- Budget & Taxation
- Crime, Justice & the Law
- The Constitution
- Economic & Political Thought
- Economic Growth
- Elections, Transparency, & Accountability
- Family, Culture & Community
- Foreign Policy/ International Affairs
- Health Care
- Information Technology
- International Trade & Finance
- Monetary Policy/ Financial Regulation
- National Security
- Natural Resources, Energy, Environment, & Science
- Regulation & Deregulation
- Retirement/ Social Security
- Transportation & Infrastructure
- Acton Institute
- Adam Smith Institute
- Alabama Policy Institute
- Allegheny Institute
- Alliance for School Choice
- Alliance for Worker Freedom
- America’s Future Foundation
- American Council on Science and Health
- American Enterprise Institute
- American Institute for Full Employment
- American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC)
- Americans for Tax Reform
- Arkansas Policy Foundation
- Ashbrook Center for Public Affairs
- Atlas Economic Research Foundation
- Atlas Society
- Beacon Center of Tennessee
- Beacon Hill Institute
- Becket Fund
- Bluegrass Institute
- Buckeye Institute for Public Policy Solutions
- Business & Media Institute
- Calvert Institute
- Cascade Policy Institute
- Cato Institute
- Center for Consumer Freedom
- Center for College Affordability and Productivity
- Center for Equal Opportunity
- Center for Health Transformation
- Center for Immigration Studies
- Center for International Private Enterprise
- Center for Strategic and International Studies
- Center of the American Experiment
- Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation
- Citizens Against Government Waste
- Claremont Institute for the Study of Statesmanship and Political Philosophy
- Club For Growth
- Commonwealth Foundation
- Competitive Enterprise Institute
- Council for Affordable Health Insurance
- Empire Center for New York State Policy
- Ethan Allen Institute
- Evergreen Freedom Foundation
- Federalist Society
- Foreign Policy Research Institute
- Fraser Institute
- Foundation for Defense of Democracies
- Foundation for Educational Choice
- Foundation for Education Reform & Accountability
- Foundation for Research on Economics & the Environment
- Free Congress Foundation
- Free State Foundation
- Galen Institute
- Georgia Public Policy Foundation
- Goldwater Institute
- Grassroot Institute of Hawaii
- Great Plains Public Policy Institute
- Heartland Institute
- The Heritage Foundation
- Heritage Libertad
- Hoover Institution
- Hudson Institute
- Illinois Policy Institute
- IMANI Center for Policy & Education
- Independence Institute
- Independent Institute
- Institute for Health Freedom
- Institute for Energy Research
- Institute for Humane Studies
- Institute for Justice
- Institute for Market Economics
- Institute for Marriage and Public Policy
- Institute for Policy Innovation
- Institute for Research on the Economics of Taxation
- Institute of Economic Affairs
- Intercollegiate Studies Institute
- International Policy Network
- International Republican Institute
- James Madison Institute
- John Jay Institute for Faith, Society & Law
- John Locke Foundation
- Josiah Bartlett Center for Public Policy
- Kansas Policy Institute
- Landmark Legal Foundation
- Leadership Institute
- Lexington Institute
- Mackinac Center for Public Policy
- Maine Heritage Policy Center
- Manhattan Institute
- Maryland Public Policy Institute
- Mercatus Center
- Mississippi Center for Public Policy
- National Center for Policy Analysis
- National Center for Public Policy Research
- National Taxpayers Union
- Nevada Policy Research Institute
- North Dakota Policy Council
- Ocean State Policy Research Institute
- Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs
- Pacific Research Institute
- Palmetto Family Council
- PERC - The Property and Environment Research Center
- Philanthropy Roundtable
- Phoenix Center
- Pioneer Institute for Public Policy Research
- Progress & Freedom Foundation
- Property Rights Alliance
- Public Interest Institute
- Public Policy Foundation of West Virginia
- Reason Foundation
- Rio Grande Foundation
- Sam Adams Alliance
- Science and Public Policy Institute
- Show-Me Institute
- South Carolina Policy Council
- State Policy Network
- Sutherland Institute
- The Tax Foundation
- Texas Public Policy Foundation
- Thomas B. Fordham Foundation
- Thomas Jefferson Institute
- Virginia Institute for Public Policy
- Washington Legal Foundation
- Washington Policy Center
- Wisconsin Policy Research Institute
- Yankee Institute for Public Policy
- Young America’s Foundation
Recent Policy Studies
Budget & TaxationBy James G. Bohn, Pioneer Institute for Public Policy ResearchWhite Paper, 08/06/2010
The pension system for Massachusetts state workers and retirees has recently received a great deal of attention. Governor Deval Patrick signed reform legislation in June 2009, and additional reforms may be forthcoming. Much of the media coverage of pension issues has focused on sensational accounts of pension abuse.
EducationBy Audrey Spalding, Show-Me InstitutePolicy Study, 08/06/2010
This Paper addresses a topic that has received little systematic study: the compensation of school superintendents. Missouri school districts spend roughly $9,500 per student in current operating expenses. Superintendents, with the approval of their boards, make important decisions about how these resources are allocated. So, how are these education decision-makers compensated? Which superintendent and district factors explain differences in superintendent pay? To get a fuller picture of compensation, Audrey Spalding made sunshine requests to all Missouri school districts for superintendent contracts. These contracts provide important data about other benefits that superintendents receive, including the use of cars, additional annuities, vacation time, bonus pay, etc. The information is included in the analysis.
Budget & TaxationBy The Heritage Foundation, The Heritage FoundationFact Sheet, 08/06/2010
There is never a good time to raise taxes, but allowing the Obama tax hikes to move forward with 9.5% unemployment is absurd. The already anemic economic recovery will slow even further. Congress should immediately remove the threat to jobs and the economy caused by the pending Obama tax hikes and permanently extend current tax rates, allowing investment to flourish and small businesses to grow. Temporary extensions will only prolong this threat.
Budget & TaxationBy David C. John, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 08/06/2010
The debate about whether Social Security faces a problem and needs to be fixed is over. The 2010 Trustees Report shows that the program faces massive permanent annual deficits starting in just five years. Now is the time to focus on solutions. Instead of just blindly defending the current program, both Congress and the Administration need to propose comprehensive programs that permanently fix Social Security. Opposing a potential solution is not the same thing as coming up with a plan.
Transportation/InfrastructureBy Robert W. Poole, Adrian T. Moore, Reason FoundationPolicy Study, 08/06/2010
The urgent need to rebuild and modernize vital Interstate highway infrastructure is bogged down by a Federal system that prioritizes politics and ribbon-cutting. The federal gas tax has become a general-purpose public works tax instead of a true highway user fee. Refocusing the federal program on Interstate 2.0, and restoring the true user fee nature of the federal fuel tax, offers a way to cut the Gordian knot.
EducationBy Philip Babcock, Mindy Marks, American Enterprise InstituteEducation Outlook, 08/05/2010
In 1961, the average full-time student at a four-year college in the United States studied about twenty-four hours per week, while his modern counterpart puts in only fourteen hours per week. Students now study less than half as much as universities claim to require. This dramatic decline in study time occurred for students from all demographic subgroups, for students who worked and those who did not, within every major, and at four-year colleges of every type, degree structure, and level of selectivity. Most of the decline predates the innovations in technology that are most relevant to education and thus was not driven by such changes. The most plausible explanation for these findings is that standards have fallen at postsecondary institutions in the United States.
Natural Resources, Energy, Environment, & ScienceBy James Carafano, Jack Spencer, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 08/05/2010
While Deepwater Horizon incident revealed flaws in the federal oversight process, suspending drilling operations is not the best strategy for mitigating risks while Washington gets its own house in order. As a result of this incident, the U.S. capacity to respond to even the most catastrophic failures has been greatly expanded and enhanced. Given that major spills are already rare, resuming drilling would be the more prudent course.
Crime, Justice & the LawBy Jessica Huseman, National Center for Policy AnalysisBrief Analysis, 08/05/2010
Drug courts are judicially supervised programs that provide long-term treatment and other services to nonviolent drug law offenders. Cases can be referred to drug courts in lieu of or in addition to traditional criminal punishment, such as incarceration or probation. Given the success of drug courts, and the projected savings if more programs were implemented, the United States should use drug courts to save taxpayers' money and effectively treat criminals with drug problems.
Budget & TaxationBy David Ranson, National Center for Policy AnalysisBrief Analysis, 08/05/2010
For budget planning, it is wiser and safer to assume that tax receipts will remain at a historically realistic ratio to GDP no matter how tax rates are manipulated. That leads to the conclusion that current projections of federal revenue are, once again, unrealistically high.
Budget & TaxationBy Scott A. Hodge, Tax FoundationSpecial Report, 08/05/2010
There is a popular misperception that U.S. corporations pay less taxes than they should because of a plethora of “tax loopholes” in the tax code that allow them to minimize their tax burden. However, as is often the case in Washington, reality does not measure up to political rhetoric. If Washington is going to debate the future of corporate tax expenditures it should do so within the broader context of reforming the entire corporate tax code rather than attacking certain provisions in a politically charged and piecemeal process. The U.S. has one of the highest overall corporate tax rates in the industrialized world and that rate—not tax breaks—is threatening American competitiveness, wages and jobs. Lowering the corporate rate should be a top priority for lawmakers and broadening the base by closing some tax expenditures should be part of that discussion.
Foreign Policy/International AffairsBy Ray Walser, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 08/04/2010
The U.S.–Colombian relationship is a strategic pillar in U.S.–Latin American relations. President Santos brings experience, dedication, and the readiness to forge even stronger ties with the U.S. The Obama Administration and Congress must recognize this opportunity and take action.
The Constitution/Civil LibertiesBy Robert Alt, The Heritage FoundationTestimony, 08/04/2010
Before any Senator votes in favor of confirming Kagan to the position of associate justice, they need to be as certain as possible that she will be able to uphold her oath of office to “administer justice without respect to persons, and do equal right to the poor and to the rich,” and not to rule based upon empathy, or personal policy preferences.
Budget & TaxationBy Illinois Policy Institute, Illinois Policy InstituteSpotlight on Spending, 08/03/2010
While the state fairs have a long tradition in Illinois, taxpayers cannot afford a losing venture. When the state has billions in unpaid bills to core services like hospitals, mental health facilities and veterans’ homes, events like the state fair should not be adding to the budget deficit. Instead, state fairs should budget the same way families and businesses across the state do every day—by spending no more than they bring in.
Elections, Transparency, & Accountability
Bureaucratic Tyranny or the Renewal of Self-Government: The Beginning of Centralized Administration in AmericaBy John Adams Wettergreen, The Heritage FoundationFirst Principles, 08/03/2010
The fully bureaucratized order cannot yet be established by a free popular vote. Indeed, the fully bureaucratized order could only be established by popular vote if the American people were so demoralized that they lacked the capacity to rule themselves politically. Two decades of aggressive centralization have already undermined that capacity to some extent. However, the continued success of the antibureaucratic appeal at the national level is a sign, at least, that the longing for self-government is not yet dead in the American soul.
Budget & TaxationBy Brian Riedl, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 08/03/2010
The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) has released a report challenging Heritage’s report “The Three Biggest Myths About Tax Cuts and the Budget Deficit.” CBPP’s critique is based on faulty economic analysis and fundamental misrepresentations of the original report. Furthermore, even accepting CBPP’s methodological arguments would not materially alter or refute Heritage’s conclusions that the tax cuts play a relatively minor role in past budget deficits, and that future deficits are driven by soaring mandatory spending.
Foreign Policy/International AffairsBy Colin Dueck, Hoover InstitutionPolicy Review, 08/03/2010
A period out of power has given conservatives and Republicans a golden opportunity to reassess their approach toward American foreign policy. Such periods in opposition are often fruitful for political parties, which can reformulate creative and winning ideas on issues of public policy. But there is nothing to say that they will necessarily do such reformulation. Success in political and conceptual rebuilding requires intellectual honesty regarding current strengths and weaknesses. Conservatives pride themselves on a clear-eyed view of political and policy realities. It is entirely fitting that this same clear-eyed view be turned on conservative foreign policy approaches.
Natural Resources, Energy, Environment, & ScienceBy Robert J. Michaels, Bill Peacock, Texas Public Policy FoundationReport, 08/03/2010
Energy efficiency has traditionally been about making energy less expensive to use. The public benefit of energy efficiency is that we are able to use more, less-expensive energy that in turn produces greater economic growth. However, today’s government-mandated energy efficiency programs are generally designed to decrease energy use. And, as described below, they often do this by increasing the cost of energy.
Natural Resources, Energy, Environment, & ScienceBy Mario Loyola, Texas Public Policy FoundationPolicy Brief, 08/03/2010
America gets a third of its domestic oil production from the Gulf of Mexico—and more than 80 percent of that from deepwater wells. The offshore oil industry represents a vital part of the economy of Texas. A reformed framework for offshore drilling must protect our economy as well as our environment.
Budget & TaxationBy John C. Goodman, National Center for Policy AnalysisBrief Analysis, 08/03/2010
All over the developed world, countries are facing an extremely unpleasant budgetary reality: Per capita health care spending is growing at twice the rate of growth of per capita income. Couple the fact that government promises of health care for the elderly are almost everywhere unfunded with the fact that pension promises are mostly unfunded and that aging populations mean an ever-increasing number of retirees per worker, and just about every first world country is projecting a fiscal nightmare. So what is the answer? The Obama administration has made it about as clear as it is going to get that after the fall election its solution to trillion dollar deficits is going to be a VAT (value-added tax). But is that a good idea?
Natural Resources, Energy, Environment, & ScienceBy Nicolas Loris, Jack Spencer, James Carafano, The Heritage FoundationBackgrounder, 08/03/2010
Congress should create a liability system that clearly identifies risks and allocates associated liabilities, ensures that those engaged in the industry can meet their potential liabilities, protects industry from frivolous lawsuits, and assures the public that both environmental and economic damages from an oil spill can be addressed in full. The oil industry should create an independent safety organization that would provide an incentive for oil companies to explore and implement new safety and prevention mechanisms. While such an organization would greatly reduce the likelihood of spills in the future, the industry also needs to demonstrate a clear and full ability to respond competently in the event of a spill. These reforms would keep oil and gas operation safe, the public informed, and overzealous regulators in check.
Budget & Taxation
Effect of Expiration of Bush-Era Tax Cuts on Average Middle-Income Family, by State and Congressional DistrictBy Tax Foundation's Data Analysis Division, Tax FoundationFiscal Facts, 08/03/2010
This Tax Foundation Fiscal Fact analyzes the impact that the expiration of the so-called "Bush-era" tax cuts would have on the average middle-income family's tax bill in each state and congressional district. Family circumstances such as income level, sources of income, marital status, number of children, housing status, and a myriad of other factors can affect federal income tax liability. And these factors can vary significantly across geographic locations.
Foreign Policy/International AffairsBy Said Amir Arjomand, Hudson InstituteArticles, 08/03/2010
While the events of the summer of 2009 helped to revitalize the revolutionary spirit among some in the clerical establishment, they also made clear that the Islamic Revolution within Iran had entered an entirely new era. This has dramatically transformed the regime’s internal power structure and given rise to a wide-ranging political clash among the Islamic Republic’s aging lay revolutionaries and clerics over the true legacy and future direction of the revolution and the republic it created. Perhaps most decisively, the electoral putsch provoked an unexpectedly vigorous and astonishingly persistent wave of popular protest, which has come to be known as the “Green Movement,” and which has been swelling up from a new generation whose political sensibilities and aspirations are post-Islamist and post-revolutionary. All of these developments among others will have dramatic consequences for Iran and for the region as a whole in the decades ahead.
Health CareBy Grace-Marie Turner, Galen InstitutePaper, 08/03/2010
If Massachusetts is a harbinger—and all evidence indicates it is—the new federal health overhaul legislation is headed for serious trouble. Massachusetts and the federal government built their reform efforts using similar architectural plans—strict regulation of health insurance, mandates on individuals and businesses, expensive new taxpayer-funded subsidies, and a major expansion of Medicaid—and both share a central structural flaw in failing to address rising health costs. Health reform in the Bay State has increased demand without increasing the supply of health care providers, it continues to keep people in the dark about the true cost of health care and health insurance, and has not changed incentives for people to seek more affordable options or for a truly competitive marketplace. Washington’s health overhaul law has the same structural flaws.
Regulation & Deregulation
Leviathan’s Drug Problem: Increasing Patients’ Choices Through International Competition in Pharmaceutical RegulationBy John R. Graham, Pacific Research InstitutePRI Study, 08/03/2010
If the U.S. government allowed American patients to use new medicines that were approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA), but not yet by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), American patients would have had faster access to 17 new medicines, out of the entire set of 39. Clearly, Congress’s grant of a regulatory monopoly to the FDA is creating a significant obstacle to Americans’ timely access to new medicines. Therefore, Congress should amend the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act to allow Americans to use new medicines once the EMA has removed its prohibition. The FDA would retain the power to compel manufacturers to label their medicines with the warning that the FDA has not yet approved their safety or efficacy.
Health CareBy Sally Pipes, Regnery PublishingBook, 08/03/2010
President Obama’s national health care mandate will undoubtedly lead to the largest expansion of government in the history of the United States and will cost taxpayers at least $1 trillion over ten years. As candidates across the country debate and defend their stance on health care, The Truth About Obamacare dissects the 2,400-page bill, exposing the most wasteful, inefficient, and dangerous provisions that will irrevocably hurt our health care system and our economy.
EducationBy Terry M. Moe, Hoover InstitutionDefining Ideas, 08/03/2010
Since the publication in 1983 of A Nation at Risk, a watershed report that warned of a “rising tide of mediocrity” in America’s schools, public officials have been under intense pressure to improve academic performance. They have responded with billions of additional dollars and with a commitment to reform that has persisted for a quarter century. The focus has been on academic achievement, but there has been great concern as well for closing the “achievement gap” between white and minority children and for improving the large urban districts that many minority students attend.
Natural Resources, Energy, Environment, & Science
Who Should Pay for the Gulf Oil Spill?: Liability and Incentive Issues Raised by the Deepwater Horizon IncidentBy James Plummer, Competitive Enterprise InstituteOn Point, 08/03/2010
In the wake of the Deepwater Horizon incident, political pressure to limit and ban offshore drilling is on the rise. The answer is not to ban offshore drilling, but to correct the errors in the liability and insurance markets that helped precipitate the disaster. Raising or eliminating the liability caps would encourage more prudent behavior by oil companies and the insurance companies and bond markets that finance them. Raising the caps after the fact obscures the ways in which interference in the market likely encouraged risk taking. Congress should consider repealing the entire Trust Fund structure, which socializes risk among prudent and imprudent firms and encourages imprudent behavior.
Budget & TaxationBy Matthew Mitchell, Mercatus CenterWorking Paper, 08/03/2010
State governments that spent a larger fraction of state income—and had done so for many decades—experienced smaller percentage budget gaps in FY2010. On the other hand, states whose per capita spending levels increased the most over the last two decades had larger percentage budget gaps in FY2010. Furthermore, states whose policies permit economic freedom and states with strict balanced budget requirements experienced smaller budget gaps. Taken together, these results suggest that spending restraint, economic freedom, and institutional rules that ensure a strict balanced budget requirement seem to be a more reliable path to fiscal balance than tax increases.
Information TechnologyBy Daniel A. Lyons, Free State FoundationPerspectives from FSF Scholars, 08/03/2010
The Takings Clause of the Fifth Amendment raises a constitutional question regarding the FCC’s authority to adopt net neutrality regulations without clear authority from Congress. These doubts, coupled with all the other legal and policy concerns which have been raised regarding net neutrality mandates, should cause the FCC to pull back from its current course.
EducationBy William Damon, Hoover InstitutionDefining Ideas, 08/03/2010
The single greatest barrier to youngsters’ finding their paths to purpose is the fixation on the short horizons that infuses the cultural messages to young people today. A popular culture celebrating quick results and showy achievements has displaced the traditional values of reflection and contemplation that once stood as the moral North Star of human development and education.
Budget & TaxationBy Bruce Yandle, Mercatus CenterWorking Paper, 08/03/2010
The federal government’s deficit will reach $1.4 trillion this year—a whopping 10 percent of Gross Domestic Product—and the total federal debt stands at almost $14 trillion. That’s $40,000 for every citizen of the United States. The U.S. fiscal picture is shaping up to be a category 3 hurricane of red ink. Reeling in federal spending must be the first step in taming an unruly deficit. The reason is simple: Raising taxes enough to close the gap would require a doubling of tax rates. This is far more than the taxpayers will tolerate.
Natural Resources, Energy, Environment, & ScienceBy Terry Anderson, Gary D. Libecap, Hoover InstitutionPolicy Review, 08/03/2010
Although the Obama administration has been fixated on bailouts and stimulus, it has not lost sight of the fact that its campaign promises included a dramatic change in environmental policies. Reacting especially to the Bush administration’s apparent unwillingness to grapple with global warming and energy issues, President Obama has taken the same bold steps on these issues as he has on other issues in the headlines.
Health CareBy Gregg Girvan, The Heritage FoundationBackgrounder, 08/03/2010
Utah is an innovator in health insurance market reform, as it has addressed insurance issues through the creation of a defined-contribution option for employer-sponsored health insurance administered by a state health insurance exchange. Utah also demonstrates that state lawmakers with vision, skill, and the political will to effect consequential change can make a real difference in the lives of their citizens. Moreover, Utah’s initiatives validate the premise of the founders of the American republic. The states can and should be laboratories of democracy, the mainspring of imaginative social and economic policies. But they can also serve another important function that the founders explicitly intended—to be a source of institutional resistance against the concentration of power in Washington, and true guardians of their citizens’ liberty.
Health CareBy Brian Blase, The Heritage FoundationBackgrounder, 08/03/2010
The Community Living Assistance Services and Support (CLASS) program is an actuarially unsound and fiscally irresponsible misadventure by Congress. Congress should never have enacted this new government-run long-term care insurance program. It places CLASS participants at risk of benefit cuts and American taxpayers at great risk of being forced to bail out this poorly designed program. Congress should promptly repeal the CLASS program and then make a serious effort to address the problem of financing the long-term care of the nation’s population in the context of an overall reform of federal entitlements.
National SecurityBy Justin Muzinich, Hoover InstitutionPolicy Review, 08/03/2010
Since beginning to monitor incidents of nuclear trafficking in 1995, the International Atomic Energy Agency has documented at least 196 instances of illegal trafficking, including at least 18 that involved weapons-grade, highly enriched uranium and plutonium, the primary fuel of nuclear weapons. Given these statistics, one might have expected international law to become much less hospitable to nuclear traffickers after terrorists made their intentions clear on September 11. Yet the nonproliferation regime in some ways looks very much like it did before the towers fell, providing surprisingly little room to combat the spread of nuclear weapons. If this sounds counterintuitive, it is for good reason. The UN has often made pronouncements denouncing proliferation. However when it comes to a crucially important component of nonproliferation — physically stopping the transport of prohibited material — international law generally precludes action in international waters. The U.S. and Spain understood this, which explains the treatment of the North Korean ships.
Foreign Policy/International AffairsBy The Heritage Foundation, The Heritage FoundationFact Sheet, 08/03/2010
The current regime in Russia has a terrible record as a reliable partner, yet President Obama wants the nuclear treaty he negotiated with the Kremlin fast-tracked for Senate approval. This is a bad idea because, among other reasons, Russia repeatedly violated the 1991 Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty all the way to its expiration in December 2009. Additionally, Russia cultivates ties with terrorist organizations Hamas and Hezbollah and provides military and diplomatic support for anti-American “rogue states” such as Syria, Iran, and Venezuela.
EducationBy The Heritage Foundation, The Heritage FoundationFact Sheet, 08/03/2010
After decades of ineffective billions, education spending is at an all-time high. Decades of increased education spending have yielded little academic progress. Academic achievement nationally has flatlined, and graduation rates are no better today than they were in 1970. Meanwhile, the Obama administration’s education agenda is undermining school choice for children in need and increasing the federal control by imposing national education standards and tests on states. Instead of adopting one-size-fits-all national standards and tests, state standards and tests should be strengthened and schools should increase transparency about results to parents and other taxpayers. More federal funding from Washington is not the answer to improving American education.
Natural Resources, Energy, Environment, & ScienceBy John Rosenthal, Hoover InstitutionPolicy Review, 08/03/2010
The leaking of the East Anglia “Climategate” e-mails and data last November shattered the appearance of a scientific consensus on supposed “man-made global warming” and provided a disturbing insight into the corruption of the scientific process as it relates to the “man-made global warming” hypothesis. The spectacle of scientists stonewalling freedom of information requests, destroying records, hiding unwelcome results, colluding to keep dissenting viewpoints out of scholarly journals, and even suppressing their own acknowledged doubts — all of this made it perfectly clear that other interests were at stake than the pure pursuit of knowledge. The centrality of the quest for funding in the e-mail exchanges made it equally clear that for the scientists in question, money, unsurprisingly, was first and foremost among those interests.
Crime, Justice & the LawBy Marla Grossman, Adam Lerner, Institute for Policy InnovationIssue Brief, 08/03/2010
The December 2009 court ruling in Bon Tool provides patent protection in excess of that necessary and, in fact, results in costly and unnecessary litigation that frustrates the constitutional goal of promoting “the progress of … useful arts.” Indeed, the court’s June 2010 decision in Solo Cup demonstrates that unless a sound legislative solution is enacted, it is likely that we will continue to witness narrow judicial interpretation of the false patent marking statute in order to avoid what a court deems to be an inequitable outcome.
Foreign Policy/International AffairsBy Peter Berkowitz, Hoover InstitutionPolicy Review, 08/03/2010
The controversy over the “Report of the United Nations Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict” (September 15, 2009), more commonly known as the Goldstone Report, seems to have died down. But its larger significance has yet to be appreciated. For the most part, the controversy has swirled around the reliability of the Goldstone Report’s factual findings and the validity of its legal findings concerning Operation Cast Lead, which Israel launched on December 27, 2008, and concluded on January 18, 2009. But another and more far-reaching issue, which should be of great significance to those who take seriously the claims of international law to govern the conduct of war, has scarcely been noticed. And that pertains to the disregarding of fundamental norms and principles of international law by the United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC), by the Mission members, and by the HRC and the United Nations General Assembly.
Budget & TaxationBy John O. McGinnism, Max Schanzenbach, Hoover InstitutionPolicy Review, 08/03/2010
Public employees unions have wielded huge influence to gain perquisites for themselves at the expense of the public. Early retirement, job tenure, high wages, and generous defined-benefit pension plans have gained increasing attention from commentators and voters, though many public sector perks are intentionally shrouded and confuse the public debate. What has received far less attention is the pernicious effect of public sector union privileges on the provision of public goods in the United States. Public sector unions have greatly distorted state spending priorities and made it more difficult for states to devise innovative public goods that would benefit their citizenry as whole. For example, prison guard unions have directly influenced penal policy, fighting reduced sentences or decriminalization of drugs. Teachers’ unions fight charter schools and merit pay. The strong organizational rights of these unions, protected or abetted by statute and regulations, enables their outsized influence on public policy.
ImmigrationBy Kevin Mooney, Capital Research CenterOrganization Trends, 08/02/2010
The radical group called By Any Means Necessary, or BAMN, believes racial profiling is wrong but racial quotas in hiring and college admissions are right. A contradiction? BAMN doesn’t care. It goes to court and into the streets to cause trouble and provoke political upheaval.
Crime, Justice & the LawBy Robert D. Yeager, Washington Legal FoundationContemporary Legal Note, 08/02/2010
Following its landmark decision in Graham v. John Deere, 383 U.S. 1 (1966), in which the Supreme Court laid down the methodology for determining obviousness as an obstacle to patentability, the Court did not address the subject for over 40 years. Then, in 2007 the Court decided KSR v. Teleflex, 550 U.S. 398 (2007). In KSR, the Supreme Court jettisoned the teaching-suggestion-motivation (TSM) test and resurrected the discredited “obvious to try” concept, thereby adding more factual inquiries to the Graham litany. The Court, however, did not indicate just how these inquiries should be blended in an applicable methodology. KSR has had effects beyond the elimination of a bright line test for obviousness: mainly, broadening the scope of “prior art.” This paper first explains how KSR derailed the conventional determination of the scope of the prior art and then attempts to harmonize Graham and KSR into a workable new methodology for analyzing obviousness.
Monetary Policy/Financial RegulationBy Craig Pirrong, Cato InstitutePolicy Analysis, 08/02/2010
In the aftermath of the financial crisis, attention has turned to reducing systemic risk in the derivatives markets. Much of this attention has focused on counterparty risk in the over-the-counter market, where trades are bilaterally executed between dealers and derivative purchasers. One proposal for addressing such counterparty risk is to mandate the trading of derivatives over a centralized clearinghouse. This paper lays out the advantages and risks to a mandated clearing requirement, showing how, in some instances, such a mandate can actually increase systemic risk and result in more financial bailouts.
Urgency and Legitimacy: Tensions in Rebuilding the Legal Structure for Business in Post-Conflict CountriesBy Wade Channell, Center for International Private EnterpriseArticle, 08/02/2010
One of the well documented casualties of conflict is the economy. Civil strife inevitably disrupts business activity, sometimes reversing years of steady growth as markets come apart and business interests either flee or reduce activity. In impoverished countries, of course, the negative impact is even greater. In response, reformers in post-conflict societies will often give high priority to rebuilding the commercial sector. The cessation of conflict establishes possibilities for rebuilding conflict-ravaged economies. Donor organizations often rush to help re-establish the framework for doing business, from rebuilding roads and marketplaces to revising laws and regulations. This work is often done on an urgent basis to redirect activity into productive endeavors and growth, with the hope of forestalling and avoiding a permanent reversion to disarray.
EducationBy RiShawn Biddle, Capital Research CenterLabor Watch, 08/02/2010
The National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers have successfully used their collective bargaining muscle and lobbying influence to enact reverse seniority, or “last hired-first fired” policies that protect senior teachers from layoffs and performance management. But many school officials, education reformers and taxpayers are urging that these outmoded work rules be altered or abolished, and the two unions are struggling to defend their policies. Worse for the unions, their younger members – who benefit least from seniority – are demanding that the unions remove last hired-first fired provisions from union contracts.
Health CareBy Philip Klein, Capital Research CenterFoundation Watch, 08/02/2010
Supporters of national healthcare did not get the single payer system they wanted or even a “public option,” and they get no thanks from the public which wants to repeal the new healthcare law. So why are liberal advocacy groups so pleased with themselves? Because they still helped pass a bill that brings America one step closer to socialized medicine. (This is the third article in a three-part series on Obamacare. The first and second installments appeared in the May 2010 edition of Labor Watch and July 2010 edition of Organization Trends, respectively.)
Budget & Taxation
Oil Today, Fatty Foods and Sugary Drinks Tomorrow: The Administration’s Assault on the Manufacturing Deduction for Oil CompaniesBy Scott A. Hodge, Tax FoundationFiscal Facts, 08/02/2010
The oil industry is the favorite political tax target of Congress and the Administration right now, thanks to the BP spill. But if there's any such thing as a sure bet in Washington, it's that when the next big story puts a different industry in a bad light—probably another industry that allegedly makes us unhealthy—the picadors in Congress and the Administration will stick the offending industry with a raft of new corporate tax hikes.
EducationBy Michael Van Beek, Mackinac Center for Public PolicyStudies, 08/02/2010
Reforms such as improving teacher quality are far more cost-effective than reducing class size, and have been shown to actually boost student achievement. Unfortunately, seniority-based staffing policies dictated by union contracts and state tenure laws prevent districts from identifying, attracting and rewarding high-performing teachers and putting them in front of as many kids as possible.
EducationBy Bryan C. Hassel, Daniela Doyle, American Enterprise InstituteWorking Paper, 08/02/2010
In “Shifting Risk to Create Opportunity: A Role for Performance Guarantees in Education,” Bryan Hassel and Daniela Doyle of Public Impact point out that uncertain results, political dangers, and unmapped responsibilities make the risk of partnering with new providers simply too great for many districts to take on. To address these challenges, Hassel and Doyle suggest a variety of performance guarantees such as warranties, bonds, and contracts that can be adapted for the case of nontraditional education providers. These tools can help spread risk and thereby facilitate partnerships as they have done in other sectors.
Foreign Policy/International AffairsBy Ahmad Majidyar, Ali Alfoneh, American Enterprise InstituteMiddle Eastern Outlook, 08/02/2010
As the United States targets the Taliban in Afghanistan, Iran is using soft-power tactics to combat U.S. influence and win over the minds of the people. This Outlook examines the activities of the Imam Khomeini Relief Committee, a charitable organization that aims to promote Iran’s ideological and political goals in Afghanistan. Since the early 1990s, the Imam Khomeini Relief Committee’s Afghanistan arm has been expanding its budget and reaching more and more Afghans, which poses a growing threat to U.S. interests. To succeed in Afghanistan, the United States must focus not only on the hard power of the military, but also on a comprehensive soft-power strategy.
Economic GrowthBy John H. Makin, American Enterprise InstituteEconomic Outlook, 08/02/2010
The economy may be heading for a sharp reversal of the modest growth achieved so far. With lower growth will come a higher risk of deflation and a global slowdown. The current pattern of central bank complacency after the acute phase of a financial crisis that allows a growth relapse in the real economy is all too common. It happened in Japan during the late 1990s and in 2001, as well as in 1937 during the Great Depression in the United States. Hopefully, the August 10 Federal Open Market Committee meeting will signal a more decisive Fed response to the threat of negative growth, further disinflation, and deflation.
Addressing Geographic Variation and Health Care Efficiency: Lessons for Medicare from Private Health InsurersBy Darius Lakdawalla, Thomas J. Philipson, Dana Goldman, American Enterprise InstituteHealth Policy Outlook, 08/02/2010
Medicare’s attempts to restrain costs center almost exclusively on reducing prices paid for medical services. Private-sector insurance companies are unable to secure similarly sized price discounts but rely more heavily on managing utilization to control costs. Studies find that Medicare spending and utilization vary considerably across U.S. regions, leading some to suggest that Medicare should look at relatively “low-use” regions as a model for decreasing costs in “high-use” regions. However, this AEI study finds that, while Medicare’s market share gives it more leverage to dictate prices than private health insurance companies have, variations in service use across regions are smaller for the private sector than for Medicare, suggesting tighter management of utilization in the private sector. To reduce spending and more appropriately limit geographic variation in utilization among Medicare beneficiaries, the program should consider the utilization-management techniques employed in the private sector as a model.