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Recent Policy Studies
Economic and Political ThoughtBy Scott A. Boykin, Independent InstituteThe Independent Review, 07/08/2010
There are few certainties in a world driven by competition. Hayek’s ideal constitution provides a social arena in which individuals and groups may compete, but it accordingly supplies little assurance of the cultural and hence the political future. His constitutional thought suggests that democratic liberalism requires for its persistence a cultural disposition favoring limited government. His evolutionary theory presents the outline of a process through which liberal rules might emerge, but it does not predict that these rules will persist indefinitely, and he recognizes that liberalism may contain self-destructive tendencies. These problems underscore that government necessarily interferes with the spontaneous social processes on which Hayek’s evolutionary social theory depends. His message is that constitutional mechanics, though important, are inadequate to sustain limited government and that liberalism ultimately depends on circumstances over which we have no control.
Budget & TaxationBy Illinois Policy Institute, Illinois Policy InstituteSpotlight on Spending, 07/08/2010
Despite Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO)’s intended mission of fostering economic activity, Illinois compares poorly with most states on economic growth. The American Legislative Exchange Council ranked Illinois 48th for Economic Performance and 47th for Economic Outlook in 2010. Additionally, Illinois ranked 48th for Non-Farm Payroll Employment Growth from 1998-2008, and 48th for Absolute Net Migration from 1999-2008. These are not promising rankings, and they clearly show the DCEO is not fulfilling its mission. The DCEO’s activity overlaps services provided by the private sector, and many of its grants are of dubious value. Eliminating the DCEO would provide one much-needed route to ending unnecessary, wasteful spending of taxpayers’ dollars in Illinois.
Budget & TaxationBy Illinois Policy Institute, Illinois Policy InstituteSpotlight on Spending, 07/08/2010
Instead of picking winners and losers through special Employer Training and Investment Program grants, the state should focus on making the entire business environment in Illinois more competitive with the rest of the country. Although the training program likely has good intentions, the state should not be handing out tax dollars to favored businesses for employee training. Instead, state government can help spur the business climate in Illinois by creating a more welcoming environment, which would entail reforming workers’ compensation, the minimum wage, and eliminating or cutting back the state’s long list of licensing and regulatory requirements. All of these areas create unnecessary barriers to Illinois’s businesses and entrepreneurs.
Budget & TaxationBy Illinois Policy Institute, Illinois Policy InstituteSpotlight on Spending, 07/08/2010
Illinois state government is unnecessarily picking winners and losers, distorting energy prices, and driving up overall government spending by awarding tax dollars to certain energy sectors via special government programs. New subsidies for energy projects should not be enacted, and current subsides need to be removed. These programs divert funding from other critical state services, and the government needs to prioritize spending on core government services—especially when facing a significant budget deficit. Across Illinois, private companies provide funding for their own marketing, promotion, and research and development; firms in the energy industry should be treated in the same way.
Economic GrowthBy Illinois Policy Institute, Illinois Policy InstitutePolicy Brief, 07/08/2010
Illinois’s minimum wage, already high at $8.00 an hour, is set to increase by another 25 cents on July 1, 2010. This ill-timed hike in the minimum wage will hurt low-skilled workers and the small business owners who want to employ them. With each of Illinois’s neighboring states having a lower minimum wage, hiring new workers in Illinois makes less business sense for entrepreneurs watching the bottom line. Illinois should not increase its minimum wage rate to $8.25. A preferable option would include at least keeping it at the current rate. Even better, the state should reduce it to the minimum rate set by the federal government.
Budget & TaxationBy Illinois Policy Institute, Illinois Policy InstitutePolicy Points, 07/08/2010
Illinois Governor Pat Quinn’s new budget “fix” indicates he’s living in a fiscal fairy tale. His spending adjustment recommendations do not come remotely close to balancing the budget, and he has failed to offer clean break from the state’s perpetual fiscal mismanagement.
EducationBy Terry Stoops, John Locke FoundationSpotlight, 07/08/2010
The Department of Public Instruction (DPI) should not be in the testing business. State education officials should replace end-of-year and end-of-course tests with an independent, field-tested, and credible national test of student performance, such as the Iowa Test of Basic Skills, the Stanford 10, or the California Achievement Test. If state education officials refuse to adopt a new national or norm-referenced testing program, DPI should create a test question review board consisting of college and university faculty and subject-area experts from the private and public sectors. The release of the 2008-2009 state tests is a good start. DPI should continue to conduct a more transparent and accountable testing program, including an online data tool that allows users to analyze test questions based on student responses.
Budget & TaxationBy James Madison Institute, James Madison InstituteIssue Analysis, 07/08/2010
In many of Florida’s local jurisdictions, public employees’ salaries, benefits, and pensions now far exceed those available to most employees in comparable jobs in the private sector whose taxes support the government. Although maintaining the health of the Florida Retirement System must remain the principal focus of state officials, including the Legislature, the state government cannot be unmindful of the declining fiscal health of those local governments that entered into binding collective bargaining agreements that include ruinously unsustainable pension costs. To the extent that these problems are remediable by statute, the Legislature needs to act this year to place those local governments on a glide path to fiscal responsibility.
Regulation & DeregulationBy Mark Milke, Kenneth P. Green, American Enterprise InstituteThe American, 07/08/2010
During this summer travel season, the United States could learn a lesson from Europe: how to make flying cheaper. In the European Union, any EU-based airline from any member country can pick up and drop off passengers anywhere within the Union, regardless of whether the airline’s home base is in Ireland, Spain, France, Germany, Britain, or some other EU-member nation. The competition that freedom fosters helps control costs, and offers greater consumer choice in both airline and route.
Crime, Justice & the LawBy Lawrence J. McQuillan, Hovannes Abramyan, Oklahoma Council of Public AffairsCurrent Perspective, 07/08/2010
An efficient tort liability system is an important ingredient for a thriving free-enterprise economy. It ensures that businesses and individuals have proper incentives to produce safe products and provide safe services, and that true victims are fully compensated. The state that has the best tort rules on the books-and that will be heading in the right direction if the rules are fully implemented-is Oklahoma, followed by Texas, Ohio, Colorado, and Mississippi. States that implement meaningful tort reform challenge their neighbors to do the same or be at a competitive disadvantage in the battle to attract people and capital. Oklahoma's 2009 reforms, for example, were largely driven by the earlier reforms adopted in neighboring Texas.
Economic and Political ThoughtBy Lee Harris, American Enterprise InstituteThe American, 07/08/2010
We are in the midst not of a war of ideas, or even a cultural war, taken in its usual superficial sense. We are fighting an old battle all over again. On the one side stand the natural libertarians, furiously insistent on defending their integrity as ethical agents. On the other side stand those in power who naturally find such people troublesome nuisances, and who would prefer to rule a society made up of individuals who have been properly educated to know they were really incompetent to manage their own affairs, and to regard themselves as the victims of circumstances. Are natural libertarians destined to perish from the earth along with their cherished cultural and religious traditions, pushed aside by those who claim to champion progress but who in fact promote learned helplessness in the general population, however benevolent their intentions? This question only time can answer.
Elections, Transparency, & AccountabilityBy Kenneth Green, American Enterprise InstituteThe American, 07/08/2010
Early this year, the National Academy of Sciences issued a blatant call for a specific climate policy, going far beyond serving as an objective voice of scientific explication. And now it has allowed a badly flawed study in its flagship publication that effectively creates a blacklist, in order to delegitimize scientists who might disagree with a vague “consensus” position on climate-change science. With such antics, the NAS risks losing its credibility, which is really all it has to offer. Someone needs to publicly clean house at the NAS, washing the institution’s hands of public policy pronouncements and renouncing efforts to turn them into a propaganda organ for climate alarmists. The alternative will be declining trust in the NAS, and the further erosion of the public’s belief in scientific pronouncements in general.
Crime, Justice & the LawBy Hans Bader, Competitive Enterprise InstituteIssue Analysis, 07/08/2010
Many state attorneys general across the nation conscientiously fulfill their duties every day. However, others have failed to heed the limits on their own power. Instead of focusing on their historical function of defending state agencies in court and providing legal advice, they have chosen to use lawsuits as a weapon by which to undemocratically impose new regulations on the public. In the process, they have usurped the lawmaking authority of state legislatures and Congress. To satisfy their ambitions, and enrich political allies, they have imposed great costs on our nation’s economy and system of government, while fostering corruption, and undermining constitutional checks and balances.
EducationBy Brooke Dollens Terry, Brittany Wagner, Bill Peacock, Texas Public Policy FoundationReport, 07/08/2010
Texas public education spending has skyrocketed over the last 20 years without a corresponding increase in student achievement. Total Texas public education expenditures are higher than most policymakers realize, as total education spending includes debt and building costs. Texas has more public school employees than any other state, and the number of Texas school personnel has grown at a much higher rate than student enrollment.
Transportation/InfrastructureBy Talmadge Heflin, James Quintero, Texas Public Policy FoundationPolicy Perspective, 07/08/2010
Texas’s transportation system faces significant challenges in the coming years as the result of explosive population growth, current infrastructure maintenance requirements, and the need to plan future projects. Some argue that the best way to solve the state’s looming transportation troubles is through higher taxes and fees; but consumers and taxpayers, particularly in today’s recession weary environment, are looking for more responsible, innovative alternatives that maximize existing resources and directly address the problem of congestion. It is recommended that the Legislature adopt an approach that ends diversions; re-directs state government resources; re-prioritizes existing local sales taxes; allocates funds based on their ability to reduce congestion; and implements transparency reforms to identify inefficiencies and better educate the public.
Budget & TaxationBy Kevin A. Hassett, Alan D. Viard, American Enterprise InstituteTax Policy Outlook, 07/08/2010
Congress is considering a bill that would increase taxes on the carried interest managers of private equity funds, hedge funds, and real estate funds receive. Although the arguments commonly made for the proposed change seem plausible at first glance, most of their plausibility disappears upon further scrutiny because most of these arguments are based on misunderstandings 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 will produce a more efficient allocation of capital.
International Trade/FinanceBy Derek Scissors, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 07/08/2010
The expansion of Chinese activity in the Western Hemisphere, especially, will provoke much gnashing of teeth. There is an obvious means to counter this challenge: strengthen the American economic and political presence by ratifying the Colombia and Panama free trade agreements and seek other partners. When China is involved, it is well recognized that better economic relations bring the possibility of greater political influence. When it is time for the U.S. to act, the same fact tends to be forgotten. Concerns about American influence lost to increased Chinese investment and business activity should be addressed by encouraging the expansion of American economic activity, from investment in Ivory Coast to trade with Taiwan.
Economic GrowthBy John H. Makin, American Enterprise InstituteEconomic Outlook, 07/08/2010
As we enter the second half of 2010—the “postcrisis” year—while markets have been obsessed with Europe’s debt crisis, they have failed to notice potentially more ominous developments. The United States and Europe are heading toward—and Japan already suffers from—deflation, a classic prolonger of crises that boosts the real burden of debt and crushes profit margins. Historically, subsequent to stimulus, the damaged financial sector, unable to supply credit; a jump in the precautionary demand for cash; and a persistent overhang of global production capacity leaves deflation pressure intact. The G20’s newfound embrace of fiscal stringency only adds to the extant deflation pressure.
Fostering Opportunity and Improving Achievement: The Benefits of a Foster-Care Scholarship Program in CaliforniaBy Vicki E. Murray, Evelyn B. Stacey, Pacific Research InstitutePolicy Brief, 07/08/2010
Adopting a Florida-style foster-care scholarship program is academically and fiscally responsible education reform for California. Providing parents of foster children with educational scholarships worth what the state would pay district schools or institutions to educate them, similar to what Florida does under its McKay Scholarship Program, could help mitigate such perverse financial incentives by leveling the playing field between parents and educational institutions. Such a program has the added benefit of introducing powerful incentives to provide children with the services they need or risk losing them and their education dollars. As Florida shows, letting parents choose the schools they believe are best for their children better ensures they receive the services they need.
Lieberman’s Cyberspace Protection Bill: Enhancing Cybersecurity, or Establishing a New Uber-Authority?By James E. Dunstan, Progress & Freedom FoundationProgress Snapshot, 07/08/2010
The Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee recently voted Senator Joe Lieberman’s Protecting Cyberspace as a National Asset Act of 2010 out of Committee. Though offering much-needed reform to the Federal government’s cybersecurity system, this nearly 200-page blunderbuss of a bill sweeps private “critical infrastructure” providers into a new bureaucratic morass. Contemplating the bill’s unintended consequences should send shivers up the spines of anyone concerned with individual rights and freedoms and about the dangers of unbridled government powers, especially in the hands of the Executive Branch, which seems to grow ever more imperial with every new President, regardless of party.
Information TechnologyBy Charles H. Kennedy, Progress & Freedom FoundationProgress on Point, 07/08/2010
At its open meeting held on June 17, 2010, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) adopted a Notice of Inquiry (NOI) that asks for comment on the agency’s authority to regulate broadband Internet access service. The NOI asks for comment on three possible ways of asserting FCC jurisdiction over the Internet, but only one—the so-called “Third Way” approach—seems really to be on the table. Reclassification under the “Third Way” will be the beginning of the Internet’s “Lost Decade” (or more) of stymied investment, innovation, and job creation as all sides do battle over the legality of reclassification and its implementation.
Information TechnologyBy John B. Morris Jr., et al., Progress & Freedom FoundationPublic Interest Comment, 07/08/2010
The Federal Trade Commission’s implementation of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) aims to help parents control what information is collected online from, and potentially shared by, their children under the age of thirteen. COPPA has been successful in limiting the amount of personal information collected from children online and in increasing parental involvement in children’s online activities. This success is due in large part to the fact that both the Act and the Rule are narrowly drawn and clearly indicate which web sites and services are covered by the regulations. Expanding COPPA to cover older minors or altering the COPPA Rule’s knowledge standard would greatly increase the number of websites that are bound by its requirements, and significantly increase the uncertainty of the Act’s application and its burden on protected speech. This would result in the collection of more information about children, their parents, and potentially every other Internet user. Thus, COPPA expansion would, ironically, transform a rule intended to protect privacy into one that would create more privacy problems than it solves without further advancing the privacy or safety of children online.
National SecurityBy James Carafano, Jena Baker McNeill, Richard Weitz, The Heritage FoundationBackgrounder, 07/08/2010
Academic institutions have become a core member of the national homeland security enterprise. They help strengthen U.S. homeland security in several respects. First, they promote basic skills useful for averting and managing domestic emergencies for current and future professionals. As in many areas, the ability to think critically, communicate clearly, and learn new skills and information rapidly are essential characteristics of effective homeland security responders. Second, faculty and other members of the academic community conduct detailed basic and applied research in homeland security–related disciplines and contribute to innovation and analysis. Third, besides educating students, training current professionals, and fostering research, academia assists in homeland security planning and exercises and the sharing of best practices.
National SecurityBy Peter Brookes, Owen Graham, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 07/08/2010
As the U.S. strategic nuclear arsenal is reduced through New START, critics and proponents of nuclear zero both agree that national security demands that verification become more, not less, reliable. The Obama Administration asserts that this treaty has a robust verification regime. To paraphrase Ronald Reagan, this is just not so. And while there is no perfect verification, it is now clear that New START’s verification regime is not even close to that of the original START treaty.
LaborBy Timothy P. Carney, Capital Research CenterLabor Watch, 07/07/2010
While the United Auto Workers has lost half its members, the union retains its political influence and sits on $1 billion in assets. The union showed its clout last year when the Obama administration bailed-out and reorganized the failed automaker Chrysler. Even while the federal government was forcing Chrysler’s creditors to accept pennies on the dollars owed them it was transferring Chrysler’s ownership to the UAW, protecting the union’s retiree health and pension benefits.
The Gamaliel Foundation: Alinsky-Inspired Group Uses Stealth Tactics to Manipulate Church CongregationsBy David Hogberg, Capital Research CenterFoundation Watch, 07/07/2010
The radical left-wing Gamaliel Foundation worms its way into church congregations and uses the “in-your-face” tactics espoused by community organizing guru Saul Alinsky to incite church members to agitate for socialism. Worse, Gamaliel indoctrinates its own community organizers in creepy cult-like teachings and deceives church congregations about its real motives.
Foreign Policy/International AffairsBy Taly Helfont, Foreign Policy Research InstituteOrbis: A Journal of World Affairs, 07/07/2010
In December 2009, Egypt began construction of an underground steel wall on its border with Gaza in a move designed to halt the smuggling of illegal weapons and other contraband via the Hamas-run underground tunnel network. Egypt’s initiative, which is being carried out in the name of its own strategic-national interests, has been the subject of intense criticism throughout the region. This article examines the emergence of a new alignment in the Middle East, based upon a new fault line between moderates and radicals. This alignment is manifested in Egypt’s construction of its underground steel wall. By exploring the motivations, responses, and implications of building such a wall, it will become apparent that two camps have emerged in the region on this issue and that their stances are but an illustration of the aforementioned shift.
Budget & TaxationBy James Sherk, The Heritage FoundationCenter for Data Analysis Report, 07/07/2010
The federal government pays its employees substantially more than they would earn in the private sector. Congress should not overtax all Americans to overpay the privileged workers in the federal civil service. Aligning federal compensation with market rates would save taxpayers between $40 billion and $50 billion a year. Congress should immediately act to bring equity to federal pay. Congress should abolish the General Schedule and implement performance-based pay, require federal agencies to compete with the private sector, and bring the benefits to market levels.
Health CareBy Elias Crim, Capital Research CenterOrganization Trends, 07/07/2010
In this second installment of a three-part series on how nonprofits helped pass the Obama healthcare legislation, Elias Crim looks at the Catholic Health Association and the American Medical Association. Their ill-judged support provided moral and medical arguments for fundamental changes to American health insurance that may prove costly to taxpayers and consumers alike. (This is the second article in a three-part series on Obamacare. The first installment appeared in the May 2010 edition of Labor Watch.)
Budget & TaxationBy Stephen J. Entin, National Center for Policy AnalysisBrief Analysis, 07/07/2010
If carried interest is treated as ordinary income, it would net the Treasury little additional income. Any revenue gain would be largely at the expense of charities and schools. Linking the returns of the management to the performance of the investments via carried interest is a strong motivator for general partners to make investments as productive as possible. Breaking that link by raising taxes on carried interest would reduce these incentives, and force more of the investment risk onto the limited partners. To the extent that additional revenues were raised by taxing carried interest at higher rates, it would raise the cost of investment, as well as reduce productivity and wages.
EducationBy Terry Ryan, Michael B. Lafferty, Chester E. Finn Jr., MacMillan BooksBook, 07/07/2010
Charter schools have emerged as one of the central policy debates in U.S. education—and the Thomas B. Fordham Foundation team has been a key participant in this debate since day one, both nationally and in Ohio. Despite President Obama’s call for states to strengthen the charter sector and widen the options it provides to needy youngsters, established interests in education and politics oppose this disruption of the status quo. Ohio has struggled with these issues for more than a decade, struggles in which the authors of this book have played influential—and controversial—roles, including that of an actual authorizer of charter schools. They write from wide experience on the ground as well as extensive research and nationally-respected policy expertise.
EducationBy Terry Ryan, Michael B. Lafferty, Chester E. Finn, Jr., Education NextEducation Next, 07/07/2010
The Thomas B. Fordham Foundation’s long and deep immersion in Ohio education policy, particularly in the charter-school realm, includes a half decade of direct experience as “authorizer” of several charters. To recount and draw lessons from that experience, Fordham president (and Education Next senior editor) Chester Finn, Fordham vice president for Ohio policy and programs Terry Ryan, and veteran journalist Michael Lafferty authored the new book—Ohio’s Education Reform Challenges: Lessons from the Front Lines from which this article is adapted.
Foreign Policy/International AffairsBy Michael McFaul, Hoover InstitutionHoover Digest, 07/07/2010
If one were to argue that the United States is morally compelled to help make the world a better place, then it would follow that supporting democratic development in other countries should be a goal of American foreign policy. (The central purpose of American power, however, is not to make the world a better place. Rather, American leaders must first ensure the security and prosperity of the American people.) Democracy has clear advantages over other kinds of regimes. Democracies represent the will of the people and constrain the power of the state. They avoid the worst kinds of economic disasters, such as famine, and the political horrors, such as genocide, that occur in autocracies. On average, democracies also produce economic development just as well as other forms of government. Democracies also tend to provide for more stable government and more peaceful relations with other states. Finally, democracy is what most people in the world want.
Budget & TaxationBy Leonard Gilroy, Adrian Moore, Heartland InstituteLegislative Principles, 07/06/2010
Policymakers in many jurisdictions in the U.S. and around the world use privatization to better the lives of citizens by producing higher-quality services at lower costs, delivering greater choice, and ultimately providing more efficient and effective government. In recent decades, privatization has gone from a concept viewed as radical and ideologically based to a popular and well-proven public management tool. Thousands of national, state, and local government agencies in the United States have successfully privatized scores of services. Researchers have documented the successful privatization of airports, electric and telecommunications utilities, prisons, schools, transportation, and many other services. As this is written in 2010, a recession is causing fiscal trauma in many states. The 50 states face a combined budget gap of approximately $200 billion. Government Managers can use privatization to achieve a number of policy goals.
The Constitution/Civil LibertiesBy Brian Doherty, Reason FoundationReason, 07/06/2010
With shall-issue carry laws sweeping the nation over the past 25 years with no commensurate public mayhem, and with strong gun prohibitions largely absent from the national political stage, a basic understanding of a limited right to own guns rules the republic. No doubt, there are committed partisans for a “what part of ‘shall not be infringed’ don’t you understand?” stance, as well as dedicated keep-guns-out-of-everyone’s-hands warriors. But both sides are fighting a war as relevant as the Crimean to most Americans. No guns are being pried out of anyone’s cold, dead hands. Still, it’s worth remembering that while alcohol prohibition is over, that doesn’t mean it isn’t a highly regulated pain trying to run a bar, or that one’s access to booze isn’t highly circumscribed in various localities. That’s also the likely future for guns in a post-McDonald America where total prohibition is no longer an option.
Budget & TaxationBy Clint Brewer, Justin Owen, Daryl Luna, Beacon Center of TennesseePolicy Report, 07/06/2010
The 2010 Tennessee Pork Report identifies roughly $260 million of government waste, fraud, and abuse. From perennial losers to new found waste and largess in 2010, Tennessee’s state and local governments are being very poor stewards of taxpayer money. Through choices made at the ballot box in election cycle after election cycle, Tennesseans have made the clear choice that they want a state with low taxes and smaller, more efficient government. In order to maintain that covenant with the public, elected officials and particularly the denizens of state government from the General Assembly to the Governor’s office need to make philosophical, legislative and operational changes that support governance that is as fiscally conservative as the citizenry expects.
National SecurityBy Baker Spring, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 07/06/2010
A close examination of the White House’s National Space Policy released on June 28 reveals that national security is subordinated to policies for seeking cooperation, transparency, and most of all, arms control agreements regarding space systems and operations. Putting arms control at the center of the National Space Policy carries the direct risk of the U.S. losing its military and intelligence advantages in space and increasing the effectiveness of the “anti-access” strategies of U.S. adversaries.
Regulation & Deregulation
Public Interest Comment on the Draft 2010 Report to Congress on the Benefits and Costs of Federal Regulations and Unfunded Mandates on State, Local, and Tribal EntitiesBy Richard Williams, Jerry Ellig, John Morrall, Mercatus CenterPublic Interest Comment, 07/06/2010
The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has produced a very thorough report based on the instructions provided in the Regulatory-Right-to Know Act. Nevertheless, it is time to re-examine this report to see if it can be made more useful for those responsible for the regulatory state. First, more pressure must be brought to bear on regulatory agencies to do more and higher quality regulatory analysis, and this could be greatly facilitated by OMB reporting not just on successes, but on discrepancies. Second, the use of behavioral economics in constructing remedies is applauded, but care must be taken not to construe individual decision rules as market failures nor ignore the existence of market failures. It is recommended that OMB seek information about how firms comply with the sometimes thousands of regulations for which they are responsible. Third, cost-effectiveness analysis should only be used when there is a single benefit; otherwise benefit-cost analysis is likely to be more useful. Finally, a more careful look at economic theory is warranted as the government seeks to intervene in the obesity arena, although it is acknowledged to be a significant public health concern.
International Trade/FinanceBy Noel D. Johnson, John Nye, Raphaël Franck, Mercatus CenterWorking Paper, 07/06/2010
There is an extensive literature on the protectionist effects of border tariffs. In this paper we use data on the wine market in France at the turn of the twentieth century to argue that excise taxes collected on quantity can also be protectionist.
Natural Resources, Energy, Environment, & ScienceBy Jerry Ellig, Mercatus CenterPublic Interest Comment, 07/06/2010
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) claims that the proposed mandatory dust wipe testing would protect 8.2 million individuals from health hazards associated with lead dust exposure. In reality, neither the preamble to the proposed rule nor the accompanying Economic Analysis demonstrate that mandatory dust wipe testing will produce positive health benefits for anyone. The EPA has theorized about several market failures that might exist, but it has provided no evidence that they do exist. The EPA also failed to consider alternative theories that suggest the current state of affairs may reflect the choices of adequately informed customers who have market incentives to consider the effects of their choices on future purchasers or tenants in their buildings.
Foreign Policy/International AffairsBy James Phillips, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 07/06/2010
When Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets with President Barack Obama on Tuesday, they will discuss policy questions related to the precarious situation in Gaza, the stalemated Israeli–Palestinian peace negotiations, the growing Iranian threat, and other issues. But the main purpose of the summit will be to build better personal relations between the two leaders, restore mutual trust at the highest levels of their governments, and lay the foundation for closer cooperation in the future. Although Gaza and efforts to revive peace negotiations are pressing issues, in the long run the Obama–Netanyahu summit may be more important for setting a common course on Iran policy or risking the fallout of failing to do so.
EducationBy Lindsey Burke, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 07/06/2010
If Congress appropriates another $10 billion to the Department of Education (DOE) to prevent public sector job layoffs, it will be continuing the flawed, decades-old practice of filtering taxpayer resources through an inefficient federal agency. Instead of seeking another federal bailout from Washington, policymakers should ease the regulatory burden on states, permit states increased flexibility with their educational resources, and insist that funding is being efficiently used at the DOE.
Economic GrowthBy Rea Hederman, James Sherk, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 07/06/2010
The June jobs report released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics revealed that while total employment had declined by 125,000 jobs, the unemployment rate dipped slightly to 9.5 percent from 9.7 percent. Private employment increased 83,000 jobs but was swamped by the ending of many temporary government jobs associated with the decennial census. This is a weak labor market report, with the health of the labor market not improving even as the slow recovery continues. Job growth and wages in the private sector are still anemic, especially compared to government workers who have not experienced nearly the same amount of job losses. The American experiment in Keynesianism has not fared well.
Economic GrowthBy J.D. Foster, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 07/06/2010
Initial estimates from the Department of Labor suggest the U.S. economy lost 125,000 jobs in June while the unemployment rate declined by 0.4 percent from May’s highly elevated 9.9 percent. Over the last two months the economy averaged only 58,000 private sector jobs created, suggesting a faltering economic recovery. The $862 billion Obama stimulus legislation—as well as all the subsequent budget-busting legislation Congress has enacted under the rubric of “jobs” bills—has failed, as expected. Additionally, the weak jobs data means the Obama jobs deficit (the difference between current employment and the jobs Obama promised to create by the end of 2010) now stands at almost 7.4 million workers.