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Recent Policy Studies
Common Core’s Standards Still Don’t Make the Grade: Why Massachusetts and California Must Retain Control over Their Academic DestiniesBy Sandra Stotsky, Ze’ev Wurman, Pioneer Institute for Public Policy ResearchWhite Paper, 07/30/2010
The case for national standards rests in part on the need to remedy the inconsistent and inferior quality of many state standards and tests in order to equalize academic expectations for all students. The argument also addresses the urgent need to increase academic achievement for all students. In mathematics and science in particular, the United States needs much higher levels of achievement than its students currently demonstrate for it to remain competitive in a global economy.
Budget & TaxationBy Dave Trabert, Kansas Policy InstitutePolicy Analysis, 07/30/2010
There is ample evidence that higher taxes prompt customers (taxpayers) to leave the state. While tax burden isn’t the only reason people move, most economists agree that it’s a significant factor and the above data certainly indicates a strong correlation. During the time period examined by the Tax Foundation in a 2008 study, Kansas had a domestic migration net loss of 2.5%. Perhaps not coincidentally, state and local taxes in Kansas have increased rapidly over the last ten years.
Budget & TaxationBy Courtney Collins, Andrew J. Rettenmaier, National Center for Policy AnalysisPolicy Report, 07/30/2010
Investors breathed a tentative sigh of relief in recent months as they watched their retirement accounts make up for lost ground. Just a few months earlier, as they watched their 401(k)s weather dramatic stock market swings, many may have wished they were covered by a defined benefit pension plan from their employer (or union).
Natural Resources, Energy, Environment, & ScienceBy Beacon Hill Institute at Suffolk University, Commonwealth Foundation for Public Policy AlternativesPolicy Report, 07/30/2010
In December 2009, the Pennsylvania Climate Change Advisory Committee (PCCAC), in partnership with the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection and the Center for Climate Strategies, released its report, Pennsylvania: Final Climate Change Action Plan. Governor Edward G. Rendell hailed the report’s 52 recommendations that “could result in the net creation of 65,000 new full-time jobs and add more than $6 billion to the state’s economy” by reducing greenhouse gas emissions by more than 30%. However, a cost-benefit analysis finds serious flaws in the report, rendering its findings useless for policymakers seeking to make informed policy decisions about climate change and reducing greenhouse gas emissions in Pennsylvania. We conclude that the PCCAC report fails to perform the most basic task of any cost-benefit analysis—quantifying both the costs and benefits in monetary terms so that they can be directly compared.
Budget & TaxationBy Steven Malanga, Manhattan InstituteCity Journal, 07/29/2010
Taxpayers are slowly realizing that their states and municipalities face growing costs—above all, debt and pension obligations—that will be hard to reduce. The squeeze is already forcing cities and states to cut basic services, since they can’t risk defaulting on their debt. But these politically unpalatable moves are troubling more and more observers of the muni market.
EducationBy Jason Richwine, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 07/28/2010
The D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program (DCOSP) evaluation mandated by Congress uses the gold standard of scholarly rigor and reliability, and its findings corroborate past school choice studies. Among the positive outcomes of DCOSP are greater parental satisfaction—especially regarding school safety—and a significant increase in high school graduation rates. As the DCOSP evaluation makes clear, school choice offers real benefits to students and their families.
Budget & TaxationBy Kristina Rasmussen, Mitch Hoban, Ashley Muchow, Illinois Policy InstituteTax & Budget Brief, 07/28/2010
If Illinois is going to balance its budget, state leaders will need better information on the cost of new programs or higher taxes. Continuing with the status quo—which permits bills to be passed without realistic cost estimates—is untenable for a state that is billions of dollars in the red.
Budget & TaxationBy Illinois Policy Institute, Illinois Policy InstituteSpotlight on Spending, 07/28/2010
The state of Illinois pays legislators considerably more than the nationwide average, and Illinois’s perpetual budget deficit is a good indication that we’re necessarily not getting our money’s worth. Illinois needs to look at every item of spending in order to make sure it is using tax dollars as efficiently and fairly as possible, especially when taxpayers throughout the state are working hard to support their families and communities during tough economic times.
Budget & TaxationBy Illinois Policy Institute, Illinois Policy InstituteSpotlight on Spending, 07/28/2010
The State of Illinois spends revenues on a variety of areas, including direct programmatic and grant outlays, transfers to other government entities and funds, debt payback, and labor costs. With one out of every four general fund dollars going toward public employee compensation, solving the state’s budget crisis will necessarily involve tackling labor costs. Sealing off labor costs from deficit reduction measures would place an unfair burden on other recipients of government payments. The expectations of state workers should be balanced with other groups that rely on government spending, including welfare beneficiaries, contractors, service provides, and the state’s creditors, as well as the taxpayers who pay the bills. Right-sizing the state’s compensation costs will help balance the budget, maintain funding for core government services, and protect overburdened taxpayers.
Budget & TaxationBy Kristina Rasmussen, Illinois Policy InstituteTax & Budget Brief, 07/28/2010
Illinois should pass the Pension Funding & Fairness Act, which would limit the growth in future state spending to the rate of population growth plus inflation. Revenues collected beyond this spending growth index would be applied to pay down past due debt, establish a budget stabilization fund, and to fill a taxpayer relief fund.
Regulation & DeregulationBy Richard Williams, Mercatus CenterTestimony, 07/28/2010
According to the evidence the administration has put forward, there has been both a reduction in the number of economic analyses produced by the agencies and diminished oversight by OIRA. Compared to 2007, in which every single economically significant regulation had a Regulatory Impact Analysis; in 2009 one of five had no analysis. Meanwhile, OIRA has reduced the amount of time they are spending on reviewing individual regulations - down about 35% in 2009 from the previous two years. And finally, after having reviewed 900 regulations since taking office, they have decided that not one rule needs to be returned to the agencies. The problem is that if agencies are failing to do the analyses or are doing a bad job of them, we will have rules that fail to achieve their objectives.
Economic GrowthBy Christopher Coyne, Art Carden, Mercatus CenterWorking Paper, 07/28/2010
Over the course of its history, the United States has adopted open-access institutions on some margins and limited-access institutions on others. Antebellum southern slavery was a limited-access institution, and the problems associated with replacing limited access institutions in the South with open-access institutions help us identify some of the problems people face today as they consider the problems of postwar reconstruction around the world. For all of its problems, robust Southern growth ultimately emerged and even in spite of numerous institutional obstacles, blacks made rapid progress during the period between the end of the Civil War and the beginning of World War I. The Douglass C. North, John Joseph Wallis, and Barry R. Weingast framework helps us identify some of the social and institutional obstacles that prevented an even more remarkable Southern recovery.
EducationBy Bill Mattox, James Madison InstituteJournal of the James Madison Institute, 07/28/2010
An educational system that rewards excellence and offers lots of different schooling options is good for students—but it’s also good for teachers. In such a marketplace, tone deaf administrators who fail to take into consideration the extenuating circumstances that might explain a good teacher’s occasional “bad year” will find themselves losing talented people to other schools (and eventually losing their own jobs because of their failure to breed success). So, good teachers have little to fear, and much to gain, from a merit-based system—just as good students have little to fear, and much to gain, from a grading system that rewards excellence.
Budget & TaxationBy Scott A. Hodge, Tax FoundationSpecial Report, 07/28/2010
The tragic impact of the British Petroleum oil spill on the five U.S. states that border the Gulf of Mexico has prompted calls for higher taxes on U.S.-based oil and gas companies even though the industry's tax remittances already exceed its corporate profits. Some legislators would prefer an economy-wide tax on fossil fuel energy, either a carbon tax or cap-and-trade system. Others prefer a targeted approach that aims to repeal any tax provision that benefits the oil and gas industry. A common theme to both approaches is a bald assertion that the oil and gas industry pays little in tax. Despite the hyperbolic rhetoric from some lawmakers and interest groups, the facts do not support a claim that the oil and gas industry in America is under-taxed.
Budget & TaxationBy Scott A. Hodge, Tax FoundationFiscal Facts, 07/28/2010
Not surprisingly, there has been a lot of rhetoric about how much certain industries—such as the oil and gas industry—are being “subsidized” by the tax code. What should surprise people is that all of the corporate tax preferences taken together are still less than the budgetary costs of the preferences available to individuals such as the mortgage interest deduction and the exclusion for employer-provided health insurance. More surprising still, state and local governments are the biggest beneficiaries of corporate tax expenditures. And among energy firms, producers of renewable energy receive more than four times as much in tax benefits as the oil and gas industry.
Information TechnologyBy Jim Harper, Cato InstituteTestimony, 07/28/2010
Privacy is a complicated human interest. People use the word “privacy” to refer to many different things, but its strongest sense is control of personal information, which exists when people have legal power to control information and when they exercise that control consistent with their interests and values. Direct privacy legislation or regulation is unlikely to improve on the status quo. Over decades, a batch of policies referred to as “fair information practices” have failed to take hold because of their complexity and internal inconsistencies. Even modest regulation like mandated privacy notices have not produced meaningful improvements in privacy. Consumers generally do not read privacy policies and they either do not consider privacy much of the time, or they value other things more than privacy when they interact online.
National SecurityBy James Carafano, et al., The Heritage FoundationBackgrounder, 07/27/2010
The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) is a binational American and Canadian military command that provides aerospace and maritime warning for North America. The US and Canada should invite Mexico to join NORAD. Including Mexico in NORAD is just the beginning of a better multinational effort to make North America safer and more secure. Making NORAD an effective instrument will require more than just adding another member. Effective teamwork will require more training and information sharing. Only through mutual cooperation, enhanced understanding, and increased flexibility can NORAD keep North America safe in the 21st century.
Budget & TaxationBy Nicola Moore, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 07/27/2010
Two recent studies by the International Monetary Fund and the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) highlight the significance of the global debt challenge and stress the need for governments to aim higher than short-term deficit reductions. The warning shots fired by the IMF and BIS should be a wake-up call to global leaders to get public debt under control. The economic consequences of projected debt, if realized, would be devastating, and the prospect of triggering an IMF audit is embarrassing at best and politically untenable at worst. In the U.S., the best way to prevent this disaster is to start with serious and prompt reform to age-related spending in Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid entitlements.
Foreign Policy/International AffairsBy Ariel Cohen, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 07/27/2010
Winning in Afghanistan is a vital U.S. national interest, and since 2001, Manas Air Base in Kyrgyzstan has been critical to this effort. Thus, independence and stability in Kyrgyzstan—and reliability of Manas—are strategic factors that U.S. policymakers should take into account. America’s beneficial presence in Central Asia balances the Chinese and Russian hegemonic ambitions and prevents radical Islamists from overwhelming weak states in the region. The U.S. should improve its relationships with the Kyrgyz government, opinion makers, and the general population for the sake of helping Kyrgyzstan develop its fledging democratic institutions, improve the well-being of its citizens, prevent further ethnic violence, and support U.S. military operations in Afghanistan.
Economic and Political Thought
The Evolution of Rule of Law in Hayek’s Thought: From Collectivist Economic Planning to the Political Ideal of the Rule of LawBy Steven D. Ealy, Mercatus CenterWorking Paper, 07/27/2010
Friedrich Hayek’s interest in the ideal of rule of law as the centerpiece of a free society grew out of his analysis of the nature of centralized economic planning. The development of rule of law in Hayek’s thought can be traced from his early studies on economic planning through his political analysis of economics and political life as contained in The Road to Serfdom to his lectures on The Political Ideal of the Rule of Law delivered in Cairo in 1955. These lectures became the core of The Constitution of Liberty, in which Hayek integrates his concern with rule of law with basic philosophical principles, on the one hand, and an analysis of approaches to public policy on the other.
Foreign Policy/International AffairsBy Sally McNamara, Ariel Cohen, James Phillips, The Heritage FoundationBackgrounder, 07/27/2010
On its current trajectory, Turkey’s traditional strategic relationship with the West could devolve into a looser affiliation while Turkey enters into a closer alliance with Iran and other Middle Eastern powers hostile to U.S. leadership. The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP)-instigated backlash against Israel has made it easier for Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu to reorient Turkish foreign policy and extend Turkish support for Islamist causes more broadly. The United States and NATO should not stand idly by, watching this happen. The U.S., in concert with its European allies, needs to address the serious differences that are emerging.
Nuclear Games II: An Exercise in Examining the Dynamic of Missile Defenses and Arms Control in a Proliferated WorldBy Nuclear Stability Working Group, The Heritage FoundationSpecial Report, 07/27/2010
An effective ballistic missile defense will necessarily account for the ongoing proliferation of nuclear weapons and ballistic missile delivery systems. A Heritage Foundation study tests the hypothesis that ballistic missile defenses will impede attempts at offensive arms reductions in a setting in which seven “players” possess ballistic missile armed with nuclear warheads. It suggests not only that defenses will not undermine arms control in this setting, but also that they can make a positive contribution to the arms control process.
Natural Resources, Energy, Environment, & ScienceBy Brandon Houskeeper, Washington Policy CenterEnvironmental Watch, 07/26/2010
Washington State’s new energy regulation would increase homeowners’ costs by adding over $2,200 to the cost of a new home and more than $2,000 for remodels. Washington’s State Building Code Council is currently accepting public testimony on whether or not to impose their new energy rules. The Council should cancel its proposed rules, because any supposed benefit to the environment is minimal compared to the high cost it would impose on new and existing homeowners in the state of Washington. However, should the Council move to implement these onerous rules, Governor Gregoire and other policymakers should require a complete cost-benefit analysis, including a Small Business Impact Statement that meets the requirements in state law. Additionally, the state should adopt standards by which Washingtonians are reducing carbon emissions in the most efficient and cost effective ways. Finally, Governor Gregoire should articulate the serious questions that she believes need to be answered, as raised by her June 8th letter.
Budget & TaxationBy Mark Robyn, Micah Cohen, Joseph Henchman, Tax FoundationSpecial Report, 07/26/2010
Sales tax holidays are periods of time when selected goods are exempted from state (and sometimes local) sales taxes. Such holidays have become an annual event in many states, with exemptions for such targeted products as back-to-school supplies, clothing, computers, hurricane preparedness supplies, products bearing the U.S. government's Energy Star label, and even guns. High-tax New York State sparked the trend in 1997 as a way to discourage border shopping. In 2010, 18 states will conduct sales tax holidays. At first glance, sales tax holidays seem like great policy. They enjoy broad political support, with backers arguing that holidays are a highly visible form of tax cut and provide benefits to low-income consumers. Politicians and other supporters routinely claim that sales tax holidays improve sales for retailers, create jobs, and promote economic growth.
Budget & TaxationBy Patrick Fagan, The Heritage FoundationBackgrounder, 07/26/2010
The death tax generates about 1 percent of federal revenues. By generating that small a benefit to the federal treasury, the death tax discourages investment and savings, undermines job creation, suppresses productivity and wage growth, hurts those whose savings are tied up in land, hurts businesses owned by families, women, and minorities, and contradicts the American ideal of wealth creation. Perhaps worst of all, in threatening small businesses, the death tax threatens activities that are essential to the moral fabric of American life.
National SecurityBy Alexander Meleagrou-Hitchens, Jacob Amis, Hudson InstituteCurrent Trends in Islamist Ideology, 07/26/2010
Like many of his predecessors, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the “Christmas Day Bomber,” left behind a personal testimony. His was not a scripted “martyrdom video,” but a series of online postings written over the course of two years. They relate a dramatic journey, born of a web of influences. Within a few months of his first Internet writings, Abdulmutallab, already flushed with Salafist religiosity, encountered the highly politicized Islam that is prevalent on the British university campus. The organizations and institutions with which he interacted, as a member and then president of University College London’s Islamic Society, openly promulgated a radical worldview: the “War on Terror” is in fact a “War on Islam,” resisted by the freedom fighters of Hamas, Hezbollah and the Taliban, in a valiant defensive jihad. For some, this heroic mantle could extend, with only subtle qualification, to the offensive jihad of al-Qaeda.
Health CareBy James C. Capretta, Galen InstituteStudies, 07/26/2010
President Obama passed his health care program through Congress in large part based on the argument that it represented a clear break from past practice. The bill expanded entitlement spending to millions of new beneficiaries and the architects contend that it will also slow the pace of rising health costs. The new law provides the possibility of swifter implementation, but the political and information obstacles that have always stymied progress in the past remain. A more promising approach for addressing the significant challenges we face is a completely new relationship between the government and the beneficiaries of its programs. In particular, in Medicare, the key to changing the cost dynamic is to give more power and control to the beneficiaries themselves. Their choices can lead the health sector to make the revolutionary and cost-cutting changes the government has never been able to successfully impose by regulatory fiat.
EducationBy Matthew Ladner, Friedman Foundation for Educational ChoiceResearch Study, 07/26/2010
Florida lawmakers began a comprehensive education reform effort in 1999 combining accountability, transparency, and parental choice with other far-reaching changes. In March 2010, the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) released new results showing just how successful Florida’s reforms have been and how futile Oklahoma’s efforts have proved. This study documents how the latest NAEP results strengthen the case for Florida-style reforms. Florida’s reforms, while benefiting all students, have been especially beneficial to disadvantaged students. This paper details the key components of Florida’s K-12 education reform strategy and explains why the adoption of the Florida reforms in Oklahoma would aid all children, especially disadvantaged students.
Health CareBy James C. Capretta, Brian Riedl, The Heritage FoundationBackgrounder, 07/26/2010
Proponents of the new health law have claimed repeatedly that it will improve the nation’s long-term budget outlook. That is an illusion based on implausible assumptions, sleights of hand, and outright budget gimmicks, with the Community Living Assistance Services and Supports Act (CLASS) topping the list. The CLASS Act is an ill-conceived concept that was included in Obamacare only because of the appearance of surplus funding. In reality, CLASS is destined to run short of funds, creating pressure for another massive taxpayer bailout. The biggest threat to the long-term prosperity of the country is the massive unfunded liabilities for the nation’s major entitlement program. The last thing Congress should be doing is adding to the burden of future taxpayers, which is why CLASS Act repeal is the most fiscally responsible—and ethical—course to follow.
Foreign Policy/International AffairsBy Ray Walser, The Heritage FoundationBackgrounder, 07/26/2010
Panama, like its neighbor Colombia, is waiting for the U.S. Congress to approve the pending free trade agreement and to increase security cooperation. Panama is a strong democracy and trade partner often ignored in Washington, despite decades of fruitful ties. The cornerstone of the U.S.–Panama relationship remains the path-breaking 1970s treaties that granted Panama sovereignty over the U.S.-built Panama Canal, a historic milestone in the peaceful evolution of hemispheric diplomacy. The Panama Canal plays a prominent and growing role in U.S. trade. Panama is ready to deepen its long cooperation and friendship with the U.S.—it is time that Washington embrace this opportunity to strengthen a vital alliance.
Foreign Policy/International AffairsBy Ray Walser, The Heritage FoundationBackgrounder, 07/26/2010
The decisive June 20 triumph of Juan Manuel Santos, elected as Colombia’s next president, is a victory for democracy, a vote for policy continuity, and a reaffirmation of the importance of a strong U.S.–Colombian relationship. On many fronts—from combating the drug trade and narco-terrorism to advancing citizen security and meeting human needs—the U.S. and Colombia have achieved an unprecedented level of cooperation over the past decade. The time has come for the Obama Administration to aggressively push for immediate legislative approval of the free-trade aggreement with Colombia. It must make the case that trade union and human rights issues in Colombia will be addressed through active partnership with a shared review process rather than by denying the much-needed free-trade deal and demanding perfection on the human rights front. Protecting human rights, reducing criminal threats to security and reducing the threat of illicit drug trafficking go hand in hand and require well-coordinated, long-term strategies that link citizen security with the economic opportunities that come with trade, investment, and market access.
International Trade/FinanceBy Derek Scissors, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 07/26/2010
It is plain that a “Beijing Consensus” in energy and environmental issues would be disastrous. The world is struggling to accommodate one country following the PRC’s energy and environmental priorities—more would be that much worse. This potential calamity has particular implications for American policy. Chinese state intervention and, now, tens of billions of dollars in annual spending are consistent with an energy and environmental performance that is vastly inferior to that of the United States. Federal government tax and spending actions can certainly boost individual wind and solar companies but may harm the economy, make the U.S. less energy efficient than it otherwise would be, and do little for the environment. Rather than trying to match the various kinds of Chinese subsidies, as some green energy advocates suggest, the U.S. should start near the opposite pole of the Chinese model.
Budget & TaxationBy Marcus A. Winters, Manhattan InstituteIssue Brief, 07/26/2010
It is often said that public school teachers are poorly paid. At an average salary of about $60,000 a year, public school teachers in New Jersey take home substantially less pay than do many other college educated professionals. But teachers tend to work fewer hours in a year than do other professionals. Does the widespread assertion that New Jersey's teachers are poorly paid relative to other professionals hold true after accounting for differences in hours worked? When adjusted to equivalent working hours, it is found that New Jersey's public school teachers earn wages that are competitive with those of private-sector professionals, whose salaries have stagnated or been cut as a result of the recent economic downturn.
Regulation & DeregulationBy Ryan Brannan, Jay Wiley, Bill Peacock, Texas Public Policy FoundationPolicy Perspective, 07/26/2010
A full and objective examination of the Texas government regulation helps determine whether restrictions on private property owners are appropriate. This “look before you leap” approach is a valuable characteristic of good government. Future municipal development should be done wisely and transparently with a fair and reasonable recognition of the fundamental rights of private property owners. Since the Texas Supreme Court has held that the Private Property Rights Act of 1995 does not require a Takings Impact Assessment be performed, which examines the benefits, burdens and alternatives to regulation, it is an important part of reform legislation.
Natural Resources, Energy, Environment, & ScienceBy Joseph R. Mason, Institute for Energy Research07/26/2010
The goal of the Obama administration moratorium is to shield the Gulf from further harmful effects by limiting the likelihood of a similar oil spill in the future. The moratorium, however, will do more harm than good. By ceasing offshore drilling, even for as little as six months, the moratorium will further depress onshore state and local economies dependent on oil production. Evidence indicates that the Deepwater Horizon spill was attributable to a lack of sufficient oversight during the transition of the rig from exploration to commercial production. Halting all offshore deepwater drilling in response to a likely low-probability event serves neither to address the root causes of the accident, nor to aid in the economic rehabilitation of the Gulf region. Indeed, a moratorium on offshore drilling would result in billions of dollars in additional lost economic activity in the Gulf.
National SecurityBy Arthur A. Ekirch, Jr., Independent InstituteBook, 07/26/2010
“Though involved in numerous wars, the United States has avoided becoming a militaristic nation, and the American people, though hardly pacifists, have been staunch opponents of militarism,” wrote the distinguished historian Arthur A. Ekirch, Jr., in his 1956 book, The Civilian and the Military. Subordinating the armed forces to civil rule is a tradition that is essential to the survival of freedom and democracy in America, according to Ekirch. Now with the Independent Institute’s reissue of this book—a companion to Ekirch’s recently reissued classic, The Decline of American Liberalism—a new generation of readers can discover the nature and importance of the antimilitarist tradition as it has played out from the Founding Era to the Cold War. As libertarian historian Ralph Raico explains in his new foreword, The Civilian and the Military traces the “portentous transformation” of the United States from a republic leery of maintaining its own standing army to “the world’s greatest military machine and sole imperial power.”
Crime, Justice & the LawBy William G. Lawlor, Michael L. Kichline, Michael J. Newman, Washington Legal FoundationWorking Paper, 07/26/2010
This working paper examines a phenomenon in corporate litigation that has largely escaped close study: the proliferation of “Caremark claims” – that is, derivative cases based on a corporate director’s fiduciary duty to monitor. Since the Caremark decision itself, courts have accepted the fundamental premise that state law fiduciary duty claims may be based on corporate violations of federal criminal law. “Federalized Caremark claims” deserve closer scrutiny for three reasons. First, the propriety of conflating state civil liability for breach of fiduciary duty with federal criminal statutes is, at best, questionable. Second, the calculation of harm to corporations in federalized Caremark claims has escaped thorough analysis, allowing potential manipulation by the plaintiffs’ bar. Finally, federalized Caremark claims raise practical issues and undermine the goals of Delaware corporate law. This paper suggests that courts must be vigilant to ensure that such claims do not become vehicles for abusive litigation and violations of legislative intent.
EducationBy Katherine Mangu-Ward, Reason FoundationReason, 07/26/2010
The existing offerings of online education are making life better for hundreds of thousands of kids. But Americans are a long way from having widespread access to genuinely innovative educational practices. Only 28 states allow full-time online programs right now. A child who lives in New York doesn’t have access to any public online programs. In Virginia there are online A.P. courses, but nothing full time. In California, one has access to full-time programs but not supplemental ones, unless a district has made an independent investment in online learning. Americans can’t let state legislatures and federal grant programs pick winners. This happens when teachers unions allow only one version of online education to squeak by. But if online learning keeps growing, by 2025 education will be virtually unrecognizable, and thank goodness for that.
National SecurityBy Neena Shenai, American Enterprise InstituteNational Security Outlook, 07/26/2010
U.S. export control reform is a thorny political monster that periodically rears its ugly head. And it is back again. The Obama administration has proposed a comprehensive set of reforms to overhaul the U.S. export control system in an effort led by Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates. The Obama administration’s initiative has laudable goals, but how the reforms are implemented will determine whether U.S. national security is enhanced and the United States continues to be a preeminent hub of technological innovation. The Reform’s proponents must prove its national security bona fides in order to achieve political buy in from the national security community and Congress for its proposed export control reforms.
Elections, Transparency, & AccountabilityBy Amy E. Gadsden, American Enterprise InstitutePapers and Studies, 07/26/2010
This paper explores the evolution of Chinese NGOs, their structure, and how they work. The paper analyzes how the state and the Communist Party are responding to the emergence of a “third sector” and offers examples of what some groups are doing to negotiate issues between state and society. Finally, it examines whether the emergence of Chinese NGOs, typically seen as a building block in a liberal political system, increases the likelihood that China will liberalize politically. China’s NGOs take up political issues, but they are not yet political actors.