- Budget & Taxation
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- National Security
- Natural Resources, Energy, Environment, & Science
- Regulation & Deregulation
- Retirement/ Social Security
- Transportation & Infrastructure
- Acton Institute
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- Alliance for School Choice
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- America’s Future Foundation
- American Council on Science and Health
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- Americans for Tax Reform
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- Citizens Against Government Waste
- Claremont Institute for the Study of Statesmanship and Political Philosophy
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- Empire Center for New York State Policy
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- Institute for Policy Innovation
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- Institute of Economic Affairs
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- Mercatus Center
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- National Taxpayers Union
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Recent Policy Studies
Economic GrowthBy Timothy Sandefur, Cato InstituteBook, 09/17/2010
For many people, owning a business is the very definition of the American dream. But in today’s America, attaining such a dream is made increasingly difficult by laws and regulations that interfere with entrepreneurs and their right to earn a living. Author Timothy Sandefur has had a part in defending many hardworking American citizens against the unfair and often ludicrous restrictions imposed on them by government. These rules and regulations allow politicians and lobbyists to play favorites, rewrite contracts, file frivolous lawsuits, seize private property, and manipulate private choices.
Foreign Policy/International AffairsBy Ariel Cohen, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 09/17/2010
The United States has a strong national interest in close strategic cooperation with Turkey and needs to face the reality of Turkey’s political evolution. But instead of expressing concern about Turkey’s drift away from secularism and its concentration of political power, the Obama Administration and leaders of European powers and the European Union offered only plaudits to Prime Minister Erdogan and his incumbent AKP, which triumphed in the referendum.
Health CareBy Joshua Archambault, The Heritage FoundationBackgrounder, 09/17/2010
Implementation of the Massachusetts health care reform has largely failed to address the needs of small businesses and their employees. Given that small businesses generate most new jobs, this breakdown also constitutes poor economic policy. As other states take up health care reform under the implementation deadlines of President Barack Obama’s health care law, they would be wise to implement health reforms that best address the needs of their states, including their small business communities.
ImmigrationBy Jena Baker McNeill, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 09/17/2010
On September 14, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D–NV) announced plans to introduce the DREAM Act as an amendment to the upcoming Department of Defense authorization bill. The act would create a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants who entered the U.S. before the age of 16 and have lived in the country for at least five years. Despite its seemingly humanitarian aims, the DREAM Act, much like the President’s proposal for comprehensive immigration reform, equates to an amnesty for individuals entering the U.S. illegally.
National SecurityBy Baker Spring, The Heritage FoundationBackgrounder, 09/17/2010
New START is a deeply flawed arms control treaty with Russia. It is the product of a contradictory and wrong-headed approach to strategic nuclear arms control by the Obama Administration. The Administration’s approach to strategic nuclear arms control combines the worst aspects of Cold War arms control, which resulted in a nuclear arms race between the United States and the Soviet Union, with the worst aspects of President Barack Obama’s stated policy of seeking a world without nuclear weapons, which carries the serious risk of generating a nuclear conflict.
Economic GrowthBy Veronique de Rugy, Mercatus CenterWorking Paper, 09/17/2010
With the unemployment rate in the United States lingering just below 10 percent and elections approaching rapidly, job creation has become Washington’s top priority. Arguing that small businesses create the most jobs, lawmakers are instituting several programs that focus on helping small businesses. The effectiveness of these policies, though, is dubious. If government wants to help the economy, which in turn would create jobs, it needs to get out of the business of helping business.
Family, Culture & CommunityBy Robert Rector, The Heritage FoundationBackgrounder, 09/16/2010
Marriage remains America’s strongest anti-poverty weapon, yet it continues to decline. As husbands disappear from the home, poverty and welfare dependence will increase, and children and parents will suffer as a result. Since marital decline drives up child poverty and welfare dependence, and since the poor aspire to healthy marriage but lack the norms, understanding, and skills to achieve it, it is reasonable for government to take active steps to strengthen marriage. Just as government discourages youth from dropping out of school, it should clearly and forcefully articulate the value of marriage.
Foreign Policy/International AffairsBy Sally McNamara, The Heritage FoundationBackgrounder, 09/16/2010
In several ways, Russia’s proposed new European Security Treaty would undermine European security—the opposite of its stated purpose—not least of all by sharply limiting North Atlantic Treaty Organization's ability to act and to accept new members. Instead of adding to the existing European architecture and treaties, the U.S. and its European allies should work to advance relations with Russia bilaterally and through existing institutions. They should explicitly reject Russia’s sphere-of-influence policy and reaffirm the inviolability of national borders.
EducationBy Matthew Ladner, Andrew T. LeFevre, Dan Lips , American Legislative Exchange CouncilBook, 09/16/2010
American Legislative Exchange Council's 16th edition of the Report Card on American Education contains a comprehensive overview of educational achievement levels (performance and gains for low-income students) for the 50 states and the District of Columbia (see full report for complete methodology). The Report Card details what education policies states currently have in place and provides a roadmap for legislators to follow to bring about educational excellence in their state.
The Constitution/Civil LibertiesBy Robert G. Natelson, Goldwater InstitutePolicy Report, 09/16/2010
Americans are increasingly questioning–and resisting–the endless growth of the federal government. Part of this resistance finds voice in efforts to enforce state sovereignty through litigation and legislation such as the Health Care Freedom Act and the Firearms Freedom Act. Measures such as these protect existing, fundamental rights from erosion at the federal level. But the growing discontent has also reignited interest in an even more direct route for the people and the states to regain control over the federal government–the Article V constitutional amendment process.
Health CareBy James C. Capretta, Tom Miller, National AffairsNational Affairs, 09/16/2010
The many advantages of high-risk pools create an opening for opponents of Obama’s approach. Critics should seize the chance to present a coherent case to the public for replacing the deeply flawed new law—advancing in its place a series of targeted, incremental solutions to the specific problems plaguing our health-care system. The challenge of covering Americans with pre-existing conditions offers the earliest, and perhaps best, proving ground for their case. It is a challenge that those who oppose Obamacare’s overreach should embrace—not a vulnerability that should scare them away from the cause of repeal.
Health CareBy Paul Howard, Stephen T. Parente, National AffairsNational Affairs, 09/16/2010
One way or another, the system created by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will have to be replaced; the fiscal and policy booby traps hidden among its various provisions mean that the law is simply unsustainable as currently written. The real question, then, is what comes next. Facing rapid cost increases and interminable struggles between regulators and insurers, some on the left will likely argue that government should create a public option to compete with private insurers, or just open Medicare to all Americans.
Economic and Political ThoughtBy Eugene F. Miller, Institute of Economic AffairsBook, 09/16/2010
F. A. Hayek’s The Constitution of Liberty has had a profound effect on the thinking of a generation of scholars, students and even politicians. There is a sense in which it is regarded as a manifesto of traditional liberalism. But the book has a complex underlying argument, and the philosophy is often difficult to understand for the non-specialist reader. This monograph, in the great tradition of IEA publications, both summarises and interprets the argument of The Constitution of Liberty for a non-specialist audience. It does so by setting Hayek’s seminal book in the context of his earlier and later works.
Transportation/InfrastructureBy Randal O’Toole, John Locke FoundationSpotlight, 09/16/2010
Public transit is often portrayed as a low-cost, energy-efficient alternative to auto driving. In fact, transit is much more costly than driving and requires huge subsidies to attract any riders at all. Moreover, transit systems in the vast majority of American cities use more energy and emit more greenhouse gases than the average car. For every dollar collected in fares from transit riders, the average transit system in America requires more than $2 from taxpayers for operating subsidies plus more than $1 for capital improvements and maintenance.
Elections, Transparency, & AccountabilityBy Joseph Henchman, Tax FoundationFiscal Facts, 09/16/2010
If a state exempts particular businesses from paying sales tax but not their competitors, does that mean the tax system is discriminatory? On November 10, 2010, the U.S. Supreme Court will consider this question in the context of railroad taxation when it hears arguments in CSX Transportation, Inc. v. Alabama Department of Revenue, No. 09-520. The Tax Foundation’s Center for Legal Reform has filed a friend-of-the-court brief in the case, which this report summarizes.
Budget & TaxationBy Andrew G. Biggs, American Enterprise InstituteRetirement Policy Outlook, 09/16/2010
In the end, we must choose between larger programs financed by higher taxes or better, more targeted plans that focus resources where they are needed most. Reforming entitlements should be seen as a virtuous act if only because virtue, as it is said, is its own reward. The political party that reforms entitlements will not likely be rewarded at the ballot box for doing so. However, that party will secure an America consistent with its vision for decades to come.
Economic and Political ThoughtBy Eamonn Butler, Adam Smith InstituteBook, 09/16/2010
Austrian School economists gave us the ideas of marginal utility, opportunity cost, and the importance of time and ignorance in shaping human choices and the markets, prices and production systems that stem from them. ‘Austrian’ economics has revolutionised our understanding of what money is, why economic booms invariably turn to damaging busts, why government intervention in the economy is a mistake, the importance of time and information in economic decision-making, the crucial role of entrepreneurship, and how much economic policy is just plain wrong.
Health CareBy Davis Gratzer, Encounter BooksBook, 09/15/2010
If Barack Obama has his way, the American health care system is headed for a train wreck. In this vital expose, Dr. David Gratzer reveals how a government takeover by Washington will put a massive new bureaucracy between doctors and patients, create rationing, and kill the spirit of innovation that has made American high tech medicine a world leader in the treatment of cancer and other diseases. Dr. Gratzer, a first-hand witness of the failures of Canada’s healthcare system, shows why socialized medicine will make America sick.
Foreign Policy/International AffairsBy Michael Ledeen, Encounter BooksBook, 09/15/2010
Today, Barack Obama is giving the Arabs the same opportunity as Nixon gave the Vietnamese. Obama told a Muslim audience in Cairo in the first months of his administration that America’s support for Israel was “unbreakable,” even as he moved to compel Jerusalem to cede even more territory to its enemies. In, this new broadside, Michael Ledeen asks why the Obama administration has chosen this course, and examines what this betrayal means for Israel and the world at large.
Elections, Transparency, & AccountabilityBy John Fund, Encounter BooksBook, 09/15/2010
In this explosive Broadside, John Fund exposes the new package of reforms being pushed by Obama and liberals in Congress. First, the White House has declared it will exercise oversight of the Census next year, compromising the apportionment of Congressional seats and federal dollars. On top of that, liberals in Congress are pushing for “universal voter registration,” a version of which is already used in a half dozen states but has only resulted in serious fraud. Making it easier to vote is a worthy goal. But pushing dubious measures puts the very foundation of our democracy at risk.
Monetary Policy/Financial RegulationBy Stephen Moore, Encounter BooksBook, 09/15/2010
During his first nine months in office, Barack Obama pursued the most aggressive government expansionist agenda since Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal was launched in 1933. White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel summarized Obama’s first-year game plan best, “An economic crisis is a terrible thing to waste.” So far, we have seen multi-trillion dollar bailouts in: housing, banking, insurance, auto industries, the stimulus plan, cap and trade, a $1.2 trillion health care bill, and of course, the $4 billion Cash for Clunkers program. None of this has worked. Now, six months after the stimulus program began, we sit at 9.4% unemployment.
National SecurityBy Victor Davis Hanson, Encounter BooksBook, 09/15/2010
In this revealing broadside, Victor Davis Hanson explains how President Obama has imprinted his domestic ideology of victimhood onto a therapeutic, Carter-inspired foreign policy. In Obama’s vision, the United States renounces its role as a defender of the postwar order and instead becomes an agent of global change – one that questions our existing system of defense, values, alliances, interests and commerce. In tactical terms, Obama believes that his hope-and-change rhetoric and nontraditional background give him a moral authority abroad that will trump any inconsistency in U.S. foreign policy.
Natural Resources, Energy, Environment, & ScienceBy Roy W. Spencer, Encounter BooksBook, 09/15/2010
As the U.N. moves closer to a new global warming treaty, it is time to examine the calls for reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. The health and welfare of humanity has benefited from access to fossil fuels, and any drastic move to limit that access must have extraordinary evidence to support it. While alternative energy technologies will increasingly be relied upon in the face of dwindling fossil fuel supplies, leading climate researcher Dr. Roy W. Spencer argues that the free market is the best mechanism for solving the problem.
Crime, Justice & the LawBy Andrew C. McCarthy, Encounter BooksBook, 09/15/2010
With the Obama Justice Department under Attorney General Eric Holder’s direction, Americans are learning what really happens when law-enforcement power is co-opted by politics. In this eye-popping Broadside, Andrew C. McCarthy shows that the biggest beneficiaries have been jihadists. For the past eight years, a group of lawyers volunteered their services to America’s enemies. Now, the Justice Department is rife with some of those same lawyers as it enhances due process for terrorists and feeds the international Left’s call for war-crimes charges against President Obama’s political adversaries.
Economic and Political ThoughtBy Joshua Muravchik, Encounter BooksBook, 09/15/2010
In only one year, Obama has saddled Americans with a skyrocketing deficit that will leave future generations deeply in debt; a health-care plan that prescribes a cure worse than the illness; catastrophically expensive environmental schemes; and a foreign policy that appeases enemies and punishes friends. In this frank and insightful Broadside, Joshua Muravchik analyzes these and Obama’s other misguided efforts to “fundamentally transform” America during his first year in office.
Foreign Policy/International AffairsBy Michael B. Mukasey, Encounter BooksBook, 09/15/2010
In this illuminating Broadside, former Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey shows how Barrack Obama has taken the war on terror from the adult realities of George W. Bush, where hard choices were faced and made, and the nation kept safe, to an adolescent fantasy world where we can at once be nobler than the law requires and safer than we were before. Obama rejects as an unnecessary sacrifice of our ideals the stern measures adopted by his predecessor, and offers instead to limit our intelligence gathering and provide terrorists with better conditions than common criminals, in the name of lofty idealism.
ImmigrationBy Mark Krikorian, Encounter BooksBook, 09/15/2010
President Obama and his allies have made no secret about their immigration goals: easy amnesty, loose enforcement, and ever-higher levels of legal immigration. One prominent labor leader has boasted that continued mass immigration “will solidify and expand the progressive coalition for the future.” In this Broadside, Mark Krikorian lays out the details of Obama’s open-borders approach to immigration – and its political consequences.
National SecurityBy Baker Spring, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 09/15/2010
There are no easy solutions to fixing the problems of the flawed New START treaty. Foremost, the Senate should avoid rubberstamping the treaty. The new strategic environment requires the U.S. to possess robust missile defenses and a range of conventional and non-conventional capabilities to prevent and deter attacks. The very survival of the U.S. may be at stake in these issues. Congress is required by the Constitution to “provide for the common defense,” and the Senate must provide due diligence in its consideration of the treaty.
National SecurityBy Jed Babbin, Encounter BooksBook, 09/15/2010
Barack Obama has made it clear that he thinks the world would be a better and more peaceful place if the United States were too weak to affect the course of events. Obama, along with Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, has slashed missile defense, dramatically reduced investment in future military technologies, and broken promises to our allies. In addition, Obama is transforming our military into a politically correct force that no one will want to join.
Budget & TaxationBy E.J. McMahon, Encounter BooksBook, 09/15/2010
In this provocative Broadside, E.J. McMahon explains how the policies of the Obama administration have shielded most state and local government employees from the worst effects of the Great Recession. President Obama’s stimulus bill helped most states and local governments continue raising average employee pay even at the depths of the downturn. In the name of promoting “economic recovery,” the president wants to spend tens of billions more to prop up government payrolls and preserve cushy employee benefits.
Budget & TaxationBy Curtis Dubay, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 09/15/2010
Raising taxes during a struggling economy makes no sense. Doing so now would slow this lagging recovery even further. Raising taxes on investment, work, and savings would diminish all three—hardly a recipe for creating jobs. The McConnell–Grassley plan recognizes that preventing steep tax rates permanently is good policy any time but especially in a struggling recovery.
Economic GrowthBy E.J. McMahon, Michael Cretz, Empire Center for New York State PolicyResearch Bulletin, 09/15/2010
This has been a lost decade for employment in New York State, where the total number of payroll jobs is now below the 2000 level. The Empire State’s job drop has been concentrated in the private sector. As of July, New York’s private firms employed 122,000 fewer people than they had in July 2000, and 247,900 fewer than in 2008. New York’s rate of job loss during the latest recession was less than half as severe as the national norm. However, after gaining private jobs more slowly than average during the 2003-07expansion, the state also had less to lose.
Natural Resources, Energy, Environment, & ScienceBy Neil Maghami, Capital Research CenterGreen Paper, 09/14/2010
Despite its generous past contributions to environmental groups, BP is facing a torrent of green criticism since the Deepwater Horizon explosion and oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Green groups and other agenda-driven activists are using the spill to promote a job-killing energy agenda.
Health CareBy Robert A. Book, James C. Capretta, The Heritage FoundationBackgrounder, 09/14/2010
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act substantially alters Medicare Advantage and, as a consequence, reduces the access of senior citizens and the disabled to quality health care by restricting and worsening the health care plan options available to them. Lower-income beneficiaries, Hispanics, and African–Americans will bear a disproportionate share of the act’s Medicare Advantage payment reductions.
Budget & TaxationBy James Sherk, Jason Richwine, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 09/14/2010
Defenders of the federal pay system, including the Office of Personnel Management, argue that federal employees earn higher wages because they perform more skilled work. This is only partially correct. Skill differences explain only a portion of the federal government’s disparate level of pay. After controlling for skills and occupation, the federal government still pays its employees substantially more than they would earn in the private sector.
Crime, Justice & the LawBy James D. Agresti, Reid K. Smith, Just Facts FoundationFacts & Figures, 09/14/2010
Many aspects of the gun control issue are best measured and sometimes can only be measured through surveys, but the accuracy of such surveys depends upon respondents providing truthful answers to questions that are sometimes controversial and potentially incriminating. Thus, Just Facts uses such data critically, citing the best-designed surveys we find, detailing their inner workings in our footnotes, and using the most cautious plausible interpretations of the results.
Monetary Policy/Financial RegulationBy Desmond Lachman, American Enterprise InstituteEconomic Outlook, 09/14/2010
The outbreak of a sovereign-debt crisis in the euro zone’s peripheral economies has been among the more important developments in the global economy in 2010. Sadly, this crisis will likely intensify in the months ahead as markets increasingly focus on the intractable solvency and competitiveness issues confronting countries like Greece, Portugal, Spain, and Ireland. Such intensification will affect Europe’s already-troubled banking system, seriously threatening both the European and the global economic recovery.
Information TechnologyBy Glen O. Robinson, Free State FoundationPerspectives from FSF Scholars, 09/14/2010
Immediately after the D. C. Circuit’s Comcast decision this past April, holding that the Federal Communications Commission’s ancillary jurisdiction did not extend to regulating broadband Internet services, agency staffers let it be known that the agency might respond by invoking jurisdiction under Title II of the Communications Act. The victory celebrations by proponents of an unregulated Internet had to be cut short for the victory now appeared to be a Pyrrhic one. Of course, that latter view assumed the FCC would get away with its Title II claim, and this might not be a sure thing.
Crime, Justice & the LawBy Charles Stimson, The Heritage FoundationLegal Memorandum, 09/14/2010
This November, California voters will consider a ballot initiative, the Regulate, Control and Tax Cannabis Act of 2010. Scientific research is clear that marijuana is addictive and that its use significantly impairs bodily and mental functions. Even where decriminalized, marijuana trafficking remains a source of violence, crime, and social disintegration. Furthermore, studies have shown that legalized marijuana will provide nowhere near the economic windfall proclaimed by some proponents.
Health CareBy John R. Graham, Pacific Research InstituteHealth Policy Prescriptions, 09/14/2010
One of the ways in which ObamaCare will reduce individuals’ and businesses’ choices of health insurance is through regulating the Medical Loss Ratio, a relatively simple concept: Take the amount of dollars an insurer spends on medical care and divide it by the total premiums. For example, if an insurer earns $10 million in premiums and spends $8.5 million on medical claims, its MLR would be 85 percent. Under ObamaCare, policies that cover large businesses will have to achieve an MLR of 85 percent, while those for small businesses and individuals will have to achieve an MLR of 80 percent.
Health CareBy Eric Fruits, Andrew Hillard, Laura Lewis, Cascade Policy InstituteReport, 09/14/2010
Oregon’s “bold” experiment with the Oregon Health Plan has been thoroughly tested. It has gone through more than fifteen years of economic and fiscal boom and bust cycles. In the end, the experiment has failed to achieve its promoters’ goals simultaneously to expand coverage, control costs, foster provider participation, and maintain fiscal sustainability.
Monetary Policy/Financial RegulationBy Laurence Copeland, Cato InstituteCato Policy Report, 09/14/2010
Banning short selling is a knee-jerk reaction by regulators, often in response to lobbying by corporate management seeking to preserve its freedom to operate without pressure from the market. At best, short sales bans have only a small short-term effect on prices, as seems to have been the case with the bans introduced in September 2008. At worst, they seriously impede the flow of information, distorting prices and creating a false market.
Budget & Taxation
Over One-Third of New Tax Revenue Would Come from Business Income If High-Income Personal Tax Cuts ExpireBy Scott A. Hodge, Tax FoundationSpecial Report, 09/13/2010
Supporters of the administration’s proposal to raise taxes on high-income individuals try to discount the impact of these policies on private enterprise by citing the relatively small number of business owners who pay the highest tax rates. But the fact that “only” 2 or 3 percent of taxpayers with business income would face higher taxes is quite meaningless to the debate. What is meaningful is not the number of taxpayers impacted but the amount of business income and, therefore, business activity impacted.
Budget & TaxationBy Jeffrey Miron, Mercatus CenterWorking Paper, 09/13/2010
The U.S. national debt currently stands at 62 percent of GDP, its highest level since WWII. Under plausible assumptions, this ratio will rise to at least 80 percent and possibly 185 percent of GDP by 2035 and continue increasing thereafter. As the debt-ratio increases, the U.S.’s creditors will demand higher and higher interest rates to continue financing this debt. This means ever larger deficits and ultimately a U.S. default. The U.S. can try to avoid this fate by raising taxes, but that approach faces both political and economic obstacles.
Budget & TaxationBy Alan D. Viard, American Enterprise InstituteTax Policy Outlook, 09/13/2010
Congress is considering allowing the Bush tax cuts’ rate reductions for high-income households to expire at the end of 2010 while providing a deficit-financed extension of the middle-class portion of the tax cuts. This combination would damage economic growth by hiking marginal tax rates on saving and investment while swelling the budget deficit. The vulnerable state of the high-income rate reductions is largely due to the failure of supporters of the Bush tax cuts to make the economic-growth case for these reductions.
Budget & TaxationBy Curtis Dubay, The Heritage FoundationBackgrounder, 09/13/2010
There is much talk in Washington and the media about the impending expiration of the 2001 and 2003 tax relief. Those in favor of letting the tax cuts expire argue that to do otherwise would be merely to reward the rich at the expense of the lower-income population. Lost in these misguided accusations is the fact that higher dividend taxes—part of the tax increase currently scheduled for January 1, 2011—will not only hurt American companies, but penalize America’s senior citizens.
Natural Resources, Energy, Environment, & ScienceBy Jamie Dean, Texas Public Policy FoundationViewpoint, 09/13/2010
To make the energy sources consistently reliable on a wide scale would require massive amounts of reliable storage—technology that doesn’t exist on a cost-effective basis. Forcing utility companies to generate more of their power using wind and solar would likely raise energy costs for U.S. consumers.
National SecurityBy Hans von Spakovsky, The Heritage FoundationWebMemo, 09/13/2010
In Log Cabin Republicans v. United States, the Obama Administration sought to win a policy victory by losing a case. By failing to adequately defend the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” statute—a bipartisan act of Congress that provides that members of the military are subject to separation for engaging in a homosexual act, stating that he or she is a homosexual, or marrying a person of the same sex—President Obama is able to undermine or do away with a statute that he opposes.