but that they have been used by the regime today, and by the Soviets before it, to obfuscate other elements and construct the myth. He then explains why meaningful and equitable relations can begin only after the two nations have arrived at a common, critical, and accurate reading of the past.
National SecurityBy Richard A. Posner, Hoover InstitutionBook, 06/15/2010
Domestic intelligence in the United States today is undermanned, uncoordinated, technologically challenged, and dominated by an agency—the FBI—that is structurally unsuited to play the central role in national security intelligence. Despite its importance to national security, it is the weakest link in the U.S. intelligence system. In Remaking Domestic Intelligence, Richard A. Posner reveals all the dangerous weaknesses undermining our domestic intelligence in the United States and offers a new solution: a domestic intelligence agency modeled on the concept and basic design of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service.
Foreign Policy/International AffairsBy Michael D. Swaine, Hoover InstitutionChina Leadership Monitor, 06/15/2010
During the past two years, and particularly since China’s quick and strong recovery from the global recession, the long-discussed topic of China’s rise has come to be dominated by a new theme among both Chinese and foreign observers: The image of the supposedly cautious, low-profile, responsibility-shirking, free-riding Beijing of the past giving way to one of a more confident, assertive (some say arrogant), anti–status quo power that is pushing back against the West, promoting its own alternative (i.e., restrictive or exclusionary) norms and policies in many areas, and generally seeking to test the leadership capacity of the United States. This essay examines the features of the discussion in the West, and among many Chinese, regarding the notion of a more assertive China.
Meeting the Long-Term Challenge of Old-Age Entitlement Spending: What Can We Learn from the Greenspan Commission?By By Robert Gillingham, Mercatus CenterWorking Paper, 06/15/2010
A Greenspan-type commission will not obviate considering and ultimately answering questions of this type in a manner that achieves social goals without losing the benefits of market forces. However, the key lesson from the Greenspan Commission is that government action will be required to address entitlement spending at some point to avoid the exhaustion of the social insurance trust funds. The political challenge is to use this fact to motivate action before trust fund exhaustion is imminent to (1) avoid last-minute fixes that might not address the problem in the most effective manner and (2) reduce the scope and smooth the timing of reforms to make them more palatable to the electorate.
Economic GrowthBy Thomas Stratmann, Gabriel Lucjan Okolski, Mercatus CenterMercatus on Policy, 06/15/2010
In response to the financial crisis and its impact on the economy, the federal government has increased government spending markedly in order to stimulate economic growth. With billions of taxpayer dollars appropriated toward this effort, policy makers should examine whether federal spending actually promotes economic growth. Although the studies are not all consistent, historical evidence suggests an undesirable, long-run effect from government spending: it crowds out private-sector spending and uses money in unproductive ways.
The Roaring Twenties and the Austrian Business Cycle Theory (Chapter 3 from The Clash of Economic Ideas)By Lawrence H. White, Mercatus CenterWorking Paper, 06/15/2010
The stock market crash in October of 1929 followed a downturn in manufacturing output that had begun a few months earlier. Economies in other industrial countries similarly slumped. Economists around the world sought to figure out what had happened. Could the downturn have been avoided, or was there something about the boom years that destined them to come to an end?
Economic and Political Thought
The Bolshevik Revolution and the Socialist Calculation Debate (Chapter 2 from The Clash of Economic Ideas)By Lawrence H. White, Mercatus CenterWorking Paper, 06/15/2010
Lenin imagined that in the communism of the ultimate future, the state would wither away. In the socialist transition between capitalism and communism, however, far-reaching state control of the economy would be necessary to advance the interests of the workers.
Economic and Political ThoughtBy Lawrence H. White, Mercatus CenterWorking Paper, 06/15/2010
The last hundred years have seen dramatic experiments in economic policy: Communist central planning in the Soviet Union, eastern Europe, and China; Fascism in Mussolini’s Italy; National Socialism in Hitler’s Germany; the New Deal in Roosevelt’s United States; Keynesian macroeconomics in the postwar West; sweeping nationalizations in postwar Great Britain; five year plans in India; the re-emergence of free-market principles in postwar Germany; “Monetarist” policies for controlling inflation; deregulation in the United States and elsewhere; the collapse and repudiation of communism in Russia and eastern Europe; and market-led growth in the East Asian “tigers” and China. Today commentators speak of “neoliberal” policies behind the globalization of economic activities. Behind all these changes in economic policy systems lies a continuing clash of economic ideas.
Retirement/Social SecurityBy Jagadeesh Gokhale, Cato InstituteBook, 06/15/2010
Many of us suspect that Social Security faces eventual bankruptcy. But the government projects its future finances using long outdated methods. Employing a more up-to-date approach, Jagadeesh Gokhale here argues that the program faces insolvency far sooner than previously thought. Constructing a detailed simulation of the forces shaping American demographics and the economy to project their future evolution, he then uses this simulation to analyze six prominent Social Security reform packages—two liberal, two centrist, and two conservative—to demonstrate how far they would restore the program’s financial health and which population groups would be helped or hurt in the process. Arguments over Social Security have raged for decades, but they have taken place in a relative informational vacuum; Social Security provides the necessary bedrock of analysis that will prove vital for anyone with a stake in this important debate.